THE BBC [Andrew Stuttaford]
The ‘objectivity’ of the BBC has been a joke for years, but it’s taken its ludicrous coverage of the Iraq war to bring this to a wider audience. Josh Chafetz has more.
For more on how the BBC’s TV tax works, check in with Big Brother here.
Posted at 08:07 PM
ARNOLD IN TROUBLE? [Andrew Stuttaford]
According to at least one poll, Bustamante is now ahead of Schwarzenegger in the California race. Blogger Calblog reckons that this may even overstate Arnold’s support, as, judging by some recent developments, the Terminator seems intent on alienating the G.O.P. base. Who’s to blame? Calblog has a theory:
“Since Shriver assumed a central role, the campaign ... has allowed Warren Buffet and Rob Lowe to associate themselves with the campaign.
Now I would expect the Republican operatives in the campaign to know that Republicans dislike Lowe and Buffet. These are things that Republicans just know. No one has to tell us or teach us. It's almost assumed… “
Looking at the campaign from the outside, it is, of course, impossible to know who is responsible for this fiasco. The damage caused by the Rob Lowe appointment (which is just a nod to Hollywood orthodoxy) shouldn't be overstated but the arrival of Buffett looks like a major blunder. The tax-loving, faux populist sage of Omaha is as bad an economist as he is good an investor. He should have no part - ever – to play in any supposedly Republican campaign, liberal, moderate or conservative.
Posted at 08:02 PM
HUGO DRAX [Andrew Stuttaford]
A number of readers have written to say that Brit villain Hugo Drax was, in fact, um, French. Well, certainly that’s true of the actor who played him, but Drax (who sported a knighthood) was, I thought, British.
Posted at 07:32 PM
CANADIAN CONSERVATIVE NEEDS HELP [Rod Dreher]
Kathy Shaidle up in Toronto blogs a link to David Brooks's Atlantic essay saying that diversity is something we all pretend to like, but nobody really practices. It's against human nature, Brooks points out; people tend to want to live and work around people like themselves. Kathy asks: "Can Brooks, or anybody, tell me where that brainy conservative 'elsewhere' is at? Cause I really wanna head over there..." Somebody go to Kathy's pretty great blog and see if you can help her.
Posted at 07:19 PM
'THE CHILDREN' [Andrew Stuttaford]
An obviously nauseating individual by the name of Michael Martin is planning to introduce a smoking ban in Ireland's pubs, bars and restaurants.
His job description? 'Minister for health and children' proving once again the truth of these two rules:
Rule 1: When someone talks about 'the children' watch out for your wallet.
Rule 2: When someone talks about 'the children' watch out for your freedoms.
Gratifyingly, however, Mr. Martin is encountering opposition from an unexpected source. Ireland's environment minister, Martin Cullen, has (the Financial Times reports) denounced the plan as "American political correctness." Mr. Cullen is, the Financial Times notes, a heavy smoker.
Splendid. If there must be environment ministers this is the sort of thing they should be doing - fighting to preserve the atmosphere (if not exactly the air) in a good smoky pub.
Posted at 12:54 PM
IDI AMIN DEAD IN SAUDI ARABIA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 11:15 AM
Friday, August 15, 2003
BRITISH VILLAINS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Apologies for reverting to this topic, but one reader’s contribution was too good not to pass on:
"Deliverance redneck villain: "Squeal like a pig, boy!"
Hugo Drax [archetypical British villain]: "James Bond. You reappear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season."”
Posted at 10:15 PM
FALSE MEMORY (2) [Andrew Stuttaford]
We’re often hearing about the phenomenon of ‘ostalgie’, nostalgia for East Germany.
Here’s a cure.
Posted at 09:55 PM
FALSE MEMORY WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
A seance is, by definition, a gathering of the credulous, but that, it seems, may not be how the participants remember it.
Posted at 09:50 PM
SMALLEST VIOLIN? OR NOT! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'm getting a lot of these emails. Do note the end:
Posted at 09:19 PM
HOORAY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Sign outside a local bar (Second Avenue, NYC):
The lights are back.
The bar is open.
The air is on."
Posted at 07:50 PM
BUFFETTING WINDS [Steve Hayward]
So Warren Buffett thinks it is wrong that he pays $16,000 a year in property taxes on his $500,000 Omaha house, but only about $5000 a year on his $2 million California home. The obvious point here is that he is massively overtaxed in Nebraska.
More to the point, if he bought his California home today, he would pay $20,000 in property taxes, and because housing turnover is so rapid in California (property tax assessments are set on sales price in CA), not that many people are in Buffett's position of having an old assessment (though I am one of them, with a home that has been in the family for over 40 years--under Prop. 13, you inherit your parent's property tax basis when property passes between generations).
The favorite liberal solution for this is a "split roll" property tax, i.e., commercial and business property would be taxed at a higher rate than residential property. There is some element of fairness to this, because there is less turnover in commercial property than residential property. However, just as the corporate tax burden is borne by consumers and not corporations, commercial tennants (especially those with net leases) will bear the cost of any property tax increase--that is, businesses will pay the tax. Just what California business needs--more taxes.
One little wrinkle in this is that even Tom McClintock has said he might be open to a split roll tax. But he said this more for political than economic purposes; the business communiti in California, especially big business, has been notably feeble in recent election cycles, if not outright supporting Davis and the liberals. A number of conservatives have started to say, as I've heard Kate O'Bierne and others say through the years, "big business is not out friend," and why should we keep defending their interests if they won't?
So as bad as Buffett is, this may be a trial balloon that could play out in a number of interesting ways. (P.S.--A liberal-sponsored split roll property tax initiative failed on the ballot several years ago.)
Now back to the beach.
Posted at 06:21 PM
E-MAILING NRO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Things in our grand city are still out: So if you are trying to reach NRO/The Corner/me please email firstname.lastname@example.org “nationalreview.com” address right now will get you nowhere. Sorry to repeat, if you’ve heard this before, but there is reason to!
Posted at 06:07 PM
CANADIANS DENY CAUSING BLACKOUT [Jim Boulet]
Via the < a HREF="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A63592-2003Aug15.html">Washington Post:
Canadians cried "don't blame us" as the search for the cause of the massive blackout resulted in finger-pointing across the border. ... Canadians were defensive at earlier suggestions from New York City officials that the problem had started with Canada. "They always want to blame someone else, now don't they," Jean Macklin, a toy store owner, said a bit archly. "Canadians aren't doing too well with Americans this year," mused Rebecca Eckler, 30. "We have SARS, we opposed the war, and now we've blown out their lights."
Posted at 06:06 PM
POWER [Kevin Cherry]
Came back about twenty minutes ago. I'm amazed that in the year 2003 it can take almost a full day to restore power. The people on the radio are accusing Pataki of "playing the blame game"--but quite frankly, I think he's right: This is unacceptable, and I want to know why it happened.
I'm still not sure there wasn't some monkey business along the way. Even if not, it shows how we're still totally vulnerable to anything--freakish acts of nature/coincidence as well as malicious evil-doers.
Posted at 02:47 PM
ARNOLD, DEMOCRAT REPUBLICAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rob Lowe may join his campaign?
Posted at 02:34 PM
ARIANNA RESPONDS [Rod Dreher]
Here's the e-mail response Arianna Huffington is sending to people who write to complain about her not paying much in the way of taxes:
Thank you for your recent e-mail expressing concern about my tax returns.
Posted at 02:31 PM
RE: A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE [Rod Dreher]
Glad you made it to a Maronite parish, Peter. I love the Maronites. You were surrounded by Lebanese because the Maronites *are* Lebanese Catholics. And that probably wasn't Greek you were hearing; it was Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. How's that for perspective?
Posted at 02:25 PM
OUCH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 02:03 PM
DEFENDING "OLD WOMAN" BLOOMBERG [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Martin Seiff, stuck in the tri-state area, is nicer to Bloomberg.
Posted at 01:55 PM
TRADER READER RE: BLOOMBERG [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mail, live from Wall Street
Does anyone else find it offensive that Mayor Bloomberg rang the opening bell on the NYSE today to show that everything was "OK"?
Posted at 01:47 PM
THE LEFT'S DAY IN THE SUN, OUR DAY IN THE HEAT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
More from Chris Horner:
Revealing the long-standing nature of their prescription -- tell starving people they ought to consider dieting:
Posted at 01:42 PM
GEORGE SHULZ [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
signs up with Arnold.
Posted at 01:17 PM
THE BLACKOUT: A WONKY READ, PREDICTION, WARNING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Christopher Horner from the Competitive Enterprise Institute e-mails:
My take on the political issue arising from yesterday/today is that yes, pressure will build for "an energy bill." Pressure should instead build for an an energy bill doing what Pres. Bush proposed; that is, Bush should be able to demand a good bill from conference and quickly in Sept. Instead, already the assumption is that the opponents of building out our energy infrastructute will turn this incident on its head through their own guile and the admin.'s refusal to fight for principle over "checking the box for each campaign promise" (mindset of "get me 'a bill'"). Ds with the help of liberal Rs will play into this and indeed demand "a bill!" asap, while illogically and cyncially holding firm to their anti-energy provisions (the windmill mandate of anywhere from 10-20%, global warming titles, etc.), claiming that R insistence on jettisoning this junk is holding back enactment. Guess who blinks. Clever, if typical.
Posted at 01:16 PM
I WISH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jonah were around for this odd U.S.-Canada blame game. (Or was it Ohio?)
Posted at 01:07 PM
A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE (13 CENTURIES'S WORTH, THAT IS) [Peter Robinson]
Last night here at the hotel--to my astonishment, my publisher is putting me up for a couple of nights at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills--beautiful people, all dressed almost entirely in black, buzzing about Arnold, "the industry," and youth, youth, youth. (A friend in his late twenties is breaking into the music industry. He told me he passes himself off as 24--and then he added only half-jokingly that if I ever tried my hand at screenwriting I'd need to dye my hair, get a little Botox injected into my forehead, and drop a full decade from age.) It was all kind of a wild high.
This morning at church--today is a holy day of obligation for us Catholics, and at St. Peter's, a church of the Maronite Rite--a little band of old Arabs, most of whom seemed to have come from Lebanon (the church displayed the Lebanese flag next to that of the United States), chanting the sacred mysteries in a combination of English, Arabic, and Greek. It was 13 centuries ago that the Christian Middle East was overwhelmed by Islam, but despite all those hundreds of years of hardship and all the brutalities of the twentieth century itself, there they were, this little group of the faithful, tucked away in Beverly Hills, keeping alive their faith. It sobered this boy up.
Posted at 12:44 PM
PAYCUT OR NO PAYCUT? [Nick Schulz]
One Corner reader says I'm not correct about the troop paycut. He points me to this article which says:
Pentagon officials met Thursday with reporters to "put to rest" a "burgeoning rumor" that the defense department is planning to reduce compensation for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. "That is not true. We are not going to reduce their compensation," said David Chu, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness.But apparently Chu doesn’t realize he’s in Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, an operation that puts a premium on clarity:
“There is an open issue about how we're going to do that which depends on exactly how the conference report in the Congress comes out on some technical allowance issues…Got that?
Posted at 12:19 PM
MUCH BETTER LIGHTING IN SANTA MONICA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The president was much more the leader on message to the press just now. Paraphrasing: This did not come as a complete surprise to me--we have an old system. Homeland security has closed a lot of response gaps, now we gotta get the electricity system working. Americans rose to the occassion. Thompson, Ridge, and the troops were at work all night. Etc. Evidently he's making more formal remarks in a few. (Update: news report on his remarks.)
Posted at 12:12 PM
SEE YOU IN PASADENA? [Peter Robinson]
On September 11 I'll be at the Reagan Library, but the final event on my book tour until then will take place tonight in Pasadena. At 7.00 Pacific Time, I'll speak about How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life at Vroman's Bookstore, a marvelous old Pasadena landmark. Vroman's is located at 695 East Colorado Boulevard, and the telephone number is (626) 792-5320.
Corner readers, by all means march right up and introduce yourselves. And to those of you who attended events earlier in this book tour, my thanks. It was a high pleasure to meet you.
Posted at 11:57 AM
ROLLING BLACKOUTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It looks like some of us at our home sites and other locations may be off this afternoon...so if there is some Corner silence, you know the deal. It's that non-story, right? :-)
Posted at 11:49 AM
BROOKHISER ON MIKE BLOOMBERG [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Via carrier pigeon:
Mayor Bloomberg is just terrible. He sounds like a fussy little old woman. Not even one from New York.
Posted at 11:29 AM
THE REAL LEFTY TAKE [Tim Graham]
The Bushies failed to make loans for grid improvement, according to Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), or so says the Bush-hating BuzzFlash site.
Posted at 11:27 AM
COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVES? [Nick Schulz]
The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are about to see their pay get cut:
Unless Congress and President Bush take quick action when Congress returns after Labor Day, the uniformed Americans in Iraq and the 9,000 in Afghanistan will lose a pay increase approved last April of $75 a month in "imminent danger pay" and $150 a month in "family separation allowances."Meanwhile, according to Cato’s Chris Edwards and Tad DeHaven, the administration “requests that Congress increase funding on social programs with trite names, such as Parent Drug Corps, Compassion Capital Fund, and Steps to a Healthier US.”
Posted at 11:06 AM
AHEAD FOR JUDGE MOORE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Trouble from the Alabama supreme court, reports Southern Appeal. Ironically, though, this all could get Bill Pryor through the Senate. Read here.
Posted at 11:01 AM
WHITE HOUSE ON ENERGY, PRE-BLACKOUT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Debatably bad impromptu press conferences aside: "The report we issued last month presented more than 100 recommendations covering virtually the entire range of concerns that face the American people. One of the concerns, obviously, is the aging power grid and the growing problem that we have in getting electricity from the power plant to the light switch. It's clear that we must upgrade and expand the power grid. If we put more connections in place, we'll go a long way towards avoiding future blackouts. Another broad aim is to increase energy supplies from diverse sources; from oil and gas, renewables, coal, hydro and nuclear. This is the kind of balanced approach we think is essential if we're going to meet the country's energy needs down the road and take care of many of our other concerns, especially with respect to the environment."
-- Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. Energy Association Efficiency Forum Washington, D.C. June 13, 2001 via
Posted at 10:55 AM
TRANSGENDER DIVORCE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 10:51 AM
"BEHIND THE BENEFITS OF CIVILISATION" [Nick Schulz]
The notion that a blackout affecting 50 million people is not a major story is absurd, and not just because I almost drowned last night in my own sweat thanks to a bedroom lacking air conditioning. Either way, maybe this blackout will prove a blessing in disguise. It’s teaching us a valuable lesson in what we should and should not expect out of public policy.
For example, lately we’ve heard a lot about the need to move to a hydrogen economy and more renewable sources of energy like wind or solar. All of the Democratic candidates for president are calling for renewables targets or austerity measures designed to monkey with our modern technological and industrial resource base. In The Revolt of the Masses, Jose Ortega y Gasset captured their mindset perfectly:
As they do not see, behind the benefits of civilisation, marvels of invention and construction which can only be maintained by great effort and foresight, they imagine that their role is limited to demanding these benefits peremptorily, as if they were natural rights.Maybe the blackout will prompt folks like Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Kerry -- or their comrade in arms in green causes Sen. John McCain -- to pause and register a moment of appreciation for a delicate technological infrastructure that didn’t just magically happen. And to realize overhauling it with the heavy and indiscreet hand of the state might not be the easiest or wisest thing in the world to do.
Posted at 10:48 AM
OUTAGE IS ANTI-GORE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It was a Bush administration plot to stop electric cars!
Posted at 10:44 AM
HERE'S A TEST [Rod Dreher]
For liberals who can't discern a difference between Islamic fundamentalists and fundamentalist or otherwise conservative Christians, I propose a simple test. Imagine that you are boarding an airplane. You discover that the pilots are recent graduates of Bob Jones University. Do you proceed with boarding? Now suppose that you learn that the pilots are recent graduates of a Pakistani madrassah (Islamic school). Do you get on the plane now? Why or why not?
Posted at 10:35 AM
RICK BROOKHISER REPORTS IN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rick is in the dark in lower Manhattan still. But, always resourceful, still managed to check in with us. He was listening to a radio and heard a CBC reporter on the air from Toronto.
His thoughts on the blackout?
Posted at 10:24 AM
TV LOVES A CIRCUS [Tim Graham]
For Calif. recall junkies, I recommend my mini-study from yesterday.
Tuesday morning, CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith invited on three of the silliest candidates – former child actor Gary Coleman, an inexperienced businessman with the name Robert “Butch” Dole, and Georgy Russell, who sells thong underwear from her campaign Web site with her campaign logo on it. He asked Russell: “Do you think anybody is taking your candidacy seriously?” But CBS is taking her more seriously than Republican establishment candidates like Tom McClintock and Bill Simon, who have not been invited. (The Early Show has also interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger and Arianna Huffington.)
But while "The Early Show" promotes the silly candidates, it punishes the serious ones. A look at their 2002 campaign coverage from January 1 through Election Day revealed:
Number of candidates for Governor interviewed: ZERO.
Number of candidates for U.S. Senate interviewed: ZERO.
Number of candidates for the U.S. House interviewed: ONE. Katherine Harris, who was mostly asked about her 2000 fame and received only one question about her House race.
Oh, but the CBS morning show has interviewed a Senate candidate this year: Jerry Springer.
They’re not alone. ABC’s Good Morning America also flunked this test, interviewing no House, Senate, or gubernatorial candidates before the 2002 election. But both ABC’s and CBS’s morning shows interviewed a married couple in Kansas who ran against each other in a local judge’s race – both before the election and after (the wife lost to her husband, the incumbent).
Posted at 10:17 AM
LIEBERMAN PLAYS HARD TO GET WITH IOWA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 10:13 AM
GETTING ADVICE FROM THE IRAQ STREETS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 10:06 AM
POOR NICK KRISTOF [Rod Dreher]
The New York Times columnist perceives a religious revival in the land, but despairs because it's not of the mainline Protestant/liberal Catholic kind. Poor Nick Kristof. He perceives that the country is undergoing a spiritual revival, but he despairs that it's not of the mainline Protestant-liberal Catholic kind. He's afraid those of us who actually believe in the historical Christian faith will turn into Talibaptists. It never fails to amaze me how otherwise intelligent, sophisticated and worldly people fail to perceive the vast qualitative gulf between conservative Christians and Islamofascists.
Posted at 10:00 AM
P.S. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is a good photo though. Looks like he should have sounded. (That's it. That's the end. You can chill a little with the hate mail.)
Posted at 09:58 AM
DHS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'll stop now, but Instapundit noted last night that there was nothing on the Homeland Security website about the outage. And guess what? Still there's nothing as of 9:54 A.M. And, as Instapundit notes, the worst part is that I'm sure close to know one cares--who thought about Tom Ridge when the lights went out in Times Square?
Posted at 09:53 AM
BUFFETT HINTS AT RAISING TAXES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That sound you heard was more Republicans moving away from the Schwarzenegger camp.
Posted at 09:45 AM
THE ENERGY SEC'T [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It turns out he's in the Netherlands.
Posted at 09:15 AM
BILL PRYOR RE JUDGE MOORE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Although I believe the Ten Commandments are the cornerstone of our legal heritage and that they can be displayed constitutionally as they are in the U. S. Supreme Court building, I will not violate nor assist any person in the violation of this injunction. As Attorney General, I have a duty to obey all orders of courts even when I disagree with those orders. In this controversy, I will strive to uphold the rule of law. We have a government of laws, not of men. I will exercise any authority provided to me, under Alabama law, to bring the State into compliance with the injunction of the federal court, unless and until the Supreme Court of the United States rules in favor of Chief Justice Moore.via Southern Appeal.
Posted at 07:40 AM
TEN COMMANDMENTS STAND [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Defying a court order, Alabama Judge Roy Moore is not removing the Ten Commandments from his courthouse.
Posted at 07:39 AM
BLACKOUT BIAS [Tim Graham]
For those who find the NY blackout the most fascinating story of the month, "scourge of the liberal media" Brent Baker has already summed up the night's weirdness in his Cyber Alert:
1) A bit past 6:30pm EDT, less than three hours into the blackout in some parts of the Northeast, CBS's Dan Rather wanted to know if "any serious thought" had been given to canceling Bush's appearance a few hours later at a San Diego fundraiser, "given the fact that so many millions of people are going through this in the Northeast?" When Bush spoke about the blackout, CBS stuck with "Amazing Race 4."
Posted at 07:32 AM
NRO TODAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Predictably, I guess, we’re taking Mike Bloomberg’s advice (a first and last!) and taking a blackout day. Actually, as it happens, we posted some extras right before the lights went out yesterday, so you can get your Friday dose of Victor Davis Hanson, plus novelist Nidra Poller on the French Laci and Scott Peterson, James Bowman on why the Left hates the Bush flight-suit toy so darn much (I do need to get myself one of those!), and more. Make sure you read Thursday’s lineup, too: Ledeen, O’Sullivan, and more, all must-reads. Those of us with power will be in The Corner today, so check in now and again if you have yours.
Posted at 07:09 AM
NYC WITHOUT LIGHTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NYPost photo gallery. (I just posted that to annoy people not affected by the blackout--kidding).
Posted at 07:00 AM
AMAZING HOW THEY ALWAYS GET ISRAEL IN THEIR SIGHTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From an offshoot of the U.N. human-rights commission: condemnation if Israeli's (survival-motivated) marriage law. Naturally coming from nations like Saudi Arabia. (Ask Pat Roush about their marriage-related laws!)
Posted at 06:54 AM
WITCHY IN THE CORNER? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A number of readers think I needed air conditioning when I wrote that "not Bush's finest hour" post. Here's one: "Wow! K Lo... Seems like you are feeling a bit testy tonight, eh? Must be the blackout affected you adversely. Take a deep breath. It really isn't all the Prez's fault."
Goodness, I certainly didn't say the blackout was his fault (has Howard Dean, though?). But the public face of the White House did leave something to be desired last night. Among other things, as Robert suggested in the wee hours, people are going to be asking security questions for a long time about this (both legitimately and non), and at the very least the guy who is supposed to make sure the president's lighting (he looked years older, didn't help matters) is decent at a press event on the road should get a stern talking to by the political folks. At the least.
Posted at 06:38 AM
SAUDI DIPLOMAT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
has been expelled from the U.K.
Posted at 06:19 AM
MEANWHILE, SOMEWHERE OUT WEST [Peter Robinson]
The lights throughout the Northeast suddenly go black, and what's the first thought of your faithful correspondent in California? At last, an event big enough to bump Arnold Schwarzenegger to second place on the evening news.
Posted at 02:40 AM
THIS IS A BIG STORY [Robert A. George]
K-Lo, the reader who dismissed the coverage as overkill can go hide in dark cave -- or just walk through midtown Manhattan right now (2:05 a.m. EST, as I write).
He moans, "Sometimes it seems like people in the NE think the world turns around them. Pardon me if the rest of us decline to agree." Oh, yeah? Well, in case you didn't notice the blackout also hit the Midwest and Canada too. This was the biggest blackout in history -- and just because the cause wasn't terrorism (how confident should we be on THAT score? Until there is an official inquiry, we don't know that there couldn't have been some computer hacking that might have caused this) doesn't mean that the event doesn't have many implications from a "homeland security" perspective.
Posted at 02:20 AM
DIDN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Wall Street Journal: "The breadth of the energy disruption suggests that some major rethinking deserves to be done about the vulnerability of America's power grid. If an accident can shut down an entire U.S. region for half a day, imagine what well-planned sabotage could do. The U.S. has grown complacent as the memory of California's blackouts in 2000 has faded. But especially in the Northeast, the U.S. is still operating on an energy supply and with a load-sharing grid that has very little room for error."
Posted at 01:22 AM
RE: THE BLACKOUT [Michael Graham]
I had to do nearly three hours of "it's an energy crisis!" radio Thursday in Richmond--utterly untouched by the blackout. It was one of those strange media moments where clearly the national story was the surge on the Northeastern energy grid, and yet it had absolutely no impact on any of my listeners. Our microwaves and TV sets were working just fine, thank you.
It was a reminder to us Red Staters of just how much our media diet is controlled by the people who live in NYC and LA. For example, look at the volume of coverage for the CA recall. Yes, the recall issue has some reach, but for the vast majority of Americans, this is a story about California that literally has no connection to their lives.
But Hollywood is in California and CNN has a bureau there and so I, Joe Shmoe American, am forced to listen to the political theorizing of Gallagher and Gary Coleman.
What a great reminder the northeastern grid story is of the difference between reality and what appears on my cable news channel.
Posted at 12:02 AM
ARE DEMOCRATS MORE PRINCIPLES THAN DEMOCRATS? [Michael Graham]
"To understand the conservatives' dilemma, consider the situation turned on its head. If Democrats suddenly had a presidential candidate who led President Bush in every poll, they'd be bursting with enthusiasm. If that candidate turned out to be pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-gay rights, they'd be hard pressed not to abandon him or her in an instant."
So writes Mark Sandalow in the San Francisco Chronicle. Is he right? Would Democrats reject a "Schwarzenegger Democrat?" who was a shoo-in? And if so, doesn't that show Republicans to be less principled as a party?
I am a "big tent" guy most of the time, but shouldn't there be a line somewhere that is not crossable inside a political movement? After all, there's a name for Republicans like pro-abortion, pro-gun-control, pro-homosexual adoption Arnold Schwarzenegger:
They're called Democrats.
Posted at 12:00 AM
Thursday, August 14, 2003
ENOUGH WITH NEW YORK, ETC. THEY SAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A little backlash from some readers:
You ask where was the current energy sec? Do you think he might have been a little busy coping w/ the current crisis?
Posted at 11:08 PM
MISS YOU GUYS [Rod Dreher]
Everybody here in Dallas said to me this afternoon, "I bet you're glad you're not in New York today." Well, yeah. But my wife and I admitted to each other tonight that there was a part of us that wishes we were back home in Brooklyn. You just don't want to be away in a time of danger. I got all emotional watching people walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, en masse, on TV this afternoon. Call me crazy and sentimental, but I feel guilty being here, with my lights and TV and computer and air conditioning, and not there with the people and the city I love so much.
Posted at 10:21 PM
WEIRD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Associated Press spins the president tonight much better than I do!
Posted at 10:16 PM
NOT BUSH'S FINEST HOUR? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The president seemed hugely distracted during his little press conference a little earlier, during a disturbing shutdown of the northeast--hours after it started. A look at the Drudge report would have given Americans more information. If you have Fox on now, you see him at a campaign fundraiser in California (well lit, thank you very much). If you switched on CNN earlier, you got former energy secretary Bill Richardson (who seems to be everywhere) and Hillary Clinton. Where exactly is the current energy secretary, Spencer Abraham? Really not a good public face from the White House during this. Americans with power left wondering why they are listening to the governor of New Mexico explaining U.S. energy to them (Richardson), disturbed by a president who looks like he was caught by surprise and unprepared. (As parts of NYC started getting power back, they got Bush on CNN joking at the fundraiser after a replay of his terrible press conference.) No matter how much money is raised tonight, you know the folks with the reelection campaign are not smiling.
Posted at 09:50 PM
RE: GET OVER IT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That is so Midwestern, Wisconsin boy.
Posted at 09:26 PM
GET OVER IT. [Tim Graham]
Those of us who are not affected can't believe Koppel is still carrying the ABC network with this Eastern-centric story. I'm sticking with football!
Posted at 09:23 PM
(SOME OF THE) LIGHTS BACK ON! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Didn't even get dark....and Bill O'Reilly is on. It's like nothing ever happened. (KLo needs sleep.) Where are my Corner colleagues? Surely the first thing you think of when the lights get on....
Posted at 08:16 PM
FOLKS... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...we've definitely got some technical problems now!!!! (Um, Jonah, we picked a perfect time to move part of NRO to Alaska.) K-Lo's battery use is going to be rationed here, so excuse some of the silence here. (And if you have power ONLY email me at email@example.com--I'm buying stock in AOL if it continues to come through for me!)
Posted at 05:13 PM
BIN LADEN OF SOUTHEAST ASIA CAUGHT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 02:58 PM
DEBATE DATE SET [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 02:53 PM
DOES HE RUN THE MASS. SCHOOL SYSTEM? [Michael Graham]
One of my life-long pet peeves is the American insistence that every clod who stumbles out of high school with a B average be sent on to a taxpayer-subsidized college career. This policy drives up the costs of higher ed for students who really want an education, half the kids drop out anyway (but keep their costly student loans) and the value of every college degree drops by a significant percentage.
Now comes news of a high school teacher who wants to force all seniors to apply to college, whether or not they want to go. "More options are better than less options," said Anthony Massaro, the principal of South Plainfield (NJ) High School.
They certainly are, Mr. Massaro. They're even better than "fewer" options.
Does anyone know if New Jersey has a basic English requirement like the one in Massachusetts?
Posted at 02:35 PM
RE: THE GREATEST BRITON [John Derbyshire]
I am trying to stifle my disappointment, Kathryn. But, selfish considerations apart, where on those lists is Benny Hill?
Posted at 02:12 PM
THE GREATEST BRITON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Where's O'Sullivan, Stuttaford & Derb?
Posted at 01:58 PM
REGIME CHANGE IN THE KINGDOM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is from a Telegraph editorial today on the British Airways decision to halt flights to Saudi Arabia:
….The recent release of British nationals, who say they were tortured into confessing bomb attacks in the kingdom, has highlighted the fact that the Saudi authorities still have not confronted the threat posed by al-Qa'eda. Their attitude is at best ambiguous, at worst duplicitous.
Posted at 01:47 PM
FRANKEN AND FOX [Tim Graham]
Derb, I wonder if there isn't some element of calculation underneath the obvious silliness of the lawsuit against Franken. Stoking Fox controversies against liberal authors might help the network keep its conservative audience watching? Or, a more political plan: getting maximum exposure for Al Franken, whose political work is so overwrought, it can't help but highlight the off-putting aspects of the angry left...
Posted at 01:32 PM
ARNOLD THE MODERATE? [Michael Graham]
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Warren Buffett's support for a Governor Schwarzenegger underscores Arnold's "stated position as a moderate Republican."
Sorry, but Ah-Nold told the WaPo last week that he's "very liberal" on social issues. In fact, that Post STILL called him a "moderate Republican" in the same article.
What's it going to take for the journalistas on the ground to use the phrase "liberal Republican" on Schwarzenegger? I just did a Google search and the good news is that the phrase does appear. But it's almost always in a conservative's column or a quote from a right-wing source. The dailies still stick with "moderate Republican Schwarzenneger today re-affirmed his support for homosexual adoption and gun control..."
Liberal Republicans do exist: Riordan, Giuliani, Bloomberg (OK, he's a COMMIE, but still...). What's the problem with accurately using the label on Ah-nold?
Posted at 01:00 PM
RALPH PETERS ON EUROPE [Randy Barnett]
There is a very hard edged op-ed in today's New York Post by Ralph Peters in the difference between Europe and the U.S. It is called, "Europe: Worlds Apart," Here is how it begins:
LIFE may not be predictable, but Europeans are. If we criticize them publicly, they splutter, outraged that we don't recognize their perfection. They can dish it out abundantly, but continental Europeans can no more take criticism than their welfare armies could have taken Baghdad.
Posted at 12:52 PM
HMMM (2) [Andrew Stuttaford]
From a February 2001 interview with Arianna Huffington in the Boston Globe:
"I advocate tithing, giving 10 percent of one's income, for those who can afford it, to poverty-fighting specifically...I give 10 percent of my gross income to poverty-fighting."
From the LA TImes today:"
Huffington's tax form lists $46,763 in contributions to charity in 2002. Those were not deductible because she had no taxable income.
The contributions include payments to three prominent private schools on Los Angeles' Westside — the Archer School, Crossroads and New Roads. They also include payments of $6,675 to the Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness and a related foundation.
The church, founded by John-Roger, describes itself as designed to "teach Soul Transcendence, which is becoming aware of yourself as a Soul and as one with God, not as a theory but as a living reality.""
Posted at 12:51 PM
POT PRAISES KETTLE [Andrew Stuttaford]
In a report published this morning Reuters refers to the BBC's " gold-plated reputation."
Posted at 12:44 PM
HMMM [Andrew Stuttaford]
Arianna on 'corporate tax cheats'.
Posted at 12:41 PM
BRIBING KIDS IN SCHOOL [Michael Graham]
The Chicago school system's plan to bribe kids to attend school is objectional in so many ways: it teaches kids that normal behavior brings extraordinary reward; it pressures students who don't care about school to sit in class and annoy those who actually want to learn; and the motive is nothing more than getting more cash into the school system by pumping up attendance numbers.
But the single most objectional element in this story is the Chicago School CEO's claim that he was merely trying to "incent improvement."
Incent? INCENT? Oh, please, no! Not another noun/verb bastardizing disaster. I'm going to effort a formal public objection immediately.
Posted at 12:37 PM
OUTRAGED! [Michael Graham]
I've checked out the Nigerian Email Conference and passed the web address to my associates and we're outraged!
We had our "Selling Male Enhancement Products on the 'Net!" Seminar scheduled for that weekend since last year.
Posted at 11:48 AM
HUMORLESS [Rod Dreher]
A Corner reader thought the satirical link I posted the other day about the 3rd Annual Nigerian E-Mail Conference was funny, and sent it to a friend. The Cornerite reports this morning: "Got back a highbrow response - unfunny, insensitive, borderline hate crime - very uncharacteristic of my friend. Turns out the healthcare giant he works for has startred monitoring employees e-mail, even as programmers jobs are being outsourced to India. Connection? who knows - but the conclusion they are -supposed- to draw is pretty obvious. He still works there."
Posted at 10:54 AM
RUN ON THIS! [Michael Graham]
Arianna the Red, yesterday: "Vowing to end corporate tax breaks, independent gubernatorial candidate Arianna Huffington said Wednesday that taxes on business properties should be increased and other business-friendly tax loopholes closed to help stem the red ink in California's budget."
Arianna the Red, today: "TV commentator and author Arianna Huffington, who launched her campaign for governor with criticism of "fat cats" who fail to shoulder a fair share of taxes, paid no individual state income tax and just $771 in federal taxes during the last two years, her tax returns show."
Her defense is that she lost so much money as a writer and self-promoting media harpy that it overcame the income she earns as the ex-wife of a multimillionaire. Well, there's an argument designed to inspire voter confidence in your fiscal policy.
"Hey, California, I know how to dodge these bills--let's all start losing money!"
Posted at 10:46 AM
AUGUST CORNER ENTERER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
You’ll be seeing some Michael Graham, radio talk-show host and author--no stranger to NRO readers--in The Corner these dog days. No relation to Tim, by the way.
Posted at 10:42 AM
THE ULTIMATE SPAM EMAIL [John Derbyshire]
As part of my customary morning procrastination, putting off doing any useful work for as long as possible, I have been trying to devise the ultimate spam e-mail. Something like David Frost's ultimate London tabloid headline (which, if memory serves, was: "SEX-CHANGE VICAR IN MERCY DASH TO PALACE CORGIS"). It needs to involve (a) printer ink cartridges, (b) enhancement of bust and/or important male body parts, (c) sensationally low mortgage deals, and (d) a business proposal from the nephew of an African statesman. It's harder than it looks, though, and I hereby throw it open as a competition to readers who are as averse as I am to working before lunch. The winner will be posted in The Corner. (Though please say whether you want your name shown or not. Some employers are so-o-o persnickety about people doing this kind of thing in company time.)
Posted at 10:40 AM
RUSH HOUR CHAT [Tim Graham]
Larry Flynt, late into the Sean Hannity radio show yesterday, talking about Gray Davis: "He looks like he was embalmed."
Posted at 10:35 AM
RE: GAY UNIONS POLL [John Derbyshire]
Stanley: This recent astonishing turn in the polls illustrates something I have long been arguing: that homosexuals are better off when people don't think about them too much. I believe previous polls included a large cohort of people who just preferred not to think about homosexuality at all, and who gave un-thought-out answers, or default "correct" answers. When you force the issue on people's attention, though, as the news media have been doing this past few weeks, that don't-really-want-to-think-about-it cohort breaks much more negative than positive.
Posted at 10:34 AM
THE POLL [Stanley Kurtz]
Tim, what struck me most about the Post’s poll (and what provoked the bogus attempt at a refutation) is the fact that support for civil unions has dropped by a full 12 percentage points since May, just before the Supreme Court’s Lawrence decision. This is important for several reasons. First, it shows that Vermont-style civil unions, which include all the benefits of marriage but lack only the name, are not becoming a compromise alternative to full gay marriage. The 12-point drop also says something about the volatile nature of public opinion on this subject. I think many Americans are internally divided on the issue of homosexuality. They approve of our generally increased social tolerance for homosexuality, yet also worry that civil unions and gay marriage will undermine the institution of marriage. Once gay marriage became a realistic prospect, many of these Americans were willing to own up to their opposition to this change in the institution. Many may earlier have been giving pollsters politically correct answers, out of embarrassment. But Justice Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence, and the emerging public debate on this subject, have helped to reassure people that it’s alright to oppose gay marriage. We saw the other day that even in Canada there has been a five percent shift against gay marriage. The public there is now evenly divided. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. It is just plain wrong for conservatives to throw in the towel on this issue because of a belief that we cannot win. We can win. More than most, this is an issue on which a simple belief in the rightness of our position, along with the confidence that others see it our way, are the keys to victory.
Posted at 10:00 AM
FOX LAWSUIT [John Derbyshire]
Look: Bill O'Reilly, with all his numerous faults (PLEASE do not e-mail in to enumerate them) is a Good Thing. Al Franken is a hysterical, delusional, America-hating, buck-toothed lefty dork. OK? BUT this lawsuit Fox has launched against Franken's publisher (apparently at O'Reilly's instigation) stinks, and should be laughed out of court, and then laughed at some more in the public forum. The Author's Guild has a website on which they are listing famous books that could be prosecuted on similar grounds. Give it up, Bill.
Posted at 09:42 AM
THE HUTTON ENQUIRY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This looks like it should be at the start of a PBS mystery show (Jos made a related allusion yesterday).
Posted at 09:15 AM
GAY UNIONS BOMB [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post leads today with a poll of 1,003 Americans demonstrating that 60 percent disapprove of the Episcopal Church's decision to allow its bishops to bless committed homosexual relationships. They also found 58 percent oppose "civil unions," giving gay couples some of the same legal rights as married couples. And yet all the Democrats rush to represent the 37 percent minority.
The most unintentionally funny paragraph of the story is this one, in an attempt to rebut the poll: "Other surveys have found, however, that some opponents of same-sex unions would tolerate extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. A recent survey by the Human Rights Campaign found that 33 percent supported granting civil marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples 'as long as churches do not have to recognize or perform these marriages.' An additional 17 percent would accept extending those rights to gay couples but 'do not support it.' Nearly half, 47 percent, said they were opposed."
What makes this funny to me is that when we appeared together on CNBC, HRC leader Elizabeth Birch acted dumbfounded when I said majorities oppose what proponents call gay marriage. "What poll is that?" she demanded. By my math, even HRC's qualification-stuffed poll shows that 64 percent do not support it, and that's from a lobbying group for gay moral equivalence! Don't count on the media finding a "mainstream" and an "extreme" on this issue...
Posted at 08:09 AM
TED WILLIAMS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Unlike poor Ted (for now), it seems like this controversy will never die.
Posted at 07:56 AM
YIKES: REPUBLICANS HAVING FUN? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the Onion:
Republicans Introduce Economic Equality Bill For Fun Of Shooting It Down
Posted at 01:10 AM
HAMAS JR. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Amazing these kinds of pictures don't clear things for those who don't get it.
Posted at 01:02 AM
HOCKEY TRANSENDENCE-CANADIAN-STYLE [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 12:10 AM
RUBICON CROSSED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s a comment from a reader who (judging by my e-mails) is far from alone in this opinion:
“This is all going to go badly. Davis and California should have to live with each other; the recall is going to let the real villains off the hook and the people of California will continue on their merry spendthrift way.”
I understand the point, but it’s too late to make it. Like it or not, there is going to be a recall vote. If Gray survives, he will still be a lousy governor, but he would be a politically strengthened lousy governor.
No-one should wish that on California.
Posted at 12:01 AM
JUST SHOWING UP [Andrew Stuttaford]
"There comes a point when the people must demand more of our elected officials than just showing up."
The response from one Texan (suffering through the spectacle of his elected representatives holed up in New Mexico and Oklahoma).
“Oh, dare to dream.”
Posted at 12:00 AM
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
THE "BIG" ARREST: WHAT'S THE DEAL? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
ABC is reporting this SAM arrest is not as big a deal as it is being made out to be. Here's some of what our man Jim Robbins [DID YOU READ HIM ON NORTH KOREA AND JOHN BOLTON TODAY--YOU SHOULD] has to say about it: "I had wondered what the big deal was myself, I figured there was something that wasn't being reported. It could be that this was an attempt to get information on other people, or maybe the Russians were trying to show how cooperative they are. Hard to believe we just did it to look like we were doing something because there are so many untold stories that could be told that are much more dramatic and interesting. If the public is left with the impression that our intelligence and law-enforcement personnel are dropping the ball, or that this event reflects the full magnitude of the ongoing threat, it will hurt the war effort. I wish the administration would tell more of the true success stories, but I also understand the need for secrecy."
Posted at 11:20 PM
BALLOT BABBLE IN CALIFORNIA [Jim Boulet Jr. ]
The ballots for California's October 7th recall election must be printed in seven languages: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Los Angeles County's punch card ballots can carry only 48 candidate names per card, meaning English-speaking voters must be given three ballots apiece in order to accommodate the 135 certified candidates running for governor.
All this potential for confusion means long lines on Election Day for California voters. Will Gray Davis voters prove themselves more willing to patiently endure the chaos? Quite possibly, given they only have just one candidate to support in any language.
Posted at 10:56 PM
SIMPLE FIXES? [Nick Schulz]
CNN carries a Reuter story today with the intriguing headline: “Simple fixes could bring water to millions.”
”Kenya is a water-scarce country, but I believe that with efficient management of our water resources we can use the available water resources for the benefit of everybody and to cover all our needs," Karua said in an interview. She said rebuilding Nairobi's crumbling water infrastructure with leaking pipes would cost over $80 billion, but much also needed to be done to eradicate corruption and misuse. "In Nairobi around 40 percent of the water is unaccounted for," Karua said.Putting aside the question of how it is that 40% of a country’s water goes “unaccounted for, ”according to CNN, “simple fixes” cost $80 billion. Even Ted Turner might choke on that bill. Maybe the headline should be “Endemic Graft Dooms Millions in Africa: Solutions Far in the Future.”
Posted at 07:39 PM
THE NEXUS [Nick Schulz]
Important NY Times piece today, with excellent reporting, on Islamic militants in Iraq.
”Iraq is the nexus where many issues are coming together — Islam versus democracy, the West versus the axis of evil, Arab nationalism versus some different types of political culture," said Barham Saleh, the prime minister of this Kurdish-controlled part of northern Iraq. "If the Americans succeed here, this will be a monumental blow to everything the terrorists stand for."Democratic candidates for president who were against the Iraq war but don’t want to appear Dovish argue that Iraq was a mistake because it is a distraction from the war on terror. So how do they respond then to Saleh’s point?
Posted at 07:38 PM
MR. ARBUTHNOT REPLIES [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: "Where is the iron hand?" Inside the velvet glove, surely. That, at any rate, is what Mr. Arbuthnot would say.
Posted at 07:29 PM
HERB BROOKS, RIP [Rich Lowry]
Anybody who watched those games in 1980 (and is not a Communist) is in his debt for perhaps the most transcendently perfect sports experience, ever.
Posted at 07:24 PM
A COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENT IN ACTION! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"[Schwarzenegger] would be a good governor, as would others running for governor of California."
Posted at 07:17 PM
PALEO TO THE MAX [Rick Brookhiser]
This would be the same E. Michael Jones who thinks Freud took psychoanalysis from the Bavarian Illuminati.
Posted at 04:43 PM
OH BOY(S)! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It looks like I have surrendered The Corner here. Where is the control? Where is the Iron Hand?
Posted at 04:30 PM
MESSAGES [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: May I please make use of The Corner for a couple of coded messages? I promise not to do this often. (1) Lady Di: You ROCK! In inches as well as centimeters!! THANK YOU!!! (2) Edgewood, MD: Boris & I went for walkies this morning with Grand Arse and Little Nixon. Thank you so much for this.
Posted at 04:29 PM
DID HE CHANGE YOUR LIFE, TOO? [Peter Robinson]
It never occurred to me that this would happen, but the title of my book, How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, has prompted lots of people to write to let me know how Ronald Reagan changed *their* lives. The stories are all wonderful-when I was on his radio show just yesterday morning, for example, Kirby Wilbur told me that he and his wife met while they were both working on Reagan's 1980 New Hampshire primary campaign-but some of the stories are particularly powerful. From a reader of The Corner:
My 11-month old son is named D____ Ronald G____ [first and last names deleted to respect the writer's privacy]. He is named after you-know-whom (being Jewish, his first name was reserved for his grandpa) at my Soviet-born wife's insistence. You see, she was a young girl in the Soviet Union who listened on the Voice of America to the "Evil Empire" speech with her family huddled around a radio. She remembers her parents crying because finally the West understood. Her Dad was a dissident playwright who eventually joined the Moldovan "Freedom Parliament" where he signed Moldova's Declaration of Independence from the USSR. He quit politics immediately and has been editor of a pro-democracy newspaper, when not writing his plays. These are the people who understand that Ronald Reagan was a gift to all mankind, they know that their freedom today is a result of his courage yesterday. In the 1940s and 50's, until he died, my wife's grandpa used to listen to the VoA and BBC hoping that the "Americans will come back and drive these Russians out". Thanks to Mr. Reagan his unknown great-grandson was born in liberty. I guess I'm saying, there are millions of lives that Mr. Reagan changed and you are blessed for having known him.Ronald Reagan, a gift to all mankind.
If anyone else has a story, send an email right along-and put "Gipper" in the subject line. I figure I'll keep all the emails I receive, print them out, and give them to the Reagan Library.
Posted at 04:18 PM
RE: BUFFETT [Andrew Stuttaford]
That would be Tax enthusiast Warren Buffett. Schwarzenegger stumbles?
Posted at 04:15 PM
TONY BLANKLEY NAILS IT [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 04:08 PM
CREDIBLE THREATS? SERIOUS THREATS? IN SAUDI ARABIA? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 04:07 PM
RE: CRINGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
What the heck would possess you to say that at a Catholic college commencement? A college commencement period, but then a religious one, to boot. If she said that on The View, that's one thing, but...oy.
Posted at 04:05 PM
CONTRASTS & HISTORY [Dave Kopel]
Today is the anniversary of the 1927 birthday of Cuban tyrant Fidel Castro. It is also the anniversary of the 1961 beginning of the construction of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall now lies in history's ash heap of discarded lies, and the people of the defunct "Democratic Republic" of Germany are free. One day, Castro and his thieving, murderous regime will also lie in ashes, and the "Republic of Cuba" will become a real republic. In the meantime, shame on every American who has paid obeisance to the Havana despot; such Americans are enemies of freedom, as were their wicked predecessors who worshipped Stalin, Mao, and Ho.
Posted at 04:01 PM
WARREN BUFFETT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
has signed on to Arnold's campaign.
Posted at 04:00 PM
MARIA'S ALSO IN THE WARROOM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
according to the LA Times.
Posted at 03:58 PM
CRINGE, TIM, CRINGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Though, it's slightly better than Bob Dole talking about the big V.
Posted at 03:55 PM
MARIA LOOKING LIKE TIPPER [Tim Graham]
In Time's profile on Mrs. Fragrant Arnie, Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Matt Cooper began with the saucy stuff: "Five years ago, when she gave the commencement speech at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., Maria Shriver relied on the usual bromides. 'Gotta have laughter.' 'Pinpoint your passion.' 'Be willing to fail.' But then she turned to the subject of sex, and brought the Catholic graduates to their feet. 'Forgive me, Mommy,' she said, and went on to argue that womankind's great contribution to civilization is 'awesome creative sex'. She later wrote a book outlining her philosophy of life, in which she felt compelled to reveal, 'There's no Viagra within a 50-mile radius of our house.'"
Posted at 03:53 PM
BET HE DIDN'T ORDER THE FREEDOM FRIES EITHER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
John Kerry gets in trouble over his lunch.
Posted at 03:50 PM
COSMO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
must be having a bad time on vacation, and is using his voodoo dolls again. The only explanation for all the weird things happenign here, keeping us from posting more to The Corner lately. (How's that for an excuse?)
Posted at 03:44 PM
FILM SCHOOL RUINED BY THE LEFT [Rod Dreher]
Here's a terrific article that appeared last month as a cover story in the Los Angeles Times magazine. The author sent his daughter to film school, and couldn't figure out why she was failing her film theory tests. Then he looked at one of them, and found the questions to be filled with Marxist gobbledygook. He set out to find out what has happened to film schools, and discovered that Marxist deconstructionist academics had colonized them, and were killing the study and appreciation of moviemaking. All props to Roger Ebert, who remarks in the story: "Film theory has nothing to do with film. Students presumably hope to find out something about film, and all they will find out is an occult and arcane language designed only for the purpose of excluding those who have not mastered it and giving academic rewards to those who have. No one with any literacy, taste or intelligence would want to teach these courses, so the bona fide definition of people teaching them are people who are incapable of teaching anything else."
Posted at 03:39 PM
LOOKING BAD [Andrew Stuttaford]
The BBC, again.
Posted at 03:38 PM
VICIOUS SLUR [Andrew Stuttaford]
This is not funny, not funny at all. Link (to their eternal shame) via Reason.
Posted at 03:37 PM
"THE CHILDREN," CTD. [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rule 1: When someone talks about 'the children' watch out for your wallet.
Rule 2: When someone talks about 'the children' watch out for your freedoms.
Here's an example of Rule 2 from Texas. In September, 1999 Jesus Castillo sold a copy of an 'adults only' comic book to an undercover cop who clearly had nothing better to do with his time. The cop was an adult and the comic book was stocked in an adult section of the store. 'Demon Beast Invasion: The Fallen' may or may not have had its artistic or other merits (part of its plot included women having sex with, um, trees), but that apparently did not worry the prosecuting attorney. He "didn't care what kind of testimony [was] out there" because the store was across from an elementary school and "comic books, traditionally...are for kids" and that, apparently, was that.
A dumb jury agreed and now, apparently, so has the Supreme Court.
Posted at 03:34 PM
PALEOCON CRACK UP [Rod Dreher]
I've just seen a long, very strange article by E. Michael Jones, which he's published in the new issue of his magazine Culture Wars. Jones got himself disinvited from speaking at a conference scheduled for this fall, and sponsored by Touchstone Magazine, with which I am editorially affiliated. The apparent cause of the withdrawn invitation was a recent issue of Culture Wars that carried article after article obsessing over the Jews and their malign influence. It was revolting stuff, and though I had no part in the decision, I am glad the Touchstone editorial board disassociated itself from such a nasty character as Jones. Well, Jones has now decided that I had everything to do with what's happened to him, and so does National Review. In the paranoid screed he's just written, Jones says NR was created as a CIA front to destroy "competing conservatisms." In January 2002, alleges Jones, William F. Buckley decided that he needed to punish the Pope for being against war on Iraq, so he (WFB) had me start writing articles critical of the Catholic Church over the sex abuse scandal, which broke that month. Jones goes on to say that I "helped create" the priest-pederasty scandal, which apparently does not exist in reality. Jones goes on a lengthy and truly loony personal attack on me and my family, badly misstates Catholic doctrine in an attempt to tie me to the repugnant pro-abortion Catholic Frances Kissling, and interestingly, condemns me for taking career advice from a Jew. He doesn't quit until he's assaulted others, including (you knew this was coming) the notorious David Frum. I commend Jones' pitiful bleat of an article to your attention as yet another sign that some of paleoconservatism's leading lights are losing their minds to Jew-obsessed paranoia.
Posted at 03:33 PM
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Posted at 12:40 PM
SIMON [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't call Simon a spoiler (yet) : my objection was just to the line of attack he was taking...
Posted at 12:13 PM
WILSON BACKLASH AGAINST ARNOLD? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Andrew, it might be a little premature to call Simon a spoiler. We'll see what happens, but in talking with California political strategist Arnold Steinberg earlier, he wonders if having Pete Wilson such a visible part of his campaign might make Arnold vulnerable. Steinberg says, "Pete Wilson has been unfairly demonized by the Democrats. But the more fundamental issue is, can they impeach Schwarzenegger's claim to political independence by suggesting that Wilson was his mentor, and thereby threaten Schwarzenegger's credibility?"
Posted at 11:58 AM
THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT [Andrew Stuttaford]
It was during Ronald Reagan's 1966 gubernatorial campaign that the 'eleventh commandment' ("Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican" ) was born. Obviously, that's not easy in a campaign that's both a primary and a general election, but it's difficult not to think that Bill Simon's latest comments serve no purpose other than those of the Democratic party.
"Let Arnold tell us where he stands The people of California know where I stand. I'm sure he's studying hard on the issues and we'll hear from him shortly."
It would, of course, be unkind to suggest that Simon should 'study' last year's election returns.
Posted at 11:53 AM
"CONTROVERSIAL" LEAVITT [Tim Graham]
In a hopeful sign for conservatives, EPA nominee Mike Leavitt had the word "controversial" stapled next to his name by the networks. If a nominee to EPA is not "controversial," it's a Sierra Club coup.
NPR was reporting Tues. morning that Leavitt would have to "defend" his record as an "environmental moderate." The bias in that story was very common, with the far left described merely as "environmentalists" (why not just go all the way and use "heroic planetary guardians"?) But there's something right in yesterday's phrasing. Moderation is controversial on this left-tilting issue -- the Greens are not in the mainstream, despite the media depictions.
Posted at 11:32 AM
SMELL THE ARNIE? [Tim Graham]
Peter, ignore those Arnie-smelling e-mailers. In the name of those million-plus California taxpayers who signed the recall petitions, Arnold should not just be escorted along the red carpet to power without uttering a single specific syllable about the budget mess.
Laura Ingraham was interviewed on Good Morning America yesterday, where she preached the gospel of pragmatism: Arnold can take Gray out, so conservatives should all line up with Arnold. But conservatives have to think beyond October to everything Arnold could do wrong as Gov. Pump You Up.
If he fails to take a strong approach to the budget situation and it worsens, it not only makes a "Republican" responsible, it can further sink the national economic stats and make the "Bush economy" look weaker. (By the same token, the Davis recall could end up improving the state economy and making the national economy look rosier.)
And what about the "Nixon to China" coverage Arnold would get if he signed the gay lobby's favorite bills into law? It would no doubt be touted by the press as another example of how California is suddenly again the sensible bellwether for the country.
And Arnold could be one stupid gaffe away from a souffle-collapsing approval rating. If so, wouldn't it be better to find out before the election, rather than after?
Posted at 11:31 AM
RE: JOACHIM OF FIORE FEEDING FRENZY [John Derbyshire]
Rick: He is all over--the Marx of the Middle Ages. Not only Voegelin, Cohn, and Paul Johnson; Leszek Kolakowski covers him in Main Currents of Marxism. I wouldn't be surprised if he's in Shafarevich (The Socialist Phenomenon) but I no longer have the book.
Posted at 10:16 AM
JOACHIM OF FIORE FEEDING FRENZY [Rick Brookhiser]
Norman Cohn's The Pursuit of the Millenium examined the effect of Joachimite ideas during the late Middle Ages. Not pretty.
Posted at 10:07 AM
THE WORLD REVOLVES AROUND THE CLINTONS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Bill Clinton helps Gray Davis because the recall effort is about Bill Clinton, of course.
Posted at 09:25 AM
DER ARNOLD & ME [Peter Robinson]
Sheesh. All I do is note, a) that no one who's pro-choice and favors homosexual adoption can lay claim to the entire Reagan mantle, b) that we have yet to hear a single solid policy proposal from Der Arnold, and c) that it would be nice if maybe, just maybe, one of the real conservatives in the race could put together an anti-tax platform and position himself to take over if Der Arnold stumbles...and what happens? Readers of this otherwise happy Corner bury me-I mean just bury me--under emails telling me to back off, and, to quote one subject heading, "Wake Up and Smell the Arnie."
May I explain myself?
As of just about now--I'm willing to give Der Arnold the benefit of the doubt, considering him, so to speak, my Candidate Presumptive. This is partly because I can now see just how widespread the support for Der Arnold has already become-yes, those emails have had an effect on my thinking-and partly because the other candidates on whom I've tended to place some of my hopes just ain't doing such a hot job. My emailers tell me Ueberroth is unimpressive. McClintock? I followed him on the Lee Rogers show on KSFO-AM in San Francisco yesterday morning. Instead of coming out strong for a spending cap, or saying he'd balance the budget without raising taxes, or *something* with a little conservative oomph, he talked about how much money he'd raised for his campaign. McClintock may be a fine man, but having raised a million bucks doesn't really distinguish him from the field with Der Arnold can spend ten times that amount without having his accountant raise an eyebrow. Bill Simon? I heard a clip from him while I was waiting to go on CNN. "We need to hear from Arnold," Simon said. True enough. But if Simon is to make tracks in this campaign, we need to hear from *him.*
But you know what? I *still* think it's right for us conservatives to push Der Arnold around, and I would like to declare that I intend to do my little part to harp on the man. One of the very few let's-wait-and-see-about-Der Arnold emails that I received today put it just beautifully:
There is no reason to back Arnold for governor yet. Let's see what he has to say first, and let's see how the competition shapes up....If Arnold has to compete with a true conservative for our votes, it may make him a better candidate and governor.That goes double for me.
Posted at 09:22 AM
JUST A MAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Amazing how the press humanizes Fidel Castro, again and again.
Posted at 05:10 AM
WHERES AND WHEN [Peter Robinson]
A bunch of emails have pointed out that I've done it again, providing incomplete addresses for the sites where I'll be speaking about my new book, How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, over the next couple of days. So here goes again--and this time I promise to get it right:
Wednesday, August 13, 7.30 pm Warwick's 7812 Jirad Avenue La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 454-1208
Thursday, August 14, 10.30 am Nixon Library 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd. Yorba Linda, CA 92686 (714) 993-3393
Thursday, August 14, 7.00 pm Barnes & Noble 901 B. South Coast Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (714) 444-0226
Come one, come all--and Corner readers, be darned sure to introduce yourselves.
Posted at 05:00 AM
ASHCROFT V. GONZALES [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Legal Times reports on alleged policy and legal feuds between the Attorney General and White House Counsel.
Posted at 12:56 AM
SPECIAL-OPS POLICING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Congress seeks to restrict use of special ops.
Posted at 12:52 AM
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
CONFIDENTIAL TO YOU [Rod Dreher]
It's the Third International Nigerian E-Mail Conference! This is hilarious.
Posted at 09:22 PM
EQUAL TIME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
You won't be watching The Terminator or Different Strokes on TV in California in the near future. (How silly...)
Posted at 08:24 PM
IMPORTANT ARREST [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 06:24 PM
GO, GEPHARDT! [Rich Lowry]
I'm told by a C-SPAN junkie that last night at a labor candidates' forum in Philly Gephardt defended his vote on Iraq war--THEN went after administration for being too soft on the Saudis. He said--don't quote me on these quotes, but they give you the flavor--said they must be "confronted" because they fund terrorists and "this administraiton will never do that." It apparently got a lot of applause. Thank goodness that someone is willing to lead on what should be the next battle in the war on terror. Who knows? Maybe the Bush administration will eventually catch up...
Posted at 06:04 PM
ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Authors and anyone else trying to reach me, be sure to cc firstname.lastname@example.org. We've had some technical, uh, issues this afternoon. (And if you emailed me and did not get a reply, you might try again--I probably didn't get it.)
Posted at 04:47 PM
FOR PROGRESSIVE SANTAS... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Occasional NRO writer Scott Belliveau e-mails:
I truly believe that the George Bush doll will be at the top of every red-blooded American youth's Christmas list. But, what about progressive parents and children, don't they deserve a doll, too? I suggest, therefore, the John Kerry Doll. Clad in a Navy uniform, he'll come with a set of detachable medals that he can throw--as well as a spare set that he won't--and "lucky hat" secreted in a briefcase.
Posted at 03:57 PM
SCHWARZENEGGER'S WEBSITE: [Andrew Stuttaford]
Under construction, it seems, but this isn't a bad start:
"There is an enormous disconnect between the people of California and the politicians of California. We the people, are doing our job--working hard, paying our taxes and raising our families. They, the politicians are not doing their job. They fiddle, they fumble, and they fail..
It is time to return California to the people."
Posted at 03:55 PM
HUMAN SHIELDS FINED [Susan Konig ]
for getting on everyone's nerves.
Posted at 03:54 PM
HEWITT ON WILL [Andrew Stuttaford ]
Hugh Hewitt (scroll down)on George Will's 'harrumphhery:'
"Still, no matter how unlikely John's concerns are, at least he didn't fall into harumpphhery like George Will. Will seems to think that the AS candidacy is a threat to Reagan's legacy, and obviously upset at the prospect, unleashes this one: "Truly conservative Californians --you few know who you are-- will vote against the recall to protest its plebiscitary cynicism." Oh yeah, that's right. Forget the illegally tripled car tax, the hot-check written to paper over the deficit, the crumbling schools, the clogged highways and of course, the transgenedered-at-work protection act and the inane family leave for sick puppies act. Written like a man with a nice bank account and secure work, living in an earthquake free zone where fires never break out and spread uncontrollably, who can afford an extra $600 per car and doesn't mind that the local high school is turning out graduates who need to be retrained before they are employable. True conservatives, in other words, sit on their butts and watch institutions and economies collapse so they can feel good about themselves until it is time to relocate to Florida like Tiger Woods.
Sometimes you should just take a pass, George, if you haven't been living there."
Posted at 03:53 PM
BIG U? LITTLE U [Peter Robinson ]
Well, I've received a couple of dozen emails about Peter Ueberroth now--and not a soul has anything good to say about him. Pompous, a has-been, vain--that's what I'm hearing. I'd had the vague impression that at least Ueberroth had been a pretty good baseball commissioner, but no. From a reader:
"Peter Ueberroth was probably one of the worst commissioners baseball had in the modern era. He permitted the owners to collude against the players in the course of player free agency, which forced salaries down artificially. Eventually, the owners were held accountable and forced to pay damages to the players affected. The long term result was deeper mistrust between players and owners, resulting ultimately in the 1994 strike that killed the World Series."
I'm still hoping to find a real conservative whose capabel of breaking away from the pack, establishing himself as a viable candidate in case Arnold falters. But Ueberroth? It looks as though little me will have to keep searching....
Posted at 03:52 PM
MY FRIEND KIRBY, TALK RADIO--& THE CORNER [Peter Robinson ]
Got off the air a little while ago with Kirby Wilbur, one of the nicest guys in talk radio--for that matter, one of the nicest guys in the country--talking about "How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life" on his show on KVI-AM in Seattle. (Kirby has a wonderful story, by the way. He started out in talk radio simply by calling in as a member of the public. Producers noticed how smart he was, and what a marvelous voice he was, and they invited him to guest-host a show. One thing led to another, and now Kirby is a major force in the Pacific Northwest. Talent will out, no?) Anyway, I just wanted you all to know that right over the air Kirby announced that he reads this happy Corner all the time--and that "the Corner is the one site that everybody needs to read every day."
Posted at 03:51 PM
INVOLUNTARY MUTISM [Terry Teachout]
Looks like that old Corner mojo has worn off. "About Last Night," my daily diary of the arts in New York, is experiencing severe server problems for the second day in a row--bad enough this time that I won't be able to make any postings for the rest of Tuesday. Thanks to the kindness of K-Lo, I'm using this channel to spread the word. If you're a daily communicant, accept my apologies and please come back tomorrow. (If you're a Cornerite who wonders why an alien from outer space is bending your ear about some other blog, apologies of a different kind.)
Posted at 02:33 PM
RECESS APPOINTMENT FOR PIPES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Reuters is reporting President Bush is planning on bypassing Congress on appointing Daniel Pipes to the Institute of Peace.
Posted at 02:21 PM
PIPE DOWN, THEY SAY [Peter Robinson]
I'm receiving *lots* of emails like this:
Posted at 01:49 PM
THE HERESY NORM [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Derb, this is what Karl Marx said about your church in Das Kapital: "The English Established Church... will more readily pardon an attack on 38 of its 39 articles than on 1/39 of its income."
Posted at 01:49 PM
THE ETERNAL HERESY [John Derbyshire ]
Numerous readers have pointed out that Eric Voegelin got there before me. It was apparently he who first used the phrase "immanentize the eschaton," which Jonah will be glad to explain (again).
Posted at 01:48 PM
DID YOU... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
see our cool site of the day today? Did you do something about it? If not, DO!
Posted at 01:03 PM
LAKE PLACID. 1980. COLD WAR ON ICE. [KJL]
Herb Brooks, coach of the U.S. 1980 Olympics ice-hockey team, has died in a car crash.
Posted at 12:01 PM
PETER'S BLEG ABOUT THE BIG U [Steve Hayward]
Ueberroth is a bit of a cypher. He got some decent marks for heading a commission on California's competitiveness for Gov. Wilson 10 years ago, when the state faced its last budget and business-climate crisis. Ueberroth's commission did some good work, and enjoyed a lot of credibility with the media. It led to some useful reforms. But what his real ideology is remains well-concealed. He has remained aloof from even some business-oriented policy fights of recent years (like the tort reform initiatives of the mid-1990s).
He was more of a hot commodity in the years after the LA Olympics, when he was mentioned often as a prospective candidate for governor or U.S. Senate. But my hunch is that he is yesterday's news; with California's rapid population growth and turnover, I doubt he will catch fire. I can't see who his constituency is, other than the LA Chamber of Commerce.
Posted at 11:55 AM
LEAVITT [Steven Hayward]
Re: Jonathan's remarks on Leavitt going to the EPA. As governor he went in for a lot of anti-sprawl nonsense and was distressing fond of the "smart growth" hokum, in a state where it is totally inappropriate, regardless of your opinion about sprawl or smart growth. (Utah is about 1 percent urbanized; over half the state meets the 19th century Census Bureau definition of "wilderness frontier.") I quipped in a speech to the Utah legislature in 1999 that if Leavitt has his way, we should obviously call all the new smart growth developments "Leavittown." The message got through.
Posted at 11:40 AM
MOM VACATIONING ALONE WITH 4 KIDS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I think you'll get a kick out of Meghan Cox Gurdon on NRO today. Look for more from her this week and beyond.
Posted at 11:20 AM
BOOK TOUR IN SOCAL [Peter Robinson]
How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life in Southern California:
Tomorrow I'll be speaking, then signing books at Warwick's in La Jolla at 7.30 pm, and on Thursday I'll be speaking at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda at 10.30 in the morning, and then at the Barnes & Noble in Costa Mesa at 7.00 in the evening.
Corner readers are especially welcome.
Posted at 10:34 AM
UEBERROTH AGAIN [Peter Robinson]
Nobody seems to know anything about Peter Ueberroth, one of the few candidates out here in California who (I figure) stands any chance of blowing past Der Arnold. Once again, if you know what Ueberroth stands for--even if you only have a general impression of him as a sports and business figure--would you drop me a line? I'm trying to figure this guy out. (Put "Big U" in the subject heading.)
Posted at 10:28 AM
A NEW DIRECTION AT EPA [Jonathan H. Adler]
Yesterday President Bush announced his pick to replace Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Todd Whitman: Mike Leavitt, the three-term governor of Utah. Like Whitman, Leavitt is a Republican governor with something of a moderate reputation. Unlike Whitman, however, Leavitt has actually gotten his hands dirty in environmental policy, calling for greater state involvement and authority. Some on the right, such as CEI President Fred Smith, fear Leavitt will be a "western Whitman." Perhaps, but there is little doubt Leavitt is a better choice than some others considered for the job (e.g. Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne). Leavitt clearly recognizes some of the central failings in environmental policy, and he deserves conservative support if he makes a serious effort to clean up EPA.
Posted at 10:17 AM
DER ARNOLD AND WOLF [Peter Robinson]
Just learned that I'll be on Wolf Blitzer's CNN show in the 5 pm ET segment today. Talking about--what else?--Der Arnold.
Posted at 10:14 AM
PUNDIT WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
"Everyone knows that the majority of Californians are upset with Davis because he' s too conservative. "
Posted at 10:08 AM
FIRE IN THE HOLE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Driving through the Grand Tetons toward Jackson Hole yesterday, we stopped to gape at a forest fire. It is one of over two-dozen blazes sparked by thunderstorms in the region in just the last few days. Of course, some environmentalists still maintain there's relatively little need to clear brush or thin trees to reduce the fire threat. That's certainly an easy position to maintain from Washington, D.C.
Posted at 10:07 AM
HUBRIS WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
From Arianna Huffington's campaign website: "Arianna Huffington...has been a brilliant public gadfly for decades."
Posted at 10:02 AM
NFL JUNKIES PROTEST [Tim Graham]
One last note on the fantasy football front: my fellow league "owners" would like me to point out that I took Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes with the first overall pick, a controversial choice some of them considered ludicrous, considering his late-season hip injury and desire to renegotiate his contract. Sorry, guys, if this is all guesswork in the end, why not count on a Priest?
Posted at 10:00 AM
JOACHIM OF FLORA [John Derbyshire]
A reader brings the following quote to my attention, though warning that it is an English translation of a French author citing a German letter: "Joachim of Fiore is more 'living' or 'alive' to the modern mind than is St Augustine."---Letter of Jurgen Moltmann to Karl Barth, quoted in Henri de Lubac, La Posterite spirituelle de Joachim de Flore, 2 vol. (Paris: Editions Lethielleux, 1979-1981) 1:7.
Posted at 09:57 AM
GEPHARDT, CANDYMAN [Tim Graham]
AP reported that at last night’s Sheet Metal Workers Union candidates’ forum, Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean and Al Sharpton said the first step to repairing the economy would be to repeal Bush's tax cuts. Gephardt argued that Bush's tax cuts are not helping the middle class or creating jobs. He said the cuts are like "handing out candy....This is a joke," he said. "This is like buying votes." AP didn’t find it amusing that Gephardt prefers “handing out the candy” of socialized health insurance...as if that wasn’t a better description of buying votes with someone else’s money.
Posted at 09:56 AM
LONG ISLAND STORY [John Derbyshire]
Five Long Island men have been indicted for firing a July 4th rocket through the window of a house in Farmingville, a lower-middle-class town near here. The house, which was burned out, was occupied by Sergio Perez (33), his girlfriend Maria Garcia (23), and their two children (5, 1). Mr. Perez comes from Hidalgo, Mexico. The perpetrators of the crime seem to have been motivated by anger at the large Mexican presence in the town, most of it made up of illegal immigrants. The local newspaper, Long Island Newsday, has a small database of current and past stories on the incident.
I have been reading about this story since it came up, over the July 4th weekend. It is a pretty awful story--I mean, nobody, least of all helpless little tots, should be burned out of their home in the middle of the night. However, there is a small point about the reporting of the story that vexes me: So far I have not seen Mr. Perez's immigration status noted. Is he an illegal immigrant? None of the several Newsday stories gives any clue. They seem not to be interested in the point at all--which is not very surprising, as Newsday has a hard-left editorial line, and is strongly sympathetic to illegal immigrants. It actually prints the phrase "illegal immigrant" in quotes, on the very rare occasions it prints it at all. (By far the more usual formula is "day laborer" or, when they feel they really cannot avoid referring to a person's immigration status, "undocumented alien.")
Newsday has a left-extremist columnist named Paul Vitello, much given to weepy reminiscences of his own immigrant (Italian) grandfather... though whether the grandfather entered this country legally or not, is a thing Mr. Vitello has not yet vouchsafed to us. Referring to a previous anti-Mexican incident in Farmingville, Vitello wrote (on August 3): "This was the second time that so-called illegal Mexican immigrants living in Farmingville could say that [i.e. 'they tried to kill us'] about their so-called legal American neighbors." We seem to have a mindset here where there is no such thing a legality or illegality in the sphere of immigration control, only "so-called" legality and "so-called" illegality.
I repeat, if the facts are as reported, this was a horrible crime that deserves harsh punishment. I am only observing that some elements in the local reporting of it are... rather peculiar.
Posted at 09:52 AM
"BEYOND" FOLLOW-UP [Stanley Kurtz]
I haven’t seen much in the way of substantive criticism of my recent long piece, “Beyond Gay Marriage.” If anything, I understated my case by omitting a full account of libertarian support for the legal abolition of marriage. James Antle III remedies that omission. Meanwhile an attempt at a rebuttal by syndicated columnist Froma Harrop ignores and distorts both my data and my arguments. Justin Katz has details.
Posted at 09:21 AM
CORRECTION [Stanley Kurtz]
In yesterday’s post about the increasingly likely prospect that the Canadian government’s bill to nationalize gay marriage may be defeated in parliament, I noted that gay marriage is still favored by a majority of Canadians. I was wrong. According to the latest Ipsos Reid poll Canadians are now evenly split on the issue of same-sex marriage. Support for gay marriage has slipped by five percentage points. The situation is fluid. Clearly, however, there are no grounds for defeatism. If gay marriage is questionable even in Canada, it is far from inevitable in the United States, where opposition is far stronger. Those who believe that this reform will undermine, rather than strengthen, the institution of marriage ought to press their case with confidence that the battle can be won.
Posted at 09:18 AM
MONA STRIKES A SIMILAR NOTE... [Rich Lowry]
...but I don't get this either: "One of the reasons our society is so successful is our adherence to the rule of law. Following the rules provides stability and order. Yanking people out of governor's mansions only 11 months after they've been elected to a four-year term begins to look like Italy or Bolivia. Yes, yes, it's all perfectly legal. I'm aware of that. But it's a bad law, and it ought to be changed." So the only real way to follow the rule of law is not to follow laws on the books if doing so will look bad? I know there are good reasons to be wary of recalls generally-Steve explores this in the next NR-but it can't be true that all populist upheavals are always bad. In fact, this one seems to be amply justified. I love Mona, and she recently wrote a terrific book, but this just seems to be anti-populism for its own sake...
Posted at 08:15 AM
PLEBISCITARY CYNICISM? [Rich Lowry]
I love the phrase, but I think George Will is letting Arianna unduly color his view of the California recall: "Truly conservative Californians -- you few know who you are -- will vote against the recall to protest its plebiscitary cynicism." There should be little doubt by now that the populist passion behind the recall is real, and the sentiment for change in California genuine. What's cynical about it?
Posted at 08:11 AM
NOT SO EASY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
John Fund on the Terminator's obstacles.
Posted at 05:10 AM
THE CALIFORNIA UNIONS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 01:16 AM
!! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
U.N. relocates its submachine gun stash.
Posted at 01:14 AM
JFK MYTHOLOGY [Tim Graham]
Slate media critic Jack Shafer provides a valuable rebuttal to old AP hand Walter Mears’ insistence that no one had a clue about JFK’s womanizing. Off the top of his head, he recalls bimbo sightings by Marvin Kalb and Johnny Apple, not to mention details from the latest Scotty Reston biography. In a nutshell: Kennedy cheated. Press looked other way. Don’t buy any revisionism.
Posted at 12:15 AM
Monday, August 11, 2003
THE TAO OF ICHIRO [Rich Lowry]
He is soooooooo good. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention over the weekend to Yankees-M’s series, but every time he got on base he seemed to score. His drag-bunt single to start Seattle’s winning rally in the seventh inning of the game Sunday was utterly typical. I don't see him a lot, so I just wonder: Does he ever show emotion? I can see him winning the World Series, and just walking off the field, expressionless, focused on the perfection of his next at bat, next season.
Posted at 07:17 PM
THANKS… [Rich Lowry]
…for all the California stuff. Politics there is just so terrible, so corrupt. If you read Jill Stewart’s excellent columns, it's almost like something out of a James Ellroy novel. Disgusting…
Posted at 07:16 PM
ANOTHER ARNOLD ADVANTAGE [Steve Hayward]
California officials today held a lottery to see what order the 150-plus names will appear on the second part of the recall ballot. "R" was the first letter chosen. I haven't heard yet where "S" was drawn (Simon & Schwarzenegger), but common sense suggests that no matter where Arnold appears he will have a small advantage in that his will be the longest name on the ballot, and therefore the easiest to spot in a quick scan.
In recent years a portion of California voters have given up on their ballots and not finished them because they were too long (too many initiatives!). It will be interesting to see how the total number of recall votes on part one matches up with the total candidate vote in part 2.
Posted at 04:14 PM
BUSH IN A FLIGHT SUIT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Surprised I don't have one of these yet.
Posted at 04:06 PM
WETA'S LATINOPHOBIA--ON FOX [Tim Graham]
Following up from MRC Cyber Alert to Michelle Malkin column to Corner links, Fox's Brit Hume picked up the story on Washington's PBS superstation WETA and its distinctive lack of affinity with Latino day laborers congregating in the neighborhood...
Posted at 01:53 PM
GET NR’S ACCLAIMED BOOK OF CLASSIC KID’S STORIES! [NR Staff]
This big, beautifully illustrated book of over 40 children's tales--personally selected by Bill Buckley--is a must for every family. Includes stories by literary giants Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Jack London, L. Frank Baum, Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Rudyard Kipling, Bret Harte, Thornton Burgess, Howard Pyle, and many more. Praised by Catholic Parent Magazine as "excellent," "wholesome," and "beautiful. " Makes a great gift!. Only $29.95 (free shipping and handling!), and just $24.95 for additional copies. Click here for details.
Posted at 01:49 PM
NO BIDEN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 01:39 PM
RE: WHAT'S UP? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Peter, actually Arnie Steinberg says the Terminator's lead might not be as big as it looks.
Posted at 01:36 PM
HOW TO CLIMB ONLINE WITH THE WASHINGTON POST [Peter Robinson ]
Several readers (and my thanks to them all) have sent me emails, asking how to join the online discussion at the Washington Post website of How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life this afternoon. The Post's fine webmaster explains all:
To direct people to your discussion you can either send them to the direct link...or direct them to washingtonpost.com/liveonline where they will find a blurb on your 2 p.m. (ET) appearance.
Posted at 01:33 PM
WHAT'S UP WITH UEBERROTH? [Peter Robinson ]
I've been assuming that the real conservatives in the California race are Bill Simon and Tom McClintock (yes, I know Arnold has an enormous lead, but I'm trying to figure out which candidate to give my heart to if--when?--Arnold stumbles) but a couple of readers have told me I ought to take a good look at Ueberroth. So what's up with him? Why does he call himself a "moderate?" Is it just the same-old, same-old--in other words, the old "I'm fiscally conservative but socially liberal" saw? Or is Ueberroth more conservative than that?
Posted at 01:27 PM
MEMO TO BILL & TOM [Peter Robinson]
William F. Buckley Jr. once answered a question about whom he intended to support for president by saying, "the rightward-most viable candidate."
Arnold leads the pack right now, obviously, but I suspect there's still a chance for a true conservative such as Bill Simon or Tom McClintock to achieve real viability. How? By doing something both sensible and dramatic: Calling for a constitutional amendment to place an overall cap on state spending.
Then Governor Reagan's 1973 ballot initiative, Proposition One, would have capped state spending at seven percent of personal income (the measure would have scaled spending down to that level over 15 years). Such a measure today would transform California, restoring it to its status as-well, as the Golden State. Colorado's 1992 initiative limited increases in spending to an amount equal to increases in population plus inflation. That wouldn't do as much for us as a replay of Prop. One because spending in California is already at such a high level, but, Lord, would it ever be an improvement.
Bill Simon? Tom McClintock? Somebody? Go for it.
Posted at 01:21 PM
HEY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
What's all that on the homepage? Nice to have NRO back to normal, eh?
Posted at 01:04 PM
RETRO HOUSEWIFE DIET NEXT CRAZE? [Meghan Keane]
Apparently that gym membership isn't paying off. A study by British magazine Prima found that women in the 1950's were in better shape than women today. They attribute this to household chores--washing, ironing, cooking, etc.--without the aid of high-tech appliances.
Posted at 01:02 PM
DISMAL PROSPECTS IN THE "DISMAL SCIENCE" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NR intern Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky e-mails: "The Economist reports that supply of economics PhDs in the United States has outstripped demand. According to an article in the British magazine’s August 7th issue, applications to graduate economics programs have risen by 70% since the 2000-2001 academic year while employment opportunities in the private sector and academia have fallen by about 10% yearly. An opposite dynamic seems to be at work in Britain: British enrollment in economics programs at UK universities has slumped though Continental students are flocking to economics programs. European demand for economists has risen, thanks to the Eurotechnocracy’s insatiable appetite for economic analyses.
"On their side of the Atlantic: central planning and creeping socialism. On our side: Oversupplied economists, or, in a word, poetic justice. "
Posted at 01:00 PM
MORE LIKE A CORNERED RAT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Alexander Cockburn is not, shall we say, the soundest of sources, but this comment of his is too good not to repeat:
"Gray Davis...now proclaims that he is going to fight 'like a Bengal tiger.' It takes one to know one. Bengal tigers like to hang out near some village and eat small cows, fearing even the stately water buffalo. When its teeth go bad the Bengal tiger gives up on the cows and starts attacking elderly, defenseless humans."
Via Reason's blog.
Posted at 12:29 PM
“THE CASE” [Nick Schulz]
Reason’s Nick Gillespie and several other folks have pointed out this AP report that examines Colin Powell’s speech to the UN Security Council making “the case” for war in Iraq. Nick thinks the report is pretty devastating. I’m not so sure, but his observation gets at a larger point.
I’m painting with a broad brush here, but supporters of the war felt they didn’t need Powell’s case at the UN, they were just hoping he wouldn’t screw it up or would stifle the critics. They always felt there were much larger issues at stake, issues justifying invasion besides those outlined by Powell. And for opponents of the war, it mattered very little what Powell had to say, they were just hoping that he might blow it and thus slow the momentum leading to war. Again, because larger issues were at stake, issues for which no detailed Iraqi threat would justify an invasion.
Iraq is one small albeit important part of a larger debate over America’s role in the world, how it should assert itself and in what ways, and in what ways it legitimate to attempt to rearchitect the world so that it is favorable to freedom and peace. And within that context, Powell’s “case” really was, in some sense, irrelevant.
Posted at 12:13 PM
NO NPR PAC [Tim Graham]
National Public Radio isn't going along with public-TV lobbyist plans to start a pubcasting PAC. That doesn't mean these bureaucrats aren't skilled at campaigns when someone is bold enough to question their antics. (See Sen. Larry Pressler, as in former.) The funniest explanation came from one board member: "If NPR endorsed a PAC, pubradio's political opponents could cite it as evidence that the network has political leanings." As if there aren't grounds now?
Posted at 12:10 PM
THE BELLIPOTENT CORNER [Terry Teachout]
Not long after I reported on the plight of "About Last Night," my server finally came back up. Coincidence or causality? You decide.
Posted at 11:25 AM
CANADA MARRIAGE UPDATE [Stanley Kurtz]
The Canadian government’s efforts to legislate national gay marriage in Canada are definitely in trouble. An article from the Globe and Mail reports that the number of MP’s prepared to vote against the government’s gay marriage legislation may be sufficient to block the bill. Much hinges on a number of undecideds coming under heavy pressure from constituents to vote no. It is too early to say anything definitive, but I can also report that, behind the scenes, a move to a bill mandating civil unions, rather than full gay marriage, is at least being considered. Even if the government backs off of gay marriage, the Canadian courts may still impose it. On the other hand, although it has never exercised it, parliament does have the power, under the Notwithstanding Clause of Canada’s constitution, to defy a court imposed nationalization of gay marriage. So the final outcome in Canada is at least in doubt. This is enormously significant. It is notable that, although Canadian polls continue to show majority support for gay marriage, constituent pressure has been heavily against gay marriage. It is possible that, after a genuine public debate, which Canada has never had, public opinion may begin to swing the other way. But the real lesson for us may be that, even in a country with a majority for gay marriage and a court system bent on bringing it about extra-legislatively, the intensity of opposition may well be sufficient to sway parliament against the change. How much more intense would be the political pressure in the United States (where clear majorities oppose gay marriage) after legalization in Massachusetts?
Posted at 09:47 AM
"IF WE STARTED TOUCHING, THINGS WERE GOING TO START HAPPENING." [Nick Schulz]
I’ve always been a little skeptical about movements like The New Abstinence and True Love Waits. Not because these folks’ hearts (and other body parts) aren’t in the right place, but because I wonder how sustainable these movements are in today’s culture. Either way, here’s evidence that some people have taken it to heart.
Jill Merry and Adrian Burwell began dating last November. They got engaged in May. But the first time they kiss will be Aug. 16 — at the altar, in front of more than 600 people. “We have all the same emotions everyone else does. We just decided to put guidelines to it," said Merry, 26, of Bellevue. "We knew that if we started touching, things were going to start happening."Of course, Merry’s guilty of a kind of slippery-slopism here, and we wouldn’t want to open that can of worms in the Corner again…
Posted at 09:46 AM
PROVE IT OR CORRECT IT [NRO Financial Editors]
Paul Krugman's manmade mountain of lies is simply growing way to high. So NRO Financial's Don Luskin is issuing a challenge to Krugman's employer, the New York Times: Either demonstrate that Krugman's obviously wrong calculations, characterizations, and quotations are in fact accurate, or correct his errors. Enough is enough.
Posted at 09:44 AM
MILTON FRIEDMAN IN THE CORNER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If you missed Peter's Saturday post, don't!
Posted at 09:41 AM
DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET [Terry Teachout]
Dear Cornerites: If you are also a daily communicant of my arts blog, "About Last Night" (which turned one month old today, incidentally), you may be wondering why Monday's posts have yet to materialize. Did I oversleep? Am I burned out? Has K-Lo kidnapped me? None of the above. The answer is that the server for my host, the invaluable artsjournal.com, has been down all night. We've been experiencing intermittent denial-of-service attacks in the past couple of weeks. Be patient--I'll get Monday's stuff up as soon as possible. In the meantime...hey, you're in the Corner! Party down!
Posted at 09:39 AM
SPEAKING OF... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Blair isn't writing for Esquire, after all.
Posted at 08:43 AM
JAYSON BLAIR RIDES AGAIN? [Rod Dreher]
Catholic radio talkshow host Jeff Cavins did an interview with CBS News the other day surrounding the controversy over its reporting of a secret document purporting to be a "smoking gun" in the Catholic sex abuse scandal. Cavins says CBS engaged in "creative editing" to make it seem like he was angry not at CBS for its inaccurate (in his view) reporting, but instead furious at the Vatican. Cavins says he has a tape recording of the interview he did with the network, which proves he was sandbagged. And he wants to pay them back.
(By the way, Fr. Thomas Doyle, who provided the alleged smoking gun document to a couple of lawyers, sent an e-mail out to his list today -- I'm on it -- saying that the document was not the big deal that many are saying. Fr. Doyle, a canon lawyer, says if he had known the lawyers were going to release it to the media, he would have provided interpretive commentary to help people understand what it really meant.)
Posted at 08:41 AM
RECALL FEVER [Tim Graham]
Following on the lead of Time and Newsweek and their Arnold profiles, the network morning shows hit the California recall hard this morning. NBC had Mr. and Mrs. Gray Davis, followed by Cruz Bustamante and Bill Simon. ABC had ex-Sharon Stone spouse Phil Bronstein, who insisted that strange people run in other states, like Oliver North. CBS had the strangest person: Arianna Huffington, who plugged her website, which proclaims the need for a fabulous red-headed governor with an accent for the grubby, impoverished masses, "not just those who can afford to buy their own personal politician." ariannaforgov.com
Posted at 08:15 AM
THANK CLINTON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
for Howard Dean, says Peter Beinart.
Posted at 04:36 AM
ARE SAUDIS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
behind attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq?
Posted at 04:30 AM
JOIN ME? [Peter Robinson]
Monday I'll be talking about How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life on the Washington Post website from 2.00 to 2.30 in the afternoon Eastern time. Care to join me? And by all means identify yourself as a reader of this happy Corner.
I'll also be talking about How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life on a handful of radio programs:
8.20 to 8.35 am Pacific time: The "John London Not Just Sports Show" on KNBR-AM San Francisco
5.00 to 6.00 pm Eastern time: The "Tony Gill Show" on WAIC-FM in Springfield, MA
6.06 to 6.30 pm Eastern time: The "Bob Grant Show" on WOR-AM in New York
3.47 to 3.57 pm Pacific time: The "Preston Mooreland Show" on KTAR-AM in Phoenix
Posted at 04:24 AM
WHERE ARE THE TEXAS DEMS? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 01:25 AM
ARNOLD'S EAGLES [Rick Brookhiser]
Andrew Sullivan has greeted Arnold's candidacy with a designation for social liberals/economic conservatives, which he has been pushing for months. He wants to call the SocLibs/EcCons "Eagles." The reason this will fail as a partisan designation is that it lacks the self-mockery embedded in donkeys and elephants, the symbols of the existing major parties. Thomas Nast, who created the political creatures, was a Republican, but his cartoonist's eye won out over his ideology, for while elephants have many virtues, they are also lumbering and funny-looking. Donkeys kick and bray. Iconic modesty reflects an important political virtue. In the 1976 election cycle, the Economist dryly compared the hoopla of American political conventions, including their animal imagery, with "the more mature demonstrations of the recent European past."
The other reason "Eagles" will fail as a partisan designation is that there will be no such party.
Posted at 12:50 AM
STEYN ON SCHWARZENEGGER [Andrew Stuttaford]
“Even a RINO - Republican In Name Only - can drive Democrats crazy, and, in desperation to find an attack angle, Dem operatives are currently testing three themes:
1. Arnold is a Nazi.
Okay, Arnold's not a Nazi. He was born in the Austrian town of Thal, but not until 1947, and thus was technically unable to join the Nazi Party no matter how much he may have wanted to. But he certainly has family ties to the Nazis. His wife's grandfather, Joe Kennedy, was one of America's most prominent Nazi sympathisers.
Oh, wait. That's not the Nazi family ties the Dems had in mind? “
Read the whole thing.
Posted at 12:34 AM
ELMAR BROK, CTD [Andrew Stuttaford]
Saturday’s post about euro-toady Elmar Brok brought a response from a reader in Denmark, who remembered Brok’s comments at the time some European countries were rallying behind the US ahead of the Iraq conflict:
Posted at 12:24 AM
Sunday, August 10, 2003
CHECK OUT… [Rich Lowry]
…this brilliant post parsing Arnold’s tax returns from Sacramento Bee columnist Daniel Weintraub’s blog. Excellent stuff…
Posted at 11:44 PM
NEWSFLASH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The homeland-security color coding doesn't work.
Posted at 10:55 PM
HERE’S A GOOD… [Rich Lowry]
…representation of one sort of response—from the “he would be nuts to engage more in the culture war” school--that I’m getting to my WashPost piece. More later…
Posted at 10:48 PM
NO PUBLIC INTEREST [Andrew Stuttaford]
Friday’s Wall Street Journal reported that the federal government is about to announce which scientists and other experts will revise the nation’s dietary guidelines. These guidelines are written by a 13-member panel. Fair enough, I suppose. It’s more surprising to discover that two of the people sitting on the current panel were nominated by the peculiar folk over at the ludicrously misnamed Center for Science in the Public Interest. Typically (CSPI has never been an organization that is afraid of overreach) the organization has now nominated no fewer than six candidates.
Some of these people may be worthy candidates in their own right, but unless they disavow CSPI’s support they should be rejected. CSPI has long been known for its junk science, scare tactics and oddball obsession with self-denial. Its endorsements should – if the government is doing its job – be taken as seriously as a flat earther at a cartographic convention.
Posted at 10:42 PM
UNLUCKY STRIKE [Andrew Stuttaford]
It’s not only businesses in New York that are being hit by the excesses of the anti-tobacco movement. It now appears that Montreal is going to lose next year’s Canadian Grand Prix. The reason? Canadian regulations restricting cigarette advertising (free speech anyone?) mean that cars couldn’t sport designs linked to cigarettes or cigarette companies.
It’s a shame that Montreal has to pay the price for the stupidity and arrogance of Canada’s politicians, but that’s the way it is. Formula One is quite right to do what it is doing.
Posted at 10:41 PM
NO KIDDING [Andrew Stuttaford]
When people start talking about ‘the children’ it’s a pretty good idea to watch out for your wallet. Voters in Seattle are now being asked to approve an espresso tax (yes, really). For the kids, of course.
Posted at 10:40 PM
PARANOIA WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
And for more paranoia try this from the Guardian’s Gary Younge (from a forum on the war and journalism):
”The problem is the same one we faced in Britain with Thatcher. The liberals thought, She’s crazy, she’s a lunatic, anyone who supports her is a lunatic. And what we didn’t realize was that she had tapped into a fairly ugly vein of Britishness that we would have to deal with. Fox is doing well because it’s engaged in a vein of the population which, if you don’t learn how to deal with it and turn it around, is just going to get bigger and bigger.”
Posted at 10:38 PM
TALK RADIO [Andrew Stuttaford]
The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg is worried about right-wing talk radio or “viscous, untreated political sewage” as he gently describes it. There is, he says, no real counterpoint to “ the far right’s near-monopoly on political broadcasting nationwide,” except, er, NPR (which has an audience about the same size as Rush Limbaugh’s) but that, apparently, doesn’t count.
“NPR programs are news-feature broadcasts; they adhere to the practices of journalistic professionalism, including the aspirational ideal of objectivity. Their sensibility may fairly be said to be “liberal” in the sense that liberal education is liberal—that is, open-minded and urbane, with a preference for empirical inquiry over dogmatic conclusion-mongering—but what little overt political commentary they offer hovers around the moderate middle. NPR’s local talk-show hosts tend to be more overtly liberal, but they are always polite about it.”
This, of course, is a familiar refrain, but it doesn’t stand up to closer examination. Yes, conservative radio talk show hosts follow a strongly partisan line, but they don’t hold themselves out as doing anything else, The “open-minded and urbane” NPR, on the other hand, clothes its bias in a spurious objectivity, or, to borrow Hertzberg’s treacly phraseology, a pretense of “empirical enquiry over dogmatic conclusion-mongering.”
But if anyone is looking for some dogmatic conclusion-mongering, try this choice piece of Hertzberg:
“[R]ight-wing radio is niche entertainment for the spiritually unattractive. It succeeds because a substantial segment of the right-wing rank and file enjoys listening, hour after hour, as smug, angry, disdainful middle-aged men spew raw contempt at reified enemies, named and unnamed. The radiocons seldom offer analysis or argument. To the chronically resentful, they offer the sadistic consolation of an endless sneer—at weaklings, victim-group whiners, cultural snobs…”
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…
Posted at 10:37 PM
IN THE SUMMERTIME [Andrew Stuttaford]
This summer’s heatwave in Europe has triggered the usual global warming gloom. The ‘skeptical environmentalist’, Denmark’s Bjorn Lomborg, weighs in with some commonsense.
Posted at 10:34 PM
SATAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, Satan with a British accent – maybe Milton has something to do with it. George ‘Shere Khan’ Sanders would have been perfect, but as far as I know, that old devil never played the old devil.
The best screen Satan was Robert de Niro in the wonderful (and sadly underrated) Angel Heart. No question about it.
Posted at 10:33 PM
VILE BRITANNIA (3) [Andrew Stuttaford]
Yet more response to this topic:
It’s a “whine." "Jason? Freddy? JR Ewing? Boss Hogg? Seriously evil badguys [are] quite un-British.”
“Anthony Hopkins is Welsh.”
“The Biblical/Roman era films mentioned all contain elements of class and cultural clash. What easier way to underscore those differences than by having one side speak American English and other speak British English? Would you buy into a film full of Romans speaking English with Italian accents? With any "foreign" subect matter, a cheap, easy way to express "foreigness" and still be intelligible is to use British actors.”
Another correspondent can “easily imagine a villain with a southern drawl; think of Deliverance. That is the dumb brute villain. But if a refined, elegant villain is called for, the British accent fits the bill.”
That may be true, I suppose, of traditional ‘Oxford English,’ but Bob ‘Beria’ Hoskins is no toff, and Robert Carlyle’s Begbie (Trainspotting) spoke in a Scots accent so broad that subtitles might have helped some American moviegoers.
Writing from one of Oxford’s more distinguished colleges, an American argues, “the reason so many of the on screen baddies are English is that, for some reason, they look humane [as they go about their wicked ways]. Americans are so much more unsubtle. If they are good, they are really good; if they are evil, they are really evil. No clear demarcation between good and evil exists in the UK.”
Well, that last sentence is a touch controversial. Let’s just say the Brits recognize a few more shades of gray than their cousins across the Atlantic.
Posted at 10:29 PM
BRIT MOVIE VILLIANS [Rick Brookhiser]
Two points about your posts: 1) To the extent that Americans see villainy as a sign of corruption and over-sophistication--a chestnut of classical republican ideology, going back to (yes) Brits likes Trenchard, Gordon and Viscount Bolingbroke--then Brits are the handiest signifiers of same.
2) But where historical movies are the question, Brits were protected for decades by Hollywood, which was run mostly by Anglophile Jews. Their predilections meshed, of course, with American foriegn policy from 1917-1945. Hence there has been a dearth of movies about the American Revolution, which would place Brits in the role of villains; a relative surfeit of movies about the French and Indians Wars, where Brits are the good side. Mel Gibson's The Patriot is a notable and rather lonely exception. Perhaps one reason it so raised the hackles of Brit and Brit-immigrant critics was because they had enjoyed such a free ride for so long.
Posted at 10:28 PM
RIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Gregory Hines died.
Posted at 10:20 PM
HELP—CALIFORNIA & UNIONS [Rich Lowry]
Here’s an old-fashioned help-me-with-my-column bleg. I’d like to write something Monday on how the unions have helped bankrupt California through pensions, worker comp abuses, etc. If you have ideas on how to jump-start me with info/contacts, I’d appreciate hearing from you. (I tried to contact some people late Friday, but it’s hard getting people on Fridays in the summer. I mean Kathryn wasn’t even in the office on Friday!)
Posted at 01:26 PM
YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST [Rich Lowry]
Novak today has a follow-up on The Corner’s super-exclusive from Wednesday:
“Former international weapons inspector David Kay, now seeking Iraqi weapons of mass destruction for the Pentagon, has privately reported successes that are planned to be revealed to the public in mid-September. Kay has told his superiors he has found substantial evidence of biological weapons in Iraq, plus considerable missile development. He has been less successful in locating chemical weapons, and has not yet begun a substantial effort to locate progress toward nuclear arms. Senior officials in the Bush administration believe Kay's weapons discoveries should have been revealed as they were made. However, a decision, approved by President Bush, was made to wait until more was discovered and then announce it -- probably in September.”
At the end of my post on Wednesday that said much the same thing I had written, “We should hear more in September, and it will vindicate those—i.e., nearly everyone--who said Iraq had active WMD programs.” The funny thing here is that I think—if memory serves—Novak was one of the few people who doubted that Iraq had active programs…
Posted at 01:25 PM
NFL JUNKIES UNITE, DEUX [Tim Graham]
As part of the activity schedule for NFL junkies, I drove into the office yesterday for our fourth annual fantasy football draft. For this strange male ritual, my wife looks at me as if I was fodder for a Margaret Mead investigation, but alas, she has none of Mead's curiosity (or, thankfully, her tendency to make things up).
In a nutshell, ten of us select a roster of current NFL players, and then once the season begins, we "play" each other head to head and see whose players score the most touchdowns and gain the most yards in a given week. It's a chance for NFL junkies to raucously compare notes on which players are great, and which ones stink. It also makes any game on TV interesting for its "fantasy" implications.
But the highlight of the draft is often my MRC colleague Geoff "You Can't Beat Me You Can Only Hope to Contain Me" Dickens, who makes so many draft choice trades you can't figure out whose turn it is to pick. The whole room erupted in laughter and ridicule when Dickens chose Pittsburgh backup running back Amos Zeroeue in the fourth round. Try to explain the fun of that to the Mrs.
PS: to Corner fan Brian Olexy, you will NOT beat my team this year. My picks were crazier than yours.
Posted at 01:22 PM
LOWRY IN WASH. POST [Tim Graham]
Nobody should miss Rich Lowry's piece on Bush's pacifism in the culture wars that tops today's Outlook section. He underscores the harm done by the Bush/Rove approach of minimizing culturally divisive issues in the interests of keeping the liberal media quiet and not mobilizing liberal voters. So how can we change the culture with a No Comment?
One quibble, Rich: the WH is not treating Connerly as if he had a "social disease." They're much kinder to people with those.
Posted at 01:18 PM
REPORT FROM THE PEWS [John Derbyshire]
Bigger than usual congregation this morning at St. John's, Huntington. I guess that in religion, as in showbiz, there is no such thing as bad publicity. An exceptionally fine, eloquent, blunt but charitable, here-I-stand sermon from our rector, James Byrum. (Here he stands.) One passing thought: why, in mine and the other hierarchical Christian churches, is it hardly ever the devout, humble, hard-working parish priests like Rev. Byrum who ascend to bishoprics? Why is it so much more often, it seems to me, the bureaucrats, time-servers, schmoozers and fixers like Robinson--who has not done regular parish duties since (I think) the Carter administration? Not that I want them to take Rev. Byrum away from us to give him a bishopric. No, no, please not. Hey--maybe that's why.
Posted at 01:16 PM
ARIANNA IN ACTION [Rich Lowry]
Man, from the clips I saw it looked like Arianna was going to try to hold Arnold’s hand yesterday, if Maria Shriver hadn’t beaten her to it. Here is the description from the NYTimes, (file it under “Classics in the Annals of Publicity Desperation”):
It seems Ms. Huffington is engaging in a stalking campaign against Mr. Schwarzenegger in an effort to draw out the actor's positions on the issues.
Posted at 01:14 PM
SLAVERY, SODOMY, SULLIVAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
To people who are not interested in the above topics, or in the history of the Catholic Church: This is a long post, and you may want to skip it.
Andrew Sullivan recently wrote two items about the Catholic church’s historical record on slavery on his site. He suggests (in a post that seems to be unlinkable, but is on the page he has up now) that the Vatican weighed in on the pro-slavery side of the American debate even after the Civil War. He quotes an 1866 statement by the Vatican: “Slavery itself. . . is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law. . . The purchaser [of the slave] should carefully examine whether the slave who is put up for sale has been justly or unjustly deprived of his liberty, and that the vendor should do nothing which might endanger the life, virtue, or Catholic faith of the slave." In the follow-up post, he sums up: “This is not to say that the Church always condoned slavery. Several popes condemned it outright, some eloquently; and the Church has much to be proud of in its record on this. But the hierarchs simply never declared slavery to be illicit under natural law. So homosexual relationships are and were morally worse than slavery for the Church. Having a gay relationship is still, under Catholic doctrine, more profoundly evil than owning a slave.”
Sullivan wrote that he was shocked by that 1866 statement. I was shocked, too. This was not what I was given to understand about Church history. So I asked a scholar who has studied the subject whether Sullivan’s account was correct. He replied that Sullivan had fallen victim to some misunderstandings.
Have church officials, including popes, been wrong on issues, including moral issues, including big moral issues? Yes. If the current pontiff is right about capital punishment, for example, many of his predecessors have been wrong. (Of course, neither he nor they have proposed his or their teaching as an exercise of the charism of infallibility.) If Vatican II is right about religious liberty, then the positions asserted by some popes in the past about some aspects (actually the differences we are talking about here are narrower than most commentators notice) of religious liberty were wrong. And then there is the treatment of heretics. The current pope thinks that it is wrong to execute mass murderers; some previous popes have held that it is right to execute people for preaching Protestantism.
What about slavery? The document referred to by Mr. Sullivan is Instructio Number 1293: Found in Collectanea, Vol. 1, pp. 715-720. It is an "Instructio" of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office on some disputed questions, including questions of "servitude." Does "servitude" mean "slavery"? Here we get into a thicket of possible misunderstandings. We can, however, sort some things out without much difficulty. The Instructio itself, right at the point at which it declares "servitude itself [now let's add what Mr. Sullivan omits in the ellipsis], considered in itself and all alone (per se et absolute), is by no means repugnant to the natural and divine law," acknowledges that "the Roman Pontiffs have left nothing untried by which servitude be everywhere abolished among the nations" [Mr. Sullivan didn't tell you about that, did he?], and also boasts that "it is especially due to them [i.e., the popes], that already for many ages no slaves are held among very many Christian peoples." [Mr. Sullivan didn't mention that either. Of course, later he will concede that several popes condemned slavery and that the Church has much to be proud of in its record, but all this will come after his readers have been led to believe that the Vatican sided with the pro-slavery side of the American debate.]
It turns out, as Joel Panzer documents in his 1996 book The Popes and Slavery, that the popes had been condemning the slave trade and slavery of the sort that was at issue in the American debate for centuries. (That's right: centuries.) Racial slavery was singled out for special condemnation as being incompatible with Christian anthropology. Of course, where such slavery was practiced, the Vatican insisted on the humane treatment of slaves, and especially respect for their family integrity and moral and religious welfare, but it did not approve the practice. Here's where I think Mr. Sullivan really goes off the rails. He noticed the date of the Instructio (1866), and assumed that the subject of the statement he quotes (translating servitus as slavery) is American racial slavery. It wasn't. The reason that the Holy Office is wrestling with the question is that it is focused on the possible legitimacy of three types of servitude that are not at the heart of the American debate: (1) penal servitude; (2) indentured servitude; and (3) the servitude of prisoners captured in just wars. That's why we have this business (right there in the material Sullivan quotes, but evidently doesn't pay much attention to) about the need to examine whether the "slave" (servitus) "has been justly or unjustly deprived of his liberty."
Of course, one problem for the popes in thinking through the morality of slavery (you have the same thing with polygamy, by the way, but not homosexual conduct) is that the Bible seems to accept (and perhaps even condone) it in some places. ("Slaves, obey your masters.") So it was not obvious that every type of servitus was contrary to divine law. Still, as Panzer shows, the Vatican's witness against the enslavement of the Indians, Africans, and other peoples was longstanding and consistent. Mr. Sullivan might have understood better the meaning of the passage that he now wishes to use to undermine the Church's witness on homosexual conduct and relationships had he read it in light of the teaching of Gregory XVI: In Supremo, December 3, 1839 (found in Coleccion de Bulas, pp. 114-116): "We consider it to belong to our pastoral solicitude to avert the faithful from the inhuman trade in Negroes and all other groups of humans." [In this clear enough for Mr. Sullivan?] The Pope goes on: "Therefore, in the course of time, when the darkness of pagan superstition was more fully dissipated and the customs of the uneducated people had been mitigated due to Faith operating by charity, it at last came about that, for several centuries now, there have been no slaves in the greater number of Christian peoples. But, We still say it with sorrow, there were to be found subsequently among the faithful some who, shamefully blinded by the desire for sordid gain, in lonely and distant countries did not hesitate to reduce to slavery Indians, Blacks, and other unfortunate peoples, or else, by instituting or expanding the trade in those who had been made slaves by others, aided the crimes of others. Certainly many Roman pontiffs, of glorious memory, Our predecessors, did not fail, according to the duties of their office, to blame severely this way of acting as dangerous to the spiritual welfare of those who did such things and a shame to the Christian name."
So, which side had the support, and which the opposition, of the Vatican in the American debate over slavery in which, as Mr. Sullivan says, "the Vatican weighed in"? It is not the abolitionists who are being accused by the Pope of being “shamefully blinded by the desire for sordid gain" and of bringing “shame to the Christian name.” It is not the abandonment of slavery that is associated by the Pope with "the darkness of Pagan superstition."
Evidently the passage from the 1866 Instructio struck Mr. Sullivan as a useful tool to beat up the Vatican after it issued its statement on homosexual unions, so he ran with it. All he tells us about the depth of his inquiry into the matter is that the passage "seems to check out" and that he looked up "slavery" in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
In light of what I've already said, I think you can see that the following claim by Sullivan (his punchline, really) is a massive non sequitur:
"But the hierarchs simply never declared slavery to be illicit under natural law. So homosexual relationships are and were morally worse than slavery for the Church. Having a gay relationship is still, under Catholic doctrine, more profoundly evil than owning a slave. That helps shed light on how deeply the hierarchy feels about this. If they really consider a gay relationship more evil than owning a slave, no wonder they are so adamant about preventing it from happening."
Catholic teaching leaves no doubt that willingly participating in a system of racial chattel slavery by owning or trading in slaves contains injustices so grave as to render it objectively far worse, from the moral vantage point, than committing acts of consensual fornication or sodomy. (Which is not to deny that fornication and sodomy, like slavery, murder, and rape, but also like theft, calumny, and cheating in business, are the matter of mortal sins.)
Posted at 11:28 AM