URLs du Jour — 2014-04-10

For some reason, I'm Washington Post-centric today. I'll seek help.

  • I plan on attending the Citizens United/Americans for Prosperity "Freedom Summit" in Manchester on Saturday (April 12). I have no idea what the arrangements or schedule will be, but if you're there too, please look for a tall bald geek and say hello. Chances are it will be me.

    Jennifer Rubin, the WaPo's "conservative" blogger, has already worked up a preemptive condemnation of the event due to its inclusion of speakers she deems unacceptable (The Donald Trump, Rep. Steve King). Jennifer calls the future event a "pratfall" and a "circus".

    But I haven't been to the circus in a while. See you there.

  • Brandeis University declared itself an enthusiastic participant in what Jon Lovett called the "Culture of Shut Up". By first extending, and then rescinding an honorary degree and a commencement-speaker spot to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Someone noticed she's not a punch-puller when discussing Islam.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali's response to the disinvitation is here. The one small bit of amusement is Brandeis's weaselly-worded statement that begins "Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn…". Ms Hirsi Ali notes:

    I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me — just a few hours before issuing a public statement — to say that such a decision had been made.

    It's hard to disagree with John Podhoretz, who happens to be the nephew of a previous Brandeis president: the current guy's engaging in "nothing less than the act of a gutless, spineless, simpering coward." But also dishonest.

    Reason editor Nick Gillespie speculates that a 2007 interview in the magazine might have contained the quotes that caused the Brandeis administration to decide to clap its hands over its fragile graduates' ears, lest they hear something ideologically discordant. Nick observes:

    There is something particularly appalling about an institution that is predicated upon the idea of free and open discourse throwing in the towel so quickly. Either the people running the school there are simply total ignoramuses or they are cowards who refuse to defend their choice. Of course, they could be both. In any case, the reputation of the school should suffer, both as a place where ideas can discussed and where smart people congregate. Who wants to be the first person to turn up far more dubious recipients of Brandeis honorary degrees?

    Let me repeat and concur: of course, they could be both.

  • My own CongressCritter/Toothache, Carol Shea-Porter, hasn't penned a "Carol's Column" since last October. Too bad, they were fun to make fun of. But she does issue the occasional press release, like this one on "Equal Pay Day". Containing the phrase:

    […] but women in America still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

    Even the liberal Washington Post Fact Checker can't abide this statistic, awarding it Two Pinocchios (out of a possible four). And it's not as if the claim hasn't been widely debunked elsewhere. The WaPo's Ruth Marcus deems it revolting demagoguery.

    Either Carol is

    1. utterly ignorant, or
    2. deliberately misleading. In which case, she's hoping/assuming that you are utterly ignorant.

    Of course, she could be both.

    [Don't, by the way, expect Politifact to be honest or self-consistent on evaluating the truthiness of this claim, but you might get a chuckle.]

  • This Washington Post story illustrates how quickly a baseless scurrilous accusation about a Republican can be picked up and echoed uncritically by "respectable" MSM outlets. Corrections come grudgingly, if at all.

Last Modified 2014-08-06 9:21 AM EDT