Monday, December 28, 2015

Cruising the Web

I hope that all my readers had a wonderful Christmas with friends and family. We sure are enjoying the time with our two daughters. And I'm enjoying the break from school. And it's a bit relaxing to take a break from obsessing over politics. Maybe that's why I've felt so mellow over the past few days. Hmmm....

Anyway, here are a few retrospectives over the craziness that we've witnessed this year.

As always, the best review of the past year is Dave Barry's.
OK, critics: We have heard you. This year, instead of dwelling on the negatives, we’re going to start our annual review with a List of the Top Ten Good Things That Happened in 2015. Ready? Here we go:

1. We didn’t hear that much about Honey Boo Boo.


OK, we’ll have to get back to you on Good Things 2 through 10. We apologize, but 2015 had so many negatives that we’re having trouble seeing the positives. It’s like we’re on the Titanic, and it’s tilting at an 85-degree angle with its propellers way up in the air, and we’re dangling over the cold Atlantic trying to tell ourselves: “At least there’s no waiting for the shuffleboard courts!”

Are we saying that 2015 was the worst year ever? Are we saying it was worse than, for example, 1347, the year when the Bubonic Plague killed a large part of humanity?

Yes, we are saying that.

This was the year when American sports fans became more excited about their fantasy sports teams — which, for the record, are imaginary — than about sports teams that actually exist. This was the year when the “selfie” epidemic, which was already horrendous, somehow got even worse. This was the year of the “man bun.” And if that isn’t bad enough, this was the year they tricked us into thinking Glenn got killed on “The Walking Dead.”

(By the way: spoiler alert.)
It's always a fun read. He must enjoy himself keeping the file every day to store up his annual list of silliness for that end-of-the year column.

Here is a short list of the biggest sports mistakes of 2015.

Ross Douthat looks back on the year and sees "cracks in the liberal order."
Yes, ISIS probably won’t endure, and Putin’s ambitions exceed his grasp. But by pulling volunteers from Western countries and inspiring terrorists from Paris to San Bernardino, the would-be caliphate has provided a new template for revolts against modernity. And by playing power politics in his near abroad and the Middle East, Putin has helped make the Pax Americana look more fragile than at any point since 1989.

Meanwhile, in the American heart of that neoliberal imperium, were it not for Donald Trump the big political story of the year would be the emergence of a new New Left — visible in the continued potency of Black Lives Matter, the turmoil on college campuses, and the appeal of an avowed socialism on the Democratic Party’s campaign trail.

Except that Trump is the big story, and deservedly. His mix of reality-TV shamelessness, European-style nationalism and boastful authoritarianism might be a genuinely new thing in U.S. politics. And the fact that so many disaffected voters find it attractive is a revelation, an objective correlative to polls showing declining faith in democracy, and a window, perhaps, into a more illiberal politics to come.

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In case you lost track, here is a review of Hillary Clinton's scandals in 2015. Jeff Dunetz counts up 111 separate posts he ran in the past year about Hillary's scandals, lies, and flip-flops. Hey, the year isn't even over yet.

The liberal media, as always, plumbed new depths in their efforts to support President Obama and Hillary Clinton while hating on conservatives.
Liberals would have you believe that they are far more nuanced and far less mean-spirited than the Trumps of the world. It's a good reason for unveiling our annual "Worst of the Worst" awards for the year's worst media outrages.

Once again, a panel of esteemed judges in the conservative media has helped us identify the most ridiculous of the ridiculous.

You decide which camp is more obnoxious.

Bryant Gumbel won the "Damn Those Conservatives" Award for this tirade about the National Rifle Association in a Rolling Stone interview posted on Jan. 20:
"There are a few things I hate more than the NRA. I mean truly. I think they're pigs. I think they don't care about human life. I think they are a curse upon the American landscape."

But it's conservatives that are the mean-spirited ones.

Then there's MSNBC pundit Donny Deutsch on "Morning Joe," that alleged oasis of civil chatter over coffee. Deutsch won the "Hopeless Haters" Award for this March 23 commentary on presidential contender Ted Cruz:

"Everybody keeps saying he's a smart guy. This is a guy who basically is saying that climate change is not a fact. ... So wait, that's not smart. That's dumb. That's ignorance. ... I think he's the worst. I think he's scary. I think he's dangerous. I think he's slimy, and I think he brings no fresh ideas."

Liberals can call people pigs and scary and slimy, and that's somehow not Trump-esque.

Now ask them to comment about liberal leaders, and it can get downright embarrassing. Former CBS News producer Dick Meyer won the "Obamagasm" Award for lecturing an "ungrateful nation" in a July 16 op-ed on the glories of Obama.

"Americans are lucky to have Barack Obama as president, and we should wake up and appreciate it while we can. President Obama will go down in history as an extraordinary president, probably a great one. . .. It would be a morale-booster and a sign of civic maturity if more Americans appreciated what an exceptional president they have right now."

In 2015, some liberals were even praised for anything — including stooping to eat a burrito at Chipotle.

The "Pantsuit Patrol" Award for boosting Hillary Clinton came from Bloomberg TV host Mark Halperin, gushing on the April 14 "Morning Joe" as Clinton opened her campaign.

"The two words she needs are 'fun' and 'new.' And part of why yesterday was so successful is she looks like she's having fun and she's doing, for her, new stuff. We've never seen her get a burrito before. Fun and new."
Now they're applauding her for taking long bathroom breaks during live debates.

And then there was how the New York Times headlined their coverage of two Palestinians stabbing three Israelis, two of whom were killed. Their headline differentiated between the terrorists were "killed" and the victims who just died. Weren't victims who were stabbed to death, killed? It took the NYT eight hours before they changed their headline.

It's hard to narrow it down, but here is one list of the "top 5 politically correct campus controversies of 2015." I just can't get over how silly the social justice warriors have become. Don't they realize that there is real suffering in the world and none of the things they got so worked about came even close to what is going on, for example, in the areas of Africa where ISIS or Boko Haram are in control. A good rule of thumb would be for students to think about those populations every time they want to protest over gender pronouns or cultural appropriations in college dining facilities serving tacos or sushi and they'll realize how lucky they are and just...shut up.

Emily Shire is also reflecting on the year in educations and how "2015 was the year students lost their minds." One day, we'll look back at the hysteria over microaggressions and victimology accusations that denied the accused basic due process with the same sort of amazed horror that we now feel for the Salem witch trials.

Arthur c. Brooks explains who the "real victims of victimhood" are.
So who cares if we are becoming a culture of victimhood? We all should. To begin with, victimhood makes it more and more difficult for us to resolve political and social conflicts. The culture feeds a mentality that crowds out a necessary give and take — the very concept of good-faith disagreement — turning every policy difference into a pitched battle between good (us) and evil (them).

Consider a 2014 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which examined why opposing groups, including Democrats and Republicans, found compromise so difficult. The researchers concluded that there was a widespread political “motive attribution asymmetry,” in which both sides attributed their own group’s aggressive behavior to love, but the opposite side’s to hatred. Today, millions of Americans believe that their side is basically benevolent while the other side is evil and out to get them.

Second, victimhood culture makes for worse citizens — people who are less helpful, more entitled, and more selfish. In 2010, four social psychologists from Stanford University published an article titled “Victim Entitlement to Behave Selfishly” in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The researchers randomly assigned 104 human subjects to two groups.

Members of one group were prompted to write a short essay about a time when they felt bored; the other to write about “a time when your life seemed unfair. Perhaps you felt wronged or slighted by someone.” After writing the essay, the participants were interviewed and asked if they wanted to help the scholars in a simple, easy task.

The results were stark. Those who wrote the essays about being wronged were 26 percent less likely to help the researchers, and were rated by the researchers as feeling 13 percent more entitled.

In a separate experiment, the researchers found that members of the unfairness group were 11 percent more likely to express selfish attitudes. In a comical and telling aside, the researchers noted that the victims were more likely than the nonvictims to leave trash behind on the desks and to steal the experimenters’ pens.

Does this mean that we should reject all claims that people are victims? Of course not. Some people are indeed victims in America — of crime, discrimination or deprivation. They deserve our empathy and require justice.
He warns us to look to see which groups want to deny freedom of speech to those they consider their oppressors. That will help us see the division between those who are really fighting to help those who have been truly victimized and those who just want to create a culture of victimhood. Another key is to check out what the leaders are saying.
Second, look at a movement’s leadership. The fight for victims is led by aspirational leaders who challenge us to cultivate higher values. They insist that everyone is capable of — and has a right to — earned success. They articulate visions of human dignity. But the organizations and people who ascend in a victimhood culture are very different. Some set themselves up as saviors; others focus on a common enemy. In all cases, they treat people less as individuals and more as aggrieved masses.

Barton Swaim writes at City Journal to poke fun at the empty phrase, "one sexual assault is too many" and other such assertions have been used to justify all sorts of government mischief.
That initial phrase—one is too many—shows up a lot lately. In October, Vice President Joe Biden, promoting a campaign to bring attention to rape on college campuses, recalled that he sponsored the Violence Against Women Act in the 1990s, “to end the scourge of violence against women and hold perpetrators accountable. It’s been a great success, but even one attack is one too many.” The vice president likes the phrase so much he gave his campaign the snappy name “1 is 2 Many.”

Fenves and Biden don’t mean the phrase literally. Surely if there was really only one sexual attack on a college campus in a year, even the vice president might suggest we hold off on more legislation and more awareness campaigns. What does the phrase mean, then?

It’s almost always intended to justify a governmental initiative of one kind or another. When a bill was recently introduced in the California senate to expand the number of immunizations children and day-care workers are required to have, the bill’s sponsor, Tony Mendoza, issued a statement contending that “we must do everything in our power to protect California’s children. If this new law can prevent the loss of even one child due to a communicable disease, then it will be considered a success. Because one child’s death is one too many, especially when it may be preventable.”

As a matter of political savvy, I don’t blame the senator for defining success in such a way that his proposal can’t possibly be called a failure—but leave that aside. I’m not certain that any governmental initiative—especially one as consequential as this one—can be “considered a success” if it only saves one child. Still, it’s true that, in an abstract moral sense, “one child’s death is one too many.”
As he explains, the phrase means nothing except to justify some policy that a politician is pushing.
What do those who use the phrase mean? It may have less to do with erasing every last case of measles and DUI fatality and sexual assault, and more to do with an aversion to empirical evidence. Arguments and data don’t much matter in the pursuit of perfection. Faced with the question of whether a burdensome and expensive policy is worth preserving when it shows few signs of success, the ideologue dismisses those worries by pointing out that the world is not yet perfect.

So yes, even one bad thing is always too many. But by itself it’s not much of an argument.

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So why didn't the $100 million that Mark Zuckerberg donated to Newark city schools fail to achieve any of the goals it was supposed to. Actually, it became $200 million when it was matched by other donors. A new book by Dale Russakoff, "The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools," explains how it all went wrong. Big surprise, the laws protecting teachers' contracts were at the core of the problem.
Zuckerberg wanted to be able to create more flexibility in teacher contracts to reward high-performing teachers and to fire teachers with poor records of student achievement.

But those types of protections are determined by New Jersey law, and Zuckerberg couldn't simply come in and change the rules without going through the state Legislature to make the changes.

Instead, the opposite occurred. Chris Cerf, the New Jersey commissioner of education at the time, worked with the Legislature and was able to negotiate some new accountability measures in teacher contracts.

But the teachers' union only agreed upon those measures if the seniority protections remained intact.

"The seniority protections became automatically a part of this new contract in Newark, which was supposed to be, in the words that the reformers were using, a transformational contract that would become a model for how to reform school districts all across the country, and it was not," Russakoff said in an interview with NPR.
Protecting seniority is the exact opposite of giving school administrators the flexibility to reform schools. But the unions are not interested in reform; their main concern will always be protecting their members. That's why they'll always be the biggest roadblock to true reform.

So what has been happening to jobs in the Bay area since they raised the minimum wage to $12.25 an hour? Well, just about what you would expect.
The pace of hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector fell to a five-year low for the Bay Area last month, Labor Department data show. Job gains have slowed to less than half the rate that preceded Oakland's and San Francisco's adoption last spring of the highest citywide minimum wage in country.
After rising close to 5% a year, hiring at restaurants, hotels and other leisure sector venues rose just 2.2% from a year ago in November. Meanwhile, in the rest of California, where the minimum wage is generally $3.25 below the $12.25-an-hour level set in Oakland and San Francisco, leisure and hospitality employment rose 4.9%.
The data suggest potential employment headwinds from the higher minimum wage, which jumped 36% in Oakland and 14% in San Francisco. On top of that, Oakland's minimum wage is set to rise to $12.55 in January while San Francisco's will jump to $13 in July.

Hillary Clinton has adopted one of the sillier campaign tactics that I've witnessed in a long time. In an effort to appeal to Hispanic women, her campaign is touting "7 Ways Hillary Clinton is Just Like Your Abuela." For example, "She isn’t afraid to talk about the importance of el respeto (especially when it comes to women) …" Oh, blech!

Well, Sara Gonzales is not having any of it and has her own list of "7 ways Hillary Clinton is NOT like my abuela." For example,
2) My abuela believed it took a family to raise a child, not an entire village.

If there was anything my abuelita disliked, it was interference from an outsider, especially when it came to her precious mijita. Grandmother knows best? Sure. But someone ELSE’s grandmother knowing what’s best? Nope. Not happening. Ever....

5) Nobody ever paid my abuela $335,000 to give an hour long speech to a corporation.

But she was a secretary for a school district and she sure could have used that money. Unfortunately for my abuela, she had to work long and hard hours for the measly paycheck she received. My abuela never saw $335,000 in her life, which was fine with her because she didn’t concern herself much with how much money she- or anyone else- had.

Steve Chapman reflects
on how darn lucky Hillary Clinton has been this year. Think about how she lucked out by not having any real competition in the Democratic race. The most she's had to worry about is the few weeks filled with Biden buzz. And the Republican race distracts from the focus on her scandals and weak campaign presence and off-putting personality.
Clinton faced the difficulty of persuading voters to give the same party three consecutive terms in the White House -- something accomplished only once since 1953.

But the GOP has done its best to come to her aid. The leading candidate, Donald Trump, has the highest unfavorable rating of anyone in either party's race. His campaign is brilliantly engineered to drive Latinos, blacks and Muslims into the Democratic camp -- along with women, 56 percent of whom voted Democratic in the 2012 presidential election....

Not only do Trump and Cruz have serious liabilities for the general election but their flaws help to hide Clinton's. Next to their incendiary rhetoric, her stolid manner and tedious oratory make her look serious. Juxtaposed with their vast inexperience in foreign affairs, her years of diplomacy convey that she knows her way around a perilous world....

There are many good reasons she should not be president. But the way it's shaping up, this campaign could make Americans forget them.
Let us hope that 2016 will not turn out to be so lucky for Hillary as 2015 has been. Back in 2008, I didn't think that there was really anything that the Republicans could have done to have won that year. It was just not in the cards especially with all collective ecstasy that met Barack Obama's candidacy. But 2016 is a year that Republicans have a good chance of winning. That is why there have been so many candidates for the nomination. Clinton is a remarkably weak candidate and the Republicans should be able to capitalize on her weaknesses and the fatigue and stresses left from eight years of Obama's presidency if they don't blow it. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the GOP won't find a way to mess up this opportunity.

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David Harsanyi wonders if too many people in America today are longing for their own dictator. And Trump's candidacy speaks to that desire.
Trump’s entire case, for instance, is propelled by the notion that a single (self-identified) competent, a strong-willed president, without any perceptible deference to the foundational ideals of the nation, will be able to smash any cultural or political obstacles standing in the way of making America Great Again.

But this is certainly not the first time we’ve seen voters adopt a cultish reverence for a strong-willed presidential candidate without any perceptible deference to the foundational ideals of the country whose personal charisma was supposed to shatter obstacles standing in the way of making America great again. Many of the same people anxious about the authoritarian overtones of Trump’s appeal were unconcerned about the intense adulation that adoring crowds showered on Barack Obama in 2008, though the spectacle featured similarly troubling signs — the iconography, the messianic messaging, and the implausible promises of government-produced comfort and safety. Just as President Trump fans will judge every person on how nice or mean he or she is to Trump, so, too, those rooting against Obama were immediately branded unpatriotic or racist.
We're already seeing a lot of that attitude now among Trump fans. They aren't interested in any fact-checking of what he says and, for example, his moral equivalence between Putin's ruthlessness and America don't bother them in the least. Hey, at least he fights. But this idea that a president, whether Obama or Trump potentially, could do whatever necessary to accomplish is ends is so very dangerous. And, as Harsanyi points out, this yearning for "leadership" reveals something very troubling.
Not that this fetishizing of leadership is confined to the progressive Left or the conservative Right. In fact, more than anyone in American discourse, the self-styled moderate pundit loves to talk about leadership. It would be a full-time job cataloguing how often a person will read about the nation’s dearth of genuine leadership — which is, in essence, a call to ignore the democratic forces that make truly free governing messy and uncomfortable. There are entire conferences teeming with D.C. technocrats trying to figure out how proles can be led to preferred outcomes and decisions. The moderates seem to believe that organic disagreements can be smoothed over by a smart speech or two, and they always mythologize about the political leadership of the past.
The Madisonian insight that we can best protect our liberties if we use man's natural ambitions to counterbalance the ambitions of others seems to be a mistake to many today who just want their chosen "leader" to muscle through whatever policy they're wishing for.
“There is danger from all men,” wrote John Adams in what may be the most genuinely conservative of all positions. Now, obviously, you have to have a certain skill set to bring people to some consensus, to make decisions about war, and to administrate such a massive body as our government. But the president is not your savior. A person empowered to make everything great also has the power to make everything horrible. If a president alone can transform America, then something has gone terribly wrong with the system.
Sadly, no one could earn the presidency today by promising to limit his own power when in office. The days of a Calvin Coolidge deliberately drawing limits on the executive's and federal government's power are long gone.

One thing we're learning from this year's political news is that Super PACs are not the powerful weapon that both critics and supporters thought they would be. Now they're shifting from advertising to doing the basic get-out-the-vote tasks that campaigns used to take care of.
Soaring advertising costs in early primary states are compelling major “super PACs” to realign their tactics, de-emphasizing costly broadcast commercials in favor of the kind of nuts-and-bolts work that presidential candidates used to handle themselves.

They are overseeing extensive field operations, data-collection programs, digital advertising, email lists, opposition research and voter registration efforts.
The failure of Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Jeb Bush to rise despite all the Super PAC money out there supporting them belies all the fears that people have had about how the Citizens United decision was going to ruin politics. It just shows that politics changes too fast for any group of politicians to write laws to somehow limit money in politics.

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Heather MacDonald explains
how liberal politicians and the media are hiding the rise of violent crime that has come about since the uproar over Ferguson.
Murders and shootings have spiked in many American cities—and so have efforts to ignore or deny the crime increase. The see-no-evil campaign eagerly embraced a report last month by the Brennan Center for Justice called “Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis.” Many progressives and their media allies hailed the report as a refutation of what I and others have dubbed the “Ferguson effect”— cops backing off from proactive policing, demoralized by the ugly vitriol directed at them since a police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., last year. Americans are being asked to disbelieve both the Ferguson effect and its result: violent crime flourishing in the ensuing vacuum.

In fact, the Brennan Center’s report confirms the Ferguson effect, while also showing how clueless the media are about crime and policing.
She explains the different techniques that those in the media have used to pretend that the increase in violent crime isn't real. The result is that we're turning back the achievements that we saw in the 1990s to lower crime and we're returning to an earlier era when it seemed impossible to combat violent crime. And those who seek to hide the reality that police are facing on the street actually share some responsibility for the worsening conditions.
To acknowledge the Ferguson effect would be tantamount to acknowledging that police matter, especially when the family and other informal social controls break down. Trillions of dollars of welfare spending over the past 50 years failed to protect inner-city residents from rising predation. Only the policing revolution of the 1990s succeeded in curbing urban violence, saving thousands of lives. As the data show, that achievement is now in jeopardy.

In the same vein, Fred Siegel has a perceptive look at how progressives have used the threat of riots to achieve their political goals. He reminds us of how LBJ used the fear of continued rioting to pass his War on Poverty programs and Mayor Lindsay used that same riots to expand welfare rolls in NYC.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry articulated an explicitly racial version of collective bargaining – a threat that, without ample federal funds, urban activists would unleash wave after wave of racial violence.

“I know for a fact,” Barry explained, “that white people get scared of the [Black] Panthers, and they might give money to somebody a little more moderate.”
Baltimore sadly serves as the model of how the fear of riots has been used to generate more spending without any positive results.
Since 1968, Baltimore has proved remarkably adept at procuring state and federal funds, but never really recovered from the riots. And the lawlessness never fully subsided. What began as a grand bargain to avert further racial violence after 1968 descended over the decades into a series of squalid shakedowns. Antipoverty programs that had once promised to repair social and family breakdown became by the 1990s self-justifying and self-perpetuating.

In the wake of the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and the 2015 West Baltimore riots, a new riot ideology has taken hold, one similarly intoxicated with violence and willing to excuse it, but with a different goal. The first version of the riot ideology assumed that not only cities, but also whites could be reformed; the new version assumes that America is inherently racist beyond redemption and that the black inner city needs to segregate itself from the larger society.

The West Baltimore rioters of 2015 didn’t call for more LBJ-style antipoverty projects, but for less policing. In a “keep off our turf” version of belligerent multiculturalism, the rioters see police as both to blame for black criminality and as an embodiment of bourgeois white values. The old riot ideology referred to mostly white urban police forces as occupying armies; the new version sees even Baltimore’s integrated police force, under the leadership of a black mayor and (until recently) a black police chief, as an occupying army. Withdrawing the police from black neighborhoods is the only acceptable solution.

Salena Zito laments the environment of mistrust permeating our society and politics today.
America ends this year on a low note in terms of trusting government. Everyone, it appears, lies to us; worse, they seem supremely confident that we will accept it.

We even lie to ourselves to make our choices seem more palatable. A late November Pew poll — “Beyond distrust: How Americans view their government” — showed that not only do we distrust whom we've elected, we distrust ourselves collectively to make good choices in the future.

That is a pretty damning indictment of what politics has done to America's psyche....

I have often written that we get the elections and the government we deserve. Right now, we are knee-deep in mistrust, flailing about because neither party has filled the leadership vacuum needed during a time of terrorism and economic displacement.

That includes the president: He has been rudderless in a sea of dysfunction.

We must start to trust something, and it should begin with ourselves. If we can't trust ourselves to competently pick the next president, then we will once again get the election and the government we deserve.

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Jenni Avins celebrates cultural appropriation and how to do it right.
As I dress in the morning, I deeply appreciate the craftsmanship and design behind these items, as well as the adventures and people they recall. And while I hope I don’t offend anyone, I find the alternative—the idea that I ought to stay in the cultural lane I was born into—outrageous. No matter how much I love cable-knit sweaters and Gruyere cheese, I don’t want to live in a world where the only cultural inspiration I’m entitled to comes from my roots in Ireland, Switzerland, and Eastern Europe.

There are legitimate reasons to step carefully when dressing ourselves with the clothing, arts, artifacts, or ideas of other cultures. But please, let’s banish the idea that appropriating elements from one another’s cultures is in itself problematic.

Such borrowing is how we got treasures such as New York pizza and Japanese denim—not to mention how the West got democratic discourse, mathematics, and the calendar. Yet as wave upon wave of shrill accusations of cultural appropriation make their way through the Internet outrage cycle, the rhetoric ranges from earnest indignation to patronizing disrespect.

And as we watch artists and celebrities being pilloried and called racist, it’s hard not to fear the reach of the cultural-appropriation police, who jealously track who “owns” what and instantly jump on transgressors.

In the 21st century, cultural appropriation—like globalization—isn’t just inevitable; it’s potentially positive. We have to stop guarding cultures and subcultures in efforts to preserve them. It’s na├»ve, paternalistic, and counterproductive. Plus, it’s just not how culture or creativity work. The exchange of ideas, styles, and traditions is one of the tenets and joys of a modern, multicultural society.

Charles Krauthammer reviews various food fads that have been aided by government nutritionists until well past the time that they were debunked. The newest fad is the fear of gluten that seems to be spreading throughout the country.
Now, if you suffer from celiac disease, you need a gluten-free diet. How many of us is that? Less than 1%. And yet supermarket shelves are groaning with products proclaiming their gluten-freedom. Sales are going through the roof.

Another crock. Turns out, according to a massive Australian study of 3,200 products, gluten-free is useless. "The foods can be significantly more expensive and are very trendy to eat," says Jason Wu, the principal investigator. "But we discovered a negligible difference when looking at their overall nutrition."
His conclusion is that, if consuming gluten-free products serves as a placebo for some people, then perhaps that is just fine for them. The rest can eat as much gluten as we used to before we were informed that it was bad for us. Goody.

Kyle Smith has a worthwhile reminder for people - "Twitter is not real life."
Assessing the decades-long enmity between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, a politician named David Ervine once remarked, “Northern Ireland is the only place I know where someone will drive 100 miles out of his way just to receive an insult.”

Today, in the United States, we’re just as eager to be insulted, but we no longer have to drive the 100 miles. All we have to is check Twitter, and let outrage warm the cockles of our hearts.

Any rando’s thought, no matter how insignificant or unrepresentative it may be, gets repeated and distributed and amplified till everyone needs to take a deep breath.
A good practice is to turn off any TV show that spends any time talking about Twitter posts.