What if you learned your father was a tyrant, a megalomaniac, a mass murderer? Jay Nordlinger’s Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators is a fascinating and at times ghoulish study of evil that may make your skin crawl, but it is also a book about people and the highly unusual situation these individuals share in common.
Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review, writing the "Impromptus" column, and music critic of The New Criterion. In his book he surveys 20 of the most horrific dictators: Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on, and investigates what kind of lives their offspring have made for themselves. Some were loyalists who admired their father. Some actually succeeded them as dictator. A few were critics, even defectors. What they all have in common, Nordlinger shows, is the prison house of tainted privilege and the legacy of dubious deference. Nordlinger will also discuss the current political scene.
Nordlinger’s previous book was: Peace, They Say, a history of the Nobel Peace Prize. In his journalism, Nordlinger writes about a variety of subjects, including politics, foreign affairs, and the arts. He writes a column called “Impromptus.” In 2011, he filmed The Human Parade, with JayNordlinger, a television series bringing hour-long interviews with various personalities. National Review Books published a collection of his writings, Here, There & Everywhere. A native Michigander, Nordlinger lives in New York.
In 2015, New Mexico became one of the first states to largely abolish civil asset forfeiture. The legislature unanimously passed and Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill requiring that a person be convicted of a criminal offense before having his or her property seized. The reform was perhaps surprising given the state's record: Since 2008, New Mexico law enforcement agencies have spent $24.5 million in seized funds.
Despite facing serious opposition from federal, state, and local levels of law enforcement, New Mexico's civil forfeiture reform has signaled serious changes for the state's criminal justice system.
Can New Mexico policymakers use this momentum from enacting civil asset forfeiture reform not only to defend their hard-earned gains but to provide a springboard towards additional, meaningful criminal justice reforms in the state? What other areas of reform are necessary to increase public safety and reduce the high cost of both crime and incarceration? How can New Mexico's reform serve as a model for the rest of the United States?
Please join the Charles Koch Institute and the Rio Grande Foundation for dinner and a discussion on the future of justice in New Mexico, featuring remarks from those involved in the reform process.
About The Event:
While at a recent conference with fellow free market think tanks, I sat down with Caleb Brown of the Cato Institute to discuss New Mexico's successful reform of the State's civil asset asset forfeiture laws.
The podcast is just a few minutes in length and can be found below.
There has been a decent amount of discussion in New Mexico over the future of Amtrak's Southwest Chief. The train runs on the tracks that were purchased by the State for the Rail Runner and run from Raton in the north through Albuquerque. The train then runs West through Gallup and Grants, but New Mexico doesn't own those tracks.
Amtrak is demanding improvements to the tracks or they won't run the trains anymore. As noted in the story, Gov. Martinez put up $1 million of our tax dollars as a "down payment" on the $4 million annually that Amtrak is asking for states through which the Southwest Chief runs.
The interview is below. My interview starts around the halfway mark. One interesting note is that the reporter who did the story is based out of Los Angeles. Even though the Southwest Chief travels between New Mexico and Los Angeles, as he notes, he flew home.
"Liberty on the Rocks" is a no-host happy hour discussion and information-sharing session.
Liberty on the Rocks will be held at Scalo Northern Italian Grill which is located in Nob Hill at 3500 Central Avenue SE in Albuquerque. A private room has been reserved for this event. Liberty on the Rocks will take place on Monday, September 21st from 6:00 to 7:30PM.
There is no cost for this public event, but attendees are encouraged to have dinner or drinks. Registration is not required but is much appreciated. Click here to register online ... it's fast and it's free!
The Rio Grande Foundation is an unabashedly free market organization, often labeled “conservative.” That doesn’t mean that we don’t agree with the political left on various policy issues, but it does mean that opportunities for such agreement require an honest assessment of reform opportunities and principles.
An ever-growing area on which left and right might agree is occupational licensing and the ever-increasing thicket of regulations facing workers as they attempt to make an honest living. This has been an issue of interest to free market advocates going back to the 1970s and economist Milton Friedman.
In a sign that at least some liberals are starting to see Friedman’s point of view, President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors recently released a report called “Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers.”
The report detailed some of the very real problems with occupational licensing. As the paper concluded:
There is evidence that licensing requirements raise the price of goods and services, restrict employment opportunities, and make it more difficult for workers to take their skills across State lines. Too often, policymakers do not carefully weigh these costs and benefits when making decisions about whether or how to regulate a profession through licensing.
Furthermore, as the report noted, there has been an explosion in the area of professional licensing. More than one-quarter of U.S. workers now require a license to do their jobs, with most of these workers licensed by the states. The share of workers licensed at the State level has risen five-fold since the 1950s. About two-thirds of this increase stems from an increase in the number of professions that require a license.
Most of the media’s attention has been focused on the ongoing scandal at the top of Albuquerque Public Schools. Unfortunately, an issue with much larger long-term ramifications was voted on by the APS board – minus Peggy Muller-Aragon, who opposed the move.
The issue is of course paying district employees “political pay” for serving in the Legislature. Apparently, a majority of the board recognized an opportunity to increase its influence in Santa Fe at taxpayer expense.
Currently, four legislators are employed by the school district. Those include Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque; Rep. Patricio Ruiloba, D-Albuquerque; and Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Tim Lewis, R-Rio Rancho. Unlike the others, Lewis has not accepted his pay as a teacher in recent years when serving in Santa Fe and presumably will continue to do the same despite the district’s move.
This is a classic case of a taxpayer-funded entity working to further its own political interests at the expense of those who pay the bills. After all, APS already has lobbyists patrolling the halls in Santa Fe, why not add a few more APS-paid legislators into the mix when it comes time to vote on education budgets?