URLs du Jour


  • The American Thinker, after Thinking Some More, has issued a Statement. In part:

    American Thinker and contributors Andrea Widburg, R.D. Wedge, Brian Tomlinson, and Peggy Ryan have published pieces on www.AmericanThinker.com that falsely accuse US Dominion Inc., Dominion Voting Systems, Inc., and Dominion Voting Systems Corporation (collectively “Dominion”) of conspiring to steal the November 2020 election from Donald Trump. These pieces rely on discredited sources who have peddled debunked theories about Dominion’s supposed ties to Venezuela, fraud on Dominion’s machines that resulted in massive vote switching or weighted votes, and other claims falsely stating that there is credible evidence that Dominion acted fraudulently.

    These statements are completely false and have no basis in fact. Industry experts and public officials alike have confirmed that Dominion conducted itself appropriately and that there is simply no evidence to support these claims.

    It was wrong for us to publish these false statements. We apologize to Dominion for all of the harm this caused them and their employees. We also apologize to our readers for abandoning 9 journalistic principles and misrepresenting Dominion’s track record and its limited role in tabulating votes for the November 2020 election. We regret this grave error. 

    I took a small amount of abuse when I commented at a local well-respected blog in opposition to their postings about Dominion. Hope they do the right thing and apologize to their readers. Hopefully without getting threatened with legal action.

  • Jonah Goldberg takes a stand: Down with Popular Fronts.

    For a great many reasons, both parties have a popular-front problem. Historically, a popular front is a broad coalition of disparate groups on the left who agree to overlook their various ideological and political differences for the sake of unity against a common foe. Some popular fronts were justified, and some were disastrous. For instance, the old Jacobin rallying cry, “No Enemies to the Left,” was a standard mantra among 20th century popular-front movements. (The fuller version: pas d’ennemis à gauche, pas d’amis à droit; “No enemies to the left, no friends to the right.”) Alexander Kerensky followed this rule, all but paving the way for the Bolsheviks to come to power. In America, popular frontism nearly led to disaster, but some good liberals at Americans for Democratic Action and in the Democratic party realized that finding common cause with communists loyal to Moscow was a recipe for calamity. 

    Whether warranted or not, all popular-front movements share the same flaw: They demand that individuals and institutions be loyal to a single political agenda as well as deferential to ideas they do not actually hold.

    Can anybody honestly dispute that this describes much of what’s going on today?

    It makes a certain amount of sense for inherently-collectivist lefties to surrender their identities to a sorta-like-minded group.

    Conservatives don't have that excuse.

  • Arnold Kling makes an interesting distinction: Experiments vs. tampering.

    W. Edwards Deming distinguished experiments from tampering. With an experiment, you change a process and explicitly compare the results to a baseline. With tampering, you change the process without rigorously examining the results.

    For example, in education, most curriculum changes involve tampering. Schools rarely test to see whether a curriculum works.

    I once sat next to a high official in the Department of Education, and he was horrified when I suggested experiments in education. “Would you want your child to be part of an experiment?” he asked, incredulously. “The schools do it all the time,” I responded. “They just don’t bother checking to see whether their experiments work.”

    It's no accident that pols love to tamper. For example…

  • Allison Schrager looks at our imminent tamperer-in-chief, whose "plan" is Feel Good Now—Pay Later.

    If President-elect Joe Biden’s economic-stimulus plan is a preview of what to look for over the next four years, we can expect lots of feel-good populist measures that will ultimately harm the most vulnerable people in the American economy.

    The plan offers some things to like, or at least not object to—more money for vaccines and testing, opening of schools, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (a subsidy for low earners), child tax credits, more money for small businesses, and expanded unemployment benefits. Those last two will be especially necessary, even after the pandemic passes, because other provisions in the proposed stimulus will harm small businesses and throw millions of people out of work.

    The plan includes a national $15 minimum wage and elimination of the “tipped minimum” for service employees. In places like Mississippi, $15 is already the median hourly wage, and the current minimum is $7.25. Biden’s plan thus doubles labor costs for many businesses barely staying afloat. New York City already has a $15 minimum wage, but its tipped minimum wage remains $10. Small businesses, especially in service industries, are already struggling, and many will be facing debts for years to come. Raising their costs now and discouraging hiring will not grow the economy.

    As I'm pretty sure someone Tweeted: here's a plan for all those who demand a $15 minimum wage:

    1. Start your own business.
    2. Pay all your employees at least $15/hr.

    Expecting others to do the hard work for you isn't a good look.

  • Section 230 isn't hard to understand. That doesn't stop people who should know better from failing to understand it. Mike Masnick looks at a recent example; Former FCC Boss Tom Wheeler Continues To Misunderstand And Misrepresent Section 230 And The Challenges Of Content Moderation.

    It's not just Ajit Pai who is an FCC chair who misunderstands Section 230. His predecessor, Tom Wheeler continues to get it totally wrong as well. A year ago, we highlighted Wheeler's complete confusion over Section 230, that blamed Section 230 for all sorts of things... that had nothing at all to do with Section 230. I was told by some people that they had talked to Wheeler and explained to him some of the mistakes in his original piece, but it appears that they did not stick.

    This week he published another bizarre and misguided attack on Section 230 that gets a bunch of basic stuff absolutely wrong. What's weird is that in the last article we pointed to, Wheeler insisted that social media websites do no moderation, because of 230. But in this one, he's now noting that 230 allowed them to close down the accounts of Donald Trump and some other insurrectionists -- but he's upset that it came too late.

    Mike's thought about this stuff. It's his job to.

    It was also (in theory) part of Tom Wheeler's job. He had over three years to figure it out. What's his excuse?