The Corner


In my Davos in the Desert journal today, I cite a speech by King Abdullah (the Jordanian one, not the Saudi one), in which the rhetoric was grandiose. The king said that he wanted the Middle East to become “the go-to place for opportunity and wealth-building.” He wanted it to become “the house of genius for the 21st century.” I comment that “a modest allowing for entrepreneurship,” and “some individual elbow room,” would be just fine, thank you very much. Certainly as a start.

Received a letter from a reader in Michigan, and found it both amusing and touching. Maybe you will too: 


Abdullah’s words remind me of the overblown rhetoric we so often hear from local officials about Benton Harbor. Every few years, the school board fires the superintendent and hires a new one, whereupon they all proclaim their goal of building a “world-class school system.” I’m thinking, “Why not just try for a decent system in which the students don’t knife each other and at least half the kids graduate?”

Likewise, our fair Governess Jennifer visits the city with promises of vast handouts to rebuild it into a “world-class community.” Again, how about improving it to the point where my wife feels comfortable driving through town?

Exactly. Beautiful.


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