I haven’t felt well this week that just ended, and so I’m a day late. These four things stand out.

David T. Beito, “How FDR Emasculated the Black Press in World War II,” Reason, December 27, 2023.


While federal authorities did not bring legal charges against the black press for the balance of the war, that doesn’t mean they shifted to a hands-off approach. Instead, they ratcheted up both intense monitoring and informal pressure. In the first half of 1942, FBI agents visited leading black newspapers that had carried critical stories about the federal government. Moreover, postal inspectors admonished two leading papers that the “benefits of citizenship” carried an obligation not to “‘play up’ isolated and rare instances in such a fashion as to obstruct recruiting and in other ways hamper the war effort.”

Federal officials seemed particularly upset about the articles of George S. Schuyler, an editor and columnist at the Courier. Rated as particularly offensive were his arguments that the status quo offered no hope for “liberty, equality, and fraternity” and that the “Negrophobic philosophy, originating in the South, had become the official policy of the government.” An official at the Department of Justice reacted to these statements by urging the Office of War Information to take “action” against the paper.

Malcolm Cochran,”1,000 Bits of Good News You May Have Missed in 2023,” Human Progress, December 30, 2023.


Reading the news can leave you depressed and misinformed. It’s partisan, shallow, and, above all, hopelessly negative. As Steven Pinker from Harvard University quipped, “The news is a nonrandom sample of the worst events happening on the planet on a given day.”

It’s worth going through randomly and checking on links. Many of them are impressive. Here’s one. But sadly, good news doesn’t sell as well as bad news.

Steven Calabresi, “Donald Trump and Section 3 of the 14th Amendment,” Reason, December 31, 2023.


An early draft of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment provided in effect that: “No person shall be President or Vice President, Senator or Representative, or elector of President of President and Vice President or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, or as a Member of any State Legislature, or as any executive or judicial officer who, having previously taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. (bold added by Calabresi.)

The words “President or Vice President” were deliberately edited out of the final version of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. This, together with the disqualification of presidential electors and vice-presidential elector who have engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” makes it clear that the Framers’ of Section 3 did not intend for it to apply to presidents or vice presidents who engaged in insurrection.

This impression is augmented by the fact that Section 3 methodically applies in order from the highest office to the lowest office.  Section 3 first disqualifies insurrectionist Senators and then Representatives. It then disqualifies all appointed civil or military officers; it then disqualifies insurrectionists from serving as a member of any State legislature, and it finally disqualifies in insurrectionists from serving as State executive or judicial officers.  This careful hierarchy suggests that the phrase “or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States” does not apply to the President or Vice President, but applies only to appointed federal officers.

Dave Barry’s 2023 Year in Review: Yes, the situation is hopeless,” December 31, 2023.

Opening of the article:

It was a year of reckoning, a year in which humanity finally began to understand that it faces an existential threat, a threat unlike any we have ever faced before, a threat that will wreak havoc on our fragile planet if we fail to stop it — and it may already be too late.

We are referring, of course, to pickleball.