The Weekend Jolt

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Bill Buckley Won’t You Please Come Home

Dear Jolters,

The WJ is wired to look back on the seven days prior, and there is plenty of rear-view mirroring below. But I’d like to kick off this edition of your every-Saturday tomfoolery with a look ahead, and a remembrance: February 27th will mark the 10th anniversary of the death of our founder, William F. Buckley Jr., pictured here with his sainted brother, James (who celebrates Birthday Number 95 in two weeks).

Friend, boss, colossus: WFB is sorely missed. This coming week we’ll be celebrating his lasting consequence (which is the mission of NR Institute’s Buckley Legacy Project) by republishing, at the new and improved NRO, one of his greatest hits each day, in addition to a WFB symposium being published on Tuesday. And also on that day, there will be a special event in New York City honoring his legacy — we expect C-SPAN to capture and broadcast the proceedings in the ensuing days.

Now, let’s get down to what Bill would have wanted: Propagating the conservative faith.


1. Because it needs to be said in the face of liberal howling, we state the obvious: That “gun control” is not the answer to the latest school murders. From the editorial:

Gun control, the Left says, always, offering ideas that range from the trivial to the patently unconstitutional. Whatever the outrage of the day is, the Left’s answer is to seek to ban whatever implement was used in it: Until the murders in Las Vegas, nobody outside of gun-nut circles had heard of a bump stock, but bump stocks became Public Enemy No. 1. In the debate over so-called assault weapons, every feature from the functional to the cosmetic has had its turn as the deification of evil. . . .

What kind of gun control might have prevented the Florida killing? For all the talk of “moderate” and “common-sense” reforms, plausible regulatory approaches to preventing such acts of mass violence are few and far between. The Florida shooter had no criminal record and had not been judged mentally incompetent, and so he was able to purchase rifles and other long guns legally, passing a background check in the process. Given the fact that the local police and the FBI both failed to look seriously into him after receiving credible warnings of his murderous intent, it is difficult to imagine that a clerk at a sporting-goods store is going to be much more effective staging an intervention at the point of sale.

2. About bump stocks: We tell President Trump to hold on with his plans to have the Justice Department issue new gun-control regulations on them. The reason: That’s the prerogative of Congress. From the editorial:

It will take action from Congress, not a new interpretation of the law from the Trump administration, to regulate bump stocks. If the Justice Department proceeds with this rule, it will be overstepping its authority and running a risk that the policy will die in court.


1. Kevin explains why he has sayonara’d Twitter. Charlie responds with strangely pronounced words. It’s just another must-listen episode of Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Catch it here.

2. No, it’s not because of Barbra Streisand: On the new Jaywalking, Herr Nordlinger considers the theme of people who need “people.” All to the musical accompaniment of John Philip Sousa. Listen here.

3. Roll Call reporter Eric Garcia joins ‘Great Scot’ Bertram and Mutt’n Jeff Blehar on the new episode of Political Beats to discuss AC/DC. Put on your tiny shorts and listen here.

4. Hillsdale prof James Brandon joins John J. Miller to discuss Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull on the new episode of The Great Books. It’s harasho. Listen here.

5. Radio Free California hosts — California Policy Center kahuna Will Swaim and Crisis of Responsibility author David Bahnsen — gander at the Golden State legislature’s liberal supermajority wrestling over a single-payer healthcare system. Post-gandering, they bust the myth that government unions are good for poor people. And then the boys mouth off about the symbolism of the latest announcement from state pension regulators. Even if you live east of the Sierras, you’re gonna wanna listen, which you can do here.

6. In a quite serious new episode of The Liberty Files, David and Alexandra discuss the Florida school shooting, including the weight one should give to the political arguments of the survivors, whether conservatives can support gun-violence restraining orders, and why an assault-weapons ban remains a bad idea. Listen here.

7. The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg finds our intrepid host judging the perilous field of podcast rank punditry, and then opining at moderate length about this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, the Parkland shooting, and the Russia investigation. Insert the ear-buds and listen here.

8. This week, The Editors features Reihan, Rich, Michael BD, and David Bahnsen discussing the school-shooting fallout, Mueller’s Russia indictment, and CPAC. Listen up here.

A Baker’s Dozen Amazing and Intelligence-Expanding NR Pieces that Will Earn You a Second Scoop of Ice Cream If You Click the Links

1. I love a movie about Marx. Groucho, not Karl. Kyle Smith files another terrific essay about liberal idiocy projected on the silver screen. From his piece:

And this is part of the problem with Young Karl Marx. He may have dreamed up a party, but he wasn’t exactly the life of it. Quoting the kinds of things Marx actually said is going to put the audience in a state of enjoyment approximating winter in Leningrad. Some movies feel like homework; others are more like punishment. When Marx goes to Paris and meets his soulmate Friedrich Engels (Stefan Kenarske), who has been riling up the workers in Manchester, England, at one of his father’s 13 mills, the two discover they can practically finish each other’s sentences, like Jake and Elwood — just call them the Reds Brothers.

Engels — limousine liberal before limousines — has been betraying his class amid much declaration of his own. “I hate and despise gentlemen,” he says. “They are the swine who grow fat on the sweat of laborers.” Sweat is fattening? Never mind. Catching the eye of Mary (Hannah Steele), a Norma Rae–like Irish worker who has been sacked from his father’s mill for demanding better safety conditions (or, really, any safety conditions), he consorts with the lower orders while gathering material for his 1845 book The Condition of the Working Class in England.

2. Alexandra DeSanctis wonders if the GOP’s Big Tent is big enough to fit The Donald and the Mittster.

3. Teddy Kupfer reports on the big fraud scandal in the D.C. public education system. From his piece:

But it is exceedingly unlikely that D.C. is the only place where Obama-era reforms incentivized public-school administrators to engage in fraud. And as the stories mount, they will grow harder to ignore. Those who wish to truly reform the education system must continue to investigate the reality on the ground and not allow districts to paint a picture of government success while secretly inflating numbers and breaking rules. Conservative measures such as a return to local rather than federal oversight and increased parental choice could go a long way toward reintroducing accountability, but the first step to fixing the American education system is for the boosters of top-down education reform to admit there is a problem with their preferred approach.

4. Guns One: David French proposes the make-us-safe case for GVROs, which stands for “gun-violence restraining orders.” From his piece:

Time and again mass shooters give off warning signals. They issue generalized threats. They post disturbing images. They exhibit fascination with mass killings. But before the deadly act itself, there is no clear path to denying them access to guns. Though people can report their concerns to authorities, sometimes those authorities fail or have limited tools to deal with the emerging danger.

What if, however, there was an evidence-based process for temporarily denying a troubled person access to guns? What if this process empowered family members and others close to a potential shooter, allowing them to “do something” after they “see something” and “say something”? I’ve written that the best line of defense against mass shootings is an empowered, vigilant citizenry. There is a method that has the potential to empower citizens even more, when it’s carefully and properly implemented.

5. Guns Two: So David’s proposal sparked a critical response from Reason’s Jacob Sullum. Volley: You’ll find David’s response to Jacob here.

6. Guns Three: Then there was the 1984-ish CNN town hall in which Sen. Marco Rubio and the NRA’s Dana Loesch faced an incredibly hostile audience. David French watched and sees a debate that might just. . . break America. From his piece:

There were millions of Americans who watched all or part of the town hall and came away with a clear message: These people aren’t just angry at what happened in their town, to their friends and family members; they hate me. They really believe I’m the kind of person who doesn’t care if kids die, and they want to deprive me of the ability to defend myself.

7. Guns Four: Charlie Cooke watched too, and likewise, saw a disaster for public discourse. From his piece:

Last night’s CNN Town Hall is being touted this morning as an “extraordinary moment,” a “conversation,” and a “debate.” In truth, it was none of those things. Rather, it was a disaster for American discourse, the ripples of which will be felt for years to come. One of the students who survived the shooting described it cynically as a “Comedy Central Roast of the NRA and the coming out party for my ADHD.” This, though, isn’t quite right. It was televised catharsis. And it was supposed to be.

8. Guns Five: David Harsanyi called CNN’s Town Hall “Shameful.” From the piece:

Between all the demonizing, heckling, sophistry, gaslighting, platitudes, and emotional appeals, members of the crowd — people who should never be the target of conspiracy theories or ad hominem attacks but shouldn’t be exempted from a real debate either — booed a rape survivor’s story and cheered at the idea of banning “every semi-automatic rifle in America.” Maybe someone will ask them whether they support banning every semi-automatic in America period, since the latter is responsible for the preponderance of gun homicides. One death is too many, after all.

9. He’s the indispensable man. Rich Lowry says White House chief of staff John Kelly needs to stay put.

10. Robert Doar makes the case for restoring federalism as a major force in the fight against poverty.

11. The move away from high-density public housing to a system based moreso on vouchers is one reason — often unremarked — why there has been a sharp decline in violent crime in the U.S. Alex Entz hits back at some calls for the high-rise public housing madness that is chillingly remembered by the name “Cabrini-Green” (poor Mother Cabrini!).

12. Phil DeVoe can’t get enough of the Trump Administration’s plans to make the International Space Station semi-private. Read his out-of-this-world article here.

13. One thing the Trump Administration’s considered tariffs on steel don’t advance is national security: so writes Jibran Kahn. Here’s a slice of his essay:

On a disturbing note, like many bad ideas, this one is being pursued under the purview of national security, by means of a 1962 statute, the Trade Expansion Act. It not only cheapens the term “security” to use it as frivolous justification for protectionism, but the statute also gives the president, rather than Congress, the ability to act however he wishes in this area of the economy. Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, who supports some degree of trade-policy retaliation, argued recently that “invoking national security, when I think it’s really hard to make that case, invites retaliation that will be problematic for us.”

Celebrating the Buckley Legacy

NRI’s series of half-day conferences to celebrate WFB’s life and legacy — which will include talks and panels featuring Rich Lowry, Andy McCarthy, Victor Davis Hanson, John Yoo, David French, Kevin Williamson, Jay Nordlinger, Kathryn Jean Lopez, John O’Sullivan, and many more — are as follows (and click the links for more information and to reserve a spot):

March 6 in Dallas
March 7 in Houston
March 27 in San Francisco
March 28 in Newport Beach
April 12 in Chicago

The Website Redesign


Eight — Yep, Eight — For-Your-Edification Articles of Note from Friends and Others

Wedding Banned: At Momzette, Elizabeth Economou reports on how “husband” and wife” are now terms to be ixnayed. From her piece:

These days, we’ve come to expect the ubiquity of the PC police at public universities nationwide.

Yet more and more, they’re infiltrating our private Christian schools as well — with the aim, of course, to change and control not only words but also thoughts, even actions.

With some 11,000 students, the University of Dayton, a Roman Catholic institution in Ohio, is the latest example of political correctness gone awry with its recommendations to steer clear of gendered language, including the words “husband” and “wife.”

2. You will not find Last Tango in Paris on this list by John Ellis at PJ Media: “The 7 Best Family-Friendly Movies of All Time.”

Manhattan Contrarian Francis Menton wonders if Mr. Mueller’s indictment against a gaggle of Russians was “the most absurd indictment ever issued in the name of the government of the United States.” Read his analysis here.

4. Reupholster the Ottoman: Turkey is threatening to invade Greece. At Gatestone Institute, Uzay Bulut has the story. Read it here.

5. Best Worst: If you live in New York, Connecticut, or New Jersey, celebrate: You are Numbers 1, 2, and 3 at being the states with the heaviest tax burdens. Here’s the analysis by USA Today.

6. MSM pin-up Adam Schiff has gotten more free rides than a cockroach on the Times Square Shuttle. Over at The Federalist, Mollie Hemingway has something to say about a pathetic love affair. From her piece:

Masha Gessen is a vehement and long-standing Putin critic. She has written a book warning about Putin and many articles comparing Putin and Trump. Even she, in a new article for The New Yorker, mocks the hysteria over the troll farms and says of the Russian bot operation that it was “not at all sophisticated, and about as bold as, say, keying a neighbor’s car under the cover of night.”

Russian disinformation campaigns have been a real thing going back decades, but the implication that bots are a particularly significant force in turning political debate poisonous is ridiculous. It’s juvenile enough for Schiff to peddle his conspiracy theories. Journalists should show a bit more restraint before uncritically broadcasting them further.

7. Word! The College Fix’s Daniel Payne opines about N-word hysterics.

8. The magnificent Daniel J. Mahoney takes to The University Bookman to brilliantly review Joao Carlos Espada’s important new book, The Anglo-American Tradition of Liberty: A View from Europe.

BONUS: The Pennsylvania Gazette runs a terrific piece on Al Felzenberg and his WFB biography, A Man and His Presidents. You can order a copy of the book here at Amazon.

Follow, follow, follow

Try to remember, when life was so tender, that love was an ember about to billow. And then remember to follow these Twitteratti: Frances Menton, Uzay Bulut, Mollie Hemingway, Eric Garcia, Scot Bertram, David Bahnsen, Will Swaim, California Policy Center, Jacob Sullum, Marco Rubio, Dana Loesch, David Harsanyi.


He was a seven-time All Star with a lifetime ML batting average of just .238: Eddie Miller, who was an exceptional shortstop, played primarily for the Braves and Reds over a 14-year career (that ended with the Phillies and the Cardinals). He was one of the National Pastime’s big shots in the 1940s. Forgotten now, but worth remembering.

A dios

I am so running behind. Gotta split, but first I gotta ask just one favor: You, yeah you, would please turn off the damn cellphone in church?!

God bless,

Jack Fowler

P.S.: Here are four versions of the Bill Buckley Bailey song: very cool Bobby Darin; slow and mellow and honey-flavored Ella Fitzgerald (“I’ll do that cooking honey, you just bring home the money. . . ”); rocks-gargling Satchmo (“. . .with nothing but a fine-tooth comb . . .”); and, taking her sweet ever-luvin’ time, Patsy Cline.


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