URLs du Jour

2020-12-19

[Amazon Link]

  • At Cato, Alan Reynolds asks the musical question: Will Congress Repeat the Worst Blunder of the First "Stimulus" Bill?.

    A bipartisan Congressional group is eager to borrow and spend another $900 billion on a new COVID-19 bill. Yet they appear determined to repeat the most wasteful political stunt of the last “stimulus bill.”

    On December 17, The Wall Street Journal reported that “the package includes another round of direct payments to households,” which was recently added back into the mix after “The Trump administration [via Treasury Secretary Mnuchin] … proposed sending $600 checks.”

    Borrowing money to send everyone a little check may sound clever to myopic politicians. But it is morally indefensible because it does nothing address to the problem of helping those injured by the pandemic itself or by related state‐​mandated business restrictions and stay‐​at‐​home orders Congress should focus on targeted COVID relief, not scattershot direct payments – the overwhelming bulk of which would go to employed people who were not economically injured by the pandemic.

    This seems to be one of those rarities where Betteridge's law of headlines fails.


  • At Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne brings some disappointing news: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar calls for censorship on the Internet: of celebrities whose opinions he dislikes.

    Former basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has taken up a new career as a writer and activist, and he’s pretty good at it. Well, what I mean is that I often agree with what he says, like decrying the failure to call out anti-Semitism in sports. (“Calling out”, though, means just that; it doesn’t mean censorship.)  And yet he’s also defended the violence accompanying this summer’s racial protests.

    And yes, Abdul-Jabbar is also a bit woke, which isn’t too bad so long as he’s not calling for censorship or other authoritarian actions. Sadly, in his new column at The Hollywood Reporter, where he writes regularly, that’s exactly what he does. He thinks that social media companies should “slap warnings” not just on posts with false claims, but also on posts that “incite violence or are harmful to society.” Who, though, gets to decide what’s violent or harmful? Guess!

    Lefties like Coyne are too rare these days.


  • Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations has Georgia on his mind: With U.S. Senate Runoffs Near, Georgia's Not Prosecuting Its Unprecedented Number of Double Voters.

    More than 1,700 Georgians were singled out for illegally casting two ballots in 2020 elections — including last month’s hotly contested presidential race -- but their fraudulent votes weren't canceled out, according to state election officials. And so far, none of the cheaters has been prosecuted, raising concerns about continued fraud as Georgia prepares to vote again in twin U.S. Senate runoff elections next month.

    What the heck is wrong with Georgia?


  • And if you can stand yet another "Dr. Jill" post, here's Kyle Smith with the second part of his exposé on Jill Biden's Weak Dissertation.

    To call Jill Biden’s dissertation thin gruel is an insult to gruel. Whatever meager substance puddled in Bob Cratchit’s miserable bowl at mealtime was a bountiful feast compared with this paper. I wrote yesterday about the problems with this capstone project, the foundation of her Ed.D. degree and of the insistence of so many in recent days that we must call her “Dr.”

    Mrs. Biden’s only original research consists of interviews with two — that’s right, two — ex-students and a few colleagues at Delaware Technical Community College, where she used to teach, plus the results of a vacuous questionnaire she wrote that was returned by about 150 people who worked or studied there. Oh, and she also called two nearby community colleges seeking interviews about their retention rates. One of them wouldn’t answer the question; the other wouldn’t assign anyone to speak to her at all. Telling us about this misadventure serves no academic purpose, though it does fill up four pages of her generously spaced paper. The transcripts of her group chats with campus figures and colleagues take up nearly 30 pages out of 129. The questionnaires eat up another 18 pages.

    I've seen some folks gripe about how mean and awful Kyle is being to Dr. Jill. Apparently that "speak truth to power" thing only applies to White Male Republicans.