Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bathroom Wars

Two points on the dispute over whether men who identify as women should be able to use the women's bathroom.

1.  I understood the prevailing leftist theory on gender to be that all differences between the sexes are the result of cultural conditioning. For example, boys don't like guns and cars and girls don't like playing dolls and house. Both are just conditioned to like these by society.  But it seems to me there's some real tension between saying that gender roles are artificial and learned, while simultaneously saying that when a boy identifies as a girl, it is something real that should be countenanced over actual biology.

2.  The theory that biological boys should be treated like girls again rest on the premise that the boy's feelings about his gender should trump his actual biology. Maybe we should respect those feelings. But what about the feelings of biological girls who have to share facilities with a biological boys, and feel uncomfortable about it? and what about the feelings of their parents who don't like the idea? How can we treat feelings as the ultimate truth when those feelings conflict?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Eric Segall on the Benefits of an Extended Surpeme Court Vacancy

Eric Segall on the Benefits of an Extended Surpeme Court VacancyMichael Ramsey - The Originalism Blog: "Nonetheless, Professor Segall's categorical assessment seems misplaced.  In many decisions Scalia's outcome did not align with his likely political preference, and can be readily explained only by his commitments to textualism and originalism.  For two examples, consider his support for criminal defendants and unattractive First Amendment plaintiffs.  As to the former, he repeatedly favored criminal defendants in (for example) confrontation clause cases -- aligning with the liberal Justices over the votes of conservatives.  Why? Surely not because he had sympathy for criminal defendants (see multiple other decisions, where he showed them none).  Or think of it another way: suppose the confrontation clause had a (textual) reasonableness exception, or that the confrontation clause did not exist at all and the confrontation right had been invented by the Warren Court as an ahistorical attribute of due process.  Would Scalia nonetheless have been an absolutist defender of the confrontation right?  I think not."



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This is a great point, and one that I would like to see liberal justices answer. Scalia can point to several decisions where his philosophy compelled a result that was contrary to his policy preferences. That's not to say Scalia always overcame his biases when applying the constitution, but only to say that his philosophy did compel him to decide cases in a way that were contrary to his policy preferences.



My challenge to liberals: are there supreme court cases where the liberal justices have felt compelled by the constitution to reach a result that was contrary to their policy preferences? What are those cases?


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Scalia

The three intellectuals who have most influenced my thinking about public policy are William F. Buckley Jr., Milton Friedman and Antonin Scalia. All three are now dead.

Scalia was widely regarded as an intellectual giant, which might lead a person to think that his major contribution to the law was esoteric. But the message he spent most of his time promoting was really pretty simple. We live in a democracy, where the people are the highest political authority. Judges should follow laws that are democratically enacted by the representatives of the people, whether they like the law or not.

That does not mean that judges have no role in reviewing democratically enacted laws for constitutionality. When the constitution conflicts with statutory law, the constitution controls. But the constitution controls, not because judges say so, but because the people said so when they enacted the constitution by super-majority.That result is counter-majoritarian, but not anti-democratic because the constitution itself is democratically enacted.

The alternative is a government where the will of the people is neglected and thwarted.  But those who ignore the will of the people don't explain where their government derives its authority. I would like them to explain it, because I don't think they can. In fact, I don't think they understand how much their theory of a living constitution erodes the bedrock principle of any democracy: that government power is derived from the people.

Justice Scalia powerfully taught that the people were the highest authority of our government; I wish more people had learned the lesson.



Sunday, September 6, 2015

20 Jewish families displaced by Russia's war against Ukraine find new homes near Kyiv

20 Jewish families displaced by Russia's war against Ukraine find new homes near Kyiv: "On Sept. 1 in Anatevka near Kyiv, an opening ceremony took place for a special village made up of Jewish people from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. They escaped the fighting between Russian-separatist forces and Ukrainian forces."



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I didn't think Anatevka was a real place. (see here for context.)

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Corner | National Review Online

The Corner | National Review Online: "6) The thing about Trump supporters: You can’t shake them. You can’t move them from their man. You can’t introduce a sliver of doubt.



 They don’t care where Trump has been on abortion, Kelo, D.C. statehood, health care, etc. (Single payer!) They don’t care whether he has given the Clintons $8 trillion. They don’t care whether he approves of Miley Cyrus at her twerkiest. I guess she’s the “conservative” poster girl now. The symbol of wholesome living!



 The Donald could ax-murder four nuns in church, and his peeps would say the old biddies had it comin’.




All they care about is that he is opposing something called “the establishment”: the RNC, NR, and those other oppressors of men."



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Monday, August 17, 2015

Glenn Reynolds: Fast moving bad news builds prosperity

Glenn Reynolds: Fast moving bad news builds prosperity: "As Megan McArdle has observed, journalists particularly suffer from this problem: “Everyone you write about makes more than you. Most of the people you know make more than you. ... Your house is small, your furniture is shabby and you can't even really afford to shop at Whole Foods. Yet you're at the top of your field, working for one of the world's top media outlets. This can't be so.” Suddenly, systems that reward people through political influence look better."



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That's one explanation for why journalists are hostile to free markets.



My theory is that the people who go into journalism are self-selecting liberals. Journalism students know they are unlikely to make much money. They go into journalism because they view it romantically. They imagine themselves as Woodward and Bernstein bringing down the powerful with the truth of their investigative reporting. They imagine themselves as agents of social change.



Conservatives, on the other hand, typically revile the media. They have no motivation for getting into the profession other than having a good career, and so generally opt out. They view good journalism as not having an agenda, and so mostly would not go into journalism to effect social change.



This is why I think journalists are anti-market, pro-government: they were that way before long they ever got into the profession.


Monday, July 13, 2015

My Way News - Pentagon announces plan aimed at lifting transgender ban

My Way News - Pentagon announces plan aimed at lifting transgender ban: "WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon's current regulations banning transgender individuals from serving in the military are outdated, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday, ordering a six-month study aimed at formally ending one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service."



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I thought scientists were supposed to do the study before knowing the results.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Insufficiently Independent to Hold an Independence Day Parade :: SteynOnline

Insufficiently Independent to Hold an Independence Day Parade :: SteynOnline: "As readers may know, the Steyn worldwide corporate headquarters is located in Woodsville, which is part of the township of Haverhill, New Hampshire. Actually, the only reason readers would have any cause to know it at all is that an hilariously inept attack poodle called Bernie Quigley wrote in The Hill that I had no idea what the real, authentic America was like and to demonstrate the point plucked three real, authentic, entirely random American places off the map (well, two off the map and one off his LP collection) and said that Steyn would "would get a rash in real places like Tobaccoville, N.C., Haverhill, N.H. or Luckenbach, Texas"."



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That's pretty funny.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

King v. Burwell Decision -- the Anticonstitutional Consequences of John Roberts's Doctrine | National Review Online

King v. Burwell Decision -- the Anticonstitutional Consequences of John Roberts's Doctrine | National Review Online: "onservatives are dismayed about the Supreme Court’s complicity in rewriting the Affordable Care Act — its ratification of the IRS’s disregard of the statute’s plain and purposeful language. But they have contributed to this outcome. Their decades of populist praise of judicial deference to the political branches has borne this sour fruit."



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Will could not have it more backwards. Deference to political branches in this case would have meant applying the law the way the political branches wrote it.  Deference means interpreting "an exchange established by the state" to mean "an exchange established by the state" instead of meaning "an exchange, regardless of who establishes it."



Even Will admits the Supreme Court rewrote the law. Rewriting the law is not deference.




Thursday, May 28, 2015

#SomeBlackLivesDontMatter - Rich Lowry - POLITICO Magazine

#SomeBlackLivesDontMatter - Rich Lowry - POLITICO Magazine: "Let’s be honest: Some black lives really don’t matter. If you are a young black man shot in the head by another young black man, almost certainly no one will know your name. Al Sharpton won’t come rushing to your family’s side with cameras in tow. MSNBC won’t discuss the significance of your death. No one will protest, or even riot, for you. You are a statistic, not a cause. Just another dead black kid in some city somewhere, politically useless to progressives and the media, therefore all but invisible."



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Friday, May 22, 2015

My GolfNow Complaint

GolfNow's customer service is horrible, but at least it represents the company accurately. I booked a tee time for the wrong date because of the way the golf course's website refreshes to a different date than the one I initially selected. I attempted to reschedule the tee time or get some sort of credit for a later date. The course had no problem with it, but referred me to GolfNow, as that particular tee time was booked through you.

Your people it seems, are trained to be as unhelpful as possible. They said there was nothing they could do, as it is GolfNow's policy not to refund missed tee times. The problem is I never could have made that tee time, I never intended to book that tee time, and I was never told the booking was non-refundable. Even the boilerplate terms of service on the Chehalem Glenn website do not say there is a no-refund or no-rescheduling policy. I don't care what GolfNow's internal policies are with regards to refunds. They aren't posted on the website where I booked, and I didn't agree to them.

What you are doing is dishonest. If you are booking totally nonrefundable, nontransferable tee times, it needs to say so explicitly before the tee time is booked. It does not. Springing these term after the fact on a phone call is bushleague and dishonest.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What Is Your Purpose? - NYTimes.com

What Is Your Purpose? - NYTimes.com: "Public debate is now undermoralized and overpoliticized. We have many shows where people argue about fiscal policy but not so many on how to find a vocation or how to measure the worth of your life. In fact, we now hash out our moral disagreement indirectly, under the pretense that we’re talking about politics, which is why arguments about things like tax policy come to resemble holy wars."



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I'm not sure whether the arguments are getting more intense. I do think that we are fighting our our moral philosophies under the guise of public policy.

Monday, May 4, 2015

PunditFact: A Case Study In Fact-Free Hackery

PunditFact: A Case Study In Fact-Free Hackery: "The problem here is not one of facts or accuracy, but ideology. Jacobson simply doesn’t like the implications of the fact that the Clinton Foundation spent less than 10 percent of its budgets on charitable grants in 2013. He doesn’t like the fact that the two single largest “charitable” initiatives of the Clinton Foundation — by its own admission — are the Clinton Presidential Library, which exists solely to put a positive spin on the 42nd president’s term in office, and the Clinton Global Initiative, which the New York Times characterized as a “glitzy annual gathering of chief executives, heads of state, and celebrities.” If hanging out with celebrities at glitzy dinners is the height of charity, then it’s time to beatify the Kardashian sisters."



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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Mirth Day «

Happy Mirth Day «: "On this Earth Day I share with you one of my favorite illustrations of the mirthiness that an uncritical and political assessment of environmental economic conditions has become. It’s from a few years ago but it ages well. Here the Mackinac Center finds, by simply adding up all of the subsidies that GM gets directly for producing the Volt and for he subsidies that its suppliers get, and so on. The numbers indicated that each Volt sold (I suppose with economies of scale this would fall) came equipped with a quarter million dollar of benefits from the taxpayers. Nice!"



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Monday, April 20, 2015

Instapundit

Instapundit: "Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is holding long-awaited oral arguments to decide whether the secret prosecutions should be halted under Wisconsin law.  The arguments are not open to the public, to protect the identities of the targets.  Frankly, it’s shocking that it’s taken over 5 years to get a hearing from the Wisconsin Supreme Court–5 years of abuse of free speech and association rights is too much."



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With this prosecution and the lawsuit by Abraham, Wisconsin's "justice" system has become a laughing stock.