The recent death of Gene Wilder prompted the theatrical re-release of two of his most popular movies. For those unfamiliar with the great comic actor on the big screen, that new release yielded much more than a windfall of laughs.
Lloyd Billingsley | All Articles
- Subscribe to RSS
Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, and Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield.
In the early 1960s, a French militant group—the Organisation de l’armée secrète (OAS)—sought to prevent Algerian independence and launched a campaign of terror and assassination that claimed some 2,000 victims. As Frederick Forsyth noted in his 1971 novel The Day of the Jackal, the OAS perceived France’s “vast bureaucracies” as a glaring weakness in national security, and that impression proved relevant for the USA 30 years after the book appeared.
The International Olympic Committee banned Russian athletes from this summer’s Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but doping scandals are hardly new. Athletes who had to give up Olympic medals for illicit drugs include 100 meter world-record holder Ben Johnson of Canada (1988), five-time track and field medalist Marion Jones of the United States (2000), and biathlon competitor Olga Medvedtseva of Russia (2006).
As the world knows, back on June 11, Omar Mateen, an American-born Muslim, entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and shot to death 49 people, the worst mass shooting in American history. President Obama remained skeptical about Mateen’s motivation and quickly focused on gun control.
On his historic visit to Cuba back in March, President Obama lamented American policies such as the longstanding trade embargo. This fit the president’s pattern of apologizing for past American actions abroad. Many doubtless deserve criticism, but the president can find a better theme for apology in the actions and policies of his own administration on the domestic scene. After nearly eight years, embattled American taxpayers might be able to spot a few problems.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s last Republican governor, claimed his Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 would set an example for the world. That outcome remains uncertain, but the former governor may have set a new standard in cronyism by reducing the prison sentence of a violent criminal.
When Nancy Reagan passed away last month, Mitt Romney said her passing marked a final goodbye to the days of Ronald Reagan, who rose to prominence in Hollywood films. That may well be, but last month’s Academy Awards may have waved goodbye to a longstanding practice, the blacklisting of Communist reality in American movies.
The California Coastal Commission, by some accounts the most powerful land-use agency in the nation, is a squad of regulatory zealots that menaces property rights. On the other hand, this unelected body has now set a good example for powerful federal bureaucracies.
Under serial governor Jerry Brown, California has enjoyed a mild economic resurgence and this year could overtake Brazil for the world’s seventh-largest economy. Even so, few now look to the Golden State for leadership, and this month California demonstrates why this is the case.
As the U.S. Supreme Court reconsiders the role of race in college admissions, California prepares to mark a key anniversary. Twenty years ago California voters banned racial and ethnic preferences in college admissions, government hiring, and government contracting.
The eponymous protagonist of Trumbo, a new drama starring Bryan Cranston in the title role, comes billed as a blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter and a hero of sorts. Moviegoers may be surprised to learn that Dalton Trumbo was much more than that.
People come from far and wide to see killer whales perform at SeaWorld San Diego, where Shamu delighted audiences for many years. As SeaWorld seeks to expand, activists seek to shut it down by leveraging the state’s regulatory zealots.
This month California homeowners receive property tax bills marked OPEN IMMEDIATELY. Golden State government is always in a hurry to grab people’s money, but the real story is California’s ongoing tax counterrevolution under governor Jerry Brown.
A federal patent examiner recently made news for doing no work for 18 weeks while getting paid his full salary. In similar style, senior policy advisor John Beale of the Environmental Protection Agency told his bosses he worked for the CIA and did no work for two and a half years, receiving not only his full salary but some $500,000 in bonuses. Those cases may be hard to top, but California is giving it a shot.
California is making a strong case that its pillage people – tax collectors, that is – are the worst in the nation. Should that be doubted, consider the Golden State’s enduring campaign against inventor Gilbert Hyatt, who in 1990 was awarded the patent for the first single-chip microprocessor.
Unfunded pension liabilities are soaring to $4.7 trillion nationwide, and are already beginning to crowd out key public services. Attempts to deny this reality are failing badly, but they have provided some enlightenment for taxpayers.
Democrats are divided over President Obama’s new Trans-Pacific trade deal, but AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka doesn’t like it at all. “This agreement is not worthy of the American people and the American worker,” Trumka recently told Gwen Ifill of the PBS NewsHour. For their part, the American people and the American worker might question Mr. Trumka’s presumption to speak for them.
President of the United States Barack Obama is on record that his administration is the most transparent in American history. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way, as his former senior advisor David Axelrod confirms in Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, published with great fanfare in February. But “Axe,” as the president calls him, does include some important lessons, especially for the political operative’s former colleagues in journalism.
President Obama doubtless plans for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to be the keystone of his legacy. That calls for an examination of Obamacare’s largest wholly-owned subsidiary. Covered California turns out to be something of a misnomer, but it’s definitely a success at spending money.
Democrat Mark DeSaulnier, 62, a former California state senator, is the new U.S. Representative for California’s 11th district. Those seeking a sense of what the congressman is about might consider his experience with the new $6.5 billion eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.