Author: Christopher Carr
Capitalism is the perfect companion to social democracy because you can vote with your wallet. Here is how my wallet voted this past year…
It was close to midnight on the coast of Libya, a few miles west of Tripoli. At the water’s edge, armed Libyan smugglers pumped air into thirty-foot rubber dinghies. Some three thousand refugees and migrants, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, silent and barefoot, stood nearby in rows of ten. Oil platforms glowed in the Mediterranean.
The Libyans ordered male migrants to carry the inflated boats into the water, thirty on each side. They waded in and held the boats steady as a smuggler directed other migrants to board, packing them as tightly as possible. People in the center would suffer chemical burns if the fuel leaked and mixed with water. Those straddling the sides could easily fall into the sea. Officially, at least five thousand and ninety-eight migrants died in the Mediterranean last year, but Libya’s coastline is more than a thousand miles long, and nobody knows how many boats sink without ever being seen. Several of the migrants had written phone numbers on their clothes, so that someone could call their families if their bodies washed ashore.
The smugglers knelt in the sand and prayed, then stood up and ordered the migrants to push off. One pointed to the sky. “Look at this star!” he said. “Follow it.” Each boat left with only enough fuel to reach international waters.
In one dinghy, carrying a hundred and fifty people, a Nigerian teen-ager named Blessing started to cry. She had travelled six months to get to this point, and her face was gaunt and her ribs were showing. She wondered if God had visited her mother in dreams and shown her that she was alive. The boat hit swells and people started vomiting. By dawn, Blessing had fainted. The boat was taking on water.
Last week, I spoke on the phone with Ann Kerr, the longtime manager of the Fulbright Scholar Enrichment Program at U.C.L.A. and the mother of the Golden State Warriors’ coach, Steve Kerr. Ann and I had originally been scheduled to talk a few days earlier, but there was a shooting on the U.C.L.A. campus—a former Ph.D. student had killed an engineering professor and then himself—and we’d had to postpone.
“Events at U.C.L.A. have been unsettling for everyone,” Kerr wrote to me in an e-mail asking to reschedule. “But for me it brought back memories of January 18, 1984 on the A.U.B. campus.” On that day, Malcolm Kerr, Ann’s husband and Steve’s father, was assassinated by members of Islamic Jihad, a precursor of Hezbollah, outside his office at the American University of Beirut, where he was president.
Later, when we spoke, Ann Kerr revisited that day. She remembered getting word that Malcolm had been shot, and rushing to his office, where she saw him lying on the ground. It was a rainy day, and she remembers biting down on the handle of her umbrella on the way to the hospital.
“I looked at the historic clock tower and I thought, why is that clock still ticking?” she said. “Malcolm is killed; everything is going to come to a standstill.”
Dallas Votes to Zone 30-year-old Garage Out of Biz. To Make Way for “Starbucks and Macaroni Grill” · Change.org
Today, the Dallas City Council voted to deny a request by Hinga’s Automotive for a specific use permit. The request came after the city changed the zoning for the mechanic shop and did not offer any compensation for voting to drive it off of its land. Hinga’s Automotive received widespread support, including signatures of more than 82,000 Americans.
In denying the specific use permit, Dallas City Councilman Rickey Callahan, a real estate developer, explained his vote, saying that Dallas needed to use this power and interfere with the rights of people like Hinga Mbogo in order to attract businesses like Starbucks and the Macaroni Grill.