Thomas Sowell was born in North Carolina and grew up in Harlem. As with many others in his neighborhood, Thomas Sowell left home early and did not finish high school. The next few years were difficult ones, but eventually he joined the Marine Corps and became a photographer in the Korean War. After leaving the service, Thomas Sowell entered Harvard University, worked a part-time job as a photographer and studied the science that would become his passion and profession: economics.
After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University (1958), Thomas Sowell went on to receive his master's in economics from Columbia University (1959) and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago (1968).
In the early '60s, Sowell held jobs as an economist with the Department of Labor and AT&T. But his real interest was in teaching and scholarship. In 1965, at Cornell University, Sowell began the first of many professorships. Thomas Sowell's other teaching assignments include Rutgers University, Amherst College, Brandeis University and the University of California at Los Angeles, where he taught in the early '70s and also from 1984 to 1989.
Thomas Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozen books, as well as numerous articles and essays, cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college. Moreover, much of his writing is considered ground-breaking -- work that will outlive the great majority of scholarship done today.
Though Thomas Sowell had been a regular contributor to newspapers in the late '70s and early '80s, he did not begin his career as a newspaper columnist until 1984. George F. Will's writing, says Sowell, proved to him that someone could say something of substance in so short a space (750 words). And besides, writing for the general public enables him to address the heart of issues without the smoke and mirrors that so often accompany academic writing.
In 1990, he won the prestigious Francis Boyer Award, presented by The American Enterprise Institute.
Currently Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, Calif.
The "war on women" political slogan is in fact a war against common sense.
Black journalist Chuck Stone was one of those people whose passing makes us think, "We shall not see his like again." He was passionately interested in racial issues but he was never a race hustler. He followed nobody's party line but called the issues as he saw them.
The recent Supreme Court decision over-ruling some Federal Election Commission restrictions on political campaign contributions has provoked angry reactions on the left. That is what often happens whenever the High Court rules that the First Amendment means what it says -- free speech for everybody.
Japan recently turned over to the United States enough weapons-grade nuclear material to make dozens of nuclear bombs.
Many people are lamenting the bad consequences of Barack Obama's foreign policy, and some are questioning his competence.
Recently former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice added her voice to those who have long been urging the Republican Party to reach out to black voters. Not only is that long overdue, what is also long overdue is putting some time -- and, above all, some serious thought -- into how to go about doing it.
At a time when polls show public opinion turning against the Democrats, some Republicans seem to be turning against each other. Even with the prospect of being able to win control of the Senate in this fall's elections, some Republicans are busy manufacturing ammunition for their own circular firing squad.
Professor Amy Chua of the Yale law school is better known as a "Tiger Mom" because of her take-no-prisoners, tough love approach to raising children. She and her husband Jed Rubenfeld (a fellow Yale law professor) have written what may turn out to be the best book of this year.
If anyone wanted to pick a time and place where the political left's avowed concern for minorities was definitively exposed as a fraud, it would be now -- and the place would be New York City, where far left Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched an attack on charter schools, cutting their funding, among other things.
There may be something to the claim that all people want to be free. But it is a demonstrable fact that freedom has been under attack, usually successfully, for thousands of years.
It seems as if, everywhere you turn these days, there are studies claiming to show that America has lost its upward mobility for people born in the lower socioeconomic levels. But there is a sharp difference between upward "mobility," defined as an opportunity to rise, and mobility defined as actually having risen.
Politics is often like war. Unfortunately, politicians, the media and the voting public seldom have the same degree of realism and discipline with which professional soldiers fight wars.
Senator Ted Cruz is a hero in some Republican circles -- and the opposite among many of his Senate Republican colleagues.
Freshman Senator Ted Cruz says many things that need to be said and says them well.
The Afghanistan government's recent release of dozens of imprisoned terrorists, many of whom had killed Americans, was a galling betrayal of those Americans who died defending Afghanistan against the Taliban terrorists -- as well as those Americans who have returned home with arms or legs missing, or with minds traumatized beyond repair.
Random thoughts on the passing scene: It is amazing how many people still fall for the argument that, if life is unfair, the answer is to turn more money and power over to politicians. Since life has always been unfair, for thousands of years and in countries around the world, where does that lead us?
Some supporters of President Obama may be worried about how he and the Democrats are going to fare politically, as the problems of ObamaCare continue to escalate, and it looks like the Republicans have a chance to win a majority in the Senate.
During a recent lunch in a restaurant, someone complimented my wife on the perfume she was wearing. But I was wholly unaware that she was wearing perfume, even though we had been in a car together for about half an hour, driving to the restaurant.
One of the things that attracted me to the political left, as a young man, was a belief that leftists were for "the people." Fortunately, I was also very interested in the history of ideas -- and years of research in that field repeatedly brought out the inescapable fact that many leading thinkers on the left had only contempt for "the people."
Since this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the "war on poverty," we can expect many comments and commemorations of this landmark legislation in the development of the American welfare state.
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