First Lady Michelle Obama is thankful for her life. At the More magazine Impact Awards at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., the first lady credits her good life--and independence--to education.Read more
Anyone who doubts that the deployment of the technologies we have come to call fracking constitutes a revolution should consider this. U.S. oil production has soared by 70 percent in the past six years. American refineries have cut in half their imports from the OPEC cartel, setting off a scramble by those countries to find new markets.Read more
In the late 17th century, times were tough in Scotland. The Stuarts, the Scots’ royal family, had been tossed off the throne of England for a second time, and the country had been excluded from the burgeoning English system of international trade regulated by the Navigation Acts. Even the climate was more miserable than usual: these were the worst years of northern Europe’s “little ice age.”Read more
This week’s referendum on Scottish independence may seem like an obscure, perhaps even Ruritanian quarrel to many Americans, but it has profound implications not just for the U.K. and Europe but also for the United States.Read more
If at first you don’t secede, try, try again. This might be the motto of Alex Salmond’s Scottish National party, which since 1934 has been advocating the proposition that Scotland should be an independent country, governed not from London but from Edinburgh and able to make its own policy decisions about defense, immigration, taxation, and spending. On September 18, Scots will finally face a referendum about their future.Read more
The hot dog is in decline in America, writes Paul Lukas at Bloomberg, and one thinks, "What isn't?" What institution, anyway. If everything were not in decline, then what would there be for journalists to write about (see Andrew Ferguson on George Packer and Haynes Johnson) and what would politicians have to campaign about?Read more
On this 4th of July, I presume that TWS readers are soberly re-reading their Jefferson and carefully studying their Lincoln. But this shouldn't be a day of too much solemnity. So here's a stirring cinematic moment to revisit, from the 1996 hit Independence Day, and enjoy:Read more
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress declared independence. George Washington declared that day that “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves....The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army.” A useful reminder for us, in a week when we rightly celebrate a Declaration, a document embodying a great idea, that speech needs to be backed up by arms, and that all still depends on the "courage and conduct" of our armed forces.Read more
It was perhaps inevitable that our Fourth of July celebrations last week might have seemed anti-climactic after the four-day festivities a month ago accompanying the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Fireworks, however spectacular, cannot compare with the thousand-boat flotilla on the Thames cheered on by masses of river-side spectators (shivering and soaking in torrential rain) or the horse-drawn carriage procession (again, the streets lined with people) from Westminster Hall to Buckingham Palace, the Queen regally bedecked and costumed.Read more
Two months ago, I wrote about the plight of a private, Tocquevillian-style civil association in the small town of Orcutt, California. That group, the Old Town Orcutt Revitalization Association (OTORA), has raised $60,000 in private donations to build a flagpole — from which the American flag would fly — encircled by a memorial to the U.S. armed forces. The flagpole and monument would be located between a highway exit and an adjacent park-and-ride lot, at the entrance to the community’s Old Town section. But the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) refused to grant approval for the project. Finally, citing a 9th Circuit Court ruling, CalTrans declared that hanging an American flag on public land constitutes an impermissible act of “public expression.”Read more
You've reread the Declaration of Independence. You've once again enjoyed Jefferson's extraordinary 50th anniversary letter of June 24, 1826, addressed to Roger Weightman. But you're up for still more reading this weekend, and you think you wouldn't mind something that deals seriously—but also in a lively way—with the current problems of the nation founded by the Declaration 235 years ago. After all, the Declaration itself, by submitting facts to a candid world in order to justify the claim of independence, implies that self-government depends on argument and reflection, not just willful or arbitrary choice.Read more
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