The Small Man in Gracie Mansion

If Vox.com were granted the divine power to craft their perfect politician from scratch, the famously self-assured liberal website could still not have conceived of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. A little man somehow occupying a grand office, the mayor occupies himself with every manner of minutia and frivolities – all of which he appears to think are of more importance than managing the affairs of the city he was elected to govern.The progressive’s progressive, de Blasio wages a relentless war on progress. The latest front in the battle to contain the excesses of innovation comes in the form of the mayor’s determination to regulate the competing ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber. In a gift to the city’s Paleolithic livery drivers’ union, de Blasio has proposed compelling these services to cough up $1,000 to the city in order to get approval to upgrade the user interface on their smartphone applications. The proposal is a stab at the heart of these services’ ability to innovate. What is today a process that develops at the speed of thought and ingenuity would, under the mayor’s proposal, become a draconian slog through a bureaucratic morass.

0
Shares
Google+ Print

The Small Man in Gracie Mansion

Must-Reads from Magazine

But She Fights

A Trump of their own.

There were many arguments for opposing Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, but the retort usually boiled down to a single glib sentence: “But he fights.”

24
Shares
Google+ Print

Politicians Need Free Speech Too

A lesson from Finland.

High-ranking politicians are entitled to freedom of speech and conscience. That shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but it often is, especially in European countries where the range of acceptable views is narrow–and narrowing. Just ask Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, who spent the summer fighting off an investigation into his participation at an anti-abortion vigil in Canada. On Friday, Soini survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament over the issue.

19
Shares
Google+ Print

Planet Earth Dodges a Bullet

Banality and evil.

A week ago, I wondered what was going on in Sunspot, New Mexico. The FBI had swept into this mountain-top solar observatory, complete with Black Hawk helicopters, evacuated everyone, and closed the place down with no explanation whatever. Local police were politely told to butt out. It was like the first scene in a 1950’s Hollywood sci-fi movie, probably starring Walter Pidgeon.

4
Shares
Google+ Print

The Unprincipled Boycott of Israel

The demands of the politicized life.

John Cheney-Lippold, an associate professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan, has been the subject of withering criticism of late, but I’m grateful to him. Yes, he shouldn’t have refused to write a recommendation for a student merely because the semester abroad program she was applying to was in Israel. But at least he exposed what the boycott movement is about, aspects of which I suspect some of its blither endorsers are unaware.

26
Shares
Google+ Print

The Low, Low Price of Serfdom

Nothing ventured.

Convenience, wrote Columbia University law professor Tim Wu, is a tyrant. It makes our lives easier and more enjoyable, but everything comes with a price tag. We may not recognize that which we are sacrificing in the pursuit of convenience, but we are sacrificing nonetheless.

13
Shares
Google+ Print