URLs du Jour


  • Among the items in Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt is a rejoinder to University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt, who claimed under Judiciary Committee oath that the acts of President Donald J. Trump were "worse than the misconduct of any prior president": I Guess American History Began in 2017, Huh?.

    Dude. Dude. Eight of our presidents owned slaves while serving in the White House. Franklin Roosevelt forcibly imprisoned tens of thousands of law-abiding American citizens for four years because of their ancestry. Woodrow Wilson re-segregated the federal government, wrote that the races were unequal, and threw a black civil rights leader out of the Oval Office. If we want to expand it to vice presidents, Aaron Burr straight-up murdered the old Treasury Secretary by shooting him in the chest.

    Worse than Lyndon Johnson telling America that that we were winning the Vietnam War when we weren’t? That one proved a lot more consequential in the lives of Americans.

    How much better or worse is the effort to strongarm the Ukrainian government than Jimmy Carter’s irritated pledge, “if I get back in, I’m going to f*** the Jews”?

    A book I'm currently reading also notes that Woodrow Wilson was an opponent of female suffrage as late as 1912; by the end of his term he came around to favor passage of the 19th Amendment.

    But he probably was always steadfastly against African-Americans voting. Can he be retroactively impeached?

  • Andrew Wilford writes at the Bulwark on Senator Liz Warren’s Hidden, Destructive Tax Proposal: The Head Tax.

    After weeks of pressure to explain how she would fund her Medicare for All plan without raising taxes on the middle class, presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently relented. Kind of. The presidential candidate unveiled a set of tax hikes that still produce only about half of the $34 trillion needed to fund her healthcare proposals. Yet, despite her attempts to focus on favorite tax targets—corporations and the wealthy—many of these proposed taxes would in fact harm the middle-class. Perhaps the worst of the tax hikes is her proposal for a type of employee “head tax.” 

    Making up just over half of the $17 trillion in tax increases under Warren’s plan to fund Medicare for All is an “Employer Medicare Contribution.” This would require businesses with 50 or more employees to calculate their average per-employee spending on health insurance coverage “over the last few years,” adjust for inflation, multiply that by their number of employees, then send 98 percent of that number to Uncle Sam as their Employer Medicare Contribution.

    Note the Orwellian language: "contribution". Try not making the "contribution", Mr. Employer, and see what happens.

    As Andrew points out: (1) it's a truism that taxing something gets you less of it; and (2) this is a tax on jobs.

  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson notes that (like many things that aren't computers) Impeachment Isn’t Binary.

    The Trump movement is very much a personality cult, and personality cults are largely immune to rational argument. But, even so, the Democratic strategy here is the wrong one for reaching out to those who might be reached. Trump’s partisans are not going to dump him because people who read the New York Times think he is a boob, a boor, a doofus, etc. Trump’s bumptiousness and his willingness to show his ass to what passes for polite society between Boston and Washington is part of the charm for many of his supporters — as is his willingness to play fast and loose (and worse) with the rules. Remember that for Bill Clinton’s most abject apologists, “Slick Willie” was a term of endearment, not one of reproach.

    Trump’s people believe what Elizabeth Warren’s people believe and what Bernie Sanders’s people believe: that the system is rigged, that it is corrupt, that our elites are complicit in selling out their interests, etc. Senator Warren’s people enthusiastically support her patently unconstitutional proposals, the more vindictive the better. Senator Sanders’s people endorse his irresponsible calls for “revolution” and his old-fashioned class-warfare rhetoric. Trump’s people resonate on a different cultural frequency, but the right-wing populists’ fundamental assumptions about what ails the country are very much like those of the left-wing populists.

    I am practicing my penmanship so that I can write in "Dave Barry" as legibly as possible on my GOP primary ballot.

  • Jonah Goldberg says fiddlesticks to goopy young people who prefer the fresh young faces of Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren: Voters don't like Joe Biden's nostalgia? That's malarkey.

    I like the word malarkey, consarn it. It’s the bee’s knees. Sure, the youngsters might say, “OK, Boomer” on hearing Joe Biden utter the word, but if you think he’s all wet for using it, you can take your phonus bolonus and tell it to Sweeney.

    Joe Biden has never really been my cup of tea. There’s always seemed like a bit of flimflam behind that gigglemug of his. And for a guy who uses the word malarkey more than any politician since the 19th century — and has now emblazoned the slogan “no malarkey” on his campaign bus — he’s peddled a lot of it over the years. But he remains popular among a lot of Democrats for the same reason people like the word malarkey: nostalgia, which can be a powerful force in an election.

    You can get a lesson in obscure archaic terms just by clicking on Jonah's links.

  • At Reason, Ronald Bailey contributes to the Pun Salad "Department of Duh": Private Flood Insurers Chastised for Not Insuring Houses Likely To Be Flooded.

    "Insurers cherry-pick homes, leave flooded ones for the Feds," runs a very odd headline over at E&E News. The article goes on to explain, "Taxpayers could be forced to spend billions of dollars to bail out the federal government's flood program as private-sector insurers begin covering homes with little risk of flooding while clustering peril-prone properties in the indebted public program." Well, yes.

    Decades of government intervention tend to obscure what once needed no explanation: unless forced, insurance companies won't bet against (their best estimate of) the odds.

  • And this is a fascinating Road and Track article on illegal activity: Cross-Country Cannonball Record Broken — 27 Hours 25 Minutes.

    After leaving the Red Ball garage on the east side of Manhattan at 12:57 a.m. on November 10, it took Toman, Tabbutt and Chadwick 27 hours and 25 minutes to reach the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, in L.A.'s South Bay. In a car. If number crunching isn't your thing, allow me to break that down for you. Taking the northern route—I-80 through Nebraska, I-76 down to Denver, I-70 to the middle of Utah and I-15 down into L.A.'s spiderweb of interstates for a total of 2825 miles—Toman and Tabbutt were able to maintain an overall average speed of 103 mph. That's including stops for fuel, which they managed to keep down to a blindingly fast 22 and a half minutes total. And that's in a country where the speed limit on interstate highways is usually 70 mph, and never higher than 80 on the roads they were traveling.

    Let me repeat: average speed of 103 mph. I might be able to hit 103 in my Impreza. If I drove off a high enough cliff.

    [OK, can't resist. If I remember my high-school physics, I'd need about a 360-foot freefall to hit 103 mph, neglecting air resistance.]