Quick Hits: Volume CLXII

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- Upon John Boehner resigning as Speaker of the U.S. House in late 2015, one of the names immediately considered to succeed him was Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). However, Ryan was reluctant to pursue the post given his commitment to a young family as well as his lack of desire to aggressively fund raise on behalf of the House GOP caucus. Eventually Ryan chose to run for House Speaker once the more polarizing factions of the party (i.e. "The Establishment" and "Freedom Caucus") were each willing to give majority support. Ryan was then officially elected in October 2015.

For the past several weeks, rumors have been circulating that Ryan will not only resign as House Speaker but that he won't even seek reelection for his Congressional seat this year. Said rumors were confirmed on Wednesday.

The Wisconsin Republican cast the decision to end his 20-year career as a personal one, saying he did not want his children growing up with a "weekend dad." He told reporters he believes he's leaving with strong accomplishments his party can sell to voters ahead of November elections. A self-styled budget guru, Ryan had made tax cuts a centerpiece of his legislative agenda, and a personal cause, and Congress delivered on that late last year.

"I have given this job everything I have," he said. "We're going to have a great record to run on."

Ryan's plans have been the source of much speculation and will set off a scramble among his lieutenants to take the helm. It will also fuel speculation that Ryan is eyeing a coming Democratic surge, fueled by opposition to President Donald Trump, that could wrest control of the House from Republicans' grip. Several GOP veterans have announced plans to retire in recent months and another, Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida, quickly followed Ryan on Wednesday.

Ryan, 48, first announced his plans at a closed-door meeting of House Republicans Wednesday morning. His tone was somber, and he read directly from prepared remarks. Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., said an emotional Ryan "choked up a few times trying to get through" his remarks to colleagues and received three standing ovations.

Moments later, Ryan told reporters that if he were to stay for one more term, his children — now all teens — would only know him as a weekend dad.

"I can't let that happen," he said.

Personally I'll miss Ryan, particularly his terrific communication skills in conveying the party's agenda as well as his ability to (mostly) bring all factions of the House GOP together. That was the one area where his predecessor, Boehner, was sorely lacking. Also, I can't think of any other politicians who could have so deftly managed the chaos brought on by the top elected official in the party, President Donald J. Trump.

I still can't help but lament that it should be a Vice President Ryan in the midst of a second term with President Romney. Regardless, enjoy retirement Mr. Speaker.

- There were several cringe-inducing moments at Tuesday's Senate Judiciary and Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee meetings where they interrogated Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Specifically, it was a good number of septuagenarian (and, in some cases, older) senators who probably still believe that televisions operate on vacuum tubes, yet they can get a handle on the challenges technology giants face regarding data privacy practices? Absurd.

I believe Sean Davis from The Federalist said it best:


- I've made no secret about my enjoyment of 1980s pop culture and its cast of characters, particularly actress Molly Ringwald. Sure, she's a pablum puking leftist today, but I refuse to let that soil the memories I have of what I consider her stellar '80s performances.

Ah, but Molly herself appears even more unyielding in undermining the fondness many people my age have for that era, particularly when referencing the cinematic classic The Breakfast Club.

It’s a strange experience, watching a younger, more innocent version of yourself onscreen. It’s stranger still—surreal, even—watching it with your child when she is much closer in age to that version of yourself than you are. My friend was right: my daughter didn’t really seem to register most of the sex stuff, though she did audibly gasp when she thought I had showed my underwear. At one point in the film, the bad-boy character, John Bender, ducks under the table where my character, Claire, is sitting, to hide from a teacher. While there, he takes the opportunity to peek under Claire’s skirt and, though the audience doesn’t see, it is implied that he touches her inappropriately. I was quick to point out to my daughter that the person in the underwear wasn’t really me, though that clarification seemed inconsequential. We kept watching, and, despite my best intentions to give context to the uncomfortable bits, I didn’t elaborate on what might have gone on under the table. She expressed no curiosity in anything sexual, so I decided to follow her lead, and discuss what seemed to resonate with her more. Maybe I just chickened out.

She's goes on to throw late director John Hughes, with whom she collaborated on multiple successful '80s films, under the proverbial bus for having "such a glaring blind spot." She even went on to equate her situation with the female entertainers victimized by sleazy Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Seriously!

National Review entertainment writer Kyle Smith also thought that was a bridge too far.

Dropping the name Harvey Weinstein like a smoke bomb, to ensure maximum confusion and panic, she writes, “If attitudes toward female subjugation are systemic, and I believe that they are, it stands to reason that the art we consume and sanction plays some part in reinforcing those same attitudes.” There is question-begging in both the dependent clause and the independent clause of that sentence. Consider how vacuous the same argument has come to look when it comes to violence instead of sex: We have shootings in reality because there are shootings in video games and movies. What Ringwald seizes upon as Exhibit A in “female subjugation” looks more like a throwaway sex joke, and anyway, just as shootings have sharply declined over the last generation, so have rates of rape and sexual assault.

I can't tell if this is Ringwald genuinely feeling exploited or merely a lackluster attempt to conjure up her own #MeToo story in an effort to become a more credible voice for the issue.