FASCINATING WASH POST PIECE... [Rich Lowry]
...on Clinton WH/CIA wrangling over whether the agency had authorization to kill bin Laden outright. This is an important piece that sheds new light on a murky episode, and also shows the weakness of the Clinton approach--and the impossibility of waging a serious war on terror with Janet Reno as AG.
The Post reports:
"Some of the most sensitive language concerned the specific authorization to use deadly force. Clinton's national security aides said they wanted to encourage the CIA to carry out an effective operation against bin Laden, not to burden the agency with constraints or doubts. Yet Clinton's aides did not want authorizations that could be interpreted by Afghan agents as an unrestricted license to kill. For one thing, the Justice Department signaled that it would oppose such language if it was proposed for Clinton's signature.
The compromise wording, in a succession of bin Laden-focused memos, always expressed some ambiguity about how and when deadly force could be used in an operation designed to take bin Laden into custody. Typical language, recalled one official involved, instructed the CIA to "apprehend with lethal force as authorized."
At the CIA, officers and supervisors agonized over these abstract phrases. They worried that if an operation in Afghanistan went badly, they would be accused of having acted outside the memo's scope. Over time, recriminations grew between the CIA and the White House."
"In fashioning this sensitive policy in the midst of an impeachment crisis that lasted into early 1999, Clinton's national security adviser, Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, struggled to forge a consensus within the White House national security team. Among other things, he had to keep on board a skeptical Attorney General Janet Reno and her Justice Department colleagues, who were deeply invested in law enforcement approaches to terrorism, according to senior officials involved."
Posted at 08:25 PM
CLELAND [Rich Lowry]
I think Ann kinda has the market cornered on Max Cleland controversy, but have been getting a lot of e-mail like this about yesterday's column: E-mail: "Finally, someone has told it like it is about my former senator. I use to like the man. I voted for him when he was Ga Sec of State, I voted for him the first time he ran for the senate. I had no idea that when he got to Washington, he would vote the way Tom Daschle told him to instead of the way Georgians wanted him to. That's why I voted againt him. It had absolutely nothing to do with his patriotism."
Posted at 08:24 PM
NIXON LIBRARY [Rich Lowry]
Great event yesterday, and no danger of hecklers! Thanks to everyone at the library and to the Cornerites who turned out and said hi. There's a lot of nifty stuff there, including a 1949 Mercury "Woody" stationwagon of the sort Nixon campaigned for senate in. A real piece of Americana. He'd stand on the tailgate with a microphone and give his stump speech--while Pat handed out Nixon thimbles (a different age!). Some of the coming attractions at the library: Sean Hannity is going to do his radio show live from there on Wednesday Feb. 25, in conjunction with the West Coast launch of his new book. Also, Zell Miller will be there on Tuesday March 16 to discuss and sign his book.
Posted at 08:22 PM
MORE MINIMUM WAGE [Jonah Goldberg]
From our economics professor friend Steven Horwitz:
Posted at 03:03 PM
ANOTHER VIEW [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, Don't you love when wacko's jump on Kerry's bandwagon? You think Doug really cares about the lessons Kerry learned from Vietnam, or does he just want to wave Kerry's non-thrown away medals in your face? Where was Doug in 1996 or 1992...not voting for war heroes, I guarantee that. I mean, does this guy really even like Kerry? Does anyone? I think "electable" is short-hand for "no one likes him, knows what he stands for, agrees with him or cares about him, but he has 'gotcha' points on Bush". Looks like Kerry will get the Dean-wacko vote after all. Edwards for Idaho and Utah! John B Columbus OH
Posted at 01:17 PM
NO ONE HERE BUT US WHACKOS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader, in response to my column:
Jonah, Like most right-wing wackos, you're skilled in lies of omission. The false conflation of bin Laden and Huessin, and Bush's pseudo "evidence" concerning WMD's were the foundation for Bush's war with Iraq that you find so laudable. It's clear from his record of personal integrity and intelligence, that Kerry would have only fought the appropriate war against terror( bin Laden) and not an additional one for the most callous and despicable of political reasons(Iraq). Let's see, what was Bush commenting on in 1970--"How many bottles of Lone Star are there in a case" and from that we can, of course, conclude that our current President is nothing but a dry drunk? There's nothing quite as amusing as when you and Will--the warrior wimp brothers--expound so cleverly about U.S. defense policies, analogous to Limbaugh's sage comments about NFL quarterbacks. Since you and Bush never served your country in combat I can understand that you can't begin to appreciate the lessons Kerry learned from VietNam. Your characterization of them is, to put it more politely than you deserve, assine. Speaking of excreable; you and Frum owe Senator Kerry an apology for attempling to "give legs" to a false bimbo story. Of course you've always been immune to even an approximation of truth when it got in the way of your ideology--as truth has a nasty habit of doing. Well, happy sliming. Doug
Posted at 01:05 PM
RISING TIDE [Jonah Goldberg]
Folks, I was not trying to say that the Reaganesque version of "a rising tide lifts all boats" refers to increases in the minimum wage. I know what it means and I thought my sarcasm was clear enough. Apparently not. Regardless, I don't think Reagan supported the minimum wage and neither do I.
Posted at 12:57 PM
GUESS WHO'S IN A TOUGH ELECTION? [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'll give you a hint. Tom Daschle "praised the Bush administration's war and nation-building work in Iraq and said he has no serious concerns about the lack of weapons of mass destruction.
Posted at 10:47 AM
THOSE LOVELY UNIONS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Nick Confessore over at Tapped takes exception to our recent discussion of unions and interest groups around here. He summarizes the conversation so far thus:
The folks over at The Corner, chiefly Jonah Goldberg and one of his correspondents, are arguing -- in response to an offhand comment in Peter Beinart's latest column -- that liberal interest groups, and particularly the labor movement, don't do much good for anyone except their own constituents, and thus are no more selfish than corporate special interests. I'm not going to engage the whole thing, but I think Goldberg and his correspondent go quite awry when discussing labor
He then goes on to detail all of the wonderful things labor does and has done for the non-union world. Now, before I get into all that, let me say I don't think all leftwing or liberal interest groups are selfish or don't do much good for others. Or at least I don't believe that, as an article of faith, that this is necessarily the case. Some unions were even very good in the Cold War (one of the accomplishments Nick oddly leaves out).
But, as for Confessore's direct point on how much good the labor movement has done -- fighting for health care, the minimum wage, even civil rights (a very mixed record if you ask me) -- I say: point taken. I tend not to assume bad motives in everyone I disagree with, so I'm sure many folks in the labor movement want to do good for everyone, not just their members.
However, the notion that the labor movement favors hikes in the minimum wage solely or even largely out of altruism -- which seems to be Confessore's point -- strikes me as pretty tendentious. I've always worked on the assumption that one of the main reasons that the labor movement favors such things is that, to quote JFK and Ronald Reagan, a rising tide lifts all boats. If the lowest paid people become better paid, this puts inflationary pressure -- political and/or economic -- on all wages. I'm not sure, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if many labor contracts actually included formulas which peg union jobs at certain multiples of the minimum wage.
And lastly, as Nick concedes, some of this argument is difficult because while labor may or may not have had the good of others when it pushed certain policies, most conservatives would argue that the policies themselves weren't good for people. But, as he says, that's a whole different argument.
Posted at 10:44 AM
WOLF VS. PAGLIA [KJL]
Naomi Wolfe is accusing Harold Bloom of sexual harassment (in 1986), and Camille Paglia has a few words to say about it.
Posted at 10:03 AM
CHEAP RUN [Tim Graham]
Today's Washington Post mysteriously recycles a Mel Gibson quote from last September where he said of the libertine-left czar Frank Rich, "I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick." The Post quote leaves the false impression that Gibson just said this for the current New Yorker. It also leaves out any context in how Rich tried to smear him as anti-Semitic. See more on that here.
Posted at 09:16 AM
Governor Schwarzeneggar tells San Fran to stop.
Posted at 08:59 AM
Friday, February 20, 2004
CLONING AND SOUTH KOREAN SCIENTISTS [KJL]
The South Korean scientists who made that huge cloning announcement last week--the first successful cloning of human embryos--have stopped working with human eggs and embryos, at least for now, due to ethical concerns. As one expert sums it up: "The skinny seems to be that someone in Korea put pressure on them, on the subject of exploitation of egg donors. They did the math: the Koreans in their Science paper said they had collected 242 eggs from 16 women. That's about 15 eggs per individual woman, apparently all at one time, which means they would have used some pretty extreme superovulation techniques on these volunteers. "
Posted at 08:03 PM
CLONING AND SCIENTISTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email from a cloning opponent:
Just saw your Corner post about the survey of genetics researchers on stem
Presumably, descriptions like these were in the actual questionnaire given
Posted at 07:53 PM
SAN FRAN'S FIRST LADY [KJL]
Tim, has anyone asked Kimberly Newsom, CNN legal commentator/former prosecutor and wife of the San Francisco mayor, about her husband's opinion of the law?
Posted at 07:50 PM
HATCH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Michael Crowley writes that conservative criticism of him "says fairly depressing things about today's Republican party." I'd say his article says fairly depressing things about contemporary liberal journalism. Hatch was "open minded" when he was helping to create new entitlements, but now he's a "ruthless foot soldier" who is trying to confirm conservative judicial nominees and, worse, makes arguments about them that implicitly suggest that Ted Kennedy is not a perfect example of a Catholic. Hatch has become a "hyper partisan." I think that's a fairer criticism of Crowley, based on the sum of his work for the New Republic.
Posted at 07:32 PM
BUSH VS. NADER ON CAMPUS [KJL ]
People keep emailing me telling me to stop sending college kids Bush signs, and get them Nader ones instead. That’s so defeatist. Can’t we shoot to teach them commonsense and clear thinking first? If it doesn’t work, O.K., fine, back to Nader.
Posted at 05:59 PM
COOL BEFORE IT WAS [KJL ]
It seems I was part of the latest fashion trend before it became chic. (Ok, maybe it’s not on runways, exactly.) Nail pendants are selling out of Christian bookstores, according to the NY Post, inspired by the new Passion movie. When I was a high-school student at Dominican Academy in NYC, a good Dominican priest named Fr. Ken France-Kelly, gave us each a nail on Ash Wednesday and told us to keep it with us during Lent (at a minimum) to remind. Whenever anything becomes a trend, of course, it tends to become diluted, but there’s a good point to be made that crosses are just so familiar (and look way too pretty, in many cases), and do this little trend, like the movie, has some promise. (It's Friday, ok? I can reminisce if I want. Excuse me while I find my letter sweater.)
Posted at 05:51 PM
RE: NYT AND PRYOR [KJL]
They've evidently updated the story. It now says he initially supported Moore. The bigger story is still missed, however.
Posted at 05:34 PM
CNN THROWS WHIFFLEBALLS [Tim Graham]
In her taped interview with John Kerry on yesterday's "Inside Politics," Judy Woodruff approached Kerry's wild accusations of daily soldier raping and pillaging and shooting animals for fun with great vagueness and permissiveness. And liberals think the White House press corps is wimpy?? Check this out:
WOODRUFF: Two other very quick things, Senator. One is, it's been reported that, well you're aware of this, Vietnam veterans upset with the fact that when you came back from the war, you went to Capitol Hill, and you testified in so many words against the kinds of things that U.S. soldiers were doing over there...WOODRUFF sees nothing worth challenging, and goes on to asking about Edwards...
Posted at 05:18 PM
DEATH OF THE SUN, CONT'D [Peter Robinson ]
1. From your lips to the ears of our mutual friend Tom Wolfe--and of George W. Bush.
2. You remind me of one of WFB's favorite jokes:
Hearing a lecturer on astronomy assert that the sun would one day die, a little old lady shrieked and fainted dead away. The lecturer ran to her, then waved his handkerchief over her face until she came to.
"Madam," the lecturer asked, bending over the little old lady, "what could possibly be the matter?"
"The death of the sun," the little old lady said, gasping for air. "Unspeakable!"
"But as I explained, madam," the lecturer replied, "the sun won't die for eight billion years."
"Eight billion?" The little old lady replied, smiling and sitting up as the color suddenly returned to her face. "Oh, silly me. I thought you said eight million."
Posted at 05:14 PM
TAXPAYER-FUNDED TAXPAYER LUNACY IN NYC [Jim Boulet]
New York City translates school notices from its chancellor into "Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Urdu, Arabic, Haitian Creole and Bengali." Not good enough, complained the New York Immigration Coalition and Advocates for Children this week.
The groups insist that New York City is failing to obey Clinton Executive Order 13166, which requires translations in any language anyone speaks. Quoting from their report, "Denied at the Door:
All notices and materials going to parents must be provided in the native language of parents with limited English proficiency. The Department of Education should create a centralized translation unit providing translations in the major languages, with referrals for outside translation for those languages spoken by smaller segments of limited English proficient families. Each school must post signs informing parents of their rights to language assistance.The cost? A mere $5 to $7 million annually.
New York City taxpayers would not only get stuck with this whopping translation bill. They also paid to enable these leftist outfits to exist long enough to complain in the first place.
The New York Immigration Coalition received $200,000 from the State of New York in 2003, while Advocates for Children was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Corporation for National Service and various New York State agencies.
Posted at 04:58 PM
MISSING THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE STORY [KJL]
This appears in the NYT story on the Pryor appointment:
Mr. Pryor is known for, among other things, defending the right of high school athletes to pray "spontaneously" and for his support of an Alabama state judge who posted the Ten Commandments in his courtroom and erected a monument engraved with the Commandments in the Supreme Court rotunda.Um. Except that, as attorney general, Pryor enforced the law and both the 10 Commandments and Moore are out of the Alabama supreme court.
Posted at 04:56 PM
PRYOR APPOINTMENT [John Derbyshire]
This much can be said for sure, based on the "Roy's Rock" incident: Bill Pryor is a man with a deep respect for the nation's Constitution and the people's laws. Which, to judge by recent events in San Francisco, is more than you can say of some state A-Gs.
Posted at 04:24 PM
RE: WHAT'S YOUR ORTHOGRAPHIC POINT? [John Derbyshire]
Best answer so far, from a reader in Michigan: "She's a DIPWAD!"
Posted at 04:08 PM
JUST DO IT [KJL]
Now a New Mexico county is issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Posted at 04:04 PM
A SOUTH DAKOTA POET [John Derbyshire]
Reader Jon Schaff tells me a thing I did not know, am ashamed not to have known, and am now glad to have been told: "Mr. Derbyshire--I don't know if you are aware, but the Bob Dylan song you referenced in today's fantastic column is actually a cowboy poem by one Charles Badger Clark, the first poet laureate of the great state of South Dakota. The poem was called 'A Border Affair,' but when set to music it has been called 'Spanish is the Loving Tongue' after its first line. I have seen and heard many versions of this poem, but below you'll find a version culled from this website: I also recommend his poem 'Bad Half Hour.'"
I've always liked that Dylan song much more than I like Dylan songs in general. Now I know why: The words were written by a good poet. I really like Clark's stuff. Look at the last stanza of "The Job." Sure, he's not Keats; but this is better than 90 percent of the stuff that gets published as poetry nowadays.
Posted at 03:59 PM
THE UNJUST OUTRAGE BEGINS [KJL]
PFAW reacts to the Pryor appointment.
Posted at 03:58 PM
PADILLA V. RUMSFELD [Jonathan H. Adler]
As widely expected, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the case of Jose Padilla, the alleged "dirty bomber." The case presents the question whether the federal government may detain a U.S. citizen who is alleged to be an "enemy combatant," indefinitely and without access to civil courts. The Court had already accepted cert petitions filed by Yaser Hamdi and several of the Guantanamo detainees.
Posted at 03:26 PM
"VOTER APATHY AND CYNICISM" [KJL]
Is the buzzline CNN ran at the beginning of a segment on Iran's elections a few minutes ago. Iranians sound like they're just lazy, instead of tyrannized.
Posted at 03:07 PM
BLOGGING FROM IRAN [KJL]
Citizen reports translated.
Posted at 03:05 PM
THE FACE OF TERRORISM [KJL]
Cliff May’s group, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has put together an exhibit that they’re showing at the Hague next week when the ICC holds hearings on Israel’s security fense. FDD is showing the face of Palestinian terrorism: murdered and maimed Israelis. What a effective use of resources. Here's the website they have set up about the exhibit.
Posted at 02:54 PM
WHAT'S YOUR ORTHOGRAPHIC POINT? [John Derbyshire]
The following is a Letter to the Editor in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Could someone please explain to me the function of the double-quotes in the second sentence of the second paragraph? Thank you.
[Heading] The Big 'Keep Out' Sign
Posted at 02:50 PM
LOVE POEMS [Rick Brookhiser]
John, you will be happy to know there is a calypso version of this song, with the refrain "Woe is me/ Shame and scandal in the family." It must be only slightly less old than dirt.
Posted at 02:48 PM
YOU NEED THESE BOOKS [Rod Dreher]
I have on my desk two books I find indispensable in thinking (and writing) about what the court fight over gay marriage means: the two-volume collection of essays published as "The End of Democracy?" -- published by Spence, and available really cheaply (less than $15 for both volumes) from their website. These are the essays and responses first published in First Things magazine, in which the matter of whether or not the "judicial usurpation of politics" meant that we were approaching a point at which ours had become a "tyrant state" devoid of legitimacy. There are lots of great arguments on both sides from contributors like Robert Bork, Robbie George, Hadley Arkes, Russ Hittinger, Bill Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Ramesh Ponnuru, the editors of NR, and others. The heart of this debate was Roe v. Wade, but everything said here applies to the gay marriage issue squarely before us now. Very, very timely, these collections.
Posted at 02:43 PM
BUSH AND GIBSON'S PASSION [KJL]
The president will probably be seeing (but hasn't yet), McClellan says.
Posted at 02:39 PM
DIPWADOPHOBIA [John Derbyshire]
A reader: "DIPWAD? Wow!! I haven't heard that word in years. We used it when we were kids. I googled it to see what would happen and Al Franken's web site was the first entry."
I am the father of two smallish American kids (8, 11) and now have lots of kid-slang in my vocabulary. Unfortunately, not much of it is suitable for a family website like NRO.
Posted at 02:35 PM
NADER'S RUNNING [KJL]
FNC is reporting. I'm getting Bush-Cheney 2004 posters for all the college kids I know to counter the Nader signs that will inevitably be all over campus windows.
Posted at 02:34 PM
THEY MAKE BUSH SOUND SO SINISTER [KJL]
Let us repeat again how common recess appointments have been in American history.
Posted at 02:30 PM
KERRY'S MORE MACHO [Tim Graham]
MRC's Geoff Dickens notes that on last night's Hardball, Lesley Stahl was asked if the Guard issue will hurt Bush, and she said:
"This campaign, because of 9-11, is going to be about which guy is the more manly, which is the more macho guy. And the idea that John Kerry went and fought in the war and was shot at and saved someone's life gives him that. He's Mister Macho. He's the guy. And the President is going to have to be dealing with this problem. I keep thinking this is going to be a real bellwether. You're gonna be able to tell whether Bush is gonna win or lose by whether that picture of him on the aircraft carrier and the jumpsuit turns into an object of ridicule for him, or if we still continue to think it's attractive. If it becomes ridicule, he's finished, you know?"
Posted at 02:20 PM
RE: PRYOR [KJL]
I'm told (by Quin Hillyer): "Word is he will serve TWO years, becasue Constitutions says recess appointments serve through the NEXT session of Congress, which means through 2005."
Posted at 02:17 PM
EXCELLENT: BILL PRYOR IS A FEDERAL JUDGE [KJL]
It's a shame the president has been forced to, but it looks like Bill Pryor has gotten his federal-bench seat, despite Schumer and co:
BC-APNewsAlert WASHINGTON - President Bush will use a recess appointment to put Alabama Attorney General William Pryor on federal appeals court, sources say.
Posted at 02:15 PM
FEDS CAN’T DUCK THIS ONE [Kate O'Beirne]
The marriage licenses being issued to homosexual couples in San Francisco present an immediate problem for the federal government. Before long (or maybe already) a newly-married federal employee will submit new paperwork to include the new “spouse” under the federal health benefits system. What’s a low-level bureaucrat who finds that request in the in-box to do? The Office of Personnel Management better advise their own employees post haste. Should these “spouses” wind up qualifying for federal coverage imagine the controversy when public attention forces Bush appointees to disqualify them all because their "marriages" aren't valid--including, no doubt, a seriously ill partner. Looks like the Bush Doctrine of Preemption is called for.
Posted at 02:11 PM
RE: JONAH'S NOT COOL [John Derbyshire]
I suppose it was inevitable: "Trying to draw attention to yourself by dissing dipwads, eh, Mr.D?"
Posted at 02:09 PM
ANOTHER PERK OF BEING AN NR CRUISER... [Rich Lowry]
...is that we come to your houses to stay, eat your food, and impose on your hospitality! Well, I'm not sure how much of a perk it actually is, but I will be staying at famed (notorious?) NR cruiser "Dr. John's" place tonight in Palm Springs (book talk tomorrow at the Pepper Tree Book Store and Cafe in Palm Springs at 3 p.m.). John has a wit as dry as the Sahara and as sharp as one of his surgicial instruments. Anyway, coming on a cruise is a great way to get hooked into the NR family. (I think I should get some sort of credit for two commerical announcements so far in this post. Have I mentioned that I will be reading myself to sleep with an NR children's book?)
Posted at 01:08 PM
JONAH'S NOT COOL [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: These imputations of ulterior motive are not worth bothering with. I get a steady drizzle of them, rising briefly to a downpour when I say anything friendly about the Jews/Israel: "Trying to ingratiate yourself with the neocons, eh, Mr. D?" If I say anything *rude* about the Jews/Israel the drizzle goes: "Trying to ingratiate yourself with the paleocons, eh, Mr. D?" If I am nice to George W. Bush: "Still hoping for that speechwriting job, eh, Mr. D?" If I am mean to George W. Bush: "Trying to draw attention to yourself by taking a contrarian position, eh, Mr. D?" Et cetera, et cetera, et bloody boring cetera. Forget them. I write what I think. I don't have ulterior motives and I don't know anyone in this line of work that I suspect of such motives. Hardly anybody's mind works like that. The only people whose minds *do* work like that, in fact, are the dipwads who cook up these kinds of hypotheses.
Posted at 01:07 PM
DON’T MISS IT [Kate O'Beirne]
Ramesh’s review of The Passion of the Christ in the current issue is the best commentary I’ve seen on the movie. In addition to his typically brilliant analysis of the controversy around the film, readers will be moved by Ramesh’s beautifully expressed personal reactions. A priest friend of mine will be sharing copies of the review with his parishioners when they see the movie together next week. It will enrich their experience.
Posted at 12:54 PM
I'M NOT COOL [Jonah Goldberg ]
As some of you have suspected from Wednesday's syndicated column, the reaction to the San Francisco fiasco by the gay rights left has made me more sympathetic to a constitutional amendment, though not necessarily to the one(s) kicking around right now. Jonathan Rauch proposes one I could certainly live with in Nick Schulz's piece. Blogger Justin Katz makes the case a great many readers have made to me, which is that given current trends the case for federalism is in fact the case for a constitutional amendment. As I said, I'm becoming increasingly sympathetic to that idea. But I point out Katz's comments for another reason. He glibly asserts that my motives on this and, presumably, other issues is to appear "cool" in the eyes of others, particularly Andrew Sullivan.
I hear this every now and then, particularly from self-proclaimed conservative purists and I think this is nonsense and I generally take offense to it. (It is also flatly not true about Nick Schulz who I've known for years and is one of my closest friends). I'm not above attacking peoples' motives -- if there is evidence about what their motives are, otherwise, it smacks of Stalinist politics. But this criticism of me is generally asserted without fact or foundation. It assumes I argue in bad faith and with a really silly motive to boot. I mean if I were trying to seem "cool" by altering my views I'd certainly come out against the drug war, which is certainly the "cool" position on campuses and elsewhere. And if I really wanted to ingratiate myself with Andrew I would not only be in favor of gay marriage but -- even better -- I'd stop being chatty with the Derb and start denouncing him as a walking, talking crime against humanity.
Anyway, I told Katz this and he's responded with a gracious note so I've got no more grievance with him. But I have no doubt that this idea will stay around for a long time.
Posted at 12:26 PM
DEATH OF THE SUN [John Derbyshire]
Peter: The death of the sun is around eight billion years in the future. In the development of space flight, a millennium here or there will not make a tad of difference. If the survival of the human race past the death of the sun is our goal, our optimal strategy is probably just to continue the steady advance of our understanding of the universe -- of both the physical and the human sciences -- so that our remote descendants are fully equipped to do whatever is necessary.
Posted at 11:50 AM
FRANCH CANADIANS! SMASH! [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, *visiting* France / French Canada is wildly different from *working* with them. Spent some vacation time in Paris back in '02, and the food & service we had was excellent - they were dying for American tourist dollars (and I'm not one to "hide" my American-ness. At 6'7", how am I gonna hide *anything*?). On the other had, my company has an office in Montreal, and those b*stards make our lives difficult on a daily basis. It'd be nice if they'd just be *uncooperative*, but instead they are actively seeking our destruction. With co-workers like these, who needs enemies? It's like they're our own little UN security council veto, trying to block us from making a living (or defeating our corporate enemies) every day. Bah! Wimps? Traitorous feckless crapweasels is more like it. Regards, Big John San Diego, CA [feel free to use my name - a hug to Jess & a pet to Cosmo for me!]
Posted at 11:48 AM
HOWARD DEAN: WHAT'S NEXT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 11:46 AM
LET ME SEE WHAT SPRING IS LIKE ON JUPITER AND MARS [Peter Robinson ]
When President Bush proposed his mission to Mars, I whined and whinged, complaining that it would cost too much--and that I couldn't see the point of such a mission at any cost.
Just in, a friendly rebuke.
Since the author has written about NASA better than anyone else who has ever lived-and, it seems fair enough to suppose, better than anyone else who ever will live-I pass the email along. "Peter,
"Only Wernher von Braun understood NASA's real mission, which is to make it possible for humans to reach and explore the rest of the universe. One day, he said, the sun will die. Before that happens, we---the only sentient beings in the universe, so far as we know---must build a "bridge to the stars." Unfortunately NASA couldn't very well let a former member of the Wehrmacht with a guttural German accent be NASA's reigning philosopher. More's the pity. We should have been walking on Mars 27 years ago. The plans had been completed.
Posted at 11:33 AM
ANIDEOLOGICAL [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm trying very hard not to share every interesting tidbit from my book in the Corner. But I agree entirely that Corporations are entirely selfish and non-ideological (anideological is too hard to say). One anecdote from my book (actually William Manchester's book) on this point.
When it was still unclear whether or not the Nazis would attain power in Germany, Gustav Krupp issued orders to his Berlin chauffeur: if Krupp left a building with his gloves in his right hand, the driver was to give him the traditional Prussian greeting (clicked heels and a tap of the bill of your hat). If Krupp had his gloves in his left hand, the chauffeur was expected to give him the full "Heil Hitler" salute, which Gustav would return with equal gusto. Such was the level of non-ideological opportunism of the most famously Nazi corporation.
(Special bonus if you noted that the left hand was reserved for the Nazis).
Posted at 11:31 AM
BRITISH WAR STORIES, CONT’D [Peter Robinson ]
John Sparrow, academic, wit, friend of, among many other prominent Englishmen, A. J. P. Taylor (see Derb's post below, from yesterday), and Warden of All Souls' College, Oxford, once told me a story about meeting Churchill during the war.
Sparrow was among a group of soldiers chosen to lunch with the prime minister at a house in the south of England that Churchill was using for a few days-for much of the war, you'll recall, Churchill remained in motion, traveling from place to place to avoid becoming a target for German agents, or, later in the war, German bombs. When Churchill received Sparrow's group, he appeared grim. "Gentlemen," the prime minister said, "I have received information that the Germans may attempt an invasion of our island this very day." Churchill looked from face to face in silence. Then he smiled. "But come," the prime minister said, "let us dine." Throughout his meal with the soldiers, Churchill remained entertaining, garrulous, and utterly composed
Although famously cynical, Sparrow had never quite gotten over the casual courage Churchill displayed that day. "The intelligence Churchill had received was wrong, of course," Sparrow said, "but I've never had any reason to doubt that he believed it at the time."
Posted at 11:08 AM
CORPORATIONS ARE ANIDEOLOGICAL [John Derbyshire]
John, Jonah: Capitalism is anideological. Capitalists couldn't care less. Ideology is hardly ever a thing that interests them. In the old South, laws had to be passed to stop businessmen violating the segregationist ideology by employing blacks where they oughtn't, when they thought they could make a buck by so doing.
Unfortunately, "anideological" is not the same as "anti-ideological." Where the political environment demands that businesses pay lip service to some ideology, or suffer dire financial consequences through state prosecutions or private lawsuits, they will pay lip service very punctiliously, in order to get on with what they are really interested in -- creating wealth -- with a minimum of trouble. Hence the spectacle of 1930s German industry marching to Hitler's tune: hence all those "sensitivity" and "diversity" seminars that plague the lives of office workers in America today....
Posted at 10:55 AM
REFORM WILL KILL SAUDI MONARCHY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sounds like more creative destruction to me.
Posted at 10:52 AM
SCIENTISTS AND CLONING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Some surprising data about their views. Supposedly 73 percent of American biotech researchers and 78 percent of foreign ones believe it to be "ethically unacceptable" to create human embryos for research purposes. Can this be true?
Posted at 10:49 AM
A SUPER TUESDAY GESTURE [KJL]
Radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt offers to work with John Edwards.
Posted at 10:47 AM
THE MAY/NOVAK EXCEPTION [KJL]
The Left is on our Cliff May's case, too.
Posted at 10:34 AM
LET'S DUMP ON DENNIS [Tim Graham]
The funniest thing about the emerging horror-movie press coverage of the Bush ad strategy came late in today's Howard Kurtz dispatch:
"The president's team said it also has done substantial research on North Carolina Sen. John Edwards in case he surges to the nomination and has even prepared a couple of ad scripts targeting long shot Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio congressman."
An anti-Kucinich script? Don't these guys have more "electable" Democrats to focus on? Couldn't they outsource that job to The Corner?
Posted at 10:30 AM
CHARLES ON THE CHARGE [Tim Graham]
Charles Krauthammer captures the current media modus operandi precisely in his column today. The anchors and pundits would have you believe that suddenly that awful mudslinging negativity is about to arrive -- now that Bush-Cheney will unload some advertising dough. They just ignore all the free Bush-hating hot air we've been listening to from the Deans and Sharptons and Jousting Johns for a year and a half.
I would only add one amendment: this "clever attempt at political insulation" includes the TV news media largely failing to scrutinize Kerry's biography or voting record. Instead of acting like professionals and scrutinizing it, they're going to force the GOP to spend advertising dollars doing their job, and then they'll get down to what they see as their next Kerry-coddling mission: "correcting" the ad claims and painting the Bushies as uncivil ad assassins.
Posted at 10:25 AM
DUBYA'S IMMIGRATION DEBACLE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Well, this piece of news (reported in the Washington Times) was painfully predictable. According to the union that represents the Border Patrol's field agents, the number of illegal aliens caught crossing into the US soared in the aftermath of George Bush's dumb, destructive and dishonest (Mr. President, whatever you may claim, it's an "amnesty") proposal for immigration "reform." This should be no surprise to anyone with any commonsense (a category that, when it comes to this topic, seems to exclude anyone in the White House) but it's also a reminder that if Bush's plan is implemented, it will not ease the problem of illegal immigration, it will make it far, far worse.
Posted at 09:57 AM
"THE NOVAK EXCEPTION" [KJL]
The most ethical thing in the world in the minds of the media elite is for a journalist to protect his sources. Reporters have gone to jail rather than reveal sources. But what about Robert Novak? He's different. Super elite himself Joe Wilson wants him to spill the beans on where he got what he knew about Wilson's wife--and the media, not wanting to be umcomfortable at the chic parties, and not counting Novak as a colleague, since, well, he thinks differently, agrees with Wilson, they want Novak to talk. The Journal has an excellent editorial on it all.
Posted at 09:55 AM
RE FRENCH CANADIANS [Jonah Goldberg]
I think Steyn's piece is great. But, personally, I always kind of liked the French Canucks. Like many immigrant groups they got out of their home countries at the right time and therefore weren't affected when their native cultures went off a cliff. I love Quebec City where the French food I had was hardly nouvelle (French for "clever is more important than tasty"). Mark Steyn obviously knows a lot more about Canada than I do, but I'm not entirely ignorant on the subject. Isn't it possible that while Steyn is right about the "Francization" of the political culture of Canada, isn't it also possible that some of Quebec's French culture has been "Canadified"? -- i.e. the French Canadians have adopted the humorless, thin-skinned, bitter and defensive UN-o-phillic schtick of their Anglo bretheren? In my Canada cover story I noted that I found the country to be turning into a giant college campus where political correctness reigned supreme and the only "intelligent" position was stupid anti-Americanism. Well, maybe that attitude has infected Canada's French speaking dorm?
Regardless, as for as Triumph the Comic Dog goes, I'm on his side. Canada is up there for him to poop on.
Posted at 09:53 AM
HANNITY MEETS THE PRESS [Tim Graham]
See how Sean received a much tougher morning show interview than your average Democratic presidential contender here.
Posted at 09:43 AM
WHY REPUBLICANS SHOULD NEVER SUPPORT TAX INCREASES [Michael Graham]
"[Democrat VA Governor Mark]Warner has successfully lobbied state GOP standard-bearers to endorse his goals, giving political cover to Republicans who might want to vote for tax increases. And on the stump, he frequently calls his proposals "moderate" in comparison to the Senate plan authored by Republican Sen. John H. Chichester.
'Heck,' Warner told an audience of about 100 at the Pittsylvania County Courthouse last week, 'we've got the Republican Senate now. I'm the conservative alternative!'"
Thanks, Virginia Republicans. By pushing a $3.7 billion tax increase--higher than the $2 billion proposed by Mark Warner--you've made yourself the poster child for Democrats who are trying to paint the GOP as the party you can't trust on fiscal issues. US Senate Democrats are pointing to Virginia and saying "See, they don't believe in the Bush tax cuts, either!"
Robert Novak is absolutely right: The only reason to have a Republican Party is to cut taxes.
Posted at 09:41 AM
ESSENTIAL READING [John J. Miller]
Mark Steyn's WSJ article on the faux controversy over Conan O'Brien's recent mocking of Quebec is a stitch. Reminds me of the old joke: There's only one thing worse than a Frenchman--a Frenchman from Canada. (Memo to the indignant: My mother's maiden name was Gagne, so your outrage will be ignored.)
Posted at 09:32 AM
BRING IT ON [Jonah Goldberg ]
I recycled my hypothetical Bush ad from last week and made into my syndicated column.
Posted at 09:27 AM
SAVE THE LUT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Historic preservation for space enthusiasts.
Posted at 09:24 AM
AMBIVI-CONS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Nick Schulz tackles the ambivalence of younger conservatives over gay marriage.
Posted at 07:03 AM
THE GUARD STORY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Americans don't care very much.
Posted at 07:00 AM
CHIHUAHUAS FOR BUSH [John J. Miller]
What a relief it is to learn that Bush's campaign media team includes the person "who is credited with making the talking-dog commercials for Taco Bell."
Posted at 05:56 AM
RE: "SPECIAL K" [KJL]
I thought that was me. I will fight Kerry for it.
Posted at 05:18 AM
THE PASSION: ATTENTION PASTORS, ETC. [KJL]
If you have church group that is having a Passion-related event and wants copies of Ramesh’s piece to distribute, like Kate’s priest, it’s yours, here. (And please feel free to write in about your event.)
Posted at 05:01 AM
Thursday, February 19, 2004
FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be on CNN tomorrow morning around 8:35ish. If you have a suggestion for an undercovered story of the week between now and 7:15 tomorrow morning, please send it along. If you have an actual link to the story, that'd be helpful.
Posted at 11:24 PM
THE HIGHWAY BILL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The Weekly Standard runs an unconvincing defense of the most bloated version. The substantive case is that we need infrastructure improvements. But solutions based on eliminating prevailing-wage statutes, privatizing work, or devolving the prioritization of projects to the states are completely ignored. As a political matter, we're supposed to believe that fiscal conservatives won't mind a massive spending hike because it's paid for by an increase in the gas tax. A majority of the public supports the idea in polls! Well, so what? Polls will always find more support for higher taxes than there actually is. And you know who that 31 percent of the public who don't like higher taxes are? Fiscal conservatives.
Posted at 07:33 PM
THE KEY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
to Beinart's column is the conclusion, in which he says that the president and the senator should just admit they each serve different interests and that the president will have the harder time defending his associations. It's revealing, first, because of the assumption that "consumer groups" represent the public they claim to speak for. But I also think it's simply not true that the public will really judge closeness to energy companies, the NRA, etc., as harshly as it will closeness to Handgun Control Inc., the National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign, etc. Liberals overestimate the unpopularity of the former and underestimate the unpopularity of the latter.
Posted at 07:11 PM
MAN OF THE PEOPLE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Kerry on the hustings.
Posted at 05:54 PM
SO, SO, SO, SO, SO..... [Jonah Goldberg ]
SOOOOOOOOO different than a National Review cruise.
Here's an email sent out from Salon:
"ear Salon Premium Member:
Posted at 04:42 PM
I DON'T KNOW IF IT RAISED THEM ANY MONEY, BUT... [Rich Lowry]
Someone forwarded this along to me. It's from a Kerry fundraising appeal and cites our Dean cover:
"Dear Friend, George W. Bush and Karl Rove plan to run on national security in the general election. As the cover of the right-wing National Review proves, the Republican leadership is hoping that Democrats nominate Howard Dean because they can portray him as weak on national security and foreign policy.
Posted at 04:15 PM
WORSE THAN GAY MARRIAGE [Jonah Goldberg]
Let me simply declare that if I were Czar it would be against the law to further discuss Mel Gibson's new movie until it's actually been released. I think the issues are interesting, I think subject is serious. But good golly I couldn't give a rat's patoot about it until I actually see it. That goes for the defenders and the critic's alike.
Posted at 03:34 PM
MORE SPECIAL K [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:29 PM
RE: SPECIAL K [Jonah Goldberg]
John: I completely agree. In fact I've had a similar argument with Beinart more than once. He seems thoroughly convinced that corporations are "right-wing" and I'm thoroughly convinced that's poppycock.
But on your specific point, I'd go even further. Not only do Big Businesses create wealth -- something I doubt Beinart would dispute -- but, thanks largely to the policies of lots of Democrats Beinart supports, corporations provide health care for millions and millions of Americans. And many consumer groups, I've always thought, are little more than propaganda arms of trial lawyers and the like. Without a doubt, a president that pleases, say, GM is doing far more to help average Americans than a president who pleases, say, the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
And when you think about it, except in the area of fighting pollution (an increasingly minor problem) conservation groups don't really try to help average Americans except in indirect or vaguely transcendental ways (saving green spaces for future generations and the like). The Teamsters, after all, support drilling in ANWR.
Posted at 03:07 PM
LEGACY IN CALIFORNIA [Rich Lowry]
I will be giving a talk at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda about Legacy at 10:30 am tomorrow. It’s open to the public, so feel free to come. Then on Saturday I’ll be at the Pepper Tree Bookstore & Café in Palm Springs giving a talk and signing some books. This also is, obviously, open to the public. Hope to see you at either of these events, or, if you are a truly devoted NR fan, at both.
Posted at 02:50 PM
ISN'T THAT SPECIAL? [John J. Miller]
Jonah: Peter Beinart's column is good, though I disagree with this statement: "big companies represent a narrower group of people than labor, environmental, or consumer groups." Don't "big companies" serve the broad interest of providing lots of jobs? And don't they create wealth for millions of shareholders, including ordinary folks saving for retirement through IRAs and the like? The statement is even more true if we remove the adjective "big." Beinart also incorrectly assumes that "consumer groups" represent all consumers, rather than just a slice of them.
Posted at 02:45 PM
ANOTHER VALPO REVIEW [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 02:27 PM
POETRY CORNER [John Derbyshire]
We don't have half enough poetry on The Corner. Here is a contribution from a reader who has been moved by my sentimental affinity for the Heart of Dixie. I have no idea who wrote it (not the reader, he says):
Alabama Love Poem
Laurie Lee done fell in love;
She planned to marry Joe.
She was so happy 'bout it all
She told her Pappy so.
Pappy told her, "Laurie gal,
You'll have to find another.
I'd just as soon yer Ma don't know,
But Joe is yer half brother"
So Laurie put aside her Joe
And planned to marry Will.
But after telling Pappy this,
He said, "There's trouble still...
You cannot marry Will, my gal.,
And please don't tell yer Mother,
But Will and Joe and several mo'
I know is yer half brother"
But Mama knew and said, "My child,
Just do what makes you happy.
Marry Will or marry Joe.
You ain't no kin to Pappy.
Posted at 02:23 PM
"SPECIAL K" [Jonah Goldberg ]
Peter Beinart comes to Kerry's rescue.
Posted at 02:22 PM
I'M BACK (SORTA) [Jonah Goldberg ]
I just got home from Valpo. I had a good time and the kids really seemed to enjoy the talk. When I arrived I discovered that the title of the speech they were expecting was "Give War A Chance" (apologies to PJ O'Rourke, though I never came up with that title in the first place). The Valpo law students were a very sharp and decent bunch of guys and quite a few NROniks showed up in the audience as well. There were several inquiries about various NR personalities and so on. Afterwards I went out with some of the law students and held a seminar in one of the local pubs. Much Kantian analysis ensued. This is the local paper's (very odd) coverage. and here's a contrary view.
Posted at 02:15 PM
MORE POLYGAMY [Rick Brookhiser]
John, it's not just Asians and Africans. There are tenacious communities of Mormon schismatics practicing polygamy throughout the American west, with off shoots in Mexico and Canada. Perhaps one has to spend some time in Utah, as I did last year, to get a sense their off-stage presence, and of their relation to a larger community in which they are now pariahs, but which they claim (with some plausibility) to authentically represent. Their relative invisibility in the current debate over marriage shows, yet again, the class blinders, based on religion and, in this case, geography, that our debating classes wear. Rick Brookhiser
Posted at 01:30 PM
WOW--THE IRANIAN MULLAHS ARE EVEN WORSE THAN ASHCROFT! [KJL]
Who knew it was possible? (Newspapers get shut down for criticizing Mr. Reformer.)
Posted at 01:23 PM
LINK CORREX [Stanley Kurtz]
The link below to the Village Voice piece on multi-person marriages isn't working. Here's a better link.
Posted at 01:18 PM
OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR [John Derbyshire]
Steven: Churchill and many others. I grew up among people who regarded the early 1940s -- bombs raining down, severe food rationaing, friends & relatives getting maimed & killed, massive state interference in everything -- as the best & happiest years of their lives.
I said this to a Russian acquaintance once. He said his fellow-countrymen were just the same. "That's why Communism lasted another 50 years...."
Posted at 12:31 PM
PEGGY WRITES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Do see the always eloquent Peggy Noonan—she writes today a little about the event we were both at Wednesday.
Posted at 12:01 PM
PLUGGING POD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
John Podhoretz makes the Bush case very well in his aforementioned new book, Bush Country (he’s not paying me to say this--I happened to get to read through it some on the way down to D.C.): “America has done some extraordinary and wonderful things these past three years” under the leadership of George W. Bush. There are miles to go and there are things that have not gone quite right--or which some of us may disagree with for some very real reasons--but the accomplishments are substantial and critically important.
Posted at 12:00 PM
BLACK AND WHITE [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Not to keep bringing this back to the coming election (to be so short term--and yet long term), but there is something stark in the contrast between George W. Bush and John Kerry (who I am safely assuming will be the nominee). If everyone really looked at the things Kerry has said about this nation--and never apologized for (do read WFB’s West Point speech of 1971, along with Kerry’s congressional testimony, along with Mac Owens and Kate) and then hear W. (and I do think Bush watchers have seen it), I don’t think there would be much of a contest. You might just say I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, but I think the choice is clear and important. And I hope Americans see the case as clearly and persuasively as I did yesterday.
Posted at 11:58 AM
IN THE ROOSEVELT ROOM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The president, who was two seats across from me and made eye contact with me often (as he made a point to with everyone) exuded confidence and discipline and passion. He talked about very many issues in a 50-something-minute meeting (which I gather was planned to be much shorter), but there was no doubt that war is foremost on his mind--the security of this nation he swore to protect and defend and all. Hearing him, as Kate got from a meeting with an senior administration official last week, you realize just how grave the threat we face every day, and the constant, daily decision-making that happens. He’s the president, of course, and that’s his job. But it’s one he’s doing well, and totally gets in ways I don’t think everyone who has held that job (in very recent history, for instance…) has. Just ask, say, Khaddafi. Or, well, Saddam.
After the president talked Wednesday morning, as comfortably as a long-time friend who has a load of grave and serious concerns on his mind, I was reminded of the contrast of John Kerry rattling off that silly litany at the Wisconsin debate last weekend, when asked by Lester Holt if he would consider himself a “war president.” Kerry said, "I'd see myself first of all as a jobs president, as a health care president, as an education president, and also an environmental president." The president clearly sees jobs, and the economy, and medicare, and education, etc., etc., as crucially important. But, also, at the end of the day (and the beginning and all times in between), he is the leader who said, “I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.” He said it on Sept. 20, 2001. He meant it then and he still says it and means its today. And there is still protecting the unborn, preventing a brave new world, preserving marriage, stimulating the economy, and a whole host of issues, and we can and will debate the merits of No Child Left Behind, or immigration, etc., but when all is said and done, I, for one, am certainly comforted to know there’s a guy as decent as George W. Bush, who realizes that his everyday decisions will have a long-term impact--way beyond the November elections, for sure--and who loves America and loves liberty, and believes everyone should have a shot at living in it.
None of this, of course, is a shock to me--but it is something to see it right in front of you--to see his confidence and, even, more than a little gravitas.
Posted at 11:56 AM
K-LO ON THE ROAD, AT 1600 [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Yesterday I attended a small off-the-record session at the White House. I wasn’t going to mention it because of the whole off-the-record thing, but word’s leaked, so I will share a little, without going into specifics.
Posted at 11:55 AM
KERRY'S GOT 'SPLAINING TO DO [Tim Graham]
Marc Morano has the goods from Kerry's anti-war book.
In the book's epilogue, which begins on page 158, Kerry sums up his views on the war by writing, "We were sent to Vietnam to kill Communism. But we found instead that we were killing women and children." In the book, Kerry states that Vietnamese citizens "didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy" and he instead blamed the United States for causing chaos in Vietnam.
"In the process we created a nation of refugees, bomb craters, amputees, orphans, widows, and prostitutes, and we gave new meaning to the words of the Roman historian Tacitus: 'Where they made a desert they called it peace,'" Kerry explained...
Kerry predicted that as a result of their experiences during the war, veterans like himself "will not readily join the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars...We will not uphold traditions which decorously memorialize that which was base and grim," he wrote. Don't count on Kerry at those conventions this year.
Posted at 11:33 AM
RE: WHEN THE BRITISH WERE PATRIOTIC [Steven Hayward]
Derb: It is worth recalling that when Churchill, very late in life, was asked what year in his life he would want to re-live if he could, he answered: "1940--every time, every time!"
Posted at 10:03 AM
STEPPING STONE [Stanley Kurtz]
If you’d like to get a graphic sense of what the slippery slope from gay marriage, to polyamory, to the abolition of marriage will look like, now you can see it on video. In “Beyond Gay Marriage,” I talked about the radical professors currently in control of the discipline of family law. These professors favor gay marriage–but only as a step toward group marriage (polyamory) and/or the legal abolition of marriage itself. Now you can see some of the most prominent radicals give their vision of the future at the March 2003 conference on “Marriage, Democracy and Families” at the Hofstra University School of Law. If you go to Panel V–“Intimate Affiliation and Democracy: Beyond Marriage,” and click on Part I, you will see the third speaker (counting the introduction of the panel by the chair as the first speaker), Martha Fineman, advocate the abolition of legal marriage. I think the fourth speaker is even more interesting. Judith Stacey, the Barbra Streisand Professor in Contemporary Gender Studies at USC, describes a three parent family–a lesbian couple and an inseminating gay man–that she would like to see get legal recognition. (There wasn’t enough time for Stacey to present her example of a four parent family.) There’s no real difference between Stacey’s plea for recognition of triple or quadruple parent marriages and the pleas for recognition of same-sex marriage. We are bound to be hearing more about this in the future. Finally, take a look at the talk by Martha Ertman, the first speaker (after a brief introduction) in the “Part II” video of the same panel. Ertman has offered the law of business partnership as the basis for an infinitely flexible set of relationship contracts. These contracts would recognize marriages in any combination of number or gender. Ertman’s goal is to render distinctions between any possible sexual grouping “morally neutral.” Again, what’s interesting here is that all of these radicals favor gay marriage. Yet each sees gay marriage as a stepping stone to the effective abolition of marriage itself.
Judith Stacey’s plea for recognition of three and four person marriages is important, because she makes it in conjunction with a group of powerful professors of family law. But there’s another sense in which Stacey’s campaign is not isolated. Check out this article from the Village Voice. Once gay marriage is safely in place, we’ll be seeing a lot more articles like that. And the pleas for fairness and compassion for multi-parent gay families will be every bit as heartfelt as the pleas for two person gay marriage are now. By the way, I got the link to this article from the blog at marriagedebate.com. That is the site to go to for thoughtful arguments on both sides of the gay marriage issue.
Posted at 10:00 AM
DEBATING THE RED (PLANET) [Stanley Kurtz]
A couple weeks ago, I attended a fascinating debate on the exploration of space. Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, and one of the foremost advocates of the exploration and colonization of Mars, was pitted against Robert Park, a leading critic of manned space flight, famous for debunking bad science. I’d call the debate a tie. The quirky, brilliant, and charismatic Zubrin had powerful arguments, detailed information, and articulated an inspiring (but too thinly supported) vision. Park was a smart, taciturn, curmudgeon whose hammer blows of skepticism frequently hit home.
At one point in the Mars debate, host and organizer Adam Keiper (see Keiper’s, “A New Vision for NASA”) put the question to Zubrin that I raised in, “Mission Worth It?” Is Mars like Everest (a place too hostile for anything but exploration), or like California (a place we could colonize in significant numbers). Zubrin’s answer was unsatisfactory. He drew an analogy to the colonization of America that begged every question about cost, practicality, and timing. Zubrin’s five hundred year colonization time line turns his vision into a de facto fantasy.
I came away from the Mars debate still seeing colonization as a sort of libertarian heaven. I used to think libertarians, while giving short shrift to the social preconditions of liberty, were at least a hard headed lot. But the libertarian fascination with Mars increasingly strikes me as a quirky (if harmless) utopian fantasy. If anything, the radical precariousness of a Martian colony would necessitate a high degree of human interdependence. The Mars fantasy strikes me as a way of pretending that, if we could just wipe the slate clean, the necessities of social life which continually emerge to frustrate libertarian hopes would somehow disappear. Isn’t this just Marx in reverse? In any case, judge for yourself. Here’s a description of the participants, and here’s a link to the debate.
Posted at 08:57 AM
WHEN THE BRITISH WERE PATRIOTIC [John Derbyshire]
BBC TV is currently running a multi-part docu-drama about the 1940 evacuation from Dunkirk. Military historian John Keegan writes luminously about it in this morning's Telegraph. Sample:
"I once asked [British historian] AJP Taylor what the summer of 1940 had been like. A smile slowly replaced his normally dour expression. 'Wonderful,' he said. 'Wonderful.'
"'But,' I asked, 'weren't people worried that Britain was entirely on its own?' 'Not at all,' he answered, 'ordinary people said we were better off without all those foreigners. We could manage by ourselves.' I had no doubt that AJP Taylor, supreme realist though he was, had been infected by the same feeling.
"It is at that level that the [BBC TV] programmes were perhaps deficient. They fail to communicate how fervently patriotic Britain of 1940 was. The British really did believe that they were the greatest people in the world, and that foreigners were lesser beings, a feeling that extended even to the Americans, who were eventually to rescue them."
---On the British attitude to foreigners: I recall my father, an Englishman born in 1899, after watching some TV news clip, muttering under his breath: "Foreigners! Bloody fools for all I can see."
---On Dunkirk: My father's sister spent her early married life living over her husband's shop near the railway station in the sleepy English country town where I grew up. There was an army barracks on the other side of town.
In the wee hours one morning in 1940 my aunt was woken by a peculiar shush-shushing sound from the street outside. Shush-shush-shush-shush -- "like a steam train going very slow." Looking out, she saw endless lines of soldiers shuffling along the street from the station, in the direction of the barracks. They were men who had been evacuated from Dunkirk. Because they'd had to wade far out to the boats, they had all left their boots behind. Their feet were just wrapped with cloth and paper. That was the shushing sound.
---"What a falling off was there!"
Posted at 08:42 AM
SAN FRAN [Stanley Kurtz]
In the absence of the Federal Marriage Amendment, the final decision on how widely same-sex marriages will be recognized rests in the hands of judges. Point to any regulation or "defense of marriage act" you like, but if judges won't enforce it, or choose to interpret it out of existence, that law will fall. Some indication of how trustworthy our judges are came a couple of days ago, when San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren (former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren's grandson) refused to halt the issuing of patently illegal marriage licenses-for a month-because, he said, the request for a cease and desist order had been written with a semicolon where the word "or" should have been.
I think what's happening in San Francisco is undermining something fundamental-something that includes, but goes beyond, rule of law. When it comes to gay marriage, affirmative action, and other hot button social issues, conservatives are used to being shut out of mainstream debate. That has sparked the growth of a whole alternative media. But I think we're seeing something new here-a new level of disregard by liberal elites for the broader public, and for the very idea of democratic debate and decision making. When state and national opinion, a recent referendum, and the plain meaning of the law, are openly disregarded by political and legal officials, the bases of civil comity are eroded in fundamental ways. Whether gay marriage is eventually nationalized or not, I think we're all going to pay a price for the way this battle is being fought. In any case, at this point, it is absurd to ask conservatives to trust in the good faith of judges. If you think anything short of an amendment can stop gay marriage, you are dreaming.
Posted at 08:40 AM
MORE ABOUT KERRY-FONDA [Tim Graham]
Bob Novak adds detail to the Kerry-Fonda photo today. A flier shows Kerry led the bill at an anti-war rally that also featured Fonda and other leftist radicals. Let's not just focus on the picture, but what happened and what was said at the rally pictured.
Novak also reports Kerry, as the New England representative, attended a VVAW executive committee meeting Sept. 11, 1970. Minutes show plans to picket the National Guard Association convention in New York, to sponsor "war crimes testimony" at the U.N. and to coordinate with Jane Fonda's speaking tour. A later VVAW staff meeting decided to bar the American flag from the organization's offices. A VVAW flier of their period claims "American soldiers" commit atrocities "every day" against "the Vietnamese simply because they are 'Gooks.'"
Posted at 08:00 AM
CONSERVATIVE OPERA [John Derbyshire]
Are there distinctly conservative operas, a reader asks? Not sure. There are distinctly UN-conservative operas, though. This onel , for example.
Posted at 07:42 AM
CHAIRMAN, CAN YOU SPARE US ALL? [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Last night a very lost looking Terry McAuliffe wandered into a book party at the Jefferson Hotel in D.C. for John Podhoretz, which was filled with right-thinking stars and heavyweights. John’s new book is, you may recall (and should, since you want to read it, especially if you’ve found yourself down on 43 of late), Bush Country: How Dubya became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane. The DNC chair unfortunately managed to make a quick escape before John could hand him a signed copy; he must have run off to see to his shrink. As Mr. T would say, “Pity the fool.” (Jonah’s not here, o.k.? I’m trying.
Posted at 07:12 AM
"THE DAYS OF FAUX-FOX ARE OVER" [Tim Graham]
Floundering MSNBC's latest personnel move -- picking up ethically challenged FOB Rick Kaplan to run the whole shebang -- ought to get cable news junkies' tongues a-waggin'. (Get the scoop on Kaplan's Clinton shenanigans here.)
Hey, it's a new decade, and perhaps viewers can forgive Kaplan's past liberal bias, not to mention the lawsuit-magnet journalistic disasters on his watch (Food Lion at ABC and the "Tailwind" nerve-gas slander at CNN). But for conservatives, renewed skepticism starts when Eric Alterman breaks out his tap-dancing shoes over the chance he can take the "So-Called" off his Liberal Media:
Rick Kaplan is the perfect choice to take it over and turn MSNBC into something in which everyone associated with the network can (finally) take pride. He helped build Nightline into the best news show on network television--(and the second best, and the third best) by hiring a crack staff and letting them do their jobs. [Like putting the phony "October Surprise" slur on Reagan....] He paid attention both to news values and to production values. And CNN made a great deal more sense under his watch than it has in the recent past, though it's fair to say, not as much as it might have. At Harvard and at ABC during the war, Kaplan has had time to rethink what works and what doesn't and apply it to a place that has too much of the latter and precious little of the former. With MSNBC he's got a near clean slate and plenty of resources to work with. Not everything he tries will work, but I'm guessing the days of Faux-Fox are over.
Posted at 06:47 AM
FIELD OF DREAMS [John J. Miller]
John Kerry may yet do well in the general election, but I've always believed that the Democrats did not field an especially strong group of candidates for this year's primaries. If Kerry loses in November, 2008 may look a lot different as the Dems put forward a team that will be hard to characterize as the "seven dwarves" or somesuch. Think about it: Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Howard Dean, John Edwards, and maybe a few others. Despite her obvious vulnerabilities, Hillary will excite her party and raise huge amounts of money. Gore has problems, too, and would probably flop, but he's a big name (and recall the theory that when he endorsed Dean in December he did it with an eye on attracting Dean supporters in 2008). Dean already sounds like a guy who wants to make another run. John Edwards probably will be back. If Kerry loses, his running mate may be a force to contend with. Then there are figures like Bill Richardson waiting in the wings. Few of Bush's potential GOP successors are as well known. Anything can happen, but it looks like a good opening hand for the Dems.
Posted at 05:42 AM
THE RED CROSS [KJL]
slams Israel's wall.
Posted at 03:50 AM
ANOTHER BISHOP [KJL]
lays down the law on abortion supporters. Kudos for doing the right thing.
Posted at 03:37 AM
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
MENOPAUSAL AD CAMPAIGN [Kate O'Beirne]
The New York Times' Sunday story about what the Bush campaign is up to can't have reassured the President's wary conservative supporters anticipating a tough race in November. It was reported that campaign ads are being filmed that will built around the theme of "Steady Leadership in a Time of Change." Steady? Change? The first has echoes of 1992's "wouldn't be prudent," and, of course, Bill Clinton was always busy managing "change." Strong is a better "S" word and "challenge" says far more than change. The current slogan doesn't match up with a campaign that should center on which candidate is best suited to lead our ongoing war on terrorism. Seems to me Cornerites could do alot better.
Posted at 05:30 PM
"VANITY" [Rich Lowry]
This quote from a Kerry aide jumped out at me from the New York Times this morning (Mickey Kaus also noted it): "This whole idea that you sort of cherry-pick the states you are going to compete in -- that's a vanity game, it's not a real game." This gets at a potential Edwards vulnerability -- the fact that he is a bit of a showhorse instead of a workhorse, looking and talking a good game but without a lot of substance behind it. I also wonder if Kerry will begin to hit on the fact that John Edwards, the scourge of special interests, is almost wholly funded by one special interest, the trial lawyers. I believe I've heard Kerry mention this in the past, but it seems a ripe and perfectly legitimate point to make. I go back and forth on whether Kerry or Edwards would be more electable, but the contrast between their speeches last night couldn't have been more stark. As the Times put it, when Kerry "bumped Mr. Edwards' own ebulient speech off the air, it was as if a pep rally had morphed into math class."
Posted at 04:35 PM
WHO GETS THE MAUVE TRIANGLE? [Mark Krikorian]
The more eagerly the Left embraces Jew-hatred, the more actively it seeks to equate itself with the Jews, in effect to claim that the various components of the Left are the genuine heirs of victimized Jewry of old, rather than the actual Jews, who have turned out to be something of a disappointment.
A case in point: the spread and evolution of symbols used to identify concentration camp inmates. To equate themselves with Jews, homosexualists have adopted the pink triangle, which the Nazis to identify homosexual men, as a contemporary political symbol. Not to be left out, lesbians have adopted the black triangle, even though it was used to identify "anti-social" behavior in general. And, increasing the absurdity, some are now claiming that a burgundy triangle identified "transgendered" prisoners.
Well, wouldn't you know it, illegal aliens now have their own triangle, a blue one, which the Nazis in some camps used to identify foreign slave laborers or stateless people. The Blue Triangle Network is the sponsor of the "National Day of Solidarity with Muslim, Arab and South Asian Immigrants," scheduled for this Friday, February 20, with all the usual boilerplate about "first, they came for the communists" and "no one is illegal," plus all the usual affiliations -- the ACLU, the Palestine Solidarity Group, La Resistencia, the National Lawyers Guild, and, my favorite, "Raging Grannies Without Borders."
Posted at 04:34 PM
DEAN 2.0 [John J. Miller]
Howard Dean sounds like a man planning to run for president in 2008.
Posted at 04:27 PM
IS ROMANCE DEAD? [John Derbyshire]
Jonathan: Romance is most certainly NOT dead. I have a piece in the pipeline for NRO that proves this beyond a shadow of doubt.
Posted at 04:15 PM
STORMY WEATHER [Andrew Stuttaford]
More 'reporting' from Reuters:
"OSLO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Environmentalists fete John Kerry as a possible saviour in a stalled battle against global warming if the Democratic front-runner topples U.S. President George W. Bush in the November election. "Kerry has probably been the greatest champion of climate change issues with (Joe) Lieberman in the U.S. Senate," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the WWF environmental group's climate change programme. European governments, among the strongest backers of the U.N.'s stalled 1997 Kyoto protocol meant to limit global warming, would welcome a shift towards Kerry's environmental policies after years of trans-Atlantic feuds with Bush...Bush stunned the world in 2001 by pulling the United States -- the globe's biggest polluter -- out of Kyoto, arguing the plan was too costly and wrongly excluded developing nations... Kerry... has berated Bush for ditching Kyoto rather than seeking to renegotiate. Kerry now talks of taking part "in the development of an international climate change strategy to address global warming" -- music to the ears of many Kyoto backers who view climate change as the biggest long-term threat to life on earth. Kerry has also campaigned for green issues like better fuel efficiency in cars or against plans for Arctic oil drilling. By contrast, Bush did not use the word "environment" in his 2004 State of the Union address. But a Kerry presidency would be no magic environmental wand. Kerry judged in 1997 that Kyoto would be unacceptable to the U.S. Senate and now reckons it is too late for Washington to sign up for the first round of cuts under Kyoto, in 2008-12. The protocol aims to curb emissions of gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) spewed by factories and cars and blamed by scientists for blanketing the planet and driving up temperatures, bringing more droughts, floods or typhoons..."
Posted at 03:49 PM
BUSH’S NATIONAL GUARD SERVICE [John Derbyshire]
An excellent point on GWB's National Guard service, and his past in general, was made by Mark Steyn in last Sunday's Daily Telegraph: "[W]hatever Bush did or didn't do back in those days is consistent with who he is. As horrified European commentators are fond of pointing out, Mr Bush is a 'born-again' Christian. We don't need to see grainy home movies of a soused goofball in a Mexican bar face down in the beer nuts to know more or less the kind of guy he was 30 years ago. But he changed; he was born again. If you found some video of Bush rat-arsed (as the British say) in 1974, how relevant is that to the abstemious tucked-in-by-nine family man of 2004? In that sense, even if everything the accusers said was true -- that he was an absentee Guardsman -- it's not inconsistent with the official Bush narrative."
Full piece here.
Posted at 03:47 PM
“PLEASE, NOMINATE THIS MAN” RECONSIDERED [Rich Lowry]
Kathryn, I know you are joking, but I have gotten a lot of genuinely angry complaints that NR helped bring Dean down with our "Please, Nominate This Man” cover. A couple of points for all you out there steamed about that cover (especially today!): 1) Democrats probably were going to figure out that Dean was a disaster with or without us, but our cover may have helped. 2) We’re not in the business of hiding our opinions, and our opinion was a Dean nomination would be catastrophic for the Democrats—so we publicized that opinion in the most dramatic way we could. 3) To the extent the cover did hurt Dean (I’m still amazed at how many liberal Democrats are aware of that cover), I'm glad since he was a noxious influence on the Democrats and our national politics. We should want the Democrats to be as reasonable and responsible as possible, and at least John Kerry is more of both of those things than Howard Dean.
Posted at 03:40 PM
21ST CENTURY ROMANCE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Is romance dead? Have hook-ups and on-line matchmaking replaced courtship? The America's Future Foundation (of which I am a Board Member) will be hosting a roundtable tonight (Wednesday) in Washington, D.C. to address these and related questions. The full details are here.
Posted at 03:33 PM
RIGHT-THINKING AT YALE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The YDN on being a right-leaning Yale law student. (LvHB)
Posted at 03:30 PM
SWEET & SOUR TRADE DEAL [Jonathan H. Adler]
Daniel Drezner outlines the the high points and low points of the U.S.-Australia free trade agreement that was just signed. Slashing tariffs on manufactured goods is great, but the Bush Administration's continued pandering to Big Sugar is lamentable. Indeed, yesterday's WSJ notes that the Administration's refusal to negotiate over sugar tariffs could sink ratification of the deal, and undermine future trade agreements with other countries. Having caved to sugar, the Administration has no principled basis for refusing to protect other ag sectors in future deals, and our trading partners have greater reason to refuse U.S. access to their privileged markets.
Posted at 03:30 PM
"WATCHING CAREFULLY" [KJL]
Bush on San Fran and marriage (and "marriage") today.
Posted at 03:28 PM
ANOTHER KERRY FLIP? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Instapundit reports on comments by Hoffa suggesting Kerry may support ANWR drilling after all in order to ensure the Teamsters' support.
Posted at 03:27 PM
THE GLORIOUS NINTH [Jonathan H. Adler]
The guys at Southern Appeal have begun a substantial debate (starting here) on the meaning of the Ninth Amendment, which reads: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." To some, it's an inkblot, with no judicially enforceable meaning. To others, it provides a legitimate basis, in at least some instances, to strike down oppressive legislation. (It is, after all, in the Constitution for a reason.) Learned Hand is following the action, and summarizes the debate here.
Posted at 03:24 PM
POLYGAMY [John Derbyshire]
I can offer a small, fuzzy data point on the topic of polygamy.
My best friend in Hong Kong was born into the family of a Big Man in the pretty-much-ungoverned South China of around 1930. (His home town was Foshan, in Guangdong Province.) Definition of a Big Man in that time & place: the guy had his own private army! Anyway, as well as having an army, Chan's dad also had several wives. Chan was never sure which one was his mother. This, he claims, caused him severe psychic distress growing up.
There must be plenty of Asians & Africans of older generations who had similar backgrounds & can tell stories about growing up under polygamy.
Posted at 03:22 PM
RUMSFELD, MARTIAL ARTIST [Jonathan H. Adler]
Check out the 1000 Fighting Styles of Donald Rumsfeld (link via Instapundit). Of these, Drunken Temple Boxing is the most dangerous.
Posted at 03:22 PM
HE'S GONE [KJL]
Look what you did, Rich Lowry. All it took was an NR(ODT) cover.
Posted at 03:01 PM
I'M GONE [Jonah Goldberg]
I've got to get going. Looking forward to meeting all the Corner readers who said they'll show at Valpo tonight.
Posted at 12:18 PM
CORRECTION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Re your Corner posting at 9:07 a.m. Wed 18 Feb:
Posted at 12:16 PM
A MORMON ASKS [Jonah Goldberg]
An interesting question:
Jonah...Why is polygamy further down the slippery slope than same-sex marriage? Polygamy has actually been practiced in the United States before and is still practiced in much of the world. Same-sex unions of any kind have never had any legal recognition in any part of the world (though some societies have clearly been more tolerant of homosexuality --which has inevitably lead to pederasty in those societies). Further, polygamous marriages are still procreative relationships and fulfill the ultimate goal of marriage laws--a link between procreation and child-rearing. Same-sex relationships are inherently non-procreative.
Posted at 11:21 AM
RE: KERRY'S ARROGANCE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
These stories all revolve around Senator Kerry and his alleged need for special access and treatment. But doesn't this also point out how inefficient he and his staff are? Most people who are bringing an entourage to ski, or a Senator to dinner, would at least call ahead and even make arrangements for the skis, menu, etc. Hell, we did this for senior military officers you'd think a senator's staff would know this. Instead they rely on their muscle to push the little people around.
Posted at 10:59 AM
MORE DYKWIA FROM KERRY, MORE SILENCE FROM MEDIA [Jonah Goldberg ]
Even Dave Barry has a variant of the "Do you know who I am?" story about Kerry. (Nod to Donald Crankshaw of Back of the Envelope.) Here's the relevant passage:
In conclusion, I want to extend my sincere best wishes to all of my opponents, Republican and Democrat, and to state that, in the unlikely event I am not elected, I will support whoever is, even if it is Sen. John Kerry, who once came, with his entourage, into a ski-rental shop in Ketchum, Idaho, where I was waiting patiently with my family to rent snowboards, and Sen. Kerry used one of his lackeys to flagrantly barge in line ahead of us and everybody else, as if he had some urgent senatorial need for a snowboard, like there was about to be an emergency meeting, out on the slopes, of the Joint Halfpipe Committee. I say it's time for us, as a nation, to put this unpleasant incident behind us. I know that I, for one, have forgotten all about it. That is how fair and balanced I am.
Doesn't this attitude say...something interesting about the man? I think it does. One could argue that the first President Bush lost an election because of a fraudulent story about supermarket scanners. You certainly couldn't dispute that the media did considerable damage to George HW Bush by casting him as aloof and insensitive, especially since Bush was running against an empath. Well, here we have a guy who has a long-standing and established record of line-jumping, food grabbing and other arrrogant and aristocratic nastiness. Surely there is as much evidence that John Kerry has a low tolerance for inconvenient little people than there was for Bush in 1992. How is that less relevant than Bush's shock at a new-fangled supermarket scanner?
Posted at 10:13 AM
RE: THE SF PLOY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
As it stands the situation on the ground may be the final validation of the Gramscian school of Marxism-- sieze control of the instruments of culture and everything else follows. If nothing else the situation over gay marriage highlights the folly of the libertarian view of culture, which seeks to simply get along and allow everyone else to do the same, while the other side is fighting to win.
Posted at 09:53 AM
LOSING OUR RELIGION [Jonah Goldberg ]
All of the talk about polygamy in here has prompted a lot of email about and from Mormons. I recalled that I had actually written something about Mormons before, so I went and looked it up. This column doesn't mention gay marriage at all, but I still think it's relevant. My basic point was that Americans have religious pluralism but moral consensus, historically speaking. I think that's less true today. But I do think it's worth noting that this debate on numbers-versus-sex (see yesterday's posts) falls squarely in this American tradition. Gay marriage proponents claim they want to join the moral consensus not live outside of it.
Posted at 09:26 AM
HAS ANYBODY NOTICED... [Jonah Goldberg]
That the vote against Kerry has out-numbered the vote in favor of Kerry in I believe every contest but 2? (Virginia & Missouri).
Posted at 09:07 AM
STILL STEAMED IN VIRGINIA [John J. Miller]
Here's the GOP tax-increase plan for Virginians. Thanks a lot, Richmond! And for those of you who remember how Virginia Republicans campaigned on a "No Car Tax!" pledge in 1997, know this: Although the tax was lowered, it was never phased out completely because the legislature couldn't stop itself from spending. Somebody please remind me why I'm supposed to vote for Republicans in local elections.
Posted at 08:39 AM
RUN, HOWARD, RUN [John J. Miller]
If I'm John Kerry, I want Howard Dean to remain in the presidential race as long as John Edwards keeps going. It's not unreasonable to believe Edwards would have taken Wisconsin in the absence of Dean. (Then again, maybe not: Dean voters are very possibly motivated by loyalty to Dean's antiwar position and wouldn't transfer their allegiance to either Kerry or Edwards.) At any rate, Dean's presence helps split whatever anti-Kerry sentiment is out there and makes Kerry's nomination all the more likely.
Posted at 08:18 AM
THE COOL PLACE TO BE [KJL]
If you're in DC today, NRO's Michael Graham will be with Sean Hannity from 2-7pm at the Border's bookstore at 14th and F. Hannity will be broadcasting live, Graham will be joining him on the air, and they'll both be signing books: Hannity his new book, "Deliver Us From Evil," and Graham's "Redneck Nation: How the SOUTH Really Won The War.
Posted at 08:01 AM
WISCONSIN [John Hood]
Once again, the news media is desperately, desperately trying to take John Edwards' impressive second-place showing, this time in Wisconsin, and turn it into a story almost as important as the win itself. CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, the early wire stories last night and this morning -- they're all blatantly saying that "we need another couple of weeks of a Democratic campaign, so we say Edwards is competitive on Super Tuesday, at least in Ohio, Georgia, and New York." Meanwhile, some Democratic leaders such as Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell are saying that the Wisconsin results mean it's time for the nomination fight to end and Democrats to coalesce around Kerry. Wrong. If the media want to devote more sloppy, wet, wall-to-wall-coverage kisses to Democrats, this time in key states such as Ohio, why would the party say no?
Posted at 07:29 AM
For being quiet. On the road. In and out. Back to normal very shortly (don't get any wild ideas, boys, in the meantime--there is wisdom in sending Jonah away on days I have to be, isn't there?)
Posted at 07:15 AM
FINALLY, SOMETHING TO HOLD ONTO UNTIL SUPER TUESDAY [KJL]
Thank you, John Edwards!
Posted at 06:33 AM
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
"WHAT A FANTASTIC BRAIN DISORDER!" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
That is the subject line my brother-in-law Don Foster used to send me this story. He is, without a doubt, one of my favorite people, but I have to say that the subject line neither struck me as out of the ordinary nor gave me any idea what the story would be.
Posted at 11:32 PM
EDWARDS VS KERRY: INSTANT PUNDITRY [Jonah Goldberg]
I still think Kerry will be the nominee, but I do think the fact that Edwards A) Kicked Howard Dean's but B) seems to have statistically tied Kerry C) did better among indepedents than Kerry D) did just as well as Kerry among veterans and E) had such a strong late surge shows:
A) The mantra that Kerry is the most electable -- or a particularly electable -- Democrat is hogwash
Posted at 09:59 PM
GOOD ADVICE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 09:53 PM
FAIR POINT; PLURAL VS. SAME-SEX MARRIAGE [Jonah Goldberg]
However, if you extend the law to more than two, things get complicated. Some things are obvious, at least in this day and age - all parties to a marriage would have to give consent (but would a highly-patriarchal society like the polygamist Mormons actually require wives to consent to a new wife?), But other things are less so. What happens when one person wants to leave a plural marriage? What happens when a marriage of 4 or more splits into two groups? Is there still a presumption of paternity? How does one write income tax schedules for marriages of 3, 4, or n?
Plural marriage requires same-sex marriage, because any marriage of n>2
Posted at 06:38 PM
HMMM [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm starting to contemplate my speech at Valpo tomorrow and I'm looking at the paperwork for a guide to what I should talk about. It's billed as, "An Evening with Jonah Goldberg."
That doesn't give a lot of direction, now does it?
Posted at 05:50 PM
NIGHT AT THE OPERA [John Derbyshire]
Jay: Thanks for the mention of our opera outing, which I enjoyed tremendously. I confess to having nursed a faint hope that you would quote me again in your review. As we left the Met I remarked that: "It doesn't get any more buffo than that," which I thought summed up a performance that seemed to me absolutely perfect. I admit that wasn't as quotable as "He kicked a**" though.
A reader asked me why I like bel canto (= early-19th-century Italian opera, with plot, orchestral music, and pretty much everything else sacrificed to very challenging SINGING) so much. Easy: for the same reason I like 1950s science fiction, early rock'n'roll, Hank Williams and The Pickwick Papers.
It's the freshness and spontaneity of these operas, and a quality of naivety. You don't have to like that: a lot of people -- including, notoriously, a lot of conductors -- don't like bel canto. There is of course a case to be made for more labored, sophisticated art forms, and enjoyment of the one by no means precludes enjoyment of the other--Jay seems to enjoy any kind of music that is well-performed, though I admit that I myself would much rather sit through an opera by Rossini than one by Wagner. (Rossini, by the way, was of the same mind.)
Those things I listed were all popular art forms, their works produced at high speed by people whose main interest was to make a bit of money for themselves without too much fuss -- no fuss at all, in most cases--about stylistic niceties or innovatory technique. For me, that gives them all great charm and appeal.
Here is a bit of the flavor of bel canto, as originally performed. I'm copying this from Berlioz's Memoirs, Chapter 43:
"When I reached Milan, Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore was being played at the Cannobiana, and to satisfy my conscience I went to see it. I found the theatre full of people talking at the top of their voices, with their backs to the stage; the singers all the time gesticulating and shouting in eager rivalry. So at least I judged by seeing their huge open mouths, for the people made so much noise that it was impossible to hear a sound beyond the big drum. In the boxes some were gambling and some were having supper. I therefore retired, since it was no use hoping to hear the smallest fraction of the music..."
That particular opera of Donizetti's, by the way, was written, words and music both, in two weeks from a standing start. Musicologists are still arguing about how many operas Donizetti wrote altogether--Grove lists 66, not counting rewrites and revised versions, but others disagree.
That's bel canto, fizzing with vitality and spontaneous, overflowing creativity. The production of "The Italian Girl" that Jay and I saw on Friday caught that precisely, and that is why it was a great, wonderful production.
Posted at 05:36 PM
THE PASSION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm always interested in what Ed Kilgore has to say. I think the criticism of conservative pro-Gibsonism is partly off base. To take his three points in reverse order: 3) It is entirely possible that Gibson believes things, including things about Jesus Christ, that are not in accord with orthodox Catholic teaching. As far as I could tell from watching the movie, however, any such things are not present in it. (Nor is anything flatly contradicting most versions of Protestantism.) Let us by all means not assume as conservatives that we are obligated to defend everything Gibson says or thinks. I don't know if I've noticed such a tendency. 2) I think this comment is a bit of a cheap shot. Evangelicals may think that St. Paul's comments about gender relations, etc., are especially relevant to current controversies; I doubt they think they matter more than Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. 1) If all people took from the movie is, boy, scourging and crucifixion are awfully gory, the movie may not have achieved much. But I don't think that's what the gore is there for. It is there, not least, to heighten the audience's sense of what its sin has wrought. I could say more, but I already wrote an article about the movie for the next NR, which will come out this weekend.
Posted at 04:43 PM
A CONTRARIAN VIEW OF THE PASSION [KJL]
From occasional NR/NRO Contributor Ed Kilgore:
There are three things about "The Passion of Christ" controversy that I haven't seen much comment on:
Posted at 04:10 PM
SEE DRUDGE [KJL]
Looks like Edwards will definitely hang in there, if the exit polls are any indication.
Posted at 03:57 PM
A PET PEEVE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
of mine is the use of the adjective "unconstitutional" as shorthand for "likely to be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court." These aren't the same thing. For example: The South Dakota legislature is considering a ban on abortion. Columbia University law school professor Michael Dorf says, "Barring a change in personnel on the Supreme Court, the South Dakota bill is clearly unconstitutional, and would almost certainly be enjoined before going into effect. I doubt that you will find any reputable constitutional scholar to say otherwise, though of course people may disagree about how they would like to see the courts rule." Off the top of my head I can come up with 7 or 8 reputable constitutional scholars who I'm pretty sure would contradict the claim of unconstitutionality. His prediction about the injunction is much more solid.
Posted at 03:52 PM
GOOD FOR CASH (BUT A FUNNY IDEA NONETHELESS) [Jonah Goldberg ]
From the AP
NEW YORK - Advertising writers in Florida were planning to pitch hemorrhoid-relief products with a commercial featuring the Johnny Cash (news) classic "Ring of Fire," but Cash's family said there's no way they will let it happen.
"We would never allow the song to be demeaned like that," Cash's daughter, Rosanne, told the Tennessean of Nashville, Tenn.
Posted at 03:12 PM
ON TWO-NESS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Me: I think it's clear that if you read my post, my point was that two-ness is as arbitrary as man/woman. Moreover I disagree that sex is as malleable as this reader suggests. Surgery can help change gender but I'm unaware of any surgery that can make a man into a woman capable of having children or a woman into a man capable of producing viable sperm. In fact, it seems to me it's a lot easier to make 2 into 3 -- just add one! -- than it is to make a man into a mother. As for the rest of his points about the other problems marriage is facing, I think he makes fine points.
Posted at 03:08 PM
THE NUMBERS ARE IN [Tim Graham]
MRC's Rich Noyes reports on the Turnipseed tempest: "From Feb. 1-16, ABC, CBS and NBC aired 63 National Guard stories or interview segments on their morning and evening news programs. That’s far more coverage than Bill Clinton’s draft-dodging scandal received in 1992. Back then, the three evening newscasts offered 10 stories on Clinton’s complete evasion of service; this year, those same broadcasts pumped out 25 stories on whether Bush’s acknowledged service was fully documented."
Posted at 03:03 PM
MCCAIN VS. KERRY, SORT OF [Jonah Goldberg]
This is a very interesting story but I'd really like to see the original US News article myself. It's not clear that McCain ever mentioned Kerry by name at the time.
Posted at 02:45 PM
WOOPS: SPECIAL INTERESTS [Jonah Goldberg]
Rich - Does it really. Shows you how ineffective it is. I must have seen that thing three times all the way through when it first rolled out, and I still don't remember them doing that. Still, my goof.
Posted at 02:31 PM
MORE SPECIAL INTERESTS [Rich Lowry]
Jonah, I agree with everything you say, including that the Bush ad isn’t very effective because it assumes too much knowledge on the part of viewers. But the ad does open and end with Kerry thundering about special interests.
Posted at 02:24 PM
RE: SPECIAL INTERESTS [KJL]
Every time I hear the phrase now, I think of the Gurdon children.
Posted at 02:22 PM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 02:21 PM
RE: SPECIAL INTERESTS [Jonah Goldberg]
Rich - I generally agree with your point about the special interests issue being a loser for Bush. But I must say his ad was terrible on it.
As you note, the Bush campaign says the issue is Kerry's hypocrisy, not who takes how much from special interests. But that ad didn't make that point. It didn't show Kerry pounding the table about how he would drive the special interests from Washington. If it did that and then noted that he takes more special interest money than any other Senator, the issue of hypocrisy would have been clear. Instead the Bush ad assumed a lot of knowledge on the part of the public, never explicitly made the connection, and left a big opening for the Dems to counter-punch. I would have gone after Kerry on other hypocrisy vulnerabilities first -- voting every which way on Iraq, for example -- and then later on in the summer attacked on the special interest theme once Kerry's hypocrisy was already well-established in the public's mind.
Posted at 02:15 PM
NASCAR P.S. [KJL]
From a reader:
It seems to have passed completely unnoticed in The Corner that during the pre-race ceremonies at the Daytona 500 on Sunday all of the singers could actually sing and both singers and dancers were wearing adequate clothing.
Posted at 02:13 PM
NOT A RIP-OFF? [Rich Lowry]
E-mail:"Rich: You might be interested to take a look at their home/road splits last year. Arod was helped hugely by his home stadium last year, and Soriano was hurt hugely by Yankee Stadium. During Arod's three years in Texas he slugged .666 at home and .564 at home. This season may be quite different. I wouldn't be surprised if Arod hit .275 with 38 homers. That is obviously still great for a shortstop, but I'm not sure that this trade was the ripoff that many are making it out to be."
Posted at 02:11 PM
RADEK IN IRAQ [KJL]
Click here (1: On Patroll, 2: at the airport formerly known as Saddam's, 3: Saddam sword & Iranian helmets, 4: In front of Saddam's place, Baghdad, 5: Intell. Diviisio at Alexander's palace) for photos from Radek Sikorski's trip to Iraq, which you can read about here.
Posted at 02:06 PM
FIGHTING SPIRIT [Kate O'Beirne]
President Bush has come out swinging in his speech to troops in Louisiana. Richard Cohen will be very disappointed. The President is talking about the dangerous world we face and the resolve he has maintained "since I walked in the rubble of 9/1l." He firmly defended his reliance on the intelligence about Saddam's weapons. This election isn't about "jobs" it's about missions -to remove the lethal threats we face.
P.S. On the most crucial issue we face, the race against John Kerry is more of a parallel with 1972 than with Michael Dukakis's candidacy in 1988. As the public was able to easily recognize with respect to George McGovern, decorated veterans can be soft on defense.
Posted at 02:05 PM
MAYBE W. WILL UNVEIL OSAMA BEFORE LABOR DAY! [KJL]
"The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan said Tuesday that his troops are stepping up efforts to capture Osama bin Laden and ousted Taliban leader Mullah Omar, maintaining that the 'sand in their hour glass is running out.'"
Posted at 01:37 PM
ANNOYING WASHPOST [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post also displayed its liberalism overtly today in yet another harangue against country performer Toby Keith. Reviewer Joe Heim wrote:
It was much better than most contemporary country, but the evening was tainted by Keith's egregious displays of reactionary folderol. As talented, funny and entertaining as Keith is, there can't be any excusing his venomous jingoism in "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" and the "Taliban Song," both of which he sang Sunday. Whatever the original intent of these tunes, to continue to make them the focal point of his live performance seems craven and cynical.
Posted at 01:34 PM
POST ON PATRICIANS [Tim Graham]
Washington Post Metro columnist Marc Fisher tries to argue today that Kerry and Edwards are regular guys, despite living in Georgetown mansions with six bathrooms apiece:
"Both candidates can argue that even if they live in ultimate luxury, they remain frugal with other people's money: A survey by Fundrace.org of presidential candidates' spending on hotels as they crisscrossed the nation found that while Al Sharpton spent an eye-opening $3,598 per night on lodging and President Bush paid an average of $607 per night, Kerry spent $202 per night on lodging and Edwards $238." It gets a bit funnier when Fisher goes to the neighbors with their six-bedroom mansions to confirm that this prospective ticket is the slightest bit upper-crusty: "But neighbors reject the idea that Kerry or Edwards might be detached from the realities of ordinary American life. 'We see John on Nantucket, and he's one of the guys, one of us,' [Mary] Raiser said of Kerry. 'We've never felt him to be patrician.'"
Posted at 01:33 PM
A-ROD II [Rich Lowry]
Great Tom Boswell column. He makes two important points: 1) Every baseball fan should be excited by this deal just because it adds such a jolt to the season. 2) It by no means guarantees the Yankees a championship, and it will be all the more fun for Yankee haters to watch them fail this year should they come up short.
Posted at 01:30 PM
BOTOX-FREE ZONE [Kate O'Beirne]
It's a safe bet that Diane Sawyer won't ever attempt to hold back the clock with a few little injections because where would she be without her trademark ability to look really, really worried. Last evening, of course, Mel Gibson caused that expressive brow to be extremely concerned. I agree with Rich that his sporadic self-conscious goofiness didn't get in the way of his heartfelt remorse and moving witness. Maybe Diane should be worried. I'm not surprised that Mel is a fan of St. Paul's.
Posted at 01:19 PM
A-ROD I [Rich Lowry]
I have been a glutton for A-Rod stories, reading as many as I can, despite all the repetition. What a delicious plot twist to a season that is fascinating before it has even gotten started. I hope Alfonso Soriano hits 50 homers a year for the rest of his career, but I’m not sad that he is gone. It was just too excruciating watching his ridiculous strike-outs and the way he struggled against smart pitching. I long maintained that the Yankees wouldn’t win a World Series with Soriano in the lineup, especially with him hitting lead-off. On the other hand, I have also long maintained that the Yankees just might win a World Series with Kenny Lofton, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Gary Sheffield, and Hideki Matsui in the lineup…
Posted at 01:04 PM
MEL [Rich Lowry]
I thought, putting aside some of his goofiness and attempts to deflect awkward or painful questions with somewhat strained humor, he put in a strong performance last night. It was a pretty compelling Christian witness. He has done a great and brave thing by making this film.
Posted at 01:01 PM
SPECIAL INTERESTS [Rich Lowry]
You can often tell how cutting an issue is by how it goes debating it on TV. I was on Hannity & Colmes last night talking about special interest money and the dueling Bush and Kerry web ads over it (Bush says Kerry is a hypocrite for attacking special interests when he takes special interest money, Kerry says Bush is a hypocrite for attacking Kerry as a hypocrite when the President takes special interest money). Judging by last night, the traction that this issue will have for the Bush campaign is, by my estimate, zero. It immediately becomes an argument about who is taking more money, and Bush – not that there’s anything wrong with this necessarily – is obviously taking a lot of it.
Posted at 12:59 PM
BUSH ADS, AN OCCASSIONAL SERIES [Jonah Goldberg ]
I used to be a television producer, though I never wrote scripts for commercials. But I think it'd be fun to try. So for the next few months I'll occassionally drop a hypothetical script in the Corner which the Republicans are free to use. Maybe, I'll even try a couple for Kerry too. I invite my fellow Cornerites to do the same. Here's my first try:
Scene: In the caves of Tora Bora, Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar and their aides are watching TV. The cave is illuminated by the light from the screen.
Posted at 12:49 PM
A REVIEW IS IN [Rod Dreher]
I just got this from a Jewish high school student here in Dallas, with whom I'm in regular contact: I viewed Diane Sawyer's interview of Mel Gibson last night on ABC, and as a Jewish teenager, I would like to commend Mr. Gibson on a job well-done. While I do have some problems with the movie, I found it admirable that Mr. Gibson conquered his need for the "secular utopia" and discovered his religion and became devout. His path should be a model for people of all faiths confused about religion and secularism. It was truly touching to see how sure he is about his religion, and how fervently he believes that there is more than just materialism in this world. For a movie star who symbolized secular behavior for a long time, Gibson's turn-around is astonishing and inspiring.
Posted at 12:38 PM
TOLES [Jonah Goldberg ]
I often lilke Toles' stuff. But I think this is either morally offensive or intellectually insipid or both. It appears in the Washington Post today, but my link doesn't require registration.
Posted at 12:30 PM
I SAID "IF" [Jonah Goldberg]
Folks, while I appreciate your opinions, I'm not actually conducting a poll. Please, there's no need to send me email with your choice of A,B,C or D. Thanks.
Posted at 12:24 PM
JUST A HUNCH [Jonah Goldberg]
I bet if we ran a poll (and activists didn't spam it) asking the following question "B" would win in a landslide, or at least with a big plurality:
A. Against gay marriage and think NRO should keep discussing it as much as possible?
B. Against gay marriage but really don't want to hear about it anymore?
C. For it and think the debate should continue?
D. For it, but really don't want to hear about it anymore?
Posted at 12:15 PM
THE TAX MAN [John J. Miller]
Today's Washington Post describes a new tax-hike plan just approved by Virginia's House of Delegates which would "end tax breaks for many businesses." First of all, it's depressing to see Republicans in my state sign onto a tax increase--just because the Democratic governor is calling for a different mix of the same thing doesn't make it okay. The fundamental problem is Richmond's spending. But the Post also does something to annoy me: The taxes in question aren't really "tax breaks" for "business"--which makes ordinary folk seem peculiarly insulated from them. If the Republican plan is approved, it would end the sales-tax exemption on utilities, dry cleaners, phone companies, etc. Those costs certainly won't be absorbed by business--they'll be passed on to consumers. So what we're talking about here isn't "tax breaks for many businesses" but tax breaks for virtually all Virginians.
Posted at 11:53 AM
UM... [Jonah Goldberg]
Did I raise any slippery slope points?
Posted at 11:47 AM
SLOPE [Stanley Kurtz]
Jonah, I’m on the run right now, but here’s a quick response to your slippery slope points. First, I addressed in detail the reasons why polygamy/polyamory would indeed be disruptive in American society in my piece, “Beyond Gay Marriage.” Second, I linked just the other day on an important piece in the March issue of Reason by Cathy Young–a libertarian supporter of same-sex marriage. Essentially, Young concedes that the slippery slope argument raises valid concerns.
Posted at 11:27 AM
"MIRACLE" WALKS ON (FROZEN) WATER [Jack Fowler]
Yesterday I took Andy, my fifth grader, and three of his pals to see "Miracle" -- the movie about (the late) coach Herb Brooks and the US 1980 Olympic hockey team. We had a blast. Kurt Russell put in a very solid performance as Brooks, the plot never dragged (the real miracle may be the movie's ability to keep 11-year-old boys glued to their seats for 2 hours and 20 minutes), the audience (mostly kids) cheered wildly every time the US scored against the Soviets (in the famous semi-final Cold War match-up game), there was no cursing on screen (although "ass" and "candyass" were uttered) nor were there other things that a prudish parent might consider piggy or even piggy-ish. The movie's one big flaw was the montage set to a Jimmy Carter malaise-inducing speech (was he really president?!), but then you remember that Reagan sent him packing back to Plains, and the pain goes away. I found "Miracle" to be very entertaining, great for the kids, patriotic as heck (you'll find yourself chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"), and well worth the price of admission.
Posted at 11:25 AM
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE [John Derbyshire]
People who break the law may of course be doing so in all righteousness, if the law be unjust. And it may be that there is no other way to bring a law's injustice to general attention but by publicly flouting it. The law must, none the less, be enforced, until its injustice has been made so apparent to all that it has been repealed by the will of the people acting through their representatives.
Samuel Johnson's remarks about martyrdom are pertinent here:
MAYO. 'Then, Sir, we are to remain always in errour, and truth never can prevail; and the magistrate was right in persecuting the first Christians.'
JOHNSON. 'Sir, the only method by which religious truth can be established is by martyrdom. The magistrate has a right to enforce what he thinks; and he who is conscious of the truth has a right to suffer. I am afraid there is no other way of ascertaining the truth, but by persecution on the one hand and enduring it on the other.' --- Life of Johnson, 5/7/1773
Posted at 11:16 AM
ON TWO VERSUS THREE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a philosophy prof reader:
Dear Jonah, I am surprised that critics of Same-Sex Marriage, while adopting the Reductio Ad Absurdum argument of Polygamy, don't go the next step and discuss how polygamy, as actually practiced in some parts of the world, as a matter of fact does promote social and economic stability.
Posted at 11:01 AM
"THREE" VERSUS "SEX" [Jonah Goldberg ]
Barney Frank was on Fox News Sunday talking about gay marriage last Sunday. He was up against Sen. Jon Cornyn. I think Frank got the better of Cornyn time and again (Frank is indisputably smart, if not necessarily always wise). But Frank trotted out an argument I've heard countless times and I still don't get it.
Chris Wallace asked, "If you're going to argue for the right of gays to marry, why stop there? Why not, say, polygamy or any other personal choice?"
"Because society has, I think, a right to make certain decisions. They ought to make them fairly.
Now, Frank didn't continue on this point, but I've heard it elaborated any number of times. The gist seems to be: defining marriage as a bond between two people is rational but defining marriage as a bond between a man and a woman is arbitrary and rooted in bigoted abstraction.
I just don't get that. I don't want to get into the philosophy of mathematics -- not my expertise -- but aren't numbers more abstract than the actual flesh and blood typologies of man and woman? How is confining marriage to one man and one woman more arbitrary or irrational than confining it to two people? Of course, I think confining marriage to two people and to one man and one woman is rational. But even if I didn't, purely as a matter of reasoning, I think I would find the argument that one criteria is obviously more arbitrary than the other to be unpersuasive. The only difference between the two -- and this is a real difference -- is political and/or moral; lots of people are demanding that one of the criteria be dropped.
Posted at 10:40 AM
"THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT"? [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew Sullivan writes: "Just as we can now get real pictures from liberation in Iraq, so we can get real pics of the first gay Americans to have their love and commitment solemnized by their own government. Thousands of them. In an act of civil disobedience. Yes, I know this is breaking the law. But Rosa Parks broke the law as well."
Andrew's support for law-breaking has already been addressed by Stanley (though when a school in Kentucky or Alabama or wherever decides to defy the state and teach creationism or the "curability" of homosexuality, I somehow doubt he'll be as jazzed for civil disobedience).
But, I should also point out that from the stories I've seen, a great many (I don't know if it's a majority or not) of the couples getting "married" in San Francisco are from out of town and out of state. So when Andrew says their love and commitment are being solemnized by their own government he's factually wrong. These couples are having their love and commitment solemnized by "a government" -- illegally. This isn't a trivial point, since Andrew and others -- including me -- place so much importance on Federalism and the ability of people to determine the rules for their own communities. Well, the couples from North Carolina aren't moving to San Francisco. They're grabbing some paperwork to press their case in Raleigh or Durham. That's a different scenario.
Posted at 10:06 AM
RULE OF LAW [John Derbyshire]
Can't someone do a citizen's arrest of these law-breaking registrars in San Francisco? Where on earth are the state authorities? Where is the Governor?
Posted at 09:25 AM
RE: DERB ON MEL [KJL]
Derb, I actually was probably one of the last people to see Braveheart for just that reason. But then I still haven't made it all the way through a Lethal Weapon movie. But the gore in this one (the Passion), I think, is necessary for what it is. As Gibson said last night, "I wanted it to push the viewer over the edge." It does--you can't sit through it without moving, in one way or another. And, while, at the end of the day, it is only a movie, I think that physical pain that viewers are forced to endure, by watching Christ's pain, is what makes this one so different--different from other movies, in general, about other movies about religion.
Posted at 09:19 AM
DERB ON MEL [John Derbyshire]
I haven't seen Mel Gibson's "Passion" movie, except for the trailers, so this is a comment about Mel Gibson movies in general: I think they are much too bloody. Boy, does Mel like gore. After watching all those squirting arteries in We Were Soldiers, the drawing and quartering in Braveheart, and the heads and limbs being carried off by cannon fire in The Patriot, I have pretty much decided that the next time I want to see a Mel Gibson movie, I'll go hang out at the town abbatoir for a couple hours instead. Yes, yes, I know MG wasn't directing all those movies, but he must have had some input, or just been attracted to them in some way. Even Gallipoli, made in 1981, way before Mel was mega-famous, is unnecessarily gory. When I hear the name Mel Gibson, the next thing that comes to mind is Othello's line: "Oh, blood! blood! blood!" Anyone else noticed this, or is it just me?
Posted at 09:12 AM
TVI & USAT [Stanley Kurtz]
Looks like USA Today has been duped by professors at the University of Michigan. The paper put out an editorial today criticizing HR 3077, the bill that would reform our system of subsidies to Middle East studies, and other area studies programs. The editorial holds up the program at the University of Michigan as a prime example of the way that federally subsidized Middle East Studies centers are helping the war on terror. Trouble is, the University of Michigan program is famous as a leader of the boycott of scholarships that send students to work for national security agencies. Michigan has received plenty of publicity for its refusal to cooperate with Washington on programs that would have actually helped filled the gaps in Arabic expertise in our intelligence agencies. "We didn't want our students to be known as spies in training," explained one of Michigan's professors of Arabic. USA Today was kind enough to let me write a counterpoint opinion piece on this issue, and for that I am grateful. But they never showed me the text of their own editorial, which is remarkable for holding up one of the chief boycotting departments in the country as a model of cooperation with the government. Martin Kramer has more on the duping of USA Today at his weblog, Sandstorm.
Posted at 09:09 AM
AGENDA [Stanley Kurtz]
And again I say to conservatives, accept what is happening in San Francisco without concerted opposition and abandon hope of ever curbing activist judges or officials on any other issue. Write your representatives in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment and/or in protest of what is happening in San Francisco.
Posted at 09:06 AM
INCONSISTENCIES [Stanley Kurtz ]
Alright, I've said it in as clear and measured a manner as I can. Now let me say it again-this time more bluntly. As best I can tell, Andrew Sullivan has endorsed a deliberate and systematic attempt by gay marriage activists to achieve their ends by violating the law. The mayor of San Francisco, and gay marriage activists, are intentionally flouting the overwhelming and unambiguous results of a democratic and legally binding referendum on marriage in the state of California. Even the opponents of California's ban of racial preferences have not been so bold as to openly violate the law in this manner. What would happen if city officials were to violate California's ban on concealed weapons by issuing illegal gun licenses? Would the country, the press, or state officials tolerate that?
Unless and until Andrew Sullivan repudiates what is happening in San Francisco, it seems to me he has lost all credibility with conservatives on the gay marriage issue. Why should we believe a single one of Sullivan's endless assurance that DOMA, or Massachusetts law-or anything else-will suffice to prevent the nationalization of gay marriage when Sullivan himself is actively endorsing a campaign that makes a mockery of California law? If Sullivan can take such a stand, how can we expect respect for the law from other, less conservative activists-or judges?
By the way, Sullivan refers to a Massachusetts law curbing marriages that would be illegal in other states. Note that this law must be enforced by town clerks. If Sullivan supports mayors and city officials who systematically and intentionally violate the law in San Francisco, how can he assure us that clerks will obey and enforce the law in Massachusetts? Note also that to become a legal resident of Massachusetts for purposes of marriage, there is no requirement to have lived in Massachusetts for any length of time. All you have to do to be married as a full and legal state resident is show intent to take up abode in Massachusetts. Exactly how severely do you think Massachusetts town clerks will be vetting those expressions of intent? I'd say, about as severely as Sullivan is insisting on lawful behavior by government officials in San Francisco.
I do not believe that the analogy between the gay marriage movement and the civil rights movement of the sixties holds. But if you believe it does, then you cannot invoke federalism. If this is a matter best resolved by civil disobedience, then stop making arguments about federalism and start openly demanding nationalization on equal protection grounds. Or, if this is really a legitimate matter for federalism, stop abusing the civil rights analogy and demand respect for the law. You cannot have it both ways. Whoever cannot repudiate the systematic violation of law, and deliberate nullification of democracy, now taking place in the state of California has no business making arguments to conservatives about federalism. Repudiate San Francisco, or lose all credibility.
Posted at 09:05 AM
SULLIVAN, AGAIN [Stanley Kurtz]
As best I can discern it, this is Andrew Sullivan's position on gay marriage: 1) I am willing to argue as if it matters whether gay marriage undermines marriage or not. But if it is shown that gay marriage really does harm marriage, that is irrelevant. Gay marriage is a civil right, and must be granted regardless of its effect on the institution. 2) I am willing to argue as if I expect and prefer to see gay marriage adopted slowly and legislatively on a state by state basis. But if gay marriage is imposed by the courts in Massachusetts, and if that kicks off a process of nationalization, that is irrelevant. Gay marriage is a civil right, and must be granted, even if it is imposed on the nation by a few liberal judges. 3) I am willing to argue as if I believe in the democratic process and respect for law. But if gay marriage is forced on the nation through a campaign of civil disobedience, that is irrelevant. Gay marriage is a civil right, and must be granted, even if it is undertaken in clear violation of the law, and in clear violation of the will of the people of California as expressed in a legally binding democratic referendum.
There are two problems with this position. First, the analogy between marriage and the civil rights struggle is flawed. Skin color has no intrinsic effect on marriage, democracy, or any basic social or political institution. But sex and sexuality do have an intrinsic bearing on the operations of the institution of marriage. Second, there is something fundamentally misleading about a position that appears to take whole categories of objection seriously, but in fact does not. Certainly, such a position-and such a way of arguing-have nothing to do with conservatism. Conservatism takes questions of institutional stability and survival seriously. Conservatism takes the democratic process seriously. Conservatism is respectful of the law. Granted, if gay marriage really was fully analogous to the civil rights struggle of the sixties, a more radical position would be justified. But the analogy is flawed, and the veneer of conservatism false.
Posted at 09:02 AM
THE CASE FOR FMA [Stanley Kurtz ]
Here's the point. If the gay marriage question is resolved, not only by four liberal justices in Massachusetts, but by a campaign of civil disobedience in California and around the nation, conservatives face defeat on a whole range of issues. Americans oppose gay marriage by a two to one margin. The people of California voted decisively just four years ago to define marriage as the union of a single man and woman. If four activist judges in Massachusetts and one rebel mayor in San Francisco can overturn the legal definition of marriage-against the strong sentiment of the nation as a whole-then there will never be any issue on which activist judges fear to disregard either law or majority opinion. If the public gives up on this issue without a fight, then the battle against socially liberal activist judges is effectively dead. What to do? Simple. Ask your representatives to support of the Federal Marriage Amendment, and vote for president Bush.
Posted at 09:02 AM
CIVIL-DISOBEDIENCE STRATEGY [Stanley Kurtz ]
The attempt to legalize gay marriage through a campaign of civil disobedience is an important new development. What's happening in San Francisco could easily spread to other municipalities. Santa Cruz California could be next. There are rumblings. in Austin Texas. This article from USA Today quotes a professor of constitutional law at USC predicting legal challenges on the California model in every state in the country.
The media is going to stoke this by treating it as a replay of the civil rights movement of the sixties. But the analogy between the gay marriage movement and the civil rights movement is seriously flawed, as I've shown in my writings on Scandinavia. Sex and sexuality have an intrinsic tie to the operations of marriage in a way that skin color does not. But the media-nowhere more biased than on the issue of gay marriage-is going to try to suppress the real argument.
Posted at 09:01 AM
DELONG WENT TO DEFENSE BEFORE DETAIL [NRO Financial Editors]
Last week U. Cal. economics professor Brad DeLong issued a challenge to Bush supporters on his website. Recalling a March 2003 letter signed by hundreds of economists who "supported Bush's economic policy," DeLong asked if there are any Bushies left who still support it now, almost a year later. DeLong hoped to give the impression that conservative economists (perhaps only outside of NRO's Larry Kudlow) have suddenly abandoned Bush's economic policy -- his proof being that they hadn't responded en masse to his challenge. NRO Financial's Don Luskin, however, did respond -- saying the staunch pro-tax-cut stance of the administration still makes him a believer. But since Luskin did not voice support of other Bush economic issues (such as spending and budgetary concerns), DeLong wrote that "Not even Donald Luskin will sign on to the Bush budget plan proposed last week." Luskin, in today's Krugman Truth Squad, says DeLong is guilty of yet another transparently fraudulent liberal stunt. Read all about it.
Posted at 08:52 AM
WHAT KERRY SAID [John J. Miller]
Ramesh: You are right about TNR--its defense of Kerry's Senate testimony is absurd, especially this line: "So, far from making the allegations himself, Kerry was simply repeating what other veterans themselves had admitted." One of the fundamental points of the Mac Owens piece, of course, is that Kerry advanced fraudulent claims. At best, Kerry was a dupe. At worst, well, some people--not me, of course!--might call him a lying traitor. This, by the way, is an old rhetorical trick known as paralipsis. "I know some people have accused Bill Clinton of being a pot-smoking, draft-dodging womanizer--but let's not go into the substance those allegations..."
Posted at 08:27 AM
MORE ON ABC BIAS [Tim Graham]
I almost forgot. You can also compare ABC's treatment of Mel Gibson as controversial, spurring criticism at every turn, with Diane Sawyer offering two hours to Rosie O'Donnell to promote gay adoption, which was somehow much less objectionable. That show did feature a critic or two in minor roles. A month later, Sawyer gave Rosie another hour to promote her book.
Posted at 07:29 AM
SO MUCH FOR PASSION-ATE ANTI-SEMITISM [Michael Graham]
From the Washington Times: "In anticipation of the Feb. 25 release of Mel Gibson's controversial movie, "The Passion of the Christ," the poll also found that 80 percent of Americans do not feel that the Jews of today bear responsibility for the death of Jesus Christ, against 8 percent who said they did."
Given that the margin of error is +/-4%, concerns about Mel Gibson's movie would appear to be exaggerated.
Posted at 05:56 AM
ABC'S SECULARIST TAKE [Tim Graham]
I can't agree ABC was fair, at least not in comparison. Please remember that when they spent 60 minutes promoting "The Da Vinci Code" a few months ago, there were no critics or offended opponents asked to speak on camera.
z Yes, Gibson was terrific, but he was also questioned and quibbled with at every turn by Sawyer and others. It may have made Gibson more endearing to face the knitted brow of Diane Sawyer, whose own husband just recently made the theologically absurd HBO film of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America."
z To me, Sawyer's proddings about Gibson's beliefs seemed a lot like her asking Ken Starr about him growing up in religious circles that did not believe in dancing -- they were designed to make him look abnormal and wacky. And could we have an ABC special without absurd "Jesus scholars" like John Dominic Crossan touting their theories that Jesus was just a social revolutionary, a misunderstood hippie before it was popular?
Posted at 05:54 AM
Monday, February 16, 2004
THE LATEST REASON TO SUBSCRIBE TO NRODT, BTW [KJL]
is to read Ramesh's take on The Passion, to come.
Posted at 11:04 PM
PERHAPS THE BEST LINE [KJL ]
Of the Sawyer interview was when Mel Gibson talked about what’s next for him: Gibson said, “I was thinking of pitching my tent right next to the weapons of mass destruction, then no one will find me.”
Posted at 11:02 PM
I HAVE TO SAY [KJL ]
MG’s hatred for the NYTimes, of course, makes him all the more endearing.
Posted at 11:00 PM
DIANE SAWYER & MEL GIBSON [KJL ]
My feeling: I suspect Mel Gibson won over more than a few people who were on the fence about whether or not to see The Passion. He came across, I think, as an honest, faithful man, who did what he does best: made a movie, about that which is closest to his heart.
I might add, for all we know about the media’s general hostility to religion, I thought the whole package was quite--overall--fair and, I think, gave enough in terms of images and context to make people want to see the movie—and without handing them a preconceived conclusion (i.e. that it is anti-Semitic, that it is for simpletons, etc.)
Posted at 10:59 PM
DUKE'S DOGMA [Andrew Stuttaford]
”In seeking faculty, universities look for people who can analyze and discuss matters of some complexity, who are unafraid to challenge the wisdom of simple solutions, and who have a sense of social responsibility toward those who cannot buy influence. Such people tend to be put off by a political party dominated by those who believe dogmatically in the infallibility of the marketplace as a solution to all economic problems, or else in the infallibility of scripture as a guide to morality. In short, universities want people of some depth, subtlety and intelligence. People like that usually vote for the Democrats. So what?”
I’m told that people actually spend money to go to Duke. Why?
Posted at 09:26 PM
ATHWART HISTORY XXIV/VII [Andrew Stuttaford]
Brandishing pikes, thumbscrews and placards made of vellum, mavens of the medieval have emerged from their scriptoria to email denunciations of my comments on the philosophy of that gloomy and primitive era. Well, I was writing somewhat tongue in cheek (can one write tongue in cheek?).
I’m happy, however, to put it on record that, to the best of my belief, Duns Scotus was never a member of the Communist Party.
Posted at 09:18 PM
I WOULD TAKE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
the New Republic's criticism of this magazine's alleged journalistic sins slightly more seriously if the blurb for it on the magazine's homepage did not confuse the New York Times with the Washington Times.
Posted at 06:21 PM
INCIDENT AT THE CANADIAN-U.S. BORDER [KJL]
Posted at 05:23 PM
HMMMMM [Rich Lowry]
John Kerry last night disavowed any interest in attacking President Bush over his National Guard record: “I have suggested to some people who are my advocates who've gone that line of attack, it's not one that I plan to do, it's not one I have. I don't plan to do that and I've asked them not to,” he said. “But the president has to speak for his own military record. And those of you in the news media, obviously, have asked questions about it, and that's where I'll let it sit.”
But according to the Washington Post yesterday, Kerry aides were furious at Terry McAuliffe for raising the Guard issue – because he was doing it too soon for their purposes and in what they thought was a clumsy way:
"When Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe went on television two weeks ago to accuse President Bush as a young man of being 'AWOL' in his National Guard duty, party officials quickly heard complaints from the staff of presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.).
Kerry aides were not upset about McAuliffe's negative tone, Democratic sources said. Instead, they were worried that the party chairman had raised the charge too early -- preventing Kerry from making more effective use of a potent issue later this year if he is the Democratic nominee…
Impugning Bush's patriotism with loaded terms such as 'AWOL' may muddy the real issue, Lockhart said. 'I didn't agree with the chairman of my party on that,' he said.
A Kerry aide said campaign advisers did not agree either, and called the DNC after McAuliffe's appearance on ABC's 'This Week.' But several Democratic sources said those calls were not about the substance of the charge, but about tactical factors. These officials said Kerry's team thought it better to have a veteran make any allegations about Bush's service, and they preferred to keep in reserve the contrast between Kerry's Vietnam combat duty and Bush's alleged absenteeism until Kerry had the Democratic nomination assured."
Posted at 05:10 PM
RE: GOOD LUCK JONAH. [KJL]
I, of course, wish you well. But also, do remember: Lowry had to pay me a lot of money to plug his book the way I did. You might want to have Cosmo cut back on his lavish lifestyle for a bit.
Posted at 04:57 PM
GOOD LUCK JONAH! [Rich Lowry]
Jonah, Great G-File (I defy people to read it and not laugh). On behalf of everyone here, good luck with the book. Having recently been there, I pass along this piece of wisdom from Rick Brookhiser, which he shared with me repeatedly during the dark times: “As a pothead friend in college said, `the work always gets done’…’”
Posted at 04:18 PM
MARKETING MOVE [John Derbyshire]
From an article in today's New York Times about the ructions in Haiti: "At this point the rebel group in Gonaives, which calls itself the Artibonite Resistance Front, a more palatable name than the Cannibal Army, as the group was formerly known, appears not to have massed enough militants to take on the police and pro-Aristide militants in other major cities."
Of course, if they had kept the original name, they would have had at least one keen supporter in Germany....
Posted at 03:19 PM
PIXELS VS. PAPER [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Right on. The web, as a research tool, is still in a primitive state, unless (and in some cases even if) you can afford expensive subscriptions to services like (in my personal dream scenario) MathSciNet.
The web reminds me of Roget's Thesaurus: a terrific resource in principle, but never actually much help in practice. (I think there have been about three occasions in my life when I got something useful out of Roget.) The web hasn't been the same for me since I lost ProQuest. This is a sort of poor man's Nexis, which anyone with a NYC library card used to be able to access free of charge. Then it got chopped in some City budget-cutting exercise.
Even if you count ProQuest, though, looking back over my own stuff, I think my best pieces have come from browsing around in actual libraries, or from the immense amount of random junk in my own head, or from meeting & talking to interesting people. The web is as yet no substitute for KNOWING STUFF, LISTENING TO PEOPLE, and READING.
Incidentally, even when there is a decent open-access research source on the web, it generally has a really crappy search engine. Why is this? Truly bodacious search engines are there for the asking, with phonetic-match searches, nearest-spell searches, wildcards, and the rest of it. They are standard black-box modules, nobody has to write his own search engine any more. Yet people do, and they are HOPELESS. The one that drives me craziest is Gutenberg. You have to put in an author's name EXACTLY THE WAY THEY HAVE IT ON THEIR DATABASE, otherwise you'll get no hit. Grrrr. Abebooks similar.
Posted at 03:18 PM
DOING THE NUMBERS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader sent me the following. He made every number a link to his source. I will not be spending the next fifteen minutes coding each one. But take my word for it, he seems to have done his due dilligence:
I hate to ruin "numbers too good to be checked" with internet-verified facts (if it ain't on the internet, it ain't the truth!), but here's the real scoop, all documented with semi-reliable citations. And don't despair! The end result is even better than letting the original numbers go unchallenged.
Posted at 03:07 PM
COOL ARTICLE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
on why academics lean left. I'm looking forward to reading the next installment of the series.
Posted at 02:54 PM
PIXELS V PAPER [Jonah Goldberg]
From a prof:
Posted at 02:51 PM
RE: PIXELS AND PAPER [Jonah Goldberg]
Please note, I wasn't saying that I don't appreciate the links readers send me. Sometimes they are quite useful. But as I scour footnotes and the like, I find that virtually none of the seminal articles (or ovular articles if you're a radical feminist) on a range of subjects are retrievable on the web, even if you're willing to pay. Heck, even the vast, vast majority of National Review's work is unavailable in electronic form anywhere.
Posted at 02:02 PM
ON-LINE RESEARCH [Jonathan H. Adler]
In reference to Jonah's research frustrations, there is an important distinction between the internet and electronic research more broadly. While I agree totally with Jonah that the former is a fairly limited resource for certain types of in-depth research, much of what Jonah seeks is available in various subscription-based electronic databases. Not ony do Lexis and Westlaw have far more content than is included in the typical journalist's account, back issues of academic journals in most fields are increasingly available on-line. As a practical matter, this means that pointy-headed academics like myself -- and many college students -- can do much more research on-line than the average Joe, because major research universities have access to the vast majority of these databases.
Posted at 02:01 PM
GREAT POINT [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod - that's an excellent point (and a good example for my book). But you might as well ask why is conservative "judicial activism" always and everywhere evil and scary but liberal judicial activism is almost always a sign of progressiveness, courgage and goodness?
Posted at 01:58 PM
OAS GOES OVERBOARD [Jonathan H. Adler]
Apparently the human rights commission of the Organization of American States has declared the United States is in violation of international law because residents of D.C. cannot vote for members of Congress. Gregg Easterbrook dissects the absurdity of the finding here.
Posted at 01:58 PM
PIXELS VERSUS PAPER [Jonah Goldberg]
My last few blegs for academic stuff have revived one of my oldest peeves about the internet. It's still not nearly good enough and might never be.
If you think the internet has arrived as the be-all and end-all of research, I'm afraid you're still wrong and I'm still right. While researching my book, I've been amazed by how much stuff isn't on the web. And I don't just mean scholarly articles and essays, I mean even references to some major and a great many minor events, institutions, people etc. I'm working on some issues from the New Deal era and I'm astounded by how little there is out there on specific legislators, legislation etc. Even in Nexis, it's difficult to find useful articles on a vast swath of history. Except for -- I would guess -- the top .01% pretty much all of the important things ever written are still hidden away in books, on microfilm, or in bound journals. That's all fine, I suppose, except that I know for a fact that a huge number of college kids think that if something isn't on the web it doesn't exist. The internet is a wonderful thing, but I'm afraid it's also responsible for a lot of collective forgetting.
Posted at 01:55 PM
SAUCE FOR THE (GAY) GANDER? [Rod Dreher]
What I don't get is this: why was it wrong for Judge Roy Moore of Alabama to unilaterally declare federal law wrong, and defy it by installing a Ten Commandments monument in a courthouse rotunda ... but it's okay for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to unilaterally declare state law wrong in prohibiting same-sex marriage, and defy it by issuing marriage licenses to gay couples? I mean, I know why the media was outraged by the former episode of grandstanding and not the latter, but as a legal matter, what's the difference?
Posted at 01:45 PM
DID WE KNOW THIS? [Jonah Goldberg]
The other major "accuser" against Bush has admitted he's suffering from Alzheimer's and that this might explain why he doesn't remember Bush serving in the Guard. It seems only the NY Post thinks this is relevant. I somehow doubt a fact like this would have been ignored if a Bill Clinton accuser were in a similar plight.
Posted at 01:24 PM
RANDIAN HYPNOPROP [Jonah Goldberg ]
No, not the name of my new band. But what I'd call this eerily eerily compelling bit of animation. Note, I turned it off before the end for fear of joining a cult so if it ends badly, don't blame me. (Nod to Crooked Timber for link).
Posted at 12:39 PM
CLINTON'S STILL FOR CLARK [Jonah Goldberg]
According to the NY Post.
Posted at 12:27 PM
ATTENTION CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE COMIC BOOK DRAMATURGIST GEEKS [Jonah Goldberg]
This play is for you.
Posted at 12:24 PM
VALPO- BTW [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll still be there Wednesday night. I need to figure out what I'm going to talk about. Probably not the zeta function, though who knows?
Posted at 12:19 PM
BLEG - THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY [Jonah Goldberg]
Does anybody know where I can find the -- or a -- definitive critique of the Authoritarian Personality?
Posted at 12:16 PM
IF ONLY A YOUNG JOHN KERRY HAD BEEN GIVEN THESE BOOKS [Jack Fowler]
Well, truth be told, these books weren't around back then. But if they had been, and had someone been thoughtful enough to have given them to Mr. Heinz II, well, imagine all the trouble that would have been saved!
By the way, "these books" to which we refer are NR's wonderful children's tomes -- our two volumes of "Classic Literature" treasuries (filled with super stories by Kipling, London, Carroll, Burnett, Baum, Alcott, Twain, and other literary giants) are perfect for older kids, and our "Classic Bedtime Stories" collection of Thornton Burgess' delightful tales of woodland creatures are also perfect for beginning readers (and to be read to wee ones as the head off to sweet dreams).
These books are sure to be a positive influence on any youngster lucky enough to be given them. Surely that great son or special granddaughter or beloved niece will -- aided and abetted by the dozens and dozens of beautifully written stories we've published (each one teaches a lesson, and each one is wholesome!) -- mature into tomorrow's solid citizens. Hurrah!
For that to happen, all a deserving kid needs is . . . someone thoughtful (like you!) to give them the books. Make sure that special young one you know doesn't grow up to be an liberal extremist senator from Massachusetts, or any state for that matter. Get him one or all of National Review's critically acclaimed children's books. They're available here.
Posted at 10:46 AM
ARE YOU TIRED? [Jonah Goldberg]
This is from a reader. This definitely falls under the "numbers which are too good to be checked" department:
Posted at 09:33 AM
WELL, IT IS COLD, FLU AND HEART ATTACK SEASON [Jonah Goldberg ]
AQ Khan and his wife are in a "bad" way. (Nod to Instapundit)
Posted at 09:27 AM
INTERESTING: O'REILLY [Jonah Goldberg ]
The reliably conservative crowd at Lucianne.com seems to think Bill O'Reilly's lost his way, judging from these posts.
Posted at 09:24 AM
The homepage is taking a posting holiday, but stick in here throughout the day.
Posted at 09:16 AM
LEGISLATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Police in Montgomery County, Alabama pulled over Democratic state representative Alvin Holmes, whose car was weaving all over the road. When they approached the car, they noted he reeked of alcohol, and he was slurring his speech. But Holmes wasn't arrested or even detained for drunk driving, as he explained he was on his way home from a legislative session so he was immune from arrest. Apparently, under Alabama law, legislators may only be arrested for felonies, treason or breach of the peace during legislative sessions, and this immunity extends to travel to and from session. So, the police drove Holmes home. (Via ThisIsTrue)
Posted at 09:14 AM
KERRY V GORE [Jonah Goldberg]
Is it just me, or are Kerry and Gore remarkably similar candidates? They both made an effort to seem like New Democrats but abandoned that junk when it no longer suited them. From privileged backgrounds, they were groomed almost from birth for the Oval Office (Bush is from a privileged background too, obviously. But the decision to run for president seems to have come relatively late in life). For both Gore and Kerry, their first allegiance politically is to the environment. They claim to be opposed to big business and special interests, except when big business and special interests are cutting them checks. They both have a finely honed ability to take cheap shots at their opponents while sounding like they're above the fray. Speaking of how they sound, they both come across as astonishingly arrogant and stiff. I could go on, but I really think this is might shape up like a Gore-Bush redux.
Posted at 09:12 AM
WILL ON KERRY [Jonah Goldberg ]
George Will's column was a useful exercise in defining the presumptive Democratic nominee. The questions are good, but the way they illuminate the Kerry's political character is better.
Posted at 09:06 AM
HEADLINE ON TIMES ENTERTAINMENT SECTION [Rick Brookhiser]
ALL QUESTIONING ON THE LONDON FRONT: THEATER REFLECTS WAR'S BLEAK FUTILITY
Were any of these plays in German?
Posted at 09:02 AM
BORKING SILBERMAN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Judge Laurence Silberman has been confirmed unanimously by the Senate six times, but that hasn't stopped Senate Democrats from recycling tired, and unsubstantiated, charges of partisanship leveled against Silberman by David Brock in Blinded by the Right. As Robert Novak notes in today's column, Democrats are attacking Silberman to discredit the independent commission on pre-war intelligence he is co-chairing with former Senator Chuck Robb.
Posted at 09:02 AM
CONAN THE BARBARIAN [Jonathan H. Adler]
The NYT covers the Quebecois flap over Conan O'Brien here. One newspaper called the Conan sketch featuring Triump the Insult Comic Dog "hateful" and "racist." A slightly less overwrought member of Parliament said "We can all make jokes about each other but you don't start telling people in Quebec they have to speak another language. . . . That's completely unacceptable." Don't these people have more important things to worry about?
Posted at 08:59 AM
DISPATCHES FROM ACADEMIA [Jonathan H. Adler]
Andrew Sullivan's round-up of examples of academic bias are quite amusing, if not a bit disturbing. It reminds of a first-year student who came up to me after class to tell me she was surprised to learn she had a right-wing professor. After all, she'd never had one before, and was assured Case's faculty was left of center. I left wondering whether she was afraid of me, or found me to be a curiosity, like some exotic animal at the zoo. (What's that strange creature? Why, that is an extremely rare species of academic, a conservative!)
Posted at 08:58 AM
COLLUSION MEMOS (CONT.) [Jonathan H. Adler]
Here's the NYT's latest take on the memo flap, According to Senate Dems, someone who steals documents that may discredit a Bush nominee is a "whistleblower," but someone who accesses and discloses unsecured memos suggesting improprieties by Senate Dems is a "thief." Here's the Post story on same from Friday, noting that most of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have condemned the way the Dems' collusion memos were obtained. Meanwhile, here's an article on Manuel Miranda's take on what's occurred.
Posted at 08:52 AM
UNDERSTANDING OUTSOURCING [Jonathan H. Adler]
Columbia's Jagdish Bhagwati, one of the nation's foremost authorities on trade and globalization, explains why "outsourcing" is not an economic problem. His bottom line: "when jobs disappear in America it is usually because technical change has destroyed them, not because they have gone anywhere. In the end, Americans' increasing dependence on an ever-widening array of technology will create a flood of high-paying jobs requiring hands-on technicians, not disembodied voices from the other side of the world." As usual, Bhagwati is exactly right.
Posted at 08:52 AM
THE CHOICE: WAR PRESIDENT VERSUS EVERYTHING (AND THEREFORE NOTHING) PRESIDENT [Jonah Goldberg]
From last night's debate:
GILBERT: Senator Kerry, President Bush a week ago on "Meet the Press" described himself as a war president. He said he's got war on his mind as he considers these policies and decisions he has to make. If you were elected, would you see yourself as a war president?
Posted at 08:52 AM
Sunday, February 15, 2004
CRUNCHY TOOTHPASTE? [Mark Krikorian]
At the risk of reigniting the whole "crunchy-con" debate of a couple years ago, I was drawn to a piece in today's Washington Post Style section on how using Tom's of Maine toothpaste is supposedly a sign of leftist politics. I've been using the stuff for 18 years and it beats the super-sweet kiddie toothpaste made by consumer-products conglomerates, so I suppose that makes me a crunchy con (yes, I also shop at Fresh Fields). But choosing (or shunning) toothpaste based on its "politics" is just too ridiculous for words.
Posted at 08:49 PM
ANDREW VS. THE MIDDLE AGES [Rick Brookhiser]
For a different take on medieval philosophy, see Henry Adams, Mont Saint Michel and Chartres, chapters XIV and XVI, and George Santayana, Three Philosophical Poets, the chapter on Dante. Note that for all their Catholicism, Adams and Santayana are essentially atheists.
Posted at 08:32 PM
PHILOSOPHERS' DRINKING SONG [Rick Brookhiser]
I find the typology of philosophers dubious. Plato, Hegel and Kierkegaard are conservatives? Machiavelli and Nietzsche are not liberals? (Sure, neither are Caligula and Vlad the Impaler.) This kind of sorting generally involves gross base stealing--see how everybody good ends up on my team!--and always involves radical simplifications. Did Rousseau, conservatives' favorite bete noir, influence Tocqueville? Allan Bloom thought so.
I prefer the title of my post: Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy old beggar who was very rarely stable...
Posted at 08:28 PM
CLUELESS IN D.C. [Mark Krikorian]
Washington Post front page, above-the-fold headline from this morning (sorry, I'm only now getting to it): "Most D.C. Homicide Victims Had Arrests; Analysis Highlights 'Criminal Subculture' " Gee, you think?
Posted at 08:00 PM
KUCINICH, SHARPTON [KJL]
really need time limits to their answers.
Posted at 07:00 PM
Asked about President Bush's national guard service and the Friday doc drop at this Marquette debate going on right now, Kerry laid off.
Posted at 06:33 PM
WHAT ABOUT SHERROD? [Tim Graham]
Rep. Sherrod Brown drew attention to himself this week for suggesting the president was "AWOL" while questioning Colin Powell, who said "don't go there." But shouldn't somebody "go there" on Rep. Brown? What heroic war record does he have to load up on the President? I don't see any mention of military service on his congressional Web page...
Posted at 06:00 PM
MORE ON PHILOSOPHY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Another reader, meanwhile, wades in with this observation about the supposed inevitability of philosophy departments hiring on the Left:
“Spend any time surveying the great philosophers, and you…find a large number of conservatives - Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Pascal, Hume, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and a number who are… not liberals - Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Nietzsche, for example. The liberals are a smaller number - Locke, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Mill. And of course, any of them would be conservatives by today's standards. "Left-leaning"? By whose standard?”
Well, I’m not so sure about Rousseau, and there’s always cranky Karl Marx, but he does have a point…
Posted at 03:11 PM
DUNS SCOTUS, COMMIE [Andrew Stuttaford]
A couple of readers have written in to take issue with my comment “that a quick glance at a candidate’s publications, fields of interest and so on will be more than enough to reveal his or her political leanings,” including one citing a list of publications so obscure that they made my head spin. I’m no philosopher, however, and maybe these titles would have sent more of a signal to somebody better trained in this singularly pointless discipline. Another correspondent, making a similar argument, recalls going to a medieval philosophy conference where “absolutely everyone besides [him] thought Bush was evil and Ashcroft unspeakable.” He was surprised. He shouldn’t have been. Medieval philosophy mixed ignorance with magical thinking, obscurantism, economic illiteracy and absurd and obsessive dogmatism. No wonder it appeals to the Left.
Posted at 03:01 PM
NO FURTHER COMMENT NECESSARY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Duke President Nan Keohane “said most Duke professors are careful not to let their own ideologies color their teaching.”
OK, just one comment…
Ha ha ha ha
Posted at 02:43 PM
A PLAGUE OF PASTA [Andrew Stuttaford]
Tucked away in this depressing little story about sneak attempts to introduce a ban on public smoking in the UK is the revelation that Britain will be holding an "obesity summit" to discuss measures such as a prohibition on television advertisements for fast food and candies. What a waste of time. Sweden and Quebec have for years banned such ads (when directed at children) with no appreciable effect on rising levels of obesity. But if governments are going to ban any sort of food advertising (and they should not, of course), why not start with wicked pasta? A recent CDC report appears to show that the growth in Americans’ consumption of calories (which has, incidentally, leveled off) comes primarily not from fat (although Americans are consuming more of that naughty substance too), but from carbohydrates.
The answer is clear. We must protect ‘the children’ from ravioli. I call on Congress (if it can spare any time from its immensely important contemplation of Janet Jackson’s breast) to act at once against this threat to the nation’s young.
Posted at 01:40 PM
PORT-AU-PRINCESS [Tim Graham]
I caught a rerun of C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" from this morning featuring Larry Birns, the old radical-lefty hand, now fussing about Bush policy toward Marxist Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Rep. Maxine Waters called in to add more fuss, to which Mr. Birns replied with something to the effect that Maxine Waters is known in country as the "George and Martha Washington of Haiti."
Posted at 01:38 PM
CONAN AND CANADA [Rick Brookhiser]
Conan O'Brien has riled French Canadians with harmless, albeit infantile, potshots. One pol denounced his japes as "racist filth." One might call that a provincial reaction, if it wouldn't be racist.
PS: Michael Potemra is exempt from all charges of provincialism, by virtue of watching so many movies which are neither in English, nor Joual.
Posted at 11:49 AM