SOME P.R. DEPT. [Rod Dreher]
Members of Egypt's persecuted Coptic Christian minority have been putting icthyus (fish) bumper stickers on their cars, announcing their Christian identities. Muslims have responded by putting hungry shark stickers on their bumpers.
Posted at 01:52 PM
ROBERT P. GEORGE ON GOODRIDGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 09:40 AM
IRAQI BLOGGER ON W'S IRAQ TRIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 09:38 AM
THE OTHER GEORGE W. BUSH [Michael Graham]
"After a year of management problems and budget woes for AmeriCorps, congressional negotiators agreed this week to give the troubled national service program $444 million for fiscal 2004." So reports the Washington Post today, as President Bush continues to push to expand the idiotic AmeriCorp program.
AmeriCorps "volunteers" get paid about $5,000 each for their "service." (They are volunteers in the same way that ladies of the evening are "girlfriends"). The Cato Institute has repeatedly shown the corruption and political abuse of various AmeriCorp programs. [Here's just one example.]
A national "fee for community service" program was the dumbest idea of the Clinton administration. Why does President Bush continue to expand it?
Posted at 09:30 AM
JESUS JACKSON...NOT [Tim Graham]
Faced with protests turning against him, Jesse Jackson compares himself (again) to ML King, Mandela...and Jesus.
Posted at 09:28 AM
HENRY PAYNE [Tim Graham]
H. Payne puts two and two together in a very clever juxtaposition.
Posted at 09:27 AM
GOP PANTY RAID [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Bush Administration betrayed free trade again by imposing new limits on the import of Chinese textiles, particularly women's lingerie. Though intended as a political sop to a special interest constituency, Gail Heriot suggests this could have unforeseen consequences for Bush's reelection. (As Gail admits, her scenario may be far-fetched -- but no more so than the administration's policy justification for restricting imports.)
Posted at 09:22 AM
BUSH'S COMMON TOUCH [Steve Hayward]
Much has been made of Bush serving up Thanksgiving dinner to the troops in Baghdad, as though it was a calculated pose devised by his PR people. More likely it is the real Bush in action.
I was having dinner at Morton’s on Connecticut Avenue in Washington in early October, 2001--less than a month after 9/11--when Bush showed up with a small entourage to have his first dinner out since 9/11. (I took it as a good sign that he came to Morton’s, where one is assured of a large cut of red meat.)
The entire restaurant immediately rose to its feet and applauded, of course, and Bush waved in every direction. But instead of working the tables to shake hands with the self-appointed VIPs who habituate Morton’s, Bush went to . . . the kitchen, where he shook hands and greeted the wait staff and cooks at length. The man has a genuine common touch.
The contrast with what Clinton would have done (assuming he would even go to Morton’s) could not have been greater.
Posted at 09:00 AM
THE VIEW FROM MOSUL [Clifford D. May]
Here’s one Iraqi response to President Bush’s visit:
Happy thanksgiving .
I am very proud for the great great visit of Mr. President to Iraq .It was very brief visit. The reaction from Iraq people is very very great .They feel it is good support and insure American are going to stay until the job is done .Iraqi people they worry about American election .They love very much Mr. Bush to be elected again a lot of people ask from Iraq what they can be a part of the campaign.
The author of this email lives near Mosul. She is a Chaldean Christian. No doubt there are Iraqis who disagree with her. Still, wouldn’t it be interesting to see a poll of who most Iraqis would like to see as America’s president in 2004?
The cross-tabs would be especially intriguing, e.g.:
pro-democracy/Baathist dead-ender/resident alien Jihadi.
Posted at 12:58 AM
THE WEEKEND IS YOUNG: THANKSGIVING OYSTERS [Peter Robinson]
Alice Robinson’s Scalloped Oysters
At any Thanksgiving dinner table, in my experience, no more than half those present will truly like oysters. Coupled with this recipe, that strange constant is very good news for those of us who do. At least my mother, my brother, and I always thought so. Year after year, we got this simple but delicious oyster dish almost entirely to ourselves.
One pint of oysters
One-and-a-half cups of cracker crumbs (Saltines, if you have any in the cupboard)
Half a cup of butter
A third of a cup of cream
One teaspoon of salt
A quarter teaspoon of pepper
Two tablespoons of parsley
Drain the oysters, saving about a third of the oyster juice. Add the oyster juice to the cream. (My sister-in-law, the authority on this recipe now that my mother is gone, tells me that she sometimes adds a little extra oyster juice.)
Grease a baking dish. Layer half the cracker crumbs on the bottom of the dish and half the oysters on top of the cracker crumbs. Mash the butter with a fork, then sprinkle half over the oysters. Layer the remaining crackers and oysters into the dish. Sprinkle them with the rest of the butter. Pour the mixture of oyster juice and cream on top, doing your best to cover the oysters, crackers, and butter completely, then dust the mixture of oyster juice and cream with the salt, pepper, and parsley.
Place the dish in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees. Bake for about 30 minutes. (My sister-in-law starts checking on the dish after 20 minutes, but she’s convinced the temperature in her oven runs high.) Serve hot for Thanksgiving dinner, then refrigerate the leftovers. And if you can say which tastes better—the the hot, fresh dish on Thanskgiving Day, or the cold leftovers the day after—be sure to let me know. In our family we’ve never been able to decide.
Posted at 12:33 AM
Friday, November 28, 2003
HILBERT'S SIXTEENTH PROBLEM [Rick Brookhiser]
I regularly add lines at infinity when I am checking the grocery bill, preparing my tax return, etc. It makes these mundance tasks go so much more quickly.
Posted at 07:59 PM
REUTERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Wow, I'd largely forgotten how nasty their bias really is. Read this story about how Bush is cowardly and money-grubbing as well as needlessly worried about security. Or am I missing a more uplifting subtext? Here's the intro:
By Adam Entous
Posted at 05:42 PM
SHOULD BUSH GO TO SOLDIERS' FUNERALS? [Jonah Goldberg]
This promises to be a growing criticism from the President's critics. I see nothing wrong with the President going to funerals but it's apparently pretty rare.
Posted at 05:01 PM
HILLARY’S TRIP [Clifford D. May]
Sen. Hillary Clinton also is in Iraq. So far, at least, she’s not criticizing Bush. She’s not saying the war was unjustified or a plot hatched in Texas. She’s not dropping hints about how the U.S. could cut-and-run and make it look like an endorsement of the U.N. or of principled multilateralism.
Instead, she’s praising the troops. She’s praising the humanitarian effort. She’s praising Coalition efforts to assist an Iraqi “transition toward democracy.”
It’s probably true that no one espousing such views can win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. But if you expect the Democratic candidate to be licking his wounds about this time next year, and if you have your eye on 2008, this is the smart play.
And it may be more than that. Not everyone on the Left is a post-humanitarian and an apologist for terrorism and Islamist totalitarianism. Could it be Hillary – of all people --who leads the Left back from its current dance with the devil?
Posted at 12:49 PM
BUSH BOOSTS IRAQIS, TOO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
CPT Roger Maynulet e-mails me:
I just wanted to drop you guys a note from here in downtown Baghdad where I interact with the local population on a daily basis. The President's visit was even more of a morale boost to the Iraqis than it was to the troops. When the President of the U.S.A. visits a place like this, it's like the most popular kid in school coming to a party hosted by the A.V. club. The Iraqis feel validated and Al Jazeera looked foolish in the eyes of the Iraqis trying to find a negative spin to the story.
Posted at 12:39 PM
FOUR JEWISH NASCAR FANS IN NYC! [John Debryshire]
A reader: "Your NASCAR article was wonderful, I have been a NASCAR fan since I was a youngster in the late 1960’s. I was the only Jewish NASCAR fan in NYC, now I hear there are 3 others..."
Posted at 12:38 PM
BUMPER STICKER STRAW POLL [Rod Dreher]
I don't know what this means, but I saw yet another Howard Dean sticker in a Dallas parking lot outside the supermarket on Thanksgiving eve, and it occurred to me that I've been seeing Dean stickers around town since the late summer -- but no stickers for any other Democratic candidates. Not one. I've even seen "Gore in 2004" stickers, but nothing touting Kerry, Gephardt, Lieberman, or anybody else. Oh wait, there was that Kucinich sticker in the parking lot of Central Market, but I attribute that to the fact that St. Willie Nelson has given the kooky Ohioan his blessing.
Posted at 12:34 PM
ALL-AMERICAN THANKSGIVING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The president even experienced Thanksgiving traffic.
Posted at 12:32 PM
BLACK FRIDAY [NRO Staff]
Save yourself some lines: Shop NRO. Get the latest beautiful children's collections, complete with the WFB seal of approval here.
Posted at 12:26 PM
ARE THE DEMS FINALLY LEARNING? [Michael Graham]
"Those guys can do some pretty smart stuff sometimes," a senior adviser to one of the Democrat [presidential candidates] said.
Why does it pain the Democrats so much merely to acknowledge that the Bushies aren't stupid? Every time they make the "Bush is stupid!" charge, the typical voter shopping at Wal-Mart or driving in his now-infamous pick-up truck just shakes his head. They just don't see it. Even the voters who don't support Bush don't buy that he's a dope. They just think he's wrong.
The Democratic Party often smacks of elitism. This current batch reeks of it.
Posted at 12:23 PM
HILBERT'S SIXTEENTH PROBLEM [John Derbyshire]
JUST ABOUT ANYBODY who read a book titled Prime Obsession will know all about David Hilbert's 23 problems for the twentieth century (Chapter 12). Well, a 22-year-old Swedish mathematician has just cracked part of the 16th. Here is a report. This mathematician, by the way, is female--so much for the idea that women can't do math.
You can find all 23 of Hilbert's problems, in the form he originally presented them, here. The sixteenth, to put it at its simplest, starts with inquiries into the topology of algebraic curves in the projective plane. Um, look: the graph of x-squared plus y-squared equals a-squared comes out as a circle of radius a if you draw it on a regular plane, right? And the circle divides the plane into two parts, an "inside" and an "outside," right? Well, Hilbert's sixteenth concerns questions that arise when you generalize this notion to curves of higher degree (higher than "squared," that is -- cubed, fourth powers, etc.) and replace the regular plane by a projective plane (which you can do by adding a line at infinity), and then proceed to higher dimensions (so you have surfaces in space instead of curves in a plane). Please don't ask me to explain further, it's not my area... though I cannot forbear noting that one of the classic texts on the topic was written by a Harvard prof. named Coolidge.
Posted at 12:14 PM
THE EU ACTS! [Andrew Stuttaford]
Posted at 12:03 PM
AL GORE SPEAKS! [Andrew Stuttaford]
Posted at 12:01 PM
I WAS A TEENAGE WAHHABI [Andrew Stuttaford]
We’ve been hearing plenty about how the Saudi regime is cracking down on the religious extremists who have made their squalid and savage little ‘kingdom’ a byword for cruelty, ignorance and terror. It’s a story that I want to believe, but reading this piece in today’s New York Times by someone, who is, quite clearly, a truly brave individual, Saudi journalist Mansour al-Nogaidan, I’m not sure that I can:
”We cannot solve the terrorism problem as long as it is endemic to our educational and religious institutions.
”Yet the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs have now established a committee to hunt down teachers who are suspected of being liberal-minded. This committee, which has the right to expel and punish any teacher who does not espouse hard-core Wahhabism, last week interrogated a teacher, found him "guilty" of an interest in philosophy and put on probation.
”During the holy fasting month of Ramadan, imams around the country stepped up their hate speech against liberals, advocates of women's rights, secularists, Christians and Jews — and many encouraged their congregations to do the same. I heard no sermons criticizing the people responsible for the attacks in Riyadh, in which innocent civilians and children were killed. The reason, I believe, is that these religious leaders sympathize with the criminals rather than the victims.
”I cannot but wonder at our officials and pundits who continue to claim that Saudi society loves other nations and wishes them peace, when state-sponsored preachers in some of our largest mosques continue to curse and call for the destruction of all non-Muslims.”
He’s right. To be sure, it is true that the Saudi authorities have been taking some steps against local terrorists, but it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that, in so doing, they are best compared with the arsonist who dials 911 after the fire he lit starts blazing too close to home.
Posted at 11:59 AM
"A MENSCH IN COWBOY BOOTS" [Rod Dreher]
Today's Dallas Morning News editorial page praises the president to the skies for his secret trip to Baghdad. (There's no link to the editorial on the site currently). My paper said:
Granted, Mr. Bush will probably get a political boost out of this lightning trip, but those who reduce his gallant and courageous gesture to mere politics only diminish themselves. Any commander in chief, Republican or Democrat, who took this kind of risk to show solidarity with our soldiers on Thanksgiving would deserve unreserved praise and admiration.
There is a Yiddish expression to describe a man who acts this way: mensch. Leo Rosten defined it as "someone of substance, someone to emulate, someone of noble character." George W. Bush of Texas showed yesterday what a mensch looks like in cowboy boots.
On the other hand, CNN's Nic Robertson just reported from Baghdad, "In Arab culture, it is almost an insult to visit unannounced, and he didn't even stay for the traditional hospitality." Waaah, waaah, waaah.
Posted at 10:35 AM
LEAK MEMO INQUIRY [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Washington Post reports on the Senate inquiry into how Republican staffers obtained internal memos from Judiciary Committee Democrats. No doubt an investigation into how Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained purloined memos detailing the internal operations of the Republican Attorneys General Association is sure to follow. (For the record, in each case it is appropriate to consider the substance of the memos apart from how they may have been obtained.)
Posted at 09:46 AM
A SILLY SUIT IN ALABAMA [Jonathan H. Adler]
Talk show host Kelly McGinley of Mobile, Alabama, is suing to have former Alabama Supreme Court justice Roy Moore reinstated, according to this story. (LvHB) The suit alleges that Moore's removal for ethical violations (refusing to comply with a federal court order) "disenfranchised" McGinley, who presumably voted for Moore in the last election, and constitutes unconstitutional abridgement of his right to vote. Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor is seeking to have the suit dismissed -- and with good reason. Moore was elected, but then removed for violating his judicial obligations. Think about it: Had the Senate removed President Clinton from office after his impeachment, could a voter make a legal claim to be "disenfranchised"? Of course not. Pryor's actions against Moore may not be popular in Alabama, but they are more evidence of his fealty to his legal obligations as a government official. Former Justice Moore could learn from his example.
Posted at 09:37 AM
SUN SHINES ON ALLEN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Here is the Baltimore Sun's extensive Thanksgiving Day profile of deputy HHS Secretary Claude Allen, who President Bush nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. (LvHB)
Posted at 09:19 AM
BUSH'S TRIP [Jonah Goldberg]
It was a brilliant, decent, generous, crafty, glorious gesture. President Bush was nearly in tears when he saw the gratitude and excitement on the faces of the troops. Obviously this White House saw a political angle. But that was a side-benefit. The troops deserved it. The troops appreciated it. And the American people, I bet, believed it was the right thing to do.
The Democrats will make fools of themselves if they go too far criticizing Bush. In fact, I think they'll make fools of themselves if they criticize him at all. They should just say, "It was a nice thing to do, our troops deserved it, in fact they deserve...blah blah blah." But I wouldn't be surprised if we get more flight jacket hysteria.
Posted at 07:11 AM
DOWN THE DRAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
World statesman ‘Red Ken’ Livingstone, the creepy authoritarian, who is, unfortunately, London’s mayor, threw a party to highlight his opposition to President Bush’s visit to the British capital.
Who paid for it? Blogger Oliver Kamm tried to find out.
“I called back, and asked once more how much the event had cost, now that we had established it had been paid for by the public. It was 'a few thousand'. The original budget had been £8000, but there had been some 'sponsorship in kind'. I asked how much the commercial rate was for the hire of the room, as that revenue forgone ought to be entered into the calculation for the budget for the event. That was £5000, but the whole expenditure was all 'a drop in the ocean'.
'So the expenditure of thousands of pounds' worth of council tax receipts isn't important.'
'I didn't say that. You're misquoting me.'
'So the expenditure of thousands of pounds' worth of council tax receipts is important?'
'Haven't you got anything better to do?'
And there we left the matter."
Posted at 05:55 AM
Thursday, November 27, 2003
BUSH IN BAGHDAD [Rick Brookhiser]
How right that he went; how heartened I am that he saw the rightness. Enjoy the moment. Tomorrow, Maureen Dowd will tell us it was a glitzy, glammy secret sideshow; Paul Krugman will explain that it distracted from the good economic numbers, which are really bad economic numbers; Frank Rich will compare it to some old TV shows; John Kerry will say that the troops should have stayed home in the first place, and by the way, he went to Vietnam. Whatever W's limitations with the talkoisie, he does seem to know how to talk to the Armed Forces.
Posted at 09:55 PM
I LIKE IT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Bush quietly made his way out of Crawford into the heart of Baghdad. And so I go to the White House website to get the text of his speech. But you can't get it there because our family friendly White House gave the webguys off. Gotta love it.
Posted at 09:46 PM
BUSH IN IRAQ [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That entire speech is short and should be read in full by every American--and Iraqi. Concisely, why we're there and what we're about. And ditto on what Michael said about Bush vs. Saddam.
Posted at 09:41 PM
BUSH IN BAGHDAD [Jonathan H. Adler]
Michael Graham offers the following thought on Bush's visit to Iraq. "What can President Bush do in Baghdad that Saddam Hussein can't? Appear in public. If that doesn't send a message to the Ba'athists and their would-be allies, I don't know what does." (Link via Instapundit.) Graham also notes the following from Bush's speech to the troops:
"We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost of casualties, defeat a ruthless dictator and liberate 25 million people, only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins. We will prevail. We will win because our cause is just."
Posted at 08:32 PM
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT ON THE SAUDIS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s Madeleine Albright on the Saudi problem. There’s much about the piece that is deeply, deeply flawed (hey, it’s Albright), not least the failure to draw a distinction between the need to deal with the Saudis in the years of the Soviet threat and the situation after the Soviet collapse. Perhaps this was inevitable – the failure to grasp that things had changed (and to realise that the strategic significance of Saudi Arabia was now completely different) was a failure of George H W Bush and, for eight wasted years, Albright’s old boss, Bill Clinton.
This, however, is right:
“The House of Saud cannot conduct business as usual and survive. The era of unaccountable high living is over, and the sooner the rank and file of princes (and princesses) understand that, the better.
“It is not possible to buy protection from the likes of an Osama bin Laden; nor can Saudi leaders pretend the evil he represents does not exist. They have to defeat his message, and show by their own actions that he is wrong.”
And so is this…
“Over the past 30 years or more, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the west has nourished unhealthy habits within both. Cynicism, secrecy and greed have tarnished pragmatic accomplishments, which include considerable behind-the-scenes cooperation on security matters. The concerns of average Saudis have been neglected, creating openings for extremists.
“Critics can write as much as they want about what the Saudis have done in the past. More important is what happens next. By attacking and killing fellow Muslims - and by bringing explosives into the Holy City of Mecca - it is possible that al-Qaida has overreached. That is an opportunity, because the battle against al-Qaida must be fought and won by Islam's mainstream majority.
“To win the allegiance of that majority, the Saudi government must reinvent itself by keeping its promises to reform. The US can help by living up to its own principles, terminating any complicity with Saudi corruption and waste, and showing respect for the rights of all who live in the Middle East. “
Posted at 02:42 PM
A TURKEY VOTING FOR THANKSGIVING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Not a very seasonal story, but here goes…
Andrew Cosslett, the managing director (CEO) of the UK food and soft drinks (including, ahem, Dr Pepper) giant, Cadbury Schweppes, is, I am afraid, not too bright. Here he is, speaking to a parliamentary committee in London:
"Misleading labels are wrong and it is up to the food industry to change that. People are being deluded about what they are buying,"
“Mr. Cosslett used the example of a pot of yoghurt carrying a low fat label which he had bought recently, believing it to be a healthy snack. In fact, he said, the yoghurt contained more calories than a Cadbury's Crunchie bar.
"Most people think of yoghurt as healthy. If you saw a low fat label you would be doubly convinced of that. It's only when you got it home and look at the calorie content that you realise it's not necessarily as healthy as it looks," he told a parliamentary select committee investigating junk food.”
Well, Mr. Cosslett, where exactly did you look at the “calorie content”? Er, the label.
More to the point, it is worth noting that the ‘obesity epidemic’ has gathered pace after the improvements we have seen in food labeling in recent years. It’s not the labeling, folks, it’s the exercise.
Cosslett was, however, not the only moron at the banquet. David Hinchcliffe, the thuggish MP responsible for the ban on tobacco advertising in the UK, said there were "parallels" between the fast food industry and tobacco, and, the Guardian reported, called for more hard-hitting health warnings on food products.
Hinchliffe “pointed out that a McDonald's cheeseburger with fries and a milkshake equated to a nine mile run or walk - something which would come as a surprise to many of the fast food chain's customers.” Well, perhaps (I haven’t done the numbers), but that assumes that those customers would have otherwise remained utterly immobile.
"At the moment [Hinchcliffe complained], calorie content does not mean a great deal to people. Perhaps the message is not sufficiently blunt," he said.
Translation: people are too stupid to understand.
Posted at 02:33 PM
NIGHTMARE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Um, Rod, I looked some of that ‘regrettable food’. Did you see the section entitled ‘cookin’ with Dr Pepper’ and, yeuch, this…
Posted at 02:29 PM
ONE FOR THE TROOPS [Jonathan H. Adler]
We should all be thankful for the troops risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. How fitting, then, that President Bush made a surprise visit to Baghdad to give such thanks in person.
Posted at 01:49 PM
A MILLER THANKSGIVING [John J. Miller]
In the Miller home, Thanksgiving means Detroit Lions football. This isn't always a good thing. A story in today's Detroit News puts it this way: "Lions want to show nation they're not that bad." Then it points out my favorite NFL team is 8-35 over the last three seasons. Gulp. At least Michigan beat Ohio State last weekend.
Posted at 10:58 AM
HAPPY THANKSGIVING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Thank you sincerely--all of you who read us regularly, have signed up for Digital or Dead Tree, who have donated, who have put up with our endless blegging, inconsistencies, and other quirks. We're grateful for you and wish you and yours a wonderful holiday. (And we hope you don't have to suffer the learning pains Meghan Gurdon once did this day!) If you're overseas serving the cause of freedom this Thanksgiving--or have a family member who is--we thank you for your sacrifice and devotion. We actually can never thank you enough--especially if you are among those whose loved one has given his life for our defense.
Posted at 08:10 AM
TRUE CONFESSION [Terry Teachout]
I have to admit, Kathryn, that while I've never eaten a turkey stuffed with White Castles, I do love the little burgers on their own--in fact, I've been known to alter my daily rounds in Manhattan so as to be able to dine chez White Castle (there are no White Castles in or near my neighborhood, but there's one in the shadow of the Empire State Building).
Gourmet fare they're not, but tasty they most definitely are....t
Posted at 08:09 AM
RELISH THE RECIPE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This one comes from Meghan Clyne, of NR World Headquarters:
Cranberry Cherry Relish
Posted at 08:06 AM
GRILLING IT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
We've got a lot of fun recipes in response to our recipe symposium (see the homepage); most received: grilling instructions. Here's one:
This requires some equipment, but it's the best Thanksgiving turkey we've ever had. We use a Weber grill with the electric rotisserie accessory. First, truss the (unstuffed!) turkey (no larger than 12 pounds) to the spit with a substantial amount of cotton twine, especially the legs. Then rub the entire bird with a large amount of fresh ground pepper, thyme, basil, rosemary, and salt, mixed into olive oil. If the bird isn't thoroughly coated with the mix, put on more! Cook using the electric rotisserie on medium indirect heat until interior temperature is 180, or as per Weber instructions. Check periodically to make sure the bird doesn't need more spices, and that the twine is holding well. Grilled rotisserie turkey comes out moist, rich, and delicious with the herb coating.
Posted at 07:56 AM
WONDER WHO JOE WILSON IS WORKING FOR? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Wonder no more: his advice to Saddam and co.
Posted at 07:42 AM
TURKEY WITHOUT DAD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
These'll tear at your heartstrings.
Posted at 07:42 AM
CONNICK THE CHRISTMAS TONIC [Tim Graham]
If you have a household anything like mine, the Christmas music will hit the CD player tomorrow (if not tonight?) One of the hottest new Christmas CDs this year is Harry Connick's "Harry for the Holidays."
Some dismiss Connick as the Ersatz Sinatra-Aping Boy, but not at our house, fella. Nevertheless, you might have to be a fan to warm to this disc without a few spins. It's very wild and jazzy (that's not bad, but not everyone's idea of Christmas-y), and yet very informal, almost like a live gig. (You might laugh at how one Amazon reviewer sincerely believes Harry was drunk in the recording studio.) The oddest turn is his country duet with George Jones on a New Year's lament.
For the Connick rookies and those looking for the more traditional Christmas album, his first Christmas album is an absolute classic.
Posted at 07:25 AM
HARRIET TUBMAN AND THE TIMES [Tim Graham]
TimesWatch reports that the New York Times is giddy over what proponents call "gay marriage." Get this! Clifford Krauss likens the trek of U.S. gays marrying in Canada to the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves: "Gay Couples Follow a Trail North Blazed by Slaves and War Resisters." A teaser embedded in another story on gay marriage makes the connection explicit: "A New Underground Railroad: Hundreds of Americans, fleeing state laws, are going to Canada to marry." The story opens with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
Posted at 07:20 AM
AN EASY PREDICTION [Tim Graham]
Remember last week's protests? First, the massive pile of leftists in London that became almost the central focus of Bush's trip to England, despite the fact that the Guardian, of all papers, found that more people there liked and welcomed Bush ...and second, the 80,000 or so that gathered in Miami to protest global capitalism at the talks over a free trade agreement for the Americas (pictured on the front page of the Washington Post)?
Both of these will get substantially more attention that this January's (or last January's, for that matter) March for Life.
Posted at 07:19 AM
A DEAR ABBY ABORTION? [Tim Graham]
Planned Parenthood is delighted that Jeanne Phillips ("Dear Abby") promoted a visit to the local Planned Parenthood mill in case of a troubling pregnancy in her Monday column. "Abby" even fends off pro-lifers urging her to consider PPFA's racist roots.
Posted at 07:17 AM
SOLUTION TO DERB'S BRAINTEASER [John Derbyshire]
The solutions are 119 and 144. Full explanation here
Posted at 07:12 AM
THANKSGIVING FOR JAMES LILEKS [Rod Dreher]
I was sitting in my cubicle yesterday planning out the menu for today's big feed, when I got the bright idea to visit James Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food. I laughed so hard I think my colleagues suspect I've been hitting the bottle. An added bonus: after surveying the food on display there, I think I'll just end up having a nice cup of consomme and call Thanksgiving a day.
Posted at 07:11 AM
RATING SESAME STREET [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This site's got a point about the increasing softness of SS. That said, I still have a soft spot for Elmo, nonetheless. If we had to assign a SS character to The Corner crowd, Derb would be the Count--or would he be Oscar (? :-)--there is that whole misanthrope/the world is going to hell in a handbacket theme), I think the Jonah/Cosmo/Couch shtick might get Cookie; Grover tends to get into a tizzy easily and tries to narrate and moderate, so there's your K-Lo ....I better stop now.
Posted at 07:00 AM
SLOW READER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Useful Noemie Emery piece on women and partial-birth abortion here.
Posted at 06:29 AM
RE: THE ESTRADA QUESTION [Tim Graham]
It should not be surprising that even well-informed people cannot identify Miguel Estrada. In the entire year-plus he was held up and demeaned by Senate Democrats, the network news ignored him. He was only acknowledged after he surrendered to the Schumers.
Posted at 06:26 AM
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
AUTHOR CREDIT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
That email I posted regarding Medicare was written by Tad DeHaven, a fiscal-policy analyst in Washington who has contributed to NRO before.
Posted at 02:37 PM
RE: ESTRADA ON JEOPARDY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I, too, nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the Estrada question on Jeopardy. More worrisome, though, to me was the fact that none of the three contestants, whom we must assume are better informed about current events than the average American voter, were able to identify Estrada. I assume this was taped prior to the recent filibuster-a-thon, but nonetheless it makes one wonder whether obstruction of judicial nominees as an issue is really resonating beyond a VERY small cross section of voters.
Posted at 02:37 PM
AND ANOTHER EMAIL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
This one responding to an earlier comment by me: Me: "The op-ed made me wonder something I have wondered in the past: whether the pro-life cause will be stronger once it is divested from opposition to gay rights; whether, that is, opposition to abortion will lose some of the negative connotations of social conservatism and become more obviously a campaign for civil rights." My e-mailer: A thousand times yes! It's a theme a pro-life/pro-gay marriage conservative will need to develop, but this observation strikes me as on the money. Of course, I'm one of those who fits the description. I think being the (real or perceived) anti-gay attitudes of many conservatives makes it far more difficult for the pro-life argument to get a hearing, particularly in places like here in Manhattan. And in some ways I don't blame those who make the connection - I see the issue in both cases as one of civil rights.
Posted at 02:35 PM
OUR BODIES, OUR SOULS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Princeton professor Robert P. George sent me an email regarding David Brooks’s column endorsing gay marriage. George has argued that central defining tenets of social liberalism presuppose a logically insupportable person-body dualism, in which a supra-bodily person (typically conceived as a conscious and desiring "self") is seen as inhabiting, and using as an instrument, a sub-personal body. Thus in debates over abortion, embryo-destructive research, and euthanasia, the claim will be made that "personhood" begins at some point after a human being’s body is present, and may end before a human being dies. The "person" is not the body. With regard to sexual morality, George draws on the thought of classical philosophers as well as Jewish and Christian writers to argue that sexual behavior whose object is something other than actualizing the one-flesh communion of a man and woman in marriage is immoral because it involves the instrumentalization of the bodies of sex partners, thus enacting a self-alienating existential separation of "body" and "person" (although not a metaphysical dualism, which is impossible). All this by way of explaining George's shorthand in his email to me.
George writes: “With Andrew Sullivan now on the record celebrating the ‘spiritual value’ of anonymous sex, I see that it falls to David Brooks to make the case for ‘gay marriage’ in the name of fighting promiscuity.
“One thing you can count on: Whoever argues for the proposition that marriage is not an intrinsically heterosexual union will be operating on the basis of some form of person/body dualism. If the maker of the case is a conservative, then what you would expect, I suppose, is the claim that the real person is the soul. The body is conceived as subpersonal, and merely derivative in moral significance. And sure enough, that's what you get with David's analysis:
“‘. . . we are not animals whose lives are bounded by our flesh and by our gender. We're moral creatures with souls, endowed with the ability to make covenants, such as the one Ruth made with Naomi.’
“Of course, we are creatures with souls; but it is also true that our lives are bounded by our flesh and gender. Operating from essentially dualistic assumptions, David presents these as mutually exclusive alternatives (either we are bounded by flesh or we have souls); but they aren't. Both statements are true. (There is a classic systematic treatment of this in Aquinas, and a good contemporary affirmation and explanation in David Braine's book: The Human Person: Animal and Spirit.)
“When it comes to marriage, David evidently views biological complementarity and organic bodily union as unnecessary because the real persons who unite in the marriage bond are the two (genderless) souls. Marriage is not (as in the Bibical and natural law conception) a one-flesh union (in which sexual congress is the biological foundation of a more comprehensive sharing of life that unites spouses at all levels of their being: the biological, emotional, rational, dispositional, and spiritual); rather, marriage is a soul-union. (Of course, this immediately raises the question asked by advocates of polyamory: Why can't three souls unite? Or seven? The same question stumps secular liberals who conceive marriage as an emotional union: Why can't five people unite emotionally and engage in sexual conduct together to enhance their experience of emotional solidarity?)
I would add that the, so to speak, disembodied case for gay marriage is in tension with the case, made by some advocates, that depends on the unchosenness of, i.e. the strong genetic predisposition toward, homosexuality.
Posted at 02:29 PM
OFF INTO THE SUNSET [Dave Kopel]
On December 10, the 1988 federal ban on so-called "plastic guns" will sunset. Efforts are currently underway to extend the law for another ten years. As I detailed in a NRO column, the law is nonsense. There is not, and never has been such a gun. Allowing this law to sunset would set a good precedent for sunset of the ban on cosmetically incorrect guns (so-called "assault weapons") in September 2004.
Posted at 02:24 PM
MEDICARE, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A friend writes:
I have a MAJOR problem with this piece. Deroy applauds the nine GOP Senators who voted against the final Medicare vote. I would argue that none of these Republicans represent a true "Profile in Courage" as Deroy claims.
First of all, your point about John Chafee is correct. He's a liberal Democrat for all intents and purposes. So, let's remove him. Now we are down to eight. (Side note: Chafee went along on the second procedural vote after getting a promise from the leadership that Providence wouldn't be one of the six sites chosen for the future competition test-run. He voted against the leadership in the first procedural vote when it didn't count for much.)
Trent Lott, in typically spineless Trent Lott fashion, caved when it mattered most as evidenced by his last-second wimp-out on the ultimately more important second procedural vote. See article:
That leaves us with 7 Senators left. Like Lott...Nickles, Gregg, Ensign, Graham, and Sununu could have actually earned a so-called 'profile in courage' had they voted 'nay' on the second procedural vote which only passed by a 2-vote margin. When it really, truly counted, these five did not come through. It's a little bit easier (sarcasm intended) to vote 'nay' when you know the 'yeas' are going to win anyhow. Here's the 2nd procedural vote:
That leaves us with 2 Senators left...Hagel and McCain. Both Hagel and McCain voted against the leadership in all three votes, including the more important #2 procedural vote. I don't know what Hagel's reasoning was, but I suspect that it was probably similar to either McCain's or Chafee's.
McCain's reasoning was his typically strange mish-mash of populism and free-market rhetoric that recognizes the problem and then offers little or nothing that would truly fix it.
Based on that statement, I personally wouldn't include McCain on any profile of courage list. My reasoning is that the statement appears to imply a 'yea' vote had the provisions he supported been included. If this is true (and I suppose I technically can't prove that it is), McCain would not deserve to be on any 'courage' list either.
So here's my new list:
Profile in Belonging to the Wrong Political Party:
Profile in Continued Spinelessness:
Profile in Lack-of-Courage When It Counts:
Profile in Probably-Not-Courageous-if-History-is-a-Guide:
Profile in Doubtful Courage:
Posted at 02:22 PM
SHRINK SAYS HINCKLEY OKAY TO TRAVEL ALONE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 02:22 PM
ISRAELI DOCTORS OPERATE ON IRAQI BABY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 02:14 PM
CON GAME NIGHT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Another reader reports:
Another Q on Jeopardy! last night had as the "question" "who is Miguel Estrada?" and asked about a Hispanic judicial nomininee whose nomination was blocked. I about fell out of my chair. Is there a NRO reader among the Jeopardy writers?
Posted at 02:10 PM
RE: NOT YOUR FATHER'S CORNER [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, the readers are, of course, quite right. White Castle makes the food of the gods (that recipe sounded wonderful), but we shouldn't forget their equivalents down south - these fine people.
Posted at 01:57 PM
ARE YOU READY TO HAVE CHILDREN? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
THE MESS TEST: Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Now rub your hands in the wet flower bed and rub on the walls. Cover the stains with crayons. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.
Posted at 01:46 PM
DOES THIS MEAN WE HAVE TO GIVE PEOPLE AT NR NEW TITLES? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Computer terms get stopped by the PC police.
Posted at 01:19 PM
THIS IS NOT YOUR FATHER’S CORNER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I am getting many of these:
I must take issue with your classification of "White Castle Stuffing" as the worst food idea ever. As a native St. Louisan and a connoisseur of such exquisite fare, I believe that the wonderful parapets of a White Castle will be immediately visible after being admitted into Heaven by St. Peter. I have partaken of the stuffing you so disdain and I can proudly say that I not only survived, but rejoiced at the fact that some unknown but certifiable genius had finally meshed the word "stuffing" with the final product.
Posted at 01:16 PM
RE: VERMIN BLEG [John Derbyshire]
The book is William Tenn's Of Men and Monsters: Many thanks to all who helped.
Posted at 12:40 PM
ONE MORE WORD FROM KRISTOF [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
By way of a sidebar, this is worth noting:
Kathryn,Or Tom Delay, according to the Progressive.
Posted at 11:43 AM
MORE CLICHE WATCH [John Derbyshire]
In know I've posted this link before, but some things are worth repeating.
Posted at 11:31 AM
GREAT THANKSGIVING TROOP-TRIBUTE PIECE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
from Karl Zinsmeister.
Posted at 11:29 AM
A REAL HORSE LOVER [Jonah Goldberg ]
This story is disgusting and you can probably guess what it's about from the subject header above. But my question is, if you shoot a man raping your horse, would a Montana jury send you to jail? No wait, my question is, if the horse likes it, Who are we to judge? No that's not right. How about, If the horse was wearing a very revealing saddle, does that mitigate things? No, no, no. My question is, if this was going on at the Neverland ranch....no, that's not right either. Darn it, there must be some redeeming policy issue that justifies posting this article!
Wait! Does Peter Singer think this is a crime at all? Particularly if the horse whinnies its consent?
Posted at 11:29 AM
BLEG FOR SCI-FI FANS [John Derbyshire]
Around 30 years ago I read a sci-fi novel about a future in which the Earth had been colonized by 300-foot giant aliens. The remnants of humanity survived as a kind of vermin, living in cavities in walls of the aliens' houses, coming out at night to forage for food, getting gassed occasionally when the exterminator came round. At the end of the book a party of humans manages to infest one of the aliens' starships, thereby launching the human race on a new career as interstellar roaches.
Can anyone tell me the name of this book, please? I am about 70 percent sure the author was Poul Anderson, but I can't find it among his works on Amazon. Reply to email@example.com, please, with subject line VERMIN.
Posted at 11:25 AM
MEMRI TOURS THE SAUDI EMBASSY'S WEBSITE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Dhimmis, beheadings, the superiority of polygamy, what's wrong with America, and more. And this is all what appears in English!
Posted at 11:21 AM
DEROY MURDOCK ON MEDICARE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Deroy's last two columns for NRO have been dedicated to lauding the Republicans who voted against the Medicare bill. I have one minor and one, well, slightly less minor objection. The minor objection is that it's silly to act as though holding a vote open for a long time is an act of lawbreaking. Votes in the House are routinely held open for longer than the fifteen-minute minimum, and that's the only way to pass worthy bills as well as unworthy ones. The second objection is that if merely voting against the Medicare bill makes one a free-market hero, then shouldn't the Democrats be on Deroy's honor roll too? It's not true that every Republican who voted against the Medicare bill did so because they prefer less government. Some of them were siding with the Democrats, who wanted an entitlement expansion twice as large. I assume that was why Sen. Lincoln Chafee voted against the bill. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson was mad that the Republican leadership had neutered her amendment to allow reimportation of drugs from Canada. (That's probably also why Gil Gutknecht, Emerson's co-sponsor, voted against it.) The arguments I heard Dan Burton making on the floor Friday night were not exclusively conservative ones, either.
Posted at 11:13 AM
BLOODY PRIZE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The U.K. Political Cartoon Society awards a cartoonist for his Sharon "blood libel" cartoon, which you can see here.
Posted at 11:08 AM
WE ARE BACKWARD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Odd, kinda cool, amusing, scary.
Posted at 10:59 AM
KRISTOF’S PRESS RELEASE FOR FRANCES KISSLING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Today (see here) is far from the first time Nicholas Kristof has hit the Catholic Church in his New York Times column for being backward and “reactionary” and “deadly” when it comes to AIDS (see here). His problem, of course, is that the official Catholic response to AIDS is not to knee-jerkingly hand out condoms, as if we were dealing with animals who can do nothing other than reflexively feed their desires. Kristof writes, “The Vatican has consistently opposed condoms and safe-sex education.” It really is amazing that the paper of record’s editorial page is not beyond the clichéd “safe sex” mantra. It doesn’t take much commonsense to realize that “safe sex” does not come with a flimsy rubber barrier. It comes with attitude and behavior change. But that’s not even just common sense. Harvard Researcher Ted Green, no Vatican p.r. man or pro-life propagandist, has found this to be true in Africa and beyond—especially in Uganda, whose ABC example should be shouted from the rooftops in Africa, Latin America, and beyond. Of course, Kristof will likely not be convinced—he strikes me as someone who just wants to play off anti-Catholic sensibilities. And so he does. Unfortunately, there will be thousands of travelers--Catholic and non-Catholic—who read that column today and nod their heads in agreement, getting about as balanced a look at the issue as they would get from reading a Catholic for a Free Choice press release.
Posted at 10:52 AM
CLICHE WATCH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 10:52 AM
UNFAIR FIRE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The New York Times goes to Harvey Fierstein for a “gay marriage” analysis this morning. In his op-ed, among other things, Fierstein brings up the name of Father Mychal Judge, the chaplain priest who died on 9/11. The mention strikes me as nasty—the kind of unanswerable line one throws out in seeking to stop a debate short. The implication is that because he may have been a gay man (not the written-in-stone fact Fierstein says it is, by the way: many who knew him have said as much, others have said otherwise), his ghost can therefore be called upon to endorse the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision of last week, which, of course, Fierstein has no right to do. Likewise, I’m not going to pretend to know the late Fr. Judge’s heart—or posthumous take on current affairs. The man is a hero—who ran down to those burning buildings—and died while doing his job and living his vocation (and that’s true whether he was homosexual or not). Trying to use him to score political points might seem like a great gotcha idea, but it strikes me more as patently unfair.
Posted at 10:51 AM
RE: SNIPER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A number of readers have pointed out: "Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan received death sentences, not life sentences. The death sentences were commuted when the California Supreme Court declared California's death penalty unconstitutional in 1972 and again in 1976."
Posted at 10:50 AM
SNIPER SENSITIVITY [Tim Graham]
Two black columnists plead against the death penalty for the DC snipers today, leaving clues that they believe there's a dose of racism in their prosecution.
In the Washington Post, Metro section columnist Courtland Milloy attacks the death penalty as "outrageous, vile and inhumane," even when applied to John Allen Muhammad:
"This is merely fear masquerading as justice, which does nothing to reduce fear but has been known to result in travesties of justice. Muhammad is 42. With two life sentences, there would be no way he'd ever see the light of day again. Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, the so-called Green River serial killer -- who recently admitted to killing 48 women -- all got life behind bars. And they are not getting out. But that conniving ole Muhammad -- he'd find a way and come kill us all."
Milloy is unsubtly suggesting that only Muhammad will fry because he's the wrong shade.
Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page takes up a pen for Lee Boyd Malvo, suggesting he's far too young for the death penalty, even though he wasn't too young to pick off a lady coming out of a Home Depot and joke about it. First, Page somehow merges him with Michael Jackson (?) and then cites the case of Lionel Tate, a black boy with a bad problem distinguishing the difference between TV and reality. Page writes "when it comes to holding underaged youths accountable for serious crimes, a lot of us don't just cross that line, we trample all over it." To put it mildly, Tate is a much better poster boy than Malvo for a case against "excessive" sentencing.
Posted at 10:00 AM
GEEK EXCHANGE [John Derbyshire]
Reader (following a Corner posting yesterday in which I used the word "paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde"): "Everyone knows that's the first bars of 'The Irish Washerwoman' -- in the original Gaelic."
Derb: "Ah, another Asimov fan...."
Reader: "Not as much as I was *before* I read 'I, Asimov,' but hell... I *do* think we should get some kind of 'too geeky to be imagined' prize."
[Those who understand, will understand.]
Posted at 09:55 AM
MORE BAD FOOD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 09:19 AM
DAVID FRUM ON JEOPARDY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mailer: "Kathryn - I can't believe there has not even been a mention in The Corner that David Frum's "axis of evil" was a 'question' on Jeopardy last night. As a self proclaimed Jeopardy fanatic - I'd have to say that would be hitting the big time for me.... "
That is pretty cool.
Posted at 09:11 AM
MORE GOOD ECON NEWS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods posted their biggest gain in 16 months in October, boosted by brisk demand for new aircraft and communications equipment, the government said Wednesday. "
Posted at 08:49 AM
P.S. ON DECTER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If you need an added nudge to get it, here's the NRO Q&A with her on Rumsfeld. Between the NR gems, Rumsfeld, and LEGACY, you could have your Christmas shopping wrapped up this morning!
Posted at 08:45 AM
DECTER BIO OF RUMSFELD A MUST [Jack Fowler]
By the way, Midge Decter's new book "Rumsfeld: A Personal Portrait" is a super read, and super timely. It's available here.
Posted at 08:43 AM
MORE PRAISE FOR NR'S CHILDREN TREASURIES [Jack Fowler]
We're not the only ones singing praises of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature and The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories. Here's the take on these big, beautiful books from the respected essayist and commentator Midge Decter:
“ 'Treasure' is the right word to use for these three collections of children’s literature. Indeed, reading through the National Review treasuries is a happy reminder of the time when children were respected as creatures capable of both real thoughts and real imaginings rather than, as they so much are today, no more than a cohort of small and conventionally attitudinizing adults. Indeed, with the Treasuries in tow, parents and children are both apt to begin anticipating bedtime as a whole new adventure."
Powerful words. Many thanks for them Midge (and congratulations again for being honored by President Bush last month with a National Humanities Medal!). You know, with Christmas looming the best thing you can do for a child is to give them something of real worth and lasting value--something that will help shape them into being good, decent, moral folk. We suggest you order any or all of our great titles: the original edition or "Volume Two" of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature, and our new book designed especially for new and beginning readers, The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories (a lavishly illustrated collection of beautful stories by the great Thornton Burgess). They are the perfect Christmas gifts (they'll not only last a lifetime -- they'll influence a child's entire life!). Order here.
Posted at 08:41 AM
RE: THANKSGIVING YUCK [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, clearly you missed the fuss over Jones Soda making a Turkey & Gravy flavor...
Posted at 08:15 AM
LEAKER ON LEAVE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch has put a Republican staffer on administrative leave for accessing Democratic computer files, the AP reports. Among the accessed files were memos detailing opposition to President Bush's judicial nominees, suggesting Democratic Senators were taking their cues from outside interest groups, and citing Miguel Estrada's ethnicity as a reason to block his confirmation.
Posted at 07:21 AM
THANKSGIVING "YUCK" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
WhiteCastle stuffing recipe, candidate for the worst food idea ever.
Posted at 05:55 AM
FROM IRAQ [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Soldier blog: worth reading (especially "Anatomy of a Decision").
Posted at 05:12 AM
OOPS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Medicare bill passes, Thanksgiving changed. (Scrappleface.)
Posted at 05:06 AM
CAPTAIN YEE, EX-GITMO CHAPLAIN, FACES NEW PROBLEMS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Already in trouble for mishanding classified docs--but evidently no longer in custody--he's now got some added issues.
Posted at 05:02 AM
LOOK WHO'S COMING TO DINNER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Meghan, looks like some troops in Iraq will have the pleasure of my junior senator's company this Thanksgiving.
Posted at 04:36 AM
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
ONOMASTIC ATROCITY [Rick Brookhiser]
Better than Wilhelm, or Adolf.
Posted at 11:59 PM
BBC CHIEF.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Says US media are cheerleaders for war.
Posted at 06:26 PM
SQUIRRELS AND PROCRASTINATION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a University of Michigan Law School student (who doesn't have the initiative to pry the dollars out of that school to get me a speaking gig there):
Jonah, Your(and Cosmo's) procrastination (presumably from your syndicated column) directly leads to my procrastination. I just spent 10 minutes analyzing Michigan's ranking among the other liberal elite schools, in terms of the squirrel population. I do have to concur though. I live in the law quad and the critters are quite active here. Obviously, the few conservative students at the school would love to have you for a visit. However, it may not be wise to turn Cosmo loose among the masses here. His torment would know no bounds.
Posted at 06:21 PM
ONOMASTIC ATROCITY [John Derbyshire]
My niece over in London, a corn-fed English lass, has just had her fourth baby. They have decided to name him Wolfgang. Wolfgang Edward. I have not made this up. I rather wish I had. Well, God bless them all anyway. Go for the full basketball team, Tessa. The next one could be... Ludwig?
Posted at 06:10 PM
CRUNCHY NEO-NAZIS? [Jonah Goldberg]
A new subgroup?
Posted at 05:23 PM
ISN'T HEINZ KERRY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
reason enough not to vote for John Kerry?
Posted at 05:13 PM
BOOK SELECTIONS [John Derbyshire]
Prime Obsession is ninth on the Christian Science Monitor's "Noteworthy Nonfiction" list for this year.
Posted at 05:09 PM
THE END OF HIGHER EDUCATION [Cosmo]
They've turned everything I believe upside down.
Posted at 05:03 PM
PEACENIK EQUIVALENCE [Tim Graham]
Early today on ABC's "Good Morning America," Diane Sawyer and Claire Shipman attempted to discuss some of the intricacies of the Medicare bill. MRC's Jessica Anderson noted that Shipman found nothing controversial in adding a "$400 billion" entitlement for seniors as the demographic lump known as the baby boomers approach Medicare age:
"Nobody minds the prescription drug benefits, obviously -- everyone thinks that's a good thing -- but what's really getting to people is the $120 billion that's being handed out to the private health care industry, doctors and hospitals..."
As if the doctors and hospitals are offering nothing in exchange?
During the buildup to war, when many Democrats in Congress crossed party lines and voted to authorize the war, the Left acted as if they were courageous "dissenters," completely marginalized and ignored by the consensus. That's where the econo-cons were in this Medicare debate. Republicans crossed party lines to sound like Great Society Democrats and AARP lapdogs, and the opponents of new entitlements are marginalized and ignored by the media. So can we claim to be courageous forces of fiscal "dissent"?
Posted at 05:00 PM
YOUR REAGAN'S PREVIEW [Tim Graham]
If the script that was downloadable at Salon.com is an accurate draft of "The Reagans" script, the Showtime movie on Sunday night is going to be an amazingly stilted attack piece. Rich Noyes and I read through hundreds of silly pages, and Rich's summary of slurs describes what Showtime viewers might see is loaded with these propaganda themes:
1. Reaganomics victimized the poor.
2. Reagan won the Cold War by overcoming conservative warmongers like Al Haig.
3. "Idiot" reporters in the White House rooted for Reagan. (This is clearly the most hilarious lie.)
4. The film centers on Reagan being flummoxed by Iran-Contra, including John Tower lecturing Reagan on how he would be impeached.
5. Reagan began losing his mental faculties even before the assassination attempt in 1981. (Strangely, this almost-CBS movie also suggests CBS anchor Walter Cronkite covered the 1987 INF Treaty signing, even though he retired in 1981.)
6. The Reagans were a very, very dysfunctional family, with Nancy hitting Patti on a regular basis, Nancy screaming at Michael to go back to his "real parents," and Nancy being sold on how she could be the "center of power" in Sacramento.
Posted at 04:59 PM
TURKEY, WITH A SIDE OF HILLARY [Meghan Keane]
According to a FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll, 45% of regis. voters say they would rather have Thanksgiving dinner with Bush; 35% said HRC. Aren't you surprised the difference isn't bigger?
Posted at 04:50 PM
STILL "UNEQUAL," AFTER ALL THESE YEARS [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
On CNN, Dingell cited the ERA as a solution to the “wage gap.” Judy Woodruff sounded more than a tad bitter when she concluded the segment, “An effort, as we know, that has not passed.” (Thank you, Phyllis!)
Posted at 04:47 PM
YADA, YADA, YADA [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Another GAO report is out saying women earn 80 cents on a man’s dollar. Michigan Dem. John Dingell, who commissioned the report, blames it on “subtle discrimination” and women being “compelled” to “make choices” (on CNN a few ago). Jeepers—I had no idea men never have to make choices in life and that women are forced to make theirs. I’ve been living in some fantasyland where some women actually happily choose to be home with their children rather than behind a desk or the like (some little girls even play house with their Barbie and Ken dolls…SHHH) and where some women would love to be able to make that choice without being ostracized for it. So glad Dingell cleared that up for me.
Posted at 04:44 PM
RE: HATING ME FOR GOING TO THE LOTR:ROTK PREVIEW [Jonah Goldberg]
Getting lots of email like this:
Hate you? Not at all. I think you're the wisest, most magnificent fellow on the planet. If I were gay, I'm sure I'd add "sexy" to the list.
Posted at 04:42 PM
ISLAM V. CHRISTIANITY [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm getting lots of email like this. But I'm not going to wade into this any deeper. It's not that it's not interesting, it's just that it is unresolvable and I am not particularly qualified to speak intelligently beyond what I've said. So feel free to send all future emails on the subject to Mike Potemra!
Anyway from a reader:
Posted at 04:28 PM
REICH AND EVANGELICALS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I don't read The American Prospect regularly, so I didn't see this Robert Reich piece until I read today's "Best of the Web." In it, Reich complains about evangelicals' alleged desire to impose a "theocracy" on America. With one possible exception, he treats evangelicals as monolithic. They're all the enemy, and there's not an evangelical leftist around. What's weirder is that Reich makes no mention of Catholic conservatives. If Reich is going to natter on about the allegedly theocratic nature of bans on abortion, stem-cell research, and gay marriage, you'd think he would want to condemn the Catholic church in addition to evangelicals. He even manages to treat Bill Pryor's confirmation to the federal bench as a distinctively evangelical cause. The facts that Pryor is a Catholic, and that his supporters have claimed that he is being penalized for his religion, are entirely ignored. You finish the piece wondering what Reich has against evangelicals.
Posted at 04:25 PM
I've gotten a few emails like this one already:
Jonah, I'm a big fan of yours, but have to disagree with you on this one. I'm no theologian, but it's this simple: My God sent his son (and himself, depending on your definition of the holy trinity) to walk the Earth, spread the Gospel, and to die for our sins, so that we may be forgiven ours. The God of Islam has done no such thing. Therefore, we do not worship the same God.My response: I'm not a theologian either, but it seems to me that this assumes the Muslim God truly exists and is distinct from the Christian or Jewish God. Christians -- at least most of the ones I've spoken to -- believe that Jews worship the same God as Christians, even though Jews don't believe that God sent Jesus to Earth as His only son. Isn't something similar applicable to the Christian view of Muslims? I don't mean to offend anybody, but isn't it possible that the more consistent Christian response is that Muslims worship the same God in the "wrong" way -- or are simply confused, i.e. not yet saved -- than to say that the Muslim God either doesn't exist or is a different God altogether than the Christian one? I mean, various Christian sects debate many of these issues too.
Posted at 04:04 PM
ALEC BALDWIN'S CINEMATIC COMEUPPANCE [Jim Boulet]
Plenty of Alec Baldwin abuse in the new Cat in the Hat movie. A bit of a surprise from Hollywood given that purebred liberal Baldwin threatened to leave the country if George W. Bush was elected. Note to Jonah -- perhaps our side is winning the culture war.
Posted at 04:04 PM
FINALLY [Jonah Goldberg]
A Corner item Mike and I agree on completely. It seems to me Christians can accuse Muslims of heresy but it's hard to make the case they worship a different God since everybody's talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Or am I missing something?
Posted at 03:27 PM
W.'S RIGHT: IT'S THE SAME GOD [[Mike Potemra] ]
In London, President Bush was asked a question about Muslims and Christians, and he said: "I believe we worship the same God." According to this report, some of my fellow Evangelicals are knocking the president for this comment. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is quoted as saying the president "is simply mistaken. . . . We should always remember that he is commander in chief, not theologian in chief. The Bible is clear on this: The one and true god is Jehovah, and his only begotten son is Jesus Christ." Now, I think President Bush is a pretty faithful-and savvy--Evangelical himself, and that he is on solid theological ground. Nothing he said contradicts his Christian faith: He is not denying that Muslims have a significantly different theology from ours. What he is saying is that while Muslims have a different interpretation of God's nature, will, and purposes, they recognize that there is only one of Him; that all prayers to God go to the same address. In other words, they know some truths about God, but not all truths about Him. (The same can be said of me, President Bush, Dr. Land, and everybody else. Some have more faith, some have more accurate faith-but what faith anyone has is a gift to be grateful for.)
Posted at 03:22 PM
AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION [Jonah Goldberg]
From the reader who started this thread:
Can I get back into this, since I started it? I think the most important thing to point out is that while the Exceptions and Regulations Clause does, indeed, give Congress the power to limit SCOTUS's jurisdiction, I do not think it empowers Congress to "take away judicial review on Constitutional matters," which was what I originally said would have to be done by Constitutional amendment. Article III, Section 2 opens with the statement that "The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, [etc.]" Congress may be able to remove jurisdiction over specific issues, say, abortion or marriage, but completely removing the Court's power to review Constitutional matters is not an exception or a regulation, it is a complete nullification of one of the Court's enumerated powers. That would exceed Congress's authority.
Posted at 03:13 PM
BDELLOID [John Derbyshire]
A reader wants to know if he can use the word "bdelloid" in ordinary conversation. Depends what you mean by "can." On matters of etiquette and usage, I defer to our Grand Wordmaster ; but in my state, at least, there is no statute prohibiting you.
The adjective "bdelloid" means "like a leech in form or function." Possible constructions would therefore be:
[At the deli counter] "I'd like one of those pastries, please. No, not the square one -- that one there -- the bdelloid one."
[To a significant other] "I DO love you, honey. I just wish you were a little less... bdelloid."
Posted at 02:56 PM
BEER ADS UNDER SIEGE [Rich Lowry]
I've been following Howard "People Power" Dean for the last few days - more on that later. Meanwhile, I'm working on a column on the effort to ban beer ads during college sports broadcasts. Thoughts on this weenie campaign from beer-ad afficionados out there would be appreciated...
Posted at 02:51 PM
BRIAN ANDERSON FIRES BACK [Jonah Goldberg]
He responds at TCS to my G-File. I don't see any major disagreements, but I'll have some thoughts later. Got to get back to my syndicated column.
Posted at 02:13 PM
IF YOU HATED ME BEFORE... [Jonah Goldberg]
What do you think of me now that I'm going to the preview of Return of the King on December 8?
Posted at 01:44 PM
RE: THE JIHADISTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
And here I thought one of the gentleman in The Corner would offer to take the first hit so I could set up the underground operation.
Posted at 01:33 PM
JIHADISTS TO ELIMINATE K-LO [John Derbyshire]
This is SO depressing. No-one wants to eliminate ME. No-one even hates me, except... well, you know. I mean, nobody really thinks I'm a limb of Satan. I feel my street cred draining away.
Posted at 01:04 PM
RE: WHY PEOPLE HATE MATH [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Obviously those creatures who invaded your village had no ideals except themselves and the zero ideal.
Posted at 12:53 PM
GREG EASTERBROOK [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader tells me NFL.com has picked up his football column. Good for him. Bad for ESPN. As it should be.
Posted at 12:52 PM
UH...THANKS, "ALLAH"...I THINK... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Evidently I'll be the first eliminated if the U.S. falls to jihadists. (Why, in their blogroll, are we only a "Little Satan"?....why am I asking?)
Posted at 12:48 PM
AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION [Jonah Goldberg]
The testy emailer who used the word "ignorant" responds:
First off, Jonah, I did not say the writer was ignorant as a general matter, I said he was ignorant "of basic principles of Constitutional law." I don't see this as an ad hominem attack and if it's construed as such, I apologize - I am ignorant about most principles of physics, if it helps.
Posted at 12:45 PM
LAST WORD ON GAVORA BEAST [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader who reads Japanese:
That particular website is about a monster from the Ultraman show called "Gavora" (it's actually written as "gabora" since Japanese has no native "vo" sound). The stats for this monster:
Posted at 12:06 PM
SUPER-TERRIFIC MONSTER HOUR [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of email about the Gavora beast. Apparently it's one of Ultraman's many enemies. Apparently it means something along the lines of "Uranium monstrous beast" and/or "Moth-striped mullet." My sense is I should leave this whole thing alone now.
Posted at 11:48 AM
MORE ON TURKEY [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 11:43 AM
CATO IN THE SENATE [Meghan Keane]
Harry Reid (D-NV) on the Senate floor ten minutes ago declared: "I love the constitution. I love it so much, I carry this with me." He whips out the Cato pocket constitution and proceeds to say, "This was given to me by my great friend, Robert Byrd."
Posted at 11:30 AM
THE ISRAELIZATION OF TURKEY [Jonah Goldberg]
Interesting article on the impact of the bombings.
Posted at 11:26 AM
SHAME ON ME? [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Shame on you for posting an email from a person who refers to others as "ignorant".
Posted at 10:48 AM
ANYONE READ JAPANESE? [Jonah Goldberg]
As many of you know by now, my lovely bride's name is Jessica Gavora. Hence, I'm very interested in knowing what this website is about.
UPDATE: The link doesn't seem to work. But if you paste www.mirai.ne.jp/~hide2000/ult_kz/uman/gavora.htm into your browser, it should do the trick.
UPDATE: Actually, the link should work now.
Posted at 10:23 AM
RE: BDELLOID ROTIFERS [John Derbyshire]
I have just had my third e-mail with subject line "bdelloid rotifers" and message saying, more or less: "TELL me about it!"
Posted at 10:18 AM
HUGH KENNER, RIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Literary critic and sometimes-NR contributor--and WFB friend--Hugh Kenner has died.
Posted at 10:17 AM
RE: WHY PEOPLE HATE MATH [Jonah Goldberg]
Actually, the reason I hate math is that when I was a young boy, my village was invaded by a vicious band of rhomboids, integers and algorithms. They burned down my parent's hut and kidnapped all of the children, shouting "Viva Math!"
Posted at 10:15 AM
WHY PEOPLE HATE MATH [John Derbyshire]
"Two Lie groups having isomorphic Lie algebras are locally isomorphic. The local Lie subgroups of the Lie group are determined by the subalgebras of the Lie algebra. If the Lie group is locally simple, that is, if it has no locally defined invariant Lie subgroup, the Lie algebra is simple, that is, it has no ideal except itself and the zero ideal."---B.L. van der Waerden's HISTORY OF ALGEBRA, p.166.
Posted at 09:59 AM
RE: RE: BDELLOID ROTIFERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb - I wasn't speaking from personal knowledge, it's just that some of my closest friends are bdelloid rotifiers and they're always over here complaining about their love lives; "How do the jellyfish do it?" "Man, did you see that urchin sling the b.s.? But the chicks fall for it!" Etc.
Posted at 09:52 AM
RACISM DETECTOR [Jonah Goldberg]
Scientists claim to have invented a brain scanner that can tell if you're a racist. How long before this becomes a regular part of job interviews?
Posted at 09:47 AM
RE: BDELLOID ROTIFERS [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Hey, I wouldn't know...
Posted at 09:42 AM
CHANNELING ANGLETON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Michael Ledeen breaks out his ouiji board again to get some advice from James Jesus Angleton.
Posted at 09:35 AM
BDELLOID ROTIFIERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb - Actually, it's just been twenty million years, but it feels like 40 million when all the other marine invertebrates are getting lucky all the time.
Posted at 09:33 AM
VICTORY FOR THE DEATH PENALTY [Jonah Goldberg]
Thank goodness the jury gave John Allen Muhammed the death penalty. Why else have a death penalty than for a guy who planned-out numerous executions from a great distance (a morally relevant point, if you ask me. After all killing from a distance was one of the reasons the Vatican outlawed the crossbow, but that's a topic for another day) and now shows absolutely no remorse. Death penalty opponents often cherry pick the cases to be outraged about, taking advantage of low public awareness of the details. Well, here's a case where we know the guy's guilty, where we know he deserves it -- if anyone does -- and the public is very informed about the facts of the case. Let's have the opponents denounce this execution with the same passion they reserve for cases where the public is less up-to-speed on the details.
Posted at 09:30 AM
WHERE THERE'S A WILL, THERE'S A WAY [Jack Fowler]
Among the deluge of praise for our NR kids books -- from some pretty distinguished folks -- is this from none other than George Will: "National Review, having done so much to make government safe for subsequent generations, has now turned its attention to making those rising generations suited to self-government. These treasuries of children's literature will delight young readers, and improve them without making them aware that anything so annoying is going on."
Thanks Mr. Will -- we couldn't have said it better. Now, with Christmas looming, may we suggest NROers delight young readers and order any or all of our great titles: the original edition or "Volume Two" of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature, and our new book designed especially for new and beginiing readers, The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories (a lavishly illustrated collection of beautful stories by the great Thornton Burgess). They are the perfect Christmas gifts (they'll not only last a lifetime -- they'll influence a child's entire life!). Order here.
Posted at 09:29 AM
GOD IN A LOCK BOX [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Worthwhile column in the National Post by sometimes-NRO contributor Father Raymond De Souza:
JFK's privatization of religious faith ran counter to the tenor of the times. It would, in due course, be a decisive factor in changing the times. For in winning the 1960 election, JFK demonstrated that one could both profess a religious creed and ignore it for political purposes at the same time.
Posted at 09:26 AM
RE: SEA URCHINS [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: The marine invertebrate **I** feel most sorry for is the bdelloid rotifer. According to Science News , bdelloid rotifers have had no sex for 40 million years.
Posted at 09:23 AM
AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Another view, from a reader:
Posted at 09:23 AM
DAVID IGNATIUS [Jonah Goldberg]
I've really started to like his column. This one's sobering but worth reading.
Posted at 09:20 AM
GOOD NEWS FOR LEGACY, GOOD NEWS FOR OUR CULTURE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jeremy Yoder e-mails: "Lest you get too worried about the placement of LEGACY in bookstores nationwide, I thought I'd report what I saw last night in my town's Books-A-Million. LEGACY was the first rack when you walk in the door. It had over 30 books in the display, with several missing (as in probably purchased). Of course, Cleveland, Tennessee is the eyelet of the buckle of the Bible belt, so we have some conservative leanings. Another thing I noticed: Feng Shui books were in the Occult section. "
Posted at 08:58 AM
A WORD TO THE WISEL [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Congratulations! on your offspring uttering the word "Tajikistan." Let me tell you, however, as one experienced in these things, that at your daughter's age, "Tajikistan" actually means "pizza." Here are some other words that mean "pizza": "Kyrgyzstan," "Burkina Faso," "Myanmar," "omphaloskepsis," "immanentize," and "eschaton."
However, should your child say "paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde," that means "soda."
Posted at 08:52 AM
KRUGMAN CAT WATCH [KJL]
This just in: Economic growth surges at 8.2 percent rate in third quarter, strongest pace since early 1984.
Posted at 08:35 AM
SEA URCHINS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Scientists report (link Via Drudge) that sea urchins may be nigh-upon immortal. It's an interesting story but the scientists downplay an important angle. There's a huge trade-off. You have to spend your whole life as a sea urchin.
Posted at 08:34 AM
HE'S MAD AS HELL [John Derbyshire]
...and not going to take it any more. This reader, I mean: "Derb--Just heard today’s Morning Edition on the way into work. Jennifer Luddin (spelling?) did a segment on Mexican Consular ID cards being issued to illegals in this country and about state governments accepting them as ID. This seems like a slap in the face to you and all the other LEGAL immigrants. It happens to me all the time--If you are a law abiding, bill paying, tax paying person......you get squat! If you do not work, do not pay taxes, do not follow the law....they give you free health care, tax refunds!! and welfare. The best line of the show was the last when she said something like: 'The political wrangling continues. Meanwhile, immigrants line up at Consular offices to get their ID cards.' She couldn’t even bring herself to say 'illegal immigrants.' No, they are just your average immigrants."
Posted at 08:30 AM
MY BABY IS A GENIUS! [Jonah Goldberg]
She just said her first word: "Tajikistan," albeit with a silent "n." She even said it with a distinctly Cambodian accent while she had four fingers and a baby sock in her mouth.
Posted at 08:28 AM
AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
The notion that the Constitution should never be amended is, as you say, silly. But isn't that something of a straw man? I would support a repeal of the 16th Amendment (the income tax), or a balanced budget amendment, or a term limits amendment, but not the FMA. And not because I think a marriage is whatever any two people want it to be. It's just that the definition of marriage (either one) does not belong in the Constitution. The Constitution is supposed to set up how we govern ourselves and protect minority interests from the "tyranny of the majority." It is not supposed to be the battleground in the culture wars. I realize the other side is cheating through their judicial activism, but I think the answer to that has to be reasoned debate, not micro-managing the culture through the Constitution. Another way to battle judicial activism would be to amend the Constitution to take away judicial review on Constitutional matters. I do not think that would be a wise amendment, but it would be an appropriate thing to do by Constitutional amendment. Bottom line ("So, you're a bottom-line man, eh?")*: The FMA does not belong in the Constitution any more than Prohibition did. [Name withheld] *Name the movie, and I'll buy your book when it comes out.
Posted at 08:25 AM
WOULDN'T THEY JUST BEHEAD HIM? [Jonah Goldberg]
Some readers have given me a hard time for even mentioning Michael Jackson's name while there's a war on. I think Jackson's a legitimate story, even if I think the coverage may go too far. Nevertheless, for those of you who believe the war on terrorism should come first, maybe you'll be interested to know there's a Saudi connection.
Posted at 07:54 AM
SHOWTIME SNIPING [Tim Graham]
Lisa DeMoraes reports in the Washington Post that all is not happy in the People's Republic of Viacom over The Reagans, otherwise known as the Three Hour Attack Ad. LDM once again employs her constant trope of suggesting that only the RNC protested the show, leaving out MRC, boycottcbs, and thousands of others.
Posted at 07:12 AM
WHAERE'S THE FRENZY? [Tim Graham]
In the Washington Times this morning, Tony Blankley reflects on the sudden quiet decorum of our usually ravenous press on leaked information they don't find politically helpful.
Posted at 06:50 AM
P.S. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It has been a very long time since I shamelessly plugged Legacy (Legacy, the book to give this Christmas). SSSSSSHHHHHH. Don't tell LEGACY's author, Rich Lowry. I'll never get a signed copy if you do.
Posted at 06:08 AM
LEGACY & GCT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is devotion to a website, to a man, to a book--to the idea of America:
My wife and I have enjoyed the Corner discussions regarding the scarcity of Legacy and other right-minded books at Posman Books at Grand Central Terminal - she works in the tower above the station and I pass through frequently - plenty of Chomsky and Franken available for your holidays. So the wife went in to look for Legacy today, and with the help of a sales clerk was able to locate the one copy, in the back (under public affairs, with the alphabetical system conveniently set up to strand it on the lowest shelf). She informed the clerk that she wanted two copies, so after checking their computer, they were able to determine that one is on order and could be held. She inquired: one shipment, or one single book? One single book. So my wife suggested they order a few more so that she didn't deprive any other potential buyers of the last copy. Duly noted.
Posted at 05:59 AM
LIES! LIES! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Terry Teachout on what Bill Clinton says he's reading. As one who has tried--again and again (can we say OBSESSION?)--to read HRC's book, I know that's a lie. I suspect Teachout's note off on the rest.
Posted at 05:55 AM
"THE SATANIC, YET GLORIOUS MICHAEL LEDEEN" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 05:51 AM
SORRY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Seems I jinxed us.
Posted at 05:26 AM
Monday, November 24, 2003
I LOVE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
when The Corner is rocking. That's all I have to say.
Posted at 06:53 PM
THE CONSTITUTION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, Glad to see Ramesh addressed this. It is the Progressives who seek to avoid the Constitution, and thus lessen its authority, by having an enlightened Judiciary interpret justice. Thus we get decisions like Roe (based on medical research) or Brown (based on Social Science data and self-esteem rather than genuine equal protection) where the court reinvents the Constitution continually. Your opposition to a "living constitution" is a compelling attack against this mentality. By amending the Constitution to make change you show reverence for the document, if not its specific contents, by using its own provisions. It is those that ignore the document because they "know better" who do it great harm. To change this into an anecdote. Who is more reverent of their parent's rules? The child who does what he wants anyway because the has "learned from the lessons of his parent's lives?" Or the child who when he encounters a conflict with his parents rules goes to all the other parents in the neighborhood to see their policies and then asks his parents if they will reconsider? Though not an exact comparison, this shows the type of behavior exhibited. For an actual comparison the child would have to present a case to the parents against their own policy. Since an amendment is "we the people" deciding, "we the people" being a continuous phenomenon. "We the people" is the people of the United States in all times, not just at the founding.
Posted at 06:05 PM
BLOGOSPHERE AND THE CULTURE WAR [Jonah Goldberg]
I didn't have room to get into it, but I should add that pretty much everything I wrote in today's G-File about conservatism also goes for the blogosphere/web. I'm hugely proud of NRO and I respect lots of sites on the web, but I would trade all of the conservative dominance on the web for conservative dominance in traditional media any day. Just because blogs are surprisingly influential, for example, doesn't mean they are strategically preferable. Just as guerilla attacks can have a serious impact, I'd still rather have the US Army than the ragtag resources of the Jihadists and Baathists in Iraq.
Posted at 05:25 PM
WOOPS [Jonah Goldberg]
I see Ramesh beat me to it on the amending-erodes-sanctity thing.
Posted at 05:06 PM
FMA AND THE CONSTITUTION'S "SANCTITY" [Jonah Goldberg]
David Horowitz and other opponents of the FMA are very worried that such an amendment will erode the "sanctity" of the Constitution. I take a back seat to no one in my reverence for the Constitution and I'm still undecided, but leaning against, the FMA. But I fail to understand how changing the constitution through the intended process written down by the founders is somehow so much worse than the current process whereby a bunch of unelected judges just make stuff up as they go. Amending the constitution is a big deal, but it's also very hard. Which is a very good thing for a host of reasons -- some of which include the fact that the process teaches people to take the Constitution seriously. I always find it interesting that in a culture which constantly speaks of the need to "exercise" our individual rights, we find it horrific that we might exercise our collective rights in the long, deliberative and profoundly democratic and republican (small ds and rs) process laid out in the Constitution. I would much rather that sort of judicial activism than the sort we have now under our system of "living" constitutions.
Posted at 04:58 PM
ROLLING STONE [Rick Brookhiser]
And thanks, Jonah, for sending me to Rolling Stone in your utopia. Look for lots of American roots music. The Roy Acuff--Ray Stanley--Rev. Gary Davis--Dave Van Ronk revivial starts now.
Posted at 04:54 PM
NRO MOBUTU [Rick Brookhiser]
If we are, as Jonah says, the the Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu waza Banga of the worldwide web, then where are my diamonds?
Posted at 04:52 PM
WELCOME TO THE CORNER, DAVID! [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Glad to have you. I must confess that I don't quite understand your argument. If social conservatives fail to amend the Constitution, they will have made it easier to amend the Constitution? How does that follow? Or they will have made it clear that the Constitution can be amended? Presumably people are already aware of this possibility. Are we supposed to worry about the "anti-American left" rewriting the Constitution? The left already does that, from the bench. I do not believe that it was a mistake for the Founders to include a provision for amending the Constitution, as David seems to. The mere possibility that it might be amended in bad ways by leftists--assuming that they would bother to use the formal amendment process--certainly does not strike me as a sensible reason for acting as though the amendment process were not available.
I await David's explanation of his cryptic reference to "alternative means."
Posted at 04:47 PM
RAMESH, HOROWITZ & FMA [David Horowitz]
My friend Ramesh thinks it’s idiotic to regard amending the Constitution as an alternative to winning hearts and minds. Stated thus it is. But that is not my argument. Of course if you get the amendment passed you have won American hearts and minds big time. But what if you don’t? The Equal Rights Amendment came within one state of passing (if memory serves). Did the feminists win America’s heart and mind? The problem is that not succeeding eats away at the sanctity of the Constitution and encourages others to try it, but even worse to regard it as a rewritable document. Of course the Founders made it rewritable, but at this historical juncture my argument was that that itself is a bad idea. It will remain so until the anti-American left is defeated. Not to recognize this is to put your head in the sand.
Posted at 04:35 PM
YET MORE ON GAY MARRIAGE: MAGGIE GALLAGHER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A few issues ago, I reported on the emerging consensus among social-conservative activists about the proper scope of a Federal Marriage Amendment. These activists had disagreed about whether an amendment should bar gay marriage only, or gay marriage and civil unions. The people who wanted to bar both said that there was no point in protecting a "word" rather than an "institution." The consensus all the activists reached was that the FMA should prohibit courts or legislatures from granting any benefit to gay couples or unmarried straight couples unless those benefits were also available to other unmarried people who were not involved in any sort of sexual relationship. If a gay couple could receive the benefit, two sisters who were living together would have to be able to get it too. I noted that proponents of this idea for an amendment thought that it was compatible with some kinds of civil-unions laws but not others, and that they thought that leaving some room for civil unions would give Republicans some defensible political ground on which to stand.
Maggie Gallagher signed off on the concept at a meeting on October 14--but then sent out a letter backpedaling. Now she has a cover story in the Weekly Standard arguing that the amendment should leave civil unions alone. She makes three major points: 1) Most of what people describe as the "benefits" of marriage are pretty small beer. Those benefits could be extended more widely without creating gay marriage and without doing damage to the institution. 2) The real benefit of marriage that remains in the law inheres precisely in the word: in the ability to say that some couples are "married" and some are not. 3) Taking on gay marriage is a winnable fight, while taking on gay marriage and civil unions is a non-starter.
It's a very interesting article. It would be stronger if Gallagher addressed the distinction the other social conservatives tried to make among types of civil unions--if, for example, she tried to explain why that distinction would not help them in the political battles to come as much as they think it would. Also, she does not address whether those other social conservatives are right to believe that there is value to having no governmental benefit depend on a sexual relationship outside of a traditional marriage, even if the particular benefits in question are not themselves of earth-shattering importance.
Two more observations: As I reported, two of the drafters of the original FMA language, Robert P. George and Gerard Bradley (of Princeton and Notre Dame, respectively), believe that a constitutional reference to "marriage" being between a man and a woman would, if properly interpreted, have the effect of barring benefits that were contingent on non-(traditional )marital sex. Presumably Gallagher's ideal amendment would have to read something like the following: "In the U.S. Code and in the laws of the states, the word 'marriage' will refer to the union of a man and a woman."
Last, in the course of her article Gallagher makes one truly bone-headed argument against the people who say they want to protect the institution rather than the word: "Marriage is a word, yes, but so are property, freedom, democracy, morality, and love. The Ten Commandments are made of words." Well, sure. (The Constitution is made of words too!) But nobody is arguing that words do not mean anything. Does it really need pointing out that the value of freedom does not primarily reside in our ability to label some things as free or unfree, but rather in the realities to which the word freedom refers (i.e., the ability to say, think, and do as we wish consistent with others' ability to do the same)? Gallagher's whole argument is that the value of marriage would be reduced if we called other relationships "marriage." The value of freedom would not be reduced if we called despotism "freedom" or "democracy." Some editing would have come in handy here.
Posted at 03:43 PM
CAROLINA CRACK-UP? [Michael Graham]
The buzz around South Carolina is that the crumbling state party organization may not even be able to HOLD a primary because of the cost. The party's desperately trying to scrape together the $500,000 needed to hold a statewide election (in SC, the parties, not the state, conduct and fund primary elections). One Democratic insider told me that the Dems may try to only open about a third of the polling places--a decision which will likely inspire a GOP legal challenge in a state still operating under the Voting Rights Act.
So prevalent is the rumor that the SC Dem primary may disappear that the state party organization had to address it yet again last week.
Meanwhile, the loudest chatter about the SC primary being passe' is coming from Howard Dean, who has all but written off the Palmetto State primary. He's focusing instead on the Feb. 10th contest in Virginia to prove he can win in the South.
At a recent campaign event, Dean supporter and former Lt. Governor Don Beyer said "the campaign's primary election strategy focused on the top three states of Iowa, New Hampshire and VIRGINIA."[emphasis added]
When it comes to those rednecks with the Confederate flags, the Dean strategy seems to be "If you can't win 'em, leave 'em."
Posted at 03:26 PM
CONSERVATISM AND PC [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Just wanted to chime in with Jonah's reader: Not everything that is anti-PC should be celebrated as an invigorating expression of freedom from groupthink. Truly racist speech, for example, could be seen as a protest against PC, but it's not one that most conservatives would celebrate. The same, I would say, is true of cruel and vulgar speech.
Posted at 03:16 PM
THE CELEB BUSH HATERS [Meghan Keane]
From the NYPost: POLITICAL popster Moby and Jonathan Soros - son of investment gazillionaire George Soros - are hooking up to embarrass President Bush. They're launching an Internet contest next month in which the public will be asked to create 30-second commercials attacking the Bush administration, to be judged by a panel of left-leaning celebs, including Jack Black, James Carville, Margaret Cho, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Moore, Michael Stipe, Gus Van Sant and Eddie Vedder.
Nothing like hatred to fuel a celebrity driven cause
Posted at 03:08 PM
HAYEK, GAY MARRIAGE SULLIVAN AND RAUCH [ Jonah Goldberg]
Nick Gillespie has an interesting follow-up with some useful links on the Hayek and gay marriage front. But Gillespie also chides me for "dismissing" Jonathan Rauch because he's gay. This is a good opportunity to qualify my remarks. In the post Gillespie mentions, I said that Sullivan and Rauch allow their sexuality to inform their views more than their conservatism. This was taken by some readers to mean that I think Sullivan and Rauch argue in bad faith. This is flatly not the case. I think both are sincere and principled advocates of their positions. But I do think their passion for gay issues, sometimes leads them to faulty conclusions. Still it sounded to many like I was saying something else, and I didn't want to leave that impression. I respect both of them a great deal.
Posted at 03:05 PM
GAY MARRIAGE AND ABORTION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Thanks to Andrew Sullivan, I read Ryan Sager's op-ed on gay marriage. The news to me isn't that Sager is for gay marriage: I figured he would be, as a libertarian. What surprised me is that Sager is pro-life. I didn't remember his being pro-life when we worked together. I'm glad to hear that he is.
The op-ed made me wonder something I have wondered in the past: whether the pro-life cause will be stronger once it is divested from opposition to gay rights; whether, that is, opposition to abortion will lose some of the negative connotations of social conservatism and become more obviously a campaign for civil rights. It is not, perhaps, the most obvious outcome of our current cultural conflagrations. But for the many social conservatives who rightly regard abortion as raising moral issues far greater than those that homosexuality may, it would certainly be a happy one.
Posted at 02:54 PM
SO THERE! [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
It should be pointed out that much entertainment offered by Fox is squalid, disgusting, mindless and an affront to human dignity. Very cool and un-PC perhaps, but if that's what libertarian-conservatism represents, then a plague on both your houses.
Posted at 02:49 PM
IDEALISTS FOR A SOFTER SADDAM [Tim Graham]
On NPR's "Morning Edition" today, reporter Eric Westervelt explored potential Iraq exit strategies with a slanted slate of experts. On one side was former Reagan State Dept. official Richard Murphy, suggesting American intolerance of casualties has emboldened terrorists. On the other side were Ivo Daalder and William Galston (neither identified as Clinton administration officials, just experts), "White House hopeful" [!] Dennis "The U.S. is a Menace" Kucinich, and Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute. Didn't that group have something to do with libertarianism? Not abroad.
Carpenter brusquely declared we should cut and run: "The primary objective is to cut America’s losses, not transform Iraq into Iowa." Westervelt added that one viable exit strategy Carpenter suggested is a gentler version of its last dictator, quoted like this: "...Housebroken version of Saddam Hussein, someone who would rule with a very strong hand but without Saddam’s maniacal brutality." That's not exactly founding-father idealism, is it?
Posted at 02:49 PM
PETER PICKED A PECK OF POT [Tim Graham]
First, Katie Couric told Good Housekeeping her mother volunteered for Planned Parenthood and invested in condom interests when AIDS first hit the papers. Now MRC's Brent Baker found Peter Jennings recalling a rather, well, liberal Thanksgiving with his dad back in Canada:
“I remember one year my father, who was a mischievous fellow, had somehow become embroiled in a row about the legalization of marijuana. This was more than 40 years ago, mind you. We had a fairly important government official as a guest. As a practical joke, my dad wrote 'smoke pot’ in cloves on the very large ham. I still give thanks for my father's sense of humor.”
Posted at 02:47 PM
SPEAKING OF CAKE CUTTING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Today is WFB's birthday. A Corner "Happy Birthday" to our fearless leader.
Posted at 02:39 PM
CAKE-CUTTING PROBLEM [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: The cake-cutting problem has been generalized to the case where n persons are involved. There is now a vast literature on this--for a glimpse, see here. I suspect, though, that this literature is not half as vast as the mailbag you have received telling you all about it...
Posted at 02:37 PM
HARRINGTON'S PIE [Jonah Goldberg]
I received this email, titled "Roman Legionaries Did it First!" from an economics professor re today's G-File:
Posted at 02:24 PM
ISMS AND ISTS [John Derbyshire]
Oh dear. One tries to be original, but already today I have been accused of trying to plagiarize (a) David Hume, and (b) Eric Voegelin (twice). I have read Hume, but not Voegelin. Hume, at any rate, is well worth plariarizing.
Here is my e-mail of the day, though, from a reader in Chicago: "Derb---Does your distaste for 'ists' include constructionists? I'm with you on the humorless stuff and most of what you said, but when it comes to the U.S. Constitution...."
I assume he is referring to "constructioners".....
Posted at 02:19 PM
MEDICARE UPDATE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Senate is getting closer to a vote. Cloture has passed.
Posted at 01:34 PM
BUSH AND BRITAIN [Rick Brookhiser]
If David is right, then the blame rests on President Bush. Presidents ultimately do get what they want, and this president values comfort and control. He is no recluse--he mingles well with ordinary Americans--but hostile foreign crowds are not part of his job description. One can imagine what Theodore Roosevelt would have made of such a situation. Even tortured Richard Nixon showed up at the Lincoln Memorial in the dawn's early light. We must take the bitter with the sweet.
Posted at 01:09 PM
DAVID HOROWITZ ON FMA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
David Horowitz has now, unsurprisingly, come out against a Federal Marriage Amendment. That may or may not be the correct position to take, but Horowitz's reasoning strikes me as poor. He regards the FMA as "Roe. . . in reverse," in that it federalizes an issue previously reserved to the states, and seeks to take an issue previously contested and settle it once and for all in the Constitution. The attempt, he writes, will be a disaster for the durability of the Constitution. Conservatives, he writes, should not promote "the radical idea that rewriting the Constitution is a handy alternative to winning American hearts and minds and resolving these conflicts in the legislative process." "[T]he last protective membrane of our polity will have been torn to shreds. I urge the conservatives supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment to think again. . . to seek other, readily available means to realize their agendas."
Here's what's wrong, in my view, with Horowitz's argument:
1) The idea that rewriting the Constitution through the amendment process is an "alternative" to winning American hearts and minds is not just "radical"; it's idiotic. Nobody believes it. Every proponent of the FMA to whom I have spoken believes that they will have to persuade Americans that the amendment is a good idea if it is going to succeed. In this respect, FMA is not Roe in reverse. If it succeeds, half the country will not be opposed to it. If half the country or even a third of the country is unalterably opposed to it, it won't pass.
2) What are the "readily available" alternatives to the FMA? The reason some conservatives have gotten behind it, with full awareness of the difficulty of formally amending the Constitution, is that they have reached the conclusion that there are no such alternatives. Proponents of the FMA believe that the federal and state judiciaries are bent on rewriting the marriage laws. You can argue that they're wrong, but if they're right--which would seem to be implied by Horowitz's advocacy of "alternative means"--it's hard to see how they can move the issue into the "legislative process." If Horowitz is aware of some means of doing this, he should spell it out.
3) At a few points, Horowitz seems to be suggesting that this attempt to amend the Constitution will spawn many other attempts to amend it. I've never found this generic objection to amendments persuasive. There are always many people who would like to amend the Constitution in various ways, and the procedural obstacles to doing so are high enough to block almost all of them. An extra-constitutional inhibition against amendments in the political culture is superfluous.
It seems to me that the strongest objection to the FMA is not procedural but substantive. That is, the argument against FMA has to stand or fall on the idea that gay marriage is either a good idea or a possibly good idea. I'd be very interested in what Horowitz had to say about that underlying issue.
Posted at 11:28 AM
SNIPER NEWS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jury just recommended death for John Muhammad.
Posted at 10:53 AM
THE ARGUMENTS FROM GAY PROMISCUITY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
David Brooks's argument for gay marriage begins with a characterization of sexual promiscuity as spiritually deadening. Gay marriage is worth supporting, on his view, either because it would actually reduce promiscuity or because it would make a symbolic statement against it (I'm not sure which). I wonder whether there are other cases in which Brooks believes the government should adopt policies to combat spiritually deadening practices simply because they are spiritually deadening. I also wonder how solid the spiritual, or even moral, case against promiscuity is. If we were truly debating promiscuity, rather than gay marriage, obviously he would need to fill in his account of why promiscuity is so terrible. I am not sure he can, on his own premises. But in any case, having moved the debate from rights to morals and religion, Brooks cannot avoid engaging the moral and religious objections to homosexuality.
I don't, by the way, think the argument against gay marriage based on gay promiscuity works either. That argument, with which NR readers are doubtless familiar, holds that gay promiscuity will undermine marriage rather than vice-versa. Nobody has tried to make this argument (to my knowledge) with respect to lesbians. But there is a deeper problem with it, even assuming that its factual premises are true. Why should a committed, monogamous gay couple be refused marriage simply because other gay couples would be less faithful than they? We would not exclude other classes from marriage simply because they had a higher-than-average likelihood of breaking their marriage vows. (Traditionalist readers will object to some of this terminology. The question, they will say, is not one of "refusing" marriage to anyone or "excluding" anyone from it. Rather, gay couples cannot meet the definition of marriage. They cannot become "one flesh," a phrase that Brooks wrongly assumes is merely metaphorical. But this traditionalist objection should not be made to my argument. I am writing against an idea that implicitly accepts that framing of the debate. Its point, if it has independent force, is that we could extend marriage to this group except that it has a higher-than-average propensity to promiscuity.)
None of this is to say that there are no good arguments for, or against, gay marriage. I just don't think that arguments concerning the effects of gay marriage on promiscuity, or vice-versa, are among them.
Posted at 10:40 AM
CLARK'S LIBEL [Jonah Goldberg]
I caught a snippet of a Wesley Clark speech on C-Span last night. He was droning on about how we could find Osama Bin Laden "if we really wanted to." Imagine if you were a member of the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan and heard that Clark said that? He offered no proof, no evidence, nothing by way as support for his contention that the US is deliberately pulling its punches in the effort. As usual, he just said it because he thought it sounded good.
Posted at 10:35 AM
WE HAVEN'T WON YET [Jonah Goldberg ]
My G-File on Brian Anderson's City Journal piece is up.
Posted at 10:14 AM
ON BIOLOGICAL DETERMINISM [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't think Peter goes far enough in his discussion of "biological determinism." Not only did Augustine and Aquinas understand that there were deep differences between genders and sexes, but that understanding is today resurgent in the sciences. Evolutionary psychology, neurology, zoology and many other fields are confirming what was almost forgotten thanks to the marriage of Marxism and Feminism: there are very real differences between men and women. I liked a lot of what Brooks had to say and the argument he uses has long been the one I've generally been most sympathetic to.
But, as I've written many, many times, the essential insight of conservatism is that human nature has no history. Brooks' use of the phrase "biological determinism" is very clever, but it denies much that is central to conservatism. Would he say that it is just so much wrong-headed biological determinism for women to be the primary caregivers for their children? Who says men can't make better mothers?
I believe in the power of institutions to civilize barbarians into humans and I think Brooks' (and Sullivan's) strongest argument is that marriage is a civilizing institution which we are denying to the very men we claim are in most need of it, i.e. in terms of promiscuity. But, so far, the only marriages we have as evidence for the argument that they civilize men are marriages involving a man and a woman (or many women). Brooks seems to casually dismiss this objection as lunk-headed "biological determinism." That strikes me as unfair and a bit unserious.
Posted at 10:09 AM
CONSERVATISM UPSIDE DOWN [Tim Graham]
Peter reminds me that if there's a "conservative" case for encouraging gay monogamy, friends have also insisted to me that there is nothing more UN-conservative than the SCOMA declaring the social norms of most of human history and experience to be no longer useful now that the Revolution has arrived and Discrimination will be no more.
But what's really ridiculous is the idea that the wave of social-conservative activism that approaches is the "divisive" action, not the gay-left's campaign to overturn the dictionary definition of marriage and declare the sky is green and the moon is blue.
Posted at 08:20 AM
TVI REFORM ATTACKED [Stanley Kurtz]
The battle over HR 3077, which reforms the system of federal subsidies to Middle East Studies, continues to heat up. Here Martin Kramer sets the record straight in response to an Op Ed in the Los Angeles Times attacking HR 3077. And here is a talk Kramer recently delivered defending HR 3077 against the continuing campaign of distortion by opponents of the bill. I’ll have much more to say about all this in December.
Posted at 07:55 AM
PERFECT UNDER THE TREE [Jack Fowler]
Catholic Parent magazine raved about The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature thusly: It's "excellent, wholesome, and certain to broaden the horizons (mental and spiritual) of children and adults who love them." And: This "beautiful book of wonderful children's stories by great writers that will delight, entertain and nourish your youngsters and teenagers. Described by the publishers as 'a happy voyage back to the golden era of children's literature,' it is precisely that." And one final glowing comment: it's "lavishly illustrated." We'd say the very same goes for our new titles, The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature, Volume Two and The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories. All three books are precisely the kind of gifts you should give this Christmas to those special kids in your life. Don't delay; order your copies (securely!) here. We ship them for FREE, and by UPS Ground if you want (for a small extra charge). We'll even send them as gifts (with a handsome announcement card) at no extra cost.
Posted at 07:34 AM
NO KIDDING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Gay marriage "may be issue in 2004 race."
Posted at 07:32 AM
SEX IN AN AFGHAN CITY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
My review of The Bookseller of Kabul, in the NY Post, is here.
Posted at 07:27 AM
"HOW FEARFUL BUSH AND BLAIR MUST BE" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This dispatch from the University of London, in the Arab News, suggests David Frum is very right, alas.
Posted at 07:26 AM
GAY MARRIAGE [John Derbyshire]
Very fine piece by Sam Schulman in the current issue of Commentary, stating the non-religious case (or at least some of it) against gay marriage.
Posted at 07:26 AM
TWO WORDS OF DISSENT [Peter Robinson]
The first, for Andrew Stuttaford, who cites David Brooks's column in the New York Times yesterday as a "conservative argument" for gay marriage (scroll down).
There is not a word--not one--in David's column that so much as attempts to draw distinctions among heterosexual marriage, homosexual marriage, polygamous marriage, or, for that matter, incestuous marriage. If a man wished to marry his sister, what of it? "[W]e are not animals," David's column would reply, "whose lives are bounded by our flesh and by our gender. We're moral creatures with souls, endowed with the ability to make covenants...." David blithely heaves thousands of years of moral understanding over the side, in other words, yet never even begins the difficult work of social and moral analysis that would enable us to grasp why certain unions are ennobling while others remain unacceptable. He asserts high sentiment, but sentiment alone. This is neither "conservative" nor "argument."
The second, for Mike Potemra, who singles out for praise one passage in David's column (again, see yesterday's postings). The passage read in part, "Some conservatives may have latched onto biological determinism (men are savages who need women to tame them) as a convenient way to oppose gay marriage...."
The view that men and women are profoundly different--distinct from one another in the very depths of their beings--is implicit in Genesis, finds support among the most profound minds the world has produced, including Augustine and Aquinas, and was so interwoven into the mores and habits of cultures around the world that until no more than a few decades ago it was everywhere taken for granted, a given aspect of reality. To dismiss this understanding of the sexes as mere "biological determinism" betrays ignorance of one of the great themes of history. And to assert that conservatives have "latched onto" it simply because it now proves "convenient" is--well, my friend David Brooks ought to know better. The legend of "Beauty and the Beast" first appeared in print in the eighteenth-century, and it contains elements of "Cupid and Psyche," which was committed to writing in the second century. David is of course free to dismiss it. But first he needs to tell us why the legend of a man who was tamed and fulfilled by the love of woman has resonated for at least 19 centuries.
Posted at 06:23 AM
JFK TODAY [John J. Miller]
Meghan Keane of NR's DC office links to a picture of what JFK would look like if he were alive today. Yikes!
Posted at 05:47 AM
POLITICALLY CORRECT [John J. Miller]
UC-Berkeley has agreed to give $30,000 to a student group for campaigning against Ward Connerly's Proposition 54. See here.
Posted at 05:42 AM
BUSH WRAPS UP THE COLLEGE VOTE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 05:29 AM
Sunday, November 23, 2003
RE BROOKS [Tim Graham]
David Brooks also made his case for insisting on what proponents call “gay marriage” on PBS’s “NewsHour” on Friday night, which no doubt caused Jim Lehrer to go “Whuh?” Those of us on the religious right thought perhaps we were hearing the tinny echo of David Gergen from the corners of the PBS set. It’s sort of same teeth-gnashing you probably get from the libertine left when Mark Shields plays a few pro-life notes.
You can make a “conservative” case for encouraging gay monogamy. But it’s problematic to begin by suggesting that only extramarital sex is committing “spiritual suicide.” All the orthodox religions see even monogamous homosexuality as soul-endangering. Homosexual “domestication,” as Brooks puts it, could spur a social-science debate on its benefits or demerits, but many Americans will never buy the argument that it scores points with God.
PS: I’m not an Old Testament scholar, but I’m confused as to why Brooks would use the story of Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi in a way that the Bible-challenged might construe to suggest a lesbian love thing. The Book of Ruth ends happily with Ruth marrying Boaz and giving Naomi a grandson, which is more “Leave It to Beaver” than “Queer as Folk.”
Posted at 11:29 PM
MORE SEUSS [John J. Miller]
My buddy Mike Long, occasional NROnik, has sent along this news clip, from Canada's National Post newspaper, January 29, 2001: "OTTAWA - The lawyer representing the widow of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known around the globe as children's writer Dr. Seuss, is protesting the reprinting of a quote from the author's work, Horton Hears a Who!, on an anti-abortion poster being distributed in Ottawa Roman Catholic churches. Cathy Bencieengo said she will ask the local anti-abortion group Action Life Ottawa to remove the line 'A person's a person, no matter how small' and Dr. Seuss's name from a colour poster showing an embryo."
Posted at 10:20 PM
SEUSS, PT. 2 [John J. Miller]
My story on Dr. Seuss generated a lot of email, and many readers made one of two interesting points. 1) Another Seuss book with a conservative message is Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose--a "devastating indictment of the welfare state," according to one correspondent. 2) There's a pro-life message in Horton Hears a Who, and especially in its famous line, "A person's a person no matter how small." I agree that this book can be read as a pro-life parable--in fact, I had meant to make this point in my original article and just plain forgot. Having said that, I'm not sure Dr. Seuss intended it to be read this way. Something tells me he didn't.
Posted at 09:44 PM
ECONOMIC STRATEGERY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Well, it turns out that the two mid-westerners I mentioned yesterday (whose concerns about Bush’s economic policy were pushing them towards Lieberman) were not alone.
Here’s someone who describes himself as a conservative economics student, writing from St. Louis:
“Nearly every conservative I know, including myself, has intended to vote for anyone over Bush in the primaries this year. Unfortunately, Bush will likely run unopposed and not receive the message that such a backlash would send. However, very few are likely to actually vote for a Democrat over Bush in the general.”
Now, to be fair, we do need to remember that this time last year all the talk was of deflation. Boosting spending or cutting taxes was an entirely legitimate response to that, even if it appalled some of the more austere folk among us. What’s more, it seems to have worked. The problem is the outlook going forward. Whether it is the increase in the structural deficit, the flirtation with protectionism, Treasury Secretary Snow’s comments on the dollar or the tendency to pork barrel bonanzas, there are, quite clearly, legitimate causes for concern.
Posted at 04:50 PM
THE SAUDIS [Andrew Stuttaford]
One of the most critical questions over the next few years (if we have that long) will be whether the Saudi regime can reform itself before it is overthrown, to be replaced, almost inevitably, by something even more friendly to terror. This article in today’s New York Times would suggest that some progress is being made. The piece does, however, contain a reminder of just how unpleasant the ‘Kingdom’s’ governing ideology has been and in many, many ways still is:
“Emblematic, perhaps, of the contrary nature of the changes is the theology textbook for 10th graders in Saudi schools.
“Previously, it contained lesson after lesson emphasizing that Muslims should shun those outside the faith — saying, for example, that a good Muslim living among foreigners "must feel, deeply inside, hatred for them, their religion and everything they represent."
“That passage and indeed the complete chapter were cut from the books introduced this fall. But an entirely new lesson suggests the danger of dividing mosque and state, warning that anyone supporting Western methods of government deserves "excommunication from God's mercy, from Islam."
Of course, one of the mysteries of the past decade (choose your conspiracy theory now) is as to why the West has been so indulgent about a country that had nothing (officially at least) but contempt for our way of life. Prior to 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was an obvious strategic case to be made for treating the Saudis as allies. After then, there was none. Sure, they had the oil, but their need to sell it was as great as the West’s need to buy it, so “oil” is no alibi. The explanation is probably a blend of bureaucratic inertia, lack of imagination and, let’s admit it, money, in which case, something that Lenin was said to have said about capitalists, rope and hanging rather comes to mind.
Posted at 03:59 PM
HOWARD ROARK WOULD UNDERSTAND [Andrew Stuttaford]
From today’s New York Times :
“In a look back at the past century of skyscraper development, it becomes powerfully clear that building by committee was not the route by which the city's greatest structures came to define the skyline.”
Posted at 03:55 PM
ANTI-AMERICANISM [Andrew Stuttaford]
The root causes of elite anti-Americanism (and, by and large, it is a phenomenon of the elites) in Europe are extremely complex, psychological as much as political, emotional as much as rational, and they would take more than a brief post here to describe. Take a look, however, at what Stephen Pollard has to say on how it manifests itself in the the UK.
“Real anti-Americanism - the sort that lies behind so much of the hostility to President Bush - isn't about hating burgers and Matt Monro. It is far more subtle. The really damaging anti-Americanism - because it blinds its sufferers to reality - derives from that characteristically British sneering superiority which so permeates metropolitan and media circles. It is the conviction that the arriviste who has moved in next door with his flashy car and his gauche ex-model wife may have more money, own the business and be getting more sex, but he lacks what really matters: class. That Bush fellow is just so typically American: crude and unsophisticated.
“The Sunday after the World Trade Centre attack, John Humphrys [a prominent British journalist] paraded the full scorn of the superior Briton, attacking the likes of George Bush who "damn those who did it as evil, as though there is nothing more to say, as though we still believe in a devil with a forked tail. Perhaps President Bush truly does - his Christianity is of a pretty fundamental variety."
“It is not just President Bush. His predecessor, Bill Clinton, was equally American; just as fundamentally uncouth and unable to resist his gross appetites. But we humoured him, since he spoke our sort of language. What really offends about George Bush is that what you see is what you get, and what you see is a genuine American who makes no effort to be anything else. We can put up with Americans who seem ashamed to be American. Woe betide them, however, if they are proud of it. They will have to put up with our weapon of choice: the condescending sneer.”
Pollard’s comments are, I regret to say, spot on (except for the rather mysterious reference to Matt Monro). Most Brits who move over here will have the occasional friend amazed that we can bear to live in such a terribly 'uncouth' country.
Matt Monro? Stephen, Stephen, Stephen, he’s, ahem, English.
Posted at 03:54 PM
SINN AGAINST SIN? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Over at Atlantic Blog, William Sjostrom has details of the latest recruits to the cause of banning smoking, well, just about everywhere. Now, I’m not saying that this proves that these people are fanatics, but…
Posted at 03:53 PM
GUNS & ZIMBABWE [Dave Kopel]
The Strategy Page (Nov. 19) reports that, "President Mugabe and his cronies must be scared, since the police have been ordered to embark on a nationwide firearms audit starting on the 21st. They want the public to take their firearms and firearm certificates to their nearest police station, so the number of guns and types can be verified." As is typical in such situations, "The authorities are using the excuse of rising crime for this exercise." In fact, crime is rising in Zimbabwe, because the criminal "government"of Robert Mugabe is intensifying its genocidal persecution of the people of Zimbabwe. As Paul Gallant, Joanne Eisen and I have detailed, "gun control" is the sine qua non of Mugabe's vicious regime.
Mugabe is unquestionably a tyrant. Every theory of government which permits forcible resistance to tyranny would identify overthrowing Mugabe as plainly just. Every theory of just war which recognizes the suffering of people in a foreign country would authorize the use of force by any nation to remove Mugabe. For same reasons that the world should have acted in Germany in the 1930s and in Rwanda in the early 1990s, every nation has a moral obligation to do what it can to liberate Zimbabwe. Because diplomatic efforts to remove Mugabe have failed, the United States ought to begin supplying weapons and other aid to the people of Zimbabwe, so that they can save themselves from genocide, and so that they can install a government chosen by themselves. The failure of the United Nations to act is one more instance of the UN's pathetic favoritism of tyrants, and one more reason why all freedom-loving people should resist the UN's gun prohibition programs.
Posted at 03:49 PM
ISRAEL AND IRAN NUKES [Mike Potemra]
According to a re port in The Scotsman, Israel has put the U.S. on notice that it stands ready to destroy Iran's nuclear program if there is indication that the program is developing weapons. Before all the usual suspects make the knee-jerk accusations that Israel is being provocative and bellicose, let's reassert some key facts. 1) Iran is an outlaw regime that must not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons. 2) The West must live up to its responsibilities in ensuring that this does not happen. 3) If the West collectively does not act, we must hope that someone else will. Let's hope it doesn't come to that--and remember that the whole world still owes Israel a debt of gratitude for taking out the Iraqi nuke plant in 1981.
Posted at 03:46 PM
AN IMPORTANT ANNIVERSARY [Mike Potemra]
This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the death not just of President Kennedy but also--amazing coincidence--of two of the 20th century's greatest writers: C.S. Lewis, who helped bring millions of people to Christianity, and Aldous Huxley, who warned eloquently of the dehumanizing trends in modern life. One of the most fascinating religious books I have ever read takes this coincidence as its starting point. In Between Heaven and Hell, Peter Kreeft imagines a conversation among these three men: Kennedy, as the embodiment of secular reason; Huxley, as the believer in an impersonal God; and Lewis, as the believer in Christianity. Kreeft is always worth reading, but this book is especially interesting for its fair presentation of three worldviews
Posted at 03:44 PM
MUST-READ DAVID BROOKS OP-ED [Mike Potemra]
David Brooks is one of the most valuable conservative thinkers around, and in yesterday's New York Times he addresses the issue of gay marriage. He does not address the process question--i.e., who decides? the people or the courts?--but he attempts to make a traditional moral case on the underlying substantive issue. Readers of The Corner will have their own opinions on what he has to say, but there's one passage that I personally found very moving: "Some conservatives may have latched onto biological determinism (men are savages who need women to tame them) as a convenient way to oppose gay marriage. But in fact we are not animals whose lives are bounded by our flesh and by our gender. We're moral creatures with souls, endowed with the ability to make covenants, such as the one Ruth made with Naomi: 'Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.'" In this, Brooks is on to a truth that goes far beyond our current controversy over gay marriage; and the principle he expresses there is one of which we need constantly to remind ourselves.
Posted at 03:40 PM
A FRENCHMAN WRITES... [Andrew Stuttaford]
A Frenchman writes in response to the earlier post on Chirac's attempt to spin England's victory in the rugby world cup as a triumph for 'Europe':
"You shouldn’t talk about things you don't understand. The English victory was a victory for all Europe but you americans will never see that or understand why. The hate you ooze is disgusting. I only wish you all could have seen the South African side singing its anthem before each of its games. This was something beyond words for me: the entire team, multiple cultures, side by side, black and white -- all belting out words of peace and freedom in four languages (Xhosa, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English), merging multiple melodies and diverse histories into a single voice. I don't see something like this happening in america very soon, despite 9-11 and what it is suppose to have changed in your egoists/american hearts."
Posted at 03:24 PM
NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s Matthew D’Ancona of the Sunday Telegraph on Blair’s week. Most of this is inside baseball (or should that be inside cricket?), but this paragraph stands out:
”As the ghastly news about Istanbul filtered through the Westminster village on Thursday, it was horribly obvious that a great many people in the British political class are still stranded on September 10, 2001. They don't understand that war was declared on us all two years ago. They think it is all Bush's fault. They think that Britain could avoid the worst of it if only our pesky Prime Minister stopped being so literal about the "special relationship", and just talked mellifluous verbiage about it all, like Dominique de Villepin or Joschka Fischer, or any of the other hommes serieux who have mocked the British position and offered nothing, nothing, nothing, as an alternative. “
He's right. They don't.
Posted at 11:49 AM
GAY MARRIAGE, YET AGAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
The idea that conservative opposition to homosexual marriage is always based on either ignorance or bigotry is, of course, nonsense, but then so too is the idea that it is impossible to make a conservative case for changing the law to permit such a thing. In today’s New York Times David Brooks makes that conservative case as well as anyone I have seen, and if you doubt that it’s conservative (at least in one sense) check out his first paragraph, which makes Bill Bennett look like Doctor Ruth.
Posted at 11:47 AM
MASS IRONIES [Rick Brookhiser]
The governor of Massachusetts, the state that gave us Goodridge, is a Mormon. Discuss.
Posted at 11:46 AM
LEARNING FROM THE BEST? [Andrew Stuttaford]
As the Iraq conflict continues, the logic in the US looking for advice from people with experience in dealing with counter-insurgency work is obvious. Israel is a natural source of such expertise, and it’s one that the Pentagon should tap. Given the sensitivities of the region, it should do so, however, discreetly. Talking about it in public, as seems to have happened here, makes no sense at all. Equally, America needs to remember that while Israeli tactics have often been skilful and, in the context of an armed struggle, designed to minimize the loss of innocent life, some of them (specifically the demolition of housing as a reprisal) seem guaranteed to perpetuate the cycle of violence. The US must make sure that it borrows from the best, not the worst, of the Israeli approach.
Posted at 11:46 AM
AKS [Rick Brookhiser]
David Hackett Fischer (Albion's Seed) claims that aks was used by white Tidewater southerners in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, brought from their southern English homeland. The OED says that the Angl0-Saxon form of the verb was acsian. This doesn't effect any judgments of its import today, it only shows the long roller coaster history words can have.
Posted at 11:45 AM
ENTENTE CORDIALE? [Andrew Stuttaford]
While on the subject of the French, just go and see Peter Weir’s Master and Commander – now. It’s a long overdue apology for the wrongheaded Brit-bashing of Gallipoli and, undoubtedly, a welcome entry to the canon – and cannons of – great conservative movies, with even an implied dig or two at the creation ‘science’ crew for added fun.
The best lines?
“Do you want to see a guillotine in Piccadilly? Do you want your children to grow up singing the Marseillaise?”
Posted at 11:44 AM
IT'S THE INFIDELS STUPID [Jonah Goldberg]
Paul Marshall has an excellent piece in the Weekly Standard (not on web yet) explaining the recent attacks in Saudi Arabia. Lots of folks, including myself, have been confused by Al Qaeda's attacks on Saudi soil. The Western press suggested al Qaeda was simply confused and thought Americans lived in that foreign worker compound. That always struck me is as unlikely considering how good Qaeda intelligence must be inside Saudi Arabia. It turns out the attacks killed mostly Lebanese Christians. Marshall makes the case that the press often obscures these distinctions behind phrases like "Arabs and Muslims were killed" which includes Christian Arabs. For example that suicide attack at Maxim's in Israel did kill Arabs, but Catholic Arabs. The point is that al Qaeda has declared war against "infidels" which includes all Christians, Jews and many secular Muslims.
In the case of the Saudi attacks, regime has actively encouraged the idea that Saudi Muslims are victims too, in part to cover up their own culpability in exporting an ideology which demonizes infidels.
Posted at 09:43 AM