David Brooks Just Had an Epiphany

David Brooks, the Lindsey Graham of Republicanish writers of op-eds, wrote one on March 18 titled No, Not Trump, Not Ever.” Unremarkable, really, as he and his ilk are firmly united in their opposition to Trump as well as their disdain for voters, who “are rarely wise but are usually sensible.” At last though, he’s begun to understand the appeal of Trump.

This is key piece right here:

…many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.

Politicians, pundits, commentators, etc–all the dinosaurs that are being called “the establishment”–have been so completely out of touch, its astounding. They’ve struggled to understand Trump’s rise, penning any number of articles trying to make sense of it. And all too late, Brooks now almost gets it.

What Brooks has not yet grasped, I think, is that for so many people–and not just angry white gun-toting southerners–politicians have let them down for so long and such an extent that they are willing to overlook a lot of Trump’s negatives for the simple fact that Trump is not part of the political-industrial complex. That structure has proven corrupt, condescending, and incapable of solving America’s problems, and Trump is the only one that represents a real threat to it.


Are Hipsters are Ruining Wine?

In this month’s Wine Spectator, Matt Kramer’s column includes a keen cultural observation as he bemoans the lack of grace in so many new reds. Is this trend the fault of the hipster, who values weird over good?

“Is this yet another instance of wine geekery, a topsy-turviness where, by the standards of hipster wine culture, esoteric means good and familiar means bad?”


There’s long been a cultural contingent (call them hipsters, bohemians, decadents, or what have you) who have rallied to the cry of épater la bourgeois, to use the French phrase–to skewer the conventional sensibilities and complacencies of the middle class. Modern-day wine hipsters would rather be caught drinking a Bud Light than be seen with a Cabernet Sauvignon.”

A nice encapsulation of the hipster ethos there. But Kramer goes on to suggest that perhaps the other reason that “weird” wines are gaining popularity is that so many full-bodied reds are becoming too full-bodied. These statement pieces are “too much of a good thing,” and wine enthusiasts want a break.

A Human Trombone

It is not a good thing for a country to have a professional yodeler, a human trombone like Mr. Bryan as secretary of state, nor a college professor with an astute and shifty mind, a hypocritical ability to deceive plain people, unscrupulousness in handling machine leaders, and no real knowledge or wisdom concerning internal and international affairs as the head of the nation.

-Teddy Roosevelt on President Woodrow Wilson and his secretary of state William Jennings Bryan. To apply the same sentiment to our current President does not seem inaccurate.


I listened to as much of the Kagan confirmation hearings as I had time for, and found it to be one of the most fascinating events conducted by our senior legislative body in recent memory. I was fascinated not so much by the depth of Kagan’s testimony (or lack thereof), but more so by the way the judiciary committee members utilized their time for questioning. For the most part the Senators took it as yet another opportunity to bask in the spotlight as they asked questions that were less about drawing out meaningful testimony from Kagan than they were about making political points with the constituents paying attention at home. Senator Sessions’ closing statement was a particularly annoying example. At least some of the Senators did their homework and acted like they know what they were talking about. I found interesting Senator Franken’s long-winded but intelligent questions regarding antitrust laws and their applications to the proposed Comcast-NBC merger.

In the end, we found that Kagan is an abundantly learned scholar and practitioner of law as well as an irrepressible and witty personality. On the more substantive matters regarding what type of a judge she would be, we are less clear. The NRA appears sufficiently concerned about her position on gun control to publicly oppose her nomination. In the past she has given money to pro-abortion groups. While claiming not to embrace a primacy of international law, she holds that it can be turned to for guidance. Her stances on these three issues alone will send up all manner of red flags for conservatives.

Beyond that is the fact a Kagan justiceship would last a very long time, as she is only 50 years of age.

If Kagan is confirmed, I will have to wonder if the charm factor was responsible, because as a personality she is hard not to like.

JD Hayworth Demonstrates Juvenile Behavior, Defaces Image of McCain

What was Hayworth thinking?

AZCentral.com quotes McCain’s response:

“’Ex-Congressman J.D. Hayworth should immediately apologize and and take down his latest online ad, which is an outrageous offense to John McCain’s lifetime of honorable service to our state and nation, and insulting to Native Americans here in Arizona and across America,’ said Shiree Verdone, McCain’s campaign manager.”

Meet the New New Left, Same as the Old New Left

Spending some time with David Horowitz’s fascinating volume entitled Left Illusions…interesting how the arguments of today’s “progressives” are so similar to those of the New Left and its antecedents. Members of that movement felt that they were misunderstood by most Americans, who were too dumb to realize that the “progressives” were trying to “help” them. “We’re doing this for you!” a young Horowitz cried in his head as he marched in the 1948 May Day parade while being heckled by curious onlookers who denounced the marchers as subversive Communist agitators. Barack Obama, a child of the New Left, seems similarly frustrated by opposition to his misguided attempts to “help” Americans through the institution of “progressive” policies. One hope’s eventually Obama will come to his senses as Horowitz did.

What is Terrorism?

This morning a close friend emailed me this article from CNN about this morning’s plane crash in Austin and pointed out the quote, “federal authorities said preliminary information did not indicate any terrorist connection.” My friend asked incredulously, “How is this not a terrorist attack?”

The question reminded me of a comment I made recently on Facebook where I said that in today’s discourse the word terrorism is inextricably linked with Islamic extremism. Commenters largely disagreed with that assertion, strongly objecting to what one termed a highly “narrow” defintion of the word. That narrow definition may not be accurate by Daniel Webster, but it effectively characterizes how the word is used by most non-academics around us.

After taking a moment to think about my friend’s question and my Facebook discussion on the same subject, I posed the question to the Twitterverse. I asked if the Austin plane crash qualified as terrorism. Immediately my friend @mjsamuelson –one of the most intelligent and energetic political activists I’ve ever met–responded “Not since 9/11. From that point “terrorism” had a different connotation.”

Back when Timothy McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City, it was always referred to as terrorism. The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, was also frequently described as a terrorist. Yet today news outlets, federal officials, and many citizens refused to call the deliberate crashing of a private plane into a building full of civilians an act of terrorism.

Is it so that the definition of the word “terrorism” changed on September 11, 2001?