CIVIL DISORDER, CONT'D [Rod Dreher]
The California Supremes won't stop the marriage spectacle in San Francisco, and now New York State Attorney General Elliott Spitzer refuses to honor a request to file a motion to do the same thing in New Paltz, NY, where city officials have been breaking state law by performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. You see what's happening: a liberal elite that doesn't feel it has any obligation to honor the law is forcing through a social revolution. Though I am against gay marriage, I personally believe that if the people of this country wish to have it, they should. But not this way. This is a kind of a coup.
Posted at 07:37 PM
HUMORLESS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Lost in Translation is, quite simply, a masterpiece, so it’s sad to see that its Oscar hopes may be scuppered by the 'activists' over at Asian Mediawatch, who claim that it ‘mocks the Japanese people.’ This is so dumb that it’s difficult to know where to begin. The movie is a comedy, and like many comedies it satirizes, mocks and emphasizes the absurd, and when that film is set in Japan and, at least partly, is about the failure of different cultures to understand each other, it’s no surprise that here and there, ‘Japaneseness’ (yes, yes, I know that’s not a word) is at the receiving end of a few jokes (as are blonde starlets, middle-aged white guys and numerous others). That anyone could find that humor somehow racist is yet another reminder that we live in a culture of complaint and victimhood run amok.
Message to ‘Asian Mediawatch’: Get a life, guys.
Posted at 07:29 PM
FREAK [Andrew Stuttaford]
A superstitious cretin by the name of ‘Sheik’ Taj el-Din Al Hilaly has reportedly described the 9/11 attacks as ‘God’s work.’ So far, sadly, so unoriginal, but what is interesting is to read that Hilaly is described as the ‘leader’ of Australia’s 300,000 Muslims. If that description is really accurate (I suspect that the notion of ‘leadership’ in this context is rather fluid), can we now expect this fanatic to be renounced by his followers?
Posted at 07:22 PM
DEAR FLOWER [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kimjongilia. Who knew?
Posted at 07:21 PM
A TOUCH TACKY? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Incorrigible skeptic I may be (sorry Tim!), but even I was a little surprised by this.
Posted at 07:16 PM
THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS [John Derbyshire]
Daniel Derbyshire, age 8, musing to himself while being driven past Burger Heaven: "Wonder if there's a Burger H-e-l-l? Wonder what it's like?"
Posted at 07:02 PM
"HOLY HYPOCRISIES" [Jim Boulet]
Richard Corliss of Time has concisely cataloged the various hypocrisies of critics of "The Passion Of the Christ." Sample:
[W]e defend Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ,” which portrays Jesus as a human who slowly learns he’s divine, and Kevin Smith’s “Dogma,” a raw comedy about an abortion-clinic worker who is a lineal descendant of Jesus. Anyway, I defended these films in TIME, and I took at face value the testimony of Scorsese, who once contemplated entering the priesthood, and Smith, who describes himself as a devout Catholic, that their films were acts of faith.Corliss's take on Mel's Hollywood future:
One man convicted of child molestation has directed films for Disney and New Line. Gibson’s criminal rap sheet is clean; he is guilty only of standing by his deluded old man and expressing opinions that are less popular in Hollywood than they are in the rest of the country. For some of the industry’s moguls to deny him employment because they don’t like what he said, or because he made a controversial film, would send a creepy message to the public: that a liberal is someone who will defend to the death your right to agree with him.
Posted at 06:57 PM
RE: GOD-DENYING MEDIA [John Derbyshire]
Tim: Andy Rooney sounds like me at age 13. This guy is taken seriously?
Posted at 06:48 PM
RIGHT ON [Mike Potemra]
This is from Peggy Noonan's WSJ column , in which she discusses “American open-mindedness and what it means in practice and theory”: “America is now a country--it was not always--in which people feel free to hold whatever private views on all human groups and behaviors while bowing to the moral necessity to show respect and regard for all groups that are different, in whatever ways. We have gone beyond tolerance in America; we have arrived at affection and sympathy and mutual respect. It has been beautiful to see, and I have seen it in my lifetime. It's worth talking about.” I think Noonan is describing quite accurately the high American morality of disagreement, and she is doing so precisely as a conservative. She is showing that our social conservatism is not like social conservatism as it has existed in other times and places; it is not mere bigotry against certain types of people. President Bush was hinting at a similar vision recently, in his remarks on the marriage amendment: “Our government should respect every person, and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities. We should also conduct this difficult debate in a manner worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger.” Some will, of course, try to portray Bush’s stand as bigoted, merely because they disagree with his conclusions. But they will do so at a rather severe cost: They will show that they are the ones who lack the basic virtues of “affection and sympathy and mutual respect” that Noonan describes.
Posted at 04:56 PM
STALIN'S REVENGE [John Derbyshire]
"Millions of giant Pacific crabs, whose ancestors were brought to Europe by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s, are marching south along Norway's coast, devouring everything in their path."
Posted at 02:24 PM
BUSH PLAYS ROUGH [Tim Graham]
Times Watch notes the New York Times campaign correspondents covering John Kerry and George W. Bush display the newspaper’s shifting standards of news coverage. The Kerry story on A16 is headlined “Kerry Uses Edwards’s Common Touch to Soften Image.” The Bush story on A17 is headlined “Bush Continues a Tough Attack on Kerry.”
To reporter Elizabeth Bumiller, Bush is always assaulting: “President Bush continued his assault on Senator John Kerry on Thursday as he took his new speech to Kentucky, where he also collected hundreds of checks for a campaign that has raised more than $150 million.” She later added: “Mr. Bush repeated his attack on Mr. Kerry that he started on Monday in Washington with a tough new speech that signaled he was no longer content to be a sideshow.” But it's the same cute jokes about Kerry's flip-flopping...
Posted at 02:15 PM
NICE OF THE NYTIMES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
to acknowledge, on the front page, that they read NRO.
Posted at 01:46 PM
GOD-DENYING MEDIA [Tim Graham]
On MSNBC's Imus simulcast yesterday, Andy Rooney clearly was pitching his God-denying tent at Camp Christopher Hitchens. When asked about the Gibson film, he said, "No, I haven’t. I don’t plan to see it. I mean, I don’t want to pay nine dollars just for a few laughs.”
Don Imus also asked if he was an atheist, to which he replied: “You know, Bertrand Russell had a great line years ago -- I read it once and never got over it. Bertrand Russell said, one of the brightest person [sic] who ever, ever lived on this earth, said, 'It’s foolish to say there is no God, but it’s foolish to say there is a God, too. We don’t know.’ And I’ll go with Bertrand Russell. I mean, it’s just absurd to invent God to unburden our problems on him, and on the other hand, there are so many questions that are unanswered that, you know, we’re looking for some solution to it and we have invented God.”
He added: "I think the real legitimate question about religion is whether or not it can be a force for good, even though it can’t be defended, you know, historically, logically, or scientifically. I don’t think so, but it is possible that religion has done so many bad things and is the source of so much evil in the world and yet there are people who are led to a better life because of it, so I suppose you could say that it has been good, even though you can’t defend it intellectually.”
Posted at 12:18 PM
NEW WEBSITE ON KERRY [Mackubin Thomas Owens]
For those who haven't heard, there is a dynamite new website that documents Kerry's antiwar activities: http://www.wintersoldier.com. You can really get a sense of what this guy was doing in 1971. It's certainly worth a look.
Posted at 12:17 PM
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST [John Derbyshire]
A lot of thoughtful Christians HATE this movie. Here's one
Posted at 11:52 AM
WE DON'T NEED NO EDUCATION [John J. Miller]
In the United States, the Supreme Court has said that public schools must accept all comers, including children who are illegal aliens from Mexico. And so there are virtually no bars on who can receive a taxpayer-financed public education: Your very presence in this country can be against the law, but you still receive this expensive entitlement. That's not how they do things down Mexico way, of course, where apparently hundreds of thousands of kids aren't allowed to go to school because they don't have pieces of paper from the government saying they were born. The outrageous details here.
Posted at 05:37 AM
Friday, February 27, 2004
I'm being told (by multiple sources) that the originial report was wrong: Chalabi was not at the meeting (scroll down).
Posted at 06:17 PM
HOW MANY BIRTHDAYS DID ROSSINI HAVE? [John Derbyshire]
There are at least four different answers to this question. See here
Posted at 03:04 PM
PASSION RECAP [KJL]
Some of NRO's Passion pieces, in case you want to catch up this weekend (a few of you have asked for a list, so here is one):
Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Ralph Winter & Mark Joseph
Posted at 02:46 PM
COSTNER: LEAVE MEL ALONE [KJL ]
An NBC press release:
BURBANK, Calif. – February 27, 2004– In an interview with "Access Hollywood," actor Kevin Costner says that people "shouldn't be attacking" Mel Gibson for his film "The Passion of the Christ." The interview airs on "Access Hollywood," Friday, February 27, 2004 (check local listings for time and station).
Posted at 02:35 PM
Ramesh, I'm a wee bit older than 3, and I found the opening a tad traumatic.
Posted at 02:29 PM
STANLEY ON NPR [KJL]
Posted at 02:25 PM
DOES FINDING NEMO COUNT? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The opening scenes, in which Nemo's mother and unborn (!) siblings were swallowed, were rather horrifying, though, at least for my then-three-year-old nephew.
Posted at 02:19 PM
BLOODLESS MEL [John Derbyshire]
Fair point (at the end) from a fellow blogger : "Mighty Derb---Hate to spoil the fun, but there are actually a FEW bloodless Mel Gibson films. Although, the display of all this pop culture knowledge might make me a hypocrite, because your 'Pop Culture is Filth' t-shirt should be arriving in the mail for me any day now. Seriously.
"Cut to the chase:
"'Signs' has some scary stuff and suspense but not much in the way of blood. Mel cuts some alien toes in that one but I don't recall any arterial sprays.
"The most violent scene in 'What Women Want' had Mel painfully ripping wax off his legs, but that's about it.
"Do cartoons count? Mel did voice work in the children's animated films 'Pocahontas' and 'Chicken Run,' both of which were G-rated.
"Also, 'Maverick' was pretty tame with the violence, and IMDb.com lists his next film as 'The Singing Detective,' which I of course haven't seen but somehow doubt will be another 'Braveheart.'
"YOU, on the other hand... absolutely 100% of your film career has been in violent movies. Think of the children, man! The children!"
Posted at 02:16 PM
GAY MARRIAGE [KJL]
David Frum asks Andrew Sullivan some questions.
Posted at 02:14 PM
MORE MEL [KJL]
Readersare sending me lots of "tell Derb to see" e-mails: In addition to What Women Want: Chicken Run, Pocahontas, Forever Young, and The Man Without a Face.
Posted at 02:07 PM
RE: MELLOW MEL [KJL]
What Women Want is probably the most obvious and recent example.
Posted at 02:03 PM
MEL'S GENTLE SIDE [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, there's always Mel's dreary 'Tim.' No gore, so far as I recall, but the treacly plot is so relentlessly 'inspirational' that it triggered a wave of (sometimes bloody) suicides by desperate audience members. They had lost hope that the wretched movie would ever end.
Posted at 01:59 PM
TWO THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
before reading Opinion Journal's Political Diary (which is subscription-only) for today: 1) Kerry and Edwards were, respectively, the most liberal and the fourth-most liberal members of the Senate in 2003, according to National Journal; and 2) the Main Street Individual Fund, which exists to help liberal Republicans such as Arlen Specter, has found a big backer in George Soros.
Posted at 01:55 PM
MORE THAN 80 PERCENT OF THE VICTIMS/ACCUSERS WERE MALE [KJL]
Two reports on Catholic clergy abuse come in.
Posted at 12:47 PM
THE RIGHT TO ADULTERY [Roger Clegg]
Last year, prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that it is unconstitutional for states to make homosexual sodomy illegal, many conservatives—prominently Sen. Rick Santorum—pointed out that the logic of such a ruling would make it hard to defend laws that ban other kinds of deviant sexual behavior (such as incest) as well as gay marriage (and polygamy, for that matter). For this, of course, they were labeled homophobic bigots. Well, the prediction about gay marriage has already come true, and now perhaps the former will, too. The American Civil Liberties Union will, according to an article in yesterday’s Washington Post , join an argument “that the Supreme Court’s ruling last year striking down anti-sodomy laws also should apply to adultery,” which is a misdemeanor subject to a $250 fine in Virginia. The article quotes the ACLU’s Virginia executive director: “When this [adultery] case came to us, we looked at Lawrence v. Texas, and it seemed absolutely clear that the state could not criminalize private adultery any more than it could criminalize private sodomy.” Or, say, private incest between consenting adults (as just the next step).
Posted at 12:29 PM
EXCHANGE WITH READER [John Derbyshire]
She: "Do you look down on the Irish because so many of them are Roman Catholic or do you look down on Roman Catholics because so many of them are Irish? Just wondering."
Me: "What I mostly look down on is people who are determined to seek out 'offense,' 'discrimination,' and 'bias' in every frigging thing they hear or read. So now quit wondering and get back to cramming for your Victim Studies exam."
Posted at 12:27 PM
RE: FAIRNESS TO MEL [John Derbyshire]
Uh-oh. "Did your correspondent leave before the movie [i.e., _Ransom_] was over? Gary Sinise's character winds up on the sidewalk with his throat cut from shattered glass, clearly bleeding (while still alive) profusely."
OK, OK; anyone got a TOTALLY BLOOD-FREE Mel Gibson movie, so I *can* be fair to the guy?
Posted at 12:26 PM
STATE OF SHARIA [KJL]
A source in Iraq reports:
The Iraqi Governing Council repealed decree 137 today (the controversial decree bringing in Sharia law passed in December. A group of women came in to lobby against decree 137. They presented their case to the Governing Council as to why Sharia discriminates against women.
Posted at 12:21 PM
GOOD NEWS 4 MARTHA STEWART [KJL]
Posted at 11:46 AM
FAIRNESS TO MEL [John Derbyshire]
A reader: "There is one Mel Gibson movie that isn't bloody at all - Ransom, directed by Ron Howard and co-starring Gary Sinise. Gibson plays a rich guy whose young son is kidnapped for ransom money. Gibson turns the tables by publicly offering more money for the heads of the kidnappers if his son is harmed. Very suspenseful and clever, with a superb ending. You might like it."
Posted at 11:45 AM
THE SUBJUNCTIVE [John Derbyshire]
One of the first things I was ever told by a hardened professional journalist was: "Say anything you like, insult anyone, mess up your facts, broadcast lies and slander -- nobody will bat an eyelid. But split a popping infinitive and watch the angry mail come pouring in."
I have found this to be true. Nothing stirs people up like fine points of grammar, pronunciation, and usage. I am not much surprised to find, therefore, that the section of this morning's Diary generating the most e-mail is the bit about the subjunctive.
Here's one of my favorites so far: "Derb---As a lawyer, I use the subjunctive frequently to show that an 'if ..., then' condition is a contrary to fact condition, thereby adding subtle support to my primary position that the if clause is not true. Since many judges split infinitives, I doubt that they actually pick up on the point. Most probably think that I got the number of my verb wrong."
Posted at 11:42 AM
STAN THE MAN [John Derbyshire]
I missed Stanley Kurtz on the wireless yesterday -- the Diane Rehm show, I think it was. Can he, or anyone, point me to a transcript?
Posted at 11:13 AM
NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT [Mark Krikorian]
Jason Alexander (Seinfeld's George Costanza) went to Israel recently to promote peace between Arabs and Jews, hopefully with less disastrous results than if George embarked on such a path. The project he's pushing is an Internet poll [http://www.silentnolonger.org] intended to create grassroots momentum for peace and "embolden moderates on both sides," yadda, yadda, yadda. And it's not just Alexander -- the One Voice project is also backed by Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Brad Pitt, and Jennifer Anniston.
In fact, it almost turned into a Seinfeld episode -- on Wednesday, Alexander went to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian peace activists and entertainers right in the middle of an Israeli raid, amid gunfire and hurled rocks. He was so clueless he didn't even notice the shooting, though he later said that, and I am not making this up, "It confirms what we have been saying, there is a very definite will for peace on both sides."
Now, it's bad enough when celebrity idiots wade into the deep waters of public policy in this country, but we at least have some strategic depth, a margin of error. Israel just can't afford such clownish antics.
Posted at 11:02 AM
FEDERALISM AND RELIGION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I wrote today that most conservatives had lined up against the Supreme Court's Locke v. Davey decision. That's true, but it's not uniformly true. Over at Southern Appeal, Quin Hillyer has been making the case that the Court's decision was right. (I doubt he would sign on, however, to all of its reasoning, much of which I think Justice Scalia's dissent effectively shredded.) Hillyer is stressing the federalist angle, although not explicitly questioning incorporation.
Posted at 10:59 AM
WHAT K-LO MISSED AT THE DEBATE [Tim Graham]
Kerry's first executive order: "Reverse the Mexico City policy on the gag rule so that we take a responsible position globally on family planning."
Posted at 10:16 AM
PRESIDENT TORT [Tim Graham]
John Edwards spent yesterday in Texas, raising money from a very predictable source, Ken Herman reports:
After the rally, Edwards went behind closed doors at the home of John O'Quinn, one of the state's most prominent trial lawyers, for the fund-raising portion of his Texas swing....O'Quinn is among the nation's top Democratic donors. His law firm was one of five sharing $3.3 billion in fees for representing the state in the tobacco litigation that produced a $17.3-billion settlement for Texas.
Posted at 10:15 AM
THIS IS THE WAY TO RAISE CHILDREN [KJL]
I can picture the Gurdons doing that...Molly Gurdon, the oldest child, would be spearheading the NRODT reading each delivery day.
Posted at 10:10 AM
WEIGH IN [KJL]
Michael, you are right, there, for sure. Do no women work for the NTSB?
Posted at 10:06 AM
THE NEXT BIG THREAT TO THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY [Michael Graham]
From the AP: "Air travel would be safer if airlines weighed their passengers from time to time to make sure they know how much weight their planes are carrying, the National Transportation Safety Board says. <
Following its investigation into a commuter plane crash last year in North Carolina, the NTSB said on Thursday that airlines should at least periodically make passengers step on a scale."
OK, so who is the NTSB thinks will MAKE American women stand on a scale in the middle of a busy airport? Trust me, this is a bigger threat to the airline industry than Al Qaeda.
Posted at 10:04 AM
SO ARE JEWS ALLOWED NOW? [KJL]
An update on the Saudis, from readers: "If you go back to the link on the Saudi Tourism webpage, you will find that the part which last night said 'Jewish People' has magically been 'disappeared'...." Update: Here's the old page.
Posted at 09:58 AM
HIGH HONORS [KJL]
The terrific group C-FAM, a pro-life U.N. watchdog, gave the president of Costa Rica a peace prize last night for his efforts in support of an international ban on cloning at a NYC dinner emceed by our own Kate O’Beirne. (Regretfully, I missed the shin-dig due to a bad bug I'm trying to kill.) A bit of trivia: the award was designed by Michael Novak's acclaimed artist bride, Karen.
Posted at 09:36 AM
S.D. PASSES AN ABORTION-RESTRICTION BILL [KJL]
I repeat Bob Moran's states' rights' question: Kerry, Edwards, whatcha think?
Posted at 09:06 AM
BEYOND THUNDERDOME [KJL]
A reader writes:
I would disagree with you re: Mel will never be Mad Max again...A Mad Max 4 has been "in the works" for a while, and Gibson has the perfect vehicle in the Max character to express spiritual (and not even necessarily Christian) suffering and redemption. Max's character was driven "mad" by the brutal murder of his family, and he now roams a post-apocalyptic wasteland living an amoral life of survival. This could be a perfect opportunity to bring a moral conclusion to this tale...along with healthy doses of high performance V-8s.
Posted at 08:51 AM
A YAWN AND A SIGH [Tim Graham]
The ABC News ticker carried liberal semantic biases today at the start of "Good Morning America." The House passed a bill that would protect the quote-unquote "unborn child." Then Rosie O'Donnell weds Kellie Carpenter, makes stand for gay marriage. No quote marks. Katie Couric started NBC's "Today" with the words "Wedded bliss!" to describe Rosie's protest.
Posted at 08:11 AM
NO MORE YEARS [KJL]
McAuliffe is out after this election is lost.
Posted at 08:10 AM
NO JEWS ALLOWED [KJL]
"The people of Saudi Arabia are warm, hospitable and friendly. They extend a warm invitation to you to come and experience this unique and rare destination." Not quite. Even when reaching out to tourists, can't get around their true feelings.
Posted at 07:59 AM
AND NOW, NEW PALTZ [KJL]
New York town goes the Newsom way.
Posted at 07:20 AM
KRAUTHAMMER ON FMA [Tim Graham]
Charles Krauthammer offers his take on the homosexual revolution, comparing it to the Roe V. Wade precedent that steered around democracy. (I'm really not sure abortion would be less controversial today if it had emerged the democratic way.) But don't miss how he mocks the idea that oh, it's Bush pushing a "wedge issue"!
Posted at 07:10 AM
KUDOS [Mike Potemra]
There was a panel discussion on The Passion last night at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan. Crisis magazine publisher Deal Hudson faced a pretty hostile gathering, and argued--both politely and charitably--for the right of Christians "to tell their own story." He conceded that he thought the film's violence "went a little over the top," but contended with great vigor against assertions that there were anti-Semitic caricatures in the movie. What made Hudson's presentation so impressive was, above all, his tone; he indulged in neither self-pity nor braggadocio, but instead issued a calm, firm, and precise call for fairness. Father Neuhaus made a great comment recently to the effect that being a wimp and being a bully are not the only choices we have; last night, Deal Hudson proved it.
Posted at 07:09 AM
THE NUMBERS [John J. Miller]
As Jim mentioned, The Passion of Christ earned $23.6 million at the box office on Wednesday. (Total gross through Wednesday, including special screenings on Monday and Tuesday, was $26.5 million.) Let's put that number in perspective. Return of the King earned $34.5 million on its Wednesday opening--so The Passion's numbers are big but not unprecedented, unless you also consider the fact that it's a movie with subtitles, for crying out loud. Also, Mel Gibson's Braveheart also opened on a Wednesday in 1995, earning $1.4 million, then $9.9 million on its first three-day weekend and $75 million total. (The source for my numbers is here.)
Posted at 05:43 AM
NYT COVERS JAYSON BLAIR BOOK [KJL]
Posted at 12:31 AM
HE'LL WORK IN THAT TOWN AGAIN [KJL]
Just caught most of Mel Gibson on The Tonight Show. He came off fine, relatively normal, funny. (Even hung around for a Prince performance after talking Gethsemene with Jay.) Combined with the amount of money this film will make, he'll be fine, I suspect. I don't expect he'll be Mad Max again, but he'll be fine, career wise. (And more than fine, leading a trend, if these guys are right.)
Posted at 12:29 AM
Thursday, February 26, 2004
RE: LAST WORD ON MALARIA [John Derbyshire]
Reader Donald MacQueen enlightens me about PAHO: "Hello John---Stands for 'Pan American Health Organization.' They have a very stylish (for the 70's) circular building on 23rd St in DC right near the state department. It's another one of those 'international' do-good organizations (think world bank, IMF) funded almost entirely by US taxpayers."
Posted at 11:43 PM
WILLING WORKERS? [Mark Krikorian]
As the number of Haitian boat people intercepted by the Coast Guard passes 500 , John's posting this morning about the inconsistency in the president's approach to illegals from Haiti vs. those from Mexico is actually quite relevant. The pervasive lawlessness on the Mexican border is the direct result of our not pursuing the kind of consistent enforcement the president has pledged (and so far carried out) with regard to Haitians. And, conversely, if we want to re-establish control over Mexican illegal immigration, we need to approach it with the same toughness as we have the Haitian variety.
There's nothing inevitable about either immigration flow -- in fact, in the early 1990s, Bill Clinton promised to soften the tough Bush I stance toward illegal Haitian immigration, saw the resulting wave of boat people, and reversed course, detaining them at Guantanamo and eventually sending them home. It worked, will work again, and can, mutatis mutandis, work with Mexicans.
Posted at 11:40 PM
MAYBE, JONAH [KJL]
But I'll have to get you back good.
Posted at 11:37 PM
SHOCKED, SHOCKED [Andrew Stuttaford]
So, it’s a ‘scandal’ that British spies allegedly, well, spied on Kofi Annan in the run-up to the Iraq war. What nonsense. Given what was at stake, it would have been a scandal if they hadn’t.
Posted at 11:35 PM
I'M SORRY [KJL]
I simply did not watch the debate tonight--I can't, it's Larry King. I'd just picture Mark Geragos and Liza Minelli.
Posted at 11:29 PM
OH.... [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll have an interesting piece -- at least I think it is -- in the LA Times on Sunday. Maybe K-Lo will link to it for me while I'm I'm gone.
Posted at 09:41 PM
I'M OFF.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Heading to Baton Rouge in the wee hours for a wedding this weekend. Keep hope alive.
Posted at 09:39 PM
PASSION EARNS $23.6 MILLION [Jim Boulet]
The Passion of the Christ earned $23.6 million during its Wednesday opening. The New York Times was ready on Thursday morning to explain it away: "Daytime showings in Tulsa, Okla., and Dallas, where churches had bought blocks of tickets were sold out, but in Richmond, VA., and Boston, theaters were less than half-full."
The afternoon of a workweek is a poor measure of interest in any movie outside of "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings." Had the reporter of that story joined me at the 7:00 PM showing of The Passion in Springfield, VA, she would have seen a rarity: the manager decided to open up a second theater because the first one was packed full.
All attendees, including elderly people, had to climb the steep steps of a broken escalator to simply reach the box office window. The elderly folks I saw may have been out of breath but they remained determined to confirm Ralph Winter and Mark Joseph's prediction in NRO on Tuesday.
The popularity of The Passion is remarkable, considering the intensity of the feelings the film provokes. The 275 Christendom College students and faculty who attended the film on Ash Wednesday returned to their college chapel for "a silent holy hour."
Posted at 06:32 PM
A MEME IS BORN [Rod Dreher]
President Bush's support for the Federal Marriage Amendment is now being linked by the media to "The Passion of the Christ," and not in a complimentary way. Exhibit A, from today's Boston Globe, is this analysis excerpted here: But in choosing to wade so deeply into the cultural divide, Bush also gave a nod to the more than 45 percent of Americans who were likely to vote for him anyway -- the same people in the evenly divided electorate to whom he reached out in his remarks before the Super Bowl last month, in his NASCAR visit in Florida, and in his expressing interest in seeing "The Passion of the Christ." The Globe connects the dots for you. Being "uncompassionate" (their formulation) about gays is tied to enjoying NASCAR and wanting to see the Jesus movie. The subtext is: "Look at the auto-racing, Jesus-loving gay-bashers and the president who panders to them." Exhibit B is today's hysterical Maureen Dowd screed, which implies that Bush is in league with Jesus-loving, "Passion"-watching gay bashers who secretly harbor a desire to bash Jews. Expect this theme to be repeated ad infinitum from here through November. It's Red vs. Blue all over again -- but this time, Blue is going for the jugular.
Posted at 06:04 PM
LAST WORD ON MALARIA [John Derbyshire]
From a Very Authoritative Source:
"I'm sure you've heard enough on the malaria in Mexico vs. Haiti issue, but I still feel compelled to weigh in, because, well it's my job.
"Both Mexico and Haiti have endemic malaria. This is hardly surprising because most of South and Central America also have endemic malaria. There are a couple of differences between the countries however. The island of Hispaniola is a bit of an oddity in the Western Hemisphere in that its sole malaria strain is the far more lethal P. falciparum, while the comparatively benign P. vivax is generally the main cause of malaria in the rest of the Americas.
"59% of Haiti's population lives in moderate/high risk areas vs. 44% of Mexico's. Yet when you look at the most recent data (2001) from PAHO [? - don't know what this stands for - JD], Haiti has twice as many cases as does Mexico. Probably because Haiti doesn't have an active malaria prevention campaign, but Mexico does.
"That said though, I doubt that health profiling is why Haitians will be turned away, and if it is, I am certain malaria is not the health concern. AIDS might be more likely, but someone who is more aware than I of AIDS distribution in the Americas would have to speak to that."
Posted at 05:59 PM
WEDDED, BEFORE GAVIN [KJL]
Rosie O'Donnell gets "married" in San Francisco.
Posted at 05:40 PM
GUNS IN MISSOURI [Dave Kopel]
The gun-prohibition lobby has suffered a major defeat in the Missouri supreme court. Today the court ruled that Missouri's new law to create concealed-handgun permits for licensed, trained citizens who pass a background check. The law was enacted last fall, when the Missouri legislature over-rode the governor's veto. The gun-prohibition lobbies quickly filed suit against the new law, shopped for an anti-gun judge, and obtained a temporary injunction against the concealed-carry law. The Missouri supreme court overturned the injunction, thereby allowing the law to go into effect.
Article I, section 23, of the Missouri constitution states: "That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons." The obvious meaning of the final clause is that concealed carry is not part of the right to keep and bear arms. The Missouri legislature could prohibit concealed carry entirely, could allow unrestricted concealed carry, or could allow concealed carry under certain circumstances. The Missouri legislature chose the third option: prohibiting concealed carry except for people who are given a license according to state standards.
The gun prohibition groups made the preposterous argument--with the trial judge in Saint Louis accepted--that the constitutional clause forbids concealed carry under all circumstances. The Missouri supreme court rejected this absurd claim. The court wrote: "There is no constitutional prohibition against the wearing of concealed weapons; there is only a prohibition against invoking the right to keep and bear arms to justify the wearing of concealed weapons." A contrary decision would have made it illegal for even police officers to carry concealed guns.
Not long ago, the New Mexico supreme court rejected a similarly nonsensical claim against a new concealed-carry law in the Land of Enchantment.
The Missouri supreme court did rule that the new law cannot go into effect in four counties, because the law, at least arguably, imposes an unfunded mandate on local law enforcement for the cost of issuing the permits. The Missouri constitution's "Hancock Amendment" prohibits unfunded mandates. Sheriffs are allowed to charge a fee of up to $100, but a few sheriffs have argued that the fee is inadequate. It is expected that the issue regarding appropriate fees will not be difficult to fix by the state legislature.
Posted at 05:37 PM
MEL'S DAD [Jonah Goldberg]
If this is true, that sounds fair enough to me. I haven't followed this whole thing too closely. I was simply addressing the principle. From a reader:
Posted at 05:19 PM
RE: DENOUNCING DADS? [Rod Dreher]
Actually, Jonah, I mostly agree with you. It would have been honorable and right for Mel Gibson to have said something like, "I love my father, but he's wrong about the Holocaust. But no one will separate me from my father, and they had better not try unless they fight." Something like that. I guess I just have this visceral reaction to children being held in some way responsible for their parents' craziness, and children being put in the position of criticizing their parents in public. It's more of an instinct than a logical thing. What I can't figure is why Hutton Gibson just wouldn't do his son, who's been taking lots of bullets on his behalf, a favor and shut the hell up.
Posted at 05:11 PM
IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE [Michael Novak]
is now the name of the AEI softball team, and has been ever since Alan Greenspan used the phrase at the AEI annual dinner. But John Miller misses the real story on how the phrase became famous. As it happens, I got my sister Mary Ann a guest ticket for the occasion at the last minute, and the only seat available was at the financial press table. The press had early copies of the talk and were looking in despair for something to quote. One complained, "This is the most boring and unquotable speech I ever read..." My sister, typically of her, said: "Oh, I don't think so! Look at this, I think it's exciting," and she pointed out the magic phrase. One of the reporters, I think it was Reuters, said something like "Omigod!", kicked over his chair on the way to a telephone, and put it on the wires. ... I have been careful in inviting my sister to the dinner ever since.
Posted at 05:10 PM
THANK YOU TO GREEK SCHOLARS . . . [Mike Potemra]
. . . In the NRO readership, who point out that the literal meaning of the Greek porneia is “illicit sexual intercourse.” The usual connection of this concept to “flesh” is through St. Paul, who, in Galatians 5:19, put porneia first on the list of what he called “works of the flesh.”
Posted at 05:07 PM
DENOUNCING DADS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm not sure I agree with that Rod. Would you really not say "I think my Dad is wrong" if he publicly said the Holocaust never happened? What if your dad said blacks are subhuman and deserve to be slaves? I mean saying, "I love my father unconditionally and we disagree on the facts and I think he's mistaken" seems to me to be the more honorable course of action. I've thought about this quite a bit actually. After all I spent a year defending my mom in public when pretty much the entire Democratic Party and most of the media establishment was denouncing her. In response to certain statements, I said on a few occassions, "I don't agree with everything my mom says....blah, blah, blah" but stuck to my guns defending her on the big issues and against the big lies. My mom completely understood where I was coming from and it never bothered her. It seems to me that you want to raise kids of good character and if that means their conscience causes them to disagree with you, there are ways they can say that without renouncing you. I understand what you're saying, but it seems to me that at some point truth -- both the moral and factual kinds -- needs to be acknowlegded. I wouldn't think less of the Meeropol kids saying, "my parents were well-intentioned but mistaken." I'd admire them for that.
Posted at 05:02 PM
KERRY'S PASSIONATE CAUTION [KJL]
How does even a wire story on a movie become about Kerry's Vietnam service?
Posted at 04:47 PM
GIBSON BLACKLISTED? [Rod Dreher]
Looks like Hollywood's finally found a blacklist it can live with . And on a related matter, I find it appalling that some are holding against him Mel Gibson's refusal to publicly disavow his Holocaust-denying father. If my father held the same beliefs, I would give him hell behind closed doors, and I would not defend him in public. But I would, as a matter of personal honor, never allow myself to be put in a position of condemning him in front of others. Would you do that to your father? I would be squeamish if the Meeropol kids, the offspring of executed commie spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, trashed their parents in public (as distinct from actually defending their parents, which would be immoral). But then again, Hollywood and the media elite would never ask them to.
Posted at 04:41 PM
FORBIDDEN, PERMITTED, COMPULSORY [John Derbyshire]
As I have been warning for years, if we don't make a stand, pretty soon it'll be compulsory
Posted at 03:54 PM
SQUISHY-SOFT PRESS [Tim Graham]
Here's a peek at how lightly the network morning shows approached the Senator from the Gay State yesterday on the FMA hubbub:
ABC: Charlie Gibson gently prompted him to expound on his views: “You just feel that it does not merit inclusion in the Constitution, that it's an issue that ought to be handled state by state.”
CBS: Rene Syler helpfully cued Kerry up: “Want to get your comments on something that happened yesterday -- gay marriage. The President calling for a constitutional amendment banning same sex unions. Your reaction to that?" Her follow-up: "Do you think this is going to be a major issue in the race for the White House?"
NBC: Matt Lauer asked Kerry to comment on why Bush supposedly changed positions: "What about the timing? And because in 2000 during the presidential campaign the President did say in an interview that he thought this was something the states should handle, it was up to them. Why do you think he switched?"
Lauer's tough follow-up to Kerry was hey, it's great for you: "In some way, Senator, does this present an opportunity for you? Because clearly he's moving toward his conservative base but at the same time you'd have to think he's moving away from those swing voters in the center. Do you think this provides you with an opportunity to capture those votes?"
Posted at 03:49 PM
RE: ONLY MEXICANS NEED APPLY [John Derbyshire]
Slight correction, from a reader in Kentucky: "Your previous correspondent regarding malaria in Haiti but not Mexico was not completely correct. I was deferred from donating blood for one year (mid-2002 to mid-2003) after traveling through a part of western Mexico considered a malaria zone."
Posted at 03:36 PM
POPPA GOLDBERG VS THE COMMIES [Jonah Goldberg ]
My Dad has a nice review at TechCentralStation.
Posted at 03:16 PM
RE: LACI AND CONNER'S LAW [KJL]
That was an increase from the 80 vote margin last Congress (252-172)
Posted at 02:54 PM
THAT UNBORN VICTIMS BILL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
passed the House, 254-163. On to the Senate.
Posted at 02:37 PM
CRACK-UP OF THE "DIVERSITY" IDEOLOGY [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: That Samuel Huntington piece is fascinating. It seems to me it could not have been published in a respectable magazine five years ago -- at any time, in fact, between around 1975 and 2000. Taken together with the David Goodhart piece in the UK , and the furious opposition to our President's Jan. 7 immigration proposal, I think what we are seeing here is some major cracks opening up in the "diversity" ideology.
In the case of the UK, there is less inhibition now in part because the current wave of "strangers" are white Europeans from the old Iron Curtain countries, so that it is hard for the liberal diversiphiles to shout "racism" at those who just want to preserve a core national culture.
Posted at 02:13 PM
READY, AIM... [Dave Kopel]
The Senate is currently debating a bill to prohibit junk lawsuits against firearms companies. A variety of amendments are being proposed. Here are some resources for background on the issues: Summary of problems with the lawsuits.
Why protecting Second Amendment rights from abusive lawsuits is similar to protecting First Amendment rights from abusive lawsuits, as the Supreme Court did in New York Times v. Sullivan.
Extending the 1994 ban on so-called "assault weapons," which is due to sunset in September 2004.
Redefining "cop-killer" bullets so as to allow prohibition of ordinary rifle ammunition (coming soon on NRO).
Authorizing federal regulation of gun shows, in a manner imposing gun registration on all sales at gun shows, and allowing gun shows to be eliminated administratively.
Requiring gun dealers to sell gun locks with guns. Unnecessary, since federal law already requires that gun dealers make locks available to customers.
Posted at 01:51 PM
LACI PETERSON'S MOTHER VS. JOHN KERRY [KJL]
Sharon Rocha, the mother of Laci Peterson and the grandmother of Conner Peterson, is giving a press conference blasting John Kerry and other Democrats for blocking the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. The House is expected to pass the bill today. Here's her statement in full, courtesy of Majority Whip Roy Blunt's office:
Remarks delivered 2/26/03 by Mrs. Sharon Rocha, Mother of Laci Peterson
Posted at 01:48 PM
ANDREW SULLIVAN’S COMMENTS [Mike Potemra]
His take on The Passion has the strength and weakness of Sullivan’s writing in general. The strength: a brilliant power of analytic insight. The weakness: a tendency to overreact emotionally. Some of his very particular criticisms of The Passion were quite perceptive. I’m thinking here, chiefly, of his remark about the film’s violence. He goes back to the Greek derivation of the word “porno-graphy”—“flesh-writing”—and notices how the film focuses much more intensely on the physical chastisement of Jesus than on His kenosis, his emotional and spiritual self-emptying of His divine honor on our behalf (which is much more central to the Redemption). I can’t count how many times people have told me about this movie, “wow, no man could have endured that much.” They’re not aware of it, but they’re peddling heresy. In fact, a man did endure that much. Jesus was not a superman, in either the Nietzschean or the comic-book sense; He was a man, Who was also God. Sullivan is theologically spot-on when he says: “Theologically, the point is not that Jesus suffered more than any human being ever has on a physical level. It is that his suffering was profound and voluntary.” Now, a brief comment on the weakness of Sullivan’s comment. He accuses Gibson of going “some way toward exaggerating and highlighting . . . the dangerous anti-Semitic elements of the story,” and says that “to my mind, that is categorically unforgivable.” Now, I saw this movie, too, twice, and I was especially on the lookout for signs of anti-Semitism or an overstress on Jewish guilt. I didn’t see it—and I think if Andrew hadn’t been angry at the film on other grounds, he wouldn’t have seen it either.
Posted at 01:46 PM
ATTENTION NPR LISTENERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'll be on at 2 p.m. talking about The Passion with David Denby, who wrote a fiercely negative review in The New Yorker this week. My hope is that we'll be talking about it, anyway, rather than debating it, but that could happen too.
Posted at 01:36 PM
PASSION KITSCH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email: "By the way, the merch. for the Passion is a hoot -- the 24 inch nail necklace will be a hit at every TSA booth in the US."
Posted at 12:57 PM
DERB'S BRAINTEASERS [John Derbyshire]
I have been remiss in posting solutions to my month-end brainteasers, to scattered grumbling from readers. OK, OK, I am catching up. Solutions for December and January here.
Posted at 12:45 PM
SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Or maybe they do. After all, this this Doonesbury from 1971 about you-know-who is actually very funny.
Posted at 12:40 PM
MAU-MAU MEMORY LANE [Jonah Goldberg]
As several readers have reminded me, the reason I had to look up whether "Mau-Mau" is racist came in the aftermath of a spat I had with Julianne Malveaux in December of 2002 on CNN. To be diplomatic, there was always "friction" between myself and Ms. Malveaux and myself -- she had a habit of inssinuating that I am racist (like every other conservative). One Sunday, during the brouhaha over Trent Lott and after Ms. Malveaux had already insisted Lott was a "Klansman" Jonathan Karl asked me what I thought about Senator McConnell's defense of Lott. The transcript of what followed is below thought it doesn't really capture the tension (or my rage):
GOLDBERG: Well, you know, first of all, I do think you're right, that McConnell has gotten himself into a position of basically arguing that this is a high-tech lynching of an uppity segregationist.
Posted at 12:25 PM
MILLER'S REJECTION [KJL]
I still have my NR rejection letter, from when I applied to be an intern. In my defense, I evidently applied late, or NR was particularly quick to get an intern that year--that's my story, anyway.
Posted at 12:22 PM
FOUNDING FELLOWS [John J. Miller]
The Claremont Insitute is now accepting applications for its Publius Fellowship summer program--two weeks of reading about Washington, Lincoln, the Federalist Papers, and, one hopes, a bit of Brookhiser. I've heard nothing but good things about it. They also don't let in riffraff; years ago, my own application to it was cruelly denied. I'm still getting over the rejection. For more details, go here.
Posted at 12:08 PM
UNDERGROUND CHURCH [Mark Krikorian]
A Swiss monk has been named Roman Catholic bishop of Arabia.
Posted at 12:07 PM
MEYERSON & CASTES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Harold Meyerson's column is always refreshing because it distills so perfectly what "progressives" say to each other when they don't have the benefit of anybody in the room who thinks differently than them. Today's is particularly revealing. But I'll focus on just one point.
He says that the FMA would create a permanent "secondary caste" within the constitution: "Not untouchables, certainly; we're beyond that. Just unmarriageables. " He continues: That's a tricky distinction, though, and it's one that Bush and all but the most benighted opponents of gay marriage have to make all the time."
Um, how is this is a tricky distinction? Who's saying that gays should be denied schooling and forced to clean our sewers like untouchables are? Not even the most "benighted" opponents of gay marriage are saying anything like that. Mr. Meyerson, this may be a "tricky" distinction for you, but it isn't for most people.
Moreover, I'll point out that there's already a "secondary caste" enshrined in the constitution: Young people. The constitution sets all sorts of rules based on age, including barring young people from voting and serving in public office -- again not something anyone advocates for gays. Indeed, young people, variously defined, are barred by various laws from getting married, serving in the military, driving cars, etc. The age barrier is inherently arbitrary too (arbitrariness being another Meyerson bugaboo). After all, I've met fifteen-year-olds far more qualified to vote or marry than many thirty year olds. But we all see the social utility of this arbitrariness and so it stands. Meyerson & Co. no longer see the utility of the "arbitrary" man-woman definition of marriage. Fine, but that doesn't suddenly make everyone who still sees that utility a bigot.
And that's the point: whether you think it's good policy or not, opponents of gay marriage do not buy the assumptions of people like Meyerson. He may see a whole class of people dispatched to second class status, but that's because "progressives" instintually like to see such distinctions even when they're not there. Only minds which could seriously worry about the "digital divide," for example, could come up with this untouchables analogy. Again, regardless of whether it is good policy, an amendment would permit single men -- gay or straight -- to marry single women -- gay or straight -- and vice versa. That may be wrong, but let's not get hysterical about it.
Posted at 12:04 PM
RE: ONLY MEXICANS NEED APPLY [John Derbyshire]
A faithful reader: "Derb--I know your post about Mexican immigrants vs. Haitian refugees engages a little reductio ad absurdum but there is one reason I can think of to treat the groups differently: public health. Haiti is the only Caribbean nation where malaria is found. In fact, the Red Cross will not accept a donation of blood from you if you've even *been* to Haiti in the last five years."
So the hypothesis here is that a Haitian illeg... sorry, sorry, undocumented worker is likely to be a public health risk?
Wouldn't that be "profiling"?
Don't you sometimes feel the urge to just give up trying to follow public-policy debates?
Posted at 11:49 AM
MAU MAUING [John J. Miller]
Jonah: Would you please scotch the mau mau references? You're getting my Irish up.
Posted at 11:22 AM
A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING [KJL]
The Passion seems to have had an invigorating effect on Andrew Sullivan's Christianity. He is now denouncing "deeply immoral" works of art. I assume we will now be hearing regularly from him on the evils of "pornography."
Posted at 11:18 AM
RE: NOTABLE UNQUOTABLE [Jonah Goldberg]
John - I was there for the "irrational exuberance" speech too. Nobody at my table caught what he said either, nobody my table was particularly sober either. But I do know that afterwards the late Herb Stein got up from his table and while everyone else was laughing and asking "what was that about?" he said, "Oh he thinks the stock market is too high." What drives me nuts is not that I didn't understand what he said, it's that other people did. Because if nobody understood him, I could write it off as deliberate gibberish.
Posted at 11:02 AM
SPOUSAL PRIVILEGE [Jonah Goldberg ]
From a reader:
O'Donnell said she decided to marry Carpenter, a former dancer and marketing director at Nickelodeon, during her recent trial in New York over the now-defunct Rosie magazine.
Posted at 10:56 AM
EASTERBROOK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm not on Passion patrol here. I didn't mind that negative New York Times review so much. I thought it was wrongheaded in a few respects, but also was a matter of registering some subjective reactions that differed from my own. But there's another class of negative review, and Gregg Easterbrook gives an example of it today.
He says that Gibson's decision to emphasize gore is a way to maximize profits, not just a different artistic choice than Easterbrook would prefer. It was a "cynical" choice, he says, but he provides no evidence for this claim. He writes that the movie departs from Christian orthodoxy on the question of the universal responsibility of sinful human beings for Christ's suffering and death. It "seems to urge its audience to turn away from the universal spiritual message of Jesus and toward base political anger." More cynicism, says Easterbrook. He provides no evidence for this claim either, and there is some fairly strong counter-evidence: notably, the opening scene in which Satan talks to Jesus about his taking on the burden of all the sins of mankind, and Gibson's pounding of the first nail. More to the point, who is this "base political anger" supposed to be against? If Easterbrook wants to accuse the movie of being anti-Semitic, he should just come out and say so. Enough other people have.
Posted at 10:56 AM
THE ANNOYING FRENCH [John J. Miller]
So the French think Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide has lost "constitutional legality" and should experience a regime change. Apparently he's a worse monster and bigger threat than Saddam Hussein. From today's NYT: "France, which surrendered its colonial power in Haiti two centuries ago but left a strong cultural imprint, now contends that the Aristide government has lost its legitimacy and should be replaced. 'The regime has reached an impasse and has already shaken off constitutional legality,' Mr. de Villepin said."
Posted at 10:34 AM
JOHN KERRY, ANTI-ANTI-COMMUNIST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 10:27 AM
NOTABLE UNQUOTABLE [John J. Miller]
Alan Greenspan is the least-quotable important person in Washington. I say this with some authority: For six years, I've written the "For the Record" column in NRODT, which requires scanning the news for interesting facts and provocative statements. Greenspan makes headlines whenever he speaks on tax and budget matters, but I've found it extremely difficult over the years to identify pithy excerpts from this comments. Check out this NYT story on his comments yesterday about Social Security, for instance: There's almost nothing usable in it. The first quote is a horrible mouthful, apparently placed where it is because the writer felt he had to quote something. Normally, reporters don't quote Greenspan so much as interpret what he said. I remember the speech Greenspan gave at the annual AEI dinner a few years ago: a real snoozer. I was sitting next to the late Wilcomb Washburn, who leaned over to me and said, "This is why they call economics the dismal science." The next day, Greenspan was once more in the news: He had in fact delivered his semi-famous "irrational exuberance" speech--and virtually the only people to notice were the financial press corps. The man needs a speechwriter!
Posted at 10:26 AM
SIGH [Jonah Goldberg ]
Already the angry email about my use of the word "mau-mau" is coming in. Sorry, but I just don't buy the "argument" that it's a racist word. It was in the title of a Tom Wolfe book after all and has been used in hundreds of mainstream articles. I know this because I've heard this complaint before and I did a little research.
Posted at 10:21 AM
ADMISSION DENIED [John J. Miller]
A judge named T.S. Ellis--love that name!--has struck a blow for common sense. He says that Virginia colleges and universities are not required to admit illegal aliens. There's still a trial ahead, but this is a very positive sign. Here's the Wash Post story.
Posted at 10:12 AM
KENNEDY V. PRYOR [Jonathan H. Adler]
Apparently obstructing Bush's judicial nominees is not enough. Now Ted Kennedy wants to file a lawsuit to remove Judge Bill Pryor from the bench.
Posted at 10:09 AM
CUE THE MAU-MAUING ON HAITI [Jonah Goldberg ]
Instapundit has the rundown.
Posted at 10:06 AM
MOORE FOR PRESIDENT? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Southern Appeal notes this item suggesting ousted (and disgraced) Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore may run for President. Unlike Nader, Moore would affiliate with a third-party, the Constitution Party, which Feddie labels a "den of nitwits" for this press release.
Posted at 10:05 AM
ANOTHER RACIST IN CONGRESS? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Glenn Reynolds has the goods on Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) over at Instapundit.
Posted at 09:55 AM
MEL GIBSON'S MOVIE [John Derbyshire]
No, haven't seen The Passion yet, and likely won't be. I have a suspicion that if I DO see it, my reaction will be close to this guy's
Posted at 09:15 AM
The first WTC attack occured on this day in 1993.
Posted at 09:09 AM
RE: NOAM [Tim Graham]
Ramesh, I think the liberals miscalculate when they suggest social conservatives won't take "half a loaf." In their public advocacy, social-conservative groups do not endorse half a loaf. They stand for traditional morality. But when it comes to supporting the President, the fact that they are their voters are still standing in the Bush corner today is proof that "half a loaf" can be accepted. This President almost never discusses their issues -- abortion, maybe twice a year; the homosexual revolution, a sentence in a press conference here, a small declaration there -- and yet they have not denounced him or walked away. The White House has tried to take small pandering steps toward the Log Cabin Republicans, and endorsed a compromise on stem-cell research. Social conservatives winced, and stayed in the Bush corner. The FMA then becomes a bare minimum, a sign that Bush would take some small step in their direction to maintain their allegiance.
The problem we really have is that the media obsess over Bush "pandering" to the religious right, and pay zero attention to how the Democratic presidential contenders have tapdanced on whatever extreme NARAL or the Human Rights Campaign demands.
Posted at 08:37 AM
ON THE RADIO [Stanley Kurtz]
I’ll be talking about the Federal Marriage Amendment today on NPR’s Diane Rehm show. The other guests will be Ralph Neas, of People For the American Way, and attorney Bruce Fein. Neas favors gay marriage and opposes the FMA. Fein opposes gay marriage, but also opposes the FMA. The show airs live from 10AM to 11AM Eastern Time.
Posted at 08:35 AM
ONLY MEXICANS NEED APPLY [John Derbyshire]
Boy, this administration's immigration policy has me really confused. Now I read in my morning newspaper that the U.S. will not accept Haitians fleeing from the wretched conditions in their country. Said Pres. Bush yesterday: "We will turn back any refugee that attempts to reach our shore, and that message needs to be very clear as well to the Haitian people." Now hold on a minute. Any such refugees would merely be "seeking to improve life for themselves and their families," wouldn't they? I bet they'd be only too willing to do "those jobs Americans will not do." And I have no doubt that plenty of "willing employers" can be found to match these "willing workers." So... what's the problem? Let 'em come! After all, we are a "nation of immigrants," aren't we?
Posted at 08:21 AM
SAM HUNTINGTON VS. IMMIGRATION [Jonah Goldberg ]
This is bound to make some waves.
Posted at 07:55 AM
NABBED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 07:53 AM
EITHER WAY [Jonah Goldberg]
I really don't like this refusal to let the 9/11 Commission get the work done. If it's because of politics, give the thing another year for all I care. But we're talking about the biggest intelligence disaster in American history since Pearl Harbor. Whatever the real backstory is, this smells of fix-is-in shennanigans and that's the last thing we need on a subject so rife with conspiracy theory nonsense in the first place.
Posted at 07:27 AM
UM, WHICH IS IT? [Jonah Goldberg ]
The Washington Times headline:
Hastert eases on 9/11 panel's deadline
While pretty much everyone else has something similar to The Boston Globe's headline:
Hastert firm on Sept. 11 inquiry
Posted at 07:24 AM
BLEGGING USMLM [John J. Miller]
For the purposes of an article, I'm interested in speaking to people who served with the U.S. Military Liaison Mission in East Germany during the Cold War. I'm happy to make our correspondence and discussions off the record, if necessary. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted at 06:10 AM
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
SMOKING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Now the Brits too seem to be looking at a ban on smoking in bars and workplaces. The random ‘statistic’ pulled out of an ashtray to justify such a loutish, intrusive policy? The one thousand lives allegedly lost to ‘passive smoking’ in the UK each year.
Why be so modest? Back in December, 2002, Nurse Bloomberg claimed that his smoking ban in New York City would save one thousand lives annually in the Big Apple alone.
Both ‘statistics’ can be wrong, but they can’t both be right. So which is it?
Posted at 11:40 PM
"WHY GAY MARRIAGE IS A LOSER FOR BUSH" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Noam Scheiber has an interesting take (as does Nick Confessore, to whom he links). His argument is that the social Right never just takes half a loaf, so it will be constantly pressing Bush to do more than is prudent. He also says that Bush had to be dragged by the social Right to endorse the amendment--witness the complaints from its activists about the delay--which shows the White House knows this is a loser but is tied down by its base.
Maybe the underlying point, that this is a political loser, is correct. But I'm not convinced by these arguments for three reasons. 1) While it is true that social-conservative activists often take an all-or-nothing approach, it's not always true. Social conservatives have been willing to fight on partial-birth abortion rather than demanding immediate action on a Human Life Amendment, for example--although it took a while to get them on board for that strategy. 2) Maybe the president's public delay in coming out for the amendment stemmed from an perception that he is better off looking as though he were reluctant to amend the Constitution and forced to do so by events (Mass., S.F., etc.) have forced him. (I believe this perception to be accurate, and also believe the president does feel forced by events.) 3) It's not clear to me that the demands for the president to discuss the issue more constitute bad advice, for reasons I've already discussed.
Posted at 07:23 PM
IMMIGRATION, CTD. [Andrew Stuttaford]
Mark, yes, that David Brooks piece made strange reading indeed. Most striking of all, perhaps, was his penultimate sentence:
“But if we close our borders to new immigration, you can kiss goodbye the new energy, new tastes and new strivers who want to lunge into the future.”
Talk about creating a straw man. I doubt if many ‘restrictionists’ (if we must use that term) are talking about closing the border altogether: far from it. What they are asking for is more effective policing, a more carefully considered look at what contribution a potential immigrant can make to the prosperity of Americans (as opposed, say, to the ability of Wal-Mart to hire workers on the cheap) and, finally, a narrower definition of those entitled to immigrate on ‘family’ grounds. Sadly, the President does not seem prepared to listen.
Posted at 06:14 PM
I JUST SAW "THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST" [Michael Graham]
here in DC and the first thing you need to know about it is that it's a very good movie. Forget the politics and the controversy: You cannot take your eyes off the screen, except for those the scenes that are so graphic you can't bear to watch them.
In many ways, it reminded me of Schindler's List, a hard-to-watch-yet-impossible-not-to-watch telling of the depravity we are capable of inflicting upon each other. Is it disturbing? Yes. Is it horrifying? Yes. But do you doubt that it is fundamentally true? Not for a moment.
And yes, Mel Gibson's "Passion" does stir up anger against those responsible for the Crucifixion: After the movie, I wanted to kick the crap out of a Roman. The Roman soldiers are the hate-inspiring baddies in this movie, not the leaders of the Jewish political cabal who seek Jesus' death. Gibson portrays them as clearly shocked by what, in their theological view, is blasphemy.
In fact, Gibson uses a moment in the Crucifixion to all but declare Caiaphas and his allies "Not Guilty!" for the death of Christ. It's not subtle in the least, and the fact that most reviews I've read skip this moment indicates to me they're doing their part to keep the unfounded controversy alive.
Let me be perfectly clear: There is no way to honestly say this movie is either anti-Semitic or promotes anti-Semitism. That is simply not true, and people who have seen the film and make that claim are being dishonest or ignorant.
A Gibson-basher on CNN today said that the portrayal of the Jewish mob calling for Jesus' execution as "ignorant, ugly, angry" is problematic. But he leaves out the scene where Jesus' political enemies pass out money to buy themselves a mob. The mob Gibson gives us looks like the kind of people of any faith who would participate in such a mob. And he leaves out the other "mob," the Jewish supporters of Jesus who follow him to Calvary. At what point does this Rabbi's selectivity turn into dishonesty?
I absolutely recommend the movie as a movie. Not as an evangelism tool or a theological argument, but as a powerfully-told film of a story so powerful it has defined the central tenets of Western thought. If it were up for Best Picture Sunday night, I would give it my vote. It's a better movie than "Return Of The King." Having said that, I'd rather see ROTK twenty more times than see "The Passion" once again. I'm glad I've seen it, but I can hardly say it was an enjoyable experience.
Posted at 06:09 PM
FMA, CTD. [Andrew Stuttaford]
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the FMA (and I have to say that I am not in favor), Ramesh is absolutely correct to say that the political fallout of the debate--and whether the president is successful in getting FMA enacted--will depend on who is portrayed as the aggressor and who the extremist. Yes, the President has been pushed into taking this step by the dodgy decision of an activist court, but that doesn’t absolve him of the responsibility of articulating his own (‘defensive’) position in a way that (a) holds together intellectually; (b) doesn’t appall the large (I suspect) majority in this country that would rather not be talking about this topic at all; and (c) can demonstrate that he regards a constitutional amendment (rarely a conservative idea) as essential in this case. In effect, that means that he has to show why extending secular marriage rights (and rites) to the tiny minority of homosexuals (themselves a tiny minority of the population) who are likely to want it is such a threat to heterosexual marriage that its prohibition should be enshrined in the Constitution. Stanley may not agree, but I suspect that will be an interesting challenge, to put it mildly.
Posted at 05:52 PM
GAY MARRIAGE ON CROSSFIRE [KJL]
From last night:
CARLSON: Well, then, let me ask you this question. Cheryl [Jacques, Human Rights Campaign], I want to ask you a question that I've asked
Posted at 05:35 PM
DAVEY V. LOCKE & SCHOOL VOUCHERS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today's opinion does not appear to authorize state exclusion of parochial schools from school voucher programs, as the program did offer scholarships to students who attend "pervasively sectarian schools." (This view is shared by the "merry band of litigators" at the Institute for Justice.) To the contrary, the Rehnquist opinion seems to go out of its way to preserve such claims. (Indeed, some might even suspect that this is why Rehnquist joined the majority and assigned the opinion to himself.)
Posted at 05:30 PM
NOT WHY I LEFT ENGLAND [Andrew Stuttaford]
I’m with John on this one. There is nothing necessarily wrong with having a state church, at least in the way that the English used to understand it. Traditional Anglicanism, 'the C of E', was best seen as being about cultural continuity, patriotism and a shared definition of good behavior. Worrying about more conventionally ‘spiritual’ or religious matters was left to enthusiasts – in effect, some churchgoers and a number of C.S. Lewis’ more devoted fans – with the result that the day-to-day rituals of England’s state religion, basically school prayer, occasional homilies from the Queen, and a Sunday television show (‘Songs of Praise’) of stupefying banality, were little more than harmless, and vaguely reassuring, backdrop. In short, they were nothing to worry or be ‘offended’ about.
Posted at 05:10 PM
RE: CANTERBURY TO ROME [John Derbyshire]
Sorry, I truncated the URL. Should be this
Posted at 04:40 PM
KERRY, FOR THE CHILDREN [KJL]
Heinz-Kerry calls him "magical with children."
Posted at 04:33 PM
CANTERBURY TO ROME [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 03:50 PM
USE & ABUSE OF BERLIN WALL ANALOGIES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg
Posted at 03:38 PM
RE: KNEW THIS WAS COMING [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod - I've generally thought that Abe Foxman & Co. have behaved inadvisedly and sometimes irresponsibly. By making such a fuss about the Passion stirring anti-Semitism they probably encouraged some fools to act "brave" by blaming Jews when they probably wouldn't have otherwise. But that doesn't mean Foxman and Co. were completely wrong on the merits. I've always thought this movie would stir up anti-Semitism too. Particularly in foreign countries where this sort of thing sits a lot closer to the surface than it does in America. But then again, my column stirs up anti-Semitism almost everyday -- because anti-Semites want to be stirred up -- and it's not like I want that censored either.
I don't know any more about the events in Denver than what you posted, but it seems to me that if the movie was to blame, saying so is not really so outrageous. I would hope Jewish groups don't blow it out of proportion because that would again only encourage would-be rebels to prove their "bravery" in the face of "religious political correctness" (and that may be your point).
But I think fans of the movie are going to have to make peace with the fact that while it may be brilliant, moving, uplifting and wonderful for the majority of people who see it, it will have an undersirable effect for some irreducible minority of people too. Just as violent movies are carthartic for the vast majority of people but one in 10,000 people in the audience take away an altogether different lesson and commit terrible acts. Conservatives, let alone Christian conservatives, more than anybody should be willing to admit that even the best things in this life have downsides.
Posted at 03:31 PM
PAT TOOMEY, FASHION PLATE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Spring 2004 Men's Health Guide to Style features a brief profile of Representative Pat Toomey as someone who is "Red Hot, Right Now." The text notes social security is one of Toomey's key campaign issues as he challenges Senator Specter and makes no mention of social issues. "I'm a conservative, and my style of dress is consistent with that--generally a dark suit and a white or blue shirt," Toomey says about his Washington wardrobe. Back in Pennsylvania, the profile says "Toomey may cut loose." The accompanying photo shows Toomey "in an Ermenegildo Zegna ensemble" in front of his twin-engine Piper Seneca.
Posted at 03:31 PM
RE: YOU KNEW [KJL]
I can't find a link at the moment, but on Sat. night, local NYC TV news broadcasts included news of a swastika spraypainted on the door of a synagogue in the area, which was, of course, directly linked to the movie. Nevermind that the same thing could have (and might very well have) happened a year ago this month at another temple for the same exactl real reason: people can do rotten things.
Posted at 03:26 PM
SILLY SEASON IS HERE! [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah: Imagine the hit that the Feds will take when mafia capos start marrying each other to take advantage of spousal immunity! "Do you, Tony Soprano, take this man, Paulie Walnuts, as your lawfully wedded wife?"
Posted at 03:11 PM
YOU KNEW THIS WAS COMING [Rod Dreher]
Some Pentecostal church in Denver puts up a sign saying "The Jews Killed Jesus" today. Big to-do over it going on there now. Understandable: it's offensive, and the preacher there needs to have the riot act read to him. But is it too much to hope that people don't run to the TV cameras and say, "See, we told you Mel Gibson's movie would cause this!"?
Posted at 03:07 PM
DAVEY V. LOCKE [Jonathan H. Adler]
By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court upholds Washington State's exclusion of students pursuing degrees in theology from a state scholarship program. Such a policy, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote for the majority, does not violate the First Amendment's guarantee of the free exercise of religion. Justices Scalia and Thomas dissented. The opinion is here. Eugene Volokh adds his thought here.
Posted at 02:51 PM
STATE'S RIGHTS [Robert Moran]
I wonder if the Edwards and Kerry, now that they have discovered state's rights in their opposition to a gay marriage ban, will be consistent and support state's rights to ban abortion. SD is in the process of doing it...
Posted at 02:49 PM
LOCKE VS. DAVEY [KJL]
Rick Garnett weighs in.
Posted at 02:44 PM
SLAUGHTERVILLE UPDATE [KJL]
I live in the same county as Slaughterville. You'll be happy to know that the S-ville town board respectfully considered PETA's request and suggested instead that the town keep the name Slaughterville (in honor of the founder) and that PETA help them with the stray animal problem. S-ville, being in a rural area, gets a lot of pets dumped in their town by outsiders.
Posted at 02:38 PM
RESPECTING YOUR ADVERSARY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:33 PM
VIGGO ON COWBOYS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Viggo Mortensen reveals that wherever he goes people think cowboys, i.e. Americans, are a**holes. Seems to me that says more about his social circles then it does about cowboys:
In a lot of places in the United States and certainly even more places around the world, the image of the cowboy has become, for some people, a negative one. The word cowboy implies a strong, stubborn individual whose individualism depends on pulling down other people's individualism. The cowboys I met and liked and learned from are not that way.
Posted at 02:25 PM
PASSIONATE COVER [KJL]
The issue of NRODT on newstands now:
Posted at 02:25 PM
THE PASSION IN HARLEM [Mike Potemra]
I just got out of a screening at the Magic Johnson Theatres up at 123rd and Frederick Douglass in Harlem. The theatre was packed, with an audience that was about 85 percent black, and included many seniors (of course: daytime). The response to the film was just about universal: Loud applause at the end, and vocal endorsements of the movie as we exited. One sweet elderly lady, I’d say about 80 years old, was shaking her head on the way out, saying: “If you read the Bible, that’s exactly what happened.” Another woman, in her 30s, was brushing away tears. “It’s not the movie,” she said,” it’s the reality of the thing.” During the screening, the man I set next to—a guy in his 20s, tall, strong, and vigorous-looking, nobody’s wimp—gasped at some of the cruelties inflicted on Jesus. (When Jesus’ cross is turned over on its face so He can be nailed to it more securely, this man blurted out, “Oh, s***, that’s too much.”) Before the movie started, there was a little film in which Magic Johnson explained the rules for his theatres: “No talking. . . . No hats or colors . . . . If you have a problem on the street, don’t bring it inside.” I couldn’t help thinking: There is a problem on the street, every street, and this movie is about the solution.
Posted at 02:22 PM
RE COMMON LAW [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 01:49 PM
RE: SURVIVOR'S BENEFITS [John Derbyshire]
Several readers have written in to tell me that the homosexual-marriage business is all about Social Security survivor benefits. Homosexuals -- including lesbians, by the way -- have shorter life expectancy that the rest of us . It's not just AIDS, either. There are all sorts of other factors -- e.g. homosexual men smoke more than heterosexuals. Ergo (my readers say) survivor benefits is a big draw for homosexuals.
I know there is more to the homosexual-marriage push than this, but I'd be interested to know if anyone has costed out the survivor-benefits angle.
Posted at 01:45 PM
ALSO IN THE JOURNAL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
One Itzhak Sharav writes a letter defending the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-accounting regs on the ground that "[r]udimentary cost-benefit analysis suggests that given the choice, stockholders would prefer corporate spending on tight internal control systems that are significantly lower than the losses that they were likely to sustain due to corporate malfeasance." I don't know what the word "likely" is doing in that sentence. But even if Sharav is right--especially if he's right--wouldn't we expect stockholders to have demanded this spending and companies to have supplied it to get their capital? And if there was something screwy in the market for corporate control that blocked that market pressure from occurring, shouldn't be have fixed that rather than imposing regulations?
Posted at 01:41 PM
MARY ANN GLENDON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
writes in today's Wall Street Journal: "Astonishingly, in the media coverage of [same-sex marriage], next to nothing has been said about what this new special preference would cost the rest of society in terms of taxes and insurance premiums." If that's what FMA is about--protecting us from the menace of more gay people having health insurance--I'm definitely getting off the bus.
Posted at 01:35 PM
I DUNNO EITHER [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 01:32 PM
VEGGIEVILLE TALES [KJL]
PETA, again. (I'm a few days late here.)
Posted at 01:21 PM
HINDU MONOTHEISM [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of email along these lines:
Jonah, What your other writer said is true, Hinduism does indeed include a monotheistic concept. The other "gods" are manifestations (avatars, I think they are called) of God's nature. Many Hindus probably don't understand the distinction themselves, just as many Christians don't understand the Trinity. Anyway, my Hindu friends always speak of "God" in the singular as in "Oh, I think God will forgive us," when I cook their veggie burgers on the same grill lately used for beef patties (though I still clean it first in deference to their beliefs).
Posted at 01:13 PM
WELL, I GUESS IT BEATS ROCK THE VOTE [KJL]
Posted at 01:11 PM
THE LEAST OF CAMBODIA'S PROBLEMS [John Derbyshire]
"King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, an 81-year-old father of 14, yesterday surprised his subjects by denying that he was homosexual."
Now Cambodia can get back to worrying about other things: the country's male life expectancy (currently 55), for example, or the mean annual per capita income ($270).
Posted at 01:10 PM
VIRGINIA POSTREL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
defends her jobs reporting for the New York Times from what seem to me like pretty foolish criticisms. Special points for avoiding the payroll vs. household survey quagmire. Here and here.
Posted at 12:43 PM
THE UPANISHADS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I think my copy was lent out. Re: the No Offense post, Jonah, just to clarify, I wasn't disagreeing with you.
Posted at 12:38 PM
A DIFFERENT VIEW [Jonah Goldberg]
From my SAOTWTBDAWHNGMITFP Guy:
Jonah, As your humble Separated-and-on-the-Way-to-Being-Divorced-and-Wishes-He-Never-Got-Married-in-the-First-Place Guy, I've been watching this whole gay marriage thing with a bit of amusement. If two guys get married and divorce, which one gets screwed in court? If two women marry then divorce, does each get 50% of the other's assets? Who gets stuck paying for the other's health insurance and alimony after the love is gone? I say to them, "Be careful what you wish for."
Posted at 12:36 PM
RE: NO OFFENSE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Ramesh - I'm pretty much on the same page (See my " "World of Feelings" for example). However, as Vulcans are wont to do, you are discussing ought rather than is. In a culture war, symbolism plays an important role whether it should or not. I was addressing -- or at least trying to address -- how this issue is argued not necessarily how it should be settled.
Posted at 12:32 PM
LATimes prominently profiles our man Victor Davis Hanson.
Posted at 12:30 PM
AND NOW I'LL RETURN THE FAVOR [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It's Marilyn Musgrave, Andrew, not Carolyn.
Posted at 12:26 PM
I AM CORRECTED [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Sullivan writes that Kerry was talking about a state constitutional amendment, which makes sense.
Posted at 12:24 PM
HINDUS FOR ONE GOD [Jonah Goldberg]
You could write a book about what I don't know about this subject, but I think this is kind of interesting:
Jonah you are absolutely correct that most Hindus and Buddhists will have no objections to the 10 commandments anywhere. However you are dead wrong about the monotheism part. A more in depth reading of Hindu philosophy than what is bandied about by the proseltisers will allow you to see that Monotheism is the hallmark of Hinduism. Local traditions of giving different names and functions to different manifestations of one God and allowing people to worship any manifestattion that they most feel comfortable with and identify is what contributes to the poly/pan theistic picture of Hinduism.To really understand the nature of Hinduism I wish you would read a very easily readable translation of the Upanishads by Juan Mascaro or Eknath Easwaran. Maybe Ramesh could lend you a copy.
Posted at 12:18 PM
NICE POST, KATHRYN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
on how we should understand the war. You may recall that in the early months Sullivan explained the war as a battle against "fundamentalism." I wrote an essay around that time explaining why I thought that was the wrong way to think about the war. Here it is, fwiw.
Posted at 12:11 PM
THURS NIGHT [KJL]
there is Democratic debate with Larry King moderating. That's just unbearable.
Posted at 12:09 PM
NO OFFENSE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It seems to me that the mere fact that someone is offended by same-sex marriage is no reason at all not to have it, unless there are good and publicly cognizable reasons for that offense. The point Jonah makes reminds me of all the times one hears people complain that the use of religious language in politics makes atheists and agnostics "feel like second-class citizens." Less often, one hears complaints that all the political talk about families and children "excludes single people." Now I can work up a little respect for a single person's complaint that he is paying a high tax load to pay for other people's children. But this stuff about feelings leaves me feeling totally cold. If an injustice is being committed against people--to flip the point above, let's assume that the denial of same-sex marriage is an injustice against gay people--that is reason enough to end the injustice. The fact that the injustice also makes people feel bad seems to me irrelevant. Otoh, I am something of a Vulcan.
Posted at 12:01 PM
TIM NOAH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
casts Bush's endorsement of FMA as an implicit admission that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The logic here escapes me. Bush said that the Defense of Marriage Act protected no state against its own courts, so that even if it stood it was incomplete. He also said that while he would defend it, the courts might strike it down. The most obvious way to understand it is that the president believes that the statute is constitutional but that judges might rule the other way, whether because they are sincerely mistaken or lawless. The assumption that they can be mistaken or lawless is the backdrop for the whole proposal, after all. (Noah seems unaware of the strong argument for the bill's constitutionality, no doubt because he's never read the complete full faith and credit clause.)
Noah also writes, "The state laws, and the question of whether or not state courts will uphold them, are none of Bush's business, because he opposes Washington meddling in local affairs." This idea seems to be coming up a lot: that it is in principle never federal business what state courts do. (More to the point, that the whole people can never use the amendment process to deal with state courts.) Now there must be at least a limiting case here. A state judiciary can't just be allowed to "interpret" the laws so as to abolish the governor's office and the legislature and have the chief justice of the state supreme court govern alone as king. Presumably at that point everyone would agree that federal action might be warranted.
The bigger flaw in the piece is that the whole argument for an FMA has been that state governments are not capable of defending the existing marriage laws from a co-ordinated state and federal litigative campaign. You can disagree with that, or argue against it, but you shouldn't be able to get away with ignoring the whole context of the amendment debate. But I suppose that dealing with actual arguments would interrupt the flow of Noah's bile.
Posted at 11:52 AM
RE: THE WAR, FMA & CULTURE OF COMPLAINT [Jonah Goldberg ]
During the Roy Moore brouhaha Moore's liberal opponents (he had plenty of conservative ones too, including here at NRO) said that the mere sight of the 10 Commandments was offensive and oppressive to many people. I assumed they were referring to atheists, Hindus, Buddhists and folks simply looking to be ticked off, since Muslims, Jews and Christians alike really don't have problems with the 10 Commandments -- and my guess is neither do most Hindus and Buddhists either, except for the Monotheism part. Defenders of Moore often said "who does it hurt?" And the answer was usually very absract and/or hard to follow because the monument obviously didn't actually hurt anybody except in a symbolic sense.
Fast forward. Now with same-sex marriage, Barney Frank and others insist that gay marriages don't hurt anybody, don't inflict damage on anybody else's marriage etc. I think as a general proposition this is more right than wrong. Lesbians and homosexuals have been "nesting" all around me for years and my marriage, and my parents' and friends' marriages are withstanding the psychic impact quite nicely, thank you. And I'm sure this goes for most everybody else as well.
However, there are lots and lots of people who take just as much -- indeed probably considerably more -- offense to the image of same-sex couples getting married or "married" (I can't remember if the quotation marks are required any more). They consider it a direct affront to their beliefs, to the kind of nation they've always believed they lived in etc.
Now, I understand from all the email I've gotten from gays that many of them consider the FMA oppressive to them, if only symbolically. Fair enough. But I do wish that oppressed and "oppressed" minorities could understand that under our system of law and in our culture majorities can feel oppressed too. In fact, in our society it's much easier to take a pound of flesh out of the majority than it is from the minority. Think affirmative action or, more relevant to this discussion, the denial of their religious symbols in the public square and doing what they perceive as violence to institutions like marriage. I agree that sometimes these grievances are "merely" symbolic. But I fail to see how symbolically slighting the majority is any more or less legitimate than similarly slighting the minority.
When Andrew Sullivan et al. claim that this is a fight with only one side eligible for feeling oppressed or aggrieved they perpetuate the feelings of grievance and oppression felt by millions of Americans and they coarsen an argument that certainly doesn't need any more coarsening.
Posted at 11:49 AM
“TOLERANCE” [Rich Lowry]
I thought Mel Gibson was good on the O’Reilly Factor, even if he seemed a little worn down. One thing caught my ear. He said that what he had learned from the whole experience is “tolerance.” That was the wrong word. What he really meant is that he has learned love and forgiveness. As he said later in the interview, he loves his critics, even if he doesn’t like them. When O’Reilly said that he forgives his own “enemies” but doesn’t love them, Gibson tried to explain that that isn’t enough, that if you don’t love them, you will be consumed by their hatred. This is a profound point that gets at a phenomenon much deeper than mere “tolerance,” especially as that word is thrown around today. Gibson was talking about the transformative power of love.
Posted at 11:27 AM
RE: THE WAR AND FMA [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: I grew up in that same country Andrew Sullivan grew up in, and went to the same kind of school he went to. During the daily Morning Assembly, the first event of the school day, when we sang a hymn, said a prayer, heard a reading from the Bible, then got the day's announcements, my school's small contingent of Roman Catholics and Jews (around 5 percent of the student body) sat out the hymn, prayer and Bible reading in the school's chemistry lab, adjacent to the main auditorium. At a signal, they were let out to hear the school announcements.
The only people who complained about this arrangement were the majority, who felt it a bit unfair that RCs and Jews got an extra half hour to finish up the previous day's homework assignments. The RCs and Jews all seemed perfectly happy with the arrangement. But that, of course, was before the Culture of Complaint started gnawing at men's souls.....
Posted at 11:13 AM
The silliest criticism of The Passion appears in a review on FNC's website: "Since we don't know who Jesus was before the day of his death"--aka the "if I were an alien from outer space" argument.
Posted at 11:11 AM
FMA VOTE COUNT [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 11:03 AM
DIDN'T ISRAEL WIN IN '67? [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 11:01 AM
RE: LOOKING FOR MY LOVE [Jonah Goldberg]
For the record, "...all of the best Star Trek movies, including 'The Wrath of Khan'" is more than a bit deceptive since the Wrath of Khan really was the only truly good Star Trek movie. The rest can only be graded pass/fail and most fail. Please, no defenses of Star Trek IV. In exchange for some funny moments, we got enviro-nonsense, total disregard for the temporal prime directive and completely inconsistent character behavior.
Posted at 11:00 AM
THE WAR AND FMA [KJL]
Andrew Sullivan writes that Bush’s FMA endorsement contradicts the war on terrorism. It divides us when we need unity. More important, he says that what we are fighting for in the war is the separation of religion and politics, the equality of citizens, freedom of conscience, freedom generally, “the sanctity of the Constitution,” and a “way of life” defined by those things. This amendment goes, he says, against all of the above. Now if I thought that the FMA really was a violation of freedom of conscience and the equality of citizens, I’d be against it—and, more importantly, I’m sure the president would, too, if he believed that. It seems to me that one of the things we are fighting for is the ability of citizens to reach different conclusions about what “freedom of conscience,” “equality,” and the like entail, rather than having them dictated to us--for the right to have a substantial political debate. For democracy, not rule by unelected clerical or judicial councils.
Sullivan writes, “I grew up in a country where there was no separation of church and state and had to attend a public high school that was anathema to my own religious faith. America has therefore always signified religious and political freedom to me.” He grew up in Britain, right? I like the way we handle religion and government better than Britain’s, too. But Britain is a free society, and it is worth fighting for against terrorists. Is there a “contradiction” in Blair’s being on our side? If America had been attacked by Islamist extremists back when we had school prayer (and banned abortion!), it would still have been worth fighting the war on terrorism. There are people who think that we have to get rid of “In God We Trust” if we are not to be "theocratic." I don’t think they’re right. But I’m even more sure it has nothing to do with the war.
Posted at 10:58 AM
ABC'S "THE NOTE" [KJL ]
In the smash Broadway musical "The Producers," Roger de Bris says, "Of course that whole second act has to be rewritten. They're losing the war? Excuse me. It's too downbeat."
Posted at 10:53 AM
STILL LOOKING FOR JONAH LOVE [KJL]
A reader points out: "Jonah would probably be more interested in the fact that Winter produced all of the best Star Trek movies, including 'The Wrath of Khan.'"
Posted at 10:50 AM
REMEMBER THE ALAMO [Mark Krikorian]
Next week is the 168th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, so it's appropriate to note a piece by Sam Huntington in the current issue of Foreign Policy entitled "The Hispanic Challenge." The article is adapted from his upcoming book, "Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity," and lays out the case that Hispanic, especially Mexican, immigration is different in kind from anything we've experienced before and threatens to rupture the cultural/political basis of American nationhood. I have never seen a serious rejoinder to this argument from the high-immigration side, as evidenced by David Brooks' remarkably frivolous and superficial column responding to Huntington in yesterday's New York Times.
Huntington also has a major article in the upcoming issue of The National Interest entitled "Dead Souls: Denationalization of the American Elite."
Posted at 10:47 AM
NOT TO BE GLOOMY, BUT... [Rick Brookhiser]
Rich estimates there are 100 million Orthodox Christians in the U.S., and concludes, "You ain't seen nothing yet." Haven't we seen the end? The population of the U.S. is 290 million, of which 100 million is barely more than one third. Even Goldwater and McGovern got 40 percent of the vote. What am I missing?
Posted at 10:39 AM
“PUT IT OUT THERE, SEE WHAT HAPPENS” [KJL]
Before there was Diane Sawyer, there was Raymond Arroyo.
Last night I watched a tape of a Raymond Arroyo interview with Mel Gibson (you can hear it here). Raymond’s the newsman at EWTN, the global Catholic network. Arroyo spent time with Gibson on the set while they were filming (during which time Gibson was consistently “dragging” with a bad virus). Arroyo goes more than a bit deeper with Gibson than the others--you understand a lot about Gibson and his motivations when you’re not hearing him though the furrowed brow of Diane Saywer (or even sometimes-grandstanding Bill O’Reilly). Gibson very clearly wanted to take what he has found immensely useful and important in his own life and help bring it to others through his art. As a movie guy, he found other versions of the story “hokey,” and, he says, he just didn’t buy the renditions.
**A few quotes I joted down: “I wanted to accentuate the reality.”
**“There’s something big out there…you get a glimpse of that” in the movie. “This film collectively blames humanity.”
For what it is worth, now that it is out there, I hope—and I think this has to be the case, as powerful a movie it is—that people see it, despite what Newsweek or whomever says, and take what they want or need from it. As is clear from the numbers going to see it today and in the coming days, detractors’ efforts—some, do not forget, working off stolen scripts, in those early days of Paula Fredrickson & co.—have probably only made this movie more popular than it might have been without them, which seems only right.
Posted at 10:38 AM
NOT SURPRISING: KERRY DISLIKED AT YALE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Let's hope that Kerry does for the Democratic Party what he did for Yale's Liberal Party. Somehow I suspect Doug Brinkley's book has a different version of events. I trust this guy's:
Posted at 10:11 AM
KERRY ON FMA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
CNN has him saying the following: "If the amendment provides for partnership and civil union, which I believe is the appropriate way to extend rights, that would be a good amendment. I think that you need to have civil union. That's my position." What are we to make of this? The transcript doesn't make it clear what question he was answering, but he appears to be talking about the FMA. Could Kerry be open to an FMA that allows for legislated civil unions? I'm not sure. He may be saying that he would support an amendment only if it affirmatively established civil unions. Also, elsewhere in the transcript he indicates opposition to the FMA on states' rights grounds. But this leaves open the possibility that if FMA allows state legislatures to create civil unions, his objection would diminish, possibly to the point of support.
Clearly, opponents of FMA have decided that one of their strongest talking points is that it would prevent states from having civil unions, or other civil-rights protections for gays. I'm sure most of these opponents sincerely believe the FMA would do this. But they don't seem eager to debate the idea of an amendment that only bans same-sex marriage and judicial overreach. If I were sponsoring the amendment, I would do everything that can be done to clarify its language, so that there is no confusion about the amendment's scope.
Posted at 10:10 AM
ISRAEL'S WALL [Jonah Goldberg ]
In response to my column , several readers have said something to the effect of "I agree with you on the 'why' on the wall, but what about the 'where'? Isn't the charge that this is a land grab a serious one? Won't this give Israel a black eye in the world community?" Etc.
Because it's my syndicated column, I didn't have room to address this. I'm sure I'll have time later. But for now I'd make two quick points.
First, Israel's black-eye is permanent from the perspective of the "world community." It's existence is a black eye (See George Will's column
Second, building the wall on the so-called "green line" would in effect reward terrorism by essentially agreeing to the 1967 borders without a negotiation. Israel would surely make that retreat as a reward for peace, but it can't as a reward for violence.
Yossi Klein Halevi made this point very well in the November 10 New Republic (not on web):
The main objection to the fence, which is scheduled for completion in 2005, is that it doesn't adhere to the pre-1967 green line but deviates "deep" into the West Bank. In fact, at most points, the fence either winds close to the green line or extends several miles over it without compromising Palestinian territorial contiguity--hardly the massive land grab warned against by opponents. So far, 108 miles of fence have been completed in the northwestern part of the West Bank, and about 1.5 percent of the West Bank has been incorporated into the Israeli side. If the fence is eventually extended to include Ariel--a town of 18,000 residents, which the Camp David negotiations included within the eventual borders of Israel--it will protrude, finger-shaped, about 15 miles into the territories. Yet even then the fence will encompass only a few percentage points of the West Bank. (The highest figure I've encountered is 10 percent.) And, note Israeli officials, the fence can be moved or even dismantled.
Posted at 10:03 AM
THUS SPAKE BORK [Peter Robinson]
An exchange between yours truly and Judge Robert Bork at the Hoover Institution reception in Washington yesterday evening:
SELF: Judge, a question for you: As it is presently worded, would the Federal Marriage Amendment preclude civil unions?Ramesh, over to you.
Posted at 09:54 AM
RE: REKINDLING [Tim Graham]
Jonah, Milbank's "rekindling" talk is crushed like a bug here. Glad it got your goat, or at least your dog's squirrel.
Posted at 09:41 AM
UH-OH [John Derbyshire]
(Old China hands will remember a certain brand of toothpaste... )
Posted at 09:40 AM
RE: STRATEGO [John Derbyshire]
It's a tough one, John. If you set up a space of possible strategies, from verkrampte at one end (i.e., playing all out against the lad, conceding him nothing) to verligte at the other (throw all games to build his self-esteem), then I am well towards the verkrampte end, as you would expect of a philosophical conservative. You know what we conservatives are like: rule-dominated, desperate for certitude, pitiless towards the underdog. I certainly don't throw games. I often "play dumb," though -- pretending I haven't seen good moves, or threats from his pieces. It helps that I am not actually very good at strategy games. Even if I played all out, Danny would win around one game in eight or ten. As it is, he wins about one in three.
Posted at 09:39 AM
X-MEN AND THE PASSION [KJL]
I'm all about getting Jonah's attention this morning: XMEN, SIMPSONS! SEE who we have writing for us today? Ralph Winter, producer of the X-Men movies, writing with occasional NRO-er Mark Joseph on the Passion's potential impact on Hollywood.
Posted at 09:37 AM
SPEAKING GIG [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be doing the hokey pokey and turning myself around on Tuesday, March 16 at Washington & Lee University. I'll also be discussing the weightier issues of the day. Just an FYI. No word yet on whether its open to the masses.
Posted at 09:13 AM
NYTIMES PANS THE PASSION [KJL]
with a SIMPSONS reference. That seems like it should definitely merit some kind of blasphemy.
Posted at 09:04 AM
MY TAKE ON "THE PASSION" [Rod Dreher]
From today's Dallas Morning News. Excerpt:
I don't know how non-Christians will see this film. As nothing more, perhaps, than the tale of a deluded sap who got caught up in ecclesial and colonial politics. But for those of us who call Jesus the Son of God, who believe he chose his fate for our sakes, The Passion of the Christ is the greatest love story ever told, and it will radically deepen our conversion. By his wounds we are healed.
"Who do you say that I am?" Jesus asked. There is no middle ground. But, then, he told us there wouldn't be.
Posted at 08:51 AM
GITMO CHARGES BROUGHT [Jonathan H. Adler]
War crimes charges have been brought against two of the Gitmo detainees. This action will set up a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the President's military commission executive order. The issue is not whether military commissions , as such, are constitutional (they are), but rather whether the President had sufficient constitutional or statutory authority to create military commissions for purposes of trying enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan. Stay tuned.
Posted at 08:32 AM
MORE PRYOR COMMENTARY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Southern Appeal rounds up the editorials on the Pryor appointment. See especially here and here.
Posted at 08:30 AM
"REKINDLE THE CULTURE WAR" [Jonah Goldberg]
That's how Dana Milbank describes Bush's move (See Tim's post below). I haven't made up my mind on all of this because it's still not clear to me what kind of FMA Bush endorses. But, please spare me this notion that Bush is starting this battle in the culture war. This is classic liberal nonsense which says the steady, if sometimes gradual, advance of the Left's agenda is natural and "mainstream" (See every speech about judges Chuck Schumer has ever given for example) while any attempt to stand in the way of the steamroller is "divisive" or, in Milbank's words, "rekindling the culture war." It seems to me what ignited this particular battle in the culture war was the rank and lawless arrogance of a few judges and of a mayor in San Francisco. Bush made it clear more than once -- including in his last State of the Union Address -- that he was not inviting this fight. Now that he's joined it, he's getting pinned with starting it too. That's concentrated B.S.
Posted at 08:04 AM
THIS CAN'T HELP [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sydney H. Schanberg writes in the Village Voice:
Senator John Kerry, a decorated battle veteran, was courageous as a navy lieutenant in the Vietnam War. But he was not so courageous more than two decades later, when he covered up voluminous evidence that a significant number of live American prisoners—perhaps hundreds—were never acknowledged or returned after the war-ending treaty was signed in January 1973.
Posted at 07:51 AM
"IT MAY LOOK A LITTLE MESSY RIGHT NOW" [KJL]
Understatement of the day, from Sen. HRC, on gay marriage, making the case that it should all be left up to the states (on Today).
Posted at 07:49 AM
LESS THAN IT APPEARS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Glenn Reynolds on Bush Vs. Gay Marriage.
Posted at 07:45 AM
I TOLD YOU SO [Jonah Goldberg ]
Canada's military continues to shrivel.
Posted at 07:41 AM
RE: IMMIGRANTS, DIVERSITY, SOCIALISM [Jonah Goldberg ]
Ramesh - You make an outstanding point and one I haven't thought through that much. Being less enamored with notions of "national unity" than most, the first half of your hypothesis doesn't frighten me that much. As for the increased reliance on the state to hold things together, I've got to think about that. It seems to me that was certainly what Al Gore had in mind in that conversation with Ward Connerly when Gore explained that the government needs to be the permanent barrier to racism -- or some such.
Also, I would also say that lots of other trends exacerbate the unravelling of "fellow-feeling" as you put it (sounds dirty). Technology and the marketplace probably have probably done a lot more damage to the fellow-feelingness of communities than immigration. This is not to contradict your point, which I have to think about more, but merely to place it in its proper context.
Posted at 07:38 AM
MAKE THAT COFFEE STRONG [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post echoes the Journal. Dana Milbank begins: "With President Bush's embrace yesterday of a marriage amendment, the compassionate conservative of 2000 has shown he is willing, if necessary, to rekindle the culture wars in 2004." The headline reads "A Move to Satisfy Conservative Base." At least Milbank plugs in Gary Bauer before the jump noting that Bush has "never really shown an enthusiasm" for battle on the social issues.
The Post also uses its poll showing an almost even division on a marriage amendment. (Inside, the more telling poll shows 55 percent oppose "gay marriage," and 39 percent don't.) They also picture two gay men inside.
Here's what the Post sorely lacks, this morning and nearly ever other. The words "liberal base." Pictures of the activists who are trying to stand up for marriage, not just happy gay couples kissing or sniffing flowers. And a recognition that John Kerry is at least as scared of this issue.
Posted at 07:31 AM
TRACKING DOWN OSAMA [KJL]
Lots of buzzing around Pakistan. Some of the latest. And a friend who watches this all e-mails:
There are reports that OBL was near Queta. Then that he had moved 240 kilometers north to the Toba Kakar mountains, on the border with Afghanistan, south of Waziristan. He was in nearby Angoor Adda, another report said, where there was a shootout with AQ guys last October and some of them were captured. Just across the border in Afghanistan is the Barmal district, which is heavily Talibanized and a natural escape route.
Posted at 07:18 AM
A LITTLE BIAS TO GO WITH YOUR COFFEE [KJL]
This is how the WSJ website is flagging its story on the marriage amendment: "Bush backed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. The president gave his long-implied blessing in a bid to fire up his conservative base and a sign he'd prefer to battle for re-election on the field of cultural discord."
Posted at 05:27 AM
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
QUESTION FOR ANDREW [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew Sullivan repeatedly refers to the FMA -- in any and all of its forms -- as the "religious right ammendment" or the "extreme" right's ammendment or some other variant thereof. The polls say that roughly 50% of the country supports an FMA, does that mean that 50% of Americans are members of the religious right? And, since it seems reasonable to say that the same 50% are generally speaking the 50% of Americans who support George Bush (+/- a few percentage points) does that mean that Andrew believes only members of the "extreme" or "religious" right are Bush supporters?
Posted at 10:17 PM
RE: PASSION [ Mike Potemra]
Ramesh, Rod: My intent in using the phrase "culture war" was not to inject poison into current controversies but rather to try to remove it from them. Here, in the Passion film, we see depicted the greatest injustice in human history-and yet its perpetrators do not proclaim, "Look at us, we are the proud agents of metaphysical evil." The Temple officials consider themselves defenders of traditional theology against what they believe to be blasphemy; Pilate sees himself as a statesman in an ugly situation, making the best of a lot of bad options on how to prevent a public uprising. There is, I believe, a clear lesson in this for all people: Even when human beings consider themselves most in the right, they remain fallible, and sinners. Everybody-liberals, conservatives, nonpoliticals, everyone-stands under God's judgment and needs His mercy. If the people who crucified Jesus-the greatest crime ever--are not Evil Incarnate, then neither are people involved on one or the other side of heated op-ed debates. When I argue against somebody's view, and he argues against mine, both of us should remember that the line between righteousness and self-righteousness lies deep in the human heart-and all but invisible to the naked eye. This is as true of liberals as of conservatives, of Christians as of non-Christians-all of us were gathered around that Cross. This is my, admittedly fallible, attempt to apply to daily existence the message of a very powerful work of art.
Posted at 06:41 PM
THE OTTER STRATEGY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
So you're a Republican congressman who wants to get rid of parts of the Patriot Act. The Justice Department has said that your bill would eliminate needed anti-terrorism tools, and that it would not just repeal Patriot but eliminate pre-Patriot law-enforcement tools. Worse, this critique is true. (See here for more.) So what do you do?
If you're Butch Otter, Republican representative from Idaho, you don't bother trying to refute the charges. You just brazen through. You tell your colleagues, in a letter, that your bill "would not impede terrorist investigations and would not amend pre-Patriot Act law." I guess if you underline a falsehood, that makes it true?
Posted at 06:04 PM
THE POLITICS OF MARRIAGE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The political fallout of the debate--and whether the president is successful in getting FMA enacted--will depend on who is portrayed as the aggressor and the extremist. The president has sought to portray himself as having been reluctantly drawn into the fray by the courts. We know what his opponents are saying. So what does this mean in terms of what the president says about this issue in the future? Or rather, how much he says about it. I think there are two political risks for him to balance in making this decision. The lesser risk is that he talks about it too much, and looks too obsessed about the issue. The greater risk is that he talks about it too little, and allows the media, his opponents, and certain of his "allies" to frame the issue. (Jerry Falwell is on tv right now.) He's going to have to keep framing the issue himself.
Posted at 05:52 PM
MORE RAMESH IS RIGHT [KJL]
And a small addition: Now that we are in an actual, physical war, I find myself rarely if ever using the phrase "culture war." That's not because that "war" is over--far from it--but I just can't see myself justifying the usage to a 19-year-old GI in Baghdad (though, I suspect odds are high he'd agree on substance).
Posted at 05:50 PM
STRATEGO [John J. Miller]
Derb: Just read your excellent column on playing Stratego with your 8-year-old boy in the current NRODT. I grew up playing the game with my grandfather, a man with a soft spot for Napoleon because he came from French stock. I'd be curious to know your theory on letting children win games such as these in order to keep their interest alive while they learn. I'm still teaching my 6-year-old son the finer points of checkers. Sometimes I go ahead and beat him, sometimes I let him work us into a draw, and sometimes I let him experience the joy of victory--but I know he'd be crushed if I told him the truth. I really want him to clobber me one of these days, and I'm sure he will. But I'm eager to move on to Risk and Stratego and Axis & Allies--and have him whip me at those games as well.
Posted at 05:45 PM
RAMESH, AS ALWAYS [Peter Robinson]
Thanks, Ramesh. Your first reason is persuasive, your second, decisive. See you at the Hoover Institution reception here in DC in an hour, I trust?
Posted at 05:38 PM
PASSION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Rod, Mike: I not only wanted to crucify Him; I did. But I think I did so because I'm a sinner, not because I'm a conservative (except in the sense that all conservatives are necessarily sinners). I think the use of the phrase "culture war" here is loaded and, frankly, outrageous. It injects further poison into contemporary controversies while trivializing the most important event in history.
Posted at 05:35 PM
RE: JC/RC [Father George Rutler]
I think those quotations are accurate, John. And I am pretty sure it was Lord Melbourne who said the satisfaction of belonging to the Church of England is knowing that one belongs to the finest bit of Christendom without being obliged to attend its services. - I shall cease this now, because I never like to discuss politics or religion.
Posted at 05:17 PM
IMMIGRANTS, DIVERSITY, SOCIALISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
To the extent that increased "diversity" makes socialism impossible, as you have argued, Jonah, isn't it by reducing the solidarity and fellow-feeling of a society? That doesn't strike me as an unambiguously good thing, or even as a good thing at all, even if it has a good side-effect. There is also the danger that many people in such a society, and even more members of its political class, will come to feel that the government and the political class are what holds the society together and manages intergroup conflict. In such a circumstance the public and, especially, the political class will grow powerfully attracted to the idea that the nation is reducible to a rationalist "idea" that political action will constantly seek to vindicate here and abroad (often by promoting democracy overseas and limiting it here).
Posted at 05:02 PM
RESPONSE TO PETER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I imagine that what your correspondent is getting at is the need for the political branches to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over certain questions under Article III, Sections 1 and 2. I agree with that view myself, and have argued for it over the years as a better response than constitutional amendments to seriously bad (as in extra-constitutional) Supreme Court decisions. But there are two reasons for thinking that same-sex marriage is not the question to make this fight on.
First, the legitimacy of this move--jurisdiction stripping, especially in areas where the courts have already ruled and where other provisions of the Constitution are supposedly at issue--is quite controversial. It can readily be portrayed as a threat to every civil liberty and constitutional protection we have. I don't think we should surrender to this mistaken analysis, but I do think we should pick our battles: Choose issues where people are overwhelmingly on the other side from the courts, establish the legitimacy of jurisdiction-stripping during battles over that issue, and then move on to more controversial matters. The Pledge of Allegiance might be one such issue, flag-burning another. I don't think same-sex marriage qualifies.
The second reason touches on a controversy that is central to the FMA debate. The federal government does not even arguably have the power to strip state courts of jurisdiction without a constitutional amendment. If you believe that it's necessary to block 50 state judiciaries from imposing same-sex marriage and calling it "federalism," the FMA (or something very like it) is the only way to go.
Posted at 04:51 PM
RE: JC AN RC? [John Derbyshire]
Far be it from me to tangle with a man of the cloth. However, a reader (who describes herself as "lifelong C of E") asks: "Did C.S. Lewis not say something to the effect that Episcopalians were less concerned with sin than with bad taste?"
Possibly. George Orwell DID say: "I like the Church of England better than Our Lord." Which strikes me as a very Anglican attitude (though I'm not sure how much of a Christian G.O. considered himself to be).
Posted at 04:49 PM
VILLAGE VOICE GOES AFTER KERRY [KJL]
Posted at 04:37 PM
FRAT-BOY V-DAY [Rod Dreher]
The mischievous Diogenes over at the Catholic World News blog has a marvelously Machiavellian scheme for getting the presidents of Catholic colleges to keep the obscene "Vagina Monologues" performances off campus.
Posted at 04:15 PM
SYSIPHUS, BUSH & THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE [Peter Robinson ]
From a reader, an interesting point:
“It's nice that the President is speaking out in favor of defending marriage. However, so long as the Judiciary behaves in a manner unfettered by the actual text of the Constitution, this promises to be a Sisyphean task.
“Amendments are intended to change the Constitution, not undue de facto changes made by judicial fiat. All federal officers are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution. This includes defense against plainly unconstitutional judicial orders. Each judicial outrage cannot be met by rewriting the Constitution in hopes that the judges like the new language better than the old. If this becomes the standard then we are lost.
“How about the [president using the powers he already has] to fight the judges until the Judiciary gets the message and settles down? After all, it worked for FDR and his New Deal.”
Ramesh? This reader is on to something, isn’t he?
Posted at 04:13 PM
RE: WHY I LEFT ENGLAND [Rod Dreher]
Derb, last weekend we had to dinner a friend we last saw five years ago in Oxford, where he was earning his doctoral degree. He's back in Dallas now, and we asked him if he missed Oxford. Absolutely, he said. Would you want to live in England? we asked. "Not on your life!" he shot back. He explained himself in detail, but one thing that stuck with me was his description of the hospitals. He said that even the better ones were atrocious by American standards, and told a bleakly funny story about a grad student friend who had a bike wreck, and was sent home by the university hospital -- not the infirmary, the hospital -- with his arm in a sling fashioned out of a dinner napkin. "I'm not kidding," our friend said, "it really was a dinner napkin! That's England for you. Every time I hear some American politician talking about nationalizing health care, I think of that dinner napkin, because that's what we would have here."
Posted at 04:11 PM
IRAQIS WANT U.S. TO STAY [KJL]
according to a poll.
Posted at 04:10 PM
RE: APOLOGY [KJL]
Posted at 03:50 PM
RE: THE PASSION [Rod Dreher]
I saw it yesterday, and was deeply moved. I'll have a column about it in tomorrow's Dallas Morning News. But a few things here: 1) the intensity of this film blasts away the standard bourgeois American domesticated Jesus we get from too many pulpits today; it's impossible to come out of this movie and to remain satisfied with the faith as it is lived in much of America, and even in your own life; 2) I was startled by how much empathy I had for Caiaphas and Pilate; echoing Mike's comments, the movie made me see that both of them reacted very humanly to the "problem" of Jesus: if I were a temple priest, and I'd had to listen to this preacher going around calling me and my kind hypocrites, and then had him right in front of me claiming to be the Messiah, I'd surely see him as an outrageous blasphemer; if I were Pilate, a colonial bureaucrat who just wanted to keep the peace and avoid trouble, why wouldn't I have given this innocent stranger over to die, if it made my life easier? Like Mike said, the religious and political authorities just wanted to defend order -- and lots of us contemporary conservatives understand the impulse.
Which is all to say that this film made me understand in my bones that if I had been there, I probably would have wanted to crucify him too. And, as the Church teaches, in some mystical way, I did.
Posted at 03:42 PM
JC IS RC [KJL]
Occasional NRODT contributor Father George W. Rutler e-mails: "If Mr. Derbyshire is correct in thinking that "obessive dwelling on the physical details of Christ's passion" is "a very RC thing", I expect Christ is very RC. He thought about it long before it happened, and replied in very strong RC tones when St. Peter told him to lighten up (Matt. 16: 21ff). St. Peter ended up quite a prominent RC himself. So did Monsignor Ronald Knox (1888-1957) who recalled the Church of England's squeamishness about matters necessary for salvation:
When suave politeness, tempering bigot zeal,
Posted at 03:36 PM
BAFFLED IN LONG ISLAND [John Derbyshire]
I am totally at a loss with this "gay marriage" business.
Can someone please tell me
(A) Which civil right homosexuals citizens currently do not have,
(B) Which civil right they currently have, that they will no longer have if the President's FMA proposal is enacted?
Thank you. Brief answers only, please.
Posted at 03:26 PM
WHY I LEFT ENGLAND [John Derbyshire]
For readers who enjoyed Mark Steyn's piece in the London Daily Telegraph this morning, here is a picture of the young lass he's writing about. I understand that she is open to proposals of marriage... so long as it does not involve her actually DOING anything.
Posted at 03:25 PM
A GREAT "APOLOGY" [Jonah Goldberg ]
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige today issued the following apology for his remarks about the NEA.
"It was an inappropriate choice of words to describe the obstructionist scare tactics the NEA's Washington lobbyists have employed against No Child Left Behind's historic education reforms. I also said, as I have repeatedly, that our nation's teachers, who have dedicated their lives to service in the classroom, are the real soldiers of democracy, whereas the NEA's high-priced Washington lobbyists have made no secret that they will fight against bringing real, rock-solid improvements in the way we educate all our children regardless of skin color, accent or where they live. But, as one who grew up on the receiving end of insensitive remarks, I should have chosen my words better."
Posted at 03:07 PM
I MADE THE LIST! [Jonah Goldberg ]
According to Adbusters's "research" I'm one of the top 50 "neoconservatives" in America and one of the top 25 Jewish neoconservatives! Wahoo! And, looking at this list I do believe I am #1 in both categories among people under 40! Man, I do deserve a raise!
Michael Totten ponders whether this is anti-Semitic. I'm more inclined to say it's self-promoting nonsense. As I've suggested plenty of times before (here, and here and here, and here.) In fact, I can think of dozens of people more influential and more Jewish with whom I agree with on foreign policy entirely. But they don't make the list, so maybe Totten's not wrong.
Posted at 03:01 PM
CRUCICENTRISM [John Derbyshire]
Rich: There are styles of approach to the Crucifixion, though, and Mel Gibson's is a distinctly Roman Catholic style. I recall one of my own schoolmasters, a Church of England stalwart, saying that while Roman Catholicism had much to be said in its favor, "they make too much of the Crucifixion." I think this is a definite difference of sensibility between Roman Catholics and Protestants (among whom, for these purposes, Anglo-Catholics can be included). I have always thought of obsessive dwelling on the physical details of Christ's passion as a very RC thing.
Posted at 02:04 PM
SULLIVAN'S ANGER [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'm getting lots of email from people saying I should address Andrew Sullivan's cri de coeur in response to Bush's speech (which I haven't read yet). Unfortunately, I'm crashing on a deadline. But I thought the following email might offer some interesting insight. I wouldn't phrase it this way ("hysterical screed" and all that), but, well, read it yourself. I'm sure there will be lots of time for me to collect my own thoughts about all of this:
Posted at 01:53 PM
COMMENT ON THE PASSION [Mike Potemra ]
1) It's an excellent movie, a masterpiece of craft. 2) It's hard to imagine that it will lead to many conversions to Christianity, because it focuses very intensely on the human suffering of Jesus (as opposed to his Divine/human glory)-and can thus be seen relatively easily as a graphic documentary of a human-rights atrocity, of the kind that has been all too common in every period of human history. An agnostic, an atheist, or a non-Christian religious believer can view this film as chiefly a description of man's inhumanity to man. (Of course, the Spirit blows as it wills; conversions have in fact arisen from stranger circumstances than these.) 3) For me, as a Christian believer, what came through most vividly in the film was the disfiguring nature of sin. The Romans beat Jesus to a bloody, shredded pulp-barely recognizable as a human person. Many movies with torture scenes focus on the nobility of the sufferer; not this one. The Romans themselves, as they beat him, have their faces contorted with jeering glee at his suffering. I thought, looking at both him and them, that this is not how God created us, not what he intended us to be and to look like. This is the result of sin. 4) The film makes abundantly clear that great evils are often perpetrated in the name of good. The priests of the Temple are portrayed as defenders of religious tradition and the established social order. They think they are waging a culture war against a social and religious subversive; so they "do not," in fact, "know what they do" in killing the Messiah. 5) The best performance in the film is not by the excellent Jim Caviezel, but by Maia Morgenstern as Jesus' mother. What Caviezel's Jesus suffers in the flesh-aided by very realistic makeup--Morgenstern's Blessed Mother suffers in her soul, and shows, heartbreakingly, in voice, expression, and gesture.
Posted at 01:52 PM
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE: NYC ALERT [KJL]
John Podhoretz will be at the Barnes and Noble on 82nd and Broadway at 7:30 TONIGHT reading from and signing his new, important book, Bush Country.
If you're not in NYC, you can catch him tonight on Dennis Miller's CNBC show or on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. (And he's on FNC right now.)
Posted at 01:34 PM
BUSH ON IRAN [KJL]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 24, 2004
Posted at 01:28 PM
ANOTHER YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST [Jonah Goldberg ]
David Goodhart has an interesting piece on the challenge ethnic diversity poses to welfare state socialism (Nod to Andrew Sullivan). Goodhart (what an awesome name for a liberal) writes:
It was the Conservative politician David Willetts who drew my attention to the "progressive dilemma". Speaking at a roundtable on welfare reform, he said: "The basis on which you can extract large sums of money in tax and pay it out in benefits is that most people think the recipients are people like themselves, facing difficulties that they themselves could face. If values become more diverse, if lifestyles become more differentiated, then it becomes more difficult to sustain the legitimacy of a universal risk-pooling welfare state. People ask: 'Why should I pay for them when they are doing things that I wouldn't do?' This is America versus Sweden. You can have a Swedish welfare state provided that you are a homogeneous society with intensely shared values. In the United States you have a very diverse, individualistic society where people feel fewer obligations to fellow citizens. Progressives want diversity, but they thereby undermine part of the moral consensus on which a large welfare state rests."
... One of the reasons this has been politically feasible in Europe is that Europeans are a bunch of boneheads when it comes to economics. But another reason — according to my theory — is that race hasn't been much of an issue. Politically, it's a lot easier to support a safety net when the safety net only helps people just like you. In fact, I bet you anything one of the reasons why "welfare reform" is gaining ground in Europe is because Europe is filling up with Asian and African immigrants and all of a sudden the "enlightened" Euro weenies don't see the benefit in writing checks to poor brown and yellow people when they were just delighted to keep white folks on the dole for generations.
It now appears that the same process is taking place in European nations as they deal with the consequences of immigration.
Posted at 01:09 PM
FYI, W.'S FMA ENDORSEMENT TEXT [KJL]
Posted at 12:55 PM
WEASEL WORDS [Roger Clegg]
The Supreme Court ruled today that the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not apply in “reverse” cases—i.e., it does not protect a younger employee from being discriminated against in favor of an older one. Three justices—Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas—dissented. Thomas’s dissent takes the majority to task for allowing “social history”—the majority’s phrase—to trump the statute’s plain meaning. This brings to mind F.A. Hayek’s wonderful discussion in The Fatal Conceit of the “weasel word ‘social,’” so called because it sucks the meaning out of any word to which it is appended in a phrase. Thus, “social justice” is not really justice, “social security” is not really security, and so forth. Hayek even produces a list of 160 nouns he has found thus qualified by the word “social”—and, yes, “history” is one of them, meaning that such history is really not history at all.
Posted at 12:48 PM
THAT "BIGOT" BUSH [Michael Graham]
One of the best parts of doing a daily talk show in DC is that, when the president makes a statement regarding same-sex marriage, I get to open up the phones and get reaction.
Not surprising for a show that leads into Rush, most of my callers supported the president's call for a constitutional amendment. But most interesting was a caller decrying the fact that "in the year 2004, we've got a bigot like George W. Bush as president."
When I asked the caller point blank if one had to be a "bigot" to oppose changing the definition of marriage, he said "yes" and that was that.
This, to me, is the atomic bomb of the pro-same-sex marriage forces, that there are no legitimate social or biological or historic reasons to keep marriage as it is. I get a sense from these advocates that they believe every fact and argument presented in opposition is mere euphemism for "hatin' them homos."
I've asked Andrew Sullivan several times if it is possible to oppose same-sex marriage and NOT be a bigot. I've never gotten an answer and I've never seen one posted at his site--though it is certainly possible I missed one.
But if the Left and their media allies succeed in moving a clearly governmental issue, like deciding what is and isn't a legal marriage, into an arena beyond political debate, with one side declared inherently moral and the other inherently immoral, that would be a disastrous precedent.
Posted at 12:46 PM
"CRUCICENTRISM" [Rich Lowry]
Ed Kilgore, who is always worth listening to, made a post in here the other day about how "perverse" it is that Mel Gibson has marketed his film to evangelicals, who supposedly have no special interest in the crucifixion. Andrew Sullivan eagerly picked up and reproduced the point. The idea that evangelicals shouldn't naturally be that interested in the crucifixion struck me as kind of counterintuitive. I was poking around for some research on today's column, and ran across this lecture by Mark Noll, a Wheaton college professor who is an expert on evangelicals. Here is what he says about the matter:
*conversion, or "the belief that lives need to be changed";
*the Bible, or the "belief that all spiritual truth is to be found in its pages";
*activism, or the dedication of all believers, including laypeople, to lives of service for God, especially as manifest in evangelism (spreading the good news) and mission (taking the gospel to other societies);
*crucicentrism, or the conviction that Christ's death was the crucial matter in providing reconciliation between a holy God and sinful humans."
That evangelicals would be drawn to Gibson's film , then, seems quite natural, not perverse.
Posted at 11:54 AM
PRYOR COVERAGE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Ex Parte's Eric Soskin dissects the NYT's skewed coverage of the Honorable Bill Pryor, the 11th Circuit's newest judge.
Posted at 11:42 AM
ELECT ME, YOU'LL BE FIRED [Tim Graham]
Not that I like to nitpick, but Kerry said yesterday about Bush: "We do have a different vision for America than he does. We believe in an America that's creating jobs, not losing them." Put aside Kerry's hopscotching over the facts of job growth in the recent data. I just want to know: does he really think Bush is running for re-election with a bold plan to drive up the unemployment rate?
Posted at 11:24 AM
TIM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I see your point about the loadedness of the word "ban," but I think it's not inaccurate as a description of a forward-looking prohibition. Once there are actual same-sex marriages, however, I think we can look forward to commentary that has the president "forcing gays to divorce." Which will not be totally inaccurate, either, just loaded.
Posted at 11:12 AM
IF REUTERS WERE RIGHT WING [Tim Graham]
WASHINGTON -- Citing broad congressional majorities in sync with his position, President Bush this morning moved to strengthen the institution of marriage from judicial and political assaults by activists pushing what they call "gay marriage."
Posted at 11:09 AM
SULLIVAN'S STUMPER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Andrew Sullivan asks me whether the FMA voids Vermont's civil unions or would void Massachusetts's civil unions if those are enacted. Those were (or will be) enacted by the legislature after a judicial edict. I'm afraid I can't give a fully satisfying answer. The amendment is supposed to block recurrences of such judicial edicts--so you would not see other states following the same pattern. Whether the existing civil unions and civil-unions laws would be nullified is, I think, unanswerable based on FMA alone. It would depend on the applicable law regarding how to handle retrospective changes to the law. Supporters of FMA who agree with one another about every other detail of what its impact would be may well disagree on this question. Also, to confront an issue Sullivan does not raise, I am pretty sure that the FMA does not do anything to touch the question whether other states can or must recognize Vermont's civil unions. There are some other things in his post to quibble with--does he really think state courts are going to have the last say on the interpretation of this amendment for very long?--but we'll all have plenty to talk about in the days to come.
Posted at 11:08 AM
"BAN" [Tim Graham]
Ramesh, in your wire story there, isn't it funny that the media always use the term "ban" so-called gay marriages? How do you "ban" something that is presently not officially recognized in most states?
Posted at 10:55 AM
THE PRESIDENT'S REMARKS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Three things I found notable. 1) Supporters of an amendment have wondered whether the president wanted to use this as a base-rallier rather than to get it passed this year. He didn't have to say he wanted Congress to pass this amendment "promptly," and he did. 2) He is not trying in any serious way to make the case against same-sex marriage. He is trying to persuade people who share his opposition to it that a constitutional amendment is now required. 3) The don't-demonize-gays language will, we can expect, accompany every presidential statement on this topic. Most gays will not take much solace from it, and understandably so. I do think it is sincere. The president will not say, in public, something like hate the sin, love the sinner, but this is the same-sex marriage policy-debate equivalent.
Posted at 10:51 AM
BUSH'S ENDORSEMENT OF FMA [KJL]
Constitutional amendments are not easy things to maneuver, but I do think that this may be a case of the right man at the right time: Bush presents his case--he certainly did today--clearly, with no apology, and with a dual emphasis: on the importance of preserving marriage and on the need to treat people--who will have diametrically different views with "kindness, goodwill, and decency." That's very important, and, happens also to be, I think, effective.
Posted at 10:49 AM
"THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE REQUIRES A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT" [KJL]
Posted at 10:45 AM
PEOPLE VS. "AGGRESSIVE ATTEMPT TO REDEFINE MARRIAGE" [KJL]
Bush is speaking now...
Posted at 10:43 AM
TERRY TEACHOUT ON TPOTC [KJL]
A lot of these will continue to roll in in the next 48 hours, no doubt, but Terry's always worth noting:
Everything you’ve heard about the violence in The Passion of the Christ is true. It’s jarring, almost sickening. Yet I didn’t find it gratuitous, given the film’s initiating premise, though the scourging of Jesus went on well past the point of diminishing artistic returns, however "realistic" it may have been. In any case, there is nothing in The Passion of the Christ that will startle viewers familiar with Western religious art. The difference—and it’s a big one—is that this is a film, not a mural. Photographs pack a punch quite different from even the most gruesome paintings. To say that The Passion of the Christ suggests a Caravaggist Crucifixion come to life, while true enough, understates its impact. Of course it’s only a movie, and we’ve all read about the special effects, but Gibson and his collaborators create an illusion of reality so enveloping that it’s possible to forget yourself.There's more on his site.
Posted at 10:40 AM
TODAY'S THE DAY--W. & FMA [KJL]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush Tuesday will endorse a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, the White House said. "The president will announce his support for a constitutional amendment to protect the sanctity of marriage," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. Bush was to make the announcement in the White House Roosevelt Room at 10:45 a.m. EST.
Posted at 10:04 AM
THE PATRIOT ACT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I wrote a column about a bill that would gut it; Steve Lilienthal, a Patriot Act critic at the Free Congress Foundation, wrote a letter complaining about my various alleged "misunderstandings." His letter, and my response, are on the site today. I do plead guilty to not understanding why Lilienthal and co. think it is so important to make it easier for terrorists to intimidate witnesses.
Posted at 09:35 AM
PUTIN PURGES [KJL]
Posted at 09:02 AM
FROM TOMORROW'S WASHINGTON POST [John J. Miller]
"In a bold effort to put the District of Columbia's three electoral votes 'in play,' President Bush announced that one D.C. resident, Jonah Goldberg, would be exempt from federal taxes between now and 2012. John Kerry's campaign was bunkered down last night deciding how to respond, but sources indicate that Kerry may actually announce a program of subsidies aimed at Goldberg, which he apparently would pay for with a 'Ponnuru Tax.'"
Posted at 08:46 AM
THE FIRST WMDS [John J. Miller]
Posted at 08:36 AM
YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST [Jonah Goldberg ]
From President Bush last night:
On national security, Americans have the clearest possible choice. Our opponents say they approve of bold action in the world, but only if no other government disagrees. I'm all for united action, and so are the 34 coalition partners we have in Iraq right now. But America must never out-source America's national security decisions to the leaders of other governments.
Today, I'm going to post several items on how I should be exempt from Federal taxes. Maybe he'll say that too!
Posted at 07:42 AM
REACHING OUT [Jonah Goldberg ]
The current issue of The New Republic has an interesting piece on Saudi Arabia's effort to build a security barrier -- just like Israel's -- between itself and Yemen. What's even more interesting is who wrote it, John R. Bradley formerly of the Arab News. Bradley not to long ago described the New Republic as an "ultra-right campaigning American political journal that has long been defined by its crude Zionist agenda." Meanwhile, his own views of America have been, shall we say, ambivalent.
Posted at 07:36 AM
STRIKING OUT [KJL]
JJ, you put in a request to be in Rio today, too, didn't you?
Posted at 07:29 AM
W.'S SPEECH LAST NIGHT [KJL]
Posted at 07:20 AM
POOR COVERAGE [John J. Miller]
A story our Scrooge-like editor Rich Lowry wouldn't let me cover: Dennis Kucinich takes his campaign to Hawaii. Dear readers, it is you who suffer.
Posted at 05:31 AM
Monday, February 23, 2004
OUTSOURCING TO THE U.N. [KJL]
Jonah, W just had a familar line...
Posted at 08:10 PM
GOOD LINE FROM W. [KJL]
"Anger is not an agenda for the future of America."
Posted at 07:33 PM
"A CLEAR CHOICE" [KJL]
"We will win our second term in November." In a more adult way than Kerry, Bush says, implicitly, "bring it on" at the Republican Governors Association Dinner right now. Strikes me as the right tone. (Still ongoing, btw, on CSPAN.)
Posted at 07:28 PM
LAURA GETS KERRY TO SHUT UP AND SING? [KJL ]
As if you needed a reason to listen to the Laura Ingraham radio show, they’re holding a John Kerry campaign theme song contest. I’m told the current contenders are “Hair,” “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” “Flipper,” and Hall and Oates’s “Rich Girl” (“You can rely on the old man’s money.”). Check her website for how and when to listen.
Posted at 07:03 PM
DOWN GITMO WAY [Peter Robinson]
Filmed an episode of Uncommon Knowledge last week on our treatment of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, a matter now before the Supreme Court. (My guests: Erwin Chemerinsky, a professor of law at USC and a wonderfully bright and likeable man who is, however, as dedicated a liberal as I've ever encountered, and John Yoo, a professor of law at Boalt Hall, the law school at Cal Berkeley, who just returned from a couple of years in the Bush Justice Department. Although just starting his career--John is still a very young man--he is already hugely impressive, by which I mean right up there with Judge Bork.)
By the time the show was over, it had become clear to this layman that
a) As a purely legal matter, the Department of Defense has been correct all along to label the detainees "enemy combatants" and to assert that we had the right to detain them just as long as the war on terror lasted, and
b) That since the war on terror was completely open-ended-the president himself has said it might last longer than any of our lifetimes-our treatment of the detainees amounted, in actual practice, to putting them in the clink and throwing away the key. The war on terror, in other words, has run ahead of the law, presenting us with a situation that, while legal, violates every fundamental notion of decency and justice.
Today I opened the newspaper to discover that Donald Rumsfeld is on the case. The Secretary of Defense has directed the Pentagon to establish--and here I quote the Washington Post--"a review process...for detainees [that would] examine each case annually." This represents one of those little affirmations of the Constitution that offers a moment or two of good cheer: A case goes before the Supreme Court, whereupon the Secretary of Defense swings into action. The result? A nation that is in one small but material way better-equipped to prosecute the war.
Posted at 05:28 PM
NOT SMALLER, MORE SELECTIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader from Manitoba:
Mr. Goldberg, Your note about the Chris Matthews puff piece brought to mind the following interchange from This Is Spinal Tap:
Posted at 04:05 PM
ROD PAIGE IS WRONG, OF COURSE [Michael Graham]
Unfortunately, Al Qaeda isn't nearly as bad at terrorism as the NEA is at educating our children.
Posted at 04:05 PM
SEX AND THE CITY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Interesting email from a reader:
Jonah, Like you, I hope my daughter (3 months old) doesn't end up like any of the women on "Sex and the City," but I think you're just trying to score a cheap point you state that "I know feminists are still in the "it's liberating to be a slut" phase". Sure, some feminists may think like that, but the vast majority of women that I know view feminism as simply the right to make their own choices and be treated equally. "Sex and the City" is no more representative of feminism than, say, "The Man Show" is representative of modern masculinity. Both are good for a laugh now and then, both occasionally hit upon some bitter truths about gender and society.
Posted at 04:01 PM
MATH FOR LEFTIES [John Derbyshire]
"Like right wing policies, for all that it appeals to individuals who crave certitude in life, the right wing definition of mathematical proof is an unrealistic ideal that does not survive the first contact with the real world. (Unless you have an army to impose it with force, an approach that mathematicians have hitherto shied away from.)"
The whole silly thing is here.
Posted at 03:49 PM
ANGLES OF INCIDENCE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Eugene Volokh and Jacob Levy respond to my latest piece about what the Federal Marriage Amendment means. We seem to have reached at least a limited consensus, since they agree that the change to the wording of the amendment that I propose in my article would improve it. I hope the relevant committees on Capitol Hill are listening.
Posted at 03:41 PM
UGH SECONDED [Jonah Goldberg]
The only thing which might mediate the opportunism of Bush critics is the fact that Paige is a well-liked moderate black guy. If Bill Bennett had said something like that when he was Ed. Sec. The New York Times would clear a forest whining about it.
Posted at 03:34 PM
Rod Paige calls the NEA a "terrorist organization," which means whatever probably good point he was trying to make will be obscured by his poor choice of words.
Posted at 03:12 PM
WE HAVE A WINNER [Jonah Goldberg]
In the undeserving puff-piece category. USA Today runs a love letter to Chris Matthews despite the fact his show's and his network's ratings are in the basement. Peter Johnson writes "This rough-and-tumble political chatfest is increasingly must-see TV for a small (443,000) but driven number of viewers whose thirst for politics extends far beyond what's in the newspapers and on the evening news." Considering that Matthew's ratings were better years ago -- when Matthews was better -- shouldn't that be "decreasingly must-see TV"?
Posted at 03:07 PM
CORRECTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Several readers have sent me email explaining that the reader email I posted earlier on outsourcing has some math problems. For example:
Posted at 02:33 PM
NO PRYOR RESTRAINT [Tim Graham]
The media attack on "religious right" poster boy William Pryor continues, on TV, as well as print.
Posted at 02:09 PM
GOOSES AND GANDERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Man with too much time on his hands sues WNBA for not letting him tryout. Update/Clarification: This is a parody site.
Posted at 01:43 PM
TWO THUMBS UP [KJL]
for The Passion
Posted at 01:35 PM
MORE INDEPENDENTS [Rick Brookhiser]
Alexander Hamilton agreed with Jonah. In one of his many, many letters running down Aaron Burr during the electoral vote deadlock of 1800, he took up the issue of Burr's independence. "But is it a recommendation to have no theory? Can that man be a systematic, or able statesman who has none? I believe not. No general principles will hardly work much better than erroneous ones. "
Posted at 12:57 PM
RE: BURYING GAY MARRIAGE [Rod Dreher]
Stanley, a journalism professor friend is fond of telling the story from a few years ago about how a Democratic Party pal fairly high up said that the Dems were terrified of the gay marriage issue. At the top of the party, most of the leadership had no problem with gay marriage. But they knew that it was a big problem for a substantial number of voters. The problem: how to see that gay marriage happens without seeming to be advocates for it, and thus paying a political price at the polls? My guess is that a number of newspaper editorial boards, whether they're conscious of it or not, are thinking along the same lines. And what they've come up with is a strategy to let the courts do the heavy lifting, and take the brunt of the blame for doing what the ed boards in truth want to see happen, but don't want to take the heat for.
I think the Dems are going to follow the same strategy -- indeed, it's the only strategy that makes a lick of sense from their perspective. If they keep mouthing the mantra We shouldn't amend the constitution, then they get to look like principled conservatives, even though we have reached the point where we are either going to have national gay marriage by judicial fiat, or we're going to have a constitutional amendment to put a brake on activist judges. My belief is that thoughtful liberals figure that the best thing they can do is lay low and stay out of the way of the courts -- and after the courts speak, start talking about "accepting the wisdom" of the judicial branch, and "healing" and "moving on" -- thereby making those who object to the judicial usurpation of politics to foment an unprecedented social revolution look like rabble-rousing malcontents.
If I were a liberal Democrat member of an editorial board or politician, that's exactly the strategy I'd follow.
Posted at 12:22 PM
NO COMMENT WHATSOEVER [John Derbyshire]
A reader: "Derb---You misquoted the former president who said 'I don't see how you can ever have enough nukey.'"
Posted at 12:04 PM
POLITICAL CAPITAL VS. OUR CAPITAL & THE CAPITOL [Jonah Goldberg]
Richard from Greensboro, NC writes:
Posted at 11:40 AM
ROONEY TRASHES MEL [Tim Graham]
Our e-mail is blistering over Andy Rooney's "60 Minutes" commentary last night. Here's the most outrageous part:
I heard from God just the other night. God always seems to call at night.
"Andrew," God said to me. He always calls me "Andrew." I like that.
"Andrew, you have the eyes and ears of a lot of people. I wish you'd tell your viewers that both Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson strike me as wackos. I believe that's one of your current words. They're crazy as bedbugs, another earthly expression. I created bedbugs. I'll tell you, they're no crazier than people,” said God.
"Let me just say that I think I'd remember if I'd ever talked to Pat Robertson, and I'd remember if I said Bush would get re-elected in a blowout."
“As far as Mel Gibson goes, I haven't seen his movie, 'The Passion of the Christ,' because it hasn't opened up here yet. But I did catch Gibson being interviewed by Diane Sawyer. I did something right when I came up with her, didn't I,” added God. “Anyway, as I was saying, Mel is a real nut case. What in the world was I thinking when I created him? Listen, we all make mistakes." That is what God said to me.
Posted at 11:18 AM
on the Iranian election fiasco is up. (And would have been up earlier but for a little snafu on our end, not his--apologies.)
Posted at 11:12 AM
BURYING GAY MARRIAGE [Stanley Kurtz ]
Has anyone noticed that The New York Times has more or less been burying the story of San Francisco's civil disobedience on the gay marriage issue? Here's a paper that habitually trumpets bogus social trends from its front page when that furthers leftist cultural ends. But we finally get a huge story on a cultural issue that means everything to the Times, and their coverage is minimal. As far as I recall, the Times has not run any Op-Ed pieces on the San Francisco situation either.
Posted at 11:10 AM
POLLING MARRIAGE [Stanley Kurtz ]
Just after the Goodridge decision, a Boston Globe poll showed that Massachusetts residents backed gay marriage by a margin of 48 to 43 percent. Today, the tide has turned, with 53 percent of Massachusetts residents opposed to same-sex marriage, and only 35 percent in favor. That is a dramatic and important shift. True, polling on the gay marriage issue needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Opinion on this question is highly volatile. More important, the press has prevented the public from hearing good arguments against gay marriage, and this distorts the numbers. In any case, the shift of opinion in Massachusetts is significant, and could have real implications, both for the battle over a state constitutional amendment, and for the national battle over this issue as well.
Posted at 11:06 AM
USING MARRIAGE [Stanley Kurtz ]
Last Monday, February 16, Jonathan Katz, executive coordinator of a gay and lesbian studies program at Yale University, appeared on NPR's Talk of the Nation, with Neal Conan. Katz expressed the hope that gay marriage could change the meaning of marriage for everyone. Here's a quote:
I'm also perhaps Pollyannaish enough to believe that we may, in fact, help move the state perspective on marriage by virtue of our inclusion towards a much broader, much more capacious view. I'm thinking even of the fact of monogamy, which is both one of the pillars of heterosexual marriage and perhaps its key source of trauma. Could it be that the inclusion of lesbian and gay same-sex marriage may, in fact, sort of de-center the notion of monogamy and allow the prospect that marriage need not be an exclusive sexual relationship among people? I think it's possible....I would never five years ago have defined myself as an advocate of marriage. In fact, the very institution smacked of precisely that which I lived my life in opposition to. But because it has cohered as perhaps the litmus test of civil rights now, because it carries real social benefits, and because I think it perhaps furthers the uncoupling of the state and the church in this country, which I thought was promised in our Constitution, then I'm all for it.I've said it before and I'll say it again. We're going to see a great deal more of this sort of talk once gay marriages get established. In cutting edge articles and films--and eventually, television shows--we're going to see stories on how gay marriages are redefining the meaning of marriage for everyone. Gay marriage is going to be used by the cultural left to further its ends. You can bet on it.
Posted at 11:00 AM
YOU ASKED [KJL]
Readers just asking me: "How does one donate to NRO?" Why, right here. I can never answer that one enough.
Posted at 10:58 AM
INDEPENDENTS [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew Sullivan writes:
My gut reaction to the news that the self-righteous narcissist, Ralph Nader, will be running for president as an "Independent" is to demand that he cease and desist despoiling a perfectly respectable political position. He's not an independent. He's a far-left, paranoid Democrat who delights only in hurting his own party.
I don't disagree with the substance of Sullivan's criticism about Nader. But as to trying to claim some ideological of philosophical content for the word "independent," I still don't buy it. Contrary to what Sullivan, Lee Harris and others seem to think, there really is nothing substantive to being an independent. I've met -- and certainly received email from -- lots of self-described "indepenents" who hold positions which could be called everything from Naderite to Buchananite to ultra-libertarian etc.
If you want to call yourself a moderate or a centrist, that's cool. But to suggest that only independents are in the "sensible center" is simply not true. Independent is a vanity label which includes everybody who considers himself or herself outside the authority of philisophical or political labels, and is therefore, largely meaningless when it comes to substantive first principles.
Posted at 10:53 AM
RE: RE: SEX [KJL]
I would be holding my head up a bit higher this morning if I had watched Malcolm instead.
Posted at 10:51 AM
RE SEX IN THE CITY [Jonah Goldberg]
Kathryn - Fair enough. I take it you watched it. I watched the Simpsons and the 100th episode of Malcolm in the Middle.
Posted at 10:42 AM
A WINNER AMONG US [KJL ]
On Saturday night, at the annual Federalist Society Student Symposium, our own Jonathan Adler was awarded the Paul M. Bator Award, given annually to a young (under 40) law professor "in recognition of excellence in legal scholarship, outstanding commitment to teaching and law students, and the significant public impact of his work." Prior recipients include such sometime NRO contributors as Robert George, Randy Barnett, and Eugene Volokh.
Posted at 10:37 AM
COMING AROUND TO KEEPING IT REAL [KJL ]
Jonah, I, too, am glad it is over. But I am also relieved, inasmuch as I care in the least about a TV show, that it ended as it did. A TV show can push the envelope all it wants to get and maintain buzz, but the climax of Sex and the City showed that the show’s gang just wanted to be liked and to do so meant they gave people exactly what they wanted: happy endings. Carrie winds up with John (so we learn, is “Mr. Big”), Miranda and Charlotte are married with children, and Samantha as as close to that as she could get without doing a 180. Sure, it ended with a quick sex scene just to keep its edge, but the series ultimately, generally ended as a cheesy love story—exactly what most people want. So much for empowerment through promiscuity. Inasmuch as TV shows tend to be cultural statements, thank goodness for that ending.
Posted at 10:36 AM
P.S. [KJL ]
I can’t remember if I mentioned it already, and am too lazy too look it up, so forgive me if I repeat: Feminists for Life have a cool redesigned website, with very cool info and items.
Posted at 10:32 AM
FEMINISM TODAY [KJL ]
A piece by Phyllis Chessler and Donna Hughes from the Washington Post this weekend appears in the “Note Bene” section of our homepage. A quick disclaimer, first: Just because we link to something there does not mean NR or NRO is necessarily endorsing it. It just means that someone, often one KLo, deemed it worth reading.
Second, about the actual piece: both Clessler and Hughes have appeared on NRO in one form or another (see here and here, for instance). They’re both smart feminists. I don’t agree with them—nor does NR/NRO—on everything, for sure (most glaringly, abortion) but if “feminism” could at a minimum get where they are (example: "Twenty-first-century feminists need to become a force for literate, civil democracies. They must oppose dictatorships and totalitarian movements that crush the liberty and rights of people, especially women and girls. They would be wise to abandon multicultural relativism and instead uphold a universal standard of human rights. They should demand that all girls have the opportunity to reach their full potential instead of living and dying in the gulags of the sex trade."), it would be a nice restart. (I, of course, would like to see it more in the Feminists for Life realm, but baby steps…)
Posted at 10:30 AM
ANDY ROONEY [Jonah Goldberg]
Was particularly stupid last night, which is really saying something. To be honest, I didn't mind him criticizing Pat Robertson's divine punditry, though I thought he was amazingly un-clever about it. But the cheap shots at Mel Gibson were so monumentally lame and argument free I'm almost embarrassed for Rooney. I don't mind criticizing Gibson, even though most of the criticism's strike me as falling pretty far short of the mark. Again, I haven't seen the movie yet. But calling him nuts over and over again is sophomoric.
And yes, I really want his job.
Posted at 10:26 AM
ROAD WARS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Robert Novak on the coming confrontation between President Bush and Congress over the pork-laden, tax-raising highway bill.
Posted at 10:22 AM
KERRY'S NATIONAL GUARD RECORD [Jonah Goldberg ]
From John Podhoretz's column:
Here's the sort of rhetoric Kerry and Co. used to gather anti-war forces in a mimeographed flyer:
Posted at 10:20 AM
OUTSOURCING THE MILITARY [Jonah Goldberg]
John Edwards said yesterday that he wants to outsource this adminsitration. There's was more truth to this than he intended. After all, the Democrats want the UN, the ICC etc to call the shots on lots of things usually left up to our own democratically elected leaders. In fact, when you think about it the Democrats want to outsource American jobs to France, Germany and elsewhere when they demand that we turn Iraq over to the UN. Of course, I have no problem with this except that the Democrats want to outsource everything to foreigners, including the management of Iraq and our foreign policy generally. Now, if we could come up with a Raj-like system where our officers tell other folks how to do the grunt work, I'd be all for it.
Posted at 10:16 AM
RE: OUTSOURCING [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I happen to work at a company that layed off a dozen technical support workers and replaced them with an Indian service.
Posted at 10:10 AM
SEX IN THE CITY [Jonah Goldberg]
To be honest I never hated the show, though I will work very hard to see to it my daughter doesn't end up like any of those women. But I am so delighted the show's finally over. Occasionally the "Sex in the City" was well-written enough to be worth watching, but never was it so well-written to be worth talking about endlessly. I know feminists are still in the "it's liberating to be a slut" phase, but you'd think someone on the left would be offended by the fact that, once again, feminist heroes were defined as women who wanted to act like craven men -- not gentlemen.
Posted at 10:08 AM
CHAIT, THE DEFICIT ETC [Jonah Goldberg ]
Ramesh and I are/were planning on writing a piece together on the whole effort by some conservatives to defend Bush's spending binge by crafting some new ideology variously called, "big government conservatism," "strong government conservatism," and, of course, "compassionate conservatism." We've both been too busy to get it done, but maybe Jonathan Chait's new cover story in The New Republic will get us motivated.
Regardless, here's one point I would like to make now though and it's aimed at folks like Dan Casse and Andrew Sullivan on the right as well as folks like Chait:
It's not the deficit stupid!
For good reasons and bad, the argument about government over-spending has become an argument about the deficit. I care a lot about the former, I don't care very much about the latter.
The deficit is a symptom, like a fever or the sniffles. The disease is big government. The anti-deficit mantra is often based on actuarial assumptions and the extrapolation of the lessons of personal finance to political economy. This isn't to say that a big deficit is a good thing just as a bad cough isn't a good thing. The question is what's causing it. When I read Andrew Sullivan's drum-banging about the deficit I sometimes get the sense he'd have no problem with all of this spending and government bloat if, at the end of the day, the budget was balanced. The conservative case against bloated government is not an accounting argument, it's a philosophical argument. I would be against socialized medicine even if socialized medicine was fiscally feasible. I'm not sure when it happened, but for some reason the debate has changed since Ronald Reagan. Reaganites, last time I checked, didn't care very much about deficits -- so long as the economy was growing -- they cared about intrusive government which sapped individual initiative, calcified the mechanisms of the marketplace and inexorably eroded personal liberty and communal autonomy, among other things.
Chait may be making a valid observational point when he writes "And so, in a relatively short span of time, the conservative view of the deficit has gone from myopic denial to borderline hysteria." But for some of us, the "hysteria" about the deficit is epiphenomenal to our substantive concern about a metastasizing federal government.
Posted at 09:55 AM
A TROUBLING STORY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
about the U.S. government's treatment of pro-democratic Arabs.
Posted at 09:47 AM
JOHN KERRY AND BR'ER RALPH [Michael Graham]
I know the iron-clad conventional wisdom is that Ralph Nader's presidential bid will hurt the Democratic nominee in November, but assuming that nominee is John Kerry, I'm not so sure. OK, so a few thousand Greenies vote for Nader instead of Kerry in the handful of states where Ralph is able to get on the ballot, I’ll concede that. And there's always the possibility of a 2000 redux, in which case a tiny percentage of the popular vote could be significant.
But don't forget that the 2000 election was big news because it was a fluke. It's almost certain that Nader will cost Kerry a few votes, but the odds are very small that we'll have back-to-back elections where the presidency is determined by a slender popular vote margin in a single state.
However, candidate Kerry has a much bigger problem than Nader, and that's the fact that the Massachusetts senator is the most liberal major-party presidential nominee since LBJ. Kerry’s repeatedly voted to cut defense, intelligence and the CIA, he's repeatedly voted for higher taxes and against tax cuts, he's supported partial-birth abortion and opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, etc, etc.
But Kerry’s extremism went largely unnoticed as long as he had Howard Dean on his even loonier Left. Now he’s got Nader filling that role until November. So instead of trying to defend his extreme liberalism, Kerry can do some triangulation instead: "My liberal opponents like Ralph Nader want to...., while right-wing extremists like President Bush say....but I, John Kerry, mainstream American and war hero stand in the center with you!"
I'm not saying this will work. John Kerry's record is his record, and President Bush as more than $100 million to make sure Americans in Florida and New Hampshire know about it.
But some of the supposed “anger” towards Nader from the Democrats sounds a little like “don’t throw me in the briarpatch, Br’er Fox, please!” If I were Kerry’s campaign manager, I think I could pick up as many votes with Nader in the race as he would cost me. If not more.
Posted at 08:45 AM
ED VS. PRESS [Tim Graham]
For a tutorial on how the news media follows Terry McAuliffe's commands and ignores the stories that RNC head Ed Gillespie finds veeeerrrry interesting, see here.
Posted at 08:25 AM
AREN'T DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES FUN? [John J. Miller]
From today's Washington Post: "When Kerry called for questions, Monica F. Helms, president of the Transgender American Veterans Association, asked whether he would add protections for sexual orientation to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. "You have been saying, 'No American left behind.' Does that mean no transgender American will also be left behind? There are 3 million of us, and that's a lot of votes," said Helms, a Navy veteran."
Posted at 05:35 AM
Sunday, February 22, 2004
YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH NUKES [John Derbyshire]
"XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN FEB 22, 2004 20:32:18 ET XXXXX ---- SECRET DEFENSE REPORT SHOWS ISRAEL OWNS 82 NUKE WEAPONS ---- **Exclusive** ---- A new book set for release this week claims Israel owns 82 nuclear weapons!"
Excuse me, but this is NEWS? I have been reading for years -- at least 20 years, I am sure -- that Israel has 200+ nukes.
Only 82? We should loan them a few more. As a great man once said: "I don't see how you can ever have enough nukes." http://www.cafeshops.com/nationalreview/202531
Posted at 09:33 PM
THE IMMIGRATION MESS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Whatever one might think about the President’s proposed immigration ‘reform,’ reports like this suggest that, as a purely political move, it’s not, ahem, working out too well.
Posted at 06:00 PM
RETAIL REPUBLICANISM [John Derbyshire]
Mark: Reading that link you posted to the NY Times piece on immigration, my eye was stopped by the phrase: "Walmart-Kmart Republicans." I find myself wondering if I am one of these. I don't think so. I see myself as more of a Home Depot Republican.
Posted at 05:52 PM
%$#$% OUTSOURCING [Jonah Goldberg ]
I guess the Democrats don't mind when a Democratic (former) President really has a policy of outsourcing. A
For the record, my outrage is entirely fake, but my amusement at the hypocrisy is entirely real. From the Scotsman:
A SMALL Lothians cabinet-making firm is set to crack the United States after winning a £500,000 contract to fit out Bill Clinton’s presidential library.
Posted at 03:31 PM
READ OUR LIPS: NO NEW AMNESTIES [Mark Krikorian]
The New York Times had a story yesterday on conservative discontent over the president's amnesty proposal. The White House seems to think that the only election that matters is the presidential vote in November -- conservatives sure aren't going to vote for Kerry, so they have nowhere else to go. But even if conservatives in general decide that the war against militant Islam is too important to sit home in November, there are a lot of elections between now and then -- namely primary contests for congressional seats. The result could be that president will end up facing a Republican Congress even more hostile to his amnesty plan than it is now. The Times piece highlights a few of the primary candidates who are getting traction because of opposition to amnesty, but it's even more extensive a phenomenon than the story suggests. Congressmen like Kolbe, Flake, and Cannon, for instance, are facing primary challenges that would not have existed but for their flamboyant suport for amnesty. The candidates at a recent Christian Coalition event in Georgia fell all over themselves to see who could oppose the president's plan most stenuously. The Republican Party in Houston has voted to oppose "amnesty for illegal aliens in whatever form it may take," while the party in Phoenix voted to oppose "any amnesty program or any guest worker program leading to amnesty."
Posted at 02:24 PM
X RATED [Mark Krikorian]
Britain has assigned The Passion what we used to call an X rating.
Posted at 02:22 PM
IT'S HAPPENED BEFORE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Clay Waters of Times Watch informs me that the Times has recycled anti-Republican votes before. Can't those guys find new Republicans? I mean it's like they're a secret cult.
Posted at 02:11 PM
HAITI: A MODEST PROPOSAL [John Derbyshire]
In following the awful mess in Haiti, I have been baffled by the silence of the "open borders" immigration people here in the US. The solution to Haiti's problems is perfectly simple: our Immigration Service should issue them all with Green Cards. Since Haiti's per capita annual income is only $480, I imagine practically the entire population counts as "willing workers" under Pres. Bush's definition. No doubt there are lots of "willing employers" in the USA -- willing, I mean, to employ Haitians for, oh, three or four times that $480 per annum. Travel shouldn't be a problem -- one reads that the land has been stripped bare of all vegetation, but there must be enough old wood lying around to provide rafts for all. It's only 570 miles to the Florida Keys. Or perhaps those willing employers could provide transport?
And Haiti's population is a mere 8.3m. It would hardly notice in the USA.
So... why am I the only person suggesting this? Where is the Wall Street Journal? Where is La Raza? Where is Vicente Fox? Where is John Podhoretz? Where is our President?
Posted at 02:04 PM
RE: NEWSOM [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, I believe the lovely Mrs. Newsom has avoided comment on her husband's George Wallace defy-the-guvmint tactics. We see her most on ABC's "Good Morning America." Poor Jessica Anderson, who has to watch these vacuous two hours daily, noticed that Mayor Newsom appeared last week and ABC failed to note that their legal expert is his wife and apparently quite the "trusted adviser" to him. She should be asked -- on air -- to analyze it, absolutely. What did she advise over Eggo waffles?
Posted at 01:58 PM
STANDING UP FOR POT [Rick Brookhiser]
Tomorrow at or shortly after ten AM, I will be testifying before the New York City Council in favor of a medical marijuana bill. Like the referendums that have passed in various states, the City Council bill, if it became law, would have to defer to federal law. But these efforts show the degree of serious popular support--i.e., more than just telling a pollster--for change.
Wouldn't it be ironic if NYC, after demonizing one weed, un-demonized another?
Posted at 01:53 PM
OH, DID KERRY SERVE IN VIETNAM? [Michael Graham]
From the "Jaw-Dropping Shamelessness" File comes this:
"AP--Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has sent a letter to President George W. Bush, accusing him of using the painful topic of Vietnam for his 'personal political gain.'"
Can you believe it? A candidate for president using Vietnam for personal political gain? Why, such an idea would never occur to Vietnam veteran and decorated Vietnam war hero John Kerry who, by the way, served in Vietnam. Hey--you think John Kerry ought to try putting a photo of himself from his Vietnam days in one of his TV commercials?
I guess that would never occur to a high-minded fella like Kerry.
Posted at 01:52 PM
6.5 MILLION [KJL]
James McGreevey invests in the Brave New World he's welcomed into New Jersey with plans for a stem-cell research center--in other words, posting a welcome sign at the Garden State's border to welcome in anyone who wants to clone and kill.
Posted at 01:31 PM
HERE'S WHAT ONE HAPPY CUSTOMER HAS TO SAY ABOUT THE NR COLLEGE GUIDE [Jack Fowler]
Recently we received this note from Mr. Thomas Sica, of St. James, NY, who is effusive in his praise for Choosing the Right College, considered America's best guide to top colleges and universities. Here’s what he had to say:
I received my book on Tuesday. After reading more than half I must tell you this was the best $25.00 I've spent. Although I knew our College and University system was in decline, never did I expect what your book told. With children entering College in the next few years this guide will prove invaluable. My only criticism would be that there was a second volume with the next 125 schools reviewed. I intend to tell all my friends with children approaching college age to purchase the guide. Thanks for the great work.Well, thanks to you Mr. Sica for the kind words. Now, may we suggest that you purchase your own copy of Choosing the Right College -- for your children or grandchildren, or as a gift for the local high school (how about your alma mater?) or library -- here.
Posted at 01:04 PM
SPOT: RIP [Jonah Goldberg ]
A good dog and a good life provided by those who loved her. Send your condolences.
Posted at 12:54 PM
IS THE NYT PLAYING GAMES? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Instapundit seems to have caught them spinning against Bush in a pretty dishonest way. Sounds like a job for the Ombudsman or Public Editor or whatever they call that guy.
Posted at 12:38 PM
NADER VS. THE LEFT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Nader labels "contemptuous" efforts by the "liberal intelligensia" to discourage him from seeking the Presidency. "For 25 years they have let their party run away from them," and now they seek to prevent voters from having a real choice. The Democratic Party is now a "corporate paymaster minion."
Posted at 09:39 AM
NADER IS OFFICIAL [Jonathan H. Adler]
He is running as an independent because he is committed to ousting "our Supremely selected President" and challenging the "two-party duopoly."
Posted at 09:32 AM
FINE SECURITY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Be caseful leaving your guns in your carry-on luggage. The TSA is increasing the fines for carrying weapons on planes to a $10,000 maximum. Why? "We have too many examples of people inadvertently bringing a gun in their carry-on."
Posted at 09:02 AM
FRIENDLY UNIONS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Every time I hear about the wonderful things unions do I remember about childhood experience with unions. For months on end, my family had a private security guard posted outside our house because of union threats. I even had to be driven to school by a cop on some occasions. Why? My mother worked as a negotiator for management and they sought to intimidate her. Needless to say, unions don't exactly inspire me with warm and fuzzy feelings.
Posted at 12:17 AM
STARR ON JUDICIAL ACTIVISM [Jonathan H. Adler]
Speaking at the Federalist Society Student Symposium, the Honorable Kenneth Starr had this to say to activist judges and liberal interest groups that seek to distort the Constitution's meaning to serve their own political agendas: "You stop trifling with our Constitution, and we'll stop talking about amending it."
Posted at 12:11 AM