Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Kagame does Brandeis

Featured image When Brandeis University withdrew its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to appear at commencement for an honorary degree, I spoke with a knowledgeable source on campus who told me that Rwandan President Paul Kagame was scheduled to visit campus on April 23. I reported on the information provided by my source in “Brandeis breakdown.” Many people believe that Kagame has a lot of blood on his hands and he certainly »

Hillary’s greatest hits

Featured image President Eisenhower was a master of calculated obfuscation. When it came to Nixon, however, Eisenhower’s views could be discerned with some clarity. He didn’t think much of him. In Nixon Agonistes, Garry Wills explains: “Eisenower’s periodic deflations of Nixon did not arise from mere vindictiveness. It seems clear from his actions, and from things he told many intimates, that he did not consider Nixon a statesman.” Eisenhower’s most famous “deflation” »

Dreams From His Auntie

Featured image Barack Obama’s Auntie Zeituni died earlier this month. Michelle Malkin evaluated the legacy of Auntie Zeituni in a good April 11 column. It’s quite a story, told as only Michelle can tell it. Today’s New York Times gives us Jason Horowitz’s Timesian take on Obama’s relationship with his family. Various half-brothers receive their due and Uncle Onyango makes a cameo appearance: “With an election on the horizon, the White House »

Tom Steyer’s Song of Himself

Featured image Tom Steyer disclaims any similarity to the Koch brothers, and we can agree with his claim to this extent: Steyer is a repulsive left-wing liar and hypocrite while the Koch brothers are paragons of virtue. That’s not what Steyer means though. Unfortunately, the Washington Post — a prime culprit in the Koch defamation business — serves as one of the interlocutors in the interview with Steyer reported by Politico: Liberal »

Kristof vs. Kristol on Ukraine

Featured image I used to patronize a toy store in St. Paul called Essence of Nonsense. The store closed in 2010 but the memory lives on. It’s a great name for a toy store and it has a wider applicability. It comes to mind in connection with the sophisticated liberal pieties that New York Times columnist Nick Kristof serves up in his encounter with Bill Kristol on CNN discussing Obama administration foreign »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Our friend Ammo Grrrll forwards a special edition of her thoughts occasioned by our series on the war on standards. She titles her column “The War on Standardz.” Here it is: Yeah, I know, “standards” is the so-called “correct” spelling. But, I just felt like spelling it that way, and if that’s, like, you know, my experiential way of interacting with the world, then, that should be good enough for »

Marxist blues again

Featured image The visit of French economist Thomas Piketty to the United States has not quite induced Beatlemania, Scott Winship writes at Forbes, but rather the Washington analogue of teenage frenzy. In the New York Times, Jennifer Schuessler might lend credence to the Beatlemania that Winship disclaims. “Economist receives rock star treatment,” Schuessler reports. Indeed, you can see the frenzy through the New York Times alone. Yesterday’s Times brought us Ross Douthat’s »

What’s the matter with David Gregory?

Featured image David Gregory strikes me as the smarmiest liberal of the Sunday gabfests. He seems (to me) not even to know how to pretend to be fair. At least Tim Russert could fake it, as Bob Schieffer does now leading the pack on CBS. Both Gregory and the Meet the Press panel that Gregory hosts drive me nuts. I have therefore taken a small amount of joy in the fall of »

Birth of the VRWC

Featured image Politico draws attention to the release yesterday in the latest tranche of papers from the Clinton library of what it refers to as the conspiracy commerce memo.” The memo appears to be undated; Politico assigns it to 1995, contemporaneous with the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton but predating the Lewinsky affair. It was at the outset of the disclosure of the Lewinksy affair that Hillary attributed the »

In the court of King Barry…

Featured image is where we seem to be with Obama’s declaration that the debate on Obamacare is over and he won. Is there a red-blooded American who doesn’t recoil at such talk? Someone in a position of authority really ought tell him to stuff it, someone like the citizenry ’round about election day this year. At the Weekly Standard, Jeffrey Anderson provides a useful reminder of what is important in this context: »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Our friend Ammo Grrrll is back in the ammo line: After my first post, Responder Pete Parks (Salisbury University) said, “Finding ammo is a pain.” Es verdad, Pedro, es verdad! Bilingual Arizona talk for “Yes, Pete, it’s true!” But, fear not, for Ammo Grrrll is here to tell you all you need to know about succeeding in the difficult world of scarce ammo: Find someone who already HAS ammo and »

When Turner was right

Featured image Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Turner Classic Movies cable channel earlier this week, I noted that I was a little vague on how Ted Turner came to own the rights to nearly every worthwhile movie ever made. A reader wrote to offer a look back at the ancient history that provides the answer: Back in 1985 I was working as a senior consultant for the entertainment division of a »

Essence of the Constitution

Featured image In his column today, George Will lauds a short new book by Timothy Sandefur, The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty. Will provides a short course in the original understanding of the Constitution and the Progressives’ effort to remake it in the name of “democracy.” Please check out his column. The column presents a useful reminder of the difference between modern liberals and »

Eisenhower Memorial update

Featured image The National Capitol Planning Commision recently rejected the proposed design by starchitect Frank Gehry for the Eisenhower Memorial to be built on the National Mall. Over four acres in size and featuring eight-story “columns” and gigantic metal screens, the design has been ridiculed from the get-go. Many millions of dollars have already been spent on the project. Through the efforts of Senator McConnell, our friend Bruce Cole was appointed to »

TCM at 20

Featured image The TCM (Turner Classic Movies) cable channel celebrated its twentieth anniversary yesterday. It did so in grand style, rebroadcasting movies from its first day on the air (Gone With the Wind and It Happened One Night). After GWTW, TCM broadcast an interesting interview with host-for-life Robert Osborne conducted by Alec Baldwin. I have been a high volume consumer of TCF roughly since day one. I am a little vague on »

Honor killing, Brandeis-style

Featured image I am advised by a knowledgeable source that Brandeis University has engaged or is in the process of engaging a crisis management firm. Brandeis finds itself needing to manage the crisis created by its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree, followed by the withdrawal of the invitation in compliance with the wishes of CAIR and the subset of the Brandeis “community” that is of like mind »

The Lois Lerner files

Featured image This past week House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp announced that the Committee, acting had voted out a criminal referral letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding actions taken by IRS employee Lois Lerner. Camp’s press release is posted here. Camp’s letter of referral and exhibits are posted here. Camp’s letter covers a lot of ground. Kim Strassel devotes a good Wall Street Journal column sorting through it, »