URLs du Jour

2018-11-03

[Amazon Link]

  • Drew Cline, at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, looks at the proposed NH Constitutional amendments on the Tuesday ballot. Mark him down as "Si" for both. Questions 1 and 2: Adding toppings to the Taco of Liberty.

    If passed, these constitutional amendments would make government more accountable to the people and further protect the people from government intrusion into their private affairs. Those are pretty important protections.

    Though they probably aren’t quite as important to the average person on a daily basis as, say, the Doritos locos taco, they’re still up there.

    Taco Bell got everyone to think about the Doritos Loco taco by creating a World Series promotion for free tacos. But they got the words turned around. Free tacos are great, but Taco Freedom is where it’s at.

    Comment: I don't think it's actually possible to eat a hard-shell taco without making a slight mess. Also like liberty: you have to put up with a certain amount of disorder.


  • Does the 14th Amendment make birthright citizenship a Constitutional slam-dunk? At his blog, Freespace, Timothy Sandefur replies to those who think so: No, Birthright Citizenship is NOT an Easy Case.

    I’m heartily sick of the smug self-righteousness masquerading as constitutional debate over the question of birthright citizenship. It’s not a simple case—on the contrary, the arguments on both sides balance each other out quite effectively, resulting in something like the Quinian Crossword, which can be filled out two different ways, both of them right. Instead of getting serious discussion, though, we’re getting a lot of puffery about how the Trump Administration’s argument is obviously silly and stupid. It’s not. Those opposed to the Administration’s position have good arguments at their disposal. They need to start using them.

    I'm undecided on this issue, and (not being a lawyer, let alone a Constitutional one) I'm likely to stay that way. But can't we all agree that, like Timothy, we're heartily sick of smug self-righteousness?


  • At Reason, Jacob Sullum adds to our "Irony Can Be Pretty Ironic Sometimes" Department: Condemning Extreme Rhetoric, NYT Columnist Says Conservative Pundits Incite Murder.

    Donald Trump calls journalists who fail to fawn over him "the enemy of the people." New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg calls right-wing commentators who say things that offend him "the Incitement Industry." While the president's critics hear echoes of Stalin and Mao in his rhetoric, I hear echoes of Brandenburg v. Ohio in Rutenberg's.

    Brandenburg is the 1969 case in which the Supreme Court held that it's unconstitutional to punish people for advocating illegal activity or the use of force "except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." Rutenberg seems to be implying that hyperbolic, outlandish, and inaccurate statements by conservative provocateurs such as Jeanine Pirro, Dinesh D'Souza, and Ann Coulter meet that test, meaning that they could be punished or censored without violating the First Amendment.

    Disclaimer: I'm never sure that I'm using "irony" correctly.


  • At AEI, Thomas P. Miller bemoans the current state of the debate: Rip Van health policy.

    The latest probes past the recent trench lines of ACA No Man’s Land (e.g., new rules for short-term limited duration plans, association health plans, Health reimbursement arrangements, and Medicaid work requirements; plus changing the names of plaintiffs and defendants in court cases) are symptoms of what happens when you combine a partial disequilibrium model of health care policy with the bounded irrationality of US politics. Across longer time intervals, the competing forces of centripetal and centrifugal action bring us back roughly to earlier places, but also leave us even more dissatisfied and disoriented. The thinnest consensus appears to remain that we should not reduce the ongoing flow of health care-denominated dollars in our mixed public/private system, but insist on believing that someone else should and will keep paying for more of them

    Democrats, bless them, have managed to make the concept of "pre-existing condition" a scare tactic.

    Do you have one? Or more? You probably do! Or at least, you'll be getting one soon! And then you'll be stuck at the hospital door, unable to get health care! You'll die a horrible death out there on the curb! And the people inside will laugh at you! Because they're on powerful drugs you can't afford!


  • A goodly part of my formative years (circa 1961-1969) were spent in the great state of Nebraska, probably the best place to live out the sixties. But Nebraska has never been known for the perspicacity of its politicians. Ben Sasse being a remarkable modern exception.

    Jeff Fortenberry, Congresscritter from Nebraska, seems OK with continuing the tradition, as described by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE): Congressman’s office pressures U. of Nebraska to punish professor who liked ‘Fartenberry’ Facebook photo.

    Lincoln Journal Star reporter Nancy Hicks described what happened to a campaign sign for Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry late last month as “[p]olitical vandalism … [with] a touch of humor.” Whoever defaced the poster opted for the “sophomoric” version of dissent — adding cartoonish googly eyes to Fortenberry’s face along with a few pieces of strategically placed tape that transformed his name to “Fartenberry.”

    … and a University of Nebraska prof "liked" a picture of the vandalized sign on Facebook.

    … and then Fortenberry's office got all up in the University's grill for having a prof that "liked" vandalism!

    Sigh.

    I (sort of) sympathize with Congresscritter Jeff. I would imagine that he's been hearing the "Fartenberry" thing ever since grade school. Kids can be mean!

    On the other hand, he is now a grown-ass Congressman, and he should suck it up.


  • Don't forget what you have to do tonight! Mr. Lileks has a primer: Everything (and more) about daylight saving time.

    Q: Do I have to?

    A: No, not at all. Feel free to be an hour early for everything. But when you make a reservation at a restaurant for 7 and say, “By the way, I don’t observe DST,” they will suspect that you also want water without fluoride and will try to pay with “sovereign dollars” you printed at home.

    Q: Oh, come on, really? When did we become sheep that set back the clocks because the government said we have to?

    A: Have you ever seen a sheep attempt to set a clock? They lack the manual dexterity and give up quite quickly.

    Make sure you hang in for the final query: "Why do we willingly submit to the darkness?" Don't we all want to know the answer to that?