Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein made a brief but memorable appearance in the '80s coming-of-age classic "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off." In his dreary monotone, Stein taught his half-asleep class some basic economics:
"In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this."
Donald Trump was rather busy in the '80s what with his surefire investments in the USFL and Atlantic City casinos, so perhaps he and Ivanka didn’t make it to the theaters. But the president and his economic advisers might want to pick up a "Ferris Bueller" Blu-ray to learn the lessons even a high schooler will understand.
In the aftermath of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the American people are mad.
Mad at the FBI, which received a detailed and specific warning of the shooting but never followed up. Mad at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, which visited the attacker’s home 23 times before the shooting and waited outside for several minutes before running into the high school. And, of course, they’re mad at the killer.
Progressive activists and many in the news media have rather different priorities. Their ire is focused squarely on a group that wasn’t tipped off, wasn’t a first responder, and had no affiliation with the attacker. Namely, the National Rifle Association.
I liked a funny Tide Pod meme my Facebook friend shared from Instagram and posted it on Twitter. It got a lot of retweets.
But a woman from Kentucky emailed that she created it and I should have given her credit. By the time I saw her email, Tide Pods were old newsbecause everyone moved on to funny YouTube videos about Lady Doritos.
If you didn’t understand the previous sentence, I envy you.
At 5,100 words, President Trump’s first State of the Union address was one of the longest on record. But that’s not the only reason Democrats were checking their watches. Trump set aside his bombastic communications style to solemnly deliver the most conservative SOTU since the Reagan era. And it put Dems in an awful pickle.
Trump used the hour and 20 minutes of spin-free airtime to report a year of news that the mainstream media never quite got around to telling. “Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone.” As Trump spoke, Nancy Pelosi sucked her teeth.
“Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic-American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.” The Congressional Black Caucus glared at Trump with their arms folded.
My daily travels brought me by my proud alma mater last week. As I crept along the narrow college streets lulled into complacency by a boring history podcast, a tiny car swerved in front of me, barely missing my left fender.
Usually, when a driver pulls this type of move, I call him a wide variety of colorful terms.
This time, however, I immediately knew he was a thoughtful, upstanding activist. He showcased his profound civic engagement in the form of a bumper sticker: HE’S NOT MY PRESIDENT.
Thank you, citizen. Swerve on.
In a puff piece promoting their new film, the New York Times interviewed screen legends Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.
Since the latter has spent most of her career pushing progressive politics and positively gushing about disgraced movie exec Harvey Weinstein, the interviewer (shown in bold type) asked why she’s been so quiet about the #MeToo movement.
“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” — Epictetus
If you want to make a change, start now instead of waiting for some arbitrary date on the calendar. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when new year’s resolution time rolls around. Then comes January 17 and March 22 and October 12 and I still haven’t gotten around to setting some modest goals let alone achieving them.
So, 2018 is one of the rare years I’ll actually write down some resolutions. I haven’t done this in several years, however, so I’ve accumulated so many goals that I’ll fill up several color-coded Excel spreadsheets and need to borrow an architect’s plotter printer for the Gantt chart. Hopefully, I can thin down my list before the clock strikes Midnight.
One year ago, I counseled Trump’s many detractors to pace themselves. Following Donald Trump’s shock election, the permanent political class had gone through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining and depression, but the time had come for acceptance.
Twelve months on and acceptance is nowhere to be found. Every news cycle brings another round of hyperventilation — sometimes two or three rounds.
Yes, Trump was and remains a very different sort president, especially following a polished politico like Barack Obama. But, as I said back then, “It’s going to be a long four years, and there will be plenty of real decisions to get outraged about. If you keep losing your mind every time Donald Trump acts like Donald Trump, you’re going to guarantee a long eight years.”
My teenage daughters were in a panic. "Why is Trump trying to ruin the internet?" one asked. "My favorite websites will be shut down!" her sister added.
A few days ago, they watched the panicked reactions of their favorite YouTube "stars" and other third-tier celebs to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai's proposal to end the net neutrality rules created two years ago.
Net neutrality is one of those big government ideas that sounds great in theory but creates new problems in execution.
The net neutrality concept is that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. Your broadband provider can't block certain websites or slow down the applications you use. They also shouldn't create "fast lanes" that force high-bandwidth services like Netflix or Hulu to pay an extra fee to deliver their content more quickly than the other guys.
At last, a harsh reckoning has come for sexual harassers and abusers.
Last month’s outing of the loathsome Harvey Weinstein triggered an avalanche of accusations, fanning out from Hollywood. Oliver Stone, Ben Affleck, Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal, George Takei and many lesser-knowns were revealed as alleged sexual predators.
The recriminations moved from entertainment to the media at large, as women accused commentator Mark Halperin, editor Michael Oreskes and critic Leon Wieseltier of behavior ranging from the caddish to the criminal. This led to the worlds of sports and gastronomy until finally, right where we all knew it would end — the world of politics.