View original artwork here.More
Whatever one thinks of Jordan Peterson, the man raises a point that should be headed by all free peoples: Once you stop fighting with words, the only thing left to do is fight with weapons. Upon personal reflection, I decided that my personal style of writing was not conducive to productive dialogue with the left. As a result, I have largely withdrawn from writing altogether. Like The Incredible Hulk, I must contain my rage for the safety of the world.
It turns out, however, that if we do start fighting with weapons, the only reason men will be the ones who do almost all of it is because of their fear of being cheated on while they are at war. Oh no … not now … must maintain self-control … Frank smash!More
Helicopters buzzed overhead, camera crews rushed to take pictures, and students headed to their classes:
It was the first day back at school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday — one day after the six-month anniversary of the massacre that left 17 dead. With driver’s license-size IDs on red lanyards hanging from their necks, students trickled into the sprawling campus in Parkland, Fla., which had school resource officers staffed at every entrance.
As the summer reaches peak heat and humidity, my overheated brain turned to the interaction of Will and will. Will Smith’s greatest artistic work was about the will to succeed. It blew apart the dominant cultural narratives, of black men as economic losers, and of American capitalism as a rigged system. At the same time, Will did not sugarcoat reality, faithfully conveying Chris Gardner’s autobiographical story about the pursuit of happiness.
Will Smith leveraged a middle-class safe-rapper persona into the starring role in a situation comedy, from which he launched into Hollywood stardom. In the late 1980s, he performed as The Fresh Prince with DJ Jazzy Jeff, achieving enough success to attract the attention of television studios. “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” was a play on the old Beverly Hillbillies, updated with a streetwise kid from Philadelphia being sent to live with relatives in Bel Air.More
Salena Zito’s latest column, “Trump’s not the reason the GOP sputtered in Ohio,” points to continued failure by Republican operatives to accept the message sent by the voters that they must get to the polls in November. Listen to the candidates and the independent PAC ads in your state. How are they doing? It is a mixed bag here in Arizona, so far, but both serious Republican contenders for the US Senate are proclaiming alignment with President Trump.
Salena Zito points to the importance of demonstrating awareness and concern for local issues. Waving around a few national talking points is not a recipe for success.More
Tuesday’s primary results were hailed as “historic” by a number of media outlets. “Vermont Democrats made history Tuesday” declared the Burlington Free Press. NPR framed the matter with the same word, “historic,” as did the New York Times, ABC, and others. Most were pealing the bells for Vermont’s first “openly transgender” candidate for governor, Christine Hallquist. Hallquist was born male but now prefers to dress as a woman. Her success in the Democratic primary is being celebrated as comparable to the breakthroughs of African-American candidates (here is the New York Times video trumpeting a “night of firsts”).
The words “history” or “historic” in the mouths of progressives are always laudatory. They are honorifics, not descriptions. After all, lots of things are firsts – a Holocaust-denying, Nazi sympathizer made it onto the ballot on the Republican ticket in Illinois’s 3rd congressional district. That doesn’t get described as historic. Donald Trump is the first person to be elected without any previous governmental service at all. That’s not historic. No, progressives have a proprietary feeling about history. They are convinced that it “bends toward justice” as Barack Obama was fond of quoting, and that it will inevitably trend their way.More
Noted moral philosopher Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) issued a statement last week regarding the Catholic Church’s updated position on the Death Penalty:
Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme means of safeguarding the common good, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes; Consequently, the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
He was a Vietnam War veteran and was awarded a Purple Heart. He became friends with Emily Cornelius and her mother, Karen, five years ago. Emily was in the 8th grade at the time. Years later in April 2018, she accompanied him on an Honor Flight to Washington, DC. He was 70 years old.
Five years earlier when he met Emily, he was homeless. He passed away last Saturday, August 11 and left behind a sister and a son.More
A fellow of a certain age stopped me in a parking lot. He was built like a fire plug, and had a white-haired buzz cut. He, having seen my car window stickers, asked about my military service. I gave the 30-second answer, and got a “thank you for your service.” Then, I asked him about his service.
“Oh, no,” he said, “I just did 12 years of federal service as a wildland firefighter.”More
Back in March, Rep. Kimberly Daniels, a Democrat in the Florida State house and a Christian, proposed legislation to display Florida’s motto in the schools. Gov. Scott signed a bill in March which requires all schools to display the state motto in a “conspicuous place,” beginning this week. The motto, “In God We Trust” became part of the Florida state seal in 1868 and on the Florida flag in 1900 and only became the state motto in 2006. Rep. Daniels from Jacksonville stated:
‘This motto is inscribed on the halls of this great capitol and inked on our currency, and it should be displayed so that our children will be exposed and educated on this great motto, which is a part of this country’s foundation,’ she said when a House committee took up her bill (HB 839). ‘Something so great should not be hidden.’
A modern David versus Goliath confrontation is now unfolding in rural North Carolina. This past April a local jury awarded 10 plaintiffs each $75,000 in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages against the pork producer Murphy-Brown LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, which was acquired by China’s WH Group in 2013. The plaintiffs were able to prove that the continuous and deliberate actions of the hog farmers caused them to suffer “episodes of noxious and sickening odor, onslaughts of flies and pests, nausea, . . . difficulty breathing” and more. A related lawsuit using the same nuisance theory is now being brought against a Smithfield farm in North Carolina that’s home to 4,700 hogs. Both farms are part of the $2.9 billion hog industry that anchors much of North Carolina’s rural economy.
The defendants in both these cases are not shy in denouncing the initial jury verdict against Murphy-Brown? as “an outrageous attack on animal agriculture, rural North Carolina and thousands of independent family farmers who own and operate contract farms.” Smithfield’s CEO Ken Sullivan insists that personal dislocations necessarily “go hand in hand” with normal farming operations. And he protests that no liability should be imposed on hog farms that operate in full compliance with all applicable state and federal regulations. He made the dire forecast that if these verdicts stand, chicken, turkey, and even wheat farmers could be next. He warned ominously that Smithfield could pull out of the state altogether.More
The social media banning of loopy provocateur Alex Jones is likely to result in calls from conservatives to regulate or dismantle Big Tech. (The left is more worried about the market power of the tech titans.) Actually it is already happening, at least on Twitter. But even before Jones and his Infowars content got the boot from Apple, YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify, Republicans were calling for action against “censorship of conservatives.”
Their evidence, however, appears to be a smattering of weird one-offs rather than a systemic problem. But politicians and pundits continue to connect the dots. As Sen. Ted Cruz said on a Breitbart podcast last spring: “These tech companies are hard left. . . . They are suppressing the views of conservatives. They are blocking conservatives. . . . That is invidious. It is invisible, and it is profoundly dangerous.”More
Nikki Haley is an indomitable force at the United Nations. She has repeatedly called the UN on its immoral and biased actions. She has attacked it for publishing misleading information; she has “taken names” of those countries that refuse to support the US and yet support terrorist organizations; she has criticized the UN for misusing funds. She has called out Iran for supporting groups that use human shields; she was instrumental in the US withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council.
I look for any opportunity to celebrate a high-level US official who stands up to lies, abuse, mismanagement, deception, and immorality. Nikki Haley more than fits the bill.More
“I know it’s just old bones over there, but those old bones are special to us,” my Uncle BF observed from his favorite rocking chair. The family had gathered, as it has for the better part of a century, at our property in Pitkin, Louisiana. It’s the place where my great great grandparents literally built the house with their own hands so many years earlier, and the place which every generation of our family has maintained and preserved ever since. Today, the house and the surrounding acreage is a refuge of sorts, where we can escape the cell phones and the schedules, the deadlines and the outside worries as we retreat, recharge, and rediscover that which has transcendent value.
Lately grayish clouds seem to rest uncomfortably above my head. It’s like living in a premature rainstorm that can’t quite unify into a full, raging tornado. But the threat always seems to be there.
That’s what it’s like for me living in these times. Overall my life is good, and I have friends and blessings aplenty. But the clouds are so persistent that they seem to darken everything.More
After Vertigo and Laura, Terry Teachout and I turn to famous British actor Charles Laughton’s great directorial debut, The Night Of The Hunter, starring Robert Mitchum at his peak. We talk about the consummate work of art, the craftsmanship put into a thrilling and fearful story of great moral seriousness, and many other things about the cast and crew, Flannery O’Connor, and about child actors. We talk about innocence, violence, and respectability, and how the devil can come in the clothes of a preacher. Listen to our conversation and share it, friends, and we’re always waiting for your comments!More
It’s easy to forget the ongoing war in Yemen. But a pair of news stories this week serves not only of a reminder of American involvement there but the foolishness in involving ourselves in yet another civil war.
The first story is the bombing of a school bus by Saudi warplanes that killed 29 children under the age of 15 in Saada Province. For what it’s worth (which isn’t much), the Saudis claim they didn’t intentionally target a bus full of children and that this was a “legitimate military operation.” Civil wars are usually full of atrocities, but this particular horror and the 29 dead children (and many others in this war) was made possible by generous assistance from the United States government and American taxpayers.More
The internet is undoubtedly the most important invention of the last several decades. And no country has been better at commercializing the internet than America. Apple is unlikely to be the last trillion-dollar US tech company.
It sure would be a shame to mess all that up over a loopy provocateur like Alex Jones.More