URLs du Jour


Proverbs 20:30 is the last verse in the chapter, and it is …

30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil,
    and beatings purge the inmost being.

Whoa. Disturbing. Kinky. Sick. I don't want to see the movie.

Today's pic is one of the milder ones displayed when you type in the obvious search term at GettyImages. Stop hitting yourself, Proverbialist!

■ While in the USA, we're busily making up purity tests for historical memorials, @kevinNR relates that, in India, they are wondering: should they Knock Down the Taj Mahal?

Indian architecture is very old — the Mahabodhi Temple, which is still in use, was built around the time of the First Punic War — but the Republic of India is very young: It is, in fact, younger than Donald Trump. Inevitably, most of the historically important architecture and public monuments were built during India’s long period of domination by alien powers, and often built by those alien powers. This is, understandably, a sensitive subject. India also is having a particularly ugly period of Hindu chauvinism, which has manifested itself in ways that are serious — the emergence of violent anti-conversion campaigns targeting Christians and anti-conversion laws in several Indian states — and in ways that are comical, for instance the exclusion of the Taj Mahal from a government-published guide to historical sites in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. About 10 million people a year visit the Taj Majal, but there is an effort under way to read Islam and Islamic rulers out of India’s history.

Knocking down stuff doesn't change history. But it makes certain people feel like they've "done something".

■ Also see Jonah Goldberg on the Arch of Titus:

I keep thinking of the Arch of Titus, the model for similar arches all around the world, including most famously the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. For those who don’t know, Titus — who would later become emperor — led the siege of Jerusalem in the first Jewish-Roman War. Hundreds of thousands of Jews, mostly non-combatants, were slaughtered, and the Second Temple — the holiest site in Judaism — was destroyed. Tens of thousands of Jews were captured and sold into slavery.

So how do Jews react to the Arch of Titus? Sensibly, keeping their dignity and memory intact.

<voice imitation="professor_farnsworth">Good news, everyone!</voice> Amazon Has a Chance to Redefine Corporate Responsibility! Or so says Virginia Postrel, and she's almost always correct about this stuff.

To be a good corporate citizen requires acting to protect the efficiency and fairness of the system that allows the company to prosper in the first place. True corporate social responsibility prohibits using political influence to undermine competition and erode legal equality. It means not soliciting favors that hurt rivals or offer advantages unavailable to those without connections.

So Amazon has a choice. It can act as a responsible corporate citizen, viewing its headquarters search as a challenge to get cities thinking about how to create better environments for all sorts of enterprises. Or it can ignore ethics and go looking for handouts.

Speaking as an Amazon customer since 1995, I hope Mr. Bezos listens to Ms. Postrel.

■ At the WSJ, William McGurn notes The New York Times’s Double Standard on the NFL. Specifically, the NYT has editorially demanded that NFL players must be allowed to "take a knee" during the National Anthem without employment repercussions. But when it comes to their employees….

Because within three weeks of blasting those who believe NFL players have no First Amendment right to use the football field to make political statements, Mr. Baquet issued a memo about social media warning Times reporters not to use their “vibrant presence” on these platforms to express their own, uh, deeply felt fears and grievances.

Oh well. To steal a cute phrase someone made up: without double standards, the NYT would have no standards at all.

■ But we aren't done with football, because Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ column, the one you don't have to like football to enjoy, is out. One of this week's musings concerns, gee, why are Americans so cynical and disillusioned about government. Well, consider…

(Here’s your obligatory “spoiler alert” about the plots of some small-screen shows.) The latest season of Homeland, for instance, wrapped with the CIA dragging away members of the cabinet so traitors in the White House could rip up the Constitution. In the latest iteration of Fox’s 24, the Director of National Intelligence secretly is an Islamist fanatic who cackles about slaughtering innocent Americans. On NBC’s Timeless, America is secretly run by “Rittenhouse,” a Freemason-style plot whose goal is to turn the United States into an absolute dictatorship. Among other things, the show’s protagonists discover that the 18-minute gap in the Watergate tapes was to erase Richard Nixon discussing his fear of being murdered by the all-powerful Rittenhouse puppet-masters. On ABC’s Designated Survivor, traitors at the top blow up the Capitol during the State of the Union Address, murdering most of America’s government—a government so incompetent that no one noticed thousands of pounds of explosives being placed under the Capitol Dome.

He could have added the invariably evil corporate bigwigs that also show up in movies and TV. But that would make a long column even longer.

It makes for a certain amount of dramatic sense. If you want your protagonists to engage in an epic struggle against powerful foes, the foes' power has to come from somewhere. Government and wealth are the obvious sources. (Or you can play the Stephen King game, and have it spring from the inexhaustible supernatural.)

■ And our LFOD alert rang for an article at CalvinAyre.com, a site "covering the global gambling industry." But they noticed poor little us: New Hampshire online gambling bill springs to life.

New Hampshire legislators have dusted off the state’s online gambling bill after sitting idly in Congress [sic] for months. […] The bill [HB 562-FN] is a stub, seeking only to insert a new subparagraph exempting “gambling done over an internet connection on a website on the internet” from the state’s list of illegal gambling offenses.

There may be something going on behind the scenes involving an online state lottery. Yay! Make it easier for stupid people to throw their money at the state! But anyway:

In the off chance that HB 562-FN makes the grade in the Live Free or Die state, its provisions would take effect January 1, 2018.

A coercively-enforced monopoly to ensure that private citizens are prohibited from doing what the state does? That doesn't sound like LFOD to me.