URLs du Jour

2020-04-01

[Amazon Link]
Our Amazon Product du Jour is "Modern-Depo High-Back Swivel Gaming Chair Recliner with Bluetooth 4.1 Speakers, Footrest, Headrest and Lumbar Support | Height Adjustable Ergonomic Office Chair - Black & Orange". A mere $174.99.

I admire that last adjective: "Office".

  • Andrew Stuttaford writes at National Review about the pandemic response and: Setting a Precedent.

    […] there should be no illusions that some default instinct towards freedom will stop Americans from succumbing to the intellectual temptations that the response to COVID-19 may send their way. Turning to Uncle Sam in times of insecurity, especially in a country where hard times can be much harder than many places elsewhere in the West is understandable enough. There’s also an unsettling aspect of human nature to consider. It may seem odd to describe a society as mobilized — when so many and so much have been immobilized — but that’s what America now is, thus the frequent wartime comparisons. Despite chafing against some of the restrictions that typically come with it, there are plenty of people who rather like being mobilized. That’s just another reason why countries that have been mobilized tend to stay so for far longer than an emergency might call for, and why the state almost never retreats the whole way back to where it was before that emergency begun.

    Well, on that cheerful note…


  • Let's lighten the mood. At Reason, Peter Suderman notes The World Health Organization Classified Video Game Addiction as a Disorder. Now It’s Telling People to Play Video Games. (And our Amazon Product du Jour is perfect for that, just sayin'.)

    There's nothing inherently contradictory about the WHO's messaging, but it does serve as a reminder that gaming has social and health benefits. Although video games have become far more popular in recent years, they are still sometimes subject to a cultural stigma, a perception that they are time-wasters at best, socially corrosive at worst. That stigma has been around for as long as I can remember, from the early 1990s congressional hearings on violence in games like Mortal Kombat to the continuing efforts by politicians and pundits to tie acts of real-world violence to playing video games—despite the persistent lack of evidence

    I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with Spider Solitaire.


  • At AEI, Mark J. Perry quotes William McGurn on ‘Harvard’s China virus’.

    Amid the coronavirus wreckage, there seems to be a bright spot. The pushback against referring to Covid-19 as the “China virus” indicates a welcome new sensitivity for the racial discrimination directed at Chinese-Americans. Or does it?

    Ever since people began referring to “the China virus”—or to be precise, ever since the White House press corps realized it was Donald Trump’s preferred term—the American people have been given repeated warnings that this is not only insensitive but dangerous.

    It’s hard not to notice the chasm between this new hypersensitivity and the indifference toward another, very real discrimination affecting this same community. That is the racial discrimination keeping Chinese-Americans out of America’s most elite educational institutions. Some of the same people who fret so loudly about how we refer to Covid-19 are utterly indifferent to this other racial discrimination affecting Chinese-Americans.

    Mark sums it up in one of his famous Venn diagrams:

    [China Virus]


  • Pierre Lemieux reminds us what happens When Free-Market Prices Are Banned.

    One would think that basic economics and economic history, including a century of communist experiments, have demonstrated one thing: when prices are forbidden to adjust, shortages are created, the allocation of goods by government becomes a nightmare, and black markets develop. It would seem that especially in times of emergency, whatever government does, it should leave prices alone.

    Prices of medical products related to the current epidemic (face masks, disinfecting products, medical gowns and gloves, ventilators, and such) just like prices of common consumer goods were already capped by states’ “price gouging” laws triggered by the governors’ emergency declarations. Price controls have been further tightened by President Trump’s March 23 Executive Order on Preventing Hoarding of Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19 and by the March 25 Notice of Designation of Scarce Materials or Threatened Materials issued by the Department of Health and Human Resources. Not surprisingly, shortages have appeared.

    I get that nobody likes high prices. But they're trying to tell you something; it does no good to plug your ears and sing "La la la…".


  • And our Google LFOD News Alert rang from way 'cross the pond, specifically from Yorkshire Coast Radio, where one Jeremy Thompson muses on Coronavirus: FaceTime, pilates and lockdown humour. ("Jeremy Thompson is a former Sky News presenter in his seventies.")

    Some friends around my age report back on their first trip out to "oldies' hour" at the supermarket.

    Quite civilised apparently, with staff politely monitoring shoppers' ages and carrying bags to their cars.

    Even so, a few "younger" shoppers still try to jump the seniors' queue or break the two-metre cordon sanitaire. Ah, good old Brits, all pulling together! When will we ever learn?

    I read about one GP weeping at the foolishness of folk still gathering in contagion clusters, recklessly disregarding the medical facts. It's like some people are determined to live by New Hampshire's state motto: Live Free or Die.

    Nice: they know about our state motto, even in old Yorkshire, which is way up by Hadrian's Wall, and about the only thing they're known for is pudding.

    All right (sigh): the Brontë sisters, too.

    Not so nice: equating our state motto to, essentially, "Act Stupid, Irresponsible, and Selfish." I think that's missing some … nuance.