Why Hillary Failed

What happened to Hillary Clinton en route to her appointment with destiny? Her new book, 'What Happened', portrays her as a lifelong fighter on behalf of noble causes, a woman whose quest for the power she deserved was thwarted by a cabal as vast as the one she once said had been after her husband and which this time included (beyond Donald Trump) Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, James Comey, the New York Times, the Electoral College, a vast swarming army of sexists and racists, and “deplorables” too many and loathsome to count.

09/22/17 3:15 AM

Donald Trump Can't Lose

Out of 100 members of the United States Senate, precisely one man—Alabama's Jeff Sessions—endorsed candidate Donald Trump while the Republican presidential nomination was hotly contested. So it's not terribly surprising that the Senate GOP primary to replace President Trump's attorney general is pitting a Trumpist candidate against a Trump-endorsed candidate.

On Thursday night, the two candidates vying for Trump’s mantle faced off in the only debate before Tuesday's runoff election. The Trump-endorsed candidate, former Alabama attorney general and incumbent senator Luther Strange, spent much of the debate touting Trump's endorsement.

09/22/17 7:01 AM

Joey Votto Is Ted Williams (For Real This Time)

Bubble-dwellers everywhere in American culture are prone to make comparisons that become hackneyed over time. In music criticism, someone’s going to liken a songwriter to Dylan. In political punditry, someone’s going to call a bad guy Voldemort. And in baseball, someone’s going to compare Joey Votto to Ted Williams. Like me.

There must be a hundred-thousand people by now who have mentioned the Cincinnati Reds first baseman and the Boston Red Sox legend in the same sentence. There have been numerous profiles of Votto, many of them insightful (and any interview with Votto is insightful), noting that he carried with him a copy of Williams’s The Science of Baseball during his minor league career.

09/22/17 5:30 AM

White House Watch: Trump Meets with Erdogan

On his last day in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump held his final bilateral meeting of the week with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. It was the leaders’ first one-on-one meeting since Erdogan’s trip to Washington in May. Here’s how Trump introduced Erdogan in a photo-op before their meeting.

“He’s running a very difficult part of the world,” Trump said. “He’s involved very, very strongly and, frankly, he’s getting very high marks. And he’s also been working with the United States. We have a great friendship as countries. I think we’re, right now, as close as we have ever been. And a lot of that has to do with the

09/22/17 7:31 AM

It's the Corporate Tax Rate, Stupid

As they devise a strategy to place a tax bill on President Trump’s desk, Republicans in Congress are grappling with thorny issues: What can pass the Senate? How much should they add to the deficit? How will tax changes play with voters in 2018?

These are delicate political calculations, but there’s a simpler and better yardstick for measuring their efforts to rework the broken U.S. tax code: What will help the economy the most? That obvious question tends to get lost amid Washington’s daily political knife fights.

During the week of September 25, the White House and congressional Republicans are scheduled to release details of their tax plan, the result of months of closed-door negotiations.

09/22/17 3:15 AM

The Surveillance We Need

During the George W. Bush presidency, Democrats were vehement and clamorous defenders of Americans’ civil liberties. They inveighed against the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs as though the agency were spying on ordinary Americans in their homes and generally behaving like the East German Stasi. In fact, the NSA conducted itself with remarkable caution and with a respect for constitutional liberties in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. But such were the civil libertarian sensibilities of liberal politicos when a Republican was president.

Those same Democrats went curiously quiet during the Obama years.

09/22/17 3:15 AM

Drunk History

Frank Gehry's proposed Eisenhower monument is an impressionistic metal-wrought doodle of the cliffs of Normandy. Ike would have hated it.
12:11 PM, Sep 22, 2017
“It looks like tin foil balled up and woven through bubble wrap,” observes Katrina Bridges, 52, a federal employee on her lunch break outside the LBJ Education Department building on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in September. We’re looking at a sliver of an impressionistic metal landscape of the coastal cliffs at Pont du Hoc in Normandy, I explain. It was installed that morning, Katrina says. And by the time I got there, National Park Service personnel could be heard worrying over its corroding welds and impossible maintenance. This mockup of the Eisenhower Memorial designed by “starchitect” Frank Gehry a decade ago and finally approved by the U.S. Fine Arts Commission on Tuesday is imposing and  Read more

Prufrock: The Consolations of Latin, Ta-Nehisi Coates's Black Critics, and Jules Verne's Time Capsule

Also: The tyranny of Michelin stars, Marilynne Robinson on the importance of words, remembering Jerry Pournelle, and more.
11:24 AM, Sep 22, 2017
Reviews and News: The consolations of Latin: “My class meets for an hour at ten thirty every morning, and as I labor to decipher our daily Wheelockian pronouncements, I remember why I loved Latin to begin with. Each sentence is a little puzzle, a Rubik’s Cube of words to be rearranged into their proper order based on arcane rules and hidden clues. There’s a creative thrill, too, in the task of transforming Latin into English...More than anything, though, I love Latin because it has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with anything in my life.  Read more

The Worst Movies You've Ever Hated

Show notes from Substandard 1.45 on planes, trains, and awful movies.
11:11 AM, Sep 22, 2017
Endnotes and digressions from the latest episode: * At the start of the show Vic and I had some pretty hot airplane talk and Sonny was greatly annoyed by this. Which is crazy. How can you not find this awesome? Or this? It's unbelievably cool. * Vic also mentioned going to see the 1983 version of Hercules, a movie with which I was unfamiliar, despite the fact that it starred one of my favorite childhood actors, Lou Ferrigno. Well, after digging up the one-sheet poster for the film, I can see why the 10-year-old Vic was so into it. What's that, you say? Is that a robot dragon in the background? Why yes. Yes it is. The full trailer is amazing. This movie had everything.  Read more

Disregard 'The Kimmel Test'

Both Jimmy Kimmel and Senator Cassidy mean well, but Kimmel is overstating the problems of the Graham-Cassidy legislation-and Cassidy should have known that he can't make promises involving the difficult tradeoffs of health care policy.
10:45 AM, Sep 22, 2017
The fate of America's latest attempt at comprehensive health care reform may hinge on the opinions of a late night talk show host. I've nothing against Jimmy Kimmel; topical political jokes are the meat and potatoes of late-night comedy. And in fact, Kimmel has a reputation for joking about the problems of Obamacare when liberal comedians such as Stephen Colbert were afraid to say what was obvious. But Kimmel recently had a son born with a heart defect. It was an understandably traumatic and transformative event, and Kimmel got to thinking about the kids born with a heart defect whose parents were not as rich as he was. So he started using his show to lecture his audience on certain aspects of health reform.  Read more

Joey Votto Is Ted Williams (For Real This Time)

5:30 AM, Sep 22, 2017
Bubble-dwellers everywhere in American culture are prone to make comparisons that become hackneyed over time. In music criticism, someone’s going to liken a songwriter to Dylan. In political punditry, someone’s going to call a bad guy Voldemort. And in baseball, someone’s going to compare Joey Votto to Ted Williams. Like me. There must be a hundred-thousand people by now who have mentioned the Cincinnati Reds first baseman and the Boston Red Sox legend in the same sentence. There have been numerous profiles of Votto, many of them insightful (and any interview with Votto is insightful), noting that he carried with him a copy of Williams’s The Science of Baseball during his minor league career.  Read more

Differences Remain Between Congress and White House on Tax Reform

Senate Republicans warn that a coming proposal from the 'Big Six' coalition will be 'advisory.''
Sep 21, 2017
For months, GOP leadership from both houses of Congress along with Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and NEC director Gary Cohn have huddled over Republican plans for tax reform, laying the groundwork for a plan each group could support. But that “Big Six” coalition has its limits, and Senate Republicans are cautioning that its proposal, which is set to be released next week, will be merely “advisory,” and that every senator in the Republican caucus will have the opportunity to push for changes in the bill. “Tax reform is always the hardest,” Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch said Tuesday. “It’s more complex, more difficult, more chances that you’ll have  Read more

Afternoon Links: There is Crying in Baseball, a Cereal Revolt, and Coke at BYU

Plus, a World Series contest and the 30 Under 30 awards vote!
Sep 21, 2017
This online psychic cleaned up. Down in Texas, a Democratic state legislator is facing trial for misdemeanor charges for a few of a series of accused fraudulent acts. This story is all kinds of crazy. The legislator is Dawnna Dukes, who is in her 12th term in the Texas House. Here's a taste of the crazy. Dukes is accused of "giving a taxpayer-funded raise to a legislative aide to cover gas money for driving Dukes’ daughter to and from school." She allegedly falsified travel reimbursement vouchers for days she didn't come to work. Which, given that she has shown up late to court hearings in this case so many times the judge threatened to hold her in contempt, makes some sort of sense.  Read more

In Pursuit of the Second Best Policy

From floods to immigration.
Sep 21, 2017
Forty years ago the economists Finn Kydland and Ed Prescott wrote a paper (for which they later won the Nobel Prize) observing that there are situations when the government makes a promise it can't be expected to keep, and that policy inevitably reflects that reality. For instance, they observed, the best policy regarding floods would be to simply disallow all construction in a floodplain, or at least forswear any public financial assistance to people who do build there and subsequently have property damaged by a flood. However, such a promise cannot be kept: the political pressures to help victims will be too great to resist.  Read more

Prufrock: Neuromush, in Defense of Moderation, and Public Theology Today

Also: A new history of 19th-century Britain, accounts of addiction, revisiting "La bonne chanson", and more.
Sep 21, 2017
Reviews and News: Neuroscientist David Poeppel has noted that we still don’t understand “how the brain recognizes something as basic as a straight line.” This hasn’t stopped writers of popular books from using fMRI scans in arguments on all sorts of things—from empathy to economics to Shakespeare. The result is neuromush: “Stephen Poole described this phenomenon as ‘an intellectual pestilence’, and observed how putting the prefix ‘neuro’ to whatever you are talking about gives a pseudo-scientific respectability to all sorts of meretricious rubbish.  Read more

The Substandard on mother! Worst Movies Ever, and Ice Cream

Sep 21, 2017
On this latest episode, the Substandard discusses mother! and movies they never want to see again. Sonny admits he used to love Baskin Robbins bubble gum ice cream—two treats in one! JVL just might pay 7 euros for Irish ice cream. Vic refuses to pay $60 for steak. It’s a classic First World episode. Plus a word from our sponsor that’ll have you on the edge of your seat! The Substandard is sponsored by the Dollar Shave Club. Get their $5 starter box (a $15 value!) with free shipping by visiting dollarshaveclub.com/substandard. This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to the Substandard on iTunes, Google Play, or on Stitcher.  Read more

TMQ Podcast Week 2: Is the NFL's Quality in Decline?

Plus, what Don Shula really wants to see in an NFL coach.
Sep 20, 2017
Many football enthusiasts are asking—what’s happening with quality of play? Join Gregg Easterbrook and editor in chief Stephen F. Hayes as they discuss week two of the 2017 NFL season on the Tuesday Morning Quarterback podcast. This podcast can be downloaded here. Don't miss an episode! Subscribe to Tuesday Morning Quarterback podcast iTunes feed here.  Read more

Trump Sees Polling Bump after Hitting August Low-Point

Sep 20, 2017
After a months-long slide in the polls, President Trump has enjoyed a small bounce-back so far in September. The latest data came Wednesday in a Politico/Morning Consult poll, which shows Trump up to 43 percent from his nadir in August of 39 percent. From Politico: Some polls suggest Trump’s slight bump is the result of Republicans and some independents coming home. In this week’s POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, Trump was at 80 percent approval among Republican voters — up from 73 percent at his low-water mark. Among independents, Trump has bounced 5 percentage points, from 35 percent to 40 percent. Trump’s approval rating was virtually unchanged among Democratic voters, however.  Read more

Afternoon Links: Amazon's Baby Blunder, Understanding the Juggalos, and the Death of the Movies

Plus, will Alexa remember you after you're gone?
Sep 20, 2017
YOU get a baby, YOU get a baby, EVERYONE GETS A BABY! If you're not hip to the popular memes kids are using, that's an Oprah reference. Amazon mistakenly sent out an email to lots of people yesterday—perhaps hundreds of thousands—suggesting somebody bought something off of their (in most cases non-existent) baby registry. Unfortunately, the glitch brought some temporary pain to those who struggle with infertility. For others, there was momentary fear that Amazon knew something they did not. Whoops! Juggalos, how do they work? Our own Andrew Egger went to find out, as the intensely loyal followers of the Insane Clown Posse had a rally on the national mall to protest their treatment by law enforcement.  Read more

Survey Confirms What Many Suspected: Free Speech Is in Trouble

Many college students have beliefs about the First Amendment that are troubling, incorrect, or both.
Sep 20, 2017
Comes this week from the Brookings Institution a new survey by John Villasenor demonstrating that undergraduate students at four-year colleges and universities have no idea what the First Amendment means. Most believe that hate speech is constitutionally unprotected. Half think it’s fine for a student group to disrupt a speech by a very controversial figure whose views it disagrees with. Almost 20 percent say it’s OK for a student group to use violence—yes, violence—to prevent the speaker from speaking. A majority believe that compliance with the First Amendment requires a student group sponsoring a controversial speaker to also offer a speaker who takes an opposing view (it does not).  Read more

Trump Tap Vindication?

Hosted by Eric Felten.
Sep 20, 2017
Today on the Daily Standard podcast, senior writer Michael Warren comes by to talk with host Eric Felten about what to make of CNN's report that, during the campaign, Paul Manafort was the object of a federal wiretap. 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

The Unaccountable IRS

From the Sept. 25, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Sep 20, 2017
To understand the pragmatic realities of federal governance in the 21st century, one must recognize the existence of a fourth branch of government: the administrative state. We have some two million federal bureaucrats with extraconstitutional legislative powers. Not only do they write the reams of regulations that order our lives, they have the authority to enforce them capriciously. And thanks to absurd civil service protections, it is exceedingly difficult to hold them accountable for abuses of power, even when Congress demands it. Of course, you can’t censure federal bureaucrats for their crimes if you don’t even try.  Read more

Married, Bored, and Confused

From the Sept. 25, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Sep 20, 2017
Even if you hold no religious beliefs, you might want to consider adopting some simply for the sake of your wedding. That’s the conclusion I reached after attending several secular nuptial ceremonies in the years after college. There was little worse than listening to vows that had been made up by the bride and groom. Even the ones that are written by professionals are pretty bad—like this one I came across while researching a book on interfaith marriage: I, [Groom], take you, [Bride], with all my heart and soul, to be my wife, my friend, my love, and my lifelong companion. I promise to respect that our ideas and opinions may differ, and to remember that yours hold as much truth and value for you  Read more

The FDA Old Guard Backtracks on Rare Diseases—Again

From the Sept. 25, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Sep 20, 2017
Once again officials within the FDA are proposing to put other interests over the needs of dying patients, predominantly children. For more than three decades a group of FDA civil servants aligned with Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen has fought accelerated review of breakthrough drugs for devastating diseases. In the mid-1980s AIDS activists were the first to loosen the grip of this unholy alliance. Without the persistent campaigns of ACT UP and other activists, the FDA would not have approved the first AIDS treatment, AZT, in 1987.  Read more

There Is a Precedent for North Korea's Nuclear Threats—the Euromissiles Crisis

And President Trump would be wise to study Reagan's response.
Sep 20, 2017
The forces driving North Korea’s nuclear weapons program are reminiscent of Cold War strategies pursued by the Soviet Union. Most notable was Moscow’s decision in the mid-1970s to deploy 243 SS-20 intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) with three independently targetable warheads apiece and a range of 3,000 miles, putting major Western European capitals in their crosshairs. Aside from their explicit military capability, these mobile missiles epitomized a move by Moscow to decouple the United States from its transatlantic allies, whose security rested on anticipation that a Soviet invasion of NATO territory would precipitate a U.S. nuclear strike against the Soviet Union.  Read more

Prufrock: How AC Changed the World, Televangelist Hedonism, and the Problem with Teaching Today

Also: Joseph Bottum on violent protests, Philip Jenkins on The Dawn of Christianity, classic films on Netflix, and more.
Sep 20, 2017
Reviews and News: How air-conditioning changed the world: “In the beginning, it wasn’t the heat, but the humidity. In 1902, the workers at Sackett & Wilhelms Lithographing & Printing Company in New York City were fed up with the muggy summer air, which kept morphing their paper and ruining their prints. To fix the problem, they needed a humidity-control system. The challenge fell to a young engineer named Willis Carrier. He devised a system to circulate air over coils that were cooled by compressed ammonia. The machine worked beautifully, alleviating the humidity and allowing New York’s lithographers to print without fear of sweaty pages and runny ink. But Carrier had a bigger idea.  Read more