“Not my first sword dance”

Featured image Appearing from Riyadh on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this morning, Secretary Tillerson fielded a slightly offbeat question and responded with what (outside President Trump’s speech) may have been the quote of the day (transcript here). Wallace asked Tillerson about the traditional Arab sword dance in which he participated upon his arrival yesterday. “And I have to tell you,” Wallace commented, “you looked pretty good while you were doing »

Trump in Riyadh: Speaking of reset

Featured imagePresident Trump just concluded his speech to the assembled leaders of 50 Muslim countries assembled to hear him in Riyadh. The ever popular New York Times quotes a bit from the speech in the course of reporting and opining on it in the story by Peter Baker and Michael Shear. I can’t find either a transcript or video yet. Here I would like briefly to offer a few preliminary impressions »

Nut Job III — drain your own damn swamp

Featured imageThe latest anonymous leak/news story, the New York Times’s “nut job” scoop, troubles me for at least three reasons. First, it’s disturbing that this kind of leaking occurs. In one week, among other leak-grounded stories, (1) Politico reported, based on a leak that must have originated with someone close to President Trump, that the president screamed at the television in response to a story about the FBI’s Russia investigation and »

Report: Dominicans Control Boston Heroin Trafficking

Featured imageThe Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), an arm of the Boston Police Department, has released its “2016 Heroin Overdose Report.” The findings regarding heroin overdose are disturbing, though probably not surprising. I want to focus on certain findings in the BRIC report regarding drug traffickers. According to the report, only 39 percent of those arrested for Class A Trafficking claimed to have been born in the United States. 26 percent »

Nut Job II

Featured imageThe latest anonymous leak/news story, the New York Times’s “nut job” scoop, represents a return to the crude and vulgar Donald Trump with whom we became familiar during the campaign. That is, assuming that the anonymously sourced report on a memo by an unidentified author is true. Assuming the report’s veracity–something that can’t be taken for granted in the case of the Times–this appears to be another self-inflicted wound, the »

Meet Zach Wood

Featured imageThere is good news at Williams College. It does not come courtesy of the college administration, of course, but rather by way of junior Zach Wood. As the leader of the Uncomfortable Learning speakers’ program, Wood is the keeper of a good idea about opening up the school to diversity of the intellectual variety. Jennifer Kabanny told the story of Uncomfortable Learning in a 2014 article for the College Fix. »

The Week in Pictures: Can Anyone Trump This Edition

Featured imageAnother week—though it seems like a month—another turn-it-up-to-11 on the Liberal/Media Trumpomatic Outrage Meter. Can they keep this up? Yes, because it is the most congenial mode of contemporary liberalism. I think the most secure job in America right now is Keith Olbermann’s psychiatrist, or perhaps Michael Moore’s dietitian.   Headlines of the week: And finally. . . »

Talk About Low Energy!

Featured imageThe U.S. Department of Education employs 4,400 people and has a current budget of $70 billion. How many children does the department actually educate? I am sure the round number approaches zero. I’ve had a few opportunities to ask liberal audiences aghast at Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos and alarmed at proposed budget cuts for the department to name one single thing a past secretary of education or the department »

Getting Out of Your Parents’ Basement: How Liberal Policies Hurt Young People

Featured imageThe organization I run, Center of the American Experiment, has just released a funny video that, in just over two minutes, explains why liberal policies are bad for young people. It takes the form of a video game with commentary, and is titled “Parents’ Basement.” Here it is: Created by our friends at Madison McQueen. »

Life of Pai

Featured imagePresident Trump named Ajit Pai chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. By my lights it ranks as one of Trump’s great appointments. Having served as a commissioner during the Obama administration, Pai had a front row seat to see the FCC’s assertion of control over the Internet under the guise of “net neutrality.” As a conservative Republican of libertarian stripe, Pai forcefully opposed the FCC takeover. See Tim Heffernan’s 2015 »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured imageAmmo Grrrll decries A RACKET WRIT LARGE. She writes: A book that had a profound effect on me as a teenager was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Francie, the young protagonist, was, like me, a READER who discovers the library and it changes her life. Unlike Francie, however, we were middle-middle class, living in small towns in South Dakota and Minnesota, and Francie was starvation-level poor, living »

I, nut job

Featured imageWe should note for the record the latest New York Times Trump-bashing leak. It arrives with a twist. This one seems to come — courtesy of “an American official” reading a memo to the Times — from inside the White House itself. Trump is now under attack by his own staff. Meeting in the Oval Office on May 10 with Russia’s ambassador and foreign minister, President Trump shared his feelings »

Academic Absurdity of the Year: The Socially-Constructed Penis Hoax

Featured imageJust about every time I post an Academic Absurdity here, commenters rightly think it has to be a hoax, and refer back to the ur-hoax of all time, the Alan Sokal Social Text article of 20 years ago that said even physics was “socially constructed.” A very sensible reaction, but in fact all of the ones I have posted are real. Now I have a real hoax to report in »

Join the National Civic Art Society for a Classical Tour of Washington, D.C.

Featured imageIn my spare time, I serve on the volunteer Board of the National Civic Art Society, an excellent organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. and focused on enforcing aesthetic standards in public architecture. Readers won’t be surprised to learn that the federal government lavishes tens of millions on “starchitects” of low taste and great fame on the global capital cocktail circuit. This summer, the Society is going to run a series »

A victory for charter schools in Los Angeles

Featured imageCharter school backers have won a majority of seats on the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District for the first. The story is here, in a Los Angeles Times article. You have to dig it out, though. The Times leads off by talking about talking about “wealthy charter school advocates” and by giving voice to the unhappiness of a losing candidate. Deep into the story, the Times finally »

How Barack Obama Conspired With an Enemy to Undermine US Foreign Policy

Featured imageThe Democrats are trying to make a scandal out of the fact that representatives of the Trump campaign communicated with Russians, even though those communications were 100% appropriate. I had forgotten about this post, which I wrote in March 2015, until Rush Limbaugh read from it on his program yesterday. It reminds us what a REAL scandal involving a presidential campaign and foreign policy looks like: In 2008, the Bush »

Rue Britannia

Featured imageThe Conservative Party in Britain has the Labour Party by the throat in the upcoming snap election, and could wipe out Labour for a decade. This is largely because Labour has chosen Jeremy Corbyn as its leader, and Corbyn makes Bernie Sanders look like Jeb Bush by comparison. So what does Tory Prime Minister Theresa May do with the chance to smash the Labour Party to bits? They’ve issued a »