The Purge: Scott Yenor and the Witch Hunt at Boise State

Boise State political science professor Scott Yenor is a conservative. He wrote a piece about the sexual revolution, feminism, and transgenderism. The next thing he knew, the students were protesting him, the faculty senate was investigating him, and the university's diversity enforcer was tying him to the white supremacist murder and mob in Charlottesville.

10/18/17 5:15 AM

Editorial: For Once, an Honest Celeb

Celebrities are mostly left-wingers. The statement is boringly obvious to any mildly intelligent person. But we still have to say it because the celebrities themselves don’t seem to know it. Indeed, the high-profile personalities of our entertainment industry seem to think of themselves as possessors of wisdom and truth rather than as adherents of any distinct political outlook.

This thought occurred to us when we read the late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel’s remarks to the New York Times on October 17. In September, Kimmel used his nightly monologues to censure Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) for introducing legislation that would substantially change the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

10/18/17 5:31 AM

No, CSRs Are Not Insurance 'Bailouts.' No, Trump Did Not End Them.

Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray reached a bipartisan deal on Tuesday to reinstate subsidies paid to insurers for lowering costs on certain low-income insurance enrollees. This “cost-sharing” process is a one-two step: One, a carrier reduces the amount of health expenses a particular plan-holder has to front, and two, the government reimburses the carrier for doing it. There’s a catch here: Both of these things are required by law.

So when the Trump administration announced it would discontinue making the payments to insurers, the president was not ending the relief insurers provide to the people they cover. There are some economic implications to what the president’s team did, but not as many as

10/18/17 2:02 PM

Millennials Love Capitalism--They Just Don't Know It

"I want to start by acknowledging the indigenous people of this land and honor them. Nonindigenous people are guests on this land."

It’s a balmy evening in late July, and I’m in the audience for what I thought was a “Breathing Economic Democracy Teach-In” at the Museum of Capitalism. But our host, Ricardo S. Nuñez of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, is just setting the tone by reminding us all of our status as oppressors. Nuñez, an energetic young man with a hipster mustache, quickly pivots to the theme for the evening: “Imagining alternatives to existing capitalist society.” He uses the word “awesome” a lot.

10/13/17 3:00 AM

It's a Sin to Censor 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

The hardest thing about teaching, and teaching middle school especially, is all the stuff you can’t cover with students on the fragile border between childhood and young adulthood. You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t try. The mark of a good teacher is that she cuts the right amount of difficult detail from a lesson, saving the most appropriate and comprehensible complications—and then leaving just enough unanswered to draw a curious child back from daydreaming.

But as seen in one southern Mississippi school district’s recent decision to spare eighth graders the discomfort of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, cutting too much of the complicated stuff also defeats the purpose of school.

10/18/17 10:38 AM

Tuesday Morning Quarterback: It's Tax Breaks for College Football Trump Should Care About

Why does Congress allow donations to college football programs to be tax deductible? Ryan Brewer, a professor at the wonderfully named Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, showed last month that the Ohio State, Texas, and Oklahoma football programs all are worth at least $1 billion, with Ohio State topping the inventory at a $1.5 billion valuation. Yet donations to these programs are tax deductible, as are most donations to college athletics.

10/17/17 10:30 AM

It's a Sin to Censor 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

Schools in Biloxi, Mississippi, erred in removing the iconic Harper Lee novel from the eighth-grade curriculum.
10:38 AM, Oct 18, 2017
The hardest thing about teaching, and teaching middle school especially, is all the stuff you can’t cover with students on the fragile border between childhood and young adulthood. You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t try. The mark of a good teacher is that she cuts the right amount of difficult detail from a lesson, saving the most appropriate and comprehensible complications—and then leaving just enough unanswered to draw a curious child back from daydreaming. But as seen in one southern Mississippi school district’s recent decision to spare eighth graders the discomfort of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, cutting too much of the complicated stuff also defeats the purpose of school.  Read more

Prufrock: Ancient Acoustics, Why the Medieval Trial by Ordeal Worked, and Bad Classical Music Covers

Also: Nancy MacLean's typo, young Americans and capitalism, the Trakoscan Castle, and more.
10:05 AM, Oct 18, 2017
Reviews and News: George Saunders wins the Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in the Bardo. He is the second American in two years to win the award. “Tour guides may tell you that a pin dropping can be heard in every seat of the ancient theatre of Epidaurus – but scientists disagree.” Why the medieval trial by ordeal worked. The worst classical music record covers: “Peter and Christopher Whorf, design gurus for Westminster Gold, created a long line of once-seen-never-forgotten album covers in the 1970s.” The central argument of Nancy MacLean’s National Book Award-nominated Democracy in Chains is built on a typo.  Read more

Byungjin: How North Korea Fools the Media

From the Oct. 23, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
7:25 AM, Oct 18, 2017
The late North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-il had thousands of Hollywood movies in his personal collection, furnishing him with what he thought was a deep knowledge of a country he would never see. He was particularly fond, reportedly, of The Godfather—so much so that he ran his country like a Mafioso. His son and successor, Kim Jong-un—or someone in his coterie—has as impressive an understanding of the American media landscape as the elder Kim had of Francis Ford Coppola’s oeuvre. Since this spring, Kim’s regime has invited several media organs to visit Pyongyang. It’s no coincidence who’s been let in—North Korea is the most repressive country on the planet, and it screens visitors  Read more

The Junk Science at the Heart of the Gerrymandering Case

From the Oct. 23, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
7:05 AM, Oct 18, 2017
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a case in which University of Wisconsin professor William Whitford and a group of plaintiffs (all Democratic voters in the state) contend that the drawing up of Wisconsin’s state legislative districts was an unconstitutional gerrymander. The Supreme Court has intervened in gerrymandering complaints in the past, but those cases had to do with racial discrimination or malapportionment. That is, the Court has struck down legislative maps that distribute black voters in ways that minimize their electoral power. In the Wisconsin case, race and ethnicity are not at issue, at least not directly.  Read more

Editorial: For Once, an Honest Celeb

Jimmy Kimmel says, "I didn't know anything about health care." He's right.
5:31 AM, Oct 18, 2017
Celebrities are mostly left-wingers. The statement is boringly obvious to any mildly intelligent person. But we still have to say it because the celebrities themselves don’t seem to know it. Indeed, the high-profile personalities of our entertainment industry seem to think of themselves as possessors of wisdom and truth rather than as adherents of any distinct political outlook. This thought occurred to us when we read the late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel’s remarks to the New York Times on October 17. In September, Kimmel used his nightly monologues to censure Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) for introducing legislation that would substantially change the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Read more

Gillespie Gains Ground in Virginia

The Republican candidate has a razor-thin lead over Ralph Northam.
Oct 17, 2017
The race for the Virginia’s governor’s mansion is tightening with three weeks to go. A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday shows Republican Ed Gillespie with a razor-thin lead over Virginia’s Democratic lieutenant governor Ralph Northam, 48 percent to 47 percent, Politico reports: Virginia voters are sharply divided along geographic lines, the Monmouth poll shows. Northam leads in Northern Virginia—defined as Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, along with the independent cities contained therein—by a 2-to-1 margin, 64 percent to 32 percent. But farther west, in broad expanses of the commonwealth west of Interstate 95, Gillespie leads by a nearly  Read more

The Future of the Trump-McConnell Bromance

Hosted by Eric Felten.
Oct 17, 2017
Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, senior writer Michael Warren talks with host Eric Felten about the friendly truce between the president and the Senate majority leader. The Daily Standard podcast is sponsored by the Dollar Shave Club. Try their $5 starter box (a $15 value!) with free shipping by visiting dollarshaveclub.com/weeklystandard. This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.  Read more

Senators Reach Bipartisan Agreement to Fund Payments That Trump Called a 'Gravy Train'

The president had bragged about ending reimbursements to insurers just days before.
Oct 17, 2017
The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate’s health committee have struck a deal to fund reimbursements to insurers that discount prices for low-income individuals, just days after the Trump administration determined the payments were illegal without an appropriation from Congress. Conservatives wanted to give states additional wiggle room under Obamacare in exchange for reinstating the reimbursements, which they appear to have achieved to some extent. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chairman of Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, had told the Associated Press there was a stumbling block in negotiations over the definition of “meaningful” in providing meaningful waiver authority.  Read more

Xi Jinping Cracking Down on Golf Courses, Other Luxuries Ahead of His 'Re-Election'

He has closed more than 100 golf courses, and he's going after an entertainment conglomerate.
Oct 17, 2017
Donald Trump may have played golf with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe earlier this year, but when Chinese president Xi Jinping made his own visit to Mar-a-Lago, a visit to the links was decidedly not on the agenda. The Chinese dictator has taken aim at golf. In January, 111 Chinese courses were shuttered, with the government citing the misuse of arable land and the need for water conservation as justification. (There were only about 700 golf across China’s 3.7 million square mile area before the crackdown began.) Now, two courses owned by the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda have been closed. This may seem like bad news only for the small number of Chinese golfers, but it portends several big things.  Read more

Prufrock: Why We Need the Past, the Return of Print, and America's Most Popular Playwright

Also: Donald Trump's fake Renoir, a "gruesome" history of surgery, and more.
Oct 17, 2017
Reviews and News: Book publishers return to print: “After a decade of technological upheaval and lackluster growth, executives at the top four U.S. consumer book publishers say they are done relying on newfangled formats to boost growth. It has been nearly 10 years since Amazon.com Inc. introduced its Kindle e-book reader amid the financial crisis, destabilizing publishers and challenging their well-honed business models. Now, e-book sales are on the decline, making up a fraction of publishers' revenue, and traditional book sales are rising...  Read more

Tuesday Morning Quarterback: It's Tax Breaks for College Football Trump Should Care About

Plus: Does TV's obsession with fictional American traitors affect our view of government?
Oct 17, 2017
“Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country?” Donald Trump tweeted last week, using German-style capitalization. Trump may have been thinking of the NFL’s headquarters tax exemption which, applying to the league’s New York City operation, is a sweetheart deal that long has been a subject of tittering among wealthy New Yorkers. Pro football voluntarily surrendered that exemption in 2015, though not for any noble reason. Tax law says nonprofit status must not be employed as a subterfuge to enrich management: to mitigate against such underhandedness, recipients of nonprofit status must disclose the pay of top officials.  Read more

The Dismal Science of Richard Thaler

From the Oct. 23, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Oct 17, 2017
We call it the Nobel prize in economics, but the Nobel that Richard Thaler won last week is technically a prize in “economic sciences,” and that bit of self-puffery (Oh, we’re scientists now, are we?) is fitting. Thaler is a pioneer of behavioral economics, the latest craze to sweep a trade not previously known for its runaway enthusiasms. The craze is scarcely the advance in human knowledge that its practitioners want it to be, but it is a tremendous leap forward in the pretensions to knowledge that an economist can’t do without. Thaler is a professor at the University of Chicago and the author of countless technical articles and books, as befits a Nobel laureate.  Read more

Trump vs. H&R Block

From the Oct. 23, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Oct 17, 2017
Jennifer MacMillan is a tax preparer. Her business ebbs and flows with the season. In the months before April 15, she talks with clients and pores over the records of their financial lives. She deciphers statements from their brokerages, determines how much they can claim for their home offices, and figures out how to allocate expenses on their rental properties. The same is true in the weeks leading up to mid-October, the deadline for taxpayers who filed for extensions. From her office in Santa Barbara, Calif., in early October, she tells one client that he had made too much money last year to contribute to his Roth IRA.  Read more

White House Watch: The Bromance Begins for Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell

The Donald and Mitch—together again, for the very first time.
Oct 17, 2017
Kicking off his surprise press conference with Mitch McConnell at the White House Monday afternoon, Donald Trump made the message of the day perfectly clear: “Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell . . . has been a friend of mine for a long time.” It’s not the most natural of friendships, but the president and the GOP leader emerged from their lunch (Vice President Mike Pence was in attendance as well) to put aside publicly their differences of the past several months. “My relationship with this gentleman is outstanding, has been outstanding,” said Trump, despite several instances of public disagreement between the two Republicans over the stalled GOP agenda. McConnell echoed  Read more

Bomb Dogs: Honoring the Courage of Four-Legged Warriors

Dogs: 1, Radical Islamic Terrorism: 0
Oct 17, 2017
The American Humane Association (AHA) awarded its K-9 Medal of Courage to five dogs this past week for their exceptional service in the U.S. military. After multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, spent searching for explosives and chewing up insurgents who regard them as unclean (dogs: 1, radical Islamic terrorism: 0), four of the wolfish warriors are looking forward to retirement and dignified TSA work. Capa, Alphie, Coffee, and Ranger were in attendance, wearing, presumably, their most formal dress collars and leashes. Each is estimated to have saved 250 lives.  Read more

What's Lost As Scouting Goes Coed

Opportunities for single-sex socialization are dwindling, and that's a problem.
Oct 17, 2017
Reasons for an institution like the Boy Scouts of America to go coed fall into roughly two camps. First, there’s the stark reality of dwindling membership: The Scouts are down to a mere third of their 6.5-million-member peak reached in the early 1970s. (Admitting girls, theoretically, doubles their customer base.) And then there’s the purported need to catch up culturally. In the Scouts’ case, these two reasons seem to serve stark cross purposes.  Read more

Editorial: Democrats—the Party of Big Business

They don't even argue about subsidizing private companies anymore.
Oct 17, 2017
Last week, President Trump signed an executive order that, among other things, stops cost-sharing payments to insurance companies. The purpose of these payments is to lower the deductibles and co-pays for lower- and middle-income Americans purchasing health plans on the Obamacare insurance exchanges. Those lower- and middle-income purchasers will keep getting the benefits of reduced prices, but insurers won’t get any help from the federal government—which the president’s mostly Democratic critics point out will mean higher insurance premiums for everyone. The payments were unconstitutional, it should be noted. Most payments mandated by the Affordable Care Act don’t require yearly appropriation.  Read more

Tax Reform Teamwork

Hosted by Eric Felten.
Oct 16, 2017
Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, senior writer Tony Mecia talks with host Eric Felten about President Trump and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell making peace with each other to work on tax reform. This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.  Read more

Republican Congressman Urges Trump to Block Boeing's Deal With Iran Air

Peter Roskam wrote a letter to the president claiming that the civilian airline is sending troops and weapons to Syria to support Bashar Assad.
Oct 16, 2017
A Republican lawmaker is urging the president to block a multibillion-dollar deal between Boeing and Iran Air, “the terror-supporting transport-arm” of a network that is now facing steep sanctions from the Trump administration. The Obama administration lifted its sanctions on Iran Air and permitted commercial jet sales to Iran under the nuclear deal. But the airline has not stopped its illicit activities, Illinois congressman Peter Roskam wrote in a letter to Trump Friday. Roskam’s letter goes hand in and with the Treasury Department’s designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for terrorism on Friday, citing its support for the Quds Force, the IRGC’s overseas  Read more

Prufrock: Mark Twain's Financial Schemes, James Wright's Tragic Life, and Virtue Today

Also: The poet Richard Wilbur has died, Harvey Weinstein expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures, and more.
Oct 16, 2017
Reviews and News: James Wright’s sad, tragic life: “Blunk concentrates on Wright’s intense devotion to poetry, and he fleshes out the genesis and development of various poems and collections, such as the long gestation of ‘The Branch Will Not Break,’ perhaps his most cherished book. All the while the poet’s great intelligence, volubility, generosity and humor are on display. But a literary biographer must also be intrusive, only insofar as the life informs the work.  Read more
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