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13 Sep 03:02

Happy 138th Birthday to the ‘Sage of Baltimore’ — H.L. Mencken - Publications – AEI

by Mark Perry

AEI
Happy 138th Birthday to the ‘Sage of Baltimore’ — H.L. Mencken

mencken

Tomorrow (September 12) is H.L. Mencken’s birthday. The “Sage of Baltimore” (pictured above) was born in 1880 and is regarded by many as one of the most influential American journalists, essayists, and writers of the early 20th century. To recognize the great political writer on his birthday, here are 12 of my favorite Mencken quotes:

1. Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

2. A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.

3. A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.

4. Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

5. Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.

6. Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.

7. Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

8. Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

9. If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.

10. For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

11. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

12. As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

You can find more great Mencken quotes here.

Happy 138th Birthday to the ‘Sage of Baltimore’ — H.L. Mencken
Mark Perry

10 Sep 20:57

MARK PERRY: “Over the last 12 years, I’ve probably created and posted more than 3,000 graphics on…

by Glenn Reynolds

MARK PERRY: “Over the last 12 years, I’ve probably created and posted more than 3,000 graphics on CD, Twitter, and Facebook including charts/graphs, tables, figures, maps and Venn diagrams. Of all of those graphics, I don’t think any single one has ever gotten more attention, links, re-Tweets, re-posts, and mentions than the one above (and previous versions), which has been referred to as ‘the Chart of the Century.'”

Heck, I got a whole book out of it.

09 Sep 02:47

SORT OF LIKE AFTER HILLARY’S DEFEAT: It’s shameful what US Open did to Naomi Osaka. Naomi Osak…

by Glenn Reynolds

SORT OF LIKE AFTER HILLARY’S DEFEAT: It’s shameful what US Open did to Naomi Osaka.

Naomi Osaka, 20 years old, just became the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam.

Yet rather than cheer Osaka, the crowd, the commentators and US Open officials all expressed shock and grief that Serena Williams lost.

Osaka spent what should have been her victory lap in tears. It had been her childhood dream to make it to the US Open and possibly play against Williams, her idol, in the final.

It’s hard to recall a more unsportsmanlike event.

Here was a young girl who pulled off one of the greatest upsets ever, who fought for every point she earned, ashamed.

At the awards ceremony, Osaka covered her face with her black visor and cried. The crowd booed her. Katrina Adams, chairman and president of the USTA, opened the awards ceremony by denigrating the winner and lionizing Williams — whose ego, if anything, needs piercing.

“Perhaps it’s not the finish we were looking for today,” Adams said, “but Serena, you are a champion of all champions.” Addressing the crowd, Adams added, “This mama is a role model and respected by all.”

That’s not likely the case now, not after the world watched as Serena Williams had a series of epic meltdowns on the court, all sparked when the umpire warned her: No coaching from the side. Her coach was making visible hand signals.

“I don’t cheat to win,” Williams told him. “I’d rather lose.”

She couldn’t let it go, going back multiple times to berate the umpire. At one point she called him a thief.

“You stole a point from me!” she yelled.

After her loss, Williams’s coach admitted to ESPN that he had, in fact, been coaching from the stands, a code violation. The warning was fair. . . .

Osaka, a young player at the beginning of her career, showed grit, determination and maturity on that court and off.

She earned that trophy. Let’s recall that this wasn’t Osaka’s first victory over Williams — she beat Williams back in March, causing a hiccup in that great comeback narrative.

Osaka earned her moment as victor at the US Open, one that should have been pure joy. If anything was stolen during this match, it was that.

Shameful, but not surprising.

09 Sep 01:01

THE NCAA IS A SHITTY CARTEL THAT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED: NCAA punishes several Kentucky athletes for p…

by Glenn Reynolds

THE NCAA IS A SHITTY CARTEL THAT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED: NCAA punishes several Kentucky athletes for pick-up soccer game with Foo Fighters.

04 Sep 05:00

SO MANY LIES PASS FOR NEWS: US accounts for just 1% of mass shootings, not media-hyped 31%.. “Lan…

by Glenn Reynolds

SO MANY LIES PASS FOR NEWS: US accounts for just 1% of mass shootings, not media-hyped 31%.. “Lankford’s study reported that from 1966 to 2012, there were 90 public mass shooters in the United States and 202 in the rest of world. We find that Lankford’s data represent a gross undercount of foreign attacks. Our list contains 1,448 attacks and at least 3,081 shooters outside the United States over just the last 15 years of the period that Lankford examined. We find at least fifteen times more mass public shooters than Lankford in less than a third the number of years,.”

30 Aug 20:26

WHOA: St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has created an “exclusion list” of 28 police officers w…

by Stephen Green
29 Aug 18:23

How Formerly Independent Doctors Were Pushed Out of Business: New at Reason

by Reason Staff

"Is the independent doctor disappearing?" U.S. News & World Report asked earlier this summer. The answer is yes, argues J.D. Tuccille, and to a significant extent, that's a result of deliberate policy.

Just 33 percent of physicians "identify as independent practice owners or partners," the Physicians Foundation reported in its last last survey, conducted in 2016. That's down from 48.5 percent in 2012. But while a majority of doctors now opt to work as employees, "most physicians, even many who are themselves employed by hospitals, do not believe hospital employment of physicians is a positive trend," the foundation reported.

Why are doctors going to work for large organizations when they seem so resistant to the idea? Factors featured in the U.S. News article include "government insurance mandates and changes to health insurance design to new reporting requirements, escalating costs and the rise of urgent care clinics." U.S. News also notes that "unique for physicians are certain requirements surrounding electronic health records and new reporting requirements regarding patient visits as part of the Affordable Care Act."

Your doctors didn't jump out of business; they were pushed, writes Tuccille. And they were pushed by people way too convinced of their qualifications to redesign the world around them.

View this article.

29 Aug 18:01

THE MASK COMES OFF: UN Appointed Climate Science Team Demands The End of Capitalism….

by Stephen Green
27 Aug 17:15

BJORN LOMBORG: How the war on climate change slams the world’s poor. Activist organizations lik…

by Stephen Green

BJORN LOMBORG: How the war on climate change slams the world’s poor.

Activist organizations like Worldwatch argue that higher temperatures will make more people hungry, so drastic carbon cuts are needed. But a comprehensive new study published in Nature Climate Change led by researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis has found that strong global climate action would cause far more hunger and food insecurity than climate change itself.

The scientists used eight global-agricultural models to analyze various scenarios between now and 2050. These models suggest, on average, that climate change could put an extra 24 million people at risk of hunger. But a global carbon tax would increase food prices and push 78 million more people into risk of hunger. The areas expected to be most vulnerable are sub-Saharan Africa and India.

Trying to help 24 million people by imperiling 78 million people’s lives is a very poor policy.

It’s great statism though.

25 Aug 03:15

FASTER, PLEASE: Intervening on mtDNA in Mice Reverses Skin Wrinkling and Hair Loss. “In what appea…

by Glenn Reynolds

FASTER, PLEASE: Intervening on mtDNA in Mice Reverses Skin Wrinkling and Hair Loss. “In what appears to be a world first, scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have reversed two of the most common visual signs of aging—skin wrinkles and hair loss—in mice by turning off a gene responsible for mitochondrial dysfunction.”

24 Aug 14:50

GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD: For all the love lavished on Venezuela’s Bolivarian socialism by Bernie…

by Stephen Green

GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD:

For all the love lavished on Venezuela’s Bolivarian socialism by Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, et al, I wonder if any of them actually put any money on the regime?

Not really. I’m sure the answer is no.

24 Aug 14:17

MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THE CONSTITUTION FORBIDS ANY RELIGIOUS TEST FOR PUBLIC OFFICE: If Trump and…

by Stephen Green

MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THE CONSTITUTION FORBIDS ANY RELIGIOUS TEST FOR PUBLIC OFFICE: If Trump and GOP don’t understand climate change, they don’t deserve public office.

22 Aug 13:25

ANTISOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook has TRUST ratings for users – but it won’t tell you your score. Ea…

by Stephen Green

ANTISOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook has TRUST ratings for users – but it won’t tell you your score.

Earlier this year, Facebook admitted it was rolling out trust ratings for media outlets.

This involved ranking news websites based on the quality of the news they were reporting.

This rating would then be used to decide which posts should be promoted higher in users’ News Feeds.

User ratings are employed in a similar way – helping Facebook make a judgement about the quality of their post reports.

According to Lyons, a user’s rating “isn’t meant to be an absolute indicator of a person’s credibility”.

Instead, it’s intended as a measurement of working out how risky a user’s actions may be.

If Facebook were transparent about this stuff, users — the network’s actual content providers and creators — could work to improve trust.

But that kind of openness just isn’t in the company’s DNA, says Frederic Filloux on Monday Note:

Facebook’s DNA is based on the unchallenged power of an exceptional but morally flawed — or at least dangerously immature — leader who sees the world as a gigantic monetization playground. In Mark Zuckerberg’s world, the farther from home, the more leeway he feels to experiment with whatever comes to his prolific mind. Yielding on the Ford Pinto syndrome, he feels little incentive to correct the misuse of the tools he created. And he managed to have no one standing against him.

It’s a fascinating article, and I recommend reading the whole thing.

18 Aug 20:07

NEW SOCIALIST “IT GIRL” CONTINUES TO PAY DIVIDENDS: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bans press from Que…

by Ed Driscoll

NEW SOCIALIST “IT GIRL” CONTINUES TO PAY DIVIDENDS: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bans press from Queens town hall.

16 Aug 13:07

TRACKING EARTH’S MINI-MOONS: There could be many minis in orbit….

by Austin Bay

TRACKING EARTH’S MINI-MOONS: There could be many minis in orbit.

11 Aug 15:52

Cartoon of the day on self-esteem - Publications – AEI

by Mark Perry
11 Aug 15:51

The time is past due to end the outdated, protectionist relic known as the Jones Act - Publications – AEI

by Mark Perry

AEI
The time is past due to end the outdated, protectionist relic known as the Jones Act

Tim Taylor has a good primer on the protectionist, regulatory relic known as the Jones Act on his Conversable Economist blog (“A Primer on the Jones Act and American Shipping“) based on the Cato Institute‘s policy analysis “The Jones Act: A Burden America Can No Longer Bear” by Colin Grabow, Inu Manak, and Daniel Ikenson. Here are a few of Tim’s “money quotes” (my emphasis):

When thinking about the costs of the Jones Act, it’s worth remembering that shipbuilding and shipping are examples of US industries that have been dramatically protected from foreign competition for nearly a century. If sustained protection from foreign competition was a useful path to the highest levels of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, then US ship-building and shipping should be elite industries. But in fact, US ship-building and shipping–safely protected from competition– have fallen far behind foreign competition, with negative costs and consequences that echo through the rest of the US economy–and probably diminish US national security, too.

……

The argument a century ago, and since, has been that a domestic ship-building industry is essential for national defense. Maybe so! But if that is the goal, the Jones Act is sorely failing to accomplish it. Instead, the Navy can’t afford the extra ships it wants, the number of available US civilian ships and the knowledgeable workers to run them is shrinking, and military operations have had to find ways to make use of foreign ships.

……

As a general rule, it is unlikely that the solution for a problem is identical to the cause of the problem. But after nearly a century of protection from international competition sheltered US ship-building and shipping to compete with foreign competition and thus led it into near-obsolescence, the reason for keeping the Jones Act in place seems to be that, without it, the US shipping and ship-building industry would have a hard time competing. It’s a little like arguing that the cure for a drug addiction is a continuing supply of the drug to which you are addicted.

I’m willing to have a discussion about what policy steps might be useful in creating a US ship-building and shipping industry that is internationally competitive. The necessary steps might be dramatic and costly. But the first step in that discussion is the acknowledgement that the long-run effects of the Jones Act have been terrible and counterproductive policy for the US shipbuilding and shipping industries. It has rendered those industries essentially unable to compete on the world stage, while creating costs throughout the rest of the US economy and reducing US military security. Any plan for US shipbuilding and shipping which doesn’t focus on how to bring the Jones Act to an end is not serious.

Here’s part of the conclusion from the Cato Institute paper:

By any measure, the Jones Act has been a failure. Under its watch the U.S. shipbuilding industry has atrophied, its shipping fleet has withered, and any contribution to the military’s sealift capability has been trivial at best. The failure of the Jones Act to meet its intended objectives, meanwhile, has inflicted considerable economic harm through a variety of direct and indirect channels. Rather than serving to bolster national security, the Jones Act has stultified domestic shipbuilding, diminished the size of America’s merchant marine reserve, and hamstrung our ability to respond expeditiously and effectively to natural and manmade disasters.

Among the world’s cabotage laws, the Jones Act stands out for its extreme protectionism. Only a handful of countries require ships participating in their domestic maritime services to be built domestically and none have more onerous restrictions. Moreover, there are no comparably stringent regulations of other means of transportation in the United States.

….

That such a burdensome law has evaded meaningful reform for nearly 100 years speaks to the determination of a small, well-organized, well-connected class of producers and unions that have succeeded over the years in portraying any effort to reform or repeal the Jones Act as an affront to national security. The time has come to finally turn the tables and for Congress to repeal this onerous law.

MP: The Jones Act, like all protectionist measures, have the same predictable and inevitable economic outcomes: a) higher prices for businesses and consumers, b) reduced competition and fewer choices for consumers, c) concentrated, visible benefits for the protected industry and widespread costs on consumers throughout the entire economy, d) economic stagnation in the long-run, and e) overall reduced economic prosperity, growth, and jobs.

The Jones Act is also another example, along with the 25% tariffs on imported trucks and trade restrictions on sugar that drive up the US price to 2X the world price, that contradicts the popular, but somewhat false narrative that America’s markets are wide open to the entire world while bad foreigners restrict their markets for US exports.

The time is past due to end the outdated, protectionist relic known as the Jones Act
Mark Perry

11 Aug 15:09

SHOCKER: 170 Registered Voters in Ohio’s 12th District Listed as Over 116 Years Old….

by Glenn Reynolds
28 Jul 13:25

HUH: Cannabis Oil Helped 80 Percent of Autistic Children, Israeli Study Finds. “It improved both beh…

by Stephen Green

HUH: Cannabis Oil Helped 80 Percent of Autistic Children, Israeli Study Finds. “It improved both behavior and communications in the children enrolled in the study.”

28 Jul 13:17

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: Devin Nunes, Washington’s Public Enemy No. 1: What did the FBI do in the 201…

by Glenn Reynolds

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: Devin Nunes, Washington’s Public Enemy No. 1: What did the FBI do in the 2016 campaign? The head of the House inquiry on what he has found—and questions still unanswered.

It’s 105 degrees as I stand with Rep. Devin Nunes on his family’s dairy farm. Mr. Nunes has been feeling even more heat in Washington, where as chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence he has labored to unearth the truth about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. Thanks in large part to his work, we now know that the FBI used informants against Donald Trump’s campaign, that it obtained surveillance warrants based on opposition research conducted for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and that after the election Obama administration officials “unmasked” and monitored the incoming team.

Mr. Nunes’s efforts have provoked extraordinary partisan and institutional fury in Washington—across the aisle, in the FBI and other law-enforcement and intelligence agencies, in the media. “On any given day there are dozens of attacks, each one wilder in its claims,” he says. Why does he keep at it? “First of all, because it’s my job. This is a basic congressional investigation, and we follow the facts,” he says. The “bigger picture,” he adds, is that in “a lot of the bad and problematic countries” that Intelligence Committee members investigate, “this is what they do there. There is a political party that controls the intelligence agencies, controls the media, all to ensure that party stays in power. If we get to that here, we no longer have a functioning republic. We can’t let that happen.” . . .

It got worse. This spring Mr. Nunes obtained information showing the FBI had used informants to gather intelligence on the Trump camp. The Justice Department is still playing hide-and-seek with documents. “We still don’t know how many informants were run before July 31, 2016”—the official open of the counterintelligence investigation—“and how much they were paid. That’s the big outstanding question,” he says. Mr. Nunes adds that the department and the FBI haven’t done anything about the unmaskings or taken action against the Flynn leakers—because, in his view, “they are too busy working with Democrats to cover all this up.”

He and his committee colleagues in June sent a letter asking Mr. Trump to declassify at least 20 pages of the FISA application. Mr. Nunes says they are critical: “If people think using the Clinton dirt to get a FISA is bad, what else that’s in that application is even worse.”

Mr. Nunes has harsh words for his adversaries. How, he asks, can his committee’s Democrats, who spent years “worrying about privacy and civil liberties,” be so blasé about unmaskings, surveillance of U.S. citizens, and intelligence leaks? On the FBI: “I’m not the one that used an unverified dossier to get a FISA warrant,” Mr. Nunes says. “I’m not the one who obstructed a congressional investigation. I’m not the one who lied and said Republicans paid for the dossier. I’m just one of a few people in a position to get to the bottom of it.” And on the press: “Today’s media is corrupt. It’s chosen a side. But it’s also making itself irrelevant. The sooner Republicans understand that, the better.”

His big worry is that Republicans are running out of time before the midterm elections, yet there are dozens of witnesses still to interview. “But this was always the DOJ/FBI plan,” he says. “They are slow-rolling, because they are wishing and betting the Republicans lose the House.”

I wonder what else they’re doing besides “wishing and betting?”

28 Jul 13:15

DAMN LITTLE, AND MUCH OF IT WRONG: Plus: …

by Glenn Reynolds

DAMN LITTLE, AND MUCH OF IT WRONG:

Plus:

26 Jul 23:03

THIS ISN’T THE REGTECH I WAS PROMISED: Anti-smoking activists *hate* vaping, despite the demonstrabl…

by Iain Murray

THIS ISN’T THE REGTECH I WAS PROMISED: Anti-smoking activists *hate* vaping, despite the demonstrable reduction in harm thanks to the technology (my wife gave up smoking cigarettes thanks to vaping). There has been an aggressive astroturf campaign aimed at the FDA in favor of anti-vaping regulations – and by astroturf I mean “submitting 255,000 fake comments from a single Internet bot.”

My colleague Michelle Minton has written a bunch on vaping and its role in harm reduction.

25 Jul 22:43

WHO SAYS LOCAL JOURNALISM IS DEAD? Chance the Rapper Buys Chicagoist, Promises to Investigate Rahm …

by Glenn Reynolds
25 Jul 22:41

NOW THAT’S REAL SOCIALISM: Venezuela Inflation Could Reach One Million Percent by Year’s End. E…

by Stephen Green

NOW THAT’S REAL SOCIALISM: Venezuela Inflation Could Reach One Million Percent by Year’s End.

Everyone knows you never go Full Zimbabwe.

Plus, this friendly reminder that the only thing socialist states never run short of is zeros.

25 Jul 22:36

I THOUGHT WE WERE TO ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE: Europa Lander may not have to dig deep to find signs…

by Stephen Green

I THOUGHT WE WERE TO ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE: Europa Lander may not have to dig deep to find signs of life.

The 1,900-mile-wide Europa harbors a huge ocean beneath its icy shell. What’s more, astronomers think this water is in contact with the moon’s rocky core, making a variety of complex and intriguing chemical reactions possible.

Researchers therefore regard Europa as one of the solar system’s best bets to harbor alien life. Europa is also a geologically active world, so samples of the buried ocean may routinely make it to the surface — via localized upwelling of the ocean itself, for example, and/or through geyser-like outgassing, evidence of which has been spotted multiple times by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA aims to hunt for such samples in the not-too-distant future. The agency is developing a flyby mission called Europa Clipper, which is scheduled to launch in the early 2020s. Clipper will study Europa up close during dozens of flybys, some of which might be able to zoom through the moon’s suspected water-vapor plumes. And NASA is also working on a possible post-Clipper lander mission that would search for evidence of life at or near the Europan surface.

I’ve been waiting for this mission since reading 2010: Odyssey Two when it was first published in 1982. But since the post-Clipper lander mission isn’t even scheduled yet, I’ll have to wait a good while longer.

Faster, please.

24 Jul 12:58

BRAD SMITH: The IRS gives up power for once, and the Left goes nuts. Finally, we might ask why, …

by Glenn Reynolds

BRAD SMITH: The IRS gives up power for once, and the Left goes nuts.

Finally, we might ask why, absent a very good reason, the federal government should ever be collecting data on our memberships and donations in the first place. What business of the government is it if you belong to a fishing club or the National Association of Realtors, or want to support Everytown for Gun Safety or the NRA?

Nonetheless, government agencies can be remarkably unwilling to surrender power or information. So praise is in order for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter for doing away with the requirement. . . .

Even more interesting, however, is the response of the progressive Left and the press. Because some of the organizations now exempt from filing donor information speak out about issues, or make some political expenditures (legally limited by tax law), this modest regulatory rescission is being portrayed as a victory for “dark money” in politics. Now, the Institute for Free Speech has pointed out repeatedly that “dark money” is the political bogeyman of our times — it amounts to a tiny percentage of political spending in the U.S., and attempts to completely end it intrude on the freedom of law-abiding people without providing any useful information to the public.

But let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that stopping “dark money” is an important goal. Here’s the thing: The information the IRS had been collecting was required by law to be kept private! So not reporting the information to the IRS has no legal effect at all on “dark money.” Think about that.

In short, what the progressive and media criticism of the IRS’s decision boils down to is some combination of the following:

They want to whip up hysteria about “dark money,” even when it is irrelevant to the policy at issue.
They want the IRS to illegally leak the data collected.
They hope that a database of donor memberships might be used by a future progressive administration for some unspecified purpose.
They simply don’t want to give up any potential power over Americans and perhaps hope, if the government is already collecting this information, it will be easier to pass more laws intruding on privacy in the future.

Yeah, I don’t trust them.

24 Jul 03:53

YES, THE FISA PROCESS WAS ABUSED AND WEAPONIZED, BUT IT’S ALSO CLEAR THAT THE FISA COURT IS IN FACT …

by Glenn Reynolds
17 Jul 03:04

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: The American Nobility Pays No Price For Its Failures: Accountability shouldn’…

by Glenn Reynolds
16 Jul 13:49

#FAKENEWS: Mystery as IDENTICAL letters appear in 21 newspapers across 12 states slamming Trump’s S…

by Glenn Reynolds
11 Jul 15:39

I THINK YOU JUST DID:  Caught on Camera: Tedra Cobb Tells Supporters She Wants ‘Assault Rifle’ …

by Sarah Hoyt