Special Report

Special Report

Politicians Against Innovation

By 6.18.14

Imagine an American senator nearly a century ago reacting to the introduction of motorized agricultural equipment, which undoubtedly reduced the need for people to live on the family farm as they had for centuries, by declaring, “Innovation cannot be allowed to undermine enduring values.”

Picture a congressman protesting with that same sentence against the success of Henry Ford’s Model T because technological improvement posed a risk to a buggy whip business in his district.

Consider a state functionary shackling creative, beneficial, and popular technologies like Uber and Lyft with rules such as “you cannot take a rider to or from any airport in California” because of the apparently “enduring value” of a high-price low-quality taxi oligopoly.

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Special Report

Minimum Wages of Inequality

By 6.17.14

It is remarkable these days how quickly an idea, once resurrected by a spastic media, can move from the fringe into the mainstream. Formerly the utopian din exclusive to protesters swarming the nation’s Burger Kings and Pizza Huts, minimum wage reforms are now reality for some cities.

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Special Report

Protestants and Anti-Israel Divestment

By 6.16.14

Anti-Israel church activists are claiming that the United Methodist Church divested from a British firm servicing Israeli prisons to protest Israeli policies towards Palestinians. It turns out the claim, which made the New York Times, is not publicly confirmed by the United Methodist pensions agency, which says it divested for other reasons. But the claim was clearly timed to influence the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly, which will vote this week on whether that denomination will divest against Israel.

“This is a transparent media stunt on the eve of the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly trying to prejudice that deliberation of anti-Israel and pro-divestment resolutions in Detroit next week,” pronounced Noam Marans of the American Jewish Committee.

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Eric Cantor Shellacked

By 6.11.14

In his Republican primary race on Tuesday evening, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was a bigger favorite than California Chrome. (Last week, Cantor’s campaign claimed a more than 2-to-1 polling lead.) But in both cases we’re reminded “that’s why they run the race.”

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A Fracking Ban…in Louisiana?

By 6.10.14

Drill here, drill now” has been a mainstay of Republican political rhetoric for quite some time, and with the near-miraculous revolution in domestic energy production, it’s no longer just a catchy slogan.

Oil industry experts are now actively predicting American energy independence by 2030. They even say the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producer by next year. The meteoric rise in the domestic energy sector over less than a decade to create that bright future amid the otherwise dismal economic picture is perhaps the only thing saving America from a full reprise of the 1930s.

Which is why a sudden development last week in a nearly universally Republican area of one of America’s most promiscuous oil-producing states has political observers gobsmacked, and conservatives of several stripes pouring stiff drinks.

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Obama’s Academic Bubble Bursts

By 6.6.14

Want to know why Obama now seems prepared to throw the county into another recession in pursuit of solving global warming? Want to know why he has been so clueless in dealing with the Bowe Bergdahl mess? It’s been said before but it’s worth saying again. The “first African-American President” has very little of the African-American experience in his background. Instead his home base since he matriculated has been groves of academe.

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Special Report

Voting Them Back In

By 5.30.14

Cairo

Good grief, time flies and I am late for everything. I feel strangely liberated by the sense that I have the perfect out — I was not there, I did not see or hear anything, the world can keep going to hell without my comments. But then guilt settles in, the reporter’s fear of not being near the action. And what action! They are already moving toward the round of sixteen at Roland-Garros and I am not at court side — how can I live it down? The titanic meeting that is shaping up between the great Majorcan and the immensely gifted Serb, with at least half a dozen spoilers, lean and hungry young champions eager for the chance to break through and be one of the two on that last and final meeting of the tournament! Well, I will catch up and assess the lay of the clay, soon as I get there.

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Gun Control Won’t Stop the Next Elliot Rodger

By 5.27.14

This time the shooter is 22-year-old Elliot Rodger. Like clockwork, the cry goes up blaming the National Rifle Association and calling for tougher gun laws. But this time there’s a problem for believers in gun control. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave an “A-” to California's gun control laws, passed as they were by one of the most liberal state governments in the country.

On December 9, 2013 — barely six months ago — the Los Angeles Times was pleased to report the following, beginning with this headline: 

California has toughest gun control laws in country, study finds

SACRAMENTO — California has the toughest gun control laws in the nation, receiving an A- grade in a state-by-state analysis by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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Who Breaks a Butterfly Upon a Wheel?

By 5.23.14

Dinesh D’Souza faces more than a year in prison for giving away his money. Guilt lies with the law and not the lawbreaker here.

The conservative author pled guilty to violating campaign finance laws, which is another way of saying he opened up a lemonade stand without a license or ripped the tag off a mattress. The case stems from D’Souza’s 2012 donations through intermediaries to a friend’s senatorial campaign. Congress, made up of incumbents, has placed restrictions of dubious constitutionality on the amount individuals can legally donate to candidates. They haven’t, tellingly, placed any such limits on what they can legally raise or spend on campaigns.

The candidate D’Souza donated to, Wendy Long, lost the fundraising race 40 to 1 and the spending race 15 to 1 to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She lost the vote race by a mere 3 to 1 margin.

One could say D’Souza foolishly wasted his money on a lost cause. But does his unwise unselfishness really make him a criminal deserving of the penitentiary?

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The Tea Party: Tamed, Torpedoed, or Top Dog?

By 5.22.14

According to media reports from liberal and conservative outlets alike, the Tea Party is somewhere between “tamed” and dead — the mainstream right helpfully suggesting the former while the left (which is to say most of the media) gleefully proclaim the latter. At the same time, the liberal message machine has issued new — and completely contradictory — talking points urging desperate Democrats to pronounce authoritatively that the Tea Party has “taken over” the GOP.

They’re all a little bit right, a little bit wrong, and completely missing the point.

With a few important exceptions, notably Ben Sasse’s victory in the Republican US Senate primary in Nebraska and Rep. Tom Cotton’s uncontested nomination in Arkansas which will have him challenging vulnerable Democrat Senator Mark Pryor, the Tea Party (to the extent that it can be talked about as a singular entity) is having a rough go of the 2012 primary season.

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