The Weekend Jolt

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Everything You Wanted to Know about the Declaration of Arbroath * But Were Afraid to Ask

Dear Jolter,

Greetings came this week from my pal from the Constitution State, John Philip Sousa IV, and you can imagine that when the guy who protects the legacy of the man who wrote Stars and Stripes Forever sends you howdy-dos on the eve of Independence Day, well, you get the patriotic vapors and are happily shocked by the rockets’ red glares that flash in your fevered imagination. (By the way, I recommend JPS4’s beautiful 2012 book, John Philip Sousa’s America: The Patriot’s Life in Images and Words.)

So, how was your Independence Day? If it proved uneventful, be of good cheer, because the 4th always lingers: at the least there will likely be some stray fireworks this weekend. Enjoy whatever patriotic residue and wisps remains. But do make sure you find time to read those wonderful NRO nuggets you missed when you were occupied with lighting bottle rockets.


1. A draft of a bill titled the “U.S. Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act” has seen the light of day, and NRO weighs in to call it a stinker of an idea. From our editorial:

It is hard to imagine Congress, despite its habitual acquiescence to executive-branch abuses of power, passing a bill that completely cedes the authority to impose tariffs to the president — let alone this president. The steel tariffs President Trump has levied against Canada, the European Union, and others rely on an abuse of section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which gives the executive the authority to impose tariffs for national-security reasons. But congressional Republicans still believe in the value of free trade, and understand that there are better ways to punish abusive trade practices than a retreat into autarky.

2. “Abolish ICE” is not a call for practical reform but a sign of the Democrats’ radicalization on immigration. From our editorial:

But of course this isn’t what “abolish ICE” is about. The Democratic party already has coalesced around the policy that only illegal immigrants who are convicted felons should be deported; internal enforcement against non-felons would then be unnecessary. We suspect it is the enforcement of our immigration laws itselfthat the Left objects to. A significant chunk of illegal immigrants are people who overstayed their visas. Abolishing our internal-enforcement agency would mean that these immigrants were de facto free to stay in the country so long as they did not commit a felony. And though ICE does not police the border, illegal border-crossing would be incentivized in a world without internal enforcement, as those who managed to make it into the country would not be subject to deportation. Without ICE, the U.S. would have an immigration system with mostly meaningless limits.


1. It’s timeless, but keyed to this week of Independence celebrating: The special “Foundational Questions” episode of The Editors, in which Rich, Charlie, Luke, and MBD discuss the essence of the U.S. Senate and threatened rights, rate the top Founding Fathers (poor John Adams), and pick the winner of Declaration v. Constitution. The Spirit of ’76 thrives here.

2. Andy McCarthy, this is your life. Or, at least, a most-interesting look-see at love for the law. The new episode of The McCarthy Report is a great discussion between our hero and Rich Lowry. Listen here.

3. John J. Miller brings us another The Great Books gem, this time discussing Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman with Harvard professor Ruth Wisse. Listen here.

4. Brad Thor, god of best-selling fictional thunder, is the guest on the new episode of JJM’s The Bookmonger, there to talk about his new thriller, Spymaster. Scot Harvath is there. Even if by Grabthar’s Hammer, you shall listen here.

5. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk is the guest on The Jamie Weinstein Show. The Donald, Kanye, and so much more is discussed. Teacher says listen here.

6. “Pimps, Turks, Dutchmen, and Golfers” might someday be the subtitle of a memoir, but until then, it is the title of the new episode of Jaywalking, in which Brother Nordlinger chats about social conservatism, in Nevada and elsewhere; freedom of the press, in France and elsewhere; a Dutchy town in Michigan; and a noble tragedy in South Dakota. And then there is clog-ophile dance music. Limber up and listen here.

Nineteen Wowza Pieces Published this Week by the World’s Premier Conservative Website

1. So if you are curious as to what might have been some from-abroad influences on the Declaration of Independence, Maddy Kearns, a Scot, says the principle one is from . . . Scotland.

Opposing tyranny, demanding liberty, pledging their lives, screwing the English — familiar, no? If one examines both the Declaration of Arbroath and the Declaration of Independence side by side, one sees striking similarities in both wording and content. Remarkably, the same is true of a later Scottish document, the National Covenant of 1638. This, again, asserted Scotland’s opposition to an unrepresentative English monarch and parliament. It details the “usurped authority” of the King’s “tyrannous laws.” It also invokes the role of divine providence: “We call the Living God to witness . . . and bless our proceedings with a happy success.”

The Declaration — the one from Arbroath (known for its smoked haddock) — is pictured above.

2. There’s lots of Wisconsin hoopla over the Foxconn deal, but Jimmy Quinn calls it “a condemnable example of corporate welfare in its most egregious form.” From his piece:

A look at the numbers is illustrative. All told, Wisconsin could end up delivering $3 billion in tax credits to Foxconn. Even if Foxconn’s arrival results in thousands of new jobs over the next several years, it will open a gaping fiscal hole that will be filled only in 2043, when the state recoups the money spent on these tax breaks.

Here’s the bottom line: If the jobs target of 13,000 is met, Wisconsin taxpayers will pay $219,000 per job. If only 3,000 jobs are created, they will pay $587,000 per job in the form of a $1.7 billion tax credit. And these are conservative estimates, leaving out the additional tens of millions of dollars that will go toward the infrastructure improvements necessary to accommodate Foxconn’s new plant. The ill-conceived incentives are the core of an all-around terrible arrangement. Who wins? The politicians. Who loses? Fiscal sanity and those footing the bill for political pet projects.

3. Christian Gonzalez nails Europe’s hip, groovy, capitalism-hating Marxist philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, in a de facto review of his new book, The Courage of Hopelessness. From Christian’s alanysis:

Wherever a problem arises in the world, Žižek is certain to be there, ever-ready to find a connection, however tenuous, to the dynamics of global capitalism.

It’s all part of Žižek’s overarching theory: He overstates the nature of the challenges we face and misstates their causes to create the intellectual space needed for the projects of the radical left. “The change required,” The Courage of Hopelessness explains, “is not political reform but a transformation of the social relations of production — which entails precisely revolutionary class struggle rather than democratic elections.” Liberal democracy is incapable of handling the disasters brought about by capitalism. Overcoming them requires a total departure from extant political and economic systems. But, asks Žižek, “Can such [a departure] remain within the confines of parliamentary democracy?” The answer for him is no. Extreme problems demand extreme solutions, which are not laid out in this book.

4. A recent Freedom House report scores the US of A as being only 86 percent free. Fred Schwarz rolls his eyes and explains in the Corner.

5. Will Supreme Court rulings and openings affect the midterm elections? Dan McLaughlin has some early thoughts about the political impact. From his Corner post:

How does a Supreme Court fight, with control of abortion and just about every other hot-button social issue potentially on the table, play out with these groups? Again, we’re just operating at the level of informed speculation, but anyone involved in Republican politics could tell you there should be major opportunities with all three. The complacent voters, especially the sorts of conservative Christians who are typically detached from day-to-day politics, are likely to care far more about the Supreme Court than about anything else, even economic or national security issues. There is no hiding the palpable sense of THIS IS THE BIG ONE for people who have voted for Republicans for years on these issues and come up empty. And those voters more than anything are the people most likely to be activated if Trump picks a nominee (like Amy Coney Barrett) who triggers a wave of Christian-bashing from liberal quarters. The same dynamic can be expected to animate Republican-leaning voters who don’t like Trump and are concerned about his many negatives (bad trade policy, unduly harsh immigration policy, issues with his mouth and his ethics) — the “But Gorsuch” argument that at least Republicans can unite around conservative judges will be a powerful temptation to come back home in Senate races. Finally, if Senate Republicans are able to stay united enough to get a nominee through, that will help reassure those voters who see the Congressional caucus, rather than Trump, as the weak link.

6. David French finds CNN whiner Jeffrey Toobin’s puzzling picture of a post-Kennedy Court to be a big honkin’ smear. From his analysis:

No one should doubt that the stakes are high in the Supreme Court, and — as I wrote about at length last week— a more originalist Court will result in substantial doctrinal changes (among them, more protection for individual liberty against state power), but it’s important to at least try to keep the debate within the bounds of accuracy and reason. Roeis potentially at stake. No question. And that fact alone is enough to lead to a super-charged confirmation hearing. As for the rest of Toobin’s alleged parade of horribles? The exaggerations do a disservice to the public discourse.

7. Rich Lowry body slams Roe v. Wade and its author, Justice Harry Blackmun. From his column:

He is at pains to deny that unborn children are “persons in the whole sense.” As evidence, he points to clauses in the Constitution about persons that don’t have “pre-natal application,” e.g., the requirement that persons must be 35 or older to run for president. This is too stupid for words. Just because clauses like this refer to adults doesn’t mean that minors, or unborn children, don’t have rights.

The best case that can be made for Roeis that it is a mistaken decision on the books for nearly 50 years now, so it has to be honored as a precedent. But the Court is not, and shouldn’t be, in the practice of standing by fundamentally flawed decisions. Brown v. Board of Education overturned Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld segregated education, almost 60 years later. Just last week, the Court overturned a labor decision from 1977.

8. “The Resistance” is finding violence . . . irresistible. Dennis Prager explains. From his new column:

When conservatives — even one as critical of the president as Ben Shapiro — need the protection of bodyguards and police officers in riot gear when speaking on an American college campus, it is clear where we are headed. You can get an idea by watching what students did to biology professor Dr. Bret Weinstein, perhaps the only decent faculty member at Evergreen State University, because he refused to cooperate when left-wing students demanded that all whites leave the university campus for a day. Some months later, Weinstein was told by the left-wing university administration it “could no longer guarantee his safety.” Weinstein then left Evergreen State for good.

9. Neal Freeman is near Ground Zero of what might be the most important 2018 race . . . for 2020 — the Florida gubernatorial contest. He reports on that, and on the formation of the “August 29th Committee.” From his article:

The contest between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson, they surmise, will decide control of the Senate, which in turn will decide the composition of the Supreme Court, which in turn will decide the incandescent issues of our time, which in turn will decide the fate of the world as we know it.

Maybe. But it seems much more likely that the Race of the Year will be the one that decides the fate of state government in Tallahassee, which in turn will decide the future of Florida, which in turn will set the odds for conservative prospects in 2020 and beyond.

10. Alexandra DeSanctis finds South Carolina senator Tim Scott not only a happy warrior, but a joyful one. From her worthwhile profile:

It isn’t difficult to understand why Republican politicians would be desperate to have Scott stump for them. It’s also the first election cycle since Donald Trump swept into the presidency, and with the talk of an impending “blue wave,” Scott is the perfect figure to reconcile the splits among Republicans and present a congenial face to moderate voters. If his bipartisan legislative work on Capitol Hill can be taken as an indication, he even has the ability to appeal to Democrats.

Part of his growing influence stems from his balanced approach to the divisiveness within the GOP and between the two parties since 2016. Scott has been much less critical of the president than have, say, his colleagues Jeff Flake and John McCain (both Republicans from Arizona). But he has not been a pushover, either. As he sees it, he has found a prudent balance in deciding when to speak and when to keep silent.

“The best advice is not to speak every time there’s something to be critical of, especially if you don’t speak every time there’s something to be positive about,” he tells me as we’re driving up to the Capitol. “But if you find something that is jugular, speak up. I think you should pick and choose your battles, so to speak.”

11. Omar Mohammed, a professor at the University of Mosul, chronicled the city’s brutalization by ISIS. Jay Nordlinger profiles an extraordinary man.

12. NAFTA’s renegotiation is threatened, writes Clark Packard, thanks to bad policy and political screwups. Which ain’t good for America. From his piece:

Another troublesome demand the United States is making in NAFTA negotiations is the inclusion of a so-called sunset clause that would terminate the agreement after five years unless all three countries affirmatively renew it. This is an unpopular idea on Capitol Hill and is a non-starter for Mexico and Canada, with good reason. Investment thrives in predictable environments. The fundamental value of trade agreements like NAFTA is that they provide the certainty necessary for investment and economic growth to flourish. Since the agreement went into effect, an incredibly sophisticated web of supply chains has developed around North America, enhancing competitiveness and driving economic growth. If NAFTA’s tariff cuts and elimination of other barriers could be overturned hastily, its basic economic benefits would be undermined.

The various NAFTA proposals put forward by Lighthizer would even cut against the Trump administration’s primary goal of increasing domestic manufacturing in the automotive industry. The United States initially proposed to increase the share of content that must come from NAFTA parties for an automobile to qualify for duty-free status, under what are known as “rules of origin.” The U.S. proposal would up the regional-content requirement from 62.5 percent — already the most stringent automotive rule of origin in any trade agreement in the world — to 85 percent, with a 50 percent American-made-content requirement.

13. It’s one of the more-important little-known top administrative positions: director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. President Trump has nominated Kathy Kraninger to head it, and J.W. Verret finds her decidedly unqualified for the job. From Verret’s piece:

Kraninger’s lack of relevant qualifications is especially problematic in choosing her to serve as director of the CFPB, a post that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last year deemed the “second-most powerful” in the entire federal government, behind only the presidency. It is also disquieting in that this will be the first time a Republican nominee will take the helm at the CFPB, which was created in the mold of Senator Elizabeth Warren and quickly filled with career staff who demonstrated loyalty to Senator Warren’s progressive philosophy.

The CFPB was established as a key element of the Dodd–Frank financial reform legislation passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The agency wields unprecedented authority but has little accountability to the president or the Congress. It was insulated from effective congressional oversight by design, given a dedicated source of direct funding — the Federal Reserve — outside the normal budgetary process. And its director, once confirmed, serves a five-year term and is removable only “for cause,” meaning that she is hardly accountable to the president, either.

In short, if confirmed, Kraninger would be a five-year mistake, and neither Congress nor the President could really do anything about it.

14. Move over Stella: How American got its groove back has plenty to do with Clint Eastwood, says Kyle Smith. From his commentary:

Heartbreak Ridge is the chronicle of one small but important step on the way to Morning in America. On the surface it has a hackneyed theme: Grizzled, hard-as-nails sergeant whips the lackadaisical, poorly trained troops of Recon platoon into shape. What elevates the film are its dead-on verisimilitude about 1980s military culture, its lightly-worn insights into the larger issues at stake, and its precision-lathed dialogue, which is smart but never smarmy. People speak with a marvelous economy of language without ever sounding like screenwriters, notably in an exchange during which Highway’s former battle buddy Choozoo explains how Highway distinguished himself in an agonizing Korean War battle when both men (now Marines) were in the Army. Reminiscing, Choozoo says, “It ain’t in any of the history books. Just a little piece of war. Hell, the place didn’t even have a name; just a number. [Fellow soldier] Stony Jackson took one look up and said, ‘Ladies, if this hill doesn’t kill us, it’ll surely break our hearts.’”

15. Liam Warner finds the Constitution to be inherently hospitable to conservatives. “Home turf,” in fact. Please consider his worthwhile piece.

16. Jump-Shipper Max Boot sounds the cry: Don’t only leave the GOP, but also vote Democrat. Mammas of mia! Jonathan Tobin takes on the mighty morphing Trump Derangers. From his piece:

But if the overwhelming majority of Republicans have made an uneasy peace with Trump, it is because on most issues, it is the presidentwho has changed, not the rank-and-file “sheep” that Rubin, Will, and Boot deprecate. Trump, the longtime liberal on domestic and social issues, is now Trump the tax cutter, the apostle of deregulation, and the fierce defender of religious liberty and constitutional conservatism. It may have taken a leap of faith for Republicans to vote for a man seemingly bereft of conservative principles or religious convictions, but he is keeping his promise to them that he would appoint conservative judges.

Even on foreign policy, where traditional GOP hawks such as Boot continue to have good reasons to worry about this administration, Trump has taken important stands that are in accord with the pre-2016 party. On the Middle East peace process, Jerusalem, and the Iran nuclear deal, Trump has followed the lead of the conservative base, not the reverse. If Boot now opposes Trump’s effort to roll back the gains the Islamist Iranian regime made under Obama, it is Boot who has changed his tune, not the approximately 90 percent of Republicans who support the president.

RELATED: Groucho set the derangement to music.

17. Kyle Smith takes on the Democrats’ regression to extremism, now displayed through its ICE rhetoric and a former moderate and current ranter, Kirsten Gillibrand. From his piece:

The Left is hoping the midterms will be a referendum on Trump’s behavior. The self-promoting tendencies of Gillibrand and other Democrats venturing to extremes could make it a referendum on ICE instead. The harder they push on issues to galvanize the base and presidential primary voters, the more difficult they are making it for any one of them actually to get elected president or to win the House and Senate seats a Democratic president would need to advance any legislation. The race to be most radical is a self-defeating strategy.

18. John Yoo and Saikrishna Prakash believe that the upcoming SCOTUS confirmation battle presents an opportunity to kybosh judicial supremacy. From their piece:

While the confirmation process encourages conflict, the Supreme Court itself bears some blame for making confirmation fights even more contentious. The Court’s expanding control over more social issues, such as race, religion, and sexuality, has only amplified the political polarization and importance of Supreme Court nominations. Any nominee should pledge to advance a jurisprudence that restores the other branches to their rightful roles in constitutional interpretation. The courts should embrace a more diverse approach to constitutional interpretation, one that looks to many actors, institutions, and sources for meaning. Conservatives should favor such a nominee because of their disdain for “jurocrats” who would supplant the political process. Liberals who fear a Trump judiciary should could favor an appointee who does not suppose that the Court is the font of all wisdom.

President Trump and the Senate can begin the march away from judicial supremacy with Justice Kennedy’s replacement. Trump could choose a nominee not because she opposes abortion or gay marriage, but because she believes that the Constitution leaves these questions to the states and the national political process. The Senate might confirm a justice who seeks to limit the administrative state not because he thinks judges should oversee the agencies, but because the agencies cannot intrude into the judiciary’s responsibility to enforce the laws as written.

19. Mona Charen takes on the religious bigots attacking Amy Coney Barrett. From her column:

As for Barrett herself, it seems that she lives her faith. She and her husband have seven children including one with special needs and two adopted from Haiti. Her former colleagues on the Notre Dame law-school faculty, many of whom have disagreements with Barrett, unanimously endorsed her nomination to the Circuit Court, describing her as “brilliant” and also “generous” and “warm.” They wrote: “She possesses in abundance all of the other qualities that shape extraordinary jurists: discipline, intellect, wisdom, impeccable temperament, and above all, fundamental decency and humanity.”

If Barrett is a glazed-eyed cultist, she’s done an incredible job of hiding it. She fooled her fellow clerks on the Supreme Court when she worked for Justice Antonin Scalia. Dozens of clerks, including some who worked for Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, endorsed her previous nomination, calling her a “woman of remarkable intellect and character.” She fooled her students, hundreds of whom signed an endorsement reading in part “Our religious, cultural, and political views span a wide spectrum. Despite the many and genuine differences among us, we are united in our conviction that Professor Barrett would make an exceptional federal judge.” And she fooled all of the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee along with three Democrats, who voted to approve her nomination.

Eye Candy

1. Peter Robinson takes us to Part Two of his Uncommon Knowledge conversation with historian Stephen Kotkin about his book, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941. It’s a great discussion, which you can watch here.

2. Old Glory in pictures.

3. Ulysses S. Grant, as remembered on Prager U by Garry Adelman. Watch it here.

4. John Stossel gets all warm and fuzzy about the Declaration and the Constitution — and limiting government and freedom. Watch his latest video here.

Independence Eloquence

The stars of The Editors suggested some patriotism-inspiring words and rhetoric, which we share here.

1. From Rich Lowry: President Calvin Coolidge’s speech celebrating America’s 150th birthday.

2. From Charlie Cooke: More Silent Cal, this time the irked president defending civil rights.

3. From Luke Thompson: The speech Richard Nixon did not have to give. Thankfully for the men of Apollo 11.

4. From Michael Brendan Dougherty: Frederick Douglas’s 1871 Decoration Day speech at Arlington Cemetery. From it:

But we are not here to applaud manly courage, save as it has been displayed in a noble cause. We must never forget that victory to the rebellion meant death to the republic. We must never forget that the loyal soldiers who rest beneath this sod flung themselves between the nation and the nation’s destroyers. If today we have a country not boiling in an agony of blood, like France, if now we have a united country, no longer cursed by the hell-black system of human bondage, if the American name is no longer a by-word and a hissing to a mocking earth, if the star-spangled banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty, and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army who rest in these honored graves all around us.

The Six

1. City Journal this Spring published a wonderful essay by our dear old pal Hadley Arkes on “The True Meaning of the Pentagon Papers.” NRO republished it, but you can find the original piece here. From it:

And yet, apart from the weighing of these interests, the damage was already done by the fact that the matter was being taken into the hands of judges to decide. Justice John Harlan made the point tellingly when the matter reached the Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. United States: the fact that the executive had to go to court to restrain publication was itself a sign that the executive was not in control of its most critical papers on diplomacy and the movement of troops. The late journalist Claire Sterling, interviewing sources in the intelligence services in Europe, reported that this revelation was decisive: the French decided, after the Pentagon Papers, that they could no longer responsibly share with the Americans their most sensitive intelligence, bearing on the lives of their agents.

2. Will anyone be shocked when California bureaucrats start treating the Catholic Church as a criminal organization? At The Federalist, Eileen Han looks at percolating legislation that would ban the teaching of doctrine. Read it here.

3. Maybe Golden State lefties are taking cues from up North? Again in The Federalist, Alexandra Hudson profiles Canada’s hostility to religious freedom (a Christian college was recently banned from opening a law school because “because it adheres to Christian teachings about human sexuality.” Read her analysis here.

RELATED: Edgar Noble also writes about the Canadian bird-flipping for NRO.

4. If you think Hezbollah will exit Syria, you may have hit your head. Sirwan Kajjo pens this excellent analysis for Gatestone Institute. From it:

Having helped defeat anti-regime rebel forces in the suburbs of Homs, Aleppo and Damascus, Hezbollah fighters are now in control of much of Syria’s border with Lebanon. In fact, the Shi’ite terrorist group is in charge of controlling the Lebanese side of the border, despite the presence of the Lebanese military, which is weak. The areas in which Hezbollah operates are of great importance to the group, which uses the mountainous terrain as a route to transport military equipment between Syria and Lebanon. So entrenched is Hezbollah in that region that it has managed to build multiple military bases within a small radius.

With those fronts of Lebanon and southern Syria already secured, Hezbollah fighters increasingly have moved to the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria to aid the Syrian military in its battle against Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists. Meanwhile, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias — such as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) — are largely in control of strategic areas along Syria’s border with Iraq.

5. Maybe Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had an obligation to recuse herself from the Trump “travel ban” case. At Law & Liberty, Michael Rappaport seems to think so. From his piece:

Of course, this is one reason why a Supreme Court justice should not make extra judicial statements about a presidential candidate. But even if one thinks that statements about the President should ordinarily not lead to a recusal, this case is different. Not only is it a lawsuit against the President in his own name, it also centers more on the President’s personal behavior and character than other lawsuits against the executive branch. If one has a low opinion of Trump, then one is more likely to view his statements during the campaign as based on animus towards Muslims rather than as a sloppy way of referring to the problem of Islamic terrorism. Similarly, one would be more likely to view his subsequent policy as an attempt to implement his alleged anti-Muslim bias through a more moderate policy than as an attempt to implement a policy that is constitutional. The question here, of course, is not whether one believes that Trump exhibited anti-Muslim bias in this case. The point is that a low opinion of Trump may – and is probably likely to — influence one’s conclusion about his motivation.

Finally, there is an irony to Ginsburg’s behavior. A significant aspect of the opinion she joined was that Trump’s statements rendered illegitimate what would otherwise have been a policy that did not conflict with the Establishment Clause. Yet, that is also true of Ginsburg’s behavior — her anti-Trump statements suggest the possibility that her otherwise legitimate position was motivated by anti-Trump bias.

6. In my travails in the conservative world I have discovered that many folks are terribly passionate about . . . Caddyshack. There’s a recent book out, Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story, written by Entertainment Weekly’s lead film critic, Chris Nashawaty. Mark Judge in turn reviews it for The University Bookman. From his review:

Caddyshack, despite the memories of the middle-aged men who remain its fans, is a bad movie that has not aged well. The film is a slobs-vs-snobs story set at a Florida country club. The drug references, too-broad slapstick, juvenile poop jokes, and characters like Murray’s mentally challenged groundskeeper Carl Spackler have become pop culture touchstones. Yet films of the same era that emptied the kitchen at the Drafthouse — films like Raising Arizona, Back to School, Beverly Hills CopThe Princess Bride, and Little Shop of Horrors — not to mention Tootsie, arguably the best comedy of the 80s — were and remain funny in sharp and delightful ways that Caddyshack is not.

Caddyshack is the subject of a beautifully written and even historically important book. Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story by Entertainment Weekly writer Chris Nashawaty, is about the making of Caddyshack, but also about how American comedy was changed by the counterculture in the 1960s and 70s. Caddyshack was the product of a cultural revolution in American comedy, albeit a revolution that thankfully did not completely destroy classic comedy forms as they existed before the 1960s.


Pitch counts . . . poor widdle American League pitchers having to run bases . . . the dying category of Complete Games — will the candy-arsing of the National Pastime ever cease?! Once upon a time, when men were men, they proudly accomplished things as the Milwaukee Braves’ Warren Spahn and the San Francisco Giants’ Juan Marichal did on the night of July 2, 1963. The coolio Twitter-er Baseball by BSmile was kind enough to remind us all of this amazing high-kicking duo’s performance on its 55th anniversary. The 1-0 duel (each ace hurled a complete game and faced 55 batters) went into the bottom of the 16th, only ending with Willie Mays’s solo walk-off homer. (Seven future Hall-of-Famers played that night: Marichal, Spahn, and Mays, plus Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda.) Here’s a friendly photo of the two hurlers. Spahn, 42, was in the midst of his last great season (he won 23 games that year; he would retire in 1965, pitching his last game for the Giants), while Marichal, 25, was at the beginning of an amazing career. They registered 382 and 244 career complete games, respectively. But that’s what one could accomplish when Major League Baseball, once upon a time, was the sport of fierce individual competitors.

A Dios

And in July, a lemonade, to cool you in some leafy glade, I wish you health, but more than wealth, I wish you love . . . maybe it’s better if Andy Williams sings it. God’s blessings on you and those you love and cherish, and this Great Nation.

Patriotically Yours,

Jack Fowler

Hurl invectives and make your lame case for excessive relief pitching at

P.S.: Do I have to tell you to book a cabin at


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