Friday links! Hardships of the rich edition

From Fyre Festival, a $12,000 concert in the Bahamas that is not going as planned

Experts from Dave Barry to Naven R. Johnson’s grandmother agree that it is better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick. But is being rich really such a sweet deal? Wages have stagnated for the last four decades as corporate profits climbed to all-time highs, so it seems like now is a great time to own things. But that’s a narrow perspective. If you weren’t so wrapped up in working all day, you’d see that the rich are suffering terribly. They never get any sympathy for it, either, what with frothy-mouthed socialism being so popular lately. All this talk about fairness and equality serves only to divide us. Today is Friday, and we all bleed the same shade of Nantucket red. Won’t you pity the masters with me?

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Laffer Curve returns to feast on brains of living

Something d-o-o economics

If you want your name to live forever in politics, come up with a reason why helping rich people is good for everybody. That’s what Arthur Laffer did in 1974, when he drew his famous curve on a napkin. The  Laffer Curve illustrates the theory that lowering tax rates can sometimes increase overall tax revenues by stimulating economic growth. This argument makes sense, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t tell us much. To many people, though, the Laffer Curve means that cutting taxes raises revenue. That’s the argument Treasury Secretary Paul Mnuchin made this week to justify President Trump’s plan to dramatically reduce corporate taxes. Won’t lowering taxes add to the deficit? Nah. “The tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth,” Mnuchin said. Well then. That sounds fortuitous.

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A petard is an explosive charge, not a flagpole

The president sits comfortably on a little box he found.

People sometimes asks me why Combat! blog is not more popular. These people are themselves nerds, consumed by questions of esoteric knowledge while carefree personal trainers make their spouses feel attractive and fun. They have no sense of the common reader’s interest, whereas I, who operate without illusions but with Google analytics, know this blog will never be widely read. All sorts of interesting things that the general public wants to know about are happening on the internet, from Kardashians to one weird trick that cuts belly fat. But I can’t stop thinking about this quote from former White House aide Ronald Klaine, in this Times story on President Trump’s lackluster first 100 days:

“If Trump finds himself hoisted on the 100-day test, it is a petard that he erected for himself.”

First of all, way to avoid the natural conclusion of this sentence, “…a petard of his own erection.” That would probably be too good for this world. But I must find fault with Klaine’s locution anyway, because he has made a common mistake. A petard is not erected. A petard is a small explosive charge used to blast a hole in a wall or door. Recondite knowledge after the jump.

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Who will avert war: Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump?

Ballistic missiles on parade in Pyongyang Saturday

Two interesting things happened in North Korea this weekend. First, third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un presided over a parade to honor his grandfather Kim Il Sung. There were lots of missiles, including the ostensibly intercontinental Pukguksong pictured above. The next morning, apparently as a show of defiance as American ships approached the Korean Peninsula, the North tested another ballistic missile that failed within seconds of liftoff. Let that be a lesson to you, Kombat! Kids. When you become dictator of a secretive rogue state and want to show off your military might, schedule the parade after the missile test. Otherwise, you risk embarrassing yourself. On a completely unrelated note, here’s US President Donald Trump on his revised opinion of China’s relationship with North Korea, which President Xi Jinping explained to him over the weekend:

After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy. It’s not what you would think.

Ah, yes—our new president, who insisted throughout his 18-month campaign that China had absolute control of North Korea and its belligerent foreign policies, changed his opinion after considering the subject for 10 minutes. This news raises a fun question: Which of these egomaniacal stewards of his family empire will keep us out of war?

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Friday links! Courtesy of the red, white and blue edition

Toby Keith, who did not serve in the military, and his dog tags

Did you hear? President Trump dropped the MOAB on Afghanistan, killing 36 ISIS fighters and presumably ending our 15-year war. “MOAB” stands for “mother of all bombs.” The 11-ton weapon loves all other bombs and just wants them to be happy, and even though it has different expectations for each bomb, it is behind every single one of them 100 percent. You know who else loves bombs? Fox and Friends. Here’s the video they put together for yesterday’s strike:

“The video is black and white,” Ainsley Earhardt says, “but that is what freedom looks like. That’s the red, white and blue.” It’s true that a tyrant could never bomb anyone. Freedom isn’t life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. It’s a giant explosion seen from 30,000 feet. It’s Geraldo Rivera and his Wario mustache saying that “one of my favorite things, in the sixteen years I’ve been here at Fox News, is watching bombs drop on bad guys.” Today is Friday, and the most comfortable people in the world love to watch other people get bombed. Won’t you experience hot, searing freedom with me?

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