URLs du Jour


■ Your Pun Salad Challenge du Jour is to distill useful advice or insight out of Proverbs 24:8-9:

8 Whoever plots evil
will be known as a schemer.
9 The schemes of folly are sin,
and people detest a mocker.

Things have changed since those days. Now, you can get a lucrative TV gig when your sole meager talent is mockery. Just ask Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Chelsea Handler, …

■ Thank goodness for people willing to plunge into the sausage that comes out of the legislative process. For example, Michael F. Cannon of Cato looks at the "Better Care Reconciliation Act": Senate Republicans Offer a Bill to Preserve & Expand ObamaCare. As you might expect, Cannon blows big holes in it. The details are dispiriting, here's the bottom line:

The Senate bill is not even a step in the right direction. If this is the choice facing congressional Republicans, it would be better if they did nothing. Consumers would continue to struggle under ObamaCare’s regulations, but those costs would focus attention on their source. The lines of accountability would be clearer if Republicans signed off on legislation that seems designed to rescue ObamaCare rather than repeal and replace it.

That's an excellent idea.

■ Megan McArdle is also a reliably knowledgable pundit on the topic, and her take is similar: Republicans' Health-Care Bills Boil Down to ... More Obamacare.

Well, you know, if you tilt your head to one side and squint a little, you can sort of see … Obamacare.  I called the House health care bill “Obamacare Lite,” but compared to the Senate bill, the House was offering a radical new taste sensation. The Senate bill touches very little of the underlying architecture of Obamacare; all it does is eliminate the insurance mandates, cut spending and give states somewhat more autonomy in how those dollars are spent. Repeal Obamacare, you say? They’re barely even worrying it.

It would make a lot of sense to run away from this.

■ Had enough? Sorry, one more. Peter Suderman at Reason: The Senate GOP's New Health Care Bill Is Just Obamacare, But Less Of It.

For Republicans, this might be the notable failure to think beyond the terms set by Obamacare. It means that Senate bill not only won't be Obamacare repeal, it might not even be Obamacare lite. Instead, it might be Obamacare lite—later. And later could easily turn out to be never.

Well, we'll see what happens.

■ I can only assume that there's a mole inside the New York Times editorial department, because they published an op-ed from Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Q. Nomani, displeased at the treatment they received at a recent Senate hearing. Kamala Harris Was Silenced. Then She Silenced Us. Although California's Senator Harris gets the headline, as we've mentioned before, she was not alone in her indifference:

Both of us were on edge. Earlier that day, across the Potomac River, a man had shot a Republican lawmaker and others on a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Va. And just moments before the hearing began, a man wearing a Muslim prayer cap had stood up and heckled us, putting Capitol police officers on high alert. We were girding ourselves for tough questions.

But they never came. The Democrats on the panel, including Senator Harris and three other Democratic female senators — North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill — did not ask either of us a single question.

Maggie's just not interested in learning anything that might not fit into her narrative.

■ If you can't figure out how to breach the NYT paywall, John Sexton at Hot Air excerpts their op-ed, and comments:

I can’t improve on the take by these two women who seem legitimately concerned about human rights and especially women’s rights in the face of primitive and barbaric practices. It’s a shame that their experiences, and the lessons they’ve drawn from them, are so easily dismissed by Democratic women in the Senate. But then, when the former Democratic President of the United States is telling the world that “ISIS is not Islamic,” maybe this sort of avoidance of uncomfortable truths doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

I also tweeted about this, but I don't expect a response.

@JonahNRO asks the musical question: Are Things Getting Better?

The standard brief against the president, from the Left and much of the desiccated center, is that Donald Trump is a threat to the constitutional order. I do not dismiss this view out of hand, and if President Trump were much more popular, I’d worry about it more. But to date, things aren’t working that way.

When you were expecting much, much worse, things simply being bad is sort of a relief.

■ Matthew Continetti has come to the reluctant conclusion about so-called "experts": They’re Wrong About Everything.

Events are turning me into a radical skeptic. I no longer believe what I read, unless what I am reading is an empirically verifiable account of the past. I no longer have confidence in polls, because it has become impossible to separate the signal from the noise. What I have heard from the media and political class over the last several years has been so spectacularly proven wrong by events, again and again, that I sometimes wonder why I continue to read two newspapers a day before spending time following journalists on Twitter. Habit, I guess. A sense of professional obligation, I suppose. Maybe boredom.

I'd like to hear Tom Nichols in response. Maybe Matthew needs to pick his experts better.