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Anne Tyler’s Novels Offer Important Lessons on the Inner Workings of Families

This post originally appeared on the Institute for Family Studies blog. Anne Tyler has written a wonderful new novel about every three years going back to 1964—or to be precise, about every 29 months, on average.  Now 76 years old, she recently released what I believe is her 22nd novel, Clock Dance, which means it’s time for my more-or-less triennial paean to her and her work. But this time, I also offer a suggestion to therapists, clergy, and others who work with husbands and wives during emotionally-saturated moments: their professional training would be enhanced if it drew on insights and lessons from literature...

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Arvonne Fraser: American Experiment Contributor

Arvonne Fraser, who died recently at 92, contributed several essays over the years to American Experiment symposia that I compiled on a variety of subjects.  She also was one of my 40 interviewees in a 2014 book, Broken Bonds: What Family Fragmentation Means for America’s Future.  One might ask how a liberal “trailblazer” wound up in Center publications.  Easy, I invited her. I don’t know when we first met other than to say it was a long time ago.  The same is true of her husband, Don, the former congressman and mayor of Minneapolis, who survives her.  Obviously, Arvonne and I...

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Marriage, Military Service, Black Churches, and More Mundane Founts

In late June, the American Enterprise Institute released a study by three scholars which found “more than one-in-two black men (57%) have made it into the middle class or higher as adults, up from 38% in 1960, according to a new analysis of Census data.”  The researchers, W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia, Wendy R. Wang of the Institute for Family Studies, and Ronald B. Mincy of Columbia University, also found that the “share of black men who are poor has fallen from 41% in 1960 to 18 percent in 2016.” Surprisingly, this good news generated only one comment...

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Cheating at Play, Cheating in Life?

This essay originally appeared on the Institute for Family Studies website. I didn’t cheat. Neither did my brother or my sister. Both affirmed this adamantly when I asked them if they had ever cheated at Monopoly when we played as children. We spent endless days hovered over the dilapidated old card table set up temporarily in the far corner of the living room in the home where we grew up. A relic from the past, its turquoise surface was scuffed by use; one leg failed to catch. So accustomed were we to the wobbly leg that we took turns bolstering that side of the...

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Mrs. Greene Goes to Washington: Trump Administration to Roll Back the Dayton-Smith-DFL Union Dues Skimming Scheme

To be clear, if the Obama rule is fixed, the unions that have been certified would unfortunately continue until they are decertified—that is why MNPCA is not giving up in Minnesota. Decertification is the only way to get rid of these predatory unions; that and a declaration from Congress that they are illegal. But the state of Minnesota could no longer deduct union dues for the SEIU and deposit it in their coffers. ...

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Sex and the single mind: The origins of #MeToo

A culture hell-bent on separating pleasure from responsibility made #MeToo inevitable, so now should come the reflective part of the reckoning. This Sunday opinion cover commentary originally appeared in the Star Tribune on June 24, 2018. The first waves of sexual-harassment allegations that powered the #MeToo movement are past, but the pressing issues the movement raises will be with us for a long time. The actions of many of the accused men — actors, politicians, businessmen — were reprehensible and caused real misery. But stepping back, what strikes an observer is a puzzling disconnect. Why were these men so furiously denounced — and their...

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Why are public schools feeding students, who are not in school, during the summer?

I am not at all unsympathetic to hungry kids if they have incompetent and/or neglectful parents. But this is not a proper expenditure or activity for any public school. Period. This gives a whole new meaning to in loco parentis. These schools have operational deficits and massive unfunded pension liabilities. Even if you could accept the argument that schools should feed kids year-round, and I do not, we do not have the money. The good news is local charities are involved; it should stop there. ...

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