Friday Edition


There’s a clash between statistics that show crime’s going down and Americans’ perceptions that crime is getting worse. Case in point: New York City. (AP)

What New York City Mayor Eric Adams tweeted out on Wednesday: “Murders are DOWN. Shootings are DOWN. Transit crime is DOWN. Car thefts are DOWN. The safest big city in America just got even SAFER.”

The same day, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul responded to public outcry over a series of high-profile crimes on city trains by saying she’s sending the National Guard to patrol the Big Apple’s subways.

This points to a broader issue. Nationwide, violent crime fell 8% from 2022 to 2023. 77% of Americans believe crime got worse during that period.

So what explains this delta? Some people say crime’s actually worse than the statistics tell us. After all, we know in many places not all crimes get prosecuted (in 2022, Washington, D.C. only prosecuted 33% of arrests) — wouldn’t that show up in the crime data? We also know crime reporting isn’t perfect.

Crime data expert Jeff Asher: “That all crimes don’t get reported to the police is well known. The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) for 2022 found that 48 percent of violent crimes (as the FBI defines them) were reported to the police in 2022 and 31.8 percent of property crimes were reported to the police. The fact of underreporting of crime is undeniable.”

But Asher cautions against leaning too far into this direction. For one thing, crime statistics have been underreported for years, so this doesn’t explain the trend of violent crime decreasing.


The crime perception issue is tough because it’s inherently “vibes”-based and depends on where your takeoff point is. If you start at the 1990s, crime has fallen drastically. On the other hand, violent crime might have gone down last year, but murders surged 30% in 2020 and went up again in 2021. The fact is no amount of data will tell you what an “acceptable” level of crime is.

With political debates about U.S. education raging, the school choice movement keeps quietly racking up wins. (Montgomery Adviser)

Wednesday: Alabama lawmakers passed Republican Gov. Kay Ivey’s $100 million school choice plan, which will take effect in 2025-2026. Alabama is part of a recent explosion of states adopting universal school choice: Arizona and West Virginia in 2022, followed by eight other states in 2023.

  • Alabama’s CHOOSE Act will give parents up to $7,000 to spend on private tuition and other school expenses.

A lot of parents are unsatisfied with what public schools are offering, and it’s made them hungry for options. A survey in January found 72% of parents “considered new schools for their children last year–a 35% increase over 2022.” Some of it probably has to do with many schools adopting radical ideologies.

There’s been conflict. Conservative activists like Moms for Liberty have protested racial and gender ideology lessons in classrooms, and that’s led to (sometimes physical) clashes with liberals. It’s also led to controversial laws, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bans on “woke” instruction.


The powerful thing about school choice is it doesn’t frame the education issue in culture war terms. Joining the “war on woke” or signing onto Moms for Liberty comes with a lot of political baggage attached —everything from opposition to mask mandates to bans on books. But the concept of giving parents more choices is much less controversial.

Source: New York Times/Siena

People have stopped pretending Nikki Haley appeals to a broad swathe of the GOP, making it less and less clear how she was ever supposed to win a Republican primary. (Semafor)

As of Wednesday, a group that encouraged non-Republicans to vote for Haley is asking her supporters to back President Biden. The super PAC once known as Primary Pivot will now be called Haley Voters for Biden.

There’s plenty of data showing most of Haley’s support doesn’t come from Republicans:

  • Only 29% of Haley voters in the South Carolina primary were Republican, according to a CBS News exit poll.

  • A CNN exit poll found only 27% of Haley voters in New Hampshire were registered Republicans.

  • Nationwide, 48% of Haley supporters voted for Biden in 2020, compared to just 31% who voted for former President Trump.

Even when Haley’s prospects of beating Trump looked grim, wealthy donors kept throwing money at her. In the second half of 2023, Haley’s campaign raised $50.2 million, mostly from GOP megadonors.


Haley could very well beat Biden in a general election by an even greater margin than Trump, but unfortunately for her, that’s not how the nomination process works. Hindsight is 20/20 but the data coming out lately makes it seem pretty head scratching why anyone ever thought Haley could win a primary election. It also speaks to a major disconnect between GOP donors and Republican voters.

Are schools and businesses spending too much on diversity, equity and inclusion? (Washington Examiner)

The University of Virginia spends $20 million on salaries and benefits for DEI staff, according to a new analysis by spending watchdog Open the Books. The school’s global diversity officer rakes in a $451,000 yearly salary, at a taxpayer cost of nearly $600,000.

And UVA’s not alone.

  • University of Michigan: More than $30 million on its DEI payroll.

  • Ohio State: $20 million per year on DEI salaries.

  • University of Wisconsin: Close to $20 million on DEI salaries.

And it’s not just colleges paying diversity experts the big bucks. The top echelon of chief diversity officers in the U.S. make north of $300,000. The global diversity and inclusion market is projected to reach $24 billion by 2030.

But there’s not a lot of evidence that diversity initiatives do much good. A 2007 study of of 829 companies over a span of 31 years found diversity training had “no positive effects in the average workplace.” More recent studies have shown similar results.

A 2018 study on the impact of colleges hiring diversity officers: “We are unable to find significant statistical evidence that preexisting growth in diversity for underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups is affected by the hiring of an executive level diversity officer for new tenure and non-tenure track hires, faculty hired with tenure, or for university administrator hires.”


Recent controversies over in vitro fertilization have put pro-life Republicans in a bind regarding one of their fundamental positions: that life begins at conception/fertilization. (Axios)

Wednesday: Alabama’s Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed an IVF protection bill into law — a response to a controversial ruling by the state’s Supreme Court. Under that ruling, frozen embryos are considered children and fertility clinics could be sued for wrongful death for destroying them.

Like many pro-life Republicans, Ivey has said in the past she believes life begins at conception. The biggest pro-life groups in the country agree. So do at least 125 House Republicans, including current Speaker Mike Johnson.

Since the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling, the GOP has been mostly united in coming out in support of IVF. Johnson said yesterday Republicans “support IVF and full access to it.”

But it’s hard to square being pro-IVF and believing life begins at conception. The way that IVF functions today, some frozen embryos (fertilized eggs) almost inevitably end up being destroyed or abandoned in the process. Less than 25% of implanted embryos result in a live birth. That’s why many in the pro-life movement have spoken out against the procedure.

Louisiana Right to Life: “[There] are some concerns with reproductive technology that is available to us today because oftentimes other babies are killed to produce one healthy child. … Many eggs are fertilized in this controlled process to increase the chances of successful development. However, in most cases, only one fertilized egg is placed within the womb of the mother to be carried to term. The rest of the fertilized eggs, being property of the father and mother, are either frozen for later use or are donated to scientists for experiments. These scientists, then, let the zygote develop into a blastocyst. At the blasotcyst stage, they strip the stem cells from the human, leaving the blastocyst dead.”


Polling shows an overwhelming majority of Americans support IVF, so it’s understandable (if pretty cynical) that many pro-life Republicans are flipping on the issue. But a thorny question remains for the broader pro-life movement: do they abandon messaging on what’s been pretty much a default stance for years?

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