Remembering the Formidable Matriarch, Barbara Bush

 

I first came to her attention after a 1982 event in Minneapolis at which George H.W. Bush, then vice president, delivered a speech I had written. Aboard Air Force II, Barbara Bush came back to speak to the staff. “Who wrote that speech?” she asked.

I shrank into my seat. A member of the staff for only a couple of weeks, I was just 25. It was my first full-time job. When the press secretary explained that I was the new speechwriter, I forced myself to stand. Mrs. Bush held me in her gaze a good long while. Then she smiled. “It was a good speech,” she said. “Write more like it.”

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Scooter Libby on the John Batchelor Show

 

Scooter Libby was interviewed by John Batchelor and Monica Crowley about his pardon. It appears that Jim Comey’s MO is consistent. He got AG John Ashcroft to recuse himself and appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the supposed unmasking of Valerie Plame.

The case was the ultimate nothingburger; Plame didn’t fit the statutory definition of an undercover agent. But they wanted to get Cheney. Fitzgerald soon found out that Richard Armitage, an opponent of the Iraq war, had leaked her name. But Libby was a more attractive target since he worked for Cheney. He got convicted but key witness Judith Miller eventually realized that she had been deceived by the prosecution and Libby was innocent.

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The Best Part of Ricochet

 

I’m blown away — as well as humbled, delighted and honored. I put up a post this past weekend that had the potential for being controversial. But I decided to risk it, because I felt the subject was important to discuss.

The word “controversial,” as it turns out, was an understatement. The comments came pouring in, the passion was high, and the disagreement with me, in particular, was profound.

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Washington’s Bipartisan War On Federalism

 
The scowling face of the State.

With all the talk about America’s vanishing consensus, there remains one major issue which both sides of the aisle are in full agreement: the urgent need to yoke one’s political agenda to the awesome power of the federal government.

Want to know if you can keep your doctor? What about your lightbulb? Your same-sex spouse? Your weed? Better consult with Washington.

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Should Conservatives Have Turned Kyle Kashuv Into Our Own David Hogg?

 

Over at Vox, Jane Coaston has a thoughtful and in-depth profile of Parkland student and survivor Kyle Kashuv. Kashuv is likely familiar to Ricochet readers and podcast listeners; we featured him recently on a podcast discussing his experiences and beliefs following the shooting that took the lives of seventeen classmates and left Kashuv himself hiding in a utility closet for two hours.

Kashuv is a thoughtful and highly intelligent teenager, and has made a sincere effort to become familiar with the issues he is discussing. But the question with Kashuv, as with his counterparts on the left, David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, is why we are listening in the first place. Being the teenage survivor of a mass shooting does not grant one automatic authority or knowledge about guns; that is true of supporters of the Second Amendment and opponents.

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Dick’s Sporting Goods: May They Go Bankrupt

 

It’s one thing to adopt a policy to appeal to the PC era we’re in. However, I think Dick’s has gone way too far with their latest lame attempt at virtue-signaling:

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced on Monday it will destroy all of the unsold firearms it pulled off store shelves in February after the deadly Parkland school shooting.

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Mrs. Bush (and Mrs. Robinson)

 

A glimpse of Barbara Bush:

One summer day just over a dozen years ago, my wife and I took the kids to Kennebunkport to meet the Bushes. The former president greeted us, showed the kids around Walker’s Point–riding a Segway (his legs were already giving out), while our five children, then aged from 12 to two, trailed along, George Bush looked like a high-tech pied piper–ending the tour at the pool. There he opened the pool house, explained that at Walmart’s a few days before he had bought two swimsuits in every size, and began tossing suits to our kids. As they went inside the pool house to suit up, President Bush excused himself, climbing back on the Segway to return to his office for a telephone call. Within a few moments, the Robinson children were screaming and giggling and performing cannonballs into the pool. And a few moments after that, Barbara Bush appeared.

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A Real Quandary: Homeless Tent Cities in New Orleans and Elsewhere

 
Homeless tent city outside of Angels Stadium, Anaheim, CA.

I remember to this day the look of agony, desperation and forlorn hopelessness in the eyes of a beautiful young woman begging on the streets of New York City one very cold night years ago. I remember thinking, as she peered up at me from the doorway where she was huddled, that she had been, not long before, a person of some accomplishment and, perhaps even affluence, based upon her now-shabby and dirty clothing. I remember so clearly going back to the hotel room and telling my wife that I would probably never be able to get those eyes, and their nightmarish fear, out of my memory. That was years ago, and those eyes came back to me as I thought about sharing a recent, and very unsettling, experience while visiting New Orleans and seeing its block after block homeless tent city, just one of a number spread throughout the Central Business District.

We had made a trip down to New Orleans to visit my wife’s brother after recent surgery at Tulane Medical Center, located amidst intersecting Interstate approaches and off ramps. Leaving the Center takes one down a street near the Superdome, under one of the major expressways. And here one drives for blocks of what seemed hundreds of tents jammed together so tightly there was hardly room to walk between them. Their occupants slept on the concrete neutral ground which is hard to imagine in mild weather and impossible to comprehend in freezing, rainy, stormy weather so common in our area in the Winter. Turning a corner, we passed very close to the opening of one of the tents, in which a very young mother was tending to her very small child–on the concrete sidewalk.

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Rest in Peace, Barbara Bush

 

He called her “Bar.” She called her wrinkles “service stripes.” Her white hair matched her pearls. Like Abigail Adams, she was both a wife and a mother to a President. Statement by George W. Bush:

My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.

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So When Will the Next Productivity Boom Happen?

 

If the US economy is going to generate sustained 3% annual growth, or anything close to that, it will require much faster productivity growth. The bull case looks something like this one, via my AEI colleague Bret Swanson and economist Michael Mandel:

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Wisdom from My Granny

 

I had my last conversation with Granny (my mother’s mother) not too long before she died. She was in her late eighties at the time, almost bedridden from the arthritis that had plagued her for decades, and mentally, she was getting a little bit woolly. The past, though, was still clear in her mind, and she spent much of her last days there. And so I heard this story for the first time.

Before I get started (it couldn’t just be that easy, right? This is me after all), you should know that Granny and Grandpa were married in April 1926. The groom was handsomely attired in morning suit and top hat, and I’ve always thought the bride looked to be glowing with happiness (don’t ask me what that thing is she has on her head. I’m guessing a silk cap adorned with lace). Knowing Granny, I am sure the flowers were absolutely lovely.

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The Peril of Avoiding the Unfamiliar

 

“John,” a teammate of mine in college, always struck me as a decent enough guy even though he had two significant flaws: He was a dim bulb who had never had an original thought in his life, and he was a bigot. “John” was the most openly and comprehensively racist person I had ever encountered. His ability to avert his eyes from reality was astonishing.

According to him, every white person wished we were back in the days of slavery, and every black person was a tower of virtue who struggled against the impossible odds of white racism every day. The fact that “John” grew up in a wealthy white neighborhood and went to a wealthy white school for which he would never have qualified without affirmative action seemed odd to me at the time, but in retrospect that probably exaggerated his racist tendencies. In the ’80s, “John’s” visceral and open hatred of whites was somewhat unusual. On a college campus today, his views would be mainstream – even moderate.

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Quote of the Day: The Perfect Lady

 

“Don’t curse. Lovely girls do not have foul mouths.” — My great-grandmother

To anyone who knew her, from neighbors to friends, acquaintances to relatives, my maternal grandmother’s mother was known as srey krub leak (the virtuous woman). Great-grandma was warm, gentle and loving. And she was kind to everyone. She also had impeccable manners and etiquettes.

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The Unintended Consequences of Ending the Internet’s Grand Bargain

 

Is the Facebook kerfuffle really about privacy? Or is there something more fundamental happening here? I’ve written previously about my skepticism that people really value digital privacy as much as the media or activist groups suggest they do. And if Facebook doesn’t see an exodus of users after the Cambridge Analytica maelstrom, that will be a powerful bit of evidence my instincts are correct.

Another bit of evidence is the study “How Consumers Value Digital Privacy: New Survey Evidence, Program on Economics & Privacy” by Caleb Fuller, assistant professor of economics at Grove City College and a faculty affiliate at George Mason University Law School’s Program on Economics and Privacy. After conducting a survey of 1,579 internet users, Fuller found that “85% are unwilling to pay anything for privacy on Google.” And of the 15% of Google users willing to pay, the median was around “a paltry $20 per year.”

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Gowdy on Mueller: Let the Man Do His Job!

 

Trey Gowdy is one Congressman whom I greatly admire. He was the 7th Circuit Solicitor and led an office of 25 attorneys and 65 employees before joining Congress. He has been at the forefront of the Congressional investigations and doesn’t mince words when he gives his opinion.

So when people have repeatedly attacked Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his work, Trey Gowdy supports him and suggests we let him do his job. As a result, I ask, why there is so much turmoil around the situation, so much gnashing of teeth? So, I investigated, and I think I know why people are so upset. And frankly, I think Trey Gowdy has the right idea.

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Environmental Protectionism Run Amok

 

The House Natural Resources Committee is conducting an ongoing examination of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA). President Richard Nixon signed NEPA, often hailed as the Magna Carta of environmental law, to great fanfare in 1970. The legislation contains two key provisions. Section 101 sets out in broad terms Congress’s “continuing policy” to require federal, state, and local governments “to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony” for the benefit of “present and future generations.” The law envisions the government acting as a “trustee of the environment,” charged with ensuring that the environment is used “without degradation, risk to health or safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences.”

Next, section 102 specifies a set of procedures by which all government agencies must prepare statements to accompany “proposals for legislation or other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” These statements must include a general assessment of the project’s environmental effect, coupled with an analysis of “adverse environmental impacts which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented.” NEPA contains no substantive requirements, but it does force government agencies to ensure that the proposed project meets the substantive standards of statutes such as the Clean Water Act. The agency must, therefore, point out any “irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources” on program implementation, with a view to examining alternative plans that meet these standards.

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The Swamp Strikes Back

 

Disgraced FBI chief James Comey’s tortured explanation of his bizarre official conduct before and after the 2016 election aptly reflects the murky atmosphere in The Swamp, where Comey has long resided.

In his televised interview by Clinton Democrat George Stephanopoulos Sunday night to promote his new book, Comey, the Beltway Nostradamus, sanctimoniously declared President Trump to be “morally unfit” for the office he holds.

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More from the Annals of #WhyTrump

 

A former co-worker of mine is a “friend” on Facebook. I quote the word friend because I don’t really spend any time with the fellow, so I can’t really call him an actual friend. But he is generally a smart and friendly guy whom I respect professionally, at least.

That said, his elitist attitude towards you and I is a bit grating. See his recent post below:

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The End of the Runway

 

Someone recently related another one of those stories about the government investigating parents for allowing a child of 12 to be alone everyday for 45 minutes. It got me to thinking of when I was 12. My parents would have been put in jail by now, I’d guess.

We were living on the NATO base in Keflavik, Iceland, and I had a bike and went anywhere I wanted on that base all by myself and no one ever stopped me or questioned me. It was normal back then. I used to go to the junkyard with a sling shot and shoot at bottles and an occasional seagull (never hit one, but not for lack of trying).

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