VICTOR DAVIS HANSON:The Decline of College The Four-Year Campus Experience is Becoming a Thing of the Past. ***** For the last 70 years, American higher education was assumed to be the pathway to upward mobility and a rich shared-learning experience. Young Americans for four years took a common core of classes, learned to look at the world dispassionately, and gained the concrete knowledge to make informed arguments logically. The result was a […]

Contrary to Claims, IRS Has Not Destroyed Conservative Donor Lists: Eliana Johnson

  The House Ways and Means Committee says that, despite the IRS’s promises to destroy the donor lists it demanded from tea-party and other conservative groups, it has discovered those lists in the case files it has reviewed in the course of its investigation into the targeting scandal. A Ways and Means Committee source tells […]

JACK ENGELHARD’S GUIDE TO WRITING IN A WORLD GONE BERSERK NEW YORK, September 18, 2013 — Tips on writing, from any writer, should be ignored. But here we go anyway because the world needs you. 1. Keep it simple. SEE RELATED: ENGELHARD: Salinger is back and PBS has got him 2. Write for yourself. If you do not trust yourself, write for your best […]

If Israel’s Paranoid, It Has Every Reason to Be So: Roger Boyes Across the Middle East today there is a sourness and a sense of abandonment because the old order has been broken and not replaced. It is Israel that feels the disappointment most strongly: the United States, a staunch protector since 1948, seems to be slipping away in its clumsy rush to disengage from the […]


There is little left to be written about the discordant integration of reality television and The Gong Show that President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and their collaborators produced over the past three weeks over Syria. Like an unpredictably bouncing American football, this story moved in diagonals and backward and forward until the target became peacemaker, the villain the benefactor, and the means to achieve the end shrank “unbelievably” and then vanished, as the wrongdoer surrendered the forbidden weapons he claimed not to have to those who denied he had used them and had probably supplied them in the first place. And then, the presidential entourage launched a Twitter and spin offensive vastly more complicated than anything that the commander-in-chief, after he abdicated that role to the Congress, had contemplated asking, unsuccessfully, for the Congress, which had no constitutional standing to do anything of the kind, to authorize.

Even if history were ransacked to produce a greater sequence of fiascos in a place more frequently occupied by effective foreign- and security-policy specialists, it could not do so, and we would have to plunge deep into comic fiction to find a precedent. Weekly Standard editor William Kristol was on the right track when he linked his comments on Syria to a video of “the other Marx,” the one with the silent brother. (It is time for Chico to complain about “the sanity clause,” as he did in A Night at the Opera.) It has come to this.

Lamentations and fault-finding have had a well-deserved innings, but I am scouring these events for something positive. It seems that this process makes it less likely that embattled Syrian president Bashar Assad will revert to this sort of weapon again. He may have come fairly close to a tiny retaliation from the United States, and in the event that he gasses his own civilian population again, there is a respectable chance that Obama will not abdicate as commander-in-chief; that all the imbeciles in Congress who lined up at television and broadcasting studios like food-stamp applicants to say that they did “not want to go to war” — as if that were what launching a couple of cruise missiles at no risk to those who fire them actually involved — will not obstruct him; and that the commander-in-chief will actually command that something proportionate and effective be done to punish what his secretary of state has already emptied his rhetorical clip describing as, inter alia, “a moral obscenity,” and so forth.

In that sense, enlisting the Russians, even in this charade of a contrived handover (or hand-back) of chemicals of potential mass murder, is probably a more effective deterrence to recidivism by Assad than the pathetic tokenism that the commander-in-chief was beseeching the reluctant fantasist warriors in the Congress to approve would have been. And having conferred, preposterously, the role of peacemaking deus ex machina on Vladimir Putin, the administration has endowed the Kremlin with a vested interest not to allow itself to be made a fool of by its protégé. Assad could probably reasonably infer that Putin, given his nostalgic KGB-alumnus ethos, might not be as philosophical about appearing to be an asinine stooge to the whole astonished world, as President Obama has, and that the consequences of casting Putin as one could be hazardous to Assad’s health. Putin’s former oligarchic partners in the pillaging of Mother Russia regularly come to a violent end, in the highest tradition of almost all the old Bolsheviks (except Stalin, of course, ex officio as executioner). And even the Russian leader’s frequent lapses into professed Christian religiosity for the benefit of gullible Americans (such as George W. Bush) do not mean that he would, if provoked, scruple to assist Assad into the Great Beyond so many of the Syrian president’s co-religionists claim to crave.

And there are some positive aspects to Putin’s op-ed piece in the New York Times on September 9. First, I must strenuously congratulate the Times on obtaining and running the piece; it is very newsworthy and interesting and every newspaper or other media outlet in the world would be happy to run anything by the president of Russia in such circumstances. The incompleteness of my editorial admiration of the Times is well known to anyone who cursorily looks at what I write about current events, but the complaints directed against it on this subject are just priggery and humbug.

ROBIN SHEPHERD ON THE UK’S MUSLIM VEIL RULING- NONSENSE ON STILTS That’s Jeremy Bentham’s line. And it’s a good one. But what was an English court thinking of in its ruling over the Muslim niqab? Did English law from Magna Carta die today? The English utilitarian political philosopher Jeremy Bentham famously (and mischievously) described natural law related predispositions towards societal governance as “nonsense upon stilts”. […]


Congregation Berith Sholom of Troy, NY, the Empire State’s oldest continually occupied synagogue. Credit: Paul Foer. The city of Troy, NY (population 50,129), is just a few miles upriver from the state capital of Albany and is known as the birthplace of Sam Wilson, a meatpacker on whom the iconic image of “Uncle Sam” […]

PATRICK POOLE: WATCHING THE SYRIA CIVIL WAR FROM ISRAEL **** Last week I took the opportunity to travel to the Golan Heights with Israeli strategic intelligence analyst Avi Melamed [1] (listen to my podcast with Avi [2] from last week) to get an up-close view of the Syrian civil war from the Israel/Syria border in the Golan. There were only modest security concerns, although mortars and […]

ANDREW HARROD: FAITH, FICTION AND THE NEED OF KNOWLEDGE FOR FIGHTING TERROR “You’ll fold like a bad soufflé,” sharia scholar Stephen Coughlin wittily analogized in discussing the “main battle” by Islamists to undermine an enemy “in the preparation stage” before an attack.  Coughlin was speaking in the Canon House Office Building at the panel “What Has Gone Wrong with American Mideast Policy?” hosted by the Endowment […]

Obamacare will Question Your Sex Life by BETSY MCCAUGHEY, PHD

Be careful about sharing your medical secrets with Uncle Sam.

Are you sexually active? If so, with one partner, multiple partners or same-sex partners?”

Be ready to answer those questions and more the next time you go to the doctor, whether it’s the dermatologist or the cardiologist and no matter if the questions are unrelated to why you’re seeking medical help. And you can thank the Obama health law.

“This is nasty business,” says New York cardiologist Dr. Adam Budzikowski. He called the sex questions “insensitive, stupid and very intrusive.” He couldn’t think of an occasion when a cardiologist would need such information – but he knows he’ll be pushed to ask for it.

The president’s “reforms” aim to turn doctors into government agents, pressuring them financially to ask questions they consider inappropriate and unnecessary, and to violate their Hippocratic Oath to keep patients’ records confidential.

Embarrassing though it may be, you confide things to a doctor you wouldn’t tell anyone else. But this is entirely different.

Doctors and hospitals who don’t comply with the federal government’s electronic-health-records requirements forgo incentive payments now; starting in 2015, they’ll face financial penalties from Medicare and Medicaid. The Department of Health and Human Services has already paid out over $12.7 billion for these incentives.