The Limit of Biden’s Moderation

In the scheme of Democratic nominees, Joe Biden’s the savior of moderation, the old white “reasonable” guy. And compared to some of the more outlandish proposals to reinvent America, that’s generally true. But what about the Joe Biden who was tasked by the Obama Administration with propounding a cheap and easy lie that thrilled the woke and, more importantly, cost nothing from the public fisk? As Emily Yoffe thoroughly documents, Biden wasn’t quite so moderate then.

Though his reputation rests on his moderation, Biden’s approach to campus sexual assault is part of a pattern: He identifies an actual problem, engages in inflammatory—and sometimes false—rhetoric about it, then fashions a harsh, overreaching response that sweeps up the harmless and even the innocent.

Biden was a leading drug warrior, calling for ever-more, ever-harsher, crimes and consequences. He’s since somewhat repudiated his earlier positions, and to be fair, pretty much everyone, black, white and especially blue, held the same views, that drugs were a blight on society and had to be eradicated at all costs. And cost they did, both to fight the war and in the consequences for human beings, many of whom remain imprisoned for life plus cancer in the Rockefellian fantasy that just one more Draconian decade in prison will make drugs go away. Continue reading

The Daily Northwestern, Where Journalism Committed Suicide

The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University was supposed to be pretty good. One of the best, some say. Maybe it was once, but not today.

On Nov. 5, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke on campus at a Northwestern University College Republicans event. The Daily sent a reporter to cover that talk and another to cover the students protesting his invitation to campus, along with a photographer. We recognize that we contributed to the harm students experienced, and we wanted to apologize for and address the mistakes that we made that night — along with how we plan to move forward.

This was from The Daily Northwestern, “Northwestern and Evanston’s only daily news source since 1881.” The children-editors, all of whom signed on to this apology, got down to the nitty-gritty of how they “failed” the students. Continue reading

What Will Warren “Own”?

The subject line of the fundraising letter was clear:

I am angry and I own it,

It’s hard to recall when the phrase, “own it,” became popular. The Real Housewives of Wherever use it all the time, but then, it’s usually used as a threat, “own it” or else. Apparently, it was meant to be more positive.

The other day over lunch, our conversation turned to the importance of the idiom “own it.” We realized that owning it — honoring ourselves and acknowledging our unique tendencies, talents, skills, desires, fears, and neuroses — succinctly sums up how we can all go about living in a way that is full and filled with integrity — in all facets of our lives.

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Remembering The Worst of Bloomberg: Stop & Frisk

Whether billionaire Mike Bloomberg is bored or just sees his moment, it’s unclear that he’s doing anything more than floating a trial balloon to see if he can slide into the Democratic mix as the Great White Hope, the reasonable man for the middle who isn’t out to reinvent the Great Society and isn’t a vulgar, amoral ignoramus whose only motivations are self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment.

But then, Bloomberg’s tenure as Mayor of New York was not without its well-founded controversy, the worst of which was “stop & frisk.” Like any well-named program, it linked to a completely lawful and proper concept, as Terry v. Ohio expressly permitted “stop and frisk” (note that I don’t use the ampersand to distinguish between the two), but the program instituted bore no greater connection to lawful stop and frisk than a name.

Under the law, a police officer with reasonable, articulable suspicion could briefly stop an individual to ask questions. If the officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the person posed a threat of harm, either as the cause for the initial stop or in addition to it, the cop could frisk the person for a weapon. Continue reading

The Churro Test

I love churros. Not as much as donuts, but still. There’s even a chance I might buy one from a woman in the subway, although I do not, in general, believe it’s wise to buy food in the subway, especially sushi, but I digress. Some people, however, try to make some money by selling such delectables. They go about with a cart, hawking their wares, as a way to earn a living, feed their children, survive.

The problem is that it’s against the law to do so if you lack a license from the City of New York. You can’t do it on the street without a license. You doubly can’t do it in the subway without a license. The rationale includes public health and safety, although the fact that licenses generate revenue and protect the revenues of people who rent space in the subway to churro-women poaching their turf.

Should there be such regulation? Should this regulation be enforced by the police through the legal system? Those are questions for philosophers, as there are such regulations* and they provide for criminal enforcement. Apparently, Sophia B. Newman didn’t know this, and thought this was a fair issue for debate with police in the subway. Continue reading

When 33 Writers Have No Quo In Their Quid

Since I write occasionally, a plea by 33 writers to the New York Times to stop using the phrase “quid pro quo” in reference to the conduct underlying the Trump impeachment proceedings was curious. Sure, it was Latin, so maybe they were just a bunch of American English jingoists, or perhaps concerned about cultural appropriation. As it turned out, that wasn’t at all their concern.

A plea from 33 writers: Please use language that will clarify the issues at hand.

Please stop using the Latin phrase “quid pro quo” regarding the impeachment inquiry. Most people don’t understand what it means, and in any case it doesn’t refer only to a crime. Asking for a favor is not a criminal act; we frequently demand things from foreign countries before giving them aid, like asking them to improve their human rights record.

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Lawyer To The Millennials

There has probably been no worse development for lawyers than internet legal directories. While they allow people to find lawyers, they provide no useful means of differentiating between lawyers. The problems have been described here in detail over the years, when there was a rush of new “legal space” start-ups trying to milk a bit of the legal budget out of the middle by connecting some random lawyer, willing to pay a monthly fee, or willing to split their fee, to pretend they were a good lawyer.

Every lawyer on the internet claims to be tough, experienced and caring. The clients of some lawyers might dispute that characterization, but when the basis for choosing a lawyer is whatever crap they write online, it’s hard to tell in advance.

Naturally, that means there should be a new push for doing the same old failed thing, and Bob Ambrogi is on top of it. Continue reading

No Country For Billionaires

It occurred to me not long ago that every time my family has gone out to eat with my brother-in-law’s family, I pay the tab. There are three ways to look at this phenomenon. The first is that I have substantially more wealth than he does, so I can better afford it. The second is that I choose to do so, so it’s my pleasure to pick up the bill.

The third is that he’s cheap and never reaches for the check, even though we all ate a meal together and his share of the bill is invariably greater than mine as he tends to imbibe in significantly greater quantities when it’s us, since he knows he won’t be the one paying for it. On his own, it’s burgers. With me, it’s filet or lobster.

I don’t expect anyone to feel badly for me. But do I owe him a free meal? It’s not that I can’t afford it. I can. Without breaking a sweat, I can provide him and his family with a delightful meal at a restaurant he would never go to otherwise. In my mind, it’s my pleasure to do so, though it would be nice if he tried, just once before I died, to pick up a tab. I wouldn’t let him, but it would be nice not to feel as if I’m just a meal ticket. Continue reading

Seaton: When Elmo Goes Woke

Prefatory note: I was handed the following text from an intern at Children’s Workshop. The bastards finally did it. They got to Sesame Street.

(notify Standards and Practices of lyric change)

La la, la la, la la, la la, Elmo’s world.
La la, la la, la la, la la, Elmo’s world.

Elmo loves his trans friends, and cis friends too,

That’s Elmo’s world! Continue reading

The Evolved Live In Cities

It was a curious point, that the cost of providing basic services to people in rural America was far greater than for those living in cities. After all, wire up one tenement on 207th and Dyckman and you’ve got 100 people covered. But a ranch in Wyoming could required 20 miles of electrical cable to provide light to five people.

The point was why should the city folk subsidize the rural folk by paying exorbitant amounts of money to string lines to their million acre ranches? If they want electricity, let them move to the city like all decent people. It’s not a crazy consideration, and it’s why government provided incentives to compel private enterprise to provide universal electricity (or, to be more modern about it, internet access). Good business would mean wire up the city. There’s little money to be made from running 20 miles of fiber to the Double D Ranch.

So why aren’t rural Americans rushing to live in the city? Kristin Shapiro* listened to NPR so you don’t have to. Continue reading