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Incitement to Violence 

The Left has raised America’s political temperature to the boiling point.

Seth Barron writes: Democrats may be horrified by today’s attempted massacre of the GOP House baseball team by an avowed progressive, but their incendiary demands for “massive resistance” since November have been an open plea for the escalation of words into violent action. The daily repetition that President Trump is an illegitimate usurper who stole the election through collusion with foreign powers has been a hypnotic incantation in search of an Oswald: a siren call for an assassin.

We don’t have to look too hard to find extremist rhetoric from influential people whose appeals for violence are only partially veiled. In March, former attorney general Loretta Lynch made a brief video in which she called for people “who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on and even being rolled back” to follow the example of freedom fighters of the past. “They’ve marched, they’ve bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again.” The Senate Democrats shared Lynch’s call for street action leading to bloody sacrifice on their Facebook page.

At the Women’s March on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration, Angela Davis’s appeal for militancy was met with cheers. “Over the next months and years we will be called upon to intensify our demands for social justice to become more militant in our defense of vulnerable populations,” announced Davis, who in 1970 bought the shotgun used two days later to murder a judge. “Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero-patriarchy had better watch out,” she concluded. At the same event, pop legend Madonna spoke about her fantasies of “blowing up the White House.”

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

Liberals frequently complain that conservatives disseminate propaganda to their secretly racist supporters via “dog whistle” tactics, which send the desired message in coded language or gestures. The same liberals have dispensed with high-frequency whistles in favor of a simpler message: “Treason!” Following the now-debunked February 14 New York Times report that Trump’s campaign had been in direct contact with Russian agents before the election, a late-night host commented, “It’s funny because it’s treason.” Comedian Rosie O’Donnell led an anti-Trump rally outside the White House, declaring, “He is going down and so will all of his administration. The charge is treason.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Seth Barron: ‘For Progressives, the Universe of Victims is Infinite’

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Trump v. the Border-less Left

Seth Barron writes: From illegal aliens who have committed crimes, to all immigrants, to “people of color” generally: the circle of Trump’s victims widens by orders of magnitude in de Blasio’s fantasy of total persecution. Even to ask a question about whether illegal aliens should be regarded in the same way as legal immigrants betrays an “ideological bent”; on the other hand, it is perfectly straightforward to read a legal challenge to sanctuary cities as all-out race war.

“The Left’s favorite cliché: ‘I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.'”

The mayor’s expansive definition of victimhood was echoed this weekend by Governor Cuomo, who repeated the Left’s favorite cliché: “I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.” This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word “I.”

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“This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word ‘I’.”

Last Friday, Trump announced that he would extend and expand the visa restrictions that Obama established in the 2015 Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, impose a 90-day moratorium on travel from seven countries with links to organized terror, and put a halt to the Syrian-refugee resettlement program.

USA ELECTION AFTERMATH

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

These policies fulfill campaign promises and have been clearly stated as temporary measures in order to make sure that migrants are being accurately screened. Read the rest of this entry »


John Tierney: The Real War on Science 

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The Left has done far more than the Right to set back progress.

John Tierney writes: My liberal friends sometimes ask me why I don’t devote more of my science journalism to the sins of the Right. It’s fine to expose pseudoscience on the left, they say, but why aren’t you an equal-opportunity debunker? Why not write about conservatives’ threat to science?

“Democrats outnumber Republicans at least 12 to 1 (perhaps 40 to 1) in social psychology.”

My friends don’t like my answer: because there isn’t much to write about. Conservatives just don’t have that much impact on science. I know that sounds strange to Democrats who decry Republican creationists and call themselves the “party of science.” But I’ve done my homework. I’ve read the Left’s indictments, including Chris Mooney’s bestseller, The Republican War on Science. I finished it with the same question about this war that I had at the outset: Where are the casualties?

“The narrative that Republicans are antiscience has been fed by well-publicized studies reporting that conservatives are more close-minded and dogmatic than liberals are. But these conclusions have been based on questions asking people how strongly they cling to traditional morality and religion—dogmas that matter a lot more to conservatives than to liberals.”

Where are the scientists who lost their jobs or their funding? What vital research has been corrupted or suppressed? What scientific debate has been silenced? Yes, the book reveals that Republican creationists exist, but they don’t affect the biologists or anthropologists studying evolution. Yes, George W. Bush refused federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, but that hardly put a stop to it (and not much changed after Barack Obama reversed the policy). Mooney rails at scientists and politicians who oppose government policies favored by progressives like himself, but if you’re looking for serious damage to the enterprise of science, he offers only three examples.

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“A few other studies—not well-publicized—have shown that liberals can be just as close-minded when their own beliefs, such as their feelings about the environment or Barack Obama, are challenged.”

All three are in his first chapter, during Mooney’s brief acknowledgment that leftists “here and there” have been guilty of “science abuse.” First, there’s the Left’s opposition to genetically modified foods, which stifled research into what could have been a second Green Revolution to feed Africa. Second, there’s the campaign by animal-rights activists against medical researchers, whose work has already been hampered and would be devastated if the activists succeeded in banning animal experimentation.

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Third, there’s the resistance in academia to studying the genetic underpinnings of human behavior, which has cut off many social scientists from the recent revolutions in genetics and neuroscience. Each of these abuses is far more significant than anything done by conservatives, and there are plenty of others. The only successful war on science is the one waged by the Left.

[Read the full story here at City Journal]

The danger from the Left does not arise from stupidity or dishonesty; those failings are bipartisan. Some surveys show that Republicans, particularly libertarians, are more scientifically literate than Democrats, but there’s plenty of ignorance all around. Both sides cherry-pick research and misrepresent evidence to support their agendas. Whoever’s in power, the White House plays politics in appointing advisory commissions and editing the executive summaries of their reports. Scientists of all ideologies exaggerate the importance of their own research and seek results that will bring them more attention and funding.

But two huge threats to science are peculiar to the Left—and they’re getting worse. Read the rest of this entry »


Heather Mac Donald: The Public-Health Profession is More Committed to Social Justice than to Sound Science

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Infected by Politics

For City JournalHeather Mac Donald writes: The public-health establishment has unanimously opposed a travel and visa moratorium from Ebola-plagued West African countries to protect the U.S. population. To evaluate whether this opposition rests on purely scientific grounds, it helps to understand the political character of the public-health field. For the last several decades, the profession has been awash in social-justice ideology. Many of its members view racism, sexism, and economic inequality, rather than individual Unknownbehavior, as the primary drivers of differential health outcomes in the U.S. According to mainstream public-health thinking, publicizing the behavioral choices behind bad health—promiscuous sex, drug use, overeating, or lack of exercise—blames the victim.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Communities Program, for example, focuses on “unfair health differences closely linked with social, economic or environmental disadvantages that adversely affect groups of people.” CDC’s Healthy People 2020 project recognizes that “health inequities are tied to economics, exclusion, and discrimination that prevent groups from accessing resources to live healthy lives,” according to Harvard public-health professor Nancy Krieger. Krieger is herself a magnet for federal funding, which she uses to spread the message about America’s unjust treatment of women, minorities, and the poor. Read the rest of this entry »


Surveillance-Proof

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First Apple and then Google announced that they would use encryption on new phones that wouldn’t permit them to help police execute warrants to examine data on a cell phone or other device.

For City Journal, Judith Miller writes: Law enforcement officials in New York and Washington criticized technology superpowers Google and Apple this week for selling cell phones and other devices that cannot be accessed by the government, warning that such technology jeopardizes public safety.

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Judith Miller is a contributing editor of City Journal, and an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute

In his first major policy address, FBI director James B. Comey called on Congress and the Obama administration to counter the expanding use of such devices, which he and other law enforcement officials assert endanger efforts to prevent terrorism and fight crime. Without lawful government access to cell phones and Internet devices, Comey warned, “homicide cases could be stalled, suspects could walk free, and child exploitation victims might not be identified or recovered.”

“Law enforcement officials many legitimate ways to obtain the data stored on our devices. Weakening the security of smartphones and trusted communications infrastructure should not be one of them.”

— Nuala O’Connor, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology

Comey, who became FBI director last year, said that he understood Americans’ “justifiable surprise” at former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations about U.S. government surveillance practices. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Ferguson Police Officer SHOT; Details Still Emerging…UPDATE [VIDEO]

Fateful Territory

(Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen, via AP)

(Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen, via AP)

A Ferguson police officer was shot Saturday night, according to St. Louis County Police Department spokesman Brian Schellman. The officer, a woman, is still alive, Schellman said…

Developing…

St.Louis Dispatch

UPDATE [VIDEO] NEWS 4 KMOV.COM

UPDATE: (CNN) 

Ferguson, Missouri, police officer shot, official says

A Ferguson, Missouri, police officer was shot Saturday evening, according to St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman.

The officer was shot in the arm. His injuries are non-life-threatening and he is in the hospital, said Ferguson police spokesman Tim Zoll.

Police said that the officer was shot near the Ferguson community center, an area which has not been the focus of protests over the Michael Brown shooting.

The suspect remains at large, he said.

Police from multiple forces in the area responded to the scene on West Florissant Road, set up a staging area, KMOV reported…(more) 

“…Such rhetoric only ensures that more young black men resist legitimate arrests and escalate police encounters into more fateful territory.”

— Heather Mac Donald

See Heather Mac Donald’s essay – click through to City Journal for the full article.

UPDATE: ABC News- Associated Press 

(still not much information available..developing)

Authorities said a police officer was shot Saturday night in Ferguson, Missouri, the scene of racial unrest in the wake of the August shooting death of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer.

Tim Zoll of the Ferguson Police Department told KSDK-TV that the officer was shot in the arm. Read the rest of this entry »


Heather Mac Donald on Obama’s Shameful New Low: Comparing American Cops with Islamic Terrorists

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The idea that the Ferguson riots were the result of a predatory police force tantamount to sectarian murderers in the Middle East is a poisonous calumny. The threat to America’s blacks comes almost exclusively from other blacks, not from the police.

President Obama has announced to the world that America’s police officers are as disruptive to civil society as Middle Eastern beheaders and Russian-backed rebels.

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“Obama is right about one thing: the world did take notice of the Ferguson riots, which were covered obsessively by CNN International, desperate to play up every wisp of alleged racism it could find.”

…Even a local newspaper in Salzburg, Austria, carried a fawning profile of America’s first black attorney general, Eric Holder, and his fight against police racism.

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“This last Saturday, a 14-year-old girl was killed on the streets of Paterson, New Jersey, in a drive-by gang shooting. She is the sixth homicide death in the area since a 12-year-old girl was shot in the head while riding a scooter in July…Obama and Eric Holder will have nothing to say about these homicides…” 

All the more important, then, for Obama to set the record straight. The idea that the Ferguson riots were the result of a predatory police force tantamount to sectarian murderers in the Middle East is a poisonous calumny. The threat to America’s blacks comes almost exclusively from other blacks, not from the police.

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“…In fact, the only government representatives who work day in and day out to stop the black bloodbath are police officers.”

Every year, thousands of African Americans are gunned down by other African Americans, with no attention from the media and local government officials. The homicide death rate for blacks in Los Angeles, for example, like in most other American cities, is ten times that for whites.

“Few are the departments that don’t try to forge bonds with their communities but their officers are still met with resistance, abuse, and hatred from criminals and their associates, and from ordinary people who have been fed a steady diet of anti-police propaganda.”

It’s not whites or police officers who are gunning down black Angelenos, it’s other blacks, killing in cold blood, also at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic homicide commission combined. Read the rest of this entry »


Analysis: What Should we do about the ISIS threat to the U.S.?

usarmy-imgAn Ounce of Prevention

For City JournalMyron Magnet writes: When a British-educated Muslim terrorist beheads an American journalist to display the sentiments of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria toward the United States; when photos of a Chicago office building and the White House appear on social media with hard-to-deny evidence in the pictures that ISIS is here in our own country with ill intent; when a peace-preaching imam in Canada reports that ISIS is recruiting among his flock; when an experienced U.S. senator warns of ISIS plans to blow up an American city; and when a top ex-intelligence officer cautions that ISIS terrorists have “very likely” entered the United States along with the flood of illegal 51UyW4les9L._SL250_immigrants surging through our southern border, what would a responsible president do?

[Check out Myron Magnet’s book The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735-1817 at Amazon]

Surely, for starters, he would use the National Guard to seal the border with Mexico, as a matter of national security, let alone national sovereignty. He would surely order the Transportation Security Administration to stop at once allowing illegal aliens to board commercial airliners without the usual government-issued identification, as is now reportedly happening routinely, perhaps allowing terrorists to move freely throughout the nation. Read the rest of this entry »


Beijing on the Seine

For City JournalTheodore Dalrymple writes: The French newspaper, Libération, which began as a Maoist publication, waxed indignant recently about Chinese police working alongside French cops in Paris. The article began by reminding readers about a 1974 film, The Chinese in Paris, in which Mao’s army occupied the city, and the army commander, Pou-Yen, set up his headquarters in the Galeries Lafayette. What, asks Libération, are these policemen, who in their paris-chinaown country act as enforcers of a totalitarian dictatorship, doing in the pays des droits de l’homme—“the country of the rights of man,” as the French, with more patriotism than historical accuracy, sometimes call their homeland?

[Check out Dalrymple’s book: “Our Culture, What’s Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses” at Amazon.com]

About 1.5 million Chinese tourists visit Paris each year. The French government hopes to double or triple that number soon. For the moment, at least, most of the tourists pay with cash, which makes them inviting targets for robbers. About 120 bags are snatched daily at the pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre, many—if not most—from Chinese. And the Louvre is only one place they visit. Read the rest of this entry »


The Golden Age Is Now

For all the world’s problems, human beings have never had it better

20140523-yfFor City Journal, Yevgeniy Feyman writes:  Bjørn Lomborg is well-known as a climate “skeptic.” He has frequently voiced concerns that money spent battling climate change could shift scarce resources away from more urgent global problems, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. But the most recent book by the self-proclaimed “skeptical environmentalist” does more than just voice concern; it attempts to evaluate the damage caused by a variety of problems—from climate change to malnutrition to war—and project future costs related to these same issues. In How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World?, Lomborg and a group of economists conclude that, with a few exceptions, the world is richer, freer, healthier, and smarter than it’s ever been. These gains have coincided with the near-universal rejection of statism and the flourishing of capitalist principles. At a time when political figures such as New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and religious leaders such as Pope Francis frequently remind us about the evils of unfettered capitalism, this is a worthwhile message.51u6XmYkS-L._SL110_

[Order the book How Much have Global Problems Cost the World?: A Scorecard from 1900 to 2050″ edited by Bjørn Lomborg (Cambridge University Press) from Amazon.com

The doubling of human life expectancy is one of the most remarkable achievements of the past century. Consider, Lomborg writes, that “the twentieth century saw life expectancy rise by about 3 months for every calendar year.” The average child in 1900 could expect to live to just 32 years old; now that same child should make it to 70. This increase came during a century when worldwide economic output, driven by the spread of capitalism and freedom, grew by more than 4,000 percent. These gains occurred in developed and developing countries alike; among men and women; and even in a sense among children, as child mortality plummeted. Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check: Following the Government’s Nutritional Advice Can Make you Fat and Sick

RADIUS IMAGES/CORBIS

RADIUS IMAGES/CORBIS

For City JournalSteven Malanga writes:

Last October, embarrassing e-mails leaked from New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene disclosed that officials had stretched the limits of credible science in approving a 2009 antiobesity ad, which depicted a stream of soda pop transforming into human fat as it left the bottle. “The idea of a sugary drink becoming fat is absurd,” a scientific advisor warned the department in one of the e-mails, a view echoed by other experts whom the city consulted. Nevertheless, Gotham’s health commissioner, Thomas Farley, saw the ad as an effective way to scare people into losing weight, whatever its scientific inaccuracies, and overruled the experts. The dustup, observed the New York Times, “underlined complaints that Dr. Farley’s more lifestyle-oriented crusadesshakedown are based on common-sense bromides that may not withstand strict scientific scrutiny.”

[Steven Malanga’s book Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer is available at Amazon]

Under Farley and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York’s health department has been notoriously aggressive in pursuing such “lifestyle-oriented” campaigns (see the sidebar below). But America’s public-health officials have long been eager to issue nutrition advice ungrounded in science, and nowhere has this practice been more troubling than in the federal government’s dietary guidelines, first issued by a congressional committee in 1977 and updated every five years since 1980 by the United States Department of

A British physician calls for an end to the war against saturated fat that began in the 1970s after saturated fat intake was linked to heart disease. Among the research cited is evidence that the saturated fat in dairy products may be protective against heart risk. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Agriculture. Controversial from the outset for sweeping aside conflicting research, the guidelines have come under increasing attack for being ineffective or even harmful, possibly contributing to a national obesity problem. Unabashed, public-health advocates have pushed ahead with contested new recommendations, leading some of our foremost medical experts to ask whether government should get out of the business of telling Americans what to eat—or, at the very least, adhere to higher standards of evidence.

Until the second half of the twentieth century, public medicine, which concerns itself with community-wide health prescriptions, largely focused on the germs that cause infectious diseases. Advances in microbiology led to the development of vaccines and antibiotics that controlled—and, in some cases, eliminated—a host of killers, including smallpox, diphtheria, and polio. These advances dramatically increased life expectancy in industrialized countries. In the United States, average life expectancy improved from 49 years at the beginning of the twentieth century to nearly 77 by the century’s end. Read the rest of this entry »


Heather Mac Donald: The Supreme Court’s Schuette Decision Exposes the Absurdity of Racial-Preferences Jurisprudence

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Photo by Pete Souza

For City Journal, Heather Mac Donald writes: In a victory for common sense, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in late April that voters could require colorblind admissions to their state’s public universities without running afoul of the Constitution. Several of the justices arrived at this seemingly self-evident conclusion via tortured routes, however, and Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg rejected it. Their opinions reveal the counterfactual condition of race jurisprudence today, while also unwittingly providing a rationale for knocking down academic racial preferences entirely. Sotomayor’s long, impassioned dissent opens a disturbing window into her racialized worldview and offers an example of what might be called the black-studies-ification of elite discourse.

[See Heather Mac Donald’s book: The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society at Amazon.com]

The roots of the recent decision, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights . . . By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), were planted in 2003, when the Court upheld the use of racial admissions preferences by the University of Michigan’s law school. Preference opponents responded with a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution, prohibiting Michigan’s government from discriminating against, or according preferential treatment to, any individual or group based on race, gender, or national origin. The campaign over the initiative, Proposal 2, was highly visible and hard-fought, focusing primarily on the measure’s effect on admissions to the state’s public universities. Proponents of preferences, led by BAMN, argued that Proposal 2 would drastically reduce minority enrollment at the University of Michigan and that it was a thinly veiled excuse for racism. Voters rejected those arguments and passed the initiative with 58 percent of the vote in 2006. BAMN then sued to overturn Proposal 2 as unconstitutional. The group lost in federal district court but won in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Proposal 2’s backers appealed to the Supreme Court. Read the rest of this entry »


Pascal Bruckner: Gloomy France

With 200,000–400,000 French expatriates, London has become France’s sixth-largest city.

With 200,000–400,000 French expatriates, London has become France’s sixth-largest city.

As the young and entrepreneurial flee, the country struggles to compete and pay for its massive welfare state.

For City Journal, Pascal Bruckner writes:  Not long ago, I attended a colloquium of French scientists and philosophers in Corsica, France, called “How to Think About the Future.” With few exceptions, the astrophysicists, economists, physicians, and social theorists on hand offered dark visions of tomorrow. A new financial crisis, water and grain shortages, endless war, a general collapse of ecosystems—we were spared no catastrophic scenario.

Ricky Leaver/Loop Images/Corbis

Ricky Leaver/Loop Images/Corbis

A month earlier, as it happened, I had been invited by the environmentalist think tank Breakthrough to San Francisco, where I reflected with a group of thinkers on the Schumpeterian economic idea of “creative destruction” and its application to energy production.

“…dozens of books are published in France affecting the charm of despair. The French don’t like themselves any longer—they’re one of the world’s most depressed populations…”

My experience there was quite different. Three days of vigorous and sometimes tense debates followed among advocates favoring, respectively, nuclear power, shale gas,and renewable energy sources. Defenders of threatened species had their say, too, but no one doubted in the slightest that we had a future, even if its contours remained unclear.

“…Our beloved country, in other words, has been losing not only its dynamic and intelligent young people but also older people with some money. I’m not sure that this social model can work over the long term.”

I recall an observation that Michael Schellenberger, Breakthrough’s president, made in the proceedings: “The United States’ greatest hope at present lies in shale gas and in the 11 million illegal immigrants who will soon become legal, 11 million brains that will stimulate and renew our country.” Such a comment, whatever one’s views on the specific policies that it implied, exhibited a hopefulness completely missing in Corsica—and hard to find in
today’s France, which has outlawed not only the development but even the exploration of possible reserves of natural and shale gas, and which sees every stranger on its soil as a potential enemy. France has become a defeatist nation.

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A striking indicator of this attitude is the massive emigration that the country has witnessed over the last decade, with nearly 2 million French citizens choosing to leave their country and take their chances in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the United States, and other locales. The last such collective exodus from France came during the French Revolution, when a large part of the aristocracy left to await (futilely) the king’s return. About a century earlier, almost 2 million Huguenots fled the country, frightened by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which had put Protestants on an equal legal footing with Catholics. Today’s migration isn’t politically or religiously motivated, however; it’s economic.

[Be a hero and check out Pascal Bruckner’s book The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism at Amazon, and other books at Pascal Bruckner’s Amazon Author page]

Read the rest of this entry »


Wicked, Wicked Heroin

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Addiction is a matter of persistence, not fate

Theodore Dalrymple  writes:  For five centuries before the Enlightenment, animals were sometimes put on trial in Europe. Pigs were the most frequent defendants, followed by rats, but even insects were not immune. Edward Payson Evans’s classic The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, published in 1906, begins:

It is said that Bartholomew Chessenée, a distinguished French jurist of the sixteenth century (born at Issy-l’Evêque in 1480), made his reputation at the bar as counsel for some rats, which had been put on trial before the ecclesiastical court of Autun on the charge of feloniously having eaten up and wantonly destroyed the barley crop of that province.

But the prosecution of animals was rational compared with an article published on February 11 in the New York Times. At least animals are animate; and my dog had a lively sense of guilt.

“…of course, we are not told, though evidence suggests that the average heroin addict takes heroin intermittently rather than regularly for 18 months before becoming addicted…”

The American “newspaper of record,” however, apparently believes that inanimate substances have wills and even moral purposes of their own. Perhaps one day it will hold an auto-da-fe of the worst-offending substances.

[Order Theodore Dalrymple’s book “Our Culture, What’s Left Of It” from Amazon]

The article, by Deborah Sontag, told the story of a 21-year-old woman, Alysa Ivy, who died in the small town of Hudson, Wisconsin, from using heroin. In recent years, more and more people in America, mostly young and white, have been dying in this way—most recently, the acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Why? According to the Times, the cunning and charm of heroin is to blame.

Read the rest of this entry »


Every Moment Was True

Over at City JournalMatthew Hennessey has a thoughtful essay

Philip Seymour Hoffman, R.I.P.

Philip Seymour Hoffmann as Robert Gelbart in A Late Quartet.

Philip Seymour Hoffmann as Robert Gelbart in A Late Quartet.

Matthew Hennessey  writes: Why is that when a talented and beloved actor dies, the tributes that pour forth always seem to make qualifying references to his or her “generation”? When news raced around the Internet yesterday that Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman had died of an apparent heroin-overdose at the age of 46, there it was again: He was one of the best actors . . . of his generation. It’s hardly fair to the artist—and nearly everyone seems to agree that Hoffman was an artist of rare ability—to imply that he was only one of the better ones to pop up in the last ten or 15 years. Hoffman was much better than that.

[See more of punditfromanotherplanet’s Philip Seymour Hoffman coverage here]

Philip Seymour Hoffman was orders of magnitude more talented than the other actors of his generation, who, like the well-known actors of most generations, tend to opt for the obvious over the obscure and a big paycheck over a big challenge. Most actors desire more than anything the respect that comes from making brave choices. But few have the horse sense to distinguish between a brave choice and a boring one. Fewer still have the commitment necessary to deliver on those choices. And almost none have the chops to pull off what Hoffman did in his too-short career. It’s no exaggeration to say that he was one of the greatest film actors of the last 50 years or more.

Read the rest of this entry »


President Obama’s Silly Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault is Wholly Based on a Fiction

Photo by Charlotte Cooper

Photo by Charlotte Cooper

For City Journal, Heather Mac Donald writes:  President Obama has become “acutely” conscious of the “limits of his power,”reports the New York Times, obviously sharing the president’s sense of pathos. Modern-day expectations for government have become so unmoored from common sense that a federal bureaucracy of nearly 3 million employees, erupting daily in mandates and directives, can be portrayed with a straight face as inadequate to the presidency.

[Heather Mac Donald‘s book, The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society, is available at Amazon]

Leave aside Obamacare and the unilateral Dream Act. In the last few weeks alone, the White House has alerted the nation’s schools that disciplining black students at higher rates than whites will put them at risk of a federal lawsuit and has created a new federal task force to “protect [college] students from sexual assault.” Both initiatives are based on fictions—that black students are no more fractious in the classroom than whites and Asians (despite a homicide rate among black-male teens ten times that of other ethnic groups of the same age combined), and that female college students are experiencing a rape epidemic of unprecedented proportions. Delusional or not, these directives will increase litigation, bloat already gigantic public and private bureaucracies even more, wrench schools and colleges further from their educational mission, and harden the patently counterfactual ideology of victimization.

 [More Books by Heather Mac Donald

Typical of all such churnings of the advocacy-government complex, the school-discipline and sexual-assault initiatives are drearily familiar, representing longstanding bureaucratic obsessions. But Obama’s announcement of his overstuffed sexual-assault task force for once did contain something new and noteworthy: a brief invocation of the chivalric ideal. Before examining that break from tradition, it’s worth reviewing the boilerplate that preceded it.

Read the rest of this entry »


Re-breaking the Windows

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Photo by William Avery Hudson

Mayor de Blasio’s decision to settle the NYPD lawsuit threatens the city’s triumph over crime.

Heather Mac Donald writes:  Bill de Blasio won the mayoralty of New York by running a demagogic campaign against the New York Police Department. He has now compounded the injury by dropping the city’s appeal of an equally deceitful court opinion that found that the department’s stop, question, and frisk practices deliberately violated the rights of blacks and Hispanics. De Blasio may thus have paved the way for a return to the days of sky-high crime rates.

[Heather Mac Donald‘s bookAre Cops Racist?: How the War Against the Police Harms Black Americans” is available at Amazon]

Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling against the NYPD last August was built on willful ignorance of crime’s racial reality. Scheindlin invented a new concept, “indirect racial profiling,” in order to convict the department of unconstitutional policing, despite lacking the evidence to do so. The Second Circuit Court of Appealschallenged Scheindlin’s appearance of impartiality last October when it found that she had steered stop, question, and frisk cases to her courtroom. The Second Circuit panel removed her from the case and stayed her opinion while the city pursued its appeal. Now, however, thanks to de Blasio, Scheindlin’s tendentious ruling will stay on the books (unless the NYPD’s police unions succeed in their own appeal), setting back the cause of public safety not just in New York, but across the country.

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Tattoo Le Monde

" I regret nothing"

” I regret nothing”

The French succumb to the scourge of self-mutilation.

Theodore Dalrymple  writes:  France is three or four decades behind Britain in cultural degeneration but is making valiant efforts to catch up. One straw in the wind I noticed a few years ago was the arrival of a tattoo parlor in the small town near where I live when I am in France. This alarmed me. I had mistakenly thought that the French had too much taste to go in for this form of self-mutilation.

Since then, much slippery slope has been slid down. According to a recent article inLibération, 400 professional tattooists operated in France in 2003. Now, only ten years later, there are 4,000. I doubt that any other industry has grown nearly as fast, and many may have contracted as quickly. According to one of the newspaper’s informants, if the trend continues, tattooists may soon be as numerous in France as hairdressers.

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[VIDEO] Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism

A City Journal Interview with author Charles Kesler. This interview was conducted before the 2012 election, and Kesler’s predictions about increased polarization in an Obama 2nd term are proving to be accurate. His characterization of the 100-year tradition of progressive liberalism, from Wilson, though FDR, Johnson, and now, Obama, marks a turning point for the liberal project. Running out of money, and running out of ideas (The centralized control and enlarged state power required for the ACA is right out of the 1930s) represents the unavoidable conflict with the flexible, nimble 21st-century expectations of cyber-technological-age America: the unavoidable Crisis of Liberalism.

Kesler contends that we’re seeing the fourth and final phase of Wilson-FDR-Johnson-Obama Liberalism’s, with Obama as its iconic last leader. Primarily because the movement’s century of excesses–unrealistic promises of expanded entitlements and benefits that can and will never be realized–signifies the end of an era. Liberalism’s survival will require higher taxation, more government control, more expanded power, Kesler suggests Liberalism will recede, fail, or radicalize toward a more all-encompassing socialist entitlement state. Also discussed is the “politics of meaning”, the left’s dream of a “living constitution”, and Obama’s agenda in his second term, as explored in Kesler’s 2012 book.

City Journal Video Archive


The Third Coast: From Brownsville to Tampa Bay, an Economic Powerhouse Emerges

Houston’s bustling port is now America’s most lucrative.
by Joel Kotkin
In the wilds of Louisiana’s St. James Parish, amid the alligators and sugar plantations, Lester Hart is building the $750 million steel plant of his dreams. Over the past decade, Hart has constructed plants for steel producer Nucor everywhere from Trinidad to North Carolina. Today, he says, Nucor sees its big opportunities here, along the banks of the Mississippi River, roughly an hour west of New Orleans by car.

“The political climate here is conducive to growth,” Hart explains as he steers his truck up to the edge of a steep levee. “We are here because so much is going on in this state and this region. With the growth of the petrochemical and industrial sectors, this is the place to be.” Already, some 500 people are working on the project. When completed in 2013, the plant—which is expected to process more than 3.75 million tons of iron ore a year—will create about 150 permanent jobs immediately. Another 150 are expected after a second development phase.

Nucor isn’t alone in coming to Louisiana, or to the vast, emerging region along the Gulf Coast. The American economy, long dominated by the East and West Coasts, is undergoing a dramatic geographic shift toward this area. The country’s next great megacity, Houston, is here; so is a resurgent New Orleans, as well as other growing port cities that serve as gateways to Latin America and beyond. While the other two coasts struggle with economic stagnation and dysfunctional politics, the Third Coast—the urbanized, broadly coastal region spanning the Gulf from Brownsville, Texas, to greater Tampa—is emerging as a center of industry, innovation, and economic growth…

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A New York Times writer says the GOP ignores cities. New York should say: Thank You!

English: New York, New York. Newsroom of the N...


No Longer Joseph Pulitzer’s School

A Columbia panel on Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party doesn’t even pretend to be objective

by Harry Stein – City Journal

Joseph Pulitzer, chromolithograph superimposed...

Joseph Pulitzer

“…It’s a travesty that such uniformity passes for free inquiry at a leading university, especially at a school aimed at educating young journalists—and the perpetrators of this mis-education are clearly unaware that there’s anything wrong with it. Gitlin, for one, rejects the notion that his panel might be biased, heatedly defending his choices as “serious people” with no ideological agenda. His attitude is summed up by the title of Bernie Goldberg’s splendid follow-up to his best-selling Bias, wherein he examined the mentality of today’s journalistic elites:Arrogance. “These people only talk to one another,” observes Goldberg. “They really don’t care about a Gallup poll, because they don’t care what the American people think. They only care about what their buddies in the media think.”

As it happens, a few days after the symposium, I received a fundraising pitch letter from the J-school (I’m an alum) over the signature of its dean, Nicholas Lemann. “This is still very much Joseph Pulitzer’s school,” it began. “One hundred years after its founding, students learn the craft and the values that he wanted the school to impart, and they fan out all over his city (and, more and more, the rest of the world) to do their own reporting under the supervision of a first-rate faculty.”

Still Joseph Pulitzer’s school? I don’t think so…”

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Peculiar Theory of the Day…

Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong, by Edward Conard Penguin Portfolio, 310 pp., $29.50

“Edward Conard, former managing director of Bain Capital, has a straightforward explanation for why the United States outpaced other nations in generating innovation and wealth in the decades leading up to the financial crisis. It wasn’t the result of rational Americans’ choosing pro-investment policies, he thinks, but rather a cultural accident…”

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Why the GOP candidate’s proposal to eliminate taxes on investment income falls on deaf ears

Romney’s Stock Market Problem 

by Nicole Gelinas

One puzzle about this presidential campaign is why more middle-class Americans haven’t embraced Mitt Romney’s most detailed tax proposal: his plan to eliminate all taxes on investment income for those earning less than $250,000 annually.

Mitt Romney Steve Pearce event 057

After all, Americans support innovation and free markets, two Romney planks that should fit well with a tax break for investments. The reason no one seems to care points to why the Romney campaign has struggled.

Romney’s idea is economically sound. First, it would eliminate a huge distortion in the marketplace. Right now, middle-class Americans can reap tax-free investment gains from the sale of their homes. This Clinton-era policy helped encourage people to put too much of their wealth into the residential real-estate market, and we know how that turned out.

Second, it would encourage more Americans—particularly younger Americans, who have never experienced a stock-market boom—to become long-term stock investors, something the economy needs. As Edward Conard, a former Romney colleague at Bain Capital, points out in his new book, Unintended Consequences, too many American investors choose to put their money in debt, rather than in stocks. The rush to “safe” financial instruments such as bonds creates a herd mentality that makes such investments less safe.

Romney’s idea hasn’t caught on, though, because Americans seem uninterested in putting their hard-earned savings into stock investments. And who can blame them? Anyone who reads newspapers can see that the stock market is rigged. Exchanges and other stock-trading venues favor high-speed, high-volume traders over the little guy or gal, as whistleblowers and congressional investigations have made clear. Stock trading is murky rather than clear: the term “dark pool,” Wall Street shorthand for activity that traders don’t want the public to see, says it all. Events such as the May 2010 “flash crash,” which sent the stock market plummeting 1,000 points within minutes for no real reason, have further harmed confidence…

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