Saturday, May 04, 2019


By Stan Fischler
May 3, 2019

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Without any fear of contradiction, I will firmly and unequivocally state that Leonard ‘Red’ Kelly was the most unique, underrated and undervalued superstar I have ever seen.
Since I began watching hockey at (old) Madison Square Garden in 1939, my statement covers 80 years, and since Kelly entered the NHL in 1947, that makes it 72 years, if you will. I was 15 years old and Red was 17 when he signed with Detroit. In fact, one could make a case for Red as the greatest player of all-time, depending on your set of hockey values.
Let’s start with the obvious. No player in history broke into the NHL as a defenseman and proceeded to become a Hall of Fame backliner during his dozen-year career with Detroit, where he won four Stanley Cups with the Red Wings. Then, playing for seven-and-a-half more seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he transformed into a Hall of Fame center and the orchestrator behind major domo Punch Imlach’s four Stanley-Cup winners at the corner of Carlton and Church. That gave Leonard a grand total of eight Stanley Cup rings.
As an innovator, Kelly was way ahead of the game. Bobby Orr is mistakenly credited with being the first defenseman who became a modern-day offense-man, or rover, if you will. With little fuss and fanfare, Red was doing that before Bobby was born. I vividly remember taking a trip to Montreal for a Red Wings-Canadiens game in 1953. My purpose was to see how The Forum exploded when Rocket Richard scored a goal. Well, I was stunned to the very core. The Rocket went scoreless, but the 2-0 Detroit victory was the result of two magnificent rushes by Red.
It was Kelly’s very ability to smoothly bob and weave his way through enemy defenses that eventually inspired Imlach to move this amazing stickhandler up to center. And, let’s not forget, that the arrestingly productive young Frank ‘Big M’ Mahovlich – Red’s left wing in Toronto – became a Hall of Famer himself because of Kelly’s mentoring, not to mention radar passes.
Kelly was unique in so many ways. In a sport that’s often a war game on ice, Kelly unfailingly was the league’s gentleman star. Teammates never would hear filth from his mouth. “By Hum!” could have been his most angry words in the heat of a game. And, yet, there was another dimension – toughness – that often was ignored as part of the Kelly repertoire. Oh, boy, could this guy fight. I vividly recall the extraordinarily bitter Detroit-Toronto 1950 playoff semifinal Game 1. That was the one that resulted in a near-career-threatening injury to Gordie Howe for which the Motor City crew blamed Leafs captain Ted Kennedy. As a result, Game 2 was like a Pier Six brawl on ice. This time Kelly stepped out of character, fighting one of the toughest Leafs – I believe it was Vic Lynn – and Red was not the loser.
I’ll give another note that few remember. Red took a stance during the 1959-60 season that became the predecessor of free agency. Following a contract dispute with Jack Adams, the Wings boss traded Leonard to the New York Rangers with forward Billy McNeill. “I retired rather than go to New York,” Red insisted. The NHL was rocked by his decision, and the furor eventually abated when a deal was cut with Kelly winding up in a trade to the Leafs. History was made on the night of Feb. 10, 1960 in a game against the Habs. “I want you at center, going up against Jean Beliveau,” said Imlach. (Beliveau just happened to be the best center in the league.) Punch liked what he saw, put Kelly on a line with Big M and Bob Nevin, and the Leafs were off to the races.
I defy any historian to come up with a player who performed such a unique transformation. I might add the soft-tempered Red skated under two of the most demanding – some would say hateful – leaders in Adams and Imlach. Jack’s problem in Detroit reminded me of why the Leafs didn’t originally sign Red back in 1946 when he was skating for St.Michael’s College with future NHLers Ted Lindsay and Jim Thomson. “The Toronto scout,” Red recalled, “didn’t want me because he said I wouldn’t last in the NHL for 20 games.” Likewise, Adams blew it when he figured Kelly’s legs were gone by 1959 and eventually unloaded him. So, Red went out and won four Cups and Adams got zilch.
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Kelly went on to enjoy both a coaching and political career, but I only got to know him personally after his retirement. Each year Kelly and his lovely wife, Andra, would show up at the annual Canadian Society of New York Hockey Awards dinner. It was then that I got to appreciate his warmth and sincerity. Those seemingly insignificant hockey chats remain among my fondest memories in more than a half-century on the hockey beat. But when I look back at my opening statement that Red could be evaluated as the greatest of all time, it’s not an idle throwaway line.
Look at it this way: More than Wayne Gretzky, more than Eddie Shore, more than Mario Lemieux or Bobby Orr, Red Kelly mastered every aspect of positional hockey, except goaltending. To this day he remains the most underrated superstar to come down the pike. Yet his dossier cannot be disputed. He was the balance wheel of champions as a defenseman in Detroit, and, as a center, the most decisive factor in creating a dynasty in Toronto more than a decade later. No other hockey player can make that statement.
When I brought these facts up to Kelly at one of the Canadian Society hockey dinners, he blushed as usual, which prompted me to tell him: “Red, you only had one problem as a hockey player, you never had a good press agent!”
Otherwise, Red Kelly would have been The Great One before The Great One!
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Tumbleweed Tendencies: A Conversation With Author Brian Panowich About His Debut Novel Bull Mountain

By Daniel Ford
July 1, 2015

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I became friendly with author Brian Panowich after I crashed a Twitter conversation between him, David Joy, and Michael Farris Smith about music, bourbon, and writing. That exchange led to the creation of Writer’s Bone’s “The Writer’s Guide to Music” and an advanced reader copy of Panowich’s debut novel Bull Mountain (which comes out July 7, and will be reviewed in this week’s “Bruce, Bourbon, and Books”).  
Panowich was also nice enough to talk to me about being a comic book kid, how he developed his writing style, and the inspiration for Bull Mountain.

Daniel Ford: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Brian Panowich: I think I knew when I was a little kid that I wanted to write. I lived in my head a lot and read books more than I did anything else. I was terrible at sports and I was pretty geeky. But as I got older, my endless string of other interests distracted me from writing and dragged me all over the place. I definitely wasn’t the guy that stayed focused his whole life on one goal and is now living his dream. Once I got my tumbleweed tendencies under control, I returned to writing as a plausible medium for me to create something. So although the seeds were planted when I was a boy, it took nearly thirty years for me to actually nurture them.

DF: Who were some of your early influences?

BP: I was a comic book kid. I still am, to be honest. Frank Miller, George Perez, Chris Claremont, they were the guys that taught me how to tell a story. As I moved forward, Edgar Rice Burroughs became a huge influence via my father’s bookshelf, and of course I went through a Stephen King phase, but then I found Elmore Leonard and Cormac McCarthy and nothing was really the same after that.

DF: What is your writing process like? Do you listen to music? Outline?

BP: I devour music like food. It’s as big a part of my everyday life as breathing, but I need total silence when I write. I can’t even tolerate a television in the background, so writing at home with my wife and four kids is pretty tough. I wrote the entirety of Bull Mountain locked up in a spare room at the fire station where I work. I’m lucky to have the kind of job that afforded me that extra time alone at night to write, or else it would have taken me a lot longer to do it. I applaud the folks that work a nine-to-five job, come home to a family, and still find the time to write.

Nowadays I use the few hours I have to myself while the kids are at school to write and I try to do it everyday, even if it’s just to jot down a few lines. I have to write something everyday or I feel unbalanced, like I wasted daylight. I don’t anyways want to, but once I start I usually end up engrossed with whatever I sit down to accomplish. And I do outline—to a degree. With Bull Mountain, I wrote a sentence or two summarizing each chapter that fit on the front of one sheet of paper. That was my road map. I veered from the map quite a bit, and that’s the point I think, to let the story tell itself, but that road map was there to steer me back on track if it got out of hand.

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DF: How did the idea for Bull Mountain originate?

BP: I always liked the idea of everyone thinking they are the heroes of their own story. The bad guy never thinks he’s the bad guy, so I wanted to write something to that end, but didn’t know exactly what about. I like to ride mountain bikes. I’m not very good at it, but I ride a lot and that’s where I do a lot of my plotting and scheming. I was out one day riding and listening to The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek,” and the first line hit me like a hammer. “When I get off of this mountain.” I know that’s not a lot of lyric, but that line struck me for some reason and within the next few miles, I had the general plot of Bull Mountain fleshed out. I wrote two short stories that night from two opposing points of view, one from my protagonist and one from my antagonist, with the idea in mind of not really knowing which was which. Those two stories got me my agent and became this book.

DF: The crime genre has certain built-in tropes that can deter some writers from taking the plunge. How did you ensure that your tale was original?

BP: I think it helped that the crime aspect of the novel was secondary. I wanted this book to speak more about the family dynamic of these people than the actual crimes they commit. I wanted to build a saga around that idea on par with something like The Godfather, and I didn’t spend a lot of time researching if the angles of the mystery had been used before. In fact I was positive they had been. With the billions of stories that exist in the world, written or spoken, it’s hard to believe any idea can be completely original, but it was still a story I wanted to tell with my own unique perspective, and I think that comes through. I also thought I was on to something by setting it in a part of the country I feel goes unnoticed. There’s a rich history in the North Georgia Mountains that I’m proud to be a part of now.

DF: How much of yourself—and the people you have daily interactions with—did you put into your main characters? How do you develop your characters in general?

BP: I think it’s impossible not to inject yourself into the people you write all the way across the board. Your good guy is the way you’d want to be at your best, and your bad guy is still a product of what you yourself define as bad, but at some point they stop being you and take on lives of their own. Clayton Burroughs started out very similar to me, but as the story became more about him, he became his own person. My villains are the same way. They might start off as bad as I think I could be, but before long I’m shocked at what they can do on their own. The bit players are largely based on people I’ve met over the years. I file away mannerisms and turns of phrase and blend them together to form new composites accordingly, but if a character progresses, I don’t see the person I based them on anymore. Kate Burroughs, Clayton’s wife, is a great example of that. Her character grew and grew as the story developed and before I knew it, she was dictating to me how she would act. I love it when that happens.

DF: What are some of the themes you tackle in Bull Mountain?

BP: Family. Dysfunction. Loyalty. Take those three and crank it up to eleven.

DF: When you finished your first draft, did you know you had something good, or did you have to go through multiple rounds of edits to realize you had something you felt comfortable taking to readers?

BP: I knew I had a pretty good starting point, but it was a good five or six drafts later before I was comfortable sending it to my agent. Even then, I think comfortable is the wrong word. It was more like, at some point I just needed to stand back and let go. That was tough for me to do. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a manuscript and say it’s done. I could revise and revise and revise forever and always find more things I could do to improve it. I think some authors get stuck in that and end up standing in their own way. That sucks, but I can understand how it happens.

DF: How do you balance writing and marketing your work (i.e. book tours, engaging with readers on social media, etc.)?

BP: I’m blessed in that department for two reasons.
1. I love running my mouth. I was born with the gift to gab and in most cases, when not mixed with copious amounts of bourbon, it works out for me in social settings. I enjoy connecting with people and talking about art, music, books, whatever. Social media is fun. It can be a little tedious and makes me feel a bit pretentious sometimes, but over all I enjoy it. I’m finding out that that makes me a touch different than a lot of other authors out there who are generally more secluded that I am.

2. I’m also working with a top-notch team at Putnam who knows exactly what they’re doing. That’s great because it allows me to focus on the fun part—the writing. Knowing I have the best marketing and PR people on the planet in my corner makes that balance incredibly easy.

DF: Now that you have your first novel under your belt, what’s next?

BP: I just turned in a second book in the McFalls County Series that features a lot of the same characters from Bull Mountain. That should be published by Putnam next year. I’m also in the process now of plotting out a third one. I love the idea of writing about different characters, and different eras even, that all share the commonality of place. The fictitious McFalls County is the only guaranteed recurring character. Bull Mountainacts as a springboard into that.

I also just finished a comic book script for a Hawkeye story I want to pitch to Marvel…(Hey Marvel, are you listening?)

DF: What advice would you give aspiring authors?

BP: Mainly, be wary of other author’s advice, especially those that make their money solely by giving it. There really are no rules. I’m not saying don’t ask questions of the writers you admire (I did) or that all “how-to” books are snake oil. Studying your profession and using the bits and pieces that make sense to you are essential, but any book, seminar, or pay-to-play contest that promises the moon can be downright predatory. Only three things are going to help you produce art for a living. Producing art, letting people see it, and doing both of those things with fearless tenacity. And none of that will cost you a dime.

DF: Can you please name one random fact about yourself?

BP: I rub my feet together like a cricket when I sleep. It makes my wife crazy.

To learn more about Brian Panowich, check out his official website, like his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @BPanowich.

Captain then, coach now: Brind’Amour coaxes Hurricanes back to conference finals

By Luke DeCock
May 3, 2019

Head coach Rod Brind'Amour of the Carolina Hurricanes makes remarks to the press following a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders in Game Four of Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 3, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Perhaps because he so assiduously downplays the role coaches play during the playoffs, deflecting credit to everyone from the video guys to the trainers, Rod Brind’Amour hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves during these playoffs.

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As a motivator, certainly he has. His ability to coax this uncommon resiliency out of this group has never been questioned, nor his able management of incredible fatigue as the injuries mounted and the first round wore on and the second round began without a break.

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But as a tactician? Rod the Bod has a brain on him, too, and his first-intermission tinkering Friday broke open a series that had been decided by the finest of margins and led to a comfortable final act of a second-round sweep of the New York Islanders.

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The Hurricanes will travel north to face the Boston Bruins or host the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference finals, but there are at least two games left in that series, which will give the Hurricanes some much-needed rest and recuperation after the first four-game sweep in franchise history – a 5-2 win in front of the largest crowd, 19,495, in franchise history.

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They’ll need the time, too, after playing their most physically engaged game of the playoffs, a dimension the Hurricanes will have to bring again no matter which team emerges from the other, brutal series. But it’s a luxury they suddenly have as they prepare for a fourth straight trip to the conference finals, now 16-6 in the second round in North Carolina over a span of, uh, 17 years.

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It’s time to recognize Brind’Amour’s role in that, and how it goes beyond postgame speechifying.

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“You listen to him talk, it’s all about hard work and effort, but there’s much more behind that,” said Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell, a former NHL head coach himself. “Motivating and getting players to play, a lot of guys can do that over the years. It’s the balance of being able to do that and make a decision about switching the lineup or whatever it might be at that point in the game that separates you from being a good coach to a great coach."

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“Obviously, a first-year coach, he’s going to learn a lot this year. And I think he has learned a lot this year and he’s only going to get better as time goes on."

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Brind’Amour’s defensive maneuvering late in the first-round series against the Washington Capitals – primarily to get Dougie Hamilton away from Alex Ovechkin – went largely unnoticed, as did the way he manipulated matchups on the road late in Game 7 to maximize Jordan Staal’s impact, two steps ahead of Todd Reirden. Only one of them looked like a rookie NHL coach.

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Justin Williams #14 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with teammates Jordan Staal #11 and Nino Niederreiter #21 after scoring a goal in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Islanders during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 3, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Friday, with the Hurricanes deadlocked with the New York Islanders through one very rough-and-tumble period, Brind’Amour went against his own typical form and shuffled his lines looking for a spark. It’s not his style, which is to hold things together as long as possible. He didn’t make a single goalie change until Petr Mrazek went down in Game 2 of this series, the 91st of the season.

But Brind’Amour ignored his more typical impulses Friday and moved some things around, elevating the surging Andrei Svechnikov and putting the two Finns back together, and was rewarded with two long, puck-dominating shifts to start the period – the first by Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Staal and Justin Williams, the second by Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen.

At the end of that second shift, Aho stole the puck behind the net and fed Warren Foegele coming right off the bench, who tapped it to a wide-open Teravainen at the far post, left alone by a baffled and beleaguered Islanders defense. That was the first of two goals in 66 seconds and three in less than seven minutes as the Hurricanes broke open this series for the first time, cruising to a surprisingly comfortable win in a series that had been anything but to that point.

“Generally you hope to put the lines together you think will work,” Brind’Amour said. “You don’t necessarily want to (stray) from that right away, because all year it has worked, in my opinion. I knew coming into this series I wasn’t super-excited about some of the matchups. I thought we got to it the other night, thought we had good line combinations and the matchups were good. Right away, I could tell in the first that this was not going to work. So we had our Plan B ready to go, and we went with it, and it worked out."

It wasn’t the first time in the playoffs that Brind’Amour had a sense of what his team needed when it needed it, and while he’s gotten proper acclaim for the off-the-ice component of that, his command of the Xs and Os has not been adequately recognized, especially in a series where the first three games could have gone either way.

“Obviously you get lost in the shuffle here a little bit in Carolina, but we’re becoming relevant and Roddie is a phenomenal coach and an unbelievable motivator,” Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said.

As a player or coach, Brind’Amour’s past four playoff appearances with the Hurricanes have all gotten at least this far. There’s a Brind’Amour component to that, whether as a two-way center or captain or coach. The last handshake line on this ice was followed by Brind’Amour lifting the Stanley Cup.

He wasn’t a Jack Adams finalist after dragging this team from the depths of the Eastern Conference to the playoffs, and there was certainly a learning curve along the way, but it turns out in the postseason Brind’Amour as a coach is the same way he was as a player: hard to beat.

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Friday, May 03, 2019

Today's Tune: Ben Dickey - I Think It's All Different

Why Christian Children Don’t Belong In Public Schools

By Aaron Ames
May 2, 2019

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(Associated Press/Seth Perlman)

Let’s get right to the point: many Christians throughout history shared the idea that God is the fundamental source of all truth, whether religious, academic, or otherwise. But what are we to make of a student who has spent 15 to 20 years studying academics without ever considering God’s relationship to these fields of knowledge? Does this kind of education not actually imply that God is not the source of all knowledge and truth?
It should really be no wonder that students so quickly abandon the faith after a year or two of university schooling. God has been left out of every meaningful field of knowledge by the end of high school, so it does not take much more prodding to decide that God never really fits in the first place.
In the 1963 court case Abington School District vs. Schempp, the Supreme Court eventually ruled, 8-1, in favor of a father who objected to his son being required to read the Bible in a Pennsylvania public school. This marked the beginning of numerous cases that created a clear precedent for removing elements of religion from schools.
Yet the majority opinion conceded “that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities” (374 U.S. 225).
In other words, while arguing that it was unconstitutional for schools to require student participation in religious exercises, the court decided was equally erroneous to deny all discussions of religion in public education. This, as the majority wrote, would constitute “hostility” toward religion and indirectly prefer secular value-judgments. The one dissenting justice went further, writing that to exclude religion from education is to give “preferential treatment” to those opposed to religion and would help establish “a religion of secularism” (374 U.S. 313).
Following this case, a federal study was commissioned to investigate the relationship between religion and education. They concluded that “A curriculum which ignored religion…would appear to deny that religion has been and is important in man’s history.” The point is clear: until recently, no one though “value-neutral” education was even possible. Yet today we insist that it is. Perhaps many of us have been equally convinced that the study of the material world (science) has very little to do with the study of God (theology). Where did we receive such ideas?

A Brief History Of Religion in Schools

In 362 the Roman Emperor Julian issued an edict forbidding Christianity to be taught in any schools while also instituting devotion to the pagan gods. Julian and Christians agreed that whoever controlled education controlled culture.
So, while Christians were barred from teaching in schools, students who were Christians were openly accepted, with the hope that they might be converted to paganism. Since these schools were the primary means by which an individual could achieve elite status and become a part of the noble, political, and ruling class, Julian assumed his edict would eventually end Christianity.
Julian underestimated the role the Christian church and home played in religious and educational training. Consider, for instance, the traditional Christian educational requirements, called catechesis, for a new believer before baptism. Often lasting three years, these catechumens would typically hear orations and interpretations of the entirety of scripture, be taught all of Christian doctrine and retain it through memorization of the early church creeds, while also being held accountable for moral and spiritual formation. Much of this process was overseen by the churches’ most educated bishops and priests, Augustine being one notable leader who spent considerable time teaching these courses.
Indeed, immediately following Julian’s edict, Basil, the bishop of Caesarea, wrote an “Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature.” It was heavily circulated throughout the church and became the lasting foundation for classical Christian education for centuries to come. In it, Basil argued that the Greek education provided a very welcome instruction in language, logic, and truth that prepares students for the much more difficult task of reading and interpreting Scripture.
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Yes, Basil assumed that reading Homer was preliminary preparation for reading scripture. Or, to put it more bluntly, he thought reading scripture was more difficult than reading Homer. And why should it not be? Homer is only partial truth, and finite. What comparison is that with the infinite truth of the eternal God?
One other significant aid to being trained in the Greek academy was learning the careful work of discerning what is true from what only has the initial appearance of truth. Today, we might ask how one can sift through what Martin Luther King Jr. called the “morass of propaganda” that targets us with every glimpse of the screen.
It is for this reason that Basil suggested that sifting through what is true and what is false in Greek literature was “preliminary training for the eye of the soul.” Of course, Basil would not have been confident that the students could sift through such had he not been convinced that the church’s rigorous religious instruction and formation would provide the necessary theological vision.
The question today, then, is whether we are sending our kids out into the world without properly equipping them with sufficient theological training? That is, do our children have the tools to identify truth when so much of the American church does so little theological training, especially in a society overwhelmed with disinformation?
Indeed, one wonders whether the American church could do any serious study when young Christians are being mentally drained for two-thirds of their days by a secular institution. As the dissenting Justice Stewart put it in Abington vs. Schempp: “a compulsory state educational system so structures a child’s life that if religious exercises are held to be an impermissible activity in schools, religion is placed at an artificial and state-created disadvantage” (374 U.S. 313). The point is that the state has ensured that the church gets the leftovers, or, perhaps more accurately, the crumbs.

The Transcendentals Ground a True Education

As a late professor of mine warned, “I fear that we live in an ahistorical age in which we believe that we are so wise that we no longer need the lessons of the past, perhaps most disturbingly of all that technology has put us beyond the lessons of the past” (J. Rufus Fears, “Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life”). The point is that those with the greatest foresight are equally skilled in the study of hindsight.
Both classical philosophy and Christianity agree that the purpose of education is to prepare one to live the good life, but that such living requires robust preparation. For this reason, the classically trained student is nurtured in the habit of reading literary works that have passed the test of time, and so offer a universal insight into the nature of mankind.
Contrast this with today’s public education, which is not only increasingly distancing itself from the humanities and great literature but is also ambivalent if not hostile toward virtue as the end goal of education. Traditional morality is being devoured by that one enlightened pseudo-virtue of tolerance, also known as indifference.
Bertrand Russell’s first encounter with math captures what so many children are missing: “At the age of eleven, I began Euclid, with my brother as my tutor. This was one of the great events of my life, as dazzling as first love. I had not imagined that there was anything so delicious in the world” (“Autobiography”).
It would not seem too far-fetched to suggest that typical students today are rarely incited to such delightful marvel in their own encounters with geometry, much less any other discipline. Yet, for the classicist and the Christian, Russell’s sentiment summarily defines the goal of education, which is, properly speaking, not an increase of information but an increase of imagination.

Does Your Child Wonder in the Glory of Creation?

Instead, today’s student (and presumably teacher) probably relates far better to the detached and anesthetized paradigm of Charles Dickens’s “enlightened” superintendent in “Hard Times,” Mr. Gradgrind: “Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of any service to them.”
This is, of course, the necessary outcome of dividing the academic disciplines from their transcendental parents of truth, goodness, and beauty. This leaves none other than cold, passionless, uninteresting facts. And these facts supervene on reality, but they have no ability to tell us anything beyond themselves.
It is for this reason that C.S. Lewis, among others, has suggested that the pinnacle of classical education is to set our gaze on that which is ordered, harmonious, and ultimately beautiful, precisely because it prepares us for that final beatific vision of the Triune God. Perhaps, then, one of the greatest litmus tests for determining schooling’s effects on students is to see, by graduation, whether they still retain that childlike capacity for wonder and awe.
This is where public schools are desperately failing and Christian classical schools are thriving. As G.K. Chesterton quipped in his “Tremendous Trifles,” “The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” The loss of wonder and beauty is one of the greatest tragedies in our modern climate of education.
Perhaps the most damning case against public education is that it neither teaches nor believes in the transcendentals of truth, goodness, and beauty, the very pillars of the education that built the western world. The consequences of this dichotomy are life-changing: classical schools are producing students who are deeply attuned to these objective realities, while public schools are producing students whose spiritual vision is dimmed to objectivity itself.
In his treatise “The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition,” Dr. E. Christian Kopff contends that, “A society without educated citizens will collapse in times of crisis and will wither away in times of ease and prosperity. Simply put, a civilization without educated citizens will cease to be civilized.”
In times of cultural and decadent decline, the church has risen to lead the way. Because classical education does not merely differ in content of information, but especially in intent of formation, as its ultimate aim is to leisure in the infinite rather than toil in the finite, it might just be our “last, best hope” to save Western civilization. At the very least, it offers a robust Christian education, whereby young Christians will be prepared, confident, and capable of bearing witness to the gospel in the marketplace of idol gods.
Aaron Ames teaches rhetoric, logic, speech, and literature at Trinity Christian Academy in Lexington, Kentucky. He has published essays with The Imaginative Conservative and Circe Institute.

Leaky Bob is Desperate to Slow the Reckoning

May 2, 2019

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William Barr and Robert Mueller

Don’t fool yourself. This latest assault on Attorney General Barr is a coordinated hit job cooked up between the media, the special counsel, and their allies in Congress. And it has only one purpose, to stop or slow Barr’s inquiry into the gross abuses leading up to the effort to spy on the Trump campaign.
Shortly after arriving at the Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr directed the Mueller team to prepare their report so the grand jury information that could not be disclosed could be readily identified and redacted in order to make the fastest possible release to the public. He did it again March 5, 2019, when the attorney general met with the special counsel to instruct him to prepare the report with an eye towards making the redactions as easy as possible. “I asked that they [the Mueller team] identify [grand jury] material.” When he received the report on March 22, it was clear that Mueller defied Barr’s request. “Unfortunately, it did not come in that form,” and Barr quickly realized that it would take “3 or 4 weeks” to untangle the mess Mueller made.
I explained exactly why Mueller defied Barr here: “By salting the report with grand jury information that required redaction, Mueller guarantees the president remains subject to the innuendo and suspicion that comes with unnecessary secrecy.” In other words, it was a dirty trick. Open your eyes, Mr. Attorney General, because they’re coming for you now.
“Leaky Bob” Mueller, who repeatedly has violated rules against using the newspaper as a courtroom, recently struck again leaking his March 27, 2019 letter to Attorney General Barr in which he objects to the attorney general’s failure to disclose to the public the introduction and executive summary of each volume of the special counsel’s report. Leaky Bob’s team has leaked, by one count more than 25 times, and that count needs to be updated to add several more leaks that have happened since the list was compiled.
This new leak tells us that after Barr sent Congress the letter providing the bottom-line conclusions of the report, Mueller redacted the report summaries and transmitted them to Barr on the 25th of March, the next day. Remember, this is something Barr asked Mueller to do beforehand. Instead, Mueller purposely created a dispute over how to characterize the report so he could undermine his boss with leaks to the media. It’s no coincidence that Mueller would write a letter urging Barr to release these summaries the day after Slate made this implausibly prescient guess, “Mueller surely wrote an executive summary of his findings for Barr, and it clearly would have been easier for Barr simply to give Congress and the public Mueller’s summary than to write this letter himself.” Mueller clearly was coordinating message with the press.
Allow me quickly to dispense with how ridiculous of an attempt this is to discredit Attorney General Barr before moving to the extremely damning view it gives us of Mueller’s actions. As noted by the attorney general, 98 percent of volume 2, the portion that deals with “obstruction” has been made available to the public. The report is “lightly redacted.” The media, currently in a froth over how Attorney General Barr summarized a report, can now simply read and summarize the report however they want. We can draw our own conclusions and, while Barr’s summary was totally factual and accurate, it failed to strike that initial public relations blow Mueller wanted to land against the president.
I thought we were still pretending that the Mueller political hit squad were not bunch of leaky lawyers who use sycophant media instead of courtrooms to trash their targets? I guess we’ve dropped that pretense and now Mueller is scolding Barr for not issuing a get-Trump-compliant press release.
Coordinating with their allies in the media and the Senate, Mueller has attempted to set-up the attorney general. Barr was asked whether he knew why Mueller’s team was upset with the attorney general’s summary. He said he did not know what their concerns were. That was a truthful statement. But Sen. Patrick Leahy has attempted to use Mueller’s leaked letter to argue that the attorney general lied to Congress when he said he didn’t know what was of concern to Mueller’s team. The attorney general gave a factual and able explanation for the ginned up discrepancy.
Mueller should not have leaked this letter. Essentially, Mueller argues that Barr should have used the summary to mount a public relations attack on the president. Mueller’s leaked letter cites 28 C.F.R. §609(c), a regulation that does not exist. This appears to be a sloppy typo with intended reference to 28 C.F.R. §600.9(c) which allows the attorney general (not the special counsel) to determine whether release of the special counsel’s report is in the public interest. The regulation further provides, “All other releases of information by any Department of Justice employee, including the Special Counsel and staff, concerning matters handled by Special Counsels shall be governed by the generally applicable Departmental guidelines concerning public comment with respect to any criminal investigation, and relevant law.”
Isn’t it interesting that the $35 million special counsel dream team can’t write a letter to the attorney general without bungling the only legal citation fig leafing an otherwise nakedly-partisan scold? Not when you remember these hacks bungled their one and only case in a courtroom leading to a confused but mostly anti-Trump jury returning a mistrial on more than half of the presented counts.
Was leaky Bob Mueller authorized to leak this letter to the Washington Post? Justice Department general regulation on confidentiality and media contact provides “DoJ personnel should presume that non-public, sensitive information obtained in connection with work is protected from disclosure…[and] disclosure of such information to anyone…is prohibited….”
Why would the public need to read about a dispute over how to preview a report we now have in its entirety? The reason is simple, to mount an attack on an attorney general who can’t seem to get with the deep state program. Barr is not a partisan hack. Hoax boosters were lulled into a sense of false hope by Barr’s close friendship with Mueller. Thus they might have hoped he would have looked the other way at the malfeasance that led to the Mueller probe in the first place-Clinton’s dirty dossier and the politically corrupt Justice Department officials who peddled it to throw the election to Clinton. Barr doesn’t seem to share the media’s view that “spying” on a political campaign is not a big deal so long as the spying is done with the consent of the partisan leadership of the DoJ.
What is Mueller’s endgame here? Impeachment? Don’t be ridiculous. An impeachment vote could be taken before dinnertime tonight. It requires a bare majority. But impeachment is not a conviction. The matter would then proceed to the Senate with no hope of conviction. The cooler heads among the media have correctly noted that impeaching President Trump would make him stronger.
To answer that question, go back and look at where the Mueller people were standing on the night that Donald Trump shocked the world by upsetting Hillary Clinton. Robert Mueller left a $3.4 million partner job with WilmerHale, the same law firm that had just won a lawsuit for the Clinton Foundation, keeping Clinton emails secret. The Mueller probe provided former Clinton Foundation attorney Jeannie Rhee withthe opportunity once again to protect Clinton by making sure the word “Fusion” never appeared in the Mueller report and by steering the Papadopoulos prosecution to help obscure the role of the Clinton-financed dossier in the hoax. The end-game is to continue to protect the coup plotters and deep-state bad actors who have used surveillance of Americans in much the same way the Soviets used it in Eastern Germany.
Mueller was friends with fired FBI Director James Comey who should have been in trouble for leaking classified information. Mueller’s position on the probe gave him the ability to protect his friend while supposedly investigating the Trump/Russia hoax. Mueller even helped prepare Comey for his congressional testimony. The Carter Page FISA warrant abuse is actually a tiny tip of a giant iceberg of FISA abuse leading back to Comey’s bogus certification to the FISA court that promised the court that Americans were not being improperly spied upon. Mueller probe #2 Weissmann was literally standing in the Clinton election-night (supposed to be victory) party. The probe provided these people a unique platform for their revenge.
This is high stakes stuff. If the elites can continue using intelligence and law enforcement to interfere in American elections, they will eventually get good at it and we will lose our republic. The deep state allies are fighting like the “Unsullied” protecting the gates of Winterfell to cover for the bad actors still fumbling for their golden parachutes. Bottom line, the report, these new leaks, they’re just desperate attempts to delay the reckoning. The attorney general is now subject of a campaign of smear and intimidation and he must be protected so he can hold these villains to account.
That reckoning cannot come soon enough.