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Pop Culture is Finding its Way into Presidential Portraiture

Art and history lovers should be very excited for the new portraits of former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama. The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery has bestowed these important commissions upon Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. Wiley will paint the former president, and his style of portraiture will give us keen insight into how Obama wishes to frame his legacy. According to the Wall Street Journal: Mr. Wiley often depicts his subjects wearing hip-hop attire like hoodies and baggy, blue jeans and arranges them in postures once reserved for European aristocrats—a juxtaposition that helps the artist explore potent issues of...

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SKOL! It’s Columbus Day in Minnesota.

We live in the “I am bending over so far that I have fallen and can’t get up politically correct Minnesota.” It is one thing to critically examine our unvarnished history. It is another thing to white-wash the history of the very indigenous people we seek to respect. Or to teach children at school that white people are bad because Columbus sailed the ocean blue with his 15th century attitude. ...

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Deer Herd is Up, Along With Your Odds of a Collision

It may not be as wonkish as Kiplinger’s new top ten list ranking Minnesota the second least tax-friendly state in America. But Minnesota just made another top ten list that should also serve as a warning shot.  I know from personal experience. That's my trusty 2002 Suburban with 300,000 miles being towed for the last time. Every fall about this time, State Farm Insurance calculates the likelihood of drivers hitting a deer or other large animal based on the number of accidents the year before and ranks the states. Minnesota remains seventh on the list again this year. But the chances of...

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“Good Thing We’ve Gotten Past All That P.C. Nonsense”

I came across a study the other day about the effects of fatherlessness on children’s self-control, conducted 60 years ago, that I should have known about in more recent decades, as its results were that vivid and important.  I read about it in a book I also should have known about earlier, first published in 2011, a copy of which Amazon overnighted to my doorstep only last week, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, by the top-tier research psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, and a well-known journalist who writes about science, John Tierney. Our story starts when another distinguished scholar, Walter Mischel,...

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The NFL would find it easier to tell politicians to mind their own business if they weren’t taking cash from them

When President Trump says NFL teams should fire kneeling players, the teams respond by saying that they are private enterprises. But if they want to be treated like private enterprises they should act like them. A first step would be to stop asking taxpayers for handouts. ...

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A Statistically Sound Star Tribune Article on Income Disparities

Center of the American Experiment may or may not have had anything to do with it, but I choose to view a story in the Star Tribune on Sunday (September 17) as vindication when it comes to reporting statistical information in general and interpreting income disparities in Minnesota specifically. In an article headlined “Household Incomes Making Gains in Minnesota, but Not Equally,” MaryJo  Webster wrote, “One of the reasons black household income is much lower than other groups is because more than 37 percent are single-person households.”  Having not read all Star Tribune stories on the topic in recent years, perhaps...

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Sunday Mornings at Church?  Or Sunday Mornings at Starbucks?

After 25 years in the same house, my wife and I are relocating a dozen miles to the suburban west.  And yes, as you might imagine, after a quarter-century of compiling and then piling stuff, the move continues to fluctuate between hideous and hell, not that I’ve deciphered which is worse.  Yet to be fair as well as grateful, interspersed have been times of sweet relief and thanks, as when people from the church where my wife, the Reverend McGowan, is the deacon, help big time. I mention this because I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about community, in part...

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Romeo and Juliet at the Guthrie

The Guthrie Theater debuted a new production of Romeo and Juliet over the weekend. It premiered on Saturday night, and I saw it on Sunday. The play's greatness is, I think, unquestioned, but what of the Guthrie's production? Here are my thoughts. 1) There was too much low comedy and broad humor in the play's first half (there is one intermission). A number of times--five? ten?--actors and actresses, not content to recite lines that contained double entendres, grabbed their crotches. Does the play's director, Joseph Haj, think we are too slow-witted to get the joke without this kind of visual aid?...

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Leftists Want to Replace Christopher Columbus With…Prince?

One might think that Minnesota would be one of the last places to pull down statues. The state joined the union just in time for the Civil War, in which its young men fought heroically in the anti-slavery cause. But when Leftists get going, they never know when to stop. The Star Tribune reports on an effort to cart away a statue of Christopher Columbus and replace him with...

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The Abnormal Danger of Waxing about Norms

Remember how, in the sit-com “Cheers,” every time Norm rumbled through the door of the Boston bar where everyone knew your name, everyone in fact would shout out “Norm”?  Well, “norm,” albeit of the lower-case variety, is about what a foursome of writers, one of the of the strange-bedfellow variety, shouted approval recently. Going first were Amy Wax, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Larry Alexander, a law professor at the University of San Diego, who wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer with the headline, “Paying the Price for Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture.”  Yes, I...

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