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At Large

Weeping for Argentina

By 3.31.15

“There are countries which are rich and countries which are poor. And there are poor countries which are growing rich. And then there is Argentina.”

This saying, attributed to the 2010 Nobel Laureate for Literature, Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, is perhaps the pithiest description of what many regard as the twentieth century textbook-case of economic decay. Fifteen years into the twenty-first century and in the run-up to national elections in October, there’s no indication that Argentina will change course anytime soon. That’s partly because the Argentine economy’s seemingly intractable problems mirror deep-set political and cultural dysfunctionalities that most of the nation’s elites—and, it should be said, many ordinary Argentines—have little interest in addressing.

Special Report

The Herod Procedure: After Birth Abortion Arrives

By 3.31.15

You could call it “The Herod Procedure.” In case you missed?

This was the headline and lengthy sub-headline in London’s Daily Telegraph:  

Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say

Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.

Yes, you read that right. Here’s the opening of the story:

The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life.” The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born.

A Further Perspective

Etiquette Versus Annihilation

By 3.31.15

Recent statements from United Nations officials, that Iran is already blocking their existing efforts to keep track of what is going on in their nuclear program, should tell anyone who does not already know it that any agreement with Iran will be utterly worthless in practice. It doesn’t matter what the terms of the agreement are, if Iran can cheat.

It is amazing — indeed, staggering — that so few Americans are talking about what it would mean for the world’s biggest sponsor of international terrorism, Iran, to have nuclear bombs, and to be developing intercontinental missiles that can deliver them far beyond the Middle East.

Back during the years of the nuclear stand-off between the Soviet Union and the United States, contemplating what a nuclear war would be like was called “thinking the unthinkable.” But surely the Nazi Holocaust during World War II should tell us that what is beyond the imagination of decent people is by no means impossible for people who, as Churchill warned of Hitler before the war, had “currents of hatred so intense as to sear the souls of those who swim upon them.”

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.

Culture Vultures

Max Blumenthal Slimes Ayaan Hirsi Ali

By 3.30.15

In an example of what progressives call “punching down,” Alternet's Max Blumenthal — privileged son of former Bill Clinton aide and Hillary confidant Sidney Blumenthal — recently took to trashing professional Islam critic and constant target of death threats, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Claiming the 45-year-old immigrant can only fancy herself some kind of reformer when the term is bracketed by scare quotes, he writes:

When Brandeis University canceled plans to award Hirsi Ali an honorary degree in April 2014, it appeared that her increasingly vitriolic tirades against Islam and its adherents had caught up with her. But then came the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, a seemingly clarifying moment that Hirsi Ali and fellow anti-Islam activists seized on as confirmation of their darkest prophecies.

Damn those attacks — they gave succor to our political enemies!

Eminentoes

High Times With Willie

By 3.30.15

Willie Nelson. A face like a cactus, but a voice like an angel. At least an angel whose vocal chords have been cured by decades of controlled substances.

Nelson, an American original, is one of the nation’s most revered and versatile singers, songwriters, and guitar pickers. He now has plans to branch out from show business into, well, business.

No, I’m not making this up. Nashville and Austin’s superannuated outlaw wants to be an entrepreneur. But don’t look for a copy of Forbes on Willie’s touring bus when he’s, to coin a phrase, on the road again.           

Another Perspective

What Really Went On Behind Closed Doors

By 3.30.15

The United States and Iran have plunged back into negotiations, hoping to end once and for all a decades-long standoff that has raised the specter of an Iranian nuclear arsenal, a new atomic arms race in the Middle East and even a U.S. or Israeli military intervention.

With the clock ticking down to the deadline for a framework accord, some officials say the daunting diplomatic task means negotiators will likely settle for an announcement that they’ve made enough progress to justify further talks.

News reports about the progress of the negotiations have been sketchy. But fortunately, reliable, confidential sources have given us a comprehensive report on what has really been going on behind closed doors in that five-star luxury resort hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Public Policy

The H-1B Visa: The Ticket to Cheaper Wages

By 3.30.15

The libertarian-leaning me believes an American employer should be able to hire pretty much anyone he or she wants to hire. But the taxpaying me believes that if the federal government limits immigration yet creates a special visa program for highly skilled foreign workers with the assurance that the program will not cut into the wages or jobs of American workers, then Washington ought to keep its promise.

The Right Prescription

The Medicare Doc Fiction

By 3.30.15

When will John Boehner learn that a bill is bad news if Nancy Pelosi supports it, President Obama wants to sign it, and the press sings its praises? That’s precisely what he had on his hands with H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, a.k.a. the “Doc Fix.” Yet today we find him basking in the approbation of the Beltway establishment for getting this bill passed. This “fix” will add billions to the federal deficit, replace an unworkable price control system with a worse scheme that will dictate how doctors practice medicine and place financial burdens on seniors.

A Bigger Perspective

The Day the Music Changed for Ted Cruz

By 3.30.15

The day after declaring his intention to seek the 2016 GOP nomination, Ted Cruz spoke about how his taste in music has changed.

In an appearance on CBS This Morning, Cruz told Gayle King that he grew up listening to “classic rock” but that all changed one Tuesday morning in September 2001. “My music taste changed on 9/11,” Cruz said. “I actually intellectually find this very curious, but on 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded. And country music, collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me.”

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