URLs du Jour

2021-02-18

Our Eye Candy du Jour is from xkcd: Animal Songs:

[Animal Songs]

Mouseover: "Dr. Fauci is not permitted to have a cat, because as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, his petting one would be considered giving aid and comfort to an allergen."

  • On a less cheerful note: I can't say much about Rush Limbaugh. I never had much of an opportunity (and not a lot of inclination, for that matter) to listen to the radio during the day.

    And on those rare occasions when I happened upon his show while driving, it always seemed I had a passenger in the car who demanded a station change ASAP.

    Still, rest in peace, Mr. Limbaugh.


  • In our "There's not a bad idea that GOP senators can't make worse" Department, Alex Nowrasteh brings us the latest: Sens. Romney and Cotton Propose Universal E-Verify and $15 Minimum Wage.

    Senators Romney (R-UT) and Cotton (R-AR) announced that they intend to introduce a bill to raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour and mandate E‐Verify for all new hires in the United States. Immigration restrictionists have tried to use minimum wages to reduce immigration for more than a century. Combining a high minimum wage with E‐Verify is not as surprising as it first seems. Restrictionists assume that higher minimum wages will increase unemployment for lower‐skilled workers, which it will, and that will mostly force lower skilled immigrant workers out of the country entirely.

    Why it's almost as if Romney and Cotton were trying to revivify The Racist History of Minimum Wage Laws.


  • But you don't have to be a Republican to have stupid ideas. David Harsanyi takes a look at Bill Gates’s Climate Hysteria.

    This past Sunday, Bill Gates (net worth, $133 billion) and Anderson Cooper ($110 million) got together on 60 Minutes to discuss the numerous sacrifices Americans will be expected to make to avert an imminent climate catastrophe.

    First, we should refrain from referring to these sorts of conversations as “journalism,” since Cooper never challenges any of Gates’s wild predictions nor displays even a hint of professional skepticism regarding the subject matter. Cooper simply cues up the next talking point like a host of an in-house corporate video.

    Gates, who has a new book out called “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” told Cooper that he believes that climate change “is the toughest challenge humanity has ever faced,” and wealthy nations — not China or India, one assumes — must get to zero carbon emissions by 2050 or the world is basically kaput. Not 40 percent. Not five. Zero. Elsewhere in the interview, Gates called for a nationalistic “all-out effort, you know, like a world war, but it’s us against greenhouse gases.”

    Now Bill Gates is not stupid. But (as Harsanyi notes) he's got fearmongering as his main weapon, not rationality.


  • Which reminds me (from the Free Beacon): Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Behind 'Anti-Racist' Math Push.

    A radical new push to purge math curricula of allegedly racist practices like showing your work and finding the correct answer is bankrolled by one of the nation's most prominent nonprofits: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    The Gates Foundation is the only donor mentioned on the homepage of A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction, a group of 25 education organizations whose curriculum states that asking students to show their work and find the right answer is an inherently racist practice.

    I can't believe Bill Gates really wants a math-illiterate crop of students coming out of the K-12 system. But it would make them a lot easier to control by technocratic elites.


  • Glenn Greenwald calls out The False and Exaggerated Claims Still Being Spread About the Capitol Riot.

    What took place at the Capitol on January 6 was undoubtedly a politically motivated riot. As such, it should not be controversial to regard it as a dangerous episode. Any time force or violence is introduced into what ought to be the peaceful resolution of political conflicts, it should be lamented and condemned.

    But none of that justifies lying about what happened that day, especially by the news media. Condemning that riot does not allow, let alone require, echoing false claims in order to render the event more menacing and serious than it actually was. There is no circumstance or motive that justifies the dissemination of false claims by journalists. The more consequential the event, the less justified, and more harmful, serial journalistic falsehoods are.

    Which reminds me: on Tuesday, my local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat, published a column headlined "Misinformation abounds regarding events of Jan. 6".

    Which itself contained (at least) two bits of misinformation: (1) "the Capitol MAGA mob killed one policeman with blows to the head with a fire extinguisher"; (2) the mob "brought zip ties" into the Capitol building with (apparent) intent to "take prisoners".

    Thanks to Greenwald's reporting, I'm almost certain neither of these things is true. I wrote an LTE to Foster's on this, see if they publish it.


  • Twitchy gives us the latest self-reveal from California: Oakley, CA school board members caught trashing parents.

    I wasn't sure where Oakley was, so I looked it up. It turns out the answer is: "not far enough away from San Francisco."

    As has been made eminently clear during the last few months: the government schoolers do not even pretend any more that the purpose of their system is to benefit students.


  • And finally, the Google LFOD News Alert points to an article by Harold Meyerson: What Having No Income Tax Gets a State During a Pandemic. Which contains:

    The states with the most progressive income taxes, it turns out, have been able to ride out the pandemic with little if any fiscal disruption. California, perpetually derided by right-wingers for having the most progressive income tax, actually saw no reduction in revenues between 2019 and 2020, as the wealthy have been doing just fine financially during the plague and paying their regular share of taxes. Likewise New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, which saw revenues dip by just 3 percent. Florida and Texas, by contrast, are by far the largest states that have no income taxes, and they saw their revenues decline by 10 percent. As for reduction in public-sector jobs, good old “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire—another state with no income tax—saw its state workforce shrink by a mind-boggling 26 percent, a full nine percentage points more than the second-ranked state.

    Harold says this like it's a bad thing. I'd point out that the state seems to be running perfectly well with one out of every four state employees gone. Are you sure we needed them in the first place, Harold?

    But it's even stranger: Harold's article is based on this Washington Post story, and it points out something inconvenient to Harold's thesis: New Hampshire's "tax shortfall" between 2019 and 2020 is only 1%.

    How does a 1% drop in revenue cause a 26% drop in state workforce employment?

    I don't know. Maybe someone will figure it out, but I'm betting it won't be Harold.

The Night Fire

[Amazon Link]

While I was reading this, I had a meta-thought run through my head: There's nobody better than Michael Connelly at getting me to turn book pages. (C. J. Box comes pretty close, maybe a tie.)

I'm still a skinflint, though: I bought my hardcover copy for $7.63, a very well-treated book originally purchased by the library in Bellevue, Nebraska. (Which is, not that it matters, under 13 crow-flies miles from the house where I used to live.) Congratulations, Bellevue Library patrons for your gentle book manners!

Anyway, there's a lot going on here. It is a collaboration between old retired police detective Harry Bosch and young active LAPD detective Renée Ballard. Case 1 develops when Harry's old mentor on the force passes away; at the post-funeral gathering, the widow bequeaths Harry with a stolen "murder book" her husband has (illegally) squirreled away in his study for years. Leaving Harry with two puzzles: who killed the drug-addicted ex-con young man in a Hollywood alleyway thirty years ago, and why did Harry's mentor abscond with the murder book?

Meanwhile, Renée is looking at the burned corpse of a homeless man, who has perished when a kerosene heater was knocked over and set fire to his tent and sleeping bag. Accident? Or … well, come on. It's only a matter of time until Renée figures out that it's foul play.

But wait, there's more. Harry's also called in by his half-brother, Mickey Haller. Who is defending a seemingly hopeless case: the schizophrenic defendant confessed to knifing a judge in a public park, and his DNA was found on the judges post-mortem fingernails. Mickey's just interested in getting his client off the hook, but Harry's wondering: if not the schizo, whodunnit?

It all winds up pretty neatly, with a few plot threads available for the next installment. Note to evildoers: if Bosch and Ballard get on your case, just confess. It will save everyone a lot of hassle (unfortunately it wouldn't make a great book).