BIG SMACK? [Andrew Stuttaford]
The snack wars aren’t going away any time soon. Here are details of research purporting to show that “foods which are high in fat and sugar can cause significant changes in brain biochemistry similar to those from drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Once hooked, the researchers say, many people find it almost impossible to switch back to a healthy diet, often leading to obesity.”
Notice the use of conveniently vague words and phrases such as “significant” and “similar to,” but even if we do accept the researchers’ premise that junk food is somehow ‘addictive’ (and I don’t) all that this signifies is that our notions of ‘addiction’ are so vague as to be meaningless. You can prove this by playing a simple word game. Instead of saying that burgers are, say, as addictive as heroin, turn the phrase round to say that heroin is no more addictive than fatty food. Nonsense? Yes.
Posted at 09:11 PM
DON'T MENTION THE WAR [Andrew Stuttaford]
Peter, don’t be too sure that, for the Germans, the EU is a way of losing their national identity. It’s far better to see it as a (politically correct) way for them to impose their way on the rest of the continent. It beats Stukas and tanks, I suppose, so there has been some progress. The French are pleased to go along with this because they believe that they can manipulate German strength to pursue their own economic and geopolitical agenda.
Here’s something you might find interesting:
”The only possible aim of economic co-operation must be the establishment of the European Economic Community. The decisive conclusion in terms of economic policy is that Europe is not to be what one would call a major area or market…in which the old structural rules of the Anglo-Saxon world economy apply; rather, the European Economic Community must be shaped in accordance with new political criteria and will consequently appear different from the economic structures of the past.”
Those words come from a compendium of papers by the president of the central bank and others (Europaische Wirtschaftgemeinschaft, Heinrich Hunke (ed)) published in Berlin in, ahem, 1942.
Posted at 08:43 PM
DAD AND BRUSSELS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Yes, Peter, that is my father. Here's a shameless plug. Your other question (why the British establishment wants to entomb the UK in an ever more federal EU) is harder to answer. Basically – and very briefly - it’s a poisonous blend of motives. The aim behind the EU has long been the establishment of a corporatist economic system across a continent (the relative economic failures of France and Germany have shown that, in an age of increasingly free markets, such a system can’t survive in one country alone). Including the UK in this project will remove an economic (and intellectual) competitor and will be a good revenge on the hated Thatcher. This managed capitalism (and the revenge on the hated Thatcher) has considerable appeal to the British Left (lest there be any doubt - this includes Tony Blair). Remember that the very structure of the EU offers another advantage – it is not subject to any meaningful democratic review. It is thus, for all realistic purposes, irreversible and so is the economic system it will impose. Elections can be so awkward. It’s worth pointing out that such a regime also implies the existence of a large – and well-paid – apparatchik class, and there are many in Britain who rather like the sound of that.
Of course, all this will mean the destruction of Britain that we all once knew – but for the new ‘progressive’ class that will be no loss at all.
And why did the British people vote for this? That’s easy: they were lied to.
Posted at 08:17 PM
HERE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
is the Justin Katz post on the Federal Marriage Amendment that I mentioned earlier. He also has a post subsequent to that mention.
Posted at 07:06 PM
CAFFEINE ON SATURDAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Evidently I was in need of some when I posted about Peter's show earlier--I wrote that it was David Frum and Christopher Hitchens. It was David Brooks. I had just been clicking on David Frum's Diary...apologies (I have since corrected the blunder below).
Posted at 04:38 PM
HOW WE DO IT [Peter Robinson]
Thanks for those kind words about Uncommon Knowledge, K-Lo. (I suppose you felt you had to sweeten me up after making me feel superannuated.)
The way we shoot the show is pretty simple. We sit down, make sure everybody has a cup of coffee, then let the cameras roll--typically for about 30 or 35 minutes. Since we owe PBS exactly 27 minutes, our brilliant young director and editor, Ian Albert, always does some nipping and tucking before we hand the videotape over. (During one recent shoot I said "Iraq" every time I meant "Iran" and "Iran" every time I meant "Iraq." By some miracle of editing, Ian saved me.)
But the magic, I've always felt, lies in the talk. Americans watch hundreds of hours of television a month, but how often can they hear a real conversation? Get Hitch and David Brooks to the studio, choose a fascinating topic such as Orwell, then let it happen.
Posted at 04:32 PM
THE PASSION TRAILER [Rod Dreher]
Harry Knowles's Ain't-It-Cool News moviesite has a copy of the trailer for The Passion, Mel Gibson's controversial film about the final days of Jesus Christ. It looks incredibly well done. This trailer has graphically violent images, so be forewarned. As you've no doubt heard, the Anti-Defamation League and a group of scholars affiliated with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (which later distanced itself from them), have issued a condemnation of the movie as anti-Semitic, based on their review of a stolen early draft of the script. It's hard to believe that this condemnation of a film they haven't even seen has nothing to do with the fact that The Passion still doesn't have a distributor. Anyway, check the trailer out for yourself. (Important: make SURE you have the latest version of QuickTime software, which is available for free from Apple.com.)
I cannot wait to see the entire movie -- and if it's anti-Semitic, then it will reap the condemnation it deserves. And if not, not. But "The Passion" deserves the chance to be seen and judged on its own merits. The more people see this trailer, the greater the demand for the movie.
Posted at 04:28 PM
IT'S AN INSULT TO THE POVERTY STRIKEN [Susan Konig]
...to claim that they are driven to have sex because of their situation, as the Washington Post reports. AIDS is a death sentence for them. And where do little kids come in? Handing a condom to a 7-year-old kid in any country is still advocating sex for children. What if they are taught not to have sex? What if they are protected? Not young adults but children. To say abstinence is a Bush-ism is to dismiss it out of hand.
Here is a quick look at the situation from someone who lives it everyday -- an African missionary, Fr. Steven Mosha, who is supported by our church here in Westchester. He runs a dispensary.
As you might have read in papers, seen on TV and heard on radio, the worst medical situation Africa is going through now is that of the spread of HIV/AIDS followed by malaria and other epidemics such as cholera.
Posted at 04:25 PM
TEACHING SAILORS ABOUT REAGAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Warning: This will make many feel very old.
Posted at 12:12 PM
GRAIN-OF-SALT FILES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Iran's Khatami says he'll resign if the people want him to. Yup, sure, for the people, by the people--that's Iran. (Just ask the U.S. State Department. Then ask the young people of Iran.)
Posted at 11:53 AM
WHAT FMA DOES-III [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Let’s leave sex and sexual relationships out of the picture. Let’s say that the amendment has passed and the Connecticut legislature has enacted a law granting some of the legal incidents of marriage to any couple. Under this law, a friend and you (or two friends and you) can co-sign each other’s loans, or whatever, if you choose this arrangement. (A thoughtful post by Justin Katz suggested this example to me—unfortunately, I can’t find the link right now.) Would the amendment bar this law? Or prevent a court from giving it effect? I don’t see how. The amendment’s wording suggests that states can, by statute, confer some of the legal incidents of marriage on unmarried couples (or groups); and that courts may construe statutes to confer those benefits.
Let’s take another example. The Michigan legislature decides to permit only married couples to co-sign each other’s loans. The state may have other sorts of domestic partnerships, but this isn’t part of the package. Under the amendment, the court may not construe the law reserving this benefit to married people (i.e., implicitly defining it as one of the legal incidents of marriage) as though it applied to unmarried people. That is to say: Whatever the state has decided, legislatively, to reserve to marriage, the courts may not extend beyond marriage. That leaves state legislatures with a lot of running room.
If one takes seriously the legal threat that the amendment’s supporters do—that without the amendment, the courts will impose same-sex marriage—the amendment leaves states with more running room than they’ll otherwise have.
Posted at 11:04 AM
WHAT FMA DOES-II [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here again is the language of the amendment: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.” On Andrew and Eugene’s reading, the word “require” is excess verbiage. They read the second sentence as though it were equivalent to the following: “Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to confer marital status or the legal incidents thereof upon unmarried couples or groups.”
Indeed, their reading makes even the “construed” bit pointless. Why not just say “Neither the state nor the federal government may confer marital status or the legal incidents thereof upon unmarried couples or groups”? The answer: because that’s not what the amendment is intended to do (although, of course, many supporters of the amendment may well wish that political circumstances were such that they could enact a more far-reaching amendment).
Posted at 11:02 AM
WHAT FMA DOES--I [Ramesh Ponnuru]
On Thursday, I claimed that Andrew Sullivan had misunderstood the Federal Marriage Amendment. Eugene Volokh and he say that I’m the one who doesn’t get it.
All of us agree that the amendment would ban a state from adopting same-sex marriage—democratically or by judicial fiat.
I said that the amendment would not bar a state legislature from enacting civil unions, but only block any future replays of Vermont, in which a court essentially ordered a legislature to enact them. (Eugene and Andrew don’t bring this point up specifically, but I should have qualified that statement: It depends on the contours of the “civil unions” in question. The amendment would block democratically-adopted civil unions if those civil unions were marriages in all but name.)
Andrew and Eugene argue that the FMA would prohibit legislatures from creating any type of civil unions, recognizing domestic partnerships, or even making employers provide same-sex partners with the same benefits that go to married couples. I disagree.
Posted at 11:00 AM
ANDREW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
As loyal Cornerites know, Andrew Stuttaford, who I know has been travelling (ok, when isn'the?) usually OWNS this place on the weekends. I wonder, were we supposed ask his permission to post on the weekend?
Posted at 10:57 AM
NYT LOVES GDR [Tim Graham]
The New York Times published two cultural articles yesterday looking wistfully at East Germany. Something tells me that communist composers should be left to decompose.
Posted at 10:37 AM
UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I was actually just watching Peter's show, Uncommon Knowledge (Christopher Hitchens and David Brooks on Orwell). Since we have you around here, Peter: You have a big-think show with big thinkers talking about not-small questions--not exactly the stuff of soundbites. Is there massive editing involved? How in the heck do you manage to keep the show to a half-hour?
Posted at 10:36 AM
MOYERS ON PRYOR [Jonathan H. Adler]
As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to vote on the judicial nomination of William Pryor, Bill Moyers produces a one-sided segment for his "NOW" PBS program on the nomination. On the program, which aired nationwide last night (transcript here), Senator Schumer gets in all his licks, but there is no mention of Pryor's broad, bipartisan support in Alabama, the endorsements he's received from Democratic state AGs, or his efforts to end vestiges of racial discrimination in Alabama. Worse, for a purportedly "educational" program subsidized by taxpayers, there is absolutely no effort to explain or elucidate the legal reasoning behind Pryor's positions.
Posted at 10:35 AM
ADDENDUM FOR A. STUTTAFORD, ESQ. [Peter Robinson]
Andrew, is that by any chance your father on the Times of London website? That man whose gentle-yet-authoritative face appears next to the heading, "Medical Q & A: Dr. Thomas Stuttaford answers your questions?"
If so, you have the closest tie to elite British opinion of anyone I know, and I'll therefore have to hold you personally responsible for enabling me to understand why any sane Brit, let alone your PM, of all people, would want to toss UK sovereignty into La Manche, as you'll all be calling it soon enough, in order to start taking orders from Brussels.
Posted at 10:31 AM
EUROTHINKING [Peter Robinson]
Last night I prepped for the third episode of Uncommon Knowledge I’ll be shooting next week, a discussion of the proposed European constitution between Timothy Garton-Ash, who favors continued European integration, and Paul Johnson, who’s agin’ it. As I wrapped it up for the evening, it was the psychology of the European project that made me walk away puzzled.
For most countries, I can see it. I mean, I can understand why they’d want European integration, and I figure that if I were in their place I’d want it, too. France? A united Europe represents France’s last hope for exercising real influence in the world. Italy? The European project will enable it to achieve political and economic stability at last. Poland and Hungary? Protection from the Russians--that’s what they’re after. Germany? European integration offers a way of dissolving the German national identity into that of a larger, supranational entity and thus of escaping the burden of German history (you’d be surprised how many residents of Mitteleurope will already tell you they’re not German but European). Spain? An end to isolation.
But the United Kingdom? I just can’t figure it out. Why could it possibly wish to tie its fate to that of the continent? It long ago achieved political stability, and its economy is already the most vibrant in Europe. Its history is one to be proud of, not to shrink from, and it hasn’t suffered any real isolation since it became a leading sea power three centuries ago. Cut taxes, lower trade barriers, and let the British economy rip. That I can see. But hook up with the continent? Can anybody explain this to me? Ramesh? Jonah? Johns Derbyshire or O’Sullivan? Anybody?
“British integration within a European superstate is unacceptable to me,” Mrs. Thatcher said in a in a 2000 speech I just came across, “because it means the loss of our freedom, of our independence, and ultimately of our very identity.”
I’m with the Lady.
Why isn’t Tony Blair?
Posted at 10:21 AM
RE: UGANDAN MODEL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
While, I agree, Susan, that Uganda's ABC model is getting more press than it ever would have thanks to P. Bush, but, boy, does the Washington Post do a great job getting around the A and the B today!
Posted at 10:01 AM
SCOTUS, LAWRENCE, PUBLIC SCHOOLS [Rod Dreher]
Here's a much better link to the Supreme Court opinions in the Lawrence v. Texas case. It's a great site run by the Legal Information Institute, and you can retrieve all the opinions on a particular case in both HTML and PDF format.
Peter is right about the awfulness of the majority opinion in Lawrence. Here's as aspect of it I haven't seen much commented on. Consider these passages by Justice Kennedy:
1. This, as a general rule, should counsel against attempts by the State, or a court, to define the meaning of the relationship or to set its boundaries absent injury to a person or abuse of an institution the law protects.
2. To say that the issue in Bowers was simply the right to engage in certain sexual conduct demeans the claim the individual put forward, just as it would demean a married couple were it to be said marriage is simply about the right to have sexual intercourse.
3. When homosexual conduct is made criminal by the law of the State, that declaration in and of itself is an invitation to subject homosexual persons to discrimination both in the public and in the private spheres.
4. And then there was the passage, too lengthy to quote here, that explicitly expands the Casey "sweet mystery of life" umbrella to include homosexuality.
All these passages make it fairly obvious to me that the Court has now definitively read into constitutional law the philosophical position that homosexuality is not something you do, but something you are. I don't see how any discrimination against homosexuals can be sustained legally, any more than discrimination against racial minorities. That being the case, on what grounds can public schools prevent activist teachers from "queering elementary education"?
Posted at 09:39 AM
UGANDA MODEL [Susan Konig]
Nice to see the Uganda model of AIDS prevention getting more attention for its ABC approach. Many liberals I know scoff at the "abstinence" and "being faithful" components as prudish and unrealistic while we know they save lives and appeal to the more dignified side of human nature.
Posted at 09:29 AM
Friday, July 11, 2003
THEY DON'T GET IT [Jonah Goldberg ]
A reader sent me these links. Apparently these bloggers (I've never heard of either of them) don't understand the difference between amending the constitution and making up what the constitution means. That's not all they get, but I'm done for the night.
Posted at 10:13 PM
BOTSWANA BLOOPERS [Tim Graham]
My colleague Rich Noyes caught ABC’s Terry Moran being cute this morning when Good Morning America ended its first hour with footage of a male elephant trying and failing to um, seek a profound physical union with a female elephant at the Botswana game preserve as President and Mrs. Bush were preparing for an African photo op.
Moran joked about the Bush visit: “It's a family program, but this is nature, this is what he came to see, I guess. The new generation of Republicans, perhaps." Claire Shipman ribbed back: “I'm sure they're just happy to have any sort of elephants in the picture." Moran: "Yeah, although I'm not sure that's, they were on message there. I think they were, for the social conservatives, they might have been a little off message. I don't know." Social conservatives would apparently tell the elephants to get a room. He didn’t joke that the liberals might have been appalled there weren’t any prophylactic devices in the picture to educate your teenagers on proper techniques.
Posted at 08:29 PM
KATIE'S FREE COMMERCIAL [Tim Graham]
Remember in 2000 when Richard Berke of the New York Times willingly knuckled under to Gore campaign pressure and made a big front-page deal about the word "rats" appearing subliminally for 1/30th of a second in a GOP ad, as if this was the height of incivility in politics?
This morning on "Today," NBC's Katie Couric brought visual aids to her "gee, Bush is in trouble" interview with gloomy Tim Russert: the latest attack ad from MoveOn.org, the Internet home of the Deanie Meanies. Their latest ad flashes the word LEADER in white across Bush's face, and then adds in red the prefix MIS. There's nothing subliminal about that. The President is a liar over your Raisin Bran.
And Couric announced so helpfully: "And as we look at background video, Tim, of an ad that's being put out by a group called MoveOn. It was started by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs frustrated by the political process. This drumbeat will be heard more and more loudly, don't you think, in the weeks to come?"
It will if NBC airs their ads for free on the nation's leading morning show and touts them as the public-opinion wave of the future. And calls them simply "entrepreneurs frustrated by the political process." That nonideological title would have been nice if NBC applied it to Richard Mellon Scaife. Or they could have taken a page from their Scaife-scraping handbook and called MoveOn what they are: Clinton lovers or Bush haters. Take your pick, Katie.
Posted at 08:03 PM
DINGELL VS. CONNERLY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From Congress Daily:
Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., this week slammed American Civil Rights Coalition head Ward Connerly and demanded the anti-affirmative action conservative quit his efforts to overturn a University of Michigan diversity policy. In a Wednesday letter, Dingell warns Connerly to "go home and stay there," arguing Michigan has "no need for itinerant publicity seekers, non-resident troublemakers or self-aggrandizing out-of-state agitators. You have created enough mischief in your own state [California] to last a lifetime." The blistering attack comes on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling upholding the University of Michigan rule, which allows the law school to make student body diversity a consideration in its admissions policies. Connerly was vaulted to national prominence among conservatives when he opposed the University of California's affirmative action policies in the late 1990s, breaking ranks with other black business and political leaders in the state.
Posted at 07:42 PM
"I AM RESPONSIBLE" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
George Tenet. Aforementioned issues with Tenet aside though, FIGHT THE SPIN, the president didn't lie and it may not even be a mistake to say he was seeking uranium from Africa.
Posted at 06:41 PM
MARRIAGE: THE END AHEAD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Virginian Matthew Mehan has this response to John O’Sullivan’s piece on the future of marriage to throw into the mix:
Considering the despondency of this article's tone, may I make a suggestion? I agree with your cultural weather report, 100% chance of rain here and sunny skies in Sodom, however, that does not mean that some rear guard actions--no pun was intended until now--should be left undone. For instance, call them gay unions not gay marriages. At least allow for some culturally recognized distinction between sterile coitus and a life-producing family even if both are legally sanctioned side by side. Besides that, marriage comes from the Latin "marita" which means a woman provided with a husband. A verbal distinction can be a powerful one to sow seeds for later campaigns in the culture war. Also, by privatizing marriage you divorce marriage from the interests of the state, and Jefferson was very emphatic, as with all our founders, that a state that does not support the family and see its protection as a tantamount goal is not a state worth protecting. If you privatize, or if politicians and just citizens roll over and take a coward's comfort in knowing that their religious institutions will soon be forced to disengage from the public sphere, you agree to let the state consider the family as simply another competing interest on par with the NAMBLA and the Teamsters Union. Please keep fighting on this front. I would hate to see the conservative movement win every battle but the war.
Posted at 06:13 PM
RE: STARING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here's the link to the Lawrence decision (for your Friday commute home!--only after reading NRODT & NRO print-outs). Warning: It's a PDF-er.
Posted at 06:12 PM
STARING AT STARE DECISIS [Peter Robinson]
Prepping for an episode of Uncommon Knowledge next week with Judge Bork (and I confess I won't finish reading all the questions Corner readers have suggested until this evening), I've been poring over the Lawrence decision. The decision is worse, far worse, than I'd imagined: Muddled, pompous, and, in the end, an astonishingly brazen assertion that the majority simply knows better than the legislature of Texas. Truly, friends, you have to read this stuff to believe it. But it takes Scalia's dissent to identify the particular outrage here: the shameless flip-flop on stare decisis.
In the 1992 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Scalia notes, the majority made a big deal out of the doctrine of stare decisis, that is, of the need to ensure the basic stability of the law by deferring to precedent. We may not like Roe, the majority held in Casey, but overturn it? No way. A Supreme Court decision is a Supreme Court decision. But in Lawrence, the majority overturns the Bowers decision without compunction. "[T]imes can blind us to certain truths," Justice Kennedy writes in the majority decision, "and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress." In other words, the Court is determined to write into law the moral opinions of the liberal elite, and stare decisis be damned.
Justice Scalia: "[W]hen stare decisis meant preservation of judicially invented abortion rights, the widespread criticism of Roe was strong reason to reaffirm it....Today, however, the widespread opposition to Bowers...is offered as a reason in favor of overruling it....To tell the truth, it does not surprise me, and it should surprise no one, that the Court has chosen today to revise the standards of stare decisis set forth in Casey. It has thereby exposed Casey's extraordinary deference to precedent for the result-oriented expedient that it is."
Posted at 06:05 PM
HELL NO, TENET MUST STAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I don’t know if I buy it, but a well-versed intel watcher e-mails me some good points, in total and complete disagreement with my SMALLEST VIOLIN post:
Uh, yeah, [a Tenet resignation] would [be bad]. Intelligence is an art, not a science. A lot of it is educated guesses, based on the best, though incomplete information available. Firing Tenet over botching this SOTU line would add more caution, more ass-covering, more bureaucratic inertia and bring down the morale that he's spent his tenure rebuilding. Unless there's a dynamo replacement candidate to replace him, it's best to keep a guy who's got a very solid, trusted, personal relationship with W. and who has some successes to go with his failures (Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the company's role in taking down the Taliban, catching some of the top 55 Iraqi leaders, etc.).
Posted at 05:57 PM
LUNCH WITH PETER ROBINSON [Father George W. Rutler]
Peter is most welcome to buy me lunch. God, who alone is adored, feeds multitudes. The lesser clergy, who are merely revered, customarily are fed. It is an edifying custom, although it has sometimes caused revolutions.
Posted at 05:48 PM
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS’S NIGHTMARE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That sausage gal who got hit with a bat (by a batter with a lot of money; he could potentially fork over in a pretty settlement) could not be nicer about it.
Posted at 04:27 PM
CIA BLAME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
By the way, Laurie Mylroie, a foremost expert on things terror- and Iraq-related (who is not at all unfamiliar to NRO readers--see here and here), has a book coming out later this month called Bush Vs the Beltway: How the CIA and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror.
Posted at 04:26 PM
SMALLEST VIOLIN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
One aside re: the SOTU/CIA hype (even bearing in mind everything May/York/Robbins point out--all true: whether for the specifically right reasons or not, considering folks like Michael Ledeen have been calling for Tenet to go since 9/11/01 (also Bill Gertz here and in an NRODT piece), would the CIA head resigning be so bad?
Posted at 04:22 PM
GOT NR? [NR Staff]
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Posted at 03:56 PM
TALLAHASSEE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
And, Tim, they're not "young women" we're talking about. They're girls. Children.
Posted at 03:53 PM
GOOD ON YER, PADRE [Peter Robinson]
The splendid Rev. George Rutler scores two points for charity.
First, for the sweetness with which he reminds me to choose my words more carefully. (All right, Father, I'll quit adoring you. But next time I'm in New York, do I still get to buy you lunch?)
Second, for not saying what I'm going to go right ahead and blurt out: That at the very time he was drafting that pastoral letter claiming the economic policies of Ronald Reagan aggrandized the rich, ground down the face of the poor, blah, blah, blah, Archbishop Rembert Weakland was engaged in an affair that he would later use church funds to attempt to hush up. A regular pillar of rectitude, no?
Posted at 03:44 PM
NRODT IS ALL SCREWED UP [John Derbyshire]
I was just dealing with some of those NR/NRO readers who took me up on my offer to sign their copy of Prime Obsession & return it at my own expense. One reader sent his copy in a box. I opened the box. The book was protected with a lot of scrunched-up paper. Smoothing and flattening out the paper (did I mention about being a neat freak?) I saw to my horror that it was all from the June 16th copy of National Review. Is this sacrilege, blasphemy, lese majeste, or what? Or a subtle compliment? Can't make up my mind.
Posted at 03:42 PM
TALLAHASSEE VS. TOLEDO [Tim Graham]
This example of media spin isn't half as terrible as Toledo. It's simply bizarre. An e-mailer notes today's Tallahassee Democrat has a strange lead on the decision by the Gore-favoring Florida Supreme Court (remember them?) to throw out a 1999 parental-notification law. "Democrat Writer Tony Bridges," an appropriate description in more ways than one began:
Keep it in the family - and out of the hands of government. That was the Florida Supreme Court's decision Thursday as it ruled the state cannot mandate parental involvement when young women want abortions.How is it "keeping it in the family" to allow parents to be left in the dark when teen girls get abortions behind their back?
Posted at 03:39 PM
THE COUCH POTATO VOTE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An Ohio voter on Jerry Springer and STAR TREK:
Since this is Ohio day on the corner I would like to point something out to Jerry Springer's campaign. If he thinks that drawing the unemployed couch potato vote will swing next year's senate election he should think again. In last year's governor's race we saw that not even the power of Star Trek was able to dent the GOP's control of the state (every major state office is held by a Republican along with both senate seats) . Tim Hagen, the Democratic candidate for Governor, was totally unable to capitalize on his wife being Star Trek Voyager's Captain Janeway. Now it seems to me that the average Trekkie has a little more ambition (conventions and all) than the average unemployed Springer fan. Hagan was even running against the insainly unelectable Bob Taft. Then again maybe Springer is more of a motivator than I give him credit. One question though, has anyone (besides Jonah) thought to question if Jerry is doing this solely for the publicity? He's facing an opponent who's very popular, twice elected to the Governor's office and easily won his first senate race. Not a very winable race. His motives HAVE to be drawn into question. He hasn't even lived in the state for a decade. I think George Voinovich is safe unless someone is able to convince Jim Tressel to run against him. If that were the case Voinovich would have as much chance of winning as San Diego State does this fall in Ohio Stadium. But that's another story for another day.
Posted at 03:37 PM
CORRECTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It was the 101st Airborne at Bastogne not the 82nd.
Posted at 03:30 PM
PROLIFERS &... [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
They could have used a number of other examples of people who don't/didn't give up:the holdouts at the Alamo;the troops at Valley Forge;the abolitionists;the 82nd Airborne at Bastogne;the survivors of the Bataan Death March;even Nelson Mandela. But noooo, if you believe it might be a good idea that the parents of a 14 year old girl be notified before she has an abortion,then you're akin to a suicide bomber.
Posted at 03:14 PM
TOLEDO INCONSISTENCIES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a Blade reader re: Hamas and more:
[Y]ou should know that the Blade is an unequivocal supporter of the Palestinian cause. The reference to Hamas in that abortion editorial is simply an example of the way liberals throw around the label of the bad guys du jour without really understanding whether it's appropriate.
Posted at 03:12 PM
IN DEFENSE OF HICKSVILLE [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 03:07 PM
NOT THE OFFICIAL CRUISE WEAR OF NATIONAL REVIEW [Jonah Goldberg]
This is not for the squeamish. It's PG, I suppose, but be afraid, very afraid.
Posted at 02:43 PM
GAY ANGLICAN CLERGY--AN EVANGELICAL WEIGHS IN [John Derbyshire]
Joel Edwards, who runs the Evangelical Alliance of the UK (he is himself a Pentecostalist, but the Alliance includes lots of Anglicans--yes! there are Anglican evangelicals!--millions of them, in fact) has his say on the fuss over the appointment of a homosexual bishop. He makes the point--which is often made, but perhaps not often enough--that, in his own words: "A 'Liberal Gospel' breeds decline, in the Church of England and other churches. The fact is that only a tiny minority of Christian denominations around the world have formally approved the ordination of practising homosexuals, same-sex blessings and other such measures. Two of the most notable examples are the United Church of Christ in America and the United Church of Canada. Since they adopted these policies, their membership has declined sharply. This gives the lie to the oft-quoted assumption that if the Church adapts to Western cultural trends on this matter people will come flocking through its doors."
Posted at 02:16 PM
RE: TOLEDO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Though I should be grateful they seem to disapprove of Hamas.
Posted at 02:11 PM
(UN)HOLY TOLEDO!: "ROE VS. WADE REDUX" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An editorial from the Toledo Blade (our Ohio day in The Corner) today:
Yet those opposed to abortion, like the Hamas organization in the Middle East, never give up. And, imbued with fanatic zeal, they probably won’t. This means that today’s young women, and tomorrow’s, can’t afford to take yesterday’s gains for granted.
Posted at 02:10 PM
BUSH BLUNDERS ON TRADE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Of course, Bush Administration acquiescence to an unfavorable WTO ruling would be too much to hope for. Instead, the administration is going to appeal the ruling. If we lose again, the E.U. will be entitled to impose some $2 billion worth of retaliatory tariffs (on top of the retaliarory tariffs the E.U. may impose for the Administration's failure to comply with an earlier WTO ruling on tax treatment of foreign subsidiaries).
If there's one area where this administration has been a terrible disappointment, it has been international trade. (Okay, there's more than one, but the disappointment here is particularly great because there was reason to expect better.) Rather than bush for broad multilateral trade liberalization through the WTO, the USTR has pursued balkanizing bilateral agreements loaded with side agreements. Worse, the administration has backed new trade restrictions (steel) and distortionary subsidies (farm bill). Such policies have negative economic consequences and make it more difficult for the U.S. to bring effective WTO complaints against other nations' protectionist trade policies.
Posted at 02:01 PM
VICTORY! WTO RULES AGAINST U.S. [Jonathan H. Adler]
The World Trade Organization has just ruled that the Bush Administration's steel tariffs violate global trade rules. The WTO is right, and the Bush Administration would do itself -- and the economy -- a favor if it would rescind the tariffs forthwith.
Posted at 01:54 PM
MORE SNOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Stewart: "It is incredible to think that [Liberia's Charles Taylor] could stay in power that long and actually even win elections while he's hacking people to bits."
Posted at 01:43 PM
BTW, GIVE IT UP FOR TONY SNOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Speaking of Tony Snow...Can I just say, besides having a great Sunday show and being a terrific guy (among other things), Tony Snow is pretty darn funny. Did you happen to catch him on The Daily Show the other night? As one who has most definitely turned down the Daily Show, I think anyone who can pull it off--among those of us not paid to be funny--is probably the essence of cool. Well, Snow certainly did. Here's a taste:
Jon Stewart: "Fox News right now is like double the other networks. You're crushing everybody. Are the Christmas bonus's going to be Yachts and some of the Krugerrands from Saddam's castle."
Posted at 01:40 PM
THE USS REAGAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
is commissioned tomorrow. Fox New's Tony Snow is anchoring coverage, starting at 11. The Virginian-Pilot has had a good group of articles on it, including this one and a slide-show tour.
Posted at 01:25 PM
SCANDAL [Kevin Cherry]
Even assuming that the President's line in the State of the Union was false, it is hard to believe that it was a deliberate lie. He had to know that if the statement were false, it would be discovered--and most likely before the next election. Moreover, what was gained by its inclusion? The case for invasion could have been made without that line. In fact, the case was made, in later presentations by the President and other administration officials, without that line. Nothing to gain by lying; a great deal to lose--so it's sort of hard for me to believe it was made with an intent to deceive.
This just shows that the Democrats are reaching. They know that Bush's strengths are (1) his character and (2) foreign policy. This allows them to hit him on both of those points, while hiding--especially Dean--from their own foreign policy records.
Posted at 01:09 PM
SAY HI TO ME AT NORTHWESTERN [Randy Barnett]
On Monday I will be lecturing for 6 hours on contract law at Northwestern University School of Law for LawPreview. I don’t often get invited out to speak on contracts, so for me it is a refreshing change of pace. If you are one of the aspiring legal eagles who will be attending, be sure to identify yourself to me as a reader of the Corner on NRO.
Posted at 01:08 PM
MY NRO PIECE ON LAWRENCE [Randy Barnett]
I have received a lot of response to my NRO piece, Justice Kennedy’s Libertarian Revolution. I am especially impressed with the respectfulness and thoughtfulness of those writers who disagreed with my position. Many had technical questions that will be addressed at length in Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty (which will be $32.50, not $39.50). I normally try to respond to thoughtful e-mails, but I am leaving town tomorrow and really need to get back to reading the page proofs for the book and writing the index. I will try to catch up later if I can.
Posted at 12:57 PM
DIVERSITY SHMIVERSITY [Rod Dreher]
Apparently Washington's Cardinal McCarrick convened a secret meeting of top lay and clerical Catholics recently, to discuss the sex-abuse situation and the future of the Catholic Church. It was supposed to be a listening session for the bishops. Read this Boston Globe account, and see if you can spot a single name of a cleric or layperson known for defending orthodox Catholic teaching on controversial matters (e.g., women's ordination, the celibate priesthood, contraception, homosexuality).
Posted at 12:43 PM
ANNOYING AND DULL [Aaron Bailey]
With everyone mentioning annoying websites, "The dullest blog in the world" should be mentioned.
Posted at 12:34 PM
POWERED HOWARD [Tim Graham]
Howard Dean went on ABC's Good Morning America today to demand resignations of anyone involved with the Niger Sentence. Substitute host Terry Moran asked "Are you a Democrat who would like to see a special prosecutor again, like Ken Starr, come back and open up an investigation again of the President?" He didn't ask: "And so how would the Iraqi people be better off this summer under Saddam's thumb?"
Posted at 12:00 PM
"LAND OF HOPE IN THE HEART OF AFRICA" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
President Bush, talking hope and the ABCs--stressing the A and the B first--in Uganda.
Posted at 11:59 AM
ANNOYING WEBSITE [Susan Konig]
This is a great website the first 499 times you look at it. Around 500, it gets annoying...
Posted at 11:49 AM
A STOWAWAY ON THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS PLANE IN AFRICA? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 11:49 AM
FMA, TO BE CONTINUED [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Andrew Sullivan and Eugene Volokh have both responded to my post yesterday about the meaning of the Federal Marriage Amendment (although not to my post about the Defense of Marriage Act). Their posts are not only very civil; they put me on a first-name basis. Is this some blogosphere thing? Anyway, I'll try to respond to Andrew and Eugene later today. First I've got to get up to speed on immigration and prescription drugs for some other things I'm doing.
Also, be sure to check out Eugene's post on an outrageous judicial decision in Nevada.
Posted at 11:35 AM
FUN WITH CREATIVE EDITING [Rod Dreher]
I have to admit that this video montage is pretty dang funny.
Posted at 11:22 AM
GALILEO FOLLIES [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 11:21 AM
RE: SCANDAL PIECES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jonah, we're tag-teaming corporate promoting. I love it!
Posted at 11:16 AM
RE: SCANDAL [Jonah Goldberg]
Byron York's piece is very good too.
Posted at 11:06 AM
"SCANDAL!" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Stop the presses on the "SOTU lie" talk and read Cliff May.
Posted at 11:04 AM
BUSH'S FISCAL RECORD--II [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A defender of the administration e-mails, making this point: In the budgets for which Bush has been responsible, "the non-defense, non-homeland security increases have been 6 percent; 4.7 percent; and (a proposed) 2.0 percent. People may disagree with some of the particulars, but this record hardly qualifies as 'fiscally reckless.'" These are good numbers to have. But they don't satisfy me. In previous wars, as Mitch Daniels noted in the Washington Post a year or two ago, the government actually cut back on non-defense spending to compensate for the costs of war. It set priorities, in other words. (It focused on the legitimate functions of the federal government, I'd say.) If Bush had, soon after 9/11, sent up a war budget that included domestic spending cuts, I believe that he would have had the support of his party, his country, and (at least) several Democrats.
Posted at 10:52 AM
BUSH'S FISCAL RECORD--I [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Grover's op-ed on NRO today makes the point that the burden of government has been growing over the last three years, after declining from 1992 to 2000. That's interesting, but doesn't it raise some questions of political responsibility? Questions that Grover might be expected to address? I'm not saying that Bush is necessarily the reason for the shift in the trend. I'm just saying that it's odd for the question not to be raised.
Posted at 10:41 AM
MORE CROSS OF GOLD(BERG) [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay,I confess I'm a bit disappointed that I'm the only who is really amused by this whole Jerry Springer thing. But here's the Toledo Blade story on his campaign, in case some of you are interested.
Posted at 10:40 AM
DUSTY BAKER [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 10:35 AM
MOST ANNOYING SITE [Jonah Goldberg ]
I was too harsh. This is probably more annoying. This has to be close to the most annoying site ever. But
UPDATEA reader says he thinks there's a virus at MostAnnoyingWepage.com. I guess that just makes it even more annoying. So be careful.
Posted at 10:18 AM
BAD NEWS FOR FAIRNESS IN COLLEGE SPORTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Education Department looks like it is keeping the men's-teams-killing Clinton Title IX quotas and reinforcing them in a forthcoming document. If the sound of it in the USA Today piece today is right, it comes as a huge disappointment, after the administration seemingly just went through the motions of putting together a review commission. We'll have more in the coming days on this, but, for now, suffice it to say, it looks like a score for injustice.
Posted at 10:18 AM
REPLY TO JOHN O'SULLIVAN [Father George W. Rutler]
The point is not whether the State should recognize same-sex marriages (the term in itself being oxymoronic). The fact is that the State cannot do it. As the Canadian bishops recently wrote to the Prime Minister of Canada: Marriage pre-exists the State and is fundamental to society and the institution of marriage therefore cannot be modified by the State or a court of law. They also pointed out that "same-sex marriage" discriminates against heterosexual marriage and the family which would be deprived of their social and legal recognition as the fundamental and irreplaceable basis of society.
Posted at 10:09 AM
LESS GRANNY D, MORE KENNY G [Tim Graham]
AP reports that Dennis Kucinich has lined up endorsements from actors Ed Asner, Peter Coyote, James Cromwell, Hector Elizondo, and Elliott Gould, and perhaps inevitably, Doris "Granny D" Haddock and Studs Terkel. "Maybe that is the real America," says historian Henry Graff. That's not even one street of the real America, professor. But it gets funnier. He says these endorsements might get the youngsters out to the polls. He should really check imdb.com...none of these people are under 60. But maybe he could convince the deluded young non-voters that Granny D is a gangsta rapper.
Posted at 10:04 AM
MOST ANNOYING WEBSITE? [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 09:46 AM
CNN V. FOX [Jonah Goldberg ]
Interesting storyon how CNN brags that it has richer and more upscale viewers than Fox. What I find intertesting about it is how, if true, such a fact undermines one of the central assumptions of the media-critic left (which includes Al Gore). This crowd is always insinuating that Fox News is the tool of corporate and Republican interests. And yet, Fox is more popular among the "little guys" -- you know the people, not the powerful. If you keep in mind that Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, O'Reilly etc represent the victory of the Republican Party to be every much as populist (not always a good thing) as the Democrats you can decipher a great deal of the grumpiness and confusion of liberals who shriek about "right wing media."
Posted at 09:41 AM
RE: IS FATHER RUTLER THERE? [Father George W. Rutler]
I have no objections at all to Peter Robinson's complaints about those defective teaching documents which were exercises in ill-advised clericalism. The pastoral letter on the economy was the work of a committee headed by Archbishop Rembert Weakland. It was thoroughly corrected, though not specifically cited, in the papal encyclical Centesimus Annus. The pastoral letter on nuclear armaments addressed a universe parallel to the real one and, had its indications been followed, there might still be a Soviet Union. I would add other items to Peter's request for apologies, including recent misjudgments about the war in Iraq. In fact, in a letter to the editor published in the latest issue of Crisis magazine, I suggested an apology might be in order precisely for those. On Iraq, the US Bishops' Conference was actually more prudent than some of the statements from Curial officials in the Vatican. - I am glad to resume contact with my friend Peter. I hope that nearly two decades ago I instructed him well enough to know that adoration should be given only to God. Humans may only be objects of respect, reverence, and veneration. But if he continues to adore me, I am reluctant to discourage grassroots piety.
Posted at 09:25 AM
EPISCOPALIAN CLERIHEW [John Derbyshire]
Inspired by my Marcel Proustclerihew and other writings, an Anglican reader sent this:
The Primate of Nigeria
Posted at 09:10 AM
COOL AT LAST [John Derbyshire]
After a lifetime of unsuccessful attempts, I have finally attained coolth, at least in the eyes of one reader. "Mr. Derbyshire: I'm sure you've already been told this, but as a former on-screen punching bag for the late Bruce Lee , you are officially the Coolest Writer in National Review History, and quite possibly the coolest conservative commentator ever. From now on, you can successfully win any debate by simply pointing out, 'Oh yeah? Well I went toe-to-toe with BRUCE LEE.' In the hierarchy of pop-culture obsession with martial arts, this places you higher than almost everybody associated with the Matrix films, higher than the creators of the videogames Tekken, Mortal Kombat, or Street Fighter 2, higher than either Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme. Masters of Gymkata quake in your presence. Michael Dudikoff flees in terror. You're still a few steps below Jim Kelly, Sonny Chiba, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Chuck Norris, but you're approximately on the same level as Sho Kosugi, Jeff Speakman, and Don 'The Dragon' Wilson. Just to let you know."
Does it subtract one iota from my coolth that I have no clue who most of those people are? No! I am impregnable! I am invincible!! I am COOL!!!
Posted at 09:10 AM
MONOGAMY [Stabnley Kurtz ]
In response to the crucial findings that gay men in civil unions are less likely to believe in monogamy than heterosexual men in marriages, The Washington Times quotes Ann Peplau, a UCLA psychologist. Peplau says she agrees that “there is clear evidence that gay men are less likely to have sexually exclusive relationships than other people.” But Peplau goes on to argue that this is not harmful to the relationship, because both partners accept the practice of sexual openness. Peplau is missing the point, which is that, by redefining marriage toward sexual openness, heterosexual relationships in future generations would be weakened, even if homosexual relationships are not.
Posted at 09:09 AM
GAY NEWS [Stabnley Kurtz]
An important article out today in The Washington Times reports on several studies of gay relationships. The article highlights a study of Dutch homosexual men that indicates their relationships are far briefer than heterosexual first marriages. That study may be suggestive, but it does not appear to answer certain critical questions. As gay marriage advocates note in the story, the study begs the question of how gay men will behave in their own first marriages. But the study reported later in the article is very important indeed. That is a study by two professors of psychology in Vermont. That study surveyed gay men and women who had formed civil unions, and compared them with heterosexual men and women. The study found that gay men in civil unions believed in monogamy at much lower rates than men in heterosexual marriages. That is critically important evidence for what I have been claiming for some time–that gay marriage will break the association between marriage and monogamy for future generations.
Posted at 09:08 AM
CNN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jonah will be on American Morning, like he is every Friday. I don't know just when (and he is en route), but now I've told you, so you know we love you. (We're still having some tech issues, so a little slow going, but I promise we'll make up for it.)
Posted at 07:03 AM
Thursday, July 10, 2003
SUMMERTIME BLUES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
We're having some technical issues so I think we might call it a night for now...pray the gods of technology smile down on us. And if you need me or NRO--I know your lives revolve around NRO :-)--use email@example.com for now.
Posted at 09:12 PM
JUST TO CLARIFY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
since I know how people can react to disputes on these topics: I wasn't attempting in those last two faiths to accuse Sullivan of bad faith. I'm sure he genuinely believes the claim I criticize in the first post ("Getting FMA Wrong"), and my second post ("DoMA") reflects my genuine puzzlement at what I regard as his inconsistency.
Posted at 06:25 PM
DOMA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Sullivan continues, "If you merely want to stop one state's marriages being nationalized, you have the power already. It's called the Defense of Marriage Act, alongside the long established precedent of states being able not to recognize out of state marriages for public policy reasons." I thought Sullivan opposed the DoMA as unconstitutional when it was being debated. I also thought that Sullivan was suggesting that DoMA might not survive when he wrote the following in Time (June 20): "Massachusetts' highest court is due to rule very soon on whether the denial of marriage to gays is illicit discrimination against a minority. If Massachusetts rules that it is, then gay couples across America will be able to marry not only in Canada (where there are no residency requirements for marriage) but also in a bona fide American state. There will be a long process of litigation as various married couples try hard to keep their marriages legally intact from one state to another." That litigation is precisely what the FMA is designed to forestall.
Posted at 06:10 PM
GETTING FMA WRONG [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Andrew Sullivan reprints the text of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups." He then says, "Note how the states are effectively barred from providing anything that resembles marriage or any of the 'legal incidents thereof.' It's an attempt not only to reverse any state that wants to have same-sex marriage but to invalidate all domestic partnership laws, any state-provided benefits, or any support for same-sex couples anywhere anyhow. It's a massive power-grab from the states, in an area where states have always had constitutional authority."
There may be sound arguments against the FMA. But Sullivan's claim is ridiculous. What does he suppose the words "be construed to require" are doing in the amendment? The amendment is aimed to prevent a judge (or executive-branch official) from inferring same-sex marriage or same-sex marriage-lite from a state or federal law. It precludes a state's adoption of gay marriage (that's the first sentence). It precludes a judge's imposition of civil unions (that's part of the second sentence). It does not preclude a state legislature or popular referendum from creating civil unions or whatnot. That is, incidentally, one reason the amendment is controversial on the social Right.
To the extent that what proponents say about the amendment is evidence about its meaning, that also points toward my interpretation and not Sullivan's.
Posted at 06:01 PM
SPRINGER'S CROSS OF GOLD(BERG) [Jonah Goldberg]
The infomercial focuses on a comment by National Review commentator Jonah Goldberg on a Sunday morning CNN talk show several months ago.
Posted at 05:21 PM
MILLMAN VS. O'SULLIVAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I haven't had a chance to read it in full yet, but so far Millman's critique of John looks pretty good. Of course, John's piece, even more than most, is the kind of thing one writes in order to provoke critiques. Virginia Postrel's critique of a similar proposal from Jacob Sullum is also worth reading.
Posted at 04:50 PM
WELL, AT LEAST THERE'S ONE [Peter Robinson]
From a reader of the Corner: FYI, my own Archbishop at the time of the nuke letter, Rev. Phillip M. Hannan (of New Orleans), was the only bishop to refuse to sign the document denouncing Reagan's nuclear policy. He was also the only American bishop to defend the current President Bush's intent to invade Iraq last year, citing his own experiences as a chaplain encountering totalitarianism in WWII.
Posted at 04:43 PM
IS FR. RUTLER THERE? [Peter Robinson]
Just about two decades ago Rev. George Rutler received me into the Church of Rome. I adore the man--he's brilliant, witty, and (dare I?) holy--yet since he lives in New York and I in California, it's been ages since we've been in touch. But now? Well, now we're both on the Corner. Up for a question, Father?
You mention that the Church is reforming itself through "the removal of incompetent bishops." But shouldn't the National Conference of Catholic Bishops also issue an apology? I don't mean an apology for the sexual predators they've been harboring--that apology is already on the books. I mean an apology for at least two decades of cowardice, meddling, and general pusillanimity.
In particular, shouldn't the bishops apologize for their two major pastoral letters of the nineteen-eighties? One, you'll recall, was on the economy. It was an attack on Reaganomics--at the very time when Reagan's tax cuts, restraint on spending, and program of deregulation were launching the most sustained economic expansion in American history, conferring more benefits on poor Americans than any government program could have begun to match. The second represented an attack on Reagan's nuclear policy, in effect granting the full authority of the Church to the nuclear freeze movement--at the very time when Reagan's policies were putting forces in play that would bring the Cold War to a peaceful end.
The American bishops exceeded their authority, meddled in the political life of the nation, caused scandal to thousands of devout Catholics (I have a friend who left the Church as a direct result of these pastoral letters)--and got it all wrong.
I'm quite serious. Wouldn't it be an entirely salutory step--indeed, isn't it very nearly a necessary step--for the American bishops to indicate in some unmistakeable manner that those two letters represented a grave error?
Posted at 03:52 PM
DUNCAN TO FULL SENATE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The nomination of Allyson Duncan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Assuming she is confirmed, I would not be surprised if she is soon mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee.
Posted at 03:50 PM
SPECTER ON THE SPOT [Jonathan H. Adler]
The AP reports that Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is undecided on the nomination of Bill Pryor for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Does Pat Toomey know about this?
Posted at 03:45 PM
HOLDING THE REINS AT EPA [Jonathan H. Adler]
President Bush will designate Marianne Hrinko as Acting Administrator of the EPA and Stephen L. Johnson Acting Deputy Administrator. Hrinko and Johnson are both currently serving as assistant adminsitrators at the agency. No word yet whether either appointment will be made permanent. Let's just hope that IDaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne is out of the running.
Posted at 03:42 PM
THEY'RE GONNA PUT ME IN THE MOVIES [John Derbyshire]
Progress! A reader told me that the video-editing software Ulead Studio would capture his digital video when all else failed. I downloaded a free trial version. Bingo! My Dazzle software still doesn't work, even after un- and re- installing, and I want to fix this; but at least I can capture video using Ulead. The results can be examined here. Warning: The unanimous verdict of my family, after watching this video clip, was "way scary." Ask children to leave the room.
Posted at 03:42 PM
NOAH MILLMAN ON FISKING [John Derbyshire]
One of my favorite bloggers making exceptionally good sense today.
Posted at 03:37 PM
IS DASCHLE IN THAT MUCH TROUBLE? [Jonathan H. Adler]
He's running campaign ads already.
Posted at 03:37 PM
NEW YORK'S NEWEST HILLARY VOTER [Tim Graham]
As you're swept away with warm feelings over Peter Jennings becoming an American after 40 years of broadcasting here, know that the old 30,000-videotape data bank still carries his genuine feeling for his adopted home. Take April 1990, and a prime-time special on Cambodia: "The United States is deeply involved in Cambodia again. Cambodia is on the edge of hell again." By not backing the Communist Hun Sen regime, Jennings concluded, "The United States is in danger of being on the wrong side of history." As Willy Wonka would say, flip that, reverse it.
Posted at 03:36 PM
RUN JERRY RUN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Here's the AP story on Springer's intent to file for the U.S. Senate race in Ohio on Friday. He needs to do this because his infomercial is about to start airing. The bizarre thing, though, is that the AP reports the infomercial is scheduled to start airing in several U.S. cities but not yet in Ohio. Springer will make an amusing candidate, and may well beat State Sen. Eric Fingerhut for the Democratic nomination. But he'll get slaughtered by Sen. George Voinovich. The Ohio Democratic party has not run a viable candidate for state-wide office in years, and Voinovich is among the state's most popular politicians (his opposition to significant tax cuts notwithstanding).
Posted at 03:35 PM
RUTLER & O'SULLIVAN, PART II [John O'Sullivan]
I am grateful to Father Rutler for his remarks which, reading between the lines, are charitable as well as acute. I would make two points in reply. First, the chaos he forecasts as a result of re-defined marriage and household partnerships is of two kinds—legal chaos and moral chaos. The technical legal difficulties would be formidable indeed but in my view not insoluble. On that Father Rutler might or might not agree. But his forecast of moral chaos is not an argument I would contest—merely stress that, as he points out, it is already happening and is likely to worsen as a result of recent legal decisions as well as of probable future ones. My suggestions—separating sex from household partnerships and church from state marriages—were designed to minimize this moral fallout. If Father Rutler is right that reality itself is an expression of the moral law, as obviously I believe him to be, then the competition between genuine marriage and its ersatz competitors will eventually result in the victory of the genuine article. Second, I entirely agree with Father Rutler’s agreement with me that the state’s assault on moral reason will force the Church to declare its independence and adopt its own counter-cultural stance on a range of issues. This was an issue that I ought to have developed at greater length. The Church is accustomed to thinking of the state as its ally in encouraging at least a lowest common denominator of traditional morality. But today’s state, in particular its bureaucratic and legal agencies, is itself more often than not an agency of moral radicalism. If the Church is to break decisively with the state, however, the Bishops will first have to break with the statist liberal mindset that unites them with the modern bureaucratic state.
Posted at 03:30 PM
LIBERTARIANS VS. THE NRA: AN UPDATE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I reported a while ago on a dispute involving libertarian lawyers who are trying to void D.C.'s ban on handguns--and who say the National Rifle Association is trying to sabotage their case. This week, a judge sided with the libertarians in denying the NRA's motion.
Posted at 03:28 PM
BOGUS CONDEMNING THE BOGUS? [Tim Graham]
This just in: CNN's haughty Aaron Brown committed a major boo-boo last night. Pushing an anti-Bush Internet WMD rumor -- four hours after the Web site retracted it. CNN's Web site calls his show NewsNight "fast-paced and story-driven." It's so fast-paced they don't feel the need to check the stories. Scott Hogenson blew the whistle.
Posted at 03:15 PM
JERRY SPRINGER V. ME [Jonah Goldberg]
I've been getting calls and emails from reporters in Ohio. Apparently Jerry Springer uses a quote from me in his new informercial which he released at a news conference today. The quote, which I offered on CNN, is: "If Jerry Springer shows up, he'll bring all these new people to the polls. They will be slack-jawed yokels, hicks, weirdos, pervs and whatnot." Now, what is super-exciting is that he's apparently made T-Shirts with that quote on them as part of his campaign! I must get one.
Anyway, for the record, I completely stand by my comments.
While every single person supporting Jerry Springer may not be a perv, weirdo or slack-jawed yokel, I am at a complete loss to understand how this country's politics would be enriched by massive voter turnout by people who consider Jerry Springer to be their dashboard saint. Voter turnout is not a good in itself, no matter what populists and demogogues claim. Springer says he'll be bringing new voters to the polls. Well, okay. But if these people couldn't be bothered to vote until Springer encouraged them to, maybe we were better off without them in the first place. Leave Springer's audience out of it for a moment; I don't think it's a given that a surge in voting by Klansmen, black racists, pimps, or strippers-who-sleep-with-their-brothers would improve America's politics demonstrably. And I don't think we really need a Senator who sees nothing wrong with giving such people a nationally televised forum.
More to the point, I find it hilarious that Springer -- who has made a fortune off of his exploitation of damaged and deviant people -- thinks I'm the elitist (though I have no problem with being one). But I'm working from the assumption that most Ohio residents are smart enough to see through his schtick. While he actually thinks they're dumb enough to fall for it. So once again he's looking to exploit the little guy for his own career.
Posted at 03:14 PM
CHAPLAIN CHUTZPAH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is and "oldie" making the rounds. Not your average opening prayer.
Posted at 03:03 PM
MARRIAGE, CATHOLIC STYLE [Kevin Cherry]
With the gay marriage (and, as per Kinsley, the overall marriage) debate raging, it's worth pausing over the new statistics about the state of marriage in the Catholic church today. The recently released Official Catholic Directory notes that there were almost 15,000 fewer marriages in the church in 2002 than in 2001 (which, in turn, saw about 12,500 fewer than in 2000). Now, obviously, demographics plays a part, and some Catholic couples are marrying in civil ceremonies. Yet I can't shake the feeling that a lot of this decrease has something to do with the increase in cohabitation, especially among the young.
As Bill Bennett noted in his bookThe Broken Hearth , "The . . . task is to publicly reaffirm the centrality of the family and reestablish cultural strictures against its dissolution. In America, one institution can do this more effectively than any other: Christian churches, to which more than sixty percent of the American people belong." Unfortunately, as Bennett also notes, too many churches are silent about these issues.
Posted at 02:45 PM
RE: AH COLLEGE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:19 PM
AH, COLLEGE (CONT.) [Nick Schulz]
Jonah, that same administrator did point out that the prof’s assignment "clearly is a violation of our board policies." To which one can only respond, well, thank goodness for board policies.
Posted at 02:18 PM
THE NO MOURNING AFTER PILL [Nick Schulz]
I’m sure that when Leon Kass and The New Atlantis crowd raise concerns about the ongoing biotech revolution, this is precisely the kind of thing they have in mind.
Research into alleviating post-traumatic stress has thrown up a worrying side effect. The drugs that work also numb feelings of guilt - raising the spectre not only of a pill to make soldiers amoral killing machines, but of thieves, rapists and murderers who feel no remorseI’m sure Reason’s Ron Bailey knows why this shouldn’t alarm us. Ron?
Posted at 02:13 PM
RE: AH COLLEGE [Jonah Goldberg]
What drives me nuts about stories like this -- all too common alas -- is that whenever the school or some other liberal institution gets in hot water, they condemn the transgression on purely pragmatic grounds. Remember the feminists who were outraged Clinton didn't use a condom with his intern? Or remember the administrators at the San Francisco Art Institute who objected to a disgusting "class" involving a gay sex show in which all sorts of repugnant stuff took place, including the free exchange of each others fecal matter? The school opposed the class because it was unsanitary (See my "In Defense of Bob Jones University"). So in this case the administrators are peeved with the professor who told kids to write emails saying "kill the president, kill the president" because it put students at risk. Fine, fine. That's one reason it's stupid. But can't the school's vice president also say that the intended idea behind the project was idiotic and without merit too?
Posted at 01:44 PM
AH, COLLEGE [Nick Schulz]
A professor at a California junior college is in hot water for giving his students a peculiar assignment. According to the SF Chronicle, the kids were told “to compose an e-mail to an elected official that included the words ‘kill the president, kill the president,’” A school Vice President said it was an "experiential exercise that would instill a sense of fear so they would have a better sense of why more people don't participate in the political process."
You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
Posted at 01:23 PM
BANANA PEEL TO HELL DEPARTMENT [Jonah Goldberg]
Susan Smith, the woman who murdered her kids is looking for a "non-judgemental" pen pal.
Posted at 12:59 PM
MCCAIN: ABOLISH THE FEC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 12:56 PM
FR. RUTLER ON O’SULLIVAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here’s Father George Rutler (pastor of Our Saviour Church in NYC, occasional contributor to NRODT, columnist for Crisis, book author, among many other things) on John O’Sullivan’s marriage piece today, from e-mail correspondence he was kind to let me share:
The economic chaos that would follow redefined marriage or household partnerships is not a peripheral concern: it bespeaks the confusion that would attend any aberration of the natural law. Marriage pertains to natural law, and the state has not the right or authority to abrogate it. It is simple as that. Were the state to attempt such, the cultural consequences would be drastic (as with contraception and abortion and the consequent moral degradation of society and the de-population and economic catastrophe now looming in Europe and soon to be realized here). John has one good point, and it is this: these assaults on moral reason will force the Church to position herself as counter-cultural, and that posture has always been a strength. It will also require expulsing decadent elements such as the "cafeteria Catholics" and those merely cultural Catholics who are essentially "suburban atheists." This will be a leaner and stronger Church. It already is happening in the removal of incompetent bishops. The bureaucracy which appointed them has not changed; reality has simply rendered a final accounting. This is the dynamic of natural law fortified by grace: when one denies reality, reality perdures, but the one who denies it self-destructs. "Qui mange du Pape meurt."
Posted at 12:35 PM
THE GREAT GAME [Terry Teachout]
A correspondent writes: "I am a recent college graduate, and, as you might expect, I've come to find my liberal arts education somewhat lacking. I was hoping you could persuade Mr. Teachout to suggest a few interesting reads on a range of topics: history, art, music, architecture, interesting biographies, natural history, conservative classics (not including Goldberg's Canon), etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated."
Talk about catnip! K-Lo agrees that other Cornerites should be encouraged to wade in, so I shall limit myself to three suggestions, with the caveat that this list would have been different had I drawn it up ten minutes later:
BIOGRAPHY: Resisting all temptations to cite myself, I will instead recommend a book that I have read at leat a dozen times, always with the utmost pleasure and profit: W. Jackson Bate's Samuel Johnson.
Dr. Johnson is one of the very few writers whose inner life can rightly be called heroic and inspiring, and Bate tells his story superlatively well. If you haven't read Boswell, this book will make you want to do so immediately; if you have, it'll tell you everything Boswell doesn't. It's a model of the biographer's art.
MUSIC -- Lewis Lockwood's Beethoven: The Music and the Life does the impossible--it sheds fresh light on the most written-about of all classical composers. It's not so much a biography as a guide to the music that places it in the context of Beethoven's tempestuous life, and it's written in such a way as to be completely accessible to the attentive layman.
ART -- Karen Wilkin's Giorgio Morandi is a profusely illustrated monograph about a great Italian artist most Americans don't know. Morandi specialized in still lifes of the most severe kind, arranging and rearranging a dozen bottles, boxes, pitchers and vases on a table top and painting them over and over again. His work is endlessly subtle and refreshing to the eye, and Wilkin writes about it with a clarity and elegance befitting one of our best art critics. Chances are you've never heard of Morandi. Read this book and you'll wonder why you hadn't.
Over to you, dear colleagues.
Posted at 12:07 PM
WALK SCORES [John Derbyshire]
Average score from readers reporting in so far is in the -2 to -5 zone. Either we at NRO have been laboring under some gross misapprehensions about the nature of our readership, or else the "privilege walk" needs re-calibrating.
Posted at 11:51 AM
WALKING THE WALK [John Derbyshire]
Get ready to walk the "Privilege Walk," if you haven't already. I pick these things up out of the media, assuming that they are fringe phenomena practiced by a few wackos in darkest Academe. Not so: According to a reader, the "Privilege Walk" is rapidly being institutionalized, and no doubt will soon be incorporated into those dopey "sensitivity" training sessions that have been cutting into the productivity of U.S. business for the past several years. Here is my reader's e-mail, slightly bowdlerized for his protection: "After reading your column, I thought it might interest you to know that the 'privilege walk' is required for all students serving as Resident Advisors (upperclassmen living in freshman dorms to show the new students the ropes) and as 'Minority Affairs Advisors' (self-explanatory nonsense) at [here is the name of an Ivy League university]. I have a friend who works as an RA who refused to participate and got into quite a bit of trouble. The 'privilege walk' is becoming pretty institutionalized at the other Ivy League schools too I'm told."
Posted at 11:42 AM
IS THE GOP CONSERVATIVE? [ Jonah Goldberg]
A pretty important editorial from National Review if you haven't seen it.
Posted at 11:39 AM
RE: TECHIE BLEG [John Derbyshire]
On the interminable PC-Mac bore-a-thon (if Kathryn has not already placed the entire topic on her index expurgatorius), a reader reminds me of Umberto Eco's argument that the Mac is Catholic, while the PC is Protestant. So that's why I'm anti-Mac. No Popery here!
Posted at 11:36 AM
CANADIAN HIGH [Jonathan H. Adler]
Medical marijuana comes to Canada. Now I wonder how this effects the debate over drug reimportation . . .
Posted at 11:24 AM
ANOTHER PREACHER MAN FOR TAYLOR [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 11:20 AM
AYATOLLAHS LUGAR & BIDEN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Sun also has a good editorial on what went down in the Senate re: Iran.
Posted at 10:50 AM
WHAT A COUNTRY [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 10:50 AM
BROWNBACK & IRAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the New York Sun:
Senator Brownback yesterday reached a compromise with Senators Lugar and Biden that would pave the way for an American law backing democracy in Iran.
Posted at 10:47 AM
BEWARE THE BOVINE LIBERATION FRONT [Jonah Goldberg]
No, it's not Barbra Streisand's latest PAC, it's a silly cartoon which is somewhere between G and PG in flavor but maybe not the sort of thing you want blaring from your computer at work.
Posted at 10:42 AM
DERB IS BIG DOWN UNDER [John Derbyshire]
Amazon says that Prime Obsession is #8 in Australia, only 7 below Harry Potter!
Posted at 10:41 AM
PRYOR DELAYED [Jonathan H. Adler]
Seante Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch announced this morning that the nomination of Alabama Attorney General William Pryor for a seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will be delayed until next week. The other nominee on today's schedule, Allyson Duncan (4th Circuit), should still get a vote (and will almost certainly be approved).
Posted at 10:35 AM
BACK FROM THE DISCO [Terry Teachout]
I see the New York Post has now settled on "polo-playing philanderer" as its standing tag for the fellow who won the heart of Kerrykennedycuomo. For some inscrutable reason, this reminds me of a favorite entry in my commonplace book, gleaned from Auberon Waugh's autobiography, Will This Do?: "The rich are terrified of the class war, and tend to play it down, being convinced that they will always lose it."
Posted at 10:34 AM
RE: TECHIE BLEG [John Derbyshire]
Many, many thanks to all who responded helpfully to my techie bleg yesterday. (And fie! to those who responded unhelpfully--mainly with schoolyard taunts about the alleged superiority of something called "a mac.") I have tried most, and done about 800 system restarts, but am still exsactly where I was this time yesterday. Upgrade to XP looms... but I really can't face it. (And, along with the inevitable e-mails telling me how appallingly bad WinMe is, I now have an interesting collection telling me how disgracefully bad XP is. Especially, apparently, XP Home. People are warning me to be sure to get XP Professional.) Still have some things to try. Shall report back. Once again, thanks to all.
Posted at 10:32 AM
AFRICA [Jonah Goldberg]
Kenneth Timmerman has a useful piece in the New York Post on Jesse Jackson's complicity to Liberia's troubles. Which reminds me of Ryan Lizza's truly outstanding piece from the July 24, 2000 New Republic (not on the web, but it should be) in which he savaged Bill Clinton's shameless Africa "policy." Here's one money passage:
Indeed, confronted with several stark moral challenges, the Clinton administration has abandoned Africa every time: it fled from Somalia, it watched American stepchild Liberia descend into chaos, it blocked intervention in Rwanda. But Clinton's soaring rhetoric has posed a problem that his predecessors did not face--the problem of rank hypocrisy. And so, time and again, the imperative guiding his administration's Africa policy has been the imperative to appear to care. Unwilling to commit American blood and treasure to save African lives, and unwilling to admit that they refuse to do so, the Clintonites have developed a policy of coercive dishonesty. In Rwanda, afraid that evidence of the unfolding genocide would expose their inaction, they systematically suppressed it. And in Sierra Leone, unwilling to take on a rebel group that was maiming and slaughtering civilians by the thousands, the Clintonites insisted that all the rebels truly wanted was peace and a seat at the negotiating table.
Posted at 10:27 AM
"THE GLOBAL TRANSITION FROM POVERTY TO AFFLUENCE" [Nick Schulz]
Terrific and timely piece in today’s San Jose Mercury News by Berkeley Emeritus professor Jack Hollander on the role poverty plays in both human and environmental degradation. President Bush will spend a lot of time in Africa talking about AIDS and Liberia, when he isn’t deflecting questions about Iraq’s nuke efforts. Here’s hoping Bush takes time to discuss what Africa, in Hollander’s eyes, most needs to be a part of: “The global transition from poverty to affluence… in the context of a larger transition to freedom and democracy.”
Posted at 10:10 AM
FRUM READS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'm a big fan of David's book week.
Posted at 09:09 AM
THE LONG VIEW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is a key reason (among many) why you must subscribe to National Review on Dead Tree, if you do not already: Rob Long. Here is a preview of his latest, just put to bed:
Uday’s Voice: “Dad?”Sorry, we're not going to post it all on NRO, so...what are you waiting for...
Posted at 08:32 AM
SAUSAGE VIOLENCE [Susan Konig]
Thank God the bratwurst and Polish sausage escaped unharmed... Being a "suit performer," as they say in the biz, is a tough gig!
Posted at 08:18 AM
BAD NIGHT AT THE SAUSAGE RACES [Tim Graham]
Some out-of-staters obviously don't appreciate Wisconsin pop culture.
Posted at 07:42 AM
MISTAKE CORRECTION [Randy Barnett]
The aspirin factory was in Sudan, not Iraq.
Posted at 07:16 AM
LOOKS LIKE... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...the coffee and donuts were delivered this morning!
Posted at 06:23 AM
BUSH TO ZIMBABWEANS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Posted at 06:17 AM
SPEAKING OF ABORTION-FAVORING LIBERALS [Tim Graham]
The Joe Lieberman campaign is touting that last weekend, "Hadassah Lieberman returned to Manchester's Puritan Ice Cream and Take Out to unveil two special ice cream flavors," Cup of Joe Lieberman and Heavenly Hadassah. Isn't being associated with Puritans a bad career move on the Libertine Left side?
Posted at 06:14 AM
LESS GOOD NEWS ABOUT PAKISTAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Meanwhile in Pakistan some lout at Lahore University (he’s described as a ‘lecturer in English’) is trying to ‘clean up’ the university’s English syllabus. Amongst the writings objected to, work by Hemingway, Swift and Pope. Fortunately, this attempt at censorship is unlikely to succeed, but there will – inevitably – be a chilling effect. It’s also worth noting the unpleasant role played in this sorry saga by the wife of a retired general. That this woman has had any influence at all says plenty about the current state of affairs in Pakistan – none of it good.
Posted at 06:04 AM
WARNER LOVES BOXER? [Tim Graham]
Hey, K-Lo, while you were living your monastic Web-centered life without taking time out for the creamy beauty of nature, did you notice what some are calling a "pro-life loss" yesterday in the Senate? Nine Republicans joined every Democrat but John Breaux in voting for Barbara Boxer's amendment trying to repeal President Bush's reinstatement of the "Mexico City Policy" keeping our tax dollars out of international abortion promotion. All the usual suspects -- Chafee, Snowe, Collins, Campbell, Gordy Smith, Specter -- both Alaska senators (learn something new about Sen. Lisa Murkowski), and John Warner of Virginia, who surely doesn't need to please the less-than-teeming Planned Parenthood Republican multitudes in our state.
Posted at 06:01 AM
SOME BETTER NEWS FROM IRAQ [Andrew Stuttaford]
Some signs of progress in Iraq? Of course, the picture that’s described in this report is messy, and not all of it’s good, but, after all the gloom, it’s difficult not to be a little encouraged to read this:
“Money-changers sit under parasols in the main square listening to Western rock music. Beside them street vendors try to undercut each other on the price of brand-name whisky. It all would have meant jail in Saddam’s day.
As he builds a wall of Australian lager cans on the pavement, one trader admits that people cannot believe what they are getting away with, as long as the goods are not stolen. No one needs a licence.
In “Electric Alley”, there is barely room to move between the satellite dishes on display. Among those long restricted to watching state-run Iraqi television, Baywatch is popular.”
Posted at 05:53 AM
HURRAY FOR BILL OWENS [John J. Miller]
As we watch the spectacle of Michigan Republicans running away from Ward Connerly like he has cooties, it's nice to see that not every GOPer in the land is hamstrung on the subject of racial preferences. Take Colorado Gov. Bill Owens. Earlier this week, here's what he told the Denver Post: "I do oppose quotas and regret the Supreme Court decision." There may even be some legislation. It's one more reason why NR named Owens the "best governor in America" last year.
Posted at 05:35 AM
KIM JONG-IL'S DIET BOOK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Just send the review copy c/o Jonah.
Posted at 05:34 AM
BEICHMAN'S DREAM TICKET [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Switch Cheney and Rice, he says. But he's gearing up for a HRC run this time.
Posted at 05:31 AM
BACK TO NORMAL [Andrew Stuttaford]
It’s a bit quieter in the Corner now (this is being written at 2am). All those new (and rather noisy) visitors have, apparently, gone ‘to the disco’ with the Derb, so peace has, at last, returned to our haven. Proust is forgotten. It’s just the usual late night crowd here now. All those ghosts that Russell Kirk brought in are doing their familiar nocturnal routine in some of the more remote parts of our building, scaring, I fear, those few servants who have not retired to their attic rooms, and making life a misery for the interns who are, naturally, expected to be at their desks 24/7. Stop quaking lads! Walk down one of the grander corridors (just step over our narcoleptic security guard, Mineta) and you will find K-Lo in her command center, working late (there’s a surprise), busily deleting references to Star Trek all over the Web.
And, of course, as always, a light is burning in the dear leader’s office.
Posted at 02:35 AM
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
UNCOMMON KNOWLEDGE, INDEED...AT LEAST AROUND THESE PARTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Uh, Peter, what exactly are you saying? I mean, Lowry (our beloved blegger who sometimes stops by The Corner) told me life is politics--and caffeine, when you need it to keep up with the politics. It's worked for us this long!! Remember, we're not into evolving constitutions.
Posted at 10:44 PM
NIGHTY-NIGHT [Peter Robinson]
Another flawless day in Northern California today--cloudless skies, low humidity, a gentle breeze, and dozens of corporate executives, on break from the business school summer program, wandering around the Stanford campus, taking in the sheer, creamy beauty of it all. The Corner may be devoted to the hurly-burly of the day, but every once in awhile it's good to note that life consists of more, thank God, than politics.
Posted at 10:41 PM
STILL MORE ON DEAD CONSTITUTIONS [Peter Robinson]
When Laura Ingraham was clerking for Justice Clarence Thomas about a decade ago, she showed me around the Justice's chambers. On a bookshelf behind his desk stood an enormous brass plaque: "Do Not Emanate Into the Penumbra."
That's about what it comes down to, doncha think?
Posted at 10:31 PM
MISTAKES ARE NOW LIES [Randy Barnett]
Over on the Volokh Conspiracy, law prof Oren Kerr responds to ACLU accusations that the Justice Department has lied about the Patriot Act. Has anyone else noticed that factual mistakes are now called "lies" by the Left, and by many Democrats. It cannot be that they have forgotten the commonplace distinction between making a mistake and lying. More likely, this is their reaction to the widespread lies--not mistakes--of the Clinton administration. But yet another currency in our moral language is being debased in pursuit of left-wing partisan retribution.
BTW, no one ever accused Bill Clinton of lying about the existence of intelligence showing an Iraqi aspirin factory to be a chemical weapons plant. Everyone assumed he was acting on real intelligence that turned out to be mistaken. The accusation was he bombed what he THOUGHT was a chemical weapons plant to distract attention from the Grand Jury.
Posted at 08:15 PM
MORE ON DEAD CONSTITUTIONS [Randy Barnett]
Kenneth Cavness over on Cogicophony responds to Jonah's defense of the Dead Constitution with the following from Thomas Paine:
There never did, there never will, and there never can exist a parliament, or any description of men, or any generation of men, in any country, possessed of the right or the power of binding and controlling posterity to the 'end of time,' or of commanding for ever how the world shall be governed, or who shall govern it; and therefore, all such clauses, acts or declarations, by which the makers of them attempt to do what they have neither the right nor the power to do, nor the power to execute, are in themselves null and void. . . .Paine's observation misses the point. The reason to respect the "dead" constitution is because it makes a good system for the living, not because the dead have any authority over us. It is good for us today (as it was good for the founders way back when) that present-day legislatures not be able to define the limits of their own powers, or that judges may not expand the powers of legislatures beyond what is specified in the "dead" Constitution. One of the ways to accomplish end this is to put their powers in writing and adopt a rule that the legislature or judges cannot change the writing on their own. In short we should be committed to original meaning because we, right her right now, are committed to a written constitution. And we should be committed to a written constitution because it is best for the rights and well-being of the people right here, right now, that legislative powers be limited and judges not able to expand this power on their own authority.
Posted at 08:13 PM
SUPREME SAVAGE STRETCH [Tim Graham]
Media columnist Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times strangely suggests MSNBC’s "easy" firing of ersatz-conservative/Yosemite Sam stand-in Michael Savage was actually caused, via the magic emanations of penumbras, by the pen of Anthony Kennedy:
[O]ne of the things that made it easy was the great national change of heart conclusively ratified two weeks ago...When Justice Anthony M. Kennedy read the court's majority opinion from the bench, he signaled that the inviolable privacy that makes possible basic human dignity now belongs equally to all.Wrong. Savage wished a caller would “get AIDS and die.” He wished death on a member of his audience. That’s something no talk-radio or talk-TV executive should tolerate. It’s too bad PBS's Julianne Malveaux (wished death on Clarence Thomas) and NPR's Nina Totenberg (wished AIDS death on Jesse Helms or his grandchildren) never were on the pink-slipped end of that civility lesson.
Posted at 07:24 PM
THERE YOU GO AGAIN [Nick Schulz]
When Ronald Reagan was President he used to claim -- with some justification -- that he didn’t cut spending as much as he would have liked to since Democrats in Congress controlled the purse strings.
Well, now Republicans control the purse strings in Congress. But the current Republican White House isn’t making the House GOP’s efforts to curtail spending any easier. CATO’s Tad DeHaven alerts Corner readers to this telling Official Statement of Administration Policy[PDF] which blasts House members for not approving even more spending for such federal jewels as the Mentoring of Middle School Students program and the Mentoring Children of Prisoners program. (Inquiring minds: Do Children of Prisoners who are also Middle School Students qualify for two scoops of federal raisins with these programs, or just one?)
For a comparison of Reagan and Bush on spending, there’s a good analysis here.
Posted at 07:08 PM
TEHRAN BLOGGER "SMELL[S] A RAT" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Iranian freedom supporter raises the question about the mullahs' use of the late twin sisters.
Posted at 06:42 PM
SCALIA VS. HAMILTON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
TAPPED is impressed with this post, purporting to demonstrate that Alexander Hamilton would have approved of the Supreme Court's citation of the European Court of Human Rights in the recent sodomy case--and that Justice Scalia and conservatives are wrong to object to this citation. But this looks like a misreading of the Federalist paper involved. Hamilton does not appear to me to be saying that Japanese law provides evidence for the meaning of an American constitutional provision. He is saying, rather, that a case in an American court may require the judges to discern the meaning of a Japanese law--say if a contract was made under Japanese law and its terms are adjudicated here.
Posted at 06:23 PM
SOUTHERN APPEAL COMES TO MY DEFENSE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 05:08 PM
PROUST CLERIHEW [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 04:38 PM
TATTOOS FOR TOTS [Andrew Stuttaford]
A hoax, fortunately. The final collapse of civilization is postponed yet again.
Posted at 04:34 PM
FREE TRADE AND THE WAR ON TERROR [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm a strong free trader; would abolish tariffs, quotas, and the like unilaterally if it were possible; and have been tough on the Bush administration's protectionism--see this for example. So I was a potentially easy sell for Luke Eric Peterson's attack on Bush's trade rep, Bob Zoellick, in The New Republic. Yet I'm not sold.
Peterson's complaint is that Zoellick has put trade liberalization with countries that have opposed our foreign policy on hold: "[T]he administration's new thinking on trade is a throwback to the cold war era, when security considerations rather than economic ones dictated Washington's trade policy." I can see that it might be counterproductive to ditch trade liberalization because of larger foreign-policy concerns--even from the standpoint of those concerns. But can we really say that it is never appropriate to let those concerns affect our priorities for trade liberalization? I've advocated getting Britain in NAFTA, and I think it would be a good idea economically. But if I were interested only in economics, there are a lot of other agreements I might choose to conclude first. I want this one for strategic reasons. That doesn't mean I'm less of a free trader.
Posted at 04:19 PM
GOLDBERG VS. SOLUM [Randy Barnett]
Jonah, you did fine with your response to Larry's blog. Even in the realm of Legal Abstraction--a wondrous realm close to Nirvana, and up the road from Shangri-La--it helps a lot to be defending a correct position. As Isaac Penington said in 1651: "Those who are to govern by Laws should have little or no hand in making the Laws they are to govern by.” This is true both of legislatures and judges, and requires a “dead” constitution interpreted according to its original meaning to accomplish. All the dead constitution thesis means is that ‘the Constitution should remain the same until it is properly changed’ and neither legislatures nor judges may change it on their own. This is really what my forthcoming book, Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty is all about. Now back to the page proofs or it will never come out!
PS: In case anyone cares to place an advanced order, Amazon is wrong about the price. It will be $32.50.
Posted at 04:17 PM
I HAVE READ PROUST! I HAVE READ PROUST! [Terry Teachout]
Cork-Lined Room--now there's a band I'd go hear.
A History of the American People really is worth reading from cover to cover, though I'd like to rewrite the part about jazz. Still, I'd dearly love to have written a book like that--an old-fashioned large-scale narrative history that reeks of panache.
So who shows me the secret handshake?
Posted at 03:50 PM
CORNER: SURVIVOR STYLE [Jonah Goldberg]
I should have thought of this before we invited all of the newbies. But wouldn't it be fun if we'd set it up so that once every week or two a Cornerite gets voted off by the readers until this becomes a one-man or one-woman blog? Of course, we could then invite everyone back.
Posted at 03:49 PM
YOUR MIRANDA CORRESPONDENT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
actually understates the case, Jonah. The question raised is not only why have state-constitutional provisions, but why have federal ones either. The Court's opinion in the Dickerson case--which re-affirmed the Miranda rules as requirements--referred constantly to those rules' "constitutional underpinnings" without ever quite saying that failing to issue the Miranda warnings would actually violate the Constitution. Justice Scalia pointed that out, of course. Such observations seem to be considered bad form in some quarters.
Posted at 03:46 PM
MIRANDA LAW [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader responds to my point from earlier that we would/could still have Miranda laws even if the Supreme Court had never imposed a Miranda rule:
Actually, we do have a Miranda law. I believe it is at 18 U.S.C. 3501, and it was passed ca. 1968-70 to supply a statutory standard for law enforcement personnel conducting interrogations. But the Court a couple years back ruled that observing it is no substitute for complying with the Miranda warnings, which therefore are the only reasonably certain way for DAs to ensure that information obtained from custodial interrogations will not be excluded. This despite language in the opinion itself stating that the warnings were only examples of what officers could say to inform the arrestee of his right to counsel. There is now even less incentive for states to legislate in this area, so the conduct of state law enforcement is now essentially driven, for better or worse, by nine unelected lawyers.
Posted at 03:31 PM
WHITE HOUSE VS. CONNERLY [John J. Miller]
I'm hearing reports from Michigan that people either in the White House or very close to it are calling state GOP leaders and telling them to oppose Ward Connerly's anti-racial-preferences initiative. Of course, if Connerly gets on the ballot, some reporter eventually will ask the president whether he supports or opposes it. He will probably respond by saying it's a state matter, or some such thing, as he recently did when quizzed about the Gray Davis recall effort in California. Right now, however, his underlings in Washington certainly aren't behaving as though they consider it a matter left to the voters in Michigan.
Posted at 03:24 PM
FASTER TEXTUALISTS, KILL! KILL! [Jonah Goldberg ]
Okay, I just checked out Lawrence Solum's thoughtful critique of my column. Let me first say that the undertow of his legal abstraction poses the danger of carrying me far out to sea on a subject I may be unqualified to discuss at his level.
That said, it seems to me the gist of his point is that a dead constitution is not much more useful than a living one if the Justices charged with reading it are arrogant jerks with no sense of responsibility or reverence for the rule of law. I don't have the time at the moment to read his
That said, I have to say I entirely agree with him except where he says I'm actually wrong. He proposes, as far as I can tell, to emphasize the appointment of truly excellent judges (not in the Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure sense nor in the Monty Burns "E-x-c-e-l-l-l-l-l-e-n-t sense but in the literally excellent sense) who revere the rule of law. He calls this an Aretaic turn. Okay, that's cool by me. I am all for judges constrained by the dogma of excellence, virtue and the rule of law (Heck, I've been down with good dogma for a long time). But, it seems to me, that an excellent, virtuous and rule-of-law-loving judge would consider the Constitution to be far more dead than alive.
In other words, Solum says my theory is useless if we don't have excellent judges. Fair enough. But I say that a good judge would, by definition, not veer too far from what my good theory dictates (barring the occassional exceptional situation). Again, I could be wrong, but Solum seems to be saying in effect traffic laws are useless without conscientious drivers. And I agree with that. But if I were to ask the average person what a conscientious driver is, he'd probably say "someone who obeys all the traffic laws."
Posted at 03:20 PM
COMICS FOR KIDS LIVE ON [Peter Robinson]
From a reader of the Corner, in reply to my cri de comiques:
I've been reading comics for 30 years now, and let me first say that I share your dismay over what's become of many of them. The current leadership at Marvel Comics in particular has made the creation of controversy for it's own sake one of their guiding principles.
Posted at 02:32 PM
RE: SACHS [Susan Konig]
Right you are, Nick, about the Sachs op-ed. He's wrong twice. As for rich Americans giving their $174 million a piece to change Africa for the better, I think they'd be more likely to if they knew it wouldn't simply line the pockets of men like Charles Taylor. Child soldiers and macheted limbs aren't problems of poverty but of evil...
Posted at 02:32 PM
SOME PARENTS THESE DAYS [Andrew Stuttaford]
What were they thinking? Via American Digest.
Posted at 02:30 PM
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? [Andrew Stuttaford]
What's going on in here? It's crowded - it takes hours to get a drink. Someone's sitting in my chair. Is this one of those "mob" projects?
Posted at 02:29 PM
SUPER FURRY LIBERAL ANIMALS [Tim Graham]
Jonah, don't you know that discussing great band names like Throbbing Gristle is a favorite of your arch-enemy, the bilious Eric Alterman? Some cultural enthusiasms do transcend politics.
E.A. is now attacking the ABC political-unit folks who write "The Note" for calling America the "world's finest democracy." He suggests "This kind of meaningless BS is often considered obligatory by U.S. journalists, but excuse me, by exactly what normative criteria is this 'the world’s finest democracy'? Voter turnout? We’re just about the worst. Turnover in leadership? We rank below the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics."
And the lefties wonder why people question whether their gristle throbs for the USA. BTW, the latest slam of Alterman's ridiculous book What Liberal Media? is in Commentary.
Posted at 02:16 PM
NATO IN CHARGE OF IRAQ? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 02:14 PM
SCHULZ [Jonah Goldberg]
Nick's a good friend (and of fine conservative lineage by the way). A little more background. Nick Schulz and I used to work together along with Ronald Bailey, now of Reason magazine. But I put it to readers of the Corner to pay very close attention to what Schulz writes. For years Ron and I have been trying to claim Schulz for the conservative and libertarian camps (AKA the light and dark sides of the Force, respectively). Nick refuses to disclose his full his true nature (so maybe he's actually a Straussian?). By the end of the summer it'd be nice to definitely settle the issue once and for all.
Posted at 02:13 PM
FROM A NEW KID TO THE INIMITABLE MR. DERBYSHIRE [Peter Robinson]
But K-Lo led me to believe that my failure to read Proust was the only qualification I'd need.
Posted at 02:12 PM
RE: NEW KIDS IN THE CORNER [John Derbyshire]
My favorite who's-the-new-kid scene from the movies: The young (pre-Rocky) Sylvester Stallone in The Lords of Flatbush. A new kid shows up in the pool hall. Sly quizzes him: "Where ja live?" The lad says he lives on Avenue J. Sly: "Avenue J? I eat Avenue J."
Posted at 02:10 PM
NEW VOICES IN THE CORNER [John Derbyshire]
Yo, Jonah, K-Lo. Who are all these new kids in The Corner? Did you tell them about the initiation ceremony?
Posted at 02:01 PM
SOLUM ON JONAH & DEAD CONSTITUTION [Randy Barnett]
Law prof, and good friend, Larry Solum has a reply on his Legal Theory Blog to Jonah's thoughtful NRO essay on The Case for the Dead Constitution. I find Larry's analysis is always worth reading, even when I disagree.
Posted at 02:00 PM
RE PROUST [John Derbyshire]
Terry: Be careful what you say about Proust. I got in trouble writing about my own not-reading of him once. Hint: When alone in his cork-lined room, Marcel liked to browse antique-store catalogs while humming show tunes...
Posted at 01:58 PM
SACHS RECYCLES [Nick Schulz ]
Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University’s Earth Institute pulls off an enviable twofer: He has an op/ed in today’s New York Times AND today’s Los Angeles Times on what to do about the world’s poor, especially in Africa. Tsk, tsk, Jeff. This is not the sort of recycling that editorial page editors, even at major liberal papers, are particularly fond of. Sachs is one of those people elites think is brilliant but time and again produces unoriginal cant. In the two pieces he bashes rich Americans, President Bush, and calls for more foreign aid. LA and New York readers have never heard that before. If either Times wanted to educate readers, why not ask William Easterly, author of “The Elusive Quest for Growth”, or someone who actually knows what he’s talking about, write for them?
Posted at 01:57 PM
NICK SCHULZ [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It’s about time we let Nick Schulz in The Corner. He’s be borrowed from, quoted, and linked too a million times. He’s editor of TechCentralStation (whose name Jonah wishes we had grabbed before they did). Before TechCentral, Nick served as political editor of FOXNews.com and producer of PBS’s Think Tank and assorted documentaries. He’s also done his share of NRO writing here and here. We’re delighted to have him in The Corner “officially” at last!
Posted at 01:56 PM
BUSTED [Peter Robinson]
Oh, all right, I confess: I didn't really read Johnson's "History of the American People," skipping around in it instead. But I did just read every word of your own appreciation of Rockwell, Terry, and it carried me back. When I was trying to figure out which college to attend, my father, stuck driving me all over New England, used the occasion to see as much Rockwell as he could. We had lunch at a diner in Vermont specifically to spend time studying the Rockwell that hung behind the counter, we stopped at a couple of museums with big Rockwell collections, and we went downstairs to the tap room of the Princeton Inn to gaze at the mural of "Yankee Doodle Dandy." I particularly remember "Breaking Home Ties." My father, a painter himself, stood in front of it for what must have been a quarter of an hour, studying Rockwell's craftsmanship.
Another underappreciated painter: N.C. Wyeth. (Terry, I'll expect you to post an essay on Wyeth by the close of business today.)
Posted at 01:44 PM
WHINY LATINO SUPERSTARS [Jonah Goldberg]
Now that's a great name for a band!
Posted at 01:20 PM
I HAVEN'T READ PROUST [Terry Teachout]
Just kidding. But I have read Paul Johnson's History of the American People, and unless I'm having a mid-afternoon brain burn (which is possible in this humidity), that's where he writes about Rockwell in strikingly enthusiastic terms.
My own thoughts on Rockwell are here.
Posted at 01:20 PM
THE COMICS GROW UP [Jonah Goldberg]
Peter - This isn't news to me. The fact is that comic book publishers and Marvel (publisher of Spider-Man) in particular never managed to hold onto the youth market. So the people who read comics when they were ten are the people reading comics today. I think the average Marvel reader is probably in his mid-twenties to early thirties.
Posted at 01:17 PM
COMICS, STAR TREK... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
You guys know how to fit in around here!
Posted at 01:13 PM
SPIDERMAN AND DR. STRANGE [Peter Robinson]
Can't tell you about Dr. Strange's bedtime propensities, Jonah, but I can tell you that Spiderman is hetero. Which leads to a tale--and a question.
Trying to find something last winter that my eight-year old son would actually read, I did my best to think back across the eons to when I was his age, recognized that I used to love Spiderman, then went online and ordered my son an issue a month for a year. My first surprise was that comic books don't cost 15 cents apiece any more. The bill for twelve issues? Almost twenty-five bucks.
My second surprise occurred when the first issue arrived. Flipping through the comic book before handing it over to my son, I found that smack dab in the middle of the story we find our hero naked, in bed, and engaged in unmistakeable activities (with a woman, which is why I know Spiderman is hetero). I simply couldn't believe my eyes. Believe me, amigos, that sort of thing just didn't take place in the comic books I used to leaf through in my pediatrician's office. In every issue since, it's been the same: midway through the story, sex, and pretty explicit sex at that. Since I can't figure out how to cancel the subscription, I simply keep tossing the darned things out.
The question: Are there any innocent comics left? My eight-year old son could still use something that's fun and easy to read--especially now that it's summer. What superhero has forsworn soft-core porn?
Posted at 01:11 PM
BLEG--WHINY LATINO SUPER-STARS [Rich Lowry]
I've been too busy in the last desperate throes of finishing this book even to bleg lately. If I don't finish soon I'm going to have to leave the country and that bounty hunter "Dog" is going to come hunt me down. All that said, I want to write a baseball column, which I've never done and always considered a mistake because George Will so owns the franchise that anyone else who does it looks like a jerk in comparison. But it caught my attention that Pedro Martinez and Jose Canseco have been complaining in light of the Sosa bat incident that MLB is biased against Latinos. One of my fundamental rules of journalism is that everything needs threes, so I need one more Latino player who has complained about discrimination to make a column. Anyone know of other examples? Thanks so much! (P.S.--I'm not so interested in the Dusty Baker flap.)
Posted at 01:09 PM
QUESTIONS FOR JOHNSON [Peter Robinson]
Lord, Lord, but the Corner works.
I thought I'd be lucky to get two or three good questions for Paul Johnson and Robert Bork, but when I rolled out of bed to check my email this morning my inbox was overflowing. A special word for John Miller: Yup, I want to know how Johnson does it myself. Somebody--maybe John Podhoretz?--told me that Johnson had once explained to him that he'd always been able to concentrate for long stretches, typically four hours. Now, I'm able to plant myself at a desk for four hours. But concentrate that long? I find that after ten minutes I'm always taking a break to sharpen a pencil...or get up and read the Corner. Anyway, I promise to ask him that one--promise.
And a special word for Terry Teachout: Huh? Is it some sort of well-known fact that Paul Johnson is (if this is the way to put it) a Rockwell aficionado? Has he written something about Rockwell that I've missed? (For those of you new to Terry, you can ask him a question about any book every published in all the long march of mankind in total confidence that he's read it.)
Posted at 12:52 PM
POTS, KETTLES AND THE EU [Andrew Stuttaford]
We've heard a lot recently about how Berlusconi has "embarrassed" Europe. Under the circumstances it might be as well to remember this story about EU 'president' Prodi. Via blogger Terrance Coyle.
Posted at 12:43 PM
RE: THE BRUSSELS NAME [Jonah Goldberg]
"Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky"!? Now that's a name. Sounds like an assassin from a Robert Ludlum novel.
Posted at 12:42 PM
FOR NRODT READERS, CHESTERTON LOVERS, AND EUROSKEPTICS [John Derbyshire]
The current (7/14) issue of NRODT has my every-other-issue "Straggler" column in it, on the topic of my not being able to recognize instrumental music. I got the following e-mail from NRODT reader Bill Andersen on this: "Mr. Derbyshire: Chesterton agrees with you about the English genius for words, words, words. In an uncollected piece written for the British Foreign Service, he begins: 'The problem of presenting the English culture to that general European culture, of which it must always be a part, is made more problematical by one practical fact; which is partly an accident. It is the coincidence that the very best English things have to be translated. ... From the standpoint of anyone who can see it from the inside, but see it sanely, the best things in England are poetry and humour; and it so happens that they are both locked up in a language.' (GKC, 'Explaining the English')"
Posted at 12:41 PM
AWARD-WINNING ETHICIST [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The one and only Princeton professor Peter Singer (if only there were only one who thought like him) gets an international ethics award.
Posted at 12:40 PM
DR STRANGE CORRECTION [Jonah Goldberg]
A clarification from a reader:
No, no, no. Stephen Strange "married" (in some weirdo magic ceremony) his long time Chick friend Clea in the second Incarnation of that series. He also had an affair with a Certain Ms. Blessing afterwards. Also, if you want a really weird Dr. Strange house guest try the Aquamarine Minataur that served as his apprentice.
Posted at 12:29 PM
THE EVOLVING PFC. LYNCH STORY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It's official: The Jessica Lynch story didn’t exactly happen the way the Washington Post first reported it (in heroic detail). Could the story they painted been motivated by their agenda vis-à-vis women in the military? Shocking, I know.
Posted at 12:28 PM
THE BRUSSELS TONGUE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NR Intern Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky has another interesting find which you frog-lovers will appreciate: Though illegal under EU law, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has asked French nationals at the European Union to “systematically privilege” French speaking applicants from the newest EU members from the east. There’s more though: Carlos e-mails: “European Convention President Valery Giscard d’Estaing--charged with overseeing the drafting of Europe’s new constitution--has sent the 400-page document to the prestigious Académie Française for review. A Giscard spokesman defended the action on the grounds that the constitutional text is too ‘Brussels French.’”
Posted at 12:21 PM
EUROPE'S MACHO AMERICA FASCINATION--BUSH CHIC [Sarah Maserati]
The shock-and-awe campaign has had an effect far beyond the dust bowl of Iraq. Europe, at first only shocked, has belatedly betrayed its awe of American power in that most European of ways: on the runway. The gods of the fashion empyrean who gathered recently in Milan, London, and Paris seemed to be working out their fear and loathing of George Bush on the one hand, and their enduring fascination with the rough-and-tumble, cowboyish ways he represents on the other. Gucci put their men in broad-brimmed cowboy hats, blue jeans, and boots. (This from the fashion house whose creative director, a Texan, said in February, "I'm embarrassed to be an American.") Jean-Paul Gaultier introduced a Wild West waistcoat. Designer Marc Jacobs harkened back to double-breasted, 1980s Wall Street, putting his models in clean-cut suits. Models in tennis whites strutted Louis Vuitton's stuff-another homage aux Eighties. Have they, too, drawn the connection between W. and the Gipper? Sure, fashion is evanescent. Still, we can add "Bush chic" to those other cultural artifacts of the conflicted European psyche.
Posted at 12:17 PM
RE: STRIPPER ON NPR [John Derbyshire]
A radio stripper? That's even weirder than a radio ventriloquist... Of which, amazing to say, there were at least two mega-famous instances, on in Britain (Peter Brough) and one in the USA (Edgar Bergen). But then, there was a silent movie version of "Madame Butterfly".....
Posted at 12:05 PM
IS DR. STRANGE, WELL YOU KNOW? [Jonah Goldberg]
I was heartened by how many readers were psyched to see a reference to the Marvel comic book character Dr. Strange in yesterday's column. But I feel I must now broach a very sensitive topic. I mean, of course, is Dr. Strange gay?
Let's review some facts. He's a remarkably thin and extremely neat older bachelor who claims when asked to have never married because a woman broke his heart years ago. He's an upscale urban professional who lives alone except for his young Asian manservant and "business partner" "Wong." He and Wong are devoted to yoga and alternative medicine. His brownstone is immaculately decorated with the finest antiques. He is extremely well-kempt with an at times bushy but usually thin mustache. He wears very bright, flashy clothes made from imported silk and other natural fibers including an actual red silk and gold lamé cape and what appear to be skin-tight blue satin pants. His jewelry is ostentatious and right beneath his chin he wears a flashy one-eyed amulet. And, by the way, his name is a synonym for "Dr. Queer."
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Posted at 12:04 PM
DRESSED FOR PUBLIC RADIO [Tim Graham]
Lest you think that National Public Radio is an oasis of high-minded civility and "broccoli broadasting" on a radio dial crammed with Howard Stern and his stable of crotch-chat imitators, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin notes that Morning Edition is drawing raspberries for a feature story highlighting a 62-year-old male stripper. Must we visualize that, let alone pay for it?
Posted at 11:51 AM
SETTLING [Susan Konig]
Good news for Boston Archdiocese. If only we had about a hundred more of this dynamic duo, we could just dial "O" for O'Malley (and counsel). How come Bing Crosby never had a lawyer?
Posted at 11:50 AM
TEA PARTY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Kate--I bet there are afternoon siestas in the D.C. office now too (we only had one or two when I was there)! When I started at NR 100 years ago, I was in the D.C. office. My first week there, we were hold up in the office while a rainbow coalition of protesters ranted about our infamous Chinese cover. The only refreshment cart we had back in those days was when John O'Sullivan or another luminary would come visit us.
Of course, I suspect the refreshment-cart talk is really just a Jonah ploy to get Cosmo a raise. And I, actuallly, only brought any of this up to throw MRC another link-plug. It was going to be clever and funy when I started it, but, then, the lunch cart here in NR World Headquarters distracted me.
Posted at 11:48 AM
IRISH SLUR. . . [Kate O'Beirne]
When Jonah visited the DC office yesterday he must have been distracted by the arrival of the tea cart that serves refreshments in the late afternoon because I mentioned that older Irish Americans who hang around Washington remain liberal. I would hate to slander the great majority of my fellow Hiberians who have wised up.
Posted at 11:37 AM
IN THE LION'S DEN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Well, if Nixon can go to China, I suppose Derb can go to NPR.
Posted at 11:36 AM
ARGH (JUDICIAL ACTIVISM) [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah -- good post on the "dead" constitution. One quick point: As Randy Barnett has pointed out, it is not "judicial activism" for a judge to faithfully apply the Constitution -- even if this requires that a judge strike down an unconstitutional law. Rather, it is "activism" for a judge to supplant constitutional meaning with his or her political preferences. So, there is nothing "activist" about overturning bad precedents in order to restore the original meaning of the Constitution.
Posted at 11:28 AM
THE ANGRY PARTY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Michael Tomasky has an interesting piece in the American Prospect with this subhed: "Liberal anger is justified, but it won't win the election." In making the case for the anger's being justified, he gives a liberal version of the history of the last 11 years. He makes a good case for the understandability of liberal anger, at least. If both halves of his argument are true, I wonder whether some liberal will advance the theory that Karl Rove is deliberately driving Democrats so crazy that they will commit political suicide?
Posted at 11:27 AM
ARGH! [Jonah Goldberg]
Since yesterday's column (and last night's panel) I've had 8 gazillion people (I'm exaggerating slightly) tell me that if the Constitution wasn't a living, breathing document then women would still be second class citizens and blacks would still be living in segregation. There are four responses to this. First: Are you high? Second: Um, women got the vote through a constitutional amendment, last time I checked. And blacks were supposed to get equality under the 14th and 15th amendments. In other words much of the "progress" (and progress-without-quotation marks) we've seen regarding the Constitution came through adding new text to the dead Constitution rather than adding new meaning to the existing text. That is a huge difference. This leads to point three: A "dead" constitution doesn't mean justices can't change their minds or fix incorrect readings held over from the past. "Judicial activism" to restore the true intent of the Constitution is not the same thing as considering the Constitution to be a "living" text. And four: what the hell do you think laws are for? Readers who say that without the "living constitution" we wouldn't have the Miranda rule and the like, might be right to a certain extent. But we might very well have a Miranda law. We pass all sorts of laws in this country without the benefit of the Court's approval, why these people think we wouldn't pass such "essential" laws if the Court went back to doing its job is beyond me.
Posted at 11:04 AM
BIAS UNCHECKED [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Robert Reich in The American Prospect: In 2000, "GOP oligarchs cracked the whip. They persuaded evangelical Christians to mute their anti-abortion, anti-gay positions. They got southern whites to keep their racial bigotry in check." And we all know how much effort that takes.
Posted at 11:01 AM
I'LL SKIP THE SHOWER, THANKS [Terry Teachout]
Gee, Jonah, you sure know how to make a new boy feel comfy. I guess I need to start honing my shank.
By the way, here's the thing I want to ask Paul Johnson: what's his favorite Norman Rockwell painting?
Posted at 10:50 AM
INDEPENDENCE DAY NOT TODAY FOR IRAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Student leaders held a press conference cancelling demonstrations planned for today and were subsequently arrested by the mullah's men. (I-Day is coming though, but, "faster, please.")
Posted at 10:48 AM
NR GETS YOU NOTICED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader writes:
On July the 4th I wore my NR T-shirt to Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT. The gates were closed to traffic, 'cause the park had become too crowded. I asked a cop at the gate if I could just drive in and drop off some picnic stuff and come right back out. "Nice magazine," he said. What the hell was he talking about? He registered my blank stare, and said "Nice magazine on your shirt." "Oh, thanks," I said, hoping this might have given me an "in". Sadly, no; he still wouldn't let me in the park.
Posted at 10:43 AM
GOOD LORD [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb- That post was the techie equivalent of pouring honey all over your body and then lying down in the midday sun in the Amazon. Every creature great and small is going to feed on you now and your email box will never be empty of what you consider computer pests (For the record: I consider such people to be the greatest, most handsome, noble, kind and intelligent human beings on this earth).
Posted at 10:32 AM
TECHIE BLEG [John Derbyshire]
The continuing battle to get my DV-capture software working under Windows Me. First, a word to the 800 readers who emailed in telling me to get a Mac. The word is: FIDDLESTICKS. I am not going to get a Mac. Mac users, as everyone knows, drive Volvos, pronounce the name of that West African country as "Nee-ZHAIR," and break wind when they laugh. Second, another word to the other 800 people who emailed in to tell me that Windows Me is a pile of dog poop. I know. (All right, 2 words.) Who doesn't know? But I'm due for a new system next February & I'm not going to waste 2-3 days installing XP just for a few months use. Besides, I have always been able to get Me to do what I wanted it to--it's not actually THAT bad. Now then: I have installed the 1394 card & got all the drivers. I have also got all the drivers for my camcorder, or at least Me thinks I have. Device Manager shows an entry for "PCI OHCI Compliant 1394 Host Controller" & seems happy with it (no yellow exclamation points). I have put "settings" to "Support Non-Compliant Devices." My camcorder's plugged in to one of the 1394 firewire ports on the card. When I switch it on, the system recognizes it: I have a new entry under "Sound, video & game controllers" for "1394 Camcorder." Me seems happy with the drivers. And yet... my capture software can't find the camcorder for DV input. I have actually tried a couple of different capture apps--neither can find the camcorder. Why not? A free signed copy of PRIME OBSESSION to anyone who knows.
Posted at 10:26 AM
I'M BACK... [Jonah Goldberg]
...and boy is it crowded with newbies in here. Maybe us old-timers should stand on the top tiers and yell "fresh fish!" over and over again -- like the cons in Shawshank Redemption -- as Peter Robinson, Terry Teachout, et al carry their clothes and toothbrushes to their cells? Or maybe we should just all clap and spit? (like in every other (male) prison movie)
Anyway, welcome aboard everybody. Yesterday, I visited the DC office of National Review for the first time in years. It hasn't changed too much. Grandeur and opulence like that never fades. In the afternoon I spoke to the America's Future Foundation "DC-7" group (why they call it that I don't know). It was mostly a bunch of interns from the Hill and various think tanks. Smart bunch. Then, later that evening, I spoke on a panel organized by Margaret Carlson. The audience were members and supporters of something called "Project Children" and the panel was part of a program which brings Protestant and Catholic Irish college students to DC for internships. Generally a very nice, earnest bunch of folks, but the most resolutely (and occasionally sanctimoniously) liberal and lefty bunch of people -- the American Irish especially -- I've spoken to off-campus in a very long time. Kate O'Beirne tells me that Irish Americans tend to be liberals. I never thought about it before, but golly it appears to be true.
Posted at 10:26 AM
PATRIOT FACTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Orin Kerr writes about the widespread misunderstandings of the Patriot Act--misunderstandings that he has done more than anyone to clear up. He also asks whether those misunderstandings are a good or a bad thing. The case that they are a good thing is that false fears will help avert real dangers of government overreach. I think that the most charitable (and accurate) interpretation of John Ashcroft's famous "phantoms of lost liberty" testimony is that he was denying precisely that proposition. I also think Ashcroft is right.
Posted at 10:20 AM
MONEY LOVE [John J. Miller]
Derb: It's not money that's evil. The full Biblical quote is: "The love of money is the root of all evil." Seems to me it's okay to like money, but a sin to love it.
Posted at 10:15 AM
SPEAKING OF STAR TREK [Randy Barnett]
Check out this lawsuit by Activision(maker of Star Trek video games) against Viacom (maker of Star Trek movies and TV shows).
Posted at 10:12 AM
QUESTION FOR PAUL JOHNSON [John Derbyshire]
Back in the 1960s, when Paul Johnson was editor of the London New Statesman, I was a devoted reader of that journal. (It is now sadly declined.) I recall that in one of his weekly diaries he passed an observation to the effect that there were only two things he was sure of: one, that money is the root of all evil, and two, that the only cure for unhappiness is hard work. I should like to ask Mr. Johnson whether, in the subsequent 37 years, he has revised his opinion on either of these points.
Posted at 10:06 AM
FOR DERB WATCHERS [John Derbyshire]
For the month of July, Derb watchers please note the following. (1) I am doing a one-hour talk (about the Riemann Hypothesis) on NPR July 30th--see here (2) The cable/satellite TV channel AMC is running a season of Bruce Lee movies. Way of the Dragon / Enter the Dragon is to be shown July 26, I think.
Posted at 10:02 AM
JOHNSON QUESTIONS [John J. Miller]
Peter: I'd ask Paul Johnson about his astonishing level of productivity. How does he put out so much? What are his daily work habits? As a fellow writer, I'd like to know. There's a darker follow-up topic, though: Johnson has a reputation for sloppiness--for getting little things wrong in what are otherwise magisterial histories. Why doesn't he hire a grad student to proofread?
Posted at 09:58 AM
DEBATE THIS [Jonathan H. Adler]
How about Randy Barnett versus Robert Bork on the Ninth Amendment? I'd sure like to read that one.
Posted at 09:56 AM
BORK KNOWS EVERYTHING? [Randy Barnett]
This morning in The Corner, Peter Robinson writes: “Next week I'll be shooting a couple of episodes of Uncommon Knowledge, one with Judge Robert Bork, another with Paul Johnson, the English historian. Within his field, each knows everything.” During his Senate confirmation hearing, Judge Bork revealed that there was one thing about which he knew nothing, The Ninth Amendment:
I do not think you can use the ninth amendment unless you know something of what it means. For example, if you had an amendment that says “Congress shall make no” and then there is an ink blot and you cannot read the rest of it and that is the only copy you have, I do not think the court can make up what might be under the ink blot if you cannot read it.Years later, I was on a Federalist Society panel moderated by Judge Bork. During his introduction, he noted my books on the Ninth Amendment and remarked, “seems like something I should read.” Indeed. In your interview, Peter, you night ask him what he now thinks it means. If he says it refers to state statutory and common law rights (the answer he gave in The Tempting of America)—BUZZ—wrong answer. (The correct answer: natural “liberty” rights.)
Welcome to the sandbox. Wear sunscreen.
Posted at 09:45 AM
BTW: DEBATES, DEBATES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NRO's debating Liberia. Check it out . (Yes, I send you to the homepage and not the pieces directly on purpose. Duh.) They'll be another installment of the Liberia debate tomorrow. And let us know what you would like to see debated and who you would like to see debating--unless it is Jonah vs. Me on Star Trek or Jonah vs. Rich on cats and dogs--those requests have been noted.
Posted at 09:41 AM
U.S. WOMEN TOO MUCH TROUBLE FOR SAUDIS? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NR intern Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky points out this piece in the Arab News. Seems the Kingdom is actively discouraging men from marrying foreign women. Not worth the trouble? Well, actually, when you consider stories like Pat Roush’s, you realize the Kingdom is not getting nearly enough grief from the U.S., when their men abduct American citizens, the children of their foreign wives. We're in agreement with the House of Saud, though, here: For the sake of the children, especially, by all means, discourage!
Posted at 09:36 AM
ONCE A NANNY... [Terry Teachout]
In light of the BBC's most recent antics, it might be worth pointing out that the Beeb has ever and always been--well, a bit wet. Among other offenses, it refused to play Noel Coward's Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans during World War II. Presumably the problem was that the BBC's nannies didn't think their benighted listeners would get the point of Coward's savagely camp thrust at those who wanted to go easy on the Germans once the war was over:
Let's be sweet to them And day by day repeat to them That sterilization simply isn't done. Let's help the dirty swine again To occupy the Rhine again, But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.On the other hand, it probably didn't help that Coward also took an impish shot at the BBC itself in the next-to-last verse ("Let's be free with them/And share the BBC with them/We mustn't prevent them basking in the sun"). Bureaucrats never have a sense of humor when it comes to themselves.
Posted at 09:24 AM
IRANIAN SNAPSHOT [Terry Teachout]
James Lileks, the funniest man in cyberspace, isn't funny all the time. Sometimes he starts out funny, then zaps you right between the eyes--like today.
Posted at 08:57 AM
THE TITLE IV FRONT [Stanley Kurtz]
Martin Kramer has an important post today that suggests both a new problem, and a new strategy, for the battle over Title VI. Remember Prince Alwaleed? He’s the wealthy Saudi (actually, the fifth wealthiest man in the world) who had ten million dollars thrown back in his face by Rudy Giuliani. Alwaleed visited ground zero and made out a relief fund check, but only after pinning the blame for 9/11 on American support of Israel. Now Alwaleed is at it again. Only this time, he’s starting to fund universities. And other wealthy Saudi’s have recently funded centers at both Harvard and Berkeley. This certainly helps explain why so many programs of Middle East Studies are reluctant to criticize the Saudis. To do so means throwing away the prospect of millions in aid. According to Kramer, the upcoming conference of the Middle East Studies Association has twenty-five papers scheduled to be delivered on the Palestinian situation, but not one single paper on anything to do with Saudi Arabia. If Saudi money keeps pouring into American universities, Title VI may be undermined, regardless of any reforms we may succeed in making. So Kramer proposes a new rule. Title VI centers should be obligated to forgo all foreign funding. That is clearly in the national security interests of the United States. Without such an amendment, our area studies centers risk being corrupted or silenced by foreign countries. Unfortunately, there is good evidence that it may already be happening.
Posted at 08:56 AM
JONBENET 893 [Tim Graham]
If you think the movie house is full of tired summer sequels, how about morning TV? This morning, Katie Couric is back on the trail of the JonBenet Ramsey murder. To hard-news junkies, this story has always been a never-ending black hole for soccer-mom National Enquirer readers with Inquiring Minds. That's not to suggest that no one should care about six-year-old beauty queens dying young, but rather why is this particular case so important over all the other unfortunate child murders in America? It just recalls the classic Onion headline: "Ugly Girl Dies, No One Cares."
I know it could be worse. Katie's Hillary interview could have had four parts instead of three.
Posted at 08:56 AM
BEARLY NEWS [Susan Konig]
Hmm, 10,000 people running around New Jersey with permission to shoot bears. All this and bear contraception? Does it come in a pic-a-nic basket, Boo Boo?
Posted at 08:55 AM
HIP MAMA KONIG [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Next to join the Corner for the summer is Susan Brady Konig. Susan is a regular on NRO already. You can visit her NRO archive here. A former editor at Seventeen (hey, that’s a glossy!) and columnist for the New York Post, she has written for the Washington Post, Ladies’ Home Journal, US, and NRODT (here and here--how about those ancient links?!), among others. Today Susan is a full-time mom who somehow finds the time to write for NRO and others. She is bright and fun and will be posting between pool-runs with the kids, no doubt! Those kids have a cool and funny dad, too; Susan’s husband Dave is also an NRO contributor (his stuff here). Welcome to The Corner, Susan!
Posted at 08:53 AM
ASK JUDGE BORK AND PAUL JOHNSON [Peter Robinson]
Next week I'll be shooting a couple of episodes of Uncommon Knowledge, one with Judge Robert Bork, another with Paul Johnson, the English historian. Within his field, each knows everything. And each has spent his career producing compelling, readable, musical prose, seeking to share his knowledge with the rest of us.
If you could ask Judge Bork and Paul Johnson a question apiece, what two questions would you choose? Bear in mind that the trick in talk television-even in talk television on PBS--is to get your guest talking. Tomorrow I'll post the two or three questions that seem the most provocative/evocative--and then next week I'll put the questions to the great men themselves.
Posted at 08:44 AM
PETER ROBINSON! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I’m delighted to welcome Peter Robinson to the Corner mix. I’m sure you all know Peter. He’s a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, is the host of Uncommon Knowledge on PBS (the old Firing Line slot). He is author of the It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP and of the upcoming How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life. Among other things, Peter spent six years as a White House speechwriter during the Reagan years, where he penned a little line about tearing down a wall in Eastern Europe. No stranger to NRO (see here and here and here and here). Peter’s an all-around cool guy, like so many of our summer Cornerites--I know you'll enjoy him.
Posted at 08:39 AM
PRYOR TIME [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of William Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit tomorrow.
Posted at 08:24 AM
A NATION IN MOURNING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mail: “I wonder why nobody mentions the interesting coincidence that Iranian-government paid operation to separate two adult Siamese twins which has dominated the news (especially Iran-related news) for a coupla days was timed right before July 9. Even now CNN goes on and on about mourning in Iran and schoolchildren paying tribute to the twins and does not even mention such insignificant events as anti-government strikes and demonstrations.”
I have no doubt that Iranians mourn for the conjoined twins who died shortly after surgical separation. It is a terribly sad story. But the reader raises an interesting question--though I stress this is just a casual observation--which you can’t help but wonder about on July 9, after reading some of the statements from the regime about the twins’ death, and knowing that the mullahs paid for the surgery.
Posted at 07:13 AM
SUMMER READING [John J. Miller]
Knocked off Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane, late last night. I'm not sure I've read another suspense novel that's so driven by characters, rather than plot. To be sure, there's a murder, one of the main characters is a homicide cop, etc.--but the characters are what kept me turning the pages. The writing is crisp and vivid, too. I really liked this line near the front of the book: "Brendan Harris loved Katie Marcus like crazy, loved her like movie love, with an orchestra booming through his blood and flooding his ears." The book also includes lots of nice dialogue and bits of street wisdom. Try this: "Guy in prison says to me once, he says, 'Happiness comes in moments, and then it's gone until the next time. Could be years. But sadness--sadness settles in.'" If you enjoy popular fiction that's also literate, try Mystic River. And maybe do it before September, when the movie version directed by Clint Eastwood comes out.
Posted at 06:25 AM
JULY 9: ANTI-MULLAH DEMONSTRATIONS IN THE U.S. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Some details here.
Posted at 06:23 AM
ANOTHER CARD DOWN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
But wait. What was that? This one had links to Mohammed Atta? You mean ties to Sept. 11? Oh yeah. Right. It's all coming back to me now.
Posted at 06:18 AM
"NRO IS SLEEPING" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
We sure have been doing that more and more, eh? Remember those 24/7 Iraq days? Yeah, me too: best we sleep!
Posted at 05:02 AM
DEPRESSING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I buy my morning Diet Coke and the clerk tells me to "have a good night." Fine. Good night. NRO is sleeping!
Posted at 05:01 AM
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
CORRECTION [Kevin Cherry]
An alert reader notes that John Derrick of Pepco, not grad student Gorman, was the one who responded to the offer to be sold U.S. maps with the power grids on them. I don't think this really takes anything away from Gorman, and it raises Pepco--source of the DC area's power--in my estimation.
Posted at 06:54 PM
DEFENDING ACOSTA [Jonathan H. Adler]
Contrary to Jim Boulet's suggestion, I do not "concede" that anything in Alex Acosta's record is a "problem," real or otherwise. (My prior post is here.) I believe the administration made an excellent choice in nominating him for the position (and, based on his record, I would feel this way even if I did not know him personally). The comparison to David Souter is simply absurd. Alex has sterling conservative credentials.
As for Boulet's specific concerns, I believe the facts show that Alex faithfully and effectively executed the Bush Administration's policies on language access under E.O. 13166. Like it or not, the administration decided to keep this Clinton E.O. in place. As a deputy AAG in the Justice Department, the proper thing for Alex to do was to faithfully execute this policy, as I believe he did, or else resign. In his position, it would have been completely improper for Alex to subvert stated administration policy or otherwise act contrary to his legal obligations. Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that Alex advocated the administration's position on language access, I would nonetheless contend that Alex's views across-the-board are sufficiently sound to merit strong support.
Posted at 06:26 PM
MAZEN AND FATAH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Fatah (founded by Mazen and Nobel Peace Prize winner Arafat) is not accepting Abu Mazen's resignation--which was kinda belated anyway for a partner in peace, which we're to believe he is.
Posted at 06:10 PM
WHITHER SMALL GOV'T? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
CATO reports on the longest Federal register ever (PDF here; Washington Post piece here).
Posted at 05:29 PM
PEACE IN PERETZ-VILLE [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, here's how the Iraq war's aftermath is being portrayed for the laziest readers of Time magazine and their "Peace Is Hell" story this week. The two pull quotes are:
At least we had power and security [under Saddam]. Democracy is not feeding us. -- Uday Abdul al-Wahab, a shop owner in BaghdadAnd:
Going out on raids, busting up things and shooting people tend not to win you many friends. -- A top foreign-policy adviser to the first President BushDoes it make a difference that the writer is Romesh Ratnesar, formerly of The New Republic?
Posted at 05:18 PM
TIM GRAHAM, RIGHT@HOME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Also being made an honest man of this summer is Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center. Tim, Brent, Brent, Rich, Liz, Ken, and the rest of the crew at MRC are a constant source for Corner fodder. Tim has been at MRC for like, forever, (and probably knows everything there is to know about the media) but took a break from 2001-2002 to serve as White House correspondent for World Magazine. Tim is author of Pattern of Deception, about the media and the Clinton presidency and William : HRH Prince William of Wales (oh, wait, no, scratch that second one, different Tim Graham). Even without the William book, though, we’re delighted to have him. You’ll never let your guard down again with the media…never again.
Posted at 05:12 PM
RE: ACOSTA [Jim Boulet Jr. ]
I was not aware of Acosta’s efforts for the Ethics and Public Policy Center until Ramesh Ponnuru brought it to my attention today. Score one for Acosta.
Unfortunately, Ramesh, like many other Acosta supporters to whom I have spoken, has not queried Acosta directly on language matters. MALDEF and La Raza, by contrast, pronounce themselves thrilled with Acosta’s language views. The contrast is justifiable cause for concern, given Acosta’s main job this year will be approving E.O. 13166 language access plans, including those of the Department of Health and Human Services.
I was also told that conservatives are being told by the White House to keep quiet about the Acosta nomination, for fear of damaging his confirmation chances. I could not help but be reminded of David Souter and Sandra Day O’Connor. If Acosta is confirmed, I can only hope that Ramesh is right and I am wrong.
Jonathan Adler concedes that Acosta’s record on language in the Bush Justice Department is a real problem: “As a deputy in the Justice Department's civil rights division, Alex may have been required to implement administration policies with which Boulet disagrees” (emphasis in original). Will Acosta rip off the mask of loyal subordinate on language matters once promoted? We’ll see.
Reliable sources have told me today that Acosta could care less about criticism of his record on language matters because his critics are the kind of people who always get upset when someone reaches across the aisle.
Yet the record shows that I am firmly in favor of real outreach to Hispanic Americans:
Outreach to Hispanic voters should not be determined by reading press releases from the National Council of La Raza or meeting with officials for LULAC. Hispanics are not an undifferentiated mass awaiting instructions from their self-appointed leaders in Washington. There are a good many Hispanics who proudly salute the Stars and Stripes rather than the flag of Mexico. These people will repay Republican outreach efforts with their votes--if the GOP simply treats them just like other Americans.
Acosta will have a chance to speak for himself at his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing tomorrow. I’m looking forward to hearing him.
Posted at 05:11 PM
CLASSIFIED IN THE CLASSROOM [Kevin Cherry]
This front-page article from today's Washington Post is worth reading. Reporter Laura Blumenfeld came across a dissertation being written by a grad student at George Mason University (which is right outside of Washington). The dissertation has, in her words, "mapped every business and industrial sector in the American economy, layering on top the fiber-optic network that connects them." You can see how this is risky stuff, especially in the post 9/11 world.
Blumenfeld's interviewees do a good job of raising the important questions: Should his dissertation be classified? (Former cyberterror czar Richard Clarke thinks so.) Should the source material have been de-classified in the first place? The student, Sean Gorman, is concerned--and rightfully so--about losing his work, but even he recognizes the importance of security. According to the article, he responded to an offer to sell him maps of the nation's electric power grids with a terse note: "With friends like you, we don't need any enemies in the world." He seems to get it. Sadly, some others do not. John Young, a New York architect with a Web site which has aerial views of various military facilities and Mapquest directions, says that having such a site is "a great thrill." He says that the dissertation "should be published," even if banned. "We like defying authority as a matter of principle."
Posted at 04:48 PM
DRUM ROLL FOR KEVIN CHERRY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Another summertime Corner visitor is Kevin Cherry. Kevin is currently working on his doctorate in political science at the University of Notre Dame. Previously he worked as deputy director of policy at Empower America. A graduate of the Catholic University of America (philosophy and politics), Kevin--as my luck would have it--was actually a classmate of mine there, undergrad—his killer outlines made him a most valuable commodity around exam time, though he always had personality and an award-winning Springsteen collection to fall back on. Kevin is a frequent presence on NRO. He’s written about cloning, Gary Wills, Clinton, and more, but I have no doubt he rather I mention Metailica, Beach Boys, AC/DC the Ramones, the Who, the Boss, Steve Martin. and the Muppets. I’ve been known to steal links from him from time to time (nothing you email me is safe!), so it’s about time he gets a Corner byline.
Posted at 04:46 PM
ANOTHER CONSEQUENCE OF BLOGS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Back in the good old days, when I saw an article like this one in TechCentralStation, with its dubious opening claim that "[t]he Patriot Act gave the government sweeping authority to gather intelligence on American citizens and imprison them for long periods without due process," I would have called an expert or two to debunk it and then reported what I'd learned. Nowadays, I bring it to an expert's attention and he does the debunking himself. So much for the middleman.
Posted at 03:54 PM
LOSS FOR CHENEY TASK FORCE [Jonathan H. Adler]
A sharply divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the Bush Administration's effort to quash Judicial Watch's suit against the Vice President's energy task force. The full opinion is here.
Posted at 03:50 PM
ZEPHYR TEACHOUT [Jonathan H. Adler]
It's funny Terry should mention Zephyr below, as she lived below me my senior year at Yale. Go figure. (And I'm not at all surprised she's working for Dean.)
Posted at 03:43 PM
A FOOLISH COMPARISON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Alex Acosta is no David Souter or Sandra Day O'Connor, whatever Jim Boulet says. I'm biased in favor of Alex, who is a friend of mine, and I have not looked into his record on language issues. But it is just silly to say he is a "stealth nominee" with no conservative record. Alex ran the Ethics and Public Policy Center's project on the judiciary, for example.
Posted at 03:33 PM
SECRET IDENTITY [Terry Teachout]
I've always assumed I'm related to everybody in the world who shares my last name, but if you Google the name Zephyr Teachout, you may begin to doubt.
Posted at 02:58 PM
BEACH READING… [Randy Barnett]
…(especially if your beach is the site of an amphibious landing).
Thanks to Kathryn and the gang for letting me play in their sandbox for the summer.
Even before Terry touted a book, I was planning on saying how much I am enjoying and learning from VDH's Culture and Carnage: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power. Hanson's thesis is that one reason the West has proven so dominant is that its cultural traditions of individualism, property rights, freedom, and democratic accountability have resulted in its ability to kill far more effectively than its rivals. Each chapter is like a short novella on a major battle, with all the grisly details. These stories of military prowess and carnage are gripping, as well as a great intro into Western History. Here's just a taste from the intro, "Why the West has Won":
There is an inherent truth in battle. It is hard to disguise the verdict of the battlefield, and nearly impossible to explain away the dead, or to suggest that abject defeat was somehow victory. Wars are the sum of battles, battles the tally of individual human beings killing and dying. . . . To speak of war in any other fashion brings with it a sort of immorality: the idea that when hit, soldiers simply go to sleep, rather than are shredded, that generals order impersonal battalions and companies of automatons into the heat of battle, rather than screaming nineteen-year-olds into clouds of gas and sheets of lead bullets, or that a putrid corpse has little to do with larger approaches to science and culture.
I could say more, but this is already running a bit long for The Corner and don’t want to get kicked out before I’ve even sat down.
Posted at 02:56 PM
WELCOME, RANDY BARNETT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Next up in the summer Corner lineup is Randy Barnett. Randy, who has written for NRO here and here and here and here, is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor at the Boston University School of Law. He has taught cyberlaw, contracts, constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, agency and partnership, jurisprudence, and torts and written about many of those topics as well. His more libertoid take, as Jonah might put it—Randy’s a fellow at Cato--should help keep things jumping in The Corner during the dog days of summer. His books include The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law and the upcoming Restoring the Lost Constitution: Presumption of Liberty. You can read lots of his writing at www.RandyBarnett.com.
Posted at 02:55 PM
PRECIOUS: NYT WORKING FOR EDWARDS ‘04 [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the New York Times’s corrections page:
Because of an editing error, an article on Sunday about a bill to limit jury awards in medical malpractice cases gave an incorrect surname at one point in some copies for the Nevada Senator who is the bill's chief sponsor. He is John Ensign, not Edwards.
Posted at 02:46 PM
ACOSTA DESERVES SUPPORT [Jonathan H. Adler]
It is incredibly unfortunate that regular NRO contributor Jim Boulet decided to attack the nomination of R. Alexander Acosta to be assistant attorney general for civil rights. Alex is a principled conservative -- more conservative than his predecessor -- and has a sharp legal mind. As a deputy in the Justice Department's civil rights division, Alex may have been required to implement administration policies with which Boulet disagrees, but this is no basis upon which to oppose the nomination.
Posted at 02:45 PM
OVERTON EULOGIES [John J. Miller]
The Mackinac Center has posted several eulogies to Joe Overton, who died last week in a plane crash, here. This one by frequent NRO contributor Larry Reed is very good. Here are few lines from it: "In the last few days I’ve come to understand a side of Joe in a way I didn’t fully grasp before. His was, to borrow from the title of a great and influential book, a purpose-driven life. If he sometimes seemed distracted, it was because he had his mind on bigger things. When he didn’t seem interested enough in himself to tell you what he had just done or who he had just helped, it was because he was not a self-centered guy. Joe believed that life on earth was not about acquiring fame or wealth. He worked for a salary that was half what he could have earned in another profession. He had little interest in accumulating titles and plaudits. Whenever I had doubts about my own ability to do my job, or felt concerned that credit was coming my way for things that he or others should have been recognized for, he shunned the limelight, bucked me up, and spoke of the unique working relationship we had as “magic.” Observing that magic, people outside our organization often said that Joe and I had “complementary skills” but I’ve always known the real truth: He had the skills, and I had the complementary."
Posted at 02:04 PM
DIAMOND GISCARD OWNS UP [Andrew Stuttaford]
There's something deeply dishonest about "constitution" makers who need to resort to this sort of trickery to win British voters' approval. It's also pointless - in Britain the voters are not actually being consulted as Tony Blair, apparently, knows best.
Posted at 01:27 PM
WE HAVE WAYS OF MAKING YOU HAPPY [Terry Teachout]
I'm just now starting to work my way through Anne Applebaum's Gulag, which among countless other things is a grab-bag of the sickeningly ironic details that make a nightmare really convincing. One that caught my eye is this sign a prisoner saw posted at the entrance of the Solovetsky camp in 1933: "With an Iron Fist, We Will Lead Humanity to Happiness!"
Posted at 01:20 PM
TERRY TEACHOUT! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Terry Teachout is our first summer Corner contributor to jump into the mix. He is author of The Skeptic : A Life of H. L. Mencken (read the NRODT Brookhiser review here and NRO Q&A here) and probably writes for about every publication in print. To narrow that down: He writes theater and music reviews, among other things, for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Crisis, and even a magazine you may have heard of called National Review (on Dead Tree). Some recent Teachout reads are here and here and here. He’s a welcome addition to our Corner crew. Enjoy him.
Posted at 01:19 PM
SUMMER CORNER FLINGS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
To spice things up a bit during the remainder of the summer (don’t worry, kids, there’s lots left!), we’ve invited a few guests into the Corner (this is not without Corner precedent, you’ll recall we had some honorary Cornerites during last November election season). They’ll all be somewhat familiar names. They’ll all make you think, scream, laugh, cry, or something like that. I’m excited and I think you’ll approve. So keep a look out. As always, do send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org (always feel free to let me know what you want to see, what you want more of, in The Corner, and elsewhere on NRO—and I am slowly getting better at answering mail, I promise). Meanwhile, I hope your AC is working…
Posted at 01:05 PM
MEET IRAN’S FUTURE LEADERS [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Posted at 12:56 PM
RE: MOBUTU [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: I have checked with my Kikongo dictionary. The actual translation is: "Watch me shovel the entire wealth of my nation into numbered Swiss bank accounts!"
Posted at 12:51 PM
MOLESWORTH GOES TO HOGWARTS [Andrew Stuttaford]
There are, I know, a few Molesworth devotees out there and for them this parody will be priceless. For anyone else it will be completely incomprehensible. Via the Crooked Timber blog.
Posted at 12:23 PM
NOSTALGIA [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, nice choice of Norfolk names. When I lived in Clippesby (which was near Oby), I went to school in Ormesby and my grandmother lived in Billockby. The Broads were a treat, Black Shuck was a threat, and bands of men scoured the marshes looking for coypu to kill.
Posted at 12:20 PM
ESPOSITO FIRES FROM EGYPTIAN PAPER [Stanley Kurtz]
In the Egyptian weekly, Al Ahram, John Esposito, a prominent scholar of Islam and former president of the Middle East Studies Association, whom I have criticized, takes on Martin Kramer, Daniel Pipes, and me. What I find interesting here is Esposito’s effort to portray his point of view, and those who share it, as a struggling minority school of thought. In fact, Esposito and his like-minded colleagues rule the academy, while his critics are all on the outside. It would be nearly impossible to take on Esposito’s views and keep an academic job. Yet Esposito strikes the pose of a lonely dissident within the academy.
Posted at 12:12 PM
SUN GOES DOWN ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN GOLDEN STATE [Stanley Kurtz]
A few weeks ago I reported on what appeared to be very good news--indefinite postponement of efforts by University of California president Richard Atkinson to revise the U. C. code of academic freedom. The changes under consideration would remove long-standing protections against professors who foist their political views on their students. Sadly, I must now report that efforts to gut academic freedom at the University of California are back on track. Here’s the account in the Washington Times, which interviewed me for the piece.
Posted at 12:07 PM
SHOCKING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Britney Spears is not that innocent.
Posted at 12:03 PM
I'M A PIONEER [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader about G-File:
Posted at 11:44 AM
MOBUTU [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb, I've also seen translations of the guy's name which translate to "the all-powerful rooster who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake." But maybe that's just water cooler talk by all those super-satisfied hens.
Posted at 10:52 AM
G-FILE UP, CONSTITUTION DEAD, HOORAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
G-File is up. Chesterton and pop culture references galore.
Posted at 10:49 AM
RE: THE SINGING POSTMAN [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: He will be sadly missed in Swanton Novers, Walpole St. Andrew, Haddiscoe, Caister, and Great Snoring. (Very likely in Little Snoring, too.) I had forgotten that you were a native of the Fens and the Broads. So was George Borrow, born in East Dereham just 200 years ago last Saturday, and one of the favorite writers of my childhood. I am currently doing a "piece" on Borrow for The New Criterion, much hampered by the fact that Borrow doesn't seem half as good re-reading him now, as he did when I was 10 years old. Did you notice my little tribute to your home county in last September's diary? (Here-- search on "Betjeman.")
Posted at 10:40 AM
DERB'S FAVORITE NAMES OF AFRICAN POLITICIANS [John Derbyshire]
Hey, look, they probably think that "Derbyshire" is a laff riot, and that's fine. My all-time favorite: The Rev. Canaan Banana (Zimbabwe). Runners-up: Oginga Odinga (Kenya), Sir Abubaker Tafawa Balewa (Nigeria), Omar Bongo (Gabon), Gnassingbe Eyadema (Togo), Ndabaningi Sithole (Zimbabwe). Honorable mention to Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendo Wa Za Banga, which translates as "head rooster with access to all the hens in the henhouse" (the former Zaire).
Posted at 10:39 AM
MY DAY -- FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
I have two speaking engagements (I'm speaking at an event for the America's Future Foundation and then I'm on a panel for some visiting Irish students), and two pieces to write this morning (three if you count the G-File, but that's done already). And since both gigs are on the Hill a place designed specifically to get me lost, I'm exceedingly short on time and neurons this morning. So I will be visiting the Corner only sporadically. In short, the rest of the gang is especially encouraged to kick it in here.
Posted at 09:47 AM
CONNERLY IN MICHIGAN [John J. Miller]
Here's an excerpt from the speech Ward Connerly is scheduled to give in Ann Arbor today (KLo tells me the whole thing will be up on NRO this morning): "Do we have so little confidence in the American spirit and in yet unborn Americans of African and Mexican descent that we consign them to another generation of presumed inadequacy? Is it fair to say to a black parent: your child to be born eight years from now will still need a preference when he or she applies to college in the year 2028? I cannot describe to you the anger and humiliation that fills me as a 'black' man to be viewed with such misplaced pity and misguided patronization.... "
Posted at 07:43 AM
THE POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION [Andrew Stuttaford]
The same undersecretary on German MEP Schulz (the man who triggered Berlusconi’s comments):
"Schulz…probably grew up taking part in noisy burping contests, after drinking gigantic amounts of beer and gorging himself on fried potatoes.”
Schulz is Al Bundy?
Posted at 06:37 AM
BERLUSCONI, PART DEUX [Andrew Stuttaford]
The undersecretary for the Italian industry ministry has now done his bit for Italo-German relations by writing a letter to a newspaper in which he described i Tedeschi as “hyper-nationalistic blonds” invading Italian beaches. In response, German chancellor Schroeder has threatened to cancel his planned summer vacation in Italy.
The real reason for Schroeder’s fury? The reference to hair color.
Posted at 06:35 AM
THE SINGING POSTMAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, referring to your comment about Lonnie Donegan the other day, I am indeed a fan, but, if we are talking about the stars of our past, let’s not forget this legendary – and rather tragic - musician from my home county.
Posted at 06:31 AM
YOU MEAN THEY DON'T ALL HATE US? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here's a picture from Iraq you don't often see the likes of.
Posted at 06:20 AM
VDH REVIEW [John J. Miller]
My old friend Fred Lynch reviews VDH's latest book, in the Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 05:41 AM
GUTLESS GOP [John J. Miller]
Today, in Michigan, Ward Connerly will announce his intention to back a ballot initiative banning racial preferences in the state. It should surprise nobody that Republicans are already dumping on Connerly. If the GOP were stronger on this issue, ballot initiatives wouldn't be necessary because state legislatures would take up the matter. Alas, they don't--and so we're left to rely on heroes like Connerly to work outside the party system.
Posted at 05:27 AM
Monday, July 07, 2003
RE SAVAGE [Jonah Goldberg]
I really never had an opinion one way or the other on the guy. I never heard his radio show and I never watched his TV show for more than 30 seconds at a time. He may be a brilliant radio show host and for all I know he's got a supple and subtle mind, but he struck me as an awful television host. But that at least gave me hope that the bar was low enough for me to get a TV show of my own one day.
Posted at 05:39 PM
MEA CULPA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
We've generally ignored Michael Savage. In the wake of his repulsive on-air rant, I wish we had savaged his book, just to have been on record.
Posted at 05:20 PM
A MAN WHO RESPECTS FINE RHETORIC AND LEADERSHIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
In his retirement speech, Tommy Franks just echoed the president's "bring it on" line from last week.
Posted at 03:27 PM
THE "MAD ARAB" REPLACES FRANKS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jim Geraghty wrote about Gen. Abizaid, now replacing Tommy Franks, back in March on NRO.
Posted at 03:20 PM
SF SLICE OF LIFE [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's a fun email from a reader:
I thought you might find this interesting. I recently met a very nice Berkeley woman who started an organization for conservative singles here in the San Francisco Bay Area (long overdue!). We just had our second meeting at a brewpub in Berkeley, and after she printed an innocuous little promo piece on the Internet saying how well the event went, she got a couple of pieces of completely unprovoked, spontaneous hate mail, including this lovely evocation of the modern "liberal"'s heart and soul:
As my friend says, "Isn't it nice how tolerant liberals are?"
Bob Pryor / email@example.com
(If you find this interesting enough to mention, feel free to reference my name. And my e-mail address for that matter, since hatemail doesn't bother me, and we can use all the publicity we can get in recruiting conservative singles out here in Mordor. Best to the Fair Jessica & Lucy & Cosmo.)
Posted at 01:33 PM
RE AFRICAN NAMES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
So, wait, are you saying you don't find "Abdoulaye Wade" just rolls off the tongue? "Yoweri Museveni"? Of course, I eagerly await the day Bush pronounces Botswana's president's name "Festus Mogae."
Posted at 01:03 PM
NOT STRETCHED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Tommy Franks says we don't need more troops in Iraq.
Posted at 12:44 PM
REVIEWS OF PRIME OBSESSION [John Derbyshire]
Two big reviews of Prime Obsession, though big in different ways.
First, a review in American Scientist. This one, for me personally, is worth ten of any other. It's by Enrico Bombieri, a first-rank mathematician (he won a Fields medal in 1974--details here) and a very major name in Riemann Hypothesis studies. He is left out of my book only because his work is at too high a level for the elementary presentation I decided on. I apologize to him for this in the book's Prologue. That apology actually carries a double load of guilt because Prof. Bombieri's account of the Riemann Hypothesis on the Clay Mathematics Institute website was the starting point for my own readings, whose eventual result was Prime Obsession. It is a marvelous short presentation of the RH and all its many ramifications. As well as being a brilliant mathematician, Prof. Bombieri is a mathematical character, somewhat in the style of Edmund Landau (see Chapter 14 of P.O.) I consider it a great honor to have been reviewed by Prof. Bombieri. Even if it had been a bad review, I would have swallowed it without complaint. That it is decently good (not ecstatic, but decently good), has me glowing.
Then there is a review in Sunday's New York Times book section, by James Alexander, a math professor at Case Western Reserve University. I don't know what to say about this one. It isn't a bad review, but then it isn't particularly good, either. I was alerted to it by a phone call from a friend in Manhattan. (They get the Sunday book section a day or two ahead of actual Sunday.) "What kind of review is it?" I asked him. "Good? Bad? Or what?" He: "Neither one thing nor the other." Which pretty much sums it up. My publisher is thrilled, anyway. To get a book of any kind reviewed in the NYT is a coup, and the publisher's attitude is: "Just so long as they spelled your name right..."
Posted at 12:25 PM
DARN [Jonah Goldberg]
I know Charles Taylor is an evil and brutal SOB, but can we at least take a moment to lament the fact that the one African leader with a name we can all pronounce is being forced out of office?
Posted at 11:00 AM
LAST POINT ON DEAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Yesterday the Washington Post did a big profile of Howard Dean in which he defended his (awful) performance on "Meet the Press" a couple weeks ago. Here's the relevant graf:
So far, Dean, who agrees that he is blunt, is brushing off the critics. "I didn't like how I did in the first debate, because I was nervous and cranky," he said. "But I disagree about the 'Meet the Press' interview. I thought I did great. Tim Russert asked really hard questions. No other candidate would take that kind of questioning for a full hour."
Posted at 10:58 AM
DEAN AND THE DNC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The REAL reason Dean wants McAuliffe out is fears about the Vatican's influence in American politics.
Posted at 10:39 AM
MORE DEAN [Jonah Goldberg]
But if Dean is serious about mounting a challenge to McAuliffe after New Hampshire then we really could have an all-out Civil War in the Democratic Party between self-described centrists (Clintonistas) and "progressives" (a rag tag army of all Dems who don't consider themselves Clintonistas). And that would be fun to watch. I think it's all very, very unlikely though.
Posted at 10:38 AM
DEAN [Jonah Goldberg ]
Drudge has a story about Dean's desire to get rid of Terry McAuliffe as head of the DNC. A few thoughts. First, I'm sure Dean would like to see McAuliffe go, but the high-minded motives attributed to the Dean camp in the Drudge story don't scan for a moment. McAuliffe is widely known among Democratic insiders as Bill and Hillary's boy. The whole senior leadership of the DNC were put in by the Clintons in order to ensure their interests were protected. It may be true that the Dean camp thinks McAuliffe has done a terrible job, but that's simply the truth. The real reason Dean would want McAuliffe gone is if he thinks he can really win the nomination and doesn't trust that McAuliffe would then do what's best for the nominee. As several Dem operatives have told me (the benefits of spending so much time in CNN green rooms), it's still Bill Clinton's party.
Posted at 10:27 AM
DEROY'S LATEST COLUMN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
complains that social-conservative critics of the Supreme Court's sodomy decision "blithely skip right past" the fact that the law struck down jails people for consensual acts that harm no one. A fair point. But it's just as striking to me that a lot of the commentary on the opposite side of the case skips right past the constitutional issues involved. I don't think the c-word pops up once in the column.
Posted at 09:23 AM
SILENCE ON BUSH’S AFRICA POLICY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Worthwhile reading from the chair of the Princeton politics department in the Wall Street Journal (subscribers only):
Why do President Bush's many domestic and foreign critics ignore his Africa initiative? They do so because it clashes with their mantra concerning the Bush administration's supposed lack of interest in foreign affairs outside of the war on terror. It would, quite simply, produce too much cognitive dissonance….More cynically, critics of the Bush administration cannot afford to recognize current progress in Africa policy. For Democrats, an absolutely critical priority is to hold on to the African-American vote, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. Any effort by the Bush administration to adopt policies that might appeal to African Americans has to be strenuously denied by the Democrats because even mild Republican inroads into such a core constituency would swing some elections toward President Bush's party. Analogously, the French and some other countries have defined much of their foreign policy as being opposed to American unilateralism and, sometimes, to whatever initiative Washington undertakes. Giving full credit to the Bush administration for its Africa policies would so undermine the appeal of opposing America that it is almost an imperative that the current Africa initiatives be ignored.
Posted at 08:30 AM
NOT MAKING THINGS EASIER [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
The rumors floating around Baghdad about the U.S., according to a BBC reporter.
Posted at 08:26 AM
WE HIT THE GROUND IN LIBERIA [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Posted at 08:25 AM
A NO-BRAINER? [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Men and women have distinctive writing styles.
Posted at 07:27 AM
KIRK'S GHOSTS [John J. Miller]
Russell Kirk may not be beach reading, but his fiction is still perfect for summer--once the sun has set and you're looking for a scary tale of the supernatural. I wrote about Kirk's ghost stories earlier this year for NRO, on the occasion of Canada's Ash-Tree Press issuing the first of two volumes collecting all of Kirk's short fiction. Many NRO readers purchased copies. Well, the second book is now out. It's called What Shadow We Pursue and, from what I can gather, it's not available from any source except Ash-Tree. The print run is limited, so if you're interested be sure to order quickly. And, in case you need a slight nudge, here's what John Pelan says in his introduction to the new book: "Kirk can perhaps lay claim to being the greatest American author of ghost stories in the last century."
Posted at 06:51 AM
Sunday, July 06, 2003
NOT A PARALLEL UNIVERSE, UNFORTUNATELY [Andrew Stuttaford]
At the end of an (interesting) piece in today’s New York Times on how patriotism has been used as a marketing device, there’s the revelation that following the gift by the US Smokeless Tobacco Company of Skoal and Copenhagen snuff to troops in Iraq, “some legislators are complaining that the company violated military policy against distributing free samples of tobacco products, calling the giveaway reprehensible.”
Pathetic. While snuff is on no one’s list of healthy products, taking it is vastly safer than smoking tobacco. More to the point, if service people are adult enough to go through a war they are quite capable of deciding for themselves whether to chew some free chaw.
Posted at 09:52 PM
PARALLEL UNIVERSE WATCH (4) [Andrew Stuttaford]
From an interview in today’s New York Times magazine with Canadian author Naomi Klein, author of the no good book No Logo:
“Most people don’t know that much about Canadian geography, so they think that the whole country is living a SARS epidemic, when in fact there was a very contained outbreak in a few Toronto hospitals. I was watching CNN and they kept showing pictures of people wearing masks in Toronto. I haven’t seen one person wearing a mask in Toronto. We thought it might be retaliation against our stand on Iraq.”
Posted at 09:45 PM
PARALLEL UNIVERSE WATCH (3) [Andrew Stuttaford]
Truly remarkable piece from today’s New York Times magazine by James Traub. Read while sitting down. Here’s an extract:
“For all the talk about the tainted legitimacy of Bush’s Supreme Court-inflected victory in the 2000 election, the Democrats have never sought to discredit Bush’s presidency.”
Posted at 09:41 PM
PARALLEL UNIVERSE WATCH (2) [Andrew Stuttaford]
Stonehenge reinterpreted as – well, just click on the link.
Posted at 09:37 PM
PARALLEL UNIVERSE WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Philip Klass – call your office.
Posted at 09:35 PM
RE: THE DERBS [John Derbyshire]
A disappointed reader of my earlier posting notes that the picture http://www.olimu.com/Photographs/SixFlags.htm of myself with family at Great Adventure seems to show me smiling. This, he notes, is totally at variance with my carefully-cultivated image as a curmudgeonly grouch and NRO house pessimist. I should like to assure any other readers who suffered similar distress on viewing that picture, that I am in fact not smiling but grimacing as I attempt to cope with back pain, lung problems, poverty, parenthood, the rising tide of homosexualist subversion, and the imminent heat death of the universe.
Posted at 09:15 PM
EVE TUSHNET [Ramesh Ponnuru]
catches a weakness I hadn't noticed in Michael Kinsley's argument for privatizing marriage, and promises more posts on the marriage debate to come.
Posted at 07:35 PM
THERE'S STILL PLENTY OF SUMMER LEFT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Go book shopping, so you have to plan time to read.
Posted at 01:59 PM
RE: WAR OF 1812 WAR OF WORDS! [John Derbyshire]
If memory serves, Andrew is, like myself, a fan of the late Lonnie Donegan, and therefore perfectly familiar with the lines you quoted.
Posted at 01:18 PM
WAR OF 1812 WAR OF WORDS! [Rick Brookhiser]
Just caught up with Andrew's scandalous 4th of July/War of 1812 post. Just remember, m'lord:
Ol' Hickory said, we could take 'em by surprise If we held our fire till we look 'em inna eyes. So we held our fire till we could see their faces well,. Then we opened up our squirrel guns an' blew 'em all to hell.
Posted at 09:54 AM
STEYN ON DAVIS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 09:51 AM
THE DERBS [John Derbyshire]
What have the Derbs been doing? Spending money. Avoiding work.
Posted at 01:03 AM