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Social Pressure, The Enemy of Competency?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017  |  posted by John Schroeder

Responding to David French’s great piece on the Milo Yiannopoulos kerfuffle, Jim Geraghty wrote in this morning’s Jolt:

The era of social media allows us to communicate all kinds of ideas to audiences we never dreamed of reaching. Thousands of thoughts once expressed only to those within earshot of the barstool, the backyard barbecue, the office water cooler and other casual conversational hangouts can now instantly be transmitted to a global listenership. We haven’t gotten any more extreme, bigoted, controversial, weird, or twisted than generations past; we simply can express thoughts on Twitter or Facebook so all the world can see. Yes, the world would be a better place if people exercised more discretion. Yes, a lot of people have opinions that range from controversial to odious. But some employers, terrified of the social media outrage mobs, now have a wildly itchy trigger finger. Katie Nash, social-media coordinator for Frederick County Public Schools, was fired earlier this year when she corrected a student’s misspelling of “tomorrow.” The school board’s vice president said the tweet “was inappropriate and certainly created a lot of unpleasant responses in terms of other students piling on.”

We’re creeping closer to a society and an economy where holding a sufficiently controversial opinion or making a sufficiently controversial remark makes you unemployable or barely employable. This phenomenon of demanding people be fired for tasteless, dumb, or offensive social media posts inflicts an economic consequence a social “sin.” Yes, there should be consequence, but the consequence should occupy the same realm. Imagining the reverse, a social consequence for bad economic judgment, is absurd. We don’t get socially ostracized for frivolous purchases, overpaying, a tanking stock, or agreeing to attend that timeshare sales pitch. A social action should bring a social reaction – i.e., people responding, “your belief is nonsense.”

This fire-the-controversial impulse dramatically changes the yardsticks for hiring someone to do a job. Schilling’s opinion on transgender bathroom use didn’t really change whether he’s good at announcing a baseball game. But in this new world of social-media outrage mobs, the employer’s criteria stops being, “who can do this job best?” The criteria becomes, “who can do this job best without causing any heartburn, headaches, or potential public relations problems because of their thoughts and opinions expressed outside the workplace?” This is a golden economic era if you’re just barely good enough and thoroughly boring.

What is illustrated here is the power of social pressure, and the amplification of it that social media provides.  As Geraghty is pointing out it is becoming the enemy of actual competency.  That fact has consequence far beyond employment. Continue Reading


Counselor To The President Kellyanne Conway On The Stand-up Of The Administration

Tuesday, February 21, 2017  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway joined me this morning to talk about the first month of the presidency of Donald Trump and the road ahead:




HH: Let me give you some criticisms, though. Why haven’t we fired the U.S. Attorneys? They are all Obama appointees. They’re acting replacements, even if you haven’t got nominees lined up, would-be careerists. Why hasn’t he, a man of will, done that, Kellyanne Conway?

KC: Oh, the President makes those decisions in concert, I assume, with his Attorney General, who’s relatively new to the job, took way too long to get the great Jeff Sessions confirmed, frankly. And I’m sure that they’re evaluating different situations in staffing up and deciding who stays and who goes. I think it was very bold of President Trump to relieve Ms. Yates of her duties when it became very apparent that she was not going to support him on one of his early executive orders.

HH: Oh, I agree. There are lots of…

KC: And you know, that’s how it has to be, and it happened again this week with somebody else on the National Security space where critical of the President and his family, you know, the First Family in a private meeting. But obviously, people were, people also in attendance in that meeting were disturbed that the space and time would be spent criticizing the President’s family rather than really trying to…

HH: Hey, I just want him to do, there are sleeper cells of Obama appointees throughout this government who are in political jobs. They’re not civil servants, and I want them, I really want them gone yesterday. And then, this the most important thing, Kellyanne. 18 Circuit Court of Appeals vacancies, 91 district court, 16 Court of Claims, 2 U.S. Courts of International Trade. If people are nominated, they can be recessed appointed on March 21st when the Congress goes away. If the Congress is going to slow roll every one of our judges, then I’m sure Donald Trump has got a great team reviewing these – Leonard Leo, and you’ve got a great White House Counsel in McGahn, and a bunch of great people at Justice led by Jeff Sessions.

KC: Yes.

HH: If they’re nominated, they can be recess appointed. Will we get some nominations by March 21st?

KC: The goal is to move pretty quickly on all these judges, and it’s something the President ran and on won on, frankly. If Neil Gorsuch is his first major nomination, obviously, to the United States Supreme Court is any indication, then you’re going to see strict constructionist kind of people who adhere to the Constitution, not making things up as they go along, men and women of academic credentials of judicial caliber and temperament. You’re going to see them nominated in quick succession. It’s actually a very big part of the discussions here. You talked about some of the outside groups and individuals of great esteem – Leonard Leo, Heritage Foundation have been incredibly helpful in giving advice as appropriate. And then of course, here inside, the White House Counsel’s office is such a busy place, and it’s busy in large part because we see all these vacancies. We know it’s incredibly important to keep our eye on the third branch, the independent branch, so that we have men and women there who are not trying to make things up as they go along, don’t have a political axe to grind or an ideology to promote. We saw what happened in the 9th Circuit recently, and so this is something that I think was talked about, a sleeper issue, for candidate Trump. He actually put together a list at the Supreme Court level of 21 men and women, and amended that list in October or so, September or October, and then had additional names, one of which was Neil Gorsuch. The idea that Hillary Clinton put forth an ideology or litmus test but never really named in that way really helped President Trump. So you can see that trickling down to the circuit and district court levels as well. We’re going to move very quickly on that.

HH: Now, so I’m going to use this opportunity to lobby. There was a 2014 decision, NRLB V. Noel Canning that said the President can’t use the recess appointment power when the Senate’s not actually in recess. It actually has to be in recess of a sufficient length. I think if you nominate the deputy secretary of State, the deputy Secretary of Defense, the undersecretary for policy at DOD, the P at State, a solicitor general, perhaps, that might be of particular interest to you, they can all be recess appointment on March 22nd. Have you talked about that? Would you push that, because we’ve got to stand up this government, and Senate Democrats are not going to do anything to assist us in getting going.

KC: Everything’s on the table. All of that is being discussed, Hugh. And you make some excellent points. You’re right about the Democrats. I mean, to see sort of congenital, presumptive obstruction and negativity is very concerning, because it just means that the government can’t function fully, and that they’re obstructing regardless of who the individual is that’s being considered, regardless of the post that needs to be filled. And it’s very frustrating You see a record number of cabinet nominees being obstructed, and they’ve attempted to humiliate them. So far, all but one have gotten through. And it’s just, we need a government that functions. We still don’t have the Commerce Secretary approved. We don’t have Agriculture. We don’t have HUD. We don’t have any number, and some of the others are new, just in the last week or so.

Senator Tom Cotton On Appointment of General McMaster As National Security Adviser To President trump

Tuesday, February 21, 2017  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Senator Tom Cotton joined me this morning to discuss the appointment of General McMaster to his new job as National Security Adviser to President Trump:



Hugh Hewitt on MSNBC w/Steve Kornacki

Monday, February 20, 2017  |  posted by Duane Patterson

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