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