URLs du Jour — 2014-10-15

  • At Reason, Robby Soave analyzes Ezra Klein's advocacy of California's "Yes Means Yes" law. (Which is also being proposed in New Hampshire.)

    One hint that it's worth analysis: Klein says it's "a terrible law, and I completely support it." Wha?

    So there's obviously some politician's fallacy at work between young Ezra's ears. ("We must do something; this is something; therefore we must do this.")

    But more important is young Ezra's reliance on panic-inducing, yet dubious, evidence for the fallacy's major premise. Wny must something be done? Because "one in five women is the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault while in college". Comments Robby:

    […], the 1-in-5 statistic is hotly contested, as Klein surely knows. (See The Washington Examiner's Ashe Schow and American Enterprise Institute's Christina Hoff Sommers for thorough debunking.) That statistic was produced by a survey of just two colleges; the survey had a high non-response rate, and critics contend that victims of sexual assault were more likely to respond in the first place, skewing the results. The 1-in-5 statistic is also out of whack with national figures: just 1.3 in 1,000 people age 12 and up are victims of sexual assault nationwide, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

    Why, one might suspect that the actual purpose of "Yes Means Yes" is not to make women safer. Maybe it's simply to increase government power?

    Or it could be the "progressive" side of "boob bait for the bubbas", Daniel Moynihan's term for demagogic legislation designed to jerk the knees of low-information voters?

    Hey, no reason it can't be both!

    [Also see Taranto's Best of the Web Today if you can.]

  • In related news, 28 members of the Harvard Law School Faculty issued a statement about Harvard's new sexual harassment policy:

    As teachers responsible for educating our students about due process of law, the substantive law governing discrimination and violence, appropriate administrative decision-making, and the rule of law generally, we find the new sexual harassment policy inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach. We also find the process by which this policy was decided and imposed on all parts of the university inconsistent with the finest traditions of Harvard University, of faculty governance, and of academic freedom.

    Very bad. And it's coming to an institution of higher education near you.

  • Today's embedded Getty image, by the way, is one of the results when you search their site for "yes means yes". I don't know what the connection is, but I couldn't resist. Sorry.

  • Numerous people are pointing out the subpoenas issued by the City of Houston Texas to a number of conservative Houston preachers, demanding (among other things) transcripts of any sermons given referring to (among other things) the city's mayor. Conservatives are upset about a recent ordinance that prohibits public businesses from denying "transgendered" customers access to the restroom corresponding to their transgender.

    Matt K. Lewis asks the relevant question: shouldn't liberals defend religious liberty?

    Could it be that all this talk about tolerating diverse viewpoints and opinions was merely a political tactic employed by the left — just so long as their viewpoints were out of political power and out of touch with mainstream opinion?

    Yes, it could. Matt also wonders where the heck the ACLU is.

  • Glenn Kessler awards a coveted Four Pinocchios to the claim that we'd have an Ebola vaccine now if it weren't for those pesky Republicans.

    Obama’s Republican predecessor oversaw big increases in public-health sector spending, and both Democrats and Republicans in recent years have broadly supported efforts to rein in federal spending. Sequestration resulted from a bipartisan agreement. In some years, Congress has allocated more money for NIH and CDC than the Obama administration requested. Meanwhile, contrary to the suggestion of the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] ad, there never was a specific vote on funding to prevent Ebola.

    Related is Michelle Malkin's column at NR, concentrating on the CDC, perhaps best summarized in the subtitle: "What does $7 billion buy us? A power-hungry busybody brigade of politicized blame-mongers."

    Kessler points out that the CDC also gets about $4 billion in mandatory fees.

    Also, they were totally worthless against the Walking Dead.