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SPENGLER: Uber’s Death Car and the Cracks in Liberal Culture.

Industry experts know that driverless cars are more hype than reality. As I noted earlier this week in Asia Times: “The Information, a consulting organization that showcases industry specialists, recently held a conference call on self-driving where one expert warned: ‘You have to remember that self-driving does not work, at least in… a highly functional, driverless robotaxi sense. It does not work. And there are many folks clamoring for architectures to get there. Again, think back to flight. Do you ever watch those YouTube videos where the guy pumping the umbrella and the dude with a big corkscrew and the person with the bird wings? I would think of it more that way. It is left to be seen which one of those architectures gets you to a useful outcome.'”

That is cold comfort to the family of Ms. Herzberg, whose death we can watch in a real-life horror movie. It is probable that improved sensors and communications might be able to prevent this sort of accident in the future; the sort of situations which AI never will master are things like lane changes in traffic in which one driver has to communicate intention to other drivers in order to avoid collisions.

But that is now beside the point. The cultural damage done by the Utopian vision of brain-as-a-machine is enormous, and the skepticism with which the public now must view Artificial Intelligence is a healthy corrective.

Read the whole thing.

ELIZABETH WARREN’S RESEARCH HARDEST HIT: Study: Medical bankruptcies may not be as common as thought.

Medical bills can push patients over the financial cliff, but a new study says this may not happen as often as previous research suggests.

Hospitalizations cause only about 4 percent of personal bankruptcies among non-elderly U.S. adults, according to an analysis published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This contrasts with previous research by former Harvard professor and current U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others that pointed to medical reasons as the trigger for more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies.

Background on Elizabeth Warren’s shady research here. Remember that her conclusions were among the major arguments for ObamaCare.

Related: ” I don’t know which is worse: the notion that Elizabeth Warren understood what she was doing, or the notion that she didn’t.”

I should note that Gail Heriot exposed Warren’s research as bogus back in 2006, but the Post continued to hold her up. Had the more-or-less fraudulent nature of her work gotten national attention then, would Warren be a Senator today? Would ObamaCare have passed?

THIS ALL SEEMS TO HAVE STARTED AFTER TRUMP’S TRIP TO SAUDI ARABIA, WHERE THE PRESS COMMENTARY WAS MOSTLY FOCUSED ON MAKING FUN OF THE “ORB” PICTURE: The Saudis Take On Radical Islam: The crown prince charts a course toward moderation, which prevailed before the 1979 attack on Mecca.

The year 1979 was a watershed for the Middle East. Iranian revolutionaries overthrew the shah, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and Sunni Islamic extremists tried to take over the Grand Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holiest shrine. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hadn’t been born, but he is fighting the ghosts of 1979 as he dramatically reforms the kingdom.

The attempted takeover of Mecca was a defining event in my country, mainly because of what happened next. Saudi rulers, fearing Iran’s revolutionary example, decided to give more space to the Salafi clerical establishment in hope of countering the radicals. Traditional Salafi preachers are neither violent nor political, but they hold a rigid view of Islam. Their legal rulings and attempts to police morals made the kingdom increasingly intolerant, setting back the gradual opening up that had occurred in the 1960s and ’70s.

In Saudi schools, education was largely in the hands of foreign nationals, many with Muslim Brotherhood backgrounds. In the 1960s and ’70s, Saudi Arabia was more concerned with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Arab nationalism than with Islamist radicalism. Thus the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t much of a worry. But the combination of the brotherhood’s political outlook and the rigid Salafi doctrine injected a virus into the Saudi education system. That virus allowed Osama bin Laden to recruit 15 Saudis to take part in that terrible deed on Sept. 11, 2001. We Saudis failed those young men, and that failure had global implications.

The Salafi clerics and Muslim Brotherhood imports also worked in concert as they were given unsupervised access to private donations to fund mosques and madrasas from Karachi to Cairo, where they generally favored the most conservative preachers.

The policy makers’ idea was simple: Give the political Islamists and their Salafi affiliates room to influence educational, judicial and religious affairs, and we will continue to control foreign policy, the economy, and defense. Saudi rulers were handling the hardware, while radicals rewrote the nation’s software. Saudi society, and the Muslim world, is still reeling from the effects.

I can attest that when the Saudi money hit northern Nigeria, the Islam there went from a rather mellow Sufi variety to, well, Boko Haram. Even if all that happens is the Saudis stop funding and promoting radical Islam worldwide, that will be huge. Remember, after the Soviet Union folded, all sorts of “grassroots, authentic” terrorist movements dried up along with the Soviet funding. Something similar could happen here.

STEPHEN L. CARTER: Farewell to Toys ‘R’ Us, and an Era of Play.

For a while, Toys ‘R’ Us prospered. Still, the handwriting was on the wall. The chain continued to dominate the toy industry for another decade and a half, but then began to slip. In 1990, 25 percent of all toys sold in the U.S. were purchased at Toys ‘R’ Us. A decade later, as the figure slipped well below 20 percent, Walmart Inc. surged ahead. The stores themselves were aging, and the company took a $495 million charge against earnings to spruce them up. 2 Worried about the rise of EToys (does anyone remember EToys?) and American Girl (sold at the time exclusively through the mail), Toys ‘R’ Us moved expensively and not very successfully into online and direct marketing. Meanwhile, high-volume, low-margin retailers like Walmart and Kmart were discounting toys to get consumers into the stores, then offering them a full-service experience that Toys ‘R’ Us couldn’t match.

In 2006, the chain was taken private, but the new owners were never able to reinvigorate its sales, or, for that matter, to get it out from under $5 billion in debt. In September, the company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and now, after a disastrous holiday season, the owners are giving up. Seeking a cause for its demise, Toys ‘R’ Us has cast the blame upon its competitors — particularly Inc. and Walmart — which is a little like saying I’d have won the golf tournament if not for all those guys with the lower scores.

But the chain’s biggest foe was neither nimbler retailers nor that heavy debt load. It was the undermining of the very concept of the toy. . . .

Well, toys that talk and blink a chain could still stock, albeit at a fearsome discount to compete with online retailers. But when a toy as a tangible thing to be manipulated yielded to a toy as a digital presence with which a child interacted via a multipurpose device, the idea of a toy store was in its death throes. As we learned from the demise of video and record chains, that which is downloadable needs no physical presence to be sold. And nowadays even very young children prefer the touchable screen to the touchable toy. Apart from a niche here and there, toy stores no longer serve any discernible function.


STANDARDS: “But breaching the privacy of an intimate relationship seemed worth doing to gynecologist Jen Gunter (writing in the NYT), because it was the male who (from her perspective) lacked interest in having sex. . . . This one individual deserves to have his personal story told in the NYT because in general people have a stereotype that the man is the one who wants sex all the time and it’s women with the lack-of-interest limitation. That’s such an awful basis for betrayal. . . . In the old days, that was called gossiping, and it was considered wrong. Then came consciousness-raising sessions and, later, telling your stories about all the sexual things. . . . Imagine a man telling a similar tale about a woman: I scheduled a night for sex and I got in bed naked, but she didn’t give me sex. What would people say? Who the hell does this guy think he is?! At best! I could imagine him getting denounced in full-on #MeToo mode.”

Remember: A man wants more sex than his wife? Men are awful! A man wants less sex than his wife? Men are awful!

Plus, from the comments: “I have asked myself, in this metoo moment, what is the analogous tendency in women to man’s lust which, when allowed to run to excess, becomes harmful and indecent? My answer was gossip.”

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THE LEFT WAS AGAINST BULLYING: Parkland Survivors Attack Dana Loesch’s Children.

AN AMAZING THREAD ON the students who attacked Christina Hoff Sommers’ speech at Lewis & Clark Law. I remember when the National Lawyers Guild was all-in for free speech. Of course, back then it was free speech for commies.

On the protesters, Ann Althouse comments: “Notice that they’re at their best when they create an atmosphere of unreason. When some people try to reason with them and invite them into a middle position of engaging in debate — which really isn’t fair to the speaker — they look baffled and — like so many law students in so many law school classrooms throughout the ages — woefully unprepared.”

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN DEMOCRATS CARED ABOUT MINORITY RIGHTS: Colorado Governor ‘Can Count on One Hand’ Teachers Who’ve Wanted to be Armed.

WHY IS SILICON VALLEY CRUELLY EXPLOITING PEOPLE? ‘Success’ on YouTube Still Means a Life of Poverty: You can have a million views a month and still not be able to make rent. But: “One in 3 British children age 6 to 17 told pollsters last year that they wanted to become a full-time YouTuber. That’s three times as many as those who wanted to become a doctor or a nurse.”

Related: ‘I wanted to be an Instagram star… but I ended up a financial wreck’: Woman, 26, reveals how her debts spiraled as she paid for luxury holidays, the best clothes and amazing restaurants on her quest to be a social media star.. Remember, these platforms are designed to be addictive. There should probably be lawsuits and Congressional investigations. For the children!

HMM: Senate Key Race alert: Texas is no longer Solid Republican.

Beto O’Rourke versus Ted Cruz:

The Democratic underdog from El Paso outraised the first-term Republican senator and former presidential candidate by $1.5 million — $2.3 million to $800,000 — from the beginning of 2018 through mid-February. That impressive fundraising haul comes after O’Rourke also outpaced Cruz in the closing quarter of 2017, $2.4 million to $1.8 million.

Cruz still holds a clear advantage in the race. When it comes to cash on hand, Cruz leads O’Rourke by a little more than $1 million.

The Republican also has recent Texas electoral history on his side. Democrats haven’t won a statewide election there since Bob Bullock’s re-election as lieutenant governor in 1994. The last Democrat elected to the US Senate from Texas? Lloyd Bentsen in 1988.

O’Rourke is hoping to end the Democratic skid by running a different kind of campaign, embracing his punk rock roots. He’s been traveling from one event to another in a car with aides, listening to Spotify and sharing it all with the world via Facebook and Twitter. O’Rourke has already visited 223 of the state’s 254 counties, including some deep red turf.

Remember Wendy Davis and her “iconic” tennis shoes — and her huge loss to Greg Abbott anyway? O’Rourke seems to be running a hip campaign, but I’m not sure there’s as much to this story as CNN’s headline implies.

A LOST IN SPACE REBOOT: “Set 30 years in the future, colonization in space is now a reality, and the Robinson family is among those tested and selected to make a new life for themselves in a better world. But when the new colonists find themselves abruptly torn off course en route to their new home they must forge new alliances and work together to survive in a dangerous alien environment, light-years from their original destination. Stranded along with the Robinsons are two outsiders who find themselves thrown together by circumstance and a mutual knack for deception. The unsettlingly charismatic Dr. Smith (Posey) is a master manipulator with an inscrutable end game. And the roguish, but inadvertently charming Don West (Ignacio Serricchio) is a highly-skilled, blue-collar contractor, who had no intention of joining the colony, let alone crash landing on a lost planet.”

Some time ago, I watched the first season of the old TV series on DVD and found it held up better than I expected: “I watched the reruns as a kid, but what I’d forgotten was the dark, Forbidden Planet ambiance of the early episodes. I’d also forgotten the meta-plot from the first episode, where the Robinson family is just the vanguard of 10 million American families heading to Alpha Centauri as part of an effort to remedy overpopulation. The shows are better than I remembered, and there are some interesting bits — such as the one in episode 3 where Dr. Robinson (Guy Williams) thanks Divine Providence for their survival, after the fashion of old-time explorers. Surely this was the last possible cultural moment for something like that on network TV.”

The second and third seasons, of course, turned into something more like space comedy.


Former Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin posted a chilling Instagram story that forced a high school to close.

On Thursday, Martin caught the attention of school officials with a story that featured a photo of a shotgun and the names of former Dolphins teammates Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey as well as the Los Angeles-area high school, Harvard-Westlake, that Martin attended. The 28-year-old was taken into custody on Friday, ABC reported.

“When you’re a bully victim and a coward, your options are suicide or revenge,” Martin cryptically posted.

Martin became the victimized face of NFL bullying in 2013 when he charged teammates, namely fellow offensive lineman Incognito, with harsh treatment in the locker room.

The post comes a week after 17 students were killed by a gunman at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School.

I’m so old, I can remember when NFL players didn’t think of themselves as bullied victims or proselytizing “woke” SJWs.


Haiti on Thursday suspended the operations of British charity Oxfam pending the outcome of its investigation into allegations that its staff sexually exploited Haitians after a devastating 2010 earthquake.

The country’s ministry of planning and foreign aid said Oxfam GB had made a “serious error” by failing to inform Haitian authorities of the actions by their staff at the time they occurred.

“These reprehensible acts, alleged crimes, acknowledged by the perpetrators as well as the NGO, are a serious violation of the dignity of the Haitian people,” a government statement said.

It said the charity was suspended for two months pending an internal Haitian investigation into the matter.

At NRO last week, Kyle Smith explored how “The End Justifies the Obscene:”

When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Oxfam workers remembered Rahm Emanuel’s maxim that, in the progressive dictionary, one definition of crisis is “party time.” I’m paraphrasing.

But I’m quoting directly when I note that Oxfam execs set up brothels in Port-au-Prince that they called “pink apartments.” They took advantage of the economic dislocation and desperation (1.5 million homeless in a land of 10 million) to surround themselves with prostitutes, some perhaps under the age of consent, according to a recent exposé in the British paper the Times. Recalls an observer: “They were throwing big parties with prostitutes. These girls were wearing Oxfam T-shirts, running around half-naked, it was a like a full-on Caligula orgy. It was unbelievable. It was crazy. At one party there were at least five girls and two of them had Oxfam white T-shirts on. These men used to talk about holding ‘young meat barbecues.’”

Drivers in Haiti who wished to earn cash driving Oxfam employees around were told that their contracts were contingent on whether they could help with the, er, meat supply. “If you want your contract to be extended,” they were told, according to the Times, “we need girls and you need to pick them up.”

* * * * * * * *

How did we get to a point where relentlessly idealistic and progressive feminist women cover for men who turn girls from some of the poorest corners of the world into their sexual functionaries? Oxfam reminds us that a core feature of the Left is its happy-face Machiavellianism: The overall mission is so vital, so meaningful, so just, that the end justifies the obscene.

Harvey Weinstein and the Clinton family could not be reached for comment.


Note the tag line below the photo. Funny, how Tom Brokaw, Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd, Brian Williams or Al Sharpton aren’t quitting their gigs at NBC to fight the patriarchy.

Update: Deploy the mighty space phallus!”


Last week Joy Behar, co-host of the ABC show “The View,” did something that has become an escalating trend in our popular culture over the past 10 years — she mocked religiosity.

In a segment about Vice President Mike Pence and his belief that he hears the voice of God, Behar quipped: “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct . . . hearing voices.”

The audience of “The View” clapped and laughed along with her.

But outside the entertainment bubble, in places like Cumberland, people were horrified.

Behar’s sneer and the “clapter” it received from the studio audience is a nice in-kind contribution to the Trump 2020 campaign.

But I’m so old, I can remember a budding Democratic candidate for the senate back in 2004 saying, “The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.”

What was his name again? I’m sure it will come to me eventually.

GREAT AGAIN: US sells oil to the Middle East as surging domestic production puts America on pace to rival Russia and Saudi as world’s top energy producer.

In 2013, the US shipped just over 100,000 barrels a day.

This past November, American firms exported 1.53 million barrels a day.

The US now exports up to 1.7 million barrels per day of crude, and this year will have the capacity to export 3.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

Terminals conceived for importing liquefied natural gas have now been overhauled to allow exports.
Surging shale production is poised to push US oil output to more than 10 million barrels per day – toppling a record set in 1970 and crossing a threshold few could have imagined even a decade ago.

And this new record, expected within days, likely won’t last long.

I’m so old, I can remember when Barack Obama told us we couldn’t “drill our way out of” our energy problems.

HEATHER MAC DONALD ON #MEDIOCRITYTOO: The coming mania for inclusion will erode standards of merit and excellence.

I’m old enough to remember when gender was considered by the left to be merely a bourgeois social construct. And to know that our standards of merit and excellence have been eroding for quite some time. When William Goldman said “Every Oscar night you look back and realize that last year was the worst year in the history of Hollywood,” he had no idea how bad things could get in all of the arts.

UGH: Nursing homes sedate residents with dementia by misusing antipsychotic drugs, report finds.

Children complained about parents who were robbed of their personalities and turned into zombies. Residents remembered slurring their words and being unable to think or stay awake. Former administrators admitted doling out drugs without having appropriate diagnoses, securing informed consent or divulging risks.

The 157-page report, released Monday, estimates that each week more than 179,000 people living in US nursing facilities are given antipsychotic medications, even though they don’t have the approved psychiatric diagnoses — like schizophrenia — to warrant use of the drugs. Most of these residents are older and have dementia, and researchers say the antipsychotic medications are administered as a cost-effective “chemical restraint” to suppress behaviors and ease the load on overwhelmed staff.

I’m not sure there are any humane treatments for certain dementia-related behaviors, even without the (likely permanent) understaffing of nursing homes. Although the field might be promising for builders of lifelike “carebots” to fill in for overworked humans without threatening the patients.

ANDREW KLAVAN: REALITY HAS A VOICE. “I remember sitting on the edge of my bed that day, staring thunderstruck at the television screen as East Germans, brutalized by socialism, yearning to be free, dismantled the central symbol of the Cold War. I remember thinking: ‘I’ll be damned. That old b*****d Reagan was right about everything.’ And I began to change my mind. Because… reality.”

I remember thinking the same thing back in the 1980s about tax cuts igniting the stock market, which Business Week had dubbed “dead” in 1979. Read the whole thing.

I’M SO OLD, I REMEMBER WHEN SPORTS WERE SIMPLY ABOUT…SPORTS: New York Daily News Prefers Socially Woke Eagles to ‘Team Trump’ in Super Bowl.

I miss the old days, when we were simply rooting for laundry.

Rooting for Laundry from Melel Media on Vimeo.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Inside A Public School Social-Justice Factory.

For decades, the public schools of Edina, Minnesota, were the gold standard among the state’s school districts. Edina is an upscale suburb of Minneapolis, but virtually overnight, its reputation has changed. Academic rigor is unraveling, high school reading and math test scores are sliding, and students increasingly fear bullying and persecution.

The shift began in 2013, when Edina school leaders adopted the “All for All” strategic plan—a sweeping initiative that reordered the district’s mission from academic excellence for all students to “racial equity.”

“Equity” in this context does not mean “equality” or “fairness.” It means racial identity politics—an ideology that blames minority students’ academic challenges on institutional racial bias, repudiates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s color-blind ideal, and focuses on uprooting “white privilege.”

The Edina school district’s All for All plan mandated that henceforth “all teaching and learning experiences” would be viewed through the “lens of racial equity,” and that only “racially conscious” teachers and administrators should be hired. District leaders assured parents this would reduce Edina’s racial achievement gap, which they attributed to “barriers rooted in racial constructs and cultural misunderstandings.”

And the results were exactly as you’d expect. But remember, none of this is about educating kids.

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN PAYING HIGHER TAXES WAS PATRIOTIC: Pelosi Tries to Extend $137,000 Tax Break for Two of Her Multi-Million-Dollar Homes.

DISPATCHES FROM THE HOUSE OF STEPHANOPOULOS: Surprise! Matthew Dowd of ABC News outs the agenda-driven media.

I’m so old, I remember when old media at least still pretended to be objective.

SCOTT ADAMS: President Trump Earns the Highest Presidential Approval Level of All Time.

The Small Business Optimism Index hit an all-time high. That’s the new Presidential Approval Poll.

In olden days (pre-2016), candidates for president were not so different from each other. I can remember pundits complaining endlessly about how similar the Democrats and Republicans had become. In that environment, you can easily imagine someone who voted for Candidate A warming up to Candidate B. In those simpler times, a presidential approval poll meant something.

Today, a “presidential approval poll” is little more than taking attendance. If you’re a Democrat, you disapprove of President Trump as a lifestyle choice. If you voted for Trump, you probably still approve of him because you knew exactly what you were getting. And if you are an anti-Trump conservative, you allow cognitive dissonance to rule your brain and you say he’s doing a good job but you disapprove of him anyway. David Brooks accidentally described this phenomenon in this article.

I contend that business optimism — and small business optimism in particular — are the new standard for presidential approval because “economics” captures most of what a president influences.

But does it predict elections?

ACTUALLY, IT’S REALLY QUITE SIMPLE: “Why Mark Wahlberg Got ‘All the Money in the World’ for Reshoots and Michelle Williams Didn’t — It may look like obvious sexism, but it’s complicated,” The Wrap claims:

Wahlberg received more than 1000 times as much money as she did because reshoots were not in his contract, according to an individual with knowledge of the deal. It’s no surprise that Wahlberg’s agent, Ari Emanuel, demanded top dollar: Their dynamic inspired Wahlberg’s series ‘Entourage,’ in which an Emanuel-inspired agent’s ruthlessness is a running gag.

“Oh look, Michelle William’s contract required her to do reshoots, and Mark Wahlberg’s didn’t,” Alex Griswold of the Washington Free Beacon tweets. It’s almost as if some actors and their agents remember the importance of the second word in the phrase “show business.”

“Oh, you hired a pederast and you need me to come reshoot scenes because he finally got blown up in the media? F*** you, pay me,” Sonny Bunch adds, paraphrasing the mobster in Goodfellas played by Paul Sorvino.

As Glenn asks, where was Lee’s agent when her contract was negotiated?

BREAKING: STRANGE WEATHER IS STRANGE. US cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds.

Consider this cold comfort: A quick study of the brutal American cold snap found that the Arctic blast really wasn’t global warming but a freak of nature.

Frigid weather like the two-week cold spell that began around Christmas is 15 times rarer than it was a century ago, according to a team of international scientists who does real-time analyses to see if extreme weather events are natural or more likely to happen because of climate change.

The cold snap that gripped the East Coast and Midwest region was a rarity that bucks the warming trend, said researcher Claudia Tebaldi of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the private organization Climate Central.

I’m so old, I can remember when climate change was going to cause more extreme weather events.

FORREST NABORS: Why The Time Is Ripe For A Free Iran.

If different types of political regimes are plants that grow, the soil is the people, and different types of soil determine what kind of political regime is possible in a given nation. The rise, prosperity, or fall of a political regime depends upon the customs and temper of a people that have developed since time immemorial and are not easily changed.

This important insight was once commonplace when the classical analysis of political regimes was the starting point in understanding nations’ politics, but political science in its modern form no longer teaches our young citizenry in this way. This is why you will not find many journalists or analysts in the media or government who can convincingly explain the prospects for democracy abroad.

The cost of this change in education is apparent in the last 15 years of American foreign policy. The Bush administration expected Western-style democracy to immediately take hold in Iraq after it toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein. The Obama administration expected the same following popular unrest during the Arab Spring. Noble though the goals of those administrations were, an intelligent citizen informed by Bernard Lewis’s “What Went Wrong” and educated in regime analysis could have foreseen that efforts to establish stable democracies in place of removed Arab tyrannies would encounter profound difficulties.

In Iran the case is different. Iranians are a great people well prepared for successful self-government and boast one of the oldest and most refined cultures in human history. Unlike Sunni Islam, their version of Islam always recognized the separation of mosque and state, a tradition that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini struggled to reconcile with his goal of preserving Islamic purity in modernity. He finally abandoned the attempt, but that tradition is still remembered by Shiites and has shaped the political principles that they hold today.

Read the whole thing.

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Don’t refill the swamp by restoring earmarks, President Trump.

While President Trump wants to drain the swamp, his White House has been repeatedly checked by a gridlocked Congress. Now, Trump wants to grease the wheels a bit. He wants to bring back earmarks.

“I think we should look at a form of earmarks,” Trump told lawmakers gathered at the White House on Tuesday. “One thing it did is it brought everybody together.” The other thing it will do is permanently rebrand the party of fiscal responsibility into the party of graft, pork, and greed.

To be sure, earmarks make the legislative process a bit more efficient. And it’s understandable why a dealmaker like Trump would find them appealing as a negotiating aid. But they also lead to waste. Even the president admitted as much when he said that earmarks “got a little bit out of hand.”

When negotiations break down, obstructionists sell their votes for things like a $233-million bridge nobody needs, $3.4-million worth of tunnels for turtles, and $500,000 for a teapot museum. Old, greasy hands like former Rep. Charlie Rangel were even able to secure funding for personal monuments. That New York Democrat christened the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service with $1.9 million in taxpayer money.

Most lawmakers don’t remember, though. When some Republicans tried to bring earmarks back shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, warned that “63 percent of House Republicans have been elected since 2010” and as a result “have no personal knowledge or experience with earmarks.”

Those post-pork members didn’t witness the conservative crusade to end the practice. “If there’s a public vote [on earmarks],” former Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., warned me last February, “Republicans are going to get killed by some of these grassroots organizations out there now.” In other words, they can’t comprehend the rake they would be stepping on if they do this before the midterm elections.

That’s absolutely right.


● Shot: Why Liberals Need to Look Down on Conservatives.

● Chaser: When I say “Trump is my fourth Hitler,” it’s only because I’m too young to remember Goldwater.

Goldwater was Godwinized by no less than CBS’s Daniel Schorr and Walter Cronkite.

● Hangover: Delete your account: Jimmy Kimmel writer cries sexism after being called out for attacking 3rd-grade teacher. Tweet in question was deleted, but I’m pretty sure it’s this:

As Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, “The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. ‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class,’ Parrington insisted, referring to both democracy and capitalism, ‘and the artist and the scientist will erect in America a civilization that may become, what civilization was in earlier days, a thing to be respected.’”

And that credo, now internalized after a century of “Progressivism” is what drives the media to rage an increasingly angry war with its customers.

(Classical allusion in headline.)

FAUSTIAN BARGAIN: It was very wise for the Golden Globes to hand Oprah an award last night; instead of discussing the embarrassment of the first major awards show in the wake of Harvey Weinstein and Pervnado, the MSM gets to dangle the possibility of Oprah running for the presidency to coastal elite audiences exhausted from nearly two years of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Not to mention, Oprah versus Trump would be ratings gold for the news media, which was in its glory making Obama happen in 2007 and 2008.

For Hollywood, it’s a chance to at least temporarily rebrand from one of its worst scandals. “Remember, they’re not making a big deal because they found out what was going on in Hollywood,” Glenn noted, “They always knew. They’re making a big deal because you found out what was going on in Hollywood.”

However, if this is indeed the high visibility launching point for Oprah 2020; associating herself with the aftermath of Pervnado seems like very poor personal branding: “Actress: Weinstein used Oprah and Naomi[Campbell] to seduce me,” the New York Post reported in late November 28, 2017. And Weinstein and Oprah were quite chummy, as this photo of the two attending the 19th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards back in January 16 of 2014 attests. It quickly made the rounds on Twitter last night. Oprah co-starred in the 2013 film The Butler, produced by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, whose company distributed the movie.

As Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon writes in his recap of last night, “Oprah kicked off her presidential campaign last night, apparently, so 2020 should be fun. Or horribly depressing. As much as she might want to be president, I can’t imagine Oprah has any interest in campaigning for president—it’s such a slog and the Democratic primary will be a cluttered knife fight and I shudder to think at the nicknames Trump would hurl at her. But I digress. (Important side note: no one who voted for Trump gets to complain about “celebrity candidates” ever again.)”

Director Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey and Harvey Weinstein at The Los Angeles Premiere of ‘The Butler’ after party, on Monday, August 12, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Invision/AP Images.)


Question: Would the editors of Bloomberg View let a male author get by with a stereotype-slur like this one? “Men will likely have trouble with things like household chores and remembering to go to the doctor regularly, but they’ll manage. Maybe Siri can make their appointments.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Profs blame ‘masculine’ ideals for lack of women in STEM. “According to the professors, these masculine norms include ‘asking good questions,’ ‘capacity for abstract thought and rational thought processes,’ ‘motivation,’ ‘independent’ thinking, and a relatively low fear of failure.”

Remember, when taxpayers get tired of funding this stuff, we’ll be told it’s because of “anti-intellectualism.”


I’m so old, I can remember when the Atlantic wanted Sarah Palin’s uterus examined by committee.

LAWRENCE MEYERS: It’s Only Been the Apocalypse for Democrats.

Ever since The Day Democrats Reached Out, I’ve been watching the hilarious hyperbolic reactions to every Trump tweet, and each piece of lint that flutters through the Oval Office. The Democrat reaction to every single move by the Trump Administration amounts to, “We’re all gonna die”.

Remember the mass deportation of Mexicans? Neither do I. Yet we we’re all gonna die. My Democrat friends here in Southern Wackyfornia told me that their maids and nannies were terrified that they were going to be rounded up because Trump was a racist.

Remember the mass deportation of Muslims? Neither do I. Yet we we’re all gonna die. During the March of the Week Spectacular that occurred early in 2017, Democrats clogged airports to protest the 90-day visa hold – a policy enacted merely to ensure the safety of Americans.

Remember how Trump’s election empowered hate groups to go and beat innocent minorities, and that we were all gonna die? Neither do I. What I do remember is the leftist group ANTIFA, whose very name epitomizes the phrase “unintended irony”, beating the crap out of innocent Americans and starting riots every chance they got – oh, but usually to shut down free speech. It was so bad in Berkeley that even the Washington Post couldn’t ignore the truth.

Remember how Trump is Hitler and Steve Bannon is a white nationalist – and that we we’re all gonna die? Neither do I. I never quite understood how Trump could be Hitler given his staunch support of Israel, and having the courage to do what no other President did by acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Election Day, 2018 will mark two years of turn-it-up-past-11 fear-mongering from the Left. The “professional left,” as Obama called it, seems to thrive on the constant shrieking, but you have to wonder how much good it’s doing with the more moderate voters they’ll need to mobilize for an off-year election.

WHY ARE BLUE STATES SUCH CESSPITS OF MISOGYNY AND ABUSE? Politico: California Dems face sexual-harassment meltdown. “Just how bad is this scandal, anyway? Bad enough for some progressive activists to claim that the Democrats are hiding rapists and molesters among their leaders:”

Among those who have been outspoken in their demands for more action is Christine Pelosi, chairwoman of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus and Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, who told lawmakers at the start of an Assembly hearing last month, “We have rapists in this building. We have molesters among us.” …

“It’s kind of a snowball effect, and every week seems to bring a new powerful man who is brought down by these accusations,” said Jessica Levinson, a Los Angeles-based political analyst. “And I don’t feel that we’ve totally cleaned house- and all the accusations are made and everybody else who remains in power has never conducted themselves in an inappropriate way before.”

I remember when Dems cheered the takedowns of Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes, and predicted that Trump would be next.


[Sheila Jackson Lee D-TX], meanwhile, claims she did nothing wrong.

“I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary,” she said in a statement this weekend.

“But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry.”

She’s “kind enough” to “simply” say she’s sorry to the DC teacher she smeared as a racist on the weekend before Christmas:

“Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice,” Jackson Lee said in the statement. “This saddens me, especially at this time of year given all of the things we have to work on to help people. But in the spirit of this season and out of the sincerity of my heart, if it is perceived that I had anything to do with this, I am kind enough to simply say sorry.”

Simon said Jackson Lee’s statement accused her of racism, adding: “I had no idea who was in my seat when I complained at the gate that my seat had been given to someone else,” she said. “There is no way you can see who is in a seat from inside the terminal.”

Flashback to a 2002 Weekly Standard article on “Sheila Jackson Lee, Limousine Liberal,” which contains multiple examples of her abusing airlines and accusing anyone who doesn’t treat her as a queen (“You don’t understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen.”) as racist:

Continental managers, however, feared reprisal and saw little they could do. “After medicine, airlines are the most heavily regulated industry in the United States,” says a lobbyist for a Texas-based carrier. “Every airline feels they have to kiss up to Congress; they always feel their livelihood is in Congress’s hands.” But in February 1998, things finally came to a head. On a flight home to Houston, Jackson Lee became enraged when flight attendants failed to produce the seafood special she liked. “Don’t you know who I am?” she reportedly thundered. “I’m Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Where is my seafood meal? I know it was ordered!”

That outburst prompted a phone call to Jackson Lee from Rebecca Cox, vice president of Continental’s government affairs office in Washington and the wife of California Republican Chris Cox. The message? Straighten up and fly right, or don’t fly with us. Cox did not return calls seeking comment, but a member of Jackson Lee’s staff who fielded the call remembered Cox saying, “[Jackson Lee] screamed at the top of her lungs at least a minute. She embarrassed the flight attendants and the passengers in first class. And she embarrassed herself.” Cox then joked, “We have already given her the Delta Airlines schedule.” Jackson Lee got back on board with Continental, but not for long. In May 1999, as Continental flight 1961 prepared to leave Reagan National Airport in Washington, Jackson Lee became flustered when she couldn’t find her purse.

Thinking she had left it in the boarding area, she went back to search for it. Meanwhile, the plane pulled away from the gate. Moments later, her purse was found onboard. According to aviation lobbyists at the time, Jackson Lee demanded that she be let back on the flight. Airline employees explained that FAA rules prohibit planes from returning to the gate once they’ve taxied away, but Jackson Lee was unconvinced. She accused the gate staff of racism and demanded to see their supervisor, who was a black woman. Her purse, meanwhile, was unceremoniously dropped out of the cockpit window and ferried back to her.

A year earlier, at a March 2, 1998, reenactment of the march on Selma, an irate Jackson Lee called her scheduler in D.C. demanding to know why she hadn’t been given a ride to the event by the organizer, as a white colleague had been. According to the aide–who quit after just a month and a half on the job–Jackson Lee shrieked, “You don’t understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen.” It will come as no surprise to learn that Jackson Lee is regarded as one of the most difficult members of Congress for whom to work.

Jackson Lee’s issues involving travel and racism also extend into the final frontier:

During a 1997 visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Jackson Lee, who was then serving on the House Science Committee and on the Subcommittee that oversees U.S. space policy, asked a guide whether the Mars Pathfinder would be able to show an image of “the flag the astronauts planted there before.” When it was subsequently pointed out that the flag to which she was referring was in fact the one that Neil Armstrong had planted on the Moon—not Mars—in 1969, Jackson Lee complained that she was being mocked by bigots. “You thought you could have fun with a black woman member of the Science Committee,” her then-chief-of-staff wrote angrily in a letter to the editor.

How bad have Jackson Lee’s gaffes been over the years? Even the left-leaning Daily Beast has goofed on  her worst moments: The Constitution Is 400 Years Old and More Pearls From Sheila Jackson Lee.

We have the worst political class in American history, to coin an Insta-phrase.

UPDATE: Jean-Marie Simon tweeted last night that “United has NOT apologized to me. On Dec. 23, a low level employee at call center said he was sorry on phone. Voucher I received was United’s idea of compensation for cancelling my flight and given it to Ms. Jackson Lee… SFC + NYP articles claim ‘apology’ from United and $500 as apology wrong. United phone agent apologized, no apology from corporate United. $500 voucher was from exasperated gate agent who originally offered $300 and gave me ultimatum to take the $500 or have plane leave w/o me.”


The New York Times’s Roger Cohen, an occasionally iconoclastic left-wing journalist, composed an inspired masterpiece of anti-Trump oratorical obloquy: “Wondering, If This Is America.” Cohen, an international columnist for the paper born in London, mustered his high indignation not only of President Trump (aka “Mussolini’s understudy”) but of America itself.

Cohen sold his Saturday edition article on Twitter as “Turkmenistan-on-the-Potomac: If This Is America.”

If this is America, with a cabinet of terrorized toadies genuflecting to the Great Leader, a vice president offering a compliment every 12 seconds to Mussolini’s understudy, and a White House that believes in “alternative facts,” then it is time to “keep your head when all about you are losing theirs.”

Flashback to Thomas Friedman, also of the New York Times, in September of 2009:

Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.

As Jonah Goldberg wrote in response, “Thomas Friedman is a Liberal Fascist:”

Now, of course, there are “drawbacks” to such a system: crushing of dissidents with tanks, state control of reproduction, government control of the press and the internet. Omelets and broken eggs, as they say. More to the point, Friedman insists, these “drawbacks” pale in comparison to the system we have today here in America.

I cannot begin to tell you how this is exactly the argument that was made by American fans of Mussolini in the 1920s. It is exactly the argument that was made in defense of Stalin and Lenin before him (it’s the argument that idiotic, dictator-envying leftists make in defense of Castro and Chavez today). It was the argument made by George Bernard Shaw who yearned for a strong progressive autocracy under a Mussolini, a Hitler or a Stalin (he wasn’t picky in this regard). This is the argument for an “economic dictatorship” pushed by Stuart Chase and the New Dealers. It’s the dream of Herbert Croly and a great many of the Progressives.

Similarly, I’ve been meaning to link to this NewsBusters post from this past Thursday: “Irony! [Chris] Matthews Trashes ‘Trumpkins’ Praying to ‘Sun King,’ Calls Tax Reform ‘Greatest Shorting’ Ever.”

On Friday, Noah Rothman of Commentary explored “The Death Rattle of Obama’s Reputation:”

The members of Barack Obama’s administration in exile have become conspicuously noisy of late—even more so than usual. Former CIA Director John Brennan accused Donald Trump and his administration of engaging in “outrageous,” “narcissistic” behavior typical of “vengeful autocrats” by threatening proportionate retaliation against countries that voted to condemn the United States in the United Nations, as though that were unprecedented. It is not. James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, all but alleged that the president is a Russian “asset.” Perhaps the most acerbic and incendiary series of accusations from the former Democratic president’s foreign-policy professionals were placed in the New York Times by Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice. In her estimation, America has abdicated its role as a “force for good.”

It’s no coincidence that these overheated condemnations accompany abundant evidence that the Trump administration is finding its legs. As the last administration’s undeserved reputation as sober-minded foreign policy rationalists is dismantled one retrospective report at a time, its jilted members are lashing out.

Leftwing pundits such as Matthews and Friedman produced an astonishing amount of silly material worshipping Dear Leader in 2009. As his reputation becomes increasingly impossible for even his worst toadies (to borrow Cohen’s phrase regarding Mike Pence) to defend, their amnesia will likely only increase in direct proportion to their lashing out to Trump and his administration.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Remember this?

SO MUCH FOR THE COOL PROFESSIONALISM OF FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT: Bundy mistrial highlights why right distrusts the feds.

As Washington conservatives question whether partisan FBI officials working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller have stacked the deck against President Donald Trump, a criminal case in Las Vegas points to the sort of federal prosecutorial abuses that give the right cause for paranoia.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the infamous 2014 Bunkerville standoff case against rancher Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, and co-defendant Ryan Payne, on the grounds that federal prosecutors improperly withheld evidence. . . .

Navarro’s decision apparently was a reflection on federal officials. It follows release of a memo by BLM investigator Larry Wooten that described “a widespread pattern of bad judgment, lack of discipline, incredible bias, unprofessionalism and misconduct, as well as likely policy, ethical and legal violations among senior and supervisory staff” in the BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security.

Wooten wrote that he had seen “excessive force,” described officers grinding Bundy’s son Dave’s face in gravel and opined that federal officials were intent on commanding “the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale and militaristic cattle impound possible.”

In an apparently partisan reference that used a term Hillary Clinton designated for Trump supporters, Wooten wrote that a federal prosecutor said, “Let’s get these ‘shall we say Deplorables.’”

(Likewise FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked on Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, shared texts in which they called Trump a “loathsome human.” Mueller removed Strzok after he learned of the texts.)

Wooten also wrote that the Bundy case “closely mirrors” the circumstances behind the trial of former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

In 2008, federal prosecutors indicted Stevens, a Republican senator, for failing to report that an oil contractor had paid for renovations on his Alaska cabin. A jury convicted Stevens, who then lost a re-election bid.

Only later did the case fall apart after a Department of Justice probe found prosecutors had withheld exculpatory evidence. Attorney General Eric Holder, who inherited the case after President Barack Obama won the White House, asked the courts to throw out the conviction.

Remember this when people talk about the patriotic, nonpartisan professional civil servants at the DOJ.

NOAH ROTHMAN: The Death Rattle of Obama’s Foreign Policy Record:

The members of Barack Obama’s administration in exile have become conspicuously noisy of late—even more so than usual. Former CIA Director John Brennan accused Donald Trump and his administration of engaging in “outrageous,” “narcissistic” behavior typical of “vengeful autocrats” by threatening proportionate retaliation against countries that voted to condemn the United States in the United Nations, as though that were unprecedented. It is not. James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, all but alleged that the president is a Russian “asset.” Perhaps the most acerbic and incendiary series of accusations from the former Democratic president’s foreign-policy professionals were placed in the New York Times by Obama’s national security advisor, Susan Rice. In her estimation, America has abdicated its role as a “force for good.”

It’s no coincidence that these overheated condemnations accompany abundant evidence that the Trump administration is finding its legs. As the last administration’s undeserved reputation as sober-minded foreign policy rationalists is dismantled one retrospective report at a time, its jilted members are lashing out. . . .

Barack Obama was inarguably the least Atlanticist president since the end of World War II. Within a year of Russia’s brazen invasion and dismemberment of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, Obama scrapped George W. Bush-era agreements to move radar and missile interceptor installations to Central Europe. In 2013, the last of America’s armored combat units left Europe, ending a 69-year footprint on the Continent. By 2014, there were just two U.S. Army brigades stationed in Europe. The folly of this demobilization became abundantly clear when Vladimir Putin became the first Russian leader since Stalin to invade and annex territory in neighboring Ukraine.

A year later, Putin intervened militarily in Syria, where U.S. forces were already operating, resulting in the most dangerous escalation of tensions between the two nuclear powers since the end of the Cold War. Putin’s move in Syria should not have come as a surprise; Barack Obama outsourced the resolution of the Syrian conflict to Moscow in 2013, if only to avoid making good on his self-set “red line” for intervention in that conflict despite the norm-shattering use of WMDs on civilians. Even Rice’s chief complaint about Trump, his failure to condemn Putin’s brazen intervention in the 2016 election, didn’t elicit a reaction from Barack Obama until the final month of his presidency.

By contrast, and to the surprise of just about everyone, the Trump administration has been tough on Russia. Trump has ordered harsh sanctions on Moscow’s Iranian allies for violating United Nations resolutions—a course the Obama administration declined to take even if it allowed Hezbollah terrorists with direct links to Putin to operate with impunity.

Read the whole thing. Plus: “Even as early as March of 2017, it was clear that the Obama administration’s foreign-policy professionals were quite insecure about how posterity would remember their stewardship of American interests abroad. They had every reason to be.”

2017 HEADLINES: Wesley Snipes and Sean Astin to Develop Adventure Supplement for Sci-Fi RPG.

Two unlikely men are teaming up for an even more unlikely venture for Starfinder, a spacefaring RPG based after Dungeons & Dragons.

Iron GM Games has secured two Hollywood actors—Sean Astin, best known for his role as Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings; and Wesley Snipes, Blade himself—to help write a new setting compatible with the popular tabletop game.

They are set to contribute to Grimmerspace, an upcoming adventure book intended for use with the Starfinder ruleset.

I’m old school when it comes to spacefaring RPG games inspired by D&D: Traveller. Accept no substitutes. (To be fair, it’s also the only spacefaring RPG game I remember playing back in the day. But still.)

WHEN THE HEADLINE DOESN’T MATCH THE STORY: “How liberal Hollywood’s support of Roman Polanski became a weapon for the alt-right,” blares this headline in the London Telegraph. Underneath it is a 2,360 word article on Polanski’s crime(s) and his flight from justice, of which less than 150 words focuses on the latest creation of conservative L.A. street artist Sabo:

For reasons we can’t possibly speculate on*, Streep has bore the brunt of her implied support of Polanski, with critics taking to social media this week slamming the star, calling her a rape apologist, proposing a boycott of her new film The Post, and celebrating posters unveiled across several Los Angeles locations this week claiming “she knew” about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.

The Guardian yesterday confirmed that the posters were the work of a right-wing street artist named Sabo, who told the newspaper that he didn’t actually know whether Streep was aware of Weinstein’s behaviour (she has repeatedly denied any knowledge), and confirmed that the posters were revenge for an anti-Donald Trump speech Streep gave at this year’s Golden Globes. “She’s swiping at us so we’re swiping back,” he said.

But while much of the recent anti-Streep sentiment has been deliberately engineered by militants, it would be foolish to describe Hollywood’s past support of Polanski as anything other than an embarrassing, vaguely reprehensible blind spot…

Republican overreach — it’s everywhere! But is Sabo actually a member of the alt-right, or has that word replaced “neocons” (ironically enough) in the left’s dictionary for this decade’s catchall phrase to describe everyone on the right? So far, based on the art he has created, my money is on the latter.

On the other hand, I’m old enough to remember when the Telegraph was considered to be on the right, itself.

* C’mon, you’re speculating about the motives of one L.A. artist; why not another?

MAUREEN MULLARKEY: Why Criminalizing Sexual Harassment Fosters Witch Hunts.

What we do know is that something called sexual harassment is an imprecise but stubborn old nuisance sharpened into a crime by Catherine MacKinnon in the late ‘70s and codified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As first introduced, the term referred to a loose chain of workplace irritants never to be confused with sexual battery, rape, or attempted rape. By now it has expanded into an all-purpose indictment, a universal solvent for turning radical feminist choler into a blunt object.

Like that shapeless thing in the old sci-fi movie, “The Blob,” the concept of sexual harassment swallows everything it meets. It digests a degenerate thug like Harvey Weinstein together with a college student who makes an awkward pass at a girl, an office worker who tells a risqué joke, or a well-intentioned boss who compliments a woman on her dress. MacKinnon’s devouring blob is covered throughout the country by a mélange of federal, state, and city laws as a form of discrimination under human rights laws.

Delirium over harassment plays out like the courtroom scene in “Alice in Wonderland.” You remember it: The Queen of Hearts had made some tarts and someone took them quite away. Who did it? Theft is pinned on the Knave of Hearts, but evidence is a shambles, scanty at best. Accusations fly; denials tumble over each other. The king calls the jury to consider its verdict. His wife interrupts: “‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first—verdict afterwards.’”

That is where we find ourselves now in the flood of unverifiable allegations hemorrhaging from college campuses and corporate offices to the Capitol. Huff and wrath arriving years, even decades, beyond their sell-by date ought to make us look closer at this inquisition.

Inquisitions are launched for the benefit of the inquisitors, not of the inquisited.

AND ANOTHER ONE: ‘Silicon Valley’ Star T.J. Miller Accused of Sexually Assaulting and Punching a Woman.

The Daily Beast has corroborated details of her story—which includes two separate incidents—with five GW contemporaries and spoke to numerous associates of both her and Miller.

Two of the GW contemporaries say they were in the off-campus house where the incidents allegedly occurred. The contemporaries later testified in student court about hearing the sound of violent thuds or seeing bruises on Sarah.

Three other contemporaries said they comforted and counseled Sarah in the aftermath of the incidents. Matt Lord was one of them. An ex-boyfriend of Sarah’s, he told The Daily Beast that he continues to believe her story more than a decade after the fact.

“I attended George Washington University for undergraduate studies from 2000 until December 2003… I had a romantic relationship with [this] woman, who spoke with me about T.J. Miller sexually assaulting her,” Lord, who currently works as an attorney in Montague, Massachusetts, wrote in a statement to The Daily Beast. “At the time I believed the statements she made regarding the assault by Mr. Miller, and I continue to believe the statements she made are true. She was engaged in student conduct proceedings regarding the sexual assault, and I remember the emotional toll that the assault and the subsequent conduct hearings placed on her.”

In the years since, Miller has attempted to address the lingering allegations by occasionally making light of them. He’s privately joked about committing violence against a woman in his past, according to three sources in the comedy world. Perhaps that is why some female performers and comedy professionals tell The Daily Beast that they have declined to work with Miller, citing a perceived history of abusive behavior.

FLASHBACK: T.J. Miller Insists ‘Emoji Movie’ Will Fight Trump, Make Young People ‘Adopt Progressive Values.’

ROCK AND ROLL EDITOR: Andrew Ferguson reviews Sticky Fingers, Joe Hagan’s new biography of Jann Wenner, and the recent HBO documentary on Wenner.

From the first, Hagan makes clear, Wenner was as much a fanboy as a journalist, hoping to use his position as editor of a rising publication to bathe in the nimbus of his favorite rock-and-roll celebrities. The ambition often paid off editorially. Wenner’s obsession with John Lennon led to other early scoops and made Rolling Stone seem indispensable to anyone following the counterculture. In 1968 word came that Lennon and Yoko Ono had posed naked, front and back, for the cover of a new album called Two Virgins. After Wenner’s relentless transatlantic hectoring, Lennon agreed to license the photos to Rolling Stone, if only because no one else would take them. (Asked about the significance of the Two Virgins cover, Lennon’s bandmate George Harrison said everything that needed saying. “It’s just two not-very-nice-looking bodies,” said the Quiet Beatle. “Two flabby bodies naked.”) Wenner put the flabby backsides on the magazine’s cover and tucked the other, full-frontal photo inside. It made a worldwide sensation. Multiple printings of the issue sold out. “Print a famous foreskin,” Wenner said, “and the world will beat a path to your door.”

And Wenner had made a new friend. The HBO documentary gives Homeric treatment to the relationship between Wenner and the Lennons, from foreskin to aft. The friendship was transactional, as friendships between journalists and celebrities usually are. Lennon had a constant need to generate publicity, especially for the new commercial entity known as “John and Yoko,” and Wenner craved proximity to a Beatle. A few months after the Beatles broke up, Lennon agreed to grant Wenner a long interview. Coming off years of drug abuse and months of psychotherapy, Lennon was as garrulous as any ex-junkie analysand could be.

He hammered his former bandmates personally and musically and careened from self-adulation (“If there’s such a thing as [a genius], I am one”) to self-loathing (“the Beatles are the biggest bastards on earth”). The interview, its extravagant profanity uncensored, appeared over two issues and again generated headlines everywhere. In his nationally syndicated column William F. Buckley Jr. referred to the interview as “How I Wrecked My Own Life, and Can Help Wreck Yours.”

Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.™ For my own review of the Wenner bio, click here.

CHRIS MATTHEWS ON THE FALLOUT FROM FORMER NBC CO-WORKER AL FRANKEN: “The worst you can say about Democrats is they’re too pure. That’s a stupid thing to say, but that’s the worst thing you can say about them, these guys set too high a standard for public office. How’s that for an argument?”

As typical for Chris, not a very good one.

I’m so old, I can remember when Chris Matthews guest-hosted for Rush Limbaugh in the late 1990s, in-part because at the time, he was the rare Democrat who was publicly disgusted by Bill Clinton’s behavior. However, last month, Matthews claimed on air that he was “‘too tough on Bill Clinton’ during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Matthews apparently still views Clinton as the victim and forgot that the college intern was painted as the aggressor and villain in the situation,” as Rachel Mullen wrote at Hot Air.



Related: Yemen, Not Syria or Iraq, Is Obama’s Worst Foreign Policy Mistake.. I dunno, what about Libya? There are so many choices . . .

SHE’S LIVING IT: The Upside of Office Flirtation?

Allison Benedikt:

When I was 23 years old, my boss would look down the gap at the waistband of my jeans when he walked past my desk. I was an entry-level fact-checker at my first magazine job, and he was an older and more powerful editor. My career, at the time, was in his hands. Once, when we had finished working on a story together, he suggested we get a drink to celebrate. It was a Friday night, and I remember feeling extremely nervous as we sat across from each other in a dark bar. He was flirting with me, I could tell. The next weekend, he asked me out again. A few days later, he kissed me on the steps of the West 4th subway station without first getting my consent. We’ve now been happily married for 14 years and have three children.

It is an understatement to say something has shifted in the culture. And that shift is unquestionably to the good. Men like Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer and their less famous counterparts deserve to be kicked out of polite society, ruined, and, in certain cases, indicted. Women (and men) feel safer coming forward with stories of abuse and are being believed. But a byproduct of these welcome developments has been an expansion of our collective definition of harassment. Reading accounts of others’ experiences since the great outpouring began, I’ve vacillated between horror at the abusive situations so many women have endured and alarm at some of the interactions being considered misconduct. I’ve felt a rift with many of the younger women I know, who claim to understand exactly where to draw the line between legitimate behavior and abuse and seem to view harassment as any interaction with a man that has made them uncomfortable. For all the power of the #MeToo moment, it’s been a bit bewildering too.

It’s necessary — and belatedly satisfying — to expose devils like Weinstein and Rose and Lauer. But before this new normal settles down, it’s likely to take some innocent reputations along with it. To some “feminists,’ that’s a feature, not a bug.

But even after the dust settles down, the new normal may put a permanent kibosh on happy office romances like Benedikt’s.

‘BAM CRIES WOLF: Invoking the specter of Nazi Germany, Obama warns against complacency.

American democracy is fragile, and unless care is taken it could follow the path of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Mixed in with many softer comments, that was the somewhat jaw-dropping bottom line of Barack Obama last night as, in a Q&A session before the Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicagoan who used to be president dropped a bit of red meat to a hometown crowd that likely is a lot closer to him than the man whose name never was mentioned: President Donald Trump.

* * * * * * * * *

Still, the U.S. has survived tough times before and will again, he noted, particularly mentioning the days of communist fighter Joseph McCarthy and former President Richard Nixon. But one reason the country survived is because it had a free press to ask questions, Obama added. Though he has problems with the media just like Trump has had, “what I understood was the principle that the free press was vital.”

The danger is “grow(ing) complacent,” Obama said. “We have to tend to this garden of democracy or else things could fall apart quickly.”

That’s what happened in Germany in the 1930s which, despite the democracy of the Weimar Republic and centuries of high-level cultural and scientific achievements, Adolph Hitler rose to dominate, Obama noted. “Sixty million people died. . . .So, you’ve got to pay attention. And vote.”

I’m so old, I can remember when devotees of fellow Democrat Lyndon Larouche were calling Obama himself Hitler and Photoshopping the toothbrush moustache onto his face:

Matt Guice, center, a field organizer for, distributes flyers as he stands near posters he has propped up on Wall Street in New York’s financial district, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013 in New York. is a political action committee of conservative activist Lyndon LaRouche. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

I’m also old enough to remember (not all firsthand, mind you), when virtually every Republican president was compared to a Nazi by prominent Democrats.

But Obama is right in one sense. Proper vetting is crucial…

…Lest we wind up with a president whose most fervent supporters begin to think has dictatorial powers.

Oh, and note this:

Obama said his greatest “regret and disappointment” is the failure to enact tighter controls on gun possession.

Say, you know who else thought that was a great idea?

Related: D’oh! Lefties may have twisted themselves into the Ultimate knot over Jerusalem: Trump “has been painted that he’s a white supremacist and racist.What type of white supremacist or racist would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel strengthening the Jewish homeland?”

THIS IS WHY IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE BETTER FLU VACCINES: Flu can have dangerous domino effect on older adults. But if you do get it, or older friends or relatives do, remember that Tamiflu or Relenza can make a huge difference, but you have to take them early.

DOES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE TRUMP THE FIRST FREEDOM IN THE FIRST AMENDMENT? That’s the essential question facing the U.S. Supreme Court as it deliberates in what quite possibly will become a landmark case. Remember the name: Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Court hears oral arguments Tuesday.

Jack Phillips, owner of the cakeshop, refused five years ago to design a wedding cake for a gay couple’s ceremony. An evangelical Christian, Phillips believes his creative participation in a process that violates his faith would make him a party to legitimizing sin. The bureaucrats at the commission ruled that protecting same-sex marriage is more important than upholding Philips’ exercise of the first freedom named in the First Amendment.

The case has occasioned a deluge of politically correct mis-information and mis-representation in the national media, as exemplified by this recent op-ed in the New York Times. I refer readers to NRO’s sage David French for the critical analysis there. One wonders how long before a Muslim man asks the Court to affirm his right to marry a nine-year-old girl.

In the meantime, the Alliance Defending Freedom – the evangelical legal defense group representing Philips – offers a collection of the key documents in the case, an overview of the facts that occasion the litigation, and a summary of the legal issues at stake. They just don’t come any more significant than this one.

UPDATE: George Will also gets the Masterpiece Cakeshop wrong, according to French.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Report: Having ‘white nuclear family’ promotes white supremacy, says New York professor.

Remember, when people get tired of funding this stuff, we’ll be told it’s because of “anti-intellectualism.”



I’M SO OLD CAN REMEMBER WHEN SUSAN SARANDON ADORED THE CLINTONS:  Susan Sarandon says Hillary Clinton is ‘very dangerous’.

IT’S ALMOST LIKE THERE’S SOME SORT OF A PLAN: While eyes are on Russia, Sessions dramatically reshapes the Justice Department.

From his crackdown on illegal immigration to his reversal of Obama administration policies on criminal justice and policing, Sessions is methodically reshaping the Justice Department to reflect his nationalist ideology and hard-line views — moves drawing comparatively less public scrutiny than the ongoing investigations into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin.

Sessions has implemented a new charging and sentencing policy that calls for prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges possible, even if that might mean minority defendants face stiff, mandatory minimum penalties. He has defended the president’s travel ban and tried to strip funding from cities with policies he considers too friendly toward undocumented immigrants.

Sessions has even adjusted the department’s legal stances in cases involving voting rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in a way that advocates warn might disenfranchise poor minorities and give certain religious people a license to discriminate.

Supporters and critics say the attorney general has been among the most effective of the Cabinet secretaries — implementing Trump’s conservative policy agenda even as the president publicly and privately toys with firing him over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia case.

I remember when changes like this happened under Obama, we were told “elections have consequences,” and if we didn’t like it, to go out and win an election.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN HE WAS HITLER: Is Donald Trump, of All Presidents, Devolving Power Back to the Legislative Branch? “President Trump has proved to be a full-spectrum deregulator. His administration has been punctilious about the institutional prerogatives of Congress and the courts. Today there is a serious prospect of restoring the constitutional status quo ante and reversing what seemed to be an inexorable regulatory expansion.”

More from Josh Blackman: Is Trump Restoring Separation of Powers?

MONSTER FROM THE ID: In “Charles Manson’s Race War Fever-Dream,” Henry Allen of the Weekly Standard is “Remembering what it was like when Southern California went mad.”

There’s a banality here: The agent could have been anyone, when you consider that Manson was a 5-feet-2, semi-literate jail-raped punk still dreaming of becoming a rock star in his mid-30s in a city where, as Dionne Warwick sang in 1968:

All the stars that never were

Are parking cars and pumping gas.

Manson had the knack of appealing to Hollywood celebrities. Back then, madness seemed like a kind of super-truth and so he bore an air of prophecy. Imagine his bitterness when they did his music career no good at all. He turned to the ultimate banality of the age: revolution. Manson took “Helter Skelter” and other Beatles songs as the foretelling of a race war soon to come. He predicted that the blacks would kill all the whites, then find they were unable to govern themselves.

Manson and his “Family” would arise from hideouts in Death Valley and take power. All he had to do was get the race war started.

He ordered his followers to go on a killing spree, leaving fake clues that the killers were black militants. The most famous of their victims was the impossibly beautiful Sharon Tate, eight-months pregnant and the wife of Roman Polanski (living now in Europe to avoid charges of raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old in Los Angeles).

In that summer of 1969, there was the vast but momentary promise of Woodstock, a music festival, all peace and love. Joni Mitchell compared it to Eden.

We are stardust

We are golden

And we’ve got to get ourselves

Back to the Garden.

The bible was The Whole Earth Catalog, which preached the odd combination of communes and rugged individualism. Its opening line and motto was “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” Did the editor, Stewart Brand, hear the echo of the serpent tempting Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit? Ye shall be as gods.

Read the whole thing — as William F. Buckley liked to say, quoting political philosopher Eric Voegelin, “Don’t immanentize the eschaton.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN APPLE’S SLOGAN WAS “THINK DIFFERENT:” “Apple fires Diversity Chief for suggesting that intellectual diversity is important too. Wrongthink has no place in Silicon Valley.”

CHANGE: Apple’s Diversity Chief Is Leaving After Only 6 Months.

She had irked some critics in May when she commented during a conference, “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.” Her comments were seen by some as insensitive to people of color, women, and members of the LGBT community, who have long faced an uphill battle in the workplace.

Denise Young Smith later apologized for her comments, saying that they “were not representative of how I think about diversity or how Apple sees it.”

“For that, I’m sorry,” she said in a staff email. “More importantly, I want to assure you Apple’s view and our dedication to diversity has not changed.”

Her sin was being honest that there’s more to diversity than skin color or sexual orientation.

UPDATE (From Ed): I’m so old, I can remember when Apple’s marketing slogan was “Think Different.”

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THE LEFT EXTOLLED THE VIRTUES OF NON-JUDGMENTALISM: “Twitter says it will judge verified users’ offline behavior.”

So be good for goodness sake! Note however that curiously, while white supremacist Richard Spencer was de-certified, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton, Al Franken, Dan Rather, and Louis Farrakhan all still have their blue checkmarks.

Regarding that last fellow, as Liel Leibovitz of Tablet asks, if Twitter is judging verified users’ offline behavior, “Why Is Twitter Endorsing Anti-Semitic, Homophobic Hate-Monger Louis Farrakhan?”

SLATE: Al Franken Should Resign Immediately: Democrats’ credibility on sexual harassment is at stake.

The hypocrisy of Franken’s reaction is galling. Following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the senator wrote an impassioned Facebook post declaring that sexual harassment is “appalling” and “far too common.” He added that it “takes a lot of courage to come forward, and we owe them our thanks.” Franken then praised Gretchen Carlson for writing about “the disappointing responses women often face when they go public both embolden harassers and encourage victims to stay silent.”

Now Franken has issued the exact kind of “disappointing response” that Carlson bemoaned, attempting to dismiss the accusation against him as a botched joke that his victim misremembered. Is anyone surprised? Yet another self-proclaimed defender of women’s rights has revealed himself to be a misogynistic fraud. Franken’s ardent promotion of gender equality on the Senate floor is rendered meaningless in the face of his disgusting conduct.

You should be suspicious of all men who engage in “ardent promotion of gender equality” in public settings.

UPDATE: Melanie Morgan: After TV appearance, Al Franken harassed me too.

JOHN KASICH: It’s time for lawmakers to get into a room and figure out some sort of solution on gun control.

I’m so old, I can still remember when Kasich presented himself as a libertarian-leaning Republican. Although to be fair, these days that does seem like an awfully long time ago.

MICHAEL WALSH ON THE TIMES’ ‘CAN MY CHILDREN BE FRIENDS WITH WHITE PEOPLE?’ COLUMN: “Before the liberal revolution is over, we’ll be back to segregating the sexes — in the name of ‘safety’ — and the races — in the name of ‘empowerment.’”

I’m old enough to remember when columnists were fired for writing pro-segregation articles.

HUH — I THOUGHT MAD MEN WAS AN EXCORIATION OF THIS SORT OF BEHAVIOR: Emmy-award winning former Mad Men Writer Accuses Matthew Weiner of Sexual Harassment.

[Kater] Gordon, who won an Emmy for her writing on the AMC series, alleges that while working together late one night on Mad Men, Weiner told her that she owed it to him to let him see her naked. A year later, she was let go from the critically acclaimed drama — and hasn’t worked in the industry since.

“I had the Emmy, but instead of being able to use that as a launch pad for the rest of my career, it became an anchor because I felt I had to answer to speculative stories in the press,” Gordon told website The Information, which first broke the news. “I eventually walked away instead of fighting back.”

More details at Rolling Stone:

She said that while she had shared the story with confidantes over the years, she did not officially report the incident for fear of losing her job. She said she felt she was in a “lose-lose situation” because she believed he would “end her career.”

“I knew immediately that when he crossed the boundary that it was wrong,” she told The Information. “But I didn’t know what my options were.”

Gordon was made a staff writer for the third season and Weiner and Gordon won an Emmy in September 2009 for the episode they penned together when the alleged incident took place. But a few weeks later, just one year after the alleged incident, Gordon was let go from the series. She claims Weiner called to tell her that her contract would not be renewed. “He told me I was terrible at everything,” she said. “From my work in the writers room to on set.” She has not worked in the industry since.

Weiner’s PR team released the following statement, which appears in both articles:

“Mr. Weiner spent eight to ten hours a day writing dialogue aloud with Miss Gordon, who started on Mad Men as his writers assistant. He does not remember saying this comment nor does it reflect a comment he would say to any colleague. During the nine years he was showrunner on Mad Men, Mr. Weiner had a predominantly female driven writers room. He has long believed in and implemented an egalitarian working environment including the highest levels of production and writing based on mutual respect for all.”

And he’s no doubt ready to take on the NRA and Donald Trump as well.

There’s a line that appears out of nowhere in Brett Martin’s fascinating 2013 book Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, which includes a profile of Weiner, among other cable producers, beginning with his days as a writer/producer on The Sopranos:

As a sitcom writer, Weiner had demonstrated a certain difficulty playing well with others, an ability to rub people the wrong way. He would later recount the story of one actor getting so angry with him that the actor literally kicked him in the ass and challenged him to a fight. (The Web site hypothesized that the actor was Mark Roberts, who himself went on to become showrunner of the sitcom Mike & Molly.)

Upon arriving at The Sopranos, by then a well-oiled juggernaut, Weiner made immediate waves. He could be funny and charming, colleagues said, but also childishly underhanded. At times he seemed a classic bully: obsequious toward those above him, condescending and harsh toward those he perceived as having less power to help or harm him. After one confrontation, costume designer Juliet Polcsa began carrying a minicassette recorder to tape her interactions with Weiner.

Seems a safe bet that moving forward, there will be much more surreptitious recording in Hollywood.

Incidentally, this 2016 Deadline: Hollywood headline sure takes on added impact in light of recent events: ‘Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner Returning To TV With Amazon Series From Weinstein Company.

REMEMBER, ONLY TRAINED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS CAN BE TRUSTED WITH GUNS: After Night of Drinking, F.B.I. Supervisor Wakes to Find a Woman Stole His Gun.

An F.B.I. counterterrorism supervisor is under internal investigation after a woman stole his gun following a night of heavy drinking in a North Carolina hotel, according to documents and government officials.

In July, Robert Manson, a unit chief in the F.B.I.’s international terrorism section, had his Glock .40-caliber handgun, a $6,000 Rolex watch and $60 in cash stolen from his room at the Westin hotel in Charlotte, N.C., according to a police report. . . .

Mr. Manson and other senior agents were in Charlotte for training, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the episode. The agents later told the police that they had been drinking with women who said they were exotic dancers, according to a second person who was briefed on the investigation but, like the first, was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

“Investigators determined that the victim, Robert Manson, met a woman in the hotel bar the prior night and took her back to his hotel room,” Robert Tufano, a spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said in a statement.

At 6:30 the next morning, police officers for the department were called to the hotel. Mr. Manson was incapacitated because of alcohol, according to the police report, which he did not file himself. A fellow agent, Kevin Thuman, gave the report, which says the theft happened from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. The hotel bar closes at 2 a.m.

So he’s out drinking with strippers, takes one back to his room, she steals his gun, his watch, and his cash, and the next morning he’s still too drunk to file the report himself. And he’s a counterterrorism supervisor.

And why is an FBI agent wearing a $6000 Rolex?

It’s been a humiliating year for the FBI.

WOW: Donna Brazile: I considered replacing Clinton with Biden as 2016 Democratic nominee.

Former Democratic National Committee head Donna Brazile writes in a new book that she seriously contemplated replacing Hillary Clinton as the party’s 2016 presidential nominee with then-Vice President Biden in the aftermath of Clinton’s fainting spell, in part because Clinton’s campaign was “anemic” and had taken on “the odor of failure.”

In an explosive new memoir, Brazile details widespread dysfunction and dissension throughout the Democratic Party, including secret deliberations over using her powers as interim DNC chair to initiate the removal of Clinton and running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) from the ticket after Clinton’s Sept. 11, 2016, collapse in New York City.

Which is funny, because I remember when Republicans tried to make something of that fainting spell they were called sexist conspiracy theorists. Plus:

As one of her party’s most prominent black strategists, Brazile also recounts fiery disagreements with Clinton’s staffers — including a conference call in which she told three senior campaign officials, Charlie Baker, Marlon Marshall and Dennis Cheng, that she was being treated like a slave.

“I’m not Patsey the slave,” Brazile recalls telling them, a reference to the character played by Lupita Nyong’o in the film, “12 Years a Slave.” “Y’all keep whipping me and whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”

Which is also funny, because it was Biden telling black people that Republicans were gonna put them “back in chains.”

DAVID HARSANYI: 10 Times CNN Told Us An Apple Was A Banana.

We’re talking about CNN host Chris Cuomo, who, in addition to his hopeless bias, regularly offers factually impaired assertions on every media platform available to him. During the presidential race, Cuomo argued that while it was “illegal” for citizens to look at WikiLeaks emails, the media was afforded special protection with illegally obtained documents. “It’s different for the media,” Cuomo explained, “So everything you learn about this, you’re learning from us.”

You might also remember that after an anti-Islamist was shot in Texas a few years ago, Cuomo, who has a law degree, did a bit of victim-blaming by arguing that “Hate speech is excluded from protection” under the First Amendment. Instead of admitting that his aversion to speech critical of Islam had led him to say something untrue, Cuomo attempted to walk it back by offering examples that had absolutely nothing to do with his initial comment.

We’re talking about Sally Kohn and her cohosts, who raise their hands in the air in a nod to the “hands up, don’t shoot” slogan. Political commentators are free to engage in political theater, of course, but if we call out Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow when they perpetuate political myths, why not CNN, which fashions itself somewhere in the middle of Fox and MSNBC? CNN didn’t instruct its talent to stick to facts, it pushed the video out on its social media channels. Yet nothing in the Michael Brown case, not the ballistic or the DNA evidence or the witness statements, backs up the contention that Brown was shot with his hands up. Apples are not bananas no matter how many times you scream.

Read the whole thing.

If you’re unfamiliar with the apple/banana reference, here you go.

And a reminder: An apple is a banana, if the Party requires it to be.

THOMAS FRANK: What Harvey Weinstein tells us about the liberal world: Harvey Weinstein seemed to fit right in. This is a form of liberalism that routinely blends self-righteousness with upper-class entitlement.

What explains Weinstein’s identification with progressive causes? Perhaps it was all about cozying up to power, the thrill of being a friend of Bill Clinton.

Perhaps it was all about moral absolution, in the same way that lists of corporations-that-care always turn out to be led by outfits like Walmart, Goldman Sachs and Exxon-Mobil. In the world of the wealthy, liberalism is something you do to offset your rapacious behavior in other spheres. It’s no coincidence that, in Weinstein’s desperate first response to the accusations against him, he thought to promise war against the National Rifle Association and to support scholarships for women.

But it’s also something deeper than that. Most people on the left think of themselves as resisters of authority, but for certain of their leaders, modern-day liberalism is a way of rationalizing and exercising class power. Specifically, the power of what some like to call the “creative class”, by which they mean well-heeled executives in industries like Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

Worshiping these very special people is the doctrine that has allowed Democrats to pull even with Republicans in fundraising and that has buoyed the party’s fortunes in every wealthy suburb in America.

That this strain of liberalism also attracts hypocrites like Harvey Weinstein, with his superlative fundraising powers and his reverence for “great artists”, should probably not surprise us. Remember, too, that Weinstein is the man who once wrote an essay demanding leniency for Roman Polanski, partially on the grounds that he too was a “great artist”.

Narcissism coupled with entitlement.

YEAH, I REMEMBER WHEN HE SENT HIS AIDES TO MORNING SHOWS TO SAY IT WAS ALL ABOUT A MOVIE AND THE WHOLE MEDIA COVERED FOR HIM:  Dems hope to spin Niger ambush as Trump’s Benghazi.  Also, Trump told potential rescuers to stand down, right?  Oh, wait, my bad.  All that was Obama.  Sorry Democrats. No Sale!

LOCAL NEWS DESERTS: Has Facebook killed off local newspapers through its advertising algorithms? This seems to me to be the crux:

Facebook in particular was meant to be part of the solution to the problem of sustaining hyperlocal publishers. The publishing tools and hosting services Facebook offers for free are compelling. But in sparse or poorer areas, they do not allow for the traditional civic bargain of the local press, wherein the businesses and individuals who can afford to advertise, in effect pay for the journalism that covers a community.

When you get down to it the problem was summed up by Terry Pratchett quite nicely in The Truth:

People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things…well, new things aren’t what they expect. They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that. In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds…Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.

Social media tends to provide the “olds” quite readily. Without the olds, a “news” paper is very thin – and who is willing to pay for that, civic bargain or no?

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS TO NO ONE IS ASKING: “NFLers are Protesting During the National Anthem. Here’s Why Cheerleaders Aren’t,” young Democrat operative with a byline Kalhan Rosenblatt writes at NBC. And check out her lede:

Millions of Americans have applauded the NFL players who have taken a knee during the national anthem, but not the women whose job it is to root for the teams — the cheerleaders.

No leftwing bias here! And it’s a somewhat poorly written biased sentence as well — millions of American guys applaud the NFL’s cheerleaders whenever the programming director cuts to a shot of them on the sidelines, whatever the players are doing on the field before or after the game. Of course, what Rosenblatt really wants is the women’s edition of what Allahpundit calls the NFL’s pregame “woke Olympics:”

They have been noticeably absent from the year-long drama that has divided football fans and outraged President Donald Trump and their reasons range from not wanting to undermine the team — to not wanting to lose their prized spot on the squad.

“Definitely the financial compensation isn’t high enough where you’re concerned about paying rent … but certainly if you’re creating waves you could lose your spot,” Danetha Doe, a two-season Indianapolis Colts cheerleader, told NBC News.

Doe remembers when it was rare to find an African-American in the rah-rah ranks and understands why a cheerleader might think twice about joining the players’ protest against the persecution of black people in America.

Ahh, so the NFL is a cesspit of racism as well. OK, yet another reason for fans to tune it out — and why is NBC facilitating it each Sunday night?

According to this 2014 PBS article, NFL cheerleaders earn on average about $100 or so a game…

San Diego Chargers cheerleaders are paid $75 per game, for example. Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders earn around $150 per game, and Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders are paid around $100 per game, according to the Atlantic.

Some cheerleaders employed by NFL teams say the job is not about the money and is more of a hobby. They add the exposure of being an NFL cheerleader can lead to better, more lucrative positions down the line.

…Sure, drag them into the protests as well, NBC.

ROSS DOUTHAT: The ’70s And Us.

You can remember some of it with ’70s statistics: Never so many divorces, never so many abortions, a much higher rate of rape, an S.T.D. crisis that culminated in the AIDS epidemic.

But some of it is better grasped through anecdote and social history — particularly the extent to which the ’70s saw the drug-enabled exploitation of kids on a grimly horrifying scale.

As Matthew Walther pointed out recently in The Week, much of rock and roll’s groupie culture was a spree of statutory rape, with the gods of rock as serial deflowerers of girls not much older than Dolores Haze. . . .

Meanwhile despite their moral turpitude the ’70s still occasion nostalgia, for bad reasons but also one good one: They featured our civilization’s last great burst of creative energy. Those predatory directors and rape-y rock stars made great movies and memorable music. Our sclerotic interest groups were born as idealistic causes then; our repetitive religious and intellectual debates were fresh and new. Our era is calmer and safer and less vicious (Trump and Twitter notwithstanding), but its peace feels like cultural exhaustion.

And Harvey Weinstein is a fitting bridge between that world and ours, both artistically and morally. His independent-film work tried to revive or imitate the ’70s auteur spirit, before giving way to lousy Oscar bait for his companies and endless superhero movies for the system.

Meanwhile the way he brutalized young women was a very 1970s way to be a movie-business monster.

But the allegation that when balked in his advances, he masturbated into whatever receptacle presented itself? That’s very 2017.


HOWIE CARR: On Harvey Weinstein, Dems’ silence isn’t golden.

What a difference a year makes — remember when the “Access Hollywood” tapes came out last October?

The Social Justice Warriors of Hollywood, the Democrats and the alt-left media collectively went crazy. Donald Trump was the absolute worst person in the world, for talking about sexual harassment.

But now, 365 days later, a vulgar, obese Hollywood mogul named Harvey Weinstein is outed by The New York Times (of all outlets!) as a serial sexual predator, with at least eight settlements under his 55-inch belt for harassment.

And the reaction among the Beautiful People in both Hollywood and D.C. is … crickets.

As one of Weinstein’s victims, actress Rose McGowan, tweeted out Friday: “Ladies of Hollywood, your silence is deafening.”

Related: Adriana Cohen: The joke’s actually on the lefties of late night.

‘HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S MEDIA ENABLERS’? THE NEW YORK TIMES IS ONE OF THEM: Don’t miss the detail in this article by a former Timeswoman on how Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her directly to tamp down an explosive story that would have severely compromised Weinstein’s reputation over a decade ago.

In 2004, I was still a fairly new reporter at The New York Times when I got the green light to look into oft-repeated allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein. It was believed that many occurred in Europe during festivals and other business trips there.

I traveled to Rome and tracked down the man who held the plum position of running Miramax Italy. According to multiple accounts, he had no film experience and his real job was to take care of Weinstein’s women needs, among other things.

As head of Miramax Italy in 2003 and 2004, Fabrizio Lombardo was paid $400,000 for less than a year of employment. He was on the payroll of Miramax and thus the Walt Disney Company, which had bought the indie studio in 1993.

I had people on the record telling me Lombardo knew nothing about film, and others citing evenings he organized with Russian escorts.

* * * * * * * *

After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at the Times, the story was gutted.

I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known. I knew he was a major advertiser in the Times, and that he was a powerful person overall.

But I had the facts, and this was the Times. Right?


Read the whole thing.

As Jake Tapper tweets in response to Weinstein being fired, “so the Miramax partners had NO idea this had been going on for decades? And Weinstein paid all those settlements out of his own personal $$?” Author Laurie Stark adds, “Remember: The Weinstein Company didn’t fire Harvey because they found out he was a sexual predator. They fired him because WE found out.” And Glenn has an excellent suggestion: “Clearly we need Congressional hearings on sexual harassment in Hollywood. Make all the studio heads testify.”

Indeed. Although it would probably go something like this:

UPDATE: “New York magazine had the Harvey Weinstein story — or nearly had it — a year ago but didn’t run anything after the movie mogul and his team of lawyers and p.r. consultants intervened.”

NO, PLEASE DON’T: Four Belated Sequels We Need More than Blade Runner 2049.

I’m so old, I remember when Hollywood still had ideas for new, standalone, movies.

HMM: As fight enters second month, FBI still withholding dossier documents.

It has now been more than a month since a House Intelligence Committee subpoena set a September 1 deadline for the FBI and the Justice Department to turn over documents related to the Trump dossier.

Not a single document has been produced. The first deadline was extended once, then again, then again, and is now on some sort of hold. But no documents have been handed over.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with committee chairman Devin Nunes last Thursday — the committee can perhaps take comfort in the fact that it is being put off by progressively higher-ranking officials — but it is not clear if the committee is any closer to receiving the documents than when it first issued its subpoena on August 24.

Read the whole thing.

I still have the small plaque from Dad’s office wall which reads, “When you’re up to you ass in alligators, it’s difficult to remember your initial objective was to drain the swamp.”

QUESTION ASKED: Could America’s Socialists Become the Tea Party of the Left?

Inspired by the Vermont senator’s success at forcing left-wing ideas into the nomination battle, the nation’s largest socialist organization, the Democratic Socialists of America, has watched its dues-paying membership, which historically has hovered around 5,000, swell to 25,000. The DSA is still nowhere near the levels of the Socialist Party in 1920, when nearly a million people voted for Eugene Debs, but its members, too young to remember the Cold War, much less the “red scares” of the 1910s and 1950s, aren’t content to sit quietly on the political sidelines, perennially irrelevant in a system built to sustain two major parties.

They want to win. And to do it, socialists are dispensing with their penchant for symbolic protest votes and their principled disdain for an electoral process they believe can’t deliver meaningful change. Sanders’ ability to run well in primaries across the country, say new DSA members, proved that democratic socialism isn’t destined for the kind of third-party tokenism that bedevils the Green Party and World Workers Party, among others. And it has opened their minds to an electoral strategy that was until very recently considered heretical.

“The only viable electoral strategy is to work with the Democratic Party,” says Michael Kazin, the editor of leftist magazine Dissent. “There is no viable third party.”

Either the Democrats are electorally screwed or the country is politically screwed — or eventually, both.

AND HOW DID THEY DO THAT? “Authorities ruled out terrorism, NPR reported.”

UPDATE: Here’s the guy. They’re also seeking a woman “companion.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: She’s been arrested. Plus, on the shooter: “Paddock was known to local law enforcement and had a criminal past, investigators said, but no additional details were available.”

Somebody was already blaming Bernie Sanders in a now-deleted tweet, but we don’t really know anything yet so don’t get ahead of the story. The only thing we know for sure is that a bunch of people were killed and shouldn’t have been. And judging from reports on Twitter, a lot of bystanders, many ex-military, responded heroically. Just remember that, as in the aftermath of most such events, an awful lot of what you’re hearing is wrong.

On a personal note, I sure am tired of these stories. The 9/11 attacks took place when InstaPundit was just a few weeks old, and I’ve been blogging this stuff, from the Al Qaeda bombings in Spain and London, to the Boston Marathon bombings, to the Scalise shooting, and a seemingly endless number in-between. It kinda wears on you after a while. Of course, if I weren’t blogging, I’d still be waking up to the awful news, but the blogging does make you feel a bit more connected to events, which sucks.

MORE: Las Vegas Strip shooting: More than 50 dead, 400 others injured. “The massacre Sunday night ended when police stormed a 32nd-floor hotel room overlooking the concert and the shooter, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, killed himself, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.” It says they’re “pretty confident” he was a lone wolf, though I don’t know how they know that.

SALENA ZITO: The media is missing the Republican takeover in New England.

On Sept. 19, Politico congressional reporter Burgess Everett tweeted that he suddenly “[Remembers Vermont has a Republican governor].” His tweet prompted Seung Min Kim, a fellow Politico reporter who covers the US Senate to reply that she “[Learns Vermont has a Republican governor].” That, in turn, instigated a response by Wall Street Journal congressional reporter Byron Tau: “[Googles the name of Vermont’s Republican governor].”

To which Phil Scott, Vermont’s Republican governor responded that he “[Is Vermont’s Republican governor].”

The moment was comical but also insightful, underscoring just how little Washington’s political class knows about who holds the executive power in the Northeast.

Here’s the surprising truth: It’s not the Democrats.

Last November, while most of the country was either cheering Donald Trump’s presidential win or making an appointment with their therapist about how to cope with the results, New Englanders in four out of the region’s six “blue” states — Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine — woke up the next morning with four Republican governors.

Three of those governorships flipped from blue to red. It was a trend that the Northeast had not seen for a generation, but it received little national attention. (Connecticut and Rhode Island hold their governorship elections in 2018.)

If the reverse had happened, and four Democrats had won governorships in deep red states last year, the news would have been treated quite differently, said Brad Todd, a Washington, DC-based GOP strategist.

Well, yes.

Plus: “In the aftermath of the 2016 electoral — but not popular-vote — win of Trump over Hillary Clinton, Democrats have spent endless time bemoaning their inability to capture the Electoral College. They blame it on a so-called antiquated system that gives greater weight to the states populated by more cows than people. But it really is a symptom of a bigger problem for the Democrats: The Republican Party is the only party that is a national party. Republicans, at some level, are competing in every state up and down the ballot, while Democrats are not competing anywhere but on the coasts and in the big cities. In short, they are a regionalized party, confined to the most densely populated parts of the nation — more cut off and compartmentalized than the GOP.”

Also: “Seven years after the Republicans won the House and three years after they gained the US Senate majority, the media/entertainment complex still fails to accept or understand that the majority of this country is center-right. Until these institutions grasp this fact, they will continue to see their viewership drop and their trust erode. There is a reason this year’s Trump-bashing Emmy Awards saw viewership figures tank for the second year in a row (11.38 million views — down 5 percent from 2015). You can’t expect to hold onto the middle of the country when you spend four hours mocking the choice many of them made for president.”


Cruise plays Barry Seal, a real-life Louisiana TWA pilot-turned-drug smuggler for the Medellin Cartel who got rich in the 1970s and 1980s before he was eventually busted. Desperate, he volunteered to turn informant for the DEA and earned the wrath of the drug lords after photographing some of them with cameras the CIA had installed on his plane . All of this is shown in American Made, but as far as I can tell, most of the rest is fabricated. Seal is, for instance, shown working for the CIA first to conduct spy missions, then becoming a drug trafficker while also delivering CIA rifles to the Contras, and then welcoming the Contras to his Mena, Ark. headquarters for training. Yet according to the author of what appears to be a well-sourced book on Seal, the pilot was not a CIA employee or asset. That’s awkward: Seal’s supposed CIA gig is the central element of this movie. It’s as if it turned out that Goodfellas narrator Henry Hill wasn’t in the mafia at all but was instead hijacking trucks and burying bodies as a foot soldier for the National Endowment for the Arts.

American Made could have been called American Made-Up. It amounts to an enormously contrived effort by Doug Liman, the son of the Senate’s lead counsel in the Iran-Contra hearings, to reshape the tangle of that scandal into a larkish Tom Cruise adventure. Truth was not an impediment. “We’re not making a biopic,” Liman has said, confessing that during filming he would dream up on the spot entertaining new exploits for Seal: “Wouldn’t it be fun if we did this, or funny if we did that?” He calls the film a “fun lie” in publicity notes. Yet American Made has no core to hold it together if it uses a real person, real events, and even news clips of Reagan talking about matters discussed in the movie, to cloak its many fabrications in history. We love Goodfellas because we know it happened, because it’s a confession. American Made borrows the confession motif and many other elements from Goodfellas, but it’s mostly just Liman and Cruise fun-lying.

Flashback: Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday excuses massive inaccuracies in Sean Penn’s 2010 Valerie Plame biopic (not least of which, the absence of Plame leaker Richard Armitage, by writing, “In Washington, watching fact-based political movies has become a sport all its own, with viewers hyper-alert to mistakes, composite characters or real stories hijacked by political agendas. But what audiences often fail to take into account is that a too-literal allegiance to the facts can sometimes obscure a larger truth…Thus, the movies about Washington that get the right stuff right — or get some stuff wrong but in the right way — become their own form of consensus history. ‘Follow the money,’ then, assumes its own totemic truth. Ratified through repeated viewings in theaters, on Netflix and beyond, these films become a mutual exercise in creating a usable past. We watch them to be entertained, surely, and maybe educated. But we keep watching them in order to remember.”

Winston Smith, call your office.

JON GABRIEL: Red Team? Blue Team? Start Your Own Team.

Remember when multimillionaire President Trump criticized a multimillionaire football player last night? Well today, a multimillionaire basketball player said he didn’t want to go to the White House no more. So, President Trump said the multimillionaire basketball player wasn’t welcome at the White House in the first place. And then a different multimillionaire basketball player tweeted something mean at President Trump.

Honestly, I’m just happy the Republic hasn’t collapsed.

A few million put on their Red Team uniforms and rushed to their computers. Another few million put on their Blue Team uniforms and grabbed their iPhones. To the barricades, citizens!

Then they wasted a beautiful Saturday afternoon tweeting at each other.

Melissa and I spent Saturday doing chores and then drinking and talking too loudly with old friends — highly recommended.

AXIS OF EVIL: Iran’s New Ballistic Missile Looks a Lot Like a Modified North Korean One.

Needless to say, the demonstration of the Khorramshahr has added a certain weight to calls in the United States to pull out of or otherwise reconsider the future of the JCPOA. Critics of pulling out of the arrangement say that it could only hasten Iran’s development of both newer and more advanced ballistic missiles, as well as a nuclear weapon.

However, Khorramshahr may prompt additional concerns that Iran may already be working along both of these lines with help from North Korea and other allies. Observers were quick to point out that the missile shares a number of similarities, especially in its apparent engine configuration, with the North Korean BM-25 Musudan, also known as the Hwasong-10.

Iran claims that the new missile is an entirely domestic effort, but it makes similar statements about almost every weapon system it unveils, even those that are clearly derived from foreign designs. Its existing Shahab-3 medium range ballistic missiles are a known derivative of North Korea’s earlier Hwasong-7.

I’m so old I can remember when suggesting that Iran and North Korea cooperated as a terror axis was the punchline to unfunny jokes told by comedians and network news reporters.

SHARYL ATTKISSON IN THE HILL: It looks like Obama did spy on Trump, just as he apparently did to me.

UPDATE: Flashback: “Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Don Surber: Why CNN told you Trump’s campaign was wiretapped.

Bonus question: At this point, would anyone be surprised to find out that they were spying on the Romney campaign, too?

MORE: From the comments: “Do you remember when the IRS scandal unfolded? It was brought up at a press briefing. They were trying to get ahead of the Scandal by releasing the information in measured doses, so it could be handled carefully by Administration allies in the Press. That is what they are doing right now, with the wiretapping.”


This is not surprising, in fact, it was all too predictable. Growing up in the post-punk and pre-internet 1980’s, if you wanted to learn more about your favorite bands, you had few options. You could watch MTV, which actually played music videos, or you could read magazines like Rolling Stone.

At some point over the last two decades, Rolling Stone decided to focus more on politics and in the process, fully embraced the progressive platform.

Yes, I’m old enough to remember when MTV was a watchable cable channel showing rock videos, and Rolling Stone was an entertaining show business magazine featuring record reviews (remember records?), interviews with rock stars and Hollywood actors and directors, additionally, as a Kevin D. Williamson writes, in a piece titled “Jann Wenner — Man of the Past,” “About 90 percent of what’s in Rolling Stone would be at home in US Weekly, if it were a little more plain. But, oh, that other 10 percent:”

Wenner sent Hunter S. Thompson tear-assing around the world to invent a new kind of journalism and published important pieces of more traditional investigative journalism. He also helped to launch the careers of two of the most important conservative voices of their generation: P. J. O’Rourke and Tom Wolfe, whose fiction masterpiece, Bonfire of the Vanities, might very well have never come to completion without Wenner’s encouragement and his agreement to serialize it. More recently, Matt Taibbi gave the magazine a real claim to continued relevance with his reporting on the financial crisis and various shenanigans associated with it. Between the whatever-happened-to-Hanson features, Rolling Stone has published some astonishingly good writing about important things.

There were of course catastrophic misjudgments, too: Rolling Stone infamously put one of the terrorists behind the Boston Marathon bombings on the cover in a glamour-boy pose to advertise a not-especially-insightful piece of prose. It also published a laughably, shockingly shoddy piece of journalism alleging to detail the case of a rape at the University of Virginia, a piece of non-journalism that turned out to be something much closer to pure fiction, one for which the magazine has already lost one defamation suit and has been obliged to settle with another party for more than $1 million. The damage to Rolling Stone’s bottom line could have been worse; the damage to its reputation could hardly have.

The high-minded magazine also once fired a guy for writing a negative review of a Hootie and the Blowfish record.

Rank those transgressions as you will.

In a way, MTV foreshadowed Rolling Stone’s hyper-politicization by going all-in on their lefty “Rock the Vote” campaign to aid Bill Clinton’s election odds in 1992. Ace of Spades has a had a couple of recent posts linking to a video that discusses how the increasingly SJW-obsessed comic book world has embraced the concept of “No-Escapism,” particularly when combined with the politicized overculture of the NFL, TV, and movies. It’s good to see that there’s a price to be paid by going to war with your audience – who are pushing back with what Noah Rothman of Commentary dubs America’s “Great Tune-Out.”

Related: Judge Re-Instates Group Defamation Lawsuit by UVA Fraternity Against Susan Erdeley and Rolling Stone for Fabricated Rape Story.

As a legendary community organizer advised his constituents, get in their faces and punch back twice as hard.

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN: Nordstrom tries store with stylists, but no clothes.

Nordstrom is opening a new store in California next month that’s significantly smaller than what the department store chain usually builds and — in a twist — won’t be stocking clothing or any inventory at all.

Instead, the Seattle-based company (JWN) said Monday the store will offer shoppers personal stylists to help pick out clothing and accessories, dressing rooms to try them on, online ordering, and services, such as alterations, manicures, wine and beer and hand-delivery of items to customers’ cars.

Sounds like a high-end take on the old catalog showroom stores I remember from the 1970s. That might be a smart move, given that expensive floorspace and (especially) carried inventory costs are two huge disadvantages of traditional retail versus e-commerce.

BIG SISTER IS WATCHING YOU: Airport Denizens, Beware: Ubersnitch Lena Dunham Promises ‘I Hear All and See All.’

I’m so old, I remember when liberals poked fun at the Central Scrutinizer, before deciding he was a role model.

KURT SCHLICHTER: The True Conservatives Hype A Trumpocalypse In A Desperate Bid For Attention.

The latest Never Trump meme is that Donald Trump has defected to the Democrats, a notion that might charitably be labeled “wishful thinking” if it actually involved any thinking. But the “wishful” part is in full effect as this tattered remnant of worshippers at the altar of Establishment Conservatism seeks to revive their failed cult and reassume their position as the priesthood of all things on the right.

You remember Establishment Conservatism, right? It is to conservatism as Unitarians are to Christianity – “Well, I sort of believe in something, but mostly I just want whatever I do validated.” Establishment Conservatism is the sect that promised for seven years to repeal Obamacare then…didn’t. But that was Trump’s fault, of course, because reasons and because you’re a fake conservative for asking and also shut up.

So, this week’s True Con embarrassment arose because the Republicans were somehow going to score yet another smashing victory in a debt ceiling fight, as they always do, but darn that Trump! He got in the way of their cunning scheme. Or something.

“As they always do.” Gold.

SO NOW IT’S THE 16TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. Back then, InstaPundit was shiny and new new new. Now it’s not, and some people have been warning of “blogger burnout.” But I’m still here. On prior 9/11 anniversaries, I’ve given shooting lessons to a Marine, I’ve taken the day off from blogging, and I’ve even gone to a Tea Party with Andrew Breitbart.

This year, as in most past years, it’ll be blogging as usual. And here’s a link to my original 9/11 coverage — just scroll on up. At this late date, I don’t have anything new to say on 9/11. But these predictions held up pretty well. Which is too bad.

The picture above is by my cousin-in-law Brad Rubenstein, taken from his apartment that day. You might also want to read this piece by James Lileks.

And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.

They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.

I’ve said all this before, but it bears repeating today. And if I don’t have anything new to say at this late date, well, it’s been a long time.

One thing I guess I didn’t believe 16 years ago is that America would elect such a feckless President in 2008, and stand idly by while he flushed our global position, and security, down a left-wing toilet. But we did, and we’ll be paying the price for a long time.

God bless America. We need it.

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THE NATIONAL LAWYERS’ GUILD FOUGHT MCCARTHYISM INSTEAD OF SUPPORTING IT: Professor who argued ‘all cultures are not created equal’ targeted for removal from teaching law class.

A law group at an Ivy League university is encouraging the school’s administration to consider barring a professor from teaching a mandatory first-year law course, citing her “segregationist” worldview, “bigoted views” and “cultural elitism.”

In a statement posted to the group’s blog, the National Lawyers Guild chapter at the University of Pennsylvania Law School condemned Penn professor Amy Wax’s recent op-ed at The Philadelphia Inquirer, in which Wax, along with a co-author, lamented the “breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture” and declared: “All cultures are not created equal.”

The members of Penn’s National Lawyers Guild wrote that Wax’s comments are a “textbook example of white supremacy and cultural elitism” and alleged she is a “segregationist” with “bigoted views.”

“We call on the administration,” Penn’s National Lawyers Guild wrote, “to consider more deeply the toll that this takes on students, particularly students of color and members of the LGBTQIA community, and to consider whether it is in the best interests of the school and its students for Professor Wax to continue to teach a required first-year class.”

Professor Wax is the instructor for a mandatory course at Penn’s law school titled “Civil Procedure.”

But like most commie groups, the Guild has always been happy to change its principles to conform with the party line of the moment. Still, I hope that Thomas Emerson, were he still alive, would be opposing this.


I have no idea why anybody would want this service, or if it even qualifies as a service. But Mr. Daou seems like a lost soul who’s trying to find some purpose in his life ever since Hillary Clinton lost, so maybe this will give him some comfort.

Don’t mind us, Peter. We’re laughing with you. Even though you’re not laughing.

I’m so old, I can remember when Republicans blamed media bias for their election losses.

I CAN REMEMBER WHEN STEREOTYPING WAS BAD: “John Legend’s searching for some folks who look like they love President Trump, and in his opinion … that means they should be old and overweight.”

Well, I guess these girls don’t count.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Are they also looking to cast a musician to play John Legend?”

NO. The Ugliest Era of Menswear Is Back: Why You’ll Want to Relive It.

An otherwise pleasant stroll up Madison Avenue one recent Sunday turned into a 1970s flashback for Ralph Auriemma, the creative director of classic-suit purveyor Paul Stuart. Gazing into the windows at Prada’s New York store, Mr. Auriemma saw male mannequins clad in bell-bottom corduroys, fur belts and fuzzy angora sweaters, all hallmarks of that stylistically divisive decade. “The ’70s were probably the most horrific, ugliest era of menswear ever assembled,” said Mr. Auriemma, who was a teenager when Journey ruled the airwaves. “I remember polyester flared pants, platform cork shoes and bold, obnoxious patterns on shirts. And,” he added, proudly, “I didn’t wear any of it.” Nor is he about to start. Yet, at a time when much of men’s fashion is embracing, shall we say, challenging aesthetics (see “Off-Putting Is In” below), many of his peers disagree.

A quick scroll through the accompanying photos proves that Auriemma is on the right side of history.


And, of course, it fights global warming. Leftists have convinced themselves that the real fight against evil in the world today is not against Islamism; it’s against carbon emissions.

And now, we can add statues to the list. The left was AWOL against communism, and it’s AWOL against Islamism. But it’s in the vanguard of fighting statues.

Found via Kathy Shaidle, who writes, “I’m so old, I remember when the Left said ‘Marriage was just a piece of paper’ and ‘Flags were just pieces of cloth.'”

Well, the left have always been able to cut their conscience to fit this year’s fashions.

SO THERE’S GOING TO BE A MONUMENT PROTEST/COUNTERPROTEST IN KNOXVILLE TODAY. The KPD seems to have a pretty good plan — unlike some cities I could name — for preventing violence. But as always, the history is more complicated than the slogans. Here’s an excellent piece by Jack Neely. Excerpt:

The United Daughters of the Confederacy, back when that organization was still composed mostly of actual daughters of Confederate soldiers, marked the spot. Among them were daughters of slain soldiers, women who were raised by widows, and wanted to think the best of fathers they never got a chance to know well. . . .

It’s been useful to me to point out the different sizes of the memorials, as an indication of Knoxville’s memory of the war. For every Union man lost at Fort Sanders, the Confederates lost almost 20. But here’s the Confederate memorial, not much bigger than a single coffin. A block and a half away is the Union monument, also of Tennessee marble but more than twice as large and much more elaborate, like a castle tower, with an unusual bas relief of Union and Confederate soldiers shaking hands.

Specifically a memorial to the New York Highlanders who defended Fort Sanders, it was erected in 1918, about four years after the Confederate monument. By that time, American soldiers were dying rapidly in another meat-grinder of a war. This monument also came with a poem:

The hands that once were raised in strife
Now clasp a brother’s hand
And long as flows the tide of life–
In peace, in toil, when war is rife
We shall as brothers stand
One heart, one soul, for our fine land.

That poet was Joseph Ignatious Constantine Clarke, an Irish-born New York newspaperman who was still alive at the time of the erection, and probably knew about it. This inscription seems to be the best-known usage of his poem.

The crowd who attended the dedication seemed to reflect its truth. Rev. W.R. Barrett, a Confederate combat veteran, attended and, asked to speak, admitted that he saw “a Divine purpose in the preservation of the Union.”

William Rule, newspaper editor and Union veteran, who lived within sight of the monument, made an optimistic remark: “There has never been a time in the history of the nation when so little sectional jealousy existed as at present.”

Neither of the ceremonies directly addressed race, civil rights, or the larger causes and consequences of the war. Maybe they should have. But on both occasions, men and women who had had different sympathies half a century earlier seemed content to honor the dead, and the living who had suffered in this weird hillside battle. Maybe, they seemed to want to believe that horror was finally over. Here, at least, the actual veterans, the ones who were young when they had witnessed their friends blown apart beside them, the ones who were wounded themselves, got along, in common cause to remember.

Here’s something I wrote about the Union monument over a decade ago. To be honest, I had forgotten that the Confederate monument was there. As I said, our ancestors seemed better about coming-together and forgiveness than we are, but then, they understood the costs of not doing so much better than we do. May that last, at least, remain true.

DEMOCRACY DIES IN LAKE WOBEGON: In WashPost Column, Retired NPR Star Garrison Keillor ‘Looking for Generals to Save Us From Democracy.’

I’m so old, I remember when Seven Days in May was a warning, not a how-to guide.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): My paper on military coups in the United States just gets more timely!

THANKS, OBAMA: Waiting Longer for an Ambulance When Seconds Count? Blame Obamacare. “Study finds that expanded coverage from ACA put strain on emergency services not equipped to deal with the demand.”

I’m so old, I can remember when Obama promised that his law would relieve the stresses on emergency medical services.

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN “LOYALTY OATHS” WERE BAD: Clemson RAs ‘must demonstrate commitment to social justice.’ Given all the PC nonsense at Clemson lately, I’m surprised that the South Carolina legislature has shown so little interest.


When a physically active person like me injures a joint, especially one as crucial as a knee or ankle, one of the first thoughts, if not the first thought, is likely to be “How fast can I get back to my usual activities?”

That kind of thinking, however, could set the stage for a painful chronic problem years later: post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

In the rush to get back in the game, whether as part of a team or elite sport or simply a cherished recreational activity like jogging or tennis, it is tempting to short-circuit the rehabilitation needed to allow the joint to heal fully. But adequate recovery, including rehab measures aimed at strengthening structures that support the injured joint, is critical to maximize its stability, reduce the risk of reinjury and head off irreparable joint damage.

And you don’t have to be a senior citizen to pay the price of failing to build up the tissues that help protect that joint. Studies have shown that when an adolescent or young adult sustains a knee injury, for example, X-ray evidence of arthritis is often apparent within a decade.

So I broke a finger in law school, and they told me I’d probably have arthritis in the joint within 10-15 years. But I dutifully trudged over to Yale Student Health for physical therapy, even though it felt sort of dumb having a physical therapist bend my finger, and soak it in a salad-bowl-sized whirlpool. But now, much more than 10-15 years later, I have to stop to think to remember which finger I broke, so I guess it was worth it.