ON WEEKDAYS, AMERICA...ON WEEKENDS, THE WORLD [Peter Robinson]
From a Spanish reader, to buck up that lonely conservative in Madrid:
"There are a few Spanish right-of-center sites... www.libertaddigital.com is excellent."
Posted at 06:56 PM
HOW BORING... [Rich Lowry ]
...is this debate over whether Bush should attack Kerry as another Dukakis or another Gore? Kerry is obviously a little of both, with a lot of John Kerry added in. I doubt Bush will be able either to re-run 1988 or 2000. He's going to have to find something that sticks against this particular guy, in these particular circumstances, and I don't think they've quite got it yet.
Posted at 06:53 PM
THE BITER BIT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Sense of humor failure at the New York Times, it seems. Now what was it again that the paper was saying a few months ago about that (ridiculous) Fox/O’Reilly lawsuit against Al Franken?
Posted at 06:53 PM
SPAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s little to add really about the horror in Spain earlier this week. All the adjectives have been exhausted – and they are all inadequate. The question that is being asked now is who is responsible – ETA (the Basque terrorist group) or some offshoot of Al Qaeda. The view seems to be that if ETA were the killers, then terrible though the tragedy was, it is essentially a Spanish problem. That’s too simplistic. Terrorist murder on this scale was, prior to 9/11, unimaginable, at least in the West. What al-Qaeda has done is to ‘raise the bar’ for all would-be terrorists. To get the sort of attention that they crave now takes more than the killing, say, of a judge or a policeman. It now requires the murder of dozens or more. If ETA indeed does prove to be guilty of this crime, they will have proved that they have learned bin Laden’s lesson all too well. The implications are appalling.
The London Guardian meanwhile has its own unique response laced through with anti-Americanism and other smears, before descending into absurdity and incoherence:
"An international conference, to bridge the divide between Muslim and Christian communities, should be one first step. But there are many others. We need to take the fight against terror out of America's hands. We need to get beyond the them and us, the good guys and the bad guys, and seek a genuinely collective response. Europe should seize the moment that America failed to grasp. "
Posted at 06:52 PM
MORE BUSH ADMINSTRATION MEDICARE-COST SLIPPERINESS [Rich Lowry ]
Posted at 06:52 PM
MORE AD WARS [Rich Lowry]
From NYTimes: "In a statement, the Bush campaign called the [new Kerry] commercial `a futile attempt to obscure the fact that John Kerry's new spending proposals would result in a tax hike for all Americans.'" OK, I can buy that it's a reasonable inference that Kerry's $900 billion health-care plan would mean a $900 billion tax increase, if he says he won't add to the deficit. But how do we know it would be a tax increase on "all Americans" as oppossed to "the rich" (a category that will, of course, be pretty broadly defined).
Posted at 06:50 PM
A CAN'T-MISS DAVID BROOKS TODAY [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 06:46 PM
WHO WON THE GAME? [Peter Robinson ]
Why, Mark, how could you possibly even need to ask? Stanford, of course.
The most exciting series of plays? Here I take dictation from my eleven-year old, Pedro:
With Stanford down by one with two minutes left on the clock, Stanford's Matt Lottich scored a three-pointer. Then Stanford stole the ball from Oregon, enabling Rob Little lobbed the ball to Josh Childress for an alley-oop and one. Next Luke Jackson of Oregon attempted a three-pointer but Matt Lottich blocked him. Then Rob Little got the ball and lobbed it to Matt Lottich, who proceeded to get an and-one, then make the free shot (the Nokia "play of the game," for especially intent fans).
Having taken the lead, Stanford protected it, winning the game 70 to 63.
To quote my son exactly, “Stanford rules.”
Posted at 06:42 PM
I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER [KJL ]
A reader, who wants an alternative: “An alternative to the Red Cross: “Does anyone know of a good place to give relief donations for those hurt in the Madrid attacks?”
Posted at 06:36 PM
THE OPPOSITE OF MEL GIBSON [Rick Brookhiser]
Seen in an ice cream store in Ohio, amidst the chocolate bunnies: chocolate crosses, each one standing on a little chocolate hillock. Good for the munchies, and for salvation, too!
Posted at 06:29 PM
NOOOOOOOOO [Andrew Stuttaford]
Barbra Streisand to return to the screen – as an old Focker (no laughing there at the back of the room).
All is not lost, however, on the cultural front. Johnny Depp is to star in a life of one of England’s more entertaining poets, Thomas Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, a 17th century rake described by Samuel Johnson as having "contempt of decency and order, a total disregard to every moral and a resolute denial of every religious observation. He lived worthless and useless and blazed out his youth and health in lavish voluptuousness." Actually, he repented towards the end, but then, who doesn’t?
Fear of the wrath of Kathryn and (who knows these days?), the hard men of the FCC, makes me reluctant to link to any of the great man’s poems.
But, hey, that’s what Google is for.
Posted at 05:28 PM
RE: LONELY CONS IN ESPANA [KJL]
So, how big is our Spainard readership? E-mails welcome (as always).
Posted at 12:17 PM
HI, IT'S SPIKE, IS CHRIS ROCK THERE? [KJL]
Celebs who read NRO: Why you're work-offers might be down since you changed your cell #--someone in a Wal-Mart parking lot is taking your calls.
Posted at 12:10 PM
FOUR-+ MILLION [KJL]
Estimates about how many Spainards marched in protest of terrorism yesterday are as high as 11 million. I've seen 2-plus million as the Madrid estimate alone in multiple accounts. Some photos here. More here. More on impressive Spanish defiance here.
Posted at 12:04 PM
ANOTHER REASON TO HATE LAWYERS AND LOVE HAMBURGERS [Michael Graham ]
Posted at 11:44 AM
RE: FRIDAY NIGHT [Mark R. Levin]
Peter, the heck with Al Gore. Who won the game?
Posted at 11:33 AM
FRIDAY NIGHT, I BUMPED INTO AL GORE [Peter Robinson ]
I really did.
I was wandering around the city hall parking garage in downtown Palo Alto, trying to remember where I’d parked my car (back East for a few days, my wife, correctly anticipating that after taking care of the children all day I’d be jumpy and tense, had arranged for a babysitter to take over for a few hours, making it possible for me to slip down to the Old Pro to watch Stanford basketball on television with a couple of buddies). I heard someone call my name, then turned to find my friends Joel and Susan Hyatt, who had just parked their car and were wandering around the garage themselves, trying to find the stairwell up to the street level. Although convinced liberals and major figures in the California Democratic Party, Joel and Susan are warm, funny, and personable, and, delighted to see them, I stopped to chat for a moment.
,BR> At some point I became vaguely aware that a third person, evidently a friend of theirs, was with them—the lighting was dim, and (to be honest) I’d had a pretty stiff drink at the Old Pro, so all this happened slowly—and then, a moment later, recognized that their friend was the former vice president and presidential candidate. Susan introduced us, Gore and I shook hands, and, then, Joel having finally spotted the stairwell, the three of them moved off. I had only enough time to register that Gore was pleasant enough, that he seemed to have gotten some sun, that he looked heavier than he had during the campaign of 2000—and that, but for a few hundred votes in Florida, he would have been on his way to an important appointment, surrounded by Secret Service agents and a earnest members of the White House, not stumbling around in a badly-lit parking garage with a couple of friends who couldn’t find their way.
I got over it, of course. But for a minute or two there I actually felt a little sorry for the man.
Posted at 11:14 AM
THE LONE STAR AND GOLDEN STATES, CONT’D [Peter Robinson ]
Emails about the contrasting attitudes toward Mexican immigration in Texas (relatively relaxed) and California (generally enraged) continue to arrive, and as usual I'm astonished at the insights of the people who read this happy Corner. Here's yet another way of looking at the problem:
"Re: your posts in the Corner on immigration in California and Texas, one other thing that may contribute to the different attitudes in the two states is that there is a general perception of failed government here in California. There are arguments about the causes of this, but the fact is that except during the big boom years during the Reagan and Clinton years, the state has been consistently unable to pay its bills for about 30 years. (While our new Governor is doing a good job of getting the two parties to work together in Sacramento, the 15 year bond initiative that just passed is unfortunately symptomatic of this longstanding problem.) Sales and income taxes are extremely high in California, and the public fisc is nonetheless at the breaking point. Since so many things don't work here, there is a perception among many Californians that the state can't absorb additional immigrants, who are viewed by the public as consumers of government services rather than contributors of tax revenues.
"In contrast, the Texans I know think fairly highly of their government. It generally lives within its means, and there certainly isn't the perception there that if some immigrants did end up on welfare (with lower welfare benefits than California, as has been pointed out) or hospitalized in a public hospital, that it would break the budget or that Texans would have to pay exhorbitant taxes. So Texans are able to assess the costs and benefits of immigration without succumbing to the state of ongoing budgetary panic and worry that is a constant here in California.
"I don't think there's a global explanation for the difference in attitudes, but this is surely part of it."
Posted at 11:10 AM
CROCIDILE TEARS [John Derbyshire]
From Gerry Adams.
Posted at 11:00 AM
REVOLT BREWING IN SYRIA? [KJL ]
From the Reform Party of Syria:
WASHINGTON DC, March 13 /RPS News/ -- Rioting in Syria expanded to Hasakah, Dirik, Amouda, and Ras el-Ein, all Kurdish majority cities in northern Syria bordering Turkey and Iraq. According to RPS sources, many Ba'ath government buildings have been scorched in Dirik and Amouda.And, at a sports game yesterday, three children were killed, among others, in a stampede that reportedly happened when a visiting team chanted pro-Saddam and Baathist slogans.
Some details here. The Reform Party of Syria’s e-mail on it (which has a higher death count):
Qamoshli, SYRIA, March 12 12:25pm/RPS News/ -- A soccer match between al-Jihad team of Qamoshli and al-Fatwa team of Deir el-Zour in northern Syria that started at 1pm local time, ended in at least 20 people dead and about 150 injured.
Posted at 10:54 AM
CIVILIZATION VS. TERROR [John Derbyshire]
Good op-ed piece by Patrick Bishop in Friday morning's Daily Telegraph.
There is no good news in this sorry subject. We are stuck with this horrid business for years, perhaps decades. The only people who have even come close to a solution are the Brits. Their 30-year war with Irish terrorism ended, or at least quiesced, when the British government surrendered, issuing pardons to convicted terrorist prisoners, giving key executive positions to the terrorist generals, and ceding large parts of major cities to terrorist control, as described in another Telegraph piece here
It is not likely, however, that this can be made to work on the international scale. There's just too much world. In any case, groups like Al Qaeda don't want this thing or that thing, they want EVERYTHING. Get used to a lot more intrusive security, weary citizenries calling for concessions to the terrorists, and occasional horrors like the Madrid bombings. For ever.
Posted at 10:51 AM
WE LUCKY AMERICAN CONSERVATIVES [Peter Robinson ]
From a lonely conservative in Spain. Despite the progress Aznar has made, my correspondent wants me to know, Spanish conservatives are still high and dry (which no doubt explains why they're reading this happy Corner):
"There simply are no portals to the rich firmament of conservative intellectualism here [in Spain]. I know of only one rarefied think tank that seems more attuned to making a case for Spanish exceptionalism to the rest of Europe than with championing a consistent set of principles drawn from the conservative tradition. There is no Spanish Nat.Review, First Things, Commentary or other such repositories of articulate conservative opinion to encrust Aznar’s (and his successor Rajoy’s) policies with a high-toned glamour. Aznar wins not because of his conservative bona fides, but because of his party’s reputation for administrative effectiveness and the other party’s gross incompetence and utter corruption. I hope this changes as the noble Spanish temper deserves a worthy movement in which it can express itself free of the static of leftist press hipsters. –Mike in Spain (less than 1 km. from Atocha Station, i.e. 'Ground Zero')"
Posted at 10:07 AM
AZNAR AND CHARLES V [Peter Robinson ]
From a Spanish reader:
Thanks for your comments about Aznar.
Posted at 10:05 AM
CUBA NOT SO LIBRE [Andrew Stuttaford]
‘Prestigious’ London restaurateurs have formed a joint venture with Cuba to open up a reproduction of a famous Havana bar once frequented by Hemingway. To make the Cuban experience even more authentic, Scott of the Burton Terrace blog suggests that patrons should not “be allowed to use camera phones, access the internet or read books not approved by the restaurant. [They] must bring their own toiletries.” His readers have even more suggestions, including this:
”If you try to leave the restaurant with your child, Janet Reno will make sure your kid is dragged back in, at gunpoint.”
Posted at 09:55 AM
HEROES AND VILLAINS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Who voted how on the Cheeseburger Bill? Here’s the answer.
Posted at 09:52 AM
SPIES LIKE US [Michael Graham]
"Local Girl Makes Bad" is usually the kind of story the press would love. If that local girl happened to be an accused spy and happened to be working for a member of Congress WHILE spying, that would seem to be front-page news.
Unless it's the Washington Post, as Tim noted yesterday, the spy is a Takoma "Nuclear Free Zone" Park home girl, and the congresswoman is strident liberal Zoe Lofgren. In that case, here's how the Metro (not front page) Section story on Susan Lindauer describes the alleged spy's relationship to her liberal Democrat employer:
" Lindauer worked as a press aide for some Democrats in Congress in the mid-1990s and as recently as 2002."
Meanwhile, here's the real story, from the San Mateo (CA) County Times:
"Susan Lindauer, 41, of Takoma Park, Md., allegedly met with Iraqi Intelligence Service members during visits from October 1999 through March 2002 to the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations in New York City; met with Iraqi officials in Baghdad in February or March 2002; and passed documents to an undercover FBI agent with whom she'd talked about helping post-war Iraqi resistance groups.
Lindauer was press secretary in the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, from March 11, 2002, to May 14, 2002."
For a newspaper like the Washington Post, this is beyond oversight. This is embarrassing.
Posted at 09:45 AM
ANGER MANAGEMENT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Finland is a splendid place with a fine, pleasantly undemonstrative culture, where silence is a virtue and where the outward expression of emotion is, quite rightly, generally frowned upon. In every Eden, however, there’s a serpent. Here from Thursday’s New York Times, is the distressing story of Turo Herala, a Finn who wants his heroically stoic countrymen to start, well, venting. He will be ignored – politely, of course.
Posted at 09:44 AM
Friday, March 12, 2004
PRIDE OF TAKOMA PARK? [Tim Graham]
Don't miss the Washington Post's inside-Metro story on espionage suspect Susan Lindauer, suggesting she might not be an agent because she's "eccentric," with an emphasis on the wacky. If you skip out before the end, you'll miss this priceless quote in the second-to-last paragraph: "Takoma Park neighbor John Moore described Lindauer as 'a little bit strange, a bit of a character . . . a Takoma Park-type person.'"
For their part, the Big Three networks last night tiptoed right past Lindauer's liberal-Democrat and media connections.
Posted at 05:55 PM
RESILENT SPANIARDS [KJL]
Really an amazing sight today,Europeans out protesting terrorism. May no other country have to realize terror that deeply...
Posted at 05:47 PM
CHEESEBURGER BILL [Andrew Stuttaford]
It was good news, of course, that the House passed the Cheeseburger bill, but terrifying that 139 congressmen have so much contempt for the IQ of their constituents that they actually voted against this eminently sensible measure. What were they thinking?
Posted at 05:45 PM
RE: CRUSADING DERB [John Derbyshire]
Readers of my own pro-Crusader piece will be aware, but others may not be, of the greatest of Crusader novels, Sir Walter Scott's THE TALISMAN.
I am amazed that there aren't periodic -- once a decade, perhaps -- Scott revivals. He is a wonderful storyteller (though you can't take the history too seriously).
Posted at 05:31 PM
RE: BOY SCOUTS [John Derbyshire]
Rich: I recently read Tim Jeal's excellent biography of Robert Baden-Powell (title: "The Boy-Man"), founder of the Boy Scouts. Jeal shows how the Boy Scout movement was, from its very beginnings, plagued by pederasts. Baden-Powell's first two appointees to the post of medical director at the movement's main camp, for instance, both had to be dismissed for "gross misconduct" with the boys. Only a society as wilfully stupid and sunk in dogma as our own could imagine that an organization for boys would NOT attract the attention of pederasts. To insist on the "right" of homosexuals to serve as scoutmasters is to pour gasoline on a smouldering fire. (And before anyone e-mails in to tell me that homosexuality and pederasty are utterly different things, not related to each other in any way, shape or form whatsoever: I DON'T BELIEVE YOU.)
Posted at 05:18 PM
HOWARD STERN [Andrew Stuttaford]
I don’t know how much political influence Howard Stern has, or whether South Park Republicanism is a ‘real’ phenomenon, but if he is, and it is, the President should be worried about what Mr. Stern was saying on the radio this morning (hey, I was in a taxi, I just happened to hear it…). House support for the Broadcast Indecency Enforcement Act may have been bipartisan, but there’s little doubt that the GOP will get the credit or blame for pushing forward this rather neurotic piece of legislation, and the same is true of the other regulatory consequences of Janet Jackson’s briefly bared breast. It will be interesting to see how this aspect of the culture war plays in November. Not well, I suspect: Red America listens to Howard Stern too.
Posted at 05:09 PM
RE HEATON [KJL]
Heaton says a lot of cool stuff: [Oct. 2 2002 Corner post:]
Talking to Bill O'Reilly last night about being pro-life in Hollywood, two-time Emmy-winner Patricia Heaton, from Everybody Loves Raymond said: "it will not be Barbra Streisand I'm standing in front of when I have to make an accounting of my life." In discussing abortion she said, talking about her work as chairman for Feminists for Life: "The early feminists were pro-life. And really abortion is a huge disservice to women, and it hasn't been presented that way. So -- so it's a -- there's a sort of an in for me because of that take on it."
Posted at 04:29 PM
MARK PENN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
on the campaign ads.
Posted at 03:51 PM
FEW MORE TITHING ENTRIES [Rich Lowry]
PATRICIA HEATON THINKS TITHING NOT ENOUGH. FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY: Patricia Heaton may soon lose her job. For eight seasons, she has starred on CBS's hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, and it looks like the show is nearing its end. Not that we're crying for the double Emmy-winning actress, who has reportedly been pulling down over $6 million a year. But how often do you hear a Hollywood star say things like this?
"I struggle to keep it simple. Obedience, sacrifice, and modesty are not real popular buzzwords out here. An issue I'm dealing with lately is, 'Do I have too much money, and am I being a good steward of it?' In fact, I was talking to a friend about tithing—just giving your 10 percent as opposed to giving until it actually starts costing you something, which is what I think tithing is all about."
ALSO CHECK OUT DAVIS LOVE GIVING HIS ENTIRE $700,000 FEE FROM A MATCH WHERE HE WAS HECKLED:
"It's a week I'll always remember, and we just wanted to make sure something good came out of it,'' Love said.
Posted at 03:28 PM
MORE ON SCOUT HARRASSMENT [Rich Lowry]
Thanks for pointing out the continuing grief the Boy Scouts get for trying to give programs to kids who very much want and, in many cases, need the structured activities and role modeling that BSA activities and participation provide. As a BSA professional in Manhattan from 9/01 to 8/03, I was continually awed and frustrated by the run around I got from community center and school leaders who professed that they would love to have their kids in the program but simply couldn't, "legally", provide any leaders, time, space, or money for fear of repercussions from up the bureaucratic chain. In other cases, they simply had no money. In either case, the council would provide the money to run the programs, subsidize camping trips, bus rentals, uniforms, pinewood derby cars, art supplies, camping gear (sleeping bags, lanterns, etc).
That said, the number of people supporting the scouts was heartening. When I spoke to kids in the Lower East Side and Chinatown, *all* the boys (and the girls too!) wanted to join the scouts. These kids (and their parents) know what they like and what they want. By denying money to the Scouts (and the Girl Scouts are suffering too, from what I heard from the GSA reps at the same events), groups like the ACLU and others are hurting these kids. Too many times, I'd meet with parents and scouts and have to tell them that, because of such and such dicate from the Board of Ed or lacking of funding because the Scouts are being charged commercial rental rates to meet in a cafeteria or church or simply because of feared controversy in the sponsoring organization, their program was shutting down or relocating.
Poor urban scouts have enough troubles. Finding capable volunteer leaders in urban neighborhoods is hard as it is. Cutting funding and access is not helping anyone. I personally know that no programs are clamouring to replace the Scouts in Lower Manhattan should they be kicked out. Those programs, Scouting or not, that are in place are in a constant struggle to keep the boys and leaders motivated and activities going.
Anyone who knows these neighborhoods understands that there is a *huge*, still unmet, demand for any kind of constructive program at all. If these people are so upset about the Scouts, how about ponying up and offering some competition? I promise, they'll get no complaints.”
Posted at 02:50 PM
MILITANTS VS. TERRORISTS [Jonah Goldberg]
Several readers noticed the same thing I have. Even when the conjecture was centered around ETA, the Madrid bombings were routinely referred to as "terrorism" by the media. When the same things happen in Israel, they're attacks by militants.
Posted at 02:48 PM
KERRY'S FOREIGN POLICY UNIVERSE [Jonah Goldberg]
Let's see. Kerry believes that Bush's coalition was fraudulent, that Bush is a unilateralist, America has lost its allies and the Iraq war was...was...I'm sorry I really have no idea whether Kerry thinks the Iraq war was worth it or not since he steadfastly refuses to answer the question with any finality.
But as for the rest, let's see. It seems more and more likely that the attack in Madrid was because of Spain's "fraudulent" "paper tiger" coalition. Seems like al Qaeda thought it was a real coalition.
Meanwhile, we are still in multilateral talks with North Korea and seeking more cooperation from the UN in Iraq.
And, the French, the US and others are fighting in Haiti together.
And, oh yeah, Iraq has a new Constitution.
Am I crazy, or is the world Kerry sees simply different than the way it is?
Posted at 02:47 PM
INTERESTING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
How our outsourcing debate is playing in India, according to James Glassman.
Posted at 02:44 PM
THAT BRAIN BATTLE PIECE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 02:40 PM
KERRY'S $900 BILLION TAX INCREASE [Rich Lowry]
This charge in the Bush ads is kind of made up, but seems to be playing amazingly well. It is hitting Kerry at a maximum point of vulnerability, when he has promised all sorts of spending during the Democratic primaries, but hasn't yet recalibrated or fully fleshed out his fiscal plans. The ad implicitly asks the question: Kerry has a $900 billion health care plan so how is he going to pay for it? At the moment, the answer seems clear: with more tax increases than he’s willing to own up to. If Kerry eventually comes up with a different answer, it will seem as though he did it under pressure and as a matter of political expedience, thus reinforcing an aspect of the flip-flop line of attack against him.
Posted at 02:37 PM
CONGRATULATIONS! [Jonah Goldberg]
To my friend, Reason's science correspondent -- and sometimes NRO contributor -- Ronald Bailey for the news that his piece "The Battle for Your Brain" will be included in Houghton Mifflin's anthology of "The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004."
Posted at 02:36 PM
REAL GIRLS, IMAGINARY RELATIONSHIPS [Rich Lowry]
Not for writers on deadline, or probably anyone else for that matter.
Posted at 02:27 PM
MORE MEL [Rich Lowry]
Ramesh, I guess I’m a ‘”no” then. Tithing fulfills any rock-bottom moral obligation Gibson has. Of course, if he has indeed undergone the kind of spiritual transformation he has talked about, one would hope to see that reflected in the rest of his life and work in many ways, but I think he has to figure out what that looks like. Personally, I’m not the least bit bothered by his profits—he has made a movie that, whatever its artistic flaws, is a great act of Christian witness for which we should be grateful. For me, that’s plenty enough, however the rest of his career or life plays out.
“I sent this to Jonah earlier, but after your comment I wanted to send it to you also. The Old Testament requirement was to give 10%: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse", with a resultant outpouring of God's blessings. The New Testament certainly doesn't abrogate that, but Paul does say in 2nd Corinthians "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." If Mel's profits are $350-400 million, it seems that he should give $35-40 million to his church, or wherever he decides. Beyond that, what he gives is pretty much up to him, and what he keeps is pretty much up to him.”
Posted at 02:24 PM
THE CORNER SPEAKS...AND MARKETS MOVE [Peter Robinson]
From a reader:
"Lest anyone question the power of the Corner, I went to Half.com to look up the Madden book. The search page showed a copy for about $16. By the time I got to the actual page for the book - only a few seconds later - the cheapest copy of the book was over $25. Shouldn't these people be working instead of surfing the net buying books recommended in the Corner?
"Oh,wait...I'm at work, too. Never mind."
Posted at 02:20 PM
I WONDER IF MY COLLEAGUES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
also find that the quantity of their posts to the Corner goes up, not down, when they're on deadline.
Posted at 02:01 PM
KRISPY KREME GOES ON A DIET [KJL]
Someone--quick--call Stuttaford and see if he's okay.
Posted at 01:57 PM
FAIR POINT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
from the guy whose email I last posted:
I realize you are busy and probably speed-read your e-mails, but you really missed my point.
I clearly stipulated in my e-mail that, “I doubt Jonah would have even mentioned it if Gibson were a not-so-devout believer who had said, ‘I’m making this movie because I just think it’s a pretty powerful story that will make a cool movie.’ ”
In other words, if Sophia Coppola decides to make a biopic about the Apostle Paul, but does it purely as an artistic endeavor and not as an act of faith or a religious “calling,” then I think you will have very few, if any people wondering what she is going to do with the profits. In the case of The Passion, no one is demanding to know what Newmarket or actress Monica Bellucci are doing with their proceeds from the film.
Thus, asking what true believer and inspired-by-God Mel is doing with his likely massive profits will not in any way, shape, or form discourage secular Hollywood types from making similar movies.
Posted at 01:51 PM
FEMALE PERVERSITY [Peter Robinson]
After I got the four older kids off to school this morning--my wife is back East for a few days--I noticed that my two-year old daughter needed to be changed. I took her into her room, laid her on the changing table, took off the little sun dress she was wearing, changed her diaper, and then, trying to dress the baby once again in the sun dress, which her big sister had placed on her with no trouble just an hour earlier, I encountered a struggle: The baby crossed her chubby little arms and shouted “No!”
Flustered, I opened a drawer, then began pulling out one little outfit after another, holding them up one at a time, only to have the baby shake her head and say “no!” to each. When our cleaning lady arrived, she took one look at the scene, laughed, and shooed me out of the room. A moment later, she and the two-year old happily emerged, the baby wearing...one of the little outfits that she had just refused.
This could be a very long weekend.
Posted at 01:46 PM
DANDY LETTER FROM JUDGE BORK ON MARRIAGE [Peter Robinson]
in today's Wall Street Journal. The final couple of sentences: "Either the courts, once more embracing elite opinion, will force homosexual marriage on the nation or a constitutional amendment will preserve the millenia-old traditional institution of marriage. The choice is that stark."
Posted at 01:43 PM
THE GLITTERING CRUSDAES OF SIR STEPHEN RUNCIMAN [Peter Robinson]
From a reader:
While one could hardly describe it as concise, it would be a disservice to fail to mention Steven Runciman's History of the Crusades. Despite the length, Runciman is an engaging writer, and I haven't found a shorter text that truly does justice to the epic scale of the Crusades, both in their glory and in their brutality (which, to be fair, can be assigned to all involved). In addition, he's able to sketch the conflicts not just between the European Crusaders and the Islamic world, but also the oft-neglected Byzantine empire, which found itself caught in the middle.Apart from its length--three volumes--there are a couple of serious problems with Runciman’s Crusades. The first is that Runciman (who died at a very advanced age just a couple of years ago) missed out on critical recent scholarship. Runciman assumes in particular that the principal crusaders tended to be younger sons of noblemen, intent on seeking their fortunes in the Holy Land because they would inherit nothing at home. Yet as Thomas Madden makes clear, new studies have debunked this notion, demonstrating that the principal crusaders tended instead to be noblemen themselves--and that many sacrificed enormous portions of their holdings, selling land to raise troops and otherwise finance the Crusades. The Crusades had their undeniably worldly aspect, of course, but the best and newest scholarship makes it clear that the Crusades were led by men who considered them holy.
The still more serious problem: Runciman chooses sides. His favorites are the Byzantines, his second favorites the Muslims, and his bad guys the Crusaders themselves. Runciman even denounces the Crusaders for precipitating the fall of Constantinople, a charge that Madden and others reject.
Runciman’s prose is indeed gorgeous--I can’t think of a large work of history I’ve enjoyed so much, short of Macaulay himself--and he presents the epic with a sweeping energy and a glittering sense of personality and color. By all means, read Runciman. But read Madden too.
Posted at 01:40 PM
NEVER A LAST WORD ON MOORE [Jonah Goldberg]
I didn't say I was done criticizing him. From a reader:
You missed one of the great examples of hypocrisy-when Michael Moore came to Denver to prescreen his "Bowling for Columbine" myth for the parents of those killed he charged them admission. he also did not give a penny to the memorial fund.
Posted at 01:38 PM
MORE WEE-GURS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Derb has written lots about the Uighurs of Sinkiang, always with the conclusion that they are resistant to al-Qaeda-type nihilism. This is from a September 5, 2001 article, straight out of NRO: "America's war on terror, and the anti-Muslim feeling generated in the U.S. by last September's attacks, have been a godsend to the Chinese. The Uighurs are Muslims, you see. Very few of them are Muslims of the fundamentalist kind: the Turkish/Turkic peoples seem to carry some cultural gene that immunizes them against religious fanaticism. Islam is their faith, though, and it follows that if the Chinese tag the East Turkestan independence movements as 'terrorist,' in the present climate of opinion, nobody will much mind." And remember, "The capital city is Urumqi"!
Posted at 01:34 PM
UIGHURS [Jonah Goldberg]
I did say in my defense that I'm fairly ignorant on the rise of Islam in China. This reader sets me straight:
Posted at 01:32 PM
AH, MORE FAMILIAR TERRITORY [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader responds to today's column:
This campaign is really wimpy. Bush should be called a liar and a man who will waste the lives of young Americans in a war for neocon-artists like you. He is a traitor and you are too. So I'd like to see an ad by the Kerry campaign that lays out all the neo-con lies and intrigues that have driven the nation to the edge of a cliff. That wouldn't be nasty enough, but it would be true. I can't wait until January 2005 when Bush is back in Texas on his faux ranch choking on pretzels and crying in his non-alcoholic beer. And I hope you will be kind enough to buy him a round or two. The American people are waking up to the nightmare Bush and the neo-cons have created. Maybe you should send your resume to The Nation because it's going to be a long time before you get anywhere near the hearing you get at the top of this corrupt government. And, one more thing: eff off, ok?
Posted at 01:30 PM
MEL AND ME [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Given Jonah's post mentioning me, this is as good a moment as any to say that I have not (to my knowledge) defended Gibson the man. I've defended the movie he made against certain charges. I am perfectly prepared to believe that Gibson may himself be an anti-Semite, be on a "strange death trip," or whatever else the critics say. But I also think that the usual critical rule of judging movies on their own terms should apply here.
Regarding Rich's solution: It sounds like a compromise but isn't. Presumably Gibson is supposed to tithe his profits whatever movie he makes. The question here is whether this movie imposes a special additional obligation on him. To say all he needs to do is to tithe is to answer that with a no.
Posted at 01:16 PM
FIXING THE RECORD [Stanley Kurtz]
The other day, Andrew Sullivan asked me to write an essay criticizing the Catholic church for harming marriage by approving annulments. Sullivan implies that while I criticize gays for harming marriage in Scandinavia, I let heterosexuals off the hook for harming marriage here in America.
I'm afraid Sullivan misunderstands my views. For some time now, I've sketched out what I think of as a "middle ground" position that neither calls for a return to the fifties, nor accepts the total redefinition and disappearance of marriage that I believe we face now. I sketched out such a position back in 2001 in "Middle Ground," when I was criticized by Robert Knight for my failure to call homosexuality a sin. I laid out this middle position in detail in, "That Other War," where I explained my differences with conservatives like William Bennett on issues like pre-marital cohabitation. This position was also behind my response last May on The Corner to a question from Sullivan on divorce. There I said that I thought a repeal of no-fault divorce was neither possible nor desirable. Yet I also said that a waiting period in divorces involving children ought to be considered.
Sullivan wrongly implies that I only object to what homosexuals want, and never to what heterosexuals want. The same "middle ground" position that leads me to oppose a repeal of no-fault divorce also led me to call for the (legislative) repeal of sodomy laws. I accept many-although not all-of the liberalizing attitudes that have come to the fore since the fifties-for both heterosexuals and homosexuals. My point is that if we make too many more trade-offs of family stability for liberalization, the family won't be around anymore. And I apply this position to heterosexuals and homosexuals alike.
I don't simply object to gay marriage. I have also repeatedly criticized the American Law Institute's proposed equalization of marriage and cohabitation--something that overwhelmingly effects heterosexuals. My point about Scandinavia is that their system of parental cohabitation, their legal equalization of marriage and cohabitation, and their system of same-sex registered partnerships, are all mutually reinforcing. If we adopt all or part of the Scandinavian system here, it will be the end of marriage. So I accept much of our liberalized stance toward both divorce and homosexuality. Yet I also want to draw the line on change at gay marriage, and at the legal equalization of heterosexual marriage and cohabitation. This position hits middle ground on issues that matter to both homosexuals and heterosexuals.
Posted at 01:14 PM
ACT NOW! GET THE NR COLLEGE GUIDE [Jack Fowler]
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Posted at 01:09 PM
THAT AL QAEDA LETTER [KJL]
MEMRI does not buy it (MEMRI president Yigal Carmon, writing on NRO).
Posted at 01:08 PM
THE WASHINGTON POST ON TAXES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
From a news story by Charles Babington: "Hastert added that 'I am not telling a lie' when talking of Kerry's proposal to roll back some of President Bush's tax cuts, which Republicans label a tax increase." Which Republicans label a tax increase? Two years ago there was a debate in which Republicans said that Democratic plans to keep scheduled tax cuts from coming into effect were tax increases, and Democrats denied it. I tentatively agreed with the Republican position, but the Democratic position was at least arguable. But the tax cuts that Kerry seeks to undo have already taken effect. He's not just saying that he wants the top tax rates in 2006 to be higher than they would otherwise have been in 2006. He wants them to be higher in 2006 than they are now, in 2004. How is that not a tax increase?
Posted at 01:06 PM
OKAY, MY LAST WORD [Jonah Goldberg ]
I really don't want to spend the next day reading and talking about this. So let me say that I think a lot of readers who disagree with me make some excellent points and I've changed my thinking on some of this. Here's where I come down and where I think I'll be staying.
I think Gibson will have an image problem if he truly ends up pocketing as much money as some predict. Whether he should have an image problem is a different, though not irrelevant, point.
So should he?
Well, yes and no. As I said from the begining I don't believe in the notion of "excess" or "obscene" profits as they are defined these days. If, for example, you go into business to make a drug that cures cancer and you end up saving 2 billion lives and making $200 billion dollars, great. You did what you set out to do, you helped the world, you succeeded, hooray for you, go spend your money on a solid gold AMC Pacer for all I care (though again: images proplems are inevitable). (This is not to say I think all businesses are morally equivalent, making baby forumal is different than making porn movies, even if both are legal).
But here's the disconnect with the Gibson movie. Again, as I said, I take Gibson at his word that he didn't go into this for the money. He went into this as an artist, a believer, a messenger. And the message of that movie is significant, isn't it? Or has all of the praise on NRO and the condemnation elsewhere been for show? Ramesh and others even argued, rightly, in response to Gertrude Himmelfarb's op-ed that the message is so special it is sui generis. Well, I think if Gibson made the movie as a true believer and artist, then the profit he makes from it should have some connection to the message as well.
Let me offer two illustrations as to why I think so.
First, imagine Oliver Stone made a movie about the poor in America. Imagine it was full of all of the controversy, deceit and moralizing we've come to expect from Stone. Now, imagine he made $400 million in profits from it and all he did is buy a few more mansions with it. If you can honestly say that conservatives wouldn't have a point in criticizing Stone -- even mildly -- for that behavior, I salute your consistency.
Second illustration: Napster. For centuries artists have been monumental hypocrites. They claim they do art for art's sake, that all they want to do is "raise awareness" and that they do it for free if they had to. And yet, for the most part they've always been eager to limit the public's exposure to their work in order to maximize their profits. Why do sculptors break their molds if they want everyone to see their art? Rodin could have made thousands of copies of, say, the Burghers of Calais, but instead he made a handful and then broke the mold. This is a point I've made many times about the controversy over Napster. Acoustic guitar philosophers swear up and down they aren't in it for the money. They say they're in it for "the music" or "for their fans" and they often mock conventional business men for their "greed." But, it turns out, the second the possibility that more of their fans could get more of their music, they freak out at the thought they might lose their royalty checks.
Now, I believe passionately in property rights and I think people deserve to reap the rewards of risk-taking as much as the next guy. But I also think there's no shame in saying you want to make a profit in the first place. Artists do, or say they do. And when they get caught revealing themselves to be just as "greedy" as other businessmen, they should be called on it. (Imagine the hypocrisy if Oliver Stone opposed the free downloading of his poor-peoples movie by poor people).
Now, Mel Gibson made this movie, he says, as an artist, as a Christian, as a messenger. I believe him. As far as I know he didn't say he was in it for the money. Therefore, I think he's got an image problem. But people of good will can disagree.
Posted at 01:05 PM
MEL’S $$$ [Rich Lowry]
Jonah, Ramesh: Isn’t the answer easy, and contained in Jonah’s original post? That Gibson’s obligation as a Christian is to tithe his profits. (Easy for me to say, I know…)
Posted at 01:00 PM
NOW IT'S MY TURN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
to get Gibson-profit emails:
Regarding your latest post on The Corner on the profit motive wrt Christian movies, I think you miss the point.
Newmarket (the distributor) is making plenty of profit. So are the theaters. So are the actors, producers, etc. The only question here is whether or not it is unseemly for Gibson, who portrayed his making of this film as a religious calling, to make a HUGE profit from The Passion’s success. I doubt Jonah would have even mentioned it if Gibson were a not-so-devout believer who had said, “I’m making this movie because I just think it’s a pretty powerful story that will make a cool movie.”
Another way of looking at it: if people were demanding that Gibson AND everyone else simply give all the profits away, then you would have a point. As it is, you don’t.
My response: Really? Movies can get made on a routine basis with all the profits going to the theaters, distributors, etc., and none to the Gibson-equivalents? I doubt that.
Posted at 12:59 PM
BUSH ADS DON'T WORK? [Rich Lowry]
Here is pollster Dick Bennett's take on Bush ads: "Results from our panel of swing voters show that the first round of Bush advertising is unengaging even after multiple exposures. We will test the first negative Bush ad and have the results for all the ads (including the MoveOn.org and Media Fund ads) available early next week. Panel results from last night indicate that the negative ad is too cluttered for swing voters to retain a cutting negative message. We'll see if that holds after multiple exposures."
Posted at 12:53 PM
DEMOCRATIC OVERCONFIDENCE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
E. J. Dionne Jr. says that the weak job-creation numbers, and the press coverage of outsourcing, have put Bush's re-election at risk. Perhaps. But consider the 2002 elections. During the summer of 2002, Republican panic (and Democratic glee) over the economy and the corporate scandals was running higher than it is now. The economy was worse then. And Republicans did extremely well in the fall.
Or consider 1996, the last time a president got re-elected--and re-elected quite easily. The end of 1995 and the start of 1996 saw a lot of press coverage of "downsizing," the hot media scare story about the economy at that time. (It affected about as many voters as "outsourcing" does.)
The major econometric models of elections all show Bush winning, some of them comfortably.
Then there's the what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it problem. Kerry's plan to revive the economy is to hike taxes on high earners. Voters may not have strong objections to the idea, but I don't know that they're going to see it as a way to create jobs.
None of these points means that Bush is going to win, or that the jobs issue won't sink him. But it does mean that it's not a slam-dunk for Democrats.
Posted at 12:50 PM
THE PROFIT MOTIVE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm sympathetic to Jonah's point about what Gibson should do with the proceeds. It's enough work defending the movie from charges of anti-Semitism and wildly excessive violence without also having to face the claim that Gibson has promoted anti-Semitism and the coarsening of the culture to make a few bucks. Tugging the other way is this consideration: If one would like The Passion to suggest to Hollywood that pious Christian movies can make money, and that other such movies should now be made, wouldn't it undercut that point to say that yes, you can make money with those movies, but then you'll have to give it all away?
Posted at 12:37 PM
CHINESE MUSLIMS [Jonah Goldberg]
I've gotten several emails like this:
Me: I do not dispute for a moment that I am relatively ignorant about the rise of Islam in China. What this and other readers missed was, well, my point. I was trying to make a joke about how the political correctness around the issue of Islamic terrorists being mostly Arab or Arab-looking would require that Bush's ads warn of a terrorist threat that "looks like America." By the way, I am perfectly aware that there are millions of Chinese Muslims -- and quite a few Norwegian Muslims too.
Posted at 12:19 PM
"ROUGHLY RIGHT" [KJL]
Just a clarification: I guessed it might be "roughly right" that a good portion of his profits have to go to the feds (along it is probably less than 50 percent). I don't, however, encourage taxes to be considered as charity or a mandatory good work.
Posted at 11:59 AM
CRUSADING DERB [John Derbyshire]
Readers keen on brushing up their knowledge of the Crusades might also like to revisit my take on the subject in the 12/3/01 NRODT, archived here.
Posted at 11:54 AM
VIVA ESPANA [Peter Robinson]
The New York Times may sneer at the prime minister of Spain (see below), but his achievements are enormous. As Ralph Peters notes, Jose Maria Aznar backed the war in Iraq over intense political opposition. But it is also worth noting that since becoming prime minister in 1997 Aznar has enacted an agenda of which Reagan and Thatcher would have been proud, cutting taxes of all kinds dramatically. (Yesterday I pulled together some figures on Aznar’s tax cuts, but then my laptop crashed. Trust me. His tax cuts have been dramatic.) The Spanish economy has responded, growing at rates that, by Spanish standards, are impressive. Still more important, the Spanish electorate has responded: Although Aznar himself is sticking to his promise to step down as prime minister, his Popular Party is expected to win the elections this weekend by a nice margin.
Aznar’s most striking domestic achievement? Although for years and years Spanish conservatism was associated with Franco, making it psychologically difficult for young Spaniards to embrace the conservative agenda, Aznar has gotten his country past all that. Young and telegenic—a kind of Spanish Tony Blair—Aznar has made conservatism cool.
Posted at 11:53 AM
RE: CROSS PURPOSES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Peter, you might want to direct your reader, too, to a Nov. 2001 Madden piece on NRO.
Posted at 11:45 AM
CROSS PURPOSES, CONT'D [Peter Robinson]
From a reader:
“Could you recommend a good book on the Crusades that puts them in correct context? I'm sure many Cornerites would be interested.”
You betcha. A Concise History of the Crusades, by Thomas Madden, a professor of history at St. Louis University, is just marvelous.
Posted at 11:44 AM
“CONFIDENCE, RESOLVE, AND HOPE” [Rich Lowry]
I like that line in particular from the new batch of Bush ads. The confidence and resolve hits at a crucial difference in Bush and Kerry’s leadership styles. Meanwhile, “hope” gets at what could become a Kerry vulnerability: his relentless negativity and the defeatism inherent in his new protectionist-leaning position on trade. Bush has a huge opening to be the optimistic candidate, which is usually an advantage—unless, of course, there is an angry and pessimistic mood among the public come November.
Posted at 11:42 AM
3/11 (11/3?) REALITY CHECK [KJL ]
This should be the message of the week, to John Kerry, American voters, and the world: “
We bring the Muslims in the world the good news that the winds of black death (the anticipated strike on the United States) is now in its final stage...90 percent [ready] and God willing...soon (at the suitable time for the mujahidin (and the believers will rejoice by the victory of Allah). A warning to the nation...: Do not get near the civilian and military establishments of the crusader United States and its allies.AND:
Posted at 11:28 AM
THE RAIMONDO FLAP [Rich Lowry]
This business of the White House nominating and then withdrawing Anthony Raimondo as “manufacturing czar” appears to have been a first-class fiasco. Raimondo’s company had laid off a bunch of workers and opened a factory in Beijing. That may be a good business practice, but the political problems it would create were entirely predictable, but apparently unanticipated by the Bush team.
Posted at 11:22 AM
"MUHAMMED HORTON" ADS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sigh. A new Bush ad has an-Arab-looking terrorist in it and already the specter of "racism" is being raised. If the media plays this as they usually do, we can expect a lot of silliness and then, maybe, some ads featuring blue-eyed Mormon kids, old Norwegian women and Chinese men as Islamic terrorists.
Posted at 11:20 AM
LAST WORD ON GIBSON FOR NOW [Jonah Goldberg]
I've got to head out for a while and I've already got several metric tons of Gibson email to wade through. So this is the last one for now, it's fairly representative of the backlash and makes some fine points:
Boy, are you wrong. Being on the verge of baseball season, your post and subsequent weasel words are a huge 'swing and a miss' that can be felt out here in Chicago, even on a windy day...
Posted at 11:15 AM
BBC WHIPLASH [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 11:07 AM
KUDOS TO BOB HERBERT [Rich Lowry]
I can’t remember the last time I read a Bob Herbert column. But I highly recommend his column today. It’s about a Marine injured in an accident in Iraq. It reminds you of the dangers faced by our guys even when they aren’t in combat, and the sacrifices so many have made in Iraq. Herbert focuses on Corporal Hector Delgado, who was crushed under a fuel tanker. Here is how he ends the column:
“If Corporal Delgado is harboring any bitterness, I couldn't detect it. There were times, he said, when he wished he had died beneath the trailer. But he fought his way through the mental distress, just as he is fighting through the physical pain, and his goal is to one day walk again. He'll be discharged from the Marines soon and hopes to find work helping other disabled veterans.
‘That's one way I could repay all the people who are helping me now,’ he said.”
Bless Herbert for writing it.
Posted at 11:07 AM
ROUGHLY WRONG [Jonah Goldberg]
E-mailer makes a good point, roughly right, I imagine: "Right off the top 1/2 is going to taxes, that ought to satisfy your social obligation argument."
I'm sorry but this is very wrong and it has nothing to do with Mel Gibson and the Passion. Taxes are not charity. They are not good works. They are not "social obligations" at all. They are a legal requirement ofthe state. Indeed, one sign that our current taxes are too high is that so many people think paying them absolves them of other social responsibilities. This is one of the reasons high taxes are immoral because they constitue the coercion of citizens to do what other people think is right, but you don't (think of federally funded abortions, for example). If paying taxes satisfies your "social obligation" does that mean folks -- like me -- who are always trying to minimize their taxes are less socially responsible, less moral?
Posted at 11:00 AM
HMMMM [Jonah Goldberg]
I can't tell you how flabbergasted I was to see your post on Mel's Profit this morning. It literally reads like something you'd find on Salonor maybe the DNC's website.
Me: Ignoring the hyperbole, I think point #5 is the best one and I hadn't thought of it that way. After all, why should a man be condemned for making a profit from doing good when he's not condemned for making a profit doing "bad" -- or at least not good. Put aside the readers implicit suggestion that it's okay to condemn making profit from making bad movies, I think this is a very good point. And I'll keep pondering it.
However two points: First, and again, all of this stuff about me having the "right" to "decide" anything strikes me as batty. And it troubles me that I never get these statements from readers when, say, I criticize Michael Moore for treating his own employees like dogs. After all, what business of mine is it how Michael Moore treats his workers? If you're answer is "hypocrisy," fair enough. But there are no shortage of people who would say there's something like hypocrisy in making a film to spread the Gospel and making a huge pile from it.
Which brings me to my second point. This is largely an issue of appearances. It might be right, wrong or something in between for Mel to get super rich off of a film depicting Christ's agony. But, as a matter of objective analysis, I think some people think it doesn't look great.
Posted at 10:52 AM
RE: MEL'S PROFIT [Jonah Goldberg]
I knew these emails were coming:
ME: I'm going to respond at length in the hope of anticipating further emails on this point.
It's funny, we can go on for weeks in the Corner judging what various liberals and/or celebrities do and say without anyone saying "Why is that your business?" But, every now and then, if someone turns their attention on what a conservative icon does, we get the "who's buisness is it?" complaints (the last time for me, I think, was when I said some negative things about Dick Grasso). Well, I'm sorry, it's all of our business. I've addressed this point so many times I don't want to repeat myself. But look at it this way: If you are opposed to government interference in the private sector you need to be in favor of increased vigilence by the private sector. The government has absolutely no business whatsoever with the issue of what Mel Gibson does with his money. But we live in a society too. Shaming, judging, encouraging, applauding, celebrating the actions of public figures is how culture gets made.
I don't think Christina Aguilera should be forced by the feds to stop acting like a tramp, but I do think it's entirely legitimate for me and others to criticize her for acting like such a frat house throw rug. I don't think I have the right to make Mel Gibson do anything. But I have every right to have opinions about the guy and, last time I checked, I have the right to voice those opinions. Indeed, that's what I get paid to do.
As for Spielberg, my recollection is that he did give away all of the profits for the simple reason that a mega-millionaire getting really rich off the Holocaust is a bad look, especially for a guy named Spielberg. If I'm wrong on that, fine. But that doesn't really affect my point, does it?
As for the point about the "AMOUNT" being the issue, fair enough. But I think most reasonable people know what I'm getting at (and most email has been in agreement with me). No, if he made $3 million in profit, I wouldn't be raising the issue. He took serious risks and who knows what kind of price he's yet to pay at the hands of Hollywood etc. But this game can be played in reverse. What if he made $3 billion from a movie about the Crucifixion? Would this reader still be untroubled by it if Gibson did nothing with the money?
By the way, I don't mean to pick on this reader, it's just that I'm getting and will get lots of email on this point.
Posted at 10:21 AM
BLOOD IS THICKER THAN POLITICS [Jonah Goldberg ]
The Washington Post story on the accused spy Susan Lindauer mentions her second cousin Andrew Card by name seven times, including in the second paragraph. Fair enough. But it doesn't mention that she worked for Democrats until the second to last praragraph and even then it's pretty weak: " Lindauer worked as a press aide for some Democrats in Congress in the mid-1990s and as recently as 2002."
Posted at 10:19 AM
MORE RE: MEL'S PROFIT [KJL]
E-mailer makes a good point, roughly right, I imagine: "Right off the top 1/2 is going to taxes, that ought to satisfy your social obligation argument."
Posted at 10:16 AM
EITHER/OR VERSUS BOTH-AND [Jonah Goldberg ]
Note: I think this is very unlikely.
But all of the coverage of the Madrid bombings focuses on whether it ETA or Al Qaeda (See today's Times, for example). What if the real scenario is closer to both-and? First, if it's al Qaeda, the thinking seems to be that it's onee of al Qaeda's subsidiaries. Second, there's been a lot of conjecture that if this is was ETA then it probably isn't the main faction of ETA. Their political arm, after all, condemned the bombings. So if it was the Basques it was probably a rogue faction.
Now, Al Qaeda is, we've been told time and again, a "terrorist holding company." What if one of these splinter groups of al Qaeda found common cause with a splinter group ETA? It is not like terrorist groups -- and regimes -- haven't formed absurd marriages of convenience before (Molotov-Ribbentrop pact anyone?). Remember all of the weird links between and among the IRA, Libya, the Palestinians and the Sandanistas and others during the 1980s?
Indeed, the Islamists could have duped ETA into doing something like this -- or vice versa.
What would make that so troubling is that it would give Al Qaeda a new way of getting around most of the usual security measures designed to foil Islamist attacks. Anyway, just something to ponder.
Posted at 10:13 AM
RE: AMTRAK [KJL]
If you buy your ticket by credit card and use the computers at the big metro stations to print out your ticket, you really never encounter anyone. Dude looks at your ticket from two-three feet away as you are fighting to get down to a good seat when the gates open, and the ticket-taker once the train is moving doesn't do more than take your ticket--at least in my experience. Have never seen a bombsniffing dog, rarely even see Amtrak police. (I say this, too, with the hope that this is history since yesterday--that new rules are in effect--I hope.) I confess that everytime I do the NY-Philly-DC trip, I am reminded how simply amazing it is Madrid has not happened here. Maybe that's kudos to the DOJ and others. But I still wonder, too, if we're just lucky, in some specific respects like rail travel (MetroNorth, Long Island Railroad...).
Posted at 10:11 AM
RE: MEL'S PROFIT [KJL]
I do know he essentially built the church he goes to--so seems he's a bit more than a tither, don't think he's a hoarder. I also, frankly, from all I know from interviews and folks who are tight with him--he is just a genuine decent type--i.e. I wouldn't be worried and I also think he might consider it crass (something in that Book about such things) or worse to shout his good works from the rooftops.
Posted at 10:04 AM
RE MEL'S MONEY [Jonah Goldberg]
First email on the issue:
Posted at 10:01 AM
BTW... [Jonah Goldberg]
Yes, that "Mel's Profit" headline was a reference to one of the most under-rated TV shows of all time: "Wiseguy."
Posted at 10:00 AM
BLAME SPAIN FIRST [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 09:55 AM
MEL'S PROFIT [Jonah Goldberg]
The Journal also reports today that Mel Gibson stands to make between $350 and $400 million in profit from The Passion. I am not someone who thinks profits are ever "obscene" -- at least not in the way liberals use the word. However, is no one remotely troubled by this? Whether the movie is wonderful or offensive, it is still about the Crucifixion and Mel Gibson has said time and again that he made the movie out of religious and artistic passion. I take him at his word, and considering the trouble he had in making it, there's a lot of evidence on his side.
But doesn't that raise the question of what he's going to do with all the cash? If he's going to use the money to make more biblical pictures, as he's said he wants, I think that's one thing. But simply pocketing all of the cash (it's certainly fair for him to recoup his investment and then some) without doing good works with it seems, to me at least, problematic. I mean this isn't "Ernest Goes to Rehab," it's a movie about, well, we all know now what it's about -- and he's making a third of a billion dollars from it. Shouldn't he at least tithe it?
Maybe he's addressed this elsewhere and I missed it?
Posted at 09:52 AM
NON-SAMPLING ERROR [Jonah Goldberg]
Other than John Miller's excellent piece in the Journal today, there's also a piece by Sharon Begley on the problems with opinion polls. It's a very useful primer on a problem I've heard about from pollsters and the like for years and it's only going to get worse. Alas, the article's behind their subscription firewall. But two points worth noting:
First, the plus/minus margin of error is the most inconsequential of the problems built into opinion surveys. She explains:
Don't be fooled. For all its apparent precision, the plus-or-minus statement bears little resemblance to how accurately a poll reflects the opinion of voters. It is error of a completely other kind that trips up polls.
Second, the real problem with polls is their non-sampling error. These are the people who don't get asked questions because they are either unavailable or unwilling. Surly people, for example, are radically under-represented in public opinion polls. If certain attitudes are over-represented or under-represented among the surly, what are pollsters missing? Pollsters randomly dial phone numbers, but since rich people have more phone lines, are they over-represented? Pollsters won't call cell phones, but young people increasingly have only cell phones. etc etc. Anyway, it's a useful piece.
Posted at 09:42 AM
MORE NON-SUIT WRITTEN ACCOLADES [Jonah Goldberg]
From John in Briggs, Texas:
Posted at 09:24 AM
SPAIN TIMES WATCH [Tim Graham]
With their usual sense of exquisite timing, the New York Times attacked Spain's leader in yesterday morning's editions. Elaine Sciolino huffed: "Years ago, Prime Minister José María Aznar of Spain was called Mr. Nobody because he seemed so pinched and boring. More recently, opponents have branded him a 'vassal' of President Bush for embracing and defending the American-led war in Iraq....Even though Spain's involvement in the Iraq war was opposed by 90 percent of the population, Mr. Aznar stridently defends his decision to drag his country into it."
Posted at 08:13 AM
JUST WONDERING [John J. Miller]
How about John Glenn as Kerry's running mate? Maybe he's too old. (He was healthy enough to fly in the Space Shuttle a few years ago.) The thought came to me a couple of days ago and it strikes me as possibly a really good option for the Democrats. If they carry Ohio, Bush will have a very hard time winning in November. And Glenn could prove popular in lots of other places besides.
Posted at 07:56 AM
YEAH, THAT'S THE TICKET [Tim Graham]
Charles Hurt and Stephen Dinan report in the Washington Times today that John Kerry "refuses to provide any information to support his assertion earlier this week that he has met with foreign leaders who beseeched him to prevail over President Bush in November's election....They refused to give any hints about the leaders such as what region, what continent or even which hemisphere they're from. The Kerry aides also have refused to say how many foreign leaders privately have endorsed their boss." Republicans are saying Kerry is already surpassing Al Gore in the exaggeration department...
CNSNews.com reporter Marc Morano pushed Kerry to respond yesterday to the story of Vietnam Veterans Against the War leader Al Hubbard, a fellow activist he appeared with on "Meet the Press" in 1971 who lied about his rank, about being shot down, about earning a Purple Heart, and even about being in the country of Vietnam. "I think our credibility was tremendous," Kerry insisted.
Posted at 07:54 AM
ALSO... [Jonah Goldberg]
I think it's interesting how much more real and serious this attack seems -- ans is -- than the recent ricin attacks on our own capital.
Posted at 07:03 AM
SPAIN [Jonah Goldberg]
One of the scarier aspects of the Spain bombing, particularly if it's Al Qaeada, is that it shows they can abandon their love of airplanes. For years I've been wondering when it was Al Qaeda would discover commuter trains, and I know I'm not alone. The DC-New York-Boston Amtrak alone would make for a crippling target and, as best I can tell, people can just walk on with a steamer truck of plastic explosives.
Posted at 07:01 AM
IT'S A GOOD IDEA [Jonah Goldberg]
Instapundit had it too.
Posted at 06:57 AM
SUPPORT FOR SPAIN [KJL]
If I were a school teacher, I'd probably get fired today (or Monday, after some antiwar parent complained, as on the day's schedule would be a "Social Studies" lesson on the war on terror and Spain's unwavering commitment to it. I'd have my class writer letters of support and condolences to the citizens of Spain, and send them to the Spanish embassy in D.C.
Posted at 05:54 AM
Spain has not only taken a firm stand against domestic terrorism, but joined the global War on Terror as an equal partner. The most striking strategic moment of Operation Iraqi Freedom wasn't the opening salvo lighting up Baghdad, but the Azores summit before the war began. The three boldest leaders of Western civilization stood shoulder to shoulder: President Bush, the valiant Tony Blair and Prime Minister Aznar - in many ways the bravest of the three.
Posted at 05:48 AM
in the Journal , on campus.
Posted at 05:31 AM
Thursday, March 11, 2004
SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A POP-MATH BOOK? [John Derbyshire]
FOCUS, the monthly newsletter of the Mathematical Association of America, invited me to do a piece on the writing and marketing of a pop-math book. This article appears in the current (March '04) issue of FOCUS. You can also read it on my website here.
Posted at 07:59 PM
COULDA BEEN NYC [Kate O'Beirne]
Is there any doubt that the al Queda terrorists taking "credit" for the bombings in Madrid would much rather have the scene of twisted train cars be in New York or Boston or San Francisco? John Kerry now opposes the Patriot Act and slams AG Ashcroft for allegedly violating civil liberties.
Posted at 07:49 PM
MASSACHUSETTS MARRIAGE BAN [KJL]
clears first hurdle.
Posted at 06:25 PM
REUTERS STATEMENT, CIRCA MARCH 2004 [Cliff May]
"The group aligns itself to al Qaeda, blamed by Washington for September 2001 attacks on the United States."
Doesn't Reuters have any investigative reporters who might be able to, you know, kind of do the necessary digging, the journalist spadework, as it were, figure out whether or not al Qaeda has been wrongly blamed for the September 2001 attacks?
Of course, according to Reuters, it is not clear whether those who slaughtered Spanish commuters today are terrorists or freedom fighters. Reuters, ever the principled neutral news agency, is adamant that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."
Posted at 06:15 PM
FORGIVE ME IF YOU LIVE THERE [KJL]
But I've gotten this e-mail in various forms many, many times today: "Residents of the DC area could recognize Lindauer was likely a lefty by the second paragraph, which states that she is a resident of Takoma Park, MD. Among other things, TP is a nuclear-free zone and I believe it went overwhelmingly for Nader in 2000."
Posted at 06:06 PM
BAD ME [KJL]
I didnt even get to the end of the MSNBC piece: a reader points out: "You neglected to post perhaps the biggest evidence of MSNBC's bias... Andrew Card is reported as being the person who turned her in to authorities, but not until the end of the piece." Bet I'm not the only person to not make the end of the piece.
Posted at 05:50 PM
THINKING OUT OF THE BOX [John Derbyshire]
Boy, do we have smart readers! Inspired by my NRODT article about the Gender Recognition Bill, a reader has solved the Massachusetts constitutional conundrum:
"Derb---Your recent article regarding the Gender Recognition Bill got me to thinking about the problem in Massachusetts. Everyone assumes the Court has checkmated the Legislature by mandating gay marriage on a timeline that cannot be blocked by amending the state constitution. But there is another way. To make a point, could the Legislature not pass a law eliminating all marriage until an amendment is passed? This would still provide equal protection to all. Hetero couples wishing to marry could simply do so in a neighboring state. Massachusetts is relatively small; thirty minutes in some direction will get you to a state where marriage is legal. Same-sex couple could drive to Vermont for their civil union. Then, in 2005 or 2006, whenever an amendment is passed, the Legislature could reauthorize marriage."
Posted at 05:46 PM
CROSS PURPOSES [Peter Robinson]
Now that denunciation, from bin Laden and others, of the supposedly perfidious "crusader" nations are once again making the news, the central fact about the actual Crusades is worth restating: The Crusades represented a counterattack, a long-delayed and largely defensive effort by Europe to reclaim for Christendom at least a small portion of the vast territories that had fallen to Islam. The assertion, in other words, that the Crusades represented some sort of unprovoked act of aggression is flatly ahistorical.
For a little background, take a look at the episode of Uncommon Knowledge that I taped a couple of years ago with two fine young historians of the Crusades.
Posted at 05:44 PM
NON-KISSING COUSINS [KJL]
A reader e-mails: "The MSNBC story strikes me as extremely biased in how that it is presented, possibly because my 2nd cousin is Tom Daschle."
Posted at 05:41 PM
IT'S ABOUT TIME--CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT [KJL]
has ordered a halt to illegal same-sex marriages.
Expect ABC to still refer to "The O'Donnells."
Posted at 05:30 PM
HER SECOND COUSIN IS ANDY CARD [KJL]
MSNBC highlights that the alleged spy woman is Andy Card's second cousin, but you have to go in the story six graphs before you find out she made a career out of working for Democrats. The Card relation certainly makes it all the more disturbing--that she was "that" close to the halls of power. That said, I don't know the names of most of my second cousins, but I do have some influence (good or bad--verdict is out) over some of the people I spend my work hours with. Anyway, seems like the former Democratic presidential candidate is worth noting a little earlier in the story.
Posted at 05:21 PM
EDWARD TELLER [Peter Robinson]
Jonah, three observations about Edward Teller:
1. A participant in the Manhattan Project, Teller argued that before dropping an atomic bomb on Japan the United States should instead detonate a bomb above Japan, demonstrating the new weapon but harming no one. Teller’s proposal never made it as far as Truman’s desk, but it proves that Teller was never even close to the bloodthirsty, mad scientist that Cornwell and so many others have attempted to portray.
2. Over the bitter objections of much of the scientific establishment, Teller insisted that a hydrogen bomb would prove feasible, playing a personal and decisive role in persuading Truman to move ahead with the project. In doing so, Teller ensured that the United States remained ahead in the arms race. The Soviets behaved brutally enough even so, of course. But what would the world have looked like if the USSR had believed that it was stronger, not weaker, than the United States?
3. Beginning during Reagan’s term as governor of California, Teller briefed Reagan on the increasing technical feasibility of some form of defense against ballistic missiles, briefings that led directly to the Strategic Defense Initiative. What good did SDI do? A brief excerpt from How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life:
In 1992, the year after the Soviet Union was dissolved, I attended a dinner at which former secretary of state Henry Kissinger described a trip he had just made to Russia. Speaking to high officials in the government and military, Kissinger had asked each to name the critical factor in the demise of the USSR. “Almost without exception,” Kissinger said, “they named SDI.” “The Soviets may have overestimated our technical capacity,” Kissinger now says. “On the other had, we didn’t have to build a complete version of SDI to make their calculations difficult. If the Soviets no longer knew how many missiles would get through, then they might have hd to launch hundreds more to have had a chance of success.” Hundreds more? But the Soviets could never have afforded hundreds more. “You can see,” says Kissinger, “why SDI had them so rattled.”If you believe that the world is a better place because during the second half of the twentieth century the United States prevailed over its enemies, you will have trouble escaping the conclusion that Edward Teller was a great man.
Posted at 05:14 PM
MORE ON AL QAEDA TAKING CREDIT FOR MADRID [KJL]
Posted at 05:03 PM
RE: AL QAEDA STATEMENTS [Jonah Goldberg]
Bin Laden's also said he thinks Muslims should get southern Spain back too. Though I doubt this is part of that effort.
Posted at 04:25 PM
SHE SPY FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader from the Hill sent me this:
Posted at 04:22 PM
AL QAEDA STATEMENT, CIRCA OCT 2003 [KJL]
"Let the unjust ones know that we maintain our right to reply, at the appropriate time and place, to all the states that are taking part in this unjust war, particularly Britain, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan, and Italy."
Posted at 03:53 PM
GEORGE WILL ON EDUCATION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
He writes: "Answering the question 'Is Bush a Conservative?' in Commentary, Daniel Casse of the White House Writers Group notes that a major theme of Bush's governance is 'deconstructing domestic-policy monopolies (Medicare, Social Security, teachers unions, etc.).' And NCLB, although flawed, 'has succeeded in changing the terms of debate.'
"'For years,' he writes, '"progress" in education was measured by the expenditure of ever more federal dollars and the appeasement of Washington-based pressure groups.' Today the argument is about standards -- how to measure and meet them -- and how much autonomy schools should have in doing so. That is progress that will not be easily reversed, partly because it is popular with a constituency, the inner city poor, that Democrats often abuse in order to mollify a rival constituency, the teachers unions."
Will has picked out one of the least persuasive of Casse's points in that article. In the actual debate over Bush's education reforms, opponents have two main themes: 1) Standards are bad and oppressive, 2) Meeting the standards will require more money from Washington. The argument simply has not evolved the way Casse and Will claim that it has. Besides, national politics has featured debates over "standards" since at least the Williamsburg summit of 1989.
Posted at 03:52 PM
SHE SPY [Jonah Goldberg]
Getting lots of email along these lines:
Posted at 03:50 PM
JAYSON BLAIR [Rich Lowry]
I was stunned to find myself nodding in agreement during Jayson Blair's interview on O'Reilly last night. He talked about how biased the New York Times is and how obvious it should be to everyone that it's biased. Now, he may just have been trying to please O'Reilly and when he seemed to blame the "amoral" atmosphere at the Times for contributing for his drug problem, he was going a little far. But it was interesting stuff. Almost--just almost--makes me want to look at his book.
Posted at 03:29 PM
NEW BUSH ADS [Rich Lowry]
President Bush: Over the past three years, Americans have faced many serious challenges.
Now, we face a choice:
We can go forward with confidence, resolve and hope.
Or we can turn back to the dangerous illusion that terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat.
We can continue to work to create jobs, reform education and lower the cost of health care.
Together, we’re moving America forward.
I’m George W. Bush and I approve this message.
President Bush:I’m George W. Bush and I approve this message.
VO:A President sets his agenda for America in the first 100 days.
John Kerry’s plan:
To pay for new government spending.
Raise taxes by at least $900 billion.
On the War on Terror:
Weaken the Patriot Act used to arrest terrorists and protect America.
And he wanted to delay defending America until the United Nations approved.
John Kerry: Wrong on taxes. Wrong on defense.
Posted at 03:27 PM
AL QAEDA LINKED GROUP TAKES CREDIT FOR MADRID BOMBING [KJL]
Posted at 03:20 PM
BREITBART HITS LIST [Rich Lowry]
I’m told that Andrew Breitbart, Matt Drudge’s partner in crime, has hit the printed NYTimes bestseller list with his book Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon--The Case Against Celebrity. Congrats Andrew!
Posted at 03:18 PM
THE SPY [KJL]
Byron has a piece up on her Libyan connex:
Lions Of Al-Mufridoon Claim Madrid Bombing (from Jihad Unspun - their web site is down)
Posted at 03:09 PM
I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE DEM SCREAMS ABOUT FLAWED INTELLIGENCE… [Rich Lowry]
…oh, wait—there won’t be any. Note the phrase in bold, from NY Times today:
“Alarm Raised Over Quality of Uranium Found in Iran
By CRAIG S. SMITH
VIENNA, March 10 — United Nations nuclear inspectors have found traces of extremely highly enriched uranium in Iran, of a purity reserved for use in a nuclear bomb, European and American diplomats said Wednesday.
Among traces that inspectors detected last year are some refined to 90 percent of the rare 235 isotope, the diplomats said. While the International Atomic Energy Agency has previously reported finding "weapons grade" traces, it has not revealed that some reached such a high degree of enrichment.
The presence of such traces raises the stakes in the international debate over Iran's nuclear program and increases the urgency of determining the uranium's origin. If the enrichment took place in Iran, it means the country is much further along the road to becoming a nuclear weapons power than even the most aggressive intelligence estimates anticipated….”
Posted at 03:04 PM
CONGRESSIONAL SPY [Jonah Goldberg ]
I don't know anything more than what's in the AP story, and I'd be more than stunned if anybody on the Hill or in Democratic circles knew what this woman was allegedly up to. But, congressional offices are not huge sprawling places for the most part. People go out to lunch with each other. They go to each other's homes. They gossip and chat and, most of all, talk about politics. I think it says something pretty damning that there's a woman willing to take Saddam's blood money who in all likelihood spouted her politics often and was still welcomed in those circles. I'm not talking about guilt-by-association, I don't think anybody else but her should get tarred with her crimes, but that such a person is socially acceptable -- never mind hirable -- in these circles is really amazing.
Posted at 02:42 PM
WE'RE ALL FEDERALISTS NOW [KJL]
Close-reading readers know how seriously to take Andrew Sullivan's arguments about the FMA, federalism, and conservatism. He is perfectly okay with a national policy of same-sex marriage imposed by the Supreme Court, as he said a few weeks ago. The New Republic gives the game away, too, on its supposed concern for federalism. Its anti-FMA editorial this week (available to subscribers only here ) says that the amendment is "a recipe for national crisis, not national evolution." That's what TNR's "federalism" is about: preparing the way for a "national evolution" to same-sex marriage from sea to shining sea. In other words: We' ll all play at being federalists, until we win.
Posted at 01:30 PM
IT'S NOT JUST GOOGLE [KJL]
Some confirmation Ms. Lindauer
Posted at 01:23 PM
HORSEY LOVE [Jonah Goldberg]
Hmmm. Rod, maybe Irving Kristol's saying needs to be change?
Instead of "A liberal is one who says that it's all right for an 18-year-old girl to perform in a pornographic movie as long as she gets paid the minimum wage."
How about "A liberal is one who says its all right for a man to canoodle a horse so long as the horse has no regrets."
I'm sure someone can come up with one of those Antioch College stages-of-consent guides for this sort of thing. Okay trigger, I'm going to take off your saddle. Is that okay with you? Good. Ok, now I'm going to...."
Posted at 01:19 PM
KERRY GOES TO THE DOGS [Michael Graham]
Kerry's aforementioned snide comments about the Bush administration being the "most crooked ... lying group of people I've ever seen" were intemperate but understandable. Any frustrated politician might do the same.
What makes Kerry special is his shameless attempt to flip and flop his way out of it. He is now telling CNN "I didn't say it about the Republicans, I said it about the attack dogs."
The WHO? Who are these unnamed "attack dogs?" Are they actual canines, was he referring to one of the breeds at the Westminster dog show?
If he means "political operatives of the GOP," then who are they? Will he name names? Does he mean those of us here in The Corner who regularly point out his shortcomings as a candidate? It's hard to believe he would spend time on the campaign trail talking to Democrats about the members of "The Beltway Boys" or "Capital Gang."
I don't know who these "dogs" are, but I've definitely spotted a weasel.
Posted at 01:17 PM
TBN FOR LIBERALS [Rod Dreher]
I have long had a compulsive habit of watching TV evangelists Paul and Jan Crouch of the Trinity Broadcast Network, but not for the right reasons. They are so over the top I cannot bring myself to look away. I had a similar feeling last night while channel-surfing, and happening across my local PBS station showing -- I know you'll find this hard to believe -- a Peter, Paul and Mary retrospective special! I thought I was looking at outtakes from "A Mighty Wind." It was deliciously awful! I thought, "Now this, this is TBN for liberals."
Posted at 01:15 PM
HOLLAND VOTES "NEIGH" [Rod Dreher]
The Netherlands are the quintessential loony-left nation, so it's no surprise that when Dutch lawmakers decided to take a stand on whether or not it should be legal to canoodle a horsey, they did so on animal-rights grounds. Presumably if Dobbin figures out how to say yes to her suitor, it would be okay. The thing that's a bit unnerving to me is wondering how, under the constitutional right to sexual autonomy carved out by SCOTUS in the Lawrence decision, one could ban interspecies sexual relations on anything other than an animal-rights basis. Over to you, Stanley Kurtz.
Posted at 01:12 PM
RE: MARTHA PIECE [John Derbyshire]
Mark: You write that "McCarthy's piece is good to a point, and is written form the perspective of a good prosecutor, but it lacks context."
The context is pretty plain to me. This is special pleading from the lawyers' trade guild.
Posted at 01:09 PM
KERRY'S GAFFE, A GOP WORRY? [Tim Graham]
Katie Couric this morning was trying so hard to stick all of the scrutiny on Bush that even Kerry's gaffe is a potential Bush problem, as she insisted to Tim Russert:
"I want to ask you about Senator Kerry making those comments after a speech to the AFL-CIO in Chicago when he thought he was off-mic and off-camera. Let's take a quick listen and then discuss it." [Kerry remarks]
"The chairman of the Bush re-election campaign said this was behavior unbecoming a presidential candidate. They have to be careful, don't they, because President Bush and Vice President Cheney were caught when they thought they were off-mic discussing New York Times reporter Adam Clymer in less than flattering terms, right?"
Posted at 01:09 PM
KRAMER’S SANDSTORM [Stanley Kurtz]
Finally, if you really want proof of the bias that pervades contemporary Middle East Studies, just go to Kramer’s main blog, Sandstorm, and look at the way they’ve treated Bernard Lewis. By the way, you can get to Kramer’s new “Sandbox” feature, either by clicking on the dedicated link I gave earlier, or simply by checking beneath the latest entry on Kramer’s main blog, Sandstorm. In other words, once having successfully braved the Sandstorm, you can play in Kramer’s Sandbox.
Posted at 01:03 PM
ME ON VI [Stanley Kurtz]
If you want to hear me debate the top lobbyist for the higher education community, as well as the head of the University of Chicago’s program of Middle East studies (before a mostly hostile university crowd) just click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. (Despite the largely hostile crowd, there were definitely some friendly Univ. of Chicago students present at this debate–some of them NRO readers. It was a tremendous pleasure to meet them.)
Posted at 01:01 PM
KRAMER’S SANDBOX [Stanley Kurtz ]
There’s a lot going on at Martin Kramer’s website on the continuing battle over HR 3077, the bill that would reform the system of federal subsidies to Middle East studies. First, you can check out the new feature, “Sandbox.” Sandbox presents Kramer’s quick responses to breaking news about the battle over HR 3077. If you go there now and scroll down a bit, you’ll see Kramer commenting on some Internet links that Middle East Studies programs took down so that the public could no longer see their biases. (Kramer seems to have discovered a search engine that retrieves material that’s been pulled off the web.) And Kramer also comments on my recent debate on HR 3077 at the University of Chicago.
Posted at 12:58 PM
CHRISTIAN COALITION VS. HATCH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The Christian Coalition is trying to get its members to call various congressmen, including Senator Hatch, to tell them not to support the pro-state-legislature amendment. The coalition's email makes false claims. It attributes the words from a different proposed amendment to Hatch. The coalition's political judgment is also peculiar. Supposedly, Hatch is "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" by weakening the FMA. I hadn't noticed those jaws closing myself; nor had any senator I've interviewed. But the Coalition's Jim Backlin writes, "We cannot lose now now [sic] that we are so close to victory." Oh sure they can lose. Just keep listening to the Christian Coalition.
Posted at 12:52 PM
FRUM VS. HATCH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Some critics of the Hatch amendment--which would reserve decisions about same-sex marriage to state legislatures--are saying that it would make it possible to legalize polygamy. I say they're wrong. David Frum, in response, says that I'm right about 49 of the 50 states, but wrong about Utah. So he's saying, in other words, that I'm 98% right.
His argument about Utah goes as follows: Congress admitted Utah to the Union on the condition that it ban polygamy, and that this ban could not be lifted without the consent of Congress. Passage of the Hatch amendment would constitute consent. So the Utah legislature could, in fact, legalize polygamy under the amendment when it could not have done so before.
Frum goes on to say that "it is probably very unlikely that Utah would be tempted to legalize polygamy." Mormons now reject polygamy. But, he warns, others will take up the cause. He concludes, "And if there is any lesson of the same-sex marriage debate, it is this: Be prepared for the worst – because there will always be some judge out there who can be talked into it." As I explained, however, the Hatch amendment would block judges--whether at the state or federal level--from imposing polygamy. If Frum's argument about Utah is correct, then the Hatch amendment gives the Utah legislature a power to legalize polygamy which it will (by his own admission) almost surely not use. That's all that this objection amounts to. Which isn't much.
Posted at 12:36 PM
ATKINS FOR CANINES [Cosmo]
Personally, I have no problem with it. So long as you replace the macadamia nuts with pork, and the broccoli au gratin, and the low carb bars...
Posted at 11:51 AM
THAT AMERICAN WOMAN ACCUSED OF SPYING [KJL]
Just from Googling: Here appears to be some backstory, from the Lockerbie bombing. And, unless this is another woman with the same name, she was a staffer for former Democratic presidential candidate Carol Moseley-Braun. (More googling: and may be a former US NEWS reporter, and Peter DeFazio and Ron Wyden staffer. AND anti-war, a peace-petition signer.)
Posted at 11:41 AM
RE: MARTHA PIECE [Mark R. Levin]
McCarthy's piece is good to a point, and is written form the perspective of a good prosecutor, but it lacks context. Prosecuting people for lying about crimes the government cannot prove -- in this case "insider trading" and manipulating stock values to the detriment of shareholders -- is perverse. Stewart would never have had that meeting with the government had she not be threatened with prosecution for crimes she never committed. This kind of prosecutorial manipulation ... has always troubled me.
Posted at 11:20 AM
AMERICAN WOMAN ARRESTED FOR SPYING FOR IRAQ [KJL]
Posted at 11:18 AM
WHAT DOES THE IT DOG OF THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT [KJL]
think of Atkins?
Posted at 10:53 AM
TERRIFIC ARTICLE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
by Andrew McCarthy on Martha Stewart.
Posted at 10:31 AM
A PICTURE THAT’LL INSPIRE A THOUSAND NEW BUSH DONORS [KJL]
Posted at 10:16 AM
BASRA BOOMING? [KJL]
Posted at 09:32 AM
MILITARY DEATHS DOWN [KJL]
Posted at 09:31 AM
PASSIONATE DETAILS [Rick Brookhiser]
Nice detail from Bruce Feirstein's column in this week's New York Observer. Feirstein, who is a screenwriter, describes having lunch in a Santa Monica restaurant with ten Hollywood friends. None of them "had actually seen the film, despite offering vociferous opinions about it. Then the Hispanic waiter spoke up. 'I loved it. I usually don't go to movies, but I went to a matinee, on the second day.'"
Feirstein's closes by anticipating the sequel. "He's back. Christ Almighty! The Resurrection. This time, it's personal."
Posted at 08:39 AM
JOBS AMERICANS WON'T DO, CONT'D [Mark Krikorian ]
A recent Boston Globe story (reprinted by the International Herald Tribune here ) makes clear that immigrant colonization of the low-skilled job market is not the result of decadent American teenagers opting to shop at the mall rather than work. Quite the opposite -- immigrant competition is elbowing teenagers out of jobs they would otherwise be filling. One economist said employers "like the fact that immigrants can work more hours and more shifts than teenagers." A job counselor said "Typically when kids apply for a summer job they might want a week off to go to camp or do something else. I tell them, 'You can't do that. You are up against someone who is going to be there every day and you need to deal with that.'" As a result, the percentage of teenagers holding jobs is the lowest it's been since statistics started being compiled in the 1940s.
Is it healthy for the future of our society to freeze our children out of low-wage, rite-of-passage jobs? When I was younger, I washed dishes in restaurants, packed tomatoes, did lawn work -- this kind of thing is essential if we are to preserve a middle-class society that values work, rather than the Old World model that mass immigration is pushing us toward, where only inferiors ever get their hands dirty.
Posted at 08:35 AM
HITLER'S SCIENTISTS [Jonah Goldberg]
I just finished listening to it on CD-audio book in my car last night. I think John Cornwell has written a very fine book, until the very end. I have the hardcopy of the book around here somewhere so I'll check it for the actual quotes later, but he says some really outrageous things about Edward Teller and makes some ludicrous comparisons to Andrei Sakharov, a true hero. Basically Cornwell plays two games of moral equivalence. First he says that Teller's enthusiasm for building as big a hydrogen bomb as the American military wanted was significantly the same thing as using slave labor to build missiles to bomb Britain. Second, he suggests that Sakharov's resistance to the Soviet Union's ambitions makes Teller look very bad because Teller supported Star Wars. You can dislike Teller if you want, but this struck me as unfair across a wide spectrum of perspectives.
All of this came out of blue for me considering that neither Teller nor Sakharov were "Hitler's Scientists." What also came out of the blue is the fact that Cornwell's a very old acquaintance/friend of my parents. I can only assume Cornwell never made these sorts of arguments around my dad. Because if he did there would be a whole lot-o-cussin' going on.
Posted at 08:31 AM
SLAVERY [Jonah Goldberg]
This should stir the pot. Over a million white Europeans were kept as slaves in North Africa according to a new book. We knew quite a bit of this already, but it's nice to see an academic writing a book on the subject make it out alive.
Posted at 08:15 AM
MIRANDA RESPONDS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Manuel Miranda responds to the Pickle report on the collusion memos, reports The Hill.
Posted at 08:10 AM
SPAIN UPDATE [KJL]
The number dead is up to 170
Posted at 08:09 AM
TODAY'S MCCAIN STORY [Tim Graham]
The Washington Times reports about what ABC wouldn't ask John McCain about yesterday, since Charlie Gibson was too busy whispering sweet nothings about being John Kerry's running mate in McCain's ear. McCain says he will sue the FEC and raise a ruckus if the Democrats are allowed to run roughshod over McCain-Feingold with Ickes and Soros and all their "527" plots to elect John F. Kerry.
Posted at 08:05 AM
SEE DAVID BRODER TODAY [Tim Graham]
He and researcher Brian Faler looked at the 9/11 ad bluster, compared to FDR and Pearl Harbor. Broder found: "Bush is a piker compared with FDR when it comes to wrapping himself in the mantle of commander in chief....If you accept President Bush's premise that this nation is at war with terrorism, then you have to applaud the restraint his campaign has shown so far in exploiting the attack that began that war."
By contrast, Democrats in 1944 were proclaiming, "How many battleships would a Democratic defeat be worth to Tojo? How many Nazi legions would it be worth to Hitler? . . . We must not allow the American ballot box to be made Hitler's secret weapon."
Posted at 07:55 AM
DRUDGE WAY AHEAD OF ME [Tim Graham]
My bad: Corner readers note that Drudge had the Rehnquist interview scoop well before it aired on "Today" yesterday.
Posted at 06:47 AM
PRE-DAWN FIREWORKS [KJL]
Ana Palacio, Spain's foreign minister, was just on CNN by phone. She yelled at anchor Carol Costello for calling ETA, a Basque terror group, a separatist group. (ETA's believed to be behind the attack this morning.) Someone should sic Palacio on the U.S. wire services.
Posted at 05:51 AM
64 DEAD IN SPAIN (ACCORDING TO SPAINISH OFFICIALS, ON CNN) [KJL]
Posted at 05:44 AM
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
ART FOR ART'S SAKE [Rick Brookhiser]
Glad to clear up the S-K business. That means we can like Wagner, Pound and Celine too. (Note to leftist visitors: we don't agree with them.)
Posted at 08:15 PM
KOJO & KOFI [KJL]
How close is is the U.N. Secretary General to Oil-for-Food scandal? Claudia Rosett raises questions about his son's business interests and a potential major conflict of interest here.
Posted at 06:41 PM
POSTSCRIPTUM [Peter Robinson]
to Byron York's fine piece about the polls yesterday: From February to July of 1988, Michael Dukakis lead George H. W. Bush by double digits--and as late as July of 1984, Walter Mondale was ahead of Ronald Reagan.
Posted at 06:30 PM
INTERESTING [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader (I haven't looked into the Clear Channel stuff, btw):
For What It's Worth
Posted at 06:30 PM
RE: CHIEF JUSTICE [KJL]
Methinks TDR had it up yesterday.
Posted at 06:29 PM
RE: CROOKED, LYING GUYS [Tim Graham]
Ramesh, this should be a serious gaffe for Kerry -- perhaps this year's version of "major league blankety-blank." If the main offense in today's political press is nastiness, this line fits.Can't anyone who reads it or hears it (Limbaugh played an audio clip earlier today) divine that he's talking about the GOP (or at least Team Bush) in general, not the consultants making ads for Saxby Chambliss?
Posted at 06:27 PM
MEMO TO MATT DRUDGE [Tim Graham]
This seems at least as newsworthy and much more plausible than a Kerry-McCain ticket, also from today's morning shows:
Rehnquist: “Well, at age 79 you can't help but thinking about retirement.”
Posted at 06:25 PM
RE: BIOETHICAL HYPOTHETICAL [KJL]
And, that, my friends, is exactly why I left it to our Ramesh to answer...
Posted at 06:23 PM
FROM BLOOMBERG.COM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
In Chicago today, Kerry stepped up his criticism of Bush supporters' tactics. Told by a worker to "tell it like it is," Kerry said, "We are going to keep pounding, let me tell you, just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've seen. It's scary."
Spokesman David Wade later told reporters traveling with Kerry to Washington that the candidate was referring to "the Republican attack machine'' that ran ads against Arizona Senator John McCain during the 2000 Republican primary and against Georgia Democrat Max Cleland, who lost his Senate re-election race in 2002.
My comment: The legend of Max Cleland, like that of South Carolina 2000, are for today's Democrats what Willie Horton was for an earlier breed: examples of horrible Republican campaign tactics that no amount of argument will convince them to relinquish.
Posted at 05:40 PM
LAST WORD ON S-K [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Don't you have time to get outraged about something a little less trivial than a band who made a stupid decision to ban a stupid T-shirt? And I love how you post the anecdote from the guy who called them "leftist imbeciles" without having any idea whether or not he's telling the truth. I've been to a Sleater-Kinney show and own all their albums, and I've never encountered any radical feminists trying to beat me up.
Posted at 05:35 PM
THE SUITS DIDN'T WRITE THIS [Jonah Goldberg]
Nor did K-Lo. From Dave in Arlington, VA:
Posted at 05:34 PM
SUBJUNCTIVE WATCH [John Derbyshire]
I am sitting here in my study. Behind me at a kiddie table is Daniel Oliver Derbyshire, aged 8, doing his English homework. He has to work his way through a list of ten words, making a sentence with each word. One of the words was "were." Danny made up and wrote down the following sentence:
"I wish I were invulnerable."
The only help I gave him was in the spelling of "invulnerable."
Is parenting worth while? Oh, yeah.
Posted at 05:22 PM
RE: NUMEROLOGY ALERT [John Derbyshire]
A reader tells me that today is also Osama bin Laden's birthday. Can this be true?
Posted at 05:12 PM
RE: KERRY VS. CLINTON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I think Michael Graham is wrong on this point. Clinton's 1993 tax bill imposed a top income-tax rate of 39.6 percent, and did so, I believe, retroactively to the start of that year. So it would certainly have been in effect in 1995.
Posted at 05:09 PM
BIOETHICAL HYPOTHETICALS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Excellent question, Kathryn! Here are some more:
If I were in a burning building and in one room was a neighbor's three-week old triplets and in another was your own nine-year old daughter, and I only had time to get into and out of one room safely, who would I rescue?
I could go on.
Posted at 05:06 PM
SORRY... [Jonah Goldberg]
One more from a reader:
Posted at 05:01 PM
I HOPE HE'S RIGHT [Jonah Goldberg]
This reader thinks my own sarcasm detector malfunctioned:
Posted at 04:54 PM
THAT BAND [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 04:52 PM
UH, MIKE [Jonah Goldberg]
I take your word for it that it's a good band, even that it "rocks." But don't you think you might be overstating things a tad when you compare them to Mozart and Shakespeare?
Posted at 04:50 PM
KERRY VS. CLINTON [Michael Graham]
In a 1995 speech in Texas, President Clinton said "Probably there are people in this room still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them to much, too"
At the time, the top tax rate was 36%.
Today, with the economy still struggling, Kerry has announced his plans to raise the top rate to 39.6%, which is what it will be if the Bush tax cuts are repealed.
So was President Clinton wrong about tax rates on top earners? Was 36% too high, as the former president said, or too low, as Sen. Kerry says today.
If anyone needed proof that John Kerry is a high-tax lefty even inside his own party, here it is.
Posted at 04:49 PM
TEXAS PRIMARY [KJL]
Some notes from David Guenthner, Tex. political insider:
After last night, the Texas Democratic Party might change its logo from a donkey to a shark. Trial lawyers consolidated their control last night, thanks in large part due to unprecedented primary intervention by colleague/state Democratic chairman Charles Soechting and a new trials-funded PAC called “Texans for Insurance Reform” that funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into key state House primaries. They defeated three of Republican Speaker Tom Craddick’s black and Hispanic committee chairmen and forcing another Hispanic member of his leadership team into a runoff he will almost certainly lose. Two of the four voted with the GOP on tort and medical liability reform. Of the other two, one supported congressional redistricting, while the other did not join his colleagues in their quorum-breaking trip to Ardmore and was insufficiently aggressive in protecting Rep. Martin Frost’s district. (That legislator’s successor quit Frost’s staff to file for the race.) Trial lawyers unsuccessfully targeted a pair of rural white Democrats, but one could get knocked off by a Republican in November. Nevertheless, the trial lawyers have sent a message that minority Democrats who don’t toe their line can kiss their careers goodbye.
Posted at 04:48 PM
OFFENSIVE & VIOLENT [Jonah Goldberg]
But I'm going to link to it anyway, even though some might protest. I am fairly confident that a certain subset of Coernites and G-Philes will like it. I don't mean to be defensive but full disclosure is required: this is a videogame which involves intense violence and a Catholic priest. If the priest were not on God's side I wouldn't link to it. Catholic second amendment enthusiasts should at least watch the opening animation.
Anyway, here it is. If you're looking for a public policy angle, this is a good (okay, terrible) example of my point in re Easterbrook and the need for providing context for violence.
Also note: It's hard and loud. I changed the setting to give me infinite lives and all three guns from the start -- just to save time.
Posted at 04:47 PM
WHOA! [Mike Potemra]
I just read the lyrics Matt from Alabama quoted-pretty horrible stuff. I have long been out of the habit of listening to rock for the lyrics, though . . . even other kinds of music, come to think of it. Sometimes even when it's Bach or Verdi, I put down the libretto and just listen.
Posted at 04:35 PM
"SOME BAND CALLED SLEATER-KINNEY"? [Mike Potemra]
That's almost like saying, "some dramatist called Shakespeare," or "some composer called Mozart." Sleater-Kinney rocks, and their work is a lot cooler than that politically correct scold-screed on their website would suggest.
Posted at 04:34 PM
NUMEROLOGY ALERT [John Derbyshire]
Today is the 911-th day since 9/11.
Posted at 04:31 PM
THAT BAND [Jonah Goldberg]
From Matt in Alabama:
Posted at 04:05 PM
STEWART [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Just to repeat myself for the benefit of many, many people who are emailing me: I am NOT denying that Martha Stewart should be in jail. I am NOT saying that selling a stock about which you happen to have information that the buyer does not is exactly the same thing as insider trading. (I am saying that it is hard to distinguish from a hypothetical analogy a reader brought up.) And from now on I am going to take Jonah's advice and lay off this subject. I hope my correspondents follow suit.
Posted at 03:46 PM
AND I SAY THAT... [KJL ]
...Bush-women stuff, not thinking that it makes an ounce of difference to most American women--they don't need the women-OD talk, they need to know he can fight a war, etc.--but to point out its out there, to answer the silly rhetoric some of you get on your college campuses, on the bus ride home, at the kitchen table, etc.
Posted at 03:41 PM
DUBYA, FEMINIST [KJL ]
His speech today (see below for the LOOK of it) should go in the required reading campaign-info packet, simply for what it does for the "anti-woman" lies.
Posted at 03:40 PM
WHITE HOUSE IMAGEMAKERS MAKE AMENDS [KJL ]
This: and this makes up for that.
Posted at 03:34 PM
RE: MALKIN & INGRATES [KJL]
A lot of e-mails like this: "I beg to differ; EVERY liberal I know thinks John Ashcroft is the Anti-Christ. I know a few militia types who feel the exact same way. While Malkin goes slightly over, you cruise slightly under."
Posted at 03:18 PM
"ARTISTS" FOR FREE SPEECH [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader pointed me to this announcement at the official website for some band called Sleater-Kinney:
Urban Outfitters, the store dedicated to reselling your childhood back to you via nostalgia and irony based fashion, is selling a T-shirt that says:
Posted at 03:16 PM
BIG VIDEO GOOFS [Tim Graham]
A few hours ago, CNBC reported Johnson & Johnson CEO William Weldon will get a bonus, but viewers saw video of the fine Florida congressman Dave Weldon speaking on the House floor. This reminds me that a few weeks ago, MRC's Jessica Anderson alerted me that when "Good Morning America" was reporting on the lurid Houston husband-stabbing murder trial of one Susan Wright, ABC showed a picture of Susan Webber Wright, the judge who disciplined President Is Is. Do interns pull up the images at the big nets?
Posted at 03:14 PM
STILL MORE MARTHA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
One more email:
If you can stand another comment on this subject, please indulge me.
Posted at 03:10 PM
BIOETHICAL HYPOTHETICAL [KJL]
(Ramesh,) A reader poses this question: "If you were in a burning building and inside was a five year old child along with a freezer full of hundreds of pre-implanted embryos and you could only save one of the two, who would you choose?"
Posted at 03:07 PM
MMMM VERY LARGE... [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 02:56 PM
REPORTERS OR PARTY HACKS? [Michael Graham]
How clumsy is this lede from the Associated Press:
"Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Wednesday he will ask Americans earning more than $200,000 a year to pay the taxes they paid under President Clinton and pledged to retain the Bush tax cuts for the middle class and even add to them."
The obvious way to write this "John Kerry said he will raise taxes on Americans earning more than....but pledged to retain the Bush tax cuts for the middle class." So why would the AP writers and editors bend themselves into pretzels to keep from stating the obvious? They certainly don't show this kind of nuance when it comes to, say, disputes between the CIA and the White House on intelligence issues.
If the coverage of the presidential race continues at its current, egregious pace, this may be the year when the media finally end the pretense that they are not dominated by liberal interests.
Posted at 02:55 PM
"LIGHTEN UP, JONAH" [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's a fun one from a reader:
It never amazes me how the right wing will find a reason to criticize liberals and Democrats in just about everything. Now it's the concern about young people thinking that voting is something that should be avoided. The answer why some Democrats might be concerned about this is pretty simple if you would only open your mind. The religious right, in cahoots with the GOP, is already out there enforcing its views of culture and morality on all of us. This faction is more concerned about contracting our existing constitutional rights -- rights to equality, privacy, freedom from the establishment of religion, press, dissent, to name a few -- rather than expanding them, such as insuring that all people eligible to vote can exercise that right, and have such votes counted when so exercised. By the way, "lighten up, Francis"? Did you go to school in the 1920's?
Posted at 02:54 PM
TNR VS. HENRY HYDE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The New Republic quotes the Republican congressman saying, "I am very happy that [Rep. Jerry Nadler] was never aborted." Their headline: "And We're Glad that the Gentleman from Illinois Wasn't Gunned Down With an Assault Rifle." Of course, all Republicans are in favor of the prohibition on gunning people down with "assault rifles" (or other guns), whereas most Democrats aren't in favor of prohibiting the lethal violence of abortion. But TNR's shot doesn't even work on its own terms. Hyde voted for the assault-weapons ban and favors its extension.
Posted at 02:50 PM
RE: MCCAIN-FEINGOLD FIZZLES [Tim Graham]
Rich, Glen Justice and Jim Rutenberg also report the Democratic soft-money-Kerry-substitute-campaign story for the front page of the New York Times. But neither the Post or the Times have your typical lefty campaign-finance nannies (Fred Wertheimer, Charles Lewis, etc.) complaining, only Republican Party lawyers.
Why are the "reformers" so quiet?
Posted at 02:50 PM
RE: VP MCCAIN [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, AP's story leaves out how McCain said "no scenario" four times like a mantra to deny it. All this proves is that Germans may love David Hasselhoff, but ABC loves John McCain...
Posted at 02:49 PM
EDITORS EVERYWHERE [KJL]
Sam Tanenhaus is the new editor of the New York Times Book Review. I know firsthand he's met conservatives!
Posted at 02:45 PM
RE: RD@DMN [KJL]
That was every single Corner writer's first reax--you're so honest, man.
Posted at 02:24 PM
I ALSO DON'T SEE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
what's so great about this post, to which Postrel links. Our moral intuitions are not unfailing guides to moral truth? No kidding. You don't need to know the latest in biology to know that. The idea that moral intuitions are unfailing guides to moral truth may be Leon Kass's view--although it's possible to read his phrase "the wisdom of repugnance" differently--but it's absurd to say it's "the philosophy of the council." It's not Robby George's philosophy, for example. It does, however, seem to be the philosophy that underlies councilmember James Q. Wilson's support for research cloning. And Postrel has endorsed Wilson's reasoning on exactly this score.
Posted at 02:03 PM
"I WOULD ENTERTAIN IT" [KJL]
Speaking of McCain, the veepstakes continues; Kerry-McCain?
Posted at 01:55 PM
I'M NOT QUITE SURE I GET [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Virginia Postrel's point here: "Ultimately, both fiscal and economic futures depend on economic growth. If productivity (measured and unmeasured) keeps rising, even the fiscal problems become less significant. If our grandkids are filthy rich by today's standards, which is actually quite possible, they won't have as hard a time covering social security's promises. Medicare's, which rise with the medical standard of living, are a different matter--unless, of course, medical care somehow gets cheaper as well as better." Social Security payments are tied to wage growth. If the economy grows faster, those promises do too, right? If we were willing to say that Social Security payments shouldn't double over the next 80 years, we'd have the fiscal problem solved already. What we have is a political problem. It's not obvious that a richer society will find it easier to solve that problem.
Posted at 01:53 PM
ROD'S NEW RESPONSIBILITIES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
That's excellent news. The important question now is: How much does the Dallas Morning News pay for op-eds?
Posted at 01:01 PM
THIS MUST RANK AMONG THE CHEAPEST OF SPORTS CHEAP SHOTS EVER [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 12:59 PM
THE DEMOCRATIC PICKET LINE [Rich Lowry]
Good news. The Democrats may not be able to attend their own convention in Boston, at least if they don’t want to cross the picket line. Boston police are threatening to declare that anyone entering the FleetCenter will be crossing a picket line if their contract isn’t set by then, according to the Boston Globe.
Posted at 12:56 PM
MCCAIN-FEINGOLD CRITICS VINDICATED [Rich Lowry]
Opponents of campaign finance reform said that it would only lead to the creation of shadow political parties and campaigns, which is exactly what has happened. As the Washington Post puts it today, “Democratic operatives are moving to set up coordinated national and state-by-state operations that amount to the equivalent of a full presidential campaign, minus the candidate.”
Posted at 12:54 PM
MORE MARTHA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Another email I got this morning:
Ramesh, you are letting me down, what Martha did was sell a stock she was sure was going to go down to someone who did not have access to the same information that Martha did. If I sell you my car at full price knowing that the transmission is going to fall out in the next few hundred miles but say nothing about it, did I do something wrong? As much as I like the principle of caveat emptor, the government is there to hopefully protect you from my fraudulent behavior.
My response: Just to clarify, I'm not saying that Stewart shouldn't be facing jail time. (I thought Jay Nordlinger got the issues just right the other day.) I was responding to one specific argument.
But let's follow up my correspondent's thought. First of all, in the hypothetical situation he mentions, we would have a civil action, not a criminal prosecution, right? Second, a better analogy would be: I have reason to think that the government is going to impose a recall of that car in the future and don't tell you that. It seems to me to be a different situation. But let's say you disagree. Let's think up another analogy. Let's say I have read a report on a company that is publicly available but that you haven't read. Knowing what's in that report, but not mentioning it to you, I sell the stock to you. Does this action, too, deserve criminal prosecution? Why not, on my correspondent's theory?
Posted at 12:53 PM
KERRY’S “ATROCITIES” [Rich Lowry]
Also in The Nation, Tom Hayden writes about a portion of Douglas Brinkley’s book that I wasn’t aware of: “Brinkley then recounts how Kerry later told Meet the Press that ‘I committed the same kinds of atrocities as thousands of others,’ specifically taking responsibility for shooting in free-fire zones, search-and-destroy missions, and burning villages.” Will Kerry stand by his contention that he committed atrocities, or flip-flop?
Posted at 12:49 PM
KERRY’S FLIP-FLOP ON TRADE [Rich Lowry]
In The Nation this week, there’s a pretty good synopsis by John Nichols of Kerry’s “radical” transformation on trade (no link available): “To get a sense of how radical the remake has been, consider the issue of trade. A pre-makeover Kerry appeared this past September before the Detroit Economic Club and declared himself ‘an entrepreneurial Democrat.’ He condemned Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt for advocating a ‘retreat from the global economy’ because they were critical of free-trade agreements. Dean’s pledge to insert environmental and labor standards into trade agreements ‘would mean we couldn’t sell a single car anywhere in the world,’ Kerry griped. Five months later, with Dean and Gephardt out of the race, Kerry was sixty miles south of Detroit in Toledo, where he rallied Ohio primary voters with a pledge to ‘create a fair playing field for our trade relationships in the world’ by launching a 120-day review of all trade agreements as part of a push to assert labor and environmental standards.”
Posted at 12:43 PM
A NEW PUB [Rod Dreher]
So now I get to be an editor. The Dallas Morning News today announced that I'm going to be in charge of a new Sunday opinion and commentary section called Points, which will be launched (we hope) in June. I'll be working with editors and writers here to create the section from the ground up, and to make it one of the leading places in American newspapers for cutting-edge thinkpieces, analysis, provocations and the like. The idea is to create a forum for the most energetic and provocative ideas from the right, left and center. For example, I will be as eager to publish Jonathan Rauch and Andrew Sullivan on gay marriage as I will to publish Stanley Kurtz and Maggie Gallagher -- and all writers and thinkers who are asking the difficult but necessary questions on the great controversies of the day. We'll have a lot of fun—I hope to bring a pop sensibility and a fresh, irreverent attitude (familiar to Jonahphiles) to the section. In short, my goal is to make Points the fairest, most balanced and altogether best section of its kind in the country, a newspaper salon for the liveliest writers and the sharpest minds in Texas and beyond to find a place to launch their ideas to the national conversation.
Posted at 12:35 PM
AL JOURGENSEN [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader about today's column. I have nothing to add:
Posted at 12:26 PM
RE: INGRATES [KJL]
True point, RP.
Posted at 12:22 PM
IN THAT LAST STEWART POST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
of mine, prosecutable should have been "actionable."
Posted at 12:22 PM
RE: 14-YEAR-OLD VOTERS [Steve Hayward]
It's even more fun than you think. The sponsor of the kiddie-voter bill is Sen. John Vasconcellos, one of the most out-there liberals in the state. Fortunately he hits his final term limit this year I believe. The kiddie-voter bill is not unusual for Vasco (as he is known): he was the sponsor of California's famous Commission on Self-Esteem that was lampooned in Doonesbury back in the 1980s. He also once sponsored a bill to outlaw automobile air conditioning in California when the ozone layer scare was at its height. Ban air conditioning--in California! Now there's a great idea. . .
Posted at 12:21 PM
RE: MALKIN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I like her columns. But I think it's a little weird to characterize America as "a nation of ingrates" because a minority of the public--possibly even a minority of liberals--is gleeful over John Ashcroft's illness.
Posted at 12:13 PM
MALVO GETS LIFE [KJL]
Posted at 12:04 PM
PA SENATE RACE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A conservative pollster writes: I still think it is uphill but not impossible for Toomey. Some things going for him-- 1) It doesn't seem that Specter's massive ad spending so far has particularly helped hiim; this would seem to indicate that opinions about Specter are pretty well set. Hence, the question is whether enough people will know anything good about Toomey to vote for him. 2) At the end of the year, only about 20% of primary voters had any impression at all of both candidates; of that group, Toomey was ahead by double digits. Now 3 months later, with fairly limited Toomey advertising, 40% have an impression of both candidates & Toomey is still leading in this group by double digits. So the question here is again whether Toomey's ads can get that 40% up to 70 or 80% by primary day. 3) Toomey still has the great majority of his ad money left. If he spends a million & a half or so in the next 6 weeks in the proper places, it might work out. 4) Personally, though, I still think Specter will win. He will greatly outspend Toomey, the party establishment will put him on all the slate cards & endorsement tabloids going out to primary voters, and I fully expect some big smear campaign against Toomey at the end. That's typical Specter. 5) I'd be disappointed if Toomey didn't get say 42% & would be pleasantly surprised if he got 45-46%. 6) Interestingly, Rendell's negatives are rising to such a degree that he might actually be vulnerable in 06, and if Toomey comes out of this primary not all scarred up, he could be a strong candidate for gov if he wants to run.
Posted at 11:59 AM
14-YEAR-OLD VOTERS [John J. Miller]
No joke: Some bozos in California want to extend the franchise. This is a bad idea, but I've got a good one that possibly fits into the same category of voting rights for children--let parents vote on their behalf. This would be a huge boon for conservatives. After all, married couples with children living at home are one of the most strongly Republican demographic groups in the country. Shouldn't someone propose this reform--"for their sake of our children"?
Posted at 11:21 AM
SOME HEINZ OUTSOURCING [KJL]
Posted at 10:40 AM
LAND OF THE FREE ASHCROFT HATERS [KJL]
Every single time Ashcroft has brought charges against jihadists in America, he has been mocked and vilified. Every single time he has tightened the screws on Islamic terror recruitment and financing, he has been lambasted as a racist. Every single time they have been arrested, the defendants have proclaimed their absolute innocence. And each time Ashcroft has won convictions against them -- neutralizing terror cells in Lackawanna, N.Y., Portland, Detroit, and now northern Virginia -- he has been met with more condemnation and derision.
Posted at 10:30 AM
ABOUT ABBAS [Jonah Goldberg]
I guess it would be ill-advised for the US to have killed Abbas deliberately (which I seriously, seriously doubt). But this is another issue -- like Martha Stewart in a sense -- where I cannot muster any outrage even in the worst-case scenario. Here's a general rule: when you shoot an old man in a wheel chair and then huck him off the side of a boat: you deserve the negative consequences of your actions, no matter how much time transpires after it.
Posted at 10:22 AM
KERRY'S CYBEREXPLETIVES [KJL]
I will have to remember this excuse.
Posted at 10:18 AM
MORE ABASS ACCUSATIONS [KJL]
from Palestinian Liberation Front leader.
Posted at 10:04 AM
U.S KILLED ABASS [KJL]
Says his wife.
Posted at 10:00 AM
GORE V KERRY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 09:50 AM
ASTEROID TO COME? [KJL]
Posted at 09:34 AM
THE DIANE REHM SHOW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm on it today, talking about the presidential election with E. J. Dionne Jr. and our host.
Posted at 08:54 AM
SOUNDS LIKE AN ONION HEADLINE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 08:32 AM
RE: RE: MARTHA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I’m sure you’ve gotten 1000 emails on this since you posted, but your thinking is flawed. You wrote:
“I don't get it. The crime was selling a stock MS had reason to believe was going to go down? Isn't that a major reason for selling stocks?”
The crime was not in selling a stock she knew was going to go down. It was in selling a stock she knew would go down because she had access to information not publicly available. Free exchange on the stock market is predicated on freedom of information. Traders place value on a stock due to the information they have available to them. If one person has information that is not available, no matter how much research is done, to the other person, then it is dishonest, unethical, and illegal. The free exchange would collapse if rules were not there to prevent this.
The hard thing to understand, Ramesh, is why you pretend not to know this for your post. Your writings tell me you should be intelligent enough to!
My response: Technically speaking, actually, her crime was lying to investigators and obstructing justice. I don't think insider trading should be a crime, although in some cases it should be prosecuted as a violation of contract. As for the reason I said what I said, it's because an earlier post had suggested that Stewart deserved criminal prosecution because she sold a stock she knew would go down.
Posted at 08:24 AM
GORE V KERRY [Jonah Goldberg]
It's funny. I really didn't like Al Gore and I've disliked Kerry for not particularly dissimilar reasons. Gore was a panderer, he was arrogant, aloof, he saw government as a solution to any problem etc etc. I think you can make a very similar case about Kerry, though I understand there are differences too, particularly on foreign policy.
Anyway, what I think is weird is that I've now spoken to a lot of liberal journalists a few professional DC Democrats and, of course, read a lot of negative stuff about Kerry in Slate, The New Republic and the Washington Post from the A-list of pro-Democratic scribblers. But pretty much all of these folks were adamantly pro-Gore and they are very down on Kerry. Now, some of this can be explained by Gore's earlier incarnations as well as his closer relationship with the liberal establishment, particularly The New Republic. But from my vantage point I still find it kind of baffling that smart liberals could really like Al Gore and dislike Kerry, on ideological or personal grounds. I mean, I think I'm on solid ground when I say that most Republicans and conservatives in all honestly don't see a lot of daylight between the two men ideologically or personally. What are these anti-Kerry liberals seeing that I'm not?
Posted at 08:05 AM
MATT ON ADS [Tim Graham]
Anyone see Matt Lauer pushing around Tommy Thompson this morning on NBC? Matt was lamenting that ads for fatty foods aren't banned like tobacco ads. I think he used the word "barrage" of ads. Doesn't that kind of "barrage" pay his salary? Actually, "Today" could use a couple of ads for Twinkies, since it's beginning to lose in the ratings to GMA...
Posted at 08:03 AM
AS GOES BERKELY...GOES BERKELEY [Jonah Goldberg]
They want to impeach Bush.
Posted at 07:01 AM
CORNER READERS: AN ENDLESS RESOURCE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Oh man, I really missed the boat. I'm a couple of days late. This was REALLY my moment! Like the Far Side with the dogs when the giant mailman is attacking the city. I am one of only three world class authorities on pancreatitis who also happen to be card carrying Reagan Republicans. For verification....[Details Removed]. I can interpret the news about Ashcroft's pancreas in an understandable and meaningful fashion, throwing in fascinating hypotheses on the molecular pathogensis of gallstone pancreatitis. Hello, are you still awake? Hello?........
Posted at 06:56 AM
RE: BOOKING THE CARLYLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Any cyberangel care to underwrite? (Hey, Martha, we're you're friends--very oddly--got some change to throw our way?)
Posted at 05:43 AM
RE: MIDNIGHT OGLER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Peter, while you were out, Jonah let us know he's left his family in peace for a few days while he works on his book. So, I expect he was buying No Doz and not buying popcorn to go with his DVD collection. Something tells me we have some great line about Laura Croft and fascism in the Jonah book notes for last night.
Posted at 05:38 AM
TUESDAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas results here.
Posted at 05:25 AM
"FREE MARTHA NOW" COLE PORTER CONCERT [John O'Sullivan]
Adding to John Derbyshire's suggested program for the "Free Martha" Cole Porter concert, surely "Why Can't You Behave?" has Martha's name on it in more ways than several. Also "It's De-Lovely" strikes a Martha-like note. And she really ought to be in the lyrics of "You're the Top," though "Stewart" is not easy name to find a rhyme for. One might get away with "cruet," I suppose. Then there's (from "Silk Stockings") the evocative little number "When We Go to sweet Siberia" which contains the comforting lines: "You can bet all right/That your Christmas will be white/In cheery Siberia." Also from the same show, reflecting Martha's treatment at the hands of the KGB: "The Red Blues."
In fact I think I can recall the entire lyric:
"I've got the Red Blues.
I've got the Red Blues.
I've got the Red Blues.
I've got the Red Blues.
I've got the Red Blues.
I've got the Red Blues.
I've got the Red, Red Red,
(That's what I said)
There's the concert's first act closer, I reckon.
John, with this sort of show, we might get a really good class of protester, not your usual duffle-coats and anoraks, but a white-tie crowd that would do Martha proud. I say, let's book the Carlyle now and get going.
Posted at 01:12 AM
MIDNIGHT OGLER [Peter Robinson]
K-Lo, am I allowed to ask Jonah why the married father of an infant daughter was out prowling the streets of Washington, D.C., at midnight?
Angelina Jolie indeed. Where was Mrs. G? Where was little Lucy?
Posted at 01:07 AM
INTERESTING [Jonah Goldberg]
I was at the local supermarket -- near my undisclosed location -- and I saw a copy of the Spanish language edition of Cosmo. Angelina Jolie was on the cover and she has a remarkably dark tan. It's almost as if they photoshopped her into a Latino.
Posted at 12:10 AM
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
PATIENCE [Peter Robinson]
Just heard from a reader of this happy Corner who studied with Samuel Huntington at Harvard. Huntington, the reader informs me, will take up the Texas vs. California question in his new book, Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity.
Amazon doesn't list the pub date, but I've gone ahead and placed an advance order even so.
Posted at 08:38 PM
FORMER THRASHING [Peter Robinson]
Yes, Derb, I read all those thrashings of a few weeks ago with very great interest. But all the same they left me feeling a trifle unsatisfied. The case of Texas vs. California remains in my "unsolved" file.
Posted at 07:51 PM
A LAST NOTE ON THE BORDER [Peter Robinson ]
There really is a difference between Mexican immigration in Texas and California, and I've been getting emails all evening that prove it. Two sum it all up:
From a Texan:
“Great post on Harlingen today….I couldn't agree with you more on Hispanic assimilation. I'm from Houston and have seen a tremendous influx in Hispanic immigrants in my 35 years of life. I think it's been great for the city. I anticipate that Texas will be majority Hispanic in my lifetime. I'm white and not worried about this at all. Hispanics in Texas believe in traditional American values far more than white Northeasterners.”
From a Californian:
“I suggest that you visit any place in Southern California where commerce is conducted (e.g., supermarket checkout line, DMV, Post Office, etc.), and take note of how our American culture is being rapidly and uncontrollably overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of unassimilated illegal aliens."
Posted at 07:49 PM
ANDREW: MORE REASON FOR YOU TO EAT THE CHEESEBURGER! [KJL]
Posted at 07:14 PM
TEXIFORNIA OR MEXAS? [John Derbyshire]
Peter: On the Texas vs. California differences in attitude to Mexican immigrants -- we thrashed all this out in mid-January on The Corner. Google on "texifornia or mexas."
Posted at 07:13 PM
A LITTLE MORE ON THE LONESTAR STATE [Peter Robinson ]
A Little More on the Lone Star State Yes indeed, Rick, I’m conscious that my notes reflect a very Texas-specific experience of immigration (and if I hadn’t been, the emails I’ve been receiving from Southern Californians would have clued me in). But why? Why has the Hispanic influx taken place so much more smoothly in Texas than elsewhere?
Before my trip last week to Cameron County, I’d only heard one explanation that made much sense: That overall welfare benefits are much more modest in Texas than elsewhere, and particularly modest by comparison with benefits here in California, so that Texans recognize that Mexicans travel north only to find work, not to milk the welfare state.
Now another couple of possibilities have occurred to me. The first? Geography. Whereas here in California the vast conurbation of San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles begins just north of the border, in Texas the major cities are all separated from the border by many miles of farms, ranchland, mountains and desert—San Antonio lies 125 miles north of Mexico, Austin 200 miles, Houston 300 miles. Immigrants to Texas may therefore tend to disperse themselves among the agricultural enterprises and small towns of the state’s southern tier, where they can acquire skills and learn English, rather than proceed directly to the big cities to establish dense concentrations of unskilled, Spanish-only ghettoes like those in the Golden State.
The second possibility is that the culture of Texas itself somehow makes things easier. Even now, after all, Texas remains a truly conservative place. Hard work, family life, and a certain manliness are still celebrated. So is the state’s fundamental openness—even now, land is cheap and anyone can aspire to owning his own home. Yes, you’ll need to work hard here, the Texas culture implicitly informs Mexican immigrants. But if you do, everyone here will be quite happy to accept you—and you’ll be able to provide your family with the kind of life that only the tiny upper class can ever achieve back in Mexico itself.
I don’t know whether I’m right about any of this, but it sure seems worth mulling over. Anyone who can figure out why the Hispanic influx doesn’t seem to have caused much trouble in Texas while proving so disruptive in California and elsewhere will have answered a very big question.
Posted at 07:07 PM
CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG [KJL]
but this should have been the message re the 9/11 commission all along, right?
Posted at 07:02 PM
MISS OTIS REGRETS -- READER RECOMMENDATIONS [John Derbyshire]
I asked for some recommended recordings of this lovely song, which I can't get out of my head -- other than Ella's recording, which I have. Readers came through with the following:
Bette Midler -- on her "greatest hits" CD.
Marlene Dietrich (in German!) -- on "The Cosmopolitan Marlene Dietrich."
(From an Ella fan, therefore to be taken seriously): There was a Cole Porter tribute album done to benefit AIDS research in 1990 and the Pogues along with Kirsty Maccoll did a medley with Ms. Otis Regrets and Just One of Those Things that is actually pretty darn cool.
The great jazz singer Alberta Hunter, recorded with the Jack Jackson orchestra in 1934. She performs it as an off-the-cuff telephone conversation between two unflappable, easily distracted people.
Posted at 06:52 PM
RELIGION OF MARSHMALLOWS [Rod Dreher]
David Brooks had a pretty fantastic column today, saying that the squishy, therapeutic religion exemplified by Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" is more of a danger to American society than the muscular Christianity on display in Mel Gibson's movie. Brooks, who is Jewish, does not defend Gibson's film, but he does say that the narcissism and spiritual sloth that characterizes popular religion in America today corrodes public virtue. I wanted to shout, "Hallelujah!" when I finished that column. I was raised Methodist, and have passed through the Southern Baptist church and the Episcopal Church before I finally ended up in the Roman Catholic church 11 years ago. With the possible exception of the Southern Baptist church, I don't recall ever having heard any kind of Christianity preached that wasn't essentially a spiritualized gloss on Dr. Phil-ism. The happy exceptions are so rare I'd sooner expect to find rashers of bacon in the Riyadh IHOP than hear something substantive and challenging.
For me, "The Passion of the Christ" acted as a head-clearer from all the bourgeois kultursmog one gets in church these days, where one is challenged to do little more than be nice to others and accept that God affirms us in our Okayness. When I went to mass on Ash Wednesday, I was still reeling from the searing grandeur of the film, and thinking very much about my own sins, and the role I played in Christ's suffering. The priest began his homily by saying, "I was going to preach a fire-and-brimstone homily, but that's not my style." This was supposed to be a joke, as his homilies all sound as intelligent and modulated as an extended NPR commentary, minus the edge (an Ira Glass monologue is "Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God" by comparison). And you know, I wanted to scream. I'm so sick of this Jesus-is-our-Buddy stuff. Our Lord in Dockers. Who needs it, ya know?
Posted at 06:48 PM
ABOUT THAT LIBERTARIAN TEST [Peter Robinson]
that everybody was having so much fun taking while yours truly was down in Texas, two points:
a) I just took it myself. I scored 75.
b) It's nuts. Five points if you call yourself an "anarcho-capitalist?" Five more if you agree that "all government" is "inherently evil?" Taking this test reminded me why I call myself a "conservative:" Every time I'm tempted to call myself a libertarian, I come across some libertarians.
Posted at 06:03 PM
FREE MARTHA SONGFEST [John Derbyshire]
I think Cole Porter is just the ticket.
All sorts of Cole Porter lyrics are appropriate. For example:
---"Always True to You in My Fashion" (Next time the feds question your veracity.)
---"Anything Goes" (For sticky questions about insider trading.)
---"Away from it all" (Yep, that's where you're going.)
---"Cherry Pies Ought to Be You" (That is, they ought to be MADE by you, Martha.)
---"Dainty, Quainty Me" (Yes! We love you, Martha!)
---"Don't Let It Get You Down" (Really, honey--you'll come back!)
---"Ev'ry Day a Holiday" (Let's face it, there isn't THAT much to do in the pokey.)
---"Fascinating Females" (No! Just keep to yourself and do the time!)
---"Five Hundred Million" (How much your stock lost this week.)
Etc. etc. etc.
Posted at 05:45 PM
RE: OWENS OUT [John J. Miller]
So Colorado Gov. Bill Owens isn't running for the Senate. Whom should conservatives support? Many will want to back Rep. Tom Tancredo because he is such a forceful advocate of restricting immigration. My sense, however, is that he'd be a radioactive candidate who energizes Democrats--and very possibly cost Republicans a seat they ought to keep. Tancredo has a safe seat in the House and should hold onto it. I hope that's what his friends advise him to do. Besides, the GOP can offer a very good conservative alternative who is also more electable: Rep. Bob Beauprez (pronounced "bow-pray"). Just think of the cool bumper sticker: 'Prez for Senate.
Posted at 05:44 PM
FREE MARTHA! CONCERT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Lead act, of course, the Vandellas - and the two Marthas.
Posted at 05:43 PM
RE: MARTHA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I don't get it. The crime was selling a stock MS had reason to believe was going to go down? Isn't that a major reason for selling stocks?
Posted at 05:33 PM
ASSIMILATION IN TEXAS [Rick Brookhiser]
Peter, your report is very Texas-specific. California and Arizona (and NYC) have different experiences with the current wave of Hisp/Mex immigration.
Posted at 05:31 PM
MARTHA [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
What Martha Stewart did is knowingly try to sell a defective "product", for which someone would unknowingly pay a premium and take a loss. Immoral? Yes. Unethical? Yes. Wicked? Yes. Dishonest? Yes. Deceitful? Yes. Against the law? Shouldn't we hope so?
Posted at 05:02 PM
MORE SIGNS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN THE RIGHT MIND [KJL]
Mary Ann Glendon gets named by the pope to head the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
Which reminds me, if you are interested in such things, do read the "National Review Board's" report on clerical abuse. Really came out along the right lines, as George Weigel notes here.
Posted at 05:01 PM
JOSS WHEDON & THE X-MEN [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm sure this was already well-known in amongst the fandom, but I just heard on NPR that Joss Whedon -- creator of Buffy, Angel etc -- will take over writing one of the X-Men titles for a year. That is very cool, jealous-making and possibly enough to entice me back to reading X-Men again.
Posted at 04:58 PM
VIRGINS IN TROUBLE [Jonah Goldberg]
Apparently they're more likely to get STDs than girls who sleep around because they're less likely to use condoms. Please don't make me spell out the problems with the assumptions here.
Posted at 04:47 PM
MARTHA & YOU ARE WHAT YOU ARGUE [Jonah Goldberg]
One of the points I often try to make with my more ideological friends, particularly some libertarians, is that there isn't enough time in a day to make every principled conflict a high priority. I agree with most of the arguments made by gun rights advocates, but it's not an area that grabs my passion all that often -- save perhaps when it serves to highlight the hypocrisies of the left. For others, it's their top priority. Similarly, I am sure that the there are plenty of second amendment enthusiasts who also agree with the pro-life movement. But they put their energies elsewhere. I meet a lot of libertarians who are very thoughtful and persuasive on a lot of issues, but their blood only seems to boil about the drug war, gay rights etc. I think some people fail to appreciate the degree to which your overall philosophy becomes subordinated to the battles you decide to pick.
Anyway, this is probably painfully obvious. I bring it up because, frankly, I cannot get passionate about Martha Stewart. I don't like her. I think she lived the sort of life which all but begged for a huge karmic backlash. It may be true that as a matter of principle that she doesn't deserve her fate and I am open to that argument and, if persuaded, I'll gladly say so. But even if she's a total scapegoat I will leave it to others on the Right to carry the fight on the issue of Martha's Martyrdom.
Posted at 04:28 PM
RE: CONCERT [KJL]
Think MTV will air it live? Perhaps a pay-for-view extravaganza?
Posted at 04:12 PM
PRIDE OF AUTHORSHIP [Ramesh Ponnuru]
James Taranto says that he came up with the idea behind Orrin Hatch's proposed constitutional amendment to vest powers over the recognition of same-sex marriages with state legislatures. His idea was actually a bit more limited than Hatch's. He wanted an amendment that would block federal courts from imposing same-sex marriage; Hatch's amendment would also block state courts from doing that. I think I'm the first person to suggest an amendment like Hatch's, in the Corner once or twice over the last two years. After spending 20 minutes trying to find the posts via our archives and Google, I realized that satisfying a small point of vanity was not really a good use of my time. Anyway, I'm perfectly happy to call it the Hatch-Taranto Amendment.
Posted at 04:10 PM
FREE MARTHA! CONCERT [John O'Sullivan]
John Derbyshire is right--we should have a Free Martha event. But not a rock concert surely. How about a Free Martha Evening of Cole Porter Standards? (Well, I'd go.) Poster? How about "Free the Chintz One!"
Posted at 04:09 PM
KERRY ON WMD [Rich Lowry]
“Rich, Just wanted to bring to your attention a nice line in Time Magazine's interview with Kerry:
Time: Obviously it's good that Saddam is out of power. Was bringing him down worth the cost?
Kerry: If there are no weapons of mass destruction--and we may yet find some--then this is a war that was fought on false pretenses, because that was the justification to the American people, to the Congress, to the world, and that was clearly the frame of my vote of consent.
Kerry thinks it's possible that WMD's are in Iraq - so if we find them, Bush wasn't lying, but if we don't find them, he was? How could he charge a man with lying about the existence of WMD's when he himself thinks they may exist?”
Posted at 04:05 PM
WAL-MART TO SUE U.S. TREASURY? [KJL]
Posted at 04:00 PM
TERRORIST ABBU ABBAS DIES IN U.S. CUSTODY [KJL]
Expect the media emphasis to be on in U.S. custody not terrorist.
Posted at 03:58 PM
"POSITIVELY CATO" [KJL]
A Cato-er e-mails: "I read your post and followups on stem cell research, abortions, and libertarianism with some interest -- especially the part about the Times today being 'positively Cato.' Just so you know, and as Ramesh suggested, Cato has consciously NOT taken a position on either of those issues precisely because where one stands on them cannot be informed by libertarian principles. (Interestingly, Heritage has not taken a position on abortion either.)
In short, I assure you that plenty of folks at Cato...count themselves as being on the pro-life team."
Posted at 03:49 PM
NYT TZ [KJL]
Here's backstory on the marriage op-ed in the Times today. Does sound legitimately like more than an author loving her words too much (not that I've ever met anyone of that tradition).
Posted at 03:45 PM
K-LO’S LIBERTARIANISM, CONT’D [Peter Robinson ]
Ramesh, my thanks.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard the libertarian position described as self-evidently and necessarily pro-choice. Yet as you have just so neatly pointed out, that isn't true at all.
Posted at 03:29 PM
POSTCARD FROM THE EDGE [Peter Robinson]
Returned yesterday evening from Cameron County, the southernmost county in Texas, where I was visiting my ninety-four year old aunt, who retired to Texas from upstate New York three decades ago. As the crow flies, Harlingen, the town in which my aunt lives, lies just 15 miles from Mexico. Notes from the border:
***Virtually every nurse, maid, cook, janitor, and security guard in the Golden Palms, the complex to which my aunt retired, is Hispanic, which in this case, of course, means Mexican. Although I often overheard them speaking Spanish among themselves, when they spoke to residents they invariably did so in perfect, unaccented English. (They were also hard-working, attentive, and cheerful. Although I never used to give much thought to longevity, I would now like to live long enough to be cared for one day by Mexicans.)
***I spoke to workers at a grocery store, a Wal-Mart, and an authentic Mexican restaurant. (How authentic? There was a mariachi band performing at one end and four Border Patrol guards eating lunch at the other.) Although, again, these workers used Spanish among themselves, when they spoke to me they did so in unaccented English—even when I spoke Spanish, they answered in English.
***The candidates for office in today’s primary? According to the posters I saw all over Harlingen, they are virtually without exception Hispanic. Armando Villalobos is running for district attorney, Rafael Salazar for county tax assessor, Joe Cisneros and Omar Lucio for sheriff. The only candidate with an Anglo surname is Jan Cassidy, who, for any readers of this happy Corner who happen to vote in Cameron County, is running for the board of commissioners. Yet each candidate made his boasts exclusively in English, not Spanish. Omar Lucio’s posters, for example, told voters not that Lucio is a man of liderazgo and integridad but of “leadership” and “integrity.”
***Since English was being used everywhere, I decided that in Cameron County the great project of assimilation was getting along just fine. Heck, I thought, this place even displays all the hallmarks of the red, or Republican, America: The region is dominated by medium-sized towns, not big cities; country music stations outnumber rock stations on the radio dial; a church stands on every second street corner; and the residents drive American cars (in four days I spotted not a single Mercedes or BMW). Then I looked on the Internet. In the last presidential election, Al Gore outpolled George Bush in Cameron County by 33,214 votes to 27,800.
***I’m still plenty dubious about the president’s temporary worker proposal, but after my four days in Cameron County I can see why Karl Rove decided to back it.
Posted at 03:27 PM
WHAT JONAH'S DOING INSTEAD OF WORKING ON HIS BOOK [KJL]
Posted at 03:23 PM
WHY EMPLOYMENT COULD BE HIGHER THAN WE THINK [Peter Robinson ]
An interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning in which Robert Barro, the Harvard economist, assesses various explanations for the by now notorious difference in employment figures between the Bureau of Labor Statistics' payroll survey (the BLS calls companies to ask how many folks they employ) and its household survey (the BLS calls homes to ask if they people who live in them hold jobs).
In response to which my brother, who does a lot of business over the Internet, offers yet another explanation, this one suggesting why a lot of employment shows up in neither survey:
"[Employment is understated because] the internet has created a vast underground cash economy. The dozens of eBay sellers and independent retailers I did business with last year all got paid in cash and are not about to respond to a survey about any related activity....I just bought some things for the house [on the Internet]...and they wanted PayPal. I get computer parts the same way. It used to be that the only people that could benefit from a 'cash basis' were barbers and waitresses, but that is no longer the case.
"I spent more in an underground economy last year than on anything other than housing and food. How much of what I spent do you suppose the people who sold me goods and services actually reported?"
Posted at 03:20 PM
CUT DEFENSE? [Rich Lowry]
Here is a good bit from the Project for a New American Century on why GOP-proposed defense cuts are a bad idea. They would also be atrocious politics, giving John Kerry a lot of cover as he defends his record of supporting defense cuts:
"If congressional 'budget hawks' have their way, there will be cuts made to the Bush administration’s defense spending package. Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate Budget Committee voted to slice $7 billion from the Pentagon’s FY 2005 budget. The ostensible reason for the reduction is the large federal deficit. With the national defense budget authority up by nearly $90 billion since 2001, the presumption is that there is room to cut.
But this is not the case. Adjusted for inflation, the $423 billion in defense budget authority requested for FY 2005 is only 15% more than the FY 2001 total. This increase is remarkably small given the fact that, during this period, the U.S. has fought two wars and is still engaged in major military operations in two theaters. Moreover, a considerable percentage of the increase in defense spending has gone to paying personnel, benefits and health costs. Compared with the Reagan-era budget ramp up in the early 1980s, a far smaller amount of today’s increases has gone to procuring new equipment and replacing aging infrastructure. Indeed, a close analysis of the administration’s defense budget reveals that current procurement plans – for new ships, planes, satellites, and missiles – cannot be supported by projected budget totals in the coming years. Add to this the fact that the active-duty military is too small to carry out the grand strategy the White House has adopted for the post-9/11 world, and one is left to conclude that Congress should be lobbying the White House to increase the Pentagon’s budget, not to cut it.
Even today, America’s defense burden is low – accounting for less than 4% of the GDP and less than 20% of the federal budget. (During the Reagan build-up, the comparable numbers were over 6% and 27%, respectively.) Members of Congress looking to trim the deficit should first take a hard look at other elements of the federal budget. With the nation at war, cutting defense should be the last thing on their minds."
Posted at 03:17 PM
ASHCROFT'S GALLBLADDER [KJL]
It's bad enough to have gallstones, but its worse to have them and to have diagrams of your gallbladder on national TV.
Posted at 03:10 PM
DNC ASKS W TO DROP "PRESIDENT" FROM ADS [KJL]
Before you send out in a mass outrage e-mail, thoguh, it's Scrappleface.
Posted at 03:08 PM
MISS STEWART REGRETS [John Derbyshire]
It's a bit of a stretch, I guess, but the song that goes through my head when I think of Martha Stewart is that wonderful Cole Porter number "Miss Otis Regrets." True, Martha didn't plug her lover with a Derringer, and when the mob arrives it will be to liberate her, not string her up. (Well, I guess it depends which mob...), but the ambience of crime and punishment in the midst of gentility and good breeding just fits somehow. In any case, I'm glad to have been reminded of a lovely and funny song. My recording is Ella Fitzgerald, who is of course superb, but I'd be interested to hear readers' opinions of other artistes' efforts.
Here are the lyrics, anyway. Cole Porter was, for my money, a U.S. grade-A genius. I even put one of his lyrics on my poetry CD
Posted at 03:02 PM
K-LO'S LIBERTARIANISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It's true that most libertarians support stem-cell research that destroys early embryos, and also true, I suppose, that most of that majority of libertarians believes that this position follows naturally from libertarian principles. The same propositions are true of the "pro-choice" position on abortion. But I do not think it is true that one has to approve of the legality of abortion or of such research to be a consistent libertarian. (Some self-described libertarians agree with me.) If the libertarian proposition is, in a nutshell, "government exists to protect people against force and fraud," then the question, with regard to these issues, is whether the embryo or fetus counts as a person. The libertarian proposition mentioned above does not itself furnish the premises to answer that question.
Posted at 02:47 PM
WHY I'LL NEVER BE A LIBERTARIAN, WHATEVER THE DUMB QUIZ SAYS [KJL]
I'll never be for the privitization of stem-cell research. Regulation over human life seems a reasonable job for government. Not for the NYTimes, though, which reads like it got caught in the Twilight Zone today: they cheer private funding. They're positively Cato.
Posted at 02:37 PM
BILL OWENS WON'T RUN [KJL]
Posted at 02:32 PM
MARTHA BASHER-IN-CHIEF [John Derbyshire]
A reader tells me a thing I did not know: that Martha-basher Christopher Byron has actually written a Martha-bashing BOOK. Here is the Atlantic Monthly review.
Just got through reading John O'Sullivan's excellent NRO piece about Martha. I think it's time we started talking about a FREE MARTHA rock concert. Can we get this going, Kathryn?
Posted at 02:16 PM
NPR FEATHERED A NEST [Tim Graham]
Speaking of Howard Stern and the FCC rules, pardon me if I don't shed a tear for the public-radio axing Catherine Seipp describes today. She calls it an "accident" that Sandra Tsing-Loh wrote and read the F-word -- in a taped piece, no less -- expecting her engineering helpmate to create a supposedly funny bleep. What a tedious device.
You can argue that the Santa Monica NPR boutique at KCRW is hypersensitive. (If only it were this sensitive to liberal bias!) But as Jonah notes today, the FCC rules are very clear that the F-word is not to be used on the radio -- especially when it's used properly. (The FCC made a joke of itself in suggesting rock star Bono was okay using "F-ing brilliant" on the Golden Globes award because it was an "adverbial intensifier").
Free speech does not mean you are entitled to your own radio commentary gig. Seipp ends up explaining (another "accident"!) that public broadcasting often leads to private bling-bling (the two "Southern California best sellers" no doubt were helped by the radio exposure). Take your cash and count yourself lucky, Sandy baby. Most of us never receive the privilege of that taxpayer-funded playground.
Posted at 01:45 PM
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE [KJL]
Someone tell me this is a joke:
New Jersey authorities sued Nissan North America Inc. on Monday, alleging the automaker failed to warn customers that the super-bright headlights on its Maximas were hot targets for thieves.
Posted at 01:43 PM
THE POLL RESULTS YOU HAVEN'T SEEN [KJL ]
Thank you, Byron York!
Posted at 01:18 PM
THE E-VOTING MESS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Sometimes, the sky really is falling. Last week's problems with e-voting in Orange County (in 21 precincts there were more ballots than voters) may have been 'procedural' rather than technological, but they can't be put right:
"David Hart, chairman of Texas-based Hart InterCivic, which manufactured Orange County's voting system, said it would be impossible to identify which voters cast ballots in the wrong precincts because of steps the company had taken to ensure voter secrecy. For this reason, an exact account of miscast ballots is impossible."
No recount capability, no confidence: it really is that simple.
Posted at 01:14 PM
DERB'S QUOTE OF THE DAY [John Derbyshire]
You have to admit, this woman -- She Whom I May Not Name -- is awfully quotable. This is from her column in HUMAN EVENTS, which I was reading over lunch: "In fact, Jesus' distinctive message was: 'People are sinful and need to be redeemed, and this is your lucky day because I'm here to redeem you even though you don't deserve it, and I have to get the crap kicked out of me to do it.' That is the reason He is called 'Christ the Redeemer' rather than 'Christ the moron driving around in a Volvo with a BE NICE TO PEOPLE bumper sticker on it.'"
I shall leave judgment of the lady's theological soundness to those better qualified. I will only say I enjoyed reading that so much, it was almost enough to make me want to go and see That Movie. Almost.
Posted at 01:10 PM
THE GET-OUT-THE-VOTE EFFORT THAT WASN'T? [KJL]
Floridian Anthony Gancarski e-mails: The election numbers could be anything tonight. Estimates of vote totals have declined hourly -- from 10 to 8 to even 5%. Apparently, in one precinct precisely ONE person has voted so far. If Kucinich, LaRouche, or someone even more off the radar had mobilized his 'base,' he may come out of Florida with delegates. Could we see the Comeback Kuch? Stay tuned...."
Posted at 12:52 PM
MARTHA BASHING [John Derbyshire]
The most egregious bit of Martha-bashing to date was Christopher Byron's disgraceful piece in Sunday's New York Post. If you can't be bothered to read the whole thing, let me give you the gist of it: "Martha is a really, really horrid person, so -- let's have a necktie party!"
I do concur with Kathryn, though, that perhaps I should not have compared her to Gerald Amirault, who didn't do anything, and wasn't even rich or obnoxious. My point was that the essential elements in the two cases -- unscrupulous, ambitious prosecutors, moronic juries, public opinion inflamed by lies and prejudice -- were the same in both cases.
Posted at 12:42 PM
POLITICS IN IRAQ [Rich Lowry]
Also in the Post, Amir Taheri has a good piece explaining why the harrowing push-and-pull we’ve seen in Iraq recently is really just the practice of politics. Here is how Taheri describes the dynamic (the “Pasha” is Paul Bremer):
“This is how things proceed: The "pasha" puts his ideas in circulation. They are immediately attacked by everyone, most notably by the Shiites. Then all sides enter into negotiations that include a great deal of posturing. Eventually, a compromise emerges.
This is almost invariably rejected by Sistani, whose tactic has been to play the democratic card and to call for people power. Then follows another series of negotiations, which lead to new compromise. This is then endorsed by Sistani, often with a wink and a nod.
The tactic is to push the Coalition and the Governing Council to the edge, but not beyond.”
Posted at 12:31 PM
FLIP-FLOPPER V. LIBERAL? [Rich Lowry]
For a while, it was a minor piece of conventional wisdom that Bush had to choose whether to attack John Kerry as a flip-flopper or as a liberal. This never made sense to me, since it’s perfectly possible to be a flip-flopping liberal. In today’s New York Post, Dick Morris points out that the two charges could actually be complementary. Bush attacks Kerry as a flip-flopper now, then attacks him as a liberal later, and when Kerry denies that he is a liberal, Bush gets to say, “There you go again with the flip-flopping.”
Posted at 12:27 PM
HOW WOULD LOCKE DO? [John Hood]
I just took the anarcho-capitalist purity test again. I scored a 70, low presumably because of foreign-policy issues. (Steve, does that mean I get to stay on the Reason masthead?) Seriously, the meter is obviously warped by Rothbard/Rockwell foolishness. My guess is that John Locke, Adam Smith, and most 19th century English Liberals would have scored lower than I did, which is not to denigrate their thoughtfulness about the political application of the freedom philosophy but to denigrate modern-day activists who lack practical experience and an appreciation for the complexities of social institutions.
Posted at 12:17 PM
GOOD SENSE ON THE NADER POLL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 12:15 PM
WATCHING WOMEN [KJL]
Janice Crouse Shaw and Wendy Wright from Concerned Women for America are reporting from the U.N. from the Forty-Eighth Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Here's their latest, see the CWFA homepage for all their daily reports.
Posted at 11:59 AM
ASBURY PARK JOINS THE GAY-WEDDING TRAIN [KJL]
Posted at 11:54 AM
DC SNIPER [KJL]
has just been sentenced to death on Oct. 14
Posted at 11:51 AM
WAS THE OP-ED EDITOR SLEEPING? [KJL]
From today's NYTimes:
Legalizing same-sex marriage does not simply extend an old institution to a new group of people. It changes the definition of marriage, reducing it primarily to an affectionate sexual relationship accompanied by a declaration of commitment. It then gives this more narrow view of marriage all of the cultural, legal and public support that marriage gained when its purpose was to encourage and temper a more complex set of goals and motivations.
Posted at 11:49 AM
ARAFAT? HE'S NOT MY FRIEND ANYMORE. [KJL]
Kerry distances himself from past remarks.
Posted at 11:31 AM
NO BIAS IN FEE REIMBURSEMENTS [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Washington Post reports on Democratic complaints that the special panel that oversees Independent Counsels has shown partisan bias in denying requesnts for reimbursement of legal fees by President Clinton and other former administration officials, when some Reagan officials did receive reimbursement. The story largely echoes Democratic whining and is quite incomplete. For instance, it fails to note that some on the right, such as the Scaife Foundation's Richard Larry, have also had their attorneys' fee requests denied. Indeed, this was the most recent ruling by the special panel -- and shows that the three judge panel has been quite consistent -- so its omission is quite conspicuous. The panel isn't partisan. It's just stingy with taxpayer dollars -- as it should be.
[Disclosure: I clerked for Judge David Sentelle, the presiding judge on the special panel, but never worked on any matters relating to fee reimbursement requests.]
Posted at 11:11 AM
RE: BUY AMERICAN [Tim Graham]
Jonah, there's nothing wrong with favoring your own country in your buying habits. Heck, in my house growing up, my father -- who sold radio advertising to the local merchants -- encouraged his flock to buy local when doing the Christmas shopping. Back then, in our cow-town neck of the woods, Toyotas were a little exotic. When I came to Washington, I was amazed at how few old Chevys you would see among the Saabs, BMWs, Volvos, and Mercedes. I think the more urbanized you get, the more you get the idea that stuff from abroad is better, and if not better, definitely cooler.
Posted at 10:54 AM
BY JINGO, BUY AMERICA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
If someone has an emotional preference for "American-made" products, however defined, that's a sufficient reason for acting on the preference. Someone with that preference should not, however, kid himself that he is helping the American economy through his actions. Because a buy-America campaign would almost inevitably reinforce false economic premises--premises that would lead, as Jonah worries, to tariffs, preferences for American companies in government contracting, etc.--it would be worth keeping an eye on, so as to criticize it when it goes in that direction. In itself, it's not objectionable.
Posted at 10:42 AM
SUPER TUESDAY [Rick Brookhiser]
First Super Tuesday--'84? '88? Junkies and junkettes should take a look, now and then, at The Making of the President 1960, to savor a kinder, gentler primary age.
Posted at 10:23 AM
SUPER TUESDAY III [KJL]
Random questions of the day, for the political junkies (where's Michael Barone when you need him): There was a day when we only had one "Super Tuesday," right? And, was they ever actually "super"?
Posted at 10:10 AM
RE: BUY AMERICAN [John Derbyshire]
Off on a tangent, really, but I was recently reading Clive James's memoirs about growing up in postwar Australia under the "Empire Free Trade" regime (i.e. basically "buy British" imposed by law). This condemned Australians to those awful British automobiles, with fenders that fell off when you started the engine, and trunks that never closed properly. James says that when the first Volkswagens arrived in Australia "they were hailed as liberators."
Posted at 10:08 AM
FOR "DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH FILES" [KJL]
South Korea sounds like any ol' democracy here.
Posted at 10:00 AM
VOLOKH ON HATCH AMENDMENT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Eugene Volokh, who has been critical of the FMA, supports Senator Hatch's alternative here.
Posted at 09:58 AM
PROTECTIONISM RISING? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Bob Novak on the rise of protectionism, and its potential impact on the Presidentrial race.
Posted at 09:57 AM
HARSHBARGER [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, Kathryn, it's worth remembering that the prosecution of the Amirault 'case' was led by Scott Harshbarger, then a district attorney in Massachussets. Harshbarger went on to serve as President and CEO of the relentlessly self-important Common Cause, which is yet another reason to ignore anything that that particular organization has to say.
Posted at 09:48 AM
SENATOR KERRY, YOU'RE NO BILL CLINTON [KJL]
Kerry incites belated outrage for his "second black president" comment.
Posted at 09:40 AM
YOUR CHANCE TO VOTE... [Andrew Stuttaford]
...in an interesting poll.
Posted at 09:38 AM
BUY AMERICAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, you ask if there is anything wrong with "Buy American" marketing campaigns from a free trade point of view? Nothing at all, I reckon, so long, as you imply, that it's not backed up by tariffs, national preference legislation or the like. Interestingly, across the ocean, the EU Commission has in the past suggested that "made in Britain," "made in France" and so on should be replaced by a generic "made in EU" label. To Brussels, keeping consumers fully informed is, apparently, less important than some imagined "European" ideal.
Posted at 09:37 AM
WHOA, NOW [KJL]
I'm pro-Martha--mostly because I want her pillows to continue to be available at K-Mart--but Derb, comparing her to Gerald Amirault? She did actually do some lying didn't she? She also, is probably guilty of insider trading (a.ka. good stock tips?), however nebulous a crime it might be. Amirault is a genuine innocent man, from all Dorothy Rabinowitz has told us, bless her (and him). Martha could have played her cards a little straighter. I'm still a Living subscriber and all, but that might have been a little much.
Posted at 09:29 AM
FREE MARTHA [John Derbyshire]
I totally forgive my colleague Stephen Moore for his bizarre views on open borders and unrestrained international trade, having read his splendid Martha Stewart piece on today's NRO. The Martha Stewart "case" was, as I have been telling Corner readers this past few days, and as Steve spells out in detail, yet another atrocity committed by out-of-control federal prosecutors and dimwitted lefty jurors. Martha Stewart, horrible arrogant DYKWIA Clintonoid lefty though she may herself be, is as much a victim of justice miscarried as Gerald Amirault.
If this unfortunate woman does indeed go to jail, I will bake a cake myself, from one of her own recipes, and take it to her personally.
"First they came for the obnoxious rich women...."
Posted at 09:25 AM
WHEN ECONOMISTS COLLIDE [Jonah Goldberg]
NRO V. Brad DeLong. There are two things I know: There's no difference between good flan and bad flan, and that I will not be getting in the middle of this argument.
Posted at 08:54 AM
MESSAGE: I DON'T CARE [Jonah Goldberg]
I keep getting email from folks asking if -- or why I'm not -- outraged by the FCC's clampdown on Howard Stern. The answer: no. The reason: I don't care. I listened to Stern a lot in high school, I have friends who are still devoted listeners. I think he can be funny. I also think he's gotten amazingly scummy over the years, particularly since his divorce. I hardly think he's being picked upon unfairly, from what I've read (which I confess is not much -- because of that whole not-caring thing). But none of that matters. If what he did breaks the rules of the FCC then the FCC should enforce its rules. If people think the FCC shouldn't have those rules, then they should work to change the rules. I fail to see why we should be outraged by the enforcement of decency rules per se. Of course, as many of you know, I'm something of a defender of censorship. But even if I weren't it seems to me the problem for most people is that A) their ox is getting gored or B) they don't like the rules. Well, if it's either A or B, complain about the rules, not their enforcement.
Posted at 08:48 AM
"BUY AMERICA PROBLEMATIC" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Jonah- Is it better to buy a Mercedes or Honda assembled in the United States, or a Ford assembled in Canada or Mexico? There are plenty of easy cases. But on those big-ticket items, it gets much more complicated. All the best,
ME: I agree, but wouldn't the fact that the problem is more complicated, also make it easier, not harder? After all, you could defend your purchase by saying "this car was made in America." And, you could say, "Hey man, this is an American car, back off." Indeed, I have no doubt that Honda and Ford would expand their marketing strategies to emphasize their side of the argument. Also, as for cars made abroad, wouldn't such a popular preference stem the tide of even more factories moving abroad? Again, I am not saying that I necessarily favor a buy American campaign -- and I know I don't favor such campaigns being translated into law. But I'm still iffy on why it's necessarily a good thing to have a culture of free trade even if I firmly believe it's a good thing to have laws based on free trade. I mean, wouldn't a pro-America premium encourage even greater innovation by foreign firms? And, if so, wouldn't that maintain market pressure on domestic firms?
Despite all of the table-thumping from liberals, even our lower middle class enjoys historically enormous levels of disposable income. Since disposable income not invested is always going to go disproportionately to purchases of taste, why would it be bad if more consumers had pro-America tastes?
Posted at 08:40 AM
THE OTHER NRO [KJL]
If anyone wants to send $300 million or so our way, I guarantee it will be put to good use. (And just think of the investment--not just this opinionmaking bonanza we call NRO, but in Lazy-Jonahs & Cosmo Cozies.
Posted at 08:26 AM
"UGLY" TV COVERAGE [Tim Graham]
If the networks complain in November about low voter turnout, we need to suggest that they are part of the problem, not the solution. As Bush and Kerry begin to engage in a general election campaign, the networks this morning are making it sound like they're each calling each other's wives ugly names. Words like "ugly," "nasty," even "ferocious" are being used to scare voters about the tone of the race -- which is nothing different than an average day in Kerry's U.S. Senate.
Why are the media making such ninnies out of the American voter? That they can't seem to stand one guy pointing out what he thinks are the flaws of the other guy? How can voters make a choice without those arguments?
Worse yet, NBC's Ann Curry is suggesting that they're somehow not talking about "the issues," even as they play clips of Bush listing how Kerry's for cutting intelligence spending and opposing every attempt to spur economic growth. Those aren't issues? And isn't it odd to accuse candidates of ignoring the issues when you spend every day chronicling Martha Stewart and Michael Jackson instead of Social Security or international trade?
Posted at 08:17 AM
THE IRAQI CONSTITUTION [Jonah Goldberg]
It is a huge deal. Yes, it's just a piece of paper -- like the articles of confederation, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, etc -- but in a region with no serious, lasting, history of democracy or liberal constitutionalism, this strikes me as a genie which cannot ever be completely put back in the bottle. The Iranians are surely watching. More important, the Iraqis are watching. No matter what happens next, they will remember this promise of democracy. Whether it can be delivered on America's timetable is another matter.
Posted at 07:17 AM
JONAH GOLDBERG OMNI MEDIA [Jonah Goldberg]
I guess the Martha meltdown will make it that much harder to rally investors to my new line of couches, beer cozies and compendiums of conservative bathroom readers. Oh well, there's still my dream of Cosmo Omni Media -- he won't be making any insider-trade phone calls.
Posted at 07:09 AM
MY UNDISCLOSED LOCATION [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm working for a secret lair this week to make some progress on the book. So I am posting to the Corner using a PC. And while I still think PC's are inferior to Macs, our blogging software is designed for PCs and so I can, at much greater convenience, post links that do not open in separate windows. I know that the vast majority of readers prefer the separate windows. But this week you'll just have to make do.
Posted at 06:42 AM
IT'S A GOOD THING [Jonah Goldberg]
Hillary gives back the $1K Martha gave her.
Posted at 06:39 AM
BUCK, BALKIN, SOLUM [Jonah Goldberg]
Stuart Buck sends me this email (sorry guys for never getting around to joining in):
And, from now on you can check-in with these guys yourselves to stay abreast of the argument.
Posted at 06:35 AM
"ON HIS KNEES" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 06:31 AM
BUYING AMERICAN [Jonah Goldberg]
I have a question for my fellow free-trading Cornerites: What exactly is wrong with buy American campaigns? I fully understand and agree that as a matter of public policy such campaigns are inadvisable. When the government imposes buy American laws it's little more than a tax on consumers and a tarrif against trading partners.
But as a matter of culture-politics, what's wrong with asking Americans to spend a larger share of their ample disposable income on American products? We already put a premium on specific brands, styles etc. We think -- not necessarily correctly -- that Cuban cigars, Polish Vodka, Swiss Chocolate, Czech nude models etc -- are worth paying extra for. Gucci bags sell more than their knock-offs precisely because American women are determined that their friends and enemies know how much they overpaid for them.
I understand that a buy American campaign fundamentally rewards a certain level of inefficiency by telling producers they can make a slightly worse product than their foreign competitors' and still win in the market. But certainly in the areas of fashion and food similar incentives already exist (again: Gucci bags). So it's not so much a case as creating inefficiencies based on consumer preference as switching to other inefficiencies based on other consumer preferences. Wouldn't it be better if the consumers generally preferred American-made stuff?
One danger I can already anticipate is that in America, in the age of mass politics, it would be very difficult to deny the public their desire to translate public sentiment into public law. But what is the economic argument against this? Ramesh? Andrew?
Posted at 06:27 AM
NEW ANTI-KERRY AD [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's the new "priceless" anti-Kerry ad. I think it's just okay myself, but hardly priceless.
Posted at 06:00 AM
EDWARDS [Jonah Goldberg]
I've seen several stories on how he's the numer-one choice among Democratic voters to be Veep. Two thoughts: First: this may be true, but 8 months before the election and just after the primary battles, this is probably mostly to do with the fact that Edwards is one of the only Veep-quality Democrats fresh in peoples' minds. Second, this is all so premature. Kerry gets only a few chances to make real news now. He gets his convention speech, maybe that trip to Iraq he's hinting about and his choice of Veep. Meanwhile, the President of the United States is always news. Kerry's not going to pick his veep for a longtime, particularly because he's such an indecisive guy when he can be.
Posted at 05:57 AM
THE OTHER NRO [John J. Miller]
Every now and then, I read a news article that mentions the other NRO--the National Reconaissance Office--and I begin to daydream. Consider this line from today's Washington Post: "NRO had salted away more than $1 billion as advance payments for future satellites. Congress acted because it discovered the NRO had used about $300 million from that account to build a new office building in Virginia." Wouldn't it be nice?
Posted at 05:53 AM
LET'S SEE: SADDAM, ARISTIDE, CHIRAC, KIM JONG IL, ARAFAT [Jonah Goldberg]
John Kerry says world leaders want him to win:
Mr Kerry named no names when he addressed a fundraiser in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But said: "I've met foreign leaders who can't go out and say this publicly but, boy, they look at you and say, 'you've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy.'"
Posted at 05:48 AM
Monday, March 08, 2004
YOUR MARTHA SCORECARD [Tim Graham]
ABC had five Martha segments on "GMA." NBC had four (one of them in their extra 9 AM hour). CBS had six. Only CBS -- with Dan-O in Baghdad -- had more than a few thirty-second anchor briefs on the new Iraqi constitution. ABC did find time, however, for a guy whose sculpts celebrities out of used chewing gum.
Posted at 05:58 PM
WOOPS: KERRY V ARISTIDE [Jonah Goldberg]
You beat me to it.
Posted at 05:09 PM
RE: KERRY ON ARISTIDE [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh: Two thoughts: 1) Kerry desperately wants/needs support of the Black-Democratic machine. 2) The base believes anything Bush is against is the height of wisdom, period.
Posted at 05:07 PM
RE: KERRY ON ARISTIDE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An e-mail: "Yes, actually, I can think of two reasons:
"1) It’s another opportunity to bash Bush (any reason is a good one for Kerry).
"2) It’s a chance to pander to the Congressional Black Caucus and their boot-licking minions.
"Does he really need any other reasons?"
My response: I would think so. Kerry and his advisers aren't stupid. They know that not all Bush-bashing, and certainly not all CBC-pandering, is equally helpful to them in a general election. This seems to be a fairly low-return way of doing those things.
Posted at 05:06 PM
RE: KERRY ON ARISTIDE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An e-mail: "Yes, actually, I can think of two reasons: "1) It’s another opportunity to bash Bush (any reason is a good one for Kerry). "2) It’s a chance to pander to the Congressional Black Caucus and their boot-licking minions. "Does he really need any other reasons?" My response: I would think so. Kerry and his advisers aren't stupid. They know that not all Bush-bashing, and certainly not all CBC-pandering, is equally helpful to them in a general election. This seems to be a fairly low-return way of doing those things.
Posted at 05:06 PM
RE MY LACK OF PASSION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Me: Yes, I do feel like I should see it. But I don't think I will find it enjoyable as entertainment -- something numerous fans of the movie have confirmef for me. I am so swamped these days with my book etc. my desire to go out and see a movie like this is pretty low. Though the subject matter is different, I postponed seeing Schindler's List (and the Washington Holocaust museum) for similar reasons.
Posted at 05:05 PM
KERRY ON ARISTIDE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Does this make any kind of political sense? Does Kerry think that he can win support among national-security-minded voters by talking up his willingness to intervene in Haiti? To intervene in Haiti to prop up Aristide? Anyone got a good explanation?
Posted at 04:54 PM
ONE LAST TEST POST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A reader: "I only scored a 23. Is there a government program that will help me become a better Libertarian?" Well, there's always the IRS.
Posted at 04:12 PM
RE: NEWS YOU CAN USE [John Derbyshire]
Rod: ...Or read my article "The Abolition of Sex" in the new issue of NRODT. The sexual revolutionaries aim to do away with the whole business. No kidding.
Posted at 04:04 PM
KERRY “MIGHT” HAVE GONE TO WAR IN IRAQ; SAYS WAR “MAY” HAVE BEEN WORTH IT [Byron York]
A new interview in Time magazine provides a glimpse into the depth of John Kerry's struggle to formulate a position on the war in Iraq.
TIME: What would you have done about Iraq had you been the President?
Posted at 03:25 PM
NEWS YOU CAN USE [Rod Dreher]
Yesterday's NYT features the touching story of an addled Ivy League lass who went off to study in Cuba, became unnerved when the locals took her for a boy, then came home and had surgeons lop off her breasts so she'd feel better. Now, "Luke" and other "gender queers" are pressing their university (Brown) to build single-stall bathrooms. It's all part of the next civil-rights movement on campus, in which the unnervingly unnatural are demanding the unreasonable of college administrators -- and winning victories. All the more reason why you need to order the National Review Guide to Colleges right this very second!
Posted at 03:20 PM
SAME TO YOU, MA'AM [John Derbyshire]
(Only people raised in Britain will get this.)
Posted at 03:10 PM
DAN LUNGREN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Former congressman Dan Lungren is hoping for a comeback in a different House seat from the one he held in the 1980s. The Republican primary for the third district of California was held last week, but it still hasn't been called. Lungren is narrowly ahead, and hopes to be declared the winner on Wednesday.
Lungren was the early favorite for the nomination and racked up some big endorsements. But Lungren became--with apologies to both men--the John Kerry of the race. The pre-season of the campaign did not go well for him. Some conservatives, notably the Club for Growth, backed Rico Oller for the nomination instead. The reasoning, as Club president Stephen Moore explained to me two weeks ago, was that Lungren was going nowhere and that conservatives had to get behind Oller to keep a third candidate--Mary Ose, a moderate and the incumbent congressman's sister--from winning the primary. Oller also won the support of some Republican congressmen, such as John Doolittle, a low-ranking member of the House leadership.
As it turned out, Ose came in a distant third. Well, hindsight is always 20/20.
If Lungren wins in November, he will almost certainly be voting with the Club for Growth on all the issues that count. Here's hoping that the Club has a better success rate for the year than it had last Tuesday--and that it picks the right battles.
Posted at 03:01 PM
I'm more libertarian than you, too, Stutt. CLEARLY FLAWED.
Posted at 02:41 PM
LIBERTARIAN UNDERACHIEVER [Steve Hayward]
I scored a mere 60 on the libertarian quiz. How is it possible that I scored lower than Ramesh? Maybe I read the questions in a bit more of "strict constructionist" frame of mind than Ramesh.
On the other hand, maybe now I understand better why I was kicked off the masthead of Reason magazine.
Posted at 02:23 PM
THAT TEST [Andrew Stuttaford]
I scored 37. Less libertarian than Jonah, less libertarian than Ramesh. How is this possible?
Posted at 02:13 PM
SEX IN THE CITY [John Derbyshire]
Yeah, yeah, I know: It's "Sex **and** the City." Numerous readers have corrected me.
I shall, however, perpetuate my error, (a) out of contempt for the TV medium, and (b) because I feel cussed today.
Posted at 02:07 PM
JULIAN SANCHEZ TAKES THE TEST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 01:43 PM
HIMMELFARB MAIL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
"She left out another possible movie scenario here. A film set on a Southern plantation. The brutality of whippings and r@pes and divided families, etc. Was Roots roundly condemned by the same people? Were they upset that Southern Whites were uniformly depicted as deranged and evil? "But I think it goes deeper than this. She is asking the defenders of the film to consider these thought experiments. But, just as revealing and relevant, how would the critics of the film respond to these films? Why would they feel discomfort with The Passion yet, presumably, applaud the other efforts?"
Posted at 01:41 PM
WORST SPECIMEN OF LOGIC FROM A POLITICIAN ANYWHERE, EVER [John Derbyshire]
"'It is better to suffer from typhoid than to be a millionaire, because according to statistics the mortality rate of those suffering from typhoid is 10 per cent, while millionaires all die,' said Viktor Orban, former Prime Minister [of Hungary], currently President of senior opposition party Fidesz quoting an old anecdote in response to Prime Minister Medgyessy's claim - based on statistical data - that unemployment was not on the rise in Hungary. Medgyessy had officially invited Orban to discuss a set of current issues privately in his office on March 1."
(Courtesy of the Hungarian Information Center.)
Posted at 01:31 PM
THAT LIBERTARIAN TEST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Robert P. George e-mailed: "I scored 29. A bit higher than Aristotle would have scored. Probably about where St. Thomas Aquinas would have ended up, give or take a few points in either direction."
So far, the order of the results--in ascending order, Robby (29), Rick (40), Jonah (41), me (73), and Jonathan (89)--was about what I would have expected. But then I got this e-mail from Charles Murray:
"72 for me. but I was quibbling (you can't have free immigration in a welfare state, in Milton's famous formulation). In my heart, I'm at least an 85. Still, I may need a few weeks in a reeducation camp."
I out-libertarianed the author of What It Means to Be a Libertarian. Amazing. And I don't even consider myself a libertarian.
Posted at 01:27 PM
OPERA NOTES (FOR JAY NORDLINGER) [John Derbyshire]
Jay: Enjoyed your Impromptu on the unfortunate bit of editing in that opera review.
Let us not forget that this year marks the 100th anniversary of another operatic scandal, the Met's 1904 production of Parsifal, in which the kiss between Kundry and Parsifal in Act II lasted 45 seconds. Critic Eleanor Franklin called the performance "profanity, sacrilege, blasphemy, and a gigantic outrage." Good thing she didn't live to see Janet Jackson.
Posted at 01:21 PM
SEX IN THE CITY -- A DISSENT [John Derbyshire]
"Derb---Calling Sex in the City 'hog-swill' is inappropriate; hogs have much more attractive mating habits than the one-dimensional characters on that piece of over-hyped tripe."
Posted at 01:13 PM
ANOTHER E-MAILER ON THE PASSION [KJL]
The Passion is arousing a lot of discussion. I hear it at work, in restaurants - everywhere you go people are talking about it. As an evangelical Christian, I can only be grateful for that.
Posted at 12:22 PM
HBO SHOWS -- THE CONSENSUS [John Derbyshire]
Rough reader consensus on this:
---The Sopranos: Variable, but when good, as good as TV drama gets. Refreshingly un-PC, with -- Yo! -- lotsa stereotypes.
---Sex in the City: Hog swill.
Posted at 12:06 PM
KRAUTHAMMER, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Remember, he treats the movie's extra-Scriptural depiction of Caiaphas and the other Jewish priests' witnessing of the scourging as anti-Semitic. A reader writes, "this point falls apart when you consider further that the Jewish leaders left at 30 lashes (I was counting/following the Latin counting). The initial whipping then stops as they are leaving (at 32 lashes). It is only after their departure that the Romans break out the flagellata and the real bloodletting begins. Caiaphas et co. do not witness this at all. I just saw The Passion for a second time yesterday, so I am sure on this."
Posted at 12:04 PM
THAT HIMMELFARB OP-ED [Ramesh Ponnuru]
None of her thought experiments seemed all that horrifying. If a Muslim wants to make a movie about the Crusades or a Jew wants to make a movie about the Inquisition, I'd probably go see it.
Posted at 11:38 AM
SAY GOODBYE TO ME [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be back this afternoon. Buh-bye.
Posted at 10:08 AM
SAY GOODBYE TO MONDAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 10:06 AM
DISTURBING AND UNPLEASENT [Jonah Goldberg ]
And yet I couldn't resist posting..
Posted at 10:03 AM
THINGS THAT ANNOY ME [Jonah Goldberg]
The fact that volumn on the TV always goes up during the commercials in primetime broadcasts. What is up with that? Someone needs to be punished.
Posted at 09:57 AM
MEANWHILE [Jonah Goldberg ]
I liked Marjorie Williams' column from the same page.
Posted at 09:55 AM
You can get a flavor of Ramesh's cover piece on the Pennsylavnia Senate race and the nee for conservatives to get with it, there and elsewhere on NRO today. You can read the whole thing by subscribing (and don't forget you get a digital access automatically when you subscribe to the paper edition, though you can also subscribe to Digital only). Here's the cover, by the way (which we played with a little bit on the homepage) of the issue on newsstands today:
Posted at 09:52 AM
HIMMELFARB [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm a fan of hers generally, but I thought it was a pretty weak op-ed myself. Particularly because it violates one of the basic rules of cultural writing: See the subject before you write about it. It's because of that rule I've tried to avoid discussing the movie (also because I still have very little desire to see it). Also, as K-Lo's readers have noted, Himmelfarb compares apples and oranges when she compares Jesus on the Cross to the horrors of the Inquisition. Judaism isn't about the Inquisition, Christianity is largely about Jesus on the Cross.
Posted at 09:51 AM
RE: HIMMELFARB [KJL]
Most of the e-mails I am receiving are along the same lines:
I believe that there is a difference between the groups that Himmelfarb uses and the scourging of the alleged son of God. (I consider myself to be an atheist.)and another
The reason the thought experiments don't work in [Himmelfarb’s] piece is that, for Christians, this is the event on which all history hinges. Have any of the incidents that she mentioned had nearly the amount of voluminous writings, controversies, and "passion" surrounding them as the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Posted at 09:44 AM
MISSISSIPPI GOOFING [Tim Graham]
David Halbfinger is sounding a little pom-pom-girlish today in the New York Times (the piece linked to early, with the clause comment), writing about how Kerry can "preach from the pulpit" and throw attacks at Bush at the same time. In Mississippi, Kerry faced something quite common: a black voter angry about the moral equivalence liberals use between civil rights for blacks and the so-called current Bull Connor state of oppressed homosexuality. Halbfinger chronicles a clumsy exchange between the voter and Kerry:
"I don't care what they say — there is no correlation between gay rights and civil rights in terms of what black Americans have gone through," said the woman, who described herself as a registered Democrat but an "independent voter."
One white man booed the woman from the bleachers of the college gym, but Mr. Kerry held up his hands to stop the booing, while a few blacks clapped.
Mr. Kerry answered slowly, first laying out his minutely calibrated stance on gay marriage. "I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman," he said, to polite applause. "But — but — but: I believe it's important in the United States of America that we recognize that we have a Constitution which has an equal protection clause," he said, to growing applause.
Then Mr. Kerry drew a connection between racism and antigay crime, noting the 1998 murder of a gay college student, Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, but mangling a reference to James Byrd Jr., a black man who was dragged to his death the same year in Jasper, Tex., by three men including John William King, all of whom were convicted of murder.
"Let me tell you something, when Matthew Shepard gets crucified on a fence in Wyoming only because he was gay," he said, "when Mr. King gets dragged behind of a truck down in Texas by chains and his body is mutilated only because he's gay — I think that's a matter of rights in the United States of America."
Most in the audience cheered, but his questioner was not satisfied.
Nice bungle, Kerry. And Kerry made good fun of Dan Quayle -- if Bush is shot, the Secret Service has orders to shoot Quayle -- for just such a goof!
Posted at 09:30 AM
JUST A QUESTION [KJL]
Does anyone (other than John Kerry) refer to clauses in the Bible? ("Well, I know the deep beliefs, I respect, I'm a Christian, I've read the Bible, and I know you can find the clauses that go both ways. I'm not here to argue that with you.") [I'm ignoring the perplexing substance of his remarks.]
Posted at 08:59 AM
THE BEGINNINGS OF DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ [KJL]
Even with its flaws--there's still time to make things better--the signing of the Iraqi constitution is a momentous event--and yet, where was the Today Show splash? There was lots of time for Martha, Martha, and Martha. Jayson Blair's unveiling of his grocery list of non-excuse (he says) excuses, Charlie's Angels wannabees, Susanne Somers talking about how sexy she is, but no segment highlighting the Iraq constitution. Seems like a little imbalance and lack of priorities. One wonders if a producer had planned a constitution segment only if bombed.
Posted at 08:56 AM
GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOV'T WORK [Michael Graham]
The Washington Post reports today that the average salary of a white-collar government worker in DC is now $75,483. To the jaded residents of the Beltway, this is chump change. But to the typical taxpayer, this is real money.
So how distressing is it that President Bush bumped up this figure by shoving through a 4.1% raise, retroactive to January 11? Why is the Bush Administration throwing hard-earned tax dollars at unionized government workers who will never vote for him?
A lot of regular Republicans continue to scratch our heads over the actions of the administration.
Posted at 08:37 AM
SARS DOC CALLS TIANAMEN SQUARE A "MISTAKE" [KJL]
Calls on Communist Party to do likewise.
Posted at 08:33 AM
WOMEN AND CLONING [KJL]
This is an issue--egg donating--that is on the increasingly long list of issues feminist groups would care about if they really were about women and not just left-wing politics.
Posted at 08:08 AM
GERTRUDE HIMMELFARB [KJL]
has concerns about The Passion.
Posted at 08:05 AM
TV CHALLENGED [John Derbyshire]
I have never seen a single episode, nor even a fragment of an episode, of either THE SOPRANOS or SEX IN THE CITY. My cable company does not include HBO as part of its basic service. Since I regard most TV as hog swill, I am not going to pay extra money to watch any of it.
On the one hand, I naturally feel smug about this, as the time I would waste in watching these programs is spent in more improving pursuits. (Hold on: black ten on red jack --- Yessss!)
On the other hand, I am plagued by the thought that I may be like a late 16th-century London gent fastidiously declining to join in the unseemly mob scene down at the Globe Theater in Southwark...
Anyone care to offer an opinion about these programs?
Posted at 07:58 AM
WHILE YOU WERE HITTING SNOOZE [KJL]
The Iraqi interim constitution was signed (right now)
Posted at 05:44 AM
CLASSY KERRY CAMPAIGN [KJL]
Posted at 05:12 AM
Sunday, March 07, 2004
GUILTY OF LIBERTARIANISM [Jonathan H. Adler]
Not to frighten Jonah or anyone else on The Corner, but my libertarian score was 89.
Posted at 11:29 PM
LIBERTARIAN TEST [Rick Brookhiser]
I scored 40 on the Libertarian test. I noticed the last historical picture the test-giver posted was of Lysander Spooner, a mid-nineteenth century Yankee near-anarchist. When we were in college together, Wally Olson used to give entertaining public readings of Spooner's denunciations of voters. (In a republic, you see, voters are the sources of oppression.) All good clean fun--but I wonder how many Spooner-readers pressed on to his anti-Rothschild rants?
Posted at 09:11 PM
THE WEEKEND'S MOST DEPRESSING HEADLINE [John Derbyshire]
"Bush Gives Mexico's Fox Concession on Borders"
What's the concession, I wonder? Moving walkways across the trickier stretches of desert?
Posted at 09:09 PM
CIVILIZED? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Winston Churchill once said that a test of a civilized society is the way in which it treats its prisoners.
So what does this story say about the US?
Posted at 08:30 PM
INSTANT KARMA [Andrew Stuttaford]
Tony Blair is a fan of the International Criminal ‘court,’ so there’s a certain irony about this.
Posted at 08:26 PM
ART NEWS [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the Independent:
”In a huge tank of water, sides of beef and a cow's head are suspended from hooks, brains fry in a pan, a skull sits on a butcher's block and strings of sausages are draped everywhere. Swimming serenely around these gory visions of death are dozens of brightly coloured tropical fish.
Elsewhere, a huge black gorilla is staring at its own severed arm, the bottom half of a torso sits on a stainless steel lavatory and a family of pigs, covered in tiny beads, go out for a stroll, clearly elated that their baby has sprouted wings. Above all this floats a zeppelin made from Coca-Cola tins, and a Christ-figure constructed from Marlboro Lights cigarettes hangs from the wall.”
Emperor. Clothes. New.
Posted at 08:24 PM
DUKE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s a piece on the Duke bias contretemps from the magazine of Duke Conservative Union. It’s well worth reading in full, but the author’s entertaining summary of the arguments on both sides runs as follows:
“The DCU [Duke Conservative Union] claims the overwhelming imbalance in political party affiliation among faculty members and deans is evidence of a lack of intellectual diversity that needs to be addressed. The other side claims this is not true because:
A. Professors never bring their politics into the classroom, even though they admit that they do.
B. Political party affiliation is not a meaningful indicator of a person’s politics.
C. The American political spectrum is more narrow than Canada’s.
D. In its survey of 163 registered voters, the DCU failed to include three or four foreign citizens who are not registered voters.
E. Conservatives are too stupid and uncreative to be widely successful in academia.”
Posted at 08:23 PM
DINING TIP [Andrew Stuttaford]
Thinking of dining at a 7-11 tonight? Here’s a helpful review:
"It’s like a cafeteria in a sense, except that you don’t get a tray."
Posted at 07:24 PM
BANANAS [Andrew Stuttaford]
From a recent EU press release:
”Commission takes steps to adapt banana import regime to enlargement
In view of accession of ten new Member States on 1 May 2004, appropriate arrangements have to be made to ensure sufficient supply of bananas to consumers in the new Member States."
Via Blogger Bill Dawson
Posted at 04:32 PM
FIRST THEY CAME FOR CIGARETTES... [Andrew Stuttaford]
Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns declares March ‘caffeine awareness month.’ Caffeine can, Nebraskans are warned, lead to headaches, jitteriness, irritability, difficulties in concentration, mood swings and other maladies. If this proclamation is any way typical of his activities, the same might be said of Gov. Johanns.
Story via Radley Balko, who sees this as an early sign that caffeine will be the next target of opportunity for the nannies, scolds and trial lawyers who so plague our era. He’s probably right but, look on the bright side, at least we’re not dogs.
Posted at 04:16 PM
RE: BUTTERFLY BROKEN ON A WHEEL [John Derbyshire]
VERY interesting e-mailbag on my Martha Stewart postings. They are running about 2-1 in support of my pro-Martha position -- somewhat to my surprise, as I thought I was being dramatically contrarian here. Interestingly, e-mails from professionals in the securities business are pretty solidly with me -- I have appended a good example down below. Points often made:
---It is not against the law to be a rich, obnoxious, not-very-honest woman, not even if your politics are Clintonian-Democrat.
---Not only was Martha not charged with "insider trading" (whatever THAT is supposed to be), she was not even charged with lying under oath. She was not in a court, and not under oath, when the relevant lies were told. Moral of the story: Tell **N**O**T**H**I**N**G** to a federal investigator. Instead, open the proceedings by demanding that he tell you which clause in the U.S. Constitution gives him the right to pry into your private affairs. Then sit mute till he gives a satisfactory answer (which he can't).
---If this is all about "protecting the little guy," what about all the little guys who held stock in Martha's company, or K-Mart? I guess those are the WRONG little guys.
Here is a good e-mail, from a securities professional:
"Dear Derb---I'm an independent stock broker and I primarily manage assets of retired people. Here is my read on the abuse of the prosecutor's discretion that the DOJ has done in the name of 'protecting the little guy.'
"Since the indictment the MSO has lost roughly 50% of its value. A mere 11% is owned buy non-insiders, hence the little guy got whacked by about $110 million since the word of the indictment. Yesterday alone outsiders got whacked by about $22.6 million. The remaining market value of the company, at about $539 million, leaves the value held in the hands of outside investors at a bit over $59 million.
"In the government's glee over protecting the system, it looks likely that they will destroy the company. Accordingly, outsiders are set to 'pay' nearly $170 million in the charge to 'protect the little guy.'
"Make no mistake, the preponderance of shares in the float are indeed owned by small individual investors either directly or through mutual funds. So it looks like the price to investors for justice puts a screwing on 'the little guy.'
"I'm all for justice and the Skillings, Lays, Kozlowskis, Ebbers et. al. deserve their due. The DOJ however, in their attempt to prove that they are not soft on corporate executives, continue to screw the pooch. Remember that Arthur Anderson & Co. partners, who were not akin to anything to do with Enron, offered almost $1 billion that could have gone to employees and shareholders that got caught by surprise. The DOJ, however, insisted that all 2600 partners at Andersen be held accountable. Not only did they lose all of the equity in the firm, but innocents that may have recuperated something ended up with zero, zilch nada.
"I'm with you on distrusting the power of the government. I'm afraid that, in their zeal to show how tough they are and ready to protect the system, they dismiss out of hand more optimal and just solutions. If this is not directed by the White House it is certainly sanctioned by it - all in the name of some unthinking form hostile populism. Dubya has many successes in gunning down bad guys on Wall Street. He needs to be a little bit less quick on the trigger in the name of fairness and equity."
Absolutely right, Sir. Govt power is a monster with a large appetite for human life. If these people take it into their heads to destroy you, they will. You've got a lawyer? They've got ten lawyers. You've got ten? They've got a hundred.
First they came for the obnoxious rich women....
Posted at 03:15 PM
MORE MCDONALD'S SHAME [Andrew Stuttaford]
The appeasement continues. Now McDonald’s in the UK is reducing the amount of salt it adds to the fries it sells over there, in response not to consumer requests, but as a sop to the ‘health lobby,’ self-appointed, self-righteous busybodies who really, really need to get a life.
What’s interesting is that McDonald’s seems to have learned nothing from their french fry fiasco in this country. A recent comment I made in the Corner about the deteriorating quality of this important vegetable produced a deluge of e-mails, not one of them in support of the new McDonald’s fry. I'm told that no less an expert than Julia Child thinks they are a disaster. The problem? The old fry, the classic, was cooked in beef tallow, something that outraged vegetarians. McDonald’s caved, and the result, an insult to the potato, is 'food' that one can only want to nanosize. Arguably that’s a good thing, however: the new fries are, apparently, fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (“transfatty slop,” in the words of a correspondent from Madison, Wisconsin), something that is far worse for you than good ol’ beef tallow.
The same correspondent tells me that she rarely bothers with McDonald's fries anymore. If she gets a yen for fried potatoes, she cuts them up at home and fries “them in lard, tallow, or goose fat. With plenty of salt and pepper, of course.”
Now that sounds good.
Posted at 01:38 PM
LIBERTARIAN TEST [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't like these online tests very much (and this one is pretty flawed), but I took this one solely to see how I scored compared to Ramesh. I got a 41. According to the website that means my "libertarian credentials are obvious. Doubtlessly you will become more extreme as time goes on." Frankly, judging from many of the questions, I'm pretty concerned about what Ramesh said yes to that I didn't.
Posted at 01:23 PM
SECRET TO OUR SAUCE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Meanwhile Tom Friedman's column is a lot more upbeat.
Posted at 01:14 PM
SNOW CRASH [Jonah Goldberg ]
Jodie Allen has a very even-handed tutorial on the outsourcing debate.
Posted at 01:11 PM
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY IS FALLING APART [Jonah Goldberg]
Sounds like a real mess.
Posted at 01:07 PM
"INSIDE THE LINES," MY FOOT! [Tim Graham]
The winner of today's most embarrassing pro-Kerry article in the Washington Post is in Book World, an obsequious review of Douglas Brinkley's obsequious damage-control bio of Kerry's "war" years, "Tour of Duty." It ends with these air kisses:
"If, as now seems certain, Kerry wins the Democratic nomination this year, Republican operatives will try to focus popular attention on this post-combat Kerry, the one with the longish hair and grimy fatigue jacket, the better to suggest he was a radical who dishonored his country and his fellow veterans with his protesting. The effort has indeed already begun.
"Judging by the evidence in this book, however, their task will not be easy. Tour of Duty shows Kerry to have been a moderating influence on the VVAW and the antiwar movement more broadly, a voice of caution who counseled nonviolence and working within the political system. When the VVAW became too radicalized for Kerry's liking, he resigned.
"In this respect, Brinkley's unabashedly admiring book accords well with what both supporters and detractors over the years have singled out as a defining Kerry characteristic: his careful, color-inside-the-lines approach to social and political issues. What the book also shows, however, on the basis of abundant evidence, is that the young Ivy Leaguer who went off and fought in Vietnam and then returned home to fight against the war was a born leader and a man of uncommon insight and intelligence. Not bad qualifications for the highest office in the land." Oh, spare us! There's no mention in the review of how Mr. Color Inside The Lines made wild-eyed accusations in his Senate testimony about daily rapes and murders and mutilations made by American soldiers with the knowledge and consent of American commanders. That doesn't show "uncommon insight and intelligence," just uncommon audacity and recklessness.
Posted at 12:39 PM
MICHAEL GRAHAM IN THE POST [KJL]
Sucking Up to Disney's New Big Cheese • The corporate shake-up at Disney, which last week installed former Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell as chairman of the board, has profound implications everywhere. "I never imagined I'd be working for George Mitchell," conservative yakker Michael Graham said Friday during his show on Mouse-owned WMAL radio.
"Especially since you ran Pat Buchanan's campaign," quipped fellow host Fred "Gopher" Grandy, a former Republican congressman.
'Tis true, Graham tells us: "I was Pat Buchanan's South Carolina coordinator in 1992. I was doing stand-up comedy and trying to get out of that, and I happened to have done some comedy for Republican groups. "No Republican consultant would take Pat's race," he says.
"My friend Hal Eberle, from the Nixon and Ford White House, got a call from Pat. He told Hal: 'Find me someone smart enough to do the job and dumb enough to take it.' "
Graham ended up spending six years as a Republican campaign consultant. He remains friendly with Buchanan: "I like him. He's a great guy, but he's no George Mitchell. Did I mention I now love George Mitchell? He's my boss! A little brown-nosing never hurts."
Posted at 11:09 AM
ASPEN ENVIRONMENTALISM [Jonathan H. Adler]
Apparently environmental groups have scared the National Ski Areas Association into believing global warming threatens winter skiing. As a result, Aspen is adorned with "Keep Winter Cool" ads, promoting this website co-sponsored by NSAA and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The irony? Aspen is enjoying its best snowfall and ski conditions ever, yet groups like NRDC would tell us human-induced global warming has already begun.
Posted at 11:03 AM
HOW LIBERTARIAN ARE YOU? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A purity test. I scored 73. "You are a medium-core libertarian, probably self-consciously so. Your friends probably encourage you to quit talking about your views so much." The test is clearly flawed. My friends know better than to try.
Posted at 09:23 AM