Fact checkers and neutrality.
Fact checkers and neutrality.
There's a famous and probably apocryphal story about Milton Friedman being taken on a tour of a giant Chinese infrastructure project of some kind, in which the workers were using old-fashioned shovels and picks and wheelbarrows. Curious, Friedman asked his guide why they weren't using bulldozers and other heavy machinery. The answer was: "We care about creating jobs for our people." To which Friedman responded: "Then why not use spoons?" I wonder if Barack Obama could answer Milton Friedman's question.
That exact scenario -- Mom is thriving at work, children are suffering at home -- is one of millions that takes place throughout the country. The truth is that which none of us is allowed to say: Children are suffering -- and desperately need their mommies. That's why Slaughter's article garnered so much attention. It hit us in the gut.
That children need their mothers is a hard pill to swallow for a nation of women who've been sold a script. This script has been clear since day one: A woman's power lies outside the home, not inside. The more impressive the résumé, the more impressive the woman.
What Slaughter learned the hard way is that her résumé doesn't mean beans. Sure, it opened doors. Yes, it allows her to mingle with the big wigs. It's all very impressive.
Except to her children.
And that's really what this conversation is about, isn't it? The children -- and whether or not we value them. Our actions, our choices, are the only way to prove what we value. The rest is just talk.
The numbers are mind boggling. From the second quarter of 2007, i.e., the first full quarter of a Pelosi-Reid dominated Congress and a politically weakened President Bush, to the second quarter of 2009 when President Obama assumed office, government spending skyrocketed to 27.3% of GDP from 21.4%. It was the largest peacetime expansion of government spending in U.S. history.
It was originally economics. Man was Homo economicus. Rather than dividing the world between good and evil, the Left divided the world in terms of economics. Economic classes, not moral values, explained human behavior. Therefore, to cite a common example, poverty, not one's moral value system, or lack of it, caused crime.
Recently, however, the economic explanation for human behavior has lost some of its appeal. Even many liberal professors and editorial writers have had to grapple with the "surprising" fact that violent crime has declined, not increased, in the current recession.
In the words of Scientific American, "Homo economicus is extinct."
Now the president is proposing, as Democrats always do, to increase funding for the Department of Education by 2.5 percent, taking it to $70 billion, and once again, to eliminate funding for the OSP, moving those funds back to the public schools.
It's easy to see why the president wants to double down on the current system. Ever-increasing expenditures have done so much for the kids of the District of Columbia. The District now spends $18,000 per student. More than 60 percent of District fourth-graders cannot read at grade level. Only 14 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in reading. The Washington Post reports that in math, the District has, "by a wide margin, the nation's highest proportion of fourth and eighth graders in the `below basic' category -- and the lowest in proficient/advanced." During the 2007/2008 academic year, police received more than 3,500 calls from public schools, 900 of them for violent incidents.
As for greed: Between hunger for money and hunger for power, the latter is incomparably more frightening. It is noteworthy that none of the twentieth century's monsters -- Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao -- were preoccupied with material gain. They loved power much more than money.
And that is why the Left is much more frightening than the Right. It craves power.
Yes, but in 1983, thanks to âoeReaganomics,â the economy was adding 430,000 jobs per month. What was the job-growth figure for April, again? Wasnât it 115,000? And hasnât the population grown by 25 percent since 1983?
Continuing down memory lane, the president recalled that when he was a student, âoewe had Walkmen, not iPods. Some of the streets around here were not quite so inviting. Times Square was not a family destination.â
So true, Mr. President! I remember dodging the hooligans myself. Funny you should mention that, because New York was suffering from the liberal policies that had been enacted by Democrats and liberal Republicans (John Lindsay) for decades. Good liberals just like you ran the city into the ground. They believed that crime shouldnât be punished severely because it was the understandable response to injustice. They believed that high taxes and heavy regulation were the right approach to business, because businesses were based upon greed. They believed that welfare was the least we could do for blacks and others who had been persecuted for centuries. They believed that government employees made life better and that, accordingly, we should have many more of them. It was only with the election in 1993 of a conservative Republican mayor, Rudy Giuliani, that New York â" including the iconic Times Square â" was transformed. Thanks so much for reminding us that conservative reform can make such a dramatic difference in such a short time.
Ignoring the best while celebrating the least -- it's what we do.
"No, no. I'm just test-driving it," I said. "It's not my money."
As I drove away, it occurred to me that it would have been impolite to add, "It's yours."
It would be unfair to say that only liberals (or Democrats) are taken in by the extravagant claims of Mr. Scientific Truth, but the moment you hear someone attacked for being anti-science, you can be certain that the person making this charge is a true believer in the teachings of that rank charlatan, Mr. Scientific Truth. Belief in the infallibility of the latest scientific consensus may be useful in the process of learning about science when we are children, but the history of science teaches us that the scientific consensus of today is no more immune to future scientific revolutions than the scientific consensus of the past. To label as anti-science anyone who is skeptical of the current scientific consensus may be a clever political stunt, but it betrays a hopelessly na?e idea of the nature of science. The real enemy of science is not the skeptic, but the true believer.
Why don't liberals read us or listen to us or debate us?
Because the Left has convinced itself that the Right is unworthy of such attention.
They are certain that conservatives are sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, and bigoted, not to mention anti-intellectual and anti-science.
If our government believes the Taliban and other factions are our enemies, allied with al-Qaeda to kill Americans, then we should unleash our military to destroy them. This should not be an endless counterinsurgency experiment that prioritizes the protection of Afghan civilians and the construction of Afghan civil society; it should be a war that our vast might enables us to win rapidly and decisively.
But our government has repeatedly professed that the Taliban are not our enemies. If that is true, we lack not only the will but the cause for waging war. We should leave 窶" now. It is immoral to keep our young men and women there as sitting ducks in a place where the people hate Americans but we are not trying to vanquish them. We routed al-Qaeda years ago. We don窶t need to defeat the Taliban or waste time negotiating with them, Karzai, the warlords, and the rest. Let them have their Korans and work it out for themselves with the compassion that has been such a Religion of Peace hallmark for the last 14 centuries.
"When I was born, less than 10 percent of the federal budget was entitlement spending. It's now 60 percent of the budget. Some people have suggested that defense spending is the problem. When I was born, defense spending was 60 percent of the budget. It's now 17 percent."
Sometimes the media gets it wrong and we all have to hold our hands up here. Twenty thousand-plus people perished in a real disaster, people about whom we in the West have heard very little.
Beckel and Jerry Roberts, 78, a retired engineer who also was in the blockhouse that historic morning, said almost all the workers back then were in their 20s and fresh out of college. The managers were in their 30s. "I don't know if I'd trust a 20-year-old today," Beckel said.
People say they want green, but then they act not green.
For a couple of years now, I have felt that Western politicians don't fully grasp the Afghan war. It is almost as if they don't realize that it is a war out there, it is almost as if they don't take it seriously.
If you get troops into a war, give them all (and then I mean all) the support they need to win the war quickly. Don't have them clean minefields, don't have them win hearts and minds. No, have them win the war. Kill every bad guy or anyone remotely linked to the bad guys.
That's when you show that you are serious.
Our men and women in uniform are no social workers. They are at their best at doing one thing: killing bad guys. Don't put them in an awkward position where they have to be nice.
The Afghan war is pretty simple: the bad guys put pressure on the good guys to support them, Soprano style. You will have to fight this enemy on their own turf: how hard is it to kill the bad guys who put the IEDs in the street? Find the IED, dismantle it, and let it blow up when the bad guy shows up to find out why the thing does not work. With all our technology, that should be easy as cake. In fact, Dutch forces mentioned that they would be doing it, if they were not forced by the top brass not to follow this strategy.
We are in it for the win. Or not?
But requiring that businesspeople make decisions based on some putative idea of altruism, even if such a stricture could be defined and enforced, would be a terrible idea. Capitalists should not be restricted as to intention, but as to method. As a rough-and-ready rule, they should be forbidden from using force. The government may also choose to place additional regulations on them (weights and measures rules, minimum wage laws, non-discrimination laws, etc.). While any given regulation is debatable, some formal regulation is required for real markets, and capitalists should have to obey the law. Further, real markets depend to some extent on informal norms -- e.g., general commercial honesty, an ethic of "a deal's a deal," and so on. This last point can obviously get somewhat fuzzy, but is still important.
"I'm here by myself with my infant baby, can I please get a dispatcher out here immediately?" she asked. Note the instinctive civility of the "please." The answer was basically "no." With three deputies covering 12,000 square miles, no one could get to her soon. McKinley stayed on the line an incredible 21 minutes. Then, she got to the crux of the matter. "I've got two guns in my hand," she told the operator. "Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in the door?"