476 episodes

Steven Hayward brings you the Power Line Blog's perspective on the week's big headlines. Follow Power Line on Twitter (https://twitter.com/powerlineus) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/powerlineblog). Send any suggestions, tips, and fan mail to powerlinefeedback@gmail.com.

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    • News

Steven Hayward brings you the Power Line Blog's perspective on the week's big headlines. Follow Power Line on Twitter (https://twitter.com/powerlineus) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/powerlineblog). Send any suggestions, tips, and fan mail to powerlinefeedback@gmail.com.

    The Two Whisky Happy Hour: Will It Get Worse Before It Gets Worse?

    The Two Whisky Happy Hour: Will It Get Worse Before It Gets Worse?

    This week's ad-free episode is probably better thought of as a Two Whisky Happy Hour, because John Yoo is away on a lecture- and Philly-cheesesteak-procurement tour back east, and Lucretia is out of action right now, too, though she appears in this episode by proxy, so to speak. So two whiskies it is.

    Last weekend, Lucretia and I offered a keynote session for Ammo Grrrll's annual CommenterCon conference in Phoenix, which is an annual gathering of Ammo Grrrll's best friends and devoted fans from around the country. My theme was "Will it get worse before it gets worse?", and Lucretia offered some thoughts on the future of free speech.

    We had some technical difficulties with our sound recording devices, so the recording has a sudden and noticeable quality shift right in the middle, and you can't always make out the audience questions perfectly, but we think listeners will still enjoy most of it.

    • 1 hr
    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Letter from the Birmingham Starbucks Edition

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Letter from the Birmingham Starbucks Edition

    Steve hosts this crisp episode despite his creaky voice from a springtime bug (and Lucretia is partly hobbled, too) covering a lot of ground, starting with a brief recap of the latest (unanimous!) property rights victory at the Supreme Court, but then moving quickly on to initial reactions to the outbreak of World War III yesterday. What to make of Iran's attack on Israel? Many things are not clear about this impetuous scene.

    Closely related, while the Biden Administration seems determined to tamp down the prospect of a wider war in the Middle East, it seems to be inviting one with Antony (Blank) Blinken saying a week ago that Ukraine should or would become a member of NATO. Are they trying to make Russia dig in, or draw the U.S. more directly into the war (which NATO membership would require)? We also ponder J.D. Vance's very clear-headed New York Times op-ed that reviews the grim math of the Ukranian battle scene, making us wonder whether the Biden Administration has any strategy at all beyond "fight to the last Ukranian."

    Then we ponder briefly the astounding scene of the anti-Semitic protests in the back yard of Berkeley Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, with Steve arging that to see this incident as a matter of the limits of free speech is woefully inadequate. 

    But the bulk of the episode is devoted to analyzing the latest abortion controversies, starting with the Arizona Supreme Court decision upholding the validity of Arizona's pre-Roe statutes, and observing as usual the way this narrow and largely technical ruling is being mis-reported in the media and misrepresented by the left. The main portion of this segment, though, is devoted to Trump's announcement that he does not support federal legislation of abortion and wants to leave the issue iup to the states. Does this make him the modern-day equivalent of Stephen Douglas, as John Davidson argues in our Article of the Week over at The Federalist? Lucretia will startle many regular listeners with her analysis of the matter, to which John and Steve largely agree.

    In fact, it is an amazing how much agreement we had this week, but perhaps because we recorded in the morning sans-whisky, and with Steve and Lucretia ailing.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: On Earthquakes, Physical and Political

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: On Earthquakes, Physical and Political

    John Yoo takes command of host duties this week, as Steve was on the road at an academic conference at City University of New York, where a knowledgeable faculty member remarked that he was surprised Steve didn't need an armed guard. The conference was largely devoted to the intellectual history of the liberal tradition, and was designed perfectly to induce a scornful snort from Lucretia who disdains all such flim-flummery. The bonus was that Steve apparenlty brought an earthquake with him, and we're not referring to his conference paper!

    Aside from these unexpected things, there were fresh tremors for Trump's legal problems, Biden's long-expected turn against Israel that was designed to appear to a constituency of one (hint: the person insists on being called DOKTOR), fresh encomiums for Mitch McConnell (okay—it was not unanimous), and finally into some tremors for the income tax.  

    As Stan Evans liked to say, "Any country that can land a man on the moon can abolish the income tax," and now a member of the House has proposed repealing the 16th Amendment. Especially salient in light of the pending Supreme Court case that might allow the government to tax unrealized asset gains (a back-door wealth tax), which will guarantee that the government will adopt a de facto policy of 10 percent inflation forever.

    • 1 hr 19 min
    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: To Obscenity and Beyond

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: To Obscenity and Beyond

    This week's episode has it all, starting with the lamentable fact that when you hear "porn is everywhere these days," it included even the Powerline website this week, and then proceeding to the obscenity of the John Eastman disbarment, the disappointment with the 5th Circuit's decision preventing Texas from securing its territorial integrity, on how best to squash squatters, and a vigorous argument about the legacy of the recently deceased Joe Lieberman. (Steve and John give Lieberman a thumbs-up, while Lucretia. . .)

    All three of us independently chose the same article for our picks for Article of the Week—Walter Russell Mead's Tablet magazine piece entitled "Twilight of the Wonks." It has some magnificently harsh language about the leaders of our elite educational institutions, such as "moral jellyfish," and leaders who are "careerist mediocrities who specialize in uttering the approved platitudes of the moment." We're less sure about Mead's diagnosis about the role of narrow specialization in the decay of our universities.

    At least we have Krispy Kreme donuts coming soon to McDonald's to look forward to.

    • 1 hr 16 min
    The Three Whisky Happy Hour—With a Twist!

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour—With a Twist!

    This episode could be mistaken for the Three Martini Happy Hour, because this week's episode comes with a tangy twist. John Yoo is away this week, so we brought in a ringer to take his place: Prof. Hadley Arkes! Thus this episode become a Positivism-Free Zone, in which we review the deepest ground of the natural law unencumbered by John's usual alarums, excursions, and errors.

    The episode comes in three parts: Hadley made some news yesterday, celebrating the retirement of the noted Notre Dame Law professor Gerard V. Bradley, who will be joining Hadley at the James Wilson Institute on Natural Law and the American Founding. 

    From there Hadley proceeds to answering the question that we've been kicking around ever since the Dobbs decision, namely, just how should pro-life politicians break out of their self-imposed muteness about abortion. Hadley has the strategy.

    Finally, we spend some time toward the end getting down some of Hadley's "origin story" that brought him to Leo Strauss's classroom at the University of Chicago back in the 1960s, and key friendships made along the way—especially our late friend and unsung hero Michael Uhlmann.

    Note: We had some internet glitches while recording this episode that weren't easily edited or smoothed over, so we ask listeners' indulgence with these hiccups, in return for which we'll present this installment ad-free.

    • 1 hr 17 min
    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Hur, Harried, Hopeless, and Fiery!

    The Three Whisky Happy Hour: Hur, Harried, Hopeless, and Fiery!

    Move over "Republicans pounce" as the favorite media deflection. We now know that when an old man yells at clouds—or members of Congress—the media fall in line and declare it "fiery."

    Well the 3WHH is authentically fiery! Four habanero spicy! This week more than ever.

    After dissecting the Hur testimony and its missed opportunities, we take on the issue of whether Biden is playing senile on purpose, what to make of the Tik-Tok forced sale proposal, what to make of Chuck Schumer's proposal for an putsch in Israel, and finally, another round in the ring on constitutional originalism, prompted by Frank DiVito's article out this week, "Can Constitutional Originalism Overcome Our Crisis?"

    • 1 hr 8 min

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