Never Forget

With the mitigated joy of having The Donald as president, it is good to remind ourselves of the horror of his predecessor.  David Horowitz does just that for foreign policy at the PowerLine.  His opening salvo:

During the eight years of the Obama administration, half a million Christians, Yazidis and Muslims were slaughtered in the Middle East by ISIS and other Islamic jihadists, in a genocidal campaign waged in the name of Islam and its God. Twenty million others were driven into exile by these same jihadist forces. Libya and Yemen became terrorist states. America – once the dominant foreign power and anti-jihadist presence in the region – was replaced by Russia, an ally of the monster regimes in Syria and Iran, and their terrorist proxies. Under the patronage of the Obama administration, Iran – the largest and most dangerous terrorist state, with the blood of thousands of Americans on its hands – emerged from its isolation as a pariah state to re-enter the community of nations and become the region’s dominant power, arming and directing its terrorist proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Yemen.

Do read the whole thing.  It is quite a powerful reminder.  We don’t love The Donald but he is an improvement and he is a better choice than the Secretary of State that implemented these disasters.  It does mean that The Donald has a big job.  We hope he is up to it.

 

Hire Sophie

Sophie Mann is a senior at Scripps College, part of the Claremont University Consortium, and a Bartley Fellow at WSJ.  After discussing the much publicized events this spring at Claremont and elsewhere she concludes her WSJ column:

Even at the University of California, Berkeley, where spring riots shut down speeches by conservative controversialists Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter, administrators now say they’ll allow the College Republicans to bring author Ben Shapiro for an appearance in the fall, a request the dean of students initially denied.

That actions such as these are considered unusual, even courageous, is a sign of just how bad things are on campus today. But colleges and universities across the country should be following the examples being set in California.

Do read the whole thing to appreciate how level headed a college student could be.  Sophie gives us more confidence for the future of free speech than the often uncertain actions of a few college administrators.

A Lesson And An Analogy

Yesterday we accompanied the Lady deGloves to an event at American Players Theatre (APT) and we taught a lesson in a beautiful fashion.  We taught a similar lesson, less elegantly, about 20 years ago.  To explain why we need to explain the analogy between APT and the university.

Brenda DeVita, the APT artistic director, was meeting with a group of supporters ostensibly to plan a season at APT.  The real lesson was: we really appreciate your support but you can’t have the plays you want because of all the constraints.

We faced a similar situation a couple of decades ago when accounting majors were in extraordinarily high demand.  Every firm wanted to be the first on campus so they could get the top candidates.  The Department worked with Career Services to create Accounting Career Expo (ACE) on Monday evening and Accounting Interview Days (AID) to follow immediately.  That way we could avoid no.

The analogy is that APT is very much like a university.  The comparisons are

Brenda is the department chair
The Core Company is the (tenure track) faculty
Other actors are academic staff
Directors are deans, albeit of one production
Supporters are supporters
Financial constraints are that seats must be filled

Brenda’s job is more complicated than a chair’s because almost all university performances are one-man shows while her shows are larger and often much larger.  The nature of the chair and her position, however, is the same.  Both of them have folks with awesome but not unlimited skills and often substantial egos that must be allocated to certain shows.  The Core Company or the faculty gets first consideration.  Other actors or academic staff fill needs and come and go.  Director and deans always have big ideas.  Both of them need to fill seats.  Both need to add new supporters without alienating continuing supporters.  Both need to accomplish much without much authority.  Agreements are reached by discussing, convincing, and cajoling.  We saw these attributes yesterday.

APT provided us with a nice dinner, plied us with alcohol, and brought in some of the performers to meet us (we met James Ridge who is wonderful as Cyrano) before moving into the Touchstone Theatre to design a season of APT.  They encouraged and got lots of input and put together a season.  Then they dropped “the math” on us.  The plays most folks like have lots of actors.  Not every actor can play every part.  Actors can only do a few plays a season.  There must be a Shakespeare comedy because “it is the gateway drug to the theatre”.  We’re not sure if everybody got it but the point was clear: You can’t always get what you want.

We learned the lesson and are more aware of the constraints than almost anyone but still want to see Arsenic And Old Lace at APT.  It only has 14 characters and the new stage will give them access to the Panama Canal.  Our casting is almost complete but we are have trouble with Dr. Einstein.

Oh Canada!

Kyle Smith discusses the left’s infatuation with Canada and Justin Trudeau at NRO. As part of the suggestion that these folks take up permanent residence there he says:

It’s not as if there’s no room. Canada is a land of 36 million people spread out over 3.9 million square miles. Among the 100 largest countries on earth, it ranks 99th in population density. Canada is empty.

Unlike Kyle, we are unwilling to start or donate to a Kickstarter campaign to send these folks north.

Sidebar: Well not necessarily north.  One of them lived in Detroit and if you go south from Detroit the first country you enter is?  Yep, Canada.  End Sidebar.

We agree that Canada has lots of room to welcome folks but we wondered about the data.  Our first question is: What country is number 100?  Our second question is: How did Kyle determine the largest 100 countries?

It is hard to answer the first question without answering the second although it seems likely that Kyle has Australia at 100.  It is much like Canada: Big and with a lot of people but very low population density.

It sounds like Kyle means area when he says the 100 largest countries on earth.  If that is correct then he is mistaken and there are some interesting definitional problems.  Canada is number 230 in population density on this list and second in area on this list.   Botswana (231/47), Mauritania (232/29), Nambia (236/34), and Mongolia (239/19) (in addition to Australia (235?/6) are all below Canada and it the top 100 of area.  The Aussies get a question mark because they are listed as 236 but they should be 232 by the data presented.

But the results work for population,  See this list.  It takes a bit of work but Canada is 99 and Australia 100.

The definitional problems are Greenland and Western Sahara.  Greenland is:

Greenland is a Danish-occupied territory of Denmark, but Greenland is not a member of the European Union. It is part of the North American continent, and Greenland is the largest island in the world, excluding Australia and Antarctica, which are continents. The prime minister of Greenland is Kim Kielsen.

It is large and if you think it is a country it is by far the one with the lowest population density and it would be the 12th largest country.

Western Sahara:

has been on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories since the 1960s when it was a Spanish colony.[7] The Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement, with its Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) government, both want control of the territory.

If you think it is a country it is 238/78.  That makes it less dense than Canada and still in the top 100 in area.

Three lessons: First, be careful with wording.  The 100 largest counties will be interpreted as area. Second, cite your source.  Third, it is easy to dispute data and lead to confusion about the point.  Whether Kyle’s data is exactly right or not, his point that Canada has lots of space is right.  Sensitivity is important.

 

Heresy – Can It Be A Good Thing?

Reihan Salam invites conservative opprobrium in what we think is the latest National Review (yes, we admit to being behind on our reading) when he says we should consider raising the top tax rate to a number that starts with a four.  This will bring reasoned responses like: Kill the witch!

Well, seriously, we might consider Reihan’s suggestion.  We agree with him that there are two questions: What are the options and what you get in return?  Like Reihan, we want corporate tax reform.  Unlike Reihan, we prefer rate reductions rather than immediate expensing.  At a minimum we would also eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax or AMT as part of the trade-off.

Before you get out the robes and start the incantations for Reihan and your humble scribe, you need to think about what is actually going to be proposed and what will pass.  This is nowhere near our proposed policy but our priority is corporate tax reform.  What are your priorities and what deals are you willing to make?  If you are not willing to go the full Monty Hall then do you think that anything will change for the better?

Consumer Friendly

We’re bad with names so we forget who at NRO makes this point over and over again.  We’re pretty sure Mark Perry is on this case too.  We’re also late reading The National Review.  In the latest edition, Dan McLaughlin says [third paragraph], “Since 1978 the Republicans have built their economic message around tax cuts and business-friendly regulations …” [emphasis added]

Dan is right about tax cuts but absolutely wrong on the bold part.  The GOP’s message is about consumer or market friendly regulations.  Of course, the GOP is responsible or partially responsible for a number of business-friendly regulations like Dodd-Frank, tariffs, and many restrictions on economic freedom created by the federal government.  Those regulations are business-friendly because they protect existing businesses.  But the GOP message is about economic freedom which means consumer friendly or market friendly regulations like eliminating requirements for opening businesses.  The GOP is not perfect but its message is economic freedom.  That is the opposite of business friendly.

Punctuation

We can’t resist.  We saw a Nancy Pelosi tweet.

Too many Americans are struggling with a rigged economy. Democrats are committed to giving them [hashtag]

We think the correct punctuation moves the period:

Too many Americans are struggling with a rigged economy Democrats are committed to giving them.

Our excuse is that it was fun.  We doubt 2018 will be fun with the old, dismal Democrats versus grumbling GOP.  It is possible the choices in 2018 will be even less inspiring than the presidential ones in 2016.  The good news is that the stakes are lower without a president to elect.