“People think the world is in chaos. People think that the world is on fire right now for all the wrong reasons,” says author and Cato Institute senior fellow Johan Norberg. “There is a segment of politicians who try to scare us to death, because then we clamber for safety we need the strong man in a way.”
But despite the political situation in Europe and America, Norberg remains optimistic. His new book, Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, shows what humans are capable of when given freedom and the ability to exchange new ideas. “In the 25 years that have been considered neo-liberalism and capitalism run amok what has happened? Well, we’ve reduced chronic undernourishment around the world by 40 percent, child mortality and illiteracy by half, and extreme poverty from 37 to 10 percent,” explains Norberg. Read the rest of this entry »
Trump’s pace is frantic, and many of his daily events are being captured by television cameras in his first week in office.
Amie Parnes reports: In his first days in office, President Trump is taking on a dizzying schedule that is decidedly different from those of his immediate predecessors.
Trump is in the Oval Office to take meetings earlier than President Obama, and he’s worked through dinner to stay in the West Wing later than President George W. Bush, who would generaly return to his residence at 6 p.m. sharp.
Trump doesn’t like to read books, those who know him say. And he doesn’t work out because he believes it’s an energy drain, according to the 2016 book “Trump Revealed.”
“When you’re making speeches for 25,000 people and shouting and screaming and having fun with everybody and making America great again, you get a lot of exercise,” he told People magazine last summer.
Trump does like to watch TV, and he is partial to cable news. On Tuesday night, he tweeted about sending help to Chicago shortly after Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show aired a segment about crime in the city.
One Trump ally familiar with the president’s routines said his White House schedule is similar to the one he’s held for years, and described him as “a late-night guy and early morning riser.”
“His body clock is one that is very conducive to running on little sleep,” the ally said, adding that Trump is known to get up before 6 a.m.
The White House has to adapt to each new occupant, including their management styles and lifestyles.
Obama sent a clear message to aides early on that he intended to be home for dinner with his family. But after dinner, the self-dubbed “night guy” would make his way into his personal office in the Treaty Room and resume work, tweaking his speeches and sending emails to staff.
Bush, also an early riser, started his day by getting his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, her coffee and reading the morning papers.
He told his advisers he wanted to be in the Oval Office at 7 a.m. on the dot. But he indicated he wanted downtime in the evenings to exercise and liked to be in bed no later than 10 p.m. and often earlier, Bush’s aides recalled. Read the rest of this entry »
President Obama patted himself on the back for a job well done at a press conference on Monday, after voters rebuked his policies in the November election.
2016 Election: Voters just rejected his policies, rejected his Pollyannaish view of the economy and handed his party defeats at every level of government. But as far as President Obama is concerned, everything he’s done is magic.
“Between 2009, when Barack Obama took office, and today, as he prepares to retire from it, more than 1,100 Democratic elected officials lost their jobs to Republicans. That number is unprecedented.”
— John Podhoretz and Noah Rothman, in Commentary
After the shellacking they took in the election last week, Democrats have been counseling each other to get outside their liberal “bubble” so they can reconnect with regular Americans. But not Obama.
At his press conference on Monday, Obama failed to show a scintilla of humility. His economic polices are working, ObamaCare is doing better than expected, all is well. “We should be very proud,” he said, that “when we turn over the keys the car is in pretty good shape.”
Proud? Is he kidding? Let’s review the evidence.
First, Obama has just suffered one of the harshest repudiations on record.
Despite Obama’s continued insistence on his own masterful handling of the economy, working class Americans handed the keys to the candidate who pledged to undo just about all of Obama’s so-called achievements. Trump vows to repeal ObamaCare, do a 180 degree turn on Obama’s tax policy, undo Dodd-Frank, reverse course on his immigration policy, walk away from Obama’s global warming agreements and heavy-handed regulations. Read the rest of this entry »
The clip coincides with the launch of a new website where D’Souza answers critics who claim his movie distorts facts. ‘Detractors and several film reviewers have been challenging many of its claims’. Example claim: ‘Democrats had backed slavery and the Ku Klux Klan decades ago’. This is in dispute, really?
5 percent of critics gave ‘Hillary’s America’ a positive review, compared to a favorable review from 82 percent of the audience.
“‘Evita’s foundation funneled money given to the poor into her own bank accounts,’ D’Souza says in the clip. ‘Certainly, the Clintons wouldn’t steal from the poorest of the poor?’”
Hollywood Reporter: Hours before Hillary Clinton is set to accept the Democratic nomination for president, Dinesh D’Souza has releasedscene from his documentary film Hillary’s America that compares the former secretary of state to Eva Peron, the Argentine politician famously accused of money laundering in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita.
The release of the scene coincides with D’Souza launching a website that he says debunks criticisms of Hillary’s America by offering evidence that what he says about her and her party in his movie is historically accurate.
His “evidence” page cites various historical sources and quotes notable figures, like Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson, to make the case that Democrats had backed slavery and the Ku Klux Klan decades ago.
— Pundit Planet (@punditfap) July 29, 2016
Since D’Souza’s movie opened two weeks ago, detractors and several film reviewers have been challenging many of its claims. The Hollywood Reporter’s reviewer likened the movie to a “highly subjective history lesson” while the Los Angeles Times said it “doesn’t even qualify as effectively executed propaganda.” On Rotten Tomatoes, only 5 percent of critics gave Hillary’s America a positive review, compared to a favorable review from 82 percent of the audience.
Mark J. Perry writes: Two of my all-time most favorite economists — Thomas Sowell and Frederic Bastiat – share the same birthday — they were both born on June 30. To recognize Bastiat’s birthday today I posted some of his quotes on CD yesterday, and I’ll now do the same for Thomas Sowell, who turned 86 today. Here is Thomas Sowell’s webpageand here is his Wikipedia entry. Milton Friedman once said, “The word ‘genius’ is thrown around so much that it’s becoming meaningless, but nevertheless I think Tom Sowell is close to being one.”
In my opinion, there is no economist alive today who has done more to eloquently, articulately, and persuasively advance the principles of economic freedom, limited government, individual liberty, and a free society than Thomas Sowell. In terms of both his quantity of work (at least 40 books and several thousand newspaper columns) and the consistently excellent and crystal-clear quality of his writing, I don’t think any living free-market economist even comes close to matching Sowell’s prolific record of writing about economics. Even at 86 years old, Thomas Sowell is still active and writes two syndicated newspaper columns almost every week (one column in some weeks) and recently released his 40th book last fall Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective — which amazingly was his 13th book in the last decade! To honor Thomas Sowell’s 86 birthday today, I present here 15 of my favorite quotations from Dr. Thomas Sowell and a bonus video:
1. Knowledge. The cavemen had the same natural resources at their disposal as we have today, and the difference between their standard of living and ours is a difference between the knowledge they could bring to bear on those resources and the knowledge used today.
2. Obamacare. If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs, in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government-run medical system?
3. Economics vs. Politics I. Economics and politics confront the same fundamental problem: What everyone wants adds up to more than there is. Market economies deal with this problem by confronting individuals with the costs of producing what they want, and letting those individuals make their own trade-offs when presented with prices that convey those costs. That leads to self-rationing, in the light of each individual’s own circumstances and preferences.
4. Economics vs. Politics II. The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” Read the rest of this entry »
Tocqueville foresaw how it would come.
Myron Magnet writes: Alexis de Tocqueville was a more prophetic observer of American democracy than even his most ardent admirers appreciate. True, readers have seen clearly what makes his account of American exceptionalism so luminously accurate, and they have grasped the profundity of his critique of American democracy’s shortcomings. What they have missed is his startling clairvoyance about how democracy in America could evolve into what he called “democratic despotism.” That transformation has been in process for decades now, and reversing it is the principal political challenge of our own moment in history. It is implicitly, and should be explicitly, at the center of our upcoming presidential election.
“The man who properly understands his own self-interest has all the guidance he needs to act justly and honestly. They believe that every person is born with the faculty to govern himself and that no one has the right to force happiness on his fellow man.”
Readers don’t fully credit Tocqueville with being the seer he was for the same reason that, though volume 1 of Democracy in America set cash registers jingling as merrily as Santa’s sleigh bells at its 1835 publication, volume 2, five years later, met a much cooler reception. The falloff, I think, stems from the author’s failure to make plain a key step in his argument between the two tomes—an omission he righted two decades later with the publication of The Old Regime and the French Revolution in 1856. Reading the two books together makes Tocqueville’s argument—and its urgent timeliness—snap into focus with the clarity of revelation.
“True, readers have seen clearly what makes his account of American exceptionalism so luminously accurate, and they have grasped the profundity of his critique of American democracy’s shortcomings. What they have missed is his startling clairvoyance about how democracy in America could evolve into what he called ‘democratic despotism.’”
What’s missing in volume 2 of Democracy is concrete, illustrative detail. Volume 1 mines nine months of indefatigable travel that began in May 1831 in Newport, Rhode Island—“an array of houses no bigger than chicken coops”—when the aristocratic French lawyer was still two months shy of his 26th birthday. Tocqueville’s epic journey extended from New York City through the virgin forests of Michigan to Lake Superior, from Montreal through New England, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee by coach, steamboat, and even on foot through snow-choked woods, until he and his traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont, boarded a steamer for New Orleans.
“That transformation has been in process for decades now, and reversing it is the principal political challenge of our own moment in history. It is implicitly, and should be explicitly, at the center of our upcoming presidential election.”
From there, they crossed the Carolinas into Virginia, visited Washington, and returned to New York to embark for home with a trunkful of notes and American histories. Tocqueville had watched both houses of Congress in action and interviewed 200-odd people, ranging from President Andrew Jackson, ex-president John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State Edward Livingston, Senator Daniel Webster, Supreme Court Justice John McLean, and future chief justice Salmon Chase to Sam Houston, a band of Choctaw Indians, and “the last of the Iroquois: they begged for alms.”
Only by the time The Old Regime came out, though, three years before Tocqueville’s untimely death from tuberculosis at 53 in 1859, had he amassed the wealth of practical political experience needed to flesh out the argument of Democracy in America’s second volume. After three terms in the Chamber of Deputies during Louis Philippe’s bourgeois monarchy, he had served in the Constituent Assembly following the 1848 revolution, helping to write the Second Republic’s constitution and serving as foreign minister, until president Louis Napoleon made himself emperor. He had researched The Old Regime by reading mountains of official reports and correspondence from the 1750s onward in the archives, chiefly of Tours and Paris. All this allowed him to document what had been inspired but mostly theoretical speculation in volume 2 of Democracy in America.
Tocqueville didn’t go to America out of blind democratic enthusiasm. “It is very difficult to decide whether democracy governs better, or aristocracy,” he mused: but the question is merely academic, because anyone who pays attention to swiftly shifting French affairs—from the Revolution, the Directory, and Napoleon to the Restoration and the constitutional monarchy of 1830—can’t deny that “sooner or later we will come, as the Americans have come, to an almost complete equality of conditions.” In that case, “[w]ould it not then become necessary to consider the gradual development of democratic institutions and mores not as the best way to be free but as the only way left to us?”
“In French, the word is moeurs, meaning manners, morals, core beliefs, and customs—what we would call culture. There are ‘three major factors that have governed and shaped American democracy,’ Tocqueville argued, ‘but if I were asked to rank them, I would say that physical causes matter less than laws and laws less than mores.’”
So he went to America in search of “lessons from which we might profit”—negative lessons as well as positive ones. And just after the publication of volume 1 of Democracy in America, he cast his own lot with democracy, marrying, to his family’s horror, a beautiful middle-class English Protestant, Mary Mottley, whom he considered “the only person in the world who knows the bottom of my soul”—but who never shed her middle-class outrage at “the least deviation on my part,” he complained. After all, who can stop his “blood boiling at the sight of a woman”? (And, already at 17, he had fathered a child, whose fate is unknown, with a servant girl.) Still, he at least remained faithful to democracy: when he inherited the title Comte de Tocqueville in 1836, he never used it.
In America, he believed, he’d find democracy in its purest form—morally pure but also unmixed with any vestiges of a hierarchical regime from which it had had to revolt, unlike any other modern democracy. The earliest Anglo-American settlers had crossed the sea to begin the political world afresh. This band of equals had “braved the inevitable miseries of exile because they wished to
ensure the victory of an idea,” he wrote—the Puritan idea that “was not just a religious doctrine” but that “coincided with the most absolute democratic and republican theories,” inseparably intertwining “the spirit of religion and the spirit of liberty.”
“’There is nothing the human will despairs of achieving through the free action of the collective power of individuals.’ Free and collaborative: that’s the mainspring of American mores.”
For the Pilgrims, Tocqueville explained, “Religion looks upon civil liberty as a noble exercise of man’s faculties, and on the world of politics as a realm intended by the Creator for the application of man’s intelligence. . . . Liberty looks upon religion as its comrade in battle and victory, as the cradle of its infancy and divine source of its rights.” As the settlers believed, “religion subjects the truths of the other world to individual reason, just as politics leaves the interest of this world to the good sense of all, and it allows each man free choice of the path that is to lead him to heaven, just as the law grants each citizen the right to choose his government.”
“Nongovernmental associations spring up for furthering ‘public security, commerce and industry, morality and religion.’”
So Puritanism was the wellspring of American mores—a key term for Tocqueville that refers not just to “what one might call habits of the heart, but also to the various notions that men possess, to the diverse opinions that are current among them, and to the whole range of ideas that shape habits of mind.” In French, the word is moeurs, meaning manners, morals, core beliefs, and customs—what we would call culture. There are “three major factors that have governed and shaped American democracy,” Tocqueville argued, “but if I were asked to rank them, I would say that physical causes matter less than laws and laws less than mores.”
From the seventeenth-century Puritan acorn grew American culture’s fundamentally libertarian creed. Universal reason (which reveals Jefferson’s self-evident truths, for example) is the source of moral authority, “just as the source of political power lies in the universality of citizens.” Most Americans believe that “consensus is the only guide to what is permitted or prohibited, true or false,” and that “the man who properly understands his own self-interest has all the guidance he needs to act justly and honestly. They believe that every person is born with the faculty to govern himself and that no one has the right to force happiness on his fellow man.” And they believe in human perfectibility, the usefulness of the spread of enlightenment, and the certainty of progress, so that what seems good today will give way tomorrow to something better but as yet unimagined.
Why are your ships not built to last? Tocqueville once asked an American sailor. Naval architecture improves so quickly, the sailor replied, that the finest ship would be obsolete before it wore out. A Silicon Valley engineer would sound the same today. Read the rest of this entry »
On the essays shelf:
My grandmother had a big illustrated copy of Poor Richard’s Almanac, which I had practically memorized by the time I was 6 years old. The illustrations were goofy and elaborate, and I somehow “got the joke” that so
much of it was a joke, a satire on the do-good-ish bromides of self-serious Puritans who worry about their neighbor’s morality. Obviously I wouldn’t have put it that way at age 6, but I understood that the book in my hands, the huge book, was not serious at all.
Clearly, many others did not get the joke. Benjamin Franklin, throughout his life, was a master at parody and satire, as well as such a master that he is still fooling people! He was his very own The Onion! He presented ridiculous arguments and opinions in a way where people nodded their heads in agreement, and then afterwards wondered uneasily if they were being made fun of. Their uneasiness was warranted. Yes, Benjamin Franklin was making fun of them.
Franklin played such a huge role not only in creating bonding-mechanisms between the colonies – with newspapers, his printing service, the Almanac – but in science and community service (he started the first fire-brigade in Philadelphia on the British model. He opened the first public lending library in the colonies), as well as his writing. He was an Elder Statesman of the relatively young men who made up the Revolution. There were so many of “those guys” who played a hand in the Revolution, but perhaps Benjamin Franklin played the most crucial role in his time as a diplomatic presence in France, where he became so beloved a figure that the French fell in love with him, commemorated him in songs and portraits, putting his mug on plates and cups and platters and buttons – so that in a time when nobody knew really what anybody looked like, Benjamin Franklin was instantly recognizable the world over. Read the rest of this entry »
The Civil War in Color – 28 stunning colorized photos that bring American Civil War alives as never seen before.
Source: vintage everyday
“The Democrat Party, of course, is the party of the KKK. Of Jim Crow laws. And perhaps just as bad right now, of servitude. ‘Now you do this, and we’ll take care of you, pat you on the head, take care of all your needs.’ Which keeps people believing that’s what they actually need.”
Speaking to a small group of black leaders and activists last week, the retired neurosurgeon, who is surging in polling in the Republican presidential race, said he believes black Americans bring more power through the size of their bank account than by putting their “fist in the air.”
Mr. Carson said he generally shies away from focusing on race: “I say that’s because I’m a neurosurgeon, because everyone’s brain looks the same and it works the same way.”
But he said black voters should step beyond their allegiance to the Democratic Party.
“The Democrat Party, of course, is the party of the KKK. Of Jim Crow laws. And perhaps just as bad right now, of servitude. ‘Now you do this, and we’ll take care of you, pat you on the head, take care of all your needs.’ Which keeps people believing that’s what they actually need,” Mr. Carson told the small group.
Mr. Carson said he is an admirer of the late A.G. Gaston, a businessman in Birmingham, Alabama, who made millions of dollars that he used to help fund the civil rights movement. Gaston said his influence stemmed from his economic power. Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Whittle analyzes how we can defeat ISIS… American soldiers are nice, kind, and happy, so how can they defeat nasty, savage, brutes?
[VIDEO] ‘Back in the Late 1700s, When Jessie Ventura and John Wilkes Booth and the other Founding Fathers Signed the Declaration of Independence, What Year Was That, Exactly?”Posted: July 2, 2015
Conversation with the General Public: Americans Don’t Know Why We Celebrate 4th of July
Media analyst Mark Dice asks beachgoers in San Diego, California some basic questions about America’s 4th of July Independence Day celebration. Their answers are as informed as you’d expect them to be.
Stephen F. Knott Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew announced Thursday that Alexander Hamilton would be joined on the ten-dollar-bill by a woman to be named later, or perhaps relegated to appearing on some bills but not on others. Lew cited bureaucratic imperatives in choosing to ignore calls to remove the anti-paper money, bank-hating, Indian-killer Andrew Jackson from the twenty-dollar-bill, while adding that symbols on currency are a “way for us to honor our past and express our values.”
By downgrading the founder of his own cabinet department, Lew, perhaps with the best of intentions, continued a tradition that has deep roots in his own political party. From the moment Hamilton was mortally wounded by Vice President Aaron Burr, the Democratic Party has done its best to relegate Hamilton to the ash heap of history. Jackson warmly welcomed Burr to his home as Hamilton’s killer escaped to the west, while Thomas Jefferson’s lieutenants scurried to contain the emotional impact of Hamilton’s death from damaging their party’s political prospects. Jefferson spent considerable time portraying Hamilton as an un-American, pro-British agent intent on importing monarchy and corruption.
Part of the Jeffersonian-Jacksonian contempt for Hamilton stemmed from the fact that Hamilton was an immigrant from the Caribbean, and thus his “Americanism” was constantly questioned. This sense that Hamilton was not “one of us” animates the writings of Jeffersonians and of Jefferson himself, who was appalled that Hamilton did not see eye to eye with him despite having been “received” by Americans and “given . . . bread” and having honors “heaped . . . on his head.”
In the twentieth century, Franklin D. Roosevelt led the effort to elevate Jefferson into the American Pantheon and downgrade Hamilton’s status. Roosevelt saw himself as a Jefferson for the new century, battling forces similar to those that confronted the Sage of Monticello over a century earlier. Roosevelt led the drive for a Jefferson Memorial in Washington and selected the truncated quotes that adorn its walls. Hamilton’s “monument” in Washington consisted of an undersized statue on the back side of the Treasury building in Washington, and to make matters worse, that statue had been erected during the corrupt Harding administration by its privileged Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon. Read the rest of this entry »
Librarian Tracks Sayings Misattributed to Founding Father; ‘A Fine Spiced Pickle’
Or did he? Numerous social movements attribute the quote to him. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to U.S. Government and Politics” cites it in a discussion of American democracy. Actor Chuck Norris‘s 2010 treatise “Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America” uses it to urge conservatives to become more involved in politics. It is even on T-shirts and decals.
“On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
–Never said by Thomas Jefferson
Yet the founding father and third U.S. president never wrote it or said it, insists Anna Berkes, a 33-year-old research librarian at the Jefferson Library at Monticello, his grand estate just outside Charlottesville, Va. Nor does he have any connection to many of the “Jeffersonian” quotes that politicians on both sides of the aisle have slung back and forth in recent years, she says.
“Winston Churchill had so many sayings misattributed to him that one academic gave the phenomenon a name: ‘Churchillian drift.'”
“People will see a quote and it appeals to an opinion that they have and if it has Jefferson’s name attached to it that gives it more weight,” she says. “He’s constantly being invoked by people when they are making arguments about politics and actually all sorts of topics.”
A spokeswoman for the Guide’s publisher said it was looking into the quote. Mr. Norris’s publicist didn’t respond to requests for comment.
To counter what she calls rampant misattribution, Ms. Berkes is fighting the Internet with the Internet. She has set up a “Spurious Quotations” page on the Monticello website listing bogus quotes attributed to the founding father, a prolific writer and rhetorician who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
“It’s a hopeless task. You would need an army of secretaries to reply to all these tweets. Twitter and Facebook have made it worse, because people glom onto these things and pass it on and there it goes.”
The fake quotes posted and dissected on Monticello.org include “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government.” In detailed footnotes, Ms. Berkes says it resembles a line Jefferson wrote in an 1807 letter: “History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.” But she can’t find that exact quotation in any of his writings.
Another that graces many epicurean websites: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
Jefferson never said that either, says Ms. Berkes. The earliest reference to the quote comes from a 1922 speech by a man extolling the benefits of pickles, she says.
“People will see a quote and it appeals to an opinion that they have and if it has Jefferson’s name attached to it that gives it more weight. He’s constantly being invoked by people when they are making arguments about politics and actually all sorts of topics.”
Jefferson is a “flypaper figure,” like Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and baseball player and manager Yogi Berra—larger-than-life figures who have fake or misattributed quotes stick to them all the time, says Ralph Keyes, an author of books about quotes wrongly credited to famous or historical figures. Read the rest of this entry »
Hillary Kelly writes: In 1847, an English cleaning woman was extremely excited to learn that the boy lodging in her employer’s house was “the son of the man that put together Dombey” — that is, the son of Charles Dickens. The woman could neither read nor write, but she lived above a snuff shop where, on the first Monday of every month, a community of friends would gather to read aloud the latest installment of “Dombey and Son,” which had begun serialization on Oct. 1, 1846. By that time, the monthly installments of Dickens’s novels — which started with “The Pickwick Papers” in 1836 — were such a staple of British culture that an illiterate woman with no access to the actual book knew the author’s work intimately.
“…the publishing industry is in the doldrums, yet the novel shows few signs of digging into its past and resurrecting the techniques that drove fans wild and juiced sales figures. The novel is now decidedly a single object, a mass entity packaged and moved as a whole.”
More than 150 years later, the publishing industry is in the doldrums, yet the novel shows few signs of digging into its past and resurrecting the techniques that drove fans wild and juiced sales figures. The novel is now decidedly a single object, a mass entity packaged and moved as a whole. That’s not, of course, a bad thing, but it does create a barrier to entry that the publishing world can’t seem to overcome. Meanwhile, consumers gladly gobble up other media in segments — whether it’s a “Walking Dead” episode, a series of Karl Ove Knausgaard ’s travelogues or a public-radio show (it’s called “Serial” for a reason, people) — so there’s reason to believe they would do the same with fiction. What the novel needs again is tension. And the best source for that tension is serialization.
“Since the loss of compelling plot is one of the things that readers most often complain of in the modern novel. it might be a salutary discipline for novelists to have to go back to Dickens, or even James, to learn how it’s done.”
— Critic Adam Kirsch
“The Pickwick Papers” wasn’t the original serialized novel — the format had existed for at least a century prior — but it was the work that truly popularized the form. The first installment had a print order of 1,000 copies; by the time the final entry was published, circulation had reached 40,000. Buoyed by the success of “Pickwick,” Dickens serialized his work for the rest of his career, and scores of other notable Victorian novelists joined the publishing craze. William Makepeace Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair,” Wilkie Collins’s “The Woman in White” and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories all emerged as serials.
Old and new magazines, such as Blackwood’s and Household Words, competed for established and emerging voices. The constant influx of unresolved plots and elliptical section breaks stoked a fervor for fiction in Victorian England. It wasn’t until book production became cheap and easy, and new mediums such as radio arose to fill leisure time, that serialization slowly shriveled away.
“In many ways, the novel is already designed to be delivered in serial form: Chapters and section breaks bring full stops to the narrative, while flashbacks and shifts in perspective and narration create time and space for momentum to build.”
Why can’t the same techniques that once galvanized readers be revived? Today, when a novel is released, it relies on a series of tried (but not always true) advertising methods. The book is accompanied by a simplified synopsis targeting a specific audience, inflated with blurbs from “influencers” and dropped onto reviewers’ desks with the hope that enough serious critics will praise it that it will wriggle onto a prize list. Even greatness doesn’t always guarantee success. As the Telegraph noted in its look at “Why great novels don’t get noticed now ,” Samantha Harvey’s “Dear Thief” received universally glowing reviews — and sold only 1,000 copies in six months. Publishing houses have a brief window to push a work into the public’s consciousness. If the pilot doesn’t light, the novel doesn’t move. But with a constant stream of exposure over a period of six or 12 or 18 months, a novel would stand a far better chance of piquing the public’s interest. Read the rest of this entry »
“It would be transformative if everybody voted….If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.”
— President Barack Obama, March 18, 2015
Only 36 percent of Americans can actually name the three branches of government the Constitution created.
— BT (@back_ttys) March 19, 2015
Only 38 percent of Americans knew the Republican Party controls the U.S. House of Representatives, while 17 percent think Democrats are still in charge. The number of people who knew Republicans were in charge has dropped 17 percent since the last time Annenberg asked, back in 2011, right after Republicans reclaimed control.
An identical number, 38 percent, knows Democrats run the Senate, while 20 percent believe Republicans control the upper chamber. Only 27 percent knew it takes a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.
In all honesty I’m always a little suspicious of the guy who says, “know those people who know nothing and don’t vote? We need those.”
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) March 19, 2015
Annenberg released the survey in partnership with the Civics Renewal Network, a group of 25 nonpartisan organizations including the Library of Congress, the Newseum and the National Archives that offers free civics education resources. Read the rest of this entry »
Try as hard as he might, Wile E. Coyote could never quite catch the Road Runner. Now, the nine rules set for the series by the creator behind the Looney Tunes classic, which stacked the deck against the character, have caused much social media buzz.
Chuck Jones‘ rules that governed each and every encounter between Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote have gone viral on Twitter after director Amos Posner shared a page from the 1999 autobiography of Jones, Chuck Jones, Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist.
Still obsessed with Chuck Jones’ coyote/roadrunner rules. Awesome to so clearly, concisely define your characters. pic.twitter.com/MRd4zguD93
— Amos Posner (@AmosPosner) March 4, 2015
The nine strict rules made sure there was no dialog apart from “beep beep,” that every episode was set in the American south west, that Wile E. Coyote only shopped at Acme Corporation despite the appalling success rate of their products and, most tellingly, gravity was to be the coyote’s worst enemy whenever possible…(read more)
Weeks of wet weather preceding Lincoln’s second inauguration had caused Pennsylvania Avenue to become a sea of mud and standing water. Thousands of spectators stood in thick mud at the Capitol grounds to hear the President. As he stood on the East Portico to take the executive oath, the completed Capitol dome over the President’s head was a physical reminder of the resolve of his Administration throughout the years of civil war. Chief Justice Salmon Chase administered the oath of office. In little more than a month, the President would be assassinated.
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” Read the rest of this entry »
David Boaz writes: Not long ago a journalist asked me what freedoms we take for granted in America. Now, I spend most of my time sounding the alarm about the freedoms we’re losing. But this was a good opportunity to step back and consider how America is different from much of world history — and why immigrants still flock here.
[Check out David Boaz‘s book “The Politics of Freedom: Taking on The Left, The Right and Threats to Our Liberties” at Amazon]
Rule of law. Perhaps the greatest achievement in history is the subordination of power to law. That is, in modern America we have created structures that limit and control the arbitrary power of government. No longer can one man — a king, a priest, a communist party boss — take another person’s life or property at the ruler’s whim. Citizens can go about their business, generally confident that they won’t be dragged off the streets to disappear forever, and confident that their hard-earned property won’t be confiscated without warning. We may take the rule of law for granted, but immigrants from China, Haiti, Syria, and other parts of the world know how rare it is.
Equality. For most of history people were firmly assigned to a particular status — clergy, nobility, and peasants. Kings and lords and serfs. Brahmans, other castes, and untouchables in India. If your father was a noble or a peasant, so would you be. The American Revolution swept away such distinctions. In America all men were created equal. Thomas Jefferson declared “that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.” In America some people may be smarter, richer, stronger, or more beautiful than others, but “I’m as good as you” is our national creed. We are all citizens, equal before the law, free to rise as far as our talents will take us.
Equality for women. Throughout much of history women were the property of their fathers or their husbands. They were often barred from owning property, testifying in court, signing contracts, or participating in government. Equality for women took longer than equality for men, but today in America and other civilized parts of the world women have the same legal rights as men. Read the rest of this entry »
Number of Times Obama Has Accepted Blame or Taken Responsibility: 0
Terence P. Jeffrey reports: Not counting instances when he quoted a letter from a citizen or cited dialogue from a movie, President Barack Obama used the first person singular–including the pronouns “I” and “me” and the adjective “my”–199 times in a speech he delivered Thursday vowing to use unilateral executive action to achieve his policy goals that Congress would not enact through the normal, constitutional legislative process.
“I want to assure you, I’m really not that partisan of a guy.”
“It is lonely, me just doing stuff,” Obama said at the speech in Austin, Texas, according to the official transcript and video posted on the White House website.
“I’m just telling the truth now,” Obama told the crowd. “I don’t have to run for office again, so I can just let her rip. And I want to assure you, I’m really not that partisan of a guy.”
To prove this, Obama went on to say Abraham Lincoln was his favorite president, and then gave a list of what he called “great Republican presidents”—which included Richard Nixon. Read the rest of this entry »
Activists argue that if an animal has autonomy, then it is protected by the law
For Hoover Institution, James Huffman writes: Readers of the New York Times Magazine will have seen a photograph of an animatronic chimpanzee testifying at court on the cover of a recent edition. That chimp is supposed to represent Tommy. As the Times story details, lawyer Steven Wise seeks to represent Tommy in court, though Tommy is owned by Patrick and Diane Lavery who keep him in a cage in Gloversville, New York. Not surprisingly, some people are upset by the conditions of Tommy’s confinement. Wise, the president of the Nonhuman Rights Project (NRP), is one of those people.
NRP’s mission is “to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere ‘things,’ which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to ‘persons,’ who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them.” Tommy is their first guinea pig, to use an expression Wise may well find objectionable.
Last December Wise filed a petition on Tommy’s behalf for a writ of habeas corpus in the court of Fulton County, New York. Habeas corpus is an ancient common law cause of action brought on behalf of persons who claim to be wrongly imprisoned. If a court concludes that the petitioner is held captive without legal cause, it orders the captor to release the captive. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the interest of better prosecuting the war, but as a general matter the writ has served for centuries as one of the most important common law protections of individual liberty. Read the rest of this entry »
For The American Conservative, Derek Khanna writes: In 200 years the United States went from being a colonial backwater to being the world’s dominant economic and military power. How did our nation arise from obscurity, break free from the grip of the most powerful empire on earth, and skyrocket to global leadership? With a government focused on innovation—not control.
“…If Republicans understand this and thereby embrace the mantle of innovation, not only will they be expediting a new wave of ingenuity, but they will also share credit with entrepreneurs for the next tech boom.”
Historically, the Republican Party has led on technological innovation. President Abraham Lincoln earned a patent and facilitated the first transcontinental railroad system. President Hoover played a key role in the early development of radio broadcasting, and President Coolidge created our national airways system. Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated NASA and DARPA, while Richard Nixon launched the cable television industry through deregulation. President Ronald Reagan made GPS available for civilian use and greatly expanded science research.
But today policymakers and the regulatory state are smothering the force that allowed us to become the world’s economic superpower. Incumbent industries have co-opted the legal and regulatory systems to go after their competitors, and both political parties have been complicit in this cronyism. Acceptance of these regulatory and legal barriers is a root cause of our abysmal “new normal” of 2 percent annual GDP growth. Read the rest of this entry »
Robert W. Merry writes: Of all of Abraham Lincoln’s profound observations about politics and life, one in particular, uttered on September 2, 1858, in Clinton, Illinois, captures the essence of representative democracy: “You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” This sprightly aphorism distills to its essence Lincoln’s belief that the collective judgment of the electorate is essentially sound—perhaps not in every instance or in whole, but over time it is sufficiently sound to protect the foundations of the nation. Democracy works because it is in the hands of the people.
Less well known is the statement uttered by Lincoln to introduce his famous dictum: “If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.” Put the two together, as Lincoln did, and you get a sense not only of the futility of trying to fool the American people but also the danger posed to any politician who tries it.
Which brings us to Barack Obama. His presidency is in freefall, and there is strong evidence that the freefall is related to the ever-dangerous issue of trust. In June 2012, a Gallup poll suggested that 60 percent of the American people considered Obama “honest and trustworthy.” A Quinnipiac University poll asking the same question last month showed that only 44 percent viewed him as honest and trustworthy. Fully 52 percent said he wasn’t.
Noah Rothman reports: During a congressional committee hearing about the constitutional limits imposed on the presidency and the implications of President Barack Obama’s disregard for implementing the Affordable Care Act as written, one expert testified that the consequences of the president’s behavior were potentially grave. He said that the precedent set by Obama could eventually lead to an armed revolt against the federal government.
“If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.”
On Tuesday, Michael Cannon, Cato Institute’s Director of Health Policy Studies, testified before a congressional committee about the dangers of the president’s legal behavior.
“There is one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restrains that the constitution places on the government,” Cannon said. “Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it.”
“That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate,” he continued. “If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.” Read the rest of this entry »
1) The Trail of Tears (1838): The first Democrat President, Andrew Jackson and his successor Martin Van Buren, herded Indians into camps, tormented them, burned and pillaged their homes and forced them to relocate with minimal supplies. Thousands died along the way.
2) Democrats Cause The Civil War (1860): The pro-slavery faction of the Democrat Party responded to Abraham Lincoln’s election by seceding, which led to the Civil War.
3) Formation of the KKK (1865): Along with 5 other Confederate veterans, Democrat Nathan Bedford Forrest created the KKK.
4) 300 Black Americans Murdered (1868):“Democrats in Opelousas, Louisianakilled nearly 300 blacks who tried to foil an assault on a Republican newspaper editor.”
5) The American Protective League and The Palmer Raids (1919-1921): Under the leadership of Woodrow Wilson, criticizing the government became a crime and a fascist organization, the American Protective League was formed to spy on and even arrest fellow Americans for being insufficiently loyal to the government. More than 100,000 Americans were arrested, with less than 1% of them ever being found guilty of any kind of crime.
6) Democrats Successfully Stop Republicans From Making Lynching A Federal Crime (1922):“The U.S. House adopted Rep. Leonidas Dyer’s (R., Mo.) bill making lynching a federal crime. Filibustering Senate Democrats killed the measure.”
7) The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (1932-1972): Contrary to what you may have heard, Democrats in Alabama did not give black Americans syphilis. However, the experimenters did know that subjects of the experiment unknowingly had syphilis and even after it was proven that penicillin could be used to effectively treat the disease in 1947, the experiments continued. As a result, a number of the subjects needlessly infected their loved ones and died, when they could have been cured.
8) Japanese Internment Camps (1942):Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order that led to more than 100,000 Japanese Americans being put into “bleak, remote camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards.”
9) Alger Hiss Convicted Of Perjury (1950): Hiss, who helped advise FDR at Yalta and was strongly defended by the Left, turned out to be a Soviet spy. He was convicted of perjury in 1950 (Sadly, the statute of limitations on espionage had run out), but was defended by liberals for decades until the Verona papers proved so conclusively that he was guilty that even most his fellow liberals couldn’t continue to deny it.
Tuesday was the 150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The Civil War era speech is held up as one of the most important pieces of oratory ever written and cemented the legacy of Abraham Lincoln as one of our greatest Presidents.It used to be that every child learned about the Address in elementary school. Apparently, that’s changed. Because when Dan Joseph went to a college campus to find out what students knew about the speech, he realized that it wasn’t as widely celebrated among younger Americans as it used to be.
Because this no-show is so atypical–and contrary to my uniformly negative view of Obama’s presidency–I’m tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt, and imagine there’s a good reason he’s not giving a speech in Gettysburg today.
Why? Because this is an example of what he’s good at. Giving speeches. Obama may be a failure at governing and managing, but his strength as an orator is legendary, it’s a potential safe zone to return to. Linking himself with history and destiny is his natural habit of rhetorical stagecraft.
I’d think he’d welcome an opportunity to change the subject. If anyone one needs a chance to change the conversation, it’s Obama. He could remind people of how special he is, why his presidency is important. What’s behind the decision not to appear in Gettysburg today?
WH adviser: Obama too busy for 150th anniversary of Gettysburg because of ObamaCare, or something
This gem comes from Dan Pfeiffer, Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Communications, who most recently compared Republicans to suicide bombers for trying to derail ObamaCare through the budget process. Suddenly, though, the ObamaCare debacle seems to be a lot more critical than Pfeiffer admitted in September. Today, National Journal’s George Condon openly wondered what was so important on Barack Obama’s schedule that precluded him from attending the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address:
This morning on ABC News ‘This Week’, panelist Gwen Ifill summarizes Obama’s Press Conference admission thusly: ‘We Know What’s Good for You. We Just Don’t Know How To Do It’. I laughed out loud. It was an unexpectedly insightful indictment.
Gwen nailed the reality of of modern Big-Government incompetence. The doomed vision of liberal-progressive do-gooder-expert government solutions couldn’t have been crystalized better.
The multiple face-kicks and tabloid-style analysis of the president “falling on his sword’ at last week’s press conference made the Nov. 16th edition of ‘This Week’ unusually rich viewing.
I don’t have the video and the transcript isn’t up yet, but if you get a chance to see the next airing of ‘This Week’: Presidency in Crisis – ABC News, it’s time well spent. Also featured is a memorable segment about the Gettysburg address, with Ken Burns, and an interview with Governor Scott Walker.
Tweet of the Day: Plaque at Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies of Northeastern Illinois UPosted: November 5, 2013
— slone (@slone) November 4, 2013
Everyone elected president comes into office modeling himself on some predecessor: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan. But those who win re-election eventually end up wondering whether they should have emulated James K. Polk instead. Why? Because he promised to serve only one term, and he stuck to it.
Barack Obama is probably reaching that stage about now. Ten months after concluding a victorious campaign, he finds himself with a public approval rating of 44 percent. That’s down 10 points since December — and the same as that of George W. Bush at this point in his presidency. Read the rest of this entry »
The One that wasn’t: LEFT REVOKES PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LIBERAL CARD, pouts, ponders replacement MessiahPosted: September 13, 2013
Now many liberals feel sure: Barack Obama was not the one they’d been waiting for.
The man who won the presidency in part due to his opposition to the Iraq War was suddenly leading a charge to use military force against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Republican refusal to go along was to be expected. The liberal backlash, though, was particularly intense. Read the rest of this entry »
Completely Lost its Mind Lost All Credibility
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
- NYT editors on NSA scandal: ‘The administration has now lost all credibility’ (twitchy.com)
- NYT: Obama admin ‘has lost all credibility’ (nalert.blogspot.com)
- NYTs: Obama “once promised transparency and accountability … has now lost all credibility” (riehlworldview.com)
- NYT editors on NSA scandal: ‘The administration has now lost all credibility’ (blogsensebybarb.wordpress.com)
- NYT: W.H. ‘has lost all credibility’ (politico.com)
- NYT: Administration ‘now lost all credibility’ (wnd.com)
- NYT editors on NSA scandal: ‘The administration has now lost all credibility’ (youviewed.com)
- Composite president: Huffington Post debuts portrait of ‘George W. Obama’ (twitchy.com)
He’s compared himself to Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, evoked nostalgia for John F. Kennedy, sought to emulate Ronald Reagan, (belatedly) praised George W. Bush, and enlisted the assistance of Bill Clinton in his 2012 re-election effort, but as his second term stumbles along, the president with whom Barack Obama finds himself being compared is Richard M. Nixon…