Crime Pays, Contrition Doesn’t, Students Relax, Parents Misbehave

Crime pays. For about a decade Facebook has been violating an agreement it worked out with the Federal Trade Commission. Now the piper is to be paid in the form of a fine of around $5 billion. That’s a good bit below the almost $8 billion the company earned in the last quarter of 2018. As The New York Times reports, “None of the conditions in the settlement will impose strict limitations on Facebook’s ability to collect and share data with third parties…. The settlement neither bruised its bottom line nor severely restricted its ability to collect people’s data.” Or, as The Verge put it more succinctly, “Facebook gets away with it again…. Mark Zuckerberg is laughing at you…. The best … [the government] could do was so weak that Facebook’s stock price went up.”

Contrition doesn’t. Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has done the rounds of the progressives he must have on his side if he is to be the Democrat’s choice of nominee to face the loathed Donald Trump come 2020. He has accepted responsibility for what some say is discrimination by the South Bend police force against African-Americans – “I couldn’t get it done” — and proposed a plan to improve health care, education and other benefits for African-Americans, end discrimination by police and incarceration for drug offenses, legalize marijuana. And more.

Not good enough. Christine Pelosi, daughter of the Speaker of the House and a member of the Democratic National Committee, concedes that Buttigieg “has personally evolved on the issue of race”, but “It is one thing to get credit for evolution and change but it is quite another to be there viscerally.” She did not specify just what the Mayor must do to meet this new, higher standard of proof that he really, really, honest-to-goodness is less insensitive to discrimination than he was before he decided to make a run at the nomination.

Kyle Kashuv has no better luck at Harvard than Pete Buttigieg had with his fellow-Democrats. The institute of, er, higher learning is as unforgiving as the party of progressive politics. At the tender age of 16 Kashuv wrote a series of derogatory and racist screeds. Discovering the objectionable notes, Harvard rescinded its admissions offer to the then-18-year old student, despite his abject apology. Mr. Kashuv, after his screed-writing binge, had been a student at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida when 17 people were killed. He became a campaigner for federal legislation to improve school security, but within the bounds of the Second Amendment, a tale he related on his admission application to Harvard. Not for Harvard the forgiveness displayed by the New York Times, at least not to an impassioned advocate of methods for making students safer without repealing the Second Amendment and who, worse still, had been received by President Trump.

Unless It Does: When The New York Times hired Sarah Jeong as the lead technology writer for its editorial board, there was what the paper calls “an outcry on right-wing websites.” It seem these right-wing websites – there is no report of the reaction of less tainted reactors – object to tweets from Ms. Jeong between 2013-2015 in which she called white people “dogs” and groveling goblins” It seems that “Her journalism and the fact that she is a young Asian woman have made her the subject of harassment,” so the Times has had “a conversation” with her. The “young Asian woman” was 25 years old at the time of her tweets, well into the age of responsibility. If only Harvard could model itself on The New York Times, which forgives the transgressions of a 25-year-old journalist, and forgive those of a 16-year old student, Mr. Kashuv would now be preparing to expose himself to the wisdom dispensed by a university that has relieved a law professor of some of his responsibilities for joining the legal team of an unpopular defendant.

While on the subject of The New York Times, we should note its report on the woes of Wisconsin’s milk farmers who “face extinction… because “the global trade war is butchering” this key industry. Pay attention. “Mr. Trump’s trade approach has pushed many of Wisconsin’s already struggling dairy farmers to the edge…. Milk prices have fallen nearly 40% over the past five years … This has coincided with Mr. Trump’s sweeping tariffs…”. So the 5-year decline has “coincided” with Mr. Trump’s 2+ years in office, making Trump’s the first presidency with such retroactive impact, the ability to lower prices received by dairy farmers when Barack Obama was President. Even FDR, with his myriad programs to aid depression-stricken farmers, could not change (in this case, raise) the prices they received while Herbert Hoover was in office.

Making Life Better For Students: In Britain a new subject has been added to the curriculum to improve students’ mental health: mindfulness. Mental health experts will teach the children relaxation techniques, breathing techniques and other ways to “regulate their emotions” in a world of constant change. On this side of the pond, in Houston, one source of stress is to be eliminated – embarrassment at the appearance of one’s parents. The Wall Street Journal reports that some schools “are banning short dresses, sleepwear and other items parents sometimes wear into school buildings.” Parents appearing in “risqué clothes … shower caps, hair rollers, pajamas sagging pants, leggings that show the wearer’s bottom, low-rider shorts and torn jeans showing lots of skin” will be banned from school buildings. Administrators at Barack Obama Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia agree with their colleagues in Houston, “We all must model ourselves for the children,” but the school district announced that it had not approved of any policy affecting parental attire, and that the Barack Obama Elementary School directive is invalid. And in Tennessee a bill to regulate parental wear has been shelved despite a report by state representative Antonio Parkinson that a mom showed up at one elementary school in a negligee – “body parts were exposed.” Perhaps our British friends – they remain our friends despite the undiplomatic language of their former Ambassador – might lend some of the “mindfulness” instructors to the local PTAs.