An Appreciation of Appreciations

A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century By William F. Buckley Jr. Edited by James Rosen (Crown Forum, 357 pages, $22) Had there never been a William F. Buckley Jr., American conservatism would look very different—and so might the world. “All great biblical stories begin with Genesis,” George Will wrote in the […]

License to Kill Opportunity

In Alabama, we expect—quite rightly—our fellow citizens to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. But what if there is a barrier between citizens and their boots, blocking them from reaching the straps? And what if that barrier is unwarranted, put there by the state without good reason? The answer, of course, is that this […]

Looking at the Lottery Math

“Which is the most immoral,” Governor Robert Bentley mused philosophically to the press last week, “buying five lottery tickets with money you earned or allowing a child to die?” A state lottery in Alabama is “the only real choice,” he warned ominously. “There is no plan B.” Governor Bentley was making an extremely serious argument, to […]

Diplomas of Duplicity, Revisited

“That’s one of the things that gives me a great peace about leaving.” So spoke Tommy Bice, Alabama’s outgoing superintendent of education, about the graduation rate of public-school students in our state on a recent appearance on Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal. That something which should induce nightmares is being spun as imparting “great peace” […]

Diplomas of Duplicity

Two weeks ago, Tommy Bice announced his plans to step down as Alabama’s superintendent of education. Reflecting on his tenure, Bice singled out one accomplishment with especial pride: the nearly 90% graduation rate of public-school students in Alabama. This is not, however, an accomplishment that should be celebrated: it will go down as the most […]

The Cultivation of Our Children

Christmas is a time for rejoicing and reflection. Both are manifest in one of the last poems written by T. S. Eliot, “The Cultivation of Christmas Trees,” a majestic work that deserves revisiting every Christmastime. “The child wonders at the Christmas Tree,” the speaker of Eliot’s poem observes, recalling “the glittering rapture, the amazement / […]