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Senate Dems’ Election-Year Contraception Fear-Mongering

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We interviewed Avik Roy of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity on what it’s like to start your own think tank.

Our analysis of yesterday’s Biden Executive Order on the border.

#CultureWar – Fewer and fewer things are popular across the entire political spectrum. One of these, however, is contraception. The overwhelming majority of Americans think contraception is a good thing, which is why elected officials of either party have not even tried to touch it for decades.

However, since the fight over Obamacare’s contraception mandate, to which conservatives wanted a conscience exception for religious groups, Democrats have increasingly tried to paint Republicans as somehow threatening access to contraception. In doing so, they also create deliberate confusion by calling some abortifacient drugs contraception. To be sure, some people have religious objections to contraception but we are not aware of any political group that has any illusions about the political viability of opposition to contraception. On the political and policy front, it is simply a non-issue.

This is all by way of background to S.1999, the so-called “Right to Contraception Act,” which the Senate Democratic Majority has announced a vote on. This is the oldest trick in politics: make an election-year bill titled “The Motherhood and Apple Pie Act”, include a provision that you know the opposing party will vote against, that way you can cut ads saying (cue low attack ads voice) “John Smith voted against motherhood and apple pie. Why does John Smith hate motherhood and apple pie?”

The Washington Stand, an outlet of the Family Research Council, has a good explainer why conservatives in the Senate will feel forced to vote against the act: its broad definition of contraception seems designed to cover certain forms of abortion, as well as gender transitions. “Since puberty blockers, transgender injections, and gender-related surgeries can cause sterilization, experts say the bill could be interpreted to cover them.”

As the piece puts it, correctly, “social liberals have a long history of establishing new ‘rights’ via a combination of ambiguously-worded legislation and expansive interpretation by judicial activists.” Conservatives’ prudence towards this sloppily-drafted bill is understandable.

#ThinkTank – We are always happy when a new think tank is born. In this case, it is the Abundance Institute, based in Utah. Here’s the launch video. From their website: “Fear is costing us our future. While technology holds the power to transform our economy and lives, we often throttle technological breakthroughs before they can fulfill their life-changing potential. Fueled by a mix of cultural anxieties and policy challenges, this fear-based approach risks denying humans an abundant future.” We certainly are sympathetic to these feelings and will be following their work with interest. Here’s the link to their refreshingly bare-bones website.

#Science – Terrifying fact, from academic Kevin A. Bryan: “Many folks might be surprised at the low technical level of a lot of published academic research. A good example: snowball sampling. Get a small initial sample, ask for their friends/contacts, and build the sample from there. 178000 papers on Google Scholar using this.” Of course, if you use this method to build a sample to use for statistical analysis, you guarantee that it will be non-representative and that the results of your analysis will therefore be garbage. And yet apparently this is accepted practice in many corners. And you can bet almost all of it is taxpayer-funded either directly or indirectly.

#AI – R Street’s Adam Thierer has been a prominent voice on preventing regulatory overreach when it comes to AI. Here’s his recent testimony to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee.

#FreeSpeech – The Manhattan Institute introduces new model legislation to tackle the problem of masked activists intimidating protesters. The background is the spat of pro-Palestinian protests that have too often degenerated in anti-semitic hatefests.

#Entitlements #Debt – A survey commissioned by the Bipartisan Policy Center finds over 50% of Americans lack confidence in their ability to retire when they want to and sustain a comfortable life. And no wonder. More here.

#Immigration #ElectionIntegrity More evidence, this time from the Secretary of State of Alabama, of the Federal government providing non-citizens with voter registration forms. If we want confidence in elections, practices like these are disastrous. The SAVE Act pushed by Mike Lee and Chip Roy would ban them.

#Immigration – “Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would bar children of illegal aliens, foreign terrorists, and foreign spies from becoming citizens through birthright citizenship, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.” Link. The Immigration Accountability Project comments: “The US and Canada are the last Western nations to grant citizenship based solely upon the physical location of your birth. All others require at least one parent to be a citizen or legal resident.”

#LGBT #Gender New report from Colin Wright at City Journal: the NIH invited radical gender activists to a symposium on sex and gender–and failed to invite the other side.

#Economics – Fun, interesting: Tyler Cowen picks the greatest economists of all time.

Chart of the Day

This chart of the history of US sectoral balances points to the importance of the relationship between fiscal and trade deficits, which is poorly understood by too many observers. Via Oren Cass.

Meme of the Day

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