Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Politico reports that Jon Stewart visited the White House twice in the Obama era. To you and me and other ordinary citizens, no big; but to the Washington Free Beacon it’s “Jon Stewart Secretly Visited Obama White House Two Times” — that’s two (2!) times, America! — a development “previously unreported in the media.” The story concludes: “Stewart has become infamous for his consistently negative portrayal of Republican lawmakers. He will appear in his final episode as host next Thursday.”

You may be wondering, why the ominous tone? Turns out it’s widespread among the winger brethren. “That’s the clown-nose-on, clown-nose-off issue again with Daily Show and its clones,” seethes Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, replicating a ten-year-old wingnut talking point; “they want to be taken seriously as cultural drivers and news disseminators, but don’t want the responsibility for disclosing their biases or their slants.”

One wonders: What “desire to be taken serious” or “responsibility” is Morrissey talking about? The responsibility to look glum and serious like Ben Shapiro? (If Chuck Todd decided to try and be funny, would he be more likely to increase his effectiveness, or to embarrass himself?)

“Secret visits, unprecedented access,” sputters Amy Miller at Legal Insurrection under the title “It’s Official: Jon Stewart is an Obama Shill.” “Comedy is an effective buffer against criticism,” Miller says, carefully sloshing the volatile essence of comedy between two beakers in the pale moonlight, “and now we know that there was a coordinated effort to control which Administration foibles got ha-has, and which were exposed for actual critique. It’s not a particularly shocking revelation, but it does serve as one more layer of slime covering the travesty that is the relationship between liberals and the media.” (You disgusting jokesters! I knew there was a reason why they made you sit at a table far from the paying customers!)

The Politico reporter “never questions the appropriateness of Obama’s private meetings with the liberal comedian,” gasps Newsbusters. "A DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVE, MASQUERADING AS A COMEDIAN... Potemkin Village? We’ve got a whole freakin’ Potemkin Culture," crypto-fascizes Ole Perfesser Instapundit (h/t @punditdotcom).

“While President Obama was leaving the money on the nightstand for the rest of the press… he was making waffles and fresh squeezed orange juice for Johnny in the morning,” says alleged comedian Steve Crowder. “…If you ever needed any more proof as to the corrupt relationship of not only the press, but the entertainment industry with the Democratic party… you’re welcome.” In a healthy democracy apparatchiks would encourage the people to laugh at Steve Crowder, not some commie oaf!

“Confirmed: Jon Stewart Was Obama’s Official White House Jester,” snarls Philip Wegmann at The Federalist. His lede is precious:
Molière, the 17th century French playwright, once observed that “comedy alone can correct the vices of men.” Too bad he never watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It turns out that the Comedy Central funnyman was just another flak for the Obama administration.
Whereas Molière was always telling people what a treasonous bastard Louis XIV was. Surely you remember “La comédie de l'acte de naissance”? Wegmann closes,
Comedy probably won’t see another Stewart anytime soon. His comedic genius will be hard to match. But one can’t help but wonder, what if Stewart had really gone after everyone? How many laughs did he lose by telling canned-political jokes? How many vices went uncorrected?
Does it strike you as it does me that these people have never told a joke — I mean, never done so just for the pleasure of making their friends laugh? (Though they may have lab-tested some pieces of ordnance marked “humor” for their loathsome work of correcting vices or whatever, and stood sadly in their lab coats watching them fail, wondering why their creatures never came to life.)

This is sort of the essence of conservatives when they talk about culture. They show not the slightest awareness of the fundamental truth that comedy, like drama and film and music and everything else like it, is animated by something much deeper and more elemental that politics — though artists may become political themselves and be motivated to approach those subjects, particularly when the society they’re born into is as fucked up as ours. Art confuses conservatives, so they despise it, and treat it as some unfair advantage that liberals have. They don’t think artists tend to be liberal because liberal society gives human beings the breathing room to develop their talents — such a thing is impossible for them to grasp; they think it’s because ObamaHitler and his fellow Hitlers have found some community called “Artsilvania” or something where people are temperamentally just like conservatives except talented, and paid them a great deal of money to promote liberal lies (which, in the conservative imagination, they would do happily because money is more important than anything).

I’d feel sorry for them if they weren’t working so hard to destroy everything I love.

UPDATE. Angergrams keep coming in. "I’ve always viewed Stewart as Obama’s messenger boy and this pretty much confirms it," says American Spectator's Aaron Goldstein, whose usefulness in any capacity has never been demonstrated. And the New York Post's Kyle Smith calls Stewart a "partisan hack" who "allowed himself to be seduced by power. He sold out. He dined with those he should have been dining upon." Back in 2009, Smith was yelling at Will Ferrell for making fun of newly-evicted POTUS George W. Bush: "Is it too much to ask for Hollywood's leading comic actor not to use the deaths of our troops in combat for a giggle?" his subhed sputtered. Smith was talking about a bit where Ferrell's Bush interrupted a moment of silence for the war dead to take a phone call. This is an ancient gag (there's an especially funny variation involving Ralph Richardson in O Lucky Man! starting at 6:45 here) but Smith seemed never to have heard of it, and to be mortally offended:
The problem is, during what turned out to be merely a pause to set up the punchline, I actually was thinking about our war dead, and so were a lot of others. Left and right, we all believe, or supposedly do, in honoring the sacrifice of our servicemen and women. 
Here, Hollywood is letting its mask slip...

But is it too much to ask for our war dead to not be ridiculed by wealthy comedians? Maybe those who fly on private jets, live in closely policed communities with surveillance cameras covering every inch of their property and send their kids to private school don’t understand that there is such a thing as public security, and that it isn’t a joke...
Also, how about that bastard George Grosz , painting deformed World War I veterans so disrespectfully instead of promoting kinder, küche, and kirche like a good citizen?  That Smith's talking about anyone else's hackery is rich, but I'll say this for him: What he lacks in talent he makes up for in nerve.


Among the National Review new breed Kevin D. Williamson and Charles C.W. Cooke are pretty far out there, but don't sleep on David French, who despite lacking his colleagues' hipsterish affectations (peculiar hair balance, two middle initials) is more than a match for them twaddle-wise and seems to drift further from earth's orbit with each passing column. The title of his latest:
Are Encounters with the Police Really More Dangerous for Black Men?
If you guessed "Nah, son!" you've been paying attention. French starts with a story about how as a lad he himself was roughed up by the constabulary, but generously offers further evidence:
The results so far for 2015 show much higher numbers of police killings than previous FBI reports. They also, at first glance, seem to prove the #BlackLivesMatter thesis that police target black men. 
As of July 27, the Guardian claims, American police have killed 657 people in 2015. The large majority, 492, were armed. Some 316 victims were white, 172 black, and 96 Hispanic. (The rest were of other or unknown ethnicities.) Whites constitute a majority of the population, however, and police kill black Americans at a greater rate than whites — with 4.12 black victims per million versus 1.59 white victims per million. 
So case closed, right? Not so fast. Comparing police shootings by race with crime statistics by race tells an entirely different story: It may in fact be the case that white Americans are ever-so-slightly more likely than blacks to die in any given encounter with a police officer. After all, blacks commit homicide at eight times the combined white/Hispanic rate, and, despite their constituting roughly 13 percent of the population, represent a majority of homicide and robbery arrests. Indeed, the disproportionate share of arrests exists across all categories of violent crime — at a rate that often exceeds the racial difference in police shootings. Thus, blacks are seriously overrepresented in the most dangerous police encounters of all — encounters with violent suspects.
Go ahead, read it again. He really is saying it: That while in raw numbers blacks do get killed by cops more often than whites, you have to grade on the curve because blacks are so criminal.

The rest is also gibberish, though some of it is prime:
It’s just sheer fiction that white men enjoy some sort of shield of immunity, engaging in disrespect and defiance at will. After all, police kill white men almost twice per day.
This is where I'm supposed to lament how far National Review has fallen, but except for its arts and letters coverage it always sucked; all that's interesting about the new Review is that they've found people who are willing to say absolutely anything to keep their jobs.

UPDATE. Comments are as ever prime, and include a link to a few good explanations, as if they were needed, as to why French is full of shit: montag2 offers Jacobin's "The Making of the American Police State"; Robert M. offers, in response to an industrious troll, the insight that French's "principal error is conflating 'encounters with police' with the incidence of crime, and the incidence of crime with arrest rates" -- assuming, perhaps over-generously, that this was not deliberate.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


At the New York Times, Ross Douthat starts by regaling us with a Richard Selzer story about "tiny, naked, all-too-human bodies of aborted fetuses," then moves on to the Planned Parenthood sting videos:
It may be disturbing to hear those procedures described: “… we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact"... 
But in the end, Planned Parenthood’s defenders insist, listening to an abortionist discuss manipulating the “calvarium” (that is, the dying fetus’s skull) so that it emerges research-ready from the womb is fundamentally no different than listening to a doctor discuss heart surgery or organ transplants. It’s unsettling, yes, but just because it’s gross doesn’t prove it’s wrong. 
And the problem these videos create for Planned Parenthood isn’t just a generalized queasiness at surgery and blood... 
...the reluctance to look closely doesn’t change the truth of what there is to see. Those were dead human beings on Richard Selzer’s street 40 years ago, and these are dead human beings being discussed on video today...
Douthat's always been horrible, but now he's like one of those nuts standing outside abortion clinics, waving pictures of dismembered fetuses -- look, guts! -- except when the guards fail to restrain him he also pushes a note into the terrified women's hands explaining that he's really thought this throughGoogle "Nucatola" and "sips wine" and you'll see (along with impressive message discipline) that a huge chunk of the American Right is there with him, though they're not usually such candy-asses about expressing it.

Meamwhile Rick Perry is telling the world that the lesson of the Louisiana movie theater shooting is that people should be able to take loaded weapons to the movies. (You thought the guy who always spills his popcorn was a problem before!) Mike Huckabee says by negotiating an arms treaty with Iran, Obama "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

And Donald Trump leads this great party's Presidential race.

Isn't it about time we acknowledged for good and all that the Republicans are basically the Monster Raving Loony Party, but without the sense of humor?

UPDATE. Drop me a line at roy at edroso dot com if your comments aren't getting through.

Friday, July 24, 2015


My favorite version. (Explanation.)

   Maybe you saw that story about a drone with a gun on it, and maybe you didn't think that was awesome because you're not 12 or a conservative. But Hot Air's Taylor Millard negs to differ:
Government, others freak after CT teen makes cool flying gun 
The government and others are going nuts over a Connecticut teen’s pretty cool invention: a drone with a gun. Austin Haughwout posted YouTube video on July 10th, showing the drone firing a semiautomatic handgun. 
Cue government outrage. Clinton police are up in arms (pun intended) over Haughwout’s invention, with one officer saying it’s obvious technology is surpassing legislation. They’re now actively trying to figure out if they can charge the teen, even though the gun was fired on private property...
The ACLU of Connecticut, the organization that claims to want the government to stop using drones in surveillance, is now calling on the government to push through comprehensive regulations for drones.
They don't want freelance assassins or the government to shoot people by remote control -- What a bunch of hypocrites!
People need to remember drones are amoral tools. They can all be used for good or evil, depending on how the person operating said tool acts. South Park had a pretty good episode on drones last year....
Yeah, we could stop paying attention right there, but it's Friday, let's give him a minute:
Those wanting to seriously regulate drones, armed or not, are forgetting how they can be used for good. Ranchers can use them to patrol their fields. Hunters could use them on tough to find predators. People who prefer not to go outside at night could use an armed drone to detect prowlers.
Hi, our car broke down, is anybody BLAM!
Plus, there’s always the simplest solution: take a shotgun to the offending drone. Problem solved.
This is what their ideal world looks like: Everyone tiptoeing around locked and loaded, like Elmer Fudd in search of Bugs Bunny. Only with lots of blood.

   Oh yeah, Mytheos Holt:
At the time, my thesis was mocked by liberals, some of whom even thought the article might have been a stealth parody. After Pao’s resignation [from Reddit], I expect these people don’t think this idea is quite so funny.
On the contrary! I mentioned last week the idea that a website owner controlling the content on his own site equals censorship is ridiculous, and it remains so. Holt also says the "Left hates Internet freedom," in defense of which proposition he expands the definition of the Left to include the U.S. Department of Justice and major movie studios, and portrays Gamergate, that rat's nest of harassment and crap writing, as proof that conservatives love internet freedom. (Remember when The Well was the poster child for the power of internet freedom? Sigh, me too. And I don't recall the members driving anyone out of her home, either.) I hope Holt can promote this POV sufficiently that some Republican debate moderator has to make Jeb Bush prove his right-wing bona fides by agreeing Anita Sakeesian had it coming. In closing, here's my favorite paragraph:
Even social conservatives have changed from being smugly self-assured about their own “Silent Majority”-style dominance to an embattled approach personified by Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option,” while blatantly anti-political correctness neoreactionaries like Pax Dickinson and Curtis Yarvin are being cast less as cranks and more like brave, countercultural heroes. One can quarrel with the wisdom of this iconoclastic turn, but no one would ever accuse today’s Right of being defined by its reverence for established pieties.
That'll light a prairie fire, alright. The people will march, just as soon as you explain to them what the hell you're talking about.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Guess what this story at The Federalist is about:
How to Live in Pagan Society
It turns out that this situation is similar to some classic moral problems that Christians and other philosophers have been considering for some time now. If you’re a Nazi soldier, can you, in good conscience, fight the Allies? Would it be moral to kill Jews? At what point, if any, does “obeying orders” stop working as a valid excuse? On the other hand, do you have to starve and die to keep from being implicated in the Nazi atrocities through taxation? 
Thankfully, an evil empire and moral purity were precisely the concerns of first-century Christians as they wrestled with living in extensively pagan societies with tyrannical militaries. One ethical conundrum of the day was: is it permissible to eat food sacrificed to idols? In 1 Corinthians 10:25-57, Paul lays out the righteous path: “Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake.” 
Money spent on food sacrificed to idols ended up funding the pagan temple system one way or another. Paul is unfazed. Like Jesus insisting that we should give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and pay our taxes, Paul shows that the evil actions of the other participants do not preclude the narrowly righteous action of the Christian. The reasoning is, buying food is just buying food; buying food isn’t wrong; what people do with the money does not contribute to your sin... 
Give up? The title of this thing, bylined "The Federalist Editors," is
How Christians Can Bake Cakes And Sign Licenses For Gay Weddings
Ain't even kidding. They're meeting you homo-lovers halfway, explaining to their followers how and under what circumstances they can dispense services to the God-accursed SSMers. Here's part of their summation:
So in the case of a cake for a gay wedding or being a witness on a slip of paper, it makes sense to analyze the act itself. It’s not wrong to give people a beautiful cake. It’s wrong to encourage people to do evil things. If you make your views and the company’s views clear, you can feel free to make that cake. If they want it to say “Congratulations Angela and Norma!” you may feel morally free to do as they wish. As long as they know that you are merely serving their own self-congratulations and are not participating in congratulating, your conscience can be clear.
 So, maybe serve the cake while turning your head to one side and retching.

I run into people who think The Federalist is an upscale, intellectual conservative publication. And I suppose it is, grading on the curve.

UPDATE. Comments are, consistent with alicublog tradition, very good. Here's a sample by Rand Careaga:
In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Gibbon discusses the difficulties experienced by the early Christians as they attempted to observe the tenets of their faith without participating in an overwhelmingly pagan society. Money quote (heh, heh): "Even the reverses of the Greek and Roman coins were frequently of an idolatrous nature. Here indeed the scruples of the Christian were suspended by a stronger passion."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


The Federalist's Kurt Schlichter went to Europe, but it's hard to guess why, since the way he tells it he  clearly despises the place:
Europe is different from when I first lived there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was not as superficially wealthy then, although this time I rarely wandered far from where the tourists congregate. On the outside, at least, you would hardly see the rot of debt and welfare-state mismanagement even in Italy and Spain. The people were well dressed. The cafés were expensive but still packed. The cars are fairly new and have shockingly little body damage, when you consider the insanity that overtakes Europeans when they slide behind a steering wheel.
But that’s on the surface. Once you get behind the walls and into interior of the homes, the old cramped shabbiness is still there. All their money goes to clothes, food, and drink, because there’s no room in European apartments for the stuff Americans pack into theirs.
Not a McMansion in sight -- what a bunch of losers!
Countless stores will dress women in the latest, most expensive fashions, but few supply the woman who wishes to dress her children. The merchants know their markets, and you need babies to support baby clothes stores. When you walk the streets, you notice the couples with kids—they stand out, and it’s always just one kid.
No Duggars in this socialist hellhole, I tell you what.
Even the cabbies sigh that the birth rate is below replacement level. Children are the ultimate luxury item.
The Friedman cab driver still lives! Man, Schlichter hates this Europe dump worse than Tyler Cowen and Megan McArdle. Wonder why?
The blood of the likes of Charles Martel no longer runs in the veins of today’s café-dwelling Europeans. They sip coffee and their (excellent) wine and, in Spain, drink their bizarre cerveza/lemonade and rioja/Coca-Cola combinations, oblivious to what’s coming. Perhaps it’s mere ignorance, perhaps it’s a choice. It will end the same way regardless—in blood. When the time comes to choose between picking up a rifle and dying, we’ll find out if the human instinct for self-preservation has successfully been bred out of the men of Europe. I know where I’m putting my money...

Ukraine will fall. The Baltics will fall. Turkey will fall. The Balkans will fall. Europe will fall.

This is the fiesta before the storm, and Europe is busy partying like it’s 1939. These are the New Wilderness Years, except this time the bad guys are going to win.
Ahh, right, they haven't herded their Mooslims into concentration camps so they're worthless and weak. Schlichter's come a ways since he approved Britain at least for its Windsor obsession in his classic "The Royal Baby Is a Rejection of the Family Chaos Liberalism Feeds Upon" column. Now...
When you go to a restaurant or a store in or around London, you almost certainly won’t be served by a native Englishman. Often, it’s an Eastern European. Our most frustrating language challenges took place in the United Kingdom. The immigrants do the work, while working-class Londoners apparently stay home and collect dole checks.
Even England is full of furriners! All those stupid little countries can go to hell!

He'll get to the same place with America, too, once he gets that bunker built.


The headline on Victor Davis Hanson's column is even more, how you say, impactful when you see how those rascals in the National Review art department chose to illustrate it:

You could use this same technique for a "Obama and Hitler: Two of a Kind" or "Obama and Leatherface: Two of a Kind" story. But how does Hanson support the interesting concept that "Obama is Trump’s doppelgänger"? This'll give you some idea and believe me, even if you're familiar with Hanson's work you may be surprised:
Donald Trump believes he can oversell America abroad in the manner of Chamber of Commerce boosterism; isn’t that the twin to Obama underselling the country in the fashion of a wrinkled-browed academic? Both are stern moralists: America is too often shorted, and so Trump is angry over the sins of omission. For Obama, past genocide, racism, and imperialism vie as sins of U.S. commission.
Ahh, we are not so very different, Mr. Trump! I think America has too much, and you think it has too little! No, wait, that didn't come out right -- how about:
The two see the world in similarly materialist — though, again, opposite — terms: Trump wants net worth to be the litmus test of political preparation (“The point is that you can’t be too greedy”), even as Obama professes that big money is a Romney-like 1 percent disqualification. Obama’s infamous communalistic quotes to the effect that you didn’t build that, at some point you’ve made enough money, and this is no time to profit are just bookends to Trump’s money-is-everything ideas that he built everything, he’s never going to make enough money, and it is always time to profit.
Ahh, we are not so very different, Mr. Trump! We are both materialists, unlike the rest of America -- you in your money-is-everything way, I in my communis -- my commonalist -- my supercommunalisticexpialidocious way oh fuck it.

In some ways it's vintage Hanson -- there's even an obligatory VDH Obama/Jay-Z moment -- but in other ways it's uniquely awful, just like so much stuff coming out of National Review anymore. They're actually breaking the Jonah Goldberg paradigm, and I didn't think such a thing possible.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Carly Fiorina did a short video for BuzzFeed in which she turns around popular sexist tropes in an office setting -- e.g., "How do you walk in those shoes?" "I didn't know men could be funny," "Does your wife help out with the kids?" It's a little over a minute long, totally innocuous, and of a genre that goes back to George S. Kaufman's If Men Played Cards As Women Do, at least. If anything the effect is to make Fiorina seem like a good sport, and not just the woman who nearly destroyed Hewlett Packard and thinks that was a good stepping stone to the Presidency.

Yet Amy Miller at Legal Insurrection thinks the video is worse than bad. While admitting through gritted teeth that "humanity goes a long way when it comes to connecting with voters and gaining trust on a more personal level," she says,
Carly is funny, engaging, and smart—but she used that power for evil. She walked into a young, modern, progressive venue, and threw her own womanhood under the bus in an effort to pander to a base that will never vote for her. 
Fiorina has defined herself as a businesswoman, CEO, and force to be reckoned with; she should not have to—and should never (NEVER)—have to play into the hands of liberals who work every day to manufacture divides in our society. 
This isn’t effective outreach; it’s Stockholm Syndrome.
Maybe she thinks gender reversal jokes are the first step toward gender reversal, Caitlin Jenner, and dogs and cats living together. Sadder still is Ashe Schow at the Washington Independent Examiner, who admitted "that I laughed multiple times throughout the video" before she got her mind right and "concluded that it was just another attempt to divide people" through the dark art of humor. Schow even explained why some specific sections did not meet her standards for minute-long internet joke videos. For example, the "men talking over women" gag:
This one I've experienced. Maybe it's sexism, maybe I didn't speak up loudly enough. I've had people steal my ideas — and my jokes — because I wasn't heard and they were.
I'd love to know what ideas of Ashe Schow's somebody stole, and what workplace they were worth stealing in.
One example of this occurred at one of my previous jobs — but I can't conclusively say that it was due to the fact that I am woman and not, say, the fact that I was new to politics and knew very little compared to the people around me (I definitely lacked confidence due to that).
You've all been there, right, ladies? Some man talks over you and then steals your idea, and you think, hmm, maybe I'm to blame for this, but one thing I'm sure about is that it has nothing to do with institutional sexism.
...it also happens to men. Certain bosses take credit for their subordinate's ideas, regardless of whether the subordinate is a man or a woman.
Also, in prison men rape other men, so I don't see why everyone makes such a big deal about women getting raped. On the joke about women getting asked about work and family more than men:
The difference here reflects poorly on both sexes. When women are asked this, the implied question seems to be: "Why don't you spend more time with your children?" At the same time, not asking this question of men comes with the undertone that men don't need to be there for their children, or simply don't need to care about them.
I bet men really suffer from this one. No one asks if I'm spending time with the kids. I feel so -- not-validated! 

They have a female candidate who's pretty conservative and the minute she acknowledges the experience of many, many women voters it's like she turned into Germaine Greer. They're really asking a lot of their white male base in 2016.

Friday, July 17, 2015


A very nice Richard Thompson tune
and a valuable reminder that Sting is a twat.

•   Charles C.W. Cooke's latest at National Review is about Reddit. Like the full-fedora MRAs who got Ellen Pao fired, Cooke clearly doesn't know what these bitches are bitching about, and he's enraged that Reddit is, with the blessing of the returning founder who's understandably sick of the "white-power racist-sexist neckbeards" who stirred up this whole shitstorm, trying and keep things civil on the site, which Cooke denounces as "censorship" -- i.e., people having different standards for their sites than Cooke would have if he were in charge as God intended. Cooke describes the wonderful State of Nature at Reddit that he would like maintained:
Within the swampier quarters of the site, you will find all sorts of insalubrious offerings. One area features graphic discussions of bestiality. Another hosts a bunch of white supremacists. Elsewhere, there are threads that brim with unreconstructed misogyny — perhaps exhibiting the rare and ugly “rape culture” that we are told is ubiquitous.
And then it hit me: Cooke isn't really complaining at all -- he's just seizing a market opportunity: If Reddit won't have the white supremacists and rape cultists, National Review will. John Derbyshire, expect an apology!

•   As we have seen again and again and again, there are conservatives who are not just anti-abortion but also anti-sex, viscerally repelled by the notion that anyone might want to do it just for fun. At The Federalist, Joy Pullmann is pissed that people want to make a government benefit out of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).  Pullmann tips her hand early, complaining as she begins her "full-throated defense of the human person as an intrinsically valuable, community-embedded, and wholly sacred being, atop the also-eternal case for limited government" that
taking up the job feels kind of like being the best friend and roommate of a party-hearty girl who upchucks her innards out night after night but just won’t lay off the booze. Okay, I guess I’ll hold your hair and even clean up the vomit sometimes, but I’m also going to start giving you some straight talk, because this is ridiculous. And no way am I paying for your habit.
That ought to reel them in. Pullmann's sisterly chat continues:
We have a leading U.S. publication paternalistically implying that women cannot be trusted to responsibly manage our own bodies, dreams, and impulses, so we poor little impregnated patsies need The Man to come in and preemptively spay us or retroactively destroy our preborn children for what he thinks is our own good? What an empowering worldview! Doesn’t it just make you glad to be a woman? Doesn’t it just make you love your sex daddy? We’re so progressive and advanced in the twenty-first century!
It goes on like this forever, with subheds like "Human Haters Measure Us In Money" and "No One Has a Right to Sex," and lines like "If a baby happens during nonmarital sex, it’s about the only healthy thing going on!" I'm beginning to suspect these folks are not trying to win converts, they're trying to pump donors.

•   At National Review Fred Bauer says "The GOP Needs an Enlightened Populism." He says populism's big these days, mentions Greece. Stop laughing. (He also mentions France, which is a bit more like it.) Yet Trump, popular as he is with the racist halfwits no GOP candidate can win without, won't quite do for reasons Bauer does not articulate. But Bauer does lay out populist strategy. He wants whatever approved candidate runs to come out against "crony capitalism," of course, which is bullshit and which will in any case have to be decoded for those members of the electorate not well-versed in rightwing pundit fads. Also, "Reforming entitlements so that they are sustainable could help assure members of the middle class that, as if they hit hard times, a support system will be there for them" -- in other words, tell voters they have to work till they're 72 for their Social Security, which ought to go over great. Then there's the cultural component -- did you know there's a cultural component to conservative populism? And no, it's not John Wayne killing injuns, it's conservative columnists going on for the fourth decade in a row about political correctness. Bauer:
Attempting to tamp down the new crusade against free expression could be a key component of this enlightened populism. Cultural sophistication has a long pedigree in modern conservatism (see William F. Buckley Jr., Irving Kristol, et al.), and a soupçon of adventurous cosmopolitanism could be an antidote to the aggrieved parochialism of the reigning progressive cultural elite. In countering the outrage Wurlitzer and defending freedom of thought, this cosmopolitanism would help various communities stop feeling themselves the target of an endless cultural assault.
Me, I'm such a fascist I think you shouldn't even be allowed to talk about populism unless you actually have some idea how to talk to people with whom you don't share a masthead. For starters, lose the soupçon.