The Work of Judy Kudlow


You’re going to have to listen to the podcast we just recorded to learn exactly how the matter came up–it had something to do with a conversation about defunding the National Endowment for the Arts–but James Lileks and guest host Larry Kudlow got going on the counter-revolution now taking place, here and there, among artists intent on rediscovering lost values such as mastery of technique and the celebration of, well, you know, beauty. One of the leading revolutionaries? Larry’s wife, Judith Pond Kudlow. Larry was too modest on her behalf to make much of this, but I’m happy to do some raving about Judy myself. Devoting herself to form, composition, color, light, and the sheer glory of paint skillfully applied to canvas: in her studio in the South Bronx, Judy is pursuing subversive activities.


The “New Normal” Is Here to Stay (Unless We Do Something About It)


Real GDP during the Obama recovery has only been half that of the Reagan recovery. Blame Obamanomics? One problem with this theory — or even the idea that the hangover from the financial crisis bears all the blame — is that the economy’s troubles preceded both the Obama presidency and the Great Recession. So there’s a timing issue, one explored in the new paper “The disappointing recovery of output after 2009” by John Fernald of the San Francisco Fed, Stanford’s Robert Hall, Harvard’s James Stock, and Princeton’s Mark Watson.


Friday’s the Big Day for AHCA


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

The House of Representatives was supposed to vote Thursday on the AHCA, the Republican replacement bill for Obamacare. So what happened? Did it pass? As you can probably tell from our header, the vote was postponed. This gave Republicans more time to negotiate changes to the bill.


Rethinking NSA Data Collection


It’s probably too early to say anything definitive following the revelations of Rep. Nunes yesterday, but I would like to revisit some statements made repeatedly by Prof. @richardepstein on various Ricochet podcasts.

One of his main defenses of the current data collection regime of the NSA and other law enforcement groups was that there seems to be a real security need and that there are enough checks in place to prevent the misuse of that data.


The “Transgressive Art” Racket

Anti Trump billboard erected in Phoenix.

Artist Karen Fiorito is a hero, speaking truth to power. She spent 30 minutes in Photoshop creating a low-grade meme combining Trump, mushroom clouds, and dollar signs that looked like swastikas. She then conned a alternative art gallery to slap it on a billboard in Phoenix.

“So this happened today,” she said on Facebook. “Still awaiting the backlash, death threats and the like.” The media jumped on the amateur cut-and-paste job and made it go viral.

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Ricochet – Where Entrepreneurial Teams Are Born


I’ve been a Ricochet member since June of 2010 and never really approached the site as a place to connect with other members to pursue business opportunities. But I’d certainly recommend that now to anyone who thinks that Ricochet is only a discussion site to hash out political or cultural issues.

In December of last year, I received a message from the owner of a firm that I had commissioned product design work from over the last couple of decades for some of the high-tech companies where I had worked. The owner conveyed to me that they had a client who was working on developing an interactive, safe gun-training system to be launched on a crowdfunding site and that the inventor/engineer needed some marketing and product launch help and would I be interested? I was, but I knew that I would need the help of someone who was an expert on firearms, knew the gun industry, had marketed firearms products before, understood the various vertical markets within the gun industry, trained people on gun skills and safety and wrote regularly about guns, gun training, the Second Amendment and gun rights. I reached out to Ricochet Contributor, Kevin Creighton (@kevincreighton).

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Get Yourself Some Real Coffee


Trying not to make this really long and preachy. Also trying not to screw up the links this post calls for. Apparently this Schultz feller over at Starbucks decided, as a foil to duly elected POTUS Donald J. Trump’s policies, to commit to hiring 10, 000 “refugees.” Ookay.

Black Rifle Coffee Company replied, “Well, we want to hire veterans, and we think Starbucks is on the wrong path.” My words, not theirs (hey, I’m trying to summarize, here. Here’s an article with the statement of BRCC’s CEO.

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The Standard Reaction to London’s Mass Murder


Get ready. Here are the steps:

  1. This has nothing to do with Islam and he does not represent Islam.
  2. Claim it to be the religion of peace.
  3. It’s blowback for the west being in the Middle East.
  4. The guy was mentally ill.
  5. It is “lone wolf attack.”
  6. It’s just part of living in a big city.
  7. Claim Christians do these things too.
  8. Those who object are racist bigots.
  9. Change Facebook profile to flag of inflicted country.
  10. Light some candles, hold a vigil and go on a peace march.
  11. Some lad will sing “Imagine.”
  12. Forget the dead.
  13. Have articles banging on about how we have to protect Muslims.
  14. Ignore the attacker’s religion, motivations, or ideology.
  15. Claim Muslims are the real victims.
  16. Wait for the next Islamic terrorist attack to happen.

Courtesy of Facebook.


We’re Against Emotionalism, Except When We’re Not


Conservatives have rightly taken pride in Neil Gorsuch’s calm and cerebral performance at his Senate confirmation hearings. Many commentators, along with Republican senators, have mocked Democrats for presuming to evaluate Gorsuch based on the outcomes of his cases. Did he “side with the little guy” or with big corporations? The correct answer, conservatives have correctly chided, is that justice is supposed to be blind. A good judge makes determinations based upon the facts and the law without regard to whether he personally prefers one party to another and without some social justice agenda to equalize the fortunes of little guys versus big guys. It’s not little versus big, sympathetic versus unsympathetic in a courtroom, but facts and law.

It’s a shame then, that so many conservatives are disregarding the virtues they laud in Gorsuch – prudence, careful weighing of facts, refusal to be swayed by emotional appeals – when it comes to a disturbing story of a rape in Maryland.

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The NEA: Count Me Out


I am a bit conflicted about the Trump initiative to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. On the one hand, art has enriched my life immeasurably; on the other hand I can’t pretend that the NEA operates in the same universe as I do.

As a member of the Board of Directors of a small private museum and a long-time collector, I should be as upset as most in the art community seem to be, but I’m not. The art world got along just fine before the NEA was created in 1965 – I argue that the state of art in America was actually better before the NEA. It’s not about the money, the NEA budget is “only” $148 million, the problem is politics, decency, politics and a lack of definition of what “art” is.


Pat Buchanan: Politics Can’t Fix This. It’s Going to Take A St. Paul


At the prompting of a Facebook friend, I just took a look at this interview with Pat Buchanan, which we recorded in March of 2012 to mark the 2011 publication of his book, Suicide of a Superpower. You know what? In the Age of Trump, it seems fresh and relevant and provocative all over again. If you have a few moments today — or perhaps you could bookmark this for the weekend — take a look.

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Up in Smoke


There has been a national tragedy playing out for what seems for some an endless stream of days, weeks now. It has warranted hardly more than passing notice from the national media to an extent that many in unaffected areas have little more than a dim sense of it at all. For the last several days there have been any number of compelling “human interest” stories on national media which touch areas around the world. But few on this one so close to home.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of families whose day to day existence was considered symbolically American for more than a century have experienced sudden destruction of family holdings whose tradition is not measured in years but in generations. It is not the destruction of a way of life, but it is a severe test of it. The wild fires which have swept over parts of four prairie states are still a threat even as the rebuilding is going on.