Special Report

Special Report

Some Conservatives Playing Too Close to the Sun?

By 3.6.15

P.T. Barnum said there was a sucker born every minute. There would have to be to satisfy all the hustlers out there. And this was before the alternative fuels dodge. As the late Mr. Rogers might have put it. Can you spell S-O-L-Y-N-D-R-A?

A gaudy amount of money, most in the form of government subsidies, has been shoveled into solar power research since the first Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. The subsidies have enriched various folks nimble enough or connected enough to receive them. But they have produced very little in the way of power, and nothing that can compete with power generated by fossil fuels.

Solar power was way uneconomical when Nixon was president and the subsidies began. It remains so today. Because of physical limitations having to do with the huge area of solar panels required to produce any significant amount of power, and the fact that we insist on having things like night and clouds, solar is unlikely to ever be more than a niche energy source. And an unreliable one at that.

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Special Report

Attacks on Scott Walker Remind of Reagan

By 3.5.15

As soon as a conservative Republican emerges as a serious presidential contender, liberals in the media suddenly yank out the microscopes they’ve been keeping away from Barack Obama since 2007. They could care less what Obama did in college, how he got into college, who paid for his college, who wrote his letters of recommendation, what his grades were, and on and on—but we already know everything about Scott Walker and college. Obama’s media protectors could give a rip that the current president once had a mentor who was a literal card-carrying member of the Communist Party under Stalin. But as soon as someone like Scott Walker starts gaining ground, wow, “journalists” lunge for the magnifying glass and become real reporters again, profusely digging and questioning, looking for mole-holes to make into vast mountains of scandal.

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Have We Really Come to This?

By 3.3.15

In a Sunday interview on Fox News, a supporter of Obamacare parroted the current liberal line that if the Supreme Court were to side with the plaintiffs in the upcoming case of King v. Burwell thousands of Americans will die.

The King case, in which oral arguments will be heard on Wednesday, challenges the ability of the IRS to provide tax subsidies to Americans who purchase health insurance through the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, because the clear language of the Affordable Care Act states that subsidies are only available in “an exchange established by the state.” Jonathan Gruber told us that the language was crafted intentionally to force states to create exchanges; it was not, as some have tried to claim, a “drafting error.”

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Net Neutrality Is About Regulating Speech

By 2.27.15

Thursday’s historic vote by the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband was not the first but merely the latest step toward regulating speech. The FCC voted to no longer classify broadband as a Title I entity (of the Communications Act) but instead as a Title II entity, like common carriers such as telephone service. The commission’s three Democrats approved the change over the dissent of the agency’s two Republican commissioners.

Anyone who believes this vote was about preserving a free and open Internet as so-called “net neutrality” supporters have claimed has not been paying close attention. One only has to revisit statements and actions undertaken by Administration officials in the last several years to understand the end-game.

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An ISIS Side to America’s History?

By 2.24.15

President Obama’s prayer breakfast speech urging Christians and Americans to avoid a “high horse” before condemning Islamists in light of the Crusades and Jim Crow has provoked wider reflection on comparative national and cultural sins.

Recently, prominent interfaith dialogue advocate Miroslav Volf of Yale Divinity School, in a conversation about ISIS, suggested that early founders of America like the Puritans were not altogether different from radical Islamists.

“I love America, but its first founders, like Muslim extremists, advocated killing for blasphemy, adultery, idolatry,” Volf explained in a tweet. When challenged, he asked how long Roman Catholicism took to embrace religious liberty and suggested that radical Islam, with time and globalization, would transition to tolerance.

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‘It Was a Real Killing Field’—Remembering Iwo Jima

By 2.20.15

On February 19, 1945, 20-year-old Bill Young of Mooresville, North Carolina, disembarked an LST while landing upon a miserable hunk of black rock somewhere in Asia called Iwo Jima. He was part of a 75-mile-long convoy of ships preparing to dislodge the Japanese from this volcanic remnant of an island. The territory was formally part of Japan, meaning it was considered literal sacred ground to the Japanese soldiers burrowed inside the ugly terrain.

Just how many Japanese soldiers were there, and where, was a mystery to Bill and the approaching Marines. It had taken his crew six weeks to arrive at their destination, having left the base at Camp Tarawa in Hawaii, where Bill had lived in a tent camp the previous two years. It had been a long six weeks, with only two stops for maintenance and resupplies, one of them in Saipan. Bill and other shipmates slept in cots under a tarp erected on the deck of the ship; all the beds below were taken up by as many men as the U.S. military could jam on one boat. But that little bit of discomfort was nothing compared to what was unexpectedly awaiting them in Iwo Jima.

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A Private School on a Public Scale

By 2.17.15

RALEIGH, N.C. — Are private schools the sole domain of blue bloods, or should they — can they — be available to all Americans? That’s a major challenge faced by the school-choice community nationwide, not only from a practical standpoint, but from a messaging perspective as well.

A small test is being conducted in North Carolina that could prove to be a model for national success. Located in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro region, Thales Academy is a K-12 college preparatory private school that is tearing down the private-school cost barrier. What’s more, the schools are showing that quality instruction and a high price tag need not go hand-in-hand.

Although Wake County boasts some of the best public schools in the nation (a point that local residents will debate endlessly), Thales Academy has local public-school zealots in a tizzy. The combination of quality instruction and comparatively inexpensive tuition are the main driving factors in its growth. Parents here in Wake County are on waiting lists for magnet and charter schools. Demand far exceeds supply.

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VA Reform DOA

By 2.16.15

President Obama and the Veterans Administration bureaucracy are already sabotaging the VA reform law passed in August. The ink is barely dry on the 8.6 million “Choice Cards” that supposedly allow vets to see a doctor outside the delay-plagued system. But Obama’s budget tries to snatch the $10 billion allocated for choice and allow it to be spent however VA top administrators want. It’s a sickening betrayal.

Even worse, VA Secretary Robert McDonald is telling federal lawmakers that this underhanded move will better serve “VA system priorities.” That’s the problem. He’s more interested in protecting “the system” than vets. It’s all about bureaucratic turf and union jobs.

With a straight face, McDonald says it has “nothing to do with us trying to gut the Choice Card or anything like that, it was about flexibility.” Flexibility for VA bureaucrats, not for ailing vets who need it. Removing the funding definitely will gut the program because the law says the Choice program expires whenever funding runs out.

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Federal Reserve in Deep Panic over ‘Audit the Fed’

By 2.13.15

The governors of the Federal Reserve are in a panic deeper than the ones they supposedly are protecting us from. This week, a few of the financial wizards at the Fed came out to tell the American public why they are against an audit of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decisions—and why you should be too.

Dallas Fed Chief Richard Fisher said on Monday that the Fed is already "audited out the wazoo.” He wasn’t, of course, referring to the kind of audits that proponents of the “Audit the Fed” bills (S. 264/H.R. 24) actually want—audits of the board’s monetary policy decisions. Rather, he was likely referring to the annual audits of the bank’s financial statements, which are conducted by the General Accountability Office. Philadelphia Fed Chief Charles Plosser went out of his way to slam the bill on Monday, too.

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Prudence, Power, and Aggression

By 2.11.15

Is there a moral obligation to help Ukraine defend itself from Russian aggression? Nation-states do not have moral obligations. But states have interests, of which the obligation to function as instruments of their peoples’ moral interests is not the slightest. We should help Ukraine. The question is how.

The German Chancellor’s reluctance to provide the Ukrainians with weapons is understandable. If the effort is doomed to failure, as she implies, why bother? It would represent a costly gesture, not a policy. Rationally, economic squeeze plus resilient diplomacy, even in the face of repeated Russian insults, lies, and open contempt, may be the more sensible course.

What about Nigeria? Do we have a moral obligation to help Nigeria? The argument from morality should not change from one country to another, should it?

The harsh truth of the matter is that this is not the right question. The right question is this: do the neighbors of the country in trouble give the impression they want to do something about the crisis in their region?

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