URLs du Jour

2018-05-01

[Amazon Link]

  • Speculation: the ancient Israeli Proverbialist had a crude AI bot to churn out boilerplate proverbs. Like Proverbs 13:9:

    9 The light of the righteous shines brightly,
        but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.

    High-level algorithm:

    1. "It's good to be good. Bad to be bad."
    2. Wrap that in a metaphor.

    It's easy:

    9a The automobile of the wise drives without flaw,
        but the vehicle of the foolish winds up on fire in the ditch.


  • There's inherent conflict when the University (a) promises to establish a "community where all are welcome, safe and valued" and (b) community members opportunistically claim not to feel "safe" when contrary opinions show up. So it was only a matter of time before… Event sponsored by conservative student group sparks protest at UNH.

    Some University of New Hampshire students said they plan to protest an event planned for Tuesday by a conservative youth organization.

    Protesters said they're concerned with the timing of the event, which will be a discussion of cultural appropriation and free speech. There were tense moments on campus last year surrounding Cinco de Mayo parties in which some students challenged other students over their costumes.

    "I have duct-taped my mouth," protester Samrawit Silva said. "To me, it symbolizes how I'm not being heard."

    You can see Samrawit's duct-taped mouth at the link. Unfortunately (but unsurprisingly) she removes it to speak to the reporter and the entire WMUR news audience. Thereby contradicting herself, but what are you gonna do?

    The event is hosted by the local chapter of Turning Point USA, and tickets are no longer being offered to the public as I type.


  • Steve Macdonald at Granite Grok reports on the University Near Here: UNH Institutes Anti-Free Speech ‘Social Media Policy’

    The Univerity of New Hampshire has added a Social Media Policy to its Student’s Rights, Rules, and Responsibility code of conduct. It’s a Big Brother chill-blanket on free speech that allows anyone to report anyone else whenever they think their feelings have been hurt or the feelings of others might be hurt.

    It's pretty bad, true enough. The University shouldn't have a "Social Media Policy" for its (mostly, putatively, adult) student population.

    Steve notes that this will chill free expression; who wants the hassle of having to answer to UNH apparatchiks about something you posted to Facebook, because someone else's feelings were hurt thereby? Better to play it safe.

    But (I think, and I've left a comment at Grok to the effect that) the policy was also, and maybe primarily an attempt to mollify campus activists, who demanded a much more draconian policy last year.

    They had demanded hat "students caught posting racially insensitive content will be removed from the University". They didn't get that. But they got enough to shut them up, calm them down.


  • We almost have a theme today: at the Volokh Conspiracy David E. Bernstein reports (and debunks): USC Law Professor: Supporters of Campus Free Speech are 'Preying on Vulnerable Teenagers'.

    USC law professor Michael Simkovic has a blog post up at Leiter Law School Reports which I can charitably deem "remarkable." The basic proposition is that the only problem with free speech on university campuses is that a cabal of right-wing provocateurs are luring immature students into trying to shut them down, to make universities look bad for the benefit of a Koch-inspired war on higher education.

    Did I mention that Charles Koch sends me a check for $4.72 every time I mention that universities generally (and UNH specifically) treat every dissent from the progressive faith as heresy to be derided, ostracized, chilled, and eventually stamped out?

    Well, probably not, because that doesn't happen.


  • I remember becoming a Marco Rubio non-fan; 'twas at the National Review pre-primary confab where we were watching the candidates debate on the big screen; in an exchange with the loathesome Chris Christie, Rubio simply could not get off a tired talking point. The conservative audience groaned audibly.

    But things have changed, and Senator Rubio has … gotten worse. Veronique de Rugy, at NR: Marco’s Makeover Shows The Senator Doesn’t Understand Tax Policy. Specifically, his comments in an interview that "big corporations" have used their tax cuts unwisely: "there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker."

    Veronique comments:

    That’s exactly the wrong way to think about the benefits of the tax cut. Indeed, economists usually agree that lowering marginal tax rates on investment (or any other taxes) gives companies incentives to earn more taxable income, thus leading them to invest in other businesses and the expansion of their factories. This additional investment, in turn, raises workers’ productivity, and ultimately leads to higher wages. This process takes time.

    In other words, the benefit of the tax cut will manifest itself by incentivizing companies to invest more. On the other hand, the case for the rate cut has little to do with what these companies do with the extra cash in the short term, as Rubio argues. Whether they buy back stocks with their cash or  they distribute bonuses to their employees tells you nothing about whether the tax cuts will or will not benefit workers.

    Rubio should know better. Despite Veronique's headline, he may know better. He may just be trying out a new phony populist persona for an upcoming second try at the Oval Office. Either way, not likely to make me a fan again.


  • At the Federalist, David Harsanyi dissents from one conservative's know-nothing comment: Of Course Journalists Have A Responsibility To Call Out Lies. All Lies.

    Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, told CNN Monday that “journalists should not be the ones to say that the president or his spokesperson is lying.” This is an absurd statement. Journalists should always be uncovering the lies of the powerful, whether explicitly pointing out falsehoods or by laying out the facts. And that’s the problem. Many voters no longer have faith that the media is doing so fairly or accurately, and they have exceptionally sound reasons to be skeptical.

    This point isn't particularly subtle or hard to grasp, Schlapp.