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A Liberal Journalist Experiences Radical Progressivism in the NYC Schools

George Packer is a staff writer for The Atlantic and lives in New York City.  Like most of us, he is the product of public schools and a strong believer in the importance of “common schools” to educate children of all “religious, social, and ethnic backgrounds.”  Therefore he and his wife were very excited when their young son was accepted into a diverse NYC public school in which two-thirds of students performed well on standardized tests. His sober reflections on his 10 year experience with radically progressive educators is published in the current issue of The Atlantic, “When the Culture War...

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Is that person or comment racist, or just tone-deaf?

Let me suggest a different response for when charges erupt.  This op-ed originally appeared in the Star Tribune on September 17, 2019. Are an unknown number of racists slithering through American life and institutions as we speak? Is very real racism hurting very real people? Without question both times. But I don’t use words such as “racist” and “racism” nearly as often as many do for key reasons, starting with how definitions of each term are more plastic than precise. I’m also usually reluctant to question anyone’s motives, whatever the circumstance, as I generally don’t know what they fully are. And topping it all,...

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Want to predict the future political pulse of American voters? Look at Canada.

Among the obligations of being married to a politically-astute former Canadian is to stay informed about the political trends of our neighbors to the north. While I normally resist the temptation to share my Canadian punditry (you’re welcome!), there is a startling movement in the Great White North that deserves our attention. Let’s start with Alberta. Before its 2015 provincial election, Alberta’s voters showed a partisan orientation that was reliably conservative and pro-growth. They had elected center-right majority governments for eight straight decades. But in 2015, the liberal New Democrats, led by Rachel Notley, exploited a rift between conservative factions to...

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A Burden Don Fraser Learned to Bear

My favorite personal memory of Don Fraser, who died earlier this week at 95. Sometime in the mid-1980s, Don, who was then mayor of Minneapolis, said something about “unsupported women.”  By which he meant how it was personally unfair and socially unwise that so many women were left to raise their children without the help of husbands and fathers.  While he didn’t use politically risky terms such as “nonmarital births” or “out-of-wedlock births,” it still was a remarkably courageous – truly progressive – thing for a liberal Minnesota politician to talk and write about in the ‘80s – or still. I was...

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Obit Hits and Errors

Quick.  Think of one of the biggest and best things you’ve ever done. Now, think of one of the biggest mistakes you’ve ever made? Of the two, which one do you think is more likely to wind up in the first sentence of your eventual obituary?  For your family’s sake I hope it’s the former rather than the latter.  But it probably will come down to how good your good was compared to how bad your bad was, at least as recalled by a journalist likely on deadline.  Or maybe an editor will combine the two. A tease on CNN’s website on Monday...

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Legal Loophole in CCAP allows child care centers to bill for services they do not provide

Perhaps by coming together on the CCAP fraud issue, lawmakers can begin to plan for a complete overhaul of Minnesota’s generous and infamous welfare system. What other programs are being ripped off? Welfare fraud is nothing new in Minnesota and began long before Somali refugees started arriving in the 1990’s. Any major overhaul will require the support of Governor Walz to be successful. Perhaps the federal government could get the governor’s attention....

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Popular Scooters Boot Out Bike Sharing in St. Paul

Easy come, easy go. Electric scooters are making a move in St. Paul, booting out ride sharing bicycles just in time for more seasonable weather. The new company contracting with the city originally planned to offer bikes but abruptly changed its mind, according to the Star Tribune. St. Paul faces the prospect of a summer without bike sharing after its vendor dropped the service eight months after signing a contract with the city. In August, St. Paul contracted with Lime to provide dockless bike sharing, and as a result Nice Ride removed its docks at the end of the season. After Lime...

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