URLs du Jour

2018-09-05

[Amazon Link]

  • Does the Internet need a Fairness Doctrine? Boy, to those of us who know what the (thankfully) historical Fairness Doctrine was, the question answers itself. But to you young 'uns out there, peruse Eric Peterson at National Review: The Internet Doesn’t Need a Fairness Doctrine.

    The Fairness Doctrine was first introduced by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949. It required broadcasters “to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.” In other words, if a radio station aired a conservative view, it would have to provide equal time for an opposing liberal view.

    This regulation started as an attempt to make sure both sides of a debate were heard on government-controlled airwaves. But soon after its passage, it became a tool to silence critics and political opponents.

    Presidential administrations from Kennedy to Nixon used the Fairness Doctrine to maximum effect. The administration could use the doctrine to demand equal air time any time one of the president’s policies was criticized. This not only allowed the president nearly endless opportunities to express his viewpoint, but took time away from his opposition. Eventually, wary of the burdensome government demands, many stations simply stopped airing political commentary altogether.

    'Twas George Santayana who said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Alas, sometimes (as this Big Think article points out): those who do remember the past often repeat it too.


  • I watched the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing circus for a few minutes yesterday, but … come on, life's too short as it is. Reason's Eric Boehm was (probably) paid to do it, and he came away with something of value: Ben Sasse Explains Why the Politicization of the Supreme Court Is a Dangerous Thing.

    After a few minutes of summarizing his views about Kavanaugh—no surprise here, Sasse seems pretty supportive of Kavanaugh's nomination—the senator winds up by asking, rhetorically, why and how choosing a new member of the Supreme Court became such a complete shitshow (my word, not his). The blame, as Sasse explains in his brutally honest stemwinder, does not lie with Kavanaugh or even the unorthodox occupant of the White House.

    "The hysteria around Supreme Court confirmation hearings is coming from the fact that we have a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the Supreme Court in American life now," says Sasse. "Our political commentary talks about the Supreme Court like they are people wearing red and blue jerseys. That's a really dangerous thing."

    Eric recommends you watch Sasse's entire segment. For your convenience:

    It opens with the senator actually being nice, joking with a Democrat colleague. Rare, and because it's rare, a poignant reminder of what we're missing.


  • At Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux is Just Asking. And he's asking a question that he grants is unoriginal, but "warrants repetition". Progressives are fearful that having Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court will enable majorities to whittle away rights (abortion, gay marriage, …) that past Supreme Courts have granted.

    Yet oddly, among all of today’s ideological groups, the one that clamors most loudly and stubbornly for far greater reliance on majoritarian democracy is that of progressives. Progressives trust unrestrained majorities with the power to redistribute income, to mandate paid leave and otherwise to regulate private enterprise in ever-greater detail, and to run K-12 schooling better than profit-seeking businesses and private non-profits would do.

    Why should the same voters who are so parochial and ignorant that they can’t be trusted with the power to collectively govern abortion, school prayer, marriage policy, and other non-economic matters be trusted with even more power than they already possess to collectively govern the distribution of income, the manner in which people trade, the wages that employers pay, and other economic matters?

    Yeah, let's throw gun policy in there too.


  • Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today: Sen. John McCain's funeral put Washington's vicious political hypocrisy fully on display

    Hypocrisy, they say, is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. If so, then much tribute was paid this weekend.

    I am speaking, of course, of the funeral for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and the concomitant speechifying by politicians and pundits.  And I wasn’t the only one to notice.  As Tim Alberta wrote in Politico: “There are, after all, disparate realities — one inside the holy halls of the National Cathedral, where powerful people mourn the death of civility; and another in the surrounding city, where many of those same powerful people drive nails ever deeper into its coffin. And there is a greater juxtaposition still — this one between the virtue-signaling, convention-worshipping insiders of Washington and the mad-as-hell, burn-it-down voters in the provinces. This might not be Donald Trump’s town, but it’s still his country.”

    When he's right, he's right.


  • The Babylon Bee hits uncomfortably close to home. By which I mean, my home: Man Who Exclusively Buys $13 Velcro Shoes From Walmart Threatens Nike Boycott.

    Local man Peter Willis, who exclusively purchases and wears $13 Velcro-fastened shoes from his local Walmart, recently threatened to boycott Nike over its recent ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick.

    Willis threatened Nike with a boycott, though he never buys Nike products in the first place.

    “I won’t be buying any Nike footwear ever again,” said the man who buys the same pair of $13 Velcro walking shoes from Walmart each and every year. “And if I ever do, by chance, I’ll rip it up and burn it immediately. I’m not joking—I’ll do it! This isn’t in any way an empty threat, Nike!”

    Yeah! Take that, Nike!


  • And a relevant Tweet du Jour:

    There are some great Nike parodies out there. This is just the first one I grabbed.