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.
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.
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.