Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Take the Correspondents’ Dinner…Please!

 

I write this with some hesitation, because it might merely confirm the notion that I am fast becoming a crotchety old man, but here goes: it’s time to get rid of the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. In the old days—pre-YouTube and Twitter—the dinner was a more-or-less private affair. There would be some quotes in the papers afterwards, but that was about it. Now it’s streamed live and can be watched on tape by millions, and it’s begun to have the feel of one of those interminable Hollywood awards shows. The jokes are dissected not only for humor content, but for balance and hidden meanings. Presidents are criticized for being insensitive to real problems, while emcees are damned or praised, usually depending on the political leanings of the listener. The targets of the barbs are expected to smile good-naturedly while everyone else is squirming in their seats, trying to pretend the whole evening isn’t more than a bit unseemly. I’ve been to a few of these events, and my squirming became so severe that I stopped attending.

The dinner was a good idea at its inception back in 1920. After all, we Americans rather like the idea that our presidents aren’t royalty, and we take pride in the fact that we are allowed to poke fun at them (I don’t recall many Castro roasts). But maybe it’s the growing mean-spiritedness of contemporary humor, or maybe it’s the nature of the problems facing the country and the world, but the whole thing comes off as sort of—if you’ll pardon a technical term—icky. Besides which, we don’t need these dinners to see the “lighter side” of our presidents. Between the tweeting and the talk shows, there’s no shortage of opportunities for our leaders to show us just how funny they are. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind having more chances to see how serious they are. 

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So, courtesy of our good friends at Reason, the NH Legislature, overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans, passed a bill to legalize medicinal marijuana, the Democratic governor is threatening a veto. The vote in the House was 236-96. It was 13-11 in the Senate. If they had a few more senators, they’d be able to override the […]

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If Ricochet is right of center, and we’re all going to get smeared as bourgeois elitists anyway, we might as well talk like it. How do you take your martini? More

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There’s been a good deal of thoughtful chatter on Ricochet about the importance of telling stories to convince skeptical friends and the public that conservatives are right, rather than just trying to convince them using charts and graphs. For several weeks, I’ve been working hard on a report that contains a lot of conservative stories […]

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I love this song. Mock me if you will, but when I was in elementary school, Huey Lewis ruled the airwaves and MTV that I watched, so I have a great affection for his soulful and melodic pop. And while she is no major songstress, Ms. Paltrow actually has a decent voice that works well in this duet. It comes […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

In the wake of this weekend’s annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner (ably chronicled here by Mollie), President Obama is getting media props for his deft touch with humor behind the podium. I’m not sure what the big deal is; we know the president doesn’t need a packed house to get off a zinger. After all, […]

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Question: How far would you drive for a Ricochet meet up? More

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The FOXNEWS Sunday panel had a discusssion of Obama’s “enemy list” a few hours ago. Related Item: Kim Strassel: The President Has A List More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How Joe Biden Got His Foreign Policy Experience

 

In what the White House billed as a major address on foreign policy last week, Vice President Joe Biden questioned the foreign policy credentials of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. He mocked Romney for once saying that the American people don’t choose their president based on foreign policy experience — a point that candidate Barack Obama proved beyond doubt in 2008.

Since Biden raised the topic, however, it’s worth asking how the man who came up with the idea of dividing Iraq into three autonomous states (remember that idea?) got his own foreign policy experience. To Biden’s credit, he answered the question, as only he could, in the beginning of his speech.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. State Efforts to Obstruct the War on Terror Aren’t Just Bad Policy — They’re Unconstitutional

 

Late last week, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ David B. Rivkin, Jr. and the Heritage Foundation’s Charles D. Stimson published an op-ed in the Washington Post calling attention to a new law in Virginia that “forbids state employees, including police and members of the National Guard, from participating in the investigation, surveillance, detention or arrest of any suspected member of al-Qaeda or its affiliates, if that suspect is a U.S. citizen. ”

It is disappointing that governors, particularly Republicans, have joined forces with the ACLU in a campaign against the war on terror. It is similar to the foolish and ineffective efforts of cities to oppose the Patriot Act in the years after its passage. But rather than repeat the excellent policy arguments against the actions of Virginia and other states, I want to point out that the law is also unconstitutional.

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I’m a big fan of the website TV Tropes, as I’ve mentioned before. I suspect that, among its other charms, it might be a means to measure that deathless vexation: the left-wing bias of the media. So I decided to search the site for political tropes. I hoped I might thereby be able to document […]

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As I usually do on Sunday morning I tuned in to This Week With George Stephanopoulos mostly to enjoy the clear, concise observations of George Will, but once in while I hear something from one of the lefties on the program that sends me to my keyboard. In discussing the economy, Stephanopoulos used one of […]

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If you followed the news this weekend, you may have heard about Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng’s thrilling escape from house arrest. The top of this New York Times story has the details: BEIJING — For months, Chen Guangcheng, one of China’s best-known dissidents, played a cat-and-mouse game with the phalanx of guards encircling his home. […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. “Damsels in Distress.” Lovely. Just Lovely.

 

After listening to Ed Driscoll’s interview with the movie’s screenwriter and director, Whit Stillman, I took the missus out to see Damsels in Distress this evening. The film is a low-budget indie, and it shows–sometimes the sound isn’t quite right, and there are scenes that could have been better lit. But the movie, about a group of girls attempting to do good in college–they spend time running a suicide prevention center, where, they have found, tap-dancing represents wonderful therapy–is charming and funny. And in the lead character, Violet, played by Greta Gerwig, it presents one of the sweetest, most effective, and intelligent–Gerwig always underplays just underplays her lines–portrayals I’ve seen in months.

Since Rob and I have been kicking around the idea of member reviews–of films, books, television programs, and even (why not?) museum exhibitions–here’s a Sunday evening experiment. Below, an email from my friend Joe Malchow, who enjoyed Damsels in Distress as much as did my wife and I. If you haven’t seen the movie, Joe’s comments might mean nothing at all to you. But if you have–well, why not read what Joe says, then add a comment of your own? A movie as skillful, evocative and enjoyable as Damsels in Distress represents a lovely topic for a Ricochet discussion, don’t you suppose?

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We all know of the M1 Abrams tank. It is America’s main battle tank. It is probably the best tank in the world. No one else can really match it so they don’t really even try. It was designed to go head to head with Soviet massed armor on the plains of Europe and smash […]

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Sixty-seven years ago today, on April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler took the coward’s way out – he placed a gun to his own head and pulled the trigger and ended a reign that caused so much death and destruction that it can not be adequately quantified. Why does he still command the world’s attention the […]

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Enjoy Cinco de Mayo with Mollie Hemingway at Kilroy’s, detailed here! Elizabeth Kantor, recent guest contributor and author of the Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After and the Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature, has been rumored to be coming as well! More

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The kids are playing some game, I don’t know what, and my 7 year old calls out “And the winner is…” at which point the other kids holler out a name. I just heard “And the winner is…Ronald Reagan!” followed by “And the winner is…Thomas Fefferman!” More

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