No, They Aren’t The Same

On his Saturday CNN TV show, Michael Smerconish had as a guest Victoria Cobb, the Christian organization’s President, that was refused service by a Virginia restaurant. The host acknowledged the Restaurant was wrong, but he saw no difference between its action and the marriage website designer, Lori Smith, in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis before the Supreme Court. He held that both the Restaurant and Smith broke the law. 

This conclusion is a jolt coming from a lawyer. Even more shocking, his stance mirrors Supreme court justice Sonia Sottameyer. “This would be the first time in the court’s history,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in the 303 case oral, that it may rule that “a commercial business open to the public, serving the public, that it could refuse to serve a customer based on race, sex, religion or sexual orientation.”

Our anti-discrimination laws are rooted in the refusal to serve southern blacks at lunch counters. If your menu offers items for sale, you must not discriminate. It’s a simple contract, the Restaurant proffers, and you agree to pay the asked price. We do the vast majority of transactions this way. Refuse certain groups, and you’re breaking the law.

Failing to honor the Christian group’s reservation is prohibited. The Restaurant offered its menu and accommodations to all. The group agreed to pay. Nothing in the transaction required any further meeting of the minds.

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On Reflection, the Electorate Got It Right

My first thought after the election was how could so many voters chose to leave the Senate in Democratic hands and give the Republicans only a slim majority in the House. This outcome seemed to let the most inept administration since Buchanan off the hook. However, given a few weeks for reflection, my admiration for the electorate’s wisdom and precision has grown by leaps and bounds.

The expected Red Wave would’ve served as a solid rebuke of the Biden Administration and sent a message to shape up, but it never happened. Joe Biden is taking a victory lap. So how can this be a good thing?

If the Republicans swept the toss-up contests, especially in the Senate, Donald Trump would be the one crowing. The oddball candidates he backed in the primaries would be headed to D.C. The power of his endorsement led to electoral success. Those opposing him and his acolytes are doomed to failure.

Under those circumstances, Trump’s Presidential run announcement might have given pause to other contenders. Surrounded by newly elected Senators and Representatives owing their fortunes to “the Donald,” he’d appear formidable.

On the other hand, after suffering a massive rejection at the polls, Biden would be planning retirement rather than a re-election campaign. Possible younger ’24 Democratic candidates would be coming out of the woodwork.

The 2024 Presidential race pits an aging and increasingly erratic Donald Trump against a much younger Democrat. After Biden’s doddering performance, many people would favor someone in the prime of life. A big field with no clear leader may open the door for the formidable Michelle Obama. This prospect has to have more appeal than running an 82-year-old against a somewhat younger Trump or an able younger Republican.

Republicans running both houses of congress but accomplishing little in the face of Biden’s vetoes opens them up to Truman-like rants against a “do-nothing congress.”

As it turns out, Biden is unlikely to leave the “world’s biggest stage.” In his mind, the election validated his policies and those of his supporters. He still looks like he could beat the ex-president but no one else. Biden is strengthening his position by reordering the Democratic primaries by putting his strong states early. If he didn’t intend to run, why bother?

As most Republicans are pro-life, abortion wasn’t a deciding issue. With almost surgical skill, voters gave successful public servants but non-Trump acolytes solid victories. Those that carried the Trump torch, running on the same ticket, crashed and burned. One can only conclude they didn’t care for Trump’s antics and split their vote that way.

Instead of fronting a large group of loyal winners when he announced his ’24 run, Trump seemed lonely and pathetic. Rather than providing a path to victory, Trump is the kiss of death. Not the profile Republicans want to lead the part in ’24.

A Trump enemy possibly saving Trump’s pick is ironic. The Georgia Senate race illustrates how far Trump has fallen. If Herschel Walker wins, it would be because Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp put his organization behind him. The same Kemp Trump tried to destroy in the primaries. Whether Walker wins or loses, Trump is Humbled.

As I’ve pointed out previously, parties only exist to win elections. Just as sports teams only exist in pursuit of victory, they look for winners to put them on top. Nobody hires losers to head them. Trump’s overall record says loser.”

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Elon is Right, We Need an Online Town Square

happened on a link to an article about a Twitter fight. The Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times featured columnist Paul Krugman tweeted that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was responsible for 20 thousand excess Covid deaths. Krugman arrived at this figure using the state Covid death totals for California, New York, and Florida adjusted for population. Using this method, he determined that the Florida Governor was responsible for 20 thousand more people unnecessarily losing their lives in Florida because of his policies. 

It is well known DeSantis reopened Florida, including its schools, rather than keeping the state locked down. According to Krugman, these reckless policies resulted in this horrible death toll. It painted the governor as an uncaring mass murderer. If true, this is quite damming for a potential presidential candidate. 

Others, including economists and statisticians, immediately tweeted Krugman had made an unacceptable error. The kind that would result in a Statistics 101 student getting a failing grade. He failed to adjust for age. Anyone following my series on Covid (available here) knows 75% of Covid deaths occurred in those over 65. I always used age-adjusted figures as Florida has the second oldest state population. Failing to adjust for age gives a highly distorted picture. 

Once you make the proper adjustment, the Florida death rate is comparable to California and much better than New York. Whether intended as a meanspirited false accusation or just an older person losing his grip, not refuting the allegation could harm the Florida governor. 

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The Sunshine Boys

We’ve had the midterm elections, and it’s time to comment. Unfortunately, we’re a week’s end, and we still need to find out who controls the Senate and the House. As I feared, the most incompetent administration since Buchanan could hold the executive and legislative branches for two more years. This lack of resolution indicates how hard it is for the government at any level to do things in a timely fashion.

This outcome would allow Biden to pass Lincoln’s predecessor in the all-time presidential dud rankings. I can almost hear the media cheering on the new champion. Given his past performance, he’s up to the challenge. After all, at his news conference, he was asked if he would do anything different in the future, and he replied, “nothing.”

Biden claims he won a significant victory and has all but announced his reelection bid. The fact he will be 82 in 2024 gives new meaning to the old geezer.

It brings to mind Neil Simon’s play, the Sunshine Boys” about a hugely successful vaudeville act. The two performers hated each other but needed each other to succeed. Brought back in old age to perform together, the dislike and need were still present.

No matter how much they loathe each other, Joe Biden and Donald Trump need each other to thrive. The prospect of a 2020 rerun is the only justification for either to lead their party.

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A Must Battle for 2024

If you expect a post dealing with the upcoming mid-terms, forget it. With less than a week to go, if people continue to support the most incompetent administration since Buchanan, nothing I can say now will change minds. I’ve given chapter and verse of Biden and his friend’s ability to screw up everything. Either the administration, with the all-out support of its media allies, gets two more years of total government control or common sense prevails. With millions of people already voted, it’s time to move on. 

While not the central issue in this election, one problem is increasingly coming to the forefront, the utter failure of our public K-12 education system. Parents observed the performance of public school systems during the pandemic and didn’t care for what they saw. The lack of in-person learning and perceived indoctrination led Glenn Youngkin’s surprise gubernatorial win in Virginia. 

The N.A.E.P.’s national assessment confirmed the worst fears of parents. Our kid’s lost substantial ground during the pandemic. If not made up, kids not learning to read or do the math properly may never catch up. Of course, this deficit falls hardest among those already in challenging circumstances.

Learning loss is evident in those losing the most in-person schooling. Public schools, both traditional and charter, were more likely to be remote. On the other hand, Catholic and other private schools were mostly open. The latter group lost little, if any, ground: 

The Swedish experience shows school closures were unjustified and keeping them shut unnecessarily. The Swedes, following the data, refused to close their K-12 schools. This courageous stand resulted in no learning loss.

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