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The Week That Was

 

It’s hard to believe that it was only a couple of weeks ago that Jeb Bush called the Trump presidency “exhausting”, thus confirming the “low energy” moniker given him by Trump during the Republican primaries. He continued: “…it feels like the whole world has been turned upside down,” comments reminiscent of the ponderous deficit spending implemented by President George W. Bush in the face of the financial crisis.

But in terms of today’s news cycle Bush’s comments occurred back in the Precambrian era. The week that was featured deadly protests in Charlottesville, a war on history Confederate memorials and to cleanse the palate, a solar eclipse. The Washington Post, where Democracy Dies in Darkness or something, was curiously pro-eclipse. Personally I was unimpressed: it reminded me, if anything, of when my phone transitions to power-saving mode.

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Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat from Silicon Valley and vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, discusses the feasibility of re-creating the technology economy in other parts of the United States. Is there room for working with the Trump administration, or are his fellow Democrats preoccupied by Russia and impeachment talk?

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Matthew Hennessey joins Aaron Renn to discuss the fading of the baby boom generation, the rise of tech-savvy millennials, and the challenge for those in-between, known as Generation X. This 10 Blocks episode is based on Matt’s essay from the Summer 2017 issue of City Journal, “Zero Hour for Generation X.”

While the baby boomers are finally preparing to depart the scene, “millennials could conceivably jump the queue, crowding out the more traditional priorities and preferences of the intervening generation—Generation X,” Matt writes. “If GenXers don’t assert themselves soon, they risk losing their ability to influence the direction of the country.”

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America serve up all crazy martinis today. They slam ESPN for hitting a new politically correct low by replacing the play-by-play announcer because his name is Robert Lee, a man of Asian heritage who has no connection whatsoever to the Confederate general. They also slam both President Trump and the media for making outlandish accusations about the other in public when both sides have plenty of legitimate fodder to use. And they dismiss Valerie Plame’s billion-dollar crowdfunding effort to buy Twitter and close Trump’s account as nothing more than a quick money grab.

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ESPN Pulls Announcer from UVa Football Game … Because His Name Is Robert Lee

 

The man shown to the left is sportscaster Robert Lee. The man to the right is Confederate General Robert E. Lee. ESPN was afraid that viewers would mix them up.

Mr. Lee (the one who didn’t die in 1870) was scheduled to announce next weekend’s University of Virginia football game against William and Mary. This match-up will be hosted in Charlottesville, which has a statue of Gen. Lee (who never provided NCAA play-by-play). ESPN decided that this was far too confusing for their viewers to process. So, in a move not to further inflame the neo-confederate armies sweeping this grand republic, the network benched their announcer.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America give President Trump credit for admitting his Afghanistan policy changes go against his instincts, and they also like some of the other changes he outlined in a policy with few good options. They also enjoy seeing the woeful fundraising totals for the DNC in July and discuss the deep dysfunction still engulfing the Democrats. And they shake their heads as a criminal in Texas is arrested for plotting to bring down a Confederate statue with explosives.

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Women of a Certain Age in America

 

Time was when women of a certain age had to rely on Mrs. Nancy Meyers and the late Nora Ephron for vaguely risque romantic stories. Well, there’s a new generation of Meyers for a new generation of women. And, boy, is newness needed! We are longer lived, especially the women, but afraid of getting older earlier. Women on the wrong side of 20 seldom are without the fear of getting on the wrong side of 30. In an America where marriage comes later and later and with less and less hope of it lasting a lifetime, romantic comedy is fast turning into a politically revolutionary act. Movies about daring at that certain age therefore could bring together women in facing the problem.

Behold Home Again, the product of a newer, younger Meyers, a story the silliness of which I will let you glean from the trailer. And what a story! It seems to teach women that 40-year-old mother-of-three Reese Witherspoon is worth making a movie about only if, abandoned, she then abandons herself to the romantic ideas of a boy who gets carded when he asks for a drink. Isn’t that dreadfully bittersweet, and something of an embarrassment? How did we end up here? What can we learn from the poetess of Boomer rebellion?

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Jim Geraghty of National Review is back! Today, after some sage insights on today’s solar eclipse, he and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud alumni and parents of college-age students for ending donations and sending their children to other schools after administrators there caved into the demands of social justice warriors in 2015. They also get chills in learning just how close ISIS came to blowing up an international jetliner and have a newfound appreciation for the weight limits for luggage. And they discuss the end of Steve Bannon’s time at the White House and what he means by saying the Trump presidency he worked for is effectively over.

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Was Slavery the Cause of the Civil War?

 

The great American tragedy is raising its ugly head once more, as it does occasionally. People on both sides are viciously accused by people on opposite sides, sometimes justly, sometimes not, as America divides along fault lines remarkably similar to the one that ruptured in 1861. My contention is that the horrible war could only be justified by the victorious side by making it a moral war. Was it?

In GFHandle’s piece, “Should We Honor Lee?,” several of us discussed that question, i.e., whether slavery was the cause. I contend that, in fact, the American Civil War was a cultural war, a refight of the English Civil War of the 1630s. Members of each side fled England to escape the other during the seventeenth century, one side to Massachusetts to seed northern culture, the other to Virginia to seed southern culture — and maintained both their cultures and their animosities to such an extent that they would fight again in the 1860s.

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Antifa? Yeah, They’re Kinda Sorta Skinheads.

 

Punk riots. Skinheads. Before special snowflakes, SJWs, or the alt-right’s revolt against “the tyranny of nice” became a thing, musical subcultures I can’t even pretend to understand fractured along white-nationalist and anti-white-nationalist lines.

I can’t claim to understand the punk ethos – or ethe, ethea, or ethoses (fittingly, there are multiple ways to pluralize “ethos”) – but the news of my youth was vaguely colored by incidental stories of “direct action,” of “taking it to the streets,” of punks getting their riot gear ready. Often, the “oppression” they fought was gentrification, one more manifestation, apparently, of “the tyranny of nice.”

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The Day the Clown Died: Jerry Lewis at 91

 
Photo by Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

Jerry Lewis was the man you either loved or loathed. He was the boy who wouldn’t grow up. His style was brash and abrasive and yet even grudgingly admired by detractors. How can you gainsay a man that raises over $2 billion to fight neuromuscular diseases?

Lewis, aged 91, passed Sunday morning in Las Vegas.

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