URLs du Jour

2019-03-28

[Amazon Link]

  • Hey kids! It's a Mueller Report-free post today! Well, unless you follow this link to today's Dilbert strip and draw the obvious parallels.


  • At National Reivew, Kevin D. Williamson takes the New York Times to task for its unserious polling on the Green New Deal. The NYT is quoted:

    In our latest polling with Civis Analytics, a data science firm founded by alumni of the Obama campaign, we informed respondents that the Green New Deal is a Democratic proposal. Voters were told that the Green New Deal would “phase out the use of fossil fuels, with the government providing clean energy jobs for people who can’t find employment in the private sector. All jobs would pay at least $15 an hour, include health care benefits and collective bargaining rights.” Many commentators have argued that the Green New Deal would become unpopular when voters were informed of the cost, so we added that the plan would “be paid for by raising taxes on incomes over $200,000 dollars a year by 15 percentage points.”

    And Mr. Williamson lets fly:

    This is pretty much pure horsepucky, of course. Would that 15-point tax hike on incomes over $200,000 actually pay for a program to “phase out the use of fossil fuels”? Nobody knows, since nobody knows what that would cost, since the technology to phase out fossil fuels does not currently, you know, exist. (I am writing this on an airplane, which is not kept in the air by happy thoughts.) Cookies poll pretty well, cookies that other people pay for poll very well, and cookies that magically appear on a plate thanks to magical f***ing magic are the most popular of all. But there ain’t no cookies like that.

    Expurgations in the original. If you can't figure them out, ask a younger person.


  • The Daily Wire reports on a politician who has long since passed his sell-by date: Biden Rips 'White Man's Culture' For Mistreatment Of Women. And (as it so happens) Biden is peddling a bit of misinformation that I heard him promulgate nearly eight years ago:

    You all know what the phrase rule of thumb means? Where it’s derived from? In English common law, not codification or common law, back in the late 1300s, so many women were dying at the hands of her husbands because they were chattel, just like the cattle or the sheep, that the Court of Common Law decided they had to do something about the extent of the deaths. So, you know what they said? No man has a right to chastise his woman with a rod thicker than the circumference of his thumb. This is English jurisprudential culture, a white man’s culture. That’s got to change it’s got to change.

    This was ahistorical nonsense eight years ago, and it continues to be so today. Googling reputable sources should satisfy any doubts you might have but let's let Christina Hoff Sommers spell it out via video:

    Nobody's told Biden about this in the last (at least) eight years? Or does he know it's bullshit, but can't stop bullshitting?


  • At the NR Corner, Wesley J. Smith notes the nastiness of one current War On Drugs tactic: Punishing Pain Patients for the Addiction Crisis.

    We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic that has taken the lives of thousands of people. It’s a real crisis. But solutions risk punishing patients in terrible pain for the abuse of these medicines by others.

    Case in point: Purdue Pharma is paying Nebraska $270 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the state because of the toll caused by the abuse of oxycontin and other opioids. But the crisis was caused by the abuse of drugs, illegal sales, and improper prescribing by doctors — not legitimate use of these humane medicines as approved by the FDA. I am a big believer in the tort system as a market remedy for a market system. But sometimes it becomes a form of extortion.

    Neither for the first nor last time, this Thomas Szasz quote:

    The FDA calls certain substances “controlled.” But there are no “controlled substances,” there are only controlled citizens.


  • Also venturing into Szaszian territory, Bryan Caplan on The Depression Preference.

    When I describe mental illness as “an extreme, socially disapproved preference,” the most convincing counter-example people offer is depression.  Do I really think people “want to be depressed” or choose depression as a bizarre alternative lifestyle?

    My quick answer: These objections confuse preferences with meta-preferences.

    No one chooses to have the gene for cilantro aversion.  Yet people with the cilantro aversion gene are perfectly able to eat this vegetable.  They just strongly prefer not to.

    Before you write Bryan's distinction off as word-gaming, read the whole thing and think about it without blinders.


  • If you think you might like Supreme Court briefs partially written by P.J. O'Rourke, you'll want to check out Cato's Latest "Funny" Brief.

    “Fuct” is a clothing brand with, shall we say, a colorful name. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what they’re going for, and of course those who brazenly wear the clothing are fully aware of the signal it sends. Nevertheless, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) decided that the American public’s fragile sensibilities should be protected from this brand, at least in some way, by denying federal trademark registration on the grounds that the brand name is “scandalous.” The PTO also has fainting couches on hand for those who need further assistance.

    From the PDF brief:

    “In 1973, Yugoslav philologist Olga Penavin predicted that swearing would simply go extinct with the spread of socialism. In a socialist utopia, there would be no conflict, and thus no need for swearwords, she reasoned.” Mohr, supra, at 254. Sadly for Dr. Penavin, however, the oft-predicted triumph of socialism is still running behind schedule. Society remains firmly fixed in the real world, a world in which conflict, passion, and high emotions are an inherent part of life. And so long as such a world exists, it will remain impossible to fully convey the full range of our thoughts and feelings without a vocabulary that includes swearing.

    I'm damned impressed.


  • And the Google LFOD News Alert rang for an impassioned plea by Tom Whyman at the Outline, a site I usually do not read: Give the Nobel Prize in Literature to Dril.

    This month, it was announced that the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature would be awarded twice — to compensate for 2018, when a sexual harassment scandal forced the Swedish Academy to suspend the prize. Upon hearing this news, my immediate thought was: What a perfect opportunity. What a perfect opportunity to give the Nobel Prize in Literature to the one writer who really deserves it — but whom the powers-that-be might never dare honor, unless it could be alongside a more traditional voice, a more obviously “sensible” Nobel winner like some French guy whom no one has heard of before. What a perfect opportunity to give the Nobel Prize to Dril.

    At first blush this might sound stupid. But, counterpoint: no it isn’t. The Swedish Academy should absolutely give the most prestigious prize in world literature to the semi-anonymous author of a Twitter account, whose sole physical book, Dril Official “Mr Ten Years” Anniversary Collection, was self-published in August last year. A writer whose output, far from resembling the sort of thing that might normally be considered for the Nobel Prize, consists almost solely of posts such as “I burned 100 extra calories today just by thinking aobut asses,” “my dick is a beak now,” and “live free or die. kfc.”

    I endorse this groundswell of support for Dril.