By John Daniel Davidson • The Federalist
Something is wrong with the American Left. The recent spate of violent protests on college campuses has been well-documented, but the violence and intolerance championed by left-wing student activists is beginning to creep off campus and into mainstream public life.
The reason for this is straightforward enough: although progressives pride themselves on their putative tolerance and diversity, the imperatives of leftist politics are fundamentally illiberal. Justice imposed through power is the philosophical foundation of the political left, and when earnest progressives become convinced the only avenue to power is violence, their tolerance quickly falls by the wayside. Consider a few recent events, none of which involved college protesters but all of which were marked by threats of violence.
Ahead of a town hall meeting this week in Virginia’s fifth congressional district, Republican Rep. Tom Garrett received a series of disturbing threats—not just against him but also his wife and family, even his dog. One message said bluntly, “This is how we’re going to kill your wife.” Continue reading
By Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, has announced that it will exit all Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2018 after experiencing massive losses in 2016 and 2017.
Aetna announced in August of last year that it would scale back its participation in the Obamacare exchanges in 2017—from operating in 778 counties to 242—citing losses of more than $430 million since January 2014. At that time, the company said it would still operate in four states: Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska, and Virginia.
Earlier this month, the company said it would exit the exchanges in both Iowa and Virginia, saying the insurer has continued to face profitability headwinds from individual commercial products. The company even went so far as to set aside a fund to buffer it from projected losses. Continue reading
By Erielle Davidson • The Federalist
Harvard Business School recently released a working paper titled “Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit,” discussing the effects of minimum wage policies on companies’ survival. For those with any shred of economic understanding, the results were predictably dismal.
The paper focused specifically upon the restaurant industry in San Francisco, using data from the review platform Yelp to track the activity and performance of individual restaurants. Researchers Dara Lee Luca and Michael Luca discovered that a $1 increase in the minimum wage leads to approximately a 4 to 10 percent increase in the likelihood of any given restaurant exiting the industry entirely. In economic terms, minimum wage hikes quicken a restaurant’s “shutdown” point. Continue reading
By David Harsanyi • The Federalist
Hillary Clinton was back yesterday, taking “absolute personal responsibility” by blaming Russia, James Comey, and misogyny for her second presidential election loss. If the election had taken place on October 27, Clinton maintained, she’d be president. Perhaps if we all lived in a vacuum where the electorate ignored everything the Democratic Party’s flawed nominee had said and done (and tried to hide), she may well be in the White House — although even that’s debatable.
Clinton’s counterfactual tale about the infamous “Comey letter” has been a security blanket for many Democrats. But, as luck would have it, the FBI director was testifying in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee today, and he reminded us of some factors that Clinton ignored. That’s because even if we concede that Comey’s letter to Congress helped sink Clinton, Hillary deserved that letter, and the FBI director had no choice but to send it. Continue reading
By Glenn Reynolds • USAToday
The former governor showed himself to be a constitutional illiterate on Twitter.
I tell my constitutional law students that there are a couple of statements that indicate that a speaker is a constitutional illiterate who can safely be ignored. One is the claim that the Constitution views black people as ⅗ the worth of white people (actually, it was all about power in Congress, with slaveowners wanting black people to count 100% toward apportionment so that slaveowners would get more seats in Congress, and abolitionists wanting them not counted at all so that slaveowners would get fewer seats in Congress; the ⅗ compromise was just that, a compromise).
The other hallmark of constitutional illiteracy is the claim that the First Amendment doesn’t protect “hate speech.” And by making that claim last week, Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate, revealed himself to be a constitutional illiterate. Then, predictably, he doubled down on his ignorance. Continue reading
By Julie Kelly • National Review
In his testimony to the House Science Committee on Wednesday, Michael Mann, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, told the story of Trofim Lysenko, a plant scientist who worked for Stalinist Russia:
Lysenko was a Russian agronomist and it became Leninist doctrine to impose his views about heredity, which were crackpot theories, completely at odds with the world’s scientists. Under Stalin, scientists were being jailed if they disagreed with his theories about agriculture. And Russian agriculture actually suffered, scientists were jailed, many died in their jail cells and potentially millions of people suffered from the disastrous agriculture policies that followed from that.
The gist of Mann’s anecdote was that scientists who challenge the ruling government’s diktat on any given scientific issue are demonized and punished while innocent bystanders suffer. In the here and now, this would seemingly apply to the minority of scientists brave enough to question the reigning dogma of climate science. After all, these are the folks who have been threatened by top law-enforcement officials, personally and professionally attacked by their peers, and even driven out of their academic positions due to the harassment. Continue reading
By Peter Roff • USNews
It’s not clear when the Senate started playing politics with Supreme Court nominations. Some say it’s been that way all along, going back at least as far as the time of Chief Justice John Marshall and Marbury vs. Madison.
Others say the confirmation process only became truly venomous after President Ronald Reagan selected federal judge Robert Bork, a former U.S. solicitor general, to fill a seat that would shift the high court’s delicate balance of power in a rightward direction.
Bork was ultimately defeated, not because he was unqualified for the post – according to the standards in place before he was nominated he could only be described as supremely qualified – but because Senate Democrats feared how he would rule. Continue reading
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The University of Arizona is encouraging college students to cry “ouch!” when they hear something offensive, make artwork about race relations, have story time, play four corners, and take a “time out” if they feel uncomfortable.
A new guide for faculty on “Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom” offers tips for “inclusiveness” and how to establish a “safe space” in the classroom. The guidelines are voluntary for faculty and were first reported by the College Fix.
The guidelines offer “Strategies for Engaging Students,” which include the “One Diva, One Mic” rule and allowing 20-year-olds to yell “ouch” and “oops” in class. Continue reading
by David French • National Review
I’m supposed to be encouraged, but I’m not.
In the aftermath of this month’s violent attack on Charles Murray and a Middlebury professor, I’m supposed to be encouraged, as a supporter of free speech and academic freedom in higher education, that pundits, professors, and writers from across the political spectrum have united to condemn mob censorship. I’m supposed to be encouraged that even stalwart men of the left such as New York Times columnists Frank Bruni and Nicholas Kristof are waking up to the modern American academy’s serious intellectual-diversity problem. And I’m supposed to be encouraged that Middlebury’s president and dozens of Middlebury professors have united to express their support for free speech.
But I’m not.
I’m certainly grateful for the near-unanimous condemnation of the protesters and rioters at Middlebury (and also at Berkeley, where the so-called “black bloc” shut down Milo Yiannopoulos’s planned speech, started fires, vandalized shops, and beat Trump supporters in the streets), but I’m not encouraged, and I don’t think other free-speech advocates should be either. Continue reading
by Julie Kelly • National Review
Climate-change alarmists who have been largely unchallenged by the media over the past decade have finally met their match in Fox News host Tucker Carlson. And it ain’t pretty.
Since the premiere of his new nighttime show, Carlson has frequently confronted the dogma of man-made global warming, pushing “experts” to cite data and evidence to back up their claims rather than allowing them to repeat well-worn platitudes about a scientific consensus and the planet’s impending doom. In January, Tucker took on California State University professor Joseph Palermo, who wrote, “If President Trump and his cohort believe the science of global warming is bogus, then they shouldn’t be allowed to use the science of the Internet for their Twitter accounts” based on the commonly accepted factoid that “98 percent of all scientists” believe the climate is changing because of human activity. When Carlson repeatedly asked Palermo to give the source of that figure, which Carlson correctly said was unknowable, the professor couldn’t do it. Climate fail. Continue reading
by Mary Katharine Ham • The Federalist
I try to make it a habit not to hate too much on the rebuttal to any president’s joint session or State of the Union address. It’s a nearly impossible task to come on right after the pomp and circumstance of the full chamber and tepidly voice the opposition’s concerns. Quirks as varied as a wandering eyebrow, a sing-song voice, or a (gasp!) sip of water have been the downfall of many a good politician in this unenviable position.
Perhaps that’s the reason the Democratic Party couldn’t manage to find anyone more promising than a septuagenarian former governor of Kentucky to take on the task. Luckily, in keeping with my habit, I need not even venture into the substance of former Gov. Steve Beshear’s speech to diagnose the problems with the Democratic Party. I need only examine the selection of Beshear.
Beshear giving the speech is in itself an admission of failure. You know who’s not giving the speech? The young, promising, telegenic former Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who was the presumptive heir to Beshear’s office until he was defeated by double digits by Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin. Continue reading
by Ben Domenech • The Federalist
Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live aired a Kellyanne Conway sketch that turned out to be very controversial, even for journalists who are generally very anti-Trump in their signaling. The depiction of Conway as a Fatal Attraction sex fiend obsessed with the limelight and furious at being closed off from CNN isn’t funny, it’s just disturbing – even if you don’t know her or her family. But the real indication here is in how quickly SNL moved from a depiction of Conway that was considered empathetic and showed a harried family woman who couldn’t escape the crazy demands of working for Donald Trump to a crazed lunatic obsessed with getting in front of a camera. It’s a total inversion of their earlier sketches, and it shows what happens when partisanship totally skews the perspective comedians have on the characters they’re mocking.
The saddest part about this moment is how revealing it is of the illiberalism of some pockets of American society. Continue reading
by W. James Antle III • Washington Examiner
If you thought Super Bowl week would provide a much-needed respite from our polarized national political climate, think again.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have been getting the third degree on whether they support President Trump.
Not only have the two leading NFL figures been peppered with questions about Trump at their media availabilities, but editorialists and opinion writers have been demanding to know: Are you now or have you ever been a passenger of the Trump train?
Brady in particular has found questions about Trump as persistent and difficult to dodge as the New York Giants pass rush circa 2007. Continue reading