Spindle Time

Featured image What a mess of oddball stories have piled up in my virtual in-box the last few days. First, we picked a heck of a time to start experimenting with legalizing marijuana out in the drought-stricken West.  Because guess what—growing pot uses a lot of water: Another Cause of California’s Drought: Pot Farms California’s ongoing drought has been blamed on a lot of different factors, ranging from climate change to over »

Russia Moves on Eastern Ukraine: What Is To Be Done?

Featured imageYesterday there was violence in eastern Ukraine, as armed men loyal to Russia seized police stations in several cities, and the Russian flag was raised in some locations. The video below shows pro-Russian forces taking control of the police headquarters in Kramatorsk. These were not a bunch of guys from the neighborhood; this was a military operation: Ukraine’s government sent special forces to resist these encroachments in several cities, and »

There’s something about Harry

Featured imageThe Washington Free Beacon has compiled the video below of Harry Reid chanting “Koch brothers” 134 times on the Senate floor. It has a formulaic quality, like the phrases Homer held in reserve to fill out dactylic hexameter lines in the Iliad and the Odyssey. What “wine-dark sea” was to Homer, “Koch brothers” is to Harry Reid. Reid, however, isn’t in search of a formulaic phrase to fill out a »

Brandeis breakdown [With comment by Paul]

Featured imageI’ve been looking for someone who is knowledgeable about what is happening behind the scenes at Brandeis University in the wake of the withdrawal of the invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree. Yesterday I spoke with such a source. Brandeis has put forward the best case for itself. According to Brandeis, they didn’t know what they were doing when they chose to confer the honorary degree »

Standoff at Bundy Ranch Ends, With Photo of the Year So Far

Featured imageBefore I had quite figured out what to make of the Bundy Ranch standoff, it appears to have been resolved. The Bureau of Land Management has announced that in view of the risk of violence, it is withdrawing its forces, which include snipers, from the area. (How many federal agencies employ snipers, anyway? Too many, it is safe to say.) The county sheriff negotiated the terms of the federal government’s »

The Warthog, a soldier’s best friend; Obama, not so much

Featured imageWhy is President Bush so much more popular than President Obama among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans? That’s an easy one. Bush was the president of let’s roll. Obama is the president of let’s retreat. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans subscribed to the motto that America’s colors “don’t run.” Under Obama, however, they have. There must also be a sense that Bush had a closer personal connection than Obama with those who »

Civil War on the Left, Part 4

Featured imageThe Hill newspaper notes yesterday that “The Keystone pipeline has long been a source of friction between Democrats and labor unions.”  Well one union this week sent a letter to Democrats who publicly oppose Keystone threatening retribution: A top building trades union is launching a midterm-election assault on House Democrats who oppose construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. A letter distributed Friday by the Laborers’ International Union of North »

Revealed: Flight 370 Co-Pilot Attempted Phone Call

Featured imageThere has been no news of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 for a long time, but this morning we learned this: the co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, tried to make a call on his cell phone after the airplane turned to the South, as it flew low near Penang: It is understood that the aircraft with 239 people on board was flying at an altitude low enough for the nearest telecommunications tower »

Brandeis’s “repressive tolerance”

Featured imageLike me, Michael Ledeen finds that “if there’s anything really new about Brandeis’ disinvitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it’s that they invited her at all.” While many seem surprised that Brandeis, founded by Jews in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, would align itself with Islamists and their apologists, Ledeen finds no underlying inconsistency. Brandeis was the home of professor Herbert Marcuse, the iconic leftist philosopher of the 1960s. Marcuse »

Brandeis’s disgrace

Featured imageBill Kristol has posted a letter from Brandeis alum Jeffrey Herf to Brandeis President Fred Lawrence. This really says it all: Dear President Lawrence: As a scholar whose 1981 PhD comes from Brandeis, I read the news that you rescinded the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali with particular disgust and anger. Your decision is an act of cowardice and appeasement to those 85 faculty members who »

Koch Industries Responds to Whitehouse and Waxman

Featured imageI wrote here and elsewhere about Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Henry Waxman’s letter to Koch Industries, demanding information about Koch’s purported role in the Keystone Pipeline. The letter was based on a story in the Washington Post, which I discredited here, here and elsewhere. Yesterday, Koch Industries’ General Counsel, Mark Holden, responded to Whitehouse and Waxman. His letter is reproduced below; click to enlarge: The Democrats’ effort to shore »

Balancing Act: The Democrats’ Ideology Versus Reality

Featured imageLast night there was a good deal of hilarity on Twitter about a puff piece in Washingtonian magazine about press secretary Jay Carney and his wife, journalist and author Claire Shipman. As you would expect with a D.C. publication writing about prominent Democrats, the article, which focuses mostly on Shipman, is adoring. The Washingtonian piece, titled “Balancing Act,” has been ridiculed mostly for its photography. This picture of the Carneys »

The Week in Pictures: Names, Claims, and Autonubiles

Featured imageA few readers have—shall I say—”observed” that while this humble weekly feature ends with armed cheesecake, we aren’t offering up any gender balance, which is only right to correct since indeed we don’t want to be known as just a “laddies” site, as they’d say in the UK.  So we’re going to start fixing this asymmetry.  And since it’s the Masters Tournament this weekend, we can begin by following up »

Wave bye bye

Featured imageI saw singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester perform on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota more than 20 years ago and he bowled me over. There couldn’t have been more than a hundred people in the audience. Accompanying himself on guitar, he turned in a beautiful performance concluding with “Yankee Lady.” Although Winchester had famously evaded the draft by decamping to Canada in 1967, returning only after the Carter »

Dems’ Wage-Gap Hypocrisy

Featured imageNo matter how many times the “77-cents-on-the-dollar” canard is refuted by the economically literate—most recently by my pals Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs yesterday in the Wall Street Journal—it refuses to die.  But in addition to lying, it is now apparent the Democrats pushing this line have no shame either.  Jennifer Rubin, using figures unearthed by the NRSC, points out: Mark Udall pays women 85 cents for every dollar that »

Iran’s gas exports up 258 percent

Featured imageIs President Obama’s sanctions relief for Iran working? It depends on one’s perspective. From the perspective of those who hope to see a deal that would prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, the answer is no. Predictably enough, nothing has been accomplished on that front. As Michael Rubin says, the sanctions relief was the diplomatic equivalent of giving a five-year-old dessert first and then expecting him to eat his spinach. »

Civil War on the Left, Part 3

Featured imageWe know that labor unions are at odds with the Obama Administration over the Keystone XL pipeline and dislike some aspects of Obamacare, but might some of them actually go so far as to help re-elect a Republican governor in the key state of Ohio? Labor Split Boosts Ohio Governor By Kris Maher TOLEDO, Ohio—Gov. John Kasich has earned such ire among unions that he is on a list of »