DEATH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Well, I don’t know, Rod, but that doesn’t seem like too bad a way to check out.
Come to think of it, the millionaire’s death bears some resemblance to the last days of President Mitterrand. If I remember the story correctly, he abandoned treatment of the cancer that was killing him and went on a trip to Egypt with his wife (or was it his mistress?) and then returned to France to be with his mistress (or was it his wife?).
His last meal was, reputedly, with close friends. He dined on oysters and ortolan (a rare - and apparently tasty - bird from southwestern France that it is illegal to hunt, sell or eat).
Mitterrand was a ghastly man, but, whatever else you might say about him, his final days seem to have had a certain style.
Posted at 09:47 PM
RECIPE [Andrew Stuttaford]
I should have said that ortolan is known as bunting in English. Here’s a recipe and some tips as to how to eat it (which is, of course, illegal – NRO does not endorse bunting hunting or munching) that I found on the Web:
“Cooking l'ortolan is simplicity itself. Simply pop them in a high oven for six to eight minutes and serve. The secret is entirely in the eating. First you cover your head with a traditional embroidered cloth. Then place the entire four-ounce bird into your mouth. Only its head should dangle out from between your lips. Bite off the head and discard. L'ortolan should be served immediately; it is meant to be so hot that you must rest it on your tongue while inhaling rapidly through your mouth. This cools the bird, but its real purpose is to force you to allow its ambrosial fat to cascade freely down your throat.
When cool, begin to chew. It should take about 15 minutes to work your way through the breast and wings, the delicately crackling bones, and on to the inner organs. Devotees claim they can taste the bird's entire life as they chew in the darkness: the wheat of Morocco, the salt air of the Mediterranean, the lavender of Provence. The pea-sized lungs and heart, saturated with Armagnac from its drowning, are said to burst in a liqueur-scented flower on the diner's tongue. Enjoy with a good Bordeaux.”
There are two theories as to why the ortolan eater is expected to chew his bunting under a sort of gourmet burqa:
The first? Shame. To hide your gluttony from God.
The second? Good manners. Who wants to watch someone sitting there with a bird’s head sticking out of his mouth?
Mitterrand, an atheist, believed in getting a good meal in before he died. Others have been more optimistic about their chances of a reservation in that great restaurant in the sky. The nineteenth century clergyman, Sidney Smith, described an acquaintance whose “idea of heaven” was “eating pate de foie gras to the sound of trumpets.”
“Down below”, of course, they serve Dr Pepper.
Posted at 09:44 PM
MODERNITY, PLEASE [Andrew Stuttaford]
One of the most frustrating aspects of the Western response to 9/11 has been the failure to articulate a secular case for rejecting the Wahhabi death cult. Instead, the administration’s emphasis (which almost certainly reflects its own PC reflexes and a certain tendency, shall we say, to piety) has been to stress moderate Islam as an alternative to al-Qaeda’s Cro-Magnon certainties. That’s all well and good – there are hundreds of millions of Muslims in the Arab world and elsewhere who need to know that the US is not their opponent and that the theological battle against Wahhabism is by no means lost - whatever Saudi-funded evangelists may claim.
However to regard Arabs as a people necessarily defined exclusively – or even primarily - by their religion is no more accurate than the all too often repeated suggestion that they are more comfortable in the embrace of an authoritarian state.
Contrary to the image created by all those pictures of the faithful rallying outside some mosque or other there is another alternative to the chant of the mullah – it’s secular, and, judging by this fascinating, and, I suspect, very important article by Charles Paul Freund, it may be being previewed on video. Here’s an extract:
“Can that be what is happening with Arabic videos? While they are entertaining and titillating viewers, they are also transmitting new ways of being to an apparently receptive audience, new and multiplying approaches to being an "Arab" that combine traditional forms of cultural self-presentation with forms borrowed from an array of other sources. The combinations that promise to emerge would not be mere copies of borrowed foreign models; they would be new and indigenous cultural creations, just as is the case in cultures around the world. This syncretism is already true of the music itself, which not only uses traditional Arabic instrumentation… in new ways but also borrows instruments and rhythms from the Caribbean, Europe, India, rock, rap… and numerous other sources.
What this low, "vulgar" genre is offering, in sum, is a glimpse of a latent Arab world that is both liberal and "modernized." Why? Because the foundation of cultural modernity is the freedom to achieve a self-fashioned and fluid identity, the freedom to imagine yourself on your own terms, and the videos offer a route to that process. By contrast, much of Arab culture remains a place of constricted, traditional, and narrowly defined identities, often subsumed in group identities that hinge on differences with, and antagonism toward, other groups.
For nearly a century, a series of utopian political systems has been advanced in the region to attempt to break this cycle of conflict and stagnation: Pan-Arabism, Ba’athism, Nasserism, Islamism, etc. These have all failed, sometimes disastrously. What may yet work in the region is what has worked elsewhere for centuries: commercialism that does not transmit a regime’s utopian dreams but addresses the personal dreams of the audience. “
Exactly. It’s time to stop appeasing the clerics.
Posted at 09:44 PM
REPUBLICANS AGAINST COMMONSENSE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Not for the first time, Orrin Hatch pops up as a member of this never very exclusive club.
Want to stop contraband cigarettes becoming too big a problem? Well, Orrin, sensible cigarette taxes are the answer – not intrusive legislation.
Reason has more.
Posted at 04:17 PM
OED ED [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Daily Telegraph reports that there’s yet another edition (this time illustrated) of the Oxford English Dictionary, but that’s really just an excuse to mention today’s rainy day (and long put off) reading, The Surgeon of Crowthorne, a truly delightful work about one very intriguing aspect of the production of the OED’s first edition.
The book also records how James Murray, the editor of the first OED, described himself when he applied for a job with the British Museum back in 1867:
“I have to state that Philology, both Comparative and special, has been my favourite pursuit during the whole of my life, and I possess a general acquaintance with the languages & literature of the Aryan and Syro-Arabic classes – not indeed to say that I am familiar with all or nearly all of these, but that I possess that general lexical and structural knowledge which makes the intimate knowledge only a matter of a little application. With several I have a more intimate acquaintance as with the Romance tongues, Italian, French, Catalan, Spanish, Latin & in a lesser degree Portuguese, Vaudois, Provencal, and various dialects. In the Teutonic branch, I am tolerably familiar with Dutch…Flemish, German, Danish. In Anglo-Saxon and Moeso-Gothic my studies have been much closer…I know a little of the Celtic, and am at present engaged with the Sclavonic, having obtained a useful knowledge of the Russian. In the Persian, Achaemenian Cuneiform, & Sanscrit branches, I know for the purposes of Comparative Philology. I have sufficient knowledge of Hebrew and Syriac to read at sight the Old Testament and Peshito; to a less degree I know Aramaic Arabic, Coptic and Phoenician to the point where it is left by Genesius.”
Naturally, he didn’t get the job.
Posted at 04:16 PM
EU - NO! [Andrew Stuttaford]
Just how crooked is Diamond Giscard’s constitutional handiwork?
Very, it seems.
Posted at 04:15 PM
EU - YES! [Andrew Stuttaford]
Yes, really. Annoying (to use the mildest of adjectives) though the EU is, the Poles should vote yes in this weekend’s referendum (any comment, Commissioner Patten?) whether to join the European Union. A yes vote will further underpin Poland’s long overdue return to the West and the Poles, unless their ruling elite becomes totally corrupted by Brussels – something that is far from impossible, unfortunately, – should be a welcome voice for Atlanticism in Brussels.
With a bit of luck, the arrival of the Poles (and the other East European applicants) should hasten that happy day when the federal model EU collapses (to borrow a phrase) under the weight of its own contradictions and becomes what it always should have been - a free trade zone.
Posted at 04:13 PM
WORLD'S SMALLEST VIOLIN [Rod Dreher]
Now, 13,000 Arab and Muslim men living illegally in the United States may be deported, even though they have no established ties to terrorism. So? What part of "living here illegally" don't they understand?
Posted at 03:09 PM
PATTEN, YET AGAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
European civil servant Chris Patten has a bizarre piece in this week’s issue of the London Spectator. It’s whiny, intellectually dishonest, over-stuffed and self-congratulatory, much like the man himself. A couple of points need highlighting:
“I hate referendums, which the late and great Julian Critchley used to call the form of plebiscitary democracy favoured by Hitler and Mussolini. Referendums on national issues are offered by governments out of weakness.”
That’s an interesting point, Commissioner Patten. Why don’t you go and make it in all those EU (or potential EU) countries that are holding referenda, either on Diamond Giscard’s ‘constitution’ or on the decision (Poland is voting this weekend) whether to join the EU?
Referenda are, Patten sneers, “popular with unelected newspaper editors.” Ah yes, unelected newspaper editors, a so much inferior species than, ahem, unelected EU Commissioners, eh, Chris?
Then Patten asks whether the UK wishes to “enjoy the notional independence of staying outside the eurozone and excluding [itself] from the decisions that will determine the development of [its] most important market? If anyone thinks that that represents a defence of real sovereignty, they should talk to the Norwegians.”
Indeed they should. The Norwegians seem quite happy with the existing state of arrangements (Norway has an association agreement – the EEA - with the EU, but is not a member). They should also chat to the Canadians. Our friends up North show few signs of wishing to adopt the currency used in their most important market. They must like that “notional” independence of theirs.
I don’t claim to know which party Patten really favors, but whichever it is – he disgraces it.
Posted at 03:05 PM
RED DIAPER BABIES [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s a lengthy piece in today’s Guardian that, none too subtly, attempts to draw comparisons between the climate in today’s America and the McCarthy era. Among the highlights:
A description by that well-known Sovietophile, Vichy boulevardier and ‘philosopher’, Jean-Paul Sartre, of the execution of the Rosenbergs as:
“A legal lynching that has covered a whole nation in blood”.
Hmmm, Sartre. Could that be the same Sartre that said Khruschev’s denunciation of Stalin’s crimes should be kept secret lest it “discourage” the working class?
And then there’s this:
“Investigations and revelations since the end of the cold war have revealed that Julius Rosenberg probably did pass secrets to the Soviet Union, although nothing remotely as serious as those relating to the atomic bomb.”
Curiously, the article does not cite, for example, comments such as this (from papers summarized by former Soviet spy Vasili Mitrokhin):
“…David Greenglass was recruited through a group of S&T agents run by Julius Rosenberg (codenamed successively ANTENNA and LIBERAL…The members of the Rosenberg ring, who included his wife Ethel…were producing so many classified documents to be photographed …that the New York residency was running short of film. The residency reported that Rosenberg was receiving so much intelligence from his agents that he was finding it difficult to cope. “We are afraid of putting LIBERAL out of action with overwork.”
Posted at 03:01 PM
IS THAT ALL THERE IS? [Rod Dreher]
Canadian filmmaker Denys Arcand's new film "The Barbarian Invasions" was a hit at the Cannes film festival. It's about an aging left-wing baby boomer who, dying of cancer, is comforted by his millionaire son. The kid brings all his dad's pals together, brings them to a lakeside where they smoke pot, talk about sex and politics, and indulge in a buffet that includes caviar and vintage wine. Then Remy goes out on his own terms by shooting up with a fatal dose of heroin. In today's New York Times, Arcand, 62, says of this film, "I wanted to imagine the perfect death. The death I would wish for myself." What a statement about the Sixties generation.
Posted at 03:01 PM
BROOKHISER'S RAKE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Read the official NRO interview with Rick on his new book. And buy the book here.
Posted at 10:06 AM
SADDAM DAUGHTERS WILL NOT GET ASYLUM IN U.K. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 10:01 AM
THE STEYN AGENDA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mark Steyn, fresh from the Middle East, on what must be done now.
Posted at 09:55 AM
HITCH ON THE CHICKS [Rod Dreher]
Read this entire Financial Times story to find out what Christopher Hitchens had to say about the Dixie Chicks.
Posted at 09:37 AM
22, THE COMEBACK KID & THE GIPPER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A number of readers have pointed out that Ronald Reagan was no fan of the 22nd amendment either (Steven Chapman mentions here). Surprise, surprise, Dems were upset back then that a Republican president leaving office was proposing such a thing. So people's positions on presidential term limits depends on who the president complaining about the amendment is? I'll speak for meself: Never been a fan of term limits for anyone. I'm pretty sure we'd be critics of Rudy as mayor now--it's inevitable--but people wanted him in ‘01, and the alternatives were terrible, as we are seeing now in NYC. Though I don't see a movement for repealing the 22nd Amendment catching fire, and I am not going to push it along, the term limit has never been something I am terribly comfortable with. Would that have meant a third Clinton term, if Reagan had lead a successful movement to get it repealed? Who knows how the 2000 campaign would have played out--but it is certainly a possibility. But, even when people make lousy decisions, that is the way we usually work, isn't it? They can always fix it in four years. And yes—it goes without saying--given what has happened in the world in the last few years, I am very glad things happened the way they did presidency wise, 22nd or not.
Posted at 09:35 AM
25 YEARS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This weekend is the anniversary of the Solzhenitsyn Harvard speech; be sure to check out Jay's anniversary speech at Harvard here. The full 1978 speech can be read here.
Posted at 09:02 AM
GREEN MOVEMENT [John J. Miller]
Global warming is good for plants in the Amazon rainforest, according to a new report.
Posted at 08:42 AM
Friday, June 06, 2003
GO AWAY, COMEBACK KID [John J. Miller]
K Lo: That's a cool poll on Bush vs. Clinton. Here's what the former president recently said about the 22nd Amendment (limiting a president to two terms): "There may come a time when we have elected a president at age 45 or 50 and then 20 years later, the country comes up with the same sorts of problems the president faced before, and the people would like to bring that man or woman back." So he doesn't much like it. If there hadn't been a 22nd Amendment, Clinton says he would have tried to remain in office: "You’d have had to throw me out." Memo to Bubba: Judging from this new poll, looks like we might have done just that.
Posted at 04:13 PM
LEFT WATCH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm doing Buchanan & Press this evening, and one of our topics is apparently going to be a left-wing confab held this week in D.C. So I checked out the agenda for the meeting, which brought together people who think the Democratic party isn't doing enough to fight Bush, and found two mildly interesting things: 1) Arianna Huffington, recently described as an "outspoken conservative" by William Raspberry, was signing her latest book at the conference; and 2) our pal Hans Riemer, the head of the Washington office of Rock the Vote!, was a panelist.
Posted at 03:00 PM
COME BUY DERB'S STUFF [John Derbyshire]
Total panic today: (1) Sports Day at Danny's school, (2) Multi-family garage sale in Chestnut St., (3) TOTALLY behind on work. Screw it all--I'm going to take Boris for walkies. Rosie is really, really good at garage sales. $70 this morning already (at 11:30 am).
Posted at 02:19 PM
PROGRESS [Rod Dreher]
A federal judge has declared Dallas public schools to be officially desegregated, ending 32 years of federal oversight. When court-ordered busing began in Dallas, the public schools were 59 percent white. Today, less than seven percent of Dallas public schoolchildren are white. As school officials told the Dallas Morning News for today's editions, it's hard to have a segregated school system when only a handful of students are white (white families having put their kids in private schools, or lit out for the suburbs to escape busing). This, we are told, is progress.
Posted at 01:49 PM
D-DAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader just made me look at my calendar: Today is the 59th anniversary of D-Day. Here's President Reagan's speech from the 40th.
Posted at 01:44 PM
UNVEILED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
After hearing three days of testimony last week, Circuit Judge Janet C. Thorpe ruled that Sultaana Freeman's right to free exercise of religion would not be infringed by having to show her face on her license.
Posted at 01:17 PM
53 VS. 32 [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Americans wouldn't want Bill Clinton as president. Phew. People get it.
Posted at 01:02 PM
DON'T SUGAR THE PILL, GUYS [John Derbyshire]
The British are just a tad more frank than us in the way they say things. From the lead editorial, about the New York Times flap, in today's Daily Telegraph: "Raines, who is a guilt-ridden white liberal from Alabama, indulged Blair, who is 27 and black and had been hired as part of the paper's affirmative action policy, to the point of lunacy."
Posted at 12:41 PM
"TELLS ALL!" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
That's the promo for Larry King's interview with Hillary Clinton. But she isn't telling all, if "all" is understood to mean "the truth." But as the Media Research Center points out, a lot of journalists are taking her claims at face value--notably Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric.
Posted at 12:28 PM
BILL CLINTON: HE'S JUST TOO GOOD. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A preview of 20/20 from Good Morning America this morning:
Charlie Gibson: "Yeah, did she ever rationalize why there were these women in his life?"
Posted at 12:28 PM
REAGAN STREET [John J. Miller]
The New Atlantic Initiative, a project of the American Enterprise Institute, is one of several groups sponsoring an essay contest for Polish students on "Why President Ronald Reagan deserves a street of his name in my town." I couldn't find a mention of it on the NAI website, but an email says that high school and university students should send their entries of 1500 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, June 20, 2003. Winners will receive Dell computers at a ceremony in Warsaw. What a nifty idea. Somebody should run a few similar contests right here in the USA.
Posted at 12:27 PM
AN UNNECESSARY CAVE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The Senate voted to extend the child tax credit to people who don't pay income taxes. The only holdouts were Oklahoma's Republican senators, Don Nickles and Jim Inhofe. The media and the Democrats were pounding Republicans over the issue, but I doubt that most voters were paying much attention. To the extent that the Republicans were being hurt by the charge that they had stiffed working people, this cave-in makes the problem worse: Now they look as though they were trying to pull something and got caught. The House Republicans are not planning to go along with this, and they're right.
Posted at 12:24 PM
IMPROPER JUDICIAL CONDUCT [Jonathan H. Adler]
A review by a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has found that Chief Judge Boyce Martin improperly intervened in the University of Michigan affirmative action case in a fashion that may have affected the outcome. See news reports here and here. [Note: Some news reports on this matter imply the Sixth Circuit's decision split on purely partisan lines. This is untrue. One Clinton appointee voted to invalidate the University's use of preferences in admissions.]
Posted at 10:42 AM
A CYNTHIA MCKINNEY COMEBACK? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Just when you thought it was safe to turn on C-SPAN....
Posted at 08:12 AM
OF PRIME IMPORTANCE [John Derbyshire]
The March result by Goldston and Yildirim on the gaps between prime numbers (which I posted a note about a few weeks ago) has now been found to have a flaw in its proof. G&Y have gone back to the drawing board. I must say, reading about this makes a refreshing change from the worlds of politics and the humanities, where nobody ever admits he is wrong about anything. When I wrote about Creationism recently on this site, I got lots of e-mail from anti-Darwinians telling me how stubbornly scientists cling to wrong ideas, and how ruthless they are in defense of their pet theories. Well, I have no doubt that, personality-wise, a scientist can be as blinkered and pig-headed as anyone else; and scientific disputes in which the evidence is ambiguous can get very rancorous. The peer-review process is remorseless, though, especially in math, and the only possible attitude for a researcher faced with convincing refutation is one of absolute humility before truth and logic.
Posted at 08:10 AM
BLAIR WAS DOING HIS JOB [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From yesterday's New York Times press release on the resignations (bold is mine):
The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT - News), a leading media company with 2002 revenues of $3.1 billion, includes The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, 16 other newspapers, eight network-affiliated television stations, two New York City radio stations and more than 40 Web sites, including NYTimes.com and Boston.com. For the third consecutive year, the Company was ranked No. 1 in the publishing industry in Fortune's 2002 list of America's Most Admired Companies. In 2003 the Company was named by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. The Company's core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.
Posted at 08:08 AM
I'M OFF TO CNN... [Jonah Goldberg]
For my semi-regular Friday morning gig. Should be on around 8:30.
Posted at 07:14 AM
RE: MULTI-TRANSLATING [Jonah Goldberg]
I had a philosophy professor who told me that Heidegger's works were translated into French and then back into German all the time in the hope that a new insight or decipherable sentence might fall out and clank to the floor. I know there are lots of readers out there who quote Heidegger as if Being and Time was a Bazooka Joe comic. But I've got to tell you I thought it's like rolling an egg up the staicase of a skyscraper with your nose.
Posted at 07:10 AM
WCBS? [Jonah Goldberg]
A true sign Jayson Blair has got mental problems: He gave his first television interview to WCBS in New York. He could have cried for Barbara Walters or Oprah. Instead, he gives his money interview to a local news station outside on the street. Weird.
Posted at 07:05 AM
YES.... [Jonah Goldberg]
There will be a G-File today. There's also my new syndicated column which actually includes some reporting a rarity -- unless you think breaking developments with my dog counts as reporting. But I will also be out of pocket for most of the day because I have to head out to the Hillsdale Academy to give the commencement address.
Posted at 07:02 AM
ALL HE WANTS FOR FATHER'S DAY IS AN NRO MUG [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It's all I have ever wanted! Really. Okay. I lie. Maybe I want an NRO apron and an NRO beer mug and an NRO tote and...if the dudes on your father's day list are cool, they would, too. Shop NRO! Of course, the coolest gift would be a subscription to NRODT!
Posted at 06:30 AM
Thursday, June 05, 2003
DERB'S TRANSLATION STUNT [John Derbyshire]
Don't blame me. Mark Twain thought of it first.
Posted at 10:19 PM
LOOK WHAT DERB HAS SET IN MOTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Yet another e-mail:
I couldn't resist: Jayson Blair's comment from English to French to German and back to English:
Posted at 09:31 PM
WHAT BAD ROLE MODELS IN THE CORNER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Wow, I think this is babelfish translating and re-translating idea is the most fun I've had in long time! Thanks alot guys! I'm supposed to be writing essays for scholarship applications, but I'm sure I'll be on the Net all night translating my favorite Simpsons quotes.
Posted at 08:35 PM
STAND BY YOUR MAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Oh the irony. Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" has been ranked the top country song of all time in a Country Music Television survey.
Posted at 08:05 PM
I'M LOOKING... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...for a good general history of labor unions and religion. Any thoughts email me at email@example.com. Thanks!
Posted at 07:15 PM
WHAT OUR READERS DO IN THEIR SPARE TIME? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From an e-mail:
K-Lo, John Derbyshire's translation of Ramesh P.'s sentence from English to Chinese and back to English seemed like such fun, I translated Jayson Blair's comment which you reported from English to Spanish, Spanish back to English, that to Chinese and back again and came up with: "I grieve hear, the more people whereabouts in has destraillado this event order. Longs for balanced head stops with me."
Posted at 06:33 PM
TENURE [John Derbyshire]
Ramesh: I'm sorry, but my attention has been trapped this past 5 minutes of so by the first sentence in one of your e-mails: "If Jonathan has this much time to waste with me when he doesn't have it, I can hardly imagine how much he'll have when he gets it." Unable to encompass it, I used Babelfish to translate it into Chinese and then translate the Chinese back into English. This is what I got: "If Jonathan had by now wastes with me worked as his it, how many I could nearly not imagine him obtain when him it." That's better!
Posted at 05:03 PM
SARCASM-LACED POST [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ramesh, you're such a cynic. Jayson Blair's response to the events of the day:
Blair responded to the resignations in a two-sentence e-mail to CNN: "I am sorry to hear that more people have fallen in this sequence of events that I had unleashed. I wish the rolling heads had stopped with mine."
Posted at 04:05 PM
RE: GM FOODS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm in 100% agreement with John. The only thing I'd add -- for now -- is that I think pro-GM food people are nuts for not emphasizing the fact that GM foods are more likely to save rain forests and the critters who live in them. Much of the world's rainforests are being cleared for shabby range and farm land. If we could grow all the world's food -- never mind wood -- out of a thimble, that would mean the economic incentives for the poor and the rich to clear rainforests would all but disappear. It's similar to why viagra helps save the rhino (no puns intended, required or solicited). The more Asian cultures don't need superstitious remedies -- e.g. ground rhino horn -- to do the voodoo they need done because they have that little blue pill, the better.
Posted at 04:04 PM
HOW HAPPY... [Ramesh Ponnuru]
must Jayson Blair be today?
Posted at 03:03 PM
TENURE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
If Jonathan has this much time to waste with me when he doesn't have it, I can hardly imagine how much he'll have when he gets it. I'll never be able to debate him again.
Posted at 03:02 PM
TANGLED WEBS [John J. Miller]
K Lo, I'm offended that you don't consider my exchange with Rich over the merits of Jeff Weaver to be one of The Corner's greatest moments.
Posted at 02:53 PM
A BLEGGING E-MAIL TO WARM MY HEART [Rich Lowry]
"Subject: re: Blegging
There is no such thing as too much blegging. We readers are a resource to be used and appreciated. It makes us feel special. Bleg away."
Despite my snarky Jonah posting below, he's right about my outrageous blegging. Until I get off my book deadline, though, it's going to continue. Corner readers are unbelievably helpful, with links, suggestions of people to call, and thoughtful comments. I promise my blegging-to-substantive posting ratio will improve in a few weeks. In the meantime, thanks to everyone for the help--it's deeply appreciated.
Posted at 02:38 PM
GM FOODS, PT. 2 [John J. Miller]
The latest wave of biotech crops bring several advantages, from higher yields to better conservation. The most important practical benefit, however, is that they require much less pesticide in order to grow. Some have been genetically modified to produce natural toxins that are deadly to certain pests but harmless to every other living creature. So they don't need as much chemical spraying. It's a great benefit for farmers, who no longer have to apply nearly as much of the stuff--a big cost savings and better for their health. It also helps consumers. I think we all would prefer some pesticide on the plants we eat, but not too much--enough to keep the plants from picking up diseases that can hurt us, but not so much that the stuff affects our own bodies in bad ways. GM crops help make this possible.
Posted at 01:55 PM
GM FOODS [John J. Miller]
I'm with Jonah on the genetic modification of food. Seedless grapes are the result of genetic experimentation. The tomatoes we eat are derived from a wild plant that produced little red berries, way back before prehistoric farmers started wondering if they could make them bigger and yummier. Kiwi fruit derives from the Chinese gooseberry, which is not edible. Cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli are all from the same original plant. And that's just for starters. Here's a pretty good essay on crop evolution, by C.S. Prakash.
Posted at 01:54 PM
HYPOCRISY WATCH [Jonah Goldberg]
As I anticipated, Rich has declared that he who is without sin (or blegs) should cast the first stone. First, as I noted in my recent piece in National Review, hypocrisy in and of itself is not a sufficient argument. If I murder people that doesn't mean I am wrong when I say Rich shouldn't murder people. The same goes for blegging (the solicitation of help from readers in a blog). Indeed, I made that argument in the context of Bill Bennett's recent troubles. Which brings me to the second point. The issue is not whether blegging (like gambling) in and of itself is a sin. It isn't. No, the issue is whether or not Rich blegged too much. Is it causing him trouble in his daily life? Is he leaving the dinner table in order to ask readers how much he should tip? If he were Neo in the Matrix, would he bleg: "HELP - SHOULD I TAKE THE RED PILL OR THE BLUE PILL?"
Posted at 01:45 PM
DOES HILTON KRAMER KNOW ABOUT THIS? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 01:05 PM
THE HORROR, THE HORROR [Rick Brookhiser]
Here Andrew Sullivan, who was, on the subject of Howell Raines, like one of the lonely samurai pursuing the evil lord in Chushingura (sp?), is blogging from a park bench in Provincetown, because his phone line is down, unaware of the news.
Posted at 12:59 PM
CHEMCIAL ALI ALIVE? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
FNC reporting CENTCOM thinks he is.
Posted at 12:36 PM
HELP--BLEGGING CRITIC IN GLASS HOUSE [Rich Lowry]
Yesterday, Jonah upbraided me for too much blegging. It cast my mind back to one of the great blegs of all time. As I recall it went something like this:
HELP—I MISSED MY FLIGHT [Goldberg]
Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggghh. I missed my 2:30 p.m. flight. Usually it only takes 20 minutes to get to the airport, but today it took 25 minutes. I told the cab driver not to take Rock Creek Parkway, but he took Rock Creek Parkway, and the traffic was really bad, especially the ½ mile right before the airport, so I didn’t make it. So this is what I need. If anyone out there knows anyone from Maine who knows anyone from Orono who knows anyone from University of Maine who knows anyone from the speakers program, ask them whether it’s worth me buying a ticket with my credit card on the 4:45 p.m. flight. When you have an answer, please e-mail me, subject-header: "Re: Jonah, go-ahead and buy a ticket with your credit card on the 4:45 p.m. flight." If it’s too late, please tell head of the speaker’s program Mary Robinson that I feel terrible and this is the worst thing I’ve done since I misremembered last week the number of Tribbles that fell on Captain Kirk’s head during the 32nd minute of the "Trouble with the Tribbles" episode. (I know, I know, it was 19, not 17. I still maintain a few the Tribbles weren’t fully mature so shouldn't really count as whole Tribbles—-but I’m in no position to argue at the moment people!) If you talk to her, please e-mail me, subject-header: “Re: Jonah, I told Mary Robinson that you feel terrible and this is the worst thing you've done since you misremembered last week the number of Tribbles that fell on Captain Kirk’s head.” Thanks. If I don’t make it, I’m just going to have to go home and relax by giving the old Wonderdog a good long hot soak in the tub. Gotta run, but if you want to hear more details about Cos hygiene just e-mail, subject-header: "Re: bubblebath."
Posted at 12:31 PM
LATER TOO [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm off as well, but not to do anything as interesting as listening to Roger Scruton. Rather, as I don't have tenure (yet?), I need to work on an interminably long paper with hundreds of footnotes discussing the implications of antitrust law for fishery conservation. (For those who find such things mildly interesting -- or who need a good sleep aid -- an early version, sans hundreds of footnotes, can be found here.)
Posted at 12:27 PM
CENTRALIZATION [Jonathan H. Adler]
Ramesh asks (in a non-testy fashion, to be sure): "In what serious sense does the replacement of a regime in which the federal government's judicial branch says partial-birth abortion may not be banned by one in which the federal government says it is banned amount to a centralization of political power?" My answer: Because the constitutional justification for such an exercise of Congressional power is more difficult to contain. That is, if such an exercise of Congressional power is constitutional, so are many other heretofore impermissible exercises of power. (See also here.)
Posted at 12:22 PM
E-MAIL SUBJECT LINES [John Derbyshire]
I am still trying to read all my email, though now way behind (about 3 weeks on my Hotmail a/c). Among the strategies I have adopted to weed out spam, I am now ruthlessly deleting any e-mail whose subject line is not VERY OBVIOUSLY related to me, my books, or some article I have written. As I'm sure everyone knows, junk e-mail nowadays comes with bland, generic, innocuous-looking subject lines: "In your neighborhood," "Wanna hear a story?" "Special request," and so on. I am now deleting all such. To get through to me, please furnish a specific, clear subject line. "Derb I totally disagree with you about gun control" will get read; "Disagreement" won't. "Derb I think your book Prime Obsession should get a big fat prize" will DEFINITELY be read; "Compliments on your achievement" will not. Sorry to have to lay down the law like this, but I have to do something to stop e-mail taking over my life.
Posted at 12:15 PM
FAME AT LAST [John Derbyshire]
The verb "to bleg" seems to have settled in happily at NRO. Has anyone seen it elsewhere? (In this sense, I mean -- I am not interested in the Berliner Landesentwicklungsgesellschaft.) If so, it will presumably end up in dictionaries. In which case I want to lay claim to it, as I am pretty sure I invented it--here in The Corner, then in my July 2002 Diary.
Posted at 12:13 PM
SCROLL DOWN! SCROLL DOWN! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
People keep e-mailing me to tell me to look at Drudge so we know Raines resigned. We know! We know. We mentioned it before Drudge, chill. And we'll have more on it, don't you doubt it.
Posted at 12:12 PM
RE: SCRUTON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ramesh, does it matter (what he is talking about)? Have fun. (Everyone else: I think you can watch it online on the Heritage website.)
Posted at 11:41 AM
SOURCES OF AUTHORITY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Congress only has those powers explicitly enumerated in the Constitution When confronted with a statute that exceeds such powers, the Supreme Court has the obligation to strike the statute down. When there is doubt as to whether a statute falls within Congress' authority, it is reasonable for the Court to construe the statute narrowly so as to preserve its constitutionality. It is not reasonable for the Court to simply assume that Congress has found a questionable factual predicate -- e.g. that the 14th Amendment extends to the unborn or that a late-term abortion ban a prophylactic measure necessary to protect newborn infants. It is the lesser evil for the Court to strike such a statute down until such time as Congress has shown the Court the basis for its action.
Ramesh is certainly correct that I ultimately disagree with his substantive claim as well. Ramesh's substantive argument provides the justification for the complete nationalization of criminal law and much health law. The reality is that states have always determined when life begins and when life ends for the purposes of criminal law, and states have made different judgments over time as to these issues. Such judgments are inherent in each state's police power. Congress has no such power under our system, and I find untenable any interpretation of the 14th Amendment that would seem to imply otherwise.
It also seems to me that if the 14th Amendment's equal protection guarantee extends to unborn life -- a necessary predicate for Ramesh's claim that Congress can "enforce" this guarantee through a PBA ban or other legislation -- this would suggest Roe is wrong not because it nationalized the abortion question (the position of Scalia, Rehnquist, Bork, et al.), but because it failed to find that legal abortion is itself unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. This is another reason why I find Ramesh's constitutional interpretation unconvincing.
Posted at 11:41 AM
LATER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Off to the Heritage Foundation to listen to Roger Scruton talk about something; I forget what.
Posted at 11:36 AM
TESTINESS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I've got nothing against it: I've sometimes enjoyed the Goldberg-Dreher exchanges on crunchy conservatism, for example. I don't think Adler has been particularly testy, though, and I think I haven't either (in general). Adler's position is reasonable, especially given some currently widespread assumptions about judicial power, and my own position is clearly a minority one among conservative legal thinkers. I just think it's wrong.
Posted at 11:33 AM
EXCELLENT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Wall Street Journal editorial on Martha Stewart today.
Posted at 11:31 AM
A QUESTION FOR ADLER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Given your view of the commerce clause and equal-protection clause, what was the constitutional warrant for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Posted at 11:25 AM
WHAT'S PROPPING UP NORTH KOREA? SOUTH KOREA [John Derbyshire]
Fascinating piece in the Journal (needs subscription) by a NK defector. During his debriefing by SK Intel people, it became clear to him that propping up NK was the main aim of the South's "sunshine policy" & that terror of an NK collapse, with following floods of refugees (spelled "cheap labor"), is a major factor in SK strategy towards the North. Not very surprising, but nice to see it from one who should know. Not actually that irrational, either--but very short-sighted. Also immoral: "We mind NK-ers flooding our labor markets much more than we mind them starving to death by the million."
Posted at 11:23 AM
CENTRALIZATION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Oh please. In what serious sense does the replacement of a regime in which the federal government's judicial branch says partial-birth abortion may not be banned by one in which the federal government says it is banned amount to a centralization of political power?
Posted at 11:23 AM
RE: FEDERALISM [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah -- My point isn't that a federal murder law or federal abortion law is a "bad idea," so much as that both are unconstitutional. There are many good policy ideas that may nonetheless lie beyond the reach of the federal government. While I know you probably rcognize (and agree) with this distinction, I think it is important to reiterate. Judging the constitutionality of statutes based upon whether they are "good" or "bad" policy is part of how we got into this mess in the first place. My hope is that conservatives will help lead the way out -- and that requires adhering to constitutional principle even when it hurts.
Posted at 11:20 AM
SOURCES OF AUTHORITY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Prof. Adler says that “Congress always has an affirmative obligation to identify the source of its authority whenever it enacts legislation.” Whence does that obligation derive? Is there a constitutional provision that says that Congress has to do this? Is there a provision that says that the Supreme Court should strike down any law that does not fulfill this supposed obligation? If Adler is not suggesting that the Court must strike down a law on this basis, then it appears that his argument does indeed depend on my argument’s being wrong. My argument, I should make it clear, was not that the Court should uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion because it “might” be constitutional but that it should uphold it because it is constitutional.
Adler claims that even within the terms of my equal-protection argument, a law against partial-birth abortion fails because it does not provide full equal protection to the unborn. I do believe that Congress would be within its constitutional rights to ban any method of killing embryonic and fetal human beings. But to have the power to ban a set of actions seems to me, at least in this case, to imply the power to ban any subset of them. All states would ban the puncturing of Adler’s skull and the sucking out of his “intra-cranial contents,” and the same protection should be given to the unborn, whether or not Congress is yet prepared to provide equal protection in other respects.
Posted at 11:19 AM
FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm off to CNN to discuss NYT and other stuff. Should either be at noon or 12:30.
Posted at 11:17 AM
RE: RAINES & BOYD [John Derbyshire]
Good grief! Liberals taking responsibility, instead of merely "taking responsibility"! Pigs may yet fly.
Posted at 11:16 AM
DUDES... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...if this day ends with Raines resigns, pba ban passed, filibuster ends--I'm taking a vacation. Iraq is free....although isn't there still a presidential impeachment bill...? I guess all isn't right with the world...
Posted at 11:15 AM
FILIBUSTER FINISHED? [Jonathan H. Adler]
That could be the implication of this hearing. (Link via HJB.)
Posted at 11:10 AM
WHEN GREENS FIGHT GREENS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Windmills are eco-friendly because they don't pollute. But, wait, they kill birds, take up lots of land, and are ugly to boot. What's a self-respecting environmentalist to do?!?
Posted at 11:03 AM
Here's a link.
Posted at 11:03 AM
ONE BAD TURN . . . [Jonathan H. Adler]
Let me get this straight, because the Supreme Court has been a centralizing force by nationalizing certain issues -- something we all agree was a really bad thing -- Congress should centralize things even further. I suppose I understand the logic of the argument, but I thought the traditional NR view was to stand athwart history and yell "stop," not to pile on.
Posted at 10:59 AM
MCTEER, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
(I've seen some critiques of his piece, but none that address directly the point I'm talking about.)
Posted at 10:59 AM
RAINES, BOYD RESIGN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 10:58 AM
IT'S TRUE! [Jonah Goldberg]
Boyd and Raines are stepping (falling) down!
Posted at 10:57 AM
ANOTHER QUESTION FOR MY AUSTRIAN-SCHOOL CORRESPONDENTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
again about the Wall Street Journal op-ed page: Yesterday it ran a piece by Robert McTeer, a man who I'm sure would be a great Federal Reserve chairman. But he endorsed, in his piece, both Keynes's "paradox of thrift" and Bastiat's "parable of the broken window." Aren't these lessons contradictory?
Posted at 10:56 AM
HEARING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Raines has resigned, evidently, from the NYTimes.
Posted at 10:53 AM
FEDERALISM, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
As a policy matter (rather than as a constitutional one), I think there are sound arguments for having homicide, including the type of homicide that partial-birth abortion is, prohibited at the state level. The weight of that policy argument, however, depends on political circumstances--including the fact that the Supreme Court has unjustifiably federalized abortion law.
Posted at 10:53 AM
CONGRESS' OBLIGATIONS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Ramesh, I believe Congress always has an affirmative obligation to identify the source of its authority whenever it enacts legislation. I recognize Congress may not do this much anymore, but that does not alter my position. When Congress enacts legislation the constitutionality of which is unclear, I do not believe the Court should simply uphold the statute because it might be constitutional. I further believe the Supreme Court has an affirmative obligation to strike down legislation that exceeds Congress' enumerated powers.
Under the 14th Amendment, Congress only has the authority to "enforce" the substantive guarantees of the amendment, not to define their scope. A federal law limiting abortion would have to be justified on the grounds that Congress has identified a constitutional violation of fetal equal protection rights that has not been recognized by the courts, or that Congress believes that a law is a necessary prophylactic measure to protect judicially recognized rights. In either case, the claim will be dependent upon a factual predicate that is not likely to be self-evident -- at least not for the reviewing court. Thus, in either case I think the Court is correct in requiring Congress to make its case. (In other words, I think the Court was correct in the Boerne decision, though I suspect you may disagree.) The alternative, in my view, makes Congress the final arbiter of the extent of its own power, a result that guts the constitutional design.
Three other points: First, the conscientious Congressman should, at the very least, make clear the basis upon which he is casting his vote, if not insist that the legislation include appropriate findings. Second, while I think the 14th Amendment argument is "reasonable," I also think it is wrong. Third, and finally, the 14th Amendment justification may be particularly problematic for the partial-birth law, because it is hard to see how a law that bans only one form of late-term abortion ensures the equal protection of late-term fetuses, infants, or any other cognizable class. Thus, the 14th Amendment argument for a federal late-term abortion ban -- or even a complete ban -- would be stronger than than for the partial-birth ban.
Posted at 10:50 AM
A SAUDI "NORMAL LIFE" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An executioner speaks:
He says he is calm at work because he is doing God's work. "But there are many people who faint when they witness an execution. I don't know why they come and watch if they don't have the stomach for it.
Posted at 10:49 AM
RE: PARTIAL-BIRTH AND FEDERALISM [Jonah Goldberg]
I guess I agree with Ramesh on the Con Law stuff. Though if Adler was able to persuade the federal government to be federalist on everything else, not just partial birth abortion, I could certainly live with that compromise. After all, I agree with Adler that a federal murder law is a bad idea so I'm sympathetic to the idea that a federal abortion law is a bad idea too. However, what I really want to say is that I applaud the testiness of this debate. We need more of it here. Twist the knives, heap the scorn, pour on the sarcasm, hit 'em in the torts. Faster federalists! Kill! Kill!
Posted at 10:47 AM
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF ROLLS UP SLEEVES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Great speech from the president to troops in Qatar. But, did you see it the footage: Did they put every female stationed there behind the president?
Posted at 10:35 AM
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY [John Derbyshire]
I know, I quote Sam Johnson too much. Can't help it--I worship the man--have the Barry portrait looking down on me from above my desk. A fellow-worshipper has just reminded me of the marvelous opening line of Rasselas: "Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and persue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas prince of Abissinia."
Posted at 10:29 AM
PARTIAL-BIRTH AND FEDERALISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
So Prof. Adler concedes that my equal-protection case for the constitutionality of a federal partial-birth abortion ban is "reasonable," but says that Congress has not made the necessary findings to sustain that case. Ok, professor: What's the justification for the Court's striking down an otherwise constitutional law simply because the Congress doesn't make an explicit argument, within the law itself, for its constitutionality? Let's go further: Let's say the Congress makes a law that has a constitutional justification, but the law itself makes some zany, unsound constitutional argument for itself. Should the Court strike it down on that basis? I think that idea is itself a little strange. If my argument about equal protection is sound, it seems to me to follow that a constitutionally conscientious congressman is able, and possibly obligated, to vote for the ban and the Court is obligated to uphold it.
Posted at 10:29 AM
CHILDREN OF THE CORN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today's WSJ notes (in an editorial only available to WSJ.com subscribers) that three of the Democrat Presidential hopefuls -- Lieberman, Kerry, and Graham -- voted against ethanol subsidies in 1994, but have now miraculously changed their position. I'm all for tradition, but this is one of the poisonous effects of Iowa's early caucus.
Posted at 10:26 AM
SURGEON GENERAL WOULD BAN ALL TOBACCO [Jonathan H. Adler]
An interesting tidbit reported in yesterday's Washington Post.
Posted at 10:22 AM
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS [Jonah Goldberg]
Bizarrely, quite a few readers seem to think that because I disagree with Rod I must be in favor of cruelty to livestock. I'm not and have said so in the past.
Posted at 10:22 AM
DISSENT IN THE RANKS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Sorry, Jonah, but I think you are way off base with your argument. Rather than addressing Rod’s true point, you are basically setting up a straw man by interpreting his word choice (“as God made it”) in the most extreme way possible. Yes, yes, cows and other farm animals have been selectively bred for millennia, and farmers have for many years tried to carefully control what these animals are fed – but I think most people see a big difference between such subtle tampering and injecting (or feeding) an animal massive quantities of chemicals. When you carefully breed chickens to obtain ones which lay very large, healthy eggs, you are using “God’s system” to obtain the favorable results you are looking for. When you splice fish genes into your chicken so that it will glow in the dark and make fish oil, then you have entered a completely different territory. Giving hormones to cows may not be quite in this category, but it is nevertheless troubling to many of us. And I’m NOT a crunchy con, by the way.
Posted at 09:59 AM
JEWS AND ORIGINAL SIN [Jonah Goldberg]
A Jewish reader notes that I stole a theological base by saying theology is on my side when I say that we are all born in sin. Jews do not believe in the doctrine of original sin, he notes. And he's right. We don't. Click here for the rundown on this point. But Jews do believe that man is born fallible and, in effect, flawed. Jews also believe that good conduct requires understanding God's will and that only comes through instruction and education. That's all I meant. But since I was the one who raised theology, I should have been more precise in my terminology.
Posted at 09:56 AM
FREEZING DOWNSTAIRS? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Every day is full of surprises: A pro-life activist imed me this morning: “the best article on the House vote is in the New York Times.”
Posted at 09:50 AM
BTW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Adler, never apologize for being disagreeable. The Corner counts on it!
Posted at 09:47 AM
VICTORY QUESTIONS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This seems like the perfect "best of the Corner" moment. One of our best weeks ever, I think, was when Ponnuru and Adler went at it on partial-birth abortion and the Constitution. The link is here. Search for "Why Adler's Wrong" and read and read.
Posted at 09:45 AM
STATE AGS SUE EPA [Jonathan H. Adler]
Maine, Connecticut, and Massachusetts filed suit against the EPA yesterday, charging that the EPA has a legal obligation to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide. I previewed the litigation here, arguing that the suit is on weak legal ground, but the Bush EPA has taken steps that strengthen the states' position. For more on this, and related, litigation, see the links I've compiled on my website here.
Posted at 09:43 AM
VDH ON BONEY [John Derbyshire]
Excellent review by VDH of Paul Johnson's Napoleon in the Claremont Review of Books. Just two notes: (1) Among the catalog of Napoleon-worshipping intellectuals, let not Puccini be forgotten. In the second act of Tosca, when the news of Napoleon's victory at Marengo comes through, Cavaradossi cries out "Vittoria! Vittoria!" then launches into some allegro concitato about: "Surge up, Liberty! crushing all tyranny..." (2) Napoleon was a keen amateur mathematician, and there is a theory in geometry named after him. On the sides of any triangle at all, construct three equilateral triangles. The centers of these three equilateral triangles form another equilateral triangle, sometimes called "the Napoleon triangle."
Posted at 09:37 AM
MORE ON "AS GOD MADE IT" [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't want to pick on Rod, but this whole "as God made it" thing has been bugging me. Yesterday, Rod said that he preferred his meat "As God made it," i.e. without hormones or other human tampering. Also, I've been reading The New Atlantis, a very interesting -- though a bit dry -- new journal on technology issues. So this stuff is just in my head.
Anyway, I don't like naturalism of the sort Rod is invoking. I think it buys into some of the biggest propaganda of the left. I say propaganda because much of the naturalism (by which I mean the view that things "unadulterated by man" are always better) is based on a series of lies and deliberate misunderstandings. Take the cows Rod prefers "as God made them." Well, in reality, the cows God made are very hard to find and probably taste terrible compared to what we find at Mortons. Cows have been genetically engineered for thousands of years, through selective breeding programs. The "organic" beef we buy at Whole Foods simply does not occur in nature. Ditto for chicken, pork and all the other tasty animals.
And that goes for even non-tastey animals -- like humans. When people arrive simply "as God made them" they are a mess, physically, emotionally, psychologically, politically and -- trust me on this -- literally. Moreover, I believe theology is on my side on this. We are born in sin after all. It is only through the acts of man that God-made humans improve. How that improvement takes place depends on your individual faith. But the point remains that without teaching, understanding, training and insight or revelation, we remain a mess. Sure God is the conductor directing this whole symphony, but without the very human musicians no one would ever get the tune right. Give a baby a violin without human instruction and you've got an expensive chew toy.
I do believe there is something hardwired into our genetic codes which makes such appeals to nature "as God made it" sound more authoritative than they really are -- and that alone should teach us something about the kind of world we want to live in. But if the choice is to live in any God-made world -- save Eden -- unimproved by man and technology or to live in a society with man's handiwork all around, I'll choose the latter every time.
For more on this you can see my whacky column about my hernia operation. You didn't this post was ending there did you?
Posted at 09:29 AM
LET THE PRYOR BATTLE BEGIN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Next Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Alablama Attorney General BIll Pryor's nomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Posted at 09:26 AM
YES EVERY TUESDAY AND FRIDAY [NRO Financial Editors]
Paul Krugman wants to know if he's exaggerating when says the "selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra." . . . Um, that's an easy one: "Yes!" In fact, as Don Luskin points out in the latest edition of the Krugman Truth Squad, Krugman can be seen exaggerating, and outright lying, every Tuesday and Friday in the New York Times. But now, in an expected twist, the liar in lockstep with the left-leaning media is crying "liar!" But the Truth Squaders are all over it. Just as they can handle Krugman lie for lie, they can also defend the president false-accusation for false-accusation. Be sure to check in with the Squad today.
Posted at 09:24 AM
VICTORY - CLARIFICATION [Jonathan H. Adler]
Given some of the e-mails I've received, I thought I should make clear that although I suspect the Supreme Court will strike down the federal partial-birth abortion ban, that is not the basis for my claim below. Rather, it is that under almost any reasonable constitutional interpretation, the ban is unconstitutional. Moreover, while I suspect the Supremes will strike the law down, I have little confidence they will do so on the proper constitutional grounds.
Posted at 09:17 AM
HUFFINGTON...AHHHH [Jonah Goldberg]
There is perhaps no columnist or pundit whose views I have less respect for than Arianna Huffington. I can muster some respect even for the Scheers, Ivins and Conasons of the world whereas for Huffington I have nothing. Anyway, she's been emailing me her column for a while now and each time I've responded with a request -- very polite at first -- to be removed from her mailing list. I've never heard back and the drek kept coming. So today, I finally did the right thing and simply blocked her email from ever coming to my account. It felt good.
Posted at 08:00 AM
Wednesday, June 04, 2003
RE: VICTORY? [Dave Kopel]
Glenn Reynolds and I have made the same point as Prof. Adler, at greater length. Outlawing a particular type of abortion procedure simply isn't within a reasonable understanding of Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. Partial-birth abortion is horrible, and if I were a state legislator, I would support a state-level ban. But abortion performed within a single state is not "interstate commerce." Nor is divorce, gun possession, drug possession, most violent crimes, and many other human activities.
Posted at 11:33 PM
VICTORY? [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm sorry to be so disagreeable, but I don't think it's a "victory" when the House passes unconstitutional legislation. A federal ban on partial birth abortion is simply beyond the scope of Congress' enumerated powers. A federal ban on a medical procedure, like a federal murder statute, is not a regulation of "commerce among the several states." Banning only on those procedures "in or affecting interstate commerce" is a farce. While Ramesh has made a reasonable argument that federal abortion legislation could be justified under the 14th Amendment, Congress has not made the sorts of findings that would be necessary to support such claim, and the 14th Amendment argument is weak when Congress only elects to target one method of abortion. There should be no constitutional barrier to state bans on partial-birth abortion -- such as Ohio's ban, which the Bush Administration is defending in federal court -- but such legislation is simply not within the scope of federal power.
Posted at 10:34 PM
RE: VICTORY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Not only did the House pass the bill to ban partial-birth abortion, Kathryn, but it did so by a larger margin than before. The bill passed 282-139 (with only 5 Republicans on the “no” side), compared to 274-151 the last time around. Also, the House rejected an attempt to gut the bill. Republican Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania and Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland said they wanted to ban all late-term abortions, subject to an exception for health—which meant that an abortionist would be in the clear so long as he claimed that the abortion was necessary for the mother’s mental health. This maneuver failed by 133-287, with the hard-core pro-abortion members siding with anti-abortionists. The bill is one step closer to a presidential signature--and, alas, a judicial veto.
Posted at 09:48 PM
TAKE CARE OF THAT LAPSED SUBSCRIPTION :-) [NRO Staff]
GET 4 FREE ISSUES OF NATIONAL REVIEW!
That's right: We'll send you 4 FREE issues of National Review at absolutely no risk to you. If you're impressed by National Review's superior writing style, analysis, and wit, we'll send you the next 12 issues for a total of 16 in all! for only $19.95. Click here for details.
Posted at 09:04 PM
BUSTED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader who reads NRO closer than I do (including my own stuff?) , evidently, writes:
I'm a long-time reader of the Corner and NRO (I must admit I've let my NRODT sub. lapse...). I just saw your post on the Corner entitled "MAYBE WE SAW DIFFERENT MOVIES" (8:15pm, Jun 4th), in which you wrote "I always thought the villain in The Exorcist was satan."
Posted at 09:03 PM
VICTORY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The House has passed a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Posted at 09:00 PM
MAYBE WE SAW DIFFERENT MOVIES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I always thought the villain in The Exorcist was satan. The American Film Institute differs.
Posted at 08:15 PM
HAHAHA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Sorry--I'm easily amused right now. In a story on the Hillary book, FNC just a) labelled HRC an "R" b) showed the Trover book shop's (where I spent way too much money when I worked in the D.C. office) advertisement for her book and the adjacent door to our Washington office. And that's what has me amused right now.
Posted at 06:30 PM
SEN. GAVORA WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
"It's important that we have the fresh face I'm offering," says Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican. Oh, is that why she's in the Senate? I thought it was because of her not-so-fresh last name. She was appointed by her father when he left the Senate to be governor. If Alaska's voters really want something new, maybe they'll elect a non-Murkowski next time.
Posted at 05:47 PM
HERTZBERG [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The column isn't really worth a detailed response. Wasn't it just 2 weeks ago that people were taunting the Bush administration for coming out for universal health care in Iraq, but not here? Now the taunt is that it is zealously anti-government in both countries--although Hertzberg veers back and forth between these contradictory themes. What I liked most about the column was the conclusion: "Whatever one may think of the global democratic-imperial ambitions of the present Administration, they cannot long coexist with the combination of narrow greed and public neglect it thinks sufficient for what it is pleased to call the homeland. At some point—the sooner the better—a critical mass of Americans will notice." Is that last sentence plaintive, or just pathetic? Whatever else one may think about Hertzberg's prediction, it appears to be non-falsifiable. Do Hertzberg, Paul Krugman, and Tina Brown constitute a "critical mass"?
Posted at 05:31 PM
FOR THE RECORD [Jonah Goldberg]
JonahEmail@aol.com is a dead address. I check it only rarely. My active email addresses are JonahNRO@aol.com and JonahsColumn@aol.com (For reax to my syndicated column) and JonahPorn@aol.com (for feedback on my film work).
Posted at 05:21 PM
STAGGERING PILES OF BAD FAITH [Jonah Goldberg]
I nominate Ramesh to identify everything wrong with Hendrik Hertzberg's staggeringly cheap column . Normally Hertzberg's a lot smarter than this. Here's a money paragraph from his deviation from smart liberalism:
In a way, Iraq has become a theme park of conservative policy nostrums. There are no burdensome government regulations. Health and safety inspectors and environmental busybodies are nowhere to be seen. The Ministry of Finance, Iraq’s equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service, is a scorched ruin. Museums and other cultural institutions, having been largely emptied of their contents, no longer have much use for public subsidies. Gun control is being kept within reasonable limits. (Although the occupying authorities are trying to discourage possession of heavy munitions, AK-47s and other assault weapons—guns of the type whose manufacture Tom DeLay and most of the House Republicans plan to re-legalize back home—have been given a pass.) And, in the absence of welfare programs and other free-lunch giveaways, faith-based initiatives are flourishing. The faith in question may be Iranian-style militant Shiism, but at least it’s fundamentalist.
Posted at 04:21 PM
THE MIRACLE OF THE WEB [Jonah Goldberg]
Makes it possible to cram so much asininity into so little space. Not only is this Doonesbury cartoon shockingly offensive to both Palestinians and Israelis but it even has an ad banner which puts a cherry on top.
Posted at 04:07 PM
YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST [Jonah Goldberg]
Tom Friedman writes:
For the record, I made this point in my (epic) Baghdad Delenda Est columns. I wrote: "The United States needs to go to war with Iraq because it needs to go to war with someone in the region and Iraq makes the most sense."
This wasn't my only reason, but at the time I got considerable grief for espousing the "Ledeen Doctrine" as I called it.
Posted at 03:57 PM
THANKS! [Rich Lowry]
For all the coach stuff and communications-security info...
Posted at 02:50 PM
BOMBERS V. CUBBIES [Rich Lowry]
"The last time the Yanks played a game that counted in Wrigley - 10-6-38, game 2 of their 1938 World Series sweep. That's six years post called shot (and the called shot was in Game 3 of the '32 Series, not Game 4).
See http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1938_WS.shtml for the '38 series rundown. And when you're done multi-blegging, check out the baseball-reference site -- it's very good."
Posted at 02:49 PM
GREAT EMAIL FROM IRAQ [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at Instapundit.
Posted at 02:35 PM
IS THERE SOMETHING IN THE AIR? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader writes:
Had to run some errands over lunch and went home briefly. Turned on Linda Vester's program (i'm sure derb tapes the show), and saw Ramesh...talking with the audience about the junior U.S. Senator from NY's book. I missed the introductions but twice when I saw the caption below Ramesh's name had "New Republic." It's a vast conspiracy.
Posted at 02:04 PM
THE POWER OF THE CORNER [ Jonah Goldberg]
The "diversity candidate" listing has been changed. Instead of "diversity candidate" they now want an "experienced candidate."
Posted at 01:57 PM
NOT WHAT I MEANT [Jonah Goldberg]
A fair tweak from a reader:
What is your problem with Protestants?
Posted at 01:31 PM
RE: "AS GOD MADE IT" [Jonah Goldberg]
For the record, can we at least agree that not everything God made tastes better without a dash of this and that from the hand of man? I'm agnostic on the issue of hormones, but my guess is that the kind of feed and the kind of cow have a lot more to do with how the cow tastes then whether it had hormones (never mind how it was prepared, how it was stored and the rest). God made grains and hops and all that. Man put it together to make beer and brown liquor. For my cocktail hour I would much prefer a Jamesons or a cold beer than a cup of barley. But that's just me.
Posted at 01:26 PM
RE: WHAT'S FOR BREAKFAST, RICH? [Rod Dreher]
Ah, it's good to be remembered. My breakfast menu always includes steel-cut oatmeal (sometimes known as Irish-style), which tastes way better than standard pressed oats, and is more fibrous (and therefore more virtuous, right?). I dose the stuff with protein powder and Sweet-and-Low. Oh, and wash it down with an entire pot of strong coffee. Not that you asked, but still! Anyway, I find that when I meet people who've read my crunchy stuff, they sometimes apologize for not liking tofu, and eating red meat. I have to tell them that I hate tofu, and eat red meat every chance I get. I just want my red meat to taste good, and to come as close to how God made it as possible (i.e., without artificially introduced hormones 'n stuff). The crunchy part isn't about being a hippie, which Lord knows I'm not (though I've nothing against vegetarian conservatives or ponytailed right-wingers). It's more about objecting to factory farming techniques, and how they go too far in violating the natural order, destroy local agriculture and the communities that grew out of farming, while producing beef that is less tasty and less healthy. But that's an argument for another day.
Posted at 01:03 PM
RE BRODER AND MICHIGAN [Jonah Goldberg]
In response to my criticism of David Broder's column on diversity in yesterday's G-File, a reader ads:
Posted at 12:48 PM
DIVERSITY HIRING [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I can be your employment guy.
Posted at 12:42 PM
MIND AT THE END OF ITS TETHER [John Derbyshire]
Our school budget was passed by 50-1, in spite of all my exhortations. Blow, winds, blow, crack your cheeks....
Posted at 12:39 PM
THICK AND FAST [Rick Brookhiser]
Cincinnati, Portland, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, the Nation's Capital--I'm almost at .700. I have reached the state of a Punch and Judy puppet, banging the points in maniacal automatism. St. Louis, something national, Grand Rapids, Boston, Miami, and I'm outta here.
Posted at 12:35 PM
THINGS I R*E*A*L*L*Y HATE [John Derbyshire]
That kind of padded envelope which, when you tear it open, showers clingy gray fibrous material over everything. Especially popular with second-hand book dealers. Grrrrrr.
Posted at 11:51 AM
RE: ET TU? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
In his defense, Hugh's a big plugger of NRO and The Corner on the air (I appear on his radio show weekly, and many of our writers are on often). But, alas...
Posted at 11:48 AM
RE: POOL LEAK [John Derbyshire]
Many, many thanks for all suggestions. Most promising seem to me to be:
(1) Fell the pool's vinyl bottom for soft spots. The leak will have softened the underlying sand/soil. (If the pool stands on concrete, you are out of luck.)
(2) Look for inflows of sand through leak.
(3) Cut a patch from a rubber party balloon & stretch it over a frame made from an old coathanger. (Saran Wrap might work too.) Pass this over the bottom of the pool. It will pucker over the leak.
(4) If an air hose can somehow be introduced UNDER the pool, blow some air through & watch for uprising bubbles.
(5) Call the store you bought the pool from--they sometimes have an electronic (?) leak-finder gizmo.
(6) "Take bright blue liquid laundry detergent, place it in a big syringe (no needle, thank you, the kind you use to give medicine to a baby or dog) and let some out along all the seems in the liner, around all the drains, and around all the input pipes..."
Other techniques all involved emptying the pool, which my neigbor doesn't want to do.
Posted at 11:45 AM
ET TU? [ Jonah Goldberg]
Daily Standard has a piece by Hugh Hewitt touting the influence of the Big Four blogs. He names Andrew Sullivan, Instapundit, The Volokh Conspiracy and Mickey Kaus. He's right about their influence. And, surprising as it may seem, I'm not even going to complain about his deafening -- and fairly lame -- silence about NRO and the Corner -- the traffic of both/either being equal to or greater than those excellent sites (woops I guess I just did). But, as a recovering blog skeptic (Yes, that's right I'm changing my views on the whole thing), I should still note that pretty much all previous predictions of the web's role at political conventions and planned (as opposed to sudden and unexpected) major news events have turned out wrong.
Posted at 11:06 AM
EDUCATING DERB [John Derbyshire]
Went to a dinner last night at the Union League Club in New York City. We were in the Grant room, which is hung with portraits of Civil War generals. I was sitting just below Chester Harding's painting of Sherman & felt the man's eyes on me all through the meal. Later I took a good look at the painting, which is wonderfully well done. If it is also TRULY done, then Sherman was a reflective man, and perhaps rather a sad one. I know next to nothing about him. I suppose there must be a dozen biographies. Can someone please recommend a well-written, perceptive and sympathetic one? One that gives me the man, not just the deeds. Thank you in advance.
Posted at 10:49 AM
RE: STARVING THE BEAST [John Derbyshire]
A reader writes: "School boards must die. From small towns to big cities they don't work. They always get co-opted by either unions, ideologues, crooks, or all of the preceding. Turn out for school board elections is always low. To many of them are not voted on at-large but by sub districts. It is too easy for them to dodge responsibility. They will blame the superintendent that they hired. They will blame the voters, in desperation for power they might blame one another but is never the board as a wholes fault. A school Czar needs to replace the school board. A known name can be held responsible. Go out on the street, grab ten individuals and ask them to name one individual on the local school board. What are the odds on any of them being able to do that?"
Posted at 10:48 AM
HELP - INTERVENTION [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm writing a column about how to stage an intervention for a certain magazine editor with a dangerous addiction to online blegging. At first, it seemed under control. He'd ask readers for help with obscure economic phenomena or industry practices from hard to find experts in the field. Then he started asking for more general stuff. And now, just the other day, he had to be stopped from blegging:
HELP -- DOES THE MILK IN MY FRIDGE SMELL BAD TO YOU? [NAME WITHHELD]
If you have any idea how to help this brilliant and talented man before he lets the blegging completely take over his life please let me know. Also, if you have tips about how to keep him from lashing out at those -- like me -- who care the most about him I'm interested in that too.
Posted at 10:32 AM
CAPUTO’S DIGNITY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I, obviously, cannot read Lisa Caputo's mind, but on CNN this morning, the former full-time Hillary Clinton spinstress she seemed to only go so far out on a limb to back the veracity of HRC's rendition of history. She kept saying the likes of that's the way I have always believed it to have happened. She’s one flack who doesn't seem to be pretending she's dealing with honest people.
Posted at 10:31 AM
MOVIE OF THE WEEK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Nauseating. I've had CNN or FNC on all morning. If I had a dollar for everytime I've heard Hillary gasping for air when Bill, bedside, finally admitted the truth, I would be retiring by 11 am.
Posted at 10:29 AM
MOVING UP [Rick Brookhiser]
The next two shows come through, national, one live, one taped, so I'm up to .625.
Posted at 09:57 AM
HELP--COACHES WHO GET SUED [Rich Lowry]
I caught the segment on O'Reilly the other night about this baseball coach out in California who is being sued by a father who doesn't like the way he coached his son. Would love to hear of similar stories if you know of any, for a column I'm working on....
Posted at 09:47 AM
HELP--WH COMMUNICATIONS [Rich Lowry]
This is an odd bleg (well, maybe not as odd as the leaky swimming pool!), but I have a curiousity about secure phone lines. What makes a line secure? Can the president call anywhere in the country and the other line will be secure? Or is it just the president's side of the conversation, etc. As you can see, I know very little about this topic, but would like to find an expert to talk to.
Posted at 09:46 AM
CONFESSIONS OF A BASEBALL TRADITIONALIST [Rich Lowry]
I like inter-league play. For no other reason than the sheer novelty of it. The Yankees in Wrigley? When is the last time that happened--"The Called Shot"? And speaking of the old Cubs, which one had the corked bat in those days? Tinkers, or Evers, or Chance?
Posted at 09:45 AM
THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPION DREHER'S [Rich Lowry]
I've been trying to eat healthier to stall the slow physical meltdown that comes with sitting all day trying to write a book. So I bought this natural healthy-seeming cereal I'd never heard of before. Everytime I glance at the box I think of Rod becase I misread the slogan at the top: "100% NATURAL CRUNCHY CON CEREAL." It actually says "CORN CEREAL," but what NRO-nik can see the word "crunchy" and not think "con"???
Posted at 09:44 AM
THE DOLOR OF PR [Rick Brookhiser]
Twenty minutes at 6:00 AM EST in Denver--cool. Half an hour at 7:00 AM taped in NY--host is caught in traffic (all this wonderful rain). 4 minutes at 7:30 AM taped in Philadelphia--cool. 10 minutes live at 7:50 AM in Hartford--they screwed up the schedule, can't do. Fifteen minutes live at 8:15 AM in Seattle--cool. Twenty minutes live in Seattle at 8:30 AM--they thought it was for 8:30 AM Pacific time. So far I'm batting .500, which is better than Sammy Sosa, even with his cork bat.
Of course little of this occurred in the eighteenth century because the temptations to schedule precisely were so much less. When it took three days to ride from New York to Albany, and three days to two weeks to sail the same distance (depending on winds in the Hudson), and twenty to eighty days to cross the North Atlantic--well, the producers just had to stand by for a long time.
Posted at 08:56 AM
DELAY'S "VENOM" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The AFP editorializes. Who knew?
Posted at 08:21 AM
I TOOK THE BAIT , TOO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I confess, I'm as bad as everyone else in the media this morning. George Bush is in a room with Abbas and Sharon and we're yapping about Hill&Bill.
Posted at 08:04 AM
NRO READERS MAKE THE FUNNY PAGES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 08:00 AM
NOT FOR NOTHING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Got some some up-lifting type mail in response to my little Santorum/C-SPAN piece. Here's a neat one from the director of a pregnancy center:
Thank you for telling us this story, as I had not heard it before, As the director of a pregnancy resource center, I often wonder if anything I say matters! Do lives change? Are we making a difference? Some days it can be heartbreaking to see people whose lives are so messed up and who are making choices that will only increase the heartache and sorrow. And yet we never know, do we? So we keep on saying the truth (hopefully in love) and praying for the strength to persevere, reminding ourselves that it's not about us!
Posted at 08:00 AM
ANOTHER REASON TO READ RICK OVER HILLARY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rick's book is not 576 pages. Though Rick could pull off an interesting 600 pages. HRC's team of writers are another story.
Posted at 07:59 AM
THE COMPETITION [Rick Brookhiser]
Kathryn, given my hero's proclivities, I have asked myself if he would have put the moves on Mrs. Clinton. Yes: He liked unhappily married women. No: He liked women who wrote books.
Posted at 07:41 AM
TODAY'S GOAL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rick, Hillary's book is ranked #3 on Amazon. You had better get talking and dethrone her. (Cornerites, do your part: Buy Rick's latest, Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution here.)
Posted at 06:47 AM
GOOD MORNING! [Rick Brookhiser]
Hey, Cornerites, up & at 'em! Just did a radio show in Denver at 4 Am Mountain Time. It's the first of eighteen today, promoting my sparkling friend, Gouverneur Morris. Glad someone is sparkling at this hour (it helps to be dead). When Derb writes about math, he is sent round the continent, including to the nicest bookstore in the land, the Tattered Cover in Denver. I get to hang by the phone, grunt of the airwaves.
Kathryn, hope you buy your Martha Stewart goodies with profits from rising ImClone stock.
Posted at 06:44 AM
FOR NORTHEASTERNERS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The bright side of the weather: at least it is not snow. Remember how much The Corner whined about snow this winter?
Posted at 05:37 AM
THE ULTIMATE BLUE-LIGHT SPECIAL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I might leave the office early and hit K-mart Wednesday--expect sales on all Martha products.
Posted at 02:03 AM
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
SPEAKING OF COLUMNS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The boss has a terrific one on WMDs.
Posted at 06:04 PM
NOT SO KEENE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Fresh from his endorsement of liberal Republican Arlen Specter, David Keene, head of the American Conservative Union, has written a column on what he calls “[t]he current warfare being waged on the right among conservatives of different stripes.” The column is remarkably obtuse. (It’s also sloppy: It was Russell Kirk whose retort to the John Birch Society was that President Eisenhower was a golfer, not a communist; Keene attributes the line to William F. Buckley Jr.) He says that “the current fight [is] between folks who like to characterize themselves as ‘neo-conservatives’ and the rest of the conservative community.” But very few people characterize themselves as neoconservatives, and I am not aware of anyone who so characterizes himself—or even anyone who is widely characterized as such by others—who is engaged in a fight with non-neos on the Right. At no point does Keene specify what the heck he is talking about.
He concludes, “[T]here are some in the conservative ranks who seem to believe that if one doesn’t share their view of the relative importance of various issues, one ought to be sent packing. A political movement that cannot tolerate differences among people who agree on main principles is a movement in trouble.” Who are these sectarians? Has someone said that no good conservative could oppose the Iraq war? That all conservatives have to support Pat Toomey? I haven't said either of these things. I do think that the leaders of conservative organizations should not have lobbying interests that conflict with conservatism. I also think that it is odd for The Hill to run a regular column by a lobbyist, especially when the columnist in question turns out material as poor as this.
Posted at 05:41 PM
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? [Jonah Goldberg ]
A reader sent me this listing from Monster.com. Am I crazy, or does "Diversity Candidate" sound like code for white men need not apply? If so, how common is this?
Posted at 05:22 PM
INTERESTING EMAIL [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't agree with everything in here, obviously, but the Corner does not fear diversity of opinion:
First, I liked and agreed with much of your commentary. However- on your comment about Morehouse and blacks benefiting from sharing a room or otherwise getting to know a few Asians and white kids, I think the black experience is different from whites. I can not count the number of white people I know for whom I am there only black or their first black friend and that only because I worked hard to get into law school and then a major law firm- where they meet "one". White people, many anyway, can live their lives without ever knowing any black or non-white in any meaningful way or learning anything about there experiences, culture or life. No black person can say the same about white people- in every part of our lives we are surround by and despite living in as segregated communities as whites- inundated with white culture- and yeah yeah I know blacks today are all over the pop culture scene and sports and else where, but that's not the direct exposure blacks get day in and day out. Considering the enormous number of arrogant and ignorant statements I heard very insulated whites state about blacks and other minorities life in law school, I think whites do benefit from being exposed directly to non-whites. I and my black friends did/do agree that the blacks those whites are likely to encounter thanks to affirmative action or diversity, are more likely to be diverse in skin only or mainly, in that the blacks are likely to be the kid of a black doctor or lawyer like the white person, and not a poor black kid- so opinion or background diversity isn't going to be as strong, given that class matters more than race- as Jeff Goldblum said to Lawrence Fishburne in Deep Cover: "there is no black and white anymore only rich and poor and since we're both rich- we're on the same side". Affirmative action is likely to benefit the middle class black kids who shouldn't need it in the first place, as their parent make the money and they attend the same good high schools as the middle class white kids. On your propanda about the meritocracy of the 50s and 60s ushered in by the SATs, prior to the enactment of anti-discrimination laws, the SAT and the old boy network determined which white guy got to go to college and got the great job, but it was still going to be a white guy. Was to be the "bright" white boy or the "rich and connected" white boy. The SAT gave the very bright but not rich white boy a shot- it added some merit to wealth and connections. Diversity and affirmative action, added women and minorities and now means the pool includes lots of bright white girls and rich white girls and a few bright and middle class/rich non-white boys and girls. The poor (of any color) still get nada. As the SATs helped a few bright white guys compete with middle class and rich white guys, diversity helps a few bright non-white people compete with the middle class and rich of all races. The poor (and stupid and average) are screwed. There never was a meritocracy in the USA or any where, but fine, I agree kill affirmative action and diversity, keep the SATs, then what? The rich of any color can buy their success in school and life, the exceptionally bright will do ok, what about the mass of average and sub-average. With all this fighting over a few lost slots of the white guys, what are we going to do to fix the massive problem of the educationally challenged poor of any color?
Posted at 05:09 PM
I ASKED FOR INFORMATION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
about Austrian-school bloggers, and I got it. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me. Especially Lew Rockwell, who runs the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which has a blog--which has included some critiques of the Wall Street Journal piece I mentioned. (I say "especially" since Mr. Rockwell and his associates do not appear to be big fans of mine, and since I have fully endorsed David Frum's sharp criticism of him in NR recently.) Another response to the Journal is available through the Hayek Center. A fledgling site that takes an Austrian perspective can be found here. Finally, there is a Hayek-L discussion group that is discussing the Journal piece; it can be found via google.
Posted at 03:39 PM
THE EURO [Andrew Stuttaford]
The EU's single currency is perfectly nice to look at - in a bland, designed by a committee sort of way - but (despite the Euro's current strength) it's difficult to see these bills as anything other than brightly colored suicide notes. As becomes ever more apparent, one size does not fit all. Writing in the Spectator, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard discusses US diplomacy (not impressed), Neil Kinnock (not impressed), Chris Patten (not impressed) and the Euro (really not impressed):
"...One would have thought that the latest travails of the eurozone would vindicate a little caution on EMU [economic and monetary union]. The economists who actually deal with the euro inside the European institutions — as opposed to the politicians of the ‘College’ — are often as brutally Eurosceptic as the British public. ‘Do they think it is going to get any easier?’ laughed one senior Eurocrat, when I suggested that the government was hoping to have another go at the euro next year.
He, for one, fears that Germany is on the cusp of a deflationary spiral. It needs interest rates of zero and an emergency fiscal stimulus. What does it get? More or less the same mix of policies that shut down the American banking system in the Great Depression. And why? Because inflation in Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain is still too high, and because the Stability Pact forces Germany to raise taxes in a slump. Keynes must be weeping in his grave.
Like the US Federal Reserve in those crucial months of 1930, the European Central Bank — over-hawkish because unsure of itself — is still fretting about inflation as the economy risks tipping into a deflationary debt crisis. Knowing what we now know about the 1930s, it seems remarkable that any democratic country would again embark on such a destructive course. But the eurozone is not a country, or a democracy."
Posted at 02:27 PM
STATISTICAL MALPRACTICE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Kevin Drum explains why a recent study purporting to show that tort reform will not stem increases in medical malpractice permiums is not all its cracked up to be.
Posted at 12:19 PM
DURANTY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
For background on the campaign to take the Pulitzer back, read Stuttaford.
Posted at 12:06 PM
ANOTHER TIMES INVESTIGATION [Emmy Chang]
The Pulitzer board is reviewing Walter Duranty's case.
Posted at 11:59 AM
ALSO IN THE JOURNAL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A strong editorial on the flimflam surrounding the child tax credit this week (although I can't quite figure out why the Journal is so intent on labeling low-income workers "lucky duckies" just because they have no income-tax liability). The chief argument for making tax credits available to people who don't pay income taxes seems to be that they do pay payroll taxes. But the earned income tax credit already exists to offset these taxes. Moreover, the payroll tax is supposedly designed to finance people's retirement and disability benefits; it's not supposed to finance the general operations of the government. If people get a credit against the payroll tax, can we cut their retirement benefits too? It would be one thing to say that the payroll tax-Social Security link is a pretense that should be abandoned and to fold the funding of Social Security into the income tax. But liberals want to have it both ways on the payroll tax.
Posted at 11:44 AM
BLEG [Ramesh Ponnuru]
That's the word, right? I'm trying to figure out if there exists a blog dedicated to Austrian-school economics. The question arises because of the long op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, which seems (to someone who studied the subject several years ago) to caricature the Austrian theory of the business cycle. I figured someone must have a blog that would answer things like this. There seem to be blogs of every conceivable orientation, after all. Anyway, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're aware of any.
Posted at 11:38 AM
GERRYMANDERING IN TEXAS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
David Frum comments today on the New Republic's insistence that it was scandalous of Texas Republicans to try to redraw the congressional district lines in their state (it's his fourth item). What I especially love about TNR's line is its pretense that the Republicans have trampled on some great, hallowed tradition of letting the courts draw the lines. You'd think this was something handed down from the Magna Carta.
Posted at 10:41 AM
STARVE THE BEAST [John Derbyshire]
I urge all my fellow Long Islanders who read The Corner to go out and vote down the school budgets being presented to us today. In my town, the budget proposal asks for an increase of 5.52 percent over last year. Did your family's income increase 5.52 percent last year? If not, you can't afford this budget. The only way to kill socialism is to starve the beast--cut off its food supply. Vote down the budget and keep voting it down, till the school boards get the message that in tough times, the public sector has to tighten its belt with the rest of us. Similarly, when you vote for school board members, vote for the ones who are NOT shills for the public-sector unions. It's not hard to figure out who they are from their mission statements.
Posted at 10:22 AM
COINCIDENTAL & UNINTERESTING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Kathryn thinks she should buy stock in Diet Coke if Jonah's writer's block continues.
Posted at 09:45 AM
VEERING BACK TO THE UNINTERESTING [Jonah Goldberg]
The G-File will be quite long. Writer's block does that to me. Sort of like hacking at wood when you can't figure out how to sculpt it.
Posted at 09:41 AM
SLIGHTLY MORE INTERESTING [Jonah Goldberg]
There will be a G-File today.
Posted at 09:40 AM
COMPLETELY UNINTERESTING INFORMATION [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm off to get a haircut.
Posted at 09:39 AM
DERB AT PLAY [John Derbyshire]
I have just sent in a book review to the New York Sun. It is a review of Robert & Ellen Kaplan's The Art of the Infinite. Robert's previous book was named The Nothing That Is (a line from a Wallace Stevens poem). My review--which should appear in the Wednesday or Thursday Sun--includes the sentence: "There has been--and, judging by how successful The Nothing That Is was, is--a good demand for books explaining math topics to readers with a decent liberal, but non-mathematical, education." I confess to being pleased with that "...is was, is." My inspiration here was the late Anthony Burgess, whose novel Enderby includes the sentence: "He breathed baffingly on him, for no banquet would serve, because of the known redolence of onions, onions, onions." The following sentence also begins with the word "Onions."
Posted at 08:13 AM
ANOTHER REASON TO SUBSCRIBE TO NRODT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 08:07 AM
SCHEER INSANITY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the LA Times columnist, Robert Scheer: "For Wolfowitz and friends, the 9/11 attacks were almost a gift, an opportunity to play God."
Posted at 08:04 AM
VULCANS & THE MIDEAST [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 06:12 AM
BLIX [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Read the quotes in this piece; comes off better than the headline would suggest.
Posted at 05:37 AM
ARMED AND READY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The CIA has bad news about al Qaeda, Bill Gertz reports.
Posted at 05:22 AM
Monday, June 02, 2003
STUB THAT CIGARETTE OUT, FATSO [Andrew Stuttaford]
The nanny state gets tough. Bad economics, and insulting too. What is it about the doctor-patient relationship that the Labour party doesn't understand?
Posted at 11:46 PM
1933-2003 [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Brown Shirts are back – this time in Pakistan’s North West Province. The Daily Telegraph has more details:
“Last Friday, the North West Frontier Province Assembly passed the Sharia (or Islamic law) bill, which would dramatically change the province's educational, judicial and financial systems and bring them in line with fundamentalist Islamic laws. The same day, MMA supporters went on a celebratory rampage in Peshawar, the province's capital, tearing down advertising hoardings showing women, destroying satellite cable television connections and attacking offices of foreign multinationals. The police stood quietly by, refusing to control the mobs.”
Posted at 11:44 PM
WASHINGTON STIRS [Andrew Stuttaford]
For a long time now, it has been a staple of US foreign policy that closer European integration is a good thing, and, for a long time now, that has been a mistake. Has the penny finally dropped? In interesting – and largely overlooked (well, by me anyway) - remarks in London last month State Department Policy Planning Director Richard Haas may have signaled a change of direction.
Asked whether America wanted to deal with a single ‘European’ foreign minister, Haas said this:
"I would rather deal with five countries that are willing to deal with us seriously".
The Sprout (a magazine based in Brussels that is unlikely to be on the EU Commission’s approved list) has more here. As for the half-century old history cited in the article, I’ve no idea, but in terms of a signpost to the future The Sprout has picked up on what could be – and should be – a significant, and long overdue, shift in direction. All the talk in Paris, Berlin and elsewhere about the EU becoming a ‘counterweight’ to the US may, at last, have been heard in Washington.
The writer of the piece also suggests that America may have “converted to an Imperialist model: divide and rule”. “Imperialist”? Not necessarily - it’s just basic diplomacy. As for ‘divide and rule’, well, to divide something implies that it was united in the first place.
And in Europe, fortunately, that it is still not the case.
Posted at 11:39 PM
PRISON-BREAK PRESIDENTS [Rich Lowry]
Re your post, and I am in NO WAY comparing any or all of the below to the odious Charles Taylor, but it got me thinking. A few of these I knew, others I found:
Napoleon III escaped from prison to later become elected President of France. Napoleon obviously escaped Elbe to become Emperor again. Churchill escaped from Boer captivity Yitzhak Shamir escaped from a British detention facility twice Saddam Hussein escaped from an Iraqi prison Eamon de Valera escaped from jail as well.”
#2)"You may have received other e-mails, but Eamon DeValera of Ireland was a prisoner of the British, was sprung from jail, and went on to become prime minister of Ireland."
Posted at 05:04 PM
WHILE YOU HAVE YOUR CREDIT CARD OUT [NRO Staff]
GET 4 FREE ISSUES OF NATIONAL REVIEW!
That's right: We'll send you 4 FREE issues of National Review at absolutely no risk to you. If you're impressed by National Review's superior writing style, analysis, and wit, we'll send you the next 12 issues for a total of 16 in all! for only $19.95. Click here for details.
Posted at 04:32 PM
PC PERIODIC TABLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
CEI has a politically correct periodic table of elements mousepad. I KNOW there are Corner readers who are going to buy this. Have a blast.
Posted at 04:31 PM
A BLEG: FINDING A LEAK IN A SWIMMING POOL [John Derbyshire]
A neighbor of mine has one of those above-ground swimming pools that is basically just a huge bag of chlorinated water. It has a slow leak in the floor somewhere. Her question to me: How do we find the leak? It could be something really small; and the fabric of her pool has that speckled design that makes blemishes hard to spot. I suggested dropping some dye into the pool and hoping it's pulled towards the leak, but this doesn't actually seem very likely, the pulling being so slow that the dye would all have dissipated before the direction of flow became clear. So... how does she find the leak? Any suggestions to email@example.com, please.
Posted at 04:10 PM
DERB'S L.A. REPORT [John Derbyshire]
OK, back home after weekend trip to Book Expo America in L.A. I hadn't realized what a huge event this was, & how many famous writers show up to promote their books. There were even more big names than usual milling around in the downtown area. At dinner Friday night in a very nice restaturant, Ollie North was at the next table. I thought he might come over to get my autograph, but I guess he didn't want to impose. Then almost the first person I saw at the Convention Center Saturday was Dr. Ruth... and so on. Anyway, I signed a ton of books, got lotsa freebies (trade shows are the place to go for freebies). Had another great dinner Saturday night with NRO's own Jack Dunphy, Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald (who has a book out) and Ben Boychuk of the excellent Claremont Review of Books. Great bull session, we set the world to rights, then Jack drove us to our respective homes, this drive featuring (a) a fisrt-hand experience of L.A.'s appalling traffic problem, and (b) crime profiles from Jack (a working police officer) of all the neighborhoods we passed through. Fascinating, instructive, and fun. I must get out more. The downside is the e-mail that builds up: 133 on my private a/c this morning, 746 on Hotmail. Some large proportion of that is junk, of course, but it has to be weeded through. Oh, Lord. Is e-mail out of control, or what?
Posted at 03:35 PM
RE: WMD [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:26 PM
RE: ASHCROFT [Jonah Goldberg]
Tim Graham of the Media Research Center writes:
Jonah...You may be right about his low profile. The thing that's interesting about Ashcroft and Rudolph is how the AG is doing EXACTLY what the pro-aborts and the Ralph Neases claimed he was incapable of doing, and that is enforce the laws even when it delights the libertine left. In the Ashcroft era, the DOJ has caught James Kopp, Clayton Waagner, and now Eric Rudolph -- all at the top of a Ten Most Wanted list of the Planned Parenthood crowd. A less liberal media would be forcing more kudos out of them -- although PPFA's web site posted congrats today.
Posted at 03:24 PM
HOOKED NOSE JEWS ARE ALWAYS FOR SALE.... [Jonah Goldberg]
That seems like the message in this political cartoon from the Chicago Tribune. Meanwhile, Arafat's a patient man. Here's what the Sun Times had to say about it.
Posted at 03:15 PM
WEAVER [Rich Lowry]
I know people aren't that interested in Jeff Weaver, but this is a sort of a baseball-oriented entry into the pot wars. Thanks to everyone for indulging me on a brief break from my book...
"Rich, Kid's got good stuff, but if you look at his numbers he's never really been a "lights out" guy. I think a big part of this is that, basically, he's immature. Remember how he was crying and bitching because he was going to be leaving all his little buddies in Detroit? Puh-lease. You're going to pitch for the most storied, most deep-pocketed franchise in the world. Only an amatuer would complain. Does everyone forget the pot issue right before he came over to the Yanks? He got caught smoking himself up on the Tiger's team jet. Now, I don't want to debate the merits of the illegality of marijuana. But what I will say is that firing up the hookah on the company plane is NOT the epitome of good judgement or maturity. I see him on the mound, and I must say I'm suprised by the intensity he shows up there, but then I see him in an interview, and he's a bonghit yoda par excellence. He's good at parroting a few jock-like lines, but in general he has the "pothead whine" going."
Posted at 03:10 PM
STREAKS (NO MORE PLEASE) [Rich Lowry]
"The odds are quite good, actually---the concept is known as "regression to the mean." In this case, the Yankees went from an .857 winning percentage down to a .250 winning percentage. A 21-15 record is most likely a lot closer to the Yankees historical winning percentage than either 18-3 or 3-12 are.
The performance of the Boston Red Sox, on the other hand, has never been explicable through statistics."
Posted at 03:08 PM
GETTING NORTH KOREAN-STYLE PROPS [Rich Lowry]
I dig being called "Dear Leader," but the answer to the question that this e-mailer opens with is, of course, "yes."
Must I send everyone I know a gift subscription before the pop-ups vanish? I already give to the annual fundraising drive every year when my finances allow. Please, please start charging a nominal fee, say 20 dollars per annum, to have full access to NRO (in the style of The Economist) but for heaven's sake stop with the pop-ups."
Posted at 03:07 PM
FORK MIRACLES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rich, Disappointed you didn't ask me about this - sleight of hand is the key....
Posted at 03:03 PM
RE: FORKS [John J. Miller]
I think you need pixie dust.
Posted at 02:50 PM
ETHANOL FOLLIES (AGAIN) [Jonathan H. Adler]
Ethanol mandates don't produce any real environmental benefits, but they sure help farm-state politicians, so they persist. Here's the latest on how ethanol reduces one type of air pollution while increasing another. This pork barrel may be painted green, but it's still plain old pork.
Posted at 02:49 PM
THEN TRADE HIM BACK TO US [John J. Miller]
Rich: I hereby urge you to do everything in your power to have the Yankees trade Jeff Weaver back to the Tigers. I'm mystified as to why this guy's ERA is above 5.00 right now but remain convinced that he's one of the best young pitchers in the league. If it's any consolation to you, Carlos Pena, the man the Tigers got in the three-way trade with the Yankee and A's last summer, is currently hitting about .235. I'm still hopeful that he'll improve and play a key role in the Tigers' forthcoming World Series championship team, in the year 2010 or so. I'll save a spot for Weaver in the starting rotation.
Posted at 02:38 PM
FORKS [Rick Brookhiser]
Magicians have been perfecting these tricks for literally hundreds of years. Do you think they're going to spill the beans, even for the Corner?
Posted at 02:31 PM
FORKS [Rich Lowry]
If he was holding the fork at the point where the handle meets the tines, then he was using partially pre-cut forks, and used his finger and thumb to complete the break. Fox had a show last week "Secrets of Psychics Revealed" or some such that showed this and other phony techniques."
OK, but according to Rita they were forks from the Fox greenroom.
Posted at 01:56 PM
JUST WONDERING—FORK BREAKING [Rich Lowry]
I know I should already know how this works, but Rita Cosby had a magician on her show the other night—Mindfreak maybe was his name?—and he bent and shattered two forks on air after shaking them a bit and looking very agitated. How do they do that?
Posted at 01:28 PM
ENVIRONMENTAL POLLS [Jonathan H. Adler]
A reader e-mails a very good point about performance evaluation polls:
Were I to be polled on Mr. Bush's record on the environment, I also would rate his performance as fair to poor. My reason for that is not because he has assaulted the environment, but because he appointed Ms. Whitman, and because there have been so many new regulations made. The polls rarely reveal what people are really believing, because the choices are so limited in the poll.For every Sierra Clubber who complains that Bush has been "anti-environment" there may well be a property owner or small businessman who thinks Bush has been too pro-regulation. Both would give Bush a fair or poor rating on environmental policy.
Posted at 01:27 PM
JUST WONDERING—PRISON BREAKS [Rich Lowry]
Was reading about Africa recently and the odious Charlie Taylor. He broke out of prison in Massachusetts and went on to become a warlord and the leader of Liberia. What are the odds of a prison break not only succeeding—don’t they always get caught?--but producing the president of a country?
Posted at 01:26 PM
JUST WONDERING—STREAKS [Rich Lowry]
Speaking of the Yankees, I’ve been wondering lately, what are the odds of the team going 18-3 and then 3-12 in a two-month span? I guess the Royals did something similar, so maybe it’s not as unlikely as I thought…
Posted at 01:25 PM
USUALLY… [Rich Lowry]
…I trust John Miller. But now my confidence is shaken. Last year, after the Yankees acquired Jeff Weaver, he told me, and I quote, "You’re really going to like this guy." Really like this guy? Did I "really like” Kenny Rogers? Did I "really like" Ed Whitson? I know, I know, I shouldn’t take it out on John…
Posted at 01:24 PM
THANKS [Rich Lowry]
For all the WMD quotes.
Posted at 01:23 PM
RE: WMDS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Meanwhile, I'm not backing off the WMD thing, in part because I never made that the sole focus of my support for the war in the first place (you could look it up). Also, I believe that we'll find WMD.
Posted at 01:06 PM
BUMPER STICKER [Rod Dreher]
I saw a great one on the back of a pick-up tooling through Dallas this weekend. It had a B-52 in profile, seen from above, with its wings folded back slightly, and a line circling the plane. It looked like a peace sign. The slogan: "Peace, the Old-Fashioned Way." Hooah!
Posted at 12:40 PM
GOOD NEWS FROM THE FCC [Roger CLegg]
Today the Federal Communications Commission backtracked from the proposal it had floated last week to include racial and gender preferences in its new radio transferability rules (i.e., allowing local radio-station monopolies to remain intact if current owners sell them to women or racial minorities). A very bad idea by FCC Chairman Michael Powell, but a Commission press release this morning says that the exemption would be available to all small businesses, not just those owned by women or minorities. The Center for Equal Opportunity’s Linda Chavez had condemned the proposal in a press release last Friday, noting that the FCC’s use of racial and gender preferences has run afoul of the courts in the past.
Posted at 12:12 PM
I'M NOT ALONE [Cosmo]
A fictionalized account.
Posted at 11:27 AM
ROBERTS ON THE BENCH [Jonathan H. Adler]
John Roberts' eleven year wait is over. White House counsel Al Gonzales worries Miguel Estrada's is just beginning.
Posted at 11:19 AM
SORRY... [Jonah Goldberg]
For such a long post....I know how much you guys were enjoying Rich's tales of a Blegger.
Posted at 11:17 AM
WOLFOWITZ ON LEO STRAUSS [Jonah Goldberg]
The Defense Department released the full transcript of Sam Tannenhaus' interview with Paul Wolfowitz. Here's the section where Tannenhaus asks about the alleged Leo Strauss connection which the New York Times takes so seriously:
Posted at 11:15 AM
SLATER? BABBITT? [Rich Lowry]
Here's an e-mail from someone who has sent me quotes from Albright and Cohen warning about Iraq WMD:
"Rich, This is like shooting fish in a barrel. I'll stop sending these in light of the fact that so many others have probably found them so easy to find.”
My reply: "No keep going! If u can find one by Rodney Slater or Bruce Babbitt I'll send you some NRO trinket as a token of my eternal gratitude."
Posted at 11:01 AM
WMDS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Obviously, everyone who favored the war would be gratified to hear the news we've found huge storehouses of terrible weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And, of course, everyone (okay maybe not everyone, but lots of people) who opposed the war would be disappointed to hear the same news. But it's important to keep in mind that the singular focus on WMD -- to the extent there was one -- was as much the product of the media and opponents of war as it was the administration's argument. Time and again, the press wanted to simplify a complex issue to a single rationale. Time and again, the opponents of war wanted to reduce a multifaceted argument into a single soundbite because that would be easier to knock down. This was a point I brought up several times in various columns. For example, from my March 17 column:
Just Sunday on Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked Dick Cheney, "What do you think is the most important rationale for going to war with Iraq?" It's a perfectly fine question in and of itself, but it underscores the media's preoccupation with bumper-sticker arguments and the administration's desire to provide them. Time and again interviewers ask "what is the best argument for war?"
Posted at 10:47 AM
NOW SKIPS ME AGAIN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
National Organization for Women honors Helen Thomas.
Posted at 10:31 AM
SILLY LITTLE BOXES [Roger Clegg]
Excellent article in the Washington Post yesterday about how a lot of students—especially whites, Asians, and multiracials—are refusing to check a race/ethnicity box on their college applications. They know that checking the “wrong” box will hurt their chances, they resent this, and so they’re not going to play the game. Good for them.
Posted at 10:15 AM
WHERE'S ASHCROFT? [Jonah Goldberg]
The capture of Eric Rudolph is great news. But it reveals that things are changing at Justice and the with the administration. I have no inside-info (my wife's been on maternity leave from DOJ). But it seems to me that there was a time when the capture of Eric Rudolph would have brought Ashcroft to the cameras. He issued a statement but was nowhere to be seen all weekend. In fact, when was the last time you saw him say or do anything in public? Sounds like a campaign-mode muzzle on the AG.
Posted at 09:55 AM
"DAMN ALPHA MALE" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ok. It has been more than 24 hours and I still haven't managed to read the whole Washington Post profile on John Kerry. Go ahead, see how you do, if you haven't. I physically can't. I break down laughing with each new sentence. "Kerry, 59, is the only combat veteran in the field. He stands 6-foot-4. He rides a Harley, plays ice hockey, snowboards, windsurfs, kitesurfs, and has such thick, aggressive hair he uses a brush with metal teeth." He ain't no dove, either. He kills 'em. He eats them. "He's no weenie." !
Posted at 09:22 AM
THE TAX CUT [Jonah Goldberg]
All of this hooplah about some low-income families getting left out of the new child-tax credit baffles me. The Dems were against cutting taxes in the first place, so presumably they didn't want these people to get the credit. So, in effect, the Dems are getting their way for the people who get noting, and yet they think it's outrageous the tax cut isn't big enough to include them. Of course, you can't cut income taxes for people who don't pay income taxes. Still, if only the Dems hadn't fought a larger tax cut in the first place, these lower-income folks might have gotten more help.
Posted at 09:14 AM
FRANCE PLAYS THE RACE CARD [John J. Miller]
The French are so upset about U.S. consumers boycotting their products, they've hired Woody Allen as a pitchman. Can you believe it? "I don't want to freedom kiss my wife," says Allen in a new ad. "I want to French kiss her." But wait, there's more! The French ambassador to the U.S., Jean-David Levitte, has this to say: "When you insult the French people, simply because they are French, then it's a kind of racist campaign." Doesn't it all just make you want to drink a jug of Evian?
Posted at 08:03 AM
WATER CARRIERS [John J. Miller]
On Friday, I went to an AEI forum previewing Bush's trip to Europe. Radek Sikorski made the point that Poland is a great friend of the United States. Richard Perle pointed out that the panelists had been given Poland Spring Water to drink, not Evian.
Posted at 08:02 AM
TAGS [John J. Miller]
I'm not a big fan of custom license plates--you know, the one on the minivan reading "4 R BOYZ" or the one on the sports car saying "MY TOY." We may just be in my pet peeve territory here, but most of these plates aren't as clever as your run-of-the-mill bumper sticker. Over the weekend, hoewver, I did see one that made me laugh, on Virginia tags: "HATE DMV."
Posted at 06:39 AM
HELP--DEM QUOTES [Rich Lowry]
Looking for quotes from Dems--Clinton, Gore, at al--talking about how Saddam had WMDs for a quick column. Thanks!
Posted at 06:24 AM
WHAT'S GOING ON? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
On the roads, on the streets, there are at least 45 percent more people out in the New York metropolitan area--and have been for at least the last hour--than there should be/usually are. Something going on no one told me about?
Posted at 05:13 AM
Sunday, June 01, 2003
EU CONSTITUTION WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
One of the intentions of the EU’s constitutional convention was, allegedly, to stimulate interest in the EU’s evolution among its ‘citizens’. Here’s how it’s going in Spain:
“A recent survey by Real Instituto Elcano, a Madrid-based foreign affairs think-tank, found only 1 per cent of Spaniards knew the goal of the convention was to write a constitution. A full 90 per cent of the respondents in the survey had never even heard of the convention.”
From the Financial Times, May 31.
Posted at 09:07 PM
SAMUEL, THE FETUS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
You gotta love when Newsweek has to admit what medicine is showing us more and more about life in the womb.
Posted at 11:01 AM
HOMETOWN [Rod Dreher]
Here's my column from Saturday's Dallas Morning News, in which I discuss the impact having a local guy arrested as a serial killer suspect is having on my small Louisiana hometown. Note especially how this thing is taking an O.J. turn, with at least some black folks there saying Derrick Lee couldn't possibly be the killer, and that this thing sounds like a white put-up job. Also, since I wrote this, townspeople have turned media-savvy. A cousin of mine who teaches elementary-school special education mentioned in the teacher's lounge the other day that in the time she had young Derrick Lee in her class, one of the finches in the classroom birdcage turned up dead in the cage, with its neck broken. A day or two later, CNN phoned my cousin, wanting to know about Lee's possible history as a torturer of small animals.
Posted at 11:00 AM
THE RED AND THE BLUE [Rod Dreher]
Country music stations are dropping singer Daron Norwood's popular single "In God We Trust" because it contains the name of Jesus. Just who do these radio programmers think the country music audience is? Broadcast executives have, I would imagine, the same blue-state mentality that sees those who object to filthy, degrading, misogynistic and violent lyrics in hip-hop music as threats to free speech, and probably racist to boot.
Posted at 11:00 AM
MARK STEYN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
He's been to Iraq and back and writes about it here.
Posted at 12:55 AM