WTC REBUILDING [John Derbyshire]
Another angle on this, from a reader with an excellent point to make:
One thing that surprises me is there has been no criticism for selecting a non-American firm. Especially since the firm is German. This country is standing in the way of our war on terrorism and, ironically, the staging country for most of the 9-11 hijackers!!! I work in the building design industry and, like many it is in bad shape right now. Most design firms are desperately seeking work. If ever there were a project that should be conceived, inspired, designed and executed by Americans, wouldn't it be this project to rebuild the Manhattan skyline. The heart and soul (and money) of the country is involved in this project but the plans and engineering will be executed on drawing tables in Berlin, Germany. I don't get it and I don't understand the lack of others questioning this selection.
Posted at 07:51 PM
FORGET TURKEY [Dave Kopel]
Now that we don't have to spend six billion dollars bribing Turkey to help us, let's take the money and build another aircraft carrier ($4.5 billion) and save the rest to pay for maintainance and personnel for the carrier.
Posted at 07:46 PM
COMING HERE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Pakistanis are giving us the arrested sheikh.
Posted at 07:23 PM
TIMING IS EVERYTHING [John J. Miller]
Jonah: Perhaps the New Republic should label President Bush "The 9/10 President" more often--given the spectacular success in Pakistan today, just two days after TNR's new issue is out.
Posted at 06:14 PM
BORAT, NOW AND FOREVER [Rod Dreher]
The unofficial UK website for the pride of Kazakh broadcast journalism.
Posted at 05:24 PM
AKHMATOVA [Andrew Stuttaford]
Some people, at least, knew how to remember the Stalin years. Writing in 1957, the poetess Anna Akhmatova recalled an encounter from the time she was trying to visit her son, who had been jailed by the secret police:
“In the fearful years of the…terror I spent seventeen months in prison queues in Leningrad. One day someone ‘identified’ me. Besides me, in the queue, there was a woman with blue lips. She had, of course, never heard of me; but she suddenly came out of that trance so common to us all and whispered in my ear (everybody spoke in whispers there): “Can you describe this?” And I said: “Yes I can.” And then something like the shadow of a smile crossed what had once been her face.”
And describe it, Akhmatova did:
“In those years only the dead smiled,
Glad to be at rest:
And Leningrad city swayed like
A needless appendix to its prisons.
It was then that the railway-yards
Were asylums of the mad:
Short were the locomotives’
Stars of death stood
Above us, and innocent Russia
Writhed under bloodstained boots, and
Under the tires of Black Marias”
From Requiem (1957)
Posted at 04:42 PM
CALLED TO ACCOUNT? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Edvard Radzinsky’s Stalin has a good account of Stalin’s last days. This short passage caught my attention today:
“After February 17 no visitors to Stalin’s office are recorded. In fact he never returned to Moscow after that date. Someone has drawn a red line in the margins of the register as though closing the account.”
Except, of course, that this is an account that can never be closed.
Posted at 04:28 PM
A BIG DEAL [Jonah Goldberg]
The capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is fantastic news. But somehow I suspect that the Democrats will continue to claim that the war on al Quaeda is being neglected. Considering the fact there hasn't been a single successful attack on US soil since 9/11 while there have been numerous arrests of terrorist cells, I've never understood this argument. But that can wait 'til Monday. This great news.
Posted at 04:25 PM
FIFTY YEARS ON [Andrew Stuttaford]
This weekend’s Financial Times features a number of articles to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Stalin’s death (the old tyrant died on March, 5th 1953). There’s a lot that's worth reading, but the highlights include an interview with Robert Conquest, the greatest western historian of Soviet terror. Amongst the stories he tells is the response of French communists when Stalin lowered the age for the death penalty for children to 12:
"It was acceptable, they claimed, “because in Russia, they said, people mature so much quicker.""
Posted at 04:24 PM
BLOK BLOCK BLOCKED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Contrary to some of the bad press it has received recently, Belgium is, in its melancholy and rain-sodden way, a strangely alluring country (listen to Jacques Brel’s Le Plat Pays if you doubt me), but the ways of the appalling Belgian establishment make it all too appropriate that the country should be the epicenter of the EU, a body that is increasingly intolerant of dissent.
Here's a story from the London Guardian on Belgium's attempts to deal with the challenge posed by the Vlaams Blok, a Flemish nationalist party on the far right. The Blok is very far from being a likeable organization, to put it mildly, but the way to deal with such parties is through debate, argument and the ballot box. That's how democracy works.
Not all Belgians agree, apparently. Some of them tried another tack – they took the Blok to court.
And now it’s backfired. Idiots.
Posted at 04:10 PM
ARREST [Andrew Stuttaford]
This looks like good news.
Posted at 03:43 PM
DOOMSDAY RECIPE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Another reader seems to think that one way that Aage could get round his legal difficulties is to prepare ‘special’ pizzas just for French and Germans. They could, he suggests, be topped with “all the weird crap they eat over there”.
Well, maybe, but let’s face it – a lot of that “weird crap” (the reader’s list includes liverwurst, sauerkraut and snails) is quite delicious. If Aage really wants to discourage French and German customers, why not offer them something American. Doctor Pepper should do the trick.
Of course, that will scare off the Brits, the Vilnius Ten and everyone else too.
Posted at 03:39 PM
AAGE'S PIZZA [Andrew Stuttaford]
A number of people have written to ask where Aage can be found. Well, there are some e-mail contact details here
Posted at 03:33 PM
BOOYAKASHA! [Rod Dreher]
Have you seen HBO's "Da Ali G. Show"? Oh, man, you gotta! "Ali G." is the creation of a British comedian named Sacha Baron Cohen. Ali G. is a Cockney "wigger," a hip-hop white gangsta clod who has his own interview show. In the taped episodes now running, Ali G. gets interviews with serious figures like Boutros-Boutros Ghali, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, ex-Atty Gen. Dick Thornburgh, et al. He straight-facedly asks them outrageously stupid questions (e.g., he asks ex-CIA director James Woolsey to return to the grassy knoll in Dallas to explain who really shot J.R.). What's so great is that these poor interview subjects don't realize they're being put on, and answer his questions with respect. It's a great send-up of what's happened to political journalism since Bill Clinton went on MTV and answered some yo-yo's question about his underwear.
Cohen has two other characters: Bruno, an outrageously gay Austrian fashion reporter; and Borat, a comically naive, sex-mad TV reporter from Kazakhstan, who travels the U.S. exposing himself, so to speak, to American culture. This show is ribald comic genius. Click here and here for videoclips and other info. New half-hour episodes come on every Friday night (Saturday morning) at 12:30 a.m. EDT, but they repeat throughout the week (see the schedule here).
Posted at 03:24 PM
THIN SKINS [John Derbyshire]
Rod: You want thin-skin stories? I got thin-skin stories. Friday I had a jokey exchange with Andrew in The Corner, concerning my train wreck of an adolescence. I had mentioned that I spent a lot of time constructing mathematical model out of card, but that this period of my life was a social failure. Andrew suggested the two things might be connected. I replied by observing that "very, very few attractive young women are interested in the 59 stellations of the icosahedron." Not an hour passed before this popped up in my Inbox:
Mr. Derbyshire: The perpetuation of the stereotype that attractive women cannot also be smart is irresponsible, no matter how well-intended. While I understand that you are poking fun at yourself, try to leave us out of your self-effacing humor. ... I'm trying to impress upon you the need to recognize that your comments, when coupled with Kathy's Barbie note (a real sore point when I was in college), are setting the wrong tone in the Corner today. Sorry to knee-jerk on you on this one, but it's tough enough to fight this preconception without its mention in such a public forum.
Now, this reader is polite, well-intentioned, and obviously a thoroughly civilized person. She makes a friendly remark about my forthcoming book. I therefore hate myself for what I am about to say--not just for the lost book sale, but for reasons to do with ordinary human sympathy--but I'm going to say it anyway: Lady, GET YOURSELF A LIFE!
(And if this lady really _is_ interested in the stellations of the icosahedron, I'd also like to ask her: WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I NEEDED YOU?)
Posted at 02:18 PM
"THE HORRORS OF PEACE" [Rod Dreher]
Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard has a terrific piece out based on a visit and interviews with Iraqi exiles in the United States, who talk in detail about the ghoulish misery the tyrant of Baghdad has inflicted upon his people. Buried deep in the story is an anecdote about how during the Gulf War, when the first Bush administration was busy betraying the same Iraqis it had successfully urged to rise up against Saddam, Paul Wolfowitz personally intervened with Dick Cheney, then the Secretary of Defense, to save 30,000 Iraqi patriots set for massacre by Saddam.
Posted at 12:18 PM
MAN BITES DOG [Rod Dreher]
I nearly spilled my coffee this morning when I saw that Dr. Ted Green of Harvard, the medical anthropologist who has been trying for years to alert the scientists and others fighting AIDS as to the success the Ugandans have had by promoting abstinence and fidelity, has published this heretical common sense on the op-ed page of today's New York Times. NRODT subscribers will remember Dr. Green as a prime source for my recent story on AIDS in Africa. He's one of the good guys, and it means something that the Times, the voice of the liberal establishment, is taking his views seriously now.
Posted at 12:13 PM
PUBLIUS FELLOWSHIPS [John J. Miller]
The Claremont Institute is seeking applicants for three-week-long Publius Fellowships. The program "is dedicated to preserving the tradition of American political writing of which Publius was the noblest exemplar. It aims to foster constructive commentary on the important issues of our time, informed and moderated by an understanding of the philosophic and historical roots of American democracy." I know from personal experience that they don't let ordinary riffraff into the program--my own application was rejected about a decade ago. So check it out, and good luck!
Posted at 10:50 AM
HOW TO WRITE [John J. Miller]
One of my best teachers at the University of Michigan was a guy named John Rubadeau, who taught a class on argumentative writing. On my way to becoming a professional writer, I've had a few turning-point experiences--and taking his class as a sophomore was one of them. Here's his short article on how to write interesting essays. Click on the link if only to see the picture of a man with a beard bigger than his own head. Also, don't forgot to look at his footnotes.
Posted at 10:40 AM
CORRECTION [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader points out that I mistakenly and inadvertanly mischaracterized Scott Ritter's position on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Ritter's position is not that they never existed, but that they are no longer there and that, therefor, there's no evidence of them still being there. I'll flesh that out in a future column, but I just wanted to be on record.
Posted at 09:26 AM
SENATOR MIGUEL ESTRADA (R., NY) [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A revenge scenario, if needed.
Posted at 07:00 AM
TOO COLD TO GO OUTSIDE....I GOTTA IDEA! [NRO Staff]
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Posted at 06:52 AM
NIFTY IDEA!!! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
We're going to start checking everyone who comes into the U.S. for radioactive material. That doesn't count the miles unprotected border, of course, but it's a start this March 1, 2003....
Posted at 06:49 AM
OH FOR PETE'S SAKE [Rod Dreher]
For some reason, a few readers think my piece today talking about Islamic eschatology, and pointing out similarities between it and the End Times scenario espoused by some Evangelicals was meant to disparage Evangelicals. I cannot account for thin skins, but for the record, I don't think there's anything but the most superficial similarities between infidel-killin' Wahoobis and American Evangelical Christians. I did the piece because I found it interesting that Islam has an eschatology that derives some elements from Christianity, and that there have been Hal Lindsey-type figures in Islam who have put forth the idea that things taking place right now in the Middle East are part of the Last Days events.
Posted at 12:23 AM
Friday, February 28, 2003
OR ELSE [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: It's tangential, but I used to hang out with Germans a lot, and noticed that they end an awful lot of sentences with the fragment: "Oder was?" Means: "Or what?" and presumably is where our own "Or what?" comes from (very likely via Yiddish). Perhaps there is some similar trail with "Or else."
Posted at 04:57 PM
OR ELSE -- FROM AN ENGLISH PROF [Jonah Goldberg]
The phrase "or else" is much older than your previous correspondent suggested. The phrase definitely existed in Middle English. Chaucer, who died at the end of the 14th century, used it often, most famously in his "Complaint to His Purse," which you can check out [here]
The word "else" ("elles") is even older, from Old English, and crops up in _Beowulf_ and other Anglo-Saxon poems and prose works from the 10th century or earlier. I couldn't find any *specific* examples in the small corpus of surviving Old English texts to suggest that it was used to mean "or else," but it may have been, because even back them it had most of the other current meanings and usages (such as "otherwise").
Such questions are fine pasttimes for drowsy medievalists on cold, snowswept Fridays.
UPDATE: He sent me this follow-up email:
Posted at 04:38 PM
ONE MORE THING ON MCCARTHYISM [Jonah Goldberg]
By a rough count, I've had two dozen people call me fascist. One person wrote to AOL to tell them that I am "Hitler incarnate." I began my McCarthy column referring to the erosion of meaning words suffer on the liberal side of the aisle. If I am Hitler incarnate, what words are left to describe genocidal murderers? If I am a fascist, what words are left for people advocating syndicalist economics and thuggish mass movements?
Posted at 04:35 PM
SILENT CONCENTRATION [John Derbyshire]
No, Kathryn, I am sure I have not driven everyone away from The Corner. My guess is, they are all busy with scissors and card, making models of the lesser truncated rhombicosidodecahedron. It is a wonderful feeling, to be able to inspire people like this.
Posted at 04:18 PM
PIP-EMMA [John Derbyshire]
Several readers want me to explain what "pip-emma" means. Glad to oblige. It is British army Signals Corps slang for "p.m." Okay?
Posted at 03:34 PM
HELLO? [John Derbyshire]
Why can't I get through on the phone to anyone at NR? What does Vicki mean by "There's nobody in the office"? There must be somebody in the office. Hello? Next thing I know you'll be cutting me off in the middle of a Corner posting. It seems that
Posted at 02:56 PM
RE: A DIFFICULT EQUATION [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: It is a sad fact about the world that very, very few attractive young women are interested in the 59 stellations of the icosahedron. It's all part of God's plan, I suppose; but one can't help wondering if He didn't have some spells of absent-mindedness when He was putting this whole thing together.
Posted at 02:37 PM
A DIFFICULT EQUATION [Andrew Stuttaford]
Let's see. The Derb reveals that (a) he spent many hours during his adolescence making mathematical models, and (b) discloses that his adolescence was "otherwise an utter failure."
Could these two facts be related, I wonder?
Posted at 02:21 PM
MYSTERY PLANE OVER INDIANA [Rod Dreher]
What they're talking about in Bloomington.
Posted at 02:18 PM
POLYHEDRA [John Derbyshire]
Useful? Useful? This is P-U-R-E M-A-T-H-E-M-A-T-I-C-S, you benighted souls. USEFUL? Ptui! I spit.
Posted at 02:09 PM
OR ELSE A READER ANSWERS THE QUESTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Gentlemen, According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first uses of "or else" in "trailing" form appear to have occurred in the 19th century, drawing upon the then-centuries'-old use of the phrase with a similar meaning but with the threats explicitly stated. The OED also defines the "trailing" use of the word as aposiopesis: the alternative to be imagined. ;)
Posted at 02:05 PM
MARDI GRAS GOES TO WAR [Rod Dreher]
Steve Teeter from New Orleans sent this encouraging dispatch yesterday, but I've been out of the office all week, and only just now got it:
Posted at 01:45 PM
POLYHEDRONS: THIS SEEMS VERY APPROPRIATE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ma'am, A real world example of what Mr. D. is talking about. Think of all those oddly shaped dice that players of Dungeons and Dragons use. Hope this is useful.
Posted at 01:43 PM
OK, I KNOW YOU WANT IT [John Derbyshire]
The 13 semi-regular convex polyhedra.
Posted at 01:06 PM
HOW DO YOU FIT THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING INTO A 1-INCH CUBE? [John Derbyshire]
The fact, by the way, that there is a figure equivalent to the cube--i.e. a sort of super-cube--in any number of dimensions, provides the answer to the question in my subject line. A 1-inch square (i.e. every one of its sides is just 1 inch long) has a longest diagonal whose length is the square root of 2. A 1-inch cube (every edge 1 inch long) has a longest diagonal whose length is the square root of 3. A 1-inch 4-dimensional hypercube has a longest diagonal whose length is the square root of 4. And so on. This is a general rule: A 1-inch n-dimensional super-duper-hypercube has a longest diagonal whose length is the square root of n. The Empire State Building is around 15,000 inches high, and that is the square root of 225,000,000. So if you construct a 1-inch cube-equivalent in a space of 225 million dimensions, the ESB will fit into it very nicely.
Posted at 12:39 PM
TRULY AWFUL POP-SONG LYRICS [John Derbyshire]
Lotsa input from readers, thanks to all. It is salutary to be reminded how many truly, truly terrible pop songs have been written. Another favorite of mine: "Tell Laura I Love Her," with the classic lines: "And as they pulled him from the twisted wreck, With his dying breath they heard him say: 'Tell Laura...' etc."
Posted at 12:34 PM
ESTRADA UPDATE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Byron has the latest; his reporting corrects some other reporting that has been in the news this today (Fox, for one)--that the administration has released those Solicitor General Office memos the Dems have been crowing about (they have not been).
Posted at 12:17 PM
CORNER MATH LESSON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Do you take credit cards?
Posted at 12:14 PM
POLYHEDRA [John Derbyshire]
It's perfectly simple, Kathryn, and the kind of math anyone can follow. Start with a triangle. There are all sorts of triangles, of course: tall thin ones, short squat ones, no-particular-shape ones. The nicest one is the one whose three sides are all equal length (& so its 3 angles all 60 degrees). That is a regular triangle. Same with 4-sided figures: the square is the regular one--sides & angles all equal. There's also a regular pentagon, a regular hexagon, and so on--along, of course, with lots of irregular ones in each case. So there is an infinite family of regular polygons. Now: what would be the equivalent in 3 dimensions? The 3-D equivalent of "polygon" (2-D figure with straight sides) is "polyhedron" (3-D figure with flat faces). The most regularity you can get is when (A) all the faces are regular polygons, and (B) they are all the SAME regular polygon. The ancient Greeks showed that there are just five convex polyhedra satisfying both (A) and (B), the so-called Five Platonic Solids. They are the top five in the top photograph on Jeff's site. If you drop condition (B)--i.e. the faces must be regular polygons, but need not be all the same--you get the semiregular polyhedra. There are 13 convex possibilities. If you drop the "convexity" condition & allow, e.g., not only pentagons but also pentacles, you are in the world of stellated polyhedra. Oh, in case you are wondering, there are six regular convex figures in 4-D; but in any number of dimensions higher than 4, there are only 3.
Posted at 12:12 PM
OR ELSE [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: I just went through Shakespeare looking for trailing "or elses" & didn't find one. There are 137 occurrences of "or else" in the plays and 3 in the Sonnets, but none of them is trailing. Hey, thanks for wasting a quarter of an hour of my time!
Posted at 12:10 PM
I HAVE A NON-MATH QUESTION [Jonah Goldberg]
For Derb: When did the phrase "or else?" become a threat without need of finishing the sentence? Presumably at some point people would say "...or else we will cut out your tongue!" Or, "...or else, we will sew a ferret into your small intestine." When did the threat become implied? Was it a Shakespearean construction or deconstruction? Alas, unlike your Abbot and Costello question I have no idea what the answer is.
Posted at 11:51 AM
GREAT DANE UPDATE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Is Aage Bjerre in trouble? According to news agency reports Danish police are investigating Aage for his refusal to sell pizzas to French and German customers. Apparently "legal experts in the Copenhagen justice department are checking whether it [is] illegal to discriminate against someone by refusing to sell them pizza on the grounds of their nationality". However, a police spokesman has confirmed that the investigation "would not be pursued with the same intensity as a burglary or violence." That's a relief.
On a cheerier note, it turns out that Aage has received a pizza order from a group of US Marines in Maryland, That's the Marines for you: Semper Pie.
Posted at 11:46 AM
COSTELLO [Jonah Goldberg]
I also once read that he had a dime (or maybe it was a penny, considering inflation) stuck in his ear for nearly 30 years. Don't know where I read it or whether it's true.
Posted at 11:45 AM
WHAT WAS IT THAT THAT BARBIE DOLL SAID? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Math is hard!" I have no clue what you are talking about, Derb. Wow. But, man, you are the renaissance man.
Posted at 11:27 AM
GOT YOUR RHOMBITRUNCATED CUBOCTAHEDRON YET? [John Derbyshire]
I may be going out too far on the math limb here, but I have found a small firm that makes wonderful mathematical models: I spent many happy hours in my adolescence (which was otherwise an utter failure) constructing models like this, with Cundy & Rollett's Mathematical Models as my guide. My pride and joy was five cubes in a dodecahedron, with each cube painted a different color. I just used card, though: this firm does it with high-precision aluminum die-casting. Jeff Tupper, who runs the outfit (they are called Pedagoguery Software Inc.) tells me he hopes in future to produce all the interesting convex (5 regular, 13 semi-regular) polyhedra, possibly the 13 semi-regular duals, too. After that, they may tackle stellated polyhedra, which will be a real challenge... Hello? Are you still reading? Hello?....
Posted at 11:23 AM
HOW ABBOT & COSTELLO SPLIT THE PROCEEDS [John Derbyshire]
Abbot-60, Costello-40. Supply and demand: there were (and are) far fewer good straight men than good funny men. Think how someone gets to be a comic: he wants to tell jokes and make people laugh. Working at this for years and years, he builds up the necessary skills of timing & delivery. Being a straight man is different, the kind of job you wander into accidentally. Nobody starts out in life with the ambition to stand next to another guy who is cracking jokes. Yet the straight-man skill set is just as deep. For example: you must train yourself NOT TO MOVE A MUSCLE while your partner is delivering a line. If you even blink, it distracts the audience's attention to you, and they miss your partner's line. There is a lot about this in Phil Silver's excellent and funny autobiography.
Posted at 11:18 AM
THAT'S TERRIBLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Hundreds of high-school seniors who were sent thin rejection envelopes in their snail mail were mistakenly sent an e-mail from the Cornell Admissions Office welcoming them into the Class of 2007, due to a clerical error. A follow-up e-mail explained they were all actually rejected.
Posted at 11:12 AM
SURRENDER MONKEYS SURRENDERING SURRENDER? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Chirac's party giving him grief over his antiwar position.
Posted at 11:05 AM
STEPHANOPOULOS VS. RUSSERT [Jonah Goldberg]
I have to say I'm surprised "This Week" is doing so badly against "Meet the Press." I think Russert does a good job and all, but he seems so concerned with being the Sunday Show of Record. Meanwhile, "This Week" tends to break news and its panel -- especially when Fareed Zakaria is on -- is far superior to the occasional snore-fest panels on "Meet the Press" with Safire and Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Posted at 09:32 AM
WHO WANTS TO MARRY YASSIR MILLIONAIRE? [Jonah Goldberg]
Great item, via Drudge, about how Yassir Arafat is worth "at least" 300 million dollars. What a servant of his people.
Posted at 09:28 AM
"WHY WE FOUGHT" [Jonah Goldberg]
A review of the Black Book of Communism from National Review though, oddly, not in the pages of National Review Online.
Posted at 07:16 AM
Thursday, February 27, 2003
MORE [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's an email titled, "Under what rock did you crawl out from?"
Posted at 10:30 PM
HERE WE GO [Rod Dreher]
Karl Rove has cancelled plans to speak at a March 12 political engagement in New Hampshire. Hmm... .
Posted at 07:49 PM
RE: BLEG [John Derbyshire]
Many thanks to the numerous readers who responded. There was less to this than meets the eye (than met my ear, I mean). Everyone agrees that "Goo Fay" is just Costello's idea of a Frenchman's pronunciation of "Goofy." This must have been a lot funnier in 1946 than it seems to me now, to judge from the gales of audience laughter. The actual sketch, however, is still one of the all-time best comedy routines, for my money. Just listen to their timing! BTW, does everyone know how A & C split the proceeds from their act? I was surprised when I heard.
Posted at 06:46 PM
BLEG: AMERICANA [John Derbyshire]
Here is a bleg about Americana. I have a tape of an old (1946) radio show with Abbott & Costello doing the "Who's on First?" sketch. In the run-up to the sketch itself, A & C have an exchange along the following lines. I'm transcribing it as I hear it... and that's the point, because I don't understand the joke. Can someone please explain it to me?
A: ... they give these ball players nowadays very peculiar names... C: You mean funny names? A: Strange names, pet names, like Dizzy Dean... C: And his brother Daffy? A: ...Daffy Dean... C: And his French cousin. A: French? C: Goo Fay. A: Goo Fay Dean... Oh, I see... [Lots of audience laughter.]What am I missing here? Who or what was "Goo Fay Dean"? (Please don't explain the stuff about "Who's on first"---that, I get.)
Posted at 05:47 PM
I WONDER IF THEY WILL TAKE HIS NOBEL AWAY? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ellie Wiesel supports the Iraq war.
Posted at 05:42 PM
HERE COME DA JUDGES? [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved three appellate nominees today on bipartisan votes: John Roberts, Deborah Cook, and Jay Bybee. This does not mean all three are in the clear, however. As Robert Novak details here, some Senators are intent on holding up more of President Bush's appellate nominees.
Posted at 05:32 PM
TWO EMAILS CONTRA CAL PUNDIT [Jonah Goldberg]
Jonah: Your "fair enough" response to this position is very congenial and illustrates a significant difference between conservatives and the left. If a conservative speaks or attends a seminar etc. at a place like Bob Jones University he or she will not be characterized as having a "vague association" with a fundamentalist group by the left.That person will be villified as showing their true colors.etc. Almost every person of the left I have known will tell you sooner or later that disagreement with their point of view means you are either stupid or a bigot. No leftist I have ever met would have been as receptive to an alternative point of view as you were to CALPUNDIT.
Jonah, I have to admit my first reaction to your column was similar to Cal Pundit's. Shame on me for not reading more carefully. You are correct that there is nothing wrong in hunting communists, McCarthys's problem was that he did it with such paranoia and self-serving dishonesty. And you clearly identified him as a lout. Such a marvelous and infrequently used term is lout. You should do more with this. How about an online poll where readers vote for the "Greatest lout of the past" and "Greatest lout of the present". McCarthy could lead the list of choices from the past and, though my first reaction is to lead the list of the present with Bill Clinton, methinks Chuck Schumer would be far more appropriate (in the vein of McCarthyite dishonesty).
Posted at 05:08 PM
CAL PUNDIT [Jonah Goldberg]
Has some thoughtful criticisms of my column. But I think he's missing the central point. He writes, "It's not McCarthyism to accuse a communist of being a communist. It is McCarthyism to accuse someone of being a communist who has only a vague association with communist friends, groups, or ideas."
Fair enough. And as I said the column and in the Corner, I am no defender of false-accusations and I think McCarthy's tactics set back the cause of anti-Communism. But the Hollywood Ten, for example, were not victims of "McCarthyism" since there was nothing vague about their membership -- not "association"-- with the Communist Party. Moreover, McCarthy had little to nothing to do with Hollywood communists. When Lilian Hellman said that anti-Communists picked communism as a cause with as much cynicism as Hitler picked anti-Semitism, she meant that there was no substance to the search for Communists. But there was. They did help Stalin get the atomic bomb, you know. That's hardly a strategically trivial point. Every effort to find, expose and punish spies and vassals for an enemy power -- which, again was really quite evil -- was ridiculed as McCarthyism. That's why the opponents of the Bush administration use the word so much. They want to suggest there is no point to looking for terrorists in our midst because they don't exist and anyone who claims otherwise is a bigot of some kind.
As for Calpundit's assertion that I spend 1,000 words defending McCarthy the "man," I'm not sure what he's talking about. It seems to me I defended the cause of anti-Communism which liberals routinely label "McCarthyism." As for the man, how many times do I have to call him a "lout" and a "jerk" before Calpundit will see that I'm not defending the man?
Posted at 03:51 PM
RANDIAN BLOGGERS FOR TAILGUNNER JOE [Jonah Goldberg]
Now that's something you don't hear everyday.
Posted at 03:27 PM
FASCINATING [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm not going to post all of these emails. But i find this one really intriguing because of its larger significance:
I am constantly amazed by the views of a conservative mind. I was an Eisenhower Republican when I was young, but the party moved so far to the right after that, at ever increasing speeds, that I am proud to call myself a Democrat now. The Democratic Party moved to the center and replaced the Republican Party's concern for civil rights, the middle class, and sensible economic policies. A conservative, it seems to me, is homophobic in that they see evil in essentially all peoples that they disagree with. How sorrowful to have to live like that.
The first two thirds is boilerplate. But then this guys says that conservatives are "homophobic" because they see evil in essentially all peoples that they disagree with."
Again I say: Fascinating! Already, Fascism means anything undesirable, McCarthyism means anything mean and, now, homophobia means hatred of people who disagree with you. You would think that even this guy would understand that we still need words for people who don't like homosexuals. I confess that I don't like the word homophobia because I think fear is not necessarily the best explanation for anti-gay views. But we're stuck with it.
But here we have someone who believes, in all honesty, that hatred of active, dues paying, spying, Stalinists can best be described as "homophobia." This is the sort of slippery thinking that will give you road rash on your butt if you don't watch out. Are environmentalists homophobes because they hate oil men? Are vegans homophobes because they hate meat-eaters? Are gays homophobes if they hate Christian fundamentalists? By this logic I guess my dog is a homophobe because he loathes squirrels so. Then again, you know what people say about squirrels...
Posted at 03:10 PM
STUDENT WAR SUPPORTERS [Sarah Maserati]
A pro-Bush, pro-war student group has been founded at Harvard Law School to oppose the anti-warriors: Students for Protecting America.
Posted at 03:04 PM
TAILGUNNER JOE [John Derbyshire]
As a footnote to Jonah's splendid essay on McCarthy, here is a piece I did for NRODT 5 yrs ago.
Posted at 02:31 PM
FOR EXAMPLE [Jonah Goldberg]
This guy makes me want to say nah-nah, booby-booby:
what disgusting drivel this one is. I used to think there might be a bottom for you conservatives to hit at some time. Now I think there is no low limit you folks will sink to in trying to justify your hatred of all people who do not agree with your and your self righteous bullshit. If you had lived during the Mcarthy era it might remind you of the lies, destruction and anti American wave of hatred and fear he generated through out our society. He was a liar and a boob and it was not till he was finally outted that we were able to resume life as Americans who could agree to disagree over political ideas. One thing you conservatives seem to always be ready to do is hate someone or something to justify your existence.
Posted at 12:54 PM
AH THAT DID IT [Jonah Goldberg]
Not much hate mail in response to my McCarythism piece. Then Instapundit put up a link and now the civil libertoids of the blogoshphere are annoyed.
Posted at 12:39 PM
RE: MALAYSIAN LEADERSHIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A little less than a year ago, Kevin Cherry noted on NRO a Malaysian qualification to what terrorism is: condemnation not needed when the victims are Israelis.
Posted at 12:21 PM
WHAT'S THE POINT... [Jonah Goldberg]
of a fan site if it's never updated?
Posted at 11:31 AM
DEBATE/BLEGGING [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be debating Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, on the question "Does Global Free Trade Help Poor Nations?" at Wheaton College (the one in Mass) on March 11. Just an FYI.
And, if you've seen something really, really definitive that I might have missed, please send it to VoteGfile@aol.com.
Posted at 11:12 AM
"TABULA ROSA" [Jonathan H. Adler]
Senator Schumer may not know his Latin, but Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine knows Estrada is no "blank slate" -- and is the subject of disingenuous smears.
Posted at 11:11 AM
BAD STATS [Dave Kopel]
The Center for Consumer Freedom exposes the ridiculous assumptions behind the highly publicized claim that "excessive" drinkers and underage drinkers account for 50% of alcohol consumption. The phony statistic is the product of a neo-prohibitionist research center run by former Carter/Johnson cabinet official Joe Califano. The center is well-known for producing dubious statistics about alcohol.
Posted at 11:09 AM
BIG DAY FOR CLONING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
House takes it up today. The real ban (Weldon-Stupak) is expected to pass, but a wide margin would help encourage the Senate (especially a wide margin opposing the bad (i.e. half ban) substitute for it, from Rep. Greenwood).
Posted at 11:07 AM
RE: MR. ROGERS [Rod Dreher]
Jonah, I'm with you on Mr. Rogers. I didn't care for his program as a kid, but as an adult -- and especially as a parent -- I really came to value what he stood for. Children's programming these days is so frenetic, artless and stylistically coarse, and as I've complained before, so much of it is one long commercial for toys and related products. I don't recall that Mr. Rogers ever licensed his name for marketing purposes. By happenstance, I spent a half hour last night watching a great videocassette sent to me by WAFB Channel 9 in Baton Rouge (thanks, y'all), a special commemorating Buckskin Bill, the local kiddie show host, who was on Channel 9 for something like 40 years. Of course it was a wonderful nostalgia trip for me (up with the Monday Morning March!), but it was also instructive to me as the father of a small boy.
It's hard to overestimate how much kids from the Baton Rouge area loved Buckskin Bill, and what a big part of our lives he was. How much we trusted him. Yet as is obvious from the old tapes, his program was extremely low-tech, and very gentle. There is no place for a Buckskin Bill in a Spongebob Squarepants world. Yeah, yeah, it's pathetic to listen to older people sit around whining about how they don't make 'em like they used to anymore, but I really do believe it's a huge loss for children that contemporary TV has formatted their brains to require jolts of manic entertainment, such that a Mr. Rogers or a Buckskin Bill comes off not as comforting but dull.
Posted at 10:54 AM
"RESPECTED" THIRD-WORLD JEW-HATER [Rod Dreher]
Malaysian leader Mahathir bin Muhamad has now taken over leadership of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement of nations, and used the occasion to launch a revolting attack on the West in general and Jews in particular. This news inspired David G. Littman, an NGO representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, to observe the following in an e-mail to the Corner:
"The outrageous remarks by the new chairman of the 116-member Non-Aligned Movement: 'Mahathir -- one of Asia's most respected and outspoken statesman,' according to an AP report -- were in his usual fiery rhetoric style. Aside from 'collateral' damages comparisons - with 'the 3,000 who died in New York and the 200 in Bali,' his statement that 'there was no systematic campaign of terror outside Europe until the Europeans and the Jews created a Jewish state out of Palestinian land.' Four examples from the 1980s and 1990s should suffice to show the disgracefully racist flavor of his 'thinking' on 'Jews'!:
"Earlier this week, again, he insisted that religious extremists were only reacting to 'blatant double standards' (Iraq and Palestine!). The real 'double standards' are that no Western democratically elected leader could get away with mouthing such crude garbage."
Posted at 10:29 AM
WE SHOULD JUST MAKE THIS NRO SHOPPING DAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Another reader: "Ok, I subscribe to NRODT, and have coffee mugs aplenty (my company makes them) but I don't have an NRO sweatshirt, so I caved and just now ordered one that says 'Voice of the vast right-wing conspiracy.' Gosh, I love that...NRO is one of my favorite websites, btw."
Posted at 10:07 AM
MR. ROGERS [Jonah Goldberg]
John - I must confess I was never a huge fan of Mr. Rogers. When I was a kid I watched him for a little while, but I quickly grew tired of him because he was so "soothing." I wanted more smashing and lasers -- that's just the kind of kid I was. But I have to say I grew to respect the man much more than I liked the show. Just this morning I was listening to him on NPR in an old interview. He had some profoundly conservative ideas about how children are and should be raised. First, he explicitly confirmed that children ape what they see grown-ups do -- one of the chief arguments for censorship. Second, he gave a great explanation of why kids need rules. I'm paraphrasing, but he said that if a kid runs away from you down the street and you don't yell "Stop! Come back!" that kid will reasonably assume that you don't care if he runs off. Children respond to limits on their behavior -- and test those limits -- because it is one of the most concrete ways we have to teach them that we love them.
Thankfully, this sort of thinking may be increasingly popular today, but I grew up among a lot of kids with parents who believed setting rules and limits for kids was a terrible idea. Being told that all of your ideas are brilliant and all your impulses should be acted upon teaches almost precisely the opposite lessons parents intend. Unconditional love is good, but unconditional respect and self-esteem-boosting creates not only dumb people but annoying ones. And, yes, this is a sweeping generalization with all sorts of exceptions.
Posted at 10:05 AM
POPPA GOLDBERG/HOLLYWOOD TEN [Jonah Goldberg]
My father is a font of anti-Communist arcana (what did you think I picked this stuff up from college or my New York City high school?). Here's an email he sent me about the Hollywood Ten, too late for inclusion in the column:
I believe the Hollywood Ten were legally at risk because they violated the Smith Act, which was passed in 1940 and made it a crime to advocate the violent overthrow of the government. The Smith Act was the bete noire of the Communist Party and they fought it tooth and nail. It became in Communist folklore the American Nuremberg Laws - BUT first to uphold the implementation of the Smith Act was none other than the Communist Party, USA, which gleefully turned over the names of Trotskyites to the FBI. I didn't trust my memory on this so I googled it (Smith Act - first entry gives a history - although tendentious in its opposition to it - of the act). Here's the pertinent paragraph:
Posted at 09:46 AM
FOLLOW THIS LEAD [Jonah Goldberg]
Jonah, you display the wisdom of Solomon! I already have a mug and a NRODT subscription. So, I'd like to offer you free use of my private jet for whenever you and your family need it and the keys to my villa in Tuscony. You deserve it!
Okay, I made that up. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't follow that lead. The rabbit race dogs chase isn't real either.
Posted at 09:36 AM
FOLLOW THIS LEAD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader emails: "McCarthyism G-File excellent! I already get NRODT so I ordered a mug."
Posted at 08:50 AM
NOT A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD [John J. Miller]
Mr. Rogers has died. He was a cherished figure when I was a tot, and I wish my own kids had something like him. Children's television today is so frenetic, and Mr. Rogers was so soothing.
Posted at 05:53 AM
ATTACK IMMINENT [Kahryn Jean Lopez]
An Arabic website, possibly al Qaeda warns. MEMRI translates.
Posted at 05:10 AM
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
HUBBARD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
President's economic adviser leaves Friday.
Posted at 09:56 PM
THIS MAKES IT WORTHWHILE [Jonah Goldberg]
I love this email:
Posted at 09:55 PM
CBS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Has the transcript, provided by Iraq, online.
Posted at 09:54 PM
GOING THROUGH MY MIND DURING THE AEI SPEECH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Look at Michael Ledeen and talk about Iran."
Posted at 09:34 PM
THIS SADDAM INTERVIEW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Returns me to the thought I couldn't get out of my head during the AEI speech: we're still talking. We're still listening to Iraq's lies. We waiting on the U.N. "Faster, please." I hope we have better spin on it by tomorrow morning on NRO, but this Rather thing strikes me as bad--just more momentum loss.
Posted at 09:23 PM
NEAT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Oval Office tour with the Prez.
Posted at 08:16 PM
WEARING DUCT TAPE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mike Farrell, formerly from MASH, is on Crossfire wearing DUCT tape on his lapel. I assume, obviously, it is some kind of antiwar statement. But what exactly is it supposed to say?
Posted at 08:01 PM
CHOICE MADE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
For rebuilding at the WTC site.
Posted at 07:14 PM
DUDE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
We just knew CBS would cave and run the Bush speech live, so decided to stay home and watch from our couches.
Posted at 07:11 PM
ALAS.... [Jonah Goldberg]
This will be the first AEI annual dinner I've missed in a decade. Staying home with the new baby and my lovely bride. Still, AEI is still sort of home to me and I'm sorry I couldn't make it.
Posted at 07:05 PM
AEI PREVIEW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Huge night for the influential American Enterprise Institute, with the president speaking at their annual dinner. A preview from the presidential address:
Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before--in the peace that followed a world war. After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.
Posted at 05:42 PM
2004 AS 1972 [Dave Kopel]
National Journal columnist Chuck Todd suggests that the current Democratic Presidential slate resembles the field from 1972. John Kerry is the "seasoned front-runner" (like Maine Senator Ed Muskie); Gephardt is the labor favorite (like Hubert Humphrey); Dean the darling of the anti-war Left (like McGovern); Lieberman is the lone hawk (like Washington Senator Henry Jackson); Mosley-Braun is the purely symbolic female black candidate (like Shirley Chisholm). But the best parallel is Al Charlatan and George Wallace. Todd delicately writes that "No one thought Wallace could win the Democratic nomination, but everyone in the field believed he would be a key factor in certain primary states." I would put the comparison a little more directly: Like Wallace, Sharpton is an excellent orator and race-baiting demagogue who--despite claiming to fight for the little guy--appeals to the most paranoid and racist instincts of poorly-educated Democratic primary voters, especially in the South and Northeast.
The National Journal forgot to come up with a modern parallel for Sam Yorty--the Democratic Mayor of Los Angeles, whose Presidential campaign attracted no visible support (except for an endorsement from the Manchester Union-Leader). I predict that Dennis Kucinich has everything it takes to be the Sam Yorty of 2004.
Posted at 05:27 PM
PC MATH [John Derbyshire]
You really can't make this stuff up. We now have "Critical Math," with that word "critical" understood as in "critical legal theory"--i.e. it means "raving lefty." Just been reviewing some stuff put out by a certain Marilyn Frankenstien [I am not making this up, I swear] at the "Critical Math Educator's Group." Sample:
In "Scenes from the Inferno", Alexander Cockburn (1989) wrote about the reality behind the so-called triumph of capitalism. One of his illustrations is particularly relevant for a critical mathematics education: in Chile, where in some Santiago neighborhoods, "the diet of 77 to 80 percent of the people does not have sufficient calories and proteins… to sustain life", Pinochet’s regime measured malnutrition in relation to a person’s weight and height, in contrast to the usual comparison of weight and age. "So a stunted child is not counted as malnourished, and thus is not eligible for food supplements". (p. 510) This talk will explore the connections between understanding the outrageousness of collecting such statistics, and acting to change the outrageousness of such situations...
Note how desperately the Lefties still cling, 30 years later, to the fantasy of an emerging "progressive" Chile nipped in the bud by the mega-evil Pinochet and his CIA/capitalist enablers. To you and me the great political monsters of the 20c were Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Kim Il Sung, Castro & so on. To Lefties they were Pinochet, Pinochet, Pinochet, Pinochet and Pinochet. Actually my impression of Pinochet's Chile is that it did rather well economically, & was no more politically repressive than the average S. American nation--which is to say, around 0.01 per cent as repressive as Cuba.
Posted at 03:56 PM
I DO NOT EDIT THE NATION [Jonah Goldberg]
Kathryn - egads! Obviously they've labeled my opponent's comments as my own. Heads will roll. The only good thing is that it must bother her more than it bothers me.
Posted at 03:51 PM
MORE MCCARTHYISM [Jonah Goldberg]
One point that I accidentally left on the cutting room floor of today's Goldberg File, is that the substantive problem with McCarthy wasn't that he was a lout, but that he undermined the cause of anti-Communism through his loutishness. I think there is substance to this argument and, as I just said, I meant to include it. But at the same time, I think many anti-McCarthy folks overplay this point. Some of them strike me as Johnny-come-latelies to anti-Communism, trying to justify their enduring anti-anti-Communism with a new spin. And some of them, though sincere, miss the point that the Left would have invented Joe McCarthy if he didn't exist. They certainly invented all sorts of arguments against non-McCarthyite anti-Communists all the time. The notion that anti-Communism would have won the hearts and minds of the liberal anti-anti-Communists if only McCarthy stayed quiet is as laughable as saying that liberals would have supported Clinton's impeachment if only someone other than Ken Starr had served as Indpendent Counsel.
Posted at 03:36 PM
UP WITH BP. NAZIR-ALI [Rod Dreher]
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, the Anglican ordinary of Rochester (England), has also come out in favor of war with Iraq. Bp. Nazir-Ali was born in Pakistan. His father was a convert from Islam. There was talk last year that he, not Rowan Williams, would be named Archbishop of Canterbury. I bet Tony Blair wishes he could do that appointment over again.
Posted at 03:25 PM
HOLEY-INKED CONS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:13 PM
JONAH'S BEEN SMEARED! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A mislabeled transcript has him saying the media is strikingly conservative.
Posted at 03:12 PM
ALL VAPOURING FRANCE [John Derbyshire]
You can hear Lucie Skeaping sing the first 2 verses of THE ROAST BEEF OF OLD ENGLAND on the internet.
Posted at 03:10 PM
LES GRENOUILLES ENCORE [Rick Brookhiser]
There is a hilarious comparison of Florida and the French Caribbean island of St. Bart's in Simon Doonan's column in today's New York Observer. I cannot quote it, because the climactic line would scare the horses.
Posted at 02:53 PM
HOW AMERICA TREATS HER FRIENDS [John Derbyshire]
A nasty little piece from ABC news about the Uighurs of Eastern Turkestan, under Chinese military occupation since the 1940s . Will this be the next Al Qaeda haven? wonders the author of the piece. You have to read all the way to the end to learn that the Uighurs are pro-American and utterly un-interested in radical Islam. They are a Turkic people, and, like the Anatolian Turks, seem to be able to practice Islam without getting fanatical about it. The way China treats them, though--with full U.S. encouragement--this might very well change.
Posted at 02:50 PM
PRIME OBSESSION [John Derbyshire]
My book PRIME OBSESSION is now scheduled to appear in stores April 16, the publisher tells me. We are busily trying to organize events. Lined up so far: ***May 5 at 7:30pm, Tattered Cover Bookstore, 2955 E. First Avenue, Denver, CO. ***May 6 at 7:30 p.m., Boulder Bookstore, 1107 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO. ***May 7 at 7:30 p.m., Cody's Books, 2454 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA. A major book chain it would be imprudent of me to name has given us a surprisingly big order. Final manuscript goes to printer on Friday. I am more excited than at any time since my kids were born. (An event which book-launching resembles in a lot of ways... though prob. less painful.)
Posted at 02:49 PM
ALAS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I was just going to praise CNN for not going live to the Robert Blake preliminary hearing, but they just did. (Fox has on for a long while now.)
Posted at 02:46 PM
G-FILE IS UP [Jonah Goldberg]
Re-reading it now that I've taken a breath.
Posted at 02:34 PM
ROE, FYI [Jonah Goldberg ]
My relatively tame syndicated column on Roe V. Wade etc. Interestingly, I've gotten nasty email from pro-lifers and pro-choicers.
Posted at 02:15 PM
YOU'RE RIGHT, JONAH [Rod Dreher]
You're right, Jonah, that is disgusting. But don't let the extremist berserkers define the issue for you. The other day, I got a foaming-at-the-mouth e-mail from a Confederoid idiot angry at the things I've written about Gods & Generals. The hopped-up knuckle-dragger said that slavery wasn't so bad, and that I'm a shameful example of a yellow-bellied Southerner trying to curry favor with my Yankee employers by saying slavery was evil. Now, in my experience, very, very few Southerners hold this obnoxious and immoral opinion, but I also heard from a number of non-Southerners who are under the impression that the Confederoid's view is normative for Southerners. Therefore, they aren't open to any suggestion that the Old South was anything less than a forerunner of South Africa, or even Nazi Germany. One California reader wrote to say that because the South enslaved blacks, there was and is nothing of cultural worth there (alas, William Faulkner was no Jackie Collins). I think these jerks need each other to justify their own closed-mindedness and ideological preening.
Posted at 02:11 PM
DOG RACISM [Jonah Goldberg]
There's a good piece in Slate about whether or not dogs can be racist. I suspect most dog owners already know the answer. Dogs owned by whites oftern have problems with blacks and vice versa. This has to do with the way dogs learn about "others." There's nothing sinister about it.
Dogs can also be sexist. Cosmo, for example, likes the ladies but has got serious problems with men, especially young men. He'll growl at young black guys and at young white guys while he'll work the magic with women of any race. We've also noticed -- and I'm not making this up -- Cosmo particularly dislikes skeeves, skate rats, and other males with aggressive hair and pierced faces. He just doesn't like them and, truth be told, I'm quite proud of him for it. Whenever my lovely bride and I see anti-war protestors and the like, we'll say "Oh, man Cosmo wouldn't like those guys." (As long-time readers know this is hardly shocking since the Wonderdog is rumored to be a Scoop Jackson Democrat and Straussian). Meanwhile, I have another take on dogs and racism, which was published in Slate -- eek -- four years ago.
Posted at 02:03 PM
THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm increasingly sympathetic to the argument that factory farming needs reforming, but this is the sort of intellectual and moral filth which will turn me off completely. Be warned, the images are grim -- as they compare factory farming to the Holocaust.
Posted at 01:39 PM
HELLO???? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Why did Ellen Ratner just ask a question at the White House press briefing? I fully expect Paul Begala to be next up.
Posted at 01:38 PM
BTW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ari Fleischer shut her up with: "Ladies and gentleman, we now suspend the Q&A portion of this press briefing for an adovacacy minute." (Note: that might be a paraphrase, i wasn't writing it down as he talked.)
Why again does she have a press pass?
Posted at 01:34 PM
"THEY DIDN'T ASK TO BE LIBERATED" [KAthryn Jean Lopez]
Helen Thomas about the Iraqis, to Ari Fleischer just now. DUH!
Posted at 01:32 PM
THE GOOD BISHOP [Rod Dreher]
Turns out that Archbishop Mario Conti, the Roman Catholic primate of Scotland, backs Prime Minister Blair and the war effort on Iraq. Good on him.
Posted at 01:19 PM
PLAYING FOR THE OTHER TEAM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...CBS us just showing it's loyalties. Iraqi government says "No, Mr. Rather, you can not use your own crew. No, Mr. Rather, you can not air on Tuesday morning." ETC. White House ASKS, "How about a White House response now that you handed your network over to a tyrant?" Makes perfect sense...you know, the conservative, pro-war CBS, arm of Don Rumsfeld.
Posted at 12:46 PM
COST OF WAR [John Derbyshire]
"COST OF WAR -- $320 PER CITIZEN" shrieks the Washington Post. OK, where do I send my check?
Posted at 12:40 PM
"I THINK THE NEWS MEDIA IS STRIKINGLY CONSERVATIVE" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Katrina van den Heuvel from The Nation on with Jonah just now on CNN. She's been practicing: She said it with a totally straight face. Not even Eric Alterman does that all the time.
Posted at 12:39 PM
SMOKED OUT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here's yet another reason to dislike the UN, an organization that is, it seems, soft on Saddam and tough on pot.
Posted at 12:37 PM
CBS' COJONES [Rod Dreher]
According to our spy in the White House press corps, Ari Fleischer just said that CBS--in the person of the executive producer of 60 Minutes II--turned down a White House request to have a senior official on tonight to rebut Saddam. The White House was told that "unless it was the President of the United States, the answer was no."
Posted at 12:17 PM
BIBI'S OUT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 11:35 AM
I'M.... [Jonah Goldberg]
off to CNN (12:30ish EST). G-File -- a real stemwinder -- is in K-Lo's overburdened hands.
Posted at 11:27 AM
MAU-MAUING THE TERRORIST CATCHERS [Rod Dreher]
Steven Emerson on how Sami al-Arian and friends used racial politics as cover for their alleged terrorist activities.
Posted at 10:45 AM
RICO RESTRAINED [Jonathan H. Adler]
This morning the Supreme Court decided that RICO cannot be applied to anti-abortion protesters. The ruling was 8-1. Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote the majority; Justice Stevens dissented.
Posted at 10:33 AM
WHOSE JUDICIAL VACANCIES [Jonathan H. Adler]
TAPped justifies Democratic obstruction of judicial confirmations on the grounds that "the vast majority of current vacancies 'belong' to the Democrats, since by all rights Bill Clinton should have been able to fill them with his own nominees, but was repeatedly stymied by the admittedly well-disciplined Senate Republicans." It's a cute arugment, but if one were to take it seriously, then many of these vacancies actually "belong" to Republicans because Democratic obstructionism delayed or denied confirmation of Bush nominees, including two that were renominated by W -- John Roberts and Terrence Boyle. Indeed, TAPped's argument is precisely that used by Senator Jesse Helms when he decided to blue slip all of Clinton's Fourth Circuit nominees from North Carolina because the Democratic Senate failed to act on Boyle's nomination during President Bush's term.
Posted at 10:30 AM
COPING WITH SOLOMON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Students and faculty at a prominent law school are upset about the presence of JAG recruiters on campus. A friend (who is far from the knee-jerk-outrage type) there writes:
I had my first in-my-face liberal law school experience yesterday. I've experienced the liberal professors in class, the liberal students etc., but I was fit to be tied when I saw signs posted around school yesterday explaining to the students why JAG recruiters would be allowed on campus. The signs were meant to redirect the obvious indignation and shock we would feel from seeing a uniform-clad member of the armed forces in the very building where we are busily expanding our minds away from the school administration and towards...whom? The sign actually says that "recently enacted federal legislation known as the Solomon Amendments" were to blame….I guess everyone was too flustered with the emotional turmoil they felt seeing these warriors invade campus to take a moment and celebrate progress--the Army JAG recruiter dressed in Class A's whom I was chatting with on the way to class yesterday was pushing a baby carriage!
Posted at 09:05 AM
NICE GIRL GOES BROKE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Zora, from Joe Millionaire, just told Fox and Friends she is broke (the Millionaire check has not been delivered yet) and considering pawning her jewels. Ah, reality. (By the way, I hear David Frum will be on the FOX morning show tomorrow.)
Posted at 08:53 AM
GREAT DANE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Important news from the Associated Press. After the Vilnius 10 comes the Fanoe one:
Aage Bjerre, who owns Aage's Pizza on the island of Fanoe, said he's tired of French and German attitudes toward the United States.
He's put two homemade drawings on the shop door, one a silhouette of a man coloured red, yellow and black for Germany and another in the red, white and blue for France.
Both silhouettes have a bar across them.
Aage said: "Hadn't the United States helped Europe in defeating Germany, there would have been photos of Adolf Hitler hanging on the walls around here."
The ban has yet to effect his business because the tourist season only starts after Easter and peaks during the summer. "I do what my conscience tells me to do," he said.
He added: "Frenchmen have a lifetime ban here. Their attitude toward the United States will never change.""
Posted at 08:50 AM
WTC ANNIVERSARY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ten years ago today was the first attack on the World Trade Center.
Posted at 08:24 AM
RE: SCHOOL LUNCHES [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: When the kids were younger, Rosie did a stint as lunch volunteer at the local elementary school. She still talks about it: "The WASTE! You can't IMAGINE!! Whole trays of food thrown out--the kids barely touch it! Cartons of milk, unopened, thrown out. We threw out more than they ate..." It made a powerful impression on Rosie. (Who grew up in China, in a family that generated one small shopping-bag's worth of garbage per month.)
Posted at 08:21 AM
I WANT MY BLAIR TV [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Tony Blair's going to field questions from young folks on MTV on March 7. I can't think of anyone better for that gig.
Posted at 08:09 AM
SNOW!? [Jonah Goldberg]
I have never been bummed about snow. I join my canine friends in believing that all snow is a joyous occassion. But this is getting ridiculous.
Posted at 07:04 AM
STUD ALERT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Australia's John Howard in the Journal.
Posted at 06:39 AM
THERE THEY GO AGAIN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Stealing" school lunches from kids' hands.
Posted at 05:41 AM
DAN RATHER, BUTCHER ADVISER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Saddam Hussein interviews Rather.
Posted at 04:06 AM
DENNIS MILLER ON THE FRENCH [Rod Dreher]
"You'd better gas up the dinghy and go fishing with Fredo, because you are dead to me." -- Dennis Miller, on the Tonight Show.
Miller was on fire tonight. He said: "If you're at a peace march, and the guy next to you has a sign saying 'Bush is Hitler,' stop the peace stuff for a second and beat his ass."
And he sent this message to Dubya: "If you're watching, I think you're doing a hell of a job. I'm proud you're my president. ...I think there are a lot more people out here on your side than you may think."
Posted at 12:19 AM
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
RE: HAUERWAS [Rod Dreher]
Ramesh, a friend of mine went to hear Hauerwas speak in Chicago recently. I asked him this afternoon if Hauerwas' speech was "idiotic." He replied:
I wouldn't say he was entirely stupid about the war, but he took quite a few cheap shots at President Bush. I think the cheapest shot was saying that he'd like to know whether Bush has ever paid any price for his Christian faith. (To which I would respond that simply being a wartime president is one hell of a price to pay.)
"Cheap shot" is a charitable way to describe that kind of remark, if you ask me.
Posted at 11:13 PM
FRIENDS.... [Jonah Goldberg]
I've gotten a few angry notes about my earlier posts on getting redundant email. I think most readers understand where I was coming from. But it's pretty clear there's a misunderstanding between me and a few of you. I couldn't be more sincere when I tell you that my readers are among my favorite people in the world. That goes for the critics as much as anyone. I really do consider you folks to be my friends. I do think that one of the reasons I've developed what I like to think is a friendship with my readers is that I've been honest with you. And, in all honesty, it's difficult to figure out where the line between what I'm free to say and what I should keep to myself resides. I don't think 1 in 1,000 emailers could claim that I've treated them with anything less than the respect they showed me. Anyway, for all I know this is an example of something I should have kept to myself, but I went to a party with an open bar, so that's my excuse for that. But that might be too much info too. You see, you just can't win.
Posted at 11:06 PM
RUMMY AT HOOVER [John J. Miller]
Don Rumsfeld's remarks at the Hoover Institution, plus a Q&A, may be read here.
Posted at 10:05 PM
SUPERMAN'S WORKING FOR US [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The dude who penetrated Los Alamos this weekend for Wired is over on TechCentralStation talking about x-ray vision for our troops.
Posted at 09:02 PM
IMMIGRANTS FOR PRESIDENT [John J. Miller]
I think of the liberal writer Jefferson Morley every time I drive on Highway 131 north of Grand Rapids--there's an exit for the village of Jefferson in one direction and the town of Morley in the other. His byline flashed on my computer screen today, when I read his short article in Slate on why foreign-born citizens ought to be eligible for the presidency. I agree!
Posted at 06:52 PM
DARN IT! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I just got a spam that said in the subject line "LEAVE WORK EARLY." If only I had gotten it a few hours ago. Speaking of spam, I got a few dozen of those Nigerian scam ones that almost got my attention; subject line: "ESTRADA."
Posted at 06:23 PM
LE ROSBIF DE VIEUX ANGLETERRE [John Derbyshire]
Several readers have asked me for the full lyrics of "The Roast Beef of Old England." Here you go. I have abandoned the early-18c custom of capitalizing the initial letters of nouns.
When mighty roast beef was the Englishman's food It ennobl'd our veins and enriched our blood; Our soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good. [Chorus] Oh! the roast beef of old England, And old English roast beef.
But since we have learned from all vapouring France, To eat their ragouts, as well as to dance, We are fed up with nothing but vain complaisance. [Chorus]...
Our fathers of old were robust, stout, and strong, And kept open house with good cheer all day long. Which made their plump tenants rejoyce in this song: [Chorus]...
But now we are dwindled to... What shall I name? A sneaking poor race, half begotten and tame, Who sully those honours that once shone in fame. [Chorus]....
When good Queen Elizabeth sate on the throne, Ere coffee and tea and such slip-slops were known, The world was in terror if e'er she did frown. [Chorus]...
In those days, if fleets did presume on the Main, They seldom or never returned back again-- As witness, the vaunting Armada of Spain! [Chorus]...
Oh! then we had stomachs to eat and to fight, And when wrongs were a-cooking, to do ourselves right. But now we're a... Well, I could--but, Goodnight! [Chorus]....
Posted at 05:28 PM
FROG-BASHING, 18TH-CENTURY DIVISION [John Derbyshire]
A reader from Illinois adds Alexander Pope to the roster of Frog-bashing English writers. From THE DUNCIAD, describing the corruption of English political life in the early 18c (said corruption being, of course, all the fault of the French):
The sturdy Squire to Gallic masters stoop, And drown his lands and manors in a soupe . Others import yet nobler arts from France, Teach kings to fiddle, and make senates dance.
Posted at 04:59 PM
RE: COOK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jon, the feminist groups are already on record calling Cook anti-woman. You know, like Estrada is anti-Hispanic, or not Hispanic enough...
Posted at 04:54 PM
COOK - THE NEXT VICTIM? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today the New York Times fired a shot against Ohio State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Cook, who President Bush nominatedto the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in May 2001. Ohio's local papers like Cook, but the NYT does not. Worse, Larry Solum charges, the NYT editorialist distorted Cook's record to make its case. (Link via the Volokh Conspiracy.)
Posted at 04:46 PM
RE: FRANCE JOKES [John Derbyshire]
The mother lode.
Posted at 04:45 PM
AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR [Ramesh Ponnuru]
My wife, who has read a lot more of his work than I have, insists that Stanley Hauerwas, a professor of theological ethics at Duke, is brilliant. But then there's his essay in Time. "I think that a lot can be done--once we free our imaginations from the presumption that the only alternative is capitulation or war. . . . Christians might consider, for example, asking the many Christians in Iraq what we can do to make their lives more bearable. A small step, to be sure, but peace is made from small steps." This is so idiotic, on so many levels, one doesn't know where to begin.
Posted at 04:26 PM
RE: MCCAIN IN SC [Rod Dreher]
Ramesh, I should have been clearer in my earlier post. I don't know that Richard Hand, the Bob Jones prof who sent out the e-mail to Christians saying that McCain had fathered children out of wedlock was part of any organized effort by Pat Robertson. I doubt he was. Still, I put him into my item as an illustration of how some on the Christian Right played very dirty in an effort to stop McCain. I listened to Christian radio the whole time I was in SC, and heard some pretty vicious commercials about McCain, especially those lying about his pro-life record. I remember talking to self-identified Christian GOP primary voters who had taken this stuff to heart, and believed that McCain was the lowest snake in the grass around. Now it is true that political campaigns aren't tea parties, but it galled me as a Christian to witness fellow believers so obsessed with worldly politics that they would stoop to calumniating McCain, and with such vigor. I wish I still had my notes from that primary, so I could give you more specifics. The only point I wanted to make was that it made emotional (but not political) sense to me when McCain lashed out at politicized Christian Right leaders.
Posted at 04:24 PM
CBS, SATEILITE NETWORK, IRAQI NATIOANL TELEVISION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
CBS couldn't air the interview with Saddam Hussein on their schedule because Iraq had not approved of the tapes yet.
Posted at 04:20 PM
UGH [Jonah Goldberg]
I kind of knew that I would get an email like this:
Wow! Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! If you don't think that PART of your success is attributable to your popularity with your readers ---- those readers how felt like they "connected" with you at some personal level thanks to the frankness with which you express your personal views and the personal vignettes that made you seem 'approachable' ---- then you are taking something pretty important for granted.
Now, as I have written about 8 billion times about how the "secret" of NRO's success -- and particularly of my column -- is my relationship with my readers, I take some exception here. I don't think any of my readers are annoying for the reasons this reader implies. But it is a simple fact that when you invite and encourage readers to stay in touch, they will sometimes repeat what other readers have told me before. This can be annoying, but it's the cost of doing business as it were. I don't have a private email address. The one you see is the one I use.
Sometimes when Drudge breaks a story I might be interested in, for example, I'll get a dozen emails from people sending me the URL because they saw it for the first time. There's no way they could know that I've seen it already. The same goes for French jokes. I don't see why I can't say this phenomena is annoying while at the same time hold that the readers themselves have A) done nothing wrong and B) are acting on an impulse I'm grateful for. Seriously, I love you guys. But if there were a way to have you send me only jokes and URLs I've never seen before I'd leap on it. But as the song goes, you take the good, you take the bad and there you have the facts of life. Just don't call me Tootie.
Posted at 04:06 PM
WHAT DID YOU FORGET TO DO TODAY? [NRO Staff]
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Posted at 03:45 PM
SNOWBALL DAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Also from MRC, one of the hardballs Rather threw Saddam in 1990: "Mr. President, do you think this is a Vietnam in the sand for the United States?"
Saddam replied: "The harm caused to the invaders who come here will be greater than whatever they suffered in Vietnam. Iraq will come out victorious."
Posted at 03:35 PM
NOT ALL THAT SURPRISING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Media Research Center points our that Dan Rather is recycling scoop a bit: "On an August 29, 1990 prime-time special, Bob Schieffer introduced the Rather interview with Saddam: 'While it may sound a bit unusual to Westerners, Saddam Hussein seems very serious about wanting a television debate with President Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.'" Yet, last night, Rather said, "President Hussein has a surprising proposal for President Bush. He is challenging the President of the United States to join him in a live radio and television satellite linkup and debate the need for war before the entire world."
Posted at 03:33 PM
CAMPAIGN MEMORY LANE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I think the SC primary finished McCain off. In order to beat Bush, he had to damage him so much, so quickly, that the candidacy was destroyed like a popped balloon. The SC win gave Bush enough time to go the distance--which meant that the nomination would be decided by Republican voters, not the independent voters of a few early states with open primaries. McCain never showed any ability to get Republican votes. After SC, McCain was able to win Michigan (which caused heartburn among some Bush supporters) because it was an open primary. But the campaign never had a chance to win after that point. Virginia came later. (Here's what I wrote about McCain's comments there at the time.) If I remember the exit polls correctly, McCain's attack on Robertson and Falwell hurt him among Republican voters--including those who did not consider themselves to be part of the religious Right.
Posted at 03:29 PM
THE LEGEND OF SOUTH CAROLINA 2000 [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Everyone says that Bush and Pat Robertson played dirty during the presidential primaries in SC in 2000, but I've rarely heard convincing specifics tying either to the spread of false rumors about McCain. Rod, do you have evidence that Robertson put that Bob Jones U. professor up to saying what he did? Or other specifics? Whatever sleazy tactics may have been used, it should be noted that Bush won because he convinced SC GOP voters that he was a tax-cutting conservative and McCain wasn't--however much McCainiacs would like to believe a more sinister explanation.
Posted at 03:17 PM
THE PRO-WAR MOVEMENT GAINS STEAM [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 03:15 PM
CHRISTIAN TAMMANY [Rick Brookhiser]
Re: Rod's post, the savagery of political trench warfare in the Christian Tammany Hall is an old story. In the run-up to the '88 Iowa caucus, the whispering campaign of the Robertson supporters was that Jack Kemp was gay, while the whispering campaign of Kemp's religious right supporters was that Robertson belonged to an Asian cult. I guess every word of the Bible is divinely inspired except Exodus 20:16.
Posted at 03:11 PM
RE: FROG JOKE TSUNAMI [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: NOW you tell me.
Posted at 02:55 PM
AHEM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Maybe Dennis Kucinich should have his staff update his website. See third item.
Posted at 02:52 PM
HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES! [John J. Miller]
A reader informs me that during last night's hockey game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Los Angeles Kings, the LA goalie briefly appeared to be injured. The camera turned to his backup, one Cristobal Huet. Said Mickey Redmond, the Wings' commentator: "There's one Frenchman that's ready to fight." (Turns out Huet really is from France; most hockey players with French-sounding names are from Quebec, which is still a part of Canada.)
Posted at 02:50 PM
RE: FROG-JOKE WARNING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I think Michael Ledeen had the same experience with limericks last week.
Posted at 02:46 PM
IT WAS INEVITABLE [Jonah Goldberg]
The Donahue show has been cancelled, Drudge reports.
Posted at 02:30 PM
REPORT FROM THE SCENE OF THE CRIME [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 02:30 PM
DERB... [Jonah Goldberg]
Your column today is wonderful. But I must caution you about getting into the French-bashing business. The more's the merrier, but you will get 8,000 emails of the same four or five French jokes. There's the sale on eBay for used French rifles -- "only dropped once." There's "How many Frenchman does it take to defend Paris?" Answer: "Nobody knows." Etc. etc. I would say I've gotten the URL for "Soldier of Surrender" magazine 100 times. I've heard that taking a Frenchman to battle is like taking an accordion hunting line from 150 readers, each thinking they were the first to tell me. I don't blame or begrudge anybody, but it just never ends.
Posted at 02:23 PM
RE: AH, DEREGULATION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Um. Uh. You're not telling us something, are you, Jonah?
Posted at 02:16 PM
AH, DEREGULATION.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Note that on Hooters Air infants carried on your lap fly free of charge.
Posted at 02:10 PM
THE NAME SAYS IT ALL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Soft Skull Press" will be publishing a new edition of disgraced historian Michael Bellesiles's Arming America.
Posted at 02:09 PM
ANTI-FRENCH JOKE [John Derbyshire]
Best anti-French joke so far arising from my Frog-bashing column: Q. Why are there trees along both sides of the Champs Elysees? A. So that German troops can march in the shade.
Posted at 02:08 PM
KUCINICH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
So total is the man's flip-flop that he is now promising that as president he would appoint only judges who support abortion rights. That's quite a campaign pledge: Vote for me, and you'll get a Supreme Court that will nullify all the legislation I supported the day before yesterday.
Posted at 02:06 PM
NOW, THIS IS SOMETHING TOM RIDGE COULD WORRY HIMSELF WITH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Los Alamos doesn't look too secure--still.
Posted at 02:06 PM
MCCAIN ON THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT [Rod Dreher]
As I recall, McCain's campaign was down, but not "doomed," when he savaged Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson ... but that attack probably sealed his fate with GOP primary voters. Even though I'm a religious conservative, I've always felt bad for him regarding that ill-advised speech. He shouldn't have attacked Falwell as well as Robertson; if memory serves, Falwell hadn't made an issue of McCain. Robertson had, and played very dirty pool down in South Carolina. I was down there covering that primary, and the kind of stuff Robertson and his Christian Coalition pulled down there in an attempt to defeat McCain was sickening.
There was the Bob Jones University professor who spread the rumor, via Internet, that McCain had fathered a black child (N.B., the McCains had adopted a Bangladeshi child). A CNN reporter tracked the Internet rumor to him, and asked him what proof he had for that charge. The professor wanted to know what proof the reporter had that it wasn't true. I spoke to a former senior South Carolina state official and Christian Coalition member who told me he was personally threatened by Pat Robertson that if he endorsed McCain, he (the official) would be ruined by Robertson. There was lots of that sort of thing going on. No wonder McCain lost his temper at these politically cutthroat followers of Christ.
Posted at 01:53 PM
SEND ANY COMPLAINTS TO TOM RIDGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Frager's Hardware on the Hill is at code red warning against duct-tape returns.
Posted at 01:42 PM
BAN TWEEZERS, NOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 01:38 PM
KUCINICH'S INSTINCT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Katha Pollit, as Jim Boulet noted last week, attributes Dennis Kucinich's "change of heart" to "Kucinich's own instinct for what is right and fair in a pluralist society." But wouldn't his instinct be what he went with first, not what his party and moneybags insisted on?
Posted at 01:31 PM
SPEAKING OF THE DEMOCRATS [Jonah Goldberg]
I cannot believe that Dennis Kucinich's flip-flop on abortion has not gotten more press. This is a guy who regularly received failing grades from NARAL and was widely considered one of the staunchest pro-life Democrats. But even though he has absolutely zero chance of winning the Democratic nomination, he still feels the need to abandon his principled position and become "pro-choice." What is so stunning is not the immorality of essentially changing your mind on what constitutes murder in order to win votes, but the political stupidity of the decision. In a field so crowded the primary debates will look like the cover of the Sgt. Pepper's Album, with no shortage of anti-war candidates, Kucinich could have singled himself out as a man of such admirable principle that he's willing to challenge his own party on its pro-choice extremism. That would have established Kucinich as the McCain-like candidate to a certain extent and could have even won him more votes in Iowa or South Carolina (assuming he makes it to either). Comparisons to the late Bob Casey would have filled the airwaves. But instead he sends the signal that the Democratic Party cannot tolerate any break from Orthodoxy and even its mavericks must toe the line when the feminists crack the whip.
Posted at 01:10 PM
DEM. MCCAIN--SERIOUS ANSWER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Well, there is Zell Miller.
Posted at 01:10 PM
DEM. MCCAIN--WISEGUY ANSWER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Maybe the Democratic John McCain is John McCain--just give it a few months.
Posted at 01:08 PM
BEINART [Jonah Goldberg]
Peter Beinart had an excellent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal yesterday (subscription required, I think). He argues that the Democratic Party needs a John McCain of their own. "They need someone to incite a rebellion against the party's base, someone who will risk pariah status to lay the groundwork for the long-term ideological reconstruction of the Democratic Party." Beinart identifies two central problems with the Democratic Party right now: Al Sharpton and Iraq, which is to say race and foreign policy. The party is in the process of coronating Al Sharpton as a leader of the party and make him if not a king than a racial kingmaker. Meanwhile on foreign policy, the party is incoherent at best and pacifist at its base. He argues that a Democratic McCain-type would and should denounce Sharpton in much the same way that McCain denounced Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell:
Mr. McCain's insurgency wasn't based simply on a compelling persona; it was based on a frontal assault on the principles of the post-Gingrich GOP. With his support for campaign-finance reform Mr. McCain attacked the Republican Party's alliance with K Street; with his denunciation of George W. Bush's proposed tax cut he took aim at supply-side economics; and with his condemnation of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, he took on the Christian Right. It was an ideological kamikaze mission, an attempt, as people like William Kristol understood at the time, to blow up the post-cold war GOP and begin anew.
Beinart's certainly correct when he predicts that a Democrat running against Sharpton and for war would lose the nomination. Indeed it's hard to imagine any Democrat following his advice. Also, I think his analysis misses something about McCain. Attacking K-Street and special interests does not run against the grain of conservative voters. Running for mainstreet not Wall Street -- or K Street -- has been a winning cause of the conservative base of the GOP for a generation at least. Opposition to supply-side economics -- while unpopular -- is not a career-killer. After all, George H.W. Bush coined the phrase voodoo economics and was still picked as a the Gipper's runningmate because he represented a sizable portion of the GOP. As for running against the Religious Right, yes McCain did deliver a powerful speech against Falwell and Robertson, but, if memory serves, that was only after it was clear his campaign was doomed. Until then, his conflict with religious conservatives was narrowly focused on the issue of campaign finance reform. The speech was a huge Hail Mary pass delivered, some believe, only after the McCain campaign convinced itself that winning the praise of The New York Times and The New Republic could win you votes in Republican Primaries.
Don't get me wrong, I would love to see a Democratic McCain emerge and challenge the Democratic race-mongering machine and its McGovernite peacenickery (and it's pro-abortion extremism). But finding a Democrat to run against pretty much everything the Democratic Party is will be pretty damn hard.
Posted at 12:57 PM
DUPED PROFS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Martin Kramer writes about profs who are still defending arrested Florida professor Sami al-Arian.
Posted at 12:43 PM
TO THE CONTRARY, JONAH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
More like you make us want to sit around and watch in awe.
Posted at 12:39 PM
REALITY SADDAM [Rick Brookhiser]
When I read that Saddam Hussein wanted to debate George Bush on international TV, I felt my first--and I trust, last--twinge of sympathy for the man. His world is about to come crashing down, and he wants the ultimate Reality TV show. The critic Andrew Sarris told me that when he was a boy, the ordinary people interviewed in newsreels in movie houses had zero stage presence. But now, he said, people sound better on camera because everyone has thought of having his own show. Next for Saddam--Are You Hot? He's a mass murderer, but he's also a slob, like the rest of us.
Posted at 12:30 PM
DO I SMELL? [Jonah Goldberg]
I walk into the Corner and then everybody splits? What's up with that?
Posted at 12:29 PM
THIS MAY BE IT [Jonah Goldberg]
This might be the single dumbest email I've ever gotten. In response to Friday's column this guy writes:
Liberals are liberals because they are thinkers and readers. Conservatives (Rush's kind) are conservatives because, rather than read and think, they listen only to what they want to hear. All conservatives are not stupid, but all stupid people are conservative.
One request: please do not inundate me with email about how this guy's an idiot or in an attempt to respond to him. Just let the idiocy wash over and through you in a zen-like fashion.
Posted at 10:47 AM
DOUBLE STANDARDS [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Washington Post's Ben Wittes on how Democrats have changed the rules for questioning judicial nominees. He explains that Miguel Estrada has been as forthcoming about his views as were Clinton's nominees, and defends the traditional refusal to answer specific questions about specific court holdings.
Posted at 10:42 AM
CNN & FOX [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Lots of emails coming in from people pointing out that CNN's competition is not all that better: with Geraldo and Greta and such. All the more reason to petition to get Greenfield back on his own show (and if CNN won't do it, Fox should make him an offer!). I know this has momentum.
Posted at 10:37 AM
HELP—MOTHERS [Rich Lowry]
Anti-war activists often invoke the mothers of American servicemen—and the potential awful sacrifice that they might have to make in Iraq—to oppose the war. I’m interested in trying to talk to some mothers of servicemen—about what it is like for them at a time like this, and how they think about the service of their sons. Any suggested contacts would be helpful…
Posted at 10:22 AM
MR. WATSON IS A SUBSCRIBER! [Rich Lowry]
"Dear Mr. Lowry,
I just subscribed electronically to NRODT in response to your suggestion in the Corner that I'm a shameful freeloader. In response I have received an email (probably automated) from NTRV@kable.com addressed "Dear Michael". I suppose a computer can be programmed to exhibit presumed but unwarranted familiarity as easily as can the receptionist in the dentist's office. Should I ever have the honor of meeting William F. Buckley, Jr., be assured I shall address him as Mr. Buckley, not Bill. Regards, Michael Watson"
Not only does Mr. Watson have a keen sense of social propriety, he has a conscience! Feel free to assuage your guilt here.
Posted at 10:20 AM
EMPIRE LIBS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The NY Liberal party is no more.
Posted at 10:11 AM
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Connie Chung's CNN show is getting grief for being "too tabloid." How about just plain bad? And, speaking of: AARON BROWN'S?! I still can't believe they killed Jeff Greenfield and have the lineup they have now. Maybe we could start a pro-Greenfield petition drive?
Posted at 10:00 AM
VOICES INSIDE MY HEAD [John J. Miller]
The songs in my head these days go back and forth between those by The Wiggles, which my 3-year-old daughter wants played at every opportunity, and those on the latest album by Sigur Ros, the greatest band ever to come out of Iceland. Maybe the Wiggles should move to Iceland and Sigur Ros should make a children's album. Then everybody in my house would be happy.
Posted at 09:30 AM
MILWAUKEE UPDATE [John J. Miller]
On Valentine's Day, NRO posted my story on Milwaukee's school-choice program, which is currently surviving for the first time under the rule of a Democratic governor. There was a question then about how it would fare under the new guy's budget, and the good news is that he hasn't gone after it. In fact, vouchers next year will be worth 1 percent more than this year.
Posted at 09:23 AM
RE: SONG SORBETS [John Derbyshire]
Songs stuck in your head? Tell me about it. I am still channeling Hank Williams. However, my family has got so fed up with my, e.g., breaking into an a cappella rendition of "Window Shopping" every time we stop to look at some store display, that they have threatened to send me to Coventry. Riding up in a ski lift last week, my son said something about shooting stars. That, of course, got me going with "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." I very nearly ended up stuck head first in a snowdrift, skis waving in the air. Thank God for those restraining bars.
Posted at 09:00 AM
I WANNA DRIVE A ZAMBONI [John J. Miller]
Apologies upfront for another idiosyncratic Michigander post, but I'm pretty excited about the big news in Detroit today: The long-awaited return of captain Steve Yzerman to the Red Wings' lineup last night. (Over the weekend, the Washington Post had a great story on Yzerman's injury rehabilitation, headlined "Proflie in Courage.") Also, in today's Detroit News, there's an interview with Al Sobotka, the guy who drives the Zamboni at the Joe and picks up octopi when they're thrown on the ice during the playoffs. Isn't his name wonderful? The Zamboni driver for the Wings simply must be named Al Sobotka.
Posted at 08:54 AM
OF COURSE SADDAM AGREED TO BE INTERVIEWED BY DAN RATHER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ramsey Clark clark lobbied for him .
Posted at 07:57 AM
FASTER...! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Yesterday President Bush said Saddam has "failed to take the final opportunity" to disarm. So, does that mean another month?
Posted at 06:55 AM
A NEW EU [Dave Kopel]
British humor site The Brains Trust reports that France is preparing to form a New European Union: "The French are only including themselves in the initial membership of the NEU and are expected to maintain control of all of the decision making bodies and writing all of the treaties."
Posted at 02:37 AM
NOT JUST GUNS [Dave Kopel]
Gun companies such as Smith & Wesson have long enjoyed a profitable sideline selling logo items. Now, Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, is getting into the business. He's just signed a deal with a German company to sell "manly" items such as snowboards, umbrellas, shaving foam, watches, penknives, and a vodka cocktail. "The articles are very similar to my rifle: reliable, easy to use and indestructible," he says.
Posted at 02:35 AM
GETTING BEYOND THE PROTESTS [Dave Kopel]
Sound and Fury reminds us that naive and misguided "peace" protesters don't pose much of a political threat to Republican Presidents who stay the course. A million people showed up at Central Park to demonstrate for a nuclear freeze; Reagan ignored them, and went on to win the largest electoral landslide in American history.
Posted at 02:33 AM
CHRONICLE OF A FRAUD [Dave Kopel]
In Reason, Joyce Lee Malcolm recounts how Michael Bellesiles almost got away with audacious academic fraud.
Posted at 02:32 AM
SONG SORBETS [Rod Dreher]
According to Reuters, psychiatrists are paying attention to the phenomenon of songs getting stuck in your head. My DC friend Mark Allen has a great concept: the song sorbet, to clear the mental palate. The idea is to come up with a song that clears the annoying, lingering son from your mental circuits, without itself remaining in your head. I could stand a song sorbet right about now. That Reuters story says the Chili's Baby Back Ribs jingle tends to get stuck in people's heads a lot. Now I won't be able to get rid of the damn thing until I fall asleep ... if I fall asleep.
Posted at 12:07 AM
Monday, February 24, 2003
THE DEBATE PROPOSAL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'm picturing Jim Carville moderating on Crossfire.
Posted at 11:07 PM
SURPRISE, SURPRISE [Rod Dreher]
The Telegraph reports on a leaked Parliamentary study showing that the British government's sex education program has been a disaster: more teen pregnancies, more sexually-transmitted diseases among youth. Weren't they talking just the other day about a government-sponsored program to teach British schoolchildren how to perform oral sex? What a disgusting disaster.
Posted at 10:17 PM
CORNER SHOWS ITS AGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I realize that no one mentioned Simon and Garfunkel or the Bee Gees in the Grammy wrap-up. Not that there was anything necessarily to say, but, on the other hand, some of us were in diapers, or were not.
Posted at 07:40 PM
BEWARE OF DRONES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I've looked and don't see anything on ready.gov to specifically prepare me for this.
Posted at 07:29 PM
"PRESENTISM" [Rod Dreher]
Several readers have taken issue with this point I made earlier: considering Confederates to be traitors is the error of presentism, which is judging past generations by standards in effect today. Not true, they've said; Confederates were widely called traitors by Unionists. This is true, and I should have been more clear earlier. I wanted only to say that it seems to me an error to impute conscious treason to Southerners of 1860 who chose secession. It is not clear to me that average Southerners would have seen that their primary loyalty was to the Union, as opposed to their state, and an understanding of the Constitution that provided states the right to withdraw from the Union. The issue was not necessarily as clear in the minds of people who lived in the South as it is for us contemporary Americans, north and south.
Interestingly, I read over the weekend that before Lee surrendered at Appomattox, one of his top lieutenants urged him to disperse his forces so that the Confederates could wage guerrilla warfare against the Union. Lee refused, thus preventing the newly re-United States from becoming the Balkans of North America.
Posted at 06:31 PM
CHAMPIONING [Andrew Stuttaford]
"Championing," Jonah? Grudging acquiescence is more like it - except, of course, for the British veto. I'm always happy to champion that. Yes, yes, and the American one too.
Posted at 03:51 PM
NRO READER REVIEWS [Rod Dreher]
For what it's worth, judging by my e-mail from those of you who have seen Gods and Generals, most of you really appreciate the ideas in the movie, but found it to be stilted, too slow, and too long.
Posted at 03:35 PM
BONNIE BLUE RESULTS [Rod Dreher]
Thanks for all the e-mails about "The Bonnie Blue Flag." I can't quote them all, of course, so this one, from Joe Long, the registrar of the Confederate Relic Room and Museum in Columbia, SC, will do, inasmuch as this is pretty much what everybody is saying. But Joe adds some interesting postbellum details:
Confederates sang both versions. I thought the version I heard last night in the movie was a slight variation from each, but I may have been wrong...anyway, it was the most popular war song out there, and if you'll think about it, most enlisted men were NOT especially fighting for their property in any sense, so likely first modified the lyrics to suit themselves. Many songs had multiple versions, even "Dixie" (which somebody wrote "appropriately" martial lyrics to - hardly ever sung). "Battle Cry of Freedom," "Dixie," and some others also had Northern and Southern versions.
Now, AFTER the war the veterans probably sang the non-"property" version almost exclusively, since the concern about keeping the war from being portrayed as a "war over slavery" was immediate. For the same reason, vets often made good and sure to invite black veterans (generally cooks, musicians and such) to the reunions and put them front-and-center in photographs. But at the time of secession - both versions; and a show for Hood's Texans and put on by Hood's Texans (the movie situation): almost certainly the non-"property" version. (Our South Carolinians were more attached to the "peculiar institution" than Texans ever were.) (Besides, "property" is a much less "fightin' word" abstraction than "liberty" for anyone, unless you're Ayn Rand.)
Posted at 03:34 PM
MORE GRAMMY [Robert A. George]
Aside from being something I forgot to mention, I include this for two reasons: 1) The ever-spoiled NRO readership is e-mailing me asking why I didn't do a full Grammy review this year! Answer: As I alluded to in an earlier post: when the Grammys start getting inoffensive, it's hard to raise up any inspiration to comment i full; 2) The Goldberg posting hegemony had to be stopped!! Only Jonah Goldberg could put unabashedly defend the concept of "empire" -- in the middle of a 16/18-post streak! What's next? George Steinbrenner writing a column on why dynasties are good for sports?
Posted at 03:33 PM
ROCK FOR WAR [Robert A. George]
Oh and hate to point this out, but New York's other tabloid, (scroll to third story) points out that there was at least one pro-war "artist" on stage last night. Ironically enough, the man in question, Kid Rock, who duetted in the show with anti-war Sheryl Crow, used to publically "canoodle" (as they say in tabloid land) with the very same lady.
Posted at 03:32 PM
GRAMMY KUDOS [Robert A. George]
Couple more Grammy observations: The new president of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Neil Portnow gets some kudos for being gracious, humble and brief when he addressed the audience: "The music industry and music itself is very much alive," noted. This contrasts with the incredibly arrogant former president Michael Greene. His obnoxious behavior to a member of former Rudy Giuliani's assistants was one reason that the Grammys weren't in New York in recent years. Last year, he lectured the home audience (i.e. the buying public) that downloading was destroying the industry (as opposed to the poor product and stupid business decisions that the industry has made). He mentioned how his college-age interns were able to find hundreds of songs off the Internet in just a few days. When it was revealed that he was making a $2 million salary with an RIAA-provided house and car, he ended up looking very petty. Oh and sexual-harassment charges didn't help either. Portnow is, so far, a breath of fresh
Posted at 03:31 PM
RICH - [Jonah Goldberg]
One of the great things about the New Republic redesign is that it ushered in a new policy over there which allows subscribers to get an electronic copy of the mag ASAP. I have long advocated such a system and I can no longer keep my opinions within the chain-of-command. I will be filing for whistle-blower status immediately.
Posted at 03:25 PM
SECURITY COUNCIL [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew, I see your point and you're probably right. However, championing stability for an institution which is increasingly hostile to our interests is not exactly the best argument against instability.
Posted at 03:24 PM
REDESIGN IS IN THE AIR [Rich Lowry]
NR has a redesign this issue, as NRODT readers may already know. If you’re not a NRODT reader, you’re a shameful free-loader, and should up-grade your moral status immediately. The New Republic, oddly enough, has a new design this issue too.
Posted at 03:10 PM
FRANCE [Rich Lowry]
One of those John O’Sullivan articles I’m always carrying on about is now available on-line. The New York Post ran it Saturday.
Posted at 03:07 PM
IRAQ [Rich Lowry]
In brushing up for “Face the Nation” Sunday—something Susan “William Tenet” Sarandon apparently didn’t do—I was reminded of how powerful the Colin Powell presentation at the U.N. was. Always worth checking back in with it, there’s so much there. Also indispensable is the Ken Pollack piece in the Friday New York Times, which makes some new and important arguments why deterrents won’t work with Saddam.
Posted at 03:06 PM
DON'T REARRANGE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, trying to change the permanent membership of the Security Council? That's a terrible idea. Talk about opening a can of worms. Can you imagine, for example, the reaction of Pakistan if India was to be put forward? Much better to let the chips lie where they fell in 1945. Those arrangements are not perfect, of course, but they are better than the chaos that would ensue if a serious attempt was made to change them.
Posted at 02:57 PM
FOR THE RECORD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
16 of the last 18 posts = by Jonah Goldberg
Posted at 02:38 PM
I'M DONE WITH THE "RED" TRAFFIC STUFF FOR NOW.... [Jonah Goldberg]
But I do like this email, even if I'm not in total agreement with it:
Posted at 02:32 PM
INDIA [Jonah Goldberg]
Shimon Peres has joined Tom Friedman in advocating that India replace France on the UN Security Councile. No French-bashing here, but you've got to admit that on a purely logical basis it makes quite a bit of sense. India is the second most populous nation. It's a nuclear power too. It's on the frontlines of many of the world's problems. Four European nations on the Security Council doesn't make that much sense. I can see a counter-argument along the lines of keeping the UN a Western dominated institution. But you really only need one veto for that and we'd still have two -- the US and Britain. Also, making India a member of the Security Council might accelerate its influence as a secular democracy for the Third World. France has the luxury of condescending to and coddling Islamist fanatics as a way to triangulate against the United States. India understands this is a fool's game.
Posted at 02:16 PM
RED KEN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, my day today is a little, er, congested, but I can tell you that this particular Andrew thinks that congestion charging is a terrible idea, at least in the way that it has been implemented by Red Ken, a man with (not so coincidentally) a long-standing and rather bizarre grudge against the automobile. To take just one example, one of your correspondents writes that the banker will "happily" (if so, he or she is like no banker that I know, but never mind) pay the $8, "while the homemaker will avoid peak hours, pay no fee and wait until noon to run her errands." Well, that's OK, I suppose, so long as she waits until Saturday. During the week the charge is in force between 6.30am and 7.30pm. Inconvenient? Of course. That's Red Ken's point.
Posted at 02:11 PM
OKAY... [Jonah Goldberg]
It's almost 2:00 O'Clock. Where the heck is everybody else?
Posted at 01:57 PM
THE DANES, ON OUR SIDE [Jonah Goldberg]
Thanks to the Danes, but i don't understand the anti-dog bias.
Posted at 01:55 PM
ON THE OTHER HAND [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 01:52 PM
TWO DISSENTERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Did I miss something, or have you gone nuts? The London demand-based pricing for traffic is indeed a market-based system. You state that there's no trade involved, but that's not true. They're trading money for time. For those who place a high value on being within the restricted area during high demand hours, they can pay more and get in. In this instance, supply is fixed. You can't instantly build roads; only a certain number of cars can get into the area over a certain period of time. Traffic jams are a result of inequalibrium (is that a word?) between supply and demand. But supply can't be adjusted quickly (how fast can a government build a road), so demand is adjusted by increasing the price.
Posted at 01:45 PM
NOW FOR SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT [Jonah Goldberg ]
I saw "Old School" last night and I thought it was hilarious. There are some weak points and the script could have used one more rewrite to iron out some of the plot kinks which really start popping up halfway through. But that's all irrelevant. Because it is still frick'n hilarious. One caveat: if you are a woman you are less likely to find it amusing. I say this with 100% percent certainty. This is a movie about the male quarter/third life crisis which comes before the midlife crisis. I got that idea from the posts attached to a review of the movie in Entertainment Weekly. Note how the reviewer, a woman, dislikes the movie and the posters, mostly male, love it.
Posted at 01:37 PM
"DON'T KNOW WHY" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
....Congress authorized $800,000 for the GRAMMY FOUNDATION in the latest omnibus spending bill.
Posted at 01:22 PM
MORE RED ANDREW [Jonah Goldberg]
A few readers are focusing on this statement of mine: "But I don't see how levelling fines on the legal use of private property is a huge triumph for capitalism." They object that the roads in London aren't private property.
Touché, I suppose. Though I was, in fact, referring to their cars as private property, not the roads. That said, I don't see how this has much to do with anything. Tolls on public roads are hardly a policy breakthrough and they are hardly famously capitalistic. When someone says "pure market economics" are at work I usually assume there are some mechanisms at work to establish prices etc. Also, businesses in downtown London have in effect been levied with a new tax, since buying anything in the city just became a bit more expensive than buying the same product in the suburbs. Look: I don't think Andrew's really a red and I don't think the policy is outrageous, but let's not call taxes and fines market breakthroughs simply because they force people to change their behavior. My sense is 90% of NRO readers would not respond to a huge new fine on driving to their place of work as a triumph of the free market.
Posted at 01:21 PM
MORE EMPIRE [Jonah Goldberg]
And, to be clear, there's nothing which says that empires are the worst form of government or social organization. In fact, the only reason I object to America being called an empire is that the people who throw the word around mean it in the most pejorative sense. But I don't see why that has to be pejorative. Relative to the other evils that exist in the world, empires are fairly benign philosophically speaking. I'd rather live in a country that is ruled by another country, benevolently, than in an independent country that is ruled by a sadistic tyrant. It probably was more pleasant living under Roman rule than under the barbarian kings and chieftains. Certainly there are millions of Indians and Kenyans and Burmese (Myanyanese?) who are nostalgic for the orderly rule of the British, which provided for many freedoms. I know Molly Ivins believes imperialism was worse than Nazism or Stalinism, but Molly Ivins is a fool -- at least in this regard. If she really believes that she should launch a campaign -- a la the NAACP and the confederate flag -- to have the Empire State (New York) change its name. Ditto the Empire State Building.
Posted at 01:09 PM
THAT SAID.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew could have made a more provocative argument by suggesting that the free-market and conservatism are not one and the same. Red Ken's measure is socialist, not capitalist. But you could argue that is also conservativ -- in that it is aimed at restoring the quality of life to that of the 1950s. Indeed, Andrew invokes the return to 1950s traffic levels as proof that the effort has been a success. I have no strong opinion either way on this. One could argue that such social engineering is precisely the sort of thing that kills cities by drowning them in kitsch. Or, one could say that preserving certain social arrangements is vital to the character of a city. It seems to me, however, that a conservative could come down on either side of the issue. Red Rod, with his Crunchy Con credo, might side with the tax because it supports the "environment" and improves quality of life. Un-red Ramesh might say "poppycock," economic vitality is the lifeblood of any city and throwing a wet regulatory blanket over London is nonsense on stilts. But you can still be a conservative and favor non-market-friendly regulation.
Posted at 12:43 PM
RED ANDREW? [Jonah Goldberg]
A TRAFFIC SOLUTION: Early reports suggest that London's new approach to solving traffic jams is a huge success. The British capital recently set up monitors at all the entrance routes into central London. If you want to get into the hub at peak hours, you have to pay a fee. If you haven't paid the fee, you pay a fine. Cameras record number plates. If you live in the central district, you get 90 percent of the fees reimbursed. The result? A return in central London to the traffic levels of the 1950s. One thing you can always depend on in Britain: everyone is cheap. But what interest me more as a matter of media coverage is that all the praise for this initiative has gone (and rightly so) to Mayor "Red" Ken. But his solution is anything but red. It's pure market economics to achieve a good environmental result. It's Friedmanism for a traditionally liberal cause. - 2:48:36 AMHmmm. I'm not so sure. No one should be surprised that people respond to economic incentives and disincentives. Levelling fines on certain behavior to reduce that behavior doesn't seem like "Friedmanism" to me. No "pure market" has been created. People cannot trade anything.The fact that Brits are "cheap" is irrelevant. If they were lavish, the fines might have to be higher, but they'd still be fines. Maybe it's been a huge success, maybe it hasn't. I generally favor efforts to close off central cities to traffic, but that's just because I like to walk around central cities. But I don't see how levelling fines on the legal use of private property is a huge triumph for capitalism.
Posted at 12:01 PM
IRAN [Jonah Goldberg]
The LA Times has a good, straightfoward, article on Iranian support -- or at least ambivalence -- about a US war on Iraq (Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the link). This is hardly news to NRO's Michael Ledeen who has been the point-man on Iran for quite a while.
Posted at 11:40 AM
THE BEST NEWS I'VE HEARD TODAY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Rep. Chris Cox, California Republican, predicts that the states will not win federal approval for the new internet sales tax system they want to impose: "[It] won't take too many senators to stop [the plan] from happening and there are enough senators that are hell-bent on making sure it never happens that it won't."
Posted at 11:27 AM
A SMALL FRONT IN THE WAR ON TERROR [Jonah Goldberg]
Or at least the war to protect this truck.
Posted at 11:19 AM
NOT AN EMPIRE [Jonah Goldberg]
Also, the negotiations with Turkey offer another important lesson: We're not an empire. Empires do not negotiate to use their own bases and they do not take no for an answer. We did the former and were willing to do the latter. Every week I go on TV or on radio and have some lefty -- and a few righties -- drone on at me about America's "imperial designs." Maybe we need a new word for what America is , but it's not an empire.
Posted at 11:14 AM
TURKEY [Jonah Goldberg]
I have real sympathy for Turkey and I am glad that we've apparently worked out a deal. This is not the case of a petulent ally trying to take advantage of us. First, the Turks were legitimately screwed by the US after the last war, losing billions after helping us out. The Turks wanted us to at least get rid of Saddam and we didn't. A second gulf war will create real costs for the Turks and since this is an elective war and we need Turkey's help they deserve some compensation. I don't know where the cost-benefit line is, but my guess is that the Pentagon and the White House do. So any deal they cut is probably a deal worth cutting. Also, this war is unpopular with the Turkish public and Turkey is a democracy. Democratically elected governments need to offer their publics some rationale for going to war. And, because Turkey is a democracy, we'll desperately need them as friends if we are going to tout them as the model for a post-Saddam Iraq.
Posted at 11:10 AM
ROBERT, I AM IN NEAR COMPLETE AGREEANCE WITH YOU [Jonah Goldberg]
I agree that it was disappointing, though truth be told I didn't watch much of the Grammys. Still, Fred Durst's -- the lead singer of Limp Bizkit -- declaration: "I hope we're all in agreeance that this war should go away as soon as possible" was pretty funny. I just wished he could have gone on about the consignment in the musical community that violins are never the solvent.
Posted at 10:50 AM
DOWNRIGHT DISAPPOINTING [Robert A. George]
As awards shows go, the paucity of anti-American/anti-war comments and general sleazy behavior was, frankly, disappointing. An off-hand comment from Fred Durst here, a "No War" guitar strap from Sheryl Crow there. Someone else mentioned the need to "get this war thing out of the way soon" (no hawk would disagree). Whether the presenters and performers were taking orders from the producers or actually showing some restraint because the they were back in New York, this was a pretty tame affair. What's a conservative to do when America's entertainers generally behave themselves?
Posted at 09:00 AM
DOES NELLY OWN A TV? [Robert A. George]
Given the horrific nightclub fire in Rhode Island on Friday, shouldn't someone have told rapper Nelly that having the neon flames and pyrotechnics going on during his live performance of "Hot in Herre" might have created some unpleasant thoughts in the audience at home (or even in the theatre, for that matter)?
Posted at 08:59 AM
STRUMMER WATCHING [Robert A. George]
The Coldplay/Phil deal was on the same stage where later, Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, and Stevie Van Zandt of the E Street Band would pay tribute to the late Joe Strummer of the preeminent punk band, the Clash, with a rousing rendition of "London Calling." Wonder what Strummer would think of that juxtaposition?
Posted at 08:59 AM
THE ORCHESTRA SET [Robert A. George]
Thirty years ago, as classic rock bands like Yes, Jethro Tull, and the Moody Blues started recording with orchestras, it helped create the backlash called punk, which tried to strip rock back down to its basics. Now THE cool modern rock/alternative band of the moment, Coldplay, performs at the Grammys with members of the New York Philharmonic...
Posted at 08:58 AM
NO GRAMMY CORRECTIVE [Robert A. George]
One thing that differentiates the Recording Academy from the Motion Picture Academy: The former never gets the concept of "make-over" awards. For example, the Grammys screwed up big-time 18 years ago in giving Album of the Year to Lionel Richie instead of Bruce Springsteen. If this were the Oscars, this year would have been the perfect time to recognize the Boss with the big award. Instead talented, but rather banal, newcomer Norah Jones swept everything including the Album prize. It's a nice, inoffensive, jazz-pop production, but hardly outstanding. Say what you like, but at least Springsteen and Eminem actually present provocative points of view on their albums.
Posted at 08:57 AM
WHOULEY HYPOCRISY, BATMAN, JOHN KERRY'S RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT! [John J. Miller]
“If that occurred in another country,” said Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, “people would be taking the floor of the Senate and bemoaning thuggism.” That’s how the Democratic presidential candidate once described the behavior of GOP activists in Florida during the weeks of limbo following the 2000 election, when the GOP was being accused of suppressing black voter turnout. But Kerry’s Republicans were amateurs compared to what some of Al Gore’s operatives did earlier that year, on the day of the New Hampshire primary, when Gore held off a strong challenge from Bill Bradley by less than 6,400 votes. Partway through the afternoon, according to a recent report in the Boston Phoenix, Gore’s campaign obtained exit polls showing Bradley in the lead. So they literally took their fight to the streets: “Knowing that Bradley’s strength came from tony tech havens such as Bedford, the Gore team organized a caravan to clog highway I-93 with traffic so as to discourage potential Bradley voters from getting to the polls.” The Gore campaign’s Michael Whouley was one of the masterminds behind the traffic jam, and he’s so proud of this effort he recently bragged about it at a Harvard Kennedy School symposium. But don’t expect John Kerry to take to the floor of the Senate and bemoan Whouley’s thuggism--he decided to hire the guy instead.
Posted at 05:23 AM
THE ANTI-IKES [Rod Dreher]
Peggy Noonan wishes Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton would show a little class, a little patriotism, and shut up already.
Posted at 02:54 AM
"THE BONNIE BLUE FLAG" [Rod Dreher]
One interesting letter came from a California reader, who objected to the use of the rousing Confederate anthem "The Bonnie Blue Flag" in Gods and Generals. He says the filmmakers changed the lyrics to put the Confederates in a better light. He says the lyric (in the film) that says:
We are a band of brothers, and native to the soil/Fighting for our Liberty with treasure, blood and toil.
...is a bowdlerization. The original lyric, he says, goes like this:
We are a band of brothers and native to the soil/Fighting for the property we gained by honest toil.
Slaves were property, of course. The reader accuses the filmmakers of "falsifying history" to downplay the fact that one thing the Confederates were fighting for was the preservation of slavery. Regarding the true lyrics, the reader says not to take his word for it, to look it up.
Posted at 01:25 AM
GODS & GENERALS REDUX [Rod Dreher]
Thanks for all the mail on my Gods and Generals column. I am baffled by the few readers who thought I was somehow justifying slavery by my defense of the film against the political criticism it received. All I can say is: read the thing again. Who in their right mind would justify slavery today? Ron Maxwell's film certainly doesn't. But it does put the Confederate generals in a more human light, which serves to illuminate the tragedy of their gallant service. Being willing to fight and die for one's homeland is noble; when the defense of that homeland includes protecting that homeland's right to enslave human beings, it's tragic. Anyway, lest there be any confusion, I'm glad the South lost, because that loss not only delivered the slaves from bondage, but it delivered Southern slaveholders, and those whites who supported slavery, from their own corruption.
Others have written to say that Lee, Jackson, et al., were traitors, pure and simple, and they shouldn't be given any sympathy. I think this is the error of presentism, which is applying contemporary standards to a time and culture far removed from our own. Similarly, some have said that the Southern generals should have known that slavery was wrong. Again, this is applying the moral standards and clarity of the present day to the past, which is problematic. This is not to excuse, simply to offer a possible explanation for the failure of the South's moral imagination in that era. You know, 150 years from now, our descendants may say of us, "How on earth didn't they know how evil [abortion/cloning/etc.] was? How could they have let it be legal? How could their consciences have been so dull?"
Posted at 01:16 AM
ON THE OTHER HAND [Rod Dreher]
Now it's coming out that other bands have performed at The Station nightclub in the past using pyrotechnics (Fox News is even airing home video of one of these bands on stage there, sparks flying) -- directly contradicting the owners' statements that they would never allow pyrotechnics there.
Posted at 12:21 AM
A STARTLING REPORT [Rod Dreher]
A conservative UK think tank has released a scathing report about the steep decline of the Church of England, blaming left-wing and gay militancy within ecclesial ranks for the what it terms an across-the-board collapse of membership in the church. The report calls for Anglican bishops to resign because of the catastrophe. Interestingly, part of the report was written by novelist Fay Weldon, a former secularist liberal and a recent Anglican convert, who writes that the C. of E. is "bent on self destruction," and that Prince Charles was so enamored of Islam now "that the Church might well wish to disestablish itself in order to keep its distance." Mercy!
Posted at 12:08 AM
Sunday, February 23, 2003
NIGERIAN EMAIL SCAM DEATH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 11:29 PM
REUTERS, AGAIN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Israel to Split Christ's Birthplace with Barrier". I'm picturing a wall in the middle of the Church of the Nativity.
Posted at 09:03 PM
WWJE? (3) [Andrew Stuttaford]
One reader's suggestion: "soul food, of course."
Posted at 05:28 PM
FILM REVIEW OF THE YEAR [Andrew Stuttaford]
This is how a writer in the Village Voice recently began a review of the work of Lithuanian filmmaker Sarunas Bartas:
“A voice from the frontier of both post-post-industrial civilization and art-film reductionism, Lithuanian film-maker Sarunas Bartas may be the ultimate litmus test for hardcore cineastes. His films represent a polar cap of inhospitable cinematic ordeal – they withhold orthodox pleasures so strenuously you imagine the filmmaker as a marching ascetic, disgusted with a decadent movie world. A Bartas film rarely moves, and is never host to more than a few moments of inconsequential dialogue – you arrive long after life has already wound down into hopeless silence.”
Posted at 04:56 PM
RETURN OF THE STIFF UPPER LIP [Andrew Stuttaford]
It’s difficult to avoid the suspicion that much of current psychiatric ‘therapy’ is nothing more than advice to constantly pick at a scab until it gets really infected. It’s a pleasant surprise to find an article in the New York Times that comes to pretty much the same conclusion.
One of the psychologists interviewed in the piece tells of working with a woman who said she was a sexual-abuse survivor and schizophrenic. “She had been in so much therapy and told her story so many times, and it reinforced her feelings of being sick. She’d been terribly infantilized by the mental health system, a system that tells women to recover by walking around clutching teddy bears and crying…With this woman, we never asked her about her past.”
It’s an important article, and well worth reading.
Posted at 04:53 PM
THE NURSE CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s yet another casualty of Bloomberg’s loutish crusade against smoking in public places.
Posted at 04:47 PM
HOW RUDE WAS CHIRAC? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Not very, according to these two writers who protest a little too much in trying to argue that Chirac’s choice of words to lecture the East Europeans was less rude than it appears. Let’s just say that their approach to translation is generous to M. Chirac. More to the point, it’s important to remember that the French president’s remarks were made in a diplomatic context, a context when extreme politesse is usually the rule. The use of even possibly insulting words was clearly designed to send a message.
And the East Europeans understood what that was.
Posted at 04:41 PM
THE OTHER REGIS [Andrew Stuttaford]
The New York Times runs an op-ed today on the current tensions between the US and “Europe” by one Regis Debray. Debray is described as a “former adviser to President Francois Mitterand of France, …editor of Cahiers de Mediologie and the author of the forthcoming The God That Prevailed. Quite what his article is about is hard to say: the French intelligentsia has not lost its talent for incomprehensibility. It's also a shame that the NYT’s description of Debray is so bland.
Could this be the same Regis Debray who was once a crony of Castro and Guevara, the same Debray whose Revolution in the Revolution? was a basic manual for those who saw social revolution as the only way to resolve the problems of the Third World, the same Debray who traveled to Bolivia to join Guevara on his fruitless crusade to impose revolution on that country and who was jailed for his pains?
Yes, it could. Pity the New York Times didn’t say so.
Posted at 04:36 PM
SPIES LIKE THEM [Andrew Stuttaford]
According to Andrew Sullivan the latest Vanity Fair (my copy has disappeared into the clutches of Mrs. Stuttaford and is, therefore, unlikely to turn up any time soon) includes a favorable piece about a new TV series that apparently portrays Britain's infamous Cambridge spies in a sympathetic manner. Given the way that support for Stalin is usually (and wrongly) regarded as having been infinitely less reprehensible than support for Hitler, this would be no surprise.
I need (obviously) to read the Vanity Fair piece, but the conclusion to Sullivan’s post is, in particular, worth reproducing in its own right. He takes this extract from Vanity Fair:
"Double agents are hard to root for - but Cambridge Spies makes a splendid case. 'It is controversial, portraying these guys as heroes,' says [actor Rupert] Penry-Jones. 'But to stand up for what you believe in the way they did is pretty heroic.'"
And then Sullivan asks:
""Heroic.” What does that make Solzhenitsyn or Havel? Fools?"
Still, in the end these Gulag groupies faced justice of a sort, albeit inadequate. Blunt died a despised figure in Britain, and as brilliantly suggested by the movie An Englishman Abroad (with Alan Bates extraordinary as Guy Burgess) the new lives that Philby, Burgess and Maclean tried to build in the supposed socialist paradise were suitably miserable, although infinitely preferable, of course, to the prison cells they so richly deserved.
Fans of a good graveyard (I’m one – I’ve always wanted to write a guide to the best worldwide, to be called, of course, Necropolitan, although a quick Google search would suggest that the name has been used elsewhere) will enjoy a visit to Philby’s final destination, a splendidly bleak spot just outside Moscow. In one section people are classified according to the services they rendered the Soviet state (or at least they were - I saw this in the early 1990s). So, for example, the air force men are all buried in one section, the naval folk in another. The tombstones often reflect these career choices. Those for the airmen sometimes carry aviation motifs, while the naval section boasts a good number with a more nautical design.
Naturally (this was the ex-USSR) the spies and other secret policemen had their own section (this is where Philby can be found). And on their tombstones? Appropriately enough, at least a couple featured people with fedoras pulled down low over their faces.
As for Burgess: For all his crimes, it was always said that his London club would credit him with one thing. Before fleeing to Moscow he apparently made sure that the books he had borrowed from the club's library would be returned in good time. Betraying his country was one thing, letting down his club quite another – a nice little example of how the Cambridge spies remained weirdly true to the class that they worked so hard to destroy.
Posted at 04:19 PM
WHAT WOULD JESUS EAT? (2) [Andrew Stuttaford]
Curried garbanzo beans, apparently.
Posted at 01:51 PM
FASTING [Rod Dreher]
Pope John Paul II is calling on all Catholics to fast on Ash Wednesday (March 5) against war in Iraq. With all due respect to the Holy Father, I shall be fasting that day for victory over the tyrant, for the protection of our soldiers, and for the successful defense of the United States and its allies against Arab/Islamic terrorism.
Posted at 01:47 PM
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER [Andrew Stuttaford]
Some Brits, at least, are not happy with the BBC’s coverage of the current crisis, while others (my heart bleeds) are discovering that it is not so straightforward being a human shield as they had thought.
What next? Could we see those grisly Taliban veterans returned to Afghanistan?
Posted at 01:29 PM
TAKING A BYTE OUT OF MR. CHIPS? [Andrew Stuttaford]
A post on the Corner earlier this year on classroom use of the computer drew a large response. Computers, it is clear, are a useful tool and a fine teaching aid. They are not, however, any sort of substitute for a good teacher. The same is true of the ‘on-line classroom’.
What’s more, children appear to know it.
Posted at 01:10 PM
BLAIR AND THE POPE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s an interesting piece on Blair and the Pope from the Sunday Telegraph. This is a debate that is likely to continue for some time with most Christian denominations. Rome is not alone in its current stance on the situation in the Middle East.
Blair and Bush should relax. It’s a pretty good rule that, when it comes to geopolitics, the best advice is to listen to clergymen with respect, attention and ostentatious displays of humility.
And then do the opposite of what they advise.
Posted at 12:53 PM
WHAT WOULD JESUS EAT? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s a rather surprising item about a diet book based on what Jesus might have eaten. Notice the good sense talked by its author about wine.
Posted at 12:33 PM
MORE FROM THE LUNATIC ASYLUM [Andrew Stuttaford]
More on the UK as a haven for the Taliban. Last week it was the footsoldiers, this week it’s the secret police.
It’s just another reason to ignore Britain's arguments in favor of an International Criminal ‘court’. For all the talk about the importance of justice for the victims of tyranny, those notions clearly don’t apply when the Taliban was the oppressor and other Afghans were the oppressed.
Posted at 12:30 PM
PROFILE IN COURAGE [Rod Dreher]
On Meet the Press just now:
RUSSERT: "Would you take someone like Al Sharpton as your vice president?"
GEPHARDT: "I haven't made that decision yet. ..."
Isn't that something? Gephardt doesn't have the guts to say that he wouldn't choose Tawana Brawley's pastoral counselor, a rabble-rousing, race-baiting Harlem street preacher who has never served on as much as a sewer board, as his running mate. For non-Democrats, this Sharpton for President campaign is going to be an unparalled delight to watch. Rev. Al's opponents are scared to death of him.
Posted at 11:30 AM
CHINA IN SPACE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Hey, look, it's John J. in the Boston Globe.
Posted at 09:58 AM
I AM A DORK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I got an extra kick out of SNL last night because Douglas Feith (Undersecretary of Defense for Policy) was spoofed. The reason for the added enjoyment: he’s written for NR.
Posted at 07:04 AM
OUR KIND OF FRENCH INTELLECTUAL [Rod Dreher]
Andre Glucksmann, one of the 1980s nouveau philosophes, thinks Chirac and Schroder are "living on a cloud."
Posted at 12:57 AM