Tag: Slate

Daniel Foster of National Review Online and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer the French people for forcing their government to suspend implementation of new fuel taxes, although their tactics leave a lot to be desired.  They also shake their heads as Congress punts any tough spending decisions to Dec. 21 and appears unwilling to do much of anything to rein in spending.  And the liberal site Slate draws an avalanche of condemnation for trashing the late Pres. Bush’s service dog, suggesting there should be no sentimental reaction to the dog since Bush only had him since June.

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The Slate DoubleX Gabfest, for those of you who don’t know, is a Slate magazine podcast of, by and for women (of the left). It’s a conversation between three female journalists/commentators, all of whom would probably not object to being called left leaning and feminist: June Thomas, Hanna Rosin, and Noreen Malone. The first topic […]

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If you are the (venerable?) Jamelle Bouie, chief political correspondent for Slate, the provenance of “racist” as the worst insult in modern America goes something like this:  At first, “racism” simply referred to an objective reality, a useful heuristic for categorization, not unlike “brunette” or “Haitian.” The fact that, for example, Trump was elected by […]

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Greg Corombos of Radio America and Ian Tuttle of National Review applaud House Speaker Paul Ryan for quashing an attempt by some Republicans to bring back earmarks.  They also slam the defiant Democratic mayors who insist illegal immigrants will be fully protected from deportation in their cities.  And they discuss the social media crackdown on fake news and what passes for journalism on the left these days.

Let Teens Trick-or-Treat


shutterstock_326989286Complaining about teenaged trick-or-treaters has become a tradition in America, almost as beloved as grousing about early Christmas décor. Who do these kids think they are? Halloween is for children, not bratty teenagers who should be doing their homework.

In the spirit of this longstanding tradition, Slate’s L.V. Anderson has decreed that henceforth, no person over the age of 13 may trick-or-treat. Candy will be dispensed to costumed 13-and-unders only; older kids who try to horn in on Halloween should know that they run the risk of being shunned, or possibly poisoned.

As a longstanding partisan of Halloween, I rise to challenge this ruling. Trick-or-treating is innocent and fun. It should be permitted for anyone willing to don a costume and recite the traditional script, from toddlerhood through the end of high school.

Why The Facebook Scandal is a Big Deal


facebook“It’s not like the quiz shows are a public utility, sir. It’s entertainment. We’re not hardened criminals – we’re in show business.” — Albert Freedman from Quiz Show (1994)

In the 1950s, a scandal rocked the popular quiz show Twenty One when it was revealed that contestants were being provided, in advance, with the answers to the questions. Congressional hearings followed, and all of the major players avoided serious legal repercussions. By misleading the audience, the quiz show producers didn’t do anything illegal, but they eroded public trust in television by deceiving their audience. I find the current scandal going on with the Facebook trending newsfeed to be very similar.

In case you’re unaware, Facebook’s “Trending” section lives at the top right corner of your desktop when you access the popular social network. At various times during the day, three or more news stories appear as “trending,” meaning they are being discussed by a large group of people online at the moment. The stories vary for each user, depending on your interests, location, and history, but Facebook has always purported to be giving an unbiased snapshot of the day’s most popular topics, selected by its sophisticated algorithm.

Slate’s Rising Intolerance on Gay Rights


In my recent Defining Ideas column, “Hard Questions on Same-Sex Marriage,” I sought to explore some of the intellectual cross-currents and difficulties in the Supreme Court’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges. There were two basic points in the article.  First, I sought to explain the difficulties in finding a constitutional right to gay marriage, even though most of the standard arguments against same-sex-marriage tend to fall flat as a matter of social and political theory. The article was in no sense an effort to rally religious conservatives to stop the powerful political juggernaut that has resulted in a surge in public approval for same-sex-marriage.

The second point was my deep uneasiness that the same-sex-marriage movement is moving sharply from its defense of gay unions towards a massive intolerance of those individuals who, for religious reasons, oppose the practice and wish to conduct their own personal lives and business activities in accordance with their own beliefs — beliefs that I hasten to add are not my own. The recent hysterical screed against my column by Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, laden as it is with abusive epithets, shows just how rapidly that form of intolerance is taking over the gay rights movement more generally.

Scott Walker’s Fight Against Tenure


shutterstock_280248305Just in case you were wondering if he was running for president:

Walker introduced the tenure issue in a budget proposal that included $300 million in cuts over two years and significant restructuring… A GOP-led legislative committee approved the tenure change. It also approved a measure that would modify state law to specify that Regents can terminate faculty when it’s deemed necessary because a program has been discontinued or changed in other ways, not just when a financial emergency exists — the way it’s spelled out under state law. It didn’t give Walker all he wanted, and it reduced the cuts from $300 million to $250 million.

Wisconsin is unusual in that protections for tenured faculty are enshrined in state law. In most jurisdictions, it’s individual universities that make the call on who qualifies for tenure and on what grounds it can be terminated. In simple terms, Walker is just bringing Wisconsin into line with the rest of the country.

I Don’t Get the Joke


CloudWilliamPledgeCirculating on Facebook is this apparently long-running joke on Slate “in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries.” In this world, America’s midterms would be covered thus:

WASHINGTON, United States—On Tuesday, voters in this country of 300 million, the world’s second-largest democracy and most populous Christian nation, will head to the polls for elections that will determine control of the upper house of the legislature and serve as a referendum on the country’s embattled ruling regime. While international monitors expect a mostly free and fair contest, questions have been raised about why the equivalent of the GDP of Montenegro is being spent on a contest to determine the membership of a body expected to accomplish little over the next two years. Human rights observers have also noted a troubling rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric stoked by far-right nationalist candidates.

President Barack Obama’s ruling party will almost certainly lose seats, but whether or not the opposition is able to take over the upper house will be determined by closely fought races in the nation’s torrid southeastern swamps, central agricultural region, and even frigid Arctic villages thousands of miles from the capital…

Oh Yes, in Your Backyard


shutterstock_177220943Guns are bad and everyone knows it. So declares Dahlia Lithwick in Slate.  The proof is in our tendency towards NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) double standards while addressing the issues related to gun ownership and carry laws. 

The NIMBY factor is what is at work every time a legislature affords sweeping and generous gun rights to everyone, except people likely to shoot at them. So when the Georgia legislature passed its infamous “guns everywhere” bill this spring, it allowed for the carrying of weapons virtually everywhere, including in bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and parts of airports.

But, oddly enough, guns were not permitted in the state Capitol, which is, according to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, “a uniform carved-out area all across our state.” Convenient.

Template Progressivism


shutterstock_128011673Scan the headlines on any given day and you will see the left plotting to tinker with every aspect of society they can get their hands on. By its very nature, progressivism is allergic to Burkean restraint. There is no limit to the institutions they may try to overhaul. Not even the seven-day week is safe.

For eons, all manner of animals have lived their lives according to the cycles of the Earth’s rotation on its axis, the moon’s orbit around the Earth, and the Earth’s orbit around the sun. But why do we observe the week? 

As one who self-identifies as a non-college graduate, I cannot speak to what writers and journalists are being taught in America’s universities. I suspect they are, at some point, given a template with which to write articles calling for the rethinking of longstanding institutions. This is a good thing, as allowing such traditions to arise naturally from accumulated societal wisdom is foolish when contrasted against a plan devised while in Trader Joe’s while checking a bag of chips to ensure that none of the ingredients have been genetically modified.