A MESS IN BOLIVIA [Andrew Stuttaford]
Largely unnoticed over here, Bolivia’s president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, duly elected, an economic liberal and a friend of the United States, was forced out of office. He’d made some hideous mistakes (not least the use of the army against protestors – a decision that, tragically, left many dead), but originally the source of much of his difficulty was action taken against his country’s coca farmers, action taken at US insistence, action that left many unemployed. It’s a familiar story – US drug prohibition creates a lucrative market for the farmers’ coca, the profits from that market have enriched not, of course, the farmers themselves, but criminal cartels. They have also been a good source of funds for guerilla groups. The distortions, dislocation and corruption that follows would be bad enough for the chances of reform, progress and economic development in Andean countries even without the added difficulty caused by the impoverishment of so many poor peasant farmers.
Drugs prohibition has been a disaster in the US. Its extension to Latin America has been a catastrophe, a catastrophe that risks creating more of the failed states in which terrorists, it’s worth noting, can thrive. The answer to this mess, naturally, is to scrap prohibition, but in the meantime, here’s a suggestion. The US should stop pouring dollars and military resources into this Latin American extension of the fruitless and counter-productive war on drugs.
There are better uses for both elsewhere.
Posted at 08:56 PM
TERRORISTS STRIKE RIYADH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 08:11 PM
ISLAMOPHOBIA? [Andrew Stuttaford]
The development of an effective intellectual response to the ideological challenge posed by Islamic extremism remains elusive, and one of the reasons is the bogeyman of “Islamophobia,” a bogeyman that the enforcers of multiculturalism have used to chilling effect.
Here’s a translation (a little hard to read but, I hope, accurate - I couldn’t find the original subscription-free) of an interesting piece from Le Figaro. It’s not necessary to agree with it all (many readers will not like the author’s very French brand of secularism) to think that it has some useful insights on this phenomenon:
“Islam is untouchable: to criticize or be suspicious of it is a proof of racism. Such is the new vulgate which MRAP [an anti-racist movement], certain sections of the media, academics and political leaders are trying to have accepted. What is this all about in reality? Removing the religion of the Koran from the test to which the two other existing monotheisms have long been subject: the test of self-examination…
The piece is a review of a book, about which the writer has this to say:
“[This] book amounts to what we must call a contemptible police operation worthy of the Stalinist era: by treating democrats as villainous Poujadists [right-wing chauvinists], opportunists, careerists, crude secularizers, persecuted figures from operetta, it turns them into quasi-apostates, traitors to their religion, even harkis [Muslims who worked with the French during the Algerian war], collaborators, enemies of Islam (even if these words are never employed).
”They are guilty then, the Arab women who want to rid themselves of the veil, guilty all those children of immigrants who demand the right to religious indifference, the right to believe in nothing and who do not automatically feel Muslim because they come from Moroccan, Algerian or Tunisian backgrounds? The invention of Islamophobia fulfills several functions: to deny, in order to give it more legitimacy, the reality of an Islamist offensive in Europe, to intimidate and silence bad Muslims, those who impiously seek change and, finally, to block any hope of a religious transformation in the lands of Islam.”
And it concludes as follows:
"Islam is part of the French landscape; it has a right to public recognition and respect; on condition that it respects republican rules and does not demand separate rights, special dispensations for women, various privileges and favors. The best thing we can wish for it is not "phobia" or "philia" but benevolent indifference in a market of spirituality open to all beliefs. If it no longer wants to suffer suspicion, it should engage in a reform as radical as that performed by Catholics or Protestants in the course of the past century. Until then it will remain, moderate Muslims included, the object of justified caution. There's something stupefying in seeing an "anti-racist organization" criminalizing the adversaries of fanaticism and superstition. If Voltaire were alive today, we can bet that certain "anti-racists" would have him thrown in prison."
Quite what the author means by “justified caution,” I don’t know. There’s nothing to fear from an Islam that is genuinely ‘moderate,’ but there’s plenty in this piece that applies to the US as much as France.
Posted at 08:06 PM
A GOOD GERMAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Angela Merkel is the head of the CDU, the ‘Northern’ half of Germany’s right-of-center CDU/CSU, the country’s main opposition to the ghastly Gerhard Schroeder. Blogging away from Austria, the invaluable Bill Dawson links to a fascinating speech Merkel made recently and highlights a couple of key segments, one on the question of Islamic head scarves in schools (a source of considerable controversy in a number of European countries) and, another on Germany’s relationship with the United States. Merkel is no Thatcher and it's not necessary to agree with everything she says, but this extract is worth repeating:
”How do we also, after September 11th, keep our word when it comes to the defense of democracy? The path from the so-called absolute, unqualified solidarity with the United States in September 2001, to the so-called "German Way" in September 2002 was certainly quick and breathtaking.
”This path led to the American President, in an interview in September 2003, defining -- naturally with good cause, I don't dispute that -- the posture of the German government as "pacifism."
Pacifism? After the binding with the west via Konrad Adenauer and the double NATO resolutions of Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl? What is to be made of this? I would like Germany to take seriously its leading role in Europe. I would like Germany to contribute to the unity of Europe, not disunity. I would like Germany to develop this Europe not against the United States, but with the United States.”
Contrary to the impression too often generated over here, America still has its friends in Europe.
Posted at 05:19 PM
ROBERT REICH IS RIGHT [Andrew Stuttaford]
I never thought I’d write that – and nor did blogger Dan Drezner. This piece by Reich on the fact that manufacturing jobs are disappearing everywhere is a little simplistic (for example, while it’s true that China is losing manufacturing jobs, it’s important to remember that a good number of those jobs were actually value-destroying: the goods they produced were worth less than their raw materials), but it raises some interesting points. It also is a reminder that the Bush administration’s occasional flirtations with protectionism are absolutely pointless
Posted at 05:18 PM
BAN THE BAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here's a good cause.
Posted at 05:16 PM
COMPETITION REPORT--RENAMING GOV'T DEPTS. [John Derbyshire]
My proposal to rename the main departments of the feddle gummint drew a modest response leaning rather heavily towards cynicism. After perusing them all, I came to agree with my colleague Jay Nordlinger: a little cynicism goes a long way. I have therefore favored mere reductionism over cynicism in selecting the following, stitched together from contributions by several readers.
Department of Subsidies
Department of Casinos
Department of Junkets
Department of Procrastination
Department of War
Department of Regulation
Department of Propaganda
Department of Appeasement
Department of Inertia
Department of Pork
----Health & Human Services
Department of Hospitals
Department of Taxes
Department of Sensitivity
----Housing & Urban Development
Department of Slums
[Hardly anyone had an unkind word to say, which I guess is understandable in time of war... Though there were couple of swipes at "coddling Grandpa..."]
Posted at 05:12 PM
CAN WE ALL CALM DOWN? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Ralph Peters is often a provocative and enlightening read, but I have to say that I read this piece with nothing less than astonishment. Here’s an extract:
“Of course, there are good Germans. Plenty of them. But they live in Philadelphia, not Frankfurt. They or their ancestors all left Germany by 1938. Those who stayed didn't just support Hitler - they loved him and fought for him to the bitter end.”
That is, quite simply, nonsense. Yes, far too many Germans supported Hitler, something that will stain the name of their country so long as history is written. And yes, a shocking number stuck with that monster until the very end. At the same time, even a quick glance at the historical record shows that, by early 1945, Wehrmacht troops were to surrendering in droves in the West. On the Eastern Front, of course, it was a different matter. But against Stalin’s Red Army, surrender was never a realistic option. For the men it meant the Gulag or worse and, well, just read any account of the fall of Berlin to see what it meant for the women.
There’s more too. Mr. Peters’ comments about von Stauffenberg are, I fear, are an insult to the memory of a brave man. They also reveal a profound misunderstanding of the nature of the German resistance to Hitler (grossly insufficient though that resistance undoubtedly was) and they ignore for example, the role that the Allies’ insistence on the unconditional surrender of even a Hitler-free Germany played in undermining the development of that resistance. As a start, Mr. Peters should take a look at the career of Adam von Trott, a man whose opposition to Hitler began in the late 1930s and ended with his grotesquely cruel execution in Plotzensee Prison in 1944.
But this historical debate is to miss the point. Germany’s horrific past will forever mean that any hint of a resurgent anti-Semitism is deeply, deeply disturbing, but to move from that to suggest that, nearly sixty years after the war, this entire nation in some way still dreams of the old Reich is wrong. Yes, Germany’s role in the run-up to the Iraq war was a disgrace. Yes, Chancellor Schroeder’s manipulation of anti-American sentiment to secure re-election was repellent, and, yes, there’s no doubt that a particularly malign form of anti-Americanism is currently on the rise in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The US response to such stupidity should not, however, be to descend to equally crude ‘anti-Europeanism’.
This country is better than that.
Posted at 05:10 PM
GET A ROOM! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Moscow considering banning public kissing.
Posted at 06:57 AM
PAKIS AGAINST BOBBY [Rod Dreher]
It's hard to believe that Indo-Pakistani politics are playing a role in the Louisiana governor's race, but that's what the Times-Picayune reports. Pakistani-Americans are raising money for Republican Bobby Jindal's opponent (Jindal's parents are Hindus from India). "I think it's a kind of unforeseen fear that if Bobby Jindal gets elected he might push things that are against the Pakistani interest," said Ashraf Abbasi of Port Arthur, Texas, who is president of the Pakistani-American Congress, an umbrella organization for Pakistani-American groups. Boy, it's hard to figure what the governor of Louisiana can do to hurt Pakistan. Halt Tabasco exports to Karachi? Ban the Neville Brothers from playing Mardi Gras in Quetta?
Posted at 06:47 AM
NATIONAL KROC RADIO [Tim Graham]
Now that National Public Radio is taking an enormous donation from a passionate left-wing Dukakis-enabling pacifist, Joan Kroc is being "refashioned" as a fan of "objective" news...as if that's what NPR dishes up!
"She was a bit of a news nut," said Dick Starmann, Kroc's longtime friend and spokesman. "She loved NPR and its unfiltered presentation of the news. . . . It wasn't liberal and it wasn't conservative. It was as objective as you're going to find."
Posted at 06:45 AM
PRINCETON'S PAPER TIGERS [Tim Graham]
In case you’re in danger of thinking that the campus isn’t the best place for time traveling back into Hippiethink, see a sad Princeton revival of that old CNBC show starring Phil Donahue and Vladimir Posner (or Poznir, if you’re feeling Russian). The old Soviet stooge insists to the student body that America has had a government-controlled media since the Vietnam era. In case you missed it, “all information” goes through a military review first before it’s deemed acceptable for public consumption. Donahue modifies that theory slightly, suggesting that Americans can’t abide anti-war views, so that his brand of far-left “truth”-telling just can’t get a fair hearing.
Donahue also insisted that in today’s oppressive climate, “Walter Cronkite could not get a job.” I suppose if you inserted young Walt into today’s news arena, focus groups and consultants would think he wasn’t handsome enough for the anchor chair (less hair on the face, please, more on top). But if Cronkite had held on to his desk for dear life (as Rather does) throughout the Reagan era, I would suggest that his “most trusted man in America” halo would have rusted. He is, after all, just as liberal as Dan or Peter. That just wasn’t as noticeable back in the pre-Reagan years.
Posted at 06:43 AM
BRING THE COTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Senate Republicans are all geared up to make CSPAN addicts' week on judges.
Posted at 06:09 AM
Friday, November 07, 2003
CITIZEN KANE, THE CRUISE ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, I leave in the AM for ten days on the high seas with the NR cruisers. I assume/hope/pray that I'll have access to the web while I'm gone. So I should be checking in from time to time.
Meanwhile allow me to say a few words about movies. Lots of folks have been writing me in defense of Citizen Kane. I didn't say -- or didn't mean to imply -- that I hate the movie or always enjoy watching Roadhouse more than CK. However, I do think when you subtract the historically significant stuff Citizen Kane, as a movie, is a bit disappointing.
Moreover, a great many people have gotten their dander up about the idea of me not enjoying arty or significant films in the first place. Several have decided, for reasons that elude me, that I don't like "The Seven Samurai." Where did that come from? (maybe there's a blog out there making this charge?). None of this is true. There are some historically significant or just plain old artsy-fartsy movies that I love. I don't just mean the easy ones like "Lawrence of Arabia" or "The Warriors" ("Caaaaannnnnnn Yooooooouuuuu Diiiiiiiiiiig Iiiiiiiiit?"). "A Face in the Crowd" is certainly one of my all time favorite films. Yes, I liked "Seven Samurai", though it takes some work to watch it more than a few times. I'm sure I could think of others, but I've got to pack.
Posted at 10:02 PM
YOU CAN READ NRODT NOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Have you gone Digital?
Posted at 06:38 PM
DOBBS VS. CHAO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Lou Dobbs just put Elaine Chao on the spot on CNN. I onlt saw the end of it, but I gather it was supposed to be (from her vantagepoint) a fluff interview on job growth. Inatead, he tried to get her to address illegal immigrants. Before he tried to end it overly diplomatically, Dobbs asked her how many HB1 visa holders are currently in the U.S. and she admitted that while there is a cap--we know the max # supposedly, Labor doesn't track who they are. She was a tad defensive about it.
Posted at 06:33 PM
GAY RIGEUR [John Derbyshire]
Now that we have all seen the group photo of Dick Gephardt with his lesbian daughter, I imagine there is a bit of a panic among the other Democratic presidential candidates to come up with a gay relative of their own. Having a gay relative, in fact, will now be de rigeur--or gay rigeur, if you like--for any Dem running for president. At the risk of trespassing on Rob Long's territory, one can imagine the sort of conversations that have been going on.
[The Lieberman household, over breakfast]
Joe: Hadassah, do I remember you once telling me you had a gay nephew? Hadassah: What? Oh, little Howie. Well, we were never certain. But yes, everybody in the family thought he was a feygeleh. A good boy, though, always a good boy to his Momma. Such pretty tchotchkes he used to make for her!
Joe: Do we have a phone number for him?
Hadassah: Howie? Oh, after he graduated from fashion school he went off to live in Israel.
Joe: Any chance we could get him back over here? Just for a few months, I mean.....
[Al Sharpton on the phone]
Al: Yo? Aunt Eustacia?
Eustacia: Alfred? Why, what a surprise! I haven't heard from you for just the longest time! How are Kathy and those two lovely girls?
Al: We're all fine, Aunt Eustacia, just fine. I just wanted to ax you about cousin George.
Eustacia: Cousin George? Oh, my, Alfred, you know we don't like to talk about HIM. Not after that incident with Pastor Harris...
Al: Yeah, well, that was nearly ten years ago, Aunt Eustacia. The thing I was wondering is, whether we could get cousin George to join my presidential campaign.
Eustacia: Cousin George? Why, Alfred, have you taken leave of your senses? Do you KNOW what kind of ungodly life cousin George is leading?
Al: I know, I know, Aunt Eustacia, but these are modern times, you see....
Posted at 02:23 PM
READ THIS… [Rich Lowry]
...Time report to get some sense of what our guys are going through in Iraq. The first part is hard to read—it details what happens when a RPG tears through an armored vehicle. But you will marvel at the courage and sacrifice of our men, the best soldiers (and one hazards to say, some of the best people) in the world. The story focuses on Private First Class Tristan Wyatt, Sergeant Erick Castro, and Sergeant Mike Meinen, and what happened to their legs. Here is how the story ends:
“The three wounded soldiers are united not only in their good humor but also their unequivocal support for the war. Wyatt doesn't much care for those who think Bush fudged the intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. `That makes you feel like you fought for nothing or you fought for a liar,’ he says. `They're telling me I went out there and I got my leg blown off for a liar, and I know that's just not true.’ Wyatt says he would stay in the Army if he could remain in a combat unit, but he knows that's unlikely. So he's considering college.
Castro says he just did what he signed up to do. `Someone has to do the job, and we did it,’ he says. `The price was my leg.’ He plans to return to college — his four-year hitch was up a week after he lost his leg — and marry his fiance Elizabeth Gonzalez, who quit her California job and moved to Washington to help him recover. Later this month, if all the paperwork comes through, Castro should reach another milestone: becoming a U.S. citizen.”
Posted at 02:20 PM
TELLING DEAN BIT… [Rich Lowry]
…from Al Hunt yesterday: "He left the Episcopal Church because it opposed a bike path in Burlington."
Posted at 02:10 PM
CLARK IDEA [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "Subject: re: A CLARK IDEA THAT MAKES SENSE?
Rich, I would not be surprised if the Bush administration is already pursuing this course of action. However, given all of the hurt feelings of the international inspector community after the Blix affair, I suspect that a lot of back-room Mandarin-like negotiation is required to get them back into Iraq, which could be currently in-process. In other words, Clark got wind of this though his still in-the-loop military sources, and wanted to take credit for pushing Bush in this direction, even though it is possibly a fait accompli."
Posted at 02:05 PM
IT’S LEGACY MANIA… [Rich Lowry]
…on C-SPAN’s Booknotes this Sunday. Check out the picture of me on the site—I look very grim! Then again, I’m discussing the Clinton legacy…
Posted at 02:03 PM
UGLY RUMOR. . . [Kate O'Beirne]
There is concern that the Senate plans to expand unemployment benefits AGAIN. Rumor has it that there is a plan the GOP will back for a 7 week extension nationwide, with an extra 6 week extension for “higher unemployment states”. See the terrific op-ed in today’s NY Times for a primer on why that would be such a bad idea. Senator Frist, say it ain’t so.
Posted at 02:01 PM
LESZEK KOLAKOWSKI [John Derbyshire]
A reader informs me that a search of the NRO archives with argument "kolakowski" turns up one single reference, by me here.
This is a bit shameful. Leskek Kolakowski's MAIN CURRENTS OF MARXISM was a key text in alerting me to what the commies were up to. It is a brilliant, invaluable book. The Library of Congress has now awarded Prof. Kolakowski the first Kluge Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities and Social Sciences. A great man, a great warrior for freedom.
Posted at 02:00 PM
THAT DEAN MAGIC [Rich Lowry]
I don't know how much the Confederate flag flap and apology will hurt Dean, but I doubt that John Kerry’s attacks on him for flip-flopping will have much effect.
Kerry has already pulled off the grandest of flip-flops on the war, so is in no position to criticize. The dynamic of the race to this point has been perfect for Dean. The Vermont governor established his bona fides as a McCain-like straight-talker with his relatively forthright opposition to the war. When almost all the other candidates tried to catch some of the Dean magic on the war by adopting his position on the war, they actually served to deny themselves any association with the key elements of Dean’s appeal: straight talk and principle. They made themselves seem even more like typical flip-flopping politicians. This is why it was so important in 2000 for George W. Bush, when trying to beat back John McCain, NOT to adopt his positions, but instead stick all the more firmly to his own. Dean's opponents didn't learn that lesson. Now, Dean is in such an enviable position because he has McCain’s strength--the reputation for passion and straight talk--without the weakness that ultimately denied McCain his party’s nomination--a tendency to attack the base of his own party. Dean is a McCain WITH the support of the most energized and committed members of his party--a powerful combination.
Posted at 01:59 PM
RE: HOW DARE YOU RESIST A MUGGER [John Derbyshire]
Some good citizens, way ahead of me on this one, already have a fund going to help this guy's legal expenses, and to replace the money that was stolen from him. If you can spare a fuew bucks, please make a donation here. If the site can raise enough, who know? the old boy might be able to buy himself a new... set of power tools... or something.
Posted at 01:58 PM
A CLARK IDEA THAT MAKES SENSE? [Rich Lowry]
Given the internal Pentagon debate over whether to devote intelligence resources to hunt for WMD or the hunt for guerrilla/terrorists in Iraq, this is a Wes Clark idea that could make some sense. From the New York Times: "He proposed asking international inspectors to take over the search for unconventional weapons, which would free American linguists and intelligence specialists to work on efforts 'to find the people who are killing our soldiers.'"
Posted at 01:13 PM
HOW DARE YOU RESIST A MUGGER! [John Derbyshire]
Check this out. An 80-year-old man in New York City was assaulted by a mugger. The old guy pulled a gun, the mugger fled (with his money). Police arrested the oldie, confiscated his gun, SEARCHED HIS APARTMENT AND CONFISCATED ANOTHER GUN.
If the mugger will please come forward, the NYPD would like to present him with a Good Citizenship award for helping them uncover this dangerous octogenarian and his life-threatening arsenal.
Posted at 01:11 PM
GREAT NYT OP-ED ON JOBS AND THE ECONOMY [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 01:07 PM
TRUTH IN NAMING FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS [John Derbyshire]
OK, OK, let's make it a formal competition. We are looking for TRUTHFUL names for the departments of the federal govt, along the lines of "Dept. of War." Here is a current list of departments.
----Health & Human Services
----Housing & Urban Development
...and here, for added inspiration, are faces to go with the names.
Posted at 01:05 PM
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM [Rich Lowry]
How will Dems spin this one? WSJ report on productivity numbers : "That's just the latest in an astonishing run. Since the economic recovery began in the fourth quarter of 2001, productivity has expanded at an annual rate of more than 5%, the fastest pace for a two-year period in more than 50 years and more than twice the rate that many economists believed sustainable at the height of the economic boom in the late 1990s."
Posted at 01:00 PM
DIDN’T KNOW THAT [Rich Lowry]
From WSJ edit: "The South has made enormous civil-rights progress, to the point where recent Census data show there is a great migration of black Americans now taking place from the North back to the South."
Posted at 12:55 PM
CATFIGHT [Meghan Keane]
Looks like Susan Sarandon isn't on the best of terms with New York's Junior Senator. Here's what the actress told Index magazine about Hillary:
"Hate her! The only thing she's going to be remembered for is standing by her man, and that is really sad... She turned out to be just another politician, which was really disappointing. I also think she lost a lot of support. I know a lot of people who write very large checks who have told her, 'That's it for us, don't come back.'"
Wait. Hillary’s motivations are merely political? Shocking. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/gossip/story/134578p-119939c.html
Posted at 12:30 PM
RAMADAN ANTHRAX SCARE IN DC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Eleven postal centers closed.
Posted at 12:07 PM
DERB RESPONDS [John Derbyshire]
Just catching up here:
Mike: James Mason's performance in LOLITA, though great Mason, was not his best. His best was in THE SHOOTING PARTY. "You were not shooting like a gentleman, Gilbert."
[From that Fox News report on Arab reaction to Bush's speech]: "Arabs want democracy. They hate their corrupt regimes more than they hate the United States," wrote Abdul Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi. "But," he added, "they are not going to listen attentively to the speech of the American president, first, because the consecutive American administrations, in the past 50 years, supported those regimes ... and because all true democracies in the world came as a result of internal struggle, not due to foreign intervention, particularly American." Er, the only real democracy in the Middle East is Israel; and the major premise of all Arab rhetoric is, that Israel continues to exist (bad thing! bad thing!) precisely because of "foreign intervention, particularly American." So... do they want us to intervene, or not?
Kucinich: I'm surprised there hasn't been more coverage of his proposal to rename the Department of Defense the "Department of Peace." I actually thing "Department of Defense" is already too euphemistic. I favor "Department of War." Let's call things by their true names. I'd even go across the board with this. "Department of Welfare," "Department of Farm Subsidies," "Department of Foreign Stuff," "Department of Slums," "Department of Regulation," etc.
Accusations that my stuff is actually written by Boris: This is contemptible. All I can say is... (Sniff)... Wait a minute, gotta pee...
Posted at 11:11 AM
NRO'S STEVE MOORE TO SAVE CALIFORNIA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 11:02 AM
IT'S OFFICIAL IRAQ = VIETNAM [ Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 10:36 AM
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY [Jonah Goldberg]
Several readers have complained about my dissing of 2001. I stand my ground. There's one point a couple readers have made though I will concede. They say if I'd seen it when it first came out I would think differently. That is undoubtedly true. But some movies -- and books and bands and art -- are significant because they break new ground and some are significant because they are timeless. I'm sure there are other Cornerites more qualified to discuss that point at length. But it seems to me that 2001 was pathbreaking but it wasn't timeless. I feel the same way about Citizen Kane, by the way. I watched it in film class in college so I know all about the groundbreaking techniques used in the film. But those techniques have now been absorbed by the trade. What's left is a pioneering movie which is more interesting as a historical document in the history cinema than as a movie. Just as the Model T was a great advance in the history of automotive innovation, but there are plenty of other cars I'd rather drive, there are plenty of "great" movies I wouldn't choose seeing again over the chance to watch Road House one more time. There are plenty of music videos I'd rather watch than Un Chien Andalou, even though Un Chien Andalou is their artistic father.
Posted at 10:35 AM
PURE IMAGINATION [Tim Graham]
For a chuckle from the New Frontier of Desperation, this is how sunny Dennis Kucinich is handling the no-chance question in a Washingtonpost.com chat:
Indianapolis, Ind.: How do you feel about the lack of media attention your campaign is generating in comparison to candidates such as Dean and Clark, and how do you think it will impact your chances of winning this election?
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich : The media is now covering the story of the media not covering our campaign so I think we are about to get a surge of coverage.
Posted at 10:12 AM
WASN'T THIS A LINE FROM "DELIVERANCE"? [Jonah Goldberg]
Headline from Fox News:
Arabs Say Bush Words Are Pretty in Someone Else's Mouth
Posted at 10:12 AM
THAT HILARIOUS BRAWLEY HOAX [Tim Graham]
Jonah, Al Sharpton's making light of his role in the Tawana Brawley hoax again in his Washingtonpost.com chat:
New York: If you were to be named the party's nominee, how would you stand up to criticism from the GOP regarding the Tawana Brawley affair? Thank you.
Al Sharpton: Very easily. I stood up for a 15 year-old girl who said to me and others that she had been violated. I joined a wide array of people from Bill Cosby to elected officials who came to her defense. A jury didn't believe her, many of us did and do. I stood up about the same time -- about a year or two later -- for several young men who were accused of raping a woman in Central Park in New York. A jury found them guilty and sent them to jail -- some of them for 8 years. 13 years later a completely different person came forward and admitted to the crime and their convictions were overturned. Sometimes you have to stand up for what is right and you will be vindicated.
I would say to the GOP that it is very strange if they were to attack me for standing up to a young woman who said she is violated. I suppose if I were accused of fondling her and her friends the GOP might have considered me for governor of California.
The Post thought the Arnold-bash was so cute, it reproduced it in the Style section of the newspaper yesterday. No apologies to Steven Pagones needed for ruining his life with false accusations. It was all in good fun.
Posted at 10:03 AM
YOU'D THINK KRUGMAN'S FOOT WOULD HURT... [Jonah Goldberg]
upon the news that unemployment dropped again and economists call it a trend.
Posted at 09:40 AM
TURKISH TROOPS NOT GOING TO IRAQ [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 09:34 AM
RE: SUSPICIONS ABOUT COSMO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
More dog talk from the inbox:
I read this rather paranoid rant with amusement.
Posted at 09:33 AM
SEE JONAH TALK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
His last pre-NR-cruise TV appearance--on CNN this hour.
Posted at 08:09 AM
LAYPERSON VS. WATERED-DOWN RELIGION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mollie Ziegler, a Lutheran, chastizes a Lutheran clergyman for flirting with interfaith services.
Posted at 08:02 AM
DURBIN ON JANICE [Tim Graham]
This caught my ear last night on C-SPAN radio during the commute. In the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Janice Rogers Brown, the Democrats took turns denouncing Brown for her shocking statement that the New Deal marked a "socialist revolution"! This is where you show them what Milton Friedman put in "Free to Choose," that the 1928 Socialist Party platform under candidate Norman Thomas is pretty much all government reality now (and was 20 years ago).
But Sen. Richard Durbin went on to say oddly, if I may paraphrase, "She is paying more attention to 'The Fountainhead' and 'Road to Serfdom' than to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights." Who wants to break it to Durbin than Rand and Hayek are a lot closer to the Constitution than he is? I haven't found the "right" to the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Pell Grant mentioned in the founding documents...
Posted at 07:51 AM
RE: RE: KUBRICK [Mike Potemra]
I loved 2001--I guess you could call it a science-fiction movie for people who don't like science-fiction movies. Also, don't forget his 1962 Lolita, which was charming and delightful, and featured James Mason's best performance ever; and Clockwork Orange, which remains disturbing even 30 years after its release. (Incidentally, did you see Quentin Tarantino's comment about it in the New Yorker a couple of weeks ago? He said Kubrick must have been insincere when he said it was a film against violence, because the violence in the film was so exciting. I was very disappointed by that; what really impressed me about Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs was that--like Clockwork Orange and unlike most Hollywood movies--it showed that violence is not "cool" and cartoony but causes genuine suffering. Just goes to show that art can surpass the intentions of its creators.)
Posted at 07:42 AM
CHRISTINA AGUILERA WEARS CLOTHES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Don't know if the headline should be that she dressed as a nun at the European MTV music awards or that she simply wore clothes. (Or course, Sr. Christine stripped down during the song Dirrty.)
Posted at 06:27 AM
HOW SHIEK [John J. Miller]
Just went to the White House website to read the full version of Bush's speech yesterday. First thing I noticed: There's a link to an Arabic translation.
Posted at 06:03 AM
THE BUSH I INTEREGNUM [Jonah Goldberg]
Ronald Reagan was a internationalist hawk who believed in the power of ideas. He was a pro-lifer. He was, well, Reagan. He was the first Republican President from the ranks of Goldwater conservatism. Back then, the Goldwaterites were still the insurgents and so he made a marriage of convenience with George H. W. Bush, the standard-bearer of classic blue blazer Republicanism, picking him as his VP. But it is now clear that Bush's own son takes far more after his father's old boss than he does his own father, at least politically speaking. From tax cuts (and deficits, alas), to his personal conviction on aborrtion, to aligning America with the historical tide of liberty in the world, Georrge W. Bush has proved that he's a Reaganite, not a "Bushie." He may not be a natural heir to Reagan, but that's the point. The party is all Reaganite now. What better sign that this is now truly and totally the Gipper's Party than the obvious conversion of George Bush's own son?
Posted at 05:55 AM
RE: KUBRICK [Jonah Goldberg]
Mike - I'm with you on the "Shining." I'm with you on the precocious wisdom of Eve Tushnet. But do you really like everything by Kubrick? Personally, I think 2001 is very overrated. "Barry Lyndon"? I found it unwatchable. The first half of "Full Metal Jacket" I liked but much like that other classic war film, "Stripes", it sort of fell apart in the second half. But "Eyes Wide Shut" was a disaster. I did love "Paths of Glory" and "Dr. Strangelove" though.
Posted at 05:06 AM
UGH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An actual Black Hawk down near Tikrit. Not clear if it crashed on its own or was brought down.
Posted at 04:24 AM
THE SHINING AND CALVINISM [Mike Potemra]
Fascinating and provocative discussion by Eve Tushnet and her pal Sean. I have never quite understood why I find The Shining not just a terrific movie (easy answer: it’s by Kubrick) but also one of the scariest. Thanks to Eve and Sean, I think I finally get it: The dread in that movie is much deeper and more existential than what you get when Freddy and Jason jump out of the bushes and cut somebody’s head off. The latter involves a momentary shock, and a lot of special-effects ketchup blood. What Jack Nicholson’s character, Torrance, undergoes is much worse—the realization that he himself is fundamentally evil, predestined to do horrible things to his family: The story of the previous caretaker who killed his family is not a spooky historical anecdote but somehow the truth about Torrance’s own being. (“No, Mr. Torrance, you are not just now the caretaker. You have always been the caretaker.”) This is a terrifying representation of what it would be like to come to the realization that, in hard-Calvinist terms, you are one of the destined reprobate. But there’s also a softer-Calvinist explanation: Nicholson’s character confronts the horror of the fallen human condition (the Calvinist technical term for it is “total depravity”)--the utter helplessness of sinful man, his inability to do what is morally good. That’s a lot scarier than some guy in a hockey mask; fortunately, man does not have to rely purely on his own powers.
Posted at 12:19 AM
Thursday, November 06, 2003
SUSPICIONS--ABOUT COSMO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I am second to no one in my admiration of Jonah Goldberg; I will even go so far as to borrow from Mencken and say (without the irony) that "he compares favorably with the rising of the sun and the aurora borealis". But isn't all this Kosmo business a bit much? It appears to me that NR is in danger of falling prey to the Cult of Personality. Sure, Kosmo SEEMS like a fine dog, but how do we know we can trust him? For example, many of his sayings and attitudes strike me as distinctly feline. And the notion that he writes some of Jonah's copy is just plain silly; everybody knows that he's ghost-writing Derbyshire.
Posted at 11:54 PM
MORE PBA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
K-Lo: Did you watch CNN's coverage of Bush signing the PBA ban. If so, you probably saw their blurb on the left of the screen saying that "Critics say the partial birth abortion ban infringes on a woman's constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy." Last I checked, the Constitution didn't contemplate such a right.Confession: I had, um, FNC on.
Posted at 11:30 PM
COURT STARTS LEANING TOWARD LIFE FOR TERRI SCHIAVO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The first "pro-life" ruling I've seen out of Florida in her case.
Posted at 11:27 PM
ALESSANDRA SLEAZY [Tim Graham]
New York Times writer Alessandra Stanley advanced the CBS-Reagan miniseries story today by noting that actor James Brolin said his performance was "partly inspired" by the Reagan puppet of the British puppet show "Spitting Image." (Pop music fans may remember those puppets from the Genesis video for "Land of Confusion.") But Stanley goes off the deep end with this:
"CBS had already cut the scene, invented for the film, in which Mr. Reagan says in response to his wife's worry about the AIDS crisis, 'They that live in sin shall die in sin.' When the scope of the disease emerged, historians mostly agree, Mr. Reagan was disengaged and averse to alienating his political base, but that might have been true of any president in office at the time. ('The Reagans' script seems to make him out to be closer to Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust.)" On how many different levels is this offensive?
Posted at 11:16 PM
BUSH'S SPEECH: HISTORY IN THE MAKING [Jonah Goldberg]
How many millions of people had no idea that Churchill's speeches to Parliament in the 1930s would be so historic? How many millions were oblivious to the Four Freedoms speech? Or the Gettysburg address? Whether you think his ideas are monstrous or monumental, one thing's assured: your children will be reading about this speech in school. Mark my words. The rudder of the American ship of state has moved sharply, changing the direction of world history. I believe for the better.
Posted at 10:06 PM
SORRY FOR THE SILENCE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Our entire life here at NR has been down for repairs and things. Went down earlier than I had hoped, so didn't manage to fill this up first. apologies. And if you got a bizarre autoresponse for an email you sent anyone at NR, I apologize, too. Thanks for bearing with us.
Posted at 09:05 PM
PRYOR VOTE FAILS [Jonathan H. Adler]
51-43, another Democratic filibuster holds.
Posted at 03:42 PM
CORN STATES WIN, YOU LOSE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The House and Senate have reached a deal to expand ethanol use.
Posted at 03:34 PM
LEE'S WAY [John J. Miller]
When I was a student at the University of Michigan in the late 1980s, the administration imposed a speech code on the campus that outlawed "insensitive" speech, such as ethnic jokes and displaying Confederate flags. It was struck down in federal court as unconstitutional. During this period, the dean of the Michigan law school, one Lee Bollinger, didn't say a peep. Now he's president of Columbia, where he recently has bragged about how his school is "distinctly dedicated to the open intellect." That's wonderful, simply wonderful. I only wish he would acknowledge his failure to say something helpful back in Ann Arbor, when it might have mattered. I'm also delighted to read Checker Finn's excellent critique of Bollinger's other recent musings.
Posted at 01:36 PM
"CHOICE" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I would like to take the time to thank you for your article, "Partial Truths." As a Family Nurse Practitioner and a mother of two toddlers, I am strongly opposed to "partial-birth" abortions. I wasn't always aware of how abortions were actually performed until I became a nurse. I admit I even marched in a "pro-choice" parade in my college years. I guess I always thought having choices was important. I still do. But murder and infanticide is not a choice that ought to be granted to us. If it weren't for the internet, I would never have seen the horror. And until I saw my daughter at 7 weeks on the ultrasound, with her little heart beating, I never realized she was already a person before I knew she existed.
Posted at 01:08 PM
YOU'RE THE OMBUDS-MAN [Tim Graham]
The Romenesko site notes today that Chicago Tribune ombudsman Don Wycliff has agreed with pro-life letter-writers that two headlines in the paper's "WomanNews" section were wrong to use the term "anti-choice" in headlines:
"The perspective of those who define the issues involved in terms of "choice" was taken as normative, and the position of those who disagree with them and define the issues differently was characterized in "choice" terms. The result was two headlines that couldn't have been more slanted if they had come directly from the public relations office of NARAL Pro-Choice America."
Posted at 12:08 PM
A MAN AND HIS DOG [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Cornerites are huge Derb and Jonah/Cosmo fans--I know, I know. Overwelmingly you guys want brilliant Jonah and Derb quotes--you all know them best: Which ones would YOU wear, drink coffee out of, etc?
And, in particular, what kind of Jonah/Cosmo item would you buy? What would it look like? What would it say?
Keep your NRO Store ideas a-coming!
Posted at 11:35 AM
KYL BLASTS DEMS ON INTEL MEMO [Ramesh Ponnuru]
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a member of the Senate leadership, today issued the following statement one day after Senate Democrats' refused to repudiate a staff memo outlining a strategy to use a nonpartisan Intelligence Committee investigation for political attacks next year against President Bush.
Posted at 11:06 AM
MANKIND'S MOST SERIOUS PROBLEM [Rick Brookhiser]
Derb says that mankind's most serious problem is finding a reliable home improvement contractor. If there is no solution, is there a problem?
Posted at 10:31 AM
REALLY? HOW COME? [Rod Dreher]
From the Tallahassee Democrat: Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean told a Tallahassee audience Wed. that southerners have to quit basing their votes on "race, guns, God and gays." Boy, is that exquisite slice of Park Avenue condescension going to go over well with the Confederate-flag-and-pickup crowd that Dr. Dean was courting a couple of days ago. The Dems are the party that's obsessed with race, guns, God and gays -- yet Republicans are the ones who have to get over it?
Posted at 10:08 AM
EFFULGENT FORM [John Derbyshire]
Just to get you jump-started for the day's work.
Though I myself take issue with one of Dr. Nambiar's propositions. He says: "Many consider the problem of existence as the most serious concern of humankind." Possibly; but they are wrong. The most serious concern of humankind is finding a reliable home-improvement contractor.
Posted at 09:47 AM
MESS IN MECCA [Jonah Goldberg]
Qaeda goons blow themselves up.
Posted at 09:41 AM
THE NUMBERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Obviously, Krugman is peeved with the good economic news. But he'll surely fall back on the news that productivity is so high. Normally and rightly this is a good thing, but lately folks like Krugman argue that productivity growth is a sign that we're working existing laborers like dogs rather than hiring new ones.
Posted at 09:37 AM
HARVARD BOUND [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm off to Cambridge for an environmental law conference at Harvard Law School. As part of the conference, Assistant Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett will debate Clinton Administration Interior Solicitor John Leshy over the Bush Administration's environmental policies this afternoon at 4:30. I am one of three panelists who will comment upon the debate at its conclusion. Details here.
Posted at 09:32 AM
READ THIS: PROJECT JONAH & MORE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
As you may have heard, the NRO Store is back, with more than ever. But we’re looking to stock up even more and want your direction. First off, JONAH & COSMO merchandise. What would you want a sweatshirt with the G-Man and his dog to say? To look like? How about some Derbyshire items? What else would you like to see—to buy, perhaps for stocking stuffers or treats for yourself? Any new quotes welcome, too, generally. But we really want to get your requests for Jonah and Cosmo items, especially, straight away--so send 'em in! E-mail email@example.com with any and all suggestions. Thanks! Will share some of them will you as they roll in--and all of them with "THE SUITS." (Please put "NRO Store" in the subject line.)
Posted at 09:16 AM
SHARPTON BACKS VOTE ON BROWN [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Rev. Al Sharpton called upon Senate Democrats not to filibuster the nomination of Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the WT reports. While stressing he disagrees with her politics, Sharpton insisted "she should get an up-or-down vote." When told of Sharpton's comments, Wade Henderson, director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, was stunned: "I don't believe it. That can't be true, . . . It would be shockingly surprising."
Posted at 09:13 AM
MORE GOOD ECON NEWS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (AFP) - The number of Americans lodging new claims for jobless benefits plummeted unexpectedly last week to a near three-year low, the government said Thursday.
Posted at 09:07 AM
FULL KROC [John J. Miller]
A reader has tipped me off to something called the Joan B. Kroc Center for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame. It is, of course, one of those places that refuses even to consider the notion that a strong national defense just might possibly have something to do with peace. Kroc apparently has supported her little campus commune with $70 million--paid for by your Big Macs and Happy Meals. Writes my correspondent: "When I found out about that little tidbit, I wrote off McDonald's from not only my diet, but my posterity's as well."
Posted at 08:16 AM
A RIGHTEOUS BROTHER HAS DIED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 08:10 AM
DEAN BLEW IT [Jonah Goldberg]
His "apology" yesterday was not only weird and oddly insincere-sounding, it also was patently dishonest. Anyone who watched the CNN debate on Tuesday night -- as recounted in yesterday's G-File knows that Dean wasn't trying to "start a discussion." He was trying to defend his position and he did it badly. Once he conceded that the confederate flag is a "racist symbol," he no longer had any defense. Mainstream defenders of the confederate flag don't say "damn straight, it's racist." They say the flag stands for heritage and tradition etc. Dean wanted it both ways, he wanted to say the flag is a badge of bigotry while at the same he wanted those who wear that badge to vote for him. This allowed Sharpton to -- rightly -- condemn him for wanting racists in his column and Edwards to -- rightly -- condemn him for claiming that Southerners are nothing but a bung of ignorant redneck bigots. Dean can claim this was an attempt at starting a "discussion." But that's all nonsense. He messed up and now he's trying to spin it away.
Posted at 08:00 AM
CRITICISM VS. FICTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
On AOL last night, I noticed one of the main screens asked if Ronald Reagan is above criticism because he is sick. One talking-head debating Michael Reagan yesterday said something like, So can we not criticize him after he dies either? That's evidently the theme of a segment on the Today Show this morning. (Katie: "Is Ronald Reagan untouchable?") Have we forgotten The Reagans people admitted they made stuff up?
Posted at 07:22 AM
NPR SHELL GAMES [Tim Graham]
To see an old example of the shell games NPR plays to hide the extent of their taxpayer support, we dive into the old MRC dumpster of Notable Quotables:
NPR anchor Linda Wertheimer: "Your tax dollars are not going to fund it. National Public Radio is funded by dues from member stations."
Caller: "It's not entirely funded by private donations. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds National Public Radio."
Wertheimer: "...No it doesn't. Which of us works there? I do. No it doesn't."
-- Exchange from C-SPAN's Journalists Roundtable, September 9, 1994.
"About those 'dues from member stations,' to which Ms. Wertheimer referred: According to the 1993 audit, NPR received $28,147,648 in such dues -- the money local public radio stations pay for NPR services. But where do the stations get the money for dues? Well, some of it, 16 percent on average comes from none other than CPB. A portion of that money is actually earmarked for national programming like NPR's."
-- Washington Times editorial, September 21, 1994.
Even these figures the WashTimes used are NPR's official numbers, only less publicized. Here's the reality: NPR, like the rest of public broadcasting, wants maximized funding. It wants Joan Kroc's millions, and then it will still want YOUR millions. They still have to shell out $225,000 for Bob Edwards every year, after all.
Posted at 07:00 AM
MOMMY PEACEBUCKS & NPR [Tim Graham]
John, this donation ought to be seen in the same light as if Richard Mellon Scaife left $200 million to NPR. That would be seen as a scandalous attempt to politicize NPR and change its "nonpartisan" character, an attempt to pressure public radio into a dangerously partisan direction. Joan Kroc is hardly seen as a Scaife, although she has been not only a major funder of the Democrats, but also spent the 1980s endowing "peace" groups striving to keep "peaceful coexistence" with the Soviet empire afloat.
As for the Post's attempt at explaining NPR economics, that is classic public-broadcasting smoke and mirrors. Too bad we couldn't have the new Wall Street public-accounting sharks at the SEC try to explain how the NPR books are a politicized jumble.
Posted at 06:55 AM
WHAT A KROC [John J. Miller]
Joan Kroc--the widow of the founder of McDonald's--has bequeathed $200 million to National Public Radio. It's being called "the largest monetary gift ever received by an American cultural institution." I do like "Morning Edition," but I can also think of a few American cultural institutions that I'd support with that kind of money before giving it to that bastion of media liberalism. Kroc, as you may have guessed, was a big-time Democrat. This Washington Post story says that NPR gets less than 1 percent of its budget from the government (though "member stations" get about 15 percent of theirs from federal coffers, via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting). In light of the Kroc gift, can we finally quit using tax dollars to pay for some of America's most biased journalism? Pretty please?
Posted at 05:26 AM
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
ANGRYCONS [Kate O'Beirne]
Is anyone else hearing from conservatives who are furious that so many Republican senators appear to be rapidly "moving on" following the disclosure of the memo from the Dem side of the Intelligence Committee? Are Jon Kyl (and Zell Miller) badly outnumbered by a Republican caucus that doesn't have the stomach for a fight worth fighting? One furious conservative observer: "I hope there's something I don't know to explain the roll-over. Have they gotten a commitment to confirm a half-dozen judges?" Uh, no.
Posted at 06:38 PM
DAVID GREGORY ON NBC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Video image from the partial-birth-abortion-ban signing, sea of white male senators and representatives shaking the president's hand (similar to this). Gregory voiceover: "Strikingly, not one female politician was on hand at the signing of the law."
MEMO TO WHITE HOUSE: That could have been preventing (even though there are soooo many bad female pols, there are also good ones you could have gotten up there....or other women.) I suspect we will see that white male image replayed often in the next 360-something days.
Posted at 06:33 PM
"THEY CALL IT PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Tom Brokaw's tease during the local news right now for his broadcast. Who are they? Anyone but him? Anyone but the arrogant?
Posted at 05:52 PM
GIVING THEM ZELL OVER THE MEMO [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 04:29 PM
MORE IRAQ [Rich Lowry]
Also, an encouraging story in Washington Post today about how the 1st Armored Division is becoming adept at coaxing intel from the locals. The troops really have to operate like beat cops:
Instead of Force, Friendly Persuasion Armor Division in Baghdad Attempts Makeover Into Intelligence Gathering Unit
“With its armored vehicles sitting in parking lots, the 1st Armored Division is reinventing itself on the fly, grooming neighborhood informants and sending paid sources deep into Baghdad's teeming neighborhoods, CIA-style, to collect information on Islamic militants and Iraqis loyal to former president Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party.
Foot patrols knock on doors posing as water and sewer survey teams; they are actually gathering information. Military intelligence officers, who normally study an enemy's armored order of battle, send sources out with global positioning system devices to record precise locations of targeted homes.”
Posted at 04:15 PM
BUY THE TRIBES [Rich Lowry]
From my amateur’s perspective, I've been eagerly looking for suggestions for how we can improve the security situation in Iraq beyond the truism that "we need better intelligence.” The one that seems most convincing is buying off the tribes in the Sunni Triangle. The Wall Street Journal has an excellent report along these lines today (excuse the long post, but I think it’s an important story).
The story tells of Col. Hector Mirabile, who captured Kurdi Rashid for his anti-coalition activities. But Mirabile released Rashid to co-opt his brother, an influential sheik in the region: “The price of Mr. Rashid’s freedom was a stop to the daily roadside bomb attacks on the colonel’s troops. So far, the bargain is holding. ‘All of a sudden, there is miraculous peace in my little area. I haven’t had a bomb in a week,’ Col. Mirabile said, sipping sweet tea. ‘Here, it’s not like a Western system… It’s all bartering and favors.’”
Mirabile is operating in a long tradition, the Journal reports: “It’s how the Ottoman and British occupiers kept peace, and it’s how Saddam Hussein operated, too, often freeing political prisoners at the request of powerful Sunni tribes and rewarding chieftains with cash and gleaming limousines.
The Sheiks here in Anbar can be unsavory characters. Many owe their fortunes to smuggling with Syria and Saudi Arabia, as well as to outright extortion and thievery. Bolstering their power goes against the grain of the occupation government’s longer-term effort to transform Iraq into a showcase of Western-style democracy and civil society.”
The story continues: “As Col. Mirabile spends his days going from sheik to sheik, he’s making progress figuring out tribal etiquette and Iraqi eating habits. He’s adept at compressing rice and meat into a ball with his fingers at the standing tribal banquets, where there are no forks or plates. And, as a sign of progress, he points out that when he is offered tea now the tiny glasses overflow and stand in a saucer full of spilled liquid. ‘If it’s just barely full, it’s a sign of disrespect,’ he said. That’s how the glasses often looked in the beginning.
Above all, Col. Mirabile says, he has learned that cash is king. Discussions with tribal leaders quickly turn to requests that reconstruction contracts be steered the tribe’s way . . . Using a special cash fund the U.S. military puts at the disposal of units, Col. Mirabile has spent $700,000 on projects in the city. ‘Since ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ not a damn thing here has changed.'”
By all means, let’s get more sheiks on the payroll. It seems an alien tradition, but I’m not sure it's that different from how the House Transportation Committee operates....
Posted at 04:13 PM
PBA BAN BLOCKED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A federal judge has issued an injunction. The victory press releases had barely gone out...
Posted at 03:03 PM
PRESIDENT'S PBA BAN REMARKS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I'm pleased that all of you have joined us as the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 becomes the law of the land. (Applause.) For years, a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth, while the law looked the other way. Today, at last, the American people and our government have confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child. (Applause.)
Posted at 02:42 PM
DEAN'S APOLOGY [Michael Graham]
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3651-2003Nov5.html Whatever hope Dean had of picking up the "nobody loves the straight, white, southern male" vote in southern states is dead. If he had stood his ground, it would have added to the notion that he really is more moderate than his New England/Socialized Medicine pedigree would indicate.
Instead, he's now just another Democratic presidential candidate who thinks all vestiges of southern culture are inherently racist.
So, does anyone want to put money down on yet another GOP electoral college sweep of the South?
Posted at 02:30 PM
MEA CULPA: BILL GATES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
What the heck was I thinking? No, no, Bill Gates is not, was not ever my hero (his foundation's fudning of abortion is actually more than enough for me). The short comment I made earlier was an anti-spam comment. That it. Most of you--who know loads more than I do about programming and such, say they're his fault in the first place--or that at least he has power to stop, or curb it. I'll leave that to you to debate elsewhere. And I promise to never comment on computer viruses again.
Posted at 02:28 PM
IT HAS BEEN SIGNED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
For the record: This is what we just banned.
Posted at 01:49 PM
RE: 1:40 [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
What an incredibly enthusiastic crowd! Of course, they have been waiting for eight years for this moment.
Posted at 01:42 PM
1:40 [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Bush signs the partial-birth-abortion ban.
Posted at 01:37 PM
RACE WAR COMING? [Michael Graham]
As pundits ponder election results and the playing of the race card in places like Philadelphia and Mississippi, there's a story in the capital of the Confederacy that should not be overlooked.
The people of Richmond, VA--58% of whom are black--are not allowed to vote for their own mayor. (They have a city council member who acts as figurehead mayor while a city manager runs the government.) On yesterday's ballot was a proposition that would allow them to do so, a proposition supported by nearly every former mayor, black and white. The only opposition came from currently elected black politicians like the acting mayor and a powerful state senator, Henry Marsh.
The proposition passed with an astonishing 80% of the vote, and it carried every council district, including the majority black districts. So what is the reaction of the black elected officials who represent these voters?
Sen. Marsh predicts a "race war" in Richmond if direct democracy is "forced" upon them. Now, the phrase "race war" has a particularly sinister resonance in the South. It's also odd to hear someone threaten violence because you GAVE him the right to vote.
There is universal agreement that the city government is incompetent and corrupt. One councilmember just left for the federal pen and another is currently under indictment for bribery. The only answer from the black Democrats running this once-proud city is to say "You must keep us crooks in power because we're black! And if you don't...watch out."
If the pun weren't so offensive, I'd be tempted to call it blackmail. But this pattern of black politicians demeaning and threatening black citizens to keep them in political line is all too common across the country. The black voters have demanded change. The black elected officials are going to the courts and the state legislature to stop the will of these voters. This is a fight worth watching.
Posted at 12:54 PM
ANDREW! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Wow. You probably sneak in a little Family Channel and 7th Heaven viewing while no one is looking, too!
Posted at 12:52 PM
SKINNED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Yes, Kathryn, judging by the one episode I saw, Skin will be sadly missed. All is not lost, however. The OC is coming back, so we'll all discover whether Marissa survived that rather tricky trip to Tijuana, and the increasingly engrossing Nip/Tuck will also be making a welcome return. Meanwhile, my shameful secret pleasure, the nauseatingly wholesome Everwood (yes, really) continues to flourish.
Posted at 12:49 PM
IN NYC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Dean just apologized for the pain he caused with his Confederate flag comments.
Posted at 12:34 PM
SWAMP THING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Hillary takes on Head Start for being "culturally insensitive."
Posted at 12:20 PM
DERB'S FAVORITE ALBUM COVERS [John Derbyshire]
...is the one on Dr. Jukka Ammondt's album of rock'n'roll hits in Latin--the second album shown here.
Posted at 12:16 PM
AND THIS IS FOR JONAH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Dog shoots Frenchman
Posted at 12:10 PM
DIGGING PETRARCH [John J. Miller]
Scientists plan to exhume the bones of the great Renaissance man. According to this article, they want to measure the size of his waist, among other things.
Posted at 12:04 PM
FORLORN ABOUT PORN [Tim Graham]
The humor in the "Skin" cancellation comes from the NYT's Frank Rich, whose reputation as a cultural trend analyst should suffer, cooing about the show's creator: "Bruckheimer didn't get where he is by being ahead of the curve. He is the curve. His gut tells him, accurately, that porn is not just well within the American mainstream but overdue to be stripped of its plain brown wrapper in prime time."
Posted at 11:55 AM
TREASURES--WITHIN YOUR REACH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Nov. 24 issue of NR is just about to bed. If you are a subscriber, here's a quick look at SOME of what you have to look forward to (and if you are not a subscriber: ALL THIS CALL BE YOURS, TOO!): VDH on LOYALTY. Amir Taheri on CHECKLIST IRAQ. Ramesh Ponnuru on THE RIGHT AND MARRIAGE. Jennifer Grossman on the dangers of FAT ACCEPTANCE. PLUS: A little David Pryce-Jones, John O’Sullivan, Kate O’ Beirne, Roger Kimball, Byron York, Rick Brookhiser, and a dude you may have heard of named MARK STEYN. PLUS a little Rob Long humor.
And, folks, that’s not even all of it! You can subscribe to the paper version here and the digital version here. Go Digital and you will have access to NRODT tomorrow night. AND--if you subscribe to the paper edition, you get DIGITAL included--a bargain(you can also subscribe to the digital version only, though, here).
Posted at 11:54 AM
KYL ATTACKS [John J. Miller]
Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona on that Democrat memo: "This strategy memo lays bare what we've started to see for some time: an orchestrated effort by Democrats at a time of war to improperly use an intelligence investigation as a weapon against President Bush. The memo completely shreds Democrats' claims of bipartisanship in this investigation and falsely attributes ugly motives to the President, members of his administration, and fellow members of Congress. It has reached conclusions about this investigation before it's even been concluded. The Senate should examine whether its rules have been violated by this memo. It is, for example, improper under Senate rules to impugn the motives of fellow Senators. Additionally, committee staff should never be involved in partisan political scheming, most especially Intelligence Committee staff members, who in the past have always acted in a nonpolitical, bipartisan fashion. If Senators continue to attribute this memo to staff, then those staff members should be fired. Additionally, I call on Senator Rockefeller and Senate Democratic leaders to immediately disassociate themselves from this partisan attack plan. A failure to denounce this memo publicly would clearly seem to be an acknowledgement of its authenticity."
Posted at 11:50 AM
BOOMSKIN [Jonah Goldberg]
Actually, the really bad news from that article is that Boomtown is being cancelled. It was always hard to find, but really an outstanding show whenever I caught it.
Posted at 11:43 AM
SKIN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This strikes me as something Andrew would be bummed about.
Posted at 11:37 AM
CNN [Rich Lowry]
FYI: talking Iraq/Legacy on CNN around noon today…
Posted at 11:23 AM
11/05 [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The day Bill Gates became my hero.
Posted at 11:11 AM
11/17 [Meghan Keane]
Rush Limbaugh's next on-air date.
Posted at 11:07 AM
RE: FACKCHECKING THE PUNDITS [John Derbyshire]
Jonathan: "Few opinion outlets fact-check their writers"? Well, there is at least one that does: NRODT. Those who have the privilege of writing for that esteemed organ will tell you that the fact-checking is newspaper standard. And I'm not talking WORLD WEEKLY NEWS, either.
Posted at 11:04 AM
CORRECTION FREE COLUMNS [Jonathan H. Adler]
It's no surprise that the NYT does not fact-check op-ed columns -- few opinion outlets fact-check their writers. More surprising is that the NYT leaves columnists in charge of their own corrections. At least that's what an NYT VP told Don Luskin.
Posted at 10:55 AM
ISRAEL'S THREAT TO WORLD PEACE [Jonah Goldberg]
My syndicated column.
Posted at 10:48 AM
THURSDAY JUDGE VOTES [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Senate could vote again on the nomination of Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit this Thursday. Howard Bashman notes the news coverage here. Expect another successful filibuster. On the same day, the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled votes on several more judicial nominees, including Justice Janice Rogers Brown (D.C. Circuit), Henry Saad (Sixth Circuit), and Michael Fisher (Third Circuit).
Posted at 10:48 AM
YET MORE RE CHINESE RIOTERS [John Derbyshire]
An actual picture of the rioters, from the English-language Japan Times.
Posted at 10:29 AM
THAT MEMO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
We have carefully reviewed our options under the rules and believe we have identified the best approach. Our plan is as follows:
Posted at 10:28 AM
MORE RE: CHINA'S HYPER-NATIONALISTS [John Derbyshire]
A diligent reader has spotted the following media account of the Chinese college riot.
Posted at 10:16 AM
RE: CHINA'S HYPER-NATIONALISTS RIOT [John Derbyshire]
The incident I reported just happened: the date on my web page should read "2003" not "2002." Sorry.
Posted at 09:53 AM
IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS [NR Staff]
Florence King. Children's Treasuries. No lines. No hassle. Just order.
Posted at 09:44 AM
PASS THE MITER, SWEETIE [John Derbyshire]
Blogging around for reactions to the consecration of "Bishop" V. Gene Robinson, I encountered the following especially pertinent blogs:
Midwest Conservative Journal .
Numerous readers have expressed their outrage at one particularly gross and sacrilegious feature of this travesty: The miter was handed to Robinson not by the presiding church officer, but by his boyfriend. The only surprise was that they didn't have a sacramental fondle right then and there. What an outrage.
"Anoint and cheer our soiled face With the abundance of thy grace."
Posted at 09:41 AM
SO YOU WANT TO BE A HISTORIAN [John Derbyshire]
This document, though rather long, is well worth reading. It is Robert David Johnson's testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee on October 29. Johnson is a professor of history in New York City. In the document, he relates the difficulties he has because his historical specialties are not "social" enough (i.e. concerned with race, class and sex). It paints a dismaying picture of the spreading ideological conformity in the American university.
Posted at 09:39 AM
BABS ON _____ [Meghan Keane]
"I don't believe Democrats often, if ever, try to muscle the First Amendment like this...these important decisions should be based on artistic integrity rather than an attempt to appease a small group of vocal dissidents."
Is she talking about The Reagans, or The Passion?
Posted at 09:36 AM
NO BRAINER [John Derbyshire]
Here (courtesy of Mike Zorn) is an article in the trade magazine, InfoWorld: It's about the Japanese quantum computer project. Computers faster than greased lightning would be nifty in cryptography, because the most popular modern cryptographic methods are based on the fact that while multiplying two humongous numbers together is easy, the reverse thing--factorizing a huge product into its component primes--is tremendously time-consuming. Well, about halfway down the page , where they're talking about how fast a quantum computer is and what might be done, there's this:
"That means calculations, such as working out the factors of prime numbers, which present problems for even the fastest supercomputers could be trivialized by a quantum computer."
I could tell them THOSE factors for free, and real fast....
Posted at 09:27 AM
CHINA'S HYPER-NATIONALIST RIOT [John Derbyshire]
Here is a note on the hyper-nationalism of Chinese college students. Sometimes this kind of thing leaks out to the Western press; much more often, it doesn't.
Posted at 09:11 AM
DEBATE SIDEBAR: THE REV. ON FLORIDA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Al Sharpton misspells Florida ("Flordia") in his Rock the Vote video. Is that some kind of subtle message to the voters of Palm Beach County and other precincts who supposedly had issues maneuvering punchcards in 2000?
Posted at 09:06 AM
LAKEWOOD LOSES, HOMEOWNERS WIN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Preliminary returns, pending a recount, show voters in Lakewood, Ohio, narrowly defeated the city's "redevelopment" plan which called for bulldozing an entire neighborhood and building high-end condos and shopping. While the slim tally may be reversed, the vote shows many Lakewood residents are uncomfortable with using eminent domain to force longstanding residents from their homes. Lakewood Mayor Madelaine Cain, an avid proponent of the plan, was soundly defeated as well.
Posted at 08:37 AM
HOOVER DEMS [John J. Miller]
Tom Bray of the Detroit News on Hoover Democrats.
Posted at 08:17 AM
HARRY SMITH [Tim Graham]
"Early Show" host Harry Smith to Michael Reagan on the Reagan miniseries fiasco this morning: "Why the vehemence?" Okay, Harry, let's make a TV movie full of lies about your dad and see you take it calmly.
Posted at 08:00 AM
NICE PHOTO, REUTERS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
You don't have to wonder why they picked this of all file photos of Mel Gibson.
Posted at 05:58 AM
ANOTHER RACE TO WATCH [John J. Miller]
Republican Orlando Sanchez is in a December runoff for Houston mayor against former Clinton administration official Bill White. Sanchez is probably the underdog. Here's the Houston Chronicle story.
Posted at 05:46 AM
THE NEXT VOTE [John J. Miller]
As much as conservatives are pleased by Kentucky and Mississippi, their most important election this month is yet to come in Louisiana, on Saturday, Nov. 15--gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal is a potential star. If he wins, it will complete a GOP trifecta and deepen the conservative bench.
Posted at 05:37 AM
THE VOTE [John J. Miller]
A good night for Republicans in Kentucky in Mississippi. Here in Virginia, the governor wasn't on the ballot, but Democrats appear to have made minor gains in the state legislature--something that hasn't happened in a long time. They also retained the chairmanship of the Fairfax County board of supervisors, in what was a hotly contested race seen as a proxy battle between Democrat governor Mark Warner and GOP Rep. Tom Davis.
Posted at 05:33 AM
HALEY COMETS INTO GOVERNOR'S MANSION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 05:12 AM
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
MORE FLORIDA WINNERS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Another e-mailer: "And the Miami Hurricanes won the college football national championship in 2001." And, of course: "... isn't Kerry conceding that 2000 was a legitimate victory?"
Posted at 10:15 PM
DEMOCRATS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
should insist someone on Jay Rockefeller's staff be fired for this memo.
Posted at 09:55 PM
PHILLY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
FNC just called the mayor race for John Street.
Posted at 09:30 PM
DOH! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader points out: "The people of Florida take offense to that statement. Kerry certainly isn't a sports fan. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl last January."
Posted at 09:13 PM
ROD'S GLAD HE LEFT TOWN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Memri translates a warning to NY, LA, and DC.
Posted at 09:02 PM
"AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
requires unchecked judicial power, according to Slate.
Posted at 08:22 PM
THAT DEBATE DRINKING GAME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Is "LGBT Community" already in it?
Posted at 08:10 PM
FLETCHER WINS IN KY. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mississippi not called.
Posted at 07:31 PM
MRS. HEINZ-KERRY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
doesn't like the debates.
Posted at 07:29 PM
MORE DEBATE: MACS OR PCS?! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That's a question I never allow in mixed or polite or any company. We've been there too often. (They would be PC guys, though....)
Posted at 07:18 PM
DA DEBATE: I MIGHT ADD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Was that 10 minutes all about Dean?
Posted at 07:17 PM
ROCKING THE VOTE DEBATE: THE LONG-TERM DEAN THREAT: HE DIDN'T APOLOGIZE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
When was the last time you heard a pol refuse to apologize...on race? A black kid (I'm calling everyone at this one a kid) in the audience takes on Howard Dean on his confederatre flag comment. Howard Dean addresses him--talking about reaching out to southern whites without apology. Sharpton takes him on, Edwards takes him on...and he is not moving an inch. That's something.
Posted at 07:13 PM
KERRY ON MARLINS & WORLD SERIES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
At the CNN Rock the Vote "debate" with Anderson "I'm Da Man" Cooper: "That's the first legitimate victory out of FLorida since 2000."
Posted at 07:07 PM
PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee does a nice job clearing up a few myths and answering some criticisms--notably that of Will Saletan in Slate.
Posted at 06:29 PM
THREE PIECES TO READ [Stanley Kurtz]
Three important Op-Eds today ought to be read in tandem, if you haven't already. First, there’s Fareed Zakaria’s piece in The Washington Post. Then there are pieces by Edward Luttwak and David Brooks in The New York Times. These are not the sort of folks who can be dismissed by conservatives. In one way or another, they all say that the Bush administration is trying to do too much in Iraq with too little commitment of American troops. Zakaria adds the critical point that we are trying to bring about elections in Iraq too quickly. I understand the political pressures on the administration to reduce America’s footprint in Iraq as quickly as possible. But the hard truth is, we are trying to do too much too fast, and with too few troops. If I have a criticism of the administration, this is it. I’ve been saying since 9/11 that we need more troops. Since a draft is politically unacceptable, we need to expand the military with volunteers. It would have been a whole lot easier to do this a couple of years ago, when the political support would have been available. Unfortunately, we missed that opportunity. I’ve also written at length on the difficulty of bringing democracy to the Arab world. It may well be doable, but it cannot be done quickly. Right now, we are rightly concentrated on the security problem in Iraq. But I am very concerned about the consequences of premature elections. The administration is in a tough position right now. It’s not that the situation in Iraq can’t be fixed. No, the problem is that there is too little political support at home–particularly with the Dems hoping to turn failure in Iraq into an election issue–to do what needs to be done. Maybe the administration will manage to limp along, do the minimum in Iraq, and still win the election. Or maybe the president will take the risk of going to the public and explaining why we simply have to commit more money to build up our military forces. I actually think that would work. If the Democrats make an issue of it, they would reinforce their bad image on defense. But whether the administration will commit the necessary troops, and spend the money it will take to expand our military, is a very open question. In any case, read these three Op-Ed’s.
Posted at 05:28 PM
CASED CLOSED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Luskin-Atrios nonsense is over.
Posted at 05:05 PM
SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT [John J. Miller]
Earlier this year, we learned that the smell (stench?) from male armpits has a calming effect on women. (I'm not making this up: click here.) Now comes the news that women can make male testosterone go wild just by talking to guys.
Posted at 04:40 PM
EXACTLY… [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: “Subject: A whore perhaps
But I would take umbrage at the term media whore. I believe you prostitute thyself solely for signed first editions of Legacy and not mere lucre….”
Posted at 04:35 PM
BITTER TEARS? [Tim Graham]
Philadelphia Daily News TV critic Ellen Gray looks a little silly from just this morning's paper:
"Smart money suggests CBS will ultimately air an edited version. (Cuts have reportedly already begun.) CBS' Hitler miniseries also underwent some changes after an early draft of the script leaked and drew fire. That all those changes were aimed at making Hitler look even worse than he appeared in the original just goes to show you Ronald Reagan has a lot more friends."
PS: Nice on-screen graphic on MSNBC just now on the Reagan miniseries: "Myopic Biopic?"
Posted at 03:58 PM
THIS IS, CHAPTER AND VERSE, WHY THE DEMCRATS ARE LOSING THE SOUTH [Michael Graham]
Soon-to-be FORMER US Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina demonstrated why he was reluctant to run for another term, thus bringing to an end the longest "Junior Senator" run in American history.
Calling the war in Iraq a "mistake from the beginning" and saying "This is, chapter and verse, Vietnam," these are not strategies for victory in South Carolina or anywhere outside Manhattan or the Hollywood Hills.
Hollings has long espoused positions far to the left of the typical South Carolinian, but he's benefitted from his state's voters tendency to defer to incumbents. South Carolina hasn't ousted an incumbent US Senator since WWII.
Hollings is demonstrating yet again why he's stepping down rather than testing that streak.
Posted at 03:55 PM
DEAN & PARIS [Rich Lowry]
Have gotten many e-mails (forgive the long post) along these lines in response to my limited Howard Dean defense from last week:
"Subject: Townhall Comment: Unmitigated Media Whore
Mr. Lowry, during a townhall column you said.. `Lord knows that Howard Dean deserves to be attacked. The Democratic front-runner has said -- if not in so many words -- that his first act as president would be to run to Paris to apologize for the fact that the United States toppled Saddam Hussein.' Have you always been a partisan, lying whore? Please, tell us all, WHERE & WHEN did Dean ever say he would run to Paris to apologize? `If not in so many words,' means you're LYING."
I've been sending this back to such e-mailers (note the source!): "Agence France Presse October 27, 2003 Monday
HEADLINE: Dean vows to heal Iraq wounds with allies
DATELINE: DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct 27
BODY: Howard Dean's longstanding opposition to the Iraq war has made him the candidate to beat among the Democratic pack seeking the nomination for next year's presidential election. He has declared that ending the rift with Europe over Iraq will be one of his top priorities if his campaign to replace George W. Bush is successful. Candidate Dean also has controversial ideas for North Korea and the Middle East. `Before I am inaugurated I will go to Europe and begin the process of healing the wounds caused by this president's ineptness and rudeness,' Dean told AFP during a campaign swing through Iowa. `We're not going to have a healing of the trans-Atlantic alliance as long as this president is in office,' the former Vermont governor said, adding that he would also go to "other key capitals around the world.'"
Posted at 03:34 PM
THE NEOCONS [Jonah Goldberg ]
The Baltimore Jewish Times has a long piece on the Neocons. I talked to the author, as is obvious from the get-go. But I haven't read the whole thing yet because I'm on a deadline. Neil Rubin certainly seemed to be thorough when I talked to him on the phone. But I'll reserve judgement until I read it.
Posted at 03:07 PM
FROM GUN MOM [Rich Lowry]
This sounds pretty authoritative.
E-mail: "Subject: Mom of three gun boys
Okay, here's the priority of guns, as far as I can tell:
AA1. A gun which shoots an actual projectile, like nerf balls or water. Appearance IRRELEVANT.
A1. Guns of any type that belong to a friend or cousin, and therefore must be left behind. 1. Guns that look realistic, are connected to a current movie, and make an annoying noise. 2. Guns that resemble #1, but are a knockoff. 3. Guns that are realistic, combined with "extras," (cowboy hat, superman cape, etc.) with noises that are supplied by the little boy in question. 4. Guns that are realistic, no extras, but noises will always be supplied. 5. Guns made of legos or duplos. Problem: fall apart easily 6. Sticks shaped like guns. 7. Toys shaped like guns. 8. Sandwiches bitten into the shape of a gun. 9. Fingers. Incidentally, high on the "cool" list you will also find sword-type toys (see: lightsaber,) pointed sticks, and throwing rocks (definition: any rock I can pick up.) You will not find Loving Family dolls anywhere on that list. You will not find fuzzy bunnies, unless they are breathing fuzzy bunnies. You will not find rainbows, Care Bears, or CD's about nonviolence. Our DVD of the Lone Ranger is pretty popular, though."
Posted at 03:07 PM
MORE RE: THE REV ON SNL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 02:45 PM
HEAVILY REPUBLICAN MISSISSIPPI COUNTIES.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Need more voting booths.
Posted at 02:44 PM
MORE RE: THE CABINET POLL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Doesn't that poll prove that the federal government is too big? More than mere ignorance (the power of which I don't discount) must be at work here. Surely we don't need 19 departments. I had no idea that some of these positions (EPA, Drug Policy, trade rep) were Cabinet positions now. (I could only reach 13 myself, although I ought to have thought of Energy and Transportation.)
Posted at 02:43 PM
RE: CLUELESS ON CABINET [Tim Graham]
When you see polls like Conway's on public ignorance about government, begin by laying blame at the media's doorstep. Princess Diana's butler gets a five-part interview on ABC, but the cabinet secretaries almost never surface. Even major newspapers and news magazines rarely report below the first tier of Treasury/Justice/State/Defense (and maybe Homeland Security).
Then there's today's elections (for governors in Kentucky and Mississippi, among other races). In watching CBS's "Early Show" this morning, MRC's Brian Boyd reports that the election news they spotlighted instead was...a Denver referendum which would require the city to adopt stress-reduction techniques.
Posted at 02:35 PM
RE: KELLYANNE'S POLL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
In case you need a primer.
Posted at 02:31 PM
FRANCHISING THE FELONS [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew - On the e-voting thing, I think we agree to much to bother disagreeing anymore. As for giving ex-cons the vote, I see your point. But frankly even if I were willing to concede that it is an injustice I don't think I could care very much about it. I think many, many Americans would agree with me, which is a salient political point. Any politician who expended a great deal of effort fighting for the voting rights of convicted criminals would be at an extreme disadvantage except in a very few districts. This is a point a lot of drug legalizers don't appreciate either. It's not necessarily that you guys have bad arguments. Some of them are obviously quite compelling if, to me, not always convincing. But politicians and political parties need to pick their priorities. And the more serious a politician, the less likely it is he's going to pick legalization or felon rights. This leaves such issues for fringe parties which, at the end of the day, only makes them seem more fringe-y. That may not be fair, or even good, but it's the way things work. Myself, as an inactivist on domestic issues, this doesn't trouble me that much. But that's a topic for another time.
Posted at 02:30 PM
TERRY TEACHOUT ON SHOWTIME'S REAGANS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From his blog:
by relegating The Reagans to Showtime, CBS has publicly acknowledged, albeit implicitly, the growing weakness of Big Media. Now that the common culture is a thing of the past, lowest-common-denominator programming is harder and harder to pull off, as is lowest-common-denominator editing. To do it, you have to keep lowering the denominator further and further. When your overhead is as high as it is at CBS, you can’t afford to give offense, nor can you afford to be sophisticated. Above all, you don't dare try to lead the culture anywhere it doesn't care to go—not if your job is to keep your numbers in the black.
Posted at 02:29 PM
THE CBS STATEMENT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
is here, by the way.
Posted at 02:04 PM
VOTING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, There are a number of points about this. Firstly, you are quite correct that the technical problems with e-voting will ultimately be solved, although that begs the question as to why these systems have been introduced prematurely, but I am far more skeptical (than you, I imagine) that the 'psychological' problems can be. In a democracy there is little that is more important than the electorate's sense that votes will be tallied correctly. That means that a voter has to know that his vote has been registered, and recorded correctly (by a paper receipt, I would think) and should involve him depositing a duplicate of that receipt in a secure spot. This prepares the way for a manual recount if necessary, something that's not possible with a purely electronic system. If you think that sounds a lot like an old-fashioned paper ballot, you'd be right - that's my preferred option. And yes, implementing this would make the voting process more cumbersome, but given your comments about making voting "more difficult" you shouldn't mind too much about that.
On the undesirability of remote cyber-voting, you are also quite right, not least, again, because of the possibilities of fraud and intimidation, but then perhaps we should not be surprised that fraud has so far not been raised as much of an issue in this context. To this foreigner, the US seems curiously relaxed about the degree of cheating in its elections. Cleaning up the mess won't be easy, but always requiring photo identification seems an entirely reasonable requirement. And, yes, it would certainly be a good idea to move election day to one 24 hour period over the weekend.
And, while we are on the topic of elections, another thing that needs changing is the disqualification of felons from voting. I agree (obviously) with denying convicts the vote and there's a decent case for extending that ban until, say, five years after the end of a sentence. Thereafter (and particularly in a society where all sorts of relatively petty misconduct is now classified as felonious) they should be given their votes back. Excluding so many citizens from the franchise cannot be healthy. Besides, on the expiry of his sentence, isn't a felon supposed to have paid their debt to society?
Posted at 02:03 PM
SHOWTIME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If the made-up sinners line stays in it will be more at home between Queer as Folk and The L Word, I suppose.
Posted at 02:00 PM
WHO THEY KIDDING? [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
I’m not exactly a connoisseur of made-for-TV movies, but CBS’s statement about the Reagan movie fails the laugh test. CBS execs seem to want to leave you with the impression that they have high standards for their biopics, but if you saw their ridiculous, cartoonish Hell on Wheels, starring Shirley MacLaine--a total waste-of-two hours--about the late Mary Kay Ash last year, you know differently.
Posted at 01:53 PM
VIRGINIA VOTE [John J. Miller]
Just returned from voting here in Virginia, where we go to the polls every November, because our state delegates are elected in odd-numbered years. I continue to be astonished at how little is required of voters by way of identification: I gave a poll worker my name, she looked it up, and asked me my address (which by then was in plain sight). That's it. When I offered to show my drivers license, she said it wasn't necessary. And then I voted. When Republicans talk about increasing ballot security, they're talking about little things like requiring voters to show proof of identification--and they're accused of racism for it, as if it were a 1960s literacy test from Mississippi ("how many bubbles in a bar of soap?" etc.). Ludicrous, ludicrous, ludicrous.
Posted at 01:44 PM
HUH? WHAT ABOUT MY KITCHEN? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From Kellyanne Conway's polling co.:
Washington, DC - Most Americans are unable to identify even a single department in the United States Cabinet, according to a recent national poll of 800 adults. Specifically, the survey found that a majority (58%) could not provide any department names whatsoever; 41% could. Only 4% of those surveyed specified at least five of the 19 executive-level departments, a figure comparable to the poll's overall margin of error (+/-3.5%).
Posted at 01:33 PM
SELLING HISTORY? [Andrew Stuttaford]
The good news for Seattle's Hebrew Academy and two Seattle arts groups was that Bill Clinton agreed (for a fee) to attend a fundraiser in September. The bad news? The event lost money. One of the organizers noted that there had been "a sense of history that night. But translating history into cold, hard cash is not always easy."
Let's just say that it's a lot easier if you have the Lincoln Bedroom at your disposal.
Posted at 01:16 PM
TOY STORIES—HELP [Rich Lowry]
There is a move afoot in Congress to ban realistic-looking toy guns. It's possible column fodder. I'm looking for people out there who: 1) have any stories about anti-toy gun hysteria from their local newspapers, etc.; 2) have some knowledge about what’s hot in toy guns now—what the gun-fascinated kid really wants to own these days. Thanks!…
Posted at 12:54 PM
RE: SNL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
At least the "fellow civil rights leader" they cited in the press release was Jesse Jackson.
Posted at 12:25 PM
KID LIT [NR Staff]
selected by WFB (in multiple volumes!)
Posted at 12:21 PM
WONDER IF THEY'LL DO A FREDDY'S FASHION MART SKIT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL REV. AL SHARPTON TO HOST NBC’S “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE” DECEMBER 6
Posted at 12:16 PM
RE: GIBSON [Kathryn Jeean Lopez]
Tim, I thought there was something Passion related coming in your post. Was thinking of MEL Gibson and the ADL after reading this Catholic League release.
Posted at 12:14 PM
GIBSON, THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE [Tim Graham]
On ABC's "Good Morning America" today, Charlie Gibson asked Michael Reagan: "Well, let me play devil's advocate for a minute, because there are a lot of people who feel -- now the quote is quite inflammatory, one that you mentioned about AIDS...But a lot of people feel, for instance, that your dad was slow to recognize the AIDS crisis, that it had festered for quite a period of time before he addressed it. So if you fictionalize that, is it necessarily wrong?"
In other words, if you "feel" that Reagan deserves a little fictional goosing to make his record on AIDS look as bad as you want it to look, exaggeration is not "wrong." That's artistic freedom applied for a positive social impact.
Posted at 12:13 PM
RE: REAGAN VS. CLINTONS [Tim Graham]
Jonah, you must be joking. Can't imagine what would upset the Clintonites, the Buzzflashers, and the Media-Whores-Onliners? They are ultrasensitive. It used to be considered "blasphemy" (a term actually used by USA Today) to suggest that Bill Clinton did ANYthing wrong in his terms as Governor of Arkansas. The Clintons are completely ripe for Dynasty-style melodramatic exploitation, but the TV networks wouldn't touch it. What happened instead: CBS president Les Moonves was talked into a 1997 TV movie glorifying Clinton's Family and Medical Leave Act.
Someone suggested the movie "Primary Colors" based on the novel by Anonymous Joe Klein. But Klein meant to make "Jack Stanton" look like a lovable philanderer who had so much to offer that the uptight moralists ought to shut up and let the genius govern.
Posted at 12:08 PM
JESUS, MARY MAGDALENE, AND LEAPS OF LOGIC [ Mike Potemra]
So I watched this ABC "News" special last night, and I think it is, indeed, biased in favor of the fantastic and unhistorical assertion that Jesus was married. Really fanciful guesses by a handful of way-out scholars are given equal screen time to more reasonable comments from the mainstream-like great Italian scholar/novelist Umberto Eco pointing out that the story is a literary invention on a par with Little Red Riding Hood. This evenhandedness leaves the unmistakable-and false--impression that this Jesus-was-married theory is an issue of serious intellectual "debate." Interestingly, the show begins with a debunking of the idea that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute-an idea that, the show correctly points out, is a later, unscriptural innovation. The documentarians should have pursued that principle-of relying on Scripture--more consistently; it would have led them to the equally sensible conclusion that the Da Vinci Code theory, too, is a load of hooey. When the strongest argument for an event 2,000 years ago is the argument from silence-that is to say, the Gospels never specifically say Jesus wasn't married-what you end up with is something between a wild guess and total lunacy. One thing you do not get close to in this process is historical fact. Before I get a load of e-mails accusing me of bias, I should point out that I read The Da Vinci Code and enjoyed it immensely; it's a nicely put together suspense fantasy. On the ABC show, however, the book's author, Dan Brown, presents the book's assertions as fact. In the book's foreword, titled "FACT," he made only a much more limited claim: that some of the details-of ritual, artworks, and so on--in the book are factual. Now he's an evangelist for the overall crackpot theory. He ought to be ashamed of himself, and ABC ought to be ashamed of itself for presenting as a news show what is basically the religious equivalent of a Roswell UFO documentary.
Posted at 12:05 PM
SUPREME INSANITY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Sandy Schulz on the Court and international law. (Its the justices who are insane, btw, not Sandy.)
Posted at 11:50 AM
OREMUS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mailer: "Does anyone think a group prayer would stop Jonah from these postings?"
Posted at 11:37 AM
LEGACY PLUG... [Rich Lowry]
…by Eric Christ over on his web site.
Posted at 11:15 AM
RE: JEWISH PRAYER [Jonah Goldberg]
I am NOT getting back into this, but now all of the Jewish readers are chiming in, clearly feeling guilty for not speaking up earlier. So here's one email on the subject and that's it:
Posted at 11:05 AM
EEEENTERESTING! [Jonah Goldberg]
The US is combing through detailed records from Iraqi intelligence files. Apparently there are many "prominent personalities" named in the files. Does anyone no where George Galloway is these days?
Posted at 11:00 AM
CORRECTION [Rich Lowry]
A couple of people have pointed out a mistake in my column on the Chinook downing, up over at Townhall. I've fixed it in version about to go up on homey.
E-mail: "Rich, A technical correction: The Iraqis did not aim at the tail rotor of the Chinook with the surface to air missile they fired. A man-portable surface to air missile like a Stinger or an SA-7 Grail is guided by an infrared seeker head which locks on to the wavelength of IR light emitted by burning aviation fuel. It follows that IR wavelength to its source, the engine. I doubt that at five hundred yards that the seeker head on a Grail could differentiate between the front and back rotors of a Chinook. It's a simple missile. By contrast, the Black Hawk shot down in Somalia appears to have been shot down with an RPG at close range. An RPG is a dumb rocket that goes where it is pointed. It is feasible to have aimed that at a tail rotor, though I suspect that it was a lucky hit."
Posted at 10:39 AM
RE: E-VOTING [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew - I've got to disagree. Yes, there are all sorts of technical problems with E-voting. But the "core" problem has nothing to do with the technical problems or the lack of confidence they generate. Rather, it's just the opposite. The core problems with e-voting are that those technical problems might actually be solved (and, come on, eventually they will be solved). Once that happens, the argument against online voting, i.e. "cyber democracy" will be even harder to make. Going to a polling place at a specific time and place cultivates certain civic virtues. The peril of e-voting is that voting will be something we can do in the bathroom, on the couch, during a commercial break, whenever. In other words, voting will become even less deliberative and the less deliberating will have fewer impediments to voting. By focusing on the technical aspects we concede the more important argument because implicitly we agree that if it did work we would be for it. Well, I wouldn't. I'm okay with moving elections to weekends, if we must as a political sop who say voting is too hard. But in reality, I think voting should be more difficult, not less. I've written about this a bunch of places. But I wrote about it here first.
Posted at 10:33 AM
E-VOTING [Andrew Stuttaford]
As has already been noted here on the Corner, there are a good number of reasons to be alarmed by the introduction of electronic voting. This report from Wired just adds to the pile. Whatever the merits of this particular story, it is a reminder of the core problem with electronic voting systems. They simply do not inspire the confidence that, in a democracy, the mechanism for tallying votes must have. Without that, fairly or not, they are a recipe for mistrust and the sort of conspiracy theories that will undermine the basic understanding (that, broadly speaking, votes will be counted accurately and fairly) that legitimates the US political process. The consequences of countless 'e-Floridas' are too horrible to imagine.
Hype? I don't think so. To take one basic issue, if someone discovered software problems serious enough to raise real questions about a result, how exactly would the votes be recounted?
Posted at 10:17 AM
REAGAN VS. CLINTON [Jonah Goldberg]
I haven't said anything about the whole Reagan miniseries controversy, largely because I didn't think there was anything left to be said. But the news that CBS is pulling the show is really very interesting. I'm trying to think what a similar miniseries about Clinton could say about him which would result in a popular pro-Clinton backlash of a similar sort. Short of an all-out rape scene, I can't think of anything. And even that would have less to do about the man's honor than about what's appropriate for broadcast television. I think this might give us a pretty good glimpse about what the future holds for the two men's reputations.
Posted at 09:44 AM
WELL... [Jonah Goldberg]
Not "any" slowness. I'm not working on the new issue. I'm just sort of hazy this morning.
Posted at 09:39 AM
FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Any slowness in here this morning (save for a few prayer comments I think I nearly missed!) can be attributed to bees slaving away on a new issue of NRODT. You can read it before week's end (rather than waiting for your mailman to deliver it) by subscribing to NR Digital today (and don't forget that NRODT is a bargain on paper, too--you subscribe to the paper magazine and get the Digital version TOO).
Posted at 09:38 AM
ALBUM COVER [John J. Miller]
Jonah: See my favorite album cover here. Did you know Jacques Chirac was a singer before he became president of France?
Posted at 08:29 AM
TRIPP CASE SETTLED [Jonathan H. Adler]
The AP reports the federal government finally settled Linda Tripp's privacy act suit for nearly $600,000.
Posted at 08:14 AM
ABOUT TIME [Jonah Goldberg]
Killing Saddam is a top priority.
Posted at 06:59 AM
CORAL REEFS.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Might like Global Warming.
Posted at 06:57 AM
CLINTON'S TAB [Jonah Goldberg]
No this isn't a veiled reference to Rich's book (though "Clinton's Tab" would be a pretty great title). It turns out he cost a charity more than he raised for it. There's a great metaphor in there somewhere.
Posted at 06:54 AM
SURREAL FOOTBALL OPENING SKIT [Tim Graham]
It seemed very weird that after 60 minutes of ABC Jesus-bashing, featuring men in Roman collars expressing a genuine desire that Jesus had been knocking boots so that Christianity can be rid of "unhealthy sexual attitudes," ABC's "Monday Night Football" immediately followed with an opening skit with actor Christopher Lloyd (remember him as "Rev. Jim" on "Taxi"?) in a Roman collar jokingly announcing in a mock Boston church that the New England Patriots were "our salvation" after the Red Sox folded?
PS: For some of the conservative Catholic response to the Da Vinci Code promoters, see here and here.
Posted at 06:49 AM
MIDEAST PEACE--SORTA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Not the kind of photo you tend to see.
Posted at 06:47 AM
THAT WAS JONAH'S PENANCE FOR FALLING ASLEEP, I GUESS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 06:45 AM
AND THAT'S IT [Jonah Goldberg]
I am sure this has bored the dickens out of even many a righteous Corner-reader. But I am also sure -- judging from the email -- that many people found it a very rich topic. And, I should say, where else will you find a discussion like this on the web? Rather than try to find a synthesis I'd rather just go with an idea from an emailer which I think captures my views best on the subject.
If you were sick or in trouble would you prefer to have one person praying for you or two? Or ten?
I now return the Corner back to our regular fare of politics, pop culture and madcap fun.
Posted at 06:42 AM
PRAYER: THE JEWISH PERSPECTIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
I've generally been disappointed with the small response from the Hebraic community, in part because the Jewish tradition does in fact not only encourage but require prayer in numbers. Without a Minyan -- essentially a quorum of Jewish males -- there are all sorts of things you cannot do in Judaism. Here are two emails from the same guy:
Jonah, I found this in "The Kuzari" (12th century defense of Judaism by Rabbi Judah Halevi -- a fundamental text of Jewish literacy written in Socratic form): The Rabbi: ...........a prayer, in order to be heard, must be recited for a multitude, or in a multitude, or for an individual who could take the place of a multitude. None such, however, is to be found in our age. Al Khazari: Why is this? If every one read his prayers for himself, would not his soul be purer and his mind less abstracted? The Rabbi: Common prayer has many advantages. In the first instance a community will never pray for a thing which is hurtful for the individual, whilst the latter sometimes prays for something to the disadvantage of other individuals [or to his disadvantage]. One of the conditions of prayer, craving to be heard, is that its object be profitable to the world, but not hurtful in any way. Another is that an individual rarely accomplishes his prayer without slips and errors. It has been laid down, therefore, that the individual recite the prayers of the community, and if possible in a community of not less than ten persons, so that one makes up for the forgetfulness or error of the other. In this way a complete prayer is gained, read with unalloyed devotion. Its blessing rests on everyone, each receiving his portion..............A person who prays but for himself is like him who retires alone into his house, refusing to assist his fellow-citizens in the repair of their walls. His expenditure is as great as his risk. He, however, who joins the majority spends little, yet remains in safety, because one replaces the defects of the other. The city is in the best possible condition, all its inhabitants enjoying its prosperity with but little expenditure, which all share alike. There is more, but this gives you the idea. I also found some other references to community prayer in a Kabbalisitc treatise on my shelf. In particular, it cites the plural in Psalm 102:18 ("He turned to the prayer of the destitute and spurned not their prayer") and Deuteronomy 4:8 ("For what great nation is there that has a God so close at hand as is the Lord or God whenever we call upon him") Although happily and proudly Jewish, I am very, very far removed from being a scholar of Judaism, so I suspect that the literature is replete with other examples dating at least (as I have found) from the middle ages, and supported by references to Torah. Finally, I recall (from some vague recess of my Jewish education) that it is said that if only every Jew on earth prayed sincerely on Yom Kippur (or perhaps on any given Sabbath, I don't recall), then the Messiah would arrive. I hope this helps.
Posted at 06:36 AM
PAT ROBERTSON [Jonah Goldberg]
He didn't come out to well in the testimony of many readers. Here's one:
Jonah, again, thanks for bringing this fascinating topic up.
Posted at 06:29 AM
DANTE ON THE POWER OF PRAYER [Jonah Goldberg]
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Posted at 06:26 AM
A MISSIONARY'S VIEW [Jonah Goldberg]
Jonah: Just so you know, I'm an American missionary working in Brazil. I'm a Baptist. Oh, and tele-evangelists give me the willies. With that out of the way, I can get down to business. Your last post broadens the whole discussion, and I find myself disagreeing with the majority. First, prayer is not only for the benefit of the one who prays. It obviously affects the outcome of things. In other words, the outcome would have been different in a situation in which nobody had prayed. Nevertheless, that does not make God putty in man's hands. That is the way God ordained things. I happen to believe that God unconditionally, before the foundation of the earth, chose whom He was going to save (Eph. 1:4-5). Nevertheless, I also believe He chose the means to that end (i.e., preaching--see 1 Cor. 1:21). In other words, although God chose who was going to be saved, they will only be saved if someone preaches. So the God who ordained the end (the salvation of the elect), also ordained the means (the preaching of the gospel). Likewise, God determined to do certain things, but He determined to do them in answer to prayer (the means). You already gave us the example of Abraham and Moses. But if Moses hadn't interceded on behalf of Israel, today we would not be talking about Jews, but about Moseans (or whatever they would have been called). Second, for some reason, God takes pleasure in seeing a large number of His people beseeching Him regarding something of importance. I believe this impulse to pray in large numbers comes ultimately from Him. But, if He didn't, why, for instance, did the apostle Paul repeatedly request prayer for himself of all who read his letters (see, e.g., Eph. 6:18-19)? If one prayer was as good as 1000, Paul could have prayed for his own needs. Third, that does not mean that all prayers are warranted, nor that they will all be answered. In fact, I suspect that most of our prayers today are seriously off base. They look nothing like the prayers of the apostle Paul, for example. One problem is that we are not allowed to serve God for his gifts, but must serve Him for his personality. Speaking of James 3:3-4, author John Piper writes: "James criticizes the motives of prayer that treats God like a cuckold: 'You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?' Why does he call these praying people 'adulteresses'? Because, even though praying, they are forsaking their husband (God) and going after a paramour (the world), and to make matters worse, they are asking their husband (in prayer) to fund the adultery." I think that sums up many of the prayers proffered to God quite nicely, and it explains why God doesn't answer. This is an interesting discussion. Thanks for bringing it up.
Posted at 06:25 AM
JESUS AND ARISTOTLE [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 06:22 AM
PRAYER: THE NATURE OF NUMBERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 06:18 AM
PRAYER: SPORTS [Jonah Goldberg]
As is made abundantly clear daily, in locker rooms across the country, prayer has no effect on the ultimate outcome of any given sports match. Is this because prayer doesn't affect outcomes generally, or because prayers of this type are not worthy of God's attention?
Posted at 06:15 AM
PRAYER: THE MORMON VIEW [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 06:14 AM
PRAYER: AN OLD JOKE [Jonah Goldberg]
On a lighter note:
Posted at 06:08 AM
PRAYER: AN OLD JOKE [Jonah Goldberg]
On a lighter note: A man is sitting in his living room when the news in interrupted by news of a devastating rainstorm hitting the area. The man's wife says "Gosh, Honey, that sounds like it might flood the area where we live". The man replies "I have prayed to God to save me, and I have faith that he will answer my prayer". Well, about 12 inches of rain later, the streets are starting to fill with water. The man's neighbor knocks on the door and says "It's going to be a pretty bad flood, but I can still drive my truck. I've got room to take you and your wife to higher ground". The man's wife gets up to go, but stops when he says "I have prayed to God to save me, and I have faith that he will answer my prayer" Some time later, the water has entered the house, and it looks like a river outside. The local fire department sends a boat out to look for people who are stranded, and they pull up to the window. "Come on! This may be your last chance to get out!" Again the man replies "I have prayed to God to save me, and I have faith that he will answer my prayer". Finally, the man and his wife are standing on their roof, water rushing by, the house obviously about to collapse. Suddenly, the sound of the storm is drowned out by the roar of the search-and-rescue helicopter. They let down a ladder and motion for the couple to climb up. The wife can stand it no more and climbs up, but as she climbs, she can just barely hear her husband shouting "I have prayed to God to save me, and I have faith that he will answer my prayer" The man drowns. At the entrance to heaven, he is a bit peeved. He asks to speak with God. "Father, I had such faith that you would save me. How could you let me drown?" God replies: "What more did you want? I sent news report, a truck, a boat, and a helicopter?"
Posted at 06:08 AM
GROUP PRAYER DOES WORK [Jonah Goldberg]
Several Christian Views:
From an email entitled "Prayer: You're being spun by hyper Calvinists":
Posted at 06:04 AM
PRAYER: I FELL ASLEEP [Jonah Goldberg]
I fell asleep on the couch watching the Matrix and forgot to post these. Please know that there is no way I can post anything more than a tiny fraction of all the emails I've gotten on this. I will try to simply post a few of the most representative and thoughtful of each argument or category. At the end of the day thisn't a debate or a "winnable" argument since we can't know. Unless, that is, someone or a small group of people, are actively praying that God come down and settle the argument. -- and he does. In the meantime thanks for the response, please don't send me any more. After this bunch I'm going to try to stop inflicting this subject on the agnostics, atheists and the generally uninterested.
Posted at 05:57 AM
SPEAKING OF THE REAGANS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Looks like it's headed to Showtime.
Posted at 05:46 AM
YOU SURE THAT'S NOT JUST A BAD PARODY? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the Washington Post Style piece on The Reagans, on the movie's producers:
Zadan and Meron are best known in TV circles for their remakes of musicals, including CBS's "Gypsy" and ABC's "The Music Man"; biopics of entertainment industry icons, including "Lucy," "Martin and Lewis" and "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," which also starred Davis; and advocacy teleflicks such as "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," based on the true story of an Army officer's legal challenge to her involuntary discharge when she admitted she was a homosexual, and "What Makes a Family," about a lesbian's fight to retain custody of the child her partner bore. Those last two TV projects were executive-produced by Zadan and Meron with Streisand.
Posted at 05:42 AM
SLEEPY CORNER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I didn't actually give you guys permission to sleep every night. (I swear I had a good excuse.)
Posted at 05:06 AM
Monday, November 03, 2003
KEEPING SCORE AT HOME [Tim Graham]
Amount of time ABC devoted on air to investigating the claims of Juanita Broaddrick that Bill Clinton raped her: zero.
Amount of time ABC devoted on air to investigating the claims of a novel that Jesus was married, and had sex, and his wife and child left Jerusalem to create a line of French kings: one hour, plus promotional time on "Good Morning America," "The View," and so on, and so on....
Posted at 05:38 PM
GOOD POINT, RE DOVER [Rich Lowry]
E-mail:"If Mark Shields wants to ensure that these patriots receive the `glory and public honor' that they `earned and deserve,' CNN should spend at least as much time reporting on their accomplishments as they do reporting on their deaths."
Posted at 04:52 PM
GREAT MINDS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 04:49 PM
RUN, JIM, RUN! [Rich Lowry]
P. Diddy eat your heart out. Publisher Ed Capano writes: “National Review CFO, Jim Kilbridge, just ran his third New York marathon completing the 26 miles in an astounding 2 hours 57 minutes and finishing 368th out of more than 30,000 competitors--a remarkable feat. Kudos to Jim.”
Posted at 04:20 PM
JAY AMBROSE ON LEGACY [Rich Lowry]
Relieving some of the burden on Kathryn, Jay Ambrose has a Legacy plug in his latest column: “For those interested in the truth about Clinton, as opposed to those happy to emote whatever verdict their ideology dictates, I recommend reading Rich Lowry's book, `Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years.’"
Posted at 04:17 PM
THE JUMPING-FROM-TOWERS TEST? [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: “Subject: Time to take the Dover test- Mark Shields
WASHINGTON (Creators Syndicate) -- At Harvard on January 19, 2000, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton provided a valuable standard, both to determine whether the United States ought to send the nation's warriors into combat and to enlist "the support of the American people as well as the Congress" needed to sustain that involvement. In Shelton's judgment, such a grave decision: "(M)ust be subjected to what I call the 'Dover test.' Is the American public prepared for the sight of our most precious resource coming home in flag-draped caskets into Dover Air Force Base in Delaware -- which is a point entry for our Armed Forces?” DOES THIS MEAN SHIELDS IS ASKING ALL OF HIS EMPLOYERS, INCLUDING CNN, TO START SHOWING SEPT. 11 REPORTING AND PICTURES OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER?? OR ARE THOSE PICTURES STILL TOO DISTURBING FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE??”
Posted at 04:00 PM
MORE PRAYER [Jonah Goldberg]
OKAY, I'm back for like five minutes before I have to run out and I've got 8 kazillion emails on prayer. I'm gonna hold off posting anymore this afternoon. What I can do is post a bunch tonight. That way I won't block the normal flow around here and in the morning you can just scroll down if interested. Or, you can tune in tonight.
Posted at 03:55 PM
THE GOSPEL OF VARGAS [Tim Graham]
You know your "edgy" special on Jesus being a married man based on a novel is going south when the New York Times (!) calls it "woolly and underthought." The Times review by Virginia Heffernan has several eye-opening paragraphs. First, ABC convened a panel of religious experts late in the game, including an employee's mom:
Soon after the floor was opened for questions, Nikki Stephanopoulos, the communications director for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, whose son is the ABC News correspondent George Stephanopoulos, complained that the voluptuous, ravenous images of Mary Magdalene on display in the documentary bore little resemblance to Eastern representations of the Magdalene. (Sexy music by [hello, bisexual] Me'shell Ndegeocello accompanies one sequence of semi-nude pictures on the show.)This line just causes a spit take, when the Catholic League's Joe DeFeo asked what other Catholics were consulted besides the hapless Richard McBrien:
Rudy Bednar, an executive producer at ABC, responded that the Catholic view had been expressed in the documentary by various evangelicals the producers had consulted. Mr. De Feo, perhaps bridling at the idea that arch-Protestants should represent the opinions of Catholics, shot Mr. Bednar a look of incredulity.
Posted at 03:50 PM
YOU HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR [Jonah Goldberg]
If this doesn't make you at least smirk.
Posted at 03:47 PM
RADIO NOTE [Jed Babbin]
I'll be guest-hosting the Laura Ingraham radio show tomorrow. Hope you can listen in and call.
Posted at 02:47 PM
THE BIG MO [Rod Dreher]
Word out of Louisiana, as has been noted, is that GOP gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal has just picked up the endorsement of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, an African-American who, like Jindal, ran on an ethics and reform agenda. This should help curb at least some of the crucial black vote in New Orleans, which Democrat Kathleen Blanco has to have in large numbers to win. News keeps getting better and better for Jindal, whose poll numbers are taking off. The election is on Nov. 15. If he wins, a national GOP star will have been born.
Posted at 02:09 PM
NO CHEERS FOR DEAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Depressingly, Howard Dean has become the latest political figure to reveal that he does not trust himself with a drink. Doubtless the charming Martin Sheen will be quick to describe him as a "white-knuckle drunk," or is that a line that the 'principled' Mr. Sheen only uses when the candidate is a Republican.
Posted at 02:07 PM
WOLFOWITZ [Rich Lowry]
Jonah, I noticed that David Ignatius piece on Wolfowtiz yesterday too. It wasn't just generally favorable, but expressed a conservative--in the deepest sense--critique of Wolfowitz:
“America's problems in Iraq stem in large part from wishful thinking, and Wolfowitz and his colleagues must be careful to avoid any more of it now as they try to craft a sustainable strategy. What worries me most after touring Iraq with Wolfowitz is how little the U.S. forces know about their adversaries here. Pressed at a briefing about who is controlling the resistance, a general answered, `We don't have the intelligence to lay this out on a chart.’ That was chilling.
Now that the going is difficult in Iraq, the Bush administration needs to think more with its head and less with its heart. The idealists can win this war, but only if they act with brutally honest pragmatism.”
Posted at 01:34 PM
PRAYER MIDDAY SUMMATION [Jonah Goldberg]
I've still got a lot of emails to read, but I'm heading out for an appointment and won't be back for a while. So far, it seems almost everyone agrees that prayer in large numbers has no greater effect than prayer in small numbers -- in terms of God's actions. Some (most) believe that prayer cannot change God's actions because an omnipotent, all-seeing, all knowing God wouldn't change His mind simply because of one man's prayer or one million's. Why would he? Others believe prayerin large numbers can have powerful external effects and therefor prayer can be uplifting in secondary social ways. And pretty much everyone believes that prayer is especially and specifically for the good of the believer. In other words, prayer makes the individual understand God's will not the other way around.
But I guess my point remains the same. If all that's true, why would so many clearly literate believers make it sound as if God will do the bidding of humans who pray hard enough? Maybe I don't remember the Pat Robertson hurricane thing properly, but didn't he argue that if everybody prayed hard enough the hurricane would change course? And, for the sake of argument, let's say he did make that case (my memory could be poisoned by unflattering media portrayals). Isn't that in a fundamental sense blasphemous or otherwise offensive? Implying that God's plan can be deterred, amended or changed merely by large numbers of people asking or wishing for it surely makes God the servant of man rather than the other way around.
Again, I really don't mean any offense. I just find this stuff very interesting -- as do many readers, it seems.
Posted at 12:42 PM
LEDEEN: THE WOLFOWITZ DEATH TRAP [Jonah Goldberg]
Michael Ledeen wants heads to roll. In case you hadn't seen it.
Posted at 12:07 PM
PANTHER V AOL [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader who speaks for many:
Jonah, Consider AOL incompatibility with the jaw-dropping genius that is Panther to be a message from the gods for you to ditch AOL.
Posted at 12:04 PM
GOT FLORENCE? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 12:03 PM
RE: MY G5 [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 12:01 PM
BOB GRAHAM'S NOT RUNNING FOR REELECTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 11:58 AM
BIG NEWS FOR JINDAL [Jonah Goldberg ]
The mayor of New Orleans is endorsing him
Posted at 11:54 AM
DESCARTES' PRESCRIPTION [Andrew Stuttaford]
Speaking of prayer, here's an interesting report from the Daily Telegraph on recent research on its power to cure the sick, which seems to contradict earlier, more cheery findings. The best advice for the cautious? Praise the Lord and pass the pills, I reckon.
Posted at 11:51 AM
THE IRONY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jonah says "I gotta get back to work": This IS his work!
Posted at 11:50 AM
POINTED AFFIRMATIONS [John Derbyshire]
Compare and contrast:
(1) From my column titled "The One and the Many," 6/25/03:
"Homosexuality, open and proud, is a subversive force — subversive, that is, of any institution in which it becomes entrenched. The Roman Catholic church has recently learned this. The Anglican church is about to learn it. The Boy Scouts of America would have learned it, but for a lucky break from the judiciary. ... I do believe, with a high degree of certainty, that after a few more appointments of the Canon John / Rev. Robinson kind, my church will cease to be a vehicle for the teaching of Christ’s gospel, and become instead a dating service for homosexuals. Its ethos will no longer be Christian, it will be 'gay'."
(2) From the AP account of Bishop V. Gene Robinson's consecration, 11/2/03. xml
"In a pointed affirmation of the gay cause, Robinson invited Crew, a second homosexual activist and his own partner - as well as his ex-wife and their two daughters - to join those who will ritually present him today. In the long term, Crew predicts, thousands of homosexuals and open-minded heterosexuals will flow into the denomination, whose membership has declined substantially and now stands at 2.3 million."
Posted at 11:45 AM
MORE GOOD ECON NEWS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. construction spending surged unexpectedly in September to a record high as outlays for both residential and nonresidential building posted gains, a government report showed on Monday.
Posted at 11:35 AM
THAT'S ENOUGH FOR NOW [Jonah Goldberg]
Maybe I'll post more this afternoon. I gotta get back to work.
Posted at 11:19 AM
PRAYER VI: CHESTERTON [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 11:18 AM
PRAYER V: A HINDU PERSPECTIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
Hi jonah it has always been maintained in Hindu teachings that prayer induced vibrations can be extremely potent and therefore chanting in a low voice as is also done by the Buddhists tends to unify with the cosmic vibration and thus affect things. I am not learned enough to give you proof but there is a reason why places of worship tend to be the way they are and mass worship prayer etc, can influence things. [name withheld]
Posted at 11:13 AM
PRAYER IV: MISSING THE POINT [Jonah Goldberg]
Jonah: A good discussion topic. I think your question misses the point a bit. The number of people praying makes no difference. God answers every prayer, no matter who is praying ("righteous" or "unrighteous") or how many it comes from. Sometimes, the answer is "yes." Sometimes, the answer is "no." The point of Abraham's "negotiation" with God concerning Sodom and Gomorrah is not that God changes his mind. How can an omniscient being change His mind? Instead, God was demonstrating His mercy and the depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah to Abraham by this exercise. I would refrain from looking to the televangelists for insight into the "underpinning of this widespread religious locution." These guys very often advocate a success-oriented faith (i.e., only by becoming a Christian and sending me money will all your financial and worldly dreams come true). The Bible is quite realistic about the prospects for persecution and suffering that lie in store for those who believe in God. Numerous examples are provided. Instead, the answer is much simpler than that. We pray and ask others to pray because God told us to. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. Even Christ, on the eve of his crucifixion prayed for this "cup to be taken away from him." Yet, Christ also set the example by also petitioning "thy will be done." God promises to hear and answer our prayers. The answer may not be the one we want or expect, but it is what is best for us. Why, because God promises that it will be.
Posted at 11:11 AM
PRAYER III: WESTMINSTER TEXT [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 11:07 AM
PRAYER II: FROM A PASTOR [Jonah Goldberg]
Hi Jonah, Love your stuff. As a pastor, I would agree with your observations about prayer. I think that God is not a politician, and that numbers per se, do not impress Him. However, I do think that when large numbers of people turn to God, he is gracious to respond to them in some way. As stated in II Chronicles 7:14-15 "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place." There is a dynamic relationship between God and individuals and groups who pray to God. He is NOT of course a divine vending machine, but a Personal God who decrees his will and listens to us in the mix as well. I do think that there might be some superstition to the numbers thing. Or just enculturation of American values (More is better!) when it comes to prayer. I also know that when a meeting or prayer event has a SMALL turnout, we are quick to quote "where ever 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there I will be in the midst of you" Kind of a theological safety net for those who gather to pray in small numbers. [Name withheld] p.s. I do believe in the power of prayer- to change circumstances or to change me in the midst of them.
Posted at 11:05 AM
PRAYER - C.S. LEWIS [Jonah Goldberg]
Two representative emails:
Posted at 11:04 AM
PRAYER [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, I've gotten a lot of email on this in a very short period of time. I'm just gonna post various responses -- without comment -- for a while (though I just installed Panther on my new Mac G5 and it's making AOL work very weird, so this may be sporadic as I try to fix the problem with my thimbel-full of computer savvy).
Later today I might make some comments, but so far most of the email is far more informed than my own views. I'd love to encourage other members of the Corner to join in.
Posted at 11:01 AM
TWO THINGS [Jonah Goldberg]
First, my November 5 speech at Valparaiso University has been postponed until the Spring. Sorry I didn't notify people sooner. Second, "power of prayer" emails seem to be pouring in. I'll post a bunch, but if you could hold-off sending me emails on this unless you've got a substantive point you think others might have missed, I'd appreciate it. Writing "Good question" or "I never thought of that" just makes it harder for me to work through the email. Thanks.
Posted at 10:36 AM
LEGACY FOR THE LIBRARY? [Rich Lowry]
“Hey Rich, May I make a suggestion? It may be worth asking readers of the Corner to put in a request at their local libraries for Legacy. A lot of libraries are run by lefty types who don't buy conservative books, but if they get two requests for the same book, they often will buy it despite its membership in the vast right-wing conspiracy. I know you want people to actually buy your book and not just read it at a library, but library sales can be really great, they have to rebuy the book many times, and besides that, people who would never buy it themselves will read it!”
Posted at 09:54 AM
WHOA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I just learned that NR CFO Jim Kilbridge ran the NY marathon yesterday and finished 368 out of more than 30,000 runners. His time was 2hr 57 min. P. Diddy, eat your heart out.
Posted at 09:42 AM
THE POWER OF PRAYER [Jonah Goldberg]
Something's been bugging me all weekend and I thought maybe the Cornerites around here might have an answer. First, a disclaimer: This is purely a theological question and not an attempt to denigrate or single out anyone's religious views.
I constantly hear about the power of prayer. Often, when I listen to televaneglists, represenatives of the Catholic Church and a host of lay and civil leaders there is a declared or implied view that the more people who pray for something the more likely it is that it will happen. Televangelists are the most obvious example. They often ask viewers to join with them in prayer to do this or do that. But what made me think of it was a A&E documentary on the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping. Various peoplee said they needed as many people as possible to pray for her recovery.
Anyway, so my question is: Why should the number of prayers or praying petitioners matter? Surely God isn't a politician. Surely he doesn't ignore the just and deserving prayer of one man while heeding the same or lesser request from 10,000? God, after all, is a dictator of inifinite wisdom and justice. His will is no less His will if everyone disagrees with it.
Of course, Abraham (and Moses) both argue with God. And Abraham in fact negotiated God down to a minimum number of good people in Sodom and Gamorrah that could save it from destruction ("And what if there are ten good people, will you kill them too?" I'm quoting from memory.) So presumably numers and persuasion have always played a role in God's thinking.
So what is the theological underpinning of this widespread religious locution? Without doing any research I can think of only two answers. The first is that prayer is considered a good in itself and therefor anything which brings people in closer contact to God or the Church is therefore a good thing and should be encouraged. But, when pressed, theologians would say "No, no, God doesn't take a poll."
The other answer is that this is the product of three centuries of mass-politics bleeding into religious affairs. Anyway, I thought it might be an interesting topic for Monday morning chit-chat.
Posted at 09:31 AM
YOU HAVE ENTERED THE TWILIGHT ZONE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Washington Post has a fair piece today on the RU-486 safety controversy.
Posted at 09:15 AM
THEFT [Jonah Goldberg]
"60 Minutes" did a long segment last night on Hollywood's efforts to stop file-sharing of movies before they run into Napster-like doo-doo. The piece didn't really raise any new issues. People who download movies they didn't pay for are stealing. Period. The rationalizations don't change that. I think the studios have every right to sue and insist on the criminal prosecution of anybody who facilitates theft of their property. Whether that's a good P.R. or political move is another issue. However, the one group of people I have absolutely no sympathy for are the movie stars themselves. I'm sure the directors and executives are right that file-sharing would put a huge crimp in the profits from -- and therefore the investment in -- films. And, sadly, the movie stars would probably be the last to feel the pinch. Nevertheless, it is the actors -- not the carpenters, the gaffers and make-up artists -- who are the ones who say time and again -- "I'm the luckiest person in the world, I'm getting paid to do something I'd be happy to do for free." Indeed you are profoundly fortunate to make millions of dollars doing something you claim to be a "calling." So, if file-sharing creates downward pressure on movie-star salaries well that's the silver lining to a widespread, middle-class crime wave.
Posted at 09:06 AM
TITLE VI UPDATE [Stanley Kurtz]
HR 3077, which reforms academic area studies--including Middle Eastern Studies–has just passed the House. It will be tested in the Senate, where Senator Kennedy and the higher education lobby are certain to try to gut the bill. But here’s a bit of good news. The bill picked up vocal support in the House from a Democratic congressman. Howard Berman, who represents parts of Los Angeles and the surrounding suburbs, and who has been described as a “libertarian leaning liberal,” is an enthusiastic backer of HR 3077. This libertarian leaning liberal doesn’t see HR 3077 as an infringement on academic freedom. He’s right. You can read more about Berman’s support for area studies reform over at Martin Kramer’s blog, Sandstorm. If Berman is any indication, we might get some Democratic support in the Senate. For my take on Congress’s effort to bring change to area studies, see “Reforming the Campus.” (Use the link at the end to write your Senator).
Posted at 09:03 AM
SAFIRE ON IRAQ [Stanley Kurtz]
I think Bill Safire hits just the right note today on Iraq. He acknowledges the victory for the other side that the helicopter downing represents. He rightly notes that, despite the problems in the Sunni Triangle, we are making great progress in the North and the South. Then he explains in detail the disaster that a pull-out from Iraq would represent. Finally, Safire explains that we have only barely begun to fight the battle on the airwaves for hearts and minds in the Sunni triangle. Failure, he concludes, is not an option. But of course, failure is what the Democrats and much of the media are hoping for. Failure is what they’ve been hoping for since the very first days of the war in Iraq. Saddam, his loyalists, and Al Qaeda outsiders are now waging a sophisticated battle on the American airwaves for the hearts and minds of Americans. America is being tested, and the outcome is anybody’s guess. The Democratic left wants, needs, and believes this to be Vietnam. They want this not only because they see it as their key to political victory, but because they have a near-religious longing to recapture the spirit of the sixties. But Iraq is not Vietnam. The consequences of failure would be far greater, as would the benefits of success. Above all, with Korea on the verge of becoming an export engine for nuclear terror, and proliferation threatening around the world, the context of this battle is very different than Vietnam. The question is, will we see that, and cast off our Vietnam syndrome, or will our memories of Vietnam prevent us from doing what we must to protect ourselves?
Posted at 09:00 AM
WOLFOWITZ [Jonah Goldberg]
A thoughtful, interesting and favorable profile of Paul Wolfowitz. He's an idealist, not a war monger. He likes Arabs, doesn't hate them. He circumspect, not power mad. What a nice change of pace.
Posted at 08:47 AM
ENOUGH LAME ARNOLD QUIPS [Tim Graham]
The Mississippi governor's race is leavened by Haley Barbour's standard talk of running harder than "scalded dogs." But when Jeb Bush campaigned with Barbour, he insisted on calling him the "Barbourator." Sounds like one of those contraptions you buy on late-night TV so you can cut your own hair. It doesn't sound scary, unless you're looking in the mirror.
Posted at 08:29 AM
LIBERAL CHARITY ON THE TUBE [Tim Graham]
MRC Night owl Brent Baker reports left-wing activist/actor Tim Robbins took a crude shot Thursday night at "compassionate conservatives." On CBS's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, when Robbins was asked to "use the words 'compassionate' and 'conservative' in the same sentence while being neither ironic nor scornful," Robbins came up with "F*** compassionate conservatives," forcing CBS to bleep his first word though it was clear what it was.
Posted at 08:27 AM
GO TO ZELL! [Michael Graham]
The best news for the GOP is that the Democrats are ignoring Georgia's Zell Miller. His new book, A National Party No More," catalogues the insults southerners have suffered from the national Democratic party and those they've given back in return--like three candidates (McGovern, Mondale and Gore) who received zero electoral votes from the Old Confederacy.
His new book is being excerpted in the Washington Times, and Zell's favorite opening line is there:
Once upon a time, the most successful Democratic leader of them all, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, looked south and said, "I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished."Interestingly, Miller has mis-read the Howard Dean/Confederate Flag story. He thinks Dean is the screw up for having stereotypical attitudes about the South. "That's not what the South is about today," Miller said. "The South is progressive, intelligent, out of the woods and into the good life."
But those same southerners, as Miller should know, see the Confederate flag as a symbol (a problematic one, to be sure) of the South as a place. The vast majority of southern whites don't fly one or even care to, but they inevitably react negatively when they see it being kicked around. There's a reason why the banner still flies over Mississippi and Miller's own Georgia. If Miller believes that it's solely because of racism, then he's another Democrat who still has something to learn about the South.
Posted at 08:24 AM
DEATH WISH 2004? [Michael Graham ]
Covering Al Gore's southern strategy in 2000 for NRO, I started to think the Democrats had a political death wish. We're a year away from 2004 and already it looks like "Death Wish II."
You don't have to be the author of REDNECK NATION: How the South Really Won The War (this is the "shameless book plug" page, isn't it?) to know the Democrats have a major political problem in the South. The Howard Dean brouhaha shows why.
When Dean told a reporter he wanted to be "the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks," he was announcing a political strategy. But his fellow Democrats treated it like an endorsement of Jim Crow.
Kerry & Co. are in a rhetorical bidding war over who can bash the Redneck vote with the most ferocity. Kerry says Dean is "pander[ing] to lovers of the Confederate flag." Wesley Clark says every Democratic candidate must denounce the flag as the most divisive symbol in America. Gephardt says white voters with Confederate flag bumperstickers and the like "disagree with us on bedrock Democratic values like civil rights." In other words, they're racists.
Hey, guys--Not to spoil your fun, but do you know how many Democrats have been elected president carrying fewer than four southern states? NONE! But you go right ahead and tell southerners that every display of the Confederate flag is a KKK rally and that there's no unique southern culture to recognize or celebrate. Hey, who needs Virginia, Florida or Louisiana, right guys?
"I don't want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks," Gephardt said in a statement.
Don't worry, Dick: You won't.
Posted at 08:24 AM
LOVE E-MAILS LIKE THIS ONE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 08:05 AM
DIVERSITY WATCH [John Derbyshire]
I believe I have located the warm beating heart of Political Correctness: Disney TV's kid show "The Proud Family." Sample (typical, not egregious) episode plot:
Episode Number 11
Posted at 07:48 AM
UNDERSTANDING KATIE COURIC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a profile of Couric in the November 2003 Good Housekeeping:
She continues to seek out [her father’s] opinion on issues of the day; for years, Couric called her parents after every Today show. “My dad’s opinion, especially about how something went, was really important to me,” she says. She’s equally admiring of her mother, who was a homemaker and a Planned Parenthood volunteer when Couric was growing up. “She’s clever and smart and she’s a great artist,” says her daughter. “She’s very savvy.” Though “she’ll be embarrassed for me to say this,” Couric goes on to relate that when AIDS first appeared in the press, her mother “bought a lot of stock in condom companies.”
Posted at 07:21 AM
IT'S OFFICIAL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Gene Robinson is a bishop.
Posted at 07:04 AM
MORE ME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Piece from earlier this month on Kate Michelman's stepping down from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Posted at 05:49 AM
CONFIRMED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
RU-486 killed Holly Patterson.
Posted at 05:42 AM
IT'S A LIVING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Some Iraqis get paid good money for attacks on Americans.
Posted at 05:39 AM
ARROGANCE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
My NYPost review of Bernie Goldberg's new book, Arrogance, a follow-up to his book Bias, is here. Some of it:
"Arrogance" is a natural follow-up to the veteran CBS newsman's 2002 bestseller "Bias." He's outed the liberal bias; now he wants to expose the reason for the bias. Back in February, during the run-up to the Iraq war, Washington Post columnist Mary McGory wrote, "Among people I know, nobody was for the war." "Imagine that," observes Goldberg. "What a single-minded little world she must live in where, among all the people she knows, nobody - absolutely nobody thought that invading Iraq was a good idea."
Posted at 05:27 AM
JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS, YOU KNOW? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Breaching presidential security is the least of this woman's problems.
Posted at 12:01 AM
Sunday, November 02, 2003
GALS, WANNA GET PUBLISHED? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Don't think deep.
Posted at 11:55 PM
ONE MORE ON HPL [Rick Brookhiser]
Dear JohnD: The detail I remember from his tragigrotesque life (can't remember where I read it) is that he had a horrible reaction to cold weather. One day he was out selling dictionaries door to door in Providence, RI when the temperature flukishly dropped . His wife had to go looking for him, and found him shivering and helpless on some street.
The aliens who interbred with the Lovecrafts must have been from one of those warm planets.
Posted at 08:38 PM
WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
See Chomsky's last answer.
Posted at 08:17 PM
SIGN OF THE TIMES [Rod Dreher]
A Corner reader in Paris sends along this article, in French, from Le Nouvel Observateur. It reports the results of a European Union poll finding 59 percent of all Europeans believe that Israel -- Israel! -- is the country that most threatens world peace. Anybody get the feeling we've been here before with the Europeans?
Posted at 06:02 PM
MORE DEAN [Jonah Goldberg]
I think the main point here, and it is something that most journalists in the Northeast are oblivious to, is that in the rest of the county there are negative stereotypes of Northeasterners just as there are of Southerners. If a candidate from the Northeast wants to win any of the states in the South, he will have to prove that he is not just another snobby liberal who looks down on the little people as he flies over them, based on images he has from movies made 50 years ago. Dean's comments come close to lumping almost 1/3 of the country's population into a negative stereotype held dear by a large portion of Northeasterner's. If it truly represents how he thinks, it might help him win Maine, but not Georgia.
Posted at 01:39 PM
MORE DEAN [Jonah Goldberg]
From another reader:
Regarding your Corner posting of an e-mail from a reader who stated that no Southerns drive around in their pickup truck with a Confederate flag I'd have to disagree. While I agree Dean was pandering, I do believe your reader is also trying to force the South to be in their world. I do not find it hard to believe that many of those who living in Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte do not come into more daily contact with those pickup trucks/Confederate flags. They do exist, they just live in more rural areas. I'd venture to guess they are also the ones who Democrats have been calling the "NASCAR" voting block. Dean should have just said NASCAR voters instead of pickup and battle flags. And these people do vote, they voted for Jim Hodges (D-SC) to the governorship in SC in 1998 and helped Sonny Perdue (R-GA) oust Gov. Barnes in Georgia. Generally though when the Confederate flag is not at issue [aside: now that it's been removed from the Capitol domes across the South let's hope this issue is now dead], they vote Republican for their beliefs in family values, patriotism and smaller government.
Posted at 12:08 PM
AN OBSERVATION ON THE DISPLAY OF THE AMERICAN FLAG [John Derbyshire]
One good point that got edited out of my "NASCAR Nation" piece in the current NRODT (and I'm not blaming the editors--authors "sign off" on an edited piece, & if I'd had my wits about me I would have had this put back in) was as follows.
I note that on the infield of the Talladega Speedway, you see a lot of Confederate flags. However--this is the bit that got left on the cutting-room floor--I went on to observe that whenever you see the Confederate flag and the Stars & Stripes flying together on the same staff, THE UNION FLAG IS UPPERMOST. I read this as proud patriotism with a strong, but secondary, admixture of regional pride.
Posted at 11:49 AM
FINDING YOUR WAY AROUND PYONGYANG [John Derbyshire]
Just in case you decide to go.
Posted at 11:47 AM
DEAN AND THE CONFEDERATE FLAG [Jonah Goldberg]
From a Southern reader now living in the West:
Do the voters in Atlanta, Knoxville, Raleigh, etc. identify with the kind of southerner who owns a confederate flag? The majority of southern males do not drive around with confederate flags on their trucks. I suspect that those who do, rarely vote anyway. Is Dean pandering to racists? No. He's trying to pander to southerners. What strikes me as funny is that the other candidates have not responded appropriately. Dean tried to pander; instead he insulted many voters in the South. Dean shows a complete misunderstanding of the South, and the other candidates -- by not picking up on this -- show a similar lack of understanding. Surely John Edwards should get it right.
Posted at 09:59 AM
LOVING HIS CRAFT [John Derbyshire]
Rick: Once again I am floored by your literary insight, which actually, like a good scientific theory, has predictive power. Yes, "The Colour Out Of Space" was indeed the first Lovecraft story I read. It is the closest he got to science fiction, and that story is in a sci-fi anthology I read as a young teen, can't remember which one.
Surely Lovecraft's best opening line, though, was the one I quoted in my "Unpleasant Truths" piece a year or so ago: "Life is a hideous thing." It is from the short story "Arthur Jermyn," I am pretty sure.
August Derleth's biography of HPL is a lovely read, by the way. I lost my copy some years ago & am working from memory here, but it gives a fascinating picture of a man who was utterly clueless about making a living... A thing I can relate to all too well. Pampered by a possessive mother as a child, he never realised he'd have to. When the time came, he had no marketable skills, and no inclination to acquire any. All he knew how to do was write creepy stories--or, as Rick observes, one creepy story over and over. He seems to have been quite close to starvation at several points. As a picture of down-at-heel gentility (redeemed somewhat by the love of an honest woman, and--astonishing to say--an irrepressible, if somewhat cynical, sense of humor), Lovecraft's life could have been the work of a 20th-century Gissing.
Posted at 08:28 AM
STARTING CHRISTMAS SHOPPING? [NR STAFF]
Do at the NRO book store or the NRO gear store.
Posted at 08:26 AM
THE WASHINGTON POST, WMDS & THE TRUTH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 08:24 AM
DEMS BOYCOTT AMERICAN PRODUCTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The answer to the Bush Boom. (Scrappleface parody.)
Posted at 08:19 AM
DAMN THAT ECONOMY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 08:16 AM
PAUL BREMER'S RAMADAN ADDRESS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Now, as never before in your lifetimes, your future is full of hope. In this blessed time, we share a common vision that:
Posted at 07:55 AM
DID SOMEONE SAY THIS WAS GOING TO BE A LONG, HARD WAR? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
13 U.S. servicemen dead; Chinook shot down by Bagdad airport.
Posted at 07:43 AM
MAN ON THE MOON [John J. Miller]
There's a chance that President Bush soon will announce resuming manned spaceflight to the moon, according to this report.
Posted at 06:56 AM