“Free to Choose, Revisited”: David Lapp

on Yuval Levin: Yuval Levin believes that neither hyperindividualism nor centralization can help financially struggling Americans like Lance, whom I wrote about yesterday in the first part of my review of Levin’s The Fractured Republic. I basically agree with Levin and found his focus on empowering mediating institutions—beginning in the family and spreading outward to places like schools, religious congregations, and the marketplace—right on point. And it’s precisely because I agree with him th … [Read more...]

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Battle Dress: “The Girls of Slender Means”

I just read and loved this stiletto book, which I finally picked up after reading Amy Welborn's glowing recommendation. I'll just add a few notes to what she's already said. The Girls of Slender Means is set in a rooming house for single women in the summer of 1945: Its main narrative opens on V-E Day and closes on V-J Day, although it's framed by flash-forwards to a time when most of the girls--but perhaps not all--have gone on to better digs and brighter days.Notable features for me: This … [Read more...]

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Prophet and Loss: I watch “Roger and Me”

Along with Barcelona, my other RNC counterprogramming was Michael Moore's 1989 documentary, Roger and Me. It's structured around Moore's quest to get a personal interview with Roger Smith, the head of General Motors, who is in the process of basically devastating Moore's hometown of Flint, Mich. by closing the GM plant there. It's incredibly powerful--I don't think there's a wasted frame. A few thoughts, beyond my basic thought which is just, "You should see this movie."Artistically it is … [Read more...]

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“The Gun Control We Deserve”: Terrific article

at n+1: At the deepest level, the schizoid landscape of American gun control is the product of two phenomena, both baked into the American past and protean in their contemporary manifestations. First, a long history of skirmishes over who should be armed and how—fraught battles that pivot on questions of race, class, masculinity, and the role of law enforcement.1 Second, the synergy between American militarism and capitalism: a perennial entanglement that has produced a society in which there a … [Read more...]

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The Soul Searchers: Four Moral Histories of Washington, DC

In preparation for this exhibit at the Anacostia Museum I've been reading about my hometown's long, hot summer--the years from 1968 through the late '90s--and its aftermath. These are really just notes.Ruben Castaneda, S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, And Redemption in DC: Four stories, mostly deftly woven together. First is our narrator, a reporter in LA who gets hooked on crack before moving to DC to be the night-shift crime reporter for the Washington Post. Our man straight-up interviews … [Read more...]

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The Administrative State vs. the People

Two links. First, "Four ways occupational licensing damages social mobility." I know it's easy to caricature licensing requirements without knowing much about what's actually being regulated--hairdressers often work with chemicals that can harm people, they can spread lice, etc etc, you're not just "teaching" somebody how to braid hair like their momma did. But the huge gaps in cost and length of training across states should suggest that lots of people are spending time and money for what's … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Better DAs, Union vs. Heroism, Divisive Forgiveness, The Treatment-Industrial Complex, And What About the Crime Problem?

"How to Run Against a Tough-on-Crime District Attorney--And Win": District attorneys and the prosecutors who work for them are the most powerful actors in the American criminal justice system. They enjoy immense latitude in deciding what crimes to charge people with and how much prison time to push for. And yet their role in the growth of the country’s prison population, which went from less than 200,000 in 1972 to 1.5 million today, often goes unacknowledged as policymakers in Washington d … [Read more...]

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