As I discussed yesterday, I was astonished by the remarks of President Joe Biden on his support for extending the eviction moratorium, which was found to be unconstitutional by lower courts. It was later preserved by a divided Supreme Court despite the view of a majority that it was unconstitutional. It was saved from being struck down merely by the fact that it was expiring. President Biden acknowledged that his legal experts overwhelmingly told him that any extension would violate the Constitution. However, he then said it was worth extending the moratorium because it would take time for a court to intervene and, in the interim, they could rush out money to renters despite the lack of constitutional authority to do so.
Physicist “Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” statement captures how science depends upon constant questioning and challenging of assumptions. Yet, what is healthy debate to some is criminal dissent to others. Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and molecular virology at Baylor College of Medicine is calling for federal hate-crime protections to be extended to cover criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci and other scientists. The frequent MSNBC and CNN guest wants Congress to expand hate crimes to “scientists currently targeted by far-right extremism in the United States.” Continue reading “Baylor Professor Calls for Prosecution of Criticism of Fauci and Other Scientists as Hate Crime”
Greg Piper writers for the news site Just The News and recently decided to share a story from The College Fix, where he was previously an editor. The story included the line “Vaccines are not safe for everyone.” That line appears to have prompted Twitter to suspend his account despite the fact that some people have medical exemptions from the vaccine due to the high risk posed by preexisting medical conditions. Indeed, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that some people cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons. The latest censorship controversy is reminiscent of the suspension of writer Alex Berenson after he posted the public results of a Pfizer vaccine trial.
The late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo once famously said “I have no quarrel with people seeing me as a sinner.” Politicians can indeed survive as sinners, particularly repentant sinners. However, his son, Andrew Cuomo, the current New York governor, moved today from presumed sinner but presumed assaulter. He is facing eleven women, including a current staffer, who have accused him of extensive acts of sexual harassment and assault. Andrew Cuomo is looking at years of litigation, including depositions as not just a sinner but a virtual predator. Continue reading “Cuomo Accused of Being Serial Harasser as Cuomo Attacks Accusers as Political Hacks”
Do you have a right to leave your home to eat or recreate? Apparently not if you are a “non-vac.” NYU Professor Arthur Caplan and Yale Professor Sarah Hull have published an essay in MedPageToday declaring that unvaccinated people should be barred from public places from airplanes to movie theaters to restaurants. What is most striking is how the two academics (who teach bioethics) declare that appearing public is a privilege, not a right. They are not alone in such views. CNN’s Don Lemon recently called for barring unvaccinated people from offices and businesses, insisting “It has nothing to do with liberty. You don’t have the freedom and the liberty to put other people in jeopardy.” The essay comes as New York announces mandatory proof of vaccines will be required for public places.
Below is my column in the Hill on the shift from reasoned consent to coerced consent in the campaign for vaccinations. The push by the Biden Administration for private companies to enforce mandates and restrictions has increased in the last week. There is a high likelihood of a new round of litigation as pressure builds for new mandates and even lockdowns.
Just before this column ran, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was asked by Fox host Bret Baier “Are you for mandating a vaccine on a federal level?” She responded “That’s something that I think the administration is looking into.” Later she reversed herself by saying “I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government. There will be no federal mandate.” It was a telling response because she was asked about a federal mandate directly. She now says she meant to say a privately enforced mandates is what they are thinking about. The reversal may be a problematic as the original. It would confirm that the Biden Administration is using private companies as a type of direct surrogate for a public mandate.
We have been discussing the long saga over the University of North Carolina’s offering an academic chair to former New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones. Hannah-Jones is one of the most prominent proponents of advocacy journalism and her writings, including as part of the 1619 Project, are highly controversial. Ultimately, Hannah-Jones turned down the UNC offer in favor of Howard University. However, an email triggered a new controversy at UNC after it was disclosed that UNC Journalism and Media Dean Susan King wrote to ABC to expressly ask them to “protect” Hannah-Jones in its coverage. It is an ironic and concerning email. Many of us are critics of advocacy journalism and the growing rejection of objectivity. In this matter, King responded to criticism of Hannah-Jones over advocacy journalism by asking ABC Deputy Political Director Averi Harper to advocate for her in framing the coverage. Continue reading “Advocacy Journalism 101: UNC Dean Asked ABC To “Protect” Hannah-Jones in its Coverage”
I recently gave a speech organized by the office of Sen. Rand Paul on Capitol Hill that addressed the rise of advocacy journalism and other issues impacting our democratic and constitutional values. It was attended by hundreds of staffers from both parties. Afterward Sen. Paul mentioned an example of why he has objected to the role of media framing news stories. I thought that the conflict with the Associated Press offered an interesting follow up to the speech as a useful context to explore the line between accuracy and advocacy. This dispute captures the issues that arise in our heated politics and why interpretative roles in the media can be fraught with difficulties even when done in good faith. Indeed, I believe both Paul and the AP have valid points to raise on these disputes that could be illustrative and instructive for all of us.
It was perhaps inevitable that the embrace of advocacy journalism (and rejection of objectivity in journalism) would eventually dispense with the pretense of the journalism part. The point was reached by National Public Radio which took the controversial step this week to announce that its journalists can engage in protests and advocacy — the abandonment of a long-standing rule for reporters to avoid such causes or demonstrations. The announcement comes on the heels of the Justice reporter for the New York Times calling all Trump supporters “enemies of the state.” New York Times reporter Nikole Hanna-Jones recently declared “all journalism is advocacy.” So that simplifies matters wonderfully for the woke. After all, why have advocacy journalism when you can simply have advocacy?
Today we passed the 52,000,000 mark in views on the blog. Again, we thank our loyal readers who return every day to discuss contemporary legal, political, and occasionally bizarre stories. We have used these moments to give thanks for our many regular readers around the world and give you an idea of the current profile of readers on the blog. As always, I want to offer special thanks for Darren Smith who has continued to help manage the blog and help out folks who encounter posting problems. I also want to thank our regular readers who email me to flag my signature typos or any violations of the civility or copyright policies on the blog. Continue reading “RES IPSA HITS 52,000,000”
Just yesterday, we discussed the censoring of a commentator by Twitter for merely expressing an opinion over the need for a “pause” on any federal mandates on Covid-19 as new research is studied. Now, a former New York Times science reporter, Alex Berenson, has been suspended for simply citing the results from a clinical trial by Pfizer and raising questions over any vaccine mandate. In the meantime, the White House accused both the Washington Post and New York Times of irresponsible reporting on Covid, but surprisingly Twitter has not suspended those accounts. It is the license of the censor. Twitter is unwilling to let people read or discuss viewpoints that it disagrees with as a corporation. Many on the left, however, have embraced the concept of corporate speech and censorship. It turns out that the problem with censorship for many was the failure to censor views that they opposed. With the “right” censors at work, the free speech concerns have been set aside.
In my travels over the past week I took to an occasional diversion I sometimes make by visiting small and noteworthy cemeteries that come by once in a while. The two I visited recently presented two different perspectives on how we as a culture lay our loved ones to rest. Each of these have their own virtues and like most things in life one is not necessarily better or worse, but is so often according to the views of the beholder.
Here we find two of the same; different but not opposed.
Below is my column on academic work claiming that the Second Amendment is a relic of slavery. The reframing of the debate follows a familiar pattern in academia. Indeed, the same type of sweeping (and unchallenged) generalities was used recently to declare Olympic surfing a relic of American imperialism. The framing of such claims often precede any search for the facts. However, academics know that there is an eager and unquestioning audience for such publications. Conversely, those academics challenging such claims risk isolation and shunning in today’s intolerant environment. What is most striking about this latest claim is that it is directly and comprehensively contradicted by historical sources. Yet, there are relatively few academics who have publicly challenged the claims as media heralds the theory as a type of breakthrough publication. As discussed earlier, the theory is neither new nor well-founded.
Here is the column: Continue reading “The Second Amendment Is About Rifles Not Racism”