White House Watch: What Did Trump Really Say to the Fallen Soldier's Mom?

There’s no good, clean way out of Trump's latest controversy. Amid a days-long discussion about his willingness to call the families of armed service members killed in the line of duty, President Trump called the family of one Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the Green Berets killed earlier this month. Trump allegedly told the family that their hero “knew what he was getting into when he signed up” for the Army. Trump says this is a lie.

10/19/17 5:30 AM

Twitter Fights Are Killing America

The Twidiocracy has changed America, mostly for the worse. We are coarser, louder, more envious, more vain, and all-around more intolerant and intolerable than we were even 10 years ago. And it's not because we know each other less, but because we know each other more. Hell is knowing what other people think.

10/19/17 6:05 AM

The Latest O'Keefe Video Reveals an Important Truth About Media Bias

James O’Keefe’s undercover investigations of various liberal institutions have resulted in everything from congressional action to criminal charges filed against the conservative provocateur. His latest exposé reveals an important truth, but maybe not the one he intended.

Last July, he launched a series called American Pravda focused on CNN that aimed to show just how liberal the American media is, and in particular, how hostile they are to President Trump. He recently turned his hidden cameras toward the New York Times.

10/18/17 4:00 PM

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

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

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

Senators Announce 22 Cosponsors for Possibly Doomed Health Legislation

The Alexander-Murray bill has bipartisan support, but it looks wider than it does deep.
Oct 19, 2017
Reduced for the time being to pruning Obamacare, Sen. Lamar Alexander announced 11 Republican cosponsors Thursday afternoon to a health insurer subsidy bill the president may or may not like, conservatives detest, Senate Democrats embrace, and the House speaker has all but dismissed. The legislation would reimburse insurers for limiting the costs of certain low-income consumers in the individual market, an arrangement that existed from the Obama administration until Trump officials stopped making the payments, which a federal judge found in 2016 to be unconstitutional without congressional appropriation..  Read more

Pompeo: Al-Qaeda-Iran Connection an "Open Secret"

When he was in the House, the CIA director criticized Obama for downplaying the ties.
Oct 19, 2017
CIA director Mike Pompeo described the connection between Iran and al-Qaeda as an “open secret” Thursday, a relationship that he and others criticized the Obama White House for downplaying. “It’s an open secret and not classified information that there have been relationships, there are connections,” Pompeo said during an event held by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “There have been times the Iranians have worked alongside al-Qaeda.” Pompeo said that that cooperation sometimes occurs because the two view the West as a common enemy.  Read more

Warning: Reviewing Sally Quinn's New Book May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Andrew Ferguson takes a big risk.
Oct 19, 2017
Over at Commentary, our own Andrew Ferguson has a review of the “spiritual memoir” by Washington doyenne Sally Quinn, Finding Magic. Hoo boy, is it a doozy. “The book or the review?” you ask. Both. Read for yourself: Quinn begins with a loving portrait of her childhood in Georgia, where the family servants schooled her in voodoo. Her mother was already initiated. When the local vet misdiagnosed the family dachshund, Quinn tells us, Mom lost her temper and cried, “I hope you drop dead!” “And,” she writes laconically, “he did.” In the next chapter we learn that 10-year-old Sally came under the care of a doctor who upset her  Read more

Scalia Sweats

How the former justice became a great writer.
Oct 19, 2017
Justice Scalia was a terrific writer. And he thought about the craft, and what it requires. A short speech titled “Writing Well,” given to a group of legal writers who were giving him a lifetime achievement award, is fantastic. In the speech, as recounted in the recently released book Scalia Speaks, Scalia said legal writing does not exist—not as a separate genre of writing, the way poetry and playwriting do. “Rather, I think legal writing belongs to that large, undifferentiated unglamorous category of writing known as nonfiction prose.” Meaning that if you’re good as a legal writer, you could be “equivalently good” as a writer of history or economics or theology.  Read more

The Substandard on Arby's, Aging Action Stars, and the Apple Watch

Oct 19, 2017
The latest episode of the Substandard is a meaty one—we go on at length about sandwich joints and sandwich meats. Sonny discovers a steakhouse, JVL discovers Arby’s, but Vic discovers a woodshop class. We also discuss aging action stars—Sonny reviews The Foreigner. Plus Vic sounds like Edward Longshanks, JVL loves his new watch, and Sonny urges listeners to “get out of this hellhole while you can!” 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

Prufrock: Thomas Piketty's Flawed Methodology, a History of British Embassies, and Ghost Stories

Also: Against originality, Google's AI breakthroughs, Jennifer Egan's accomplishment, and more.
Oct 19, 2017
Reviews and News: A “wonderfully learned, gossipy and instructive” history of British embassies: In 1612, “a genial British diplomat, Sir Henry Wotton, got into trouble for defining an ambassador as an honest man who is sent abroad to lie for his country. Wotton’s protestation to the furious King James I that the word ‘lie’ meant merely ‘to reside’ fell on deaf ears. It was two years before the unlucky diplomat received a new posting... Back in Wotton’s day, courtier diplomats were expected to buy their own homes abroad. Only in 1799, at Lord Elgin’s request, was a plot of land granted in Constantinople for the building of the first British embassy abroad.  Read more

Millennials Love Capitalism—They Just Don't Know It

From the Oct. 23, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Oct 19, 2017
Oakland, Calif. "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.  Read more

Death Panels: Sarah Palin Was Right

From the Oct. 23, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Oct 19, 2017
Obamacare “repeal and replace” may have failed this year, but that doesn’t mean the Affordable Care Act can’t be significantly defanged. For example, there is still time to excise the Independent Payment Advisory Board from the law before it is up and running. IPAB’s stated purpose is to contain Medicare costs, a laudable goal. But the powers granted to the presidentially appointed and confirmed commissioners subvert democratic accountability and violate our constitutional system of separation of powers. They could, one day, be weaponized to implement invidious medical discrimination mandates—e.g., health-care rationing.  Read more

It's Xi's Party

Hosted by Eric Felten.
Oct 18, 2017
Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, frequent contributor Gordon Chang talks with host Eric Felten about Xi Jinping's opening speech at China's 19th Communist Party Congress. The Daily Standard podcast is sponsored by TrackR. Find list items in seconds with TrackR technology. Go to TheTrackR.com and enter the promotion code STANDARD for 20% off any order. This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.  Read more

TMQ Podcast: College Football Makes Big Money. Why Is Your Donation Tax-Deductible?

Oct 18, 2017
What will become of the Packers now that Aaron Rodgers is injured? And why does Congress allow donations to college football programs to be tax deductible? Join Gregg Easterbrook and Stephen F. Hayes, as they discuss these and other questions on the latest episode of 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

The Latest O'Keefe Video Reveals an Important Truth About Media Bias

Namely, the ideological leanings of editors who are cogs in the machine are not the real problem.
Oct 18, 2017
James O’Keefe’s undercover investigations of various liberal institutions have resulted in everything from congressional action to criminal charges filed against the conservative provocateur. His latest exposé reveals an important truth, but maybe not the one he intended. Last July, he launched a series called American Pravda focused on CNN that aimed to show just how liberal the American media is, and in particular, how hostile they are to President Trump. He recently turned his hidden cameras toward the New York Times.  Read more

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

More misconceptions in a health reform debate.
Oct 18, 2017
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  Read more

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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