What is happening here? Simply this: We have come to see childhood only through the lens of danger. There is never a counterbalance to say what is good about a childhood activity that presents even the slightest risk. We only look at what could go wrong. And then we leap to the scariest possible outcome. Then we ban the activity, congratulating ourselves as if we have fought to keep 8-year-olds out of the asbestos mines.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
The earthquake that has changed the face of the Pontifical Academy for Life has also struck the institute for studies on marriage and the family created by John Paul II and first headed by the theologian and then cardinal Carlo Caffarra.
As of today this historic institute has been eliminated and replaced with another institute, with a different name.
A billboard is set to go up to memorialize dozens of chickens injured or killed during a crash on Interstate 95 earlier this month.
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals announced through a news release that the billboard aims to encourage drivers to “think about the ill-fated animals on transport trucks.
Gab, which has become an online home for anti-PC crusaders, white supremacists, and the broader alt-right, is branding its lawsuit as a declaration of war against monopolistic Silicon Valley. Google says it booted Gab for violating its rules against hate speech, although it won’t say specifically how. Gab retorts that while its users are welcome to say what they want within some very loose bounds, and that it even takes issue with the term hate speech, it’s merely a platform not the utterer of any particular beliefs. If Google’s assessment for kicking an app off its marketplace relies on what the apps users say or do, Gab says, then by that criterion Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit should be removed, too. Doesn’t bigoted speech abound on Facebook and Twitter, Gab has argued, even if hateful rhetoric is not the official line on the company blog?
Contrary to much of the media coverage this week, the push by congressional Republicans to do something about Obamacare isn’t a desperate last-ditch effort or a “health care zombie.” On the contrary, it might be the best health-care reform idea GOP leaders have come up with yet.
It's too easy to say, that's not saying much. But when has that ever stopped me?
As is by now well known, my Penn Law colleague Amy Wax recently co-authored a controversial op-ed published at Philly.com with University of San Diego law professor Larry Alexander; for brevity, which is in short supply in this post, I’ll generally call this just the “op-ed” and refer to it as Professor Wax’s, except when it is especially relevant to refer to Professor Alexander. Professor Wax subsequently gave an interview to the Penn student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, which led to an article that fueled the controversy; henceforth, I’ll call this the “DP interview”. Much more has transpired, including a number of critical columns and other statements, as well as various tweets and posts in support of Professor Wax and articles with quotes from or extended interviews with Professor Wax.
This post will focus principally on the op-ed and the DP interview, as well as an open letter to the Penn community that I signed along with 32 other colleagues of Professor Wax’s; henceforth, I’ll call this the “Open Letter”. As a matter of full disclosure, I note that I was the organizer of this letter and took ultimate responsibility for creating and finalizing its contents.
Part I of the post details a number of problems with empirical claims in Professor Wax’s statements. Part II discusses the unfortunate claims about cultural superiority that led me to organize the Open Letter and also refutes several criticisms of the Open Letter; if you’ve been especially critical of the Open Letter’s form or substance, then this part is for you. Part III addresses Professor Wax’s statements at the level of
God God, man, is this a blog post or a multi-volume book series? Anyway, for those of you who can't get enough of this kerfuffle, Jonah Gelback give the other side of the story in this long, but careful post. I haven't finished it yet.
I Don’t Care if Amy Wax Is Politically Incorrect; I Do Care that She’s Empirically Incorrect | HeterodoxAcademy.org
I was one of the 33 members of the University of Pennsylvania Law School faculty to sign a letter criticizing Amy Wax’s (joint with Larry Alexander) op-ed and subsequent comments regarding the decline of bourgeois culture and its role in America’s perceived social ills. Was this the predictable response of a morally squishy, politically correct, ivory tower academic lefty who is unwilling to endorse unspeakable truths for fear of being bounced from faculty cocktail parties? I can understand this presumption, but, in my case, I prefer going to my kids’ football games to chatting about Derrida over wine and cheese anyway.
To understand Ken Burns’ 18-hour Vietnam documentary, listen to the music. The haunting score tells you: This will be a tale of misery. And indeed, Burns and his co-author Geoffrey C. Ward conclude their script by writing, “The Vietnam War was a tragedy, immeasurable and irredeemable. But meaning can be found in the individual stories . . .”
The film is meticulous in the veracity of the hundreds of factoids that were selected. Everything depicted on the American side actually happened. But that the chosen facts are accurate doesn’t mean the film gets everything right. Indeed, the brave American veterans are portrayed with a keen sense of regret and embarrassment about the war, a distortion that must not go unanswered. And the film implies an unearned moral equivalence between antiwar protesters and those who fought.
This isn't exactly unexpected. I thought even his film on World War II was oddly un-something. We did, in the end, actually win that war you know, and save civilization. Just sayin'.
The first two of 12 Sukhoi Su-30K fighters Angola ordered nearly four years for $1 billion have arrived in the country, giving a country with one of the most formidable air forces in the region some of the best military hardware Russia has to offer.
Angola enters the club of African states possessing Su-30s along with Uganda and Algeria. The planes bounced around a lot before they got there.
Sanders was largely mute on that subject until just recently. But now he’s gingerly stepped forward and begun to sketch out at least one way to raise part of the money. It’s an old chestnut from the socialist movement having some fresh life breathed into it, known as a “wealth tax.” (Buzzfeed)
Sounds like a bad idea.
Princeton's campus newspaper disbands editorial board after string of right-leaning opinions - The College Fix
Leaders of the student newspaper at Princeton University have disbanded the publication’s independent editorial board, a move that comes after the group put forth a string of right-leaning opinions, including denouncing the women’s center for its radical feminist agenda and arguing in favor of due process.
Many in the media are diving deeply into minutiae in order to discredit any notion that President Trump might have been onto something in March when he fired off a series of tweets claiming President Obama had “tapped” “wires” in Trump Tower just before the election.
According to media reports this week, the FBI did indeed “wiretap” the former head of Trump’s campaign, Paul Manafort, both before and after Trump was elected. If Trump officials — or Trump himself — communicated with Manafort during the wiretaps, they would have been recorded, too.
But we’re missing the bigger story.
At 2 in the morning after Election Day in 2016, the absence of Hillary Clinton walked onto a stage at the Javits Center in Manhattan. The absence of Hillary Clinton is vast. It pullulates like slime mold across the internet; it screams from TV screens; it peers dim and terrified from behind Clinton’s own eyes. Since the election, it’s grown to swallow the whole of American and international politics. But that night, it appeared in the form of her campaign chair, John Podesta. He came out gangly and enthusiastic, flapping a cavernous mouth open and shut to strange, wild applause. Clinton, he told the crowd at her campaign headquarters, would not be appearing to make her concession speech. “We can wait a little bit longer, can’t we?” he said. “Everybody should head home. We should get some sleep. We’ll have more to say tomorrow.” Clinton herself didn’t appear until hours later: coiffed, grinning wryly, sepulchral. Between the two speeches, stories and rumors circulated, frantic gnats twirling in her absence. Hillary Clinton had locked herself in her hotel room. Hillary Clinton refused to talk to anyone. Hillary Clinton was insensate, or catatonic, or drunk or mindless on Xanax and disbelief.
Sounds like an impressive creative effort.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Dr. Maral Skelsey recently examined a 10-year-old girl who was extremely self-conscious — and in pain — from a scalding accident that had left a discolored burn on her leg. If the girl had been born in the ’90s, she likely would have been given a compress and steroids and sent on her way. But these days, Skelsey, the director of the Mohs Surgery Unit at the Dermatologic Surgery Center of Washington, D.C., has a battery of treatments in her arsenal. Using compression, silicone and a fractionated laser, which divides light into thousands of microscopic beams for deeper and faster healing, Skelsey was able to reduce the discoloration significantly, freeing up the girl to wear shorts and go swimming without feeling uneasy.
Useful stuff, that sea creature slime.
Mr. Hermansson and Mr. Jorjani met at an Irish pub near the Empire State Building, where the baby-faced Mr. Jorjani imagined a near future in which, thanks to liberal complacency over the migration crisis, Europe re-embraces fascism: “We will have a Europe, in 2050, where the bank notes have Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander the Great. And Hitler will be seen like that: like Napoleon, like Alexander, not like some weird monster who is unique in his own category — no, he is just going to be seen as a great European leader.”
It’s worth reading the Graham-Cassidy bill. It would repeal the individual and employer mandates of the Affordable Care Act, impose per capita caps on Medicaid, increase contributions to health-savings accounts, allow states to waive regulations on private insurance providers, and provide those states with block grants so they can design their own health-care systems.
UC Berkeley’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs recently launched a website dedicated to free speech as part of Chancellor Carol Christ’s promise that UC Berkeley will have a “free speech year.”
The site includes links to articles about free speech, campus policies on hosting speakers and protesting safely, a list of upcoming free speech events and a timeline of the Free Speech Movement. There is also a Q&A page, as well as a moderated public discussion forum.
According to campus spokesperson Michael Dirda, the Office of Communications and Public Affairs began working on the project at the end of the summer and built the website on WordPress with no external costs over the last few weeks. The website will remain online for at least the next year.
This is just a reminder that I post links to things I do not necessarily agree with. To wit, Brian Leiter's call for our Dean to apologize or resign (see below). This is Brian making this call, not I. Or as some would say, me. Me, I don't know what the Dean should do. I would say it's a genuine pickle in which he finds himself. Maybe he'll double down, as the saying goes, or do nothing. Maybe our new President will speak on this issue, which has believe it or not, now reached a national and international audience, this being the age of the internet and all. Or maybe he will just wait for things to settle down and for the news cycle to move on to other controversies.
But as far as I know, the First Amendment still applies to this blog and I still have tenure, so I'm going to go ahead and blog about these unfortunate events with my usual delicate sensibility and sensitivity to all.
...for his abject failure of leadership in one of his central duties as head of an academic institution: to defend freedom of speech and inquiry by faculty and students on both scholarly matters and matters of public concern. It is not his role to express his own opinions about positions defended by his faculty, either in their scholarship or in their contributions to public debate. If he wants to express his own opinions, he should step down from the Deanship and rejoin the faculty. But as Dean, his job is to defend freedom of speech and inquiry, even when it is unpopular. He has failed.
The more we learn about the last eight years and eight months, the more reason there is to believe that something is rotten in Washington.
I don’t just mean the ordinary corruption of the swamp variety. I mean something fundamental, something that suggests major elements in our government believe they, and not the people, are sovereign.
Which brings us back to the ultimate test: Did Obama or somebody working for him put Trump under surveillance during or after the election for the purpose of a political coup?
It’s a frightening question, all the more so because I suspect the answer will be yes — if we can ever get to the truth.
[Little icon of a chihuahua burying its little face in its paws.]
The popular dating website OkCupid announced Wednesday that it would make the online dating scene a little easier for progressives who can’t risk interacting with someone with whom they disagree (imagine the horror!). They announced a partnership with Planned Parenthood that allows site users to put a badge on their profile signifying support for the nation’s largest abortion provider, much the way Facebook becomes saturated with similar kinds of profile pictures during the newest disaster.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
As someone said on Twitter, never before has been there so much murmuring of “holy sh**” in so many different languages. Donald Trump’s speech at the United Nations was a sometimes awkward marriage of conventional Republican foreign policy and a very basic version of Trump’s nationalism.
In San Diego, hundreds line up for hepatitis A vaccinations after deadly outbreak may have hit restaurants - LA Times
“All eyes are on San Diego,” Steve Zolezzi, president of the Food & Beverage Assn. of San Diego, said of the outbreak, one of the nation’s largest in decades, which prompted county officials to declare a local public health emergency earlier this month.
Aieee chihuahua! This hits too close to home. You can get hepatitis I guess from eating infected food. Yuk. I gather from Carl Demaio on AM 600 that this outbreak is partly due to our homeless problem, with whom San Diego is perennially popular.
As a follow-up to the publication of “Amoris Laetitia” and the two synods on the family, Pope Francis has refounded the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, giving it a broader mandate than it originally had to ensure that it does not just focus on moral and sacramental theology, but also takes account of the biblical, dogmatic and historical dimensions, as well as contemporary challenges.
So America is the left-liberal voice of the Jesuit order in America. You can read it if you want to know what this side is thinking. The traditional Catholics see Francis's latest "refounding" of the family Institute as completely changing its mission. One hopes it will not be handing out condoms to pre-schoolers any time soon.
But, except for Wallace Stevens and the early W.H. Auden, Ashbery was like no other poet I had read before. I was not alone in feeling a sense of bafflement and attraction to this poet, of course. But what language could a teacher-critic employ in speaking of this radically new phenomenon? I tried terms like existential metaphysics and metapoetics to reach my students. At that point, Tate, who had remained silent up to that point, came out with the neologism, what about “meta-spaghetti?” which of course had the students laughing out loud.
With me, it was just bafflement.
Bishop McElroy: Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church | America Magazine
Father James Martin is a distinguished Jesuit author who has spent his life building bridges within the Catholic Church and between the church and the wider world. He has been particularly effective in bringing the Gospel message to the millennial generation. When we survey the vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church in the United States, it is clear that there could be no more compelling missionary outreach for the future of Catholicism than the terrain that Father Martin has passionately and eloquently pursued over the past two decades. There are few evangelizers who have engaged that terrain with more heart and skill and devotion.
Last year Father Martin undertook a particularly perilous project in this work of evangelization: building bridges between the church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States. He entered it knowing that the theological issues pertaining to homosexuality constituted perhaps the most volatile element of ecclesial life in U.S. culture.
I don't personally take a position what the RC official attitude toward homosexuality should be. Plenty of other people do that. I'm a bit surprised to see that Bishop McElroy takes a strong position defending James Martin, who is himself very pro-gay in the Church. This sort of clarifies the local political situation in my mind -- The Bishop of San Diego is on our Board of Trustees, you see.
It was not the first time Spencer or other residents of the senior living center had been over-served at the restaurant, the suit says. Spencer’s daughter had multiple conversations with the Red Lobster management about over-serving her mother, according to the lawsuit.
Democrats & Silicon Valley: Rich Entrepreneurs Changing Party’s Working-Class Image | National Review
Trump Stuns U.N. Chamber: The Problem in Venezuela Is 'That Socialism Has Been Faithfully Implemented'
President Donald Trump surprised the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday when he remarked that the collapsing situation in Venezuela was not due to the poor implementation of socialism, but rather its successful implementation.
"The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented," he said.
Trump paused, and there was audible muttering in the chamber before some tepid applause broke out.
"From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure," he said.
Trump said, as a responsible neighbor and friend, the U.S. had a goal for the Venezuelans to recover their freedom and "restore their democracy."
I'm glad Trump is still capable of saying true and hilarious things.
U.N. General Assembly live updates: Trump delivers forceful but highly unusual speech at annual gathering - LA Times
“Holy cow,’’ said Sue Mi Terry, a former CIA analyst who has been following the country for two decades. “If I were Kim Jong Un, I’d think, I better accelerate this thing and finish building my nuclear weapon before it’s too late. These threats will only increase the hysteria and paranoia in North Korea.’’
“They will threaten to destroy him [Trump] in language even more colorful than he could muster,’’ predicted Michael J. Green, a former Asia advisor to President George W. Bush. Green said, however, that Trump was right in taking a hard line to warn North Korea that the United States will not tolerate any belligerence towards its allies, South Korea and Japan.
To the list of forbidden ideas on American college campuses, add “bourgeois norms”—hard work, self-discipline, marriage and respect for authority. Last month, two law professors published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for a revival of the “cultural script” that prevailed in the 1950s and still does among affluent Americans: “Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. . . . Eschew substance abuse and crime.” The weakening of these traditional norms has contributed to today’s low rates of workforce participation, lagging educational levels and widespread opioid abuse, the professors argued.
You can read the entire MacDonald piece in the Wall Street Journal here ( https://www.wsj.com/articles/higher-eds-latest-taboo-is-bourgeois-norms-1505774818 ) but you'll need a pesky subscription. Heather MacDonald is such a BAMF; she really pulls no punches, yet she is unfailingly polite.
Monday, September 18, 2017
Trump Let a Kid Mow the White House Lawn. Idiot Asks: What About Child Labor Laws? - Hit & Run : Reason.com
I don't know. I spent a lot of time walking behind various lawnmowers as a kid, finally graduating to riding a mower as an assistant groundskeeper. I found the experience pretty hot, sweaty and worst of all boring over all. I learned I didn't want to work outdoors. There are other outdoor jobs, I guess. Some of them must be better than mowing or outdoor work wouldn't have such a great reputation.
President Trump is betting that his base will give him wide latitude to pursue an immigration deal with Democrats despite the outburst of anger from prominent voices on the right.
Conservative pundits like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham denounced Trump’s pursuit of an agreement as a betrayal. GOP Rep. Steve King (Iowa) warned the president risked fracturing his base.
But other prominent Trump supporters, including pundits Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and the hosts of “Fox and Friends,” gave him cover.
I personally think the Wall is a dumb idea. I don't see why Coulter and Ingraham are so exercised about it. But a lot of Trump supporters really grooved on the idea of a wall. This all strikes me as just chaos and confusion.
The Modern Constitution Empowers Redistribution, the Original One Not So Much - Online Library of Law & Liberty
Ganesh Sitaraman has written an oped in the New York Times arguing that our Constitution was not built for a society as unequal as our has become. Even leaving aside the claim that our society is becoming substantially more unequal—one I have contested, the essay is mistaken. First, the Constitution as amended today empowers the federal government to engage in regulatory redistribution and progressive taxation to reduce economic inequality. Second, the Constitution of 1789 on which Professor Sitaraman principally focuses was consciously built to protect against legislative attempts to mandate more equality. The populist demagogues with whom the Framers were mainly concerned were those who would bamboozle the populous into debtor relief legislation and other wealth destroying schemes that could be sold, just as in our day, as aids to poor and retribution to the rich. Sitaraman misunderstands both our contemporary Constitution and our original Constitution.
John McGinnis, a very smart individual.
"The inclusion of my name in the list of speakers was done without my knowledge or permission," Mr. Murray wrote in an email to The Chronicle. "I will add that I would never under any circumstances appear at an event that included Milo Yiannopoulos."
Asked why he wouldn’t appear with him, Mr. Murray said: "Because he is a despicable asshole."
Well, that sounds definitive.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
No liberty is safe if we allow anyone to concentrate control over the public squares and open markets where we exchange views, ideas, information, and work. Yet in America today the threat of concentrated control is greater than any time in at least a century, perhaps ever. Radical changes a generation ago in how we enforce our anti-monopoly and trade laws cleared the way for a few giant corporations – some tied to foreign states – to assert mastery over almost every corner of our economy. These new monopolies have upset basic balances in our democracy and our society.
I note economist Luigi Zingales (Chicago Booth) is on their team. That's a big endorsement. And outweighs some of their other members whom I would characterize as not so hot IMHO.
Lynn's group, called Open Markets, has spent six years arguing that the Democrats have become too comfortable with corporate money and power, and need to rally around a new principle: breaking up monopolies. As the party remains locked in a struggle to reboot itself, unable to craft a unifying vision in the Trump era, Lynn and his group are trying to push it into a new fight against global corporate titans, targeting big companies like Google by name, and arguing that it’s time to use federal antitrust law to chip away at their influence. They see the fight as both a boon to democracy and a political framework that could excite voters in a new, more energized populist moment.
Google isn't evil. Just keep repeating that to yourself until your brain is colonized by their airborne nanobots.
If there was any question about the location of the nerve center of the anti-Trump resistance, it was settled with a defiant fusillade of legislation Friday and Saturday memorializing California’s antipathy toward the president.
Story Continued Below
The eight-hour long event, which follows a years-long battle between the juggalos and the Department of Justice, went off largely without incident on the same day that a group of Donald Trump supporters rallied nearby.
They may not be a gang, but they sure are awful.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
A most unlikely collection of suspects - law schools, their deans, U.S. News & World Report and its employees - may have committed felonies by publishing false information as part of U.S. News' ranking of law schools. The possible federal felonies include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and making false statements. Employees of law schools and U.S. News who committed these crimes can be punished as individuals, and under federal law the schools and U.S. News would likely be criminally liable for their agents' crimes.