I Already Did a "2022 Dumpster Fire" Pic…

… so we'll make do with a pic of a logtime Pun Salad hero, Dave Barry. His 2022 retrospective is out. I'll just excerpt the intro:

The best thing we can say about 2022 is: It could have been worse.

For example, we could have had nuclear Armageddon. This briefly appeared to be a possibility, at least according to the president, who broke the news in October at (Why not?) a Democratic Party fundraiser at the home of a wealthy donor in New York City. That must have been an exciting event! One moment everybody’s standing around chewing hors d’ oeuvres, and the next moment WHOA WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?

The next day, after the news media ran a bunch of scary headlines, the White House Office of Explaining What the President Actually Meant explained that the president wasn’t suggesting that we were facing Armageddon per se, but was merely, as is his wont, emitting words, one of which happened to be “Armageddon,” and everybody should just calm down.

So we dodged a bullet there.

Indeed. Are you in desperate need of some keen observations that will make you laugh to keep from crying? You will want to Read The Whole Thing™.

And try not to notice when I steal some of his keenest stuff over the coming year. Like describing Sam Bankman-Fried as "the fourth runner-up in a John Belushi lookalike contest."

Briefly noted:

  • Another year-end retrospective (too soon?), this one from Reason's Emma Camp: 5 Infuriating Ways People Got the First Amendment Wrong in 2022. And number one with a bullet is:

    Yes, you can yell "fire" in a crowded theater.

    One of the more surprising misstatements about the First Amendment this year came from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Despite sitting on the nation's highest court and being one of nine deciding voices in how the First Amendment is applied and interpreted, Alito repeated one of the most common misconceptions about the law during an October talk at the Heritage Foundation.

    When offering examples of speech not protected by the First Amendment, Alito listed "extortion and threats," defamation, and "shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater."

    Contrary to Alito's assertion, it is perfectly legal to shout "fire" in a crowded theater—though the idea has, for some reason, become an oft-repeated cultural maxim. The confusion comes from a now-overturned 1919 case, Schenk v. United States, in which the phrase was used as a metaphor—and not intended to create legal doctrine.

    Do better in 2023, Sam. Although I'm sure Clarence Thomas will correct you before your faulty analysis makes it into an actual SCOTUS opinion.

  • Instead of looking back, George F. Will looks forward, and lists Four ways Congress could begin reversing its self-diminishment. (But he also refers to the fire-in-a-crowded-theater guy, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.)

    Sometimes, Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “we need education in the obvious more than investigation of the obscure.” Obviously the national institution most in need of repair is Congress. Herewith are four measures by which the 118th Congress can begin reversing the institution’s decades-long self-diminishment.

    Passing the Separation of Powers Restoration Act would end congressional deference to “Chevron deference,” the Supreme Court doctrine named for a case in which the court said judges should defer to administrative agencies’ “reasonable” interpretations of “ambiguous” laws. Congress might consider not writing such laws. Pending that miracle, Congress should, with SPRA, require courts to interpret statutes rather than leaving this to bureaucracies, which have powerful incentives to make expansive interpretations that maximize their power. As Justice Brett Kavanaugh has written, Chevron deference often is “a judicially orchestrated shift of power from Congress to the Executive Branch,” and “encourages agency aggressiveness.” SPRA, by identifying judicial deference as dereliction of the judicial duty to say what the law is, would strengthen judicial supervision of the administrative state.

    Disable Javacript in your browser to find GFW's remaining three recommendations.

  • Since I am old, I'm occasionally surprised at the number of completely obvious things that need to be explained to young people. (And, sometimes, my fellow not-so-young-anymore people.)

    Coleman Hughes provides another example: Actually, Color-Blindness Isn’t Racist.

    In a few months, the Supreme Court will strike down or reaffirm race-based affirmative action in college admissions. The anticipation surrounding the Court’s decision—in two separate cases pitting Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard and the University of North Carolina—has reignited the long-running national debate over color-blindness.

    The question is: Should universities be permitted to discriminate on the basis of race? Should they be permitted to “see race”?

    Not seeing race is the surest way, these days, to signal that you aren’t on the right side of this divide. Indeed, the term “color-blind” has become anathema to rightthink, and if you live in elite institutions—universities, corporate America, the mainstream media—the quickest way to demonstrate that you just don’t get it is to say, “I don’t see color” or “I was taught to treat everyone the same.”

    Once considered a progressive attitude, color-blindness is now seen as backwards—a cheap surrender in the face of racism, at best; or a cover for deeply held racist beliefs, at worst.

    But color-blindness is neither racist nor backwards. Properly understood, it is the belief that we should strive to treat people without regard to race in our personal lives and in our public policy.

    Hughes continues our SCOTUS-quoting streak with John Marshall Harlan: "Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among its citizens."

  • [Amazon Link]
    (paid link)
    I'm pretty sure Bob Dylan does not quote any Supreme Court decisions in his recent interview with the Wall Street Journal's Jeff Slate. And Bob is no slouch at coming up with extemporaneous pyrotechnic observations:

    [Slate:] And since everything is at our fingertips, has streaming democratized music? Are we back to the days when “Strangers in The Night” can top “Paperback Writer” and “Paint It Black” on the pop charts?

    [Dylan:] We could very well be. There’s a sameness to everything nowadays. We seem to be in a vacuum. Everything’s become too smooth and painless. We jumped into the mainstream, the big river, with all the industrial waste, chemical debris, rocks, and mudflow, along with Brian Wilson and his brothers, Soupy Sales, and Tennessee Ernie Ford. The earth could vomit up its dead, and it could be raining blood, and we’d shrug it off, cool as cucumbers. Everything’s too easy. Just one stroke of the ring finger, middle finger, one little click, that’s all it takes, and we’re there. We’ve dropped the coin right into the slot. We’re pill poppers, cube heads and day trippers, hanging in, hanging out, gobbling blue devils, black mollies, anything we can get our hands on. Not to mention the nose candy and ganga grass. It’s all too easy, too democratic. You need a solar X-ray detector just to find somebody’s heart, see if they still have one.

    I have Dylan's new book (Amazon link at your right) on my get-at-library list. It promises to be a hoot.

Last Modified 2024-01-15 5:23 AM EDT