Obama’s War on Growth


President Obama

When Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to President Obama, spoke at a Politico event last week, he was asked what would constitute success in 2013 for the White House. One of his answers was making headway to “rebalance our economy.” The goal, he said, is an economy that’s “not top down.”

Like their boss, Obama aides often speak in euphemisms. So here’s the translation: The Obama administration will continue to pursue redistribution of wealth and income, taking from the well-to-do and giving to the poor and middle class (at least to the lower middle class).

The president has his own way of touting redistribution. Whenever he uses the word “fair,” you can bet he’s really referring to redistribution. He talks of everyone getting a “fair shake” and a “fair shot.” In his State of the Union address in February, he insisted economic growth requires “everybody doing their fair share.” In his inaugural ...

Mayor Nutter



On March 18, 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech on race in America at Philadelphia’s Constitution Center. Though many praised the president for addressing the thorny topic, it’s worth recalling Obama was essentially forced into giving the speech after ...


Less Is More

Mandatory minimum sentences should be minimized.


Gary Locke

Hardly anyone who takes a close look at the network of federal and state laws mandating minimum prison sentences for myriad offenses can doubt that they waste billions of dollars, destroy lives, and do a disservice to justice. Reading the stories assembled by groups like Families Against Mandatory Minimums, one cannot help but feel sympathy for those caught up in the system. All over the country, clueless drug couriers, desperate addicts, small-time hoods without anyone to rat out, and other miscreants are serving years or even decades in prison because of mandatory minimums.

But while the current sentencing regime has huge flaws, abolishing all mandatory minimums would be a mistake. A look at the history of mandatory minimum sentences, their effects on crime, their social functions, and some recent policy successes suggest instead a “third way.” Rather than abolishing mandatory prison sentences for many crimes, they should ...

Okay, but who pays?

Health Costs Will Never Be Contained

When antidiscrimination law meets infertility treatment mandates.


Should health insurers be legally required to offer infertility treatment for gay couples? Yes, according to a bill (AB 460) filed in the California legislature by assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). In fact, refusing to do so should be a crime.

Peter Joseph

My Cousins, the Syphaxes

A very American story.


I was charmed by Lee Smith’s “Dreams from My Mother” Casual a few issues back. The main delight was learning that Smith was a multiethnic “mutt” like myself and most of the rest of Americans whose families have been here more than a generation or two.

Tax-free tokin’ in Seattle—for now

High Prices

Lessons from the marijuana market.


The economist Leonard E. Read once explained the effectiveness of free markets with the parable of the pencil: Pencils seem simple enough, just some wood with graphite inside and a bit of rubber at the end​—​but, he said, “no one in the world knows how to make a pencil.”


King of Fearmongers

Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center, scaring donors since 1971


Morris Dees

Last August a 28-year-old gay-rights volunteer named Floyd Corkins entered the office lobby of the Family Research Council (FRC), a Christian traditional-values group headquartered in Washington that condemns homosexual conduct and opposes same-sex marriage. Corkins took a gun from his backpack and fired three shots at building manager Leo Johnson, one of them wounding the unarmed Johnson in the arm before he wrested the gun from Corkins. On February 6 Corkins pleaded guilty to three felonies: committing an act of terrorism while armed, interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition (he had bought the weapon in Virginia), and assault with intent to kill while armed. He faces a sentencing hearing on April 29 that could include up to 70 years in prison. According to federal prosecutors’ statements in court documents, Corkins told investigators that he had intended to kill Johnson and numerous other FRC employees. His backpack contained 15 sandwiches from the fast-food chain ...

An irritated Woods and his club part ways in May 2007.

Can You Forgive Him?

Next stop, Augusta, on the Tiger Woods rehabilitation tour


In late March, he won at Bay Hill, Arnold Palmer’s course. Two weeks before that, he won at Doral, Donald Trump’s course. After these victories, Tiger Woods would take two weeks off before teeing it up for the Masters in mid-April, on Bobby Jones’s course ...

Books & Arts

Welcome to America

The business of immigration is more than business.


Immigrant children at Ellis Island, 1908

Immigration Wars has gotten a lot of attention because of its proposal to offer undocumented immigrants permanent legal resident status in lieu of citizenship—and because of Jeb Bush’s subsequent walking it back and expressing a willingness to support some kind of a path to citizenship for illegals. Just as noteworthy is the book’s critique of the bedrock of our immigration policy—family reunification—and its proposal to eliminate preferential visas for immigrant parents of U.S. citizens over 21, who, along with the noncitizen spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, are currently granted permanent residence outside of otherwise rigid quotas. Similarly significant is the book’s support of an array of biometric identification procedures to monitor the entry and exit not only of visitors to this country, but also of individuals, including citizens, seeking employment. ...

William Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’ (ca. 1780)

Shaken Not Stirred

How the opiate of the masses got gentrified.


Gin has been with us for over 400 years, praised by one generation, excoriated by another. But even the most knowledgeable drinkers remain largely unaware of how gin was transformed from a concoction bubbling in the flasks of medieval alchemists


Love, Virtually

Is it a dream, or a marriage on the rocks?


Richard is a literature professor writing a book about myths. He is madly in love with his new wife, who herself might be a myth. Here, in Amy Sackville’s second novel, the author stays just this side of the supernatural. ...

Woody Guthrie

Bound for Pulp

Alas, the Woody Guthrie industry unearths a novel.


To many in our cultural elite, Woody Guthrie is an American saint. The legendary songwriter from Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, is introduced to every American child by way of his folk anthem “This Land Is Your Land.” But for gatekeepers of the arts, ...

Bacon's Rebellion

Tragedy in Virginia

An insurrection sets the pattern for relations with the Indians.


Thomas Mathew, who farmed on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, remembered the year 1675 as beginning with all manner of fearful portents: a blazing comet, an invasion of millions of carrier pigeons, and a biblical plague ...

‘Ecce Ancilla Domini!’  by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1849-50)

Sensual Christianity

The Pre-Raphaelites get the show, and showcase, they deserve.


The reputation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood has sometimes suffered for its ability to create beautiful surfaces. The paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite artists are replete with lush ...

hopscotch films

Diamonds in the Rough

A sweet sideshow in South Vietnam.


The surprise of The Sapphires is how unpretentious and unportentous it is, considering that its plot hinges not only on racist Australian policy but also the Vietnam war. Based loosely on a true story, The Sapphires is about four ...


Audio-Dismal Aids

Joseph Epstein, PowerPointless


Audio-Dismal Aids

A year or so ago, I took part in a conference in Mexico for which I, along with several other intellectuals, academics, and writers, was paid an excellent fee to talk for 10 minutes. The proceedings took place over three days. They were held in a movie-sized theater and were well attended. I was distinguished at this conference, near as I could tell, in being the only one who did not avail himself of audiovisual aids. The reason I didn’t is that I don’t have any; nor have I any wish to possess any. I am a word man, a writer, a mere scribbler, and in me what you read or hear—not see—is what you get.

The conference generally was high-tech, if that word is still in vogue. Each speaker was introduced with a light show of sorts, with musical accompaniment, and stood behind a series of boxes that were raised at the end of a dramatic-sounding introduction delivered in Spanish. I remember feeling foolish when all these pyrotechnics ...


Hail Columbia

Hail Columbia

People have been outraged to learn that Kathy Boudin, imprisoned for her role in the 1981 Brinks armored car robbery and murders in New York and paroled a decade ago, now holds an adjunct professorship in the school of social work at Columbia University, where she has been lecturing since 2008. When asked by the New York Post about Boudin, associate dean Marianne Yoshioka enthused that her colleague is “an excellent teacher who gets incredible evaluations from her students each year.” The Scrapbook is prepared to believe that. What student, even a student of social work, would not be fascinated by the spectacle of a professor who is also a felony murderer? 

Kathy Boudin, now nearly 70 years old, is practically a parody of a superannuated 1960s radical. The daughter of a famous left-wing lawyer and the niece of the radical journalist I. F. Stone, she dropped out of Bryn Mawr to live and study in the Soviet Union, ...

Morgan Triplett

The Campus Hoax Culture

It's become a collegiate tradition as venerable as all-nighters, hacky sack on the quad, and toga parties: the consciousness-raising campus rape hoax. And so it wasn’t particularly surprising when, early last month, it was revealed that a 20-year-old woman named Morgan ...

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un reviews an artillery unit; Field Marshal Montgomery in
Pope Francis

Resurrection Correction

Even though it’s only April, the New York Times may already have run the most embarrassing correction that will appear in any major newspaper in 2013. In their story on Pope Francis’s first Easter message, no less than the Times’s Vatican reporter informed ...

AP Illegal Immigration Stylebook Change, Funny


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