SAUDIS SAY LEAVE IRAQ ALONE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Saudi official denies Time piece this week that reporting Saudis were endorsing a coup option for Iraqi regime change.
Posted at 10:06 PM
AT LEAST THE PEACENIKS TODAY DID NOT GO THIS ROUTE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The naked opposition.
Posted at 10:02 PM
IF ONLY WEST WING WERE REAL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Martin Sheen, "president of the peace movement."
Posted at 09:57 PM
REGIME MAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Elian Gonzalez's father is "running" for parliament in Cuba in a Sunday "election." Surprise, surprise: all candidates "run" unopposed. Another shocker: The AP story makes it sound positively populist and democratic.
Posted at 09:50 PM
FREE SPEECH? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Also from the London Spectator, an interesting article on how, by narrowing the definition of what is considered ‘legitimate’ opinion, the BBC is contributing to the erosion of free debate within the UK. The article is, naturally, focused on Britain, but some of it will sound a little, well, familiar to viewers of CBS, ABC and NBC news programming, such as this comment, for example:
“The BBC’s world view starts in the liberal centre and condemns alternative perspectives as mad. The BBC… treats the rigid new orthodoxy of the militant centre as an absolute, not an average. More peculiarly, it characterises it as moderate and fails to perceive that this, too, is a form of intolerant extremism, shorn of ideology but not of menace. “
Posted at 02:45 PM
MUGABE WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
On September 12 last year, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was invited to New York City Hall by council member Charles Barron of Brooklyn (a Democrat). This piece from the London Spectator is a reminder of what Mugabe stands for.
Posted at 02:41 PM
SHAMAN WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
The New York Observer notes that ‘urban shaman’ Donna Henes will be hosting a ‘drumming circle’ in honor of the full moon tonight. Ms. Henes is quoted in the paper as explaining that, “the ceremony is about drumming up energy and our spirit for inner healing. We’ll drum and, of course, there will be howling at the moon. It’s a very charging experience. People fly out of the door when it’s over.”
Hmmm, well, I saw the moon over Manhattan myself the other night, a great white globe suspended, it seemed, between skyscrapers. It was nice, but, no, I didn’t want to howl.
Posted at 02:38 PM
BROKEN WINDOWS? [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s growing unease that New York City may be in danger of returning to its bad old ways. This report from the London Independent notes that Nurse Bloomberg is saying that he is staking his reputation on school reform, an important enough goal, the writer agrees, but then goes on to make the point that matters:
“It seems [Bloomberg] also needs to pay more attention…to rising crime or – correction – the perception of rising crime. Keeping up the number of cops might be a first step.”
Indeed it is.
Posted at 02:32 PM
TIME FOR AN APOLOGY? [Andrew Stuttaford]
In a recent speech Saddam Hussein has drawn comparisons between the US and the Mongol army that sacked Baghdad in 1258. Saddam is, of course, hoping for a different conclusion this time around, but he does us all a service in refreshing memories of the Mongol horde that once ravaged large portions of Eurasia. Western leaders are, these days, continually expected to apologize for the deeds of their country’s imperial pasts, so shouldn’t we expect the same from the heirs of the Horde?
End the shameful silence in Ulan Bator! The world needs an apology – or at least a few muttered words of remorse. Natsag Bagabandi, we’re waiting…
Posted at 02:27 PM
WING NUT [Andrew Stuttaford]
If there’s a political figure more irritating than a tobacco-banning clown from North Dakota, it’s a preachy left-wing windbag who has, it appears, been given delusions of grandeur by his role in a fading soap opera set in the White House.
The London Independent, needless to say, does not agree. In an oleaginous ‘profile’ of Martin Sheen, writer Andrew Gumbel notes the supposed irony of the “continuing success” of the West Wing and its fictional President ‘Bartlett’ (one t, actually, but never mind) in a country allegedly in the grip of "war fever and right-wing resurgence".
Gumbel tells us that Sheen, somebody who has always been predictably orthodox in his choice of liberal causes, is “a rebel, a non-conformist, a man who delights in challenging authority at the highest levels by standing four-square on his unshakeable moral sense.”
Posted at 02:21 PM
JUDGE CHERTOFF [Jonathan H. Adler]
It looks like the Bush Administration will make another excellent judicial pick.
Posted at 02:17 PM
GROSZ OUT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Speaking of bossy public officials, over at Reason’s blog Jacob Sullum has a post on one Michael Grosz. He's the legislator from North Dakota responsible for introducing a bill that would criminalize the sale and possession of tobacco within the borders of that unfortunate state unless, it would seem, it is used for “religious purposes”.
Grosz is, distressingly, a Republican. He should be laughed out of office.
Posted at 02:11 PM
MILK MUDDLE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Financial Times is reporting that a study by an ‘NGO’ ('the International Baby Food Action Network') has concluded that Nestle and Danone breached World Health Organization codes governing the promotion of their products in both Togo and Burkina Faso”. The FT notes claims in the NGO report that “the companies broke the rules by providing mothers with free samples of milk powder, contravening labeling standards, and distributing gifts such as pens, stethoscopes and notepads branded with company names.”
What arrogant and patronizing nonsense – and it’s not confined to Togo and Burkina Faso or powdered milk. WHO is, for example, also active in efforts to restrict tobacco advertising worldwide.
Message from international bureaucrats to the rest of humanity:
“You are all too stupid to think for yourselves”.
Posted at 02:03 PM
NO NEED FOR ALARM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The president's approval rating is back above 60 (same pollsters who did the 58 one last week, fyi).
Posted at 03:30 AM
THE IMPORTANT WORK OF THE UNITED NATIONS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I just noticed this press release from the U.N. It actually seems very appropriate: exactly what I expect the U.N. to be doing. In fact, if they would stick to things like this, they'd do less harm.
TYPEFACE EXHIBITION UNVEILED AT UN HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK New York, Jan 17 2003 6:00PM The 100 best typeface designs used in global written communication over the past five years are on display at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the winners of a global competition organized as part of the UN Year of Dialogue among Civilizations in 2001.
Posted at 03:14 AM
Friday, January 17, 2003
I SHOULD PERHAPS NOTE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
one more thing: Iain Murray didn't contact me about his story; I called him.
Posted at 05:19 PM
IN CONCLUSION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
There seem to have been some communications problems here: Lichter says he has “no knowledge” of any permission ever having been given to Iain Murray to blog on company time. On his blog, Iain Murray is explaining that he was fired from his job without mentioning STATS, and has taken the identification of his former employer off his “about” page. He doesn’t want to generate blogger and e-mail abuse of the organization. He is, however, now considering a lawsuit. My own view is that mistakes were made on both sides, but that Lichter was much too hard on Iain Murray. I hope that he finds another job soon; and judging from the intelligence of those few articles and posts of his that I have read, I expect that he will. I also hope that STATS, which does a lot of good work, continues to flourish.
Posted at 04:48 PM
THE POWER OF INSTAPUNDIT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Lichter, by the way, says he came across Iain Murray’s blog by reading Instapundit. “I. . . saw he was such a such a frequent blogger that he was listed,” he says. “I was surprised, clicked on it and came across a very large blogging file going back 14 months in which entries were often date- and time- stamped,” proving them to have been posted during work hours. Lichter was also concerned that the blog included “STATS-type entries mixed in with a lot of personal and political opinions,” which threatened to give people the wrong idea about the organization. (It’s nonpartisan while Murray is right-leaning.)
Posted at 04:47 PM
A BLOGGER CASUALTY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Iain Murray was fired from the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), a group that promotes accurate reporting of science and statistics, for blogging on company time. (Here’s his blog.) Murray says that his former supervisor, David Murray (no relation), okayed the blogging; that this blogging did not take more time out of his day than smoke breaks took from that of others; that he was not told to stop when David Murray left STATS and Robert Lichter became his supervisor; and that Lichter did not complain about the blogging or ask that it stop but simply fired him. Lichter, for his part, says that the employee manual forbids using “office equipment” for non-work purposes “without special permission.” Lichter confirms that no warning was issued to Iain Murray.
Posted at 04:46 PM
501(C)3 IS A JOKE [Rod Dreher]
Amy Welborn wants you to take a look at this outrage, and ask yourself why Planned Parenthood still enjoys the tax-exempt status due to politically nonpartisan groups. Probably for the same reason Jesse Jackson's "nonpartisan" Democratic Party front organizations do: nobody has the political guts to challenge it.
Posted at 03:54 PM
HERE'S ONE RICH'LL LOVE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A defense of figure skating, his favorite sport!
Posted at 03:13 PM
CHILDREN OF A DIFFERENT GOD [John Derbyshire]
Feb 16th, Fox TV is going to air a 1-hr "Married With Children" reunion special. Whaddya mean, am I an MWT fan? As Kelly might say (did say!!!): "Is a bear Catholic?"
Posted at 02:35 PM
BURGLARS [Rod Dreher]
Derb's mention of burglars prompts me to report a rather minor couple of incidents, but ones that I think are significant, in part because "broken-window" things like this are starting to happen all over New York again, or so it seems from conversations with friends here. I live in a pretty good middle-class neighborhood. We've been seeing a bit more vandalism lately, and hearing stories of women being threatened on our formerly calm streets. There was even a rape outside a hospital half a block away, which is in no way a minor incident. A couple of nights ago, someone troubled himself to unscrew and steal the brass cover of the mail slot of our building, and also the brass handle on the top of a board we use to cover a trash can. It's no big loss, obviously, and we're blessed that nothing worse has happened -- yet. Still, these things are another reminder that New York criminals in the post-Giuliani era are getting bolder. Oh yes: junkies are starting to congregate on the street outside the neighborhood methadone clinic. That never happened when Rudy was in charge.
Posted at 02:15 PM
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION WINNERS AND LOSERS [John Derbyshire]
Deroy notes in his column today that: "Michigan's system [of race preferences] should go the way of the recently rejected entrance exam at San Francisco's Lowell Academy. This selective government high school's admissions test had a perfect score of 69 points. Students of Chinese descent needed at least 62 points to pass. Whites and 'other Asians' required 58 points for admission while blacks and Hispanics could gain entrance with just 53 points." Let me introduce you to a little girl of my acquaintance, one of my daughter's playmates, whose parents came to this country from China recently. 4 years ago the mother was struck with ALS. It began very suddenly: she came home from a shopping trip, sat down, and found she couldn't stand up again. Now she is far gone, speks in grunts that only her mother (i.e. the little girl's grandmother) can understand, and is totally immobile. We have just heard that her husband is tired of caring for her and wants a divorce. The family has no money. They are looking for an institutional facility where the invalid's mother can go with her to care for her. New York State doesn't seem to have any such facility. This little child is facing a very hard life, and has already watched her Mom turn into a vegetable. And eight years from now, when she applies to college, she will be discriminated against so that Johnnie Cochran's kids can be waved through ahead of her. Grrrrrrr.
Posted at 02:12 PM
ASK DAVID FRUM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
TIME IS RUNNING OUT...Send your questions for David Frum, New York Times bestselling author to email@example.com NOW. He'll be answering them next week on NRO.
Posted at 02:10 PM
PUTIN'S FIGHT IS OURS TOO [Rod Dreher]
The Financial Times reports today that Islamic extremists trained in camps in the Caucasus are headed to western Europe armed with poison and other chemical weapons.
Posted at 01:53 PM
THIS TAKES COURAGE [Rod Dreher]
A number of Roman Catholic priests, nuns and religious in Zimbabwe have put themselves at extreme risk from Robert Mugabe's thug regime to rebuke their bishops for what they see as the bishops' cowardly silence in the face of a murderous racist dictatorship. Said the group: "There is no place for neutrality in the face of the evil which is destroying our nation. Time has run out for compromise with an evil regime. Attempts to use personal influence and persuasion have only allowed a corrupt system to consolidate its power."
Posted at 01:48 PM
BETTER THAN NOTHING [Roger Clegg]
The Bush administration briefs filed at, literally, the eleventh hour last night in the Michigan affirmative-action cases will be disappointing to opponents of racial and ethnic discrimination, but on balance they were better than nothing. The disappointments: no discussion of the core issue in the case, namely whether racial and ethnic discrimination can ever be justified by a desire for “diversity”; great praise for Texas’s “10 percent plan,” which is legally dubious since it was adopted principally because of the discriminatory racial and ethnic impact it would have; and assertions that achieving diversity is an “entirely legitimate,” indeed “important,” indeed “paramount” aim of the government. On the plus side: The briefs reach the right bottom line, that the University of Michigan’s discriminatory admission systems are unconstitutional; they correctly attack all the various guises of quotas used by the school; and, most importantly, many of the briefs’ criticisms of the specific programs here would necessarily apply to any system adopted pursuant to the “diversity” rationale (for instance, the brief attacks the Michigan program because it has no end-point, passes over better qualified students, and relies on bogus social science – all of which is true of any diversity-justified program). It will be obvious to the Court from reading the brief that the political fix was in, and the brief is therefore an embarrassment to the lawyers who had to file it, but at the end of the day it should help persuade the Court to reject the diversity rationale outright.
Posted at 01:47 PM
PEACE IS FLOWING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
GAZA (Reuters) - Muslims and Arabs will attack American targets everywhere if the United States goes to war against Iraq, a senior member of the militant Islamic movement Hamas said in Gaza on Friday.
Posted at 12:55 PM
DC, FIRST IN THE NATION? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A councilman wants the District to bump up their presidential primary, making them the first, instead of the last.
Posted at 12:52 PM
SIGH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
TWO MORE YEARS! NBC RE-ELECTS EMMY-WINNING ‘THE WEST WING’ FOR ADDITIONAL TWO SEASONS THROUGH 2004-05
BURBANK - January 17, 2003 - By popular acclaim, NBC has voted to renew “The West Wing” (Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m. ET) for an additional two seasons, assuring American viewers that the Bartlet Administration will continue in the White House on the network through the 2004-05 season, it was announced today by Jeff Zucker, President, NBC Entertainment.
Posted at 12:24 PM
RE: THE PRICE OF CONSERVATISM [John Derbyshire]
For the record, I should like to state that I, too, am a danger to burglars. Furthermore, I am, like Tony Martin, not up to speed with the 21st century. As for believing that "things were better 40 years ago"--Well, some things sure were. Pop music, for example.
Posted at 12:13 PM
WEN HO LEE WAS A SPY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
So says Notra Trulock in his new book.
Posted at 11:32 AM
DANGER TO BURGLARS [John Derbyshire]
Rod: To send cards & letters of support to jailed English farmer Tony Martin--the one refused parole because he is "a danger to burglars," the address is: Tony Martin, c/o H.M. Prison, Highpoint South, Stradishall, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 9YG, England. There is a support group with a website here. Martin got over 7,500 Christmas cards.
Posted at 11:19 AM
A SAINT FOR OUR TIME [Rod Dreher]
This April, Pope John Paul II will beatify (the first step to sainthood) a Catholic priest who died defending Europe from Islamic invasion. Father Mario D'Aviano went to Vienna during the 17th-century Turkish siege, rallied Christian military leaders, preached to the gathered Christian forces (Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox), and exhorted them to fight with all they had to defend Christendom from the Islamic invaders. The battle was joined, and won decisively by Christian forces -- on September 11, 1683. Islamic militants have not since seriously threatened the West. Until now. Blessed Mario D'Aviano, pray for us.
Posted at 11:14 AM
TUROW ON RYAN [Rod Dreher]
Writing in today's NYTimes, lawyer-novelist Scott Turow, who served on former Illinois Gov. George Ryan's death-penalty commission, says on the one hand he's uncomfortable with the summary way the governor overturned the work of juries and prosecutors, but on the other hand the capital punishment system in the state is so badly broken that the governor didn't have an easy way out. Here's the whole article.
Posted at 11:00 AM
GOD BLESS 1776 [Rod Dreher]
Derb, I'm shaking my head over the fate of that poor English farmer. He sounds to me like a prisoner of conscience. If anybody knows how we can write to him, let me know, and I'll post the prison's mailing address in the Corner. Sounds like he could stand to hear from some folks who are proud of him for what he did, and his refusal to say he's sorry.
Posted at 10:53 AM
THE CORNER'S REACH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Talked to the very kind Knights of Columbus in Westfield NJ last night. Without fail, I get the normal questions: Why did you ban Star Trek? How's Cosmo? What's Jonah really like?
Posted at 10:16 AM
THAT'S NOT FUNNY! [Cosmo]
Posted at 10:00 AM
DERB'S RIGHT [Jonah Goldberg]
I do read all of my email. Or to be more honest, I open all of my email. I do not owe it to hate-mailers, for example, to read every line of bile they send. And, by now I've become quite expert at skimming past arguments I've heard for the fiftieth time. Also, in terms of not responding to everybody, that's simply a necessity. It particularly pains me when readers send me brilliant but very long essays on a given subject, ofen interwoven with numerous complex and nuanced questions for me to answer. Responding thoughtfully to more than a tiny fraction of these would mean never writing anything for publication ever again. Also, some readers -- especially high school and college kids -- can make astoundingly onerous requests for help with research. Some of these kids are clearly smart and sincere, but I just can't spend an hour combing through my bookshelves to answer a question about Orwell or the warp drive. Nevertheless, I often feel guilty about not responding to those either. But my favorite is when people assume that the responses I do send are auto-responses or written by my "staff" -- as if Cosmo or the Couch could be trusted with that kind of responsibility. I could go on and on about this and I'm sure that other NRniks could as well. But the point is, everyone I know spends a great deal of time reading email and thinking about how to respond to it.
Posted at 09:16 AM
NOT IN OUR NAME [Jonah Goldberg]
When I read this, I feel the need to smash their guitar against the wall of the Delta House.
Posted at 09:03 AM
EVERYTHING GETS READ [John Derbyshire]
This is a sort of public service announcement--one of those things we need to say from time to time. I have just fielded three separate e-mails from three different readers, all saying things like: "Hey, I know you guys don't read this stuff, but..." Listen: every reader e-mail gets read. I read all of mine (though I am often weeks behind), and to the best of my knowledge, my colleagues read all theirs, too. Simple courtesy aside, readers are our bread and butter. We want to keep your affection and loyalty. A quick and cheap way to find out if we are doing that is to read your e-mails. Much more often than not, we have no time to answer e-mails, though I think we all do our best with earnest requests and inquiries; but everything gets read. Keep 'em coming.
Posted at 09:01 AM
PRICE OF CONSERVATISM [John Derbyshire]
In August 1999, English farmer Tony Martin shot dead a burglar who had broken into the isolated farmhouse where Martin lived. Martin was convicted of murder, later reduced to manslaughter. His bid for parole was just turned down. The parole board gave the following reasons for turning down Martin's request. (1) He is "a danger to burglars." (2) He is "not up to speed with the 21st century" and thinks that "things were better 40 years ago." (3) He has refused to feign remorse. I have not made this up.
Posted at 08:59 AM
ABOUT AS THOUGHTFUL AS THESE GUYS GET [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader responding to my syndicated column on human shields:
Mr. Goldberg: The only comment I would make is that the reason that North Americans and Europeans make themselves human shields mostly against their own governments is that their governments profess to "have a conscience" and these human shields try to hold their governments to their own professed constitutions and agreements.
Posted at 08:56 AM
WHAT'S HAPPENING... [Jonah Goldberg]
Is I'm having a hell of a time finishing this #$%*& Vegan article.
Posted at 06:39 AM
WOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
What's going on in here so early?!!!
Posted at 06:22 AM
MODERN DRUNKARD [Jonah Goldberg]
Some of these are funny. Not all of them alas.
Posted at 06:15 AM
JESUS IN URINE? SURE. KORAN OFF A PEDESTAL? NEVER [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 06:11 AM
HE’D ALMOST HAVE TO BE A PROFESSOR OF FRENCH AT HARVARD [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew Sullivan’s quote of the day, is a real whopper:
"There is on the one hand the America of the New Deal, of Jimmy Carter, and even, more or less, of George Herbert Bush [sic] ... But there exists today as well … a second America… a troubled and disturbing America, where pluralism is above all a mask for special interests, a Christian America (Ashcroft), bursting with revolvers (Cheney), arrogant (Rumsfeld), imperial (William Kristol), racist (Trent Lott), opportunist (Condi Rice), partisan (Karl Rove), the America of spying and denunciation (Poindexter), of conspiracy (Elliot Abrams) ... of a rotten Enron-style capitalism, of the unlimited death penalty — the America, in a word, of George W. Bush. This symbolically Texan and overweeningly aggressive America wants war, cheap oil, and, incidentally, the crushing and total humiliation of the Palestinians: in a word imperial domination in its purest form. A short-sighted nationalism and capitalism, which scorn the have-nots, are its raison d’être ... Europe, sooner or later, will have to separate itself from the new America ... The fact that America, the eldest daughter of the Enlightenment, has become 'a threat to itself and the entire world,' as Anatol Lieven explained a few weeks ago in an article for The London Review of Books, is a very worrisome reversal of affairs." - Patrice Higgonet, professor of French history at Harvard University, quoted in the French paper, Liberation, January 3.
It kind of reminds you that the most zealous ideologues often live far from the object of their devotions because they feel the need to prove their allegiance more acutely. It was true of Nazis in France or Romania and of Stalinists in America and just about everywhere else. And, it seems, it’s true of anti-American Euro-boobs.
Posted at 06:07 AM
SUPREME DODGE [John J. Miller]
I await a final verdict from Roger Clegg, but this Washington Post article makes it sound like the Bush administration's two briefs in the Michigan racial preferences cases are a big disappointment.
Posted at 05:36 AM
Thursday, January 16, 2003
ADVENTURES IN CHRISTIAN CONSUMERISM [Rod Dreher]
Wal Mart has removed "Midge," a pregnant version of Barbie from its shelves, claiming that Christian conservatives had complained that the doll might inspire teen pregnancy. Midge comes with a wedding ring and a tummy you can remove to see the living baby (or reasonable facsimile thereof) inside, but cranky Christians reportedly didn't like that she was sold separately from her husband. Touchstone magazine's David Mills is a pro-life religious conservative who wonders what the heck has gotten into his fellow religious conservatives. (Scroll down the blog to the Wednesday entries see his comments on the matter).
Posted at 08:47 PM
EATING CROW [Rod Dreher]
Andrew Sullivan has anti-war singer-dingbat Sheryl Crow for lunch.
Posted at 04:36 PM
HUMILITY BECOMES HIM [Rod Dreher]
On Phil Donahue's show last night, Jesse Jackson described himself as the most inspirational black American of all time. "No one has inspired more blacks for hope in America than I have," he modestly declared. Take that, Martin Luther King! (Here's the whole transcript.)
Posted at 03:22 PM
AT THIS VERY HOUR... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...there is said to be continuous debate about what exactly the Michgan brief form the White House should say. Here's the Center for Equal Opportunity's. The White House might want to take a look --and be encouraged by. (WARNING: It is a pdf file.)
Posted at 03:12 PM
MY SYNDICATED COLUMN [Jonah Goldberg]
On George Ryan's death penalty decision in The Philadelphia Inquirer
Posted at 02:24 PM
HILLARIOUS PENGUINS [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 02:12 PM
EMPTY WARHEADS FOUND IN IRAQ [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 01:24 PM
MY HUMBLE OPINION [Rich Lowry]
This Cosmo interview is hilarious and brilliant. It reminds me that when Jonah a few months ago tried to post an interview between me and the dog—I think we deep-sixed it on “doesn’t quite work” grounds, if I’m not mistaken—I spent some time (not a lot, mind you) thinking up questions I would ask Cosmo in a hard-hitting interview. Maybe I should dust them off…
Posted at 01:21 PM
I LIKE THIS DISTINCTION [Rich Lowry]
The inspectors shouldn't be called "inspectors" but "verifiers." This would highlight that while they have lots of things to inspect, they have nothing to verify--thus Saddam is fundamentally thwarting their work.
"Just a thought. The administration should stop calling the UN inspectors "inspectors". They should use a name that accurately describes their job. They should be called the "UN Disarmament Verification Team". "Inspectors" implies that they have a duty to turn up information and weapons through investigations. They do not. They are supposed to be given information about weapons or weapons destruction and are supposed to verify that it is accurate."
Posted at 01:07 PM
FRUM'S #2... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...on the NYT Bestseller list, or so the word on the street is. Buy The Right Man here. And send your questions about the Bush White House and the book to firstname.lastname@example.org. He'll be answering questions on NRO next week.
Posted at 12:41 PM
TWO VIEWS ON THE COSMO INTERVIEW [Jonah Goldberg]
As a person of Korean ancestry I must warn you of some of the emails you are going to get. Don't listen to them!! As always your files are informative and and hilarious.
Posted at 12:32 PM
FROZEN IN AMBER [Jonah Goldberg]
Someone tell the anti-war movement that the 1960s are over and it's time to get a new idea. They're defrosting the old LBJ Daisy Ad.
Posted at 11:39 AM
AND WE'RE SUPPOSED TO NEGOTIATE WITH THESE PEOPLE? [Jonah Goldberg]
From the North Koreans statement:
"the US loudmouthed supply of energy and food aid are like a painted cake pie in the sky, as they are possible only after [North Korea] is totally disarmed."
Posted at 11:36 AM
THE COSMO INTERVIEWS [Jonah Goldberg]
I know I'm not going to get a NYT profile like that in this lifetime, but I am determined for Cosmo -- AKA Cosmo the Wonder Dog, AKA Notorious D-O-G -- to have what I can't. He will become the "It Dog" of the American Right or I'll die trying. Here's his latest work.
Posted at 10:16 AM
SMMMMMMMMMMMMMOOOOOCH [Jonah Goldberg]
The New York Times profiles Glenn Reynolds AKA Instapundit. It's a well-deserved semi-suck-up piece. Turn away from the light Glenn!
Posted at 09:58 AM
N GUILTY MEN GO FREE [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: I don't know, I've never been in jail, or had much to do with that system. I did once, though, back in the early 1980s in London, attend a course with a guy who was changing career after many years in the prison probation service. At conversation over lunch one day, I asked him what proportion of people in jail were innocent. His answer shocked me: "Around five percent." He then added a qualifier: "However, that's the proportion innocent of the thing they were sent down for. They did something else just as bad, but the police couldn't nail them for it." Well, then, I asked, what proportion of the prison population is innocent, not only of what they were convicted of, but of anything at all of equal gravity?" He chewed on that one for a while. "Probably not zero, but pretty darn close."
Posted at 09:51 AM
EXCELLENT EDITORIAL [Jonah Goldberg]
The Washington Post continues to demonstrate.
Posted at 09:26 AM
CELEBRATE DIVERSITY [Jonah Goldberg]
I hope this makes up for my reference to Waco yesterday, which seemed to bother a few people.
Posted at 09:23 AM
"AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
What Columbia U president Lee Bollinger (formerly of Michigan) just said a Supreme Court ruling against U. of Michigan's quotas would be.
Posted at 07:14 AM
STRAIGHT TALK FROM NARAL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Oh, sorry, I forgot, it's "Pro-choice America" now. Check out their latest billboards.
Posted at 07:09 AM
SHARPTON HYPOCRISY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jeff Jacoby issues a challenge to Democrats.
Posted at 05:28 AM
BLASTING "QUOTAS" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
HEre's the text of the president's "Michigan" speech. Considering the idiotic views many pols take on race--and he could ave easily--his leadership here should be subject to tremendous praise from the Right. And, encouraged (especially before the brief is filed!).
Posted at 04:57 AM
NORTH KOREAN GULAG [Dave Kopel]
As MSNBC reports, North Korea's gulag rivals the monstrous creations of Stalin and Mao. Two hundred thousand people held as slave laborers in the gulag; they usually end up dead, sometimes as the victims of biological warfare experiments. Human Rights activists need to start encouraging the administration to take energetic steps to depose the tyrant sooner rather than later. The USSR was a nuclear power, but it couldn't survive the sustained determination of Ronald Reagan to destroy its communist regime. The people of North Korea suffer from a regime far worse than the 1980s Soviets, and the North Korean tyranny is orders of magnitude less powerful than the Soviets. It's long past time for Kim Jong Il to hang from a lamp post, and it's time for the White House to begin helping the people of North Korea depose him.
Posted at 02:58 AM
BUY PIZZA FOR ISRAELI SOLDIERS [Dave Kopel]
If you'd like to deliver a morale-boosting, nutritious meal to the freedom-fighters on the front line of the war against terrorism, then PizzaIDF lets you send a pizza and soda to Israeli soldiers. Or you can send a package of dried fruit, hot soup, or hamburgers. Your gift also helps Israel's pizza parlors and other food stores, which are suffering from the lack of tourism resulting from the Palestinian terror campaign
Posted at 02:39 AM
NEW STUDY: BALLISTIC FINGERPRINTING DOESN'T WORK [Dave Kopel]
Last year, an expert report by the California Department of Justice concluded that ballistic "fingerprinting" can't work -- in the sense that a large database of ballistic images from gun owned by law-abiding citizens would not help solve crime. California Attorney General Lockyer attempted to suppress the report, and ordered a new study to be conducted by European experts. That study, too, has concluded that Lockyer's scheme won't work. Again, Lockyer is attempting to hide the report from the public.
Posted at 02:11 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY [Dave Kopel]
January 15 is the birthday of Dr. Edward Teller, the father of the American hydrogen bomb, and the great intellectual force behind missile defense. Other than Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman, few people deserve more credit for the fact that today the U.S.S.R. lies on the ash heap of history, and Eastern Europe is free.
Posted at 01:16 AM
ROD [Jonah Goldberg]
Paul Craig Roberts? Come on dude. What exactly is he saying? In one sentence or less what is his argument?
By the way, I've tackled the 10 guilty men thing too. Although I do not dispute that Volokh's piece is brilliant.
Posted at 12:22 AM
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
SKIP WEST WING & GET THE REAL WEST WING INSTEAD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
David Frum, author of The Right Man, the first insider's view of the Bush White House, is taking questions from NRO readers. Send them to email@example.com.
Posted at 11:09 PM
FROM A TURK LIVING IN THE U.S. [Rod Dreher]
An NRO reader who followed the link below writes:
My blood boils when I read stories like this. It is certainly embarrassing and saddening to me as a Turk who truly believes and also knows the Turkish people and their desire to be part of the European community of nations. Stories like this give plenty of ammunition to groups who want nothing but to see Turkey sidelined and excluded from the block of civilized nations.
I personally know a handful of missionaries in Izmir, Turkey who are absolutely terrified that Turkish authorities are going prosecute them for doing nothing but preaching their faith or holding Bible study classes in their own home. They have already been banned from holding classes in their own home but the authorities have made it extremely difficult to meet on private property in the city, so they are being forced to hold meetings outside the city.
I think this is more a problem with the local authorities than with the Turkish society in general. All Turks I know are very tolerant and open-minded to outside cultural activities. The local authorities are the ones living out their prejudices in exercising their official powers to make life miserable to anyone who dares preach another religion. Unfortunately, I believe the national leaders either don't know the extent of what's going on or are too ignorant to do anything to reign in the local authorities. They just don't realize how even one little incident speaks volumes to people in western countries in which the only news they hear about this country are these kinds of negative stories.
For all it's progressiveness in many areas, Turkey has a long way to go when it comes to respecting and enforcing religious freedoms.
Posted at 06:48 PM
THE ONION MEETS LIFE [Rod Dreher]
A reader sends along the following story from the Onion:
Humane Society Worker Secretly Glad To See Nippy Dachshund Put Down
MARYSVILLE, OH-Union County Humane Society volunteer Catherine Moncrief, 23, admitted Monday that a small part of her was glad to see Oscar, a nippy, hyperactive dachshund, put to sleep. "I feel really guilty, but when they euthanized him, I was kind of like, 'Ha, ha-serves you right, you obnoxious little shit,'" Moncrief said. "I went through a whole bottle of hydrogen peroxide in two weeks from feeding and washing him." Moncrief then privately mused that the incessantly whimpering cocker in Cage 12 could go next for all she cares.
The reader added: "Replace 'nippy dachsund' with, say, 'Beltway Sniper,' and you pretty much get a sense of the self-contradictory (or ambivalent) feelings of this avowed 'anti-death penalty' Catholic." I hear you, man, I hear you.
Posted at 05:39 PM
MISS EMILY LITELLA SAYS [Rod Dreher]
"Never mind." The plague vials have been found.
Posted at 04:54 PM
BETTER THAT TEN GUILTY MEN ESCAPE THAN ONE INNOCENT SUFFER [John Derbyshire]
Alexander Volokh wrote a brilliant analysis of this proposition (mentioned by Paul Craig Roberts in his Ryan piece) starting from the question: Why "ten"? I think I may have posted this article -- it's titled "_n_ Guilty Men" -- to The Corner before, but it's an evergreen and well worth repeating.
Posted at 04:26 PM
IS TURKEY REALLY EUROPEAN? [Rod Dreher]
Turkish authorities are investigating a Catholic priest who baptized a Muslim who later turned on him. According to the news organization Zenit, Turkish authorities have seized the Capuchin's passport. It sounds like the monk was set up. The report says the 26-year-old Muslim insistently asked for baptism, and when the 70-year-old missionary gave it to him, the Muslim turned the old priest in to authorities. One of the monk's brother priests asks, "Why does Turkey call itself a secular state and put a friar under investigation who baptized a converted Muslim?" Good question. The Corner reader who passed this story along says, "Whenever I hear someone call Turkey a 'secular democracy' and complain about its exclusion from the European Union, stories like this come to mind." Can anybody imagine the government of any historically Christian EU member state putting an imam under investigation for receiving a Christian into the Muslim faith?
Posted at 03:49 PM
SHERYL CROW IS RIGHT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Or at least her t-shirt is. War is not the answer. Victory is.
Posted at 03:38 PM
ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE FOR RYAN (KIND OF) [Rod Dreher]
Conservative columnist Paul Craig Roberts sees some merit in Gov. Ryan's cleaning out death row in Illinois.
Posted at 03:29 PM
COURT MARTIAL--TWO TAKES [Rich Lowry]
Here are two quick takes on the friendly fire incident. I'm interested in hearing more.
--E-mail: "This is not a crime, or even a "war crime"; it was a mistake. We cannot court-martial our military for making mistakes, like the Carthaginians would crucify losing generals. If true, the "Go-pills" are another mitigating circumstance. Apparently, in the Air Force, these were not optional, but mandatory. The Navy claims that they do not even permit them, let alone have them optional. ... This is nothing but a case of throwing these pilots to the wolves to appease Canada. Perhaps we have grown so accustomed to bloodless campaigns that we have forgotten that good people on our side die in war."
--E-mail: "I'm a military officer, and the prevailing opinion around here is that these guys should be disciplined. Most of what we hear is rumor, but it leads us to believe they did not perform their duty. For example, the Canadian unit was in a no-fire airspace control zone. This information is published daily in the Airspace Coordination Order, which they are required to study prior to their mission. Add to that the conversation with the AWACS, and you hear very little sympathy from the military crowd. Some of us also think that maybe the squadron leadership should "get theirs" as well due to poor discipline within the unit."
Posted at 03:26 PM
QUESTION VERSUS ARGUMENT [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb, Now that's an excellent point.
Posted at 03:23 PM
DENNIS MILLER SIGHTING [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "A friend was in Santa Barbara recently, eating at Via Vinos (he thinks that's the name). Well, there at the restaurant was the unmistakeable Dennis Miller. He was wearing blue and grey sweat pants, a t-shirt and hi-tops. Fashion sense or not, there he was, by himself, reading National Review. Beautiful, huh?"
Posted at 02:58 PM
RE: WE WILL NOT ATTACK IRAQ... [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: It may be an unpersuasive argument, but it's still a damn good question. Giving SH all this time to hide things, organize things (e.g. attacks on US territory by client terrorist groups) and develop things, cannot possibly be cost-free. GWB should have made up his mind once for all at the time of the "axis of evil" speech whether or not he was willing to go without UN sanction. If he was, he should have done it ASAP--which, from what I know of logistics, would have been within a matter of weeks. I do take your point, though, that circumstances--e.g. a surprise attack on US forces--would alter everything, though I think SH is much to smart to commit any such blunder. My hopes for war rest on the following, in descending order of probability: (1) GWB will realize that to stand down the assembled forces without any attack, and without spontaneous regime change in Iraq, will be an election-loser for him. (2) There has been frantic development on some terrific and devastating new weapons system--an infallible bunker-buster, for example--that GWB wants to have fully tested & in place for the attack. (3) Colin Powell will decide he needs to spend more time with his family.
Posted at 02:57 PM
SOCIAL GOODS [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod, I think you misconstrued my point, or maybe I miscommunicated it. When you say cops need guns because that is a matter of necessity, I agree with you. But it's still a matter of making choices. Police could use non-lethal weapons to stop criminals which would work 95% of the time. This would guarantee no suspects were accidentally killed or deliberately murdered by police. A good thing to be sure. The problem is that in a few cases more cops would die (and the numbers of dead cops would rise as more criminals learned that owning and using a gun was the best insurance against arrest). We decide to err on the side of allowing cops to protect themselves with lethal weapons for these and other reasons.
These sorts of cost-benefit analyses come up in every aspect of life. We spend only so much on hospitals or free drugs when we know that if we doubled that amount thousands of lives might be saved. We implement regulations which say a rollover rate of 1 in a million is acceptable, when we could say 1 in a billion is better, even though that might bankrupt the auto industry. It's not just budgetary economics, it's making choices about who lives and who dies. You might respond -- as many readers have -- that the government doesn't intentionally kill X person with AIDS or Y person who bought a Montero. That's true. But we also don't willingly kill any innocent people on death row either. In fact, we try very very very hard to make sure we only execute people who deserve it. We try so hard, in fact, that we don't know of a single innocent person who's ever been executed. And we have lots of names of real people who died because the government chose a rollover rate of one in a million versus one in a billion or who would have lived if a doctor made it to them quicker or if a hospital had been a little closer to home. You say it's a reasonable alternative to put murderers away for life. Well that takes money from saving more deserving lives too.
Lastly, I think people who make Ryan's "demon of error" argument against the death penalty make a fundamental mistake of logic. If I have a batch of cookies and I discover that a piece of broken glass ended up in the batter, I have to throw away the whole batch because I don't know which cookie the glass might be in. That's Ryan's argument against the death penalty. He says we don't know who might be innocent, therefor we have to let everyone off. Well, that's absurd. Just it's okay to eat a cookie if we know there's no glass in it, we can execute someone if we know he is guilty. We may not know for sure that everyone is guilty, but we know for damn sure that some of them are -- and those are the one we can execute with a clear conscience if we believe in the death penalty. The guy who was caught with a knife to the throat of a little girl after raping her sisters and murdering her brother was guilty. He even said so. But Ryan let him off because he wasn't sure whether other people on Death Row might have been innocent. If you believe in the death penalty, that's moronic. If you don't believe in the death penalty it doesn't matter what the guy did, you're against executing people period.
So, the ultimate test is a simple one: Are you in favor of executing the people we know are guilty or not? The rest is commentary.
Posted at 02:49 PM
I DISAGREE [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb, you write:
(1): if GWB is willing to go to war without UN approval, why didn't he do so yesterday? or last month? or a year ago?
This strikes me as a pretty unpersuasive argument. I'm with you that things don't look as good or as certain as they did a few months ago. But it seems to me obvious that Bush is willing to go to war without UN approval given the right circumstances. After all if Saddam launched scuds on American bases in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, Bush wouldn't wait for UN approval. The question is where Bush's tipping point is. He threw the dice on getting UN approval and he may be regretting it now, I don't know. But it seems to me an odd argument to say that just because he hasn't gone to war yet without UN approval, he'll therefor never go to war without UN approval.
Posted at 02:32 PM
HELP—COURT MARTIAL [Rich Lowry]
I’m interested in hearing informed opinions about whether these guys in the Canadian friendly fire incident should be court martialed…
Posted at 02:31 PM
I'M GLAD [Ramesh Ponnuru]
that The Onion's back, but sorry to see that their Iraq coverage keeps getting more heavy-handed and unfunny.
Posted at 02:29 PM
USA TODAY IS ALWAYS WORTH READING [Rich Lowry]
Today there is an excellent piece on how state spending is up, despite all the whining on the need for a federal bailout: "State and local governments are spending more money and hiring more people than last year, even as governors and mayors warn of draconian cuts in public services because of the economic slump."
Posted at 02:29 PM
JONAH, DEATH PENALTY [Rod Dreher]
Sorry I'm late getting to this, Jonah. I think the "acceptable risk" analogy re: the death penalty doesn't persuade. We don't have a reasonable alternative to arming the police and giving them the authority to use deadly force. So we have to allow for the fact that mistakes will happen. Same with cars: the social good (by now a necessity) brought about by the existence of automobiles outweighs the inevitable deaths brought about by same. With the death penalty, we do have a reasonable alternative to putting convicted killers to death. We could incarcerate them for life, without benefit of parole, in a supermax prison (by the way, an NRO reader who has spent years doing lay prison ministry on death row at Angola tells me that most people don't realize how hard life on death row really is). Is the social good accomplished by executing convicted murderers that much better than imprisoning them for life? Is it so good that it's worth risking the state-sanctioned murder of an innocent man? I don't see that it is.
Ramesh's questions, though, are forcing me to examine my anti-d.p. thinking, and leading me to see that I probably buy more of the moral argument against the d.p. than I'd like to admit to myself. I think one reason I resist the argument made by the Pope and others [that the d.p. violates the sacredness of human life] is that I can't stand to see these people go on and on about the poor prisoner, but have very little evident concern for the pain their victim(s) and the victims' loved ones feel. That's not a reason, I admit, but it's what's in my gut, and I struggle with it.
Posted at 02:28 PM
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT [Rod Dreher]
...someone appears to have stolen vials of bubonic plague from a Texas university science lab.
Posted at 02:19 PM
TODAY'S COLE PORTER [Rod Dreher]
Entertainment Weekly music writer Chris Willman has a pretty great list of what was wrong with the American Music Awards on Sunday night. The first one stood out:
1) Missy Elliott has a huge hit, ''Work It,'' that in more prudish times would've been classified as soft porn. Love it or hate it, the song is an unabashed celebration of sex, with its blatant lyrical references to oral sex, penis size, female genitalia, shaving pubic hair, sexual positions, and so forth. So how best to illustrate this raunchy number for millions of ABC viewers? Have some little girls come out and breakdance while Missy does her rap. On the very day that Pete Townshend was arrested, you'd think someone would have better sense than to associate prepubescents with the nasty.
Want to see what he's talking about? Check out the lyric sheet. I was particularly moved by Elliott's charming couplet linking The Little Drummer Boy to freaky sex. A music journalist friend of mine tells me that "Work It" is probably the most popular song with 11-year-old girls right now. Great, just great.
Posted at 02:12 PM
THE U.S. WILL NOT GO TO WAR AGAINST IRAQ [John Derbyshire]
K-Lo: I would be very glad to be proved wrong on this one. I just don't see any escape from the logic. (1) The U.S. (and, I feel absolutely certain, Britain) will not go without UN approval, in the form of a Security Council resolution. (2) The Security Council is not going to approve such a resolution. On (1): if GWB is willing to go to war without UN approval, why didn't he do so yesterday? or last month? or a year ago? On (2): here is a list of the members of the Security Council: USA, UK, Russia, China, France, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Chile, Pakistan, Mexico, Guinea, Syria, Angola, Cameroon. I rest my case.
Posted at 01:04 PM
SPEAKING OF THE FBI [Jonah Goldberg]
When my wife, the Fair Jessica, was having her background check for her DOJ job, the FBI talked to almost every person she ever made eye contact with. They interviewed friends, co-workers, dental hygienists; everyone. The only person they didn't talk to even once was, well, me. Now I understand that spouses are sometimes left out -- even though Jess and I were only engaged at the time -- because it's assumed we'll "cover" for our wives or husbands. But what if I spent my days polishing shotguns with my "Remember Waco" T-Shirt? You'd think the FBI would want to know that before okaying my wife to work in the top echelons of the Justice Department.
Posted at 12:10 PM
POLL SENSE FROM KELLYANNE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 11:54 AM
SHHH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jonah just open a pandora's box: Watch Lowry ask where the article is.
Posted at 11:32 AM
YES, I ATE BACON [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm off the soy.
Posted at 11:30 AM
SPEAKING OF THE FBI [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
In his book The Right Man, David Frum tells of his run-in with FBI bureacratic bungling. His wife, Danielle, gets a visit from an agent. He is doing a background check, he says, on the Frums's neighbor, who is going to work for the White House. (What a coincidence!) Danielle thought it strange that the neighbor never mentioned he was headed to the White House. Of course, he wasn't. Of course, David was the one headed to Penn. Ave; news to the FBI, evidently.
But of course, you know that, because you've read The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush already. (If not, you can order it here, now.)
Posted at 11:19 AM
THE FBI'S PROBLEMS (AND OURS) [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Stuart Taylor writes on the FBI's major issues and reform options.
Posted at 11:13 AM
ACADEMY NEWS [Stanley Kurtz]
Erin O’Connor’s absolutely first-rate blog, Critical Mass, is a must bookmark for anyone interested in today’s academy. Right now, O’Connor has fascinating entries on an infamous case of politically motivated tenure denial at Brooklyn College, on an important new article about chaos in inner city schools, and on a new website at Harvard that lets students complain about bad teaching. O’Connor’s coverage of Berkeley’s sexual harassment scandal has been superb. What are you waiting for? Go there.
Posted at 11:08 AM
A SIGN? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Maybe Derb is wrong in his reiteration of his contention that we will NOT be going to war with Iraq: President Bush and British PM Blair are meeting at Camp David on Jan 31.
Posted at 10:38 AM
LOONAN BREAKS THE RULES [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
It's, of course, always remarkable to see someone break the ranks like Loonan (I still can't get over that name) does today. First she criticizes her fellow abortion supporters and, more specifically, her sisters. But she also uses the word “kill,” which I think is prohibition #1 on the pro-choice talking-points list. She says: “The abortion-rights movement should be honest. Legal abortion kills pre-viable human life. But the rights of a pre-viable human life should not take precedence over the rights of a woman.”
Posted at 10:23 AM
IT’S STILL ABORTION, HOWEVER YOU SPIN IT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
On the New York Times op=ed page today, an abortion supporter, Peggy Loonan (what are the odds?!), tells her fellow-travellers to stop trying to spin (NARAL’s changing it’s name to “Pro-choice America”—does that include in schooling, too??): “In order to educate a new generation of women on just what is at stake with Roe v. Wade, the abortion-rights movement should not shy away from blunt language and images of the effects of illegal abortion.” She argues that her side is losing because of abortion supporters’ euphemisms and “word-play gimmicks.” She has a point--these arguments would make a lot more sense if they weren't wrapped in "reproductive rights" and "women's health" cloaks. On the other hand, I'm not so sure they would wind up winning.
Posted at 10:19 AM
IN DEFENSE OF CIGARS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Now here is a tobacco lawsuit I might be able to support.
Posted at 10:11 AM
SPEAKING OF "WILD BOYS" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
We at NRO (okey, me), have been resisting the urge to resort to the "cool site of the day" in reserve, the official Duran Duran site. To save yourself and others, send your cool sites to "firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Posted at 09:57 AM
THE ECHO IN HERE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It's almost 10am. Anyone know where Jonah, the pundit man is? Andrew Stuttaford is travelling the world, again. I know his excuse. Adler claims to have classes. But I don't have any word from the other wild boys...
Posted at 09:55 AM
NORTH KOREA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...is dismissing U.S. talk/food aid/etc. offer as "deceptive drama," according to Reuters.
Posted at 09:51 AM
DID ANYONE NOTICE HOW TALKATIVE JONAH WAS YESTERDAY? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I suspect he had some bacon. Just a theory.
Posted at 08:33 AM
DASCHLE AND SENATE GAVEL WARS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Given his tendency to fall into bouts of insanity, Tom Daschle's insistence that nothing's changed in the Senate since the November election could go on for a while.
Posted at 08:30 AM
HOW CAN MOVIEMAKERS LIVE WITH THEMSELVES... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...allowing SUVs appear onscreen?
Posted at 08:18 AM
THE CORNER IN THE AIR [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Soon, Cornerites will never have an excuse not to post.
Posted at 08:13 AM
"THE ULTIMATE ANTI-DATE MOVIE" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mel Gibson was on O'Reilly last night talking about his upcoming movie on the life of Christ, which is evidently unabashedly Christian and being done in Latin and Aramaic. We obviously have to wait to see the film, but this is very unHollywood talk from Gibson (a Catholic), probably a good sign:
I want to be as truthful as possible. But, when you look at the reasons behind why Christ came, why he was crucified, he died for all mankind and he suffered for all mankind, so that, really, anybody who transgresses has to look at their own part or look at their own culpability.
Posted at 07:25 AM
THIS WAS REALLY IN THE BOSTON GLOBE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From Mark Steyn:
Every so often you read something that stops you in your tracks. A week ago, The Boston Globe ran a 10,000-word profile of Ted Kennedy by Charles Pierce. For the first gazillion paragraphs or so, it chugged along in familiar Boston Globe snoozefest mode, and then:
Posted at 05:03 AM
WHERE I'LL BE THURSDAY NIGHT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If you live in Westfield, NJ, I'll be there talking to the Knights of Columbus on Catholics and the media and other assorted things. (Rumor has it there really just asked me so they can find out once and for all why I so callously "banned" Star Trek from The Corner.) I make no promises; it's a free event so you get what you pay for, but, it's a good group that was kind enough to invite me--and we know they are cool cause they read NRO--so I had to mention.
Posted at 04:24 AM
UGH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Traces of anthrax at Federal Reserve in DC.
Posted at 03:39 AM
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
BUSH TO OPPOSE PREFERENCES [Jonathan H. Adler]
Wednesday morning's Washington Post will report that the Bush Administration will file briefs in opposition to the University of Michigan's affirmative action program.
Posted at 11:56 PM
OBSTRUCTIONISM REIGNS [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Senate Democrats are truly being obstructionist. They are holding up a new Senate organizing resolution until they get a near-even split of committee fundings to reflect thenear-even split in the Senate. Of course, when the Democrats were in the majority, the funding split never reflected the relative strength of the parties. The split was 2/3-1/3, even though the Democrats held far fewer than 2/3 of Senate seats. The same was true during Republican control. The only exception was during the truly even split of the last Congress. Until a new resolution is passed, the Senate can hardly conduct any committee business. Perhaps that's how Daschle's Dems like it.
Posted at 07:30 PM
MORE DEATH PENALTY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Because I believe that we should only be executing deserving people, I've long supported free DNA tests for anybody on death row who wants them. If they prove innocence, that's great news. But the fact is lots of people on death row don't want DNA tests -- because they would confirm guilt, not prove innocence. The media has been particularly bad when it comes to reporting about DNA exonerations because it would be so easy to point out that the people not exonerated deserve the death penalty. Anyway, Ron Bailey -- who originally convinced me on this point -- has written about DNA tests here: .
Posted at 06:08 PM
JUDGE PRYOR [Jonathan H. Adler]
Rumors the President may nominate Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit are picking up, and generating controversy. If Pryor is appointed, it will be another sign that the administration has no intention of backing down on judicial appointments.
Posted at 05:55 PM
YET MORE LOMBORG [Jonathan H. Adler]
In reference to Jonah's post below, I find it interesting that so many are willing to point to the critiques of Bjorn Lomborg published in various places without having read Lomborg's responses. This makes a difference. Take the review in Science as an example. The reviewer gives Lomborg a generally negative assessment yet, in the process, makes several clear errors, such as claiming that Lomborg fails to cite sources that are clearly cited, or fails to discuss matters that are clearly discussed. Many of the critiques found at www.anti-lomborg.com have the same problem, as I discovered when trying to discuss some of this material with my students. But don't just take my word for it, check it out for yourself, something Lomborg has made quite easy to do (and without buying the book) by posting the most prominent critiques -- and his responses -- here.
Posted at 05:52 PM
ANSWERING JONAH'S QUESTION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'd be against a federal war on drugs even if it succeeded in reducing drug use without generating major unintended consequences, but I would support state and local policies designed to discourage drug use if they met the cost-benefit test.
Posted at 05:41 PM
CATHOLICS WHO LEAVE THEIR CHURCH BEHIND [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An article I did for Crisis that some Corner readers helped put together.
Posted at 05:35 PM
DEATH PENALTY [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, I've sent off my syndicated column. And, yes, I made those paragaphs less clunky. Now, assuming this isn't a private argument I'd like to make a quick point.
Rod, when you say the death penalty must be error free it seems to me you make yourself operationally anti-death penalty. I see a parallel with NR's position on the drug war. I've asked both Ramesh and Rich if NR would be in favor of the drug war if NR's editors thought the war was winnable. They both said, more or less, "I don't know, maybe." In other words, theirs is not so much a moral objection to the drug war as a practical one. The obviously high costs of prohibition, in their minds, exceed the benefits. (If I'm mischaracterizing their positions I await their clarifications).
If you think the cost of a single innocent life is too high to justify capital punishment, in other words if you think it must be perfect in every respect, then you might as well come out against the death penalty because otherwise you'll have to argue for a perfect government program and that is an untenable position.
But keep in mind government finds acceptable rates of accidental deaths in all sorts of areas. From friendly fire in the military to deaths on our highways to extremely rare and fatal drug side effects. Surely even one child's death is a tragedy, but we know for a fact that roughly 50 young children die every year from drowning in 5 gallon buckets, mostly in their back yards. But we don't ban buckets. And that's roughly the same number as the number of cases of accidental gun deaths among small children, and we do not require child-safe bucket locks (Note to parents: You can childproof your bucket by putting a hole in the bottom).
If you take it as a matter of principle that the death penalty is a social good, then you must be willing to accept some level of error to achieve that social good. It would be tragic if we executed an innocent man -- hasn't happened yet -- but I would still take a mend it don't end it approach in response (unless I was the one executed). There's nothing wrong with working very hard to keep that level as low as conceivably possible, but the only way to guarantee no errors is to abolish capital punishment entirely.
Posted at 05:29 PM
KUCINICH RUNNING? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
So suggests the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Posted at 05:18 PM
NO SELF-REBUTTAL HERE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Rod, I think your e-mail correspondent's argument proves rather too much. I'm not in favor of abolishing the jury system or of taking away from juries the right to impose, say, life sentences--which is where I'd have to go if I took that argument seriously. I'm for getting rid of the tabula rasa model of the juror, whether in product-liability cases or death-penalty ones. This might be a good time to clarify my own position: I'm ambivalent on the death penalty, taking seriously without yet embracing the argument that it is wrong in principle. I just think that a lot of the other arguments against the death penalty are weak, and that the tactics of opponents are dishonest.
Posted at 05:14 PM
RAMESH VS. RAMESH? [Rod Dreher]
A reader writes:
You missed Ramesh Ponnuru's rebuttle to his own pro-death penalty argument. In the Corner today, he argues that juries can't be trusted to decide personal injury cases:
"As Walter Olson notes in his new book The Rule of Lawyers, trial lawyers are forever talking about how representative the jury is--and then working hard to stack juries so they're as unrepresentative as possible. As Olson notes in an excerpt published in Reason, the same folks who say the jury box is like the ballot box are the most avid to keep out people who might vote the wrong way."
"Substitute 'prosecutor' for 'trial lawyer' and Ramesh has made the case against himself.
"I know it's a cliche, but if juries can't be trusted to set damages for medical malpractice and other personal injury cases, they can't be trusted to decide whether to impose the death penalty."
Posted at 05:02 PM
RE: RYAN (CONT'D) [Rod Dreher]
Ramesh, I'd consider supporting measures to tighten the application of the d.p., as opposed to outright abolition. I tend to agree with Scott Turow, in that essay of his I linked to in my piece, when he says that he can still see having a death penalty for certain especially heinous crimes (for which the gruesome fetal-carving murder may qualify). I could see myself supporting a death penalty that was only imposed when there was sufficient DNA evidence to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. But even so, I would probably have a bit of doubt, which is why your initial question is hard for me to answer. I should remind readers that I'm not speaking in universal terms here; the death penalty during wartime, or in a society with less advanced means of incarcerating murderers, is much easier to justify.
Posted at 04:20 PM
RE: RYAN AND D.P. [Rod Dreher]
Ramesh, sorry I'm late to get to your post. You raise good questions. 1) Would any rate of error be so low as to think the death penalty worth keeping? For me, no, I don't think so. I'm not happy to have reached that conclusion, and maybe my squeamishness with the inherent morality of the d.p., as distinct from its practice in our country, plays a bigger role in my deliberation than I realize. Let me think about this some more. Maybe it's a Catholic thing, but I find the older I get, the more inclined I am to say if err we must, then let us err on the side of life -- even if it means suffering scumbags to draw breath until their natural deaths.
I'm getting off the subject here for a sec, but I want to mention something that really got to me. An old man to whom I was close died a few years ago, well into his 90s. On his deathbed, he confessed that he was haunted by his participation in an extrajudicial killing back in the 1930s. He was part of a lynching party organized by the sheriff, who for his own reasons didn't want to have to worry about the courts. He got the men together, and they hanged this criminal. Well, it came out shortly thereafter that the criminal they hanged was completely innocent. For various reasons, all the men had believed him unquestionably guilty; anyway, the sheriff had told them it was so, hadn't he? Nothing was ever done to the lynching party, and the incident was forgotten. Sixty some-odd years later, as he lay dying, with an entire lifetime of experience behind him, this is what tormented that old man.
Mind you, our modern prosecutorial and jury system is light years away from a rural lynch mob of the 1930s. Still, the potential for human error, swayed by prejudice, emotion, or plain old fallibility, is always present. Maybe one reason I fear the death penalty is I can too easily imagine myself as part of that lynch mob, trusting governmental authority and carried away by my own emotions, seeing only what I wanted to see, and not aware of my own capacity for error.
Posted at 04:11 PM
SEN. GRAHAM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
writes to 2,500 supporters: "I am seriously considering my party's nomination for President of the United States." Isn't that a little presumptuous? It's nice he's seriously considering it, but it hasn't been offered yet.
Posted at 03:15 PM
AN ANTI-DRUG WAR MYTH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I was all set to talk up Cathy Young's article on the drug war and terrorism when I saw that she repeats a discredited factoid: "The Taliban also profited from our war on drugs, receiving $43 million from the US government in 2001 for the purpose of eradicating Afghanistan's heroin-producing poppy fields." As Brendan Nyhan has pointed out, though, the aid in question was a) delivered in food, wheat, and commodities rather than money and b) distributed through humanitarian organizations, not the Taliban. When Colin Powell announced the aid, he made a special point of noting that it bypassed the Taliban.
Posted at 02:54 PM
NEW USAGES FOR OLD WORDS [John Derbyshire]
Since it's not the word that's new but only its meaning, I think "neosemantic" would be closer, but I'm not happy with it. I checked with my main reference book on rhetoric, Arthur Quinn's Figures of Speech, but it had nothing to offer. Some of the usages we've been talking about come under familiar figures like synecdoche and metonymy, of course, but we really need a more general term that encompasses any new usage, however it is derived from the original. Reader comments welcome.
Posted at 02:48 PM
WORD ON THE STREET [Jonah Goldberg]
We -- as in the US Government -- are responsible for Pete Townsend's arrest. He was a part of "Operation Avalanche," a major Dallas-based internet kiddie porn take down the DOJ announced in August of 2001. The credit card numbers which couldn't be traced to U.S. card holders were given to Interpol and that's how
Posted at 02:37 PM
EDWARDS ON TRIAL LAWYERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jake Tapper has done an interview with him for Salon, but I can't read it, not being a premium subscriber to that publication. Apparently Senator Edwards says, "I believe people who sit on juries are the same people who decide elections in America. Juries are a microcosm of America. People who don't like juries deciding a case don't like regular Americans." As Walter Olson notes in his new book The Rule of Lawyers, trial lawyers are forever talking about how representative the jury is--and then working hard to stack juries so they're as unrepresentative as possible. As Olson notes in an excerpt published in Reason, the same folks who say the jury box is like the ballot box are the most avid to keep out people who might vote the wrong way.
Posted at 02:37 PM
STANLEY KURTZ'S RELIGION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I think there's a lot to be said for Stanley's argument on NRO today, but I think he betrays a misunderstanding of religion when he writes, " A thoughtful skeptic would see . . . [that if] religious folk believe that God has forbidden a particular practice, then they must believe it because that practice really does undermine a critical social function." But religious people can believe that God has forbidden a thing for any number of reasons, including reasons unknowable by us, that have nothing to do with the undermining of social functions. Kurtz also writes, "One way to think about religion is to see it as a system of approbation and repugnance that serves to protect the central institutions of a given society." Sure, that's one way to see it. But is it a good way? Religion can undermine a society's central institutions, too, for example when it calls a corrupt society to reform.
Posted at 02:24 PM
NEOLOGISM [Jonah Goldberg]
I could have sworn you were about to coin a neologism for adding new meaning to an old word. But you skipped right by. How about neologify?
Posted at 02:23 PM
DEATH PENALTY [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm with Ramesh on the death penalty. I'm crashing on my syndicated column on this stuff. Here are the first two grafs, they'll give you a sense of what crapweasel I think Ryan is:
In 1995, Fedell Caffey shot Debra Evans in her home and stabbed her 10 year old daughter. He then cut the full term baby from her womb and, along with her 7 year old son, kidnapped them. The 7-year-old’s body was later found. The child had been tortured. Departing Illinois Governor George Ryan let Caffey off Death Row, because he believes to do otherwise would be, "playing God."
Posted at 02:18 PM
STRONG VERBOTEN [John Derbyshire]
Right on, K-Lo. Let's have some discipline here. And while we're laying down rules, how about a total ban on gynecomastia references?
Posted at 02:17 PM
DIDN'T WE... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...have a rule once about quoting more than 400 words in The Corner?
Posted at 02:01 PM
NEOLOGISM [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: I confess I'm not sure. I guess if it's not actually a new word, it's just a new usage... and there is no word to describe that. There ought to be, though. As fond as I am of new words, I am even fonder of striking & imaginative usages for old words. That "beard" usage is wonderful. I also like the verb "to calve" when applied to glaciers... Oh, political punditry, the Democratic feld, yes... I'll come up with something...
Posted at 01:57 PM
THE LAST DAYS [John Derbyshire]
Once in a while you read something that makes you think our civilization is really, really close to its end. Something like this.
Posted at 01:53 PM
RE: MUSTACHE [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb, Is it a neologism if it’s only a new use for an already existing word? Anyway, I know you don’t watch the Simpsons, but your Mustache neologism reminds me of one my favorite scenes from the Simpsons. In the episode "Much Apu About Nothing," a bear sneaks into downtown Springfield and sits outside the Simpson and Flanders homes. Here’s an excerpt:
Marge Simpson: Well, things were bad everywhere.
Homer: I'm sick of these constant bear attacks. It's like a frickin' country bear jambaroo around here! -- Or jamboree even.
Ned reminds Homer that this is the only bear this town has seen, but Homer gets the whole town with him with a catchy chant...
Homer: We're here, we're queer, we don't want anymore bears.
Crowd: We're here, we're queer, we don't want anymore bears.
Lenny: Hey, that's a pretty catchy chant. Where did you hear it?
Homer: Oh, I heard it at the mustache parade they have every year.
Posted at 01:48 PM
MORE QUESTIONS FOR ROD [Ramesh Ponnuru]
You say that the death penalty is not in principle immoral, but is so prone to error--to sending the innocent to be executed--that it should be abolished. My question is: Would any level of error be so low that you would think it worth keeping? If your answer is no, then you should quit wasting your time and ours trying to show that today's death penalty is terribly flawed, racially biased, etc.; you're against any death penalty that would be administered by humans. If the death penalty is supportable even with some possibility of error, on the other hand, different questions arise. Such as: What is that level of error, and are we really above it? Nobody has ever shown that the death penalty has claimed an innocent life in America in the last century. Why not support reforms to reduce the error rate, rather than abolish the penalty? Also: Assuming that the death penalty should be abolished, isn't it an abuse of the pardon power to effect that policy by executive fiat? You said that Gov. Ryan "did the right thing." It's hard to see how that could be true on any conventional understanding of the separation of powers.
Posted at 01:38 PM
MORE RABBIT REAX [Rod Dreher]
Another reader writes:
That was a shocking piece. I live in a town of 2,500 folks in southern Utah and I would like to think that the actions mentioned in your article don't go on here but I wouldn't be surprised. Last week an official with the local National Guard unit was convicted of making porn videos with a couple of high school girls. It is depressing to a parent of teenagers.
I was most interested in the comments from your friend that taught in Appalachia about students ignoring their surroundings. That same scenario exists everywhere in rural and remote America. The best way to counter it is to do what we did in our family when we moved to a new house in 1996-eliminate TV. After a 90-day withdrawal, I can honestly say we don't miss it. In fact our lives are much richer for not having it. Our children are better informed on world affairs (because they read newspapers and news magazines), great students and well adjusted-I recommend it to anyone with the courage to try it.
Posted at 01:11 PM
RAMPANT RABBIT REAX [Rod Dreher]
The mail about my sex-toy party column is coming in. For the record, my column was agnostic on the propriety of sex toys in the bedroom; what I find objectionable is making the most intimate details of one's sex life fodder for happy-go-lucky social events. Here's a letter from a fellow New Yorker who thinks I'm a prude:
To the question of whether American's are better off for the past 40 years of self indulgence, I'd say on balance hell yes. And I also proudly call myself a conservative Republican of the libertarian variety. The fear of 'me' held by social conservatives strikes me as equally dangerous to the health of our modern society as the liberal's worship of complete moral relativism.
With all of our knowledge and wealth and sweat and toil over the past few thousand years, can't we allow ourselves the enjoyment of a little decadence? Gee whiz man, I mean, can't the ladies indulge their sexual curiosities and have some fun without it meaning society is unravelling and the family unit is through?
I'll grant you that when Americans do things, a la sex parties, or in recent memory there have been other fads, like cigars, they do them in a silly, puerile manner, like little children who have just been exposed to something and immediately go ape. It's a bit embarrassing to watch. But it doesn't necessarily make sex toys, or sexual exploration beyond church sanctioned practices, or cigars any less fine and dandy. It just means that Americans are trying to figure out how you chase some pleasure in the world.
For you and some others it seems ridiculous to want to have a threesome with two pretty girls when there are lovely mountains to climb. But to others it makes perfect sense to want to climb a mountain and have a threesome too. Some women want to play with Rambunctious Rabbit too, NOT because they feel life is empty and they need to try to fix their deteriorating love life. But simply because it probably feels very good. Nothing wrong with that.
It has never been one of our charictaristics as Americans to be comfortable with hedonism. Of course the Europeans are much better at these things, and much of the rest of the world too has an easier time with naughtiness and taboo. But Americans are honest, hard working and believing people who have that innocent idealism about them when it comes to propriety and it is indeed something that makes us special and keeps us free from the blase, relativistic and ultimately corrupting temptations that are the ills of cultures more at ease with pleasures of the flesh. But that fact isn't adequate as an argument for remaining opposed to sex toys or other worldly temptations.
This whole business reminds me of the arguments conservatives make against drugs, or smoking or such....oh people are trying to fill a void, they are unhappy or needing to rebel or blah blah. In fact, most people who try drugs or enjoy tobacco do so simply because it can be pleasant or interesting. They have no intention of harming anyone, including themselves.
It doesn't surprise me that women are having these sex parties. It's about time even if it is a little silly. I hope these women are using the products and doing whatever they fantasize about with their boyfriends, or husbands or by themselves, as long as no one gets hurt. I live in downtown Manhattan and I'm one of those 'freaky deaks.' My girlfriend is too. We for instance love playing with another girl. We do that from time to time. It's hot, and the girls we meet are professional, smart attractive women in Manhattan who are intent on having fun before their time is through on the earth or before they chose to 'settle down.' Good for them. On the other hand we don't like orgies, or s/m clubs or toys. Lots of people we meet however do like that stuff, and whatever floats their boat is amusing to me.
I don't know if you can easily and cleanly qualify whether the world is a better place when people do wild things in the bedroom or try drugs or whatever...but try putting it up to a vote and see if people want to return to 100 years ago when the only fun available was fishing in a stream. I'm sure even most self styled conservatives would have to admit that they like things just the way they are, for the most part , despite certain elements of tackiness and excess.
Posted at 12:51 PM
RE: DEATH PENALTY COLUMN [Rod Dreher]
I was away from The Corner yesterday, and also my e-mail; I have a lot of catching-up to do regarding yesterday's death penalty brouhaha. I'm going to do my best to catch up today, though I can't possibly answer all of this e-mail personally (and some of it is so vile that I wouldn't want to answer it anyway). For now, let me say simply that I do believe criminals like the Illinois vermin convicted of ripping the unborn child from its mother's womb, and killing the woman and her other children, deserve death. As I said in the piece, I believe that child rapists deserve death, which goes further than most are willing to go. But inasmuch as we have a reasonable way of making sure these people are kept away from society, and punished severely for their crimes, I am unwilling to support the current deeply flawed death penalty system. In other words, as much as I'd like the state to kill some or even most of these bastards, I am not willing to risk having the state kill innocents. Life in a supermax prison without possibility of parole is an unhappy compromise, but one I think we can live with. If we have to err, I'd rather that we err on the side of life. I'll try to get to more specific points today, provided I can make good progress on this NRODT story Rich assigned me yesterday.
Posted at 12:45 PM
RE: FASHION DON'TS [Rod Dreher]
Hey Derb, I was trying to pay you a compliment! Anyway, I got the link to the man-boobs fashion thing from Anne Wilson.
Posted at 12:39 PM
OKAY, JONAH, YOU WANT NEOLOGISMS? I GOT NEOLOGISMS. [John Derbyshire]
I am just settling down to review Chandler Burr's new novel The Emperor of Scent. Chandler is the only openly homosexual male I am on friendly terms with, and I have mentioned him before in this context. Now, I have written some negative stuff about homosexuality in the past, and shall very likely write more in the future. It therefore occurs to me that I might be accused of using Chandler as a... a what? A woman who is assigned to be seen with a homosexual movie star in public, so that his true preference won't be known, is called a "beard." What do you call a guy like Chandler, a homosexual who allows himself to be used by someone like me to ward off accusations of being a reflexive gay-basher? The answer has bome to me in a flash: Chandler is my mustache!
Posted at 12:12 PM
DEAD ON [Kate O'Beirne]
Very clever. . . The illustration for Stanley's piece on NRO does more to make the case against cloning than any cool, reasoned argument I've seen. Creepy!
Posted at 11:33 AM
MINUTES FROM FDR'S CABINET MEETING [Jonah Goldberg]
"Gentlemen, on the one hand we have Pearl Harbor in smoldering ruins, thousands of dead Americans. In Europe, we have a bloodthirsty tyrant seeking to rule the whole of the continent and murder millions. And on the other hand we face the risk of profound Karmic retribution for going to war. I ask you men, what shall we do?"
Posted at 11:26 AM
BTW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If you like Lord of the Rings, see today's cool site.
Posted at 11:23 AM
ONE BRAVE CHICK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Female Saudi columnist questions guardian rules. Via Memri.
Posted at 11:21 AM
GREAT MINDS... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...or note to self: Check and see if the boss is gonna upstage you before you assign yourself a topic. (Rich Lowry on AIDS, Africa, Nicholas Kristof, and Condoms. KJL on AIDS, Africa, Nicholas Kristof, and condoms.) (Just FYI, for those interested in the issue: I have a longer reporting piece in an upcoming issue of Citizen magazine.)
Posted at 11:14 AM
D-DAY TRUTH REVEALED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Newly discovered historical documents reveal that General Eisenhower considered postponing the D-Day landings owing to fears of "karmic retribution." Monty was just worried about the weather.
Posted at 11:10 AM
ROD'S SECRET LIFE [John Derbyshire]
OK, Rod, let's hear your excuse for browsing the fashion news.
Posted at 11:05 AM
IQ WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Sheryl Crow speaking at the American Music Awards on diplomacy, war and whatever: "I just think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies." Via Drudge.
Posted at 10:55 AM
FASHION DON'TS [Rod Dreher]
From the "Least Likely To Be Worn By Derb" File.
(By the way, hello Corner, haven't seen you for a day. Here's a word of advice to you: if you have kids, don't let them get the winter crud. Really, just don't. It'll make your life vastly less complicated.)
Posted at 10:53 AM
IRAQ, AFTER [Stanley Kurtz]
Can we bring democracy to a post-Saddam Iraq? I’ve been a skeptic. Then I turned the problem around. I imagined what I would do if the president ordered me to draw up a plan for democratizing Iraq. The result of this little thought experiment is, "After the War," an article in the latest issue of City Journal. There I explain why the often invoked Japanese example doesn’t fit Iraq. But I also argue that the British imperial experience in India, with all its problems, suggests a plan that might successfully bring democracy to Iraq. Whether we have the wherewithal to make that plan work is very open question. I may be expanding on part or all of this argument in the coming weeks on NRO and elsewhere.
Posted at 10:48 AM
RE: MEMO [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: More political punditry? When Heidi has been eliminated? You cannot be serious! Let's get our priorities straight here.
Posted at 10:45 AM
AMERICA: DESIGNATED DRIVER TO THE WORLD [John Derbyshire]
Thomas Friedman's Op-Ed column "Sealing the Well" in Sunday's New York Times confirms my thesis that a large part of the world is locked in a "cargo cult" mentality. The U.S.A. is omnipotent. Anything bad that happens is our fault; anything good that fails to happen is a result of us malevolently withholding our bounty. Just listen to those Arabs Friedman is quoting. Their arguments are: things are going to hell in the Mideast because America stubbornly refuses to solve the Palestine problem. If you ask these people: "Why don't you solve it yourselves? There are 300 million of you, after all..." they reply: "Our governments are too weak and cowardly! Because AMERICA installed them! AMERICA props them up!" Everything is our fault, you see. Friedman quotes Egyptian playwright Ali Salem: "We have an Egyptian proverb: 'the drunk is in the care of the sober.' You are the sober. Don't forget that." Get the idea? We are the world's designated driver. If there's an accident, it's our fault.
Posted at 10:41 AM
MORE LOMBORG [Jonah Goldberg]
I've gotten more than a few polite, intelligent and quite lengthy emails from people telling me that I'm wrong about Lomborg. Quite a few others are just plain nasty. None of them make the statistical or scientific arguments themselves, but instead point me to Science magazine, or one review or another. That's fine. I'm hardly quipped to defend Lomborg on my own either. Rather, the people I trust have persuaded me that the attack on Lomborg is unfair. That is not to say he didn't make mistakes. I've yet to hear of a major book of this kind not having errors. Lomborg has addressed them. I guess the only thing I would point out is that when Paul Ehrlich, Lester Brown, Jeremy Rifkin, Carl Sagan and numerous other celebrity science types offered massive, collosal exaggerations or spine-bending lies, the scientific community didn't launch a witch hunt for them. Some may roll their eyes at Lester Brown, but they do it away from the cameras. Ehrlich is still respectfully quoted in the media and he's been wrong about pretty much everything (that is unless I missed the 60 or so million Americans who died from starvation in the 1980s that he predicted). It seems to me that a scientist can be sloppy, deceitful and grossly self-serving and get into almost no trouble if he confirms the conventional wisdom. But if he defies the conventional wisdom and fails to cross a "T" he's toast.
Posted at 10:40 AM
GAY MARRIAGE, SOONER [Stanley Kurtz]
In “The Coming Battle,” I warned that Massachusetts might legalize gay marriage this coming summer. I also predicted that this would kick off a national culture war with huge implications for the upcoming political campaign. Now it looks as though the schedule for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to decide Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health has been moved up. We could have a ruling as soon as late March or early April. (Possibly, just as an invasion of Iraq is winding down.) Meanwhile, Joshua Mercer has some thoughts on how legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts might play into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Posted at 10:32 AM
SOMEHOW... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...I knew you'd saw that. (Memo to K-Lo haters: I'm just kidding. Well-balanced Corner is a good Corner. All hail Jonah.)
Posted at 10:30 AM
NO.... [Jonah Goldberg]
The Corner is not a zero-sum environment, we can add without subtracting. More LOTR, more Derbyshire neologisms, more Trek and.....more punditry!
Posted at 10:26 AM
HEY JONAH... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...does that mean less Lord of the Rings and sci-fi? I'm all for!
Posted at 09:53 AM
MEMO TO CORNERITES: MORE PUNDITRY [Jonah Goldberg]
Lord knows this applies to me too. But I think the Corner has been sorely lacking in old fashioned political punditry lately. There are now so many Democrats running for president the Iowa Democratic Caucus debates are going to look like the Sgt. Pepper's album cover. And we should be all over that stuff. We should also have more tax cuts stuff, more White House intrigue etc. It's merely my impression, but worth thinking about. Also, it'd be nice if Lowry posted something in the mornings, but that's just a suggestion.
Posted at 09:25 AM
SADDAM'D LOVE THAT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Inspectors want ten more months.
Posted at 05:03 AM
Monday, January 13, 2003
YIKES [Robert A. George]
Two observation's on Pete Townshend: 1) His arrest on child-porn charges must cause CBS and the producers of CSI a little discomfort (Its theme song is, "Who Are You"); 2) The lyrics to "Rough Boys" are now, shall we say, even more disturbing...
Posted at 08:37 PM
THE DERBIAN CALENDAR [John Derbyshire]
Some snotty readers object to me calling June 20th a "summer's day." To them I say: Fiddlesticks! This gibberish about summer starting on June 21st, or whatever it is, reminds me of the pettifogging fools who wanted to celebrate the millennium on January 1st, 2001. Technically correct, guys, but factually booshwah. Pay attention, now: WINTER--Dec, Jan, Feb. SPRING--Mar, Apr, May. SUMMER--June, July, Aug. FALL--Sept, Oct, Nov. In the Northeastern USA, the coldest day of the year, statistically speaking, is in mid-January, the hottest in mid-July. The beaches open end of May, close beginning of September. Freezy, sneezy, breezy, showery, flowery, bowery, etc. Etc. etc. Who are these people--Druids?
Posted at 08:31 PM
THE GOOD OF COUNTING [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: There wouldn't be half so much sloppy thinking around if people only did a little more arithmetic. The great Sam Johnson made this point more than once. JOHNSON. 'Were I a country gentleman, I should not be very hospitable, I should not have crowds in my house.' BOSWELL. 'Sir Alexander Dick tells me, that he remembers having a thousand people in a year to dine at his house: that is, reckoning each person as one, each time that he dined there.' JOHNSON. 'That, Sir, is about three a day.' BOSWELL. 'How your statement lessens the idea.' JOHNSON. 'That, Sir, is the good of counting. It brings every thing to a certainty, which before floated in the mind indefinitely.'
Posted at 08:29 PM
DEPRESSING EMAIL FROM A MATH TEACHER [Jonah Goldberg]
As a high school math teacher, I often hand out worksheets and instruc my students to show their work on a separate sheet of paper. The class will
Posted at 05:41 PM
I SMELL BACON [Jonah Goldberg]
Bob Novak’s column – linked by Drudge – about how Republican Senators are furious at the White House’s "arrogance" smells like a pork-protection racket and nothing more. Of course it’ll be hyped as a bigger deal in the coming days, but I’m sorry Ted Stevens doesn't get angry about anything but disruptions in the supply of pork. Bush could surrender to France and Stevens wouldn’t protest so long as he could keep his chairmanship and spending continued unabated.
Posted at 05:33 PM
CAMBRIDGE PRESS DEFENDS LOMBORG [Jonathan H. Adler]
Cambridge University Press shows no signs of backing away from The Skeptical Environmentalist. A letter defending the book is available at the Volokh Conspiracy.
Posted at 04:35 PM
GANGSTA NRO [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "Check out www.asksnoop.com if you want to see a great site. It translates your favorite websites into gangsta speak. Enter the url of your favorite site, wait 20 seconds, and voila. I typed in nationalreview.com, and enjoyed reading the rap version of today's edition. Word up, and peace out." Here is an example of today's NRO in Snoop-speak: "JOHN DERBYSHIRE: Attila da Hun has da most-gripping story in da history of da West n' s---. 1/13 10:00 a.m."
Posted at 04:15 PM
THE WINSLOW AFFAIR [Rich Lowry]
Well, I can't say I wasn't warned. Thanks for all the e-mails over the weekend alerting me to the Winslow threat and all the advice. Unfortunately, I didn't get to deploy much of it--but, in any case, thanks for all the nice e-mails in the wake of the debacle. Here's a sample. E-mail: "Just thought you might like to know that I'm a regular NRO reader who just subscribed to NRODT. Seeing what you had to endure this morning on ESPN prompted this.
If an A------ Hall of Fame is ever founded, Kellen Winslow is sure to be inducted on the first ballot."
Maybe we can make that a new subscription slogan for the football fans out there--"Annoy Winslow, subscribe to NR."
Posted at 04:12 PM
HATE CRIME LAWS [Dave Kopel]
Ever since 1991, the Colorado legislature has rejected repeated efforts to amend Colorado's "Ethnic Intimidation" law so that it becomes a "Hate Crimes" law covering homosexuals. In a new monograph, I argue that laws granting special victim status on the basis of race, sexual orientation, or other Identity Politics classes are dangerous and divisive. They harm effective law enforcement, promote hoaxes, and undermine the equal protection of the law.
Posted at 02:04 PM
EMAIL FROM AN ENGINEER [Jonah Goldberg]
I am a college professor (forgive me) who teaches environmental engineering. I got into this field in the early 70s because I am an environmentalist. I totally agree with the premise of your column on Lomborg and with most of the details. He is now my hero. I feel truly sorry for Lomborg because I am sure that he had no idea what he was getting into. The scientific community in the U. S. has been almost totally politicized, with severely detrimental effects on scientific progress and on those who question the litany. We have a modern word for those scientists who persecuted Gallileo and who are persecuting Lomborg: fascist. If I were him, I would hire a bodyguard. Seriously.
Posted at 01:38 PM
WEBSITES FOR THE BLIND [John Derbyshire]
I missed this one when it came round, but just spotted it in a back number -- the date is 11/11/02 -- of COMPUTERWORLD. Opening graf: "A federal judge in Miami last month rejected a lawsuit contending that Southwest Airlines Co. violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) because its website was inaccessible to blind users. At issue in the case is whether corporate websites fall under the aegis of the ADA..." Without yielding on my belief that the ADA was an atrocity for which Poppie Bush should be publicly hanged, drawn and quartered, it seems to me that with broadband access now general, it would be very little extra effort, at least for big organizations, to stick a spoken soundtrack on important websites. I might even have a crack on it with my own site. Any Corner readers with connections to the world of the blind have any input here? How much do blind people use the Web? Should NRO add soundtracks? Er, well... I see the NRO accountants choking on their coffee at that last... But still, I'm curious about this. Do we have blind readers?
Posted at 11:31 AM
AUSTRALIA'S DOCTOR DEATH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Currently touring the U.S.; Here's an NRO interview with him.
Posted at 11:12 AM
AT THE GATE [John Derbyshire]
Someone has asked me whether the Huns hired themselves out as mercenaries. Yes, they did, but insisted on being paid up front. This is the origin of the phrase: "No money, no Hunny."
Posted at 11:10 AM
FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
Doing "Showdown Iraq" on CNN today around 12:30 EST. I'm on with someone from Pacifica Radio.
Posted at 11:09 AM
CONSERVATIVE SCIENCE [Jonah Goldberg]
Wow, thanks for the high praise Derb. Another point on conservative science from Nisbet. He argues that for all of the ethics and rules of the scientific establishment, the most effective insurance against group-think is competition between scientists and scientific institutions. Arranging self-interest against self-interest is the most sure-fired way to keep scientists motivated to debunk the work of other scientists. I think this highlights what is so dangerous about the current global warming debate; the "mainstream" scientific community is so overwhelmingly encouraged to compete only in one direction. Scientists who question the assumptions of the whole endeavor are locked out of the process, ridiculed or censored through impoverishment.
Posted at 11:04 AM
LIEBERMAN'S HAT IS IN THE RING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Joe Lieberman announces he's running.
Posted at 10:58 AM
THE DEATH PENALTY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Rod makes the case for Gov. Ryan on NRO today. I was a little surprised to see Rod refer to "the death-penalty convictions of inmates later exonerated by DNA testing" as though there were more than a handful of such cases; perhaps he was misled by the webpage to which he links, which talks about all kinds of convictions later exonerated by DNA testing, not just death-penalty convictions. (The factors mentioned on the linked page, by the way, do not include the ones Rod mentions--e.g., race, geography, class, etc. The way race affects the death penalty is a much-disputed question, and Rod breezes by it way too quickly.) Second, I wonder if he is right to assume, as apparently the governor did too, that the misconduct by police and prosecutors in Illinois in the past is representative of the nation as a whole. A disproportionate number of death-row exonerations (I mean real exonerations, not the phony kind the anti-d.p. people tout) have been in Illinois. Third, what is this "evidence" that Rod says "suggests" that the death penalty has no effect on the murder rate? I've seen studies on both sides of that issue, enough to suggest that it's at least an open question.
Posted at 10:48 AM
TOWNSHEND KEEPS AT IT [Rod Dreher]
Pete Townshend continues adamantly to deny that he's a child-porn enthusiast. He's now saying that he stumbled onto a child-porn site by "accident" once, and only visited them three or four times, and then only to see how horrid the things were. But why did that one site have his credit-card information? Townshend says he foolishly provided his credit card to the site. An honest mistake. Look, I'm in no position to judge whether or not Pete Townshend is a pedophile, but this alibi is pathetic. What kind of legitimately curious rich and famous celebrity gives his credit-card number to child pornographers on a lark? Pete Townshend didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday; you'd have to be really stupid to believe that he didn't understand that child pornography is and was illegal, and that his purchasing child porn -- which is what he did -- could possibly be on the up and up. If his credit-card number had been found in the records of a drug dealer, and he admitted that he had once purchased cocaine "just to see what was out there," would that get him off the hook? Puh-leeze.
Posted at 10:42 AM
HYPOTHESES NON FINGO [John Derbyshire]
I agree with Jonah's reader that the Galileo column was brilliant. That reader is right, though, that there were excellent reasons for opposition to the Copernican system. This illustrates a general truth, I think: that science needs to be conservative. Scientific truths are hard-won, and upstart revolutionary theories should be regarded with utmost suspicion until they have proved themselves by force of argument and evidence. Hindsight is wonderful, and we all have fun scoffing at the fuddy-duddies who refused to believe in Continental Drift, Natural Selection or Action at a Distance. The only thing that counts in the long run in science is the weight of evidence. Hypotheses non fingo.
Posted at 10:25 AM
ELECTION IN ISRAEL [John Derbyshire]
I'm doing my best to follow this, but boy, what a mess of a political system they have over there. Does Proportional Representation offer a foolproof guarantee of permanent political instability, or what? Even Noah Millman can't make sense of what's going on. If (which is not certain) I understand Noah's analysis, the most likely result of the election will be another election. I do agree that, in a region that has enjoyed no significant constitutional progress since the 7th century, the existence of Israel and its parliamentary system is a kind of miracle. Still it would be nice to see a robust two-party system in place, with the Silly Party and the Very Silly Party banished to the basement meeting rooms of public libraries, where they belong, instead of making policy in a nation whose policies drive major world events.
Posted at 10:23 AM
COMPUTER GEEK FOUND DEAD AT COMPUTER [Jonah Goldberg]
No, he wasn’t a Corner reader. But maybe one day.
Posted at 10:18 AM
INTERESTING EMAIL [Jonah Goldberg]
In response to today's column:
Your column on Galileo and the Lomborg case was excellent and very enjoyable. As a practicing planetary scientist, I can certainly attest to your proposition that science is a very human (and often, a very ugly) business. Your point that L'Affaire Galileo is more complicated than a simple "bigoted-church-stifles-dissent" story is quite true. It will probably not surprise you to learn that your replacement concept of "bigoted-scientists-stiffle-innovation" is also not the full story.
Posted at 10:01 AM
LIND STRIKES AGAIN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Michael Lind has written a clever little essay on James Burnham—or rather, using James Burnham as a way to trash contemporary conservatives. Burnham was elegantly “wrong about everything,” while today’s conservatives are “surly, demagogic and wrong about everything.” I’d have to waste my whole day to correct all the absurdities in Lind’s account, so let me hit him on his strongest point—to wit, that the end of the Soviet Union was a vindication for liberal anti-communism and its strategy of containment, not to conservative anti-communism and its strategy (designed by Burnham) of rollback. 1) Liberals had abandoned containment by at least halfway through the Cold War, and the social democrats whom Lind also lauds largely did so earlier. By the 1970s and 1980s, only conservatives could really be counted on to favor resistance to Soviet aggression. 2) The Reagan administration’s policies included a strong rollback element, lest we forget the economic and ideological warfare and Grenada. 3) Although containment didn’t strictly have to entail acceptance of peaceful co-existence, it went along with it a lot easier than rollback did. Reagan never accepted peaceful co-existence. Lind could, of course, argue, as many do, that Reagan’s distinctive policies were incidental to the Soviet collapse. But that argument is counter-intuitive and, in any case, not made here. Okay, one more point. Lind says that George Wallace, Richard Nixon, and Jerry Falwell are more important figures in the history of the American Right than Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, or James Burnham. If that were the case, the Right would be considerably less free-market in orientation than it is today. We know Lind is aware of the Right’s support for free markets, since he’s written hundreds of essays, of varying cleverness, denouncing us for it.
Posted at 09:43 AM
DAMN [Jonah Goldberg]
This is the transcript of my appearance with the human shield guy. But they don’t include the part at the end where I yell, "You’re a lemming!" I was afraid they’d cut me off before then and they did.
Posted at 09:43 AM
SUPERNOVA [John J. Miller]
On March 25, 1944, an American bomber took off from the tiny island of Attu, in the Aleutian chain, to strike the Japanese in the Kuril Islands. Like so many planes from that time, Bomber 31 simply vanished. Unlike the most of the others, however, this one reappeared more than half a century later, at a crash site in the wilds of Kamchatka. Tomorrow night, the PBS show Nova will debut an excellent one-hour program on Bomber 31 and its mysterious fate. (Nova's PR people kindly sent me an advance tape.) Investigators try to piece together what happened to the plane on its last flight, examine evidence that the KGB interfered with the wreckage 30 years ago, and scratch their heads over whether any of the seven crew members survived the crash. The filmmakers also followed the son of Bomber 31's radioman--the boy was just 10 months old when the plane went down, and he visits the site on a quest to find a fragment of human remains that can be linked to his dad, so that a man he never knew can receive a proper burial at Arlington National Cemetry. It's a fascinating and moving hour of TV.
Posted at 05:44 AM
JONAH JUST CALLED TO GET ME OUT OF BED... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...just kidding. Actually: Did anyone see the TBS movie on JFK Jr.? I heartell there was an NR mention. Anyone know?
Posted at 02:15 AM
JUST TRY... [Jonah Goldberg]
...not to murder your entire office with your stapler after watching this.
Posted at 02:02 AM
G-FILE IS IN [Jonah Goldberg]
I mostly finished it on Friday, but forgot about until late Sunday. It's absurdly long. I have no idea whether peole will like it, but I kind of enjoyed writing it. If you'd like something shorter, here's my syndicated column on that human shield yutz.
Posted at 01:58 AM
Sunday, January 12, 2003
DR PEPPER AND ME [Rod Dreher]
Well, Andrew, you mucked up my weekend a bit with your anti-Dr Pepper rants. My Texan wife came to me yesterday afternoon, mad as a wet hen, saying, "You get on The Corner right now and give that Andrew Stuttaford what-for!"
"Huh?" said I.
"He's insulting Dr Pepper!"
So I read your entry, in which you testified, accurately, to its vileness. I told Julie: "Well...he's right, you know."
Thanks, man. I was putting on my boots to go to mass this morning, and she was going on about the time she went to the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco. You don't mess with Texans and their Dr Pepper. You really don't.
Posted at 10:14 PM
HAGGIS VERSE [John Derbyshire]
Reader Eric Beeby has passed on this treasure: a haggis poem, and by an American, yet.
Posted at 06:34 PM
FIGHTING THE NECROCRACY [John Derbyshire]
Kevin Myers on assisted suicide. Kevin speaks for a lot of us, I think: he says that the great majority of people favor at least a little help making their exit, and doctors actually do in fact provide a lot of such help surreptitiously, but that legislation is stymied by a "necrocracy" of doctors & lawyers who fear--quite legitimately, in most cases--the consequences for themselves and their professions.
Posted at 06:30 PM
BLAIR VS. HIS PARTY [John Derbyshire]
I've been saying for over a year that Tony Blair will have the utmost difficulty bringing his party with him into a war on Iraq. See the cracks widening.
Posted at 06:28 PM
DR PEPPER - AN APOLOGY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Many, many, readers, many, many of them from Texas have written pointing out that there is no period after the ‘Dr’ in ‘Dr Pepper’. They are right. I was wrong - again. The explanation dates back to the 1950s. Your local Dr Pepper expert (who is probably from Texas) can furnish the necessary details. Otherwise just click here.
Grammar geeks with no remaining shreds of a life may be interested to know that the Pepper punctuation would also be perfectly proper in British English. In the land of Lucozade and Irn-Bru, a period (or full stop) is only appropriate for those abbreviations where the last letter of the abbreviation differs from the last letter of the word written in full, thus ‘Doctor’ becomes ‘Dr’, but it’s ‘inc.’ for ‘incorporated.’
Here are some of the many new things that I have learned from Corner readers about this Neanderthal nectar. It is best eaten with moon pie, the bottler in Dublin (Texas) uses real cane sugar and it is a breakfast treat when drunk warm and served with okra and hushpuppies.
A number of people have suggested that the true essence of evil is a drink known as Moxie, which is, apparently, popular in Maine, the home state, I note, of Stephen King.
And that’s all I have to say about Dr Pepper. Period.
Posted at 06:07 PM
DEAD LESBIAN BERSERKER [Rod Dreher]
The NYTimes today notes the passing of Monique Wittig, 67, a lunatic lesbian writer who distinguished herself in part by ... well, let the Times obit writer tell you: "In her advocacy of a total rupture with masculine culture, she pulled no punches, forcefully arguing, for example, that lesbians are not women because the word woman is constructed by sexist society. In one of her novels, female warriors torture men before tanning and displaying their skin." Now think about this: if some woman-hating male loony had written a novel in which the male heroes tortured women, skinned them and tanned human hides for display, do you suppose for one second that the Times would have accorded such a deranged monster a respectful notice upon his death?
Posted at 05:46 PM
TRAGEDY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Bee Gee Maurice Gibbs died. I'm not going to coin the term disco con, but I am sorry to hear it, and will be listening to lots of Staying Alive this week.
Posted at 05:09 PM
WHITE TRASH INTEREST CORNER [John Derbyshire]
It's a little late, but I can't resist passing on this rendering of "White Trash Christmas" from a reader. Warning: it loads a big file, so if you haven't got broadband access, go check on the still while it loads.
Posted at 05:02 PM
HAGGIS PUCKS [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: Truly, haggis is a many-splendored thing. For reasons yet unfathomed, I cannot get my family and friends to share my enthusiasm for the noble pudding. Consequently, we are left after Burns Night with a large portion of haggis unconsumed. Rosie slices it into disks (a haggis is shaped something like a large football) and puts them in the freezer. They freeze up into sort of oversized hockey pucks. For weeks afterwards, I have an occasional, delicious lunchtime treat--a microwaved haggis puck, with pickles and cheese. Mm-mmmm!
Posted at 05:01 PM
TRUE LIES? [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the 'Corrections' section in today’s New York Times Magazine:
“The picture in the … issue on Dec. 29 with an article about Uzi Gal, inventor of the submachine gun named for him, was printed in error. It shows Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the movie ''True Lies,'' holding MAC-10's, not Uzis.”
Posted at 03:48 PM
TALIBAN REDUX? [Andrew Stuttaford]
More trouble in Iraq?
Posted at 03:44 PM
CLINTON'S CHANCE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The chances of Bill Clinton becoming chancellor of Oxford University may be less than feared judging by this report from the Sunday Telegraph. On the other hand, look at his potential rivals: Baroness Williams helped destroy Britain’s secondary education system, Michael Heseltine played Brutus to Mrs Thatcher’s Caesar and Chris Patten needs no introduction...Against this competition, Clinton might even look, er, good…
Posted at 03:42 PM
KAFKA'S COUNTRY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Czech president Vaclav Havel is a one of the moral giants of our time. This report from the London Observer suggests that there’s a danger that he may be replaced by a moral pygmy – a former Communist. If that occurs, expect howls of protest from the EU, the organization that the Czech Republic is slated to join shortly.
Yes, I am being sarcastic.
Posted at 03:34 PM
MORE THAN AL QAEDA [Andrew Stuttaford]
There's a depressing piece in today’s London Observer about the nature of the terrorist threat. The writer makes the point that simply describing it all as ‘Al Qaeda’ is too simplistic an approach: he’s right, obviously. Islamic extremism is far more complex – and far more incoherent – than that.Which makes it all the more dangerous.
Posted at 03:29 PM
SEALING THE WELL [Andrew Stuttaford]
It’s not all Communist dictators in the New York Times today: there’s an interesting piece by Thomas Friedman (writing from Cairo), which is well worth a look, not least for Friedman’s view on how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicating progress in the wider region.
Friedman doesn’t claim to have the answer as to how to resolve the current impasse (who does?) and it is clear that he sees how the conflict is often used as a device to enable the Arab world to avoid resolving its own massive and, all too frequently, self-imposed difficulties. Nevertheless, he concludes as follows:
“I am convinced that much of the anger over U.S. policy is really a cry of help from people who know what they have to do — to democratize, liberalize their economies — and who know that they will be lost for another 50 years if they don't, but can't do it because these ideas are promoted by a power they feel is indifferent to their deepest hurt."
"I am not talking about what is right, or what is fair, or even what is rational. I am talking about what is. And if we ignore it, if we dismiss it all as a fraud, we will never fully harvest the positive changes that could come from regime change in Iraq. The Egyptian playwright Ali Salem says: "We have an Egyptian proverb: `The drunk is in the care of the sober.' You are the sober. Don't forget that."”
Posted at 02:22 PM
EMBARGO THE EMBARGO? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Mao is not the only Communist dictator given gentle treatment in the New York Times this Sunday. Today’s ‘Editorial Observer’ by Adam Cohen is, predictably – and foolishly - enough, a call for an end to the US embargo, but this passage is worth a second look:
“Cubans view Castro’s revolution, which deposed the American-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista, as less about Marxism than about finally winning self-determination.”
Quite how anyone knows what those Cubans unable to escape communism are thinking is a mystery: freely expressed opinion is not a notable characteristic of Cuba under Castro. It is, however, true that the Cuban revolution was not initially explicitly Marxist. That it rapidly became so owed nothing to any American embargo (which didn’t yet exist) and everything to Castro’s search for a system that would offer him the philosophical ‘justification’ he needed to eliminate all potential opposition to his rule.
Communism provided Castro with the answer – and it still does. For Cubans, true self-determination remains elusive, and it will continue to be so until Castro’s regime finally collapses. The embargo can hasten that day. It should be kept in place.
Posted at 01:52 PM
"OLD-TIME COMMUNIST VIRTUES" [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s a touch of revisionist history in a piece in today’s New York Times on China’s new Communist Party boss, Hu Jintao. The gist of the article (at one point sub-headlined “Appealing to old-time Communist virtues”) is that Mr. Hu will attempt to appear more egalitarian than his predecessor.
“The writer, Erik Eckholm, tells us that Hu’s “early focus on such homespun virtues as modesty, struggle and helping the disadvantaged implicitly highlights the darker side of China’s rapid growth…even as it taps a deep nostalgia for the betrayed ideals of Chairman Mao.”
“Betrayed ideals”? What betrayed ideals?
As early as 1927 (in a report on the Hunan peasant movement) Mao, then a young revolutionary leader, was talking about the necessity of “a short reign of terror in all parts of the countryside.”
He lied. Maoism was a primitive cult of violence with bizarrely egalitarian millennial overtones, nothing more. The reign of terror was not ‘short’, nor was it ever intended to be. It endured for decades.
Eckholm also quotes a speech by Mao from 1949, the year in which he finally overthrew the old regime. Warning against complacency, Mao called on party members to practice “plain living and arduous struggle.” He then proceeded to spend the greater part of the next three decades living a life of ever more sybaritic excess, not that Eckholm's readers are ever told that.
The piece also includes remarks by the editor of a Party newspaper, who notes how much a recent speech by Hu had included references to Mao. This was designed, the editor said, to show that Hu’s “legitimacy comes ultimately from Mao, not Jiang or Deng.”
“Legitimacy”? Mao had power, not legitimacy, and his 'achievements' - economic stagnation, mass murder and tens of millions dead - speak for themselves.
Posted at 12:57 PM
HAGGIS WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Aye, Johnnie, haggis is a rare treat, described in today's New York Times in all its mouthwatering detail:
"For the uninitiated, haggis is chopped animal entrails - usually the heart, lungs and liver - mixed with congealed fat and spices and stuffed into a sheep's stomach. "
The only time I have been even slightly disappointed by haggis was in a restaurant near Loch Ness geared, shall we say, to the tourist trade. I was a tourist there myself so naturally I tucked into 'Highland Pizza' - pizza with haggis topping. Perfectly good, but, like those hybrid beings in alien abduction movies, it just didn't seem quite right.
Posted at 11:54 AM
HELLO JESUS, GOODBYE FATHER [Rod Dreher]
You don't often hear about Muslims converting to Christianity. This interesting account from the Times of London, in which a young Pakistani son of Muslim immigrants discusses the impact his conversion had on his family, gives you an idea why.
Posted at 10:40 AM
A NEW SUBSCRIBER [Jonathan H. Adler]
Rich, good show on ESPN (when you could get a word in edgewise). I hope you really send Winslow a subscription.
Posted at 10:12 AM