A year ago, I wrote a CNN column about the Paris taxi shortage and what it says about the European job crisis.
Prolonged mass unemployment in Europe has triggered a global debate about the euro currency, and rightly so. Yet it's also true that every day, people in Europe are denied work by dumb laws that prevent willing customers from hiring them.
Soon afterward, I received an email from Dave Ashton, an American living in Paris who had launched a company called Snapcar, a limo service ordered by smartphone application, very like the Uber service we know in the US. Dave urged me to try his service when next in Paris.
My original article concerned over-regulation, but I'm not immune to the fascination of #problemsofthe1%. I happened to be in Paris last weekend and was able to give Snapcar a try - and it was a transforming experience. Instead of standing in the rain waving arms - then sitting in a car suffering the driver's musical choices - we pressed a button and consistently within 10 minutes found ourselves inside a comfortable car driven by a non-radio-playing driver.
On April 19th, I wrote a post regarding the Boy Scouts changing their policy on gay scouts. That day, FrumBeast recieved an email from the BSA Public Relations Director, Deron Smith.
One point of clarification, if passed resolution would remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone and would maintain the current membership policy for all adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America.
Why do you want people to realize this?
This paragraph in Eli Lehrer's latest at the Weekly Standard seems quite useful to how we should think of the farm subsidy debate:
Whatever function they once served, America’s producer-side farm subsidies no longer have any valid public purpose. The much-romanticized family farm is, for all intents and purposes, dead: The number of farms producing enough income to support a family (more than $100,000 in gross revenues) has declined every year since World War II. As of 2012, only about 400,000 commercially viable farms—less than three-tenths of 1 percent of all households—exist in the United States. The great bulk of subsidies flow—directly or indirectly—to wealthy people and agribusiness. The Environmental Working Group found that 26 businesses got over $1 million each in crop insurance premium subsidies during 2011 alone. Furthermore, many of the most promising sectors of the agricultural economy—boutique organic farms and wineries—are also those that receive the least support from the government.
In the New Yorker, Susan Faludi describes the madness of Shulamith Firestone, the founding mother of radical feminism:
Her friend Robert Roth, the editor of the literary magazine And Then, recalled her wandering the East Village in disguise—sporting odd clothes and hairdos, and calling herself Kathy. Sometimes she kept far out of sight.
She took a summer fellowship at an art school in Nova Scotia, where she tried, unsuccessfully, to work on the multimedia project, and then lived, for a time, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she worked, unrecognized, as a typist at M.I.T. John Duff recalled visiting her in the early seventies at her Tenth Street apartment and “this cockroach was walking across her desk.
She went to crush it, and its guts smeared out in this really grotesque awful mess. And her remark? ‘That’s the story of my life.’ ”
Meet the man who will try to keep Max Baucus' Senate seat Democratic, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer:
[H[e was a popular Democratic governor in a red state and is no stranger to working the media and the national stage with his larger-than-life personality. This is a governor who, despite a gun ban in the state Capitol, kept one on his office wall. A governor who vetoed Republican bills byburning the word “VETO” onto them using a branding iron. A governor who can handle Letterman. … There is no love lost between the two Democrats -- they’ve long had a cold relationship, particularly since Baucus’s role in shepherding Obama's health care law through Congress. (Schweitzer is a vocal advocate of a single-payer health care system.) They also have vastly different styles -- Schweitzer is gregarious; Baucus is more introverted.
I like a freebie as much as the next person, but it is hard to justify why online retailers are not required to collect sales taxes.
Since before the dawn of Internet shopping, the basic rule was that as long as a retailer didn’t have a physical presence in the state where the consumer was shopping, the company wouldn’t have to collect a sales tax. Technically, shoppers are supposed to track these purchases and then pay the taxes owed in their annual tax filings. Few people, however, do this or are even aware of it.
The result: Online retailers have been able to undercut the prices of their non-Internet competitors for years. Over time, shoppers learned that they could browse products in the aisles of a Best Buy, only to click “purchase” on their smartphones for a tax-free deal from an Internet retailer.
Two of the most notable recent terrorism attempts by Canadian nationals, courtesy of the CBC:
In the summer of 2006, police carried out a massive anti-terrorism sweep in southern Ontario. Seventeen people — 13 adults and four youths — were arrested in a series of June raids. An 18th individual was detained two months later.
Normally referred to as one case, the so-called Toronto 18 in fact encompassed two plots, says Bill Gillespie, security correspondent for CBC News.
My CNN column: why Boston will change nothing:
Ten years ago, politicians and pundits liked to say, "9/11 changed everything." For a while, it seemed true.
Now it seems like a vanished era. Today, nothing changes anything.
No matter what happens, our thinking remains frozen exactly in place, impervious to new experience and new evidence.
On December 14 of last year, a deranged man fatally shot and killed 20 students and six teachers with an assault-style rifle, the second deadliest mass shooting in American history. In response, the country has done ... nothing whatsoever. No changes to gun laws. No changes in the treatment of the mentally ill. Last week, a Senate filibuster stopped the milk-and-water Toomey-Manchin proposal to tighten (slightly) background checks on would-be gun purchasers.
In the course of an entertaining harumph against Mayor Bloomberg in National Review, Mark Steyn concedes:
"And, indeed, there is something sad about a crusade for individual liberty over the right to waddle down the street slurping sickly sweet children's drinks out of giant plastic cups with oversized straws, as poignant an image of societal infantilization as anything."
The Globe & Mail reports that the Canadian train plot was exposed by a tip from a Toronto imam:
A tip from a Toronto imam sparked an investigation that culminated in the arrests of two men who allegedly plotted to derail a Via passenger train.
The imam alerted authorities more than a year ago about a person he regarded as an extremist who was corrupting youth in his community.
That single tip led to what the RCMP on Monday called the first-ever Canadian bust of an alleged al-Qaeda terrorist plot.
TheTower.org is emerging as an indispensable new English-language source on Israel and the Middle East.
Today's post on the descent of Israel's once-eminent Haaretz newspaper into a click-seeking sensationalist website is another must read:
On October 23, 2012, an article by Haaretz’s notoriously scandal-prone columnist, Gideon Levy, was published as the main story on the front page of the newspaper with the outrage-provoking headline, “Most Israelis Support Apartheid Regime in Israel.”
Yet a careful look at the survey on which the article was based revealed that neither the headline nor Levy’s analysis were supported in any way by the poll’s actual data. Following public criticism, Haaretz was forced to publish an apology five days later, as well as a correction, in small letters tucked away at the bottom of a page, that read:
AEI's John Makin studies the numbers and concludes that the United States has already achieved a sustainable fiscal path for the medium term. There's no need for further near-term spending cuts. Instead, Congress should go to work on longer-term tax and entitlement reform. Here's a quote with permission from an advance copy, the text will be available on the AEI site tomorrow.
The United States has actually made substantial progress toward deficit reduction in 2013 ...
On January 2, as part of an agreement to avert the sharpest austerity that would have been triggered by the “fiscal cliff,” Congress did pass a total of about $180 billion of annual tax increases. The result is that, by the 2014 fiscal year, the fully phased-in sequester, along with the January 2013 tax increases, will cut the US deficit—already on a downward path—from $1,089 billion in 2012 to $845 billion in 2013, and then further to $615 billion in 2014. In terms of the deficit-to-GDP ratio, that is 7 percent in 2012, down to 5 percent in 2013, and down further to 3.7 percent in 2014.
That is substantial progress, especially when compared with the G7 average ratio of deficits-to-GDP projected to be −4.0 for 2014.
What causes second-generation Muslim immigrants to turn to terrorism? In 2007, Britain's Prospect magazine published one of the very most interesting analyses of the question I've ever read, "My Brother the Bomber," based on interviews with the brother of the mastermind of the July 7, 2005, London terror attacks, Mohammed Sidiqui Khan.
[I]t takes about 30 years for a sizeable second generation to establish itself and then become frustrated with its status, both within its own community and the wider society.
This frustration arises in part from a question of identity. Whose culture and values do you affiliate with? Those of your parents or of your friends? Those of your community or of your country?
Hassan Butt, a former recruiter for the British jihadi network (the term violent Islamic extremists in Britain use to describe themselves), who twice met Sidique Khan, says that the reason radical Islamic movements in Britain have been able to recruit thousands of young Muslims is that they have managed to exploit this identity problem. ...
Jihadist terrorism, back in the news:
Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police has arrested two in a plot to bomb a passenger train. While news organizations are reporting police denials that the plot had anything to do with the Boston bombing, the Globe & Mail does add this detail:
The RCMP community outreach team has been in touch with local religious groups in Toronto, sources said.