The Oscars

In the moments I passed the TV while the Oscars were on, it just looked like the Top 1% giving awards to the Top 1%.

Did you know that the value of gifts they receive in their Oscar swag bags alone is enough to place them in the Top 4% of income earners?



A better response than,”go f— yourself”

In this segment, reporting on Milo Yiannapoulos’s appearance on Bill Maher’s show, the headline is that Larry Wilmore tells Yiannapoulos to “go f— yourself.”

Wilmore said that after Milo successfully pisses a panel of guests off by calling them stupid and telling Maher he should get higher IQ guests on his show.

If you watch the video, you see that Larry elicits a strong crowd response when he does this, which is sad.


What would a better response from Larry have been? How about, “Milo, maybe I am stupid. Could you explain to why you think that so we can all know?”

Why isn’t this a common response in such situations? Because that would mean Larry would be open to hearing something that might change his mind. Which he’s not. Nor are all the folks who cheered on Larry’s 7th grade-level response.


The media is not virtuous

In this “sparring” with CNN, a CNN reporter asks the President “are you concerned that you’re undermining people’s in faith in the 1st amendment, the freedom of the press, the press in this country when you call stories you don’t like fake news.”


Leading with “1st amendment” and “freedom of the press” are red herring fallacies meant to disguise and equate the reporter’s key whiny gripe — “undermining people’s faith in…the press” —  with threats to two noble institutions of modern society, hoping to piggyback his key gripe on those.

The media should accept responsibility for people’s weakened faith in it.

The CNN reporter wishes people to see the media as a virtuous institution they trust to report facts and act as a watchdog and check for those in power.

But, media isn’t virtuous. It’s a business that makes money by generating ratings so it can sell ads. They package stories with biases and framing that pleases their target audience to keep them coming back.

They report facts most of the time, but often those facts are misleading and non-pertinent. The reporting of Trump’s answer to a debate question just before the election provides a great example.

He said he’d have to “wait-and-see” about whether he’d accept the election results.

The media turned a molehill into a mountain and reported that Trump doesn’t respect the country’s long-standing tradition of peaceful transition of power, and even hinted that Trump may try to incite violence if he loses (though he never hinted at that).

But, there were two key problems with this.

Anyone with a memory longer than 16-years remembers the “hanging chad” debacle of the 2000 election, when Democrats didn’t accept the election result without a court battle, and many to this day still do not accept the results of that election.

Second, the tables were turned in just two weeks when Clinton lost and many on the left, even those who overreacted to Trump’s answer, flipped their lids. Suddenly, it was fine — even noble — to question those results even though two weeks prior it wasn’t.


The way the CNN reporter framed the question is also good example of why people are and should be losing faith in the media.

The question was meant to paint the media (excluding Fox, of course) as a victim and the President as it’s oppressor. It’s also self-serving.

It showed that the media isn’t yet close to the self-reflection needed to gain people’s faith.  Like a child, they point fingers and try to avoid blame for the problems they’ve caused.


Trump’s cabinet (and Supreme Court) nominee express disagreement with Trump

Chris DeMuth, writing in The Wall Street Journal about disagreements between Trump and his cabinet members:

Pundits have used these differences to portray a new administration born in disarray. Yet perhaps we are witnessing something else. Such frankness from cabinet nominees is a refreshing departure from the customary spectacle of officials robotically repeating their talking points. President Trump has not only picked extraordinarily capable men and women, he has self-assuredly encouraged them to speak their minds. “I want them to be themselves,” he tweeted, “and express their own thoughts, not mine!”

President Trump may be rediscovering a venerable method of leadership that has been forgotten in our era of ideological messaging. Rather than viewing disagreement as a problem, previous American leaders wielded it as a tool.

I agree that disagreement is good.

Why? Because nobody has all the answers. If they think they do, they will be dangerous or ineffective. They won’t respond to feedback that they’re are wrong, no matter how overwhelming that feedback is.

Assuming someone is always right assumes a Deity.

So, when I see the media reporting every Cabinet-member and Supreme Court nominee disagreement with Trump as if things aren’t right in Trumpland, I’m thinking, that’s exactly what I want, what Trump wants and what you should want.

But, I can see how a liberal-biased media can see it otherwise. They don’t tolerate disagreement well, as evidenced by the tantrums they’ve been throwing of late (tune into SNL tonight to see the latest), so it seems odd and weak to them when they see it on open display.

“Scott Walker’s Tuition Markdown”

Perhaps the bigger story in today’s Wall Street Journal editorial about Scott Walker using state surplus dollars to lower tuition is the surplus itself, which the editorial says stems from his 2011 budget reforms.

Pro Sports and the Top 1%

What I see when I watch pro sports: The bottom 90% in the stands cheering for the top 1% playing a child’s game.

What I saw at the Super Bowl: The Top 1% watching the Top 1% play a child’s game.

Betsy DeVos

It sounds like she is an advocate with giving parents of students in failing public schools options. That’s good.

In this post I explained how school choice already exists for middle and upper income folks and the schools that serve those markets — both private and public — are good quality because of that choice.

Betsy DeVos, and folks like her, would like for poor people to have more school choice, too, rather than trapping poor kids in bad schools. What’s wrong with that?

Also, in this post, I explain what the biggest hurdle is to improving education. It’s probably not what you think.

What about the students?

Here’s a good letter to the editors of The Wall Street Journal, from Don Boudreaux.

According to your report, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) justified with the following statement her opposition to Betsy DeVos’s bid to become Secretary of Education: “She [Ms. Devos] has, no doubt, done valuable work.  Her concentration on charter schools and vouchers, however, raises the question about whether or not she fully appreciates that the secretary of Education’s primary focus must be on helping states and communities, parents, teachers, school board administrators, school board members, and administrators strengthen our public schools” (“Two GOP Senators Say They Will Oppose Education Nominee Betsy DeVos,” Feb. 1).

One important word is missing from this statement: students.

Sen. Collins reveals that right-thinking people’s fears about the Department of Education have been correct all along: that agency’s role is not to ensure that students get the best possible education but, instead, to ensure that government-school teachers and bureaucrats get the best possible protection from competition.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030


Isn’t that what it should be?

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Gorsuch, is described an ‘originalist’. That means believes that his job as judge is to interpret the law as it was intended when written. As opposed to people who believe judges should have the power to interpret the law based on the day and age. Some people refer to the latter as an ‘activist’ judge.


To me, believing in the latter type of judge is like thinking sports referees should make rules up on the fly, rather than calling the game against the existing set of rules.