Special Report

Special Report

A Third Way Past Student Loans

By 3.31.15

RALEIGH, N.C. — As lawmakers debate various proposals to ostensibly solve the $1 trillion student-loan crises in America—lower student-loan interest rates or forgive loans altogether being two—clear-thinking individuals should catch a vision for alternatives.

In two decades, imagine a post-secondary education arena in which a majority of students avoid the need for student loans in the first place. Or, if loans are necessary, have a job upon graduation sufficient to pay them off. Novel concepts? Perhaps. But they shouldn’t be.

Special Report

Obama’s New Israel Outing

By 3.27.15

Much as I hate to say it, the time has come to create a set of Obama versus Netanyahu jokes. This clearly has the makings of an enduring genre of gallows humor. Here is one I wrote, to begin mining this rich vein of comical gold.

After snubbing Netanyahu over several White House visits by refusing to invite him to dinner, Obama suddenly reverses course and offers him something to eat. Netanyahu consults his security team, but they advise against accepting, since the food may be poisoned.

“Why won’t you eat?” Obama asks. “You know I am a Roosevelt Democrat and I believe the government should feed everybody…”

“I know,” counters Netanyahu. “I have nothing to fear but the fare itself…”

Presumably things are not quite that bad between Obama and Netanyahu, but this exaggeration highlights the reality. Not only is there no love lost between Barack and Bibi, but there seems to be hate found on Barack’s side. (Ironically Netanyahu’s old nemesis, the man who beat him head to head for Prime Minister in 1999, was named Barak.) This is nothing new either. In one form or another it has gone on for years.

Special Report

Murder on the Fly

By 3.26.15

Suicide is prohibited by the Torah, but the Talmud shows great sensitivity when people end their lives in the wake of overwhelming loss. One episode recounted there (Hullin 94a) involves a man who accidentally sold his costly barrel of wine for the price of olive oil. There were some oil drippings on the cover of the barrel and he had mislabeled it as the much cheaper liquid. When he realized he was wiped out financially, he hanged himself.

The rabbis’ response was to caution the public not to drip oil on wine barrels.

Another story involves a dinner party in which the adult guests were given a special dish the children of the family were not permitted to share. Some of the guests felt bad for the little boy coming in and out of the room looking longingly at their food, so they slipped him a few pieces. The father was not privy to these transactions so when he spotted the kid with the goodies in his hand he gave him an angry whack. Somehow the blow caught him the wrong way and the boy was killed. The distressed father could not face what he had done, so he killed himself. The mother, broken by her sudden loss, jumped off the roof as well.

Special Report

How Bibi Warded Off Obama: The Inside Scoop

By 3.25.15

The political season is upon us once again. Ted Cruz, who launched his career as the unelectable senatorial candidate from Texas has now announced as the unelectable presidential candidate from the Senate. After him the deluge. Candidates will come out of the woodwork and turn on the waterworks. This in turn will generate loads of legwork and footwork in support of the candidates’ handiwork — done by campaign strategists, analysts, and pollsters.

Where have these hardy souls been since November, when they were scattered across the country guiding governors and senators and representatives through the midterms? They have been in another country! A country that holds fair and open elections and has a vibrant political debate at the heart of its culture. A country that has maintained a special friendship with the United States and American People since its inception in 1948. A country named Israel.

Special Report

Blowing Sunshine Up Their Skirts

By 3.25.15

TAMPA — At first glance, an amendment to Florida’s constitution obliging the state to promote solar power and allowing homeowners and businesses to generate solar power on their property, in cahoots with a solar power company, might not do much harm. But it easily could do harm if it leads to even more taxpayer-financed subsidies to an industry that is long on promises but short on kilowatt-hours generated. It could do harm if it leads to requirements that utilities buy more pricy solar power and pass the cost on to their customers. This is what has happened elsewhere — we’ve seen this movie before.

The beneficiaries of such an amendment, being pushed for the 2016 ballot by a group called Floridians for Solar Choice, Inc., would be the hard-left, anti-free market environmental movement, bent on putting an end to fossil-fuel generated power, and the solar power industry, seeking a larger share of the energy market and more of the tax breaks and subsidies without which expensive solar power could not exist. It’s hard to imagine how such an amendment would benefit Floridians with no grudge against fossil fuels or with no skin in the solar power game.

Special Report

Doing His Duty

By 3.25.15

At one time, Catholic archbishops made news by defying Church teaching. Now they generate headlines by simply following it. Nowhere is this more true than in San Francisco, where the Left feels entitled to impose its liberalism on Church officials.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has been subject to regular hazing from the Left for merely upholding Church teaching. His latest high offense is that he expects teachers at San Francisco’s Catholic schools to refrain from anti-Catholic activism and anti-Catholic teaching.

“As effective professionals in a Catholic School setting, we all — administrators, faculty and staff — are required and expected to avoid fostering confusion among the faithful and any dilution of the schools’ primary Catholic mission,” he said in February. “Therefore, administrators, faculty and staff of any faith or of no faith, are expected to arrange and conduct their lives so as not to visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths. To that end, further, we all must refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which the Catholic Church holds to be true.”

Special Report

Starbucks and USA Today Can #RaceTogether By Themselves

By 3.23.15

Rarely has there been such condemnation of a still-gestating corporate policy as the past week’s kerfuffle over Starbucks’ “Race Together” initiative. Rather than instigate a “national conversation about race” — as if race-weary Americans need more of that right now — news of the plan united critics and comics on the right and the left in going after Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz’s plan to have baristas write “#RaceTogether” on patron’s cups of hot liquid in order to goad us into talking about an important issue.

Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg and liberal PBS television anchor Gwen Ifill don’t agree on much, but they agreed on this.

Goldberg: “If I don’t have my coffee in the morning, I get a headache that feels like a Hell’s Angel is trying to press his meaty thumb through my forehead. This is not the most propitious moment to engage me in a conversation about my ‘race journey.’”

Special Report

36 Years of ‘Death to America’ Lost in Translation

By 3.20.15

Abraham Lincoln asked listeners how many legs a calf would have if you called his tail a leg. The sixteenth president responded to the inevitable answer “five” with a quick rebuttal: calling a calf’s tail a leg doesn’t make it so. “Four.”

The lesson has yet to sink in for another Illinois politician. President Obama removed both Iran and Hezbollah from the terror threat list presented to the U.S. Senate this week by the National Intelligence director.

The epiphany on terrorism, by Washington and not Tehran, comes as the administration seeks to craft an agreement with Iran that would lift sanctions against the pariah state in exchange for promises to abandon their quest to build a nuclear weapon. Excluded by the president from a process in which the Constitution includes them, nearly four dozen senators hoped to instill in the Iranians a thumbnail constitutional law lesson, via missive, evidently missed by the constitutional lawyer residing a few blocks from the Capitol.

Special Report

Christianity and Nukes

By 3.19.15

Do Christian teaching and humanity demand the abolition of nuclear weapons?

Yes, according to a Religion News Service column by Jacob Lupfer (a thoughtful writer and personal friend). He echoes what some church bodies have long or at least more recently urged.

Virtually pacifist agencies of declining Mainline Protestantism have demanded full nuclear disarmament for decades, especially by the United States. During the Cold War’s decisive final years, they ardently aligned with the nuclear freeze movement, whose chief purpose was to intimidate Western Europe and the United States from responding to the growing Soviet nuclear arsenal.

Fortunately, neither the Reagan Administration nor its chief allies, such as Britain’s Thatcher and West Germany’s Kohl, lost their nerve. The placement of U.S. intermediate range missiles in Europe were central to defeating the Soviet Union and facilitating unprecedented nuclear arms reductions by the U.S. and Russians.

Special Report

Will Warmists Please Stop Whining

By 3.17.15

Climate alarmists are so frustrated by their losing the debate — both in public opinion of the importance of “climate change” as an issue and in climate data itself — that their response to even the most docile of questioning is to belittle the questioner and, after saying “Trust me, I’m a scientist,” bombard readers with misuse of statistics and misleading implications.