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  1. Gramarye


    Agreed. And in other arenas, most notably Citizens United among recent cases (but that case was just the latest in a fairly robust line of free election-speech cases), constitutional conservatives have been strident in defending an expansive scope of the First Amendment even against popular opposition. Notwithstanding Thomas channeling understandable conservative disdain for mainstream media outlets, a robust First Amendment protects more those who do not have powerful, institutionalized platforms in the media, entertainment, academia, and other public-facing institutions dominated by the left. It's not as if there are not wealthy and litigious liberals who would make life a living hell for conservative media outlets (both traditional institutional media as well as activist media) in a more liability-prone defamation structure ... people who would attempt to make any politically incorrect observation actionable. For the reasons I set forth above, it does surprise me greatly that conservatives would look upon this favorably. It's not like there's any shortage of liberal lawyers out there.
  2. Gramarye


    Thomas' position is the opposite, though. As he explained in the concurrence he just authored, he specifically wants to de-constitutionalize defamation standards, returning that authority to states and to the preexisting common law of defamation. It was the Sullivan Court that began the process of constitutionalizing those standards, reading them into the First Amendment and therefore beyond the reach of the states.
  3. Gramarye


    Stern didn't even get the statement of the law right. NYT v. Sullivan limits defamation lawsuits by public figures and officials, not against public figures and officials. Thomas actually appears to be seriously channeling Trump's threat, which I once took as empty, to "open up libel laws" and allow states to expand libel liability for media outlets on lesser showings than the currently-required "actual malice" standard. (Note that Thomas is not actually going as far as saying that libel liability standards should be expanded as much as saying that states should be able to expand it further if they choose. States with major media presences likely would not.) The quick summary of the current standard, enacted 9-0 at the height of the liberal era: "To sustain a claim of defamation or libel, the First Amendment requires that the plaintiff show that the defendant knew that a statement was false or was reckless in deciding to publish the information without investigating whether it was accurate ... In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Brennan, the Court ruled for the Times. When a statement concerns a public figure, the Court held, it is not enough to show that it is false for the press to be liable for libel. Instead, the target of the statement must show that it was made with knowledge of or reckless disregard for its falsity. Brennan used the term 'actual malice' to summarize this standard, although he did not intend the usual meaning of a malicious purpose. In libel law, 'malice' had meant knowledge or gross recklessness rather than intent, since courts found it difficult to imagine that someone would knowingly disseminate false information without a bad intent. " https://www.oyez.org/cases/1963/39. Needless to say, revisiting this precedent in the age of Twitter, other social media, and 24/7 cable news would be earth-shattering, for good or ill. The more positive take is that it would actually cool the runaway pace of today's reporting, to the extent it has become "report first, fact-check later" and force media outlets to implement more stringent review policies to control for biases clouding factual judgment--perhaps preventing further Rolling Stone rape hoaxes, for example. Or, in the actual case at bar, allowing Cosby's accusers (who themselves became limited public figures when they came forward) more avenues to sue for defamatory tactics allegedly used by Cosby's defenders to destroy the accusers' reputations and credibility. The more negative take, of course, is that it would ice meritorious stories, particularly via the threat of lawsuits that might even be unsuccessful but would no longer be such clear losers at the outset that they couldn't be filed or threatened in good faith.
  4. And the "Texas doughnut." (In Ohio, it would be the Ohio donut, I guess.) I was just about to post this same article, should have known someone else would get to it first. I'd figured there was something about that particular design that made it particularly cost-effective for less-dense downtown developers, because so many of the new midrise builds in Akron in the last decade or so (since 22 Exchange) have followed that general form, with minimal variation. Except that many of them (22 Exchange being an exception) still find ways to avoid building flush to the curb with street-facing retail or other spaces that invite participation in public life. Many still have whatever you'd call that strip of useless green space that's too small for recreation like a park, but too large for real pedestrian-friendliness. I'd call it a Devil's strip, but that name is apparently already taken by something much less diabolical (the tiny green strip between the sidewalk and the curb).
  5. As a conservative who came of political age in the Voinovich era, I have absolutely zero answer to why any liberal or conservative should take modern-day Republican Party bromides about the national debt seriously anymore. However, this isn't a proper analogy to my point. The more accurate target of that statement would be someone like me, an admitted minority within the Republican Party that still considers the deficit and debt a more pressing priority than flattening marginal tax rates. The obvious answer to your [rhetorical] question is that when the Republican Party briefly held unified control of the political branches, they acted like the deficit was utterly immaterial other than fig-leaf lip service to the wishful thinking that the tax cuts they passed "would pay for themselves." Therefore, you have ample evidence to rebut your own hypothesis if your thinking is "conservatives" writ large, just as I have ample evidence to not seriously believe that the Democrats are, when push comes to shove, united behind the most extreme conclusions that would be necessitated by fully accepting the Green New Deal's goals. But I'm talking about the true believers here, the minority within the Democrats just like I'm the minority within the Republicans on the debt issue. I would accept higher taxes to reduce the deficit, even though most Republicans now would not. What should I believe with respect to what AOC, Markey, and other climate change true believers would accept to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of whether they have majority support in Congress overall or even within the Democratic Party?
  6. The "unwilling to work" phrase showed up in a FAQ that was apparently posted on AOC's Web site the same day the resolution was introduced, but then was quickly taken down: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5729035/Green-New-Deal-FAQ.pdf AOC herself has disavowed it as a draft: So the question is whether that was a gaffe in the sense of the freshman Congresswoman saying what she actually believes but doesn't want to say publicly, or whether it was really something she never even saw and may have even come from even less reality-moored, lower-level staff of hers (or outside activists ghostwriting, as sometimes happens, especially given how little time she'd have had to even build staff as of Feb. 7). So while the language was not invented by the right, it is also not official resolution text or even any current official comment on it. OK, but even after reading the resolution, I can't tell you what is in it, so these hypotheticals are actually legitimate thought exercises. The resolution is a "sense" resolution and is so generic as to be able to be filled out with modest tinkering around the edges of the status quo, or with radical interventions on a WWII scale just as the ephemeral FAQ stated. How do you know it's a lie, given the vagueness of the resolution and the apocalyptic level of rhetoric of the green movement that AOC enthusiastically channels? If anything, I think the asserted "lies" are actually tame versions of the real consequences of taking the stated goals of the climate alarmist movement seriously. The left-leaning site Grist gave away the game some time ago (phrasing the endgame as a good thing, of course). Even fairly radical green measures for most people--like eating a completely vegan diet or living car free--are nothing in comparison to the carbon-reducing impacts of simply reducing the human population ("have one fewer child," as they say it). The GND doesn't tread into the territory of deliberate measures to reduce the human population, of course. But it seeks to establish a goal that can ultimately only be accomplished by that means, even if they won't come out and say it yet (and some people who might supporting GND as a marketing term don't actually believe it themselves yet). But among the other major carbon-reducing acts is "avoid one roundtrip transatlantic flight." So it is actually fair to ask whether and to what extent GND backers intend to curtail the availability of such flights, if they think curtailing carbon emissions really is as existential a struggle as they claim it is. In other words, if you actually believe the apocalypse is nigh because of carbon emissions, why wouldn't you want to eliminate international air travel? Why is that an irrational assumption in light of the stated goal? Either the goal is unrealistic or the measure is realistic. The only crime conservatives are committing here is actually taking liberals' stated goal seriously.
  7. FYI, I'll consider merging this with the federal budget thread. But not immediately.
  8. This may be true, but those numbers aren't close to a 2020 reelection. I think some people have it in their heads that the fact that he has even a 1% approval rating is too high. However, remember, he had underwater approval numbers on election night and won. Elections are contests between specific choices, not unconditional endorsements, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if the approval ratings questions were increasingly understood as such.
  9. Legal point here: I think that Trump may have Emoluments Clause issues, definitely, but this wouldn't be one of them. The Emoluments Clause applies to foreign money, not domestic. There might be other laws at stake--definitely not my area--but I strongly doubt this rises to a Constitutional issue.
  10. How confident are we that there even is much of a generation gap on this point? As was already pointed out above, fresh produce is more available to everyone in 2019 than was the case in 1980. Now maybe that's the case because market demand drove growers and grocers to adapt, so you could still trace it back to a generation gap. But nevertheless, I'm not convinced this is generation vs. generation so much as progression more or less on the part of all or multiple generations (and of course of farm-to-table supply chain development). My oldest cousin is over 50, definitely not a Millennial, but her diet is mostly fresher foods. She and her husband can both cook. When she was a child in the '70s, she had more canned and processed foods, but that didn't turn out to be permanently habit-forming for herself or for her parents, who are tail-end Greatest Generation (not even Boomers, born during WWII). They ate more processed and canned foods in the '70s but they get more natural fare in their diets today. It's just flat out easier to do so today. Doesn't matter what age you are.
  11. Gramarye

    Global Warming

    Update on that mysterious FAQ: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/02/aocgreen-new-deal-new-era-millennial-climate-politics/582295/ On Thursday morning, Ocasio-Cortez’s office published an FAQ about a Green New Deal that seemed to oppose carbon capture specifically. “We believe the right way to capture carbon is to plant trees and restore our natural ecosystems,” it read. By late afternoon, the FAQ had vanished from the congresswoman’s website. ========================== So it actually was apparently released by AOC's office ... and then retracted or deleted within the same business day. The Atlantic also picked up on what I noted above about the resolution itself having vastly more wiggle room (though of course another way to say this is that it was just more vague and ambiguous and noncommittal) about the thornier issues involved: This resolution also marks the first step in fights over the Green New Deal to come. Its main text does not weigh in on divisive questions about the use of nuclear energy, a power-generation technology that does not emit carbon dioxide, or carbon capture and storage, a still-fledgling technology that could suck CO2 out of smokestack fumes or the atmosphere. “We are open to whatever works,” Markey said Thursday. Hopefully someone will pin AOC and other notable cosponsors of this bill down in interviews regarding where they stand on funding, nuclear power, carbon capture, and other issues that might actually require taking a more specific stance.
  12. Among the countries with higher suicide rates than us: South Korea, Belgium, Japan, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Others that are only slightly lower: Poland, Iceland, Slovenia. The countries with the lowest suicide rates in the world: Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate Just eyeballing it, I don't see any major correlation with gun rights or gun ownership. Heck, if anything, climate seems to be a more obvious distinguishing characteristic (EDIT: though I'm not arguing that that has anything close to dominant explanatory power on that front, either, just to be clear).
  13. A handy map of the progression of gun rights from 1986 to the present (notably, not associated with any particular rise in violent crime): http://reason.com/volokh/2019/02/07/gun-decontrol-1986-to-now
  14. Gramarye

    Global Warming

    It should be noted that BB wasn't quoting the actual resolution proposed, he was quoting an outline of it, available here: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5729035/Green-New-Deal-FAQ.pdf And I admit that it is more grating, fanciful, and cringeworthy than the proposal itself, so I see a little bit more of where BB was coming from now. It also contains things that are more specific and therefore more susceptible to falsification in the future or, frankly, to being called outright lies right now. Example: "92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans support the Green New Deal." No, they support the phrase; they don't support some of the extreme measures suggested or implied by this "FAQ" to the extent it could be read as a preliminary term sheet: "The Green New Deal resolution a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since World War 2 .... We invested 40-50% of GDP into our economy during World War 2 and created the greatest middle class the US has seen." It is a near certainty that 92% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans do not support that level of control of the economy, and would not for anything short of WWIII (and before some of our more zealous posters suggest that fighting climate change really is WWIII .... no, it isn't). "How will you pay for it? The same way we paid for the New Deal, the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs. The same way we paid for World War II and all our current wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit. There is also space for the government to take an equity stake in projects to get a return on investment. At the end of the day, this is an investment in our economy that should grow our wealth as a nation, so the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity." This isn't Green New Deal. It's Green Prosperity Gospel. EDIT: And now I'm going to add a major caveat to my own post: I have only found three links to that document--from Breitbart, Americans for Tax Reform, and HotAir, all conservative-leaning outlets (I started by just Googling the phrase BB quoted). The "outline" is unsigned and bears no watermark or logo. And as part of my own original post, I was stunned by some of the apparent differences between this outline and the actual resolutions introduced in Congress. I suggest that this outline be taken with a heavy grain of salt before it is accepted as intended to be connected with what AOC and Markey actually introduced. I don't suggest that it's a conservative forgery, but what I'd strongly consider is that this is from a more extreme "true believer" type and not someone who will face the voters.
  15. Gramarye

    Global Warming

    Actually, (a) BB had that about AOC, whether you agree or disagree with his point about eliminating air travel completely necessarily meaning eliminating intercontinental air travel, (b) it isn't required, and (c) there are plenty of times when invective against Trump and other conservative figures (not to mention everyone who voted for them) is unsourced and just the personal opinion of the speaker. Stop trying to get others moderated. Seriously, you have absolutely zero room to talk on that subject.
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