Mona Charen | Editorial
22024
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  • Summertime Is Puppy Time for 08/10/2018

    "Have any big plans for the summer?" people sometimes ask by way of small talk. I reply literally: "Yes, housetraining a new puppy." Our newest family member is a 12-week-old Labrador retriever mix — jet black from the top of his nose to the tip of his slightly odd long tail. When I phoned the local vet to make his first appointment, the receptionist asked his age (he was then 8 weeks), his sex (a choice of just two when it comes to canines) and his breed. I replied, "He's a mutt." She corrected, "We say mixed." She was kidding ... I think. Updated: Fri Aug 10, 2018 […]

  • There's More Than One Kind of Corruption for 08/03/2018

    When people think of corruption in high places, they tend to think of elites feathering their own nests. Bill and Hillary Clinton monetized political power into a personal fortune of hundreds of millions, and played the system better than any couple since Napoleon and Josephine. Paul Manafort is alleged to have sold his services to sketchy foreign powers (including a Putin puppet in Ukraine), pocketed multiple millions, evaded American taxes and, according to evidence presented in his trial, spent up to a million dollars on cashmere suits and ostrich jackets (being rich doesn't mean having taste). President Donald Trump is defending his former campaign chairman: "Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!" The president might answer a few questions too. Why didn't he do any background investigation of Manafort? His career representing tainted foreign leaders such as Ferdinand Marcos and Jonas Savimbi was public knowledge. Allegations that he received off-the-books payments from overseas interests were also only a click away. In 2016, Manafort flatly denied the allegations: "The simplest answer is the truth: I am a campaign professional. ... I have never received a single 'off-the-books cash payment' as falsely 'reported' by The New York Times, nor have I ever done work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia." That didn't age well. Updated: Fri Aug 03, 2018 […]

  • Can Feminists Cure What Ails Men? for 07/27/2018

    "Boys need feminists' help too," declares Feministing.com founder Jessica Valenti. Writing in The New York Times, Valenti worries that while women "protest, run for office, and embrace the movement for gender equality in record numbers, a generation of mostly white men are being radicalized into believing that their problems stem from women's progress." Valenti cites the "manosphere," the network of websites that peddle misogyny, and she's right that it is disturbing. But Valenti undermines her case by citing the popularity of Jordan Peterson as more evidence of woman hatred. On the contrary, Valenti and other feminists would do well to remove their women-centric blinders and examine the situation of young men more sympathetically. Valenti imagines that girls are doing great because when the mainstream culture gets them down, they can always repair to "feminist blogs and magazines" while "female college students who have critical questions about how gender shapes their lives can take women's studies courses." Actually, it's very much an open question as to whether feminist interpretations of life make women happier. In my new book, "Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense," I argue that in many respects it has made them less happy. Certainly, polls such as the General Social Survey suggest that women have become steadily less happy every year since 1972.Updated: Fri Jul 27, 2018 […]

  • Putin Speaks Code. Does Trump Understand? for 07/20/2018

    Back when word first leaked that Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. had met with a Russian lawyer and others offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, President Trump seemed to think he was supplying an exculpatory cover story. Flying home from Germany on Air Force One, Trump reportedly instructed Don Jr. to claim that he and the Kremlin-linked lawyer had "primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children." There is apparently some debate about whether that misleading statement places the president in any legal jeopardy, but there is another aspect to the story that has received less attention. It came up again during the Helsinki debacle: Putin, the world's richest man and most successful thief, is obsessed with the Magnitsky Act. In fact, the very mention of Russian adoptions was a tipoff that the attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was probably representing Vladimir Putin. Whether Trump knew this at the time is unclear. After all, he could not say what the nuclear triad was and endorsed "Article XII" of the U.S. Constitution. Maybe he thought mentioning that they discussed Russian adoptions was the most anodyne-sounding explanation for the meeting.Updated: Fri Jul 20, 2018 […]

  • What the Cave Boys Teach Us About Abortion for 07/13/2018

    Twelve boys and their adult coach trapped in a dank, oxygen-deprived cave in Thailand riveted the world's attention for two weeks. Why, people ask at times like this, are we so focused on these individuals when half a million Rohingya refugee children are in danger of starving on the Bangladesh border, or when 400,000 Yemeni children are severely undernourished? The answer is drama. We saw images of these particular boys crouched in that cave. We learned of the long odds against a successful rescue — their debilitated health after so many days without food and water, the sharp rocks, narrow passages and nearly complete darkness of the cave, and waters that challenged even experienced divers (as the death of a Thai Navy SEAL underscored). Some of the boys didn't even know how to swim, far less scuba dive. Updated: Fri Jul 13, 2018 […]

  • Amy Coney Barrett's 'Cult' for 07/06/2018

    When Notre Dame law professor and possible Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was nominated for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, her affiliation with a religious group called People of Praise raised red flags. It was some sort of cult, they implied. Sen. Dianne Feinstein famously reproved the nominee by intoning that "the dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern." It was an echo of the kind of anti-Catholic bigotry that characterized American life for centuries. When the Democrats nominated the first Roman Catholic for president, Al Smith in 1928, opponents warned that all Protestant marriages would be annulled and all Protestant children declared bastards if the Catholic were elected. Republicans circulated pictures of Smith posing before the almost-completed Holland Tunnel with a caption declaring that instead of emptying into New Jersey, it really led 3,500 miles under the Atlantic Ocean to the basement of the Vatican. After his loss to Herbert Hoover, Smith was reputed to have quipped that he had sent a one-word telegram to the Pope: "Unpack."Updated: Fri Jul 06, 2018 […]

  • Why I Write for 06/29/2018

    I began writing the book just published this week — "Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense" — in 2014. I'd been thinking about the issues it addresses for decades. Yet yesterday, when an interviewer posed the simple question: "What prompted you to write this book?" I had a Ted Kennedy moment. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter was reeling from the Iranian hostage crisis and a terrible economy. Sen. Edward Kennedy seemed to have an excellent shot at taking the Democratic nomination away from the incumbent. His campaign debut TV interview, with CBS' Roger Mudd (a descendant, by the way, of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who set John Wilkes Booth's broken leg after he had shot President Lincoln) was staged at the storied Hyannis Port Kennedy compound. Mudd asked: "Why do you want to be president?" And Kennedy had no answer. He stumbled and bumbled and mumbled, but no coherent message emerged.Updated: Fri Jun 29, 2018 […]

  • Being Decent for 06/22/2018

    Not too long ago, I returned to my parked car and found a sheet of paper on the windshield bearing an expletive-laden message. The anonymous poster had obviously gone to some effort to make these flyers on his home computer — complete with color cartoon figures and such. It let me know what an (obscenity) I was. My sin was having parked my car a tiny bit over the white line. I confess. I'm guilty. The garage was full of empty spaces, mind you, and it was only a few inches, but still, it was wrong. But did it require that response? If he had to vent his rage, couldn't he have left a note saying "It's inconsiderate to park over the white line"? My offense seems to have been merely an excuse. This person, clearly overflowing with hostility toward his fellow men, had preprinted these vulgar missives, and delivered them to everyone who offended him. Is it my imagination, or has the tone of the internet seeped into daily life? People often suggest that Twitter's cruelty and misanthropy are unique to the format. Announcing that he was deleting Twitter from his phone, Andrew Sullivan advised: "Social media has turned journalism into junk, has promoted addictive addlement in our brains, is wrecking our democracy, and slowly replacing life with pseudo-life."Updated: Fri Jun 22, 2018 […]

  • Historic Snooker for 06/15/2018

    The headline writers adore the word "historic." It was ubiquitous in reporting on the April meeting between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in. Kim shook Moon's hand and then guided him over the military demarcation line to step onto North Korean territory. This prompted swoons. What rot. If that was a bona fide gesture of peaceful intent, time will tell. In the meantime, let's assume it was a stunt. So, too, with the summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, though in this case the media hype couldn't compete with Trump's own. He has basked in talk of a Nobel Peace Prize and predicted that he and the butcher of Pyongyang were "going to have a great discussion and a terrific relationship." Obviously panting for a meeting, Trump was reportedly livid with national security adviser John Bolton, whose May comments about a "Libya solution" to the nuclear weapons problem apparently spooked Kim into withdrawing from the summit. Trump insisted that it was he who cancelled, just as he did with the Philadelphia Eagles' White House visit. Updated: Fri Jun 15, 2018 […]

  • Children, 'Animals' and Immigrants for 06/01/2018

    Maybe you've seen the video of the hero the French have dubbed "Spider-Man." When he saw a toddler dangling off a fourth-story balcony, he scaled the exterior of the Paris building in about 30 seconds to save the child. Turns out Mamoudou Gassama was a newly arrived illegal immigrant from Mali. A grateful President Emmanuel Macron made him a French citizen a day later. Or consider the story of Jesus Manuel Cordova. He illegally crossed the border from Mexico into Arizona and came upon a damaged car. Inside was a dead mother and an injured 9-year-old boy. Cordova stayed with the child for hours until help arrived. So, does that mean all illegal immigrants are heroes? Obviously not, no more than the crimes of MS-13 or the murder of Kate Steinle prove that all illegal immigrants are criminals. Updated: Fri Jun 01, 2018 […]

  • The Commencement Speech You Never Hear for 05/25/2018

    My youngest son's college graduation ceremony was scheduled to be held outdoors. The invitation specified that it would be moved inside to the gym only in the event of "severe" weather. As it turned out, the day was unseasonably cold (low 50s) with occasional drizzle — probably about as nasty as the weather gets in May without qualifying for severe status. Yet my husband and I huddled together in the stands of Franklin Field and wouldn't have missed it for the world. Ceremonies are important. We need markers for the milestones of our lives. They seal the moment that is both an ending and a beginning. So much changes so fast in our world that it is comforting to settle into honored rituals. As the strains of Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" pipe through the stadium, you feel a stirring of memory and a sense of peace. It has always been like this. It always will be. Some things are timeless. Or so we hope.Updated: Fri May 25, 2018 […]

  • Making Sense of Eric Schneiderman for 05/11/2018

    The former attorney general of the state of New York allegedly had a pattern of slapping and choking women with whom he was intimate. He also spat at them, demanded threesomes, insulted them, threatened them and called one (who had dark skin) his "brown slave," according to recent accusations. One woman claims that without warning he slammed her so hard that he broke her eardrum. Another woman says that his palm left a red welt on her face that remained visible the following day.Updated: Fri May 11, 2018 […]

  • Nobel Talk for 05/04/2018

    If President Donald Trump's incendiary threats have actually frightened the "dear respected comrade" Kim Jong Un into laying down his nuclear arsenal, he will deserve the Nobel Peace Prize his fans are demanding. But the suits in Oslo might want to hold off before awarding another premature Peace Prize to an American leader. One expects the press to swoon whenever a blood-drenched tyrant smiles and shakes hands with a democratic leader, and they played their part this time. After Kim's announcement that he was suspending the nation's nuclear testing, CNN's Will Ripley gushed to Wolf Blitzer: "This is an extraordinarily significant development, and frankly a huge win for President Trump going into these discussions, this potential summit, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un." Trevor Noah softened his anti-Trump tone, saying, "I know our first instinct is to hate, but if it wasn't for his craziness, North Korea would never have come to the table." And Sen. Lindsay Graham enthused that if President Trump "can lead us to ending the Korean War" while "getting North Korea to give up their nuclear program" in a verifiable way, then "he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and then some." South Korea's president said the same.Updated: Fri May 04, 2018 […]

  • Ironic Consequences of Europe's War Guilt for 04/27/2018

    Adam Armoush is, for the moment, the most famous Jewish victim in the world — and he's not even Jewish. He's a 21-year-old Israeli Arab who was visiting Berlin with his friends and decided to test their suspicions that it was unsafe to don a kippa (skullcap) in public. Strolling down the street in the Prenzlauer Berg, a gentrified neighborhood, Armoush was attacked and beaten with a belt by a Syrian refugee who shouted, "Yahudi!" Anti-Semitic attacks have become increasingly common in Germany and throughout Europe. The roster of homicides in France, for example, includes the 2015 murders of four shoppers in a Paris kosher supermarket; the 2012 murders of seven, including three children, at a school in Toulouse; and the stabbing and burning of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor last month, to cite just a few. Jews also suffer nearly daily threats and contempt from their neighbors. Many French Jews have pulled their children from public schools due to harassment by other students.Updated: Fri Apr 27, 2018 […]

  • Playboy Comes to D.C. for 04/20/2018

    Playboy Enterprises just announced that it has purchased a table at this year's White House Correspondents Association dinner. Swell. Just what we need. The dinner, as you've probably heard, is an annual ritual of narcissism in which leading press figures don black tie and hope to see, or better yet, be seen with, Hollywood stars. Like much of politics, much of journalism has become entertainment, and though journalists dub the dinner the "nerd prom," the self-deprecation becomes more strained with each passing year, as journalists themselves have become, literally and otherwise, "beautiful people."Updated: Fri Apr 20, 2018 […]