We're so afraid of hurting other people and of being thought ill of that we make ourselves into crushing bores.
Boy! (oh, sorry) Ain't that the truth!
Just another aging Boomer trying to make sense of the world he helped create. Somehow, I don't think I was paying enough attention...
We're so afraid of hurting other people and of being thought ill of that we make ourselves into crushing bores.
It is children, not teachers, who need to be at the center of education policy. It is the provision of services, not lifetime employment for providers, that ought to engage the attention of governors and legislators around the country. America needs government and it needs good government (though it doesn’t need too much government or government doing too many things). Democrats cannot advocate effectively for the things government can and should do until they free themselves from their current indenture to government employees. Government has to be affordable and efficient; otherwise we will have less of it than we need. Democrats need to get on the right side of this issue and for that to happen the influence of public employee unions in the party needs to decline.
Barack Obama, the post-everything visionary who vowed to deliver us from a suffocating political past, is in fact a dinosaur. The fossilized evidence has revealed itself over the past two years. So deep in the layers of political history is the 44th president lodged that even Palestinian leaders have moved on from the grievances he cites. So overtaken by the times is he that European heads of state dismiss his economics as yesterday’s errors. Indeed, Obama is so plainly out of step with the challenges of today that he has bowed out of the present altogether and redirected our attention to an impossible and therapeutic “future.”
We have exited politics and entered prophecy. The president’s budget reflects this. It is a spending plan for an alternate universe. “No entitlement reform, no tax reform, no significant spending reform, indeed no meaningful change of direction of any sort,” notes Yuval Levin at National Review. “The budget does nothing to lessen the burdens with which we now stand to saddle the rising generation, and which will stifle growth and prosperity along the way.” Sure, spoil the fun by being factual. But presidential prophecy sees things differently. Just today, I received an e-mail from the White House explaining that “the tough choices we had to make so we can afford to invest in our future.” And it’s going to be grand. “We need to invest in roads, bridges, high-speed rail and high-speed Internet to help our businesses ship their goods and ideas around the world.”
What kinds of “goods and ideas” will be coursing through these space-age conduits? Well, prophecy is a mysterious business. He assured an audience of workers at a turbine plant in Schenectady, New York, last month, “We’re gonna build stuff and invent stuff.” And to Chinese President Hu Jintao, he relayed, “We want to sell you all kinds of stuff.” Sure, he’s a little fuzzy on the details. But he’s a big-picture guy, remember? And what do you think the future is for anyway?
Spoilsports interested in a realistic picture of our future might want to consider the news coming out of Greece today. The AP reports: “Greece’s economy will shrink by about 3 percent or more this year, the central bank predicted Tuesday, meaning the country would wallow in recession for a third straight year as it battles to recover from its devastating debt crisis.” That’s where the dinosaur economics of the entitlement state leads. As ABC News’s Jake Tapper said of the new Obama budget, “At no point in the president’s 10-year projection would the U.S. government spend less than it’s taking in.” Welcome to Greece. While we spend money we don’t have, we will pacify ourselves with futuristic visions of high-speed toys. When the Europeans did it, their dream future was a magically forgiving EU that would wash away all their present-day concerns. That’s the only difference between them and us.
Barack Obama has stopped voting present on the present. He’s already on a high-speed train to the land of fast-moving American “stuff.” It’s hard to blame him, in a way. The future has always held a great paradoxical appeal to those stuck in the past. Which is why his version of the future sounds a lot like something cooked up at the 1964 World’s Fair, and why his description of “our Sputnik moment” is actually a lot more relevant than it should be. If no one successfully counters the proposed budget, it’s back to the future for all of us.
I've reprinted the whole thing here because it is, by far, the best short summary of the Obama presidency I have yet to see.... Read it and weep.
This week saw a showdown between the man whose most significant achievement before 2008 was that he very nearly got the asbestos removed from the Altgeld Gardens tenements in Chicago and the third-longest-ruling head of Egypt since the Pharaoh Ramses, whose reign lasted 67 years. The Egyptian, an 82-year-old with terminal cancer, easily bested the community organizer, the man elected by people who quite clearly confused the last presidential election with an American idol contest. While many who elected the American president probably do not yet realize it, it is lucky for them that he lost the showdown, for had he not, the results would have created worldwide havoc and devastation.
Here’s my prediction: the money, the reforms, the gleaming porcelain, the hopeful rhetoric about saving our children—all of it will have a limited impact, at best, on most city schoolchildren. Urban teachers face an intractable problem, one that we cannot spend or even teach our way out of: teen pregnancy. This year, all of my favorite girls are pregnant, four in all, future unwed mothers every one. There will be no innovation in this quarter, no race to the top. Personal moral accountability is the electrified rail that no politician wants to touch.
Yet if there is one thing we know with an empirical certainty, it is that increasing federal spending will not, on balance, create more jobs. Of course, whenever the government spends money someone is employed, or, at least, gets to cash a check. This is what Obama had in mind when he said--in a moment of supreme cluelessness--"spending equals stimulus." What Obama apparently does not understand is that government spending consumes resources, often inefficiently, that could better be used elsewhere. Whenever the government wastes resources, the country grows poorer and job growth is suppressed. This, in crude terms, is why the ballooning public expenditures of recent years have not caused a boom in the job market.
Have the inhabitants of Bizarro World finally broken through to Earth? Krugman offers, with no apparent sense of irony, a column proclaiming the virtues of the modern welfare state and a Times magazine article explaining the collapse of the modern welfare state. It's two Krugmans in one!
As they say, read it all. The one REALLY good thing about all of this, is that it speaks to the absolute end of Paul Krugman. The power-hungry Nobel nerd's thirst for attention and influence is finally catching up with him (as it almost always does with academics suffering from severe envy of people who actually work for a living and are (gasp!) successful at it).
But never mind that, because the Left’s sudden talk about incendiary political rhetoric in the wake of the Arizona shooting isn’t really about political rhetoric at all. It’s about the real-world failure of leftist policies everywhere—the bankrupting of nations and states by greedy unions and unfundable social programs, the destruction of inner cities by identity politics, and the appeasement of Muslim extremists in the face of worldwide jihad, not to mention the frequently fatal effects of delirious environmentalism. Europe is in debt and on fire. American citizens are in political revolt. Even the most left-wing president ever is making desperate overtures to his right.
But all that might be tolerable to leftists if they weren’t starting to lose control of the one weapon in which they have the most faith: the narrative. The narrative is what leftists believe in instead of the truth. If they can blame George W. Bush for the economic crisis, if they can make Sarah Palin out to be an idiot, if they can call the Tea Party racist until you think it must be true, they might yet retain power in spite of the international disgrace of their ideas. And though they still mostly dominate the narrative on the three broadcast networks, most cable stations, most newspapers, and much of Hollywood, nonetheless Fox News, talk radio, the Internet, and the Wall Street Journal have begun to respond in ways they can’t ignore.
The story of Philadelphia’s bloggers illuminates an issue that every city will grapple with soon. Technology enables city dwellers to engage in sophisticated, small-scale entrepreneurial activity as never before. That anyone can easily become a publisher enhances aggregate output and innovation, as do new opportunities in other industries where barriers to entry are falling. Too often, however, city ordinances that arose in a pre-digital economy stymie these efforts.
It is amazing how few people understand the damage that boys who are abused by women can suffer. However, given how little our society cares about the psychological lives of men in general (and thus, most men and boys don't care either), it's amazing these women were arrested at all.
Ezra Klein made the biggest mistake that can be made by a liberal — progressive — socialist — communist — no labelist — whatever the heck they call themselves on the 31st of the month.
He was being honest.
He does not believe in the Constitution.
Berkowitz, in analyzing what he calls the “new progressives,” helps explain one of the distinguishing features of the Obama presidency: its disdain for the people’s preferences and the lengths to which Mr. Obama goes to disguise his elitism and contempt for the views of the public.
For bad op-eds, it's tough to beat the New York Times' Friedman, whose columns are hot, flat, and crowded with mixed metaphors, famous name-droppings, and juvenile political ideas.
During last summer's "Did you plug the hole yet, daddy" frenzy over the BP oil spill, Friedman urged President Obama to "think like a kid." "Daddy, why can't you even mention the words 'carbon tax'?" the 57-year-old columnist wailed.
But however well or badly we handle our guns, woe will befall he who thinks he can conquer America. 500 years ago, Machiavelli compared ancient Persia with then-modern France. Persia was highly centralized, so the emperor was firmly in control of all parts of his realm, and could muster enormous numbers of men to any part of the country. But if you could defeat that army and the central authority that raised it, then you would almost immediately control the whole nation, as Alexander showed. Medieval France, on the other hand, was very decentralized, with petty dukes controlling small centers of power throughout the country. Because of this, the king of France had only marginal control over vast swaths of his country , but no invader could stand a chance at conquering France because of all the small bands of local opposition