URLs du Jour

2021-10-11

  • Hello, life. Goodbye, Columbus!

    [Goodbye, Columbus]

    According to the University Near Here, it's not Columbus Day today; just IP Day. Welcome to the UNH Memory Hole, Chris.


  • Are we sure she's not card-carrying? Liz Wolfe checks her out: Banks and Trade Groups Reject Saule Omarova, Biden’s New Currency Comptroller Pick.

    Some people who survived the Soviet Union took its failures as lessons learned the hard way, not worth replicating. But not Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden's pick to serve as currency comptroller.

    Born in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, Omarova is someone you might expect to be wary of the ways state power can distort markets at consumers' peril. Instead, the Cornell law professor tweets things like "Say what you will about old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn't always 'know best.'" She defended that claim by noting that salaries were set by the state and that maternity benefits were always generous.

    How nice that communism can degrade both genders equally! Preventing people from being compensated for quality work across 11 timezones does not seem like a recipe for a productive, developed economy, and indeed it wasn't. But that gaffe wasn't an outlier. Omarova really does want to greatly expand state power, even if not to fully Soviet levels.

    Not immediately, anyway. Only when that expansion of state power doesn't "work." Obviously, that's only because there was not enough state power.


  • This is the day of the expanding man. Another reason to spring for NRPlus: Kevin D. Williamson's article, Expanding IRS Investigation Power a Terrible Idea.

    When it comes to combined malice and incompetence, it is tough to beat the IRS — and the Biden administration, working from its own rich stores of malice and incompetence, now wants to give the taxman even more power to snoop on Americans, a proposal that has even congressional Democrats walking sideways away from it.

    The Biden administration has proposed commanding U.S. banks to monitor and report to the IRS all inflows to and outflows from bank accounts with $600 or more in them. The administration insists that the IRS would not be keeping files on individual transactions but demanding only “high level” information, such as total account activity. But as we have seen demonstrated a thousand times over, such aggregating ends up incorporating a great deal of private information, which can be extracted in unforeseen ways. Given the way the IRS has maliciously abused taxpayer information, it is not difficult to imagine its doing as bad or worse through mere negligence. The IRS is basically run by a bunch of guys whose account passwords are all “password.”

    `

    KDW recalls a couple decades back to the Patriot Act debates, when "a great many Democrats spent months running around with their dresses over their heads, weeping and gnashing their teeth and warning that Dick Cheney was going to be sneaking a peek at Americans’ library cards — a possibility that seemed to terrify most of all Americans who had never used a library card and were never going to." Yet those same folks are pretty copacetic about giving the IRS more snooping powers.


  • [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

    A provocative title. At UnHerd, Matti Friedman explains Why people love dead Jews. It's a commentary/review of the new book People Love Dead Jews, link at your right. Sample:

    Horn skirts close [to the topic of Israel] in one moving essay about a group of Yiddish actors and writers in the Soviet Union of the 1940s who were exploited for propaganda, then killed when they were no longer useful. The communists could tolerate Jews, she writes, “provided they weren’t practising the Jewish religion, studying traditional Jewish texts, using Hebrew, or supporting Zionism” — meaning that nearly all of Jewish life was out of bounds. “The Soviet Union thus pioneered a versatile gaslighting slogan, which it later spread through its client states in the developing world and which remains popular today: it was not anti-Semitic, merely anti-Zionist.”

    This differentiation, which outlived the Soviets and is increasingly popular on the Western Left today, is largely lost on the plurality of Jews who are Israelis, and on the vast majority who think a Jewish state is a good idea. Older people here in Israel still remember how in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, just 28 years after the concentration camps closed, the same liberal countries of Europe that were expressing pious regret for the recent extermination of their Jews wouldn’t allow desperately needed American resupply flights to land in their territory en route to Israel, which had just been attacked by two Arab clients of the Soviets and was struggling to recover.

    I watched the recent Dave Chapelle comedy special on Netflix. Pretty funny, although I was taken aback by a couple jokes, both with the punchline "Space Jews". (Google if desired).

    I guess I have a low trigger threshold for anti-semitism. But it made me wonder if I was being hypocritical for laughing at that other stuff about LBTGQetc folks. Maybe. Thinking about that on dog walks.


  • How about them Red Sox? I was about to write off this season after they lost Thursday's game. But now I'm a fan again!

    In honor of their comeback, let's check out Matt Welch's article, How Government Devastated Minor League Baseball.

    It's family Sunday FunDay here at Coney Island's Maimonides Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. For the low price of $18, enjoy the up-close views of future New York Mets stars and between-innings fan contests involving potato sacks. If the kids don't wilt in the mid-July swelter, they can run the bases on the field after the game. It's minor league baseball at its corny, affordable best.

    Seven miles away as the seagull flies over the mouth of New York Harbor, the scene at Richmond County Bank Ballpark is considerably bleaker. Gawky weeds shoot up through the neglected infield dirt and mangy outfield grass where the Staten Island Yankees once roamed. Just over the chain-link fence in right field sits an overflowing dumpster. The sliver of real estate past left field was supposed to be a walkway to a billion-dollar Ferris wheel; now it's a shady homeless camp dotted with flattened cardboard. "Let's not eat here," a mom says to her picnic-impatient 6-year-old.

    The divergent fate of New York City's two minor league ballparks, like too much of life in the five boroughs, is a cautionary tale about what happens when government and business promiscuously canoodle. The city spent $71 million on a picturesque stadium on the Staten Island waterfront (Maimonides cost $55 million) that after a two-decade run now stands empty, and it's reacting to that calamity by throwing a fresh new $8 million toward cleanup costs in the hopes of luring baseball back.

    Baseball-lovin' Matt gets extra points for correct use of the term "canoodle".