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Government as the Great Equalizer — and Other Absurdities

By 10.28.14

The really troubling point that Joel Kotkin makes in the New York Daily News is that New York can’t figure out how to do the economic equality thing we hear so much about in this and every political season. “Gotham,” writes Kotkin, “has become the American capital of a national and even international trend toward greater income inequality and declining social mobility.”

The most unequal county in America — that’s Manhattan. Second lowest among the country’s 100 largest cities in terms of middle-income neighborhoods — that’s the city as a whole. The Bronx one-ups, so to speak, that dismal distinction, being the nation’s poorest urban county. Meanwhile, says Kotkin, a respected (outside New Yorker circles) writer on urban dysfunction, “Roughly one in four Brooklynites — most of them black or Hispanic — lives in poverty.”

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Special Report

Hillary Does a Job on America Once Again

By 10.28.14

Hillary Clinton’s Friday warning to a Boston audience, “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and business that create jobs,” felt like a “jump the shark” moment even within a Democratic Party that has adopted a similarly ignorant and harmful anti-capitalist mantra.

The most well-known recent Democratic dismissal of entrepreneurs came from President Obama during the 2012 election campaign season: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” The entire rant is equally inflammatory, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of economics and a reprehensible dismissal of those risk-taking businesspeople — with whom Obama never associates except when collecting their checks at Silicon Valley fundraisers — who power the economic engine of the free world.

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Culture Vultures

Bristol Palin Meets the Liberal Superiority Complex

By 10.28.14

By now the clip of CNN’s Carol Costello mocking Bristol Palin has gone everywhere. Palin is heard on audio tape describing to police how she was physically assaulted. Costello found the moment vastly amusing. Now comes a written apology from Costello — but not an on-air apology, at least as yet.

Before time moves along, let’s stop a moment and understand what America just witnessed here.

Costello’s demeanor, not to mention her words, said everything. The CNN anchor dripped contempt for Palin. She was condescending, smirking, absolutely reveling in the physical assault of this particular young woman, broadcasting live and in living color Costello’s own decidedly imagined sense of superiority.

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A Further Perspective

Democrats Can Run But They Can’t Hide From Barack Obama

By 10.28.14

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

The great boxing champion Joe Louis once said about one of his opponents, who was known for his speed: “He can run but he can’t hide.” In the Congressional elections this year, many Democrats are running away from Barack Obama, but they can’t hide their record of voting for Obama’s agenda more than 90 percent of the time.

Now that the Western democracies have learned the hard way what the consequences are when you admit all sorts of people into your country — including people who hate both the principles and the people of your society — will that cause zealots for open borders and amnesty to have some second thoughts, or perhaps first thoughts?

I hope Yankees manager Joe Girardi was watching the World Series when Madison Bumgarner was allowed to come out and pitch the 9th inning, even though he had already made 107 pitches. Time and again, Girardi has taken out a pitcher who was pitching a great game, and brought in a reliever who lost it. Baseball statistics provide good rules of thumb, but bad dogmas on a given day.

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Politics

The Rehabilitation of Rick Perry

By From the September 2014 issue

Three years ago, a Texas reporter named Jay Root set out to chronicle the behind-the-scenes maneuvers that would land Governor Rick Perry in the White House. He couldn’t have guessed that, in the end, the story wouldn’t have much to do with ad buys or endorsements or personality conflicts. The real event, of course, played out in public, in the on-stage meltdown that gave Root the title of his 2012 e-book: Oops!

Yet that unforgettable moment when, during a nationally televised debate, Perry could recall only two of the three cabinet departments he proposed to eliminate, was just the final indignity in a short campaign full of them. Remember that ad in which Perry complained that “gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” or the parodies it provoked? How about that rambling, free-and-easy speech Perry gave in New Hampshire that caused everyone to assume he was either drinking or still taking painkillers from his back surgery three months earlier? It was, according to James Carville, the worst campaign in American history.

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Ten Paces

Will Soccer Conquer the U.S.?

By and From the September 2014 issue

Football vs. Fútbol—No Contest in El Norte

By Larry Thornberry

It’s never as bad an experience, and I don’t have to assume an undignified position. But the quadrennial World Cup has this in common with my annual exam by my urologist: at some point I’m sure to ask, “Good grief, isn’t this over yet?”

It’s not that I begrudge America’s small band of true soccerphiles the chance to enjoy a game they like on a large stage. (These folks are well represented by my friend Wlady Pleszczynski, whose appreciation of fútbol is opposite my harrumphs.) But I’m mildly annoyed by the flogging and over-coverage of a sport few Americans know or care much about.

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Another Perspective

Of What Consequence a GOP Senate?

By 10.27.14

If it’s good enough for Nate Silver, it’s good enough for me. The Republicans have a better, much better than 50-50 chance of winning the Senate and the Congress in general.

Nate Silver, as you will recall is the statistical wizard that put to shame Gallup, Rasmussen, and other polling organizations in the last election cycle by calling the election almost perfectly. He is a political liberal but a scrupulous observer of data on his website, FiveThirtyEight, which is currently forecasting the Republicans as having a 63 percent chance of winning a majority in the Senate, a number which has been as high as 66 last week and no lower than 53 during the campaign season. Yet, he hedges his assessment by claiming that “Republicans have the edge, but they haven’t been able to put Democrats away.”

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Special Report

Two Incoming Movers and Shakers to Watch

By 10.27.14

In the blizzard of coverage of swing seats that will ensue after next week’s election, it will be easy to overlook important new arrivals without stiff Democratic opposition—though they will have an outsized influence going forward. Take Alabama’s Gary Palmer and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, safe bets to be elected to a House seat in in Alabama and a Senate seat in Nebraska, respectively. 

Palmer, an unassuming sixty-year-old white evangelical from a ruby-red Alabama district, is not the kind of candidate that gets the media excited. Yet he may well be the most important congressional freshman in recent history. Around 1980, after spending a dozen years as an engineer, Palmer felt called to political leadership after attending a conference sponsored by Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Yet unlike most of those aspiring to influence public policy, that didn’t initially translate into the desire to run for office. Instead, Palmer started what became the Alabama Policy Institute, the premier think-tank in the state, which he led for twenty-four years.

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Play Ball

The Tampa Bay Rays’ Bad Month

By 10.27.14

TAMPA
I was made uneasy even before the baseball season began, when the “experts” started predicting that the Tampa Bay Rays were a dead-bang certainty to be in the World Series this year. Having this lot whoop up your certain success is almost as much bad juju as being on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Not only did the Rays not make it to the championship series this year, they finished 77-85, the team’s first losing season since 2007. Very bad medicine. But after the players packed their gear and dispersed, 2014 kept getting worse for the Rays.

The play-offs had hardly started to take shape when, on October 15, then-Rays GM Andy Friedman announced he was taking the GM’s job with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 37-year-old Friedman is the wunderkind credited with fielding the small-market, bargain-basement Rays teams that have won more games for more years than they should have.

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Another Perspective

Dissolve the Federal Election Commission

By 10.27.14

Suppose I was opposed to the election of Hillary Clinton as our next president. Well, don’t suppose: I am. But suppose I were a wealthy man and paid to produce a television ad that centered on a video of Mizz Clinton’s recent speech in which she said, Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create [sic] jobs. You know that old theory, ‘trickle-down economics.’ That has been tried and failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”

And suppose I talked to my pals Bob Tyrrell and Wlady Pleszczynski, and asked them to run my ad on the Spectator’s website. As election regulations stand, they could do that without any restriction, so long as I didn’t pay them. But if I paid them, it would constitute some sort of in-kind political donation that would tangle them up in a load of paperwork.

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