Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Fight for actually banned books, Biden’s illogical travel mandate and other commentary

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Conservative: Fight for Actually Banned Books

“The 1619 Project and The Handmaid’s Tale” are “available at every prestige bookstore, every chain bookstore, and Amazon,” yet watchdogs and the media still list them as “banned,” grumbles the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney, since activists have changed “the meaning of ‘banned books’ to include any book that has been removed from a middle school curriculum or is not stocked in a high school library.” But books challenging “left-wing ideology on gender are regularly excluded from large public libraries and even Amazon, yet they never get mentioned by the ‘anti-book-banners.’ ” If they “want to argue against state government intervention in local schools, they should do so without using the word ‘banned.’ ”

Gadfly: Ron’s Unsmooth Ukraine Walk-Back

Ron DeSantis has revised his initial statements on the Ukraine war; National Review’s Jim Geraghty asks: Were remarks suggesting it’s just a “territorial dispute” simply “tailor-made” for Tucker Carlson’s audience? Is he now just doing “repair work”? Geraghty likes the Florida gov’s walk-back better than his original remarks, “but that doesn’t mean I have to pretend that the governor has handled this all smoothly.” After all, “when you’re asking for the job of commander in chief, at least in the old days, you were expected to have a coherent and well-defined foreign policy that you could articulate in a clear and direct manner.”

Pandemic lessons: Indoor Jab Mandates

“Unless we draw thoughtful lessons from our pandemic response,” warns Vitor Melo in The Hill, “we leave ourselves just as vulnerable to the next crisis.” For one: Several cities required “proof of vaccination to enter indoor venues like restaurants,” but there’s “no evidence” that the mandates worked. A study comparing cities with and without the mandates found the “policies did little, if anything, to blunt the pandemic.” “The need to do something to control the pandemic may have blinded well-meaning policymakers to the costs of the policy (including further stoking divisions among Americans and threatening the viability of businesses that were forced to turn away non-compliant customers and employees) while failing to keep people safe.” Now we know it “was almost certainly counterproductive.”

Vax beat: Biden’s Illogical Travel Mandate

Un-jabbed Novak Djokovic is missing the Miami Open, note Margery Smelkinson and Leslie Bienen at The Wall Street Journal, though “President Biden said in September that ‘the pandemic is over,’ ” because US visitors who enter by air must still be vaccinated. Same for those coming by land and ferry from Canada or Mexico — but not from the Caribbean. In early March, Florida’s gov asked the Biden administration if the tennis star could enter by boat from the Bahamas, but got no answer. The restriction “never made sense,” as “by October 2021, it was clear that the shots don’t stop viral spread” and “foreigners are no more infectious than citizens and green-card holders.” If officials believed the policy was reducing COVID spread, “they’d rush to close the seaport loophole — or to clarify that the Florida governor is mistaken. That they are ducking the question suggests they realize the policy is pointless.”

Econ watch: What the Fed Can’t Fix

Other than hiking interest rates, wonders Mark P. Mills at City Journal, “how else might we tamp down inflation?” Well, “start with energy,” where “regulatory sclerosis” hinders “all big projects,” something Congress has done “next to nothing about.” And that strangles “any industry that seeks clarity and speed from the government for projects that sustain a modern society.” Don’t forget “access to capital”: “The SVB failure will likely chill the broader funding ecosystem for startups and entrepreneurs” even as a tax break for “investments in new hardware and equipment” expires. “It would be hard to imagine governments in earlier times standing in the way of the adoption of tractors that replaced horses and helped food production skyrocket. But that’s the equivalent state of play today.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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