Newton’s first law, etc.

A look, a book, and a crook (or a crock). What is the question, according to Carnac the Magnificent? I don’t know, but it is the miscellany that I need this morning. Thinking of Carnac makes me laugh. I think I was studying high school physics when I heard him divine the question to the answer: “One fig to a cookie.” The question: “What is Newton’s first law?” It still makes me laugh.

I have three predictions for 2022 — one electoral, one legal, and one sporting. Here they are.

• Republicans will retake the House in the 2022 elections. However, Carnac’s crystal ball is cloudy when it comes to the Senate. Republicans need good candidates for competitive Senate races. Carnac divines that they are in short supply so far.

• If it doesn’t dodge the merits of the case, the Supreme Court will disapprove the vaccine mandate to be implemented by private employers under OSHA’s emergency temporary standard. If not, my fallback prediction is that it’s a long way to temporary.

• The owner of the Minnesota Vikings will relieve head coach Mike Zimmer of his responsibilities next week at the end of the Vikings’ season.

• What is this fourth prediction doing here? It is a bonus. Steve Hayward’s ninth book is scheduled to be published in March by the invaluable Encounter Books. Reading the galley, I foresee that M. Stanton Evans: Conservative Wit, Apostle of Freedom will be the most joyful conservative book of the year.

Looking back on 2021, I would like to offer recommended reading.

• Mike Gonzalez is the author of BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution, published in September by Encounter Books. Drawing on his expertise, Gonzalez provides a sort of CRT for Dummies in the Law & Liberty essay “Zombie Marxism.”

• I could and probably should have added a prediction about inflation above. Instead, I recommend the profile of Thomas Hoenig by Christopher Leonard that Politico has placed in its History Dept. Leonard’s profile of Hoenig is titled “The Fed’s Doomsday Prophet Has a Dire Warning About Where We’re Headed.” Leonard’s forthcoming book is The Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy.

• Over the years I must have canceled subscriptions I took out to the New York Review of Books five or ten times. In any given issue, they publish one or two items that I want to read and one or two items that make me angry enough to trash it. I am a current subscriber via a bargain rate. I took out my current subscription to get access to Gary Saul Morson’s “Dostoyevsky and his demons” in the July 1 issue. One of the magazine’s most-read online pieces last year is the eminent historian Sean Wilentz’s essay “Bob Dylan, historian.” The essay is adapted from the keynote lecture Wilentz delivered at a conference to honor Dylan’s eightieth birthday, “Dylan @ 80,” convened by the Bob Dylan Institute at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, May 24, 2021. It repaid my current subscription, as did Christopher Benfey’s recent review/essay “Exile on Main Street,” on Edgar Lee Masters.

• I bought Rebecca Donner’s All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days on the recommendation of the Wall Street Journal, which named it one of the best books of 2021: “Mildred Harnack, a progressive-minded academic from Milwaukee, taught American studies in Berlin during the rise of Hitler. Now her great-great-niece—a meticulous researcher and master of narrative suspense—tells how Harnack, from the early 1930s to 1942, openly defied Nazism, built a brave, effective but doomed circle of like-minded resisters, and was murderously hounded by the Gestapo. Here is a historical biography that reads like a literary thriller.” I took up the book with the thought that it would give me a sort of “what would you have seen, said, done?” test like Erik Larson’s book on Ambassador William Dodd in his service as FDR’s ambassador to Hitler’s Germany, In the Garden of Beasts. Wild Martha Dodd, the ambassador’s daughter, turns up as a character in Donner’s book as she does in Larson’s. Donner reminds me that among Martha’s affairs with Germans and Russians in Berlin was a serious fling with America’s own Thomas Wolfe when he visited in 1935.

• A retired Minnesota judge drew my attention to the terrific essay refuting a Sarasota Herald Tribune newspaper series published by a court attacked for racial bias. The court’s essay is THE 12TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT COURT OF FLORIDA’S FINAL OFFICIAL RESPONSE TO THE SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE’S SERIES OF ARTICLES TITLED “BIAS ON THE BENCH.” Finally, a court talks back on a subject with respect to which the cat of the left has otherwise got judicial tongues.

• A personal note: The judge drew my attention to the Florida court’s response to the Sarasota Herald Tribune series because of an essay John and I wrote for the Center of the American Experiment. Published in the Fall 2001 issue of The American Experiment, the center’s quarterly magazine at the time, our essay refuted the study commissioned by the Minnesota Supreme Court to establish that Minnesota’s judicial system was racially biased. Our essay isn’t available online, but my further reflections on the Minnesota Supreme Court study is accessible in the form of the speech I gave at the Federalist Society’s 2013 National Lawyers Convention: “Bias in the air” (to which I added two footnotes here). There aren’t many who will speak up to defend “the judicial system” when it falsely impugns itself. That much I can tell you.

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