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Lowry: Unless Obama Enforces Laws, No ‘Real Solution’ to Border Crisis



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Government Failure with Potentially Deadly Consequences: The CDC Edition



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Yet another example of government failure hit the newspapers this morning. After the many IRS scandals, the botched rollout of Obamacare back in October, and the VA’s disastrous handling of U.S. veterans’ health care, we find out that the Center for Disease Control cannot be trusted to secure the deadly viruses it has in its labs, nor can it be trusted to police its own employees working in said labs. The New York Times reports

There had been another accident, this one just as disturbing, if not more so — and no one in the agency’s top leadership had been informed about it until that Monday, though the C.D.C.’s lab had been told about it more than a month earlier.

C.D.C. workers had somehow shipped a dangerous strain of avian influenza to a poultry research lab run by the Department of Agriculture. Known as H5N1, the virus had killed more than half of the 650 people who had been infected with it since 2003. …

The agency’s internal investigation of the troubling events, made public Friday, found that senior staff members had failed to write up a plan for researchers to follow in the anthrax study. It also faulted scientists who neglected to review the existing literature before working with the deadly pathogen, and found that the agency was ill-prepared to respond to a potential exposure episode. …

The report recalled other errors. In 2006, the agency accidentally sent live anthrax to two other labs, and also shipped out live botulism bacteria.

Several experts on biosecurity noted that the inspector general’s office of the Department of Health and Human Services sent official complaints to the C.D.C. in 2008, 2009 and 2010 about undertrained lab personnel and improperly secured shipments.

You can read the details about the June anthrax accident and the many missteps that could have lead to deadly consequences here. Like with the VA scandal, CDC employees were slow to acknowledge their mistakes, which made a bad problem even worse. 

The near miss should have been reported immediately to top leadership, but was not. The flu lab heard from the Agriculture Department on May 23, but it was not reported to senior C.D.C. leadership until July 7.

Dr. Frieden said the delay shocked him because the agency’s flu lab is renowned in its field.

He and Dr. Bell said in interviews that the bioterror lab might have lax management and the flu lab might have workers who are afraid to speak out. Both problems are dangerous.

Here is my question: When are we going to recognize that these government failures aren’t isolated incidents? They are part of a trend that is the result of the terrible incentives that exist in government. (Brookings Institution’s Paul Light has a new report on precisely this topic.)

For the student of public-choice economics, that government fails is not a surprise. The lack of responsibility and accountability is to be expected when its programs continue to be funded regardless of whether they have been shown to work and whether their “customers” are happy or unhappy with their performance (when has a change of party led to the termination of a failed and inefficient government program?). I wrote about this here.

The story doesn’t tell us if any CDC employees will be terminated as a result of this failure. How many VA employees were sanctioned for that department’s scandal? How about the IRS? How long did it take for former HHS secretary Katherine Sebelius to leave after the disastrous Obamacare rollout? 

Sadly, as the government grows and it undertakes bigger projects, we should expect this trend to continue, even to accelerate. In the face of this evidence, what will it take for taxpayers to understand that all we can do to reduce the rate of government failure is to limit the scope and scale of government intervention?

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Catholic Bishops Come Out against Anti-Hobby Lobby Bill



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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops today sent a letter to U.S. senators outlining its strong opposition to the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014,” i.e. the bill proposed by Senators Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Mark Udall (D., Colo.) to gut religious-freedom protections in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision. 

“Though cast as a response to the Supreme Court’s narrow decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the bill ranges far beyond that decision, potentially attacking all existing federal protections of conscience and religious freedom regarding health coverage mandates,” Reverend William Lori and Sean Cardinal O’Malley write in the letter.

They note that the bill explicitly curtails the Religious Freedom Restoration act while claiming to uphold it and would have implications for conscience rights beyond the issues of contraception and abortificaients at issue in the current mandate. “If, in the future, the executive branch chose to add the abortion pill RU-486, or even elective surgical abortion, including late-term abortion, to the list of ‘preventive services’ those who object to providing or purchasing such coverage would appear to have no recourse under RFRA or ‘any other provision of Federal law’ that may have protected against this mandate,” they write.

The bill, they conclude, “does not befit a nation committed to religious liberty.”

Read the whole letter below, and Ed Whelan’s analysis of the bill from last week.

07-14-14 Lori-O’Malley Letter Re Murray-Udall Bill by Matt Franck

Web Briefing: July 31, 2014

Making Predictions Is Easy — The Hard Part Is Being Right



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Ryan Cooper has written a piece in The Week that is highly critical of my analysis of Thomas Piketty’s argument for very high U.S. income and wealth taxes. 

Cooper starts his attack with this:

Jim Manzi at The National Review thinks this deep-sixes Thomas Piketty’s theory of economic history. He argues that Piketty’s main thesis is that top managers have been gaming the compensation system, and therefore confiscatory taxes can be imposed on them without damaging the economy. When it comes to the U.S., the rest of the book, he says, “is just a sound and light show.” Manzi then attacks every aspect of this reconstructed case to show that supermanagers are being unfairly maligned.

This misrepresents what I wrote.  I wrote that with respect to America to date, the parts of Piketty’s book relating to “r > g,” the “reemergence of a patrimonial society,” and all the rest is just a sound-and-light show. I said this because I read Piketty himself as arguing that growing inequality in America has so far been driven by skyrocketing wage income of top managers of large firms, rather than rentiers living off returns accumulated capital.  In support of this, I quoted one Thomas Piketty, who wrote:

Let me return now to the causes of rising inequality in the United States. The increase was largely the result of an unprecedented increase in wage inequality and in particular the emergence of extremely high remunerations at the summit of the wage hierarchy, particularly among top managers of large firms.

That sounds pretty clear to me. 

Cooper (who amusingly next says that he is going to “pretty much ignore” my argument) goes on to summarize Piketty’s broader thesis, and then ends his column with this:

Current income inequality driven by wages, and the extent to which that is driven by hyperpaid executives, is an important question, but simply not a major part of Piketty’s thesis.

So in the end, I don’t think Manzi is justified in tossing all that aside as a “sound and light show.” As Piketty notes in his book, capital income accounts for about a third of the increase in income inequality since 1980, and I see no reason to think that proportion won’t increase. Absent some kind of action, an American future of patrimonial capitalism looks likely.

Of course, this is just a simple assertion that he thinks Piketty’s long-run predictions are reliable. I actually made no claims about whether current income inequality would or would not be converted into future differences in capital ownership by descendants of the supermanagers versus everybody else. That wasn’t my argument at all (though I suppose Cooper should be commended for truth-in-advertising when he said he ignored what I actually wrote).

My argument was that Piketty’s answer to the crucial question of why income inequality has been rising in America to date is wrong. To reiterate, Piketty argues that inequality has increased primarily because top managers of companies with dispersed shareholder bases have gamed the compensation system to seize more value. He therefore concludes – since this is a seizure of value rather than money paid in order to increase company performance — that  the government can tax away these increased earnings with no loss in economic output.

In contradiction to Piketty’s argument, I presented evidence that (1) there just aren’t enough top managers of relevant companies to account for most of the growing incomes at the top; (2) executives of public companies represent a shrinking share of those with top incomes; and (3) Piketty’s description of how top managers have gamed the comp system is extremely naïve and unsupported by strong evidence. 

Why does my argument matter if I have not somehow disproved Piketty’s broader thesis about the long-run tendency of capitalist economies to ever-growing inequality based on accumulation of capital?  Because if Piketty is wrong about the mechanism driving U.S. inequality to date, then his predictions  for the results of his proposed high tax policies are unreliable. Specifically, he has not made the case for his extraordinary claim that the government can implement an 80 percent marginal tax rate plus a global wealth tax with no reduction in economic output. 

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IRS Technologists Ordered to Save Hard Drives



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“Effective immediately upon receipt of this notice, you are required to keep any hard drives and related data associated with a computer hard drive failure.”

That’s the e-mail order that came down to IRS IT officials on Monday morning, according to a copy of the message obtained by National Review Online.  

The order, however, applies only to five IRS offices: those in Dallas, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; Montgomery, Alabama; and Seattle Washington. Damaged hard drives in all other offices will continue to be destroyed, according to an IRS IT employee. 

“The IRS is afflicted with a culture of obstruction and the continued destruction of hard drives is further proof of this,” says representative Ron DeSantis (R, Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, which has been investigating the agency’s targeting of conservative groups for over a year now. “Now that two federal judges are demanding answers, it looks like the IRS is trying to avoid legal jeopardy by maintaining minimal retention requirements.”

The IRS’s latest action comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the organization Judicial Watch, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the release of e-mails from former IRS official Lois Lerner and several other employees whose correspondence, the agency has said, may have been destroyed. In a hearing on Thursday, a federal judge ordered the IRS to explain how it lost two years’ worth of Lerner’s correspondence with employees at other federal agencies.

The Justice Department, in response to the lawsuit, “has requested IRS to issue a litigation hold notice for these offices pending resolution of the case,” the IRS’s chief information officer for user and network services, Anne Shepherd, wrote the agency’s IT employees. 

The revelation that a hard drive crash destroyed Lerner’s e-mails, documents sought both by Judicial Watch and by congressional committees investigating the scandal, have in recent months revived the controversy surrounding the targeting scandal. Some Republican members of the Oversight Committee have even suggested that when Lerner discovered Congress was looking into the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups, she crashed her own computer in an attempt to protect herself. 

But above all, the revelation has thrown the agency’s shoddy record-keeping practices into the spotlight. The IRS’s backup servers only kept e-mails for six months, and an IT employee told National Review Online that the agency still destroys and discards damaged hard drives as a matter of course. That policy remained unchanged even after it came under fire when agency officials told Congress Lerner’s hard drive was discarded. 

“If we were replacing just the drive, after data recovery efforts, we destroyed and disposed of hard drives,” the IT employee, who adds that agency’s technology officials have been “much more focused” on preventing the inadvertent disclosure of private taxpayer records than on data retention. 

Testifying before the Oversight Committee last month, the national archivist said that the IRS “did not follow the law” when it failed to report the loss of Lerner’s e-mails. 

Bishops: Senate Dem Bill Empowers Feds to Mandate Abortion Coverage



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A Democratic effort to reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling “does not befit a nation committed to religious liberty “does not befit a nation committed to religious liberty,” according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who noted that the bill would undermine an array of conscience protections beyond the contraception issue.

“Although one of the findings in the bill claims that it is ‘consistent with the Congressional intent in enacting the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1993′ (RFRA), in fact the bill’s operative provisions explicitly forbid application of RFRA whenever the federal government wishes to override the religious freedom rights of Americans regarding health coverage,” the bishops wrote in a Monday letter to the U.S. Senate obtained by National Review Online.

The Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby did not have to provide certain contraceptives to its employees, given the owners’ religious objection to those contraceptives. The decision was rooted in the fact that the contraception mandate issued by Health and Human Services failed to pass the tests set up by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill originally championed by liberal stalwarts such as Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), who introduced the bill in the House in 1993.

Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.,) introduced the bill last week, saying it would “ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to health care.” 

The bishops said that Murray’s bill would empower the government to force employers to pay for abortions. “If, in the future, the executive branch chose to add the abortion pill RU-486, or even elective surgical abortion, including late-term abortion, to the list of ‘preventive services,’ those who object to providing or purchasing such coverage would appear to have no recourse under RFRA or ‘any other provision of Federal law’ that may have protected against this mandate,” they wrote. ”Existing conscience protection against the federal ‘essential health benefits’ mandate, still being defined state-by-state, could be jeopardized as well.”

The Democrats clearly hope that pushing legislation in response to the Hobby Lobby decision will help in the upcoming midterm elections. For instance, Murray allowed Senator Mark Udall (D., Colo.) to introduce the bill alongside her as a lead co-sponsor. Udall, a vulnerable incumbent who is avoiding President Obama, has already attempted to portray his opponent — Representative Cory Gardner (R., Colo.,) — as someone who wants to “outlaw birth control.” 

Gardner, for his part, suggests that Congress allow birth control to be sold over the counter. “Getting the politics out of contraception will improve the lives of women all over the country,” Gardner wrote in a Denver Post column. ”It’s time for a new generation of thinking in Washington — one that puts solving problems ahead of scoring political points.”

 

Poetry



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THE PAINTING

When I was sleeping in the sun
A window seeped into my eyes:
Bright green, soft green, then overrun
With orange. There was no gift, no prize

Greater than seeing it, no thought
Of anything behind that square.
Nothing was missing, nothing sought –
Nothing to do but sleep and stare.

What will He give of light, of bliss,
Who has already given this?

— This poem appears in the July 21, 2014, issue of National Review.

Re: Crabby about Cleveland



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Jay and Nick, I agree that things are getting a little fulsome, but some celebration is in order. After all, this could be the biggest comeback of Cleveland since the 1892 presidential election . . . 

(Or at least since this.)

Celebrities Voice Their Support for Palestine, Opposition to Israel



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As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, it has caught the attention of many prominent figures, including a rock star, an NBA player, and a scientist, who are publicly taking a stand against Israel and throwing their support behind the Palestinians.

Performing in England over the weekend, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder launched into a profanity-laced tirade in which he appeared to criticize Israelis, “who are looking for a reason to kill.” (Comments begin at about the 4-minute mark).

“They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them,” he said, never explicitly referring to Israel. “They should get the f*** out, and mind their own f***ing business.”

“We don’t want to give them our money,” Vedder continued. “We don’t want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children.”

Additionally, famed physicist Stephen Hawking reemphasized his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Hawking withdrew from an upcoming conference at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for what were initially thought to be health-related reasons. But World Bulletin, a pro-Palestine news site, reports that Hawking sent a letter to organizers criticizing the Israeli government.

Meanwhile, The Nation’s sports editor Dave Zirin, himself a supporter of the Palestinians, noticed that Houston Rockets center and NBA all-star Dwight Howard tweeted using the #FreePalestine hashtag over the weekend before quickly deleting his tweet.

Howard was reacting to picture of destruction from the conflict.

Howard eventually apologized for the tweet, and vowed that he “never will” comment on international politics again.

​Complex notes that Howard’s may have decided to delete his tweets because of his teammate Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA. Casspi has been vocal in his support for Israel. (Casspi was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans late Sunday night.)

Pro-Life Progress Continues in the States



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This week the Guttmacher Institute released a report on state abortion policy. In the first half of 2014, 21 state-level pro-life laws were enacted. Guttmacher and a number of pundits have noted that this marks a decline — this is the fewest number of pro-life laws passed mid-year since 2009. It is also about half the number of state-level pro-life laws that had been enacted by this point last year. This report has been picked up by a number of media outlets including the Washington Post, the Hill, and the Washington Times.

However, these results should be looked at in context. First, a number of state legislatures sympathetic to pro-life legislation, including Texas’s, have not been in session this year. The past three years have also been exceptional in the amount of state-level pro-life legislation that was enacted — more pro-life laws were passed between 2011 and 2013 than in the previous decade combined. Part of this sharp increase in pro-life laws was due to the fact that political and technological changes put pro-lifers on the defensive. After the passage of the Affordable Care Act, 25 states enacted laws limiting abortion coverage in the health exchanges. Additionally, 15 states enacted bans on telemed abortions.

Overall, Guttmacher has been collecting data on state-level pro-life laws since the mid 1980s. Already, 2014 ranks as the tenth-most-productive year on record in terms of the number such laws passed. Highlights include the Mississippi becoming the 13th state to enact a 20 week abortion ban, as well as Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal signing legislation requiring abortionists to obtain hospital-admitting privileges. All in all, the pace may have slowed somewhat, but many states are still making impressive progress enacting protective laws and building a culture of life.

— Michael J. New is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan – Dearborn and an adjunct scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_J_New.

Surprising Support for Israel, Not Hamas



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The current Hamas assault on Israel has lured the predictable coven of Palestinian nationalists, Islamists, Leftists, and anti-Semites from the woodwork to bash the Jewish state. But, more surprisingly, Israel is getting support, or at least restraint and fairness, from unexpected sources:

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “Today we face the risk of an all out escalation in Israel and Gaza with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing.”

The Lebanese Internal Security Forces detained two persons for having fired rockets into Israel.

Egyptian security forces seized 20 rockets on their way to being smuggled into Gaza.

Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, attended a Ha’aretz “peace conference” in Israel the day the current fighting began and has infuriated Hamas by his willingness to continue to work with the government of Israel.

Jordan’s foreign minister Nasser Judeh demanded that Israel “stop its escalation immediately,” but balanced this with calls for “the restoration of complete calm and avoidance of targeting civilians” and “the return to direct negotiations.”

 The media too is displaying an unwonted fairness to Israel.

The BBC published an article, “Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?” about pictures claiming to show the effects of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and found that “some of the images are of the current situation in Gaza, but a #BBCtrending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked former PLO legal adviser Diana Buttu about a tape of Hamas spokesmen encouraging civilians in Gaza to protect homes of Hamas’s leaders with their bodies. When Buttu retorted by calling this a racist accusation, Tapper replied, “It’s not racist, we have video. . . . That’s not racist, it’s a fact.”

Overshadowing all these indications, but less surprising, Rasmussen reports that likely American voters by a nearly 3-to-1 margin (42 to 15 percent) blame Palestinians more for the conflict in Gaza than they blame Israel (according to a survey conducted on July 7–8, just as hostilities began). This is perhaps the single most important statistic from outside the Middle East, certainly more so than Security Council votes.

Comment: (1) In large part the coolness toward Hamas results from the belated realization that Islamists pose a greater threat than Zionists. But media sobriety suggests that, in part, it also follows from a weariness of Hamas’s vile tactics and revulsion against its hideous goal of destroying Israel. (2) As Hamas’s goal in this war is political, this lesser support is of supreme importance to it. 

Tags: Israel , Media , Hamas

Shotgun Maker Mossberg Moving Operations Out of Connecticut



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Yet another storied firearms manufacturer is snubbing the Northeast. Frank Miniter explains over at Forbes:

America’s largest shotgun manufacturer, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., decided not to expand in Connecticut. Sure it was founded there 1919 and still has its corporate headquarters in North Haven. But in 2013 Connecticut rushed through legislation to ban some of Mossberg’s popular products. As a result, Mossberg CEO, Iver Mossberg, says, “Investing in Texas was an easy decision. It’s a state that is not only committed to economic growth but also honors and respects the Second Amendment and the firearm freedoms it guarantees for our customers.”

Mossberg follows Remington Arms, Kahr Arms, Les Baer Custom, Lewis Machine & Tool, American Tactical Imports, Ruger, Colt, Stag Arms, PTR Industries, Magpul, and Beretta in moving operations out of anti-gun states.

The full story here.

End of Crabbiness



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Nick, thank you for your Corner post — and, even more, your superb little essay on the LeBron affair. I should have expressed myself less crabbily last night. (Reporting a story from Maine, I had a lobster roll for dinner, preceded by clam chowder. No crabs, though.) (No vulgar remarks from the peanut gallery, please.)

As a Detroiter (sort of), I feel the Clevelanders’ pain. The Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings have spurts of greatness. The Lions, never — at least in “modern times.” Also, Cleveland has not had much to cheer about, municipally, for too long a time. (Although Cleveland, by comparison with Detroit, is 19th-century Vienna.)

The loss of LeBron to Miami must have stung terribly. And the manner in which he left was deplorable. His return, I’m sure, is cause for jubilation. But I would remind Clevelanders, my fellow Midwesterners, that economy of emotion is, historically, a Midwestern trait.

19 Cabins Booked Last Week . . .



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So, when are you going to sign up for the National Review 2014 Post-Election Caribbean Cruise? We’ve got nearly 270 cabins booked for what is going to be the conservative event of the year (scheduled for November 9th to the 16th). Ya snooze, ya looze — don’t let that happen to you. Get complete information about the trip — learn about who the 40-plus great speakers are, the wonderful Allure of the Seas, affordable and luxurious staterooms, NR’s exclusive programs of seminars, receptions, “Night Owls,” and smokers, and so much more — at www.nrcruise.com.​ 

Tags: NR Cruise

Re: Crabby about Cleveland



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This Cleveland ex-pat has had it with all the gushing over LeBron James’s homecoming.

So I end up approximately where Jay Nordlinger does, though I get there by a different route. I don’t know how David French, Peter Kirsanow, and Ian Tuttle managed to keep their commentary so positive, but I salute them for it.

We’re still waiting for Jonathan Adler to record his vote on this burning issue.

My Maestro



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In a post below, I happened to mention George Szell, the great conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra. His successor in Cleveland, Lorin Maazel, died today.

He was one of the greatest musicians in the world (no less). I thought he’d go on and on, conducting. I thought he’d conduct longer than Stoki (Leopold Stokowski). His father, the singer and actor Lincoln Maazel, lived till 106. In fact, he died just five years ago. His son was extraordinarily energetic. Anyway . . .

Maazel was music director in New York for seven years, and I wrote about him constantly — practically as much as I did the president in the period (the president of the United States, I mean). I’m not going to sum up now. I don’t feel like it. But I’d like to say just a few words.

In addition to being amazing, he was amazingly inconsistent. Some nights, I’d leave the hall thinking, “He’s the most musical man alive.” Other nights, he’d conduct like a dog. But the highs — they were unsurpassable, really. When he was “on,” no one was ever more so.

He was also very, very smart. I learned a lot about music from him. Not from conversation with him, but from listening to him, night after night.

When he was about through — in New York, I mean — I went to see him, because I knew I wouldn’t be reviewing him regularly anymore. As a rule, I don’t think critics should meet or mingle with musicians, or write feature pieces about them. (I am more relaxed about this than I used to be. You could say, less principled.)

We had a splendid interview — wide-ranging. I wrote most of it up here on NRO, in a kind of conversational celebration called “Maazel World.” After I turned my tape recorder off, we spoke some personal words, which were gratifying.

Possibly, he was the most arrogant man I’ve ever met in my life — any field. But I loved him. Absolutely loved him. He had a lot to be arrogant about. Honestly, he enriched my life.

In a way, it’s stupid to write so personally about a world figure — as though a conductor who worked on all continents for 70 years existed to enrich your own life — but there you have it.

Crabby about Cleveland



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I’m feeling crabby about LeBron’s return to Cleveland — and I’ll tell you why: because they behaved like such horrible crybabies when LeBron left. “Oh, the betrayal! Oh, the injustice! Boo hoo!” I mean, what spoiled brats. Professional athletes go to other teams, to fulfill their ambitions, all the time. Gimme a break. And part of me feels LeBron is rewarding the city’s self-pitying immaturity.

I think of it this way: I’d better use an analogy to the Detroit Tigers, because we don’t really have a star on the Pistons at the moment. If Miguel Cabrera or Max Scherzer decided to jump to, say, San Diego, I’d say, “Damn. That really hurts.” A minute later, I’d say, “What’s for lunch?” Now, it happens that the Tigers are a much better team than the Padres are right now. But if Miguel or Max wanted to live in San Diego — one of the most beautiful cities in America — rather than Detroit, I’d understand.

So, I’m feeling crabby about Cleveland. And yes, I know they’ve had a difficult time of it, for quite a long while. It has been 65 years since the heyday of Lou Boudreau. Fifty since the heyday of George Szell (greatest Clevelander in history).

A Bit Scary



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Ponder for a minute what AFSCME has done. The union has severed ties with the United Negro College Fund because the Koch brothers contributed $25 million to the fund. Or rather, because the fund accepted the contribution. The money will pay for 3,000 scholarships and other needs. To read about this episode, go here.

The hatred whipped up against the Koch brothers has become nearly frightening, I think. It is undemocratic, unsettling, intolerant. I’ve never liked it when left-leaning types say, “So-and-so scares me,” or, “This scares me.” There was a bumper sticker in the 2000s that said Bush Scares Me. You remember that one?

But there is something semi-scary, I think, about the demented hatred expressed toward the Kochs. The demonization of them. What’s next, dekulakization? De-Koch-ization? Physical attacks?

Obviously, the Kochs and AFSCME have markedly different views: The Kochs favor maximum personal freedom; the union favors greater collectivism or governmental control. Still, don’t you think the union could tolerate the funding of scholarships for black Americans?

Look, I think very little of George Soros. I think he’s a horse’s behind. He’s also one of the most interesting head cases in the world: a Hungarian-born Jewish American who supports allegedly “post-Communist” parties and is a weenie on Israel.

Still, if he wanted to contribute to the UNCF — and, for all I know, he does — I’d say, “Great.” Better money for scholarships than for the Occupy movement, or whatever Soros’s latest cause is. You know?

GOP’s Schock: ‘There Is Nothing’ in Immigration Bill That Would Have Prevented Border Crisis



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Representative Aaron Schock (R., Ill.) pushed back against Democratic claims that the border crisis could have been averted if Republicans had passed comprehensive immigration reform last year. In fact, it is President Obama’s policies that have led to this situation, he said.

“There is nothing in the Senate immigration bill that would have stemmed the tide of these refugees seeking asylum in America — that’s a fact,” Schock said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. Additionally, House Democrats’ proposals would not have prevented the surge of unaccompanied children, he argued.

Schock blamed “the president’s ambiguity on whether or not he will enforce America’s borders and the rule of law that we currently have on the books,” and pointed to Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson’s recent vagueness over whether these unaccompanied children would be sent home.

“More than any new law, the president needs to be clear what his intent is in enforcing our nation’s laws,” Schock said.

Tags: Sunday Shows July 13 2014

Democratic Representative: I ‘Absolutely’ Believe Obama’s Faithfully Executing the Laws



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Despite President Obama’s numerous delays, exemptions, and unilateral actions regarding various federal laws, one Democratic representative has no doubt that the president is faithfully carrying out the laws as passed.

On CNN’s State of the Union, Representative Aaron Schock (R., Ill.) challenged his two Democratic colleagues on the panel, Donna Edwards of Maryland and Beto O’Rourke of Texas​, to go on the record as to whether President Obama is truly acting in good faith to execute the laws of the Congress.

​”You want a short answer to that?” Edwards responded. “Absolutely, we believe the president is faithfully executing the laws.”

Tags: Sunday Shows July 13 2014

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