"IT'S NOT MORTON'S" [KJL]
but Vic Matus is a Mickey D's fan all the same. A brave man who deserves to be in the journalism hall of fame for bravery, right alongside our Andrew Stuttaford.
Posted at 11:22 PM
THE DEBATE [KJL]
Some details here.
Posted at 10:48 PM
GO TOOMEY! [KJL]
The the website for the Pennsylvania cable network showing the Specter-Toomey debate seems to be way too busy to allow anyone else to watch the debate live and the debate seems no longer to be on the C-SPAN schedule....so, I offer Corner best wishes to Toomey...
Posted at 07:12 PM
TOOMEY'S 'BIG MO' GETTING PENNSYLVANIA MEDIA ATTENTION [Jack Fowler]
Headline from March 31 Wilkes Barre Times Leader: "Specter faces primary trouble in Northeast, poll says" (proving wrong the line that any publicity is good publicity). Here's the story
Posted at 04:32 PM
MAKES IT ALL WORTHWHILE [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's a letter to the editor which appeared in the San Antonio Express-News this week:
"Unfortunately, America has its neocons and the Islamic world has its bin Ladens," spews columnist Mansour O. El-Kikhia in his rant last Friday ("Support for U.S. growing thinner"). Later, he dismisses an Arab inferiority complex as nonsense, then goes to great lengths to explain why Arabs have an inferiority complex.
Posted at 03:31 PM
FUR AND BALANCED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rat or rabbit? We report. You decide.
Posted at 01:08 PM
ON THE OTHER HAND [Andrew Stuttaford]
Credit where credit’s due. The European Space Agency’s Mars orbiter is coming up with some terrific pictures.
Posted at 12:46 PM
CROOKS? [Andrew Stuttaford]
One of the fascinating things about the EU’s various governing bodies is the way that they manage to combine corruption and cant in roughly equal measures. Nowhere is this more true than in the relentlessly moralizing EU ‘parliament’. To take one example, the way in which many MEPs manipulate their expenses has long been an open secret. Now someone’s talking:
“A senior member of the European parliament yesterday exposed what he claimed was widespread corruption at the Strasbourg assembly by revealing that nearly 200 of his fellow Euro MPs had faked attendance at parliamentary sessions in order to pick up generous daily allowances. Hans-Peter Martin, an Austrian Social Democrat MEP, said he had seen scores of colleagues signing on for parliamentary sessions which they had missed, to claim a daily attendance allowance of €262 (£175).”
They'll get away with it, doubtless.
Posted at 12:38 PM
THEATER OF THE ABSURD [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s a review of a nasty little play now on the London stage. Read it while sitting down. Read it while calm. Read it with a gentle CD playing in the background. Read it with a soothing drink in your hand. Read it while wondering whether the anti-Americanism of certain sections of the European intelligentsia has now become pathological. That’s not a question that should take long to answer. And then notice when the reviewer writes this:
“In Beaton's view, only the West is wicked, bringing Armageddon down on its own head. The crimes of the Islamist fundamentalists are conveniently glossed over. Moral equivalence doesn't come much more poisonous than this.
“Almost equally distressing is the lameness of the jokes and the routine mocking of Blair and Bush's Christianity - we watch the pair of them singing a song called We're sending you a cluster bomb from Jesus.
“Of course, though Beaton evidently regards Christianity as fair game, he lacks the balls to satirise the far more malign fanaticism of the Muslim world. That after all would be really risky. Far safer to pander to the self-loathing of the liberal intelligentsia.”
The reviewer is right. In an open society there ought to be nothing wrong, or – and how I hate that word- “offensive” about debating, satirizing and even ridiculing the religious beliefs – or the lack of religious belief – of others. Islam, however, seems to be exempt from this exchange. Criticizing that faith is somehow defined as ‘Islamophobia, ’ a nonsense notion invented with only one purpose – to stifle the criticism of a religion that is long overdue a great deal of criticism. And soon. What a joke. What an insult.
Posted at 12:23 PM
ENGLAND, 2004 [Andrew Stuttaford]
The successes of multiculturalism, continued:
”A school yesterday banned children from wearing England soccer shirts in case they incited racial tension.
”Parents of pupils at Grange School in Stourbridge, West Midlands, were told their children could not wear anything with the England motif during a non-uniform day to mark the last day of term.
”The decision followed attacks on the school by vandals spraying graffiti offensive to white people and the school did not want to heighten tensions."
Posted at 12:22 PM
STUMBLEBUM [Andrew Stuttaford]
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is, quite clearly, a nincompoop, a ninny, a nanny and a complete waste of space. Needless to say, you are paying his salary. And so am I. Sounding like a guilty porn-surfer caught out by an enraged wife, this fearless bureaucrat is claiming to have “stumbled” on to some “steamy” day-time soaps. ‘The children,’ yada, yada, yada, you know how it goes. Of course, during the term time, at least, most children aren’t slumped in front of these daytime dramas of depravity. They are in school. Oh well.
Posted at 11:42 AM
TOAD SWALLOWER UPDATE [John J. Miller]
The Virginia toad swallowers--Republicans who support tax hikes--may push through their budget on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post. Now the Virginia Club for Growth says it will find primary challengers for GOPers who betray their party's principles. That's okay with Delegate James H. Dillard, Republican of Fairfax, who says, "The right-wing crazies may give you a primary, but they don't get you elected." This guy deserves to lose.
Posted at 05:37 AM
Friday, April 02, 2004
ON THE OTHER HAND [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: “Rich, I think you should take it easy on Col. Michael Walker's comment. Part of being a professional soldier is governing your emotions. You really shouldn't read much into this. We pay these guys to be this way.”
Posted at 06:06 PM
LAUGHABLE [Rich Lowry]
This passage in a David Sanger piece today in the Times is pretty ridiculous. He contrasts Bush’s silence yesterday about Falluja with Clinton’s response to various outrages: “The contrast with some of his predecessors is notable.
On the grim day in 1993 when American soldiers were killed in Somalia in an incident that many recalled on seeing the Falluja photographs, President Clinton declared that he was sending reinforcements.
‘He said he was not satisfied that we are doing everything we can to protect the young Americans that are putting their lives on the line so that hundreds of thousands of Somalis can stay alive.’
When Americans died in bombings in Saudi Arabia in 1996, Mr. Clinton flew to Florida from a summit meeting in France and participated in memorial services.
He stepped into the Rose Garden to denounce the bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole and to promise to hunt down those who carried out the attack, now attributed to Al Qaeda.”
What is most notable, of course, is that none of this Clinton rhetoric was followed up with meaningful action—we cut and run in Somalia, we let the Saudis jerk us around after Khobar Towers, and there was no response to the bombing of the Cole. But he certainly talked a good game.
Posted at 05:30 PM
“FOUR DEAD BODIES” [Rich Lowry]
The New York Times today quotes Col. Michael Walker in Iraq saying this about the non-response to the Falluja incident as it was happening: “‘Should we have sent in a tank so we could have gotten, with all due respect, four dead bodies back? What good would that have done? A mob is a mob. All we would have done was provoke them.’” Again, as we discussed here yesterday, the decision not to do anything at the time may have been correct, but it’s pretty galling to see American military officials speaking this way about the desecration of Americans—what happens to dead bodies matters, and our obligation to those Americans didn’t end after they were killed.
Posted at 05:28 PM
PAUL KRUGMAN SURPASSES HIMSELF [Rich Lowry]
As readers of NRO know, Paul Krugman has established himself as perhaps the single most partisan voice on the New York Times Op-Ed page, no mean accomplishment. Krugman the other day wrote a column criticizing Wolf Blitzer for allegedly passing along a White House smear of Richard Clarke. Krugman wrote, “On CNN, Wolf Blitzer told his viewers that unnamed officials were saying that Mr. Clarke ‘wants to make a few bucks, and that [in] his own personal life, they're also suggesting that there are some weird aspects in his life as well.'"
Blitzer on the air Tuesday corrected Krugman, pointing out that he said those words in the course of asking a question of White House correspondent John King. As Blitzer put it Tuesday, “Finally, this clarification. Last Wednesday, while I was debriefing our senior White House correspondent, John King, I asked him if White House officials were suggesting there were some weird aspects to Richard Clarke's life. Clarke, of course, is the former counterterrorism adviser who has sharply criticized the president's handling of the war on terror. I was not referring to anything charged by so-called unnamed White House officials as alleged today by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. I was simply seeking to flesh out what Bush National Security Council spokesman Jim Wilkinson had said on this program two days earlier” [when he pointed out what he thought was a weird passage in Clarke’s book].
Krugman today takes Blitzer to task for this clarification: “Silly me: I ‘alleged’ that Mr. Blitzer said something because he actually said it, and described ‘so-called unnamed’ officials as unnamed because he didn't name them.”
But Krugman clearly distorted the original Blitzer statement. Blitzer was asking John King a question, and right after the bit that Krugman quoted he said, “Is that the sense that you’re getting, speaking to a wide range of officials?” King responded, “None of the senior officials I have spoken to here talked about Mr. Clarke’s personal life in any way.” Let’s repeat: “None of the senior officials I have spoken to here talked about Mr. Clarke’s personal life in any way.” If Krugman really wanted to know the truth about whether the White House was smearing Clarke or not, he should have considered King’s reporting more important than a passage in Blitzer’s question to him. But since King’s definitive factual statement didn’t fit Krugman’s agenda, he left it out. Where’s Daniel Okrent when you need him?
Here is the Blitzer-King passage in its entirety:
BLITZER: Well, John, I get the sense not only what Dr. Rice just said to you and other reporters at the White House, but what administration officials have been saying since the weekend, basically that Richard Clarke from their vantage point was a disgruntled former government official, angry because he didn't get a certain promotion. He's got a hot new book out now that he wants to promote. He wants to make a few bucks, and that his own personal life, they're also suggesting that there are some weird aspects in his life as well, that they don't know what made this guy come forward and make these accusations against the president. Is that the sense that you're getting, speaking to a wide range of officials?
Posted at 05:15 PM
WILLIAM SALETAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
has been on an anti-Bush tear lately. His latest piece suggests that Kerry, Edwards, and Gephardt "supported the Patriot Act after 9/11 when Bush urged them to trust law enforcement. Then the Justice Department took liberties with its new powers, and they decided they'd been conned." What liberties were these? Kerry, Edwards, and Gephardt haven't come up with an example of a new power given to the department by Patriot that has been abused. Neither has Saletan.
Posted at 04:44 PM
BLOGGING THE PENNSYLVANIA SENATE RACE II [KJL]
HEre's another one.
Posted at 04:30 PM
BLOGGING THE PENNSYLVANIA SENATE RACE [KJL]
Here's a good one.
Posted at 04:28 PM
"CITIZENS FOR ARLEN SPECTER" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
has a website full of cheap shots at Pat Toomey. The home page has a county-by-county breakdown of the Pennsylvania pork projects Toomey has voted against. Reason enough to vote for him, if you ask me.
Posted at 04:27 PM
Steve Moore in the Pa. Daily News.
Posted at 04:25 PM
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION [Steve Hayward]
Duty requries that I abuse my Corner privileges to plug my new book, The Real Jimmy Carter, that is being released officially in early May by Regnery. But it is already being shipped on Amazon , for those who can't wait.
The subtitle gives the flavor of the argument: How Our Worst Ex-President Undermines American Foreign Policy, Coddles Dictators and Created the Party of Clinton and Kerry
Relive the days of double-digit inflation, "lust in my heart," killer rabbit attacks, rampant Soviet advances, as well as the preposterous jogging shorts that Clinton emulated. Enjoy!
Posted at 04:19 PM
TOOMEY VS SPECTER [KJL]
Their one debate is tomorrow.
Posted at 03:43 PM
HOW BAD IS THE HIGHWAY BILL? [KJL]
So bad that two members of the House Republican leadership voted against it: majority whip Roy Blunt and deputy whip Eric Cantor. The president threatened to veto a bill that was larger than $256 billion. The House bill is $276 billion, and the Senate bill is $318 billion. If the final bill is not a lot smaller, the president will have to make good on his veto threat--and at least two members of the Republican leadership will support him.
Posted at 03:37 PM
NAMING GAY MARRIAGE [John Derbyshire]
A reader from the Friendly Giant to the North has come up with just the word: "homogamy."
Posted at 03:07 PM
ISLAM V. DOGS [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 03:02 PM
MOTHER OF ALL LOADED QUESTIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:53 PM
BILL NAMES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm with Derb in disliking personalized bill names, for the reasons he mentions. I'm also against bill names such as the Patriot Act and the Safe Act, which are also designed to short-circuit debate. I'm also against making a big deal out of celebrities' political views. That said, given that we live in the political culture that actually exists, do I mind renaming the Unborn Victims of Violence Act "Laci and Conner's Law"? Do I mind, that is, exploiting a minor defect of our political culture to help get a good bill enacted? Not really. And if Britney Spears were to turn out to favor the abolition of the capital-gains tax, I would recommend that she be a featured speaker on Capitol Hill.
Posted at 02:42 PM
is a "Catholic" church in Chicago allowing abortion supporter Desmond Tutu to speak there on Palm Sunday? (this is far from a first for this church, though. there are many problems, evidently, going back a bit)
Posted at 02:04 PM
THE KORAN'S COSMO RULE [Kate O'Beirne]
According to the AP: "At weekly prayers on Friday, a cleric condemned the mutilation of four slain American contractors in this conservative city, but did not criticize the killings." The cleric explained, "Prophet Muhammed prohibited even the mutilation of a dead, mad dog and he considered such a thing as religiously forbidden." So, the barbaric killing of civilians is OK, but following death their remains deserve the same respect accorded to dogs. It will be interesting to see if this condemnation holds up as an example of a "moderate" cleric's welcome influence. (No insult to Cosmo intended. We know he's not mad, just a little angry sometimes.)
Posted at 01:56 PM
CRYING AT THE SIGNING [KJL]
Derb, I take your point about the emotionalization of law, but Sharon Rocha and the others were instrumental in getting this law passed. And, frankly, Laci and Conner Peterson were. Theoretically, is this a great trend? Maybe not, in the history of legislation and law. However, these women and their murdered loved ones are the reason the bill got signed. And, I don’t think the law would have passed without the moniker. So I’m cool with it. This wasn’t photo-op-tear time, this was real.
Posted at 01:54 PM
GET OUT YOUR HANKIES (CONT.) [John Derbyshire]
A mathematical acquaintance has a different take on it:
"Derb---May I propose the 'Vote For This Or You're a Low Down Polecat Act' that would grant mathematicians a lifetime stipend of a couple hundred grand a year. Alternate names: 'Only Wife-beaters Would Vote Against This Act,' or perhaps 'Universal Peace, Happiness and Brotherhood Act.' ... Whatever it takes to get that lifetime stipend."
Incidentally, prior to signing the act, the Prez had a meeting with some victims, including Mrs. Peterson's mother, and they **did** have their hankies out. There is a photograph in my morning edition of LONG ISLAND NEWSDAY (but not on the web version).
Posted at 01:45 PM
THE POWER OF LAW [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb - The modern faith in the power of words on paper knows no bounds. Forget the Kellogg-Briand Pact. My favorite example was from NY Governor George Pataki. "It is conceivable," he said upon signing a hate-crimes bill a few years ago "that if this law had been in effect one hundred years ago, the greatest hate crime of all, the Holocaust, could have been avoided."
Ah, that's what would have stopped Hitler -- a law saying it was illegal to exterminate millions!
Posted at 01:45 PM
DRUDGE TURNS NINE [KJL]
Posted at 01:44 PM
GET OUT YOUR HANKIES, WE'RE SIGNING A LAW [John Derbyshire]
Some excellent points on what I called "the personalization and sentimentalization of the law," from a reader:
"Derb---Speaking of these law names, I think they're actually rather undemocratic and oppressive for a number of reasons:
"1. They seek to delegitimize opposition- you're not just against the law, you're against Laci and Connor!
"2. They corrupt the civil service and judiciary by forcing them to deal with blatantly partisan legislation, and erase the distinction between law and politics (which is pretty much gone, I admit).
"3. They make it difficult for citizens to know what's going on. Can you imagine if every law was named after somebody? Currently, I can find an act in any province without too much trouble- the Pension Benefits Act, the Wills Act, etc. With people names, legislation becomes even more opaque and difficult to deal with."
Posted at 01:34 PM
MATH FOR THE SINGLE GUY [John Derbyshire]
Who says algebra's no use?
Posted at 01:17 PM
evidently The Corner is napping.
Posted at 01:15 PM
THE CORNER AS PAGE SIX [KJL]
KLo ran into (literally) Monk at the Waldorf a little bit ago. I didn't ask him for his post-liberation assessment of Iraq (he was among those protesting it, pre), or much of anything else. Page Six will stay in business.
Posted at 01:12 PM
TOAD SWALLOWERS [John J. Miller]
Looks like a handful of Virginia Republicans who have been holding the line on the tax hike supported by the Democratic governor and state senators (of both parties) are about to give up. At least there's a silver lining attached to this dark cloud: We now have an excellent new term for Republicans who decide tax increases aren't such a bad thing. Let's start calling them "Toad Swallowers," in honor of state Delegate Bobby Orrock, who has made the following announcement: "I'm willing to swallow the toad and take my lumps." What he means, of course, is that he's going to vote for more taxes. It's our job to give him lumps. Lots of them. Del. Orrock: You are a profile in cowardice, you stinking toad swallower.
Posted at 10:18 AM
PETER SINGER'S IDEA OF A GOOD NIGHT [Jonah Goldberg ]
But another beer cautionary tale for the rest of us.
Posted at 10:08 AM
BEER [Jonah Goldberg]
A cautionary tale.
Posted at 10:06 AM
UH OH [Cosmo]
This is just what I was afraid of. Scroll down to the keep your powder dry headline.
Posted at 10:03 AM
HORNUNG'S RIGHT [Jonah Goldberg]
Once again, a gaffe is defined as accidentally telling the truth. There is absolutely no way to look at the current state of college admissions, black athletics and black academics and not come to the conclusion that he did. It's terrible that it's true, but I fail to see how it's not. What people refuse to accept about the affirmative action/quota debate is that this is a supply problem, not a demand problem. Schools are desperate for black students, and there's an intense bidding war for academically qualified black students which often results in medicore students beeing put in hyper-competitive environments (which is why the black drop-out rate is so high). The days when it was hard for a black kid to get into a good college because of his race are so over we can barely see them in the rearview mirror. The problem is that our public schools and the black community simply cannot meet the demand for qualified students. Meanwhile, there's an over-supply for qualified athletes. If the same energies applied to hoops could be applied to books, the quotas argument would disappear.
Posted at 10:00 AM
SPAIN AGAIN [John J. Miller]
K Lo: Thanks for linking to the story about the latest bomb in Spain--looks like a catastrophe averted, thank goodness. Now, let's review: Spain gets attacked, 200 people die, voters throw out the tough-on-terror ruling party, and the country is still in the line of fire. Can we all agree that appeasement doesn't work?
Posted at 09:59 AM
SPECIFIC VS. GENERAL [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew Sullivan comes out in favor of a gas tax to pay for the war. To be honest, I think he makes some perfectly valid points. Personally, I'm a bit off the reservation on gas taxes because I do think there's a good national security argument for weaning ourselves away from oil (and/or boosting the domestic exploration market). I know, I know there are lots of good arguments the other way and I'm not actually advocating raising gas taxes right now. So let's have that argument later. But what I do like is Andrew's claim that "A gas tax for the war would be a great idea: it would mean a real general sacrifice..." coming just days after he admitted he does not drive and never has.
Posted at 09:51 AM
GAS PRICES [Jonah Goldberg]
I know Steve already raised this point earlier this week, but I still don't understand why liberals are so angry about high gas prices. Okay, I guess I do understand, I'm just astounded. For example, Bill Clinton and Al Gore raided the Strategic Petroleum Reserve the last tine gas prices went through the roof. Now Gore is a longstanding champion of alternative fuels. The best way to get the market to pursue alternative fuels is for the current fuel in use to get more expensive. Indeed, Gore at the time was the nation's biggest champion of "lockboxes" -- well what is the SPR if not a lockbox? Since commodities are fungible, Gore could have just as easily come out in favor of raiding the Medicare trust fund to offset high gas prices.
Similarly, how many times have we heard Euro-envious liberals talk about how enlightened Europe's outrageously expensive gas prices are? But when the free market results in American gas prices rising to a third of what they are across the pond the same liberals are stunned by the regressive cruelty being done to the working man. I guess it's a classic example of how the State is sanctified in the eyes of liberals, and therefor harm inflicted by it is holy.
Posted at 09:34 AM
Perhaps America's most ardent defender of the right to a partial-birth abortion, "Dr." Leroy Carhart during one of these trials this week: "at least once a month, an entire fetus is expelled from the mother during a D&E he is performing. ''The fetuses are alive at the time of delivery,' he said. There is a heartbeat 'very frequently.'
Posted at 09:27 AM
LAWS HAVE FEELINGS, TOO? [John Derbyshire]
Leaving aside the main point (the criminality of killing an unborn child without the mother's permission), and the meta-point (the federalizing thereof), is anyone else as irritated as I am by this tagging of legislation with the names of victims? "Megan's Law," ... "The Ryan White Act" (which, as Michael Fumento noted, would more rationally be named "The Robert Mapplethorpe Act"),... Now we have "Laci and Connor's Law." Doesn't anyone feel, as I do, that it subtracts from the cold majesty of the law to personalize and sentimentalize legislative acts in this way? Even less personal, but still sentimental, epithets like "The No Child Left Behind Act" give me the creeps. Can't we just have bland, legal-sounding laws? Watching the signing ceremony for "Laci and Connor" on the telly, I found myself waiting for the hankies to come out. The State is the cold, stern guardian of our rights and liberties, not a frigging psychoanalyst leading Group.
Posted at 09:11 AM
WHAT PAUL HORNUNG SHOULD HAVE SAID [Roger Clegg]
Pro Football Hall of Famer (and Notre Dame alum) Paul Hornung is in hot water because he said Notre Dame “can’t stay as strict as we are as far as the academic structure is concerned because we’ve got to get the black athlete.” Any fool knows that the right way to say this is that “Notre Dame must adopt a more holistic approach in its admissions in order to achieve greater diversity.”
Posted at 09:09 AM
ANOTHER BOMB ON SPANISH TRAIN [KJL]
Posted at 09:07 AM
A CHALLENGE FOR THE KERRY CAMP [KJL]
More than a few new jobs in the U.S. in March: 308,000.
Posted at 09:03 AM
HOLLYWOOD VS. BUSH [Tim Graham]
Jim Rutenberg's piece in today's New York Times has some fascinating quotes from Hollywood about President Bush. First, Whoopi Goldberg: "You want to say to people, 'Wait a minute, is this man leading this country as an American or is he leading the country as a Christian?'" Is religious faith in office disqualifying, even un-American?
Robert Breech, an executive producer of "The Practice" on ABC, said his show was trying to spark debate and entertain while presenting both sides (sure, with the conservative side offering all the straw-man arguments). In one episode, a lawyer gave an impassioned speech to a jury in which she referred to the use of a "free speech zone" that kept protesters away from Mr. Bush. "What is happening to this country?" the lawyer asked. Breech explained: "We're really just inviting people to think about these things...How far is too far in seeking security?" Hasn't he heard about free speech being cordoned off outside abortion clinics?
Posted at 08:15 AM
Thursday, April 01, 2004
RE: C-SPAN [KJL]
Jonah: Great idea! 9 AM mandatory nap time for NRO!
Posted at 10:24 PM
SOMALIA VS FALLUJAH [Jonah Goldberg]
I know I'm coming in late on this, but I've been away all day (baby Lucy was in the hospital -- she's fine and home now) and I listened to an extended conversation about this on NPR and on various cable shows. I'm afraid I don't see the comparison at all -- beyond the fact that in both instances ungrateful, evil savages mutilated the bodies of Americans. Beyond that, what's the similarity? Somalia was peripheral to our national interests, Iraq is central. These guys were contract security. The troops in Somalia were in uniform and by almost any standard they won the day. We cut and run after Somalia. We're going to stick it out in Iraq. The savages in Somalia largely got away with it. I doubt that will happen with the Fallujites (Fallujans? Fallopians?).
Posted at 10:06 PM
POP-CULTURE CORNER: SPEAKING OF BAITING [KJL]
I'll go back to work now...
Posted at 10:04 PM
TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION... [KJL]
...yes I knew today's date when I posted that Chris Cox link earlier and I was trying to bait you.
Posted at 09:56 PM
FOUNDERS AS LEADERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Rick - I'm not particularly qualifed to weigh in, but in my own order of preference -- as opposed to the tough issue of "leadership" -- I'd say Madison, Hamilton, Washington, Adams, Jefferson. In terms of "greatness" I'd say Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Hamilton. But that's without a lot of reflection so I'm open to argument. But, for the record, I've really never liked Jefferson even if I'm willing to concede his smarts and all that.
Posted at 09:39 PM
C-SPAN [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be on at 7:00 AM EST. Then, my usual Friday gig on CNN at 8:34ish. Then: Back to sleep. UPDATE! I'M NOT DOING C-SPAN. THEY JUST CALLED. SOME OTHER TIME.
Posted at 09:32 PM
FOUNDERS AT PRINCETON [Rick Brookhiser]
Off to Princeton tomorrow to discuss the late great Founding Fathers. It's a program, "Leadership in the Early Republic," co-sponsored by The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and the Woodrow Wilson School Program in Leadership Studies. Gordon Wood gives the keynote tomorrow night on George Washington; then Saturday we have Alan Taylor on John Adams, Barbara Oberg on Thomas Jefferson, Lance Banning on James Madison and Joanne Freeman on Alexander Hamilton. I have the task, delightful considering the subjects, unenviable considering the star power of my predecessors, of summing it all up. The website is here.
How would Cornerites rank these men as leaders?, 1 through 5, 1 being best?
Posted at 09:29 PM
DEPARTMENT OF WOMBLAND SECURITY [KJL]
Planned Parenthood's April Fool's Day site.
Posted at 04:58 PM
RE: ERR [KJL]
This, of course, is why we pay Ramesh the big bucks--and pray voices of reason, on just about every issue listen to him. (Me, I just get excited when I hear anything that sounds decisive and good from that bureacracy on Michigan Ave....of course it would be ill-advised)
Posted at 04:54 PM
ME=MIA [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry for not being around -- I had an emergency I had to deal with. FYI, C-Span for tomorrow is on hold. Congress is coming in early so I may do it at 7:00 AM or maybe not at all.
Posted at 04:52 PM
THE BISHOPS ERR [Ramesh Ponnuru]
That was a remarkable statement they put out, Kathryn--and, I'm afraid, a foolish one. There have always been pro-lifers in the all-or-nothing camp: people who object to our trying to ban partial-birth abortions when all the other abortions are just as bad. The bishops' conference has thankfully not been among their number. Until now.
They object to the Kass council's recommendation of a time limit for embryo research. They say it's not good enough: There's no good reason to allow the destruction of a one-day-old embryo but to prohibit the destruction of a fifteen-day-old one. That limited point is, in my mind, wholly correct. But that's a reason to say that we should prohibit research past the fifteen-day mark while working toward a complete ban. It is not a reason to trash the idea of partial legislative action.
Keep in mind that what the council is proposing is not just an end to federal funding--it's making research on embryos past a certain age illegal. The president has not even called for this. Sam Brownback hasn't. The bishops themselves haven't in any significant way been trying to do this.
The bishops also object to the proposal to make it illegal to clone an embryo with the intention of implanting it in a woman's womb. They say this ban would not be enforceable--as of course it would not be, against a rogue scientist. It would, however, effectively prevent industries from arising out of certain kinds of biotechnological manipulation that the bishops themselves oppose.
In the interests of charity, let's come up with an argument for the bishops' position that they themselves do not articulate. Perhaps they are worried that the council's proposals will undercut the momentum for more sweeping alternatives that they favor. But that clearly cannot be their reason for coming out against the date-certain proposal: Nobody has a stronger alternative. Nor is there strong momentum behind a stronger and better ban on human cloning.
The whole thing strikes me as a failure of political judgment.
Posted at 04:35 PM
PLEASE DON'T OFFEND THE MOTHER...I MEAN, WOMEN WITH CHOICES [KJL]
From one of the partial-birth-abortion trials going on this week:
In the Manhattan courtroom, Casey also questioned Johnson about whether physicians warn women that a fetus is dismembered during an abortion.
Posted at 04:29 PM
THE NEWS FROM SUFFOLK COUNTY [John Derbyshire]
There's the big stuff, and then there's the local stuff. Sometimes the local stuff is much more of a pleasure to read than the big stuff.
My local newspaper, the excellent SUFFOLK LIFE, has a story about a local serviceman just returned from a 1-yr tour of duty in Iraq. Lt. Matt Shifrin has been serving with the U.S. Military Police Corps. Here is what he says:
"There are evil people in the world that need to be killed. As harsh and cold as this may sound, it is the truth none the less. You cannot fight them in a court of law because they fail to recognize any higher secular authority. Unfortunately, you can only fight them on the battlefield, where judgments are quick and sentencing is instantaneous. That is how you defeat terrorism. ... I don't know if we were fighting terrorism directly by invading Iraq and ousting Saddam, but I do know that as long as these extremist groups are planning and expending resources by attacking soldiers in Iraq, they are less capable of attacking helpless civilians in the U.S., Israel, and other civilized nations. ... I am ... a proud American who has done his part in preserving our way of life for future generations."
To my way of thinking, these plain sentences are worth a whole year of New York Times editorials or any number of speeches at the U.N. God bless Lt. Shifrin. Oh, and... THANK YOU!
Posted at 03:59 PM
YOU HAVE BIBLE STUDY TONIGHT? [KJL]
Skip it. Were going to go to Mass? Skip it. You clearly haven't heard the CNN teaser all day: Peter Jenning on the true story of Jesus, tonight on Larry King Live. To think, it took millennia...
Posted at 03:54 PM
LACI AND CONNER'S LAW SIGNED [KJL]
PResident Bush signed it earlier this hour. Here are his remarks:
I'm pleased that you all could be here for the first bill signing ceremony of the year 2004.
Posted at 03:50 PM
THE SPOOFING SPIRIT? [Tim Graham]
If you think Chris Cox and Jacko is outrageous, check out these quotes.
Posted at 02:55 PM
THE RUBAIYAT OF GORD HUNSACKER [John Derbyshire]
On the subject of poetry; I recently quoted from Fitzgerald's translations of Omar Khayyam here on The Corner. Spotting this, a reader alerted me to the definitive critique of the old Persian versifier: "I Could Write A Better Rubaiyat Than That Khayyam Dips***" I just hope this guy leaves Yeats alone.
Posted at 02:28 PM
LYING LIARS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Some months ago, the EU got into trouble when its 'racism and xenophobia' monitoring center tried to suppress findings that much of the rise in european anti-semitism is attributable to young Muslims. Now it seems like Brussels is up to its old tricks again. The Daily Telegraph has more:
"A study released by the EU's racism and xenophobia monitoring centre astounded experts by concluding that the wave of anti-Jewish persecution over the last two years stemmed from neo-Nazi or other racist groups.
"The largest group of the perpetrators of anti-Semitic activities appears to be young, disaffected white Europeans," said a summary released to the European Parliament . "A further source of anti-Semitism in some countries was young Muslims of North African or Asian extraction."
According to the Telegraph, the contents of the report tell a rather different story, however:
"The headline findings contradict the body of the report. This says most of the 193 violent attacks on synagogues, Jewish schools, kosher shops, cemeteries and rabbis in France in 2002 - up from 32 in 2001 - were "ascribed to youth from neighbourhoods sensitive to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, principally of North African descent. "The percentage attributable to the extreme Right was only nine per cent in 2002," it said. The report on Belgium said most of the fire-bomb and machine-gun attacks on Jewish targets were the result of a spillover from the Palestinian intifada. The European Jewish Congress accused the EU watchdog of twisting data from the 15 member states to suit its own ideological bias, describing the report as a catalogue of "enormous contradictions, errors and omissions."
Every time you think that the corrupt and authoritarian 'Union' has lost its ability to shock, it comes up with something else. So what's going on? The EU's bureaucracy is not, whatever people may say, riddled with anti-Semites, although there's no doubt that some of the criticism of Israel from Brussels has tipped over into an expression of that ancient hatred (some of which, interestingly, has been displaced into an anti-Americanism that has long since lost any connection with the rational). The real culprint, however, continues to be Europe's unwillingness to contemplate the nature of the challenge it now faces. It's not a challenge that's going away, but if the EU's establishment has to throw a few Jews to the wolves in order to preserve the multicultural illusion for a little bit longer, that's exactly what it will do.
Posted at 02:24 PM
UK TERROR THREAT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here's an interesting piece from the Daily Telegraph on the apparent discovery of a major, and home-grown, terrorist conspiracy in the UK . Two passages stand out:
"In coming days, the liberal media will be awash with spokesmen of the Muslim community voicing a predictable mixture of self-righteousness and theological platitudes about the benign nature of their religion."
And then there's this:
"An implacable scepticism among those who shape public opinion towards lame excuses for terrorism would also go some way to denying the perpetrators the moral justifications they still appear to need. Finally, instead of teaching a bland, rights-focused multiculturalism, let alone atheism, under the aegis of "religion" as irrelevantly proposed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, our educators should think hard about their failure to inculcate our values, be they religious or secular or a combination of the two, in the minds of Britain's very own generation of terrorists."
That's well said.
Posted at 02:13 PM
THEY CAN HAVE MY VOCABULARY... [John Derbyshire]
...when they prise it from my cold dead fingers. In yesterday's column I indulged myself in a grumble about the loss of the word "gay" to the homosexualists. Language conservatives have been grumbling about this for 40 years, of course; but I don't see why there should be any statute of limitations on linguistic larceny of this kind.
The true outrageousness of this particular crime has just been brought home to me. By way of reviewing Volume 2 of Roy Foster's biography of W.B. Yeats, I have been re-reading my way through Yeats's COLLECTED POEMS. Now, one of the things that makes Yeats such a great poet is that he never "went off." His later poems are just as good -- though in different ways--as his earlier ones. One of his best is "Lapis Lazuli," written in 1936, when Yeats was 71 years old. It spells out, in a very allusive way, an attitude to the transience of life, based on the contemplation of an 11-inch high Chinese carving, in the kind of stone called lapis lazuli, given to Yeats by his friend Henry Clifton. The word "gay" is essential to both the sound and the sense of this poem, for instance in the tremendous final couplet: "Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes, / Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay." (Dylan Thomas, when reading the poem to audiences, used to leave a long pause before the last two words.)
The problem is, of course, that you can't read this poem as it was meant to be read, because that key word has been trashed. This might seem a small thing to get worked up about, in a world where horrors like the Fallujah killings are happening every day, but I am worked up about it. (And the poem, by the way, addresses exactly the propriety of getting worked up over art in a world of war--or, in Yeats's case, incipient war.) I for one will not surrender. I am going to use "gay" in its proper, Yeatsian sense every chance I get.
Posted at 01:45 PM
MORE ON CLARKE AND RWANDA [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 01:37 PM
BOYS [Rich Lowry]
"Rich,I don't know about you, but I did things when I was a kid that I would never do now, such as shooting birds, woodchucks, etc ffor no good reason down on my Grandparent's farm. Never bothered me in the least. Could never figure out why Dad, after telling me that he used to do the same thing as a kid, would say, 'Yeah, I just kinda lost my taste for hunting at some point. I don't want to hurt them for no reason.'
Posted at 01:34 PM
CATO, FRIEDMAN, DE SOTO [KJL]
WASHINGTON–The Cato Institute today announced that the winner of the second biennial Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty is internationally recognized economist and property rights activist Hernando de Soto.Ramesh interviewed de Soto about property rights in Iraq this past May. Read his interview here.
Posted at 01:33 PM
"NOT EVEN CLOSE TO MOGADISHU" [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 01:28 PM
WHAT WAS CHRIS COX THINKING? [KJL]
Posted at 01:01 PM
AMEN: CATHOLIC BISHOPS ON LATEST KASS COMMISSION REPORT [KJL]
Remarkable statement from the Catholic bishops' conference [bold is mine]:
Today the President’s Council on Bioethics released a report on reproductive technologies that deserves attention from all concerned about technological abuse of human life.Read the whole thing here.
Posted at 12:51 PM
MORE FALLUJAH [Rich Lowry]
Why no response from the forces on the ground? I think there are two reasons:
A) they could not be saved at that point, and
B) it would have entailed a rather large scale use of force against civilians to cut through the crowd.
I think the practical thing to do was to back off, and then prepare an encirclement/house by house weapons search like thjat which was recently done in Tikrit to take place in the next few days.
I am hopeful that it will be done in the next few days; otherwise there is the potential for this being hailed as a "Mogadishu" by Al Qaeda, the Ba'ath Dead Enders, and a few professors at Coulmbia, if you remember that incident:
Posted at 11:46 AM
AMERICAN FLATFOOTEDNESS [KJL]
Rick's latest NY Observer column is on our tendency to look in the wrong direction:
The 9/11 hearings and the testimony of Richard Clarke remind me that Republicans have been here before, though it was before my time, and they were on the other side.Read the whole thing here.
Posted at 11:25 AM
FALLUJAH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rich, on your first point, at least part of the answer is, as so often, to be found in the pages of Lord of the Flies.
Posted at 11:12 AM
FALLUJAH [Rich Lowry]
A few observations, based on today’s report in the New York Times.
1) It often seems when there is horrific mob violence, boys are in the middle of it: “Some witnesses said the Americans were still alive when one boy came running up with a jug of gasoline. Soon, both vehicles were fireballs. ‘Everybody here is happy with this,’ Mr. Furhan, the taxi driver, said. ‘There is no question.’ After the fires cooled, a group of boys tore the corpses out of the vehicles. The crowd cheered them on. The boys dragged the blackened bodies to the iron bridge over the Euphrates River, about a mile away.”
2) It is hard to understand why there was no response from nearby U.S. forces to the incident while it was taking place: “There are a number of police stations in Falluja and a base of more than 4,000 marines nearby, but even as the security guards were being swarmed and their vehicles set on fire, sending plumes of inky smoke over the closed shops of the city, there were no ambulances, no fire engines and no assistance.”
3) Maybe we didn’t want to provoke a larger incident by responding, but it just seems shameful that we didn’t at least go and take the bodies down from the bridge: “Some people said they saw four bodies hanging over the water, some said only two. At sunset, nurses from a nearby hospital tried to take the bodies away. Men with guns threatened to kill the nurses. The nurses left. The bodies remained.”
Posted at 10:55 AM
DOH! DOH! [KJL]
Homer wants a raise.
Posted at 10:42 AM
COMING IN WITH A WHIMPER [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post also signals its liberal bias by putting Al Franken on the front page AGAIN. Howard Kurtz reports from the battle front: “the signal was elusive in Los Angeles, its San Francisco station didn’t materialize, and its Internet feed kept breaking off.” So how on Earth is this front-page news? (Maybe it’s because this tinhorn network with next to no affiliates has “less than 100 employees.” Losing money hand over fist, eh?) Tom Brokaw did a whole story on his show last night, saying talk radio “of course, is dominated by conservatives.” Perhaps we should all this as a tribute: they really, really hate the idea that there’s conservative talk radio to act as instant rebuttal to Dan, Tom, Peter, Katie, Diane, and Harry.
Posted at 09:05 AM
The New York Times frontpage this morning actually shows the bodies hanging from the bridge.
Posted at 07:37 AM
RE: POST POSTURING [Tim Graham]
Guys, the obnoxious implication of that Post headline, “Top Focus Before 9/11 Wasn’t On Terrorism,” is the suddenly partisan Richard Clarke’s comparative notion that Clinton’s number one focus WAS terrorism, which is laughable. Hitting Rice for this is in some ways like attacking Laura Bush because she planned to highlight early childhood education that day. Does the Post want us to point out what its headlines were that morning? Or how much it focused on al-Qaeda in the first eight months of the Bush administration? If the press wants to run the government, then some blame has to come around to them, and the media were busy with...hating the first tax cut.
Posted at 07:36 AM
POLLY AWARDS [John J. Miller]
It's April Fools Day, which means the Collegiate Network is releasing its latest set of Campus Outrage Awards, also known as the Polly Awards. Multicultural porn at UCSB; hate-crime lies at Northwestern; professors who hate conservatives. For the list of winners, go here. [See NR's Meghan Clyne on one of the first place winners--Yale's Sex Week--here.]
Posted at 06:05 AM
RE: CONDI'S SPEECH [KJL]
Agreed, John J.; I kept looking for the there there. I think that last line of that piece in the Post says it all, too: "An earthquake of the magnitude of 9/11 can shift the tectonic plates of international politics," which Rice did say in April 2002, in the replacement speech at SAIS.
Andrew Sullivan has good forward-looking blog on it here.
Posted at 05:57 AM
DEFENSIBLE [John J. Miller]
I'm continually puzzled by the liberal allegation that 9-11 happened because the Bush administration distracted itself with missile defense--the latest version of this claim appears in today's Washington Post, which runs a big story on how Condi Rice was going to give a pro-missile defense speech the day the terrorists struck. The logic here is sort of like saying if we'd only had better airline security on 9-11, regime change in Iraq would not have been necessary. Missile defense has little to do with terrorism; it responds to a completely different set of threats, which were compelling three years ago and remain so today. The topic of Rice's undelivered speech is a piece of trivia, not a revelation.
Posted at 05:35 AM
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
IRANIAN YOUTH VS. KHAMENEI [KJL]
Posted at 09:20 PM
RWANDA--CLARKE OBSTRUCTED ACTION [Rich Lowry]
The Clinton administration's conduct during the Rwandan genocide was one of the more shameful episodes in recent American history, and Dick Clarke was in the middle of it--playing politics, at least according to this passage from Samantha Power's excellent book A Problem from Hell:
“At the NSC the person who managed Rwanda policy was not [Tony] Lake but Richard Clarke, who oversaw peacekeeping policy and for whom the news from Rwanda only confirmed a deep skepticism about the viability of UN deployments. Clarke believed that another UN failure could doom relations between Congress and the United Nations. He also sought to shield the president from congressional and public criticism. Donald Steinberg managed the Africa portfolio at the NSC and tried to look out for the dying Rwandans, but he was not an experienced in-fighter, and, colleagues say, he ‘never won a single argument’ with Clarke.”
Posted at 04:51 PM
CLINTON KNEW... [Rich Lowry]
... about the Rwandan genocide, at least according to this story in the Guardian:
Papers prove US knew of genocide in Rwanda
By Rory Carroll
April 1, 2004
US president Bill Clinton's administration knew Rwanda was being engulfed by genocide in April 1994 but buried the information to justify its inaction, classified documents made available for the first time reveal.
Senior officials privately used the word genocide within 16 days of the start of the killings, but chose not to do so publicly because the president had already decided not to intervene.
Intelligence reports obtained using the US Freedom of Information Act show the cabinet and almost certainly the president knew of a planned "final solution to eliminate all Tutsis" before the slaughter reached its peak.
It took Hutu death squads three months from April 6 to murder about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus and at each stage accurate, detailed reports were reaching Washington policymakers.
The documents undermine claims by Mr Clinton and his officials that they did not fully appreciate the scale and speed of the killings.
"It's powerful proof that they knew," said Alison des Forges, a Human Rights Watch researcher and authority on the genocide.
Posted at 04:22 PM
PHYSICIST JOKE [John Derbyshire]
Plaintive cries from non-physicist readers asking me to exmplain the Heisenberg joke.
Er, well. Heisenberg discovered (in 1927) the famous Uncertainty Principle in quantum mechanics. The principle is a formal mathematical statement of the idea that in order to observe something as small as (say) an electron, you have to bounce a light photon (or something equivalent) off it; and that by doing so, you disturb it, so that its subsequent behavior is not what it otherwise would have been.
The way this works out mathematically, and putting it a bit loosely, is that you can't know BOTH the position AND the velocity of a particle with high precision. The more precisely you know the one, the less precisely you'll know th other.
The principle actually says: (Uncertainty in measurement of position) TIMES (Uncertainty in measurement of momentum) MUST EXCEED (a certain constant number). Thus, if one uncertainty is verty small, the other one must be huge, to make the principle true.
There is a decently full account here.
Posted at 04:07 PM
FALLUJA [Andrew Stuttaford]
Reuters now has a detailed report on the grotesque scenes that took place in Falluja. I won't reproduce it here, but I will note this:
" As the victims lay burning, a crowd of around 150 men chanted "Long live Islam" and "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Greatest") while flashing victory signs for the television cameras."
Posted at 04:06 PM
BARREN BRITIAN [KJL]
More than one in five British pregnancies ends in abortion.
Posted at 03:45 PM
GARBLED GAIL [Tim Graham]
Rob Bluey has a nice summary of how factually challenged pop author Gail Sheehy is presently the wind beneath the wings of MoveOn.org.
Posted at 03:43 PM
GOLDEN OLDIE [John Derbyshire]
But well worth recycling. This is the all-time best physicist joke.
Werner Heisenberg is pulled over for speeding. Traffic cop: "Do you know how fast you were going?" Heisenberg: "No, but I know exactly where I am."
Posted at 02:57 PM
ENGINEER JOKES [John Derbyshire]
Of the approx. 100,000 engineer jokes people have sent me, I especially like this one, I'm not sure why: "One engineer sees a friend of his, also an engineer, ride up on a new bike. The first one asks where he got the bike. The bike-rider says, 'This cute girl rode up to me on the bike, got off the bike, took off ALL her clothes, and said "Take what you want".' The first one says, 'Good choice, her clothes probably wouldn't have fit you.'"
There are, by the way, scores of engineer-joke websites--google on "engineer jokes." Although, as a couple of readers have said, making jokes about engineers is so easy you can't even say it's like shooting fish in a barrel--more like shooting cows in a barn. With a howitzer.
Posted at 02:47 PM
IS THERE NO LIMIT TO AMERICAN FORBEARANCE? [John Derbyshire]
Apparently not: "Mr. Derbyshire--Wow, great idea. Let's cut off utilities to Fallujah. If Iraqis there were thirsty, in the dark, and wallowing in their own sh*t, it would really improve America's ability to maintain order and install some sort of democratic system in their country. Sometimes you post things that seem like they are straight out of the Onion."
All right, all right. Then let's just make Fallujah the LAST bit of Iraq we bring democracy to. Followed, after a decent interval, by water, electricity,....
Posted at 02:34 PM
HOME-GROWN [Andrew Stuttaford]
The alleged - and we should remember that word - terrorists arrested in the UK were all, it seems, 'home-grown'. And that's something, reasonably enough, that has caught Andrew Sullivan's attention:
"The small towns they lived in in southern, suburban and rural England are exactly where I grew up, which sends a shudder down my spine. Evil has come to the Shire! What this amounts to, I think, is theological, ideological terrorism that requires no state sponsor as such and no actual network like al Qaeda. And this is surely the trend. It certainly looks as if Madrid was a similarly loosely-connected operation. I'm not saying it means we should ignore state sponsors, like Iran. Au contraire. But I am saying that a policy that focuses entirely on state sponsors is going to miss an important part of the problem."
He's right to be worried, and in the point he is making. It will, to say the least, be very interesting to find out more about these individuals. If they (ethnic Pakistanis, apparently) were indeed brought up in the UK in, we should assume, reasonably mainstream families, where did the hatred come from? The usual 'acceptable' causes (racism, a sense of exclusion, economic deprivation and so on) will doubtless be blamed regardless of their actual relevance to the facts, but I wonder if there's something else. Over the last twenty or thirty years, British universities, the schools and the media have relentlessly focussed on the supposed evils of western civilization. Have some people actually been paying attention?
Posted at 02:33 PM
WRITER ENGINEERS [John Derbyshire]
Heinlein! Jerry Pournelle!! Arthur C. Clarke!!!
And best of all, from reader Peyton Cooke*, DOSTOYEVSKY!!!!!!!!
(* One of those occasional readers who not only doesn't mind seeing his name in The Corner, he INSISTS on it.)
Posted at 02:30 PM
ASTEROID IMPACT [John Derbyshire]
A couple of readers have taken the following line: "Am I the only one, Mr. Derbyshire, who thinks that piling this asteroid situation on the President illustrates a disease of our times? It seems everyone believes the holder of the office is king, God, the all-powerful being on the planet. Why shouldn't the government just say, 'The asteroid is on the way, we don't know where it may hit, sea or land or miss us altogether. Now my fellow citizens, make your own decisions about fleeing or staying put, and God bless us all.' This President-as-God mentality typifies the inability to think of those who stupidly nod their heads when Kerry says he's going to create 10M jobs. Why not 20M? Why not Full Employment? The asteroid is on the way... look to the top politician in the land to have the Answer."
Sorry, but I disagree. I yield to nobody (except, of course, libertarians) in my preference for letting people find their own way through life's hazards and dilemmas, but government does have SOME functions, this is presents the Executive with a nontrivial problem.
Suppose the best advice coming to the Executive is: "There is one in a thousand chance that this thing will strike. If it strikes, it will be in the North Atlantic, and the tidal waves will wipe out our coastal cities -- all of them. Strike, or closest approach, is three days from now..."
Now then: what does the Executive do? Broadcast the news? If you do THAT, there is the certainty of mass panic, with people stampeding out of Miami, Boston, New York, etc. Disruption and dislocation would be immense, loss of life huge, breakdown of social order etc. Keep quiet, and the odds are only one in a thousand. PLUS, if you broadcast the news, survive the following mass panic, and the darn thing misses us; and then, 20 years later, the same situation comes up, will anybody listen?
Or substitute your own number there for the odds. One in a hundred? One in ten thousand? As I said, it's a nontrivial problem. And as always, libertarianism is not very good at coping with nontrivial problems.
Posted at 02:25 PM
DERB'S BRAINTEASER [John Derbyshire]
Augustus De Morgan was born in 1806, and so was 43 years old in 1849, which is the square of 43.
If you were born in 1980, you will be 45 in 2025, which is the square of 45. And should you have any grandchildren born in 2046, they will be 2 years old in 2048, which is the eleventh power of 2.
That's it for this century. In the next, though, there is the possibility of a double-header. Anyone born in 2184 will be (a) 3 years old in 2187, which is the seventh power of 3, and also (b) 13 years old in 2197, which is the cube of 13.
Posted at 02:24 PM
I GUESS THOSE ADS ARE WORKING [Jonah Goldberg ]
Kerry down 7 in Pa.
Posted at 02:09 PM
LEFT BEHIND [John Derbyshire]
In fairness to the writers of the "Left Behind" books, numerous readers tell me that they agree with me about the movie, which is low-grade stuff, but the books are far superior.
Posted at 02:05 PM
CHIVALRY STIRS IN DERB'S BREAST [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: I know The Corner is a pretty free-wheeling place, but there are some things that should not be criticized (even in the mildest way).
In future, just leave the Linda Vester postings to me, would you?
Posted at 02:00 PM
YOUR PARTISAN PRESS [Tim Graham]
In yesterday's New York Times, reporter David Sanger found people poking holes in Richard Clarke's stories about September 11. By dinner time, the network news was ready to challenge the differing stories and credibility of....just Condi Rice.
Posted at 01:58 PM
FALLUJAH [Rick Brookhiser]
Fallujahns are saying that Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans. Time it became the graveyard of some of those Fallujahns responsible for today's brutality.
Posted at 01:25 PM
SPOOF E-MAIL OF THE DAY [John Derbyshire]
(See my earlier post about the Baghdad inquirer.)
"Dear John--I am a 'Religious Studies' department researcher here at Indiana University, and was wanting to speak with Britney Spears and get her impressions on Talmudism. Would you please do me a favor and tell me how can I contact her directly, as I tried her web site e-mail address but to no avail. I am asking you kindly as I found that you are interested or may know how to help me.
Posted at 01:19 PM
FALLUJAH [John Derbyshire]
Given that these civilian contractors and their colleagues have been brought in to, among other things, get essential services like water, electricity, and sewerage working, I suggest that the Coalition authorities make sure that none of these utilities is available in the city of Fallujah until the bombers are handed over.
Posted at 01:16 PM
ALSO ON THE AIR [KJL]
I don't want to give the impression that I buy into "Fox is the VRW network," because I don't. (But it doesn't think conservatives are an alien species--that's the main, huge change.) That said, does Linda Vester's show ever have any liberals in the studio audience? Perhaps it's just when I have it on--they all seem to nod their heads in unison--but maybe FNC need quotas for the studio audience there like CSPAN has with its callers. (Soon after Vester will have to have Geraldo on regularly as a referee, his kinda turf.)
I might add: Vester does with that show what CNN cool never do with the the mind-numbing Talk Back Live: make it watchable (and even informative and entertaining for the most part).
Posted at 01:13 PM
LAST BIT ON CARTER'S TRAINING [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Carter's nuclear training consisted of six-months classroom training and six-months of hands-on training at a prototype (i.e., operated a land-bound Navy nuclear propulsion plant under supervision). The program produces excellent operators, but they are definitely NOT nuclear physicists. I say that as a guy who holds BS & ME degrees in nuclear engineering and has worked with a lot of ex-nukes.
Posted at 01:08 PM
ENGINEERS OF THE HUMAN SOUL [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: The intersection set Writers x Engineers is not large. The only one that comes to mind is the fine & prolific British novelist Nevil Shute (ON THE BEACH, A TOWN CALLED ALICE, etc. etc.) He titled his autobiography SLIDE RULE.
(Younger readers who don't know what a slide rule is, see here)
Posted at 01:05 PM
CONDI [Jonah Goldberg ]
I've got to write about her for my Times of London column. If anybody sees anything particularly profound or insightful between now and tomorrow afternoon, shoot me a link. Thanks.
Posted at 01:02 PM
MOVEON, STARRING DICK CLARKE [KJL]
Byron York reports.
Posted at 01:01 PM
AIR AMERICA IS ON... [Michael Graham]
...but so far, not so good. Al and his sidekick just sent me to www.AirAmericaRadio.com to listen, but there's no "listen" link. You have to go to AirAmericaRadio.com WITHOUT the "www." It's incredibly confusing, like most of Al Franken's commentary thus far.
Posted at 01:00 PM
THEY LIKE THE MOON (TIMEWASTER) [Jonah Goldberg ]
But not as much as cheese.
Posted at 12:56 PM
THORSTEIN VEBLEN [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Thorstein Veblen was a very eccentric economist that could not be bothered with things like collar stays so he used a safety pin to close his collar, those decorative gold pins in collars are called Veblen Bars.
Posted at 12:53 PM
THE VIKING KITTENS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Are beatnicks now.
Posted at 12:51 PM
RE: FALLUJAH [KJL]
FNC is reporting all four contractors brutally murdered and mutilated were Americans. They're also reposting that Arab satellite stations are airing the horrific video images unedited.
Posted at 12:35 PM
FREE MOVEMENT OF LABOR -- AN EXCELLENT POINT [John Derbyshire]
"Derb---Yes, free flow of labor and capital are both important. ... But the major problem we have in the US is that there is no free flow of labor because health insurance is tied to the job. If health insurance were sheared off from employment, so many people would strike out on their own, establishing new businesses, and the economy would be rejuvenated."
Tying health care to employment is an idea so dumb it takes the breath away. It is one of those things that crept up on us under conditions of wartime emergency, and that, if it had never happened and were proposed ab initio in current society, would be hooted out of public discussion by everyone, left, right, and center.
Posted at 11:55 AM
TAXES - A BOOK RECOMMENDATION [John Derbyshire]
A reader recommends the book "Federal Income Taxation" by Marvin A. Chirelstein. It is, he claims, much more readable than you'd think. He adds: "It also has led me to believe that the reason our federal government isn't bankrupt is because no one knows the laws and everyone takes the standard deduction and makes unwise investments, like me."
Posted at 11:54 AM
INTERESTING POINT RE CLARKE [Rich Lowry]
"You write, `Clarke's tone strongly implies that no one in the Bush administration took any serious action in the summer of 2001 when terrorist "chatter" increased, in marked contrast to the Clinton team's on-the-ball response to similar chatter around the time of the millennium...'
One thing I haven't heard talked about is the difference between trying to prevent something that could happen in any of 365 days in a given year (9/11) versus something that was planned for a definite date that only happens, oh I don't know, every 365,000 days (12/31/99)."
Posted at 11:44 AM
READER E-MAIL OF THE DAY [John Derbyshire]
A while ago I did a scoff piece for NRO on New Jersey Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka. Now I get the following reader e-mail:
"Dear Sir--I am a researcher and studying the works of Mr.Amri Baraka, his plays would you please do me a favour and tell me how can I contact him directly, as I tried his web site e-mail addresses but no use. I am asking you kindly as I found that you are interested or may know how to help me.
"Accept my regards.
"Univ of Baghdad"
Posted at 11:17 AM
ENGINEERS [Andrew Stuttaford]
For what it's worth, of course, Stalin defined writers as engineers of the human soul.
Posted at 10:56 AM
ENGINEERING SOCIETY [John Derbyshire]
I am pro-engineer in theory. Never met one I didn't like, though I must say I never met one I'd care to spend a LOT of time with. And when engineers make something, it stays made. By contrast, when the lawyers who (mostly) populate Congress make a new law at the behest of some noisy lobby, it generally screws life up for the rest of us; when sociologists come up with some new way to help the poor, the result is inevitably an increase in disorder and social dysfunction; when psychologists come up with some new theory of the mind, it gives millions of citizens yet one more reason to obsess about themselves instead of getting on with life; when philosophers cook up a new model of reality, it generally just spreads demoralization and nihilism, etc. etc. So engineers are, as I see it, a Good Thing.
On the other hand, let us remember that the only U.S. president to go under the epithet "The Great Engineer" was Herbert Hoover; that this same epithet was bestowed on Stalin (and also Chinese despot/crackpot Jiang Zemin), and in fact that the communist tyrannies of the 20th century were obsessed with engineers, and turned out far more than they needed.
Posted at 10:27 AM
FABULOUS NEWS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Legal blogger extraordinnaire Stuart Buck's condition is improving, Buck himself reports. (For those who missed it, Buck was hospitalized after multiple strokes.)
Posted at 10:12 AM
WMD HUNT CONTINUES? [Jonathan H. Adler]
The NYT has an interesting report about Charles Duelfer's Senate testimony.
Posted at 10:11 AM
A NEW NUKE PLANT? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Several power companies plan to apply for the first commercial nuclear power plant license in over thirty years. I am skeptical that nuclear power is economically viable under existing regulations -- at least barring substantial technological advances and plant redesign. This is an interesting development nonetheless.
Posted at 10:11 AM
ENGINEER JOKE [John Derbyshire]
Optimist: This glass is half full.
Pessimist: This glass is half empty.
Engineer: This glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Posted at 10:08 AM
READER E-MAIL OF THE DAY [John Derbyshire]
"Derb--I thoroughly enjoyed your piece on dentistry; although I'm not old enough to have endured anything like the sorts of practices you describe, I have had more than my share of work done, culminating in three crowns installed and two wisdom teeth drawn in the last six months. Lately I've been tempted to follow my grandfather's example: In the 30's, he was a pitcher for a semi-pro baseball team in Cleveland, OH. As is common for pitchers, he developed some chronic soreness in his elbow. The team trainer convinced him that friction in the elbow traveled up to the head, was reflected off the teeth and back down the arm, compounding the pain. He advised my grandfather that if he was really serious about pitching, he should have *all* his teeth drawn, which he did, at the ripe old age of 17."
Posted at 10:03 AM
RE: ENGINEERING MADNESS [Steve Hayward]
I was pretty sure my post on Carter the engineer would provoke some hot responses. At least I didn't say Carter was a "noo-clear" engineer, as he claimed. Actually Carter didn't get a degree in nuclear physics from Annapolis; his "noo-clear" training consisted of a six-month course in nuclear technology at a state collge in New York after he joined the nuclear submarine program. From this he claimed he was a nuclear physicist, as though he was equal to Oppenheimer. As with so much of Carter, this claim was also a total fraud. (Hint, hint: I'll have a book to plug about this subject in a few more days.)
More to the point: My dad was an engineer (and a minor Republican party official and local politician in LA--he beat Richard Riordan in an election once back in the 1960s), and employed a lot of smart, savvy engineers in his high-tech business, so of course it is incorrect to make broad generalizations. However, ask yourself this question: Why has the oil industry always been so political, while the technology industry has not tended to be very poliiical (though this is quickly changing)? A variation of this question might go like this: Why was Silicon Valley so politically immature for so long? (It arguably still is.) My perception, from meeting with a number of Silicon Valley CEO's (mostly engineers) periodically in the late 1980s is that they couldn't understand why political problems are not solved like engineering problems. The dynamics of ideology and interest-group rapacity was simply beyond their grasp in most cases. This is one reason why the high tech community swoons before the swindles of the educrats for more money for public schools.
This started to change at long last in Silicon Valley in the early 1990s for a simple reason: the trial lawyers started raiding the pockets of Silicon Valley companies, and the Valley had to get poltiical to fend them off. Of course there are exceptions, like the incomparable T.J. Rodgers, but he is an outlier in the Valley, even today.
Perhaps we should engage in a seminar about the applicability of C.P. Snow's famous "two cultures" argument in the context of contemporary politics.
Posted at 09:59 AM
ENGINEERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Charles Murray -- who wrote a book with his lovely wife (she's very cool) on the Apollo program -- chimes in about engineers:
Catherine and I must have met a couple of hundred of them during our research for the Apollo book. And almost all of these were gov't engineers, not private sector. I met precisely one who was a liberal. Maybe others were too, but among everyone who even mentioned politics, being conservative was taken for granted. I think there is a distinction between the engineer mindset, which is definitely, "There's a way to fix that," and the impulse to extend that mindset to human problems, which seems to be a proclivity of intellectuals.
Posted at 09:56 AM
DISGUSTING [Andrew Stuttaford]
There are terrible images over on Drudge of the scene today in Fallujah. I quote from AP: "Enraged Iraqis in this hotbed of anti-Americanism killed four foreigners Wednesday, including at least one U.S. national, took the charred bodies from a burning SUV, dragged them through the streets, and hung them from the bridge spanning the Euphrates River." The deaths themselves are tragedy enough, and as for the rest of it...
I seem to recall that when the bodies of Sadaam's sons were put on display, we were told this was 'un-Islamic'. Lets see what the mullahs, the imams and the other holy men have to say about this incident.
Posted at 09:54 AM
KERRY'S INJURY [Jonah Goldberg ]
My buddy from CNN's American Morning has got the skinny on Kerry's shoulder. From the Borowitz Report:
Posted at 09:51 AM
SIERRA CLUB BASHES BUSH [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Hill reports on new Sierra Club ads that bash Bush for not increasing corporate taxes to pay for Superfund cleanups of abandoned waste sites. While often characterized as a "polluter pays" system, the taxes in question actually penalize all corporations, irrespective of their contribution to pollution problems. As CEI's Angela Logomasini notes, "Basically, it’s a tax on anyone, no matter what you did. The Sierra Club is basically saying that if you’re in business, you’re a polluter and guilty.” Interestingly enough, the Sierra Club basically agrees: “Even Ben & Jerry’s has some connection to toxic chemicals, whether it’s what they use to clean their machines with, or waste water or something like that. There are very few companies that don’t have some sort of connection to creating some sort of toxic waste or pollutant.” Therefore, the Club reasons, Bush is anti-environment for not wanting to tax them all.
Posted at 09:50 AM
TIME WASTER [Jonah Goldberg ]
Make a cocktail with 4 ounces Nyquil, two ounces peyote, some eyedrops, a dab of tequilla and the ashes of a burnt Tito Puente album cover (preferably from his early work). Then drink it down as fast as you can and then just as fast smoke three unfiltered Camel cigarettes simultaneously. Then watch this and I all but guarantee you'll either go on a vision quest to another planet or on a three state killing spree.
Posted at 09:46 AM
FOSTER PHOTOS REMAIN UNDER WRAPS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Yesterday the Supreme Court unanimously rejected a bid to obtain nine previously unreleased photos of Vincent Foster's body under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court ruled that the photos are covered by a FOIA exemption for materials that could violate a private individual's privacy. No doubt this decision will fuel the flames of various conspiracy theories about Foster's death. The Post's coverage is here. The opinion is here.
Posted at 09:45 AM
POD READER [KJL]
Here's an amazon link to the Norman Podhoretz Reader, by the way.
Posted at 09:43 AM
"MIRANDA WARNING" [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Legal Times profiles Manuel Miranda and discusses the continuing controversy over the Republican acquisition of the Democratic collusion memos.
Posted at 09:40 AM
WHICH LEVEL OF HELL ARE YOU? [KJL]
A potentially depressing time waster . Jonah, time wasters always dedicated to you...(though this is really a potential catalyst for change!).
Posted at 09:39 AM
BRIAN DONOVAN KNOWS HOW TO START A COLUMN! [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 09:37 AM
GEORGE BUSH HATES POOR CHILDREN [KJL]
New York Times Defying Bush, Senate Increases Child Care Funds for the Poor (FYI, vs. Washington Post, "Senate Backs $6 Billion Boost for Child Care")
Posted at 09:27 AM
THIS ONE'S FOR STEVE [Jonah Goldberg]
From another angry engineer:
Jonah: STOP THIS MADNESS!!!! I have no way of contacting Steve Hayward, so I must rely upon you. Jimmy Carter is a farmer by trade, not an engineer. To the best of my knowledge, he merely attended Georgia Tech. He graduated from the US Naval Academy with a degree in nuclear physics. I, on the other hand, graduated from Georgia Tech (home of the Final-Four-bound Yellow Jackets) one helluva mechanical engineer. And I turned out OK (as evidenced by my incredibly unproductive engineering career made possible by my incessant monitoring of the Corner, archived G-files and old PBS documentaries about the history of gnomes).
Posted at 09:25 AM
RE: FREELANCE BUSH AD [Jonah Goldberg ]
So many readers liked this I figured I'd post it again. Seriously, the Bushies could do a lot worse. Yes, there were many complaints about the Canadian-anti-work song by BTO. But still, good stuff.
Posted at 09:22 AM
MIDDLE EAST STUDIES VS. ISRAEL [Stanley Kurtz]
As I’ve mentioned more than once in these parts, I’m a strong supporter of HR 3077. This bill, which would reform the system of “Title VI” federal subsidies to academic programs of Middle East studies, passed the House, and is now before the Senate. The higher-education lobby is pulling out all the stops to kill or gut HR 3077. But now another outrage has come along that shows how badly reform is needed. The head of a federally subsidized Title VI center for Middle East studies has declared himself a “supporter of the academic boycott against Israel.” It is utterly inappropriate for a center of Middle East studies subsidized by the federal government to lock out scholars from a Middle Eastern country. These are the folks who claim to be worried about academic freedom (which HR 3077 in fact protects). Yet they are the ones who resort to intimidation–and the silencing of contrary views. Now maybe the head of NYU’s Kevorkian center only means to express symbolic support for the boycott of Israeli academics. Maybe his center won’t actually lock Israeli scholars out. But how will we know? The Department of Education must take action to insure that there is no lockout of Israeli scholars at a taxpayer-funded Title VI center. More important, it is obvious that we need a mechanism–like the advisory board proposed by HR 3077–to help monitor the Title VI program for abuses like this. NYU’s Kevorkian center, by the way, was already notorious for the egregious bias of its public outreach programs. Take a look at it’s one-sided and extremist treatment of 9/11 But now this center may lend the imprimatur of the federal government to a boycott of Israeli academics. For more on the NYU outrage, see Martin Kramer’s Sandstorm. And consider writing your senators–and Senator Judd Gregg, chairman of the Senate Education committee–in support of HR 3077.
Posted at 09:15 AM
CONDI LIVE [Michael Novak]
Look. We have seen this move before. Everybody rages that Bush is doing the wrong thing, he has to do X. Senator Daschle says he has to do X.
Republicans say he has to do X. The whole press says he is stupid for not doing X. Still, Bush refuses. And refuses. And refuses. Then, after everybody else has spoken, Bush suddenly says, O.K., we'll do X. Then, with the attention of the whole world upon him, and with everybody committed to X, he steps forward and goes right through the hole the attackers opened up for him. He does X, and knocks them dead.
In football, this play is called the mousetrap. The guard pulls out and moves toward the end, and the opposing players rush in on the attack. Suddenly the ball is handed off to a runner heading right for the spot the attackers had just vacated.
In this case, Condi Rice is the runner, and now she will have a chance to say exactly what she has wanted to say for two weeks, exactly what she has been saying, but now with everybody's attention, and the eyes of the whole stadium--and the entire television audience--upon her. And hers will be the last word.
And guys like Richard Clarke, who led the charge through the open whole, will be lying on their backs, flattened, or else out of position, as she roars right through where they should have been, had they held back their attack.
Bush ran this play in the summer of 2002, when everybody said his administration was confused, since he and Cheney seemed to be speaking about the need to act, and Colin Powell seemed to be speaking about more diplomacy, and everybody said, the President cannot act, he MUST bring the issue before Congress, he must, he must. Oh, we really don't need to, Cheney would say. He must, he must. No, we really don't need to do, the press secretary would say, there are all these precedents. He must, he must. He has all the authority he needs, Andrew Card would say. He must, he must, the NYT would editorialize. The weeks passed. The President was getting beaten up. His polls were falling. He must, he must. Don't need to. And then it was almost autumn, the election season. Suddenly, the President says, you know, I will testify. And he does. And the Congress stops in its tracks. And the country supports him. And the vote is overwhelmingly in his favor.
This is the President's favorite play. When everybody says he is wrong--I mean, everybody--he finally shrugs, and says, OK. Then he does exactly what he intended to do anyway, but now by totally popular demand, and with everybody paying attention.
I have no idea what made the President decide to send Condi to testify this time. But I have seen this move too often to believe it is not a designed play. If it is not, well, it looks like the old game plan, and in any case it has again worked like a charm.
Posted at 09:07 AM
POD PEOPLE [John J. Miller]
I like Bill McGurn's review of the new Norman Podhoretz reader in the current issue of the New Criterion. His summary description of the neocons strikes me as quite sound: "Many of the same complications hold true for neoconservatism, a movement in which he enjoys Founding Father status but which has never been sufficiently defined in positive terms. Negative definitions abound, from those on the right who see it as a Trojan Horse for liberalism to those on the left who see it as a conservatism with a friendlier face (not to mention those who use it as a crude euphemism for “Jewish”). Positive definitions have been more difficult to supply, and not only because neoconservatism is probably most frequently deployed as a pejorative. In its actual manifestations, it has not really been a creed along the lines of the cultural conservatism of the Russell Kirks, the libertarian consistency of a Hayek, or even the fusionism of a William F. Buckley, Jr. To my mind, the Reader confirms that neoconservatism is more a disposition that divided those on the left who adjusted their theories to reality from those who did vice versa. Ultimately it proved a critical disposition for the future of America, because it manifested itself at a critical juncture in international relations. Probably neoconservatism didn’t have much to do with Reagan’s own beliefs—this was a man, after all, who read National Review, could quote Milton Friedman, and had given a speech for Goldwater back when Podhoretz was still shucking off his New Left credentials—but in its arguments neoconservatism did help Reagan soften the harder edges of Goldwaterism. To call it narrow because its interests and passions were so peculiarly New York is to miss the point. What the Podhoretz-led movement did was to open the war Reagan was fighting on a much broader front and in so doing lay claim to territory that had more or less been permanently conceded to the Left."
Posted at 08:36 AM
RE: FRANKEN FUEL [Tim Graham]
NBC might be seen as the White House favorite (the same way you might pick your favorite snail to eat). But they've tried to be very balanced in parceling out the access. Compared to true media apple-polishers (we mean you, Senator McCain), I think the Bushies are probably too limited in their media appearances, and certainly too polite. But their rather mild (by comparison to the Carville style) condemnation of Clarke has the media regularly using the word "ferocious."
PS: Clarke, that media-made millionaire, said more silly things on Stewart last night, like Clinton was the one that told everyone of the terror threat in 1996, that genius. It sounded about as plausible as Jimmy Carter warning everyone about the Soviet threat to Afghanistan in 1976. Even if Clinton saw a trend, his answer was dithering and missile assaults to frustrate Ken Starr and Dan Burton instead of Osama.
Posted at 08:26 AM
MORE FRANKEN FUEL [Tim Graham]
Al Franken and the chairman of his eensy-weensy radio effort appeared on "Today" this morning. I suppose this is to be expected since they put him on twice to promote his last book. He tried to say it wouldn't have any bile like Rush Limbaugh (who me, the author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot?) Even Katie wasn't having that.
Posted at 08:25 AM
ENGINEERS CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
I've gotten piles of email from, on and in response to engineers. Poppa Goldberg chimes in:
The most notorious and ingenious engineer of the last century was Howard Scott, who was at his peak influence in the 'thirties as the founder and leader of the Technocrats, a group - or party - of several thousand engineers who wanted to remake America according to the radical ideas of Howard Scott, who indeed was a genius, especially in energy strategies. He wanted to widen all the railways (allowing speeds of over 200 mph), link all parts of the country by linking all rivers and canals, redoing all housing into more energy-effricient units, and on and on, right through the economy. Engineeers would rule the country in a Technocracy. His followers would drive to their conventions in what was called the Grey Fleet, all their cars being gray. There is no question Scott was a genius and his ideas on remaking America were in many cases right on, still relevant and radical today, but his following always remained in the low thousands and although there probably are a few followers today the Technocrats and Howard Scott were on the narrow sidelines of 'thirties history, brushed aside by the New Deal. (Actually, he developed most of his programs in the '20's. This is a good example of how the most logical and most efficient solution may not be the best nor what people want.
Me I didn't know all that, but I am pretty sure that Thorstein Veblen was a leader in the Technocracy movement.
Posted at 08:17 AM
TOMMY BOY [John J. Miller]
Tim: Thanks for that Brokaw link. Of the three major news anchors, he's the guy I've always liked--as much for his pleasant manner (Jennings leaves me cold, Rather seems half-cocked) as my sense that he's the least overtly liberal of the group. I remember preferring him 20 years ago, when I was a kid. Anyway, I've noticed that he seems to be the Bush administration's preferred network guy--hasn't he gotten more interviews with the president than Jennings and Rather? It doesn't seem like a coincidence that Condoleeza Rice went on his show to make her pitch, even if his questions contained silly assumptions.
Posted at 07:55 AM
CASH AND KERRY [John J. Miller]
Maybe this has been going on for weeks and I'm a dimwit for noticing only now, but there's a big ad for John Kerry in the middle of the NYT online edition today. And no, I'm not talking about the paper's political coverage; this is an old-fashioned ad, aimed at raising money. It clearly tells us where the Kerry campaign thinks its supporters get their news. Not a surprise, I guess, but mildly interesting.
Posted at 06:18 AM
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
REV. ALBRIGHT TAKES ON BUSH AT YALE DIVINITY SCHOOL [KJL]
Posted at 11:37 PM
CLARKE ON COMEDY CENTRAL [KJL]
His fifteen minutes aren't quite up yet. And, man, what selfless American hero. He even said, arguing his grandstanding had nothing to do with him (or, ahem, selling books, "Who cares about me?"
Posted at 11:31 PM
RE: ENGINEERS [Steve Hayward]
Jimmy Carter is an engineer. 'Nuff said.
Posted at 10:16 PM
SULLIVAN AND KERRY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Andrew Sullivan says he is mystified by my recent remark that I wished he would just fast forward and come out for Kerry now. He thinks I was complaining about his unpredictability. I think most readers realize that it's just the opposite.
Posted at 10:03 PM
ENGINEERS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm getting lots more angry emails from engineers who don't want to smeared as liberals. I hear what you are all saying and that's why I posted that email from the engineer. But I should say two things:
2) Engineers have not always been conservatives. Back when socialism was considered "scientific" lots of engineers and other scientists were not merely liberals, but Marxists. As one reader (my Middle Eastern history guy) explains:
Posted at 06:16 PM
FREELANCE BUSH AD [Jonah Goldberg ]
Memo to RNC: this really isn't a bad ad at all.
Posted at 06:02 PM
IN DEFENSE OF ENGINEERS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader makes an excellent point which applies to the sciences generally -- they are cumulative disciplines, much like conservatism:
Jonah, There is an immediate refutation of Julian Sanchez's theory is that liberals approach problems through an "engineering" mindset and that is that the majority of engineers are in fact very conservative in their views, both political and technical. Engineers don't approach each problem as a new, never-before encoutered problem as liberals seem to do. Instead, each new problem is viewed as a variation of a problem a previous engineer has surely encountered somewhere, so the problem is reduced to researching previous sucessful answers to homologous problems and adapting them to the new situation. Can you imagine if the Boeing engineers designed the next generation of jetliners the way liberals would design our next health-care system?
Posted at 05:48 PM
READING LIBERALLY (AND LIBERTARIANINGLY) [Jonah Goldberg ]
Julian Sanchez chimes in on my liberals-vs-conservatives love-of-lineage posts.
I think he's right when he says:
My own speculation is that contemporary liberalism is much more likely to be associated with an engineering or problem-solving mindset. What I mean is that I think libertarians and (maybe) conservatives are more prone to start with fairly abstract questions (what's the proper scope of government? how are we required to treat each other, in general? what are the preconditions of stable civil society?) and then tweak whatever broad conclusions they come up with to accomodate practical problems. It seems as though liberals more often form their views in a more bottom-up, pragmatic way, as a series of responses to practical problems. That is: People are poor and going without healthcare, how do we fix this? Our schools are in bad shape; how do we fix this? If you start out that way, you're going to care in the first instance about the empirical particulars of contemporary problems, about which historical liberal authors will have less to say, especially if they were more likely to have that same focus. The divide between theoretical and engineering dispositions is probably more likely than any general attitude toward change to explain the difference Goldberg's talking about. Academic liberals in, say, philsophy departments (which is to say, the most theoretically inclined) clearly do have their history down—Richard Rorty cites Dewey and Pierce at every opportunity.
In fact, I did write: "Ask a liberal about his tradition and he will talk about deeds and efforts to remedy injustice, not ideas. This is in keeping with the legacy of William James' preference for action over thought, though I doubt most liberals know or care that this is so..."
Again, I'm going to save a lot of this for my book, but I think James and pragmatism generally have a lot to answer for in terms of the problems created by a philosophical school which sees no principled justification for not trying to fix any problem in front of it before thinking about it first (yes, I know this is a bit of a distorting generalization).
On that note, I haven't looked for it myself yet, but does anybody know of an authoritative libertarian (preferably Hayekian) critique of James or pragmatism?
Posted at 05:27 PM
C-SPAN [Jonah Goldberg ]
Though I doubt it has anything to do with my ode to Brian Lamb -- which I wrote a while ago but just appeared on NRO today -- I am scheduled to be on C-Span this Friday morning at 9:00 AM EST. Alas, Cosmo can't make it.
Posted at 05:07 PM
W GALORE [KJL]
Though I'm working on a better tolerance as a Lenten project, that list would probably kill me. Definitely a job for you two. By Easter...2009, I'll be able to drink you guys under a Corner table.
Posted at 04:55 PM
ANDREW... [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll eat your spleen like it was a piece of haggis if you stick me with the blends.
Posted at 04:47 PM
WHISKY GALORE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, if I must share with this gig with the turnpike Comstock, here's my suggested split:
Jonah: Dewars, Johnnie Walker, and Chivas Regal; Andrew: Dalmore, Tormore, Glenmorangie, The Glenlivet, Glendronach, Talisker, Aberlour...
That looks fair and balanced to me.
Posted at 04:25 PM
THEY ALL TILT [Tim Graham]
Sure, you want to say Tom Brokaw's the reasonable one. Peter Jennings is so haughty. Dan Rather is just strange. Tom's the one anchor I can take. Then you should read this.
Posted at 04:21 PM
THE LATEST KASS COUNCIL REPORT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Kathryn: The pro-research cloning members of the commission are trying to spin the latest recommendations as an effective endorsement of their position. But note that the recommendations were unanimous, earning the support of both supporters and opponents of research cloning. Opponents of embryonic stem-cell research are on much firmer ground in claiming a victory: The specific policies outlined in the report go beyond what we have previously sought.
The council now urges that Congress prohibit "the creation ex vivo of a human embryo with the intent to transfer it to a woman's body to initiate a pregnancy." That's not the same as what the pro-research cloning bills before Congress do. They make the transfer, not the creation, a crime, and thus effectively mandate the destruction of human embryos. This proposal would never require such destruction.
Second, the council unanimously agrees that Congress should set a limit past which embryo research will be illegal. It says that research that destroys human embryos older than fourteen days should not be allowed. Some council members would set the limit at ten days; others at zero.
In 2001, the president came out against federal funding of embryo destruction. The council has called for a moratorium on research cloning. These recommendations conflict with neither policy. Indeed they go further, setting limits on embryo research whether or not federally financed. The restriction on cloning is not completely enforceable, but it would do a lot to keep a reproductive cloning industry from springing up in America.
That the council made these recommendations, and did so unanimously, is a victory.
Posted at 04:20 PM
I CALL DIBS! [Jonah Goldberg]
And I will fight any who encroach upon my dibs-status with a broken bottle of Balvenie! Now to convince Rich of the huge journalistic significance of this.
Posted at 04:13 PM
NRO SHOULD COVER THIS [KJL]
Posted at 04:10 PM
THE NEXT BIOETHICS COMMITTEE MINI-FRENZY? [KJL]
Posted at 03:44 PM
THE COMING CREEPINESS [Jonah Goldberg]
From my Playboy Guy (by which I mean, literally, he works for Playboy but on the business side, not the "how cool is it to work for Playboy?!?!" side:
Posted at 03:28 PM
IF I WERE A WISH MAN [John Derbyshire]
I actually spend no time at all repining that I am not wealthy. Having no expensive tastes or habits, wealth would be wasted on me. Better, in the cosmic scheme of things, that Donald Trump should have it. I do sometimes regret, though, that I don't have $20m or so to give away to a truly worthy cause like this. (For a slightly fictionalized account, see also here.) )
Posted at 03:20 PM
CONDI NAST [KJL]
CNN is going for a Vogue cover package look to the 9/11 Commission story. Everytime Condi Rice comes up they show a SuperWoman montage: screen after screen of Rice coming and going with other important people. There's Condi in green, in blue. There's casual Condi at the ranch. They totally forgot to put in a shot of Condi playing with Yo-Yo Ma at Constitution Hall , but there's still time.
Posted at 03:15 PM
CAR-NAL KNOWLEDGE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Okay, first of all the story says you can watch while driving. That's crazy, hence the safety issue should trump the rest of this conversation. Two, as a supporter of locally crafted censorship, I don't see why we can't leave this up to local communities and the states. Some places allow drinking open containers while driving, some don't. Three, the comparison to Playboy is not good. Playboy is very different from, say, "The Adventures of Little Anal Annie." If I see a guy reading serious hardcore porn openly on a park bench near, say, my daughter's playground he's going to have some serious problems. I would certainly expect any decent cop to tell the guy to put it away (the magazine, I mean). Four, if all Andrew is in favor of is leaving sad dudes who need to go park somewhere out of the way to watch porn alone, I agree, leave them alone (which, recall, was my original position). However, having a law on the books would let cops exercise their judgement when necessary. If some dude's parked in the lot outside Kay Bee Toys watching "Naughty Cheerleaders Nine," I am perfectly comfortable with Johnnny Law telling the guy to move along.
As for all the emails from folks asking what I think about putting the TV up to the window of your house and other bizarre hypotheticals, I think common sense, decency and existing laws should apply. I don't think this is a subject worthy of crafting huge over-arching principles of liberty and privacy over.
Posted at 03:05 PM
JOHN O’NEILL [Rich Lowry]
Thanks for all the emails. Someone a few hours ago just forwarded his contact information. Thanks again.
Posted at 03:05 PM
THE 2004 DRIVE-IN [KJL]
Andrew, Jonah: a) I didn’t mean to post about adulthood “anti-climaxes” in the middle of that discussion b) who was the first idiot who put a dvd player/screen in the front seat? c) there is a safety issue, I imagine, in regard to car porn d) but, are there really that many people who would watch porn in their cars? e) I'm surprised Andrew didn't go completely ballistic; Jonah--ban "creepy" things? f) if the porn qualifies as obscene, it's already illegal, though imagine troopers watching for that....
Posted at 02:49 PM
AUTO-EROTICISM [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, I hesitate to rush to the defense of car porn, but someone has to, I suppose. So far as I understand it, the argument for banning this new menace to our nation is that one driver or, sigh, 'the children', may look into another driver's car and be 'offended' by what that other driver is watching. Well, by analogy, why is that any different than walking down a street and being 'offended' by the Playboy that a man is reading on a park bench? Yes, there is a strong objection to people watching TV while they are driving (I hope that's already illegal), and there is a pretty good case (for those that really worry about such matters) for stopping people driving around with porn-playing DVD screens deliberately pointed out towards the street, but otherwise leave this form of vehicular license alone. It's sad enough already.
Posted at 02:44 PM
ATTRACTIVE MANPOL POLL [KJL]
Rep. Paul Ryan as Maria Cantwell? He should demand a recount or something.
Posted at 02:33 PM
JOHN EDWARDS WINS SOMETHING OTHER THAN SOUTH CAROLINA [KJL]
Posted at 02:31 PM
"WELCOME TO ADULTHOOD, LAND OF ANTICLIMAXES" [KJL]
Besides high-school seniors, there are a whole host of college students, recent college graduates...( I can continue up to middle-age adults and beyond, no doubt) for whom David Brooks column today in the NYTimes should be required reading.
Posted at 02:25 PM
YEAH, OKAY. BAN IT. [Jonah Goldberg]
I've read a few emails and I've changed my mind. Ban car porn (by which I mean human porn in cars not, say, films about AMC Pacers and El Caminos gettin' it on). I was taking the position that your car is an extension of your home, but it's really not. One: You can make a perfectly legit safety argument (porn is designed to be distracting unlike, say, Diane Rehm). Two: it is very easy to expose kids to it. Three: It's creepy. In short, the infringement is clearly minimal while the potential damage is considerable. If you must watch porn in your car, do it in your garage.
Posted at 02:10 PM
"AMERICAN PIGS" [KJL]
From a USA TODAY story on the newspaper shutdown:
Coalition officials worry about the spread of misinformation or outright propaganda because it can lead to violence and undermine efforts to stabilize Iraq. This week, a Baghdad newspaper run by followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was shut down after coalition officials said the publication incited violence against the U.S.-led force occupying Iraq. Military officials say the newspaper, Al-Hawza, called on readers to take up arms against U.S. forces.A serviceman emailed me this morning: "As one of those 'American pigs' whose throat might be slashed by Al-Hawza incitement, I support the CPA's decision."
Posted at 01:56 PM
INTERESTING THOUGHT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 01:47 PM
THE SUN CLARIFIES [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm not the Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu waza Banga I'd hoped, but I did get this nice note from the Sun:
Posted at 01:43 PM
DRIVING STICK, INDEED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Except for the safety issue, I'm not sure "dirty driving" is the state's business. Though I'm certainly open to the idea that it is a symptom of a deeply troubled society. If you can't wait until you get out of your car before you indulge in porn, you've got problems.
Posted at 01:40 PM
CLARIFICATION [Jonah Goldberg]
I do not listen to the greaseman. Period.
Posted at 01:30 PM
RE: NEWSPAPER SHUTDOWN [KJL]
A well-worth-reading e-mail:
Dear Ms Lopez
Posted at 01:16 PM
SLICK VILLY [John J. Miller]
Looks like the French foreign minister will be switching jobs.
Posted at 01:08 PM
OH, THE HUMANITY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Bad news in the French elections for the architect of the EU's draft 'constitution'. Ha ha ha.
Posted at 01:08 PM
RE: KEVIN PHILLIPS, THE BUSHES & SCHWEIZERS [Steve Hayward]
Folks in the DC area can come see Peter and Rochelle talk about their new book on a panel I am hosting for them at AEI next Thursday, April 8, at 10 a.m. Noemie Emery, who also writes keenly on political dynasties, will also be on the panel as a discussant. Check the AEI website for details and registration.
Posted at 01:07 PM
BEHOLD MY POWER [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader informs me the Baltimore Sun changed their "Moms" headline by around 9:00 AM.
Posted at 12:52 PM
DOGVILLE: AN ANTI-GOSPEL [Mike Potemra]
I saw the new movie Dogville last night. Nicole Kidman plays the significantly named Grace, a woman with a mysterious past who is harbored by the residents of a small town named Dogville. The bare, alienating sets—featuring chalk outlines for streets and houses—make clear from the outset that we’re in the realm of allegory. But in the last of the film’s three hours, director Lars von Trier shows that what he has been setting up all along is not the conventional Christ-figure story, but an amazing theological thought-experiment: What if the Christ-figure, finally, says no? One of the most frequent criticisms of Mel Gibson’s Passion is that it is rich in detail but short on meaning and reflection. Dogville focuses on the nature of sin and justice, on what we’re left with if there is no redemption—and thus offers an answer to those who want to understand, more explicitly, the theological meaning of the events described in The Passion. Dogville is an unpleasant, severe, and disturbing picture of the fallen human condition. Its allegorical depiction of the God of the Hebrew Scriptures, as embodying justice as opposed to mercy, is traditional but not accurate; this is a profound film nonetheless. There are very few people who will like this film, and I’m certainly not making a blanket recommendation of it; but its achievement is real.
Posted at 12:28 PM
KEVIN PHILLIPS, THE BUSHES & SCHWEIZERS [KJL]
If you like Peter Schweizer on the Kevin Phillips version of the Bush Family history on NRO today, you'll be interested in the book Schweizer has written with his wife Rochelle, to be released in early April (see here). Here is the NEw York Times treatment of the Schweizer book yesterday.
Posted at 12:22 PM
HOW “LACI AND CONNER’S LAW” PREVAILED. [Jack Fowler]
Great behind the scenes piece on how a killer amendment to the pro-life bill was itself killed, thanks much to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Human Events has the story here.
Posted at 12:13 PM
WE COULD DO WITHOUT [KJL]
the return of Sex-in-St. Patrick's-Cathedral shockjocks Opie and Anthony.
Posted at 12:00 PM
RE: YANKEES [KJL]
Rich, was that you spotted at the ESPNZONE in Times Square this morning?
Posted at 11:26 AM
BIPARTISAN KETCHUP [KJL]
Heinz campaigns against Kerry-connection talk.
Posted at 11:22 AM
THE CONDI, ETC. LETTER [KJL]
Posted at 10:34 AM
UK TERROR ARRESTS [Andrew Stuttaford]
(From Bloomberg News):
Peter Clarke, head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch of London's Metropolitan Police, "said the police had consulted local and national Muslim leaders in connection with the arrests ``to address any concerns they may have.''
Posted at 10:20 AM
YANKS FALL… [Rich Lowry]
… one game behind the Red Sox in the loss column. I’m trying not to panic.
Posted at 10:18 AM
THE BUSH ADS ARE WORKING… [Rich Lowry]
… at least according to USA Today. (Also, the new Bush ad on Kerry and gas taxes seems quite effective and amusing—I caught it somewhere on TV this morning.)
Posted at 10:14 AM
DO NOT MISS… [Rich Lowry]
… this excellent New York Times piece that contradicts important aspects of Dick Clarke’s self-aggrandizing first chapter in his book, where he makes it seem he almost single-handedly ran the U.S. government on September 11th.
Posted at 10:10 AM
BREAKING RE: CONDI [KJL]
The White House "momentarily" will offer under-oath testimony from Condi Rice to the 9/11 Commission, so long as there is a written agreement that it is not precedent-setting. Kate O'Beirne advice gets taken fast!
Posted at 10:03 AM
BIG TERROR BUST IN LONDON [KJL]
Posted at 09:51 AM
ALISTAIR COOKE, RIP [KJL]
Died at midnight, about a month after retiring his "Letter from America."
Posted at 09:48 AM
TRUTH OVER ROWBACKS AT THE TIMES [NRO Financial Editors]
Ut seems that the New York Times -- the newspaper of record that all-too-often has shown an aversion to the truth, particularly if the truth has not served the needs of the paper’s liberal columnists -- has made a subtle shift in policy that favors accuracy. According to Don Luskin, author of the Krugman Truth Squad, “the Times has been forced to deal with its fox-guarding-the-henhouse policy of letting its op-ed columnists handle corrections of their own errors. That policy of institutionalized unaccountability has led, just as you would expect, to lots of errors and almost no corrections, and to the illusion of infallibility for the likes of Paul Krugman.” In today’s Truth Squad installment, Luskin explains how the new policy comes straight from editorial-page editor Gail Collins, who will be held to the new standard by public editor Daniel Okrent. Of course, the Krugman Truth Squad and other such relentless seekers of the truth had a hand in this policy shift. They deserve a round of applause.
Posted at 09:02 AM
AL QAEDA TURNED AWAY [KJL]
LONDON — Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, al Qaeda's purported operations chief, has told U.S. interrogators that the group had been planning attacks on the Library Tower in Los Angeles and the Sears Tower in Chicago on the heels of the September 11, 2001, terror strikes. Those plans were aborted mainly because of the decisive U.S. response to the New York and Washington attacks, which disrupted the terrorist organization's plans so thoroughly that it could not proceed, according to transcripts of his conversations with interrogators.
Posted at 08:07 AM
WHAT REBOUND? [KJL]
A reader: "What rebound? The Iowa Electronic Markets, where people bet real money on the Presidential vote share are counting on the President to garner more than 52% of the vote, and Kerry 46%. Peek at the graph, and the gap developed in February."
Posted at 07:51 AM
PAY FOR THIS? [Tim Graham]
Here's one good reason not to pay for Salon.com: bizarre headlines like this. "Bush's press slaves: It's time for the Washington press corps to probe candidate Bush just as enthusiastically as they have John Kerry." What planet is this guy living on??? Who in the national press has "enthusiastically" probed Kerry this year the way Bush has been probed?
Posted at 07:49 AM
WRONG ON KERRY TAX CUTS [Tim Graham]
I was wrong in stating Kerry favors repealing "all" of Bush's tax cuts. Unlike Howard Dean, he wants to keep some middle-class tax relief from the Bush years. ABC's Diane Sawyer even pasted him on "Good Morning America" for not raising taxes enough in his plan. Oops.
Posted at 07:24 AM
MOMSENSE RETURNS! [Jonah Goldberg]
The Baltimore Sun has the first indication that a particularly stupid media schtick is returning: The movement of the apolitical Moms. The headline should raise the hairs on the back of your neck:
In a grassroots movement, moms of all political persuasions organize to oust Bush.The story flatly contradicts this, as does common sense. If moms of all political persuasions organized to oust Bush than there would be some moms who want Bush to be reelected organzing to oust him, which would make them stupid-but-interesting enough to mention in this article, which the author does not do. The million mom march should have put an end to this use of mom's as a "non-partisan" Trojan Horse. Why are liberals so afraid of calling themselves liberals? Fine use your maternal status, but why maintain the fiction that you're not a liberal mom?
Posted at 07:01 AM
CHUTZPAH [Jonah Goldberg]
I just heard "the Greaseman" declare that the one good possible upside to the clampdown on indecency on radio will be that it will result in more deejays who actually have talent. He seemed to be including himself.
Posted at 06:53 AM
YES, WE LIKE DEAD PEOPLE, BUT [Jonah Goldberg]
Kevin Drum echoes a point made by a great many readers regarding my post about the liberal tendency to ignore their own intellectual tradition compared to the conservative tendency to embrace theirs. And since I won't be around for a chunk of the morning (hence all those posts with my name on them), I figured I'd write one long post in response to everyone who made that point using Drum as my foil. Drum writes:
But isn't the answer to this pretty obvious? Conservatives, almost by definition, are absorbed by the past. What's more, their message doesn't change much over time (tradition is good, stable society is good, the masses should get back to work and stop complaining) so it makes perfect sense to keep reading them. In fact, if you take the conservative reverence for tradition seriously, it almost demands that you have considerable respect for your forebears.
In one sense Drum is absolutely correct. That is obvious -- which is why I didn't mention it. But I'm not talking about run-of-the-mill liberals, I'm talking about professional liberals, liberals who take ideas seriously for a living. I think Drum is one of those people, but his cavalier disdain for his own intellectual tradition is disappointing (I'm more accustomed to his disdain for my intellectual tradition). There are liberals who do take their intellectual pedigrees very seriously: John Judis, Michael Sandel, Peter Beinart and, as much as it pains me, Michael Lind and Eric Alterman come immediately to mind (though Alterman's not a liberal, but a Leftist). More important, I know lots of liberals who take history seriously.
However, I'm frankly at a loss as to how a serious liberal can disdain his movement's history while taking general history seriously. I know it happens, of course. The level of ignorance among liberals in their own complicity in what they consider to be dark chapters of our past constantly astounds, from the "Red Scare" during WWI to the American eugenics movement (Margaret Sanger anyone?) to that pesky conflict in Vietnam -- which John Kerry incessantly describes as Richard Nixon's fault, as if to two liberal presidents and many liberal Congresses did not precede it. Besides, if liberals want to concede that they are not only enamored with every new idea that comes down the pike, but that they don't even know or care whether these ideas have been tried before, great! That will make debating them all the easier (and/or frustrating).
Secondly, it's just a lot of garbage that conservatives are dismissive of new ideas. It wasn't too long ago that the late Pat Moynihan noted that Lionel Trilling's much-repeated observations about liberalism's dominance had been reveresed. In the last two or three decades it is very difficult to think of a serious body of new liberal public policy ideas. This is not my observation, I can't tell you how many think tank panels I've watched or TV shows I've produced on this point. I mean that's why the DLC and the Center for American Progress exist, right?
Third, the far left and the racial left is far less enamored of change than the right these days. Not to say the right loves change (cozy up to the Postrellians for that), but the Left despises it. It is anti-science, anti-globalization and anti-modern. It wants to keep Third World culture frozen in amber and, along with most liberals, opposes any meaningful changes in governmental institutions in favor of individual liberty. The GOP (flawed vessal that it is) wants to reform social security, medicare and the tax code, creating a shareholder society. The Democratic Party rejects entitlement reforms if they are defined as anything other than throwing another trinket on the back of an already overburned mule. During the campaign, Al Gore's biggest idea was a "lock box" and his favorite word was "stop" -- but yeah, right, liberals love change. When Florida tried to change its education policies away from affirmative action and in favor of a system which would send more minority kids to college, the activists stormed the governor's office and sang "we shall overcome." Talk about being saddled with nostalgia.
And lastly, hasn't The Washington Monthly and Drum himself spent much of the last couple years moaning about how "radical" conservative foreign policy has become? Josh Marshall had that cover story about the Bush plan to export democratic revolution around the world and all that, remember? I mean, that's not quite yet an too "old" an idea for liberals to care about, is it?
Posted at 06:47 AM
Bush at 51, Kerry at 47 in a new poll.
Posted at 06:30 AM
HUAC HEADS UP [Jonah Goldberg]
Advisory from a reader:
In the next week, Turner Classic Movies will be showing the two films that most spurred the HUAC investigation into Reds in Hollywood. Both films are out of print (unavailable on tape or DVD), so this is a relatively rare opportunity to see future "Fifth Amendment Communists" (as Ronald Reagan later called them) in action (but you will need to set the VCR or Tivo in all likelihood).
Posted at 06:16 AM
Monday, March 29, 2004
GOOD TIMES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:41 PM
CAN'T PICK JUST ONE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:38 PM
JEWS, GOP ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 10:21 PM
ARTIFICIAL LIFE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, Being a Jurassic Park fan, the following is scary but neat: From the Sun-Sentinal: "Another safeguard scientists are designing to provide total control over artificial cells is to make their lives dependent on chemicals that do not exist in the environment. Withdrawing the critical chemicals would result in the death of the cells, particularly if they should escape into the environment."
Posted at 08:49 PM
LLOYD'S [Jonah Goldberg]
Is being sued over its role in the slave trade.
Posted at 08:37 PM
JUDITH BUTLER [Jonah Goldberg]
From one of my academic moles:
From her speech, "Undoing Gender," presented at Ohio State March 29, 2004, Judith Butler's words of wisdom: "Challenge the assumption that a natural dimorphism should be maintained at all costs." "...the epistomological question of what sex can be perceived at all outside the cultural matrix" On accepting DSM-IV trans-gender diagnoses to get funding for The Operation: "One exercises this right only by submitting to a pathologizing discourse." "We must be undone in order to do ourselves." At this point, the whole audience ought to have suspected she just did us.
Posted at 08:35 PM
DAMN YOU DERRRRRBBB! [Jonah Goldberg]
My minions are donning your garb! If you somehow Jedi mind-trick my dog into going to your beloved China I shall unleash hell for surely he would not come back (whole).
Posted at 08:33 PM
"DEAN ON BARTIROMO" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
(Yeah, he wishes.)
Posted at 08:28 PM
CORNER INFALLIBILITY [KJL]
I'm supposed to be fanning flames in The Corner now, readers tell me...here I thought: How much trouble can Jonah get into? He's talking about religion...OOOPS.
Seriously, though, the pope himself is not infallible--his pronouncement on the McDonald's won't go to far (well, unless he doesn't like--the Fast Food police might make good use of it then). Here and here and here are primers.
Posted at 07:57 PM
LEE HARRIS RESPONDS [Jonah Goldberg]
I've edited out Harris' very kind comments to me, for the record:
Posted at 06:14 PM
CLARIFICATION [John Derbyshire]
hesitate to interpose among the weighty matters being tossed around by Jonah and Rich, but I just want to make it clear that "the big guy" in my previous post is Pavarotti, not Nordlinger. Not to say that Jay is not big in his own way -- in talent, in humanity, and so on, but Pavarotti is, like, fat. That's what I meant. Jay is big, but not fat. I mean, big in talent etc. ... Oh, hell, get me out of this please, someone.
Posted at 04:42 PM
HELP—TRYING TO FIND JOHN O’NEILL [Rich Lowry]
I’m looking for a John O’Neill who graduated from the Naval Academy and served in Vietnam 1967-1970. He was affiliated with Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace, an anti-Vietnam Veterans Against the War group. He debated John Kerry in July 1971 on the Dick Cavett show. I would love to get in touch with him, so please forward any information if you might know his whereabouts. Thanks.
Posted at 04:23 PM
CLARKE’S ODD MEMORY LAPSE [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 04:21 PM
EQUAL TIME [Jonah Goldberg]
Again this isn't a debate. But herewith is an attempt at equal time. For the record, I don't mean to be so grumpy about this, but posts about religion always generate scads of email. That's great, but sometimes I really don't have the time to be the traffic cop for some of these debates. And as of right now, we don't have a better system for dealing with this sort of thing. Anyway, a few representative emails:
Protestant epistemology puts Scripture on the level of infallibility and everyone else pays cash. This explains why the Protestant gladly falls back to scripture.
Posted at 04:04 PM
THE DREAM IS DEAD [swarmed Karl Rove's Northwest D.C. house Sunday, demanding that the White House support Rep. Chris Cannon's amnesty for illegal-alien teenagers commonly called the DREAM Act (H.R.1684 in the House, S. 1545 in the Senate). This wasn't a polite group of people silently standing witness, but a bussed-in mob of hundreds, swarming Rove's house, pounding on the windows, frightening his family. The stunt was an enormous political blunder, of course, since the Bush Administration is the most pro-amnesty GOP White House we will ever see, and they weren't even against the DREAM Act amnesty -- they just weren't pushing it in Congress. Not much chance of that now, is there?
Posted at 03:21 PM
FRUM VS. CLARKE [KJL]
Posted at 03:09 PM
K STREET MEETS WEST WING [KJL]
From an NBC press release:
MARY MCCORMACK (‘K STREET’) MOVES UP TO PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE WHEN SHE GUEST-STARS ON NBC’S ‘THE WEST WING’ AS PRESIDENT’S NEW DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
Posted at 02:59 PM
SHAMELESS BOOK PLUG [John Derbyshire]
Readers of NRODT who enjoyed Jay Nordlinger's tribute to Luciano Pavarotti in the current issue should know that the decisive fictional portrait of the big guy can be found here .
Posted at 01:55 PM
I AM NOT STARTING A DEBATE! [Jonah Goldberg]
But I thought some folks might find this email interesting:
Posted at 01:53 PM
SUCCESS UBER ALLES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Lee Harris has a very interesting piece on America's "pagan" love of success. I think it's very interesting because it is, but I think at a basic level he's wrong. My own reading of America's business culture and even its culture generally is that we are amazingly forgiving of failure. Business men run two, three, five companies into the ground before they come up with a winner. In America, unlike say Japan or Europe, a guy who makes a lot of mistakes is "experienced." A man who's run five businesses into the ground and succeeds with the sixth is an "entrepreneur." In the broader culture I think we forgive failure so long as it comes with contrition of some kind -- we call them "second acts" and the list of famous people who've had them is endless.
I should also say that one could even define conservatism as the persistent faith in the possibility of human failure.
Where I think Harris is right is that we expect success from people who claim to demand success. The Bush team, for example, gets a very hard time for its perceived arrogance. We tend to judge people by the standards they set for themselves. That's why, by the way, I set my public standards so low -- so that I seem to achieve excellence with such stunning regularity!
Posted at 01:51 PM
ITALY TO QUIT IRAQ? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Romani Prodi, the EU Commission's entertainingly incompetent 'President', hopes to become Italy's next prime minister after the 2006 elections. He is now saying that, if he wins, Italian troops will be withdrawn from Iraq. In his view, "in its current form, the occupation [of Iraq] is the pursuit of an unjustified and illegitimate war which is visibly not succeeding in restoring peace and security in Iraq". Prodi's fully entitled to his opinion, of course, but he should be giving it as a private citizen, not as an unelected bureaucrat who supposedly represents the whole of the EU. Prodi is already a failure, now he's a disgrace. He should resign.
Posted at 01:49 PM
RE: REFINERIES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 01:38 PM
MARY LANDRIEU [KJL]
Roll Call's "Heard on the Hill" has the senator yelling at the families of slain pregnant women--including Laci Peterson's mother and stepfather. The story is actually even worse than the paper lets on. Landrieu is quoted saying that she was trying to get the families to support an amendment to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act that would increase funding for domestic violence prevention. That is what she said at the meeting, I'm told, but her claim was untrue. The amendment was a massive re-write of labor law including a requirement that businesses offer 30 days time off for any employee who claimed to be a victim or a family member of a victim of domestic abuse. Also, the story leaves out the fact that Landrieu threatened the families that she would vote for the bill only if they lobbied for the amendment as she demanded. One final detail the story left out, one of the victims' sisters was brought to tears by the senator's tirade.
Posted at 01:16 PM
RE: IRAQI FREE PRESS [KJL]
It should be noted that 250 newspapers have popped up in the last year in Iraq. (I repeat though, I'm very uncomfortable about this shutdown, but it's an important context, in this transitional country.)
Posted at 01:13 PM
BLUR, BLUR, BLUR [Tim Graham]
I remember 1992, when reporters tried to suggest that there wasn't much difference between the positions of Clinton and Bush I, at least to the extent that they could position Clinton in the center and help make the race about personalities
This year's media attempts to blur Kerry into the center are less plausible than the Clinton '92 model, since Kerry is quite a few degrees to that campaign's left. On Friday night, CBS reporter Byron Pitts concluded his story by pretending both candidates are basically the same of the subject of tax cuts: “Truth be told, both men favor tax cuts. The choice for American voters next fall: How much to cut taxes and for whom?” What a silly media tactic. Actually, John Kerry favors repealing all of Bush's tax cuts -- which is a dramatic tax increase from the status quo, CBS.
Posted at 12:54 PM
CAJUN SEARCHES [KJL]
I'm going completely on readers here, but I'm told some version of this by a few readers:
Re the search case, although I haven't read this or the 1994 opinion and I don't handle criminal matters, based on the facts in the article, it doesn't sound like a huge expansion. There has always been a "plain view" exception to the need for a warrant. Basically, if police are there for a lawful purpose, any contraband that is in plain view can be used against the defendant.
Posted at 12:53 PM
THE CICADAS ARE COMING! [Mark Krikorian ]
The cicadas, often called 17-year locusts, are coming to Washington. They came out when I was a kid in the early '70s in Chicago -- billions of them on every surface, their buzzing impossible to escape. Being an 11-year-old boy, I squashed enormous numbers of them -- as well as burned, drowned, fed to my dogs, and fried with a magnifying glass. Though I'm no animal-rights kook, I grew to regret this orgy of senseless killing and wince when I think of it.
Posted at 12:18 PM
IMMIGRANT FAMILY VALUES [Mark Krikorian ]
I only now got to this Washington Post tribute- to A D.C.-area father and son, former Salvadoran illegal-alien musicians. The lead paragraph:
"They're sitting at a table in the Marx Cafe -- near the posters of Karl Marx and Che Guevara -- father and son, son and father, Lilo Sr. and Lilo Jr., Lilo y Lilito, regular folks, folks who can be found tooling around the neighborhood of Mount Pleasant, guitar case in hand. Perhaps you've seen them."
The father sings "songs of social protest," the son "ska and punk-flavored songs of social outrage," all of it "Music as a movement," as the writer says, including gems like "No Human Being Is Illegal" and "The Border Crossed My Land." These guys will not be voting Republican in November.
Now, you obviously can't judge all immigrants by a pair of Salvadoran leftists, but you also can't judge all immigrants by the Vietnamese valedictorian or the president's Mexican gardener. That's why certain think tanks do research.
Posted at 12:15 PM
THE NEWS STORY I LEAST WANT TO READ [John Derbyshire]
Kennedys... glamor... infidelity... luxury yacht... sensational revelations... Zzzzzzzzzzz
Posted at 12:07 PM
NEWSPAPER SHUTDOWN [KJL]
I hate, I hate, I hate the sound of this newspaper closing in Iraq, but there seems like there was a legit "shouting fire in a crowded theater" aspect to it--i.e. for the stability and safety of Iraqis, it might have been a pragmatic and wise decision. That said, if IRaqis are going to riot upon its closing, one wonders what is gained...a bad example, and violence anyway.
I'd love to hear from folks on the ground there on this, however.
Posted at 12:07 PM
LIBERAL ROOTS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm trying very hard not to dilute the impact of my book by reporting on every (mind-blowingly fascinating and book-buyingly compelling) factoid I uncover while researching and w-r-i-t-i-n-g my book (the dashes are intended to communicate what a laborious process the actual writing is). But one thing that really does fascinate me -- and which doesn't divulge too much about my book -- is the generalized ignorance or silence of mainstream liberals about their own intellectual history. Obviously this is a sweeping -- and therefore unfair -- generalization. But I read a lot of liberal stuff and have attended more than a few college confabs with liberal speakers speaking on the subject of liberalism itself. And it seems to me that liberals are intellectually deracinated. Read conservative publications or attend conservative conferences and there will almost always be at least some mention of our intellectual forefathers and often a spirited debate about them. The same goes for Libertarians, at least that branch which can be called a part or partner of the conservative movement.
Just look at the conservative blogosphere. There's all sorts of stuff about Burke, Hayek, von Mises, Oakeshott, Kirk, Buckley, Strauss, Meyer, the Southern Agrarians, et al. I can't think of a single editor or contributing editor of National Review who can't speak intelligently about the intellectual titans of conservatism going back generations. I'm not saying everybody's an expert, but I think everybody's made at least the minimal effort to understand their intellectual lineage and I think that's reflected in conservative writing, for good and for ill. I would guess that the same hold true about the gang over at Reason.
I just don't get the sense that's true of most liberal journalists. When was the last time you saw more than a passing reference to Herbert Croly? When was the last time you read an article or blog posting where a liberal asked "What would Charles Beard think of this?" This is a little less true of the far left press because, I think, their alienation from mainstream politics is a bit similar to conservative alienation and so they remember their grievances and martyrs better. But for mainstream Democratic Party liberals one gets the sense that the history of their movement is all about action and emotion and very little about ideas. Some of this can be explained away by the nature of liberalism as opposed to the nature of conservatism. Conservatives (and Hayekians) must believe that knowledge is cumulative but progress isn't chronological. Liberals are under much less of an obligation to remember old lessons and stay loyal to the permanent things. For liberals John Kenneth Galbraith's legacy, for example, are not his now largely discredited economic ideas, but his still revered intentions for using the government to fix problems. Ask a liberal about his tradition and he will talk about deeds and efforts to remedy injustice, not ideas. This is in keeping with the legacy of William James' preference for action over thought, though I doubt most liberals know or care that this is so (while I can think of no conservative who wouldn't be jazzed to be told his idea was "Hayekian" or "Burkean"). This is a huge tactical advantage for liberals in political battles because they can disown old ideas in ways we cannot.
I bring this up because A) I think it's interesting and B) because I've been reading a lot of the "founders" of modern liberalism and I've generally been stunned by how alien their ideas would seem to contemporary liberals. I'll save much of that for the book, but I'll give you one example of the left's tactical advantages. In the last year the "neocons" have been skewered by a host of critics, most recently Tim Robbins, for their alleged allegiance to Leo Strauss. It is asserted by a great many of Strauss' critics on the Left that he advocated lying to the public if it is in the interest of the State or of virtue etc. This is all very tendentious and invariably unfair to Strauss. But since Strauss' fans are generally conservatives they won't abandon him, even though he's dead. Now, even if it were true that Strauss advocated "lying for Justice" or some such, it is laughable in the extreme for the left to be particularly outraged at the idea given the incredibily old pedigree this notion has on the left. Whole schools of Marxist and Leftist scholars endorsed this notion as a doctrine. Georges Sorel's and others concepts of the "vital lie" animated far more than a few bookish Straussians, it lit fires in the breasts of whole movements. But most liberals probably don't even know who Sorel was. Rather they inherited the logic and traditions of leftist politics without having to take responsibility for leftist ideas.
Just thinking out loud.
Posted at 11:54 AM
SPEAKING GIG [Jonah Goldberg]
I will be at Davidson College on April 7. Details to follow.
Posted at 11:11 AM
GASEOUS BUT [Jonah Goldberg]
Steve - I knew you knew more about this stuff that I did. But I have a very minor quibble. You write "...but by far the biggest reason is simply a shortage of refining capacity for California-specific gas." I think that "but" distorts the picture. Is the lack of California-specific refineries really a different issue than the environmental regulations and additives? Isn't it really a sympton of that issue?
The reason I bring it up is that I think the "but" clouds the free-market argument. Whenever the state imposes regulations there will be ripple effects and unintended consequences. If California had never passed those laws, the lack of those refineries wouldn't be an issue. I'm sure there are liberals who think the problem isn't the law but the lack of refineries and if "we" only built more refineries the law would work properly. But that would create new ripples and new costs down the road. In short, your point about the refineries is a great one but it's not a different factor from those regulations it is a consequence of those regulations. I know you understand this better than me, but in this case the semantic point is a substantive one too, I think.
Posted at 10:00 AM
BUMPERSTICKERS OF ULSTER COUNTY [Rick Brookhiser]
Seen within twenty minutes of each other: BUSH KNEW, and GET U.S. OUT OF THE UNITED NATIONS. The vital center is not very vital in Ulster Co.
Posted at 09:37 AM
RE: CALIFORNIA DREAMING [Steve Hayward]
Jonah is right that special environmental additives and higher state taxes account for some of the reason California's gas prices are the highest in the nation, but by far the biggest reason is simply a shortage of refining capacity for California-specific gas. It has been unthinkable to build a new refinery in CA for decades, and modifying one to expand capacity is nearly impossible. So with a growing state, CA has to import more gasoline from other states, driving up the price of gas throughout the region.
What always amuses me is my liberal CA friends who say our gas is too cheap and should be taxed as it is in Europe. So at moments like these, I always taunt them that they must be happy now that gas is more expensive! This whole situation is really quite revealing: Why are liberals happy if gas costs $2 a gallon because of an energy tax, but unhappy if gas costs $2 a gallon because of the marketplace? Obviously, it is only fun if the government profits by it. Meanwhile, I make a point of smiling at the pump when I fill up my California SUV (with super, no less!) on my regular trips out. Californians are only getting what they deserve.
Posted at 09:36 AM
FRIST’S FOLLY? [Rich Lowry ]
I sure hope that Bill Frist knew what he was doing with his dramatic attack on Dick Clarke as a potential perjurer on the Senate floor Friday. But I kind of doubt it. I would be shocked if there are contradictions so stark between Clarke’s prior testimony and his testimony last week that they can’t somehow be explained away (even if sometimes implausibly). The more I read about this case, the clearer it is that Clarke is relying mostly on, as he has put it “tenor and tone” to condemn the Bush administration. And you can’t get someone on a perjury rap based on tone. In any case, Clarke doesn't seem the least bit dismayed by the possibility of his prior testimony being released.
Posted at 09:04 AM
RE: GOOD BOOKS ON A LITTLE COUNTRY [Steve Hayward]
Peter: I think the best all-round book on Nicaragua, at least in the crucial recent period of the rise and fall of the Sandinista, is Robert Kagan's A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990 (Free Press, 1996). It is dispassionate but highly engaging 730 pages.
Posted at 08:49 AM
REVIEW GUSHES OVER FLORENCE KING’S STET, DAMNIT! [Jack Fowler]
Colby Cosh gives our revered Misanthrope’s heralded collection a boffo review in The American Spectator. Here’s a nugget:
All that really needs to be said of STET, Damnit! is to reiterate that it contains the complete “Misanthrope's Corner,” and, hence, is a required purchase. It is a tour de force, a book to be saved for the grandkids. You will find, once you own it, that it is a particularly useful chronicle of the Boy Clinton years, though it is a bit surprising in retrospect how little fun King actually had at his particular expense. One would have thought Clinton was exactly the yeasty sort of material for which her scalpel had been whetted, and occasionally it flashes: “I knew there was something familiar about Bill Clinton. The moment Paula Jones said 'hotel' and 'convention' my youth came back to me. The Prez reminds me of the Man on the Plane, the ubiquitous middle-aged businessman with husband written all over him who lives for out-of-town flings.”King rules! You can read the complete review here. STET Damnit! The Misanthrope’s Corner, 1991 to 2002 (complete, unabridged, uproarious!) is available only through National Review. If you haven’t already ordered your own copy of this tremendous book (it makes a wonderful gift for that fellow curmudgeon), you can do so, securely, here.
Posted at 08:41 AM
L'DANG! [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 08:31 AM
BIBLE-THUMPING KERRY? [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, Kerry's been using this line from the book of James for at least a few weeks now. I think it deserves a little deeper analysis. Who exactly is Kerry upbraiding? Is he suggesting that Bush does nothing privately for charity? (If so, how does he explain the year that his friend Al Gore gave about $350 to charity? Where are his tax returns?) In the most literal translation, he is suggesting there are no works of compassion in America today, indicting the whole country of failing God and man.
We know what he's trying to say: that Bush would be a better Christian by spending more of OUR money on government programs. (Funny, liberals usually hate people who try to suggest being a better Christian.) This seems exactly at odds with the Bush vision of compassion, which suggests that the needy in America are not best helped by the Social Security Administration or the Department of Health and Human Services, but by the individual care and attention of loving people. Don't just give in your paycheck and say "Done." Go out and find a need and meet it. Church groups could be doing more of this with federal grants today, but Kerry and his gang want to force religious groups to hire gay men and Buddhists before letting them feed the poor with money sent to Washington.
PS: Finally, Kerry the "Catholic" and his completely ultraliberal abortion politics. I find it odd that Kerry would tell the church to butt out of his public policy views. Who, here, is suggesting someone has faith, but no works? If he absolutely disagrees with the Catholic view of the dignity of the unborn child, why doesn't he go church-shopping like Wesley Clark? If anything, this abortion line completely undercuts his book-of-James critique of Bush. If you are going to go beyond your faith to making good works in the world, then Kerry and other Senate Democrats whose biographies suggest they are Catholic should show the sincerity of their faith in public decisions, not just private moments.
Posted at 08:25 AM
LOTS OF NYT NRO READING [KJL]
NYT has us bookmarked. William Safire noticed Claudia Rosett's U.N. Oil-for-Food work for NRO twice now (he did in a previous column, and now, today) and Cop Daniel Okrent is reading the Krugman Truth Squad.
Posted at 08:24 AM
INTERESTING POLL [John J. Miller]
Just came across these numbers, released last week by Fox News. Bush and Kerry are in a dead heat--tied at 44 percent. A Kerry-Edwards ticket moves a few points above Bush-Cheney, 48 percent to 43 percent. Hillary Clinton has the opposite effect: A Kerry-HRC ticket drops to 42 percent, and Bush-Cheney rises to 47 percent. I maintain that Dick Gephardt is probably Kerry's best bet, and that Kerry has a good option in Bill Richardson and a few others as well. And John Glenn, even at age 83, continues to concern me as a dark horse, assuming he's in reasonably good health.
Posted at 08:22 AM
RE: CONDI [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 07:57 AM
RE: CONDI [Jonah Goldberg]
Also, I don't think I've seen a single mainstream reporter explain the executive privilige argument. They simply say the White House "invokes" executive privilege or some such. There's no extra sentence saying why the White House has invoked executive privilege, no background on the history of the claim. I seem to recall that Bill Clinton got some more friendly "context" from reporters back then.
Posted at 07:37 AM
SHARON [Jonah Goldberg]
I haven't followed the details of the Sharon money scandal, but it seems to me that whatever happens this is a great example of the moral distinctions Israel and its neighbors. It's entirely possible that Sharon could lose his job because of this. Quick: Name an Arab nation in which is it is conceivable that the courts or their equivalent of the Justice Dept. could launch a sustained public criminal investigation of that nation's ruler and his family.
Posted at 07:35 AM
"60 MINUTES": PICKERING [Jonah Goldberg]
I thought last night's "60 Minutes" on Judge Pickering was astonishingly fair, even pro-Pickering. Sen. Chuck Schumer came across as precisely the sort of ass he is. At the end of the day, Schumer's point was Pickering is unqualified because the context of his career, the context of the case itself, the context of everything else is irrelevant in the face of the fact that Pickering tried to be fair to a defendant in a flag burning case . I don't need to recount the facts again, but it does seem to me that some journalist really needs to ask Schumer whether he thinks Senator Robert C. Byrd would be qualified to be a Federal judge. After all, Byrd's record on racial sensitivity is far, far, far worse than Pickering's.
Posted at 07:22 AM
"A DRUG WAR WE CAN WIN" [Jonah Goldberg]
The AARP is running these ads for the Medicare drug benefit which play off the drug war. After showing footage of drug busts and the like they switch to some oldsters sitting in front of the TV watching drugwar footage. The voiceover explains there's "another drug war in America" and then the ads close with the tagline about how winning cheaper prescription medicine "is a drug war we can win."
Is this some veiled attempt to rally younger folks to their cause? It just seems like a pretty tendentious comparison and one that in the abstract isn't all that helpful to their case.
Posted at 07:17 AM
CONDI [Jonah Goldberg]
I do still think she should find a way to testify. Can't she offer a sworn affadavit or something that was not actually sworn out before Congress or something? Nevertheless, I find some of the outrage over the White House exerting a longstanding and well-precedented privilege at the core of the executive branch a bit hypocritical given the relative quiet over Bill Clinton's assertion of the "protective function privilege," an entirely manufactured and unprecedented privilege which, in effect, said that the President of the United States has a praetorian guard who cannot be forced to testify on crimes permitted by the President.
Posted at 07:10 AM
CALIFORNIA DREAMING [Jonah Goldberg]
All weekend I heard references on the radio and the TV news programs about how angry and perplexed Californians -- especially California lawmakers -- are over the fact that their gas prices are so much higher than everyone else's. Fine, be angry. That makes sense. But I thought the reason California's pump prices are so high is because California insists on extra additatives and higher taxes for environmental goals. Maybe Adler or Hayward want to add something here, but anger at oil companies seems like a bit of misdirection to me.
Posted at 07:06 AM
PETER USTINOV R.I.P. [Jonah Goldberg]
He passed away.
Posted at 07:02 AM
HAPPY BELATED ST. PATRICK'S DAY [John J. Miller]
How many people read A Christmas Carol in January? Well, that's me: Yesterday, I finished reading St. Patrick of Ireland, by Philip Freeman, a week and a half after the feast day. I mention it here because it's an excellent book--a short and compelling biography of a historical figure about which very little is known. Because the primary sources are so scarce--just about everything comes from a pair of letters Patrick wrote (both translated in an epilogue)--Freeman spends much of his time discussing context: pagan life in Ireland, the collapse of the Roman empire, the coming of Christianity, the monastic tradition, etc. He also has a knack for colorful anecdotes, such as when he describes "the Burgundian law that anyone caught stealing a dog had to kiss the hound's rear end in front of the whole village." If you've ever wondered why people wear green on March 17, check it out.
Posted at 05:39 AM
NEW ORLEANS WARRANTLESS SEARCHES [KJL]
Has John Ashcroft been blamed yet?
Posted at 02:58 AM
RE: FIRST POST OF THE WEEK [KJL]
Well, I'm up later than Jonah. Nyah. Nyah.
That's cool, right? Hmmm.
Posted at 02:45 AM
CALLING THE IRS [KJL]
John Kerry, campaigning with the Bible, in a St. Louis Baptist, predominantly black, church.
Posted at 02:41 AM
FIRST POST OF THE WEEK [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 12:08 AM
Sunday, March 28, 2004
AND I DIDN'T EVEN GET A GRANT [John J. Miller]
The San Francisco Chronicle today reprints my NRODT article on the National Endowment for the Arts and its proposed budget increase here.
Posted at 04:17 PM
CHIRAC'S BAD DAY [Andrew Stuttaford]
It’s been a disastrous day for Jacques Chirac in the second round of voting in the French regional elections. Results so far point to the Left triumphing with over 50 percent of the votes, followed by the Chirac Right with around 37.5%. The National Front is on 12.5%. In terms of the power they wield, France’s local governments are not that important, but as a political signal these results are well worth watching. Their message? That even the (very) modest attempts at reform of France’s welfare state launched by Prime Minister Raffarin are unacceptable to the French electorate. That’s bad news for France, and, quite possibly, even worse for poor M. Raffarin’s job prospects. Expect Chirac to start waving the white flag soon.
Posted at 03:58 PM
OH, IRELAND [Andrew Stuttaford]
A Bloomberg-style smoking ban (that’s mean-spirited, scientifically illiterate and thuggish, in case you’ve forgotten) comes in force tomorrow in Ireland. In Ireland! The Daily Telegraph has more:
“Further along the bar, Declan Cotter, a 28-year-old sales representative for a drinks company, is smoking his sorrows away with long, intense drags. "Our culture is based around pubs. That's where we meet," he says. "Irish people class the pub as an extension of their parlour, of their house. Now it's being changed.
"We're expecting a 25 to 33 per cent downturn in sales because people will start drinking at home. But it's not just about the facts and figures, it's about our culture." The facts and figures do, nonetheless, make uncomfortable reading. In Ireland, the first country in Europe to impose such a ban, it is estimated that 65,000 jobs will be lost through a decrease in trade. Many smaller, rural pubs are expected to close altogether.”
For vandalism, this new law takes some beating.
For a hint of more civilized times, however, check out the description of James Joyce and his pub lunch of “a glass of burgundy, a gorgonzola sandwich and a cigarette.”
Posted at 02:07 PM
AND SO THE SELF-LOATHING CONTINUES... [Andrew Stuttaford]
This time in Australia.
Posted at 01:18 PM
THREE STOOGES: [Andrew Stuttaford]
Representatives. Tom Osborne (R-NE), Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). They are calling on the NCAA and its member schools to end all alcohol advertising during radio and television broadcasts of collegiate sporting events.
The fanatics at the Center for Science in the Public Interest approve, needless to say.
Posted at 01:18 PM
WHERE'S BRUCE WILLIS? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Now here’s something that NASA should be spending money on.
Posted at 01:17 PM
1776 AND ALL THAT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Historian David McCullough on the state of historical knowledge in America’s universities:
Further evidence of "something that's eating away at the national memory," Mr. McCullough says, is a survey last year of seniors at 50 top colleges and universities by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. "It's astonishing. More than half didn't know George Washington was the commanding general of the Continental Army during the American Revolution who accepted Brig. Gen. Charles Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown.”
"Thirty-six percent thought it was Ulysses S. Grant," commander of the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. "Six percent said it was Douglas MacArthur," U.S. commander during the Korean War. "Thirty-two percent said Washington. It was a multiple-choice question. They were winging it.
"If you don't know what Yorktown was all about, and that Washington was the commander, you don't know ... a lot about American history that you ought to know."
No, you don’t.
Posted at 01:10 PM
DISREPUTABLE [Andrew Stuttaford]
After the last EU Commission resigned in the wake of a corruption scandal, Romano Prodi, the incoming president of the new Commission, promised a new, cleaner organization. Not so long later the Commission’s Chief Accountant announced that the EU’s budget was ‘out of control…an open till waiting to be robbed.’ Naturally, she was suspended for this disgraceful piece of honesty. Now, after a suspiciously long delay, this whistleblower faces disciplinary proceedings. Her offense? Bringing the EU’s institutions “into disrepute”. That’s nonsense. They’ve done that for themselves.
Posted at 01:06 PM
SUPER-PUBLICITY FOR THIS? [Tim Graham]
Speaking of Rush Limbaugh, he had to have hundreds of stations before the media even noticed him. The new liberal radio effort is all publicity and no stations. My publicist pal Katie Wright noticed that the O'Franken gang has THREE -- count 'em, tres -- stations to start with, and none of them are exactly high-watt blowtorches of radio magnetism.
The Washington Post and Howard Kurtz have done maybe four or five promotional articles by now (and Kurtz will promote them on his CNN show "Reliable Sources" this weekend). But you could argue that in Washington at least, it's conservative talk radio that's still on the rise. It's doing so well at WMAL (Rush and Sean all afternoon) that they moved out the nice life advice of Dr. Laura and moved in NRO stalwart (no relation, folks) Michael Graham. Laura Ingraham is on air here in DC at 9 on WTNT, doing some smart work on the media in the last week. It's pretty funny that the Democrats pumping up O'Franken radio can't seem to buy a time slot in the nation's capital....
Posted at 09:31 AM
KHADAFFI DISSES BLAIR? [KJL]
Posted at 07:49 AM
GOP TAXERS [John J. Miller]
"I absolutely hate taxes," says one Virginia Republican. "But I love Virginia more." That's a new GOP soundbite for hiking taxes by billions in my state--an effort that has produced an amusing and wholly deserved headline in today's New York Times: "Virginia Political Shocker: Republicans for High Taxes." (Can you imagine the howls if John Kerry said, "I absolutely hate taxes, but I love American more"?) The only thing now standing between Virginians an a higher sales tax, a higher income tax, etc., etc., is a group of brave Republicans in the House of Delegates who haven't forgotten that the conservative party is the one that's supposed to be against this stuff. Virginia is one of the states that has elections in odd-numbered years, which means nobody will face the voters this fall. But next year is a gubernatorial race--and Old Dominion Republicans may very well enter it as the party of bigger government, higher spending, and more taxes.
Posted at 05:56 AM