Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Brexit bill nears final Parliamentary passage (BBC) The Lords made changes to the Commons’ bill, but those are expected to be reversed when Commons reconsiders. When the EU Withdrawal Bill finally passes with an agreed text, expected this week, Britain is expected to quickly trigger “Article 50,” starting the formal Brexit process.
◆ Democrats’ answer to replacing Obamacare. No, No, and Hell No.
⇒ They have opted for the Groucho Marx Strategy: “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It”
Sen. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer “slammed the GOP’s replacement plan for ObamaCare, saying Democrats will work to defeat the legislation” (The Hill)
This bill is a giveaway to the wealthy and insurance companies at the expense of American families, and Senate Democrats will work hard to see that it is defeated. –Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
◆ What if the WikiLeaks WikiLeaked and nobody WikiCared? That’s what Quartz says happened with the latest dump.
Quartz adds that the leaks show how powerful new encryption methods are.
While Snowden revealed that telcos handed over data about their customers to the NSA in bulk, there is no sign in the Vault 7 documents that the CIA can hack into encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp or Signal and use that to carry out mass surveillance. To see what’s on your phone, the agency must get access to the phone itself. –Quartz
Comment from Michael Lipson: Maybe the most revolutionary thing was that the CIA needed to have physical contact with a lot of the target devices. I would have suspected that they’d master alternative delivery methods. (Michael Lipson is Director of Technology for the web-based company, Swappa.)
◆ George Will column on “The Intellectual Diversity We Need” (Washington Post)
Fortunately, state legislatures, alumni and philanthropists are planting little academic platoons that will make campuses less intellectually monochromatic. One such, just launched, is Arizona State University’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. . . .
Some academics who relish progressivism’s hegemony on campuses, and who equate critical thinking with disparagement, will regret and resist things like ASU’s new school. . . .
Here and around the country this purpose is being advanced by entities such as ASU’s new school, teaching the history of ideas and statesmanship. This growing archipelago of excellence will leaven academia with the diversity that matters most. –George Will
Related article: Wendy Kaminer, “The Progressive Ideas Behind the Lack of Free Speech on Campus” (Washington Post, 2015) According to Kaminer,
You can credit — or blame — progressives for this enthusiastic embrace of censorship. It reflects, in part, the influence of three popular movements dating back decades:
- the feminist anti-porn crusades,
- the pop-psychology recovery movement and
- the emergence of multiculturalism on college campuses. –Wendy Kaminer
Comment: All correct. I would add one more: Embracing the Creed of Victimization, which comes with the pernicious idea that designated victims groups can declare their injuries based on whatever they subjectively feel and these issues are beyond serious debate. To debate them is to “blame the victim.”
◆ Drug Overdoses in Appalachia So Bad that state Burial Funds have run out (The Intelligencer; Wheeling News-Register, via Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution)
Since unattended deaths of people under age 50 generally require autopsies, those, too, are backed up for weeks, adding to the survivors’ emotional toll.
Related article: Interview with Angus Deaton, Nobel laureate in economics for his studies of the poor and income inequality.
Question: If you were to design policies to help with deaths of despair, what would you do?
Deaton: I’d tackle opioids for a start. I mean, that’s the easy bit. I don’t think think a lot of those deaths would have taken place anyway. People who die of opioid overdoses are not trying to kill themselves. It really is this business where if you relapse, you die. And that’s not true for alcohol or other things. –Angus Deaton
Comment: These painful articles arrived as I was reading J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, about these towns and their people.
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Tom Elia for the George Will column
◆ Tyler Cowen for Drug Overdose article
◆ Michael Lipson for his comments on WikiLeaks