URLs du Jour

2019-05-17

[Amazon Link]

  • George F. Will unloads: The Ex-Im Bank and the essence of socialism. You probably know the story, here are some telling details:

    [Senator Mike] Lee says: “The No. 1 buyer of exports subsidized by Ex-Im between 2007 and 2013 was Pemex . . . the notoriously corrupt petroleum company owned by the Mexican government. Pemex, which has a market cap of $416 billion, received more than $7 billion in loans backed by U.S. taxpayers. . . . During the same period, Ex-Im backed $3.4 billion in financing to Emirates Airlines — a company wholly owned by the government of Dubai — for Emirates’ purchase of Boeing planes.” Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) identifies the second- through-fifth-biggest beneficiaries of Ex-Im subsidies: (2) state-owned Kenya Airways, (3) state-owned Air China, (4) Russia’s state-owned bank VEB (currently under U.S. sanctions for bad behavior; two hands of the U.S. government, one caressing, one smiting), (5) Roy Hill mining, owned by Australia’s richest woman, a multibillionaire.

    George names the (only) 16 Republican senators who "mean what they say when praising free markets and limited government: Barrasso, Blackburn, Braun, Cruz, Daines, Grassley, Hawley, Inhofe, Kennedy, Lankford, Lee, Rubio, Sasse, Shelby, Toomey, Young."

    When the Republicans come asking for your campaign contributions… just say no.


  • The Bulwark's anti-Trumpism can get a little tedious at times, but Christian Schneider has some fresh observations about Trump's "humor": We're Laughing At Trump, Not With Him. Which is not exactly accurate, but the article itself, I think, nails the issue:

    Trump’s humor is largely dependent on the shock value of him saying things unbecoming of a U.S. president. Or, for that matter, a normal, well-adjusted adult. His sick burns are obvious, often juvenile nicknames he gives to people who are clearly renting space in his head: “Sleepy Joe,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Crazy Bernie,” “Pocahontas,” “Lyin’ Ted.” Over the weekend, he dubbed Pete Buttigieg “Alfred E. Neuman,” which does nothing but remind people how very old the president is.

    And as for Trump’s non-insult laugh lines, most of them elicit more applause than actual laughter—they’re much closer to the conservative version of clapter. And the lines that aren’t call-outs to his fans are only funny in the sense of being out of place in what’s supposed to be a semi-serious setting. Kind of like when a speaker at an insurance conference can turn into Jerry Seinfeld by making a joke about how he found out his “umbrella” insurance policy only covered being stabbed by an actual umbrella.

    Get it? UMBRELLA!

    Yeah, the "clapter" thing is on-target. Not a genuine response to actual humor, but signalling to all around your tribal membership.

    [Case in point: watching recent Amy Schumer "comedy" specials on Netflix. The audience howls; I just sit there thinking that was not even close to funny.]


  • Dr. Josh Bloom of the American Council on Science and Health notes: 'Mexican Blood Flu' a Hoax, Started by Supplement-Selling Dirtbags.

    Uh oh. We're in trouble. The "Mexican Blood Flu" is upon us. I've never heard of it but it sure sounds nasty.

    Rumors of a superbug virus that kills 70% of the seniors (55+) who become infected are flying around the internet via emails and a Facebook Page which is hosted a group called Wake Up America and Stand United. The group maintains that the bug has managed to cross the border from Mexico into the US.  And, damn, look at some of these claims...

    An extremely lethal, infectious virus that’s set to EXPLODE among America’s seniors in 2019.

    It can spread at the rate of one person per second, killing 7 in 10 victims

    It’s fully airborne, spread by a simple cough or sneeze…

    Dr. Bloom notes: "there is a real threat of death here, but it's from dying of laughter if you somehow manage to make it through the end of the article."

    Worse, the Facebook group involved seems to be (mostly, the referenced post excepted) involved with rabid, borderline loony, conservative politics. Nothing wrong with that, but it makes me wonder if their account was hacked by the Blood Flu fraudsters.


  • In our occasional "I'm a sucker for this stuff" Department, a travel site provides us: The Top 50 Sexiest Accents In The USA.

    Whether the voice of Pauly D does it for you or you’re more of a Mark Wahlberg fan, it’s true to say that some accents are saucier than others.

    America is uniquely diverse when it comes to dialects, with the country’s vast history of immigrants influencing how people talk from coast to coast.

    Following on from sample survey results of our 1.5million social audience, we have the official ranking of the sexiest – and least sexy – accents in the USA.

    Sorry, Granite Staters: we are not explicitly mentioned. But Bostonian is number 2, and Mainer is number 4. A simple matter of geography says that we'd probably be in 3rd place, if we were there. I think that's implied by the Intermediate Value Theorem or something.

    Last place: Long Islander.


  • James Lileks comments on the same article from his Minneapolis perch: Survey says Minnesota accent good for birth control. Yeah, you betcha. But his comment on Minnesota's excellent showing on the USNews rankings deserves excerpting:

    We would have finished higher but the criteria didn’t include things at which we clearly excel: best place to speak knowingly about lutefisk even though you’ve never had it. Top place to consider telling Marge she put a bit too much pepper in the hot dish. Best state that has a pointy end that jabs into Canada’s white, soft underbelly. Best state that looks like it’s sitting on Iowa, which is literally bulging on the side because we’ve put on a few pounds. It was a long winter. We’ve been meaning to hit the gym.

    So true.


  • And the Google LFOD News Alert rang for Kadia Goba's Bklyner article "welcoming" Bill De Blasio's entry into the presidential campaign: Park Slope Neighbor Runs For President.

    When he visits New Hampshire, where the state motto is ‘live free or die’ I hope Mayor de Blasio will touch on the red tape and over-regulation he’s created in New York City, not to mention, the high taxes that are driving businesses and people to low tax cities and states. I hope Democrat voters will visit New York City, ride our failing subways, visit our failing schools and ask our vanishing middle class about the real record of Bill de Blasio as mayor; the effect will be chilling.

    Rudy Giuliani finished a poor fourth place in the GOP-side primary in 2008. Maybe Bill will do better on the D side.