URLs du Jour

2020-10-17

  • Drew Cline backs up yesterday's point about the "Live Free or Die" state. N.H. is running out of places for our families, friends & coworkers to live.

    The No. 1 reason people move to or stay in New Hampshire is not jobs or low taxes or the environment. It’s family, according to University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll results summarized in the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority's October Housing Market Report

    New Hampshire’s strong economy gives our extended family members plenty of options for employment should they decide to stay or return home. Maintaining a vibrant economy is a way of keeping our families connected and close. But the other essential part of this equation is missing — where are they going to live? 

    The coronavirus pandemic has made New Hampshire’s acute housing shortage even worse, data from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHFA) show. 

    I'm probably arguing against interest here, since I'm living in one of those insanely valuable houses that people are desperate for.


  • Some of my fellow conservatives are cheering for the FCC's latest move to interpret "Section 230" in order to bend Big Tech to its will. Goodness, what a bad idea; after "net neutrality" was successfully killed off, now they want to do some even stupider regulation? But as the folks at TechFreedom point out, even if you don't hold a general antipathy to ham-fisted state regulation, there's a practical problem: the FCC Has No Authority to Issue Section 230 Rules.

    Section 230 is the law that made today’s Internet possible. The law has allowed websites to host content created by users without, as the bill’s author, Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), warned in 1995, “spending vast sums of money trying to define elusive terms that are going to lead to a flood of legal challenges.” Without the broad protections of 230(c)(1) in particular, websites would face “death by ten thousand duck-bites” in the form of massive litigation risks.

    When a Democratic FCC Chairman pushed neutrality regulations at the behest of President Obama, Ajit Pai said: “We shouldn’t be a rubber stamp for political decisions made by the White House.” Now Pai’s doing essentially what he lambasted Tom Wheeler for: proposing sweeping “neutrality” rules at a President’s behest based on unprecedented claims of legal authority to regulate Internet services. Only now, “neutrality” isn’t just rhetoric used to excite the base. Republicans are trying to coerce social media companies to change how they exercise their First Amendment rights to gain advantage just weeks before the election. Having been among Pai’s strongest supporters in 2015, we could not be more disappointed.

    I'm sad that Pai's a hypocrite on this issue.


  • To quote (I'm sure) someone: George Orwell intended 1984 to be a warning, not an instruction manual. Jonah Goldberg at the Dispatch: The Left Is Twisting the Meaning of ‘Originalism’.

    Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is an “originalist.” Given that originalism is a term coined by lawyers, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there are many different flavors of originalism. But, as Barrett explained in her confirmation hearings, they all share the basic idea that the meaning of the Constitution can be found in the Constitution. 

    “So in English,” she explained, “that means that I interpret the Constitution as a law, that I interpret its text as text and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. So that meaning doesn’t change over time. And it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it.”

    I don’t understand why this should be a difficult concept to understand. And yet for some people, it remains not only incomprehensible but utterly contemptible.

    Dan Rather, who for decades at CBS News cast himself as a neutral reporter of facts, declared on Twitter the other day: “If you want to be an ‘originalist’ in law, maybe you should go all the way. Cooking on a hearth. Leeches for medicine. An old mule for transportation. Or maybe you can recognize that the world changes.”

    Dan Rather… well, he's 88. If I make it to that age, I'll probably be making transparently idiotic arguments too. Maybe someone will set up an Internet simulator for me by then, so I'll be deluded into thinking I'm sharing them with the world. Too bad nobody did that for Dan.


  • At National Review, Kyle Smith calls a spade a spade, and a clown a clown: Amy Coney Barrett & Supreme Court: Democrats Failed Attacks.

    This week it was A. C. B. versus I.C.P.: Insane Clown Posse. Poised, graceful, unflappable, unbeatable, Judge Amy Coney Barrett sat patiently as one idiotic question after another was flung in her general direction, each time by a Democrat convinced he or she had come up with a “Gotcha!” for the ages. Pat Leahy (I.C.P., Vt.) asked whether a president must obey a court order. As though explaining this to a toddler, Barrett replied, “The Supreme Court can’t control what the president obeys.” Mazie Hirono (I.C.P., Hawaii) asked whether Barrett had ever sexually assaulted anyone and scolded the judge for using the term “sexual preference,” which has just this week been declared offensive by I.C.P. fans but had previously been used by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Joe Biden, and many other members and allies of the I.C.P. movement. Cory Booker (I.C.P., N.J.) asked whether Barrett condemned white supremacy, and when she said yes, he said he wished the president would say that, although the president already has said that, and Booker’s wishes are none of the Supreme Court’s business anyway, unless he wishes the high Court to apply the Constitution, which seems unlikely.

    Hey, kids! Did you know “climate change” is in the U.S. Constitution? It’s right there in Article VIII, Section 4, right after VIII.3, “White Trousers After Labor Day, Wearing Of” (punishable by life imprisonment without parole, unless you live in Miami) but before VIII.5, “How Long You Are Legally Required to Wait Before Honking Your Horn at the Guy in Front of You Who Didn’t Move When the Light Turned Green” (three seconds, except in New York City, where it’s one-tenth of a second).

    Goodness knows (for the 5672th time): I'm no Trump fan, and I don't plan on voting for him. But the ACB nomination goes in his plus column. And thanks to Democrats for reminding me why they deserve to lose too.


  • David Harsanyi's syndicated column at the Daily Signal: Twitter's Censorship of the New York Post Is Un-American. (I'm not a big fan of the "un-American" label, but it doesn't appear in Harsanyi's column, just the headline.)

    Less than three weeks from a presidential election, perhaps the most vital platform for political news and debate, Twitter, has locked down the accounts of a presidential candidate’s press secretary and of his official campaign, among others, at the behest of activists pretending to be journalists.

    This is unsurprising to anyone who has been paying attention. The press has spent four years pressuring social media outlets to censor speech and limit access with scaremongering over the alleged nefarious influence of foreign accounts, “fake news,” and hate speech—all of which are preferable to authoritarian technocrats shutting down open discourse. Well, at least until such time that people lose their agency and free will.

    Ah, remember when the Obama/Biden Administration used the IRS as a political weapon against conservative groups. Good news, everyone! The Biden/Harris Administration won't need to do that, because their allies in Big Tech will do that for them.


  • The Google LFOD News Alert rang for a Forbes article headlined How Nia Miranda Inspired A New Song By Skrillex, Ty Dolla $ign And Ant Clemons.

    I think that's four people total. I think I may have previously heard of one: Skrillex. And I probably only remember his name because it sounds like a 60's Marvel Comics villain. But I can't help but think Nia's got her head on straight here:

    “It is never okay to commit a crime in our honor,” Nia Miranda says in her now-famous viral video. The actor stops two women who are defacing a Los Angeles coffee shop, telling them, “We, the black community, will be targeted for it. This is a 400-year battle we are fighting. And if you can’t adhere to how we need your help, then stay home.”

    But LFOD? From the interview:

    Does it ever scare you to be an activist in this day and age? 

    I’m not scared. I grew up on the east side of Detroit. People say, ‘If you can make it out of Detroit, you can make it anywhere.’ I've tested those waters; I've traveled a few places, and I've seen it to be true. My whole mission right now is to live free or die trying. I mean, what is life if you're not free?

    Probably Nia has some positions I would find objectionable, but I can't help but give her a thumbs up here.

Gemini Man

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Have I mentioned that we're kind of getting desperate for TV-watching content here at Pun Salad Manor? Probably. Our latest desperate move was this free-to-me Amazon Prime streamer. Usually included on people's "Box Office Bombs" lists for 2019. And a mediocre IMDB rating. But it was OK. Not great, but I didn't come away with a sad feeling that I'd wasted my time.

Maybe I'm getting more tolerant as I approach my eighth decade? Nah.

Will Smith plays Henry, a good-guy assassin for the US government, basically using his mad sniper skillz against whomever he's directed by his superiors. But he feels those skills—which are still mad, mind you—are in decline. And it's only a matter of time before he shoots some cute-kid innocent bystander. So he puts in his retirement papers.

Now the immutable rules about these retired-assassin movies dictate that (at least some of) his former superiors are gonna prefer Henry dead. Henry, feelers up, notices that the cute dockworker (Mary! Elizabeth! Winstead!) is probably doing undercover surveillance on him. Correct. And soon the hitters show up.

The trick here is that one of the assassins sent out to bag Henry is his much-younger clone, raised from birth by the primary bad guy, Clive Owen. (Thanks to CGI magic, the clone looks much like Men in Black-era Will Smith.) Giving rise to amazement and angst from both Original Henry and Clone Henry.

But otherwise, it's pretty normal. Directed by Ang Lee, good acting from all involved, some spectacular action scenes, imaginative settings.

And, of course, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She looks cute, and about twice as smart as anyone else on the screen. Wonder who she's voting for?… Jo Jorgenson, right Mary?