Wednesday, July 23, 2014

City Journal: Detroit’s Message to Investors

There will be blood.

When emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr filed his plans in late February to lift Detroit out of bankruptcy, his proposals drew fire from the municipal-finance industry. Investors, bond insurers, ratings analysts, and industry groups all balked at his terms.

 That’s not surprising, since Orr, a private-sector restructuring expert, has used the Detroit bankruptcy to try to overturn years’ worth of precedent in municipal finance.

Even before Detroit went bankrupt, Orr made it clear that he would attack sacrosanct practices. Last June, he castigated holders of Detroit’s general-obligation bonds—traditionally considered among the safest kinds of municipal borrowing—for investing in the city for a decade, even as it went broke “openly and notoriously,” in his words. Though the usual assumption is that general-obligation bonds have the “full faith and credit” backing of a city or state, Orr said, he would regard Detroit’s bonds as unsecured—and he warned investors that they’d see deep cuts in any structuring plan. “They understood the risk,” he said.

Handcuffed hairbraider sues in federal court for right to teach

What is Gov. Rick Perry going to do about this??

Isis Brantley is a widely recognized expert on African hairbraiding who wants to teach people to braid hair for a living in Dallas. But even with her decades of experience, Texas is telling Isis she must now convert her modest hairbraiding school into a large barber college, and become a state-licensed barber instructor, before she can teach the next generation of African hairbraiders.

When the state of Texas began regulating hairbraiders in 2007, it wedged Texas's hairbraiding license into the state's barbering statute. This means that Isis must spend 2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition and a fully-equipped barber college she doesn't need, all to teach a 35-hour hairbraiding curriculum. Tellingly, Texas will waive all these regulations if Isis goes to work for an existing barber school and teaches hairbraiding for them.

But braiders aren't barbers, and braiding instructors shouldn't be forced to build barber schools or take classes from barbers.

Ron Christie - How to Really Empower Black Voters Nationwide

How can we be sure to empower black voters some 50 years after the Voting Rights Act?  Ron Christie's take. 
Fifty years after the Freedom Summer, black voters are more powerful than ever. It’s time for both parties to realize this, and start competing for their support in earnest.
For the first time in our history, according to the Census Bureau, blacks are now voting at a higher rate than whites. Roughly two out of three eligible blacks voted in the 2012 election, which is a greater percentage than the number of non-Hispanic whites who turned out to the polls. And while the presence of President Barack Obama on the ballot for re-election almost certainly drove up turnout, blacks are still the only ethnic group to show a significant increase in voting from 2008 to 2012.

Nowhere is this trend more noteworthy than in the South where, as Nate Cohn recently argued in The New York Times, black voters may decide who controls the Senate next year. “If Democrats win the South and hold the Senate,” he wrote, “they will do so because of Southern black voters.”

Read more!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why Libertarians Should Not Support the Confederacy

Why shouldn't libertarians support the Confederacy? In short, because the Confederacy itself was not very libertarian. In addition to being founded explicitly to protect the slave trade in America, the Confederacy conscripted soldiers, inflated its money supply during the war, and played host to many civil liberties violations.

But that's not to say that the Union was much better, as Jason Kuznicki (@jasonkuznicki) explains. Kuznicki is a Research Fellow at the Cato Institute and is editor of Cato Unbound.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Case for Social Conservatism

Social conservatives focus on what is permanent in human nature, emphasize the importance of tradition, trust in a market economy and put the family ahead of the state.

NOTE: While the article is focused on Canadian politics, the insights are relevant to America.

Many Canadians associate the “social conservative” label with a narrowly focused political attitude defined almost solely in terms of opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia. “People clinging to their guns and Bibles,” as President Obama suggested during his 2008 presidential campaign. Whatever the definition, the basic idea is that social conservatives are a weird group of loudmouth simpletons, long on religion and short on reason who seek to impose their moral views on society. This perception is widely shared by our media, as attested to by a 2002 Maclean’s front-page characterization of Stockwell Day as “scary.” It is also shared by a majority of Canadian academics who would view any debate with a social conservative as beneath their dignity.

The notion that social conservatism is but a remnant of religious bigotry is a very effective strategy because it sets the burden of “disproof” on conservatives while implicitly suggesting that only liberals and socialists can speak a language consistent with “public rationality.” Yet, social conservatism is based on certain broad principles that, until a few decades ago, were widely shared by Canadians, to the point where they were generally taken for granted by most elected officials. Given the deep transformation in Canadian political culture largely ushered in by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms over the past 25 years, a quick review of those principles seems warranted.

In the words of Roger Scruton, conservatism essentially involves “loving the world as it is,” being sensitive to what has been handed over by our forefathers. It is based on a sense of amity toward the community, rather than a desire to remake it according to purely intellectual constructs. This attitude of receptivity toward the experience of earlier generations reflects the view that there is a “hard-core” human nature that cannot be tampered with and by which cultures, in spite of their diversity and constant evolution, can be judged. While recognizing that our common understanding of human nature evolves over time, social conservatives thus acknowledge that there is something unchanging in that nature.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania Announces Ryan Sanders As The New African-American Inclusion Director

Image Source: Jade Brock Photography
(Ryan Sanders is pictured to the left in the image above)

HARRISBURG – Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason was proud to announce Ryan Sanders as the PA GOP’s new African-American Inclusion Director. As part of the GOP’s effort to build a permanent ground operation, the PA GOP will work in partnership with the Republican National Committee to ensure a year-round presence in African-American communities.

“Today marks an important milestone in our efforts to share the Republican message of individual freedom and economic opportunity with members of the African-American community,” Gleason said. “Ryan brings his experience as a successful community leader to our Party, and will work to build important relationships and grassroots networks throughout the Commonwealth. I am proud to welcome Ryan to the team, and I look forward watching him work to grow our Party in the future.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “We continue to expand the Republican Party by strengthening our relationships with diverse communities across Pennsylvania and sharing a message of growth and opportunity with voters in every community. We’ve made a commitment to being a party for voters in every state, every town, and every neighborhood. This is one of many steps toward keeping that commitment.”

A Philadelphia native, Ryan has worked on multiple local campaigns and serves as the Vice President of Economic Development for the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central PA. Ryan has an extensive background working in private industry for the past ten years in Business Development for a Fortune 50 company. He is a graduate of Eastern University in St. David’s, PA, where he majored in Organizational Management. He currently resides in Harrisburg.

- See more at:

Sen. Rob Portman on Republicans and Politics

In this Uncommon Knowledge, Hoover fellow Peter Robinson speaks with Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Portman discusses the state of US politics and the Republican Party, touching on various important issues, beginning with the shortcoming of the Affordable Health Care act, the right to health care, and the possibility of alternatives. He continues on to discuss the importance of a balanced budget, despite the continuously increased spending initiated by President George Bush, and the need to curb government spending.

This leads to a conversation on what it means to be a modern politician, particularly from a swing state like Ohio, and reflections on Romney's failed bid for election in 2012. The interview ends with a dialogue on what the Republican Party has to offer the future of America and younger Americans' disillusionment with politics.

Conservatives & The Arts

Conservatives should reinvest in art for its own sake, not to win a culture war

via: The American Conservative Magazine 

 Calling on conservatives to write fiction in order to regain power by shaping the moral imagination, as Bellow seems to claim, would, in my view, repeat the errors of the later avant-garde and progressives who came to view art as a weapon in class struggle. This attitude toward art always leads to art becoming a mere tool, a mere means to an end, rather than an end in itself. Bellow tries to distinguish between the “the original counterculture” and a counterculture that “was hijacked and turned into a vehicle for progressive politics,” but I don’t buy this.

The problem with Bellow’s approach, as Rod remarked two weeks ago, is that it would most likely lead to ideologically “pure” but bad work:

Read more:

Crystal Wright - When is it ever OK to call the President the n-word?

(CNN) -- Martin Luther King Jr. fought and died so blacks would no longer be viewed as inferior but rather enjoy the same inherent rights given to whites in America. Yet in 2014, 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the West View News thinks it's appropriate to publish a story about our first black president, Barack Obama, with the headline, "The Nigger in the White House."

 Oh, the times we are living in. All I could do was feel sick to my stomach when I read the headline that the monthly newspaper serving Manhattan's Lower West Side published. And it brought up the pain my family went through nearly four decades ago. Not only is the word reprehensible but also why would an editor of a newspaper use the n-word in a headline about America's first black president?

Read more:

COBB: On the Multiculturalization of Superheroes

"So when I hear that the next Captain America is going to be a black man, the new Green Lantern is gay and the next Thor is a woman.. Well I wasn't born yesterday. I've got emotional baggage with those old supers and I don't like seeing them flipped. Now I can't say with definition that there are not righteous in-situ ways of explaining the changes, even though I thought Thor was immortal. It makes sense that old caped crusaders die off and new ones don the mask. But isn't that nothing at all but cliche?

How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston

1 I am colored but I offer nothing in the way of extenuating circumstances except the fact that I am the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother's side was not an Indian chief.

2 I remember the very day that I became colored. Up to my thirteenth year I lived in the little Negro town of Eatonville, Florida. It is exclusively a colored town. The only white people I knew passed through the town going to or coming from Orlando. The native whites rode dusty horses, the Northern tourists chugged down the sandy village road in automobiles. The town knew the Southerners and never stopped cane chewing when they passed. But the Northerners were something else again. They were peered at cautiously from behind curtains by the timid. The more venturesome would come out on the porch to watch them go past and got just as much pleasure out of the tourists as the tourists got out of the village.
3 The front porch might seem a daring place for the rest of the town, but it was a gallery seat for me. My favorite place was atop the gatepost. Proscenium box for a born first-nighter. Not only did I enjoy the show, but I didn't mind the actors knowing that I liked it. I usually spoke to them in passing. I'd wave at them and when they returned my salute, I would say something like this: "Howdy-do-well-I-thank-you-where-you-goin'?" Usually automobile or the horse paused at this, and after a queer exchange of compliments, I would probably "go a piece of the way" with them, as we say in farthest Florida. If one of my family happened to come to the front in time to see me, of course negotiations would be rudely broken off. But even so, it is clear that I was the first "welcome-to-our-state" Floridian, and I hope the Miami Chamber of Commerce will please take notice.

♫ Opus 28 by Dustin O’Halloran

"In these confused times, the role of classical music is at the very core of the struggle to reassert cultural and ethical values that have always characterized our country and for which we have traditionally been honored and respected outside our shores."  ~  Lorin Maazel


Salter: Black voters in GOP Mississippi primary not a step backward

TCL Salter 0720.IMG0
(Photo: Megan Bean, Mississippi State photo)

From The Clarion-Ledger:

If some black Mississippi voters chose in 2014 to make legal second primary votes in the Republican primary to influence the outcome of that runoff, it was their right under current Mississippi election law unless they voted in the Democratic first primary. What should have been the destination of the political journey begun in Mississippi before and during Freedom Summer a half-century ago was a state in which voters are voters and that all voters enjoy the free exercise of the franchise to vote as they please.

 Mississippi law doesn’t require partisan voter registration and the significant limit is that voters can’t “crossover” between casting a first primary vote with one party and then a second primary vote in the primary of another party. Beyond that prohibition, voters have the right to choose.

Setting race relations back 50 years?  Please.

- See more at:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Quote of the Day

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran
"If Chris McDaniel spent more time asking African Americans to vote for him rather than complaining about them participating in the process, he might have won the election."
- Jordan Russell, a spokesman for  Cochran's campaign
My reply: Preach Jordan, preach!

Can Rand Bring Blacks Back to the GOP?

Fifty years after Goldwater, the Kentucky Senator is trying to repair the GOP's image with African-American voters. Fifty years ago this week, a divided and feverish Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater to lead them to victory.

 Instead, he led them to a smashing defeat. There are many reasons for that catastrophe, and some on the right enjoyed a hearty last laugh when Lyndon Johnson abandoned the White House. But ridding themselves of Johnson did not mean that Republicans got back the black vote. Black Americans deserted the Goldwater GOP en masse, and they never came back—not even in the party’s ultra-dominant Reagan years. To be sure, the Reaganaut Jack Kemp made African Americans a powerful pitch. But Kemp belongs to a different time, and that time has now been long in passing.

- See more at:

Interesting note from Rare:  A Bluegrass Poll also revealed that Paul’s ongoing minority outreach efforts might be working with African-Americans in his home state. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that “29 percent of the African Americans surveyed said they would back the tea-party senator.”

- See more at:

Are entitlement programs social safety nets or economic traps?

My take on why it's so difficult for poor people to escape poverty while using entitlement programs. 
Is there a conspiracy to keep people trapped.

Blanks: This is your government on drugs. Any questions?

Jonathan Blanks, an African-American Libertarian, has a piece in the Washington Post entitled, "This is Your Government on Drugs" critiquing the Obama administrations handling of the war on drugs.

"If the Obama administration is to be believed, America’s infamous “War on Drugs” is over.
In its most recent National Drug Control Strategy, released last week, officials promised a more humane and sympathetic approach to drug users and addiction. Out, the report suggests, are “tough on crime” policies. Rather than more police and more prisons, officials talk about public health and education. They promise to use evidence-based practices to combat drug abuse. And they want to use compassionate messaging and successful reentry programs to reduce the stigma drug offenders and addicts face.
Unfortunately, the government’s actions don’t jibe with their rhetoric."

- See more at:

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Libertarian Case For The Civil Rights Act Of 1964

Last week, Congress hailed the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a libertarian Republican, was the only dissenter. Rep. Paul argues that the CRA didn’t improve race relations or enhance individual freedom, but instead dictated “forced integration.” This is where I part ways with most white libertarians. Reading this piece reminded me of comments by Michael Bowen, a black Republican, hoping that “black libertarians could neutralize some of [Libertarians'] post-modernist yuppie crap in the process.” This is one of those times.

Rep. Paul acts as if there was no conflict before CRA. Did the “racial strife” & “racial balkanization” (Rep. Paul’s words) caused by denial of freedom under Jim Crow mean nothing? If I met Rep. Paul, I would ask: what about blacks’ individual freedom? Those of whites who wanted to associate with blacks? Here we have Jim Crow’s massive human rights violations — the state as evil oppressor, tyranny running rampant in the South — and yet libertarian capitulation and appeasement. Why?

I would ask Rep. Paul why black taxpayers should’ve paid for public facilities or government activities which we couldn’t access. Why blatant violation of voting rights – taxation without representation – was OK, under “states’ rights.” Or why it was OK for states to outlaw boycotts and civil rights groups like the NAACP, thus violating freedom of peaceful assembly. Or outlawing blacks’ freedom to launch a privately-funded bus boycott, when Montgomery tried to ban cab drivers who wanted to lower their fares for the boycotters. Or passing measures to prevent insurance companies from underwriting an alternative transport system.

Jim Crow violated the 1st Amendment (freedom of association, freedom of speech), 14th Amendment (equal protection) and 15th Amendment (voting rights). Jim Crow also empowered states to interfere with the rights of Southern whites who wanted to open their businesses, etc. to blacks, as they saw fit (many tried to do so and met state and private repercussions). Isn’t this initiation of force by the state, abuse of power? The Civil Rights Act, through the pre-existing interstate commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution, enforced laws already on the books.

Rep. Paul’s statement rings quite hollow to those of us whose relatives actually experienced Jim Crow. For example, my family fled Mississippi in 1923 because the Ku Klux Klan assaulted a family member, said “niggers be out of town by sundown tomorrow,” and burned down our small family farm (my great-grandparents were apparently “too uppity”). Physical assault and violated private property rights (and local government wouldn’t enforce the law), and yet what does Rep. Paul have to say here but “too bad.” Or did “states’ rights” override my family’s individual freedom and private property rights because of our race and because federal government didn’t do it?

Roger Scruton: Liberty & Democracy in Western Civilisation

Conservative philosopher Roger Scruton delivers the keynote address at the IPA's 2014 Foundations of Western Civilisation Symposium.

Church Planting Is Insufficient For Social Change

Dr. Anthony Bradley's latest: The church is insufficient for social change. People need jobs & police protection too.

"For the last 12 years I've travelled to several parts of the world and seen some of the worst poverty and cultural decay imaginable. The one principle that I've come away with after being on the ground, and reading thousands of pages of Christian social teaching, is that church planting and preaching the gospel alone do not create the conditions for human flourishing. Many contemporary evangelicals seem to have developed a myopic view of God redeeming the whole creation that reduces human flourishing as a church-based activity--especially the hearing of sermons.

The reduction follows this way: if only community X had more gospel centered-churches then the community X would flourish. Historically in the West, there has never been human flourishing without flourishing institutions other than the church like businesses, for example. After all, "work constitutes a foundation for the formation of family life, which is a natural right and something that man is called to," as one tradition teaches. This reduction sadly has had costly implications with respect to what the many churches currently teaches about vocation and calling."

- See more at: