URLs du Jour

2019-10-24

[Amazon Link]

  • Well, the Donald sort of went over the top, as reported by Allahpundit at Hot Air. Trump: Let's face it, Never Trumpers are human scum. Occasioned by this tweet:

    He was so proud of that tweet, he “pinned” it to the top of his account. For a few hours today, it was the first thing you saw when you visited his Twitter page, even above the more recent tweets.

    A fun research question for historians: When was the last time a U.S. president publicly described *domestic* political opponents as “scum”? Bush probably said it at some point about Al Qaeda, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking specifically about fellow citizens, not foreign enemies. I’d be surprised if even Nixon referred — publicly — to his antagonists that way. So when was the last time? Woodrow Wilson describing African-Americans, maybe? Does it go back even further than that?

    Well, at least he didn't lump me in with the Deplorables. That would really hurt my feelings.

    [And, yes, I know I'm only technically a Republican, because I'm registered that way, and I like being able to vote in the primaries. But still.]


  • At NR, Victor Davis Hanson points out the obvious: Universities Breed Anger, Ignorance, and Ingratitude.

    The dirty little secret on campuses is that a legion of exploited, temporary lecturers, usually without multiyear contracts, are paid far less than tenured professors — often to teach the same classes. In short, an entire caste of low-paid faculty who lack the perks and benefits of their liberal permanent superiors subsidize thousands of colleges and their supposedly liberal agendas. The academic mentality is to feel angst about the distant plight of the would-be illegal immigrant waiting to cross the border; the angst is a sort of medieval penance for ignoring the exploited lecturer under one’s nose who indirectly supports the perks of the tenured.

    Progressive college administrators, in the abstract, love unions and collective bargainers as long as they stay off campus and far away from their own exploited teachers. Tenure was originally designed to protect the sometimes unorthodox and even heretical views of the faculty. Today, however, professors who preach “diversity” in lockstep do not want to hear diverse ideas and values, among either students or faculty. Tenure has become not protection for against-the-grain expression but a merit badge for the party faithful coming up through the ranks. Try giving a public lecture on campus about the ill effects of abortion, the inconsistencies of global-warming advocacy, respect for the Second Amendment, or skepticism over identity politics. The result would be a student version of the Jacobin Reign of Terror.

    Speaking of that, I'm headed out to this Turning Point USA event at the University Near Here this evening. I'll let you know what happens.


  • At the Federalist, David Marcus has today's winning entry in Pun Salad's "What Could Possibly Go Wrong" department: Democrats' Election Bill Allows The Government To Define 'Legitimate News'.

    One of the major problems with the [“Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy Act” or the “SHIELD Act”] regarding free speech is a provision that allows the federal government to determine what is and is not “legitimate journalistic activities” for the purposes of protecting them from the provisions of the act. The obvious problem with this is that should the federal government decide a journalistic activity is not legitimate, it will have broad powers to silence it.

    In addition to this concern, the bill creates a wide array of hoops for United States citizens wishing to engage in political speech to jump through. By making it more difficult to purchase online ads, the bill threatens to chill speech. Regular Americans should not fear federal prosecution for engaging in the political process.

    In short, yet another attempt to get the state even further into the business of regulating political speech. The relevant page at congress.gov is here. It passed the House this morning, with Democrats voting 227-1 in favor, Republicans voting 0-179 against. ACLU's comments are here.


  • And Veronique de Rugy comments at Reason on the latest battle in escalating war over which political party is the stupidest: Democratic Wealth Tax Proposals Demonstrate Economic Ignorance.

    For starters, wealth inequality is a very poor measure of unfairness in our society. Speaking at the Peterson Institute recently, economist and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers correctly made the case that a change in wealth inequality would have little impact on the concentration of political power.

    Reducing inequality is also a poor means to fix whatever these candidates think ails America. In a 2013 paper published by the Brookings Institution, economist Scott Winship reviewed claims made about inequality and their negative impact on various aspects of our lives. In a summary of that paper for National Affairs, he writes that there's "little basis for thinking that inequality is at the root of our economic challenges, and therefore for believing that reducing inequality would meaningfully address our lagging growth, enable greater mobility, avert future financial crises, or secure America's democratic institutions."

    I suspect such proposals are the Progressive version of what Daniel Moynihan called "boob bait for bubba"; tough-sounding rhetoric designed to placate "base" voters.

    Or the advocates could be serious. Even scarier.


  • And our Google LFOD alert rang for an article about an upcoming Oscar-bait flick: Giving You A Sneak Peek Of The Harriet Tubman Biopic.

    In the biopic, Lemmons adds phrases like “live free or die” as well as the instruction to “follow the northern star to get to freedom” which were known to be used by Harriet during her escape to freedom.

    Sounds good, but I'll probably wait for the Netflix DVD.