Charles Krauthammer, conservative commentator and Pulitzer Prize winner, dead at 68

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer, a longtime Fox News contributor, Pulitzer Prize winner, Harvard-trained psychiatrist and best-selling author who came to be known as the dean of conservative commentators, died Thursday. He was 68.

His death had been expected after he wrote a heartbreaking letter to colleagues, friends and viewers on June 8 that said in part “I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me…

“Recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”

In recent years, Krauthammer was best known for his nightly appearance as a panelist on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier” and as a commentator on various Fox news shows.

Following the news of the death of his “good friend,” Baier posted on Twitter, “I am sure you will be owning the panel discussion in heaven as well. And we’ll make sure your wise words and thoughts – your legacy – will live on here.”

Brit Hume, senior political analyst on Fox News, also tweeted about the “terribly sad news.”

“The great Charles Krauthammer has died,” he said.

But Krauthammer was arguably a Renaissance man, achieving mastery in such disparate fields as psychiatry, speech-writing, print journalism and television. He won the Edwin Dunlop Prize for excellence in psychiatric research and clinical medicine. Journalism honors included the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his Washington Post columns in 1987 and the National Magazine Award for his work at The New Republic in 1984. His book, “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics,” instantly became a New York Times bestseller, remaining in the number one slot for 10 weeks, and on the coveted list for nearly 40.

Krauthammer delivered his views in a mild-mannered yet steady and almost philosophical style, befitting his background in psychiatry and detailed analysis of human behavior. Borrowing from that background, Krauthammer said in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, that the post-Cold War world had gone from bipolar to “unipolar,” with the United States as the sole superpower. He also coined the term “The Reagan Doctrine,” among others.

He also showed an unabashed love of baseball. Nationals Park held a moment of silence before his beloved Washington Nationals played a home game there Thursday night.

Krauthammer harbored no compunction about calling out those in power, whether they were Democrats or Republicans or conservatives.

During the Democratic National Convention, he assailed lack of substance in the build-up to nominating Hillary Clinton.

“As for the chaos abroad, the Democrats are in see-no-evil denial. The first night in Philadelphia, there were 61 speeches. Not one mentioned the Islamic State or even terrorism.”

“In this crazy election year, there are no straight-line projections,” he noted, adding presciently, “As Clinton leaves Philadelphia, her lifelong drive for the ultimate prize is perilously close to a coin flip.”

At the same time, Krauthammer was quick to express disagreement with President Donald Trump in no uncertain terms.

He denounced Trump’s handling of the violence that erupted at Charlottesville, Va. protests over the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, saying that most Americans were “utterly revolted by right-wing white supremacist neo-Nazi groups.” Krauthammer said that Trump’s failure to strongly denounce the supremacist group, and to say that both sides in the protest shared blame, “was a moral disgrace.”

The man who wore many hats, figuratively, throughout his life — excelling at just about everything he tried, even when he was still a rookie — easily took himself in new directions when curiosity or instinct struck.

Krauthammer’s intellectual heft belied an ability to be candid and witty about his quirks.

“Everything I’ve gotten good at I quit the next day to go on to do something else,” he quipped in a 1984 interview with The Washington Post.

Krauthammer embraced a strong personal constitution that kept him determined and resilient, even in the face of extraordinary physical limitations.

He spent most of his life confined to a wheelchair, the result of a snap decision — when he was 22 years old and a first-year student at Harvard – to go for a quick swim with a friend before a planned game of tennis.

“We go for a swim, we take a few dives and I hit my head on the bottom of the pool,” he said in a Fox News special in 2013 that looked at his life. “The amazing thing is there was not even a cut on my head. It just hit at precisely the angle where all the force was transmitted to one spot…the cervical vertebrae which severed the spinal cord.”

Unable to move, and at a time when his studies happened to focus on the spinal cord, Krauthammer instantly knew the consequences of the accident would be severe.

“There were two books on the side of the pool when they picked up my effects,” he recalled. “One was ‘The Anatomy of the Spinal Cord’ and the other one [was] ‘Man’s Fate’ by Andre Malraux.”

A lifelong opponent of being stereotyped in any fashion, Krauthammer was not going to let being in a wheelchair define him.

“I don’t like when they make a big thing about it,” he told the Washington Post. “And the worst thing is when they tell me how courageous I am. That drives me to distraction.”

“That was the one thing that bothered me very early on,” Krauthammer said. “The first week, I thought, the terrible thing is that people are going to judge me now by a different standard. If I can just muddle through life, they’ll say it was a great achievement, given this.”

“I thought that would be the worst, that would be the greatest defeat in my life — if I allowed that. I decided if I could make people judge me by the old standard, that would be a triumph and that’s what I try to do. It seemed to me the only way to live.”

As soon as he could after the accident, Krauthammer forged ahead with his studies, finishing medical school and going on to do a three-year residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he wrote about a condition he called “secondary mania,” which gained wide acclaim.

Then Krauthammer realized his heart was not really in health care, and after going to Washington D.C. and making some connections, he ended up as a speech writer for Democrat Walter Mondale during Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign.

Later, as a writer for The New Republic, Krauthammer, then a self-styled Democrat, exhibited the kind of willingness to criticize political leaders regardless of their party.

“I’m very unhappy with the Democratic foreign policy,” he told the Post.  “And I’m very unhappy with Republican domestic policy.”

“If I have to choose between Republican foreign policy and Democratic foreign policy I would choose the Republican. That’s not to say there’s a lot in it I don’t find wrong, but they have done certain good things in foreign policy.”

About a decade ago, Krauthammer joined Fox News, drawing praise from conservatives, moderates, and liberals for his thoughtful and meticulously framed remarks.

New York Times columnist David Brooks called him “the most important conservative columnist.”

When his book became a fixture on the New York Times bestseller list, Newsweek observed: “To those who are trying to make sense of the rise of the conservative movement, Krauthammer’s success is a triumph for temperate, smart conservatism.”

Krauthammer politely downplayed the accolades.

“I don’t know if I have influence,” he was quoted as saying in “I know there are people who read me and people who make decisions who read what I write and they may be affected…my role is to challenge them, but people don’t come up to me on the street and say ‘I used to be a liberal until I read you.’”

“My goal is to write something parents will clip and send to their kids in college.”

Charles Krauthammer was born in New York in 1950, and grew up in Montreal, steeped in the Jewish faith.

His father, Shulim Krauthammer, was Austro-Hungarian and his mother, Thea, was born in Belgium. His parents met in Cuba.

Before going to Harvard Medical School, Krauthammer attended McGill University, and Oxford, where he met his wife, Robyn.

They had a son, Daniel. Both his wife and son survive him.

Despite his busy professional life, Krauthammer enjoyed baseball and chess, and made his family a priority.

He often spoke of growing up in a happy, tight-knit family, and spoke proudly of his wife and son.

Original article: Charles Krauthammer

On May 1, 2018, I learned of the passing of author and teacher Dr. Charles “Chuck” Missler, whom I regarded as a fascinating figure in the field of Biblical hermeneutics, history, and apologetics.

Dr. Missler was my go-to fix for extraordinarily nuanced Biblical teachings.

Today, author and conservative commentator Dr. Charles Krauthammer passed away. A towering intellect melded with a sharp wit, Dr. Krauthammer was my go-to voice for polished political commentary and sane conservative introspection and theory: compassionate, intelligent, analytical, human.

Like Dr. Missler, I deeply miss Dr. Krauthammer.

The Foot Soldiers of Pharaoh

The Far Left would happily see children pay for their parents’ misdeeds rather than not.

Such was the madness of the ancient Egyptians from which Moses thankfully spared the world.

Spiritually, the Far Left is Egypt.

Don’t forget: The Far Left has butchered more unborn than the entire population of France, so we know what they really think of helpless children.

Make no mistake: if it served their political will, the Far Left would throw these same children to the crocodiles just as Pharaoh and his foot soldiers did.

They cry crocodile tears.

Yellow Journalism: The “Fake News” of the 19th Century

Time Cover

It is perhaps not so surprising to hear that the problem of “fake news” — media outlets adopting sensationalism to the point of fantasy — is nothing new. Although, as Robert Darnton explained in the NYRB recently, the peddling of public lies for political gain (or simply financial profit) can be found in most periods of history dating back to antiquity, it is in the late 19th-century phenomenon of “Yellow Journalism” that it first seems to reach the widespread outcry and fever pitch of scandal familiar today. Why yellow? The reasons are not totally clear. Some sources point to the yellow ink the publications would sometimes use, though it more likely stems from the popular Yellow Kid cartoon that first ran in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, and later William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal, the two newspapers engaged in the circulation war at the heart of the furore.

Although these days his name is somewhat synonymous with journalism of the highest standards, through association with the Pulitzer Prize established by provisions in his will, Joseph Pulitzer had a very different reputation while alive. After purchasing The New York World in 1884 and rapidly increasing circulation through the publication of sensationalist stories he earned the dubious honour of being the pioneer of tabloid journalism. He soon had a competitor in the field when his rival William Randolph Hearst acquired the The New York Journal in 1885 (originally begun by Joseph’s brother Albert). The rivalry was fierce, each trying to out do each other with ever more sensational and salacious stories. At a meeting of prominent journalists in 1889 Florida Daily Citizen editor Lorettus Metcalf claimed that due to their competition “the evil grew until publishers all over the country began to think that perhaps at heart the public might really prefer vulgarity”.

The phenomenon can be seen to reach its most rampant heights, and most exemplary period, in the lead up to the Spanish-American War — a conflict that some dubbed “The Journal‘s War” due to Hearst’s immense influence in stoking the fires of anti-Spanish sentiment in the U.S. Much of the coverage by both The New York World and The New York Journal was tainted by unsubstantiated claims, sensationalist propaganda, and outright factual errors. When the USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana Harbor on the evening of 15 February 1898, huge headlines in the Journal blamed Spain with no evidence at all. The phrase, “remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain”, became a populist rousing call to action. The Spanish–American War began later that year.

As we’ve witnessed over recent weeks, from certain mouths the use of the term “fake news” has strayed from simply describing factually incorrect reporting. Likewise would those in power paste the label of “yellow journalism” on factually correct reporting which didn’t quite paint the picture they’d like? Yes, indeed. As Timeline reports, in 1925 a certain Benito Mussolini derided reports of his ill health as being lies by the “yellow press”, saying the papers were “ready to stop at nothing to increase circulation and to make more money”. The reports, however, turned out to be factually accurate. He’d go onto rule the country for another eighteen years.

Featured below are a selection of illustrations from the wonderful Puck magazine commenting on the phenomenon, all found in the collection of the Library of Congress.

Original article: Yellow Journalism

Time Magazine is keeping the Yellow Fever alive, as one can tell.

Hazy Early Earth: More Affirmation of Creation Day 4

When I first arrived in Pasadena for postdoctoral research at Caltech, the haze of Los Angeles smog was so thick that it was several weeks before I realized that a range of 6,000-foot high mountains lay just three miles to the north. Now, thanks to air pollution abatement, I see those mountains clearly every day.

A new research study published in Astrophysical Journal affirms that a haze was at least partly responsible for the pervasive translucent skies that shrouded Earth during the first part of its history.1 Genesis 1 and other biblical passages also describe the early atmosphere as hazy and clouded. The same study demonstrates through a series of experiments how Earth’s atmospheric haze lessened greatly.

What Genesis 1 Says About Earth’s Atmosphere

I was taught the steps of the scientific method in every grade of my public school education in Canada. When I began to seriously investigate the world’s major holy books at age 17, I applied the scientific method—which I’d been taught throughout my school years—to test the reliability of the texts.

When I finally picked up the Bible, I was stunned to discover that right there on the first page it meticulously followed the scientific method. Many years later I discovered why. As I explain in Appendix A of my book Navigating Genesis,2 the scientific method has its origin in the pages of the Bible and the theology of the Reformation.

Step 1 of the scientific method is establishing the frame of reference. Genesis 1:2 explicitly states that the creation account’s frame of reference is the viewpoint of an observer on Earth’s watery surface (see figure 1): “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” of “the surface of the deep.”


Figure 1: Frame of Reference for the Genesis Creation Days. 

From this viewpoint “darkness was over the surface of the deep” (Genesis 1:2, NIV) because God “made the clouds its [the sea’s] garment and wrapped it [the sea] in thick darkness” (Job 38:9, NIV). So, even though God had already created the “heavens” (Genesis 1:1, NIV), including our Sun and Moon, light did not yet reach Earth’s surface. On creation day 1, when God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3, NIV), he transformed Earth’s atmosphere from opaque to translucent. The atmosphere remained overcast (much like on a rainy day), but light could finally reach the planet surface.

Later on creation day 4, when God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky. . . . They will serve as signs for seasons and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14, CSB), he transformed Earth’s atmosphere from translucent to at least occasionally be transparent. This would allow the animals God created on creation days 5 and 6 to see the positions of the Sun, Moon, and stars in the expanse of the sky and use those positions to regulate their biological clocks.

What Science Now Says About Earth’s Early Atmosphere

As I document in my book Improbable Planet, the history of Earth’s atmosphere is one of gradually declining amounts of methane and carbon dioxide.3 Since methane and carbon dioxide are powerful greenhouse gases, this gradual decline is crucial for compensating for the ongoing brightening of the Sun.

The quantity of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and perhaps that of methane also, correlates with the degree of cloud cover. More carbon dioxide and more methane mean more clouds. Thus, much greater quantities of these greenhouse gases in early Earth’s atmosphere alone likely made the sky completely translucent from the viewpoint of an observer on Earth’s surface.

The new Astrophysical Journal study was performed by a team of scientists from a variety of fields. They uncovered another cause of early Earth’s atmospheric translucency—the lack of oxygen. The team performed laboratory experiments on gas mixtures of molecular nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, and molecular oxygen designed to mimic the composition of Earth’s atmosphere during its first 4 billion years. They noted that oxygen concentrations greater than 20 parts per million “resulted in a decrease in aerosol production rate with increasing O2concentration.”4 That is, the less oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, the denser the atmospheric haze will be.

As figure 2 reveals, the oxygen content in Earth’s atmosphere did not get high enough to prevent a pervasive haze until 580 million years ago, just before the first appearance of animals. Also, as the team noted in their paper, atmospheric hazes serve as cloud condensation nuclei.5 Therefore, the denser the atmospheric haze the thicker will be the cloud cover.


Figure 2: Oxygen in Earth’s Atmosphere as a Percentage of Total Atmosphere. 

It does not take much haze to obscure the Sun, Moon, and stars from animals on Earth’s surface sufficiently that they cease to be useful to regulate their biological clocks. Even today, with the atmospheric oxygen level at 210,000 parts per million, there are cities in Asia where even on a cloudless night it is not possible to see any stars and the Moon is visible only when it is at the full phase and situated near the zenith.

The combination of denser haze and greater cloud cover previous to 580 million years ago means that whereas the light would penetrate to Earth’s surface, it would not be possible for surface-dwelling creatures to discern with sufficient accuracy and frequency the positions of the Sun, Moon, and stars in the sky. This circumstance poses no problems for life previous to 580 million years ago since such life (microbes, algae, fungi, bryophytes) do not require knowledge of the positions of the Sun, Moon, and stars.

The new research study affirms the creation chronology in Genesis 1: Earth’s atmosphere transitioned from translucent to frequently transparent on creation day 4, just before God created Earth’s first animals on creation day 5. The study provides yet more evidence that the more we learn about nature and its record the more we accumulate sound reasons to believe that the Bible is the authoritative, inspired, inerrant Word of God.

Original article: Hazy Early Earth: More Affirmation of Creation Day 4

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.