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Ron Christie says Justice Thomas is right about the country’s obsession with race.
Are we obsessed with race and racism in our society? Before you answer the question, consider how issues of race are brought up in the media and discussed around the proverbial water cooler. Do we discuss the remarkable progress we’ve made as a country since the dark days of segregation and Jim Crow?
Do we consider how blacks lived in the South in the not too distant past—like my grandparents, who ran the risk of being lynched for looking at someone white? That’s given way to interracial marriage no longer being a taboo. The Supreme Court didn’t repeal the statute banning interracial marriage in Virginia until 1967.
Unfortunately, very little of the dialogue involving race in America today is positive, uplifting, or inspirational. Instead, there is a compulsion by many on the left to brand their political opponents as being racist. Two specific events occurred in the past week that have me firmly convinced that there is an obsession with race in America today that is destructive to our societal cohesiveness.
First, consider the pivotal vote held by autoworkers in Chattanooga, Tenn., last Friday in which the majority ruled and decided not to join the United Auto Workers union. Perhaps these workers did not want their dues siphoned off for political activity. Perhaps they were motivated by the union influence in Detroit, which ultimately led to the town seeking bankruptcy protection. Whatever the reason behind their decision, the employees ultimately voted 712-626 against joining the UAW. Case closed? Hardly. …
Bethany Mandel hopes Hillary will not run.
At a Shabbat (Sabbath meal) this past week, conversation veered into the political realm, as it often does when my husband and I are guests. We began to discuss the likelihood of Hillary Clinton running, the papers recently unearthed by my former colleague Alana Goodman, and about how Bill’s wandering eye could impact Hillary’s campaign. Around the table were three young people, ranging in age from about 9-17. Adult participants in the conversation soon realized that it was impossible to conduct a conversation about the Clintons with children present, and soon, the mother (rightfully) asked for a complete change in subject. Before doing so we reflected how sad it is that a president’s legacy cannot truthfully be discussed with innocent ears listening.
For how long can this mother shield her children from the topic? If Hillary runs, perhaps only a few more months. With the Clintons back in the news, pundits will be (and should be) discussing how ready America is to relive the sex scandals of the ’90s. Anyone who believes that Bill has learned his lesson need only look to Anthony Weiner to understand that old dogs can’t, and won’t, learn new tricks. Bill’s wandering eye, both in the past and, in all likelihood, the future, will be a topic of conversation for as long as a Clinton occupies the White House.
The conversation led me to reminisce about how my own understanding about marriage and sexuality was shaped during my childhood by the scandal. Bill Clinton taught me about sex, about truth, and about politics. Do I really want to have the same conversations with my children that my mother had to have with me? These were some of the many questions my poor mother (and all of her friends) had to grapple with: …
Megan McArdle on letting your kids fail.
I’m on the road this week, giving talks on my new book about learning to fail better: that is, first, to give ourselves the permission to take on challenges where we might very well fail; second, to pick ourselves up as quickly as possible and move on when things don’t work out. This is, I argue, vital on a personal level, as well as vital for the economy, because that’s where innovation and growth come from.
The other day, after one of my talks, a 10th-grade girl came up and shyly asked if I had a minute. I always have a minute to talk to shy high school sophomores, having been one myself.
And this is what she asked me:
“I understand what you’re saying about trying new things, and hard things, but I’m in an International Baccalaureate program and only about five percent of us will get 4.0, so how can I try a subject where I might not get an A?”
I was floored. All I could think as I talked to this poor girl is “America, you’re doing it wrong.”
I was 15 in 10th grade. If you can’t try something new in 10th grade, when can you? …
Peter Berkowitz from the Hoover Institution on how we might improve colleges.
Liberal education is in decline. And professors and administrators at our best liberal arts colleges are hastening its demise.
Much has been written about liberal education’s skyrocketing costs, its failure to provide students with the knowledge and intellectual skills they need to succeed in a competitive globalized economy, and its burdening of students with massive debt. But these big problems are only part of the story.
As important as is its contribution to individual economic well-being and to national prosperity, liberal education’s traditional and proper aim is even more comprehensive and vital to the public interest: to prepare students to seize the wide range of opportunities and meet the full spectrum of responsibilities characteristic of free men and women.
When it lives up to its own standards, liberal education equips citizens with the mental habits needed to engage effectively in political debate and cast votes in an informed manner. Moreover, by acquainting students with the rich variety of opinions within Western civilization about moral, political, and religious life and introducing them to competing opinions in other civilizations, liberal education promotes the virtues of toleration and moderation.
Liberal education is not neutral. When true to itself, it encourages gratitude toward free societies for offering the opportunity to study fundamental ideas and seminal events, and for maintaining—by means of customs, laws, and political institutions—a framework that allows individuals and their communities a wide sphere in which to organize their lives as they think best. …
When Dan Gross learned that Lake Superior had frozen over enough this winter for people to walk to the ice caves along Wisconsin’s northern shoreline, he recruited a handful of friends to make the sojourn. On a recent Sunday, they rode their snowmobiles through the woods and arrived on the frozen lake at noon.
“The ice was incredible,” said Mr. Gross, a 46-year-old heating and cooling technician from Des Moines, Iowa, of the majestic formations that decorate a string of caves carved into the sandstone cliffs centuries ago. “But I was really amazed by all the people,” he said of the miles of visitors snaking their way from cave to cave on the frozen lakeshore. “It was like an exodus.
The migration is the handiwork of both mother nature and Facebook. Frigid temperatures gripping the Midwest have sealed the Great Lakes beneath vast sheets of ice, turning Lake Superior into flat, frozen tundra the likes of which has been seen just a couple of times in the past two decades. Since earlier this winter, when waves crashed and then froze against the cliffs, tens of thousands of visitors have flocked to see the resulting icicles, and their stories and pictures have exploded in news media and social networking. The attention has transformed the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore into a veritable museum of snow and ice, and a wildly popular tourist destination. …
CBS News shows us a NASA photo of the frozen great lakes.
A deep freeze has settled in over the Great Lakes this winter and a new image released by NASA shows the astonishing extent of the ice cover as seen from space.
NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of the lakes on the early afternoon of Feb. 19, 2014. At the time, 80.3 percent of the five lakes were covered in ice, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Earlier this month, ice cover over the Great Lakes hit 88 percent for the first time since 1994. Typically at its peak, the average ice cover is just over 50 percent, and it only occasionally passes 80 percent, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory. [Earth from Above: 101 Stunning Images from Orbit] …