October 18, 2018

Affirmative Action on Trial

On Monday, the trial began in a lawsuit alleging that “Harvard University discriminates against Asian-American applicants in order to limit how many it admits."

Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left posits that affirmative action is a way of leveling the playing field for historically disadvantaged groups, and promoting diversity on campus.

“In a nation still wracked by glaring racial inequalities, a ruling permitting the controversy over Asian-American admissions to serve as a wedge enabling the foes of affirmative action to realize their long-cherished goal of abolishing it would be a serious mistake."

Huffington Post

“[They] can talk all they want about level playing fields and race neutrality, but their legal and policy efforts all point in the same direction—toward less power and influence for groups that are disproportionately affected by the disadvantages of poverty and low incomes."

The New Yorker

“Does the racial and ethnic diversity at Harvard enhance the quality of the education there? My answer is a resounding yes. The best college education includes intellectual and social interactions among thoughtful people from a broad range of cultural and racial backgrounds, both inside and outside the classroom. Restricting diversity efforts will ultimately reduce the quality of education."

New York Times

Only through a process that takes a well-considered look beyond an applicant's test scores and GPA can Harvard achieve the intellectual transformations it was founded to create... There are certainly many parts of American higher education that are broken and require greater public scrutiny and reform. Holistic admissions isn't one of them."

CNN

The political calendar and Trump's approach could give grounds for optimism. Kim, who has presided over a limited form of economic development inside North Korea, is under pressure to deliver improvements in the lives of his people… So he has an incentive to try to seek economic benefits or aid from the United States and wants punishing economic sanctions lifted — a potential opening for US negotiators… Kim must realize that his chances of basking in this kind of legitimacy with a US President other than Trump are slim. So if he fears Trump could lose in 2020, he may reason the time may be ripe for a deal. And Trump wants nothing more than a big diplomatic breakthrough months before the election.”
Stephen Collinson, CNN

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right condemns racial preferences in admissions and argues that they harm the very students they are meant to help.

From the Right

The right condemns racial preferences in admissions and argues that they harm the very students they are meant to help.

“The key fact is undeniable: Affording preferential treatment to those of one race necessarily penalizes others for their racial identities. It is fundamentally un-American... [Moreover] one of the dire effects of universities’ use of racial preferences is that they encourage us all—university officials, policymakers, commentators, ordinary citizens—to ignore the underlying social problems that led universities to embrace affirmative action in the first place...

“It’s a sensitive subject, but elite liberal commentators and academics do underperforming minorities no favors by avoiding any mention of the cultural pathologies that keep many highly capable minority students from academic success. Thanks largely to the grievous dissolution of the two-parent family, a breakdown abetted by well-meaning state and federal welfare policies, too many black children show up for their first day of school at a major disadvantage.”

The Weekly Standard

“Studies have documented the negative effects of racial preferences on African-American and Hispanic students, including lower college graduation rates and increased attrition from the hard sciences. After California passed Proposition 209 banning the use of race in admissions, African-American students’ enrollment at University of California at Berkeley initially declined, but eventually their graduation rates doubled.”

Daily Signal

Regarding migrant detention centers, “the vast majority of the people and the outlets that shared [the] exchange [about toothbrushes and soap] failed to note that the violations being discussed had occurred during the previous administration… Instead, they jumped straight to the conclusion that the federal government, headed up by President Trump, was deliberately inflicting pain on babies. This isn’t true. It wasn’t true during the Obama administration either. Then, as now, the violations weren’t part of an intentional or evil ploy, but were the product of the system’s being overloaded… Certainly, some facilities have taken shortcuts, as the result of either bureaucratic incompetence or limited resources. But those infractions will be fixed by additional funding, additional facilities, better oversight, and quicker processing, not by pretending that the president is a tyrant.”
A.G. Hamilton, National Review

Regarding his candidacy overall, “There’s a lot of conventional wisdom in Washington that the early front-runner always loses. And that’s true except when it isn’t… in 1999, George W. Bush dominated the polls and, except for a brief scare from Senator John McCain in the New Hampshire primary, essentially cruised to victory. A key part of Bush’s early success, not just in polls but in fundraising, stemmed from the fact that he was promising a Bush restoration…

“He was offering a referendum on the incumbent president and the scandals and partisanship that defined the end of his administration. He vowed to restore ‘honor and dignity to the Oval Office’ and to be a ‘uniter not a divider.’ The very different context notwithstanding, this is pretty much Biden’s campaign message. The ideological, activist, and Twitter-obsessed base of the Democratic party may not like Biden’s pitch. But it sure looks like rank-and-file Democrats do.”
Jonah Goldberg, National Review

“Not only did [Trump] attack the ‘squad,’ he managed to do it in a way in which no other prominent Democrat can continue to criticize them publicly, lest they be perceived as echoing the president’s contention that they should go back where they came from. At the exact moment the accusations and counter-accusations were set to do lasting damage, Trump just had to jump in and give them an attack that would unify them all. It often seems like Trump would rather have a bad news cycle that focuses on him than a beneficial news cycle that focuses on someone else… Everyone around the president can read a poll and knows that his rage-tweeting is a liability; it is perhaps the biggest liability in a presidency that, with prosperity and a perception of peace, ought to be comfortably cruising to reelection.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

New Zealand votes tipsy pigeon bird of the year.

BBC

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