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Back in the USSR: What life was like in the Soviet Union

Even though capitalism is the superior economic system, polls show alarming numbers of younger Americans preferring socialism or communism. The excellent new book, Back in the USSR: What life was like in the Soviet Union by José Luis Ricón Fernández de la Puente, reveals the grubby truth of life under those dismal systems. ...

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Milton Friedman: Giving Thanks for Free Enterprise

Milton Friedman (1912-2006) was one of the greatest economists of the 20th century. But, along with his academic work, he was a gifted writer of economics for a lay audience. For a number of years, he wrote a regular column for Newsweek, alternating with the Keynesian economist Paul Samuelson. Friedman was also interested in the politics of a free society, as well as its economics. Indeed, he argued that a free society needed a free economy and vice versa. In this column from Thanksgiving, 1974, Friedman looks at private enterprise proved itself superior to 'common' ownership in the early years of...

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Free Bridge Up For Grabs From MnDOT

If you’ve burned too many bridges over the years, don’t fret. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) can get you half a bridge back—for free. MnDOT is giving away its half of the historic Rainy River International Bridge (the other half belongs to Canada) as it is scheduled to be replaced with a new adjacent bridge beginning spring 2018 due to structural concerns. ...

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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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Why No Erasing of Blaine’s Name Too?

Activists across the country have been protesting venerable names inscribed on college buildings, as well as the identities of old soldiers on sculpted horseback in village squares, and even the olden name of a lake in Minneapolis, as they view those names and identities as unacceptable symbols and reminders of America’s often ugly racial history.  Think, for example, of South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun, a 19th Century slavery proponent whose name has not only been condemned, but erased from places such as the largest lake in a beautiful chain of them, as witness the newly named Mde Maka Ska. Despite their...

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Is Truth the First Casualty of Art?

The Walker Art Center has been in the news lately. The Walker has completely redone its sculpture garden, long a favorite haunt of families with children. But the garden's re-opening has been derailed by controversy over a sculpture called "Scaffold," created by California artist Sam Durant. The Star Tribune writes that the sculpture looks like a "wooden jungle gym," but Durant explains that "Scaffold" is meant to evoke various hangings from America's past: [T]he design is actually a composite of the gallows used in seven U.S. government-sanctioned executions, from the 1859 hanging of abolitionist John Brown to the 2006 execution of...

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UOM Names Journalism School After Hubbard TV and Radio Pioneers

Congratulations to Stanley S. Hubbard and family on being honored for their contributions to journalism by the University of Minnesota. The UOM will rebrand the "J" school the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication to recognize the family's pioneering history in broadcast news, technical innovations in the industry and generosity. It's the first time the University of Minnesota has named a school in the College of Liberal Arts' 149 year history. Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Publisher Deborah Hopp touched on the Hubbard's remarkable achievements in a note emailed with the news release. The Hubbard family is synonymous with media innovation, from creating the first local...

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