The Weekend Jolt

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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.


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