The Weekend Jolt

National Review

Nancy’s Big Mouth

Dear Jolters,

Well, Nancy hung around for a long time. Little Miss Ritz — the slot-nosed niece of Ms. Fritzi Ritz and significant other / BFF of pug-nosed Sluggo Smith, born from the ink well of Ernie Bushmiller — first graced the funny pages in 1933 and had her own strip in 1938, which perseveres lo these many decades later, albeit in a handful of newspapers. That was just two years before the birth of another Nancy, Nancy D’Alesandro (of the Baltimore D’Alesandros) who later married Mr. Paul Pelosi and headed to California, where she found political fame. And just like our comic strip honey, she too perseveres . . . to a dwindling audience?

More on that below.

Now, on a more serious level: Some of us (Catholics) thought Pandora’s Box was unleashed in the early 2000s, when the news burst about the plentiful abuse of children by priests and religious. In hindsight, that seems like a trifle. The report released this week, of the toll (the sheer numbers!) of crimes committed against the young over the past several decades in Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania and the degree of the cover-up by embarrassed, aloof, conniving bishops (who became little more than de facto accomplices) is staggering, especially coming on the heels of the scandal of Cardinal McCarrick, seminarian “groomer.” It all leaves Yours Truly and millions of others with hearts heavy and broken.

Back in the days when Rod Dreher was in the National Review saddle, he wrote one of the first major pieces exposing these scandals. Maybe I want to convey now the idea that NR was not aloof then. Which is not a bragging point. But we have revived the Dreher essay, “Sins of the Father,” which is now live on NRO. Read it here.

I admittedly play the Catholic thing a bit much in these missives, but whether you are Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or of another faith, or no faith, this expanding — exploding — scandal is not a provincial concern. The Catholic Church in America has played a profound role in our culture, and continues to. Its being laid low is not of passing interest.

More on all that below, too. Sigh.


Starting here. We say that the Catholic Church needs more than expressions of sorrow. Instead, she must “Cleanse the Temple.” Read it in toto here, but first, a slice:

Bishops, including cardinals, who are shown to have been derelict in confronting the evil they knew about in the Church must be made to resign and encouraged to live a life marked by visible signs of penance. Policy changes are not enough for a Church that believes in the supernatural. The bishops are in the same position as the apostles who asked Christ why they were unable to drive out an evil spirit. The Lord explained to them: “This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.”

It’s Pronounced “Pluhs,” Not Ploo

My crazy French ami was discussing Ehn Ehrrr Ploo, and I had to remind him that, while en francaise the word plus implies the more-ness of what we are promising with our very cool, new, and groovy subscription and membership service, the term NRPLUS is pronounced EN ARE PLUHS. Or, if you are a pirate, EN ARRRRH PLUS. But no matter how one says it, I strongly recommend that every Tom, Dick, and Pierre indeed get it. Which one can and may do, très bien, right ici.


1. On the new Ordered Liberty podcast, David and Alexandra reflect on three grim topics — the Catholic sex abuse in Pennsylvania, the renewed persecution of Colorado Baker Jack Phillips, and the Democrats’ devotion to abortion on demand. It’s called “A Grim Day,” but grim or not, it is worth your while to listen, here.

2. A very special episode (not because it is Bahnsen-less) of Radio Free California features Will and five California Policy Center summer interns who discuss learning about the Golden State’s desire to grow government into areas of state-mandated cancer warnings, plastic-bag bans, the power of government unions, and California’s influence on national politics. Listen, learn, maybe even cry a little, right here.

3. An appropriate item for the new episode of The Great Books: John J. Miller and UC Berkeley prof Robert Alter discuss The Book of Job. Get the sack cloth, get the ashes, get the headphones, and listen here.

BONUS: I recommend this 2017 Nick Frankovich Corner post on how to read the Bible.

4. Michael Long, who along with Daniel Lieberman co-authored The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, Creativity—and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race, which is one humdinger of a book title, shacks up with JJM on the new episode of The Bookmonger. Get the cold shower running, and listen here.

5. Political Beats is so cool, getting all confident and wing-spreading with these multi-parters. OK, I am digging the depth and the confidence. So what have we this week you ask? Scot and Jeff bring back The Daily Beast’s Andrew Kirell for Part 2 of his expertise-ery on Bob Dylan. How does it feel? Listen to find out.

6. WMAL professional talker Larry O’Connor is the guest on the new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show, discussingwhat’s surprised him about Trump’s presidency, what he thinks should happen if the alleged racist Apprentice outtake tape exists, his influences, and much, much more. Hear here.

7. Mad Dogs and Englishmen hit Episode 200, and the milestone is marked by aloud-wondering if liberal democracy and socialism can co-exist.Balloons, confetti, and Chuckie/Kev banter here.

8. Fernando Zulueta, CEO of Academica Corporation, is a great leader in education choice and he is this week’s guest on Reality Checkwith Jeanne Allen. Now class, pay attention and listen here.

9. On this week’s episode of The McCarthy Report, MBD and Andy talk about Donald Trump stripping John Brennan of his security clearance, the compound in New Mexico led by radical Islamist Siraj Wahhaj, and the Paul Manafort trial and what it says about Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign. Do listen, please, right here.

BONUS: Liberal sweetie Jeanne Safer, the better half of Richard Brookhiser, has started a new podcast for Apple, called “I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics.” Find out more here. (Make you think: I wonder if there is a podcast “Bronx Bomber Married to a Red Sox Fan.”)

10. On the Lowry-less new episode of The Editors, Michael, Charlie, Dan, and Luke discuss the media’s coordinated anti-Trump editorials, John Brennan’s security-clearance troubles, a second round of litigation against Masterpiece Cake Shop, and the heinous PA grand jury report on Catholic priests. Listen up right here.

11. Woof! With the dog days of summer emptying D.C., Matt Continetti, editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon, is dragged back onto The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg for some rank punditry, some Trumpsplaining, and some conservative nerdery. And awaaaaay we go.

Eighteen Main Courses, Each Expertly Prepared for Your Nourishment

1. Paging Toodles the Flute: KLO interviews Wall Street Journal writer-editor Matthew Hennessey about his new book, Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials. How about trying one question on for size? Okey dokey, here’s one from the full interview:

Lopez:“Do not go quietly into the good night of millennial domination, whether in your professional or personal life,” you write. “Stand up for regular order, face-to-face meetings, and systems that reward merit over all else. Celebrate experience. Find a way to promote humanistic values. Don’t let childish ignorance or the promise of a utopian future steamroll your sense of right and wrong. Give as good as you get, even as the grey hairs form on your temple, as technological change outpaces your ability—and desire to keep up, and your 20/20 vision begins to blur. Gen X may be small, but we are tough. Our specific experiences should allow us to punch over our weight.” What do you have against Millennials?

Hennessey: You assume I have something against Millennials, but I really don’t. The word is useful to me mostly as a proxy for the app-soaked, Millennial-friendly world that is still busy being born all around us. I work at the Wall Street Journal with some great Millennials, who are clever, kind, and not always staring at their phones. If they ended up running the world I’d be thrilled.

If you read Zero Hour you will see I have some contrary opinions about culture’s drift toward a utopian, semi-socialist techno-paradise premised on the idea that privacy, free speech, edgy comedy, and newspapers have outlived their usefulness. Millennials don’t appear terribly worried about where things are going. I want them to wise up. So this book is aimed as much at them as it is at Gen Xers. There’s a hunger among younger people for a more authentic way of living. You see it in the hobbying around vinyl records, vintage fashion, artisanal gin, and old-timey bikes. Some of that is posturing  , but some of it, I think, betrays a real longing for a simpler time.

2. It’s Miller Time, One: Michelle Malkin mocks the media hoopla over the immigration hawk Stephen Miller’s dovish Uncle Dave. From her column:

Miller, by contrast, spent a dozen years on Capitol Hill mastering every aspect of immigration policy — border security, sanctuary cities, deportation, asylum and refugee programs, and the impact of foreign guest-worker visas on wages, for starters — before taking on a senior policy-adviser role for the Trump transition team and White House. He is a longtime vocal proponent of serious, comprehensive immigration-enforcement reform from top to bottom — including a long-overdue rethinking of our chain-migration system, which rewards familial ties over merit and skills.

Glosser thinks that by pointing out that their family entered America through chain migration, Miller is somehow an “immigration hypocrite.” This is one of the most inane arguments of the open-borders lobby. And there’s a lot of inanity there to choose from, my friends.

3. It’s Miller Time, Two: Kevin Williamson considers Miller’s “hypocrisy.” From his essay:

I sometimes tease the most indefatigable of my immigration-hawk colleagues that, try as I might, I cannot find anybody named “Krikorian” on the manifest of the Mayflower. But, here’s the thing: Mark Krikorian’s views on immigration may be valuable and true or corrosive and false, but none of that has anything at all to do with how the Krikorians made their way from Armenia to Washington. We are all of us entitled to our own opinions, irrespective of what our grandparents or great-grandparents did. Even Stephen Miller.

If we are to have any legal immigration process at all, then there will be conditions and criteria under which certain would-be immigrants are excluded. That’s what it means to have a legal process. There was no immigration-and-naturalization process when our Pilgrim forebears landed here, and we had effectively open borders for many years. Victorian England had effectively open borders, too. (And borders have a way of moving around.) A great deal of immigration occurred during that period. Are we then obliged to accept open borders as the only possible policy that avoids opening us to the charge of hypocrisy? That’s a silly argument, but it is what follows from Glosser’s construction.

4. Glynn Custred serves up the latest case for breaking California’s eggs in the hopes of getting three omelettes. From his piece:

California occupies just over half the west coast of the United States, with a land surface larger than that of Germany. The highest population concentration is in the San Francisco–Sacramento area, extending south along the coast to the Mexican border, while the rest of the state is much less densely populated. Moreover, there are economic and political disparities between those regions, with the economy of the urban liberal coastal counties based on commerce and manufacturing, while the small-town and rural population elsewhere is more conservative and agricultural. But the coastal counties, thanks to their far higher population, dominate the politics of California, imposing their policy preferences on the rest of the state.

One possible solution is to divide California into multiple states, with the lines drawn to reflect these divides. This is what Tim Draper intended to do with a ballot initiative, Cal 3. But the state supreme court pulled it off this year’s ballot, citing constitutional concerns. If it survives the ongoing legal challenge, it will appear in 2020 instead.

It is no wonder that the special interests, the politicians, and the bureaucrats who now have a stranglehold on state government and finance would resist such a move. They and their supporters in the media act as if there were something radical or unreasonable about this proposal. Yet a brief look at history shows that this is by no means unreasonable or radical, but is consistent with the way our federal union has functioned from the start.

5. Heather MacDonald goes after the New York Times and its intention to portray fringe white supremacists as central-casting Conservatives. From her Corner post:

Trade protectionism has an American lineage dating back to the Founders; that lineage is distinct from white nationalism. It has been embraced by union leaders as a form of economic justice for workers of all stripes. As for immigration control, it was Texas congressman Barbara Jordan who argued in 1994 — again, decades before the rise of the alt-right — that “any nation worth its salt must control its borders.” As chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform from 1994 to 1996, Jordan insisted that “it is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.” Jordan recognized the connection between mass low-skilled immigration and falling wages for low-skilled American workers, often themselves black and Hispanic. The commission she chaired proposed stricter measures to curb illegal immigration and family chain migration.

The Times cannot concede a good-faith reason to adopt any of these views and portrays them only as eruptions of bigotry. The paper also needs to keep alive the narrative of a racist white power structure. Linking longstanding political positions, some conservative, to the only recently noticed insignificant political fringe is therefore a match made in heaven. The paper quotes Thomas Main, a political-science professor at Baruch College, who obligingly dismisses the significance of the white-nationalist rallies now that, in retrospect, they have proved such a wash-out. “What’s crucial for the fate of the alt-right is not the demonstrations,” Main told the Times. “They are a political movement that is concerned with influencing the way people think, and there are a lot of signs that their ideas continue to penetrate mainstream media and political culture.”

6. Aunt Fritzi! Help!! John Fund finds that, for Republicans, Nancy is the gift that keeps giving, and wonders if Dems will contrive an October Surprise and mothball Minority Leader Pelosi. From his column:

Democrats privately scoff that Pelosi’s departure could be this year’s surprise. Instead, they are focusing on the recent accusations from disgruntled former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who also was a guest on today’s Meet the Press. Omarosa predicted that a tape of Trump using the “N-word” against African Americans would surface shortly before the election: “I know it exists, and what I regret is that these people are probably trying to leverage it as this October surprise.” I have no idea whether such a tape exists, but I rate Omarosa’s overall credibility on a par with that of fabulists.

A “Bye, Nancy” pass to appeal to swing voters strikes me as at least as likely if not more so as an October surprise. Republicans haven’t been buoyed by the strong economy as much as they thought they would be. They will probably fall back on warning voters about what a return to power by increasingly liberal Democrats would mean: efforts to scale back border controls and even abolish ICE, higher taxes and more regulation, and a focus on impeaching President Trump. Despite her best efforts to downplay such issues, Nancy Pelosi is easily identified with this left-wing agenda.

7. That flailing sound you’re hearing, coming from Virginia? That’s Corey Stewart, ticking candidate. Alexandra DeSanctis reports, and here’s a slice of it:

Stewart, the Republican nominee challenging incumbent Democratic senator Tim Kaine in Virginia this fall, has come under sustained fire lately as news outlets have uncovered disturbing past comments from his campaign staff and from Stewart himself — shedding new light on the candidate’s friendly relationships with white-nationalist figures.

The negative publicity seems already to be taking a toll. In a VCU poll of likely voters released late last week, Kaine led Stewart by a comfortable 23 points, 49 percent to Stewart’s 26. That’s an improvement for Kaine from the 18-point lead he enjoyed over Stewart in a Quinnipiac poll from late June, shortly after Stewart won the GOP nomination.

A bit of bad press alone rarely tanks a campaign, but for Stewart, the series of hard hits has established a troubling pattern.

8. Jim Talent is insistent that America realize the massive military buildup in China is quite for real, and will seriously impact in our affairs. From his essay:

The Chinese are also engaged in a national effort to develop advanced weapons, which would be game changers in any armed conflict. The PLA is improving its already potent ability to attack American space assets, testing hypersonic-missile technology at a high rate, and developing sophisticated maneuverable reentry vehicles. It has exercised mass formations of unmanned aerial vehicles and has plans to build the world’s largest facility for unmanned-ship research.

While growing stronger itself, China has systematically used cyberespionage to steal America’s defense secrets from U.S. allies and defense contractors. That means that in any conflict the PLA will begin with a high level of situational awareness of American capabilities and how to defeat them.

China is also acquiring key maritime nodes around the world. Chinese companies own or are highly invested in 70 percent of the world’s ports, while the PLA has militarized its new artificial and illegal islands in the South China Sea and opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti.

9. Washington or Bust! Or, Washington Bust. Brian Allen review the Frick Museum’s exhibition of some classic sculpturing of the Father of Our Country. Here’s a history lesson for you:

In 1816, North Carolina’s legislature commissioned a full-length, life-size sculpture of Washington for the rotunda of its state capitol. When consulted on possible artists, Thomas Jefferson insisted that only Canova, probably Europe’s most distinguished sculptor, would do. By that time, Canova had portrayed emperors, popes, gods, and princesses, his figures sleek and subtly sexy. Absolute power might corrupt absolutely, but restrained, elegantly conveyed power can be intoxicating.

Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Washington might have been ubiquitous given the many versions Stuart painted, but Jefferson and others thought Giuseppe Ceracchi’s bust, done from life in 1791, was the most accurate depiction of Washington ever done. There are two versions in the show, one marble and the other terra-cotta. The terra-cotta bust is as alive as it could be. Also in the show is Jean-Antoine Houdon’s 1785 plaster life mask of Washington. This is the first time all of these depictions have been together. Canova faithfully used Ceracchi’s work as his model.

10. Yeah bishops, you have lost our trust. That’s why it’s time to reappoint Frank Keating to investigate your coverups. Michael Strain makes the painful but obvious argument for truth and against self-interest wearing a red cap. From his piece:

How did a man who likely belongs in a jail cell rather than in the red cassock of a prince of the Church get away with so much for so long? McCarrick apparently preyed on those over whom he wielded power for decades, and he reached the highest levels of leadership in the Church. Some important people in the Vatican and the U.S. must have known at least something of his behavior. How many people — including bishops — turned a blind eye, or covered up his crimes? Why did they make that choice? Petitions were made to the Vatican to stop McCarrick’s rise. They went nowhere. Why?

A good place to start looking for answers is with the 15 American cardinals. At least four of them, or 27 percent, likely heard at least something regarding McCarrick’s behavior and did, it appears, nothing.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the highest-ranking American in the Vatican, worked for and lived with McCarrick for several years. A priest wrote a letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, discussing McCarrick’s behavior. Cardinal O’Malley’s staff responded to the priest. It’s hard to believe that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, McCarrick’s successor as archbishop of Washington, didn’t hear rumors, at a minimum. Despite the close proximity that all three held to McCarrick, these cardinals deny any knowledge of McCarrick’s behavior.

11. More Bishop-Walloping. Michael Brendan Dougherty lets loose at the hollow verbiage of sorrow. Here’s how his new essay begins:

“We are deeply saddened.” So begin the many perfunctory statements of many Catholic bishops today in response to the Pennsylvania grand-jury report detailing how priests in that state abused children and how bishops shuffled these priests around. What deeply saddens these men? The rape of children, the systematic cover-up, or the little schemes to run out the clock on the statute of limitations? Are they saddened by the people who were so psychologically wounded by their abuse at the hands of priests that they killed themselves? What exactly are they sorry about? Soon the bishops are telling us about a chance for “renewal” after the promised implementation of new policies. They tell us about “overcoming challenges” in the Church. Or they use the phrase “a few bad apples.”

I find it impossible not to notice that these expressions of sorrow never arrive before the courts, the state attorneys general, or the local press arrive on the scene. That fact gives you another idea about what causes the bishops’ sorrow.

12. Three leading Jewish journals in the U.K. have joined forces to make an emphatic declaration about Labour bossman Jeremy Corbyn: He’s an anti-Semite. Julie Lenarz tells the ugly tale. Here’s a slice:

Corbyn has often excused his meetings with Hamas and Hezbollah as gestures of peace, an opportunity to talk to all sides in the conflict — except when it comes to Jews. Corbyn time and again has missed opportunities to meet with Israeli delegates and boycotted events with Israeli officials in attendance. He is part of a mindset in which Zionism, the belief that Jews deserve their own homeland, is a racist endeavor — a position that, according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition, is anti-Semitic.

Corbyn’s collusion with extremists goes on. He invited for tea in Parliament the Palestinian hate preacher Raed Salah, whom he described as “a very honoured citizen” whose “voice must be heard.” Saleh was found by a British court to have used the anti-Semitic “blood libel” (the fabricated assertion that Jews use the blood of Christians in religious ceremonies). On a different occasion, Corbyn accepted a free trip to meet Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, paid for by a Palestinian group that blames Jews for the Holocaust. In a similar fashion, Corbyn’s spokesperson had to disassociate Corbyn from Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, to whom he had allegedly donated money.

13. Harvard Shmarvard: Victor Davis Hanson sees elite degree, pedigrees, and idiocies — all at the same time. From his essay:

It is growing harder and harder to equate elite university branding with proof of knowledge. Barack Obama, another Harvard Law graduate, proved this depressing fact a number of times when he asserted that the Maldives were the Falklands, “corpsmen” was pronounced with a hard p, Austrians spoke a language called Austrian, there were 57 states, and Hawaii was in Asia.

Joe Biden, another law-school graduate, once stated that George W. Bush should have addressed the nation on television the way FDR did after the stock crash: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television . . .”  Biden apparently forgot that FDR was not president in 1929 and that TVs weren’t introduced to the public until 1939.

The point is not to cite egregious anecdotes but rather to reflect on why Americans have pretty much lost faith in their degreed elite. On most of the major issues of the last 40 years, what we were told by economists, foreign-policy experts, pundits, and the media has proven wrong — and doubly wrong given the emphases placed on such assertions by the supposedly better-educated professional classes.

14. Daniel Allott travels to Obama / Trump country and finds not an iota of regret among those who switched sides and voted for The Donald. From the story:

With each new round of tariffs and counter-tariffs, media outlets have deployed reporters to tell the story of how the White House’s protectionist policies could prompt a backlash among voters in these pivotal Trump states. But that is not what I found in Howard County. On my final day there, I headed to Casey’s General Store on the outskirts of Lime Springs and chatted with a group of farmers who gather there early each morning.

None of the farmers wished to be quoted by name, but all were happy to give me their political opinions. They said they were nervous about the tariffs and had already seen significant drops in crop and livestock prices. “We’ve lost a dollar and a half on the beans, and seen a drop on the corn in the last month,” one farmer said. “It’s really affecting people that have to have that cash flow. For them, it’s traumatic.”

But I didn’t sense any anger at Trump or hear anything to suggest he’d lost their support. In fact, they said they appreciated that a president was finally pushing back against other countries’ unfair trade practices. “I think we’ve been giving our wealth away for way too many years,” said one farmer. “We’ve made terrible deals,” another said. “Terrible.”

I asked the group whether an ongoing trade war would affect their vote in 2020. “Last time there wasn’t much of a choice,” one elderly farmer said. “Depends on who’s running. If it’s a socialist, no.”

15. Plenty of critics are acclaiming Sorry to Bother You. Not Kyle Smith.

16. Jonathan Tobin gives credit where due: It’s Trump’s boom, not Obama’s. From his piece:

As for Trump’s supposedly superb salesmanship, it’s true that the president isn’t bashful about claiming credit. But if he were really expert at seizing credit for good news, Trump wouldn’t spend so much time and energy distracting the public from the news of his economic success. His tweets and statements are a never-ending stream of arguments, complaints, and abuse directed at opponents that make it harder for voters to concentrate on the central fact of a robust economy that is bringing down unemployment and raising wages for his working-class supporters as well as satisfying big business. If the Republicans lose control of Congress this fall, it will be because Trump isn’t as good a salesman as either he or his opponents think he is, and it will disprove James Carville’s rule that elections are always about “the economy, stupid.”

Trump has removed the regulatory shackles that Obama placed on the economy during his unsuccessful attempts to orchestrate a robust recovery. Whether it lasts or will be undermined by other policies remains to be seen. But whatever else happens, the boom belongs to him, not Obama.

17. There’s nothing that great about Andrew Cuomo either. Charles Cooke smacks around the volume-obtuse hack Governor of New York. From his piece:

Queen Victoria complained of William Ewart Gladstone that he “speaks to Me as if I was a public meeting.” Andrew Cuomo has the opposite problem: He addresses public meetings as if trying to convince a recalcitrant octogenarian that the fire in his bedroom means he really, seriously has to leave. Never have so many friendly faces been so vigorously barked at by a man saying so little. In his mind, Cuomo is Pericles. Outside of it, he’s late-90s Al Pacino reading a bargain-basement script. “We’re not going to make America great again,” he bellowed this afternoon, to audible gasps. “America was never that great.”

Cuomo is everyone and nobody all at once. “I am a Muslim,” he proposed last January, provoking widespread consternation. During the same speech he also became “Jewish,” “black,” “gay,” “disabled,” and “a woman seeking to control her health and her choices.” Conspicuously missing from his list was the one self-descriptor that explained his overzealous schizophrenia: “I am a white guy running for office in the Democratic party in 2018.”

18. The SCOTUS Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling be damned, the Left’s trolling and continued persecution of Jack Phillips continues. David French reports on a man with a target on his back, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission once again is complicit in the assault on Freedom of Worship. Read David’s piece here.

Bonus: David calls BS on the “stunned” claim of Phillip’s lefty troller.

The Six

1. In First Things, a group of prominent Catholics has sent Pope Francis a powerful message in opposition to his dictat that Church teaching formally opposes the death penalty. From their letter:

Since it is a truth contained in the Word of God, and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium of the Catholic Church, that criminals may lawfully be put to death by the civil power when this is necessary to preserve just order in civil society, and since the present Roman pontiff has now more than once publicly manifested his refusal to teach this doctrine, and has rather brought great confusion upon the Church by seeming to contradict it, and by inserting into the Catechism of the Catholic Church a paragraph which will cause and is already causing many people, both believers and non-believers, to suppose that the Church considers, contrary to the Word of God, that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, we call upon Your Eminences to advise His Holiness that it is his duty to put an end to this scandal, to withdraw this paragraph from the Catechism, and to teach the word of God unadulterated; and we state our conviction that this is a duty seriously binding upon yourselves, before God and before the Church.

2. Department of Whose Ox: Writing at Crisis, my dear old pal Anne Hendershott (who I first met on the commuter train, she was reading National Review!) reports on an incredible head-turning (everything turning) “Title IX” case involving a renowned lesbian New York University professor, Avital Ronell, accused by a gay male graduate student of some aggressive sexual harassment. All of a sudden, Ronell’s lefty peers are okay with victim-blaming. From Anne’s piece:

In some important ways, this is the logical outcome of the mess created by Title IX. The mandates imposed by the law have devastated the lives of falsely accused students and faculty members who are deprived of legal rights by their academic institution. Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, has attempted to mandate due process protections for the accused but most colleges and universities have defied her attempts. In fact, some schools have implemented even more draconian policies. No longer content to deny due process to accused university students in the wake of often unsubstantiated and frequently false charges of sexual harassment and assault, there was even a movement last year toward destroying any hope for these students to transfer to other colleges and universities. The Safe Transfer Act, a bill promoted by Rep. Jackie Speir (D-CA), requires transcript notation for those students who try to transfer to other colleges or universities after being found “responsible” for violations of Title IX policies. Creating a new “check the box” requirement specifically for the transcripts of the students who have become ensnared in Title IX’s ever-expanding net for campus “sex crimes,” Speier’s bill requires a warning on the academic transcript of any student found by a college or university to have violated the school’s rules or policies on sexual harassment and assault.

3. At The American Conservative, Rod Dreher looks at the Church’s scandal and shares his thoughts about weak men.

4. Writing in American Greatness, Michael Walsh looks into the roots of American Catholicism’s collapse, and finds them in Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council. From his piece:

I cannot say for certain when the rot set it, but I can say when my disillusionment first set in: with Vatican II and the papal reigns of John XXIII and Paul VI. After the ascetic papacy of Pius XII, who shared the same grim visage as John Foster Dulles and James Jesus Angleton, so common to men of that period, the roly-poly Cardinal Roncalli seemed a Kennedyesque breath of fresh air. And yet some of the outward changes he and Paul instituted in the Church — the abandonment of the Latin rite was one that most affected this altar boy — seemed arbitrary and superfluous; we would have called them “virtue signaling” today.

The theological implications of the wider reforms were lost on me at the time (the opening of dialogue with the Jews was long overdue), but what I did sense from my limited perspective was that in making the Mass more “inclusive,” the authority of the Church, as expressed in the universal Latin Mass, said by the priest with his back to the congregation (and thus leading them in worship instead of addressing them as a primus inter pares), was being lost in the interest of a transient accommodation to vogueish concerns. For whatever reasons, Church attendance began to dwindle, then plummet, not long thereafter.

5. For Gatestone Institute, Nonie Darwish asks a big geo-political question: Does Turkey belong in the EU? Here’s his answer.

6. Houston is under threat. The “opportunity-rich” municipality is being targeted by regulation-wielding Smart Growthers. Joel Kotkin explains in City Journal. From the piece:

Houston is largely an engineered city. Its success does not owe to a perfect location, a salubrious climate, or spectacular scenery. Situated far from a natural harbor, this bayou city was forged, in large part, by the 1914 decision to build a ship channelthat connects it with the Gulf of Mexico, 50 miles away. Its location makes Houston susceptible to natural disasters. Long before Harvey, Houston was devastated by hurricanes, including the one that destroyed the once-thriving port city of Galveston in 1900. A 1935 flood caused more severe damage, proportionally, than Harvey did, on a then much-smaller Houston.

Historically, Houston has met these challenges by seeking to tame nature. A relevant model can be found in the Netherlands, where, for hundreds of years, planners managed to push back against the sea, in the process creating one of the world’s great metropolises (Amsterdam). Historian Jonathan Israel traces the rise of the Netherlands, particularly following a massive flood in the sixteenth century, to its period of extensive infrastructure-building. Like Houston’s suburban expansion, infrastructure development in Holland opened new land and opportunities for residents. It also initiated liberal laws about tenancy and allowed for the expansion of ownership and enterprise, much as Houston’s expansion accomplished over the past half-century. The new lands constituted “the geographic roots of republican liberty,” notes historian Simon Schama.


Interesting thought: What was the worst team whose starting lineup included the most future Hall-of-Famers. WJ’s research minions need to look into this, but at first glance, it will be hard to top the 1962 Chicago Cubs, which had to be thankful this was the New York Mets’ abysmal inaugural season. The Cubbies were 59-103, good for 9th place (they endured 10 “walk off” losses!). The future Cooperstown boys were Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and rookie Lou Brock. Believe it or not, the latter did not lead the team ins stolen bases; that distinction went to George Altman, who swiped 19 to Brock’s 17.

A Dios

This missive is being finished in the wee hours, in a hotel room near the airport in Fresno, California. Your bleary-eyed jet-lagged correspondent doesn’t travel well. Next Friday, Correspondent Jr (he’s Deduction #5) heads off to college, so a busy week awaits. But we’ll manage another WJ. Until then, please water the flowers, apologize even if there is a remote chance you were wrong, and wash your own coffee mugs!

God’s blessings on you and yours,

Jack Fowler

jfowler@nationalreview.comis where I can be hectored.

P.S.: is where you can reserve a cabin on our post-election voyage, which gives you the chance and right to hector me in person!


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