A Tax Idea

Sometimes subtle changes in law have the most profound, long-lasting implications. One such was when President Kennedy, contravening the pre-existing consensus (which had included such Democratic stalwarts as Presidents Roosevelt and Truman) against legalizing government unions, waived them into law; that change effectively created the public-employee unions that have dwarfed all other political donors in the decades since. They, in turn, virtually uniformly support big-government Democrats and tilt the table in favor of the growth of the blue model of governance. Now most government employees are overpaid relative to their private-sector counterparts and have vastly less personal accountability for the results of their work.

What I have in mind is a change in tax law that I think would h...

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Technology, Privacy and Freedom

Not long ago, the Beloved and I took a three-day trip to visit our older son and daughter-in-law in New Orleans. We flew from LaGuardia.

As we have long been accustomed to doing when leaving for short trips, we drove to the airport rather than use a taxi or car service. Big mistake: we had forgotten that the enormous old parking garage near the main terminal has been temporarily torn down as part of rebuilding the airport.

We were directed to park in a remote area that I had never seen before. As we awaited the bus that would take us through the construction mess and back to the terminal, I noticed a sign announcing that cash would not be accepted for payment on retrieving our car.

I wondered out loud to the Beloved if it was illegal for the Port Authority to refuse to accept cash: it say...

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A Letter to the NeverTrumpers

This morning I read this (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442342/donald-trump-washington-dc-might-not-be-my-home) piece by one of my favorite columnists, Kevin D. Williamson.

In the course of praising Trump’s apparent decision to spend much less time in Washington DC than is customary, which he characterizes as “one of the few good ideas Trump has had”, Williamson went on to offer this observation:

“A nation genuinely concerned about good government would not have entrusted its chief administrative post to Donald J. Trump, a frequently bankrupt casino operator and game-show host.”

***

National Review was fiercely anti-Trump throughout the primaries, and as critical of him as it could be without endorsing Hillary in the general campaign...

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Hamilton

I had a lot of fun last night. The Beloved and I took much of our immediate family to an elegant dinner and Hamilton.

We enjoyed both a warm-hearted, pre-Thanksgiving gathering of a group that will be heading in different directions for other family combinations on the actual holiday and the shared experience of taking in an exciting show.

Hamilton was terrific. It’s about ideological differences among the founding fathers of this great nation – and about their brilliance, ambitions and personal shortcomings. It is exceptionally entertaining and educational, and the cast sparkled. Thanksgiving is the most American of holidays, so seeing this particular show in a pre-Thanksgiving gathering seemed especially fitting.

***

The crowd inside the theater can only be described as having cons...

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Eliminate the Moderators

Say what you will about Wikileaks, it has shown us that even beyond the invariably progressive political leanings of the moderators, our Presidential Debates have sometimes been rigged outright.

I have a simple idea that would eliminate such bias problems while making the debates much more informative: eliminate the moderators entirely.

Imagine a format in which the nominees stand alone, facing the equivalent of a chess clock. An hour or ninety minutes is divided into alternating five minute segments; the candidates each know exactly how much more time they have in each segment, and that after five minutes their microphone will be automatically switched off, and their competitor’s on.

Each debater can choose to use his or her time to respond to what the opposing candidate has just said, ...

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Letter to a Progressive Minister

First, thank you for the beautiful job you did christening my grandson. You have a wonderful manner and that part of the service was as warm and inspiring as was his parents’ splendid wedding ceremony last year.

Unfortunately, I came away from your sermon thinking that the call to action that you clearly hoped would provide inspiration to your flock was instead a manifestation of the very narrow-mindedness and unwillingness to put yourself into the shoes of others that ails our society.

The implication was clear that you believe that Trump’s supporters showed bigotry or ignorance or both. With righteous anger, you preached to your own choir. For the reasons detailed below, I differ.

***

To begin, the litany of alleged Trump sins that you cited was beneath you.

For example, you stated a...

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Weakness

Do you remember the funeral scene in The Godfather when all the independent mobsters pay homage – and implicitly pledge allegiance – to Barzini? Vito Corleone is dead, and nearly everybody, including the supposedly loyal Tessio, thinks young Michael Corleone is too weak to lead, or even survive, the coming mob war.

That scene is now playing globally.

In Asia, just his week, the President of the Philippines traveled to Beijing to declare that “America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow.”  Not far to the north of the Philippines, North Korea – under the Kim regime, China’s rabid attack dog, kept on a leash for its master’s pleasure – has nukes and, now, missiles that can reach the US...

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Hillary III

While lots of people on the right are spending a fair amount of time dissecting Hillary’s lies and evasions regarding her home-brew server, and everybody on the left is busy pretending not to notice them, for the most part we are not asking the obvious questions about why she was so determined maintain a server of her own and later, once she was called out, to keep private the contents of the thousands of emails that she deleted. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because they were about her yoga routines or Chelsea’s wedding plans.

Notwithstanding the fact that she played dumb with the FBI – pretending that after many years of government ‘service’ she had had no idea that there was a law forbidding her from conducting official business over a non-secure server, or even what the C stood f...

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Two Movies

Last night, searching Netflix for something to watch, I happened across Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, with Steve Carell and Keira Knightly. I’m a Carell fan, so I chose it, only realizing once the film got rolling that it had remarkable similarities – and equally interesting differences – with another movie that I had seen recently, Melancholia with Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland.

Seeking is an American film, Melancholia European; the differences are telling.

Both are concerned with how people behave in the face of something that they know (well, there’s some drawn-out uncertainty in Melancholia) will destroy all life on Earth – a rogue planet in Melancholia, a gigantic meteorite in Seeking...

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Under a Steel-Gray Sky

Two days ago I slipped in some mud while carrying my kayak up a hill. I caught myself, but in doing so I seem to have hurt something deep in my right shoulder. Since then the right side of my torso has ached.

This morning, at the suggestion of my Beloved Spouse, I went outside to sit in the hot tub by our pool. I am not really a hot tub guy – I have probably used it a dozen times in as many years – but she thought the heat and bubble jets might help lessen my shoulder pain.

So I sat in the steaming water under a steel-gray sky; to my surprise, my thoughts turned to an old friend.

***

Doug and I went to boarding school together. We got to know each other through rowing; he was a big, athletic guy – a gentle giant. Though we were two years apart, we became fast friends.

For we were n...

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