Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Blog

Lady Justice herself wears a blindfold to ensure impartiality, but today her newest acolytes today are scrutinizing race, gender and sexual orientation before they'll even write a brief. Of course, these new lawyers coming out of Stanford Law School aren't scrutinizing their prospective clients--at least, not that we know of. They're looking hard at their prospective employers. According to an Orwell-transcendent story in the New York Times, these students are ranking the nations top law firms according to "how many female, minority and gay lawyers they have."

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Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican, is still running for president, but he's announced he won't be seeking re-election to his congressional seat. Too bad for the country, although I'm sure he'll find far pleasanter things to do--unless, that is, he makes it to the Oval Office. But what a congressional legacy he leaves. Having entered Congress in 1999 to bring America back to its immigration senses, Tancredo had given himself a seemingly impossible task: persuading the nation that there was an illegal ...

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A few choice Oklahoma blogs are buzzing over the way in which the No-Koran 24--the two dozen Oklahoma legislators who have declined gifts of personalized, state-seal-embossed Korans from a government Muslim group--appear to have been set up for their media fall into a vat of PC hogwash. For turning down the gift of a Koran (the book at the basis of Islamic law, which denies all Western notions of human rights), the Oklahoma 24 are being subjected to charges of bigotry and mean-spiritedness. Such charges are as absurd as witchcraft accusations in 17th-century-Salem, but that, of course, doesn't stop our high priests of PC.

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One of the epic successes of the Communist and fellow-travelling Left in this country was its suppression of the Cold War in the popular culture. I refer to to near-total blackout on movies and TV that chronicle the primary struggle of the last century between Freedom and totalitarian Communism.

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Today's column looks at 24 Oklahoma lawmakers who declined to receive a gift of a personalized, state-seal-stamped Koran from an all-Muslim state advisory body. This is surely a surreal confluence of not church and state, but mosque and state, which, under Islam, are always fused in the system of sharia law--a system that denies all Western-style human rights.

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The Washington Post's Terri Sapienza identifies a new culprit in the ongoing investigation into the death of the grown-up: Halloween. In an article called, "From Boo to Eeeww: When did Halloween get so ghastly gruesome," she reveals that adult involvement helps explain the intense gore-ification and even the pornification of the of the holiday. Once upon a time, jack 'o' lanterns and Casper the Friendly Ghost made Halloween about as sweet as candycorns. Now, with bloody and severed limb props and maggots, it's got another vibe going. Apparently, things changed around 1978, the year "Halloween" came out.

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Naivete on a college campus may be indulged or rationalized as "idealism"--behavior or thought based on a conception of how things ought to be, and even seem to be while dreaming beside a well-manicured quadrangle. Naivete on a battlefield, however, is something else again--irresponsible. wasteful and dangerous monkeying around with people's lives and nation's fortunes. I was struck by this on reading a recent New York Times report about a new American effort to "break corruption," as a military commander put it, in Afghanistan.

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About those Hannah Montana tickets for 'tweens averaging $250 a pop (as much as a month's worth of one-hour private music lessons): What has gone haywire is the parental conception of proportion. Between the repressed "Children should be seen and not heard," and the indulged "Children should be showered with fabulously expensive pop concert tickets," there is another way. But it is another way that has become lost to all too many adults of America's vast middle class today.

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When we think of decadence ripe for the overthrow, we usually think of the twisted excess of Ancient Rome, the self-indulgence of the Ancien Regime, the louche years of Weimar. We don't usually think of death by treacle. But that--if this article about the frantic parental bloodletting of cash and emotion into "Hannah Montana," the latest "tween" craze, is to be believed (and, alas, there is no reason not to believe it)--looks to be our sugary downfall.

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One April day this year, the Los Angeles Times reports, Hillary Clinton collected $380,000 from a fund-raiser in just about the poorest section of New York City. That section is Chinatown, where dishwashers and busboys who, in the main, don't speak much English and often work for sub-minimum wages, were somehow able to find, say, $1,000 in their pockets--tips?--for Mrs. Clinton. (By contrast, John Kerry netted $24,000 in 2004. )

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"Counterculture McGoverniks" was what Newt Gingrich aptly called Mr. and Mrs. Bill Clinton on his becoming Speaker of the House in 1994, as Harvard's Harvey Mansfield reminded us in one of the most lucid essays ever written on the1960s. His essay is called "The Legacy of the Late Sixties," and it appears in a 1997 collection edited by Stephen Macedo called Reassessing the Sixties. (Professor Mansfield warns his readers "not to expect a nonjudgmental treatment framed in the weasel words of social science," so you know it's going to be good.) The New York Times sprang to the Clintons' defense, Mansfield noted, with a flowery editorial "in praise of the counterculture." This editorial, he explained, revealed "by its very appearance in the nation's most prestigious newspaper how far the counterculture had become regnant."

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Back from New Haven where I spoke at a Master's tea to a pleasantly attentive group which--following my D of the G presentation about what happens when an infantilized society that PC-censors itself meets an expansionist Islam that demands such censorship as a point of law--surprised me. Where I expected to hear the undergraduates tell me that, say, Islam wasn't all bad, that I had oversimplified, what emerged instead was a consensus that the West wasn't all good, that I had oversimplified. As the Yale Daily News later put it, "Some students said West blamed Americans for censoring themselves in thought but ignored the censorship she exploys in her own speech by concentrating only on the positive aspects of Western civilization."

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What is new under the sun? Supposedly, the "odyssey years." This is the stretch of time, according to social scientists cited in a column by the New York Times' David Brooks, between adolescence and adulthood--say, between age 20 and age 35--during which careers are tried, commitments are deferred, and no one wants to be called "Mister." If that sounds a little bit like the phenomenon analyzed in my book, The Death of the Grown-Up, it is--but only a little bit. I finally crystallized the difference for myself, but after being interviewed for a Times of London article on the subject, so here it is:

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Vogue magazine is now doing its bit to get us gals to look, or at least think about looking more grown-up. Fashion-coaching women to have “courage” and “no fear of chic,” the September issue sounds a downright old-fashioned note in exhorting women to adopt a “valiant style” (read: get dressed up). It showcases women who do just that, including Vanessa Bellanger, image and style director at Chloe, who declares:

“I guess I want to look more adult now. I think it is really bad to try to look younger than you are, which is so prevalent in fashion. You have to be comfortable with your age.”

It’s “really bad” to try to look younger? Well, snap my tube top. As Vogue put it, “When did you last hear that in our mother-dressed-as-daughter-and-vice-versa times?”

The magazine also goes on to emphasize the importance of wearing clothing “appropriate” to the occasion. It begins to sound more like a wise old granny talking than a trendoid glossy. There is also a salvo against “the sloppy syndrome” that offers,...

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The Nobel Prize for Peace should be renamed the Nobel Prize for Virtue--with virtue being defined as a set of left-wing attitudes and opinions. Consolation prize for the Gore-itated: A British High Court ruled this week that his magnus opus, "An Inconvenient Truth," contained to many errors to be used as a teaching aid in the British schools without also teaching about the errors. (This judge counted nine.)

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Who thinks this would have happened if Islamic terrorists hadn't destroyed the Twin Towers?

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On October 11, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the following: “I believe that there could be no greater legacy for America than to help to bring into being a Palestinian state for a people who have suffered too long, who have been humiliated too long, who have not reached their potential for too long, and who have so much to give to the international community and to all of us."

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I know the media has pronounced last night's GOP debate "gaffeless," but, while reading up on the event for an appearance on WNYC this a.m., I discovered a massive hole in most of these GOP heads. The issue is the proposed sale of 20 percent of NASDAQ to Dubai Borse, the stock exchange owned by the government of Dubai. The question was straightforward: Should a Dubai company be able to own 20 percent of NASDAQ?

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True confession: I have never followed local politics closely enough. I've always been drawn more to the interplay of nations than of neighbors. But now, as our federal government has renegged on its solemn duty to preserve and protect our border--the baseline of the interplay of nations--I find that the Board of Supervisors, the local planning commission, the county clerk's office, is increasingly where the action is.

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Running through my book, The Death of the Grown-Up, is an examination of what happens to us, to our society, as the boundaries on human behavior shift or disappear altogether. This effects us on a personal level in terms of our own identity--sexual, national, married name or not. It continues in our homes, which are increasingly permeable to the toxic seepage of television and the Internet. It extends to our national borders, which are increasingly porous to aliens and terrorists. And it goes to church, where the world's Catholics, for example, have had to confront secret, line-crossing sexual crimes.

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Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of addressing the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. Enders Wimbush was my gallant moderator, and John O'Sullivan was my gracious commentator. The audio is available here.

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wrote a column this week about Ramadan at the White House, but it was really Ramadan at the Pentagon that got me going again. (This is my fourth or fifth annual column touching on official Washington’s post-9/11 “tradition” of Ramadan celebrations.) It was a Washington Times story about the military’s Ramadan service that actually caught my eye. Or, rather, it was the name of the presiding imam, Navy Chaplain Abuhena M. Saifulislam. “Saifulislam” means “Sword of Islam.” It seems that Lieutenant Commander “Sword of Islam” led 100 Islamic faithful, kneeling toward Mecca, in prayer to Allah to celebrate Ramadan at the Pentagon. And that was about it as far as the story went.

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The conclusion of my book interview with Michelle Malkin is up at Hot Air. In this segment, we discuss the links between "the death of the grown-up" and the war we have yet to face up to against expansionist Islam, which, even peacefully, is always accompanied by anti-liberty sharia, or Islamic law.

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The reports out of Burma are devastatingly bleak. Mass killings and incarcerations of monks by the military dictatorship appear to have brought this short season of pro-democracy protest to a bloody halt. Looking back at the pictures--unarmed monks and other Burmese filling city streets by the thousands to march for democracy--I am struck anew by how unprotected these people were against the guns and ruthlessness of the regime, and still they marched. The bravery and evident desparation on display are equally poignant.

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There is something ghastly-surreal about the spectacle of the violent governement assault on anti-junta protestors in Burma: about khaki-clad violence vs. saffron-robed idealism. But the clash is also numbingly familiar. echoing too many other conflicts pitting peoples against brutish dictators, as in Tiananmen Square, 1989. Like the Chinese democracy activists then, the Burmese democracy protestors are looking for help from the outside world. Here's an eye-witness account from the British ambassador to Burma, as relayed by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Wednesday:

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When Ken Burns, discussing his new documentary, "The War," told Mother Jones... "I think that we deserve, and more important, we need a much more complicated history" ...I braced myself for the Big Cultural Hit to come. In Burnsworld, "complicated" could only mean that the Good Guy-dom of the US would come under the documentarian's pan-and-zoom attack. And so it has.

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These days, most publishers aren't sending out most authors on a multi-city book tour. In our Internet era, what is evolving instead is something known as "the blog book tour." One of the most highly prized stops on this new circuit is the pioneering videoblogging site Hot Air created by the multi-talented, multi-faceted Michelle Malkin. Michelle, a great friend of mine, is not only a courageous author, columnist and Fox News personality, she is also one of the major innovators on the 'Net, providing an amazingly wide, deep and essential range of content, both at Hot Air and, of course, her must-read website MichelleMalkin.com.

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Between Alessandra Stanley's multicultural gripe in The New York Times, and Cecilia Alvear's Latino lament in the Washington Post, Ken Burns' new documentary on World War II is under bizarro attack from the identity-politics Left. Stanley complains for most of the review that Burns tells "only" an American story:

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One of the supreme delights of blogging, of course, is the fact that the Internet enables the muttered responses of the individual reacting to the world around him to reach a heretofore unimagined audience. This sense of equalizing empowerment comes down to this: Today, the breakfast table; tomorrow the world!

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Lifted from a recent interview at Mother Jones with Ken Burns, whose latest docu-marathon, this one on World War II, debuts Sunday. According to Burns, the "greatest generation"--a grating phrase, perhaps, as thought my father, who, as a veteran of the Normandy Invasion (D-Day plus 2), was a charter member--is also "the worst generation." The filmmaker explaineth: MJ: The film's tagline is "In extraordinary times there are no ordinary lives." What do you think about the whole idea of "the greatest generation"?

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It looks like the NYPD has put the kibosh on a proposed visit by the ultimate genocidal jihadi, Iran's Ahmadinejad, to Ground Zero in New York--and thank goodness for that. Even so, the Iranian mission in New York is declaring their Thug-in-Chief still plans to lay a wreath at the site on Monday. Repulsive, says the New York Post. Take Your Wreath and Shove It, says Michelle Malkin.

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The New York Times reports that Brooke Yalof, 12, and Simone Rivera, 13, go to Spence--"the Bergdorf Goodman of Upper East Side private schools," according to the paper. Desiree Kennedy-Mitton, 16, used to attend the Hewitt School, also on Manhattan's Upper East Side--perhaps the Barney's of U.E.S. private schools? Isabelle Edmonds, 13, is another Bergdorf-Goodman--I mean, Spence--student. So is Charlotte Levy, 13. Olivia Salman, 12, attends the Trinity School on the Upper West Side, which, apparently doesn't rate a retail comparison in Timesworld.

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Just uploaded my CNN appearance on "Lou Dobbs Tonight" from a few weeks ago to discuss The Death of the Grown-Up." This was one of the first book interviews, and it remains one of the best due to the extremely well-prepared Lisa Sylvester, sitting in for a vacationing Lou Dobbs.

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Just back from a New York City trip to talk (quickly) about "The Death of the Grown-Up" on "Fox & Friends" Friday morning, and to tape the political roundtable segment of "Lou Dobbs This Week" (airing, as usual, on CNN at 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday). On the way out of town, I popped into a Borders to check on the book and, in talking to some nice sales clerks, learned that a customer who had seen my morning show appearance had actually come in looking for the book--proof that it was well worth waking up at 4:45 a.m. to make the show.

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What was the big story of the week? Gen. Petraeus' testimony? Nope. Another 9/11 come and gone? Nope. The biggest story of the week--in many ways, the age--took place in Brussels, the so-called capital of Europe. There, a small band of people marked the occasion of 9/11 by peacefully protesting the erosion of liberty and the disappearance of Western culture that is resulting from the Islamization of Europe.

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From the U.S. Open to the New York restaurant scene, the death of the grown-up is, um, alive and well. That is, perpetual adolescents are in charge. Which isn't to say they haven't been for a long time, but some new observers are beginning to notice--even at The New York Times. "Pump Up the Cacophony: The Days of Etiquette Are Over at the U.S. Open" declares one headline over a feature about bratty crowd behavior. "Business Is Hot, But the Vibe Is Cool," reports a Food Section round-up of new restaurants that seem to offer everything except, as the article puts it, "formality."

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Michael J. Mooney of the Dallas Morning News has unearthed a maturity-challenged new subculture (at least new to me): grown men in the 40s and 50s who will do anything to … skateboard. Often ducking the police, these middle-aged thrashers jump the fences of closed motels to sip beer and grind their boards across the empty pools. They trespass into back yards. They swarm local skate parks, speeding past kids half their age. They also own their own businesses. They have families and mortgages and disposable incomes."

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   Ten years after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, transformed Great Britain into a massive spasm of emotion—something Time magazine’s Michael Elliott approvingly puts down to Britain’s emergence as a “modern” nation--Elliott is beginning to wonder whether it was really such a good idea to trade “the virtues--the Roman virtues, an earlier generation would have called them--of restraint, stoicism and quiet, private mourning” for Venting Unlimited. Here’s his conclusion: 

    “I thought modern Britain showed the best of itself in the week after Diana died: a feeling and a compassion and an openness to emotional expression that it had for too long kept bottled up. But perhaps--as stock markets stumble and wars drag on--these are sterner times than the mid-1990s, ones when the virtues of reason, reserve and order become apparent. You can't fuel a society on flowers alone.”

    Hmmm. Are these thoughts the sober stirrings of a revitalized appreciation of the virtue of restraint? Not exactly. The...

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