Apt pictoral comment… from Mr. Ramirez
… and for that matter, incompetent men to behave incompently, cowards to behave cowardly,… I'm no expert, but you don't have to be one to notice that.
Impressive. Politico's headline goes up against our PG-13 content target, but: ‘Go fuck yourself,’ Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island tell Russian ship before being killed
Russian forces have killed all the soldiers who were defending Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, located in the Black Sea.
In a final display of defiance, a Ukrainian soldier told the warship that came to attack them: “Go fuck yourself.”
I hope that courage wasn't in vain. But enough about Ukraine today; as I've repeatedly pointed out, I don't even have dilettante-level competence to comment on foreign policy or military matters.
Calling a spade a spade, and a tyrant… well, let's not be judgmental. Jonah Goldberg takes a look at a recent essay Yada Yada-ing Tyranny.
Imagine I wrote a lengthy essay, with lots of footnotes, numbers, and interesting historical anecdotes, about the German economy from, say, 1932 to 1945. In it I’d make the case that German economic policies alleviated German poverty and improved infrastructure—gotta love that Autobahn!—and I’d argue Germany’s enlightened corporatist approach to industrial policy ensured full employment and real wage growth.
It wouldn’t be hard to write such an essay. Such a case can be made, particularly if you’re not fastidious about cherry picking your data and examples.
Now imagine you wrote that whole essay without once mentioning the Holocaust, slave labor, or Nazi expansionism. Call me crazy, but you might be open to the charge of missing the forest for the trees. Some might even accuse you of moral obtuseness—or worse.
I bring up this hypothetical because over at American Affairs, Arnaud Bertrand, a businessman living in China, has written a lengthy essay extolling China’s economic success story, “How China Defeated Poverty.” And, frankly, I find it an atrocious whitewash.
Details at the link, including the essay's recommendations from nationalist "conservatives" Sohrab Ahmari and Adrian Vermuele.
So let's have a chuckle. Eric Boehm notes the latest attempt at fiscal sanity: Hey, Nancy Pelosi: 'National Debt Should Be a Top Priority'
Ahead of the annual congressional scramble to piece together a federal budget—a process that will begin in earnest after President Joe Biden's state of the union address next week—a bipartisan group of lawmakers are asking a question that's rarely part of the proceedings these days.
How are we actually going to pay for all this?
In a letter sent on Tuesday, 24 members of the House of Representatives called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) to take some small but important steps to rein in America's out-of-control national debt. The letter highlights the fact that policies enacted during the past five years—including pandemic relief, but also "Congress' perennially broken budget process and fiscal policies"—have added $13 trillion to the projected levels of debt in 2031, at the end of the 10-year window Congress uses for budgeting.
So I clicked over on that link to discover… Hey, one of those 24 CongressCritters was mine: Chris Pappas, NH-01!
But the funny part is that Pappas has (so far) voted for every spendapalooza bill that's come his way since going to DC in 2019, including Build Back Better. Like many Democrat House members, his record of voting the way Biden wants is 100%.
Having him plead for fiscal sanity now… well, it reminds me of the classic definition of chutzpah: when you murder your parents, then plead for mercy because you're an orphan.
It looks as if he's being redistricted out of my town. It's a shame; I would have really liked to vote against him one more time..
"But waste was of the essence of the scheme." We looked at the (inevitable) fraud accompanying the spending which Chris Pappas enthusiastically supported yesterday. Now let's check out some waste, euphemistically described by the Cato headline: Protectionist Buy America Requirements Undermine Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Goals.
Last November President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a $1.2 trillion bill that the White House claims will produce benefits ranging from clean drinking water to enhanced broadband. What’s quickly becoming apparent, however, is that the IIJA’s ability to deliver such improvements is being undermined by protectionist measures included in the legislation.
Buried within the IIJA—on page 866 of the 1,039-page bill—is the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA) which, as the name implies, imposes protectionist “Buy America” mandates requiring the use of U.S.-made products and materials. While such requirements have long been a costly feature of federal infrastructure spending, the BABA significantly increases their bite. Traditionally limited to transportation and water‐related projects, the BABA expands the spectrum of public works subject to such protectionism to include projects such as dams, buildings, and electrical transmission facilities.
[Classical headline reference.]
Whoa, didn't see that coming. I subscribe, expensively, to the print Wall Street Journal, because it's probably the least biased mainstream paper. And I like their editorial section. And their puzzles. But this news article in today's paper is a laugher: Inflation Threatens to Erode Impact of $1 Trillion Infrastructure Law
How many roads, bridges, railways, fiber optic lines and other types of infrastructure the U.S. can build or fix under the law—a central accomplishment of President Biden’s that experts say is a generational investment—will largely hinge on the extent of increases in everything from the cost of diesel fuel to workers’ wages.
Elevated costs for materials and labor are already pushing contractors to charge more for construction projects, government data show, increases that economists and industry officials say could reduce the number of infrastructure projects the new federal money can finance. State and local officials facing higher prices may give priority to easier, less ambitious projects, and some worry that a rush of government spending could exacerbate inflation in the industry.
I love that citation of credulous "experts".
But I love even more that "some worry" part at the end. You mean some people out there might realize that dumping a trillion of "free" money into "projects" might just drive up prices for scarce resources those projects require?
I don't expect the editorial side of the paper will treat this chowderheaded article with the disrespect it deserves, but maybe we'll get a very diplomatic rebuttal.
Going together like chicken and waffles. The Antiplanner looks at something that seems to surprise even him: A New Level of Transit Incompetence. He discusses the ludicrously expensive efforts to expand BART out in the Santa Clara Valley, but I found this addon interesting too:
[…] the Twin Cities Metro Transit admitted that there would be huge cost overruns for the Southwest light-rail line that it is building to the wealthy suburb of Eden Prairie, and that the line could be delayed by four years. According to media reports, “original cost” for the project “was around $2 billion,” but the media has a short memory. In fact, back in 2011, the projected cost was just $1.25 billion, which means the current estimate of $2.75 billion is, after adjusting for inflation, around a 100 percent cost overrun.
Incidentally, this is the line for which the Twin Cities’ Metropolitan Council introduced the concept of “regional transit equity.” At the same time as it proposed to spend well over a billion dollars to build a light-rail line to a wealthy suburb, it would also spend $3 million building around 200 bus shelters in poor neighborhoods in the region. $15,000 bus shelters for the poor; multi-billion-dollar trains for the rich: That’s social justice!
Let them eat bus shelters!
Also discussed: transit projects in Maryland and Hawaii, all examples of overpromising, under-delivering, and (above all) waste.
Thanks to Chris Pappas, among others.
I can occasionally make an on-target observation. So we were finishing up watching the Amazon miniseries "Reacher", and as the bloke playing Reacher entered a diner in one of the final scenes, he avoided a gent going out. And I said the Mrs. Salad, hey, I think that was Lee Child!"
Yay, me. According to IMDB, it was.