NOW OUT FROM JOHN KANG: Oliver Wendell Holmes and Fixations of Manliness. Holmes’ support for free speech, Kang argues, was based on Holmes’ views of physical courage.
With all the FBI has on its plate, college basketball seems pretty trivial. But it's big business, and these schools could be in a lot of trouble.
Charles Kesler, Claremont Review of BooksAs a teenager in 1941, William F. Buckley, Jr., heard his father and Albert Jay Nock, the eloquent libertarian essayist who was a family friend, discuss politicians’ endemic failings. William Sr., his son later recalled, expressed regret for suspending his boycott of the voting booth to cast a ballot for the 1940 Republican presidential nominee. Wendell Willkie, the father asserted, had turned out to be a “mountebank.”
"Some Old Black Man," an off-Broadway play starring Wendell Pierce of “Treme” and “The Wire," and Tony Award-winner Roger Robinson, is the story of an ailing, stubbornly independent, 82-year-old Mississippi farmer who has relocated to the Harlem penthouse of his 62-year-old college professor son.
DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “It’s almost as if the dominant culture and its institutions are radically dehumanizing teenagers, and are mystified as to why some of those teenagers don’t see others as human beings worthy of respect and care,” Rod Dreher writes. “Yes, maybe Stella Morabito is right, and Wendell Berry is right, and […]
A new edition of work by the American poet Wendell Barnes draws its slow-moving brilliance from the stillness of natureThis column is usually reserved for new collections, but there is a reason to break this rule for Wendell Berry. It is extraordinary that he is not better known. I was on the verge of saying he should be a household name, but households have never been his thing. His selected verse, in a new edition by Penguin, is the work of an outdoorsman; it aspires to Gerard Manley Hopkins’s idea that nature is, for all the depredations, “never spent”. This is poetry to lower blood pressure, to induce calm.Berry’s gift, as a Kentucky farmer and as a writer, is to root himself as a tree might – not to commandeer nature but to cherish it. I do not think it fanciful to see these poems as a form of manual labour – of necessary work. The title poem – his best known – is, at the same time, a secular prayer. The language is slightly churchy, which might not be to everyone’s taste, although there is pleasure in seeing church and meadow come together harmoniously. Berry repeatedly finds a remedy in nature, yet never comes to it in quite the same way. Continue reading...
Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, “The Western democratic system is hailed by the developed world as near perfect and the most superior political system to run a country,” mocked China’s official new agency. “However, what’s happening in the United States today will make more people worldwide reflect on the viability and legitimacy of such a chaotic political system.” There is a worldwide audience for what Beijing had to say about the shutdown of the U.S. government, for there is truth in it. According to Freedom House, democracy has been in decline for a dozen years. Less and less do nations look to the world’s greatest democracy, the United States, as a model of the system to best preserve and protect what is most precious to them. China may be a single-party Communist state that restricts freedom of speech, religion and the press, the defining marks of democracy. Yet Beijing has delivered what makes the Chinese people proud - a superpower nation to rival the mighty United States. Chinese citizens appear willing to pay, in restricted freedoms, the price of national greatness no modern Chinese generation had ever known. The same appears true of the Russian people. After the humiliation of the Boris Yeltsin era, Russians rallied to Vladimir Putin, an autocrat 18 years in power, for having retrieved Crimea and restored Russia to a great power that can stand up to the Americans. Consider those “illiberal” democracies of Central and Eastern Europe — the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Hungary. To preserve their national character and identity, all have chosen to refuse refugees from Africa and the Middle East. And if this does not comport with the liberal democratic values of the EU, so be it. President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that if the French had voted at the time Britain did, for Brexit, France, too, might have voted to get out of the European Union. Why? One reason, and, no, it’s not the economy, stupid. It is the tribe. As the English wished to remain English, and voted to regain control of their borders, so the French wish to remain who they were and are — whether ruled by a Louis XIV, Napoleon, General de Gaulle or the Fifth Republic. In these countries, the common denominator is that the nation comes first, and that political system is best which best protects and preserves the unique character of the nation. Nationalism trumps democratism. Recall. Donald Trump was not elected because he promised to make America more democratic, but to “make America great again.” As for the sacred First Amendment right to democratic protest, Trump got a roaring ovation for declaring that NFL players who “take a knee” during the national anthem should be kicked off the field and off the team. Circling back to the government shutdown, what, at root, was that all about, if not national identity. The Democrats who refused to vote to keep the government open did not object to anything in the Republican bill. They objected to what was not in the bill: amnesty for the illegal immigrants known as “dreamers.” It was all about who gets to become an American. And what is the divisive issue of “open borders” immigration all about, if not the future ethnic composition of the United States? Consider a few of the issues that have convulsed our country in recent months. White cops. The NFL players’ protests. Desecration and removal of statues of Columbus, Lee, Jackson. The Charlottesville battle of antifa versus the “alt-right.” The “s—-hole countries” crack of the president. The weeklong TV tirade of rants against the “racist” Trump. Are they not all really issues of race, culture and identity? On campuses, leftist students and faculty protest the presence of right-wing speakers, whom they identify as fascists, racists and homophobes. To radicals, there is no right to preach hate, as they see it, for to permit that is to ensure that hate spreads and flourishes. What the left is saying is this. Our idea of a moral society is one of maximum ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, and, in the burying of the old wicked America, and the creation of a new better America, we will not accord evil ideas equal rights. In the old rendering, “Error has no rights!” That fifth of mankind that is Islamic follows a similar logic. As there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet, why would we allow inside our societies and nations the propagation of false faiths like Christianity that must inevitably lead to the damnation of many of our children? “The best test of truth,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes, “is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” But in our world, more and more people believe, and rightly so, that truth exists independent of whether people accept or reject it. And there are matters, like the preservation of a unique people and nation, that are too important to be left to temporary majorities to decide.
Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Earlier this week, the LA Times reminded its readers that California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. Specifically, when using the Census Bureau's most recent" Supplemental Poverty Measure" (SPM), California clocks in with a poverty rate of 20 percent, which places it as worst in the nation. To be sure, California is running quite closely with Florida and Louisiana, but we can certainly say that California is a top contender when it comes to poverty: This continues to be something of a black eye for California politicians who imagine themselves to be the enlightened elite of North America. The fact that one in five Californians is below this poverty line doesn't exactly lend itself to crowing about the state's success in its various wars on poverty. Many conservative sites have seized on the information to say "I told you so" and claim this shows that "blue-state" policies fail. One should be careful with this, of course, since there are plenty of red states in the top ten as well. Moreover, some blue states, like Massachusetts, are doing moderately well by this measure: In the realm of political punditry, though, it matters a great deal whether one is using the regular poverty measure, or the SPM. For one, in the regular poverty measure, California ranks better than Texas, and leftists love to use the standard poverty rate to talk about how truly awful Texas and other red states are. The Supplemental Poverty Measure allows Texans to talk about how awful California is. If we're going to use census data to guess the prevalence of low-income households, though, the SPM is greatly superior to the old poverty rate. There's a reason, after all, that the Census Bureau developed it, and the Bureau has long warned that poverty rates using the old measure don't make for good comparisons across state lines. The old poverty measure was a far more crude measure that did not take local costs into account, did not include poverty-assistance income, and basically ignored what can be immense differences in the cost of living in different locations. Many commentators often love to note how the median household income in many red states are below the national average — but then conveniently ignore how low the cost of living is in those places. The SPM, on the other hand, takes into account the costs of "food, clothing, shelter, and utilities, and a small additional amount to allow for other needs" It includes government benefits, but also subtracts taxes. (A full explanation is here.) The end result shouldn't really be all that surprising: once we take into account the actual cost of living, including taxes, we find that poverty is actually quite high in California. How to Alleviate Poverty There are only two ways to reduce poverty and increase the standard of living: Increase household income Lower the cost of living Poverty can be alleviated by simply increasing income. Or it can be done by simply reducing the cost of living. Ideally, both things happen at once, and fortunately, that's usually how it works. The greatest reductions in global poverty have come about due to the spread of capital and industrial production methods. This is because better and more widespread use of capital leads to two things: 1. It increases household income by increasing worker productivity. That is, each worker can produce more stuff of higher value. This means each worker can take home a higher income. 2. When we produce more stuff more quickly, that stuff becomes more affordable. Thanks to labor-saving and more efficient machinery, for example, fewer people can make more cars more quickly. In turn, more people can afford more cars because cars are more plentiful, and less expensive. Over time, more people can buy more stuff at lower prices, thus increasing their standard of living. Even better, thanks to modern capital, those people can also produce more during the hours they work, making it possible to buy even more stuff. Both pieces work together to increase living standards. One of the biggest problems California is facing right now, though, is that government interventions in the marketplace are making it harder and harder to produce more stuff, thus driving up prices. The end result is a higher cost of living, and thus more poverty. Kerry Jackson at The LA Times notes: Further contributing to the poverty problem is California’s housing crisis. More than four in 10 households spent more than 30% of their income on housing in 2015. A shortage of available units has driven prices ever higher, far above income increases. And that shortage is a direct outgrowth of misguided policies. “Counties and local governments have imposed restrictive land-use regulations that drove up the price of land and dwellings,” explains analyst Wendell Cox. “Middle-income households have been forced to accept lower standards of living while the less fortunate have been driven into poverty by the high cost of housing.” The California Environmental Quality Act, passed in 1971, is one example; it can add $1 million to the cost of completing a housing development, says Todd Williams, an Oakland attorney who chairs the Wendel Rosen Black & Dean land-use group. CEQA costs have been known to shut down entire homebuilding projects. CEQA reform would help increase housing supply, but there’s no real movement to change the law. Extensive environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions make energy more expensive, also hurting the poor. By some estimates, California energy costs are as much as 50% higher than the national average. Jonathan A. Lesser of Continental Economics, author of a 2015 Manhattan Institute study, “Less Carbon, Higher Prices,” found that “in 2012, nearly 1 million California households faced … energy expenditures exceeding 10% of household income. In certain California counties, the rate of energy poverty was as high as 15% of all households.” A Pacific Research Institute study by Wayne Winegarden found that the rate could exceed 17% of median income in some areas. It is increasingly becoming common knowledge that California is notoriously bad in terms of the cost of housing. Every time a new "top ten" list of least-affordable housing markets is published, California cities often dominate the top of the list. In this list, for example, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Diego are all in the top ten. Housing is perhaps the poster child for the impossibility of getting ahead in California. Much of this is due to locally-based NIMBYism in which local governments actively intervene to reduce new housing construction for the sake of "preserving the character" of the neighborhoods. This is just another way of sawing: "rich people like things the way they are, so you poor people can just get lost. We're not building any more housing." These same rich people then later pat themselves on the back for voting Democratic and "doing something" about poverty. But it's not all just local regulations. As Jackson notes, environmental regulations are especially burdensome on businesses, thus driving up the cost of everything. This is especially true of housing which requires land, water resources, and visibly impacts the local environment. These regulations, mind you, are all imposed on top of already existing federal regulations, and in addition to the environmental regulations that already function with a lower burden to business in other states. Coloradans, for example, aren't exactly living in rivers of toxic sludge, in spite of having fewer environmental regulations — and cheaper housing. Nor is housing the only industry impacted by these regulations. Mountains of anti-business regulations in the state also make it harder to start new businesses, hire people, and cover the basic costs of expanding worker productivity. Fewer workers get hired. Less capital is deployed to workers. The end result is that worker productivity growth can't keep up with increases in the cost of living. Poverty results. Recognizing this vise in which the poor are caught in California, the response is always the same: more rent control, more regulations, more more costly hoops for employers to jump through. "We're taming capitalism!" the politicians tell themselves. Unfortunately, they've driven a fifth of the population into poverty in the process. But don't expect things to improve for the poor in California any time soon. California is perhaps the single biggest example in the US of how stylish locales become playgrounds for the rich, and a treadmill to nowhere for everyone else. In recent years, news outlets have carried a number of articles on how workers in silicon valley are living in their cars. Sometimes, the homeless even have jobs at the big tech firms like Facebook. Nearly all of these homeless people have jobs of some sort, though. Thanks to the ruling classes of California, though, a basic apartment is $3,000 per month, while food and gasoline aren't exactly cheap. The well-to-do tell themselves that the high cost of living is simply "the cost of doing business" for living in such a wonderful place with so many enlightened, intelligent, and beautiful people. People can go to the beach whenever they want, and life is wonderful. Of course, anyone who has actually lived in California as a non-wealthy person knows that one most certainly can't go to the beach "whenever you want." If one is working two jobs to pay the rent, a day at the beach — after sitting in traffic and paying for parking — isn't exactly a regular event. Moreover, the communities with non-sky-high rents are generally found well inland, and aren't exactly next to Malibu. This may help explain why, as the Sacramento Bee reported last year, California is exporting its poor to Texas. The beaches aren't as nice in Texas, but many of these migrants are trading in the beaches — which they never see anyway — for an affordable apartment.
The news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting married wasn't exactly shocking, but some celebrities had priceless reactions.
TAXES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Howie Carr: Whiny Ivies apoplectic over endowment tax. Ya think Harvard could afford $14 million? After all, their trust-funded professors and legacies are always loftily lecturing the rest of us about how we must pay our “fair share.” It’s an “investment in the future.” And this would be their […]
Trump’s choice for assistant health secretary for policy has a long association with the insurance industry.
The Israel Lobby : Time for a Second Edition Paul Craig Roberts A decade ago in 2007 John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and codirector of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of… The post The Israel Lobby: Time for a Second Edition appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.
Roosevelt Room 3:05 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. Very exciting -- and exciting times at the White House. A lot of things happening that are so great for our country. I want to welcome Made in America Week. This is what we call Made in America --right here, and they’re all here. Some of the great business minds, businesses geniuses. Congratulations fellas, that’s not a bad statement. (Laughter.) But they’re right here with us, and I’ll tell you it’s an honor to have them. We’re continuing our celebration of American manufacturing, and it has been something very important to us -- Made in the USA, Made in America -- and our tribute to the skill, dedication, and grit of the American worker. We’re showcasing products from all around the country that are stamped with the beautiful letters "Made in the USA." Today I’m proud to welcome three more great companies -- we’ve had quite a few wonderful companies -- a little smaller generally speaking than yours, but every company is smaller than yours when you get right down to it to it -- to the White House for really a major announcement which you’ll be hearing: Merck, Pfizer, and Corning. These three companies are announcing that pharmaceutical glass packaging will now be made in America. That’s a big step. That’s a big statement. We’re very proud of that. Thank you very much, by the way. And I know they wouldn’t have done it under another administration. I feel confident. These companies have formed a groundbreaking partnership to create thousands of American manufacturing jobs with this innovative new product. It’s an incredible product. Merck, Pfizer, and Corning are coming together to create an advanced pharmaceutical glass packaging operations, which include an immediate investment of at least $500 million and the creation of nearly 1,000 new jobs -- and quickly. The initial investment will be spread across facilities in New York, New Jersey, and a new manufacturing plant in southeast of the United States -- they’re looking right now -- which Corning will be announcing in the coming months, and there’s some pretty good competition. I know they’re going to make a great deal. Eventually, the companies here today expect a total investment in this initiative to reach at least $4 billion and create some 4,000 American jobs. And it’s very innovative on top of it. This initiative will bring a key industry to our shores that for too long has been dominated by foreign countries. We’re moving more and more companies back into the United States, and they’re doing more and more of these products. And that would have been unheard of even a couple of years ago. These companies have achieved a breakthrough in pharmaceutical glass technology that will be used to store and deliver injectable drugs and vials and cartridges. This technology is not only great for American jobs and manufacturing, it’s great for patients who now will have access to safer medicines and vaccines. It’s also great for the healthcare workers who can administer the drugs -- makes it much, much safer for them and safely without having any problems and worrying about vial-breaking, which, as I understand, is a tremendous problem that we’re not going to have anymore. I know that Secretary Price and the FDA are committed to working with innovative companies like these. We have tremendous excitement going on at the FDA. Amazing things are happening there, and I think we’re going to be announcing some of them over the next two months. We’re going to be streamlining, as we have in other industries, regulations so that advancements can reach patients quickly. You’re going to see a big streamlining -- I think you already have. To a large extent, you already have. Very proud of that. I especially want to thank Ken Frazier, Ian Read, and Wendell Weeks -- so three of the great, great leaders of business in this country -- along with all the great people at Merck, Pfizer, and Corning for believing in America and the American workers. This announcement reflects a central theme of my administration that when we invest in America, it’s a win for our companies, our workers, and our nation as a whole. Every day, we are fighting to bring back our jobs, to restore our industry, and to put America first or, as you’ve heard, make America great again. That’s exactly what we’re doing. Some people have heard that expression. It’s been fairly well-used, I think. I want to thank you all for being here, and I want to thank you for your dedication to Made in America. Really appreciate it very much, and I’d like to have you say a few words. Come on up. Thank you. (Applause.) END 3:10 P.M. EDT