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Tom Wolfe and Fashion

Sherman McCoy wore leather boating moccasins with a checked shirt and khakis. Nestor Camancho wore a too-small cop uniform to accent his muscular physique. And Roger White, wooah-boy, Roger White wore a navy pinstripe suit, a contrast-collared shirt with a white collar and pale-blue stripes down the front, a crêpe de chine silk tie from Charvet in Paris, and polished black cap-toed shoes. The particular outfits these men wore, and the men themselves, sprang from the fertile mind of Tom Wolfe, who sadly passed away earlier this week. Much has been written about Wolfe, about his unique prose, his reporting-style approach to fiction and his literary-style approach to nonfiction, and, of course, his white suits—Entertainment Weekly even put together a rundown of his best ones. But just as his own fashion is memorable, so too is that of those he wrote about. Clothing is mentioned so often in his works, that it seems a Wolfe character introduction is not complete without a thorough account of the subject's ensemble. My replications of his descriptions above are barebones. Wolfe went into much fuller, much deeper detail, full paraphrases or quotations of which would have taken up substantially more space. And like everything Wolfe did in his writing, he had a reason for doing so. The classic advice for the wannabe fictionalist is to "show and not tell," and with clothing Wolfe found a particularly clever way to do just that. He took clothes, such a basic part of life many authors don't even consider worthy of mention, and used them to explain his characters, to reveal or drive home elements of their personality. The descriptions I opened with are more than just a report of characters' outfits, they're descriptions of the characters themselves. Of the WASPy McCoy, the vain Camancho, and the fastidious and slightly snobby White. In a Wolfe piece, fiction or nonfiction, even the most modest of clothing is revealing. What Wolfe understood well, perhaps better than any other writer and certainly more so than any other journalist, is that clothes speak volumes about their wearer. He described clothing as "a wonderful doorway that most easily leads you to the heart of an individual." A person's outfit is comprised of decision upon decision, regarding a host of attributes like style, cut, and color. And ultimately, those choices reflect the tastes and personality of the individual who makes them. So it's understandable that instead of saying John Smith, the Yale-educated reporter in Back to Blood, was wearing khakis and a blazer when he was called into his editor's office, Wolfe takes us through as many of Smith's dressing decisions as he can, writing, "he wore no necktie, but he did wear a shirt with a collar, in his case a white button-down shirt … not only that, he wore a navy blazer—could that be linen?—a pair of khaki pants freshly pressed with a crease … and a pair of well-polished dark-brown moccasins." (The ellipses are my addition.) The description gives the reader a greater understanding of the preppy and detail-oriented Smith. Wolfe's attention to fashion is found in his nonfiction as well. In Radical Chic, Wolfe's long-form article about a party Leonard Bernstein held for the Black Panthers way back when, there's an entire passage dedicated to the question of what one wears to a party honoring radicals. The trick, Wolfe writes, is not wearing something "frivolously and pompously expensive," while also avoiding anything too "funky" that gives the impression of slumming it. Just as he embedded meaning into the dress of his characters, Wolfe searched for it in the guests that night. Jean Stein's "rust-red snap-around suede skirt" showed she was trying too hard to be "funky," making too desperate an attempt to show her hipness. Felicia Bernstein, on the other hand, had the perfect outfit for the occasion: "the simplest little black frock imaginable, with absolutely no ornamentation save for a plain gold necklace." Her outfit was the most fitting for the (admittedly ridiculous) occasion because it most embodied the idea of radical chicness, of making a show of anti-establishmentism while still, of course, not straying too far from establishment ideals. Wolfe did an interview with TIME in 1989, in which he stated clothing was "the way [people] reveal themselves." His interviewer then posed a clever question: "What would you say about a character who wears a handsomely cut vanilla-colored suit on a winter day in New York, with a lilac tie and matching striped shirt with a collar seven stripes high, and shoes custom-designed to appear to have white spats?" He responded, "I suppose I might say, ‘Here’s somebody who’s trying to call attention to himself.'" And indeed, there are few outfits he could have worn to better achieve that goal. The white suit set him apart, making him look every bit the eccentric artiste. Wolfe knew full well the impact it had on peoples' perception of him, and he embraced it. He explained that the suit made him oddly disarming, "a man from Mars, the man who didn't know anything and was eager to know." Aside from this benefit to his journalism, he said he wore white suits because "it really irritated people." The singularity of Wolfe's style extended beyond the white suit, however. He had a penchant for loud patterned ties, homburgs, and collars so high they almost rose to his chin. But even less noticeable aspects of his outfit stand apart. Jonah Goldberg once noted Wolfe was probably "the last guy in Western civilization who uses cloth buttons [on his suits]." And those buttons would be real buttons on the suit jacket sleeves, ones with real buttonholes—he even wrote a whole article on the topic called "The Secret Vice." In all, Wolfe's clothing was a doorway that led to his heart. It reflected the fact that he was unafraid to stand out, yet traditional that he reveled in his role as a contrarian and that he paid sharp attention to details, especially those few noticed. Charlotte Simmons wore high-waisted jeans, a printed cotton blouse, and white Keds. Maurice Fleischmann wore an eight-thousand-dollar silk suit with a French-cuff shirt. Leonard Bernstein wore a black turtleneck under a navy blazer, along with plaid trousers and a long pendant necklace. And Tom Wolfe wore a white suit. The post Tom Wolfe and Fashion appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Keith Ellison Has Not Donated to Dem Candidates For Midterms

Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.), the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), has not given any contributions directly to Democratic candidates from any of his own committees for the midterm elections, filings show. Ellison's leadership PAC, the Everybody Counts Everybody Matters PAC, has posted lackluster fundraising figures this cycle and shows only $100,000 in contributions. The only expenditure reported from the PAC came last November in the form of a $2,700 contribution to Doug Jones, the Democrat who defeated the scandal-plagued Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's Senate election. However, since the donation to Jones, the PAC has not provided help to any other Democrats. Ellison's campaign committee, Ellison for Congress, has raised $2.3 million so far this cycle but also did not report any direct contributions to Democratic campaigns. The only significant money transfers from Ellison's campaign went to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which has come under fire from progressives for meddling in a number of Democratic primaries in attempts to push out the more liberal candidates. The DCCC publicly released an opposition research file on Laura Moser, a candidate in Texas's 7th congressional district, angering the progressive base of the party. A secret recording was later released of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) asking Levi Tillemann, a Democratic candidate in Colorado's 6th congressional district, to leave the race because a "judgment" had been made earlier to support another, more moderate candidate. Ellison made five transfers to the DCCC last year for a total of $145,000. On Feb. 14, Ellison made another $25,000 to the committee. Smaller transfers were made to the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party ($26,498) and the DNC ($5,000). Ellison gave a $2,500 donation to Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), a Minnesota-based progressive group of "low-wage workers" who organize campaigns and protests against large retailers. CTUL is a partner of the Center for Popular Democracy, a New York-based liberal nonprofit that contains old chapters of the now defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). The 501(c)(4) arm of the Center for Popular Democracy leads a massive $80 million anti-Trump network, which was publicly backed by Ellison. "This national network, led by working class people of color and immigrants, will supply the power and the fight we need to resist the Trump administration's all-out assault on American values," Ellison said at its launch. "I look forward to standing with CPD Action's leaders in the streets and in Congress to win real progressive change." Ellison's campaign also gave donations to Take Action Minnesota ($1,500), a statewide progressive network that strives for "racial and economic equality" across the state; the Young Democrats of America ($1,000); We the DNC ($1,000), the former committee of Sally Boynton Brown, who ran for DNC chair last year; and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation ($500). The Keith Ellison Campaign Fund, a joint fundraising committee involving Ellison's PAC and campaign, has reported $250,000 in receipts this cycle and pushed $81,300 to the PAC and $165,000 to the campaign. Ellison's campaign did not return a request for comment on his lack of donations to Democratic candidates. Ellison, who is seen as being closer to the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, was chosen by Tom Perez, the DNC's chair who is closer to the Clinton wing, in attempt to blunt the faction's infighting within the party. The DNC went on to purge Sanders loyalists, ultimately fueling more infighting. The cash-strapped DNC also received criticism earlier this year after a Vice report revealed that they had not allocated any of the promised $10 million in funding to state Democratic parties for rebuilding efforts. Following the report, the DNC began sending funds to the parties. While the state parties were still waiting on their funding, the debt-ridden DNC found a way to conjure up $300,000 to pay Onward Together, Hillary Clinton's "resistance" group, for its email lists. The post Keith Ellison Has Not Donated to Dem Candidates For Midterms appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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U.S. Led Coalition Hits ISIS in Iraq, Syria With 66 Strikes in Past Week

The Department of Defense announced on Friday that a U.S.-led coalition completed 66 strikes against the Islamic State between May 11-17. Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and its partners stuck ISIS caves, campsites, training camps, bomb factories, and other targets in Iraq during five of the past seven days. No strikes were carried out in Iraq on Sunday or Thursday. In Syria – where despite the coalition's progress, ISIS has been able to gain a foothold in parts of the country – strikes occurred every day of the week. Forces targeted and destroyed an ISIS command-and-control center, several vehicles, weapons storage facilities, supply routes, bomb factories, communications buildings, and several fighting positions. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria limits the group's ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials noted. U.S. aircraft worked with the air assets of several other countries in the joint effort to "destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria." The strikes may also have been carried out by rocket-propelled artillery or ground-based tactical artillery. The coalition defines a strike as "one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect." For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said. The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. While officials have noted work still remains in the fight to destroy ISIS, the terrorist group has lost significant ground in Iraq and Syria. The push against ISIS has resulted in the restoration of freedom of religion and renewed construction in the region. As a result, there are "encouraging signs" life is returning to normal for civilians in Iraq and Syria, according to a JTF spokesman last month. The post U.S. Led Coalition Hits ISIS in Iraq, Syria With 66 Strikes in Past Week appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott Reacts to Santa Fe High School Shooting

Gov. Greg Abbott (R., Texas) reacted to a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas on Friday, providing updates about the shooter and the victims, and telling Texans "we must come together as one community." Abbott confirmed ten were killed and another ten were wounded at Santa Fe High School on Friday morning. "We grieve for the victims who lost their lives at Santa Fe High School and we pray for the families who are suffering and will continue to suffer in the days to come," Abbott said. "Nothing can prepare a parent for the loss of a child. This will be a long and painful time for these parents as they work their way through what has to be the greatest challenge they've ever dealt with." "We mourn with them. We mourn as fellow Texans, but we must come together as one community at this time of enormous suffering and show the victims and their families the support they need and they deserve," Abbott said. The governor thanked the first responders at Friday's shooting and the investigators who were still working at the scene and elsewhere. He said while work continues, searches may be slowed because of the possibility of finding additional explosive devices. A molotov cocktail and a CO2 device had already been found. Abbott said the suspect, a student at the school, wanted to commit suicide; however, he was arrested and is being held by authorities. The governor also said there were one or two other individuals who were being looked at by authorities. The weapons used at the shooting were a shotgun and a .38 revolver, based on information obtained from law enforcement. The suspect did not legally own or possess them, but rather, is believed to have obtained them from his father, who legally owned them. It it not clear at this time if the suspect obtained the weapons from his father with permission. Joining Abbott at the press conference were Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R.), and officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety and FBI. Watch additional updates from Abbott on the Sante Fe High School shooting: The post Texas Governor Greg Abbott Reacts to Santa Fe High School Shooting appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Dem State Assembly Candidate Reacts to DCCC’s Silence on Sexual Harassment Allegations

Melissa Fazli, a Democratic candidate for California Assembly District 55, said Thursday that she has suffered from depression and anxiety over the last two weeks because of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's silence in response to her allegation Democratic congressional candidate Gil Cisernos sexually harassed her back in February. "For the past two weeks I have suffered from depression and anxiety because of the silence from Mr. Cisneros and the DCCC," Fazli said on Facebook Live and Periscope. "I have spoken to numerous amounts of journalists who I have given ample evidence, including people I told at the time the events happened." Fazli released a press release on May 3 accusing Cisneros of sexual harassment. Carla Marinucci, a senior writer for Politico, reported on May 4 that the DCCC was "preparing a response" to the accusations, but it has yet to release a public statement. Cisneros, a candidate in the state's 39th Congressional District, was added to the DCCC's highly competitive "Red to Blue" program last month. The program chooses Democratic candidates it deems will be competitive in a general election and is ultimately aimed at unseating Republican lawmakers in districts across the country. As of publication, Cisneros was still listed on the website. Cisneros' campaign manager, Orrin Evans, released a statement vehemently denying Fazli's sexual harassment allegations a day after her press release, calling them "false allegations." pic.twitter.com/sbD8wJkCZF — Gil Cisneros (@GilCisnerosCA) May 4, 2018 The Cisneros campaign and DCCC have subsequently been silent, despite Fazli's multiple pleas on Twitter for them to respond. During her online stream Thursday, Fazli recalled the alleged encounter with Cisneros at the California Democratic Party Convention back in February, which she had laid out in her May 3 press release. Fazli claimed the encounter occurred by an elevator after a party hosted by Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.). She said Cisneros appeared to be intoxicated and after she asked for campaign contributions and they talked about the party, she said Cisneros asked, "Should we go back to your room?" Fazli alleged the harassment continued when she called to ask for donations again, about a week after the first alleged incident: He then asked me "well what are you going to do for me?" I went into this whole spiel about my ground game hoping to impress him that I would be a very active candidate. Then he interrupted me and in a different tone and slowly said "no Melissa. I mean what are you going to do for me?" Now this can be interpreted two ways. Either he wants me to be his spy or he wants me to have sex with him. After the encounter at the elevator in San Diego, I thought he wanted to have sex with me in exchange for a $4400 donation. Either way he wanted pay for play; a [quid] pro quo. "He shocked me. He totally shocked me," Fazli said. Fazli later said she went to visit Cisneros' campaign office on April 30 to let him know she was coming forward with her story and wanted to see his response before she sent out the press release, but his "friendly staff" said he was away at a high school event and then was headed to Philadelphia for an America's College Promise event with former First Lady Michelle Obama. "All I can think is I wish I had Michelle Obama's cell phone number, so I could let her know ‘this is not a good guy,'" Fazli said. "It was agony to decide whether or not to come forward, and I was scared. I was [scared], because I didn't know what he could do. But I didn't expect silence. To me, when somebody is silent, it's complicit." California Democratic voters will determine the party's 39th District candidate in the state's June 5 primary election. The post Dem State Assembly Candidate Reacts to DCCC’s Silence on Sexual Harassment Allegations appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Iranian President Rouhani: Muslim World Hates U.S. More Than Ever

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at the United States for growing closer to the "Zionist regime" in Israel and told reporters in Istanbul on Friday that Muslims across the globe hate America more than ever under President Donald Trump's leadership, according to regional reports. "The Zionists and the Americans are seeking to distract the attention of the Islamic world from Palestine to other issues and to this end they create crises everyday in the Muslim world," Rouhani was quoted as saying ahead of an Arab summit meeting with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Rouhani slammed the United States for relocating its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and said America is hated more than ever by the Muslim world. "The U.S. is more inferior than ever in the Muslim world," Rouhani said, adding that Iran will continue to back Palestinian protestors and rioters in their efforts to destroy Israel. "The relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds is illegal and contrary to international laws and regulations," Rouhani said, blaming the United States for violent protests along Israel's border led by the Hamas terror group, an ally of Iran's. "This move has undoubtedly provoked the anger and protests across Muslim world." Rouhani said Muslim nations participating in the summit will issue a "strongly worded resolution" condemning the United States' embassy relocation. The post Iranian President Rouhani: Muslim World Hates U.S. More Than Ever appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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White House: Trump ‘Disappointed’ in Defeat of Farm Bill, Calls on House to ‘Resolve Any Remaining Issues’

The White House said President Donald Trump was "disappointed" in the defeat of the House Republican farm bill on Friday after the conservative Freedom Caucus torpedoed the legislation. After a failure to reach an agreement over an immigration bill, 30 Republicans joined all the chamber's Democrats to vote down the law 198-213 in what Politico called "a huge setback to the farm lobby and House Speaker Paul Ryan's welfare reform agenda." Trump said through a spokeswoman he hoped the House could resolve its issues to "achieve strong work requirements and support our Nation's agricultural community." "President Donald J. Trump is disappointed in the result of today’s vote in the House of Representatives on the Farm bill, and hopes the House can resolve any remaining issues in order to achieve strong work requirements and support our Nation’s agricultural community," White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement. "The Administration underscores the need to bring certainty to our farmers and ranchers and to the many Americans receiving food assistance, and will continue to work with Congress to pass a Farm bill on time." Trump had tweeted his support for the bill on Thursday, saying "we must support our Nation's great farmers!" Tomorrow, the House will vote on a strong Farm Bill, which includes work requirements. We must support our Nation’s great farmers! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2018 The House Freedom Caucus blocked the measure to put pressure on fellow lawmakers to vote on immigration legislation, according to Politico. The vote came after a 48-hour standoff between GOP leadership and members of the Freedom Caucus. The bloc of conservatives held the bill hostage, demanding that the House first vote on controversial immigration legislation in exchange for their support for the sweeping agriculture and nutrition legislation. "It’s not a fatal blow, it’s just a reorganize," said Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows. "I think at this point we just really need to deal with immigration in an effective way." Democrats opposed the bill in large part because of its stricter work requirements to qualify for food stamps, NPR reported. The bill could still be brought up, potentially depending on whether Ryan and the rest of the party leadership can get the votes for an immigration bill supported by conservatives but likely opposed by GOP moderates. The post White House: Trump ‘Disappointed’ in Defeat of Farm Bill, Calls on House to ‘Resolve Any Remaining Issues’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Trump Admin Announces New Rule That May Defund Planned Parenthood

The Trump Administration filed a new regulation Friday that aims to create a "bright line" between abortion clinics and taxpayers' money. The new rule, if approved by the Office of Management and Budget, will regulate recipients of federal funds under Title X, requiring them to physically and financially separate themselves from any organization that provides or supports abortion. Title X is the federal statute that provides funding for family planning services throughout the nation. First established in 1970 to organize federal family planning grants, the Title X program has expanded continuously alongside American families. As of 2010, it accounted for about 10 percent of the $2.37 billion dollars spent on family planning services that year. Critically, the statute explicitly prohibits any federal funding for "programs where abortion is a method of family planning." But that prohibition has historically been stretched, often to the point of unrecognizability. According to the Weekly Standard, Title X recipients have co-located with abortion clinics, referred patients for abortions, and lobbied in favor of abortions. President Ronald Reagan's administration issued a series of regulations in 1988 in an attempt to block these practices. Although upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional, they were never enforced. The Reagan rules are the template on which the Trump plan was designed. The Trump Administration's proposal breaks from the Reagan-era version in one important way. Specifically, it does not prohibit Title X funding recipients from counseling their patients to seek an abortion, a practice proposed under the Reagan plan and commonly referred to as a "gag rule." The lack of a gag rule in the new regulation did not stop pro-abortion groups claiming there was one. This deception extended to politicians such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), who took to Twitter to disclaim the imagined transgression. "Today, @realdonaldtrump will issue a ‘gag' rule that will stop Title X doctors from even talking to their patients about abortion-related services," Warren wrote. Warren and others' attacks on the new rule may be due in part to their indebtedness to abortion clinic/advocacy group Planned Parenthood, which claims to make up about 13 percent of Title X clinics, and which received more than $550 million in federal funding in 2015-2016. The organization's PAC, Planned Parenthood Action, was quick to slam the Title X revision, repeating the false gag rule claim spread by Warren and others. ".@realDonaldTrump has said from day one he wants to control women. He & @SecAzar are making it official government policy by blocking patients from care at Planned Parenthood, allowing doctors to withhold abortion info from patients, & putting women's health at risk. #NoGagRule," it tweeted. Planned Parenthood receives between $50 and $60 million in Title X funding, according to the Washington Post. It may lose all of this funding if it is unwilling to adhere to the administration's "bright line of separation," fulfilling a long-standing commitment by Trump and national Republicans to defund the clinic chain. While those whose livelihood depends on easy access to abortion and campaign funds from abortion providers booed the new rule, pro-life advocates were quick to cheer the Trump Administration. "As the former director of a Planned Parenthood in Texas, I used to be on the reciprocal end of the pro-life movement's desire to defund the abortion giant," said Abby Johnson, president of a group that helps abortion clinic workers leave the industry. "There was never any separation of funds in our clinics—it all went to the same account, whether that money came from taxpayers through Title X or from supporter donations or from payments for abortions." "Abortion is not healthcare and women deserve better than their government forking over hundreds of millions of dollars to an enormous organization that seeks to strip women of their femininity by telling them abortion is equal to empowerment. That was only one of many lies I told the women I counseled when I worked at Planned Parenthood," Johnson added. The post Trump Admin Announces New Rule That May Defund Planned Parenthood appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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How Trump Plans to Cut Planned Parenthood Funding

Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, senior writer John McCormack joins host Charlie Sykes from The Weekly Standard Broadmoor Summit to discuss his recent article about efforts by President Trump's administration to restrict funding to Planned Parenthood, the latest with the Mueller investigation, and other topics.read more weeklystandard.comOriginal Article

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