Go read William Schambra on why conservative donors should refocus their efforts on localized, apolitical groups that shape policy in favor of a stronger civil society:
Conservative donors would turn to established groups like Robert Woodson’s Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (full disclosure: I serve on its board), or new groups based on Mr. Kuo’s American Compass to find, screen, and provide back-office support for grass-roots leaders who offer the best first-hand lessons in how to reshape public policy so that it supported, rather than undercut, our “little platoons.”
When politicians come calling on this new breed of conservative donors, they wouldn’t get any money until the politicos, too, proved willing to spend considerable time learning from the grass roots.
1952. Gamal Nasser seizes power in Egypt. Egypt's population: ~20 million.
1981. Anwar Sadat assassinated; Hosni Mubarak succeeds him. Egypt's population: ~40 million.
2011. Mubarak overthrown. Egypt's population, over 80 million.
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
A Mississippi friend writes about the oxycontin plague:
I have some experience with "pain clinics" myself. Swear to God I've never personally patronized one myself, but I do know some people who have, and I accompanied them once on one of their "doctor's visits".
The location was an office park situated next to an upscale residential area in a Mississippi Gulf Coast community. I'm still kind of shocked that such an establishment dared to operate in this State - where the authorities pointedly do not make nice with drug crime - but I suppose attitudes are more lax down there.
At the New Republic, Tod Lindberg has a fascinating essay on slippery-slope politics:
A liberal staunchly opposed to a ban on late-term abortions on grounds that such a ban would open the door to additional restrictions on abortion rights is every bit as reactionary in defense of a status quo perceived to be favorable as a conservative who opposes broader background checks on grounds that more restrictions on guns will follow. Move to “chained CPI” for cost-of-living increases in Social Security payments? Absolutely out of the question for the Left, a first step toward dismantling the program altogether. (Here, it looks like Hirschman actually does have the “slippery slope” argument covered, in his category of “jeopardy.”)
Well... ya. When I've proposed payroll tax cuts to help the working class, the response is quite often that I clearly want to destory Social Security. Even proposing to shift funding for entitlements from payroll to consumption based taxes meets vehement opposition.
One of the last of the Romanov dynasty comes to dinner in Israel. He's certainly a part of the story of the country: it was a century of persecution by the Tsarist government of Russia that created the clamor for the return to Zion.
Prince Dimitri Romanov was born in 1926,  years after Bolshevik revolutionaries murdered the last czar of Russia and his family at Ekaterinburg and threw their bodies into an abandoned mine shaft. The surviving Romanov duchesses and grand dukes and the rest of the extended royal family, including Dimitri’s father, Prince Roman Petrovich, fled Russia, never to return.
Romanov and his wife, Princess Dorrit, who wore an elegant salmon dress and golden slippers, were early in a 36-hour sojourn in the country …. They were being given a whirlwind tour of which the dinner — at an unmarked and luxurious establishment called Spoons, near Montefiore’s windmill — was part.
By the way, I've had dinner at Spoons myself and must salute the dynasty's fine culinary taste.
I've been harping on this theme for nearly a decade now, and now it's time to harp again. America needs a strategy to adapt to the faltering strength of its most important and congenial allies. The New York Times reported Tuesday on the next phase of that decline.
A new French defense white paper
foresees a reduction of at least 24,000 jobs in addition to the 54,000 announced in the last white paper in 2008, written under the former president, Nicolas Sarkozy. The current white paper also suggests a reduction in rapid deployment forces from 30,000 to between 15,000 and 20,000.
Meanwhile Britain is reducing its military force to 82,000 persons. To meet their budget targets, European allies are gutting already eviscerated military budgets. The casualties of the Euro policy include not only millions of unemployed young, but the last strength and sinew of what remains of the Western defense alliance.
Time for a new public service campaign, this one directed at members of Congress: "It gets worse." From POLITICO today:
Leadership is talking past each other. The conference is split by warring factions. And influential outside groups are fighting them.
The chaos has led to a sense of stalemate ...
The New York Times reminds us of the horrible pests known as cicadas:
Their buzzing can reach 90 decibels, equivalent to some power motors. They have been seen in clusters of up to 1.5 million per acre. As if from some horror movie, cicada nymphs have been described as “boiling out of the ground.” Snow shovels are sometimes employed to clear them away.
But there is no reason to fear these insects, which grow to about 1.5 inches in length, with big red compound eyes. Cicadas don’t bite. And don’t worry about your plants. They’ll be fine. There’s no need to reach for the bug spray.
First tractors with GPS, now farmers coordinating things with an iPhone app? Progress is scary.
The app tracks everything needed in a farm’s upkeep, says iCropTrak’s Aaron Hutchinson—from tillage, to planting, to irrigation, to scouting, to spraying, to harvest, to soil sampling. The service also connects labourers, ensuring everyone is aware of completed and uncompleted tasks. Fields are divided up using map data, allowing farm owners to analyse each section of their farm to see whether wheat, for example, is performing better than maize (corn).
[Video: Rodney Atkin's "Farmer's Daughter" has very little to do with this post, but I couldn't resist.]
The second excerpt from Jonathan Rauch's "Denial" has just posted at the Huffington Post. Jonathan summons to mind what it means to feel from an early age cut off from all the rest of humanity.
Little boys and teenagers want many things, but most of all they want to be normal. The desire not to be strange is not, I think, the callous invention of a capitalist or racist or sexist or whateverist culture which seeks to repress human beings' explosively variegated diversity. It is, for people, an indivisible part of the socializing instinct. That is why children are so easily embarrassed by their parents. The instinct which teaches children how not to be little sociopaths also instructs them, unremittingly, to conform.
Arab governments seek to punish Canada's Middle East advocacy by moving a UN agency out of Montreal.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, which sets international rules for airplane transportation, has been headquartered in Montreal since 1947, but Qatar is now bidding to relocate it to the Middle East in 2016, trying to muster votes from 115 countries to approve the move at a meeting this fall.
The occasion for the move? A meeting by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni at a venue in eastern Jerusalem. It's pretty amazing that Qatar would assert a claim to determine where a Canadian minister of the crown may go and whom he may see. What happened next is even more amazing:
At an April 15 meeting with Arab ambassadors in Ottawa, Mr. Baird had a tetchy exchange with Egyptian ambassador Wael Aboul-Magd, who asked him to clarify Canadian policy, according to sources familiar with the events.
"The dominance of governors in our presidential politics is an old and durable phenomenon. Since the election of 1828, when Andrew Jackson's landslide victory over John Quincy Adams ended our initial era of Founding Father Presidents, governors have won more major party nominations, more general elections, and more Electoral College votes than any other category of Presidential candidate - and vastly more than candidates whose main political experience was in the U.S. Congress."
So wrote former AEI president Chris DeMuth in a 2004 paper. He then offered an explanation of the gubernatorial advantage.
Paul Morse/George W. Bush Presidential Center via Getty Images
"Governors have submitted budgets, hired and fired subordinates, presided over public emergencies, called out the National Guard, negotiated public strikes, exercised discretion in the enforcement of criminal and other public laws, and endured a succession of victories and defeats large and small for which, fairly or unfairly, they received the credit or blame."
You won't be flying in any of these bad boys any time soon, but "solar powered drones that can fly for days at a time" has a great ring to it, no?