URLs du Jour

2021-04-30

[Amazon Link]
Happy birthday to Willie Nelson, who some say was born on this date in 1933. (Some others say April 29, but I'm going with today.)

  • Also From The Thirties are President Wheezy's efforts to ape FDR. Eric Boehm notes: Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Would Redefine ‘Broadband’ To Justify Spending $100 Billion on Government-run Internet.

    As part of a $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal, President Joe Biden is pushing Congress to spend $100 billion fixing a problem that mostly doesn't exist: widespread lack of access to broadband internet.

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that there were about 14.5 million Americans, living in an estimated 4.3 million households, that lacked access to broadband internet at the end of 2019. That's a serious but narrow problem that's already being addressed by a combination of private and public efforts. New technologies like SpaceX's low-orbit satellites can beam broadband internet to homes even in far-flung rural places, and the FCC has already budgeted more than $9 billion over the next 10 years as part of what the agency says is the "biggest single step ever…toward closing the rural digital divide." The number of Americans without broadband access fell by 20 percent in 2019, according to an FCC report published in January, and it's likely that the total is significantly less today than at the end of 2019.

    But Biden's infrastructure plan suggests a major change to what counts as "broadband" internet. As a result, as many as 64 million American households could suddenly appear to lack adequate online speed—even though nothing about their current services would change.

    Hm, didn't know about the goalpost-moving bit. Our local pols are telling tales of kids in some dark, snowy Coos county parking lot, grabbing wi-fi from the library in order to get their homework done. Don't worry, kid! Joe's gonna bring fiber right to your house!

    For the record, the speed test Google provides clocks Pun Salad Manor at 75-80 Mbs down/6 Mbps up. That's via Comcast, pretty good.


  • It's Just Politicianese For 'Gimme More Money'. Harvard economist and overall smart guy is (like me) puzzled about how Biden uses the term: Fair Share. (I suspect (like me) he's not actually puzzled.)

    Yesterday, President Biden said, "I will not impose any tax increase on people making less than $400,000. But it’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to just begin to pay their fair share....But I will not add a tax burden, additional tax burden on the middle class of this country. They’re already paying enough."

    According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the middle class (defined here as the middle quintile of the income distribution) now pays about 13 percent of its income in federal taxes. The top 1 percent pays about 30 percent of its income in federal taxes.

    I wonder: What constitutes a "fair share" in President Biden's eyes? On what basis does he conclude that the current distribution of the tax burden is not fair?

    We'd both like to know. Or, we'd both like to be amused by Biden's attempt to fumblemouth up an answer to such simple questions.


  • I'm Pretty Sure I Didn't Build That. I Would Have Painted It A Different Color. Kevin D. Williamson apparently braved watching Biden's speech. His reaction: Oh, Good — More ‘You Didn’t Build That’-ism!.

    Joe Biden says: “Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions built the middle class.”

    Like so much that comes out of President Biden’s mouth, this is part dishonesty and part stupidity. If you think investment didn’t build this country — and many cases, literally build it — then you are . . . very possibly a doddering old goofus who was never very bright to begin with.

    KDW doesn't find the bit about "unions built the middle class" to be that supportable either.


  • Nanny Statism Is Back, Baby! Veronique de Rugy notes the skids are being greased: The FDA's Slippery Slope Toward Mandating Raw Broccoli for Breakfast.

    If it doesn't look like avocado toast, you can't have it. That's the message I get loud and clear from Uncle Sam when I read story after story about the Food and Drug Administration's latest foray into stopping ordinary Americans from doing what ordinary Americans like to do.

    Take the latest news that the FDA is thinking about requiring tobacco companies to lower the nicotine in all cigarettes sold in the United States. Its goal is to fight nicotine addiction. The paternalists at the FDA are also considering whether this proposal should be paired with a ban on menthol products.

    This comes from the agency that has badly botched the COVID-19 response by delaying test and vaccine authorizations that could have saved countless lives. Now it has the nerve to tell Americans, most of whom are stressed out of their minds after a year of the pandemic and lockdowns, what they can or can't inhale.

    I'm not stressed, and I've never smoked anything. But I'm with Katherine Mangu-Ward: Abolish the FDA.


  • Being Woke Or Being Rational. Choose Exactly One. At City Journal, Lee Siegel looks at Simon and Schuster Petition’s Woke Contradictions.

    A few days ago, 216 employees of Simon and Schuster, along with several thousand people from outside the trade publishing house, sent a petition to top executives of the company demanding that they stop publishing anyone who had anything to do with the Trump administration. Their rationale for making such a demand was that Trump’s presidency was a dangerous historical aberration. According to the Wall Street Journal, the letter insists that Simon and Schuster not treat “the Trump administration as a ‘normal’ chapter in American history.”

    Before I sat down to write this essay, I had to ask myself several questions. Will the opinions I express jeopardize my position at the liberal university where I teach? Will they endanger my relationship with my liberal publisher? Will they roil my relations with my neighbors in the ultraprogressive New Jersey suburb where I live?

    That I had to ask is not “normal.”

    One of the advantages of writing a blog that nobody reads is I don't have to worry about that. Also, being retired helps.

IQ

[Amazon Link]

The WSJ's Tom Nolan put the fourth novel in Joe Ide's "IQ" series on his Best Mysteries of 2020 list. But you know how it is with series: entry number N can contain references to entries N-1, N-2, …, 1. So I decided to start with number one instead of diving into 4.

Fortunately, Amazon had a sale on the Kindle version: a mere $1.99. A very good deal, no longer available!

An excellent deal, in fact. And it worked: definitely going to read more Joe Ide.

The narrative is a little tricky: two timelines, one in 2005-6, the second in 2013. The earlier is essentially the "origin story" of Isaiah Quintabe (IQ). His life is knocked off course by unspeakable tragedy, but also reveals his undeniable talents for observation and Sherlockian deductive reasoning. (The book claims it's really "inductive" reasoning.)

Unfortunately, IQ's circumstances lead him to partner up with drug-dealing Dodson, and (eventually) to a life of major burglary. This doesn't turn out well; horrifically in fact. But…

In the 2013 timeline, IQ and Dodson have gone straight, doing odd detective-type jobs (unlicensed) for folks in the hood. That doesn't pay as well as they'd like. But IQ's talents become known to a famous rapper, Cal. Someone's trying to kill Cal, and the initial attempt was unique: a giant pit bull sent to his estate to rip him to shreds. Who's behind this nefarious scheme?

The book is hilarious in parts, moving and somber in others. Pulse-pounding action at times. It's a super button-pusher (Kindlese for "page turner").

And a hook for the next book in the series right at the end. I was in already, Joe!


Last Modified 2021-04-30 6:29 AM EDT