WASHINGTON—The Republicans would nominate as their candidate for the recently contested House seat in Florida a candidate with the celebratory surname of Jolly. David Jolly to be exact. Needless to say David Jolly won. Perhaps his victory will establish a trend. According to the trend, the Republicans will be running candidates with surnames like Happy, or Joyous, or even Gay. Imagine a wave election—as political commentators are predicting 2014 to be—in which the Republicans run candidates with the aforementioned names: Happy, Joyous, Gay! Imagine a future House of Representatives where the dialogue might run: “Speaker Jolly, I should like to propose an amendment to your bill on noxious particulates in the atmosphere,” says the Hon. Happy. Responds the Hon. Jolly, “By all means do so, Mr. Happy.” It would be a new dawn for the Republic.
Despite attempts to cloak itself in science, political correctness is the very opposite. The political correctness movement’s real emphasis is on politics, not correctness. Its goal is to have prevailing thought determined by a political dynamic.
As repeatedly witnessed, political correctness is about installing its subjective version of truth in the court of public opinion, not in distilling objective truth. Its end is to implant a certain idea, belief, or behavior as the only acceptable course of action or thought — to the exclusion of any other.
Usually, this puts political correctness in opposition to prevailing norms. Not holding a majority outright, political correctness takes a political approach toward installing itself. It is organized; it is coordinated; it marshals stock answers — all, to advance itself.
Political correctness attacks its opponents — it does not debate them. It is always on the offensive. It seeks to demonize its opponents and make them explain their opinion, because it knows in today’s soundbite world, explaining means losing in public discourse.
A New Age of Liberty
By Reid Smith
Every “epoch” begins with a specific moment—the origin point of that particular era. The Defenestration of Prague triggered the 30 Years War. Queen Victoria assumed the throne. Chuck Berry plugged in.
America experienced just such a moment last March, when Rand Paul took the Senate floor to object to our high-flying executive. He spoke for nearly 13 hours, condemning the dangerous ambiguity of an “unlimited imperial presidency.” Since Congress passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in the immediate wake of 9/11, the executive had come unchained. A serious debate was needed, Paul argued, about “whether that use or authorization of force is open-ended, forever.”
Faced with the dire prospect of a rapidly shrinking fleet of 280 ships, the Navy’s top brass are simply reclassifying a couple hospital ships and its small patrol craft deployed overseas to inflate the numbers. It’s an accounting sleight-of-hand that will fool no one and should be an embarrassment to the entire defense establishment.
There was a time when counting ships in the fleet was really simple. Just count up those big, gray ships one-by-one and you were done. Now, in a thinly veiled effort to disguise the troubling lack of newly constructed warships joining the fleet, the Navy is reclassifying a few non-combatants to make up for glaring holes in the fleet.
The changes, quietly noted in the recently released Defense Department’s 2015 budget proposal, add the dozen vessels to the battle force to help make up for the planned retirement of 10 frigates, a submarine and other ships.
Next Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments concerning constitutional challenges to Obamacare’s contraception mandate brought by Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties. The families that own and operate these private corporations believe the mandate violates the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by forcing them to provide employees with health insurance covering abortifacients. Both families have grave religious objections to the use of such drugs.
Neither company objects to birth control, per se. Indeed, both provide coverage to their employees for most types of contraception. Yet civilization as we know it will collapse if the justices rule in their favor, according to the increasingly shrill prognostications of panicky liberals. Such a decision, progressives shriek, would constitute a victory for the dark forces behind the “war on women,” erode employee protections against discrimination, and dramatically reduce access to health care for all workers.
Begin with one of the most famous (to some, infamous) quotations from a generation ago: California Republican Senator S. I. Hayakawa (served 1977-83) said during the election preceding the 1977 signing of the Panama Canal Treaty, “We should keep the Panama Canal. After all, we stole it fair and square.” Yet in 1978 the senator would help shepherd the treaty through the Senate and win ratification.
Will Fiat pull the plug on Chrysler?
Just the other day, it was announced that sales of the Dodge Dart — one of the first post-bankruptcy new-design Chrysler products — are down 33 percent this year so far. Toyota has sold nearly five times as many Corollas during the same period. The Dart is now in 9th place in the segment, sales-wise.
Given that the Dart is only one year old (launched as an all-new model for 2013) this is extremely worrisome news for Chrysler. The Belvidere, Illinois plant where Darts are assembled has been partially idled — with weeks-long layoffs for hundreds of workers. And — sure sign of desperation — Chrysler has upped the incentives for prospective Dart buyers from $400 last year to $2,200 per vehicle.
But even that is not likely to work if buyers think the Dart’s a stinker. It does Chrysler no good to “sell” cars at a loss, either.
That can go on for only so long.
Whatever affection older generations felt for the original Dart, it hasn’t transferred to the new one — or to younger generations who have no memory of the original car.
Professor Amy Chua of the Yale law school is better known as a “Tiger Mom” because of her take-no-prisoners, tough love approach to raising children. She and her husband Jed Rubenfeld (a fellow Yale law professor) have written what may turn out to be the best book of this year.
It is titled The Triple Package because it argues that three qualities are found in spectacularly successful groups in America. These three qualities, they say, are a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control.
Whether you buy their theory or not, you will be enormously enlightened by their attempts to prove it. In the process they shoot down many of the popular beliefs about upward mobility in America and about the kinds of people who succeed.
At a time when so many in academia and the media are proclaiming that the poor are no longer able to rise in America, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld point out that a major research project on which that conclusion has been based left out immigrants.
“Our. God. Feels.” Pastor Dave Bushnell slowed down, pronouncing the words distinctly. Then he stopped, giving us a moment for the three syllables to sink in. “Our God reigns” might have been what the audience had expected him to say, from the title—and the refrain—of the popular worship song by that name. This inversion of expectations roped listeners into the message.
Bushnell is a wiry man with close-cropped hair. On the third Sunday in January, he was dressed in faded blue jeans and a red, white, and black plaid button-down shirt. Behind him, a large screen, one of many in the cavernous auditorium of Cornwall Church, displayed a collection of verses from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments. Here were verses in which God the Father and Jesus Christ expressed what sounded suspiciously like emotions. Compassion, distress, sorrow, regret: the whole gamut of human feeling. Such seemingly emotional passages have long presented a problem for theologians because they seem to contradict classical Christian formulations about God—His being all knowing, all powerful, unchanging, and good, for instance.
As Scott Walker prepared to give his State of the State speech on January 22, protesters gathered, as they have every year—indeed, nearly every day—under the granite dome of the Wisconsin capitol building. They chanted “Shame!” and sang and held signs with such enlightening messages as “labor built america, greed will destroy it” and “up your but-get walker.” In other words, some things in Wisconsin haven’t changed.
Then again, some things have: “The crowd numbers less than one hundred,” wrote one protester who posted photos online. “The numbers may be small but the resounding voices are reassuring that hope is still alive and the fight will continue…Occupy Everything in 2014!”
Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926) celebrates his sesquicentenary on March 19, and this fact will be largely ignored by America’s decadent cultural establishment. A creative workhorse, the artist produced over 4,000 pieces in a run of forty years: paintings, drawings, sculpture, and commissioned illustrations for books and magazines. He even amused correspondents with whimsically illustrated letters and postcards that featured his trademark cow skull logo next to his signature, and those artifacts are quite valuable today.
Russell’s anniversary will be observed on a small scale. The eponymous C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana has events planned. And he is currently included in “The American West in Bronze: 1850-1925” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a show featuring some pieces representative of a discipline that was for Russell an avocation.
Andrew Sullivan has denounced as a “rhetorical lynch mob” the criticism of liberal pundit Ezra Klein for hiring a controversial young writer at Klein’s new project Vox.com. The left-wing thought police at Media Matters for America attacked 23-year-old Brandon Ambrosino as “a gay man who has made a name for himself by suggesting that being gay is a choice and whitewashing anti-gay bigotry and discrimination.”
This stunning recent graphic offers victim numbers on modern history’s greatest mass murderers. Each blood drop represents one million killed. China’s Mao Zedong ranks “first” with 78 million, followed by the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin with 23 million and Nazi Adolf Hitler 17 million.
“These cold-blooded dictators do not care for the value of life as much as they do achieving their selfish motives of domination, power, and immortality,” the grim graphic aptly summarizes.
Interestingly, Belgium’s notorious King Leopold is fourth with 15 million who died in the Belgian Congo under his brutal colonial exploitation. Then there’s Japanese World War II militarist Tojo with 5 million, and Turkey’s WWI chief Enver Pasha with 2.5 million and Cambodia’s Communist despot Pol Pot with 1.7 million. North Korea’s founding tyrant Kim Il Sung is next with 1.6 million, then Ethiopia’s Mengistu with 1.5 million. Nigerian dictator Yakobo Bowon (1966-1975) is the final listed villain with 1.1 million.
At a time when polls show public opinion turning against the Democrats, some Republicans seem to be turning against each other. Even with the prospect of being able to win control of the Senate in this fall’s elections, some Republicans are busy manufacturing ammunition for their own circular firing squad.
A Republican faction’s demonization of their own Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is a classic example. If you listen to some of those who consider themselves the only true conservatives, you would never guess that Senator McConnell received a lifetime 90 percent ranking by the American Conservative Union — and in one recent year had a 100 percent ranking.
Ann Coulter — whose conservative credentials nobody has ever challenged — points out in her column that Mitch McConnell has not only led the fight for conservative principles repeatedly, but has been to the right of Ted Cruz on immigration issues.
Someone once said that, in a war, truth is the first casualty. That seems to be the case for some in this internal war among Republicans. As the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.”
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” — Ecclesiastes 1:9
This is true even in politics. Maybe especially in politics, where the recycling of bad and good decisions reflects the recycling, according to democratic practice, of bad and good leaders.
As the Russians push their imperial agenda in the Ukraine, and Western leaders wring their hands, the ’70s come painfully to mind.
I bring up the ’70s — of god-awful memory — as much to nourish hope as to enlarge perspective on current events in the world and the nation along with it.
As the hearing-aid set — of which your servant is a certificate-holding member — will recall, the ’70s began with the U.S. in decline, at home and abroad. Inflation and fast-rising energy costs looked uncontrollable. The Nixon administration’s response was wage-price controls — an expedient never successful anywhere. A long, bloody, divisive and essentially futile war in Southeast Asia was winding down. It remained only to negotiate our exit costs.
Is Zaharie Ahmad Shah a real-life Marko Ramius? Is the mystery of Malaysia flight 370 lifted straight from a famous bestselling thriller-turned-Hollywood-blockbuster? Recall: A brand new high tech Soviet nuclear submarine vanishes with officers and full crew aboard. A frantic search begins, though the alarmed Kremlin is silent about the fact that it has been notified by the captain that he intends to defect and hand the sub over to the Americans. The officers — but not the crew — are in on the plan.
Rails to Trails, a noteworthy program that turns abandoned rail lines into hiking trails, provides recreational opportunities for many. But the program has also put hundreds of thousands of acres of real estate — and the rights of private property owners — at stake.
Last week, the Supreme Court held in Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States that if the government wants to turn an abandoned rail line into a recreational trail, it must pay “just compensation,” which the Fifth Amendment requires when private property is taken for a public use. In comparison to some of the other cases on the court’s docket, Brandt looked a “sleeper,” but its implications are nonetheless important.
In the nearly 14 years I have lived in Boston, one of things I have come to enjoy the most is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade which takes place the Sunday before the formal celebration of Ireland’s best known patron saint. I have just returned from my 12th St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
People who know me might be surprised by my regular attendance at this gathering. The first thing people associate with St. Patrick’s Day is copious consumption of alcohol. I don’t touch the stuff. In fact, I have been a teetotaler for more than 20 years. But from where I stand the St. Patrick’s Day means more than a pint of Guinness.
Up early to appear on Fox News with the old gang from Cavuto on Business. It is a smart, lively group, and I love doing it enough to get up at 6:30 to get to the studio in West L.A. on time. That’s saying something.
Last week was a time of intense travel. First to Orlando to, then to Greenville to visit our son and his beautiful family in that beautiful, leafy town. I really can hardly tell you how much I love Greenville. The people are the main asset. Friendly, good looking, outgoing, helpful.
The food is also amazingly delicious. Up country South Carolina cooking. Just one tasty meal after another at the Poinsett Club, which has become just about my favorite spot on the planet. Rich, gleaming floors, helpful and kind staff, delicious food of every variety. It is sort of what a club is meant to be and I feel extremely blessed that they let me in. Then of course there is the Waffle House.
The Russian takeover of the Crimea, as well as many of our problems in the Middle East, was funded by high oil prices. Since there is no military solution to the Crimea conflict, President Obama should look closely at the successful pages of the Reagan playbook.
Before the Reagan and Gorbachev Summits could begin, Reagan needed to rebuild our defenses to bring the Soviets back to the bargaining table. The Kremlin was pressured to end the Cold War on America’s terms because of President Reagan’s policies of supporting the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, deploying Pershing cruise missiles in Western Europe (to counter Soviet SS-20s), advocating the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and doubling the defense budget.