This year my polling place was across the street from my apartment. Nice, I thought. I showed up at 6:05am wearing a pullover and no coat, expecting to be in and out. It turns out that they had five voting booths and a line that went on for blocks. There was a guy ahead of me in line wearing a gorilla suit. His vote counts the same as mine. It was 40 degrees out.
As a one-time employee of the Merriam-Webster company, publishers of dictionaries and other reference works, I of course subscribe to the official credo that the job of a dictionary is not to lay down the laws of proper English but to describe how words have been and are currently being used by reputable writers of the language. That’s the modern official credo. The Bl. Noah, from whose 1828 dictionary those of Merriam-Webster descend in direct line, would have had none of it.
The year was 2002, two years into the violent invasion of mostly white-owned commercial farms launched by President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party, and a week before the presidential elections of that year. As Zimbabweans prepare to go to the polls again today, it is worth revisiting what has happened to this once vibrant area.
While many of us are celebrating summer by wiping from our chins the butter of roasted ears, the grease of brats and barbeque, and melting ice cream, the Smithsonian Magazine’s summer Food Issue attempts to draw our attention from these gustatory delights with a dialogue over dinner between Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl at a restaurant in Massachusetts’s Berkshires. Not surprisingly, the joint these celebrity diners enjoyed is operated by a former Brooklynite who has decamped to the hills to open a restaurant supported by “ethical” and “sustainable” farming.
In their new book Balance: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America, economists Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane examine history’s Great Powers in an attempt to learn why they rose and fell. They detect a consistent pattern: states rise on the back of strong economies and dynamic cultural and political institutions, but fall into decline when those institutions stagnate and become inflexible. In chapter 5, “Treasure of China”, excerpted here with minor edits, Hubbard and Kane delve into the remarkable rise, fall, stasis, and comeback of the world’s most populous nation, China.
Senator Michael Bennet (D–Colorado) has written poignantly in support of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, urging its passage as a means of reaffirming “quintessential American values” and restoring “the American dream.” But today, few of our students — foreign or native born — know much about the provenance of those values. Our schools no longer teach the American dream. It is time for Americans to insist on restoring our system of civics education.
There is a disturbing and neglected question at the heart of the controversy over the Volcker Rule’s prohibition of proprietary trading at bank holding companies: are the prospective gains from these structural reforms worth risking the destruction of U.S. global universal banks and a significant decline in the U.S. share of global capital markets? The answer is obviously not. The Volcker Rule is a major threat to banks’ ability to continue acting as market makers (intermediaries that accept orders to buy and sell to maintain liquidity in the trading of particular financial instruments).
It was no surprise that the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) decided last week to cite a number of nonbank firms as systemically significant, placing them in line for greater regulatory scrutiny by the Federal Reserve. What was a surprise is that — in the midst of a huge outcry in Congress about banks that are too big to fail (TBTF) — neither Congress nor the administration asked the FSOC to stop the designation process until the too-big-to-fail issue had been fully thought through.
There is fundamentally new economic thinking to be found in the latest book by George Gilder, called Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World (Regnery Publishing, June 2013). If conventional economics can be summed up as “follow the money” (i.e., incentives are what matter), Gilder´s economics might be summed up as “follow the information” (i.e., economic success involves separating signal from noise in data).
More than three decades ago, Brookings Senior Fellow Tom Mann and I created Vital Statistics on Congress, the definitive source for data on the nation’s legislative body. In the years since that first publication, we have released a new version for each election cycle with the most up-to-date information available on Congress. In 1982, Michael Malbin joined us to provide information biennially on campaign finance. And AEI’s Andrew Rugg updated information for the new edition and worked diligently with the folks at Brookings to help us make the transition to an online publication.
If you have a child in school today, chances are you’ve heard something about the Common Core standards. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have decided to align their instruction to them, promising sweeping changes to classrooms across the country over the next several years. What are these standards? Where did they come from? Are they a good idea? These are all questions parents should be asking. But even today, some of the answers are far from clear. Here are five facts that will help illuminate exactly what the Common Core is all about.
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry — in which the Justices let stand a lower-court ruling paving the way for same-sex marriage to proceed in California but declined to find a constitutional right to gay marriage — was essentially a mixed bag for same-sex marriage supporters and opponents.In an effort to avoid wading into the merits of the core constitutional questions at issue in the same-sex marriage debate, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin, dodged the bullet by holding that the proponents of California’s Proposition 8 lacked “standing” to present their case.
At a general level, employment created — that is, shifted — as a result of a government policy is a cost rather than a benefit for the economy as a whole, unless the policy improves resource allocation by, say, correcting for some sort of market inefficiency. (Whether or not government policies can be predicted systematically to improve the efficiency of resource use is the central focus of the vast public choice literature). As counterintuitive as that may seem, imagine that a federal policy had the effect of increasing the demand for high-quality steel.
White House insiders say President Barack Obama is in “a funk” about what he sees as increasing stagnation and failures surrounding his second term and some worry that the President is becoming more distant and distracted. “He’s not the same Obama that came to the Oval Office after the 2008 elections,” a senior White House aided confided to friends in an email recently. “I’m worried.” Chicago Mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel tells friends that the Presidency has changed his longtime friend Obama and many of those changes are “not good.”
Citing a potential al Qaeda attack, the State Department on Friday issued a worldwide travel alert and warned American citizens that the terrorist group may be plotting a strike in the Middle East, North Africa or elsewhere. “Current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” reads a portion of the alert, which lasts until the end of the month.
Executive Director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Mark Glaze gave some ambiguous and potentially dangerous self defense advice Friday on “Hardball.” Glaze, speaking in opposition to “Stand Your Ground” laws, said in a circumstance where someone “comes at you” with an axe handle one should attempt to either “talk,” “fight with your fists,” “run away,” or “deescalate the situation,” but not shoot the attacker: MARK GLAZE: Very often somebody will come at you. They might want to have a fistfight. They might come at you with an ax handle. CHRIS MATTHEWS: Would you consider the guy with the ax handle armed or not?
[Video] Rapper Jay Z appearing on HBO´s "Real Time" with Bill Maher says that the black community wants upward economic mobility rather than a stronger police presence. In a conversation with former Congressman Barney Frank about police tactics such as stop-and-frisk, Jay Z suggests the stagnant economy and wealth inequality could cause widespread social unrest: "The real problem is there´s no middle class, right? So the gap between the have and have-nots is getting wider and wider... It´s gonna be a problem that no amount of police can solve, because once you have that sort of oppression
About 400 area retail and fast-food workers, together with colleagues nationally, participated in a strike Thursday to demand raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. “If not $15, then something. I mean give us something. I work 36 hours a week and barely make enough to pay my rent, gas bill, light bill. It gets to the point where I barely have enough for lunch sometimes,” said Angel Richardson, 21, who works at McDonald’s. “I’m five months pregnant, what am I going to do in four months? I hope something changes.” The minimum wage is $7.25 nationally and $8.25
You don´t have to be gay or even Russian to feel the wrath of the Russian government´s homophobia. You could go to jail if you are "pro-gay," whatever that means. And that´s under just one of a growing number of hate-infused bills becoming law at a time when, as it happens, Russia is preparing to host the world in the next Winter Olympics. The perverse anti-gay legislation is inflaming an atmosphere of persistent intimidation and at times deadly violence against Russian gays and lesbians. The question now is: What should the rest of the world do?
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) suggested on Friday morning that the tea party movement is comprised of the same types of people who fought against the civil rights movement during the 1960s. Speaking with the Daily Beast, Rangel said of the movement: “It is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn’t care about how they looked. He added that the tea party movement can be defeated similar to how the civil rights movement eradicated Jim Crow mentality: “It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused
The nation´s most active death penalty state is running out of its execution drug. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Thursday that its remaining supply of phenobarbital expires in September and that no alternatives have been found. It wasn´t immediately clear whether two executions scheduled for next month would be delayed. The state has already executed 11 death-row inmates this year, and at least seven more have execution dates in coming months. "We will be unable to use our current supply of phenobarbital after it expires," agency spokesman Jason Clark said. "We are exploring all options at this time."
A dart game that used President Obama´s face for target practice at a county fair in New York state is being dismantled today. Fairgoer Abigail Czapsky submitted photos of the booth at Otsego County Fair to HuffPost yesterday, which show President Obama´s face lined up alongside yellow stars in a dart game. According to Czapsky´s Facebook page, following yesterday´s HuffPost story the booth has now taken down the offensive targets. Czapsky says the Otsego County Fair Board called her to apologize about the booth and explain that it was being taken down. Not one individual on the fair board
I think she’s one of the most fascinating women of our time and this world,” confessed Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC, as part of his announcement that his network is making a miniseries about former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, with Diane Lane in the starring role. Words are funny things. For instance, G.K. Chesterton once remarked that that the word “good” has many uses: “For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of 500 yards, I should call him a good shot but not necessarily a good man.” So it is,
In warning about possible al Qaeda attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials may have provided too much detail about intercepted chatter and the source of the information, and that may make it more difficult to get such tips next time, former and current intelligence officials say.On Friday, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert for Americans, citing an unspecified al Qaeda threat. The bulletin said that the highest threat levels are the Middle East and North Africa, “and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arab Peninsula.”
After purchasing the Boston Globe in 1993 for a then-record $1.1 billion, the financially troubled New York Times just announced it sold the 141 year-old paper to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for a mere $70 million. That´s a straight 93% loss. Figuring in two decades of inflation would only make it worse -- as does the fact the Times retains the Globe´s pension liabilities, estimated at over $100 million. (snip) What might have sweetened the lower offer for the Times is that Henry offered a straight cash deal, which is expected to close sometime in September or October.