ASPEN BLOGGING [Jonathan H. Adler]
Well, that's all for now. I've got head out skiing . . . um, I mean conducting important environmental research on mountain forest management in the Colorado Rockies. Yeah, that's it.
Posted at 12:57 PM
BUCK V. BALKIN V. GOLDBERG [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah -- since you asked, Stuart Buck is right. Jack Balkin's attack on you and conservative judicial activism is too clever by half.
Posted at 12:53 PM
FUR RECYCLING? [Jonathan H. Adler]
I just saw a promo here in Aspen for a local furrier promoting a "fur recycling" service through which old fur coats can be converted to hats or teddy bears. So are these furs even environmentalists should love?
Posted at 12:52 PM
MARTHA VS. HILLARY [Tim Graham]
Sorry, can't stand the Martha Stewart story. Anything this overcovered is bound to burn the TV junkies out early. I'll leave it to the Wall Street Journal and NRO Financial types to figure whether she had it coming. But media commentators have seemed to have the tongs out for her because the trial seemed to confirm she's been a hag in between the holiday meatloaf and the tasteful wreath-making. (Aren't we all tired of the decorated jail-cell jokes by now?) I can only wish the Whitewater trial of Bill and Hillary's felonious business partners had gotten a half-teaspoon of this coverage in 1996.
Posted at 12:46 PM
RE: BUTTERFLY BROKEN ON WHEEL [John Derbyshire]
Readers are chiding me for my support of Martha: "Rich rhymes-with-rich... arrogant... female Kerry, DYKWIA?.... little people need protection in the market... integrity of the market... yada yada."
Well, fiddlesticks. I'm a conservative, and my first presumption is that my main enemy is State Power. This was an exercise in State Power, DYKWIA writ much larger than any individual in this country can write it.
Stewart's offenses were trivial, not worth prosecuting. Investor confidence? Insider trading? (Which she was not even charged with!) Gimme a break. The markets are a lottery, and the little guy enters at his peril -- always has, always will. "When the little guy gets in, it's time to get out," has been conventional wisdom on Wall Street since (very probably) the founding of the Republic. There is no way to control insider trading -- in fact, Wall Streeters will defy you to even DEFINE insider trading (the U.S. Congress, for one, gave up on trying). And in fact, a little guy who had held on to his Imclone stock would have been smarter than Martha--the FDA drug rejection that caused the stock to dive has since been reversed!
Arrogance? Yeah, this is arrogance, all right -- the arrogance of gummint prosecutors with too much time on their hands -- since they don't have the guts to pursue REAL federal crimes, like the hiring of illegal-immigrant labor -- hunting for a Great White Defendant to boast to their bosses about, and advance their careers in the federal-judicial bureaucracy -- the same bureacracy that is gradually stifling all our liberties, and wringing the vitality out of our economy. See BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES. This is State Power run amok.
I'm a little guy, and I'm in the market. If the feds want to boast that they're doing ME any favors with this grandstanding, here's a message from this little guy to them: NO THANKS!
First they came for the haughty, slightly-dishonest millionairesses....
Posted at 12:45 PM
SADDAM DAUGHTER GETS RED CROSS DELIVERY [KJL]
No word if the letter apologizes for the murder of her husband and brother in law.
Posted at 09:56 AM
WHO KNEW? [KJL]
Gay and lesbian discos in Jeddah.
Posted at 09:53 AM
HAVE YOU HEARD? [KJL]
Martha Stewart was found guilty! The media saturation coverage is remarkable. Tim would comment, but he's too busy flipping.
Posted at 09:51 AM
Friday, March 05, 2004
READ THE FINE PRINT [Rod Dreher]
Folks, regarding my blog earlier about the newspapers seeking conservatives, please understand that these papers are looking for experienced journalists, not merely people who happen to be conservative and believe they write well. Also, the columnist position requires reporting, so having been a reporter is vital. Serious inquiries only, please.
Posted at 05:40 PM
CONSERVATIVE JOURNALISTS -- WANT WORK? [Rod Dreher]
If you're an experienced conservative journalist who can write well and persuasively, and would like to work in newspaper opinion journalism, write to me at email@example.com. I'm aware of two fairly large daily newspapers -- neither of which is the Dallas Morning News, by the way -- who are looking hard for conservatives. One wants a social conservative to write a metro column; the other wants a conservative to join its (liberal) editorial board to write editorials. Both are great opportunities, and in parts of the country most people would really want to live in. If you want me to send your name and contact information to either editor, please write me soon. Send an electronic resume if you like, and I'll forward them on. Please don't send clips, or ask for more information! I'm just the conduit here to two editors who want to expand the ideological diversity on their staffs, and who have asked me to help.
Posted at 04:47 PM
NO "PEACEFUL" GREETING FOR DUBYA [Tim Graham]
One driving force behind the Bush 9-11 ad kerfuffle is the group September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows (peacefultomorrows.org). To get a clue of how these unfortunate Americans are also hard-core lefties, see their speaking schedule here.
One founder is pounding at Bush on the front page of the Washington Post this morning, but she's not identified with the group. "The idea that President Bush would rally support around his campaign by using his loved one in a way that is so shameful is hard for me to believe," says Rita Lasar. You'll find her routinely on the group's speaking calendar. The Peaceful Tomorrows clan is noted and Colleen Kelly of the group is quoted on A4, but it is described softly as a "nonpartisan group."
Then note that this group also plans to get in the GOP's faces during the convention this fall. From the August 10, 2003 NY Times: "The unifying theme about the Republican convention next year is keep your hands off ground zero," said Rita Lasar, a founder of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of about 80 relatives of attack victims. "Do not make a political football out of this. This is a place where very close, dear relatives died. It's not the backdrop for a political campaign."
Posted at 04:43 PM
IT PUTS THINGS IN MY BRAIN!!!! [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'm sure of it! Turn the music up.
Posted at 04:36 PM
BUTTERFLY BROKEN ON WHEEL [John Derbyshire]
Presumably, now that the vast resources of the Federal government need no longer be deployed in marshalling armies of prosecutors to prevent successful capitalists from telling tiny fibs to government snoops, they can do something about the gross violations of federal law being committed, to the manifest detriment of the nation, by several hundred thousand illegal immigrants annually, and by the employers who entice them into law-breaking.
Posted at 04:15 PM
HOW ARE THINGS IN GLOCKAMORRA? [John Derbyshire]
Ireland is going through a vast inflation in the price of land. This has created a very acute moral dilemma for an Irish friend of mine: "My father owns 55 acres. This land has been in the Xxxxx family since approx 1780. They held it through the Penal times, through the famine, through the economic war of the thirties, and through a lot of other misadventures. If you have ever seen 'The Field' with Richard Harris, you will have some idea of the Irish peasant's attitude towards the land. When my Papa inherited it, it was worth approx ?100 per acre. However, it is five miles outside Killarney, the tourist trap of all Ireland. One of my father's neighbours recieved ?20,000 per acre for his holding recently. My father is 75, and a drinker and smoker..."
Posted at 03:53 PM
WHAT WERE THE DEMS LOOKING AT? [KJL]
Sens. Kyl and Santorum seek and investigation on what the Dems knew about Iraq:
"We believe it is fair to ask whether those Democrat senators now criticizing the way the public case for war was made, have themselves met the standard to which they seek to hold administration officials on the 'use' of intelligence," wrote Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. The two senators, both members of the Republican leadership team, sent the letter to Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican and chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Posted at 03:52 PM
MARTHA STEWART'S STATEMENT [KJL]
Posted at 03:30 PM
JOHN PODHORETZ ON BOOK TV TOO! [KJL]
9 pm eastern tomorrow and 9 am eastern on Sunday. I'm told it is complete with a heckler who tried to make the reading impossible, but only succeeded in inflaming the crowd--on the Upper West Side of Manhattan!
Posted at 03:29 PM
ABORTION HYSTERICS [John Derbyshire]
Rod: I know exactly what you mean. Probably every conservative does. Around the time of the 2000 election, I was chatting with a colleague, a thirty-something lady of high intelligence and excellent education, holding down a very good job at a Wall Street firm. She told me she could never, never vote for a Republican. Why not? I asked. "Because they want to force me to have babies." That's what she said. No kidding.
Posted at 03:18 PM
OFF WITH THE SOAPS [KJL]
Nearly every channel is covering the Martha Stewart verdict--CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX have all interrupted their daytime programming. Who else gets this kind of play?
Posted at 03:13 PM
"JESUS" LOVES THE VIKINGS [KJL]
Posted at 03:07 PM
RE: SIMPSON STAMPEDE [KJL]
Ok, it's far from the oddest story of the week. There's this, and I'm sure a lot more.
Posted at 03:05 PM
MARTHA: GUILTY ON ALL 4 COUNTS [KJL]
Posted at 03:02 PM
RE: SIMPSON STAMPEDE [KJL]
A reader e-mails: "Just imagine the crowds if it had been Homer instead of Jessica! D'oh!"
Posted at 03:00 PM
A SOVIET... LUMINARY? [John Derbyshire]
A friend reminds me of everyone's favorite Soviet-era politician, Venyamin Emmanuilovich Dymshits, who served as Chairman of the State Planning Committee for the regrettably short period from July 17 to November 24, 1962.
Posted at 02:54 PM
BUSH THE BULLY CLICHES [Tim Graham]
Have you noticed the beginning of Bush advertising season is being advertised like the thugs just hit the street? AP likes to use the word "bare-knuckled" to describe the GOP style of ad combat. NBC yesterday couldn't stop saying "the gloves are off...Kerry's campaign now faces a new reality. The gloves are coming off."
Please note my earlier post, where John Kerry suggested life under Bush means shutting down fire stations in America. The media tone police are totally deaf in one ear.
Posted at 02:46 PM
BLAIR ON THE WAR [KJL]
Addresses 45-minute claim and more.
Posted at 02:44 PM
RE: REDUCED TO TEARS [Rod Dreher]
That incident Andrew Sullivan mentions reminds me of one of the worst meals of my life. About 10 years ago, I was eating at a restaurant in Adams Morgan with four female friends, all Democrats. We'd been hanging out having a great time all morning. Then one of them asked me if I was Catholic. Yes, I said. "Are you pro-life?" she asked. Yes, I said, but let's not talk about that now. That was the last word I got in. Three of the women began to harangue me, and it quickly got so loud people started to stare. One of the young women, a mousy sort who had been quiet, started to quiver and cry. "What's wrong?" one of the women asked her, and she looked at me and said, in complete seriousness, "I'm afraid of him." Mind you, I'd hardly got a word in at all! I stomped out of the restaurant, and that was the end of those friendships, save one, from a housemate I really liked, and who apologized for things getting out of hand -- but in so doing, blamed me for provoking them to anger by my obnoxious beliefs.
Posted at 02:42 PM
suspends citizen gun rights.
Posted at 02:35 PM
MARTHA VERDICT IS IN [KJL]
Posted at 02:31 PM
FIRST MCCAIN-FEINGOLD, NOW THIS... [Andrew Stuttaford]
Tacky and tasteless Janet Jackson’s, ahem, display may have been, but the really offensive grab has been the way that certain, no, many, politicians have used a few seconds of what appeared to be a breast enclosed in Borg jewelry (credit for that fashion note to, I think, Instapundit) to remind Americans that when it comes to what may be shown on TV, Washington knows best. A House panel has now voted 49-1 to raise the maximum fine for broadcasting ‘indecent’ material from $27,500 to $500,000. Fair enough, some may think (I don’t), if the fine is to act as a realistic deterrent for today’s media conglomerates, but it’s disturbing to note that this maximum fine can also be imposed on individual performers. $500,000 to be levied on an individual? First Amendment, anyone?
Posted at 02:29 PM
SEX VERSUS VIOLENCE [Jonah Goldberg]
That Easterbrook piece Ramesh links to is very disappointing. I don't mind it when liberals complain about violence or excessive violence. But it would be nice if Easterbrook dedicated a little thought to the very real differences between sex and violence and the arguments about both. One major difference between movie violence and movie sex is that sex is usually employed to demean traditional notions of morality while movie violence is more often used to re-enforce it (at least that's what I tried to argue here). Obviously that's not always and everywhere true. But I am at a loss as to why even the smartest liberals tend to assert an apples-and-apples equivalence between sex and violence. Or, just as often, they assert that violence is always worse.
Posted at 02:27 PM
SUNDAY & VICTOR DAVIS HANSON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
He has a three-hour call-in session on CSPAN. Must watch, of course. (And must read him today on NRO).
Posted at 02:11 PM
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT [KJL]
Steven Vincent was on the scene at the Karbala attack this week. This one, and his piece yesterday, give a real look at the complications on the ground. A sample: "By now, Samir had convinced me to get in the car. But the sight of two men preparing to drive from the city center aroused suspicion. A crowd descended, preventing our departure. A policeman ran up, demanding to know my identity, and when I told him I was an American journalist, the Iraqis stiffened as if electrified. One man began screaming at me, another seized my notebook and tape recorder. Meanwhile, I overheard the policeman shouting "Amrikiyya, Amrikiyya!" to Samir, who responded, "Wahabbi, Wahabbi!" My heart stopped. The policeman — and, I could see, the crowd as well — clearly believed that America had planted the bombs and their anger toward me was mounting. But Samir — a man I barely knew — was defending me to the officer and the surrounding Iraqis, arguing that al Qaeda, and not the U.S., had attacked the pilgrims. Let us go, he cried in Arabic. With an angry gesture, the officer relented, pressing the crowd back as Samir bolted down the road, blasting his horn, and he weaved in and out of ambulances and police vehicles rushing into the city."
Posted at 02:04 PM
GIBSON VS. SCORCESE [Tim Graham]
Want to shake your head at the wildly differing film critic reactions to "The Passion" vs. "The Last Temptation"? There's the Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, and the New York Daily News dissected by Brent Bozell today.
Posted at 01:49 PM
REDUCED TO TEARS? [Andrew Stuttaford]
There was a revealing little anecdote on Andrew Sullivan’s blog today. Sullivan reveals that a young Muslim student was ‘reduced to tears’ when he used the term ‘Islamo-Fascism’. Apparently, she felt ‘attacked’ as a Muslim. Well, as Sullivan says, this is to miss the point. His use of the term is to distinguish more moderate Muslims from their extremist brethren. To be fair, we don’t know, of course, the full details of the discussion, but it's also revealing that this student's reaction to a perceived attack on her religion appears to have been to whine and to weep. It’s a reflection of the exquisite sensitivity of the age (and its intellectual inadequacy) that robust debate on ‘religious’ matters seems increasingly under threat. Anyone in this country is, as he or she should be, free to practice his or her religion, whatever it may be, but that does not mean that that the basic tenets of that belief (or unbelief, for that matter) should be immune from criticism, free and open discussion and even ridicule. Don’t like what people are saying about your creed? Well, stop playing the victim, and argue back.
Posted at 01:42 PM
SIMPSON STAMPEDE [KJL]
This has got to be the oddest story of the week.
Posted at 01:08 PM
LATIN TEMPEST [KJL]
Caribpundit is worth checking for the latest on Venezuela and Haiti. (See Steve Johnson on NRO today, too re V.)
Posted at 01:04 PM
IDIOTIC CHEAP SHOT ALERT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Gregg Easterbrook: " Perhaps Ashcroft and others in his camp have no problem with Sony or Time-Warner exalting slaughter, but a big problem with movies that show sex, because the porn world is one of the few in which women command the big salaries and make the decisions, while the men are afterthoughts. . . . The John Ashcrofts of the world may find that more objectionable than depictions of women being slashed to death."
Posted at 12:58 PM
ASHCROFT SENSITIVITY [Tim Graham]
Feel the love at democraticunderground.com: "sorry, but I can find no sympathy for the man. okay, some. I hope he doesn't die. I hope he needs to resign."
Posted at 12:49 PM
GOVERNMENT SPENDING IS THE REAL TAX [Jonah Goldberg]
I like that. I wanted to include this quote from Milton Friedman in Fortune: "What really matters is spending. Whether you finance the increased spending by borrowing or by raising taxes, you're leaving less resources for the private sector."
Posted at 12:43 PM
ECONOMISTS GET MY BACK [Jonah Goldberg]
Several economists have written me nice notes. Here's one from our friend Steve Horwitz of St. Lawrence University:
Not sure who your email correspondent was, but I just read your piece and don't see any obvious glaring errors. I could nitpick a few things, but that would only add to the boredom of my already horrifically boring life as an economist. Plus it would confirm the belief of millions that economists are pedantic, anal-compulsive, boring, nerdy, and overly flatulent, not to mention arrogant. As a fellow economist, I can provide only one theoretical and professional response to your critic:
And another from a longtime reader:
Hey Jonah I'm an economist too and I thought today's column was pretty good. You got a lot of the basic facts (and analysis) right, without mentioning the dreaded term "Ricardian equivalence." If you really want to generate some economic wonk e-mail, launch that phrase into cyberspace. Just one suggestion - if you ever want to boil the whole deficits/size of government tangle down to one pithy phrase, just remember "the real tax is government spending." Keep hope alive
Posted at 12:42 PM
KRAUTHAMMER ON THE PASSION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I have read many hysterical, and many sober, criticisms of the movie. Many of the criticisms have suggested that the movie is, in some way or other, anti-Semitic. Krauthammer comes up with two suggestions that are new to me. The first is that because half of Satan's four appearances in the movie have him inciting the Jewish crowd, the movie is saying that these are Satan's people. This is, depending on your view, either evidence that Krauthammer has found a very devious anti-Semitic ploy of Gibson's that almost nobody else was able to see, or evidence that Krauthammer is looking extremely hard to find anti-Semitism in the movie.
The second is that the scourging scene is anti-Semitic too. Now many people have argued that the scene is far too long, and I think there's a reasonable case to be made for that view. While many of the commentators who believe this also believe the movie to be anti-Semitic, they have not generally said that the scene itself was anti-Semitic, for the simple reason that the Romans and not the Jews were doing the scourging. Krauthammer thinks it anti-Semitic because it has "the high priest Caiaphas stand there with his cruel, impassive fellow priests witnessing the scourging." Another point for originality, to be evaluated in either of the above ways.
Krauthammer refers several times to Vatican II. Now there is no reason for a non-Catholic to be familiar with what Vatican II did and did not do; there is no shame in Krauthammer's not knowing much about it. But perhaps if you don't know much about it you should refrain from writing columns that refer so frequently to the subject.
Posted at 12:30 PM
TURNING TIDE [John J. Miller]
The world is ignoring Aristide's claim that the United States and France conspired to overthrow him.
Posted at 12:13 PM
JOBS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Noam Scheiber defends Bush against Kerry on the issue. This being TNR, there is a little silliness toward the end about "[t]he large deficits created by such K-Street goodies as a cut in the tax on dividend income and the lowering of top marginal income tax rates," but otherwise quite sensible.
Posted at 11:45 AM
JOHN ASHCROFT IS HOSPITALIZED [KJL]
Posted at 11:08 AM
RE: DUNPATTY [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Wonder if Mr. Schaitberger is related in any way to the guy from whose textbook I once taught statistics, a Mr. Lipschitz.
Posted at 11:06 AM
WASHINGTON STATE STATS [John Derbyshire]
The numbers in yesterday's column somehow got mangled between leaving my computer & arriving on your screen. African Americans are 1.60 percent in Washington State.
Posted at 11:05 AM
ECONOMISTS VS. GOLDBERG [Ramesh Ponnuru]
People get so touchy when you question the self-image of the guild.
Posted at 11:03 AM
DUNGPATTY! [Jonah Goldberg]
Tim - that guy's name is "Schaitberger"! High school must have been a real treat with that name.
Posted at 10:51 AM
ARISTIDE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 10:47 AM
ECONOMISTS AGAINST GIBBERISH [Jonah Goldberg]
This guy doesn't agree with me entirely either:
In today's [syndicated] column on deficits, you remark:
Posted at 10:44 AM
JUDICIAL ACTIVISM & ME [Jonah Goldberg ]
Blogger Jack Balkin criticizes me. Stuart Buck defends me. This sounds like more of an argument for Ponnuru or Adler, but I'll read through all of this in a bit.
Posted at 10:41 AM
FIREFIGHTERS FOR KERRY [Tim Graham]
Any reporter (starting with AP yesterday) who uses Harold Schaitberger, the head of the International Association of Fire Fighters, as a nonpartisan expert on the Bush 9-11 ads is a dupe or a partisan. Schaitberger endorsed Kerry on September 24, 2003 and has become almost an appendage of Kerry's on the campaign trail. In nearly every primary victory party, beefy, mustachioed Harold is within three feet of Kerry on the podium. The Toronto Star gets the context right:
Firefighters were among the earliest and most ubiquitous backers of Democrat nominee John Kerry. At cities across the United States, the yellow-shirted firefighters were at every rally, helping organize and raise money for the Massachusetts senator.
Posted at 10:40 AM
EITHER/OR [Rod Dreher]
In today's Dallas Morning News, I get in touch with my inner Stanley Kurtz and point out to readers the starkness of the choice judicial activism on gay marriage leaves us with.
Posted at 10:39 AM
NUNS DO GOOD [Rod Dreher]
A piece by me in today's Wall Street Journal draws attention to the good work of the two outspoken cloistered nuns who live alone together at Our Lady of Little Citeaux Monastery, in the Tennessee mountains.
Posted at 10:37 AM
Y3K PROBLEMS [Jonah Goldberg]
In my column today I write "Too bad we won't have another Y2K issue to occupy them until Y3K." Alas, this has sparked an unexpected deluge from computer geeks. Here are two representative examples. Note: This is not an issue I care very much about.
Posted at 10:35 AM
breaks news in the Rush case.
Posted at 10:21 AM
WOOPS [K-Lo already posted that before. Sorry....]
K-Lo already posted that before. Sorry.
Posted at 10:14 AM
NORKS LOVE KERRY [Jonah Goldberg ]
You gotta love this: (Link via Drudge):
North Korea's state-controlled media are well known for reverential reporting about Kim Jong-il, the country's dictatorial leader. Advertisement
Posted at 10:10 AM
THIS JUST IN FROM FLORENCE KING [Jack Fowler]
I told our dear former columnist that I wish she were still in NR, standing athwart the fruity plains yelling stop. Imagine a King column on, say, gay marriage. Alas, one can only dream, because Florence has indeed retired the pen -- but she did send these nuggets of wisdom on current events and said I could share them with NRO fans. Voila!
“I have a classically conservative take on gay marriage: I see no reason to mainstream a good old-fashioned perversion."By the way, if you miss our Misanthrope (who doesn’t!?), visit "Fridays with Florence" for a curmudgeonly blast from the past.
Posted at 09:54 AM
IRAQI CONSTITUTION-SIGNING DELAYED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted at 09:40 AM
PEGLER [Rick Brookhiser]
Pegler's other great twilight admirer, besides WFB, was Murray Kempton, than whose heart no one's bled more profusely. But Kempton also, inconsistently, admired people with generous, outsize temperaments, especially if they were talented and self-destructive. Pegler sounds like a grand slam for him. The longest conversation I had with Murray Kempton was on the eve of the 1984 Iowa caucuses, when I gave him a lift into Des Moines from the airport. He talked discursively about pols he had covered, past and present. He liked Krushchev, and detested John Anderson--pure Kempton.
Posted at 09:08 AM
WHERE'S KERRY? [Michael Graham]
There are plenty of stories about President Bush's ad campaign, but I can't find one in which John Kerry is denouncing the use of 9/11 images. Am I missing something?
I can see why silence might be a wise strategy for a candidate who's spent millions flashing pictures of himself from a jungle battlefield that claimed 57,000 American lives. But since when has Kerry developed a sense of shame. Remember two weeks ago when he expressed outraged that a politician might bring up Vietnam for "personal, political gain?"
I think the attacks on Bush's ads are going to backfire. While dopey pundits think Bush is off-message when he's defending the ad, I see an entire conversation about how the 2004 election should be focused on 9/11 and the War On Terror.
That's not a bad thing.
Posted at 08:34 AM
CAN'T USE 9/11 PHOTOS? [Tim Graham]
I have to disagree with Bob Moran. This phony ad controversy is more ridiculous than the New York Times-manufactured “RATS” ad controversy of 2000. Granted, the 9-11 images last longer than 1-30th of a second and are intended to register on the voter’s brain. But who has exploited and profited more from 9-11? The news media -- the special editions of Time magazine, the hours of specials, reproducing in loving color every crying widow and orphan? Or President Bush, whose entire presidency has now been dedicated to preventing another heinous terror attack on the homeland?
It has been his headache, the bad feeling in the pit of his stomach, maybe a nightmare in the middle of the night, for more than two years. He’s done a good enough job that the media’s moved on to profit from the latest ratings-grabbing tripe – missing teens, Martha, Kobe, conjoined twin operations, and the gubernatorial campaign of Gary Coleman. And they turn around and throw this spitball at him? It's going to be a long, very biased campaign.
Posted at 07:13 AM
PENGUIN GORE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Not pretty, but fun.
Posted at 12:48 AM
Thursday, March 04, 2004
MCWHORTER VS BUCKLEY [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm also very ignorant about the details off Pegler's career. But I would note two things. One, Pegler's view of the New Deal, as intimated by McWhorter is not that dissimilar to the sainted Walter Lippmann's (and Herbert Hoover's) view during the mid-30s. Second, Ms. McWhorter has written and said some fairly ludicrous things about "masculine insecurity" and homophobia driving anti-Communism. So while I'm sure she has her quotes right, I'd need to read a lot more before I trusted her interpretation.
Posted at 08:38 PM
MCWHORTER VS. BUCKLEY RE PEGLER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I don't know one percent of what Diane McWhorter or (my boss) William F. Buckley Jr. know about Westbrook Pegler, so I'm not going to get in the middle of this dispute. McWhorter's use of the word "demagogues" in the following passage is, however, a bit rich given what comes before and after it: "At his peak in the 1930s and 1940s, Pegler was a leading popularizer of one of the most concerted antidemocratic crusades in this country's history: the vicious backlash against the New Deal and the labor movement to which it gave legal protection. This anti-Roosevelt front included the country's major industrialists, anti-Semitic, red-baiting pamphleteers, Congressman Martin Dies' Committee on Un-American Activities, and an assortment of Depression-era demagogues (and men on horseback who conspired with Hitler's agents in this country).
"Although Pegler did not turn against Roosevelt until the president's second term, he quickly became a shrill cheerleader for the right's campaign to paint the New Deal's democratic advances as an internationalist Communist plot."
On second thought, the use of the word "democratic" may be even better. Diane McWhorter: the Sid Blumenthal of the New Deal.
Posted at 07:37 PM
RE: NAFTA [John Derbyshire]
Another view (which asserts that, no, NAFTA hasn't done Mexico a dang bit of good).
Posted at 05:55 PM
DEAR LEADER 4 KERRY [KJL]
Posted at 05:53 PM
RE: HAS NAFTA DONE ANY GOOD? [John Derbyshire]
Many thanks to a pal at the Congressional Research Service, who dug up a lengthy report on "NAFTA at ten."
In summary: "For Mexico, the Carnegie Endowment and the World Bank note that real wages are lower than when NAFTA began, but conclude that it was not the cause. Decomposing the trend shows that Mexico experienced a 25% fall in real wages after the 1994 peso crisis. Real wages began a steady recovery in 1997 and are approaching 1994 levels. Interestingly, the World Bank study showed that those Mexican states tied to FDI [= Foreign Direct Investment], exports, and maquilas had higher and faster-growing wages than other states."
Posted at 05:52 PM
KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT AND YOUR THOUGHTS TO YOURSELF [John Derbyshire]
A reader, after thanking me for today's column, then telling me two hair-raising stories about his own kids being punished at school for minuscule offenses against Political Correctness:
"Are we teaching our children to love your neighbor? freedom of speech? creative thought? No, we just teach them to keep their mouth shut and their thoughts to themselves (or to someone you can trust). I wonder what the end results will be."
Exactly. Political Correctness is nothing but totalitarianism. We slip a little further into tyranny every time we yield to it.
Posted at 05:25 PM
PERSPECTIVE [Rod Dreher]
The Dallas Morning News editorial board just met with Tom Schieffer, the US Ambassador to Australia. We asked him about what the war on terror looks like from Australia, and specifically about what kinds of hits Australian PM John Howard has taken for his backing of President Bush. Amb. Schieffer told a long, and moving story about how he was with the Aussie PM in Washington on 9/11. Howard was supposed to address a joint session of Congress on that day, but obviously it had to be cancelled. The ambassador described in detail what the day was like for him and the PM in Washington that day, and concluded by saying that being in the US capital on 9/11 gave the PM a deep understanding for what America and its leadership had suffered -- and that that made Howard much more likely to stand by Bush in later days. Turns out that VP Cheney had to loan Air Force Two to the Australian leader so he could get back home and run his country; the PM had come on a commercial flight, and of course there were no commercial flights in the air for a while after 9/11.
Posted at 05:02 PM
DISSING THE BASE? [Rod Dreher]
My fellow conservative Dallasite Tara B. Ross has a piece out today warning that President Bush has no idea how much he's angered his base with all his crazy spending. But James Lileks, waxing Podhoretzian, tells right-wingers considering not voting for Bush to think about the importance of the war and get over themselves already.
Posted at 05:00 PM
BTW... [Jonah Goldberg]
I did notice, but forgot to mention, that they got Deal Hudson's name wrong in that AFP piece as well.
Posted at 04:45 PM
MOVIE POSTER QUIZ [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 04:21 PM
GOTTA LOVE THE FRENCH [Jonah Goldberg ]
A reader just sent me an Agence France Press stroy from last year about the then-premature controversy about The Passion.
"The film is going to be a classic," said Dean Hudson, editor of the Catholic magazine Crisis.
Now, never mind calling me "Jonathan" -- than happens all the time. And forget about dropping the "d" from my name. What bothers me is that I never spoke to anyone from AFP about the movie so I can only assume they're quoting my syndicated column from last August. Am I wrong to complain that the quote was not only edited but also changes the tone if not the context of what I wrote at least a little bit? Here's the passage from which they get the quote:
This has got to be one of the strangest controversies in a long time. A movie that won't be released for months is being denounced by people who haven't seen it. Why? Because they claim the film assigns blame for a crime to a handful of people who have been dead for 2,000 years.
Posted at 04:20 PM
REQUESTS FOR MATHEMATICAL ASSISTANCE [John Derbyshire]
I am sorry, but the only kind of math that much interests me is pure math. My interest drops off like a continental shelf as the math approaches practical utility. I have to pay people to do my taxes.
Ask me something about the zeta function.
Posted at 03:56 PM
THE GREATEST LIVING WRITER OF CONSERVATIVE SOCIAL COMMENTARY [John Derbyshire]
"Gone are the days, if they ever existed, when the person hanged for a crime he did not commit could console himself (at least in the opinion of the Archdeacon William Paley, DD, he of Natural Theology  and the comparison of the universe with a watch) that he died for his country. This is a form of patriotism that has not really caught on."
----Theodore Dalrymple, writing about capital punishment in the March 2004 issue of The New Criterion
Posted at 03:56 PM
GEORGE MITCHELL, TV NEWS TITAN [Tim Graham]
Left-wingers FOR YEARS have tried to insist that the executive at the top of the Big Media Company is the most important person in the news flow. See the Eric Alterman "What Liberal Media?" chapter title "You're Only As Liberal As the Man Who Owns You." People who study the news (and work inside news rooms) know that's rarely the case. But by this Alterman conspiracy theory, now that former Sen. George Mitchell is the top dog at Disney, ABC News is now run by the man who ruined the first President Bush with his back-stabbing liberal partisanship! How is it that the lefties are now going to say the reporters are liberal, but their bosses balance them out?
Posted at 03:54 PM
CLASSICAL LIBERALS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
The thing is, it’s not just rock music that’s been pre-empted by the left. There’s an automatic assumption in classical music circles that everyone’s a liberal. What I find particularly frustrating about that is that much of the funding for local symphonies, opera companies, etc. comes from very successful conservatives (at least, in my part of the world, where conservatives rule). I was performing as a chorus member with the local symphony when I saw a bumper sticker on a string bass case that said “Vote Republican—it beats thinking.” The irony there is that this particular organization had gone belly up last year, and was reforming with the very generous support of several Republican Party stalwarts.
Posted at 03:35 PM
MEMOGATE: BREAKING [KJL]
Byron's got two new memos. Read them here.
Posted at 02:59 PM
AH, YOUTH [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Thanks for the bit about the (no-relation) Goldberg book and smashing the idea that popular music and lefty social rebellion go hand-in-hand. It’s maddening for me, a young conservative and rabid music fan, to be repeatedly told that liking the newest underground band automatically means you’re a left-wing fanatic. I can’t read Rolling Stone anymore without my blood pressure going through the roof—I used to be able to ignore the asinine political commentary in search for actual music reviews (which are increasingly crap these days anyway), but putting Howard Dean on the cover was truly gag-worthy. The day they elevated Dean to rock god status was pretty much the end for me. It’s really pathetic that a magazine that used to have some independent musical clout is now just another drooling lackey for the political left. And they think the *right* is lame...
Posted at 02:59 PM
ANY TAKERS? [KJL]
I have a better problem for Mr. D's erudition (and his real-life knowledge would help, too). Please make him available to develop a new Federal Tax Function (FTF), one which would keep track of the way each citizen's representative and senators vote on spending bills. In general, if the politician votes for bill that doubles spending, his Spending Quotient (SQ: the output of Derb's FTF) is 2.000. If he votes to cut spending in half, his SQ=0.500. The Derb FTF would have to formulate a way to arrive at a Total SQ for the year for each of the three members of Congress.
Posted at 02:50 PM
MORE BLACKMUN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Unlearned Hand notes some other tasty tidbits from the Blackmun papers here. Some of the documents are also now posted online by the Library of Congress here.
Posted at 02:32 PM
PASSION IN THE CLASSROOM [Michael Graham]
The hot story in DC today is a sixth-grade teacher who showed scenes from Gibson's "The Passion" to his students. In a freak moment of lucidity and reason from the DC public schools, an official said "I can think of no occasions that a 12-year-old should be in a school-sponsored activity viewing an R-rated film."
Many DC parents are outraged, believing their 12-year-olds should never have been exposed to Gibson's vision of "The Christ" because it took valuable classroom time away from reading Judy Blume's writings on masturbation and analysis of the poetic value of Jay-Z's "I Got 99 Problems But A Bitch Ain't One."
Posted at 02:28 PM
SOUNDS LIKE A JOB FOR A DERB-LIKE POLITICAL GEEEK [KJL]
Has anyone at NRO -- or anywhere else to your knowledge -- attempted to put the Democratic primary votes into a mathematical/demographic context? That is, to calculate and compare the Democrat turnout in each primary and caucus state to 1.) the number of registered Democrats in each state and 2.) its total population. I can't recall the number, but I remember being astonished at how few votes it took for Dennis Kucinich to register 37% of the vote in Hawaii.
Posted at 02:12 PM
HAS NAFTA DONE ANY GOOD? [John Derbyshire]
A blog or two ago I quoted the huge gap in average annual income beteen Mexico and the U.S., using numbers I got from the BBC News country summaries http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/default.stm I find myself wondering about the history of that gap. Obviously it has always been large. Is it getting larger? Smaller? Or what? Did NAFTA make any difference to it?
I dimly recall reading somewhere that NAFTA did indeed close the gap for a while, but that the gap has since widened again to some kind of historical norm. The memory is vague, though.
Can anyone with better command of international-economic databases than I have clear this up for me?
Posted at 02:06 PM
DOES THIS STILL APPLY IN THE AGE OF THE JDAM? [John Derbyshire]
From a "***.army.mil" e-mail address: "Derb---Calling Down Fire On Your Own Position is actually a recognized military tactic. It is, obviously, a tactic only used in extremis, when the enemy is overrunning your position. The utility of the tactic comes from the fact that, as the defender, you are well dug in whereas the enemy is out in the open. Unless a round happens to land right in your own foxhole, you stand a fair chance of survival. If one does land in your own foxhole, well that's why dogtags are made of metal..."
Posted at 02:05 PM
READ IT AND WEEP [John Derbyshire]
The Kim Jong Il regime is awful, unspeakable, vile beyond imagining. Read this (Thanks to Steve Sailer for the link.)
Posted at 02:02 PM
THE BLACKMUN PAPERS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Justice Harry Blackmun's papers have been released and they are quite revealing. Among other things, they note that Justice Kennedy originally voted to overturn Roe in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, but then had a change of heart. The New York Times, which got advance access to the papers before the release, reports on their contents here. SCOTUSBlog has more here (and will likely update with more on the subject).
Posted at 02:02 PM
WILL THE CBC ATTACK FRANCE NEXT? [KJL]
PARIS, March 4 (AFP) - Ousted Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide accused France of colluding with the United States in ousting him, in a phone conversation with a French writer, a transcript of which was obtained by AFP.
Posted at 01:50 PM
THE TRADITIONAL VALUES COALITION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
is upset that The West Wing did a show suggesting that they were Fred Phelps types on homosexuality, when they have in fact denounced Phelps. It seems like a fair complaint. The show should have stuck to nonfiction, and portrayed the TVC as unprincipled corporate whores.
Posted at 01:27 PM
RE THE BUSH ADS [KJL]
I agree with what has been said here on the ads. My only problem with them is I am reminded of the Golden Girls while I have the news channels on.
Posted at 01:24 PM
KATIE & 9/11 [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Apparently Katie Couric was attacking Karen Hughes about the 9/11 ad this morning. I really wish Hughes would have asked Couric, if it was appropriate for NBC to use 9/11 images in their promos.
Posted at 01:21 PM
AND, BY THE WAY [KJL ]
Always feel free to
1) Let us know what you think
2) Make suggestions
3) Send us other stuff you’re reading and thinking. As you know, we don’t have a comments section on The Corner, but we do try to make use of your comments (by posting, or otherwise incorporating—they are read, and always sorry when they are not all individually responded too, I’m particularly bad at keeping up with responses)—don’t forget to let us know if you want your name used or not.
And: THANK YOU for reading.
Posted at 01:14 PM
A FEW THINGS [KJL ]
So much to say, so little TIME. You know how it goes. If you want a speed guide to NRO today, take a quick tour of the homepage: Nina Shea on the problems of the draft constitution—a real bad compromise. Steven Vincent from the Sunni Triangle, getting real real with Iraqis—important read. Also in Iraq, Andrew Apostolou, on the bombings earlier this week and the terrorist agenda. There’s also an important read from Ira Winkler on Memogate, which he calls “gateless”—the scandal of the Democrats lack of computer security, of the kind Congress wouldn’t let other Americans get away with. There’s Bob Moran responding the controversy of the campaign day: using 9/11 in W. ads and also, in another piece, on the real employment deal and debunking bogus comparisons between W. and Bush 41. There’s more: NRODT’s editorial on the FMA, with strong, practical advice to the president, and a nod to Orrin Hatch. AND THERE’S MORE. Michael Novak dissects the Reagan Catholics. George Weigel provides a primer on the cleric-abuse report from the Catholic bishops’ review board. Stanley Kurtz on the Elliot Spitzer and gay marriage. And, well, there’s a lot more, Kudlow, Frum, Derb, MORE, MORE, MORE…go check it out.
Posted at 01:12 PM
THE BUSH ADS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm sorry, but while I have a great deal of sympathy for the families of 9/11 victims, I think these complaints are nonsense squared. A lot more people died during Vietnam than on 9/11 and John Kerry has been running ads with footage from there for months. These families may have a unique relationship to 9/11 but they do not have ownership of that day, politically, culturally or otherwise and it would be absurd if this administration caved on this point, even though I'm sure the media will be delighted to exploit the personal tragedies of these families.
Posted at 01:01 PM
YOUTH NONSENSE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Reason's David Weigel has a good
As "save the Democrats" messages go, Goldberg’s thesis is more fun than a prescription drug plan. And it definitely comes from the gut. But in the end, Dispatches From the Culture Wars fundamentally misunderstands politics, pop culture, and the connections between them. By equating aesthetics with ideology, Goldberg makes a common but serious mistake: He thinks you can tell a person’s politics from the music she listens to.
My favorite bit -- which I first heard Goldberg discuss in a radio interview -- is the Danny Goldberg's shock that in 2000 Chuck Schumer has never heard of Eminem. "Eminem. Goldberg can't believe that "one of New York’s most progressive congressmen" didn't know about the white hip-hopster.
Now, it may be shocking that someone hadn't heard of Eminem, but what on earth does it matter that Schumer's a "progressive"? Moreover maybe Goldberg doesn't understand that just because young people, particularly young black people, like something doesn't make it "progressive." While I'm sure there's all sorts of uplifting liberal claptrap in rap music, there's also piles and piles of nastiness in it.
Babyboomer liberals seem incapable of grasping that just because music, drugs, whatever were major themes of their own comfy rebellious phases that these props are not universal constants for "progressive" movements, or movements at all. Get over yourselves already.
Posted at 12:44 PM
REAL WORLD LARSON [Jonah Goldberg ]
Photoshopped Far Side cartoons. Pretty funny. Beware the audio pop-ads which are annoying.
Posted at 12:21 PM
RE: DO LAW FIRMS RECRUIT FROM THE MILITARY? [John Derbyshire]
Wow. I have unleashed a flood of e-mails from lawyers -- including, to judge by the sign-off addresses, some whose shoes are white as the driven snow.
As a potential user of legal services (though not likely the white-shoe variety) I suppose I should be shocked that the concept of "billable hours" apparently includes reading and responding to internet bloggings. In fact, I don't mind a bit. This is probably related to the fact that blogging supplies a fair portion of my income....
Posted at 12:14 PM
YES, I HAD TO LOOK UP 'CACHINNATION' TOO [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 12:12 PM
RE: DO LAW FIRMS RECRUIT FROM THE MILITARY? [John Derbyshire]
A counter-example (but I note this came from the South):
"Derb---My law firm may be the exception, but we are heavily staffed with former military personnel. Our managing partner went to West Point, my boss went to the Citadel, we have one guy who is accommodated in his billable hours expectation because he is in the Army National Guard.
"We like military and JAG officers for the simple fact that they have real life experience. It may take them a while to learn our system, but they know how to work hard, play fair, and fight for a client."
Posted at 11:57 AM
KERRY V KERRY [Jonah Goldberg ]
"If you don't like the Democratic nominee's views, just wait a week," writes Michael Grunwald.
Posted at 11:49 AM
DO LAW FIRMS RECRUIT FROM THE MILITARY? [John Derbyshire]
Interesting e-mail from an insider. I have bowdlerized it to protect the innocent.
"Mr. Derbyshire---You correctly observe that the 'pampered darlings of our educational meritocracy' who work at white-shoe law firms have not on the whole performed military service. I was honorably discharged from the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps on [date supplied], and was distressed to receive the following news from a legal recruiter (her words): 'The responses I've gotten focus on your lack of private firm experience. As an example, my contact at [name of firm] said they rarely hire from JAG for just that reason. My contact at [name of another firm], a much smaller firm, said essentially the same thing, citing a need to 'get off the ground running'. I wish this was a more positive response for you, however, I think that the firms I've contacted represent a the broad spectrum of the [name of large U.S. metropolis] market.' In other words, at least some prestigious firms have a policy of not hiring Judge Advocates coming off active duty.
"The pampered law school leftists particularly dislike the JAG Corps because of the military's 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy on homosexuality, and protest on campus when we attempt to recruit. They would rather that such an odious institution as the United States military never set foot on their pristine campus. I suspect their snobbery extends to their hiring practices once they enter private practice."
Posted at 11:18 AM
FIFTY-SIX GOES DOOOWN [Peter Robinson]
One more note on Super Tuesday here in California: That real stinker of a ballot initiative, Proposition 56? The one that would have done away with the two-thirds majority now required for the California legislature to raise taxes or pass a budget, permitting the legislature to do either with a mere majority of 55 percent instead? Crushed, despite a massive and completely honest advertising campaign, by 66 to 34 percent.
Posted at 11:01 AM
NO "PRO-LIFE" IN LA [Tim Graham]
Romenesko notes Los Angeles Times critic Mark Swed wrote that the opera "Die Frau Ohne Schatten" is "an incomparably glorious and goofy pro-life paean..." But when the review ran in the paper, pro-life had been changed to anti-abortion. "Swed was reportedly mortified, since the opera is not remotely about abortion," writes Kevin Roderick. Two corrections followed.
Posted at 10:21 AM
DREZNER ON HUNTINGTON [John Derbyshire]
Dan Drezner's piece strikes me as fair and judicious. That does not, of course, mean "correct." I would seriously dispute a number of his points -- for example, that Mexico is redefining itself as a "North American" country. It seem more likely to me that the cultural gap between us and them is widening, not narrowing. (The economic gap -- 2001 avge annual income: USA $34,280, Mexico $5,530 -- seems to be firmly stuck.)
Drezner's point about there being different **kinds** of Hispanics also skates a little too swiftly over the underlying issue there, which is of course the r-word. Mexican society is highly stratified by race, with the rulers being tall, European-featured and pale-skinned, while the subsistence peasants at the bottom are more or less pure-blood Amerindian. The latter group provides the majority of Mexican immigrants. There is, of course, nothing wrong with being an Amerindian. The USA, however, has problems with race. (Does anyone deny that statement?) It seems a little foolish to import a NEW race problem, at least until we have fixed the old one.
Politics, however, is the art of the possible, and I find it hard to get excited over these large cultural speculations. I would be very happy just to see the immigration issue addressed in a serious way by our politicians, without any moral blackmail about "racism," "nativism," and similar debate-stoppers. In fact, I'd be very happy if the U.S. govt just began to enforce current immigration law in a whole-hearted way. Is that really too much to ask? Yes, apparently it is.
Posted at 10:19 AM
HUH? [Jonah Goldberg]
My old "colleague" Norman Ornstein said something very odd on public radio yesterday (I use quotation marks because Norm was (and is) a major scholar at AEI when I was a mere policy gnome). In a conversation about John Kerry's potential veeps, Norm suggested that a very good pick might be....Donna Shalala, the current president of the University of Miami and former HHS Secretary in the Clinton White House. Now, I think Shalala's sharp and all that, but what the hell is Norm thinking? We're on the verge of a major culture war conflict in this presidential campaign and he thinks picking an aging feminist -- who looks like an aging feminist -- who is ferociously pro-choice and who is widely rumored to live an alternative lifestyle is the best move for a very liberal Senator from Massachusetts? I wouldn't traffic in the rumor except for the fact that she was kinda-sorta outed by Andrew Sullivan in the New York Times a few years ago and there's no doubt whatsoever that her orientation would come up again. Norm Ornstein knows a lot about politics, but I've got literally know idea what he could be thinking.
Posted at 09:49 AM
GIVE KRUGMAN'S CAT A REST [Jonah Goldberg ]
But note that the economy's percolating nicely.
Posted at 09:34 AM
TOM ESQUIRE FROM VERMONT [Jonah Goldberg]
Remember him? Well, he sent me a new email. I'd responded to the last "F*** you" email by saying "you're all class Tommy." Here's his response:
You're a right wing loser. What do you know about business or Vermont? Your a sniveling little employee for an extreme neo-fascist magazine. The whale had no choice but to spit your ugly butt back into the sea, Jonah! Enjoy your pathetic little life. Next time get your facts straight.
Posted at 09:31 AM
SPEAKING OF THE NEW REPUBLIC [Jonah Goldberg ]
I finally read Jonathan Chait's piece on Ralph Nader last night. It really is very good and confirms most of the things you always thought were true about the guy. Also, Dan Drezner responds to Sam Huntington's piece. I haven't read it yet because I've only skimmed the Huntington piece. But maybe Derb -- who loved the Huntington piece -- will find it interesting.
Posted at 09:28 AM
SENATOR OWENS? [John J. Miller]
The Denver Post is already writing about the possibility of Gov. Bill Owens running for the Senate. Here's a column full of proof that state Democrats hope he doesn't run. Here's a piece on the challenges he would face on the campaign trail, given his recent separation from his wife.
Posted at 09:24 AM
KERRY'S MOUTH [Jonah Goldberg ]
Yeah, he's really the guy to "change the tone"
Posted at 09:21 AM
BRADLEY OF ARABIA [Jonah Goldberg ]
Last week I post this item about The New Republic running an article by John R. Bradley formerly of the Arab News. Bradley's articles have in the past featured some fairly nasty comments about Israel and The New Republic. I'm not quite sure if I stepped in the middle of something or if I started something or a little of both. But my friend Peter Beinart said they took all of this very seriously and he sent me the following by way of an explanation, clarification, etc. It works for me since I trust The New Republic to be a better defender of its own honor than anyone else. That said, their explanation does make Arab journalistic outlets sound even more dicey than I thought:
From the New Republic:
Posted at 09:15 AM
TOOMEY DENIES IT [Jonah Goldberg]
From one of several readers telling me the same thing:
Jonah -- Pat Toomey was interviewed yesterday morning on an Allentown radio station and was asked about the Specter / Les Sheaffer ad. He vehemently denied the accusation, and was prepared to present evidence (letters, etc.) of a longstanding relationship he'd had with the Sheaffer family ("beginning with my first year in the House"), including copies of legislation into which he'd inserted language that would help people with MPS.
Posted at 09:03 AM
AT HOME IN THE EMPIRE STATE [KJL]
A reader wonders: "As NPR reported it, Spitzer's opinion also includes marriages which are legal in the foreign nation in which they are contracted. I expect that some Saudi prince is going to show up with his four wives demanding NY acceptance . . . "
Posted at 08:53 AM
KATIE BLITZ [Tim Graham]
In the first moments of NBC's "Today" this morning, Katie Couric described the arrival of Bush's "massive ad blitz" as if it were a bombing raid or a passing hurricane. But "massive" compared to what?
Bush will be buying 30 seconds here, and 30 seconds there, trying to rebut MONTHS of on-air Democratic debates, ads, and most importantly, news stories that have puffed up Democrats and pounded the drums of anxiety about the economy and Iraq.
If this ad blitz is "massive," what do you call the daily drumbeat of the news media, who dominate between the commercials? Campaign watchers ought to assign more political power and air time to the massive Katie blitz than the "massive ad blitz."
Posted at 08:08 AM
HOLLYWOOD'S POLITICS [Tim Graham]
In the WashPost today, the perpetually annoying Tina Brown asserts the calm Oscars were more political than you might think: "Agents, managers and PR reps drummed into their stars' heads the folly of staging any reckless Michael Moore moments. Alone with their ballots, Academy members defiantly cast their votes for war dissenters Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, but the two actor/renegades' acceptance speeches got gold stars for perfect deportment."
In the process of describing Hollywood's horror at the success of Mel Gibson's movie (she calls it a "scourge-and-snuff flick"), she finds the main fear of the phenomenon isn't violence, but Republican dominance:
The Gibson phenomenon makes Hollywood denizens nervous because it brings home the scary power of what they fear most: Bush country.
It's not the supposed anti-Semitism of the movie they're worried about now....No, it's Mad Mel's vaunted alliance with the alien armies of the right that are determined to return their mortal foe George W. Bush to the White House this November.
Maybe that's what all the good behavior at the Oscars was really about. Hollywood Democrats think that John Kerry's candidacy is going really well and they don't want to screw it up by being boorish or nasty and giving Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh a lot of new material for their next flattening Eventoid. In that sense, the boredom of the Oscars this year was a function not so much of repression or despair as of cautious political hope.
Posted at 08:07 AM
NYACK "WEDDINGS" OFF FOR NOW [KJL]
Posted at 07:31 AM
COLORADO CONUNDRUM [John J. Miller]
The retirement of Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell in Colorado is a welcome development for Democrats, who can put forward an attractive candidate to replace him in Rep. Mark Udall. One of my favorite politicians, Gov. Bill Owens, is going to come under tremendous pressure from the White House to run, on the thinking that he's the only Republican who can enter the race as a strong frontrunner. If he gets in, the GOP probably keeps the seat--and conservatives add one of their brightest stars to the Senate roster. If he doesn't, it becomes a tossup. Many people I know believe that Owens should be setting his sights higher than the Senate, a place that so often forecloses other futures. He has a huge decision to make.
Posted at 05:18 AM
CATHOLICS & THE VEEPSTAKES [KJL]
A reader makes a worthwhile point: "in light of Bill Richardson's name being bandied about as Kerry's veep: Just how likely is it that the Democratic party is going to nominate two Catholics for president and vice president, even two wishy-washy, pro-Choice Catholics? I say not very likely. Richardson for Secretary of State, doncha think?"
Of course, Catholics--or at least half of them--haven't given Democratics reason to worry about Catholics voting as Catholics in the polling booth, but with some bishops reminding congregants of their duties, and months to go yet...it's an interesting point, anyway.
Posted at 12:09 AM
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
George Mitchell's latest peace process
Posted at 11:47 PM
DER ARNOLD WINS BIG [ Peter Robinson ]
Results on ballot initiatives here in the Golden State? Both the initiatives Gov. Arnold backed won--and won very big. Proposition 57, which will permit the Governor to borrow $15 billion to pay off the debt his predecessor accumulated, carried by 63 to 37 percent, while Proposition 58, which will require the state to work a little harder to balance the budget each year (alas and alack, the proposition lacks teeth), carried by 69 to 31 percent.
Gov. Arnold rolls on.
Posted at 09:36 PM
HELLZAPOPPIN [ Peter Robinson ]
Mark Krikorian beat me to it, posting about the episode of Uncommon Knowledge on immigration that he and I taped this afternoon, joining Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute.
I second Mark's comments about Tamar, who is simply one of the most delightful and articulate people I've ever met, and add a word or two about Mark himself, whom I was meeting for the first time, and who turned out to be supremely articulate (and to have a marvelous voice--a ringing baritone--which is the kind of thing that helps in television). In short, a TV host's dream: Both sides represented by guests who are more than civil in their demeanor and more than pointed in their arguments. I'll let everyone know when the show will air.
In the meantime, the big news is the anti-immigration piece by Samuel Huntington in the current issue of Foreign Policy (and my thanks to Derb for linking to the article last week as I was prepping for today's shoot). To quote a just a few sentences:
Continuation of this large immigration...could divide the United States into a country of two languages and two cultures....such as Canada and Belgium....The transformation of the United States into a country like these would not necessarily be the end of the world; it would, however be the end of the America we have known for more than three centuries. Americans should not let that change happen unless that are convinced that this new nation would be a better one.Who is Samuel Huntington? Samuel Huntington is an esteemed, not to say revered, professor of political science at Harvard. Which means, of course, is that those, such as Tamar, who wish to argue in favor of very high rates of Hispanic immigration can no longer dismiss their opponents as members of the crackpot right. (As Tamar herself realizes: She has already written a letter attacking Huntington to Foreign Policy, and she will be writing a review for the Washington Post of the new Huntington book from which the Foreign Policy essay was drawn.)
The immigration debate just got a whole lot more interesting.
Posted at 08:58 PM
GREAT BLOGGING ON MARRIAGE AND ADULTERY [John Derbyshire]
...by Noah Millman
Posted at 08:39 PM
IT'S NOT 1910 ANYMORE [Mark Krikorian ]
Just got finished taping an episode of the PBS show "Uncommon Knowledge" with The Corner's own Peter Robinson as host and Tamar Jacoby as the other guest. Peter will know when it's supposed to air. As usual, Tamar was gracious and the discussion was delightful -- but I never cease to be amazed at how the high-immigration side blissfully dismisses the assimilation implications of the fundamental changes that our society has undergone since the cultural revolution of the '60s. Multiculturalism is deeply rooted in every institution of our society -- every school, every church, every daycare denter, every corporate human resources department -- and we face a long, twilight struggle to root it out. How can we justify admitting 1.5 million immigrants, legal and illegal, each year?
Posted at 07:41 PM
LOSING ANDREW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I was a bit surprised to see Andrew Sullivan link to an attack on the Kass council personnel changes--an attack that centers on the question of embryonic stem-cell research--and write, "More evidence of the Bush administration's catering to the anti-technological views of some on the far right. More reason for Independent voters to reconsider their support." Isn't Sullivan himself a "far right" guy on this issue? Back in 2001, when the big debate about federal funding for such research was raging, Sullivan wrote an eloquent column coming out against the research--and even tiptoeing toward the view that IVF clinics should be regulated. I hope that Sullivan's passionate opposition to the Bush administration (and to religious conservatives) on other issues isn't clouding his judgment on this one. (I really do hope that, btw, it's not just a way of sniping at him. His taking the anti-embryo destruction line was an important contribution to that 2001 debate.)
Posted at 06:35 PM
LABELS VS. ISSUES II [Tim Graham]
The latest TV news numbers from Casa Bozell: A study of every weekday morning and evening broadcast news show since Iowa found ABC, CBS and NBC reporters presented the “Kerry is a liberal” concept as a GOP charge 27 times, compared with just three occasions when reporters stated Kerry’s ideology as a matter of fact.
Posted at 05:55 PM
SPITZER II [KJL]
It should be noted that he also said that same-sex marriages made elsewhere are valid in NY state. Don't know if that's what he should be saying based on the state law, but it sounds like a setback for same-sex marriage opponents.
Posted at 05:50 PM
NOAM SCHEIBER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
"I'm just not convinced most Americans--even those who distrust Bush personally and think he lied about Iraqi WMD--share Kerry's more general suspicion of people in positions of power, from the military to the CIA to the White House. If Kerry can't focus the critique a little more narrowly, I worry that sooner or later he's going to start sounding like the kind of conspiratorial Vietnam vet who became disillusioned with the U.S. government in the 1970s and just never got over it. Maybe that's who Kerry really is. But I don't think it's who most Americans want as their president."
Posted at 05:17 PM
BAILEY AND THE KASS DEBATE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Bailey makes some reasonable points, and it's a very well-written piece. But as I've said before, the folks complaining about the stacked Kass council would be more credible if they mentioned the actual diversity of opinion that exists there. I haven't seen these critics, including Bailey, mention the fact that the new appointee Peter Lawler told the Baltimore Sun that he is not opposed to therapeutic cloning. To be sure, whether he is for or against it is somewhat beside the point, since the council has already issued its report on the subject and is now seems likely to turn to the subjects of neuroscience and the treatment of the age. But cloning seems to be the issue that most vexes the critics who say that the council is stacked.
If, on the other hand, the appointment of Lawler is to be condemned because he seems, in general, skeptical of claims that biotechnology should be left unregulated, then perhaps the critics have a point. But my sense is that the vast majority of people do not share Bailey's almost-anything-goes views on this subject. That doesn't mean Bailey is wrong, of course. But it does take away a lot of the force behind the stacked-council critique.
Posted at 05:10 PM
GAY MARRIAGE COMES TO PORTLAND, OREGON [Steve Hayward]
Multnomah County, Oregon--that's Portland, the Burlington, Vermont of the West--announced this morning that it is going to start issuing marriage licenses for same sex marriages. Apparently the Commissioners saw the state's marriage law refers to marriages of " men... and women" but nothing specific about marriage being "between" them (except for that part tacked onto the end about husband and wife, which they have chosen to ignore for now).
One of my best friends, Portland attorney Kelly Clark, is on his way to the courthouse this afternoon seeking an injunction to stop it. Stay tuned. . .
Posted at 04:11 PM
GET THE BOOK THAT THOMAS SOWELL CALLS "BY FAR THE BEST COLLEGE GUIDE IN AMERICA" [Jack Fowler]
We're getting a flood of orders for Choosing the Right College, and no doubt the reason is the season: now if the time when high school juniors (and their parents!) start the grinding process of selecting colleges. How they could even think of doing that without our new, 950-plus page monster -- it provides super-informed, mega-detailed analyses of over 120 top public and private U.S. colleges and universities -- is a mystery. If you have a child or grandchild, a niece or nephew or neighbor, about to embark on the college search, make sure they do it with the aid of this all-important book. The 2004 NR edition of Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth about America's Top Schools costs only $29.95 (that includes shipping and handling). It makes a great gift for the special kid or even the local school or your alma mater (donate one to the guidance office or library -- we'll even include a nice gift card that says it's from you!). Order here.
Posted at 04:03 PM
MORE PILATE [KJL]
Be sure and read John O'Sullivan.
Posted at 03:34 PM
BAILEY V. KASS [Jonah Goldberg ]
My friend Ronald Bailey goes after Leon Kass with both barrels.
Posted at 03:30 PM
PILATE AND US [Rod Dreher]
I've had a tough time explaining to others why, contrary to much public commentary, I found Pontius Pilate more contemptible figure in the Gibson film than Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest. A colleague sent me this comment from a Christian friend, which nails it:
I have to say, I found Caiaphas entirely sympathetic: he dismisses charges that cannot be substantiated, asks Christ a direct question, hears an answer that he must take to be blasphemy, and then sets himself irrevocably upon the blasphemer's destruction. Pilate, by contrast, is a contemptible bureaucrat, agonizing over the possible consequences for himself of either executing or releasing Christ, and finally condemning a man he believes innocent to death as the most prudent course. It says something about our age. Of course we cannot understand Caiaphas: he is a religious "extremist," he acts on principle, he seeks to preserve the purity of his faith and his people from a heretic, he is uncompromising. But Pilate is much to our taste: he is indecisive and relativist, we feel the profundity of his "quid est veritas?", he has "issues" to work out, he is moved by emotion, and we can see that he feels bad about what he is doing (and what you feel, after all, is what is important). Feckless and contemptible and relativistic is what we are, and our very image of the ethical person; we know that resolute religious conviction is intolerant and wicked and evil. And thus the irony of it all: it is because the people that make such complaints are the sort who understand Pilate but hate Caiaphas that they are also disposed to despise Mel Gibson so passionately.
Posted at 03:10 PM
MORE ROSENDALL [KJL]
Here's Tim Graham reporting.
Posted at 03:05 PM
RICK ROSENDALL [John Derbyshire]
Josh Mercer reminds me exactly who Rick Rosendall is. Rosendall sent out an email to a homosexual email list in 2001 recommending that people call Walter Fauntroy, a black civil rights leader, and tell him not to support the FMA. He gave out the civil rights leader's **HOME PHONE NUMBER**. Josh wrote about the issue for the National Catholic Register:
Josh: "Rosendall never apologized for harassing the civil rights leader."
Maggie Gallagher also wrote about Rosendall's actions in a syndicated column back in 2001.
Posted at 02:48 PM
LABELS VS. ISSUES [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brian Boyd offered me a look at the CBS "Early Show" transcript from this morning about Bush's phone call to Kerry last night:
Bob Schieffer: "Well, I thought it was a gracious thing to do and maybe that's why he did it. I don't know why he did it but he said, you know, 'let's talk about the issues.' Well, we all know that one of the first things they're going to do is not talk about the issues --"
Posted at 02:31 PM
A BLOG POINT [KJL]
From the Hotline: "Despite now officially having the title of "presumptive nominee," John Kerry's official blog still gets less traffic than the blogs on John Edwards' web site and Howard Dean's web site."
Reader responds: [That] "is, of course, true insofar as posts to the blog but is no indication of how many people are reading the blog. [The Hotline] also fail[s] to note that it is possible to post anonymously on the Edwards and Dean sites, but on the Kerry site you have to use your registered e-mail address to post."
Posted at 02:27 PM
SAUDIS RECALL ERROR-FILLED TEXTBOOKS [KJL]
Anyone know: Was Israel on the map?
Posted at 02:22 PM
BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL [KJL]
bows out of his reelection race, citing health concerns. (Enter NR's favorite governor....)
Posted at 02:15 PM
JOHN KERRY NEEDS TO HIRE ZEPHYR TEACHOUT [KJL]
From today's "Hotline" (daily political drug from National Journal): "Despite now officially having the title of "presumptive nominee," John Kerry's official blog still gets less traffic than the blogs on John Edwards' web site and Howard Dean's web site. For instance, in the comments link posted on Kerry's blog at 11:16pm last night, as of 8:30am today, Kerry had 191 comments. Edwards' comments link for a blog posting at 3:22am today had 417 comments at 8:30am and Dean's comments link at 1:23am had 226 posted comments at 8:30am. "
Posted at 02:02 PM
MY NPR MISTAKE [Tim Graham]
Williams does mention Hillary -- only to dismiss the "sensational" one as unlikely -- but not Bill "Live Via Satellite" Richardson. Here's the text. Listen here.
"At the top of a very short vice presidential list is John Edwards. I think Democratic voters and the political establishment here in Washington believe Edwards has earned the right to be high on that short list....Then you gotta think strategically. Senator Evan Bayh might bring Indiana and Ohio with him. Congressman Dick Gephardt might bring Missouri and Ohio. Senator Bob Graham might bring Florida. Governor Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania, might bring that state. There’s been some talk about Hillary Clinton. Obviously she’s a sensational political figure, but so far no indication she wants it."
I would think the Congressional Black Caucus gang could still be upset with Juan, who can't find a credible non-white wild card to get the buzz going among the NPR crowd.
Posted at 01:18 PM
MAYOR IN JAIL [John Derbyshire]
"Both sides of the polarizing issue have been waiting for Spitzer's opinion since last Friday when the mayor of New Paltz, a small college town 75 miles north of Manhattan, married 25 same-sex couples without licenses. Village Mayor Jason West now faces 19 criminal counts and could face jail time."
I suppose it is "mean-spirited" of me, but I can't help wondering whether this Mayor would feel differently after spending time behind bars, knowing what we know about prison culture.
Posted at 01:12 PM
SUPERSIZE THIS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Big Macs praised in France! Applause for the cheeseburger! According to two French nutritionists the relative fat-to-protein content of a Big Mac is considerably healthier than a slice of quiche lorraine. "M. Cohen and M. Sérog, two of the country's best-known nutritionists, say that McDonald's, and other sellers of fast foods, should not be held responsible for the growing levels of obesity in France." Mickey D's is not entirely off the hook, however: Filet-O-Fish, a repulsive product so unnatural that even the manufacturers of Dr Pepper would be ashamed to be associated with it, comes in for richly deserved criticism.
Posted at 01:05 PM
NY: NO GAY MARRIAGE FOR NOW [KJL]
NY AG Spitzer says it's illegal. Meanwhile, mayor of Nyack, more downstate than New Paltz (Rockland Co), says he plans to get gay married.
Posted at 01:03 PM
GOOD NIGHT, AL [Rick Brookhiser]
One bit of good news last night was the Rev. Al Sharpton's piddling showing in the New York primary--eight percent of the vote. Sharpton's attempt to become the next Jesse Jackson is kaput. Unfortunately this is not because black voters tired of him, but because the black powers that be, chiefly Re. Charlie Rangel, wanted chits with Kerry, and also are protective of Jackson, whom Sharpton tried to depose prematurely a few years ago.
Posted at 12:30 PM
MORE AUDEN [John Derbyshire]
See also the sololoquy he gives to Herod in bhis Christmas play, "For the Time Being"--a wounding take-off on the Reflections of Marcus Aurelius.
Posted at 12:27 PM
VIRULENTLY ANTI-GAY DERB [John Derbyshire]
From a long pro-homosex piece in Salon by homosex propagandist Rick Rosendall:
"A work of questionable scientific merit that has been seized upon recently by the religious right is 'The Man Who Would Be Queen,' by J. Michael Bailey, a psychology professor at Northwestern University. Bailey's errors include accepting old stereotypes of gay femininity and relying on wildly unrepresentative samples, such as the men he found at Chicago's gay dance bars. The book was praised by John Derbyshire, a virulently anti-gay contributor to National Review."
Here are some samples of my "virulently anti-gay" review of Michael's book (which, by the way, is infused with sympathy for sexually odd people, and with a sincere desire to understand them).
"Sexual eccentricity raises difficult philosophical issues for conservatives. On the one hand we have a core belief in the individual and his privacy. Since no form of activity is more private than sex, our instinct is to let people follow their inclinations, within obvious legal constraints against, for example, the corruption of minors. Further, we all have friends whom we know to be, or suspect of being, sexually odd in one way or another, and we do not want to say or write things that would hurt their feelings."
"All of these types - girlish boys, male homosexuals, transsexuals of both styles - are of course human beings, who, like the rest of us, must play the best game they can with the cards Nature has dealt them. No decent person would wish to inflict on them any more unhappiness than their mismatched bodies and psyches have already burdened them with."
The entire review can be found in the 6/30/03 issue of National Review. There is an image on my personal web site, olimu.com, under "Print journalism."
This kind of thing is "virulently anti-gay." But then, so is any other kind of thing that does not swoon at the authenticity, beauty, spirituality, social responsibility, healthfulness and, yes!, conservatism of homosex. If you are not with these people a hundred percent in their campaign to overhaul Western society in their personal interest, you are a warped psychopath. (My Webster's Third defines "virulent" as "extremely poisonous or venomous ... able to overcome or break down the defensive mechanism of the host." Watch out!)
As for all the unthinking obloquy hurled at "stereotypes," here is a stirring defense of those very useful statistical constructions.
Posted at 12:21 PM
AUDEN AT THE CRUCIFIXION [Rod Dreher]
The poet W.H. Auden, who became a Christian, once speculated on how he might have reacted had he witnessed the Crucifixion: Just as we were all, potentially, in Adam when he fell, so we were all, potentially, in Jerusalem on that first Good Friday before there was an Easter, a Pentecost, a Christian, or a Church. It seems to me worthwhile asking ourselves who we should have been and what we should have been doing. None of us, I'm certain, will imagine himself as one of the Disciples, cowering in agony of spiritual despair and physical terror. Very few of us are big wheels enough to see ourselves as Pilate, or good churchmen enough to see ourselves as a member of the Sanhedrin. In my most optimistic mood I see myself as a Hellenized Jew from Alexandria visiting an intellectual friend. We are walking along, engaged in philosophical argument. Our path takes us past the base of Golgotha. Looking up, we see an all too familiar sight-three crosses surrounded by a jeering crowd. Frowning with prim distaste, I say, 'It's disgusting the way the mob enjoy such things. Why can't the authorities execute criminals humanely and in private by giving them hemlock to drink, as they did with Socrates?' Then, averting my eyes from the disagreeable spectacle, I resume our fascinating discussion about the nature of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.
Posted at 12:16 PM
COSMO'S APPEARANCE THIS MORNING [KJL]
reminds me we have not plugged the store recently.
Posted at 11:37 AM
RE: HILLARY FOR VEEP [John Derbyshire]
There's been surprisingly little discussion of this possibility. I saw Dick Morris 3-4 weeks ago making a case for Hillary as Veep, and making it very persuasively, though I can't reconstruct the thread of his logic.
The case AGAINST picking Hillary is, I suppose, that you don't want to be upstaged by your Veep. Of all the possible "diversity" picks, though, it seem to me the strongest. The next strongest is way down the line. Who *is* the next strongest, anyway? Barney Frank?
Posted at 11:25 AM
TIM'S OBSESSION [KJL]
Did Williams not mention Richardson?
Posted at 11:20 AM
since when is Hill a white guy?
Posted at 11:05 AM
NPR ON MINORITY VEEPSTAKES [Tim Graham]
On today's "Morning Edition," NPR's Juan Williams discussed potential Kerry running mates, but didn't have the imagination to mention any names who weren't white guys. Fascinating.
Posted at 10:56 AM
THERE'S A SPECTER HAUNTING PENNSYLVANIA... [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:10 AM
MCDONALD'S SHAME [Andrew Stuttaford]
McDonald's seems to have given in to the menu monitors, not that it will do the burger chain any good. The company "has started phasing out its trademark Supersize fries and drinks in its U.S. restaurants as part of an effort to simplify its menu and give customers choices that support a balanced lifestyle." In other words, less is more.
On a related topic, am I the only person around here to think that McDonald's french fries taste terrible these days?
Posted at 10:04 AM
THE SPECTER AD [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's the text for those of you who can't watch the video. Obviously the footage of this poor little girl contributes mightily to the exploitation:
Les Sheaffer – Brittany’s father:
Posted at 09:45 AM
ANNOY YOUR CUBE-MATE [Jonah Goldberg]
Play this real loud.
Posted at 09:24 AM
HOLY FRIJOLES! [Jonah Goldberg ]
Ever wonder what the world would be like if Japan won World War Two (and Three and Four)? Check it out!
Posted at 09:23 AM
"SPECTER'S A PIG" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a longtime reader in PA:
Holy moly Jonah (I promised my wife I'd stop cursing for Lent),
Posted at 09:18 AM
HEY LOWRY [Cosmo ]
Deal with this.
Posted at 09:14 AM
DEATH-PENALTY EXPANSION [Rick Brookhiser]
At the 1988 GOP convention, George H.W. Bush threatened drug king pins with the death penalty. P.J. O'Rourke leaned over to me and said, "Even if the drugs are good and the prices are fair?"
Posted at 08:29 AM
BLACKLISTING MEL [Rod Dreher]
Some Lone Star savant on the Dallas Morning News editorial board is cheesed off over the report that some in Hollywood intend to blacklist Mel Gibson over "The Passion of the Christ." Excerpt:
It's interesting to see what a filmmaker has to do to make Hollywood's new blacklist. Get indicted for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl and flee the country to avoid trial? Nope: Roman Polanski earned an Oscar last year. Serve a prison stint for molesting a 12-year-old boy? Nope: Disney hired ex-con Victor Salva to make Powder in 1995. Consort with a dictator? Nope: Steven Spielberg rhapsodized that dinner with Fidel Castro was "the eight most important hours of my life."
Be a pious Catholic who makes a film about the death of Jesus Christ faithful to the Gospels? Guards, take him away!
Posted at 08:28 AM
COSMIC REFLECTIONS [John Derbyshire]
According to a reader, I misquoted J.B.S. Haldane. What the old buffer actually said was: "Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we CAN suppose."
Well, he got THAT right.
Posted at 07:34 AM
MAN OF THE HOUR [John Derbyshire]
Ulster County (NY) District Attorney Don Williams
Posted at 07:33 AM
1, 2 THROW YOUR REMOTE [Tim Graham]
On CBS this morning, Bob Schieffer said that Bush told Kerry last night it's time to talk issues. And then Schieffer claimed it won't start about "the issues," instead Kerry will be described as a "liberal," and other "rough stuff" like that. Since when is discussing someone's voting record not about the issues?
Posted at 07:30 AM
responds to the tempest.
Posted at 07:25 AM
BILL CLINTON'S DREAM COME TRUE [KJL]
People are talking about him again. The longest veepstakes ever has begun.
Posted at 06:07 AM
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
WHAT MOSAIC? [Tim Graham]
If the Democrats pick another boring white federal office holder -- Edwards, Gephardt, Bob Graham -- our diversity-obsessed media ought to ask which party is creating the "illusion of inclusion"? I'm not advertising for Maxine Waters or Bill Richardson, otherwise known as the Governor from CNN, but they ought to live by their own "affirmative action" mantras.
Posted at 10:48 PM
Kerry will not pick Edwards. Or Gephardt. Can we just take off the list?
Posted at 08:57 PM
I'm already bored by the veep guessing game.
Posted at 08:53 PM
NO OFFENSE AL, DENNIS [KJL]
The president has called Kerry to congratulate him.
Posted at 08:34 PM
VT V. NH [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
To your Mr. Vermont; talk about not doing your homework! I was born, bred, raised in NH. Yes, the property taxes were complained about and generally considered high. This was due in part to NH’s status as a vacation state and was a way to get MA, NY, CT and other peoples to help pay for the government since they used the roads plenty on their summer and weekend trips. We also were considered to have “high tolls” by most locals, though one trip on the NY interstate or the Garden Parkway will certainly tell otherwise!
Posted at 08:32 PM
INTENT V. SUCCESS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah-- Speaking of expanding the death penalty: What, ethically and morally, is the difference between attempted murder and successful murder? We recently had a case in Illinois where a woman was brutally beaten and left for dead in a dumpster. She was miraculously found; the woman was so cold she had to have all her toes amputated. Her ex-husband has been charged with the crime. Why shouldn't he be eligible for the death penalty? I think there is something in the Torah about intent that supports this notion.
Posted at 08:31 PM
4.PM. IN RALEIGH [KJL]
is the Edwards dropout tomorrow.
Posted at 08:18 PM
AP IS REPORTING [KJL]
Edwards is quitting. But tomorrow.
Posted at 08:13 PM
EDWARDS HAS LOST OHIO, TOO [KJL]
according to projections. His press secretary is telling folks to expect to see him in the next half hour for no news. News, I imagine, will be in North Carolina tommorrow for a lovefest withdrawal (not the previously publicly planned Texas campaigning).
Posted at 07:36 PM
LISTEN TO THE IRANIANS [KJL]
Michael Ledeen reports that the Iranian people are taking to the streets in reaction to the attacks in Iraq today.
Posted at 07:20 PM
MEANWHILE, EDWARDS IS OVER [KJL]
He's losing Ga., according to FNC projections (and the exits we had earlier), so there is no point. (One caveat: CNN is saying it is "too close" to call--just to keep us watching?)
Posted at 07:02 PM
VICTORY NIGHT FOR DEAN [KJL]
FNC/CNN just projected Vermont for his homestate.
Posted at 07:00 PM
RE: THE NEWS FROM MARS [John Derbyshire]
Oh, THAT'S the news. It was wet. A hundred million years ago. Oh. Er, wow.
Posted at 06:57 PM
NO PLACE TO BE LIGHTHEARTED [KJL]
Gov. Arnold may have gotten himself into a little trouble at the polling booth this morning.
Posted at 06:54 PM
THE FINAL WORD ON STATEN ISLAND [Peter Robinson]
From a reader: Staten Island has lots of bars. Secession would restore the right to smoke therein.
Posted at 06:41 PM
NEW PALTZ MAYOR GETS CHARGED [KJL]
Posted at 06:39 PM
KAHN THOUGHT OF THE CONTINUUM FIRST [Peter Robinson ]
From a reader:
Way back in 1964, Herman Kahn promulgated a broad spectrum continuum of lethal force with a convenient numerical scale for rating one's own preference:
Posted at 06:36 PM
I'M SORRY, DERB (AND EVERYONE ELSE) [KJL]
I posted the wrong Mars link: Here's the real one! Oy...I better really give up.
Posted at 06:15 PM
THAT PESKY SECOND AMENDMENT [Peter Robinson]
I'm getting a lot of emails explaining that, although I asked a good question (see below), the ban on assault weapons raises entirely different--and bogus--issues. To wit:
The primary problem with the Assault Weapons Ban is that it does not base it's prohibitions on a point on the continuum between .22 rifle and hydrogen bomb. Instead, the AWB prohibits weapons based entirely cosmetic characteristics. That is, a banned rifle can shoot the exact same cartridge, carry the same number of rounds in its chamber, and auto-load as quickly as a legal rifle -- the only difference is that the banned rifle might have a pistol grip stock, a flash suppressor, or some other feature that does NOT make the gun any more dangerous. Some of these cosmetic differences might make a rifle better for hunting or target shooting than a more traditional model. For example, a rifle equipped with a plastic stocks will be lighter and easier to carry in the field than one with a traditional wood stock. A rifle with a pistol grip may be more comfortable to shoot than one with a traditional stock. But these features don't make the guns demonstrably better for holding up your local liquor store. So why ban them? Because it allows Congress to say it did something about crime -- even if what was done had no positive practical effect and was only symbolic.
Posted at 05:39 PM
MORE ON TODAY'S GUN VOTE [KJL]
from Tim Wheeler (who occassionally writes for NRO).
Posted at 05:37 PM
TERRA INCOGNITA [John Derbyshire]
In common with most New Yorkers, I have never been to Staten Island, though I have driven nonstop ACROSS it on the way to other places. I have the vague idea that it is populated entirely by cops, I don't know why.
I do recall seeing some statistics on crime in New York City a few years ago. On of the conclusions of the piece was, that if you wanted NOT to be a crime victim in NYC, the best thing to be was an 8-year-old Asian female living on Staten Island.
Posted at 05:25 PM
RE: UNHINGED [Tim Graham]
Jonah's e-mailer claims "Nothing demonstrates how this issue unhinges people better than Graham's assertion that straight kids might consider gay marriage an option for themselves if they're taught about homosexuality in school." First, to be accurate, it is Prager's point, even as I agree with it. What is illogical about the notion that children might choose "gay marriage" if it's presented to them with moral neutrality as A, or why not B? Didn't this writer read Walter Cronkite today?
Regardless of the actual results, the idea of public school classrooms preaching this moral equivalence and relativism on homosexuality -- and I do mean "preaching" -- seems to an Old Testament-revering believer like offering children (in terms of their salvation) a stark choice between eternal life and death as if it were a choice between Coke and Pepsi.
Posted at 05:18 PM
SPECTER'S A PIECE OF WORK [Jonah Goldberg ]
Or am I wrong to think this ad is offensive?
Posted at 05:18 PM
WHAT WOULD JONAH DO WITH STATEN ISLAND? [Peter Robinson]
From a reader: "I assume Staten Island would be where all the executions took place."
Posted at 05:11 PM
THE NEWS FROM MARS [John Derbyshire]
That's IT? Traces of hydrogen peroxide in the atmosphere? Sheesh, I thought we were going to hear that one of the landers had witnessed a herd of three-legged giant bison stampeding across its field of view.
"The universe is not only stranger than we suppose, it is stranger than we CAN suppose," said Haldane (or Eddington, or one of those guys). He must have been talking about some other part of the universe. The Solar System is duller than Tuesday night at the laundromat.
Posted at 05:07 PM
WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE [KJL]
that we didn't link to the Mars news as it broke? (and we did link to the assault weapon ban ebfore that complaint, for the record). That we haven't reported on Eric Clapton dropping "Tears from Heaven"? We might as well quit while we're behind. If your dog was really of any use, Jonah, he'd take over.
Posted at 05:00 PM
THIS SOUNDS MORE LIKE OUR JONAH [Peter Robinson]
What is there to do on Staten Island? From yet another reader:
"Dining out--specifically, for pizza at Denino's. Good enough to make the...trip from Manhattan worthwhile."
Posted at 04:56 PM
THAT PESKY SECOND AMENDMENT [Peter Robinson]
Okay, I'll admit it: I've never advanced my own thinking about the second amendment much beyond baby steps, and I'll also admit that this probably has something to do with living in coastal California rather than in the state's gun-totin' interior.
If the Second Amendment means anything, and of course it must, then it gives folks the right to carry at least ordinary pistols and rifles, which were the kinds of arms with which the framers were acquainted. That's obvious, right? But the Second Amendment does not give folks the right to arm themselves with nuclear weapons, whose destructive force is such that they must be monopolized by the state. Also obvious, right? Now here's the problem: Just where on the continuum from .22 rifles to hydrogen bombs do assault rifles lie?
Sounds like a question for a mind deeply informed by American history and capable of minute legal analysis. By which I mean, of course, to ask where Ramesh is hiding out today.
Posted at 04:55 PM
BIOETHICS FTR [KJL]
May's issued a statement now:
I have completed with great pleasure a two-year term on the President's Council on Bioethics. That is what I expected to do when I accepted appointment. From the outset, both by the roster of council members and in his conduct of meetings, the chair of the council, Dr. Leon Kass, sought to develop both sides of issues in bioethics as fully as possible so as to produce documents that would be a continuing resource in our national deliberations. I expect him to continue to do so and have expressed my willingness to serve as a consultant in that effort. This willingness grows out of great respect for Dr. Kass and, of course, for my diverse former colleagues on the council.
Posted at 04:54 PM
RE: NARNIA [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of readers are raising the very serious concern that Disney will ruin and de-religify C.S. Lewis' story (The Narnia books are much more explicitly Christian than LOTR). Fair point. Maybe they'll get it right if Eisner's gone by then.
Posted at 04:52 PM
YAY US [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Since I enjoy your work and Dennis Prager's work (he was the first contemporary Jewish writer to address the issue of Islamic Jew-hatred, in Why The Jews?) I find your comments intriguing. From what I know about Prager, I'm sure that he will take your comments to heart.
Posted at 04:39 PM
CONTRA PRAGER - ANOTHER VIEW [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 04:22 PM
FLABBY METROCON WATCH [John Derbyshire]
An angry reader:
"Hi there--I wanted to know if you or any of your 'conservative' peers at NRO cares a whit about the ongoing assault on the Second Amendment and in particular the vote today to renew the 1994 'Assault Weapons Ban' that is due to sunset this year if no new legislation is enacted.
"Is it all about John Kerry and gay marriage with you people? Do any of you even own a gun or have an opinion on why the Second Amendment exists?
"Do any of you care?
"I would really like to see some mention of this in The Corner, because frankly, I'm starting to suspect that you guys are 'big city conservatives' who wouldn't really mind a renewal of the AWB or any other 'reasonable gun control.'
"Sorry for all the 'scare quotes.'
Can you field this one, Jonah? I'm just heading out for a facial.
Posted at 04:20 PM
BTW... [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 04:17 PM
THOMAS FROM VERMONT [Jonah Goldberg]
I never even responded to him, I just posted that email in its entirety without his last name. Here's his follow-up:
Posted at 04:15 PM
NARNIA MOVIE [Jonah Goldberg ]
This could be cool.
Posted at 04:10 PM
John Edwards didn't do any interviews today. Sounds like his momentum is gone.
Posted at 04:08 PM
MORE VERMONT [Jonah Goldberg]
Thomas from Vermont works hard to combat Vermonter's reputation as unfriendly:
Posted at 04:00 PM
VERMONT IS HELL [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:51 PM
THE REPUBLIC OF FRUSTRATED MUNICIPALITIES [Peter Robinson]
Suppose Killington, Staten Island, and the San Fernando Valley all seceded, then threw in together to constitute a new country? (In the old days, after all, the kingdom of Prussia included little bits and pieces of land all over central Europe. Contiguity is way overrated.)
I mention this, Jonah, because you strike me as the ideal chief executive (and Cosmo, of course, as the ideal First Dog). You could ski in Killington, lie by the pool in the San Fernando Valley, and, well, let me think. Is there a reader out there who could suggest a suitable leisure activity on Staten Island?
Posted at 03:51 PM
GOOD POINT(S) [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, I think the point of horse theft meriting hanging in the Old West was that when you stole a man's horse in an Arizona desert in 1870, you were effectively condemning him to death. This does not hold true of today's gorilla poachers in Africa.
Posted at 03:49 PM
YOU GUYS [Jonah Goldberg]
David Frum writes today:
"The greatest reward of writing for NRO – aside of course from the lavish pay and princely benefits – is the contact from readers. I’ve written for a lot of magazines and papers in a lot of the world. Never have I written for anyplace where the readers write with the thoughtfulness and conviction that you see in the email from NRO readers."
I remember when David first came on board NRO and he was just stunned by how smart NRO's readers are. Ditto goes for me. My problem is worse than David's though, because he had a lengthy writing career before he came on board NRO. I, on the other hand, had written very little under my own name (a couple pieces for the Wall Street Journal and a few reviews for magazines like Commentary, the Public Interest, the Standard and NR). So, as I grew up on NRO I became hopelessly addicted and in some ways I felt entitled to huge feedback -- positive and negative -- from readers. For a long time I thought it was simply a product of the web versus print. But I don't think that explains all of it any more. Even now, I get more responses to a random post in the Corner than I do to op-eds in major newspapers which certainly appear on the web. NRO is very lucky to have cultivated the readers we have and when we have enough of you we shall unleash you upon the lands as an unstoppable army of .... oh, wait, sorry. I was revealing a bit too much.
Posted at 03:48 PM
I FEEL BETTER NOW [Peter Robinson]
From a fellow Californian:
"Don't take it too hard that you mixed Props 55 and 56 because you were still essentially correct about the Prop 56 ad campaign. That campaign is one of the most laughably cynical that I've seen in quite some time. It never once mentions lowering the threshhold [for raising taxes] from two-thirds to 55%, but instead promises to 'end partisan gridlock.' Yeah, that's one way of putting it!"
Posted at 03:40 PM
FAIR POINT [KJL]
I'm gettign a few emails along these lines:
Hey, K-Lo, given that you've been pretty boosterish about Mel Gibson's blood-soaked passion play, you couldn't cut the Shi'ites some slack? Sure it's weird to us, but it's fundamentally no different than a lot of medieval Catholic practices of mortification, or even some contemporary passion plays in places like the Philippines where they actually put a guy on the cross. The blood on children's faces comes from painlessly cutting a vein right under the hairline with a razor. It bleeds like the dickens, but it doesn't hurt. (The theology behind it is that they're expressing their collective guilt for their forebears' having abandoned their God-given leader to torture and death.)Folks have sent me pictures of reenactments of the Passion (not as passionate as the Gibson version, but more than I would care to handle) in the Phillippines on Good Fridays. But still, what called out to me about these photos today are the fact they are of children.
Posted at 03:36 PM
MORE DEATH PENALTIES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:22 PM
GOOD POINT [Jonah Goldberg]
From Diane in Norman, Oklahoma:
Did you notice the headline on the story about the man who raped the 2-month-old?
Posted at 03:20 PM
VERMONT [Jonah Goldberg ]
I will no longer listen to people who say I was wrong about Vermont's business climate in my cover story last summer. Killington has voted to secede from the state and become part of New Hampshire. Case closed.
Posted at 03:16 PM
MORE ON PILLOWS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, What I think Alice Walker and your correspondent both fail to realize is that if it actually were easier to fight wars with pillows, we'd for darn sure be using them. An Australian friend once related to me an event that occurred when he was in the Australian Defence Force, during a joint training exercise with the US Army and USAF. My friend was plotting with his squad to take a particular feature (hill) on the battlefield and figuring it was going to require an extreme amount of effort and (pretend) casualties. An American officer asked what they were doing, and when my friend replied that they were plotting to take the feature, the American responded, "No problem. Just call in the F-4s. No more feature." If pillows could do that, they be deployed in every theatre on the globe!
Posted at 03:10 PM
PS FROM CARL [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 03:07 PM
OTHER DEATH PENALTIES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:06 PM
EXPANDING THE DEATH PENALTY [Jonah Goldberg ]
I was just reading this story about a man who allegedly had sexual relations with a two month old girl and distributed pictures of him doing it over the internet. It revived for me an idea I've been meaning to write about at length for a while.
I'm for the death penalty, as everyone around here knows. And lately I've been thinking that maybe the penalty should be applied to crimes other than murder. I'd certainly be open to the suggestion that child rapists should get the chair. But I don't really want to run through the crimes I think deserve the ultimate penalty (note: not even I think those responsible for Jar-Jar Binks deserve the gallows).
Rather, I'm trying to work through the philosophical justification for expanding the death penalty. In the 19th century, this wasn't a difficult issue. We hung people for barn-burning and horse-stealing because we didn't have prisons, because we understood the utility of maintaining order etc. But for a host of reasons we detached capital punishment from all other crimes except murder and treason (am I missing any?). I sincerely doubt we could ever reverse that trend without the support of the left. And, since the popular front mentality of the left requires unanimity on these sorts of issues, it's unlikely it would ever happen. Still, I could imagine a fairly compelling argument for support the death penalty in African countries for crimes like the poaching of the great apes. I don't think apes have rights or that they are more "valuable" than humans. But if you could make the case in 19th century America that horse-theft is a capital crime, surely you can make an equally compelling case about the destruction of gorillas (or pandas or Siberian tigers) in the 21st. The argument would have to be both moral and utilitarian focusing both on the aesthetic as well as the economic. A tiger, for example, is a glorious creation of God and its lost would be a crime of historic proportions -- and a huge economic blow to countries dependent on tourism. Something like that.
As for executing the very worst category of child rapists, that argument sort of writes itself.
The obvious downside to all of this is that whenever the left expands its reasons for killing people, it goes way too far so perhaps its best to keep the genie in the bottle.
Just something I've been noodling.
Posted at 02:59 PM
THE NEXT AMY CARTER? OR KARENNA? [Tim Graham]
ABC asked Kerry this morning to respond to "his camp" suggesting Bush helped to "overthrow a democratically elected president." The Kerry camper with that charge? Daughter Vanessa, age 26:
Taking a page from her father's campaign playbook, a daughter of Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry yesterday criticized the Bush administration for its handling of the crisis in Haiti.
Posted at 02:55 PM
KERRY WANTS TO BE THE SECOND BLACK PRESIDENT [KJL]
AP: "President Clinton was often known as the first black president. I wouldn't be upset if I could earn the right to be the second," Kerry told AURN. "It's a question of keeping faith with the community and doing things that really make a difference."
Posted at 02:51 PM
AS I WIPE THE EGG FROM MY FACE [Peter Robinson]
Writing from memory this morning, folks, I made a stupid mistake--I mean a real whopper--which a correspondent has been kind enough to correct. (I'm withholding his name, but his email address suggests he works for the California state government. A Corner reader in Sacramento. Imagine.) As my correspondent reminds me:
"Prop 55 is the school bond.
"Prop 56 is the Budget Accountability Act.
"I think you improperly combined the two. DON'T GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS!!!"
Any voters here in California who are as confused as yours truly can clear things up by clicking on a handy voter guide, here.
Posted at 02:38 PM
THE SUPER TUESDAY LOOK: GA., OHIO, MD. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
First few exit numbers for three states:
Kerry up 11 in Georgia;
Kerry up 25 in Ohio;
Kerry up 38 in Maryland.
If these hold true, Edwards should be delivering his concession tonight. (As always, unofficial look at the races.)
Posted at 02:18 PM
SENATE VOTES TO EXTEND ASSAULT-WEAPONS BAN [KJL]
Posted at 02:16 PM
WHO ARE WE, ANYWAY, CONT'D. [Peter Robinson]
A nice point, Rod. And your use of the oh-for-goodness's-sake, just-open-your-eyes-and-look-around-you-test reminds me of case now before the Supreme Court. A two-judge majority of a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, as you may recall, ruled the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional on the grounds that the words "under God" violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Now, just think about that for a moment. Ike signed the bill adding "under God" to the pledge in 1954. And what have we witnessed in the last half century? The establishment of a state religion? Generations of schoolchildren so indoctrinated in religious belief that traditional morality has become the unquestioned norm across the land? The persecution of agnostics and atheists?
I mean, it's obvious. Even from the point of view of the most committed atheist, the words "under God" have had no material effect on the nation whatsoever. And this case still made it to the Supreme Court.
Posted at 01:41 PM
DOUBLETAKE MOMENT [KJL]
From the NYT, on gay marriage in Ithaca:
"We were prepared to get married today,'' said Margot D. Chiuten, 28, a landscape architect who intends to marry Shawna M. Black, 27.
Posted at 01:39 PM
CBC: PROVING RICH'S POINT [KJL]
Jesse Jackson's telephone conversation with Aristide yesterday could become the next "investigation."
Posted at 01:37 PM
TIM [Jonah Goldberg]
That's fine. See my post just below yours.
Posted at 01:15 PM
WHERE PRAGER ROCKS [Tim Graham]
Jonah, I would argue you don't have to be bearing a gun or carrying a grenade to be a threat to an IDEA or to a culture. I don't think he is trying to say these threats are identical. The best Prager paragraphs are these: With same-sex marriage, our society declares by law that mothers are unnecessary, since two men are equally ideal as mothers and as the creators of a family; and that fathers are unnecessary, since two women are equally ideal as parents and as the creators of a family.
With same-sex marriage, our society declares that there is nothing special or even necessarily desirable about a man and a woman bonding. What is sacred to the proponents of same-sex marriage is the number of people marrying (two, for the time being), not that a man and woman bond.
With same-sex marriage, when taught in school about sex, marriage and family, children will have to be taught that male-male and female-female sex, love and marriage are identical to male-female sex, love and marriage. And when asked, "Who do you think you will marry when you grow up?" thanks to the ubiquitous images of media, far more children will consider members of the same sex.
With same-sex marriage, no adoption agency will ever be able to prefer a married man and woman as prospective parents. Aside from the tragedy of denying untold numbers of children a mother and a father, this will lead to a drastic diminution in women placing children for adoption, since most of these women will prefer something that will then be illegal -- that agencies place her child with a man and woman, not with two men or two women.
With same-sex marriage, any media -- films, advertisements, greeting cards -- that only depict married couples as a woman and a man will be considered discriminatory and probably be sued.
With same-sex marriage, those religious groups that only marry men and women will be deemed beyond the pale, marginalized and ostracized.
Posted at 01:13 PM
PRAGER [Jonah Goldberg]
Since so many emailers keep saying the same thing, let me further clarify. I don't dispute that the Left is riddled with destructive and anti-American attitudes. I don't dispute that if some on the left got the America they claim to want, America would fall apart. I don't even dispute that we are -- and should be -- in a metaphorical war with the left, i.e. a political war of ideas and votes. But that sort of conflict is so profoundly and deeply different than the sort of conflict where it is morally acceptable to cheer at your enemy's literal death.
Prager is a very smart man and a very good writer but nowhere in that column does he forcefully expand on this very important distinction. If he'd written a column saying that the secular left is at war with America's traditional institutions I would have probably agreed with it. If he wrote a column saying we were at war with the Islamists I would certainly have agreed with it -- because that's so obvious. But he wrote that the two are the same war, marrying the metaphorical with the literal without spilling any ink to distinguish between the two. That's what I object to.
Posted at 01:13 PM
REPORT FROM THE COAST [Peter Robinson]
On the ballot here the Golden State today, several important initiatives. Props. 57 and 58 are the work of Governor Arnold. Prop. 58 would establish a state spending limit and require the state to set aside money each year for a "rainy day fund." The sort of thing that nobody opposes in principle, this initiative is expected to pass. Prop. 57 would roll the debt the state accumulated under Schwarzenegger's predecessor, Gray Davis, into a gigantic lump sum, floating a bond for $15 billion. Voters usually resist bond measures, and the polls are mixed on this one. But should the measure fail, the Governor will be forced either to raise taxes, cut spending more sharply than any state has ever done anywhere, at any time (as far as I know, anyway), or float a gigantic bond without the approval of the voters, a step of dubious constitutionality under the California constitution. Stay tuned.
And stay tuned for the vote on Prop. 56, a real stinker that shows the teachers' union at their underhanded worst. This measure would increase funding for schools somewhat, and that, of course, is what all the ads out here are attempting to drum home. (Never mind that nobody can show any correlation between spending and students' test scores, the correlation between spending and teachers' salaries is nice and tight.) What the ads completely fail to mention is that the measure would also reduce the requirement for a tax hike from a two-thirds vote in the legislature to a majority of a mere 55 percent. And when I say the ads fail to mention this, I mean it literally: I haven't seen a single ad that even alludes to this, the central aspect of the initiative. The unions have placed a big bet that the voters are idiots. When the polls close, we'll learn whether they won.
Posted at 12:55 PM
PRAGER CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
Email's running five-to-one in favor of Dennis. I'm unpersuaded. Still, here's an interesting one:
Prager expresses the idea that fighting religious extremism and secular extremism are two sides of the same war, but he misses an important point of how they reinforce each other. When a secular government legitimizes behaviors that even the not very religious non-extremists consider decadent and perverse, it allows the extremists and opponents of secular government to claim the high ground and gather support. It demonstrates that secular government can be a danger to their society and culture. While many on the left want to portray Islamic anti-Americanism as economic, but anyone paying attention knows that it is sexual. They oppose promiscuity and decadent sexual behavior,
Posted at 12:53 PM
THE NEOCONS ARE EVERYWHERE [KJL]
Think you're safe in Duane Reade? Think again. There's a nail-polish color called "Powerhouse Perle," frum L'oreal.
Posted at 12:39 PM
GREAT LINE [Mike Potemra] ]
Newsweek reports that Jonathan Bock, "head of Grace Hill Media, a PR firm that markets to Christians, . . . calls 'The Passion' an 'Ellen moment'-Ellen DeGeneres, he means-in which a group of outsiders is embraced by Hollywood. 'Christian is the new gay,' he says, laughing." I guess this will enrage Ellen-haters-of whom I am emphatically not one; I think she's pretty funny-but Bock is really on to something. I was in Greenwich Village last week and overheard one guy asking another, "So why did Jesus have to die?" I suspect The Passion will reach even many people who don't see the actual movie; the discussion of the film has put the question of Christ and Christianity at the forefront of national attention, and Mel Gibson deserves credit for creating this nationwide "teachable moment." (P.S. to e-mail correspondents: Yes, I know gays aren't exactly "outsiders" in Hollywood the same way open Christians are.)
Posted at 12:35 PM
THE BLOOD WASN'T ONLY AT THE AWFUL, DEADLY TERROR ATTACKS ON THIS MUSLIM HOLY DAY [KJL]
Some photos of the "peaceful" observances.
Posted at 12:25 PM
PRO PRAGER [Jonah Goldberg]
I expect I'll be getting more email like this one:
Jonah, Most of the time I agree with you, but just because gays don't see themselves as TRYING to destroy America doesn't mean that that's exactly what they're going to do. Although, it may be conscious after all. Radical leftists are attempting to turn America into a country that it is not. America is NOT the Netherlands. America is NOT Canada. These people won't be happy until we're just like them, and that will eventually mean the shutting down of any and all dissenting opinion, which (only my opinion) WILL lead to the incarceration and persecution of those daring to dissent (killing? Maybe not yet, but we'll see). I agree with Prager on this one.
Posted at 12:20 PM
CONTRA PRAGER [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'm normally a big fan of Dennis Prager's but I really think this column of his is irresponsible. He writes:
America is engaged in two wars for the survival of its civilization. The war over same-sex marriage and the war against Islamic totalitarianism are actually two fronts in the same war -- a war for the preservation of the unique American creation known as Judeo-Christian civilization.
Me: Now I understand what he's saying and I agree with several of his specific points but he glosses over the point which should supercede all others: "secular nihilists" -- or whatever you want to call them -- aren't murdering people. They aren't blowing up buildings, hijacking planes or shooting at our soldiers either. To date, no gay dudes have been caught on international flights trying to ignite their shoes.
In short, Prager equates a metaphorical war with a literal one and not once does he distinguish between the two. Moreover these are by no means "the same war." And to say so is to practice precisely the sort of moral equivalence we complain about when it comes from the left. As much as I disagree with them, it is no more fair or accurate to say that gay marriage activists are trying to "destroy" America than it is to say that conservative activists are from "the Taliban wing" of the Republican Party (never mind all the Bush=Hitler nonsense). If it's wrong when Bob Herbert says that cutting back on on a remedial reading program at a public university amounts to "ethnic cleansing" it's just as wrong for Dennis Prager to say that peaceful -- but wrong -- leftwingers are largely indistinguishable from people who would use nuclear weapons on us if they could (he's also wrong to say only leftwingers support gay marriage). The difference is that I expect such silliness from Bob Herbert.
Posted at 12:12 PM
RAMESH, KASS, ETC. [KJL ]
RP has a piece here about the mini-controversy in the blogosphere about the Kass Commission being suddenly stacked. What’s especially infuriating about the unnecessary martyrdom opportunity provided one of the ex-members, Elizabeth Blackburn, is that evidently the whole thing could have been avoided (disingenuous claims that the deck has been stacked all along aside) had their been a little prep work done—by someone who handles press. Blackburn says she wasn’t warned that she’d be kicked off, but folks familiar with the situation point out to me she attended 15 out of 30 of the council’s meetings. Seems like there would have been an easy way to make her removal a non-surprise (and maybe she wasn’t surprised as she says she was, but there should have been a statement or something making that clear already available to the press officer the Washington Post called, etc.). Furthermore, William May’s exit was evidently of his own doing—he has not been quoted in the press yet, so far as I’ve seen, but I’m told he wanted out—he’s recently retired and didn’t want to have to travel to D.C. for the meetings. Again, could've been avoided.
Posted at 12:11 PM
HE GETS IT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, As a military man, I have always agreed that something like pillow fights would be preferrable to bullets, missiles and bombs. (Although nuclear fallout does provide for some really outstanding sunsets!) The problem is, of course, to what do you escalate when the other guy cheats and brings a knife to a pillowfight?
Posted at 11:44 AM
JEWS = AMERICANS CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Posted at 11:24 AM
SIGH [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader is concerned:
I do nout understand what Mr. Goldberg is trying to say.
Me: No, I don't actually agree with Alice Walker. My joke was simply pointing to the fact that A) it would be much cheaper to fight wars with pillows stuffed with food and music (though canned soup and CD boxes would hurt like the dickens) and B) if in fact wars could be fought with pillow fights it would be better (assuming that the United States of America enjoyed overwhelming pillow-superiority, I'll be damned if I'm going to relinquish, say, California simply because the ChiComs have superior numbers of pillow-fighters!). I hope my sarcasm is more clear now.
Posted at 11:22 AM
NOBEL IAEA? [KJL]
Record 194 nominations for Nobel Peace Prize
Posted at 11:20 AM
OVER-LONG OSCARS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Calpundit makes an excellent point. Writers like Tom Shales complain every year that the Oscars went too long as if this "mistake" stemmed from a lack of discipline on the part of the producers when in reality the show has to be exactly -- or darn close to exactly -- as long as the producers want it to be.
Posted at 11:16 AM
AMERICANS ARE ALL JEWS [Jonah Goldberg]
Good article at Reason on growing anti-Semitism in Iraq. I particularly liked this part because if it were true that America was entirely Jewish there would be a lot fewer complaints about Jews:
For a journalist, not a day goes by without mention of Jews and Israel. "We are Muslims!" a taxi driver declared proudly during an evening ride to a hotel. "And Jews come to our land?" When asked to whom he was referring, he said: "They are all Jews. The Americans are all Jews and mercenaries. We know their religion." Another taxi driver explained that "America and the Jews are one. We know this from their interests, their relationships, and America’s defense of the Jews....America and Jews are the same because they have the same goals and the same faith." An angry man in the market of Abu Ghraib, a town west of Baghdad, explained that "the Americans are Jews. Their work is Jewish. Nobody accepts them."
Posted at 11:04 AM
ALICE WALKER: TOUGH-MINDED REALIST [Jonah Goldberg ]
You laugh, but she is technically correct:
"If we want to fight people in the world, we should fight them with pillows -- pillows stuffed with food, medicine, music. ... That would be so much cheaper than bombs."
Posted at 10:55 AM
EDWARDS ETHICAL LAPSE? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Did Senator Edwards improperly provide a loan to a federal judge presidign over a case in which his wife was involved? That's the allegation.
Posted at 10:38 AM
COLLUSION MEMO REPORT DELAYED [Jonathan H. Adler]
This morning, The Hill reports that the Sergeant-at-Arms' report has been delayed "as a former committee aide stepped forward with new information that seems to undercut Democratic claims that a criminal investigation was warranted." According to the former aide, it was well known files on the Judiciary Committee's server were generally accessible and saving confidential memos on the server was "sort of like leaving a memo face up on your desk and leaving for the weekend." The Hill also reports that some Senators on the Judiciary Committee hope to redact portions of the final report before it is made public, perhaps to "protect" other staffers from potential embarrassment.
Posted at 10:35 AM
MOVIE-WATCHING COPS [KJL]
Not just ungenerous, Rod--wasting NYPD manpower. "Hate-crimes" officers (shouldn't very cop be on that beat, since most crimes probably have something to do with hate...but, anyway) have been assigned (now, its a recommendation) to watching The Passion, to make sure no one jumps up from their seat looking for a Jew. (Bill Donohue is on the case.)
Posted at 10:30 AM
COBURN FOR SENATE? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Former Rep. Tom Coburn enters the Oklahoma Senate race.
Posted at 10:25 AM
WHO ARE WE, ANYWAY? [Rod Dreher]
Well, Mel Gibson's Jesus movie has been in theaters for almost a week now, and so far, there have been no synagogue bombings, or Bible-Belt pogroms. Do you think maybe the Jewish leaders who anticipated these things might admit that they were a tad ungenerous to their Christian neighbors? YEsterday, for instance, I read an email from a Jewish Dallas Morning News reader. The man mentioned that he warned a friend of his to be careful about displaying his Jewishness while this movie is popular. I thought, Do you really think Christians are a drooling mob of anti-Semites ready to leap at the opportunity to attack Jews? I completely understand the fears and concerns that Jews had about this movie, but I've got to say that it gets to me that so many have so little faith in the hearts and minds of Christians in this, the most philosemitic (thank God) nation on earth, besides Israel, of course.
Dallas is full of evangelicals, and if, God forbid, someone were to harm a synagogue or a single Jew over this film, you'd see an outpouring of Christian condemnation and support for the Jewish community like you wouldn't believe. It's painful to think that so many of us Christians are thought to be barely weaned off the Jew-hating that we presumably received with our Sunday School lessons; some comments made by Christian leaders, reminding Christians that we should not blame Jews for killing Jesus, do not help much.
Anyway, this terrific piece by Mark Shea perfectly captures the reaction that I had, and many Christians I know had, to the film.
Posted at 10:23 AM
RE CRONKITE [Jonah Goldberg]
That's why I never married a dude! It never came up.
Posted at 10:15 AM
CRONKITE: I COULD'VE MARRIED A GUY [Tim Graham]
The San Francisco Chronicle asked Walter Cronkite to what he attributed the longevity of his own marriage to Betsy: "I do think one of the factors was we were of different sexes." He looked delighted as the laughter billowed around the room. "That doesn't mean I wouldn't have been happy to be married to several friends I had of the same sex," he followed. "It just never came up in our particular relations."
Posted at 10:14 AM
CATHOLIC CHARITIES DECISION [Jonathan H. Adler]
I am not so sure that the California Supreme Court's decision that Catholic Charities must comply with a state law requiring the inclusion of contraception in employer-provided health plans is all that outrageous. For years the Supreme Court has held, correctly in my view, that generally applicable laws that infringe on religious practice are nonetheless valid. If, as the California Supreme Court maintains, Catholic Charities does not fit into the statute's narrowly drawn exemption for relgious institutions, I do not see why it should be unconstitutional to impose the same requirement on Catholic Charities that is imposed on every employer in the state. In other words, conservatives should direct their outrage at the California legislature, not the California courts.
Posted at 10:09 AM
ARRRGGGHHH!!!!!! [Jonah Goldberg ]
Enough! I don't like bullies. Never have. And I don't think we have to accept bullying simply because bullying is a permanent feature of the human landscape. But what the hell is the Federal government doing spending an iota of time on this issue?
I don't blame "compassionate conservatism" for the new Federal war on bullying, but I don't give Bush any credit either for having this happen on his watch. This follows the classic pattern of gitchy-goo government nicey-nice. Education activists identify a problem. They call the Today Show crowd and the coverage concentrates on some bad things happening to some cute kids and then the logical response is Washington must do something about it. Nonsense. Just because there are problems in America does not mean that the government in Washington needs to worry its pretty little head with them.
I mean how much more nanny state can you get than literally having some little kid in Oklahoma whine, "Uncle Sam! Timmy's picking on me!"
Posted at 10:03 AM
SUPER TUES IN OHIO [KJL]
Kevin Holtsberry blogs from the state.
Posted at 10:00 AM
WILSON'S BOOK [Jonathan H. Adler]
Joseph Wilson is now writing a book, reports Calpundit.
Posted at 09:59 AM
DEBATING LOCKE V. DAVEY [Jonathan H. Adler]
The folks at the Claremont Institute are debating the merits of the Supreme Court's Locke decision upholding Washington State's exclusion of divinity students from a state scholarship program. Tom West defends the ruling, Ken Masugi attacks it, and West replies. (Link via Stuart Buck.)
Posted at 09:58 AM
THE WORSHIP OF CODE [Tim Graham]
Hurray for Jennifer Braceras for comparing the media sourness over "The Passion of the Christ" with their loving embrace of "The Da Vinci Code." ABC is the starkest example of this trend. Their Prime Time special with Mel Gibson asked tough questions of the director, and then brought on a cavalcade of expert opinions to quibble with the historical reliability of the film and question whether it will offend people. But in November, ABC's one-hour special on "The Da Vinci Code" was clearly promotional and only interviewed experts who would lend credibility to its bizarre fictional thesis that Jesus and Mary Magdalene moved to France. See more on that spectacle here.
Posted at 09:54 AM
THE CBC [Jonah Goldberg]
I listened to the Elijah Cummings, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus last night go on about how the CBC is the "conscience of the Congress" and "the country."
I'm sorry, but this is just so much garbage and it only serves to highlight the arrogance and delusions of the black left today. There isn't a single issue -- including Civil Rights -- that I look to the CBC for moral authority on. There may be individuals within it who have some gravitas, but as a group they're little more than a leftwing cabal of patronage seeking leftwingers eager to call their opponents on almost every public policy issue "racists." It takes a lot of chuztpah for anybody to claim for themselves the role of "conscience" for other people. The notion that John Conyers is someone anybody should defer to because of his moral stature is laughable.
Posted at 09:18 AM
VOODOO POLITICS [John J. Miller]
The Congressional Black Caucus promises to be a singularly unhelpful group of politicians as we confront the mess in Haiti. In today's Washington Post, its chairman, Elijah Cummings, seems to give credence to the claim that Aristide was "kidnapped" by U.S. soldiers. "As far as what has happened to President Aristide, we members of Congress will not stand around and watch a democracy being taken apart by our country," he said. Someone should tell Cummings that the Haitians have done quite a job of taking apart democracy all by themselves. What we're trying to do right now--in conjunction with France, for crying out loud--is end the anarchy.
Posted at 09:08 AM
NO DIVERSITY AMONG THE GREENS [KJL]
Greenpeace founder is branded an eco-traitor for evolution in thought: says chill on the rainforests, nuke power cool...
Posted at 09:01 AM
DERSHOWITZ & MIDDLE EAST STUDIES [Stanley Kurtz]
Academic opponents of HR 3077, the bill that would reform the system of government subsidies to Middle East and other area studies programs, have been telling lies about the bill for months now. Again and again, the academics say that the bill will have the government controlling the college curriculum. This is simply untrue. The bill contains a provision that explicitly forbids government control of the college curriculum. Here, for example, is Princeton's own government lobbyist knocking down these false charges against the bill. The constantly repeated lie claimed another victim the other day-Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz. Until he was set straight, Dershowitz was actually parroting the line of the very same radical academics who he has so consistently and courageously fought. Martin Kramer has the details.
Posted at 08:57 AM
BAGHDAD & KARBALA ATTACKS [Andrew Apostolou [currently travelling in Iraq]]
The bomb attacks today in Baghdad and Karbala were timed to coincide with the end of the Shiite Muslim day of mourning known as Ashore (explanation available here). Some form of terrorism was anticipated, especially following the bloody attack on the Imam Ali shrine in Naiad in August 2003. Security is difficult to maintain at such events, no matter how obvious a terrorist target they may be. The crowds during Ashore are large. An estimated five million pilgrims were expected to come to attend the festival from Iran alone, while thousands of other pilgrims have come from countries such as Lebanon and Pakistan.
There was a similar attack, probably by Sunni Muslim extremists, on Pakistani Shia Muslims in the city of Quetta on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border (story here) Sunni extremists in Quetta are sheltering a number of al Qaeda and Taliban members who fled the U.S. liberation of Afghanistan in 2001.
The attacks in Baghdad and Kerbala are part of a strategy being followed by the al Qaeda terrorists and their allies among the former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Unable to successfully inflict large scale U.S. casualties, one only sees U.S. soldiers infrequently and in small numbers, the terrorists are instead aiming for the base of U.S. support: the Shia and the Kurds. Iraqi Kurdistan is still in mourning from the terrorist attack that killed 118 persons in Erbil on February 1, 2004 and the authorities here in Sulaimani have tightened security in anticipation of a possible attack in the city. A Kurdistan-wide demonstration planned by the Kurdish referendum movement, which has assembled 1.5 million signatures seeking a vote on whether Kurdistan should be independent, was cancelled because security could not be assured.
The terrorists’ hatred for the Shia and the Kurds was outlined in a letter sent by terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (full text available in English here) that was captured in January 2004. Hassan Ghul, an associate of Zarqawi, was detained by Kurdish forces of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan as he attempted to leave Iraq and enter Iran. Kurdish intelligence discovered that Ghul had a CD-ROM in his possession with an unsigned letter in Arabic addresses to unnamed terrorist leaders. The assumption is that Zarqawi was the author and that the letter was destined ultimately for Osama bin Laden. In the letter, Zarqawi had called the Iraqi Shia Muslims “an insurmountable obstacle, a lurking snake”. According to Zarqawi, Shiism is “the looming danger and the true challenge.” Today, Zarqawi was true to his word.
Posted at 08:50 AM
THERE IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE [Tim Graham]
The outrageous California Catholic-charities decision yesterday ought to suggest that despite what so-called "gay marriage" advocates say about leaving church marriage alone, the left will take their vision of "human rights" directly into trampling over the rights of worship and the separation of church and state. The churches will be dictated to support the social-liberal agenda. In the more "progressive" countries, free speech has been curtailed, so religious people may not declare homosexuality as sinful in polite society.
This is a primary reason why the President's faith-based initiative didn't go anywhere in Congress. Joe Lieberman and others demanded that faith-based charities that took government grants could not be allowed to "discriminate" against hiring homosexuals or others who failed to agree with their religious beliefs.
Posted at 07:59 AM
AGENT CODY BANKS HATES JEWS [Jonah Goldberg]
Spurred by the success of Mel Gibson's recent movie "The Passion of Christ" studios have begun to target the massive audience who apparently desire to see movies which are accused of being anti-semitic. Through six days in theatres Mel Gibson's "Passion of Christ" has grossed over $125 million. MGM has jumped on the band wagon first and completely re-edited and over-dubbed "Cody Banks II: Destination London".
Posted at 07:39 AM
Monday, March 01, 2004
COLLUSION MEMOS REPORT DUE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Washington Times reports that the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms' final report on how Republican Judiciary Committee staffers accessed confidential Democratic memos outlining opposition to Bush judicial nominees will be submitted today, but the whole report may not be made public.
Posted at 09:07 PM
LIFE ON MARS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, life on Mars is 'news'? I think not. As I thought everyone knew, Martians are alive, well and speaking Hungarian.
Posted at 06:00 PM
MARS DISCOVERY REVEALED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Very exciting news indeed!
Posted at 05:59 PM
WONDERFUL HOWARD KURTZ PIECE ON DEAN YESTERDAY [Rich Lowry]
"In different conversations and in different ways, according to several people who worked with him, Dean said at the peak of his popularity late last year that he never expected to rise so high, that he didn't like the intense scrutiny, that he had just wanted to make a difference. `I don't care about being president,' he said. Months earlier, as his candidacy was taking off, he told a colleague: `The problem is, I'm now afraid I might win.'"
More (proving that Dean's candidacy was always sorta phony):
"The warfare continued over Dean's message, the outsider-against-Washington-special-interests pitch that Trippi had developed in a PowerPoint presentation, tested in polls and, despite O'Connor's concerns, used to sell the candidate to major labor unions.
Dean's policy director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, declared in an e-mail: `The message of the campaign is simply no longer our campaign vs. the special interests. This is not what the governor wants to be saying -- or frankly what he ever really wanted to be saying.'
Joe Drymala, the chief speechwriter who received the e-mail, resigned in protest. `I refused to believe it because I didn't want to,' he said. `To believe that was to believe that Howard Dean was a fraud.'"
Posted at 05:53 PM
COMMUNISM AND CREATIVITY [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, not all of Nicholas' examples are terribly well chosen. Gumilev was shot in 1921, by, ahem, the Bolsheviks less than five years after the Communist revolution. It's true that both his widow, Akhmatova and his friend, Mandelstam (who was to perish in the Gulag) did produce wonderful poetry relatively deep into the Soviet era, but much of this was in reaction to the oppression and cruelty of the regime. Both were well-established poets before the revolution. Their creativity flourished despite, but not because of, Communism. Bulgakov, another name on that list, would have thought the same. He asked Stalin for permission to emigrate. Needless, to say, his request was denied.
Posted at 05:45 PM
CAPRICORN ONE: POSSIBILITIES [Jonah Goldberg]
Actually, that makes me think. What are the things they could find on Mars that would either be too big to report because of the mass-panic that would set in or so big that Americans would immediately assume the government was making it all up like in Capricorn One. Here are some possibilities:
• The Bible, a Crucifix or the Koran would definitely cause lots of folks to stock up on bottled water.
Posted at 04:56 PM
RE NASA NEWS [Jonah Goldberg]
Dude, what if it's Jimmy Hoffa?
Posted at 04:48 PM
NASA NEWS [KJL]
A "space source" tells me "nasa is gonna make a *big* announcement tomorrow about having found something significant on mars. probably water; if they found, say, amino acids it would be a huge deal because it would be a strong indicator of life."
Posted at 04:44 PM
CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm still ambivalent about the FMA, but I'm confused by one of the main arguments of its opponents. I keep hearing that it's terrible to "change" or "tinker" with the Constitution. I'm sympathetic, but the gist of these arguments makes it sound like the Constitution currently has a fixed meaning. I wish! In fact, the folks fretting over changing the Constitution are largely -- though not entirely -- the same people who celebrate the pernicious doctrine of a "living Constitution." There are conservative opponents of the FMA who are consistent in their opposition to both an amendment judicial activism.
Which brings me to my confusion.
What I don't understand is why it's a great thing for unaccountable judges to change the meaning of the Constitution without a public debate while it is some form of tyranny for the House, Senate and fifty states to debate the issue over the course of months or years under the glaring spotlight of the media.
Before you answer that an amendment is more permanent, let me pre-emptively say: Not so fast. Amendments can be, and have been, repealed or superceded. Meanwhile, I'm hardly convinced that decades of activist jurisprudence could be rolled back -- and I'm certainly not persuaded that it could be done more quickly than the repeal of a Constitutional amendment. For example, tell me exactly what could be done under our regime to reverse the Supreme Court's banning of sodomy laws under Lawrence. I'm against sodomy laws, but I don't think they're necessarily unconstitutional. In effect, the Supreme Court amended the constitution just last year and the pro-gay marriage folks cheered.
Of course, there are other arguments against an FMA, but particularly since so many advocates of gay marriage openly celebrated the flagrantly illegal weddings in San Francisco and elsewhere as well as the flagrantly activist re-writing (i.e. "tinkering" "changing" etc) of the Mass. State constitution, it's increasingly difficult to take their arguments as good faith efforts. Indeed, my guess is if there was hope it passing we'd be hearing how we need an FMA to require all states to recognize gay marriages, the sanctity of the Constitution notwithstanding.
Posted at 04:41 PM
ITHACA MAYOR WILL RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGES [KJL]
Posted at 04:36 PM
EMAIL FROM RUSSIA [John Derbyshire]
This reader takes exception to my remark, in my January Diary, about the communist states being uncreative:
"Dear Mr. Derbyshire---Early soviet Russia saw by far the greatest works of poetry of this century, and arguably its greatest works of prose if one excludes the works P.G. Wodehouse.
"Zoshchenko, Bulgakoff, Ilf & Petroff, Mandelshtam, Akmatova, Gumileff, etc. For a fairly bigoted partisan of English literature, I have to admit that Russian writers of the early twentieth century blow anything we did out of the water (once again, excepting Wodehouse).
"I loathe communism more than anyone, but communist regimes were just as human as the West, despite their inhuman cruelty. To confine creativity to the capitalist west smacks a bit of ideology, which is rather not in the conservative way, I think.
Posted at 04:28 PM
CATHOLIC CHARITIES [KJL]
must offer contraceptive coverage, California supreme court says. Appears outrageous, but where we have been headed for awhile.
Posted at 02:55 PM
ROUNDUP [Stanley Kurtz ]
This columnist at The Arizona Republic seems to agree with my arguments on gay marriage. I’m grateful for the support.
I published a condensed version of my Scandinavia argument as an Op Ed in this past Sunday’s edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. Thanks so much to the Chronicle for allowing me a place in that critical forum at this moment.
This excellent piece on the president and FMA came out this past weekend.
Posted at 02:48 PM
SLIPPING [Stanley Kurtz ]
In “Beyond Gay Marriage,” I traced out a slippery slope, at the bottom of which “marriage would be severed, not only from the complementarity of the sexes but also from its connection to romance and exclusivity–and even from the hope of permanence.” The Nation magazine has now gazed upon the future I sketched out. It’s conclusion? “Gee. Sounds good.” I’m so used to having hot-headed skeptics furiously denounce my slippery slope argument, it’s almost a relief to see The Nation doing everything in its power to roll us downhill. No doubt my critics will now explain why outright advocacy of the “slippery slope” by a key organ on the left really doesn’t mean anything. Of course, I don’t expect to see these radical voices dominate during the height of the battle for same-sex marriage. But after gay marriage has been legalized, you can bet The Nation’s radicals will emerge in full force. Those radicals will make the most of gay marriage–the ultimate weapon in their fight to define marriage out of existence. You can almost hear them licking their chops.
Posted at 02:35 PM
CULTURE WAR OR NO? [Stanley Kurtz]
I've been arguing for years against the notion that the culture war is over-or fated to fade. A culture war may not be the best thing for our country, but as I see it, we'll be enduring one for the indefinite future nonetheless. In that sense, it was gratifying to see Robin Toner's piece on the front page of the New York Times "Week in Review" section. Toner acknowledged that our culture war is "back" in full flower. (As far as I'm concerned, it never went away.) In "Wishing Away the Culture War," http://www.policyreview.org/jun01/kurtz.html I explain most clearly and completely why the culture war will not disappear. But take a look at this three year old piece, "We've Only Just Begun." There I not only took on the New York Times and Andrew Sullivan for claiming that the culture wars were over, I also pointed to the newly filed Goodridge case in Massachusetts as the key to the future of the culture war.
Posted at 02:32 PM
FOUR-FIFTHS GOOD NEWS, ONE FIFTH BAD [Peter Robinson ]
In commenting on The Passion, my friend Bill Park, who is, not incidentally, a man of wide learning and profound Christian faith, made what I considered an interesting and entirely plausible point: That by concentrating exclusively on Christ’s physical suffering, Mel Gibson had left out the theological context—Christ’s divinity, Christ’s teachings—that make the suffering meaningful. (In my posting, I quoted excerpts of a review Bill has written.) But all weekend, the emails streamed in.
About four-fifths of my correspondents described the effects The Passion has had on them personally. One saw the movie last week, then returned to church yesterday for the first time in years. Another went directly from the theater to visit his mother, who is ill and living in a nursing home, because the film made him want to spend time with her. Another explained that the film has helped him to pray the rosary. Still another, a widow, said the film reminded her that Our Lady understood the suffering she had endured as her husband lay dying of cancer. There is no gainsaying personal experience such as this. Something powerful and wonderful is going on here.
But the remaining one-fifth or so of my correspondents wrote to me in terms of abuse—any critic of The Passion is “spiritually blind,” to quote one of the milder of these emails, or, to quote another, “an ass.” Now, here at the Corner we all get a lot of nasty emails on every subject. But vitriol in defense of the Prince of Peace?
Posted at 02:28 PM
RACIAL PREFERENCES ARE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH [Roger Clegg]
First sentence from an article in today’s Washington Post: “Over a million Montgomery and Prince George's county residents were left with a two-week supply of clean water this month after the governing board of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission delayed voting on a contract to buy a key chemical because of a desire to hire a minority subcontractor.”
Posted at 02:21 PM
RE: KURTZ [Tim Graham]
Jonah, it was nice to see Howard Kurtz note a liberal media bias, as he has before on the big sexual issues (abortion and homosexuality). But predictably, the popular Romenesko media-news site ignores his liberal-bias piece, picking his A-section item on endangered reporters instead.
Posted at 02:19 PM
I MADE A MISTAKE [Tim Graham]
Disney folks remind me that "Shrek" is a DreamWorks product (the animations there are run by former Disney executive Jeff Katzenberg). Sorry about that. So I guess it was a bizarre bit of promotion against the corporate interests of ABC. But my friend in Milwaukee will delight in knowing that "Shrek 2" features the vocal talents of CNN's own Larry King as "The Ugly Stepsister."
Posted at 01:19 PM
MEMES - BLEG [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'm looking for a good article/articles on a fairly discrete topic: the spread of an idea or sentiment around the world (or continent). I don't particularly care what the idea is, so much as the dynamics of its spread. For example, in 1968 there were mass student protests in France, Indonesia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Senegal, South Korea, Mexico and of course the United States. Obviously, these countries have very different cultures and communities and yet these students seemed united in a common desire. In Europe in 1848 something somewhat similar happened, in that rebellions and revolts erupted everywhere.
I'm much, much less interested in the content of the ideas than I am in getting a collection of examples of this sort of thing. Similarly, while I'm sure organizations -- linked Communist Parties for example -- sometimes explain what only appear to be simultaneous events, I'm not looking for anything about that either. I'm also much less interested in the dynamic in the age of the internet and mass-communication where it's pretty obvious how ideas spread. What I want are examples from before, say, WWII of various fads and fashions, philosophical and political which seemed to erupt everywhere almost at once. Thoughts?
Posted at 01:13 PM
LEFTIES FOR LAWBREAKING [Jonah Goldberg ]
Howie Kurtz tackles the pro-gay marriage crowd's double standard for lawbreaking.
Posted at 12:55 PM
MONSTER CRABS [Jonah Goldberg]
John - Something is weird about that story -- other than its gravitational pull forr off-color jokes. Why are fisherman restrained in their fishing of these crabs if these crabs are bad? Shouldn't fishermen be allowed to overfish the population if they are A) non-indigenous and B) harmful to the ecosystem?
Posted at 12:49 PM
MANUFACTURING, HIRING, UP [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 12:24 PM
UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Whether they're high or low depends on who's president, according to a very nice analysis by Tim Blair: (Nod to Instapundit)
Posted at 11:59 AM
BARBARA INTERVIEWS A CARTOON [Tim Graham]
My pal in Milwaukee informs me I missed another sad episode of corporate-conglomerate mass promotion:
"Did you see the Barbara Walters special? Besides the three main segments, there was a fourth "interview," with the Shrek character, that of course was essentially an ad for Shrek 2. They even managed to mention that it opens May 21. Not that America needed another few minutes with Matt LeBlanc, but...It was just typical Disney synergistic promotional excess. I even felt a little sorry for Barbara, who, after all, is sort of a journalist. Sort of."
This reminds me of how you might actually feel mildly sorry for eternally pompous Bryant Gumbel when CBS had him preside over "Survivor" cast reunions in prime time.
Posted at 11:56 AM
CRUSTACEAN WATCH [John J. Miller]
Another frightening legacy of Stalinism: monster crabs. The environmentalists are worried.
Posted at 11:46 AM
THE POLITICS OF FEAR [Jonah Goldberg ]
Here's a nice piece on the propaganda war against the Patriot Act. It occurs to me that the next time we hear John Kerry et al bemoaning the administration's exploitation of "fear" to win politically, we might ask how the campaign to make Americans terrified of their own government is morally superior. After all, I'm constantly seeing these ACLU ads in magazines about how we should fight the police state. If you want to say that the administration is using the politics of fear, I'm willing to have that argument. But it seems to me, so are the Democrats. What it boils down to is one side says fear Americans the other side says fear people who want to blow-up Americans. That's a good debate for the Right, as far as I'm concerned.
Posted at 10:35 AM
ME ON CULTURE WARS [Jonah Goldberg ]
In yesterday's LA Times. I put on my David Brooks hat and criticize conservatives and liberals, but the left comes in for the biggest whacking. For example:
Meanwhile, American liberalism has grown cowardly and anti-democratic. It boldly spouts clichés about "giving power to the people," but in reality it increasingly distrusts the people. Unable to win at the polls and unwilling to compromise on ideological objectives, liberals empower judges to fight their battles for them. Gay marriage advocates claim to favor federalism, but federalism requires that local communities democratically decide the issue. That's what happened in a referendum in California, and yet when Mayor Gavin Newsom broke the law, the harshest criticism from gay activists was Massachusetts' Rep. Barney Frank's admonition that the mayor's "timing" was bad.
Posted at 09:41 AM
VEN.'S CHAVEZ WOULD GET BLEEPED [KJL]
Calls W. an a**hole.
Posted at 07:54 AM
AUBADE [John Derbyshire]
Awake! For Morning in the bowl of night
Has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight.
And lo! The hunter of the East
Has caught the Sultan's turret in a noose of light.
Posted at 06:40 AM
DRAFT IRAQI CONSTITUTION [KJL]
This sounds like somewhat of a victory--though a great deal of work to be done to make sure the final constitution turns out right:
The governing council members agreed to compromise language on several difficult issues, the Iraqi officials said. Islam was to be designated "a source" of legislation, not "the primary source," as had been demanded by several Muslim members of the council.
Posted at 05:20 AM
THE FRENCH [KJL]
won't be seeing The Passion.
Posted at 12:26 AM
FINAL OBSERVATIONS [Michael Graham]
If the Academy Awards demonstrated anything, it was the weakness of the films in 2003. ROTK towered over everything else. I remember thinking that one of my fondest movie memories of the year was hearing the song from "A Mighty Wind," a funny, but hardly ambitious film.
The best picture nominees included one weak film (Lost In Translation) and one real dog (Master and Commander). In many ways, "Finding Nemo" was the film highlight of the year.
So far 2004, is looking much stronger. After all, the big movie this time last year was "Daredevil."
On behalf of movie fans everywhere, let's hope the good news continues.
Posted at 12:22 AM
SEAN PENN COULDN’T HELP HIMSELF [KJL ]
“If there’s one thing actors know--other than there are no WMDS—“
Posted at 12:05 AM
Sunday, February 29, 2004
MAYBE MEL WAS WRONG [Michael Graham]
When Leni Riefenstahl's face appeared in the homage section of the Academy Awards, nobody booed. Do you really think the Hollywood Left is so inconsistent that the would let Hitler's favorite film maker get a pass, but boo Gibson's sincere telling of the Passion?
Uh, maybe Mel did make the right decision.
Posted at 11:19 PM
PACIFIST PREENING [Tim Graham]
Errol Morris appears to be a moral midget. Can we say that? How can you compare Vietnam to the current war? One went on for a decade plus and ended with concentration camps in South Vietnam. The other flushed Saddam Hussein down a historical latrine in three weeks. I hereby nominate that from now on the winner of the best long-form documentary gets fifteen seconds to prattle until the band swells up and relieves us all.
Posted at 11:06 PM
WHY ARE THE ACTORS PLAYING NICE? [Michael Graham]
Do you think it's fear of the FCC, or fear of the fans themselves? I get a real sense that, while Hollywood may be anxious to speak out about the war, the American people just aren't interested in hearing it.
Posted at 10:52 PM
SUBDUED ANTIWAR MOMENT [KJL]
You could feel the relief in the room, that they finally had an antiwar moment, with the award speech for The Fog of War.
Posted at 10:46 PM
O.K., SOMEBODY'S GOT TO SAY IT [Michael Graham]
and it might as well, be me: "Lost in Translation" just isn't that good. I love Bill Murray, but this is a classic case of the clothes-free emperor. Change the director's name to Sofia Smith or Sofia Jones, and this film barely gets noticed.
As an English Lit major, I understand the concept of the small, subtle film with modest goal and limited range. But "modest" doesn't nearly do the plot or character development justice in this case. Negligible" and "nonexistent" is much more accurate.
Posted at 10:27 PM
ALGER HISS [Father George W. Rutler]
Publication of Max Frankel's superb article on G. Edward White's "Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars" (Sunday Feb.29) may be the closest the New York Times will come to apologizing for its devotion to Alger Hiss, lugubriously lighting a candle for him on every birthday until his death, grasping at spurious posthumous evidence for his innocence, and as late as November 1992 running Christopher Lehman-Haupt's morally acrobatic obituary of Herbert Aptheker. During the Jubilee Year of 2000 after the Pope had made florid apologies for various crusaders and inquisitors long long dead, the New York Times editorial of May 14 demanded that he also apologize for the Church's teachings on contraception, abortion, ordination of women, and homosexuality, thus requiring the virtuous to apologize for virtue. If the Grey Lady persists in denying natural law, she at least should apologize for denying history, and finally admit the treason of Hiss.
Posted at 10:26 PM
OSCAR'S ART SONGS [Tim Graham]
My reaction to the song break was: wow, all these nominated songs are so serious and artsy! Usually this category is filled with Disney cartoon songs (fun, even classic, but not weighty) or dumb cartoon songs (remember "Blame Canada" from the South Park movie?). Loved the Elvis Costello tune. One of the best things about this is that most Americans have probably never heard crystal-clear Alison Krauss sing on television, and they're probably saying "who is THAT?"
Posted at 10:17 PM
JADA PINKETT-SMITH REMINDS ME [Michael Graham]
that there are plenty of big movies not even mentioned tonight: "The Matrix: Reloaded," "The Matrix: Revolutions" and of course "The Matrix: Totally And Utterly Ruined By Its Sequels."
Plus "Radio," "Bruce Almighty," "The Incredible Hulk" and (least missed of all) "Gigli."
Anything else missing of note?
Posted at 10:01 PM
WHO AM I TO DISAGREE? [John Hood]
Annie Lennox is rumored to be a singer. Now you know why your mother said not to believe rumors.
Posted at 09:50 PM
FIRST BLEEP! [Michael Graham]
Owen Wilson... but what was it? It seemed tame, but I don't read lips.
Posted at 09:32 PM
NOT BAD [John Hood]
I'd have to say that, so far, the Academy Awards aren't nearly as horrifying as they could be. Billy Crystal is back, singing show tunes and wrestling bad jokes to the ground until they surrender. Tim Robbins won the first Oscar and didn't say anything painful. Jon Voight's daughter has lots of tatoos. Lord of the Rings is on track to sweep pretty much everything it's up for, thus reinforcing one's faith in justice and the cosmic order. Some of the men are actually dressed for the evening. Most of the women aren't dressed as ladies of the evening. Eastwood, Gibson, and Tolkien are among the dominant themes of the banter. Michael Moore got stomped. Cold Mountain (local fave in my Hood, so to speak) got an early statue. I'm not shuddering any more, though the night is young.
Posted at 09:24 PM
WHAT? RENEE BEAT MARCIA? [Michael Graham]
No WAY! Her southern accent was straight from the set of Hee Haw! Of course, it wasn't nearly as bad as the southern drawls from the Aussie Nicole Kidman or the Brit Jude Law, but still...
Marcia Gay Harden was the winner here. She wuz robbed.
Posted at 09:23 PM
AP'S COVERAGE OF THE AA'S INCLUDES [Michael Graham]
...this description: "[Crystal] joked that for the first time, the show was being simulcast in Aramaic, a poke at 'The Passion of the Christ,' Mel Gibson's divisive religious film that took in $117.5 million in its first five days. The movie was done in Aramaic and Latin, with English subtitles."
So now it's official: The media shorthand for Gibson's "Passion" will be "divisive religious film." Wanna bet a Nexis/Lexis search of "The Last Temptation of Christ" doesn't turn up a SINGLE story with a similar description of the film.
Posted at 09:17 PM
GREAT PRE-SHOW ON E! [Tim Graham]
It was HILARIOUS watching the director panic each time the overplasticized face of Joan Rivers got on camera...Crowd shot! Crowd shot! Also hilarious when Julia Roberts said to Joan that if she (Julia) had said she was nominated tonight, Joan would have said "congratulations!"
Posted at 09:15 PM
your Oscar blogging is making me more than a little guilty I slept through the last two Democratic debates.
Posted at 09:14 PM
DID I SAY CRYSTAL WAS WORKING HARD? [Michael Graham]
Robin Williams makes me tired.
He USED to make me laugh.
Posted at 09:06 PM
PERHAPS THIS FIRST WIN FOR LOTR EXPLAINS THE LACK OF PASSION (NO PUN INTENDED) [Michael Graham]
Master and Commander and The Last Samurai have excellent sets and would normally be contenders, but LOTR is such an overwhelming film accomplishments it's almost embarrassing to put the other films up against it.
When one film is dominating like this, it takes the excitement out of the show.
Posted at 09:04 PM
SUBDUED OSCARS [Michael Graham]
Even the clothes are relatively modest, though there's always a chance Angelina Jolie will flash something at us other than an odd tattoo.
Posted at 09:00 PM
TIM ROBBINS CONTENTS HIMSELF... [Michael Graham]
...with a PSA for survivors of sexual abuse. Nice sentiment, and certainly better than a gratuitous slam on the administration, but doesn't his linkage of his role in Mystic River to REAL abuse show the fundamental error of the self-important actor, namely that acting a role somehow gives you legitimacy on a serious subject?
It's similar to having actors and actresses testify before Congress about diseases they had...in a movie. Please, stop.
Posted at 08:58 PM
WHERE'S MEL? [Michael Graham]
Billy Crystal blew a line reaching for a chance to take a jab at him, but where is Gibson? According to the LA Times, he turned down a chance to be a presenter because he didn't want to get booed. Hmmm.....
Posted at 08:51 PM
BILLY CRYSTAL IS WORKING TOO HARD [Michael Graham ]
Poor guy. As a former standup, I can only imagine what it's like to have to carry the entire opening. C+ material, but he's given it his all.
And can't they get him some back-up singers? C'mon, cut the poor guy some slack. He's not Harry Conick, Jr. for cryin' out loud.
Posted at 08:50 PM
SHOCKING [KJL ]
Billy Crystal got through a Mel Gibson mention without completely panning the movie.
Posted at 08:49 PM
A MICHAEL MOORE MOMENT [Michael Graham ]
OK, watching Michael Moore get stomped by an oversized Tolkienized elephant made the otherwise lame opening worth while.
Posted at 08:37 PM
THE MAN’S RIGHT [KJL ]
The pre-show highlights were ABCers leaning over Alec Baldwin to fawn over Sandra Bullock. Remarkably unprofessional and painful, but CNN’s pre-show and the Rivers girls weren’t much better, from what little I saw of them.
Posted at 08:34 PM
SUFFERING THROUGH THE OSCARS [Michael Graham]
The pre-show has been PAINFUL! Ugh! The goons working the crowd are blumbling through the crowd. Some ABC talking hairdo actually called Elijah Wood "Everyone's favorite Frodo."
Posted at 08:31 PM
JOHN KERRY DISCOVERS THE BUSH DOCTRINE [Michael Graham]
John Kerry's take on Haiti from the Democrats' debate in NYC this morning: "This president always makes decisions late after things have happened that could have been different had the president made a different decision earlier," Kerry said. "I never would have allowed it to get out of control the way it did."
So if we're talking about a nation that supports international terror and the Islamo-Fascists who've killed thousands of Americans, President Bush is wrong (according to Kerry) for acting pre-emptively. But if it's a question of imposing a government on a nation that poses no threat to the US, then President Bush should have laid a little imperialism on Haiti a long time ago.
The Democrats' hypocrisy on Haiti vs. Iraq should be self-evident. Unfortunately, this story is being covered by CNN, who carefully avoid noticing hypocrisy on the Left whenever possible.
Posted at 05:59 PM
CATHARSIS WATCH, CONT'D [Peter Robinson]
There's no accounting for taste, or, evidently, catharsis, and since posting the critical assessment of The Passion by my friend Bill Park, I've received a bunch of emails that amount to testimonials.
From one of the most eloquent: "I have never had a more cathartic moment in my life than viewing the movie ["the Passion"].Whether it was the violent nature of the thing, or the brilliance ( I thought it brilliant), or something in me that recognized something in it, I do not know. But everything about my life has changed, for the better, for having viewed this movie.It has only been four days since I have seen it, but the effect seems to be growing. The message for me was as Mel put it; faith, love, and hope."
Posted at 05:56 PM
RE: DEAR FLOWER [John Derbyshire]
Here is the National Review paragraph on kimjongilia from our 8/11/03 issue (which was not digitized):
Axis of Eveil watch: On North Korea's Day of the Sun -- which is to say, the anniversary of the birth of the late Great Leader Kim Il Sung -- a large floral tribute from Yasser Arafat was delivered. Reported the Korean Central News Agency: "Shaher Mohammed Abdlah, Palestinian ambassador to the DPRK, placed the floral basket before [Kim's] statue and made a bow today. Written on the ribbon of the floral basket were letters: 'The Great Leader Kim Il Sung Will Be Immortal.'" The current Dear Leader Kim Jong Il has also been the recipient of flowers from Arafat, who must be running up quite a tab with the Ramallah branch of Interflora. Credit the PLO chairman with knowing the way to the hearts of his fellow dictators, at any rate. The North Korean regime has always had a strong horticultural theme, with the Kims, pere et fil, both having had flowers named after them: the kimilsungia (a hybrid orchid) and the kimjongilia (a variety of begonia), respectively. Botanical databases currently yield no references to yasserarafatia.
Posted at 05:55 PM
RE: BURGER HELL [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: Wimpy Bars! I am reeling from the Proustian flashbacks your post inspired.
You forgot some of the details, though: The greasy, dirty tables with ketchup spills apparently baked on to the surface; the drifts of cigarette butts where floor meets wall; the surly, spotty, gum-snapping teenage girl who flings the wimpyburger at you then, when you attempt to pay, says "I ain't got no change," in tones that suggest it is your fault; the crazy street person at the next table, muttering to himself about the evils of the Common Market; the adulterous couple sitting as far from the street window as they can get, interrupting their whispering to steal furtive glances around...
Ah, good times!
Posted at 05:53 PM
THE DEERFIELD MASSACRE [John J. Miller]
Today is the 300th anniversary of the Deerfield Massacre--an atrocity from one of the French and Indian Wars in which 300 marauders from New France targeted a small Massachusetts village, killed dozens of its inhabitants, and hauled away more for captivity and ransom. A striking number of the murders involved women and children, including babies. It was one of the most brutal events in our national history--and it has a lot to do with why my forthcoming book on Franco-American history (co-authored with Mark Molesky) is called Our Oldest Enemy.
Posted at 01:03 PM
ARISTIDE IS OUT [KJL]
Posted at 12:11 PM
LOST IN TRANSLATION, CTD. [Andrew Stuttaford]
A dissent from one reader too good not to pass on:
” They couldn’t go to sleep. I couldn’t stay awake.”
Posted at 12:03 PM
BURGER HELL [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, burger hell? That’s easy. A ‘Wimpy Bar’ somewhere in the UK around 1970. Outside it’s raining. Inside gray, pallid people stare glumly at a thin, curling slice of gray, pallid meat trapped between the two halves of a gray, pallid bun…
Admit it, you’ve been there. I know I have.
Posted at 11:58 AM
IRAN VS. KHADDAFI [KJL]
Mullahs fear outing.
Posted at 11:51 AM
PASSION, UNREDEEMED [Peter Robinson]
From my friend Bill Park, a scholar of film and literature—before moving out here to California, Bill taught English for many years at Sarah Lawrence—an assessment of Mel Gibson’s film:
“[S]hould the flagellation be alluded to, the results shown, but the actual whipping and gouging removed from view? The Greeks never exhibited such sights; the Elizabethans delighted in them. Our own age favors the Elizabethans. Ever since the Production Code was abandoned in 1967, the aesthetic of Hollywood has favored sensationalism, blood spattering and explosions as a kind of ballet of gore. Gibson has merely applied the aesthetic of Peckinpah and Tarantino to the Gospels….
" There is much to be said for making us sinners feel the sacrifice of Christ so that we may become more thankful....But…by limiting the film to this one aspect of Christ’s life on earth, and dwelling I think excessively on the torture and suffering, despite the flashbacks, which offer momentary relief from the sadism, the film evokes but one emotion—horror or pain. There’s no catharsis, and one is left at the end not edified but numb.”
Posted at 11:48 AM
RE: DEAR FLOWER [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: Who knew? Um, readers of National Review knew. We had a paragraph in "The Week," issue of 8/11/03, page 14, mentioning not only Kimjongilia, but also Kimilsongia.
Posted at 11:44 AM
THE VERY NUB OF IT [Peter Robinson]
A liberal coup.
I hadn't thought of it in quite that way until reading Rod's posting below, but the moment I did I had to grant that his formulation is not only arresting but precisely correct. In the space of two weeks, and without recourse to even the most rudimentary instruments of democracy, a couple of liberal local officials and a handful of liberal jurists have attempted to hijack the nation. The great mass of Americans may be forgiven, I think, if they respond by intermixing with their usual "affection and sympathy and mutual respect" (see Mike Potemra below) a growing righteous anger.
Posted at 11:43 AM
CHRISTIANS AGAINST MEL [John Derbyshire]
I have had a largish (15-20 items) mailbag from Christians who saw THE PASSION and hated it. Sample:
"I regret to inform you that I just walked out of The Passion of the Christ after 90 minutes because my time is valuable. All the controversies about it have obscured the fact that it is simply, qua movie, a lousy movie. It is violent in a meat-cutter sort of way that quickly becomes banal, melodramatic, over-acted, clumsy, illogical, tasteless, crude, weird, heavy-handed, badly lit, and badly scored. If it were about any other subject, it would not get a moment's notice.
"Please do not let your devotion to the Gospel make you think you must praise any attempt to put it on film. The elevation of the subject matter should make us demand more, not less, of its renderers.
"This film is a pure product of our debased contemporary culture, not an antidote to it. The only people who have anything to gain from seeing this are liberal Christians who are so sentimental that they have never faced the fact that, yes, Jesus was brutally executed."
"P.S. Concerning anti-Semitism: no, though it is obviously easy to twist this story that way if you really want."
Posted at 11:39 AM
NORN IRON [John Derbyshire]
The indispensable Kevin Myers on what a disaster Tony Blair has been for Northern Ireland. (N.B. To get that joke in the penultimate paragraph, you need to know that Portadown is a city in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, while Port-au-Prince is the capital of Haiti.)
Posted at 11:37 AM
MORE BOORSTIN [John J. Miller]
I had a chance to interview Boorstin a few years back when his book The Seekers was published. He invited me to his home in D.C.--it was a treat to see so many books in one place that wasn't a library. They lined his office from floor to ceiling. The thing I remember most is that he kept reference guides within easy reach of his desk--specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries of biography and science, and so on. It's a practice I've tried to duplicate in my own home. Also, his widow Ruth is a tremendously warm and gracious woman, plus an elegant poet. She has often contributed humorous items to the Wall Street Journal's "Salt and Pepper" column. Try her book Love is Not Because.
Posted at 08:54 AM
DANIEL BOORSTIN, RIP [John J. Miller]
The great historian Daniel Boorstin has died. He was a small-c conservative--not a card-carrying member of the movement, but a man whose life and work exemplified many of the things movement conservatives cherish. He wrote about American history because he loved America; he had a strong and contagious admiration for the traditions of Western civilization, and wrote about them as well. The modern academy distrusted him for these habits and affections. The professoriate was also secretly jealous of his success--he was probably one of the most-read historians of his generation. Boorstin knew a good story and how to tell it. His best books are not dry textbooks that chronicle familiar events, but memorable pieces of storytelling and pithy analysis. I'm flipping through one of my favorite Boorstin books right now--The Americans: The Colonial Experience, the first book in an acclaimed trilogy. On the first page of chapter one, I read a sentence I underlined years ago: "Puritan New England was a noble experiment in applied theology." Isn't that a perfect summary in ten words? Here's another: The colonial era "was not an age of genius so much as an age of liberation. Its legacy was not great individual thinkers but refreshed community thinking. Old categories were shaken up, and new situations revealed unsuspected uses for old knowledge." Sentences like these appear throughout his books. Boorstin was a great writer, a great historian, a great man. We are fortunate to have had him for 89 years.
Posted at 08:41 AM