The Nation’s Pulse

The Nation's Pulse

The Honesty Gap

By 3.3.15

There may be some poetic justice in the recent revelation that Hillary Clinton, who has made big noises about a “pay gap” between women and men, paid the women on her Senate staff just 72 percent of what she paid the men. The Obama White House staff likewise has a pay gap between women and men, as of course does the economy as a whole.

Does this mean that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both discriminate against women, that they are themselves part of the nefarious “war on women” that so many on the left loudly denounce? The poetic justice in the recent “pay gap” revelations is that the fundamental fraud in the statistics that are thrown around comes back to bite those who are promoting that fraud for political purposes.

What makes such statistics fraudulent is that they are comparing apples and oranges.

Innumerable studies, going back for decades, have shown that women do not average as many hours of work per year as men, do not have as many consecutive years of full-time employment as men, do not work in the same mix of occupations as men and do not specialize in the same mix of subjects in college as men.

The Nation's Pulse

Feds Fiddle While Superbugs Spread

By 2.24.15

Seven patients at UCLA Ronald Reagan medical center contracted a deadly superbug from an utterly routine medical procedure. Two have died. A third, an eighteen-year-old boy, fights on for his life after 83 days in the hospital, mostly in intensive care. All this suffering was preventable. If the CDC and the FDA had alerted UCLA and other hospitals about medical equipment they knew was contaminated, patients would not have been put at risk. The agencies had already watched the same lethal problem unfold in Chicago, Seattle, and elsewhere but they swept it under the rug.

The Nation's Pulse

A Valentine Wish: Could We Bring Back Romance and Dating?

By 2.13.15

Talk to college or young career woman and you’ll often hear the lament that dating is extinct and romance is a relic of 19th century novels. Instead of guys having the confidence to ask a girl out and “court” her, we have a $2 billion on-line industry with dozens of on-line “dating sites where mutual interests draw a couple together.

There are also plenty of “relationship coaches” to help jump start or streamline the process of getting young people off their phones to talk to each other face-to-face. Such coaching was prompted by the fact that young adult relationships are typically anchored in social media; about half of users check up on previous dates through social networking sites (SNS), about a third of them usually post details and pictures of their dates, and about a third of them use SNS to “check out” someone they are interested in dating.

The Nation's Pulse

Hating the Duggars

By 2.10.15

Every day seems to bring another example of intolerance by a shocking number of people on the American left. Whether progressives/liberals are picketing, denouncing, demonizing, boycotting, and seeking to shut down florists and bakers and photographers who—pleading their First Amendment rights of religious freedom—beg not to be forced to service a same-sex marriage ceremony, or whether they’re suing Hobby Lobby or the Little Sisters of the Poor for not funding other people’s abortions, the examples keep piling up. And yet, amazingly, these progressives/liberals never seem to detect a conflict between their constant professions of “tolerance” and “diversity” and the undeniably obvious fact that they only tolerate things they agree with. That, of course, is not tolerance. In so many areas, they will not tolerate you disagreeing with them; when you do, they want to shut you down.

Well, I’d like to remark on yet another example. It concerns the Duggar family.

The Nation's Pulse

The Politics of Overly Paranoid Rob Lowe

By 2.6.15

Mother does not always know best. The sudden and strange revolt against vaccinations sounds like the feminine answer to masculine preoccupations with black helicopters.

On cable television—notably, the viewing choice of Overly Paranoid Rob Lowe—Bill Maher, Robert Kennedy Jr., and others have spread the gospel according to Dr. Jenny McCarthy. Anti-vaccination activists blame shots for everything from AIDS to Alzheimer’s to Autism. The more dogmatic anti-vaxxers overlook the proven role of preventative medicine in avoiding polio, measles, diphtheria, and other pests considerably more injurious than a pin prick.

One anti-vaccination website offers a list of six—could they not stretch it to ten?—reasons not to vaccinate children. They include such case closers as “pharmaceutical companies can’t be trusted,” “ALL vaccines are loaded with chemicals and other poisons,” “you can always get vaccinated, but you can never undo a vaccination,” and “fully vaccinated children are the unhealthiest, most chronically ill children I know.” 

The Nation's Pulse

Lumps in Their Trail Mix

By 2.5.15

On Super-Sunday, millions of Americans watched and adored “Lost Dog,” the uber-cute Budweiser ad featuring a yellow Lab puppy that most of the nation, given the chance, would happily have adopted on Monday. 

“Lost Dog” was clearly the pick of the XLIX commercial litter. A USA Today consumer panel of almost 7,000 picked it as the most popular of 61 commercials that cost advertisers up to $4.5 million per 30 seconds. The ad is a sequel to “Puppy Love,” also from Anheuser-Busch, also cute to the max, and last year’s winner. In fact, “Lost Dog” makes it a three-peat for Anheuser-Busch, which has won the ad contest in 13 of the last 15 Super Bowls. The company that produces a light, gassy, and characterless beer dominates Super-Sunday in a way no NFL team ever has or ever will. (Just how many bottles and cans of Bud the puppy sells can probably never be measured.)

The Nation's Pulse

A Nutrition-Conscious Happy Hour in Your Future?

By 2.4.15

Distillers of alcoholic beverages may include “nutrition data” labels on liquor bottles in the near future. Sometime soon all liquor bottles will likely show the number of calories and carbohydrates in each “serving.” Some commentators predict that at long last there will be a real deterrent to problem drinking.

Our society has preached against the evils of alcohol for generations. For decades, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union railed against the dangers of demon rum. This agitation was partially responsible for the enactment of Prohibition in the 1920s. Rather than controlling drinking, this federal law resulted in the development of a vast underground industry of speakeasies, the accelerated growth of organized crime, and the production of millions of gallons of moonshine and bathtub gin.

The Nation's Pulse

Triumph and Decline of America’s Protestant Ascendancy

By 2.3.15

Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington, by Gregg Herken, is about the social and political elites who crafted U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War over their dinner parties and cocktails in the historic, tony neighborhood of Washington, D.C. But it’s also, if unconsciously, about the apex and decline of America’s WASP aristocracy, whose wisdom laid the groundwork for survival and victory against the Soviet Union. The story concludes with by then aging columnist Joseph Alsop resignedly admitting that the class that his own New England family embodied had become irrelevant.

The Nation's Pulse

The Copycat Culture

By 1.30.15

Sam Smith backed down.

The current Rolling Stone coverboy agreed that his testosterone-free #2 hit “Stay with Me” sounded enough like Tom Petty’s #12 charting “I Won’t Back Down” to give the frontman of the Heartbreakers and collaborator Jeff Lynne songwriting credit. Smith’s camp claims his youth and ignorance of a song born three years before him make the similarities purely coincidental.

The age, rather than the singer’s, seems a more plausible excuse. We live in retread times.

Remakes, sequels, and films based on old comic books, fairy tales, and toys comprised fourteen of the fifteen top box-office draws for 2014. Hollywood sells brands, not entertainment.

The outlier, American Sniper, demonstrates the jonesing for anything remotely different. And the fact that films grossed less last year than they did five years before should shake Tinseltown into the epiphany that the formula for success for an individual movie drives down the entire industry. But it won’t.

The Nation's Pulse

Up From Superficial Christian Compassion

By 1.9.15

There’s a refreshing Christianity Today article in which an Evangelical academic who once thought border security “callous” now argues that a “porous border is not compassionate—it is just chaotic…” He urges more funding for securing the border, explaining:

Caring for illegal immigrants is certainly a grace to the individual. But it doesn’t address the underlying problem. Indeed, when replicated on a large scale, it exacerbates the crisis. The more the church is viewed as welcoming any undocumented immigrant with open arms, the more it spurs undocumented immigration: more Central American families are broken apart, immigrants are forced into self-protection in our dangerous inner cities, and ties are strengthened between US gangs and Central American narco-networks. Moreover, Central American countries become increasingly dependent on foreign remittances at the cost of their development.