Magazine | April 30, 2012, Issue


Fiery Defense

In the April 2 issue’s “Week” section, you comment that the Chevy Volt had an “annoying habit of bursting into flames.”

Two Volts did burst into flames, but both had been involved in destructive crash tests. The fires occurred because the agency did not drain the battery after the crash, which is required, much as crashed gasoline-powered vehicles must be drained of gasoline when stored.

I am a GM retiree. I opposed the government’s handling of the GM bankruptcy and oppose the current Volt subsidies. However, I also oppose the Right’s use of the Volt to attack the current administration on its “green energy” policies. GM made the decision to build and market the Volt long before the Obama administration entered the picture. The technological leap is awesome, irrespective of anyone’s political views.

The Volt’s commercial prospects appear dubious at best. But the “rub off” impact, according to GM’s engineers, is invaluable to the future of automobiles as we deal with restrictive and irresponsible government fuel-economy standards.

Joseph C. Tatham

Sterling Heights, Mich.


Word Count

In the April 16 “Letters,” Kevin D. Williamson calls Frank Fahrenkopf’s letter “adjective-heavy.” Mr. Fahrenkopf used 23 adjectives (including participles) in the course of 15 lines (counting his two incomplete lines as only one), for a frequency of 1.53 adjectives per line, while Mr. Williamson used ten adjectives in his five lines (again, fusing his two incomplete ones), for a frequency of 2.00. Though of course neither of these results is objectionably “heavy,” certainly Mr. Williamson’s is quite noticeably heavier.

William P. Wadbrook

Via e-mail


You Ain’t Heard?

What is TANSTAAFL? Or more specifically, what’s the “A” after the first “T” in the acronym headline on Jonah Goldberg’s article in the March 5 issue? I know that “TNSTAAFL” stands for “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” but I’m at a loss as to what the extra “A” is for.

Please advise, so I can get some sleep.

Jim Grodnik

Brevard, N.C.


The Editors reply: Rest well.

NR Staff — Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

On Judicial Review

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Youth Movement

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Politics & Policy

Big &#%!ing Joker

An August 26, 2008, Politico story began: “During his first full day of solo campaigning, newly minted Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden showed some of the flashes of the ...

Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Fiery Defense In the April 2 issue’s “Week” section, you comment that the Chevy Volt had an “annoying habit of bursting into flames.” Two Volts did burst into flames, but both had ...
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The Week

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The Long View


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Happy Warrior

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Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More