At the Academy Awards, it was noted that this was the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz, which was nominated for best picture and won awards for best song and best original score. The 1939 Academy Awards have long been considered to have been one of the strongest years, including classic movies such as Dark Victory, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach and Wuthering Heights. But the winner that year was, of course, Gone with the Wind. It was a little peculiar that the 75th anniversary of that movie went unmentioned, even…
Archives for March 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York has a lot of dubious policies. He is blocking some developers from building homes until they build the kind of homes he prefers. He wants to raise taxes to pay for programs that the state would otherwise fund. But by far the worst of de Blasio’s policies is his declared war on charter schools, which is actually a defense of an ancien regime of unearned privilege.
During the mayoral campaign, de Blasio promised to halt the growth of charter schools and require those that were already in place to pay rent to the city But why should one form of public schools be singled out for paying rent, when the city provides the buildings for all other kinds of public schools gratis, particularly when charter schools do not pay out the kind of defined benefit pensions that burden the taxpayer? De Blasio made his declaration in the form of personal attack on a leader of New York charter school movement, saying ““There is no way in hell that Eva Moskowitz should get free rent, O.K.?.” True to his word, de Blasio last week used his power to deny Success Academy Charter Schools which Moskowitz runs the right to city facilities that Mayor Bloomberg had granted. Even more alarmingly, de Blasio also cut $210 million from the city budget that over 5 years would have built facilities for many new charter schools.
Through competition, charter schools are likely to improve education for children in poor and minority families—the very groups that Mr. De Blasio says government should help.
Now that the debate over Arizona’s SB 1062 bill is over, it is worthwhile to pause and think about some of the legal implications of carving out religious exemptions for generally applicable anti-discrimination law. Specifically, does the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which was virtually identical to the provision proposed in Arizona) offer a defense for a private claim of discrimination.
No doubt marketing is an exact science but I doubt that it can fully account for the choices made by people in second hand bookshops. Purchases there depend much on chance and whim; for example, I was in a bookshop in Dublin recently and I found myself irresistibly drawn to a book with a photographic plate of some children, sitting on fences in a wilderness, looking very happy, with the caption ‘Under Socialism the barefooted children ran terrible risks from venemous snakes.’
“Combining the unbridled tongue with the unready hand.” Thus did Theodore Roosevelt define statesmanship at its worst. This is what America’s bipartisan ruling class is giving us.
The Obama Administration tried buffering last week’s announcement that it is reducing the US Army’s size to below its levels of 1940 (when the world’s population was less than one third what it is today) by suggesting that it would concentrate on mastery of the sea and of space.