URLs du Jour

2022-05-07

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  • Betteridge's Law of Headlines applies. More than usual, in fact, to Jacob Sullum's Reason article: Do Americans Who Support Roe v. Wade Understand Its Implications?. He discusses polls on abortion, and how much question-wording can affect the results:

    Gallup and other polling organizations have asked more pertinent questions, and the results do indicate that most Americans support Roe. But polling anomalies suggest that some of the people who take that position do not fully understand what it entails. And as critics of Roe would be quick to point out, constitutional adjudication is not a popularity contest, which makes the relevance of polling data questionable.

    With that caveat in mind, what do recent surveys tell us about the popularity of the Court's impending decision? A Fox News poll of registered voters conducted on Monday, before Politico published a leaked draft of a Supreme Court majority opinion that suggests Roe is doomed, asked, "Do you think the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade or let it stand?" Only 27 percent of respondents said the Court should overturn Roe, while 63 percent said it should not and 10 percent declined to take a position.

    At the same time, however, 54 percent of respondents thought their own states should pass "a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy." That is precisely the sort of law at issue in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the case that the Court is expected to decide next month. Dobbs involves a Mississippi law that generally prohibits abortion after 15 weeks, which is plainly inconsistent with the Court's abortion precedents.

    Notwithstanding my own position, Roe was so screwed up and shoddy that judicial tinkering will not fix it.


  • Never bought into that myth mythelf. And neither should anyone else have done so, according to David Harsanyi: The Myth of Biden the Uniter.

    When the president was asked yesterday about the Roe v. Wade leak, he ranted about how the “MAGA crowd” was “really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history.”

    First of all, does any sentient human really believe that conservatives took up pro-life cause — one that Biden himself championed in the past — in 2015? Candidate Trump had to do a lot of work to allay social-conservative fears over his inconsistent position. This was the entire impetus for releasing a list of potential SCOTUS nominees.

    Anyway, Biden, a unifer at heart, noted many in media, had largely avoided such charged rhetoric. This, too, is a myth. It’s Biden who recently said that chasing moderate legislators into bathrooms to pressure them into supporting his agenda was just “part of the process.” It’s Biden who said that supporters of voter-ID laws are backing “21st-century Jim Crow.” He’s the one who calls Republicans “authoritarian” and claimed that we’re “facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole, since the Civil War.” It is hyperbole. It is hyperbole most of the time.

    Also appearing: Biden's "gonna put you back in chains" assertion about (remember?) Mitt Romney.


  • Anyone out there need a reminder? Here's one anyway, from Brian Riedl: Canceling Student Loan Debt Is a Terrible Idea. He lists seven reasons, and here's one:

    The student loan “crisis” is primarily a manifestation of the progressive bubble—young, urban, college-educated professionals who are dealing with the high cost of rent, child care, and student loans. This includes the legislative and campaign staff of progressive politicians (and sometimes the politicians themselves!), who surely see their own self-interest in framing their personal finances as a crisis. Outside this bubble, student loan repayments are most often a manageable annoyance.

    According to education expert Beth Akers, two-thirds of millennials carry no student debt because they did not attend college or were able to avoid loans. Of those who did borrow, the typical student graduates with a $30,000 student loan for a bachelor’s degree that will raise average lifetime incomes anywhere from $1 million to $2.8 million (although these returns vary widely with the major). This is an enormous return on investment. This $30,000 loan with a 4 percent interest rate would require monthly payments of $182 for 20 years, or approximately 4 percent of the typical earnings. Only 6 percent of student borrowers take out more than $100,000 in loans, and they are heavily concentrated in law school and medical school. In fact, 40 percent of all student debt was borrowed for graduate and professional programs, which represent investments in even higher lifetime incomes.

    Need more? Click through: it's also (2) very expensive; (3) redistributes income upward; (4) unjust; (5) probably inflationary; (6) likely illegal; and (7) ignores borrowers' other options.


  • Sit down, students! Class has not been dismissed yet. John Tierney says (correctly, and probably futilely) that We still need to learn the right lessons from America's disastrous COVID response.

    More than a century ago, Mark Twain identified two fundamental problems that would prove relevant to the COVID pandemic. “How easy it is to make people believe a lie,” he wrote, “and how hard it is to undo that work again!”

    No convincing evidence existed at the pandemic’s start that lockdowns, school closures and mask mandates would protect people against the virus, but it was remarkably easy to make the public believe these policies were “the science.”

    Undoing this deception is essential to avoid further hardship and future fiascos, but it will be exceptionally hard to do. The problem is that so many people want to keep believing the falsehood.

    Adults meekly surrendered their most basic liberties, cheered on leaders who devastated the economy and imposed two years of cruel and unnecessary deprivations on their children. They don’t want to admit these sacrifices were in vain.

    Let me swipe this bit of Simpsons dialogue. A bear was spotted in Springfield, causing a "Bear Patrol" to be created, and…

    Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
    Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.
    Homer: Thank you, dear.
    Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
    Homer: Oh, how does it work?
    Lisa: It doesn’t work.
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?
    [Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
    Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
    [Lisa refuses at first, then takes the exchange]

    Except to make it really appropriate:

    Lisa: And people are actually being mauled by bears anyway!
    Homer: Just think how much worse it would have been if not for the Bear Patrol!