CONSISTENCY & FEDERALISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonathan Adler made some kind and interesting comments about my column on federalism yesterday. I've been out of commission and so was unable to respond, and will be again for a while. But here's my further several cents' worth.
Jonathan says that it is fair to call conservatives hypocrites on federalism when they oppose the federal gun-free schools act as unconstitutional while supporting the federal medical-marijuana ban as constitutional. I will admit that it is hard for me to think of a rationale to distinguish these cases at the moment, and I have become more persuaded by Jonathan's position on the medical-marijuana question since the last time we exchanged comments about it. (I still maintain that the demand that John Ashcroft give up on attempts to enforce the federal law in advance of a definitive judicial ruling on its unconstitutionality was, if anything, more hypocritical coming, as it did, from people who ordinarily believe in judicial supremacy.)
No doubt Adler is correct that many conservatives adopt "constitutional or theoretical rationales for or against federal involvement on a fairly ad hoc basis." Of course, most people, including most conservatives and, I would add, most libertarians, cannot be expected to have fully thought-out, perfectly consistent theories of federalism. If someone wants to argue that most supporters of a ban on partial-birth abortion have not thought through the constitutional and federalist issues involved, I will concede the point without a qualm. If someone wants to argue that the partial-birth abortion ban is unconstitutional or is not consistent with a sound theory of the limits of the federal government, I will engage him in that debate. But if someone is saying that a person who calls himself a federalist and supports the ban (or, say, supports a federal judicial ruling against state laws on sodomy) is a hypocrite--well, the point of my essay was to explain why I thought that claim is false.
Posted at 11:52 PM
HALLELUJAH CHORUS [Rick Brookhiser]
Having just listened to a Messiah--Neville Mariner, Dublin, 1992, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the debut --I reflected on why George II stood, as we are told, for the Hallelujah Chorus (the origin of the custom). One stands as a sign of respect; more precisely, in a hierarchical society, one stands in the presence of superiors. Kigns sit, commoners stand. I imagine he stood for a double reason--to acknowledge the subject of the piece, the King of Kings; and to acknowledge the brilliance of Handel (the Hanoverians, as befit German potentates, had good ears for music). Either way, well done, your majesty.
Posted at 11:32 PM
JONAH'S ACCOMPLISHMENT [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's my review of Charles Murray's Human Accomplishment in that other magazine.
Posted at 01:58 PM
MURAVCHIK'S BEATDOWN [Jonah Goldberg]
The current issue of Commentary has the letters-to-the-editor in response to Josh Muravchik's outstanding essay on the prevailing campaign of idiocy, asininity and slander towards "neocons" (real and perceived). Some of the letters seem to score real points until you read Muravchik's response. Muravchik thoroughly, incisively and almost brutally smacks back all of the nonsense thrown at Neocons from lefty critics and supposedly objective journalists. In my opinion he only let's one pitch get over the plate. Jacon Heilbrunn writes in an otherwise thoughtful and even-tempered letter that:
"Obviously, [Leo] Strauss does not provide a blueprint for neoconservatism. But it seems fair to say that while not all neoconservatives are Straussians, almost all Straussians are neoconservatives. All of which suggests that neoconservativism may be more complicated than some of its adversaries care to admit.
After addressing many of Heilbrunn's other points Muravchik deals with this one by responding:
"As for Mr. Heilbrunn’s interesting claim that almost all Straussians are neoconservatives, I wonder how he knows."
This was clearly an attempt at civil sarcasm toward a less than adversarial critic (who often writes for Commentary himself). But Muravchik is really giving Heilbrunn something of a free pass. Without getting far into the weeds on what constitutes a Straussian, to say that "most" Straussians are neocons would require a level of uniformity among both neocons and Straussians Heilbrunn cannot demonstrate. Bob Goldwin, Walter Berns, Harvey Mansfield, Martin Diamond, Harry Jaffa, Peter Schramm, Ken Masugi, the late Allan Bloom, to name just a few can fairly be described as Straussians. They can all also be described as conservatives. I can think of nothing that makes them particularly "neoconservative." Indeed, if neoconservatives are supposed to be particulary devoted to foreign policy (another misconception in my book), I'd be at pains to figure out how these guys are neoconservative at all. And, as William Galston's example might indicate, I'm not even sure Straussians are even necessarily conservative, let alone neoconservative.
In other words, when it comes to most Straussians, the conservative ones get called "neoconservative" simply because they fit a journalistic -- i.e. not an analytical or conceptual -- preconception.
If Mr. Heilbrunn would like to send me a note explaining what specifically makes Straussians neoconservatives, I would love to see it and post it here.
Posted at 01:40 PM
NEW AL QAEDA TAPE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 01:19 PM
RE: THOSE DARN NECONS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Perfectly said, Derb!
Posted at 01:14 PM
THOSE DARN NEOCONS [John Derbyshire]
So let's see: 3/4 of the way through his first administration, George W. Bush has put two dictators out of business and, without firing a shot, persuaded a third to dismantle his WMD. And the Democrats' case against administration foreign policy is... what, again?
Kabul, Baghdad, Tripoli. On to Pyongyang and Tehran!
Posted at 01:11 PM
LOONY LEFT WATCH [Tim Graham]
Buzzflash.com says it all in large type at top of its Web site: "We Don't Hate Bush; We Just Think He Should be Serving Hard Time."
Posted at 01:07 PM
KWANZAA EFFLUVIA [Tim Graham]
The Moyers-funded liberals at Tapped also mocked the Bush Kwanzaa announcement. This may be a lame White House E-card, but don't you think that without it, the liberal media might pick up some Afro-lefty's complaint that the lack of an auto-penned Kwanzaa form letter shows Bush's latent hostility to blacks?
Posted at 01:06 PM
COL. DAVID HUNT FOR PRESIDENT [John Derbyshire]
O'Reilly just gave Col. David Hunt a "Happy Holidays." Replied Hunt: "Merry Christmas!" Hoo-ah.
Posted at 01:04 PM
THE GREAT DERB CHOCCIE ORANGE HUNT [John Derbyshire]
Terrific input from readers--many thanks to all. Walgreen's, CVS and Target stores were all mentioned. There is a Walgreen's nearby; I checked; no choccie oranges. The nearest Target is over in Commack, ten miles away, so I really had my hopes pinned on CVS, though I didn't recall seeing one anywhere. A neighbor alerted me to a CVS store just 2-3 miles away though. And... CVS came through! I got one! Thanks again to all who helped.
Posted at 01:00 PM
MOCKING THE BUSH BUDGET [Tim Graham]
Henry Payne pokes at the President's "what, me, veto?" federal spending policy.
Posted at 12:59 PM
DECLINE AND FALL [Rod Dreher]
A fellow Louisiana expat points out that our alma mater LSU has just produced its first graduates in Women's and Gender Studies. The story says LSU is the last major Southern university to reach this allegedly important milestone. Humph. My friend gets it right when he says, "You know what the next thing we're gonna here from these gals is? 'You want fries with that, you male chauvinist pig?'"
Posted at 12:51 PM
NYT: BUSH WAS RIGHT!! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I would have posted this earlier, but I fainted:
"Over the past five years, by turning over two suspects for trial, acknowledging its complicity in the Lockerbie bombing and paying compensation to victims' families, Libya finally managed to persuade the United Nations Security Council to lift the international sanctions that had shadowed its economy and its international reputation for more than a decade. Those sanctions were lifted in September. This page recommended lifting American sanctions as well, but President Bush left them in place pending further steps, most notably Libya's decision to end its unconventional weapons programs. It is now clear that he was right to do so. The added American pressure worked just as intended."
Posted at 12:34 PM
Friday, December 19, 2003
MORE K [Jonah Goldberg]
From a longtime African-American reader of NRO (I know because he's been sending me smart emails for years):
I was born and raised in Chicago, not the Caribbean, but I consider Kwanzaa a load of pseudo-African rubbish, cobbled together in 1966 by an ex-convict with a lavish imagination and time on his hands. It has nothing to do with any established African cultural or religious tradition, and it wouldn't matter to me if it did, because I'm not African--I'm American. My folks came over from Africa, to be sure, but I came from Chicago. My beloved sister celebrates Kwanzaa, God bless her, but I can scarcely think of it without sneering. Puhleeze!
Posted at 08:10 PM
MORE KWANZAA [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 08:08 PM
RE: LIBYA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This from Andrew Apostolou, no stranger to NRO readers, who is in London:
BBC has been told that Libya had nuclear programme and enrichment of uranium. Also stocks of chemical weapons, aerial bombs loaded with chemical weapons. Biological weapons programme was less well developed. Long range missiles of up to 1,000 km were being developed (in future the range will be no more than 300km). The full accounting of the WMD programme will be very interesting.
Posted at 06:38 PM
SOUNDS REASONABLE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Now, what the heck is that, Jonah? You tell me. I'm Caribbean born, and I despise Kwanzaa. Non-sequitur, I know. Kwanzaa is just a secularist bid to rend the black American community from Christianity (which many wrongly view as a European religion) and shovel them into either socialism (check out the principles of Kwanzaa), or Islam (why many BAs believe historically has nothing to do with slavery. Ignorance is bliss, I say; dangerous bliss).
Posted at 06:23 PM
RE: LIBYA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Old hostilities do not need to go on forever," says Prez. Bush. Col. Khaddafi as a model...has such an odd feel to it. Does make you wonder what Saddam knows about old Mummar though.
Posted at 05:39 PM
BUSH ON NOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Libya dismantling WMDS programs.... Here's some of what Blair said a few ago.
Posted at 05:31 PM
TERRY'S CHOCOLATE ORANGE [John Derbyshire]
This is a long shot, but I'm desperate.
Christmas isn't Christmas, far as I'm concerned, without a Terry's chocolate orange. I used to get my Christmas supply from a local drugstore chain named Genovese, here in Huntington. However, the firm has changed hands. It is now Eckerd Drugstores and THEY DON'T CARRY TERRY'S CHOCOLATE ORANGE. Anybody know a national chain, or a NY state-wide chain, or somewhere in Suffolk county, that carried this wonderful confectionery? Reply please to email@example.com.
Posted at 05:13 PM
RE: BABE RUTH HAT [John Derbyshire]
Sorry about the radio silence there, I have been deep in reflection on the Nguzo Saba.
The "Babe Ruth hat" conundrum seems to have been solved. A reader on the other coast: "Babe Ruth (aka The Bambino, aka The Sultan of Swat) was often photographed wearing the fashionable sporting cap of the day (the '20's) which would nowadays best be known as a 'newsie' cap. See attached. I always associate that style of cap with what a proper English gentleman wears whilst hiking through the woods in coat and tie." The reader helpfully added an illustration. It is what in England we called a "cloth cap" (think Andy Capp), and had peculiar and contradictory class connotations. It was basically an item of working-class attire--my father and both my grandfathers wore them--but could also be found among certain narrowly-defined subsets of the upper-middle and lower-upper classes, e.g. when golfing. Here http://www.hats-online.com/hats-online/newsboy.html is something of the kind.
Posted at 04:43 PM
VERY NICE DAVID LIMBAUGH COLUMN ON THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS GIFT [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 04:25 PM
TOUGH ON THE SUNNIS [Rich Lowry]
Jim Hoagland yesterday had an excellent column pointing out that Saddam's capture would have been impossible without the adoption of new tough tactics in the Sunni triangle (of the sort that were opposed by liberals here in the U.S.). He associates these tactics with a broader shift in our strategy from wooing the Sunnis to trying to keep the Shiites on our side:
"The dictator's arrest was a direct result of a change in tactics by the U.S. military, and an indirect result of a change of heart by administration decision-makers about the strategy for terminating an occupation that seemed to be bogging down only a few months ago. The change in tactics was visible. Saddam was tracked down as part of an escalating military roundup of his kin and other Baathist fugitives who had previously moved with impunity in the Sunni heartland around Baghdad. The get-tougher tactics replaced CIA-inspired efforts to buy off or otherwise co-opt Sunni influentials and tribes, who took the money but never delivered. The Sunni Arabs make up less than 20 percent of Iraq's 25 million people, but they have for a millennium monopolized privilege and power in the territory of Mesopotamia, lording it over a Shiite Arab majority based in the south and a Kurdish Sunni minority in the north. Less apparent was the dawning realization in Washington that the Sunni strategy favored by the intelligence and diplomatic bureaucracies was bringing no results but was increasingly alienating the Shiite majority, which had acquiesced to or supported the coalition occupation. "In the summer it became clear that if we lost the Shiites we would lose the country," says one U.S. official. "The priority became understanding and trying to respond to their political needs rather than winning hearts and minds in the Sunni Triangle. That's important. But this was important and urgent."
Posted at 04:02 PM
DEAN LEAVES THE MAINSTREAM [Rich Lowry]
If you missed yesterday's terrific anti-Dean foreign policy editorial in the Washington Post, check it out.
Posted at 03:58 PM
DEAN SPEAKS THE TRUTH [Rich Lowry]
I find it hard to believe that Dean is going to suffer much among Democratic primary voters for his assertion the U.S. is no safer after Saddam's capture. The controversy has only served to demonstrate what is so unattractive about the other candidates, namely their blatant willingness to shift on the war given the state of play. Who can doubt that Dean is exaclty right when he points this out, as recounted in the Washington Post yesterday: "Dean returned fire Thursday, accusing his rivals of basing their positions on the Iraq war on opinion polls -- supporting it at first, then speaking against it when casualties mounted and its "true costs" became known. Now that public support for the war is rising, and Hussein is no longer at large, Dean said, "the Washington Democrats began to redraft their talking points."
Posted at 03:56 PM
EXTRAORDINARY BANDAR STORY [Rich Lowry]
Dec. 13, 2003
Saudi ambassador accuses Iraq war opposers of 'chutzpah'
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Countries that opposed the US decision to invade Iraq have no right to protest US initiatives restricting reconstruction contracts to allies, the Saudi ambassador to the US said Friday. "It's amazing how people who were doing everything possible to derail the success" of the Iraq war now "feel they have the right" to reconstruction contracts, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan said. "It just takes so much chutzpah." The ambassador's comments on the diplomatic controversy came during a strong defense of President George W. Bush's foreign policy in the Middle East. Bandar went on to rebuke Europe as ineffectual, saying at one point that he wouldn't want to have to call on that continent's leaders if he encountered trouble in a dark alley. "The U.S. is the best bet," he said, adding Saudi people are America's "friends." Bandar also reiterated the Saudi condemnation of terrorism and said the U.S. had no choice but to go to war in Iraq. Removing Saddam Hussein from power "couldn't happen by poetry. It had to happen the way that it did," Bandar said. "The good of it outweighs all the pain that was caused by the process." The ambassador repeatedly praised Bush's decisions to fight terrorism, invade Iraq and send troops to Afghanistan to oust the Taliban. "We should be grateful for what the United States has done to get rid of those two evils, the Taliban and Saddam," Bandar said, generating applause from hundreds in attendance of a luncheon co-sponsored by the Bilateral/U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce. Bandar kept his comments about terrorism to a minimum despite recent terror attacks in Saudi Arabia and warnings of more to come. "That fight has been imposed on us," Bandar said. "None of us asked for it." Nail A. Al-Jubeir, spokesman for the Saudi embassy, said recent attacks on foreigners' housing compounds demonstrates the "evilness" of the al-Qaida terror network. "We've uncovered a number of cells, a number of weapons," he said. "We expect more attacks." Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001, were Saudis, and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom revoked his citizenship in 1994. Saudi Arabia has spent more than $17 million on public relations, advertising and lobbying in the United States since the Sept. 11 attacks, according to Justice Department records. Television ads have depicted Saudi Arabia as aligned with American interests, and the country has hired Washington lobbying and law firms to advance its case. Bandar has toured the United States in conjunction with the ad campaign to promote Saudi Arabia's relationship with America and its commitment against terrorism. "We are your friends because you have never taken an action that would hurt our people," Bandar said, adding that Saudi Arabia will continue doing its part to "be shoulder to shoulder with you against evil."
Posted at 03:50 PM
THE ECONOMIST ON LOMBORG [Jonathan H. Adler]
From their article on Lomborg's vindication:
[The initial] finding, and the total absence of evidence or argument to support it, struck many as bizarre. Having read the DCSD's report, we ourselves concluded, “The panel's ruling—objectively speaking—is incompetent and shameful.”
Posted at 02:53 PM
FROM THE WHITE HOUSE [Jonah Goldberg ]
A Kwanzaa greeting (shouldn't "Kwanzaas" have an apostrophe?) from President Bush:
Presidential Message: Kwanzaa 2003
GEORGE W. BUSH
Posted at 02:36 PM
LOMBORG [Jonah Goldberg]
I see Jonathan already mentioned it, but this news about Lomborg being vindicated really is a big deal and truly inspiring news.
Posted at 02:29 PM
FEDERALISM & HYPOCRISY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Ramesh -- Your points in today's colmun are well-taken but let's not kid ourselves. Many conservatives are inconsistent, if not hypocritical, on these issues, adopting constitutional or theoretical rationales for or against federal involvement on a fairly ad hoc basis. How many conservatives who celebrated federalism when the Supreme Court found that Congress lacks power to ban gun possession near a school are ready to acknowledge that the exact same arguments suggest Congress lacks power to ban marijuana possession in one's own home. You may not be a "fair weather federalist," but the same cannot be said of many conservatives.
As for me, I do not believe certain laws violate federalism because they are unconstitutional, as you suggest. Rather, it is the other way around: Some federal statutes are unconstitutional because they violate those federalism principles embodied in the Constitution, such as the strict enumeration of federal powers. While I believe there are many federal statutes that are unconstitutional on federalism grounds, including the federal ban on partial birth abortion. there are many others that I believe represent unwise or unnecessary assertions of federal power that are nonetheless constitutional. The Constitution resolves some federalism questions, but not all of them. Indeed, as my former boss likes to say, the Constitution is not perfect, but it is much better than what we have.
Posted at 02:01 PM
DELICIOUS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Daniel Ortega comes to Saddam's defense.
Posted at 02:00 PM
JUST OUT OF CURIOSITY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Does anyone here like the Freedom Tower?
Posted at 01:47 PM
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Tad DeHaven's deconstruction of Josh Bolten's fuzzy math, on our homepage.
Posted at 01:12 PM
WHO KNEW? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
There are Jack Chick pamphlets in Vietnamese. The Chick pubs are visceral anti-Catholic tracts sold, sadly, in a lot of “Christian” bookstores. Been around for ages.
Just a random fine I thought I’d share.
Posted at 12:51 PM
FIRST STOP: TRENTON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NJ governor Jim McGreevey is scheduled to sign the unprecedented cloning bill just passed by the state assembly this Sunday. You can email the governor's office here and the phone number is 609 292-6000. Details and useful links re the bill are here.
Posted at 12:36 PM
FROM THE WIRES... [Jonah Goldberg ]
A traditional doctor in central Nigeria has been shot dead by a patient who was testing the potency of an anti-bullet charm the herbalist had prepared for him, police said on Wednesday.
Posted at 12:23 PM
GOING AROUND [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Seen this a few times now:
Did you hear what the troops were calling the Sikorsky Blackhawk which Hillary used to tour Iraq? "Broomstick One"Anyone know if that is actually true?
Posted at 12:18 PM
THIS LOOKS LIKE IT WILL BE FUN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
for several weeks. Then Chait will have to switch to making the case *for* Dean.
Posted at 12:10 PM
IMMINENT THREAT IN NYC? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Sketchy ABCnews story.
Posted at 12:07 PM
BRITISH SUPPORT FORDEATH PENALTY [Peter Robinson]
A very nice dissection of Richard Cohen, Ramesh. And regarding your point 3), the last time I looked into the matter--this would be perhaps 18 months or two years ago--polls showed that support for the death penalty in the United Kingdom was virtually identical to that in the United States. Tony Blair may not want the death penalty, but John Bull most certainly does.
Posted at 12:03 PM
LAST CHRISTMAS [Stanley Kurtz]
A few other things come out of the Christmas “survey” and the various responses to my “decline of Christmas” post. Many readers agreed that very little in the way of new Christmas television or film is being produced. “Bad Santa,” is cited as proof that Christmas is in decline. Yet others point to “Elf” and to “Sponge Bob’s Christmas Special” as evidence that good Christmas stuff is still coming out. One reader said the availability of Christmas movies on video is making up for the relative dearth of new material. Several readers complained about Christmas coming too early–with decorations and Christmas music now beginning well before November. They take this as commercialization, not respect. Halloween came up as well. Evangelicals cherish Christmas, but dislike Halloween. On the other hand, secular Manhattan seems increasingly to be turning Halloween dress up into a major adult holiday. Lots of people wrote to complain about my calling Lord of the Rings “pagan.” LOTR is a Catholic allegory, they say. That may be, and I said something not far from that in my original post. I have nothing against LOTR. But I do think LOTR’s pagan veneer makes it a safer choice in today’s increasingly Christmas-wary culture. I’ll end with an upbeat “blue state” story. A reader in Boston lives in a suburb with virtually no Christmas decorations at all. A week ago, this fellow boarded a bus in Harvard Square. The driver promptly announced that he would be leading the bus in Christmas Carols. Sure enough, the entire bus began to sing “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Emboldened by his success with these more secular songs, the driver delivered a sermon to his passengers on the real meaning of Christmas–the celebration of the birth of “our savior, Jesus.” No doubt, this public bus driver was going too far. He could easily have lost his job for what he did. I myself couldn’t recommend what he did as “policy.” But who would have the heart to complain about such a beautiful gesture? Increasingly, I suppose, quite a few.
Posted at 11:58 AM
RE: BYRON [Tim Graham]
I wish every caller to C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" this morning would take a sedative and read Byron York's piece on Halliburton today.
Brian Lamb was actually losing patience as he sat in the DC offices of the Wall Street Journal and interviewed editors and reporters there. If people thought C-SPAN in the 1990s offered a open phone line for Clinton "haters," they ought to listen to the network today. It was a festival of Deaniacs (or Kucinichaks) railing against Halliburton and corporate control of the White House. I didn't exactly hear a flood of Bush supporters on the line.
Not that I'm saying C-SPAN is shamefully slanted. But that's what Brian Lamb was getting from both sides today. You Republican lover. You liberal. He actually apologized to political reporter Jeanne Cummings for having her segment foiled by "people with their own agendas." You can see why most networks ponder interaction with the people and say, hmmph, "bad TV."
Posted at 11:56 AM
MORE CHRISTMAS [Stanley Kurtz]
So how did the folks who saw a decline in Christmas describe it? A number agreed that decorations were disappearing. One reader said that virtually none of the houses in his suburban Boston neighborhood were decorated. But the passion in these letters was focused on a sense that Christmas itself had somehow become politically incorrect. There were plenty of complaints about the substitution of “holiday” for “Christmas” in greetings and on signs. For me, this is a tough issue. I have no problem with someone who doesn’t know I’m not Christian wishing me Merry Christmas. But I can understand the impulse not to offend. The question of how open to be in promoting Christmas in a religiously mixed area is a tough call. But what my blue state correspondents described was a situation far more extreme than anything I could have imagined. One told of a holiday concert at a school that included Hanukkah and Kwanza songs, but no Christmas songs. Another reader said her children attended a Catholic school so liberal that they were taught as much about Hunukkah, Kwanza, and Ramadan as about Christmas. A reader from rural Tennessee was shocked when, on a visit to Pittsburgh, his old Church there (First United Methodist) had a sign out front for a “holiday” party. I can see using “holiday” in a public school–especially with a religiously mixed student body–but in a church? There was also a more general complaint about mainline churches suppressing every religious theme beside the need for “social justice.” And apparently some blue state businesses have actually forbidden their employees to mention “the C word.” A couple blue state Jews even wrote in to complain about the decline of Christmas. Yes, said one man, he was made to feel uncomfortable in his school days when forced to sing Christmas carols, but now he regrets that his daughter won’t understand the feeling of community Americans once experienced during Christmas. One Christmas-loving Jewish New Yorker is convinced that there is more at work in the decline of Christmas than a concern not to offend. This reader argues that Christmas has now joined George Bush, the Western Canon, and a strong military posture, in the list of things a right thinking liberal must be leery of. That’s too strong, I suppose, but perhaps not far off in at least some areas.
Posted at 11:54 AM
CHRISTMAS II [Stanley Kurtz]
Here’s more on the Christmas survey. The red staters who said Christmas was going strong gave lots of specifics: cities and neighborhoods filled with decorations, including plenty of nativity scenes; radio stations filled with Christmas music; Christmas pageants; public caroling; and churches packed with worshipers. A reader from Houston said homeowners associations in some areas actually require you to decorate your house. According to a reader in Lincoln, Nebraska, the large numbers of folks in his area going off to serve in the National Guard and Reserves had sparked a stronger than usual longing for a real old-fashioned Christmas. Just a few red staters did mention a decline in decorations–dark patches of houses where once even a single dark house was a rarity. There seems to be a cluster effect. Neighbors keep up with neighbors, and a few folks either decorating or failing to decorate can change a whole block within a year. There was also a bit of movement toward more secular symbols (cities with snowflakes where once there were angels) and widespread complaint about “holiday” replacing “Christmas.” On the whole, though, Christmas in red America seems to be doing quite well. The same applies to mid-western cities (like Chicago, Youngstown, and St. Louis) with substantial working class Catholic populations. Apparently, the preponderance of working class Catholics in these cities helps keep even upper middle class liberals in the Christmas spirit. I got a letter from a resident of a gentrified Chicago neighborhood plastered with Howard Dean signs where many single family homes were beautifully decorated for the holiday. On the other hand, I got a number of letters from places like Boston, Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, a few universities, some Democratic suburbs and a few mid-western cities that described a shock of recognition on reading my “decline of Christmas” post. Not every message from a university town or coastal city was like this, but most were.
Posted at 11:52 AM
THE STATE OF CHRISTMAS [Stanley Kurtz]
Is Christmas in decline? Yesterday I suggested that it just might be. Now the results of the first annual (extremely unscientific) Corner survey of American Christmas are in. Just under 100 people wrote in to comment on my post. Only 69 took a recognizable position on the Christmas in decline question, while only 62 could be placed in “red” or “blue” territory with reasonable certainty. The survey’s basic findings are unsurprising. Christmas seems to be going gangbusters in red America, although there are some signs of erosion even there. Christmas in blue America is in a more complicated state. In Democratic, Catholic, and working class sections of the urban mid-west, Christmas remains strong. But in cosmopolitan urban areas on the coasts, and in university communities, Christmas shows clear signs of weakening. Of course, it’s impossible to draw reliable conclusions from a very small segment of self-selected Corner readers. Still, the findings of this very informal “survey” do make intuitive sense. Here are some numbers. I got 29 messages from folks in red state areas saying Christmas was going strong. Of those, fifteen were from southern states (including Texas). Four red staters (actually, I tried to go by county, like the original map, rather than by state) said Christmas was weakening, and four painted a mixed picture. In contrast, 18 blue staters said Christmas in their vicinity was weakening, while 10 blue state respondents said Christmas in their area remained strong. (A few folks who had moved between red and blue states, and who gave opinions about both, were counted twice.) All told, 41 respondents said Christmas remained strong, 34 said Christmas was in decline, and 4 gave a mixed reading.
Posted at 11:51 AM
WALKIES [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Welcome back. Boris has drawn my attention to this piece by Bill Deedes, for whom I used to write leader-page articles when he was editor of the Daily Telegraph (Deedes, not Boris). It is an indictment of modern civilization from a canine point of view. Quite right, too.
I note in passing that Bill Deedes (more properly Lord Deedes of Aldington) is 90 years old--almost 13 in dog years! He was the model for the war correspondent in Evelyn Waugh's 1933 novel SCOOP. May you and I write as well as this in our nineties.
Posted at 11:44 AM
IS THAT RIGHT? [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Shirer was absolutely convinced that Hitler and the Nazis set fire to the Reichstag and most historians now think it was the just the work of the insane Dutchman.
Posted at 11:44 AM
RE: DEM-CRAZY [John Derbyshire]
JJ: Yeah, nice article. But what is a "Babe Ruth hat"? Was the Babe known for some particular type of headgear, other than... baseball caps?
Posted at 11:43 AM
THE MAILMAN COMETH! [Jack Fowler]
Yes, it's true. You can STILL order National Review's books -- our three delightful children's titles, the Florence King "Misanthrope's Corner" collection, our compliation of President Bush's best post-9/11 speeches, and our must-have College Guide -- in time for Christmas. Join the many who continue to order these perfect Christmas gifts (thanks to the thousands of you who have done so already!). Here's how.
Posted at 11:42 AM
RICH, DON'T BANG YOUR HEAD... [Jonah Goldberg]
Your cats might eat you.
Posted at 11:17 AM
BEACH READING [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't know why, but I always had the impression that the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer was a tough slog. One reason might be that I tried to read Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire at too young an age and I somehow conflated the two in my mind. Regardless, I'm a couple hundred pages into R&F of the TR and I must say I think it's great, entirely accessible and a real joy to read. If there are any historians out there who know if and how Shirer is considered out of date in some way -- particularly on the subject of Fascism (I don't much care about, say, the military analysis) -- I'd love to hear from you. My own book isn't a historiography so I don't have much time to read about the historians I read, but I would be curious nonetheless.
Posted at 10:47 AM
WHAT HE SAID [Jonah Goldberg ]
William F. Buckley on Ann Coulter.
Posted at 10:34 AM
I'M HOME! CONT'D: BANAL OBSERVATION [Jonah Goldberg]
Just got back from CNN and am digging out. Found something close to 7,000 catalogs (Pottery Barn, Victoria's Secret etc) in my mail. I am astounded that paper, printing and postage are so cheap so as to make sending 5 copies of the same catalog to one household cost efficient -- particularly when we buy nothing from 9 out of 10 of said catalogs.
Have any DC-area residents noticed how inane the moving walkways at Reagan National Airport are? They have a recorded announcement which blares constantly "Caution! The Moving Sidewalk is Ending!" The only problem is that it's so loud and the various sidewalks are so close together, there's no way a blind person could know when the sidewalk is actually ending. It must be a living terror for blind folks. I know it's a pain for the sighted.
Posted at 10:33 AM
OH K [John J. Miller]
Here's a tour of Washington, D.C.'s K Street--famous as the address of America's top lobbying firms. The funny thing about K Street is that it's so dull. No tourist would want to see it: Just a bunch of nondescript office buildings. The commentator on this video is Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post. He makes a few uninteresting and lefty political points about suppression of political dissent--he seems to think that K Street should look like a college campus, with bright-yellow leaflets advertising anti-war rallies on the Mall covering every signpost. But his bottom-line point is true: K Street is the most famous boring street in America.
Posted at 09:34 AM
A PBS RERUN [Tim Graham]
To mark the occasion of Jacko's indictment on child-sexual-abuse charges, we recall the chin-pulling PBS take on the Jackson aura from ten years ago:
"If either of the two [Madonna or Michael Jackson] is the logical heir to Marilyn Monroe, it is clearly Michael Jackson, who is the more bruised and authentically vulnerable of the two....Not only is he black and white, male and female, but also young and old, hip and square, the crotch-grabbing self-appointed guardian of the world's children." -- MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour essayist Anne Taylor Fleming, April 7, 1993.
Posted at 07:20 AM
RE: RYM [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, Rym has been a member in good standing of the CNN Baathist buckle-polishing crew. For example, on the December 3, 2002 NewsNight, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed, reporter Rym Brahimi told anchor Aaron Brown from Baghdad: "This visit by the inspectors is surprisingly brief for such a large site; approximately a mile long on one side. But it's symbolic of their determination to visit even the most sensitive of sites. The visit was also symbolic, Aaron, of maybe Iraq's goodwill and at least keenness to show that it's been cooperating."
Posted at 07:19 AM
CLOSE CALL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Paul Bremer survived an ambush earlier this month in IRaq.
Posted at 07:11 AM
DEMO-CRAZY [John J. Miller]
I really enjoyed this piece by Eric Felten in today's Wall Street Journal on the nuttiness of paying huge ad dollars to chase after folks in the "coveted" 18-34-year-old age range.
Posted at 05:49 AM
I'M HOME! [Jonah Goldberg]
With only one lost bag and a minor ulcer. Doing CNN in the morning, check me out at 8:35ish (EST) if you want to see what a week of sun, family obligations, carbo-loading, and tequila has done to my once Olympian physique. But then I'll be back here digging out and hanging out in the Corner.
Posted at 12:30 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2003
PERFECT TYPO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A number of readers have pointed out a funny typo earlier, in the first post on CNN and the Saddam daughters: As one reader writes:
"Bottom of the scream" should read "Bottom of the screen." I suspect you typed this as CNN makes one want to scream!
Posted at 09:51 PM
FEEBLE EFFORT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
There's something admirable about the doggedness of Richard Cohen's opposition to the death penalty, and his willingness to write a column arguing against executing Saddam Hussein. But there are three things I really dislike about this column.
1) "Along with such pariah nations as Sudan, the United States still executes children (under 18) and the mentally feeble -- and, inevitably, the innocent." I don't think that it can actually be demonstrated that the U.S. has executed an innocent man in 100 years, let alone that it regularly does so. But I'll take the "inevitably" as a way of softening the apparent empirical claim. But the U.S. executes the "mentally feeble"? Atkins v. Virginia (2002) forbids executing the mentally retarded. Unless Cohen is making some technical distinction between "mentally feeble" and retarded people, he's just wrong. And I'd figure someone who writes as much about capital punishment as Cohen to know about the 2002 case.
2) Lieberman's complaining about The Hague because it "sorely lacks a gallows, and for that matter a torture chamber." That's just a cheap shot.
3) "In the United States the right of the government to take life is almost universally accepted -- if not applauded. In Europe there is no such consensus. That's because in the past century, much of the continent suffered under fascist or communist governments that routinely murdered their own citizens, often 'legally.'" Let's pretend there's no implicit argument here on the order of the-Nazis-discouraged-smoking-so-discouraging-smoking-is-Nazi-like. Is this really the only explanation for the difference between American and European practices that comes to Cohen's mind? How about this: European countries are more disposed than America is to letting elites force through policies the populace doesn't like, and a sizable chunk of the populace is willing to revise its views after the fact. Maybe it has something to do with their experience of fascism, or their susceptibility to it.
Posted at 08:24 PM
RAGHDAD & RYM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rym Brahimi just did the softest softball interview with Saddam's oldest daughter. "It must have been difficult" seeing the images of him this weekend on TV. How about it must have beenb difficullt for the families of those he tortured or killed to have to see his face again? And, of course, ditto what Tim said.
Posted at 08:21 PM
DERB [Ramesh Ponnuru]
You can also read "Ambush at Ft. Bragg" in Wolfe's collection Hooking Up, if I'm not mistaken.
Posted at 07:29 PM
RE: WINTER MARKETING [Tim Graham]
I did notice this week that my yummy cereal box of "Winter Fruity Pebbles" (same great sugary taste, just colored red and green) lacked the Christmas angle, but that could just mean that Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble really were so BC....
Posted at 05:35 PM
RHYMES [Rick Brookhiser]
How I loved dear Dorah,
Especially in Angora.
She threw off an aurora
That made me want to take her
To sultry Bora-Bora
(That made me want to take her
To sultry Bora-Bora.)
Instead, I'll think of her as
I light my old menorah.
Posted at 05:33 PM
SADDAM'S DAUGHTERS [Tim Graham]
The caption could also read "Raghad and Rana Hussein's husbands were ordered to be executed by their father."
Posted at 04:55 PM
MALVO VERDICT REACHED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Guilty on three counts: terrorism, cap murder, use of firearm in commission of a felony. (CNN)
Posted at 04:34 PM
SENIOR SHIITE KILLED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 04:01 PM
KWANZANUKKAHMAS [John Derbyshire]
Meghan, I hear you. Just got back a bit ago from the "Winter Song Festival" at Danny's elementary school. It's hard not to be charmed by a stage full of third graders trying to simultaneously fidget, pick noses, surreptitiously punch back the kid who just surreptitiosly punched you, and remember the lyrics to songs. I must say, though, the decline in the quality of "winter songs" is appalling. Compare the narrative power and glorious melody of "Good King Wencelas" with "Happy happy happy, Kwanzaa is here," or whatever the hell it is. And there ARE other words that rhyme with "menorah" other than "hora," you know. Clement Wood's COMPLETE RHYMING DICTIONARY lists Angora, Aurora, Bora-Bora, and a slew of girls' names. The poverty of imagination and mediocrity of thought that go into these PC productions are not the worst thing about them, but they're pretty close.
Posted at 03:18 PM
SADDAM'S LAST VICTIMS [John Derbyshire]
It is now clear that the capture of Saddam struck a major body blow at the Democratic Party. Tina Brown tells the tale here (though with a nasty twist at the end). Capturing Osama bin Laden, always very desirable, is now also an electoral imperative. If _he_ were to show up on our TV screens around the middle of next year with a US Army medic shining a flashlight down his throat, the Democrats would be polling in single digits.
Posted at 03:15 PM
COULD WE MENTION RUTHLESS TORTURERS OR SOMETHING? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
CNN was just talking about one of Saddam's daughters and while doing so ran the buzzline: "Raghad lost her brothers, Uday and Qusay, in a firefight." I know there's not a lot of room on the bottom of the scream, but come on.
That does sound like the perfect Lifetime movie though, doesn't it?
Posted at 03:10 PM
MARS, VENUS, AND... SOME OTHER PLANET [John Derbyshire]
A friend (not a reader) reminds me of the time a TV show gave us a tour of Ellen DeGeneres's house (apartment, whatever). At one point, Ellen opened a large walk-in closet to reveal... about 57 pairs of identical fawn-colored slacks.
Posted at 03:05 PM
RE: O'REILLY [John Derbyshire]
Yes, Kathryn, it looks as though megalomania has set it. It always does, sooner or later. Sad. Jonah is looking more and more prescient on this one.
Posted at 02:48 PM
RE; MARS, VENUS [John Derbyshire]
A reader in Michigan: "As to your shirt, we had a guest teacher from Wales one year. I was a freshman (so you can understand how entertaining this was) and he taught Biology and always wore the SAME OUTFIT. White shirt button down with brown pants and... he wore a tank-style undershirt! Must be something about you guys from across the big pond. ... Is it something about growing up across the Atlantic?... And... do you wear an undershirt??? As to the female hominid... we realize how dorky you look when you wear the same clothes, and always wonder if it's the EXACT same clothes, or if you have many different pieces of the same thing. And if you wonder if it's the same thing... then you're really wondering about people's cleanliness and stinkiness, etc. and we would rather not have someone wonder about that. It's been thought about, but we've evolved far more than the male hominid."
Now look here. (1) I do not take kindly to being compared with a person from Wales. The Welsh eat seaweed, speak a language no-one else can understand, and sing far too much. "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief," etc., etc. (2) I have ***SEVERAL*** blue shirts, not just one. (3) Under my shirt I wear a "tank-style" undershirt in the summer (the style known in NYC as a "guinea T-shirt," and elsewhere, I believe, as a "wife-beater"). In the winter I wear an actual plain white T-shirt under my shirt, and I have ***SEVERAL*** of those, too--I buy them five at a time from Sears. (4) I shower every morning, except when I forget to, and am fragrant as honeysuckle. Okay?
Posted at 02:40 PM
O'REILLY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Derb, sounds like your man has lost it. I can understand how Hillary might drive one insane, but he has money--there's medication he can take.
Posted at 02:38 PM
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE "HOLIDAY" SEASON [Meghan Cox Gurdon]
At this morning's "Holiday" show at my daughter Violet's nursery school, there were children dressed as Santa Claus, elves, snowflakes, gingerbread men, and even a big bad wolf. And do you know what the concluding song was? "We wish you a happy holidays, we wish you a happy holidays, we WISH you a happy holidays and a happy new year!"
Secular, ungrammatical -- can't say "holiday," can we, because we might mean "the" holiday -- what rubbish! Aargh! What are we coming to?
Posted at 01:21 PM
TO SLEEP WITH NR [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 01:13 PM
RE: CHRISTMAS [Tim Graham]
Stan, many people are a little slow to get into the Christmas spirit. But perhaps one measure of spirit in this metropolitan area (and others these days) is the radio stations that use an all-Christmas music format. WASH-FM has been all-Christmas music since eight days before Thanksgiving! If that sells commercials, then someone must be in the spirit.
Posted at 01:09 PM
ANOTHER PHOTO OF THE YEAR [KAthryn Jean Lopez]
Chalabi and Saddam meet.
Posted at 01:07 PM
HOMOSEXUALS IN THE MILITARY [John Derbyshire]
I urge anyone who feels like offering an opinion about homosexuals in the military to first listen to Tom Wolfe's audiobook AMBUSH AT FORT BRAGG. You can download it from Amazon for ten bucks, and it's not that long.
Posted at 12:53 PM
MARS, VENUS [John Derbyshire]
A reader in Boise: "It's very simple. A guy has a blue shirt. He says to himself, 'Hey, I like this shirt. I'm going to by six more just like it so I can wear one every day of the week.' During the entire span of human evolution, no female hominid has ever thought this way."
Posted at 12:51 PM
A PHILOSEMITE LASHES OUT [John Derbyshire]
Here is a British philosemite laswhing out at the nasty Judeophobia that has now seeped across the English Channel. I apologize for all the Britocentric references. Victor Meldrew is a grumpy old man, central character in the 1980s Britcom ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE. Richard Ingrams is a journalist, sometime editor of the scurrilous magazine PRIVATE EYE (and I believe the originator of the phrase "too good to check"--said of a juicy story from a dubious source).
Ms. Burchill is of course correct about the relative attractiveness & vivacity of us philosemites, as against the crabby, bitter and ugly legions of Jew-haters. As she points out, we have Marilyn Monroe; they have Yasser Arafat. What more does one need to know?
Posted at 12:50 PM
RE: GET SERIOUS, TAIWAN [John Derbyshire]
(From several readers) "Since Ross Munro is basically just saying what Derb said on Tuesday , he might at least have offered an acknowledgment." Hey, I'll take the compliment; but Munro speaks with more authority, having actual credentials in the field, while I'm only an amateur.
He and I share the same important perception, though: that given the continuing peril of Taiwan's situation, the gravity of what might happen across the Taiwan Strait, and the possible consequences for America--the ultimate guarantor of Taiwan's independence--Taiwan politics is not as serious as it ought to be. It is no "insult" to Taiwan to say that, much less a "betrayal" of Taiwan. It needs saying, and they need to hear it, friend to friend. The more people say it, the better, far as I'm concerned.
Posted at 12:48 PM
PADILLA DETAILS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the ruling: "...[W]e remand to the District Court with instructions to issue a writ of habeas corpus directing the Secretary of Defense to release Padilla from military custody within 30 days. The government can transfer Padilla to appropriate civilian authorities who can bring criminal charges against him. Also, if appropriate, Padilla can be held as a material witness in connection with grand jury proceedings. In any case, Padilla will be entitled to the constitutional protections extended to other citizens."
Posted at 12:35 PM
THE BEST EMAIL ON THE SUBJECT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
comes from a college friend whose judgment I respect:
"I must admit that I was surprised to read your Corner post re: gays in the
"The morale problem is insurmountable. No, no, I don't mean anti-gay
"This problem is present with women, too, and for that reason I'd cheerfully
"Too trivial? After four lonely, dirty months in the field, it wouldn't seem
"It does no good to point to the rules against fraternization, sex with
"And do let's keep in mind that all of these problems are quintupled in the
"I'm not acquainted with the British experience. But I'd take it with several
"It's probably true that, in a garrison, rear-eschelon environment, gays
"Sorry to belabor the point, but I've spent much time examining the issue -
Posted at 12:08 PM
LOTS OF NEGATIVE REACTION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
to my brief comment on gays in the military yesterday, including demands that I be fired. (I'll forward those to Rich.) Most of the comments say that only someone who has not served in the military could think that allowing openly gay men to serve would be a good idea. I must admit that I've never served. But the proposition is false, since there are people who have served in the military who favor letting gays serve. (There are, of course, many more opposed.) One email chides me for using Britain as an example. I can see someone making the argument that American attitudes toward homosexuality differ so much from the attitudes in countries that allow gays in the military that it would be a much worse idea here; that argument gives me pause about my conclusion. But the argument in my inbox was that Britain is not comparable to America because it is a second-rate country with a second-rate military--an assessment I cannot share.
Posted at 12:05 PM
THESE LEAKS [Jonah Goldberg]
A few quick points before I get on a plane. First, where are all the Democrats denouncing these leaks from Saddam Hussein's interrogation room? I mean we were told that leaks are terrible, especially pertaining to intelligence operations, right?
More important, I'm kind of at a loss as to why all of these reports of Saddam being defiant and arrogant are being taken at face value. Keep in mind I've read little news while I've been here and am only going by the cable news networks.
Since when does the CIA -- who's handling Saddam -- leak how super-important interrogations are going? In other words, any news that's allegedly coming out of Saddam's pie hole is news his handlers want leaked. My most hopeful guess is that Saddam's actually singing like a bird but the Americans don't want the bad guys to know it. Normally, you keep even the capture of an important asset secret so you can roll-up all of his contacts without them flying the coop. Since that was impossible, my hope is that the Americans are saying he's not cooperating even as they have all of these successful raids. Doesn't that seem plausible?
And if he is spilling the beans, then we may be in even much better shape than things seem.
Posted at 12:04 PM
A CASE FOR THE "QUEER EYE" GUYS [John Derbyshire]
A reader: "Your 'Straggler' piece in NR prompted me to look at your family portrait. You're wearing the same damn shirt you wore in most of your other pictures !Come on, man. Your wife looks like she has some taste. Have her buy you another one! I'l bet you can even beg for the money in 'The Corner.'"
Hey, I like this shirt. Stick with what works for you. We're supposed to be CONSERVATIVES, aren't we?
Posted at 11:39 AM
C. S. LEWIS AND CATHOLICISM [Mike Potemra]
Rereading C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves, I am arrested by this passage: "If ever the book which I am not going to write is written it must be the full confession by Christendom of Christianity's specific contribution to the sum of human cruelty and treachery. Large areas of 'the World' will not hear us till we have publicly disowned much of our past. Why should they? We have shouted the name of Christ and enacted the service of Moloch." This is probably the first time I've read this passage since Pope John Paul II's historic apologies for the misdeeds of the Christian past, a few years back. And I wonder: If Lewis had lived to see the day that a Catholic Pope stepped up to the plate and did this, might it have provided the final impetus he needed to convert to Catholicism? (Joseph Pearce—who had a piece on NRO yesterday--by the way, has written a fascinating and worthwhile book on C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church, just out from Ignatius Press.) Some Christians are troubled by these kinds of admissions, and put a lot of effort into finding mitigating circumstances for the past human rights abuses committed in Christ's name; to the extent that their work is motivated by charity toward the accused and respect for the truth, it is laudable. But in any case, it's very heartening that two of the greatest Christian witnesses of the past century are on the same page on this issue; they know that the spiritual strength of an institution stands in inverse proportion to its fear of the truth.
Posted at 11:37 AM
JOSE PADILLA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Federal appeals court rules he is not an enemy combatant. Orders him released in 30 days.
Posted at 11:35 AM
HINKLEY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Lee Edwards sums it all up in an e-mail this morning: "Jim Brady didn't walk away from the attempted assassination--why should John Hinckley?"
Posted at 11:27 AM
RE: CHRISTMAS [Stanley Kurtz]
Wow, it's early, but I'm already getting lots of mail responding to my post on the decline of Christmas. The answers are interesting, and seem to differ by location. I'm on the run today, but if mail continues at this rate, I'll report tomorrow morning on what readers are saying. It may be possible to build up a rough national picture. So if you do write, be sure to say where you're from.
Posted at 10:25 AM
POST-NATIVITY SCENE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
One of the terrorists who moved into the Church of the Nativity in 2002 has been causing trouble in Belgium, where he sought asylum after the unholy siege.
Posted at 10:06 AM
KILLJOYS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The NEw York Times editorializes in favor of a ban on snowmobiles.
Posted at 09:57 AM
CHRISTMAS ON THE DECLINE [Stanley Kurtz ]
I hope I’ll be forgiven if, as an outsider, I ask about the state of Christmas in America. My impression, based on inadequate information, is that Christmas is in a slow but noticeable decline. My neck of the woods is pretty urban and dominated by apartment buildings. Still, there seems very little in the way of Christmas decoration around here. Despite the occasional Christmas pop song, radio stations have long since given up playing real Christmas music. I have a pretty poor sense of television, but I don’t think there’s been much new or interesting with a Christmas theme. The Charlie Brown special was a nice example of a Christmas update in the best spirit of the holiday. Is there anything new like that? The great exception on this score, as in so much else, is Country music. The Alan Jackson special, which keeps the traditional meaning of the holiday in mind, is becoming a standard on CMT–which has lots of other Christmas themed stuff. Christian radio, it seems to me, is almost afraid of Christmas. It has its own repertoire of Christmas songs and segments, all of which have the same theme: Christmas should not be made too much of–Christmas is all year round because Christ should be a constant force in our lives. Christian radio almost palpably dreads the appeal of the secular and commercialized holiday. But right now, even the seductive and semi-secular version of Christmas that used to dominate popular culture seems to me to be on the decline. I think this is less because of a fear by Christians of offending religious minorities than because increasing secularization has turned cultural sensitivity itself into the new religion. At least in blue America, where I’ve always lived, Christmas seems on the decline, and secularism on the rise. I’m ready to stand corrected in all this, because I haven’t been paying close enough attention. But is it coincidence that the big cultural event this season is about a pagan fantasy world? I think Lord of the Rings carries some of the moral weight that Christmas used to carry–good and evil are still there–but in a way that safely appeals to an increasingly secular and culturally divided public.
Posted at 09:20 AM
NOMINATIONS & IDEOLOGY [Stanley Kurtz]
I’m certainly not an expert on the history of presidential elections, but I’m trying to think of nomination battles in which there was something fundamental at stake–something beyond personality and relatively insignificant political positioning. Mondale vs. Hart, for example, had no real ideological content. Kennedy, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Dole–none of these nominees won anything resembling a serious ideological battle. Reagan’s nomination fights, of course, had serious ideological stakes and consequences, and the Reagan revolution marked a real shift in the center of gravity of American politics. But most other ideologically tinged nomination battles led to electoral disasters. Goldwater/Rockefeller, McCarthy/Humphrey, McGovern/Humphrey/Wallace. Unless you believe Dean is about to lead a successful leftward revolution on the order of Reagan’s triumph, the odds have got to look bad for the Democrats. Once a party is riven by serious ideological division, it is set for defeat. Nowadays, the Goldwater/Rockefeller battle is bathed in the light of Reagan’s triumph, for which the Goldwater nomination is seen as a noble, if failed, precursor. But let’s remember that the Goldwater candidacy was an utter disaster for the Republicans at the time. Deeply felt ideological battles within a party are generally deadly. Now maybe that’s not what we’re in for. If it’s Dean vs. Clark, then the ideological stakes will not be serious. But if it’s Dean vs. Lieberman, Gephart, or even Kerry, this nomination battle is going to get ugly. And even if there’s not a major battle–because Dean wraps it up quickly–the Democrats still face a McGovern-style debacle when the center deserts them for the president. A Clark victory, on the other hand, just might gather in the Deanites and hold the center well enough to prevent a total Congressional debacle. But Saddam’s capture has hurt Clark too, and I don’t see many sensible Democrats rallying to Clark.
Posted at 09:17 AM
DEAN THIRD PARTY [Stanley Kurtz]
I wasn’t the only one commenting on Mickey Kaus’s speculations about a Dean third party candidacy yesterday. The New Republic’s &c. blog picked the idea up and ran with it. &c. believes that in a three way race with Gephart and the president, Dean could win. Drawing on the 40% of Americans who supposedly oppose the Iraq war, Dean could come out on top if Gephart and the president split the pro-war vote. I find this unconvincing. People are reluctant to vote for a third party candidate. It is extremely unlikely that a third party Dean candidacy could round up anything like 40% of the vote on the basis of the war issue alone. Of those who supposedly oppose the war, a much smaller percentage see the issue in the sort of decisive and Manichean terms that Dean’s core voters do. I find it remarkable that The New Republic’s blog not only takes a Dean third party candidacy seriously, but seems positively enthusiastic about the idea. I thought The New Republic was all about rescuing the Democratic party from the likes of Howard Dean and his constituency. I guess TNR is changing more than I’d realized. In any case, the fact that folks are giving credibility to wild scenarios about a Dean third party candidacy–even welcoming it–shows how volatile and dangerous a situation the Democrats are in right now. When the front runner for the Democratic nomination–just endorsed by the last nominee–is being touted as a third party candidate on Slate and TNR before the first primary is held, something very odd is happening. There are lot’s of ways to look at such talk, but here’s what strikes me as most likely. The Democrats are beginning to see the crackup they’re headed for, yet can’t quite accept that this will be a disaster. So instead of trying to figure out how to patch this deadly intra-party split, they’re spinning wild scenarios to convince themselves the situation is all silver lining and no cloud. It sure looks like rain to me.
Posted at 09:15 AM
WE'RE NOT KIDDING: YOU CAN STILL ORDER NR'S WONDERFUL CHILDREN'S BOOKS IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS (EVEN BY UPS GROUND, AND EVEN FOR MANY WEST COAST DESTINATIONS)! [Jack Fowler]
With a little help from UPS (at the nominal cost of just $5 per order for "Ground" shipments) we'll have NR's acclaimed and elightful children's books--the best present you can give a deserving youngster this Christmas--to most of the U.S. (even to places in California!) in enough time to put under the tree. And if UPS Ground is a problem, we'll do whatever you want (UPS "3-Day Select"--it's a bit more than "Ground," but still nominally priced) to get those books to where you desire by Christmas Eve or sooner. (And we'll even ship our books to someone for you--how about that grandchild in another state?--with a nifty card announcing the fact that you gave the perfect gift!)
Our children's books are perfect gifts. These big, beautiful hardcovers contain wholesome, entertaining, and wonderfully written and illustrated stories (by the giants: Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, Louisa May Alcott, Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, Mark Twain, and so many more!) that instill values and virtue! Every child and every family library should have them, because they have real worth and lasting value. Don't delay: order The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature and The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories (perfect for new and beginning readers) now, right here. And if you want to actually talk to a live person to discuss shipping--or if for some reason you're having a problem ordering online--call us at 212-679-7330 (up to 3PM EST) and simply say "I want to order one of your books!"
Posted at 09:11 AM
TAIWAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ross Munro has been to Taiwan in the last few days and defends Bush on NRO today--he says Taiwan screwed up.
Posted at 09:06 AM
THURMOND [Rick Brookhiser]
With the pressure of NRODT deadlines, I was not able to comment on Thurmond's love child.
Half the novels of the eighteenth century have some character of partly noble origin, but born on the left side of the blanket. How were these babies produced? The way Thurmond's child was produced--a man of position or means, taking advantage of a servant. Race was the regional fillip added in the the United States, chiefly (but not exclusuively) in the south. A sad tale, a sordid system. Within its confines, Thurmond behaved rather well I thought, meeting his daughter, when she was an adult, almost annually, and giving her money whenever she asked. Of course he was protecting himself, and she was taking advantage of that protection. But I was struck by the moment when Thurmond gave her a little lecture on diet and exercise. That was the echt Thurmond moment--since he believed in nothing more passionately, he was giving her the best he had.
We are confident that we are better people than he was, because we were born later. But let us scrutinize our lives and our social arrangements for our own iniquities.
Posted at 09:04 AM
RE: FRUM-PA-PA-PUM [Tim Graham]
Ramesh, I'd argue interpreting what the President said on what proponents call gay marriage last night was, for current political (if not intellectual) purposes, very clear. It was the usual don't-alienate-any-constituency tap dance. Vagueness -- keeping himself viable within the current political system -- was the goal, not clarity. Everything he said reran some previous tape loop. It was one of the least newsworthy passages of the interview -- like asking about Hillary. As for waiting to see what formal administration policy is, remember that last year, the White House issued a formal statement on the D.C. appropriations bill which objected to DC desires for needle-exchange programs to avoid AIDS, but said absolutely nothing about the DC wishes for domestic-partnership arrangements. Stay quiet, stay vague.
As for amending the constitution, there's no reason for "defeatism." I would say that judging from the rapid succession of DOMA amendments in mid-1990s suggests that this is one amendment --regardless of which way it's written -- that will have a lot of public support in many states. I worry that conservatives in the NY-DC axis forget that the gay-left agenda is dramatically unpopular out there, seen as proof positive of flaky leftist extremism a la Dean.
Posted at 09:01 AM
"A CONSTITUTIONAL CRIME..." [Steve Hayward]
Robert Samuelson's Washington Post column about the Supreme Court's campaign finance decision is not to be missed. Money quote: "The court's decision is a constitutional crime that invites comparison with Plessy v Ferguson (1896), the ruling that upheld racial segregation. . ."
Posted at 07:58 AM
ME? A TYRANT?! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
What Saddam's saying.
Posted at 06:46 AM
WOW [Tim Graham]
The front page of the Washington Post (okay, below the fold) carries a story with some surprising words: "Howard Dean's penchant for flippant and sometimes false statements is generating increased criticism from his Democratic rivals and raising new questions about his ability to withstand intense, sustained scrutiny and defeat President Bush... "Dean's remarks, his critics say, are in keeping with his history of making statements that are mean-spirited or misleading."
Posted at 06:36 AM
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
IS THERE ANOTHER JAYSON BLAIR [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
at the NYTimes? Michelle Malkin collects some evidence.
Posted at 05:54 PM
OHIO PBA LAW UPHELD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the National Right to Life Committee: [I'm very slow today]
Sixth Circuit Upholds Ohio Law Restricting Partial-Birth Abortion
Posted at 05:46 PM
NR BOOKS: READ THIS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If you were having trouble book buying earlier, the link is now fixed and here it is, too, correctly. Save yourself the waiting-in-line-hassle while you still can.
Posted at 05:35 PM
MY MEXICAN SPIDER HOLE [Jonah Goldberg]
I've had a wonderful time down here in Cabo San Lucas, except for the unbelievable telecommunications problems. I've travelled to some really out of the way places and had a much easier time getting a line out for email etc. We're in a very nice hotel and we were in a very nice rented house and neither place makes it easy or even possible. You have to go through operators from what I can tell. Very, very annoying. Also, it's amazing how so many restaurants dedicated to gringos won't make the food spicy enough. Jonah likes his carnitas muy caliente! Anyway. I fly back tomorrow, no doubt to find pink slips from Rich and Kathryn waiting for me. This trip took longer than we planned for reasons largely in our control but no less annoying for it. Will explain when we get back.
Posted at 04:42 PM
EXCELLENT POST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
by Jacob Levy regarding the French decisions on appropriate fashion statements in schools.
Posted at 04:38 PM
RETURN OF THE KING CLARIFICATION [Jonah Goldberg]
In my Return of the King Review, I wrote that Aliens was superior to Alien. Somehow in the editing process that got changed to "Alien Resurrection" is better than its predecessors -- or something like that. I've gotten piles of email rightly chastising me for such heresy. I agree: Alien IV was drek standing on the shoulders of drek. I don't how the error was made, but I guarantee you it happened after the ones and zeros left Cabo San Lucas. Fortunately, someone alerted Kathryn to what must have been sabotage and now all reference to the Aliens series has been purged. I normally don't call attention to such things considering what heroic work the staff at NRO do just keeping the profanities and odd doodles out of my prose, let alone the constant spelling and grammatical mistakes. But I want to be clear for everyone out there. Thanks.
Posted at 04:29 PM
SADDAM'S CAPTURE - A TRIUMPH OF BARBED WIRE [Rich Lowry]
Another catching-up item (just got off our magazine deadline here): What was most striking to me about Saddam's capture is that liberals were decrying the very tactics that were about to lead to his capture. Our Ramadan pause in the Sunni triangle proved disastrous, leading to an increase in attacks on our troops. It was only when we cracked down -- hard -- that we saw a lessening of the attacks and progress toward getting Saddam. The tough tactics included barbed wire and arrests, as Newsweek explained: "The Americans received numerous tips from Iraqis interested in the $25 million reward, but none of them panned out. So the military began to squeeze. About six weeks ago, soldiers of the Fourth Infantry Division strung barbed wire around the small farm village of Awja, where Saddam had lived as a boy, about 5 to 10 kilometers south of Tikrit--and, as it turned out, some 5 kilometers from the farm where he was finally captured. The town was a Saddamite fishbowl. About 60 percent of the village's thousand or so men were arrested and questioned. 'We had number 6's father, Saddam's first cousin, quite a cast of characters that are town elders,' Lt. Col. Steve Russell of the Fourth I.D. told NEWSWEEK. By the time Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Baghdad in early December, top CENTCOM officials were beginning to feel that they were finally closing in. A top aide to Rumsfeld told NEWSWEEK that intelligence was working up the food chain toward Saddam, arresting and interrogating sources who were getting close to the fugitive himself." As it happens, on Saturday the New York Times news pages had a piece with a general explaining how the crackdown was making real progress against the insurgency and he was increasingly optimistic about bagging Saddam. This turned out, of course, to be a very prescient piece. But as all this progress was happening on the ground, liberals here in the U.S. were bewailing our new toughness. On Saturday, the New York Times editorialized sourly: "Frustrated by suicide bombings and guerrilla violence, American military officers resort to the kind of harsh tactics that have caused endless ill will in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." On Sunday, Jim Sollisch of NPR wrote in the Washington Post: "I read that our occupying army is now using the techniques of the Israeli army -- burning down houses, encasing whole villages in razor wire, detaining the families of suspected insurgents. And, I am too ashamed to keep quiet." It is hard to imagine a more stark demonstration of why, at a time like this, liberals can't be trusted in power -- they aren't up to it either intellectually or temperamentally. Barbed wire just scares them too much.
Posted at 04:14 PM
JOHN HINKLEY IS GRANTED PERMISSION [Kathryn Lopez]
to make unsupervised visits to his parents.
Posted at 04:01 PM
MUST READING [Rich Lowry]
Catching up: This was a great story from last week from USA Today describing the tactics used by Iraqi insurgents. The best treatment I've seen on this question. Check it out if you want to know what our troops are dealing with over there...
Posted at 03:54 PM
JOURNEY TO MIDDLE EARTH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Lots of e-mails along these lines--beats the kids watching MTV during homework:
...I attended a midnight showing of The Return of The King last night/this morning, taking my 15 year old daughter dressed in her Arwen attire. Observations: Full house, the show sold out with advance sale tickets. I bought ours over a week ago. Good, clean crowd. Lot of bookish kids and young adults. A few early teens with parental supervision, the majority were between 16 and 22, I think. Very few old, mid-40s geezers such as myself. I may have been the oldest person in the crowd. Lots of the kids doing homework and studying while on line as it's finals week in the schools here. A significant number wearing LOTR costume including a group of about 15, each dressed as a different principle character...quite impressive! Basically it was a theater lobby full of apparently studious and intelligent students out to have a good time with a thought provoking movie. And violating all kinds of curfews (with their parents permission in most cases).
Posted at 03:37 PM
KERRY V. KERRY [Rich Lowry]
John Kerry lit into Howard Dean yesterday in his latest foreign policy speech. Some of his criticisms are quite telling, but also very odd since Kerry is attacking exactly the sort of foreign policy posture he has seemed to be advocating over the last few months - to wit, giving France a de facto veto over whether the U.S. would invade Iraq or not. Last week, Kerry asked, by way of pointing out Dean's various flip-flops on the war, "Which Howard Dean?" Now, we can ask, "Which John Kerry?" Check out these passages from his speech. It's exactly the sort of thing conservatives have been saying about Kerry:
"And at other times, Governor Dean said that we should not go into Iraq unless the UN Security council gave us authorization. That is a fundamental misunderstanding of how a President protects the United States. I have said many times I believe that America should have worked to get international backing before going to war. Our diplomacy should have been as good as our soldiers. A true international coalition would have been better for our troops, better for our security, better for Iraq’s future. Perhaps it reflects inexperience, but for Howard Dean to permit a veto over when America can or cannot act not only becomes little more than a pretext for doing nothing – it cedes our security and presidential responsibility to defend America to someone else -- a profound danger for both our national security and global stability... To follow the path that Howard Dean seems to prefer is to embrace a 'Simon Says' foreign policy where America only moves if others move first."
For good measure, Kerry is now also saying: "Iraq may not be the war on terror itself, but it is critical to the outcome of the war on terror, and therefore any advance in Iraq is an advance forward in that." Before this is all over, Kerry may be a certified neo-con.
Posted at 03:22 PM
SAUDIS GET TOUGH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
on teddy bears and girl dolls.
Posted at 03:18 PM
MARK STEYN, GENIUS [John Derbyshire]
Mark Steyn is at the top of his polemical game in the current Spectator. This guy just makes me want to give up commentary, he is so damn good. **AND** I had just got through reading his theater-criticism column in the December New Criterion , where Mark reveals, perfectly unostentaiously, that not only has he read everything Frank L. Baum ever wrote, he is also familiar with all the stage adaptations of the Oz books, including at least eight musical versions. I give up. I'm going back to computer programming.
Posted at 03:15 PM
CONSERVATIVE TEENS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 03:14 PM
DIPPIEST COMMENT TO DATE ON THE CAPTURE OF SADDAM [John Derbyshire]
Michael Moore: "Thank God Saddam is finally back in American hands! He must have really missed us. Man, he sure looked bad! But, at least he got a free dental exam today. That's something most Americans can't get."
Posted at 03:04 PM
GAYS IN THE MILITARY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Oh, one other thing: Sullivan mentioned Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. This may put me in the minority here, but back in 1993 I never found the argument against open gays' serving in the military very convincing, especially given the British experience. (I thought it was telling that Colin Powell objected to the idea while doing nothing to fight policies regarding women that do far more damage to military effectiveness.) I haven't found it more convincing since. Isn't it time we switched to a "don't ask, don't care" policy? And if there were a political push for it comparable to the 1993 campaign, wouldn't it be likely to succeed this time?
Posted at 02:22 PM
THE COURTS' FEDERALISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonathan: Okay, this time I'll try to find common ground with you on this question. I think you'd agree with me on the following: Among the defects of the Supreme Court's recent federalism jurisprudence is the failure to acknowledge (or possibly even to comprehend) that decisions by the federal judiciary, no less than the Congress, can raise federalist concerns. If the federal courts strike down a federal ban on partial-birth abortion while leaving alone federal court rulings that keep states from banning it, either, that's not federalism. That's the federal courts keeping up a national regime of abortion on demand.
Back to disagreement: As we've discussed, I believe that a federal ban on partial-birth abortion is perfectly constitutional. But I could live with a contrary federal ruling (as could the unborn) if Roe goes too.
Posted at 02:16 PM
CONSTITUTIONAL "ABUSE" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Sullivan criticizes Frum for suggesting that the attempt to pass a constitutional amendment may have beneficial effects even if the amendment does not, in fact, get enacted. That's "abuse of a sacred document." (I thought Sullivan was for separating church and state.) Let's leave aside the debate over whether this amendment is a good idea--whether it is right to want it to succeed, in other words--and assume we were talking about another amendment that is stipulated to be a good idea. Does the likelihood that it will fail become a reason not to want it to succeed? Does it damage the Constitution to try and fail (assuming it's a good idea)? If you're committed to the idea that people should have a strong bias against amending the Constitution--a bias that would seem to be superfluous given the procedural difficulties inherent in the formal amendment process--I would think that occasional failed attempts to amend the Constitution would be a good thing. They would demonstrate that the Constitution is not easily amended.
Posted at 02:11 PM
INTERPRETING THE PRESIDENT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
David Frum, the Family Research Council, the Alliance for Marriage, and Andrew Sullivan have all tried their hand at interpreting the president's remarks on gay marriage. Here's another possible interpretation: The president has not made up his mind about what to do or, if he has made up his mind, is not yet ready to say so. That does not necessarily mean, as Frum suggests, that the president is waiting on a further legal development to clarify the situation. He may be trying to figure out whether a failed attempt to pass an amendment would make the legal landscape worse, a scenario that Frum raises.
What to make of the president's language suggesting that states should be allowed to create legal arrangements into which people could enter if they chose? Some social conservatives have interpreted that as a presidential statement that states should be able to create civil unions for gay couples. The president's statement, however, leaves it unclear whether he would want a constitutional amendment (if he ends up going for one) to require civil unions to be a legislative act rather than a judicial one.
My impression is that the president leans toward a position that is a bit more qualified than what he said. If my impression is correct, the president's view is that states should be able to create various legal arrangements so long as they are not discriminatory. Then the question is what is meant by "discriminatory." It seems highly unlikely that the president would support an amendment that required states to have civil unions for gays so as not to discriminate against them. I think what he thinks--and I admit that this is piling inference on impression, and we will have to wait for a more formal announcement of the administration's position to be sure--is that states should be free to let gay couples into civil unions or domestic partnerships so long as non-gay couples, and indeed couples who are not in a sexual or romantic relationship, are also eligible to enter these arrangements. That's a position to the left of what social-conservative activists wanted earlier this year, but to the right of what conservatives in Congress are seeking.
Posted at 02:04 PM
ILL. NEWS [KJL]
CHICAGO (AP) _ Federal grand jury indicts former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on corruption charges.
Posted at 01:50 PM
THIRD PARTIES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Mickey Kaus has also suggested that the Internet makes third parties more viable. Some of his readers have pointed out that the requirement for a plurality of the vote to win a statewide race militates against third parties. I'd add another point. Kaus says that conservative Christians could form a third party, and could decide in the end to endorse the Republican nominee. But the law would make it hard for such a party to maintain a long- or even medium-term presence. Most states don't let candidates run on more than one party's ballot line. So either the third party has to endorse another party's candidate and stay off the ballot, or get on the ballot and run the risk of helping to elect the candidate they like least. . . . And even if state laws were amended to make life easier for third parties, it is not necessarily the case that they will be able to act as an effective ideological discipline on the larger party they seek to influence. The New York Conservative Party is the longest-running refutation of that hope.
Posted at 01:44 PM
THIRD-PARTY DEAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Stanley: Don't a lot of states have "sore loser" laws preventing losing candidates for a party's nomination from running for the same office with a different party in the general election? That makes the third-party-campaign-by-Dean a lot less likely (as do Dean's repeated repudiations of the idea). It may be, on the other hand, that Dean's losing the nomination would a) make the convention ugly, b) depress liberal turnout for the Democratic nominee, and c) make it more likely that Nader will run and win liberal votes. If Lieberman's the nominee, all those things are much more likely.
Posted at 01:40 PM
FEDERALISM & ABORTION [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld Ohio's ban on partial birth abortion. I'll leave the merits of this specific law to others, and merely suggest (hope?) that this decision could augur a modest restoration of federalism principles in the context of abortion law.
Posted at 01:39 PM
A NICE GREEN LIGHT FOR GIBSON'S PASSION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
from the pope. Peggy Noonan (do you really need the last name?) has a piece up on it.
Posted at 01:38 PM
LOMBORG VINDICATED [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation formally repudiated the finding by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty that Bjorn Lomborg committed scientific dishonesty in his book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. The Institute characterized the DCSD's report as "dissatisfactory," "emotional," and error-laden. Here's a press release, and here are more details via Iain Murray.
Posted at 01:32 PM
TVI UPDATE [Stanley Kurtz]
For now, the battle over HR 3077 (reform of federal subsidies to Middle Eastern Studies) is going well. The ongoing campaign of false claims in college newspapers that the bill would stifle academic freedom has been brought to a halt, at least for a time. What seems to have stopped it was a very important piece by Princeton's own government lobbyist in the Yale Daily News. That piece explained that the bill safeguards the college curriculum from government interference. Although this is very clear from the legislation itself, and although Martin Kramer and I have said it repeatedly, the safeguards built into the bill have been deliberately ignored by the bill's critics. The critics would like the bill killed for other reasons. They want no oversight whatsoever, but can't really say that. So making bogus charges about the bill's supposed threat to academic freedom has been their only public option. But that Yale Daily News Op Ed has thrown a wrench into the whole bogus campaign against the bill. Still, expect a resurgence of attacks in the new year, when the Senate takes up the bill. In the meantime, have a look at this piece from a student at Duke in support of the bill. For now, it looks like the momentum has shifted in our direction.
Posted at 12:28 PM
KAUS ON DEAN [Stanley Kurtz]
Mickey Kaus hits on the real political problem for the Democrats-something I took up on The Corner a couple of days ago. Kaus speculates that if Dean loses the nomination, he might run as a third party candidate. Dean's followers are deeply committed, and would not likely settle for a pro-war candidate like, say, Gephart. This is the real dilemma for the Democrats. Their divisions over the War on Terror are so deep that whether Dean or an alternative is nominated, large numbers of Democrats are likely to stay home or defect. But Kaus has a solution. The Democrats can make Dean the vice-presidential candidate if he loses the nomination. That may work, but it probably won't. I'm not convinced Dean's followers would be mollified or excited by a Dean vice-presidential candidacy. There will be a lot of awkwardness when vice-presidential candidate Dean is forced to take a public position on the war. If Dean reiterates his old opposition, he'll be violating vice-presidential loyalty. If he changes his views, his followers will stay home. Again, the underlying problem is that the Democrats are deeply divided on an issue that cannot be easily compromised. Dean's followers will be satisfied with nothing less than vocal opposition to the whole Iraqi venture. Given that, either moderate Democratic voters will defect to the president if Dean is nominated, or Dean's legions will stay home-or create a third party-if he loses the nomination. Only a general collapse of the Iraq occupation will unite the Democrats. So if things go as they are now, the Democrats will be fatally divided, whoever's nominated. And a divided Democratic party could bring a stronger Republican majority in Congress. So the real question is not who the Democrats will nominate, but whether they are capable of compromising their differences over the war.
Posted at 12:24 PM
RE: ZBIG [Michael Novak]
The "He who is not with me is against me" that Zbig attributes to Lenin was said earlier by Jesus at Matt.12:30, and it's worth checking. As the repetition of it by Lenin shows, the phrase has passed over into ordinary folk wisdom and applies in many situations, although not in all. Bush does not use that maxim as a guide to his foreign policy, far from it, but he does use it where it applies quite well, to terrorism. For one country to help block terrorism requires a big commitment of vigilance and attention, and those countries that do nothing actually help terrorism to pass through undetected, and to thrive. So those that are not against terrorism with intense attention actually feed terrorism and help it grow. Bush is right, and--untypically--Zbig is off target.
Posted at 11:18 AM
MISSED CONCEPTION [Tim Graham]
In a fairly straightforward account of the so-called morning-after pill debate, New York Times reporter Gina Kolata gets a little too non-committal: "While it usually acts by preventing ovulation, it also may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting. Those who believe that pregnancy begins with fertilization say the pills in doing this can induce abortions."
As opposed to what? Those who believe that pregnancy begins with pixie dust?
Posted at 09:52 AM
YOU CAN STILL ORDER NR'S WHOLESOME CHILDREN'S BOOKS IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS (BY UPS GROUND--BUT TODAY'S THE LAST DAY FOR THAT FOR YOU WEST COASTERS)! [Jack Fowler]
With a little help from UPS (at the nominal cost of just $5 per order for "Ground" shipments) we'll have NR's acclaimed and delightful children's books--the best present you can give a deserving youngster this Christmas--to you in enough time to put under the tree. That's right: even folks out West can still place an order (before 3PM Eastern time, please) and have it arrive on Christmas Eve (we've checked the UPS web site and that's what it's telling us today). And don't forget: we'll even ship our books to someone for you (how about that grandchild in another state?), with a nifty card announcing the fact that you gave the perfect gift.
And don't forget what our good friend, mega-syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, has to say about these wondrous books:
"These are great. If children can be taught to read and appreciate good literature at an early age, it helps serve as a moral, intellectual and cultural deterrent to the stuff they are being forced-fed by the pagan and dishonest media."
"Good literature" is precisely what these books consist of. There's no heavy-handed sermonizing in these pages--just wholesome, beautifully written and illustrated stories that instill values and virtue! Every child or family library should have them, because they have real worth and lasting value. Don't delay: order The National Review Treasury of Classic Children's Literature and The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories (perfect for new and beginning readers) now, right here.
By the way, you can also order other great NR books: We Will Prevail, President George W. Bush on War, Terrorism, and Freedom---the perfect gift for that rock-ribbed Republican; Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth About America’s Top Schools (the best college guide out there--it provides the real skinny on over 120 top schools); and the book that will put a little misanthropy under your mistletoe--Florence King's STET, Damnit!: The Misanthrope’s Corner, 1991 to 2002.
Posted at 09:50 AM
HI EVERYBODY [Jonah Goldberg]
I am still alive. I've been in Mexico attending a wonderful wedding and coping with medieval telecommunications problems. My apologies for disappearing. I'll be back later today. By the way, the weather in Cabo San Lucas is awesome. High of 72 today. Buh-bye.
Posted at 09:26 AM
THE IRAQI GUERRILLA WAR [John J. Miller]
Many readers know Jay Winik, an occasional NR contributor, as the author of the bestselling book April 1865. He's also something of an expert on guerrilla warfare--the central point of his Civil War book is as that the United States was incredibly fortunate Robert E. Lee chose to surrender at Appomattox rather than head for the hills and lead an underground resistance against federal authority. (It's one of the best Civil War books published in the last few years--get yourself a copy for Christmas.) At any rate, Jay has an fascinating piece in yesterday's New York Times on the nature of guerrilla movements, plus some lessons for us today in Iraq. Read it here.
Posted at 08:09 AM
A BIRTH CONTROL CONSENSUS REACHED? THE MORNING-BEFORE PILL. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 07:58 AM
RE: MAD MADDY [Tim Graham]
The Twin Cities lefties at Cursor.org have discovered that Madeleine Albright isn't the only Dem to go slightly mad:
During a public forum last week, where former Vice President Walter Mondale accused President Bush of forcing democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan "at bayonet point," Brzezinski said the administration's foreign policy can be summarized in Bush's quote that "If you're not with us, you're against us," which he called a stance "straight from Lenin." Have a listen.
Posted at 07:53 AM
HILL AS DEAN'S VEEP PICK? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That's what Dick Morris says.
Posted at 07:00 AM
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
HOW MANY CORNER READERS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
have we lost to this tonight?
Posted at 09:45 PM
BUSH AND NEWS [Tim Graham]
I also liked the part where Bush said he liked getting the news from aides because he doesn't need the editorializing. I'd be wincing about then if my name was Milbank, or Sanger, or Bumiller, or Fineman, or, well you know the TV names.
Posted at 09:42 PM
DIANE BRINGS IT ON [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, I agree that President Bush did a pretty good job in fending off Diane, and I'm sure the Al Frankens of the world will think he got off easy. But the method used in a taped interview is always a little stilted, working in all the tape clips of the WMD statements to underline how overstated the war case looks to ABC. I winced at the somehow mandatory will-Hillary-run question (asking them what movies they want to see is more newsworthy). And what was that story about that mom sending her kid in the war zone a flak jacket?
PS: Remember this is the same Diane Sawyer who asked Howard Dean a few months ago: “Last night, do you feel the President began to level with the American people?”
Posted at 09:42 PM
FREE TO TOKE IN CALIFORNIA [Jonathan H. Adler]
A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the federal prohibition of the use of homegrown marijuana for medicinal purposes exceeds the scope of the Commerce Clause. While I know it's fashionable to make fun of the Ninth Circuit (especially the two judges that signed on to this opinion), I think the Ninth Circuit got this one right. Sometime NRO contributor Randy Barnett litigated the case and adds his thoughts here.
Posted at 09:36 PM
MAD MADDY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Hannity and Colmes just replayed a segment from earlier on Fox during which Mort Kondrake relayed a conversation he had with Madeline Albright in a Fox green room. She asks, Do you suppose the administration has Osama bin Laden and will bring him out before the election? Kondrake said that he asked her if she was serious and she suggested it is a real possibility. She was our secretary of state.
Posted at 09:04 PM
I LOVE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
how the president shows just enough respectful amusement at Diane Sawyer's earnestness in trying to trip him up. Like he had never heard the WMD criticisms. Like he doesn't know there have been casualties in Iraq.You knwo she was disappointed when he answered no to the Did-you-pray-for-Saddam's- capture question.
Posted at 08:28 PM
W.'S DECENCY & SENSE OF JUSTICE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
MS. SAWYER: His daughter has said that those photos were disrespectful and humiliating to him, but he also seemed sedated, by the way.
Posted at 07:40 PM
FDA PANEL RECOMMENDS EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION BE SOLD OTC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It's been a years-long crusade for some in the "repro-rights" movement.
Posted at 05:55 PM
ENOUGH! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Iraqi foreign minister tells the U.N. to stop doing what it does best.
Posted at 05:32 PM
ABC SAYS, "WHAT POLL?" [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brent Baker reports ABC News suppressed its poll conducted after Saddam Hussein’s capture which showed a ten point jump in approval for how President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq and a 4 point up tick in his overall approval rating, with Peter Jennings not uttering a syllable about it on Monday night. (Tim Russert told Brokaw about the latest NBC poll on air Monday night.)
The poll only came up on ABC yesterday on Good Morning America, when Claire Shipman observed: "And look, this is a personal victory and a political coup for President Bush, but interestingly, Americans are still very cautious. ABC News has a new poll out today that shows most Americans don't believe Saddam's capture means the job is done there; in fact, far from it. So I think six months from now, if you still see exploding violence there, if the situation isn't stabilized, Saddam's victory [sic] is not going to seem decisive for this administration."
Posted at 05:21 PM
MADONNA HAS ENDORSED CLARK [KJL]
Posted at 04:36 PM
DEAN HAS CLIMBED INTO A "SPIDER HOLE OF DENIAL" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 04:31 PM
LATEST FROM LOUISIANA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From Quin Hillyer:
New poll re LA Senate race -- outgoing Dem AG Richard Ieyoub, 28 percent; Repub. U.S. Rep. David Vitter 15 percent; Repub. former Senate candidate Suzie Terrell 15 percent; Demo. U.S. Rep. Chris John 13 percent. Source: Baton Rouge Morning Advocate.
Posted at 03:02 PM
YOU'RE NEVER TO OLD TO BECOME AN AMERICAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Hear that, Andrew?
Posted at 02:19 PM
CLONE WARS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
ACT might want to move to New Jersey.
Posted at 02:10 PM
THE BEST ATTORNEYS MONEY CAN BUY! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Saddam's daughters to start defense fund?
Posted at 02:06 PM
SOUNDS LIKE A FIND [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
LONDON, Dec 16 (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday that the US-led Iraq Survey Group hunting for weapons of mass destruction had found "massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories" in Iraq.
Posted at 01:26 PM
JIM PINKERTON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
has a good article in defense of the conventional wisdom on Howard Dean. (Come to think of it, given that the conventional wisdom about conventional wisdom is that it's wrong, is it really possible to write a defense of it?) I liked these two passages in particular:
"And Dean has other assets, too. The headline in Sunday's New York Times reads, 'Dean Formulates a Nuanced Approach to Foreign Policy'; one can't buy advertising like that. In the article, readers are assured that that the Vermonter 'shows a fluency in discussing the world that is certainly beyond where Mr. Bush was four years ago.' Even under the new McCain-Feingold law, such contributions don't have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission. . . .
"This is a mostly hawkish country. Dovish candidates of both major parties -- George McClellan in 1864, William Jennings Bryan in 1900, Wendell Willkie in 1940, McGovern in '72 -- have all gone down to severe defeat. It's fair to say that in wartime American history, no anti-war candidate has ever won."
Posted at 01:08 PM
WE NEED PERMISSION FROM WHOM, GOV. DEAN?! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a press release from Senator John Cornyn (who is on Armed Services) in response to a Howard Dean statement that the liberation of Iraq should only have taken place with U.N. “permission:”
“Since when do we need ‘permission’ to protect our nation, our allies and the security of an entire region? Since when does the United States of America need to ask permission before ending decades of rape rooms, torture chambers and the genocide of hundreds of thousands of civilians? It’s disappointing, and I believe quite telling, that he would want to abdicate the responsibility of our national security to a body that left its own sanctions unenforced for more than a decade.
“If the ask-the-U.N.’s-permission crowd had their way, Saddam would still be in power today, rather than in the custody of the 4th Infantry Division.
“I encourage Mr. Dean to visit the troops and families at Fort Hood, home of the 4th Infantry Division and the storied 1st Cavalry Division. It’s a perspective worth having, and something he is apparently lacking.”
Responding to a question following a speech to the Pacific Council on International Policy Monday, Dean declared, “Had the United Nations given us permission and asked us to be a part of a multilateral force, I would not have hesitated to go into Iraq.”
Posted at 01:03 PM
PERFECT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Reuters gets a dishonest reporting award.
Posted at 12:42 PM
STILL MORE GOOD NEWS ON THE ECONOMY [Michael Graham]
"(Milwaukee-AP) -- For the first time in five years a survey is forecasting a pickup in hiring during the winter months.
Twenty percent of employers tell the staffing firm Manpower that they expect to add workers during the first three months of 2004. Most anticipate no change, while only 13 percent intend to cut jobs. Manpower says if you take seasonal factors out of the picture, the results represent an improvement over the previous quarter -- the first time that's happened since the late 1990s.
Manpower chairman and chief executive Jeffrey Joerres (JEHR'-ehs) says companies are gradually showing more confidence about hiring, and while it's still not robust, it is steady and improving. He says employers are being careful not to overhire, for fear that they may have to lay people off later."
AND HERE'S THE HEADLINE ON THE SAME AP WIRE STORY FROM THE (UNBIASED) FT. WAYNE JOURNAL GAZETTE:
"Survey: Hiring forecast bleak"
Posted at 11:59 AM
BAGHDAD ED [Tim Graham]
The far-left Institute for Public Accuracy faxed its list of experts yesterday denouncing America, including Edward Herman, professor at Penn and radical crackpot Noam Chomsky's co-author on several screeds. Herman believes Saddam should wait behind Team Bush in the international outlaw line:
"Saddam Hussein faces a trial sponsored by a 'coalition' that has captured him after an act of aggression in violation of the U.N. Charter -- the Nuremberg Tribunal called such acts the 'supreme crime' -- and whose leaders therefore should be in front of Saddam before an honest tribunal system...The 'coalition' continues to kill civilians and violate all kinds of international laws on the proper behavior of an occupying power...which should be the basis of further criminal charges."
Posted at 11:53 AM
RAMSEY CLARK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
is ready to defend Saddam.
Posted at 10:49 AM
WHISTLING FINE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
There are two ways of looking at a Dutch crackdown on men whistling at women on the street: 1) PC nonsense/nuisance law 2) helping refine these men's social skills.
Posted at 10:38 AM
AL-DOURI SURRENDERS? 
Posted at 10:32 AM
NO, REALLY, HE SAID THIS [Rod Dreher]
In a front-page Washington Post interview published -- inconveniently enough -- on Sunday, Howard Dean said, "This president has forfeited our moral leadership in the world because people dislike us so much." This man is a grown-up who wants to be president of the United States. I predict he'll nominate this guy as his Secretary of State.
Posted at 10:26 AM
BARNEY CAM II [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Don't say the White House website isn't fun.
Posted at 10:20 AM
BAGHDAD JIM'S TALKING POINTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Conpiracy talk from the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh (via MEMRI): "… It can be thought that Saddam was in the hands of the Americans, and that his public exposure was a show produced with the aim of neutralizing the explosive situation, and so that it would be possible to ease the emotional and military pressure by the American forces and give new momentum to the American president just when he needs this kind of event…"
Posted at 10:19 AM
BAGHDAD JIM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'm so mad I doubleposted with Jon--apologies!
Posted at 10:16 AM
TIMING, HALLIBURTON, ETC. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Nordlinger hits Clark on McDermott-like remarks.
Posted at 10:14 AM
BAGHDAD JIM QUESTIONS SADDAM TIMING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rep. Jim McDermott (AP):
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., told a Seattle radio station Monday the U.S. military could have found Saddam "a long time ago if they wanted." Asked if he thought the weekend capture was timed to help Bush, McDermott chuckled and said: "Yeah. Oh, yeah."
Posted at 09:46 AM
DON'T TELL RICH . . . [Jonathan H. Adler]
. . . about this new Saddam photo. He'll be heartbroken.
Posted at 09:38 AM
ANTI-BOIES ACTION [Jonathan H. Adler]
Law.com reports that the Florida Bar filed an ethics complant against famed Mcirosoft and Bush v. Gore litigator David Boies. (LvHB)
Posted at 09:36 AM
EPA MOVES ON MERCURY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Yesterday, the EPA released two proposals to regulate power plant emissions of mercury, one of the nastier pollutants. One is a command-and-control, technology standard of the sort favored by the Clinton EPA. The other is a market-based, "cap-and-trade" system favored by new EPA Administrator Leavitt (and, incidentally, an approach favored by the Clinton OMB). Whichever plan is adopted will represent the first ever legally binding restrictions on mercury emissions. (No, the Clinton Administration never got around to regulating mercury. They just laid out plans to do so in the future.) For more on EPA's recent actions, see here.
Posted at 09:28 AM
DON'T FORGET ALL THE NRO SHOPPING YOU CAN DO [NRO Staff]
Logo items and NRO quotes. NR books. More books. NR Digital. NRODT on DT.
Posted at 09:26 AM
MORE MCDERMOTT MADNESS [Jonathan H. Adler]
"Baghadad Jim" is now facing criticism for suggesting Saddam's capture was timed to help President Bush. Isn't it about time for this guy to retire?
Posted at 09:24 AM
IN CASE YOU'RE NOT SMILING YET [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
US production rose 0.9 pct in Nov.-Fed
Posted at 09:19 AM
CALLING MICHAEL NOVAK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Sounds like the Vatican's Cardinal Martino could use another just-war talk.
Posted at 09:18 AM
GOOD NEWS--TIMES THREE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
US single-family home starts hit new high in Nov WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. single-family housing starts rose to a fresh record high in November, as persistently low mortgage rates fueled strong demand for housing, a government report showed on Tuesday.
US current account gap narrows in Q3 WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. current account deficit narrowed more than expected in the third quarter, a government report showed on Tuesday.
US consumer prices post surprise fall in November WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - U.S. consumer prices took an unexpected tumble last month as the cost of energy, clothing, furniture and lodging all fell, according to a government report on Tuesday that showed underlying inflation running at a nearly 38-year low.
Posted at 09:05 AM
YES VIRGINIA, THERE'S STILL TIME TO ORDER THESE WHOLESOME NR CHILDREN'S BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS! [Jack Fowler]
Christmas Day is little more than a week off, so it's too late for you to order an NR book and have that book to you in time to be wrapped and placed under the tree, right? WRONG! With a little help from UPS (at the nominal cost of just $5 per order for UPS Ground shipments) we'll have these special books--which are ideal Christmas presents--to you in enough time (even to you West Coasters!). Hey--we'll even ship them to someone for you (how about that grandchild in another state?), with a nifty card announcing the fact that you gave one of the best darn-tootin' gifts possible.
Are our kids books really darn-tootin' good? You darn-tootin' better believe they are! 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." 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. Don't delay; order your copies (securely!) here.
Posted at 09:03 AM
RE: STROM DID IT [John Derbyshire]
Essie Mae Washington-Williams seems to have been the fruit of an act of droit de seigneur, her mother having been a servant in the Thurmond household. The ethos of the time was captured in an old English song:
"It's the same the 'ole world over
It's the poor wot gets the blame.
And the rich wot gets the pleasure--
Ain't it all a bloomin' shame!"
Posted at 08:48 AM
WHAT TO DO WITH SADDAM [John Derbyshire]
The capture of Saddam Hussein is a splendid achievement, and a wonderful Christmas present--whoops! I mean, of course, "Holiday present"--for all Americans. However, the prospect of a formal trial, which now seems inevitable, fills me with dismay.
It is now a commonplace to say that the Arab world is in a state of collective mass neurosis, induced by its failure to build any viable modern societies. We are now attempting to do that job for them. That's fine, and worth attempting; but the wound to Arab racial pride is very great. "The hated infidel is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves..." We see this clearly in the attitude of many Arabs to Saddam's arrest. Now imagine Saddam, cleaned up and well fed, with nothing at all to lose, shouting defiance across a courtroom at his judges in the style of Madame Mao Tse-tung at HER trial. "Who are you to pass judgment on me? Collaborators! Lackeys of the infidel Crusaders! Who put you there to speak for the Iraqi people? And what law did I break? Before the Americans came and stole our country, I WAS the law!..." Etc. Etc. Or he might opt for the calm, dignified Charles the First style, politely refusing to interact with the court because it has no jurisdiction over him.
And of course this will go on for ages, as the trial of Milosevic has, an open running sore on Arab racial pride. (Remember that Saddam's pitch was racial, not religious. He was never an Islamist, though he paid lip service to Islam when it was expedient to do so. He presented himself as the champion of the Arab people, riding to their rescue on a white stallion.) It is hard to see anything good coming of it, and all too easy to imagine Saddam's fierce pride, or haughty disdain, sowing a new crop of dragon's teeth among impressionable young Arabs.
This business of victors' justice is always tricky. After WW1 Britain had an election fought (partly) on the slogan: "Hang the Kaiser!" In the event, Kaiser Bill lived out his life peacefully in retirement in Holland, beyond Britain's jurisdiction. With Napoleon the Brits were luckier: the French simply refused to have him back, so Britain just parked him on the remotest island they possessed and forgot about him. Hirohito, who certainly bore some of the guilt for Japan's mid-century aggressions, was left alone by the US occupiers after WW2 for excellent political reasons. Probably the best option of all would be to just shoot these vermin out of hand as soon as you catch them, and apologize later--it would soon blow over. No chance of that, in a culture as obsessed with courtroom process as ours now is.
(Actually, my favorite story of victor's justice is the treatment given to the defeated Sultan Bayezid "the Thunderbolt" by Timur after the battle of Ankara in 1402. Bayezid was pulled around in a cage in Timur's baggage train till he died, and his wife was forced to serve naked at Timur's banquet table. This is probably a bit impractical in modern circumstances. I am not even sure that our President HAS a baggage train....)
Posted at 08:30 AM
READING DEAN’S SPEECH [Clifford D. May]
The front-runner for the Democratic nomination yesterday gave a speech outlining what he calls his “foreign policy plan.” But his speech didn’t really deal with foreign policy and he certainly doesn’t have a plan. At most, what he has is a series of New Year’s resolutions regarding exotic places.
He says he wants to “establish a global alliance against terrorism.” Brilliant. Can’t imagine how he came up with that. But on what basis would he would seek agreement with, for example, the French who want no part of a War on Terrorism, just as previous French governments wanted no part of a Cold War and no part of a war to stop the march of Nazism? He neglects to say.
He says he wants to find Osama bin Laden and eliminate “sleeper cells of nuclear, chemical, and biological terror.” Yes, fine -- but how?
He says he wants a “10-year, $60 billion international effort to prevent terrorists from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.” But what would happen over those ten years and for that $60 billion? He provides not a clue
He says he will “work to narrow the now-widening gap between rich and poor.” Actually, we know how he’d accomplish that one – if he can help make Americans poorer, that nasty old gap should start narrowing very quickly.
Again, what Dean presented Monday can’t be appraised as a foreign policy plan because it’s simply not a foreign policy plan. It’s a wish list. It’s like a CEO saying to his Board of Directors: “Next year, we’re going to produce a better product, sell more of them, rake in huge profits and make our customers, employees and investors very happy.”
To which the Board of Director should say: “Great, Howard. But where’s the plan?”
Posted at 08:21 AM
STROM DID IT [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post flags on its front page that Strom Thurmond's family admits that 78-year-old Essie Mae Washington-Williams is Thurmond's daughter. SC officials say it will have little impact on his reputation. I disagree. It should. Thurmond didn't lie in a sexual harassment hearing, but he lied, and for many years.
Posted at 08:20 AM
PINOT NOIR WITH YOUR PROPAGANDA? [Tim Graham]
In the latest weird example of ("noncommercial"?) NPR merchandising, now there's NPR wine...so when the liberal bias gets to you, the network can also help ease the pain.
Posted at 08:19 AM
CORNER APOLOGIES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
K-Lo oils the machinery....
Posted at 08:19 AM
DISCLOSURE [John J. Miller]
Maybe somebody linked to this speech by best-selling novelist Michael Crichton when he delivered it in September. It only came to my attention this morning. It's an aggressive takedown of the environmental movement.
Posted at 06:31 AM
Monday, December 15, 2003
FOR LOVE OF CLONING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Virginia Postrel lauds New Jersey's passage of a pro-cloning measure. As Wesley Smith and I have written--in pieces to which Postrel links--this measure allows the creation of cloned embryos, their gestation in the womb through nine months, and then their destruction. Postrel does not dispute this characterization of the bill, so I can only assume she supports the killing of 8- and 9-month-old cloned fetuses for research purposes. She suggests that federalists have to support letting states do this. Would good federalists also have to support letting states authorize experiments that kill 2-year-olds? Does Postrel's support for federalism extend to opposition to Roe v. Wade?
Posted at 11:31 PM
RE: BREAUX RETIREMENT [Rod Dreher]
So, now, for the third time in two years, the GOP will have a shot at one of the top three elective offices in the state. Republicans blew the chance to unseat Sen. Mary Landrieu last year by running a mediocre candidate. Republicans blew the Louisiana governor's race this fall in large part because Bobby Jindal made a fatal strategic error in not responding to a devastating attack ad by his Democratic opponent (I've also heard from insiders that the Jindal campaign was poorly organized and ineffective on the ground, with GOTV effort; that's where the well-organized Louisiana Democratic Party has it all over the Louisiana GOP, which is a mess). So, what now? It seems that State Rep. David Vitter will run for the seat. I hear he's a solid conservative, but that he does not play well with others; his abrasiveness, I'm told, will be problematic on the campaign trail. How about Jindal? We know he's a terrific candidate, has tremendous statewide name recognition, and won't make the same errors as last time.
Personally, I'd love to see a Sen. Jindal representing my home state in Washington; shoot, I'd love to see a Sen. Jindal, period.
Posted at 04:53 PM
AND FROM ERIC ALTERMAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"But I wonder if we went to war in part the way we did because Powell was too sick to mount a fight and did not have the courage to resign."
Posted at 04:06 PM
F*&^&(! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
K-Lo,Do notice I've sent him away. (A mistake, I know.)
Posted at 04:00 PM
JOE WILSONS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
By the way, I was referring to the "ambassador" (and oh so diplomatic he is), not the congressman. See here for more on the confusion.
Posted at 03:54 PM
AND WE SENT THIS GUY TO BE OUR REP ON FOREIGN SOIL?! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Joe Wilson calls Bush White Housers "f***ing a**holes and thugs," according to Eric Alterman.
Posted at 03:26 PM
MONEY & POLITICS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Oxley vs. the Toledo Blade.
Posted at 02:37 PM
DEAN'S SPEECH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Full text here.
Posted at 02:28 PM
LOUISIANA DEM JOHN BREAUX IS RETIRING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 02:20 PM
INUNDATED WITH BOOK ORDERS! BUT WE CAN TAKE IT! [Jack Fowler]
The orders for National Review's children's books are flooding in. Over the web, in the mail, phone-ins -- even by carrier pigeon (well, not really). The order room is a riot of tape, boxes, and bubble wrap! Everyone wants these books (for good reason -- they're great!). It's a ton of work (for many it's Advent, but for those at the NR book fulfillment center it's definitely Lent!) but we can take it. And we can send it -- "it" being that wholesome, beautifully illustrated book you're ordering for a Christmas gift. Don't delay another second: send that order in NOW here).
Posted at 02:19 PM
CLONING IN NEW JERSEY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If you live in the Garden State, you might want to be on the phon eto your assembyman today, before the lame duck body legalizes cloning in the state.
Posted at 02:04 PM
THE PERFECT WAY TO CELEBRATE W'S VICTORY OVER SADDAM: GET WE WILL PREVAIL (IT'S ALSO THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOUR FAVORITE REPUBLICAN) [Jack Fowler]
Damn straight we will prevail, and that is why, today--the day after the rat was caught in his hole--you'll want to order We Will Prevail: President George W. Bush on War, Terrorism, and Freedom, an NR/Continuum book (with a smashing Foreword by Peggy Noonan and a superior Introduction by NR Managing Editor Jay Nordlinger) that collects over 90 of the most compelling and inspiring speeches given by President George W. Bush as he rallied the United States and other nations after the terrible and tragic attacks of September 11, 2001.
It's a great book. We say so--and so does Steve Forbes:
“This extraordinary compendium is a stark, eloquent, timely reminder of the true stakes of our post-September 11th war against terrorism, a struggle that should transcend partisanship and whose outcome will fundamentally affect the future of freedom.”
And so does Bill Buckley:
“Insufficient attention has been paid to the great volume of speeches and addresses by President Bush in the heavily altered theater, national and worldwide, since the great assault on the Twin Towers. Here they are, and how welcome and valuable they are.”
We Will Prevail: President George W. Bush on War, Terrorism, and Freedom is the perfect gift for that rock-ribbed Republican (it's sure to be appreciated by any "W" fan who is lucky to receive it), and a must for every family library. Order here.
Posted at 01:52 PM
DEAN'S BIG SPEECH, NOW... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The difficulties and tragedies we have faced in Iraq show that the administration launched the war in the wrong way, at the wrong time, with inadequate planning, insufficient help, and at unbelievable cost. An administration prepared to work with others in true partnership might have been able, if it found no alternative to Saddam's ouster, to then rebuild Iraq with far less cost and risk.
Posted at 01:39 PM
RE: RE: HILL [Susan Konig]
Oen thing we can agree on: she won't be invited back to the Vatican.
Posted at 01:33 PM
RE: HILL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I do agree the bishop's response left something to be desired, but Hill also said "I'm not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Christ, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death in this place." As you say, it was rude, but I don't really see the courageous prophetic angle in her rant. I suspect she was invited to the Christmas concert to sing Christmas songs in the celebration of the birth of Christ, where presumably families were--it was not the venue. She could have, for instance, said "no" to the invitation and issued a press release about how evil she thinks the Vatican is (where Christ is dead, evidently; I am as repulsed and angered and saddened by crimes against children and young people as anyone, but I do not think that Christ is dead in the Vatican City or in the Catholic Church) or written a song that would have gotten just as much, if not more, attention. Anyway, I'm sure this is another agree-to-disagree re tact moment here.
Posted at 01:24 PM
RE: A TIME AND A PLACE [Rod Dreher]
I dissent, Kathryn. What Lauryn Hill did was rude, but prophets don't stand on protocol. I'm thrilled she went right to the heart of our Church and said what she did. The AFP report quotes her as having told the cardinals and invited guests: "Holy God has witnessed the corruption of your leadership, of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy." She also called on the hierarchy to "repent."
Good for her. It's a shame it takes a non-Catholic to show that kind of courageous witness to the hierarchy, which has so grievously failed Catholic children and their families in the sex-abuse scandal. I think the reaction of Bishop Rino Fisichella was very telling. He called Hill's speech, "a rash outburst. An uneducated act showing a lack of respect for the place she was a guest and for those who invited her." Well, la-dee-da, how unrefined of Hill! The thing for the bishop to have said was, "It's sad that Miss Hill chose a Christmas concert to express her opinion on this matter, which is out of place at this kind of event. But this is part of the penance we in the Catholic hierarchy must perform, and we must accept her call to repentance -- not because an American pop singer tells us to, but because God calls us to."
Posted at 01:16 PM
BUSH'S OFFICIAL MESSAGE TO SADDAM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Good riddance. The world is better off without you, Mr. Saddam Hussein"
Posted at 12:04 PM
BEFORE MOST AMERICANS WOKE UP THIS MORNING, THE CHEERING IN IRAQ HAD STOPPED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
According to Reuters, at 5:30 this morning.
Posted at 12:02 PM
RE: IRAQI TRIBUNAL [Tim Graham]
This morning on Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now," the main debating point was whether the United States and American corporations should be tried side by side with Saddam. Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights was kvetching that any Saddam trial must also include the US or "you're trying the puppet and not the puppeteer."
Posted at 11:44 AM
BUSH SLAMS BLIX? [Jonathan H. Adler]
How else to interpret his statement that had David Kay been the lead weapons inspector in the period leading up to the war, Saddam would have been found in "material breach" of the various Security Council resolutions.
Posted at 11:43 AM
SADDAM "IS A BROKEN MAN," "RUINED" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
reports a Governing Council member.
Posted at 11:36 AM
ADLER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Thanks for telling us to turn on the TV! Bush still press conferencing now.
Posted at 11:34 AM
NEW SUPREME CASES [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today the Supreme Court agreed to hear the dispute over access to documents relating to Vice President Cheney's energy task force. A lower court held that the documents must be released. In other news, the Court also agreed to hear a case involving environmental reviews under NAFTA.
Posted at 11:32 AM
BUSH'S VIEW [Jonathan H. Adler]
During his press conference, Bush said he has his own "personal views" of how Saddam should be punished, but then stressed that this was a decision to be made by the Iraqi people.
Posted at 11:23 AM
WHO NEEDS A TRIBUNAL? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Another one of my colleagues at Case, Andrew Morriss, has another view:
The notion of neutral judges for a trial of Saddam is unnecessary. Neutrality is important in protecting individuals from the state. When judges are dependent upon the state for their positions (as with colonial judges), they are biased in favor of the state. In the case of Saddam, there are no issues of fact (he did order the Kurds gassed, etc.) and the only question is the appropriate means of punishment. Simply handing Saddam over to the Kurds, for example, would result in justice that is both “real” and retaliatory. Just as the Italian people knew what to do with Mussolini at the end of WW2, so the Iraqi people will have no trouble figuring out the just way to handle Saddam. I doubt we will even need to provide the lamppost or the rope. Mussolini got what he deserved; Saddam should too.
Posted at 11:21 AM
KERRY: WE COULD HAVE DONE IT FASTER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 09:32 AM
THE RISKS OF AN IRAQI TRIBUNAL [Jonathan H. Adler]
On normative grounds, I would like to see Saddam tried before an Iraqi tribunal in Iraq. On pragmatic grounds, however, an international tribunal of the sort used in Rwanda or the former Yugoslavia might be preferable. My colleague at Case, Michael Scharf, is perhaps the country's leading expert on international criminal prosecutions of this sort. He offers the following thoughts:
There are no neutral qualified Iraqi judges available for a trial of Saddam. Exiled Iraqi judges are most likely to be biased against him, resulting in retaliatory justice rather than real justice. By using judges such as Judge Abi-Saab of Egypt, who recently completed his term as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, there would be a greater likelihood that Iraqis and Muslims throughout the Middle East will believe the judgment of the Tribunal.He also notes that there is a clear basis for an international prosecution, as Saddam's victims included Kuwait (the invasion), Iran (use of chemical weapons), Israel (firing scuds at civilian populations) and the United States (mistreatment of prisoners). Note, this is not a case for the ICC, but rather for the sort of jurisdictionally limited tribunals that the U.S. has historically supported. In any event, Saddam's crimes are beyond the ICC's prospective jurisdiction. I don't know if I agree with Prof. Scharf, but I think he makes a good case.
Posted at 09:26 AM
WELL THAT'S A RELIEF! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Red Cross expects to visit SaddamNOW Iraqis can sleep well.
Posted at 09:19 AM
INSIDE THE RATHOLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Candy, dirty laundry, Noah"s ark...
Posted at 09:17 AM
ZIMMER TAKES THE BLAME [Jonathan H. Adler]
On ESPN, Don Zimmer says that "Pedro [Martinez] didn't do anything wrong. I'm the one who came after him" (slight paraphrase). In the interview, he makes clear he was going after Pedro, and all Pedro did was defend himself.
Posted at 09:14 AM
SCOTT SPEICHER: GRAIN-OF-SALT UPDATE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Saddam claims he never knew what happened to Capt. Speicher, who was shot down in the Gulf War and never found, says he was not an Iraqi prisoner.
Posted at 09:12 AM
RUSSERT FORESEES CAPTURE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I've had similar visions for months--but I've called it paranoia. (ACCK--everyone's on vacation today, Saddam is about to be captured. ACCK--everyone is asleep, Saddam is about to be captured...)
Posted at 09:10 AM
COLIN POWELL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Secretary Powell is undergoing surgery this morning for prostate cancer. The operation is being performed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He will be there for several days before he returns home. He will be on a reduced schedule while he recovers from the operation
Posted at 09:08 AM
BUSH, POST CAPTURE [Stanley Kurtz]
The boost to the president’s stature from the capture of Saddam Hussein goes far beyond the sense that the violence in Iraq may now decrease. The deeper gain for the president will be in the way the public perceives him. In an age of instant news cycles, constant political positioning, and wars that last mere days or weeks, it is rare for our nation to have to cope with violence and woe over a substantial period of time. President Bush has now done this in Iraq. A feeling that the president has the courage and resolve to make bold moves and stick with them, even when the going gets tough, will now take root. Nothing that has happened up to now–neither 9/11, nor Afghanistan, nor the actual war in Iraq, compares to the occupation in either difficulty or scale. To have seen this through until a corner was turned means that the president’s reputation for leadership has now been deepened immensely. This is something more serious than even the president’s “transformation” after 9/11. There is no substitute for the proof of time, and time has now cemented a bond between the president and the public. I’ve heard it said that the president’s reelection could be threatened by a major terrorist attack on American soil. I don’t believe that. Any major attack would help the president and hurt his Democratic rivals. Who now would trust a Democratic candidates over president Bush to see us through a crisis with courage and resolve? In a post-9/11 world, personal stature, will, and leadership count for even more than they ordinarily do. Combine this with what is likely to be a deadly civil war among the Democrats over Iraq, and the fundamentals for the Republicans in the next election are looking very good indeed.
Posted at 09:02 AM
DEM FALLOUT [Stanley Kurtz]
The key political question today is not which Democratic candidate is helped or hurt by Saddam’s capture. The important point is that all the Democrats are hurt. This is less because the president has gotten a boost than because the Democrats will now be torn apart by their differences. America’s divide over this war runs right down the middle of the Democratic party. Most of the Democratic candidates have managed to suppress that divide through their own prevarications. Dean and Clark made progress by playing to the anti-war types. Lieberman was stranded in right field. Now we’re in a new dynamic. Although they’ve been weakened, the anti-war types won’t relent. Lieberman is energized (and desperate), while Kerry and Gephart are primed to move right. But here’s the problem. Because the Democrats’ differences over the war are so deeply felt, neither side can win, no matter who gets nominated. If Dean or Clark grab the nomination, the new dynamic in Iraq will have weakened them fatally. They will be isolated from majority sentiment, and will go down to defeat. But if Kerry, Gephart, or Lieberman win by attacking Dean and Clark on the war issue, the anti-war Democrats will stay home out of resentment. So our improved situation in Iraq has sharpened the divide among the Democrats to the point where neither side can win without fatally alienating the other. And if Democratic divisions really do lead one side or the other to stay home on election day, it could give a critical boost to the Republican majority in Congress. This is why the problem for the Democrats is profound.
Posted at 09:00 AM
THAT'S THE SPIRIT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Last night's number 1 "Top Play" on ESPN's Sportscenter was the capture of Saddam. The highlight was complete with an excerpt of the President's remarks and a child singing the National Anthem.
Posted at 08:50 AM
CAPTURE DIVIDENDS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Saddam's capture is producing additional arrests.
Posted at 08:48 AM
HOW WE GOT HIM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A little betrayal helped.
Posted at 07:38 AM
W.'S REGARDS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The words that greeted and Engliish-speaking Saddam.
Posted at 06:55 AM
EXECUTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
John Keegan on a just end for Saddam.
Posted at 06:54 AM
BY THE WAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
the NY and DC (and least the deeper into Virginia folks) would have whined yesterday about the weather like the Northeast wimps we are if we hadn't been distracted by other news. (See, I won't tell you about the heroic driving I witnessed this morning that kept me alive.)
Posted at 06:53 AM
IF YOU WERE NOT HERE SUNDAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Scroll down and down and down for Saddam catch-up. And check in on the homepage.
Posted at 06:51 AM
TOM SHALES [Tim Graham]
In the Post, Tom Shales had a nice line: "There was widespread agreement, as the saying goes, on virtually every network that the Bush administration's triumph in capturing Hussein was very bad news for Dean, a constant critic of the war now left looking like a monkey whose organ grinder had run away."
Of course, Tom mucked it up a bit by suggesting ABC's Terry Moran had "million-dollar lips" (?) and adding that it must have been the strangeness of the event that had two NPR employees (Juan Williams and Mara Liasson) on Fox. Earth to Tom: they're on Fox on a very regular basis. Maybe you should flip to Fox every so often in your spare time...
Posted at 06:48 AM
GEORGE WILL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 12:44 AM
RAT CORNERED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Why didn't you fight?" one Governing Council member asked Hussein as their meeting ended. Hussein gestured toward the U.S. soldiers guarding him and asked his own question: "Would you fight them?"
Posted at 12:42 AM
MEET THE 4TH ID [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here's their website
Posted at 12:16 AM
TEL AVIV STOCK MARKET CELEBRATES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 12:14 AM
A TIME AND A PLACE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Don't expect singer Lauren Hill to be invited bac k to the Vatican.
Posted at 12:07 AM
Sunday, December 14, 2003
SADDAM IN QATAR? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 11:57 PM
MORE BAD TIMING [Tim Graham]
NPR commentator Jim Sollisch wrote for today's Washington Post about how the Iraq war was going badly:
If our goal is to liberate Iraq and help it create a democracy, I can't think of a worse place to go for lessons than Israel, where the average citizen needs the courage of a soldier just to ride a bus. If $87 billion didn't get Americans out in the street protesting, I'm not sure images of razor wire and checkpoints will either. But they sure woke up this reluctant antiwar protester.
Posted at 11:54 PM
WHAT'S WRONG WITH REUTERS? [Susan Konig]
This is from the Reuters news agency today: "The former Iraqi ruler was a hero to many Palestinians for his stand against Israel and its U.S. ally, as well as for helping families of Palestinians dead in an uprising. "
Of course, the "help" he was giving to the "Palestinian dead" in the "uprising" was the $25,000 paycheck he'd send to the families of bombers who blew up Jewish women and babies.
Posted at 11:49 PM
TODAY [Michael Novak]
Ending torture and tyranny in Iraq was not a mistake. Supporting democracy in Iraq is not a mistake.
Helping the long-suffering Muslims of Iraq who now seek to live democratically is not a mistake. In the long, long history of the Middle East, this breakthrough may one day be ranked as a dramatic turning point in regional history.
While we may disagree about the strategy and tactics of the war, it would be a grave mistake for Americans to show disunity regarding our central purpose. Inflamed by hope of our disunity, and believing that we are weak of will, murderous assassins design to kill as many American soldiers as they can, confident that they will break our resolve.
Our enemies believe that Americans are deeply divided, easily discouraged by the sight of American blood, and unable to be resolute.
In "Saving Private Ryan," the climactic scene places us face to face with a fallen hero who has just saved our lives and liberties, and who with his final breath says to us, "Earn it."
Liberty never comes free. (This first appeared on the new website http://www.michaelnovak.net/
Posted at 11:47 PM
LEGAL VICTORY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Good news for Elaine Donnelly and the Center for Military Readiness.
Posted at 07:57 PM
A MUST-READ [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NYTimes on the Governing Council meeting with their ex-oppressor.
Posted at 06:07 PM
I KNOW THIS IS OFF POINT [Tim Graham]
But The Washington Post -- the newspaper Michael Isikoff left because it fought him tooth and nail on the Paula Jones story saying there wasn't enough evidence, there wasn't enough evidence -- leads its front page this morning with the thin story that Strom Thurmond has a black love child. I'm not saying it may not be true. I AM saying that it's not proven in the story today. For example, the fact that Sen. Thurmond's office sent this woman a note thanking her for contacting the Senator on Father's Day...By that standard of evidence, couldn't the staff have inadvertently acknowledged thousands of "love children" who wrote in on that subject?
Please note within the story that the Post first reported this story in 1992 -- in the midst of ignoring Clinton sex stories -- based on reporting from Penthouse magazine. They had even less evidence then.
Posted at 06:05 PM
A REACTION PHOTO GALLERY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This being my favorite.
Posted at 05:24 PM
HUNGRY, JACQUES? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A little creativity.
Posted at 05:17 PM
"DON'T SHOOT" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Glorious Leader, Direct Descendant of the Prophet, the Lion of Babylon, the Father of the Two Lion Cubs, the Anointed One, the Successor of Nebuchadnezzar, the Modern Saladin of Islam had been brought low, forced to bow down, whisked away to an "undisclosed location" to contemplate his fate while waiting to stand trial for his vast crimes against humanity....
Posted at 05:12 PM
MUDDLED ANALYSIS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Saddam is a dictator and the Iraqi people suffered under him, but on the other hand, it was the (American) occupation that caught him," Mohammed Horani, a legislator with the Palestinian Parliament, said in the Gaza Strip. "There will be a sense of confusion in the public."
Posted at 04:57 PM
CLOSE CALL IN PAKISTAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mushareff survived an assassination attempt.
Posted at 04:48 PM
THE MTV CROWD HERE'S THE NEWS [Tim Graham]
Had to razz my sister-in-law in Minnesota as she called at 3 PM and said "Oh my God! I just heard! I was watching MTV..." This demonstrates how the Other Half lives, those who get their news almost entirely by accident.
Posted at 04:33 PM
THANKSGIVING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the Mesopotmian:
The Ululation of Gunfire again; you should all be here now. What fireworks! You should be here. The Baghdadis are expressing what they really think again. Can you hide this now CNN & others?...Just now the Miserables are beginning to bomb the streets, out of hatred and desperation. They will attack the people. I tell you, there should be no complacency. Unleash the people against them and NOW. ...Before this, I prayed the traditional prayers of thanksgiving. That I, and the Iraqi people should see this day! This, surely, is the mother of all days for us. The heroes of our valiant Pesh Mergas, and the heroes of the U.S. Fourth division have done it. Now is the time to unleash the Iraqi Counter Terror; now is the time to go for the kill. Let us go after them. Don’t lose this moment. They want to recant and live in equality with the people? they have a chance - otherwise they will have to go. I am too overwhelmed with emotion to write coherently; please excuse me. The foul mouths of the enemies of our people everywhere and the neighboring vultures and hyenas be stuffed with dirt; we will come after you; your time will come.
Posted at 04:31 PM
ONE OF THOSE JOY-FILLED JOURNALISTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From Reuters (K-Lo swoons): "When I saw Saddam's long beard, how he looked like a defeated man, it reminded me of the two years I spent in jail, how his agents tortured me in every way you could imagine."
Posted at 04:19 PM
ODIERNO, SADDAM CAPTURER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A profile from last month: "He hasn't received the media attention of his fellow two-star general to the north in Mosul, Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division. And he isn't in Baghdad, where foreign journalists are based. But Odierno, like Petraeus, is considered one of the most promising major generals in the Army. At 49, he is its youngest division commander and one of the most rapidly promoted officers of West Point's Class of 1976."
But read the whole piece.
Posted at 04:14 PM
THE BARD'S VIEW [Rick Brookhiser]
"...behold, where stands
Th'usurper's cursed head. The time is free."
Macbeth, Act V, sc. viii
Posted at 04:00 PM
LEE HARRIS ON SADDAM ALIVE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
But there is another reason to be thankful that Saddam Hussein is alive. The man who called upon his countrymen and fellow Muslims to sacrifice their own lives in suicide attacks, to blow themselves to bits in order to glorify his name, failed to follow his own instructions. He refused the grand opportunity of a martyr's death, or even that of the hardened Hollywood gangster, determined that the cops would never take him alive. Instead, Saddam Hussein surrendered meekly and was, according to the reports, even cooperative.
Posted at 03:52 PM
STEYN ON SADDAM'S CAPTURE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A captured Saddam with a tongue depressor in his mouth. His tongue can't be half as depressed as the French, John Kerry, Howard Dean, The Guardian et al. They've all been saying for months that the Coalition needs to hand over more power and authority to Iraqis. Handing over Saddam to be tried in Baghdad is an excellent start. Or do they now want him on a plane to the Hague?
Posted at 03:49 PM
WE GOT THE WRONG GUY! [Rod Dreher]
Nordog.com believes Saddam is still at large! This is funny.
Posted at 03:46 PM
TRIUMPHALISM? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the BBC reporters' log:
Tony Blair's tone was very sober, very reflective. There was none of the triumphalism of Paul Bremer. The key word in what he was saying was "reconciliation". What Downing Street is hoping now is that the capture of Saddam will unlock all that resistance on the ground.If there was triumphalism at that Bremer press conference, it came from Iraqis. Talk about missing the story.
Posted at 03:24 PM
GIRL SCOUTS & SADDAM [Susan Konig]
Posted at 03:16 PM
HOLD THAT ... THOUGHT [Rod Dreher]
From Time.com: When offered a glass of water by his interrogators, Saddam replied, “If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?” I like his logic, and will have to employ it around my house. "Honey, if I take sack the garbage up I'll have to take it out back, and I can't go out back when my people are in bondage." "Honey, if I remember to put the lid down, I'll just have to lift it again, and I can't do that when my people are in bondage." "Sweetheart, if you want to watch Food Network, I'll have to change the channel from 'Cops,' and I can't do that when my people are in bondage." ...
Posted at 03:12 PM
PEGGY NOONAN, EXULTANT [Rod Dreher]
Peggy Noonan is back, and in fine form on the Saddam capture. Excerpt: This is a great day in modern history. A terrible man whose existence had been for decades actively harmful of humanity was forcibly removed from power, run to ground, and has been captured living in a hole. As I write, the television is showing videotape of his hair being checked for lice and his mouth being inspected with a pencil light for signs of disease. The white plastic pinpoint light illuminates his throat and gums. It looks like the mouth of hell. He has been utterly defeated and quelled. He can't kill anybody now. He cannot gas women and children with chemicals that kill them; he cannot personally torture dissidents, or imprison them. He cannot tell his soldiers to throw opponents off the tops of buildings. He can't impose his sickness and sadism on the world. The children of Baghdad dance in the streets. A nightmare is over.
America did this. American troops did this. The American people, by supporting those troops and this effort, did it. And a particular group of soldiers led by a particular U.S. army officer did it.
Posted at 03:10 PM
MORAN'S MEA CULPA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I just received the following e-mail from ABC's Terry Moran (in response to a Corner post earlier):
Posted at 03:03 PM
ANNAN'S REAX [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
CAPTURE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN CAN SPUR SEARCH FOR PEACE, ANNAN SAYS
Posted at 02:53 PM
ALTER MAY FALTER [Tim Graham]
Newsweek confidently posts Jonathan Alter's don't-make-predictions column, but this piece's predictions might look silly months from now:
When you buy Tupperware, you get Teflon, too. (He's referring meatphorically to the many Dean meetups.) Normally, gaffes stick to a candidate and dry up money. Dean has reversed that. Every time he runs into trouble, his backers give more. It's almost a form of human insurance.
Posted at 02:43 PM
WHERE ARE THEY? [Rod Dreher]
I've been surfing the blogosphere for hours now, gathering commentary for publication in a Saddam-capture blog roundup for my newspaper. Do you know how hard it is to find the left blogging this morning? The pro-war right is all over this story but I'm having a heck of a time trying to find what the usual major-blogger suspects on the left think about today's news. Could it be that they just don't know what to say? Or is it the case that the right is much better at using the new media than the left -- and if so, isn't that fascinating and counterintuitive?
Posted at 02:41 PM
"WE'RE FROM NATIONAL REVIEW, AND WE'RE HERE TO HELP" [Jack Fowler]
Christmas looms. Mightily. And still, you haven't got those special kids that special gift. Fret not: We at National Review are ready and waiting to fulfill your order for one or all of our heralded children's "classics" books, which without question make the perfect gift (and we can get them to you in time to be placed under the tree!). And while we like to toot our own horns over our books, they also are receiving praise from some pretty distinguished folks, such as 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."
Well thanks Mr. Will!--we couldn't have said it any better. Now--especially you NROers who've yet to hit the malls--save yourself the trouble and get your shopping done now by ordering 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). Again, they are the perfect Christmas gifts (they'll not only last a lifetime--they'll influence a child's entire life!). Time's a wasting! We're here for you, tape in hand, box and bubble wrap at the ready! Order here.
Posted at 02:27 PM
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING ALERT [Rod Dreher]
"The city never sleeps. Neither does TPM," reads the ad seeking contributions on Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo blog. It's after 2 p.m. on the East coast. The world has known about Saddam's capture for at least six hours. No commentary from TPM. Wake up, Josh, or people will want their money back.
Posted at 02:12 PM
NR'S KID LIT [John J. Miller]
The Boston Globe writes on the NR kiddie books today, which you can, of course, buy here.
Posted at 02:12 PM
WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE [Jed Babbin]
The pictures of Saddam being examined by our medics have made comparisons inevitable. One evil genius I spoke to (a retired Air Force two-button general pal of mine) said Saddam looked as bad as Nick Nolte when he was (most recently) arrested. True, but not as bad as Glen Campbell did.
Posted at 02:11 PM
MSNBC HAS THE BEST GRAPHIC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An icon of Saddam captured right at their buzzline (or whatever you call it).
Posted at 01:31 PM
JAWAD AMIR, HAPPIEST IRAQI? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 01:17 PM
STRANGE TAPE PACKAGE [Tim Graham]
by ABC, by Bob Woodruff, I think, recounting recent Iraqi history. Charles Gibson said it would chronicle Saddam's "rise to power," but it was heavily salted with American actions. "The Reagan White House" armed Saddam with biological strains that could be made into weapons, they said, adding Gary Milhollin for emphasis. He did say President Bush created the world's largest coalition against a single opponent. Then in 1998, Saddam expelled inspectors. Then video of current President Bush declaring the need for war.
But where was Bill? We can make the Reaganites look like they handed Saddam WMDs, but we can't note that Clinton lobbed missiles to delay an impeachment vote?
Posted at 01:12 PM
SHOCKING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Reuters and al Jazeera have the same lead. Check out al-J here and scroll down for Reuters same thing.
Posted at 12:54 PM
HOW RELIEVED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Assad must be delighted that Saddam was in Tikrit and not the outskirts of Damascus.
Posted at 12:39 PM
BUSH'S SPEECH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Yesterday, December the 13th, at around 8:30 p.m. Baghdad time, United States military forces captured Saddam Hussein alive. He was found near a farmhouse outside the city of Tikrit, in a swift raid conducted without casualties. And now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions.
Posted at 12:38 PM
FIRE BOMB GOES OFF IN BAGHDAD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Right after Bush's speech, a car bomb explodes in Baghdad., according to FNC Expect a lot of that, alas. But that is exactly what Bush just said, of course. Don't expect Dem prez wannabes and media to get it though.
Posted at 12:36 PM
MAC OWENS HAS CHECKED IN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Read his NRO piece here.
Posted at 12:32 PM
WISENHEIMER PREDICTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From an e-mailer:
Maybe Dowd will soon quote the President: "The capture of Saddam Hussein does ... mean the end of violence in Iraq."
Posted at 12:31 PM
RE: MEDIA WILL FORGET [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, you're right about the willful amnesia. At 12:20, ABC's Charlie Gibson came out of the Bush speech saying it was a good day, after all those casualties "since President Bush declared an end to the fighting." Sigh. He declared an end to "MAJOR combat operations." The media have repeated that in their regular casualty-count reports, so Gibson has no excuse for leaving the false impression.
Posted at 12:29 PM
SEPARATED AT BIRTH? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Lots of people pointing out mug similarities: Marx, Saddam.
Posted at 12:28 PM
FACTOID OF THE DAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Today is the third anniversary of Gore's 2000 concession. Dec. 13, not a favorite date in the Gore household. (Today is 14, but Saddam was caught on 13.)
Posted at 12:22 PM
EU 'CONSTITUTION' [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Daily Telegraph warns that the EU ‘constitution’ will be back, but concludes on an optimistic note:
”And so the process goes on. Neither Spanish amour propre, nor German obstreperousness, nor popular opposition, nor even, we suspect, one or two "no" votes in referendums will stop it. For the Euro-elites, what matters is the process itself. They have almost forgotten the original declared purposes - peace, prosperity and so forth - in their determination to integrate, always and everywhere. They are almost like the apparatchiks of the Eastern bloc in the late 1980s, who had long since stopped believing in the principles of Marxism-Leninism, but who kept going because they did not know what else to do - and who were able to get away with it, too, by ignoring popular opinion. Eventually, the desire for national democracy caught up with them. Sooner or later, it will do for the Euro-elites, too.”
Posted at 12:22 PM
WILLIAM ROTH, RIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The former sentor has died at 82.
Posted at 12:19 PM
THE MEDIA WILL FORGET THIS [Kathyrn Jean Lopez]
President Bush just warned: “The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq.”
Posted at 12:18 PM
BUSH: “THE END” FOR SADDAM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
“Now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he had denied millions.” To the Iraqis: “You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again…a hopeful day has arrived…all Iraqis can come together and reject violence.”
Posted at 12:16 PM
ANOTHER APPROPRIATE SONG [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a reader: "ALICE IN CHAINS: DOWN IN A HOLE"
Posted at 12:14 PM
"BLACK DAY" IN PALESTINE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Reuters reports on the reaction among Palestinians.
Posted at 11:54 AM
WHERE YOU'D HEAR THE F WORD TODAY [Tim Graham]
The offices of the news magazines. U.S. News tends to close the "book" on Friday night, Time and Newsweek on Saturday night. Time and U.S. News each have a Jesus issue this week (with the exact same cover art), while Newsweek is still posting last week's cover on its site.
Posted at 11:53 AM
AND FROM DALLAS [Rod Dreher]
A friend of my wife tells her that everybody in her neighborhood of north Dallas ran into the street this morning when they heard a roar overhead. This was around 8 a.m. local time, right after the Saddam capture news broke. Military aircraft were circling overhead, said the friend. Folks on the street figure they were celebrating this tremendous victory.
Posted at 11:52 AM
HIGH WYCOMBE: HOME OF HYPOCRISY [Andrew Stuttaford]
High Wycombe, the (Conservative-controlled) council (local government) so uncomfortable about posting details of a carol service in a public library turns out to have very different standards when it comes to throwing a party to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid. That, it turns out, was just fine. Margaret Dewar, hypocrite and Councilor explains:
"It is quite a different thing having a party organized by a library to promote cultural understanding and accepting notices for religious services.”
In its malevolent dishonesty, that statement takes some beating – Dewar deserves to be voted out of the office she has obviously disgraced for far too long – but it’s also typical of the way in which Britain and other countries in Europe are failing to respond to the challenge of fundamentalist Islam. Also in the Daily Telegraph, Kevin Myers ponders some of the issues that are raised:
“Islam is much like Christianity: its spectrum is very broad, and many forms of it encourage moderation and toleration. But there are extremes which have no parallel in Christianity, nor even in communism or Nazism: the suicide bomber who believes that paradise awaits those who die in the act of the killing the infidel is a creature for whom the European mind, and European institutions have been wholly unprepared. And at a less extreme level, though the experience of communism has prepared them intellectually for the idea of national disloyalty, Europeans are hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with an abiding mass loyalty to foreign entities by their fellow citizens.”
Tolerance of those of a different religion, or none, is a vital civil virtue, but tolerance should never be confused with the nonsense of mindless ecumenicism, apathetic acceptance or the self-hating fantasies of multiculturalism. French-style bans on head scarves are not the way to go, but the time both for secular sorts and the representatives of other faiths to start arguing back against the Islamic extreme is long, long overdue. And if that ‘offends’ some people, that’s just too bad.
In a democracy, debates aren’t always polite.
Posted at 11:45 AM
SADDAM ON NRO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Cliff May and Jed Babbin have both checked in with pieces. Cliff is here and Jed is here.
Posted at 11:42 AM
SONGS FOR SADDAM'S SUNDAY [Jim Geraghty]
The Ace of Spades - Motorhead Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
Posted at 11:15 AM
WOLVERINES! [John J. Miller]
As a Corner reader caught earlier via K-Lo, somebody in Iraq is obviously a fan of the most right-wing movie to come out of Hollywood in the 1980s: Red Dawn. From the Wash Post: "Sanchez said U.S. forces launched 'Operation Red Dawn' to capture Hussein after receiving information Saturday morning that he was hiding at one of the two locations, dubbed Wolverine I and Wolverine II." For the uninitiated, the "Wolverines" in Red Dawn are American guerillas who fight Soviet invaders in Colorado.
Posted at 11:08 AM
ANOTHER GOOD QUESTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It took 38 minutes for the "Where's Osama" question. How much longer until we hear how about the professional misconduct of Iraqi journalists cheering at the news of Saddam's capture?I was actually surprised one of the CNN anchors seemed to be impressed by the Iraqi journalists cheering and screaming Death to Saddam. She might get a talking to by Aaron later.
Posted at 11:07 AM
REUTERS NEVER SURPRISES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops captured Saddam Hussein near his home town of Tikrit in a major coup for Washington's beleaguered occupation force in Iraq.
Posted at 11:04 AM
SO THAT'S WHAT IT WAS FOR... [Andrew Stuttaford]
Bemoaning the collapse of talks over the EU Constitution, comments from Britain’s EU-federalist Observer include this:
“Coming hard on the heels of EU splits over the war against Iraq, the breakdown means that plans for …a greater role on the world stage for the EU as a balance against America have been put on ice.”
Posted at 11:02 AM
THIS HAS GOT TO BE A JOKE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From that Dean-supporter blogsite: "I think it is shameful that the ACLU has not commented on the obvious mistreatment Hussein has suffered at the hands of the American military."
Posted at 11:01 AM
CORRECTION [John J. Miller]
K Lo: Castro got Elian.
Posted at 10:59 AM
LEGACY SPIN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mailer: "Clinton got Elian Gonzalez, Bush Got Saddam Hussein."
Posted at 10:57 AM
ISN'T IT CURIOUS... [John J. Miller]
...how good news for America, Iraq, and civilization in general is bad new for Howard Dean and the Democrats?
Posted at 10:56 AM
ONE WAY OF LOOKING AT IT [John J. Miller]
We just nabbed Iraq's most important weapon of mass destruction.
Posted at 10:54 AM
MCCAIN SAYS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
(in jest) give the money found on Saddam to the 1st ID for Christmas.
Posted at 10:54 AM
HIGH WYCOMBE : HOME OF THE GRINCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the Sunday Telegraph:
”A church has been told that it cannot publicise its Christmas services on a community notice board to avoid offending other religions. The Church of England may be the established faith of the United Kingdom. But Buckinghamshire county council regards it as a "religious preference group" and the ban was upheld yesterday. "
In a nicely ironic touch, Buckingham county council, turns out to be run by Britain’s Conservative party.
Posted at 10:52 AM
DEAN SPEAKS: U.N. WANTED, NATCH [KJL]
Statement by Governor Dean on the Capture of Saddam Hussein
Posted at 10:44 AM
MORE BAD TIMING [Tim Graham]
C-SPAN2 is currently running James Carville on Book TV denouncing President Bush from a Wednesday appearance at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.
Posted at 10:43 AM
MORNING IN THE WHITE HOUSE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Some details from inside 1600 Penn:
PRESS GAGGLE BY SCOTT McCLELLAN
Posted at 10:39 AM
CRY ME A RIVER, HONEY [Rod Dreher]
From the comments thread on on Howard Dean's campaign blog: I can't believe this. I'm crying here. I feel that we now don't have a chance in this election.
Posted at 10:35 AM
...AND ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD [Andrew Stuttaford]
…Talks on the draft EU ‘constitution’ have collapsed. Like Dracula - and unlike Saddam - this monster will, doubtless, be back, but for now, the only thing to do is to enjoy Berlusconi’s opening comments. The Guardian takes up the story:
”Gathered for lunch on the top floor of the Justus Lipsius on Friday morning to launch formal negotiations over the constitution, the 25 heads of government and their ministers were braced for battle. Instead, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose country holds the EU presidency, suggested they just chat about 'football and women'. There was a stunned silence, before 'the Belgians started droning on about the inter-governmental conference', said one diplomat.”
Posted at 10:35 AM
DESPAIR IN DEAN COUNTRY [Jonathan H. Adler]
The anti-war left is unhappy. See the roundup here. (Link via Instapundit)
Posted at 10:27 AM
AND IF SADDAM TALKS... [Andrew Stuttaford]
...Jacques Chirac, call your lawyer.
Posted at 10:23 AM
NPR V. AL JAZEERA [Jonathan H. Adler]
If Saddam's capture is a "humiliation" for many Iraqis -- as NPR reported this morning -- why is there no mention of this in the Al Jazeera story.
Posted at 10:21 AM
WHERE IS PETER JENNINGS TODAY? [Tim Graham]
Is he hunting with James Baker in the deep Texas woods? Are they trying to give Stephanopoulos a stature implant? ABC is once again demonstrating that when the big stories happen, they're looking lapped by CBS and NBC.
Perhaps Peter is a little too depressed for work today?
Posted at 10:12 AM
DEAN IS SUPPOSED TO MAKE A STATEMENT ANY MINUTE NOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
from FLorida, coincidentally.
Posted at 10:11 AM
BIDEN MAKES TROUBLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
On with Dan Rather a few minutes ago, Joe Biden said (when asked about how this affects the Dem race)that if we can capture Osama and Mullah Omar and stabilize Iraq and the president gets re-elected, that's just fine with him, and best for the country.
Posted at 10:08 AM
SORRY, BUT HE WAS HUMILIATING HIMSELF [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Governing Council reports there were mice and rats in the spiderhole with him. Cowardly man, hiding out in the most cravenly way. So appropriate, a metaphor for the state of his conscience.
Posted at 10:06 AM
CALLING THE HAGUE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Another reader reports on humiliation talk:
I'm am American expat living in London, and I was listening to BBC London (Radio 5) shortly after the announcement of Saddam's capture. The host of a call-in show was going on about how the Americans unnecessarily subjected Saddam to humiliation by showing the video of him being given a medical exam and being unwashed and unshaven. She termed it "serial humiliation", and asked "what's next, beheading him and parading his head on a pole around Baghdad"? It's absolutely amazing how so many here dredge up hatred for the U.S. no matter what.
Posted at 09:58 AM
"THE END OF THE BEGINNING" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Sugar Land, Texas - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) today lauded coalition forces for the late night capture of Saddam Hussein in Tikrit, Iraq.
Posted at 09:55 AM
PALESTINIANS SADDENED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
by the capture of Saddam, Islamic Jihad reportedly says.
Posted at 09:54 AM
BUSH KNEW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 09:51 AM
BRILLIANT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Iraqi Governing Council got to see Saddam before Ambassador Bremer and give a first-hand report first. This is the way to do liberation.
Posted at 09:48 AM
THE OPPOSITION SPIN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Atrios is quick with the counter-spin on Saddam's capture:
Capturing Saddam is a good thing - he was a bad guy. I'm really glad he was captured and not killed.
Posted at 09:47 AM
MORE MEDIA REACTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Following up on what Tim reported from ABC, a reader reports:
2. Terry Moran, about 20 minutes later, discussing the problems of giving Saddam a fair trail. He said that the Nazi leadership who were tried at Nuremburg were "railroaded." He immediately qualified this remark by adding "in the eyes of many jurists today." Got that? Goering was RAILROADED!
Posted at 09:46 AM
KERRY REACTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I missed it but a reader reports: "While Lieberman gets it right, Kerry says this is the perfect opportunity to turn it all over to the UN and, possibly, the Hague. In other words, as our leadership and resolve show continuing success, let's step aside in favor of perfidious France."
So they--with the French and Germans up front--can F*** it up, Senator?
Posted at 09:40 AM
IRAQI BLOGS REACT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jeff Jarvis has the round-up. (Link via Instapundit.)
Posted at 09:37 AM
BEEB ATTRACTS WINNERS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A BBC website reader comment:
It's good that it's clarified where Saddam Hussein is now. But I do not hope that people forget now that George W. Bush has lead the world into a war without proof of WMD and a connection to Osama bin Laden. What Bush did was wrong. And Americans need to remember that next year when the presidential elections take place. Michelle Mauriere, Leipzig, Germany.
Posted at 09:36 AM
LIEBERMAN V. DEAN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Lieberman also says the Democratic race is now between him and Howard Dean. That's interesting spin.
Posted at 09:33 AM
EXPOSE!!!? [Tim Graham]
At 8:10, ABC's Terry Moran started discussing how a trial will not be great for the United States, for it will "come out" how the U.S. "had a very interesting relationship" with Saddam for 15 years. Hasn't that already "come out," Terry? As in ABC hanging it around Bush One's neck on a regular basis back in the day?
Posted at 09:31 AM
SADDAM'S ROLE IN THE RESISTANCE [Jonathan H. Adler]
On NPR, commentators are saying this shows Saddam had a minor role in the resistance. The actual reports of his capture, however, indicate that he had US$750,000 in $100 bills -- money that could be used to fund the insurgency. (Recall that Saddam withdrew substantial sums from the bank the day before the invasion -- money that has lamost certainly been used to fund Baathist terrorism.)
Posted at 09:31 AM
SPAIN: "A GREAT DAY FOR HUMANKIND" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
World leaders react: including France and Germany. Read here. Unlike Blair, of course, just on paper. And, alas, no apologies.
Posted at 09:27 AM
GORE'S GOOF [Jonathan H. Adler]
When he endorsed Howard Dean, Al Gore said of the Iraq invasion, "Our nation in its 200-year history has never made a worse foreign policy mistake." This was a completely absurd statement even before today's news, but now . . .
Posted at 09:26 AM
BUSH WILL SPEAK AT NOON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 09:25 AM
"IF HOWARD DEAN HAD HIS WAY, SADDAM HUSSEIN WOULD BE IN POWER TODAY" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Joe Lieberman just now on Meet the Press.
Posted at 09:19 AM
GALLOWAY SPEAKS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the Beeb:
"I hope this will put an end to some of the violence."
Posted at 09:18 AM
JUST WONDERING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Will Mark Geragos volunteer his services? That would give him a news-coverage monopoly.
Posted at 09:14 AM
FROM AP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
``We are celebrating like it's a wedding,'' said Kirkuk resident Mustapha Sheriff. ``We are finally rid of that criminal.'' ``This is the joy of a lifetime,'' said Ali Al-Bashiri, another resident. ``I am speaking on behalf of all the people that suffered under his rule.''Via dejafoo
Posted at 09:13 AM
CORNERITE REACTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I don't have cable or satellite (live in the boonies, and frankly it's not worth the money), so I've had to rely on the main network stations for news on Saddam's capture. I've been struck by the dour faces and the almost pained looks on all the reporters' faces. They seem almost disappointed that we caught the SOB. In the time I've been listening, I've seen Sandy Berger and Dick Holbrooke and a number of other hand-wringers telling me not to celebrate and a bunch of network types telling me that this really isn't all that good.
Posted at 09:10 AM
GOOD TIMING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mark Steyn in the latest issue of the Spectator: "Twelve months ago, Saddam Hussein was sitting on his solid gold toilet. He’s now on the run, moving every few hours and unlikely ever again to feel even a standard black plastic seat against his bottom."
Posted at 09:05 AM
"WE GOT HIM" CON'T [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
You can watch the military video of the captured monster here.
Posted at 09:01 AM
WONDER IF LE EXPRESS WILL RUN A RETRACTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The current French newsmagazine Le Express has this: A friendly Frenchman e-mails:
French newsmag L'Express just made a fool of itself by publishing it's last week cover with the title: George W. Bush The man Who Ruined Our Year. It's a great day for us, the French supporters of George W. Bush, we are vindicated! God bless America!
Posted at 08:58 AM
PREDICTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Once again, George W. Bush will NOT be the Time magazine man of the year. It will be Saddam. Can't wait to see what the piece says though.
Posted at 08:45 AM
AL JAZEERA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here's their English language report.
Posted at 08:43 AM
FOUR LEAF CLOVER FOUND [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader points out:
The official 4th ID March is the song "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" done in a march tempo. Looks like the looking finally paid off. Now there's a tune to run through your head today!
Posted at 08:40 AM
LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Tony Blair's statement right now, he is focusing one the opportunity for unification, reconcilation, and peace Saddam's capture allow for. He notes that Iraqis and the Coalition are on the same side, celebrating today. The only ones upset are the bad guys--the terrorists, many of them foreigners in Iraq. He lso emphasises that Muslims were Saddam's victims and they "are the beneficiaries of his demise."
Posted at 08:39 AM
WHERE IS OSAMA? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader reports:
Christianne (sp?) Amanpour, EuroCNN, 2:30pm Central European Time, being asked for comments on the political fallout of today’s announcement, opens with this: “Well, let’s not forget, Osama Bin Laden is still at large, as are hundreds wanted by the Hague…” (that’s transcribed from memory).
Posted at 08:34 AM
MORE BAD TIMING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
for Frank Rich. Gotta wonder if NYTimes editors are cringing at the turkey photo they had to add in. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving newspaper.
Posted at 08:32 AM
ATTA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Wonder if we got anything out of the prisoner about 9/11 yet. (scroll down to last night for the Con Coughlin piece on Saddam-9/11 links)
Posted at 08:30 AM
A READER ASKS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"wonder if lt. col. allen b. west will be kept on a little longer, to assist in the interrogation . . ."
Posted at 08:29 AM
SIMPLY AMAZING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
THIS is the picture of the year.
Posted at 08:27 AM
RE: BAD TIMING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is a really knee-jerk comment of me to make, but can't help but wonder if one or more Dem Dwarves thought or said, upon hearing the news, an F word.
Posted at 08:10 AM
BETTER THAN THE MOVIE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
People in my inbox love the details:
My brother and I sat watching the news of Saddam's capture, and we couldn't help but grin at the title of the operation: "Operation Red Dawn." We were further elated when the announcement was made that the objectives were called "Wolverine One" and "Wolverine Two." I would bet that an officer in his late twenties or early thirties named the operation after the 1984 Patrick Swayze/Charlie Sheen movie about the communist invasion of the U.S. "Wolverines!"
Posted at 08:06 AM
INTERNET GEEK COMMENT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Disappointing: There is nothing on the CPA website yet!
Posted at 08:02 AM
CNN REPORTER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
says "people are putting candy in my hand." The face of exhilaration. Might have something to do with the fact that Saddam killed and tortured. Might have something to do with the mass graves we've uncovered. Maybe one of them could have a chat with Aaron Brown. I don't think the celebration is all about the fact he lived in luxury.
Posted at 07:59 AM
EVEN THE U.S. MEDIA CAN'T MISS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
the CELEBRATION in the Iraqi streets (nevermind the Iraqi journalists who cheered during the CPA press conference). What a day to be in Iraq. Chalabi named today Iraqi Independence Day. God bless Iraq.
Posted at 07:56 AM
4TH INFANTRY DIVISION [Kathryn Lopez]
got the prize. Imagine the pride back in the home of those guys.
Posted at 07:53 AM
WAITING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
for the first anchor to say "Yeah, BUT Where's Osama?"
Posted at 07:52 AM
CNN DIMWIT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"A man who had lived in enormous luxury and wealth" is found in a rural hole. THAT'S THE WORST THING Aaaron Brown could think to say about Saddm when he got on the air. Now, he had tome to prep, and that is what he came up with. Imagine had it been off the cuff.
Posted at 07:50 AM
I DO LOVE [ Kathryn Jean Lopez]
all the readers who emailed at 6:03 to make sure we were all awake.
Posted at 07:46 AM
BUSH TOLD YESTERDAY [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Coalition has handled the Hussein capture quite delicately. apparently he was captured yesterday, around 8pm Iraq time, and Bush was told shortly thereafter. The announcement was not made, however, until tests and other detainees confirmed that the man in custody was the real McCoy. Now, Iraqis celebrate.
Posted at 07:46 AM
THEY GOT WHO? [Tim Graham]
Wow, what are the Democrats going to say now? Other than Clark and Dean sending him to The Hague?
Posted at 07:42 AM
TALKATIVE [Kathryn Lopez]
At the press conference in Baghdad, they're saying Saddam's being "talkative" and "cooperative." Imagine those transcripts, when released.
Posted at 07:38 AM
OPERATION RED DAWN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Saddam was found in a "spider whole" in a rural farmhouse. Bremer announces, "Ladies and gentleman, we got him" and there are cheers. But the REAL cheers come when the Coalition SHOWS the captured Saddam, a murderous tyrant, now captured, now just a man who proper justice come to. Bremer: "The tyrant is a prisoner."
Posted at 07:34 AM
BAD TIMING [John J. Miller]
Dean is scheduled to give a major foreign policy address tomorrow. The Washington Post has details here. Footnote to our missile-defense thread: He's turning into a standard-issue liberal, saying he would cancel the Bush administration's plans to deploy a system next year.
Posted at 06:53 AM
RE: GOTCHA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
REALLY wish he were dead. But wow. How does the media laugh at "Mission Accomplished" today?
Posted at 06:48 AM
GOTCHA! [John J. Miller]
Sounds like we got Hussein. Three quick thoughts: 1) Between Hussein and Osama bin Laden, Hussein was the more desirable target; 2) This will hurt Howard Dean, even in the Democrat primaries--perhaps not fatally because he has such a huge head of steam, but it will hurt; 3) Having Hussein alive rather than dead may be good for the Bush administration, in the sense that this horrible man will be put on trial and kept in the public eye--rather than dead and forgotten.
Posted at 06:40 AM