URLs du Jour

2019-04-03

[Amazon Link]

  • Katherine Mangu-Ward, editor-in-chief of Reason, speaks out in favor of Stuff. Because Stuff Sparks Joy.

    When Bernie Sanders and Tucker Carlson agree on something, be afraid. The democratic socialist senator and the populist conservative pundit are not natural allies. But recently, they have converged on a single point of consensus with potentially terrifying consequences: Americans have too much stuff.

    A subset of conservatives has long espoused its own variant of anti-consumerism, typically concerned more with the corruption of the immortal soul than the planet. But in January, Fox News host Tucker Carlson highlighted how aligned the views of the populist right and the socialist left have become on issues of trade, industry, jobs, and markets. "Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven't so far," he asked, in the middle of an impassioned monologue imploring viewers to turn away from the idea that markets are a force for good. "Libertarians tell us that's how markets work—consenting adults making voluntary decisions about how to live their lives," he sneered. "OK. But it's also disgusting."

    A subset of conservatives has long espoused its own variant of anti-consumerism, typically concerned more with the corruption of the immortal soul than the planet. But in January, Fox News host Tucker Carlson highlighted how aligned the views of the populist right and the socialist left have become on issues of trade, industry, jobs, and markets. "Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven't so far," he asked, in the middle of an impassioned monologue imploring viewers to turn away from the idea that markets are a force for good. "Libertarians tell us that's how markets work—consenting adults making voluntary decisions about how to live their lives," he sneered. "OK. But it's also disgusting."

    Katherine pushes back on Tucker and Bernie, hard, by invoking the "tiny Japanese deity of tidiness, Marie Kondo." Katherine is a very worthy heir to a previous Reason editor, Virginia Postrel.


  • And, darn it, I forget to include this classic yesterday from Mark Perry:


  • Mark Jamison of AEI may have found A dark(er) side of Elizabeth Warren’s war on tech?.

    If presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) gets her way, the people who give you D+ infrastructure, an impoverished postal system, and the 38th best math education in the world will also be in charge of the news you see, your online shopping, and how you find information. What could possibly go wrong?

    In a nutshell, Sen. Warren’s plan is to break up Facebook, Amazon, and Google and turn what’s left into federally regulated utility platforms. Why? Her basic case for breaking up these companies is that they are large.

    Mark goes on to imagine a hypothetical Federal Bureau of Platform Control. It's not a pretty picture, Emily.


  • The Google LFOD News Alert had a lot of business of late. First up is an LTE from Michelle Sanborn in the Laconia Daily Sun: Both parties bow to corporate wishes in Live Free Or Die state. Michelle is an advocate for the "Community Rights Amendment" (text here). Basically, it gives cities and towns the power to regulate local "corporations and other business entities".

    It recently failed to advance in the legislature, and Michelle is pretty put out about it:

    This result defines party politics, right down to the pressure to conform that made legislators buckle and abandon their constituents. Individual state representatives on both sides of the aisle expressed principled support for securing the right of local self-governance in the Live Free or Die state. But after the parties caucused prior to this year’s committee executive session and before the House vote on the N.H. Community Rights Amendment, some representatives who had taken a stand on the side of the people they represent changed their votes and aligned instead with the agenda of party leadership and their corporate handlers to vote against the amendment.

    Unsurprisingly, anyone who owned a business would be scared of a vaguely-worded blank check handed over to local activists.


  • Tunf is a news portal "focused on covering all the ongoing news related to Business, Sports, Casinos, Gambling & Cryptocurrencies." So the ongoing controversy is a natural: New Hampshire Investigating Legalisation of Sports Betting.

    New Hampshire is following the lead of many states in American, and seriously investigating the possibility of legalising sports betting in the state. However, the complications of legalisation and regulation continue to complicate the matter.

    No foolin'. Although what's being considered isn't really "legalization". If you or I decided to set up a bookie joint, that would still be illegal. What it is: a state-granted monopoly to folks who would proceed to get rich, sheilded from competition.

    Anyway, the path is rocky and uncertain. The author gets in the usual invocation:

    If, for whatever reason, the authorities continue to drag their heels on this issue, then one must question whether the state’s motto of “Live Free or Die” will indeed remain appropriate…

    Dude, LFOD has been the motto since 1945. And sports betting has been illegal that entire time. If sports betting stays illegal, somehow we've got to get rid of the motto? I don't think so.


  • And one of the provinces of our northern neighbor is looking to come up with a new license plate slogan. Ontarian Lorraine Sommerfield urges her readers: Keep the political branding off Ontario’s licence plates.

    Beautiful British Columbia. Wild Rose Country. Land of Living Skies. Friendly Manitoba. Yours to Discover. Je me Souviens. Canada’s Ocean Playground. Birthplace of Confederation. Klondike. The shape of an actual polar bear.

    What do these licence plate slogans — and shapes — have in common? They all show a desire to embrace what is best about their region of this country, its beauty, its possibilities. They all show a need to demonstrate the glories of the Canadian landscape, the importance of our history, and to invite others to experience those things. Like most American states, Canadians choose slogans to represent us at our best, and to celebrate the extraordinary natural world we live in.

    Open for Business, proposes Doug Ford. Well, that’s somewhat less soothing. But it is the newest change being offered up by Ontario’s Conservative government, in an earnest attempt to make Ontario sound like the grubby edge of town where all the steel plants are.

    I agree, it's stupid, and Conservatives should be ashamed.

    But guess what, Ontario? You can't have LFOD. It's taken. It's American. And it doesn't sound as if Lorraine would want it anyway:

    Idaho plates say “Great Potatoes”, and I love it. New Hampshire gets right to the point with “Live Free or Die”, something that always makes me raise an eyebrow as a helmetless motorcyclist blasts by. Virginia used to be for history lovers, but then they got bold and omitted the word, “history”. The District of Columbia is the only place that displays a protest on every plate: “Taxation Without Representation”, a reminder that they pay taxes but have no vote in Congress. Americans, like Canadians, make the most of that little space running across the bottom of the plates, frequently changing it up, but always hewing to the wonder and beauty of where they live, displaying pride in what matters most to them.

    You know who's from Ontario? Paul Anka. So, how about "I Did It My Way"? Pretty good, right? Almost as good as LFOD.