May 23, 2023 at 11:37 am
From the "founders statement" of Brookline.News, a new nonprofit news outlet in Brookline, Massachusetts: "Journalism is the only non-governmental entity mentioned in the US Constitution. Our Founding Fathers saw journalism — the Fourth Estate — as pivotal to preserving democracy."
It takes an astonishing level of ignorance of the Constitution to make such a wildly inaccurate claim. Here are a list of some of the "non-governmental" entities mentioned in the Constitution: "We the people," "Indian Tribes," "authors and inventors," "vessels." The Bill of Rights mentions "religion," "houses, papers, and effects," and "private property."
Anyway, Brookline.News is a new outlet, so perhaps this will be an opportunity for it to publish its first correction.
Feds Fight China's Influence in Boston
May 22, 2023 at 9:20 pm
Federal criminal cases aimed at responding to China's influence in the U.S. were the topic of my most recent column. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Deploy Strategy Exporting Freedom, Democracy to China") and at the New York Sun ("FBI, Prosecutors Outline Chinese Communist Intimidation, Surveillance, Influence").
May 21, 2023 at 10:04 pm
When I first met C. Boyden Gray it was the American Spectator's annual dinner in Washington. The way I recall it, at least, Seth Lipsky asked Paul Gigot if he knew Gray and if he'd be willing to make the introduction. And so we walked over, and Gray and I had a warm chuckle over the fact that two former presidents of the Harvard Crimson, an institution with a left-of-center reputation, were there being introduced by a Wall Street Journal editorial page editor (or columnist), at a dinner for the American Spectator.
I was barely 30, but Gray was at that point the fourth White House counsel I had met, the first three being Bernie Nussbaum, Abner Mikva, and Leonard Garment. Of the four, Gray was the tallest—a New York Times obituary puts him at six foot, six inches. Gray had the job in the administration of George H.W. Bush, while Garment served during Nixon and the other two men served during President Clinton's administration.
Prosecutors Circle Presidential Candidates
May 21, 2023 at 11:26 am
The jury that matters most is the voters, I write in a recent column. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Voters Better Than Prosecutors at Weighing Presidential Fitness") and at the New York Sun ("Trump and Biden Probes Are Making 2024 Election Look Like a Criminal Case: Can't the Voters Decide?").
Jeff Roe and Axiom
May 19, 2023 at 11:15 am
Republican political consultant Jeff Roe and his firm Axiom Strategies are the subject of a detailed look from The Washington Post. "In the 2022 cycle, Roe told investors his firm, which also has corporate clients, had taken in $196 million in net revenue, while earning more than $22 million as profit after depreciation and taxes. By 2024, he said those numbers would climb to $250 million and about $36 million in profit."
Roe is "expected to be a central figure in DeSantis's 2024 political apparatus" and is known for Ted Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign and Glenn Youngkin's 2021 Virginia governor's race.
The Post reports: "Roe has launched a project called 'Freemont' to quietly shape the Republican Party's leadership in an effort to benefit Axiom financially....'The six major committees (RNC, NRSC, NRCC, RGA, RAGA, RSLC) spent over $1.7B in 2020,' the prospectus says. 'The chairs and senior staff make vendor decisions. Freemont is a project to help elect chairs and place senior staff that are friendly to Axiom.'"
Markey, Warren, Nadler Launch Assault on Supreme Court
May 17, 2023 at 5:11 pm
Imagine if, after the Supreme Court's racial integration decision Brown v. Board of Education, the segregationist advocacy groups and Southern senators had showed up outside the Supreme Court to announce legislation to change the number of justices. Or if, after the Supreme Court's ruling in Bush v. Gore, the Democrats had tried to change the outcome by adding justices to the court in hope of achieving a different result.
There'd be justifiable outrage at interference with judicial independence, and with outcome-based disappointment driving process-based changes. And there'd be understandable skepticism about whether such court-packing would lead to a never-ending cycle of each new Congressional majority changing the rules to add justices who agreed with them to the high court, eviscerating the judiciary's constitutional role as a check and balance to the other branches of government.
Billy Joel to Florida
May 16, 2023 at 9:58 am
Musician Billy Joel, he of the "New York State of Mind," is putting his Oyster Bay Long Island estate up for sale, the Wall Street Journal reports. It quotes the real estate agent saying he is "looking to sell now because he and his wife, Alexis Roderick, with whom he shares two young children, are spending more time in Florida."
The flow of talent out New York and New Jersey and Connecticut and Massachusetts to Florida, and the reasons for it beyond weather, have been the topic of extensive previous coverage here.
Martha Stewart Sports Illustrated Cover
May 16, 2023 at 9:10 am
Martha Stewart at 81 on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is getting a lot of attention.
One may debate whether it counts as progress for women (an 81-year-old woman on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue!) or shows how much progress remains to be made (an 81-year-old woman can be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, so long as she's blond, almost wrinkle-free, and has photogenic cleavage). One may rue what it says about the aging demographics of Sports Illustrated readers. But what was striking to me, as someone who in 2017 advocated a pardon for Martha Stewart, was to look at it the framework not so much of feminism but of capital markets regulation, criminal justice reform, and prisoner re-entry.
A 25 Percent Biden Wealth Tax?
May 15, 2023 at 12:06 pm
Buried long into an interminable New York Times thumbsucker about intergenerational wealth transfer and racial inequality comes this sentence: "The president's latest budget proposes largely offsetting spending on social programs with revenue from a minimum 25 percent annual wealth tax on households with a net worth of $100 million or more."
Manchin on JFK, Conservative
May 12, 2023 at 8:54 am
Possible third-party presidential candidate Senator Manchin of West Virginia channels JFK, Conservative. From George Will's column:
Harvard Governing Board Raises Free Speech Alarm
May 12, 2023 at 8:11 am
The official, university-central-administration-published Harvard Gazette has an interview with the outgoing and incoming presidents of Harvard Board of Overseers, the university governing board that is larger than the other governing board, the Harvard Corporation. This section (emphasis added) seemed highly newsworthy to me:
May 8, 2023 at 3:39 pm
City Journal brings the sad news of the death of Fred Siegel. When my partners and I were starting up the New York Sun, Fred was so encouraging that he sent us one of his sons, Harry, as a potential hire. Harry turned out to be a valuable contributor, and Fred a regular inspiration and source of encouragement.
Fred lived in Brooklyn and had been there long enough to appreciate the city's downs and ups, and the causes of both. Going through emails, I see a link to a 2011 piece by Michael Powell of the New York Times:
Youngkin and U-Haul
May 7, 2023 at 4:36 pm
In a recent speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, spoke about competition among the states.
"It is extraordinary to look at U-Haul data. I do it all the time," Youngkin said. "What you will see is that Virginia was ranked 32st in 2021, with one-way moves out of Virginia. And one year later, in 2022, we are ranked 5th with one-way moves into Virginia."
"I love competition and I bring it to governing," Youngkin said. "If you are resting, someone else is working. If you are raising taxes and putting criminals first and neglecting education, people are going to leave for states with lower cost, better safety, and better opportunity."
Youngkin spoke of "American families making the choice every day as to where they want to build their lives."
A Saudi-Israel Peace Deal Before November 2024?
May 4, 2023 at 8:50 pm
A Saudi-Israel peace deal before November 2024 is more likely than is widely appreciated, I wrote this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Let's Hope for Sooner Rather than Later on Saudi-Israeli Peace") and at the New York Sun ("Saudi-Israel Peace Deal Could Come Before 2024 Election").
Goldman Sachs Expands in Texas
May 4, 2023 at 8:55 am
Bloomberg News reports that Goldman Sachs held its annual shareholder meeting in Dallas, Texas, where it is developing a new "regional campus" to house about 5,000 employees.
"The region is sweeping in high-profile dealmakers, wealth-management firms and industry giants, as firms and their executives relocate to Texas from higher-cost states including California and New York," the article says, mentioning JPMorgan Chase & Co, Wells Fargo & Co., Charles Schwab, TIAA, Ken Fisher, and Fidelity among "more than a dozen significant financial services expansions in the region since the start of 2021."
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