Sunday 10/22/17


  1. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
  2. Crickets
  3. Joe Donnelly
  4. Retweetables


I belong to two very different and mutually suspicious groups. I am an academic, but I am also an evangelical Christian.

When I hear academics talk about Christians, I typically think, “That’s not quite right. I don’t believe you understand the people you think you’re disagreeing with.” And when I listen to Christians talk about academics, I have precisely the same reaction.

Are there academics whose professed commitment to fairness masks deep prejudice and hostility toward social or political conservatism? Indeed. Might there be evangelicals whose professed commitment to charity masks a selfish desire to control the means of generosity? No doubt. But these are human frailties, not the property of any group. As the writer Katherine Anne Porter was fond of saying, “There is no such thing…as an unmixed motive.”

(Alan Jacobs)


The Hill is hardly a conservative publication but its impressive reporting this week seems to have captured little attention beyond right-of-center columnists and websites. Reporters at The Hill must be wondering what it will take to arouse the curiosity of most of their media brethren.

(James Freeman, Wall Street Journal)

The impressive reporting he’s referring to would be this series about Russia and uranium and Clintons (Oh My!)

The disinterest of media might be attributed, if one were cynical, to mixed motives when it comes to reporting on Russia buying influence in America. After all, the reportorial score on Russian influence in American politics currently appears to be Russia/Clinton influence, 1; Russia/Trump influence, 0. But who’s under the press klieg lights?


The courtship started out well enough. President Trump invited Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana and two other Democrats to the White House for dinner to talk about his tax plan.

“It was civil and I thought he was really interested in what I had to say,” Mr. Donnelly remembered, adding, “It was not a show.”

The president later asked Mr. Donnelly, who is up for re-election next year, to join him on Air Force One to travel to Indiana in late September to formally roll out the proposal, and to ride with him in the presidential motorcade. And then the show began.

With the lights bright and the crowd at the state fairgrounds applauding, the president abruptly changed his tone. “If Senator Donnelly doesn’t approve it — because, you know, he’s on the other side — we will come here, we will campaign against him like you wouldn’t believe,” Mr. Trump said.

It was a now familiar Trump maneuver, a combination of cajolement and threat that the president is likely to increasingly employ with Democrats like Mr. Donnelly because of the fractious relationship he has with his own party ….

(Michael Tackett, How Does a Democrat Run for Re-election in a Trump State? Very Carefully)

I read this story because already the ads have begun against Senator Donnelly, on behalf of one or both of the two Republican primary candidates, both of whom are trying to establish in effect that “am more faithfully servile to President Trump than he is.” (I anticipate voting for the one who is not my current odious Congressman, whom the other purportedly has known as a bad actor since they were in college together. Yeah. “Go ugly early” getting a new meaning, I guess.)

Here’s the skinny on the ads according to Tackett’s story. This obviously was a big media buy:

Mr. Trump may not be the only one with Mr. Donnelly in his sights. Americans for Prosperity, an independent group backed by the Koch brothers, is spending $1.9 million on ads this month to try to pressure him on his vote. “Don’t let [insert scowly-face picture of] Senator Donnelly stand in the way of a simple, fair tax system,” the [winsome blond female] narrator concludes.



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“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.