A Nuclear Iran?



On Tuesday I spent some time with the reelected prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. I think he was happy to take a short break from his Herculean labors of putting together a government and dealing with controversies galore. So we engaged in some small talk and exchanged compliments and stories about our parents. I particularly enjoyed his fascinating account of his father’s work with the great Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the last year of Jabotinsky’s life, and his father’s subsequent efforts to rally support in the United States during World War II for European Jewry and for the creation of the state of Israel. His failure on the first front and his success in the second is a useful reminder of the extent to which, in politics, tragedy and triumph are not alternatives but cousins.

Speaking of triumphs, I did of course congratulate the prime minister on his reelection ...


Mischief at the U.N.

Obama toys with cutting Israel adrift in the Security Council.


Netanyahu and Obama share a warm moment, May 20, 2011.

Immediately after Israel’s March 17 election, Obama administration officials threatened to allow (or even encourage) the U.N. Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state and confine Israel to its pre-1967 borders. Within days, the president himself joined in, publicly criticizing not just Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Obama has had notoriously bad relations, but sectors of Israeli opinion and even Israel itself.

The administration leaks suggesting that Israel be cut adrift in the Security Council in effect threatened “collective punishment” as a weapon in U.S.-Israel relations. This is especially ironic coming from “progressives” who have repeatedly accused Israel of “collective punishment” by forcefully retaliating against terrorist attacks. But more important, exposing Israel to the tender mercies of its Security Council opponents harms not only Israel’s interests, but America’s in equal measure. Roughly half of ...

Palmer, right, listens to GOP colleague Alex Mooney of West Virginia  before a B

Gary Palmer Goes to Washington

A man of policies, ideas, and solutions.


In 1989, Gary Palmer founded the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank. By the time he resigned as its president last year, API had become a powerful force on state issues, everything from pensions to prison reform to politics. Palmer led the successful fight against ...

Big Stock Photo

My Life As a Woman

Of bonbons and mango-scented body scrub.


Transgender persons are in the news so much lately that they’ve almost forced sinister college fraternities and ISIS off the front page. Media coverage of the transgender issue has been attention-getting, positive, and (please raise my consciousness if I’m somehow making an ...

The view from Tokyo: an upside-down map of East Asia

Japan’s Tense Neighborhood

China talks about a ‘peaceful rise,’ even as it probes for weakness.


Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
Japan's Air Self-Defense Force base on Okinawa shares a runway with the civilian planes on this island about 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo. When the American-made Japanese F-15s scramble, as they often do these ...

A government outfit—whether Congress likes it or not

Amtrak Is Ruled a Public Entity

A 9-0 Court takes on the administrative state.


America’s freight railroads get to continue their argument with Amtrak, America’s passenger rail service.

That is the practical outcome of the Supreme Court’s recent 9-0 decision in Department of Transportation v. Association of ...

photo illustration, the weekly standard

The Closing of the Campus Mind

Schools of social work are silencing conservatives.


"I can’t have you participate in class anymore.”

I was on my way out of class when my social welfare and policy professor casually called me over to tell me this. The friendliness of her tone did not match her words, and I attempted a shocked, ...

‘...as long, that is, as government experts agree with us.’

Resisting Bureaucracy

Republicans rediscover the Congressional Review Act.


The third time will apparently be the charm for the Federal Communications Commission’s “net neutrality” regulations. Having been shot down twice by the courts in earlier attempts to regulate broadband, members of the commission—enterprising bureaucrats that they are—found new ...


Troublemaker for Tyrants

Thor Halvorssen hammers the Kims


Jung Yeon-Je / AFP/ Getty

From the moment his dead-of-night emails, texts, and encrypted Wickr messages start flooding my inboxes like a storm surge, it’s clear that Thor Halvorssen, who keeps vampire hours, is not your average clock-punching do-goodnik. 

The 39-year-old Halvorssen is president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF), which he launched in 2005. Half-Norwegian, half-Venezuelan (born and raised in Caracas, he speaks accentless American English), he descends from assorted swashbucklers and heads of state. His paternal grandfather Øystein, who was the Norwegian king’s consul in Venezuela during World War II, diverted all of Norway’s merchant fleet to Venezuelan ports when the Germans invaded his homeland, then had a fistfight with a couple Nazis when they stopped by to object. His mother is descended from the first president of Venezuela, Cristóbal Mendoza, as well as from Simón “The ...

Books & Arts

The Jungle Books

On the intellectual origins of evolution


Resident of Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo)

In 1856, while hiking through the woods in Borneo, the English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace saw some movement in the trees. On a quest to hunt great apes, he didn’t waste time. The female orangutan that tumbled out of the tree turned out to be surprisingly hard to kill: Three shots were needed before she fell dead. It was then that Wallace found that she had been holding a small baby, not more than a foot long, in her arms. Wallace picked her up and adopted her.  

Over the next few months he fed his “orphan baby” from a bottle and with biscuits soaked in water. He made a little cradle for her and a pillow from an old stocking, gave her baths, rubbed her dry, and even found a monkey playmate for her. In short, he did everything for her a human parent—or, given the expectations of the time, a human mother—would have done. (Perhaps with the exception of the monkey playmate.) 

“There never was such a baby as my baby,” ...

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Here Comes Trouble

The Internet is the mob’s best friend


After two years of reading and writing about those who live the politicized life—those who suffuse every aspect of their personas with politics and allow ideological considerations to trump all others—I’d finally found what I was looking for: I’d discovered the worst person in the ...

Patriotic Betrayal The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret  Campaign to Enroll Amer

War of Words

The CIA and the postwar clash of ideas


Some 60 million people perished in World War II. Before the embers of that terrible conflagration could cool, a new conflict loomed. Joseph Stalin’s Russia was imposing a cruel dictatorship on the conquered peoples of Eastern Europe and threatening Western Europe by subversion and ...

Gladly Teach? A more rational division of power on campus.

Gladly Teach?

A more rational division of power on campus


Last century, American professors accomplished a miracle. In a nation not known for its love of intellectuals, the American Association of University Professors declared, in 1915, that they were more than employees. Their relationship to trustees, who are legally responsible for ...

‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ (1945)

A Leading Lady

The 70 years (and counting) of Angela Lansbury on stage and screen


Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury is presently headlining a tour of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, the play that won her a fifth Tony in 2009. She plays Madame Arcati, an eccentric medium who conjures up a novelist’s dead wife to the tune of Irving Berlin’s “Always,” much to the ...

Charles Walters (behind the camera), Judy Garland in ‘Summer Stock’ (1950)

It Takes a Village

The ‘auteur theory’ meets the life and work of Charles Walters


Fifty years ago, a wildly heated cultural battle broke out between two movie critics: a New Yorker named Andrew Sarris and a San Franciscan named Pauline Kael. Sarris was the chief American expositor of the “auteur the


Skin in the Game

David Skinner's body for sin.


henna, Madeleine chalk; photo, James allen

I got married on April Fool’s Day, but not to make some kind of point, ironic or otherwise. It was just one of the Saturdays on the calendar when my fiancée Cynthia and I were trying to schedule our wedding. 

It would be, I initially thought, inconvenient that our anniversary would forever hold another, not necessarily complementary, meaning. But, perhaps for that very reason, other soon-to-be-wed couples avoided the day and made it easier for us to book a church and reception hall. 

But if you thought it an odd choice to wed on the corniest day of the year, we didn’t want to hear it. Any caterer or flower seller who made an “Are you serious?” face was off the list. The decision to marry on April Fool’s Day became a rallying point for us, a trivial thing that took on greater meaning the more we had to defend it.

From there it was a short mental skip to embracing ...





My Kingdom for a Hearse

Readers with sharp memories will recall that, a little over two years ago, The Scrapbook was pleased to report the results of a forensic DNA test: The skeleton that had been unearthed in 2012 in a Leicester, England, parking lot, and which had been thought to be the remains of ...

Gay Parade

We Don’t Need No Thought Control

The chapter of the Young America’s Foundation at George Washington University is currently threatened with a loss of funding for refusing to attend mandatory LGBT sensitivity training. The student government at GWU recently made this a requirement for all student leaders, and YAF ...


All the News That’s Fit to Click

Normally The Scrapbook is pleased to learn of advances in technology allowing greater numbers of people access to the news. Ceteris paribus, these innovations help cultivate an informed public and, we like to hope, keep our journalistic colleagues from the economic ...


Chuck Bednarik (1925-2015)

By happy accident, the city of Philadelphia has been blessed over the years with a number of sports stars who embody the city’s general temperament: pugnacious, diligent, and impolitic. The town has little love for professional athletes in the movie star or gentleman mode. Instead, ...


The Dark Side of Cage-Free

Whn shopping for eggs, you’ll notice the cartons often tout being cage-free, free-range, or pasture-raised. The move -towards giving hens more space has been gaining ground for some time. -According to the Wall Street Journal, 17 million hens (6 percent of the U.S. ...


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