Thomas Sowell
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Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Is Charlton Heston a class act or what?

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, in the year 2000 median household income in the United States reached "the highest level ever recorded" up to that time. This included black and Hispanic incomes which "hit new all-time highs" for these groups. But did you hear this news reported in the media, amid all the gloom and doom?

I am so old that I can remember when other people's achievements were considered to be an inspiration, rather than a grievance.

Imagine that a genie magically appeared and offered to grant you one wish -- and, being a decent sort, you wished that everyone's income would be doubled. That could bring down on you the wrath of the political left, because it would mean that the gap between the rich and the poor had widened. That is basically their complaint against the American economy.

Since when do the duties of the president of the United States include giving Israel a grade on everything it does?

For years, there have been various proposals for dividing the controversial 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers an enormous amount of territory. My own preference would be to cut each 9th Circuit judge in half, with a few exceptions like Alex Kozinski.

Nothing provokes more angry letters from schoolteachers than saying that most college students who go into teaching are from the bottom half of their class. But author Martin Gross says the bottom third and Professor Diane Ravitch of NYU, the leading historian of American education, says that many are from the bottom quarter.

It is one of the signs of our times that a bill had to be passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush to say that a baby born alive is a person. What else would he be? A salamander? A mosquito? An otter? Still, it was a setback for the pro-abortion crowd, which may be why it was largely ignored in the media.

People who oppose letting workers invest their retirement money in stocks, instead of in Social Security, like to point to such things as the recent plunge in stock prices. But can you name any reputable mutual fund that a worker could have invested in over the past 30 or 40 years and gotten as low a return as from Social Security -- even if the worker retired on the day when the stock market reached its lowest point this year?

Anything that is "bipartisan" is almost certain to have mushy reasoning, if it has any reasoning at all.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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