The Weekend Jolt

The Colossus of (Dusty) Rhodes

Dear Jolters,

One of the great souls of National Review was Thomas L. “Dusty” Rhodes, our former president and board chairman and inspiration. He toiled here for many years, for no salary, to expand the movement created by Bill Buckley, his dear friend. We were somewhat close — but that’s a thing many people could say about this sandy-haired, bright-eyed, perma-grinning NYC-street-kid-made-good. This week, Dust (even nicknames have nicknames) passed away, from suffering to sweet peace. To say he was beloved is an understatement.

He is pictured above with then-publisher Ed Capano, another NR belovéd, and Senator Malcolm Wallop, at NR’s 40th anniversary party in October, 1995 (held on the seafaring Princess, sailing around Manhattan; Dusty arranged for fireworks — it was magnificent). Here is my brief remembrance of a conservative colossus.


1. Our official remembrance of Dusty Rhodes is here. From the editorial:

He had a hand in any number of pots. The International Rescue Committee. GOPAC. Educational reform, especially school choice. The National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. The Bradley Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, and the Heritage Foundation. The Club for Growth. Everyone leaned on him, everyone relied on him. He responded with verve.

Pat Toomey, now a senator from Pennsylvania, was president of the Club for Growth. “Dusty personally put an enormous amount of work into the club,” he says. “He was very generous with his financial commitments, and he was even more generous with his time and energy. If things got rough, he would do more.” There was “nothing in it for him,” says Toomey. Dusty was just a patriot who loved free enterprise. Bill Kristol gives pretty much the same testimony. Dusty helped him with PRF, the Project for the Republican Future.


1. The new Remnant with Jonah Goldberg is out, and this episode of ear candy features The Weekly Standard’s Christine Rosen discussing eugenics, Hollywood, the “Me Too” movement, the future of capitalism, and more. Listen up here.

2. Woof Blimey Woof: The Mad Dogs and Englishmen’s tag team of Kevin and Charlie jaw about Charlie’s becoming an American, Donald Trump’s enthusiasm for tariffs, and the likelihood of Florida being bombed back into the stone age. Dig the new episode’s groove here.

3. Very cool new episode of The Jamie Weinstein Show, this week showcasing the one and only Neal Cavuto. How about you lend me an ear, here.

4. On the new episode of Jaywalking, our pal Mr. Nordlinger serves up his delightful weekly smorgasbord, talking about a newly named regiment in Russia, Erdogan’s latest maneuvers in Turkey (and The Donald’s maneuvers), and much about composers and their teachers. Tune in here.

5. On the latest episode of The Liberty Files, David and Alexandra discuss the corporate campaign against the NRA, compare media coverage of the NRA and Planned Parenthood, and discuss the most important story in the world that (almost) no one is talking about. If you want to know, you have to listen, here.

6. Gab Gab: Political Beats maestros Scot Bertram and Jeff Blehar are joined by New York magazine politics editor Ezekiel Kweku. The band is Talk Talk. Here is where you can listen.

7. It’s a très interesting episode of The Great Books podcast: This week, John Miller is joined by Yuval Levin to discuss Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. Listen, s’il vous plait, ici.

8. The Editors talk up tariffs on this week’s edition. Rich, Reihan, MBD, and Luke Thompson also discuss the Stormy Daniels story, and the coming meeting between the president and the North Korean dictatorship. Hear here.

9. Last but not least, on the new episode of Radio Free California, David and Will discuss Jeff Sessions’ announcement that he’s taking California to court over illegal immigration, and ruminate about those reports that Governor Jerry Brown will leave office with a budget surplus? Get all Golden State-y here.

A Dozen Wham! and Kapow! NRO Articles that Will Punch Up Your Weekend

1. Will the Center (Left) Hold?! Michael BD spins the globe and sees a big fat no.

From his piece:

And now it’s just about all gone. In the U.S., young Democrats long to get away from the compromises of the Clinton era and wish for a new intersectionalist politics, or a socialist future. Tony Blair is one of the most unpopular political figures in modern British life, his party now run by one of the very few socialist holdouts against his New Labour renovation. In Germany, the once powerful Social Democrats saw their popularity decline by the day while in their “grand coalition” with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. This past weekend, they have renewed that coalition, but you could hardly call it grand now. The Social Democrats are, as Peter Franklin noted, a minor party in Germany after Sunday’s election. Italy too has seen the center Left dramatically reduced, with the rise of the populist Five Star Movement, now the biggest party in Italy.

2. A state of mind: Jonah finds that Trump-“ism” is about psychology, not ideology. Not yet anyway: Read his new column.

3. Maybe gun-control advocates should know something about. . . guns. Just the basics even. That’s what David Harsanyi thinks. From his column:

How dare Second Amendment advocates expect that those passionately arguing to limit their constitutional rights have some rudimentary knowledge of the devices they want to ban? To point out the constant glaring technical and policy faux pas of gun controllers is to engage in “gunsplaining,” a bad-faith argument akin to intimidation.

4. Set phasers on MORONIC: Per Kat Timpf, an MIT librarian is kvetching that oh-so-manly Star Trek posters are keeping women from pursuing tech. Beam up the lunacy, here.

5. Our friends at the Buckley Program at Yale held an idea / essay contest in February. Yours Truly was a judge. The winner of the student category submission was John Hirschauer. He has written “Connecticut’s Crisis in Caring for the Disabled,” and we publish it here.

6. Springtime for Josef? “It’s well worth your time, but it doesn’t entirely come off.” Kyle Smith reviews the political satire The Death of Stalin. Watch the trailer here. Read Kyle’s review here.

7. This is probably not going to end well. Principal Nichols at a public middle school in Evanston, Ill., is having his staff meet. Segregated by race. Eli Steele and Beth Huestis Feeley have the story. From its beginning:

The basis for these segregated staff meetings was a racial-equity agenda calling for “courageous conversations” in which staff members could discuss their “racial awakening[s].” There was no mention of any educational innovations aimed at closing the profound achievement gap between white and black students — the entrenched problem that had necessitated Nichols’s equity agenda in the first place.

8. Tariffs One: Rich Lowry says President Trump’s China-targeted steel etc. tariffs won’t get the PRC to reform its wicked ways. From his piece:

President Donald Trump’s prospective tariffs on steel and aluminum have put renewed focus on China trade, although the tariffs are a comically inept misfire if their true target is China. The rubric for the levies could be: “How to lose a trade war with China in one easy step.”

The tariffs don’t really affect China, from which we import only about 3 percent of our steel. Meanwhile, they send the message that the U.S. government is lurching toward protectionism, and alienate our allies. They run exactly counter to what would be a sound approach to Chinese mercantilism, as a compelling report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation underscores.

9. Tariffs Two: Teddy Kupfer makes the case for Congress reasserting its Constitutional authority to impose tariffs. From his piece:

Plenty of high-ranking congressional Republicans oppose the measure. Protectionism is one of Trump’s issues that haven’t exerted much pull on the rest of the party (though it has prompted a rethink of trade policy in certain intellectual circles). Statements from concerned representatives and senators abound: Paul Ryan, whose home state builds Harleys, issued a stern one Monday, while various committee chairmen have insisted on the need for “targeted” action against offenders — a clear shot at Trump’s “Make Metal More Expensive” policy, which targets Mexico, Canada, Germany, and China alike. Kevin Brady and Orrin Hatch, who lead the committees with jurisdiction over trade in the House and Senate, are avid free-traders. Behind the scenes, reports Politico, congressional Republicans are both “frantically lobbying Trump to reconsider” his move and “even considering legislative action to try to stop him if he refuses.”

10. Tariffs Three: They’re a bad idea, says Deroy Murdock, who tells a story. Here’s part of it:

“Wow!” my friend says. “We’ve never seen a situation like this before, and it is really impacting us.” These suddenly higher costs have obliterated his recent price quotes for finished products. This prompts “the inevitable conference call from the customer complaining about the price increase and urging us to honor the original quote, etc., etc., etc.”

“It’s a fiasco,” my press-shy pal says. “The only U.S. jobs that the tariffs will protect are at union-controlled domestic mills. Everyone else down the supply chain — material-distribution centers, manufacturers (like us), and our customers — will do our best to pass on these higher material costs. The real victims will be the end users of these products.”

11. Tariffs Four: Veronique de Rugy provides a reality check of the steel industry.

12. Heather Wilhelm takes umbrage with the growing attack on boys for. . . acting like boys. Read her piece.

BONUS: Re. The Donald meets Rocket Man, Jim Geraghty bullet-points the pluses and minuses for peace in our time or the ultimate reality show. Read all about it.

Five Pieces from Elsewhere in the Conservative Solar System

1. Thank you very much, liberal Democrats: Connecticut is on the brink of fiscal collapse. At City Journal, Stephen Eide tells the story.

2. Say what?! In Ontario, Trent University is hosting an “It’s OK to be (Against) White(ness)” talk. Nathan Rubbelke of The College Fix has the story.

3. Tariffs Five: In the Washington Post, Charles Koch urges corporate America to oppose Trump’s tariffs. From his piece:

Countries with the freest trade have tended to not only be the wealthiest but also the most tolerant. Conversely, the restriction of trade — whether through tariffs, quotas or other means — has hurt the economy and pitted people against each other. Tariffs increase prices, limit choices, reduce competition and inhibit innovation. Equally troubling, research shows that they fail to increase the number of jobs overall. Consider the devastation of cities such as Detroit, where trade barriers to aid the auto industry did nothing to halt its decline.

4. There is an increasing call — from U.S.-based Muslim clerics — for murdering Jews. Judith Bergman, at Gatestone Institute, has the ugly story.

5. This The Federalist headline says it all: “New York City Progressives Try (And Fail) to Limit Asians at Top Schools.” David Marcus has the story.

Begorrah Stuff

Around here, we start early when St. Patrick’s Day approaches. Here are two blarney-free things I want to mention.

1. Betcha didn’t know, me-darling, that Meredith Bogcaz, director of NRI’s 1955 Society, is highly regarded for her music and fiddling talents. And in the environs of NYC, in the neighborhoods where you hear more than a brogue or seven walking down the street on any given day, she is renowned for her Irish musicality in particular. If you are in NYC on St. Patrick’s Day, and down in lower Manhattan, she and her fiddle will be making merry at historic Fraunces Tavern. Get all MB’s gig info here.

2. My pal, and NR’s pal, James P. MacGuire, is the author of “Real Lace Revisited: Inside the Hidden World of America’s Irish Aristocracy,” about which I wrote last year

For those of a certain age and ancestry, Real Lace Revisited, though thoroughly enjoyable, cannot help but prove wistful. In his refreshing way, Jamie MacGuire paints a beautiful portrait of a beautiful era, now faded, of important and colorful characters (some with, some without, brogues) who proved central to the formation of a great nation. In particular, in a time when religious freedom has been shaken by ideology, his Foreword profiling the Carrolls of Maryland is a welcome history lesson that should be read proudly by all Americans, whether “Irish” or not.

What I did not mention is the book has a wonderful section on Bill Buckley and his family, and a larger socio, if you will, account of the consequences of the growing fallen-away-ness of America’s Irish Catholics. I commend the book, and encourage you to get a copy.


The other Dusty Rhodes, the beloved Giant: His bio here. His stats here. Wow, did he have some 1954.

Why? Because We Are Really Nice People.

Our friends at The Weekly Standard have a swell and fancy summit every year at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, and since Jonah will be there for the 2018 thingy — we expect him to be possibly talking about his new forthcoming book, Suicide of the West — we thought, nice folks that we are here at NR, à la Macy’s recommending Gimbels, it would be grroovy to put a thought in the WJ about attending. Speakers, in addition to Jonah, will include Bret Baier, Senator Tim Scott, Representative Trey Gowdy, A.B. Stoddard, Stephen Hayes, Fred Barnes, Bill Kristol, Mike Warren, and John McCormick. The dates are May 17 — 20, and the talk is going to be the current and future state of our nation. Think about it. To learn more (and to book a beautiful room), go to The Weekly Standard Summit webpage.

A Dios

Prayers for the Rhodes family. And prayers for graces for all of those who have shown love and support for this enterprise that Bill Buckley instigated, for the sake of liberty. Have a terrific weekend, y’all.


Jack Fowler (if you want to kvetch directly).

P.S.: Tariff talk of a trade war reminded me of Groucho and Bugs.


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