Biden introduces Zelenskyy as Putin, confuses Harris with Trump

Source: Firstpost [India]

“US President Joe Biden delivered a barrage of gaffes yet again after he introduced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as ‘President Putin’ and referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as ‘Donald Trump.’ Biden made the gaffes while he was flanked by world leaders at the Nato Summit in Washington. The two goof-ups fueled further concerns about the president’s mental acuity. … The remarks from Biden came hours before his rare press conference in which he called the upcoming 2024 US Presidential elections a ‘make or break’ moment.” (07/12/24)

Yes In My Backyard: The Case for Housing Deregulation

Source: New York Times
by Bryan Caplan

“I would be the first to argue that if an economist claims to know of a cure-all policy — a reliable way to relieve a long list of social ills in one fell swoop — common sense tells you to stop listening. So it is awkward for me to declare that I know of something close to a panacea policy: one big reform that would raise living standards, reduce wealth inequality, increase productivity, raise social mobility, help struggling men without college degrees, clean the planet and raise birth rates. It’s a sweeping reform that Democrats and Republicans, progressives and conservatives could all proudly support. The panacea policy I have in mind is housing deregulation. Research confirms that there are large benefits in saying yes to tall buildings, yes to multifamily structures, yes to dense single-family development and yes to speedy permitting.” (07/11/24)

Palestine: Israeli forces pull back after Gaza City offensive

Source: Reuters

“Israeli forces retreated from some Gaza City districts overnight after a fierce, week-long military offensive, leaving dozens of dead and wrecked homes and roads in the Palestinian enclave’s biggest urban area, residents and rescue service said on Friday. The offensive, 10 months into Israel’s campaign to eliminate Hamas militants, took place as U.S.-backed mediators sought to finalise a peace deal that would free remaining hostages taken by the militants in their cross-border rampage on Oct. 7. The Gaza Civil Emergency Service said teams had collected around 60 bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past week from the area of Tel Al-Hawa and the edges of the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City.” (07/12/24)

The State vs. Homework

Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“Oy, the stress. Of doing stuff. It’s nonstop. If a California lawmaker gets her way, it will stop, though, at least in the schools. Or at least slow way down. Consider the pressure, the horrible grinding pressure of having to practice math problems, peer at chemical formulas, read assigned readings, summarize, spell, grammarize, memorize names and dates and Spanish vocabulary, and on and on and on … en casa.… It’s the kind of thing that can curdle a kid’s physical and mental health. Not to mention cut into playtime. So is the legislation AB2999 justified?” (07/11/24)

US consumer prices drop for first time since 2022

Source: Fortune

“Inflation in the United States cooled in June for a third straight month, a sign that the worst price spike in four decades is steadily fading and may soon usher in interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve. In a better-than-expected report from the government, consumer prices declined 0.1% from May to June after having remained flat the previous month, the government reported Thursday. And measured from 12 months earlier, prices were up 3% in June, down from 3.3% in May.” (07/11/24)

The State and Homework vs. Kids

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

“Almost any adult worker who spent eight hours a day on a factory floor or at an office desk, then was told to work another three hours from home each weeknight and six to eight hours on the weekend, ‘off the clock,’ would seek a salary re-negotiation or quit. The kids don’t get paid, and they’re not allowed to quit. Also, they’re kids, not adult workers. Kids need more, not less, sleep than adults. Kids need more, not less, time to play and socialize than adults. And at least some studies show that more than an hour of homework per day correlates with decreased, not enhanced, academic performance.” (07/11/24)

US cruise missiles to return to Germany, angering Moscow

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Long-range US missiles are to be deployed periodically in Germany from 2026 for the first time since the Cold War, in a decision announced at Nato’s 75th anniversary summit. The Tomahawk cruise, SM-6 and hypersonic missiles have a significantly longer range than existing missiles, the US and Germany said in a joint statement. Such missiles would have been banned under a 1988 treaty between the US and former Soviet Union, but the pact fell apart five years ago. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow would react with a ‘military reponse to the new threat.’ ‘This is just a link in the chain of a course of escalation,’ he argued, accusing Nato and the US of trying to intimidate Russia.” (07/11/24)

Is National Conservatism All That National?

Source: The Dispatch
by Kevin D Williamson

“The organizers of NatCon 4, the fourth annual conference of the so-called national conservatives, proudly announced Wednesday that they had set a record for attendance at the event — more than 1,000 people. I don’t mean this as a sneer at NatCon — there are better reasons to sneer at it — but that is not a very big number. …. that is about 0.7 percent of the typical size of the crowd at ComicCon in San Diego …. NatCon 4 might seem like a modestly big deal on a particular Wednesday, or maybe even a week hence. ‘Literature is news that stays news,’ Ezra Pound wrote. History, too. The trick is being able to tell what is big news and what is only current events.” (07/11/24)

UN report: Global population to peak within this century as birth rates fall

Source: CNBC

“The world population is on course to peak earlier than expected this century as some of the world’s largest countries face declining birth rates, according to the United Nations. According to the organization’s biennial World Population Prospects report, global population is projected to peak at around 10.3 billion in the mid-2080s from the current 8.2 billion. It is expected to gradually decline to 10.2 billion by 2100 — 6% lower than anticipated a decade ago. … Globally on average, women are having one child fewer than they did in 1990. In over half of all countries, the average number of live births per woman has fallen below 2.1, which marks the level required for a population to maintain a consistent size without migration.” (07/12/24)