Latest News

Another Perspective

The Ayatollah’s Website

By 7.27.15

The New York Times recently reported that Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamanei has cautioned that the nuclear agreement needs “careful scrutiny.” That warning was posted on his website, “The Office of the Supreme Leader, Sayyid Ali Khamenei,”

Website?? Really. I have always thought of Iran’s supreme leader, and all the other Ayatollahs, as reclusive Luddites who still use quill pens and goat skins or parchment for spewing their hatred. I never imagined that they are embracing social media to get out their message of Death to America and their determined campaign to wipe Israel off the face of the globe.

Another Perspective

Kevin Cooper Is Guilty—That’s a ‘Death Row’ Story

By 7.26.15

Last year, CNN’s “Death Row Stories” ran an episode about a California woman convicted of first-degree murder and then freed when a federal judge overturned the verdict because prosecutors had withheld evidence. I had a few issues with the episode, in part because Gloria Killian was not tried for capital murder and never spent a minute on death row. I wrote at the time that CNN should rename the series, narrated by capital punishment opponent Susan Sarandon, “Death Row Propaganda.”

On Sunday night, I can be seen on an episode of “Death Row Stories.”

The subject is San Quentin death row inmate Kevin Cooper, who was convicted of the brutal murder of Chino Hills, California chiropractors Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and an 11-year-old overnight guest, Christopher Hughes, in 1983. Cooper had escaped from a nearby prison and holed up in a vacant rental house that overlooked the Ryen home when he decided to head for Mexico. Before driving away in the family station wagon, he butchered the Ryens and Christopher and left for dead son Josh, then 8, with his throat slit.

Ben Stein's Diary

A Rainy Summer’s Day

By 7.25.15

Rain is falling all over the lake, as far as I can see. Still a magnificent sight. Gray and white and then green mountains as far as the eye can see.

My wifey is still asleep at 12.30, which is normal for her. We are being visited by Mike and Nancy Visser, our handsome/beautiful couple from Calgary, and their two super gorgeous daughters, Payton and Megan. I am a bit groggy from staying up last night watching a fine documentary about World War I until way too late.

The documentary is simply called “World War I in Color.” It has got to be nine hours long. If it were a million hours long, it could not capture the horror of that war. The suffering, pain, loss of life, starvation, crippling terror of that war is just plain beyond what we in our pajamas at lunchtime can imagine.

Whenever you are feeling sorry for yourself — which I often am — think of being in a trench getting shelled, gnawed on by rats, in total shock, in agony, then being ordered to “go over the top” into a hail of shell fire and machine gun bullets and certain death.

Buy the Book

Economics Made Easy

By 7.24.15

Popular Economics: What the Rolling Stones, Downton Abbey, and LeBron James Can Teach You about Economics
By John Tamny
(Regnery Publishing, 256 pages, $27.99)

If you want to understand economics, all you have to do is read John Tamny’s new book, Popular Economics. After just one reading of this clear, easy to read, and entertaining book, you will understand economics better than most academic Ph.Ds., who are pettifogged by so much PC posturing that even they no longer know what they are talking about.

His book is the 21st century heir to Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt, published in 1946. That book sold over a million copies. But Tamny’s is more sophisticated than Hazlitt’s publication of 70 years ago.

Live From New York

NY Says Have It Our Way — Expensive

By 7.24.15

An unelected panel mandated a $15 minimum wage for the fast-food industry in New York this week. When does Andrew Cuomo’s board decide that the governor’s campaign workers deserve a living wage, too?

Some industries are more equal than others.

The state legislature obstinately refused to vote the unskilled workers more of other people’s money. So, the governor appointed a panel that did. It’s modern New York, not ancient Athens, so some people rather than the people decide. In the words of the screaming hordes holding sandwich boards outside of hamburger joints, this is what democracy looks like.

Legislators dictating the “minimum” amount an employer must pay workers may appear as a terrible usurpation of the owner’s prerogative. But when compared to unelected bureaucrats dictating the hourly wage, the intrusions by politicians into payroll decisions start to look quaint, welcome, utopian even.

Spectator Exclusive!

Let’s Finish the Job: An Agenda for a New America

By 7.24.15

After careful deliberation, I am declaring my candidacy for President of the United States.

I know where our party is headed and I believe that we can reach our destination within a single term.

While other candidates may shrink from the tough decisions, or shroud them in euphemism, I will say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.

I launch my campaign today, fellow Democrats, with a seven-part plan to realize the dream.

Under my administration, we will:

1. Manage aggressively the decline in American wealth, power and influence.

The agreement with the regime in Tehran can serve as a model for a new diplomacy, not only in the Middle East but elsewhere around the globe. That agreement will guarantee, in return for subventions from us, the acquisition of nuclear weapons by them. This asymmetrical approach turns conventional diplomacy on its head. With fresh approaches of this kind, we can establish a post-American international order that is long overdue.

2. Shrink the tax base.

Special Report

Still Fronting for Fidel at the New York Times

By 7.24.15

The left’s longtime moral-political blindness to communist dictatorships never ceases to amaze, and few cases have been as consistently and wondrously spectacular as the New York Times, from the likes of Walter Duranty apologizing for Stalin in the 1930s to Herbert Matthews resurrecting Fidel Castro in the 1950s. As to the latter, the Times has fronted for the Castro regime for a half-century and counting. The newest exhibit is a jaw-dropping piece in the July 5 edition, where the target is not (of course) Fidel or Raul Castro but (predictably) an anti-communist Republican, and a presidential contender—Marco Rubio.


The Trouble With John Kasich

By 7.24.15

This article is taken from the November 1994 issue of The American Spectator.

On Sunday evening, August 20, as the House of Representatives was about to pass its final version of the crime bill, Rep. John Kasich of Ohio was in a state of high excitement—perhaps comparable to the time three years earlier when he let his animal spirits get the best of him and climbed onstage at a Grateful Dead concert at Washington’s RFK stadium. As ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, he had been assigned by minority leader Newt Gingrich to represent the party in round- the-clock negotiations with Democratic leaders and the White House. As he took the House floor, Kasich was ecstatic that he had wrung out so many concessions.

The Nation's Pulse

Liberals, Conservatives, and Abortion

By 7.24.15

There is no issue that divides liberals and conservatives more deeply than does abortion. It is, after all, a matter of life and death.

It would be hard to say what issue is closest to the hearts of liberals — inequality, diversity, labor unions, or maximizing the size and reach of government. What seems to get them most exercised, however, is the issue of abortion. That attitude leaves conservatives in a state of bewildered disbelief. How can liberals, Democrats, the left, be such enthusiastic supporters of something that is, at best, a necessary evil? Why are they so protective of unlimited abortion and paranoid about placing any restrictions whatsoever on it? How do they manage to feel so positive about something that is so profoundly negative?

The First Reagan Tax Cut

When Sam Cried Uncle

By 7.23.15

Never eat with your fingers, my late mother said, but when I am really hungry all bets are off. Never start driving with a cold engine, my mechanic said, but when I have to get somewhere fast all bets are off. Never extrapolate a principle from an anecdote, my logic teacher said, but when I need to report the voice of the people as a journalist all bets are off. The first Joe Sixpack I talk to is nominated as the Oracle of Delphi.

This brings us to the story of how I came to appreciate the greatness of the first Reagan Tax Cut at 30,000 feet.

Airborne over the heartland, sipping watered-down Diet Coke and munching on stale peanuts, having snickered my way through the pap in the airline “magazine” and made three abortive stabs at writing a column on the barf bag, I was left with no other choice: it was time to stop ignoring my seat neighbor. He was a nice guy about forty-five, with a thriving business, and the rare bird who would admit out loud to being a Republican.