Wednesday, January 23, 2019


By Derek Jeter
January 22, 2019

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I heard a stat the other day and it blew my mind:
In human history, more people have walked on the moon than have scored an earned run off of Mariano Rivera in the postseason.
Sounds crazy, right? But it’s true.
According to NASA, 12 people have had the privilege of walking on the moon.
According to Baseball Reference, 11 people have scored an earned run off of Playoff Mo.
And while no statistic could ever truly encapsulate Mariano, I figure this one is as close as we’re going to get. Because I think it really gives you a sense of what sort of greatness we’re dealing with, when it comes to Mo. It’s hard to compare him to other closers — in fact, it’s hard to compare him to other pitchers.
Mariano is just on another level.
The thing I respect most about Mo is that what you see is what you get.
A lot of people I’ve met over the years, they’ve asked me what Mariano Rivera is like off the field. And I’ll tell you what I tell them — which is that he’s pretty much the same person you watched for all those years on the mound.
There’s no “persona” with Mariano. He’s never had a character that he portrayed. He’s always just calmly and coolly done his thing. He’s quiet. Thoughtful. Intense. He’s a man of faith.
He has an incredible eye for detail.
Have you ever seen a Mariano Rivera autograph? Google it when you get a chance. With a lot of guys, their signatures are these quick little scribbles. But Mariano, man, if he’s signing something for you, he takes his time. He puts care into it, until he gets it just right — like with everything else he does. To me, right there … that’s Mo.
And like I said: It was always the same thing on the mound. There wasn’t much mystery if you were facing Mariano Rivera. No smoke and mirrors — nothing to hide. The scouting report was the same every time. Mo knew he was going to throw that cutter. The guy at the plate knew he was going to throw that cutter. Fifty thousand plus at Yankee Stadium knew he was going to throw that cutter.
And it wouldn’t matter.
Because Mo wasn’t trying to trick you.
And in the end, like it or not, he was just going to flat-out beat you.
During my first full season in the minors, when I was 18—19 years old, Mariano was coming back after having had surgery on his arm. So one of the things I’d do from shortstop was keep track of Mo’s pitch count.
And although eventually I stopped counting his pitches, it’s funny — in a way, I never stopped being that 18-year-old kid. Because for all of the amazing things that happened to me over those next 20 years with the Yankees, I never stopped being aware of this one: that on any given night…. if we could just get ourselves a lead….
I had the best seat in the house to watch the greatest closer of all time.
Hall of Fame teammate. Hall of Fame person.
And now, officially, a Hall of Fame player.
Congratulations, Mariano, and the rest of this year’s class.

Mariano Rivera personified grace. Inside lurked a monster competitor

By Buster Olney
January 22, 2019

Related image
Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera after the 2009 World Series (Getty Images)

In Mariano Rivera's playing days, he believed, as a general rule, that you shouldn't fraternize with opposing hitters. At All-Star Games, he was polite to his temporary teammates, especially the pitchers, but he wasn't really into hanging out with the sluggers.
Rivera -- who became on Tuesday the first player ever elected unanimously to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA -- believed you should keep your emotions locked down in success or failure. When you won, you should act like it was the expected result, and if you lost, you should never, ever allow an opponent to think they had accomplished more than just winning that day's game.
As the Diamondbacks swarmed the field to celebrate Luis Gonzalez's series-winning bloop single in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, Rivera walked off the field at the same pace as in those hundreds of instances he clinched a save and moved to the catcher to exchange a handshake. His expression never really changed as he stepped into the visitors dugout, or when he responded to dozens of questions in the clubhouse afterward. This was the gracious face of Rivera that fans and opponents came to know and respect.
And it was a fa├žade.
A mask. To cover for the monstrous, uncharitable competitor that resided within the right-hander. When Rivera is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, the greatest hitters in the world will surround him on the dais, and if you gave the right-hander truth serum, he almost certainly would tell you he could've dominated any of them on their best day.
I learned this about Rivera in the four seasons I covered the Yankees as a beat writer for The New York Times. Rivera was uniformly genial in the clubhouse, easy with a laugh and mostly measured in his words. But there were moments in which the ambitious, cutthroat antagonist escaped.
Rivera pitched 141 innings in the postseason, about the equivalent of two regular seasons of work for a fully deployed reliever, and in all of that time, he allowed two homers. Jay Payton of the Mets hit the second of those, in the 2000 World Series, in the midst of a rally that fell short in Game 2. Rivera made 63 playoff and World Series appearances after that and didn't allow another.
The first homer Rivera allowed in his 86 postseason games was hit by Sandy Alomar Jr. of the Indians, in a pivotal playoff moment in 1997. This was at the end of Rivera's first season as the Yankees' closer, in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. In a best-of-five series against the Indians, the Yankees led two games to one, and in the eighth inning of Game 4, they were ahead 2-1. When manager Joe Torre summoned Rivera to pitch, the Yankees were five outs away from advancing, in pursuit of what would have been the first back-to-back titles in the majors since the 1975-76 Reds.
In Rivera's first seasons as a reliever, he threw in the mid-90s, his fastball sometimes registering above that, in those days when some radar guns emitted numbers higher than others. With two outs, the Indians catcher stepped in to bat. Rivera whipped a fastball over the outside part of the strike zone, at 94 mph, and Alomar, a right-handed hitter, drove it to right field, a high fly ball. Paul O'Neill retreated to the wall, feeling for the fence, thinking he might have a shot for a leaping catch.
But the ball carried over O'Neill's glove, into the extended hands of the fans sitting in the first row of seats. (You can see the home run here.) O'Neill slammed his glove onto the warning track, in a moment that might make Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez feel a little better about what he did in Game 4 of last year's World Series. Alomar raised both arms over his head, circling the bases with the game-tying run.
Cleveland scored again in the ninth inning to win that game, and the Indians prevailed again in Game 5 to eliminate the Yankees, and one of the primary storylines that hovered over Torre's team in the spring training that followed was whether Rivera would recover emotionally from that failure. Many closers had seemingly lost their confidence after a postseason moment like Rivera experienced, from the tragic example of Donnie Moore to others like Calvin Schiraldi and Mark Wohlers.
When Rivera first appeared at Yankees camp, he was asked about the Alomar homer, and when national writers circulated through New York's camp in Tampa in the days to come, he was asked about it some more. In 1998, the Yankees won 64 of their first 84 games, on their way to 114 regular-season victories. But all summer long, Rivera continued to hear the same questions and give the same polite answers. The Yankees clinched a playoff spot before September, leaving a month of columnist assessment about a possible Achilles' heel in this juggernaut -- and of course, the greatest unknown was whether the second-year closer might have a crisis of confidence once the team played meaningful games in October again.
I must've heard Rivera patiently respond to those questions a dozen or so times, and after mulling over the consistency of his answers, I stopped by his locker one day very late in the season.
That Alomar home run really doesn't bother you, does it?
"No," he said, the tone of his voice changing, sort of like Linda Blair's did in "The Exorcist." The stately curtain of comportment had just dropped, and the untethered Rivera launched emotional projectiles from deep within his competitive heart.
"You know why? Because I made that home run."
At first, I wasn't sure what he meant; I wasn't sure if he was kidding.
He wasn't.
made Alomar's home run, he reiterated.
Rivera explained. He had thrown his fastball -- one of the best in baseball at that time, when a mid-90s fastball wasn't common -- over the outside corner. Alomar, the unvarnished Rivera said, stuck out his bat. Alomar had hit the ball squarely, he allowed, but it wasn't like he'd taken a big hack, and the ball had barely carried over O'Neill's glove and the right-field wall.
The power of that home run, Rivera concluded, was generated by Rivera. Not Alomar. As far as Rivera was concerned, he created Alomar's home run. Rivera, and not Alomar, had controlled the moment.
I walked away awed by his instinctive mental gymnastics that so easily somersaulted him to a place of emotional comfort.
Alomar's home run, as it turned out, was the lone pivotal postseason home run Rivera surrendered in his entire career. Five hundred twenty-seven batters faced in the playoffs and the World Series, and just 11 earned runs. A 0.70 ERA.
Those numbers are impossible, constructed on more than his ability to spin a cut fastball with unusual movement. Hopefully, the Hall of Fame can find room for the phrase "Mental Ninja" on the plaque of arguably the greatest postseason performer in baseball history.

A cut above ... Mariano Rivera built a Hall of Fame career thanks to his signature pitch and a foundation of humility and faith

By Bill Madden
January 23, 2019

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To fully appreciate the phenomenon that was Mariano Rivera, you must first come to terms with one central, unbelievable fact: All of the records he accumulated in becoming the first relief pitcher elected on the first ballot to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association – 652 career saves, 0.759 WHIP, 952 games finished, 0.70 postseason ERA, 11 World Series saves – were largely accomplished with just one pitch.

Oh sure, when he first came up to the big leagues in 1995 – as a starter – he had the standard repertoire of fastball, slider and what Yankee GM Gene Michael said at the time, “a helluva changeup.” But sometime shortly thereafter, when an electrifying three relief appearances against the Seattle Mariners in the 1995 American League Division Series - in which he struck out eight and allowed only four baserunners in 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball - determined his future as a back end reliever, he pretty much abandoned all those pitches in favor of the signature deceptive cutter that opposing hitters unanimously agreed was virtually unhittable.

“His mechanics are perfect,” Andy Pettitte once said when asked about Rivera’s greatness, “and he only throws one pitch.”

At one point at the end of his career, it was calculated that Rivera threw his cutter 92 percent of the time. What Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckler was to the '50s and '60s, and Bruce Sutter’s splitter was to the '70s and '80s, Rivera’s cutter was the revolutionary reliever’s weapon from 1996-2011. There has never been anything like it, before or after. Former Kansas City Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney perhaps best summed up the essence of Rivera’s unhittable pitch: “You know it’s coming, but you also know what’s coming in horror movies too. It still gets you.”

“Everybody asks about it,” Rivera said, “but I always know something – that when God gives you something, it’s for you. I have taught a lot of people about the cutter, how to do it. But it’s mine. God gave it to me. Nobody can throw it the same way. Nobody. That’s it.”

Of course, it would be disingenuous to suggest there was nothing more to Rivera than just one pitch. Above all, there was his ice cool demeanor, an obliviousness to pressure, an uncommon humility and his spiritual devotion. He knew how good he was, but it was never about him. It was always about team and the glory of God.

He often talked about David, the Biblical one, another righthander of some renown who slew Goliath with his slingshot, and was the person he most modeled himself after because, “he was a king but he knew what his source was – the Lord – and he was also a humble man.”

Another time, in talking about his dirt-poor childhood in Panama, where he learned to play baseball with a glove made of cardboard, he elaborated: “Let me tell you where it comes from. It comes from the Lord. I know where I came from. I know what I have and what I didn’t have. It was because God allowed it to happen. Because He blessed me. Simple as that.”

Humility was always at the center of all of Rivera’s career highlights. On the occasion of his 300th save, Yankee manager Joe Torre presented him at his locker with the umpires’ lineup cards after the game. “Just put it on the chair,” Rivera said matter-of-factly. Later, he would explain: “Don’t get me wrong. It’s something to appreciate and it’s nice to have it. But there are other things to win.” Five years later, he recorded his 500th save, this one with an extra flourish, drawing a bases-loaded, ninth-inning walk from Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez for his first major league RBI. After recording the final four outs of the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Mets, his teammates rejoiced all around a grinning Rivera in the clubhouse. “The save was nice,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to have a lot of them. But the RBI was the best.”

Through it all, even after the very few crushing disappointments – the home run to Cleveland’s Sandy Alomar that took the Yankees out in the 1997 American League Division Series, the errant throw to second base that set in motion the Arizona Diamondbacks’ winning rally in the 2001 World Series – he was able to wrap his emotions in humility. “I still think that was the best World Series we played in,” he said later of the epic defeat in Arizona – a subtle reference to the Yankees’ three stirring victories in New York that lifted the spirits of everyone in the city in the wake of 9/11.

Only rarely has he let his emotions flow publicly – think the iconic photo of him hugging Yankee manager Joe Girardi and dissolving in tears after coming off the mound in his final game, Sept. 26, 2013 – and undoubtedly we will see snapshots of them again between now and when he makes his acceptance speech in Cooperstown next July. Be assured, however, it doesn’t matter a whit to him that he became the first player to be voted into the Hall of Fame unanimously by the Baseball Writers.

There is only one Hall of Fame in which Mariano Rivera wants to be defined and that’s God’s Hall of Fame, where he’s already assured first ballot entry.


Mariano Rivera unanimously elected to Baseball Hall of Fame class that includes Mussina, Halladay and Martinez »

The Mariano Rivera I know: The Yankee legend, unchanged by wealth and fame, lives his faith »

Matthews: Mariano Rivera was always a Hall of Famer »

That time Mariano Rivera nearly became a Marlin and more Hall of Fame moments »

Mariano Rivera: Perfect choice for 1st perfect Hall of Fame ballot

January 22, 2019
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Cheers to the perfect candidate for perfection.
Well, look, if you want to get all wonky about Mariano Rivera becoming the first player to ever gain unanimous Hall of Fame election on the writers’ ballot, then yeah, you can point out the silliness of the legendary Yankees closer succeeding where Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and everyone else failed.
Yet the world’s changing times brought us to this moment, and could baseball field a better symbol for perfection in 2019 than Mo?
Humble. Generous. Funny. Spectacular at his work, ordinary in his manner.
“He was such a class act,” Tino Martinez, Rivera’s Yankees teammate, said in a statement released by the team. “He never showed up a batter after striking someone out or retiring the final batter of the game.”
Added Yankees general manager Brian Cashman: “Mo was always someone who I could point to and say, ‘That’s what a Yankee should be like.’ ”
In a conference call Tuesday night, Rivera said, “I think that comes from back home, remembering where I came from and never forgetting where I came from. Because I was the New York Yankees’ closer, or we were winning or losing, that would never change my way to treat people and respect people and react to the game itself.”
His is indeed a rags-to-riches story, signed out of his native Panama for a $2,500 bonus, undergoing major right elbow surgery while still in the minor leagues and not making his big-league debut until age 25 (and not recording the first of his record 652 saves until age 26). Any young, aspiring athlete can read the Rivera tale and feel uncompromisingly inspired by it.
That goes double for the way he conducted himself. Good luck trying to find anyone in the game who will speak a disparaging word about Rivera, whose sublime tranquility as he jogged from the Yankee Stadium bullpen to the mound belied the soundtrack (Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”) that accompanied him.
Added another longtime teammate, Bernie Williams: “He was also one of those old school players that took it upon himself to take care of young players. He would take rookies to dinner, talk to them about life as a major leaguer and how to carry yourself. He was always very embracing of the young blood on the team, a great teammate.”
It wasn’t just how Rivera performed when he closed out the save, smiling and shaking the hand of his catcher without the histrionics. On the rare occasions when he blew a save, he made sure to stand at his locker shortly after the clubhouse opened to the media, taking accountability for his failure and reminding us that he was only human.
That humanity defined him, ultimately. During his final season, 2013, Rivera made a point to tour each visiting ballpark and meet with the stadium’s behind-the-scenes workers before games. It was a truly extraordinary endeavor, never attempted before or since. It spoke to the respect he held for the game and his Earth cohabitants.
You could offer similar praise about the way Aaron and Mays conducted themselves. They just arrived too early for the ultimate unanimity. Their names came up during a time when voters could fill out their ballots in relative anonymity and not worry about an unpopular opinion leading to a social media beatdown. This cushion afforded some voters the luxury of clinging to ridiculous notions like never voting for a first-year candidate.
And so Mays fell short on a remarkable 23 ballots, Aaron on nine and — three years ago — Ken Griffey Jr. on three, setting a new peak with 99.3 percent.
Rivera picked the right time to get on the ballot. And the writers picked the right guy to set the un-toppable ceiling.
“It was amazing, amazing,” Rivera said of his 100 percent approval rating. “ … I can’t even describe it or put it in words.”
Rivera might not have been quite perfect when it came to save opportunities. For this honor, though, in this time? The right word, for sure, is perfect.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Drumbeat of the Mob

By Mark Steyn
January 21, 2019

Image result for nathan phillips maga

~Guest-hosting for Rush on Friday, I mentioned the strange need of the right to virtue-signal to their detractors - as in the stampede of Congressional Republicans to distance themselves from their colleague Steve King over an infelicitous interview with The New York Times. Democrats never do this; Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam declare that the Jews are pushing defective marijuana on black men in order to turn them gay - which would appear to be a prima facie slur on at least four Democrat constituencies: blacks, gays, Jews and potheads. Yet Clinton, Obama et al speak not a word against Calypso Louie.

There was another conservative virtue-signaling stampede over the weekend. A short video from the Lincoln Memorial went "viral" (notwithstanding its ubiquity, I'm keeping the word in scare-quotes because, like any other virus, this one should be contained): it purported to show a group of Catholic schoolboys in MAGA hats harassing an elderly Native American drummer. The lads were instantly identified as students from Covington Catholic High School, which I'd never heard of but is clearly the kind of tony white-privilege joint where they book Brett Kavanaugh to spike the punch at the gang-rape prom. So naturally social media instantly convicted them and moved on to the usual doxing and death threats. The school itself leapt to dissociate itself from its own pupils and threatened to expel them.

Midst the present fevers, my advice and practice is that, when the media are in lockstep on a particular "narrative", proceed with caution and, if you must join the great thundering herd of independent minds, tag along at the tail end out of sight. A genuinely conservative temperament should be wary of crying "Me too!" and scampering after the media-Democrat-cultMarx bandwagon - if only because, regardless of the wrongs and rights, no true conservative should assist in furthering the nano-second due process of trial by social media, through which whole lives are destroyed by the reflex twitching drive-thru jury of Twitter. "Sentence first - verdict afterwards," said Alice's Queen. Hang him high - and we'll figure out later what, if anything, he's guilty of. That's about as deeply unconservative a proposition as one could find. The cure is worse than whatever disease (racism, sexism, transphobia, Islamophobia) it claims to be healing.

Yet, instead of a prudent skepticism, my former colleagues at National Review joined the stampede and decided to get way out in front of the story. My old friend Jay Nordlinger wasanguished:
The images of those red-hat kids surrounding and mocking that old Indian are unbearable. Absolutely unbearable. An American disgrace.
Of course, the virtue-signaling availed him naught from fellow Tweeters. Alex Natt:
'Old Indian'?
Tracy Kennedy:
Yeah, 'Native American man' or 'Indigenous Man' or even 'Vietnam Vet'...
National Review decided to up their game and published a piece by their deputy managing editor, Nicholas Frankovich (presumably the assistant to Jason Lee Steorts), with the arresting headline:
The Covington Students Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross
Unfortunately for the scolding schoolmarms of the right, the facts were not as they appeared to be from that brief clip. Over at Reason (with hindsight, a better name for a magazine than I used to think it was), Robby Soave watched the two hours of surrounding footage, and found - surprise, surprise! - that it told an entirely different story:
Far from engaging in racially motivated harassment, the group of mostly white, MAGA-hat-wearing male teenagers remained relatively calm and restrained despite being subjected to incessant racist, homophobic, and bigoted verbal abuse by members of the bizarre religious sect Black Hebrew Israelites...
They call them crackers, faggots, and pedophiles. At the 1:20 mark (which comes after the Phillips incident) they call one of the few black students the n-word and tell him that his friends are going to murder him and steal his organs. At the 1:25 mark, they complain that "you give faggots rights," which prompted booing from the students. Throughout the video they threaten the kids with violence, and attempt to goad them into attacking first. The students resisted these taunts admirably: They laughed at the hecklers, and they perform a few of their school's sports cheers.
Under sustained crude and obnoxious provocation, the boys were remarkably good-humored throughout - a credit to the school that threatens to expel them.

Halfway through, Jay's "old Indian" decided to insert himself in between the Black Hebrew Israelites and the MAGA cracker-faggot-paedo schoolboys, and start his "Native American drumming". A little ethnic drumming goes a long way with me. Have you ever heard that Japanese taiko drumming? It's not exactly Buddy Rich. So I wouldn't welcome someone doing it in my face, and needless to say, if a white male drummer (from the Edinburgh Tattoo, say) went up to some black kids and started drumming, it would be a hate crime.
Nathan Phillips, on the other hand, is a revered tribal elder - so revered he plays one in a "music" video that has 380 million hits (best to hit the mute button before pressing play):

Almost nothing about this story is as reported. Jay Nordlinger's "old Indian" isn't that old: he was born in 1955, which, not to be ungallant or anything, puts him in slightly-older-brother territory to Jay - who has known some seriously old men, like the recently departed Bernard Lewis, born 1916. Nathan Phillips seems to be some sort of Native American version of Quaker Oats pitchman Wilford Brimley, who's been playing old since Cocoon in 1985, when he was barely fifty yet was cast as a contemporary of Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford and other chaps three decades his senior. In fact, Steve Sailer wonders if Nathan Phillips is, in fact, a "Vietnam vet", at least in the quaint and possibly obsolescent sense of having been in the vicinity of Vietnam while wearing a military uniform. All US forces were withdrawn in March 1973, when Mr Phillips would have been either a few weeks past his eighteenth birthday, or still seventeen and in drum school.

Curious. But, as the appellate judges say (hey, welcome to my world), we need not reach the merits of Mr Phillips' antiquity, because long before that question arises the official media narrative turns out to be thoroughly bogus. This was just another fake hate crime - I believe you can do a Master's in them at Oberlin. My old boss at National Review, Rich Lowry, has deleted his Tweet, as has Jay Nordlinger (seconding Rich with a somewhat perfunctory "same here"), and the spit-on-the-Cross piece by their hysterical junior editor has disappeared from the website. By contrast, over at The New York Times, the in-house conservative, Ross Douthat, can rouse himself to no more than ecumenical scolding:
Good rules for life: Don't let your Catholic school's students wear MAGA hats on a field trip for the March for Life.
Don't *immediately* make a teenager a symbol of everything you hate about your political enemies based on a short video clip. Give it a day at least.
That doesn't quite do it for me. What's disturbing about this fake hate crime is not that the Twitter mob scented blood in its nostrils and went bounding after its prey, but that a big chunk of Conservative Inc piled on, as enthusiastically as the left. And Jay Nordlinger's finger-wagging about an "American disgrace" is absurd in its sanctimony: However you wish to characterize a professional tribal elder intervening in a showdown between upscale Catholic private-school pupils and "Black Hebrew Israelites", it isn't an "American" disgrace. An American disgrace is the declining life expectancy of white males due to addiction, or the collapse of the family in rural America, or a bipartisan political class admitting millions of unskilled illegal immigrants to the country so that MS-13 gangs are now a fact of life in suburban Long Island in order that the Dems can get voters and the GOP's donors can get cheap labor ...or any one of a ton of other "American disgraces" Conservative Inc doesn't talk about because it only takes to the field on the left's terms.

I talked on Rush last Friday about the folly, in philosophical terms, of always accepting your opponents' premises, even unto accepting and advancing the notion that "western civilization" is hate speech. How is that in the interest of even the most milquetoast and watery version of "conservatism"?

But accepting not just your opponents' framing of the argument but their most repulsive totalitarian rituals is even worse. The Orwellian Twitterstorm is something utterly disgusting: It reduces man to a cyber-jackal, feasting on whatever prey is tossed in his path. I have argued, at some length, that you cannot have truly conservative government in a liberal culture. Culture is like air - it's all around, and you don't even think about it. So we live in an age of social-media feeding frenzies that can vaporize a fellow's Oscar-hosting gig or drive an unfortunate porn actress to suicide. There is nothing in the least bit "conservative" about such a world: It's like the young student in Milan Kundera's great novel of Warsaw Pact totalitarianism, The Joke, facing the party committee and wondering why none of his friends will speak up for him - except that it's now at Spaceballs Ludicrous Speed, and the respectable right cannot even bring itself to forgo the pleasure of getting played for saps. Every time.

~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline starting with a few Rush moments, a Pennsylvania radio appearance, and Howard Dean Canadianizing his "I have a scream" epic. Our Saturday movie date offered my two favorite Cate Blanchett film scenes, and our Sunday song selection bounced the buckboard with "Buttons and Bows". If you were too busy preparing for a hard Brexit, soft Brexit or adjustable-sleep-number Brexit all weekend long, I hope you'll want to catch up with one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.

My appearance on WPHT was, of course, in service of Dennis Miller's and my impending arrival in the Keystone State together on stage for the first time. We'll be starting the tour next month in Reading, Pennsylvania and later hitting the pronunciation minefield of Wilkes-Barre. And remember that with VIP tickets you not only enjoy the best seats but you get to meet Dennis and me after the show.

Catch you on the telly tonight with Tucker - and live across the planet for Clubland Q&A at 4pm North American Eastern/9pm GMT on Tuesday.


Progressives, Lies and Videotape
January 22, 2019
Image result for nathan phillips maga
A video posted online over the weekend showing a teenaged Trump supporter’s awkward reaction to having his personal space aggressively invaded by a loud left-wing agitator sparked a leftist-led social media meltdown that will not soon be forgotten.
Nick Sandmann, a student from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, was at the Lincoln Memorial Friday after attending this year’s March for Life.
Sandmann, a white, male, heterosexual, pro-life, Catholic Trump supporter wearing a red pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” baseball cap was a perfect target for the nation’s howling outrage brigades.
Video showed an elderly Indian man named Nathan Phillips, who turns out to be a radical left-wing activist, getting too close for comfort to Sandmann who at times stared back at him or grinned. The videos of varying durations that surfaced of the encounter all show the same thing. Sandmann simply stood there and took the abuse, which consisted in part of having a drum pounded loudly in his face, from Phillips without responding. Phillips later lied to reporters about the incident and called the high school kids “beasts.” He also said, “It was racism. It was hatred. It was scary."
Of course, it was none of those things, but getting a leftist to abandon his narrative is generally an impossible task.
Black radicals also participated in the incident at one of America’s most sacred spaces, yelling abuse at Sandmann and his classmates who responded with pep cheers. Leftists claimed the schoolchildren chanted “build the wall” as some kind of a racist insult but it never happened according to video footage.
Sandmann’s pleasant demeanor was taken by some to be an affront to Phillips, who claims to have served in the U.S. military at some indefinite point in the past.
But because Sandmann is a living embodiment of everything today’s Left’s despises –whites, males, straights, Catholics, and especially Trump supporters— somehow the young man’s remarkably restrained, mature posture turned into a threat to the republic in the minds of leftists.
Many left-wingers urged violence, up to and including the murder of the Kentucky high schoolers.
Islamic terrorism apologist Reza Aslan set the tone for exhortations to violence. "Honest question[,]” he tweeted. “Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid's?"
CNN contributor Bakari Sellers tweeted the young man was “a deplorable” and therefore “can also be punched in the face."
“Saturday Night Live” writer Sarah Beattie offered oral sex to would-be attackers. “I will blow whoever manages to punch that maga kid in the face.”
Failed comedian Kathy Griffin demanded the Covington kids be lynched and doxxed.
“Name these kids[,]” she tweeted. “I want NAMES. Shame them. If you think these fuckers wouldn’t dox you in a heartbeat, think again.”
House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, a Kentucky Democrat, demanded a ban on teenagers wearing MAGA hats after he viewed some of the video footage.
“I am calling for a total and complete shutdown of teenagers wearing MAGA hats until we can figure out what is going on,” Yarmuth tweeted on Sunday. “They seem to be poisoning young minds.”
Conservative lawyers have offered their services for free to the Covington victims. Many lawsuits against left-wingers and media outlets are planned.
While conservatives didn’t scream for the young students’ blood, many online personalities blamed the kids even though video evidence showed pretty conclusively that they did nothing wrong.
From the sidelines virtue-signaling conservative media figures desperate to be loved –or at least respected— by the Left, promptly attacked the children, in many instances without bothering to watch the videos of the incident.
National Review deputy managing editor Nicholas Frankovich wrote an op-ed titled, “The Covington Students Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross,” in which he absurdly likened Phillips to Jesus Christ and the high schoolers to his Roman tormentors.
Left-leaning former RNC Chairman Michael Steele instinctively sided with the wrongdoers. “His name is #NathanPhilips, an elder of the Omaha Nation and a Vietnam veteran. I stand with him. Where do you stand on bigotry?” he tweeted.
Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol went after the innocent kids with gusto on Twitter.
“If some kid wearing a McCain 2008 cap had been filmed behaving this way, John McCain would have already called Mr. Phillips to express regret. And he would have used the occasion to remind his supporters they should treat others with respect. Will Trump do anything like this?”
Laid off Weekly Standard dead-ender Jim Swift metaphorically shot the schoolchildren in the back. "If I were the Bishop of the Diocese of Covington, I would humbly ask Mr. Phillips be the commencement speaker at a certain high School."
The frequently underwhelming S.E. Cupp upbraided the kids. She falsely claimed teens in MAGA gear mocked a Native American Vietnam veteran. “Unfortunately, that’s wrong. Adults model this very behavior all the time—on social media and on the street. And it's awful.”
And then there was this know-nothing take from Shoshana Weissman of the R Street Institute:
1) Mocking the veteran was wrong. Pro-life youth ought to have respected the dignity of every life.
2) Don't care who started it. The video is clear.
3) Doxxing is wrong, and kids develop later, which is why many promote juvenile justice reform. But they should face repercussions[.]
First, the children didn’t mock Phillips and it’s not clear he actually is a U.S. military veteran, as many have pointed out (and even if he turns out to be a veteran that doesn’t excuse his bad behavior.) Second, the video is not “clear,” at least not in the way Weissman claims. Third, the students should not “face repercussions.” They did nothing wrong.
For his part, Sandmann tried to clear the air.
He released a statement that he described as a “factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.”
Before the confrontation with Phillips, Sandmann “noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group."
The protesters called Sandmann and his classmates, some of whom wore MAGA hats, "'racists,' 'bigots,' 'white crackers,' 'fa**ots,' and 'incest kids.'"
"They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would 'harvest his organs,'" Sandmann added. "I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear."
Sandmann and his classmates didn’t like the verbal abuse being thrown at them so they asked their chaperone if it would be okay to shout school spirit chants.
He writes: "At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant 'build that wall' or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors."
The repercussions from this leftist hoax will be felt for a long time.
And buoyed by this “success,” the Left will generate plenty more of them.
Matthew Vadum, formerly senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Meet the Tommy Tomlinson you don’t know – the one his loved ones didn’t know, either

By Dannye Romine Powell
January 9, 2019

Tommy Tomlinson (John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer)

You think you know somebody.
Then that somebody writes a memoir about the most intimate details of his life.
You realize you didn’t know him. Not really.
Legions of Observer readers believe they know Tommy Tomlinson.
After all, he wrote a prize-winning column for 15 years (1997-2012). He wrote about falling in love with his wife. He wrote about his mom and his sister and growing up in Brunswick, Ga. All sorts of things that revealed the big heart of the man behind the photo.
But you won’t fully know him until you read his debut book, “The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America.” (Simon & Schuster, $27.)
Here, in prose honest enough to raise blisters on your own skin, Tommy, who now hosts WFAE’s podcast “Southbound,” tells what it was like to grow up fat, and how frustrating it is trying to lose weight.
As he puts it, telling a fat person to lose weight by exercising and eating less is like telling a boxer: Don’t get hit.
“On top of that,” he writes, “some of us fight holes in our souls that a boxcar of donuts couldn’t fill.”
You’ll love Tomlinson’s prose. After all, he’s been a Pulitzer finalist in commentary (in 2005), and his work has made two appearances in “Best American Sports Writing.” He spent a year at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow.
No matter his accomplishments, Tommy, who’s 55, says he’s always “craving an emotional high, the kind that comes from making love, or being in the crowd for great live music, or watching the sun come up over the ocean.”
So this isn’t a diet book. Not exactly. It’s a book about growing up, about struggle, about frustration, and, yes, about coming to terms with yourself, your responsibilities, your life.
“The Elephant in the Room” is a knockout.
Q. New Year’s Eve, 2014: 460 pounds. The hardest words, you say, you ever had to write. Nobody knew that number. Not your wife, Alix Felsing, not your doctor. What did it take to put that number out there?
A. I told myself that if I was going to tell this story, I had to tell it right — I couldn’t hedge. In some ways, that number was the hardest part. It was something nobody knew about me, but I’m sure a lot of people wondered. So I treated it like a big old Band-Aid. I grabbed the edge and took a breath and yanked it off right there at the beginning.
Q. You give many reasons why you fell again and again into the sweet clutches of Little Debbie and Wendy. Loneliness. Shame. That USUCK-FM station that played in your head. Yet you grew up with loving parents in a peaceful home. What first caused the bad feelings that you learned to soothe with food?
A. I don’t know. I was always fat but I’m not sure when I first realized what that meant for me out in the world. The first really strong memory I have of when that made a difference was those relay races I write about in the book. We lined up and raced one another in elementary school, and in that moment it was obvious how fat and slow I was, and how much the other kids mocked me for it.
Click on the link below to read the rest of the article:

‘Elephant In The Room’: Inside Tommy Tomlinson’s Obesity Memoir

Longtime ‘Charlotte Observer’ columnist writes about his struggle with weight — but this isn’t your typical sunny-side-up read
January 16, 2019

Image result for tommy tomlinson

A few years ago, I was in Charlotte, North Carolina and a mutual friend suggested I look up Tommy Tomlinson, a longtime Charlotte Observer columnist who was transitioning from the paper to becoming one of America’s best longform sportswriters. Tomlinson proposed lunch at a Greek restaurant not far from my hotel.
Not knowing the city, I arrived about 15 minutes early. The fiftyish Tomlinson was already there, sitting squarely in the middle of a booth. We had a nice lunch, but I felt that Tomlinson, a Falstaffian-sized man with twinkling eyes was going to leave many great stories untold. Even getting out of the booth was an effort, with Tommy breathing heavily after a difficult extraction. It was the middle of the day, but he already looked exhausted.
I left wondering why he had arrived so early. I learned the answer just a few pages into The Elephant In The Room, Tomlinson’s heartbreaking and self-lacerating look at his life as a man who hates himself for tipping the scales at 460 pounds. Turns out that one of the trials of being a man of his size is he has to scout restaurants for seats that will support him. The Elephant In The Room begins with Tomlinson on a rare trip to Manhattan. Between fearing he will crush an old woman on the subway to his dread of a chair collapsing when he meets someone at a diner, he is in a near panic. He must advance the restaurant like a campaign aide working a political campaign.
“I scan the space like a gangster, looking for danger spots,” he writes. “The booths are too small — I can’t squeeze in. The bar stools are bolted to the floor — they’re too close to the bar and my ass would hang off the back. I check the tables, gauging the chairs. Flimsy chairs creak and quake beneath me. These look solid. I spot a table in the corner with just enough room. I sit down slowly — the chair seems OK, yep, it’ll hold me up. For the first time in an hour, I take an untroubled breath.”
This is just another day in the life of an obese man in America, a country where instead of lampooning ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his microscopic approval ratings we go straight to the fat jokes — even though, as Tomlinson cites, 79 million Americans can now be considered clinically obese.
Tomlinson came to his weight through a combination of genetics and circumstance. His parents came from sharecropping roots where food was consumed greedily when possible, as if storing away for another depression. As times improved, plentiful food became the tangible sign of progress and, as Tomlinson writes, “Everybody in my family was an artist when it came to Southern food.” His family medicated and celebrated in good times and bad with fried chicken and his sister’s patented Christmas peanut-butter log. The only vegetables on the menu were swaddled in butter or cream.
On his own, Tomlinson confesses to spectacularly bad eating with decades of Wendy’s double cheeseburgers replacing Proust’s madelines as memory signposts. As a frequent guilt-ridden partaker in Taco Bell, I was overjoyed when Tomlinson tartly pointed out the reason people eat fast food is not only for cheapness, but because it’s a diabolical combination of processed sugar, salt and fat that launches pleasure chemicals in our brain. Once you’re hooked, it’s as hard to kick as Ray Liotta’s pre-Chantix cigarette addiction
Tomlinson began to reassess his life in 2014 after the death of his 63-year-old sister Brenda, who died because of MSRA infection after years of declining health tied to her body weight. He hates himself for all the things he has not done, from swimming to hiking to skateboarding. (Well, he didn’t miss much with skateboarding). He knows he’s let his wife down in the bedroom by simply not having agility or energy. He writes of never having great dreams, reasoning if he can’t manage this one bit of self-care there is no way he is going to accomplish anything on the big stage.
Still, he tries to understand why a man who wrote columns on deadline for a living and built a stellar career in a dying industry can’t say no to bad food. (One of the ways you know this isn’t your sunny-side-up inspirational memoir is each chapter includes Tomlinson’s weight through 2015 and, for most of the time, he loses next to nothing). He would do ok for a few days, but then he’d be back at the drive-through where the cashier could finish his order just from recognizing his voice.
What could have been a wallow in memoir self-pity is raised to art by Tomlinson’s wit and prose. Yes, he examines the external causes for his weight — family, America’s tyranny of choices and temptations, not to mention the solace it gives him when fat-induced loneliness strikes. But he is hardest on himself, admitting he never met a couch he didn’t like and an exercise he couldn’t despise.
“Every body perseveres in its state of rest . . . unless it is compelled to change,” he writes. “Newton’s first law is also known as the law of inertia. It is the one law I have followed with devotion….The law is meant to describe the physical world. But inertia works just as hard on my mind. My willpower has been an object at rest longer than anything else. It is my weakest muscle.”
After yet another backslide, Tomlinson has a sleepless night and a dialogue with himself. Does he have a death wish? Does he want to check out before his beloved wife so he doesn’t have to relive the agonized grieving he felt after losing his sister? Maybe. But in the end, he settles on a less sympathetic take that plagues men of a certain age whether it is eating, dating women half their age, or being the oldest dude at the kegger: He doesn’t want to become an adult writing “Grown-ups watch what they eat. Grown-ups exercise… Grown-ups are honest with other people and with themselves. The boy inside me says: Fuck that.
Armed with that simple but oft-ignored revelation, Tomlinson moves forward, but it is trench warfare measured in inches, a highlight is being able to fit into a 4XL shirt at Walmart. There’s none of the rhetoric of ridiculous diet ads where a famous man holds out his empty pants implying if you drink this powdered drink you will lose a foot off your waistline.
The greatest asset of The Elephant In The Room is that Tomlinson frames his struggle in a way that makes it universal, whether your downfall is food, an exciting but disastrous life partner, or some other unconquerable temptation. By the end, Tomlinson doesn’t so much defeat his obesity, as battle it to a well-understood draw. Days are won days are lost. For most of us, that’s the best-case scenario.