Barr Trumps Mueller


The recent release of the Mueller Report has brought with it neither peace nor finality. Rather, it marks the end of only the latest skirmish in the ongoing war between an embattled president and his determined Democratic foes. To be sure, the charges of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians have been safely put to bed.

But the battle over whether the President engaged in obstruction of justice in the aftermath of his electoral victory has flared anew, in large measure because Mueller issued a Scotch verdict of not-proven when he wrote: “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” That passage offers an open invitation to Congress to continue an investigation of whether the president obstructed justice. Progressive Democrats are now pressuring Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to begin impeachment proceedings against the president on just that charge.


ACF American Masters #6: Ride the High Country


This week, Prof. John Marini joins me on the podcast for a conversation about Sam Peckinpah’s first great Western, Ride The High Country, a movie about the collapse of nobility. Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea play veteran marshals of the Old West, whose time has passed, and who take one last job to make something of themselves–or for themselves. This is our sixth Western conversation and next week, for our seventh, we’ll talk about Peckinpah’s last great Western, The Ballad Of Cable Hogue.

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Quote of the Day: Death and Delivery


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

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A Divided Foundation


A political theory designed to understand human beings as they are in reality, and not to tell us stories about the adventures of some fantastic creature invented by philosophers, cannot avoid this capacity of the human individual to recognize the aims of the collective as his own.

I’ve been reading Yoram Hazony’s book The Virtues of Nationalism lately. I’ve also been reading Reason’s abortion articles and Ricochet, and a host of other things.

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Cute and Fun: Republicans, Can We Leave the AOC Mocking to 7-Year-Olds?


Sometimes I get tired of Republican-leaning pundits picking the lowest hanging fruit while ignoring real threats on many fronts. I wonder also if the antics of one congresswoman serve as a nice diversion so they don’t have to take a controversial stand on more important matters.

This is fun and adorable. And it’s so easy a seven-year-old can do it.

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He Who Finds a Wife Who Watches Marvel With Him


I live in Hong Kong, so I have the opportunity to see Avengers: Endgame before most of the world. You’ll be surprised when you find out it’s Hawkeye who kills Thanos. Without any help. In hand-to-hand combat.

I kid, I kid. It was Ant-Man.


Happy Earth Day!


Today is Earth Day and, as is my habit, I intend to celebrate it, as I have every year, by spending the entire day on Earth.

Other than that, it’s business as usual. I’ll continue consuming our abundant natural resources at my normal rate. My Yukon gets 16 miles per gallon on a good day, less in city driving. (I drove in town today.) I took #5 son out to lunch: we went to Five Guys and ate cow.


Honest Motherhood Is Refreshing


There are a few mothers I follow on social media just for their parenting content, and one of them is writer/actress/comedian Jenny Mollen. I first became familiar with her because she’s married to Jason Biggs, of “Orange Is the New Black”/American Pie fame, but she is honestly the better half of the couple. She is entertaining and shockingly honest in everything she writes and talks about, which is refreshing when most mothers and women, in general, spend all of their time trying to sanitize and beautify their lives, making them look as ideal and picture-perfect as possible.

Recently, Mollen posted a particularly brave picture and story, and one that caught my attention on Instagram. She wrote,


Uncommon Knowledge: Heather Mac Donald on The Delusion of Diversity


Is the dedication to diversity undermining American culture? In her book The Diversity Delusion, Heather Mac Donald argues that the focus on race and gender diversity is harming society. Mac Donald and I discuss how she was protested off of school campuses by students because of her ideas. They discuss the collapse of free-speech ideals on college campuses in the United States and how the dedication to diversity doesn’t extend to a diversity of thought.


In Defense of the Responsible


Over on Twitter today, my friend Phil Klein of the Washington Examiner is getting piled on for this piece:


When Government Emphasizes Production Over Consumption: Washing Machine Edition


The new thinking on the populist right is that US economic policy has long focused far too much on consumption vs. production. Making stuff is important, too! But what does a change in emphasis look like in the real world?

Well, a new research paper from economists at the Federal Reserve and the University of Chicago seems to give a pretty good idea. In “The Production Relocation and Price Effects of US Trade Policy: The Case of Washing Machines,” Aaron Flaaen, Ali Hortaçsu, and Felix Tintelnot find that President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imported washing machines did create about 2000 jobs as foreign companies shifted production here — but at a cost $820,000 a job. Although the tariffs generated $82 million for the US Treasury, they also raised consumer prices by $1.5 billion.


Hold on to Your Wallet: Elizabeth Warren Has an Idea


Elizabeth Warren fixed her gaze on the White House the moment she arrived at the US Senate. Today, she’s actually running for the presidency, but it is not going well. Monday morning, a poll out of New Hampshire showed her with just five percent. Residing next door in Massachusetts makes the Granite State a must-win for the senator, yet she trails Bernie, Biden, and Buttigieg by double digits.

You can’t say she isn’t trying. Each week she unveils another progressive plan to win over the woke. Today, she announced not only free college but debt cancellation for most grads. Here are the details:

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How to Build a Computer 30: SEMsational


This is a continuation of last time’s discussion on Electron Microscopy. In that one, we covered the question of why you’d want one of these and gave a summary of how you’d work one. Take some electrons, throw it at your sample, and watch what bounces off for information. Sounds so simple when we put it that way, right? This week we’re talking about what happens when you actually buckle down to do it in practice.

Taken from Chem lab, when there weren’t any chem techs around to stop me.

Okay, just looking at the thing isn’t doing me much good. What’s going on there, and why? Start from the top. That bottle on the left? That’s for liquid nitrogen, used in the x-ray detector. (Neat! Why do we want to detect x-rays? That’s a subject for a future column.) The cylinder on top marked “GEMINI” is your column; the electron gun is in the top, and the rest of it contains the magnets for focusing and directing the electron beam. The cube-ish box it’s sitting on is your sample chamber; the front pulls out to reveal the stage where you’d put your puck holding the samples. The dark grey table surface is granite, used to lend stability to the whole apparatus. The cabinet it’s sitting on contains electronics and the vacuum pumps. Now let’s get to how all that works together.


Socialist Squawk


View original artwork here.

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Spoiled Solemnity


Sometimes serious moments are broken to hilarious effect.

Our parish’s music director and cantor is currently on heavy pain medication after surgery. Consequently, he missed a line during a song at Mass this morning — the first time I’ve heard him goof in decades. It was a call-and-response song, meaning the congregation repeats what he sings. When he missed the line and laughed at himself — “Ha!” — some jokesters behind me responded in kind.

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He Is Not Here


1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.

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Collusion and Obstruction: Two Different Kinds of Crime


If the President had been found guilty of Russian collusion — that is, of participating in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians to undermine our election — then it would have indicated that he was a particular kind of villain. It takes a particular kind of villain to knowingly work with our enemies to subvert the democratic process. That represents a treasonous betrayal of our country.

On the other hand, being oafish and ignorant of the nuances of executive authority in the context of a legal investigation, while it may arguably appear to meet the legal definition for a charge of obstruction of justice, need not suggest that the President is a villain. Rather, it may simply indicate that he is an amateur on matters of law and politics, and that he is accustomed to speaking his mind without considering the unique legal implications of doing so while being the head of federal law enforcement.