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Walmart Edits the Times


Last week the New York Times published Timothy Egan’s attack on Walmart, the “corporate monolith” that, he charges, “is a net drain on taxpayers, [and is] forcing employees into public assistance with its poverty-wage structure.” Rather than pen an op-ed for the Grey Lady in response, Vice President of Walmart Corporate Communications David Tovar uncapped his red pen and had some fun. The editorial staff at the Times might take note. 

Scarborough Says NYT’s Burying of IRS Story Is a ‘Scam’


MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough expressed his outrage Tuesday morning that the New York Times buried a story on the recent investigation into the lost IRS e-mails. “This really is a scam,” he said. 

“It is impossible that the Washington Post and the New York Times are not putting on the front page of their newspapers the fact that an internal investigation has been launched by the IRS on the most shady behavior,” Scarborough said. “This is garbage.”

He then decried what he called a “double standard” in the media. “This is why conservatives don’t trust national newspapers,” he said. “It’s not the news that they run . . . it’s the stories they don’t run,” Scarborough continued, noting “the acts of omission when Democrats are in power.”


Greatest Humble Brag Ever


John Kerry insisted that Andrea Mitchell get on his plane before him. Ladies first, and all that. Mitchell was embarrassed. So embarrassed, in fact, that she felt she had to tweet a picture of it. 



Web Briefing: July 11, 2014

British Medical Association Moves to Ban Smoking


One of the well-documented problems with socialized medicine is that its establishment inevitably expands the number of areas into which the state can legitimately begin to interfere with your life. Big whisky drinker? In a free market, that doesn’t matter. Good for you. But when others are picking up the tab, they are afforded some right to ask if you would consider consuming less. The same goes for sugary drinks, dangerous sports, and . . . well, pretty much anything you can imagine. As I discovered in Britain, in countries with single-payer regimes, eventually almost any activity will be reduced to the sum of its medical externalities. No, we don’t mind in theory if you want to smoke cigars. But now we’re all paying for it, we’d rather you didn’t.

The news that the British Medical Association (which plays roughly the same role within Britain’s National Health Service as do the teachers unions in America’s education system) is looking to quite literally ban smoking should thus come as no surprise to anybody paying attention. Per the BBC:

Smoking should be banned for anyone born in the UK in the 21st Century, doctors say.

Delegates at the British Medical Association (BMA) annual conference voted in favour of a motion to prohibit smoking to anyone born after 2000.

The BMA is now expected to start lobbying government to agree to the move.

Doctors argued tough action was needed because most smokers became hooked at a young age.

Public health doctor Dr Tim Crocker-Buque said it was essential to protect the young as 80% of smokers took up the habit when they were teenagers and “almost all” had taken up the habit by the time they were in their early 20s.

Note the brutality of this proposal: The BMA doesn’t just wish to violate Britons’ individual liberty; it wishes to create a caste system in the process. Equal protection of the laws, be damned. We have an outcome to reach. 

Perhaps the worst part of this instinct is how capriciously it is applied in practice. Ultimately, socialized medicine permits those who are in charge of the state to export their mores to the nation at large. What the ruling class likes, it will subsidize; what it does not like, it will prohibit. The Left, for example, will not permit any restrictions whatsoever on sexual behavior — however expensive might be the consequences. Thus is everybody expected to pay the costs of those who behave irresponsibly. But those activities it disdains — smoking, for example? Sorry, but they’re too costly to allow. In this manner is the link between liberty and responsibility broken, and are individual choices reduced to the decisions of a few smug “health experts.”

You can’t socialize medicine without socializing people. Watch out, America. That ship is sailing here.


Lowry: Obama Administration’s Policy Is ‘Retreat and Passivity’


Issa to IRS Commissioner: ‘You Have a Problem Maintaining Credibility’


Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) thinks that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has lost Issa’s trust. “We have a problem with you, and you have a problem maintaining credibility,” he said at the IRS Targeting Investigation Thursday night. 

Issa explained that the commissioner will say he has produced thousands of documents which will be an “impressive number,” but that it will not include the documents that “embarrass” him. “You promised to produce the documents; you did not,” he said. “You promised to be candid and forthcoming; you were not.”

In a previous hearing, Jim Jordan (R., Oh.) had questioned Koskinen’s integrity, and Issa explained he defended the commissioner at the time, and even apologized to him for Jordan’s comments. “I wish I could take that [apology] back,” Issa said to Koskinen. “You believe you earned trust before you came here and it was yours to lose,” Issa continued. “I believe you needed to earn our trust and you failed at this task.”

He concluded, “the American people do not believe the IRS is dealing fairly with them in this investigation.”

An Unconstitutional Bill from Rand Paul?


I hope not, but alas Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) has announced that he plans this week to introduce federal legislation to reenfranchise some felons. Senator Paul’s reasons for this are avowedly political; in my view, it is nonetheless bad policy, but here is the larger point: Congress has no authority to pass such legislation, and if Senator Paul proposes it, I am sorry to say that he has shown himself to be someone who does not take the Constitution seriously.

The Constitution gives the states the authority to determine who can vote in elections, so long as they do so in a way that does not violate some other provision of the Constitution (for example, gender discrimination in voting). But there is no credible argument that disenfranchising felons violates the Constitution; indeed, the Constitution itself (in Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment) expressly contemplates the disenfranchisement of felons. My congressional testimony from a few years ago lays all this out; the Supreme Court confirmed this more recently in an opinion last year written by Justice Scalia that even the entire liberal wing of the Court joined.

Again, if Senator Paul takes the Constitution seriously, he will not introduce federal legislation that requires the reenfranchisement of felons. If he does introduce such a bill, then, with all due respect, voters must draw the appropriate conclusions about him and how seriously he takes his oath of office. I hope he reconsiders.

Tuesday links


Stretch limo made from three bodged-together Deloreans.

Advice from 1799: Take heede therefore ye smellers of Basil: apparently it’s been known to cause brain scorpions.

The Bug That Sucks Its Prey Dry and Wears Their Corpses. (insert politician joke here)

From Kurt Vonnegut in 1988, a letter to the Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088.

I wonder if this would keep the deer away from my plants: Scientists use dog sh*t to protect crops from hungry sheep.

Here are 20 pictures of bunnies sticking their tongues out.

ICYMI, Friday’s links are here, and include Star Wars: The Disney Musical, a dating site uses facial recognition to find matches that look like your ex, the mathematics of cake-cutting, and a rap battle between Isaac Newton (played by Weird Al Yankovic) and Bill Nye.



Gay activists at Northeastern Illinois University are demanding the school rename Lech Walesa Hall, following an interview last year in which the former president of Poland and hero of anticommunism belittled gay members of his country’s parliament. Matt Lamb has the story at The College Fix:

Gay-rights groups on campus responded by protesting the naming of the hall. According to multiple articles on CNN’s iReport citizen-journalism website by Mike Lackovich, a gay student at the school who organized a protest against the hall’s name two weeks ago, the administration has disregarded requests for a name change.

Lackovich claims that keeping Walesa’s name on the hall could potentially lead to an increase in suicides by gay students, and that honoring him is analogous to burning crosses or swastikas on campus. He chided the administration for continuing the “homophobia” and argued that President Sharon Hahs would be OK with a “Hitler Hall” on campus.

Smash It If You Can


On the homepage, we have an editorial about the decision of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to divest from Israel. We note that there are approximately 200 nations in the world, some of them very bad actors: dictatorships, terror states, and so on. But which one does the world single out, year after year? Which one is the object of the world’s unrelenting hostility? “Tiny, democratic Israel,” as the editorial says.

“Last year,” we point out, “the General Assembly adopted 25 resolutions against particular countries. Twenty-one of those resolutions were against Israel; the other four were against Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Burma. Not since the apartheid regime in South Africa has a country been so stigmatized by the world.” Naturally, Israel’s foes want it to be seen as an “apartheid state.”

The founder of our magazine, William F. Buckley Jr., once observed that every person has within him a tank of indignation. No one has unlimited indignation. On what do you spend your tank? How a person spends this tank can say a lot about him. The same is true of an organization (including a church).

Why do so many individuals and organizations spend their tank on Israel? There are various possible reasons. In Europe, it could be Holocaust guilt: “Yes, we killed them, but see how they lord it over the poor Arabs?” More generally, it could be the sense that Israel is a Western state, and has failed to meet Western standards in its struggle to survive.

Then there is the terrible question of anti-Semitism. Anti-Israel people always shriek that there’s a difference between opposition to Israel and opposition to Jews. There surely is. But the historian Paul Johnson is on to something when he says, “Scratch a person who is anti-Israel, and you won’t have to dig very far until you reach the anti-Semite within.”

Okay: What causes anti-Semitism? Well, that is the subject of a thousand books. A hundred thousand books. Not one of them answers the question satisfactorily — at least to my satisfaction. George Gilder’s Israel Test probably comes the closest (for me). But I don’t believe that envy alone can explain Jew-hatred. There are lots of successful people and peoples, and envied people and peoples. They are not hounded and killed and lied about the way the Jews are.

Anyway, I concluded long ago that trying to understand anti-Semitism was a fool’s errand. The only thing to do is counter it, and smash it if you can.

Krauthammer’s Take: Can Anyone Rely on U.S. Under Obama?


Since the U.S. cannot work with Iran, Iraq must choose between Iran and the U.S. for its ally, Charles Krauthammer said on a Fox News Special Report.

Iran’s objective is to support the Shi’ite government as a dictatorship, backing Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki even though he lost the election 92-238 in parliament. The U.S. objective, however, is to form a coalition including the Kurds and the Shi’ite, along with Shi’ite moderates, Krauthammer explained.

After providing support, Iran would then subdue and rule the Iraqis, possibly using Maliki as a puppet, he said. But the Kurds are willing to help the Iraqi central government, in which case the U.S. has promised to join them.

Yet President Obama’s lackluster foreign policy methods have greatly affected the situation, Krauthammer noted, asking, “Does anyone think they can rely on the United States under Obama?”

Re: Chelsea and Money


Jonah, another point on this general topic: In her “truly well off” comment, it seemed pretty clear that Hillary was contrasting herself with Mitt Romney. It was striking, then, that she said she and Bill have earned their wealth “through dint of hard work.” What she was implying is that investing in and turning around companies is some sort of valueless, rigged financial game, while getting enormous book advances and speaking fees based on your political celebrity is the definition of honest labor.

Fulminations ’r’ Us


Well, maybe I should speak for myself — but Mona is pretty vigorous in this podcast too. We began by talking about France: its glories and its inglories (so to speak). That leads to discussion of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has decided to divest from Israel. This is not just an annoying little piece of political correctness. It is dark.

Then there’s Lois Lerner and her crashed e-mails. Rose Mary Woods, President Nixon’s secretary, would envy the tameness of Lerner’s press. We talk about Hillary Clinton, who can go southern-fried. In her speech, I mean. I look forward to hearing more of this in the coming campaign. What will Harry Reid say about her “dialect”?

Anyway, there are many topics. Toward the end, we take up some musical topics. For instance, the Metropolitan Opera has decided not to broadcast The Death of Klinghoffer. I’m nervous about this decision, but I fulminate against the opera — not the opera itself, but the idea of the opera. (You’ll see.) I also fulminate against “Baby Got Back” at the Seattle Symphony. I like the rap, and I like the Seattle Symphony. But I dislike the mixing (the Sir Mix-a-Lotting).

Finally, Mona is studying Tchaikovsky’s Chanson triste, which she thinks is a sappy little piece of syrup. Even Homer nods, and even Mona misjudges: See (hear) what you think. Again, for the podcast at large, go here.

T.W. Shannon Hits James Lankford on Young Illegal Immigrant Influx


Tulsa, Okla. – President Obama designated Fort Sill, Okla., as one of the military installations that would house the surge of young illegal immigrants coming to the United States, and the decision could be a factor in the homestretch of another Republican primary, just two weeks after immigration helped sink House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, (R., Va.).

Former House Speaker T.W. Shannon has primarily faulted Representative James Lankford for voting to raise the debt-ceiling, but the recent spate of border crossings by minors has given him another weapon to use against his campaign to replace retiring Senator Tom Coburn.

“[Lankford] said that he supports a pathway to citizenship; he said it for juveniles,” Shannon told National Review Online after talking to patrons of Steak Stuffs, a local sandwich shop. “Well, when you compare the crisis that’s happening five miles from my house in Lawton at Fort Sill with the illegals that have come across our border and are now being housed there, I think part of the reason is is because we’ve sent a message from Washington D.C. is that we welcome illegal immigrants who are children when you talk about a  pathway to citizenship. So, I think that’s a distinction between us.”

For his part, Shannon supported a bill that made it a felony for someone to transport illegal immigrants in the state while knowing of their immigration status, according to Vote SmartThe bill also had provisions to discourage businesses from hiring illegal immigrants, among other things. Shannon made the comment after an appearance at the Broken Arrow Rotary Club, where a man took the opportunity to remind an aide to Representative Jim Bridenstine that he opposes amnesty.

“Immigration is definitely an issue [in Tulsa] because we’re sitting at the crossroads of I-35 and I-40,” Jenni White, an activist with ties among conservatives around the state due to her time leading the successful fight to repeal Common Core in the state, explained to NRO. “We have human trafficking here badly [and] drug smuggling and immigrants coming through all the time.”

Lankford criticized Obama when the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to send some of the young illegal immigrants to Fort Sill. “The recent, single-year influx of unaccompanied minors from foreign countries into the United States is a direct result of President Obama’s policies of encouraging amnesty and failing to enforce existing immigration laws,” the congressman said.

Shannon argues that Lankford’s willingness to consider citizenship for young people – ”I separate a 2-year-old who was brought over with a parent from a parent who violated the law,” Lankford said a year ago — also creates the problem.

“Particularly as this deal has heated up in Lawton, people are saying ‘how did we get here? Why has Washington D.C. failed us once again?’” he said. ”And it’s clear that because we have not secured our border, and because we have not reformed our welfare system in Washington D.C., it’s clear that we created an atmosphere that encourages this type of behavior from many governments that are encouraging their citizens to come into our country illegally.”

Although his immigration stance might endear him to the kinds of Tea Party voters who helped Dave Brat defeat Cantor, Shannon also emphasized that he has the support of several recent state Chamber of Commerce presidents because they understand that he was a “pro-business” House speaker.

“Most of us in Oklahoma were Tea Party long before it became cool, and will continue to be. And so, this idea that there are two Republican parties — I reject that notion,” Shannon said. “For me, as a conservative, I don’t think that that means being anti-business, which I think is usually what boils down when you talk about what has been created as kind of this rift between the conservative party, grassroots versus kind of business interests. I don’t accept that. I’ve never been comfortable with the title that you have to be one or the other.”

Brat struck a different note during his campaign. “Big business gets the cheap labor and the American people pay the tab,” he said of current immigration overhauls. The national Chamber of Commerce supports the immigration bill championed by Senator Lindsay Graham and others.

Shannon said there’s no tension between his pro-business views and opposition to amnesty. “Most businesspeople I know still respect the rule of law,” he told NRO. ”I think most people I know still believe that having a secure border is a national security issue. And so, I don’t buy into this idea that we have to somehow disregard the rule of law to keep business happy. That’s not what I hear from the business community.”

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , Oklahoma

Chelsea and Money


Hillary Clinton is struggling to convince people she’s in touch with people who’re financially struggling. Her daughter Chelsea isn’t helping. From the Daily News:

Hillary Clinton insists she isn’t “well-off” and now daughter Chelsea, according to a recent interview, claims she couldn’t care less about money.

“I was curious if I could care about (money) on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t,” she told Fast Company in an interview that ran in the magazine’s May edition, explaining why she gave up lucrative gigs to join her family’s philanthropic foundation.

Comparing her experience to the average millennial, the 34-year-old former first daughter defended jumping around to different careers — from consulting to a hedge fund to academia to journalism — before finding her true calling working with her parents.

“It is frustrating, because who wants to grow up and follow their parents? I’ve tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents … it’s a funny thing to realize I feel called to this work, both as a daughter and also as someone who believes I have contributions to make,” she continued about her reluctant status as a boomerang kid.

I’m perfectly willing to cut Chelsea some slack here. She clearly thinks she found her calling, and I’ll take her word for it that her work ethic is excellent. 

But she’s not a “boomerang kid.” She’s not living in her parents’ basement (in any of their homes). She’s living in a 10.5-million-dollar apartment in Gramercy Park with her ex-banker husband. In other words, she doesn’t care about money because she has all the money she could ever want or need. That’s not her fault, nor is it something people should begrudge her. She seems to be aiming for a more productive life than a lot of kids raised in unimaginable privilege and wealth. Good for her.

But it does cast a pretty harsh light on her mother’s repeated and awkward claims to be in touch with the needs of those who are economically struggling. Hillary Clinton isn’t worried about the problems facing parents of most Millennials. And that’s fine. It would be odd if the former first lady of the United States had such problems. What’s problematic is Hillary’s inability to own up to this obvious fact and talk about it in a sincere or convincing way.

We Can Be Pro-Growth and Pro-Family


Derrick Morgan of the Heritage Foundation makes four arguments against expanding the child tax credit.

Morgan says, first, that it risks unfairness to the childless. Morgan acknowledges, or at least does not contest, the point that entitlements as currently structured are implicit taxes on child-rearing. But he notes that the childless have to fork over money to educate other people’s children. This is true, but 1) the magnitudes are much smaller and 2) all of these people already benefited from an education they didn’t pay for.

Second, he thinks it is unlikely to boost birthrates. Maybe it won’t boost them. But we don’t have a strong evidentiary basis for thinking that getting rid of the marriage penalty will boost marriage rates, and we still favor doing that. (I hope.) If we believe that parents are overtaxed, we should offer them tax relief even if we don’t think it will change their behavior. His international examples also seem to be a little off point. The point of the credit would not be to induce parents to have more kids than they already want. To the extent it aims to raise birthrates at all, it’s by enabling parents to have kids they already want. In the U.S., desired family size is higher on average than actual family size.

Third, Morgan fears it would make conservatives look “a little dishonest” because we have generally argued against tax credits, deductions, and the like. Here again, though, the question has to be whether the argument for a larger child credit is right on the merits. If it is, then we just have to argue for it. Most conservatives don’t shy away from arguing for taxing capital gains at lower rates than ordinary income—something that looks to the untutored eye like a special break—and we are willing to make that argument because we think it is correct. I don’t think it would be hard to explain why tax relief for parents is different in principle than tax relief for a few solar-energy companies. And it did not prove impossible to make the case for an expanded child credit as part of a larger conservative view of government in 1994, when it was part of the Contract with America, or in 2000, when it was part of George W. Bush’s campaign platform.

Fourth and most important, Morgan argues that expanding the credit doesn’t increase economic growth, which ought to be a high priority. That’s a good reason for coupling an expansion of the child credit with, say, a move to full expensing of business investment. I take it that Senators Lee and Rubio are working on a proposal to that effect. Morgan suggests, though, that pro-growth and pro-family reforms of the tax code are in competition with each other. I disagree for a few reasons. The leading proposals to cut corporate tax rates have been designed to be revenue neutral. So it’s not as though the child credit expansion would take away revenues that would otherwise be devoted to business tax cuts. The child credit and business tax cuts are not competing for space in the budget. The child credit expansion would make the business tax reform more likely, not less, by making tax reform more popular.

Morgan claims that Bob Stein has “acknowledged” that a bigger child credit would mean higher taxes on investment and income and then adds that these higher taxes would depress growth for everyone. I think he’s simply misunderstanding Stein. His proposal would bring the top marginal tax rate down, not up, and leave average tax rates unchanged. It is true that in theory you could design a tax reform that left the child credit unchanged, or even shrank it, in order to get that top income tax rate down even further. But I don’t think the math of that trade-off would get the top rate down enough to make a real difference in economic growth, and I think you’d be much less likely to enact any such tax reform in the first place–which could keep the top rate from going down at all. And even if you did succeed, you’d be stuck with federal policy that overtaxes child-rearing.

Morgan has a different view of the tradeoffs. His argument about growth posits that an alternative tax reform would raise economic growth rates as much as one percent a year. On this point I’d like him to show his work. I have no idea what tax reform he has in mind, what evidence he has that it will lead to vastly higher economic growth, and why he thinks it would be easier to achieve without being tied to a popular pro-family tax reform. But I am always interested in hearing what he has to say.

When Technology Helps Consumers Challenge the Status Quo


Adapting to change is hard, especially when your family’s livelihood is on the line. That’s why, when companies face competition, their tendency is to reach out to the government to ask for protection and demand that competition be squashed using the regulatory and coercive power of the state. 

The best example is the fight between taxicabs and companies such as Uber and Lyft, two innovative up-and-coming alternatives to cabs. It’s been going on for months, but it culminated a few weeks ago in Virginia when the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease-and-desist letters to Uber Technologies and Lyft ordering them to stop operating.

Over at the Washington Post last week, Emily Bagger had a piece explaining what is really at stake for cab companies: cab medallions. As the piece explains “a medallion in Chicago fetched around $350,000. . . . In New York, taxi medallions have topped $1 million. In Boston, $700,000. In Philadelphia, $400,000. In Miami, $300,000.”

One way to think about medallions is that they are the reward for companies subjecting themselves to the insane and punishing licensing laws imposed by the government.

CHICAGO — A taxicab is a car remade by government, modified dozens of ways by edicts within subsections of articles of the city’s taxi code.

“Everywhere on this car has been regulated,” John Henry Assabill says. “Look at it!”

He throws up his arms in the direction of his gold-colored 2012 Ford Transit Connect. The car’s medallion number — 813 — is painted in black plain gothic figures (must be black plain gothic figures) on the driver’s-side hood, on both passenger doors and, for good measure, on the rear. Inside, there is a camera mounted over the rear-view mirror, a dispatch radio bolted to the console, a credit-card reader snapped to the passenger headrest.

From the back of Assabill’s seat hangs a sign — lamination required — spelling out the city’s fare structure: $3.25 for the base rate, $2 for the airport departure/arrival tax, $50 vomit cleanup fee. Everywhere, there are mandatory stickers. “That one costs a dollar,” Assabill says of a window decal reminding passengers to LOOK! before opening the door into the possible path of cyclists and pedestrians. “The fine for not having it is $100.”

Then there are the holes. Several have been drilled into the roof to mount the top light that distinguishes cabs from other cars at a distance. Another has been punched right into the hood, bolting down the palm-size metal plate — the “medallion” itself — that gives Assabill the right to operate this cab, one of 6,904 in Chicago.

The losers of this ban are low-income Americans looking to make a living. These ride-sharing companies allow anyone who has a car to become a businessman: Drivers can provide travel services directly to customers using apps.

And this is where Uber and similar companies come in: They are alternatives to traditional anti-competitive, highly regulated taxis. Taxi medallions, fare price-fixing, and other regulatory barriers to entry have all but drained the last competitive juices from the legacy taxi system. Without these limitations, Uber and Lyft are able to offer their customers better services at more reasonable prices. In addition, being new companies in a competitive market, they understand that they had better make sure their customers are satisfied so they will come back often. And this is a key point that seems lost in the current debate: Consumers are the ones at the core of the existence of Uber and Lyft. 

Unfortunately for consumers and low-income workers who were making a living from these new ventures, lawmakers are only too happy to get captured by incumbents in the cab industry. As I wrote in the Examiner on Friday:

Of course, politicians and regulators are the ones to blame. It is because lawmakers allow themselves to be captured by special interests who want to fence off competition that innovators and new comers have to ask for permission to give customers what they want. Without over-the-top economic regulation over rates, entry, and new technologies, incumbent cab drivers would have to compete for customers over the quality of the services they provide. And in fact, it is the decades of protection from competition that has left taxi companies complacent and largely unequipped to nimbly improve their businesses.

There is a reason consumers like companies such as Uber and Lyft. They provide them with the service they want at a price that suits them. I understand that after having been forced to comply with onerous licensing laws and fees, cabbies are invested in the current system. But I think that a better course of action going forward is to minimize barriers to entry and regulations; that is the way innovation occurs and consumers are better served. There is no stopping this new era of consumer-driven transportation companies. The State of Virginia may crush Uber this time around, but other companies will appear now that consumers have gotten a taste for freedom. 

As a matter of principle, conservatives should be against licensing laws. They hinder employment, especially for lower-income workers, and create artificial barriers to entry in order to protect incumbents against often very needed competition. AEI’s Michael Strain made that case in a book chapter called “Employment: Policies To Get Americans Working Again,” and then in piece in the Washington Post last week. As he explains, conservatives should strive to address long-term unemployment, which means making it easier to find work. Getting rid of occupational-licensing laws would really help, he argues.

Here is my Reason piece on the issue.

This Is HUGE


I got an e-mail from the Democratic Majority Pac, headlined “Jonah ⇰ THIS IS HUGE:”


The poll show what we’ve known all along – people are sick and tired of the Tea Party and their constant obstruction.

Americans want a Democratic majority because they know that Democrats will deliver the results that will help move our nation forward.

But Democrats can’t win without stopping the Tea Party.

And Democrats can’t stop the Tea Party if we don’t have every single one of you stepping up and supporting our efforts before the FEC deadline on Monday.

Can you contribute before it’s too late?

Let’s do this,

Democrats United 2014


There are lots of links in this e-mail. But there’s one link missing. The first sentence says “The poll show” [sic]. But there’s no actual poll in the email. You’d think that if the polls or a poll showed such a thing, they’d include it. 

Report: Entire Class of Girls in Sweden Found to Have Undergone Genital Mutilation


From Sweden, a gruesome report:

Some 60 cases of genital mutilation have been discovered in Norrköping in eastern Sweden since March with all 30 girls in one school class found to have undergone the procedure. 

Of the 30, some 28 of the girls were found to have been subjected to the most severe form of genital mutilation, when the clitoris and labia are completely cut away and the genital area sewn together except for a small opening.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been illegal in Sweden since 1982, and in 1999 the country made it a crime to have the procedure performed abroad. Yet this discovery by local school health services suggests that the latter practice at least remains a not-uncommon occurrence. Officials believe that the young girls’ parents, many of whom are immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa, are subjecting their daughters to the practice during visits to their home countries over summer vacations.

According to the World Health Organization, there are no benefits to FGM, and the myriad consequences are both physical and psychological—and long-lasting: Most victims of FGM are between the ages of four and 14, though infants, too, are often “cut.”

Truly a “war on women,” if there ever was one.

FIFA Will Investigate Offensive Chant by Mexican Fans


FIFA has opened an investigation into the use of a chant by Mexican soccer fans that is apparently derogatory towards gay people.

During their country’s matches in the World Cup, fans have been chanting the word “Puto” at opposing players, a word that has multiple meanings including “male prostitute” and “homosexual.” During Mexico’s game against Brazil last Monday, fans shouted the term every time Brazil’s goalkeeper took a goal kick.

Mexico is now facing possible sanctions for “improper conduct of spectators.” FIFA has a “zero-tolerance stance on any form of discrimination, including on account of sexual orientation,” a spokesperson of the organization said Friday.

Conapred, Mexico’s anti-discrimination agency, said that the chant poorly represents the country. ”The cry of ’puto’ is an expression of disdain and rejection,” the agency said. “The way in which this collective yell is given in stadiums isn’t innocent; it reflects the homophobia, machismo and misogyny that our society still suffers.”

Many fans, players, and coaches, however, insist that the chant is harmless. “We’re with our fans,” the team’s manager Miguel Herrera told the Associated Press. ”It’s something they do to pressure the opposing goalkeeper.”

Some say that the slur is not necessarily homophobic, as it is used in many different ways. The word “has the meaning that one wishes to give it,” news anchor Joaquin López-Dóriga wrote in a column on Friday, according to the Wall Street Journal

The director of national teams at the Mexican Football Federation, Héctor González Iñárritu, said that though the country could be fined, the chanting is not something that FIFA can control. ”This is something that has been in the [Mexican] League for a long time,” he said, “and we can’t stop the fans from expressing themselves.”

ESPN says it will do its best to prevent the chant from being audible on-air during Mexico’s game against Croatia this Monday afternoon. 



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