Goodnight Vienna

Featured image The parties have returned to Vienna to wrap up the imminent nuclear deal with Iran. Why not Munich? It would be more fitting, but Vienna signifies in its own way. John Lennon contributed the title song to Ringo Starr for Ringo’s 1974 album Goodnight Vienna. As a result, I have come to understand that the phrase Goodnight Vienna is English slang for “it’s all over.” So “Goodnight Vienna” it is. »

Ben Wattenberg, RIP

Featured imageSad news today of the passing of Ben Wattenberg at the age of 81. Wattenberg, who had been an aide to Lyndon Johnson, was one of the “liberals mugged by reality” who created “neoconservatism.” I first read Wattenberg’s late 1960s book (co-authored with Richard Scammon) The Real Majority when I was an undergraduate. The Real Majority wasn’t exactly the inspiration for Nixon’s “silent majority” of putatively conservative voters. Rather, Wattenberg »

Puerto Rico Goes Broke

Featured imageMost eyes have been on Greece, where events are coming to a climax. Meanwhile, a less-noticed financial collapse has overtaken Puerto Rico. That commonwealth has racked up debts of $72 billion, which seems astonishing for an island with a population of 3.6 million, not much more than Iowa. Puerto Rico’s governor now says that “the debt is not payable.” That seems to be true of a lot of sovereign debt »

Jury Rejects Conservative Law Professor’s Discrimination Claim

Featured imageWe have written several times–here, here and here–about the case of Teresa Wagner (now Teresa Manning), an “out” conservative law professor who sued the University of Iowa law school for discrimination based on her political beliefs. The facts of the case seemed powerful: The underlying facts of the case are outrageous. They are what made the case important and newsworthy. Professor Wagner sought a full-time legal writing position at the »

The Decadence of the Liberal Mind in One Sentence

Featured imageAs the Greek economy continues its predictable slow motion collapse, one of the early WSJ accounts of the inevitable bank closures and capital controls imposed yesterday has one of the funniest sentences I’ve read in a long time, but which is also fully revealing of the decadence of the liberal mind: “How can something like this happen without prior warning?” asked Angeliki Psarianou, a 67-year-old retired public servant, who stood »

Our false messiah

Featured imagePresident Obama recently denied that he ever promised, if elected, to heal our partisan divides. Referring to our so-called political gridlock, thus spake Obama at a fundraising event at the home of Tyler Perry: “When I ran in 2008, I in fact did not say I would fix it. I said we could fix it. I didn’t say, ‘Yes, I can.’ I said, ‘Yes, we can.’” As David Rutz demonstrates »

Presumed guilty: Duke revisited

Featured imageLast week FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff posted the video below on InstaPundit with a link to this post introducing it. The video is also posted on YouTube with this introduction: In 2006, the nation was rocked by allegations that three Duke lacrosse players had raped a woman named Crystal Mangum at an off-campus party. As Mangum’s story began to unravel, the focus of the case shifted from the supposed criminal behavior »

Report: U.S. Gives In On Iran Inspections [Updated]

Featured imageIsraeli news sources report that the U.S. and its negotiating partners have given in to Iran’s insistence that it will not allow inspections of its nuclear weapons facilities: The P5+1 countries led by the United States under Barack Obama have caved in to Iranian demands and will not insist on inspections of nuclear installations as part of a deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Channel 1 reported Sunday. Of course »

Aging and sentimentality in judges

Featured imageBefore I head to Europe, let me expand, using thoughts Bill Otis presented to me, on why I think older judges are more likely than younger ones to decide cases based on sentiment. Resisting sentimentality requires discipline and energy. Discipline can subside with the onset of old age. As Bill puts it: By the time they get to their sixties, most talented lawyers have essentially made it in life, and »

The Wages of Bork

Featured imageIncreasingly it appears that the failure of the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork in 1987 was a watershed moment for the history of jurisprudence over the last generation, as Anthony Kennedy has been so central to so many bad rulings (and, fairness demands, a handful of good ones, like Citizens United). While Chief Justice Roberts’s jurisprudence may remain inscrutable, nothing about Kennedy should surprise us, though. It was known »

Post-Obergefell Civil Rights: A Tangle or a Knot?

Featured imageRemember the Hobby Lobby decision last year, where the Supreme Court sided with employers whose religious faith led them to object to the Obamacare mandate that all health insurance policies must offer contraceptive coverage? The authoritarian and conformist left howled with indignation. Get ready for a lot of sequels in the aftermath of Obergefell. On Friday the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in America issued a very gracious statement about »

Could Gay Marriage Lead to . . . Tax Reform?

Featured imageMorningafterwise, we didn’t have to wait long for conjectures like this from Time: Now’s the Time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions . . .  Rather than try to rescue tax-exempt status for organizations that dissent from settled public policy on matters of race or sexuality, we need to take a more radical step. It’s time to abolish, or greatly diminish, their tax-exempt statuses. Or the New York Times »

AIPAC enters the fray

Featured imageUntil now the Obama administration seemed to have domesticated and neutered AIPAC, the proudly pro-Israel lobbying group. Michael Oren’s memoir Ally, published this past Tuesday, confirms this impression. Attending the annual AIPAC Minnesota dinner in Minneapolis last month, however, I was struck by the strong position taken on the imminent Iran deal. AIPAC set forth five criteria for an acceptable deal that would obviously obligate the organization to oppose the »

Media Alert

Featured imageI will be guest hosting Laura Ingraham’s radio show tomorrow; it airs live from 9 to 12 Eastern. You can go here find a station in your area. We have an excellent lineup of guests and it should be a fun show, even though the news we will be discussing is mostly bad. If you miss the show live, you can get highlights via podcast on iTunes. If you are »

Off to Europe

Featured imageI will be in Europe for the next two weeks. In Paris, where I’ll be for a large portion of the trip, the Eiffel Tower will be illuminated, but presumably not in rainbow colors to celebrate gay marriage. Sad to say, the governments of the countries I’ll be visiting all have a better understanding of Iran, and world as a whole, than President Obama does. What a sad commentary. If, »

The quest for ideological purity in Supreme Court Justices

Featured imageIn our podcast last week, we tried to explain why Democratic-appointed Supreme Court Justices march in lockstep in the big, closely divided Supreme Court cases, while one Republican-appointed Justice (Anthony Kennedy) cannot be counted on at all to vote with his more reliably conservative brethren and a second (John Roberts) has parted company in two of most important cases decided in his tenure. I offered one possible explanation. Liberalism, I »

Will Dems apologize?

Featured imageIn an open letter to DNC Chairman Debbie Blabbermouth Schultz, Jeffrey Lord provides a readout of the tangled history of the Democratic Party with slavery, segregation, lynching, and the Ku Klux Klan. Lord draws on the Democratic Party platforms of 1840, 1844, 1856 and 1860. He adds that, as the Civil War drew to a close, the Democrats opposed the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment (ending slavery), and proceeded afterwards »