URLs du Jour

2019-06-07

[Amazon Link]

  • John Hawkins compiles his list of The 30 Best Quotes From Jonah Goldberg. John's a Goldbergian fanboy, so am I. I'm not sure I could hold my list to 30, but he's done a pretty good job. Let's skip down to number 25:

    Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common goal. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the 'problem' and therefore defined as the enemy. I will argue that contemporary American liberalism embodies all of these aspects of fascism.

    That's from page 23 of Liberal Fascism. Which is now over 10 years old, but you can see it echoing in every demand for overturning Citizens United, legal harrassment of bakers and nuns, the Green New Deal, or "asking the rich to pay their fair share", or…


  • … Or the notion that there's a huge need to have a massive federal intervention into the housing market. For an example of that, let Robert VerBruggen tell you why Cory Booker's Rent-Subsidy Proposal Is Hilariously Bad. Quoting from Booker's Medium page:

    Anyone paying more than 30 percent of their before-tax income would be eligible for the credit, which would cover the difference between 30 percent of a beneficiary’s income and their rent (capped at the neighborhood fair market rent). According to researchers at Columbia University, the impact would be sweeping: the credit would benefit more than 57 million people, including nearly 17 million children, and lift 9.4 million Americans out of poverty. The median credit for a benefitting family would equal $4,800.

    Just the beginning of Robert's merciless takedown:

    Booker writes that almost half” of all renters pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent, which seems to roughly align with the 57 million individuals benefiting in the Columbia research (which his post does not provide). So almost half of renters would have the option of moving to whatever neighborhood they wanted throughout the country, no matter how expensive, while paying exactly 30 percent of their income in rent, so long as they picked a place at the neighborhood fair market rent.

    Gee, I wonder if eliminating these renters’ price sensitivity might have some unintended consequences. I wonder if the median credit might end up being more than $4,800. And I wonder what problems would result from the new 30 percent marginal tax rate — given that every time someone earned an extra $100, his rent subsidy would fall $30 to keep his rent payments at 30 percent of his income.

    Maybe Pun Salad should have a new category: "Campaign Proposals Whose Sole Purpose is to Get the Votes of Stupid People".


  • Our Google LFOD News Alert Rang for an article from Trish Regan at Fox Business: Joe Biden denies reality while China tries to rewrite history.

    [Biden] doubled down on his pro-China rhetoric today, going a little more general in his reference to Asia, telling an audience in Berlin, New Hampshire, “our workers are literally three times as productive as workers in the Far East, I mean -- excuse me, in Asia. And they are three times productive. And so, what are we worried about?”

    I strongly suspect that "pro-China rhetoric" means that Biden's opposed to Trump's anti-China tariffs. I've not dug through news reports to be sure, however.

    But what of LFOD? Ah, here:

    A bit of advice to Mr. Biden: That kind of talk isn’t going to fly in Berlin, New Hampshire where he was today. I grew up in the “live free or die” state. Berlin is a former manufacturing town, full of logging and paper mills but it is now a shadow of its former self thanks, in part, to too many presidents and too many administrations that thought a little like Joe Biden.

    Berlin's doubtlessly in bad shape, but is it in bad shape because of "in part, to too many presidents and too many administrations that thought a little like Joe Biden"? That's an assertion vaguely hedged enough ("in part", "too many", "a little") to be uncheckable.

    Trish, here's something closer to the truth: Times change. Berlin didn't change with them.


  • At the American Council on Science and Health, Josh Bloom discusses a micro-marginal decrease in scaremongering: In California Coffee Is No Longer Carcinogenic. Was It Ever?.

    California's Proposition 65, which began its miserable life as The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, now has little to do with safe water or safe anything else. It's a bad joke to scientists, a plague on California businesses, and a goldmine for attorneys. Why? Because if a shoe manufacturer is selling shoes that are not marked with a cancer warning label then the company owners can be (and were) sued for failing to warn consumers about the presence of a Prop 65 chemical  You can't be too careful because we all know about the "shoe cancer crisis." 

    Anyway, California coffee had a "may cause cancer" label, and now it doesn't. But California hasn't yet realized that mandating warning labels to which no sane person pays attention is a very bad idea.


  • Ann Althouse quotes anti-[New England] Patriot Congressman Peter King: "There's only one 'Tom Terrific,' and that's Tom Seaver.". This is in response to Tom Brady requesting a trademark on "Tom Terrific".

    Well that only goes to show how silly trademarks can be. But Ann remembers (as I do) the original "Tom Terrific", an awful cartoon on Captain Kangaroo's show back in the 1950s, that I dearly loved.

    But there's interesting lexicography involved too:

    By the way, "terrific" originally meant causing terror. In "Paradise Lost," there's "The Serpent... with brazen Eyes And hairie Main terrific." "Terrific" became "an enthusiastic term of commendation" in the late 19th century. (I'm quoting the unlinkable OED.)

    I almost never use the word. I associate it with FDR, whose last words were, "I have a terrific headache." I can't say I've never used the word. I once said a cartoonist had "a terrific drawing style," and I've blogged about other people using the word, notably: 1. the woman who was thrown clear of the car wreck that killed Jackson Pollock, who wrote that she and Andy Warhol had "a terrific crush on each other," and 2. the WaPo columnist who wrote in 2013, "Barack Obama has what it takes to be a terrific law student. It’s less clear those are the ingredients of a successful president."

    Which inspired geeky/anal me to check out my own usage. Only once on my own, pointing to "a terrific pair of posts" by… Ann Althouse.