Money also talked in higher education, and many professors squawked when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, whose state faces a $1.6 billion deficit, proposed a 41 percent cut to the University of Alaska System. Some institutions, though, have found ways to grow despite a backlash against academic radicalism: Grab grants and contract dollars from Muslim countries. According to the Department of Education, the two top recipients just happen to be in Washington, D.C.: From 2011 to 2018 Georgetown took in $378 million and George Washington University (GWU) $101 million.
The problem, though, is that money influences curriculum, sometimes with fatal results. As journalists wondered why Monica Witt, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence specialist, allegedly committed espionage at Iran’s behest, some pointed to her master’s degree in Middle East studies at GWU. Witt apparently headed left while serving in Iraq, but The New York Times reported that her radicalization “accelerated while she was in graduate school”: When she attacked American foreign policy in class, “everyone just kind of sat and watched.”
Professors are not responsible for the wrong turns of their students, but they should demand that students back up their claims—and sometimes, like catchers in the rye, they can help them not to fall off cliffs. And who now can help Jussie Smollett, a main character on Empire, a Fox soap opera, who allegedly made up a mugging story? Some say he wanted more money, others more significance: In either case his grab for “victimhood chic” left him potentially facing a prison sentence. (But after the “assault” a surveillance camera showed Smollett still holding onto his Subway sandwich: Great product placement, guys.)
What of the New York City unemployed who hoped to work at a new Amazon headquarters? The battle between socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who want more jobs only if government controls them and liberals who practiced crony capitalism and offered Amazon $3 billion in benefits for coming to town was something to behold. The rest of us could only gape in this remake of a King Kong vs. Godzilla movie that ended with Amazon pulling out, as if it were a massive snowflake unable to take any heat.
Some good news emerged from the BosWash corridor. For all his ethical flaws, President Trump is becoming consistently pro-life in words and actions. He berated Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., for supporting abortion, even though Coons calls himself “a devout Presbyterian.” (Politico reported that Trump was “in his face about it … extremely worked up.”) And Trump is putting federal money where his mouth is: A new administrative rule is likely to make it much harder for Planned Parenthood to treat the U.S. Treasury as its piggy bank.
And some good news from flyover country: With all the sad news of New York and other states removing protection from babies born alive after failed abortions, it’s good that Arizonans on Feb. 20 pushed back against the trend. When Phoenix legislator Raquel Teran introduced a bill that would repeal a law requiring that physicians try to preserve the life of such a baby, 200 Arizonans showed up in front of the state Capitol to oppose the change.
Here’s where inches really mattered: Some Arizonans wore T-shirts declaring that “Baby Lives Matter” and “A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small.” The legislative committee agreed: It voted 8-0 to kill the bill.
—with Arizona reporting by Victoria Johnson