THE SEARCH for the originating spark of creation lies at the center of the human experiment, in just about every facet of study, whether called religion, philosophy, science, or art. It sits at the heart . . .
For more than a century, artists and intellectuals have castigated everydayfolks who believe in hard work, personal responsibility, family, and God. The elite see middle-class Americans as drudges, materialists, consumerists, and exploiters, mired in commerce and industry, holding to pre-Enlightenment values and beliefs, ignorant of art. They give us unflattering (in their view) names: the bourgeoisie, philistines, Tea Partiers. Our president, Barack Hussein Obama, indirectly coined the term "bitter clingers," referring to guns and God and antipathy "toward people who aren't like them." So powerful is the disdain of the elite for the common man and woman that the Clever Ones now put great effort into saving children from their misguided, uncultured, immoral parents. See, e.g., unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, now a retired and, it is said, distinguished professor of public education. Karl Marx would have broken the grip of the bourgeoisie through revolution; modern radicals hope to do the same by corrupting the schools, mocking the bourgeoisie, and fundamentally transforming the institutions and processes of civilization itself. You can see this process at work on any given day by reading the editorial page of the Houston Chronicle, a self-anointed vanguard against the likes of you and me. We are unlovely, uncultured men and women of little brain and less heart, unlike our betters in, say, the Occupy movement. Modern artists, many of them, self-consciously set out to shock and insult common folks (épater la bourgeoisie, at they say).
What a shock it is, then, to see the most gifted American filmmakers of our time -- Ethan and Joel Coen -- dismantle the pretensions of the elite in one of the most brilliant scenes . . .
THE ECONOMIST, Great Britain's once-great liberal (in the classic sense) magazine, now too liberal (in the bad old modern sense), has ranked U.S. colleges and universities by a clever metric -- how much money graduates earn ten years out compared with their expected earnings based on SAT scores and such. Texas scored one university in the top ten and one in the bottom ten.
The winner -- right up there with Washington & Lee, Villanova, and Harvard is . . .
I STAND BY my guess that Sylvester Turner will be the next mayor of Houston.What gives me pause, however, is that when I voted yesterday, I had to circle the Kingwood Library parking lot four times to find a space. This big turnout suggests that conservatives may vote in greater numbers than I anticipated. If it happens . . .
. . . is never to admit, never, that the mainstream media are deeply biased in favor of the left -- on politics, culture, economics, and religion. So when CNBC exposed that network's raw, undisguised bias against Republican presidential candidates in early November, our local editorial board -- the wisest and most righteous among us -- faced a conundrum. The secret was out, at least for this one miserable little network. Should the editors defend the hosts? Or throw them under the bus?
ALL ADDICTED POLL-WATCHERS know that Trump is first, Carson second, Rubio third, Cruz fourth, and Bush fifth, with the others fighting for the crumbs.
This is the order at the moment in Real Clear Politics "2016 Republican Presidential Nomination," Unca D's polling report of choice. This "poll of polls" has its technical peculiarities (see below), but it's great at showing trends and is way less volatile than individual polls.
If this stuff interests you, click the link and check the numbers yourself.
Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight's events as "an attack not just on Paris, it's an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all humanity and the universal values we share."
But that's not true, is it? He's right that it's an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is an attack on . . .
(1) FIGHT CRIME. (2) Fight fires. (3) Deliver water. (4) haul away wastes, through trucks and pipes. And build, operate, and maintain (5) roads, (6) parks, and (7) libraries. Every other job is mission creep. This includes housing, after-school programs, and -- through cutouts -- building sports stadia and toy trains.
Which brings us to the so-called equal rights ordinance. Mission creep. Little more than a new program to hire social justice warriors to harass Houston businesses about . . .
. . . and predominantly, a fight over represnentative democracy.
The United States is no longer governed, legislatively, by the House and the Senate. It's governed by the House speaker and Senate majority leader, who negotiate directly with the president, work out deals, and cram them down the throats of their respective houses.
For instance, Congress no longer writes a budget through committees, a quaint process that once involved hearings and members who had a voice in spending taxpayers' money. Instead the speaker, majority leader, and president take last year's budget, bump up all the existing programs, and add whatever new programs the president wants. All this happens behind closed door. No hearings. No voice for the members. No hard-won expertise.
The remedy, besides returning to old-fashioned regular order---bottom-up legislating -- is to cut the power of the House speaker and Senate majority leader.
That is the main goal of the much-maligned Freedom Caucus. The House's most conservative members want a conservative speaker, to be sure. But even more they want to have something to do during the week other than standing around waiting to be summoned to an up-or-down vote on whatever the speaker has hatched up with the president and majority leader.
Ron Brownstein gets this, sort of.
[The] defining characteristic of this congressional era has been a hardening of party discipline enforced by increasingly centralized direction from party leadership.
The uprising among conservative House Republicans, which felled Speaker John Boehner and upended his succession, challenges that dynamic. The conservative insurgents revolving around the . . . Freedom Caucus have sought not only to install an ideologically sympathetic speaker but also to constrain any future speaker's ability to punish dissent. . . .
If the speaker can be turn from a dictator into a traffic cop for legislation, his ideological propensity becomes far less important. At some point, ideology ceases to be relevant at all.
Brownstein gives a good short history of how power was centralized in the House and Senate, beginning in the 1970s, when the seniority system was scrapped and committee leadership was turned over, in effect, to the leaders of the House and Senate. The grip of the leadership tightened in the decades that fallowed, "over appointments, the party message, and the . . . agenda," Brownstein writes.
This shift, together with other factors, combined "to produce the highest level of party-line voting in Congress since the early 20th century, a quasi-parliamentary system that saw the two factors vote in virtual lockstep against each other on most major issues. More discipline within the parties meant more conflict between them."
The Freedom Caucus's fight to liberalize House rules succeeded in bouncing Boehner and his handpicked successor, but it is not clear that the accession of Paul Ryan will be a step in the right direction.
His first demanded more power in the speakership, not less. Front and center was his demand that House rules be changed to prevent members from removing him on a no-confidence rule.
His ideology is more or less okay, but that's far less important than his unseemly hunger for power. He clearly wants to control the members, not to listen to them or to give them a freer rein to represent their constituents.