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Current Affairs

October 19, 2014

A new low for the mainstream mass media

The Washington Post, 10/16: "Want to feel better about Ebola? This (massive) chart should do the trick."

We wanted to come up with a way to represent the true scale of Ebola in the United States. So we made the graphic below, which depicts over 310 million tiny icons of people, three of whom are colored red to represent Duncan and the two people he infected. Our challenge to you: find the three people.

I'm not making this up. Click on the link if you don't believe me.

At least one writer and at least one editor at The Washington Post felt that to make the point that 2 is a really, really small percentage of 310,000,000, they needed to present a graphic

Do they think their readers are all five-year-olds?

"Unable to Meet the Deductible or the Doctor"

In the New York Times, no less.

Three cheers for Obamacare!

October 18, 2014

"$39,643,352 Worth of NIH Funding That Could Have Gone to the Ebola Vaccine"

Yes, I think that there are more important uses for the NIH's money than finding out "why fat girls have a tough time getting dates" and putting on "fruit and vegetable puppet shows for preschoolers".

October 16, 2014

"5 Key Implications if Baghdad Falls to ISIS"

Interesting and important. But warning: heavy-duty pessimism.

The possible fall of Baghdad could be the most significant development in the War on Terror since 9/11. And yet many among the D.C. foreign policy “smart set” were not long ago mocking such a scenario.

"Don't Care About the Deficit? Now You Should"

Fine article with one important qualification: the deficit per se doesn't matter; goverment spending does. The growth rate of government spending must be cut, and soon.

October 15, 2014

"Anatomy of the next train wreck"

Patrick Sullivan warns--pay attention, please--that we risk repeating the Fannie/Freddie fiasco.

They who forget their history, are bound to be bullied into repeating it by the next politician who comes along;

"From Comedy to Farce"

Victor Davis Hanson presents a hellacious smackdown of our president.

It was tragically comical that the commander in chief in just a few weeks could go from referring to ISIS as “jayvee” and a manageable problem to declaring it an existential threat, in the same manner he upgraded the Free Syrian Army from amateurs and a fantasy to our ground linchpin in the new air war. All that tragic comedy was a continuance of his previous untruths, such as the assurance that existing health plans and doctors would not change under the Affordable Care Act or that there was not a smidgeon of corruption at the IRS.

But lately the Obama confusion has descended into the territory not of tragedy or even tragic comedy, but rather of outright farce.

See also "Obama’s ‘blizzard of lies’".

"Underwhelming Growth: What the new GDP figures actually reveal"

Lawrence Lindsey:

. . . the Commerce Department released its final estimate of Gross Domestic Product for the second quarter. That marked five years since the recession ended—a period of massive experimentation with expansionary fiscal and monetary policy. While those policies were doubtless well intended, all they did was what standard economic theory says they would do—move future economic output to the present. They did not by any means increase long-term economic growth. 

The headline seemed encouraging—4.6 percent growth in the second quarter. But the first quarter was negative, so the average for the first half of 2014 was just 1.25 percent. If we get, as expected, growth between 3 and 3.5 percent for the second half of the year, 2014 will come in with average growth of just about 2.25 percent. That compares with average growth of 2.2 percent over the last two years, 2.2 percent over the last three years, 2 percent over the last four years and 2.2 percent over the last five years. Does one see a trend here?

"Why Europe Is Irrational About Israel"

An analysis that was new for me.

To propose immediate Palestinian statehood under these circumstances is psychotic, to call the matter by its right name. The Europeans, along with the United Nations and the Obama administration on most working days, refuse to take reality into account. When someone tells you that Martians are transmitting radio waves into his brain, or that Elvis Presley really is the pope rather than an Argentine Jesuit, one doesn’t enquire into the merits of the argument. Rather, one considers the cause of the insanity.

The Europeans hate Israel with the passion of derangement. Why? Well, one might argue that the Europeans always have hated Jews; they were sorry they hated Jews for a while after the Holocaust, but they have gotten over that and hate us again. Some analysts used to cite Arab commercial influence in European capitals, but today Egypt and implicitly Saudi Arabia are closer to Jerusalem’s point of view than Ramallah’s. Large Muslim populations in Europe constitute a pressure group for anti-Israel policies, but that does not explain the utter incapacity of the European elite to absorb the most elementary facts of the situation.

Europe’s derangement has deeper roots. Post-nationalist Europeans, to be sure, distrust and despise all forms of nationalism. But Israeli nationalism does not offend Europe merely because it is one more kind of nationalism. From its founding, Europe has been haunted by the idea of Israel. Its first states emerged as an attempt to appropriate the election of Israel. 

"Rent Seeking: America’s National Pastime"

George Will:

Come Tuesday, the national pastime will be the subject of oral arguments in a portentous Supreme Court case. This pastime is not baseball but rent seeking — the unseemly yet uninhibited scramble of private interests to bend government power for their benefit. If the court directs a judicial scowl at North Carolina’s State Board of Dental Examiners, the court will thereby advance a basic liberty — the right of Americans to earn a living without unreasonable government interference.

Related: "Cape Wind: An Unsightly Monument to Political Pull".

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