A would-be mass shooter in the Netherlands was thankfully arrested before he could do any harm. Turns out he frightened enough people with his murder manifesto that he published on 4Chan, a site similar to Reddit.
In the post published anonymously, the author stated:
"I will shoot my Dutch teacher and as many students as I can," the message in English read.
"It's at a school in the Dutch city of Leiden and, for more proof, I will be using a 9mm Colt Defender.
The suspected terrorist will receive a criminal, not military, trial, per the Associated Press:
Can the self-styled "liberty caucus," featuring such figures as Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, make America more free from within the GOP? Scott Galupo writes at The American Conservative:
If it does, it will be because both parties will have coalesced around variants of radical individualism. What Amash fails to appreciate, in my view, is the practical interpretation of the Democratic agenda. Where Amash sees collectivism, voters increasingly see a distant and neutral guarantor of personal liberation and self-actualization. Amash sees high taxes, Big Brother, and mass gymnastics; the “coalition of the ascendant” sees government creating “ladders of opportunity” while abjuring moral judgmentalism.
A politics that further marginalizes the Rick Santorums of the world, that elevates individualism at the expense of the party’s waning ethos of communitarianism—and while continuing to frustrate the Koch Brothers’ economic agenda—is not what Justin Amash has in mind.
Yet unwittingly that’s what he’s paving the way for: a shattered left-right paradigm that yields a new left-right fusionism.
Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain drew attention late last week by urging that the suspected terrorist (FYI: sorry for the vague wording, but I refuse to publish his name) be held as an enemy combatant:
In an interview, Mr. Graham acknowledged that if no evidence were to emerge linking Mr. Tsarnaev to Al Qaeda, then he should not continue to be held as an enemy combatant. But he argued that given the need to swiftly find out if Mr. Tsarnaev knew of other planned attacks or terrorist operatives, the government could and should hold him as a combatant while it searched for any such links.
“You can’t hold every person who commits a terrorist attack as an enemy combatant, I agree with that,” Mr. Graham said. “But you have a right, with his radical Islamist ties and the fact that Chechens are all over the world fighting with Al Qaeda — I think you have a reasonable belief to go down that road, and it would be a big mistake not to go down that road. If we didn’t hold him for intelligence-gathering purposes, that would be unconscionable.”
Mr. Graham said 30 days of confinement and interrogation as an enemy combatant would be an appropriate amount of time to allow the government to look for evidence that would justify his continued detention under the law of war. He also said he believed that federal judges would grant the government that amount of leeway.
This bizarre Maureen Dowd column makes me wonder if someone's been marathoning The West Wing (not a bad thing!):
How is it that the president won the argument on gun safety with the public and lost the vote in the Senate? It’s because he doesn’t know how to work the system. And it’s clear now that he doesn’t want to learn, or to even hire some clever people who can tell him how to do it or do it for him.
It’s unbelievable that with 90 percent of Americans on his side, he could get only 54 votes in the Senate. It was a glaring example of his weakness in using leverage to get what he wants. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.
Even House Republicans who had no intention of voting for the gun bill marveled privately that the president could not muster 60 votes in a Senate that his party controls.
And I was under the impression geography was easy (it is).
So many people were confused that the Czech Republic issued a statement of clarification:
As many I was deeply shocked by the tragedy that occurred in Boston earlier this month. It was a stark reminder of the fact that any of us could be a victim of senseless violence anywhere at any moment.
As more information on the origin of the alleged perpetrators is coming to light, I am concerned to note in the social media a most unfortunate misunderstanding in this respect. The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities - the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation.
This would have ordinarily been much bigger news, but the explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas was overshadowed by Boston.
The fertilizer plant explosion killed at least 14 and wounded over 200, according to NBC News.
Christine Pelisek, a reporter for The Daily Beast, interviewed local residents:
Was this the first warning of the Boston bombing?
From the Boston CBS affiliate, March 27 of this year:
Investigators are trying to find out who is making and setting off homemade bombs near a section of Route 53. Residents in that area have reported loud bangs and flashes of bright light.
On March 12, police found two unexploded bombs in a wooded area near Pine Street and Tower Hill Drive.
In 2002, PBS aired a documentary called The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy. The documentary traced how the forces of free-markets competed against central planning for most of the 20th century (it was like a sober version of those Keynes v. Hayek rap videos).
One notable section focused on the victory of the Labor Party in the British election of 1944. It’s a fascinating section where Labor candidates from the period talk openly about their plans to nationalize industries, institute central planning, and build a welfare state that proactively tramples on “the sacred notion of private property”.
The disadvantages of central planning control used to be a fiercely debated topic in political life. One game that captured the challenge of running a controlled economy was the Tropico series. I may have started reading Milton Friedman in high school, but it was Tropico that taught me why we don’t use wage controls.
Friend Andrew Coyne speaks up on behalf of Justin Trudeau's post-Boston Marathon remarks to Peter Mansbridge. Coyne: "I don’t say he offered much deep thinking on the subject: much else that came out of his mouth was vague, incoherent or both. But I didn’t hear much that was terribly objectionable, either."
OK, let's review why these remarks resonated so badly.
1) Remember, Trudeau was interviewed bare hours after the bombing. As he himself acknowledged: "Now we don't know now whether it was, you know, terrorism or a single crazy or, you know, a domestic issue or a foreign issue, I mean, all of those questions."
If accurate, this Tumblr account by a Boston writer named Alyssa Lindley may be our most vivid description to date of the background that produced the Boston bombers - and much more realistic than the media chatter about "honors students" and Olympic athletic potential.
Lindley went to the Tsarnaev home to get facial treatments from the bombers' mother, a cosmetologist. Things began to get weird when the mother started putting on a burka before stepping out of the house to put a parking pass on Lindley's car.
[S]he had become increasingly religious while I was in college. She often mentioned Allah, and the lessons of the Koran. “Allah will reward him,” she said once about my brother, when I told her that my brother and mom were close, and that I thought my brother would take care of my mom later in life.
My National Post column deals with the two big questions facing Toronto: a proposed casino, and whether to expand the city's airport.
The city of Toronto faces two hugely important decisions about its future — whether to build a new casino and expand the island airport in the heart of the city. I’d vote “nay” on the first and “aye” on the second.
Richard Florida has argued the case against the casino powerfully in the Huffington Post: “Virtually every serious study that has ever been done of the economic impacts of casinos shows that their costs far exceed their benefits and that they are a poor use of precious downtown land. A downtown casino will tear holes in Toronto’s urban fabric, create more costs than benefits, and as surely as if it’s holding up a giant sign, will send the message that Toronto is on the wrong track.”
I’d add another objection: Casinos have a bad way of introducing corruption into city government. Casinos are to cities as oil is to national governments: a windfall of cash that voters pay less attention to than other sources of government revenue. As Detroit learned the hard way, casinos can lead to unfavourable outcomes. According to a March 22 report in the Detroit News: