URLs du Jour

2021-02-17

[Amazon Link]

  • Good news from Jeffrey A. Singer: Senators Portman, Whitehouse, and Klobuchar Think They Know Better Than The CDC About How To Treat Acute Pain.

    On December 18, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that drug overdose deaths, already accelerating in number after a brief pause in 2018, have been increasing at an alarming rate. There were more than 81,000 overdose deaths during the 12 months ending in May 2020—a new record. There were just over 71,000 deaths reported for the 12 months ending in December 2019. But the most important feature of the report from the CDC is the fact that illicit fentanyl, made in clandestine labs in Asia and Mexico, was responsible for roughly 57 percent of all overdose deaths. Cocaine was found in roughly 22 percent of overdoses. And methamphetamines were found in 23 percent of all overdose deaths. By 2017, the top four killers were, in order, fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Oxycodone was in sixth place and hydrocodone was ninth. Benadryl, which can be purchased over the counter, was in tenth place.

    Wow, Benadryl? No wonder it's hard to find at Walmart.

    The senators, of course, pride themselves on "doing something". Despite decades of high-body-count failure at "doing something".


  • Jacob Sullum reports on another pol who feels the need to "do something". Specifically, Wheezy Joe: Biden’s ‘Commonsense’ Gun Controls Make Little Sense.

    This week President Joe Biden marked the three-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by urging Congress to "enact commonsense gun law reforms." The implication was that the gun controls Biden favors would prevent crimes like the Parkland massacre.

    There is little reason to think that's true. The bills Biden is eager to sign would instead arbitrarily limit Second Amendment rights and threaten the viability of the industry that makes it possible to exercise them.

    Biden wants to prohibit production and sale of "assault weapons" and require that current owners either surrender their firearms to the government or follow the same tax and registration requirements that apply to machine guns. Yet he concedes that the 1994 federal "assault weapon" ban, which expired in 2004, had no impact on the lethality of legal firearms.

    That first link in the third paragraph goes to Biden campaign website with the headline "THE BIDEN PLAN TO END OUR GUN VIOLENCE EPIDEMIC".

    Not decrease or alleviate, mind you. END!

    Is he lying or delusional? Could be a bit of both, I suppose.


  • Kyle Smith is OK with blacklists. Because Blacklists Are Not the Problem. (NRPLUS, sorry).

    Blacklists are fine. Does anyone seriously dispute this?

    That the Walt Disney Co. fired The Mandalorian star Gina Carano for her political views would not be regrettable if those views were genuinely extreme and abhorrent. If it turned out that Carano was a current member of the American Nazi Party, and Disney had just found out about this, it would have been fine to fire her. There might be some companies out there that have no concerns whatsoever about the political views of their employees. But the employees of media and entertainment companies are, to a certain extent, the public faces of those companies. Neither Disney nor Warner Bros. nor the Washington Post nor NBC nor any other such company would want to be associated with vile political views.

    So no, it doesn’t bother me that the major Hollywood studios decided, in the 1950s, to blacklist ten Communists, because Communism is about as vile as political views get. The congressional investigations into Communism in Hollywood were detestable in their combination of hysteria and grandstanding. Joe McCarthy and his henchmen, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., were not attacking a real problem so much as they were seeking political advantage by targeting an unpopular group. But no one should shed a tear because a few fiercely committed apostles for an evil, anti-American cause were denied chances to work (to say nothing of the fact that the most talented among them remained employed anonymously under a wink-and-nudge system anyway).

    I'm not quite as copacetic as Kyle about blacklists. The big problem is not the concept; it's the people in charge of blacklisting. And the notion that blacklisters can somehow objectively deduce from a bunch of social media posts how "vile" someone is.


  • Here's a goodie from Greg Lukianoff, who introduces J. S. Mill's "Trident": An argument every fan (or opponent) of free speech must know.

    I have been working on a comic book about free speech for years now, and I wanted a way to represent key free speech arguments in a visual way. “Mill’s Trident” refers to a three-part argument that John Stuart Mill made in favor of free speech in his 1859 masterpiece “On Liberty.” Mill recognizes that there are only three possibilities in any given argument: 

    1. You are wrong, in which case freedom of speech is essential to allow people to correct you.
    2. You are partially correct, in which case you need free speech and contrary viewpoints to help you get a more precise understanding of what the truth really is.
    3. You are 100% correct, in the unlikely event that you are 100% correct, you still need people to argue with you, to try to contradict you, and to try to prove you wrong. Why? Because if you never have to defend your points of view, there is a very good chance you don’t really understand them, and that you hold them the same way you would hold a prejudice or superstition. It’s only through arguing with contrary viewpoints that you come to understand why what you believe is true. 

    I find this near-irrefutable.