URLs du Jour


  • At National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru provides a quote from the "Princeton Open Campus Coalition", which is opposing "required courses in left-wing thought and mandatory 'diversity training' for faculty and staff".

    The demand for “anti-racist training” is nothing more than the institution of a wrongthink correctional program, and we strenuously oppose any attempt to require “cultural competency” or “unconscious bias” training for any member of the University community. This training would undoubtedly coerce members of the community to accept the premises and conclusions that proponents of these reeducation camps advance. There would be no room for any act of dissent or good-faith debate on whether a particular instance of speech or action indeed amounts to racism. Potential dissenters would be intimidated in an atmosphere of fear and potential retribution. We have no doubt that every member of the Princeton community, ourselves certainly included, would strongly and unequivocally identify with the cause of “anti-racism” . . . . But “anti-racism” is a vague and radically unhelpful term that will be filled in with question-begging conclusions by those who subscribe to the reigning orthodoxy on matters of race. Affirmative action, for example, has long been a matter of contention, not only in American political and legal discourse, but also in academic circles. Are we prepared to say, as the University of California system appears to have done, that opposition to affirmative action is “racist” and constitutes an impermissible “microaggression?” Other examples of controversial matters touching on race include, but are certainly not limited to, the historical accuracy of the New York Times ’s recently launched “1619 Project,” the relationship between police officers and their communities, illegal immigration and immigration enforcement, urban crime, the so-called “War on Drugs,” issues of family structure and father-absence in poor communities of every description, and welfare policy. These, and other, matters lie at the core of significant legal, political, and academic discourse. Proper engagement with the various sides of these debates is premised on the robust protection of the freedom to make reasoned arguments and freely and publicly explore different points of view on these contentious issues with no regard for whether these free pursuits of truth “trigger” others.

    I'm long gone from the University Near Here, but I wish someone there with some backbone would point out the unhealthy (and literally undiverse) rhetoric being emitted from the top: for UNH, there's only One True Way to approach issues of race, and they're gonna force-feed it to you.

  • At AEI, Alan D. Viard suggests you Ignore the hullabaloo about rebate payments to the dead.

    To begin, the payments to the dead comprised less than 1 percent of total rebate payments. Trying to identify and prevent those payments would have delayed all of the payments, in contravention of the CARES Act’s command that the rebates be paid “as rapidly as possible.” Even if the $1.4 billion of payments to the dead were improper, they would be a small price to pay to expedite $200 billion of urgent payments to the living. 

    In any event, the payments to the dead were legally proper. As I and several other observers have explained, people who were alive at the beginning of 2020 are clearly eligible for the rebates under the text of the CARES Act, even if they died later in the year before the payments were disbursed. Although the question is a little more complicated, careful analysis of the legislative text indicates that people who died in 2018 and 2019 are also eligible for the rebates.

    I'm generally opposed to Uncle Stupid sending money it doesn't have to anyone, living or dead. That bill is going to come due soon, and it will be no fun to pay it.

    But the bigger issue is all those mail-in November ballots. There's already every indication that the fraudsters will be ready to leap in. Add that to government's general incompetence at such massive endeavors, and you get a recipe for illegitimacy.

  • A plea from Jacob Sullum at Reason: Don’t Let the Pandemic Kill Religious Freedom.

    About a month after Bill de Blasio personally led a police raid on a Hasidic rabbi's funeral in Brooklyn, which he portrayed as an intolerable threat in the era of COVID-19, New York's mayor visited the same borough to address a tightly packed crowd of protesters who had gathered in response to George Floyd's death. Far from ordering them to disperse in the name of public health, the unmasked mayor enthusiastically expressed solidarity with the demonstrators.

    The contrast between de Blasio's anger at Jewish mourners and his solicitude toward political protesters figures prominently in last Friday's decision by a federal judge who deemed New York's pandemic-inspired restrictions on religious gatherings unconstitutional. The ruling, which said COVID-19 control measures violate the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom when they draw arbitrary distinctions between religious and secular conduct, is a warning to politicians across the country as they loosen the sweeping restrictions they imposed in the name of flattening the curve.

    I couldn't help but notice that folks like Nina Totenberg freaked out over the recent Espinosa ruling from SCOTUS: it breached the holy "high wall of separation between church and state"!

    And I don't think Nina et. al. had much to say about Mayor Bill's breaching of that wall.

  • I got 71% on Mark J. Perry's quiz on the Declaration of Independence. It's tough! See if you can do better in preparation for the Fourth.

  • And the news from Slashdot is pretty dire: A Massive Star Has Seemingly Vanished from Space With No Explanation.

    A decade ago, light from this colossal star brightened its entire host galaxy, which is officially known as PHL 293B and is nicknamed the Kinman Dwarf. But when scientists checked back in on this farflung system last summer, the glow of the star -- estimated to be roughly 100 times more massive than the Sun -- had been extinguished. The head-scratching discovery was announced in a study published on Tuesday in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. "We were quite surprised when we couldn't find the star," said lead author Andrew Allan, a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin, in a call. "It is a very extreme star, and it has quite a strong wind, so we can distinguish it from the galaxy. That's what we couldn't see in the newer observations."

    I'm sure there's at least one commenter over there who quoted Giorgio Tsoukalos:

Last Modified 2020-07-03 7:00 AM EDT