Today's Standard

• March 23, 2017

Another Blow to House GOP Health Care Bill

11:52 PM, Mar 22, 2017
Smith's opposition is surprising because he's one of the most committed pro-life members of Congress, and pro-life groups back the bill. The House bill would defund Planned Parenthood and cut off taxpayer-funding of insurance that covers elective abortion. As Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List wrote to members of Congress: "SBA List’s position on the American Health Care Act is that preventing taxpayer funding of abortion in the bill is a non-negotiable. We are supportive of the current House draft that meets this standard. SBA List would oppose any future version that does not. These protections must be included in the law—executive action as a substitute would be insufficient." Read more

Acosta Coasting Toward Confirmation

The season of grueling cabinet confirmation hearings nears a quiet close.
10:15 PM, Mar 22, 2017
On a Capitol Hill morning otherwise dominated by Gorsuch hearings, the deafening drip of surveillance revelations, and a possible health care upset, one much quieter event might have presaged what normalcy may, one hopes, come. Alexander Acosta, Labor secretary-designate number two, answered queries from senators on the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) about his career’s few notable snarls and his unwillingness to play politics. Mostly, though, he pledged to protect the country's evolving workforce fully and fairly. An image of steadiness and stable moral standard emerged—a reassuring picture of boring and upright governance, in other words. Yes, that's still a thing. Read more

Schiff: Most Trump Team Members' Identities Were Redacted, per Nunes

8:03 PM, Mar 22, 2017
Most of the Trump transition members whose communications were allegedly collected via pre-inaugural incidental surveillance had their identities redacted in intelligence reports, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday. The chairman of the committee informed him of that detail, he said. Read more

American Health Care, Anchored

Multiple reports indicate the GOP is short on yes votes for its health bill.
3:42 PM, Mar 22, 2017
The House GOP health bill faces more defections than it can withstand from inside the party's own conference, after a spokeswoman for a conservative caucus announced several no votes on Wednesday, and multiple members have warned that several moderates are also still opposed to the legislation in its most recent form. Read more

Trump Associates Caught Repeatedly in Incidental Surveillance, Intel Chairman Says

3:12 PM, Mar 22, 2017
Trump transition officials were caught in incidental surveillance before the inauguration, the chairman of the House Intelligence committee told reporters Wednesday. These individuals had their communications circulated within the intelligence community and their identities revealed internally, despite their minimal worth to U.S. intelligence, he said. Read more

Parliament Terrorist Attack: What We Know, and What Will Be Asked

2:39 PM, Mar 22, 2017
This afternoon’s terrorist attack on the Houses of Parliament in central Westminster left four dead, including the attacker and a police officer, and twenty injured, some seriously. For the third time in a year, a lone killer has used a vehicle as a weapon on the streets of a major European city. Yet again, the target seems to have been selected for its symbolic resonance. Last July, it was the Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France. In December, it was the Christmas market in Berlin. Today, it was the Mother of Parliaments. Read more

A Modest Immigration Proposal

From the March 27, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
12:45 PM, Mar 22, 2017
At some point, our border will be secure, resistance to deporting felons will collapse, and we will have accepted the fact that Dreamers will be allowed to stay in this country, probably on a path to citizenship. That’s the easy part. Read more

The Unpromising Paths for the EU

From the March 27, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
11:35 AM, Mar 22, 2017
In the breakdown of modern Europe’s postwar order, the democracies get louder even as the voters get older. Read more

Prufrock: In Defense of Hierarchies, the Alt-Right and Jane Austen, and Life Before the New Deal

9:30 AM, Mar 22, 2017
The best in books and arts from around the web, including: Revisiting Waugh’s Scoop, the demise of language and rise of cloning, Churchill's inspirational gifts and ruthlessness, and more. Read more

Judge Gorsuch's Back-Seat Drivers

Don't blame a judge for staying in his own lane.
7:20 AM, Mar 22, 2017
“Hard cases," it's often said, "make bad law." They also make for bad legal commentary, especially in the week of a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, where a nominee's critics try to fault him for failing to side with sympathetic litigants—even when the judge was just following the laws that Congress wrote. We've seen some of that this week during the Gorsuch hearings. The judge's critics have seized upon his position in TransAm Trucking v. Department of Labor, a 2016 decision involving a very unfortunate incident. Read more


China has decided to sanction the wrong Korea.
6:15 AM, Mar 22, 2017
When Beijing announced earlier this month that it would ban Chinese tour groups from traveling to South Korea, South Korean social media lit up with a tasteless joke: "Thank God!” the wags said. But in truth, the decision to curtail tourism to Korea is no laughing matter. Read more

Tiny Homeless in Portland

Two fads in one
6:00 AM, Mar 22, 2017
Only in Portlandia: Multnomah County, Oregon, has decided to solve its homelessness problem by . . . housing the homeless in the backyards of Multnomah County homeowners. Read more

Does Trump Have the Pull to Pass Health Care?

Trump's First 100 Days: Another good Gorsuch day and signals of a shift on North Korea.
5:00 AM, Mar 22, 2017
The Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is either quite nearly dead or right on-course to become law—depending on which Republican you ask. President Trump's Tuesday trip to Capitol Hill seemed designed to either cajole or intimidate on-the-fence House Republicans to support the bill. House speaker Paul Ryan and House leadership offered what they claim are final changes to the American Health Care Act on Monday night as an olive branch to skeptical members. Read more

Puerto Rico's Financial Control Board Has Major Conflicts of Interest

3:52 PM, Mar 21, 2017
The process of debt restructuring in Puerto Rico has been, if nothing else, an alarming case study in conflicts of interest, cronyism, and putting politics ahead of doing the right thing. As the island struggles to regain its financial footing under the heavy burden of unfunded liabilities and falling credit ratings, it would appear that some of those appointed to solve the problem are more concerned with preserving their own reputations—as well as their future political career—than with doing the job they were hired to do. Read more

From Commander in Chief to Journalist for Hire

Plotting Obama's next career move, with an assist from a Brit.
3:21 PM, Mar 21, 2017
George Osborne, Britain's longtime Chancellor of the Exchequer until the fall of the Cameron government, seems to have raised some eyebrows recently with his announcement that, beginning in May, he will become editor of the [London] Evening Standard. And keep his seat in the House of Commons. Maybe there's some inspiration to be taken across the pond. Read more

Sounds of Silence

2:55 PM, Mar 21, 2017
According to the Justice Department, there are 1.3 million suppressors registered in the United States. That is up by more than 400,000 over 2015. So who is buying those suppressors and why? Well, if you put that question to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, she would tell you that bad people are buying those suppressors for bad reasons. Read more

Gorsuch, Former Law Students Refute Claim He Stigmatized Pregnant Job Candidates

2:17 PM, Mar 21, 2017
Backed by several letters from his former law students refuting a claim that he advocated employers probing the family planning of female job candidates, Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch explained to a senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee that he facilitated classroom discussion of how women lawyers deal with such a "disturbing" and frequent professional issue. Read more

Roman Prefect Meets Christian Messiah

From the March 27, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
12:41 PM, Mar 21, 2017
Dante puts Pontius Pilate in the outermost circle of Hell, among the indolent—scant punishment, you might think, for the man who executed Jesus Christ. By letting Pilate off easy, Dante was situating himself firmly on one side of a centuries-old debate: Who was more responsible for killing Christ, the Roman government or the Sanhedrin? It should be obvious, then, why any author trying to write a sympathetic biography of Pilate needs to tread carefully. Every particle of guilt taken off Pilate inevitably winds up added in the scales against the Jews. The Italian classicist Aldo Schiavone does his best to avoid this fraught dilemma by confining himself to the facts that we know about Pilate the historical figure. Read more

An Evening in Dodger Stadium with the World's Best

Star power, great play, and global flavor make the World Baseball Classic a winner.
12:21 PM, Mar 21, 2017
The World Baseball Classic is a success. Monday night’s crowd of more than 25,000 at Dodger Stadium for the semi-final game between Puerto Rico and the Netherlands pushed the total attendance for the 16-team tourney past one million, far surpassing the 2006, 2009, and 2013 editions of the WBC. Oh, and Javy Baez was there. Read more

Trump Predicts Health Care Win Amid Continued Conservative Opposition

11:53 AM, Mar 21, 2017
President Donald Trump emerged from a meeting with House Republicans Tuesday morning confident that their health care bill would pass the lower chamber this week, even as conservatives continued to express doubts about the legislation's new and arguably improved substance. Read more