URLs du Jour

2019-05-07

[Amazon Link]

  • Katherine Mangu-Ward's excellent lead editorial in the current print Reason is out on the web: The Cat in the Hat Is Right About Parenting.

    Why do parents still read The Cat in the Hat to their children? The cat gives terrible advice, after all. His risk assessments are poor. He urges reluctant kids to break rules. His games are unstructured and seemingly pointless; "UP-UP-UP with a fish" is certainly not going to get anybody into college. He's a stranger who has broken into their house while they are unsupervised, bringing unsuitable companions with him. All in all, the book seems to cut against everything today's parents stand for.

    For some reason, we near-totally bypassed Dr. Seuss for our kids' literature back in the day. Probably warped them for life! Or maybe avoided warping them for life! (If that doesn't make sense to you, I suggest you read KMW's editoria carefully.)


  • This is still generating outrage, but at least Google's in damage-control mode: Google First Shuts Down Claremont Institute Advertising Their Gala For Pompeo, Then Apologizes.

    Google has now acknowledged that it made a mistake when it refused to allow The Claremont Institute to advertise on their own online publication to their readers about the 40th Anniversary Gala at which they are honoring Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Claremont had wanted to advertise on their own online publication, The American Mind.

    Google claims it made a "mistake". But these "mistakes" seem to be more and more common, and they are of asymmetrical impact.


  • At AEI, Ramesh Ponnuru has an article whose title triggers a "Gee, ya think so?" response: Infrastructure bill might be a bad use of $2 trillion.

    There is reason to doubt that increased federal spending on infrastructure would increase employment on net. With the unemployment rate already at its lowest level since 1969, such spending could simply redeploy labor that is already active. If the bill did stimulate the economy significantly, it would also make the Federal Reserve more likely to resume its course of raising interest rates, leaving us roughly where we started.

    Would new spending at least help us “rebuild our crumbling roads, aging bridges, crowded airports and other infrastructure,” as the White House hopes? Maybe. But the condition of our infrastructure is already better than the political rhetoric suggests. The percentage of structurally deficient bridges has, for example, been falling for decades.

    That $2 Trillion sounds nice if (and, for many of us, only if) you imagine that it magically appears in government coffers to be sprinkled around on worthy projects to make life better for all.

    But in actuality, it's $2 Trillion that won't be spent on other things, extracted (now or later) from the private economy. Will the projects be "worthy"? By the lights of the politicians will be directing the process, almost certainly. By the people paying the bills? That's not the smart way to bet.


  • At Inside Sources, Michael Graham asks the musical question: Why Are Some Republicans Trying To Hand Warren A Win On Her Casino Bill?. At issue is a gambling den the (corrupt) Mashpee tribe wants, and Warren supports. A couple paragraphs illuminate how seamy the whole thing is:

    There are broader political issues at play as well.  While the Mashpee tribe is based on Cape Cod, the land they’re trying to acquire is 40 miles away in Taunton, MA, much closer to the Rhode Island border. Not surprisingly the state of Rhode Island, which makes a significant amount of revenue from casinos, opposes the plan. In a letter to the Natural Resources Committee chairman, Rhode Island Congressmen David Cicilline and James Langevin wrote:

    “Like Governor Raimondo, we are opposed to H.R. 312 because it would deliver a devastating blow to our state’s economy by allowing the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to build a casino on our border. The Twin River and Tiverton casinos in Rhode Island generate over $300 million in revenue, representing the third largest source of revenue for our state. Rhode Island would suffer tremendously if H.R. 312 became law.”

    It's crony vs. crony, and nobody's pretending that there's any sort of public interest involved. It makes a mockery of Fauxcahontas's rhetoric; she's quite happy to rig the game for the people she likes. (I.e., that can help her politically.)


  • The Google LFOD alert rang for a news report from Vermont's TV station: Seat belt-free or die? A look at laws in NH and Vt..

    Police can ask but they cannot force you to buckle up in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is the only state without an adult seat belt law.

    Vermont has one but police say it has serious limitations.

    Our Celine McArthur is investigating the impact these rules have on drivers on both sides of the border. Monday, she went to Concord, New Hampshire, where safety experts from across the region met to discuss the issue. And she hit the road in New Hampshire and Vermont to investigate the deadly impact these week [sic] or non-existent laws are having on your safety.

    Nothing like illiterate editorializing about "week" laws.

    It's posted on the sign that welcomes you to New Hampshire: Live Free or Die. It's a motto Christopher Russo embraces.

    "We've lived here 20 years now and the culture of New Hampshire has kind of settled in," Russo said. "I would probably consider myself a little bit more of the live free and die [sic] kind of person."

    But not a "seat belt-free or die" kind of person. Russo buckles up every time he's in the car. A practice that recently saved his life.

    OK, so Christoper ran off the road, and into a tree, while trying to avoid deer. He was banged up quite a bit, but he survived.

    The answer, according to the TV station is for NH to get with the other 49 states and require adults to wear seat belts. And for Vermont to make not wearing a seat belt a primary offense. (Right now, it's secondary: you can only be ticketed for non-use if you've been stoppped for some other reason.)

    We've made the usual anti-paternalism argument before. Won't repeat it. But it's worth pointing out that even with its paternalism Vermont is a deadlier state to drive in than is New Hampshire. The 2017 statistics show NH with 7.6 deaths per 100K population and 0.76 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. Vermont: 11.1 deaths per 100K population, and 0.93 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

    The TV station doesn't consider that "news", because it wouldn't fit in with their advocacy.

    This isn't to say you shouldn't buckle up. You should. A mind is a terrible thing to spread over the inside of your windshield.


  • LFOD also shows up in an article at The Verge about a new podcast: Blackout imagines the collapse of civilization from a small New Hampshire town.

    In the first moments of Blackout, a new podcast from Endeavor Audio, we ride along with the pilot of a fighter jet who is flying over the White Mountains of New Hampshire, when suddenly he notices something off, and abruptly loses power and crashes.

    The episode jumps to a recording made by a DJ named Simon Itani (voiced by Mr. Robot / Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek), who says that he’s documenting what’s transpired in the months since power went out across the United States. The series follows several storylines as Itani’s small town copes without power. Itani gets shot at when he goes to investigate the power outage at a local broadcast tower, while his son Hunter and some friends discover the downed pilot — and end up stumbling on a bigger plot when they come across an individual in the woods.

    Sounds neat! But where's LFOD? Ah, here:

    The series comes from former political reporter Scott Conroy, who tells The Verge that he’s very familiar with the state of New Hampshire and its motto, “Live free or die” — he grew up in the region. “I actually grew up in Massachusetts and have family in New Hampshire,” he says, “I was a journalist for about 11 years, and mostly covered politics and in particular, presidential campaigns. I spent a lot of time in New Hampshire covering the primaries and wrote a book about [them].”

    Neat!