Monday Edition


1. Starting to See a Pattern in California

Several Democratic politicians in California have recently fallen victim to crime, raising eyebrows over the state's approach to law and order. (Newsweek)

  • April 24: Thieves broke into the car of Rep. Adam Schiff and stole several bags.

  • April 22: San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan's security detail was attacked by a member of the public during a live interview.

  • April 21: A man broke into the official residence of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, while she was home with her family.

If you go back a little further, there are even more incidents:

  • October 2023: Oakland's District Attorney Pamela Price had her laptop stolen during an event for victims of domestic violence.

  • October 2022: Paul Pelosi, husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was seriously injured in a hammer attack at the couple’s home.

  • July 2021: Former Sen. Barbara Boxer was robbed of her cellphone near her Oakland apartment.

  • June 2021: California Gov. Gavin Newsom was assaulted during a visit to Oakland.

Critics say the Democratic Party’s soft-on-crime policies are to blame for the blue state’s comparatively high crime rates in recent years.

It does seem like some sort of tipping point has been reached as there’s been a backlash to progressive criminal justice reform in many liberal parts of the state.

  • Last month, San Francisco voters approved anti-crime measures that set minimum police staffing levels, gave officers more leeway to chase suspects and permitted the use of facial recognition technology in public safety cameras.

And the trend has extended beyond California, as other Democratically-controlled cities and states have gone tough on crime.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Many Americans are concerned about "mass incarceration" but misunderstand the reasons behind it. For example, a 2016 Vox poll found Americans think half of all prisoners are jailed for drug offenses, when in reality, it's only 15%. Meanwhile, almost 95% of inmates in state prison are locked up for violent offenses. People who thought they supported criminal justice reform are realizing that in practice it often means leniency for pretty unsympathetic characters.

2. Where Ukraine Aid Goes

Ukraine aid has started up again, and so have the arguments that the U.S. is funding foreign allies at the expense of the American people. (Yahoo Finance)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene last week after the House passed $61 billion in additional Ukraine aid: “[Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky] thanks Speaker Mike Johnson (D-Ukraine) for sending $61 BILLION of your hard-earned tax dollars to fuel a foreign war. Johnson once again passed a bill with the help of Democrats while the majority of the Republican majority voted against it. Not only is Mike Johnson a traitor to our conference, he’s a traitor to our country.”

While America First Republicans like Greene say the funds are a waste, according to an analysis from the American Enterprise Institute, most of the money will flow through the U.S. economy first.

Chart: Yahoo Finance

117 production lines in about 71 U.S. cities will produce weapons systems for Ukraine.

  • The aid is expected to revitalize manufacturing communities across the U.S., from Ohio to California.

  • $10 billion of the aid to Ukraine comes in the form of a loan (although the president has until 2026 to forgive it completely).

Bubba’s Two Cents: Some argue that supporting Ukraine is crucial for defending democracy, while others claim it's just a scheme to waste taxpayer money. However, the real discussion should center around a straightforward analysis of whether aiding Ukraine aligns with America's interests. We’ve sent over $100 billion at a time when debt and deficits are at all-time highs. But some of that money is going to U.S. communities and manufacturers, and there’s arguably strategic value to weakening a U.S. rival (Russia) without having to spend any American lives.

3. Don’t Let Teachers Unions Forget

In the wake of data showing pandemic school closures and remote learning hurt students, teachers unions are attempting to downplay their previous resistance to reopening schools. (Washington Examiner)

Last week, school choice activist Corey DeAngelis fired back at teachers unions by resurfacing their past comments and actions:

  • March 2021: United Teachers Los Angeles told its members to stop sharing vacation photos to social media after the union voted against in-person school instruction.

  • January 2021: The Chicago Teachers Union released a bizarre video of teachers protesting return-to-school policies by doing interpretive dances.

  • December 2020: The Chicago Teachers Union claimed the push to reopen schools was “rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny.”

  • Fall 2020: The National Education Association launched a teacher COVID death tracker, which would shut down months later following a shortage of deaths.

  • August 2020: Teachers unions members made their own coffins and gravestones to protest going back to school.

  • July 2020: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten endorsed strikes in response to school reopening.

Studies have found keeping schools closed longer didn’t have much of an effect on slowing the spread of COVID.

In the face of widespread criticism, many teachers union leaders, like Weingarten, have claimed they didn’t oppose reopening schools.

Last year, Americans’ satisfaction with K-12 education hit an all-time low.

Bubba’s Two Cents: When you strip out all the noise, many education debates boil down to whose interests should come first — parents, children, or educators. Teachers unions have become powerful, and it’s led them to flex their influence in ways that don’t benefit children or parents (or even teachers, sometimes). For instance, the country’s largest teachers union spends more than twice as much money on politics as it does the needs of its members.

4. A New Bill for Colleges

In response to radical Gaza War protests, two lawmakers have proposed a bipartisan bill to create "third-party antisemitism monitors" at colleges receiving federal funding. (Axios)

The bill introduced by Reps. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., and Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., would require colleges to comply or risk losing federal funding.

  • Monitors would release public, quarterly reports on the colleges' efforts to combat antisemitism.

Torres: Jewish students have told my office that they feel completely abandoned by their university administrators and they view Congress as the only avenue for accountability and safety.”

While Republicans have generally taken the pro-Israel side, some have expressed concern that Torres and Lawler’s bill goes too far and threatens free speech.

  • Conservatives also criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for suggesting students taking part in antisemitic protests would be arrested.

Bubba’s Two Cents: The right is getting a lot more comfortable with getting the government involved in fixing problems. But Republicans are also the party that’s always clamoring about how terrible and inefficient Big Government is. Do you see the problem here?

5. Bad Words

A recent survey took a look at commonly used words that are most polarizing to Americans. (Fast Company)

The top 10 from the Harris Poll:

  1. Cancel culture

  2. Underrepresented

  3. Fetal personhood

  4. Woke

  5. ESG

  6. Latinx

  7. Intersectional

  8. Conservative

  9. Gender

  10. BIPOC

Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema: “Acronyms and labels like DEI and ESG have become like dog whistles. Americans hear them and react politically instead of rationally. Part of the problem is a lack of understanding when businesses speak in code. Today, two-thirds of Americans do not have a clue what ESG is, yet many say, ‘it’s bad.’”

Bubba’s Two Cents: People don’t like overly technical and academic language because it doesn’t feel human. It’s a lesson politicians (on the left and right), corporations and the media could stand to learn, too. There’s a glut of slick, contrived messaging out there. You stand out by being natural and authentic.

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