URLs du Jour

2019-09-16

[Amazon Link]

  • With respect to our Amazon Product du Jour goes, Kurdistan does not appear in the latest edition of the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World. Because, technically, it's not a country. Some major points:

    • Hong Kong and Singapore, as usual, occupy the top two positions. The next highest scoring nations are New Zealand, Switzerland, United States, Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Mauritius.
    • The rankings of some other major countries are Japan (17th), Germany (20th), Italy (46th), France (50th), Mexico (76th), India (79th), Russia (85th), China (113th), and Brazil (120th).
    • The 10 lowest-rated countries are: Iraq, Republic of Congo, Egypt, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Algeria, Sudan, Libya, and, lastly, Venezuela.

    I can't recall which country Bernie thinks we should be more like, but it's not Hong Kong.


  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson writes (NRPLUS article, don't know what that means): ‘Resistance’ Politics Degrades Civic Life. Interesting question: which side really has a better "resistance" argument?

    The Democrats, after all, have shown themselves to be thoroughgoing authoritarians. Many of our progressive friends spent the Obama years lecturing us that opposition to the president and his agenda was tantamount to sedition or treason. They tell us now that failing to knuckle under to their political agenda is treason. Democratic prosecutors have been conducting investigations of companies and political activists for having the wrong opinions on global warming; Democrats in California have just declared the National Rifle Association a terrorist organization because it opposes them politically, and Democrats threaten companies doing business with the NRA with governmental retaliation; Democrats have proposed to gut the First Amendment; Democrats propose to put people in prison for showing films with political content without government permission; Democrats have resurrected 19th-century Know-Nothingism in their bigoted and unconstitutional campaign to keep Catholics off of federal courts; Democrats have illegally and unethically abused the powers of the IRS and other government agencies to harass and punish political rivals. It isn’t Republicans who want to censor political speech. It isn’t Republicans employing violence against college students and visitors at Mizzou or firebombing buildings at Berkeley.

    And now Robert Francis O’Rourke has finally decided to confess what everybody already knows by openly declaring his intention to seize Americans’ firearms in direct violation of the Bill of Rights — a proposal that other leading Democrats already have endorsed.

    I'm too old for "resistance", but Democrats/Leftists should keep in mind that old "sow the wind, reap the whirlwind" adage.


  • Jeff Jacoby states, correctly: The case against fracking is based on ideology, not science.

    By unleashing vast quantities of clean-burning natural gas, fracking dramatically changed the economics of electricity production. As natural gas grew more and more affordable, fewer and fewer power plants continued to burn coal. Indeed, more than half of all US coal-fired plants have closed over the past 10 years. According to the Energy Information Administration, 35 percent of America's electricity in 2018 came from natural gas; just 27 percent was from coal. No one would have thought those percentages were possible in 2000, when half of the nation's electricity was generated by coal-fired plants and less than one-sixth came from natural gas.

    Because natural gas releases only half as much carbon dioxide as coal, the sweeping shift to gas-fueled plants has led to a dramatic reduction in America's greenhouse gas emissions. So dramatic, in fact, that no other nation matches it, as President Obama observed in his 2014 State of the Union address: "Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth."

    For anyone who worries about climate change and is intent on carbon reduction, all this should be cause for rejoicing. Fracking, which has made it possible, should be extolled as a boon to environmental progress.

    The Democrat candidates are split on the issue, with Bernie, Kamala, and Elizabeth taking the anti-science viewpoint.


  • And our Google LFOD alert rang for an opinion piece in the Buffalo (NY) News, about their state's license plate kerfuffle: Cuomo, DMV need to rethink plan to replace license plates.

    The comedian George Carlin had some observations about state license plates: “The most dramatic license plate of all has to be New Hampshire’s, which says, ‘Live free or die.’ On the other end of the spectrum is Idaho’s, which says, ‘Famous potatoes.’ It would seem to me that somewhere in-between the truth lies.”

    So it is with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to mandate the replacement of older license plates in New York. Critics call it an unseemly cash grab by Albany. Cuomo says it is a necessary step to keep up with technology. We suspect the truth lies in the middle.

    Well, maybe. Apparently the proposed new NY plate uses the official motto "Excelsior", which besides being something Stan Lee said all the time, allegedly is also Latin for "Ever Upward".

    Which is an odd thing to have on a car. Because they sometimes go downhill too.