Krugman Has a Point

January 29, 2016 at 2:33 pm

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In his New York Times column, Paul Krugman acknowledges a problem with the claim of many on the left that American politics are somehow dictated by the super-rich. "The 1 percent has no problems with immigration that brings in cheap labor; it doesn't want a confrontation over Planned Parenthood; but the base isn't taking guidance the way it used to," he writes.

Or, as Charles Koch put it a few weeks ago, "You'd think we could have more influence."

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Dangling Modifiers

January 29, 2016 at 9:23 am

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This reader is noticing more and more dangling modifiers. It's not clear whether they are the result of poor education, cutbacks in editorial staffing, or something else. Here are three examples:

From a section-front Wall Street Journal article headlined, "The Power of Daily Writing in a Journal": "His collective writings consume about 15 feet of shelf space in a storage unit in Manhattan, Kan., where he lived before moving last year." Never mind the writings, tell us about how the guy lived in a storage locker.

From a front-page New York Times article headlined, "Donald Trump Takes To Solo Stage Instead of G.O.P. Debate": "Flying into Des Moines in his gold and leather-lined 757, he held his own one-sided debate, before an adoring crowd of 700, and mused about how his lesser opponents across town were coping with his absence." Never mind the gold and leather, tell us about how Mr. Trump managed to fit 700 people on a Boeing 757.

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Sharansky: "America Doesn't Want To Lead"

January 28, 2016 at 3:20 pm

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This is a bit far afield from our usual topics here, but some readers may be interested in my dispatch for the New York Sun about Natan Sharansky's visit to Boston. The link is here.

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Irony of the Day

January 28, 2016 at 3:13 pm

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The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is hiring. From the job listing: "These are part time positions with a varying work schedule not to exceed 20 hours per work week, to include weekend scheduling. These positions are not eligible for benefits."

I'm not sure whether to blame RomneyCare or ObamaCare, but one wonders whether during Senator Kennedy's long battle to expand healthcare coverage via federal law, he really meant to essentially incentivize institutions like the one named after him to create part-time jobs without benefits, thereby shifting the burden of coverage onto individual workers and, through subsidies, other taxpayers.

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Paul Ryan for President

January 27, 2016 at 12:23 pm

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In the midst of a really terrific Conrad Black column about Donald Trump and what Black calls a "conservative highbrow attack" on him, comes this:

If the Republican-party regulars, reinforced from the ideological right, want to stop Trump and promote someone they regard as a suitable and presentable candidate, they will have to put all their chips on Marco Rubio soon. Or they could try a broader-based draft of House Speaker Paul Ryan (who was drafted to the speakership), a dark horse of Wendell Willkie, if not James K. Polk, proportions.

And at the end of a front-page New York Times article about establishment Republican panic at the prospect of Trump or Cruz winning the nomination comes this:

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Trump and National Review Deserve Each Other

January 26, 2016 at 10:12 am

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National Review's attack on Donald Trump is the topic of my column this week. Please check it out at the New York Sun (here) and Newsmax (here). I've gotten more reaction to this column, both positive and negative, than to anything else I have written in quite a while.

Also on the Trump front, this analysis from Rush Limbaugh is interesting:

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Baker's State of the Commonwealth

January 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm

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The governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, a Republican, delivered his state of the commonwealth speech last night taking stock of his first year in office and looking ahead. The text is here and worth a look. I was watching on television here in Boston, and one striking thing is that, unlike President Obama's state of the union address, where Democrats stood and cheered while Republicans sat stonefaced in silence, Mr. Baker's speech had both Republicans and Democrats — including even Democratic U.S. Senators Markey and Warren — standing and clapping at the applause lines. One highlight:

As the administration ends its first year in office, some have lamented how boring we are. I'll admit: that makes me smile.

No fights. No yelling. No partisan scrums.

I had a basketball coach in high school who was fond of saying: Don't confuse effort with results. Work hard, but work smart.

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JFK Conservative on the Campaign Trail

January 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm

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Ted Cruz's John F. Kennedy imitation and claim that Kennedy would be a Republican if he were alive today is "a regular part of his repertoire on the campaign trail in New England" and is drawing an objection from JFK's grandson, reports, without mentioning that there is a book all about this.

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The Democratic Socialist Electorate

January 21, 2016 at 1:38 pm

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The Wall Street Journal reports:

Polling suggests that Democrats might not be all that bothered by Mr. Sanders's socialist roots. A new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll showed that 43% of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers saw themselves as socialists, compared to just 38% who called themselves capitalist.

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Matt Levine on Insider Trading

January 20, 2016 at 9:47 am

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Bloomberg's Matt Levine — whose bio says "He has worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz...spent a year clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and taught high school Latin... has a bachelor's degree in classics from Harvard University and a law degree from Yale Law School" — has written a couple of mostly smart and interesting pieces lately about insider trading enforcement and law.

The most recent one, about the Supreme Court's decision to take up the issue, is here:

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Race in Hiring at Disney

January 20, 2016 at 9:18 am

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The Wall Street Journal has an interview with John Skipper, who is the president of ESPN, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Co. From the interview:

WSJ: What's the value of niche sites like The Undefeated and FiveThirtyEight​?
Mr. Skipper: At the Undefeated, the play is about content. If you do a time-lapse of the last two or three years in sports, you'd see more stories pop to the top about race and sports than anything. It is an important area to explore. There is a business reason: among our most important consumers are African-Americans. There is not right now a go-to site for black fans, other than just ESPN sites. [The Undefeated] will be a black-run and black-staffed site.

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Greg Abbott's Constitutional Convention

January 19, 2016 at 10:49 am

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Instapundit Glenn Reynolds writes his USA Today column about Texas Governor Greg Abbott's proposal for a Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution:

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Amazon Two-Hour Deliveries

January 19, 2016 at 10:34 am

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Bloomberg News reports:

Amazon, which has been using outside companies to handle the two-hour deliveries, began hiring on-demand drivers directly through its Amazon Flex program in Seattle in September. Drivers with a car and a smartphone can make $18 to $25 an hour, according to ad notices, and register for shifts through an app. Amazon says it's coming soon to Chicago and New York, where it'll compete to hire drivers with another quick delivery service, UberRush.

Policymakers have been pressing to adapt 20th century labor laws as startups and established companies rely more and more on flexible work arrangements to cut payroll costs by as much as 40 percent while offering home delivery...

Lawyers say the employer-worker relationship will be redefined one case at a time over the next decade. By then, Amazon may be using drones for deliveries.

That's exactly it — by the time courts and Congress take a decade to reshape labor law, the companies will have moved on to the next thing.

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Circuit Split on Insider Trading

January 19, 2016 at 10:19 am

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The Supreme Court will hear Salman v. United States. Bloomberg News reports:

The justices will hear an appeal from Bassam Salman, an Illinois man convicted of using information leaked by a onetime Citigroup Inc. investment banker. Salman says the judges in his case set the bar too low for prosecutions stemming from information passed by a corporate insider to a friend, relative or business associate.

The main issue is whether prosecutors must show that the insider received a concrete benefit in exchange for passing on the information. A San Francisco-based federal appeals court ruled in Salman's case that wasn't required, splitting with a New York-based panel that reached the opposite conclusion seven months earlier.

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Heidi Cruz on the Tenth Amendment

January 18, 2016 at 9:05 pm

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From a New York Times profile of Heidi Cruz, wife of presidential candidate Ted:

When a young volunteer based in Boston told her that it was tough to be a Cruz supporter in such a liberal city, Mrs. Cruz suggested a potential pitch.

"Ted being a constitutionalist helps you a lot in places like Boston — 10th Amendment, back to the states," she said, as if confiding a secret.

"I'll definitely try that out," the girl said, looking relieved.

What a wonderful thought.

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