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Front-Page News: “Dreamers Face Uphill Path to College”

 

My hometown newspaper (The Island Packet, here in Hilton Head) had a front-page news story today about “Dreamers.” Note: this was not an editorial. This is supposed to be news. The headline: “Dreamers work long hours, face uphill path to college.” Subhed: “Supporters say tuition policy hurts Dreamers, taxpayers.” The first paragraph: “While South Carolina taxpayers spend roughly $13,200 annually to educate each K-12 student, state policies obstruct one group of SC students from advancing their education beyond high school.”

The “news” story makes the point that because “Dreamers” must pay out-of-state tuition rates at SC universities, they have “few affordable in-state options” and some don’t go to college at all. So the author believes, apparently, that it’s ok to pay out of state tuition if you’re from Georgia, but not if you’re from Ecuador. This seems like satire, so I included a picture of the front page, just in case some of you weren’t sure if this post was a parody or not:

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RBG: A Notorious Movie?

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been on the Supreme Court since 1993. She is experiencing a period of pop culture notoriety few justices–even Supreme Court justices–ever enjoy, no matter how impactful their work might be. As a feminist icon at home in the politics of the Left, she now graces t-shirts, coffee mugs, and dorm rooms under her catchy moniker: the Notorious RBG. She’s also the subject of a glossy documentary, which I decided to see with a way-more-progressive friend in the week of its release to the big screen.

Now, please understand, I do not describe myself as a feminist. I identify as a girl from the South who grew up in the Age of Reagan, which is a lot different from being a woman tied to Brooklyn who was born during the Great Depression. I went to state universities rather than elite institutions. I find talk of a “living Constitution” to be a necessary paving stone in the road to tyranny. I sincerely believe “the right to choose” is akin to “the right to murder.” And I hate opera. Like. Seriously hate opera. Yet I admire Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Say Hi to Skippy

 

Franco(@franco) put up an outstanding post about Glenn Beck and Ben Shapiro crossing over due to resentment at the media’s hysterical, inaccurate declarations of Trump’s lack of character, racism, bigotry, and total unfitness for office. In the post, he had a perspicacious (William F. Buckley word-of-the-day used in communication? check) video from Scott Adams. Good vid. Watching the vid, I realized that Scott Adams reminds me of Skippy. Imagine a guy with Adams’ intellect as an E-3 (Private First Class, in the Army) or E-4 (Specialist or Corporal, depending). That’s Skippy.

Sometimes people ask me (Okay, sometimes I ask myself) why anyone would spend 25+ years in the Army. The answer is Skippy. Straight up. Don’t even get me started on Skippy if he’d made it through selection and went SF. We’d probably have allied countries that were Wiccan nudist nihilist interpretive dance specialists.

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Glenn and Ben on the Train

 

Just in … two notorious talk radio hosts have jumped off the NeverTrump train because of the media, or so they say.

Glenn Beck has been railing against Trump for two years, including mashing his face in a bowl of orange air-snacks, and the motor-mouthed genius Ben Shapiro, who advocated a stay-home strategy for conservatives in the 2016 contest between the two horrific choices, have called it quits. Both men have been dissociating themselves from the immoral lout on a daily basis, but something happened. The media lied, distorted and just went too far this time.

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The End of an Affair (A Trucker’s Benediction)

 

“You’re gonna do what?!” It was late in the summer of 2003 and I had just told my late father about my plans for life after my impending retirement from active duty. The curtain was slowly drawing on 20 years in uniform, prompting Dad to ask “So, Mr. Military Historian, any idea what you’re going to do next?” My answer left him completely off balance. I had begun my military career in Security Forces and would conclude it as the author of dozens of military history books with numerous tours of duty at the pointy end of the nation’s spear and … and now I was going to follow that up by living at truck stops?

“Dad,” I explained, “I’ve been taking orders from other people for 20 years. I’m ready to do something I’ve always wanted to do, and get paid to travel the country.” “Well, you’ve certainly earned the right,” he conceded. He also allowed as how he thought I’d lost my mind, but it wasn’t the first time he had reached that particular conclusion.

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Bernard Lewis, Rest in Peace

 

Bernard Lewis, a leading scholar on Middle Eastern studies, died today at the age of 101. He spent his long career defending Israel and condemning the Islamist violence that surrounds it. Here is an interview Ricochet co-founder Peter Robinson conducted with Bernard Lewis and Norman Podhoretz in 2012 aboard a National Review cruise.

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By Bread Alone: The Corruption of Christian Materialism

 

What is Christian materialism, you may ask? It’s a Catholic thing, of course. I know, I know – always the danged papists! – insisting on embracing the power of Both/And at a time when most people automatically assume Either/Or. You’re either a spiritualist or a materialist; either a religionist living in a secular world or a secularist tolerating those religious nuts. You can’t be both!

Phooey. As a Catholic Christian, I’m probably more tolerant of religious nuts than your average secularist… Ahem.

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Suicide of the West: Ideas Are Not Enough

 

Jonah Goldberg summarizes the argument of his recent book this way:

It is my argument that capitalism and liberal democracy are unnatural. We stumbled into them in a process of trial and error but also blind luck, contingency, and happenstance a blink of an eye ago. The market system depends on bourgeois values, i.e. principles, ideas, habits, and sentiments that it did not create and cannot restore once lost. These values can only be transmitted two ways: showing and telling… Our problems today can be traced to the fact that we no longer have gratitude for the Miracle and for the institutions and customs that made it possible. Where there is no gratitude – and the effort that gratitude demands — all manner of resentments and hostilities flood back in. (p. 277)

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Retirement Day

 
Photo: United States Marine Corps

In the Second Battle of Fallujah First Sergeant Bradley Kasal discovered Marines pinned down inside a house by an unknown number of enemy combatants. After entering the house and dispatching an insurgent he discovered a wounded Marine in the next room. While moving toward him Kasal and another Marine were shot multiple times in the legs. The enemy tried to finish them off by lobbing grenades into the house. Kasal rolled on top of the other wounded Marine and took the brunt of the explosion himself.

All told Kasal took seven rounds from an AK-47 and was hit by 43 pieces of shrapnel. Refusing medical treatment until the other wounded were evacuated, he continued to give orders and encouragement to his men and killed at least one other insurgent with small arms fire. When he was finally extracted photojournalist Lucian Read was there to capture the moment and it became an iconic image of the war and was turned into a sculpture called No Man Left Behind by artist John Phelps. (Phelps, whose son Chance was KIA in April 2004 in Ramadi was the subject of the HBO movie Taking Chance starring Kevin Bacon.) It now sits at Camp Pendleton.

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Our Republic’s Greatest Threat?

 

Among the things which are lost when modern progressives dominate the scene is a true sense of reality. Since they deal mostly in the never-to-be, in their worldview terrorists become victims, suicide pacts become peace agreements and dependency becomes a career path.

But hopefully, one of the features of the conservative mind is that it keeps alive the lessons hard learned from the past. One of those is that the greatest threats normally come from within. That is even true of a world with would-be nuclear heathens almost in every corner. And it is especially true for anyone who would endeavor to self-govern in liberty.

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Words: The Power and the Glory

 

The church of my childhood was St. Mary’s, Handsworth, just outside Birmingham, in England. Although I probably attended services there only a few dozen times, while we stayed with Granny and Grandpa during my father’s infrequent “leave” periods from the Colonial Service in Nigeria, it was a bulwark of stability in my life.

Like the thousands of churches dotting the English landscape, St. Mary’s has had a presence on its site since the time of William the Conqueror, with the first known building being erected in about 1150. There are still a few surviving Norman bits in the current church, most of which dates from the mid-sixteenth century. It’s a cool, quiet church on a busy road with a terribly neglected churchyard, and memorials inside to Matthew Bolton, James Watt and William Murdoch–memorials and connections which have led to its being known as the Cathedral of the Industrial Revolution.

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Quote of the Day: Faith and Architecture

 

“We did not know where we were, on heaven or on earth.” — Russian Ambassadors upon visiting Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia in 987

A millennium ago, Prince Vladimir was the leader of the Kievan Rus’, the predecessors of the current Russian state. He was a rather nasty fellow, even among pagan autocrats, but he knew the times were changing. If he wanted to keep his newly conquered country unified, he needed to establish some level of civilized culture.

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ACF Middlebrow #11: Never Let Me Go

 

Our own Flagg Taylor joins me on the podcast this week for a discussion of Never Let Me Go, from the novel by Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro. Flagg assigned the novel in a class on dystopias this semester and so we talked about how Ishiguro’s story compares with other famous dystopias, what it has to say about our society, and how it dramatizes the emergence of soul in love, art, and care-giving, even in the face of a dehumanizing scientific tyranny. It’s a fine movie and I can confirm it is as beautiful on a second viewing, so well told that when once you know the big surprise, it touches your heart even more. Listen to our conversation, comment, and share, friends! As always, please subscribe to and review/rate us on iTunes.

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Hospital Ethics Committees and Death Panels

 

Remember how people were afraid that based on the Affordable Care Act, “death panels” would be making life and death decisions for their patients? The fact is that at least in hospitals, these panels have existed since the 1970s, in the form of ethics committees. I must say after researching these committees, I’m even more confused and ambivalent about their roles and decisions.

Listening to talk radio in my car, I learned about this issue and how it became a hot topic in Texas. One of the most publicized cases was the case of David Chris Dunn, 46 years old and a former deputy sheriff for Harris County, Texas. He was transferred to Houston Methodist on October 12, 2015. He had a mass on his pancreas which affected his other organs and was in renal failure. The family was told he would die that night, but he didn’t. Over time the medical team met to discuss Dunn’s condition; he wasn’t improving.

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Any Republican Would Have Won in 2016? It Ain’t Necessarily So.

 

Don’t bet your house on the roulette pattern — or your country on the election pattern. Correlation is not causation and past performance does not necessarily predict future results. We all know this, yet it is great fun to prognosticate and to chew the fat over past sports and presidential election seasons. Moving beyond such speculation towards serious analysis requires us to turn to the theory and practice of political science.

In Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research, Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba laid out the case for research that is scientific even without large data sets — situations like the small set of presidential elections. Arguing against ad hoc explanations, they laid out the basics of research design: “the research question, the theory, the data, and the use of the data.” (p.13)

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The Ugly Business of Becoming a Judge in California

 
My sister, Mary Ann Escalante.

Full disclosure: I’m about to write a post that criticizes a candidate running for election against my sister on June 5 in Los Angeles. So … you get it. I’m biased. My sister has probably already won this race, and this post wont move the dial in LA county at all, but it’s fascinating. The race gives a snapshot of the political climate in California and how lost this state is.

My sister Mary Ann Escalante is running for LA Superior Court Judge. She knew it was a messy business before she started because she’s been a hardcore gang prosecutor for years, 30 years total as a deputy DA. But she didn’t know the extent of the one-party system here in California until she went to hire the obligatory “consultant” to guide her through the myriad corrupt hoops on her way to the bench.

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High-Impact Startups: America’s Herd of Gazelles Seems to Be Thinning

 

You may have seen some version of this ominous looking chart. America — the original Startup Nation — seems to be in the midst of an entrepreneurial crisis. Since the late 1970s, startups as a share of all firms have fallen by more than half. But not all startups are created equal. For instance, some economists differentiate between “lifestyle” startups — family restaurants, local dry cleaners, mom-and-pop antique stores — and high-impact “transformational” startups — the kind you find in Silicon Valley. Economists also refer to startups generating high job growth as “gazelles.” In the analysis “Disappearing gazelles: New evidence from administrative data,” researchers Benjamin Pugsley, Petr Sedlácek, and Vincent Sterk write the following:

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