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In Memoriam

Henry Manne: He Was Law & Economics

By 1.19.15

I first heard Henry’s name at Harvard Law School, in Victor Brudney’s Corporate Finance class. Brudney was a demanding teacher in the (Paper Chase) Kingsfield mold, and as he incorporated ideas from the finance literature in his course he had the reputation of being conservative. Not that he really was right of center. “If you think I’m right-wing, you should see this guy Manne,” he told us.

Henry Manne, you see, had written a book to defend insider trading, and that had brought down on him the wrath of the entire legal establishment. They couldn’t tell you what was wrong with insider trading, mind you, but they didn’t need to. They just knew! But while they had passion on their side, Henry had reason, the intelligence and knowledge of economics that could demonstrate just how impoverished their ideas were.

Henry was the true founder of law-and-economics, one of the most consequential schools of thought in the last 100 years. Forget literary deconstruction, feminism, gender studies, fads devoid of content or rigor. Law-and-economics has transformed the legal academy, judging, and the rules we live by. And it started with Henry.

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Special Report

Lives Not Worthy to Live

By 1.19.15

“Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings.”
— Leo Alexander, M.D.

Fundamental truths are often forgotten, if not actively obscured in the Kultursmog. This is very much the case with respect to the integrity of the human person and the inalienable right to life. This week the nation observes the “black anniversary” of Roe and Doe, a good time to engage in the process of remembering.

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Spectator's Journal

The 2015 Spectator Gala, Featuring Sen. Rand Paul

By 1.19.15

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2015

VIP Reception 6:30 pm | General Reception 6:30 pm | Dinner 7:30 pm
JW Marriott | 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW | Washington, DC 20004
Please Reserve Rooms in The American Spectator Block
Cocktail Attire

PLEASE REGISTER HERE

RSVP requested by February 1


DIGNITARIES

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Breaking News

From Church Bell Tower to Minaret and Back Again

By 1.16.15

Supposedly Duke University thought turning the majestically Gothic bell tower of famous Duke Chapel into an Islamic minaret for every Friday call to prayer, heralded as “interreligious reimagining of a university icon,” would be non-controversial.

But the bow to campus multiculturalist ideology, thanks to nationwide publicity, barely lasted 24 hours. A campus spokesman curtly announced that what had been intended as unifying had become undesirably divisive. So the Muslim student group, which serves the five percent of Duke students said to be from Islamic backgrounds, will continue to worship in the chapel basement and will issue prayer calls outside the chapel instead.

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A Further Perspective

Goodbye Charlie

By 1.16.15

Eighty years ago, a Jew approached the saintly rabbi of the Gerer Hassidic dynasty and asked him for spiritual guidance. “Rabbi, where can I go to find true fear of sin?”

“Paris,” answered the rabbi.

“Why Paris?”

“Because so many good people have left their fear behind in that city.”

Paris has earned a sleazy reputation over centuries. It represents the notion that luxury and style can be achieved without restraint. In many ways London and Paris were opposing symbols in this regard. The English capital stood for the principle that humanity achieves its greatness through limiting indulgent impulses while the French capital scoffed at that assertion. As a general rule, London emerged stronger in head-to-head battles and its empire ranged further and lasted longer.

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Special Report

The Shirking Man’s Party

By 1.16.15

Rand Paul accuses most recipients of Social Security disability payments of “gaming the system” and calls them “malingerers.”

“What I tell people is, if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting a disability check,” the Kentucky senator told New Hampshire voters earlier this week. “You know, over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everybody over 40 has a back pain.”

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley calls the senator’s comments “insulting,” “way out of nowhere,” and evidence of “detachment from reality.” He continued, “Paul is saying that 50 percent of those on disability are committing fraud.”

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Another Perspective

Mitt Should Walk Away — Not Run

By 1.16.15

Mitt Romney is thinking of running for president in 2016. According to the New York Times, that’s what Romney told a group of big donors last week. Earlier, the former Massachusetts governor was thinking of running because the only other hefty Republican who could spare the party from a nutty primary — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — was too coy about his 2016 intentions. Now that Bush seems ready to brave the ring, however, Romney still feels a need to do the deed. Again.

Romney ran for the White House in 2008 but lost the primary to John McCain. Romney won the GOP primary in 2012, only to lose to a vulnerable incumbent. I should add that though Romney won the Massachusetts gubernatorial race in 2002, he had lost a Senate bid in 1994. Having won the Massachusetts State House, he did not run for re-election in 2006. Losing three out of four political campaigns, including two White House runs, usually doesn’t make for a strong sales pitch in politics. No worries, Romney retainer Eric Fehrnstrom told the Times. “If that’s the case, then Ronald Reagan never would have become president. Reagan ran three times.”

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Political Hay

Can’t We Do Better?

By 1.16.15

I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist — and I certainly have nothing on Paul Craig Roberts whose most recent article, helpfully disseminated by the Ron Paul Institute, claims the Charlie Hebdo attacks to be a “false flag” operation — but I can’t help but wonder if the “mainstream media” is playing up the potential presidential candidacies of Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum simply to depress Republican voters.

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A Further Perspective

After Paris Attacks, ‘Experts’ Say All Religions Are Violent

By 1.16.15

Two events recently transpired that forced mainstream media to address a question they habitually dodge: Is Islam intrinsically violent? First, on New Year’s Day, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi—a world leader, and a Muslim—did the unthinkable when he publicly asserted that Islamic texts and thinking have made the Muslim world a scourge to humanity. The MSM ignored it until, as if to prove his point, Muslim gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” killed a dozen people in its attack on the offices of a satirical newspaper in Paris.

Two separate editorials—by the New York Times and CNN—responded by purportedly tackling the question of whether Islam is inherently violent in the context of the Paris attack and Sisi’s speech.  Both quoted me as responding in the affirmative—and both instantly dismissed my partially presented views in “straw-man” fashion.

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Media Matters

Conservative Group Targets Comcast/NBC

By 1.15.15

The 65-page letter is addressed “Dear NBC Affiliate Owner.” The sender: the Conservative War Chest, with spokesman Michael Flynn signing the letter. The group has most recently been advertising in GOP Senate races around the country in the 2014 election cycle, as seen here.

The subject: Comcast/NBC Universal, now in the middle of a merger bid with Time Warner, and the larger issue of “the corruption of American journalism.” There is also a two-minute video, found here. Comcast/NBC is accused of acting as a “leftist Super Pac sponsoring millions of dollars worth of attack ads disguised as ‘news’ that seek the political oblivion of conservatives and the Republican Party.” It also calls on Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to mobilize the GOP against the Comcast/Time-Warner merger.

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