According to a recent report in The New York Times, Health and Human Services Department officials have been circulating a proposal to define sex. Their memo says, "Sex means a person's status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth." They add, "The sex listed on a person's birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person's sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence." I think the latter statement lacks complete rigor. It's chromosomes, not what's on a birth certificate, that determine one's sex. Therefore, if a fetus has XX chromosomes, a female is born, and if a fetus has XY chromosomes, a male is born.

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s2smodern

In describing the GOP tax cuts, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that they and bonuses American workers were getting were "crumbs." They were "tax cuts for the rich." Some argued that the tax cuts would reduce revenues. Pelosi predicted, "This thing will explode the deficit." How about some tax facts?

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s2smodern

Democrats are hoping the coming election will give them a majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans and much of our nation dread that prospect. My question is: What would a House majority mean for the Democrats? Let's look at it.

To control the House of Representatives, Democrats must win at least 218 seats, which many predict as being likely. To control the Senate, Democrats must win enough seats to get to 51, which many predict is unlikely. Let's say the Democrats do take the House. If they were to pass a measure that Republicans in both houses didn't like and President Donald Trump didn't like, either, he could use his veto pen. To override Trump's veto, Democrats would need to meet the U.S. Constitution's requirement that they muster a two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives (290 votes) and a two-thirds vote in the Senate (67 votes). Neither would be likely.

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Thirteen states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia -- have enacted laws to combat what is seen as price gouging in the wake of natural disasters. Price gouging is legally defined as charging 10 to 25 percent more for something than you charged for it during the month before an emergency. Sellers convicted of price gouging face prison terms and fines.

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s2smodern

A widely anticipated textbook, "Universal Economics," has just been published by Liberty Fund. Its authors are two noted UCLA economists, the late Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen. Editor Jerry L. Jordan was their student and later became a member of President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, as well as the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Professor Alchian was probably the greatest microeconomic theorist of the 20th century, while Professor Allen's genius was in the area of international trade and the history of economic thought. Both were tenacious mentors of mine during my student days at UCLA in the mid-1960s and early '70s.

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President Barack Obama's first education secretary, Arne Duncan, gave a speech on the 45th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where, in 1965, state troopers beat and tear-gassed hundreds of peaceful civil rights marchers who were demanding voting rights. Later that year, as a result of widespread support across the nation, the U.S. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. Secretary Duncan titled his speech "Crossing the Next Bridge." Duncan told the crowd that black students "are more than three times as likely to be expelled as their white peers," adding that Martin Luther King would be "dismayed."

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s2smodern

I'm thankful that increasing attention is being paid to the dire state of higher education in our country. Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has just published "The Diversity Delusion." Its subtitle captures much of the book's content: "How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture." Part of the gender pandering at our universities is seen in the effort to satisfy the diversity-obsessed National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, each of which gives millions of dollars of grant money to universities. If universities don't make an effort to diversify their science, technology, engineering and math (known as STEM) programs, they risk losing millions in grant money.

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Mike Scruggs