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Be

How We Can Be by Tim Crane.

In 2006, Science published a remarkable piece of research by neuroscientists from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. By scanning the brain of a patient in a vegetative state, Adrian Owen and his colleagues found evidence of conscious awareness. Unlike a coma, the vegetative state is usually defined as one in which patients are awake – they can open their eyes and exhibit sleep-wake cycles – but lack any consciousness or awareness. To discover consciousness in the vegetative state would challenge, therefore, the basic understanding of the phenomenon.

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Snub

Mass. Teachers Union Snubs National Teacher of the Year by Michael Jonas.

Sydney Chaffee was welcomed to the White House last month. She was honored at an event in Boston by the governor and the state education commissioner. But the first Massachusetts educator ever named National Teacher of Year was given the cold shoulder by the state’s largest teachers union.

Delegates at the Massachusetts Teachers Association annual state convention last Saturday voted down a motion to “publicly and formally congratulate and recognize Sydney Chaffee” on receiving the award.

The motion to recognize a nationally-recognized classroom instructor from Boston would appear to be the most uncontroversial proposal that could be brought forward to a gathering of Massachusetts teachers. What turned the resolution into a contested issue at the convention is the fact that Chaffee teaches at a charter school.

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Fury

Fewer Tears, Fewer Lies, And More Righteous Anger by Kurt Schlichter.

Enough of changing your Facebook photo to the flag of the abattoir du jour, enough of the candlelight vigils, and enough of the #_____Strong hashtags. No more pleas for unity and pretending not to understand. We’re not unified, and we all understand, even if we refuse to admit it because of some bizarre suicide pact Western culture decided to join when no one was looking.

Grieving doesn’t work. Hugging doesn’t work. Cowardice masquerading as enlightened passivity in the face of our enemies doesn’t work. Just ask the little girls blown apart in Manchester.

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Disaster

California’s Looming Single-Payer Disaster by Edward Morrissey.

Progressives advocating single-payer health care need to face financial reality.

Vermont had to abandon its attempts to impose a single-payer health-care system when its greatest champion, Gov. Peter Shumlin, discovered that it would cost far more than he had anticipated. Similarly, last year Colorado voters resoundingly rejected ColoradoCare when a study discovered that even tripling taxes wouldn’t be enough to keep up with the costs.

Now it’s California’s turn.

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Platitudes

Let’s Give The Platitudes Surrounding Terrorism A Rest by David Harsanyi.

Following the terrorist attack in Manchester that left at least 22 people dead and dozens injured, most of them children, President Donald Trump referred to terrorists as “evil losers in life.” As expected, a number of liberal pundits mocked the president’s unrefined language. So jejune, you know?

Inadvertently or not, Trump landed on a plain-spoken, stinging moniker that happens to also be true. No matter how many girls the next Salman Abedi ends up killing, theocratic dead-enders are, in every societal, ideological, and historical sense, losers. Perhaps some blunt language will lead to some clearer thinking on the issue.

Now, it’s debatable whether it matters very much to would-be terrorists what unpleasant names Trump has in store for them. How we talk about terrorism, on the other hand, is important. Over the past eight years (at least) the topic has been obscured by clinical euphemisms and feel-good platitudes for the sake of winning hearts and minds. How’s that going, by the way?

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Battlespace

The Return of Marco Polo’s World and the U. S. Military Response by Robert D. Kaplan.

The supercontinent is becoming one fluid, comprehensible unit of trade and conflict, as the Westphalian system of states weakens and older, imperial legacies – Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Turkish – become paramount. Every crisis from Central Europe to the ethnic-Han Chinese heartland is now interlinked. There is one singular battlespace.

What follows is an historical and geographical guide to it.

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Works

Terrorism Persists Because It Works by Alan M. Dershowitz.

Every time a horrendous terrorist attack victimizes innocent victims we wring our hands and promise to increase security and take other necessary preventive measures. But we fail to recognize how friends and allies play such an important role in encouraging, incentivizing, and inciting terrorism.

If we are to have any chance of reducing terrorism, we must get to its root cause. It is not poverty, disenfranchisement, despair or any of the other abuse excuses offered to explain, if not to justify, terrorism as an act of desperation. It is anything but. Many terrorists, such as those who participated in the 9/11 attacks, were educated, well-off, mobile and even successful. They made a rational cost-benefit decision to murder innocent civilians for one simple reason: they believe that terrorism works.

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Murder

Enabling Murder by Bruce Bawer.

Western politicians worry more about being called “Islamophobic” than they do about stopping jihadist slaughter.

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Impeachment

What Is the Impeachment Power For? by Keith Whittington.

The power to impeach officers of the United State government is one of the gravest powers entrusted to Congress in the U.S. Constitution. The power is far-ranging and flexible, laying at the feet of Congress the ultimate responsibility to insure that the officers of the federal government are acting in the national interest and not abusing their authority. Congress has not had many occasions to use the power over the course of the nation’s history, and the most frequent targets have been low-level judges who had engaged in undoubtedly bad behavior. Impeachments of more high-profile targets like presidents raise more difficult political and constitutional issues about how the power should be used and what the role of the impeachment power might be within the American constitutional system.

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Possible

Scientists Discover Possible First Proof of Parallel Universes by Paul Ratner.

A new study about one of the most inexplicable places in the cosmos may offer the first proof that we are living in a multiverse.

The idea of a “multiverse” proposes that an infinite amount of universes, including the one we are living in, exist in parallel to each other. These universes differ in a variety of physical properties, featuring multiple Big Bangs, space bubbles and maybe even an alternate version of you who is reading this article in a world run by slugs. The “multiverse” hypothesis has been so far been impossible to test but has supporters among such scientists as Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Leonard Susskind.

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Symposium

The Closing of the American Mind Thirty Years Later: A Symposium by Nathan Schlueter.

All is not well in America—or in the University. Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind offers a profound and compelling diagnosis of the common illness infecting them both and of the intimate connection between liberal education and liberty.

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Unit 180

North Korea’s Unit 180, the Cyber Warfare Cell That Worries the West by Ju-min Park and James Pearson.

North Korea’s main spy agency has a special cell called Unit 180 that is likely to have launched some of its most daring and successful cyber attacks, according to defectors, officials and internet security experts.

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Blocks

Creative Blocks by David Deutsch.

The very laws of physics imply that artificial intelligence must be possible. What’s holding us up?

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Discoveries

Discoveries Fuel Fight Over Universe’s First Light by Ashley Yeager.

A series of observations at the very edge of the universe has reignited a debate over what lifted the primordial cosmic fog.

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Unions

Lone Star Lilliput by Mark Pulliam.

Texas is a fast-growing right-to-work state with a robust economy. Only 4 percent of the workforce in Texas belongs to a labor union, less than half the national average. Therefore, the common perception is that organized labor is weak in Texas. Moreover, Texas voters are overwhelmingly conservative. Both houses of the Texas legislature have lopsided Republican majorities, and for decades, only Republicans have been elected to statewide office. The “Texas Model” of low taxes, business-friendly regulation, and comprehensive tort-reform legislation is key to the state’s current prosperity, as is its ban on collective bargaining by public employees (a condition that has contributed substantially to California’s economic decline).

Most residents thus assume that Texas has been spared the burden of excessively powerful public unions. They’re wrong: the dirty secret in Texas is that public employees, especially those working in public safety, education, and large cities, are represented by powerful unions that promote the interests of their members at the expense of unsuspecting taxpayers.

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Spending

Jerry Brown Plays the ‘Frugal Adult’ While Quietly Spending by Carson Bruno.

It’s budget time again in Sacramento. And as is his wont, Governor Jerry Brown has attempted to signal a tone of frugality. While announcing the May Revise last week, Governor Brown confidently stated that “Cuts are coming over the next few years, and they’ll be big.” Why the warning? Because despite Brown’s much-touted “California Comeback,” his budget still has a $3.3 billion shortfall – smaller than previous deficits, but still notable given the state’s overall good economic health.

Importantly, this tone of frugality is more perception than reality. More political posturing and spin than math. Governor Brown and his team have convinced Sacramento that he is the “adult in the room” holding the line against out-of-control spending. But the numbers suggest otherwise.

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Related: The Grass Gets Greener: New Data Tells Old Story of Public-Employee Greed by Steven Greenhut.

Yet another prominent study highlights the depth of California’s and the nation’s pension crisis. The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a report on the “state pension funding gap” — i.e., the $1.1 trillion-dollar divide between the assets governments have set aside and the amount of liabilities they have amassed to pay for those shockingly generous public-employee pensions.

It should surprise no one that California’s systems are woefully underfunded, and that the nation’s most populous state has by far the largest overall pension liabilities in raw numbers. We’re in worse shape, percentage-wise, than some other union-dominated blue states such as New York (which has done a good job
funding its pensions), but in better shape than others. These debts keep growing everywhere, though, and piddling investment returns magnify the problem.

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TDS

All This Impeachment Talk Is Pure Trump Derangement Syndrome by Nick Gillespie.

That man in the White House is vulgar, disrespectul, maybe even dangerous. So what?

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Research

Pew Research by Jeff Sharlet.

To understand the political power of evangelicals, we must look beyond the pulpits.

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Failure

Failure to Thrive by Stephen Eide.

Since the 1960s, America has faced an epidemic of serious mental illness that represents a shameful chapter in social policymaking. Hundreds of billions spent on “mental health” programs have left many untreated, fated to eke out a pitiful existence on the institutional circuit of jails, homeless shelters, and psychiatric hospitals. We often take for granted that modern times are gentler than the dark days of the thumbscrew, lynchings, and public executions. Yet we have allowed scores of tormented men and women to suffer and die on city streets every year.

New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reckons that 239,000 adult residents suffer annually from “serious mental illness,” defined as “a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) that resulted in functional impairment that substantially interfered with or limited functioning in one or more major life activities.” The best-known serious mental illnesses are schizophrenia and bipolar depression—disorders of thought and mood, respectively. In 2012, more than 90,000 of New York’s seriously mentally ill went untreated.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio has made improving New Yorkers’ mental health a priority of his administration, but his ThriveNYC program repeats too many of the mistakes of the past and will deliver too little assistance to those in greatest need. Promising a “comprehensive solution to a pervasive problem,” ThriveNYC relies on an overly expansive definition of mental health and lacks focus. While de Blasio claims that public confusion about the nature of mental health makes matters worse, his plan will increase that confusion by blurring the lines between mental illness in its serious and mild forms, making too much out of “stigma,” and emphasizing prevention over treatment. De Blasio has committed more than $800 million to ThriveNYC, but these resources are spread too thin, across too many priorities. A better approach would focus more on helping the seriously mentally ill and less on ideological and political concerns.

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Psychopath

When Your Child Is a Psychopath by Barbara Bradley Hagerty.

The condition has long been considered untreatable. Experts can spot it in a child as young as 3 or 4. But a new clinical approach offers hope.

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