16:21, as near as I can tell, is another twofer…
21 The wise in heart are called discerning,
and gracious words promote instruction.
… unless you can tell what those two conjoined phrases have to do
with each other. I'm failing to see it.
■ Jeopardy! champ Tom Nichols takes to the pages of the
WaPo to expound on Trump’s
first year: A damage assessment.
Trump’s presidency has done daily damage not only to the Republican
Party and the conservative movement but, more important, to our
constitutional system of government. The president is eroding the
unwritten norms that serve as the civic girders beneath our
political and legal infrastructure. And his foreign policy, insofar
as he has one, is diminishing our global
standing and jeopardizing our security.
It is sometimes difficult, in the wind tunnel of noise created by
Trump’s most hysterical critics, to distinguish what is merely
appalling from what is genuinely dangerous. Not everything the
administration has done is wrong or disastrous — it has even gotten
a few things right, such as the strike last year against Syria. But
it is clear that Trump has already left so much destruction in his
wake that it may be hard to put the pieces together again after he’s
Tom is a smart guy, and even (or maybe especially) Trump fans
should check him out.
But unfortunately, at least as I type, there's an embedded video
with his article. The WaPo teases the video with a few
seconds of Trump giving what appears to be a
A few frames make it clear that it's not; he's just waving. But the
initial impression is unmistakeable. Talking about "the wind tunnel of noise created by
Trump’s most hysterical critics"!
■ At NRO, Shoshana Weissmann writes on The
Underlying Cognitive Dissonance of the Left and the Right. In
case you were unconvinced by (or didn't see)
on the recent book
by Brink Lindsey and Steven M. Teles,
The Captured Economy:
How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase
Inequality, maybe Shoshana will convince you to check it out. Her
The Left complains of the undue political influence bought by wealthy special interests, but it regularly trusts the actions and intent of the very government that is subject to that influence. Meanwhile, the Right complains that big government is overly intrusive and burdensome, but it denies the existence of the systemic inequality that results from its overreach. Maybe we should all focus on correcting our own hypocrisies before we turn to those of our political opponents.
Let me just put an Amazon link over there… there!
■ Speaking of wealthy special interests: As we look forward to
Superb Owl LII, Steven Malanga and City Journal tell the tale
Plundered by Vikings.
Fans of the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will travel to the frigid northern city this week because the NFL granted a Super Bowl to Minnesota as a reward for stepping up with more than half a billion dollars in subsidies for the home-state Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016. For a city whose mayor recently described it as a “shining beacon of progressive light and accomplishment,” this is some feat, and a reminder that the NFL, whatever its troubles, maintains a firm hold on the taxpayer’s purse in many places.
Cronyism is doing just fine in Minnesota. Also
Cause and effect? I think so!
■ The State of the Union Address is tonight! I'm so excited, I'll be
watching a TiVo'd episode of Scorpion instead. Should you
need another reason not to watch,
Reason's Nick Gillespie provides one:
the President's Human Props: Welders, Cops, Vets Will Be Trotted Out
During SOTU. Among the President's invitees there are, Gillespie notes,
"crime victims, veterans, entrepreneurs, and beneficiaries of
various Trump actions."
Ronald Reagan is to blame for the nauseating twist on the annual
presidential report that's mandated by the Constitution. Back in
1982, the master showman highlighted
the heroism of Lenny Skutnik, a Congressional Budget Office
staffer who pulled a drowning passenger out of the Potomac River
after an Air Florida plane crashed in that slow-moving cesspool.
Ever since then, almost every State of the Union address has
featured one or more
"Skutniks," or Americans who somehow embody everyday heroism,
stoicism, victimhood, or identity politics. I've got nothing against
Skutnik, who was indeed a hero, but this is a tradition hammier than
an Easter dinner. Past
Skutniks have included such luminaries as Second Lady and
would-be music censor Tipper Gore, steroid-popping and bat-corking
baseball slugger Sammy Sosa, and epically corrupt and incompetent
Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.
I count 15. And of course, the various CongressCritters in
have invited their own props.