Thursday, March 17, 2016


By Ann Coulter
March 16, 2016

Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz

To the extent it's still standing after yesterday, the Stop Trump movement is comforting itself with the world's biggest lie: that John Kasich is the embodiment of the Republican Party, while Donald Trump is the bastard stepchild.

It's exactly the opposite.

It is no longer a question of what the party wants. The voters -- remember them? -- keep showering Trump and Cruz with Ceausescu-like percentages. The combined vote for Trump and Cruz is a ringing chorus of what this party wants: a wall, deportation, less immigration and no job-killing trade deals.

In other words, what the party wants is the diametric opposite of what the donor and consultant class wants. One would have to search the history books to find a party establishment so emphatically rejected by the voters as today's Republican Party has been.

Trump and Cruz don't agree on everything -- Cruz is more interventionist on foreign policy, and Trump is more aggressive on bringing manufacturing home. But there's not much daylight between them on the crucial issue of whether to dissolve America's borders. By now, they both say build a wall, reduce immigration and protect American jobs.

In other words, Trump and Cruz have totally rejected the Bush/Ryan/Rubio/Fox News/WSJ/RNC establishment position on immigration.

After Mitt Romney lost an election he should have won in 2012, the Republican National Committee convened a group of experts to determine what went wrong, producing what it called an "autopsy." It was an autopsy because, you see, the party was dead. And the people who did the autopsy were the ones who killed it.

Have you ever heard of an autopsy being performed by the murderers?

The murderers' main recommendation was that Republicans "embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform" -- i.e., amnesty. "If we do not," the autopsy continued, "our party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only."

God forbid the party respond to its core constituencies! Instead, the report bristled with advice on winning the Hispanic vote. The GOP was supposed to run Hispanic candidates, hire Hispanic spokesmen, demand yet more Hispanic immigration and correct its "tone."

It looked like our report got mixed up with the Democratic National Committee's report in the copier room. At least it was printed in English.

They put all this in their computer and out spit the perfect solution: MARCO RUBIO! Like all ideas developed by focus groups ("New Coke"), how could it possibly fail?

"On issues like immigration," the report instructed, "the RNC needs to carefully craft a tone that takes into consideration the unique perspective of the Hispanic community." How'd they like the front-runner's announcement speech about Mexican rapists and drug dealers? Off-message?

But Trump immediately leapt to the top of the polls and never stopped soaring.

Only Ted Cruz was smart enough -- or hated the Republican establishment enough -- to adopt Trump's pro-American immigration policies. Now the only question for voters is, which one is more electable: a Holy Roller preacher, or a brash alpha male billionaire?

They've crushed the rest of the field -- winning large majorities of Hispanics along the way, incidentally. Between them, Trump and Cruz have won 77 percent of the delegates (1,067). The donor-approved, mass immigration advocates, John Kasich and the (late, lamented) Marco Rubio, have 23 percent (313).

Rubio was the apotheosis of the Republican leadership's proposal for national suicide -- or the "Growth and Opportunity Project," as the autopsy was officially titled. He was handpicked for the presidency six years ago.

He got to Washington and promptly set about pushing an amnesty bill faster than you could say, "My dad was a bartender." In the darkest days of the nation's history, Rubio's bill actually passed the U.S. Senate. (One of the many hints that voters don't want amnesty was that the bill was blocked in the House, not by any major media opposition -- despite media cheerleading, in fact -- but by the people, rising up in a blind rage.)

But still, Rubio was the golden boy among GOP consultants, donors and their hired help, elected Republicans. He had unlimited money, resources, establishment support, conservative media cheerleaders and his own cable news channel.

His presidential bid was supported by 14 Republican governors, 22 Republican senators and more than two dozen Republican representatives, Washington think tanks, lobbyists, the Chamber of Commerce, Chipotle and Taco Bell. Time magazine put him on its cover as "Republican Savior."

And on Tuesday, he lost his own state in a landslide. Rubio lost every single county in Florida to Trump but one. He went 1 for 66 in a state where he is not only a U.S. senator, but also a former house speaker. He outspent Trump by about 500 percent and still lost his home state by 20 points.

Never was there a more perfectly kicked field goal -- with Rubio as the pigskin. He was hiked and kicked right through the goalposts.

Gov. John Kasich is as awful on immigration as Rubio, but he's so boring, no one can ever remember anything he says. He opposes deporting illegal aliens because that's not "the kind of values that we believe in." ("We" being "the Democratic Party.") He bleats that illegals are "made in the image of the Lord," which would require America to admit everyone in the world -- provided they can pass the rigorous background check of being human.

On Tuesday night, Kasich barely won his own state, making him 1 for 29 in GOP primaries. The one and only primary he's won is in the state where he's the sitting governor. He was endorsed by his opponent, Marco Rubio. He's campaigned almost nowhere else.

And yet Kasich came in less than 10 points ahead of a New York real estate developer -- half of Trump's margin of victory over Rubio in Rubio's home state. Adjusting for the home state advantage, that's a humiliating defeat.

How many more GOP stars will die for mass immigration? So far, there's Eric Cantor, Nikki Haley, Trey Gowdy, Ben Sasse, Paul Ryan, Fox News -- 14 governors, 22 senators and two dozen representatives.

With increasing desperation, the media claim that 63 percent of voters don't want Trump based on votes cast for any other candidate in a 12-man race. What the delegate count shows is a resounding rejection of the immigration policies being pushed by the party leadership.

The establishment laughed at us. They wanted our votes, but then ignored us. They lied to us about opposing amnesty while repeatedly conspiring to pass it.

Now we're going into the presidential election with our 80 percent thunderous will of the people against immigration. I'm not sure someone who is more preacher than president is the most electable expression of that will, but whether Trump or Cruz, make no mistake about what the will is.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Is Stephen Curry a latter-day Pete Maravich?

If anyone has come close to emulating Pete’s dexterity in handling a basketball, it’s Mr. Curry.

Pete Maravich (left) and Stephen Curry.
(Photos: AP)
March 12, 2016
The young’uns are curious.
They are in crazy hoop love with Stephen Curry. And why not? He’s the best nightly show in sport. But their elders have sometimes referenced this old guy with the catchy nickname. Pistol Pete. Is that it?
Yup. Sure is. More than a few people have advanced the theory that Stephen Curry is perhaps a latter-day Pete Maravich. Is that really possible?
The classic waffling answer: yes and no.
Now I must admit that when I first saw the clips of Curry’s celebrated pregame ballhandling routine, the first thing I thought of was Pistol Pete.
For it wasn’t just the ungodly point totals he amassed that made him famous. It was an amazing package that included hair flopping all over creation and seemingly tons of droopy socks. He had a look unlike anyone else on the basketball court. Most of all, there was his spellbinding ballhandling. Pete did things with two, three, or even four basketballs most people would have been quite content to do with one.
If anyone has come close to emulating Pete’s dexterity in handling a basketball, I’d say it would be Mr. Curry.
“Pete used to put on ballhandling clinics,” recalls Cedric Maxwell, who both played with and against Maravich. “There’s a lot of that in Curry’s game.”
Before we go any further, it is necessary to review Pete’s legendary college career at LSU. Simply put, there hasnever been anything like it. Averaging 20 points a game in a three-year college career (freshmen were not eligible for varsity play when Pete began) is a big deal. Averaging 30-plus is a huge deal.
Pete averaged 44.2. No, seriously. From 1967-68 through 1969-70 Pete Maravich played 83 college games and averaged 44.2 points per game. And, of course, he did this without the benefit of the 3-point shot.
He left school as the all-time NCAA leader in points, per-game average, field goal attempts, field goals made, free throw attempts, free throws made (how about 30 for 31 vs. Oregon State in 1969?), and 50-point games (28).
Pete was a volume scorer. His career shooting percentage was .438 in college and .441 in the NBA. Curry is a career 44 percent shooter on 3-pointers alone. He is shooting over 50 percent overall this season.
What does unite them is the ability to get off shots, and this is where the ballhandling comes in. Oh boy, could Pete get off shots. His three-year collegiate per-game field goal attempt totals were 39, 37, and 37. That’s in a 40-minute game. I will never, ever forget the televised game against Kentucky when Pete went 19 for 51 from the floor. How anyone can get off 51 shots in 40 minutes is incomprehensible for anyone today, I am sure. But it happened.
Curry can likewise get off shots in a manner that is unique to him in today’s game. “But Pistol Pete did it in the lane,” says Tom Heinsohn. “Curry does it behind the 3-point line.”
Indeed, what Curry is doing has no precedent. “I’ve never seen anyone who can shoot with that kind of accuracy from that distance,” marvels Larry Bird, himself a pretty decent 3-point shooter. “And he makes it look so easy.”
Both the 6-foot-5-inch Maravich and the 6-3 Curry did, or do, more than just score. Lest anyone forget, Curry is quite a legitimate point guard who can get you both the 35 points and, oh, yeah, 10 assists a night. Maravich was nothing less than the league’s most dazzling passer. “Flamboyant,” as Bird puts it.
I well remember having frequent conversations about Maravich with Heinsohn in the early ’70s. Tommy was all about the fast break, as any viewer would suspect, and though he was quite comfortable with the likes of John Havlicek, Jo Jo White, or Hambone Williams — betcha haven’t thought about him for a while, eh? — leading his fast breaks, he couldn’t help but fantasize about having Pistol Pete, with his lookaway passes leading to other lookaway passes, in the middle of a Boston attack.
“The greatest thing that ever happened was when Cotton Fitzsimmons took over coaching the Hawks from Richie Guerin,” Heinsohn says. “Richie had Pete at point guard. Cotton made him a two-guard. Thank God!”
But Tommy did get to scratch that Maravich itch, as it turned out.
“I coached him a couple of times in the All-Star Game,” Heinsohn points out. “He’d say, ‘Are we going to run?’ I’d say, ‘Pete, you’re going to be in the middle of fast breaks all night long.’ Then [Walt] Frazier would go in and he would slow it down all the time.”
Time to talk threes.
It has long been a source of debate: What would Pete have done if the three had been in existence for his entire career? He did have 3-point range. There is no question about that. Nor is there any doubt that he would have appreciated the theatrics of a Curry-like reputation. I rather think Pete would have liked being a 3-point king on top of everything else. It’s fairly safe to say he would have averaged 46 or 47 a game, minimum.
Now he did pretty well without the three. He averaged as high as 31 points a game in the NBA and he did score 68 points in Madison Square Garden, sans threes. The three did come along just in time for Pete to play one season with the rule. But Pete was no different than most everyone else. He basically ignored it. Let the record show, however, that in that 1979-80 season he took 15 threes and made 10.
One other bond for Messrs. Maravich and Curry. Each had a father who played in the league. The difference is that Press Maravich played a total of 51 games for the 1946-47 Pittsburgh Ironmen and Dell Curry played 1,083 games (making 1,245 threes) for Charlotte, Toronto, Cleveland, and Utah.
Pete was practically a fictional character. The subject of two biographies, he had a complicated existence. He played for his father at LSU and it was a hoop circus, to be sure. He had a somewhat stormy NBA experience, and by the end Pete was a totally different person than the one who entered the league. Steph seems tremendously well-adjusted to fame. His only noted subplot is having a candidate for the World’s Cutest Daughter in Riley Curry.
The one sure thing we can say is that each did, or does, special things when a basketball is placed in his hands. “I’d say that Pistol’s spirit has been passed down through Curry,” declares Cedric Maxwell.
Oh, wow. Wish I’d said that.
Bob Ryan’s column appears regularly in the Globe. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeBobRyan.

Film Review: 'The Witch'

A father and his son, a boy of twelve or so, go into a wood. They are out hunting, armed with a gun. As they walk, they engage in one of those ordinary, man-to-man chats that arise on a country stroll. “Canst thou tell me what thy corrupt nature is?” the father asks. “My corrupt nature is empty of grace, bent unto sin, only unto sin, and that continually,” the lad replies. Clearly, he has learned the words by rote, yet they don’t sound tired or hollow in his mouth; he means them. His next task is to help with the traps that have been laid in the undergrowth. We watch his small hands slowly easing wide the iron jaws.
These scenes are from “The Witch,” a film written and directed by Robert Eggers. The father is William (Ralph Ineson), who is tall and roughly bearded, with a hatchet face. Indeed, there is something axelike in his demeanor, and he seems most elemental—most true to his own hard-hewn being—when stripped to the waist and savagely splitting logs. He would make a good executioner. The boy is Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), who looks solid enough, though a flame of fear burns in his eyes. William is married to Katherine (Kate Dickie), and they have four other children: an older daughter, the radiant Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy); twins, Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson), young and mischievous; and a baby named Samuel. He is tended to, one day, by Thomasin, who plays peekaboo for his delight, in the open air. Three times she covers and uncovers her eyes, and he laughs. The fourth time she uncovers them, he is gone.
The film, bearing the subtitle “A New-England Folktale,” is set around 1630, meaning that William and Katherine, whose heavy accents betray their roots in the North of England, belong to the early generation of settlers. This particular family, though, has been doubly exiled—first across the ocean, and then from the fortified village where they used to reside. In the opening scene, William is brought before a council of his fellow-citizens and accused of “prideful conceit.” What exactly that entails we never know, and he claims to have practiced only “the pure and faithful dispensation of the Gospels,” but the outcome is harsh: he and his kin are banished, with all their possessions piled on a cart. The wilderness awaits.
The rest of the action takes place on the verge of a forest: the classic habitation of a fairy tale. That is where William, Katherine, and their children build a home and try to forge a life, with the dense gloom rustling beside them. When Samuel is snatched, we see him—or think we see him, in a glimpse—being carried through the trees by a scuttling figure, caped in red. We are meant to recall not just the Brothers Grimm but Nicolas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now” (1973), in which the alleyways of Venice were prowled by a similar scarlet fiend. What occurs, after the abduction, is the first of many terrible rites: a female form, naked and unnamed, pounding at something within the rotten trunk of a tree, like an apothecary with a mortar and pestle, and smearing herself with gore.
What is going on here? And is it going on at all? Could we be observing not facts but the fanciful terrors of the devout? The film is certainly stuffed with devilry, and Eggers is not shy of familiar tropes. The family keeps goats, for instance—a white one whose udders spurt blood into a pail when Thomasin milks her, and a villainous brute called Black Phillip, whom the twins both taunt and conspire with in their chanted nursery rhymes. He’s a dead ringer for the billy on the inner sleeve of the Rolling Stones’ “Goats Head Soup,” and Eggers holds him in such careful closeup that his muzzle is blurred while his mad and staring eye remains in focus. As a rule, keep clear of his horns. The question of whether he is the Prince of Darkness or merely a farmyard pest, however, stays unresolved, and “The Witch” feels at once sticky with tangible detail and numinous with suggestion. Katherine dreams of a raven pecking at her breast, in a parody of a suckling child, but when she wakes in the morning there really is a bloodstain on her shift.
Viewers who grew up with the “Scream” franchise, or with the toothless array of “Saw” films, will doubtless fidget and sigh at such ambivalence. They will rightly ask if “The Witch” even deserves to be called a horror flick. Well, it sounds like one; the composer of the score, Mark Korven, doesn’t hold back on the shriek of strings, beefed up by a choir of rising moans. Also, there are just enough jumps to rattle your popcorn. I knew that something was afoot as Caleb approached a mossy hut in the woods, but I didn’t expect an actual foot, bare and tempting, to appear on the threshold. Yet the film is thoroughly stripped of the sniggering ironies that beset, and often wreck, the modern fright fest. You can laugh at the archaism of the dialogue, if you wish, though I happen to like its sturdy lyricism. (“Thou shalt be home by candle-time tomorrow.”) More important, there is no silliness to undercut the menace—nothing to let you off the hook of having to think about these folk, about the leathery toughness of their existence, and about the load that their souls are forced to bear. You believe in their belief.
This is, to put it mildly, an uncommon state of affairs for anyone who frequents the cinema, the theatre, or the opera house. How many people, these days, heading out of “Don Giovanni,” are honestly shaken by the mortal terror of the hero, in his final conflagration? Which of us treats “The Crucible,” set sixty years or so after the events of “The Witch,” as anything but a reflection on the political hysteria of the time in which it was written? The problem is simple: we can’t be damned. One gradual effect of the Enlightenment was to tamp down the fires of Hell and sweep away the ashes, allowing us to bask in the rational coolness that ensued. But the loss—to the dramatic imagination, at any rate—has been immense. If your characters are convinced that a single action, a word out of place, or even a stray thought brings not bodily risk but an eternity of pain, your story will be charged with illimitable dread. No thriller, however tense, can promise half as much.
That is what Eggers is striving for in “The Witch.” It’s the first feature that he has directed; hitherto, he has worked as a production and costume designer, and the legacy shows in the weave of the homespun clothes. The twins are swaddled like dolls, thus acquiring an extra layer of creepiness, and the colors of the outfits, matching the umbers and grays of the landscape, turn any glint of red into an explosion. But period dress is nothing unless shrouded in period emotions—in the qualms and the ragged jitters of the age. That is why we see Caleb, on the brink of puberty, casting sly glances at the swell of his sister’s bosom; incestuous guilt is enough to persuade the poor sap that he is, in the deepest sense, bewitched. Indeed, each person thinks that he or she is responsible for the loss of Samuel, and for the dire events that follow. The entire film is crafted as a kind of spiritual whodunnit. Katherine is afraid that her baby, as yet unbaptized, will be among the lost, denied entrance to Heaven, while William, his authority flaking and peeling away with every scene, admits out loud to being a thief.
And what did he steal? A silver wine cup. Time and again, Eggers adds hints of the Biblical, to thicken the air of piety that these people breathe. One of them, in the wake of a spell, vomits up a whole apple, shiny and intact. When they pray, they are planted squarely in the frame, and viewed either from behind, kneeling on the ground with their hands conjoined and upraised, or head on, at table, as in the Last Supper, with William saying grace. Thomasin, alone, confesses to the Almighty, “I have, in secret, played upon thy Sabbath,” compelling us to wonder what her games consist of and whether they count as play.
Taylor-Joy is remarkable in the role, her wide-eyed innocence entwined with a thread of cunning—proof either of her quick wits, scarcely unusual in a clever and curious girl, or of some fell purpose. One night, in Black Phillip’s stall, we hear a low whisper of temptation in her ear: “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” it asks. “To see the world?” There is surely no chance that she—or we, for that matter, even now—could refuse that proposition. And so “The Witch” hastens to its harrowing climax, about which, I predict, you will want to rage deliciously. It borrows from Goya, an artist in his element with demons, and I cannot decide if the sequence unbalances the ambitions of “The Witch” or brings them to full and flamboyant bloom. But this is a scary movie and a serious one, because it lures us into the minds, and the earthly domains, of those who are themselves scared, night and day, that they have forfeited the mercies of God. It takes an original movie to remind us of original sin.

The Media Learned Nothing From The Duke Lacrosse Hoax

By Scott Greer
March 15, 2016

ESPN 30 for 30: Fantastic Lies
Ten years have passed since a woman falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape. The claim led to a months-long media frenzy and spurred national outrage at the alleged crime of the young defendants.
Every outlet under the sun was willing to believe wholeheartedly the story that district attorney, Mike Nifong, was propagating and took it as fact that the three white Duke students viciously raped a black woman.
Since that time, America learned that the story was completely bogus. Authorities zealously pursued it because one district attorney thought it would help him get re-elected. (Note: it actually did.)
ESPN aired a documentary on the event Sunday which castigated its media compatriots — while excluding itself — who bought into the insidious lie and exposed how unthinking outrage forever ruined the lives of three innocent young men.
Looking back at the affair naturally begs the question: Did we learn anything from this particular rape hoax?
The answer is one big hell no.
Over the last few years the media has fallen for a host of stories that turned out to be completely different than what was originally reported. Throughout 2012 and 2013, we had the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The initial narrative was one of cold-blooded murder perpetuated by a man with hate in his heart against an innocent black child. Eventually, it turned out the gunman shot Martin in self-defense after having his head repeatedly bashed to the pavement by the 17-year-old.
In 2014, we had two big lies dominate the news cycle: the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the University of Virginia gang rape hoax.
For months, the mainstream media spread the false notion Brown had his hands up and was not a threat when he was fatally shot. The “hands up” story helped fuel the riots that tore up Ferguson and inspired the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement. Even after the shooter, Officer Darren Wilson, was cleared of any wrong-doing by the St. Louis County district attorney, there were still a large number of liberals who still pushed the idea Brown was murdered without justification.
Later on, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice confirmed what local authorities had already determined, and the “hands up” narrative went down the memory hole. (RELATED: It’s Official: DOJ Will Not Charge Darren Wilson In Federal Probe)
Right around the time the riots were dying out in Missouri, Rolling Stone published “A Rape on Campus.” This depicted a brutal gang rape that supposedly done by members of a University of Virginia fraternity. Dozens of articles were written about how the story showcased the horrific rape culture lurking within American higher education and UVA suspended its entire fraternity system.
However, the story turned out to be an eerie replication of the Duke lacrosse hoax as the “gang rape” turned out to be a twisted fantasy concocted by a demented young woman. (RELATED: University Of Virginia Student’s Catfishing Scheme Revealed)
If there’s anything we “learned” from the Duke lacrosse case, it’s that powerful figures and institutions in our society will blindly believe and promote outright lies if they fit a certain narrative.
Liberals want to believe rich white kids get away with horrific crimes, particularly against minorities, because of their skin color and wealth — that’s why they bought the deranged woman’s tale of three Blue Devils sexually assaulting her. Liberals want to believe cops routinely brutalize innocent black youth without repercussion — that’s why they continued to tell us Michael Brown had his hands up. Liberals want to believe there’s a widely-ignored campus rape culture that gives license to frat boys to sadistically rape co-eds — that’s why Rolling Stone published a massive disgrace to proper journalism.
Ten years after Duke, our anointed guardians of truth are as willing as ever to buy lies that conform to their political prejudices.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Farewell to Nancy Reagan, a Friend and Patriot

She was both steely and mystical—and there would have been no him without her.


The door has closed forever, said a friend, on a particular part of the past. Or to be more precise, first-person access to the Reagan era through one of its two most important figures has now, with the death of Nancy Reagan, ended. The era itself will never end—it is part of the history of our nation and yielded up its last unambiguously successful president. The spirit of that age: exuberant, expansive. “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
Here we could do comparisons to the current moment, but let’s not. Instead, a mere and affectionate remembrance of the lady we lost.
Stipulated: There was no him without her. He couldn't have launched or sustained his great project if she hadn’t made him her project. He was thinking about the failure of the latest Soviet five-year plan, and making note of the new statistics on HUD spending. She was thinking about people and their agendas. If you served him well you were in; if not don’t let the door hit you. She was protective. Or, as she would put it, she was looking after her man. Her protectiveness was a patriotic act.
As first lady she was glamorous, meticulous. Everything had to be just so. There was a touching, old-fashioned sense that she wanted whichever visiting king or potentate to see America knows how to do it up right. She believed in fun, too. In the Reagan White House you could smoke, drink and dance, after the more subdued, abstemious Carter years. It was no place for puritans.
Her personality was wry, teasing, loyal, warm and fun. She was my darling friend.
In her last five or so years I visited her at the house on St. Cloud Road, in Bel Air, with her beloved longtime friend Robert Higdon. We would sit with her in her sunny bedroom with the peach-colored headboard and the exercise bicycle and the bed tables full of silver framed pictures—she and Ronnie dancing at the state dinner, Ronnie in his last years kissing her on the cheek.
We’d talk about nothing, everything. She had a big laugh, a soft chuckle and a gift for listening. She really heard you, picked up nuance, noted what was unsaid. She took a great and protective interest in the lives of her friends and family, noticed when things seemed off, didn’t avoid troublesome areas but brought them up. That was part of how she showed her care, “bringing it up.”
Gore Vidal said of John F. Kennedy that when he died a whole world of gossip went with him. Nancy loved gossip too, though we didn’t call it gossip but History of Humans. I would save up things going on in New York—who was seeing whom, who was on top of the world, who looked great, who needed a call. Half the time, she’d nod and say, “I heard that”—she had some network—and tell me more than I knew. The other half she’d say: “Really? I think we need to hear more.”
She wasn’t judging or prissy but amused and fascinated. She thought personal disasters a part of life, triumphs welcome good news, human mischief to be expected. She had come of age in a Hollywood where everyone was kind of a big colorful mess. They were rich and famous, sure, but at the end of the day everyone was making it through on a smile and a shoeshine. She liked the comedy of it all.
In her later years she spent a lot of time remembering the past, and sharing it. She watched cable news and was nothing if not current, and her observations of political figures were acute and occasionally piercing. But she took increasing enjoyment in thinking back to the time so-and-so came to the White House, the time they went to Geneva . . .
Afterward I thought: She’s telling herself that it really happened.
No one is the same size as history, no one’s that big. For a half-century history washed over her, and I think when it was over she looked back, or saw the pictures on the bedside—“There we were, dancing at the state dinner”—and thought of those days, “My God. A king was on line one. Ronnie was meeting with the Soviet premier down the hall. . . . That all happened. It couldn’t have happened, it is too big. But it happened.” I think she was, as she looked back, awed by her own life. And of course she had reason to be awed.
Here are two stories, one of steely Nancy and one of Nancy the somewhat mystical.
Steely Nancy: Some years ago we were talking about a Washington friend who was going through a crisis. Some of her struggles had become public, which only compounded her woes. Nancy Reagan got a steely look. You can’t be embarrassed, she said. Everyone in Washington has lost something, everyone’s been embarrassed by a story in the press or humiliated by a public firing or loss of stature. “It is a city of the humiliated,” she said. And she told me to give our friend some advice that was also an order: Get up off the mat.
Nancy the mystic, if that is the right word: In the house on St. Cloud Road you could feelRonald Reagan all around you. The knickknacks, the pictures, the big Norman Rockwellportrait as you came in—it was a house about him. His office still had his desk and his things on it.
She wanted it that way. The love affair that became the great marriage that became the great partnership was never far from her thoughts. She missed him till the day she died.
One day at dusk in November 2013 we were talking quietly as I held her hand at her bedside. She began to talk about Ronnie and how even now he was ever-present to her. Then: “I didn’t believe in the afterlife. I never believed in it, but things have happened since Ronnie died. He visits me.”
“You mean you dream of him,” I said.
She got a quizzical look.
“I don’t know if it is dreams or what. It sounds funny or crazy, sometimes I wake up at night and he’s in bed next to me and I see him.” Once, she said, she woke in the middle of the night and looked over at the big beige stuffed chair at the bottom of the bed to the left. “You look cold,” she said to him, and went to the closet for a blanket. She draped it over him and went back to bed. The next morning she awoke and looked over at the chair. The blanket, she said, was still there, but moved to the side as if someone had pushed it when he left.
She could not, she said, explain this. Whatever it was, love, she felt, did not just disappear.
“I now believe in the afterlife,” she said.
Rest in peace Nancy Davis Reagan, darling girl, elegant lady, tough little patriot.

Jay Bilas: A 2006 open letter to Duke Magazine on leadership and justice

Editor's note: The following is the letter current ESPN analyst and Duke alum Jay Bilas wrote to the editor of Duke Magazine in 2006 in the wake of the controversy surrounding the university's lacrosse program. In the end, the publication chose not to publish the letter. For more on this unforgettable timeline of events, watch the latest 30 for 30 documentary "Fantastic Lies"which premieres on Sunday, March 13, 2016 at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN -- the 10-year anniversary of the off-campus party that shook Duke, and the surrounding community, to its core.

Duke University President Richard Brodhead fields questions during a news conference announcing the suspension of the men's lacrosse team schedule in Durham, N.C., Tuesday, March 28, 2006. (AP Photo/Sara D. Davis) 

Dear Editor,
A true leader has the vision and courage to recognize what is right, especially in the face of adversity, and fears not the consequences of unreasonable response. A true leader needs not the benefit of hindsight to make clear the right path. From March 2006 to date, President Brodhead's mishandling of the challenges presented has proven him incapable of effectively leading Duke into the future.
While President Brodhead can point to a few ineffectually communicated words here and there for a feeble claim that he "emphasized" the protection of the rights of Duke's students, his claim fails the laugh test. The vast majority of his words and actions, and in many cases his silence, emphasized an aura of guilt of the students and of the university. From the beginning, President Brodhead abdicated his responsibility as Duke's leader to stand up for fairness and truth. Instead, President Brodhead chose the path of political expediency. He failed to effectively counter factually inaccurate and inappropriate statements about Duke and its students, failed to forcefully speak out against procedural irregularities, and failed to take appropriate action in response to repeated attacks upon the due process rights of Duke's students. That is unacceptable.
If such failures in leadership are not enough, for the same reasons that President Brodhead forced the resignation of lacrosse coach Mike Pressler -- because confidence in his ability to lead had been compromised, and a need to move forward in a new direction -- President Brodhead should resign or be dismissed. And, based upon [trustee chair] Bob Steel's letter of April 11, 2007, in which Mr. Steel stated that the board agreed with the principles President Brodhead established and the actions he took, the resignation of Mr. Steel and any board members that acted in lock step with President Brodhead are also appropriate.

Jay Bilas '86, J.D. '92
Charlotte, North Carolina