Heathrow to get a third runway?

People have a love/hate relationship with airports. They love the mobility that scheduled air service provides but those that live near airports strongly object to the noise. Because of these NIMBYs, it’s often very difficult for airports in major urban areas to expand. The ultimate case in point is London, where, despite being very heavily utilized, the two main airports — Heathrow and Gatwick — have a grand total of three runways between them. (By comparison, Charlotte Douglas International Airport has four runways.) The current Conservative government has decided to do something about that, announcing plans for an additional (third) runway at Heathrow. Per the BBC:

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the “truly momentous” decision would support trade and create jobs.

Gatwick airport said it was disappointed with the decision, which was “not the right answer for Britain”.

The issue has split the Cabinet, with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson saying a third runway was “undeliverable”.

The Education Secretary, Justine Greening, whose Putney constituency in southwest London is near the airport, has also been a vocal critic of Heathrow expansion.

The Department for Transport said a new runway at Heathrow would bring economic benefits to passengers and the wider economy worth up to £61bn and create as many as 77,000 additional local jobs over the next 14 years.

Personally, despite the government’s decision, I’ll believe it only when the first jet lands on the new runway.

Leef examines Obama’s transformation of America

George Leef’s latest Forbes column explores President Obama’s record in achieving a transformation of America.

Barack Obama said he wanted to transform America and in many ways he has succeeded.

The problem is that his transformation has done enormous and perhaps irreparable damage to the nation by demolishing the people’s confidence that our laws will be impartially enforced. Instead of, as the Constitution requires of the president, taking care that the laws be faithfully executed, Obama and his minions have operated under a completely different concept – that the laws will be enforced (or not) with the objective of maintaining the incumbent party in power.

If you doubt that, I recommend reading Liberty’s Nemesis, published earlier this year by Encounter Books.

Editors Dean Reuter and John Yoo have collected there twenty-six excellent essays to make the big point that the Constitution’s carefully wrought system of divided power and checks and balances meant to protect against the dangerous concentration of governmental power has been so weakened that it now barely functions.

We face, as the book’s subtitle puts it, the unchecked expansion of the state. That unchecked power did not begin with Obama, but his administration has pushed us far into uncharted waters of uncontrolled executive power. As a result, the people’s liberty has taken a beating and the old concept of the rule of law has become a bad joke.

Well of course the benign things ‘discovered’ to be racist symbols include pumpkins

After writing just yesterday about why professors say such abjectly stupid things as canoes reek of genocide, I was reminded of the following.

And unless this is an Sokalesque hoax, there are apparently some in academe who find such “a narrative of whiteness” in pumpkins that they published an academic paper on the subject. One is from UNC-Chapel Hill.


Kid you not.


No, really, these guys. A “narrative of whiteness.”


Here is from the abstract:

Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, a widely circulated essay in McSweeney’s on “Decorative Gourd Season,” pumpkins in aspirational lifestyle magazines, and the reality television show Punkin Chunkin provide entry points into whiteness–pumpkin connections. Such analysis illuminates how class, gender, place, and especially race are employed in popular media and marketing of food and flavor; it suggests complicated interplay among food, leisure, labor, nostalgia, and race. Pumpkins in popular culture also reveal contemporary racial and class coding of rural versus urban places. Accumulation of critical, relational, and contextual analyses, including things seemingly as innocuous as pumpkins, points the way to a food studies of humanities and geography.

Please let it be a hoax.

AB Stoddard on new Clinton emails: priceless

For starters, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made an appearance in the Triad yesterday, along with first lady Michelle Obama, whom N&R columnist Susan Ladd describes as “one of the most loved and admired women in America.”

The joint appearance came in light of new emails released by Wikileaks clearing showing how the Clintons roll—-money, money and more money. With that in mind, Fox News commentator A.B. Stoddard—who (in my opinion) plays her partisan cards pretty close to the vest—tells us what the newly-released emails say abotu the woman who stands a good chance of being the next leader of the free world. It’s at the 7:00 mark—and it’s priceless. I’ll give you a few key words: entitled, greasy, nothing smells to her……

Clinton scandals not going away

The Washington Examiner reminds us that there’s no expiration date for the scandals plaguing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, not even the Nov. 8 date of a potential electoral victory.

Clinton’s support cratered in September when the FBI released a report that proved she had lied to investigators and the public, but she’s staged a comeback and nothing in the WikiLeaks dump seems likely to stop her now.

That doesn’t mean, however, that she will skate free of the scandals in which she is submerged up to her ears. Her dishonesty and venality will not vaporize if she wins the election less than a fortnight away.

The emails; her two-faced and handsomely rewarded speeches to bankers; her State Department’s favors for Clinton Foundation donors; all this will live on. So too will the hash of world affairs that she and President Obama have created, especially in Libya but also in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Clinton, who once played dumb to reporters about whether she’d “wiped” emails under subpoena — actually, it was her staff who did it, and not with a cloth but with sophisticated and utterly destructive software — will not be magically cleansed of slime by an election victory any more than she would be defeat.

She may have lucked out in the political opponent she faces, but her scandals may last longer than him. The second Clinton administration, should it begin in January, will be front-loaded with the distrust she earned by placing herself above the law, and by lying to conceal her breaches of public trust.

Even if Trump keeps driving them off the front page for the remaining 12 days of the presidential campaign, the complaints from Bill Clinton’s longtime body-man and even Chelsea Clinton about the Clinton Foundation being an ethical nightmare will not go away any more than will evidence that the Clintons used it to profit personally.

National Review says writing on the wall is clear for Obamacare

Editors at National Review have a prescription for what ails the Affordable Care Act.

Inflation in Argentina is expected to run around 25 percent in 2017. Inflation in Obamacare health-insurance premiums will come in just a few points under that. Therein lies a lesson.

With the news that Obamacare premiums will go up by an average of 22 percent next year, the Democrats and their media cheerleaders have engaged in Olympic-caliber hand-waving and misdirection, anything to avoid admitting the obvious: that the program is poorly designed, incompetently executed, and based on false assumptions about what actually ails the U.S. health-care system.

The case for replacing the law entirely has never been stronger.

The architects of Obamacare believe that health-care markets and health-insurance markets are irrational, that the relative inelasticity of demand for medical services means that consumer-driven markets are an effective impossibility, that health-care providers’ profits and marketing costs are a net deduction from the common good, and that these facts taken together argue for a highly constrained marketplace in which Washington-based political managers relying on a fly-by-wire model make the major decisions about how health care is delivered and financed. The presence of private providers at the point of sale helps to maintain the illusion that this is something other than a government-run system. In reality, Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield have effectively no say in what benefits their policies contain (this is mandated by “essential benefits” rules) or how their offerings are priced (this is regulated by “essential coverage standards” and the prohibition of “discriminatory” pricing). With costs far exceeding their expectations, they have precisely two options: to raise premiums across the board or stop selling health insurance.

They are doing a bit of both.

Immigrants and American capitalism

Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard focuses his latest column on the vital role immigrants have played in American capitalism.

B.C. Forbes was born in Scotland. He remained a Scottish highlander to his kilts, as have his sons and grandsons, the eldest of whom, Steve, is editor-in-chief of the magazine today. But B.C. was also thoroughly American, as only an immigrant can be. He was dazzled by the opportunity the U.S. offered immigrants and was enthralled by other Scots who’d made good in America, the most famous being Andrew Carnegie.

Carnegie’s father had rebelled against the strict tenets of the Scottish Presbyterian Church, which cost the family all of their possessions and left them very poor. In 1848, when young Carnegie was 12, he moved to the U.S. with his parents. He went to work, and by age 15, having learned to operate a telegraph, Andrew was a family breadwinner. Telegraph jobs led to railroad jobs, which led to a meteoric rise in the new industry. He saved his money, invested it and then invested more. By his late 20s Carnegie was acting as a sort of investment banker, buying, selling and merging railroad companies.

Andrew Carnegie never forgot his humble roots and the pain of seeing his father in financial ruin and his mother sewing boot leather to feed the family. Later in his life and sensitive to the harder edges of laissez-faire capitalism, Carnegie promoted “The Gospel of Wealth,” which was based on an article he wrote in 1889. Successful capitalists, he said, should be stewards of capital for the highest social purposes. As with philanthropy, there was a moral obligation to investing.

B.C. Forbes was surely listening to his Scottish-American hero. In the first issue of FORBES in 1917 B.C. articulated the deeper purpose of business, as well as his mission: “Business was originated to produce happiness, not to pile up millions.”

This is the amazing gift of immigrant capitalists in America, on whom we focus particular attention in this year’s edition of The Forbes 400. Immigrant capitalists remind us of the success that can be achieved in our country with a bit of luck and a lot of pluck. They also remind us that America remains the world’s harbor for innovation and self-made riches–sadly, a rare thing in the world.

But immigrant success stories do more. They show us how to renew the foundations of capitalism and keep this glorious system fresh.

Forbes ventures into immigration debate

Steve Forbes‘ latest column in Forbes magazine explores historical changes in America’s approach to immigration.

WE ARE AN IMMIGRANT nation unique in history, the only country that consciously invented itself rather than evolved from a mythic past. People came here not to conquer new lands for a mother country but to break from old bonds and start anew (African-Americans, forcibly brought here as slaves, being the obvious exception). Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock to found a community free from England’s oppression. This collective shedding of the past, combined with the extraordinary freedoms that didn’t exist in the rest of the world, enabled us to attract and assimilate peoples from everywhere more successfully than any other country in history. …

… It wasn’t until the 1920s that the U.S. imposed serious obstacles that brought immigration to a virtual halt. This turned out to be an aberration. Barriers were eased dramatically in 1965, and the number of entrants has since increased sharply.

Why have so many people turned against immigration as a positive force in American history? Forbes offers some ideas.

In recent times pressure groups have fought against the assimilation of foreigners, trying to create isolated communities in which English, even for the second generation, would be a distant second language. The purpose was political, economic and ideological. These radicals disliked the whole notion of an American melting pot. They wanted Balkanized groups whose votes, they believed, could be more easily controlled. They could then leverage that power to get tons of money from vote-hungry pols, nationally and locally. California helped put the brakes on that destructive nonsense when, in 1998, its voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum that mandated immersion teaching of English to immigrant children. It’s no surprise that these youngsters quickly learned English.

But these anti-assimilationists helped put immigration in a bad light–Americans didn’t like the idea of new comers remaining perpetually isolated.

Today the anger and opposition focus on illegal entry, security (both terrorism and crime), jobs being taken away from lawful residents and the suppression of wages, especially among unskilled workers.

After addressing each of those issues, Forbes offers some concluding thoughts.

In the future we must rationalize the system to meet the labor needs of various sectors of the economy. There are also sensible proposals out there that would deal with current illegals without giving them citizenship. We must always have room for those people–even the unskilled–who have the burning desire, as Abraham Lincoln put it, to improve their lot in life.

Our history demonstrates that it’s our unique ability to take in immigrants and assimilate them that has been crucial to our incredible record of opportunity, upward mobility and wealth creation. Immigrant success here means success for all Americans.