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Witty Comebacks That Could Have Changed History

Turns out there is a fancy French word, “l’esprit d’escalier” to describe an artful, witty comeback.  It literally means “staircase wit” as in one only realizes their missed opportunity for a great comeback too late, as they are exiting down a staircase.  Writer Joseph Epstein had a fun column in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that suggested a few clever gamechangers. Dan Quayle [was] the victim, in a 1988 debate with Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, of a notable put-down. Mr. Quayle compared his experience to that of John F. Kennedy, to which Bentsen famously replied: “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” I wonder...

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Dear Educated Women, Blue-Collar Men Can Earn Great Livings

It’s worth remembering, if you’re looking for a husband or partner. This commentary appeared at on January 17, 2019. The U.S economy is aching for many more highly skilled, technically trained people. But what if men end up limiting their eventual marriage prospects if they pursue careers in the trades or other jobs that don’t require a four-year degree? Some proportion of women who have bachelor’s and post-baccalaureate degrees avoid romantic involvements with such guys, holding out for those with B.A.s, M.B.A.s, or J.D.s. Which is to say, they seek potential husbands who have degrees that are more generally esteemed than...

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Look for the Winter Issue of Thinking Minnesota ft. Minnesota’s Beer Boom

Minnesota’s craft beer industry has boomed over the past several years thanks to legislative reforms focused on deregulation and tax cuts. The 2019 Winter Issue of Thinking Minnesota features a cover story by the Center’s Economist John Phelan on Minnesota’s beer boom and how deregulation and tax cuts enabled brewers to thrive....

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Why “Urban Conservatism” is Not a Contradiction in Terms

Suffice it to say Republican candidates didn’t do well on Election Day last month in urban America.  Then, again, they haven’t done well in big and other good-sized cities for a long time. This keenly has been the case in Minneapolis and St. Paul, where the last Republican elected to any post in either of the two cities was Denny Schulstad, to the Minneapolis City Council, in 1993.  Even more strikingly, he has written about how during the majority of his more than two decades on the council, “I was the only one of the 33 people holding elective public office...

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Becoming an American: how our Elite has Cheapened Citizenship

My friend from Egypt came to our country many years ago in hopes of being a citizen. He loves America, loves the West and all it stands for: freedom and prosperity. He thinks our lax approach to immigration betrays a terrible naiveté and a dangerous lack of care for preserving American culture, the culture that attracted him to move here. He did not come all the way from Egypt to live in a chaotic, socialist nation. He could have gone many places around the globe, or just stayed in Egypt, for that. ...

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Title IX: What was it meant to do and the nightmare it has become

Can Title IX statutory language be interpreted to empower colleges and universities to essentially act like police, investigators, judges and juries? Congress should revisit Title IX to pull these corrupting police power from our colleges and universities. Federal dollars should u[lift and protect our students and faculty not subject them to nightmarish prosecutions. ...

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What’s Urban Conservatism and How Might It Help?

Coming out of Election Day two weeks ago, much has been said and written about how conservatives and Republicans generally did lousy in suburbs across the country, and how they did absolutely lousy in any American city of any size.  Not that such electoral results or lamentations and commentaries are at all new.  Vote totals had been disappointing, and critiques pointed, for years when American Experiment published, in January 2008, one of our most imaginative and important symposia, What Does It Mean to be an Urban Conservative?  It’s no less on-target now than it was a decade ago. ...

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Guthrie Theater Declares “Happening” and “Amber Sanctuary”

Previous Happenings include An Immigrants’ Cabaret, an evening of music, movement and poetry; Enacting the Dream, an opportunity to reflect on the lived realities of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients living in the United States; Aftermath: A Newtown Screening and Community Conversation about the impact of gun violence on public health; Water Is Sacred, a performance combining ceremony, music, text, dance and discussion to honor and celebrate water and recognize the ways it has been threatened on Indigenous lands; The Trump Card, acclaimed monologist Mike Daisey’s exploration of Donald J. Trump and how he rose to his standing...

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