URLs du Jour


  • Do Lutherans Count? Jesse Walker's impressive print-Reason article is now available to non-subscribers: Cult Country. And it's the source of our Eye Candy du Jour, the "The official roadmap to understanding the Great Awakening. A timeline of Hidden History from 2018 to Atlantis.":

    [Official Roadmap]

    Note: this is self-described as an official roadmap. Do not accept unofficial roadmaps! As always: click for a big version (on Reddit).

    Jesse's article is an interesting and insightful look at the history and treatment of American "cults". For example, the Shakers. I've been to Canterbury Shaker Village north of Concord, and it's all staid and proper now, but there are scurrilous rumors…

  • A Suggestion That Won't Be Taken, But… Oh yeah, "Tax Day". Out of habit, I did things for April 15, but today's official. Ross Marchand has a good suggestion: This Tax Day, Lower Rates and Simplify the Code.

    Even though April 15 has come and gone, Tax Day is finally here. And now, more than three years after the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the vast majority of Americans continue to reap the economic benefits of tax reform. Estimates suggest 90 percent of taxpayers got a break on their taxes. Reduced business tax rates resulted in increased hiring, higher wages, lower prices, and businesses relocating back to the U.S.

    However, not all the news is good for the estimated 150 million taxpayers across the country. A recent report suggests preparation and filing costs remain stubbornly high despite the simplification of the tax code and ease and generosity of the standard deduction. And high debt and reckless tax hike proposals threaten to drown taxpayers in an avalanche of liabilities. Lawmakers should reject these failed policies and commit to the increased simplification of the tax code.

    Unfortunately, the tax code is a beloved tool of social engineers on both left and right to encourage/discourage favored/disfavored behavior. Don't see that changing in my lifetime. Yours either, probably.

  • It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You Into Trouble. It’s What You Know for Sure That Just Ain’t So. Michael Huemer analyzes The Gender Pay Gap & Empirical Facts. (He leads with that quote, often falsely attributed) to Mark Twain.

    In the case of feminism, there is a factual question about how much women in U.S. society are disadvantaged due to sexism or “patriarchy”. That question turns on lots and lots of more specific questions. Feminists would cite a multitude of different ways that women are disadvantaged, allegedly due to sexism. It’s impossible to examine all of them.


    Let’s just consider one example of the patriarchy. Perhaps the most famous example of the rampant, sexist bias in our society is the gender pay gap. Everybody has heard the statistic that women in the U.S. earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. (https://money.cnn.com/2015/04/13/news/economy/equal-pay-day-2015/) (The figure has varied over the years, generally getting smaller.)

    As Huemer (exhaustively) points out: that just ain't so. No matter how many New Hampshire senators may claim it to be true.

  • I Don't Care What Patrick Swayze Said, Pain Hurts. Jeffrey A. Singer looks at the recent opioid OD numbers out of the People's Republic: In Massachusetts, as Elsewhere, It's The Prohibition, Not The Prescriptions.

    Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released Data Brief: Opioid‐Related Overdose Deaths Among Massachusetts Residents. The report found that opioid‐related overdose deaths remained essentially unchanged at roughly 2,000 per year since 2016. From 2001 thru 2010 the annual overdose rate was relatively stable and then began to accelerate in 2011. (Figure 1 and Figure 2 of the Data Brief).


    As with other states, the opioid dispensing rate per 100 persons has come down dramatically over time. Nationally, the overall rate dropped by roughly 43 percent, to 46.7 per 100 persons in 2019, from its peak of 81.2 per 100 persons in 2012. In Massachusetts, prescription opioids dispensed per 100 persons peaked in 2009 at 68.9 per 100 persons and dropped by 49 percent to 35.4 per 100 persons in 2019. From 2014 thru 2019 alone, the rate in the Commonwealth dropped 41 percent, from 59.6 to 35.4 per 100 persons.

    For those "experts" who expected that drastic cutbacks in opioid prescriptions would bring down the OD death rate: it did not. Now what, geniuses? Anyone up for admitting that you were wrong?

  • In Our "Of Course She Does" Department… Andrew Stiles reports the least surprising news of the day: Kamala Harris Keeps Enemies List of Journalists Who Don't 'Appreciate Her Life Experience'.

    Vice President Kamala Harris keeps a list of reporters and other political types who might be racist, according to a profile published in the Atlantic on Monday.

    "The vice president and her team tend to dismiss reporters. Trying to get her to take a few questions after events is treated as an act of impish aggression," writes Edward-Isaac Dovere. "And Harris herself tracks political players and reporters whom she thinks don't fully understand her or appreciate her life experience."

    Pun Salad wants to know: can you ask to be put on that list?