URLs du Jour


  • Only a matter of time before I start saying "I'm too old to remember…" But I'm not there yet, and neither are Ann Althouse nor Instapundit: I'm old enough to remember....

    And (of course) here's the standard libertarian needle-threading: It's fine for corporations (like Spotify) to decide whether or not to provide a platform for various people (like Joe Rogan). But it should be a firing offense for powerful government officials to demand or even suggest that corporations censor them.

    I assume the Sturgeon General took this oath on assuming office, promising to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and also to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same".

    That includes the First Amendment, General. If you can't "bear true faith and allegiance" to that, it's time to resign and go home.

  • And that term is not "kinda hot". Jeff Jacoby speaks truly: There's a term for senators like Kyrsten Sinema. After noting the slings and arrows directed at her for her consistent support of the Senate filibuster:

    In other words, Democrats and progressives are furious not because Sinema shamelessly flip-flopped or put her career ahead of her convictions, but because she wouldn't do so. In the teeth of cruel mockery, open harassment, and the loss of financial and political support, Sinema declined to betray her principles. John F. Kennedy had a term for senators like her. He called them "profiles in courage."

    In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book of that title, JFK told the story of eight senators who exemplified what he called "the most admirable of human virtues — courage." The men he profiled — John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, Sam Houston of Texas, Edmund G. Ross of Kansas, Lucius Lamar of Mississippi, George Norris of Nebraska, and Robert Taft of Ohio — demonstrated their courage in wholly dissimilar ways. Some did so by breaking with their party, others by refusing to switch parties. For some, courage took the form of advocating compromise; others showed their mettle in refusing to yield.

    To pundits and politicos on the left who regard Sinema as public enemy number one, the notion that she should be praised for her courage is absurd and offensive. Yet many of them had no trouble extolling Senator Mitt Romney when the Utah Republican voted in 2020 to convict Trump of abuse of power, becoming the first senator in history to support the removal of a president of his own party. For his vote, Romney was condemned and despised by countless Republicans, who showered him with as much rage as is now being hurled at Sinema from Democrats. Last year, the John F. Kennedy Library bestowed a Profile in Courage Award on Romney for his integrity and backbone. It ought to do the same for Sinema.

    That would cause a lot of spit takes in Cambridge. Probably won't happen.

    Needless to say, my state's Senators, Hassan and Shaheen, certainly deserve to appear in the next edition of Profiles in Cowardly Partisan Hackery.

  • Nudge nudge wink wink. Veronique de Rugy has some advice for those who nudge. To Politicians: We Don't Need Your Help Making Good Decisions

    Does anyone truly believe that our government — which consistently creates monopoly privileges for companies with its own cronyism — can be trusted to ensure that private markets remain competitive? Apparently so. Consider the resurgence of antitrust efforts against "Big Tech." If history is our guide, going after disfavored companies will result in less competition, not more, along with fewer choices and higher prices for you and me.

    Take the American Innovation and Choice Online Act recently approved by a Senate panel. This bill would block a handful of tech companies like Amazon and Apple from favoring their own products and services over those of competitors who also use these platforms. For instance, independent merchants who sell on Amazon claim to be punished if they sell their products for less on their own websites or on other sites like Walmart's or Target's.

    I recently ordered an Arduino Starter Kit from Amazon. It came next day.

    (Yes, an old man thinking about pursuing a new hobby. Laugh it up, kids.)

    But your "public servants" are thinking about screwing up the company that provides that kind of service? Just show me where I can vote against them.

    [Classical headline reference explained here if necessary.]

  • About time someone started asking such questions. David French asks the unaskable: What if Civil Rights Laws Mean What They Say? A lengthy but worthwhile excerpt:

    I want to start by doing something that might seem boring, but it’s important. I’m going to quote statutes and a constitutional provision. Here is Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

    No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. (Emphasis added.)

    Here’s the relevant portion of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983:

    Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. (Emphasis added.)

    I know that I have a lot of lawyer readers, but even the non-lawyers can understand plain English. Beginning shortly after the Civil War and extending to the statutes that dealt a decisive blow to Jim Crow and legalized southern segregation, American law has attempted to codify principles that are vital to the functioning of a free, pluralistic, multiethnic society—citizens enjoy legal equality, including on the basis of race, and the law should provide substantial and effective mechanisms for enforcing those principles of equality and nondiscrimination. 

    Yet for generations American courts have looked at those statutes, pondered them, and responded with a resounding, “Nope!” 

    "Nope" insofar as civil rights law barring "affirmative action" policies. David does a fantastic job of demolishing the pro-AA arguments to be argued in front of SCOTUS. He also includes a graphic tweet that really illuminates:

    … and I don't mind at all that it shows my alma mater in a favorable light. Caltech was anti-racist before it was cool.

  • Giving a needed label to a powerful concept. Astral Codex Ten makes the case for Bounded Distrust

    Suppose you're a liberal who doesn't trust FOX News. One day you're at the airport, waiting for a plane, ambiently watching the TV at the gate. It's FOX News, and they're saying that a mass shooter just shot twenty people in Yankee Stadium. There’s live footage from the stadium with lots of people running and screaming.

    Do you believe this?

    I'm a liberal who doesn't trust FOX News, and sure, I believe it. The level on which FOX News is bad isn't the level where they invent mass shootings that never happened. They wouldn't use deepfakes or staged actors to fake something and then call it "live footage". That would go way beyond anything FOX had done before. Liberals might say things like "You can't trust FOX News on anything, they are 100% total liars", but realistically we still trust them quite a lot on stuff like this.

    Myself, I don't accept the label "liberal" unless prefixed by the adjective "classical". But AC10 makes the point that even the most biased news source can be trusted some of the time, on some matters. It's worth adjusting your own internal bullshit detectors on multidimensional criteria.

    But click through and RTWT, to see AC10 applying this insight the thorny questions of whether Abe Lincoln was into Marxism, whether immigrants commit disproportionate amounts of Swedish crime, and whether Ivermectin works.

  • School choice week is winding up… and my state gets some proper respect from Cato: New Choices for New Hampshire

    Although the Granite State is 46th in square miles and 40th in population, its residents enjoy an outsized amount of overall freedom as evidenced by two decades of consistently being ranked either number 1 or number 2 on Cato’s annual Freedom in the 50 States Index. Last year, New Hampshire continued that legacy of freedom with creation of the Education Freedom Account Program.

    New Hampshire’s new education savings account (ESA) program allows families to receive education funds that would otherwise be spent on public schools. These funds can then be used flexibly for education‐related expenses such as tuition, books, and tutoring. The amount averages to around $4,600 per child, with eligibility limited to families earning less than or equal to 300% of the federal poverty line, or $83,250 for a family of four.

    Cato looks at the state of play and the (somewhat cloudy) legislative future.

  • And finally, imagine a picture of me punching the air here.

    Wordle 223 3/6

Last Modified 2022-02-22 4:22 PM EDT