Archive for November, 2017
My Interview with Lenin, One Hundred Years after the Revolution

The mysteries of science have preserved Lenin alive, whose “death” in 1924 was a cunning scheme. I have managed to track him down to talk about the one hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Me: What does the “October Revolution” say to us today? Lenin: The vanquished were right. History has sent the Provisional...
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Want a Choice Not an Echo in Education? Then Keep the Feds Out

A provision of the recent House GOP tax plan would allow parents to use up to $10,000 of their 529 college savings plans for K-12 expenses including private school tuition. Parental choice in education is a bedrock Republican principle, and President Trump along with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are leading advocates. Yet even if...
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Consent of the Governed, Revisited

What gives some people the right to rule others? At least since John Locke’s time, the most common and seemingly compelling answer has been “the consent of the governed.” When the North American revolutionaries set out to justify their secession from the British Empire, they declared, among other things: “Governments are instituted among Men,...
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Review: The Florida Project Shines Light on Underbelly of American Labor Market

The Florida Project, a brilliant new film by director/screenwriter Sean Baker (Tangerine, Take Out) explores the precarious world of people living just a few dollars short of homelessness through the ears and eyes of six-year olds. Baker balances adult desperation and childlike optimism, an enigmatic blend that creates a gripping story centering on an...
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Voluntary Provision of a So-called Public Good

For the past few days, several men and a fair-sized tractor front-end loader have been working on the beach road where I live north of Xcalak. None too soon, either, as the potholes have become immense in the past year or so since the last repairs. A gringo neighbor down the road organized this...
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#NotI

On this National Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, I hereby declare a counter-movement: one rooted in women who hold themselves in such a manner that any mere man would cower at the thought of treating her as a sexual object. No, I am not blaming the victims of the numerous accounts now coming to light. Yes,...
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Knowledge Better Left Unknown

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. About certain things, however, any knowledge at all is dangerous and potentially fatal. One such piece of purported knowledge pertains to the size distribution of income and wealth. This knowledge serves no good purpose; it is wholly unnecessary for defensible government policy or action....
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A Poor Politician

“Un político pobre es un pobre político” is a well-known Mexican aphorism attributed to Carlos Hank González. My translation: “A politician who is poor is a poor politician.” Bill and Hillary Clinton certainly took that maxim to heart, as have nearly all other politicians who ever got their filthy mitts into the Treasury and...
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Review: Marshall Spotlights Neglected Part of Civil Rights History

Marshall, the biopic of the illustrious and path-breaking civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall, is an important reminder about just how deep-seated racism and prejudice were in American society (and some say still are). Well acted and evenly paced, the film is a worthy addition to a growing list of good films depicting layered aspects...
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Why Subsidize the U.S. Department of Education When We Could Be Funding ESAs Ourselves?

Last month marked the 38th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Department of Education. Proponents insisted that elevating the Office of Education to a Cabinet-level department would improve federal education spending efficiency as well as student achievement. Opponents countered that there is scant (if any) evidence that increasing federal control over education would...
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