FIRE Tries Comedy, Successfully

I laughed, anyway.

Also of note:

  • In the long run, we are all dead. That Keynesian observation explains much about politicians' enthusiasm for price controls, especially when the negative effects won't show up for a while. Megan McArdle looks at an example: Medicare can lower drug prices only by eliminating future medicines.

    Two weeks ago, the Biden administration announced the first 10 prescription drugs that will be subject to price negotiation. In other health-care policy news, this week, the Food and Drug Administration approved updated versions of mRNA coronavirus vaccines that are better tailored to one of the most common current variants of covid-19.

    Why am I telling you these two things together? Because Pfizer makes one of the vaccines and one of the drugs on the negotiation list. And taken together, they illustrate the core of our pharmaceutical dilemma: We want drugmakers to keep creating new treatments, but once they have, we would like to pay as little as possible for them — even if it blunts their incentive to invent future medicines.

    So that's an interesting add-on to Keynes: "In the long run, we are all dead, thanks to not having medicines that weren't invented."

  • Maybe she was high on her own supply? Jim Geraghty advocates making an example of a wannabe tyrant: The Governor of New Mexico Breaks Badly.

    There’s a lot of anger in this country. There’s also quite a bit of paranoia, suspicion, and fear. There are quite a few Americans who believe that someday, the federal government will come to their door to seize their guns. Australia enacted a version of this policy. There are gun-control advocates who believe that due process and judicial review are inconveniences to be swatted away in the name of public safety, that the police and government officials should have the authority to declare someone a threat — without a conviction or documented violation of any laws — and take their guns and bar them from being able to purchase or own any firearms.

    No less a figure than former president Donald Trump once said in the White House, “Take the firearms first and then go to court, because that’s another system. Because a lot of times by the time you go to court it takes so long to go to court, to get the due-process procedures. I like taking the guns early.”

    There are quite a few Americans who believe that the government will even more overtly restrict what they can say and punish them for criticizing government officials. The U.S. government has urged social-media companies to shut down the accounts of critics and those it deems purveyors of “misinformation,” with no legal or judicial review, legal process, or accountability. The argument that Americans don’t get arrested for criticizing government officials feels a little weaker when some small-town cops in Kansas decide to raid the local newspaper because it allegedly illegally accessed the records of a state database, but was in fact investigating why the police chief left his previous post as an officer in Kansas City, Mo.

    I'm reading a very lousy book that blames the increasng lack of trust in government solely on "the new conspiracism". Geraghty points out that the recent history of an "arrogant, smug, elitist, and power-hungry governing class" just might bear some of the blame.

    And goes on to make the worthy suggestion that one small step in restoring trust could be fast-tracking the impeachment of Governor Grisham.

  • Also eroding trust is… John Murawski helpfully points it out: Here's the Climate Dissent You're Not Hearing About Because It's Muffled by Society's Top Institutions.

    As the Biden administration and governments worldwide make massive commitments to rapidly decarbonize the global economy, the persistent effort to silence climate change skeptics is intensifying – and the critics keep pushing back.

    This summer the International Monetary Fund summarily canceled a presentation by John Clauser, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who publicly disavows the existence of a climate “crisis.” The head of the nonprofit with which Clauser is affiliated, the CO2 Coalition, has said he and other members have been delisted from LinkedIn for their dissident views.

    Meanwhile, a top academic journal retracted published research doubting a climate emergency after negative coverage in legacy media. The move was decried by another prominent climate dissenter, Roger Pielke Jr., as “one of the most egregious failures of scientific publishing that I have seen” – criticism muffled because the academic says he has been blocked on Twitter (now X) by reporters on the climate beat.

    "Letting these people speak might interfere with our efforts to stampede the public into panic! Can't have that!"

  • I'm a sucker for Princess Bride references. And Dan McLaughlin makes a good one: You Keep Using That Word, ‘Diversity.’ I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

    David Leonhardt and Ashley Wu have produced an analysis for the New York Times Magazine of “The Top U.S. Colleges With the Greatest Economic Diversity.” What Leonhardt and Wu describe as “a list of the country’s most-selective universities ranked in order of economic diversity” is measured “by analyzing the share of students receiving Pell Grants, which typically go to students from the bottom half of the income distribution.”


    The word “diversity,” however, is being abused here. Diversity means difference. Pell Grants are need-based aid available only to Americans (not foreign students) and disproportionately given to people in the lowest income brackets. It is true that schools such as Tulane, where only 8 percent of students receive Pell Grants, would appear to lack economic diversity. But 94 percent of Berea’s student body receive Pell Grants. If 94 percent of your student body has something in common, that is less diversity, not more. An actual measure of economic diversity would show a full spectrum from poor students to rich students, each in proportion.

    People who speak English rather than woke as a first language understand this. But the habit of liberal/progressive discourse on school admissions, workplaces, and the like is simply to equate “diversity” with maximizing the number of favored groups. When a habit becomes this ingrained, you can no longer even see what you’re doing, to the point where you conclude that maximum diversity would be a student body that consists 100 percent of the same type of person.

    This bit of linguistic violence was brought to you by SCOTUS Justice Lewis Powell, whose 1978 Bakke ruling that blessed "affirmative action" if it suited the goal of having a "diverse student body". Which was immediately seized as an excuse to continue racial discrimination in admissions.

Recently on the movie blog:

Last Modified 2024-01-11 4:45 AM EDT

London Has Fallen

[4 stars] [IMDB Link]

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

I was (once again) in the mood for a Big Dumb Movie and went for the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, which I watched last month.

Slight spoiler: the setting is … London, England! World leaders are in town for the funeral of the unexpectedly-dead Prime Minister. But it's all a plot, meticulously designed by a terrorist/arms dealer who seeks revenge for a drone strike on (what turned out to be) a wedding party, killing his just-married daughter. I think. Because basically that's just the excuse for staging a bunch of explosions, gunfights, car chases, more explosions, fisticuffs, helicopter crashes, …

But the first twenty minutes or so of the movie are relatively peaceful (except for that spoiled party), with establishing family man/Secret Service agent Mike Banning's (Gerard Butler) relationships with his pregnant wife and the President (Aaron Eckhart) and Vice President (Morgan Freeman).

But once that's done with, we are never more than a few minutes from impressive amounts of violence and action. Mike has to get the President to safety, but that's made extremely difficult by the (literally) hundreds of terrorists with prescient knowledge of security weaknesses, escape routes, and safe houses. There's a mole, of course.

Last Modified 2024-06-02 10:47 AM EDT