URLs du Jour


  • Kevin D. Williamson, inspired by the recent efforts of a Kansas cop, writes at National Review on Hoax Politics.

    Americans are perfectly able to distinguish between hoaxes and crimes, between authentic political disagreement and intellectually dishonest misrepresentation. The problem is that too many of them are so besotted with tribalism and high on rage that they do not care. Such passions always have characterized the demos, which is what makes democracy so vulnerable to demagoguery. But a combination of factors — including, but not limited to, the decline of political parties and changes in the business models of media companies — have left the institutions that once countered the worst of these tendencies either unable to do so, as in the case of the institutional leadership of the two major political parties, or unwilling to do so, as in the case of the New York Times et al.

    A 19th-century politician once complained that we live under a “government of newspapers,” but we are well on our way to something much worse: a government of Twitter, which is, inevitably, a government of lies.

    "I know I'm lying, but I don't care."

  • Reason is one of my two favorite magazines. And I realize there's plenty to argue about with respect to us blowing up Qasem Soleimani. But this headline from Elizabeth Nolan Brown...

    Does Trump’s Strike Against Iran Mean We Are Going to War?

    Note: the strike was made in Iraq. I realize it's only one letter different, but geez. Elizabeth, would it introduce too much moral ambiguity to acknowledge that Soleimani was up to no good in a different country than his own?

  • Every time I seriously consider changing my party registration to "Libertarian" it seems I see things like this.

    Again: there's room for reasoned disagreement about the wisdom of taking out Soleimani. But I'm not gonna throw in with a party that takes its cues on defense policy from the Edwin Starr/Michael Moore songbook.

  • At the Josiah Bartlett Center, Drew Cline notes A 2020 priority: Protecting N.H. from unlicensed art therapists?.

    Under House Bill 546, it would be illegal for anyone to offer “art therapy” services unless the instructor has “a masters or doctoral degree from an accredited college or university in a program in art therapy….”

    The bill contains an exemption for art teachers who do not present themselves as therapists. But under the definitions in the bill, any presentation that an art instruction program is therapeutic in nature could be construed to run afoul of the law.

    Included in the bill’s definitions of art therapy is:

    “Using the process and products of art creation to facilitate clients’ exploration of inner fears, conflicts, and core issues with the goal of improving physical, mental, and emotional functioning and well-being.”

    Art instructors have been doing this for centuries. Without a license. Suddenly, in 2020, it’s a danger to the public?

    "Throw out your paintbrushes and palettes, and come out with your hands up!"

  • At the Foundation for Economic Education, Gary M. Galles takes on The Myth That the Rich Don’t Pay Their “Fair Share” of Taxes. RTWT, of course, but here's an interesting point that (sigh) applies to me:

    Even more important, Social Security’s supposed regressivity reflects only its taxes. But they generate retirement benefits, and accurate evaluation must incorporate both. Doing so reveals Social Security as progressive, not regressive.

    For example, for a single earner retiring at 65 in 1993, Social Security replaced 59 percent of taxed income for low earners and 44 percent for average wage earners, but only 25 percent for an earner at the Social Security tax cutoff. Higher-income earners received far smaller returns on their contributions than average earners and less than half that of lower earners.

    Taxation of benefits for higher-income retirees now increases this difference. In terms of lifetime net benefits, in 1992 dollars, a single low earner retiring in 2000 would net $27,983 from the system, an average earner, $14,833, but a high-income earner would lose $23,129.

    The system is designed to obfuscate net winners and net losers. Mrs. Salad and I are almost certainly in the latter group.

    I get that we don't want to let poor oldsters starve, or freeze. But we need to transition to a system that prevents that, rather than maintain the "saving for your retirement" fiction. Realize that the vast majority of people can deal with their retirement perfectly well, if they are allowed to.

  • And the LFOD Google News Alert rang for this op-ed column in the Valley News from English Professor Emeritus Bill Nichols, a West Lebanon (NH) resident who looks longingly across the Connecticut River at the enlightened citizenry of White River Junction (VT): Twin states, different views of climate change. It's about Governor Sununu's decision to remove New Hampshire from the multi-state Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). Bill is not happy about that:

    In New Hampshire, where “Live Free or Die” now sometimes seems to mean “live as close to tax-free as possible,” avoiding the TCI gas tax could be a winning tactic for a governor seeking reelection. This might be especially true because many low- and middle-income citizens need to drive long distances to work. The truth is nearly any tax other than an income tax, which New Hampshire avoids like disease, weighs most heavily on those with limited incomes.

    Uh huh. Nevertheless, TCI is beloved by statists, because it's Yet Another Scheme to suck money from the pockets of the citizenry, who might waste it on fripperies, and puts it into the hands of governments, who will spend it more wisely. As Drew Cline wrote on TCI last month:

    At best, the TCI would reduce carbon emissions of a little more than 5 percent in 10 years — at a cost of $56 billion in that best-case scenario. Without the TCI, carbon emissions are projected to fall by roughy four times that amount. If the TCI’s worst-case scenario occurs, the cost would be $14 billion to achieve an emissions reduction roughly 1/20th the size of what would happen anyway.

    An expensive way to achieve negligible good. But that doesn't matter to Bill. Because he, and folks like him, are obsessed with controlling people.

  • A long and interesting article at Hollywood Reporter on a darn good movie that deserved better: DreamWorks "Screwed Up": Why 'Galaxy Quest' Wasn't a Bigger Hit.

    [Actress Missi Pyle] recalls when Weaver’s character dropped the F-bomb in the climax. “I think they changed it to ‘frill’ or something silly. I don’t think we ever had an intention of making it as kids-friendly as DreamWorks wanted.”

    [Director Dean] Parisot still regrets that the F-bomb was cut. “That moment where she swears got so many laughs, it was a shame they cut it,” Parisot says. “I purposefully dubbed it really badly so it would stick out.”

    Well, now I have to rewatch it to find the bad dub.