Another Perspective

Another Perspective

The African Migration

By 5.13.15

The New York Times op-ed headline screamed: Open Up, Europe! Let Migrants In.

Last week, Philippe Legrain, a 41-year-old open-borders economist and former European Commission functionary, called upon Europe to have the “courage” to “allow people to come and go freely.” Legrain does not explain what “come and go freely” means. “Better still, diverse and dynamic newcomers can help spark the new ideas and businesses that would lift Europeans’ living standards,” he declares.

We should at this point shoo delusional Philippe out of the room, but the Times instead gives him a bullhorn and lectern.

What are Europe’s interests — and destiny? The Africans, are they migrants or invaders? What does “refugee” and “asylum seeker” mean? Are they being rescued or is something else going on? “An enclave of stability and wealth in an ocean of violence, Europe has not begun to grapple with the choices ahead,” says the Economist magazine.

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Belated Happy Mother’s Day, Stepmoms

By 5.11.15

My mother left when I was nine years old. From then on, we were raised by my dad and when he got remarried a couple years later, by my stepmom.

We were supposed to visit mom every other week, but it didn’t work out that way. It didn’t matter much. Growing up is done in the little moments. Whether you’re getting ready for bed, or just getting home from school, going to the store or just watching a TV show together—these countless, seemingly meaningless moments during which we live our lives are the times in which we bond with our parents. We hear their stories and they hear ours. We love, laugh, cry and learn together. We drive each other crazy and love each other anyway.

The parent who is away is inherently stuck with a diminished role. By definition, there are vastly fewer “everyday moments” for them and there is almost always a sense that the visit has to be something “special,” usually meaning the parent feels obliged to constantly entertain their children so they’ll want to keep coming. It’s love via the checkbook, and it’s to no avail. The relationship will be different. You can’t buy what time provides and you can’t entirely make up for the loss of it.

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Making Sense of the IRS Scandal

By 5.8.15

Two years ago this month, former IRS official Lois Lerner revealed that the agency had discriminated against scores of right-leaning nonprofits on the basis of their political beliefs. The public called for accountability and got something vaguely resembling it in the form of resignations, investigations, and congressional debates. But despite the flurry of activity, the underlying issues that contributed to the IRS scandal remain unresolved, and the agency is still firmly embroiled in the messy business of policing political speech.

It’s enough to make one wonder: two years later, have things really changed? Or could it happen again?

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Regulating Our Obesity Epidemic

By 5.6.15

Federal health officials have proclaimed a “red alert” national health crisis. We are too fat. Our diets are unhealthy. We overdose on fatty fast food. We are a nation plagued by obesity.

A number of solutions to our overweight crisis have been proposed. Medical researchers say that broad national publicity and public education about the adverse health effects of donuts and french fries will change Americans’ eating habits. I don’t think so. Fatty, salty, and cholesterol laden foods simply taste too good to give up.

Some lawyers think that expensive lawsuits against fast food restaurants will force these chains to rethink their menus and offer heart-healthy foods to their customers. But, to paraphrase a federal judge in New York who dismissed the notorious obesity suit against McDonald’s: no one forced these overweight teens to eat double bacon cheeseburgers with king size orders of fries. Instead of looking for someone to blame for being grossly overweight, they should take a look in the mirror and take responsibility for their own actions.

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Now That Took Some Balls

By 4.27.15

My friend and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Jerry Doyle tells the story of running for Congress in Hollywood as a Republican. The short version: it more or less cost him his career in TV, movies, and voice-over work in a city that is so rabidly intolerant of non-leftists that agents will sacrifice their ethics, their friendships — or at least what might have seemed like friendship — and even their own financial well-being rather than work with a conservative. (And Jerry isn’t even that conservative; he’s much more of a libertarian.)

In Hollywood these days, along with other bastions of liberal elitism, being L, G, B, or T is not just acceptable. It’s downright cool. Transgender actress Laverne Cox, best known for her role in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black (often called a “star” of the show even though her part is no more important than that of a dozen other members of the cast), was invited to Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner as a guest of the gay-oriented Washington Blade newspaper.

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Whither Rubio?

By 4.27.15

As Sen. Marco Rubio prepared to announce his candidacy for the 2016 GOP nomination, this observer had more questions than answers. There is something about Marco Rubio’s tendency to engage in Fourth of July rhetoric that annoys me. Style seems too often to dominate substance and like a trick pony who can count to ten, Marco can talk for fifteen minutes in response to the words, “We hold these truths.” That fiery rhetoric, coupled with his concept of “the American Century,” raises questions about his foreign policy views.

“The American Century” is an attractive turn of phrase, but for its connotations of the “internationalism” that inspired the creator of that concept, Henry Luce. For Luce, “the American Century” compels the United States “to defend and even to promote, encourage and incite ... democratic principles throughout the world.”

That, of course, is what motivated President George W. Bush with disastrous results.

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Dear Hillary

By 4.21.15

Dear Hillary,

I read with interest and not a little consternation Maureen Dowd’s advice to your in her April 18 column in the NYT. She is undoubtedly very smart. This time, though, her advice wasn’t terribly useful. It can be summed up as: Use the Goldilocks strategy. Be not too masculine, be not too feminine, be just right.

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Sen. Menendez’s Indictment Insurance Policy — Why Is It Legal?

By 4.16.15

When news broke last month on the Department of Justice’s plans to indict Sen. Robert Menendez on criminal corruption charges, the New Jersey Democrat signaled he would fight.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. 

Easy for him to say. He has the deep pockets necessary to hire the best criminal defense team in the business. Or, I should say, his campaign war chest has the resources to pay those high priced attorneys. Over the course of his extended political career, he has raised over $39 million in campaign contributions, so he is sure to have the funds necessary to pay his team of lawyers.

The test of Menendez’s will really begins now, as a federal indictment charges the senator with 14 counts, including bribery, conspiracy, and wire fraud.

It’s certain to add considerably to the massive legal bills Menendez has already racked up — and that his political supporters are helping pay off. From early 2013 through the end of 2014, Menendez reported spending more than $1.2 million on legal fees, using a combination of cash from his campaign committee and a political action committee, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal documents.

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Not a Perfect Ending But a Better Ending

By 4.15.15

My friend Julia died as we knew she would. Cancer had ravaged her body for a decade. She no longer could breathe. She was at home, under hospice care, when she asked for a dose of morphine that she knew would kill her but also keep her final moments free of pain.

I mention Julia’s death because a blogger named Jazz Shaw took issue with my Sunday column, “Assisted Suicide — It’s Civil Rights for the Affluent.” Doctors have been killing people with morphine overdoses for the past century or so, he wrote. And: “Forcing someone to suffer to the last bitter moment because you want to save them from burning in hell is not dignity.”

I don’t know any credible opponent of assisted suicide who opposes doctors administering needed pain control, including lethal doses if necessary. That’s how medicine is supposed to work. Doctors alleviate pain. They prescribe not with the intent to kill but to stop suffering. If a patient dies from needed pain control, so be it. That’s how a compassionate health care system should work.

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The Left’s State of Disrepair

By 4.10.15

It’s often said there’s an Eleventh Commandment in conservative politics: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican.” This edict is usually attributed to Ronald Reagan, though it was actually coined by then-California Republican Party chairman Gaylord B. Parkinson in 1965. Since then many conservatives have treated it as constitutional law, deriving from it interpretive statutes about how the right should behave.