URLs du Jour

2019-07-18

[Amazon Link]

  • At Hot Air, Taylor Millard reports on The Chris Pratt/Gadsden shirt nontroversy.

    There was an attempt by a rather pint-sized rage mob to gin up anger at actor Chris Pratt for his choice of T-shirt. By pint-sized, I mean, five to seven people. By gin up anger, I mean claiming Pratt’s choice of wearing a T-shirt by Forged.com – featuring an American flag with the Gadsden snake and “Don’t Tread One Me” slogan – was somehow a white supremacist slogan.

    Yahoo Movies U.K. even wrote a round-up of the almost non-existent enmity towards the Guardians of the Galaxy and Parks & Rec star in hopes of giving the story legs. Here’s the original version from yesterday with the headline Chris Pratt criticized for ‘white supremacist’ T-shirt (thanks WaybackMachine!):

    There may be actual white supremacists out there who wear Gadsden-flag attire. But that makes it all the more important that we yank that symbol back from them ASAP. So, check out our Amazon product du jour.

    Or you can deal with the forged.com folks directly, they seem like a good bunch:


  • We've mentioned Peter Thiel approvingly in the past, I hope we get the chance to do so in the future. But today, we're pointing out Brian Doherty's takedown at Reason: Peter Thiel Explains the New ‘National Conservatism’.

    A group of conservatives mostly dedicated to removing the stain of individual liberty from their brand met this week for a "National Conservatism Conference." Superwealthy tech-industrialist Peter Thiel gave one of the keynote speeches. Contemplating his remarks is helpful in assessing what these "national conservatives" are up to.

    Thiel used to be roughly identified, including, at times, by me, as a libertarian. One reason was his decision to fund what started as a libertarian-rooted wild idea, Seasteading. Another indicator was his big-money support of an ultimately feckless Ron Paul-oriented SuperPac. These decisions made his warm embrace of Trump back in 2016 confusing, but he has now made it clear he has, and wants, nothing to do with the idea that human liberty is overall good and enriching.

    Well, maybe he'll sober up after Trump is re-elected.


  • CNN sponsored a poll of New Hampshire voters by the UNH Survey Center. The Survey Center folks are nice people, and I'm glad CNN threw them some cash, but … it's still over 200 days before the New Hampshire Primary. Anyway:

    Former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are bunched at the top of the Democratic field in New Hampshire. Warren has seen an increase in support since April and is now on equal footing with Biden and Sanders. Likely Republican primary voters remain firmly behind President Trump and very few express support for Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.

    Click through for the deets. Fun trivia:

    • The Democrat leading the "Would Not Vote For Under Any Circumstances" is Joe Biden, taking over this coveted spot from Elizabeth Warren.
    • Bill de Blasio is leading the "Unfavorable" category (29% of Democrat respondents), followed closely by Wheezy Joe (25%), Beto! (24%) and Marianne Williamson (24%).
    • "Most Important Issue" for Democrats: "Health Care" (20%); "Climate Change/Environment" (14%); "Immigration" (13%).
    • But "Gun Policy" is down in the noise at 1%. That's arguably good news. Arguably bad news: "National Budget/Debt" is also at a near-negligible 1%, suggesting that Democrats don't care about the iceberg that's bearing down on our Fiscal Titanic.


  • Mayor Pete is trying hard to get African-American voters to like him. He is now embracing the so-called "Douglass Plan". Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe answers the question that leapt to your mind: What to Frederick Douglass is the "Douglass Plan"?.

    Under the "Douglass Plan," a Buttigieg administration would pour vast sums of money into black institutions, health programs, and schools. It would expand racial preferences for government contracting, and spend more money to "diversify the teaching profession." It would eliminate "broken windows" policing, which focuses on curbing low-level crimes to discourage more serious offenses. It would also abolish the death penalty, cut the prison population in half, provide student grants and Medicaid benefits to prison inmates, and make it harder for criminals released on probation to be sent back for "small violations." And it would make the promotion of black history a federal priority.

    All of this, says Buttigieg, would be in addition to — not instead of — a system of reparations for the descendants of slaves. And the "Douglass Plan" doesn't stop with issues that are explicitly connected to race. It also includes elimination of the Electoral College.

    And statehood for Washington, D.C.

    And a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.

    And public financing of election campaigns.

    And an end to political gerrymandering of legislative districts.

    And a "Lead Paint Mitigation Fund."

    And more money for disaster preparedness and relief.

    And a "Community Homestead" program to purchase abandoned urban properties and turn them over at no cost to "eligible residents" who promise to rehabilitate them.

    And a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage.

    That's impressive pandering.


  • Scott Sumner provides more hopelessness: Health care subsidies are almost impossible to reform.

    Imagine if the government gave people a subsidy of $5000 each time they bought a new car. That would be inefficient, encouraging the excessive purchase of new cars. Now imagine that the subsidy was 40% of the price of the car, up to a price of $25000. That would be even more inefficient, encouraging the excessive purchase of cars, and also encouraging the purchase of cars of excessively high quality. Now imagine a 40% car subsidy that had no upper limit. That would be extremely inefficient.

    That last option, a “Cadillac subsidy”, is a good description of our health care system. The government effectively pays roughly 40% of the cost of private health insurance, via tax subsidies. That means if you buy a health care plan that costs $20,000/year, it actually only sets you back roughly $12,000/year. This subsidy encourages people to consume too much healthcare.

    Scott writes in anticipation of the House vote to repeal ObamaCare's "Cadillac Tax". Which happened yesterday: the vote was 419-6. (One of the six votes against repeal: the principled Justin Amash.)


  • In LFOD news: the New Hampshire Senate Rejects Plastic Bag, Soda Straw Bans.

    A plastic bag ban is not right for New Hampshire, says state Rep. Glenn Cordelli (R-Carroll).

    “NH is the ‘Live Free or Die’ state,” Cordelli said. “Consumers now are free to use canvas bags to carry groceries without a government mandate or ban on plastics.”

    I think this is old news (from May), but the LFOD reference is new.


Last Modified 2019-07-19 5:29 AM EST