The Weekend Jolt

National Review

Once in Love with Amy . . .

Dear Weekend Jolter,

. . . always in love with Amy, no? Those are the words that Ray Bolger crooned (while hoofing) in Where’s Charley? back in the day. We’ll see between the time this missive is published and the time you actually read it (bless you!) if President Trump has gone ahead and nominated Amy Coney Barrett, considered by most the frontrunner for the nod, to the Supreme Court. Many a conservative is in love with the idea.

Whether or not President Trump nominates her, your favorite conservative magazine and website, through the efforts of Dan “Baseball Crank” McLaughlin, seem to have played a quite important role in kneecapping the argument — one that is said to have browbeat scaredy-cat Republicans (always in ample supply) — that any SCOTUS nomination, and the ensuing confirmation process, must occur after the November elections, followed by genuflections and the litany St. Merrick of Garland, pray for us while they demand of the GOP-run Senate what Dan has rightly labeled “unilateral disarmament.”

The facts are plentiful, and Dan marshalled them all in a prescient analysis published by NR in early August, showing that the deathbed wishes of dying Justices are out of sync with history. Indeed, wrote Dan, “History supports Republicans filling the seat.” Here’s how the article (in typical McLaughlin style, it deployed colorful charts that would exhaust a box of Crayolas) commenced:

If a Supreme Court vacancy opens up between now and the end of the year, Republicans should fill it. Given the vital importance of the Court to rank-and-file Republican voters and grassroots activists, particularly in the five-decade-long quest to overturn Roe v. Wade, it would be political suicide for Republicans to refrain from filling a vacancy unless some law or important traditional norm was against them. There is no such law and no such norm; those are all on their side. Choosing not to fill a vacancy would be a historically unprecedented act of unilateral disarmament. It has never happened once in all of American history. There is no chance that the Democrats, in the same position, would ever reciprocate, as their own history illustrates.

For now, all this remains hypothetical. Neither Ruth Bader Ginsburg nor any of her colleagues intend to go anywhere. But with the 87-year-old Ginsburg fighting a recurrence of cancer and repeatedly in and out of hospitals, we are starting to see the Washington press corps and senators openly discussing what would happen if she dies or is unable to continue serving on the Court. Democrats are issuing threats, and some Republicans are already balking.

They shouldn’t.

More facts, per Dan:

Nineteen times between 1796 and 1968, presidents have sought to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential-election year while their party controlled the Senate. Ten of those nominations came before the election; nine of the ten were successful, the only failure being the bipartisan filibuster of the ethically challenged Abe Fortas as chief justice in 1968. Justices to enter the Court under these circumstances included such legal luminaries as Louis Brandeis and Benjamin Cardozo. George Washington made two nominations in 1796, one of them a chief justice replacing a failed nominee the prior year. It was his last year in office, and the Adams–Jefferson race to replace him was bitter and divisive. Woodrow Wilson made two nominations in 1916, one of them to replace Charles Evans Hughes, who had resigned from the Court to run for president against Wilson. Wilson was in a tight reelection campaign that was not decided until California finished counting votes a week after Election Day. Three of the presidents who got election-year nominees confirmed (Benjamin Harrison in 1892, William Howard Taft in 1912, and Herbert Hoover in 1932) were on their way to losing reelection, in Taft’s and Hoover’s cases by overwhelming margins. But they still had the Senate, so they got their nominees through.

As said, this piece in particular seems to have provided spinal support to certain Senate Republicans — and it drew nasty attacks from lefties who knew its influence. You’ll find his response to those critiques here.

(A suggestion: You’ll find NR’s repository of pieces on SCOTUS and nominations and confirmations and all other such stuff at our Law & the Courts feed.)

SCOTUS matters aside, there are POTUS matters — 45 takes on Wanna-46 this coming Tuesday at a debate in Cleveland. It’s likely the reality of what’s ahead might dwarf any antics that even the late Andy Kaufmann could conjure up. We do encourage you — assuming that you will be watching — to do so with your laptop at hand, set to The Corner, where your NR Favorites will be commenting live-time and, as they say, Live Tweeting.

See you there, yes? And now, let us to the Jolt be on-getting!

Editorials

1. Justice Ginsburg is dead. We argue there is no reason to delaying seeking a new SCOTUS member. From the editorial:

The argument from 2016 is unavailing. Our own view was that the Republicans’ point about acting in an election year was secondary to the imperative to advance constitutionalism on the Court. But the most careful articulations of the Republican position in 2016 held that when a Supreme Court vacancy arose while the White House and Senate were controlled by opposite parties and a presidential election was coming soon, the vacancy should be filled by the winner of that election. In short, the voters should be asked to break the deadlock between two branches they elected. That condition does not apply today, as Republicans have won a Senate majority in three consecutive elections. (It is tempting, because it would be useful for conservatives, to say that Democrats should be held to what many of them said in 2016: that the Senate had a constitutional obligation to proceed with any nomination the president made. But that argument never had any grounding in the Constitution.)

The notion that Republicans should calm troubled waters by standing down is a little more beguiling. But it should also be rejected. Supreme Court nominations have become incendiary events because the Court has strayed so far from its proper constitutional role. There is no need to be coy: What we have in mind most of all, just like progressive activists, is abortion. In Roe v. Wade, the Court swept away the laws of 50 states and trampled on the most fundamental of human rights, and it did it without any justification in the text, original understanding, logic, structure, or history of the Constitution. Even legal scholars who approve of the policy result have admitted as much. A Court that claims that power for itself can commit many other enormities. And the Democratic Party, very much including its current presidential nominee, maintains a litmus test that any Supreme Court nominee must pledge fealty to that anti-constitutional ruling.

2. We laud President Trump for creating the “1776 Commission.” From the editorial:

America’s proud history is worth defending, and it is worth defending through government and politics. There are fair arguments about how best to go about that task consistently with a duly conservative skepticism about the proper powers of federal and local government, but conservatives should not shy away from conserving the core of our national history, ideals, and culture — a goal that not so long ago was neither partisan nor ideological.

The current lines of battle are joined around the teaching of the New York Times 1619 Project, Howard Zinn’s 1980 screed A People’s History of the United States, and other fact-challenged efforts to supplant the story of America, its ideals, and its exceptional history with critical-race and gender theory and leftist agitprop. It is wrong to fill the heads of children with falsehoods, or to subject them to outside-the-mainstream theories until they are old enough to learn to evaluate them critically. It is right and important to commemorate what makes this nation great and special.

3. The idea that there will not be a peaceful transition of power, should the elections result in turmoil and confusion, is un-American and worth condemning. We do so. From the editorial:

President Trump is not alone in his shameful rhetoric. Since he won in 2016, large swathes of the Democratic Party have insisted that he is “illegitimate,” which he is not. Former senate majority Leader Harry Reid has argued that Russia quite literally changed the vote totals, which it did not. And Hillary Clinton, who has said publicly that she actually “won” the 2016 election, recently suggested that “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances,” which he should. None of these people, however, is the president of the United States. None issue words that carry the extraordinary weight of that office. None bear the responsibility that Trump does. We applaud the Senate for unanimously passing a resolution reaffirming its commitment to “the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution.”

It should be a source of enormous national pride that, for 223 unbroken years, American presidents have handed the reins to their successors without bloodshed or complaint. Nothing has interrupted this tradition — not war, not economic calamity, not pandemic — nothing. We are not worried that President Trump intends to bring this streak to an end. That choice, after all, is not his to make. The system is set forth in the Constitution, and it is administered not at the president’s will, but by the states and by the people. Nevertheless, all systems rely upon buy-in, and every demurral helps to chip away a little at the rock on which the country has been built.

A Baker’s Dozen Neato Torpedos Aimed at the Hulls of Leftist Pirate Ships Attacking this Great and Grand Republic

1. Ramesh Ponnuru takes on Barrett critic and Massimo Faggioli for his epically dishonest call for investigating the Judge’s religious beliefs. From the critique:

What actually caused objections — and not just from conservatives — was Feinstein’s sneering comment to Barrett that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” Feinstein’s office went on to object to Barrett for saying, e.g., that Christians should be mindful of their role in God’s plan to redeem the world. None of this was just raising questions.

Senators are well within their rights to ask any nominee, whatever their religion or lack of it, whether they have any commitments that would interfere with their obligation to apply the law. They are not justified in insinuating, with zero evidence, that someone’s (reported) membership in a religious organization creates a special obligation for that question to be asked and answered. They would, similarly, be wrong to ask an atheist nominee if he could really be trusted to protect religious liberty.

Barrett has already testified under oath to the Senate on the relevant point: “I see no conflict between having a sincerely held faith and duties as a judge. I would never impose my own personal convictions upon the law.” The key question has been asked and answered.

2. Related, from Alexandra DeSanctis, who toils in these very vineyards: She nails the partisan religion-hyperventilating over Barrett as a stand-in for the High Court’s decrepit Roe ruling sanctifying abortion on demand. From the piece:

As I wrote at the time, it seemed clear that Democrats were using Buescher’s nomination as a test run in someday preventing Barrett from being confirmed to the Supreme Court. If media coverage is any indication, now that the moment has arrived, Barrett’s opponents are prepared to make her Catholic faith the central component in their crusade against her.

This strategy not only exposes the sinister anti-Catholic bigotry of far too many public figures, but further confirms that our judicial-nomination process is now entirely about Roe and subsequent abortion decisions.

Evidently some number of progressives are motivated in part by suspicion of — or disgust for — religious faith as such, but what really troubles them is a person of faith who opposes abortion. In other words, they’re concerned not about anyone who calls themselves Catholic, but about any Catholic who actually believes what the Church teaches about abortion, the high sacrament of the progressive creed.

And so they say, “It’s all well and good to be religious, just keep it to yourself. Your private morality doesn’t belong in the public square.”

3. Rich Lowry whips out the crystal ball and finds that Court-packing is a political no-go. From the column:

For the Democrats, court-packing would be a murder-suicide. It would end the Supreme Court as we know it, and almost certainly bring a swift and decisive end to Democratic congressional majorities. There’s a reason Republicans aren’t taking the threat seriously in their calculations.

No matter how infuriated a party is, the rules of political gravity still apply. A president is at the high point of his power at the outset, steadily losing juice over time.

Would Biden spend precious capital on court-packing early in his presidency? If so, voting, green-energy and health-care legislation would take a back seat.

If, instead, all that legislation went first, court-packing would be pushed toward the back of the line, when Biden would have diminished clout for the political fight of a lifetime.

4. Michael Brendan Dougherty investigates the stamina of the Democratic nominee and how it echoes 2016. From the commentary:

 If Biden blows it, the basement-campaign strategy will look like an obvious culprit in his defeat. Usually, a party tries to avoid making the same mistakes that recent losing campaigns made. But Biden’s operation seems to be leaning into dangers that should be obvious. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was dogged by conspiracy theories about her health, ones that were dismissed by her cheerleading journalists until the very moment she seemed to collapse at a public event, and was thrown into the side of a van by her handlers. This surely hurt Clinton. Furthermore, she was criticized in the aftermath of the campaign for not campaigning enough in Wisconsin and for not putting in the work. Compared to Biden, she looks like a workaholic. Biden only visited Wisconsin after the riots in Kenosha.

What if the campaign should be, uh, campaigning more? Why isn’t it? Close Biden watchers have started tracking how many times and how early the Biden campaign calls a “full lid” on their day, signaling to the press that there will be no more public events, or questions answered. The day after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, the “full lid” was called before 9 a.m. On about a quarter of the days in September — real campaign season — the lid was on before noon.

The presidency can be a very demanding job, and one shouldn’t (and often can’t) just call the day over before noon every other day or so. Donald Trump is notorious for his long bouts of “executive time” and even revealing how many hours he watches Fox News consecutively. This level of distractedness has not served his administration well.

5. Kyle Smith lays out the Andrew Cuomo record: The staggering COVID death count has much to do with the Governor’s obsessing over petty New York politics and his hatred for Bill de Blasio. From the analysis:

Throughout January and February, far too many leaders at all levels downplayed the Wuhan virus, but by March 17, New York City’s mayor had seen enough. Schools had shut down the day before, and de Blasio said in a news conference that New Yorkers should prepare to “shelter in place” to slow the spread of the virus. The governor’s team immediately jumped in to tell de Blasio this idea sounded “crazy.” “Phones were ringing off the hook,” de Blasio’s then-press aide Freddi Goldstein told the Wall Street Journal in an exhaustive, damning tick-tock of Cuomo’s horrific decisions. Cuomo’s officers told Goldstein’s crew in City Hall that “de Blasio was scaring people. You have to walk it back. It’s not your call.”

Five crucial, lethal days went by before Cuomo decided de Blasio was not crazy. As he has done on many other occasions, such as hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour (de Blasio proposed this, Cuomo opposed it, then Cuomo enacted it and bragged about it), Cuomo furiously opposed de Blasio, then switched sides while calling himself the true author of the idea. Millions of New Yorkers went to work, packed into mass transit, and otherwise crowded together. Yet “if everybody had done exactly what they did one week earlier, more than 50% fewer people would have died by the end of April,” Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University and co-author of a study on the matter, told the Journal. Shaman pegs the number of lives that could have been saved by acting one week earlier at 17,514 in the metropolitan area or 36,000 nationwide. Cuomo’s March 25 order that nursing homes must accept those infected with coronavirus was a catastrophe on top of a catastrophe; and Cuomo has sternly resisted all efforts to launch an independent investigation into how much damage the virus did within such long-term care facilities. Cuomo’s claim that only about 20 percent of the state’s 33,000 deaths from the virus were linked to nursing homes is risible given that the percentage is far higher in other states; the true death toll in New York nursing homes is likely to be something like 11,000, maybe more. Cuomo’s continuing refusal to allow an independent look at this is simply a coverup. “I think you’d have to be blind to realize it’s not political,” Cuomo has said, as he prepares to publish a book celebrating his stewardship of the crisis. A bipartisan bill to authorize such an investigation is pending.

6. More Kyle: He takes on the arguments of knicker-twisted erstwhile conservatives who say Donald Trump should make no SCOTUS nomination. (But do remember folks hat we are told repeatedly — there is no such thing as “Never Trump”). From the piece:

The Republicans have the authority to seat Trump’s nominee. French calls this state of affairs “Machiavellian simplicity,” Will calls it the “cold logic of formal powers,” and Goldberg calls it “the doctrine of ‘do whatever you can get away with.’” I call it continuing with the way things have always been done. Twenty-nine times in American history there’s been a SCOTUS vacancy in an election year, and 29 times the president has nominated someone to fill it. Senators usually reject those nominees if the Senate and White House are controlled by different parties, as was the case in 2016, and nearly always confirm them if the two are controlled by the same party.

So why is this time different? I gather that Will finds the character of President Trump to be so reprehensible that he believes Trump should not be granted the privilege of seating another justice, even one Will would deem a superb choice if it had been made by, say, President George W. Bush. Will, French, and Goldberg are also bothered by what they see as the hypocrisy of several Republican senators on the question of whether nominees should be confirmed in the final year of a presidential administration. But hypocrisy isn’t a legal or constitutional matter; it’s a character issue, and thus a political matter. There is no anti-hypocrisy clause in the Constitution. Lawmakers are free to vote down sin one year and support it the next. (Indeed, Republican lawmakers who crack down on spending when a Democrat is president but open up the coffers when a Republican is in the Oval Office have a long history of doing just this. It would be intellectually consistent, but unwise, of them to declare that nobody should fret about overspending. But because they are hypocrites, they act wisely at least some of the time.)

If voters feel that Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell are hypocrites, they can complain about it, and work to bounce both men from the Senate this November. I suspect the public understands that, whatever nonpartisan principles anyone felt badgered into declaring in 2016, the reality is that Graham and McConnell and every other senator are partisans, and so they act accordingly. There would have been no shame in any Republican senator’s stating, in 2016, “I do not want Merrick Garland confirmed, or even allowed a vote, because I think his judicial philosophy is wrong.” Which happened to be the truth.

7. Mario Loyola checks out Donald Trump’s surprising appeal with Hispanic voters. From the article:

What has really surprised Democrats, especially given the media’s persistent portrayals of Trump as racist and anti-immigrant, is that Trump has only increased his support among Hispanics since 2016. He won 28 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2016 and is polling around 36 percent now, according to Quinnipiac, after reaching 38 in May. That’s more than any GOP presidential candidate in modern history except George W. Bush, who captured 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004. Far from alienating Hispanic Americans, Trump has actually reversed much of the drop in Hispanic support that the GOP suffered during the acrimonious and often ugly debate over comprehensive immigration reform between 2006 and 2008.

Though prominent Democrats have been sounding the alarm for months, the growing strength of Trump’s support among Hispanics has shocked many of them. But they have mostly themselves to blame. They have for too long ignored both their own failures and the strengths of Trump, creating what could prove to be their Achilles heel.

8. Scott Turner bemoans the decline of the Science and the Academy, and finds it’s all very self-inflicted. From the essay:

Once the war was won, the federal foot-in-the-academic-door was not withdrawn but jammed more firmly in place. This drew the academic sciences into an expanding and richly funded enterprise — the “Big Science ecosystem.” The federal government is now the dominant funder of academic research.

The academy’s fulminating pathology lies in a set of perverse incentives built into the funding model for Big Science. This model fatally commingles the conflicting interests of academic researchers (intellectual independence) and the institutions that employ them (managerial and financial), while leaving all political power vested in institutions. The legislation that set the federalization of science into motion tried to reconcile these competing interests. This complicated compromise, never stable, is now completely undone.

The result? After seven decades, Big Science has become a deeply entrenched cartel, drawing in to its Jovian orbit universities, government research agencies, academic publishers, politicians, and more. The cartel is organized not around soybeans, cocaine, or oil, but around maximizing the flow of federal-research dollars. By this measure, the Big Science cartel has been spectacularly successful: Since 1950, federal expenditures in academic research have doubled every seven years, to more than $80 billion currently. By the measure of protecting the core values of science and scientists, however — intellectual independence, freedom of inquiry, etc. — it has been a spectacular failure.

9. Andy McCarthy analyzes the charges in the Brianna Taylor death and finds the outcome to be just. From the piece:

Much of what we’ve been told about the case turns out not to be true — another “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” urban legend of police brutality. Most prominently, Attorney General Cameron explained that the police did not execute a “no knock” warrant before entering Ms. Taylor’s apartment. They knocked and announced themselves as police before forcing entry shortly after midnight.

How they came to be at Ms. Taylor’s home, with a search warrant based on probable cause that evidence of narcotics crimes would be found, is the part of the story the social-justice warriors would have us omit. It needs telling.

When she was killed, Breonna Taylor was 26, a hospital emergency-room technician who hoped to become a nurse. But over the years, she had gotten involved with Glover, a 30-year-old twice-convicted drug dealer. Though she was never a targeted suspect, the New York Times reports that Ms. Taylor was entangled in the frequent police investigations of Glover. Taylor remained romantically involved with him though he had spent years in prison.

In fact, after they first became a couple in 2016, Taylor agreed to rent a car for Glover and, for her trouble, ended up interviewed in a murder investigation. A man was found shot to death behind the steering wheel of that car, and drugs were found in it. Glover was connected to the decedent through an associate but was not charged in the case.

10. Arizona Governor and NR pal Doug Ducey praises efforts to return civics to our classrooms. He’s taking a bow and yep, we’re happy to provide that forum. From the piece/:

A law I signed in March (the “Civics Celebrations Day bill“) requires schools to dedicate the majority of today’s classroom instruction to civics. That means that, from our littlest kindergartners to high-school seniors, students across Arizona are spending today learning the importance of our constitutional system.

These types of intentional interventions can help turn back the tide of years of disappearing civics curriculum. As an example of how far we’ve fallen, the same NAEP report card showed that just 22 percent of eighth-grade students have teachers with a primary responsibility for teaching civics to their classes.

It’s no wonder that we’ve seen appreciation for our government and its institutions replaced by apathy and alienation.

Another way to make sure that civics gets back into the classroom is to test it. After all, what gets tested gets taught.

That’s why I was proud to make the first bill I signed the American Civics Act, legislation that requires graduating high-schoolers to pass the same test given to new citizens. Today, 34 other states have followed Arizona’s lead by passing similar legislation.

11. More Civics and American History: Stanley Kurtz lays out a take-back plan. From the piece:

The White House Conference on American History helped to introduce a new solution to the decline of history education in this country. American Achievement Testing (AAT), a new non-profit company, has formed an alliance with the historian Wilfred McClay, whose extraordinary new American history textbook, Land of Hope, is unlike any text currently available. In partnership with the National Association of Scholars (NAS), AAT recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), to design instructional materials for K–12 U.S. history courses, with Land of Hope as their core text. Theodor Rebarber, CEO of AAT, Wilfred McClay, author of Land of Hope, and Peter Wood, president of NAS, all spoke at the White House Conference on American history, as did Jordan Adams, who supervises history instruction at the system of charter schools associated with Hillsdale College, where Land of Hope is used as a text. (Other presentations less directly related to AAT’s project are well worth watching.) President Trump touted the NEH grant during his speech and asked Rebarber, McClay, and Wood to stand and be recognized. (You can see a video of the conference, with talks by Wood, McClay, Rebarber, Adams, and others here, and video of the president’s remarks here.) AAT’s U.S. history course materials — and the way they will be adopted — hold the key to the president’s new education reform plans.

AAT’s strategy for reforming American history education — and eventually other subjects — represents a sharp break with the failed approach of the national education reform movement supported for years by the conservative education establishment. Instead of attempting to impose a de facto national curriculum (think Common Core, the College Board’s AP U.S. history framework, and plans for new national civics standards), AAT hopes to return our education system to the principles of federalism, competition, and local control. Before unpacking AAT’s reform strategy and explaining why it represents a better way than the quest for de facto national standards, let’s have a look at the unique features of AAT’s approach to American history instruction, beginning with Land of Hope.

12. Daniel J. Mahoney amplifies the reasons why the spirits of religion and liberty are central to an America that fulfills the potential of its Declaration and Constitution. From the essay:

Liberals once applauded religion, at least as an instrument for justice and as a reminder that everyone, including the highly placed and powerful, remained subject to the judgment of God. Abolitionism, the Social Gospel, and the civil rights movement were peopled by ministers and people of faith who freely appealed to moral conscience informed by the Gospel. Today’s left, with a few notable exceptions, appeals to a highly moralistic conception of social justice and doctrinaire equality. Their conception is shorn of any real emphasis on human sinfulness as a universal attribute, or on humility — and with it, the concomitant need for repentance, forgiveness, and mutual accountability. Those accredited with “victimhood” are said to be without sin, thus having no need for humility and self-limitation. Victimizers, ever more arbitrarily defined, are condemned as guilty for who they are rather than what they have done.

In this worldview, aggressive secularism and moralism go hand in hand with the reckless condemnation of whole groups and peoples. “White privilege,” for example, plays the same role that “kulaks,” Jews, and class enemies played in the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century. (If the practice is not yet totalitarian, the theory most certainly is.) The deification of alleged “victims” and the demonization of the police and the majority population invites ostracism and “canceling” of many imperfect but decent people. Such acts of “woke” despotism are made possible by an arbitrary repudiation of common morality, religious humility, and the awareness of shared imperfection, all of which make repentance and forgiveness possible.

It is no accident, as the Marxists used to say, that the anarchists and proto-totalitarians among us in Antifa and Black Lives Matter (the movement, not necessarily the slogan) mock biblical religion, common morality, and the traditional family. BLM’s statement of purpose is a series of aggressive and predictable ideological clichés, rooted in a blatant repudiation of the moral and religious heritage of the West. These self-proclaimed “trained Marxists” do more than speak a wooden ideological language. Their adherents publicly assault innocents, burn Bibles, attack statues of historical figures and religious icons, and publicly display guillotines — guillotines! — while swarming the homes of prominent Americans, including liberals, whom they seek to threaten and humiliate. Politicians, corporations, and churchmen shamelessly apologize for, and even underwrite, these repulsive revolutionaries. Such self-destructive indulgence of totalitarian nihilism is evidence of just how deep our current crisis has become.

13. Jim Talent warns about ChiCom investment in U.S “greenfields.” From the Corner post:

Two years ago, I wrote about Congress’ efforts to reform the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the interagency body that vets acquisitions of sensitive U.S. assets. The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), which Congress passed in August of 2018, expanded the powers CFIUS has to review, and potentially block, investments by foreign entities that could pose as a threat to U.S. national security. Among its expanded powers, CFIUS now can review small investments, particularly in the technology, data, and infrastructure industries, that do not result in foreign control, and acquisitions of real estate near sensitive ports or military bases.

However, one important category of foreign transactions was left out of the bill — “greenfield investments,” particularly by Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Greenfield investments result in the control of newly built facilities in the U.S., and they were not addressed inf the reform bill mostly because governors and state governments embrace them. That is understandable; they typically bring the promise of creating American jobs.

However, greenfield investments by Chinese SOEs pose a unique threat, and should be met with the highest scrutiny by all levels of government. This was certainly front of mind when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the National Governor’s Association’s winter meeting this past February.

Capital Matters, Which Is So Very True

1. Casey Mulligan says the numbers do not lie as they dispel Keynesian economics. From the beginning of the piece:

July was the final month of the historically disproportionate unemployment bonus of $600 per week. The termination or reduction of benefits will undoubtably make a difference in the lives of the people who were receiving them, but old-style Keynesians insist that the rest of us will be harmed too. They’re wrong.

Referring to the bonus sunset, Paul Krugman explained in August that “I’ve been doing the math, and it’s terrifying. . . . Their spending will fall by a lot . . . [and there is] a substantial ‘multiplier’ effect, as spending cuts lead to falling incomes, leading to further spending cuts.” GDP could fall 4 to 5 percent, and perhaps as much as ten percent, which is almost $200 billion less national spending a month.

Wednesday the Census Bureau’s advance retail-sales report provided our first extensive look at consumer spending in August, which is the first month with reduced benefits (reduced roughly $50 billion for the month). Did consumer spending drop by tens of billions, starting our economy on the promised path toward recession?

2. Steven Hanke argues that it is time to say hasta luego to Argentina’s peso. From the beginning of the piece:

In addition to facing an acute COVID-19 crisis, Argentina’s deadbeat economy is collapsing, and, as usual, the inflation noose is around Argentines’ necks. Argentina’s official inflation rate for August 2020 is 40.70 percent per year. And, for once, Argentina’s official rate is fairly close to the rate that I calculate each day using high-frequency data and purchasing-power-parity theory, a methodology that has long proved its worth when compared with official statistics. Today, I measure Argentina’s annual inflation rate at 37 percent, but probably not for long — the noose is generally followed by the trapdoor.

As Milton Friedman put it in his 1987 New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics entry “Quantity Theory of Money” (QTM), “The conclusion (of the QTM) is that substantial changes in prices or nominal income are almost always the result of changes in the nominal supply of money.” The income form of the QTM states that: MV=Py, where M is the money supply, V is the velocity of money, P is the price level, and y is real GDP (national income).

Let’s use the QTM to make some bench calculations to determine what the “golden growth” rate is for the money supply. This is the rate of broad money growth that would allow the Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) to hit its inflation target. I calculate the “golden growth” rate for the past decade.

3. Eric Grover wants the Fed reined in. From the analysis:

The Fed isn’t independent or the policymaker. It is an instrument of Congress, which by statute directs it to conduct monetary policy to achieve “stable prices,” maximum employment, and moderate long-term interest rates. Stable prices mean inflation hovering around zero, not prices doubling every 35 years. If a 200-pound MMA fighter’s weight increased 2 percent every year to 244 pounds after a decade, nobody would suggest his weight was stable.

Shame on the Fed for “redefining” its role under the law. But shame on Congress for not insisting the central bank hew to statute.

If Congress wants inflation, it should pass legislation changing the Fed’s mandate to that effect, which President Trump or Biden would likely sign. But while many congressional cravens may want inflation, few want to go on record voting for it.

4. Brad Palumbo does the deep dive into the Biden Tax Plan and finds it’s going to bite any and all. From the article:

The GOP’s 2017 tax-reform bill reduced the U.S. corporate tax rate from 31 percent to 21 percent. This made our tax environment more competitive internationally, as our 31 percent levy was significantly higher than those of most other developed countries.

Biden, however, wants to mostly undo this reform and raise the corporate tax rate back to 28 percent. The Democrats’ narrative here is that they simply want businesses to “pay their fair share.” Who could oppose that?

There is just one problem: Corporations don’t actually pay the corporate tax. You do.

Yes, the government can technically send the tax bill to the corporate boardroom. But big businesses largely respond to higher taxes by increasing prices, holding back their wage bills, and reducing job creation, rather than eating the cost themselves.

Corporate-tax increases also incentivize off-shoring. It’s easy to see why: The more expensive the government makes it for multinational corporations to do business in the U.S., the more likely they are to move operations overseas — taking economic activity and jobs with them.

5. Ace reporter Jimmy Quinn investigates how the Trump TikTok ban can work. From the article:

Trump has a deal on his desk that could — if TikTok sticks to its promises — create over 20,000 jobs in the United States. It would require, though, the president’s acquiescence to Beijing, which has prohibited ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, from selling its algorithm. The Oracle bid “blessed” by the president is a bad deal from the standpoint of U.S. national security: ByteDance would retain majority control over TikTok, and although Oracle could inspect the app’s algorithm, that code would not come under U.S. ownership. It meets none of the criteria that Trump set out during the negotiations, and China hawks in the administration are lobbying him to turn it down.

Should he decide against the deal, the president has a solid way forward in Commerce Department guidelines issued last week that outline a how a ban would work.

“We have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement last Friday, announcing the guidelines that will implement Trump’s executive orders to ban TikTok and WeChat, a Chinese messaging app beholden to Beijing’s censorship and surveillance.

6. Andrew Stuttaford checks out the global wreckage from our lockdowns. From the commentary:

While brief, early lockdowns could be justified; what should have been done thereafter was devising protocols to live “with” the virus, combining more modest restrictions, focused above all on the most vulnerable, with extensive test-and-trace programs on the South Korean and German models, all the time remembering that (as Germany is now demonstrating) the latter is no panacea.

Instead the U.K. (but not just the U.K.) reinforced panic-mongering with coercion — lockdowns that were too late, too prolonged, and too draconian. Making matters even worse was the way the residents of care or nursing homes were treated, and again, not just in the U.K. Infamously, New York State sent recovering COVID-19 patients to nursing homes, with predictably disastrous consequences. For its part, Sweden was reluctant to dispatch care-home residents for hospital treatment, something that undoubtedly contributed to the higher death rate seen there (particularly when compared with its Nordic neighbors, a number that may have been further boosted — the ”dry tinder” thesis — by lower rates of flu in Sweden than elsewhere in the region in the immediately preceding years), and thus provided ammunition to those who were either genuinely opposed to Sweden’s less heavy-handed approach (which, incidentally, owed quite a bit to protections contained in the country’s constitution) or fearful that its success might represent a massive political embarrassment.

Sweden is Sweden, a society that still operates in an unusually cooperative manner. What worked in Sweden — low levels of compulsion combined with high compliance with advisory guidelines — would not work everywhere. Nevertheless, its record bears examining even if the Swedish authorities have stressed that their methods cannot be properly assessed until the end of the pandemic, an argument that implicitly rests on whether Sweden avoids a significant second wave.

Lights. Cameras. Review!

1. Kyle Smith finds some marvelous things in Nomadland. From the beginning of the review:

Throughout the entire history of the Academy Awards, the Best Picture trophy has never gone to a film primarily about the economic plight of white working-class Americans. On the Waterfront probably comes the closest, although that is more of a Mob drama about tribal loyalty.

And On the Waterfront came out 66 years ago. As the white working class turned away from the Democratic Party, Hollywood lost interest in the white working class, even as three of the last seven Best Picture winners have covered the sufferings of black Americans. So it’s surprising that perhaps the leading Oscar contender of the year so far, Nomadland, depicts the WWC with poignance and sensitivity, albeit with a left-wing spin. It walks the line between art and propaganda, which is why it’s an Oscar picture.

Nomadland, which is showing at the New York Film Festival ahead of a December theatrical release, opens with a somber title card reading, “On January 30, 2011, due to a reduced demand for Sheetrock, US Gypsum shut down its plant in Empire, Nevada, after 88 years.” So wholly abandoned was the town that the Postal Service shut down its zip code. People were dislocated as though by a Dust Bowl–sized calamity, but this nightmare is man-made. The film is a successor to John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath for the age of singletons, and like Ford’s masterpiece, it sprinkles sentimentalization into grit so deftly that it’s a marvel.

2. Kajillionaire wearies Armond White. From the beginning of the review:

“Most people want to be kajillionaires; that’s how they get you hooked,” explains Robert Dyne (Richard Jenkins) in Kajillionaire. Con artist Dyne heads a small clan of grifters that include his wife Theresa (Debra Winger) and daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood). They dress like hobos while pulling scams in modern Los Angeles that include slinking past the landlord of a cubicle-style apartment where they must perform an abstract-art chore collecting soap suds that ooze from the ceiling.

That’s right, Kajillionaire is an art thing — a movie by mercurial performance and gallery artist Miranda July. That also means that Robert Dyne’s statement is not exactly a political critique. July doesn’t satirize greed; she exhibits the same privileged relationship to capitalism as most independent “artists” who scam their way through the grant and foundation system yet disdain the mundane workaday existence of others. It’s a peculiarly class-based, bohemian ideology that Kajillionaire expresses with a perfectly oddball plot — the dreaded heist movie taken to philosophical extremes.

Elsewhere in the Conservative Solar System

1. More Mahoney: The eminent scholar takes to Public Discourse to tell the world of the greatness of Rod Dreher’s new book, Live Not by Lies. From the review:

As Rod Dreher demonstrates in his vitally important new book, Live Not by Lies, no such soul-searching or chastening of progressive illusions followed the anti-totalitarian revolutions of 1989, or the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later. Instead, democratic euphoria was combined with a continuing erosion of the pre-modern moral capital that gives modern liberty a more elevated appreciation of the meaning of life, as well as of the purposes of human freedom. In the last half century or so, a therapeutic culture has replaced the “reality principle” with the “pleasure principle,” as Freud called them. Respect for transcendent principles has also given way to a new cult of the autonomous self.

As moral self-limitation gave way to hedonism and hyper-individualism, and as civic spirit declined, democracy became more and more associated with an assault on all institutions and traditions that connected freedom to spiritual elevation and humanizing self-restraint. New and ever more militant ideological currents demanded social justice (i.e. doctrinaire egalitarianism of the most aggressive sort), cultural emancipation (e.g. same-sex marriage and gender ideology, with more and more exotic forms of “emancipation” to come), and the denial of objective truth. All of this is done in the name of the social construction of human nature and the linguistic construction of social reality. Social-justice warriors, gender theorists, and postmodern theorists of various stripes deny the very idea of a natural order of things and wish to silence or cancel all who continue to affirm its reality.

The demands of the Woke have become increasingly coercive, including the curtailment of the speech — and even employment — of those who question their reckless social and cultural agenda. Dreher speaks freely of an increasingly ascendant “soft totalitarianism.” In the present circumstances, such an appellation does not strike this reader as particularly hyperbolic. Like the totalitarians of old, the new totalitarians wish to erase historical memory and to rewrite history according to the willful ideological demands of the moment. They are cruel, vindictive, and moralistic, and thus incapable of acknowledging human frailty and fallibility. Their worldview in principle has no place for forgiveness, repentance, and civic reconciliation. Politics for them is war by other means — and perhaps not just other means.

2. At The American Conservative, Fr. Benedict Kiely lands a harsh critique of the Vatican’s footsie-playing with Red China. From the article:

Yet that is exactly what is happening at this moment as the Vatican and the Communist leaders of China prepare to renew a secret accord which was first agreed two years ago. Officially due for renewal on September 22, many reports indicate that it has already been agreed, in fact, at a September 14th meeting on, of all things, Ostpolitik, Cardinal Parolin stated that the agreement would be renewed by October. The Communist regime in China has persecuted the Church with various levels of attrition since coming to power in 1949. Like Hoxha’s regime in Albania, one of the particular concerns of the Chinese Communist government is that the Catholic Church is a “foreign power,” with foreign leadership, and hence must be brought under the control of the regime. As in other countries, the Communists created the “Patriotic Church” to control every aspect of Church life, in particular appointing bishops independent of the Vatican. A parallel “underground” Church emerged, loyal to Rome, and subject to many kinds of persecution.

The accord, signed in secret, in theory allowed for some kind of unity between the “official” Patriotic Church and the underground Church, especially focusing on the appointment of bishops with both Vatican and government approval. However, it seems to most knowledgable observers that the agreement gave most of the power to the regime and, two years later, more than half of China’s 98 Catholic dioceses are still without bishops. Meanwhile the official doctrine of the Communist party is to “sinicize” every aspect of religious life in China, not only Catholicism. Persecution of the underground Church has continued, with bishops and priests being arrested; just a few days ago, Fr. Liu Maochun, of the Catholic diocese of Mindong, was arrested by the Religious Affairs Bureau of the Communist State and disappeared for seventeen days.

According to the charity Open Doors USA, “every facet of persecution” of religion has increased in China in recent years, with the persecution of “Church life” — parish activity, religious education, social action — at what they measure as “90% persecution.” The world is only just beginning to realize the extent of the persecution of the Chinese Uighur Muslims, according to some experts reaching the level of genocide, with conservative estimates of more than 1.5 million Uighurs in “re-education camps.”

3. At Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Juliana Gerard Pilon explores the history of black radicalism’s blatant Jew Hate. From the article:

Though nothing new, the vicious antisemitism of radical Black leaders is especially painful considering the long history of joint advocacy among the Black and Jewish communities. That may explain at least in part Jewish reticence to confront the insults and calumny dished out in massive doses by their ideological brethren. There was, for example, very little outcry when, under the guise of protesting the death of George Floyd, gangs of thugs recently ran amok in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Los Angles shouting “f — ing Jews,” and targeting Jewish businesses and institutions with violence. One prominent community leader said unambiguously: “The Jewish community is in denial. The fact that synagogues got tagged and Jewish businesses were looted with [signs saying] ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Kill the Jews,’ is not a coincidence.” Some of the Jews who suffered material losses said that while they could empathize with the cause of the protestors, they could not condone the use of violence or understand why their businesses had been attacked.

Writing on the phenomenon of Jewish timidity in the face of Black antisemitism almost 30 years ago, even über-radical Rabbi Michael Lerner, who in the sixties headed the Berkeley chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), was incensed. Perhaps since most Jews are white, many of them are afflicted with the prevailing mood of “white guilt,” perceiving themselves as benefiting from privileges denied to African-Americans.

4. At The Catholic Thing, Hadley Arkes explores the ways in which government reactions to the COVID pandemic have harmed unalienable rights. From the article:

When it comes, say, to laws imposing controls on wages and prices, the reflexive response has been: the right not to suffer those restrictions of freedom was never reserved against the government in the Bill of Rights, and so the authority to impose those laws must be part of the deep powers of the government.

In one of my books, I sought to pose the problem by offering two different laws or regulations. The first one bars obscene phone calls in the middle of the night. The second orders people to stay in their homes until given permission by their government to leave. One involves “speech” and so some would try to bring it under the First Amendment. The other involves a freedom never mentioned in the Bill of Rights.

And so the question: Would we actually allow the government to bear a much lesser burden of justification when it restricts our freedom to leave the house and move about in the outside world?

Who would have thought? Thirty years since I wrote those lines, we’ve had the question actually posed in the courts, as governments in the States have imposed lockdowns in the effort to deal with the contagion of COVID. In their duration and severity, those orders have run well beyond any precedents we have known in this country. But the powers of government to deal with the emergency have been assumed to be as large as the powers needed to deal with the crisis.

5. At Spectator US, Daniel McCarthy mocks the myth that the US Supreme Court is not a thing political. From the piece:

Yet elections and the Supreme Court do matter, and if one of the persistent myths of American politics expects the arrival of the Antichrist in the Oval Office any day now, another persistent myth is that of a non-political Supreme Court.

Roe v. Wade, the refrain goes, sparked these desperate battles over SCOTUS. When pressed, those who say this — often they’re centrists of a somewhat leftward tilt, but I’ve heard it from certain conservatives, too — will reluctantly admit that, yes, other decisions had this effect, not just recent decisions on ‘social issues,’ but Brown v. Board of Education too. And before that there was Dred Scott v. Sandford.

Depoliticizing the Court and sending contentious questions back to states, where they vanish in a puff of benign localist consensus, is simply not possible. It hasn’t been since the Civil War, whose outcome required the passage of constitutional amendments to guarantee that states couldn’t continue to deny black people their rights as Americans. The amendments, however, turned the Bill of Rights upside down. What had started out as restrictions on the federal government — hence ‘Congress shall make no law . . .’ — became, thanks to the interpretations of the 16th and 17th Amendments, restraints on every level of government, with the federal judiciary deciding what those restraints would mean in legal reality.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, and rights of contract at every level of American society are tied into the Supreme Court through the incorporation doctrine. Roe or no Roe, Brown or no Brown, this always had political implications and was sooner or later bound to lead to increasing politicization of the confirmation process.

6. At Law & Liberty, Shanon Fitzgerald and Thomas Koenig are enjoying how the Department of Education has called Princeton’s “anti-racist” bluff. From the essay:

Rather than defend the real merits of the institution which he heads, President Eisgruber has chosen to drift with the prevailing winds of unfriendly, uncharitable, and unreasonable criticism. He has with his actions and words bought into — by failing to challenge — the ridiculous premise that Princeton is in any significant way contributing to or responsible for the injustices, unrest, and frustrations surrounding the issue of race that still plague our nation. In facing his woke critics, President Eisgruber chose the easy lie, and now his institution will suffer the consequences.

How will this end? First of all, we should note that when we report that Princeton doesn’t have a racism problem, we do have one caveat in mind. President Eisgruber’s public hand-wringing was obviously meant to speak to concerns, irrationally endemic within the University community, that the University in systemic fashion engages in anti-black racism and adverse discrimination against people of color. Based on our experiences living, studying, and otherwise existing within Princeton over the past four years, we expect that very little of this will be found. What the DoE might well find, however, and what they might truly be searching for, would be real discrimination on the basis of race, but of an altogether different sort. See the current federal civil rights cases regarding admissions practices at Harvard and Yale, over allegations of bias against Asian-American applicants.

This episode has broader cultural and political implications as well. President Eisgruber’s wish to avoid conflict with constituents to his left has made this yet another missed opportunity to advance productive dialogue concerning issues of race. The anti-racist rhetoric we’ve seen splashing across op-ed pages, Twitter feeds, and streetscapes this past summer has many excesses, and is desperately in need of a strong dose of reality and good-faith grappling with criticism. By engaging with his institution’s influential and vocal anti-racist bloc rather than kowtowing to them, President Eisgruber could have provided that faction — and our national discourse — with a strong dose of the medicine they so badly need. A real reckoning with truth about race would entail factual nuance and debate — not relentless dogma.

7. At The Human Life Review, Drew Letendre tries to keep up with the Cuomos, Father and Sons. From the essay:

Andrew Cuomo may be slightly less narcissistic than his brother. Admittedly, it’s a tight race. But Americans got a big dose of overweening self-regard in his nationally covered daily press conferences this spring. Cuomo’s public profile is second only to the president’s, and it positively towers over those of his fellow governors. Like his brother, Andrew is not without a temper. His prickliness, kept in check earlier on, was on full display as the weeks went by. To be fair, it could be that his composure began to buckle under the weight of the pandemic. Still, in my view, two episodes from those press conferences define the man.

The first was on March 23, when a Don Quixote-like governor took up arms against a straw man. Ventriloquizing for President Trump, who had speculated about when the country might get back to work, Cuomo erected a false opposition between saving human lives and saving the economy: “My mother is not expendable,” the governor intoned, “and your mother is not expendable and our brothers and sisters are not expendable and we’re not going to accept a premise that human life is disposable and we’re not going to put a dollar sign on human life.”

To hold these ends — economic flourishing and public health and safety — in some kind of fragile equipoise; to wager momentous bets while understanding the inevitable risks; and to try to anticipate the complex “caroms of the ball” with so much at stake, is not only the high calling of political leadership, it is unavoidable in a crisis like the pandemic. But according to the governor of New York, those who expressed concern about national economic implosion — that is, the president and his fellow Republicans — were people who had essentially lost their humanity and were going to end up killing other people, lots of other people, including Cuomo’s 88-year-old mother.

The irony — both gross and grotesque — was not lost on us. This much-publicized paean to “non-expendable” life came from the same man who signed into law an abortion liberty virtually without limit. Adding insult to injury (and death), Cuomo ordered the 1,776-foot tall Liberty Tower in lower Manhattan to be lit from tip to toe in pink, in lurid celebration of legislation securing the right to physically stab, decapitate, or otherwise dismember a living human being in utero, and then perhaps recycle her “parts” for profit. This for any reason, including motivations arising from the anticipated economic stress that the birth of a child could bring. So much for not putting dollar signs on human life. (In fact, according to a Planned Parenthood website, the value of a single human life is set somewhere between $435 and $955, contingent on the method of execution.)

8. At Quillette, Phillip W. Magness reviews the New York Times revisionists editing the 1619 Project. From the piece:

Discovery of this edit came about earlier this week when Nikole Hannah-Jones went on CNN to deny that she had ever sought to displace 1776 with a new founding date of 1619. She repeated the point in a now-deleted tweet: “The #1619Project does not argue that 1619 was our true founding. We know this nation marks its founding at 1776.” It was not the first time that Hannah-Jones had tried to alter her self-depiction of the project’s aims on account of the controversial line. She attempted a similar revision a few months ago during an online spat with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.

But this time the brazen rewriting of her own arguments proved too much. Hannah-Jones’s readers scoured her own Twitter feed and public statements over the previous year, unearthing multiple instances where she had in fact announced an intention to displace 1776 with 1619.

The foremost piece of evidence against Hannah-Jones’s spin, of course, came from the opening passage of from the Times’s own website where it originally announced its aim “to reframe the country’s history” around the year “1619 as our true founding.” When readers returned to that website to cite the line however, they discovered to their surprise that it was no longer there.

The Times quietly dropped the offending passage at some point during the intervening year, although multiple screencaps of the original exist. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine suggests the alteration came around late December 2019, when the 1619 Project was facing an onslaught of criticism over this exact point from several distinguished historians of the American founding.

Baseballery

We note the passing of some Boys of Summer. Some true greats: Lou Brock and Tom Seaver. One an unfair butt-of-jokes symbol for the end of the Yankee Dynasty: Horace Clark (a pretty darned good second baseman, by the way). Rest in peace all. And now let us wish the same for two others.

The first: Howie Judson, who passed away in August at the age of 95. The former right hander for the White Sox and Reds pitched from 1948 to 1954, compiling a miserable 17-37 record and a lifetime 4.29 ERA. But that was done, essentially, with one eye — a high school accident severely and permanently damaged his left peeper. Still, we make note of his 1949 season — it would hard for a pitcher to have a worse one. Judson’s began on a high note, the only one of the season: In his first start — against the Tigers, in Detroit, on April 23rd — he pitched 6 2/3 innings, gave up 2 runs on 5 hits, and earned a win. It was to be the only one of the season. Without much offensive support (the White Sox ended the season at 63-91), Judson’s next 14 decisions were all losses.

He pitched in the Big Leagues a few more years, his best being 1951, with a 5-6 record and 3.77 ERA. Hs last victory came in 1954 against the Pirates: His two-run single in the bottom of the 7th broke a 1-1 tie and earned him the W.

Also passing away in August was Carroll Hardy, an outfielder who played for the Indians, Red Sox, and Astros before ending his MLB career in 1967 in a short stint as a pinch-hitter with the Minnesota Twins, in the thick of one of baseball’s best-ever pennant races (he went for 8, including a two-run pinch home run off of Yankee starter Fritz Peterson.

Hardy did have one of baseball’s singular distinctions. Two in fact. In 1960, playing for the Red Sox, he replaced Ted Williams in his final game on September 28th, taking left field in the top of the 9th after the Splendid Splinter hit his 521st and last home run in the previous frame.

A week earlier, in Baltimore, the two Red Sox made baseball history when Williams fouled a ball off his foot in the First Inning and had to be taken out of the game (the Orioles would prevail, 4-3). Hardy was tagged to pinch-hit — it was the only time in his storied career that anyone ever pinch hit for Williams (Hardy hit into a double play).

Hardy also played in the NFL prior to his baseball career, and started a few games for the San Francisco 49ers in 1955, catching four touchdown passes that season from the great Y.A. Tittle, including two in one game against the Green Bay Packers. Rest in peace.

A Dios

Months backs Your Humble Correspondent asked you to pray for a man, a father and husband and son of a friend, near death from cancer. That is no exaggeration. Many did pray. His mother, ecstatic, this week wrote: His primary tumor is gone. Gone. Something that is miraculous has happened here. To those who asked He Who Binds Our Wounds for mercy on this young man, thank you. He remains in some woods, and with God’s help — and if you might say another prayer — he will emerge from them soon.

God’s Graces on All, Even Those Who Do Not Seek Them,

Jack Fowler, who was lectured that he had used thusly when thus would have sufficed, thus and even thusly is able to receive other lectures on things grammatical and fantastical if sent to jfowler@nationalreview.com.

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