URLs du Jour

2017-05-06

■ OK, we get it. The Proverbian is unfond of fools. Here's 26:8:

Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool.

Today's Getty illustration shows that David was no fool.

■ The Heat Street guys publicize a bit of campus tomfoolery: U of Wisconsin Student Leader Urges Minorities to Quit School Because ‘All White People Are Racist’

A University of Winsonsin-Madison [sic] student leader, who describes herself as “woke”, has sent out an open letter to a campus community saying “all white people are racist” and urged minorities to stop attending the university.

Ms. Carmen Goséy packs a lot of claptrap into her one-page letter to the "Campus Community". But I'll confine my comments to her remedy: by her logic, shouldn't it be the "white people" leaving the university?

■ Jonah Goldberg tackles The Dangers of Empathy. The basics:

Empathy is different than sympathy or compassion. Sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone. Compassion is when you do something about it.

But empathy is something else. Researchers studying the brain can actually see how the various centers controlling certain feelings light up when we observe or imagine the experiences of others. “If you feel bad for someone who is bored, that’s sympathy,” writes Yale psychologist Paul Bloom in his brave and brilliant new book, Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion, “but if you feel bored, that’s empathy.”

Bloom argues (and Jonah agrees) that empathy is an enemy of rationality, "illuminat[ing] a specific person or group, plunging everything and everyone else into darkness." Good thing to remember.

■ At Reason, Christian Britschgi notes that, among the recent budget bill's many faults: Congress's Budget Bill Spends Billions on Useless Light Rail. Trump's proposed 13% cut to the Department of Transportation budget would have reduced the illusion of "free money" from the Feds appearing in your community for mass transit. Especially egregious is the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program

Initially created as an economic recovery program under the Obama Administration's stimulus plan, these TIGER grants have gone on to dole out $4.6 billion to transit projects in the years since the Great Recession has ended, and not without controversy.

A 2014 Government Accountability Office report found the Department of Transportation had violated its own internal control practices in administering the TIGER program, giving grants to projects that applied after deadlines or which were rated inferior to other applicants.

The GAO report also found that DOT failed to document the reasons for these violations of its internal controls which it warned could "give rise to challenges to the integrity of the evaluation process and the rationale for the decisions made." You don't say.

Monday's spending bill gives TIGER another $500 million.

Mr. Britschgi notes that there is negligible outrage from voters over such wasteful spending, which is why it will continue.

■ Also at Reason, Andrew Heaton has a suggestion for the Pope: Lighten Up, Francis. At issue is the (alleged) papal rant about the "grave risks associated with the invasion of the positions of libertarian individualism at high strata of culture and in school and university education." RTWT, but here's a sample:

Before we start breaking down these (literal) pontifications, let's get one fallacy out of the way: just because someone is an authority in their field doesn't mean they know anything about another field. If Paul Krugman started lecturing Catholics about theology, they wouldn't seriously listen to his musings on the filioque. What next, taking Krugman's economics seriously? Pope Francis appears to know about as much about economics as Prince Charles knows about lawn mower maintenance.

Andrew's very funny. In case you need a refresher about the "Lighten up, Francis" provenance:

■ And your wisdom-imparting Tweet du Jour from Iowahawk:


Last Modified 2017-05-06 3:26 PM EDT