NR Insider

This Harvey Ain’t No 6-Foot-3 Rabbit


Dear Weekend Jolter,

Technically, as Elwood P. Dowd would note, 6 foot 3 and one-half inches.

We have moved NR HQ, successfully — kudos to Lindsay, Jim, Aaron, Russ and all others who QB’d the undertaking. As for Your Humble Correspondent, I write this from a Menlo Park, CA hotel — my room is literally next to the rumbling, roaring, honking tracks of CalTrain, a slightly upgraded version of the famous scene from My Cousin Vinny (minus Marisa Tomei). I was in town for some terrific Jonah Goldberg talks yesterday, one with wonderful National Review Institute donor friends, and the other at a packed meeting of the muy impressive Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley. Hey, there are worse things than hanging with JG!

Every conversation this week has included a Harvey Weinstein jab, dig, or rebuke. My oddball lament is how this lout has tainted the innocence-invoking name of everybody’s favorite pookah. We’ll let the late National Review subscriber and donor Jimmy Stewart explain.

New Issue Alert

Yep, the October 30, 2017 issue of National Review is in the mail, or ready for you Digital-Edition subscribers. The title of the cover story is “100 Years of Evil . . . And Counting.” If you guessed that it is about Russian Communism, you’d be right.


1. The big political battle next month comes in Virginia, where conservative Republican Ed Gillespie is vying for Governor. NR  weighs in with an endorsement editorial.

2. Dontcha love EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and his battle against the deluge of crippling, state-aggrandizing regulations that Obama’s extremist bureaucrats cranked out? Now that that’s settled, here’s our editorial on his efforts to beat back the crazed Clean Power Plan. And here’s some of what we opined:

Scott Pruitt is performing a necessary (and sure to be mostly thankless) task in trying to drag the EPA back into the bounds established for it by law. The Clean Power Plan was a bad piece of policy, one intended to wreck a disfavored industry, and it was beyond the EPA’s statutory remit. If the Democrats want a far-ranging and disruptive new global-warming law, then let them campaign on that and try winning a few legislative elections. In the meantime, Pruitt has done the right thing by keeping the EPA working with the law we’ve got rather than the one some environmentalists wish we had.

3. We offer our editorial kudos to the Trump Administration for battling the twisted efforts of Team Obama to force nuns to pay for IUDs. We zinged:

But as with public funding of abortion, the birth-control mandate is not really about money: It is about compelling complicity. For the Left, the libertarian live-and-let-live position is never good enough: Those with moral objections must be conscripted by the state to finance abortions, subsidize birth control, participate in gay weddings under the threat of being prosecuted as civil-rights violators, etc. The Left is all Kulturkampf, all the time.

4. President Trump’s series of executive actions on Obamacare win editorial praise from NR. Here’s a taste:

The most controversial step Trump has taken is also the most defensible. Trump decided that the government would stop making “cost sharing reduction” payments to health insurers. Obamacare was written to include these payments, but it did not actually put up the money — doubtless to keep the price tag low enough to get it passed.

Congress has never appropriated the money, so the executive branch should not have sent it to insurers. A federal court has even ruled as much. Yet President Obama – and, unfortunately, President Trump — made the payments. It is right that they be ended now. The consequences, according to the Congressional Budget Office, are that premiums will increase in the individual market. Most policyholders will be shielded from that increase by increased Obamacare subsidies; some will even come out ahead. That’s bad news for taxpayers, but that liberals can present it as a catastrophe with straight faces is mostly a testament to their dramatic skills.

NRO Podcast Deluge

1. It was, as the new episode of The Editors is titled, a Corker of a Week. Listen up as Rich, Charlie, and Dan McLaughlin discuss the fight between Bob Corker and President Trump, the appalling Harvey Weinstein revelations, and Steve Bannon’s attempt to fight the “establishment.”

2. Sorry to disappoint: No more pee-in-the-corn revelations this week on the new episode of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg. Once more, Senator Ben Sasse joins JG to discuss tax reform, the state of the GOP on Capitol Hill, and kids driving at the age of 14.

3. David and Will have marked St. Tammany Day on the new Radio Free California, as the Dynamic Duo discussed the last Columbus Day in Los Angeles, the Vegas massacre, and California’s worst-in-the-nation homelessness problem. Lend an ear!

4. Enter The Great Books time machine to hear JJM and Hillsdale’s Patricia Bart discuss Beowulf.

5. Over at The Liberty Files, Charles Cooke joins David French to discuss the NRO editor’s recent role in a (passionate!) free speech debate at Kenyon College. Listen in as Charlie explains the challenge to free speech on American campuses.

6. Hello Operetta? Get me Golda Schultz! What a terrific episode of Q&A, with Jay Nordlinger interviewing the delightful uber-talented singer.

7. More Charlie: Along with Kevin, they serve up a piping hot episode of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, this time yacking about free speech, soccer, and bad old Harvey.

8. And more John Miller: The Bookmonger takes on another author, this week Anne Applebaum, who will be discussing Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine.

9. And finalamente, Dan McLaughlin joins Scott and Jeff at Political Beats to discuss the late Tom Petty. Rock, Roll, RIP.

Eight NRO Pieces That You’ll Regret Not Reading

1. Michael Brendan Dougherty has an important report and analysis of The Paris Statement. From his piece:

The political thrust of The Paris Statement is decidedly traditionalist but not nostalgic. The tone is manful and almost impatient for Europe to get on with the task of creating its future. Recovering an awareness of political agency and a spirit of national loyalty would allow Europe to take on its challenges, not just migration but also the urgent task of throwing off an “impersonal economic system dominated by gigantic international corporations.”

2. Kyle Smith goes after Harvey Weinstein’s loudmouth Tinsel Town BFFs who were mum’s-the-word about their creepy mogul pal. I’ll share a slice, but you really need to enjoy the entire thing:

Movie Clooney is very interested in exposing the pernicious actions of oil companies (Syriana), chemical companies (Michael Clayton), TV hucksters (Money Monster), McCarthyism (Good Night, and Good Luck), and the masterminds of the first Gulf War (Three Kings). Real-life Clooney plugs his ears when people in Hollywood gossip about a subject that has evidently been a hot topic of conversation since Pauly Shore was considered a movie star. Weinstein’s habits were such an open secret they were joked about on 30 Rock and the Oscar telecast.

3. On NRO, Jay Nordlinger expanded on his troubling magazine piece about Yuri Dmitriev, the renowned Russian “grave hunter” (he’s found the remains of many a Gulag victim) now being persecuted by Putin and his fellow Stalin-loving thugs.

4. Ramesh Ponnuru runs down the expected highlights of the Supreme Court’s new term.

5. Jonah Goldberg has a thing about volcanos. Here’s his latest on the always updating Yellowstone-Is-Gonna-Erupt crisis.

6. The Democrats’ warp-speed leftward shift has played a big role in creating the 2017 GOP. Berny Belvedere explains.

7. The late-night comics have virtue-signaling down to an art. Victor Davis Hanson doesn’t like what he sees. From his piece:

Yet Colbert’s incoherent crudity is mild compared with the epidemic of assassination chic in which politicians, celebrities, actors, and academics vie to kill Trump by symbolically stabbing, decapitating, hanging, shooting, and maiming his likeness. (The various ways of killing or torturing Trump have exhausted the imagination of the virtuous.) It is as if the more macabre one can be in imagining how to eviscerate Trump, the more virtuous one becomes.

By the way, VDH’s new book, The Second World Wars, is out next week.

8. State Senator and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner is a different kind of Pennsylvania Republican, writes Theodore Kupfer. Wagner visited NR earlier this year. To call him blunt would be an understatement.  Such as:

“This is one of my slogans,” Wagner says. “Align your expectations with reality. If you go from this regulatory environment,” he says, gesturing to the manila folder, which contains state regulations on waste-management companies circa 1985, “to that” – he now gestures to the binder, which contains the present-day waste-management regulations — “businesses are going to move. What did we expect?”

Sure, it’s manager-speak, but Wagner is a manager. “The Bethlehem Steel plant is close to 100 years old,” he continues. “There’s no longer a need for buggy whips: Someone invented the bicycle.” His take on what’s gone wrong with Pennsylvania’s economy shows a businesslike candor, something utterly lacking from politicians who promise magical growth based on the fantasy of renewed coal and steel production.

BONUS! Rich Lowry says Donald Trump is beating the NFL in a rout.

Eight Pieces from Other Places That Might Merit Your Attention

1. Rosaries, the prayer beads (I was given Bill Buckley’s by his son Christopher — they’re cherished to say the least) that Joe Biden wanted to weaponize and shove down Republican throats (thereby necessitating intervention of Saint Blaise) seem to strike fear in the MSM, writes Clemente Lisi for The Catholic Thing.

2. Go visit Ricochet and read the excellent commentary by the super-duper Mona Charen on Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived.

3. If you want a handy guide to nuclear weapons, well, Providence Magazine’s Joe Carter provides just what you want. Here’s item #4 (pay attention Bill Nye!):

Plutonium bombs are more difficult to design and make but use a material that is easier to acquire: plutonium-239. Weapons-grade plutonium can be created using a nuclear power plant. The natural uranium fuel used in the reactor can be burned for about three months to create fissile material usable in a nuclear bomb. But the process of creating a plutonium bomb requires sophisticated technology and expertise, and is far beyond the capabilities of most nations, much less terrorist groups. The bomb that destroyed Nagasaki was a plutonium bomb.

4. Your tax dollars at work: The College Fix’s Drew Van Voorhis reports that publicly funded San Diego State University has set aside $130,000 to find students’ DACA renewal application fees. Grrrrr!

5. “Are We All Unconscious Racists?” The great Heather Mac Donald asks and answers (a defiant no!) In City Journal.

6. This is an intriguing story by The American Spectator for two reasons. The first is it reports on this crafty effort by a pharmaceutical company to end-run American patent laws via Indian tribes. The second is author Mytheos Holt, an old NRO hand, refrains from using blue language. Proud to see the restraint MH!

7. It’s just not a Weekend Jolt without a link to something from Gatestone Institute. This week spend a little time reading Ambassador John Bolton’s call for Kurdish independence. From his piece:

Unfortunately, but entirely predictably, our State Department opposed even holding the referendum and firmly rejects Kurdish independence. This policy needs to be reversed immediately, turning U.S. obstructionism into leadership. Kurdish independence efforts did not create regional instability but instead reflect the unstable reality.

Independence could well promote greater Middle Eastern security and stability than the collapsing post-World War I order.

Recognizing that full Kurdish independence is far from easy, these issues today are no longer abstract and visionary but all too concrete. This is no time to be locked into outdated strategic thinking.

8. We’ll end with a video suggestion: If you want to know why new Council of Economic Advisors chairman Kevin Hassett is a Trump appointment that merits lots of conservative praise, watch his inaugural speech (given a few days after being sworn in) on tax policy.

Keeping Up with Appearances

Jonah will be on Face the Nation this Sunday. Plan your church attendance accordingly.

Be Fierce

My pal Gretchen Carlson got this entire enchilada cooking when she threw down the gauntlet against sexual harassment last year. She’s got a new book coming out next week, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back. You can still pre-order a copy at Gretchen’s website. And you can download a sample chapter too. The book’s jacket does a little explaining:

In this revealing and timely book, Gretchen shares her views on what women can do to empower and protect themselves in the workplace or on a college campus, what to say when someone makes suggestive remarks, how an employer’s Human Resources department may not always be your friend, and how forced arbitration clauses in work contracts often serve to protect companies rather than employees. Her groundbreaking message encourages women to stand up and speak up in every aspect of their lives.


The Bambino meets Harold Lloyd. From the comic genius’ Speedy.

A dios

Do have a good week my friends. Take no wooden nickels. Respect your elders. And stand during the National Anthem.


Jack Fowler

NR Insider

Incredibly Moving Experience


Dear Weekend Jolters,

The week past has been colored darkly by an act of evil in Las Vegas. So the author of this epistle is in no mood to make light.

Also, we are moving, and steeped in melancholy. NR and National Review Institute have been ensconced at 215 Lexington Avenue for 20 years, and for over six decades have made NYC’s Murray Hill neighborhood our home (mostly at the famed 150 East 35th Street). Yesterday, Friday, was our last day there. Starting Monday, NRHQ will be found on 19 West 44th Street. A little part of me feels we are leaving behind the memories of our friends — gone before us, we hope, marked with the sign of faith. Bill and Priscilla, Dorothy and Warren, Arthur and Alex, and dozens upon dozens more.

If you are in our new environs, do visit. To the old neighborhood, to the Murray Hill Diner, and Guy & Gallard, and Brother Jimmy’s, and the ghosts of many a vanished place (Third and Long! The Guardsman! Paone’s! OTB!) we say goodbye and, along with Bob Hope and Shirley Ross, we say, and sing, “Thanks for the Memories.”

Yes, we did have fun, and no harm done. Except to the friggin’ commies!!!


1. A grim week includes this reflection, “Blood on the Strip,” about the immediate “dispiriting” liberal response to carnage. From the editorial:

And then there was the inevitable firearms panic. Lydia Polgreen, editor of the Huffington Post, demanded to know why automatic rifles had not already been restricted. When she was informed that automatic rifles had been severely restricted for decades, she explained that she meant “semiautomatic” rifles, but did not seem to know the difference. That is about par for the course in the gun-control debate.

2. As the WJ was submitted last week, it just missed including a link to this powerful editorial on the deception of Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who pretty much turns out to be a fanatic pro-abortion advocate. From the editorial:

The bill Rauner has signed into law was advertised as a measure to ensure that abortion would remain legal in Illinois in the event the Supreme Court should strike down Roe v. Wade. But it does a great deal more than that: It secures a longtime goal of the abortion lobby by putting state taxpayers on the hook for funding abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Under this law, not only could a child be put to death an hour before it would otherwise be born — which is monstrous enough on its own — the people of the state of Illinois would be implicated in that crime by underwriting it with their tax dollars.

3. More on abortion. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. In our editorial, NR urges the Senate to do likewise. Here’s our argument in part:

Abortion is an ugly business, and it gets uglier the later in the pregnancy it occurs. We will not rehearse the horrors of late-term abortion here beyond noting that there was a compelling reason the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act was signed into law. A 20-week limit would represent the most meaningful federal restriction on abortion since Roe v. Wade — indeed, the inevitable legal challenge to the law might very well provide the Supreme Court with the opportunity to revisit that grievously ill-considered and constitutionally groundless decision. Every advance against this barbaric and needless practice is to be welcomed. We urge Republicans not to let up until this bill is law.

Eight NR Pieces You Really Ought to Read

1. Did we really not expect Jimmy Kimmel to engage in immediate political exploitation of the Las Vegas Massacre? Ben Shapiro takes him on, charging:

Here are the facts: Kimmel’s monologue was wrong in significant and important ways. He misled his audience. And his specific policy prescriptions weren’t just wrong, they were misinformed.

2. On the same matter, David French says the not-so-funnyman is “sincerely wrong”:

But when you truly examine his claims, you’ll see that he’s spreading more than a little misinformation, his “solutions” won’t solve the problem, and his fondest ideals fundamentally violate the Second Amendment.

3. More on Bruce Rauner’s deception: Mary Hallan Fiorito predicts bad times ahead for IL’s Big Kahuna, saying:

[He] took an action so shocking in its duplicity and so out of step with the views of Illinois voters that many political watchers say it has likely ended his career in electoral politics.

4. Seems like the Tories are adrift and directionless. Michael Brendan Dougherty looks through the political fog and sees. . . fog.

5. KLO is thundering from Fatima in Portugal: She sees the legacy of Hugh Hefner as little more than “misery disguised as freedom.”

6. As usual, Andy McCarthy puts things in very clear perspective: About the NFL’s angering of its fan base, he says it’s the league that’s at fault, not Donald Trump. I heartily agree.

7. And here is Andy again, making with the wisdom, this time on why Trump needs to keep his campaign promise and decertify the Iran Deal. From his piece:

Iran has never, not for a moment, been “transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing” the JCPOA. The Obama administration knew this all along — and knew it would go this way. The Trump State Department, which is chockablock with Obama holdovers and has heavily lobbied the new president to stand by the deal, has known it from Day One.

8. Back to the NFL. Amen Victor Davis Hanson! From his column:

The National Football League is a glass house that was cracking well before Donald Trump’s criticism of players who refuse to stand during the national anthem.


1. And before you could say “debut,” Episode Two of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg is ready for you. Held hostage so Jonah can have a conversation is “egghead extraordinaire” Yuval Levin, one of the nicest guys in human history. If you missed Episode One, don’t hesitate and watch it now — especially if you are into pranks involving corn ears and wee-wee. I kid you not. Ben Sasse stars. It’s a lot of fun.

2. The new episode of Radio Free California has David and Will jawing about the “problem” of free speech on college campuses; what’s behind the rising cost of going to the state’s public universities; and the possible impact of the Trump tax plan on overtaxed California.

3. The Great Books is a huge hit. Find out for yourself. This week John J. Miller discusses John Milton’s Paradise Lost with Hillsdale Professor Dwight Lindley

4. JNO & KLO! Jay Nordlinger has the wonderful Kathryn Jean Lopez on the new episode of Q&A.

5. You should listen to this week’s episode of The Editors, if only to hear Charlie Cooke’s soliloquy on the need for an armed citizenry. Really, it’s a thing of beauty. Elsewhere in the program, Rich, Reihan, Charlie, and MBD discuss the massacre in Las Vegas, the White House’s outline for tax reform, and the efforts to restore Puerto Rico.

6. A fresh Mad Dogs and Englishmen is ready for you. Charlie and Kevin discuss the Las Vegas massacre. It’s a sharp and wise conversation. Listen here.

The Francification of America

NRO published a powerful series of essays by French writer Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry on America’s “Francification.” The NRO editor’s note at the series outset explained:

France and America are countries linked at birth and have always seen in each other funhouse-mirror visions of the other, and they have used the other to try to understand themselves. Writers such as Alexis de Tocqueville in the 19th century and Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber in the 20th wanted France to be more like America; today, Gobry argues, America is turning into France, and in the wrong ways.”

Here is the seven-part series, in order:

1. The first piece in the series, “The American Le Pen and the French-style Realignment,” looks at how “A Trumpified American politics” may lead to Euro-ish “class-based parties.”

2. “Part Deux” looks at how, like in France, America’s elite, central institutions (Congress, the Ivy League) grant status and dole out resources to the favored few.

3. “Part Trois: Secularism” considers the growth of Godlessness on these shores. Writes Gobry:

America is not secularizing in the same way as France has, in a centuries-long and sometimes bloody divorce between altar and a throne turned secular; but its own path toward a watered-down religious middle, led by an aggressive and resourceful secular minority, may lead to the same outcome.

4. Could America’s loneliness epidemic have a French accent, with authoritarian political outcomes?

5. On the economic malaise endured by so many Americans, Gobry explains how this “New Normal” is France’s enduring “Old Normal.”

6. A la Paris after the war, America’s increasing centralization of power and politics in Washington is creating an “American Desert” and threatening our civic cohesion.

7. In his final essay, Gobry suggests America may have something to learn from France on family policy, and maybe even on teaching philosophy. He has a point (a damn good one):

And yet, it’s hard to think of an idea that the Founders would more ardently subscribe to than that the success of the American experiment depends on the mass of citizens understanding “the American idea” and what makes it tick. (Abraham Lincoln would also vehemently agree.) Indeed, the decline of philosophy in American life would surely be among the things that would appall the Founders most about the country in 2017. For millennia, philosophy has been understood in the West as one of the necessary fields of study for any life well lived, but the issue is all the more crucial for America, a nation built on ideas. Such a nation cannot long endure if neither its citizens nor even its elite have the literacy required to be able to truly understand those ideas.

It is impossible to understand the Constitution and America’s civil order without understanding The Federalist Papers, and it is impossible to understand that without understanding the philosophers — Locke, Montesquieu, and the rest — who inspired the work’s authors, and so on down the precious unbroken line all the way to Aristotle and Plato. (And yes, there are ways of making this material accessible and engaging to the average high-school student without dumbing it down.)

From Our Friends: A Few Suggested Readings

1. In Commentary, Tevi Troy explains how the GOP’s legislative failure might bring about single-payer health care.

2. Not only readings — here’s a welcome video from Prager University with Ashley McGuire discussing “Gender Identity: Why All The Confusion?

3. At The Federalist, Daniel Payne sends Jimmy Kimmel a letter urging him to stay out of the gun debate if he is incapable of being honest.

4. Diversity Big Bucks: Washington State University is going to spend close to $300,000 to hire a “vice president of community, equity and inclusive excellence.” The College Fix’s Daniel Payne (yes, the same one!) files that report.

Book ’Em

NR / NRI amigo David Bahnsen has penned The Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It, which will be in print in early 2018 (David French has written the foreword). What’s it all about? Cribbing from the publicist notes, let’s ask a question with questions:

What happens after all the bogeymen have been vanquished? What if opposing the incompetence of the European Union, the biases of the American media, the corruption of crony capitalism, the arrogance of political power brokers, and allegedly unfair global trade deals is not enough?

David’s answer is this:

The key to American prosperity in this new era of populism is for moral people to make responsibility matter again by renewing personal virtue and form lasting, mediating institutions that will trump the elitist bogeymen and scapegoats for generations to come.

Looks like this will be a very important tome. Check it out at the link above.

And next week, the new (brilliant!) VDH book hits the stores. For the time being, find out more about The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won at its Amazon page.

Follow, follow, follow

Without a hurt, the heart is hollow. That aside, here are some Twitter accounts that you might want to follow: Tom Fitton, Kings College president Greg Thornbury, AEI’s Toby Stock, former Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, Acton Institute, National Review Podcasts, NR summer intern Tiana Lowe, Old Ballparks, Old Baseball Photos, Scott Pruitt, Hillsdale’s Scot Bertram, the great historian Andrew Roberts, Heather Mac Donald, Craig Shirley, George Gilder, and Old Time Hardball,


We’ll let the playoffs speak for themselves and America’s Pastime these next couple of weeks. But let’s note an almost-classic performance that occurred 90 years ago today, when the Yankees’ Herb Pennock pitched a perfect game into the 8th inning against the Pittsburg Pirates in Game 3 of the 1927 World Series. The great Pie Traynor broke up the magic with a one-out single. By the time Paul “Big Poison” Waner popped out to end the game, the Yankee ace and future Hall-of-Famer had given up a measly three hits and one run. The Bronx Bombers prevailed, 8-1, and their victory the following day (earned when Tony Lazzeri scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a two-out wild pitch by the Bucs’ Johnny Miljus) would lead the Murderers’ Row squad to a four-game sweep and baseball immortality.

Let’s Break Bread

Join me in New York City on October 25 at the William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner. It’s the big annual fundraiser for NRI. I need you to reserve your ticket now. Get complete information here.

A dios

No lectures or tips this week except: Remember the dead. They may need your prayers. For you I hope for God’s blessing and graces on you and all those you hold dear.

Elvis has left the building, and the neighborhood.


NR Insider

Calling Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Sanders


Dear Weekend Jolter,

Surely The Three Stooges in part are the inspiration for the Socialist senator from Vermont. Agree or not, we’ll lead off the Weekend Jolt with a fortnightly holler about the new issue of National Review, the cover of which captures the lunacy of his health-care plan.

Yep, Bernie wants to give it to you, and not in the arm, as Chris Pope explains.

By the way, If you don’t get NR, shame on you. Right now, go here and subscribe.

NR Editorials This Week Past

1. We’re calling it: “An Opportunity for Pro-Growth and Pro-Family Tax Reform,” and you should too. From the editorial:

Republicans’ framework for tax reform is chock-full of good ideas about modernizing the taxation of business. Its provisions for the individual tax code are more of a work in progress.

2. On the flopperoo that was the repeal-and-replace health-care disaster, we opine about Republicans’ self-inflicted wounds.

Blame for this debacle should go in the first instance to the senators who refused to support the latest version of the bill. John McCain said that he would back a bill only if it had Democratic support. So much for his promise during his 2016 reelection campaign that he would “lead the fight” to repeal Obamacare. Rand Paul backed a bill that kept nearly all of Obamacare’s taxes and spending, then piously denounced a bill for keeping 90 percent of it. Susan Collins acted throughout this year’s debate as though her priority was to keep as much of Obamacare as possible, and found new excuses for rejecting bills that stood a chance of passage.

But others share the blame as well. Mitch McConnell did nothing over seven years to forge a consensus on how to replace Obamacare. Most congressional Republicans were lightly informed and lightly engaged. President Trump campaigned on a ridiculous health plan. In office, he proved incapable of describing any of the Republican bills even in outline, let alone selling them to congressmen or the country.

3. Our editorial, “Time Out,” on America’s politics-saturated gridiron tumult says in part

Of course athletes have the right to protest. Their employers also have the right to set standards of professional conduct, and football fans have the right to change the channel. The president has the right to tweet. This is not a question of rights but a question of judgment, which was, unhappily, in short supply over the weekend.

Eight NR Pieces That Are Required Reading.

1. The primo suggestion this week is the immensely sane piece by Rich Lowry: His column “No Way to Treat Old Glory.” Preach it, Brother Rich:

This is why the NFL kneelers are cutting against the American cultural grain, besides picking the wrong target on the merits. The American flag isn’t a Confederate monument — indeed the opposite. Our military fights under it. The flag drapes the caskets of the fallen and is folded in a solemn ceremony at military funerals, with practically every movement fraught with religious and patriotic meaning. It is not to be trifled with — unless you intend to insult the country for which it stands.

2. Not because he’s boss, but because he deserves it, there’s a second of Rich Lowry must-reads: “The GOP Identity Crisis.” From his piece:

The Republican party can’t pass Obamacare repeal but it can nominate Roy Moore.

This is the state of the GOP in a nutshell. It is a party locked in mortal combat between an establishment that is ineffectual and unimaginative and a populist wing that is ineffectual and inflamed. It is rare for a governing coalition to have a bitter factional fight — usually the party out of power deploys the circular firing squads — although, on the other hand, this particular coalition isn’t doing much governing.

By the hard numbers, Republicans are in robust good health. They have unified control of the federal government and the most governorships and state legislative seats since the 1920s. Conservatives control the Supreme Court. Yet, Trump’s ascendance created an identity crisis in the party that hasn’t been resolved, and the hope it could be papered over with legislative accomplishments and signing ceremonies has come a cropper.

3. As Theodore Kupfer reports in The Corner, the “scandal” about EPA administrator Scott Pruitt taking private jets is a big honkin’ nothinburger.

4. The Mounties Always Get Their. . . Tran. Deroy Murdock explains as he calls out Bradley, aka Chelsea, Manning, the treasonous transsexual traitor.

5. David French reflects on dead porn-merchant Hugh Hefner’s role in poisoning the American family.

6. What happens if you’re a climate scientist who is “lukewarm” on the commandment of global warming? Julie Kelly profiles “Matt Ridley: Climate Change’s Rational Optimist.”

7. Damn straight, Jacob Huebner: No government worker should be forced to pay union dues

8. Jay Cost reminds us that America’s Founders were radicals, and that this really torques authoritarians. He writes:

The Constitution is the greatest instrument of government ever produced by man. It has proven itself remarkably sturdy, facilitating popular government in the United States amid enormous changes through the centuries. James Madison said that the delegates’ task was “framing a system which we wish to last for ages.” In this regard, they were successful beyond their wildest dreams.

What is amazing about the Constitution is how radical it is — not only by the standards of 1787, but even by our own today. The system of government it delineates is one that is both deeply libertarian and profoundly republican.

It is easy overlook this — no doubt due to the failings of the delegates themselves. Their vision for civil society was far-sighted, but they placed too many restrictions on who gets to participate in it.


1. Announcing the Inaugural Episode (notice the capital letters, meaning this is a big thing) of The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg. Every week Man’s Best Friend’s Best Friend will offer you his wit, wisdom, and some other word that begins with “w.” It’s going up after I file WJ, but check the NRO Podcast page because it’s bound to be there.

2. Take Me Out to the Podcast! NR’s Three Wise Men of the diamond bring you a Special Baseball Edition of The Editors. Rich Lowry, Dan “Baseball Crank” McLaughlin, and Michael Brendan Dougherty talk about the season that was, the coming playoffs, and the history and glories of the game.

3. Meanwhile, on the non-baseball (read FOOTBALL) new edition of The Editors, Rich, Reihan, Charlie, and MBD discuss President Trump’s criticisms of the NFL, the death of Graham-Cassidy, and the nomination of Roy Moore for the U.S. Senate.

4. In the latest episode of Radio Free California: David and Will discuss California’s opposition to Trump’s wall, a new report on state finances, and ask what will Los Angeles officials think of next in their war on Uber and Lyft? Plus they rewind the videotape to look at Governor Reagan’s role in (gulp!) creating powerful government unions.

5. You’ll dig the new episode of Political Beats – this time Scot and Jeff discuss The Eagles with writer James Poulos, author of The Art of Being Free: How Alexis de Tocqueville Can Save Us from Ourselves.

6. John J. Miller’s The Great Books, still an infant, has become a mega hit. Episode Five is out and available: It stars John’s Hillsdale colleague, Kelly Scott Franklin, who discusses Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.

7. Over at The Bookmonger, JJM talks with author Jason Fagone, one of the 20th century’s great cryptanalysts, Elizebeth Smith Friedman. She’s the subject of his new book, The Woman Who-Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine who Outwitted America’s Enemies.

8. In the new episode of Q&A, Jay Nordlinger talks with Somali activist Leyla Hussein about female genital mutilation and much more.

9. Woof! Woof! Give a listen to the new episode of Mad Dogs and Englishmen. This week, Charlie and Kevin talk about Anthony Weiner, the nature of punishment, and the fight between the NFL and Donald Trump.

Eight Pieces from Other Places That You Should Check Out

1. FBN’s Charlie Gasparino explains how President Trump wins with the fans. Too bad NFL.

2. Over at Minding the Campus, John Leo writes about the Eight Ideas Forbidden on Campus (#6 is “Avoid coarse language in public”).

3. This is a watch, not a read: Prager University asks in its new video featuring Olga Meshoe, “Does Israel Discriminate Against Arabs?” I’ll give you one guess what the answer is.

4. That allegedly Catholic Milwaukee college — Jesuit-run Marquette University — is hosting an “LGBT Pride Prom.” And so goes the Faith of our Father. At The College Fix, George Congdon files the sad report.

5. Attacking dead white males never gets old. Another Fix report, by Michael Jones, has the latest version of this favorite leftist hobby:

Students at Reed College are protesting a required humanities class for freshmen that focuses on texts from the great thinkers of ancient Greece and Rome, saying that “forcing students to take a mandatory Western Civilization course is really harmful.”

6. Make some time for the Center for Education Reform’s new study, Charting a New Course: The Case for Freedom, Flexibility & Opportunity Through Charter Schools.

7. Lucky Bush: It always used to be his fault, but now The Donald is to blame for everything. Over at the California Policy Center, Cecelia Iglesias explains how local school officials are “using Trump to mask their own failures.”

8. Gatestone Institute’s Bruce Bawer says in Switzerland, the hills are alive with the sound of jihad.

Loving Our Flag on the Silver Screen

The current contretemps about anthems, statutes, protests, and football prompts me to humbly recommend MGM’s 1951 version of The Red Badge of Courage, John Huston’s classic based on Stephen Crane’s beloved Civil War novel. I adore this movie and urge you to watch it. If you’ve never, you’re in for a treat. Short for a feature film (just over an hour), it is simple, stark, meaningful, hokey, primal, and patriotic. Particularly dramatic is the battle scene, in which the Stars and Stripes — in the hands of the truly great Audie Murphy, no Kneel Whisperer he, who knew a thing or two about fighting and bleeding for liberty — plays an important part (there’s an especially beautiful image at 1:01, near the film’s end). If you’re SJW, be warned: The post-battle scene showing sympathy between the Union and Confederate soldiers will have you screaming racism and searching for a safe space.

October 25th in NYC

That’s the time and place of NR Institute’s fantastic Buckley Prize Dinner. I am the co-chairman. So you are coming. Or else! Get all the details here.

Follow, follow, follow

Some Twitter folks you may want to follow: Heather Higgins, David Harsanyi, Nina Rosenwald, Rob Long, Michelle Malkin, Matt Franck, Bobby Panzenbeck, Christina Sandefur, Frank Kelly, Cleta Mitchell, Naomi Riley, Ron DeSantis, Grace Marie Turner, James Freeman, Katrina Trinko.


The late Gene Michael pulled the hidden-ball trick several times in his career (I saw it once). Alas, I can’t find any video of his deceptions, but in Stick’s honor, I’ll share this clip of some classic examples of the embarrassing (if you’re the baserunner) stunt.

A dios

To my Brothers and Sisters in Abraham, marking Yom Kippur and atoning — you better not be reading this before sundown. Shana Tova! To all others, may the graces and blessings of our Creator descend upon you. Until we meet again, do not walk on the grass, give up your seat to an old person or a pregnant lady, and offer up any slights for the souls in Purgatory.

Elvis is leaving the building, and so too today does Jason Ng, after some 35 years at National Review. That’s a lifetime. A good and humble and noble man, a friend. He was so central to this place. I want to cry, and will.


Politics & Policy

No “Notlob” Jokes or Routine Allowed


Dear Weekend Jolter,

I am about to share a message from John Bolton. Now, I know there are some of you (a tiny group, thank the Creator) who, when they hear “Bolton,” think about “Notlob” and dead parrots and other accented foolery. Such folks need counseling.

Most, though, when they hear “Bolton,” think (praise the same Creator) – the smartest conservative foreign-policy guy in the U.S. Yep: That’s the very John Bolton about whom I write. OK, so: What did John say or do? Well, earlier this week he sent an email to the conservative world urging one and all to join him in New York City on October 25th to celebrate the glorious William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner. John was short and sweet:

As a conservative, I place tremendous value on the National Review mission, which has guided the movement since Bill Buckley founded the magazine in 1955. I am pleased to serve as a trustee of National Review Institute, which is hosting its fourth annual Buckley Prize Dinner this fall honoring Bruce and Suzie Kovner and Tom Wolfe, meaningful leaders of the conservative movement. All funds raised go to support NRI, and I enthusiastically encourage you to join us for this remarkable evening.

Do come. A remarkable blast it will be. And now, on with the Jolt.


Here’s the important opining this week by my colleagues:

1. It’s simply titled “Trump at the U.N.,” but it is a largely welcoming piece — with some constructive criticism — about the President’s “Rocket Man” speech. From our take:

Trump ended his address with an ode to patriotism, noting that a desire for a free nation has inspired some of history’s most admirable fights: “Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain.” In a rebuke to those who imagine a body like the U.N. eventually growing into a global government, Trump argued that the world is best served when nations “defend their interests, preserve their cultures, and ensure a peaceful world for their citizens.”

2. In “Another Chance on Health Care,” NR takes on Senator Rand Paul’s opposition to Graham-Cassidy. From the editorial:

A true replacement of Obamacare would be better than Graham-Cassidy, but Graham-Cassidy is still much better than Obamacare. It abolishes the individual and employer mandates, caps per capita spending on Medicaid, blocks federal funds from going to insurance plans that cover abortion, and lets interested states attain freedom from some of Obamacare’s regulations. Some of those states could use that freedom to create markets in which people outside of Medicare, Medicaid, and employer-based coverage would finally be enabled to buy cheap, renewable catastrophic-insurance policies.

3. And speaking of health care, yuckster Jimmy Kimmel gets comeuppanced for his “failed test.” From the editorial:

One of the problems with having the national discussion led by lightly informed celebrities such as Jimmy Kimmel is that people begin to believe their own rhetoric, in this case that Republican health-insurance reformers are motivated by sheer malice or by obscure financial considerations. (Never mind that the biggest financial players in this case, the insurance companies themselves, oppose current Republican reform efforts and largely supported the ACA.) That makes discussing the actual problems at hand, and potential solutions to them, difficult or impossible.

Conservative Candy for Your Ear’s Sweet Tooth

I wanted to write an idiotic headline, and there it is. Moving on. There’s plenty of new NRO Podcasts to listen to. List away:

1. What say The Editors, you ask? Plenty. In the new “Rocket Man” episode, Rich, Reihan, Charlie, and Michael Brendan Dougherty discuss Donald Trump’s U.N. speech, the GOP’s “Graham-Cassidy” healthcare proposal, and the outlook for Paul Manafort.

2. In his new Q&A podcast, Jay Nordlinger quizzes Douglas Murray about politics, policy, poetry, and music. By the way, you ought to get Murray’s new book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. And while we’re at it, Jay’s collection, Digging In.

3. But wait, there’s more Q&A. Jay also interviews Ben Shapiro, dubbed “The Lion of Berkeley.” Enjoy.

4. Political Beats makes a left-hand turn this week: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes discusses Beck with hosts Scot Bertram and Jeff Blehar.

5. Over at The Bookmonger, John Miller discusses the new spiritual novel, Blythe, with author John E. Kramer.

6. As usual, it’s non-stop Miller: In this week’s edition of The Great Books, John interviews Professor Peter Jennings about Xenophon’s classic, The Expedition of Cyrus.

7. It’s a bad week when there’s no new Mad Dogs and Englishmen — so this is a good week. In the new episode, Kevin and Charlie discuss pen names, secession movements, Trump’s speech at the U.N., and the Republicans’ latest and perhaps last attempt to repeal Obamacare.

8. I am sure that between the time I file this and the time you receive the Jolt that David French will have published a new episode of The Liberty Files. Check out some of the past interviews right here.  

9. To no avail, I lobbied for “California, Here I Come” to be the theme song (dig this Ray Charles version) of NR’s Radio Free California podcast. But Will and David found a much better opening (you’ll have to listen to find out). Here’s the new episode: The Golden Duo discusses the coup d’état inside the California State Assembly Republican leadership; newly released census data that show California with the nation’s highest poverty rate; and the damage of crony capitalism in California pro sports (plus they announce RFC’s first-ever Stooge of the Week!).

10. Hold on — Three Martini Lunch stumbles into the Jolt, with the mid-week episode reviewing the Wisconsin court decision upholding the controversial right to work law, plus a discussion of “hate speech” as protected speech, and about a political ad that horribly parodies Top Gun.

Nine National Review Pieces You Really Must Read

1. On Trump’s U.N. speech: Elliott Abrams liked it. A lot:

Fair judges will call this speech a real success. Trump rose to the occasion and offered a speech that had both striking rhetoric and a sound argument that the success of individual states, each looking out for its own interests, is the basic building block of a successful U.N. and international system. This was a rare speech in that chamber, which has been filled with decades of lies, hypocrisy, and globaloney. Trump paid the organization and the delegates the courtesy of telling them squarely how his administration sees the world.

2. Kyle Smith finds Hillary Clinton’s memoir, What Happened, to be “a recycling bin full of evasions, misleading statements, and flat-out whoppers.” Enjoy yet another great Smith piece, here.

3. Billy Beatdown: In this blast from the past (1967), Bill Buckley gets — incensed (rimshot!) — about Mass in the vernacular. With all the lunacy coming out of the Vatican, methinks you’ll want to read this.

4. Related: My colleague Nick Frankovich, who doesn’t write enough, IMHO, pens this beautiful and thoughtful piece about Catholic liturgy (Latin v. Local) and the arc of faith that really isn’t all about Rome. Even if you aren’t Catholic, I believe you will find his article worth your time. From it:

The Church began in Jerusalem, with the Big Bang that was Pentecost. The apostles — literally, those who are sent forth — went forth. According to tradition, Thomas made it as far east as India, but the direction in which most of the going forth happened was west. Paul wanted to evangelize in Asia Minor, but the weather kept pushing him to Europe. There the spirit of Jerusalem met the spirit of Athens, and the rest is history. In pious tradition, Peter preceded him to Rome and both were martyred there. Rome’s place in salvation history is expansive and high. But it is not infinite, and it is not supreme.

5. There will not be a quiz. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the wisdom I am imparting. When is an organic apple not an organic apple? As Julie Kelly reports, maybe when it is explicitly labeled an “organic apple.”

6. Some people look at Jimmy Kimmel and see a comedian. Must admit: I’ve never found him funny. Anyway, Jimmy Kimmel seems to hope you will see the funny man also as a public intellectual. In his new piece, Theodore Kupfer ain’t having it. A slice:

George Carlin was outraged, Dick Gregory was righteous, and Dave Chappelle is incisive. But even at their rawest, each was understood in the popular imagination to be a comedian. Does Kimmel want a career change? Or does Hollywood simply want to feel better about its propensity to wax earnest about complicated public-policy questions? Regarding anything in the era of Trump, it’s apparently time for comedians to get serious. They volunteer to do their part, not their bit — replacing good jokes with good points, laughs with nods.

7. It’s about Clapper. No, not that one, but the James Clapper one, who, Andy McCarthy explains, never refuted that the Obama Administration spied on Team Trump.

8. Feminism isn’t feminist when the woman is a conservative.  Alexandra DeSanctis thoroughly exposes the progressive double standard.

9. Time to rebuild the military. Jim Talent says the defense sequester has got to go.

BONUS: This about real love. The kind dogs have for humans. Who else to better explain this than Jonah Goldberg?

Eight Worthwhile Pieces from Other Places Not Named National Review

1. At the Library of Law and Liberty, Louisa Greve writes about the late Nobel Peace Prize Winner, China’s Liu Xiaobo, and his fight for freedom in the face of suffocating commie oppression.

2. Well, it seemed that editorial writers for the Daily Princetonian were writing too many right-of-center pieces, so the paper’s honchos canned them. The College Fix has the story, with the intrepid Jennifer Kabbany reporting.

3. We love The College Fix so we’ll give it a second bite: Greg Piper, who anchors the D.C. office, reports on Northwestern University’s jihad against film professor Laura Kipnis over her common-sense criticisms of Title IX lunacy.

4. A “nuclear renaissance” in state policy is underway. American Legislative and Exchange Council guru Sarah Hunt explains in a juicy new report.

5. Obama, spy. Over at The Hill, Sharyl Attkisson has an excellent rundown of America’s Stasi.

6. In her Wall Street Journal column, Kimberley Strassel opines that Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski needs to step up and support Graham-Cassidy.

7. Was London’s Tube bomber a “coward”? Writing for City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple looks at word usage, facts, and emotion, and thinks not.

8. Swedes are starting to react to just how badly their elites have damaged the country by allowing massive immigration of Muslim refugees. Bruce Bawer reports for Gatestone Institute.

BONUS: You already knew this, but you can never hear it enough: As Professor Benjamin Ginsberg explains in depth in Modern Age, there is an unholy alliance between college administrators and leftist activists.

Keeping Up Appearances

The All-Powerful Rich Lowry will be appearing on Meet the Press on Sunday.

Seasonal Musical Interlude

“September Song” has enough melancholy to last a year. But isn’t it a beautiful song? The answer is yes. Here are four of the many recorded versions: By Walter Huston, for whom the song was originally written, Frank Sinatra, and then of course Jimmy Durante, and last but never least, the beautiful Ella Fitzgerald.

Friends and Family

1. Are you a business owner who is into peace and prosperity? Check out The Bastiat Society.

2. Wyoming Catholic College is looking for a chaplain. Yeah, it would be good if the applicant is a priest.

3. Gary Kasparov headlines the Goldwater Institute’s annual dinner, this October 19th in Scottsdale. Get more info here.

Follow, follow, follow

Tweethearts worth following, I humbly suggest: Jennifer Kabbany, Lens of Liberty, Yankee Institute, Pacific Legal Foundation, Goldwater Institute, Alexandra DeSanctis, Rick Brookhiser, “Vinegar Bob” VerBruggen, LifeNews, John McCormack, Colin Reed, Dana Perino, Pat Sajak, Brent Bozell, James Rosen, Andrew Stiles, Andrew Stuttaford.

A Mighty Baseball Warrior

Here’s someone who wouldn’t take a knee during the National Anthem: Warren Spahn was one of the greatest players ever to put on stirrups. Over 21 seasons, the southpaw had a 363-245 record, mostly for the Braves (Boston and Milwaukee), was the definition of a workhorse (5243 innings!), pitched in three World Series, won the Cy Young award, was a 17-time All Star, and made the Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility. Like a lot of Big Leaguers, Spahn missed three prime years due to military service. But unlike most, the Army engineer served in combat, and saw plenty of it: As this excellent bio reports, Spahn “earned a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, a battlefield promotion, and a Presidential citation. That made him the most decorated ballplayer in World War II.” I recommend this very cool interview in which Spahn discusses his under-fire actions at Remagen Bridge. Interesting fact: In the final days of his career, in 1965, Spahn found himself in the same dugout as another baseball ancient, Yogi Berra, playing for the lowly Mets. Like Spahn, Yogi had also served his country in war, as a sailor, and saw action on D-Day. RIP to both.

A dios

As the vapory Royal Dane said, the glow-worm shows the matin’ to be near, so I bid you adieu, adieu, adieu. Until next week, remember me, and also remember to never be cheap, to subscribe to National Review magazine, to buy Victor Davis Hanson’s new book, The Second World Wars, to wear earphones if you are listening to idiotic music in public, to give your seat to a pregnant lady, and to just forget about dating my daughters if you have tattoos, piercings, or a man bun — it ain’t happening pal.

Thanks to Phil the Editorial Wonder Boy for making this edition of the Weekend Jolt a reality.

All the best,

Jack Fowler

P.S.: My colleague Meredith Bogacz plays a very mean fiddle. By popular demand, she has put together a terrific album, as we still call them. It’s called As She Does. Check it out. Related: My ukulele album will be released on October 32nd.

NR Insider

Macbeth, King of. . . Kong


Dear Weekend Jolters,

It’s for sure: The following may very well be a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and all that jazz. But as the subject line hints, the intention is to talk, in part, about:

1. William Shakespeare’s ambitious Scotsman, and

2. An ape.

Before the main course arrives, know this: There is a new issue of National Review magazine out. If you subscribe to the digital edition, it’s already in your inbox and accessible. Does this not apply to you? Is your inbox feeling neglected? If so, why not subscribe to NR Digital? What’s that? — you say you prefer paper and ink? We’ve got paper and ink! So, go ahead already and subscribe to the classic fortnightly NR magazine. Or, if you have those bases covered, send someone a gift subscription.

Speaking of preferences, how do you like your King Kong? Authentic or Lefty-ed up? We look out the NR windows, westward on 33rd Street, only to see the monkey-free upper floors of the Empire State Building. But if you look at the cover of that new issue of NR, you’ll see Roman Genn’s vision of the same spot, with, well, a Lefty organ-grinder pet.

Like it? I do. And there’s plenty of good stuff in the issue. Like Kyle Smith’s cover story (“The Minimal Mayor”). Let me suggest another: Andy McCarthy’s piece, “The Curious Case of the Disappearing Laptop,” on how House Democrats face a brewing IT scandal.

OK, on with the show.


We published two NRO editorials this week. The first: “No to Single-Payer.” From the piece:

That Democrats are moving in its direction is dispiriting, but predictable. Our health-care system was flawed when Obama came along, and Obamacare made it worse. People still can’t purchase cheap, renewable catastrophic coverage for themselves thanks to the law’s regulations, and there have been loud demands to fix the system.

Such a fix could be accomplished with reforms designed to cultivate a functioning marketplace, removing regulations on the types of plans companies can offer while keeping tax credits in place for Americans who need assistance. Democrats, however, prefer the alternative of direct government control. If we don’t move toward the first, we will continue to drift in the direction of the second. That would be unfortunate in the extreme.

The second: a call to oppose “The Chuck and Nancy Amnesty.” From the editorial:

Since announcing the end of DACA, Trump has signaled that merely writing its provisions in legislation would constitute a triumph. But the point of rescinding DACA was not just to enshrine it into law via constitutional means (which is certainly better than the alternative). The point was also to extract concessions from Democrats that would create a better immigration system and cushion the effect of the amnesty. Almost from the beginning, Trump has undermined his own leverage and made this less likely.


1. Lots happening. Let’s start with a new weekly undertaking, The Great Books. John J. Miller is host. The first episode is out, and, if I may say, is terrific: John and Hillsdale prof Adam Carrington discuss Macbeth, the aforementioned ambitious Scotsman and royal wannabe. It is a thoroughly enjoyable discussion and a harbinger of what will be an eagerly anticipated weekly program.

2. Except we didn’t have to wait that week. Episode Two of The Great Books podcast has just been put up on NRO — in this edition, John discusses Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with Hillsdale College professor Lorraine Murphy.

3. Jay Nordlinger treats listeners to two in-depth interviews on his popular Q&A podcast: One is with Kevin Williamson, taped aboard the recent NR Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2, and the other with George Will.

(I have to add, on the latter, whatever esteem I had for Will has vanished since he began to trash talk Whittaker Chambers.)

4. Not abandoning new books: John J. Miller lights up the interwebs with yet another edition of The Bookmonger, this time interviewing Robert Service about his tome, The Last of the Tsars: Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution.

5. David French hosts a new episode of The Liberty Files, pressing Robert Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, to answer the question, “What’s so controversial abut due process?”

6. Charlie gets his wisdom teeth yanked (what will that do to his Wisdom?) and tells all, then discusses Bernie Sanders’s single-payer fantasy and the DREAM Act with Kevin. It all makes for a thoroughly entertaining new episode of Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

7. From behind the Sierra Curtain, Will Swaim and David Bahnsen broadcast the third episode of National Review’s Radio Free California podcast, this week discussing Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA, SCOTUS’s likely position on Janus v. AFSCME, and the USC Trojans’ decision to use a blind football player. These dudes have a great chemistry. Do listen.

8. And then, of course, there is the new edition of The Editors: This week, Charlie, Dan McLaughlin, and Theodore Kupfer discuss Donald Trump’s apparent newfound bipartisanship, Bernie Sanders’s single-payer “bill,” and Hillary Clinton’s new book.

9. Never forget: Every weekday, the Amazing Jim Geraghty and the Audacious Greg Corombos tickle your brain and liver with Three Martini Lunch.

Eight Worthwhile NRO Articles You Should Read and Share

1. Smokes of unholiness, Kyle Smith hates Mother, the new Jennifer Lawrence horror flick. From his review:

Deliberately grotesque and nauseating, and seemingly engineered to outrage Christians, especially Catholics, Mother represents a stain on the reputation of Paramount Pictures, which once produced Going My Way. It may be the most vile and contemptible motion picture ever released by one of the major Hollywood studios.

2. Their glory is in their shame: Planned Parenthood takes the “American Nobel.” Alexandra deSanctis reports.

3. The title of Rich Lowry’s column says it all: “The Schumer Option Is a Dead End.” Here is some of our Esteemed Editor’s wisdom:

A Schumer alliance is, nonetheless, a siren-song. The debt deal wasn’t really a deal. It was a case where Trump could see some advantages — securing Hurricane Harvey funding, gaining some breathing space for tax reform — by simply giving in to Schumer and Pelosi. How often is that going to happen?

Maybe there could be a deal over a codification of DACA, with Trump again largely deferring to Schumer and Pelosi, or some creative infrastructure package. But there are limits to what Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who have considerable legislative power, would be willing to bring to the floor; they aren’t going to shift to the left just because President Trump does.

4. Editorial Wonder Boy (aka Phil DeVoe) went to the Hillary Clinton book signing for What Happened (not to be confused with Fred Willard’s Wha’ Happened?!). Phil waited nine hours. He has a tale to tell.

5. Julie Kelly says “Let’s Call It Climate McCarthyism.” Irma and Harvey have stoked Category 5 Leftism. Our intrepid expert on the Denier Deniers explains.

6. Read My Lips: No New Amnesty. Jim Geraghty has an excellent wrap-up of Trump’s DACA pivot, if by pivot we could also mean flip-flop.

7. Victor Davis Hanson poses a brilliant question: “What If South Korea Acted Like North Korea.” It is answered with equal brilliance.

8. Kevin Daley explains how a nasty left-wing group (Alliance for Justice) worked with Democrat senators to hijack Amy Barrett’s judicial-confirmation hearing.

BONUS: Tommy Schulz explains why millenials support school choice.

Eight Worthwhile Articles from Other Places

1. Here’s a very interesting Hoover Institution piece by my pal Bing West: “Responding to Hurricanes while Assuming No More Wars” sees a disaster ahead. (Check out the Colonel’s NR article archive.)

2. Over at Reason, associate editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown has a terrific analysis of the injection of “neurobiology of science” into the Left’s Title IX campus-rape – can I call it a crusade? She compares the lobbying for this evidence-thin claim with the 80’s trauma myths. I’d read the entire shebang if I were you, but here’s the end:

We are constructing a new trauma myth.

To challenge it is to be accused of victim-blaming, of putting the onus “on women not to get raped instead of on men not to rape,” of being a “rape apologist.”

To not challenge it is to deprive a lot of young people of skills necessary to avoid being assaulted.

Freezing up should be understood as something that’s understandable in the face of an unwanted sexual advance. It should not be our presumed default. Yet we’re teaching a generation of people new to sex that if they feel any hesitation about someone’s advances, it’s perfectly natural to say nothing and, because it’s the other person’s job to ask for affirmative consent, later report them for rape. Who is this helping?

3. “Christianity Is for Cucks.” What a title. And a good bit of writing by Matthew Schmitz for First Things.

4. No reading here, just watching: John Yoo has a new book out, (coauthored with Jeremy Rabkin): Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War. This week he discussed the book and the unchartered waters of modern warfare at an American Enterprise Institute panel. Watch the panel video here.

5. I’ll give you a College Fix two-fer: The first story, reported by Nathan Rubbelke, fingers a Cleveland State University official, one Shehadeh Abdelkarim (who has been president of the Islamic Center of Cleveland) for ordering the eradication of a conservative group’s 9/11 chalk memorial on campus grounds (of course, there has been zero local MSM coverage).

The second story, reported by Andrew Johnson, looks at more college-administrative crackpottery on freedom of speech. Here is a slice of Johnson’s story:

Most recently, the dean’s office of Utah Valley University, a public institution located in the north-central part of Utah, distributed a guidance letter to all faculty encouraging them to report to the school’s Behavior Assessment Team any students who use “inappropriate language,” are “argumentative,” or who speak “loudly.”

The letter, titled “Recognizing and Responding to Students of Concern,” was provided to The College Fix by a professor at Utah Valley. The document instructs faculty on the various types of behaviors that merit concern, including stalking, angry outbursts and bullying, as well as the signs that a student may harm himself or others.

6. Over at Acton Institute, Michael Maibach explains why the euro is “an economic and moral crisis.”

7. More on NYC’s lousy mayor: In the Summer issue of City Journal, Nicole Gelinas tries to wrap her arms around “Bill de Blasio’s Budget Blowout.” Nobody’s got arms that big.

8. Curious minds want to know, and Ruthie Blum asks the question many want answered: “What Happened to the ADL?” Another great piece from Gatestone Institute.

Look, It’s This Simple:

You are going to purchase a copy of Neal B. Freeman’s wonderful new collection, Skirmishes. It’s a big and wise and entertaining best-of collection, and a de facto history of the modern conservative movement since 1964. You can get your handsome hardcover copy for a measly $25, post-paid, conveniently at the NRO Store.


National Review Institute’s Fourth Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner take place in NYC at Gotham Hall on October 25th. Tom Wolfe and Bruce and Suzie Kovner get the prizes. You get to enjoy a spectacular evening. Get complete information here.

Follow, follow, follow

Twitter folks and institutions of interest to moi and maybe even toi: American Enterprise Institute, Rob Bluey, Hans von Spakovsky, Ben Sasse the senator, Ben Sasse the dude, Human Life Review, Greg Gutfeld, Brent Bozell, Mona Charen, Patricia Heaton, Heather Wilhelm, Peter Roskam, Crown Publishing, Rita Cosby, Campbell Wharton, Ashbrook Center, Wyoming Catholic College, John O’Sullivan, Ed Whelan, Richard C. Young.

Keeping Up with Appearances

This Sunday, Ramesh Ponnuru will appear on Face the Nation. Plan your church attendance accordingly.


1. The Ashbrook Center at good ol’ Ashland University in Ashland, OH, will host the second Peter W. Schramm Memorial Lecture on Friday, November 3, at 7:30 p.m. The speaker is Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade, author of the forthcoming book Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle that Shaped America’s Destiny. Peter was a great guy (an NR cruise speaker!). For more information, click here.

2. The night after the NRI Buckley Prize shindig, The Human Life Foundation holds its Great Defender of Life dinner at the Union League Club in NYC. Carly Fiorina will be honored, and Larry Kudlow will do the introductions. I’ll be there — join me in a pre-dinner cocktail.

3. This email is being overrun by John Millers. One of them is John R. Miller, the author of the new novel about George Washington, titled The Man Who Could Be King. Looks groovy (we thank JRM for advertising on this edition of Weekend Jolt). Go to Amazon and check it out.


You can’t help but have a soft spot for the 1944 St. Louis Browns, whose sole trip to the World Series took place that year. They lost 4-2 to the Cardinals. Since both teams played at Sportsman’s Park, it wasn’t exactly a subway series (also: St. Louis has no subway). Anyway, what is worth recalling is the tremendous fight the Browns put up in a tense battle to win the American League pennant. On August 17, the Browns were in first place by 7 games. On September 2, they were still in first place, barely, separated by one game from the Yankees, Tigers, and Red Sox. From there it was a two-week see-saw pennant race: The Browns won 11 of their final 12 games, taking the pennant on the last day of the season, as they beat the Yankees (sweeping a four-game series) while the Tigers lost to the Senators. Back to the Series: Enjoy this geriatric, sound-is-screwy video. And finally: Not a single member of that Brown’s pennant team ever made it to the Hall of Fame. I wonder if any other team that made it to the World Series pre-1960 can make that sorry claim. I’ll have to look it up.

A Dios

As Elvis heads for the exit, visions of a peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich dancing in my head, let me toss some unsolicited advice your way: Don’t blow your leaves into the neighbor’s yard, make sure there’s a spare roll of you-know-what in the you-know-where, put a coin in the poor box — and light a candle too — and when you say “You are in my prayers,” well, say some for real. And remember: It’s called a passing lane — so get out of it. Oh yeah: Never curse in front of your mother.

God’s blessings and graces on you and all those you hold dear.


Jack Fowler

P.S.: All that Macbeth chatter above reminds me that Rich Lowry and Keith Korman wrote that wonderful thriller, Banquo’s Ghosts, which needs to be on your bookshelf.

P.P.S.: There’s a staff job (office assistant) available at NR. For details click here.

NR Insider

Will He Go Wooly Over DACHA Ban?


Dear Weekend Jolter,

OK, I have just been informed by Phil the Editorial Boy Wonder that the Trump action was on DACA, not dachas. Sorry. I was a bit woolly when I started writing this, minus any coffee, and jet-lagged — okay, ocean-liner lagged — from the just-concluded National Review Atlantic sailing.

That said, if you want the one-stop, smart skinny on what the president has done – and hasn’t done – on the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, and what it all means, then you really need to read this Andy McCarthy piece (maybe put on Dionne Warwick singing Promises, Promises to set the proper political mood).

As for dachas, they can’t be all that bad, since Stalin died in one.

NR Pronunciamento

There were two formal NRO editorial this week. The first: “A DACA Deal Should Include Real Enforcement.” Here’s the kickoff:

The Trump administration announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, on a delayed, rolling basis. The decision is the right one. DACA is an extralegal amnesty at odds with our constitutional system. It has to go. But the delayed fuse gives Congress an opportunity to pass legislation dealing with this sub-set of the illegal population.

The second: Praising Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for bringing due process to the current lawlessness that prevails with Title IX and higher education. Read the editorial here.

NRO Podcast Update

1. In this week’s edition of The Editors, Rich, Michael Brendan Dougherty, Dan McLaughlin, and Theodore Kupfer talk about DACA, Congress’s fall agenda, and the rattlings of the DPRK.

2. OK, when there’s an episode on The Benny Goodman Orchestra or the Sons of the Pioneers, I expect to get a shot to star on NR’s groovy new music podcast, Political Beats. In the meanwhile, enjoy this week’s episode, where Tim Miller, former Jeb! Bush 2016 presidential campaign communications director and co-founder of America Rising, talks with hosts Scot and Jeff about Arcade Fire (yeah, me neither).

3. Over at The Bookmonger, Big Bad John J. Miller discusses The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896 with author Richard White.

4. What’s better than one episode of The Bookmonger? Yep: two episodes! John talks with Kyle Mills — who continues the story of American assassin Mitch Rapp, the hero invented by the late Vince Flynn — about his new novel, Enemy of the State.

5. I missed this on our last (cruise-truncated!) Jolt, but do listen to Jay Nordlinger getting all Q&A with our old colleague, Bob Costa. It’s a terrific conversation.

6. And more Jay. Hot off the microphones is his new Q&A episode, headlining former U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey.

Speaking of Woolly, or, Wooly. . .

Yours Truly is hoping Jolt readers who own a Wooly Willy might try giving him a Kim Jong Un hairdo — for my sheer pleasure, and for possible republishing in the next Jolt. Take a picture and send to me at (By the way, Bald Scott, before you give me grief, this isn’t about you.)

Seven NR Pieces I Suggest for Your Gander-Taking

1. Diane Feinstein and Dick Durbin and others are hanging up the “Catholics Need Not Apply” sign in the confirmation hearings of judicial nominees and a number of other places. David Harsanyi writes that “Democrats Are Increasingly Comfortable with Religious Tests.” (Related: this Wall Street Journal op-ed kicks them in the heinie, and Ramesh Ponnuru does the same to the ‘Dogma’ brigade in his new Bloomberg View column.)

2. Despite being a Red Sox fan, Shannen Coffin can sometimes get things right, like this analysis commending President Trump’s decision to nominate ace conservative legal mind Greg Katsas to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Carrie Severino doubles down on the Katsas kudos over at Bench Memos.

3. Take my wife, please! Kyle Smith provides another beaut on Andrew Cuomo, his white whale, and your wallet-emptier. From his piece:

To mark the end of summer, New York’s governor is barbecuing $10 million in public funding as the state’s contribution toward construction of a comedy museum in Jamestown, N.Y. Jamestown? It’s a place of “empty storefronts and underused buildings,” according to the New York Times. It’s three hours west of Ithaca. Three hours north of Pittsburgh. Six and a half hours northwest of Manhattan. Home to some 31,000 souls, it doesn’t exactly scream “arts capital.” There’s a reason the most popular museums tend to be concentrated in cities rather than scattered randomly in rural areas, hamlets, and deserted islands: One museum, especially one small museum, isn’t usually enough to make tourists to go much out of their way. Especially a museum that proposes to offer stuff few want to see in the first place.

4. Brendan O’Neill takes on the Left’s latest dictat, this one being that whites cannot direct movies about blacks.

5. Brooke Stanton exposes the Left’s latest gyrations on the meaning of life in her very interesting piece, “Sofia Vergara and the Fraudulent Science of ‘Pre-embryos’” — give it a look.

6. If you need to raise your heartrate, read Margot Cleveland’s piece “The Transgender Agenda Hits Kindergarten.” Stop the curriculum, I want to get off!

7. You go Betsy! Frederick Hess and Grant Addison explain how “DeVos Moves to Rein in the Campus Kangaroo Courts.” A slice:

But DeVos also proceeded to do something that her Obama-era counterparts never did, which is to carefully affirm that we do not protect or support victims by railroading the accused through sham processes. As DeVos put it, “One person denied due process is too many. . . . Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined. . . . Due process either protects everyone, or it protects no one. The notion that a school must diminish due-process rights to better serve the ‘victim’ only creates more victims.”

Bonus Suggestion: Craig Shirley provides a juicy excerpt from his new biography, Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative.

Seven Worthwhile Pieces from Our Friends

1. The headline of this College Fix piece should get your blood boiling: “Prof hands out white privilege checklist, then warns students who stereotype will be punished.”

2. Over at The Federalist, Daniel Payne slaps abortion advocates who thrill defending eliminating babies with disabilities.

3. Rabbi Dov Fischer has a very interesting piece in The American Spectator titled “The Pain of the Contemporary American Orthodox Jew.” The ending is more about promise than torment. Here, read this:

The American Jewish vote slowly is changing, following the same strangely lethargic path trekked by Southern Democrats who needed only 120 years, or so, to figure the thing out. In the past forty years, since Menachem Begin first was elected Israel’s Prime Minister in 1977, we have seen the population of the Jewish State abandon their prior half-century infatuation with the now-dying Labor Party and move sharply to the Center-Right. In the United Kingdom, likewise, Jewish voters have completely adopted political conservatism, evolving overwhelmingly to align with the right, now completely dumping the left and identifying tightly as the strongest among voting blocs supporting British conservative candidates and their Conservative Party. Slowly emulating these models, led by the emerging Orthodox Jewish majority in the United States, the American Jewish voter now is in the beginning phase of a historic evolution that will continue to take some time, but that is moving American Jewry toward the Republican Party.

4. Whole life versus pro-life — is there really a big difference? The Human Life Review has published a very solid symposium (except for the Fowler contribution) on the debate. NR’s K-Lo, Kevin Williamson, and Nick Frankovich share their two cents.

5. Wonderful news: Plans are underway for the repatriation of some 3,000 Christian refugee families in Iraq. Brad Miner reports and explains over at The Catholic Thing.

6. I have an un-funny feeling this might ignite a populist powder-keg in Central Europe: My pal Soeren Kern reports in depth for Gatestone Institute about how European Union judicial hacks have ruled that all nations must take in migrants and refugees. Is sovereignty really a thing over there?

7. Father George William Rutler, friend and once a confessor, hence his lack of much hair (you know, if you put a collar on Willy. . .), reviews (praises!) for The New Criterion Al Felzenberg’s smashing biography of our founder, A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley Jr. You can get your copy (for yourself, or as a gift) at your bookstore or Amazon, the link for which I just provided.

This book means the world to the Buckley Legacy Project (which is, if I may mention it, a major undertaking of the National Review Institute). So order it. And read it. And here is my usual threat: If you don’t buy a copy I am going to cry, and man oh man that is very not pretty.

Scene from the National Review Atlantic Voyage

On the last night aboard the Queen Mary 2, Deck Eight, aft, poolside. Mama mia it was fun.

Friends and Family

1. I hear we are going to bend an elbow together in NYC on October 25th. Yeah, it’s true. How? Why? Because you are going to come to National Review Institute’s Fourth Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner.

2. “Freedom is not a partisan issue . . . but it does need advocates.” That’s the essence of American Freedom Network, the new and important project of Arizona’s Goldwater Institute. Its objective: To create a massive cabal of pro-bono conservative lawyers. Maybe you’re a lawyer who wants to do something on behalf of liberty, like protecting rights? Catch this little video, and consider attending AFN’s “Pro Bono Attorney Training” conference in Philadelphia, on October 4th and 5th.

3. Well, there’s nothing quite like a pissy liberal review to make me want to buy a book. Which I have. Which you should too: Just click on the link to order Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. As for some wise takes on his book, check out Michael Brendan Dougherty’s and David Pryce-Jones’s.

4. The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, by this Hanson fellow, is a must. It comes out in October, but you should really order a copy pre-publication.

Follow, follow, follow

Try to remember (a fantastic idea!) to follow these folks and institutions on Twitter. Randomly selected, in no order of preference, and more to follow in next week’s Jolt: The College Fix, Gatestone Institute, National Review Podcasts, Reihan Salam, Daniel Hannan, Julie Kelly, The Amazon Post, Charles C.W. Cooke, Old Baseball Photos, Ballotpedia, and Lars Larson.

Baseball ‘Used-to-Be’s

The start of something big, no? Nope. Game 1 for the short-lived Seattle Pilots took place on April 8, 1969, in Anaheim against the Angels. The soon-to-be Brewers won, 4-3. The first Pilot to bat, Tommy Harper, singled. Mike Hegan followed with a homer (in fact, the first four Pilots reached base). Here’s the boxscore. The season ended with a miserable record (64-98). That same day, back East in Flushing, the Montreal Expos played — and also won — their franchise’s first-ever game, beating the New York Metropolitans. Here’s another boxscore for you. From there it was all downhill — the Expos ended the year 52-110. Montreal was kinder to the Expos than Seattle was to the Pilots: The Expos lasted in Canada for 35 years before heading to Washington.

A dios

Go with God my friends. Unless you found your name in the exception clause at the bottom of the tablets, try to make the Sabbath a day of rest. And while I’m lecturing you, remember to add a little sour cream when you mash the potatoes, put the dirty plates in the dishwasher, say “please” and “thank you,” and please don’t text message while you are ambling up Lexington Avenue (it’s a sidewalk pal!). May you accept and enjoy all the graces and blessings that the Ancient of Days wants for you.

See you next week. Elvis has left the building.


P.S.: About the Sons of the Pioneers: Get up on that pony and head out to The Everlasting Hills of Oklahoma to hear Roy and the boys croon and yodel (but mind yourself to stay away from cigareets, whuskey, and wild wild women).


It Came from Beneath the Banana


Dear Weekend Jolters,

I may be whistling The Good Ship Lollipop, but I am really somewhere in or on the Atlantic, aboard the Queen Mary 2 on the 2017 National Review Cruise, where your faithful correspondent is crushed from the work (nice if you can get it) that comes from luxury cruising. Weep for me. Anyway, here is a truncated edition of this weekend’s Jolt.

NRO Editorials

This past week there were two formal positions taken.

1. We called on President Trump to put an end to Obama’s immigration disaster, DACA.

2. On the Arpaio matter: we formally called the President’s action a “bad pardon.”

NR Podcasts

The new episode of The Editors is up and awaiting your ear drums. Rich, Michael Brendan Dougherty, Dan McLaughlin, and Theodore Kupfer talk about Hurricane Harvey, the pardon of Joe Arpaio, and the prospects for tax reform.

Over at Radio Free California, Will Swaim and David Bahnsen discuss Elon Musk’s latest technology gambit, Hyperloop, and why the Silicon Valley entrepreneur can’t seem to get it off the ground — or under the ground — in his home state. Also: How the powerful California Teachers Association spent its summer vacation, and David’s surprising take on the 2018 California governor’s race.

Over at Political Beats, episode two of our groovy new podcast features hosts Scot Bertram and Jeff Blehar talking about the Dave Matthews Band with our old colleague Robert Costa.

John J. Miller is at it again, discussing with author Paula Fredriksen her new book, Paul: The Pagan’s Apostle.

Three NRO Pieces I Recommend

1. I kid you not: College students are frightened by a banana peel. Kat Timpf reports.

2. More on Arpaio: Andy McCarthy writes that the pardon was unmerited, unnecessary, and impulsive.

3. HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price (I love him!) writes that the Administration believes in the dignity of work.

Gotta Run

Sorry NR friends — when I get back next week I will give you and your events and books and whatever some deserving love and attention. Right now I have been ordered up to the Crow’s Nest: I’m on Iceberg Watch. So before I say adios, remember to not throw any debris over the side of the ship, fly the flag, say your prayers, squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom, and maybe visit the grave of a loved one and say a prayer.

God’s blessings on you and yours,

Jack Fowler

Politics & Policy

The Nino, The Pinta, and the Santa Maria


Dear Weekend Jolters,

I know what the late great Nino Scalia would do when he got his got his Italian up.

More on him below. As for me: Yeah, my Italian up is way up. Don’t let the Fowler fool you — momma was a Marconi, her momma a Pagano, her momma a Contini. These veins pump sauce (not gravy). Anyway, let’s break form and right up front plug Kyle Smith’s brilliant The Left Opens Fire on Columbus Statues, because this knock-em-down nonsense, which I find offensive across the board, fries my capicola and frosts my fagioli when it comes to Mr. 1492.

(Would you be surprised if an FBI wire-tap at the Ravenna Social Club picked up a conversation with Vinny Boobatz and Johnny Bacciagalupe threatening to break the f***ing limbs of sommadem punks who wanna f*** wid da Columbus statue?)

Malocchio to you Antifa and de Blasio hell-benters. And now that that’s done, let’s return to our regularly scheduled newsletter.


There was a single pronouncement this week on NRO: Trump’s Afghan Escalation had this to say in response to the President’s speech:

He had a choice. On one hand, he could follow his instinct to pull out of Afghanistan, act on his many bumptious calls to abandon the war, and please his most fervent supporters. On the other, he could acknowledge the disaster that would result in Afghanistan and potentially the region if he followed this course and instead work toward a more responsible policy. He, rightly, picked the latter option and spoke to the nation about his new strategy last night.

Ear Ye: NRO Podcasts

This week on The Editors, Charlie, Reihan, and Michael talk about adios Bannon, the President’s Afghan speech, and censorship.

Ominous: In the first post-Charlottesville edition of The Liberty Files, David French breaks down the cultural and corporate threat to free speech. Folks, you have to listen.

The Richard Spencers I know (and I do) make it a point to say “I am not that Richard Spencer.” Well, Kevin Williamson, co-host, with Charlie Cooke, of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, interviewed (for the new issue of National Review) that Richard Spencer, who is the main topic on this week’s new episode.

Our new Radio Free California podcast broke ground this week, with Will Swaim and David Bahnsen talking about the negative impact of the Golden State’s taxing the rich, and plenty more. A new episode is going up this weekend (my kingdom for a link!).

Also new: Hillsdale College’s Scot Bertram and attorney Jeff Blehar launched the groovy podcast (in which they ask political types to talk about their musical passions) called Political Beats. In episode one, they discuss Van Halen with Sean Trende from Real Clear Politics.

Speaking of Singing

Just because I want to and can: Here is Peggy Lee is an exquisite rendition of Where or When.

Six NRO Pieces You Should Kindly Read

1. Well she took a little sabbatical and we’re glad it’s over, because NRO is always a better place when Heather Wilhelm adds her weekly smarts to it. Her comeback piece is Government Shutdowns: A (Sort of) Love Letter.

2. Jay Nordlinger was off in Salzburg doing his annual music festivaling: He always returns with exceptional Impromtus offerings. Enjoy his Salzburg Journal, Part I and Part II.

3. This is the kind of confusion-inspiring lunacy that would have Ralph Kramden doing a homina homina homina: Our Elliot Kaufman reports on legislative efforts in California to criminalize “misgendering” people. Here’s a slice:

The “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights” has already been passed by California’s state senate and unanimously recommended by its state assembly’s judiciary committee. It would impose left-wing dogma by force of law if it gets much further.

4. Here’s a two-fer of pieces by Victor Davis Hanson: The first is his brilliant weekly NRO column, Our War against Memory. The second, related, is his syndicated column, The Double Standard in the Progressive War against the Dead. Here’s a selection from the former:

In our race to rectify the past in the present, could Ken Burns in 2017 still make his stellar Civil War documentary, with a folksy and drawly Shelby Foote animating the tragedies of the Confederacy’s gifted soldiers sacrificing their all for a bad cause? Should progressives ask Burns to reissue an updated Civil War version in which Foote and southern “contextualizers” are left on the cutting room floor?

How about progressive icon Joan Baez? Should the Sixties folksinger seek forgiveness from us for reviving her career in the early 1970s with the big money-making hit “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” — her version of The Band’s sympathetic ode to the tragedy of a defeated Confederacy, written over a century after the Civil War. (“Back with my wife in Tennessee / When one day she called to me / Said, “Virgil, quick, come see / There goes the Robert E. Lee!”) If a monument is to be wiped away, then surely a popular song must go, too.

(Here’s The Band knocking that out — what a performance.)

5. America is Frenchifying. Zut! That is the blunt message of a series of essays that Paris-based conservative Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry is writing for NRO. You do yourself a disservice to ignore. Here they are: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

6. Rich Lowry’s new column explains “Trump’s Evil Empire”:

For many Republicans, what matters most about Donald Trump is that he’s demonstrated resolve against the enemy — not the Islamic State or the Taliban, but the media.

Six Worthwhile Pieces from Others

1. Why do they hate me? Well, because they just do. As Giullio Meotti writes in an excellent new piece for Gatestone Institute, “It is our very existence that is unbearable to jihadists.”

2. Matthew Hennessey is a really talented guy (I wish would be writing for NR!) who makes his home at the Wall Street Journal. We won’t hold it against him. Just to prove it: You should read his take on New Hampshire’s savage opioid problem. It’s powerful.

3. Good old reliable Modern Age: founded by Russell Kirk, now celebrating its 60th anniversary, and in its last great issue, serving up exceptional content, like this Roger Scruton piece, “The Threat of Free Speech in the University.”

4. Incoming freshmen at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, received their marching order: Confront racism and privilege. Nathan Rubbelke of The College Fix has the story.

5. As the statues tumble, it is timely to ask: What is the critical role “civil religion” plays in American life. University Bookman editor Gerald Russello does just that, of Yale’s Philip Gorski, author of American Covenant: A History of Civil Religion from the Puritans to the Present. Check out their discussion here.

6. Another unintended consequence of some big (and expensive) government-policy scheme. City Journal’s Howard Husock explains how Section 8 housing vouchers “abet, just as pre-reform welfare did, the formation and continuation” of single-parent households.

I Had Shots with the Sheriff

But I did not have shots with the deputy. OK, that was dumb. Sorry, Mr. Clapton. Anyway, if you’re in NYC on Tuesday, September 14th, why not plan to have shots or a brewski or twoski with the Sheriff, David Clarke, who will be joining my pal Rita Cosby (you need to catch her weekly radio show) for a Pubs and Politics discussion at The Cutting Room on East 32nd Street. They’ll be discussing Trump, Charlottesville, terrorism, and plenty more. I’m planning on bellying up to the bar myself.

You can order your tickets here.

Book ’Em Dano!

Even if your name isn’t Dano, we have plenty of book news for you all. For starters: Next week the copies of Neal Freeman’s collection, Skirmishes, arrive hot off the press. In its way, it is a terrific history of the modern conservative movement. Get a copy, for just $25, which includes shipping and handling, from the NRO Store.

OK, I promised you more Nino, and here it is: In just a few weeks Scalia-Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived will be out. This remarkable collection was put together by the justice’s son, Christopher J. Scalia, and the emperor of NRO’s beloved Bench Memos blog, our pal Edward Whelan. Use that link above to order a copy via Amazon.

Douglas Murray is so brilliant it’s not funny. You may want to get his new book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. Heck, forget the “may” — just order it now.

And finally, make sure you scroll to the bottom of this epistle and click on the link for Rogue Heroes.

NR Institute News

Theodore Kupfer has just started his gig as the new William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism (he joins Alexandra DeSanctis, now in her second year as a Buckley Fellow). Kudos. Here’s a terrific piece he penned earlier this week on the injection of politics into sports by ESPN and Colin Kaepernick’s flying monkeys.

Also: Sign up for Kathryn Jean Lopez’s weekly newsletter highlighting all the great stuff she is up to at NRI’s Center for Religion, Culture, and Civil Society.

I’m tuckered out. How the heck does Geraghty do this every day?! Before saying adios let me encourage you to maybe consider some of the corporal works of mercy (or even just one: find some time to maybe visit someone who is sick), pray for wisdom and patience, don’t litter, hold the door for that little old lady, and if the occasion merits it, admit you are wrong, say “I’m sorry,” and maybe even try “thank you.” Speaking of which — thank you to all who subscribe to NR, support NR, share our stories, encourage us, and join us atop the ramparts and in the foxholes.

OK, Elvis is about to leave the building. God’s blessings and graces on you and yours. Enjoy what remains of this weekend.

Jack Fowler

Politics & Policy

Everybody Must Get Stoned


Dear Jolters,

I had the pleasure of filling in for Jim Geraghty last week on the Morning Jolt, so having daily plowed the NR turf, I might repeat a link or three shared via MJ. Forgive me, and offer it up for the souls in Purgatory. That said, we’ll follow the emerging form of the Weekend Jolt: links to NRO editorials, podcasts, selected NR articles, pieces by friends, random other stuff, something about baseball, annoying PS’s. But first:

I’ve gotta sell you this book. Got to. Why? Because you are going to want it, “it” being Skirmishes, the collection of over six dozen essays, reports, speeches, etc. by Neal B. Freeman, NR’s first Washington Editor and, half a century later, still an excellent and frequent analyst on the American scene for NR, the Wall Street Journal, and The American Spectator. About Neal: he was Bill Buckley’s de facto campaign manager (remember 1965 and Wanna-Mayor WFB), created Firing Line, and a million other impressive things. And now his best works have been collected into Skirmishes. Find out more about it, and order a copy, at the NRO Store.

Now, off to the races.

NRO Editorials

This week’s sole editorial urged the President to condemn white supremacists.


I have plugged them daily, but you should head over to the NRO Podcast page to spot new episodes of favorite programs, and maybe even a new program: National Review’s Radio Free California, which will weekly feature the financial whiz and NR Institute trustee David Bahnsen, who also regularly writes smart stuff for NRO, and Will Swaim, president of California Policy Center. The NRRFC podcast launches this weekend, and we’re thrilled for NRO to serve as the platform to bring attention to the vital efforts to fight for free markets and against insatiable government in the Golden State.

Meanwhile, over at the Liberty Law Talk podcast center, Professor Dan Mahoney, the acclaimed conservative academic (Assumption College) and NRI trustee, is featured in a scintillating interview about “The Peronist Pope Francis.”

Seven NRO Pieces that Merit Your Attention

1. Kat Timpf is on the warpath against Democratic Socialism (i.e., spending other people’s money and taking credit for it).

2. Kyle Smith profiles Yale’s disgraceful effort to erase history by “fixing” a masonry sculpture to appease the multicultural mob.

3. A very thoughtful essay by NR editorial intern Elliot Kaufman on whether “Universities Can Learn from Conservatives Love of Humanities.” He says yes. Here is a slice:

The purpose of humanities education will always be fiercely debated. But it is important to ask, what is worth the attention of a beginner? And no less important, what will keep the attention of a beginner? It is my contention that conservatives have this right and the modern research university has it wrong. Humanities education should free students from apeirokalia, lack of experience in things beautiful, and launch them on their own adventure in search of what truly matters. If it can do that, it will breathe new life into the university.

4. When judging President Trump, how to call “balls and strikes” — or do we even do that? Ramesh Ponnuru has an opinion. So does Jay Nordlinger.

5. There may be no truer piece ever written than the one by Jim Proser about our Secretary of Defense: James Mattis: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.

6. I pushed this yesterday in the Morning Jolt but I repeat here the request that you read Victor Davis Hanson’s excellent piece, Silicon Valley Billionaires Are the New Robber Barons.

7. Ilya Somin says that the Left and Right can come together over federalism. From her piece:

Both the Left and the Right could benefit from a more principled commitment to limiting federal power. In a large and diverse nation, it is unlikely that we can find a workable, one-size-fits all approach to numerous contentious policy issues involving law enforcement, health care, and drug use, among others. This is especially true in an era of deep partisan polarization, when Democrats and Republicans are farther apart on most issues than they have been in decades.

Seven Worthwhile Articles from Other Places

1. Andy Ferguson, who long ago and far away wrote NR’s back-page “Gimlet Eye” column, has a phenomenal and groovy essay in The Weekly Standard on the 50th anniversary of “The Summer of Love.”

2. What an insufferable twit. Acculturated looks at PBS food snob Christopher Kimball, who “Wants to Be a ‘Woke’ Chef, Claims Ethnic Food Is Colonialism.”

3. Jesuit-run University of San Francisco is hosting a “segregated orientation dedicated to black students,” reports Michelle Fortunato for College Fix. What is it about Jesuits and blacks and segregation?

4. Writing recently for The Chronicles of Higher Education, professors Robert Maranto (University of Arkansas) and Matthew Woesnner (Penn State) declared that conservative fears about leftist indoctrination on campuses was “overblown.” Not so, writes Peter Wood in an excellent essay at Minding the Campus.

5. He’s from the South (Bronx), where countless pigeons are on the lookout for statues, so he ought to know: Bernie Goldberg asks, “Where Does It End.”

6. John Hillen, Head Suit, chairman of NR’s esteemed board of directors, CEO consultant extraordinaire, professor (George Mason), etc. and etc., looks at the mess caused by Google’s from-on-high gaggers and ponders about their skills and abilities to lead a company (it’s about a lot more than running a business).

7. Saher Fares asks “How thin can excuses wear every time an atrocity is committed in the name of Islam?” You’ll find the answer at Gatestone Institute.

On My Soapbox

Un-naming, statue-toppling, disassociating. Well, if this is going to become a real and permanent thing, it’s going to be a full-time job for some lucky West Virginian to strip the name of former Klan Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd from public structures, roads, bridges, centers, etc. Check out this list of Byrd honorings: There are over 50. Toss in another nine for Mrs. Byrd. By the way: Byrd was so damn sanctimonious.

What is Black Lives Matter Really About?

My pal Anne Sorock explains in a new video from The Frontier Lab. Or read the report.

NRI’s Buckley Prize Dinner

I had better see you there. You’ll find complete info here. If you don’t come I will cry and that is not a pretty sight.

Holy Baseball!

Could Roberto Clemente, the great Pirate and humanitarian, become a saint? That would be very cool and deserving.

Gratuitous Yankee Item

Long ago and far away in The Bronx, two stadiums ago, Steve Hamilton throws the folly floater. Bonus: Phil Rizzuto calls the pitch. And Thurman Munson does his thing. Even Yankee haters will enjoy. So, enjoy!

The Sabbath approaches. If only for this weekend, maybe it’s a good idea to keep it holy. We could all use some peace, no? That said, pray for God’s wisdom, do not leave dirty mugs in the sink, do not kick the dog, give the kids an extra scoop of ice cream, and if you are not passing anyone get the heck out of the left lane.


Jack Fowler

P.S.: I just finished binging on the old PBS series, Foyle’s War, set in WW2, which in the final episode had a storyline based on the SAS, the Brit’s secret, special forces operation that sabotaged the Nazis, to great benefit. And then today across my tiny, cluttered desk come a press release about Ben Macintyre’s Rogue Heroes (paperback edition), the history of the SAS and its exploits. I just ordered it on Amazon (the softcover is out on August 29th). You can order a copy here.

P.P.S.: P.J. O’Rourke has a magazine. It’s online and free. Looks interesting. You should find out more at American Consequences.

NR Insider

Liberals Accuse CHEESE of a Terrible Crime


Dear Reader,

OK, before we get to the jolting, duty calls:

I really need you to help NR. You’ve heard it: We’re moving. Downsizing. But: I don’t want to toss books you’d want. So how about this: $10 for an in-super-shape copy of the quality softcover edition of Richard Brookhiser’s Right Time, Right Place: Coming of Age with William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative Movement? This must-have book for any conservative’s personal library provides a special take on the movement’s founder, Bill Buckley, by one of its rising stars, who had at one time been tapped by WFB to take over the reins of National Review. It’s a terrific read that critics praised. Order your copy here (shipping and handling are free).

“But wait, there’s more!”

Well, no, there isn’t. So, as Ethel Merman advised, let’s go, on with the show!

NR Podcasts

A brand new episode of The Editors, with Charlie, Reihan, and Michael Brendan Dougherty at the microphones, takes on the Googleplex and the escalating situation in North Korea.

John Miller churns out another wonderful episode of The Bookmonger, here talking with author Walter Stahr about his new work of history, Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary.

Three Martini Lunch leaves the bar and heads for the doughnut shop. Trust me, you’ll want to hear Big Jim Geraghty opine about lousy customer service for the Men and Women in Blue.

A new episode of The Liberty Files is to have gone live (so The Editorial Powers have assured me) after this epistle was shipped off to the interwebs. Sight unseen, ears unheard, I’m confident you will love it. Why? Because you like David French engaging in smart conversations on defending free speech, free worship, and other lefty-detested unalienable rights, that’s why.

NR Editorials

This past week there’s been but one: Here’s our take on Google’s intolerance for conservative opinions held by staff.

Eight Worthwhile National Review Articles

1. On the 75th Anniversary of the murder of Edith Stein by the Nazi regime, Kevin Williamson offered this reflection, which ended: “It is easy to despair. But not today.”

2. The title of David French’s excellent piece says it all: “The Google Firing Demonstrates That Identity Politics Is Incoherent and Vicious.”

3. Riots yes, arugula no! Kyle Smith reports on civic insanity in the hellhole that is Newark, New Jersey, where the opening of a Whole Foods had Gentrificationaphobes phobing. Yep, it’s all about race.

4. When it comes to free speech fetishes, lots of liberals are into big buts. Jason Richwine has a very smart Corner post that you really need to read.

5. I doubt Max Bialystok was talking about NR intern Max Bloom when he said “Bloom, darling Bloom, glorious Bloom,” but then maybe he had read this excellent piece on immigration and diversity.

6. If you’re a Democrat thinking of running for president, then, as Jonathan Tobin reports, there’s a good chance you suddenly find Israel has the cooties.

7. Yep. PETA claims that cheese is a product of rape. Julie Kelly cuts the- OK, I’m not going to go there. Let’s go with: Julie Kelly reports.

8. Jay Nordlinger asks: “Are we, in fact, united by love? Or can the Right give the Left a run for its money in the hate department?”

Keeping Up Appearances

The Sunday shows are keeping NR writers busy. This weekend will find Ramesh Ponnuru on Face the Nation and Rich Lowry on Meet the Press.

Related: In the new episode of Uncommon Knowledge, which you can watch on NRO, Peter Robinson interviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali about her new book, The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Contain It.

And, since we’re discussing watchable things, our pal David Bahnsen, who in the next couple of weeks will be launching an NRO podcast on All Things California, was on Bloomberg TV this Thursday chatting about all-time market highs, global portfolio positioning, risk, and more. Check it out. And stay tuned for news on the podcast.

Six Worthwhile Articles by Others

1. No Whites Need Apply. Here’s another great bit of reporting by The College Fix, which runs Toni Airaksinen’s piece on a Brandeis University journalism “initiative,” funded by the Ford Foundation, that “invites applications from two communities: journalists of color and women journalists.”

2. Tattoos. So many friends love them. I think they are being dummkopfs. Surely the feeling is mutual. There was a kerfuffle about ink on Twitter the other day. I’m not sure what prompted it, but anyway, this important City Journal piece by Theodore Dalrymple on tattoo lunacy is over two decades old but worth reading by any and all.

3. Arizona’s Goldwater Institute served up model legislation, the “Restore Campus Free Speech Act,” that has gotten lots of notice across the country, and more: It was adopted last week by an inspired North Carolina legislature. IJR has the story.

4. I love the headline of Mollie Hemingway’s smart piece for the The Federalist: “Yes, Media Covered Lynch-Clinton Tarmac Meeting. With a Pillow.”

5. Great covers great: Mark Helprin writes in praise of Thomas Sowell for Claremont Review of Books.

6. Has President Trump’s National Security Advisor, General H.R. McMaster, gutted Candidate Trump’s vow to undo the Iran Deal? Over at Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern, in a long and detailed report, comes down on the side of yes.

Meet Me at Gotham Hall

Bat Signal not included: National Review Institute’s 2017 Buckley Prize Dinner will be held there, in New York City, on October 25th. This is an important event for the Institute (it’s the biggest annual fundraiser, all of which helps support the many fellowships and meaningful programs — such as the new Center for Unalienable Rights — that NRI oversees and operates). We’d love to see you there. And you will love to be there.

Friends and Family

1. John Yoo is not just an esteemed law professor and a NR cruise poker champion. He is also the author (with Jeremy Rabkin) of a new forthcoming book: Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War (there’s the link if you want to pre-order from Amazon). Here’s the blurb explaining it all:

Threats to international peace and security include the proliferation of weapons of mass destructions, rogue nations, and international terrorism. The United States must respond to these challenges to its national security and to world stability by embracing new military technologies such as drones, autonomous robots, and cyber weapons. These weapons can provide more precise, less destructive means to coerce opponents to stop WMD proliferation, clamp down on terrorism, or end humanitarian disasters.

OK I can’t resist noting about Striking Power: On Amazon, it said “Customers who viewed this item also viewed” the OVERMAL Women Party All-over Spike Rivet Metallic Punk Dance Bra. But what if you can’t dance? Anyway, John is so darned smart — get his book.

2. The University of Notre Dame Press is undertaking the important project of publishing many of the works of the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (it’s amazing that so many are yet available in English). This November, marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the Press is releasing March 1917, Node III, Book 1 of The Red Wheel, Solzhenitsyn’s massive multi-volume history of the Communist overthrow of the monarchy and democracy. You can order a pre-publication copy at the previous link.

3. Don’t ever forget about that little jewel, The University Bookman, edited by my pal Gerald J. Russello — it’s a haven for smart and thoughtful reviews of important works.

4. You’ve been naughty, all these years listening gratis to and rummaging around Ricochet without coughing up for the costs-peanuts fee. Get a membership!

5. Providence is “a journal of Christianity and American foreign policy.” I like it. Maybe you will too. Check it out.

6. My pals Dick Morris and Eileen McGann have just published Rogue Spooks: The Intelligence War on Donald Trump and I promised them you would buy a copy. Don’t make me look bad!

7. Another pal, Victor Davis Hanson, will be the keynote speaker August 20th at the American Freedom Alliance’s conference in Los Angeles. The theme is “From Gold to Dust: The Destruction of California.” Get information and tickets here. VDH is always worth the price of admission.

The Duke

He used to promote our little fortnightly, short and sweet: “National Review is my kind of magazine.” We love John Wayne. And if you feel the same, pilgrim, well then you need to see Turner Classic Movie’s Saturday night schedule. Waynapalooza!


This is one of my favorite boxscores. July 3, 1966, a Sunday afternoon at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, with the Atlanta Braves crushing the Giants, 17-3. There were many a great name of 1960s baseball on the field that day: Mays, McCovey, Torre, Aaron, Carty, Alou (Jesus and Felipe), Menke, Davenport. And Tony Cloninger. On his way to a 14-11 season, this is the game that the Braves big righthander shined, on behalf of all pitchers, as a batsman: He hit two grand slams, and drove in another run with a single. You’d have thought his performance two weeks earlier, against the Mets, when he clubbed two homers and drove in five runs in a 17-1 route, didn’t need an encore. This was the ultimate pitcher-as-batter performance (and reminds me of the flip side, when beloved slugger Rocky Colavito pitched the Yankees to a win over the Tigers in 1968). Also of note in that Candlestick blowout: Cloninger, benevolent, sharing the good karma, served up a solo homer that afternoon to Giants hurler Ray Sadecki.

Shut Up Already

That’ll be enough prattle for an August Saturday. Until we meet again next weekend, God willing and six cops, as the Old Man used to say, (why I don’t know but that six-pack of Ballantine may have had something to do with it), remember to keep holy the Sabbath, chew each mouthful 32 times, pet the dog, be nice to spiders, buy a round, never look a leopard in the eyes, and don’t toss that red shirt in with the white load.

My desire: that The Ancient of Days grants special blessings on you and yours.

Jack Fowler

P.S.: We’re moving our offices next month (Jack! We know!) and it would be groovy if you would lighten our load by doing a little bit of early Christmas shopping: Howzabout you buy some official NR T-shirts or baseball caps or mugs? Thanks mates.

Politics & Policy

My, Isn’t that Jury Grand


Dear Reader,

Happy Weekend fellow conservatives, and wannabes. Join us! Leave the Dark Side of the Force and walk to the light. No, not that light!

Now, below you’ll find worthwhile links to groovy things mostly located on NRO, and at the sites of some of our friends. And you’ll find a deal or two on NR books. But before we huckster, let’s consider the offerings from your favorite website.

Four Editorials

1. After a long absence, taking on campus affirmative action is back on the political radar. And NR has a strong editorial high-fiving the Justice Department. I encourage you to read the entire thing, but I’ll share this cool last line:

There is more at work here than white resentment, and more at stake than the deans’ ability to luxuriate in the warm bath of their own sanctimony.

2. Urging the Trump administration to do more than level sanctions against the brutal leftist Maduro regime in Venezuela. From the editorial:

The aim is to help Venezuelans secure for themselves a government that is stable, democratic, and humane. The alternative is to passively watch Venezuela’s decline from police state to failed state — and we will not be the only ones watching: Spectators ranging from Raúl Castro in Cuba to opportunistic jihadists have an interest in Venezuela. So does the United States, and we should act on it.

3. Then NRO leveled a harsh critique of the Senate health-care bill fiasco, which said “the legislation for which Republican leaders asked their conference to vote was so unpalatable, and the process so objectionable,” that one could hardly blame John McCain for his notorious vote.

4. And in what seems like ancient news, NR stood by tweet-stormed Jeff Sessions and thundered The President Is Treating His Attorney General Shamefully.

NR Ear Candy

Given the relentless craziness on America’s political scene, I’m thinking The Editors might need to broadcast daily. Wishful thinking! Anyway, the exciting new episode stars Rich Lowry, Ian Tuttle, Michael BD, and Reihan Salam, who en masse look at political four-letter vulgarity, quotas, and much more.

Jay Nordlinger talks with Heather Mac Donald about her attempts to speak at Claremont and much more in the new episode of his terrific Q&A podcast.

There’s a hot new episode of The Liberty Files: David French talks with Young America’s Foundation members about campus-based assaults (and threats and reprisals and censorship) seeking to suppress free speech. Listen up here.

Sit out in the noon day sun and listen to the new episode of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, as Charlie Cooke and Kevin Williamson discuss immigration and affirmative action. Two low-key issues those!

Every day is a Three Martini Lunch day, so there’s gallons of Jim Geraghty wisdom to chug at NRO. Here are two glasses (with olives): on Monday Jim was all about Bye Bye Scaramucci, and on Tuesday he was all over the Chris Wray confirmation.

While we are talking about listening, the following is not an NRO thing, but so what: Check out and get motivated by my friend Helen Krieble’s inspiring Liberty Minutes.

Also, as this missive will likely arrive after The Larry Kudlow Show airs live (as it does every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), be comforted by this fact: You can always check out some of the recent great interviews Larry has had at the program’s podcast page.

Eye Candy

David French takes a turn on one of those smart Prager U videos, in his case talking about the Left’s sneaky and malicious assault on free speech, under the cloak of “transparency.” You can watch it here. And learn even more here: Over at The Philanthropy Roundtable, Seth Parnell has penned an impressive major report on Philanthropic Freedom, Anonymity, and the First Amendment.

Six Random NRO Articles for Your Enjoyment and Education

1. Is there ever a bad Andy McCarthy piece? Nope. This one – Why Doesn’t Trump Just Unmask the Unmasking? — is worth your time. It begins:

I wonder. I’ve watched the story closely but I haven’t written about it for a while because I can’t get past a nagging question: Why must we speculate about whether the Obama administration abusively exploited its foreign-intelligence-collection powers in order to spy on Donald Trump’s political campaign? After all, Trump is president now. If he was victimized, he’s in a position to tell us all about it.

2. More Andy: It’s a requirement for all to read Mueller’s Grand Jury: What It Means.

3. Assessing The Mooch, and looking through “the ramshackle nature of the White House,” and seeing the good done by the Trump administration — that and more is to be found in this typically artful piece by Conrad Black.

4. What the hell is going on with the NAACP’s Vendetta Against Charter Schools? Max Eden explains.

5. Michael Auslin reflects on The Last Great American Western as it turns 25 — Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. From the piece:

The end of history was not supposed to be this way. It was thought that our Cold War triumph would usher in a golden age of opportunity, prosperity, and peace. What makes Unforgiven so prescient – and so sad to watch at this late date – is that it forces us to confront a profoundly disquieting idea: Sometimes in life, there are no heroes, no spots of refuge or compassionate respite.

6. Get a Job, Get a Life: Our pals at The Foundation for Government Accountability have released an important new study, “Work Requirements Are Working for Kansas Families,” which finds that “adults with children who left the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program have higher incomes and are better off than they were before gaining their independence.” Josh Archambault explains it all on NRO.

Six Pieces from Our Journalism Friends

1. Can you believe a college would ban a 9/11 Memorial? Sure you can! The College Fix’s Kayla Schierbecker files this maddening report that Southern Methodist University in Texas has kyboshed one, lest special snowflakes get “triggered.” And there is even an anti-pro-life angle to this madness.

2. And what the heck is in the water down there? The College Fix’s Rebecca Downs reports that University of Texas at Austin is calling for the embracing of “fluid sexuality.” Thankfully, it’s not that kind of fluid.

3. Over at Gatestone Institute, my pal Ruthie Blum pens a very troubling analysis: “Britain: A Summer of Anti-Semitism.” It ain’t pretty.

4. It’s hard to resist a piece with this line: “we realized just how onerous the legal process to remove a homeless man’s trash pile can be.” Allison Lee Pillinger looks at Manhattan’s mean and dirty streets over at City Journal.

5. David Seidemann explains CUNY’s Love Affair with Violent Radicals over at the must-read Minding the Campus.

6. At Ballotpedia, Scott Rasmussen reports that “between January 2015 and March 2016, the IRS rehired 213 workers who left because of significant misconduct issues. This reflects roughly 10 percent of all the former employees rehired during this time.” Hello media. Hello!! Anyone there??!!

Buckley Gala

Our friends at National Review Institute want you to be a sponsor of the upcoming William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner. So do I. It will take place in NYC on October 25th (Tom Wolfe, the great novelist and friend of WFB, will be honored, among others). Be there.  

Check Your Local Listings

This Sunday, Ramesh Ponnuru will be on ABC’s This Week, and Rich Lowry will be on Fox News Sunday.

National Pastimery

The 1967 Chicago White Sox came in 4th place in the AL, but a mere 3 games behind the Red Sox. It was a humdinger of a pennant race. Anyway, I stumbled over the roster this week and noticed they had a quartet of pitchers who proved to have very long careers: the crazy-durable rubber-armed Wilbur Wood (17 seasons), Don McMahon (18 seasons), Tommy John, (26 seasons, and who else has a surgery named after him?), and Hoyt Wilhelm (21 seasons, he started as a rookie for the New York Giants at the tender age of 29). As for Hoyt: The Hall-of-Famer, then a minor leaguer (playing for the Class D Mooresville Moors), served in the Army in Europe in World War 2, was awarded a Purple Heart, and pitched his entire career with German shrapnel in his back. By 1972, at the age of 49 and still hurling his knuckleball, Wilhelm may have been the last WW2 vet to take the field (if I am wrong email me at For a bunch of reasons, you gotta love the guy.

That about does it. Be nice to the kids and the dog. If you don’t have a dog, get one. Tip generously. Don’t leave the cup in the sink for someone else to wash. Fly your flag. Check up on an elderly neighbor. Root for the Yankees. Catch you next Saturday.


Jack Fowler

P.S.: I almost forgot to sell! The late Priscilla Buckley wrote a beautiful memoir, Living It Up at National Review. We’re moving our offices next month and in the prep work came across a box of these beautiful hardcovers. Would you like a copy? It’s only $15, including the shipping. Order here. We also discovered a box of pristine paperback copies of Bill Buckley’s acclaimed novel, Brothers No More. It’s a terrific read. You can have one for $12, which also includes shipping. Order here.

One last thing! My good pals Dick Morris and fellow Bronx paysan Eileen McGann have written a new book, Rogue Spooks: The Intelligence War on Donald Trump, which is out on August 15 (although you can use the preceding link to order a copy via Amazon). The premise is this: “A clandestine war is being waged against the Trump administration by rogue elements of the intelligence community, with the collusion of the media and liberal establishment. It amounts to an intelligence coup against the Trump presidency.” I’d tell you more, but then I’d spoil the book. Get it.

Politics & Policy

You Talk Too Mooch


Dear Friends,

Welcome to your weekend, which began with the uproar over the “colorful language” used by Anthony Scaramucci, the performing-blue White House communications director and leak-hunter. I’m sure someone has already made “Deep Throat” jokes, but we’ll have none of that in our G-rated family-friendly newsletter. What we will have is plenty of suggestions for your conservative reading and listening pleasure, so away we go. . .


This past week, just one editorial graced NRO. It was titled not too subtly: The President Is Treating His Attorney General Shamefully. Here’s a slice:

The story Trump is telling himself is convenient for creating a scapegoat, but it’s also largely untrue. Sessions may not have been legally obligated to recuse himself from the Russia inquiry, but there was a strong political case for his doing so. The more direct cause of the appointment of a special counsel was the unceremonious firing of FBI director James Comey, and the deception surrounding it — which was a mess largely of Trump’s own making.

McCarthy on Sessions

Many folks (many!) find (rightly!) Andy to be the authoritative voice on the Trump/Sessions contretemps (and a heck of a lot more). He banged out four big, important pieces on the affair starting last Saturday. Here they are (strap on your seat belts):

Trump Has Himself, Not Sessions, to Blame for the Limitless Mueller Investigation

Sessions, Trump, and the ‘Counterintelligence’ Confusion

How About a Truce in the Sessions Fight

Wall Street Journal Editors Miss the Point on Sessions’s Recusal

Other Suggested NRO Reads

My pal Kevin Williamson has taken a lot of incoming over the year by angry right-wingers for his honest take on the state of rural America and jobs. I call it “The Garbutt Thing.” So I can’t blame him if he had a thrill writing this piece: Trump to Upstate New Yorkers: Move. (The closing line: “If the Trumpkins won’t take it from me, then they can take it from Trump.”)

The Spanish Left is so anti-Catholic, multicultural, and self-hating that they are demanding that the cathedral in Cordoba, once an outpost of the Islamic empire and the site of a mosque (but not for eight centuries), drop Jesus for Allah. NR intern Jeff Cimmino is a talented young reporter who has the story.

No one can resist reading a piece called The EPA Still Hasn’t Been Held Accountable for the Gold King Mine Blowout.

NRO Podcastapalooza

In the latest edition of The Liberty Files, David French talks with Paul Coleman about the attack on free speech in the EU.

On this week’s edition of The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Ian discuss Donald Trump’s ongoing fight with Jeff Sessions, Scaramucci unleashed, Obamacare repeal, and Trump’s military transgender ban.

Every day Jim Geraghty breaks out the olives for Three Martini Lunch. The most recent episode (about guns, McCain, and Wasserman Schultz) can be heard here.

John Miller gets in his Bookmonger groove and interviews Jason Riley about his new book, False Black Power? and then interviews Christoph Irmscher on his new bio, Max Eastman: A Life.

Too late for the deadline of this epistle, but I am assured that Charlie and Kevin will have a new episode of Mad Dogs and Englishman ready for your eardrums this weekend.

Appearances Matter

Jonah Goldberg will not be a panelist on this Sunday’s Meet the Press, but he will be appearing on a special segment about the Trump Presidency.

Of course, the great Kat Timpf will be doing her Greg Gutfeld Show thing on Saturday night on Fox News Channel.

The Buckley Prize Dinner

This October 25th, National Review Institute will be sponsoring the Fourth Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner, honoring acclaimed author Tom Wolfe with the Buckley Prize for Leadership in Political Thought, and Bruce and Suzie Kovner with the Buckley Prize for Leadership in Supporting Liberty. The black-tie gala’s host committee is in formation, and we would like you to be a member. Back in New York City for the first time since 2014, the Buckley Prize dinner raises significant funds which do so much to support NRI’s fellows and programs. This will be a great celebration of conservative heroes, as well as of WFB’s legacy, so we encourage you to consider sponsoring a table and being recognized as a member of the host committee. Be assured that this is truly a national event — as in previous years, NRI expects and counts on sponsors from around the U.S. of A. For more information click here. We’re hoping to receive pledges and commitments by August 9th (but ASAP is even better!).

Friends and Family

Our longtime pal and best-selling historian Craig Shirley has a new book — Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative — out at the end of August. While you’re waiting, order your copy now at Amazon (just click that link). I can’t imagine this will be anything less than a terrific read.

Is conservative news fake news? For a lot of politically correct Palo Alto social-media mavens, the answer is yes. There is a great Gatestone Institute piece, Silicon Valley Censorship, by Samuel Westrop, that is a must-read.

Ancient Baseball Stuff

Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby was one of the greatest ever. His .358 career average is second only to Ty Cobb’s .367. His tinkles-and-vinegar demeanor is well-recorded (maybe also second only to Cobb, although, he loved kids!), but when you look at the Rajah’s stats, you have to believe his misanthropy was titanic and impossible to exaggerate. Dig this: In 1926 he hits .317 for the St. Louis Cardinals as a player-manager and leads them to the World Series title, but two months later is traded to the Giants, where he hits .361, but so quickly wears out his welcome in New York that he is traded to the Boston Braves, where he leads the NL in hitting (.387) but promptly is traded to the Chicago Cubs. Four years, four teams — that takes some doing. He ended his baseball life as a coach for the 1962 expansion New York Mets (which lost 120 games).

The new issue of National Review is hot off the presses. And that said, I wish you and yours God’s graces and blessings.

See you next week. Elvis has left the building!

Jack Fowler


P.S.: The Mooch’s XXX outburst reminded me of this great swearin’ clip by John Astin (Gomez Adams!) from an oddball 1973 movie, The Brothers O’Toole. Enjoy.

NR Insider

Weekend Jolt I: Welcome to the Weekend!


Dear Friend,

Welcome to our inaugural. The purpose of the WJ is simple: to keep you up to speed on National Review editorials and podcasts, to cite a few worthwhile reads here at NRO — and even some from friends, — and to share info Yours Truly believes to be worth sharing (which we hope you will share in turn, via whatever social media platforms are your preferred time-suck). Diving in . . . 

Ear Ye, Ear Ye

  • On the new episode of The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Michael Brendan Dougherty discuss the death of the Senate health-care bill and Jeff Sessions’s heck-bent civil asset forfeiture expansion.

  • Mad Dogs and Englishmen ramble back after a bit of a break: In the new episode, Kevin and Charlie take on civil asset forfeiture, Obamacare’s (not) repeal, Dunkirk, the books of Joseph Conrad, and KDW’s Switzerland trip.

  • On The Bookmonger, John Miller interviews Carl Cannon about his new book, On This Date: From the Pilgrims to Today, Discovering America One Day at a Time.

  • Check out The Liberty Files, David French’s weekly effort to keep us all abreast on the battle for free speech and free worship. The latest episode features David chatting up unalienable rights with Ryan Anderson.

Editorials of the Week

  • Our latest editorial urges Attorney General Jeff Sessions to roll back his plan to expand civil asset forfeiture.

  • Certifiable Madness calls on the Trump administration to dismantle the Iran Deal as Candidate Trump promised.

  • Don’t Settle for Nothing presses Senate Republicans to pass some type of health-care reform. For example: “Republicans seem to be able to achieve near-unity on ending the individual mandate, allowing insurers to offer discounts for younger people, protecting taxpayers from having to subsidize abortion coverage, and giving states some freedom to relax regulations. They should work for legislation that achieves these goals and includes as much Medicaid reform as 50 senators are prepared to tolerate.”

Worthwhile NRO Reads

  • This Julius Krein dude wrote a miserable review in the Washington Post of Al Felzenberg’s acclaimed new biography of our founder, A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley Jr. (you’ll find NR’s review here). Krein also used his review as an opportunity to smear WFB. Rising to defend the man who created the conservative movement, John O’Sullivan writes an excellent takedown of Krein’s petulance.

  • Rich Lowry nails Senate Republicans.

  • Max Bloom alerts us to the existence of an important new conservative legal outfit, the American Freedom Network.

  • Andrew Cuomo makes me sick. Kyle Smith too: “Even by Empire State standards, Cuomo is imperious; his ego must be visible from space. The standard operating procedure is clear: He obsessively pushes high-visibility public-works projects of little or no utility so he can parade around like Caesar at the photo-op upon their completion. When the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge opens next year, one half-expects to see Cuomo drive across it in a gold-plated chariot, fanned by a squadron of eunuchs while state assemblymen play lyres by the roadbed.”

From Our Friends

  • Every day The College Fix publishes something from the front lines of the culture war – America’s college campuses. Today it runs a maddening piece about insanity at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • Meanwhile, Sweden, the land of obtuseness to Islamofascism, seems to circle the drain. Gatestone Institute reports.

  • Abortion and . . . the 100-yard dash? Yep. Ursula Hennessey has a very troubling piece on “The Blind Spot in Women’s Athletics” over at the Human Life Review blog.

Friends and Neighbors

  • Why don’t you plan on being in New York City on October 25th and joining a whole bunch of other conservatives celebrating the 4th Annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner, which this year will honor the great novelist, Tom Wolfe, and philanthropists Brice and Suzie Kovner. It will be a terrific night, and this is will be a most enjoyable way for you to support National Review Institute and all its many programs and fellows. For more information, go here.

  • NRI is accepting applications for its forthcoming Regional Fellows programs in Dallas and San Francisco. If you don’t live in those areas, maybe you know someone who does, and who would like to develop a deeper understanding of conservative thought. Check here for details.

Ye Olde Baseball Oddity

  • The boxscore from Babe Ruth’s first game. He pitched and won (4-3, over the Cleveland Naps), but whiffed in his first at bat. Willie Mitchell did the deed. 

Heading for the Exit

Today I am taking (theme music) my three sons (yes: Jim, Andy, John) and Never Wrong Scott (he subscribes) to see Dunkirk. And tonight, I’ll likely flop on the couch and watch All About Eve, which TCM is airing. If you have never seen it, you’ve done yourself a disservice. So, reserve the couch.

See you next week. God’s blessings on you and yours until then.

Jack Fowler

Vice President, National Review

P.S.: Like Scott, you really ought to subscribe to NR. We have a great deal awaiting you, here.