URLs du Jour

2019-12-12

  • In our occasional "Headline Implies That It Could Be a Very Long Article" department, Reason's Robby Soave: Here’s What’s Wrong with Time Declaring Greta Thunberg Person of the Year.

    After decades of treating children as little more than pets, the media now gives too much weight to the opinions of teen activists, particularly when they protest about issues like climate change, gun violence in schools, income inequality, etc. As Ilya Somin has written, young people—even ones who can credibly claim to have been especially harmed by some crisis—do not generally have special insights or strong knowledge of public policy. According to Somin:

    The young, as a general rule, know less about government and public policy than other age groups. For that reason, they are also less likely to have valuable insights on how to address difficult issues. …

    It would be a mistake to dismiss policy proposals out of hand, merely because of the age of their adherents. But it is also a mistake to ascribe any special political wisdom to the young. The fact that large numbers of young people support a political cause adds little, if anything, to its merits.

    Thunberg is Time's Person of the Year, but that doesn't make her claims about the future of the planet any less wrong: We are not "in the beginning of a mass extinction," and the world is not going to end in the next 10-12 years barring the adoption of her radical ideas.

    Also see David Hogg, a discussion of whom will show up here at some point in the next few weeks.

    [Not pictured at right: a young Greta.]


  • Apparenty, according to the Indispensible One: There's a Rumor Biden Will Promise Not to Run for a Second Term. As usual, there's a lot of analysis and insight, but I liked this:

    Either way, Biden is probably going to have to address his age and health at some point in some degree of length and detail. Back in 1996, I thought Bob Dole had a terrific speech accepting the nomination, where he confronted the idea that he was too old directly: “Age has its advantages. Let me be the bridge to an America than only the unknowing call myth. Let me be the bridge to a time of tranquility, faith and confidence in action. And to those who say it was never so, that America’s not been better, I say you’re wrong. And I know because I was there. And I have seen it. And I remember.”

    (In 1996, Bob Dole was 73 years old and was endlessly mocked for being ancient. On Election Day in 2020, Bernie Sanders will be 79, Mike Bloomberg will be 78 years, Biden will be 77 years, 11 months, President Trump wil be 74, and Elizabeth Warren will be 71.)

    Jim goes on to observe that if you're tired of "wild gaffes, offensive statements from the Oval Office and embarrassing presidential offspring", … well, Biden might not be your best choice.


  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson, no Trump fanboy, lets loose on FBI Corruption: How Dirty Cops Spied on Trump Campaign.

    The FBI’s actions in the Trump matter were outrageous, with agents going so far as to alter documents included as part of the FISA warrant process.

    Focus in on that for a moment: The Federal Bureau of Investigation under the Obama administration sought to launch an investigation of the rival party’s presidential campaign in order to spy on it under powers reserved for national-security purposes. (FISA stands for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.) In order to activate those powers, the FBI had to go to a federal court for permission, which it did — with falsified documents in hand. If the FBI attorney who altered that document avoids seeing the inside of a federal prison cell, it will be a grave disservice to justice.

    What makes this even worse is not that there was no good reason to be suspicious of the relationships between Trump’s circle and the Russians but that there was. In that sense, Obama’s investigation of the Trump campaign is a mirror image of Trump’s efforts to strong-arm the Ukrainians into investigating Hunter Biden: The underlying issue was very much worth looking into, and that makes the fact that the process was distorted by petty, corrupt opportunism even more offensive. Trump & Co. may be as crooked as a barrel of snakes, but that does not mean that those who investigated them weren’t crooked, too. Nor does it absolve the FBI and the Obama administration from their wrongdoing.

    This seems obvious to me as well, but good luck cutting through the MSM fog.


  • Apparently nobody at Wired magazine is in charge of saying "wait a minute". Because the headline on this Garrett M. Graff article/screed is: Fox News Is Now a Threat to National Security.

    Monday’s split-screen drama, as the House Judiciary Committee weighed impeachment charges against President Trump and as the Justice Department’s inspector general released a 476-page report on the FBI’s handling of its 2016 investigation into Trump’s campaign, made one truth of the modern world inescapable: The lies and obfuscations forwarded ad infinitum on Fox News pose a dangerous threat to the national security of the United States.

    The funny part is that later in the article Garrett complains about "overheated and bombastic rhetoric".


  • And guess who's on this list of The 10 States With The Most Millionaires compiled by a site called "The Richest"? Coming in at a solid seventh place:

    New Hampshire's motto is "Live Free, Or Die". And it means it. In 1776, it was the first of the American Colonies to establish a government independent of the British Crown. It's an old-money kind of place. Millionaires make up almost 8 percent of the total population, thanks to a number of federal agencies, together with law firms and agencies that advise them. Then there is the booming tourist trade.

    Is having that many millionaires a good thing? Well, for the rich yes. But for the average man or woman on the street, it simply means a higher cost of living.

    Hm. That "thanks to a number of federal agencies" doesn't seem right to me, but let's see…

    This USA Today article ranks states by the percentage of population working for "the government". NH is in 45th place, "only" 13.2% of workforce considered government workers.

    But that includes state/local employees, apparently. This site has a table that ranks "States Most Dependent on the Federal Government". NH ranks #36 on its score (based on a few measures); they say the fraction of our workforce employed by the Feds is 2.1%.

    So I'd rank the "Richest" commentary as "uninformed garbage."


Last Modified 2019-12-13 3:35 AM EST

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

[1.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Geez, what was I thinking?

Well, Netflix's algorithm thought I'd like it, despite me giving the previous entry a mediocre three stars (and I actually blogged at the time that I wasn't going to bother with this one).

And I think it was Peter Suderman who said he liked it in a Reason podcast episode.

So, I thought, hey maybe.

Well, maybe I was tired and maybe I had one too many glasses of wine, but at a certain point I fell asleep on the futon, … woke up for a bit, and hey, there's Halle Barry shooting people in the head with as much gusto as Wick… then fell asleep again … and woke up about a minute before the credits rolled.

I suppose the cinematography is good, the sets are excellent and imaginative, but it's all in service of a story that's the third try at the same old thing: a bunch of people are trying to kill John Wick, but he kills them instead. And I don't care.