URLs du Jour


[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

  • It's the most wonderful time of the year. Specifically, it's the time to read Dave Barry Holiday Gift Guide for Christmas 2021 at the Miami Herald (which insists that you allow their stupid ads, but whatever). You'll want to RTWT, of course, but I'll excerpt Dave's description of our Amazon Product du Jour, the … well, I'll let Dave tell you:

    There was a time when an anti-flatulence device would not have been considered an appropriate holiday gift. Fortunately, that time has passed, which is why we are excited to include the Fart Vac in this year’s Gift Guide.

    This is a quality item, made from 100 percent materials, which is based on a proven scientific principle that scientists call “suction.” You stick a rubber tube down your pants, and when a flatulence incident occurs, you squeeze a handheld bulb, which causes the suction to draw the odors into what the manufacturer describes as “an activated carbon filter,” which sounds very scientific.

    The Fart Vac is extremely discreet. People will never know you’re using it, unless they happen to notice the bulb in your hand connected to the tube going into your pants. That’s why this is the only anti-flatulence device endorsed by both Warren Buffett and the U.S. Supreme Court.

    And there are, of course, more items at the link, many the product of American innovation and utter delusion.

  • Because Biden lies, that's why. But for more detail than that, read Eric Boehm at Reason: Biden's Build Back Better Act Will Likely Cost Twice as Much as the CBO Projects. Here's Why.

    President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act is likely to end up costing taxpayers about double what the official price tag suggests, and much of that hidden cost will end up being added to the national debt.

    That's the conclusion from two independent analyses of the proposal released in recent weeks. Both rely on a key assumption that did not figure into the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) analysis of the bill: that the Build Back Better plan's various policies will be in place for at least the next 10 years.

    "The Build Back Better Act relies on a number of arbitrary sunsets and expirations to lower the official cost of the bill," explains the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a nonprofit that advocates for balanced budgets. The group's newly updated analysis of the Build Back Better plan finds that the package will cost an estimated $4.8 trillion over 10 years if all provisions are made permanent—double the price tag applied by the CBO last month.

    It's awful. Equally awful is the fact that our state's Congressional delegation, including the "moderate" Senators Shaheen and Hassan, are almost certainly going to vote in favor. So we have to hope that Senators Manchin and Sinema will continue to have spines.

  • Is it okay to wonder about Biden's mental state? I'm glad you asked, because Kevin D. Williamson has the answer: It’s Okay to Wonder about Biden’s Mental State. And has the most recent example of Joe's fantasies:

    Biden also has a rich fantasy life, which is not limited to his mythical truck-driving days. There is cloak-and-dagger stuff, too. On Wednesday, he told an audience that during the Six-Day War, he had acted as a liaison between Israeli prime minister Golda Meir and the Egyptian government. The Six-Day War occurred in 1967, when Levi Eshkol was the prime minister of Israel and Biden was plagiarizing his way toward finishing No. 76 of 85 in law school. Nobody had ever heard of such a thing as a Joe Biden back then. (And nobody was asking for one.) He was years away from beginning his Senate career. This is another fantasy, one that Biden keeps repeating. Is it an ordinary lie, or is it a delusion?

    (Biden did later meet Golda Meir. The Israelis were not impressed with the young senator, and certainly were not asking him to be their back-channel to Egypt.)

    A certain kind of Republican takes a lurid and celebratory view of Biden’s mental fugues. But you do not have to be a bitter partisan to be concerned about the fact that the president of the United States of America has become a sort of Walter Mitty, so deep into his fantasies that he muses in public about events that — let’s go ahead and emphasize this once more — never happened.

    I used to wonder about Kamala Harris reciting the Section 4 of the 25th Amendment in her sleep, backwards. I'm thinking that might actually be prudent.

  • [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer] Heh. She said "balls". Bari Weiss, that is: Women's Tennis Has Balls. Does Wall Street?

    Having disappeared doctors and scientists who tried to blow the whistle on Covid-19, the Chinese Communist Party has now targeted Peng Shuai, a tennis star who accused a former top Chinese government official of sexual assault. “Even if it is like an egg hitting a rock, or if I am like a moth drawn to the flame, inviting self-destruction, I will tell the truth about you,” she wrote on the social media platform Weibo. Then her message disappeared. And so did she.

    These are facts discoverable to any American with an internet connection, which the hedge fund investor Ray Dalio surely has in his Greenwich, Connecticut, mansion. 

    Smart guy, one imagines, to be trusted with managing $150 billion of other people’s money, as his company Bridgewater does. But when Dalio was asked yesterday on CNBC about China’s human rights record, and how he thinks about it with regard to his investments, he feigned ignorance.

    “I can’t be an expert in those types of things,” he told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin. “I really have no idea.” He went on to compare China’s government to that of a strict parent, and offered some mush of moral relativism about how the United States does bad things, too. This from a man who wrote a book called “Principles.”

    He did! Amazon link at your right!

    What Dalio did not say, but should have: "These are my principles! If you don’t like them I have others!"

    (Probably Groucho didn't say that either.)

  • What do you think deterrence deters? Bryan Caplan has thoughts about that: U-Shaped Deterrence.

    “The death penalty deters murder.”  A classic right-wing idea.  So classic, in fact, that it’s tempting to think that the idea of deterrence itself is right-wing.

    Yet on reflection, that’s absurd. 

    The left strongly believes in deterrence for discrimination.  If you said, “Let’s cap discrimination damages at $1000,” they would predict a massive increase in discrimination.  

    The left strongly believes in deterrence for pollution.  If you said, “We should let first-time pollution lawbreakers off with a warning,” they would predict a large increase in pollution.

    The left strongly believes in deterrence for tax evasion.  If you said, “Let’s end jail time for tax offenses,” they would predict a large reduction in tax collection.

    What’s the common thread?  The straightforward answer is: “Everyone strongly believes in deterrence for behavior they abhor.”  The right abhors violent crime, so they think that “lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key” will sharply reduce violent crime.  The left abhors discrimination, pollution, and tax evasion, so they think that harsh penalties – including jailtime – will sharply reduce discrimination, pollution, and tax evasion.  The left will almost surely never embrace rehabilitation for billionaire tax cheats.

    We've seen no end of politicians and organizations advocating legislation to [Google search] "end gun violence". I'm pretty sure that a few law-abiding people might be deterred from owning guns as a result. But how many likely perpetrators would be deterred?