URLs du Jour


■ Proverbs 26:7 continues its examination of foolishness:

Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

Ableism! Aieee!

Ars Technica reports that California seeks to tax rocket launches, which are already taxed.

The proposal says that California-based companies that launch spacecraft will have to pay a tax based upon "mileage" traveled by that spacecraft from California. (No, we're not exactly sure what this means, either). The proposed regulations were first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Thomas Lo Grossman, a tax attorney at the Franchise Tax Board, told the newspaper that the rules are designed to mirror the ways taxes are levied on terrestrial transportation and logistics firms operating in California, like trucking or train companies.

I'm not sure what to laugh at harder here.

  • There's the obvious: "progressive" California government needs to squeeze as much cash from successful private entrepreneurs as possible, even if they have to apply fanciful notions of "mileage traveled from California" to satellites.

  • Or the less obvious sputtering of Ars Technica which notes that launch companies are "already taxed". (They've apparently never heard of the California income tax which applies to, yes, income that's already been taxed by the Feds.)

■ You may have heard that late-night TV entertainer Stephen Colbert tried very hard to insult Donald Trump the other evening, and the worst that he could come up with was … a vulgar insinuation that Trump was gay. This resulted in accusations of "homophobia", of course. Should Colbert lose his job?

Nay, saith David French (at NR), who invites us to look at the real problem: Colbert's audience (both in-studio and remote) eat this crap up with a spoon. So Don’t Fire Colbert — Fire His Crowd.

If you want an explanation for why the Colberts of the world say the things they do, there it is in the adulation of the audience. He is their voice. He’s speaking out their rage. He’s not leading them; he’s riding their wave of progressive scorn, anger, and hate. If he fell, another would rise to take his place. Angry progressives demand cathartic mockery, and they shall have it one way or another.

Trumpkins do not escape French's gaze either.

■ Robert Stacy McCain has his thoughts as well: Of Hypocrisy and ‘Homophobia’

During the long campaign that led to the 2015 Obergefell ruling, the LGBT argument generally, and for same-sex marriage specifically, was that homosexuality is an innate characteristic — the “born that way” thesis. Therefore, homosexuality was analogous to racial identity, as a matter of civil rights law, and opposition to policies advocated by the LGBT movement was analogous to segregations defending Jim Crow. Whenever the term “homophobia” was coined, and whatever it was originally intended to mean, by the late 1990s, liberal journalists had adopted this as a word to be deployed quite casually — almost haphazardly — to describe any number of phenomena. This was what the social and political subtext of the 1993 Seinfeld episode “The Outing,” in which a well-meaning reporter assigned to write a magazine profile of Jerry Seinfeld mistakenly assumes that he and his friend George Costanza are homosexual lovers. The famous punch line — “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” — highlighted the difficulty posed to people in disavowing the accusation of “homophobia.”

Not that it matters, but this is what I find odd:

  • The whole notion of "mental illness" is meant to remove responsibilty for behavior that might otherwise be seen to be bad/sinful behavior that the perpetrator might be held responsible for. "It's not his fault! He's sick, not evil!"

  • Among such mental illnesses are "phobias" -- unusual fears of open spaces (Agoraphobia), confined spaces (Claustrophobia), spiders (Arachnophobia), etc. Once again: having these is not your fault. You're ill, not evil.

  • But that does emphatically not apply to some phobias, notably homophobia. (Also xenophobia.) Are you homophobic? You are a bad person.

I'd really appreciate a language cleanup here.

■ KDW writes very sensibly on Health Care, from the Top. Which means, unfortunately, that his writing has nearly zero relevance to current political debates, other than to point out how divorced from economic reality they are. In response to those who maintain that health care is different because it is a "life or death good":

We have perfectly functional markets in all sorts of life-and-death goods. They expect you to pay up at the grocery store, too, but poor people are not starving in the American streets, because we came up with this so-crazy-it-just-might-work idea of giving poor people money and money analogues (such as food stamps) to pay for food. It is not a perfect system, but it is preferable, as we know from unhappy experiences abroad, to having the government try to run the farms, as government did in the Soviet Union, or the grocery stores, as government does in hungry, miserable Venezuela. The Apple Store has its shortcomings, to be sure, but I’d rather have a health-care system that looks like the Apple Store than one that looks like a Venezuelan grocery store.

We have a system that (largely successfully) hides the costs and actual payers from the customer. Dysfunction is inevitable.