Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Broncos Went At Cam Newton's Head All Night

Patrick Redford
http://deadspin.com/
September 9, 2015

Image result for cam newton broncos september 2016 head
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is hit high to the helmet by Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall during third quarter action against at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO on Thursday, September 8, 2016. The Broncos defeated the Panthers 21-20. (Jeff Siner/jsiner@charlotteobserver.com)


Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article100813357.html#storylink=cpy
The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers tonight, 21-20, in a thrilling game that was marred by serial headhunting from the fearsome Broncos defense. Cam Newton led the Panthers to a 17-7 halftime lead with 111 passing yards, a rushing touchdown, and a passing touchdown. After the break, he only went 7-for-16 with a pick and 83 yards. This is because the Broncos got to him and mashed his face in every chance they got.

Newton looked good until early in the third quarter, when DeMarcus Waregot around the edge and sacked him straight into Von Miller. Newton hobbled to the sideline with an apparent right ankle injury, and he was a step slower after returning to the game. The replay also shows that Miller smashed his face into Newton’s and clearly jarred him with the hit. Later in the game, Brandon Marshall flew in on a defenseless Newton and went straight at his mouth. No penalty was called.

The most brutal hit, however, came courtesy of Darian Stewart, who flew into Cam’s brain as Shaq Barrett took him down by the ankles. Since Cam’s feeble throw didn’t clear the line of scrimmage, Stewart’s personal foul was offset and the hit was essentially free.

Newton stayed in the game despite the knock he’d just taken (there was never any real question that he wouldn’t) and guided the Panthers to within field goal range. After hitting the 50-yarder as Gary Kubiak iced him, Graham Gano then missed the follow-up shot wide left, allowing Trevor Siemian to escape with the win under rather dubious circumstances.
When officials let the Broncos get away with that first hit, they set the game on slippery ground, as the Broncos were then incentivized to continue going at Newton’s dome. Newton managed to make all manner of plays when his offensive line afforded him sufficient time, so the Broncos set out to make the most of any chance they got. Unfortunately, this turned into repeat attempts to turn Cam Newton’s brain into jelly. If they were trying to knock him out of the game, they almost succeeded.
The stiffest test of the NFL’s concussion protocol will face is when a superstar takes a clear head injury late in a close game. Nobody wants to be responsible for costing the team a win by holding out a star, especially if that star is the most visible player in the league and he’s leading a late drive in a one-point game. The NFL’s new concussion policy (where teams improperly clearing players receive fines) is a better system in theory, but future-tense penalties don’t seem to have much of an effect. As long as any neutral arbiter is hamstrung by team doctors and players themselves, there won’t be any easy fix to scenarios such as Newton’s tonight. Everyone involved fucked up here, the Broncos most of all.

Friday, September 09, 2016


The Chinese, expert diplomats for thousands of years, snubbed Obama in public. Other world leaders are showing him equal disdain.

By Charles Krauthammer — September 9, 2016
Image result for obama china airport 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, China, on Saturday. | REUTERS


The president of the United States lands with all the majesty of Air Force One, waiting to exit the front door and stride down the rolling staircase to the red-carpeted tarmac. Except that there is no rolling staircase. He is forced to exit — as one China expert put it rather undiplomatically — through “the ass” of the plane.

This happened Saturday at Hangzhou airport. Yes, in China. If the Chinese didn’t invent diplomatic protocol, they surely are its most venerable and experienced practitioners. They’ve been at it for 4,000 years. They are the masters of every tributary gesture, every nuance of hierarchical ritual. In a land so exquisitely sensitive to protocol, rolling staircases don’t just disappear at arrival ceremonies. Indeed, not one of the other G-20 world leaders was left stranded on his plane upon arrival.

Did President Xi Jinping directly order airport personnel and diplomatic functionaries to deny Barack Obama a proper welcome? Who knows? But the message, whether intentional or not, wasn’t very subtle. The authorities expressed no regret, no remorse, and certainly no apology. On the contrary, they scolded the press for even reporting the snub.

No surprise. China’s ostentatious rudeness was perfectly reflective of the world’s general disdain for President Obama. His high-minded lectures about global norms and demands that others live up to their “international obligations” are no longer amusing. They’re irritating.
Foreign leaders have reciprocated by taking this administration down a notch knowing they pay no price. In May 2013, Vladimir Putin reportedly kept the U.S. secretary of state cooling his heels for three hours outside his office before deigning to receive him. Even as Obama was hailing the nuclear deal with Iran as a great breakthrough, the ayatollah vowed “no change” in his policy, which remained diametrically opposed to the “U.S. arrogant system.” The mullahs followed by openly conducting illegal ballistic-missile tests — calculating, correctly, that Obama would do nothing. And when Iran took prisoner ten American sailors in the Persian Gulf, made them kneel, and broadcast the video, what was the U.S. response? Upon their release, John Kerry publicly thanked Iran for its good conduct.

Why should Xi treat Obama with any greater deference? Beijing illegally expands into the South China Sea, meeting only the most perfunctory pushback from the United States. Obama told CNN that he warned Xi to desist or “there will be consequences.” Is there a threat less credible?
Putin annexes Crimea and Obama crows about the isolation he has imposed on Russia. Look around. Moscow has become Grand Central Station for Middle East leaders seeking outside help in their various conflicts. As for Ukraine, both the French president and the German chancellor have hastened to Moscow to plead with Putin to make peace. Some isolation.

Iran regularly harasses our vessels in the Persian Gulf. Russian fighters buzzed a U.S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea. And just Wednesday, a Russian fighter flew within ten feet of an American military jet. The price they paid? Being admonished that such provocations are unsafe and unprofessional. An OSHA citation is more ominous.

Add to that American acquiescence not only to ransoming hostages held by Iran but also to delivering the loot by unmarked plane filled with stacks of cold (untraceable) cash, like a desert drug deal. Why the stealth? Obviously to conceal the manner of the transaction from Congress and the American public. Some humiliations are so grotesque that even the Obama team can’t miss it.

Now the latest. At the G-20, Obama said he spoke to Putin about cyberwarfare, amid revelations that Russian hackers have been interfering in our political campaigns. We are more technologically advanced, both offensively and defensively, in this arena than any of our adversaries, said Obama, but we really don’t want another Cold War–style arms race.

Instead, we must all adhere to norms of international behavior.

It makes you want to weep. This KGB thug adhering to norms? He invades Ukraine, annexes Crimea, bombs hospitals in Aleppo — and we expect him to observe cyber-code etiquette? Rather than exploit our technological lead — with countermeasures and deterrent threats — to ensure our own cyber safety?

We’re back to 1929 when Secretary of State Henry Stimson shut down a U.S. code-breaking operation after it gave him decoded Japanese telegrams. He famously explained that “gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”

Well, comrade, Putin is no gentleman. And he’s reading our mail.

 Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2016 The Washington Post Writers Group

FIFTEEN YEARS AFTER 9/11, AND AMERICA STILL SLEEPS




How much worse will the destruction and death have to be to wake us up?


September 9, 2016


A fiery blasts rocks the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A fiery blasts rocks the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Fifteen years after the carnage of 9/11, American foreign policy is still mired in its fossilized dogmas and dangerous delusions. The consequences are obvious. Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism and long an avowed enemy of the United States, has filled the vacuum of our ignominious retreat from the Middle East, even as the mullahs move ever closer to possessing nuclear weapons. Russia, Iran’s improbable ally, bombs civilians in Syria, kills the Syrian fighters we have trained, bullies its neighbor Ukraine, consolidates its take-over of the Crimea, and relentlessly pursues its interests with disregard for international law and contempt for our feeble protests. Iraq, for which thousands of Americans bled and died, is now a puppet state of Iran. Afghanistan is poised to be overrun by the Taliban in a few years, and ISIS, al Qaeda 2.0, continues to inspire franchises throughout the world and to murder European and American citizens.
So much for the belief, frequently heard in the months after the attacks of 9/11, that “this changes everything.” The smoking ruins and 3000 dead surely had awoken us from our delusions that the “end of history” and a “new world order” had followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, “a world in which nations recognize the shared responsibility for freedom and justice. A world where the strong respect the rights of the weak,” as George H.W. Bush said in 1990.  The following decade seemed to confirm this optimism. Didn’t we quickly slap down the brutal Saddam Hussein and stop his aggression against his neighbors? Didn’t we punish the Serbs for their revanchist depredations in the Balkans? With American military power providing the muscle, the institutions of international cooperation like NATO, the International Court of Justice, and the U.N. Security Council would patrol and protect the network of new democracies that were set to evolve into versions of Western nations and enjoy such boons as individual rights, political freedom, leisure and prosperity, tolerance for minorities, equality for women, and a benign secularism.
The gruesome mayhem of 9/11 should have alerted us to the fact many Muslims didn’t get the memo about history’s demise. Indeed, long before that tragic day in September, we had been serially warned that history still had some unpleasant surprises. Theorists of neo-jihadism like Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb for decades had laid out the case for war against the infidel West and its aggression against Islam. “It is the nature of Islam,” al-Banna wrote, “to dominate not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations and extend its power to the entire planet.” So too the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Ayatollah Khomeini: “Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world,” which is why “Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers.” The kidnapping of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Tehran by a group called “Muslim Students Following the Line of the Imam [Khomeini]” sent us a message that we were engaged in the religious war the jihadists warned would come. But few of those responsible for our security and interests had ears to hear or eyes to see.
Not even when the words became bloody deeds did we listen. The bombing of the Beirut Marine barracks in 1983, which killed 241 servicemen, was supported by Iran and executed by its proxy terrorist group Hezbollah. Our refusal to respond reflected our failure to take seriously Khomeini’s vow to spread his revolution to the whole world. The humiliating televised abuse of our dead soldiers in Mogadishu in 1993, followed by our withdrawal, was exploited by Osama bin Laden in his sermons as signs that America had “foundations of straw.” That same year came the first World Trade Center attack, which killed six and wounded 1,042, an operation inspired by al Qaeda and traditional jihadist doctrine. In 1995 five Americans were killed by al Qaeda operatives at a training facility in Riyadh. In 1996 a truck bomb exploded in front of a residential complex housing Air Force personnel near Dhahran, killing 19 Americans. In 1998 al Qaeda bombed our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Twelve Americans died in Nairobi. And the last warning came in October of 2000, when the destroyer Cole was attacked by a fishing boat loaded with explosive. Seventeen sailors died and 39 were wounded.
Yet during these two decades of attacks that proved the jihadists’ words were not just bluster, we did little in response. We interpreted the attacks as crimes, not battles in a war, and reflections of poverty, autocracy, or vague “evil,” rather than as the fulfillment of Allah’s divine commands. Instead, Clinton launched cruise missiles that made a lot of noise but accomplished nothing, limited as those attacks were by timid rules of engagement. His foreign policy was internationalist and idealist, seeing the spread of democracy and the promotion of human rights as paramount in foreign affairs. America’s presence needed to be reduced in the world, and the use of force should be a last resort, and even then carefully calibrated to avoid international condemnation and American casualties. “Dialogue” and “outreach” were preferable, for the jihadists were just defending “traditional values,” as one State Department official said. The wages of that delusion were the burned and dismembered bodies in Manhattan, the Pentagon, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
This history is worth reviewing, for all these mistakes, these failures of imagination, these indulgences of na├»ve idealism, these sacrifices of our security and interests to political advantage, all comprise the “everything” that 9/11 was supposed to “change.” But here we are, fifteen years later, with a similar history of folly. George W. Bush pursued a delusional program of democracy promotion in Iraq and Afghanistan, with scant appreciation for the profound cultural differences between Islam and the West. But he at least left his successor a stabilized Iraq, which Obama quickly abandoned just to fulfill a campaign promise and assert his progressive bona fides. Then Obama blustered that Syria’s “Assad has to go” and laid down “red lines” that were not to be crossed, only to do nothing when they were serially crossed, and to sacrifice this country’s credibility in his pursuit of the disastrous deal with Iran, our inveterate enemy stained with four decades’ worth of American blood. ISIS was allowed to flourish in the vacuum created by our withdrawal, creating a Hobbesian war of all against all, whose beneficiaries so far have been our rival Russia and our sworn enemy Iran.
Perhaps worst of all, Obama has turned jihad denial into a fatal disease. He is not alone in this delusion, for “religion of peace” and “nothing to do with Islam” have been mantras chanted by our foreign policy savants going back to the Iranian Revolution. No matter that al-Banna, Qutb, Khomeini, bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the mullahs in Iran all have grounded their violence and aggression in Islamic scripture and tradition. Our smug Western analysts and apologists dismiss the jihadists’ exegesis as a “hijacking” or “distortion” of the “true” Islam, presuming to understand the Islamic faith better than pious Muslims do. So we half-heartedly fight an enemy whose name we cannot even say, and whose religion of violence we desperately distort into a religion of peace and tolerance. Meanwhile, like Bill Clinton and now Obama, we use bombs and drones as telegenic marketing tools to hide our failure of nerve and short-sighted political calculations.
So fifteen years later, we still sleep. And don’t expect things to change after November. Neither candidate has shown any indication he or she is willing to make the hard decisions required to destroy ISIS and reaffirm American prestige. Trump issues vague threats about “bombing the shit” out of ISIS, while Hillary chatters about “smart power” and “coalitions,” doubling down on Obama’s failing policy. But no one proposes using the mind-concentrating levels of force, including troops as well as bombs, necessary to repair our broken foreign policy in the Middle East. Too many voters are in an isolationist mood, sick of wars and casualties, and concerned more about jobs and the economy. 
The attacks on 9/11 supposedly “changed everything.” When it comes to foreign policy, they didn’t. One shudders to think how much worse the destruction and death will have to be to wake us up.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Overselling A.D.H.D.: A New Book Exposes Big Pharma’s Role


By 

August 22, 2016

Image result for adhd nation

ADHD NATION
Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic
By Alan Schwarz
Illustrated. 338 pp. Scribner. $28.

In the late 1930s, Charles Bradley, the director of a home for “troublesome” children in Rhode Island, had a problem. The field of neuroscience was still in its infancy, and one of the few techniques available to allow psychiatrists like Bradley to ponder the role of the brain in emotional disorders was a procedure that required replacing a volume of cerebrospinal fluid in the patient’s skull with air. This painstaking process allowed any irregularities to stand out clearly in X-ray images, but many patients suffered excruciating headaches that lasted for weeks afterward.

Meanwhile, a pharmaceutical company called Smith, Kline & French was facing a different sort of problem. The firm had recently acquired the rights to sell a powerful stimulant then called “benzedrine sulfate” and was trying to create a market for it. Toward that end, the company made quantities of the drug available at no cost to doctors who volunteered to run studies on it. Bradley was a firm believer that struggling children needed more than a handful of pills to get better; they also needed psychosocial therapy and the calming and supportive environment that he provided at the home. But he took up the company’s offer, hoping that the drug might eliminate his patients’ headaches.

It did not. But the Benzedrine did have an effect that was right in line with Smith, Kline & French’s aspirations for its new product: The drug seemed to boost the children’s eagerness to learn in the classroom while making them more amenable to following the rules. The drug seemed to calm the children’s mood swings, allowing them to become, in the words of their therapists, more “attentive” and “serious,” able to complete their schoolwork and behave. Bradley was amazed that Benzedrine, a forerunner of Ritalin and Adderall, was such a great normalizer, turning typically hard-to-manage kids into models of complicity and decorum. But even after marveling at the effects of the drug, he maintained that medication should be considered for children only in addition to other forms of therapy.

Bradley’s research was ignored for a couple of decades as psychoanalysis became dominant in the United States. But his discoveries laid the foundation for one of the most aggressive marketing campaigns in history, which succeeded not only in helping to transform the nascent drug industry into the multinational juggernaut known as Big Pharma, but in convincing parents, physicians and ­public health officials that 15 percent of American schoolchildren are sick enough that they would require powerful medication just to get through the day.

This campaign (which would have ­horrified Bradley and his peers) is the subject of an important, humane and compellingly written new book called “ADHD Nation,” by Alan Schwarz, a reporter for The New York Times. The title of the book, of course, refers to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a constellation of behaviors and traits codified as a neurobiological illness in the bible of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The boundaries of the A.D.H.D. diagnosis have been fluid and fraught since its inception, in part because its allegedly telltale signs (including “has trouble organizing tasks and activities,” “runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate” and “fidgets with or taps hands or feet,” according to the current edition of the DSM) are exhibited by nearly every human being on earth at various points in their development. No blood test or CT scan can tell you if you have the condition — the diagnosis is made by subjective clinical evaluation and screening questionnaires. This lack of any bright line between pathology and eccentricity, Schwarz argues, has allowed Big Pharma to get away with relentless expansion of the franchise.

Numerous studies have shown, for example, that the youngest children in a classroom are more likely to be diagnosed with A.D.H.D. Children of color are also at higher risk of being misdiagnosed than their white peers. One clinician quoted in the book more or less admits defeat: “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

Schwarz has no doubt that A.D.H.D. is a valid clinical entity that causes real suffering and deserves real treatment, as he makes clear in the first two sentences of the book: “Attention deficit hyperactivity is real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” But he believes that those who are disabled by the condition deserve a wider range of treatment options than an endless litany of stimulants with chirpy names like Vyvanse and Concerta.

Disorders of attention were once thought to be relatively rare by experts, affecting only an estimated 3 percent of preadolescent children. But kids and teenagers are now diagnosed so routinely that getting a prescription for Ritalin or Adderall has practically become a standard rite of passage, particularly in the United States. And the diagnosis isn’t just for ­children anymore: Its ever-expanding boundaries now encompass allegedly hyperkinetic infants and the distractible elderly. What’s really going on?

Influential patient-advocacy groups insist that only now is the true prevalence of A.D.H.D. finally being recognized after being drastically underestimated — akin to the spike in autism diagnoses once the narrowly defined condition was broadened into a spectrum in the 1990s. But Schwarz makes a convincing case that the radical expansion and promotion of A.D.H.D. has resulted in the label being applied in ways that are far beyond the needs of a historically underserved community, while nonpharmaceutical methods of treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy (which have been proved to complement the effectiveness of medication) are overlooked.

While other books have probed the historical roots of America’s love affair with amphetamines — notably Nicolas Rasmussen’s “On Speed,” published in 2008 — “ADHD Nation” focuses on an unholy alliance between drugmakers, academic psychiatrists, policy makers and celebrity shills like Glenn Beck that Schwarz brands the “A.D.H.D. industrial complex.” The insidious genius of this alliance, he points out, was selling the disorder rather than the drugs, in the guise of promoting A.D.H.D. “awareness.” By bankrolling studies, cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with psychopharmacologists at prestigious universities like Harvard and laundering its marketing messages through trusted agencies like the World Health Organization, the pharmaceutical industry created what Schwarz aptly terms “a self-affirming circle of science, one that quashed all dissent.”

In a narrative that unfolds with the momentum of a thriller, he depicts pediatricians’ waiting rooms snowed under with pharma-funded brochures, parents clamoring to turn their allegedly underachieving children into academic superstars and kids showered with pills whose long-term effects on the developing brain (particularly when taken in combination) are still barely understood. In one especially harrowing section of the book, Schwarz traces the Icarus-like trajectory of Richard Fee, an aspiring medical student who fakes the symptoms of A.D.H.D. to get access to drugs that will help him cope with academic pressure. When he eventually descends into amphetamine psychosis, his father tells his doctor that if he doesn’t stop furnishing his son with Adderall, he’ll die. Two weeks after burning through his supply, Fee hanged himself in a closet.

“ADHD Nation” should be required reading for those who seek to understand how a field that once aimed to ameliorate the behavioral problems of children in a broad therapeutic context abdicated its mission to the stockholders of corporations like Shire and Lilly. Schwarz is sounding an alarm for a fire that looks nowhere near abating.

Steve Silberman is the author of “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.”

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Today's Tune: Leonard Cohen - Come Healing

Dems Fume at Trump’s Outreach to Blacks


Unable to defend their own dismal record at bettering black lives, liberals lash out at the GOP candidate.


By Jason L. Riley
September 6, 2016

Image result for trump philadelphia september 2016
Donald Trump meets with African-American business and civic leaders in Philadelphia, Sept. 2. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Donald Trump visited a black neighborhood in Philadelphia on Friday and a black church in Detroit on Saturday. And liberals went berserk. If he’d known Democrats were so fearful of GOP black outreach, perhaps Mr. Trump wouldn’t have waited until two months before Election Day to start campaigning in inner cities.
During a roundtable discussion with businessmen, elected officials and clergy in North Philadelphia, Mr. Trump listened to stories about violent crime and bad schools. Speaking before a congregation at the Great Faith Ministries church in Detroit, he referenced “all those closed stores” he saw while riding through the neighborhood “and people sitting down on the sidewalk, and no jobs, and no activity. We’ll get it turned around.” Mr. Trump said “nothing is more sad than when we sideline young black men with unfulfilled potential, tremendous potential,” and he added that safe communities and good schools would be a priority of his administration. He called for a new civil rights agenda that includes school choice.
For weeks, Mr. Trump has been criticized by Team Clinton and the political left for courting black voters while standing in front of white audiences. Now we know such criticism was disingenuous at best. A Clinton campaign official called Mr. Trump’s Philadelphia visit “an offensive gimmick.” At a weekend press conference organized by the Clinton campaign, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan referred to the Republican presidential candidate as “the most phony major party nominee that I have seen in my lifetime” and wondered aloud what Mr. Trump was even doing in his city. “Are you here just to use Detroiters as props in a re-imaging campaign?”
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, who heads the Congressional Black Caucus political-action committee, was asked whether Mr. Trump deserved “any credit at all” for campaigning in the inner city. “It’s not real,” said Mr. Meeks, adding that the GOP nominee has “racist tendencies” and is trying to “con African-Americans.” The congressman called for “the types of policies that are being talked about by Hillary Clinton” and cited “raising the minimum wage” and “investing in historically black colleges.” Alas, it’s Mr. Meeks and his fellow Democrats who should get real.
Unions support minimum-wage hikes because they help limit competition from workers who might accept lower wages and threaten union jobs. And Congressional Black Caucus members support them in return for handsome campaign contributions from Big Labor. However, economists generally agree that minimum-wage mandates disproportionately harm the employment prospects of younger and less-skilled workers, many of whom are black. A 2011 study for the Employment Policies Institute by William Even and David Macpherson found that minimum wage hikes implemented between 2007 and 2010 cost young black men more jobs than the Great Recession did.
If Mr. Meeks is serious about addressing the immediate education needs of black families, calling for additional funding for historically black colleges is an odd place to start. Some of these colleges do a fine job of educating blacks, particularly in the fields of math and science, but the reality is that some 90% of black students don’t attend them. And given that the typical black 12th-grader is several grade levels behind his white counterpart in reading and math, is the bigger problem the underfinancing of black colleges or a K-12 public education system that is producing so few college-ready blacks?
Hillary Clinton and her campaign surrogates can brag about giving black communities far more face-time than the GOP, but they can’t brag about the results of liberal policies. Democrats are calling Mr. Trump names because they can’t defend their track record. Homicides in Philadelphia rose last year and are up 6% this year. In 2015, Detroit students scored the lowest among big-city school districts on national math and reading tests.
Minority children with access to school vouchers and charter schools are narrowing the achievement gap, while Democrats and teachers unions are working hand in glove to limit school choice. Mrs. Clinton has adopted the provably false union line that charters get better academic outcomes by accepting only the most motivated students. And the new Democratic platform drafted in July proclaims support for “high-quality public charter schools,” so long as they don’t “replace or destabilize” traditional public schools. In other words, the party supports charter schools so long as no one attends them.
Mr. Trump has been polling in the low single digits among blacks, and his current black outreach is probably too little, too late if the goal is to win significant black support. But Democrats aren’t very concerned about the percentage of blacks who support the Republican. Their bigger worry is the level of overall black turnout. The political left is furious at Mr. Trump for campaigning on their turf because he could soften support for Mrs. Clinton. They are terrified that too many of the black voters who turned out forBarack Obama in 2008 and 2012 may decide to stay home.
-- Mr. Riley, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and Journal contributor, is the author of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter Books, 2014).

A Champion for the Cause

RIP Phyllis Schlafly

September 7, 2016
Ann Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly and David Horowitz
This week we lost a great lady of the right. For seventy years Phyllis Schlafly was a warrior on the frontlines of the battles to defend the Republic against its enemies on the left both domestic and foreign. On Monday she passed at the age of 92, on the eve of the publication of her 27th book, The Conservative Case For Trump. For seventy years Phyllis fought in the culture wars that have been mostly lost by the right, in no small part because Phyllis was virtually unique both in the intelligence she brought to the battle and the energy and personal courage she carried into the fight.
Phyllis and I were from very different ends of the political spectrum, so that even when I became a conservative we didn’t see eye to eye on some of the issues that were at the center of her concerns. But despite this it was she who reached out to me, rather than I to her. I took this as a testament to the fact that she understood the big issue - the nature of the war that the political left had declared on our country, and that made us allies. The other issues were details that could be argued over once the war was won.
The first time she invited me to speak at one of her events I launched into a criticism of Senator Joseph McCarthy, whom Phyllis admired. McCarthy was of course right that there was a sinister Communist conspiracy to undermine America and help our Soviet enemy to win the Cold War. My quarrel with the Senator was that his recklessness and overreach damaged the anti-Communist cause. When I was done Phyllis came over to scowl and wag her finger at me and let me know she disapproved of these remarks. But she did it very briefly – almost as just those gestures – and with the kind of warmth one would use with a wayward son. I knew then and there that we were still friends and were going to be in the same foxhole, in the same army for years to come. I knew that she understood the nature of the big war, and in that war she and I were destined to be on the same side and have each other’s back.
That was 25 years ago. I spoke at other events for her, and she for me, and in 2009 the Horowitz Freedom Center gave Phyllis its Annie Taylor Award, named after the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive. We had created this as the perfect award for conservatives who unlike the left are the generally outnumbered actors speaking truth to power – vicious and unscrupulous and overwhelming power – and who often must do so without the support of other conservatives who know better but are too busy worrying over their shoulders at what the New York Times and the Washington Post and the network media think to have the courage of their own convictions. 
Courage was something that Phyllis had in abundance. I remember as a newly minted conservative watching a video of her appearance before a university audience and being utterly appalled at the vulgarity of the attacks they mounted against her. The left hated her because she had led the successful fight against the Equal Rights Amendment, a change to the Constitution presented as progressive, which would have deprived women of the protections that which years of experience had inspired, and democratic legislatures had put in place. While I understood the left’s motivations I was still shocked by the savagery with which they taunted her in attacks that were very personal and very ugly. They were especially unnerving because they were directed against an accomplished woman, in her sixties or so at the time, who presented herself very traditionally. It was that image, which they saw through their ideological lenses as weakness, that they were maliciously seeking to exploit. But instead of fleeing from the stage as they fully expected she would, she faced them down with all the intellectual and moral confidence familiar to those who know and love her.  
In her own way Phyllis is an emblem of the fractures on the political right that have surfaced in this election season. There has been a lot of talk about “Constitutional Conservatives,” as though these were an endangered species. In fact, judging from the lip service given to foundational principles by conservatives and Republicans alike, far from being a threatened breed, “Constitutional Conservatives” are more like a ubiquitous one. What elected Republican official doesn’t campaign on core principles like limited government, religious freedom, individual rights, and separation of powers? It’s not constitutionalists who are rare in the legions of the right. It’s activists and leaders like Phyllis who are willing to fight – and to fight against great odds and at great personal cost - for what they believe. That’s the rarity. That is the example Phyllis set for the rest of us. And it cost her dearly right to the end.
Phyllis threw her weight behind the Republican nominee in this year’s critical presidential election because she felt Trump got the big issues – the big war – right. Her very last article compared Trump to Reagan because, “Trump is the first candidate since Reagan who is comfortable using Reagan’s vocabulary of winning. Trump has pledged to make America ‘win’ again, instead of being cheated and outmaneuvered by our adversaries and even our so-called allies.” For this endorsement Phyllis became the target of an effort by anti-Trump board members of her Eagle Forum Foundation to remove her from an organization she had created nearly fifty years before and is her legacy. This attack – now in the courts - from people she had trusted as her friends and supporters came in her 91st year, when she was struggling with illness and mortality, something that would have broken a lesser person. But Phyllis was born to fight, and fight she did in a battle that her true supporters will have to carry on posthumously. 
Not long ago Phyllis invited me to come to St. Louis to speak at her annual Eagle Forum event scheduled to take place a week from now. I was very much looking forward to seeing her, and joining her in the trenches as always. I will miss her terribly. We all will. 
David’s new book The Left In Power: Clinton To Obama will be published next month.

 Tags: ConservatismLeft

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Phyllis Stewart Schlafly, 1924-2016

ANN COULTER FOR HUMAN EVENTS 


Image result for phyllis schlafly reagan

Activist Phyllis Schlafly campaigns against the Equal Rights Amendment in 1978. (Bettmann/Corbis)


Phyllis Schlafly, the St. Louis-born American intellectual who grew from a shy and beautiful girl to become one of the most influential political activists of the 20th and 21st century, died today, Monday, September 5, 2016 according to Eagle Forum.

Schlafly has written or co-written more than 20 books, on military policy, education, legal and social issues. Her first book, “A Choice, Not an Echo,” is credited with winning Barry Goldwater the Republican nomination for president and inspiring the conservative movement that eventually led to Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Her military work was a major factor in Reagan's’ decision to proceed with High Frontier technology.

Since 1967, Schlafly has published the Phyllis Schlafly Report and in 1972, Schlafly founded The Eagle Forum, which grew to nearly 100,000 members. Her syndicated column appeared in 100 newspapers, her radio commentaries were broadcast on more than 400 stations, and her radio talk show, "Eagle Forum Live," was broadcast on 45 stations and the Internet. Throughout her career, Schlafly gave college speeches – including in January 2009, in her still-spry 80’s, when, at a Berkeley speech, she fell and broke a hip.

She was appointed by President Reagan to serve on the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution from 1985-1991. For years, Schlafly was the National Defense Chairman of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Over the years, Schlafly testified before more than 50 congressional and state legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues. She has been a delegate at every Republican National Convention since 1956. The Ladies' Home Journal named Schlafly one of the 100 most important women of the 20th century.

Phyllis McAlpin Stewart was born in 1924 in St. Louis to John Bruce Stewart and Odile Dodge.

She was raised Republican and Catholic – though one great grandfather was a Presbyterian. Her father lost his job as a salesman of industrial equipment during the Depression and was unable to find work again for years, during which time he invented and patented the rotary engine. Schlafly’s mother went to work as a schoolteacher and librarian, allowing Schlafly and her younger sister, Odile, to attend a Catholic girls school.

She was valedictorian of her high school class and won a full scholarship to a Catholic women’s college, but decided it was not challenging enough, so she worked her way through Washington University. With no scholarship money, Schlafly earned spare money as a model and also as a machine-gunner at a St. Louis ordnance plant -- at that time the world’s largest.

She earned straight A’s from Washington University and graduated a year early, Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Sigma Alpha (the National Political Science Honor Society). Her undergraduate political science professor wrote that her “intellectual capacity is extraordinary and her analytical ability is distinctly remarkable . . . I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying that [Schlafly] is the most capable woman student we have had in this department in ten years.”

Schlafly then attended Harvard graduate school on a scholarship, earning a Masters degree in political science in seven months. She received A’s in constitutional law, international law, and public administration, and an A- in modern political theory. (And this was long before “Everyone-Gets-An-A” grade inflation.)

Though Harvard Law School did not admit women, Schlafly’s professors urged her to stay and attend law school. Alternatively, they proposed that she earn her doctorate. (Imagine the Harvard faculty meetings if she had stayed on and become a professor there!)

Her constitutional law professor at Harvard called her “brilliant” -- and consider that this was back when Harvard was a serious place, so it meant something. The professor who intervened on her behalf, Benjamin Wright, was a distinguished constitutional historian -- the sort of legitimate scholar who probably wouldn't have a chance of being hired by today's Harvard.

Schlafly said “no thanks” to Harvard Law and instead went to Washington, D.C. for a year, where she worked at the precursor institution to the American Enterprise Institute. It was the only time this monumental American political figure lived in the nation’s capitol.

After D.C, she returned to Missouri in 1949, married Republican lawyer Fred Schlafly, and raised six amazingly accomplished children in Alton, Illinois, where she lived until Fred's death in 1994.

In 1977, when being harangued by Dr. Joyce Brothers on the Merv Griffin Show, Schlafly mistakenly claimed Harvard Law School had been admitting women since at least 1945 and said she knew that because she almost went there. In fact, Harvard Law School did not begin admitting women for another several years. But in 1945, Harvard was prepared to make an exception for Phyllis Schlafly.

Years later, when Schlafly was testifying against the Equal Rights Amendment, the woman who almost became the first woman ever to graduate from Harvard Law School was ridiculed by potty little state legislators for not having a law degree. Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN), for example, called her one of those “women with absolutely no legal training stand there brandishing law books, telling people what ERA 'really' means.”

So in 1976, at age 51, while writing her syndicated column, raising six children, defeating the E.R.A. -- and in the middle of writing an 800-page book assailing Henry Kissinger -- Schlafly went to Washington University Law School in St. Louis. She graduated near the top of her class and won the award in Administrative Law.

Though Schlafly is most famously associated with her stunning, nearly miraculous, defeat of the E.R.A., she has played a pivotal role in a broad range of political controversies for more than half a century.

Schlafly managed her first congressional campaign in 1946, at age 22. The year after she married, she ran for Congress herself, losing to a popular Democratic incumbent. She ran and lost again against another popular Democratic incumbent in 1970. These may be the only quixotic battles she failed to win.

During 1970 congressional race, her opponent ceaselessly sneered that Schlafly should be home raising her children. Schlafly responded: “My opponent says a woman’s place is in the home. But my husband replies, a woman’s place is in the House -- the U.S. House of Representatives.” Today, feminists think they invented that line.

In 1964, she wrote “A Choice, Not An Echo,” which sold an astounding three million copies. (The average nonfiction book sells 5,000 copies; the average New York Times bestseller sells 30,000 copies.) This book would change the Republican Party forever. In this respect, it was not unlike many battles Schlafly would wage: First, she would conquer the Republican Party, then she could conquer the nation.

“A Choice, Not An Echo,” is widely credited with handing Barry Goldwater the Republican nomination for president. Goldwater lost badly in the general election -- but the Republican Party would never be the same. Goldwater’s nomination began the retreat of sell-out, Northeastern “Rockefeller Republicans” -- who wanted to wreck the country with slightly less alacrity than the Democrats.

Without Schlafly, without that book and that candidacy, it is unlikely that Ronald Reagan would ever have been elected president. 

Image result for phyllis schlafly reagan
Phyllis Schlafly and Ronald Reagan
Later in 1964, she collaborated with Admiral Chester Ward on another book, “The Gravediggers.” This book accused the elite foreign policy establishment of cheerfully selling out the nation’s military superiority to the Soviet Union. It sold an astounding 2 million copies.

Also with Ward, Schlafly co-authored the extremely influential (and extremely long, at over 800 pages) “Kissinger on the Couch” methodically assailing Kissinger’s foreign policy. As with her crusade against the E.R.A. -- being waged simultaneously -- “Kissinger on the Couch” would turn conventional wisdom upside down.

Until then, attacking Kissinger’s beloved Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT) was the secular version of challenging the Pope on infallibility -- or, I suppose, challenging a proposed constitutional amendment that purported to give women “equal rights.” But she was right, she was persuasive, and she overturned popular opinion.

Indeed, Schlafly has written prolifically about American foreign policy and military affairs, writing extensively about ICBMs and defense treaties. She was an early and vigorous proponent of a missile defense shield.

Meanwhile, feminists engaged in cliffhanger debates about whether it was appropriate for feminists to wear lipstick.

That Phyllis Schlafly is the mortal enemy of a movement that claims to promote women tells you all you need to know about the feminists. That many people alive today are unaware of Schlafly’s achievements tells you all you need to know about the American media.

Almost no one remembers this now, but when Schlafly turned her attention to the E.R.A., no reasonable person would have supposed that the amendment could have been stopped. In 1971, the House passed it by 354 to 24. The next year, the Senate had passed it by a vote of 84 to 8. Thirty states had approved it in the first year after it was sent to the states for ratification. Only eight more states were needed, within the next seven years. There was little question that the E.R.A. was about to become our next constitutional amendment.

But the E.R.A. had not yet faced Phyllis Schlafly. Beginning in 1972 and over the next eight years, thanks to Schlafly and her magnificently patriotic organization, the Eagle Forum, only five more states ratified it. In the same time period, five states rescinded their earlier ratifications, for a net total of zero ratifications.

Not surprisingly given her background, one of Schlafly’s most devastating arguments against the E.R.A. was that it would end the female exemption from the draft. Though the amendment’s proponents sneered that this was preposterous, she was right. Law professors would soon be making the exact same point in the likes of the Yale Law Journal.

She unflinchingly pressed points that polite people thought it bad taste to talk about. Academics prefer to approve the general sentiment and not think about any messy details or facts. Thus, for example, Schlafly questioned how ERA would affect gays, abortion, adoption, widow’s benefits, divorce law, and the military. She had an instinctive knack for pulling at the string that quickly unravels liberal nonsense.

Schlafly was composed, brilliant and relentless. Among her campaign initiatives against the ERA, Schlafly sent quiches to all the U.S. Senators who voted for the ERA with a friendly note saying, “Real men don't draft women.” A subscriber to the Phyllis Schlafly Report wrote to her in 1972: "We beat ERA in Oklahoma today and all we had was your report. I just went to the Capitol and passed it around and we beat it."

Schlafly’s arguments trumped the political platforms of both parties, both Republican and Democratic presidents and their wives, and a slew of Hollywood celebrities including Carol Burnett, Marlo Thomas, Phil Donahue, Alan Alda, and Jean Stapleton. As Schlafly said, “they have the movie star money and we have the voters.”

Or, as George Gilder said, the only person on the other side was Phyllis Schlafly, but that was enough.

Reviewing a history of the sexual revolution in the New Yorker, John Updike wrote: “If the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion, was . . . ‘the crowning achievement of the sexual revolution,’ the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment, which ran out of time in 1982, with only three more states needed for ratification, was the legal triumph of the counter-revolution, led in this instance by Phyllis Schlafly . . ."

It was almost unfair for Schlafly to train her analytical mind on the feminists. But what the feminists lacked in linear thinking, they made up for in their hegemonic control of the mainstream media.

No matter. Throughout her career, Schlafly refused to be intimidated by mediocre opinion makers decreeing what the bien pensant were supposed to think. She would take positions that almost no academic would defend, not because it was wrong, but simply because it was so contrary to acceptable opinion.

The most unfathomable aspect of Schlafly’s success to today’s political activists is that she mobilized a vast army of women -- and she did it without the Internet. Not without reason, she has been called the greatest pamphleteer since Thomas Paine. (But unlike Paine, she never went bad.)

The story behind Phyllis Schlafly’s biography provides a good snapshot of Schlafly’s power to inspire. The book’s author, Carol Felsenthal, had written a book review for the Chicago Tribune in 1977 ridiculing Schlafly’s ninth book, “The Power of the Positive Woman” as “irrational, contradictory, and simple-minded.”

And then something extraordinary happened. Felsenthal says: “Two days later, the letters of protest started coming, and they kept coming -- from people who were enraged that I had insulted ‘Our Savior,’ as one letter writer called Schlafly, or ‘Our Wonder Woman,’ as another called her.”

Felsenthal noted that her newspaper, The Chicago Tribune did not even run a ‘letters’ column for book reviews, so these weren’t for publication. Though Felsenthal had written hundreds of columns before this, she said she could “count on one hand the number of letters they provoked.” These women, she said, “were writing for one reason only -- to convert me, to make me see the light.”

Naturally, Felsenthal became fascinated with the woman who could arouse such passionate support. The end result was Felsenthal’s meticulously researched, definitive biography of Phyllis Schlafly, titled: “Phyllis Schlafly: The Sweetheart of the Silent Majority.” Charmingly, the toughest part of Felsenthal’s project was overcoming Schlafly’s resistance to the very idea of a biography.

There is no major national debate in the past half-century in which Schlafly’s powerful, salubrious influence is not manifest.

She staunchly opposed abortion, gambling and gay marriage and equally strongly supported Ronald Reagan and the strategic defense initiative. One of the rare times she disagreed with Reagan was over the idea of having another Constitutional Convention. She was right and she won. In 1996, Schlafly supported Pat Buchanan for president and in 2008 she supported Duncan Hunter, specifically opposing Mike Huckabee.

On March 11, 2016, Schlafly officially endorsed Donald Trump for president.

Schlafly wrote about a complicated issues with insight and clarity. Time and again she would disembowel a 500-page legalistic monstrosity with a short syndicated column. Like an Olympic athlete, her talent was to make it seem easy.

She was as proficient as any law professor in the seriousness of her arguments. This is all the more impressive because she is writing for busy people -- housewives and politicians -- people who probably wouldn't mind a more purely rhetorical effort. But she never condescended to her audience. People who dismiss her as a mere rabble-rouser either haven’t read her work or have no idea what actual "scholarship" would be.

The sheer breadth of the issues Schlafly took on is astonishing. It is impossible to think of anyone alive today who addresses such a range of topics in any depth. Most public figures focus on one or two issues and stick with those. Not Schlafly -- and with no detriment to her analysis. (If anyone on the left did this with Schlafly’s skill, there would be monuments, Time magazine “Person of the Year” awards, and hagiographic Hollywood movies.)

Schlafly commented on her boundless energy, saying, "It solves a lot of problems if you're busy."

For someone who spent so much time attacking liberal policies – and received so much abuse in return -- Schlafly was remarkably free from ad hominem (or ad feminem) rhetoric. She was spat upon, burned in effigy and had a pie thrown in her face. Bomb threats were called in to her speeches. Feminist Betty Friedan once told her, "I'd like to burn you at the stake." Feminist Midge Costanza said Schlafly and Anita Bryant would make "a fine set of bookends" for Hitler's "Mein Kampf."

But Karen DeCrow, who debated Schlafly more than 50 times as president of the National Organization for Women from 1974-77, said she enjoyed those debates. "Phyllis is smart, so it was fun,” DeCrow said. “I never found Phyllis to be unpleasant, unfriendly or uncooperative." Felsenthal reports that during an interview, feminists surrounded Schlafly, spat at her and shoved middle fingers in her face. She says Schlafly "didn't pause, she didn't even blink."

Schlafly’s retorts were more subtle, once noting during a debate on the ERA before jeering Brown University coeds that "another sexist difference between men and women, is that women hiss." But she never got personal or vicious -- as they did with her. She was a true lady.

Though conservative women in later generations are often compared to Schlafly, all of us combined could never match the titanic accomplishments of this remarkable woman. Schlafly is unquestionably one of the most important people of in the twentieth century – and a good part of the twenty-first. Among her sex, she is rivaled only by Margaret Thatcher.

Schlafly once said that what she’d most like to be remembered for is “converting this nation to where it's as normal for parents to teach their kids to read before they get to school as it is to teach them to ride bikes." Based on her own successful home-schooling of her children, she has written wildly popular phonics instruction guides with tapes and a workbook.

The most fitting epitaph to Phyllis Schlafly is the last line of her profile at the Eagle Forum website, which concludes: “The mother of six children, she was named 1992 Illinois Mother of the Year.” You know she means it, and yet you also suspect she takes devilish pleasure knowing that the prominence given the award must drive feminists crazy.

Schlafly could have rested on her laurels after writing “A Choice, Not an Echo.” She could have rested on her laurels after defeating the E.R.A. Indeed, she could have rested on her laurels on any number of occasions over the past half century. America can be thankful that she did not.

Upon Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, Senator Jesse Helms said, “God has given America one more chance.” With Schlafly and her long career, God gave America dozens of chances.

Schlafly is survived by her six children, sons John, Bruce, Roger, and Andrew, daughters Liza Foreshaw and Anne Cori, 16 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. 

Monday, September 05, 2016

Baseball’s storyteller, our friend


September 2, 2016
Image result for vin scully
The Dodgers honor Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully prior to their Opening Day game against the Arizona Diamondbacks (mlb.com)
Irish poets learn your trade
Sing whatever is well made. . . .
— William Butler Yeats,
“Under Ben Bulben”
For 67 years, the son of Vincent and Bridget Scully, immigrants who came to New York City from County Cavan, Ireland, has been plying his trade. For eight years on the East Coast and 59 on the West Coast, on radio and television, he has strolled with Brooklyn Dodgers fans and then Los Angeles Dodgers fans down the long, winding road of baseball’s seasons. In an era with a surfeit of shoddiness, two things are well-made — major league baseball and Vin Scully’s broadcasts of it.
Although he uses language fluently and precisely, he is not a poet. He is something equally dignified and exemplary but less celebrated: He is a craftsman. Scully, the most famous and beloved person in Southern California, is not a movie star but has the at-ease, old-shoe persona of Jimmy Stewart. With his shock of red hair and maple syrup voice, Scully seems half his 88 years.
America’s “most widespread age-related disease,” Tom Wolfe has written, “was not senility but juvenility. The social ideal was to look 23 and dress 13.” It is not Scully’s fault that he looks unreasonably young. It is to his credit that he comes to work in a coat and tie, and prepared — stocked with information.
Aristotle defined human beings as language-using creatures. They are not always as well-behaved as wolves, but everything humane depends on words — love, promise-keeping, story-telling, democracy. And baseball.
A game of episodes, not of flow, it leaves time for, and invites, conversation, rumination and speculation. And storytelling, by which Scully immerses his audience in baseball’s rich history, and stories that remind fans that players “are not wind-up dolls.”
In recent years, Scully has not accompanied the Dodgers on the road. Hence this recent tweet quoting an 8-year-old Dodgers fan, Zoe: “I hate when the Dodgers have away games. They don’t tell stories.”
When the Baltimore Orioles visited Dodger Stadium in July, Scully’s listeners learned that the father of Orioles manager Buck Showalter fought from North Africa to Italy to Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge. Whenever the Orioles come to town, Scully dispenses nuggets about the War of 1812. On June 6 broadcasts, they learned something about D-Day. His neighbor once was Ronald Reagan.
This is how Franklin Roosevelt began his first Fireside Chat (March 12, 1933): “I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking. . . .” For many years now, Scully has worked alone because he wants to talk not to someone seated next to him but to each listener, which was FDR’s talent. A free society — a society of persuasion, exhortation and neighborliness — resonates with familiar voices, such as FDR’s and Reagan’s. And Scully’s.
On Opening Day this year, before the season’s first pitch, Scully was the center of attention on the center of Dodger Stadium’s diamond, standing on the pitcher’s mound with various retired Dodger stars, including pitcher Don Newcombe. Newcombe, now 90, was the starter in the first game Scully participated in broadcasting — Opening Day, 1950, in Philadelphia. Scully knew players who knew Ty Cobb. Scully’s listeners today include the great-great-grandchildren of earlier listeners. Baseball, more than any other American institution, and Scully, more than any other baseball person, braid America’s generations.
In this year of few blessings, one is the fact that Scully’s final season coincides with a presidential campaign of unprecedented coarseness. The nation winces daily from fresh exposure to sullied politics, which surely is one reason so many people are paying such fond attention to Scully’s sunset. It is easy to disregard or even disparage gentility — until confronted, as Americans now are, with its utter absence.
In late September, Scully will drive up Vin Scully Avenue to Dodger Stadium, settle himself in front of a mic in the Vin Scully Press Box, and speak five familiar words: “It’s time for Dodger baseball.” Later, as the sun sets on the San Gabriel Mountains, he will accompany the Dodgers for their final regular-season series, with the San Francisco Giants, who came west when Scully and the Dodgers did in 1957.
Then, or perhaps after a postseason game, he will stride away, toward his 10th decade. In this era of fungible and forgettable celebrities, he is a rarity: For millions of friends he never met, his very absence will be a mellow presence.
Read more from George F. Will’s archive or follow him on Facebook.