URLs du Jour

2018-04-08

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 14:22 is pretty good advice:

    22 Do not those who plot evil go astray?
        But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.

    … we would like to think so, anyway. Nothing is certain. But it's not a bad way to bet.


  • At Reason, Matt Welch is more than a little peeved with newspapers. Because: Newspapers Care Much More About Bashing Sinclair Than Criticizing an Unconstitutional Attack on Free Speech.

    Jesus was right about how ye shall know them by their fruits, then we might have a good test case for gleaning what the journalism establishment (such as a thing exists) considers an important threat to a free press.

    In one corner we have a must-run cookie-cutter anti-"fake news" promotional video ordered up by the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group to its most-in-the-nation 193 local-TV-news outlets, at a time when the company's controversial merger with Tribune Co. is being held up by anti-trust regulators at the Justice Department. In the other we have a Sex Trafficking Act passed overwhelmingly by Congress (388-25 in the House, 97-2 in the Senate) despite being vociferously opposed on free speech grounds by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and reliable civil libertarians such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the latter of whom warned that "Civic organizations protecting their right to free speech could be [ruined] by their more powerful political opponents" and that subsequently there could be "an enormous chilling effect on speech in America."

    Especially disturbing are the newspaper editorials demanding government intervention against Sinclair. Do those editorialists really imagine that a shredded First Amendment won't be used against them at some point?

    And, yes, all LFOD-state Senators and Congresscritters voted for the "sex trafficking act".


  • Among the (many) heresies in Bryan Caplan's fine book The Case Against Education was a denial that learning a foreign language was that useful. Reality-based Jason Richwine (at NR) notes new debunkery: Evidence Mounts Against the ‘Bilingual Advantage’

    When California reinstated bilingual education in a 2016 referendum, the text of the new law declared: “A large body of research has demonstrated the cognitive, economic, and long-term academic benefits of multilingualism and multiliteracy.” This argument that bilingual education is useful because it confers general mental benefits — such as improved “executive function” and “cognitive flexibility” — has proven irresistible for bilingual advocates. But it’s probably not true. As I detailed in an essay for The American Conservative last year, researchers have struggled to replicate the positive results from previous studies of bilingualism. Many are now skeptical that a “bilingual advantage” exists at all.

    But "bilingual education" is a useful sub-scam in the much larger scam that is the American education system, opening up another hole in taxpayer wallets.


  • Writing at USA Today, Richard Wolf has a useful, if somewhat mainstream, tutorial on the First: What the First Amendment protects — and what it doesn't. Here's the open issue we've discussed before:

    The First Amendment gives you the right to speak out — as well as the right "to refrain from speaking at all," Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote in 1977. That signaled a win for a New Hampshire couple who covered up part of their home state's motto, "Live Free or Die," on license plates.

    The doctrine is up for grabs in three major Supreme Court cases this term. It appears likely the justices will rule that an Illinois state employee cannot be compelled to contribute to his local union. They also seem inclined to say that California cannot force anti-abortion pregnancy centers to inform clients where they can get an abortion.

    The third case is a closer call: Must a deeply religious Colorado baker use his creative skills to bake a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding? Here the court seems split.

    "The case isn't about same-sex marriage, ultimately. It isn't about religion, ultimately," says Jeremy Tedesco, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Jack Phillips. "It’s about this broader right to free speech, the right to be free of compelled speech.”

    Unfortunately, the article also contains this bit:

    [The government] can't restrict free speech — not even hate speech or flag-burning or protests of military funerals. But don't try shouting "Fire!" in a theater or threatening folks on Facebook.

    We all should know that "true threats" aren't protected by the First Amendment. But the fire-in-a-theater cliché is rooted in a famous Oliver Wendell Holmes court opinion, and Wolf should read (for example, one among many) Trevor Timm on that: It's Time to Stop Using the 'Fire in a Crowded Theater' Quote.

    But those who quote Holmes might want to actually read the case where the phrase originated before using it as their main defense. If they did, they'd realize it was never binding law, and the underlying case, U.S. v. Schenck, is not only one of the most odious free speech decisions in the Court's history, but was overturned over 40 years ago.

    Wolf is USA Today's "Supreme Court correspondent", and should know better.


  • TV Overmind lists Five Things You Didn’t Know About Eliza Coupe. Make that six things if you, like me, didn't have the slightest idea who Eliza Coupe is. (Or what. Maybe a new car brand?)

    Anyway: she's an actress. And here's why I read the article:

    She also has several tattoos, one of which includes the official state slogan of her birth state, New Hampshire. It reads, “Live Free or Die.”

    She is, as my diligent research discloses, from Plymouth.


  • Michael Ramirez

    Trade war? I'm somewhat reminded of this completely unacceptable bit from Blazing Saddles. Except Trump is apparently serious.