URLs du Jour

2019-10-12

Mr. Ramirez comments as only he can. China in a bull shop; profits over liberty at the apostate's house of manure.

[China in a Bull Shop]

In case you missed it, the red book down there on the right is I'm With Stupid, author Steve Kerr.

And in other news…

  • Alex Berezow, at the American Council on Science and Health, makes a point I've tried to make before, only more eloquently: Why Politicians Aren't Incentivized to Fix Big Problems Like Homelessness.

    […] Believe it or not, there is talk about the existence of a "homeless-industrial complex," similar to the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned about. (See this excellent article by Christopher Rufo in City Journal.) In the case of the latter, there was a concern that the military and defense industry were incentivized to advocate for war rather than peace.

    Similarly, the homeless-industrial complex is incentivized to not solve the problem of homelessness. In cities like Seattle, self-appointed homeless advocates, who often earn six-figure salaries, wield enormous political power and influence. They support politicians who support them and vice versa. Like war, if homelessness ever goes away, they lose both money and power.

    Combine that self-serving interest with our nation's political climate, and that is a nasty recipe for politicians to actually benefit from not solving problems. If people have to die because of inaction, so be it. That's the cost of winning.

    I would only quibble with the "problem/solution" language. It encourages what I think of as the "math course" mentality: you get "problems" presented to you every so often; you work out "solutions". And there's never any doubt that a properly crafted "solution" will make the "problem" go away.

    And if you, Mr. Politician, don't do that, you're either evil or stupid. Why don't you do something? You probably just don't care.

    But big social dysfunctions are not like math problems. At all.


  • Mickey Kaus takes up his infrequent blogging pen, and presents the Best Thing I've Read on Impeachment.

    The most useful thing I’ve read on this issue is Edward B. Foley’s 11/6 Politico article. Foley says it’s not enough to show that Trump asked a foreign government to investigate a political rival—there’ve been several times in our history when that would have been a more-than-reasonable request: Jefferson investigating whether Burr was conspiring with the British to split the US, for one.  LBJ after learning that candidate Nixon was trying to sabotage the Vietnam peace talks. I mean, if as president you were convinced these people were guilty, it would almost be a dereliction of duty *not* to lean on the foreign governments to get what evidence they had. 

    Journalists take the truth wherever they find it. Why not presidents? Note to MSM: Finding out the truth from a foreign government about the conduct in office of a Vice President (who’s also a current presidential candidate) is not ‘interfering in our election.’ Finding out about candidates is a large part of what campaigns and elections are for. Established politicians don’t like it, for obvious reasons—the same way they don’t like negative ads. Screw ‘em. If Biden somehow wangled proof Trump was on Putin’s payroll, would that be “interfering in our election”?

    Disclaimer: Trump is awful, I don't care if he's shown the door. But here's a useful exercise: every time you see the phrase "dig up dirt on Biden", mentally edit that to "dig up the truth about Biden".


  • At National Review, Deroy Murdock is profoundly unconcerned about the Greatest Crisis of Our Time: Income Gap Grows under Trump, Obama — but So What?. Occasioned by the Census Bureau report that the Gini Index increased from 0.481 in 2017 to 0.485 in 2018.

    I know: the Census Bureau reports the 2018 number as "significantly higher" but this apparently means nothing more than "an increase outside the range of statistical uncertainty." Barely outside in this case.

    Meanwhile, “These Gini figures overlook all the massive redistribution of the modern welfare state,” notes economist Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute. He cites a recent study by government economists Gerald Auten and David Splinter. It shows that — after taxes and government transfers — the top 1 percent share of U.S. income has been roughly flat since the 1960s. “Flat!” Edwards adds. “The inequality crisis that AOC and Warren scream about is a myth.”

    Beyond Edwards’ objections, and more profoundly, income inequality focuses on the wrong thing. It’s like a patient who is rushed into the hospital with a heart attack and then stunned when the emergency room doctors X-ray his leg. The focus, instead, should be on what really counts: absolute, rather than relative, incomes.

    Gini encourages the myth that poor people are poor because rich people are rich. This myth is helpful to those who want to ride it to obtain political power, otherwise, eh.


  • Cato's Walter Olson analyzes the latest assault on the First Amendment from a no-hope politician, Beto O'Rourke: Churches That Don't Support Rights Should Lose Exemption.

    Last night, at a CNN candidate forum on gay rights, CNN's Don Lemon asked Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke: "religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities. Should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?"

    O'Rourke answered "Yes," going on to say "There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone ... that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us."

    Aside from being grossly illiberal, anti-pluralist, and inflammatory, O'Rourke's announced policy is also unconstitutional under current Supreme Court precedent.

    The Democratic candidates are really displaying their contempt for the Bill of Rights. How long will it be before Marianne Williamson starts demanding that soldiers be quartered in selected houses without the consent of the owner?


  • I would vote for him in a heartbeat. Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason calls for Dave Barry 2020 in an interview with the man himself.

    [Katherine:] It seems like we've done good work here today, hammering out your presidential platform.

    [Dave:] Let me just add that if I were the president of the United States, and I had access to a big jet that could go anywhere in the world that I wanted to anytime I wanted to, I'd take that baby all over the world. I have a commitment to jet travel as president. That would be kind of the cornerstone. I wouldn't even try to hammer anything out when I got there. I just drive around and screw up traffic in a motorcade, maybe go to the beach, and then fly home. I would never have any meetings with anybody. I would not meet with foreign leaders about anything. They say you guys are busy; do what you want. I'm just going to the beach.

    In the increasing likelihood that none of the actual names on the ballot will be acceptable, I'm writing him in.