Trumpism May Outlast Trump

July 21, 2020 at 5:55 pm

Anyone hoping a Biden victory in the presidential election will somehow magically undo the last four years is in for a reality check, I write in my latest column. "On a whole range of issues foreign and domestic, even a one-term Trump presidency will have been enormously consequential, constraining Mr. Biden's options and setting America on a course that will be in certain ways impossible to reverse." Please read the full column at the New York Sun ("If Biden Wins, He May Discover Trumpism Abides"), Newsmax ("Trumpism Is Here to Stay"), and the New Boston Post ("Trumpism May Outlast Trump Presidency.")

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Silver Lining to Rising Case Counts

July 15, 2020 at 10:58 am

Surely it'd be better overall if U.S. coronavirus case counts were declining everywhere. But one offset is that Phase Three testing of vaccines will be much faster and easier with the virus running relatively rampant than they would be with the virus scarce. For a randomized controlled trial to work, you need to vaccinate people and not vaccinate another group of people, then set both groups loose and see who gets infected or sick. If there's no virus around, no one in either group gets sick or infected. That's great for those people, but it doesn't much advance the vaccine toward the market, because there's no observable difference between the two randomly selected groups. If there is lots of virus around, then it's much less difficult to see whether the vaccine is helpful in preventing infection or sickness. This is a big deal, especially because there are significant ethical issues around the alternative approach of deliberately exposing vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals to the virus.

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Slow Pace of Police Reform Feeds Frustration

July 14, 2020 at 8:25 pm

The slow pace of police reform is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Slow Moving Police Reform Intensifies Frustrations"), Reason ("Sluggishness of Police Reform Feeds Frustration"), the New York Sun ("25 Years Later Calls for Reforms Echo on Policing"), and the New Boston Post ("Sluggishness of Police Reform Feeds Frustration: Would More Foot Patrol Help?")

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Three More Cancellations

July 14, 2020 at 8:14 pm

Three more names to add to our running List of People Canceled in Post-George-Floyd Antiracism Purges:

Bari Weiss, an editor and writer for the New York Times opinion section, resigned saying she was constructively discharged and "the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views."

Gary Garrels, the senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, resigned following a staff uproar after his comment that the museum would still collect the work of white artists. Artnet reported that he emailed staff saying, "I want to offer my personal and sincere apology to every one of you. I realized almost as soon as I used the term 'reverse discrimination' that this is an offensive term and was an extremely poor choice of words on my part. I am very sorry at how upsetting these words were to many staff."

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In 2020 Campaign, Enemies Emerge

July 12, 2020 at 11:44 am

One way to look at the 2020 presidential campaign is to understand who and what is being defined as the enemy. That's the topic of my column this past week. Please check out the full column at the New Boston Post ("Keep an Eye on the Enemies"), Newsmax ("Blaming Trump for Unrest Could Pivot Swing States to Biden"), and at the New York Sun ("Trump and Biden Will Be Defined by Their Enemies.")

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Four More Cancellations

July 3, 2020 at 4:16 pm

Four more names to add to our running list of People Canceled in Post-George-Floyd Antiracism Purges:

Mikaela Guido, president of the College Democrats of America, resigned after the organization's one black board member complained that she had "has not created an inclusive board," the New York Times reported. Guido, a law student at the University of Florida, said that "unsubstantiated claims of racism towards me have an appearance of being used as a front for personal disagreements."

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Even More People Canceled in Post-George-Floyd Antiracism Purges

June 24, 2020 at 7:48 am

The Wall Street Journal has a very good editorial, America's Jacobin Moment, that brings several more examples to add to our still-growing and regularly updated List of People Canceled in Post-George-Floyd Antiracism Purges. Among them:

The editor of Philadelphia Magazine, Tom McGrath, resigned after staffers complained that the magazine "has not taken sufficient action as a publication to combat systemic racism at large, or racism on our own staff, which has resulted in Black staffers facing microaggressions on a frequent basis."

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Fear Strikes the University of Chicago

June 24, 2020 at 7:00 am

Free speech on campus and elsewhere amid the current antiracism fervor is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun ("If Fear Can Strike at University of Chicago, Imagine the Rest of Academia"), at Reason ("The University of Chicago Took a Stand for Free Speech. Faculty Say They Live in Fear Anyway."), at Newsmax ("Thought Crime Now a Campus Capital Offense."), at the Las Vegas Review-Journal ("Fear Strikes University Faculty"), and at the New Boston Post ("Fear Strikes University of Chicago Faculty.")

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More People Canceled in Post-George-Floyd Antiracism Purges

June 22, 2020 at 9:35 am

Dave Andelman, the CEO of The Phantom Gourmet, forced to resign and relinquish ownership of the company he founded in 1993. He had made Facebook posts making fun of anti-police-brutality protests by suggesting that Boston retailers offer "touchless, curbside looting."

Sue Schafer, fired from her job at a government contractor after the Washington Post investigated her costume at a 2018 Halloween party thrown by Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles. Schafer had come dressed as the television news anchor Megyn Kelly in blackface.

Benji Backer, a climate-change activist who had a speaking engagement canceled "because of a past tweet where I linked COVID-19 to the country of China. They claimed it was racially insensitive."

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A Front-Page Call for Price Regulation

June 17, 2020 at 8:50 am

A front-page New York Times news article is headlined "Most Coronavirus Tests Cost About $100. Why Did One Cost $2,315?" It reports:

How can a simple coronavirus test cost $100 in one lab and 2,200 percent more in another? It comes back to a fundamental fact about the American health care system: The government does not regulate health care prices.

This tends to have two major outcomes that health policy experts have seen before, and are seeing again with coronavirus testing.

The first is high prices over all.

Nope. Not even close. Actually, in much of the American economy, the government does not set prices, and the result is free-market competition and low prices. Think of a fast-food hamburger. In countries, such as the Soviet Union, where the government has attempted to set prices, the results have been shortages, scarcity, and the advent of a "black market" where goods are available at higher than the artificially low government-set prices.

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The Case for Susan Rice as Biden's V.P.

June 16, 2020 at 4:47 pm

My column this week makes the case for Susan Rice as Joe Biden's running mate. Please check out the full column at the New Boston Post ("The Case for Susan Rice as Biden's Running Mate"), at the New York Sun ("Rice Is Emerging as a Logical Pick for Biden's Veep"), or at Newsmax ("Why Biden Needs Rice as His VP.")

Rice's book "Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For" is available at Amazon or at Bookshop.org.

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More People Canceled in Post-George-Floyd Antiracism Terror

June 14, 2020 at 12:22 pm

To our initial "List of People Canceled in Post-George-Floyd Antiracism Terror," published June 11, can now be added the following individuals:

University of Chicago professor of economics Harald Uhlig was placed on leave from his role as editor of the Journal of Political Economy following "accusations of discriminatory conduct in a classroom setting." Uhlig also had his contract with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago canceled after a Fed spokeswoman said the bank determined "that his views are not compatible with the Chicago Fed's values and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion."

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List of People Canceled in Post-George-Floyd Antiracism Purges

June 11, 2020 at 10:46 pm

Here is the list:

The editor of the editorial page of the New York Times, James Bennet, for having published an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton calling for the deployment of the US military to quell what the article called an "orgy of violence," and "rioters and looters" in American cities following the death in police custody of George Floyd.

The founder and CEO of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, for what seemed to be a dismissive or insensitive response to the situation.

The president of the Poetry Foundation, Henry Bienen, and its board chairman, Willard Bunn III, for a statement responding to the situation that critics said was "vague and lacking any commitment to concrete action," the Associated Press reported.

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Privatize the Police?

June 10, 2020 at 9:11 am

Problems with policing, and how to fix those problems, are the topics of my column this week. Please read the full column at the New Boston Post ("Police Failures Have Roots In Progressive Era"), Newsmax ("Roots of Police Failure? Check the Progressive Era"), and Reason ("Professionalizing Police Hasn't Worked. Try Privatizing Instead.")

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Three on Race and Racism

June 7, 2020 at 9:59 am

These are posted not as endorsements but as thought-provokers or discussion-starters:

Toni Morrison at Portland State University, May 30, 1975:

It's important, therefore, to know who the real enemy is, and to know the function, the very serious function of racism, which is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over again, your reason for being....I urge you to be careful. For there is a deadly prison: the prison that is erected when one spends one's life fighting phantoms, concentrating on myths, and explaining over and over to the conqueror your language, your lifestyle, your history, your habits...To avoid the prison of reacting to racism is a problem of the very first order.

A statement from the Claremont Institute:

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