Each semester, The American Spectator holds its college essay contest, an opportunity for undergraduates to show their writing skills and sound off on a pressing issue. Our most recent topic, “The pros and cons of binge drinking,” elicited this essay by an up-and-coming student from Hillsdale College.
A paintball playing field, a lawn-care business, a pet-grooming service, pre-mixed jars of ingredients for making pastries, a smoothie store in a school cafeteria, and an online jewelry collection: All of these businesses were founded by teenage entrepreneurs who showed up at an April dinner in New York honoring the 25th anniversary of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a group dedicated to getting low-income kids interested in business. The thought of becoming a real entrepreneur can be thrilling for children accustomed to play money. But the reality is tough. Kids have to learn real responsibility and make sure they have insurance and pay taxes. NFTE (pronounced “nifty”) is there to help, from providing small start-up loans, to getting vendor licenses, to hosting 80-hour “mini-M.B.A.” classes in high schools that teach students about supply and demand, cost/benefit analysis, record-keeping, the present and future value of money, advertising and marketing, and working with suppliers. The value of its programs have been touted by entrepreneurs ranging from cosmetics creator Bobbi Brown to Internet pioneer Steve Case to rap artist Sean Combs.
When the Democratic Senate killed every one of President Obama’s gun-control proposals on April 17, the next day’s New York Times featured two revealing stories. The first was a front-page “news analysis” by reporter Jennifer Steinhauer, which carried the headline “Gun Control Effort Had No Real Chance, Despite Pleas.”
I could have told them that months earlier. Even if the Senate had passed a bill, it would have had to get through the Republican-controlled House. But the effort’s futility was apparently news to Steinhauer, who for days had been filing suspenseful reports with headlines like “Centerpiece of Gun Bill Remains in Doubt,” “Threat to Block Debate on Guns Appears to Fade in Senate,” and even, on the day of the vote, “Senate Sets Flurry of Crucial Votes on Gun Measures.” How could they have been crucial if the outcome was predetermined?
Most striking, though, was this passage:
At a moment when the national conversation about how best to stem the menace of guns in the wrong hands seemed to have shifted, it turned out that the political dynamic had not.
James Taranto deals with a basic human problem (“Journalism That Dare Not Speak Its Name,” TAS, April 2013): bias, agenda, worldview, paradigm, ultimate concern, religion, excuse for living. He handles Pexton’s covert “reporter” about as well as can be expected, given the secrecy complication. Unfortunately, that “reporter” gets away with straw manning conservatives as having the same bias as Leftists: fairness, i.e. equality. Well, whose “equality”? John Rawls was very clever. He reduced justice to fairness and put right ahead of good. A leading academic. A sophist maybe?
12 May 2013
Reginald Wormwood, Esq.
Wormwood Consulting, Inc.
1600 K Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
My dear Wormwood,
You take me to task for spending too much time on hatred, and I do believe you’re right! As pleasing as hatred might be, we mustn’t forget all the other little virtues that make the world go round.
Let’s start with the opposite of hatred. No, that’s not love, since love and hatred may resemble each other, two extremes that often seem to touch. A love affair can turn into hatred and back again in a day, even in an hour. The opposite of hatred is rather the milquetoast virtue of indifference, the act of simply not caring, perhaps not even noticing. We win more souls through indifference than through hatred.
April is no more and on comes May with good news for Our President. Just as sequestration began to bite, Holy Islam’s barbigerous inmates, incarcerated in tropical Guantanamo with all expenses paid, have gone on a hunger strike! At least half of the boys have given up solid foods, even desserts! Many are not even brushing their teeth, and some are refusing to flush the toilet. What does it all mean? Considerable savings for the federal government, and a big help with sequestration for our Muslim-educated president.
New York Magazine
An innocent headline by the editors of this family publication drives Miss Maureen O’Connor, writer in residence at New York Magazine, into frenzies of libidinous outrage while alone and at the keyboard of her laptop just below her signed picture of Erica:
“The American Spectator Is Flaccid”
by Maureen O’Connor
Conservative magazine the American Spectator has a cover story about “Sarah Palin’s Rack,” about how “the former governor has racked up an impressive record electing conservatives.” I, for one, am disgusted. If you’re going to blow your load on a sexist headline like that, the article should be about Sarah Palin’s gun rack, not some belabored metaphor about political endorsements. The Spectator wanted to be ballsy, but in the heat of the moment, the Spectator fell short. The Spectator is flaccid today. It failed to perform. It is limp. It only wishes it were a goddamn boner.
(April 24, 2013)
Margaret Thatcher’s funeral was a memorable, moving, and magnificent occasion. Obsequies for great statesmen can be tightrope walks across the divide between the temporal and the eternal. There are many conflicting pressures: past controversies, political sycophancy, private grief, and religious ritual. But this send-off produced a near perfect mixture of history and spirituality, high ceremonial and human touches. What made the occasion so special was that the great lady had chosen all the key components entirely herself.
There was, however, one moment she could not have controlled. For me and many others in the congregation, it elicited the deepest emotions of the day. As her casket was carried out of St. Paul’s Cathedral on the shoulders of military pallbearers while the choir sang Stanford’s Nunc dimittis in G, the first sight of her cortege by the crowds spontaneously produced a swelling wave of sound. It was so unexpected that those of us still seated beneath the great dome of Christopher Wren’s ecclesiastical masterpiece were startled.
While high-tech breakthroughs make business more productive and life more pleasant, progress also has a dark side. Technology designed for benign purposes can be used for ill ones too. The Clinton administration has led the way, acting as if every new computer and telephone should have a welcome mat for federal wiretappers. A 1998 American Civil Liberties Union report noted, “The Administration is using scare tactics to acquire vast new powers to spy on all Americans.”
On April 16, 1993, the White House revealed that the National Security Agency had secretly developed a new microchip known as the Clipper Chip. The press release called it “a new initiative that will bring the Federal Government together with industry in a voluntary program to improve the security and privacy of telephone communications while meeting the legitimate needs of law enforcement.” This was practically the last time that the word “voluntary” was mentioned.