URLs du Jour

2019-02-20

[Amazon Link]

  • Remember Andy Warhol predicting that we'd all be famous for fifteen minutes? Well, the future turned out slightly different. At Reason, author Nancy Rommelmann provides us with something we will probably need at some point in the future: A Guide to Surviving Your 15 Minutes of Hate.

    I am a pro-choice, aqua-haired, middle-aged liberal living in Portland, Oregon. I probably disagree with Nicholas Sandmann on every major issue. But we have something in common. In the last month we have both endured what is fast becoming an American ritual: our 15 minutes of hate.

    Sandmann's crime was a smirk while wearing a MAGA hat. Mine was a YouTube series I launched in December with another journalist in which we discussed the excesses of the #MeToo movement. This and the show's name, #MeNeither, inspired an ex-employee of my husband's coffee company to send an email to staff, characterizing the series as "vile, dangerous and extremely misguided" and adding that it "throws into question the safety of Ristretto Roasters as a workplace."

    And then things got really nasty. Nancy also has an article at Quillette: The Internet Locusts Descend on Ristretto Roasters. Their nearest location is a mere 2500 crow-flies miles away from Pun Salad Manor (in Portland, OR) but maybe I'll do mail order…


  • At the WSJ, James Freeman notes the baggage being toted into the presidential campaign by the latest, and oldest, declared candidate: Another Bernie Sanders Tax Hike. Specifically, his legislation to "save" Social Security, the "plan is to raise taxes on some participants and spend the money on others."

    Americans earning high incomes should definitely expect that if the Sanders bill is enacted they will be paying higher payroll taxes and receiving nothing in return for the tax hike. Currently the 12.4% Social Security payroll tax (6.2% is collected from employees and another 6.2% from employers) is applied to a worker’s first $132,900 in earnings. The Sanders plan will also apply the full tax to earnings above $250,000. [Social Security Chief Actuary Stephen] Goss explicitly states that the plan will “not credit the additional taxed earnings for benefit purposes.” This is about redistribution, not retirement savings.

    But wait, there’s more. Mr. Sanders also will apply a separate 6.2% tax on investment income starting at $200,000 for a single filer and $250,000 for a married couple filing jointly. Mr. Goss observes: “Under this provision, there is no limit on the amount taxed.”

    “No limit on the amount taxed” sounds like a perfect slogan for the Sanders 2020 campaign. Whether or not Team Sanders chooses to use this catchy phrase in its advertising, it would clearly be the overriding theme of a Sanders presidency.

    Among the cosponsors of Sanders' bill: Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris.


  • A Reason article from Christian Britschgi: State Legislators Suggest Banning Plastic Straw Bans. Which is no big deal, some sensible legislators want to preempt local straw bans. But I laughed out loud at the subhed:

    Bills in Colorado and Florida would mandate some new restrictions on plastic straws, but forbid local governments from banning the suckers outright.

    Funny even on re-reading.


  • A busy day on the LFOD front. First up is a Concord Monitor op-ed from Republican State Senator John Reagan and Democratic State Rep Laura Pantelakos: The bipartisan case for death penalty repeal.

    In these divisive times, there is an issue that Granite State Democrats and Republicans agree on: The time is now to repeal the death penalty. Abolishing this archaic practice is not a partisan issue – it is a personal one. The death penalty defies New Hampshire values. In our “Live free or die” state, it is time to state loudly that New Hampshire can live without the death penalty.

    I just want to point out that a consistent LFOD advocate might argue for expansion of the death penalty, since the motto appears to offer no middle ground between living free and….

    But (seriously) the last person executed in NH was Howard Long, hanged in 1939 for a very heinous crime. Whatever the merits, it seems that our state's heart isn't really into the death penalty any more.


  • The NYT covers a different state controversy: Legalize Pot? Amid Opioid Crisis, Some New Hampshire Leaders Say No Way.

    New England tends to embrace liberal policies on social issues, and this state, with its “Live Free or Die” motto, celebrates personal freedom and limited government. Following other New England states, New Hampshire in 2013 legalized medical marijuana and in 2017, during Mr. Sununu’s administration, decriminalized possession of small amounts of pot. But opioid addiction has ravaged communities in New Hampshire, and the crisis has become a point of public distress. Some 424 people in the state died of opioid-related overdoses in 2017, and the number of children in foster care has more than doubled since 2014.

    I'm full-tilt naked libertarian on this: the state shouldn't be in the business of dictating to adults what they can and can't ingest. And I'd argue that our opioid "crisis" is much more a result of drug prohibition than a justification.

    But nobody asked me.


  • And my own local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat [in its online version] reports on the Fugitive of the Week: U.S. Marshals seeking armed robbery suspect.

    CONCORD — Belknap County fugitive Kevin Sullivan is wanted by the New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force. He should be considered armed and dangerous, according to a U.S. Marshals spokesman.

    Sullivan, 24, is wanted for failing to appear on charges of attempted armed robbery, armed career criminal and felon in possession of a deadly weapon.

    He is described as 6-feet, 1-inch tall, 180 pounds with red hair and blue eyes. He has several tattoos including a bird, fire fox and “Live Free or Die” on his left arm. Other tattoos include “BROUCK” on his right arm, an iron eagle and swastika on his chest, “Loyalty” and “Respect” on his back as well as tattoos on his right and left calves.

    According to this Union Leader story, the charges against young Kevin involved an incident where not only an AR-15 was used, but also Airsoft pistols. One of the vics used a compound bow to fire an arrow into the abdomen of one of the perps. And, oh sure, "two pounds of marijuana and makeshift-greenouse plus $3,600 in cash".

    See, what would these folks do if pot were legal?