URLs du Jour

2021-01-04

[Amazon Link]

  • Via Transterrestial Musings, we have the feel-good story of the day, from Kelly Brothers at Sacramento Business Journal: A multibillion-dollar f-you from Elon Musk to the state of California.

    As Covid-19 descended on California in March and April of this year, economies began to shut down and the debate raged over what businesses were deemed “essential.” Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, and Alameda County authorities went back and forth over whether the Tesla plant in Fremont should be allowed to reopen.

    This dialogue was punctuated by a pithy tweet from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who describes herself as a progressive Democrat, “F*ck Elon Musk.”

    Read the whole thing, but Brothers notes the irony of progressives trashing somebody you would think they would be lionizing: an immigrant (Progressives: good) whose products reduce greenhouse gases (Progressives: also good) whose purchase is encouraged by generous "pro-green" tax subsidies (Progressives: we're for that).

    But there's also a practical matter:

    [In 2020], Musk is likely paying billions in [California] state tax. Next year, he will be a resident of another state.

    I've read Atlas Shrugged. I'd bet he's not alone.


  • Kevin D. Williamson writes hilariously about Hilaria Baldwin and the Allure of the Invented Persona.

    First, a word of sincere thanks: It is an absolute relief to be writing about a Hillary who is not Herself, last seen scrounging around the metaphorical trash-heaps of our nation’s hideous capital like some kind of political hobo hunting after an imaginary can of beef stew. This Hillary is going to be a lot more fun, for exactly two minutes.

    Hillary, now “Hilaria,” Baldwin, née Hayward-Thomas of the Boston Hayward-Thomases, is the social-media hate object du jour, having used a partly invented biography, an entirely invented accent, and perhaps a bit of cosmetic derring-do to pass herself off as a Mallorca-born Spaniard, when she is in fact the Boston-born daughter of a Harvard professor and a Georgetown-educated businessman-lawyer, a family with pre-Revolutionary roots in New England. Mrs. Baldwin recently was profiled in Latina magazine (which describes itself as “100 percent Latina”) but turns out to be about as much of a Latina as John Quincy Adams. Her stepdaughter Ireland Baldwin recently undertook a ritual public apology for describing Mrs. Baldwin as — in the voguish terminology of the moment — “Latinx.”

    About as far as I've gone in inventing a persona is making the title of my blog an anagram of my name. Which is not Pablo Sanchez.

    For fun, check out Wikipedia which has a whole article on Pseudonyms of Donald Trump. (Gotta get these Trumpy links in while I can.)


  • At Reason, Baylen Linnekin detects another possible source of greenhouse gas: The Uproar Over New Federal Dietary Guidelines Is a Lot of Hot Air.

    This week the federal government published its new dietary guidelines for Americans, inspiring another round of debate over the government's role in choosing which expert nutrition and health options to signal-boost to the nation at large.  

    Published jointly every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, the guidelines are based on the recommendations of a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). The committee, made up of a rotating host of expert appointees, recommends new guidelines in the form of a report. USDA and HHS leadership review the report and decide, ultimately, whether or not to adopt its various recommendations. Just as the release of the last iteration of the guidelines did five years ago, the agencies' decision about which advice to adopt (and not) is generating criticism. 

    Click through, but for me the wannabe nannies deserved to lose their fight to recommend that men cut back on alcohol.

    Apparently getting Our Federal Government out of the "Dietary Guidelines" biz is not an option. Sad!


  • Jeffrey Singer advoates at Cato for a different revolutionary idea that's not in the cards, unfortunately: Getting The Vaccine to Those Who Want it Most.

    The first wave of Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines arriving at health facilities across the country in the past few weeks sparked optimism that we may soon see a light at the end of the tunnel. As more people get vaccinated, the goal of herd immunity—where enough of the population is immune to the virus to prevent its easy spread to the vulnerable—becomes more attainable.

    Markets provide the most efficient means of distributing the vaccine to those who want and need it. Instead, policymakers on all levels of government have chosen the opposite: central planning. Now we read of reports in the news than many frontline health workers—those assigned top priority for immunization—are not following the plan. They are reluctant to take the vaccine.

    As I've tediously pointed out in the past: we have different standards for government action versus private action. Government is expected to be wasteful and error-prone. Such behavior is excused.


  • My Sunday paper brought yet another advocacy-thinly-disguised-as-"news" article on the front page: NH's minimum wage stands out as lowest in New England. I was about to fire off a screed LTE, but… eh, what's the point? I can bitch to my blog readers.

    But Michael Graham of NH Journal saves me from most of that work: Another Media 'Miss' on Minimum Wage.

    And like so much Granite State media coverage of the issue, it misses the most significant fact about income, wages and poverty in the Granite State: Income is high and poverty is low — without a minimum wage.

    More to the point, in 2019 New Hampshire had both no minimum age and the lowest poverty rate in the U.S.

    More telling stats at the link. A couple points:

    1. A statistic Michael didn't mention is Labor Force Participation Rate which (as I type) rates New Hampshire as the best in New England, and ninth place overall among US states. (Curse you, Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Utah, Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado, and Wisconsin!)
    2. I'll also make the ethical point: if an employer wants to hire someone for X dollars/hour, and that employee wants to work for X dollars/hour, what right does some government functionary have to come in and say: "Sorry, X isn't high enough."

      I don't know why we put up with it.