- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 15, 2016

The 353 graduates of Hillsdale College won’t forget what they heard when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas gave the commencement address at the Michigan campus Saturday. The graduates hung on every word, as did the greater audience of 5,000 people and an online audience of 12,000.

“Much that once seemed inconceivable are now firmly established. Hallmarks of my youth such as patriotism and religion seem more like outliers, if not afterthoughts. I admit to being unapologetically Catholic, unapologetically patriotic and unapologetically a constitutionalist,” Justice Thomas told them.

“Do not hide your faith and your beliefs under a bushel basket, especially in this world that seems to have gone mad with political correctness. These small lessons become the unplanned syllabus for becoming a good citizen. Your efforts to live them will help to form the fabric of a civil society, and free and prosperous nation where inherent equality and liberty are invaluable,” Justice Thomas continued.

“At risk of understating what is necessary to preserve liberty in our form of government, I think more and more it depends on good citizens discharging their daily duties and obligations. Sadly, today it seems as though grievances rather than personal conduct are the means of elevation,” the justice advised. “We must be reminded there is work to be done. The world increasingly embraces all that is wrong, false and ugly. We are among the lonely few who have all the right questions.”


Weary of endless campaign fundraising? Then watch C-SPAN at 10 a.m. Monday when Reps. David Jolly, Florida Republican, and Rick Nolan, Minnesota Democrat, take to the stage at the National Press Club to protest the “telemarketing fundraising culture” now entrenched in Congress. The pair wonder why their peers spend hours on the phone to raise political funds while vital business is left undone.

Mr. Jolly is fierce about it. Three months ago, he introduced the Stop Act, which would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit those holding federal office from directly soliciting contributions. Mr. Nolan was one of the first to co-sponsor the bipartisan legislation.

“Republicans, Democrats and independents can all agree on one thing — the public did not elect members of Congress to go to Washington and spend their time raising money for their re-election,” Mr. Jolly says. “They are not paying members $174,000 a year to be on the phone dialing for dollars, in some cases 20 or 30 hours a week.”


It’s one of those inevitable findings: 60 percent of likely Republican primary voters say House Speaker Paul Ryan should just go ahead and endorse Donald Trump for president. Only 19 percent give the idea a thumbs down; the rest are either unsure or simply don’t care. So says a YouGov poll released Friday.

“What may be more important to Republicans — and of concern to Speaker Ryan — is that Republican voters like Trump more than they like Ryan. So in any conflict between the two, Republican voters may be more likely to side with their party’s presumptive presidential nominee,” says analyst Kathy Frankovic, who notes that 49 percent of the Republican voters disapprove of how Mr. Ryan is handling his job as speaker.

And the more pivotal numbers: 49 percent have a favorable opinion of Mr. Trump; 44 percent feel the same about Mr. Ryan.


When they meet in June next month, the U.S. Conference of Mayors hopes that the newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan will join them. The son of a Pakistani bus driver and a longtime figure in the Labor Party, he is the first Muslim to be elected mayor of a Western capital.

“The mayors of the United States have been watching this race intently, and were delighted by the news of your historic victory,” the group’s executive director, Tom Cochran, wrote in a letter to London City Hall.

He also noted in a public statement, “Mayor Khan’s election comes at a time when anti-Muslim sentiments are evident in Europe and the United States. The Conference of Mayors condemns bigotry in all forms, including Islamophobia, and mayors have engaged with Islamic clergy and communities over the course of our history.”


“Almost none of the Trumpites I met seemed to be the gun-toting zealots of liberal demonology.”

— Observation from John Harris, a culture writer for The Guardian, who recently spent five days in Indiana following Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign.


A cultural moment: a historic 1886 Winchester rifle recently broke the world’s record as the most expensive single firearm ever auctioned, according to the Rock Island Auction Co., which had expected offers might top out at $500,000. Instead, the old rifle drew $1.25 million from an undisclosed buyer.

“For decades, firearms have provided an alternative form of investment, and this is clear proof of that. With firearms sales spiking in the previous two presidential election years and the new world record price, the future appears extremely rosy for the gun collecting market,” company President Kevin Hogan observed.


$153,207,935: Total amount Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has spent on broadcast advertising so far; that includes $92,906,520 from political action committees and advocacy groups; $60,301,415 from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

$74,675,942: Total amount Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders has spent on broadcast ads; that includes $471,539 from PACs; $74,204,403 from Mr. Sanders’ campaign.

$28,100,052: Total amount spent by advocacy groups and PACs on “anti-Donald Trump” broadcast ads.

$21,164,436: Total amount spent by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on broadcast ads; that includes $474,941 by advocacy groups and a single PAC, and $20,689,495 by Mr. Trump’s campaign.

Source: An Ad Age analysis of data from Kantar Media, covering the expenditures through Friday.

Happy talk, dire predictions to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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