Double, Double, Trump in Trouble?

“Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.”

— The witches in Macbeth, William Shakespeare.

The Democrats, the purported “party of science,” have a new strategy to beat back President Donald Trump and the other Republicans who’ve overrun the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, two-thirds of the state legislatures and most of the governorships.

Their new strategy is witchcraft.

It had to happen. The recount ruse didn’t add up. The Electoral College refused to go rogue. The Russian conspiracy theory backfired.

But the Dems are nothing if not creative in demonizing those with whom they disagree.

For example, Continue reading

Beauty Deserves Better than the Beast

In the new movie, I like Beauty. I always do.

I even like the Beast. Yes, he suffers a bit of testosterone poisoning. He manages his anger poorly. He’s rude and talks coarsely. People are afraid of him. He’s ugly.

What’s not to like?

But even though I mostly like the leading characters, I don’t like the movie.

The central theme of the movie is fine. Beauty and ugly are only skin deep. But to support that, our friends at Disney get everything else wrong.

Here’s the story, for those who were sensible enough to pretend to fall asleep when fairy tales were inflicted on them as children:

The Beast imprisons Beauty’s kindly father in his castle in the French countryside for accidentally stealing a rose from the Beast’s garden. Beauty offers to take her father’s place, and the Beast accepts her offer.

But the Beast is not really a beast. He’s a handsome prince. He’s rich too. He’s just having a bad-hair decade because a local shaman cast a spell over him for being a jerk.

But it’s not his fault that he’s a jerk. It’s the fault of his father who was mean to him before dying and leaving him a beautiful castle and fabulous fortune that enables his life of trustafarian leisure.

His servants are under the same spell. They’ve been turned into a candelabra, a clock, a coat hanger and, well, you get the idea.

Beauty is initially put off by the Beast’s beastliness. He’s violent and threatening. He eats soup without utensils and wears dark pants after Bastille Day. Worst of all, his castle is stuck in that hideous Louis XIII decor that is so 1790s/1970s.

To make a long and predictable story into a short and predictable one, Continue reading

GOP to Filibustering Dems: Make My Day

An appellate judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Neil Gorsuch, has been nominated to fill a vacancy at the Supreme Court. As a lawyer who was privileged to practice before both courts, I’ve keenly watched the process of his confirmation.

This process is framed by some history. Before 1987, the Senate usually confirmed whomever the president nominated. But then, President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork.

Bork had been an acclaimed antitrust scholar and professor at Yale Law School. He had been the solicitor general where he handled dozens of Supreme Court cases. He also had served as an acting attorney general.

Chief Justice William Burger dubbed Bork “the most effective counsel to appear before the court” during Burger’s 17-year tenure.

Bork had been unanimously approved by the Senate for a judgeship on an appellate court. He had served there for the five years prior to his Supreme Court nomination. He was a preeminent jurist.

Within hours after Bork’s nomination, Continue reading

Corruption Resides in Aspen’s Taxpayer-Subsidized Housing

 

There’s a crime wave here in Aspen, and local government is an accomplice. I’m not exaggerating.

It’s rooted in the taxpayer-subsidized housing program. That’s the program where locals with incomes as high as $186,000 get taxpayer-subsidized housing in Aspen for dimes on the dollar if they win a housing lottery (or if they are insiders who bypass the lottery).

Most economists say such schemes make housing less affordable overall, not more. Indeed, four decades of taxpayer-subsidized housing in Aspen has produced the most expensive real estate in the country.

Economists also say these programs harm the intended beneficiaries by enabling employers to keep wages low, and that such schemes are rife with cronyism and inefficiency.

But now, more than 3,000 residents of Aspen receive this housing welfare out of a population of only 6,500. Reform is politically impossible — even as the projects fall into disrepair because the residents don’t maintain them.

All of that is not criminal, standing alone. It’s merely foolish. Aspen residents have the prerogative to get drunk on something-for-nothing economic elixirs, at least until the money runs out.

But here’s what’s criminal. Continue reading

No Wall, No Raids, just Enforce the Employment Laws

In the soap opera that substitutes for an American immigration policy, there are three actors. The first is the immigrant.

I admire immigrants. They’ve traveled thousands of miles to build better lives in a strange land where many don’t even speak the language. They send much of the money they earn here back to their families in their homelands.

America could use more such courage, work ethic and selflessness. I like seeing such people come to America — legally.

But the illegal kind is a different story. Continue reading

Thelma and Louise and the Democrats

In the movie “Thelma and Louise,” a bullied Arkansas housewife and a harried waitress ditch their mundane lives for a road trip in their 1966 Thunderbird convertible. It doesn’t end well.

In fact, it doesn’t even start well. Thelma, played by Gina Davis, gets drunk and is sexually assaulted. Louise, played by Susan Sarandon, rescues her. But then the assaulter insults them, so Louise shoots and kills him.

Their road trip turns into a getaway. They figure they’ll escape to Mexico, but Louise won’t travel through Texas because she’d once been raped there. They loop north to Arizona by way of the Grand Canyon.

Along the way, they meet a thief, played by Brad Pitt, who teaches them his trade. They blow up a fuel tanker, knock over a convenience store, outrun the FBI and steal a hat.

But the cops eventually catch up, and they’re cornered in front of the Grand Canyon where they’re forced to surrender.

Except they don’t. Instead, they hop in the old Thunderbird, kiss one another goodbye and floor it. They and the Thunderbird fly over the cliff and into the Grand Canyon.

That’s the end of the movie, and the end of them.

In another story — call it “The Dems” — the junior political party in America launches an extended road trip for their soon-to-be-elected president. But as in “Thelma and Louise”, things go south quickly. Continue reading

“Manpower Doesn’t Mean “Man Power”

Free speech is no longer free at our universities. If you say the wrong thing, your words will cost you.

Even if you say the right thing it’ll cost you plenty. At Princeton University, you pay tuition of $41,820 per year (well, this being academia, make that per two-thirds of a year) for the language police to ban you from words they deem sexist.

The ban applies to so-called hateful words and phrases like “layman,” “mankind” (which the censors deem not just politically incorrect but also oxymoronic), “man hours,” “workmanlike” and of course that most-hated word, “manpower.”

In addition, they’ve banned gender-specific pronouns. So you can’t say, for example, “Each person pays his tuition through the nose.” Do it, but don’t say it.

You can substitute “their” for “his.” So you can say, “Each person pays their tuition through the nose.” Grammatically speaking, this use of the plural pronoun “their” to reference one person is incorrect unless the person has a mouse in his/her/their pocket and the mouse is carrying its own $41,820, which it intends to pay through its own little nose. But let’s not let grammar, money or vermin stand in the way of social justice.

Where will this end? How far should we carry the emasculation of language for the emancipation of women?

In answering that question, Continue reading