In just one article in OpinionJournal, Pete Du Pont has managed to debunk false claims about owl and lynx habitats, visitors to national parks, fuel consumption, worldwide famine, mineral resources, global warming, and population explosion. I'm tired from just reading the thing!
The Wall Street Journal continues to slam campaign finance reform. Which leads me to another of my not-entirely-disconnected remarks: I think that whenever a law is declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the sponsors of the bill in Congress should be barred from holding any government office in the future. After all, they did break their oaths to uphold the Constitution.
Preferences for poor students in college admissions is a good idea. Kids from poor areas don't have access to the same educational opportunities as rich kids, through absolutely no fault of their own. You can't take four AP classes a year if your school doesn't offer AP classes.
But this bill under consideration in Maryland isn't about college admissions. It's about business contracting. The state of Maryland wants to give preference to the most inefficient workers - the ones that don't get promoted or can't keep a job. It sounds suspiciously like the "Equalization of Opportunity Bill" in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. How many new and creative ways can we find to destroy the economy?
Schools are fundamentally prisons, and students have no rights. How can a group of such intelligent people be so carelessly wrong? Summaries of the school drug testing case argued at the Supreme Court yesterday are available from Linda Greenhouse at the NYT and Dahlia Lithwick at Slate.
Cathy Young has an excellent article today in Reason about cochlear implants and deaf culture. I saw that PBS documentary several months ago, and I felt so sorry for that little girl Heather. She was so intelligent and she wanted the implant so badly, and her mother manipulated her into "choosing" not to get one. It broke my heart. But Young correctly outlines the difficult issue - the rights of parents to raise their children according to their beliefs versus the rights of children to the objectively best care possible. No easy answers.
Not only is this an unconstitutional search, it's an incredibly stupid policy. In sports, drug tests make a certain amount of sense - steroids and HGH can boost an athlete's performance, making the contest unfair. But there are no illegal drugs (as far as I know) that can make you a better singer or debate team member.
Secondly, students who voluntarily participate in academically-oriented activities are probably the students least likely to be taking drugs. If your goal is to stamp out drug use among high school students, the debate team is not the best place to start.
Additionally, getting involved in school activities is one of the best ways to get out of the drug scene. If you're spending your evenings practicing your choir solo, you're not out getting high.
So here we have a program that illegally searches students without cause, focuses on the students least likely to be doing something illegal, and discourages students who take drugs from getting involved in more productive activities. But I suppose it could be worse. You could be on the debate team and have asthma.
Jack O'Toole's idea of tying blogs to more traditional media websites would probably work. But those lucky people who get paid to blog would be thought of as "corporate bloggers" - sellouts, like Slate at Microsoft. You can only trust the independent media, you know.
On the one hand, it's efficient for people to work in the fields where they have experience and connections that help them get ahead. But on the other hand, the creation of a "political class" that has a much easier time getting elected than the rest of us puts the politicians out of touch with the rest of us. Electing Sr. followed by Jr. followed by Mrs. followed by III is little better than just declaring the first one President for Life.
Welcome to all of you linking in from InstaPundit! Those of you interested in my political career will be pleased to hear that I have also ruled out any political aspirations for the states of Alaska and Minnesota, though I am still considering a run for Non-Voting Congressional Delegate From Puerto Rico.
I'd like to announce that I, Eve Kayden, will also not run for Senate in Tennessee this year. Though it would be a privilege to serve the people of the great state of Tennessee, I believe that my efforts would best be spent in other pursuits. Please publish this statement in a wide variety of local and national news outlets, as I am sure that the people of Tennessee as well as those of the United States of America cannot live a moment longer without knowing that there is no chance I will be representing Tennessee in the Senate in the near future. Thank you very much.
Tipper Gore might run for Senate from Tennessee. I don't like this "political-family" oligarchical trend. Two Bush Presidents and one Governor, a Clinton President and Senator, and now the Gores moving in as well. But perhaps this only seems new to me because I am young. I know it's much easier to gain influence quickly if you have family connections in the field you're trying to move into. Well-known names create too much of a media stir. That's how W. Bush became the leading Republican candidate in the primaries two years ago. Nobody takes any notice if Joe Six-Pack decides to run for President, but the media starts running in circles if the equally inexperienced son of a political dynasty talks about running. I think the media should ignore people until they actually decide to run for office.
Doctors are refusing Medicare patients, reports the New York Times. And no wonder, since they lose money every time they see a patient on Medicare. They seem really heartbroken about it, too. The doctors want to help people - that's why they became doctors. And yet, helping people on Medicare and Medicaid would render the doctors incapable of helping anyone else, for lack of money to keep an office open.
Glenn Reynolds writes today about patriotism and preference-hiding. It seems that when people are unafraid to say what they believe, society and politics represent the will of the majority more closely. Who would have thought it?
You can actually watch this working on college campuses. Almost every conservative and libertarian on a campus thinks that he or she is the only one. But a few well-placed statements in campus newspapers shock all of them into noticing that they're actually a significant minority.
I think identity politics is related to the wider culture's obsession with specialization. Everyone is supposed to have their own miniscule area of expertise. You can't do most things for yourself any more - you have to hire a plumber, a painter, a gardener, a psychologist, a day care expert, and a hair stylist. People are discouraged from learning things outside their own profession. I think we need more generalists - people who are capable of understanding and doing a wide variety of things.
I'm inventing a new phrase - realistically correct. It's in opposition with politically correct, but it's not equivalent to politically incorrect. A realistically correct statement is one which takes context and reality into account and displays a well-reasoned opinion. Example: In today's Opinon Journal, Ralph Peters gives a realistically correct view of combat casualties in Afghanistan.
A scary study on curricula in Islamic schools in America shows that many Muslim children are learning hatred and violence right here in the U.S. But as scary and sad as this is, do we really want the government telling private schools what they can and can't teach?
I'd also like to see some statistics showing what percent of American Muslims attend Islamic schools instead of public or secular private schools, and whether this kind of instruction is also offered in religious weekend schools which aren't accredited to begin with.