Cutting Edge: New ideas / Sharp opinions
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Corbett vs. the jobless
Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News blog Attytood: "This story is a perfect example of why Gov. [Tom] Corbett currently has the lowest approval rating of any Pennsylvania governor since they started taking the poll. It's not news to anyone who's been unemployed or had a family member suffer through joblessness in recent years."
Mr. Bunch then posts a Philadelphia Inquirer story that begins: "In a highly critical letter, U.S. Department of Labor officials have rebuked the state of Pennsylvania for 'serious compliance issues' in its operation of the unemployment insurance program. The commonwealth has often underperformed so profoundly in the timely handling of unemployment insurance forms and other matters -- many within the last year -- that the federal government may consider sanctions that would restrict budget money to the Department of Labor and Industry ..."
Avivah Wittenberg-Cox in Harvard Business Review: "Thank God for the Nordics. The Economist has just written a hymn of a special report, full of rapt wonder at 'probably the best governed countries in the world.' But they hardly mention that it's also the region that boasts the most gender-balanced governments in the world ...
"Nordic countries' progressive gender policies have deep cultural roots. Cross-cultural analysts like Geert Hofstede have said that the biggest difference between the Nordics and other countries are their highly 'feminine' vs. 'masculine' values. Masculinity in this analysis is defined as 'a preference for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material reward for success. Society at large is more competitive. Its opposite, femininity, stands for a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life. Society at large is more consensus-oriented.' "
"It is hard to imagine The Economist arguing that 'cooperation and modesty' may be an effective engine for competitiveness and growth. Yet it is inconceivable that one of the most distinctive features of the Nordic countries -- their highly progressive approach to gender balance in all things social, political and economic -- has not significantly contributed to countries that are now, at the dawn of the 21st century, healthy, wealthy and wise."
'Native' Americans only
In a report on the economic benefits of immigration, the Manhattan Institute walks through the history of American nativist movements, including the Know-Nothings:
"Opposition to immigration is as old as immigration itself. In the 1850s, the goal of the Know-Nothing Party, also called the American Party, was to keep only white native-born Americans in political power and limit immigration. Members of the party had to swear 'that you will not vote, nor give your influence for any man for any office in the gift of the people, unless he be an American-born citizen, in favor of Americans ruling America, nor if he be a Roman Catholic ...'
"The party was particularly concerned by the influx of Irish and, to a lesser extent, German, Catholic immigrants in the late 1840s. The Know-Nothing Party set on fire the homes of Irish tenants and Catholic churches. There were riots in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1856 when a Know-Nothing candidate, Thomas Swann, was elected mayor. The secretive party required that if members were asked about party activities they reply, 'I know nothing.' "
Executioner in chief
John W. Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute, under the headline: "How a Nobel Peace Prize Winner Became the Head of a Worldwide Assassination Program":
"The president of the United States of America believes he has the absolute right to kill you based upon secret 'evidence' that you might be a terrorist. Not only does he think he can kill you, but he believes he has the right to do so in secret, without formally charging you of any crime and providing you with an opportunity to defend yourself in a court of law. To top it all off ... these decisions about whom to kill are not subject to any judicial review whatsoever.
"This is what one would call Mafia-style justice, when one powerful overlord -- in this case, the president -- gets to decide whether you live or die based solely on his own peculiar understanding of right and wrong. This is how far we have fallen in the 12 years since 9/11, through our negligence and our failure to hold our leaders in both political parties accountable to the principles enshrined in the Constitution."
First Published February 17, 2013 12:00 am