URLs du Jour

2019-09-07

[Amazon Link]

  • Charles C. W. Cooke trills the truth from his NR perch: "Meghan McCain is right about AR-15 confiscation and you know it." Specifically, Ms. McCain claimed that gun confiscation would prompt "a lot of violence". This caused Beto, a would-be confiscator, to tut-tut. Comments Charlie:

    There are just two types of people engaging in this debate: People who know that Meghan McCain is correct, and people who are pretending that they do not know that Meghan McCain is correct. It doesn’t not especially matter what your politics are, or what you think of private gun ownership in the United States. It does not matter, either, whether you want Meghan McCain to be right or you want her to be wrong. If you have read any American history at all, you know that, as a matter of dull, neutral fact, McCain is correct. Americans defied and resisted the prohibition of alcohol, often violently, even after it was passed into law by a supermajority in Congress and in the states. And, eventually, they won. Americans have defied and violated the prohibition of drugs, often violently, since it began. And, slowly, but surely, they are winning. Americans already ignore most gun-control measures — even in states with significant pro-gun control majorities. Were confiscation to be tried, they would defy and resist it, often violently. And, eventually, they would win, as they did the last time around.

    I would like to think that's true. Is the Spirit of 1775 still alive enough?


  • It's been a while since we quoted any f-bombs here. But it's from Reason, Katherine Mangu-Ward quoting someone else: Don’t Just Do Something.

    "I don't know what the answer is," Kacey Musgraves shouted during her set at Lollapalooza on August 7, "but obviously something has to be fucking done." The country music star then led her fans in a chant that perfectly encapsulates the future of American politics: "Somebody fucking do something!" she screamed. "Somebody fucking do something!" the crowd screamed back.

    Musgraves was, understandably, upset about the horrific back-to-back mass murders that took place the first weekend of August in El Paso and Dayton. She did not offer a specific something to be done. This may have been an attempt to appear nonpartisan, it may have been honest uncertainty, or it may just have been a sensible intuition that the middle of a music festival was not the right place to workshop public policy.

    I would have thought that the old (over thirty years old!) BBC show "Yes, Prime Minister" would have ridiculed this sort of argument to a well-deserved death:

    There's even a Wikipedia page for the Politician's Syllogism:

    1. We must do something
    2. This is something
    3. Therefore, we must do this.

    So, Ms. Musgraves: not only are you pottymouthed, you've shown your ignorance of 1980s British comedy. Either should get you banned from the Grand Ole Opry.

    (Left a related comment at Reason.)


  • Drew Cline of the Josiah Bartlett Center, remembers the good old days of the Clamshell Alliance, and wonders how they're feeling today: 50 years after start of anti-Seabrook protests, a turn toward nuclear power.

    If San Francisco tech bro hipsters invented a carbon-free way to generate power 24/7, they would be hailed as saviors of the planet. Though they might yet come up with some use for a venti Matcha Green Tea Frappuccino, the energy technology in question predates them and even their retro clothes. In 1951 in Idaho, scientists for the first time used a nuclear reaction to generate electricity.  

    Though 59 nuclear power plants generate about 55 percent of the non-carbon-emitting power in the United States, they are still opposed by environmental activists who came of age in the 1970s.

    One of Drew's factoids: "A planned second reactor at the site was scrapped after lengthy legal battles. The additional 1,150 mw of power that would have been generated by a second reactor were instead generated by fossil-fuel-burning plants."

    Thanks a lot, Seabrook protesters!


  • You may have noticed CVS commemorating the five-year anniversary of its decision to stop selling tobacco in its stores. Unfortunately for CVS, so did Josh Bloom of the American Council on Science and Health. And he relates The Hypocrisy of CVS. Among other things he looks at the store's Homeopathic EarAche ear drops.

    For $9.99 you can buy 0.33 ounces of water with absolutely nothing useful in it. This can be ascertained simply by looking at the list of "active ingredients," assuming that you can even read it:

    [Homeopathic Ear Drops]

    Josh's translation:

    [translation]

    And it just gets better from there.


  • And finally, our Google LFOD news alert rang for an ill-tempered rant from a guy named "Monte Belmonte", apparently the wine columnist for a Massachusetts publication called the Valley Advocate. Because he was struck by the desire to write about "how the New Hampshire State Liquor Store is a crock of crap!”: New Hampshire’s tax-free liquor lie.

    The reason I was hit with this bolt of lightning idea must have been 1) I often stop at the New Hampshire State Liquor Store on the way to Southern Maine in order to stock up for the trip. 2) we were going away on tax-free weekend in Massachusetts. New Hampshire, famously, does not have a sales tax. Live free or die. And 3) I remembered having seen a Facebook post, written by one of Massachusetts’ most important movers and shakers in the world of wines and spirits, Table & Vine’s Michael Quinlan. In the post Quinlan decried the decision of our sister publication, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, to echo New Hampshire’s tax-free marketing propaganda to Massachusetts consumers.

    The promo stated "no taxation on our libations" and provided customers with a discount coupon equal to twice their state's sales tax rate. (Despite a having no sales tax, NH residents could get one for 13% off.)

    Monte's quite put out; he reads the promotion as implying that Massachusetts imposes sales tax on wine and liquor; they got rid of that (via ballot question) a few years ago. Hence the "lie" and "propaganda". But that didn't stop him from getting a couple bottles at the Hampton store off I-95.

    I'm not seeing the lie myself. It's not as if the promo says "Massachusetts charges a sales tax on liquor and wine"—that would be a lie. If I'm reading the relevant websites correctly, our other neighboring states, Maine and Vermont do, apparently, charge their sales tax rates on those items. So do Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island.

    [Update 2019-09-08: sorry, according to this page this page Rhode Island doesn't impose a sales tax on wine. They more than make up for it with a large excise tax.]

    Did Monte really expect a simple promo to go into state-by-state details?


Last Modified 2019-09-08 7:23 AM EDT