My Encounter With Tom Wolfe

A decade ago, I was flying from Boston Logan to Long Island MacArthur airport. At the gate in Long Island, I stood next to Tom Wolfe at the plane’s door. He was resplendent in a white suit and matching vest, white shirt and black tie, and he was wearing spats over black shoes; a splendid ensemble.

While standing next to him and searching for something to say, as I couldn’t let this opportunity pass, I ask, ” I suppose Daisy is picking you up in the yellow car?”

He returned an icy stare as I had obviously said something that didn’t please him. He quickly forgot about me, but I can’t forget about him.  A Man in Full, no doubt.

A Day With Candace Owens

This is an article by John Hinderaker of the Center of The American Experience discussing Candace Owens’s speech Tuesday in Minneapolis. She is a force to be reckoned with. The Link to the full story which includes video, is Here



In the last two weeks, Candace Owens has exploded onto the political scene. Beginning with Kanye West’s famous tweet, her life has been a whirlwind of television and radio appearances and speeches. The Left is attacking her viciously, while some on the right view her as a potential savior.

Candace spent yesterday in Minnesota. As Scott described here, she spoke at a lunch forum for Center of the American Experiment, the think tank that I run. We booked Candace before her sudden burst of publicity–sometimes you get lucky–and ticket sales went through the roof as her fame grew. Ultimately, 550 people attended the lunch forum. Candace said that she was stunned both by the size of the crowd and the warmth of her reception.

Her original purpose in coming to Minnesota was to speak at St. Olaf College, 30 miles or so South of the Twin Cities, at an event sponsored by Turning Point USA, the organization for which she works. (That event was organized by my daughter, who is the TPUSA president at St. Olaf, and I got the idea of inviting Owens to speak from her.) My wife and I drove Candace to St. Olaf for the evening event, which we attended, and back to her hotel in Minneapolis. So as it turned out, I spent a good part of the day with her. Since she is the woman of the hour, I offer these observations for what they are worth.

1) She gave a terrific speech to the Center audience. Her theme of individual empowerment–especially black empowerment–is powerful. The speech was as enthusiastically received as any I have seen. This short series of clips gives you a good idea of her style and some of her themes:

The audience, as you would expect, was mostly white, but we did draw a good number of African-Americans. During the Q and A session, a middle-aged black woman prefaced her question by saying that she had been waiting for decades for someone like Owens to come along.

2) Candace is tremendously likable. Scott noted that she is beautiful, which actually understates the case. But appearance is at most a door-opener. She exudes warmth and genuineness, on stage as well as privately. Five minutes before our lunch event was supposed to begin, I was nervous because I had seen no sign of her. I made my way to the rear of the ballroom, and found her there, taking selfies with members of the audience. We worked our way back to the front of the room, slowly because she stopped to greet and take pictures with all the student tables. When the event was over, she posed for pictures with–I am not exaggerating–100 to 200 people.

3) Her speech at the college was very different from the one she gave at the lunch forum. There was perhaps a 30% overlap in material, with the rest being different. And in a smaller hall, talking to an audience of college students, her tone was quite different. She explained afterward that she never writes a speech, but rather starts talking and tries to gauge the audience and relate to it. Which she does extraordinarily well. This ability cannot be the product of her still-modest experience; it must be a gift.

4) After the St. Olaf speech, she got together with a group of 25 or 30 kids who are members of Turning Point. She chatted happily with them and posed for another round of photos, despite the long day she had already put in.

5) Spending time with Candace Owens made me want to be 28 again. After giving two strenuous speeches and mixing with two groups of fans, we got her back to her hotel at around 9:30, still without having had anything to eat. She was up at 5:00 this morning for a remote appearance on Fox & Friends. The subject was a vicious op-ed that the New York Times published, attacking Candace as a “dangerous” figure (but also a “puppet”). Here is her segment:

6) President Trump is a major Candace Owens fan. I suspect that he saw her appearance on Fox & Friends, because shortly after he tweeted:

Donald J. Trump


Candace Owens of Turning Point USA is having a big impact on politics in our Country. She represents an ever expanding group of very smart “thinkers,” and it is wonderful to watch and hear the dialogue going on…so good for our Country!

7) Candace understands and articulates clearly why the Left hates her. The Democrats are used to getting 90% or more of black votes, and they need them. If they drop down to only, say, 70% of black votes, they can’t win a national election. This is why they are in a constant state of hysteria, trying to keep black voters in line. Someone like Candace Owens, an appealing person who preaches a message of black competence, black independence and black individualism, represents a serious threat.

Candace gets Google Alerts on her name to learn, as she said, more about herself. She commented last night that the only positive account of her that came through on Google Alerts yesterday was Scott’s post on her American Experiment appearance.

8) Kanye West has been under tremendous pressure to recant his support for Owens and for free thought, but Candace is convinced that he won’t be intimidated. She expects him to double down on black independence, and thinks that other African-American celebrities will join in. We will see.

9) A few on the right have suggested that Candace might be a phony. I saw absolutely no sign of this. While a relatively recent convert, she understands conservative principles. She cites Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell as influences. And her insistence that black Americans’ futures need not be dictated by their past is plainly a passionately held conviction.

10) Even before Candace burst onto the scene, I thought that Turning Point USA is one of our most effective conservative organizations, and the most effective one on college campuses. Now that Owens is teaming up with Charlie Kirk, that is doubly true. TPUSA is an organization worthy of your support.

11) If you get the impression that I liked Candace, you are right. She was as engaging offstage as on. I suppose sudden fame could spoil her, or she could succumb to one pitfall or another. The Left, of course, is lying in wait for her to make a mistake. But my guess is that she will be a significant force on the right, and in American public life, for many years to come.

The Third Passenger Theory of Chappaquiddick. It Makes Sense.

Ted Kennedy’s actions after the incident at the Dike Bridge, indicates that he did not know Mary Joe was in the car that evening. This article explains why.  

I read the book and found its argument compelling. 


New Chappaquiddick Book Presses Theory of Third Person

CHAPPAQUIDDICK TRAGEDY: Kennedy’s Second Passenger Revealed. Donald Frederick Nelson. Pelican. 191 pages, hardcover, sold in bookstores and online.

A new book by a Vineyard author tackles an old controversy. Anyone interested in the 1969 Chappaquiddick tragedy will find it compelling reading.

A car driven by U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts plunged off Chappaquiddick Island’s Dike Bridge and submerged in Poucha Pond at approximately 12:45 a.m. on July 19, 1969. Mr. Kennedy escaped the vehicle, but a passenger named Mary Jo Kopechne did not. Mr. Kennedy said he dove repeatedly and unsuccessfully into the water, attempting to rescue Miss Kopechne. Then, he said, he walked 1.2 miles (past two lighted homes and a firehouse) back to Chappaquiddick’s Lawrence cottage, where he had been partying with political associates and six young Kennedy acolytes known as the “boiler room girls.”

Later, according to his testimony, because the On Time ferry ceased operations to Edgartown around midnight, the senator flung himself into Edgartown Harbor’s outgoing tide, crossed to a beach near the Edgartown lighthouse and walked back to the Shiretown Inn where he was staying. In the aftermath, which is painstakingly detailed in the book, accommodating police, politicians and attorneys general did a slapdash job of investigation, and Mr. Kennedy got off with a brief license suspension and a suspended two-month jail sentence for leaving the scene of an accident. None of the investigators uncovered, though it was on the public record, the fact that as a law student at the University of Virginia, Mr. Kennedy had been convicted of three moving violations. The information wasn’t disclosed until the morning Mr. Kennedy pleaded guilty.

Suspicions grew immediately. For one thing, back problems dating to a plane crash he’d survived several years earlier raised eyebrows about the desperate swimming he described. Mr. Kennedy had competed in the Edgartown Yacht Club sailing regatta on July 18 and subsequently took a bath to ease his pain. Was he in any position to dive into dark waters off the bridge and later fight the harbor’s current (which was actually incoming), even though a phone line at the dock could have summoned the ferry after hours? And since Miss Kopechne might have been breathing in an air pocket at the back of the car, why did he bypass two houses and a fire station and fail to report the accident until nine hours later? Moreover, if he was aware of her predicament, why was he chatting amiably with fellow guests at the inn hours later?

The truth, says author Donald Frederick Nelson, is that Senator Kennedy didn’t learn about Miss Kopechne’s fate until he subsequently received the news by phone from his cousin, Joseph A. Gargan, and former U.S. Attorney Paul F. Markham.

There have been dozens of books, studies, television investigations, blogs, rumors and innuendo about the tragedy. A few weeks ago, a Hollywood film crew arrived to shoot scenes for a major motion picture. And now we have an exhaustingly researched book by a retired, award-winning research physicist who lives in Worcester and Oak Bluffs with his wife Margaret. I know Mr. Nelson, 86, from Island bridge clubs and find him sober-sided and fact-oriented. By his account, he consulted 204 sources and read through thousands of pages of legal proceedings. His writing is as lyrical as it is factual.

The author reasonably asks why Mr. Kennedy didn’t seek help immediately and concludes that he didn’t realize there was a passenger in the back seat of his Oldsmobile 88. Mr. Nelson writes that Miss Kopechne, who had imbibed three or four alcoholic drinks in her last hour and probably more during the four-hour party, according to later blood work, had crawled into the back seat of the car to sleep the alcohol off. And then Mr. Nelson delivers a crushing blow to the Kennedy account that had been speculated for years but probably never given such exhaustive proof. He contends there was a another passenger, Rosemary (Cricket) Keough, sitting in the passenger seat and who successfully exited the vehicle after its plunge. Neither she nor Mr. Kennedy noticed the dozing woman behind them. Since there was apparently no tragedy, there was no hurry to report the incident.

“Kennedy was guilty of reckless driving and lying repeatedly about the wreck, but he was far from being so callous as to knowingly walk away from a trapped, dying person,” Mr. Nelson writes.

The author builds an impressive case for Mr. Kennedy’s additional passenger. Miss Keough’s handbag was found in the front of the car. If another woman had entered the vehicle to drive off with the senator, surely she’d have alerted Miss Keough and returned the bag to her, Mr. Nelson suggests.

Ms. Keough claimed to have left the handbag from an earlier drive, a supposition disputed by a next-door neighbor who had been watching the raucous party. Miss Keough wasn’t grilled sharply at the inquest. Questioning the politician on the morning of July 19, Edgartown police chief Dominick J. Arena asked: “Can you tell me, was there anybody else in the car?”

“Yes,” said Mr. Kennedy.

But Chief Arena never followed up on that disclosure. When Ms. Keough visited Mary Jo’s grave on the first anniversary of her death, she said: “My friend Mary Jo just happened to be in the wrong car at the wrong time with the wrong people.”

Miss Keough repeated those exact words to the Boston Globe Spotlight team of investigatory reporters five years later. The author notes that “people” is a plural noun.

Unfortunately, one piece of clinching evidence is still missing. Mr. Nelson writes of Mr. Kennedy: “His companion, sitting in the front passenger seat, was thrown violently against the right front door and window and then against the ceiling, as the car struck the water first on its right side and then its roof. Upon impact, shards of sharp, tempered glass from her shattered side window struck her head, shoulders and right arm. There were no restraining seatbelts. Lacerations, abrasions and contusions on the face, head, arm and shoulder seem inevitable for a front, passenger-seat occupant. But there were no such injuries whatsoever to Mary Jo!”

Were there signs of injury on Ms. Keough? She called Chief Arena asking for her handbag, and he told her to come to the station. But she sent someone else and was quickly whisked off the Vineyard. Ms. Keough did not answer phone messages left by the author.

Mr. Nelson offers an ironic afterthought. If Mr. Kennedy had come clean about everything from the beginning, he might have escaped with nothing more than a license suspension and been free to pursue the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1972. As Richard Nixon, the sitting president at the time, would discover, sometimes the cover-up is worse than the crime.

Jim Kaplan is the Gazette’s bridge columnist and the author of Clearing the Bases: A Veteran Sportswriter on the National Pastime.

How The Austin Bomber Was Located. The Panopticon State Works.

The Austin Bomber was traced using cameras and cell phone data. His every move was followed from FedEx stores to his hotel. This is the world we live in. Get used to it. 

Austin bombing suspect dead, apparently tracked down by surveillance state

A 24-year-old “white male” suspect in the bombing spree afflicting Austin, Texas is dead after blowing himself up in his car while being fired upon by police.  Information is still very fragmentary, but according to reports on Fox News this morning, police were led to him through the blanket surveillance capabilities that have come characterize American society in the wake of the “war on terror.”

Specifically (and keep in mind that early information in huge media events often is subject to change), the suspect was photographed dropping off two packages at a FedEx office in Austin.  (Update: photos.)

Hat tip: Conservative Treeehouse (source link).

He was wearing a hat and wig, reportedly, so no facial identification was possible, but police were able to use cell phone tower data to identify everyone who was in the area with a cell phone turned on.  Evidently, the individual in question was already on some sort of police lists, and that identified him as a strong suspect.  From that point, getting to his location was inevitable.  Some reports indicate that police were able to trace his Google searches and identify the hotel where he was staying.  But if he had the same cell phone on his person, that could have led police to him also.

No doubt some of this information will prove mistaken, but the underlying point remains sound.  If you have a cell phone on your body with the battery in it, the police probably can know everywhere you have been and where you are now.  And with the proliferation of security cameras, they can see you and what you are wearing.

This is called the “panopticon” state that can see you everywhere.  China is spending a lot of money and devoting intellectual resources to becoming the most thoroughgoing panopticon state in human history.  But if you think you are not subject to constant surveillance and keep a cell phone with you, the police can find out where you’ve been and where you are now, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The demise of the presumptive perp in Austin is an upside of this situation.  The downside has yet to be fully plumbed here, but in China, it is clear that it is a foundational element of twenty-first-century tyranny.

Prepare yourself for further information on the suspect’s motivation.  Leftists are hoping he is some sort of rightist or racist, giving them moral bragging rights.  Conservatives are hoping he is a leftist for similar reasons.  If the leftist hopes are realized, expect a huge wave of accusation leveled at everyone to the right of Lindsey Graham dominating the mainstream media.  If he was a lefty, expect the mainstream media to change the subject.

Meanwhile, people in central Texas have to still worry about other packages that may be somewhere in the delivery systems of any provider of such services.

The Tariff Explained

In this article, the secretary of Commerce, explains the strategic need for this steel and aluminum tariff. The need is read and is intended to preserve strategic industries in the US.

President Trump announced Thursday that he is imposing tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports, with exemptions for Canada and Mexico. The president acted because steel and aluminum imports have helped erode the domestic industry to the point that it threatens national security. Unfair trading practices from countries like China have distorted the global steel and aluminum markets. It is time to halt the damage.

Since 1998, countless steel mills and aluminum smelters have closed. More than 75,000 steel jobs alone have disappeared. Today the U.S. has only one steel mill that can produce the advanced alloys used in armored-vehicle plating; one aluminum smelter that makes the high-grade aluminum needed for defense aerospace applications; and one steel mill that makes the materials needed for infrastructure like electrical transformers.

These tariffs aim to reverse this sorry state of affairs. Companies that produce steel and aluminum have said these tariffs will allow them to reopen mills, expand operations, attract new workers, and maintain critical steel- and aluminum-making skills.

It is true that higher steel and aluminum costs could mean price increases for American consumers. But they should be small for individuals and families. Monthly payments for a typical mass-market car might increase by $4 because of the tariff, according to Commerce Department estimates. Is that a fair price to pay for protecting national security? We think so.

Will it start a trade war? It shouldn’t. The U.S. isn’t the only country that has expressed concern about the types of unfair trade practices that are prevalent in the steel and aluminum industries. Countries like China have provided massive subsidies to their companies, and this is harming markets world-wide.

The U.S. has tried to work with others to address these problems. Unfortunately, mechanisms like the Global Steel Forum have fallen woefully short of their aims, with other countries failing to adhere to even basic transparency commitments.

The president will not stand idle while unfair practices erode America’s steel and aluminum industries and threaten national security. Other countries understand that.

Further escalating this issue is counterproductive. Rather, countries should take responsibility for their unfair practices and work together to address the underlying problems facing these industries. The U.S. is ready and willing to engage in such efforts.

The president has the authority to adjust or exempt countries from these tariffs at any time based on circumstances and national security considerations. That is why he is exempting Canada and Mexico. We expect continuing negotiations to create more national-security benefits than the tariffs.

Meanwhile, we will not hesitate to continue standing up for American families, American businesses and American workers.

Mr. Ross is U.S. secretary of commerce.

The Al Franken/Roy Moore Connection

Al Franken is in his second term as a Democratic Senator from Minnesota. Roy Moore is running for his first term as a Republican Senator from Alabama. Both have been accused of bad conduct with women years ago. For Franken, six years ago; for Moore, as much as forty years ago.

The two cases are closely connected because Democrats are trying to block Moore’s election by smearing Moore and they think pushing Franken out of the Senate helps that claim.  The issue here is a Senate seat, not Franken’s behavior. A young woman asked me what the issue was as, in fact, that in her opinion, he’s done nothing seriously wrong.

The issue is that Franken will be replaced by a Democrat in Minnesota, probably a woman, maybe a minority woman. If Moore loses in Alabama, they gain a seat in the Senate and Democrats will go to any extreme to gain that seat. In short, the fury over Franken ends on December 12, whichever way the Alabama election turns out.

In the interim, Democrats, especially Democratic women, will be signaling virtue by battering Franken.  I hope he has the courage to withstand the onslaught that will only increase in ferocity as Roy Moore gains in the Alabama election polls.  After Tuesday, it will be all over. He can withstand six days.




From Paul Mirengoff at


I’m not on Facebook, but I was told that Cleta Mitchell’s page contains a brief discussion of the legal implications of the Hillary Clinton-DNC scandal. As many of our readers know, Cleta Mitchell is a star lawyer. She has played a leading role in defending conservatives targeted by the IRS under the Obama administration and in pushing to hold the IRS accountable for the targeting.

Here is Cleta’s take on the Clinton-DNC scandal as it appears on Facebook, according to what I was told (her first sentence is a quote from Donna Brazile):

“Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.”

If this statement by Donna Brazile is true and if those transfers actually happened, then what she says the DNC and the Clinton campaign did was a massive violation of federal law, and triggers criminal penalties. It underscores what I’ve always said: the Democrats and left wing groups have no compunctions about demanding contribution limits and restrictions on the free speech rights of the American people because THEY have no intention of abiding by the rules and the laws they write for others.

Political Party committees such as the DNC have statutory limits on the amount of money the party can give (or transfer) to a candidate. A joint fundraising committee such as the one Donna Brazile describes cannot be used to circumvent the contribution limit for any donor. ANY DONOR. So IF the DNC transferred funds to the Clinton campaign as stated by Donna Brazile, it was a knowing and willful action involving amounts of $25,000 or more. Which triggers a criminal offense under the Federal campaign finance law.

John McCain: Where are you? This was in your bill in 2002. New York Times and Washington Post: where are you? This is the Law at whose altar you worship.

So, did the DNC actually transfer the proceeds from the joint fundraising committee – or ANY other source – to the Clinton campaign? Yes or no. Easy answer. But doubt they will answer. Time for a criminal investigation.

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