The Weekend Jolt

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Mama Mia, and Yours Too

Dear WJer,

Yeah, this second Sunday of May can be complex. Mom might be beloved (or not), and gone before us (or not), and eliciting emotions that fit somewhere on the scale ranging from weeping love to Norman Bates’ weirdness. All I can say about my mom (of me and nine others) is she is a Yankees fan, goes to church daily, once played hooky from high school to watch the Bronx Bombers beat up the Philadelphia A’s, and deserved far better than this son. Oh yeah: She once held the Bronx record for the standing broad jump (and no broad jokes, please). But I love her, not enough, never enough, poorly, in fact, and if that applies to you too, then join me in a round of deep guilt.

Hey, I was thinking about movies and moms, and there are a million things you can say about this topic — which ranges from the wonderful performance by Irene Dunne (she was an NR subscriber!) in I Remember Mama (you can watch the trailer here) to the scene in White Heat when the imprisoned psychopath played by Jimmy Cagney (another NR subscriber!) learns that his beloved mom is dead — but I’ll share just two.

The first is the tearjerker scene at the end of Going My Way, when Father Fitzgibbons, played by the great Barry Fitzgerald (alas, NR subscriber status unknown) sees his sweet and aged mother for the first time in decades. I wish I had a clip to link to, but cannot find one (there is this picture). Going My Way is one of the best movies Hollywood ever made, and it’s worth your watching if by some bizarre chance or terrible intention if you have yet to see it.

The second concerns the performance by Dorothy McGuire as Katie Nolan in Elia Kazan’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She is a realistic mom who has to dispense tough love more than tenderness to her children and her husband, played by James Dunn, who won an Oscar, well-deserved, as the loveable but irresponsible Johnny Nolan. You should watch the movie, and consider the hard truths that are the province of many a mother. I love this scene.

Hey, didja know Mothers Day was founded in . . . Grafton, West Virginia? Didja? No? Well, now you do! Learn yourself something about it.

On with the show, sorta.

We Interrupt this Program . . .

We will get to links — and this week’s WJ has plenty of them — in a brief moment. But first: The chairman of NR Inc is a man of many talents — whether it be from knocking out Iraqi tanks in the Battle of 73 Easting to teaching entrepreneurship, which is a good point to dwell on. As the Professor of Practice and Executive in Residence at George Mason University’s School of Business, John Hillen knows a thing or two about the skill sets needed to launch, and grow, a company. And how entrepreneurs need to reinvent themselves as they deal with success.

So along with business guru Mark Nevins (extra points for him since he went to my alma mater, Holy Cross), he has co-authored a new book, What Happens Now?: Reinvent Yourself as a Leader Before Your Business Outruns You. No, it’s not a how-to for everyone, but there are probably a gaggle of folks you probably know (maybe the dude or gal in the mirror) who could benefit from its imparted wisdom. OK, I’ve got to share two blurbs from high-steppers:

General Stan McChrystal: “John Hillen and Mark Nevins astutely focus on how leaders must behave in order to become adaptable in today’s increasingly dynamic world. What Happens Now? is a necessary read for leaders combatting the reality that what worked in the past will no longer be good enough in the near future.”

Larry Kudlow: “Over the many years I have watched and commented on the best performing companies, I’ve observed the best leaders reinvent themselves and their role as fast as they’ve grown their firm. This book helps leaders see challenges in advance and charts a way for them to stay out in front of their enterprise as they take it to new heights. A pragmatic and insightful model for executive development in growing companies.”

Learn more about What Happens Now? at its groovy, exclusive website, and if a lot of copies are sold via WJ, it’ll get John off my back. So do it for yourself, do it for a friend, but at the very least — do it for Fowler.


1. We commend President Trump for pulling out of the Iran deal concocted by Barack Obama. From the editorial:

Perhaps a better deal can emerge under Trump’s prodding, but it is more likely that we will need to work to contain, deter, and pressure Iran on all fronts over the long term. Trump ended his speech by speaking directly to the Iranian people and saying they deserve better than their terror-supporting government that is in a state of enmity with much of the world. He’s right, and his decision to pull out of the Iran deal is a welcome sign that, unlike his predecessor, he is willing to see the mullahs for what they are.

2. The farm bill is an opportunity for President Trump to force reform of “SNAP,” aka “food stamps.” Our editorial encourages him to consider tough measures. Here’s a slice of our argument:

Rumor has it that President Trump may threaten to veto the bill if it doesn’t include reforms to SNAP’s work requirements. He declined to do so at a meeting today with key members of Congress, but he shouldn’t hesitate to take this step if it’s needed to move the process along. Fixing food stamps is about the only good thing that could come from a farm bill — our most storied ritual handout of taxpayer dollars to government-preferred businesses — and the Senate likely won’t go along without this kind of pressure.


1. On The Bookmonger, John J. Miller talks with acclaimed novelist and NR paisan Christopher Buckley about his new work, The Judge Hunter. It’s all very Regicide-y, and you can listen to the interview here.

2. Yonkers bad boy Kevin Madden headlines the new episode of Political Beats, joining razmatazzers Scot and Jeff to discuss Wilco. If you don’t believe me, I’ve got proof: Listen here.

3. On the new episode of The Editors, Rich, Reihan, Charlie, and Michael Brendan Dougherty discuss the end of the Iran deal, Rudy Giuliani’s new role, and the primary results in West Virginia and beyond. Do that listening thing here.

4. Enjoy the new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg, in which errand boy Jack does penance, and, more importantly, our host . . . hosts . . . Russ Roberts for the first of a two-part chat about all sorts of things economics. Here it is folks.

5. Back to JJM: He discusses Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 with Robert M. Woods on the new episode of The Great Books. It’s a terrific conversation which you can listen to here.

6. David and Alexandra slap out a new episode of Ordered Liberty, focusing on the Eric Schneiderman scandal, why pro-choice men keep getting caught exploiting women, and making a constitutional defense of Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran deal. You’ll hear about depravity and more here.

7. George Schultz — yeah, that George Schultz — is the guest on the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show. Please do listen, here.

8. Movie boys Ross and Kyle produce another episode of Projections, in which they weigh Avengers: Infinity War against Black Panther, argue about the importance of that (spoiler alert!) ending and segue into an appreciation of a couple of streaming titles including one of Kyle’s favorite movies of the century, Steven Spielberg’s A.I., a trap cunningly designed to lure Ross into one of his patented rants about sex robots. Lights, camera, listen!

9. We’ve got two episodes this week of Reality Check with Jeanne Allen. On the first, she interviews teacher, author, scholar, advisor and sought-after speaker, Sarah Tantillo. Pay heed here. On the second Jeanne and Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Network, discuss the battle (which it is!) to advance the charter-school movement. Catch this important talk here.

10. Golden Staters Will and David steer the new episode of Radio Free California to contemplate the weirdness of a bill that will add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home (in the nation’s most expensive housing market) and reflect on Kamala Harris’s union-toadying bailing on the UC Berkeley commencement. Listen here.

A Whopping 17 NRO Pieces You Oughta Consider

1. Damned damnedy-damned straight! Where is the outrage over former secretary of State John Kerry’s Iran deal antics? Jonathan Tobin pens an excellent analysis, and here’s a sampling from it:

There is a difference between speaking up for a policy position and actively colluding with an enemy nation. Kerry may sincerely believe that he advanced the cause of peace by discarding all of the West’s economic leverage in exchange for a piece of paper that legitimized Iran’s nuclear program and ensured that it would eventually get a bomb while the country was enriched and empowered. Trump aims to end the Iranian nuclear threat by changing or scrapping the deal. Kerry’s campaign to torpedo his efforts has the effect of ensuring that Tehran won’t be held accountable for its terrorism and illegal missile production.

2. Mueller One: Andy McCarthy zings the premise that “secrecy” must rule. From his analysis:

There are thus very good reasons why Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein should step in and prevent Special Counsel Mueller from seeking to question the president. But I want to leave you with a different thought. How are we supposed to grapple with whether the president should be compelled to testify when we don’t know what Mueller is alleging? What crime does Mueller want to ask the president about? And if there isn’t one, why are we even talking about an interview, let alone a subpoena?

Yes, all prosecutors want to maintain investigative secrecy. In the vast majority of cases, the enforcement of the law after a serious crime has been committed outweighs other concerns; secrecy enables prosecutors to investigate without smearing innocent people, so we respect the need for it. But secrecy is not an absolute requirement; it must give way when outweighed by other considerations.

3. Mueller Two: You had it coming to you Mr. Special Prosecutor. One more time with Andy McCarthy on Robert Mueller’s “Tough Week in Court.” From the piece:

The courts were not kind last week to the Justice Department’s gamesmanship on the Russia probe, also known as the Mueller investigation, an investigation in which the cases prosecutors want to try are not about Russia, and the case about Russia prosecutors don’t want to try.

4. Redaction Madness: Andy again, this time on the outrage of just what was redacted in the House Intelligence Committee’s “Russia” report. Here’s a hunk from his analysis:

Now that we can see what they wanted to conceal, it is clear, yet again, that the Justice Department and the FBI cannot be trusted to decide what the public gets to learn about their decision-making.

They tell us that their lack of transparency is necessary for the protection of national security, vital intelligence, and investigative operations. But what we find out is that they were concealing their own questionable judgments and conflicting explanations for their actions; their use of foreign-intelligence and criminal-investigative authorities to investigate Michael Flynn, Trump’s top campaign supporter and former national-security adviser; and their explicitly stated belief that Flynn did not lie in the FBI interview for which Special Counsel Robert Mueller has since prosecuted him on false-statements charges.

It is simply ridiculous for President Trump to continue bloviating about this situation on Twitter and in friendly media interviews, and for congressional Republicans to continue pretending that the problem is Justice Department and FBI leadership — as if Trump were not responsible for his own administration’s actions. The president has not only the authority but the duty to ensure that his subordinates honor lawful disclosure requests from Congress.

What happened with these redactions is inexcusable.

5. Who’s afraid of Bari Weiss, the New York Times not-a-conservative columnist who has recently written about the “Intellectual Dark Web”? The answer: A lot of Lefties who cannot tolerate the concept of free speech. Kyle Smith explains here.

6. And Jonah Goldberg weighs in too. From his piece:

First, let me say that the phrase “Intellectual Dark Web” strikes me as a marketing label — and not necessarily a good one. The actual Dark Web is full of terrible and criminal things. I get the idea of wanting to sound subversive and transgressive, but the Intellectual Dark Web sounds not only a little gimmicky for a purportedly serious intellectual movement. It also sounds a little desperate, like a middle-aged man deciding to wear biker jackets and ride a Harley to prove how rebellious he is.

7. With friends like Rudy: Rich Lowry finds the near-incoherence of Giuliani’s Stormy Daniels payoff/no-payoff/pay back/etc. press interviews begs for . . . truth. From his column:

Rudy sounds like he’s been charged with unraveling one of the great mysteries of our time, when it’s all resolvable with about two questions: “Mr. President, when did you find out about the payment to Stormy Daniels? When did you pay Cohen back?” This is about a five-minute conversation.

Rudy is not limited by his ability to gather facts, but by the president’s willingness to be forthright. Although it would be painful — to the first lady, above all — Trump would be well-served to play it straight. He could make a vague confession about past conduct he’s not proud of; say that Cohen paid off Daniels to avoid embarrassment, with added motivation as the election approached (what Giuliani has been trying to say); and amend his campaign’s Federal Election Commission filing in an excess of caution.

8. More Lowry: Sometimes, the president actually means what he says. From his latest column:

The president who says more outlandish and untrue things than anyone who has ever occupied the office of the presidency is also extraordinarily determined to deliver on his big promises.

Trump often doesn’t mean what he says, but when he says what he means — watch out. The combined forces of international pressure, polite opinion, outraged New York Times editorials, resistant advisers and sheer inertia aren’t an obstacle.

Many of Trump’s loose promises in the campaign weren’t remotely deliverable (he was never going to drop Bowe Bergdahl out of an airplane over Afghanistan with no parachute).

But on his signature pledges, he’s been committed, usually more than anyone around him. He’s been particularly stalwart on those promises that require blasting through entrenched conventional wisdom and elite resistance.

9. The late Judge Thomas Griesa was a great friend of National Review as an institution and to many here personally, including Jay Nordlinger, who has penned a spectacular tribute.

10. Was there ever a creep as creepy as woman-slapping, abortion-loving NY AG Eric Schneiderman? Alexandra DeSanctis unmasks the fake feminist.

11. Was Harry Truman the proto-Trump? Victor Davis Hanson sees a lot of parallels between the two. It’s a great column.

12. And speaking of former Democrat presidents, Jibran Kahn reviews Stuart Eizenstadt’s new book, President Carter: The White House Years, and sees a more conservative president (we’re not talking about ex president) than is popularly remembered. From the review:

Until the Carter years, much of the economy, including air travel, brewing, oil, telecommunications, rail shipping, and commercial trucking, had been subject to severe government control — to the point that government officials made virtually all of the major decisions. This setup made services prohibitively expensive but guaranteed profits for big businesses by keeping out new competitors. The Carter administration, by focusing on free-market reforms and appointing deregulators to head up regulatory agencies, made a big dent in the problem.

13. Facebook’s bias against conservatives is very real, and rather than address the issue as a PR problem, the social media giant needs to get serious and truly fix it. Eric Wilson explains.

14. The UK’s local elections last week had no clear winner, but there are still tea leaves to be read, and John O’Sullivan reads them so you don’t have to.

15. Ladies Lingerie: An old gag, a staple of black-and-white movies, about department store elevators is told (by Lebow) in modern, triggerable America, and a feminist academic (named Sharoni) is so “shaken” — not stirred — she calls the Thought Police. No joke! Kat Timpf has the story. From her piece:

For one thing, it threatens to end humor altogether. If people start getting in trouble for making simple jokes such as Lebow’s, then people are going to stop telling jokes altogether. In fact, if all women started conducting themselves like Sharoni, it could become near impossible for anyone to have a normal conversation without freaking out that they’d accidentally said something wrong. It really is terrifying to think about.

For another thing, this really does make women look weaker. Like the joke or not, it really does seem like something that Lebow and Sharoni should have been able to handle between themselves without involving a bureaucracy. That Sharoni was not able to deal with something so simple and so innocuous on her own does not amount to making strides for feminism. What it does is make feminism look petty, which is an absolute shame considering how much feminism is needed.

16. The annual Met Ball, the big NYC fashion gala that was ruled for decades by Pat Buckley, yes, the wife of the founder of this here enterprise, come 2018 has evolved into a crass event to mock Roman Catholicism, sadly and amazingly with the accomplice of the local yuckster cardinal, Timothy Dolan. Our Kyle Smith is just not having it. From his piece:

For the Met Gala, though, the Church took the side of its enemies. In his press conference, Dolan made a cringe-inducing attempt to declare common ground with the gala’s ethos of gaudy, narcissistic, sin-loving materialism. “The church and the Catholic imagination — the theme of this exhibit — are all about three things: truth, goodness and beauty,” Dolan said. “That’s why we’re into things such as art, culture, music, literature, and, yes, even fashion.”

Being “into” modern things seems to be the new party line as set by the Vatican, which threw open its doors to New York curators to create the new Met exhibit associated with the gala, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The Monday-night blowout was just the latest worrying sign that the current pontificate is trying to ingratiate itself with outsiders who reject the Church’s goals. Eager to be “welcoming” and not “judgmental,” Pope Francis is reforming it according to its enemies’ vision.

17. America has a flood of opiod orphans. Mix that with a terrible foster-care system, and the result is . . . unconscionable. But fixable. From Darcy Olsen’s very important piece:

The purpose of foster care is to provide temporary safety for children, but for thousands it has become a life sentence.

I fostered “Emma” as a newborn. She is still a ward of the state as she nears her sixth birthday. Statistically, Emma is more likely to end up in prison than to be adopted.

Or consider a teenager I know. “John” entered state care in diapers. He was never returned home or adopted. He’s lived 16 years in the system — in 48 different homes.

The Six

1. At the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse blog, Andrew Walker awards the Boy Scouts a Merit Badge of Surrender. From his piece:

The move to no longer base membership on sex is yet another plank in the broader movement to esteem Androgyny as the predominant gender ethic in society. The ethic of Androgyny is one that blurs, nullifies, or twists sex difference and gender distinction by making them indeterminate. It prohibits making gender distinctions on the basis that sex and gender distinctions are a cunning attempt at claiming the mantle of power, dominance, or privilege for one group over another. So to prevent natural differences from occurring that follow from sex and gender differentiation, the abiding ethic of sameness reverberates through society.

2. Free-trade battle: Senator Pat Toomey writes in the Wall Street Journal that he will fight being “blackmailed” on NAFTA by the President. From his piece:

To pressure us into voting for an agreement that diminishes free trade, some in the administration suggest offering a grim choice: either approve a diminished Nafta, or the president will unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from the existing Nafta, leaving no Nafta at all.

If presented with this ultimatum, I will vote “no,” urge my colleagues to do likewise, and oppose any effort by the administration to withdraw unilaterally. Pulling out of Nafta by executive fiat would be economically harmful and unconstitutional.

The Framers reserved trade policy for Congress, which has the express authority to establish tariffs and regulate commerce with foreign nations. A president who unilaterally withdrew from Nafta would be directly regulating foreign commerce, imposing significant disruptions on the economy, and infringing on Congress’s status as a coequal branch of government.

3. Gatestone Institute was subject to a hit piece by NBC News. This is what the MSM does to organizations associated with mean old John Bolton. But Gatestone fired back. Read the brilliant comeuppance.

4. More on “Ladies Lingerie”: The Chronicle of Higher Education gives a full report on the now-infamous joke.

5. The New York region’s iron grip on the financial industry is rusting. An excellent City Journal piece by Joel Kotkin explains the Southern and Westward Ho trending of jobs from the expensive Big Apple. It ends like this:

The changing nature of the financial and tech industries, along with the appeal of lower-cost regions for these industries, poses a threat to long-established finance centers like Boston, Chicago, and New York. In these traditional hubs, banking and finance have long been producers of both high-paying jobs and generous revenues for overspending urban regimes. Legislators in old-guard cities should take a long look at the policies that are driving these jobs away presently — and perhaps permanently.

6. What can you say about a College Fix story that begins like this:

A workshop at Texas Tech University offers transgender individuals the chance to “work on vocal presentation,” with speech pathologists mostly focusing on helping men who believe they are women develop “feminine pitch and feminine qualities” for their voices.

Stop the world, I want to get off!

Beyond the Sun, and Beyond That

There are two movies worth mentioning to WJers. The first is Beyond the Sun, and it features . . . the pope. And others. You can watch the trailer here. This uplifting children’s adventure story is a modern-day tale of hope, faith, and courage in which a group of kids overcome obstacles of the wilderness while searching for God in the world around them. in a world of snark, it’s a refreshing alternative film.

Beyond that is another movie, more so about the snarky present world, about which Kyle Smith and others have written glowingly. It portrays the homeowner who fought efforts by the city of New London, Conn., to take her house by eminent domain and hand it over to a private company. You know it better as the Kelo case. The movie is called Little Pink House. Watch the trailer here. It looks terrific.

Black Out . . . Monday

Monday, May 14 is the official publication date of Conrad Black’s new book, Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other, which includes a foreword by Victor Davis Hanson. We’re running a few excerpts on NRO, the first one can be read here. Hey, if I blurb-shared with John Hillen, I can do the same for Conrad. Here goes:

Mark Steyn: “Is there anything new to say of the most written-about man alive? Yes. Conrad Black is a political observer, an historian, and a businessman who’s done business with Donald Trump (he sold him a building), and was one of the first to take his campaign seriously. Black understands the 45th president not only in the context of his pre-political life and family but in the great sweep of American history. This is an admiring but undeluded biography whose every page has either a shrewd new insight or revealing detail, and often both. It’s also beautifully written, with both a droll wit its subject will surely appreciate and an understanding of the visceral connection between Trump and the millions of Americans who felt abandoned by both parties. A great and knowing read, and a biography that has the size of its subject.”

Andrew Roberts: “This hard-hitting, well-written, and admirably objective book, written by a remarkably talented historian who moreover knows his subject well, will inform all subsequent serious biographies of Donald J. Trump. There is ammunition galore here both for those who love the president and those who loathe him.”


Many cannot think of him as anything but a Yankee, and as the only man to throw a World Series no-hitter/perfect game. But Don Larsen has a few other achievements of note. For example: He was first pitcher ever for the Baltimore Orioles, starting the 1954 season opener against the Tigers (he pitched a complete game but lost, 3-0, giving up three solo homers). He went on to compile a 3-21 record that year, registering one of the worst win/loss percentages in baseball history. (Even worse: in 1960 he had a 1-10 record for Kansas City. Even better: he had the best AL win/loss percentage in 1956, when he was 11-5 for the Yankees). And dig this: In 1962, then pitching for the NL-champion San Francisco Giants, he faced only two Yankee batters and came away with the victory in Game 4 of the World Series. The dude is 88 and still hanging in there.

A Dios

The sun shines East, the sun shines West . . . as for where it shines best, say a prayer for your mama. God bless.


Jack Fowler is where you can get me.


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