How to Run the GOP Debates
May 14th, 2015


Jonathan Martin has a piece on the logistical problems with running a series of GOP presidential debates where there are 12 (or even 17) candidates.

My (only) half joking idea is to run them like the English Premier League: Start by having two tiers of debates for candidates, based on their national poll numbers. Say, Tier A for candidates over 5 percent and Tier B for candidates below that.

Run the A and B debates in the same venue on consecutive days.

And after each series, you relegate the worst two performers from Tier A to the B pool, and elevate the top two performers from Tier B to the A pool.

I know what you’re thinking. How do we decide who these top-two/bottom-two finishers are? Easy: Twitter.

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Schism Watch
May 13th, 2015


It would be pretty funny if someone would go and photoshop David Souter onto the throne of Peter.

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Instant Classic
May 12th, 2015


Last night was the AEI launch for Dadly Virtues and it was pretty great: a nice crowd, lots of laughs, no hugging or learning. And then Tucker happened.

Here’s my gift to you: Below is the full event (which will air on C-SPAN eventually) but if you cut to the 52:00 mark, you get to Tucker Carlson’s unbelievably awesome performance piece.

If this doesn’t make you want to buy the book, then I’m all out of ammo.

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Amazon
May 8th, 2015


I’m gratified that The Dadly Virtues seems to be doing okay. Better than okay, even, because as of just now it’s a “#1 New Release” on Amazon! In the category of . . . Wait for it . . .Dadly Motherhood 600

 

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WaPo on ‘Dadly Virtues’
May 7th, 2015


Carlos Lozada has a very nice review of Dadly Virtues in the Washington Post. You can read it here.

Quick Amazon note: The Kindle version is up and running now, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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Police and Transgenderism
May 6th, 2015


Hoover’s Richard Epstein seems to be (less or more) with me on police reform. But that’s not what really caught my eye in his essay. It was this sentence:

No one knows the exact figure, but a decent estimate tells us that there are about 900,000 police officers in the United States.

The reason this jumped out at me is that in writing about the transgender debacle at Smith College I took a brief detour to look at the estimates activists give us for transgender numbers in the United States. The line they push is 0.3 percent of the population. That may seem small, but keep in mind that gay-rights activists spent a generation insisting that 10 percent of the population is gay, but the real number turns out to be 1.6 percent.

So in order for us to believe that 0.3 percent of America is transgender we’d have to believe that there’s one transgendered American for every five gay Americans. Or, to put it in another context, we’d have to believe that there are as many transgendered Americans as there are police officers.

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‘The Dadly Virtues’ Is Here
May 6th, 2015


So the book has landed on Amazon well ahead of the official pub date. People are getting their copies in the mail today and if you didn’t pre-order, it’s shipping now.

So get thee to The Dadly Virtues. I guarantee the awesome.

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On Baltimore
May 1st, 2015


I spent four years living in Charm City, but I don’t have any special insights on the current situation. (Though I did witness my own, private mom-decking-her-out-of-control-son incident, and it was awesome. I’ll tell that story some time.)

To my mind, the best thing I’ve read on Baltimore comes, unsurprisingly, from John McWhorter, who really is the intellectual that everyone pretends that other guy is. You should read the whole thing here.

I agree with McWhorter’s broad prescriptions about repairing the breach between inner-city residents (especially young black men) and the police. But I don’t know if I believe that relaxing the drug war would help.

Now, I think that, on balance, legalizing drugs is a bad idea for other reasons. But if you set them aside and just consider McWhorter’s point, I’m not sure it would help in the specific goal of normalizing relations between inner city police and residents. For one thing, even legalization of pot will come with some limits and an illegal economy will spring up around them, wherever they’re set.

McWhorter seems to focus on the societal side of reconciliation, but I suspect that there’s lots of low-hanging fruit on the government side. Meaning, that you could improve relations by reforming the police themselves. Start with breaking (or defenestrating) the police unions, which–intentionally or not–empower lots of mid-level corruption by thwarting punishment of the very worst corruption. Once cops know that they are real consequences for misbehavior, push technology (especially body cameras) to help establish a culture of accountability for both officers and citizens during interactions. It would be great if there was a way to empower prosecutors to aggressively pursue charges lodged against police, too (though that might be a pie in the sky).

Once you can reasonably promise citizens that while the police may not be perfect, they can no longer get away with the kind of criminal behavior which Connor Friedersdorf shows was more or less routine, then you can start actually trying to rebuild relations through community policing and other strategies. (If David Petraeus could use counterinsurgency to build good working relations with Iraqis living under occupation, then surely a smart and determined police chief could achieve something similar.)

Why start with the police? It would be nice if you change both ends of the continuum at the same time: Make the police more professional and change the culture which tells people that it’s okay to riot and loot. But there’s no institutional mechanism with which to engage the people. (Or rather, there is. But it’s called the public schools and in places like Baltimore they’re so broken that fixing them becomes the heaviest lift imaginable.) So you start with the cops, because there are a relatively small number of them, they exist within an institution which can be molded, and because they are heavily-motivated actors, since they’re the ones drawing a paycheck for their actions.

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