Join Jim and Greg as they marvel at some Democrats conveniently worrying about our massive debt just one day after passing a bloated COVID relief bill totaling $1.9 trillion and eyeing an even more expensive bill in a couple of months. They also discuss the sixth allegation of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and when state Democrats will move from muttering things about resignation to an actual impeachment effort. And they discuss the mess at the southern border thanks to Biden’s deportation moratorium and stated plans of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

‘Systemic Racism’ a Red Herring in Evictions

 

Last month, I testified before the New York State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights on the vexed question of “Discrimination in Eviction Policies and Enforcement.” Several months before my testimony, the commission issued a report concluding that the United States “is in the middle of an eviction crisis, one in which persons of color are disproportionately impacted and suffer unequal treatment.” The study further held that the racial disparities in eviction that existed pre-COVID have been magnified since the pandemic struck—such that the eviction crisis has an important civil rights dimension.

The economic impact of the pandemic has been exceptionally devastating in New York, in part because of the severe limitations that Governor Andrew Cuomo placed on economic activities under his broad emergency powers. These restrictions directly hamper the ability of tenants to earn money and pay rent, thereby affecting the earnings of landlords, many of whom are part-time. The question then arises as to what kinds of remedial activities should be taken in both the short and long term.

To the New York State Advisory Committee, as well as many other commentators, the solution is a moratorium on tenant evictions. The committee believes the current moratorium should be kept in place, perhaps for as long as it takes for the economy to return to normal. This assessment is supported by the common assertion that the disparate impact of evictions on black and other minority populations is evidence of an entrenched form of “structural racism” that requires corrective measures. The disparate impact of the pandemic cannot be denied. But in my view, any claim of structural racism (or worse) cannot be sustained.

Nutmeg Neanderthals: Connecticut Reopens

 

When Gov. Greg Abbott ended Texas’s Covid mask mandate and capacity limits, President Joe Biden called him a “neanderthal” and progressives wished death on Texans. Will hard-blue Connecticut get the same treatment?

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday that most capacity limits in the Nutmeg State will end Friday, March 19, including restaurants, retail, gyms, offices, and houses of worship. Still, masks are required and bars close at 11 p.m. (Covid really gets going at 11:01), but this reopening is a significant move for a Democrat-run state.

Biden has yet to weigh in on Connecticut, but he blasted Texas Wednesday. “I hope everyone’s realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden told reporters. “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters.”

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer on conservative activists trying to sink the nomination of the unqualified and radical HHS nominee, Xavier Becerra. They also roll their eyes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo claims he had no idea his actions offended any of the women accusing him of sexual harassment, and are disgusted that the media consider this a bigger story than the nursing home scandal. And they react to the revelation that the FBI gave Capitol Police had a fairly detailed warning of what would happen at the Capitol on January 6 but also told them not to take any actions as a result of it.

Court Strikes Down Ban on Inadvertent Drug Possession. And Next?

 

Until last month, the state of Washington had the nation’s only law under which simple possession of illegal drugs could make you a felon regardless of whether you knew you had any such thing on your person or property. The result, as a Washington Supreme Court justice noted in a 2019 case, was to make potential felons of such hapless figures as:

a letter carrier who delivers a package containing unprescribed Adderall; a roommate who is unaware that the person who shares his apartment has hidden illegal drugs in the common areas of the home; a mother who carries a prescription pill bottle in her purse, unaware that the pills have been substituted for illegally obtained drugs by her teenage daughter, who placed them in the bottle to avoid detection.

Now that law is gone – struck down by the state’s high court as violating due process by “taking innocent and passive conduct with no criminal intent at all and punishing it as a serious crime.”

Immigration: Getting It Right

 

Earlier this year, the Biden administration issued a “Fact Sheet” on his proposed US Citizenship Act, a comprehensive plan to expand pathways to citizenship and otherwise modernize and liberalize this nation’s immigration system. It is very difficult to draw categorical conclusions about the many facets of immigration law. The passion on both sides of this issue suggests that finding a sensible middle position may be impossible. Even so, a measured and compromising approach is the best way forward on immigration reform, with its complex highways and byways.

One way to think about immigration reform is to compare the case for free and open immigration with the parallel case for free trade. Fierce opposition to free trade in part propelled Donald Trump to his 2016 presidential victory. Free trade did not take a central role in the 2020 election, in large part because candidate Biden offered a similar sentiment to bolster trade union support. This was not merely campaign talk. President Biden recently issued a protective “Buy American” statement, the objective of which is “to support manufacturers, businesses, and workers to ensure that our future is made in all of America by all of America’s workers.” A Biden executive order from January seeks to “use terms and conditions of federal financial assistance awards and federal procurements to maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in, and services offered in, the United States.”

But the effort to turn the United States inward on matters of economic activity will force superior foreign products to be substituted with inferior domestic ones, making domestic production less efficient. These inefficiencies will have far-reaching consequences: raising prices and lowering wages across the board, weakening American exports, and inducing other nations to take retaliatory measures, which will further contract world trade. Hopefully, the world economy can avoid a repeat of the implosion of international trade that followed the passage of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff. But the political risk still remains.

Join Jim and Greg as they discuss the staggering number of students who fell through the cracks because schools were closed and the impact that could have. They also roll their eyes as Elizabeth Warren and a couple of allies in the House propose a wealth tax, and they discuss why New York Democrats suddenly seem so eager to boot Gov. Cuomo.

 

The Equality Act Will Guarantee Inequality for Almost Everyone

 

‘Every American deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. With today’s vote, the House has again affirmed that LGBTQ people should enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as all other Americans,’ said Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who led the push for the bill.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? The truth is that every American does not deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; rapists, murderers, illegal immigrants, and many Leftists have not earned respectful treatment, for starters. And the Equality Act H.R.5, which was passed by the House 224 to 206 votes on February 25, is not only deceptive but opens the door to abuses of the rights of most Americans.

The Equality Act, no matter what it says, is not intended to make sure that everyone has equal rights. Specifically, it would very likely show favoritism toward LBGT groups, and discrimination against religious groups, girls and women, businesses, medical professionals, and others. The Heritage Foundation describes the bill in this way:

Join Jim and Greg as they chronicle the second accusation of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his ever-changing response to it. They also get a kick out of the possibility that Florida Democrats might dust off Charlie Crist to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. And they fire back at an NBC “explainer” on hate crimes, which suggests reporters need to be very careful about labeling something a hate crime if the offender is not white.

Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy hearing HHS nominee Xavier Becerra squirm as he insists he never sued the Little Sisters of the Poor, just the federal government for giving a contraception mandate exemption to the nuns. They also peel back the sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and discuss the growing number of Democrats coming out to denounce him. And they hammer Amnesty International for removing its “prisoner of conscience” label for Russian political figure Alexei Navalny over comments Navalny made 15 years ago.

 

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of the AHA Foundation, and author of the books Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights, Infidel: My Lifeand Nomad: From Islam to America – A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations. Ms. Hirsi Ali shares insights from her upbringing and early education in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, as well as her courageous immigration to the West, where she experienced an intellectual awakening that led to human rights activism and a seat in the Dutch Parliament. They discuss why all human rights and free speech advocates should be concerned about the rise and growing militancy of political correctness and “cancel culture” in the West, its impact on reasoned public debate, and what educators need to teach young people about the importance of open mindedness and the free exchange of ideas. Lastly, Ms. Hirsi Ali reviews the central theme of her latest book, Prey, which explores the long-term ramifications of mass migration from Islamic-majority countries on the rights of women in Europe, given the different value systems between these countries and the West, with its commitment to the rule of law, rights-centered constitutionalism, science, and religious liberty. She concludes with a reading from the book.

Stories of the Week: The Biden administration is ordering states to continue federally required standardized tests this year, though there is flexibility on the exam format and accountability standards. Is this an opportunity for innovation in student testing? All members of a San Francisco-area school board resigned after mocking parents at a virtual meeting that they didn’t realize was already being broadcast live. Was this an isolated incident or a window into their general outlook toward families?

Chad Benson is in for Jim today. Chad and Greg examine new research from the Federal Reserve showing the Biden racial equity agenda would actually make the wealth divide much greater. They also react to a pair of House Dems trying to get cable TV providers to cut ties with Fox News, OANN, and Newsmax. And they shake their heads as Merrick Garland draws a peculiar line between what is domestic terrorism and what is not.

Join Jim and Greg as they serve up three good martinis, even if the last one is a bit iffy. First, they;re glad to see CVS reporting excellent progress administering vaccines to residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They’re also happy to see the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York investigating the Cuomo administration for covering up the number of nursing home deaths. And they welcome President Biden’s goal of having K-8 students in school five days a week within his first 100 days, although they’ll believe it when they see it.

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Coca-Cola’s Diversity Diktat Falls Flat

 

It is a commonplace of modern rhetoric to exalt diversity and inclusion as a first step toward racial justice. The standard account, widely accepted in political and business circles, insists their combined benefits are unambiguous: a firm’s performance will improve if its employees, suppliers, and customers are composed of individuals from all races, genders, sexual orientations, and general points of view. These diverse persons are not intended as mere tokens but are respected for offering their distinct and valuable perspectives on vital matters critical to corporate and national welfare.

As an abstract matter, it is hard to oppose an employment strategy that generates higher revenues and superior innovation. But once we get down to brass tacks, the overall picture is far more complex. The massive coercion involved in implementing diversity norms was recently revealed by Coca-Cola, which has gone all-in on diversity and inclusion for its more than 700,000 employees: “We champion diversity by building a workforce as diverse as the consumers we serve. Because the more perspectives we have, the better decisions we make.”

It would, however, be a mistake to assume that Coke thinks that it has made good on its key promise. In January, Coke’s new African-American general counsel, Bradley Gayton, laid down this broadside, “Commitment to Diversity, Belonging, and Outside Counsel Diversity,” in which he describes what he perceives to be the abject failure of prior efforts to reach requisite levels of diversity and inclusion at Coke and in the legal profession more broadly. Without a link to a source or statistic, Gayton lashes into the legal profession for being “too quick to celebrate stagnant progress and reward intentions.” Gayton demands specific actions to meet the “crisis on our hands” engendered by a lack of diversity.

Why Conservative Justices Aren’t True to the Constitution

 

Remember when we were all celebrating Trump’s election because he would have the opportunity to nominate people who were supporters of the traditional understanding of the Constitution? How we were relieved that at least the Court would be dedicated to maintaining the rule of law and the foundations of this country?

As often happens when conservatives are nominated, the results historically have been a mixed bag.

Join Jim and Greg as they close out the week grateful that three terrible stories are finally coming to light. First, they discuss the Cuomo administration admitting it delayed giving New York lawmakers the real numbers of COVID-related nursing home deaths because of how Trump and his administration might respond. They also unpack the latest horrifying details of Lincoln Project officials clearly knowing about John Weaver’s predatory ways and recklessly attacking anyone who criticizes them. And they react to lefties admitting that California’s love affair with progressive policies has been a massive failure.

Biden’s EOs Are Out of Control

 

“All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” So begins the US Constitution.

The President’s entire role in the lawmaking process is also described clearly and succinctly: “He shall take Care the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Joe Biden apparently didn’t get the memo. Hours after swearing an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” this same Constitution, he was at his desk signing a record high stack of executive orders, all of them carrying the force of law and many clearly articulating legislative functions.

The news might be all bad today but we’re still having fun! Join Jim and Greg as they discuss the Virginia Education Association strongly opposing Gov. Ralph Northam’s demand for in-person schooling by mid-March and none of the Democrats running for governor this year having the guts to stand up for the kids or the science against the union. They also cringe in recounting the opening arguments made by the Trump legal team on Tuesday, but will the quality of the lawyers have any impact on the outcome? And they unload on Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who won’t criticize China but is cancelling the national anthem at home games this season.

Host Joe Selvaggi talks with legal scholar and George Mason University Law Professor Ilya Somin about the details, the merits, and the likely implications of the Supreme Court case, New Hampshire v. Massachusetts, on state taxation power, federalism, and the power to vote with one’s feet.

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