URLs du Jour


■ Come on, Proverbs 28:22, give us something enlightening:

The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them.

Ack. This calls for a counterpoint, and there's nothing better than this old Steven Landsburg article from Slate, back when it was good: What I Like About Scrooge.

Scrooge has been called ungenerous. I say that's a bum rap. What could be more generous than keeping your lamps unlit and your plate unfilled, leaving more fuel for others to burn and more food for others to eat? Who is a more benevolent neighbor than the man who employs no servants, freeing them to wait on someone else?

Take that, economically-ignorant Proverbialist.

■ Writing at NR, Kevin D. Williamson offers advice to modern Presidents: be Like Ike.

It is not 1957 anymore, and a return to Eisenhower-era policies would be neither wise nor popular. But a return to modesty, prudence, and genuine responsibility? That is something to which we ought to aspire. The great events of Eisenhower’s day went from Great War to Depression to Holocaust to Cold War, a ghastly progression, but Eisenhower remained famous for his sunny disposition and his winning smile — which was, of course, partly genuine and partly camouflage that protected others from the burdens he bore. The United States does not need a Dwight Eisenhower holiday to go along with the days set aside for men such as Washington and Lincoln. What the United States does need is 365 days in the year on which we insist that the men with whom we entrust the nation’s business endeavor to live up to the example set by men who did so much more with so much less in incomparably harder times — that they, to the extent that they have it in them, be like Ike.

We did not know how good we had it.

■ Patterico asks the question and tells us where too look for the response: What Should Be the Next Step on Repealing ObamaCare? Ted Cruz Has the Answer. It's long, but well worth your while. Sample adult thinking:

Here’s where it gets tough, because there’s a bitter pill that, in my view, Americans have to swallow: we have to get rid of the ObamaCare provision that requires companies to insure pre-existing conditions. Now I can already hear a bunch of people yelling: hold up there hoss, that’s never going to work and people don’t want that. Do me a favor: hear me out. There’s a way to address the concerns people have about insurance companies’ refusal to insure against pre-existing conditions without this mandate. The answer lies in Cruz’s suggestions in his op-ed, which contains terms that may seem abstract to some people, such as “guaranteed renewal” and “equal tax treatment for individual plans” and “portability.” But if you stick with me for a moment, I’ll explain the reality behind these abstract terms, and how they can help solve the problem.

I am pessimistic. That seems to be my default setting these days.

■ At Reason, Nick Gillespie takes issue with a recent comment from a Trump advisor, ex-Breitbart guy: Steve Bannon Hates Libertarians Because *We're* Not Living in the Real World? ("it's all this theoretical Cato Institute, Austrian economics, limited government — which just doesn't have any depth to it.")

President Trump is so famously post-factual that he cites riots that never happened as pretexts for executive orders, invents crime statistics out of thin air, and insisted for years that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. But it's libertarians who are nuttier than a squirrel's turd? Sure, why not.

Bannon's antipathy is echoed in the demonization of the Trump/Ryan GOP Freedom Caucus, blaming them for the defeat of Trumpcare. I'm with Patterico (yes, back to him): those guys are heroes. Leon Wolf's response to the attack on the FC is quoted:

Ryan would have you believe that the Freedom Caucus was solely responsible for the scuttling of his deeply unpopular pet project to “repeal” Obamacare. The media, which are largely ignorant of the internal dynamics of the House GOP caucus because they are largely staffed by ex-Democrat Hill staffers, have been happy to carry Ryan’s water in this regard — either because they, too, dislike the Freedom Caucus or because they are too lazy to dig even an inch below the surface and learn the truth.

Wolf is pretty accurate about what really sank the bill.

■ Even smart guys like Tyler Cowen can get suckered by the mainstream media. At 3:17am on Monday, he made an aside:

Those of us who predicted gridlock, stasis, and an excessively weak Trump presidency are so far right. Hardly anything has gotten through, though we have managed to scare off 40% of the potential foreign applicants for higher education, one of America’s most successful export industries.

Only problem: Tyler took that last bit from an NYT article. And about four hours later: "This one is a real blooper and I cannot let it pass by".

The NYT:

Nearly 40 percent of colleges are reporting overall declines in applications from international students, according to a survey

But the opening sentence of the survey itself:

39% of responding institutions reported a decline in international applications, 35% reported an increase, and 26% reported no change in applicant numbers.

Comments Tyler:

The NYT article does not reproduce the more positive pieces of information, from its own cited study, which may be suggesting international applications are not down at all, or perhaps down by only a small amount. If you look at all the data, they probably are down, but by no conceivable stretch of the imagination should the 40% figure be reported without the other numbers.

He thinks a retraction of the entire article would be in order. Fine. But, Tyler, here's the real issue: You f'd up. You trusted them.

■ And your Pun du Jour is from one of my favorite comic strips. Brevity: