URLs du Jour

2019-05-15

[Amazon Link]

  • Something I just noticed: wellbeing.google, a site established by Google, which demands the reader "Find a balance with technology that feels right for you."

    I suppose there are some folks out there who need help with that. And who are not driven away with smarmy piffle like:

    As technology becomes more and more integral to everything we do, it can sometimes distract us from the things that matter most to us. We believe technology should improve life, not distract from it. We’re committed to giving everyone the tools they need to develop their own sense of digital wellbeing. So that life, not the technology in it, stays front and center.

    But somehow I imagine some higher-up at Google set this "Digital Wellbeing" initiative up as a sinecure for his earnest niece, just out of college with a communications BA.

    Alternate suggestion: imagine yourself and your too-much-tech problems plugged into this classic Bob Newhart video. And take his (cheap) advice. Or, taking even less time, peruse our Amazon Product du Jour.


  • In our occasional "Of Course He Did" department, we have the Intercept reporting on a BBC interview with an ex-Google CEO: Eric Schmidt Defended Google’s Censored Search for China.

    In an interview with the BBC on Monday, Schmidt said that he wasn’t involved in decisions to build the censored search platform, code-named Dragonfly. But he insisted that there were “many benefits” to working with China and said he was an advocate of operating in the country because he believed that it could “help change China to be more open.”

    Key revelation: "A Google employee with knowledge of Dragonfly was angered by Schmidt’s remarks, characterizing them as 'bullshit.'"

    But you gotta admire the Orwellian bravado of saying a censored search engine would help China "be more open".


  • At Reason, Veronique de Rugy says what needs to be said: Congress Just Restored the Export-Import Bank. It Still Deserves to Die..

    With so much evidence that the Ex-Im Bank—an agency that provides financial support to foreign and domestic companies to boost U.S exports— was nothing more than corporate welfare for large domestic firms and so many foreign state-owned companies, including Chinese ones, and with no impact on net exports, I assumed members of Congress would feel embarrassed to vote to restore the funding. I was wrong.

    But the evidence that the Ex-Im Bank serves no productive function except to enrich large corporations continues to be overwhelming. Congress may have given the bank new life, but it still deserves to die.

    The next time your Senator bewails "crony capitalism", you might want to check out how they voted on Ex-Im. In my case, Senators Shaheen and Hassan need to feel some heat.


  • At NR, Kevin D. Williamson makes The Case for Being Born.

    Why are pro-abortion activists such as Brian Sims so angry? Because they abhor the alternative.

    Sims, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania state legislature, filmed himself berating an old woman and a few children who were praying outside of an abortion clinic in Philadelphia — a city that, as the home town of that ghastly butcher Kermit Gosnell, knows something about the horror of abortion. Sims even went so far as to share photos of the children on social media with requests that his followers help him “dox” them, meaning to track down private information about them for the purpose of harassment.

    Children, these were.

    And that is what this is really all about.

    Sims is a thug. But at least he's an overt thug.


  • At the Library of Economics and Liberty, David Henderson has a take on SEC Privilege. It's a response to/comment on the concept of the "accredited investor", those folks blessed by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) with the ability to put money into startups like Impossible Foods.

    It’s clearly a case of the SEC trying to protect us from ourselves. Yet there are no such rules for betting in Las Vegas. Someone with a $10,000 net worth can go and bet it all on “investments” that are just as risky as, and often riskier than, an investment in Impossible Foods.

    We claim to be a capitalist country, yet we put a whole lot of restrictions on capitalist activities between consenting adults.


  • And the Google LFOD News Alert rang for a story in (of all places) Mississippi Today, about license plates: The story behind the dirt-colored, off-center, Canadian-made car tag that could land Mississippi back in federal court.

    At issue is the MS plate's new design, which features their state seal, which (gasp!) contains he motto (sensitive souls may want to avert their eyes!) "In God We Trust".

    OK, so some folks don't like that, even in Mississippi. But the article goes astray here:

    The U.S. Supreme Court also seems serious about what states put on their license plates. In 1978, the high court ordered New Hampshire to issue a second default license tag without the state’s motto — “Live Free or Die” — after a Jehovah’s Witness argued the message went against his religion and personal beliefs, telling the court, “I believe that life is more precious than freedom.”

    Unless I'm missing some important history here—and I don't think I am—this is pretty bad history.

    They seem to be talking about good old Wooley v. Maynard. Which was decided in 1977, not 1978. But the decision simply disallowed the state from prosecuting folks who (like Mr. Maynard, the Jehovah's Witness) obscured the license plate motto on their vehicle. The state wasn't required to (and as near as I can tell, does not) offer motto-free tags.

    [Also left a comment to this effect at Mississippi Today.]