URLs du Jour

2019-05-28

[Amazon Link]

  • At Granite Grok, Steve MacDonald tells us: You Can Stop the NH Democrat Expansion of the MBTA Money Pit into New Hampshire. The MBTA? Oh, right. The thing now demanding "at least" $10.1 billion to modernize its trains.

    The argument should not be “do trains pay for themselves,” they don’t. They lose money. A lot of money. Forever. Even in major cities with millions of people using them, trains don’t just lose money; they take it away from other priorities.

    So, the question should not be, “do we need or want a train?” It should be “does that train provide something that justifies the significant and permanent loss of revenue from other priorities, every year, forever?”

    Steve also points to an excellent (PDF) document from Dick Lemieaux that excoriates this stupid project from all possible angles.


  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson says Welcome to Washington’s Silly Season. Which is now a year-round thing.

    Somebody tried to play a dirty trick on Nancy Pelosi, slowing down and editing a video of her to make it appear as though she were drunk and incoherent. That’s pretty low: Nancy Pelosi is, whatever her other flaws as a public figure, generally sober and incoherent.

    The speaker, for her part, is not exactly conducting her affairs with high seriousness of late. She argued last week that President Donald Trump’s family should stage an “intervention.” The president had briefly attended and then abruptly ended a meeting with Democratic leaders, arguing — not without some reason — that negotiating about taxes and infrastructure with people who pretend to believe that he is guilty of treason and who are seriously talking about impeaching him for . . . something . . . is not the best use of his time. Why waste time on “Chuck and Nancy,” the Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Comprehensively-Useless of American politics, when he could be watching reruns of Fox and Friends?

    It's been said (by Ben Stein's dad, I think) that "If something can't go on forever, it will stop." I have mixed feelings about that. What comes next could be worse.

    Oh well. Dow is up. At least as I type.


  • At PJMedia, Tyler O'Neil has the latest example of how "campaign finance reform" is weaponized: Is This the Next Citizens United? In Supreme Court Appeal, Freedom Foundation Challenges Ruling That Campaign Finance Law Applies to Pro Bono Legal Aid.

    In October 2015, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D-Wash.) accused the Freedom Foundation of breaking the law by not reporting its pro bono legal work as a political contribution. The Freedom Foundation helps workers opt out of union dues if they disagree with a union's political stance, and Ferguson supports unions. A superior court rightly overruled his ridiculous attack on the foundation's pro bono work, but Washington State's Supreme Court ruled against the foundation. Now the Freedom Foundation is appealing this important case to the U.S. Supreme Court, with powerful implications.

    "This case has the potential to do for state campaign finance regulations what Citizens United did for federal law," Eric Stahlfeld, the foundation's chief litigation counsel, told PJ Media this week. He was referring to Citizens United v. FEC (2010), in which the Supreme Court ruled that groups of citizens ("corporations" in legal terms) have free speech in politics and can pay to promote political messages. This limited the impact of campaign finance laws at the federal level, and prevented the government from penalizing a nonprofit (Citizens United) for publishing a video about a political candidate (Hillary Clinton).

    It's (truly) frightening when I hear people use "Citizens United" as a swear word. You know, the law that would have allowed book-banning by the government.


  • And the WSJ editorial page alerts us to the latest drivel from the American Mathematical Society's publising arm: Mathematics for Social Justice: Resources for the College Classroom.

    Mathematics for Social Justice offers a collection of resources for mathematics faculty interested in incorporating questions of social justice into their classrooms. The book begins with a series of essays from instructors experienced in integrating social justice themes into their pedagogy; these essays contain political and pedagogical motivations as well as nuts-and-bolts teaching advice. The heart of the book is a collection of fourteen classroom-tested modules featuring ready-to-use activities and investigations for the college mathematics classroom. The mathematical tools and techniques used are relevant to a wide variety of courses including college algebra, math for the liberal arts, calculus, differential equations, discrete mathematics, geometry, financial mathematics, and combinatorics. The social justice themes include human trafficking, income inequality, policing, environmental racism and justice, gerrymandering, voting methods, and access to education.

    Yes, it's just that bad. My advice: if you see a copy of this book on your kid's math teacher's desk, yank the kid from that school asap.


  • Rod Dreher, writing at The American Conservative: #MeToo Comes For Martin Luther King. New revelations about MLK's … um … sexual peccadillos have not hit the mainstream yet. They may not. But… from a commenter:

    I hope Dr. King remains celebrated; I also hope that his sexual behavior (again, assuming this story is true) is not forgotten. And in the future, when someone on the Left advocates the abolition of Columbus Day, or the taking down of monuments to Washington or Jefferson or many less well-known figures, I hope that people bring up Dr. King, NOT in the spirit of “Whataboutism”, but in order to remind them that there is no incompatibility between celebrating the achievements of people in the past and acknowledging that those people had – as we all do – major flaws.

    Good point. If this has a positive outcome, let it be the return of sanity to discussions about flawed historical figures.