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James Rosen: Bill Buckley and the Death of Trans-Ideological Friendships

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As we survey the toxic environment in which we are soon to elect the forty-fifth president of the United States, many of us wonder: Why? Why is it this way?

 writes: As we survey the toxic environment in which we are soon to elect the forty-fifth president of the United States, many of us wonder: Why? Why is it this way?

The partisan among us will cite one of the two major-party nominees and blame him, or her, for overtaxing the system with his, or her, singularly odious baggage.

Economists and political scientists, less interested in the specific than the general, will point, perhaps more accurately, to a confluence of developments over time – the corrosion of public trust after Vietnam and Watergate, Supreme Court rulings on election laws, the twin apocalypti of globalization and the digital revolution – as the decisive factors shaping our modern political culture, with its unbearably heavy traffic of nasty primary challenges, leadership upheavals, scandals, hacks, leaks, attacks, and – gridlock.

To these explanations, I propose adding another, imparted to me by an unlikely source: Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Making conversation at one point, I asked Kerry if he had ever met one of my literary heroes. ‘Mr. Secretary, did you know William F. Buckley?’ The answer – and its forcefulness – surprised me: ‘I loved Bill Buckley.'”

We were on his first foreign trip as America’s top diplomat, in February 2013, with the traveling press corps enjoying an off-the-record wine-and-cheese event with the secretary in Cairo (to disclose this story on-the-record, I later sought and received permission from the State Department). Making conversation at one point, I 1477403983115asked Kerry if he had ever met one of my literary heroes. “Mr. Secretary, did you know William F. Buckley?”

[Order James Rosen’s book “A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century” from Amazon.com ]

The answer – and its forcefulness – surprised me: “I loved Bill Buckley.” Who knew that for the founder of National Review, the godfather of the modern conservative movement, a legendary liberal from Massachusetts harbored “love”? Why was that? I asked. Kerry resorted to Socratic Method. “Do you know who his best friend was?”

Now for those well versed in the Buckley canon, in whose ranks Kerry seemed to count himself, this amounts to a trick question.

The Buckley family and some outside observers – including this one – would cite Evan (“Van”) Galbraith, Buckley’s Yale classmate, sailing crewmate, and longest-standing friend.

[Read the full text here, at Fox News]

A graduate, also, of Harvard Law School, Galbraith would go on to serve as a Wall Street banker, chairman of the National Review board of trustees, President Reagan’s ambassador to France, and president of Moët & Chandon.

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“Buckley’s maintenance of “trans-ideological friendships” in his life reflected what some have called a genius for friendship.”

The last eulogy ever published by WFB, a supremely talented eulogist, was for Van, his friend of sixty years. Indeed, when WFB marked his eighty-second, and final, birthday, Van was one of two friends on hand, having just completed his thirtieth radiation treatment for cancer, with only months left for both men to live.

[Read the full story here, at Fox News]

In the public imagination, however, the distinction is usually reserved for John Kenneth Galbraith (no relation), the Keynesian Harvard economist who served as President Kennedy’s ambassador to India, and who coined some enduring terms in the American political lexicon (e.g., “the affluent society,” “conventional wisdom”).

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“WFB and Galbraith had met on an elevator ride in New York’s Plaza Hotel, escorting their wives to Truman Capote’s famous masked ball, the ‘Party of the Century,’ in November 1966. Buckley confronted Galbraith, right there in the elevator, about why he had tried to discourage a Harvard colleague from writing for National Review. ‘I regret that’ said Galbraith.”

This Galbraith, a skiing buddy of Buckley’s during annual retreats with their wives to winter homes in Gstaad, Switzerland, conducted the more public friendship with the era’s leading conservative. With unmatched wit and erudition, and equal instinct for the rhetorical jugular, they debated on college campuses, on the set of NBC’s “Today Show,” and of course on Buckley’s own show “Firing Line,” where Galbraith made eleven lively appearances. Read the rest of this entry »

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Origin of the Family Pet: 15,000 Years Ago, Probably in Asia, the Dog Was Born 

Where do dogs come from?

James Gorman writes: Gray wolves are their ancestors. Scientists are pretty consistent about that. And researchers have suggested that dogs’ origins can be traced to Europe, the Near East, Siberia and South China.

“It’s really great to see not just the sheer number of street dogs, but also the geographic breadth and the number of remote locations where the dogs were sampled.”

— Greger Larson of Oxford University, who is leading an international effort to analyze ancient DNA from fossilized bones

Central Asia is the newest and best candidate, according to a large study of dogs from around the world.

Laura M. Shannon and Adam R. Boyko at Cornell University, and an international group of other scientists, studied not only purebred dogs, but also street or village dogs — the free-ranging scavengers that make up about 75 percent of the planet’s one billion dogs.

Dr. Shannon analyzed three different kinds of DNA, Dr. Boyko said, the first time this has been done for such a large and diverse group of dogs, more than 4,500 dogs of 161 breeds and 549 village dogs from 38 countries. That allowed the researchers to determine which geographic groups of modern dogs were closest to ancestral populations genetically. And that led them to Central Asia as the place of origin for dogs in much the same way that genetic studies have located the origin of modern humans in East Africa.

[Read the full story here, at The New York Times]

The analysis, Dr. Boyko said, pointed to Central Asia, including Mongolia and Nepal, as the place where “all the dogs alive today” come from. The data did not allow precise dating of the origin, he said, but showed it occurred at least 15,000 years ago. They reported their findings Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read the rest of this entry »


Who’s the Boss? Hitachi Looks to Promote Artificial Intelligence 

Japanese electronics maker Hitachi said it has developed a new artificial intelligence program that will enable robots to deliver instructions to employees, improving work efficiency.

Jun Hongo reports: Hitachi Ltd. is looking to promote artificial intelligence to management.

The Japanese electronics maker said it has developed a new artificial intelligence program that will enable robots to deliver instructions to employees based on analyses of big data and the workers’ routines.

“The AI automatically analyzes the outcome of these new approaches, and selects processes which produce better results and applies it to the next work order.”

“Work efficiency improved by 8% in warehouses with the new artificial intelligence program, compared to those without them,” a Hitachi spokeswoman said. “The program can examine an extremely large amount of data to provide the most efficient instruction, which is impossible for human managers to handle.”

Hitachi last month unveiled a fast-moving two-armed robot which it says may replace humans in performing basic functions like retrieving items in warehouses. Read the rest of this entry »


Cuckoo Bananas MSNBC Panel Wants Starbucks to Write ‘White Supremacy is the Organizing Principle of America’ on Cups

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Soopermexican posts: After years of whining that we need to have a “conversation about race,” the morons on the Melissa Harris Perry show started whining that Starbucks’ idiotic attempt STAMP-panic-red-250to start a conversation was too “privileged.” You know what they would prefer? That they write “white supremacy has been the organizing principle of America since it’s founding.”

[See the VIDEO here, at The Right Scoop]

I can’t imagine believing such a horrible thing and wanting to be a part of such a country, but they’re able to pretend they like American while saying this kind of stuff….(read more)

 

The Right Scoop


Guns for Women on Campus Make Sense

A group of local public school teachers from nearby schools use rubber training guns as they practice proper firearms handling during a teachers-only firearms training class offered for free at the Veritas Training Academy in Sarasota, Florida January 11, 2013. The December 14 tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has sparked a national debate about whether to arm teachers, prompting passionate arguments on both sides. REUTERS/Brian Blanco (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS EDUCATION)

Students — even those who are licensed gun owners — are systematically disarmed at the college gates and told to rely on campus security guards, who rarely stumble upon a rape in progress, and call boxes to protect themselves s-e-cuppagainst sexual assaults. And when they are attacked, despite these supposedly good security systems, they are told to rely on college administrators and a jury of their peers to mete out justice. How is this responsible?

S.E. Cupp writes: As the nation contemplates better ways to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, legislators and college administrators alike have recently offered some mind-bogglingly dumb ideas.

One of them is California’s new requirement that students at state schools sign consent contracts before (and during!) sexual intercourse to avoid any confusion — as if most rapes are the result of mere miscommunications.

Others insist that holding fast to the time-honored but totally ineffective tradition of adjudicating sexual assaults within the university instead of in courts of law (as if they are student council issues instead of crimes) is the best way to protect the colleges, er, the rape victims.

“As a woman and a gun owner, I’ve never understood why there wasn’t more overlap between the gun rights groups and feminists. On abortion, the feminists are clear: No man is going to tell a woman what to do with her body, or even that of her unborn child…”

While there are certainly problems on campus that need addressing, binge drinking among them, the Now that an official Harvard study confirms what we've been saying, and what other studies have shown, all these years, will gun-control advocates get the message, and admit their policies are a failure? Or will they double down, and continue to advocate the same dishonest anti-gun agenda?obvious solution to make an unsafe environment safer is to give students a fighting chance to fend off attackers. That means allowing them to be armed.

It might not surprise you to learn that guns are banned on most college campuses; most are so-called “gun free zones” (that somehow criminals with guns manage to penetrate).

But many colleges, including my alma mater, Cornell University, also ban knives, stun guns and pepper spray, leaving young women (and increasingly young men) with only their hands to defend themselves in the case of an attack.

“…But when it comes to rape–on college campuses or anywhere else for that matter–feminists are perfectly comfortable allowing men — in particular Democrats in Washington — to tell them how they can and cannot defend themselves.”

Students — even those who are licensed gun owners — are systematically disarmed at the college gates and told to rely on campus security guards, who rarely stumble upon a rape in progress, and call boxes to protect themselves against sexual assaults. And when they are attacked, despite these supposedly good security systems, they are told to rely on college administrators and a jury of their peers to mete out justice. How is this responsible?

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With lawmakers in 10 states now contemplating campus carry laws that would finally treat college students like free citizens instead of wards of the state, the usual anti-gun voices are coming out to dismiss this fairly straightforward idea as sheer insanity.

But isn’t this about women’s rights?

As a woman and a gun owner, I’ve never understood why there wasn’t more overlap between the gun rights groups and feminists. On abortion, the feminists are clear: No man is going to tell a woman what to do with her body, or even that of her unborn child. “No uterus? No opinion,” as the saying goes. Read the rest of this entry »


Americans Should Drink More Coffee

spresso-cups-WaPo

Not only can people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might even want to consider drinking a bit more

Roberto A. Ferdman reports: When the nation’s top nutrition panel released its latest dietary recommendations on Thursday, the group did something it had never done before: weigh in on whether people should be drinking coffee. What it had to say is pretty surprising.

“I don’t want to get into implying coffee cures cancer — nobody thinks that. But there is no evidence for increased risk, if anything, the other way around.”

— Tom Brenna, a member of the committee and a nutritionist at Cornell University

Not only can people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might even want to consider drinking a bit more.

Ryan Ludwig, of Counter Culture Coffee, prepares a coffee cupping, or tasting, at the company's training center in lower Manhattan. Leslie Josephs/The Wall Street Journal

Ryan Ludwig, of Counter Culture Coffee, prepares a coffee cupping, or tasting, at the company’s training center in lower Manhattan. Photo credit: Leslie Josephs

“We saw that coffee has a lot of health benefits. Specifically when you’re drinking more than a couple cups per day.”

— Miriam Nelson, a professor at Tufts University

The panel cited minimal health risks associated with drinking between three and five cups per day. It also said that consuming as many as five cups of coffee each day (400 mg) is tied to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

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“We saw that coffee has a lot of health benefits,” said Miriam Nelson, a professor at Tufts University and one of the committee’s members. “Specifically when you’re drinking more than a couple cups per day.”

“The decision, which broke the committee’s more than 40 years of silence on coffee, was driven by heightened interest in the caffeinated beverage as well as a growing anxiety about potential health risks associated with it.”

That’s great news if you’re already drinking between three and five cups each day, which Nelson and the rest of the panel consider a “moderate” level of consumption. But you know what? You probably aren’t, Giant Coffee Cupbecause people in this country actually tend to consume a lot less than that.

“It remains to be seen whether the Department of Health and Human Services or the Agriculture Department will take the committee’s recommendations for coffee intake to heart and include them in the official dietary guidelines update…”

On average, Americans only drink about one cup of coffee per day, according to data collected by the United States Department of Agriculture. Even when Americans drank the most coffee they ever have, back in 1946, they still only drank two cups a day on average. Read the rest of this entry »


Is Income Inequality the New Climate Change?

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Jim Pethokoukis writes: If you dare question the alarming claims about income inequality made by progressives and Democrats, including President Obama, does that make you a “denier” — akin to climate change “deniers” — whose arguments should no longer be taken seriously?

In a recent post, “Yes, Rising Inequality is a Problem,” excellent economics blogger Ashok Rao is sharply critical of Manhattan Institute scholar Scott Winship. Rao describes Winship as “a representative agent of those making the best arguments that progressives overstate the costs of inequality.” I myself have frequently quoted Winship or used his careful research in my blog posts and columns. It’s also worth noting that Winship’s profile has risen dramatically recently due to his role advising House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, who may run for president in 2016.

Rao has a number of problems with Winship’s arguments, but his core criticism is that Winship sets an unnecessarily high bar for evaluating the “mountain of evidence” that rising inequality is a real phenomenon deserving of redistributive policy action. Rao:

Winship’s argument against inequality being a problem is a value judgement–a value judgement that those of us with a strong theoretical ex antecase must amass an enormous amount of high-quality, expensive, detailed evidence that rising inequality has in fact had the obvious consequences before we are allowed to even have a conversation about the subject, let alone make the case for policy changes. This does strike me as similar to some of the most sophisticated forms of climate-change denialism, which also focus not on reading the evidence we have differently but rather setting up a very different prior from the rest of us, and so redistributing the burden of proof. … Let us hope the future debate about inequality and its consequences does not mirror that on climate change.

Income inequality is an important issue deserving of honest and open debate. But if you’re worried about the issue becoming politicized and hopelessly muddied, Winship is hardly a concern. Unlike many center-right folks, he had conceded that high-end inequality likely has risen dramatically in recent decades. Winship, however, is highly skeptical of the supposed deleterious economic impact and disagrees with claims that middle-class incomes have stagnated since the 1970s.

Read the rest of this entry »


Fed up with Congress? Then help elect more Republican women

danielle-thomsenDanielle Thomsen is a doctoral candidate at Cornell University and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network. She will begin a post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University in January. This piece was published in partnership with the Scholars Strategy Network.

Danielle Thomsen writes: According to a new Gallup poll, Americans are more frustrated with Congress than ever before. In the aftermath of the government shutdown in October, who can blame them? Here is one solution for all those who are fed up with the dysfunction of Congress: Elect more Republicans.

Well, not just any Republicans. Elect more Republican women.

This may sound surprising to those who blame the GOP for the government shutdown. Yet as you may recall, a group of female senators led by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has been credited for moving beyond obstructionist politics and compromising to reach a deal to reopen the government.

Soon after the shutdown ended, the Scholars Strategy Network released a brief by political scientists Craig Volden of the University of Virginia and Alan Wiseman of Vanderbilt University showing that women are more effective legislators than their male counterparts.

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But it isn’t that simple. To maximize the effectiveness of women in office, we must focus on recruiting, training, supporting and electing more Republican women to Congress. While there is a dearth of females in Congress, Democratic congresswomen now outnumber Republican congresswomen more than three to one in the House and four to one in the Senate. Read the rest of this entry »


The New Segregation

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Kevin D. Williamson writes:  If you divided American families into six graduated income groups — poor, low-income, lower-middle, upper-middle, high-income, and affluent — and took a trip in time back to the Age of Disco, you’d find that nearly two-thirds of all American families lived in neighborhoods with median incomes in the middle two groups: lower-middle and upper-middle. Return to the present day, and you’ll find that fewer than half of American families live in middle-income neighborhoods. Progressives wringing their hands over consistently misinterpreted income figures need not go so far as Wall Street boardrooms for evidence of the economic inequality that troubles them so — they need only look next door.

Those are the findings of Kendra Bischoff of Cornell University and Sean F. Reardon of Stanford University in their recent study “Residential Segregation by Income, 1970–2009,” published by the Russell Sage Foundation. The results, if not exactly surprising, are nonetheless troubling. Neighborhoods marked by a mix of residents in the fat middle of the economic bell curve are growing proportionally smaller, while both high-income and low-income neighborhoods grow proportionally more populous. The Bischoff-Reardon study, unlike many others of its kind, does not examine households but families, meaning households in which children and their guardians are present. (A household, for U.S. Census purposes, can be anything from an extended family to a single person to six young hipsters sharing a Brooklyn loft.) That is important in that the consequences of income segregation are likely to be felt most strongly by children. Our antique Prussian factory model of education still ensures that most children’s educational options are limited by geography (the best efforts of reformers notwithstanding), and the likelihood that children will encounter peers in an organized sports league, church group, or school who are from better-off families are much more circumscribed than are the opportunities of adults to move beyond their immediate geographic horizons. The most important social habits are learned, but they are not taught; children pick them up from those around them, the same way they pick up language.

Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. disability rolls swell as jobs vanish

breadlineMILLINOCKET, MAINE — The huge mills along the Penobscot River roared virtually nonstop for more than a century, turning the dense Maine forests into paper and lifting the thousands of men who did the hot and often backbreaking work into the middle class.

But the mills have struggled in recent years, shedding thousands of jobs. Now this area, whose well-paying jobs provided an economic foothold for generations of blue-collar workers, has become a place where an unusually large share of the unemployed are seeking economic shelter on federal disability rolls. Read the rest of this entry »


The Harms Race: Hate-crime hoaxes and “counter-Trayvonism.”

Associated Press - A memorial for Delbert Belton

By James Taranto

Four “hateful text messages” appeared on the phone of a 16-year-old black student who was running for Student Peter’s Preparatory School in Jersey City, N.J. “We have NEVER and will NEVER have an (n-word) to lead our school,” read one of the messages, according to a report in the Jersey Journal:

The message went on to call President Obama by his middle name Hussein and used a racial slur in referring to Obama, a police report said. “We will never make that mistake again. Drop out right now . . .” it continued, a police report said.

Can you guess where this is going? The Journal reports that the unnamed student “sent the texts to himself, a school official confirmed last week.” (He lost the campaign for president, was elected vice president instead, and eventually complied with his own demand: “A source said he no longer attends the school.”)

This isn’t the only fake “hate crime” to come to light in the past week. Read the rest of this entry »