URLs du Jour — 2014-08-05

Clearing out the things-to-blog hopper:

  • At Vox, young Matthew Yglesias makes a point made previously here at Pun Salad: "The case against time zones: They're impractical & outdated". Sample:

    If the whole world used a single GMT-based time, schedules would still vary. In general most people would sleep when it's dark out and work when it's light out. So at 23:00, most of London would be at home or in bed and most of Los Angeles would be at the office. But of course London's bartenders would probably be at work while some shift workers in LA would be grabbing a nap. The difference from today is that if you were putting together a London-LA conference call at 21:00 there'd be only one possible interpretation of the proposal. A flight that leaves New York at 14:00 and lands in Paris at 20:00 is a six-hour flight, with no need to keep track of time zones. If your appointment is in El Paso at 11:30 you don't need to remember that it's in a different time zone than the rest of Texas.

    This is one of the rare times Yglesias is absolutely right. (Another time was here, where he advocated scrapping the corporate income tax. Could it be a trend? Nah.)

  • Professor Don Boudreaux (like Pun Salad) was unimpressed with New Hampshire's ex-Senator Judd Gregg's column in The Hill extolling the virtues of the Export-Import Bank (and questioning the sanity of its detractors). Addressing Judd:

    You claim that the Ex-Im Bank’s practice of paying foreigners to consume American exports, “does not, in fact, aid foreign countries, governments or businesses.” The Ex-Im Bank, you say in celebration, “plays precisely the opposite role…. [T]he Ex-Im Bank in fact represents an American commercial threat to foreign companies.”

    So your view is that, by artificially increasing the amount of valuable goods owned and enjoyed by foreigners (through a policy of paying foreigners to acquire goods made with scarce resources in America - resources that would, in many instances, otherwise be used to produce goods for Americans to own and enjoy), Uncle Sam weakens foreign countries and strengthens America. How bizarre.

    If only our state's Senator Ayotte would spend less time listening to Gregg, and more time to Boudreaux. (Alas, my recent letter to her on this issue was acknowledged with a boilerplate response.)

  • And if that wasn't irritating enough, NH's Senator Ayotte recently appeared in the news as a co-sponsor of a new “Campus Safety and Accountability Act”, alleged to "address sexual assault at colleges."

    The MSM have zero skepticism for this sort of legislation, and basically just echo the talking points of its proponents. But check out Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner who asks yet-unanswered questions about fairness and due process (always among the first victims of a moral panic). And she has a summary:

    TL;DR: This bill institutionalizes bias against the accused in a “guilty until proven innocent” mentality, but doesn’t provide the accused any recourse to defend themselves.

    Also, at Minding the Campus, KC Johnson has a careful analysis of the proposed bill. Although there are some good things therein, here's a telling point:

    Subsection 4 of the law enforcement section of the bill, however, contains a deeply troubling provision, requiring colleges to develop “a method of sharing [with law enforcement] information about specific crimes, when directed by the victim [emphasis added].” First, at the point in the case covered by this subsection, there is no “victim”—there’s an accuser and an accused student. McCaskill’s word choice suggests that she and her colleagues believe that an accuser is automatically a “victim,” thereby abandoning the presumption of innocence for the accused. Second, the provision gives the “victim” authority over whether or not to share information with law enforcement. It’s hard to imagine any accuser would “direct” her college to share information with police about the “specific crime” of filing a false report, if the college uncovered evidence that the accuser lied.

    It's difficult to disagree with a quote KC repeats from Christina Hoff Sommers: in today's system of higher education, "Due process has no lobby."


Last Modified 2014-08-08 12:49 PM EST