URLs du Jour

2019-01-22

[Amazon Link]

Anyone know an emoji that represents: "OK, my first instinct was disgust and outrage, but then I kind of thought it was funny, and then I realized it was yet another symptom of the frivolous irresponsibility and vicious tribalism of our times"?

The closest thing I can find is the "eyeroll" emoji, which you can get on a t-shirt as our Amazon Product du Jour. Suggestions for anything closer are welcome.

  • William McGurn writes in the WSJ today on The Shaming of Karen Pence. Her sin is to teach art part-time at Immanuel Christian School, whose employment contract specifies employees must agree with the traditional definition of "marriage": one guy, one gal, makin' appropriate amounts of baby-generating whoopee.

    Today’s militant secularists ironically resemble the worst caricatures of religious intolerance of early America. Where the Puritans humiliated sinners with the stocks, the modern intolerant have Twitter. Where the Amish shunned those who lived contrary to their beliefs, today’s violators find themselves driven off the public square. And whereas in Hawthorne’s novel Hester Prynne was forced to wear a scarlet “A”—for adulterer—today we have folks such as Jimmy Kimmel using their popular platforms to paint the scarlet “H”—for hater—on people such as Mrs. Pence.

    Why it's almost as if the disease of intolerance is playing Whac-A-Mole with us. Defeated and defanged one place, it pops up elsewhere. Unexpectedly!

    (Except, as McGurn notes, Justice Sam Aliito did expect it in his Obergefell dissent.)


  • One of my New Years Resolutions: pay closer attention to Arthur C. Brooks. He writes in the WaPo: Failed your resolution already? Here’s how to make change that lasts.. Key finding:

    But maybe you think that going on a diet and exercising will make you more self-confident and attractive, thus improving your marriage or romantic prospects. Then you’ll be happy, right?

    The data don’t support this. According to the 2014 General Social Survey , the average body mass index for people who classify themselves as “very happy” is 27.4, which is about halfway between overweight and obese. The average BMI for those who are “pretty happy” is 28.1 and “not too happy” is 29. The measurement is clearly not a meaningful indicator of happiness. The average BMI for people who say they have “very happy” marriages is 28, which once again is indistinguishable from that for those with pretty-happy and not-so-happy marriages. Simply put, if your life lacks love, skipping those cherished potato chips won’t solve your biggest problem.

    Spoiler: Mr. Brooks' suggestions are (1) look at the true sources of happiness ("faith, family, friends and meaningful work that serves others") instead of the barriers you perceive to happiness; (2) Make process resolutions instead of outcome resolutions. Good advice, probably.


  • What's wrong with single-payer medicine, currently dishonestly dubbed "Medicare for all"? Kevin D. Williamson says it mathematically: Public-Sector Monopolies = Rule by Bureaucrats.

    The case against a single-payer health-care system is not only, or principally, its cost. It is that government-enforced monopolies are undesirable for other reasons, from their propensity to abuse their monopoly positions to the fact that they cultivate an attitude of dependency — which also can be exploited for political purposes. Just as workers have more power in an economy with a large number of employers competing for their labor, would-be college students and health-care consumers are better off when they have a great range of choices offered in an environment of strong competition. (The best indictment of the U.S. health-care system, pre- and post-ACA, is that it does not actually produce or encourage such a consumer-empowering environment.) Monopolies in the public and semi-public sector are no more desirable than monopolies in the private sector.

    The "cost" arguments are good enough, but it would be nice if we lived in a time where Kevin's argument was dispositive all by its lonesome.


  • At the Federalist, Ariana Welsh is kind of put out with the an exhibit at her college, Appalachian State, which heaped undeserved praise on an unlikely group: The Black Panthers Were Murderous Thugs Who Don't Deserve Accolades.

    Hosted, rather ironically, by the school’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, the photos, according to the front board, “reveal the humanity of the groups’ members rather than their invented personae.” Black Panther members “are real people, with real stories, who are your next door neighbors. They don’t fit the profile of rabid, anti-white, cop-hating terrorists…”

    Ericka Huggins is one of the smiling old ladies in the exhibit. She helped torture young Alex Rackley with other Black Panther members, boiling the water they used to pour over his chest and commanding him to be quiet when he pleaded for mercy. Now she’s a lecturing professor. Rackley is dead. After falsely admitting he was an informant in hopes of stopping the hours of torture, Black Panthers killed him and dumped his body in a river.

    Actually (according to the link above) Rackley lived for a number of hours after being dumped in the river.


  • The Power Line title might indicate "Longest Article Ever", but it's just one example Why Scientists Are Distrusted.

    The latest issue of Nature magazine has a fascinating article that goes some of the way in vindicating Ronald Reagan’s infamous “gaffe” about how trees cause air pollution (because they do), but offers much much more about the problems of politicized and supposedly “settled” climate science. The article is called “How Much Can Forests Fight Climate Change?“, and it walks through just how unsettled this question is. The subhed to the story offers a good summary: “Trees are supposed to slow global warming, but growing evidence suggests they might not always be climate saviours.”

    And, yes, the Nature article does contain a quote from an actual scientist, Christopher Williams at Clark University in Worcester, MA: “I have heard scientists say that if we found forest loss cooled the planet, we wouldn’t publish it.”


  • At the Beacon (a blog at the Independent Institute), Robert Higgs notes a suspicious rule: Many Different “Problems,” Identical “Solution” in Every Case.

    • Terrible working conditions
    • Lots of poor people
    • Industrial and financial instability
    • Economic depressions that won’t self-correct
    • Inadequate supplies of “affordable” housing
    • Widening economic inequality
    • Racial and ethnic discrimination
    • “Market failures” of many kinds
    • Environmental degradation
    • Threatened or disappearing species of animals and plants
    • Global cooling
    • Global warming
    • Climate change

    These are among the many problems that people have perceived as plaguing economically advanced societies during the past century or so. They differ greatly and involve different causes, mechanisms, and consequences.

    Yet in every case the solution has been widely seen as the same: vastly enlarging the power of government. It’s almost enough to make a skeptic wonder whether each perceived or proclaimed problem has been intended from the start to serve as a pretext for a government power grab—especially when one appreciates that somehow the problems that enhanced government power is supposed to solve never get solved to the satisfaction of those who sought the power, but only cry out in their view for even greater augmentation of government power.

    Mr. Higgs missed a few, of course. Opioid overdoses! Suicide! Divorce! All easily fixable by just tossing more control and money to the state.


Last Modified 2019-01-23 8:00 AM EDT