EppsNet Archive: Wall Street Journal

Identity Politics = Liberal Suicide?

13 Aug 2017 /

Mark Lilla is professor of the humanities at Columbia University. He’s got a book coming out, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics.

As you might have surmised from his job title, Lilla is a liberal himself. His concern is “the divisive, zero-sum world of identity politics” and its negative effect on liberalism in America.

Here’s an excerpt of an excerpt published in the Wall Street Journal:

As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X… This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions. . . .

The politics of identity has done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions. It is the gift that keeps on taking. Now is the time for liberals to do an immediate about-face and return to articulating their core principles of solidarity and equal protection for all. Never has the country needed it more.


Why You Should Never Tell Someone to Relax

20 Aug 2016 /

The one that really gets me is being told to “calm down” by someone angrier than I am . . .


Ted Cruz: Lucifer in the Flesh?

29 Apr 2016 /

I think this comparison is terribly unfair — to Lucifer.


Why Don’t Asians Care About the Oscars?

19 Jan 2016 /
Academy Award

From the Washington Post:

Very white Oscar nominations leave Academy president ‘heartbroken and frustrated’

From the Los Angeles Times:

Oscars 2016: It’s time for Hollywood to stop defining great drama as white men battling adversity

From the Wall Street Journal:

Black Actors and Directors Shut Out of 2016 Oscar Race

Why don’t Asians seem to care about the Oscar whiteness crisis that continues to rage unabated? Maybe they’re too busy with jobs and school . . .


We Have Entered a New Screwball Phase

30 Oct 2015 /

Peggy Noonan had a good article in the Wall Street Journal this week about, among other things, two departures: Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, and Joe Biden as a presidential candidate.

On Harper’s successor:

[Incoming Canadian prime minister] Justin Trudeau has been a snowboard instructor, schoolteacher, bartender, bouncer, speaker on environmental and youth issues, and advocate for avalanche safety. Sensing “generational change” and gravitating toward “a life of advocacy,” he entered politics and served two terms in Parliament. He has been head of the Liberal Party two years. He is handsome, has a winning personality, exhibited message discipline during the campaign, and is a talented dancer. There’s a sense we in the West have entered a new screwball phase.

On Biden and old-school Democrats:

Joe Biden’s decision not to run for president left me sad. He would have enlivened things. He has always reminded me of what Democrats were like when I was a kid—kind of normal and earthy and fun. They did not spend their time endlessly accusing people of being sexist-racist-homophobic-gender-biased persons of unchecked privilege. They would have thought that impolite.


This Photo of A Guy Tap Dancing in a Pink Floyd Shirt Explains a Lot

20 Mar 2015 /

A Wall Street Journal article on college students, the weak job market and high debt loads is illustrated by this photo of a guy in a Pink Floyd t-shirt taking a tap dancing class.

The crazy thing is that not only are these kids running up debt and killing their job prospects, they don’t even appear to be having a good time doing it . . .

Tap dancing


Climate Change is Making People More Stupid

11 Jul 2014 /

(HealthDay News) — Add another possible woe to the growing list of consequences of climate change: Kidney stones.

A new study of American cities suggests that rising temperatures may increase the number of people who develop the painful urinary obstructions.

You have to read all the way down to the second-to-last sentence of the article to find this:

The study uncovered a connection between higher temperatures and risk of kidney stones, but didn’t prove cause-and-effect.

The article implies cause and effect only to fess up right at the end and admit that there is no cause and effect. In the absence of cause and effect, what exactly is the point?

In the epilogue of War and Peace, a peasant notices a “connection” between smoke and locomotives and infers cause and effect: the smoke causes the locomotive to move. The point being that it’s easy to infer causality from “connections” in ways that have no grounding in reality.

In other climate news, the Wall Street Journal reports that researchers have, for the first time, counted all the world’s Adélie penguins — a sprightly seabird considered a bellwether of climate change — and discovered that millions of them are thriving in and around Antarctica.

Rather than declining as feared due to warming temperatures that altered their habitats in some areas, the Adélie population generally is on the rise.

Adelie penguins


British Healthcare Fact of the Day

2 May 2014 /

In Britain, even though they’re already paying for the National Health Service, six million Brits — two-thirds of citizens earning more than $78,700 — now buy private health insurance. Meanwhile, more than 50,000 travel out of the U.K. annually, spending more than $250 million, to receive treatment more readily than they can at home.

WSJ.com

Making Life Look Good

13 Dec 2013 /
Multitaskabulous

Do we try to make our life exciting so it looks good for our friends or do we really get to live our life?

— Fred Ritchin, a photography professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, in response to a growing obsession over taking and sharing camera-phone images

Why Aren’t Women Interested in Computer Science?

30 Nov 2013 /
The Big Bang Theory

According to this recently published research paper, women aren’t interested in computer science because of media portrayals like “The Big Bang Theory,” in which technologists are depicted as socially awkward, interested in science fiction and video games and physically unattractive.

If that seems like a compelling line of reasoning, you can read a more complete write-up in this WSJ.com article.

What I’ve never been able to figure out is why people are so interested in why women aren’t interested in computer science . . .


Indian Givers

29 Nov 2013 /

Via Best of the Web Today:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304747004579228190122617098


World Ends: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit

22 Nov 2013 /
http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2013/11/20/baby-girls-at-increased-risk-of-death-following-typhoons-says-study/

Willing to Try Anything

7 May 2013 /

To Be Safe, Never Say Anything to Anyone

29 Jan 2013 /

Via Best of the Web Today:

To Be Safe, Never Say Anything to Anyone


Scott Adams on the Benefits of Boredom – WSJ.com

Posted by on 7 Aug 2011

The Price of Taxing the Rich

30 Mar 2011 /

Nearly half of California’s income taxes before the recession came from the top 1% of earners: households that took in more than $490,000 a year. High earners, it turns out, have especially volatile incomes—their earnings fell by more than twice as much as the rest of the population’s during the recession. When they crashed, they took California’s finances down with them.


Twitter: 2009-10-01

1 Oct 2009 /

We’ve Fallen Behind France in Moral Fortitude

18 Jun 2009 /

The President yesterday denounced the “extent of the fraud” and the “shocking” and “brutal” response of the Iranian regime to public demonstrations in Tehran these past four days.

“These elections are an atrocity,” he said. “If [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad had made such progress since the last elections, if he won two-thirds of the vote, why such violence?” The statement named the regime as the cause of the outrage in Iran and, without meddling or picking favorites, stood up for Iranian democracy.

The President who spoke those words was France’s Nicolas Sarkozy.

WSJ.com

Where is the Change?

26 Jan 2009 /

More than 144 hours into Barack Obama’s presidency, the economy is still in recession, the country is still at war, and in many parts of the country it’s still cold outside. Citizens are growing impatient: Wasn’t President Obama supposed to bring change?


Why Spending Stimulus Plans Fail

16 Nov 2008 /

Congress doesn’t have its own stash [of money]. Every dollar it injects into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new spending power is created. It’s merely redistributed from one group of people to another.

— Brian Reidl, The Wall Street Journal

As you probably learned in school, we founded this country as a free-market economy and viewed government intervention in the market with the greatest skepticism.

Thomas Jefferson

The above article is the clearest explanation I’ve seen for why bailouts and “stimulus plans” involving government spending never work.

The latest failed companies hoping for a bailout are General Motors and Ford. I hope Henry Ford — a great American like myself, who is currently whirling like a lathe in his Detroit grave — will pardon me for saying so, but these companies are nothing but engines of mass financial destruction.

According to the WSJ, GM and Ford invested a combined $465 billion between 1998 and 2007.

As of last Friday’s market close, they had market caps of $4 billion (Ford) and $1.7 billion (GM).

They’ve wiped out almost $460 billion of American capital in the last 10 years and now they want more money.

Look — my friend Paul Epps has a sister who spent every dollar she ever had on booze, drugs and abortions. For a while, friends and family members tried to help her by giving her money when she didn’t have any.

Do I have to tell you how that turned out?

I’m not suggesting that executives at Ford and GM spent the $460 billion on booze, drugs and abortions — not all of it anyway — but I am saying that sometimes people who don’t have any money can’t be helped by giving them more money.