Laura Hollis from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 20 Aug 2019 22:13:23 -0700 Laura Hollis from Creators Syndicate 9d025fd630aa7562d216c71ab08ef672 It's Time to Admit It: There's No Such Thing as 'Race' for 08/15/2019 Thu, 15 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If the news is any indication, Democrats and the progressive left generally have virtually nothing left in their political arsenal except for claims that their opponents are "racists" and "white supremacists." This pointless strategy &#8212; evidence of Democrats' desperation &#8212; is doomed to failure, for at least two reasons.</p> <p>First, the word "racist" has become so overused and contorted that it no longer has any meaning. The term used to refer to someone who believed that his or her race was superior to others, and who behaved accordingly. But as the number of <i> actual </i> racists dwindled in the past few decades, those whose careers depend upon the existence of racist boogeymen (leftists in politics, the media, Hollywood and academia, most notably) had to devise a new definition. They now speak in terms of "systemic" or "institutional" racism. By condemning every institution that has been established by human beings characterized as "white" (more on that in a moment) as systemically racist, it's now possible to condemn as "racist" every person who has ever <i> benefitted </i> from those institutions. Thus, if you have been educated in the American educational system; borrowed or invested money in our financial system; purchased property; or worked your way up the American corporate ladder, then you become a racist.</p> <p>It's tactically clever in that it no longer depends upon the existence of anyone who actually <i> holds </i> racist views (although those people certainly exist). But it's also a political Molotov cocktail with a very short fuse. People may not love being called out for things they have actually done. But they resent like hell being accused of things they <i> haven't </i> done, especially when they're simultaneously told that there's nothing they can do to remove the stain, or that they cannot take credit for their own achievements.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 15, 2019</p> 6fffe42b221715512a468441366da968 Scott Presler's #BaltimoreCleanup Is Further Proof of 'Can-Do' Attitude for 08/08/2019 Thu, 08 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>My column last week was written in response to what has become the typical claim of the political class during election season: Increasing numbers of Americans are helpless victims whose problems can only be solved by government.</p> <p>Using homelessness as an example, I compared the expensive failures of government in cities like Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, with the success of Community First Village, a privately funded initiative in Austin. Starting small and focusing on the needs of a few, Community First has grown in just three years to the point where it is preparing to house and help 500 people &#8212; nearly 40% of Austin's chronically homeless population.</p> <p>This week saw another example of the "can-do" attitude of private citizens. Scott Presler, a young conservative activist from northern Virginia, used his substantial social media following (he has over 300,000 followers on Twitter) to organize a one-day trash cleanup in Baltimore &#8212; a city whose problems have recaptured the nation's attention since President Trump tweeted about it being "rat and rodent infested" two weeks ago.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 08, 2019</p> 34f8d03275476f4b1f0e18c39d0cced2 Americans Need More 'Can Do,' Not More Candidates for 08/01/2019 Thu, 01 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Watching the political process play out is more discouraging each election cycle. Even the freshest faces in the field eventually descend to the level that handlers and pollsters tell them they must in order to win: criticizing other candidates in the same party (many of whom they'll have to work with later if they win); blaming the current administration or the opposing party for all of society's ills; demonizing half the country; and promising the other half of everything for free. </p> <p>And the excuses. Oh, the excuses that we hear for why we have problems.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 01, 2019</p> e4713975a98c5fa3c826b4f51050719e The Unsurprising Success of 'Stranger Things' for 07/25/2019 Thu, 25 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Netflix's monster (literally) hit series "Stranger Things" has just wrapped up its third season. It continues to be a blockbuster. If one thing has been consistent, it's been observers' reactions and comments on how remarkable the show's success is.</p> <p>In October 2017, RadioTimes opened an article about the first season this way: "By rights, Stranger Things should have failed. The show's creators &#8212; the Duffer brothers, Matt and Ross &#8212; had no track record in TV beyond writing a handful of episodes of Fox sci-fi series Wayward Pines. The cast was unknown, with the exception of Winona Ryder. It was set in a fictional town in Indiana in 1983. Its monster-from-the-other-side-hunting-young-teens plot mimicked unfashionable 80s horror movie tropes, and it starred a bunch of kids.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 25, 2019</p> 52dac1bff7f931d46850dc7b582f8814 'Art' and Its Ugly Consequences for 07/18/2019 Thu, 18 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Late last month, Andrew Anthony wrote in The Guardian a glowing review of Nick Broomfield's new documentary, "Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love." The film explores the decadeslong relationship between Canadian poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen and his sometime-lover and Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen.</p> <p>The couple met on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960 and lived there for a time in a small community of expat artists. The film follows the lives of Cohen and Ihlen thereafter through their many separations and (increasingly brief) reunions, and concludes with Ihlen's death from leukemia in July 2016 and Cohen's death just four months later in Los Angeles.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 18, 2019</p> 015f8780d976259d30135da2b8c420b2 Epstein Case Shows Corruption in the Legal System Runs Deep for 07/11/2019 Thu, 11 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Fresh on the heels of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and amidst the #MeToo movement the scandal spawned, the story of financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is in the headlines again.</p> <p>Epstein is a former hedge fund manager who made billions of dollars on Wall Street in the 1980s and 1990s. He owns six homes across the globe, including one on his own private island in the Caribbean. Epstein is accused of procuring underage girls to perform sexual acts with him and his guests. In fact, Epstein's reputation was so widespread that the private Boeing 727 jet he used to fly guests to and from his residences was known as the "Lolita Express."<p>Updated: Thu Jul 11, 2019</p> a58712eae2870731cc1210045f363489 Moscow in the Valley for 06/27/2019 Thu, 27 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe has released another damning video and leaked documents with further evidence of the extent to which tech lefties will go to deprive Americans of free speech and access to information. <p>Updated: Thu Jun 27, 2019</p> bcdcd3529b8baf69cc8c0d26c08fd200 Advantage: Trump for 06/20/2019 Thu, 20 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>The past week has provided plenty of proof that beating Donald Trump in 2020 is going to be a lot harder than the Democrats (and their cheerleaders in the media and Hollywood) would like to believe.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 20, 2019</p> 717eaaaffd04f3ff57d4caad755c5049 The Sad Lesson of Jon Stewart's Valiant Speech for 06/13/2019 Thu, 13 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Jon Stewart is best known as a comedian and former host of "The Daily Show." Virtually all talk show hosts draw from the well of politics. But Stewart's tenure took that to a new level, and he made no bones about his distinctly progressive leanings.</p> <p>Stewart is talented and intelligent, and his riffs on politics and political figures are funny (whether you share his political views or not). He is already a household name. But Stewart gave the monologue of his life yesterday in front of a congressional subcommittee charged with finding additional financial support for the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund. The VCF is running out of money, and Congress has not stepped up to provide further funding.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 13, 2019</p> 311de15c80a38f9f595623bb424035c8 When Heroes Have Feet of Clay for 05/30/2019 Thu, 30 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>So, what happens now?</p> <p>According to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Garrow, FBI surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the late 1950s and early 1960s (the records of which were just released) produced evidence that Dr. King had dozens of extramarital affairs, participated in sex orgies, hired prostitutes, used the most vulgar language to describe his conduct with women and even laughingly looked on while an associate allegedly raped a woman in a hotel room.<p>Updated: Thu May 30, 2019</p> 205b5072ef19ad3703470de6fc98a3e8 Want to Make Progressives Happy? Destroy Everything for 05/23/2019 Thu, 23 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The left destroys everything it touches &#8212; or at least everything it gets control of. This was not necessarily true when leftists called themselves "liberals." But now that traditional liberalism is passe, its place taken by "progressivism," it is a foregone conclusion.</p> <p>I was reminded of this yet again when reading an article in The Nation titled "Want to Dismantle Capitalism? Abolish the Family." It was an interview with Sophie A. Lewis, author of the book "Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family." </p> <p>What a grand repository of idiocy this is. Lewis calls herself a "repro-utopian." Pregnancy, childbirth and mothering are unpaid work, Lewis insists, which should be done by paid surrogates, rather than genetic mothers. She favors "sodomitical maternity" (which she translates as "structurally queer"). Children should not "belong" to anyone &#8212; that only perpetuates the notion of property, a fixture of the capitalist system she seeks to undo. One who bears a child is not a "mother" but a "gestator." Parenting should be "collective." The relationship between parent and child should be "comradely."<p>Updated: Thu May 23, 2019</p> 442adf70189b905de1bcf87f76bccd40 Eliminating Abortion Requires a Language of Love for 05/16/2019 Thu, 16 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In one of the most compelling scenes of the 2006 movie "Bella," a handsome and charismatic soccer player named Jose is driving through a New York City neighborhood with his manager, Eduardo, on his way to sign a multimillion-dollar professional soccer contract. The camera suddenly cuts away to a young woman filming her toddler daughter, Loochi, as they play hide-and-seek in their backyard nearby. Loochi looks for a place to hide while her mother closes her eyes and laughingly counts. Loochi runs away from her yard, through the gate and between two buildings, through which viewers can now see the street. The camera shots move more rapidly between Jose's and Eduardo's jovial banter in the car, and the tiny girl running toward the street, making viewers acutely aware of the tragedy that is imminent.</p> <p>The collision is heard, not seen. As the reality of what has happened sinks in, Jose's face crumples, and he dissolves into tears. His manager sees his bright future disappearing and yells at him to leave the scene, but Jose refuses. He gets out of the car to face what he has done, just as Loochi's mother arrives at the street screaming, seeing her daughter's lifeless body.</p> <p>The agony of her loss &#8212; and Jose's &#8212; is crushing.<p>Updated: Thu May 16, 2019</p> 940b1baf0576c2995a95ba09bb4f8a25 America's Middle Class Will Storm the Bastille for 05/09/2019 Thu, 09 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Recent news is riddled with proof that America's soi-disant elites are the most venal, self-absorbed, sybaritic and utterly tone-deaf group since the French nobility of the 18th century. And the comparison is not idly made.</p> <p>We start with the Met Gala, for which movie stars, musicians, athletes and fashionistas paid upwards of $35,000 a ticket ($200,000 to $300,000 per table) to show up and show off in the most outrageous (and outrageously expensive) clothing and costumes imaginable. It is meaningless, over-the-top indulgence, par excellence.<p>Updated: Thu May 09, 2019</p> b392d29a20a67a5b99b72b5883081f8f Time to Abolish Congress for 05/02/2019 Thu, 02 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Democrats and progressives have been throwing temper tantrums about Donald Trump's election to the presidency since election night 2016. In years past, Democrats may have taken electoral losses on the chin, determined to do a better job persuading the electorate to support their candidate(s). But the present generation shows neither the same pluck nor the same reverence for the rules of the game. If today's Democrats cannot win elections playing by the rules, then it's time to change the rules.</p> <p>First on the chopping block? The Electoral College. </p> <p>The Electoral College has thwarted Democrats' presidential aspirations twice in the past two decades. In 2000, Democrat Al Gore lost the Electoral College, despite winning the popular vote by just under 600,000 votes. Gore won the state of California with 5,861,203 votes to Republican George W. Bush's 4,567,429. Under a popular vote election system, that 1,293,774 margin would have been more than enough to push Gore over the top.<p>Updated: Thu May 02, 2019</p> bc3377515a94cac08f3f7b35ecdb16f2 Critical Limits on Human Power for 04/25/2019 Thu, 25 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The brilliance of our country's founders is revealed in many things but especially the checks on power built into our system of government. </p> <p>The Constitution is grounded in the natural-law principle that human beings derive their rights from God, not from government. On a more temporal level, governmental powers are deemed vested in the states, which delegated certain limited and enumerated powers to the federal government. (The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states this explicitly.)<p>Updated: Thu Apr 25, 2019</p> d9eff3df2c793d3b84f19c35de376ce1 Helping Instead of Hazing for 04/11/2019 Thu, 11 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last month, in the wake of the Felicity Huffman/Lori Loughlin/et al. college admissions scandal, I wrote a column about Americans' outdated obsession with so-called "elite" colleges and universities. Space restrictions prevented me from discussing another troublesome issue: the fraternity culture at many American universities. Several years ago, I read an article in Rolling Stone magazine, "Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy." The author, Andrew Lohse, is a former Dartmouth student. Lohse blew the whistle on truly repulsive hazing practices at Dartmouth &#8212; and found himself expelled for his trouble, while his fraternity brothers escaped unscathed. His Rolling Stone interview (and the book he later wrote with the same title) describes his experience and his disillusionment with the Greek culture at the Ivy Leagues.</p> <p>The story was another example of the serious problems facing higher education today. Hazing is by no means unique to the Ivy Leagues; there are more than 6,000 fraternity chapters at nearly 1,000 colleges and universities across the U.S., and every year brings at least one major news story about a hazing incident resulting in serious injury or death. Nor is this a modern phenomenon; according to author and researcher Hank Nuwer, the first recorded death attributable to hazing dates back to 1838. No list is comprehensive, because the vast majority of hazing incidents go unreported. But the number of deaths in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries is sobering (or should be). There have been over 200 hazing-related deaths &#8212; 40 between 2007 and 2017 alone &#8212; and there has been at least one death every year since 1969. The single most frequent cause of death is alcohol poisoning (with violence not far behind).<p>Updated: Thu Apr 11, 2019</p> 834190fff9a38fddb7df69a06344bbdd Falsehoods and Fear for 04/04/2019 Thu, 04 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Unplanned," the movie adapted from the best-selling book written by Abby Johnson, opened on March 29 and brought in nearly $6.4 million in its opening weekend &#8212; more than double what was predicted and an astonishing amount for a faith-based film. The box office take is made even more remarkable by the fact that most broadcast and cable television channels refused to run ads for the film and the Motion Picture Association of America rated the film R despite a lack of nudity, violence or profanity. The rating was apparently because of footage showing a computer-generated "ultrasound image" of an abortion as well as a scene where Johnson's character on film hemorrhages badly after a pharmaceutical (pill) abortion. The irony, as noted by both Johnson and Ashley Bratcher &#8212; the actress who plays Johnson &#8212; is that a 16-year-old teenage girl can <i>get</i> an abortion but cannot watch a movie in theaters <i>about</i> abortion.</p> <p>As most who have followed the story know, Johnson was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas &#8212; and the youngest director in the organization's history. Like many women who volunteer or work for Planned Parenthood, she was initially motivated by a deep concern for women in difficult situations. But she began to question her career when it became clear that her objective to reduce the number of abortions ran counter to Planned Parenthood's corporate policy; the organization rewarded and promoted employees on the basis of how many abortions were performed at their clinics.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 04, 2019</p> 11be53bec58323ee7980467b67da7041 Can the Media Earn Back Our Trust? for 03/28/2019 Thu, 28 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>After it was revealed on Sunday that the two-year investigation conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the finger pointing began. This time, the national media was under the microscope. It's one thing to hear baldly partisan idiocy from the opposing political party and its candidates &#8212; we expect that. It's another thing altogether when crazed accusations are being spewed by the press 24/7/365 as if they're fact.</p> <p>Voices as disparate as Rich Lowry, editor-in-chief of the conservative National Review, and Glenn Greenwald, co-founding editor of the nonpartisan (but leftish) The Intercept, have criticized the media this week for their obsession with the theory &#8212; now thoroughly debunked &#8212; that Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election because Donald Trump and his team colluded with Russians. (Greenwald has been a consistent and vocal critic, warning about the dire consequences for press credibility; in January, The Intercept published "Beyond BuzzFeed: The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.") The Daily Beast ribbed MSNBC star (and collusion-theory devotee) Rachel Maddow with a "Now What?" headline. CNN's president, Jeff Zucker, took widespread flak for his defense of CNN's Trump/Russia coverage, saying: "We're not investigators. We're journalists. Our job is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did."<p>Updated: Thu Mar 28, 2019</p> 3e091b7fda4f2a01b0895e676136c5f6 Whether by Money or Merit, We Will Not Be 'Ruled' for 03/21/2019 Thu, 21 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Noah Millman wrote a marvelously honest piece for "The Week" last week about the pay-to-play college admissions scandal. He acknowledges what many have known for a long time: First, that admission to the most elite schools is not purely based upon merit. Second, that education as good as &#8212; and often better than &#8212; that at the Ivies and other top-tier institutions can be obtained elsewhere. What parents are really after, Millman says, is <i> status </i>. This has become more important than the education itself, or even connections, which the children of these grasping, bribing parents frankly already have.</p> <p>Millman makes another pointed observation: "When the United States started using standardized tests for college admissions, the point was explicitly to open up our elite institutions to talent that lacked pedigree. ... Harvard and Yale needed bright upstarts from Brooklyn and Biloxi to retain their status as makers of the elite. ... Once in place, however, the system morphed from a means to an end. The idealistic meritocrat claims that what <i> justifies </i> elite rule is precisely that they have been pre-selected as 'the best.'"<p>Updated: Thu Mar 21, 2019</p> ddca1089e9c1cbf43fc389e8093a9145 Chasing False Prestige for 03/14/2019 Thu, 14 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Call it karma, or poetic justice.</p> <p>For decades, athletes admitted to prestigious schools on scholarships have endured accusations (some, admittedly, justified) that they couldn't cut it academically. Now we have a nationwide scandal in which students have been admitted to prestigious schools on <i> fake </i> athletic scholarships, so they're probably OK academically, but they can't play the sport!<p>Updated: Thu Mar 14, 2019</p>