URLs du Jour


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  • Why I am embarrassed to call myself a conservative, part LXVII: Conservatives Push an Internet Fairness Doctrine, Again (TechFreedom).

    WASHINGTON D.C. —­­ Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on The Constitution is holding a hearing titled “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse.” TechFreedom submitted a letter into the record for the hearing, including TechFreedom’s testimony at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the same subject almost a year ago and a letter sent to the Attorney General on these issues last fall.

    Senators Cruz and Graham misunderstand both the First Amendment and Section 230,” said Berin Szóka, President of TechFreedom. “Neither requires neutrality. Wrapping themselves in the First Amendment, both Senators talk about preventing ‘censorship,’ but ‘censorship’ is something only the government can direct. The First Amendment isn’t a sword by which the government can require neutrality or fairness; it’s a shield from such meddling by the government. Likewise, Section 230 was intended to encourage private companies to moderate and curate content as they see fit. Congress recognized that second-guessing those decisions would discourage website operators from trying to address harmful content on their sites.”

    Look, it's pretty simple: (1) Don't expect Facebook/Twitter/etc. to treat you fairly; (2) Don't expect government regulation of Facebook/Twitter/etc. to make things better.

    Our Amazon Product du Jour features a quote from Susan Collins. Yes, that Susan Collins (R-Maine).

  • At Reason, Ronald Bailey reports on something only government can do: Achievement Gap Between Rich and Poor Public School Students Unchanged Over 50 Years.

    Half a century of trying hasn't closed one of schooling's most vexing achievement gaps. According to a new paper, the gap in educational achievement between public school students in the bottom 10th socioeconomic status (SES) percentile and those in the top 90th SES percentile has remained essentially unchanged over the last 50 years.

    "In terms of learning, students at the 10th SES percentile remain some three to four years behind those in the 90th percentile," report a team of researchers led by the Stanford economist Eric Hanushek in their disheartening new National Bureau of Economic Research study, "The Unwavering SES Achievement Gap."

    A half-serious radical proposal that I've been making for years: repeal compulsory attendance laws. Well, it started half-serious. Nowadays, it's up around 80-85% serious.

  • Kevin D. Williamson, at NR, turns his unsparing eye to presidential critics. And it's not pretty (but also NRPlus): Donald Trump’s Critics Are Incompetent.

    A strange thing about President Donald Trump’s critics: The ones who are best positioned to make a case against him and who have the strongest incentive to do so — the Democrats — have proved the least competent at doing so.

    The legitimate criticisms of President Trump are mostly the ones that were obvious to critics such as myself in 2016: He does not really know how to do the job and so has trouble with basic things like staffing his administration and moving his legislative priorities through Congress; he is mercurial and inconstant; he lies, even when there isn’t any reason to, seemingly out of habit; he is vain and emotionally incontinent, which distorts his decision-making; he has surrounded himself with some very shady and untrustworthy people; he has some pretty loopy ideas about trade and about America’s role in the world. Trump says, not without reason, that he is a different kind of politician, but in reality he has been at his best when he has deferred to such pillars of the establishment as the Federalist Society and Senator Mitch McConnell.

    Yep. So why do Democrats bother chasing fantasies about Russia, emoluments, and tax returns, when the plain truth is bad enough?

    They don't even have the normal excuse:

    [The Light is Better here]

  • Here's an unexpected way in which I am like John Bolton (as reported at the Washington Free Beacon): Bolton Can't Stop Laughing at Gillibrand's Nuclear Weapon Gaffe.

    White House National Security Adviser John Bolton could not stop laughing when played a clip of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) discussing her opposition to "tactile" nuclear weapons on the campaign trail.

    [Ed: Bolton did eventually stop laughing.]


    "As national security adviser, I don’t get involved in politics, but I’ll just say maybe Senator Gillibrand could give me a call and tell me what she knows about those tactile nuclear weapons," Bolton said. "I’d be interested in learning it."

    As would we all. At Betfair, the betting market gives Senator Kirsten about the same odds of winning the presidency as Oprah Winfrey.

  • And the Google LFOD alert rang for an editorial in my local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat: Charge tourists, not taxpayers, for tourism services. It's about the latest scheme to put more dollars into the hands of local spenders: allowing towns "to collect an occupancy fee from room rentals."

    You would think in the Live Free Or Die state, lawmakers from communities that benefit from Meals and Rooms taxes without contributing their fair share would at least have the decency to allow the tourist towns the freedom to pass some of the costs of tourism onto visitors and keep the costs off the local taxpayers.

    It's not that the tourists don't spend money. (Years ago, Cow Hampshire's Janice Brown suggested a state slogan for the "Welcome to New Hampshire" signs on the Interstates: "Visit, Spend Money, Then Go Home".)

    And it's not as if tourist establishments don't pay local taxes already.

    So what is LFOD is doing here?