I'M THE WORST!!! [Jonah Goldberg]
A Canadian newspaper called the Hamilton Spectator has declared me the absolute low in journalism in 2002 (note: while I think this guy is making fool of himself, he is right that my Crossfire appearance on Canada was not a highwater mark for me):
Looking back at the worst year in journalism since Joe McCarthy peaked, when the leaky multimedia vessels of the busted stock bubble floated themselves on a tide of jingoism and patriotic bilge, two names in particular stand out against the veritable cenotaph of expired integrity. Many journalists went into the warmongering business this year, but I want to single out Marcus Gee of the Globe and Mail and Jonah Goldberg of the National Review.
Posted at 05:28 PM
OKAY LET'S TALLY IT UP [Jonah Goldberg]
Membership in all-white club isn't a "racially insensitive comment" of course. But, depending on the circumstances, it's not the greatest thing in the world either.
C - on the fair criticism scale.
Making fun of a liberal opponent for wanting to send money to Washington DC where the crack-smoking mayor is in all the headlines? Sounds like it'd be good politics if Barry was white.
D- on the fair criticism scale.
A heart surgeon who's had his arms in countless blacks' open-chest cavities says he doesn't want to get stuck by sharpened pencils. Good lord! Alert the NAACP!
Incomplete. Perhaps with effort could be bumped to F-
A supporter makes an ill-advised but hardly outrageous comment, which might have been bad if actually uttered by Frist himself.
Republicans want to discourage a core Democratic constituency from voting Democratic. In other words, they treat blacks like any other voting bloc. Frist gives some money to some candidates who do this.
Posted at 05:20 PM
THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TRY HARDER THAN THIS [Jonah Goldberg]
The New York Times frontpage profile of Bill Frist offers one of the lamest smear jobs I've ever seen. Contrasting him with other more experienced or ambitious men Senate Republicans could have chosen as majority leader, the David Firestone writes:
Instead they picked a 50-year-old man who is not, at first glance, an obvious replacement for the veteran Mr. Lott. He is so closely identified with the White House that some members fret about becoming a rubber stamp. He lacks the broad legislative and parliamentary experience that can be useful in fending off the inevitable thrusts from the Democrats. And he has been criticized for comments that were seen as racially insensitive.
Well into the jump we find out what these allegedly racially insensitive comments were. Here's the evidence as presented by the Times, in its own words:
2. On at least three occasions in his first campaign in 1994, Tennessee newspapers reported that he accused his opponent, Senator Jim Sasser, of sending local taxpayer money to Washington, home of Marion Barry. Mr. Frist dropped the line after Mr. Sasser said he was using it to inflame racial resentment.
3. Also in that campaign, Representative Harold E. Ford Jr., Democrat from Memphis, demanded that Mr. Frist apologize to African-Americans for remarks that he and a supporter made. Mr. Frist, going to a largely black march against crime, had asked a worker to obtain imprinted pencils to distribute, requesting unsharpened pencils.
"I don't want to get stuck," he told the aide.
4. A supporter also said the bus was getting "deeper into the jungle" as it approached a black neighborhood.
Mr. Frist said at the time that his remark was not racial and that he could not be held responsible for his supporter's remark. But some blacks said he had been racially insensitive.
5. Democratic officials also noted today that several senatorial campaigns on Mr. Frist's watch this year had been accused of working to reduce black voting strength.
Posted at 05:10 PM
IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...and if you have some spare change, feel free to throw it NRO's way.
Posted at 04:14 PM
PICKLED BRAINS [John Derbyshire]
The Soviets didn't start it. The brains of the great mathematicians Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) and Lejeune Dirichlet (1805-1859), suitably pickled, are kept at the Physiology Department of the University of Goettingen, where both taught and died. Bernhard Riemann, the hero of my forthcoming book, escaped this fate, prudently dying in an Italian vacation resort, far from the scalpels of academic physiologists.
Posted at 03:24 PM
THE SOVIET BRAIN TRUST [Jim Robbins]
The Brain Institute (Institut Mozga) was established in 1926 to study the brains of infleuntial people, and reflected Stalin's predilection for quack science. They have scores of brains on hand, including Maxim Gorky, Andrei Sakharov, Sergei Eisenstein, and of course the great Stalin himself. The Lenin and Stalin brains were sliced up into tens of thousands of sections with a microtome, and fixed to slides for study (which didn't turn up much). At the time, slicing seemed the thing to do, but with contemporay medical technology the brains would be easier to examine intact. In fact, in their current condition they are of not much use. However, the Brain Institute has been left with some superb collectables. Forget having a hunk of the Berlin Wall, a Lenin or Stalin brain sample would be the ultimate Cold War trophy item. The Institute should get into the swing of capitalism and figure out a way to get those slides on HSN or QVC right away. But they'll have to have some kind of proof of authenticity, I wouldn't want to order Stalin and get Zinoviev or some other hapless purgee.
BTW, those interested in more details on Lenin's preservation should check out Ilya Zbarsky's Lenin's Embalmers, a first-hand account of the process. Andrew Stuttaford mentioned it in the Corner last July 13 with a link to a review of a play based on the story. The Soviet Period is such an endless source of the weird and tragic.
Posted at 02:59 PM
AS WE WORK HERE AT NRO THIS SATURDAY... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...(what was once, idealistically, going to be the first day of a little break)--I keep thinking: Lott should have resigned last Friday.
Posted at 02:01 PM
IN ALL FAIRNESS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader writes:
I'm one of the Corner's most loyal liberal readers, and I think you're probably pretty right that Martin Peretz is being a little whiny and backwards-thinking when he goes on and on about how unfortunate it is that Gore lost. However, take a look at this part of the passage you cited: "Gore never really asserted, or even suggested, that he had created the Internet. He knows, first of all, that the Internet is not something that is, mirabili dictu, invented. What he actually did say--that he played a critical role in the political process that made way for the Web--isn't simply plausible; it's undeniable. Still, the ludicrous assertion that he had claimed scientific paternity gained such currency with TV pundits, who do nothing if not repeat themselves and emulate each other, that charging Gore with untruths became national sport. "The reader is right about that Peretz passage inasmuch as hopefully Al Gore didn't REALLY think he invented the Internet--however, when you consider the extent of Al Gore's lies and exaggerations during the course of the campaign (Remember?!), it's hard for me to find too much sympathy for the guy or outrage about the media's treatment of him.
Update: A reader not as lazy as I am sends this snopes.com explanation of the Internet thing.
Posted at 12:30 PM
MEMORIES... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Peretz complaining that even media liberals like Chris Matthews, Cokie Roberts, and Maureen Dowd "savaged" Gore, reminded me of one of the most memorable scenes from those post-election days: Chris Matthews near tears after Gore delivered (FINALLY!) his concession speech.
Posted at 11:55 AM
OH YEAH, THAT [Rod Dreher]
Writing in today's Washington Times, Diana West reminds us of what an unprincipled politician Trent "I'm For Affirmative Action" Lott has been when it suited him:
"This isn't the first time Mr. Lott has come between Republicans and their principles. In fact, speaking of Bill Clinton, remember impeachment? In January 1999, Mr. Lott met with the 13 House managers, led by Rep. Henry Hyde, after the House of Representatives momentously and unexpectedly impeached the 42nd president. As David P. Schippers, chief investigative counsel for the impeachment, writes in his book, Sell Out, 'I'll never forget the very first words out of his [Trent Lott´s] mouth: 'Henry, you're not going to dump this garbage on us.' ' Garbage? Seems that Mr. Lott had 'important matters' to address — as opposed to two articles of impeachment ('garbage') — and couldn't be bothered with a constitutionally-mandated Senate trial, as evidenced by the sham proceeding that followed."
Posted at 11:46 AM
SOMEONE NEEDS A CHILL PILL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Marty Peretz is just a tad sore still about Al Gore losing. He writes:
No political figure in living memory has been as targeted by the media as Gore, so relentlessly ridiculed for offenses invented mostly by the media itself. Gore never really asserted, or even suggested, that he had created the Internet. He knows, first of all, that the Internet is not something that is, mirabili dictu, invented. What he actually did say--that he played a critical role in the political process that made way for the Web--isn't simply plausible; it's undeniable. Still, the ludicrous assertion that he had claimed scientific paternity gained such currency with TV pundits, who do nothing if not repeat themselves and emulate each other, that charging Gore with untruths became national sport.There's more, too...read here.
Posted at 11:44 AM
ESSIE MAE [Rod Dreher]
It is not news that Strom Thurmond had a relationship with a black woman many years ago. He acknowledged as much, but he denied that he fathered a child with her. Colbert King talks about Thurmond's alleged daughter in his column today. I can hear Yankee rationalists saying, "But I don't get it: how can a man fight for segregation, yet have an affair with a woman he believes is his inferior?" Welcome to the South, folks (which is to say, to the tragic carnival that is humanity). Let Flannery O'Connor be your guide, but never forget that she's a realist.
You want to know how crazy it is? Where I'm from, there was a white plantation owner within living memory who used to spend Christmas mornings with his white family in the big house, then spend Christmas afternoons with his black mistress and their family in their cabin on the back end of the property. This was no secret. There is a long and sordid history of elite Southern men breaking their marriage vows by taking black mistresses (who weren't always consulted about whether they wanted to be anybody's mistress).
My great-grandmother told me a few years ago, the bitterness still palpable in her voice, of the resentment she had towards the white female social elite in our town back in the 1930s, when she and my great-grandfather moved there. Because of the Depression, she had to go to work, which "respectable" women just didn't do in those days. The other women snubbed her because of it. What got to her, though, was that these women's husbands -- the town's ruling class -- were spending their days in the Negro quarter under the hill, with their mistresses. My great-grandmother said the elite ladies of the town had to overlook the fact that their husbands were cheating on them with the maids (who, in the white man's mind, weren't really persons, so it wasn't really adultery), else the whole pretense of their elevated place in society would collapse. The greater their secret shame, the more they looked down on women like my great-grandmother, particularly because she knew, and more to the point, they knew that she knew.
Slavery and its legacy corrupted individuals and families and communities, black and white, for generations, and in ways people don't always think about today.
Posted at 11:32 AM
THE RED CROSS, TOO, IN THE U.K... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...doesn't want to offend Muslims with Christmas decorations.
Posted at 11:04 AM
DON'T CALL IT CHRISTMAS, WE'RE CANADIAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It's a holiday tree.
Posted at 10:53 AM
PATTY MURRAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A report in her homestate paper today says she intended to be provocative (here's, by the way, her unsatisfactory statement). No need to apologize, in other words, she's just a freethinking liberal who can say whatever she pleases because she's of the left.
Posted at 10:39 AM
HONEST TRUTH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I just now placed my first NRO Store order (who doesn't need to keep warm, or to have a mousepad or an apron(!)--and part of my annual contribution to FEDEX. Bought some gifts--still have to return in Jan. to buy a nifty backpack and OF COURSE a coffee mug for moi, assuming I've not declared bankruptcy by then (just kidding). Then I'll send the Corner guys their beer mugs, belatedly, too! If you're sitting at home, on the net right now thinking, man, i don't really want to brave the malls (you'd rather spend time all Christmasy, at home with your family!), go for it--buy from the NRO Store. You can still get the items by Christmas Eve!
Posted at 10:25 AM
BRAIN DEAD [Andrew Stuttaford]
The brain of the West German leftist terrorist Ulrike Meinhof was, apparently, cremated yesterday - more than a quarter of a century after the rest of her. She was no loss and nor was her brain. If we discount reports that Hitler's brain has lingered on, that only leaves one other dead terrorist brain at large - that of Lenin, which can still be found in a Moscow scientific institute. The beastly Bolshevik's brain was sliced and diced by eager Soviet scientists not long after the monster's death, eager, presumably, to see if Ilyich's recipes for barbarism and economic catastrophe were somehow imprinted on his little grey cells. They weren't, naturally enough, but by that time it didn't matter - Lenin's evil ideas had already been absorbed by thousands of others - with, alas, lethal consequences that were to endure for decades.
Of course it's not only Lenin's brain that lingers on. His body's still with us too - still on show in that mausoleum in Red Square. It needs to go somewhere else, but where? Cremated with the ashes scattered in a sewer would, I think, be an appropriate finale for this disgusting creature. Maybe Corner readers have other, possibly more charitable, suggestions.
As for Lenin's Mausoleum itself, it should be left standing in Red Square, but this curiously beautiful structure, a masterpiece of Constructivist architecture, needs to find a purpose that can, somehow, redeem those years as a monument to oppression. Why not turn it into a memorial to the tens of millions murdered by the Soviet regime? The building that once 'buried' Lenin should now be used to bury his ideas.
Posted at 09:43 AM
ANOTHER COVER-UP [Andrew Stuttaford]
This defies belief. Over to you, Rod.
Posted at 09:21 AM
TURBULENT PRIESTS' WIVES [Andrew Stuttaford]
In fact, of course, the 'C of E' has been on the left for decades, something vividly demonstrated by this story told to me by an old acquaintance who is a former Conservative Member of Parliament. At some time in the early 1970s a Soviet delegation had come to visit the provincial city then represented by my friend. The MP found himself sitting next to one of the visitors and across from the wife of a well known local cleric, a lady well-known for the stridency - and the stupidity - of her left-wing credo. Silence fell as she suddenly lent across the table and explained to the luckless Russian, "you know, it is now we Christians who are the real revolutionaries."
Stunned for a moment, the Russian, by all accounts a rather tough apparatchik, sunk back in his chair, unable to know how to reply. He then caught the Tory MP's eye and they both burst into loud - and sustained - laughter.
Nothing more needed to be said.
Posted at 09:14 AM
ROWAN'S LAUGHABLE [Andrew Stuttaford]
There's still chatter over here in the UK about the recent dim-witted remarks by Rowan Williams, the cassocked clown now presiding as Archbishop of Canterbury. Part of Williams' speech looked back to the virtues of some notionally more cozy, more collectivist past. Writing in the London Times, Matthew Parris remembers what those days, perhaps best typified by the 1970s, were really like, and then he asks this:
"Where was the Church of England then? Railing as she ought to have against Socialism and the selfishness of collectivist politics? Fighting for individual freedom, choice and the Christian virtues of venture, commitment, consequence and risk? I don't think so."
Posted at 09:02 AM
CROSS WITH THE RED CROSS [Andrew Stuttaford]
I've always thought that the Red Cross was an unmitigatedly good thing. Now I'm not so sure. In its British incarnation at least, the organization is clearly no longer worthy of quite so much public approval as in the past. The London Daily Mail is reporting that Red Cross staff "have been ordered to take down decorations and to remove any other signs of [Christmas} because they could offend Muslims." Banned items include nativity scenes and, naturally, that evergreen symbol of intolerance, the Christmas tree.
The Mail quotes a Red Cross spokesman as saying the following, " In shops people can put up decorations like tinsel or snow which are seasonal. But the guidance is that things representative of Christmas cannot be shown."
Reaction has been, I'm glad to say, enjoyably vituperative. A vicar in Plymouth has wondered if the Red Cross may need to change its (offensive?) logo to a 'red splodge' , while Lord Ahmed, one of the UK's more prominent Muslim politicians tells the Mail that "it is stupid to think Muslims would be offended."
No need to give to the British Red Cross this year, I feel.
Posted at 08:54 AM
Friday, December 20, 2002
WHAT HATH TRENT WROUGHT? [Rod Dreher]
Posted at 11:32 PM
“I WANT MY VDH” [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Several readers have emailed me upset they did not get their regular Friday dose of Victor Davis Hanson. Have no fear! He is coming to NRO real soon. Tomorrow (Sat.) we’ll be posting our “Christmas site” around midday. It’ll be packed with regulars like Hanson and Derb. And familiar faces like Bill Bennett and Jeff Hart. I think you’ll like. On the 27th, we’ll post another site, all new content—another Hanson, and predictions from the likes of Mark Steyn, Kate O’Beirne, Jonah Goldberg, and many more. Good stuff. And, of course, The Corner will be fully operating throughout the remainder of the year.
Posted at 06:39 PM
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS [Roger Clegg]
Now that Senator Lott has stepped down as Majority Leader, Republicans are actually in a stronger position to oppose racial and ethnic preferences – a.k.a. “affirmative action” – than they were before. They have proved that they take a commitment to nondiscrimination seriously, having gotten rid of a Majority Leader whose credibility on the issue had been seriously compromised, and can point out that it is the nondiscrimination principle that dictates their opposition to preferences. It doesn’t matter whose ox is being gored: Discrimination in wrong. So that’s the good news. The bad news is that the current frontrunner to replace Lott, Bill Frist, was a key architect of a 1998 bill that pushed quotas onto nursing schools in exchange for federal funding. But there’s also the good news that Senator Frist supported as well Senator Mitch McConnell’s legislation in 1998 that would have stripped racial and ethnic preferences out of the federal highway program. Maybe it would be safer, though, for the Republicans just to pick McConnell as their leader instead.
Posted at 06:36 PM
HONESTY ON MCKINNEY [Jonah Goldberg]
an interesting apology.
Posted at 05:52 PM
I'M DOWN [Jonah Goldberg]
Instapundit suggests that Republicans should prove they're not-racist by abandoning all race-based policies. Sounds like the Ward Connerly plan, but I'm game.
Posted at 05:41 PM
AMAZING NEWS.... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...it turns out Santa Claus writes for NRO. Listen to Sean Hannity right NOW and you'll understand. (Santa's last name rhymes with "Come In," fyi.)
Posted at 05:17 PM
EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT THE WEATHER, BUT... [John Derbyshire]
Steady rain all day here on Lawn-Guy Land. Just what I needed. I have recently had a new cesspool system installed, which involved digging up the entire front lawn. The guys did a great job, a _terrific_ job actually. I watched the whole thing--it was like a well-rehearsed military operation. (This was Antorino's, a local family-owned business here in Huntington. Great work, fellas--thanks!) Afterwards they cleaned up, re-planted one of my wife's trees they'd had to move, and leveled off the lawn. Re-seeding the lawn is none of their business, though. Oh, we said, we'll wait till spring to do that, we can live with bare soil for a few weeks. Then came the rain. Now my front lawn looks like the Ypres Salient. The kids are guaranteed to traverse it in such a way as to accumulate the maximum amount of mud on their shoes. Perhaps I should lay down duckboards.
Posted at 03:48 PM
CONSERVATIVES: THE NEXT GENERATION [Jonah Goldberg]
I've been hearing from a bunch of younger conservatives who take issue with my column today (which was written rapidly in the immediate aftermath of the Lott announcement). They complain that they shouldn't have to feel any guilt or shame about what conservative did or didn't do forty years ago, since they weren't born. They are simply taking the colorblind position, as they would have in the 1960s, and therefor they have nothing to apologize for. It's certainly a fair point and I pretty much agree with it. That's certainly how I feel most of the time. I was born in 1969, but I'm supposed to be responsible for what people did or didn't do in 1964?
I guess my answer to my own rhetorical question is yes and no. Shelby Steele made the case more eloquently than I could about why this is so. But I will make one point he didn't. Conservatives need to be forthright on race because of the paranoia and silliness of so many liberals. Racial liberals are so quick to assume racism on the part of their opponents conservatives have to work extra hard to show that we're not. Why should we care about the misconceptions or obtuseness of liberals? Well, because politics is about persuading people. And if conservatives are right about race -- and I think they are -- they need to persuade liberals why they're wrong. It's really as simple as that. Is it unfair? Of course it is. But conservatism is the philosophy which recognizes life isn't fair.
Posted at 03:38 PM
READER CHRISTMAS CARDS [John Derbyshire]
I have been getting Christmas cards from readers. This is wonderful (especially considering that I am weeks behind on e-mail). Thank you all. Bless you all.
Posted at 03:35 PM
ALAS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Alaska's Frank Murkowski has picked his daughter to serve out his Senate term, not Jonah's bride, NRO's favorite Alaskan. The worst part, of course, if Jonah won't be harassing Ms. Rodham in the Senate cafeteria.
Posted at 02:06 PM
WAR ON TERROR, UP CLOSE [Jim Robbins]
For those who want the sights and sounds of our war on terrorism, check out the AC-130 gunship footage here. Note the cool professional demeanor of the participants. Note also our determination not to destroy the local mosque. But it's the only thing our guys leave intact.
Posted at 01:51 PM
BLACK AND WHITE [Rod Dreher]
From a reader. Southerners know well how authentic this paradox is. Northerners, in my experience, can't wrap their minds around it. But it's true:
"When my parents were married, my great-grandfather gave them the family
Posted at 01:50 PM
MISS TRIXIE, CONT'D [Rod Dreher]
At the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, which I don't have any right to be, let me show you a letter from a "Miss Trixie" reader that makes it clear why all the anti-Lott campaigning by conservative writers over the past days was morally necessary:
"We're both Southerners (I'm from North Carolina) of roughly the same age, but from 'opposite' races. The South is such a peculiar an contradictory place that often only us natives really understand it. Its hard to explain to yankees, black or white, why it is that I love it so, yet felt the need to leave pursue my career (I'm a lawyer) elsewhere.
"While the South is certainly a-changin', there are really only a few
My grandparents spent the first 50 years or so of their lives living under Jim Crow, yet would identify some neighboring whites as among their oldest friends. Friends who, if they needed anything, from assistance in the fields, to a little money, would be right there. But friends who would never think of inviting them to, say, the wedding of a daughter that they were present for the birth of.
"As you so well know, many in the South still have ideas about a person's
"I know this email is rambling, but I was trying to lay a foundation for why I've been so heartened by your comments over these last couple of weeks. A southern white willing to look the past dead in the face and proclaim it wrong (but not in a Bill Moyers type way) means a lot to those of us who sometimes struggle with our identities as Southern, Black, and conservative. Thanks a lot."
Posted at 01:46 PM
NOT CRICKET [Andrew Stuttaford]
I don't expect that cricket's world cup (which is due to be held next year) is a subject that would normally be of interest to most Corner readers, but on this occasion it should be. Unbelievably, the ICC (the International Cricket Council rather than the equally obnoxious International Criminal 'Court') has just confirmed its decision to stage six of the matches in Zimbabwe, home of the Mugabe dictatorship. The country's embattled opposition is, unsurprisingly, appalled. Today's London Times reports some comments by Themba Nyathi, a spokesman for the MDC (Mugabe's main opponents):
"By agreeing to stage the World Cup in Zimbabwe, despite the humanitarian crisis and unprecedented levels of institutionalized violence, the ICC are sending a callous message to the people of Zimbabwe. Not only have they demonstrated indifference to the pain and suffering of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, they are also, albeit inadvertently, sending a message of hope to the despotic Mugabe regime."
Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph correspondent, Simon Briggs, skewers ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed, who is maintaining the position that the cricket can be divorced from the politics:
"Asked whether the ICC would have been happy to stage matches in Nazi Germany, Speed stared glassily ahead and replied: "That is a hypothetical question. We simply don't make political judgements, they're for politicians."
No word on what Speed thinks about moral judgements.
Posted at 01:25 PM
LOTT MAY BE OUT… [Rich Lowry]
…but it’s important to realize that certain verities still hold--like that fact that the Saudis are bastards. Check out Mowbray’s piece today on the report to the UN on how the Saudis fund terror, important stuff.
Posted at 12:35 PM
ROBERT GEORGE—THANK YOU [Rich Lowry]
I haven’t always agreed with Robert on race-related controversies (I remember arguments about New York City police shootings in particular), but he deserves a lot of credit on this one—he has been out front, relentless, and (with a few quibbles that will be pursued over beers sometime soon) right.
Posted at 12:13 PM
BEINART, CONT. [Rich Lowry]
One last quick thought on Peter’s TRB. In the piece, he takes one of Mark Levin’s signed NRO pieces to represent NR’s corporate opinion. We love Mark, but this is not the case. People make this understandable mistake all the time (thinking by-lined NRO pieces must necessarily be NR’s position), but what’s notable about this instance is that Peter cites positively pieces by Robert George and David Frum, without even noting that they also were signed pieces appearing on NRO, just like Levin’s, let alone taking them to represent our editorial line. Kind of curious…
Posted at 12:12 PM
WHY CONSERVATIVES WANTED LOTT TO GO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the AP: "The remarks drew immediate criticism from black leaders and Democrats. They were quickly joined by conservatives worried that the comments would create a distracting firestorm that would harm the White House's and GOP's efforts to advance their legislative agenda."
Yep, 'bout sums up our editorial. Sure.
Posted at 11:42 AM
SEN. MURRAY... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...should get some heat for this, dontcha think?
Posted at 11:39 AM
MISS TRIXIE AND THEE [Rod Dreher]
Lots of interesting and very moving mail this morning, off my Miss Trixie column. I'm hearing from white Southerners of my generation, who remember trying to deal with the paradox of white folks of previous generations who were kind and fair in their dealings with blacks, but nevertheless called black folks "nigger," and supported segregation. And then there are letters that testify to why Trent Lott's offhanded comment sympathizing for the segregated South really is a big deal. Check out this letter from a reader recounting something that he witnessed in Virginia in the late 1980s:
"I worked on a trash truck during the summers in high school. It was a pretty rough caliber of guys working on the truck, and one, a 'bear of a man' named Leon, used to brag about his treatment of blacks, in the unambiguously colorful patois of sanitation engineers. This was pretty startling stuff for me, a middle-class white kid from the suburbs. It was also a heady education.
Leon was born and raised in Virginia, maybe an hour outside DC. He was probably in his mid-fifties at the time, and had gone to high school in the still-segregated commonwealth. He tells it best, and I could sense at the time that it was the gospel truth:
'One time, I was driving along in my convertible. I'd just gone to McDonalds, and got a burger and a chocolate milkshake. This was when we still had segregated schools. I saw this nigger boy walking along the side of the road, in a white tux, to his school's prom. Me, I unloaded that milkshake, hit him right in the chest. You should've seen the look on that young buck's face!'
With not much effort, the tableau is compelling -- the amount of work that black boy must've had to do to afford the rent for a tuxedo, about his probable excitement at meeting his date at an unlikely - and probably singular - event in his life. You can imagine the absolute shock to his mind of realizing that a special affair has just been irrevocably crushed, and the long walk home.
I know that Leon's hatred was more than racism - he was just a 'hateful soul,' as my grandmother would say, and blacks weren't the only victim of his anger. I should've told him that I thought it was an awful story, tried to square the circle, but he was big and rough, and I was a scrawny high school kid - I'm not alone in failing at moral courage now and then, and I'm sure stories like this aren't hard to find."
Posted at 11:28 AM
LOTT'S STATEMENT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
In the interest of pursuing the best possible agenda for the future of our country, I will not seek to remain as Majority Leader of the United States Senate for the 108th Congress, effective January 6, 2003. To all those who offered me their friendship, support and prayers, I will be eternally grateful. I will continue to serve the people of Mississippi in the United States Senate.
Posted at 11:27 AM
HOW I FEEL [Jonah Goldberg]
He did the right thing. He took too long to step down and he shouldn't have done what he did in the first place. But he finally did the right thing and should be congratulated for it. He paid the price everyone said he should pay. You don't have to love him, I certainly don't. But enough is enough. If he wants to atone more, that's his business. If he introduces the Congressional Black Caucus' liberal agenda to make amends, he should be criticized for it by conservatives and praised for it, alas, by liberals. That is the natural order of things.
Posted at 11:08 AM
SOUNDS LIKE... [Jonah Goldberg]
Bill Frist will be the new SML. Thank goodness
Posted at 10:54 AM
LOTT STEPS DOWN!!! II [Jonah Goldberg]
Quitting as Majority Leader, not from Senate.
Posted at 10:52 AM
LOTT STEPS DOWN!!! [Jonah Goldberg]
FOX NEWS CONFIRMING!
Posted at 10:51 AM
SENATORS FOR LOTT [Jonah Goldberg]
I haven't been vote-counting, but I do know that Arlen Specter and Ted Stevens have come out in support of Trent Lott as SML. I know there are conservatives out there who believe the principled position is to support Lott. It seems to me, still, that more important principles demand that Lott step down (and I think the political considerations increasingly demand it as well). But rather than rehash all of that, ask yourself how many of the Senators who whill vote for Lott based on anything resembling principle. Certainly not Stevens and Specter.
Posted at 10:50 AM
MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. WALTON [Rod Dreher]
A federal jury in Oregon has found Wal Mart guilty of cheating its employees on overtime. I know a lot of folks believe it's unpatriotic to hold a grudge against Wal Mart, because there's nothing Americans admire more than success, but you know what? I'm glad those dirtbags were called to account for what they did. Call me Joe Hill, but I think it's too easy for those of us on the Right to forget why unions were, and still are in many cases, necessary. This story reminds me of one of my male relatives, a hard-working blue-collar guy, votes Republican, loves Rush, etc. For years he worked at a paper mill, and would come home at the end of the work day with a headache and a nosebleed. There was supposedly some kind of toxic, odorless gas in the air. The EPA had made the plant put an electronic monitor in the work area, but it kept going off so often that the foreman simply stuffed a sock in it to shut the device up. True story. My relative said the workers had to live with it because their union was weak, and management had made it clear that if they complained too much, they might shut the plant down and move it to Mexico, thanks to NAFTA. All these working men were trapped, basically, because jobs aren't plentiful in this area, and they had to feed their families. It wasn't right, and it isn't right.
Posted at 10:45 AM
NOONAN: "WHY SHOULDN'T WE BE TOUGHER ON OURSELVES?" [Rod Dreher]
Peggy Noonan is first-rate today on the Lott mess. Here she is answering the objection that Democrats get away with racially insensitive comments all the time, so why should Republicans have to fall on their swords when they screw up:
"Maybe it isn't fair, but think of it this way: The history of the Republican Party on race is mixed. Yes, that's true of the Democrats too, but Democrats are perceived today as sympathetic to the movements for freedom that have marked the past century, and Republicans are not. This has some implications. It means Republicans have to go out of our way to show that our hearts are in the right place. But there's another thing that is even more important. If we are tougher on ourselves, maybe that's good. Why shouldn't we be tougher on ourselves?
If the Democrats all too often treat race as if it were a card to be played in a game, and if the Republicans in contrast attempt to struggle through the issue and be serious and go out of their way to expunge the last vestiges of the old racial ways, isn't that something we should be proud of? History is watching. It will know what we did. What will history think if it sees a new seriousness on race from the Republican Party? I think it will say: Good. And I think that matters."
Posted at 10:15 AM
MORE FRIST VOTES [Jonathan Adler]
According to this report, Frist has Allen and Enzi, and may have Thomas too.
Posted at 09:41 AM
BOILERPLATE [John Derbyshire]
Newsflash: The new Archbishop of Canterbury is a dimwitted lefty dork, and if you can stay awake while reading to the end of this, you're another.
Posted at 09:04 AM
ANTI-AMERICANISM WINS IN SOUTH KOREA [John Derbyshire]
Roh Moo-hyun has won the South Korean presidential election. This is in part a victory for anti-Americanism, as this editorial from the London Daily Telegraph points out. Certainly it makes a forceful U.S. policy towards North Korea more difficult, and decisively rules out any real punishment for the North's lying and perfidy. "Roh" by the way, is pronounced either "Loh" or "Noh," depending on which part of Korea you come from.
Posted at 08:55 AM
Thursday, December 19, 2002
FORGIVE US, LAMAR! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"MIA" will be up there a few more hours (on the homepage) because our web robot got trampled while walking past Macy's. He's being treated/repaired--whatever you do with portable artificial-intelligence units--and will be fully functioning in the morning.
Posted at 10:53 PM
THANK YOU, LAMAR!: HE'S FOR FRIST; HE'S A LEADER! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A Lamar! aide just updated me on Senator-Elect Alexander on the leadership issue. Alexander issued this statement today, after Sen. Dr. Frist announced he's running: "If Bill Frist is a candidate for majority leader I'm for him. He's my neighbor, my friend, my senior senator and one of our best national leaders. These are serious times for our country. The Republican Party has a rare opportunity for leadership. I intend to be a part of the discussion with Bill and with Trent Lott and my other colleagues about the best course for our party and our country."
Posted at 10:50 PM
THANK YOU JOHN WARNER [Rod Dreher]
Warner just appeared on CNN to lend support to Sen. Frist's bid for Majority Leader.
Posted at 08:04 PM
RETHINKING THE MALL [Rod Dreher]
A friend read the Lileks screed I linked to earlier today, and responded: "This reminded me of a story a relative recently told me. She noted that her priest -- Episcopal -- had given his annual sermon against greed and malls, putting the usual spin on taking Christ out of Christmas. The next day a Russian immigrant family came to do some work at her house -- can't remember the details -- anyway, the husband happened to mention that they wanted to finish up quickly that day so that they could get to the mall.
'We love the mall,' he said, smiling almost beatifically at the thought. 'When we first came to this country,' he explained, 'we went to this mall. It was Christmas season, and the beautiful Christmas hymns were playing. I couldn't believe it! Here in America, the songs of Christians were playing right out in public, for everybody to hear! It gave us such joy!'"
Posted at 08:01 PM
A LEADER? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Bill Frist may be getting Nickles backing.
Posted at 07:21 PM
I'M SURPRISED... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...that none of us posted this earlier. but then again, considering law-enforcemtn's approach to illegal aliens, is it really that surprising that we would extend Social Security to Mexico.
Posted at 06:11 PM
RE: KRAUTHAMMER [Mark R. Levin]
So, now hyphenated (self-hating?) conservatives are morally superior to conservative commoners? It sounds to me that Krauthammer might be a hyphenated liberal. But, then again, I've never been a liberal so I wouldn't know. I've always been a conservative.
Posted at 05:35 PM
DASHIKI TRENT [Rod Dreher]
I told my wife the other night, "At this rate, Trent Lott will show up for work any day now in a dashiki." Looks like I'm not the only one with that in mind. (Thanks to Instapundit for the link).
Posted at 04:31 PM
SLOPPY AT BEST [Rich Lowry]
Charles Krauthammer and Peter Beinart are both smart guys. They are both nice guys (I used to work for Charles). They both also attack NR’s editorial last week on Lott. I don’t have time to get into it at length at the moment (Jonah does an excellent job on Charles today), but I think both of them let their arguments get in the way of the facts. Both ignore utterly a passage in the editorial that inconveniently doesn’t fit their respective cases. In any case, just for the record, here are the lines apparently unfit to be mentioned by writers carefully scouring our editorial position for signs of moral lapses: "Minority leader Tom Daschle's initial reaction (prior to his mauling by the Congressional Black Caucus) to Lott's remarks was essentially sound — Lott misspoke. But Lott misspoke in a particular way, one freighted with symbolic significance. Many southern whites of a certain generation have a shameful past on civil-rights issues. This doesn't necessarily make them reprehensible people, or mean that they are racists today. But, when they are public figures, it is reasonable to expect from them an honest reckoning with their past, and, of course, an awareness that a reckoning is necessary."
Posted at 04:05 PM
INSTAPUNDIT & ME [Jonah Goldberg]
The inestimable Instapundit clarifies that he’s not a conservative, and he is a former liberal. Fair enough, but my point that those on the Right – and Glenn, let’s face it, you are on the Right – beat the supposedly especially outraged neocons to the punch still holds.
Posted at 04:04 PM
HUMAN SACRIFICE AT PLEASANTVILLE [Rod Dreher]
Looks like diversity day got a little out of hand at Pleasantville (!) Elementary.
Posted at 03:34 PM
LOTT DESPAIR [Rod Dreher]
From the South, a professional Republican operative we know has been reading Trent Lott's tea leaves, and writes:
"The more it appears Lott won't do the right thing and step down, and the more he seems to be picking up supporters among his colleagues -- the more I have to come face to face with the possible horrible reality of him emerging victorious from that Jan. 6 meeting, and remaining Senate majority leader. It fills me with almost the same amount of pain and revulsion I felt, as a Catholic, throughout Bernard Law's being allowed to remain Boston's cardinal.
"And there are similarities now between the respective dreads: to discover Law's malfeasance was a horrible blow but nothing compared to the full-blown despair upon seeing him propped up and defended from the Pope on down the hierarchy, alas with indications that many, many others were guilty of similar sins, while still others merely seemed to put careerism or clubby cronyism over principle.
"Likewise, while right now Lott's problem has well passed becoming a Republican problem, if he were to step aside gracefully hindsight could still afford to see it as a Lott problem that Republicans dealt with properly. On the other hand, should his colleagues vote to keep him, it necessarily becomes a problem for the entire party. It will mean that everything BUT principle and moral leadership has triumphed among Republicans, and that the party is now fully on the record -- not just winking at but -- condoning racism in their ranks.
"I am a conservative Republican, in fact make my living as one, but if such a situation comes to pass, the disappointment and embarrassment will make it incredibly difficult for me to remain 'proudly' Republican.
"Which makes me wonder if Senate GOPers have really absorbed just how significant is the question facing them at present. Bill Kristol today demands they stop being coy and come out and declare themselves. But before that (lest one by one by one they come out for Lott), I'd ask these Senators some other questions: If Trent remains, what does the world look like come January 7th? More pointedly, do you envision a time when the President can again appear in the same room with the Senate majority leader? (I can't.) Can you then justify electing a leader who subsequently becomes for the president his party's own Yasser Arafat, with whom he will never meet nor shake hands? Will you put the President in that horrible position?
"Forget about the passing of a conservative agenda -- can the party or the conservative movement themselves hold together and withstand that strain?
"So, in the end, if Lott is incapable of doing the right thing, who will? And if the answer is, not nearly enough to make him go, then what? My sense is: GOP despair, dividedness, destruction, self-inflicted death. Of course, I may be overstating things. But what if I'm not?"
Posted at 03:32 PM
CHRISTMAS EXPLAINER [Rod Dreher]
The other night, my three-year-old was showing the terra cotta Nativity scene in our living room to his stuffed dragon. "This is an Activity scene," he said to the dragon. "It's when they put breakable things out to watch the Baby Jesus sleep." Works for me.
Posted at 01:52 PM
SARUMAN RIPKEN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Christopher Lee is interviewed in today's London Times. Apparently he has been in "more than 255 films, even he's not sure how many."
Now that's what I call epic.
Posted at 01:51 PM
NO TO MONROE [Andrew Stuttaford]
On a sadder note, the Daily Telegraph's obituary section also features Colin Clark, younger son of Lord ('Civilization') Clark and the brother of Alan Clark, the author of the finest political diaries seen in Britain since, well, who knows when.
Alan Clark, of course, was a famous Lothario. His brother does not seem to have been cut from the same cloth. In 1956 Colin found himself working as a 'third assistant director' (a title so lowly that it makes one of my earlier job descriptions - 'articled clerk' - seem positively titan-like) on a movie starring Marilyn Monroe. Prompted by concerns that Marilyn had taken too many sleeping pills, Clark climbed in through her bedroom window to find her sleepy, but welcoming. He joined her in bed and then, well, the story does not end in the way you might expect. I'll let the Daily Telegraph take up the tale.
""You are like a beautiful force of nature, Marilyn," he told her, forever out of reach."But Colin," she protested, "I don't want to be out of reach. I want to be touched. I want to be hugged. I want to feel strong arms around me. I want to be loved like an ordinary girl, in an ordinary bed. What's wrong with that?"
Clark did not take the hint, and after a pious lecture on how she had "Mr. Miller" to take care of her, he went to sleep."
Other delights from this obituary (which proves, yet again, that this section always has the potential to be the most entertaining part of any newspaper) include the revelation that his mother was prescribed a nasal spray mixture of morphine and cocaine ("for hysteria"), which she inhaled from a 'puffer'.
The late Queen Mother, on the other hand, had more conventional tastes. When young Clark offered her a choice of "dry martinis in long fluted glasses or iced Champagne", the Queen Mum simply replied, "Oh, they look so delicious. I think I'll have both."
And so she did.
Posted at 01:43 PM
IT'S A BREACH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
US Ambassador Negroponte: Iraq's gaps in arms declaration constitute "material breach."/REUTERS
Posted at 01:38 PM
LABELS [Jonah Goldberg]
Several readers, like the one below, aren't too in to the whole conservative label thing. I can sympathize. I've been meaning to do a serious piece for a magazine to remain nameless on how outdated the "neoconservative" label really is. I'll get around to it soon. In the meantime, here's a column I wrote a couple years ago that explains some of the labels. I would quibble with some of the things I wrote, but it should help anyone who's totally out of the loop on what these things mean.
Posted at 01:26 PM
GOOD RIDDANCE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Better tidings are, as so often, to be found in newspapers' obituary sections. To Huu is dead! Huu was, the Daily Telegraph explains, the 'poet laureate' and chief propagandist for the North Vietnamese regime.
Here is an example of his work (written on the occasion of Stalin's death):
"Oh Stalin! Oh Stalin,
The love I bear my father,
My mother, my wife, myself,
It's nothing beside the love I bear you.
Oh Stalin! Oh Stalin!
What remains of the earth,
And of the sky!
Now that you are dead."
What remains, of course, is a lot more than would have survived if the old butcher had lived on. Good riddance to him and the poet who sang his praises.
Posted at 01:24 PM
YOUNGER-CONS [Jonah Goldberg]
This reader agrees with today's G-File, but he does illustrate another point I've made over the years. The real rival to conservatism isn't liberalism, it's libertarianism. But we'll overlook that dire prospect for now:
Let me give you some "word on the street" anecdotal evidence to back up your article. I happen to know lots of conservatives and libertarians that span the range of thought. I don't know how to categorize them all - your phrases "neocons," "traditional cons," and "paleocons." - are confusing as hell to me. But, trust me, all of the various "tribes" are well represented. And, I will tell you, that the people who were quickest and most pissed off - were those like me: people who would describe themselves as "Goldwater Libertarians". We're in our late 20's to mid 30's, we adore the Founding Fathers, Reagan, Thatcher, Welasa, Friedman, Hayek, and especially bad asses like Barry Goldwater. We read NRO, and CATO, and many of us would like to work for the Institute for Justice. We're well educated from Ivy League schools, who know what the good years for cabernet are, but would rather drink cold Old Milwaukee longnecks. We're the ones who called and emailed each other, seething with anger, after watching any of one of Lott's public buffoonery to bemoan his asininities. We're also the folks who threw stuff at the TV every time some Republican, or pseudo conservative, tried to defend his remarks. Yeah, we're mad that every jerk in America is cashing in on this. But, we're more furious at Lott for hijacking the ideas we think are morally right, and are willing to fight for. And, to a man [sorry, not a lot of women in this group - which probably means something?] - not a single one of us has ever, ever, ever, been a liberal, before coming over to conservatism - in whatever form you might want to call it.
Posted at 01:21 PM
BACK IN THE UK [Andrew Stuttaford]
Back in the old country for Christmas to be greeted by a depressing series of newspaper front pages. The London Times announces that "intelligence chiefs say al-Qaeda is active in Britain" and then adds to the gloom by publishing a rather frightening photograph of the new Archbishop of Canterbury with what looks like half an orange halo hovering behind his head (no link, fortunately available).
The Archbishop himself, a wildly over-promoted parson of leftish views, has just made what the Times describes as "one of the most intellectually ambitious and far-reaching speeches from an Archbishop of Canterbury for thirty years." Now that's not saying much, but it still seems generous praise for comments that, amongst other low lights, appear to reveal a real disdain for the notion of parental choice in education.
Conventional wisdom amongst the Right in Britain seems to be that the Archbishop is a good man, but misguided. Well, he's certainly misguided.
Posted at 01:03 PM
ABOLISH CHRISTMAS NOW [John Derbyshire]
I just got back from my 2nd-grade son's "songfest." What a mess we are in! Tots in Santa Claus hats singing Hanukkah songs... Isn't Hanukkah past and gone already? A couple of years from now, no doubt they'll have Ramadan worked in there somehow. And of course there were no songs AT ALL referring to the birth of Jesus Christ--this is a public school. We only got "Frosty the Snowman," "Silver Bells," "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." Speaking personally, as a Christian, I don't want the commemoration of my Savior's birth mucked about with in this way. I'm starting to feel I'd like the whole thing kept IN the precincts of my church and OUT of the public sphere. In short, I am swinging round to the ACLU position. No offense to anyone, but I don't want my kids singing Hanukkah songs--that's not their religion. If I were Jewish, I wouldn't want my kids wearing Santa hats, either. (NB: "Santa" means "Saint"--i.e. in the Christian religion.) I can't see why Jews, Moslems, Buddhists and atheists should get a holiday to celebrate an event they believe to be of no importance. Let's repeal all laws making religious festivals public holidays. If people want to take off for Good Friday, Yom Kippur, Eid Al-fitr, Kali Puja, or the Wiccan Solstice, let them make suitable arrangements with their employers, privately. Give Christmas back to us Christians.
Posted at 12:53 PM
KRAUTHAMMER'S WRONG [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 12:46 PM
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION = RACISM CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
The guy who said affirmative action is not racism must not have understood that the racism comes from the people who implement the policy. Affirmative action says that black people can't compete so we must give them an advantage based on the color of their skin. It's the same attitude that says, "of course Muslims will act like animals and go on a slaughter spree when Mohammed is insulted. They can't help themselves. We must make exceptions for them, the poor things."
Posted at 11:37 AM
THANKS GERMANY [Jonah Goldberg]
They're Iraq's biggest weapon supplier.
Posted at 11:30 AM
WOOPS [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry for the delay, I had to do a radio interview. I hope people don't think I actually agree with the post below "Affirmative Action isn't Racism." I just didn't have time to compose a response. This guy, one of my most reliable liberal gadflies, plays a fun trick here. He defines racism in just such a way that proves affirmative action can't be racist. He makes a fine point in the process -- that affirmative action isn't necessarily the worst form of racism. But he obscures the larger point.
We are constantly told by black and liberal spokespeople that any suggestion of racial difference is racist. The reader says "Racism entails acting upon the belief that one group is entitled to power and privilege because it is inherently superior to other groups." Well, who says (other than a few Marxists and critical race theorists)? That's not what my dictionary says. Here's the Dictionary.com definition:
1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. 2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.I was pretty sure that racially motivated condescension, paternalism and the like counted as racist too. If said to a black accountant, "Oh let me do that math for you, you're black and need the help." I'm pretty sure that'd be racist. Maybe it's not as bad as saying "you're black and shouldn't be allowed to be an accountant." But that's hardly a ringing defense. The intent of quota-driven affirmative action may not be virulently racist but the effect most certainly is.
Posted at 11:28 AM
SCORCHED EARTH [Sarah Maserati]
Saddam Hussein reportedly plans a "scorched-earth" policy for his country--burning oil wells, blowing up power plants, and destroying food supplies--should Iraq be attacked. The same CNN story says that he would manufacture civilian casualties to halt U.S. bombing (back in '91 we stopped bombing temporarily after killing women and children in a bunker by mistake) and use biological or chemical weapons if he sensed he was about to fall. Of course, he can't do this single-handedly: He would need a whole corps of suicidal maniacs to carry out his wishes and cause mass starvation and bring upon their country a huge economic and humanitarian crisis. Time to get the word out to the top henchmen and their underlings: Obey his orders and you will die; disobey him and you and yours will breathe the air of a free Iraq.
Posted at 11:26 AM
GLORIA IN EXCELSIS LILEKS! [Rod Dreher]
I have a piece in the upcoming NRODT about the latest Scrooge-y attempts to quash Christmas in the public square. In it, I suggest that mockery of the killjoys is a great way to fight them (N.B., this is the first, and probably last, time that Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo will appear in Bill Buckley's magazine). Anyway, James Lileks has the anti-anti-Christmas screed to end them all today. Read this, give the man an "Amen!", then pass it on to everyone on your Christmas card e-list. Lileks makes vinegar slide down like wassail. Man oh Manischewitz, he's good.
Posted at 10:35 AM
BASTARDS [Jonah Goldberg]
This is not for the squeamish. Peru’s military uses live dogs to "train" for hand-to-hand combat. Of course, the dog is tied up. The picture is awful. I can only assume that a real professional soldier would be disgusted by this, since the military/educational value in stabbling a defenseless dog has to be pretty low. The fact that they call it the final "bravery test" is even more galling.
Posted at 09:32 AM
FOR THE RECORD.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Except for the first one, I don't consider those hate mail. But this one's a different story:
What hateful prick you are! You make this sh*t up about women and blacks and expect people to buy it! You are a typical gay Jewish neoKKKon! You know women and African-Americans are better then you and you can't handle it! Pig!...."
Posted at 09:23 AM
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ISN'T RACISM [Jonah Goldberg]
...According to this reader:
I have heard conservatives attest that "affirmative action is racism." Racism entails acting upon the belief that one group is entitled to power and privilege because it is inherently superior to other groups. Even many conservatives will today admit that this belief is wrong and immoral. Affirmative Action entails an attempt to assist members of groups that have been historically disadvantaged by the enactment of racist policies to overcome the damage done by providing them with rehabilitative opportunities that recognize the harm that has been done to their aspirations by racism. It can be plausibly argued that Affirmative Action is not a good remedy for past racism in hiring practices, school admissions, etc. Alternative solutions should be proposed and tested. Affirmative Action cannot be called 'racism', however, because it does not imply a belief in the inherent superiority of those persons it attempts to empower; it in fact implies disadvantage and the need to receive a helping hand from individuals in a superior position. "Affirmative Action is Racism" is doublethink propaganda.
Posted at 09:17 AM
RACE V. GENDER [Jonah Goldberg]
Men and women are indubitably different, but that doesn't justify segregation/discrimination. Neither does male discomfort. If it did, the Taliban would be able to justify their horrific abuse of women by saying seeing a women without a burka makes them uncomfortable or makes men act differently. Come to think of it, they did claim that. Does that mean you think they were correct and within their rights? Sorry, but the male discomfort/act differently argument has been made in almost every defense of sexism and yet, when the sexists have lost, it has turned out that most men were able to adjust after all. And at any rate, limiting the rights of one group in order to make another group happy is a legal disaster, because where does it stop? Would it be okay to forbid men to drive because male drivers are often more aggressive, and may make female drivers nervous and uncomfortable? Somehow I doubt you would think so, and I certainly don't. So perhaps sexism and racism are rather less different than you believe.
Posted at 09:15 AM
GOOD POINT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
"To illustrate your point that the culture view of race is far different from that of gender one needs to look no further than sports where the racial integration of baseball is considered a giant step forward while the separation of men and women in profession sports such as golf is also considered enlightened progress."
Posted at 09:12 AM
IT BEGINS [Jonah Goldberg]
At first I thought no one was reading. But the hate mail from yesterday's column is starting to pour in. Here's one I just don't get, which I guess is his point:
Thats EXACTLY the kind of racist behavior I would expect from some pampered white republican. Well WE have a problem on our hands in the inner cities! What are WE going to do about it. UNEMPLOYMENT up to almost depression era percentages for black mens, ONLY black mens, not white, not asian, but BLACK! You sit pretty with your writing job and your well fed dog but you don't know the plight of the black man in the white man's world. You ought to be ashamed for saying those things. Your mother would be sick to hear that!
Posted at 09:09 AM
TIS THE SEASON... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...to subscribe to NR! Or to subscribe for a loved one (yeah, I know I'm not the only one who still has to shop). Or subscribe for an enemy--what's better than the gift of reason??? (That was a rhetorical question. Suffice it to say the answer is. Nothing, Commander Lopez. I WILL SUBSCRIBE. I WILL. I WILL NOW. DONE.)
Posted at 08:56 AM
BILL KRISTOL... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...has a great op-ed in the Washington Post today warning Senate Republicans about their evident ineptitude in this little Lott matter. (The Standard has it up on their site, too--I give you that link, in the spirit of the season.) If you read nothing else (though you should), his last graph is a winner.
Posted at 07:43 AM
CRY ME A RIVER, HABIBI [Rod Dreher]
Hundreds of Middle Eastern men have been arrested in southern California on immigration violations or other charges. The U.S. Government required all men of a certain age, from certain Islamic nations, to register with immigration officials. Apparently this has enabled authorities to catch lawbreakers, and one hopes this is a prelude to deporting them. Predictably, they're yelling, "What's next? concentration camps?" This may come as news to these folks, but this country is at war, having been attacked by men who fit their profile, and who lived in America as undercover terrorist operatives for years. No doubt many, and probably most, of the men arrested are decent, harmless guys, but they have broken the law, and they're being called to account for it. Sounds like the government is doing its job, for once.
Posted at 07:21 AM
YOU WANT THIS [NRO Staff]
NEW!: The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature! Get this new, unsurpassed collection of timeless works (personally selected by William F. Buckley Jr.) from great authors, including Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Jack London, Rudyard Kipling, Louisa May Alcott, L. Frank Baum, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Bret Harte, Howard Pyle, Thornton Burgess, and many more. This beautiful hardcover edition (528 pages, hundreds of enchanting illustrations) makes a great gift! The cost is just $29.95 (additional copies just just $24.95 each). Shipping and handling is FREE! Click here to order (and to read a sample story by Jack London!).
Posted at 06:53 AM
I JUST GOT A CALL FROM UNCLE SAM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Will be gone for awhile.
Posted at 05:02 AM
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
RECOVERING? [Andrew Stuttaford]
The notion that we can, somehow, 'recover' deeply repressed childhood memories is, to say the least, one of the more dubious aspects of the Freudian mythologizing so often peddled as 'analysis'. Compared with a belief in alien abduction, however, it is a model of intellectual rigor. Now one Harvard psychologist is comparing the two phenomena and coming, it seems, to some sensible conclusions.
Posted at 07:21 PM
KERRY'S DEATH PENALTY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Readers will recall that Kerry position on the death penalty is a pet peeve of mine.
Posted at 05:24 PM
RELIABLE RUMOR [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of reporters on the war beat are booked in Kuwait hotels for the first week of January.
Posted at 05:09 PM
HEY, WE KNOW THAT GUY! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The new editor of The Hill, is Hugo Gurdon, who has written for NRO.
Posted at 04:50 PM
MILD DYSLEXIA [Rich Lowry]
Every time I look at one of these headlines, I think, What? Jose Canseco bankrupt?
Posted at 04:48 PM
CNN REPORTS [Jonah Goldberg]
That Nevada's Senator Reid and Connecticut's Dodd are jockeying for the Minority Leader position if Daschle resigns to run for president. I think the best scenario is Daschle runs and Dodd wins. New England liberal is a much better -- and authentic -- face for the Democratic Party than a Western state guy.
Posted at 04:46 PM
WTC [Rich Lowry]
Not sure I like any of the proposals, but at least some of them seem to meet David Gelernter’s standard of being soaring and risk-taking.
Posted at 04:44 PM
THE U.N. OPTION [Rich Lowry]
With Colin Powell and Chuck Hagel now both critical of Lott, maybe we finally can get this thing thrown to the U.N. I frankly won’t be entirely satisfied with the anti-Lott position until Syria is on board.
Posted at 04:40 PM
HELP—B-2 BOMBER [Rich Lowry]
It seems like one of the most awesome pieces of war machinery ever created. Thinking of doing a column on it, to salt away for the holidays (nice holiday topic right?). If you have expertise on B-2 would love to hear from you.
Posted at 04:38 PM
CHAFEE [Rich Lowry]
Nice that he came out against Lott, but he won’t get a big NRO "Thank You" until he emphatically rules out switching parties.
Posted at 04:37 PM
I KNOW THIS IS PROBABLY IN BAD TASTE... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...but some of these new WTC proposals are just so odd. Like this one. My first thought was: Connect Four.
Posted at 04:36 PM
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader makes a fair point in response to my column:
My response: He's right that this was the original idea behind affirmative action. And, if by affirmative action you mean advertising in black media for job openings, I'm all in favor with affirmative action. But the problem is that affirmative action no longer means that. At the University of Michigan prospective students get 20 points for being black and 1 point for writing a good essay. Affirmative action originally meant an even playing field for competition. It doesn't any longer. Hubert Humphrey declared that if the Civil Rights Act lead to quotas he'd eat the pages it was printed on. Well, if he were alive today, he'd have to do just that.
Posted at 04:35 PM
GRETA [Rich Lowry]
Scheduled to be on tonight, around 10:25ish, talking Lott and North Korea.
Posted at 04:32 PM
SHELBY STEELE EXPLAINS TRENT LOTT [Rod Dreher]
There's a powerful column by Shelby Steele in today's Wall Street Journal (if you're not an Opinion Journal subscriber, you have to register, but it's well worth it). The gist: "Today America supports a racialist value system for minorities while demanding a democratic expansion of the white imagination. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus can embrace 'blackness' and demand government preferences exclusively for their race. Remove the double standard and Trent Lott looks perfectly innocent by comparison. But in the end a man cannot be redeemed by a moral equivalence. ... A vacuum of white guilt as wide as the Grand Canyon has opened in him, and he will never again see civil rights, welfare, judgeships or education with a clear eye. He will now live in a territory of irony where his redemption will be purchased through support for racialist social reforms that make a virtue of the same segregationist spirit that has now brought him low."
Posted at 03:55 PM
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? [Jonah Goldberg]
I admit, I'm a bit fuzzy-headed today. But this piece in the NY Times is very odd. It continually points out that it's against the Ten Commandments to lie and swindle. Is there are larger point I'm missing? Is this news?
Posted at 03:43 PM
A LITTLE FRIGHTENING... [Jonah Goldberg]
How many readers have already seen the Two Towers. I must have heard from two dozen people already. Oh, by the way, you might not be able to tell from the Lott-fest on the homepage, but the G-File is up.
Posted at 03:27 PM
WATTS ON LOTT [Melissa Seckora]
"I hope that Senator Lott will consider, and I say this as a friend, I say this as someone who has children, who has a family, who has grandchildren - the political arena is a very poisoned arena. It is an arena that likes to attack and divide and I hope that Senator Lott will weigh that. And I can tell you that if it was me, I would not put my family nor my grandchildren nor my party through that."
Posted at 03:22 PM
FOR THE CHILDREN, CONT. [Rich Lowry]
"Just to let you shameless peddlers of children’s literature know, my wife and I bought the Treasury for our first child who will be born this week. It’s an outstanding collection that really fills a void in children’s literature. My hat is off to WFB et al. for having the ingenuity to compile these works to fulfill this need. Fair warning, however: once you guys start hawking protein pancakes, I am canceling my NRODT subscription."
Posted at 03:02 PM
SMALLPOX VACCINATIONS--THE RIGHT THING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Glenn Reynolds, "Instapundit," makes the case for smallpox vaccinations, despite the risks, over at techcentral. (When is that dynamite site going to get a real name? Can someone start a petition?)
Posted at 02:47 PM
WAIT A SECOND [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Last night on his HBO show, Bryant Gumbel interviewed Martha Burk, the one-woman crusade (ok, so I lie--it's a two person crusade--her and Howell Raines) against Augusta National. Gumbel, it turns out, belongs to the same all-male club that Don Nickles is now catching heat for belonging to--you know, with the "Saudi-like rules for women." Yet it never came up last night. Ms. Burk, are we a hypocrite? Why are we not protesting Mr. Gumbel on his show? Even if she were willing to compromise her values for the sake of airtime, why didn't she challenge him once she got in front of a camera with him? She can make a treasure secretary drop his membership in a club, she can stand virtually alone, against the tide of public opinion--even opinion within her own organization--but can't manage to give Bryant Gumbel a hard time?!
Posted at 01:13 PM
CLUELESS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Saudi-like rules for women"? So there are executions at Don Nickles's club?
Posted at 12:14 PM
G-FILE IS IN [Jonah Goldberg]
And it is long. The NRHQ peeps are swamped, but it is out of my hands. In the meantime I'm going out to lunch. A rarity for me. I will do my bit to enliven the Corner when I get back.
Posted at 11:36 AM
DOUBLESPEAK [Jonah Goldberg]
Liberal’s speak in racial code too. That’s the point of my syndicated column.
Posted at 11:18 AM
CORNER IS SLEEPY.... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...wake up! Where is everyone?
Posted at 11:13 AM
THE LINK FOR THE LOWRY CHAT... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...is here. No softballs!
Posted at 11:08 AM
FYI--I’M DOING THIS WASHINGTONPOST.COM CHAT NOW [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 11:03 AM
DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN [Rich Lowry]
Well, if not "the" children, at least your children. Buy NR's "Treasury of Classic Children's Literature"!
Posted at 10:45 AM
DISINGENUOUS [Rod Dreher]
Today's NYTimes reports that some conservatives are criticizing other conservatives for Trent-bashing. Robert Novak tells the Times, speaking of Lott: "He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. The same people were saying, `We can't have a racist,' then he comes out and says, `I'm for affirmative action,' and they say, `Oh, we can't have that.'" This makes sense only if you believe that the opposite of racism is affirmative action. In fact, most conservatives believe that affirmative action is a form of racism, and that it makes no sense for Trent Lott to trade in rusticated racism for its socially acceptable form. Novak knows this, so what is he getting at? (By the way, ABC News has Lott on tape from 2000 saying that Ol' Strom should've been president in 1948. So his remark at the 100th birthday party wasn't spontaneous).
Posted at 12:26 AM
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
RE: VIGILANTISM OR JUSTICE? [Richard Brookhiser]
Rod, go with your confusion. Molestation is not a capital offense, and even if it were, the state reserves to itself the right to punish. Crimes of passion are sometimes excused. But they require the immediacy of discovery. If time has passed, you always have the option of leaving the room. Molestation, BTW, was not proven in this case. One of the many ills of this scandal is that, since the job of cleaning house has been ceded by ostrich-like hierarchy to trial lawyers and reporters, the long delayed workings of justice will inevitably take on the character of a witch hunt.
Posted at 11:35 PM
VIGILANTISM, OR JUSTICE? [Rod Dreher]
I'm interested to know what the rest of the Corner thinks about this story. Dontee Stokes, the 26-year-old Baltimore man allegedly molested in childhood by a Catholic priest, has been acquitted of attempted murder charges in connection with his shooting the priest in May. Though the priest has never been charged with abusing him, it appears that something happened between the two: the priest took the Fifth in the Stokes trial to avoid testifying, and Cardinal Keeler, who sent the priest back into ministry despite Stokes's accusations almost a decade ago, said from the witness stand that he wished he had done more to prevent the abuse, and praised Stokes' character. In the 1990s, young Stokes went to the Church and the state years ago seeking help, but was turned away. This factored in to his decision to shoot the priest. Bill O'Reilly is on TV now denouncing the jury verdict as an endorsement of vigilante justice. Personally, I don't think so. Had the jury convicted Stokes, who admitted to the shooting (though claiming a form of temporary insanity), no one could say the verdict was unjust. But given the circumstances of the crime, the jury opted to show the young man mercy. For that I am grateful, and am suspect that a higher form of justice was served. But I am not entirely convinced. Any thoughts?
Posted at 08:49 PM
WHAT A DAY! [Robert A. George]
You know it must be a full moon -- or darn close to it -- when the same day that the New York Times discovers that conservatives despise racially intemperate remarks (see Rod's earlier post), the Old Gray Lady also discovers that black Republicans, um, exist. Seriously though, this is a fairly good analysis of the reaction black Republicans had to Lott's comments.
Posted at 08:07 PM
TRENT LOTT AND MUHAMMAD [Rod Dreher]
Justin Katz makes an interesting connection between PBS's pro-Islamic propaganda and the useful idiot that Sen. Lott has turned himself into for the racialist Left.
Posted at 07:26 PM
HUGH HEWITT IN THE CORNER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Just got off the air from my weekly radio gig with Hugh Hewitt. Amazing how many of you Corner regulars listen to him. My inbox fills up minutes after being on the air--moreso than after a CNN or FOX, etc. segment. If you're not listening, he one smart dude, worth listening to.
Posted at 07:03 PM
DEAD TREE.... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...getting done....explains my absence...subscribe...
Posted at 06:37 PM
DAMNED, EITHER WAY [Rod Dreher]
A Texas reader sums up nicely how much damage Trent Lott did to his party in the last 24 hours: "Thanks to Lott's kowtowing last night, the Dems win this round hands down, whether Lott stays or goes. If he stays, he's committed himself to pandering to racialists, though his Strom comment will never be forgiven. If he goes, the Dems get to say that the hateful Republican Party denounced him for attempting to make the party more considerate of African Americans. How much more damage will he do by the time they oust him on January 6?"
Posted at 05:59 PM
MORE RODNEY KING [Jonah Goldberg]
Another reader notes:
Your "offended" e-mailer got one major detail wrong. Rodney King was not alone. His passenger, also an African-American, listened to the instructions of the police and was not harmed at the least. It is an often ignored fact by those who claim the police were seeking opportunities to assault minorities. Rodney King may have been mistreated (I believe he was) but it was not action against a random african-american, but against one who had blatantly broken the law and refused to submit peacefully to arrest.
Posted at 05:46 PM
FOR THE RECORD [Jim Robbins]
1. I never switched my opinion on this issue, these are my first public comments. 2. My beef is with the GOP, not Dems -- besides, I thought Sen. Daschle's initial statement on Lott was correct, that this was just a case of foot in mouth. But, like I said, too late now.
Posted at 05:30 PM
RE: STATE OF THE MESS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader is very cross with me:
I am not sure which of your statements is more shocking and disturbing, that you think the civil rights community opportunism makes the remarks some how lessens the racist content of Lott's remark to the point that he should be allowed to stay (and I note that certain NRO commentators especially Jim Robbins- appear to have switched from "I can't believe he said that.." to "How dare the democrats or the public be so upset that they demand or make political hay out of Lott's seemingly racist (repeated) remarks") or that you apparently think that Rodney King's deserved to be beaten like an animal by four cops, after being tazered twice while surrrounded by several other cops with their guns drawn- you sound disturbingly like those jurors who apparently after slowing the video of the beating down think he some how didn't get his ass whipped or somehow deserved the beating for the high speed chase- him being unarmed and alone and such a danger to 12 or so armed cops (after being tazered twice) the whole tapped at any speed show that a R. King was unjusitified brutalized by cops..... AND that the two are compareable, as if some how showing the entire video of him complimenting Strom will some how lessen his words- first many people believe that because they were off handed makes them MORE not LESS likely to be his true feelings, and if we had any doubt to give to a man, his prior statements and life to date reinforce the notion that he meant exactly want he said.
This is all nuts. First I said I think Lott should still go. Second, opportunism by racial activists doesn't change what Lott said, but what Lott said doesn't justify the opportunism. Third, anybody who read Lou Cannon's book on the Rodney King incident knows that the videotape was selectively edited for a desired effect. Which is why the two circumstances are comparable in the manner I suggested. If Lott's notorious comments are sandwiched between jokes about Hooters and Viagra, it certainly helps underscore his point that he was joking around. It doesn't excuse the joke. But the CBC and the New York Times would have us believe that the entire GOP should throw out all of it's policies to atone for the buffoonery of one man.
Posted at 05:20 PM
DEFENDING PRINCIPLES [Kate O'Beirne]
Over the weekend, when Trent Lott’s 49 other colleagues were linking their arms and holding their breath to see how his latest serial apology played out, Senator Don Nickles did the right thing. This was not an act of ambition. One would have to think that he is a singularly stupid man to imagine that he saw this as a ticket to the top of the pile. Of course his statement of the obvious – that Trent Lott has to step aside for the good of conservative policy and the Republican party – would be seen as opportunistic. To Senator Nickles’ credit, he said it anyway. Aside from the fact that he is clearly the most experienced possible replacement for Lott, Don Nickles’ voting record, which the NAACP condemns as too similar to Lott’s, also recommends him. In contrast with Lott, he is able and willing to defend it. The sooner conservatives can defend principled votes at odds with the NAACP’s agenda without Trent Lott’s self-imposed baggage the better. The media’s line on why sophomore Senator Bill Frist would be such a swell Majority Leader includes the fact that he doesn’t have Lott’s (racist) voting record.
Posted at 04:59 PM
THEOLOGY ON TAP [Rod Dreher]
A Michigan Reformed minister is opening a religious-themed bar. Cool, but since when do the Calvinists behave like Catholics and Whiskeypalians? Viva ecumenism! Please, brethren and sistren, no spirits jokes.
Posted at 04:33 PM
STATE OF THE MESS [Jonah Goldberg]
I think I'm with Rod. But I do find this process agonizing and the opportunism of the "civil rights community" disgusting. One thing I think television media must do is play the extended clip of Lott's comments. We learned after the fact from the full Rodney King video that the situation was much more complicated than it seemed. If we're going to see the Lott video 8 billion times, we should at least see the jokes he told before and after his Thurmond comments to get a sense of the man's levity. I still want Lott gone, but we don't need to cooperate in national myth-making.
Posted at 04:08 PM
PARTY PRINCIPLES [Jim Robbins]
Rod, if you want a party that is all about principle, I suggest you check out the Libertarian Party, or the Green Party. Maybe the GOP could one day be as powerful as they are. This situation is not an either-or by any means. Principle is only one aspect of the party, it is certainly not the only thing. Personality is definitely a factor. So is political reality. Anyway principles vary across the GOP spectrum. A successful umbrella party has to make compromises to appeal to the greatest number of voters. Otherwise it won't accomplish anything because it won't have the votes. Making what are political issues into arguments about principle only helps those who oppose both your politics and your principles. Perhaps the GOP is in a no-win situation right now -- a long way from a few weeks back, eh? -- but to an extent the party can blame itself by having a public meltdown. If the GOP Senate majority was 10 seats, by all means, let's throw people to the wolves for their mistakes. But with margins so slim, it strikes me as a bit of a luxury. Anyway, I even reject your premise that if Lott remained as majority leader the GOP would roll on important issues, for several reasons. First, this all-consuming issue will go away by the end of the holiday news cycle. Second, Lott's constituents seem to like his approach, so why should he suddenly become a liberal? Third, Lott does not equal the Senate, there are plenty of Republicans who can support good causes. Other things to consider -- will the Dems let up on the next guy if Lott is ousted? Not likely --and with the precedent set that a leader can be taken down for a stupid remark that does not reflect his beliefs, the vetting process will become even more arcane. When you get down to it, the principle involved should be that laid down by the sainted John P. Roche, veteran of many a political knife fight, namely, "Don't put out bread and salt for your enemies." But it's way too late for that now.
Posted at 04:07 PM
TAXPAYERS PROSELYTIZING FOR ISLAM [Rod Dreher]
Daniel Pipes has a hell of a column today, in which he slams PBS's documentary on the Prophet Muhammad, which will debut this week, as an "outrage." Two things bother him: 1) the film is (in Pipes' view) "airbrushed and uncritical," as opposed to a 1998 PBS documentary about Jesus Christ, which presented the latest in critical scholarly thinking about the historical Jesus; and 2) "the U.S. government should never fund a documentary whose obvious intent is to glorify a religion and proselytize for it."
Posted at 03:18 PM
E-MAIL IN A BOTTLE [Rod Dreher]
Ain't computers great?
Posted at 03:07 PM
WHY DID PIM FORTUYN DIE? [Rod Dreher]
The official report on the assassination of Pim Fortuyn is out. According to Michiel Visser, Dutch police authorities negligently failed to appreciate the danger he was in from left-wing crazies, and did not offer Fortuyn the protection he deserved. Of course, the leftist Dutch political establishment did its best to demonize the libertarian Fortuyn as a neo-Nazi, so they weren't exactly motivated to give a damn about the violence the left might do to him, now were they? Anyway, Fortuyn's party has, as many predicted, collapsed in the absence of its leader and raison d'etre.
Posted at 03:03 PM
WASHINGTONPOST.COM "CHAT" [Rich Lowry]
I’m scheduled to do one tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Posted at 02:59 PM
RE: STATE OF THE PARTY [Rod Dreher]
Jim, surely you aren't arguing that Republicans ought to have followed the Democrats' example with Clinton, and tribally closed ranks around the besieged politician regardless of the moral principles involved. I don't want to be part of a party that says, "Our guy, right or wrong." I think a principled politician wants to hold power to do something, not just for its own sake. The Clinton affair revealed that many Democrats were happy to sell out their own professed views on women's rights, sexual harrassment and suchlike, for the sake of raw power. That was disgraceful, and I don't want to see the GOP act the same way. As Ol' Trent's BET shuck-and-jive proves, with Majority Leader Lott in place, you'd see the Stupid Party roll over on judicial nominations, affirmative-action rollbacks, and anything that the Congressional Black Caucus squawks about, simply as the price of keeping a compromised Lott in power. The party should be about principle, not personality. Granted, it's easier to say this because Lott doesn't seem to have much personality, but the point still stands.
Posted at 02:52 PM
STATE OF THE PARTY [Jim Robbins]
Another thing to consider with respect to Trent Lott is that if he goes down over something as inconsequential as an off-the-cuff remark, it will be a big win for the Dems. Regardless of all the reasons conservatives may have for wanting to replace the senator, using this event as the catalyst only shows the other team how easy it is to bring down Republican leaders. Note that Clinton did many worse things, but he survived because the Dems closed ranks, plain and simple. The GOP is hardly strong enough electorally to indulge infighting on this scale.
Posted at 02:17 PM
WE LINK, YOU DECIDE [Rod Dreher]
Is this a "Where Are They Now?" publicity still for VH-1's yummy I Love the '80s" series -- or is it a sign of the imminent Apocalypse?
Posted at 01:17 PM
"THIS IS WORLD WAR III" [Rod Dreher]
Very sobering story from today's New York Sun, about the kind of threat NYC faces, and how the city is trying to deal with it.
Posted at 12:54 PM
MORE LOTT FALLOUT: SPLITTING THE BASE [Kate O'Beirne]
Add to the long-term damage we can expect from the Lott affair the self-inflicted damage the White House risks doing with its conservative base. Conservatives are split over whether Lott ought to step aside. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and our own beloved Mark Levin no doubt speak for plenty of conservatives who are defending Lott, in part, because they can’t stand what they see as a capitulation to the dishonest grievance industry. Many of us fault the senator for handing the industry a race card and are unwilling to sacrifice a principled conservative agenda in an attempt to save him. The White House’s reaction to the controversy appears likely to alienate the entire conservative base. The president isn’t defending Lott and if he winds up similarly unwilling to defend the race-blind agenda conservatives have long championed, the movement will once more be unified--in opposition to his complete surrender to the race-baiters.
Posted at 12:42 PM
THE CAJUN NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS [Rod Dreher]
Morgan Stewart and the other great Americans at Entergy down in New Orleans have just sent me some coffee, a praline, and a copy of James Rice's wonderful book, The Cajun Night Before Christmas Thanks y'all. What a wonderful bit of nostalgia. I remember going to Christmas Eve at my Uncle Murphy's house, and sitting at the knee of Jules "Tee-Jules" d'Hemecourt, who made a popular recording of the text, as he rested on the blazing hearth reading the book in Cajun-English dialect to us kids. I see where Tee Jules has a video of same available mail-order from Floyd's Record Shop in Ville Platte. I've not seen the video, but the audio recording of the book is so worth it, especially if, like me, you're raising an expatriate child who doesn't know what Christmas on the bayou is like. "Merry Christmas to all/'Til I saw you some mo'."
Posted at 12:21 PM
OFF TO CNN [Jonah Goldberg]
Doing showdown Trent Lott-Al Gore-Iraq around 12:30 EST.
Posted at 11:31 AM
LEFT IN THE CLASSROOM [Emmy Chang]
Oakland public schools to launch teach-ins against war in Iraq
Posted at 11:26 AM
DRUG WARRIOR FOR DECRIMINALIZATION? [Emmy Chang]
From www.theagitator.com: In a little noticed hearing of the House Government Reform Commnittee last week, Indiana Congressman and longtime drug warrior Dan Burton made some stunning comments. In a hearing entitled "America's Heroin Crisis, Colombian Heroin and How We Can Improve Plan Colombia," Burton stopped just a hair short of advocating the decriminalization of drugs. Watch the video here (cut forward to 1 hour, 18 minutes into the hearing)...
Posted at 11:24 AM
CRYSTAL BALL: [Jonah Goldberg]
(AP) ....The announcement of Trent Lott as the Rev. Al Sharpton's vice-presidential running mate stunned Washington insiders this week. Nonetheless many analysts said this could be a very shrewd move. "Trent Lott brings to this ticket precisely what Sharpton lacks: appeal to Southern white men, legislative experience in Washington, and less threatening hair," quipped Norm Ornstein. Others were more enthusiastic. "Truly, the grandchildren of slaves and slaveowners have come together for a better future," editorialized the New York Times in favor of the move.
Mr. Lott, a late convert to Mr. Sharpton's civil rights agenda, was an improbable sight last week at Harlem's Apollo Theater in New York, the location for Sharpton's announcement. "This is the dream team for justice my brothers and sisters!" Mr. told the cheering audience. Mr. Lott promised to "carry on the fights of Dr. King, Minister Malcolm, and my dear friend Reverand Sharpton." The loudest applause came when Lott shouted: "You want reparations? I know where the money is burried! Together we can do it!"
Mr. Lott got into considerable hot water late in 2002 for suggesting that things would be better if former segregationist Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948. But since then Mr. Lott has worked hard to make amends with the African-American community. He apologized 612 times over the following year, according to a chart on Senator Lott's website. He hosted a popular weekly televsion program on Black Entertainment Television called, "Trent Apologizes" which allows African-American callers to blame the Mississippi Senator for anything from bad weather to the Masonic symbols on the U.S. dollar.
While most observers were shocked by Lott's announcement, some suggested they saw this coming. "I knew Lott was up to something when he started talking about how Tawana told the truth," says Mickey Kaus, who runs a website called "Kausfiles.com.".....
Posted at 11:18 AM
TRENT LOTT: LIBERAL PIÑATA [Jonah Goldberg]
From Congressman Bennie Thompson's December 12 statement on Trent Lott:
"Trent Lott’s words have been received as very insulting and hateful by African-Americans and others who have stood up for equal opportunity and fought to bring an end to the plague of segregation and discrimination that continues to stifle our Nation. Even though his apology came five days late, he can show to those of us who were offended by his lack of sensitivity a potential to rehabilitate by supporting legislation aimed at improving the plight of people who felt the brunt of policies and practices advanced by the Dixiecrats.
"Sen. Lott can help to reverse the effects of his harsh and hateful language by pushing to raise the minimum wage, increase the stock of affordable housing, providing a prescription drug benefit to seniors and securing healthcare for the 44 million Americans who don’t have it."
Posted at 10:52 AM
I TOLD YOU SO [Roger Clegg]
Last week I wrote on NRO that, if Sen. Lott stays, it will make it much harder for Republicans to oppose the civil rights establishment on issues like racial and ethnic preferences. Sure enough, Sen. Lott himself yesterday appeared on BET and sang the praises of affirmative action, and the Washington Post reports today that “One possible casualty [of the Lott controversy] is Bush’s desire to replace race-based affirmative action programs with race-neutral selection devices.”
So Lott is, despicably, trying to take back his statement supporting the old system of racial preferences by saying he now supports a new system of racial preferences. That’s not progress. But maybe the Lott controversy actually gives the Bush administration the opportunity to do the right thing. The president should say, “There is no place in America for discrimination on the basis of skin color, and any political leader must be clear, consistent, and credible in opposing such bias. That’s why I’m calling on Trent Lott to step down as majority leader, and that’s why my administration supports an end to the system of racial and ethnic preferences that has, unfortunately, come to honeycomb our society.”
Posted at 10:41 AM
LOTT CORRECTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Tim Russert this morning explained that if Lott resigns from the Senate this year, the Governor only gets to appoint a 90-day replacement until a special election. If he resigns from the Senate next year, i.e. next month, then the governor's appointment is permanent through the next general election. If this is wrong, please let me know.
Posted at 10:18 AM
GOOD V EVIL [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod, Shea makes a perfectly fine point about the moral complexities of LOTR. However, in my defense, I used the word "triumph" simply to mirror the Reuters review. I suppose a better word would be "battle" as in a theme of Tolkien's is the battle between good and evil. But Rod, you misquote Shea. It is not too simplistic to say a theme of LOTR is "good versus evil." LOTR is most certainly about good versus evil. The whole book is about the conflicts between good and bad, in Middle Earth and in our own souls. Shea's objection is to the notion that good triumphs over evil in LOTR. And, to be sure, good never triumphs over evil permanently in LOTR. But, Shea concedes there are temporary victories. Which is why I think Shea's being a bit tendentious -- if I'd used "battle" instead of "triumph" I wouldn't be budging on this at all.
Posted at 10:14 AM
NOT AS SIMPLE AS THAT [Rod Dreher]
Jonah, Mark Shea makes the useful point that it's too simplistic to boil Tolkien's moral and narrative universe down to Good versus Evil.
Posted at 09:56 AM
STEVEN HUNTER GETS IT (AS ALWAYS) [Jonah Goldberg]
From his review in the Washington Post:
"But underneath it all is the same issue that defined Tolkien's life, the battle between Western democracy and monsters who wanted to destroy it. Read into it what you want, or read nothing into it, but it's really the oldest story of all. It's the one about a band of free men on a hilltop with nothing to get them through the night but their belief in themselves and their cause and the long steel they carry in their scabbards"
Posted at 09:55 AM
CAVING OR TOEING THE LINE? [Mark R. Levin]
If Trent Lott's caving on affirmative action, then he's supporting the president's agenda. When Mountain States Legal Foundation went to the Supreme Court for the third time challenging the Transportation Department's use of affirmative action in awarding federal contracts, Ted Olson argued against the Foundation's position. The Bush administration has done nothing to change the affirmative action-policies of its predecessor.
Posted at 09:54 AM
LOST EMAIL [Jonah Goldberg]
A while ago, someone from the University of Virginia invited me to come down and speak. I lost the email because I'm a moron. If you're out there, drop me a line. So I can apologize more directly.
Posted at 09:54 AM
HUH? [Jonah Goldberg]
While in Baghdad, Sean Penn explained to reporters why he was there: "Because of the technology and the heightened desperation of the world today, I think it's very possible that we are facing the first century that will complete itself without mankind -- and that's not the future that I want for my children, or for their children."
Posted at 09:43 AM
ECO TOLKIEN [Jonah Goldberg]
From the MSNBC (Via Reuters) review of LOTR: The Two Towers:
"For all the special effects wizardry, the movie sticks to Tolkien’s themes of friendship, loyalty and the triumph of nature over industry — a fact that should please most die-hard fans of the novel that many consider the book of the century."While it's certainly true Tolkien was a fan of nature over industry -- and I haven't seen the movie yet (grumble, grumble) -- you'd think the reviewer might mention another of "Tolkien's themes" -- that whole triumph of good over evil thing.
Posted at 09:01 AM
LOTT: WHAT NEXT? [Jonah Goldberg]
Perhaps the Congressional Black Caucus should put a dunce cap on the guy and march him around Tiananmen square. Lott's "rehabilitation" is becoming Soviet in its unseemliness. I want the guy to step down, but this serial apologizing and appeasment is becoming shameful. The notion that Lott must support affirmative action to prove he isn't racist is outrageous. The idea that Nickles is "unacceptable" (codeword for racist) because he voted similarly to Lott is outrageous. I heard a report this morning on C-Span that one black official (couldn't catch his name) says that aplogizing isn't enough, approving of affirmative action isn't enough, no Lott must support an extension of unemployment benefits to prove he's not a segregationist. I have little sympathy for Lott since he got himself into this and is willing to debase himself to get out of it. But good lord, this is becoming Kafkaesque.
Posted at 08:47 AM
NO MAS! NO MAS! [Rod Dreher]
It's not enough for Trent Lott to make an even bigger fool of himself to save his own job; he's got to implicate all his GOP Senate colleagues in his own disgrace by implying that they're racially insensitive for opposing affirmative action. The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes writes: "BET host Ed Gordon asked the Senate majority leader about affirmative action. In that one moment, Lott cast aside years of principled Republican race-neutral policies to save his own ass. 'I'm for that. I'm for affirmative action and I practice it,' he pleaded, reiterating his painful claim of having many 'good friends' who are black. 'I'm an affirmative action participant.' This is nothing less than pathetic, blatant pandering. Lott would have us believe that although one week ago he was waxing nostalgic about the days of segregation, he is now in favor of racial preference programs for minorities. But there was more. Not content to embarrass just himself, Lott once again sought to make his problem the Republican party's problem. 'It's not enough for me to do things differently,' Lott said, when asked about the GOP Senate conference meeting scheduled for January 6. 'I've got to get my colleagues to join me.'"
Posted at 08:39 AM
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR [John Derbyshire]
Al D'Amato, on O'Reilly's show Monday night, says that if demoted to the back benches, Lott will quit the Senate--from pride, not from spite. It will be up to the (Democratic) governor of Mississippi to nominate a replacement...
Posted at 06:33 AM
UNMITIGATED DISASTER [Rich Lowry]
Lott's BET performance was an utter confirmation of the David Frum thesis--that he would to try to survive by selling out conservatives. He supports affirmative action, he's going to re-think his support for Judge Pickering, indeed he's go to re-think everything and try to get his colleagues to do the same (Lott will apparently now be handing out lessons in racial reconciliation). Get ready for Rep. John Lewis to become the co-majority leader. Lott's defenders say his resignation would be a victory for racial mau-mauing. Wrong. This was a victory for mau-mauing and every day for a long time that Lott continues to be majority leader will be just such a rolling surrender to the NAACP and other grievance groups.
Posted at 03:00 AM
TIMES: V.R.W.C. NOT A C. [Rod Dreher]
Today's NYTimes has a story crediting conservatives with keeping the Trent Lott story going. It says, in part: "The responses by conservatives have provided a marked contrast to the contention — put forth most recently by former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore — that the nation's conservative news media acts as a monolithic Republican support system." So there. The piece notes that Tucker Carlson, for one, says some conservatives have turned on Lott because they didn't much care for him anyway, and this provides a convenient excuse to get rid of him. Maybe. But speaking for myself, I truly believe in the meritocratic conservative view on racial equality, and that it's the only just and realistic way to organize our society. I am convinced most conservatives I know who share my view don't do so out of racist conviction, but because they genuinely believe it. I also know that there are lots of liberals who are convinced that every conservative is dying to put on a white sheet and re-enact Jim Crow. It's a lie and a slander, but then when we have one of the top Republicans in the Senate play right into the left-wing stereotype with foolish remarks, we see years of hard intellectual labor establishing our bona fides on this issue collapse. And, Lott has handed the Democrats a cudgel with which to beat us all for years to come. That's where the anger comes from.
Posted at 12:55 AM
Monday, December 16, 2002
OH LIKE THIS IS A CRIME NOW? [Jonah Goldberg]
A man has sex with a nativity scene sheep. What's next? Banning smoking in movie theaters? (Link thanks to Drudge.)
Posted at 10:50 PM
GUESS WHAT? [Jonah Goldberg]
If Lott resigns from the Senate entirely, the seat doesn't necessarily go Democratic, even though the Governor is a Dem. According to Mississippi law , there has to be a general election within 90 days of the vacancy so long as there's more than 1 year left in the term. So, yes, it's possible the governor could appoint a Dem who could win a special election, but it's not as though Mississippi has become a demonstrably Democratic state over the last few years. And it's not as if Mississippi voters will be psyched to elect a Dem. Odd that we haven't heard thos mentioned much.
Posted at 10:41 PM
OFF WITH HIS HEAD [Rod Dreher]
I'm sitting here at NR World Headquarters without a TV, but just reading on Lucianne.com that Trent Lott, appearing on BET, has endorsed affirmative action. Oh, for Pete's sake! [Which is the family-friendly version of what I actually said.] If that's true, Lott shows himself to be a politician weak on any principle aside from Saving Himself, a man who can be mau-mau'd into coming out for a reverse-racist policy that he clearly doesn't believe in, just to save his own job. He's melting down. Republican senators now have the obligation to perform a mercy killing by removing Lott as their leader, before he sells out conservative principle any further.
Posted at 07:47 PM
FOR THE RECORD [Jonathan Adler]
This is not "dismayingly long" -- but give me a few months . . .
Posted at 05:35 PM
WE'RE NOT? [KAthryn Jean Lopez]
Powell says we're not about ousting Saddam.
Posted at 05:05 PM
THAT... [Jonah Goldberg]
Was a joke, by the way. But it turns out that this isn't. Damn those Saskatchewan Indian Leaders! Always trying to outdo our own politicians.
Posted at 03:27 PM
AL GORE [Jonah Goldberg]
Breaking on the wires:
Former Vice President Al Gore, who announced Sunday night that he would not seek the presidency in 2004 declared today that he is legally changing his name to "Al Gate." Insiders say one of the chief reasons he wanted to run in 2004 was that he liked the rhyming scheme of "Gore in '04!" As a consolation for not running, his wife Tipper suggested the name change. "Let's just hope he wins in 2008," an aide close to Gate said. "'Al Gwelve' sounds just awful."
Posted at 03:18 PM
CANADA... [Jonah Goldberg]
Just raitifed the Kyoto treaty. Coming next: A new push for the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
Posted at 03:13 PM
LYNCHING [Jonah Goldberg]
NRO contributor Allison Hayward writes:
I saw the exchange with Ms. Malveaux, and your post reminded me of something. Not that it will come up again, but professional grudge-holders like her forget -- or never knew -- that the Klan didn't lynch only blacks.
Posted at 03:12 PM
LOTT V. NICKLES [Rich Lowry]
This is a competition that has obviously been going on for a while. It actually is one of the reasons Lott may have survived to this point. Over the last 6 months, he really stepped up his game in response to a potential Nickles challenge and solidified his relationship with other Senate Republicans. He had members into his office constantly, and did a pretty good job on the homeland security fight. That’s why Nickles had been dissuaded from making a challenge—until the Thurmond gaffe. Also, the rap on Nickles is that he wasn’t a great whip, so that may be a drag on his majority-leadership ambitions. One, perhaps at this point ideal, scenario: Lott steps aside, and endorses McConnell, ensuring that one of his allies gets the job, in exchange for some chairmanship, or something, to cushion the blow.
Posted at 03:11 PM
SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED FRIDAY [Rich Lowry]
By deciding to stick with Lott over the weekend, and see how things played out, Senate Republicans have bought themselves the worst of both worlds—Lott will probably go, but in the most painful, drawn-out way possible. These guys, if they aren’t courageous or principled, at least are supposed to be good at politics, but they have played this exactly wrong politically. And, memo to Senate GOPers—It’s not very helpful to “defend” Lott by saying that this isn’t a problem specific to him, but to the Republican party generally.
Posted at 03:09 PM
POWELL ASKS COLUMBIANS TO GO SLOW ON PROSECUTION OF IRA THREE [John Derbyshire]
Conor Cruise O'Brien, writing in the Sunday Independent (a Dublin newspaper) on the Washington-London-Bogota-Dublin circuit of the War on terror (There's a free sign-on thingy to go through.) The Cruiser argues that Colin Powell's recent visit to Bogota was in part to ask the Colombian govt. to go slow on the prosecution of the three IRA men being held their on charges of training Colombian anti-govt terrorists. Tony Blair is wooing the IRA (a.k.a. "Sinn Fein") and making further concessions to them, so that bombs won't go off in London--the main point of Blair's Irish policy. A conviction in Bogota would embarrass him. The Bush-Blair alliance does not need that embarrassment right now. When Iraq is settled (says the Cruiser), Bush will pressure the British govt, & also the irish, to deal decisively with the IRA. Neither is particularly willing to do this.
Posted at 02:58 PM
A READER RESPONDS TO R. GEORGE [Jonah Goldberg]
As a potential response to Robert George's assertion that Gore had no 1962 California loss as a "final straw":
Last month was a rejection of Gore.
It can be argued that the '02 midterm elections repudiated the the Clinton/Gore model of nationalized Democratic campaigns & policies. Many pundits have said that the '00 presidential race was "finally decided" with the Republican victories of last month.
Therefore Gore knows that although he was not on the ballot, he (and the Clinton/McAuliffe democratic machine constructed to get him elected) was the de facto future presidential candidate with the most to lose.
Remember the aborted rumblings immediately post-election about getting rid of McAuliffe? To the average partisan Democrat, Gore has now taken the fall for the party's midterm failure and they can now "start fresh" against Bush in '04.
Posted at 02:06 PM
TELEGRAPH WATCH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I was in a rush this ayem, and should have looked for the aforementioned bishops' letter meself. I didn't, but an NRO reader and blogger seems to have the goods: the Telegraph may have just been looking to make trouble (and I took the bait!).
From the inbox:
You are wrong about the Bishop of Lichfield and the terrorism comment. He did not describe the three wise men as part of an assassination plot, he followed the Gospel of Matthew in describing them as pawns. The Telegraph got the story wrong by misreading his letter. The bishop's letter seems to me a fairly straightforward and sensible Christian interpretation of Christmas. The bishop's actual letter is at http://www.lichfield.anglican.org/pressr/articles/021213a.htm
Posted at 02:04 PM
SHWWEEEEOO [Jonah Goldberg]
For a second I thought you were saying that the North Koreans were ticked off about Trent Lott too.
Posted at 01:23 PM
NORTH KOREA THREATENS NUKE WAR IF CONSERVATIVES WIN IN SOUTH [John Derbyshire]
North Korea is threatening nuclear war against the South if GNP candidate Lee (hawkish) wins Thursday's election against the MDP's Roh (dovish).
Posted at 01:16 PM
MRS. ALICE DAWSON AND ME [Rod Dreher]
But: in seventh grade, our history teacher was Mrs. Alice Dawson, who was a fine teacher and a great lady. She happened to be black. I remember with shame the way she was humiliated by our predominantly white class, because she was black. During black history week, she asked each of us to pick a black American of historical importance, and to give a little speech introducing ourselves as that black American, and explaining what we had accomplished. White parents went nuts. There was no way they were going to have their children pretend to be a Negro. The fracas went all the way up to the principal, who ruled that the white children could pretend to be "a friend of" George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, et alia. And that's how it happened. Today, I cringe to think of what it must have been like for Mrs. Dawson to have to live through that disgraceful treatment -- a small thing, I guess, but a disgusting one all the same. Then again, she had lived in our parish for many years, through Jim Crow, had seen much worse, and maintained her dignity and her Christian faith through it all. Like I said, a great lady. All of us who knew her are in her debt, whether we realize it or not.
Posted at 12:53 PM
MRS. V.C. WOODS AND ME [Rod Dreher]
From today's Interrogatory of Redneck Nation author Michael Graham: Lopez: How are we becoming a redneck nation? Graham: Just look at the list above. Having fled these attitudes among my rural southern neighbors, I know live in a modern, liberal America where Ivy League colleges are building segregating housing because "race matters." I actually heard one modern defender of segregated public schools (blacks-only academies) say "black people learn differently from white people." Gee, I haven't heard that since I was 12 — from a klan member! [Rod here] When I was in my small-town public school in the 1970s, there were five sections in each elementary school class. Three were all-black, and two were predominantly white, with the six academically most promising black students from the all-black classes put in with the white kids. The mostly-white classes got white teachers for all but one subject each day, and it was the reverse for the all-black classes. Of course this was segregationist, but no one complained. In fact, had things gone differently, there would have been lots of trouble from both black and white parents. The black parents would have complained because their kids were being taught by white teachers, and the white parents would have complained in part because of the incompetence of some of the black teachers. I'm thinking in particular of Mrs. V.C. Woods, an elderly black woman who was tenured, and who taught my fifth-grade social-studies course. Actually, I taught the course. Mrs. Woods figured out that I was the best reader in the class, so she let me recite the day's lesson while she slept in the back of the classroom. Every day. You had to live with this, because the social unrest that would have resulted from trying to get rid of her would have been catastrophic. But I've thought from time to time about the black kids who had her as a homeroom teacher, which is to say, for most of their subjects. The year after I was out of her class, she was caught locking the door to her classroom after lunch, and allowing the kids to watch soap operas while she slept (she had requisitioned a television under the pretense of allowing them to watch "educational" programming). Why didn't the black parents complain? Was it enough for them that their children were taught by one of their own? The only education those kids got was in the cynicism of race politics in public schooling. Sad.
Posted at 12:46 PM
RE NIXON [Robert A. George]
Jonah, keep in mind that Nixon didn't immediately decide to wait until 1968 to run for president again. In between, he lost the California governor's race to Edmund "Pat" Brown in 1962. That produced the famous "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore." (Ah, if only he knew). That was also his basic declaration taking him out of the 1964 presidential race, though he may have made the official declaration a bit later.
Posted at 12:30 PM
LET'S HEAR IT FOR LITHUANIA! [John Derbyshire]
One of the really, really cheering and cheer-able things that has happened this past 20 yrs has been the independence of the three Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia & Estonia. All three were independent between the wars, then got comprehensively raped by Nazis and Soviets in turn, ending up under Soviet control. (Cold-War-era Estonian joke: "We are the biggest country in the world. Our coastline's on the Baltic, our capital is Moscow, and our population's in Siberia!") The loneliest man in London in the mid-1980s was the aging representative of free Lithuania, who had hung on somehow in some quasi-official capacity, and busied himself writing folorn letters to newspapers arguing his country's case.
Well, now these countries are free again, and their politics is very lively. Two of them have North American presidents: Latvia (a Canadian professor) and Lithuania (former US federal bureaucrat). Lithuania, which consistently polls as the most pro-American country in Europe, has a presidential election coming up this weekend. There are 17 candidates, including:
---That former federal bureaucrat (the current favorite) ---The son of a senior KGB officer ---A stunt pilot ---Two brothers (running for different parties) ---A TV comedian who also has a Ph.D. in Economics
Lithuania is one of only two European countries to have direct elections for President, the other being France. Good luck, happy election, and a very merry Christmas to the people of free Lithuania!
Posted at 12:22 PM
I WANT TO KNOW... [Jonah Goldberg]
Will Gore still release his tax and health care plans early next year? After all he said he would. Will any reporter ask him to?
Posted at 11:59 AM
OUTRAGE OVER IRAN POLICY [Jonathan Adler]
How does the State Department allow things like this to happen? (Okay, so maybe that's a dumb question.)
Posted at 11:58 AM
GORE AS NIXON [Jonah Goldberg]
That's the only conclusion I can draw from yesterday's announcement. There've been similarities there all along. But in this case I think it boils down solely to political calculation of the landscape. Richard Nixon lost in a squeaker in 1960 after having served 8 years as VP. He concluded that he couldn't run again for eight years. The party and the public didn't want him to do it (of course, Kennedy's assasination was a big and unique factor). But from 1960 to 1968, Nixon thought about running again. Gore didn't say "You won't have Al Gore to kick around anymore," but he might as well have. And this idea that he won't be able to run '08 strikes me as more of an appeal for sympathy than a reasonable calculation. Why can't he run in '08? He'll be young enough. The only thing that would stop him is if a Democrat beat Bush in '04. But I doubt he thinks that's likely.
Posted at 11:57 AM
TSAKOPOULOS LOSES [Jonathan Adler]
The Supremes split 4-4, so the Ninth Circuit is upheld.
Posted at 11:51 AM
ME & MALVEAUX [Jonah Goldberg]
Yesterday on CNN I joked that Mitch McConnell's indefensible position on Trent Lott is that this is nothing but the "high tech lynching of an uppity segregationist." Everyone laughed, except Julianne Malveaux who took the opportunity to lecture me on how irresponsible I was for using the word "lynching." I found this odd since she'd just called Trent Lott a Klansman, Judge Pickering too. I told her I wouldn't let her mau-mau me which in turn caused her to call me "two steps from Trent Lott" -- who she considers a Klansmen. Anyway, the transcript really doesn't do it justice, but I thought some people might be interested in what I have to put up with.
Posted at 11:41 AM
WHITE VICTIMS [Jonah Goldberg]
This morning our local NPR station, WAMU, ran a story teasing a new study on the death penalty in Maryland. It's not out yet, but the gist is that murderers who kill white people are more likely to get the death penalty than murderers who kill black people. One reason for this is that mostly black Baltimore City doesn't impose the death penalty much at all, but mostly white and suburban Baltimore County does. So the area where victims tend to be white skews the data. Regardless, we're supposed to be outraged. Indeed, this is a complaint that surfaces from time to time across the country. The injustice, we're told, is that white lives are valued more than black lives. Nevermind that black people serve on these suburban juries too and the bias may be that people in suburbs, regardless of race, are more pro-death penalty.
But whatever. Let's assume things are as the critics say. Murderers of white folks get harsher treatment than murderers of black folks. I agree that if this were the case, that would be wrong. But, keep two things in mind. First, the way to fix that would be to execute more murderers of black people. And, second, I assume the people outraged by this discrepancy are also outraged by hate-crimes legislation which as a matter of law explicitly say that the race, gender or sexual orientation of the victims warrant more severe punishment. After all this death penalty discrepancy is the result of juries making decisions on a case by case basis. Hate crimes make this sort of bias a matter of black-letter-law. Which is the greater outrage?
Posted at 09:45 AM
WE THREE KINGS OF TERRORISM ARE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An Anglican bishop attacks common images of Magi; says they were part of a Herod assassination plot to kill the Christ child.
Posted at 08:39 AM
GOSSIP CORNER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From an Australian paper, Bill Clinton is allegedly dating Demi Moore and will separate from Senator Clinton in 2003. Moore's ex-husband, Republican Bruce Willis, is said to disapprove of Moore's involvement with the ex-president.
Posted at 08:23 AM
THE GREAT CHRISTMAS SEARCH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Send any cool Christmas-related websites to email@example.com. I'll share them during the next week or so.
Posted at 06:18 AM
DICK MORRIS... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...who used to work for Lott, is defending him.
Posted at 05:44 AM
PHEW! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I was afraid for a moment that this headline was referring to us.
Posted at 05:27 AM
SIX MORE YEARS! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Where's Phil Gramm when you need him? He'd be a Leader!
Posted at 05:05 AM
THIS BETTER NOT BE TRUE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Henry Kissinger wasn't vetted by White House staff before his appointment?! Could they have done a Nexis search? Heck, a google search might have helped.
Posted at 01:02 AM
I'M THREATENING TO STRIKE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
until every NRO reader has subscribed to NR on Dead Tree. (It's Christmas. Have some sympathy for a gal trying to get some brownie points with the suits.)
Posted at 12:58 AM
RANDOM HORSE-RACE THOUGHT [Rich Lowry]
It could be that McConnell is developing a strong position in the race to replace Lott. Nickles is probably hurt a bit by being the first to ackowledge the obvious (although we should be grateful that he did it). McConnell, on the other hand, is being a loyal soldier (and that's what seems to matter most to Senators most), but will probably be available if Lott is actually forced aside.
Posted at 12:37 AM
NICE [Rich Lowry]
Hope all those who defend Lott on grounds that GOP shouldn't sbumit to demagogic charges of racism, notice this from WashPost. Lott is going to try demagogic charges of racism of his own: "Lott will not go down without a fight, though. His allies were examining Nickles's voting record to try to show that it smacks of intolerance on issues important to African Americans."
Posted at 12:36 AM
STRIKE POSTPONED [Rod Dreher]
The subway strike is off for now! The union says talks have processed sufficiently to put the strike on hold. That could end at any moment, but for now, those of us who'd have to walk to work are breathing a huge sigh of relief, because tomorrow morning we'll be having something of a snowstorm. These union people are incredible. The city is on its knees economically, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority is facing a staggering deficit next year. Yet they transit workers are demanding a 24 percent pay increase over three years! A woman said it well tonight on the news: "These days, people are getting laid off all over the city. These people ought to be thankful they have jobs at all."
Posted at 12:35 AM
WHAT A CROCK [Rich Lowry]
On the CNN program "Early Edition," Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, said his party would have acted by now had one of its leaders been at issue.
"If Tom Daschle or another Democratic leader were to have made similar statements, the reaction would have been very swift," Mr. Dodd said. "I don't think several hours would have gone by without there being an almost unanimous call for the leader to step aside."
Posted at 12:30 AM
Sunday, December 15, 2002
DICK MORRIS... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
..is on Fox right now and says Lott's ok, unless he "really screws up" his BET hour.
Posted at 09:27 PM
BACK TO THE MOON? [Andrew Stuttaford]
It's been thirty years since Apollo 17. Is it time to go back? The writer of this article in the Guardian looks at some of the issues.
Posted at 09:02 PM
SPEAKING OF EATING CROW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Last week, I really didn't envision Lott resigning. With Nickles getting vocal, now I do.
Posted at 08:46 PM
NYERS HELD HOSTAGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The website for information on the pending strike is here, in case you need it. If there's no NRO tomorrow, don't be shocked. Carpooling with strangers at Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx, who knows what will happen.
Posted at 08:43 PM
GREEDY GOATS? [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the 'Corrections' section in today's New York Times magazine:
"An article on Nov. 10 about animal rights referred erroneously to an island in the Indian Ocean and to events there involving goats and endangered giant sea sparrows that could possibly lead to the killing of goats by environmental groups. Wrightson Island does not exist; both the island and the events are hypothetical figments from a book (also mentioned in the article), ''Beginning Again,'' by David Ehrenfeld. No giant sea sparrow is known to be endangered by the eating habits of goats. "
Well, that's a relief.
Posted at 08:24 PM
DOCTOR WHO WAS ON FIRST [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: Yes!--I, too remember the very first episode of Doctor Who, in which that way cute young actress--sort of Jewish-pixie type--got in trouble at school for solving a geometry problem using the fifth dimension. Hartnell was always undercast--what a Lear he would have made! Ah, where are the Saturday tea-times of yesteryear?
Posted at 08:18 PM
ET TU, FOX? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Is it a conspiracy? First it was Gillian Anderson with her rather zany views on the current international situation, now it's David Duchovny with his. He features (along with Anderson) in an advertisement on the back of today's New York Times as one of the 'Artists United to Win Without War'.Other signatories include some of the usual suspects (Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Martin Sheen) as well as a couple of aliens (Rene Auberjonois and Armin Shimerman, Odo and Quark from Deep Space Nine). Aliens? Maybe this is the real reason that Mulder and Scully signed up. Perhaps they are on a mission.
Posted at 08:11 PM
GUNGA JONAH [Jonah Goldberg]
This guy thinks he's got me pegged:
The only thing more hysterical than Krugman's article, is the laughable attempts by certain jews to carry the "right-wing water bucket". It's OK for you to cry about anti-semitism or the holocaust, but liberals are hypocrites when they decry racism. Remember one thing Mr. Goldberg: the "Trent Lott's" of the world hate you a lot more than they hate blacks. You're just so deep in denial, you can't see it.
Posted at 07:20 PM
ASTOUNDING [Jonah Goldberg]
I must eat crow. I truly, fully, completely believed Al Gore would run. But I guess he's not. I don't believe he thinks he won't run in 2008. I think he's reached the conclusion that Bush is either unbeatable or that Bush is unbeatable by Gore in 2004. I've got to digest this a bit more, but for now I'll just chew on crow.
Posted at 07:18 PM
NO MORE GORE IN 2004 [Rod Dreher]
Al Gore tells 60 Minutes he won't be running for president in 2004. Smart man.
Posted at 07:05 PM
TREK TASTE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Trek aesthetic? A reader writes in with her memory of a review of one of the Trek movies. Apparently, the crew's outfits were described as a "combination of pyjamas and marching band uniforms".
Posted at 01:07 PM
CHERIE IN PERIL [Andrew Stuttaford]
Cherie Blair has found herself in a spot of bother (it's a long, long story...) over the past couple of weeks. Tony's solution? Apparently, he's going to "spend more time with her".
Posted at 01:02 PM
EDUCATION WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Judging by this report in the Sunday Telegraph, religious education in the UK is not what it was in my day (I am the proud holder of a Divinity O level: grade 6). Terry Sanderson, the vice-president of the National Secular Society, is, apparently, unconcerned. He's quoted as saying that ignorance over the basics of Christianity is "not the least bit surprising. There's no doubt that children at school are not interested in this topic and we think it is scandalous that it is forced on them". He couldn't be more wrong. Children can, in the end, draw their own conclusions as to what to believe, but if they are not taught at least the essentials of the Bible's narrative, large chunks of western culture will remain inaccessible to them.
And that's something that would be truly 'scandalous'.
Posted at 12:17 PM
DOG'S DINNER? [Andrew Stuttaford]
According to this article in the Sunday Telegraph the Russians have created a new breed of dog to help detect terrorists and drug smugglers. It's a good idea, I guess, but this extract from the report may suggest that Moscow needs to work on its incentive programme:
"Inside one airliner, Mr Sulimov demonstrated the dog's skills. A briefcase full of guns and grenades was hidden on the plane. Mirka, the sniffer dog, was let loose, and went straight to the case, nudging it and whining. It was rewarded with an Aeroflot biscuit."
An Aeroflot biscuit? I've tried one of those and, believe me, it's a punishment, not a reward. Poor Mirka.
Posted at 11:54 AM
TARDIS TALK [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, old Star Trek versus new? I know what you mean about the appeal of old Trek's Styrofoam aesthetic, but it was very much a product of its time. That approach would be impossible these days - everyone would just laugh (something that was apparently already a problem for the cast back in the 1960s). Dr Who? Oh yes. That took low budget to new depths, although it was still a great show. I watched the very first episode (with William Hartnell as the first - and best - Doctor), in fact. That's one of my earliest TV memories and tales of the Tardis became, of course, a Saturday afternoon tea time treat for years.
Posted at 11:35 AM
ILLEGAL? NO WORRIES! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Seattle considers a "don't ask, don't tell policy" for cops in dealing with apparent immigrants.
Posted at 01:25 AM
IN A STRATEGIC MOVE... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...Arafat distances himself slightly from bin Laden.
Posted at 01:22 AM
IT'S LATE, BE MERCIFUL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rumor has it that North Korea plans to boycott the latest Tom Clancy novel where Jack Ryan intercepts (and seizes) a SCUD missile shipment from North Korea to Yemen. Pyongyang blasted the plotline as having no connection to reality. "The U.S. would never dare interfere with free trade between free nations," said a spokesman for the Secretariat for Feeding Propaganda to the Boneheaded World Media. "To do so, would be to effectively render itself an evil empire."
Posted at 01:09 AM
JAMES BOND & INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
North Korea's "Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland" condemns the U.S. as the "empire of evil" because of latest James Bond film.
Posted at 12:57 AM
AN ELECTION-REFORM IDEA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I just read this headline as "Drones will keep watch on voters in Florida."
Posted at 12:47 AM
GORE ON SNL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I thought it started off kinda lame--the opening sketch spoofing the famous Democratic Convention kiss went on way too long and the Bachelor veep search was a little disturbing, but the West Wing skit where he predictably took "President Bartlett's" Oval Office chair and wouldn't leave it was pretty good, as was the Stuart Smalley skit just now. And, of course, we knew he was bound to be Trent Lott, which was, of course, called for.
In sum: Quit your day job, Al.
Posted at 12:36 AM
EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! [John Derbyshire]
I'm sorry, Andrew, I don't see the connect between the old, cheesy Star Trek I used to love and the over-teched movie versions. I miss those styrofoam rocks and Halloween-costume aliens. Although for sheer cheesiness, Star Trek never got within a light year of Doctor Who.
Posted at 12:19 AM
TV ON SUNDAY [Rich Lowry]
Scheduled to be on "Face the Nation" on Sunday morning, and on Fox around 3:30 p.m.
Posted at 12:17 AM
WOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Corner was really something Saturday.
Posted at 12:15 AM