A Necessary Start

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is on the verge of issuing actual rules (not “guidance” letters) directing the way in which colleges and universities must handle accusations of sexual assault.  These rules will include

  • the right of every survivor to be taken seriously and the right of every person accused to know that guilt is not predetermined
  • both the alleged victim and the accused would be able to inspect and review all evidence
  • All Title IX hearings would include cross-examination, which could occur in-person or by live stream, with campus adjudicators allowed to observe the demeanor of witnesses as they assess credibility

Bullying

You can’t wear the clothes you can afford to buy, that are good quality, and that look nice without being ostentatious (you can’t wear your ostentatious rags, either, come to that).  That’s bullying, don’t you know.

That’s the attitude of the Church of England’s Woodchurch High School in northwestern England (it’s across the Mersey from Liverpool—yes, that Mersey).  They’re pretending to “poverty proof” their school, so they sent a letter to their students’ significant overseers (the institution actually refered to “parents/carers”:

As you are all aware from an email that was sent out yesterday, pupils will not be permitted to bring in Canadian (sic) Goose and Monclair (sic) coats after the Christmas break.

Hillary Clinton, School Curriculum, and Censorship

The Texas State Board of Education had been considering dropping ex-Presidential candidate (among other accomplishments) Hillary Clinton (D) from its social studies curriculum.  Last Tuesday, the board voted 12-2 (plus one abstention) to keep her in the curriculum, for now.  The two nay voters had their reasons.

I just do not respect the woman.  As far as I’m concerned, she’s done a lot of detrimental things to our country.

And

The Benghazi thing did it for me.

Doctors and Gun Rights

Many in the medical profession have gotten their panties in wads because, on the matter of guns and gun rights, someone was impertinent enough to suggest that they’re really not that expert.  The National Rifle Association, it turns out, had demurred from an American College of Physicians paper calling for ways to keep guns out of the hands of people who are a threat—with “threat,” of course, defined by the ACP.

Federal Reserve Bank Regulations

The current iteration of the Federal Reserve Bank Board of Governors, with several President Donald Trump appointees, is proposing a rule that would significantly ease the amount of cash big banks must keep on hand to cover bills due within 30 days.  The savings from this are expected to aggregate to $77 billion per year—not a lot compared to the total of liquid assets held by those banks already.

There is a rumbling, though.  An Obama appointee to the BoG, Lael Brainard, is objecting to the regulatory easing.

She added that banks are “providing ample credit and earning ample profits” under current liquidity requirements.

The End of Free Speech

At least in Europe.  The European Court of Human Rights ruled last Thursday that it’s impermissible to make crude remarks about Islam’s Muhammed if those remarks fall outside what Government deems acceptable.  It seems that, in the course of a 2009 seminar, a woman commented on Muhammed’s marriage to his child bride:

[Muhammed] liked to do it with children…. A 56-year-old and a six-year-old? … What do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?

The ECHR ruled that remark unobjective, lacking historical background, and intended to disparage Islam.

A Health Care Coverage Step

Alexander Acosta, Steven Mnuchin, and Alex Azar, respectively Secretaries of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, are in the process of offering one.  They’re putting together a rule that would expand HRAs, Health Reimbursement Arrangements.  These are plans that allow employers to reimburse employees for certain qualified health expenses.  Their expansion consists of two parts:

  • permit[ting] employers to offer HRAs to reimburse employees for health insurance purchased in the individual market—allowing employers to provide a contribution as significant as they would have made for the premiums of a traditional employer-sponsored plan.

Building It

Chao Deng’s piece in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal chronicled the failure of People’s Republic of China rampant infrastructure spending to stimulate economic activity.

China bolstered economic growth for decades by pouring trillions of dollars into roads, factories, railroads and more, and doubled down to protect the economy from the global financial crisis of the last decade.

Deng went to lengths to point out that, for all those trillions, businesses did not appear, factories remain unused, roads and railroads are only lightly traveled, and even the high rise apartment buildings remain largely empty.

Pharma and Drug Prices

The Trump administration has proposed a rule that would require companies advertising drugs to provide the list prices of those drugs in their advertising—including their television advertising.  Big Pharma is opposed, and wants instead to be left to voluntarily provide pricing information by having links in their advertising that would guide folks to a separate Web site.

I sympathize with Big Pharma on this. Government regulation already is out of hand; the Trump administration is reducing that, and this is an unnecessary addition.

There is an alternative.

Feinstein’s Weapons Distortion

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) isn’t only dissembling in the course of her Progressive-Democratic Party’s shambles-making of the Judge Kavanaugh Supreme Court Justice confirmation process.  She’s dissembling regarding our right to keep and bear Arms, also.  Using the hoo-raw the Party created during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings (she’s the Ranking Democrat on that committee), she had this comment in the lead up to a question she had for Kavanaugh:

I’m talking about your statement on “common use.”  Assault weapons are not in common use.