In Uvalde, the Most Enraging Press Conference in American History
Plus, Gaffe Diplomacy and the Future of ‘Strategic Ambiguity.’
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: The Long Disgrace of the NRA
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What might very well be the most enraging press conference in American history just ended in Uvalde, Texas.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McGraw revealed that there were 19 officers in the school hallway for about an hour as small children used their deceased teacher’s phone to dial 911 and beg for their lives. He described local police officials preventing border patrol and other federal law enforcement who had arrived on the scene from entering the school and helping these terrorized kids, while their keening parents begged them to act. He acknowledged the school resource officer was not on the scene.
And after admitting this staggering level of incompetence in the face of unimaginable evil—a failure so immense that it will reverberate for generations—McGraw said dismissively, “If I thought it would help, I’d apologize.”
I want to throw my computer through a wall just transcribing these words.
SHAY KHATIRI: Gaffe Diplomacy and the Future of ‘Strategic Ambiguity.’
On Monday, at a press conference in Tokyo, a reporter asked President Joe Biden whether he is “willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, if it comes to that.” The president responded, “Yes! . . . That’s the commitment we made. . . . The idea that—that [Taiwan] can be taken by force—just taken by force—is just not a—is just not appropriate.” Within hours, the White House clarified that the president was simply reiterating the U.S. commitment to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, that the United States would supply the necessary means so Taiwan could defend itself. The next day, the president himself said that he had not intended to depart from the longstanding unwritten U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity”: “No. . . . The policy has not changed at all.”
Yet this is the third instance within nine months that this question has come up, every time following the same pattern: Biden commits the United States to the defense of Taiwan, then the White House walks it back.
The one door at Parkland didn’t save the kids, and neither will teachers packing heat or good guys with guns — why exactly did police in Uvalde wait so long to go in? Plus, a sneak peak of Tim’s new book! Tim Miller joins Charlie Sykes for the weekend podcast.
Guest host A.B. Stoddard joins guests Tom Nichols, Yahoo News’ Jon Ward, and regular Linda Chavez to discuss America’s gun culture, the prospects for bipartisan gun legislation, and the Democrats’ lack of confidence versus the party that’s about nothing. Plus, Trump’s week of humiliation.
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CATHY YOUNG: Moliere, for Love and Laughter.
The four-hundredth anniversary earlier this year of the birth of Molière—one of the pillars of French culture and one of the greatest playwrights in the Western literary tradition—was not a date met with great fanfare in the United States. Nonetheless, it was marked with a literary event that deserves ample acclaim: the publication by the Library of America of a two-volume collection of Molière plays exquisitely translated by the great twentieth-century American poet Richard Wilbur (1921–2017).
SONNY BUNCH: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Review.
Top Gun undoubtedly has its pleasures, but it is not a “good” movie in the traditional sense of the term. Yes, it’s pleasing to the eye—how could it not be with the movie-star good looks of Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, their smiles gleaming as brightly as the military hardware almost pornographically on display in Tony Scott’s steamy red-and-orange haze? But everything that occurs away from the airplanes is, well, perfunctory at best, horribly corny at worst.
What Top Gun: Maverick asks, then, is this: “What would Top Gun look like if it were, y’know, a good movie?”
As you may have seen… JVL unlocked last night’s TNB for non-members, because it was a really important and raw discussion on America and guns. I spent the night at a rented house in Saint Louis while my wife and girls were out getting ice cream, policing the comments. Rarely do I ever have to do any policing, because our subscribers are awesome, and last night was no exception. You won’t get the full experience of the live comments, but I hope you’ll give it a watch to see what TNB is all about.
Somewhere along I-70 in Indiana—Contra Horace Greeley, we are going East, navigating some thick Midwestern storms. Apparently there are tornado watches in D.C., which is sort of rare! Stay safe out there.
Assuming we make it to our overnight destination safely and on time, the Blues will face off against the Avalanche in a must-win Game 6. Hopefully they’ll do well, and I’ll be able to watch it. I have my doubts.
I don’t have a bunch of curated links for you today, as we’re on the road and the internet is spotty. I trust our offerings up top will suffice.
Yesterday, I was able to to show my daughters my alma mater (via car) and in good news, my former place of employment, Humphrey’s, a bar and restaurant across the street from campus, is being renovated in advance of an eventual reopening. Nature is healing. I got to go in, and it was like I was dipped in magic waters. I had avoided going by every time we were in town because I didn’t want to be sad. But as bad as things are, and like JVL, I am a bit of a pessimist, there are things that can brighten your day, little things in the big scheme of life.
Have a great weekend.
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