Calm, Cool, Collected?



It's mature to be calm. Republicans are nothing if not mature. It’s chic to be cool. Republicans yearn to be chic. It’s a sign of gravitas to be collected. Republicans have gravitas. And so Republicans, from candidates to consultants to commentators, cultivate a calm, cool, and collected affect. Keep calm and carry on, they say soberly and sagely to each other.

Which is fine if you’re in the midst of the struggle, and your forces are already fully committed to the fight. But if you’re rallying your troops, and trying to persuade others that they need to join the fight, it’s not so great to be calm, cool, and collected. You need energy more than sobriety. You need blood, sweat, and tears. You need a punching bag more than a yoga mat.

Republicans are on the eve of the fight of a lifetime. Winning control of the Senate in November is necessary to mitigate the damage the Obama administration can do ...

Benghazi Lies

Benghazi Lies


In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed last summer by Judicial Watch, the Obama administration last week released 41 documents related to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. An email from the deputy national security adviser, ...


Getting Ready for a Bad Deal

Israel’s security establishment steps up.



The world’s attention was largely turned to Ukraine last week. To the extent that the Middle East was on the front pages, the focus was the new agreement between the PLO and Hamas, its implications for the “peace process,” and John Kerry’s comment about Israel as an “apartheid state.” 

But in Israel a different subject was getting a lot of attention: Iran’s nuclear program. April 28 was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and that was the context in which Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about Iran at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. 

Netanyahu discussed the world’s blind refusal to see what was coming in the 1930s despite all the evident warnings: “How is it possible that so many people failed to understand reality? The bitter, tragic truth is this: It is not that they did not see. They did not want to see.” He then asked, “Has the world learned [from] the mistakes of the past? Today we again ...

Shutdown the GOP

Shut Up, They Explained

The illiberal left.


A favorite saying of liberals not long ago was: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” Hillary Clinton, then a senator, said it. It was on bumper stickers. John Kerry, also a senator, said in 2006, as violence engulfed Iraq, that dissent in wartime and support for a war are ...

Gary Locke

The Slush Fund

How Obamacare pays off insurers.


When the government provides medical care, it normally delegates the task. Under Medicare, Washington doesn’t employ doctors, nurses, and hospitals to treat the elderly. It has to coax them to participate. Similarly, Obamacare functions only if big insurance companies are willing ...

Algerian youths clash with security forces in Kabylia, April 2014

Rumors of Instability

Is Bouteflika losing control in Algeria?


Plus ça change. .  .  . Algeria, ever obedient to the wishes of the army and Security Services, reelected its ailing and elderly president in a landslide on April 17. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, known as Boutef for short, garnered 82 percent of the vote in a virtually uncontested ...

Michael Dorausch

Diminishing Returns

The campaign against (if you can believe it) third-hand smoke.


Still fresh from victories over both cigarettes and the secondhand smoke they emit, many public health advocates have turned their attention to new supposed hazards: e-cigarette “vapor” and “thirdhand” smoke. While the previous campaigns to prevent smoking have had positive results, the ...

Regional power at work: Ukrainian troops held captive by pro-Russian militia

Russia as a Regional Power

Has Obama given up on Putin? Let’s hope so.


It's hard to look on the bright side of the dismemberment of a sovereign state by force of arms. But because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the ongoing threat Vladimir Putin intends to pose to eastern Ukraine, the Obama administration must now face international reality free ...


He Chose Wrong

Gabriel García Márquez’s ignoble decision to embrace Fidel Castro


Fidel Castro with García Márquez, 2000

While the encomia from world leaders and cultural figures continue to pour in after the death of Gabriel García Márquez at the age of 87 last month, a Charles Lane column in the Washington Post last week on the 1982 Nobel Prize-winning novelist threatened to reopen a 40-year-old wound. Lane recalled the Padilla Affair​—​the arrest, imprisonment, and show trial of a Cuban poet, an episode that once divided writers and intellectuals across the world, with García Márquez coming down on the wrong side.

In 1971 Cuban state security jailed the poet Heberto Padilla for a book that appeared to criticize the revolution and its father, Fidel Castro. Padilla was forced to confess his sins and denounce other transgressors, a handful of Cuban writers including his wife Belkis Cuza Malé, also a poet. Padilla apologized to Castro, to whom, as Padilla said, he had ...

Dave Malan

So You Want to Live Forever

Immortality through advanced technology and primitive diet


Mountain View, Calif.
Aubrey de Grey, 51, is the man who insists that within a few decades technology will enable us human beings to beat death and live forever. Actually, he’s not the only one to make these ...

Books & Arts

Natural Wonder

Celebrating the art (and life) of Thomas Bewick.


Old woman with ducks from ‘A History of British Birds’

When we first meet Jane Eyre in Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, she is hiding behind the curtains reading a forbidden book that transports her to the polar tundra: 

In these forlorn regions of unknowable dreary space, this reservoir of frost and snow, where firm fields of ice, the accumulation of centuries of winters, glazed in Alpine heights above heights, surround the pole, and concentre the multiplied rigours of extreme cold; even here .  .  . there appears to subsist an abundance of animals, in the air, and in the waters.

Jane is gripped. Her lonely, 10-year-old imagination flies to the extremities of the earth, where still lonelier creatures survive against the odds. She isn’t ...

An Ugarit letter from King Ini-Teshup of Karkemish, 13th-12th century b.c.

Mediterranean Mystery

A sudden, and inscrutable, Bronze Age catastrophe.


Okay, history buffs, let’s do a brief test, a free-association game about the Bronze Age. I say Mycenae, you instantly shout out, “Agamemnon.” I say ...

Gwen Edelman

Horror Hits Home

A tale of the Warsaw Ghetto and its aftermath.


In October 1940, the Germans, with help from the Poles, crammed 400,000 Jews into the Warsaw ghetto. They sealed off the ghetto from the rest of the city with six-foot-high walls topped with barbed wire, ensuring that few could escape. ...

James Mason and friend in ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ (1954)

Hello, Suckers

What you don’t know about the versatile octopus.


This volume is full of unexpected revelations, not for the squeamish, starting with the fact that the preferred plural of “octopus” is “octopuses,” not “octopi.” Octopuses, we learn, can lurch onto land and can change color and shape in seconds. After ...

‘Wheel of Fortune’ on location in Las Vegas (2013)

Vanna-ty Fare

The confessions of a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ fan.


Let me say, remotely alluding to Robert Frost, that something there is that loves a puzzle. Any kind of ...

Leslie Mann, Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton

Variation on a Theme

An old idea gets a surprisingly fresh treatment.


Adultery comedies usually follow a pat formula: A perfectly sensible married person is being cheated on. Revenge is plotted, and the punishment usually involves taking advantage of the fact that the person with whom the spouse is cheating is either a ...


Uncommon Grounds

Jonathan V. Last, Java man


Jori Bolton

The affair ended as suddenly as it began.

Twelve years ago I purchased a mid-grade espresso machine. It wasn’t the sort of thing they sell at Macy’s, but neither was it one of the beautiful, artisanal devices that start north of $1,000. It was, I told myself at the time, firmly in the range of acceptable indulgence. In the ensuing years, it was put to use—at roughly 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.—pretty much every day. And what espresso it made.

I used only Illy grounds. Illy is a fancy Italian coffee, and while you can find the beans in most supermarkets today, it was different when I first started using it. When Illy came into my life—this was back in 2001—it was packaged in beautiful, silver canisters, and you could only get them by striking up a relationship with someone who imported Italian food and could special order the stuff. My friend Scott introduced me to Illy. He, in turn, had been ...


Jay Carney's Pants on Fire


Werner Dannhauser

Werner Dannhauser, 1929-2014

We're sorry to report the death last week of Werner Dannhauser, whom we had the honor of occasionally publishing in these pages. He was a serious thinker and a graceful writer, dealing with a wide variety of topics with an unusual combination of elegance and directness, and of ...

Terry Teachout

Three Cheers

The Scrapbook heartily congratulates Weekly Standard friend and sometime contributor Terry Teachout, who was just announced as the recipient of a 2014 Bradley Prize. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation annually presents up to four awards to “individuals of extraordinary talent ...


Botched Execution

Last week’s “botched execution” of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma has rekindled the national debate about capital punishment. Not that the debate needed much rekindling. Since 1972, when the Supreme Court essentially suspended capital punishment, and ...


The Dept. of Tweet

There was a lot to lament on Twitter last week, as always, but perhaps nothing more appalling than the spectacle of our diplomats beclowning themselves, as they unleashed their vaunted soft power on Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

As part of ...


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