Sunday, December 22, 2019

How holy was it really?

Blues guitar ace Joe Bonamassa, apart from his considerable musical chops, is also a master of self-promotion, so emails from the people in his retinue authorized to speak for him do not come as a surprise. JB has minions who communicate with fans every week, and his online store also sells "merch" associated with other musicians. Everything from bobble-head dolls to t-shirts, pins, and guitar picks is offered there, all of it evocative of what the marketing elves assure us is a "blues lifestyle."

More often than not, I smile at the "Buy Now!" and "Watch Now!" earnestness of the Bona-machine, knowing that it would be churlish to begrudge musicians a money-making opportunity. But JB can try my patience, even though I've never met the man. One reason I prefer lesser-known acts like Martha Bassett and the Blue-Eyed Bettys is that their email communication with fans tends not to overwhelm, whereas Bonamassa's multi-channel approach inevitably touts both what he's done and what he plans to do next, with side trips into what he likes and what he thinks you should like.

This morning, Joe Bonamassa's crew blasted out an email with the off-putting subject line, "The most rockin' 'O Holy Night' ever -- Watch Now!"

I do not think that was an appeal to people in my (traditionalist) demographic, because my initial reaction to that directive was to think "What fresh hell is this?"

Let me explain what I see as JB's interpretive failure, while opening a can of "Get off my lawn" familiar to other devotees of the weaponized quotation mark:  "O Holy Night" is my favorite Christmas carol, and it's supposed to be transcendent, not 'rockin.' "

Joe's "guitar face" smirk and shades don't suggest awestruck wonderment or tranquility, which is probably why he felt the need to keep his toggle switch duct-taped into the "blues" position. In this case, however, he's committing what I think is a musical misdemeanor of the kind that YouTube icon Rick Beato alluded to when he said that the problem with competitive singing shows on TV is that they put a premium on vocal fireworks and "note chasing" that can be a disservice to songs. Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, or Townes Van Zandt wouldn't come within a million miles of winning a competition like "The Voice," yet each of them is (or was) indisputably a top-shelf artist. There's a reason why the definitive duet on "Seven Spanish Angels" is by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson rather than, for example, singers of arguably greater vocal prowess like Randy Meisner and David Bowie.

If you're going to cultivate or celebrate a sense of the sacred, you have to start humbly rather than from the "here, hold my beer" point of view on which so much rock (turn it up!) or blues (you think you've got it bad?) depends. "O Holy Night" is not a rock anthem, and shouldn't be treated as such. When I want a feeling of reverence evoked by the whammy bar on a Fender Stratocaster, my go-to guitarist is Mark Knopfler, anyhow.

Bonamassa bends notes expertly, and he's got the same fondness for creative distortion that Jimi Hendrix had, but there are compositions that ought not be messed with even in the interest of refreshing them, and O Holy Night is one of those. Adolphe Adam's stellar contribution to the corpus of Christmas music doesn't need a blues-rock overlay.

I don't mean to suggest that "stay in your lane" is an ironclad musical commandment. The folk-punk cover of "Sweet Child o' Mine" by a German polka ensemble has much to recommend it. But The Heimatdamisch lent knowing humor to their Guns n' Roses homage.

Competent artists can take a sturdy chestnut like O Holy Night and add welcome filigree (even if that means singing it while you wear a cowboy hat in church). They can also go beyond filigree to turn the carol into a power ballad, as Jennifer Nettles has done, although her impressive effort remains less affecting than Martina McBride playing it straight with the same material.

But Bonamassa's take on O Holy Night subverts and cheapens the 19th-century French poem on which that carol is based. JB and his accomplices don't play the hymn as an exercise in Christian piety. For them, it's just another platform from which to showcase their virtuosity. Apparently they wouldn't know liturgical resonance if they tripped over it.

JB needs an introduction to Gregorian chant, a refresher on the joys of acoustic music, or a few pointers from what Alison Krauss did so sublimely in the river for the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. In this instance, at least, Bonamassa has forgotten the axiom about the singer serving the song rather than the other way around.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A solid movie year

In no particular order, 2019 gave us:
  • Yesterday
  • Ford v. Ferrari
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon
  • Rocketman
  • Richard Jewell
  • Harriet
  • Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
  • Unplanned
  • Knives Out
In my blog, that's a movie year to be thankful for.

If I were giving out the Academy Awards, I'd tap Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell) for Best Actor, and Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) for Best Actress. As for Best Picture, I'm thinking either Ford v. Ferrari or The Peanut Butter Falcon, even though both films have no shot at that award among the glitterati who do the actual voting about such things.

I'm also sympathetic to the idea that when you get right down to it, art should not be competitive, because it is not sport. If you think that one through, I suppose it means that art can ultimately be "good" or "bad," but not "best". Lists are made for convenience, but it's silly to compare Casablanca (for example) with The Searchers -- both films sit firmly in the "good" column.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Navajo Prayer

There are shades of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Patrick in this stirring blessing over at Gerard's blog.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Zoglin summarizes Elvis

Elvis hardly enhanced his stature in the rock world by becoming a Las Vegas star. The gaudy setting, the show biz affectations, the sentimental ballads, the mostly middle-aged, middlebrow audience, the housewives with bouffant hairdos who sat swooning in the front rows-- it hardly jibed with the motivating ethos of so many rock performers in the late sixties. They saw their music as an avenue for personal expression, social-political protest, and artistic experimentation. All Elvis wanted to do was sing.

And sing to everybody. Las Vegas wasn't just a creative resurrection for Elvis; it was also his grand statement of inclusiveness. No one was more responsible than Elvis, back in the mid-1950s, for driving the initial stake that split the music audience, and eventually the entire culture, in two: the adults who listened to the pop standards and Hit Parade tunes sung by Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Rosemary Clooney; and the kids who embraced a new kind of music called rock 'n' roll. By the end of the sixties, the battle had grown awfully lopsided: rock was becoming mainstream, while the old-style crooners were reduced to a few creaky TV variety shows, a diminishing roster of night clubs--and Las Vegas.

Elvis wanted to bring everyone back together under one tent. He was a rocker and a child of Memphis blues, but also an unabashed romantic; he loved Mario Lanza as well as Bo Diddley. He could kick ass in "What I'd Say" or go for the tears with "Memories." For Elvis, it was all music. He was a great populist -- a uniter, not a divider-- and Vegas gave him his greatest platform. He brought his showmanship, his matchless voice, and the urgency of an artist on a mission to redeem himself. Las Vegas brought the crowds. Neither would ever be the same again.

-- from Elvis in Vegas, by Richard Zoglin (2019, Simon & Schuster)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Unsung hero

Three cheers (or four big whacks on the snare) for Buddy Harman, the drummer who helped Roy Orbison make "Pretty Woman" a classic rock song.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Speaking words of wisdom...

Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino in Justice on Trial:

"While abandoning some of their proper role, courts have also usurped the powers normally reserved to Congress. The legislative process is notoriously messy, and nobody thinks the sausage factory produces a perfect product every time. So when a judge is faced with a law that seems to function poorly, there is a temptation to step in. The legislators appear sloppy or foolish or, if it is an old law, blinded by the prejudices of their time. A nip here, a tuck there, and the law will function so much better. But the Constitution doesn't establish the judiciary as the copy editors of the legislature. They are supposed to apply the law, not improve it."

Hear, Hear!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

More Horowitz

The call to 'define what kind of country we are' is an ominous agenda for Americans. The Constitution already defines the kind of country we are. That document has served America well for over 200 years. It has made this nation a beacon of freedom for the entire world. America is unique among nations in having been defined in its creation. But redefining America is exactly what the radical left and the Democratic Party have been doing for the last fifty years.

David Horowitz on his turnaround

This is from the book Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America (2018). David Horowitz writes about how the 1974 murder of his friend Betty Van Patter by members of the Black Panther Party gave spurs to his political journey from Left to Right:

"Betty's murder confronted me with a brutal reality: injustice is not caused by an abstraction called 'society,' as we on the left had maintained. Nor was injustice caused by oppressive races and genders, or solely by our political enemies. Injustice is the result of human selfishness, deceitfulness, malice, envy, greed, and lust. Injustice is the inevitable consequence of our free will as human beings. 'Society' is not the cause of injustice. Society is merely a reflection of who we are.

"The politically correct, who think it is their mission to save the world, cannot fix the problems that afflict us, because the problems are our creations. Theirs and ours. Because the self-appointed social redeemers seek too much power, and do not understand the source of evil and injustice, they will only make the problems worse-- as the romance with Communism has shown."

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Thermostat follies

I did not lampoon the new federal recommendation from the Department of Energy saying that you should set your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer, even though recommendations have a disturbing way of metastasizing into actual laws, particularly under Democrat presidents.

The Energy Star partisans at that agency also say that you should jack the temperature up to 82 degrees when you sleep, for the sake of -- what else? -- energy savings.

Talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh was among the people who did lampoon the new guidelines (on his show yesterday), and that made me happy. Whether this is a "perfect example of socialist government" I couldn't say, but I concur with Mr. Limbaugh's scorn for the idea that having a ceiling fan blowing on your face at night mitigates the discomfort of trying to sleep at 82 or 85 degrees.

While I do sometimes take an almost canine joy in having the wind blowing in my face, it's not ceiling fans that bring that joy. My air conditioning has been out of commission since early in May, and won't likely be replaced before next spring. Repair is not a viable option, given the age of the system and the Federal regulations outlawing R22 refrigerant by 2020. I make do with ceiling and floor fans, not to mention air conditioned public places.

With that as context, let me add that indoor temperatures in mid-Eighties and low Nineties don't make me feel virtuous; they just make me feel hot.

Friday, August 2, 2019

The new politics

Conrad Black offers an acerbic but spot-on analysis in the pixels of American Greatness:

"Andrew Weissman and the other fanatical partisans who conducted the so-called Mueller investigation and wrote the report of it, sent an infirm figurehead forward to defend their dirty work under withering examination before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees last week. They knew from the beginning, as the Strzok-Page texts confirm, that “there was no there there” on the bunk about Trump-Russian collusion, but spun the farce of the Mueller investigation out for two years trying to provoke Trump into an action that could be called obstruction of justice, and sold through the wall-to-wall Democratic chorus in the national media as a “high crime or misdemeanor” such as “treason or bribery” which the Constitution requires two-thirds of the Senate to be convinced of beyond a reasonable doubt to remove a president.

Obviously, as Trump did not take the bait, there was no chance of that, so the best they could do was to invent the preposterous notion that failure to “exonerate” the president of obstruction meant that the House of Representatives should pursue it through impeachment. It is such cynical nonsense they can’t get even the Democratic majority of the House to vote for an impeachment resolution, and are trying to substitute continued investigation in what is taintingly called an “impeachment inquiry,” to try to smear Trump enough to cost him reelection."

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge yesterday

Sophia the Cavalier Spaniel hasn't been a regular part of my life since the spring of 2014, but she crossed the Rainbow Bridge yesterday and was a great dog. I miss her.

Filing this under an "allies" tag because every dog is an ally for the people in its life.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Not easy being Green

The gimlet-eyed David Warren observes how often "organic" and "green" labeling serves vested interests at the expense of the little guys:

"You have to be a big, faceless, industrial operation to afford the official “organic” labels that sucker big city consumers into paying double for essentially the same goods. That the whole system is massively corrupt, can almost go without saying. It was designed to be."

As Robert Vincent asserts in a separate essay, doctrinaire environmentalism is, for well-connected practitioners, a means to an end.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Creative writing

Movie critic Anthony Lane manages to link Elton John with Godzilla:

"In many respects, Godzilla is hard to distinguish from Elton John. Terrible temper? Check. Professional longevity? Check. Tireless vocal vigor? Check. They even share a fondness for baseball parks as suitable arenas for their skills; “Rocketman” re-creates Elton’s triumphant appearance at Dodger Stadium, in 1975, while “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” a new addition to the franchise, shows the title character slugging a rival predator at Fenway Park. For years, it’s true, the singer has beaten the beast in the costume stakes, since Godzilla prefers to function au naturel, with his dark-green skin, all wrinkled and ridged, lending him the look of a furious avocado. For the latest film, however, he grows more fashion-conscious, arranging for his dorsal plates to flash bright blue whenever he’s totally stoked. Once Elton John sees this movie, he will have to get himself a set of those."

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

That new business model

They used to call tabloid newspapers like the one in the Raleigh metropolitan area "alternative weeklies." I'm not sure what they call them now, but I do have some thoughts about the new business model being touted by the progressive tabloid in my backyard.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Marcus on Shakespeare

David Marcus, writing in The Federalist, sheds some welcome light on William Shakespeare while defending him:

"One question Winkler brings up is worth exploring a bit: How did Shakespeare write women characters so effectively and honestly at a time when this was exceedingly rare? In today's intersectional age, it's easy to see why some would jump to the conclusion that a woman must have written these parts, but there is a simpler explanation. Shakespeare wrote better women characters than his contemporaries because he wrote better characters of every kind than did his contemporaries. Women, kings, soldiers, Jews, Moors, fairies, and a fountain of other characters flowed from his pen, all revealing a new style and substance in English writing.

How did Shakepeare do this? How was he able to create all of these characters with humor and speech so much more naturalistic than came from the other writers of the time? As is usually the case with the Bard, the clues are in the plays themselves."

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Impactful reads this month

I like essayists who value history, and there's evidence of that in Why Federalist Paper Number Ten remains important and perceptive.

On the current events side of the ledger, Representative Devin Nunes explains the end of the Russian Collusion hoax.

Meanwhile, Brian Joondeph does a yeoman job of chronicling progressive overreach on abortion.

We're in Holy Week and sliding toward Easter (hence the "camouflaged rabbit" that I used as a hook for this blog entry). I was pleased to see Father Z share his take on the devastating fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral and how to respond to it properly. Thinking about that event in Paris, wildfire survivor Gerard Vanderleun chips in with a perceptive thought from G.K. Chesterton. Padre Pio would approve the tenor of that discussion, I think.

David Warren unleashes his dry wit to write about the problem with spiritualizing politics. But John Daniel Davidson doesn't need that reminder, because he has already taken the long view.

Anyone familiar with my own writing knows that language use and misuse is something I'm passionate about, so it was fun to find a kindred spirit in Stephanie's diagnosis of "communication disorders" on the American Left. Neo noticed some of the same behavior. I wondered about the apparent lapse in professional standards at a publishing house.

Lastly: Troll-bait headlines about what you can't do notwithstanding, it's a relief to know that you're never too old to learn how to play the guitar. In a related post, here are David Wallander's choices for "the best guitar solo in the history of recorded rock and roll music" -- because I agree with his trifecta of song solos played by Gilmour, Prince, and Knopfler. Happy reading! Happy listening!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Two thought-provoking quotes

"Because of a sclerotic left-wing education system, our youth have been indoctrinated in a simple-minded version of socialism for decades without knowing it. Meanwhile, the right has been extraordinarily lazy in confronting this, acting in a basically uneducated manner themselves. It 's almost criminal.

Ask your average college student who is history's greatest mass murderer and almost none of them would name Mao. They have no idea what the Great Leap Forward was when some thirty million Chinese were starved to death by the Chairman in the name of socialism or why that might have happened. One could go on with the history of megadeath from Stalin to Hitler to Pol Pot (who?) -- all socialists -- and get plenty of blank stares."
-- Roger Simon


"Anyone who is not a white person is a person of color.  This concept sets up the bifurcation of white people versus people of color.  This dichotomy easily abolishes individuality by lumping everyone together, both white and nonwhite.  This enables the Marxists — who originally would have attempted this with class struggle — to articulate the world in terms of racial inequality by making everyone either a person of color, who is victimized by a white society, or a white person, who either victimizes or at the very least benefits from a system that oppresses people of color."
-- Steven Kessler

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The verdict is in

But the "fix" is yet to be determined...

Shot: The Resistance is Everything They Accuse Trump of Being
Chaser: (Tucker Carlson, FOX Network): There is a Facist Threat to America

Perspective: Some things Bookworm thought about in a graveyard

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Small but worthwhile movies

Stumbled across some good movies lately. The list order here is subjective, approximately in order of their cinematic quality, but every film is worth watching, and each tackles larger issues than you might expect, with a certain grace.

The Straight Story (1999)  -- On family and simple wisdom
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) -- Triumph over adversity in a culture not your own
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018) -- How one person affects others
The Soloist (2009) -- The limits of genius
Io (2019) -- On duty and what it means
Minding the Gap (2018, documentary) -- On growing into young manhood today
Paddleton (2019) -- On friendship
Priceless (2016) -- Human trafficking as an all-too-common affront to dignity
Juanita (2019) -- The value of a shift in location and perspective

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A telling comparison

On the one hand, there's Thomas Lifson, Editor at American Thinker, well pleased with President Trump's speech yesterday to an enthusiastic crowd at Florida International University. Trump talked eloquently about the situation in Venezuela.

On the other hand, there are editors at Yahoo News, who included a hot take from Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro, reacting to the same speech by calling it "almost Nazi-style."

I watched the speech (which is on YouTube until someone there decides that too many people are triggered by it).

Guess what?

The speech was great, and not the least bit "Nazi-style" (whatever Maduro meant by that).

Our local NBC affiliate reprinted an Associated Press report about the speech under the headline "Trump pleads with Venezuela's military to back Guaido." In fairness, that was part of his speech, but you'd never know from the headline that President Trump was speaking from a position of strength rather than a position of weakness, and you'd never know that he also cataloged the evils of socialism with help from the First Lady and the mother of a police officer who was slain for political activity by Maduro's goons.

This, ladies and gentleman, is why the charge of "fake news" has such resonance. Most of the people in the media aren't even trying to hide their anti-conservative / pro-socialist biases any more.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

On bringing U.S. troops home

I submitted this original essay to American Spectator Online, which passed on the opportunity to publish it. The copy that went to them had lots of hyperlinks to buttress my points. Even without those links, however, I wanted to get the piece out there:

Exit Strategy

It was the second most refreshingly self-evident line in a State of the Union speech that had several rhetorical flourishes worth remembering, and for that reason in this culture, it was courageous. "Great nations do not fight endless wars," President Trump reminded us. The only truer thing he said while arguing from principle in his extended call to greatness was that "All children -- born and unborn -- are made in the holy image of God."

Both points deserve more thought than most politicians want to give them, but only the president's statement about wars triggered something other than predictable reactions from his opponents, and only that statement might also be viewed in ways unrelated to the shedding of American blood abroad.

Trump's enemies ignored the line, preferring to subject other parts of the SOTU to mendacious "fact-checking." Among his allies -- or at least those members of the Establishment not obviously hostile to his agenda -- Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen voiced civil but typical disagreement most eloquently. Thiessen wrote a column marinated in the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone that Beltway insiders and journalists still lean on for conversations about all things Trump, including the mental acuity of people who agree with him.

By District of Columbia standards, Thiessen is a fair-minded analyst rather than a Democrat with a byline. Nevertheless, as the author of a book that defends the morality of "enhanced interrogation techniques," Thiessen apparently considers himself a realist. Like former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who resigned from that post over policy disagreements with President Trump, Thiessen traffics in what he calls "hard truths."

Those "hard truths" smell to me like the bat guano of conventional wisdom. "We don't get to decide unilaterally that the war [in Afghanistan] is over," Thiessen reasons, because "the enemy gets a vote." While implying that U.S. troops should stay in Afghanistan indefinitely, he quotes from an intelligence assessment that was leaked to the New York Times, part of which claimed that "a complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan would lead to an attack on the United States within two years."

Suppose for the sake of argument that the "fight jihadists over there rather than over here" cadre is right, and that bringing American troops home from places like Afghanistan and Syria would inevitably mean additional work for the bomb squads and SWAT teams of major metropolitan police forces in the United States. Wouldn't it still be more cost-effective to fight terrorists at home than to fight them abroad, and wouldn't we be more motivated on our own soil than we could possibly be while acting as ambassadors to a place that fellow Spectator contributor Doug Bandow calls "a nation in name only, ruled by the valley and the village"?

Other people understand the reliability of President Trump's instincts more than Thiessen does. For example, a mordantly funny post at the Babylon Bee this past December pretended to interview a disappointed soldier "who was looking forward to hanging out in Syria for another 20 [or] 30 years."

Apologists for the Deep State fail to mention that even a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria would not necessarily leave Islamists with an unfettered license for making mayhem at the expense of the "Great Satan." The Taliban commanders, unhinged mullahs, and terrorists who strayed too far from the intramural amusement of pronouncing death sentences on fellow travelers could still be harried by private military contractors, many of whom are veterans not long out of U.S. uniforms.

Some of the advisers who caution President Trump against a hasty withdrawal of military assets from Afghanistan and Syria are patriots with protective instincts. They've seen what failed states look like, or served long enough in government to want to atone for the inaction that cost American lives in Benghazi under the previous administration. But in marked contrast to the sunny encouragement coming from POTUS, they're tolerant of incompetence, and trying to make fear-based decisions for the rest of us.

The left-leaning editor of Politico, for example, grudgingly admits that the withdrawal moves that President Trump contemplates for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Syria "are not indefensible." He does not often compliment the man whom late-night TV comedians treat like an evil toddler, and his complaint is that withdrawal initiatives should be slow-walked, because "In a normal administration, a big move like [ordering U.S. forces home] would have taken place only after endless rounds of discussions at multiple levels of governments, arguments between agencies, and consultations with allies." But Trump announced his new policy in a Tweet, because he's not afraid of the communications platform where his fondness for superlatives has already been lampooned.

Here in the cheap seats, decisiveness is a feature, not a bug. "Normal" administrations have failed us: Is New York governor Andrew Cuomo's enthusiasm for infanticide normal? Is California governor Gavin Newsom's whimpering about a "manufactured crisis" on our southern border normal? Is it normal to extort money from politicians haunted by old yearbook photos, or sell classical liberal values to people shaped by the longstanding rivalry between Shi'ah and Sunni Muslim theologians? Let's instead stipulate that it's foolish to cede the terms of an argument to progressives.

And speaking of progressives: The women in white who were high-fiving each other and the air at the SOTU for the sake of a "diverse" Congress ought to recognize the merits of their colleagues across the aisle. True, President Trump's clarion call to "choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction" had a deliberately biblical echo that educated secularists might find discomfiting. But if he's right in saying that great nations do not fight endless wars, then his point would apply even in our so-called culture wars, where the Party of the Perpetually Aggrieved always finds something to complain about.

(End: 975 words)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

An informative footnote from Eric Dolin

"In writing this book I had to decide whether to use the term Indian or Native American when referring broadly to the native inhabitants of North America. I chose Indian in large part because many of the authors I admire use that term, and it is the term with which I am most comfortable. Thus, I was glad to read in David Hackett Fischer's book Champlain's Dream that when he asked a gathering of Indian leaders what they preferred to be called, they gave two answers. If one is referring to a specific nation, then they said that the name of the nation should be used, e.g., Mohawk. But if one is referring to 'all of them together,' then they said the term Indian 'was as good as any other,' and that 'they used it with pride.'

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Ascribing too much to Rush

On the one hand, "God writes straight with crooked lines". On the other hand, leftists like to "retrofit history to their own ideology, rather than learning from history," as my friend Bookworm has observed.

I noticed a progressive crediting Rush Limbaugh with making Americans believe in God. Rush is a talented and hard-working, indeed pioneering, talk show host, but that seemed to me to be an example of progressive wish-casting, so I took issue with it (and related anti-Trumpian illogic) in fresh pixels at American Spectator Online.