From August, 2014

It Has Become Disturbingly Easy to Be a Criminal These Days

I don’t have a lot in common politically with Thomas Edsall, but this piece, decrying “poverty capitalism” deserves to be read by lots and lots and lots of people. Edsall points out that in a host of municipalities and localities, being too poor to pay exorbitant court fines can get people tossed in jail. As though that were not bad enough, “poverty capitalism” is leading to the diminishment of a number of constitutional rights–most notably, the right to counsel. It used to be that if you could not afford a lawyer, one would be provided to you by the court.…

How the Teacher Tenure System Helps Undermine Education

I am late to this, but Frank Bruni’s editorial is well worth your time, especially since it shows that more and more Democrats are opposing the current tenure system in public schools. About the only shortcoming of the editorial is that it doesn’t make the point that the current deleterious tenure system that prevails in so many public schools helps make the case for school choice. Increasing competition for students between schools will force public schools to abandon failed policies like the teacher tenure regime, thus giving students and their parents a significantly better deal from their respective public school systems.

All Hail Richard Posner

Laws prohibiting same-sex marriage deserve to get “shredded” in court, and Judge Posner did a masterful job of doing the shredding. I suppose that he was helped by the fact that counsel arguing on behalf of the Indiana and Wisconsin laws also did a masterful job of allowing themselves to be shredded by the judge. Amazingly enough–or, perhaps not–the lawyers were not even prepared to lend anything resembling substantive support to their claims that same-sex marriage somehow “devalue” heterosexual marriage, or that children of a same-sex couple would not be better off if their parents could marry, or what “harmful…

Quote of the Day

I am a lifelong Democrat, a political liberal, a Reform rabbi, and for four decades, until last week, a New York Times subscriber. What drove me away was the paper’s incessant denigration of Israel, a torrent of articles, photographs, and op-ed columns that consistently present the Jewish State in the worst possible light. This phenomenon is not new. Knowledgeable observers have long assailed the Times lack of objectivity and absence of journalistic integrity in reporting on Israel. My chronic irritation finally morphed into alienation and then to visceral disgust this summer, after Hamas renewed its terrorist assaults upon Israel and…

Russia Invades Ukraine

And no one should be surprised, of course; ever since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, the worry that Russia might invade has never been far from the minds of serious observers. The Ukrainian military is hardly well-equipped to make life miserable for Russian forces now fighting in its territory (alas), which means that Ukrainian sovereignty has suffered yet another grievous blow. As I (and others) have mentioned before, other than imposing (relatively ineffectual) sanctions, the West will do little to nothing to try to counteract the Russian incursion. However serious the crisis may be–and let there be no doubt…

Once Upon a Time, Warren Buffett Was Barack Obama’s Favorite Billionaire

He never should have been, of course, but never mind that for a moment. Focus instead on the fact that Warren Buffett just made life very inconvenient for a White House that professed to venerate his every word, thought, gesture and action: The White House might need a new poster child for its “tax fairness” campaign. Famed billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who President Barack Obama has lauded and named a signature proposal after, is helping finance a deal that would allow Burger King Worldwide to reincorporate in Canada and potentially reduce its U.S. tax bill through a so-called inversion, the Journal reported late Monday. One of the White…

Quote of the Day

Is there anything left to say about Israel and Gaza? Newspapers this summer have been full of little else. Television viewers see heaps of rubble and plumes of smoke in their sleep. A representative article from a recent issue of The New Yorker described the summer’s events by dedicating one sentence each to the horrors in Nigeria and Ukraine, four sentences to the crazed génocidaires of ISIS, and the rest of the article—30 sentences—to Israel and Gaza. When the hysteria abates, I believe the events in Gaza will not be remembered by the world as particularly important. People were killed, most of…

I Really Don’t Like Writing Blog Posts about Anti-Semitism . . .

But it is worth reminding people that contrary to the claims of the immoral and the benighted, anti-Semitism isn’t “scarce” in the West (alas). Jeffrey Goldberg: On the one hand, it is completely unsurprising that Europe has become a swamp of anti-Jewish hostility. It is, after all, Europe. Anti-Jewish hostility has been its metier for centuries. (Yes, the locus of much anti-Jewish activity today is within Europe’s large Muslim-immigrant population; but the young men who threaten their Jewish neighbors draw on the language and traditions of European anti-Semitism as much as they do on Muslim modes of anti-Semitic thought.) On the other…

When Busybodies Attack

Apparently, you can’t be a little Floridian kid with a lemonade stand without some “grownup” reporting you to state government officials. You’d think that people would have better things to do than to hassle children, but alas, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. The good news is that “[s]heriff’s deputies have declined” to shut down the offending lemonade stand in question. The bad news is that in doing so, Florida state law enforcement officials have proven themselves to be the exception, and not the rule.

Remember How Obamacare Is Supposedly No Longer a Campaign Issue?

Sure you do. Of course, the facts show that Obamacare remains very much a campaign issue–the unsubstantiated claims of Greg Sargent and Paul Krugman notwithstanding–and now, via InstaPundit, we have an indication that if anything, not enough is being made about the deleterious effects of health care “reform”: Institutions say complying with the Affordable Care Act has caused them to pass on some costs to employees, according to a new survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. Since the act began to take effect, some 20 percent of institutions have made changes to benefits in an effort to…