The Nation’s Pulse

The Nation's Pulse

Liberalism without a Cause

By 11.25.13

It was named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and that, right from the start, was, and is, is a double-barreled falsehood. To set the record straight, we can call this worm-infested rose by its proper name — the Patient Be Damned and let Premiums Rip Act.

Since the official roll-out of the new law on Oct. 1, millions of people have lost their existing health care plans — and many or even most of those people are stumbling around in a state of shock, having discovered the sky-high replacement costs on the new insurance exchanges.

The worst is yet to come. As the so-called employer mandates goes into effect in 2014, it will force employers (providing coverage to no fewer than 156 million Americans) to choose between two poisons: They can modify their health care plans to comply with the onerous and often absurd requirements of the law; or they can pay heavy fines for opting out and leaving their employees to find their own way on the insurance exchanges.

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Doggone It! It’s An Attack on Human Exceptionalism

By 11.24.13

Human Exceptionalism, the belief that humans hold a unique status in the order of creation, has been the cornerstone of Western civilization.

This understanding of human life is attested to in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. And, as some rabbis contend, after it, the rest of scripture is merely dicta.

Science divides being into three categories, mineral, vegetable, and animal. At the top of the list in the last category is man. He is described as a rational animal. This makes humans unique and different from the brutes.

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Kennedy’s Legacy

By 11.22.13

I must admit I was getting sick of all the Kennedy nostalgia before it even started. Clintons and Obamas huddled around the eternal flame trying to claim the cult of the Kennedys. And then National Review countering this with a cover story before the day even arrived.

Then yesterday it hit me. November 22 would fall on Friday. Friday, November 22nd. Who could forget? I was walking across the campus around noon at the beginning of my senior year when a guy named Roger Pitman shouted to me across the quad. “Did you hear Kennedy’s been shot? It was just on the radio.”

I rushed back to my dorm — a new “social dorm” where girls would be allowed to visit on weekends for the first time — and turned on the radio. Sure enough, the President had been gunned down while riding in an open car in Dallas. They had taken him to the hospital. It didn’t look very hopeful.

Then my roommate came in. He was a very bright, cynical kid from Long Island who had been enlightening me in the ways and means of radical left-wing politics all fall. I hadn’t quite gotten used to him yet.

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Madness Takes Its Toll

By 11.20.13

State Sen. Creigh Deeds was recovering Tuesday night at the University of Virginia Health System Hospital in Charlottesville, but the physical wounds from being stabbed multiple times were perhaps not as painful to Deeds as the knowledge that his assailant was his only son, who police say committed suicide after the stabbing.

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Blockbuster Goes Bust

By 11.15.13

One man’s wave of the future is his son’s antiquarian curio. Even “Victrola” once meant hi-fi.

Blockbuster shuttered all of its remaining storefronts this week. Appropriately, the last movie rental—near closing time at a Hawaiian outlet—was the apocalyptic comedy This Is the End. Surely the credits roll on video-rental shops.

Unlike Circuit City or Eastern Airlines, the decline of Blockbuster had less to do with the flaws in the company than with trends in society. In this sense, its disappearance evokes the loss of Borders (illiteracy), Tower Records (online shoplifting), and KB Toys (abortion). The customer isn’t always right.

Blockbuster opened in Dallas in 1985, when the idea of borrowing a VHS tape for a night of home viewing seemed an upgrade over the inconvenience, sticky floors, and extortionate pricing of a night at the movies. Like the Walkman or the Atari 2600—two other booming ’80s products—Blockbuster was damned by the evolving technology that initially blessed it.

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Justice Is Blind

By 11.14.13

May 19th, 1901

My Dear Margaret,

Here it is summertime, and the bees are blooming and the flowers are singing and the birds making honey, and we haven’t been fishing yet.

Well, there’s only one more month till July, and then we’ll go, and no mistake.

I thought you would write and tell me about the high water around Pittsburg some time ago, and whether it came up to where you live, or not.

And I haven’t heard a thing about Easter, and about the rabbit’s eggs—but I suppose you have learned by this time that eggs grow on egg plants and are not laid by rabbits.

(Letter from O. Henry in prison, to his daughter Margaret, who thought he was away on business.) 

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