URLs du Jour

2019-12-14

  • Michael P. Ramirez captures my own sentiments, drawing The monkeys in the House.

    [Monkeys]


  • I commented on Garrett Graff's unhinged rant about Fox News in Wired a couple days ago. But Kevin D. Williamson says it better. Unsurprisingly. I'll resist quoting the whole thing, but…

    Graff should be both more worried and less worried than he is. He overestimates the problem of Fox News specifically. He underestimates the problem of the way in which cable-news programming as a whole functions as an echo-chamber and amplifier for a relatively small but politically significant demographic of Americans who are old and stupid and credulous. Both Fox News and MSNBC have a median viewer age of 65, and oldsters are by far the most enthusiastic consumers of television across-the-board.

    People who rely on television for their news are dumb. Dumb as rocks. Dumber than nine chickens. Everybody knows this, but some people have professional reasons for declining to say so.

    Graff predictably lacks the courage of his convictions. What do we do about threats to national security — dangerous threats to national security — Mr. Graff? Do tell.

    I was wondering about that last bit myself. I note that Mr. Graff is way too young to remember the Rosenbergs, actual threats to national security, but maybe he's heard about them, and I wonder if theirs is the kind of Fox News Final Solution he has in mind.


  • We don't often see perfection in our flawed world, but David Harsanyi thinks he's got an example: Greta Thunberg Is the Perfect Hero for an Unserious Time.

    Who better than a finger-wagging teen bereft of accomplishment, or any comprehension of basic economics or history, to be Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019? Greta Thunberg’s canonization is a perfect expression of media activism in a deeply unserious time.

    Has there ever been a less consequential person picked to be Person of the Year? I doubt it. I mean, Wallis Simpson, 1936’s Person of the Year, got King Edward VIII to abdicate the throne. Thunberg can’t even get you to abdicate your air-conditioning.

    These days we celebrate vacuous fire and brimstone. “Greta Thunberg”—the idea, not the girl—is a concoction of activists who have increasingly taken to using children as a shield from critical analysis or debate. She’s the vessel of the environmentalist’s fraudulent apocalypticism-as-argument. Her style is emotion and indignation, histrionics and fantasy. She is a teenager, after all.

    I've gotta write something about David Hogg along these lines. Maybe after Christmas.


  • There's been a distressing lack of chin-pulling end-of-decade analyses, but Jacob Sullum offers one: This Was the Decade When Politicians Stopped Panicking About Marijuana and Started Panicking About Nicotine.

    The shift from demonizing cannabis to demonizing nicotine is not a good sign for anyone who hoped that recognizing the folly of marijuana prohibition would lead to a broader understanding of the costs inflicted by attempts to forcibly prevent people from consuming psychoactive substances. By and large, neither legislators nor the voters they represent think about this subject in a principled way. If they did, the repeal of National Alcohol Prohibition in 1933 would not have been followed four years later by the Marihuana Tax Act, a federal ban disguised as a revenue measure. When it comes to ending the war on drugs, the same arguments have to be deployed anew for every intoxicant.

    Still, there's no denying the dramatic progress we've seen since 2010, when no state allowed recreational use of marijuana (with the partial exception of Alaska, where the state constitution had been interpreted as protecting private possession of small amounts). Today recreational use is legal in 11 states, 10 of which also allow commercial production and distribution, while medical use is legal in 33 states, up from 13 at the beginning of the decade. During the same period, according to Gallup, public support for general legalization has risen from 44 percent to 66 percent.

    It's like we have a hardwired need to always panic about something. (If only it were out-of-control government spending!)


  • Drew Cline at the Josiah Bartlett Center says that we are Taking the first step to solving New Hampshire's housing shortage.

    A positive shift is happening in New Hampshire’s pro-housing movement. Gov. Chris Sununu helped highlight it on Wednesday.

    Speaking at a housing forum organized by the Center for Ethics in Government at St. Anselm College, the governor criticized municipalities that use local regulatory powers to impose severe restrictions on housing development.

    Bedford, the governor said, was an example of a town that has made it difficult for people to build lower-priced homes, particularly multi-family housing.

    My town's discussion page on Facebook is full of freakouts about any new housing construction. Open space! New kids at the school! Property values!

    I suppose I should go along in self-interest: keeping the housing market tight makes it more likely that my house will (eventually) sell for an exorbitant price. But (with my luck) that factor will be more than offset by all the other baby-boomer dwellings selling at the same time.