Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Don’t double down on clichés!

Featured image In The Elements of Style, William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White lay down the immortal injunction: “Omit needless words.” The injunction beautifully embodies the principle. It is a model of expressive form. Strunk and White drily observe: “Many expressions in common use violate this principle.” To this rule I would add: Avoid clichés. They deaden writing. They are an enemy of clear thought. In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal Barton Swaim »

‘Twas a famous ending

Featured image Those of us of a certain age recall that Jimmy Carter began his term in office as president declaring that we had overcome our inordinate fear of Communism. As William Buckley probably pointed out at the time, Carter never did explain what the “ordinate” fear of Commmunism was or would have been. Rather, he was, as a certain critical biography of Carter points out, declaring an end to the Cold »

The Obama file

Featured image From the first days of his administration, President Obama has sought to befriend our enemies and betray our allies. Those of us who understood Obama as a member of the leftover left with friends in all the likely places have not been surprised. How could we find Obama taking in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright over all those years and not get a clue? As we see in his yammering to »

Just a lie before he goes

Featured image Taking a few questions following a statement on the dire situation in Iraq that President Obama gave on the White House lawn as he departed for his Martha’s Vineyard vacation (White House transcript here, White House video here), President Obama availed himself of the any port in a storm tactic that has helped him so much along his way. The reporter asking the last question Obama deigned to field wondered »

Boyhood: A brief note

Featured image We went to see the film Boyhood last night, and I want to recommend it to readers who might otherwise overlook it in the film industry’s recurring summer of crud. It’s a movie for adults about time and love and (the modern) family. I am not familiar with writer/director Richard Linklater, but I want to mention his name here as the man without whom the film wouldn’t exist. For whatever »

The seven ages of man updated

Featured image My worldly wise acquaintance who commented in the adjacent post on Obama’s interview with Tom Friedman also sent along this related thought on an updated version of the Seven Ages of Man expounded by Jaques in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. I thought some readers might appreciate this: Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages of Man” today would be something like 1.) no-score soccer camp; 2.) gender-neutral school; 3.) Model UN; 4.) An »

Obama’s map of misreading: A comment

Featured image I asked the person who is perhaps the most worldly wise man I know if he would comment on Obama’s interview with Obama apostle Tom Friedman as related yesterday in the Times article “Obama on the world.” Noting the stupidity of Obama’s comments to Friedman, and Obama’s incessant yammering, I asked my acquaintance what he made of the whole production. He responded with the following comment, which I thought readers »

Obama’s map of misreading

Featured image It’s not unusual for Obama to regale us with his deep thoughts. He does it all the time. Not for him the adage (I think it’s Mark Twain’s) that “it’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.” No, Obama speaks on matters great and small with “the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces” (Twain again). Obama called in one »

Hypocrisy over Gaza

Featured image In the video below, “atheist internet personality” (as Wikipedia styles him) Pat Condell addresses the ongoing hostilities between Hamas and Israel. He picks up a number of themes that we have developed in connection with the conflict. Condell mentions, for example, the terror tunnels of Gaza that were built in part with child labor. Paul wrote about them here. Condell addresses his comments (titled “Hypocrisy over Gaza”) to “progressive humanitarians” »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image If it’s Friday, it just occurred to me, it’s time for Ammo Grrrll. She calls this edition of her thoughts STUCK ON STUPID. Grrrll, take it away: At the risk of appearing to pander, I am going to assert that, based on the quality of comments, Power Line regulars are smarter than the average bears. However, I have read that in surveys, almost everyone rates himself or herself as “above »

Did the press uncover Watergate?

Featured image I wrote about Edward Jay Epstein to introduce the video interview with him regarding Edward Snowden here yesterday. I have been one of Ed’s fans for a long time. I vividly remember reading his classic Commentary essay “Did the press uncover Watergate?” when it was published in 1974. Commentary has posted it online here, Ed on his own site here. We didn’t know for certain in 1974, when Ed published »

The Hannity tapes

Featured image Sean Hannity has been on fire during the Gaza war, especially on his syndicated radio show. He understands what is happening and wants to make sure that his audience understands. This week he has taken his radio and FOX News cable shows to Israel. Yesterday he concluded his visit to Israel on a high note, with an interview of Benjamin Netanyahu. Video segments from Israel are posted here, including the »

Edward Jay Epstein: Who is Edward Snowden?

Featured image As I have frequently observed here, Edward Jay Epstein is incapable of writing a dull book. He is the author, most recently, of a new edition of Deception: The Once and Future Cold War as well as The JFK Assassination Diary: My Search for Answers to the Mystery of the Century, published in paperback (available here) and as an ebook (available on Amazon here), reflecting his longstanding interest in the »

The factory in the basement

Featured image With a little help from our friends we cut the video below of Rick Leventhal’s report broadcast on FOX News earlier this week. I think the video is a Power Line exclusive and wanted to take the liberty of drawing your attention to it while repeating the inferences I drew in case you missed what I wrote it in “Tweeting Rick Leventhal.” (I didn’t have the video when I originally »

Our man at the bridge

Featured image My daughter Eliana has written a terrific profile of our man at the bridge, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. It appears in the August 11 issue of National Review under the title “Amnesty’s worst enemy” and has now been posted online. I learned a lot from it and wanted to bring it to your attention in case you missed it. It discusses the forces behind the execrable “comprehensive immigration reform” »

Netanyahu: Look back in anger

Featured image Prime Minister Netanyahu held a press conference in Jerusalem this evening. The Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren reports on Netanyahu’s presentation here. Netanyahu spoke in English for a portion of the press conference (video below). He obviously wanted to get a message out to the widest possible audience. At about 12:30 he takes a question from a journalist with a British accent and the predictable slant. As always, it is »

Theory of the coup

Featured image Ross Douthat’s New York Times column this past Sunday eloquently warned against Obama’s threatened coup with respect to immigration law. Douthat characterized the action threatened by anonymous White House leakers as “executive fiat.” Douthat rightly condemned the threatened action as “lawless, reckless, a leap into the antidemocratic dark.” University of Chicago Law School Professor Eric Posner comes to Obama’s defense and responds to Douthat in the New Republic column “Obama »