The Weekend Jolt

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Does Guinness Porter Go Well with Zeppoles?

Dear Jolter,

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you, one and all, ramblers, gamblers, wild colonial boys, sweet Molly Malone, and you too me darlin’ sportin’ Jenny. Big surprise of this day: TCM is not airing The Quiet Man. Tis another sorrow to drown. On with the show . . .


1. In the contentious Illinois GOP gubernatorial primary, taking place on Tuesday, NR formally endorses conservative State Representative Jeanne Ives. She is challenging the incumbent, Bruce Rauner, who graced a recent NR cover with a story calling him the worst Republican governor in America. From the editorial (which also endorses pro-life Democrat Congressman Dan Lipinski, being challenged by party lefties):

Failing to pass the fiscal reforms he promised wouldn’t alone justify his ouster in the primary. But Rauner’s duplicity on the issue of abortion should be disqualifying to conservatives. During the election, Rauner — who is pro-choice, had once donated to Planned Parenthood, and whose wife is an abortion-rights activist — insisted that he was merely running to fix the state’s coffers. He had, he said, “no social agenda.” When a bill to guarantee abortion as a right if the Supreme Court ever overturned Roe v. Wade and provide public money for abortions through all nine months of a woman’s pregnancy began circulating in the state legislature, Rauner said he would veto it. In September, he signed it into law. Pro-lifers who voted for Rauner put their trust in a man who is now forcing them to underwrite third-trimester abortions. His record is not just dreadful, but features a glaring lie.

Which is why Jeanne Ives, a state legislator, is a better alternative. Ives is an underdog and lacks Rauner’s resources, but she is both a superior candidate to the governor and a solid politician in her own right. One recent poll has her just 7 points behind Rauner. For his part, the governor is running far behind the likely Democratic nominee — J. B. Pritzker, a cat’s paw of Madigan — and has been unwilling to engage Ives in debate after an embarrassing showing in a joint appearance with her at the Chicago Tribune editorial office. Illinois Republicans should vote for Ives, the only conservative on the ballot.

2. Pyongyanging our chain: We urged the President, “Don’t Meet with Kim.” From the editorial:

Kim reached out for a meeting with Trump via South Korean intermediaries with hazy assurances he is willing to discuss denuclearization. The gambit may reflect the squeeze Pyongyang is feeling from sanctions that the Trump administration has, to its credit, steadily ratcheted up. But it is also straight from the regime’s playbook. Its pattern over the decades has been to buy time and get relief from sanctions, while continuing to pursue its core strategic goal of developing nuclear weapons and an advanced missile capability.

The North may believe that Trump is an easy mark for the latest iteration of this approach. The president is not given to extensive preparation or attention to detail, and his recent White House meetings on immigration and guns demonstrate a negotiator who is eager to tell his interlocutors what they want to hear, even if it is counter to his administration’s policy. Trump will be under pressure from South Korea and from his State Department to be conciliatory, and the temptation to get an agreement, any agreement, to wave around as an against-the-odds diplomatic achievement will be considerable.

A Baker’s Dozen Delicious Slices of National Review Soda Bread

1. Kyle Smith delves into the mind of the typical American college student, who seems to think free speech needs to take a back seat to “inclusion.” From the piece:

Or to put it another way, today’s digitally nurtured students are imagining speech as much like a book with a fixed number of pages: If there are only so many pages, then some must be set aside for the speech of the marginalized. Yet speech isn’t limited at all. It’s like the Internet, to which more pages are always being added. Of course today’s Internet-marinated students know this; the students of the Left simply pretend otherwise because they fear the spread of conservative ideas, and the only surefire way of winning an argument against a conservative is to prevent him from speaking.

(David French echoes the concerns.)

2. Speaking of speech, Douglas Murray takes on lefty politicos and their gravitation to fighting “hate speech” instead of real issues. It’s a nice smack upside the head of London mayor Sadiq Khan. From the Murray piece:

The whole notion of “hate speech” should warrant far more suspicion and push-back than it has done recently. Incitement to violence is already illegal in most countries. As are credible threats to kill someone. But “hate speech” brings a high bar down several pegs. And the problem with it is not only that it attempts to read purpose and imagined consequences into words, but that it inevitably comes framed to give ideological protection to whoever wields power at a particular point in time.

3. Nothing to sneeze at: Saying “God bless you” is now a microaggression. Kat Timpf has the story. And yeah, saying “Merry Christmas” is also the stuff of meanies.

4. Ben Shapiro reads the column by the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus — making a case for Down syndrome abortion – and is appalled. From his piece:

She’s just willing to end that life because she doesn’t believe such lives should exist. She rails against the government’s “compelling a woman to give birth to a child whose intellectual capacity will be impaired, whose life choices will be limited, whose health may be compromised.” In these words, one can hear the regretful tut-tutting of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Buck v. Bell (1927), the Supreme Court case approving state laws forcing sterilization on the “unfit”: “It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

(Alexandra DeSanctis shares similar concerns.)

5. Among the contributors to this special symposium remembering NR’s late president, Dusty Rhodes, are Pat Toomey, David McIntosh, Lisa Nelson, Michael Grebe, and many more.

6. Arthur Herman says yeah, Trump was right to can Rex Tillerson. From his piece:

Rex Tillerson is a man of deeply conventional mindset during a deeply unconventional time, a man with no understanding of the rapidly changing face of world trends, especially but not limited to the rise of China as an aggressively revisionist power; Iran’s determined bid for regional hegemony, including getting nuclear weapons; and the fateful dynamic of Russia’s reassertion of its imperial ambitions in Eastern Europe and against the West under Vladimir Putin.

7. Slurpee for the Soul: Wesley Smith explains the new and twisted ways of the euthanasia fantasists. We’re talking about brain freezing.

8. Jonah Goldberg wants to make sure American diplomats are sure that they are dealing with monsters. From his piece.

The North Koreans may be technologically (and morally) backward and rhetorically juvenile, but they’re also incredibly adept and disciplined at international politics. They have eaten our lunch for more than 30 years.

9. As Alex Titus explains, Obama owns the Syria debacle. Here are just some of the reasons why:

Unfortunately, the Iran Deal had the consequence of significantly accelerating strife in Syria. By freeing up hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctioned money, Tehran was able to prop up Assad and his murderous regime, to the generous tune of $6 to $35 billion a year, according to the U.N. special envoy to Iran, Staffan de Mistura. Oil, foot soldiers, and munitions followed. Worse, Iran was able to provide substantial funding to its proxy group, Hezbollah, whose radical Islamist fighters poured into Syria to support Assad.

Obama’s lack of leadership in Syria also left other actors to fill the gap. Seeing an opportunity to advance his goal of returning Russia to global-power status, Vladimir Putin sent soldiers and military support to the Syrian regime in 2015. Moscow continues to help train Assad’s forces and has partaken in airstrikes. Russia-Syrian joint forces have conducted hundreds of airstrikes in Eastern Ghouta alone.

10. Majoring in English has become a joke (N.B.: The lovely Mrs. Fowler was so majored) and is now in sharp decline. The joking aside, George Leef explains why this is happening (and if you think it has to do with radical politics, you would be correct) and how to correct it.

11. Irish politics is heating up over the forthcoming May 25th referendum to legalize abortion. Mairead McArdle has the story.

12. Hillary, still squawking, heads to India to lament about bitter clingers. Michael Brendan Dougherty volleys. From his piece:

While Clinton is perhaps the worst exemplar of the attitude, it is almost omnipresent in mainstream and online media. And this, I predict, will remain a major problem for Democrats seeking office and the larger center-left going forward. Their desire to publicly announce and witness to their moral separation from the “rest” of the country frequently outweighs their better judgment on how to acquire power. The Democrats have lost the ability to denounce the “malefactors of great wealth” because they are led by an aristocratic klatch, one that can’t help adverting their contempt for the common man.

13. Stephen Moore and Ned Mamula make the case for rolling back the leftist agenda to allow for the mining of critical minerals on federal lands. From the piece:

The U.S. is 100 percent dependent on imports for 21 minerals and metals now listed as “critical minerals” by the USGS, with more than half of those imported from China. If the 15 rare earths were counted as individual metals, the number of minerals and metals imported at 100 percent would jump from 21 to 35.

The problem is definitely not a shortage of domestic mineral sources. In fact, the U.S. is well endowed with mineral resources, according to numerous reports by the USGS. The nation was much more mineral self-sufficient in the 1990s, when it led the world in mining output. Since then, however, the U.S. has lost much of its capacity to mine, refine, smelt, or process critical minerals and metals because of a broad anti-mining agenda among many of the more militant environmental groups.

BONUS: Our Esteemed Leader, Editor Lowry, considers Elon Musk’s Martian dreams. Here’s his new column.


1. 2018 A Space Odyssey: In the new interplanetary edition of The Editors, Rich, Reihan, MBD, and Alexandra DeSanctis discuss the firing of Rex Tillerson, the special election in PA-18, and the likelihood of man colonizing Mars. Ray Bradbury, call your office. Earthlings, listen here.

2. The Liberty Files has been redubbed as Ordered Liberty, so let’s get that straight. David and Alexandra discuss Michael Gerson’s essay in The Atlantic on the Evangelical movement’s love affair with Donald Trump. Pay thee heed here.

3. On the new episode of Radio Free California, David and Will yackety-yack on the very day of President Trump’s first California visit, discussing what it’ll take to transform California politics, the impact of the Supreme Court’s impending decision in Janus, and the meaning of property rights when it comes to that symbol of all things California: the beach. Cowabunga dudes, right here.

4. This week’s guest on Reality Check with Jeanne Allenis Carl Schramm, former president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, who brings a special spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation to America’s public schools (and whose foundation owns and operates a charter school). You’ll learn what allows some to succeed and some to fail when you listen here.

5. Dallas Morning News editorial writer Jay Caruso joins Scott and Jeff on the new episode of Political Beats to talk about Foo Fighters. Dig the groove here.

6. On the new Jaywalking, Brother Nordlinger preaches on infidelity, Bastille Day, the National Front, and the math scores of French students, Debussy, the Canadian national anthem (à la française), Trump, Roosevelt (Eleanor), golf, and basketball. All in less than 25 minutes! Put on your walking shoes, stick in the earbuds, and écoutez ici.

7. On The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, our host puts on his “rank pundit” pants and punditizes on Hillary’s gaffe, Tillerson’s defenestration, and the augurs of the PA-18 special election. Listen, or else, here.

8. Mad Dogs and Englishmen (now in fact an Englishman-free podcast) turns in a new performance in which Charlie and Kevin talk about DIY, how states generate revenue, and the “deep state.” Take a deep breath, then listen here.

9. Silver-screen lovers rejoice: It is that fortnight, the one in which a new episode of Projections graces NRO. On the new episode, Kyle and Ross mull over the Oscars’ ratings death spiral, then segue into a discussion of the recent sci-fi movies Annihilation, A Wrinkle in Time, Arrival, and Ex Machinabefore wondering whether 2001: A Space Odyssey really deserves its reputation as it hits its 50th anniversary. I don’t know about you, but I am dropping everything, putting in the ear buds, and listening here.

10. Swashbuckling expert Lawrence Ellsworth joins John J. Miller on the new episode of The Great Books to discuss Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers. Grab a sword and listen here.

Seven Pieces from This Side of the NR Asteroid Belt

1. Just how PC and timid are local British cops and officials? Enough to let monstrous rape — “grooming” — gangs run roughshod over the girls of Telford. Read this truly disturbing report from The Independent.

2. Staying with the island, our pal Dan Hannan, writing online for Conservative Home, says Brexit will be a success, but maybe one made more costly thanks to “swivel-eyed Remainers.” From his piece:

None of this would matter so much if it weren’t having an impact on the negotiation process. Continuity Remainers are not simply lamenting the result. They are encouraging the EU to offer bad terms in the hope of triggering a second referendum – often with shocking flagrancy. When Michel Barnier welcomed the clarity of Theresa May’s detailed speech on the ideal exit terms last month, Lord Adonis tweeted as follows: “Dear M. Barnier, it’s increasingly likely that the British people will hold a referendum on Mrs. May’s Brexit deal & many of us look forward to Britain playing a leading role in the EU long after 2019.” In other words, if you’re hardline enough, we might just drop the whole idea of Brexit. Alastair Campbell was even more explicit, telling the Irish Taoiseach to “Play hardball, Leo”.

3. Writing in City Journal, Emmett Hare explains why NYC commuters are. . . pi**ed off. From his piece:

While letting vagrants camp out on trains or colonize a subway platform does not create homeless individuals, it does attract them from other locales. It’s a demoralizing situation for New Yorkers, especially those who depend on subways, with the modest expectation of a ride home without being accosted by a beggar or a deranged person off his meds. It’s also dispiriting to find the doorways of one’s building soaked in urine, or to have to negotiate with a possibly belligerent drunk taking his party out on to the front stoop. In the city’s tonier neighborhoods, co-op boards can handle this sort of unpleasantness. The rest of us have to depend on city government to maintain livable and decent conditions in our neighborhoods. Unfortunately, Mayor de Blasio must operate on the principle that if you never go down into the coal mine, you won’t have to see any sick canaries.

4. Alan Dershowitz, writing for Gatestone Institute, compares the Jews from Morocco to the Palestinians from Israel and asks — what is a “refugee?”

5. Texas Tech was irked that Professor James Wetherbe attacked tenure. Possibly unaware of the First Amendment, the University retaliated. Wetherbe sued, and a Texas appeals court backed him up. To a trial we now go — Greg Piper at The College Fix ably reports the story.

6. With apologies to Carville, Edward Ring at the California Policy Center puts his puts his finger on the key Golden State fiscal problem: the “Underrecognized, Undervalued, Underpaid, Unfunded Pension Liability.” I’ll add: Stupid.

7. You must remember this: Sometimes a kiss isn’t a #MeToo moment. At The Federalist, Bre Peyton deciphers the idiocy erupting over the Katy Perry/American Idol smooch-peck.

Lorenzo the Magnificent

Our long-time contributor and former colleague, the man considered NR’s economist, Larry Kudlow, has been appointed the head of the National Economic Council. With fellow former (and long-time) NR writer Kevin Hassett, another cheerful warrior, in the saddle as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, the Trump Administration has quite the one-two punch on behalf of prosperity. A few scribblings about the Lorenzo appointment.

1. At The Federalist, David Harsanyi calls the appointment a big upgrade over outgoing NEC poobah Gary Cohn. From his piece:

And if tariffs are, indeed, merely a “negotiating point,” that’s good news.

But while Kudlow immediately restores some balance in a White House that’s picked up the protectionist rhetoric lately, it’s highly unlikely that the propelling idea of Trump’s electoral success will be shelved simply because the president tapped a new adviser, no matter how convincing or compelling his arguments might be. It’s worth considering, however, that Kudlow might mitigate some of the worst inclinations of the protectionist wing. Certainly his presence doesn’t hurt.

Tariffs, though important, aren’t everything. And on most issues, Trump has displayed a surprisingly traditional fiscal conservatism. Cohn, it seems, would have been much more liable to push Trump towards yielding on economic issues for a deal.

2. David Bahnsen took to Forbes to praise the appointment. Here’s how his analysis kicks off:

The implications for the economy and our national financial priorities in President Trump’s selection of Larry Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn as director of the National Economic Council are profound. The selection does not imply that the president has been fully cleansed of his protectionist ways (though Larry Kudlow is a free trade evangelist of the highest order), but it does suggest that Trump has been less Navarro-ized than many of us have feared these last two weeks, and suggests that the president still welcomes contrary opinions in his economic leadership orbit. The departure of Gary Cohn understandably caused markets and many of us who favor the more traditionally conservative views of trade and taxes to be concerned; the selection of Larry Kudlow offsets that, and then some.

3. El Rushbo takes on Kudlow’s critics.

4. Deroy Murdock offers three cheers for his favorite free marketeer.

5. The Mooch predicts the Kudlow-Trump language will last for a long time.

Eye Candy

1. John Stossel reviews the fizzle of Philadelphia’s new soda tax. Watch it here.

2. Eugene Volokh heads to Prager U to explain the individual right to gun ownership. Watch it here.

Sex Matters

Damn straight it does (at least if memory serves me)! Mona Charen has a new book coming out. It’s titled Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. Mona took to NRO to write a preview of the book, and why it belongs on your bookshelf. Here’s the raison d’être:

I hope this book will help both men and women see that denying the differences between the sexes leads to unnecessary misunderstandings and miseries.

From increasing income inequality to rising levels of adolescent depression and anxiety, from falling male labor-participation rates to declining levels of female happiness — the retreat from family life has had far-reaching consequences. The institution that femi­nists assailed as oppressive is looking more and more like the key to human thriving for both sexes, and especially for children.

Keeping Up with Appearances

Jonah will appear on Meet the Press on Sunday. It just might cure your hangover.

Seven Songs I’ll Be Singing Today, Lubricated by the Juice of the Barley and the Glory of Hops

1. Even the cripple forgets his hunch, when he’s snug outside of a Jug of Punch.

2. It wasn’t my fault! Whiskey, You’re the Devil, you’re leading me astray!

3. I’ve got a cunning plan: We’ll give them the slip and take a sip of the real old Mountain Dew.

4. If moonshine don’t kill me, I’ll live till I die. Why? Because I’m a Rambler, I’m a Gambler.

5. Bless me Father for I have sinned: I had lots of fun at Finnegan’s Wake.

6. It’s so early in the mornin’: What will we do with this Drunken Sailor.

7. How about this: You musha ring dum a do dum a da. I’ll whack for my daddy-o. Then we’ll drain that Whiskey in the Jar.

Danny Boys (and Girls)

A few who belted it out: Deanna Durbin, Bing Crosby, Mario Lanza, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Andy Williams, Judy Garland, Sam Cooke (seriously, and it’s cool), Roy Orbison (wow!).


What a stat: In 1943, the Dodgers’ Billy Herman, a future Hall-of-Famer, hit a measly two home runs, but still knocked in 101 RBIs. Quelle un ratio!

A Dios

We half-Italian types (Marconi, Pagano, Contini are in the blood) now go through our annual chafing at how the feast day of Saint Joseph, on Monday, is shadowed by the Irish holy guy, even though Joe clearly outranks Paddy. We will quell our jealousy in the customary way: By eating zeppole. Mangiare, mangiare fate grosso! Toss in a glass of sambuca and, mama mia!

But today, on this Feast of St. Patrick, we half-Irish (my great-grandfather was the Grand Marshall of the 1916 NYC parade, I will have you know!) wish you soft rains and God holding you in the palm of His hand. And together let us fill the parting glass, and gently rise and softly call . . .

Good night and joy be with you all,

Jack Fowler (go ahead, write me for any reason)

P.S.: Come on our cruise in December. Get all info at


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