Author Archives: Scott Johnson

The Roosevelts: A hagiography

Featured image When writer Mark Gauvreau Judge was repeatedly invited to review Ken Burns’s 10-part, 18-and-a-half hour documentary on the history of jazz in 2000, his response was always the same: “I don’t need to see it to write a review. It’s Ken Burns, hippie granola-head and king of the documentary-melodrama, which means we’re in for yet another race-obsessed orgy of political correctness.” (In retrospect, Judge concedes, he was only “half-right.”) With »

Incapable in Kansas

Featured image The race for the Kansas Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Pat Roberts has been essentially a three-way affair among Roberts, Democrat Chad Taylor and Independent (Democrat) Greg Orman. When Taylor purported to withdraw as the Democratic nominee earlier this month, he did so in a terse letter to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach: I, Chadwick J. Taylor, Democratic nominee for the United States Senate race, do hereby withdraw »

The Eisenhower Memorial farce

Featured image We have sporadically followed the long, sad saga of the proposed Eisenhower Memorial. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission has now survived 15 years. We have no Eisenhower Memorial, but the commission has a plan (a bad one) and a promotional website. For good and sufficient reason the National Capital Planning Commission rejected the proposed memorial plan earlier this year. The Washington Examiner reported on the NCPC’s rejection in a long article »

Verboten in Tehran

Featured image The Telegraph reports that six Iranian singers who were arrested for appearing in a viral video dancing to the Pharrell Williams song “Happy” have been sentenced to six months in prison and 91 lashes. The video appears to have received well over a million views at this point. Oliver Duggan writes: The group became famous in May when their music video for the hit song circulated on YouTube, racking up »

Bill Henck: Inside the IRS, part 7

Featured image William Henck has worked inside the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel as an attorney for over 26 years. We posted his personal account, including his testimony to a retaliatory audit conducted by the IRS against him, this past February in “Inside the IRS.” We followed up with subsequent posts including “Inside the IRS, part 5″ and, most recently, “Inside the IRS, part 6,” both regarding the promotion of Fred »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Our friend Ammo Grrrll reflects on SCHADENFREUDE. She writes: Many years ago, when I still had to navigate the Minnesota highways in winter, I had one of those experiences that fall under the category of Schadenfreude. That is, of course, a fancy word for taking unseemly pleasure when someone is hoisted on his own petard. Petards being in short supply generally, my first Schadenfreude involved a car. After a couple »

Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Yale: The speech they didn’t want you to hear

Featured image The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale has just posted the video of its entire September 15 event featuring Ayaan Hirsi Ali. WFB Program president Rich Lizardo tells the story of events that followed the WFB Program’s public announcement of the event in the Yale Daily News column “We invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak at Yale–and outrage ensued.” Following the public announcement, the Muslim Students Association at Yale »

Blaming Blabbermouth

Featured image The lead story at Politico is Edward-Isaac Dovere’s “Democrats turn on Debbie Wasserman Schultz.” Better known among listeners to Rush Limbaugh as Debbie Blabbermouth Schultz, the lady is Obama’s handpicked chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Ann Althouse asks: “[W]hat is going on here?” Good question. Ann has her own thoughts, always worth taking into account. The story reads like a catfight on the left. If only for that, I »

Ball’s bombshell: Tom Cotton digs Publius!

Featured image When Atlantic political reporter Molly Ball called me a couple of weeks ago to ask me about Rep. Tom Cotton, now opposing Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Pryor in the election for the Arkansas seat that is on the ballot this November, my guard was up. I think Tom is a man of great courage and conviction. I support his election. I wanted not to say anything that could be used »

Rumors of terrorism

Featured image Have individuals with known terrorist ties been apprehended trying to cross illegally into the United States through Texas? It seems like a straightforward question to address to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Asked the question by Rep. Jason Chaffetz at a House Homeland Security hearing yesterday, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson took the phlegmatic approach and vaguely denied awareness of such a case. Asked directly if he was aware of four »

Hath not a Timesman cultural literacy?

Featured image Joe Biden made waves when he referred to “shylocks” in a speech on Monday. He made waves because he didn’t realize the term was offensive to Jews, drawing as it does on Shakespeare’s problematic portrayal of the Jewish moneylender in The Merchant of Venice. The late, great John Gross devoted an outstanding book to the portrayal of Shylock through the ages. The book provides a humane literary and historical education »

Hirsi Ali heightens the contradictions

Featured image Our friends at the Washington Free Beacon have dug up the brief video clip below of Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaking at Yale on Monday. This is the clip of her speech that has been running on FOX News. I would like to post a video of her speech in its entirety (please write me at powerlinefeedback@gmail.com if you know where one is), but this is what we have now. The »

The question of Muslim immigration

Featured image We have a profoundly serious problem of illegal immigration, but we also have a problem of legal immigration, Unfortunately, it is a problem that can barely be discussed. Is there anyone who thinks the continued stream of Muslim immigration from countries with active jihadist groups is a good idea? Canadian poet and essayist David Solway broadly raises the problem of Muslim immigration in the PJ Media column “The new colonizers.” »

JV president critiques terrorist JV

Featured image President Obama famously disparaged ISIS as a terrorist junior varsity squad. Without conceding error, Obama has come to rue the characterization so much that he baldly lies about it. According to Obama, he wasn’t singling out ISIS when he referred to the terrorist “jv” in his interview with the apostle David Remnick of the New Yorker. It is a misjudgment that rebounds on Obama himself to mark him as the »

Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Yale

Featured image Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke to a full house at Yale last night under the auspices of the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program. The Yale Daily News reports that she spoke “without significant interruption or disturbance.” The YDN notes the lack of disruption because Hirsi Ali’s appearance provoked the vehement opposition of the Muslim Students Association at Yale under the leadership of one Abrar Omeish. The MSA at Yale “sent a »

Allah and Ali at Yale

Featured image The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale is hosting Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak on campus today. Her appearance has provoked the Yale Muslim Students Association to issue a letter in protest with 35 co-signers (the letter is quoted in part here, here and here). In the spirit of Buckley himself, Yale’s Professor David Gelernter addresses the Yale MSA: I love your new free-speech concept! Obviously this woman should »

Down with the administrative state

Featured image You may not be interested in administrative law, but administrative law is interested in you. Administrative law is unrecognized by the Constitution, but, according to Columbia Law School Professor Philip Hamburger, it “has become the government’s primary mode of controlling Americans.” He observes that “administrative law has avoided much rancor because its burdens have been felt mostly by corporations.” This is where you come in: “Increasingly, however, administrative law has »