Links for 1-1-2017

  • Chicago ended 2016 with 762 homicides, an increase of nearly 300 from 2015. A former Chicago police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, blames the Black Lives Matter movement for the increase in violence across the country because it created a “political atmosphere of anti-police sentiment.”

  • Kevin Williamson writes Barack Obama’s final report card:

    In the eight years of his presidency, we have both abandoned and re-invaded Iraq, launched new engagements in the Middle East and in Africa, and contributed mightily to the mess in Syria with President Obama’s empty talk of “red lines” and sundry ultimata, none of which was taken seriously in Damascus — or Moscow, or Tehran, or Beijing, or Washington, for that matter. The United States and Russia are at the moment engaged in an escalating tit-for-tat confrontation over Moscow’s minor-league meddling in the presidential election, which is, of course, what President Obama really cares about: Vladimir Putin can annex Crimea and test out new weapons on civilians in Syria, but release a bucket of embarrassing DNC e-mails (the veracity of which is, incidentally, not in dispute) and the Obama administration swings into action.

    On foreign policy, the predictions of President Obama’s most trenchant conservative critics have come to pass: Neither our allies nor our enemies have confidence that we will say what we mean and do what we say. Beyond the squabble with Russia and the mess in Syria, our relations with Israel (speaking of meddling in elections overseas) are in tatters, our critical allies in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are both confused by our meandering indecision and alienated by the Obama administration’s pettiness and arrogance. The Europeans, who had hoped for so much from the Obama administration, have returned to their traditional view of the United States as the rich, powerful, oafish uncle kept at arm’s length until the moment of crisis, when he is irreplaceable.

  • A federal district court judge in Texas blocked enforcement of a new ObamaCare regulation that forbids discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” and “termination of pregnancy.” The plaintiffs argued that the regulation violates the Administrative Procedure Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

  • Timothy Walker wrote an interesting article on what happens to Finnish teachers who are transplanted to American classrooms. Finland has highly rated public schools, and their methods are different from you see in American public classrooms in the era of No Child Left Behind/Every Student Succeeds.

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claims his country is nearly ready to test intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

  • ISIS attacked an Iraqi police checkpoint near Najaf, killing seven policemen.

  • A gunman killed Burundi’s environment and water minister, Emmanuel Niyonkuru, in the capital as he was on his way home.