URLs du Jour

2020-11-22

Michael Ramirez goes a little PG-13 but… [View From Behind]

  • We don't care awfully much about the jerks who voters in a faraway state have chosen to impose upon themselves, but Joel Kotkin does: Governor Preen.

    If Hollywood were to cast a governor and future president, and if a straight white male were still politically acceptable, he would look like California’s Gavin Newsom. The 53-year-old governor, a former mayor of San Francisco, Newsom handsomely epitomizes the preening politics of the California elite class that has nurtured and financed his career from the beginning.

    Like aristocrats of the past, Newsom seems oblivious to the realities felt by constituents among the lower orders. In the face of massive wildfires, he postures on climate change, conflating fires with an angry mother Earth—as opposed to poor land management—and uses the conflagration to justify a radical policy of switching to all-electric power over the next decade, with the elimination of gas-powered cars by 2035. In the midst of a near economic free-fall, he favors raising taxes and works to tighten pandemic lockdowns; and, with the state losing its ability to train workers, he backs an education system where almost three out of five California high schoolers graduate unprepared for either college or a career.

    A good summary of what (I hope) the rest of the country can manage to avoid.


  • At the WaPo, Megan McArdle dreams of an alternate timeline, one in which We Could Have Done Better. It's about the latest Grim Milestone.

    Do you even know what 250,000 people looks like? Because I don’t. I have been trying to imagine it, andfailing [sic].

    The closest I can get is imagining something I have seen: Yankee Stadium, filled to capacity with a World Series crowd — multiplied by five. Then comes the hard part: I imagine all of them locked into the stadium and dying, mostly alone and terrified, of heart attacks or strokes or kidney failure or slow suffocation, while their families wait weeping in the parking lot.

    And then I imagine that happening on a live stream so the country can witness the horror. That’s what it would look like if you could see all the Americans who have died of covid-19 since last March.

    But…


  • … at the WSJ, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. is the anti-McArdle: Media Banality Is a Covid Comorbidity. Probably paywalled, but really, this is why you should subscribe.

    National Public Radio host: “We have said the words grim milestone so many times over the past eight months on this program, and yet here we are once more. The number this time—250,000. . . . Each digit in that number, a life now gone, their loved ones now grieving. The collective loss is hard to measure.”

    NPR reporter: “You know, Rachel, each of these terrible new milestones is so big they can start to feel incomprehensible. So I’ve been struggling to find a way to put such a terrible tragedy into some kind of context. It’s hard. But 250,000 deaths is about five times the number of U.S. troops killed in combat in Vietnam. It’s nearly five times the number of Americans who died in combat in World War I.”

    These words (and I’ve spared you the full version) were spoken with the dramatic intonation that NPR apparently now requires of its on-air performers, indicating not informational content but somebody’s idea of the appropriate emotional response to be extorted from listeners. And yet the question that started this discussion could have been answered in another way more befitting a news organization: 250,000 is 9% more than the estimated U.S. death toll from the 1957 flu, adjusted for population; it’s 34% larger than the 1968 flu’s death toll; it’s about one-fifth the 1918 pandemic’s.

    At least our reporter didn’t tell us that laying the victims end to end would reach from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

    Wouldn't it be nice if journalists avoided sensationalism and heartstring-tugging emotion, and simply reported facts?


  • Another stupid article from Wired, this one from Zachary Karabell lecturing on What the EU Gets Right—and the US Gets Wrong—About Antitrust.

    Over time, US law has come to view antitrust through a single lens: harm to the consumer. That’s a problem for critics of Big Tech, because the companies give away many of their products for free and can argue that in other cases they lower prices. The US antitrust framework simply isn’t well-suited to the unique structure and scope of these 21st-century behemoths.

    In the words of Lina Khan, an attorney who served on the staff of the House antitrust subcommittee that issued a highly critical report of the tech giants in October, “the current framework in antitrust—specifically its pegging competition to consumer welfare, defined as short-term price effects—is unequipped to capture the architecture of market power in the modern economy.” The report says tech’s Big Four have gone from being “scrappy, underdog startups” to the “kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons” and that have acquired too much power that they have then exploited. Khan favors changing the law to look more broadly at the ill effects of monopolies.

    I believe a good translation is: "Big tech is not causing consumer harm, which is our usual rationale for invoking anti-trust remedies. So we'll make up a different story, one they weren't expecting! Bwah hah hah!"

    It was nice when progressives pretended to believe in "norms". Such as that good old "rule of law".

    Which, if it means anything at all, means having clear, bright lines that (for example) corporations have solid knowledge ahead of time about what kind of behavior they need to avoid.

    The kind of anti-trust Karabell is advocating is the opposite of that.


Last Modified 2024-02-02 4:50 AM EST