URLs du Jour

2021-11-22

  • We seee you, Maggie. Our state's junior Senator features prominently in this recent column by Kimberly Strassel in the WSJ: On Reconciliation Bill, Senate Moderates Hide Behind Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Let's see:

    The Beltway press corps continues to hound Sen. Joe Manchin for every-other-minute updates on his thinking about the Democrats’ proposed $1.75 trillion spending bill. Sen. Maggie Hassan has never had it so lucky.

    Ms. Hassan, believe it or not, has far more riding on the outcome of this reconciliation bill than the senator from West Virginia. She’s the one up for re-election next year, and her New Hampshire seat will be one of the toughest for Democrats to hold. Yet good luck finding evidence Ms. Hassan has made any real demands about the contours of the legislation. Good luck finding Ms. Hassan speaking much about the partisan bill at all.

    It’s not as if she can’t drive a bargain—or is shy about taking credit. She was among the core negotiators of the recently signed infrastructure bill, and this week she proudly accompanied President Biden to his first event touting that legislation, on a bridge in Woodstock, N.H. The president gave her the first shout-out of his speech, praising her for corralling “bipartisan support” for the bill. His talk was notably light on references to his bigger budget blowout. No doubt Ms. Hassan preferred it that way. (Ms. Hassan’s office didn’t reply to an email asking how she views the bill’s effect on inflation or its partisan nature.)

    On our local TV news, Maggie's been running re-election ads praising her own "bipartisanship". Fine, but the "independent" League of Conservation Voters has been praising her not-yet-cast vote for "Build Back Better".

    [Both NH CongressCritters, Pappas and Kuster, voted for BBB. Only one Democrat voted against, Jared Golden of Maine.]


  • Looking forward to freezing in the dark this winter… Eric Boehm notes one part of the lie that BBB is "paid for" by getting the fat cats to pay their "fair share": House-Passed 'Build Back Better' Plan Aims To Curb Methane Emissions by Hiking Heating Prices

    Buried inside the "Build Back Better" plan that cleared the House of Representatives on Friday morning is a new tax on natural gas production that will likely translate into higher heating bills for American households.

    The new tax is aimed at curbing methane emissions and will apply fees to companies that produce, process, transmit or store oil and natural gas starting in 2023. The specific fees will depend on where the natural gas is produced and will vary depending on how much methane is released into the atmosphere during the process. Overall, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the new "methane fee" will generate about $8 billion over the next 10 years.

    Note: that's just one itty-bitty lie. More to come.


  • [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

    Jonah's headline speaks the truth. And I will unexpurgate it: The Road to Serfdom is Paved with Bullshit.

    [Ever since I read Harry Frankfurt's On Bullshit back in 2005, I've thought that the word was way too useful to be obfuscated. It describes something real, and there's no good substitute.]

    Anyway, Jonah:

    A few weeks ago, I saw a rave review in the American Conservative of a new book, The Reactionary Mind: Why “Conservative” Isn't Enough. Judging by the review and what I know of the reviewer, I fully expected to hate it.

    I got the book, picked it up, and … I loved it. It’s written in brisk, inviting, oddly unpretentious prose. The author, Michael Warren Davis, is a knowledgeable, confident writer, who writes of cobwebby things with remarkable clarity and verve. It’s fun, informative, thoroughly quirky in a good way, and full of things—mostly of secondary or tangential relevance to his thesis—that I agree with to one extent or another.

    And now that I’ve gotten the sure-to-be-unexpected, blurbable praise out of the way, I should get to my primary criticism: It’s [bullshit].

    The review is non-paywalled, and recommended. Davis romanticizes—really!—the good old days of feudalism. Jonah does a useful reality check on that.


  • "Save us from seeing weapons, Democrats!" … said, I'm pretty sure, nobody. And yet, as Liberty Block reports: Democrat Bill Would Ban Open Carry In New Hampshire

    Legislation introduced by eight Democrats in the New Hampshire House seems at first glance to be a reasonable solution to a particular form of tragedy. Last year, Kyle Rittenhouse shot three attackers in self-defense with his AR-15 at a BLM riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two of the attackers and wounding the third. Since the polarizing incident, some concerned citizens have begun to wonder why a person was allowed to carry a firearm at a protest in the first place. Some have even gone so far as claiming that he ‘was asking for it’, and violence came his way as a result of his own actions. This legislation will surely be justified by its sponsors as a solution to this issue. It’s simple; prohibit citizens from openly carrying deadly weapons at high-intensity protests. 

    One of the local sponsors is Durham's own Timothy Horrigan. You can click through to see the others.

    Fun fact: According to this 2013 Commie Radio NHPR story:

    People have been free to carry a loaded gun openly in NH since statehood. That is to say, there’s never been a law that prohibits or regulates it.

    The article notes exceptions: courthouses, schools. But the proposed legislation would be overbroad and unnecessary.


  • Oh good. WIRED is totally serious about their headline: The Future of Digital Assistants Is Queer

    This November, the Smithsonian’s FUTURES festival, featuring innovations that are set to change the world, will include a familiar face. Or, rather, voice: Q, introduced in 2019 as the first “genderless AI voice,” is a human voice for use in digital assistants specifically created to be gender-ambiguous.

    “Q was designed to start a conversation around why we gender technology when technology has no gender to begin with,” says Ryan Sherman, one of Q’s co-creators. To design the voice, a team of linguists, sound engineers, and creatives collaborated with nonbinary individuals and sampled different voices to land on a sound range they felt had the potential to disrupt the status quo and represent nonbinary people in the world of AI.

    Our Silicon Valley betters are here to make sure we don't assume our bots' genders. I'm going to the living room to discuss this with Alexa right now.