URLs du Jour

2019-03-06

[Amazon Link]

  • In the "Didn't They Learn Their Lesson" Department, Jacob Sullum writes at Reason: The IRS Targets Drug Policy Reformers.

    A recently adopted IRS rule for tax-exempt organizations seems to violate the First Amendment by taking aim at groups that support drug policy reform.

    The rule, described in an Internal Revenue Bulletin dated January 2, 2018, says the IRS will deny tax-exempt status to "an organization whose purpose is directed to the improvement of business conditions of one or more lines of business relating to an activity involving controlled substances (within the meaning of schedule I and II of the Controlled Substances Act) which is prohibited by Federal law regardless of its legality under the law of the state in which such activity is conducted."

    The pernicious anti-Constitutional legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson has been around way too long.


  • We noted Arthur C. Brooks' anti-contempt crusade yesterday; at AEI, Daniel Lyons notes an example: Net Neutrality and the Culture of Contempt. Things were going fine for Daniel at a recent symposium until…

    But the final speaker of the day struck a different tone. A business professor, the speaker described net neutrality as a “life-and-death situation” for entrepreneurs, whom he has advised to leave the country. He then continued with the following proclamation:

    “Everybody who argues for abolishing net neutrality . . . knows they’re lying.”

    His remarks continued in this vein, exclaiming that we should not be “having this debate in an academic sense in a way that . . . legitimizes the other side.” After describing net neutrality skeptics as flat-earthers who want to destroy the American dream for entrepreneurs who are “trying to make our planet a better place,” he concluded by stating that the fact that we are even discussing the issue “makes me think, Oh My God, where am I?”

    The business prof is unnamed, but is easy enough to figure out from the symposium schedule linked in the article.

    I suppose there are some advocates of abhorrent ideas that should be beyond the pale. But c'mon. The message I get from arguments as above are "I'm too lazy or incompetent to argue the merits, but I have some choice insults I picked up off Twitter…"


  • I suppose you are wondering whether NH GOP legislators wore pearls to mock grieving mothers, and whether someone named Shannon Watts can be trusted to answer that question. Fortunately, Michael Graham of Inside Sources has your answers: No, N.H. GOP Legislators Did Not Wear Pearls to Mock Grieving Mothers. And Shannon Watts Knows It. At issue:

    Retweeting Ms. Watts' allegation were Senators Spartacus and Kamala, so it's kind of a big deal. But let the record show:

    Only one problem: Shannon Watts was completely wrong.

    “We were given the pearls by the Women’s Defense League,” Rep. Scott Wallace told NHJournal. “They ask us to wear them as a sign of support. And not just the guys. Women legislators were wearing them, too.”

    Informed of the pearls' origin story, Ms. Watts quickly corrected her misimpression doubled down on the smear.

    Kimberly Morin of the Women's Defense League of NH has much more at Granite Grok. She and Michael win the coveted Pun Salad "Gun-Grabbers Are Shameless Liars" Award for the day.


  • Daniel J. Mitchell asks the musical question: Is Trump’s Treasury Department Supporting a Cronyist Plan to Empower Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?. Unfortunately,…

    The good news is that Fannie and Freddie have been in “conservatorship” every since they got a big bailout last decade. And that means the two cronyist firms are now somewhat constrained. They can’t lobby, for instance (though Republicans and Democrats still seek to expand subsidies in response to campaign cash from other housing-related lobbyists).

    But the worst news is that there are people in the Trump Administration who want to go back to the bad ol’ pre-bailout days.

    Aieee! Top crony advocate seems to be (unsurprisingly) Steven Mnuchin. President Trump, save us!


  • Speaking of the Donald, you'd maybe expect the Cato Institute to welcome President Trump’s Campus Speech Order. Wrong! Or, at least, not right. Donald Downs:

    Alas, my experience in free speech politics and higher education informs my concern that Trump’s end does not justify his means for at least two reasons. First, do we really need yet another executive order to deal with a problem that is already being addressed by many concerned citizens? We the People and our legislative representatives have kicked too many problems over to the executive/administrative branch of government to solve, weakening democratic consensus and self-government in the process. Many critics, including me, chided President Obama’s issuance of a unilateral executive order requiring transgender access to every public school bathroom in America. Though not opposed to transgender rights, we thought it best for each school or state to work out its own policy in this delicate area as a matter of principle. Is Trump’s order any different? This is true apart from the constitutional issues implicit in Trump’s statement which require separate consideration once we know the details.

    Second, such an order could well backfire. To begin, the Feds often intervene with a jackhammer, unintentionally breaking things in the process. Recall how the expansive application of Title IX in sexual misconduct cases led to the evisceration of due process in campus hearings for many years. Only recently has the pendulum balancing justice for the accuser and the accused begun swinging back toward an appropriate position. As the president of the University of Chicago, perhaps the nation’s leading institution in supporting campus free speech, wrote in response to Trump’s declaration, such intervention “makes the government, with all its power and authority, a party to defining the very nature of discussion on campus.” Such power undermines institutional responsibility and could readily include chilling the voices of those whose politics differ from whatever group or party controls the government at the time.

    Good points. Although the schadenfreude involved in seeing Higher Ed bow down to the demands of Orange Man is awfully, awfully tempting.


  • You would think that ‘ji32k7au4a83’ would be a damn fine password. Unfortunately… it turns out to be pretty common. Why?

    The password is coming from the Zhuyin Fuhao system for transliterating Mandarin. The reason it’s showing up fairly often in a data breach repository is because “ji32k7au4a83" translates to English as “my password.”

    'ji32k7au4a82', on the other hand, would probably be fine. Nobody would guess that.


  • And check out Michael P. Ramirez's Parody of Progressivism.

    As always: click through for the glorious big, uncropped, version. And let me know if you can make out what that sign on the wall over the laptop says.


Last Modified 2019-03-06 11:04 AM EDT