Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Sunday Clippings from the Tribune, The New Republic, and my accumulated pile of each from the summer:
Previous Sunday Clippings

The media contine to beat up on Arkansas Sen. Tim Hutchinson for his hypocrisy on family values, which, as I've written before, is warranted and morbidly satisfying:

During a recent campaign debate, Sen. Tim Hutchinson found himself answering a question on an unusual topic--not health care or education, but his sudden divorce from his wife of 29 years and subsequent marriage to a former aide. It was "the greatest failing of my life," Hutchinson (R-Ark.) said, as he stood somberly before the crowd in the Hendrix College auditorium in Conway, Ark. "I disappointed an awful lot of people. I let a lot of people down. And I apologized to those who expected better of me." In some states, a senator's presumed liaison with a senior aide and his resulting divorce might not matter, but Arkansas is different. People identify themselves by where they were born, who their relatives are and what church they attend.

New fine arts venues are being unveiled across Chicago's neighborhoods with help from a group not widely known as patrons of the arts--Chicago aldermen. Across from Waldo Cooney's Pizza and Tony's Liquors in Beverly, the neighborhood arts council and Ald. Virginia Rugai (19th) recently premiered a new 40,000-square-foot arts center on the former site of an abandoned gas station. The $10 million building, aided by $2.5 million in city donations, has an art gallery, a gift shop to showcase local artisans, a cafe and the scene-stealer--a 420-seat theater with a stage big enough to accommodate Cirque de Soleil. In South Shore, at the former site of a corrugated-steel distributorship, the eta Creative Arts Foundation has broken ground on a $12 million performance arts center that, with the help of Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and about $3 million in city pledges, will feature a 550-seat theater to be connected by a glassed-in footbridge to a current theater across the street.

When he ran for president, George W. Bush declared that "the best way to ensure a strong, growing, and vibrant agricultural sector is through a more market-driven approach." But just as Bush has abandoned his avowed capitalist purity to endorse new subsidies for the energy industry and tariffs for steel, he is now preparing to greatly expand government subsidies for agriculture. These recent deviations from free-market orthodoxy have been dramatic enough that it's tempting to conclude the president has no coherent economic philosophy at all. But that isn't quite true. A clear pattern has lately emerged: When intervention in the market would benefit a wide range of Americans--say, a substantive patients' bill of rights or a prescription-drug plan--Bush opposes it. Ditto for an intervention that would actually make the economy run more smoothly--as in the case of reforms to the accounting industry. Indeed, it seems only when a market intervention lacks a compelling economic rationale and helps the few at the expense of the many--as in the steel, energy, and agriculture decisions--that the president sets aside his free-market principles. Call it "uncompassionate unconservatism."

Previous Sunday Clippings

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