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Barack and Valerie’s Great Communist Party Marriage

By 7.17.15

In my current book, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage, I write of the phenomenon of Communist Party marriages. “Theirs was the first ‘party marriage’ that I observed,” wrote Whittaker Chambers in Witness, describing the decidedly non-sacramental marriage of two of his Communist Party comrades, before writing of his own “party marriages.”

Another Perspective

Lessons From the Past

By 7.17.15

Ill-tempered Greeks rattle a tin cup — desperate for another handout from the European Union but feeling far more anger than gratitude toward their would-be benefactors.

Italy shares Greece’s pain — and the same deeply ingrained sense of resentment and entitlement. It too blames the rest of the world for high unemployment, falling living standards, and the inability of its government to pay its bills or to keep from falling deeper and deeper into debt. It will be no surprise if Italy follows Greece in bellying up to the EU’s bailout line.

Whatever happened “the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome”?

In his famous funeral oration, delivered in 431 BC, the Greek leader Pericles sought to capture what it was that characterized Athens at the peak of its glory. In his words, the Athens of that time did not need a Homer to sing its praises, or even imperishable monuments, such as the Parthenon, completed only a few years earlier: “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others to be eternally remembered.”

Play Ball

Suffering From the All-Star Blues

By 7.17.15

It has been years since I’ve watched an all-star game of any sport. These are made-up exhibitions, put on by guys who don’t normally play on the same teams, in fact usually compete with each other (not always amicably). And don’t even get me started on the interminable pre-game and in-game hype and folderol by over-caffeinated announcers that those who tune into these games must endure. 

With some spectacular exceptions — see Mike Trout — most All-Star participants seem to be mostly interested in not getting injured during the non-game, thereby risking losing playing time in the real games to follow. A league is a pretty abstract thing for a player to identify with, and to be willing to lay it all out for (yes, even for today’s astronomical salaries). The attitude of most contemporary baseball players to the All-Star game seems to track Mark Twain’s attitude toward being tarred and feathered, to wit: “Except for the honor, I would as soon skip it.”

State Watch

EPA Power Grab Incites States to Consider Nullification

By 7.17.15

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has in recent years imposed numerous new regulatory rules strangling the freedoms of businesses and property owners. Latching on to every possible excuse for regulating economic activities by citing microscopic effects on air and water, EPA has shown no respect for any boundaries in imposing its draconian mandates. State governments are experiencing the effects and are increasingly taking action to reduce the amount of economic carnage the Obama administration’s EPA inflicts.

States’ refusal to enforce what they consider to be unconstitutional federal laws is known as nullification. In the Virginia Resolution of 1798, James Madison said states are “duty bound to resist” when the federal government violates the Constitution. States are now embracing this concept by responding to an increasing regulatory burden imposed by federal bureaucrats.

Sanctuary City Watch

San Francisco: ‘Repeat Offenders, Come and Stay’

By 7.16.15

San Francisco is not likely to change its ill-conceived sanctuary-city policy because City Hall must bow to progressives who don’t believe in deporting undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records. Activists such as Angela Chan of the Asian Law Caucus believe that Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was right to release Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez rather than turn him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as requested. They don’t care that Lopez-Sanchez had been convicted of seven felonies and deported five times before he was arrested for the July 1 shooting death of Kathryn Steinle.

Lopez-Sanchez has pleaded not guilty to murder. Already, city pols are treating Steinle’s death as an anomaly. Supervisor Malia Cohen told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I’m not going to let one extremely unfortunate situation frame the policy.”

Free Market Accountability Project

Patently Absurd

By 7.16.15

Online trolls get a kick out of goading people by posting harassing, inflammatory comments on web sites.

They live to get a reaction.

Patent trolls do the same thing — only their motive is to make a quick buck.

It’s easy to do — unfortunately.

Because all it takes is an accusation of patent infringement — no matter how fact-free — to place the individual or company accused of infringement in the position of having to disprove the claim.

On their nickel.

Patent trolls know it’s less hassle — and often, expense — for a patent holder to cut a check, agree to some form of settlement, rather than litigate. Lawyers cost money — and cases often take months or even years to resolve. Knowing this, the trolls send out a multitude of so-called “demand letters,” hoping that some of their prospective victims will see it as a cost of doing business to throw the troll some money, just to make him go away.

A Further Perspective

Life, Where Is Thy Sting?

By 7.16.15

A husband comes home to find the kitchen sink has broken and the entire kitchen is flooded. In the midst of the wreckage stands his beleaguered wife, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Stop crying, honey,” he says. “You are only making it worse.”

This grim jest captures the experience of those sincere compassionate souls who devote themselves to the battle for human life; against euthanasia, against assisted suicide, and, most poignantly, against abortion. The larger war is already lost, and millions of babies will be murdered each year. This daunting reality makes it hard to find the moxie to fight the small legislative and public policy battles. Those tussles require just as much energy, yet all we can hope to save are here a few, there a few.


Jeb Bush Pushes the Poison of Identity Politics

By 7.16.15

“This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.… [R]ace has no place in American life or law.”
John F. Kennedy, 1963

“America represents something universal in the human spirit. I received a letter not long ago from a man who said, ‘You can go to Japan to live, but you cannot become Japanese. You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won’t become a German or a Turk.’ But then he added, ‘Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.’”
Ronald Reagan, 1988

Among the Intellectualoids

Texas Textbooks Under Mindless Attack

By 7.16.15

Five years ago, after months of biased reporting, millions of Americans learned — incorrectly — that Christian extremists on the Texas state school board had engineered a top-to-bottom overhaul of history standards that was destined to corrupt textbooks nationwide. “Texas Textbook Massacre: Ultraconservatives Approve Radical Changes to State Education Curriculum,” said a Huffington Post headline at the time.