URLs du Jour


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  • I'm on Team Charlie. As in Charles C. W. Cooke, who says he is Bored to Death by Trump.

    I am inordinately bored of Donald Trump.

    I’m bored of the man himself. I’m bored of his opponents. I’m bored of his supporters. I’m bored of the manner in which every last question that animates our politics is eventually plotted onto a graph that has his face at its center. You name anything Trump-related, I’m bored of it.

    It’s utterly inescapable. Before long, every political topic, every prominent politician, every historical trend becomes about Donald Trump in some way, shape, or form. Every piece of journalism does, too. I haven’t yet published this piece, and I’m already bored by the responses that it will engender. That’s how bad it’s gotten: I’m pre-bored — by the emails, by the analyses, by the snark, by the desire to make every last thing in American life about Trump. Nothing is safe. Bring up something almost as old as the nation itself — the Fifth Amendment, say — and within a few minutes, people will be debating whether it is functionally pro-Trump or anti-Trump. They’ll ask if it’s Trump-adjacent, or Trump-resistant, or anti-anti-Trump, and then, without missing a beat, they’ll move on to the next topic. That Genghis Khan guy. Know who he reminds me of?

    It's NRPLUS, so you probably can't RTWT without subscribing, so you should.

    But yeah. So much Trump all the time, all of it utterly predictable, from the man himself, from his sycophants, from his obsessed enemies.

  • First Amendment: Unclear on the concept. Christian Britschgi has amazing news from the Live Free or Die state: Zoning Officials Tell New Hampshire Church It Can't Use Living Room To Host Prayer Meetings. What?!

    In a zoning Catch-22, a small Christian congregation in Bedford, New Hampshire, is being told by local officials that because it got permission to add a meeting hall to a house it uses for church services, it has to stop using that house to host church services.

    The church is now suing Bedford, arguing that municipal authorities are restricting its gatherings solely because of their religious nature.

    "A determination that religious use is different and [that] you can't have people gather in a living room if its purpose is religious is clear overreach," says Michael Tierney, an attorney representing Bedford's New Hope Christian Fellowship. "It's unconscionable."

    For zoning advocates, it's always about someone wanting to put up an oil refinery next to your house. This should remind you that it's also about stopping those loud prayers bothering motorists driving by on 101. (According to their web page, joining their services via Zoom and Facebook is still allowed.)

  • We need a firing spree instead, amirite? I'm sure some will call David Harsanyi hyperbolic here, but I think he's (at best) parabolic. IRS Hiring Spree Is The Biggest Expansion Of The Police State In American History.

    The Democrats’ new reconciliation bill isn’t just going to be the largest-ever expansion of a government agency, it’s going to be the largest expansion of the domestic police state in American history. Only a statist could believe that a federal government, which already collects $4.1 trillion every year—or $12,300 for every citizen—needs 80 new battalions of new IRS cops.

    The average American has less reason to be concerned about cops with guns—though the IRS is looking for special agents who can “Carry a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary”— than they do bureaucrats armed with pens who are authorized to sift through their lives. If you pay your taxes you have nothing to worry, Democrats claim. But most law-abiding citizen know they have something to fear from a state agency that doesn’t concern itself with your due process, has no regard for your privacy, and is empowered to target anyone it wants without any genuine oversight.

    Visual aids were easy to find on Twitter (uncensored!) and elsewhere:

  • But I'm sure they won't let politics guide‥ oh, wait. Victoria Marshall has a fun fact about existing IRS agents and their likely new co-workers: 87,000 IRS Agents Join Union That Gives PAC Funds to Democrats.

    Democrats just doubled the size of a major Democratic war chest.

    Yes, remember those 87,000 new IRS agents that will be added to the federal payroll thanks to the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act (a misnomer if there ever was one)? The vast majority of those agents will likely join and pay dues to the IRS’ public sector union, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

    Per Americans for Tax Reform, the union gave 100% of its Political Action Committee (PAC) funding to Democrats for the 2022 cycle, including $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $30,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and $30,000 to the DNC Services Corporation, a group dedicated to “coordinating party organizational activities.”

    It also gave 98.79% of its federal candidate spending for the 2021-2022 cycle to Democrats, most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The NTEU specifically prioritized donating to key Democratic battleground races, such as donating $5,000 to Raphael Warnock’s Georgia Senate race and $10,000 to Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

    Yes, that's a local angle for Granite Staters. Senator Maggie (of course) voted for the IRS Inflation Act.

  • I'm barely a RINO any more. The good folks at Granite Grok use "RINO" as an insult, roughly meaning "not sufficiently Trump-obsequious", but I am a registered Republican who looks askance at most of the names on my primary ballots, so the literal meaning of "RINO" kind of fits me. And Veronique de Rugy is not making me any less willing to change that attitude, given The Dwindling Difference Between Our Two Parties on Spending. Her example is the "New Parents Act" from Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney:

    The proposal has many parts, but two illustrate my point best:

    First, it would create a federal paid-leave program that would allow new parents to advance themselves up to three months of parental-leave benefits today by drawing funds from their Social Security retirement benefits. This scheme is based on misconceptions that are hard to explain away. Romney and Rubio ignore the reality that the private sector, not the federal government, is the best provider of paid leave.


    Second is an extended child tax credit that goes to most families, even rich ones. The cost would be extreme. According to the plan, "Parents would receive a credit of up to $3,500 per child, and $4,500 per child for children under the age of 6." Imagine an enormous credit, fully refundable, with no work or marriage requirements. A family with four kids, for instance, wouldn't start paying taxes until they make over $118,000. Over time, the expanded CTC amounts to $69,000 per child. If you're concerned that this boondoggle might disincentivize work and marriage, you would be correct, as shown by the work of American Enterprise Institute economist Scott Winship.

    I was never that motivated to vote for Mitt or Marco in the past, and that motivation just dropped below zero.

Last Modified 2024-01-16 3:51 PM EDT

Demolition Angel

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Well, first, my hardcover copy is a first edition, one that consistently misspells "hobbyist" as "hobbiest". (Which consistently made me think "Of all the hobbies in the world, bomb-making is the hobbiest.") Amazon's "Search inside the book" feature says it's been fixed in current editions. Wonder if my copy is worth anything?


Robert Crais's usual heroes, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike do not appear in this book. (But the semi-pervy LAPD criminalist John Chen shows up, so we know it's set in the same universe.) The hero here is LAPD detective Carol Starkey, and she's kind of a mess. Understandably, after having been temporarily killed back when she was on the bomb squad. She sustained a considerable amount of physical and psychological damage, and these days she subsists on cigarettes, Bombay Sapphire, and Tagamet. She has no life other than her job.

She's no longer on the bomb beat, but she's called in when Charlie Riggio, who is, gets killed by a devilishly-constructed pipe bomb left by a mini-mall dumpster. Investigation reveals that Riggio made no blunders; instead, the bomb was set off via remote control. So it was specifically aimed at killing a bomb squad cop.

Worse, the bomb was designed similarly to those left by a notorious bomber-for-hire, "Mr. Red". This brings the Feds into Starkey's investigation, specifically Jack Pell of the ATF. This causes understandable friction, especially when Pell starts acting more than a little unconventionally.

It's a real page turner, and it's buttressed by the impressive amount of research Crais must have done to get the details right: not only police procedure, but bomb squad procedure, bomb design, and the squirrelly nature of criminals that like to make things blow up. (For some reason they seem to be missing fingers.)

Last Modified 2024-02-15 9:36 AM EDT