Tuesday Morning Quarterback: A League of Fraidy-Cats at Kickoff

The big play of the 2011 Saints’ Super Bowl victory was a surprise onside kick. The big play of the 2016 Alabama college national title win was a surprise onside kick. These weren’t just plays that worked in ho-hum contests—they were plays that won championships. Yet the surprise onside remains among football’s rarest tactics, at least at the professional and big-college levels. What gives?

11/21/17 10:30 AM

Is Virginia Permanently Blue Now?

If Virginia is now simply a blue state no Republican can ever win, Republicans might feel a bit less panicked about their chances in the wider 2018 midterm elections. And if Democrats misunderstand why they won in Virginia, they make incorrect choices about how to allocate resources next year.

11/21/17 8:18 AM

Trump Is Right: Five Ways Chinese Car Makers Are Hosing America

China has announced that it will soon be marketing its cars in the United States. The People’s Republic is the largest manufacturer of cars in the world, selling more vehicles than Japan and the United States combined. And not because they make such great vehicles.

11/21/17 5:05 AM

White House Watch: The Trump Administration Moves to Embrace Roy Moore

For nearly two weeks, the White House has been tiptoeing around the sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore, neither condemning nor defending the embattled Senate candidate, who has been accused of pursuing teenage girls for dates as a grown man and even touching a 14-year-old girl sexually when he was 32.

But on Monday, White House officials had a new message—one not quite endorsing Moore, but making it clear they’re rooting for him. The shift began on Fox & Friends Monday morning, when senior advisor Kellyanne Conway veered from a discussion of tax reform to slam Moore’s Democratic opponent.

“Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don’t be fooled,” Conway said. “He will be a

11/21/17 4:55 AM

A Philosopher on the Decline of the English Countryside, Brexit, and the European Project

A crisp, autumnal morning in the Vale of Malmesbury, 80 miles west of London. Watery skies, clay soil, and gentle hills quilted with the ancient pattern of cows and sheep, hedges and coppices, stone farmhouses and industrial barns. At Sunday Hill Farm in Brinkworth, the range was fired up early, and the kitchen is busy. Half a dozen apple pies are cooling on the table, a partially carved leg of cold lamb waits on the sideboard, and a dog dances under everyone’s feet. The annual Apple Festival begins in just over an hour’s time. “It’s a rather strange event,” Sir Roger Scruton reflects. “Like all traditions, it’s an invented one.

11/17/17 3:00 AM

Predicting the Failure of ISIS

The Islamic State's smattering of remaining strongholds in Iraq and Syria are under siege. At the height of the self-declared caliphate’s power in mid-2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s men controlled large swaths of both countries. Today, the jihadists hold only a few towns straddling the Iraqi-Syrian border. The U.S. military announced this week that Iraqi forces are advancing on the group’s positions in western Anbar Province, where Baghdadi’s loyalists are clinging to the rump of their once-expansive “nation.” Two competing coalitions—one backed by the United States, the other sponsored by Russia and Iran—have encircled what’s left of the gang’s forces just across the border in

11/17/17 3:00 AM

Google Says It will "De-Rank" RT and Sputnik

Just one small problem.
1:10 PM, Nov 21, 2017
Google honcho Eric Schmidt has announced that his ubiquitous search engine will move to “de-rank” RT and Sputnik, two Kremlin-owned news sites. At an event in Canada over the weekend, Schmidt accused RT—a television network and website—and Sputnik—an online news service and radio station—of spreading “misinformation—or worse.” And so, Google is “working on de-ranking those kinds of sites,” he said. The company will remove their content from Google’s news page, and also to make it harder to find their work through searches. (A huge amount of traffic is delivered to news sites through search engines.  Read more

The Substandard on Justice League and Thanksgiving Bracketology!

11:30 AM, Nov 21, 2017
In this week’s Thanksgiving episode, the Substandard takes on Justice League. But just how bad is it? Like, Suicide Squad bad? (JVL: Yes.) Sonny runs us through a Thanksgiving bracket: pecan vs. pumpkin pie? turkey vs. stuffing? Vic judges a whiskey competition (Sonny couldn’t have been happier for him!) and bids farewell to woodshop. All in this latest mega episode of the Substandard! The Substandard is sponsored by HelloFresh.com. HelloFresh is the meal kit delivery service that makes cooking fun, easy, and convenient! For $30 off your first week of deliveries, visit hellofresh.com and enter SUBSTANDARD30 when you subscribe! This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to the Substandard on iTunes, Google  Read more

Prufrock: Multidimensional Martin Luther, Against Pop Culture, and the Meaning of Time

Also: In defense of Amazon's Lord of the Rings venture, and more.
11:00 AM, Nov 21, 2017
Reviews and News: Patricia Nelson Limerick reviews Caroline Fraser’s “absorbing” biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder: “‘Several farmers,’ a Missouri newspaper noted around 1910, ‘and particularly those interested in poultry, have inquired who Mrs. A. J. Wilder is.’ Though not a well-traveled path to literary success, writing columns for farm journals gave Wilder a source of income that would, in an arrangement still followed by many rural families, supplement the finances of the struggling farm where she lived with her husband, Almanzo, while also providing repeated opportunities to practice the craft of writing.  Read more

Is Virginia Permanently Blue Now?

There are lessons for both Republicans and Democrats in Ralph Northam's victory.
8:18 AM, Nov 21, 2017
If Virginia is now simply a blue state no Republican can ever win, Republicans might feel a bit less panicked about their chances in the wider 2018 midterm elections. And if Democrats misunderstand why they won in Virginia, they make incorrect choices about how to allocate resources next year. Read more

Afternoon Links: Pro Se Litigants for the Win, Louise Linton Raked Over the Coals

Plus, good news for Monsanto!
Nov 20, 2017
Occupational Licensing Stinks. At the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf laments the declining right to earn a living. While criticism of occupational licensing is not a new or novel concept (we've covered it extensively), I did learn something sort of horrifying: Tree trimmers and cosmetologists in some locales are required to undergo more training than do EMTs. Pro Se can you see? Pro se litigants are often crazy, and they often waste many a judge's time with novel legal theories. Sometimes, though, they hit on something big.  Read more

The Senate's Taxing Job

Hosted by Eric Felten.
Nov 20, 2017
Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, senior writer Tony Mecia talks with host Eric Felten about where tax reform goes now, and the senators who might be hurdles to its passage in the Senate. The Daily Standard is sponsored by Tripping.com. Did you know that the average family visits 5 websites before booking a vacation rental? With Tripping.com, one search lets you filter, compare and sort over 10 million available properties on trusted sites like VRBO, TripAdvisor, Booking.com and more. Don’t wonder if you’re getting the best deal – you’ll save an average of 18 percent per night by booking your vacation with Tripping.com. This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's  Read more

Trump Returns North Korea to List of State Sponsors of Terrorism

Officials cite the death of Kim Jong-un's brother as an act of terror.
Nov 20, 2017
President Donald Trump announced Monday that the United States would once again designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, reversing a change made under the George W. Bush administration. “Today the United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Should have happened a long time ago,” Trump told reporters at the beginning of a Monday morning Cabinet meeting. Trump said that the formal declaration will be issued Tuesday, along with increased sanctions on North Korea that will be “the highest level of sanctions” ever.  Read more

Pennsylvania's Senate Race Will Be a Battle Royale

And a referendum on Trump.
Nov 20, 2017
Pennsylvania’s kaleidoscopic regions—divided by geography and socio-economics—make predicting its electoral outcomes a perpetual guessing game. But Pennsylvania also suffers the sentence handed down by James Carville. He once described the state as Paoli (suburban Philadelphia) and Penn Hills (suburban Pittsburgh) with Alabama in the middle. The quip lingers as the go-to synopsis for commentators. But it’s a misleading portrayal that contributes to inaccurate campaign forecasts. Next year’s U.S. Senate race between Bob Casey, Jr., the two-term Democratic incumbent, and Lou Barletta, a popular Republican congressman from northeastern Pennsylvania, will once again discredit Carville’s  Read more

NYT White House Correspondent Suspended After Allegations of Inappropriate Sexual Advances

Vox details claims by several young female journalists accusing Thrush of drunken propositions.
Nov 20, 2017
The New York Times suspended one of its star reporters Monday after allegations surfaced that he had made inappropriate sexual advances toward younger colleagues throughout his career. Vox reported allegations from several female reporters that Glenn Thrush, a prominent White House correspondent for the Times, had drunkenly propositioned them during evening work events. The piece was written by Vox's editorial director Laura McGann and includes her own encounter with Thrush. After one such incident, Thrush exchanged texts with a reporter’s friend after a drunken encounter had left her in tears. Vox has screen shots of the texts. The reporter said Thrush had repeatedly tried to take her hand and kiss her, then left  Read more

Prufrock: The Politics of C. S. Lewis, a Short History of Flash Photography, and Roger Scruton on the Farm

Also: An amateur challenges Magnus Carlsen, Marvel names a new editor in chief, and more.
Nov 20, 2017
Reviews and News: Max Deutsch is an amateur chess player with a knack for learning quickly. He wondered if he could beat the world’s best with only a month of training, so he challenged Magnus Carlsen to a match. Carlsen accepted. “In Carl Schmitt’s masterful but underappreciated essay of 1923, Roman Catholicism and Political Form—written well before his apostasy to Nazism in the early 1930s—Schmitt twice uses precisely the same phrase: ‘the machine has no tradition.’ The repetition seems entirely deliberate and suggests that the idea is near the center of Schmitt’s argument.  Read more

White House Watch: Trump Twitter Can Still Shock You

Why is tweeting about Jeff Flake more important to the president than passing tax reform?
Nov 20, 2017
Donald Trump’s predictable unpredictability on Twitter has gone from a frustration to a mere annoyance for Capitol Hill, his cabinet, and his White House staff. Amazingly enough, Washington seems to have factored Trump’s tweets into the complex equation of how government works. But the president still has the ability to shock on the social media platform—and now with double the characters. The first jaw-dropping tweet came Sunday morning. Last week Trump had egged on UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball after the 18-year-old and two of his teammates were released from a Chinese prison, where they were being held for shoplifting.  Read more

Surprise: The Polling on the Roy Moore - Doug Jones Race In Alabama Is Awfully Close

Nov 20, 2017
Donald Trump won Alabama by 28 points. But as of Sunday, Democratic candidate Doug Jones leads Roy Moore by less than a percentage point. This race is moving fast and will likely stay at the center of elections news in the coming weeks. So it’s worth asking: What do (and what don’t) we know about the state of the race right now? Read more

Confab: Does Trump Make the Grade?

Hosted by Eric Felten.
Nov 19, 2017
This week on the Confab, executive editor Fred Barnes scores the Trump presidency. And Ethan Epstein talks about a strange fix for the failing Washington Metro system. This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.  Read more

Kristol Clear: Sex and Taxes

Hosted by Eric Felten.
Nov 18, 2017
This week on the Kristol Clear Podcast, editor at large Bill Kristol talks with host Eric Felten about the need for accountability, responsibility, and deliberation in our politics. The Kristol Clear podcast is sponsored by The Great Courses. Our listeners can enjoy an entire month of unlimited access to watch any of their lectures for FREE – but you need to sign up through our special URL: TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/STANDARD This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.  Read more

All the News You Are Glad You Missed

A climate circus, a butter shortage, and Holocaust revisionism.
Nov 18, 2017
It was a busy news week. The president was in Asia attempting to prevent both North Korea from going nuclear and a rigged trading system from destroying the American economy. Roy Moore was attempting to hang in there so he can turn Alabama blue and turn the Senate over to the Democrats. Congress was trying to pass a tax bill that will benefit big (but not small) business and repeal the mandate that undergirds health care for the old and the sick. With all of that going on, you might have missed the really important news.  Read more

Afternoon Links: How to Save Thanksgiving, a D.C. Bicycle Race, and the Return of Prohibition

Plus, an exit interview with Chris Christie.
Nov 17, 2017
With Thanksgiving approaching, can't we all agree? Thanksgiving is a tough time for the politically inclined (even worse for the disinclined, I suspect!) This year, I think we can all come together and put our disagreements aside to agree on a simple truth: mayonnaise is disgusting. Why is there disgusting mayo on everything? Popular Science explains: There is a reason, rooted in food science, to include mayonnaise on sandwiches - moist food tastes better. The moisture helps the saliva in our mouth work more effectively and carries more flavors than dry foods. But, mayonnaise isn't the only food that can do the job. A little bit of olive oil, (or olive oil and vinegar), works as well, as does mustard  Read more

New York Times Reporter: Obama Administration Misled on al Qaeda

The new bin Laden documents make clear that there was intelligence politicization during the 2012 campaign.
Nov 17, 2017
A top foreign correspondent at the New York Times said Friday that the Obama administration deliberately downplayed al Qaeda’s strength in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. “The overall narrative that I think was being pushed to the press, and if you look back at the editorials that were done when that trove came out, was an image of bin Laden isolated, he had lost control of this group,” Rukmini Callimachi said during an event at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, referring to the 17 hand-picked documents released by the Obama administration in May of 2012.  Read more

Will Clinton Allies Push Back Against the Bill Clinton Backlash?

At least one former aide is already doing so.
Nov 17, 2017
The wave of sexual abuse allegations against men from Harvey Weinstein to Roy Moore has prompted significant reflection among liberals about how Bill Clinton’s misdeeds were handled and how his accusers were treated in the 1990s. New York senator Kirsten Gillbrand, who holds the seat that Hillary Clinton occupied from 2001-2009, said Thursday that Bill Clinton should have resigned for the Lewinsky affair. That prompted a public warning shot from Phillipe Reines, a longtime Clinton aide and senior advisor to Hillary Clinton at the State Department: Ken Starr spent $70 million on a consensual blowjob. Senate voted to keep POTUS WJC. But not enough for you @SenGillibrand? Over 20 yrs you took the  Read more

Fact Check: Did the Tehama County Shooter Exploit a Loophole to Obtain His Weapons?

Nov 17, 2017
Correction, Nov. 17, 3:27 p.m.: Fact Check originally wrote that state law prohibited Neal from owning or making a gun. In fact, he was prohibited under the Federal Gun Act. The piece has been updated accordingly. *** Did Kevin Janson Neal exploit a “legal loophole” to obtain the weapons he used to kill five people in rural northern California on Tuesday? That was one claim from a report from NBC that featured several incorrect, misleading, or unclear statements. “Experts say Neal apparently exploited a legal loophole that enabled him to get around California’s tough gun laws,” the article states, “by ordering the parts for a weapon that is illegal in that state — and  Read more

Prufrock: The Museum of the Bible, Why There Are So Few Conservative Professors, and Edvard Munch's Norway

Also: Climate change and ancient civilizations, Yeats's glasses, and more.
Nov 17, 2017
Reviews and News: Climate change did not cause ancient civilizations to collapse. Christine Rosen visits the Museum of the Bible in DC: “How do you engage the citizens of an increasingly secular country, whose founding was nevertheless indelibly marked by principles found in this book, with its history? How do you create a space that acknowledges the cultural primacy of the Bible while also respecting the heterodox religious past and present of the United States? How can an institution talk about one of the world’s most controversial texts without itself becoming a flashpoint for controversy? The short answer: It can’t.” The New York Public Library releases a new plan for renovating its  Read more