Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Frederick Douglass speaks

Featured image David Blight opens his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Frederick Douglass with the unveiling of The Freedmen’s Memorial in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1876. At the heart of Blight’s opening is his account and analysis of Douglass’s Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln at the unveiling. In the speech, Blight writes, Douglass “had named the pain and betrayal of ages. Now he entered the celebration….He recognized how »

A word from the Public Engagement Department

Featured image I submitted the first of two Data Practices Act requests to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz via his online contact form. On Wednesday I received this touching message: Dear Mr. Johnson, Thank you for taking the time to contact our office. In the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis, and the events surrounding George Floyd’s murder, we have received high volumes of messages from Minnesotans and people from across the »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll sizes up THE LEFTWING #WAR ON JOY. She writes: When I was in what was then called “junior high,” I heard a very racy riddle that went: “Why are Baptists opposed to premarital sex?” Answer: “Because it might lead to dancing.” Although I probably had to look up what “premarital” meant, I “got” the irony of the joke. Much later, I read a little quip somewhere that the »

Strzok strikes again

Featured image Before the D.C. Circuit granted General Flynn’s petition for writ of mandamus in relevant part yesterday morning, prosecutors had produced newly discovered exculpatory evidence to Flynn as a result of the review conducted by United States Attorney Jeffrey Jensen. The newly discovered evidence is identified as notes taken by former Assistant FBI Director Peter Strzok. FOX News covers the production here and here. The cover letter states: “While the page »

Coronavirus in one state (64)

Featured image Yesterday the Minnesota authorities attributed five new deaths to COVID-19. Two of the five new deaths occurred among residents of long-term care facilities. For the first time since mid-April, we have had deaths in the single digits over the past four days. The total of deaths attributed to the epidemic is now 1,397. Of these, 1,102 occurred among LTC residents. LTC deaths now make up 79 percent of the total. »

Judge Sullivan ordered to dismiss Flynn case

Featured image In a 2-1 opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has granted Michael Flynn’s petition for a writ of mandamus ordering Judge Emmet Sullivan to dismiss the case against General Flynn. I commented on the oral argument before the court here on June 12. I have embedded the panel opinion below along with the dissent. Judge Rao’s opinion for the panel responds in detail to Judge »

What’s going on

Featured image Paul Mirengoff engaged a portion of Victor Davis Hanson’s brief comments on the tear down all the things phase of our current revolutionary moment. Paul linked to, and commented on, the Daily Caller story and accompanying (unembeddable) video of the segment with VDH on Tucker Carlson Tonight this past Monday. FOX News reports on the segment here. Video of the full segment is also accessible here via FOX News with »

“What are we talking about?”

Featured image Barack Obama was the star attraction at Joe Biden’s virtual fundraiser yesterday. In financial terms, the event was highly successful. More than 175,000 people donated a total of $7.6 million, according to the Biden campaign. In the daily Wall Street Journal Washington bureau email this morning, Ken Thomas adds that a separate component of the event for high-dollar donors raised $3.4 million for an overall haul of $11 million for »

Coronavirus in one state: Special edition exclusive (2)

Featured image Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued his first significant COVID-19 shutdown order on March 16. The order was subsequently continued and extended on March 25 with the ensuing loss of some 795,00 jobs. I wondered if Walz took any account of the economic devastation he was causing before he promulgated his shutdown orders. On April 23 I submitted a Minnesota Data Practices Act request to Governor Walz seeking “all economic data »

I was wrong about Bolton

Featured image There are few men in public life I have admired more than John Bolton. To take just one example, I am grateful for his successful work in the administration of the first President Bush to overturn the UN’s vile “Zionism is a form of racism” resolution. See pages 40-43 of his memoir, Surrender Is Not an Option. Bolton suffered the Democrats’ remorseless campaign of defamation against him to prevent his »

Coronavirus in one state (63)

Featured image New COVID-19 cases have moved slightly up and down over the past few days, but no significant uptick has shown up in the data following the mass protests. Star Tribune reporter Jeremy Olson covers this angle here. Hospitalizations due to the epidemic continue to fall. Moreover, new deaths have decreased drastically. Yesterday, for example, the authorities attributed only four new deaths to COVID-19, bringing the total to 1,384. Two of »

Coronavirus in one state: Special edition exclusive

Featured image Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued his first significant COVID-19 shutdown order on March 16. The order was subsequently continued and extended on March 25 with the ensuing loss of some 795,00 jobs. I wondered if Walz took any account of the economic devastation he was causing before he promulgated his shutdown orders. On April 23 I submitted a Minnesota Data Practices Act request to Governor Walz seeking “all economic data »

Media access in one state: Notes (5)

Featured image The Minnesota Department of Health originally included me in its daily press briefings upon my request from April 11 to April 27. They sent me notices with the conference call call-in information, they took my questions by email, and they provided written responses. My questions focused on the nursing home crisis implicit in the data. I wondered why Governor Walz had instituted a statewide shutdown when the crisis involved a »

A word from Amb. Landau

Featured image United States Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau wrote last night to add to our chronicle of the tear down all the things phase of the leftist mob violence: I’m a loyal reader of your site and, needless to say, have been following you with even greater intensity lately given the recent rash of insanity in our beloved country. In reference to John Hinderaker’s post “Grant, Too” I just wanted to »

Color Him Father

Featured image I wrote this on Father’s Day several years ago. It is a post that struck a chord with at least a few readers. I have amplified it this year and am taking the liberty of reposting these reflections in honor of the day. My father was a thoughtful man in his own way. In the last years of his life he recited for me the things for which he was »

Cancellation in the first person

Featured image In its forthcoming July/August issue, Commentary features the first-person account of our own Steve Hayward telling the story of his cancellation by the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Steve’s memoir/essay is “How I Ran Afoul of Campus Cancel Culture.” As always, Steve wears his learning lightly, but his characteristic humor is absent from this somber and infuriating account. Come for the farcically disgraceful story, stay for Steve’s »

You don’t need a weather vane

Featured image On the colonial frontier Congregational minister Eleazar Wheelock established Dartmouth College as an institution to educate Native Americans. The college had its origins in the Indian missionary movement and in the mid-eighteenth-century evangelical revival. The college’s charter reflected its origins in Indian education even though it also provided for the education of “English Youth and any others.” (I borrow this account of the college’s history from Encylopedia.com.) The education of »