Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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acton-commentary-blogimage“As all the media attention attests, the sad story of Flint is not limited to itself,” says Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary. “The entitlement mentality is like a drug ruining not just American cities but spreading to the country as a whole. The entitlement mentality is like a drug ruining not just American cities but spreading to the country as a whole.”

As a native of Flint, Michigan, I am very saddened by the contaminated water crisis that has broken out in my hometown and has now gathered international attention. What’s even sadder is that I am not terribly shocked that such a crisis could take place there. Flint has long been Exhibit A in the story of the decline and fall of a once-proud industrial city in the age of globalization; it is also a prime example of why monopolies in politics, business and labor are inherently prone to collusion, complacency and even corruption. Flint is what happens when we avoid competition out of a false sense of “solidarity.”

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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How School Choice Could Improve Life for Teachers
Mary Clare Reim, The Daily Signal

While it’s often easy to see the success school choice programs have on students, what’s often missing from this conversation is the acknowledgment that teachers are also empowered by school choice.

Flint Weighs Scope of Harm to Children Caused by Lead in Water
Abby Goodnough, New York Times

As officials try to track how many children in Flint, Mich., have been exposed to lead, underlying troubles prevalent among low-income families add to concerns.

Poll: 7 in 10 voters support school choice
Bonnie Kristian, The Week

A strong majority — 70 percent — of likely voters support school choice, finds a new poll funded by the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy group.

Will Sanders and Trump voters push America away from market capitalism?
James Pethokoukis, AEI

Donald Trump says Bernie Sanders is a probable “communist” and “total whack job.” Sanders calls Trump a “pathological liar,” his policy ideas “pathetic.” Trump would cut taxes by $12 trillion over the next decade, and Sanders would raise them by $14 trillion. Also big differences on issues such as climate change and immigration.

Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. recently stirred up a bit of hubbub over his endorsement of Donald Trump, praising the billionaire presidential candidate as a “servant leader” who “lives a life of helping others, as Jesus taught.”

For many evangelicals, the disconnect behind such a statement is more than a bit palpable. Thus, the critiques and dissents ensued, pointing mostly to the uncomfortable co-opting of Trump’s haphazard political proposals with Christian witness.

As Russell Moore put it:

Richard Muow picks up on this same point over at First Things, noting that this “third temptation” has lured many Christians throughout church history, and was aptly warned against by Abraham Kuyper, the great Dutch statesmen and theologian. (more…)

Lastmilitary-draft December Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced he would lift the military’s ban on women serving in combat, a move that allows hundreds of thousands of women to serve in front-line positions during wartime. “This means that as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before. They’ll be able to drive tanks, give orders, lead infantry soldiers into combat,” Secretary Carter said at a news conference.

Today, the top officers in the Army and Marine Corps followed that policy to its logical conclusion and told Congress that it is time for women to register for future military drafts.

The would be a radical change since, as the New York Times notes,

Selective Service laws have never required women to subject themselves to the draft and face the prospect of being forced into military service. The current version of the Military Selective Service Act requires that virtually all men in the United States between the ages of 18 and 26 register, most within 30 days of turning 18. That includes non-U.S. citizens living in the United States, such as refugees.

If we are going to have a military draft and women are eligible for combat (an idea I oppose), then it’s only fair that women be forced to serve alongside men. But perhaps it’s time we abolish the idea of military conscription altogether.
(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
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Political Action and the Primacy of the Good
Daniel J. Mahoney, City Journal

The theological-political reflection of Pierre Manent.

The Rise Of The ‘God Gap’
Anne Pluta, FiveThirtyEight

The best predictor of vote choice, according to work by political scientists Robert Putnam of Harvard and David Campbell of Notre Dame, is religiosity, not religious affiliation; Putnam and Campbell call it the “God gap.”

Don’t be fooled: Iowa evangelicals of media fame do not represent the nation’s evangelicals
Collin Hansen, Washington Post

Another four years have passed. We have an extra day in February. We get to watch the Olympics this summer. And “Iowa evangelicals” have returned to the media spotlight.

“We cannot talk about it”: Factory workers for major fashion labels live confined by guards
Marc Bain, Quartz

Up to 80% of garment workers in Bangalore, India, are believed to be migrant workers. Many don’t speak the local language and struggle to find housing, so garment factories fill the gap by offering company accommodations. The only catch: Some residents are treated like prisoners.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, February 1, 2016
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dont-panicToday is the official start of the primary season, which which means it’s also the time when many people officially shift into political panic mode.

A lot of us are in a panic, fearing that Western civilization — or at least America’s future — is at stake and that something must be done quickly to avert disaster. But what Americans really need is to to heed the advice of Greg Forster: Don’t panic.
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George Soros

George Soros

George Soros just donated another $6 million to Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Super Political Action Committee, raising the total the billionaire has contributed thus far to her 2016 campaign to $7 million. Liberals and progressives who can be counted on to hyperventilate every time the Koch brothers drop a dollar into a Salvation Army drum haven’t made a peep. They’ve also been remarkably silent on other donations to Clinton’s Priorities USA SuperPac, including $5 million from Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl; $2.3 million from Laurie Woods; and $2.5 million from Donald Sussman.

And I shall join the liberals and progressives in their chorus of silence, because, unlike them, your writer prefers intellectual consistency. So, you go, George Soros! And, likewise, Mr. and Ms. Saban, Ms. Woods and Mr. Sussman. Last, but not least, let’s hear it for the Koch brothers! Because each and every one of the above-listed donors are exercising their First Amendment free-speech rights, which were girded by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

However, liberals and progressives don’t see it that way when donations don’t go their way. For example the left-leaning investors affiliated with religious shareholder activists As You Sow seemingly can’t abide corporate donations in the political game when it’s their respective ox that’s gored, namely anyone who disagrees with their views on climate change, social issues, genetically modified organisms and, you guessed it, Citizens United.

Here’s an example from an AYS proxy resolution submitted to DuPont: (more…)