Higher Education Could Help Heal America

September 12, 2023 at 9:15 am

"College campuses, of all places, might help America shift the tone for the better," I write in a piece for Education Next surveying "the visionary higher-education leaders of today."

"The headlines focusing on research fraud, racial preferences, and student debt are obscuring a more positive story. On a number of campuses, civility and community are on the rise, and there seem to be green shoots of optimism poking through," the article says. Please check the article out in full over at Education Next.

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Regional Banks

September 8, 2023 at 9:56 am

One of these Friday afternoons there's probably going to be a press release from the FDIC announcing another bank closure. The Wall Street Journal has been ramping up coverage of this, with a piece earlier this week ("Real Estate Doom Loop Threatens America's Banks") and another today ("Tiny Bank Called Republic First Faces Test of Depositors' Faith") with a Vernon Hill angle.

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In Defense of the Defense Industry

September 6, 2023 at 7:28 pm

"In Defense of the Defense Industry" is the headline over my latest piece for the Wall Street Journal. Please check out the full column over at the Journal.

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Why Peter Beinart and Bret Stephens Are Wrong About China

September 6, 2023 at 4:56 pm

"None Dare Call It Appeasement: A New Soft Line on China Emerges on the Left" is the headline over my latest New York Sun column. Please check out the full column over at the Sun.

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What I Learned Editing Education Next

August 30, 2023 at 9:11 am

"What's happened over the past five years has made me more hopeful than ever about the future of American education," I write in a farewell column over at Education Next. Please check out the full column to find out "What's so encouraging that most people are failing to focus on?"

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Where Is the Jacob Schiff of 2023?

August 29, 2023 at 10:06 am

The refugee crisis in New York City, and the opportunity for private philanthropic leadership, is the topic of my latest column for the New York Sun. Please check the full column out over at the Sun, where it is headlined, "Amid Crisis in New York, a Visionary Immigration Plan from 1907 Invites a New Look."

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On Growth, Biden Gets One Right

August 27, 2023 at 9:50 pm

On Friday, President Biden spoke briefly with reporters in South Lake Tahoe, California, and gave his reaction to the first Republican presidential debate. "There was a lot of talk. But what are they going to do to deal with economic growth?" Biden said, according to a pool report of the event.

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Jet Ski 200 Miles to Freedom

August 25, 2023 at 8:56 am

Kwon Pyong's courage is the topic of a dispatch from Seoul in the New York Times. It says the Chinese dissident fled across 200 miles of ocean aboard a Jet Ski-type personal watercraft to seek asylum in South Korea.

According to the Times, "He had set off from the Shandong Peninsula with a helmet, a life jacket, a telescope and a compass, according to the Coast Guard. He also had five containers of fuel, which he'd tied to the watercraft and used to keep the tank filled during the 14-hour journey, the Coast Guard said."

The Times says Kwon had "graduated from Iowa State University in 2014 with a degree in aerospace engineering" and quoted a New York City-based friend saying that Kwon "felt depressed living in China due to the autocracy and lack of freedom of speech."

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Recent Work

August 24, 2023 at 4:44 pm

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A Job for Jared Kushner—And for Trump

August 23, 2023 at 2:30 pm

"Trump Faces a Teachable Moment on Criminal Justice Reform" is the headline of my latest column for the New York Sun. Please check out the full column over at the Sun.

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Outgoing Ivy League Presidents Get Sweetheart Home-Loan Deals

August 23, 2023 at 9:25 am

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a low-interest loan that the University of Pennsylvania approved to Amy Gutmann as she was leaving the university's presidency. (She's now President Biden's U.S. ambassador to Germany after having set Biden up as a professor at Penn):

The university's trustee compensation committee in late 2020 quietly authorized a $3.7 million, 0.38% interest home loan to Gutmann, according to tax records and financial disclosure forms. The loan was to help with her "presidential transition," said Scott Bok, chairman of Penn's board of trustees.

Specifically, Gutmann, 73, had lived in the president's house on campus during her tenure, and she wanted to purchase a home to stay in Philadelphia.

This sort of deal is apparently somewhat frequent for outgoing university presidents: "Columbia gave its recently departed president, Lee Bollinger, a $6 million home loan, tax records show. The former president of the University of Southern California, C.L. Max Nikias, also got one for $3 million."

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August 21, 2023 at 2:49 pm

The following press statement from the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, crossed the wire this afternoon, with the subject line "Tenth Anniversary of the Ghouta, Syria, Chemical Weapons Attack":

Ten years ago the Assad regime launched rockets carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin into the Ghouta district of Damascus, killing more than 1,400 people.

The United States remembers and honors the victims and survivors of the Ghouta attack and of the other chemical attacks launched by the Assad regime. Ten years on, we continue to seek justice and accountability for those responsible for these horrific acts.

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God and Man at Yale

August 19, 2023 at 9:04 pm

The September 2023 issue of Harper's carries a letter from Kathryn Lofton, identified as a professor of religious studies and American studies at Yale (she's also dean of humanities in Yale's faculty of arts and sciences). She writes:

Many religious communities around the world include an injunction to acknowledge wrongdoing through expiation. Within Protestant sects, confession is a ritual that occurs in some but not all churches, and not always for the same reasons. Christianity is a term that summarizes thousands of different sectarian movements unified by little other than interest in the Jesus story.

But facts don't matter when prejudice is being stirred up, and Buruma here leans hard on the last acceptable prejudice—that against religious people—to compare cancellers to fundamentalists. Unable to comprehend religion or its diversity, Buruma offers myopia and misinformation in its place...

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Vivek's Vietnam Syndrome

August 18, 2023 at 4:41 pm

Republican Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy stopped by Tucker Carlson's Twitter-based (sorry, "X, formerly known as Twitter, -based") television show this week for an interview that exposed the flaws in the candidacy that nationally is third in the RealClearPolitics average.

It was a disappointing, verging on disqualifying, outing, both in substance and in style.

In substance, Ramaswamy signaled that on foreign policy, he'd be worse than Biden or Obama. "We have no discernable national interest at issue in Ukraine," Ramaswamy said. "We are on our way to Ukraine turning into another Iraq or Vietnam all over again."

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Ken Griffin's Statement

August 17, 2023 at 9:37 am

From a Bloomberg news article about Citadel founder Ken Griffin lobbying to dial back Florida legislation that, in its initial form, would have imposed sweeping restrictions on Chinese ownership of real estate, comes this statement from Griffin: "I care deeply about individual rights and freedom, economic policies that encourage prosperity and upward mobility, all children having access to a high-quality education, ensuring our communities are safe, and a strong national defense."

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