URLs du Jour

2021-03-30

[Amazon Link]

  • Really, Who's the Fetishist Here? So this morning's local paper contained an LTE from one Eric Kane: More fiction from the gun fetishists. In its entirety:

    In his civil war fantasy, Michael Dow wrote, "In Maine, any law abiding citizen can legally carry a concealed firearm and Maine is also rated as the safest state in the union, just edging out Vermont where no permit is required to carry a concealed firearm either. How can that be?"

    How can that be? It isn't. Mr. Dow appears to be firing blanks.

    According to the CDC, in 2019 Maine was 17th in fewest gun deaths per thousand population. Maine has the highest gun mortality rate in New England. The lowest firearm death rates nationally are in New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey. And maybe we have a different understanding of Maine "edging out Vermont," as Vermont was 10th in mortality rate.

    And Kane provides a link to the CDC's Firearm Mortality by State page.

    You can click on the quoted link to see Michael Dow's letter.

    The thing is: Michael Dow is pretty much on target with his assertion about Maine.

    This Statista page (based on FBI data) ranks Maine last in "violent crime rate" for 2019. This USNews article, taking a few more factors into account ranks Maine "first in the nation for public safety."

    So what's causing the discrepancy Eric Kane cites? Easy: The CDC data includes firearm suicides. According to this page, suicides made up 88% of the "gun deaths" in Maine. Kane doesn't mention that, although he thought it was important to snipe about Dow's "fantasy", and that he's "firing blanks".

    With respect to the "fetishist" label, I think it applies more accurately to Eric Kane and his ilk. They apparently "blame the gun" for both suicides and homicides. This goes well with a Google definition of "fetish": "an inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit."


  • Government: the Cause of, and Solution to, All of Life's Problems. The (probably paywalled) WSJ had a fine column by Andy Kessler: Inequality by Way of Government.

    Forget all the great things that capitalism has done, the smartphones we carry, the broadband we use to stream movies, the drugs and vaccines that extend lives. Forget those who hold back consumption to fund or invent stuff that brings the masses out of poverty. Because Jeff Bezos had the audacity to get rich for his efforts, he gets pushback. All that technology and red-meat capitalism comes at a great societal cost, critics say. People with smartphones are living below the poverty line. Capitalism is broken and needs to be reformed. We need a new, fairer system.

    Oh, we’re getting one, good and hard. (See: stimulus, $1.9 trillion plus another $3 trillion coming up.) John Cochrane, an economist and senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, tells me inequality is raised frequently as a nasty symptom of some alleged disease of capitalism. “Not so fast,” he warns. “Are capitalism and free markets the reasons for income inequality? Or are misguided government interventions to blame?” He quickly rattles off poor schools, occupational licensing, land-use rules, and disincentives to work as examples of things that keep people down—an “opportunity gap.” Let’s call them the Four Progressive Horsemen of Inequality.

    That's just a teaser here, Andy goes into detail on each of the four.

    And (of course) people who moan most about inequality only look to "solutions" that just by coincidence hand more money and power to the state. Why, it's almost as if they care more about the money and power than they do about inequality.


  • As We Used to Say: 'Fish, Barrel, Smoking Gun'. Kevin D. Williamson's The Tuesday column: Elizabeth Warren Is a Ridiculous, Power-Hungry Crackpot.

    Elizabeth Warren — the ridiculous hustling flatbilly grifter from Massachusetts from Oklahoma who snookered the academic establishment by pretending to be a Native American while writing dopey self-help books that are so sloppy and intellectually dishonest that it’s a surprise skeezy old Joe Biden hasn’t plagiarized them yet, a political grotesque who prides herself on being in the first generation of her family to attend college but rage-tweets as though she were in the first generation in her family with opposable thumbs, as ghastly and deceitful and god-awful a sniveling and self-serving a creature as the United States Congress has to offer — is, in spite of the genuine facts of her sorry case, getting a little full of herself, and believes that as a senator, she should be above the petty “heckling” of the little people

    You know, peons. Like you.

    Sometimes, they mess up and tell you what they are thinking. And what Senator Warren is thinking is: “Shut up, or I’ll use the power of my office to shut you up.”

    At issue is the senator’s recent social-media spat with Amazon. Because Senator Warren is as dreadfully predictable as a chlamydia outbreak in West Roxbury, you can imagine the insipidity of her complaint: “Blah blah blah, fair share, higher taxes on everybody except important hometown business interests and rich liberals in Cambridge, blah blah blah, Amazon.” Etc.

    It's tough to stop quoting KDW. But you can head over there and RTWT.


  • Afflict the Comfortable, and … Everyone Else Too. Glenn Greenwald engages in media criticism. The kind the media won't do themselves: Journalists Attack the Powerless, Then Self-Victimize to Bar Criticisms of Themselves.

    The daily newspaper USA Today is the second-most circulated print newspaper in the United States — more than The New York Times and more than double The Washington Post. Only The Wall Street Journal has higher circulation numbers.

    On Sunday, the paper published and heavily promoted a repellent article complaining that “defendants accused in the Capitol riot Jan. 6 crowdfund their legal fees online, using popular payment processors and an expanding network of fundraising platforms, despite a crackdown by tech companies.” It provided a road map for snitching on how these private citizens — who are charged with serious felonies by the U.S. Justice Department but as of yet convicted of nothing — are engaged in “a game of cat-and-mouse as they spring from one fundraising tool to another” in order to avoid bans on their ability to raise desperately needed funds to pay their criminal lawyers to mount a vigorous defense.

    In other words, the only purpose of the article — headlined: “Insurrection fundraiser: Capitol riot extremists, Trump supporters raise money for lawyer bills online” — was to pressure and shame tech companies to do more to block these criminal defendants from being able to raise funds for their legal fees, and to tattle to tech companies by showing them what techniques these indigent defendants are using to raise money online.

    I was as disgusted by the January 6 riot as anyone. But I'm even more disgusted by USA Today trying to shut down private citizens getting legal counsel.


  • The Google LFOD News Alert brought us to this Union Leader news article: NH film and television producers say it's time to benefit from action in Mass.. It centers around Portsmouth residents Chris Stinson and Amy Greene:

    Stinson and Greene run Live Free Or Die Films, an independent feature film production company with offices in Portsmouth, Boston and Los Angeles.

    “Massachusetts is one of the busiest places in the country for movies right now,” Stinson said. “I’m from New Hampshire. I’m proud of New Hampshire. I want to put New Hampshire films on the map.”

    Uh, okay. I like that name. But what does putting "New Hampshire films on the map" involve exactly? Well, we gotta skip down a bit:

    Nicole Galovski, founding partner and head of production at Culture House in New York City, lives in Portsmouth and said it is a shame that New Hampshire isn’t financially benefitting from the movie-making action in Massachusetts.

    “To be next to the state that’s one of the busiest in production and to not get any of that seems like a total waste,” Galovski said. “Film and TV crews spend so much money; we should really try to get that money for our residents.”

    Instead, she said, elected officials in Concord are considering a budget that would eliminate the New Hampshire Film and Television Office’s $123,000 annual budget.

    Ah.

    Reason's collection of articles with the "Film Subsidies" tag is recommended reading, if you are even slightly persuaded by the special-interest pleading. Sample, from Why the Heck Are Taxpayers Bankrolling Episodes of The Bachelorette?

    How would you feel if your government paid more than half a million dollars to help cover the costs of production for a really lame reality television show?

    Ask the people of Virginia. The state's tourism agency paid $536,000 to bring an episode of The Bachelorette to Richmond, of all places, in exchange for some promotion of the state's "Virginia is for Lovers" tourism motto.

    New Hampshire might be able to compete with that. It shouldn't.