URLs du Jour

2019-04-13

[Amazon Link]

  • The Bartlett Center's Drew Cline adjoins two current events to comment on Concord's expanding black hole. Specifically, this refers to New Hampshire's Democrat-controlled legislature demanding a 14.8% spending increase in the upcoming budget.

    Drew makes a general point beyond the details of the current situation:

    In sum, the House budget expands both the size and the reach of state government. It enlarges state power and authority in much the same way a black hole grows — by grabbing things that were not previously under its control and absorbing them. When this is the primary motivation of government, all that is just outside of government’s reach ought to be worried.

    By the way: today's Amazon Product du Jour is a t-shirt that no member of the Event Horizon Telescope research team would be caught dead wearing in view of media. Because we know how that works out.


  • Jonah Goldberg writes on Why the ‘tax the rich’ demands are so unreasonable. (I'd add on "dishonest" and "evil", but that's me.) Jonah's starting point is a group called (I am not making this up) "Patriotic Millionaires".

    “Tax the Rich. Save America. Yes, it really is that simple,” they explain in their mission statement.

    This slogan is simply dishonest; rich people do, in fact, pay taxes. Just under half (48 percent) of federal revenue comes from income taxes. If you define the rich as the top 1 percent — which is probably too narrow, depending on the region of the country — the rich pay a big chunk of that. In 2016, according to the Tax Foundation, the top 1 percent accounted for 37.3 percent of all income-tax revenue, a share that was greater than the bottom 90 percent of all payers of income tax combined. The top half of taxpayers paid 97 percent of income taxes.

    When it comes to taxing the "rich", the motto of the pitchforks and tumbrels crowd is "Never Enough".


  • At Reason, Matt Welch asks the musical question: Could Justin Amash Cost Trump Michigan?.

    Donald Trump famously won the combined 56 electoral votes of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan by a total of 77,744 in the popular vote. Had those quarter-percentage-point squeakers gone the other way in the three states, Hillary Clinton would have won the Electoral College in addition to the popular vote, by a score of 283 to 248. It's no wonder that the president's re-election campaign is focused foremost on, well, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

    Enter fifth-term Michigan congressman Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids). The self-described libertarian Republican has been openly weighing a presidential challenge under the banner of the Libertarian Party (which selects its nominee in May 2020), so his home-state media is starting to assess the potential impacts of such a run. Some initial headlines: "Amash could play 2020 spoiler in Michigan as Libertarian nominee," and "Amash's presidential decision could spell trouble for Trump in Michigan."

    I hope he runs. It would give me someone to non-reluctantly vote for in 2020.

    (I should add that this article violates Betteridge's law of headlines: the answer seems to be not "no", but "maybe".)


  • Pun Salad has done its share of bitching and whining about Big Tech's anti-conservative bias. And we have no Fairness Doctrine to worry about. But still, let's give a listen to James Pethokoukis at AEI: Even the anecdotal evidence of Big Tech's anti-conservative bias isn't super compelling.

    Sen. Ted Cruz led off Monday’s congressional hearing on Big Tech’s supposed anti-conservative bias with a humble concession: “I will note much of the argument in this topic is anecdotal. It’s based on one example or another example.” And the reason for that, Cruz continued, is insufficient transparency by Google, Facebook, and Twitter. “Nobody knows what the raw data is in terms of bias,” he added.

    But that’s not quite right. There’s actually a significant amount of data available to help analyze the bias issue. A Twitter executive at the hearing noted that in 2018 there were 33 million MAGA tweets with #MAGA the fifth most tweeted hashtag. And a recent internal Twitter study found that tweets by Democratic and Republican members of Congress perform pretty much the same.

    Pethokoukis does admit to the transparency problem: Facebook/Twitter are notoriously opaque about their takedown rules.


  • But… you know, we still have anecdotes like this (recounted by Madeline Osburn at the Federalist): Google Marks Pro-Life Film 'Propaganda,' Labels Nazi Propaganda 'History'.

    A Google search for the new movie, “Unplanned” returned results labeling the film “Drama/Propaganda,” while other films that are actual propaganda material do not receive the same designation. “Unplanned” is the story of a Planned Parenthood director who became pro-life after witnessing an abortion.

    Kelsey Bolar, a Daily Signal writer and Federalist contributor, captured a screenshot of the search result below on Thursday. By Friday, the label had been removed.

    [screenshot elided]

    A Google search for the 1935 Nazi propaganda film, “The Triumph of the Will,” returns results labeling it “History/War.” The director Leni Riefenstahl was called up by Adolf Hitler himself, commissioning her to make a film of the annual rally of the Nazi party.

    Explain how that happened, Google.