URLs du Jour

2017-12-28

Proverbs 17:18 sets a limit on neighborliness:

18 One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge
    and puts up security for a neighbor.

Well, that depends on the neighbor, I suppose.


■ At Reason, A. Barton Hinkle observes that Universities Are Raising a Generation of Trumplets. And the University Near Here made his list of bad examples!

But when it comes to Orwellian efforts to erase politically incorrect terms, politicians can't hold a candle to the nation's colleges and universities.

Last year Princeton banished the word "man" from the campus lexicon in an effort to be more gender-inclusive.

James Madison University went even further, distributing a list that was seven pages long, rather than seven words. Among the things you should avoid saying at JMU: "I know exactly how you feel," "Love the sinner, hate the sin," calling disabled people "courageous," and calling old people "cute."

The University of Michigan warned students to avoid numerous other words, from "crazy" and "insane" to "gypped" and "illegal alien." A professor at Washington State threatened to flunk students who used the words "male" and "female" or other "racist, sexist, homophobic,transphobic, xenophobic, classist or generally offensive... hateful or oppressive language." (She was later overruled.) Elon University banned "freshman."

At the University of New Hampshire, "American" is "problematic." The University of California system doesn't want people to say that America is a land of opportunity, or that "Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough." Gwinnett College in Georgia shut down student Chike Uzuegbunam's Christian proselytizing because it constituted "fighting words."

Prediction: 2018 will be another year of finding easy targets for ridicule at our nation's institutions of higher education.


■ Ben Shapiro at NRO looks back at the year and find Conservative Policy, Populist Attitude. We were worried that "Trumpism" would triumph over conservatism, but…

And, as it turns out, there was no philosophical Trumpism. It was all a hollow intellectualization of candidate Trump’s contradictory campaign statements; it was an attempt to mold a system of thought around one man’s political impulses.

Thankfully, we were left with conservatism.

President Trump’s governance this year has been more conservative than that of George W. Bush or even Reagan. He has slashed the bureaucracy, cutting regulations at a maniacal clip. He has inserted constitutionalist appellate judges at a historic rate. He’s cut taxes. He’s looked to box in Russia in Ukraine while building up our alliances in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. He’s ended the individual mandate and he’s cut taxes. Trump’s governing philosophy, it turns out, looks almost exactly like Ted Cruz’s.

Even a NeverTrumper like me has to wonder if things would have been any better with Jeb! If Jeb could have beaten Hillary.


■ At Lifezette, Mark Tapscott reports: Watchdog Slams FDA’s Tardy Recalls of Dangerous Foods. In Progressive mythology, the FDA is all that stands between us and vermin-infested foodstuffs. But…

But in too many instances, days go by before FDA officials take action to protect the food supply, according to the inspector general (IG) of the Department of Health and Human Services. The IG reviewed 30 of the more than 1,500 food cases that received FDA attention between 2012 and 2015.

“Recalls were not always initiated promptly because FDA does not have adequate procedures to ensure that firms take prompt and effective action in initiating voluntary food recalls,” the IG said.

Libertarians are often faced with the difficult task of arguing against shining ideals of unflawed saintlike government regulators. And our opponents are unfazed when the regulators' actual behavior is revealed to be far short of that ideal. "Well, they'll do better next time." But they do not.


■ As another example, James Freeman at the [possibly paywalled] WSJ notes the dismal record of the last big push for "infrastructure": He Didn’t Build That

Voters heard a lot about infrastructure from former President Barack Obama, especially when he first took office. Sold as a way to create jobs while making needed transportation improvements and an environmentally sensitive economy, the stimulus plan was drafted in haste by Democrats in Congress and then signed by Mr. Obama on Feb. 17, 2009. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was priced at $787 billion when enacted; the official estimate later soared past $800 billion.

In a 2012 book called “Money Well Spent?,” Michael Grabell of the nonprofit news organization ProPublica noted that only about 10% of the spending, or $80 billion, was devoted to infrastructure—and very little of that total went to critical work. The political necessity to fund the “shovel-ready” projects promised by the president meant that money didn’t go to the bridges most in need of repair but to jobs that could quickly clear the thicket of regulatory permitting. Repaving roads was a typical activity; less than 12% of the infrastructure spending went for work on bridges.

Now—or "real soon now"—Trump will make his Grand Infrastructure Scheme known to us. Safe bet: it will not learn from mistakes.


■ What was the fastest growing state in the past year or so? The Census Bureau knows: Idaho is Nation’s Fastest-Growing State. They offer an embeddable graphic showing population gains and losses by state:

Idaho in Nation's Fastest-Growing State[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

The graphic is a little deceiving. It makes NH and MA look like shining beacons of growth amidst the other New England states. In fact, the actual growth rates for the six states are:

NH0.6%
MA0.5%
ME0.4%
RI0.2%
VT0.0%
CT0.0%

I.e., the Granite State's growth is slightly more than the other states'. The US as a whole (however) managed a 0.7% population growth, so the entire region is underperforming.

Of course, given recent weather, a move to, say, Arizona, is tempting.


■ The Babylon Bee is a great source for fake news not reported elsewhere: Thousands Miraculously Fed At Church Potluck With Just Five Dinner Rolls, Two Tuna Casseroles.

MARIS, KS—Thousands attending an after-church potluck at Grace Baptist Church Sunday were miraculously fed, in spite of only five dinner rolls and two tuna casseroles having been contributed to the event, according to stunned witnesses.

Only two families remembered to bring dishes, despite the event having been advertised for the preceding four Sundays, but the full church membership of 2,000 remembered to show up to eat the food.

Baptists. It figures.


■ And a sage observation from James Taranto is our Tweet du Jour: