The Weekend Jolt

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I Just Want to Be Alone

Dear Jolters,

This missive goes into the pneumatic tubery at NRO as the drama following the impending shutdown grips Washington (and the rest of the country watches reruns of Shark Tank).

Like Garbo, I’m sure that if you had the opportunity, you would tell some — if not all — of our Capitol Hill solons to just leave us alone (maybe even leave us the hell alone) so we could get with watching the boob tube and uploading pictures on Instagram.

Hey, there’s plenty more on loneliness below, but speaking of Garbo, and of boobs, our pal David Pryce-Jones once played tennis with the topless starlet. I am sure that incident and much more about David’s amazing life are discussed in this 2015 Q & A interview with Jay Nordlinger.

OK, enough of this idiocy: On with the Jolt!


There were so many two weeks ago. Alas, this week past, as we go to press — nada.


As always, we encourage you to subscribe to the individual shows via iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Tune In, and their technological kin. That said, here’s what’s new in the Land of the Earbuds.

1. Over at The Editors, Rich, Reihan, Michael, and Dan McLaughlin discuss Trump’s “sh**hole” comments, the legal immigration system, and DACA. Listen here.

2. On the new Radio Free California episode, bad boys David and Will discuss the meaning of the just-announced retirement of two longtime California Republican Congressmen, as well as the anthropological problem behind Sacramento’s sex harassment scandal. Listen up right here.

3. The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg has our intrepid host matching wits with pollster extraordinaire Kristen Soltis Anderson, as they chat up fecal craters, the 2018 midterms, and the #MeToo movement. And if that isn’t reason enough to listen, Jonah may have found his signoff phrase. Lend me your ear, or both of them.

4. The notorious duo of Scot Bertram and Jeff Blehar turn the new episode of Political Beats into a review of Pulp. Helping them is New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz. Hear the grooviness here.

5. Didja know that the new tax-reform law expands the use of so-called “529 plans” — the tax-free college-tuition savings accounts? Well, now they can be used for elementary and secondary education too. In this week’s Reality Check with Jeanne Allen, our host interviews Thomas Carroll, a leader in the effort to include the measure in the tax bill. It’s a great listen. Now get a-listening here.

6. John J. Miller is joined by Hillsdale prof Benedict Whalen to discuss William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. It’s another great episode of The Great Books. Pay attention here.

7. David and Alexandra present another edition of The Liberty Files, breaking down the allegations against Aziz Ansari and the failure of morality based only on consent. They also discuss a threat to free speech that’s flying almost completely under the national radar. To find out what that is, you’ll have to listen, won’t you?

8. In the new episode of The Bookmonger, legal scholar Philip Hamburger describes to JJM what he calls — in his new book, The Administrative Threat — the most pressing civil-liberties issue of our time. Catch the interview here.

A Dozen Stupendous NRO Essays That You Will Read and Share or I Will Hide the Remote

1. If you’re lonely, you’re not alone: Clay Routledge makes the case that Americans are lonelier than ever before, thanks to technological innovations. This slice is as good as any in a must-read piece:

The paradox of modern social life is that the more technology affords people ways to stay connected to loved ones and make new connections with others all over the globe, the more disconnected and lonely we may be becoming. Americans today, compared with those of decades past, are far less likely to know by name and interact with their neighbors, carpool or take public transportation to work, participate in civic and religious organizations, and feel that they have close friends they can confide in.

2. Country of origin matters. A lot. In this post on The Corner, NR boss Rich Lowry puts on the hip boots and wades further into the doodoo-hole debate with a handful of worthwhile charts showing in general that “education matters a lot, and that immigrants who tend to be poorly educated are going to struggle and there are clear patterns based on national origin.”

3. Ye Olde Double Standard: Cory Booker gets spanked by David French for his theatrics aimed at America’s new DHS czarina:

Then, yesterday, Cory Booker detonated on Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. He didn’t just mansplain, he mansplained at maximum volume. He threw a deeply flawed security study in her face as if she didn’t understand the terror threats facing the United States, and unloaded on her for claiming that she couldn’t recall the president’s exact words in the now infamous “sh**hole” meeting.

Booker’s face is twisted in fury. He pounds on the table. He insults her character. It’s nothing short of a temper tantrum. If he were a Republican, this exchange would be taken as proof-positive that he doesn’t respect women. It would be video evidence, shared far and wide, of his sexism. It would be compared to Donald Trump’s physical approaches to Hillary Clinton during a presidential debate and used as evidence that Republicans aren’t just misogynistic, they’re menacing.

4. More David: He urges conservatives to pay attention to NIFLA v. Becerra, which he describes as “one of the most dangerous free-speech cases in a generation.” From his piece:

California is requiring pro-life professionals — people who’ve dedicated their lives to protecting the unborn by offering pregnant mothers alternatives to abortion — to advertise state-sponsored abortions. California is making this demand even though it has ample opportunity to advertise state services without forcing pro-life citizens to do so. The state can rent billboard space on the very streets where crisis-pregnancy centers are located. It can hand out leaflets on the sidewalk. It can advertise on television and the radio. It can advertise on the Internet or social media. But rather than using its own voice, it is co-opting the voices of its pro-life citizens, forcing them to join its pro-abortion crusade.

Wearing his hat as a National Review Institute senior fellow, David authored and filed an amicus curiae brief in the case on behalf of 41 family policy organizations. You can read the brief here.

5. There’s a feminist war on common sense (hey, wasn’t there a 30 Years War already?). In her new NRO column, Heather Wilhelm explains in her typically smart way. Here’s how it all ends:

Clearly, our “sexual ethic” is a train wreck mixed with a dumpster fire mixed with a five-hour toddler birthday party with unlimited cookies and soda at your local Chuck E. Cheese. Today’s feminists are right about one thing: Our culture is in desperate need of repair. The first step, however, involves ignoring a large chunk of their advice. No offense, but I suspect their “help” will only make things worse.

6. Mattie Duppler has it out for earmarks. Good! She makes the case for why restoring them is an awful idea.

7. Au revoir, Your Highness. Jay Nordlinger profiles the late Michael of Romania. A king. And a mensch.

8. The Revolution Will Be Televised: Kyle Smith checks out the madness of the ever-offended, who see in Friends — the mega-popular, once-hip, in-reruns sitcom — enemies. Here’s how his essay kicks off:

They promised they’d be there for us. Instead they betrayed us. Our friends at Friends sat on a sofa of lies. They sipped lattes of hate. Knowing what we know now, the Central Perk logo was the swastika of its time. Could this show be any more white supremacist?

Having been given a new life on Netflix two decades after it debuted on NBC in 1994, Friends is being seen by a suspicious new generation with beady new eyes. Those eyes are more determined to find something to be offended by than anyone was in the 1990s, when the Paul Reveres fighting the political-correctness revolution were already warning you, “The idiocy is coming! The idiocy is coming!”

9. No, Trump is not a despot. So, what is he? Rich Lowry explains:

The Trump alarmists thought that a brittle democratic culture and set of institutions were about to encounter a man representing a dire, determined threat to their integrity; instead, a robust democratic culture and set of institutions encountered the guy sitting down at the end of the bar yelling at the TV.

David Frum of The Atlantic warned at the beginning of the year of an autocratic Trump cowing the press into submission. Instead, the president faces the most hostile press at least since Richard Nixon. So comprehensively do Trump outrages dominate the news that it’s difficult for a sex scandal involving a porn star to break through.

Rather than stretching his powers, Trump has reined in the executive overreach of the Obama years, which was brazen and unconstitutional, although undertaken with much greater politeness.

10. Big Tech is hiding in plain sight. Victor Davis Hanson wonders about the Silicon Valley big boys and big bullies. From his new column:

Facebook and Google are now called a “duopoly.” The two companies rake in roughly half of all Internet ad revenue. Both companies sometimes censor and electronically snoop on their customers, massaging everything from the daily news to what we should buy. Could a Silicon Valley startup company offer an alternative to either Facebook or Google? It would likely be bought out or crushed the moment it became large enough to gain notice.

Why are huge tech companies seemingly exempt from the rules that older corporations must follow?

11. Captains Courageous, RIP? Regulators are killing the once-great New England and northeast fishing industries. In her excellent new column, Michelle Malkin tells the ugly story. Here’s a fillet:

The plague on the commercial fishing industry isn’t “overfishing,” as environmental extremists and government officials claim. The real threats to Northeastern groundfishermen are self-perpetuating bureaucrats, armed with outdated junk science, who’ve manufactured a crisis that endangers a way of life older than the colonies themselves.

Hardworking crews and captains have the deepest stake in responsible fisheries management — it’s their past, present, and future — but federal paper-pushers monitor them ruthlessly like registered sex offenders.

12. Life is winning in America. On the day of the March for Life, Vice President Mike Pence explained why on NRO.

Eight Worthwhile Articles from Good Friends and Wise Analysts

1. The answer is “plenty.” Over at California Policy Center, Edward Ring asks “How Much More will Cities and Counties Pay CalPERS?” What a nightmare. From his piece:

These pension plans are underfunded after a bull market in stocks has doubled since it’s last peak in June 2007, and has nearly quadrupled since it’s last low in March 2009. When stocks and real estate have been running up in value for eight years, pension plans should not be underfunded. But they are. CalPERS should be overfunded at a time like this, not underfunded. That bodes ill for the financial status of CalPERS if and when stocks and real estate undergo a downward correction.

CalPERS, and the public employee unions that dominate CalPERS, have done a disservice to taxpayers, public agencies, and ultimately, to the individual participants who are counting on them to know what they’re doing. They were too optimistic, and the consequences are just beginning to be felt.

2. Why are Arab regimes frightened of Israel? In his latest report for Gatestone, Giulio Meotti declares it’s the “F” word: Freedom. From his piece:

But although the Middle East is engulfed in a new wave of internal destabilization, and Iran has recently experienced a new wave of protests in which people chanted “we don’t want an Islamic Republic“, the great taboo for the Arab and Muslim world is still that of cultural exchanges with the hated “Zionists”.

A prominent Tunisian-born French movie producer, Saïd Ben Saïd, after being forced to pull out of North Africa’s most prestigious film festival, recently issued one of the frankest denunciations of anti-Semitism in the Arab world. He revealed, in an op-ed for the French daily Le Monde, that an invitation to preside over the jury of the Carthage Film Festival had been rescinded because of his work with the Israeli film director, Nadav Lapid, and for having participated on a panel at the Jerusalem Film Festival earlier this year. The real culprit, Ben Saïd argued, was the prevalence of anti-Semitism fueled by Islamic extremists across the Middle East.

3. Our pal Douglas Murray, in The Spectator, reviews the dust-up on the UK’s “Radio 4” interview between controversial Canadian psych prof Jordan Peterson — visiting over there to promote his new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos — and the host Cathy Newman. Writes Douglas: “His visit showed up the UK’s broadcast media in a very bad light.” You should read it.

4. More Murray and Peterson: Also for The Spectator, Douglas has penned this interesting piece, The curious star appeal of Jordan Peterson, that asks why young Brits are flocking to hear the Canadian psych scholar talk about morality.

5. There’s an important legal battle brewing at UMass Amherst, reports William Nardi for The College Fix. The school’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty is suing the college over its crazed “free speech” policy. From the story: “The school restricts speeches and rallies to one hour per day — noon to 1 p.m. — in a limited area in front of the Student Union Building that represents less than 1 percent of campus.”

6. Over at The Human Life Review blog, Ursula Hennessey looks at the new Ohio law trying to prevent the abortion of Down syndrome babies.

7. I am wearing my Catholic hat here, but think about what was going through the mind of the Mother of Jesus after the Wise Men split, and Herod’s hunt for the first-born was afoot. I suggest you read Meg Hunter Kilmer‘s terribly thoughtful piece, “Considering Mary’s Nightmares.”

8. OK, still wearing the hat. But you don’t have to be Catholic to want to honor the great conservative political scientist, Fr. James Schall, S.J., who turns 90 today. Brad Miner has assembled a wonderful symposium on the Georgetown University scholar at The Catholic Thing.

Eye Candy

1. Lee Edwards was interviewed recently by Brian Lamb on C-SPAN to discuss his new book, a memoir: Just Right: A Life in Pursuit of Liberty. It’s a wonderful conversation. Watch it here.

2. The Republican party, says Vanderbilt University prof Carol Swain, was actually responsible for nearly every advancement for minorities and women in U.S. history. She makes the case on the new Prager University video about (for liberals) a truly “inconvenient truth.”

3. That aforementioned Jordan Peterson interview: You can watch it here.

Hey There, Lonely Girl. Or Dude.

This could be a list of 500 or 5,000. Anyway, prompted by Clay Routledge’s aforementioned essay, here are a mere five or so popular tunes on the theme of loneliness.

1. Roy Orbison sings “Only the Lonely.”

2. Get the hankies: Hank Williams Sr. says “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry.”

3. Elvis Presley is concerned: He wants to know “Are You Lonesome Tonight?

4. Andy Williams seems lost and wants to know, where’s this place called “Lonely Street” (Elvis says at the end of it you will find the “Heartbreak Hotel.”)

5. You may know him as Bobby Vinton, but you may also know him as “Mr. Lonely.”

Enough of this — I can’t see the screen through my Lonely Teardrops.

Follow follow follow

Clay Routledge, Meg Hunter Kilmer, Brad Miner, Elizabeth Scalia, Professor Carol Swain, S.E. Cupp, Frank Kelly, Barbara Comstock, Lisa Nelson, Daniel Erspamer, James Madison Institute, Claire Kittle Dixon, Allie Beth Stuckey, Katie Pavlich, Greg Gutfeld, Mattie Duppler, Kristen Soltis Anderson.


The 1925 National League “Negative Pennant” battle was a humdinger, involving three teams — the Chicago Cubs, the Brooklyn Dodgers (called the “Robins” then, and would be until 1932), and the Philadelphia Phillies — and peripherally, a fourth, the Boston Braves. On Saturday, September 26th, with the season winding down, the packed bottom of the NL standings stood thus:

Boston 68-81

Brooklyn 67-80

Chicago 66-84

Philadelphia 63-84

The Phillies looked like goners. The next day, goner-er: They lost to the Cubs, while the Dodgers won and the Braves split a doubleheader with the Cards. The following day, September 28th, both the Dodgers and Braves lost. But then on the 29th, the Phillies began their Great Escape. They beat the Dodgers to pull within one game of the Cubs. They repeated that on the 30th. And so October began with three games separating the quartet. On the 1st, the Phillies once again beat the Dodgers. On the 2nd, the Cubs lost to the Cards.

The season’s penultimate day closed with the Cubs, Phillies, and Dodgers sporting identical 68-85 records, tied for last. The Braves were saved from humiliation at 70-83. All this resulted from the Dodgers losing (to the Braves), the Cubs winning (over the Cards), and the Phillies sweeping the Giants in a doubleheader. Of the four teams, only the Cubs played the final day, October 4th. Lucky Robins, lucky Phillies — they were scheduled to play each other, but a rainout saved one of them from an ugly fate. As for the Cubs: Leading the Cards 5-4, relief pitcher Tony Kaufmann couldn’t hold it: He gave up 3 runs in the 6th, resulting in a 7-5 loss and Chicago in sole possession, by half a game, of last place. With a 68-86 record.

I’ll have some other foolishness for you next week.

A dios

Cover your mouth when you sneeze, and as Frankie crooned, maybe this time with the Misses you should try a little tenderness, eh? If you can’t manage that, at least take out the garbage. And every night, get down on your knees and thank God that you live in a place that esteems and affords all, even the lonely, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


Jack Fowler

P.S.: Come sail with us in December!

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