URLs du Jour

2022-06-01

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  • When in doubt, proceed to step two. What should be my very last local dead-trees newspaper (called Seacoast Sunday on Sundays) was delivered the other day, and a column by Deep Thinker John T. Broderick (Founder of the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy at UNH Law, former chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court) graced the Opinion Section. He wonders: Is America headed toward a two-state solution?

    Unorthodox times may require unprecedented actions. I fear that time may have arrived in America, as painful as it is to acknowledge.

    Ouch! According to Wikipedia, Broderick was born in 1947. So he really is, or should be, old enough to remember the 1960s and 1970s. War, assassinations, riots… I don't know if there's any objective measure of social unrest and division, but my gut feeling is that that era has 2022 beat by a long shot.

    But Broderick's real problem is…

    Watching our democracy and its cherished values free-fall dramatically into disrepair, distrust, and dysfunction during President Trump’s time in office, culminating in an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol that he helped organize and encourage, it would be foolish to see those dark days as somehow behind us. Sadly, tens of millions of our fellow citizens embraced those cringe-worthy days as “making America great again.” Bridging that divisive chasm as “one nation under God” may no longer be possible or even advisable.

    Goodness knows I was, and am, no Trump fan. But that seems to be a classic manifestation of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    But it gets worse:

    President Biden is out of central casting for normal, thoughtful, and experienced leadership that allows him to intelligently tackle and discuss the vexing challenges we face at home and abroad after four years of chaos and confusion created by the norm-breaking and law-breaking Trump administration. But truth, competence and inclusion have apparently fallen out of favor these days.

    Well, that's just delusional. Sweeping under the rug the Afghanistan debacle, a foreign policy that encouraged Putin's Ukraine invasion, a spending spree that brought on inflation not seen in decades, and let's not forget there's a massive illegal handout to the well-off coming up.

    And that's just policy. Biden's character flaws are evident to anyone not named "Broderick": he's always been a liar and a blowhard. Cooler heads in his administration continually have to clarify what Biden said, to the point where he's getting a little hacked off about it.

    But Broderick thinks it might be necessary for the US to split up into Red and Blue Americas. One a nightmarish Trumpian hellhole, the other (I guess) like Seattle, or something.

    How many people would join Broderick in Blue America? According to the polls, as I type, maybe 40% or so.


  • Is a very dim lightbulb starting to glimmer? Eric Boehm notes a hopeful sign: Biden (Almost) Admits That His Own Stimulus Spending Stoked Inflation. It's about President Wheezy's recent op-ed published in the WSJ.

    The op-ed serves as a useful illustration of the Biden administration's muddled thinking about the current state of the economy, as well as its powerlessness to actually combat the inflation it unleashed on the country.

    […]

    So what about Biden's three-step plan to fix the things that are, in his telling, already going great? First, Biden says he'll stand aside and let the Federal Reserve handle things. "Past presidents have sought to influence its decisions inappropriately," Biden writes in the Wall Street Journal. "I won't do that."

    Translation: Get ready for higher interest rates throughout the economy. That's the Fed's main tool for controlling inflation, one that the central bank is already deploying. Higher interest rates encourage saving rather than spending, which is an effective way to cool an economy running too hot by giving those excess dollars something else to do rather than chase the limited number of goods available.

    By signaling that he won't try to pressure the Federal Reserve into not raising interest rates further, Biden is admitting that the economy is running too hot. This is the closest we're likely to get to an admission that his presidency pulled the wrong economic levers during those crucial first weeks and months.

    Boehm's analysis is pretty devastating to anyone (see above) who claims Biden's performance exemplifies "normal, thoughtful, and experienced leadership".


  • Just fill in the blank for your instant op-ed column: "Democrats are fooling themselves on       ". David Harsanyi has a good answer: Democrats Are Fooling Themselves On Guns.

    Did you know that 76 percent of voters support the Democrat’s “Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022?” What kind of depraved fascist wouldn’t want to prevent domestic terrorism or the prosecution of domestic terrorists, right? Now, how many of those voters would support the bill if they knew the FBI had recently investigated law-abiding parents as “domestic terrorists” for protesting against identitarian curriculums and lockdowns in their schools? I suspect the numbers might look quite different.

    Time and time again we see the same process play out. First, legacy media adopts the Democratic Party’s favored euphemisms or language to mislead the public — think, “Don’t Say Gay.” Pollsters then wrap their questions in ambiguous, disingenuous, or misleading terms to get the answers they seek from voters. Once pollsters reinforce their priors, the media reports on the results. After their rhetoric has been laundered, Democrats claim their agenda is widely popular and thus, democracy is being undermined by those who won’t support these preferred policies.

    It's the usual story. All the way back in 2014, one of the Obamacare architects credited the law's passage to "lack of transparency" and "the stupidity of the American voter". Plus ça change…


  • But don't worry, the experts are in charge. James Furey and Daniel Buck note an unapologetic science-denier finally submitting to decades of research: Lucy Calkins & ‘Units of Study’: Another Progressive Educational Model Gets Discredited.

    The director of Teachers College Reading and Writing Project for Columbia University, Lucy Calkins, has long been an influential figure in education. Almost a third of U.S. elementary teachers use her curriculum, hundreds of thousands of educators have received her training, and her philosophy of reading instruction has influenced countless more. Hopefully, due to a recent New York Times article eviscerating her products, her name will become equally infamous in the average household.

    Calkins bases her popular curriculum, Units of Study, around the practice of the reader/writer workshop model — wherein students choose their own books and writing projects — and balanced literacy, which is an approach to reading that rejects phonics. Reading experts pan both for their lack of science-backed reading and writing instruction. In response to rising pressure, Calkins has created new curricula, which include a “20-page guide for teachers summarizing 50 years of cognitive research on reading.”

    It’s a welcome change, but that we’ve allowed someone who has heretofore had little understanding of the science of reading to determine reading instruction for millions of students over the course of decades is an indictment of both teacher training and selection of school curriculum. This isn’t just a matter of making a mistake; it’s a scandal.

    The primary reason for this educational malpractice is ideological, Furey and Buck say. Phonics is championed by those icky conservatives! Can't touch it!