Rick Perry Is Right: CO2 Is Not the Control Knob of Climate


Energy Secretary Rick PerryTo listen to the corrupt, know-nothing mainstream media, Energy Secretary Rick Perry really stepped in it when he said human emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) is not the major driver of global warming. And, as usual with the MSM, it’s not true. The story is merely fodder for a false narrative about Perry, and the state of climate science.

On Monday, CNBC “Squawk Box” host Joe Kernen asked the secretary whether he believes carbon dioxide “is the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate.” Perry’s answer:


ACF#5 Predator


The American Cinema Foundation movie podcast is back with an anniversary piece. Back in ’87, on the same day Reagan gave his famous “Tear down this wall” speech in Berlin, June 12, John McTiernan’s Predator premiered in America. This was his first studio picture and remains a contender among the best movies about manliness. What starts as a “special forces doing foreign policy in the third world” sort of story, winning the Cold War on screen as it were, threatens to turn into horror as the jungle comes alive and begins to kill these special forces operators, just as we start to admire them.


Play Your Cards Right, Kid, and Someday This Gigantic Pile of Sand Can Be All Yours


This is a preview from Thursday’s Daily Shot newsletter. Subscribe here free of charge.

There’s just been a major shakeup at the top of the Saudi political structure. King Salman appointed his son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as the new crown prince. The new crown prince will replace Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the king’s nephew. The new crown prince is now also deputy prime minister and will continue in his role as defence minister.


Puberty Suppression and FGM


Michigan is set to become the 26th American state to join the federal government in criminalizing female genital mutilation (FGM), even as two Detroit area doctors and one of their wives await trial for inflicting the procedure on a number of young girls. FGM, which is common in some parts of Africa and the Middle East, involves using a razor to remove all or part of a girl’s clitoris and parts of the vulva.

By western standards, this amounts to child abuse and criminal assault. FGM defenders claim that the practice makes girls feel “clean;” that it helps them to fit into their subculture; and that it promotes good marriages.


Flyover Country: Does the Midwest Need More Tech Superstars?


France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, wants to create a Silicon Valley in his country. After the Trump administration dumped the Paris climate agreement, Macron filmed a video in which he called upon “all scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the President of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second homeland.”

Now let me digress: Over lunch the other day, a trusted AEI colleague told me that Arizona is known for its strong youth hockey. This surprised me. No one is going to mistake a state whose official plant is the saguaro cactus for, you know, Minnesota. But it turns out that many NHL players retire to Arizona. This provides the state with an abundance of coaching talent and interest in the sport. So there was no grand plan to turn Arizona into a youth hockey mecca. It happened organically. More an accident of weather than anything else.

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Learning Hebrew


At the age of 11, if I remember correctly, I began to attend Hebrew School after public school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and on Saturday mornings. We carpooled with family friends for the 40-minute drive to Temple Beth Emet, a young, conservative synagogue in Anaheim, CA. To amuse ourselves during the drive, I remember arguing with Alan about whether there was such a thing as a purple car; I never won the argument, but neither did he.

The synagogue was in an old home that had been converted to a simple sanctuary and classrooms. The old wood floors creaked, and the rooms were austere: our classroom had just a long table and folding chairs to sit on. Cantor Model usually taught us: he was an elderly man with thinning gray hair and a mustache, a sweet smile, and spoke with a European accent. We all knew that he adored us. Although I was excited about learning Hebrew, his enthusiasm further spurred me on.


Will Amazon’s Purchase of Whole Foods Make the Power of Big Tech a Big Political Issue?


The business and consumer implications of the $1​4​ billion Amazon-Whole Foods deal are myriad, both short term (​”​the boring U.S. grocery business is about to become much more interesting​“)​ and long term (“the decision by Amazon and Walmart to compete for my grocery business​ … ​are tiny battles in a war to dominate a changing global economy​“​).​

But there is also a political implication that goes beyond politics. As soon as I heard of the acquisition, I thought of some of Candidate Trump’s comments about Amazon, such as these to Fox News:


The House Is (Finally) Taking Up the Hearing Protection Act



Since the re-introduction of the Hearing Protection Act by Rep. Duncan and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) in January (H.R. 367S. 59) the American Suppressor Association (ASA) has met with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on multiple occasions to discuss technical amendments to the language. As a result, we were able to create several technical amendments that were incorporated into the current draft of the SHARE Act. These include:


Hitchcock and the Moral-Religious Criticism of Art


Have you listened to my new movie podcast about Psycho? During the discussion of the moral concerns and conservative intentions of the movie-making, we tried to bring in the objects of art, and suggested that Hitchcock shows the audience certain important juxtapositions of movie plot and works of art, of settings–like the imposing residence–and societies–liberalism. I want to show you the works of art and to discuss their importance to the movie’s moral concerns. I’ll discuss them in the order in which they appear.

1. The Bates house, a very stately, old-fashioned kind of California architecture. The design is taken from Ed Hopper’s House by a railroad.


Obsession with Health


I am keenly aware of the continual onslaught of medical studies that are written, supposedly to improve our health: studies that talk about eating disorders, obesity, helpful drugs, dangerous drugs, unhealthy foods, fiber-rich foods. And I stopped paying attention to them a while ago. No one is going to stop me from drinking my glass of zinfandel at dinner, my full-test coffee at breakfast, and my chocolate chip cookie after dinner. But I’m concerned about my fellow Americans, especially regarding their growing concerns about health. So I decided to do some research. I learned more than I wanted to know: we are obsessed with our health. I also came to the conclusion that these obsessions may say less about our health and more about our search for control, perfection and meaning.

Now I’ve been aware of this pre-occupation in our culture for many years. It’s important for me to state that I am not describing people who have serious, debilitating and painful health concerns; a number of Ricochettis bravely struggle with these kinds of issues. Instead I am speaking about the overload of information that we continually receive about what people should put into their bodies and how they respond to it. And we aren’t alone in this country; many articles I read were published in British newspapers. What does this obsession look like, and what is it telling us about ourselves?


Special Counsel II


I walked slowly through the tunnel under the US Capitol Building. My longtime friend, attorney, part-time oenophile, and newly appointed Special Counsel II, E. Hobart Calhoun, and I were on our way to E’s first public hearing since his appointment by AG Beauregard Sessions.

E. was appointed to look into the collusion, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and felonious leaking by Special Counsel Robert “Ferris” Mueller, former FBI Director Jim Crony, and numerous Obama holdovers in the Justice Department and the Deep State, all designed to end the Trump Presidency.


ACF #4 — “Psycho”


Welcome to the fourth episode of the American Cinema Foundation movie podcast! Today, I am joined by my friend and Ricochet compeer @stsalieriericcook. Eric Cook is a history teacher in a charter school in North Carolina, an organist in a church, and a builder of pipe organs, actually. One of Ricochet’s eccentric scholar-gentlemen, with an all-American upbringing in the working classes of Western Pennsylvania and a sometimes nostalgic, sometimes angry respect for the dignity of work, which is not faring well in our times. He also scores silent films–this is his BluRay of the 1922 movie Timothy’s quest–and leads the Ivy Leaf Orchestra!


Honor Thy Father


We make a big fuss about mothers in our culture. Think of how often politicians offer sympathy to “heroic” single moms who are doing such an amazing job. Many do, and of course, their lives are extremely hard and they deserve sympathy. As a mother of three sons, I cannot imagine how I would have managed alone. That much having been said, this Father’s Day is a good time to remember that fathers are crucial to their children’s happiness and success.

Here is a small sample of what good husbands/fathers do for their relations: 1) Their wives are healthier, wealthier, and happier than single or divorced women; 2) their daughters are less likely to have eating disorders, be dissatisfied with their appearance, have behavior problems, have a child out of wedlock, or suffer from depression; 3) their sons are less likely to drop out of high school, get in trouble with the law, or drink to excess.


Are America’s Tech Giants an Economic and Political Threat?


If I were to list America’s big problems here in 2017, I’m not sure it would occur to me note the huge success of Big Tech—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Alphabet/Google, Microsoft—as one of them. 

But I know there are those who would. As Axios reporter Kim Hart points out in a longish piece today, there are political activists, academics, and economists who are deeply worried that such huge concentrations of wealth and data mean the platform companies “have captured the economy.”


John Hinderaker on the GOP Shooting, Mueller, and Sharia

John Hinderaker
Courtesy Star Tribune

John Hinderaker joins us to discuss how Democrats may have partial blame for the Virginia shooting of Republican congressional members; with the zero proof of collusion with Russia, Mueller’s “investigation of nothing” appears more political by the day; Sharia law in Minnesota; and John’s Center of the American Experiment’s video on millennials who are unable to move out of their parents homes.

John Hinderaker is a nationally recognized lawyer and is now President of Center of the American Experiment, a think tank headquartered in Minnesota. He founded the website PowerLine in 2002 and has appeared as a commentator on NBC, CBS, Fox News, CNN, and CNBC and is a frequent guest and guest host on national radio programs. John is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.


Can the Private Sector Shake America from Its Long Stagnation?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference.

From Marc Levinson in Foreign Affairs:

The advanced economies have experienced more than four decades of sluggish productivity growth. Governments, it is clear by now, can do very little to influence this situation, at least in any predicable way. Improving infrastructure, supporting scientific research, and fostering education and worker training all may contribute to faster productivity growth over time, but no one can say how quickly those investments will pay off—or whether they will pay off at all.


Thinking About Incitement


“He was hunting us.” Those were the words of Republican Congressman Mike Bishop describing the depraved gun assault on members of Congress while they were innocently fielding ground balls and practicing base hits on a suburban Virginia field. The politics of personal destruction became literal.

Within a few hours, the president and congressional leadership put aside bitter partisanship and spoke of what unites us a nation. President Trump noted that “We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country” and that “our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.”


Trump’s Missing Photo at LAX


In January there were a few stories about how long it was taking to replace the Obama picture that welcomes you when you arrive into the US through the International Terminal at LAX. Here’s one from TMZ:

Donald Trump should be greeting you when you land at the LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal, but when you look for him you’ll draw a blank.


Repairing a Gannett Paper’s Conservative Insufficiency


The Asbury Park Press is the only daily paper targeting two New Jersey counties. If that sounds small, consider those two counties have a larger population than eight US states. They double the population of Washington DC. That makes the AP Press important not only as a courier of news, but considering its monopoly, as a sculptor of opinion in our great national debate.

Owned by media giant Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in America and parent of USA Today, there exists available resources to publish a product that mirrors the Asbury Park Press’s considerable responsibility. (If Gannett is willing to open the spigot on resources, that is.)


Uncommon Knowledge: The Vanishing American Adult with Ben Sasse


Senator Benjamin Sasse joins me to discuss his book The Vanishing American Adult and the growing crisis in America of prolonged adolescence. Senator Sasse argues that children are growing up, entering adolescence, and becoming stuck in the transitional stage to adulthood as they fail to become financially independent from their parents. He argues that because this generation of children is growing up during a time of relative peace and prosperity, it has allowed millennials to grow up without the issues of previous generations that were raised in war time. In this era of consumption and material surplus, he argues that adolescents are leading age-segregated lives and not developing a work ethic and that both their parents have an obligation to teach their children to grow up. Furthermore, he stresses the importance of intergenerational learning by allowing children to be raised around their grandparents and other adults to help them learn that the trivial trials of youth don’t matter in the long run.


ACF#3 Gran Torino


The movie podcast is back! @flaggtaylor and I are talking about the film Gran Torino, about Clint Eastwood’s last turn as actor-director, and his last great character, Walt Kowalski, an American with a legacy. We’ve got lots to say about who he is and how he deals with the world around him, what he says about America and what Americans are meant to learn from his story. It’s something we should have recorded during the election — it’s one of the few movies about making America great again that’s both serious, popular, and compelling.

This is the essay I mention in the podcast, over on National Review, about Clint Eastwood as a teacher Americans should learn from, about civic responsibility and manliness. And this is the book I mention on the podcast: Totalitarianism on Screen, about The Lives of Others, the great movie about East German communism. Flagg edited it and wrote it with our common friend Carl Eric Scott — who will also join me on the podcast as soon as I can get hold of him.


The Cagey Mr. Comey


Former FBI Director James Comey is the star of a gripping political drama that may bring Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency to an ignominious end. Trump will be subject to nonstop political pressure, given his unerring ability to say, or tweet, the wrong thing at the wrong time. Comey’s testimony was constructed to lay the foundation for the special prosecutor to make a finding that President Trump had violated the well-established statutory prohibitions against obstruction of justice. But the obstruction charges are not confined to impolitic tweets, and, ironically, may be applicable to Comey’s own effort to influence the FBI investigation. His prepared testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which he followed up with his dramatic appearance before the Committee on June 8, has its undeniable surface appeal. But on closer reading, it reveals a darker side filled with self-serving allegations that should make him a target of far closer scrutiny than an uncritical and adoring press has given him.

The main issue is whether Comey was able to establish that Trump had obstructed justice by seeking to block the FBI investigation into the ties between Mike Flynn, Trump’s short-lived National Security Advisor, and the Russians. Comey’s most damning testimony is that Trump said: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” During the testimony, Comey said, “I replied only that ‘he is a good guy.’” Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s lawyer, has contested the accuracy of Comey’s account. But for these purposes, I shall take Comey at face value.


A Techno-Optimist Take on Automation and Jobs


Reason writer Ronald Bailey outlines a strong case that fears about technological unemployment are overblown. For instance: He adds needed context to the recent finding by MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and Boston University economist Pascual Restrepo that each additional industrial robot in the United States results in 5.6 American workers losing their jobs.

But even taking the high-end estimate, job loss due to robots was has been just 670,000 since 1990 while “last year some 62.5 million Americans were hired in new jobs, while 60.1 million either quit or were laid off from old ones, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” ​I would add that total nonfarm employment over that span has increased by nearly 40 million.


The FBI Misleads AG Jeff Sessions


From the Washington Examiner:

“As a United States Senator, the Attorney General met hundreds — if not thousands — of foreign dignitaries and their staff. In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General’s staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities,” Justice Department Deputy Director of Public Affairs Ian Prior said in a statement Wednesday evening.


The Middle East: Are Ominous Clouds Forming?


It’s no surprise that disruptive situations are developing in the Middle East; that seems to be the normal state of affairs. Lately I’ve noticed some situations that independently would barely raise eyebrows; collectively, however, I’m concerned that the area is heating up more than usual, and I believe these events will affect not only the region, but will have implications for the US.

It’s been widely reported that Qatar supports terrorism, but you may not be aware of the level of that support.