Monday, April 17, 2017

Cruising the Web

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a very happy Easter.

And Happy Emancipation Day! That is why your taxes are not due until Tuesday, April 18. When April 15 falls on a weekend, taxes are due on the next Monday unless that Monday is Emancipation Day to celebrate the day in 1862 when slaves in the District were freed and which is haliday in the District of Columbia.

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Walter E. Williams writes about a "cancer that is eating away at college campuses" as administration seek to enforce a certain uniformity of thought.
Today we’re seeing the re-emergence of the mentality that gave us loyalty oaths, in the form of mandating that faculty members write “diversity statements,” especially as part of hiring and promotion procedures. They are forced to pledge allegiance to the college’s diversity agenda.

....College diversity agendas are little more than a call for ideological conformity. Diversity only means racial, sex, and sexual orientation quotas.

In pursuit of this agenda, colleges spend billions of dollars on offices of diversity and inclusion, diversity classes, and diversity indoctrination. The last thing that diversity hustlers want is diversity in ideas.

By the way, the next time you hear a college president boasting about how diverse his college is, ask him how many Republican faculty members there are in his journalism, psychology, English, and sociology departments.

In many cases, there is none, and in others, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans might be 20-to-1.

Nearly 100 percent of political campaign contributions from liberal arts faculty go to Democrats. At Cornell University, for example, 97 percent of contributions from faculty went to Democrats. At Georgetown University, it was 96 percent.

A study by my George Mason University colleague Daniel B. Klein, along with Charlotta Stern, titled “Professors and Their Politics: The Policy Views of Social Scientists,” concluded:
The academic social sciences are pretty much a one-party system. Were the Democratic tent broad, the one-party system might have intellectual diversity. But the data show almost no diversity of opinion among the Democratic professors when it comes to the regulatory, redistributive state: They like it. Especially when it comes to the minimum wage, workplace-safety regulation, pharmaceutical regulation, environmental regulation, discrimination regulation, gun control, income redistribution, and public schooling.
And now we're seeing conservative students at some students being threatened because of their views.
Whether it is female Republican students at places like St. Olaf College and Cornell University being accosted, cursed at, threatened with physical violence and, in the latter case, actually assaulted; Cal State Fullerton Trump supporting students being assaulted by an instructor; a riot at Berkeley; or College Republicans being targeted by name as “fascists” and encouragements made to make their personal information public so that decent folks can “punch fascists”—bullying, intimidation, and threats of violence against conservative students have become staples of campus life.

While this phenomenon is an outrage in itself, equally outrageous is the fact that it has been permitted to occur and recur.

It’s inconceivable that college administrators and faculty would permit these outrages if white Republican conservative students were the perpetrators and their victims were, say, black, gay, or transgendered.

But because it is only conservative and moderate students who are being victimized by leftists, not only has no real action been initiated to stop these attacks. In some instances, faculty and administrators have even encouraged them....

The bullying, intimidation, and threats with which conservative students are confronted at present largely go unmet by administrators. It’s true that the latter not infrequently act like they plan on meeting future acts of aggression against heterodox students with strictness. They’ll pay the standard lip service to their schools’ “values” of tolerance, freedom of speech, and the like. Yet it is difficult to find many instances in which disciplinary action is meted out to offending parties, much less action that involves anything like expulsion or arrests.
William McGurn points to examples of conservative speakers being harassed so badly that they can't continue their speeches, most recently Heather MacDonald at Claremont McKenna College.
In response to threats made before the speech she had to live stream her talk instad of talking to an audience. Even that was interrupted as protesters banged on the windows and shouted. A university spokesman has sent out a message that students found responsible could face sanctions up to permanent separation from the college. We'll see if anything happens from this.
Claremont McKenna would do everyone a service if it made good on Mr. Chodosh’s promise to hold disrupters accountable. Unlike disputes over sexual assault that are also roiling our universities, protests that stop speakers from speaking are public and brazen, so there’s no excuse for handling these incidents in secret. If students are to get the message, the consequences must be relatively swift, clear—and public.

Here Ms. Mac Donald asks a good question: Where are the faculty? Plenty of professors are willing to sign a high-minded statement on speech. But why don’t we ever see faculty backing up their words by coming out en masse to place themselves between speakers and the protesters who would shut them down?

Today it’s common to lament the cheap and polarized politics in Washington. But no one asks whether this might have something to do with a generation of students indulged in the view that they should never have to hear an opinion different from their own. How much easier it is to bang on windows, block an entryway and drop your F-bombs than, say, engage the formidable Ms. Mac Donald in genuine argument.

And now, as William A. Jacobson points out, students at progressive campuses such as Wellesley are taking the position that it is perfectly fine to shut down speakers that they disagree with. A student editorial in the Wellesley newspaper wrote that "Free Speech is NOt Violated at Wellesley" because shutting down what they call "hate speech" doesn't count as violating free speech. Jacobson points to recent events at Berkely where there was a violent clash between those in a pro-Trump rally and a group that calls itself "Antifa" for anti-fascist. When the Antifa met up with the pro-Trump rally, the violence began. Soon both sides were violent including one pro-Trump group who punched a woman in the face.
It’s a thin line from the Editorial in the Wellesley student newspaper to the Antifa rioters in Berkeley. Indeed, if events at Middlebury College and elsewhere are any indication, there may be no line at all.

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Jeff Greenfield explains why it is so phony to set up this artificial deadline for analysis of a presidency by looking at what is accomplished in the first 100 days. Apparently, those in Trump's administration are desperately trying to compile a record to demonstrate that he's been a success in these first 100 days.
Well, maybe you can’t blame the White House for panicking; what they really are responding to is the massive media exercise in premature evaluation that has become as inevitable as it is asinine. Take two steps back from the ritual, and it’s clear that making any solid judgment about a new president based on the first 14 weeks is like … well, you choose the metaphor; predicting a basketball game’s outcome three minutes in? Calling a presidential election 18 months out?
Since FDR's first 100 days in 1933, every succeeding president has been caught up in the media focus to try to demonstrate how successful they have been.
There is, however, a much bigger issue than the inability to complete an ambitious set of policies in little more than three months. It’s the relentless lessons of history. Look back on any presidency you choose, and what are the chances that the first 7 percent of its first term offered a useful guide to the rest? As my former colleague Dan Rather would have put it, “slim and none and Slim has just left town.”

....The list of the utterly unpredictable is stunning. Did Nixon’s first 100 days offer a clue that he would be toasting the health of Mao Zedong in Beijing a few years later? That Ronald Reagan would be strolling through America with the leader of the Soviet Union? That Barack Obama, who led his party to a smashing triumph in 2008, would preside over the implosion of the party at every level over the next eight years?
But why should such rationality stop the media in filling their time with such hackneyed analyses even if it makes no sense in the overall sweep of history.

Here's a bit of irony - PResident Trump's decision to not release the logs of visitors to the White House is relying on a federal court decision authored by...Merrick Garland.

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Eugene Kontorovich, a aw professor at Northwestern, has an interesting article about the history of George Washington' business deals with foreigners while president. The history might have some relevance to those who are concerned about whether or not Trump is violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause by foreign businesses going through Trump organization businesses.
One letter written by Washington deserves great attention in the current debate. On Dec. 12, 1793, Washington wrote to Arthur Young, an officer of the U.K. Board of Agriculture, an entity newly created and funded by Parliament at the initiative of William Pitt. The president asked for Young’s help in renting out his Mount Vernon lands to secure an income for his retirement. Not finding customers in America, he wondered if Young, with his agricultural connections, could find and organize some would-be farmers in his home country and send them over.

Washington noted that the land would surely increase in value because of its close proximity to what would become the nation’s capital in 1800. Large public-works projects were taking place—a circumstance over which he had some control.

Such a direct business solicitation of a foreigner with foreign government ties would surely lead to cries of constitutional breach if Mr. Trump did it. But the emoluments restriction only applies to benefits from “foreign states,” and what entities count as parts of a “foreign state” for these purposes remains fuzzy. Washington’s solicitation of a U.K. Board of Trade member suggests that either business transactions are not “emoluments” at all, or foreign entities such as state banks and television stations do not fall within the scope of the clause. Given the Founding Father’s precedent, the legal objections to many of Mr. Trump’s affairs would puzzle those who framed and breathed life into the Constitution.

Here's a victory for common sense in Seattle. A federal judge has granted an injunction to stop the efforts of the city to unionize Lyft and Uber drivers.
Under the Seattle ordinance, the Teamsters union had the right to organize ride-share drivers through a public card-check process that allows them to prevent secret elections and set up collective bargaining. The companies that coordinate drivers, including Uber and Lyft, were required to hand over their drivers’ contact information to the union by April 3.

The preliminary injunction came in response to a lawsuit brought by drivers and another by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce alleging the law violates the National Labor Relations Act and breaks antitrust laws by endorsing a system in which independent contractors can band together to set prices for their services. That’s typically called price fixing.

To issue the injunction, Judge Lasnik had to conclude that the plaintiffs may win on the merits. He wrote that the suit had “raised serious” antitrust questions and that forcing the companies to turn over drivers’ personal information presented a risk of irreparable harm. While Seattle might have an interest in regulating the ride-share economy, the judge wrote, “the public not only has an interest in safe and reliable transportation networks, but also in the enforcement of the laws Congress has passed.”
Well done. Government should not be able to insert itself into the work of independent contractors to force them to unionize thus harming the ability of such businesses to maintain their level of competition.

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