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Inescapable Reality, Not Victim Blaming

Over the course of a recent two-day period (August 30-31), the Star Tribune ran at least four stories or editorials dealing with racial disparities. “Disparities in Maternal Deaths ‘Staggering,’” by Marissa Evans. “Math and Reading Scores Drop,” by Erin Golden and MaryJo Webster. “Spotlighting Racial Disparities,” by Patrick Condon. “Face Up to Gaps in Student Test Scores,” an unsigned editorial. Nothing said by anyone in the news stories was out of the ordinary.  Same with arguments in the editorial.  But that’s a major reason why the very real problems cited won’t get much better, as there wasn’t a single reference, or...

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Voluntary Pre-K held at 2017 level, but does not target neediest children

Minnesota is spending enormous sums of money on education programs for very young children, but the state’s mission is muddled and the results discouraging. Plus, the policy forces private child care providers to compete with “free” child care, threatening to create a government monopoly on child care. The good news is that the Senate held the line, with no increase in spending, and Gov. Walz, is showing some independence from the teachers’ union. ...

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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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By Far the Largest Observable Factor

The number of scholars and journalists who write frequently about the effects of family fragmentation in the United States is not large; certainly not as large as the severity of the problem suggests and demands.  But of those who do, Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute is one of the best and most important.  Her 2007 book, Marriage and Caste in America remains pivotal, and her essays and other contributions for organizations websites such as the Institute for Family Studies are always crisply informative. For a prime example, I would urge taking a look at piece she wrote a couple of...

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Has Mobility in the United States Really Declined?

Drawing on a brilliant book by Berkeley’s Neil Gilbert, I recently (April 25) wrote about how family fragmentation adversely affects economic and social mobility.  But what about perpetual claims that mobility overall in the United States has declined precipitously?  This has become a staple charge by commentators and politicians on the left – especially if the latter are running for president.  Yet is it empirically true?  What does Gilbert’s 2017 book, Never Enough: Capitalism and the Progressive Spirit, say about the matter?  Here’s an extended excerpt (p. 111). The passage begins with Gilbert citing “remarkable discrepancies in the research findings,” quoting...

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Save for Senator Lee, Republicans are Pretty Much Silent, Too

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was on CNN the other morning and I mentioned to my wife Diane that I liked him for several reasons, one being he’s among the very few people in Washington who talk bravely about family fragmentation, though his subject that morning (surprise) was a very different un-mating dance consuming DC.   Coincidentally, I was then reading Never Enough: Capitalism and the Progressive Spirit, by Neil Gilbert, an acutely insightful but insufficiently recognized book about inequality, among other things. Later that same day I came upon what the book says about an immense study, led by Berkeley economist...

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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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Teachers’ Unions Oppose Charters Schools; Use the Power to Strike to Stop Competition from Charter Schools

This is a troubling use of strikes (some legal, some illegal depending on the state law) because unions are using their clout to limit, or even take out, their competition instead of using their clout to improve the quality of education and teachers’ professional experience at unionized schools. It is a back-door veto on state-based legislation and policies in favor of offering flexibility and choices for parents, who after all, know what is best for the children....

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False Feminism: How we got from sexual liberation to #MeToo

This essay was published in the February 2019 issue of First Things. As the #MeToo movement has spread from the upper echelons of Hollywood to the halls of Congress, what has most struck me is the startling disconnect between the movement’s feverish sensitivity to sexual impropriety, on the one hand, and women’s eager embrace of our nation’s sex-drenched popular culture, on the other. For example, in 2017—the year #MeToo came to public attention—hip-hop/rap surpassed rock for the first time as the most widely consumed genre of pop music. Americans are now avid consumers of a form of music that demeans and hyper-sexualizes...

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Center of the American Experiment Calls on U.S. Supreme Court to Protect First Amendment Rights of Personal Care Attendants (PCAs)

After filing an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a St. Cloud University faculty member, Kathy Uradnik, the Center filed an amicus brief in support of a related challenge, Bierman v. Dayton. The Center’s brief calls on the court to recognize that state laws forcing recipients of government welfare benefits to speak through unions is unconstitutional. It agrees with Petitioners in Bierman v. Dayton that the lower courts have improperly exempted such "exclusive representation" schemes from scrutiny under the First Amendment. PCAs in about a dozen states have been unionized by government unions such as AFSCME and the...

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