NEITHER SMOKING NOR A GUN [Jim Robbins]
A CNN headline on the August 6, 2001 PDB reads "Key Document Warned of Possible al Qaeda Scenarios." But none of the scenarios were the actual plan. One dealt with AQ attacking us with explosives, another with hijacking planes to engage in hostage negotiations. Another said the window of AQ attack was early 1997 to early 2001, which had already passed by August. Yet the press still treats this page and a half document breathlessly. How very sad they think that their audience cannot read or reason for themselves. What contempt they must have for us.
Posted at 10:21 PM
MISCHIEF [John Derbyshire]
Daniel Oliver Derbyshire, age 8, and his little friend Michael from next door, were permitted to play on the big computer in Dad's office while Dad went off to fiddle with his tree house.
When Dad came back, he found that his Ann Coulter doll had been STRIPPED TO THE BUFF.
Oh, God. I'm not going to be able to handle my kids' adolescence, I know I'm not.
Posted at 10:18 PM
BLOOMBERG IS RIGHT [Andrew Stuttaford]
New York City’s mayor has come out against giving voting rights to non-citizen legal immigrants, something that is, incredibly, being discussed at the moment. The mayor explained that “the essence of citizenship is the right to vote, and you should go about becoming a citizen before you get the right to vote.”
No vote for me, in other words.
Bloomberg’s right, of course, but what’s astonishing is that the debate has moved so far that such a statement of the blindingly obvious is, in fact, controversial.
Meanwhile, self-appointed Latino ‘advocacy’ group, ‘La Raza’, finds it ‘alarming’ that 88 passengers on a domestic flight that arrived in Newark on Thursday were detained as illegal immigrants. Needless to say, La Raza was alarmed by the arrests, not the number of the ‘undocumented’.
Posted at 03:51 PM
NONSENSE WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Harmless fun for a Saturday afternoon. Browse here. Here’s an extract:
”In GROW, readers can learn about the way forward to life fulfilment for all women. I call it the ‘Feminine Way,’ where women – and men – can live their lives based on feminine values of love, compassion, nurturing, relationship building and community.
”By women working in co-operation with their inner selves, each other, the environment, and all of society, I believe we can create a new kind of world based on love, not fear. And it doesn’t have to be too serious. In GROW you’ll find exercises and stories that contain fun and laughter; experiences that will introduce you to new kinds of wonder and magic; and tools that will guide you into living life to its full potential.
Posted at 03:50 PM
WHO'S SPEAKING FOR WHOM [Andrew Stuttaford]
So, how representative of Shia sentiment is al-Sadr’s army of thugs and fanatics? Obviously, the recent fighting may have radicalized some Shiites since this report was written, but here’s an interesting story from a week ago:
”Herded into lines by inexperienced police officers, hundreds of would-be Iraqi voters pushed into a sparsely equipped school at the weekend to cast their ballots for the local council of Tar.
”Deep in the marshlands of the Euphrates, the town of 15,000 people was the first to rise against Saddam Hussein in the abortive intifada of 1991. Now it was holding the first genuine election in its history.
”The poll was the latest in a series which this overwhelmingly Shia province has held in the past six weeks, and the results have been surprising. Seventeen towns have voted, and in almost every case secular independents and representatives of non-religious parties did better than the Islamists.”
Read the whole thing.
Posted at 03:46 PM
ORWELL, AGAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
You all probably know this one already, but I came across this quote from Orwell yesterday. He was writing about England’s pro-Soviet intelligentsia. Their secret wish, he wrote, was “to destroy the old, egalitarian vision of socialism and usher in a hierarchical society where an intellectual can at last get his hands on the whip.”
Very true, and, alas, not just of historical interest. If you want to understand why so many on the intellectual Left seem so infatuated with authoritarianism, there it is.
Posted at 03:45 PM
THREE PILLARS OF STUPIDITY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Grim news from Mickey D’s. A report in today’s Financial Times includes this depressing news:
“In another sign of the importance McDonald’s now places on health issues, the fast-food giant will next week unveil a strategy for combating obesity and improving physical well-being in the US…The multi-year plan will promote the importance of a balanced lifestyle, with three “pillars” including helping people make better food choices, and promoting public education and physical activity.”
McDonald’s can take their three pillars and shove ‘em. If I want a sermon, I’ll go to church, or listen to NPR. McDonald’s should stick to selling food.
And no, if this is a strategy to head off litigation, it won’t work.
Posted at 03:44 PM
BOB GRAHAM SAYS THE HILL HAD THE MEMO TOO [KJL]
Posted at 03:41 PM
SUNDAY SCHOOL WITH JIMMY CARTER [Tim Graham]
The American Prospect interviews the mudslinging Baptist Jimmy Carter for his opinion on how "the Christian right isn't Christian at all." We learn this is because the "prince of peace" apparently favors negotiation with any aggressive force in the world (it worked so well with Saddam), and that the "ultra-right" doesn't feel any need to help the poor -- through government largess. (Private-sector philanthropy has nothing to do with your eternal soul, I guess.) It gets increasingly silly as Jimmy tries to explain how his Christian views shouldn't ever impact government policy on abortion and so-called gay marriage:
TAP: Do you think that Democrats will be able to attract Bible-believing Christians in a year that gay marriage will be used as a smokescreen to distract attention from those issues?PS: Don't miss the part where the Desert One Fiasco President says he believes in "a nation committed to strength in the military. I served longer in the military than any other president since the Civil War except Dwight Eisenhower. I was a submarine officer. I used the enormous and unmatched strength of America to promote peace for other people and preserve peace for ourselves."
Posted at 03:39 PM
HOME DEPOT--WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE [John Derbyshire]
Well, some of it is right here:
"Mr. Derb---I tried entering a 'closed' aisle at Home Depot. It was empty and no employees were around. The second I breached the barrier, no less than four employees appeared out of nowhere. (Where were they when I was looking for something for over 20 minutes before that ?) Anyway, the 'in-charge' type explained rudely and dramatically that the store was 'trying to save my life.' I explained in the same manner that I was just 'trying to give the store my money.' I was then promptly escorted out.
"I will never give Home Depot so much as a dime. I won't ever use the vending machines in front of the store. I now drive miles out of my way to another large hardware chain ... I just skip the home improvement or repair altogether... When Home Depot goes out of business, and it will (trust me it will, I don't know when,or how, but it will), I will have the party at my dilapidated house. You're invited, bring beer."
Posted at 03:37 PM
CONQUEST OF DEATH [John Derbyshire]
A moving, and very Anglican, reflection by A.N. Wilson
Posted at 03:36 PM
RE: TRANSSEXUALIST TERROR [John Derbyshire]
In response to my rhetorical question about this , which was: "Does the University of Michigan know what kind of material is being posted under its web addresses, at the university's expense?", several students & alumni of U.Mich. have responded to the effect that, if they don't know, they'd be proud to find out. U.Mich. (these people tell me) is Diversity Central.
(And that link got mangled on my original posting, which led some readers to think that U.Mich. had taken it down in response to my having aired it.)
Posted at 03:34 PM
SILVER LININGS IN IRAQ [KJL]
Posted at 03:30 PM
RE: CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED [John Derbyshire]
A reader tells me that: "Valiant Comics (bought up by Acclaim) reissued many of the Classics Illustrateds in the mid-'90s, complete with new introductions and back matter by various academics. They were edited by Madeleine Robbins."
The more I think about it, the more I think I'd like to get some of these for my kids. The picture-strip Bible went over well. And let's face it, in this visual age, they're not going to read their way through the literary canon. They may as well acquaint themselves with the stories, though, via an accessible means.
Posted at 03:27 PM
RE: MICHAEL BAILEY [KJL]
I managed to go in a mess up Derb's urls in yesterday's post--they are right now (and were right as he originally had them). Apologies.
Posted at 03:21 PM
ETERNAL LIFE [John Derbyshire]
A reader with a better memory than I have, and a better handle on inflation: "Derb, the line in 'Pelham 1-2-3' was, 'What do they expect for their lousy 35 cents, to live forever?' Given that this was 1973 and the fare is now $2 and going higher, it does give one a sense of inflation. I recall watching a 'Hawaii Five-O' episode from the same era in which Dano tells McGarrett with some amazement that a suspect lives in an apartment that 'rents for $500 a month.' I don't know what rents for $500 a month in Hawaii these days, but chances are, it isn't much to look at."
Posted at 03:18 PM
KIMMITT [Rick Brookhiser]
"Today what we are seeking is a bilateral cease-fire on the battlefield so we can allow for discussions (in Fallujah)," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt told reporters in Baghdad. "This is an aspiration."
What is Kimmitt thinking?
Posted at 03:16 PM
SHE'S BAACK [Tim Graham]
Loony Cynthia McKinney is running for her old job as Member of Congress. The Los Angeles Times states the obvious: "There is not likely to be a candidate more polarizing than McKinney."
Posted at 11:19 AM
LET’S HAVE A CHAT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Well, here is a moment of true madness. Mo Mowlam, a former minister in Tony Blair’s government, is now suggesting that the British and American governments should start talks with al Qaeda. She’ll be, rightly, ignored, but her comments are still interesting for what they reveal about the views of certain sections of the European Left. Strip away its skilful use of modern technology, and Al Qaeda is, in essence, a psychotic millenarian sect, nothing more. Its ‘philosophy’ is primitive and malicious junk, a compendium of the ramblings of half-crazed ‘holy men’ and a debased Arab nationalism. Its ‘demands’ are for a world put back a thousand years. To believe that there is anything to ‘talk’ to it about is, quite simply, delusional.
Next time, Ms. Mowlam should aim for something a little more realistic.
‘Talks’ with Charles Manson might be a start.
Posted at 11:13 AM
FOR THE RECORD [Jonah Goldberg]
Just in case I was unclear, I don't think the Japanese hostage story is a hoax. I was merely reporting on a lot of chatter and conjecture over the web. But I would personally be stunned and outraged if this whole thing turned out to be fake, which -- again -- I don't think will turn out to be the case.
Posted at 08:50 AM
OPTICAL ILLUSION [ Jonah Goldberg ]
It worked on me.
Posted at 07:55 AM
Friday, April 09, 2004
FAT LITIGATION [Jonathan H. Adler]
The prospect of serious class-action suits against fast-food restaurants and "junk food" makers grows more rapidly than American waistlines, as this NYT story indicates. What used to be a joke is becoming all too real.
Posted at 05:13 PM
VULTURES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Relentlessly, depressingly, appallingly, big law’s attack on ‘big food’ draws ever closer. The New York Times has more. Amongst the villains mentioned in the piece are John F. Banzhaf, the thug now disgracing George Washington University law school, and one Richard M. Daynard, a busybody who presides over the presumptuously and pompously named ‘Public Health Advocacy Institute’ of Northeastern University School of Law, a bullyboy collective dedicated to reminding Americans that “as we enter the 21st century, practitioners and policymakers are being confronted with problems where individualistic modes of analysis are simply inadequate.”
When “individualistic modes of analysis” are deemed “inadequate” expect a mention of ‘the children’.
Daynard, needless to say, does not disappoint:
"If I could choose what kind of case to begin with, it would have been that, under state consumer protection acts against somebody who was continuing to market heavily to kids…"
Of course he would.
Posted at 04:35 PM
OHIO TAX WOES [Jonathan H. Adler]
Republicans hold every statewide office in Ohio, and dominate the state legislature. So how is it that Ohio now has the third-highest state and local tax burden of any state in the nation? (See Tax Foundation data here.) Only Maine and New York impose higher taxes on their citizens. Yet Ohio politicians wonder why the state remains in an economic slump.
Posted at 04:34 PM
RUN RABBIT RUN [Andrew Stuttaford]
This is strange. I’ll stick to Hot Cross Buns.
Posted at 04:33 PM
TIME TO TAKE THE EUROPEAN ‘PARLIAMENT’ SERIOUSLY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Vote Res Publica
Posted at 04:31 PM
RE: HOME DEPOT [John Derbyshire]
"There was a customer death a couple of years ago when something fell off a high shelf as it was being retrieved."
I am reminded of the response of a NY subway supervisor in the 1970s thriller novel (& movie) The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. Told that a subway train had been hijacked, and that the hijackers had threatened to start killing passengers, the supervisor replied angrily, referring to the passengers: "Whaddya they expect for their 75 cents -- to live for ever?"
Posted at 04:26 PM
SECOND AMENDMENT ELECTION [Dave Kopel]
This election year, there is no candidate who is more deserving of support from Second Amendment supporters all over the nation that Gary Marbut, who is running for a state house of representatives seat in Montana. As I detail in the foreword to Gary's new book Gun Laws of Montana Gary's leadership of the Montana Shooting Sports Association has not only led to the enactment of outstanding gun laws in Montana, those laws have set excellent examples for other states to follow. Should Gary be elected to the Montana House, he will be in an even better position to fight for good laws in Montana, whose benefit will redound to gunowners everywhere.
Posted at 04:20 PM
TRANSSEXUALIST TERROR [John Derbyshire]
As bad as the homosexualist agitators can be, they are kittens compared to the transsexualists. (NB: Transsexuals are people who wish to be not the sex that nature made their bodies, but the other one. The word is used regardless of whether or not "reassignment" surgery has taken place.)
I have mentioned before on The Corner the case of researcher Michael Bailey at Northwestern U. Last year Bailey published a book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, about effeminate men. (I reviewed the book for National Review -- see here.) Bailey adheres to the theories of another researcher in this field, Ray Blanchard; in particular, to the theory that a certain subset of male transsexuals are "autogynephilic" -- basically, they are men who are erotically attracted to the idea of themselves as women. This very curious and paradoxical state of affairs is nicely caught by the title of the chapter on it in Bailey's book: "Men Trapped in Men's Bodies."
This theory infuriates the transsexuals in question, and a small group of them has launched a ferocious and determined campaign to destroy Bailey. What makes them so mad is the implication, contained in the Blanchard/Bailey theory, that they are really just very eccentric men. WE ARE NOT MEN, WE ARE ***W**O**M**E**N***!!! they scream. Bailey's book, by the way, is full of sympathy and humanity towards people who are sexually odd. This, of course, counts for nothing with the people hounding him. These transsexuals are not the least bit interested in compassion or tolerance. They want total roaring approval of their self-constructed self-images, and of the theories they have concocted to support them. If you do not offer that, you are a vile bigot, and must be destroyed.
The wrath of these transsexualists extends to anyone who has worked with Bailey, supported him, or given a friendly review to his book. It probably, I don't know for sure, extends to anyone who ever sold Bailey a pizza. This is major-league wrath. Because I gave Bailey's book a friendly review, and have the same publisher, I myself feature in their propaganda, which is all over the Internet. Here is a specimen. Note that their "facts" about me are wildly inaccurate. I have never written a book about sailing, "instructed young men in PE," or (until I read this) heard of B. Devereux Barker IV. These idiots seem to have just Googled "Derbyshire" -- a rather common surname in parts of England -- and thrown together everything they found. These are the people criticizing the accuracy and integrity of Bailey's research! I note, by the way, that their error-laden and vituperative account of me is posted under a "umich.edu" URL. Does the University of Michigan know what kind of material is being posted under its web addresses, at the university's expense?
Anyway, the latest installment in this sorry saga can be read here. The transsexualists are pushing a bill of goods about Michael Bailey having violated proper procedures in gathering the data for his book. This is all humbug; they wouldn't give a fig about his procedures if he hadn't wounded their precious self-esteem. In any case, to judge from their U-Mich-hosted attacks on me, concern for procedural regularity in the gathering of facts is not a thing that features very high on their agenda.
Make no mistake, this is not a scholarly disagreement over abstract theoretical principles. It is a determined attempt by a gang of pseudo-academic fascists to destroy a working scientist who bruised their egos. If they get away with it, it will be a triumph for the forces of obscurantism and PC totalitarianism. Support Michael Bailey!
Posted at 04:16 PM
GOOD GUYS WALK OUT [KJL]
Our friends on the Civil Rights Commission staged a protest today:
Civil Rights Commissioners Leave Meeting in Protest
Posted at 04:08 PM
WHAT IF? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Greg Easterbrook has a very good "what if?" scenario (with no mention of Uatu, the Watcher narrator of the Marvel Comics "What If?" series). He speculates on the consequences of George Bush launching a war against Afghanistan prior to 9/11.
He could just as easily do one on the nationwide freak-out if John Ashcroft had asked the country for the power to search email, use "sneak-and-peak" warrants on Muslim-Americans etc prior to 9/11. Look how the left and the Democrats -- and I do mean "the Democrats" given their nigh-upon unanimous fear-mongering on the Patriot Act -- reacted to similar requests after 9/11.
Posted at 02:39 PM
BILLIONS AND BILLIONS [Andrew Stuttaford]
A few years ago a French fascist (oh yes, he claims to be a man of the Left, but a fascist is what he is), by the name of Jose Bove trashed a McDonalds somewhere in France. He, it appeared, had the right to tell others what they could, or could not, eat. The French establishment quivered, the Left cheered, and guess what happened?
“McDonald's France reported 2003 revenue approaching $3 billion and is the most profitable subsidiary in Europe. It is opening 40 more restaurants in 2004, 10 percent of the chain's new outlets worldwide.”
Posted at 02:05 PM
THE JAPANESE HOSTAGES [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of folks are raising the possibility that the Japanese hostages are faking it. One of them is an anti-war activist, another is an NGO type and the third is a reporter. I really hope that this is a hoax because, duh, I don't want to see innocent folks get burned alive. It would also highlight what tools Al Jazeera are of terrorists and what tools some anti-war activists are in general. If this is a hoax these guys should obviously go to jail for a very long time. But I tend to doubt it is a fabrication. The joke will certainly be on these guys at the end of three days if it is, because there will be a lot of terrorist types who will realize they have a lot to lose if they don't go through with it, which is all the more reason to salute the resolve of the Japanese government.
Posted at 12:06 PM
PATRIOT PIETIES [Jonah Goldberg]
One of the most amazing and amazingly unremarked upon aspects of these 9/11 commission hearings is the unanimity about the benefits of the Patriot Act. They don't often say it outright and the Democrats especially talk about how important "increased cooperation" between the CIA and FBI is. But the reality is that all of these "needed fixes" everyone keeps talking about are the Patriot Act. All of the "institutional barriers" that prevented us from "shaking the tree," all of the obvious things that should have been "checked out" etc are what the Patriot Act was designed to fix. It may not be perfect but I think it's hilarious that this seems to be the one bit of policy consensus from these hearings but few are willing to admit it.
Posted at 11:17 AM
PASSION MAN [KJL]
Bill Bennett interviews one of Mel Gibson's main partners in The Passion, Steve McEveety, on his new radio show. You can listen online here.
Posted at 10:19 AM
WESTERN CANNIBALISM [KJL]
VDH wrote this before Condi's testimony. Reading it after, he's even more right than he was before.
Posted at 10:13 AM
AND MORE [KJL]
seem to have been taken hostage by someone in Iraq: 4 Italians and 2 Americans.
Posted at 10:11 AM
GOD BLESS THEM ALL [KJL]
Japan is holding the line on Iraq, despite pain-filled pleas from families of hostages.
Posted at 10:09 AM
RE: THE HOME DEPOT [John Derbyshire]
Thanks, J.J. In re fenced-off aisles being empty, several readers have told me that when using a forklift to restock the high shelves of an aisle, there is the possibility of pushing something off the shelf in the NEXT aisle, so there is a need to close off aisles adjacent to the ones being restocked, even though there's no need for personnel in those adjacent aisles.
Two little words for Home Depot management to ponder: OVERNIGHT RESTOCKING.
Posted at 09:57 AM
JONAH FORGOT [KJL]
Of course he knew about Bob Smith and Florida. (This is CSPAN blogging.)
By the way, Jonah on C-SPAN replays at 1:05 EST.
Posted at 09:55 AM
BREAKING NEWS [KJL]
"Promiscuity 'fuelling HIV spread'"
Posted at 09:49 AM
SUNDAY MORNING [KJL]
Plug for (frequent NR/NRO writer) David Rivkin and Jeff Rosen, who'll be debating the Patriot Act on CSPAN Sunday morning. Should be worthwhile.
Posted at 09:47 AM
INTEL: WHAT WENT WRONG [KJL]
If you have not read it, do read Andrew McCarthy's prosecuturial map of the systematic failure that preceeded 9/11--much of which is still a problem today.
Posted at 09:42 AM
PICTURE OF THE CENTURY [John Derbyshire]
Well, it's a little early for nominations, I guess, but here's mine:
The photographer is credited as "Murad Sezer" of AP. Mr. Sezer is welcome in my house any time.
Posted at 09:27 AM
CLINTON MUST BE BUMMED [KJL]
Where was his press coverage?
Posted at 09:22 AM
COMIC BOOKS [KJL]
recommendations for middle and high-schoolers. Seems like a Corner kinda link...
Posted at 09:20 AM
ROB LONG IS A RIOT [KJL]
Posted at 09:16 AM
NOT BEAN COUNTERS [John J. Miller]
They don't have racial-preference policies in Rwanda, where the government doesn't want anybody talking about ethnicity.
Posted at 09:05 AM
...Jonah is on with supercool Brian Lamb. Turn it on. Turn it on.
Posted at 09:03 AM
HOME DEPOT [John J. Miller]
Derb: I happen to know a little bit about Home Depot--both my in-laws work there. Your speculation is 100% correct. Those aisles are shut down because of trial lawyers. There was a customer death a couple of years ago when something fell off a high shelf as it was being retrieved. The whole chain created a new policy of closing an aisle when they're pulling something down from way up high. Also, Home Depots everywhere are getting a makeover--most noticeably, the orange shelves are turning beige and, less noticeably, the stocking is supposed to require fewer aisle closures. Just hope those trial lawyers don't get a good look at your tree house.
Posted at 08:56 AM
THE FINAL WORD ON ALBERT E [Peter Robinson]
Derb, you've done it again: Clear thinking and beautiful writing, setting off one light bulb after another in this layman's mind.
Count on another couple of queries in 18 months. That's when the results of Gravity B ought to become known.
Posted at 08:44 AM
GOOD FRIDAY REMINDER [KJL]
Today we've posted a few new pieces, but not a completely new site. Completely new site life will come Monday morning.
Posted at 08:41 AM
REWINDING THE HEARING [KJL]
One informed observer e-maiiled yesterday: "We indict Bin Laden in 1998 but do nothing to try to apprehend him; our embassies get bombed a few months later and, instead of going to war, we have one feckless day of a few cruise missiles that turn some big rocks into smaller rocks; the Cole then gets attacked, and our response is to do absolutely nothing; Commissioner Ben Veniste is sitting about four chairs down from Commissioner Gorelick, one of the architects of the wall that prevented criminal agents and intelligence agents from communicating with each other and pooling information from 1995 through September 2001; and yet Ben-Veniste figures 9/11 happened because BUSH didn't read a memo carefully enough?"
Posted at 08:27 AM
WALL-TO-WALL KERREY [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, your USA Today piece by Judy Keen noted that Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton don't like to appear on TV unless they appear together to preserve the image of bipartisanship. (NBC's Today had brought on Jamie Gorelick with John Lehman.) But this morning, as you noted, all three networks put on former Democratic presidential candidate Bob Kerrey all by himself to attack the Bushies again. CBS and NBC both played him harassing Condi about "swatting flies," and did not conclude he was a testy partisan (even though the home audience probably did). The networks followed up by interviewing Dan Bartlett from the White House, which means the networks are balanced on the guest list, but the commission is growing some donkey ears...
Posted at 07:22 AM
GOOD GRADE FROM SHALES [Tim Graham]
Part of the DC evaluation of Condi on the Hot Seat Day will be the inevitable fussy Tom Shales TV review in the WashPost. He grades Condi well:
As usual, Rice was a model of dignity and composure, even when some commissioners got testy. Rice is the subtly snippy sort. She can, and did, issue such retorts as "May I address the question, sir?" and "I would like to answer" and "If you just give me a moment" without sounding surly or raising her voice. She probably could have done the whole thing with a teacup and saucer balanced on her head. She's that cool.
He also feels compelled to add:
It wouldn't be unthinkable to call the Bush administration the most vindictive since that of Richard M. Nixon. Rice, however, puts the nicest possible face on that vindictiveness and is easily one of the administration's most effective communicators. She's also among the least likely to come off as fanatical, cranky, intemperate, or possessed by the delusion that she and God are on a first-name basis.
How can people score recent historical vindictiveness and leave out the Clintons?
Posted at 07:15 AM
PARTISANSHIP SUBMERGED [Tim Graham]
The Post buries any notion of rude, harassing questioning of Rice in the middle of A10 and A11, hoping the front-page scanners will miss that part. The "analysis" by David von Drehle hits the notion in paragraph 11, the news story by Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus at paragraph 13. (They spent several paragraphs on Democrat Jamie Gorelick's less badgering questioning before that.)
But Eggen and Pincus also suggest that "one section of the room erupted into applause for Rice several times, only to be answered a bit later by applause for her interrogators from another quarter of the room." Did the pro-Rice applause go first? I thought it was the other way around.
Posted at 07:13 AM
NETWORK MONOPOLY [KJL]
Bob Kerrey is on all three networks right now.
Posted at 07:10 AM
RUSH REVULSION [KJL]
Nice, smart people listen to Rush Limbaugh?! A Salon Writer is flabbergasted and angry:
I was sitting in therapy describing an in-law I like, and quickly heading for a "but."
Posted at 06:35 AM
JONAH TV: THIS MORNING [KJL]
He'll be on CNN in the 8:00 hour, then C-SPAN at 9.
Posted at 06:29 AM
"THE LADY IS A CHAMP" [KJL]
Derb's paper of record
Posted at 06:20 AM
SADDAM DOWN [KJL]
This was one year ago today:
Posted at 06:06 AM
PARTISANSHIP ON THE 9/11 COMMISSION!! [KJL]
A USA Today investigative piece!
Posted at 06:01 AM
Thursday, April 08, 2004
PRAY FOR THEM [Rick Brookhiser]
Andrew Sullivan posts an awe-inspiring e-mail from a Marine in Fallujah.
Posted at 06:35 PM
GOINGS ON (NYC) [KJL]
Tomorrow is Good Friday which means, among other things, Fr. George Rutler's world-famous three-hour meditation on the last words of Christ (he wrote a book on it, too). Details here.
Posted at 06:33 PM
RE: EINSTEIN, DERB, AND FOUR SPINNING BALLS [John Derbyshire]
(a) Q: Are the results of Gravity B likely to prove of any practical use? A: Extremely likely. The overwhelming majority of pure science results have practical application sooner or later. (I'd rate the proportion at around 80 to 90 percent, with the exceptions in things like deep-space astronomy and cosmology, or the further reaches of biological classification -- discovering a new species of sea cucumber, perhaps -- and a couple of other fields.)
Of course, the time lags between (i) observation of a new fact and (ii) practical application of the underlying theory (when THAT's been worked out!) are very irregularly distributed, ranging from weeks to millennia. The actual applications are also very highly unpredictable.
To take an example from Asimov again (he is invaluable in situations like this): Suppose you assembled 100 of the world's leading scientists in 1890 and asked them the following question: "Which area of current scientific research is likely to yield the greatest advances in orthopedic surgery over the next few decades?" It is a pretty fair bet that none of them would have got the right answer, which would have been: Research into the passage of electric currents through rarefied gases. (Which led to the discovery of X-rays.)
One of the definitive comments on this topic, though in the context of math rather than physics, is the one I quote on page 359 of Prime Obsession. It's the great French mathematician Jacques Hadamard, in his book Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field: "The answer appears to us before the question... Practical application is found by not looking for it, and one can say that the whole progress of civilization rests on that principle..."
(b) Q: Should this kind of thing be publicly funded? COULD it be privately funded? A: Here my Coolidgean attitude to public expenditure collides with my scientific curiosity at high velocity, causing mutual annihilation and a shower of exotic particles. After a particularly dramatic result in a field I'm particularly fond of, I might waver, but most of the time Coolidge wins. No, this should not be publicly funded, not in general. I'd make some exceptions -- in time of war, for instance, when something like radar needs a shove from the public purse, then obviously. Believing as I do in the maxim "qui desiderat pacem praeparet bellum," I'd also allow some similar exceptions for military-related research in peacetime. Public health is another area where there ought to be some exceptions. In general, though, and with a heavy heart, I would not have government fund things like Gravity B.
COULD such things be privately funded? I bet they could. It's hard to say: everyone's got so used to gummint funding for this stuff, the will to do it privately has atrophied. (And probably, though I don't know the details, for the same reason, tax laws have swung away from being helpful to private funding.) When you look at the gazillions of dollars that Americans voluntarily spend on ice cream, or bobble-head car ornaments, or bikini waxes, it's inconceivable that a billion-dollar pure science project couldn't get funding. A billion is only four bucks per capita, after all. And plenty of individual Americans have a billion to spare. George Soros, for instance....
Posted at 06:23 PM
AL JAZEERA [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of readers make the perfectly legitimate point that al Jazeera is for all intents and purposes complicit in the crime of the Japanese kidnapping and, certainly, if these poor people are burned alive then al Jazeera are accomplices. One wonder if they would send a camera crew to the event.
Posted at 06:19 PM
RE: THE GRIEVING [Tim Graham]
For more on the media's political use of widows, see here.
Posted at 06:18 PM
RE: BURNING THEM ALIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 05:55 PM
NICE NOTE [Jonah Goldberg]
From an attendee:
Jonah, I wanted to pass on to you how much I thoroughly enjoyed your talk this evening. I have always respected your political persuasiveness, and now have to add to that a spectacular sense of humor. I haven't laughed so much since going to the Comedy Zone. Anyway, thanks again for your time this evening, and don't forget to scratch Cosmo's ears. My Labrador demands it of you (and he, too, is glad winter is over....those Jacobin squirrels are more active now). Come on back anytime.
Posted at 05:43 PM
RE: BEETLE BAILEY MEETS BERNHARD RIEMANN [John Derbyshire]
Well, not quite. But the Riemann Hypothesis HAS seeped down into comic-strip culture.
Posted at 05:41 PM
THE HOME DEPOT--GRRRRR [John Derbyshire]
Any senior execs from The Home Depot among our readers? I have a complaint.
Just recently I have been visiting my local branch of your store a lot. Since the last time I was a frequent shopper they have instituted a new policy of CLOSING DOWN AISLES when they are stacking shelves. The put a fancy little telescoping orange barrier at each end of the aisle, with a sign that says something condescending like "For your own safety, this aisle is closed." Of course, the aisle that's closed is always the one you particularly need. Furthermore, I have seen a couple of closed aisles with NOBODY IN THEM. This is really, really stupid policy. You never used to do it. Is this the result of some ukase from the Trial Lawyers Association? If so, I suppose there's no help for it -- they run the country, after all. But even so, you might tell your employees to do whatever they have to do in these closed-off aisles with a little dispatch, or at the very least to actually BE IN THE AISLE LOOKING LIKE THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING.
Next time I encounter one of these closed-off aisles with no Home Depot employees in sight, I shall take it upon myself to open the barrier. I urge other Corner readers to do the same. If they can make a nuisance of themselves to us, we can make a nuisance of ourselves to them.
Posted at 05:39 PM
OH MAN [Jonah Goldberg ]
Iraqi militants are today threatening to burn three foreign hostages to death unless their country quits the US-led coalition.
Posted at 05:37 PM
CLIFF MAY FYI [KJL]
is on CNN in a minute
Posted at 04:38 PM
ALL POWER TO THE GRIEVING [Tim Graham]
Minutes after Condoleezza Rice finished testifying, Tim Russert told Tom Brokaw live on NBC: "But the real issue will be, how did the families of the victims of 9-1-1 respond to this testimony? They have been the driving force for the commission, for information from the White House, for Dr. Rice to testify under oath. And I believe what you heard the chairman say today is he wants the August 6 memo declassified. The families are going to seize on that. I dare say John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, will seize on that....there’s going to be a chorus demanding that that presidential daily brief be released, and it will be very difficult for this White House to resist."
Unfortunately, NBC is only using Gail Sheehy's liberal "Four Moms" as on-air experts today, so viewers may believe the victims' families all despise Bush...I don't remember the grieving families of Clinton-era terror attacks ever getting a network platform to question Team Clinton's performance.
Posted at 04:06 PM
Here's how the hearing went down today. And here's Cliff May on the hearing and the commission.
Posted at 04:05 PM
I WONDER [KJL]
if someone at the NYTimes is considering running this tomorrow...
Posted at 03:52 PM
MY FAVORITE QUESTION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
"How would you suggest putting pressure on OPEC?"
Posted at 03:48 PM
YESTERDAY IT WAS KERRY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. TONIGHT... [KJL]
Peter and Rochelle Schweizer will be talking about their new book The Bushes in D.C. tonight and signing books. It’s at the Georgetown Barnes and Noble (3040 M Street NW) at 7:30 tonight.
Posted at 03:46 PM
PAT LEAHY VS. JOHN ANDRETTI [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm no great fan of the proposed flag-burning amendment to the Constitution. Race-car star John Andretti is, and testified in favor of it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now Senator Leahy is harassing him with "follow-up questions" that are a little weird. I've gotten a copy of the questions and answers. Leahy is complaining that Andretti didn't tell him how he came to be a witness at the hearing; Andretti restates the not-very-complicated-or-interesting story. Leahy wants to know who helped him prepare his testimony and how; Andretti says he talked to the Citizens Flag Alliance. Finally, Leahy criticizes Andretti for failing to answer a question about gasoline prices. He wants to know whether Andretti would support dipping into the strategic petroleum reserve. Unless the gasoline is being used as lighter fluid on a flag, it's hard to see the relevance of the inquiry.
Posted at 03:44 PM
FOR THE SPLENDID ELUCIDATOR [Peter Robinson]
Thanks, Derb. You not enabled me to get my mind around relativity and Gravity B--and provided considerable pleasure in the process.
A final couple of questions:
a) The Gravity B experiment is apparently going to cost us taxpayers just shy of a billion dollars. Given that Einstein's theories have already proven accurate at a very high degree of precision, are the results of Gravity B likely to prove of any practical use? (Feel free to construe "practical use" in any way you like, by the way. What is and isn't of "practical use" is, in a way, the whole question.)
b) Do you suppose private funding of such research might prove possible? Or is Gravity B an example of the kind of research that, absent enormous public funds, simply won't take place?
Posted at 03:35 PM
IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR [Peter Robinson]
In my posting below, a reader notes that 1905 was a very good year for Albert Einstein. Another reader offers this irresistible footnote:
Nineteen-five was also a great year for Mankind.... That winter, Frank Epperson, then 11 years old, accidentally invented the Popsicle when he left powdered soda pop mix and water outside overnight. It was originally called the "Epperson Icicle" and was patented in 1923.
Posted at 03:32 PM
THE FDA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Can its existence be justified on libertarian anti-fraud principles? Todd Seavey makes a pretty strong case, although he doesn't deal with federalist objections.
Posted at 03:31 PM
AND ANOTHER KRISTOF THING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Following from yesterday's comment: Very often supporters of legal abortion will say that opponents either favor throwing women who procure abortions in jail, or would favor it if they were consistent. This consequence of an anti-abortion policy is held to be a good reason to support legal abortion. (David Frum argued along these lines on NRO last year.) If this claim is correct, though, it proves more than most people who make the argument want it to. Frum (certainly) and Kristof (presumably) would prohibit late-term abortions, at least under some circumstances. But if prohibition is held to require criminal penalties for women seeking abortions, and this is held to be impermissible, their own position falls apart.
Posted at 03:23 PM
ANOTHER SPECTER THING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Specter is trying to get social conservatives to support him on the basis of his having voted for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which declares that assaults on pregnant women that are covered by federal law count as two distinct crimes. Specter also, however, voted for the Feinstein Amendment to that act, which would have recognized only one victim--excluding the unborn child as an entity that can suffer an injury that the law can recognize--but increased the penalties for crimes against pregnant women. What I don't think I've seen anyone explain is that the combination of these two votes (which were also cast by other senators) makes no sense. The only purpose of the bill was to declare that there are two victims. The bill does nothing else. So to vote for an amendment that denies that there are two victims is to vote against the whole concept of the bill. The only explanation I can come up with is that Specter had a difficult political situation because the surviving relatives of pregnant women who had been killed were lobbying for the bill. He did not want to be seen to deny them what they wanted, but he did not want to give it to them either. So he cast an unprincipled set of votes that almost derailed the bill but provided himself with political cover.
Posted at 03:15 PM
THANKS ROD [Ramesh Ponnuru]
You have embiggened my understanding.
Posted at 02:58 PM
CARICATURING THE RIGHT [KJL]
Planned Parenthood goes all out: Warning: It's like a Sat. Night Live skit: Even if you don't agree, you are slightly amused for a second at the concept, but then it goes on way to long (giving you time to ponder the mindset of the people who believe the "right-wing" is a handful of white guys....
Posted at 02:52 PM
CRS ON SPECTER VS. TOOMEY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I find the idea that Bush's chances of winning Pennsylvania are better with Specter on the ticket with him highly implausible.
Posted at 02:51 PM
PRETTY COOL [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 02:49 PM
BREAKING THE LAW, BREAKING THE LAW [Jonah Goldberg]
From one my non-drinking buddies from last night:
I'm inclined to agree with the fellow who emailed you regarding this issue; there are a few students here who would gladly drink if they were legal, but alas, the government has intervened against such law-abiding citizens. The law hasn't convinced such people that drinking is wrong; they just respect the law too much to imbibe alcohol. And recall, the group of people who choose not to drink because of the law are far from representative of college students as a whole -- or even of Davidson College students. And I can personally assure Rod Dreher you're not lying.
Posted at 02:41 PM
RE: EINSTEIN, DERB, AND FOUR SPINNING BALLS [John Derbyshire]
Peter: In answer to your questions, viz. "Assume Einstein was wrong, Derb. How will that finding (a) Affect your view of the universe, and (b) Affect your own life?"
(a) It's not precisely a question of Einstein being wrong. The General Theory of Relativity, on which all modern ideas about gravitation are based, has been verified to a very high degree of precision. That makes it a respectable and useful scientific theory. Think of Newton's mechanics, which was likewise verified to a very high degree of precision over 200 years. That was also a respectable and useful scientific theory. And in fact it still is, notwithstanding the fact that Einstein showed that, at an even HIGHER degree of precision, it fell apart. Over a wide range of physical applications -- oh, building a tree house, for example -- Newtonian mechanics works just fine. The last time you flew to visit your aunt in Florida, you were flying on a plane designed and operated according to Newtonian principles.
It's just that, in more esoteric applications -- designing Global Positioning Systems, for instance, Newton isn't quite good enough, and you need the extra refinement of Einstein. Now, what the Gravity B experiment will seek to discover is whether Einstein's equations continue to hold true at EVEN HIGHER degrees of precision. If they don't, I guess you could say that the experiment has "disproved" Einstein; but just as engineers are stull designing planes on Newtonian principles 90 years after Einstein "disproved" Newton, so the General Theory of Relativity will go on being a darn good theory across a wide range of physics, even if Gravity B "disproves" Einstein.
A scientific theory is "good" not by being infallibly, hermetically, eternally true. It is "good" if it explains a good range of observable phenomena, is not flatly contradicted by those phenomena it cannot explain, and is fruitful in verifiable predictions. Newtonian mechanics is a very good theory indeed, in spite of the fact that (for example) it cannot explain the precession of Mercury's orbit. I personally would vote it the best scientific theory ever, even though we know it's not true at high levels of precision.
Gravitation, I should add, is still a considerable mystery. Isaac Asimov was a bit optimistic back in the 1960s when he predicted that gravitation would be to the late 20th century what radioactivity was to the late 19th, electricity to the late 18th, and combustion to the late 17th: i.e. the foremost generator of new scientific thinking, inventions, and applications. It will likely be another century or so before we have a gravitation-based technology.
(b) I might write a book about it.
It is not true by the way that Freud's theories are unfalsifiable. As Martin Gardner pointed out in his column in Skeptical Inquirer a few years ago, not only is Freudianism falsifiable, it has actually been falsified! (His reference is to Adolf Gruenbaum's 1984 book The Foundations of Psychoanalysis.)
Posted at 02:35 PM
RE: OF NICKELS AND BUMBLEBEES [Rod Dreher]
Sure thing, Ramesh. As Grampa Simpson once said, "We can't bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell them stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe. So, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. 'Give me five bees for a quarter', you'd say. Now, where were we? Oh, yeah...the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because of the war; the only thing you could get was those big yellow ones."
Posted at 02:32 PM
THE NEW YORKER ON TOOMEY VS. SPECTER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Philip Gourevitch's article isn't bad, really. But the conclusion! Nominating Toomey would risk the Republican majority, so "perhaps it is Specter. . . who is, in the literal sense of the word, the conservative choice." Right. Few things are dearer to the heart of the New Yorker than preserving the Republican majority.
Posted at 02:28 PM
HELP ME OUT HERE, ROD [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I don't get the bumblebee reference at all.
Posted at 02:09 PM
RE: TEXANS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS [Rod Dreher]
I can't tell you, John, whether the cat/rocking chair saying originates here in the Lone Star state, but they do have some colorful expressions here. My father-in-law observes, on the occasion of a summer gullywasher, that "it's rainin' like a cow pissin' on a flat rock." Isn't that great?
By the way, the Absolutely True Adventures of the Cross-Dressing Texas Republican continue. Sam Walls may be a cross-dresser, some Republicans in his rural district say, but he's a pillar of the church and the community, and nobody's seen him liquored up. And dadgummit, he ain't a queer (in fact, he appears to have been the treasurer of a national society for heterosexual cross-dressers). This is one of the most conservative districts in the whole state, and it includes a town where a woman is facing prosecution for selling sex toys. Texas is an interesting place.
Posted at 02:07 PM
CANDIDATE DULL [KJL]
Kerry was just giving a speech. I really shouldn’t comment on it because I, well, left the room. As best I could tell it, the theme was: Bush has done everything wrong and I am not Bush, so vote for me. And amazingly, he does is with no passion--he's angry and boring about it. I wasn’t going to say anything, but then Meghan Keane in the D.C. office Imed me with the same sentiment: Are people out there really excited by John Kerry? (Democrats do read The Corner—tell me, are you? Can you convince yourself to be?) This is going to be a loooong road to November.
Posted at 02:06 PM
Rod, You do believe a girl would, right (i.e. It wasn't just me; and yes, the law was the reason--I had a frozen margarita on my 21st birthday)?
By the way, I'd give an arm to have gone to college with Jonah--can you imagine?
Posted at 01:38 PM
RE: SO HERE'S THE WEIRD THING [Rod Dreher]
Jonah, you are making that up. I cannot believe an American male in his right mind would refuse beer because the law told him to wait till he's 21. I wonder: WWHLMS? (What Would H.L. Mencken Say?). Why, in my day at LSU, back when nickels had bumblebees on 'em ("Five bumblebees for a quarter," we'd say), beer-drankin' was a God-given right, part of the natural law. Our valiant state legislature (peace be upon them) tried to resist the wicked federal fiats, which withheld highway money from the state unless it boosted the drinking age from 18 to 21, but ultimately we did not prevail. God bless the grandfather clause, say I.
On the other hand, as the father of two young boys, perhaps this new respect for the law and self-regulation that you're discovering is a trend I should welcome...
Posted at 01:36 PM
THE NEW SCHOOL OF TRANSPARENCY [KJL]
A number of readers have emailed to highlight Bob Kerrey's obvious premeditative pandering: note his op-ed in the Journal today:
I believe Chairman Tom Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton will lead our commission to write a bipartisan report that will provide Americans with the clearest picture yet of how this happened. I believe they will lead the commission to produce a report that will contain specific recommendations of what we need to do to make certain that nothing like the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, ever happens again.
Posted at 01:24 PM
CAT AND CHAIRS [John Hood]
John Derbyshire wonders whether the saying “nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs” is a real Texas saying or just something a journalist made up to look home-spin and real, sort of like a Rather-ism.
No, I’m afraid this is a real saying, though I can’t vouch for the Texas origination. Indeed, this is such an old saying that it has become a cliché, and even a laugh-line. For example, the Michael J. Fox character clumsily used the line back a while ago in “The Secret of My Success” -- though now that I think about it, laugh-line no longer feels like the right term.
Posted at 01:09 PM
SHOCKINGLY UNPREDICTABLE [KJL]
Bob Kerrey seems to be winning the soundbite competition for the day, based on my quick flipping.
Posted at 01:03 PM
"CHRIS DODD'S LOTT MOMENT?" [KJL]
In Roll Call (sub required)
Posted at 12:38 PM
FYI C-SPAN [Jonah Goldberg]
I will be on C-Span tomorrow at 9:00 AM EST as well as my usual CNN gig at 8:34ish. I'm psyched to do C-Span but bummed it will probably be 100% Condi all the time.
Posted at 12:27 PM
WHILE ALL THE WORLD IS TURNED TO CONDI [Peter Robinson]
a handful of readers and I go our own dogged way, exchanging emails about Albert E. Here's an email that explained a lot (I'd had no idea that relativity was so untested):
One of the big problems with Einstein's General and Special Theories of Relativity has always been our ability to test them. In fact, Einstein won the Nobel Prize for his work on the photoelectric effect, not relativity, because nobody at the time could test such things (1905, by the way, was a good year for Einstein -- he published work on relativity, explained the photoelectric effect using the wave interpretation of light photons, and invented the theory of Brownian motion).
Posted at 12:09 PM
SLIGHTLY AMUSING [KJL]
Just as Condi Rice's testimony finished up--you know, that would be the president's prominent, powerful FEMALE National Security Adviser--the National Women's Law Center issues a report on the Bush admninistration holding back women.
Posted at 12:06 PM
RE: LAW V CULTURE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 11:58 AM
THE PDB, IRAQ AND IMMINENCE [Jonah Goldberg]
I might write about this later when the transcripts are available, but from listening to this constant back-and-forth between the Democrats and Rice on the August 6 PDB it sounds like the Democrats want to assert that it said there was an imminent threat to the American homeland by al Qaeda. Rice, it seems, wants to claim that the PDB only laid out a general, non-specific, but definitely not imminent threat. Of course Bin Laden wanted to attack America, goes Rice's reading of the PDB, but the specific threats were vague and un-"actionable."
Again, I'd need to study this a bit more. But it sounds like the Democrats want a standard for imminence about the threat from pre-9/11 al Qaeda that they were unwilling to grant for post-9/11 Iraq. Do I have this right?
Posted at 11:46 AM
9/11 HEARING: "FILIBUSTERING" [KJL]
Kerrey accusing Rice of filbustering for answering his questions, telling her she can elaborate in closed session? Makes one wonder why Rice had to testify on live TV in the first place. More for the commissioners, guaranteeing them a little TV love, than anyone else?
Posted at 11:37 AM
RE: KERREY [Tim Graham]
The really ridiculous part of Kerrey's questioning was when he complained about only having ten minutes to get answers out of Rice after his long digression of his opinions on Iraq.
Posted at 11:29 AM
9/11 COMMISSION: LEHMAN [KJL]
I missed a bulk of his testimony, but it's always useful to hear people reminded about Saudi ties to terror.
Posted at 11:27 AM
SO HERE’S THE WEIRD THING [Jonah Goldberg]
Afterwards, as is often my wont after a speech, I sought merriment and libation with the youth (note to campus conservatives groups: post-oratory drinks with Jonah is part of the standard Goldberg-speaker-package!). The gang from the College Republicans and other like-minded youth repaired to the guest house. While this was a standard chips-and-soda fete, one young man of courage and conviction was willing to search out the medicinal liquids I required. He had only recently had his cast removed from a wrestling injury and he was eager to muster his new locomotive power in the cause of responsible potation. I shall ever be in his debt.
Anyway, while I was imbibing my beverage(s) along with the few young scholars of legal drinking age, a couple of the guys brought an interesting cultural development to my attention. Several of the young squires under the age of 21 informed me that they don’t drink because it is against the law. One very bright fellow in particular assured me that when he’s 21 he will avail himself of legal inebriants, but until that time he did his very best to eschew the demon rum (and scotch and beer etc). He also assured me that he was not alone in this attitudinal forbearance of illegal imbibition.
Now, personally, I find this fascinating and completely beyond the scope of my experience. I’ve met all sorts of college kids (and others) who don’t drink because they don’t want to. I’ve met college kids who don’t drink due to religious considerations, academic priorities, medical or family history, preferences for certain ignitable greenery, whatever. I respect all of those choices.
Until last night, I had never met anybody who said that they don’t drink because the law says they shouldn’t. I’m trying hard not to mock or be condescending because these were good dudes and seemed pretty normal. And, there's really no reason on the merits to mock. Still, I am torn between two conflicting impulses. On the one hand the Bluto Blutarsky in me wanted to smash a beer can on my head and say, Have a beer, don’t cost nuthin.
On the other hand, on paper this is all perfectly reasonable and even, I suppose, admirable. It’s entirely plausible to me that I am in the wrong for having been so flabbergasted. But, I associate college so much with social drinking; I have such an ingrained and generalized contempt for the 21 drinking age; and I’ve simply never met anybody who used this explanation before, let alone heard that this is a fairly widely held attitude among college students. It makes me rethink the power of the law to shape culture in America.
Posted at 11:06 AM
DAVIDSON [Jonah Goldberg]
I had a fine old time. The campus is very pretty. Davidson clearly has piles of cash because the room I spoke in was one of the nicest university auditorium-theaters I’ve ever seen, it’s only drawback was that it made the crowd seem small and, oddly, gay. I’m kidding about the gay part. My speech was largely extemporaneous because I was told I could talk about anything and so I departed mightily from my "prepared" remarks. I also talked wayyy too long which I felt bad about because it meant I couldn’t chat with many of the NROniks afterwards. I stayed in the guest house which is a converted library built by Andrew Carnegie, like 8 kajillion other libraries in this country (damn those selfish robber barons!). Everyone, including the transplants, brimmed with Southern hospitality. Thanks to the College Republicans and everybody else for a nice visit.
Posted at 11:06 AM
9/11 COMMISSION: UM [KJL]
Bob Kerrey says it's off topic but then goes ahead and makes a statement about how he thinks military operations in Iraq are going all wrong. This is during his question time with Condi Rice, meaning a tad out of place. This happens after his disclaimer that he doesn't know if he would have done anything differently than the Bushies (Vulcans!) had he been in their spots. Are we running for something, Senator Kerrey? (How's Kerry-Kerrey...helps insure name ID.)
Posted at 11:03 AM
NRO FYI [KJL]
We'll be on an abbreviated posting schedule tomorrow, but there will be new pieces to read during the course of both today and tomorrow morning, just not a complete new site tomorrow. The Corner, of course, is always open (ok, theoretically.)
Posted at 10:52 AM
WHO’S REALLY BLOWING IT IN IRAQ? [ Jonah Goldberg]
The Iraqis, that’s who.
Usually, condescending leftists and liberals respond to pro-globalization conservatives and libertarians by saying that Third Worlders and the like are perfectly capable of deciding what is in their own interests. If they don’t want to give up their traditional lifestyles, they’ll say, who are we to say they should. It’s a fair argument, though I’m often stunned by their hypocrisy since these are usually the exact same people who advocate purging any hint of traditionalism in our own society. Living in misery and poverty is a cherished tradition in, say, Guatemala but holding a door open for a woman or, heaven forbid, mothers staying home to raise children is a sign of anarchic bigotry in our own culture.
So, when we talk about how the US should have done this or that, or how the Bush administration has botched or blown one thing or another, let’s also keep in mind that according to literally any rational set of criteria, laid or by the left or the right, the Iraqi people are the ones who are blowing it the most – both the ones shooting in the streets and the ones hiding in their homes. Sure, they’ve got reasons and excuses, including having been brutalized, propagandized and badly educated, but those excuses don’t change the fact that “blaming the victim” in a sense is appropriate. The Iraqis, broadly speaking, are fools for doing what they’re doing right now. And the only way to see it otherwise, it seems to me, is if you do not subscribe to the view that Iraqis are rational people.
Posted at 10:44 AM
EINSTEIN, DERB, AND FOUR SPINNING BALLS [Peter Robinson]
Out here at Stanford, excitement mounts (well, at least in the physics department) as the date of the Gravity B launch approaches. On April 17, a satellite will blast off, carrying into orbit four spheres, each somewhat smaller than a tennis ball, that represent the most flawless spheres ever made. The Gravity B probe in which the spheres will rest will orbit the earth for some 18 months. Minute measurements of the way in which the spheres spin during this period will prove, or—the shocker—disprove Einstein’s theory of relativity.
A word of background, from the online site (http://www.stanford.edu/dept/physics/newsletter/97/gpb.html) of the Stanford physics department, that only Derb will be able to follow:
When Leonard Schiff was Chair of the Physics Department in 1960, three years after Sputnik, he suggested that it should be possible to make two new tests of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity by observations on gyroscopes in a satellite in orbit around the Earth....Test Einstein? When I first learned about all this a few days ago, the idea shocked me. Einstein, I’d always assumed, must already have been proven correct. But apparently not, or at least not completely. In any event, full marks to the old man for providing us with a theory that meets Karl Popper’s test of falsifiability, which is a lot more than Freud or, as best I can make it out, Darwin ever did.
For anyone who would like to read up on Gravity B, here’s the website: http://einstein.stanford.edu/. And as we await the launch date, a couple of questions for Derb, from someone who is far too much of a layman to begin to get his mind around the implications of this test.
Assume Einstein was wrong, Derb. How will that finding
a) Affect your view of the universe, and
b) Affect your own life?
Posted at 10:41 AM
IRAN BUILDS [KJL]
Iran will begin constructing a heavy water reactor in June. Iran tells the IAEA that it won't be used for nuclear-weapons making. Good enough for global government policing?
Posted at 10:32 AM
I'M BACK [Jonah Goldberg]
I wrote some posts while I was gone, but they're on my laptop. In the meantime, if you sent me an email this AM afteer 6:00 AM it probably didn't reach me because my email box was full at 1,000 when I logged on. So if it was important, resend.
Posted at 10:27 AM
9/11 COMMISSION: "U.S. WASN'T READY, RICE TESTIFIES" [KJL]
A reader just sent that--it's the headline on the Minn/St. Paul Star-Tribune website. Oddly, that's not the headline i'd go with.
Posted at 10:25 AM
UNLUCKY DAY [John Derbyshire]
(Sorry, catching up on reader e-mail.) A couple of readers wanted to know if Sunday was a particularly inauspicious day to Chinese people, being 04-04-04. The word for "four" in Chinese is the same as the word for "death," only in a different tone. Four is therefore considered an unlucky number.
I can't say I noticed any particular apprehension on Rosie's part, and nobody else mentioned it. I do vividly remember 8/8/88, though. The number 8, being the double of a double doubled, and doubleness being always auspicious, is a very lucky number. At that time, Rosie and I were living in Manhattan, and Rosie was working for a jewelry store in Chinatown. Approx. 10,000 new Chinatown businesses chose that day to open their stores.
Posted at 10:16 AM
ANDY BACEVICH ONE UPS TED KENNEDY [KJL]
Posted at 10:09 AM
DECLASSIFYING DOCUMENTS [KJL]
Aren't these hearings about the presidentially appointed commission making an assessment, not everyman (and every reporter)? I obviously don't know if the specific memo his is hounding her about right now is legitimately classified or not, but the idea that she is hiding something that the Commission has had access to--and she has now talked about on live TV--just by virtue of it being classified is ludicrious
Posted at 10:06 AM
9/11 COMMISSION: BEN VENVISTE HOSTILITY [KJL]
Helped by the applause when he tells Condi to just answer the question, then making an aside to a colleague, the hearing does not exactly have the feel of nonpartisanship. (She handles bullying and sarcasm, of course, very well, though...unfortunately they were made more for media clips than for intimidation.)
Posted at 10:00 AM
TEXANS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS [John Derbyshire]
Alec Russell, writing about GWB, Condi, etc. in this morning's Daily Telegraph: "In Texas there is a saying that someone is 'more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs'."
Is there really such a saying? When I read this kind of thing, I always suspect the writer just made it up and stuck it on the Texans, or whoever was appropriate to the case. Same with Nikita Khrushchov's pithy little folkisms. One of them, I dimly recall, in his face to face with Richard Nixon, was: "In my country we have a saying: 'First catch your bedbug, then pour boiling water in his ear.'" Again, is this really a thing that Russians (or Ukrainians?) go around saying to each other?
On Long Island we have a saying: "Never trust a generic attribution from a journalist looking to fill a couple of lines of copy with something colorful."
Posted at 09:56 AM
9/11 COMMISSION: CLARKE'S VS. RICE [KJL]
It's the difference between grandstanding (forgive the word--again) and governing.
Posted at 09:50 AM
FOR EVERYONE WHO THINKS CONDI SHOULD APOLOGIZE [Michael Graham]
She could start be expressing her regret for this: "President Bush retained George Tenet as Director of Central Intelligence, and Louis Freeh remained the Director of the FBI. I took the unusual step of retaining Dick Clarke and the entire Clinton Administration's counterterrorism team on the NSC staff."
Posted at 09:36 AM
FLAT TAX [Andrew Stuttaford]
Tim, I read that interview with Johnston with a blend of amazement and nausea. Let's just take the example you quote about flat tax. I'm no expert on Athenian taxation (where's Victor Davis Hanson when you need him?), but to say, as Johnston appears to say, that under a flat tax "everyone pays the same" seems, perhaps deliberately, to confuse a flat tax (as we now use the term), where everyone pays the same rate with a poll tax where, broadly speaking, everyone pays the same amount. To suggest that a modern flat tax is an indicator of tyranny is nonsense. Just ask the Estonians.
Posted at 09:35 AM
Here's Condoleezza Rice's opening statement.
Posted at 09:31 AM
COMIC STRIP CLASSICS [John Derbyshire]
Some readers expressed curiosity about the picture-strip versions of Chinese classic novels I mentioned on The Corner yesterday. Here is the general idea.
Which reminds me of the rather embarrassing quantity of English and American literature I first got acquainted with via the old "Classics Illustrated" comic books. (This is still the only form in which I have ever read MOBY DICK.) Are Classics Illustrated still produced?
Posted at 09:25 AM
POLYAMORY IN THE FAMILY [Stanley Kurtz]
For anyone interested in the debate over same-sex marriage–and issues related to marriage in general–there are two must-read blogs. The blog at marriagedebate.com features news and excellent give and take on the gay marriage question--from those in favor and opposed. For very sharp takes on issues related to marriage in general–including plenty of stuff on same-sex marriage--see familyscholars.org. Elizabeth Marquardt, one of the bloggers over at familyscholars.org, has put up some very interesting posts of late on polyamory (group marriage). I’ve written extensively about polyamory, but Marquardt has some very interesting new material on polyamory and children. And Marquardt and Tom Sylvester have both put up some interesting posts on the possibility that the Unitarian Universalists might be the first major religious denomination to celebrate polyamorous marriages.
Posted at 09:23 AM
9/11 COMMISSION HEARING: CONDI KNEW WHAT AL QAEDA WAS! [KJL]
In fact, the White house started its war on it, pre-9/11. From opening statement: "Within a month of taking office, President Bush sent a strong, private message to President Musharraf urging him to use his influence with the Taliban to bring Bin Laden to justice and to close down al-Qaida training camps. Secretary Powell actively urged the Pakistanis, including Musharraf himself, to abandon support for the Taliban. I met with Pakistan's Foreign Minister in my office in June of 2001... "
Posted at 09:19 AM
I'M FIRED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Outperformed by the Donald. (See here.)
Posted at 09:17 AM
TREEHOUSE SAGA [John Derbyshire]
I have returned to the fray with a truly infallible Plan B. This may take over my life.
Yes, yes, I know there are tree house web sites. I spit on them. This is something a man has to do for himself, by his own wits. Did Robinson Crusoe consult websites? Swiss Family Robinson? Ralph, Jack, and Peterkin? Pshaw. Onward and upward.
Posted at 09:06 AM
COLUMN OF THE DAY [John Derbyshire]
So far. Ralph Peters on the Iraqi Kurds in America's Newspaper of Record
Posted at 09:01 AM
RE: JUDY WOODRUFF [Rod Dreher]
OK, I might as well confess: I'm a conservative who watches CNN in the morning, not "Fox & Friends," and it's not just so I can see Jonah mix it up with Donna Brazile (another confession: I really like Donna Brazile). I used to go on F&F from time to time when I lived in NYC, and a nicer, more fun bunch of folks you'll never find. However, I find I'm not prepared to have all that fun in the morning. I'm drinking my coffee, I'm checking my e-mail, I want something more sober. I want Jack Cafferty being all curmudgeonly. I cotton to the low-key snark of Andy Serwer. And I prefer to get my artificial stimulation from the six cups of coffee I drink every morning, dang it.
Posted at 08:36 AM
YOU KNOW IT WHEN YOU SEE IT [KJL]
Admittedly, I'm no expert on the genres, but my idea of "soft porn" is much closer to a good number of music videos on MTV or BET, etc. thanHBO's Real Sex , which does seem to be pushing it.
Posted at 07:58 AM
PORN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, I'm not opposed to all censorship (I only scored 37 on that libertarian purity test after all), and I wouldn't deny that some of porn's participants are subject to, at times, vicious abuse (and, when that happens, it should be prosecuted). As for Traci Lords, she was underage in most of the porn movies in which she appeared. That was clearly illegal then, and now. Prosecutions, again, were appropriate. This time the Justice Department seems to be casting its net rather wider:
"In this field office in Washington, 32 prosecutors, investigators and a handful of FBI agents are spending millions of dollars to bring anti-obscenity cases to courthouses across the country for the first time in 10 years. Nothing is off limits, they warn, even soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex..."
John Ashcroft has done a good job in fighting the war on terror. That's where his focus should be. The war on Eros is for later. Or never.
Posted at 07:52 AM
ET TU, ARLEN [Jim Boulet]
This week's issue of The New Yorker (April 12th) contains a lengthy article on the Pennsylvania Senate race, "Fight on the Right" (not available online), complete with a most remarkable admission from incumbent Arlen Specter:
"When I came to the Senate, we had a lot of members of the Wednesday Club" --a weekly gathering of Republican moderates. "You had Lowell Weicker, you had Bob Stafford, you had Bob Packwood, you had Mark Hatfield, you had Lincoln Chafee, you had John Danforth, you had Jim Jeffords, you had John Heinz. Now there are only a few of us (emphasis added).Jim Jeffords switched from Republican to Democrat in return for a committee chairmanship and gave Senate control to Tom Daschle (D-SD) in the bargain. Now Arlen Specter believes he and Jeffords are two of a vanishing breed. This is not "moderate Republicanism," but rather self-serving opportunism -- something noted of Specter by the 1990 Almanac of American Politics:
Specter is respected by other Senators . . . but not well-liked; he is seen as calculating and self-serving. "They can't say I'm dumb or crooked," he once said, "so what do they say? That I'm calculating or ambitious? I've always thought those were good qualities, to think about what you want to do and to seek achievement."Specter also boasted to The New Yorker that "[w]hen Joe Biden needs a cosponsor, he comes to Arlen Specter. That kind of balance is really important for the country." Arlen Specter, selfless patriot, advancing the Democrat's agenda of the moment.
Posted at 07:39 AM
MAQTADA AL-KENNEDY? [Michael Graham]
Al-Sadr tells Americans that Iraq could be "another Vietnam for America." Who's writing this guy's material?
Posted at 07:31 AM
TAXING TIMES [Tim Graham]
New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston began a two-part interview with the radical impeach-Bush site Buzzflash.com yesterday by explaining how the flat tax has been associated with tyranny, while taxing the rich at confiscatory rates shows a vibrant democracy:
"All civilizations have taxes. All civilizations that have lost their tax systems no longer exist. The Founding Fathers understood the importance of taxes....Let me just carry one further on that. You know, Athens was a tyranny at one time. And when it was a tyranny, it had a flat tax. Everybody paid the same tax. When the Athenians went to a tax based on ability to pay, democracy flourished. Your taxes are absolutely at the core of our democracy, and without taxes, there is no democracy. And I think that's a very classic, conservative observation."
Posted at 07:18 AM
RE: PORN [KJL]
Shockingly to everyone, I’m sure, I disagree with you on this one, Andrew. Porn is not just a freakishly popular demented cultural message (for the record, I'm not advocating making "freakishly popular demented cultural messages" crimes), it's a dangerous world. Think not just about what some guy wants at the video store on the way home for a second and instead of the mixed up kids who get sucked into it.
Maybe ex-porn star Traci Lords will make a Capitol Hill appearance in conjunction with the new Ashcroft effort. Libertarians hate Reagan and the “Meese Commission” but Lords recently said, "I have to thank Ed Meese for saving my life." Her career as an 18-year-old junkie and “prostitute” as she calls it, ended in a federal raid.
Posted at 07:09 AM
LAUGHABLE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The war on terror is, not of course, a reason to suspend all other law enforcement activities, but, in a time of national emergency, this new effort by the Justice Department looks like a grotesque waste of time, money and manpower. It's also an insult to those Americans who would like to be treated like adults.
Posted at 07:04 AM
FCC FARCE, CTD. [Andrew Stuttaford]
According to this report, Bill Frist is trying to cut a deal with the Democrats to rush the new FCC legislation through the Senate with barely any discussion. In a way, I suppose, given what this ludicrous bill is trying to achieve, that's sort of appropriate.
Posted at 06:49 AM
EUROPE, A DIFFERENT WORLD [Tim Graham]
Henry Payne sums it up.
Posted at 06:46 AM
KATHERINE Q. SILLY [Tim Graham]
Katherine Q. Seelye has a reasonable recitation of Kerry's budget speech yesterday, until paragraph 9, when she comes a little unglued. Referring to yesterday's Georgetown address and a previous budget speech in Detroit, she writes:
"Together, the two speeches — and Mr. Kerry's long record of voting in favor of deficit-control packages — place him in the mainstream of Democratic Party orthodoxy and align him with conservatives who say Mr. Bush has allowed the deficit to spin out of control."
How silly. Mr. Kerry will not be "aligning" with conservatives in any meaningful way on the federal budget. And his votes for "deficit-control packages" -- that's a euphemism for "tax hikes." Anyone who believes that electing a Democratic president will lead to reduced federal spending -- and I don't mean a reduction here, canceled by an increase over there, but an overall reduction in the level of federal spending -- is a very silly American.
Posted at 06:45 AM
MAY 14TH--MAKE YOUR PLANS [KJL]
The Annual Ball for Life in NYC will be that Friday night. It's a a great fun, night, with all proceeds going to area crisis-pregnancy centers. For more information, or to buy tickets online, go to www.ballforlife.org/.
Posted at 04:37 AM
CONDI WHO? [KJL]
NY has its mind on other things today.
Posted at 03:45 AM
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
CONDI'S NO ANITA HILL [Tim Graham]
CNN interviewed Anita Hill this morning and asked her to find comparisons between her testimony and Rice's. Luckily the bloviating Brandeis professor didn't find many common points...just two black women facing down a pile of questioners and cameras.
Posted at 08:29 PM
KERRY GOING FOR THE AL-SADR VOTE? [KJL]
Posted at 04:37 PM
POLITICAL SEGREGATION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Timothy Noah writes about how you are less likely to "ever argue politics with your neighbor. . . because it's less and less likely that, politically, you and your neighbor will ever disagree." He doesn't go into what seems to me the most obvious explanation for the trend: American politics over the last three decades has been increasingly organized around issues of values and culture rather than economics, and people prefer to live around people who share their values.
Posted at 03:26 PM
KRISTOF [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Kathryn: I do know people who would put women who procure abortions in jail if it were possible, although they are a small minority of the anti-abortion movement. (The Republican platform specifically rules out this policy, by the way.) My own view is that if unborn human beings can be given the effective protection of the law by a regime as light as delicensure for doctors who commit abortions and fines for unlicensed persons who commit them, that would be fine. I'm a little rusty on this, but if I recall correctly the nineteenth-century American practice was to let the procuring women free since their giving evidence was key to prosecuting the abortionists.
On another point: Kristof's comment about the relation of abstinence education and abortion is pretty facile--he makes the standard liberal point--considering that we've had more abstinence ed and less abortion over the last decade.
Posted at 01:30 PM
Quinnipiac has Specter with a 15-point lead in a new poll.
Posted at 01:27 PM
HEY BEER MAN [John J. Miller]
I'm hearing that Pete Coors may run for Senate in Colorado. This means that former congressman Bob Schaffer, who I wrote about today, is no longer the GOP's last man standing.
Posted at 01:27 PM
NATURAL CONSERVATIVES? [Mark Krikorian]
The Washington Times reports today on a survey of mosque-going Muslims in Detroit which found an 85 percent disapproval rate for the president. What's more, the study found that Muslims "strongly support universal health care, affirmative action, tougher environmental laws and cutting the income tax." Well, one of four ain't bad. So much for the claim that Muslims are budding Republicans.
Posted at 01:26 PM
REVISIONISM? [Andrew Stuttaford]
With its cant, corruption and crude anti-Americanism, Belgium's ruling establishment is one of the more disgusting spectacles to be found on the European continent. Now, its reliably revolting foreign minister, Louis Michel, is scrambling to the defense of his compatriots' appalling conduct in the Congo a century ago. A new British documentary on the era when the Congo was effectively run as a private gulag for the benefit of Belgium's King Leopold II has, apparently, angered Michel. The film includes footage of severed hands being carried away by the basketload (maiming was regularly used as a punishment, not only for resistance to Belgian rule, but also for such 'offenses' as failing to satisfy the various quotas (notably for delivery of rubber production)) imposed on the Congo's native inhabitants. According to some estimates, as many as ten million died.
In the Belgian foreign minister's view the British film "totally ignores the historical, intellectual and cultural context..."
Well, when the sophisticated M. Michel discovers the appropriate "historical, intellectual and cultural context" for understanding genocide, torture, mutilation and atrocity, perhaps he will let the rest of us know.
Posted at 01:23 PM
WHAT IS NICHOLAS KRISTOF TALKING ABOUT? [KJL]
Tioday's topic: criminalizing abortion. I'm pretty sure I don't know a single pro-lifer who wants to throw women in jail. It's great rhetoric for Gloria Feldt, mind you, but Kristof knows better. (I point you to the "Women Deserve Better" message, for example.)
Posted at 12:18 PM
BRIGHT IDEA [KJL ]
A reader: “This morning I sent my son off to his algebra test wearing my Derb cap in the hopes in might serve as a talisman for superior math performance. If it works you have a new angle in pushing NRO gear. If I ever go squirrel hunting it will be with my Cosmo sweatshirt.”
Posted at 11:47 AM
JUDY WOODRUFF LOOKING DOWN ON US [KJL]
I’ve gotten more than a few e-mails asking why CNN is advertising on NRO (look up). First off, they evidently want you to watch CNN, think you are a valuable audience. But—and I do this, admittedly, as editor of the website where they are currently running a paid ad, but it was the honest truth the day before I knew about the ad and will continue to be true after this ad is off the top of The Corner and other NRO pages--Inside Politics, like National Journal’s “Hotline” (which is way more expensive, I might add), is a must for political junkies. I know I’ve long been addicted. Before I had a TV on my desk at NRO World Headquarters, I hated CNN for not rerunning it in the middle of the night (when, as you may have noticed, I’m occasionally not sleeping), instead running…well, other programs I don’t find quite as useful. Among other things, Inside Politics has Jeff Greenfield going for it—it’s my personal crusade that he get his own show back (seehere and here), but for now, Judy Wooddruff’s got him quite often. Chuck Todd from the Hotline is on regularly…among other treats. Anyhow, just because CNN may be biased, doesn’t mean it’s not worth investing some time in. Remember, CNN has Kate O’Beirne and Jonah Goldberg, afterall…
Posted at 11:40 AM
"LOVERS OF SOCIALISM IN ALL PARTIES" [Jonah Goldberg ]
Prestopundit and a few others have told me that Hayek dedicated "The Road to Serfdom" to "Socialists of All Parties." I did know that, but I could swear that Hayek either dedicated one of his last books or had a line in a late-in-life interview where he said "lovers of liberty in all parties." The folks at the Hayek Center certainly know more about F.A.H. than I do, but I still think it's a fairly Hayekian thing to say. I'll keep noodling.
Posted at 11:38 AM
DIET OF WORMS [John Derbyshire]
One of modern medical science's great mistakes, apparently, has been eliminating worms from the human digestive tract. We need to put them back.
(NB: You might want to wait until **after** lunch before reading this.)
Posted at 11:18 AM
RE: REN WOMEN [John Derbyshire]
Derb here. No, I haven't read WAR AND PEACE in Chinese (though I know the title and author: ZHANZHENG YU HEPING by Liefu Tuoersitai). I have read ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS all the way through in Chinese... but only in the "lian-huan-hua" picture-strip version. Hey, it's ten volumes, two frames to a page, around **seven thousand** frames. The action of the book spans 81 years. Moss Roberts has done an English translation of the original, 2339 pages of text in four volumes. When the Chinese write a novel, they don't hold back.
The **great** classic Chinese novel is DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER. (In Chinese HONG LOU MENG. The 5-volume Penguin translation is titled STORY OF THE STONE.) I have made several attempts to read this in translation, but never got more than a third of the way into it. I couldn't even finish the picture-strip version (3 vols). If anyone wants my opinion, based on these very incomplete experiences, it's strictly a woman's book. The Chinese go nuts for it, though, and even people who haven't read it know the main thread by osmosis. In Chinese literary-academic circles there is even a type of specialist known as a "red-ologist" (hongxuejia), a person who has made this book his lifetime study. Chinese TV did a dramatization of the whole thing; my wife has it on VCD. It's kind of fun to sit with Chinese people watching it. Everyone's an expert, and you get a running commentary of nit-picking: "That's not the way it is in the book...," "They didn't use cups like that in the Qing dynasty...," "This servant-girl looks way too old...," etc., etc.
All this talk of ponderous tomes reminds me of Dr. Johnson's remark about PARADISE LOST: "No man ever wished it longer."
Posted at 11:17 AM
SPEAKS VOLUMES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Reading a good book twice is easy, it's reading a bad book once that's the challenge. Let's take Battlefield Earth, for example...
Posted at 10:11 AM
LA VERDAD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Hey, *I've* read "Prime Obsession" twice (well, really, each page of the technical bits once, then once again so I could be sure I understood them), and all of Derb's other books, too. He's your (our?) Main Ren Man. I wonder if he has read War And Peace in Chinese?!?! I wonder when his next book will arrive? Will it be on Chinese Opera? Raising children in L.I.? The End Of Days? I can hardly wait!
Posted at 09:55 AM
RE: REN WOMAN [KJL]
Hey, John J., I've read the title to War and Peace--the words "War and Peace" more than twice in Russian.
Posted at 09:20 AM
THE DEATH PENALTY AND CATHOLIC POLS [KJL]
Amazing numbers of readers have informed me of my future eternal damnation for hypocrisy on abortion vs. the death penalty and Catholic politicians. Thing is (and I oppose the death penalty, for the record), they are different issues. I refer you to a good, clear essay by Avery Cardinal Dulles on the topic. Two excerpts:
The Catholic magisterium does not, and never has, advocated unqualified abolition of the death penalty. I know of no official statement from popes or bishops, whether in the past or in the present, that denies the right of the State to execute offenders at least in certain extreme cases. The United States bishops, in their majority statement on capital punishment, conceded that “Catholic teaching has accepted the principle that the State has the right to take the life of a person guilty of an extremely serious crime.”and
[I]t seems safe to conclude that the death penalty is not in itself a violation of the right to life. The real issue for Catholics is to determine the circumstances under which that penalty ought to be applied. It is appropriate, I contend, when it is necessary to achieve the purposes of punishment and when it does not have disproportionate evil effects. I say “necessary” because I am of the opinion that killing should be avoided if the purposes of punishment can be obtained by bloodless means.Read the whole thing here.
Posted at 09:09 AM
RENAISSANCE WOMAN [John J. Miller]
The New York Post has a nice Condi Rice profile today. Did you know she's read Tolstoy's War and Peace twice, in Russian?
Posted at 09:04 AM
HOCKEYTOWN [John J. Miller]
If you've ever wondered why they call Detroit "Hockeytown," check out the Detroit News website: There are 26 articles dated today on the NHL playoffs; only about five of them aren't about the Red Wings.
Posted at 08:43 AM
is Iran and Hezbollah's man.
Posted at 08:38 AM
GERMAN COURT [KJL]
ordered convicted 9/11 accomplice released.
Posted at 08:36 AM
RE: RC HIGHER ED [KJL]
Mary Ann Glendon on the Catholic university student today.
Posted at 08:19 AM
HIGHER ED TODAY [STANLEY KURTZ]
Today at 2PM The Chronicle of Higher Education will hold a live discussion on the emerging movement for traditional Catholic higher education. The discussion will focus on this article and will be run by David O’Brien, an historian of American Catholicism who teaches at Holy Cross college. If you scroll down to Monday’s Corner, you’ll see three entries on this topic: “Catholics Prosper,” and “Re Chronicle and Higher Ed” by me, and “Re Catholics Prosper” by Jack Fowler. Fowler says that David O’Brien is a liberal Catholic historian, and I comment on the apparent problem of bias in the Chronicle using a liberal historian of Catholicism to run a discussion on conservative Catholic colleges.
Posted at 08:11 AM
GOSPEL TRUTH [Tim Graham]
The Peter Jennings special on Jesus and St. Paul on Monday night exemplifies the current trend of religion news on TV: more content, less context. See my new report here.
Posted at 08:03 AM
TURKMEN DENTAL DIRECTIVES [KJL]
This seems like a John Derbyshire kind of story.
Posted at 03:23 AM
NADER WANTS BUSH IMPEACHED [KJL]
Posted at 03:06 AM
IT LOOKS TERRIBLE IN IRAQ... [KJL]
"But take a deep breath," says Amir Taheri. "This is not the start of the much-predicted Iraqi civil war."
Posted at 02:16 AM
MORE DISAPPOINTMENT [KJL]
It must be the hour: you’d think I could have gotten a few more plugs for friends and colleagues and lifeblood…next time…afterall, such things, will be my LEGACY (parents dream of such things for their offspring).
Posted at 02:04 AM
NO WAL-MART CITY [KJL]
I’m not proud, but I’m disappointed: I had pictured an L.A.-area “Wal-Mart City, California” where an Alec Baldwin one night would be forced to stop in for…whatever Alec Baldwin can get at a Wal-Mart and still live with himself. He walks in and happens to walk into the table with Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon--The Case Against Celebrity on sale--the only place anywhere near Hollywood that’ll sell it. He pays in cash (no record he was ever there!) for his absolute-necessity item, and makes a run for civilization.
And, oh, by the way: Speaking of Wal-Mart, do read Jay Nordlinger in the current issue of NRODT. (You know, you can subscribe and have access every issue—subscribe to the Digital edition here, or, subscribe to the paper edition—which includes the digital version--here!)
Posted at 01:57 AM
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
"A CERTAIN EDGE" [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s a curious quote from New York attorney-general Eliot Spitzer in a report in Tuesday’s Financial Times on the indictment of a former Bank of America broker on forty counts of fraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records. The FT notes that the defendant could face up to thirty years in prison.
Spitzer’s comment? “This is state time…State prison has a certain edge to it that is not always present in the federal system. These prisons are not country clubs.”
”A certain edge”? What can he mean?
Posted at 11:15 PM
RE: CRUNCHY COMS [Rod Dreher]
A reader writes:
My husband and I are staunch conservatives who are passionate about the Arts and Crafts style. Our house, built by a local Fort Wayne (Indiana) judge in 1947 is not Arts and Crafts, but it seems to have the spirit of the movement in its design and the quality of the materials with which it was built. Although it is on a small city lot, I have laid out bungalow-esque gardens, and we have done a lot of work inside the house.
I think an Arts and Crafts style house is far more in keeping with a classically conservative philosophy than the cheaply built McMansions in the suburbs. Unlike the McMansions, houses of this era are well-crafted of sound materials and show a respect for tradition. They are firmly rooted in the best values of the past, but also are very humanistic in the Renaissance sense--like the DaVinci drawing, mankind is their measure.
The hearth certainly is the focal point of such houses, and the warmth of family that gathers around the hearth. In the fall, my husband and I go to the woods with other members of our family to cut and split firewood. (Downed trees only--we're pretty crunchy--and the ashes go in my compost bin). Our hearth has a real fire, earned through hard work out in the woods; not one of those crappy gas logs that seem to illuminate the lack of taste and soul in the households that elected them. I have a hard time understanding how anyone with a decent education and knowledge of history, art and culture could consent--much less eagerly elect--to live in the suburbs, in houses as shoddily constructed and flawed as the logic of a whining liberal.
Posted at 10:44 PM
RE: CRUNCHY COMS [Rod Dreher]
Andrew writes: A piece of art can - and should - be considered on its own merits, regardless of the politics of its creator. Nevertheless, it's also true that familiarity with an artist's ideological and/or spiritual viewpoint can be helpful (and is sometimes essential) in trying to understand what that piece of art is trying to 'say'. So, if we look at the creations of the Arts and Craft movement we see something that may or may not be of aesthetic appeal in its own right, but we also understand them better if we recognize that they were designed as a conscious rejection of the industrial revolution.
Fair enough. I was reacting to our last throwdown over crunchy con, which was, gosh, well over a year ago. But I have a long memory! Morris and his ilk were, in reality, arcadian fantastists, dreaming of some medieval neverland where everyone gathered around harmoniously making pottery, weaving and taking pride in simple acts of collective labor. The fantasy sounds like hell.
Oh, that dreamy Romantic crap does nothing for me, quite honestly. But I believe you can separate the very real concerns they were trying to deal with creatively from their utopianism. You don't have to believe in hobbits to recognize that Tolkien had a point about the depredations of rampant Industrialism.
What's interesting to me is that in some ways, in its queasiness about mass production and its embrace of an unostentatious 'simple' life, your 'crunchy conservatism' draws on similar intellectual and emotional roots.
Exactly right. I've been talking today by phone to some folks who wrote in responding to my bleg. It's interesting how some of them describe A&C aesthetics as "masculine" in its rough-hewn simplicity. But more seriously, these guys talk about how they consciously chose to live in an old bungalow, in an old neighborhood. Partly it was aesthetics, but they all have identified their choice as serving their families better than the suburban alternative. One fellow from Houston said that he chose a bungalow neighborhood because he wanted his kids to grow up in a real neighborhood, where people sit on their front porches, and there's a street life. He said he liked the fact that his kids made friends with working-class Mexican kids, not just middle-class white kids. And he said that being close to downtown made it easy for he and his wife to expose their kids to cultural offerings -- things they wouldn't have taken advantage of if they'd had to drive in from the burbs.
A Michigander echoed this, saying that if he and his wife had chosen to live in the burbs, he would have spent a big chunk of his day commuting, which would have cut unacceptably into his time with his family. He told me his brother lives in a vast suburban mansion, with TVs in every room, and every possible consumer gewgaw. The brother and his wife both work long hours to pay for all this, and they rarely see their kids, who are stuck in their rooms watching TV. My correspondent's wife stays home with their boy, and they have a much more intimate family life, he reports. "My brother's got a lot more, but I think I have the better life," he said.
Thinking back on these conversations, I am reminded of something Russell Kirk said to young conservatives in his 1991 Heritage lectures: "The institution it is most essential to conserve is the family."
Posted at 10:42 PM
RE: SIX POINTS [Jack Fowler]
Wow! It really could happen. If things keep going like this, Arlen Specter will be facing retirement on April 27th. A couple of interesting points about those new poll figures showing Congressman Pat Toomey now trailing Specter by just 6 points (46 percent of "certain" voters back the incumbent, 40 percent support the conservative challenger, and the rest are undecided in this survey conducted for KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and WNEP-TV in Wilkes Barre April 3-5 by SurveyUSA). First off, this new survey uses the same methodolgy, etc. as in there previous SurveyUSA sampling (which, two weeks ago, showed Toomey pulling to within 9 points of the liberal incumbent) -- so we're comparing apples to apples when we look at how the numbers are trending. What was of particular note in the previous poll (conducted in mid-March) was that Toomey trailed Specter among self-described "conservatives" (43 to 39 percent) and even among "pro-life" voters (41 to 39 percent). In the new poll, however, Toomey is passing Specter among these two critical groups -- Toomey now leads among "conservatives" by 47 to 42 percent, and among abortion foes by 47 to 41 percent. That's a big swing in a little over two weeks, and there's nothing to indicate that the pendulum won't keep swinging Toomey's way up to primary day. Obviously his message is resonating with his natural base. (By the way, the latest poll sampled 490 "certain" voters, while the previous sampled 399 -- so one can take some assurance that the new poll's figures are even more reflective of voter sentiment than the previous edition's.) All in all, this poll is very good news for Pat Toomey. VERRRRY good news. Click here to see all the juicy numbers. Only those in complete denial will not see that Arlen Specter is now fighting for his political life, and surely Arlen himself isn't in denial. He'll call in every chit and favor he can in order to stop what would be (will be?) a historic upset . So don't be surprised in the next two weeks if you read about conservative Republican senators flocking to the Keystone State to spin the folks there about how my-close-pal Arlen is about as conservative a lawmaker as you'll ever meet and why he's needed back on Capitol Hill for another six years -- but that should be tame to what else may happen before the votes are tallied. It's going to get ugly. But as the saying goes, it's always darkest before the dawn.
Posted at 10:32 PM
DUMB DODD REMARKS [KJL]
I just naively went to Google news stories on this Robert Byrd-Chris Dodd brouhaha and, of course, that there is little controversy outside the blogosphere and right-wing radio. To summarize, Dodd said, at the Byrd’s milestone 17,000th vote: "It has often been said that the man and the moment come together. I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia that he would have been a great senator at any moment. Some were right for the time. Robert C. Byrd, in my view, would have been right at any time." That would former KKK-er Robert Byrd. Dodd went on to say, “ He would have been right at the founding of this country. He would have been in the leadership crafting this Constitution. He would have been right during the great conflict of civil war in this Nation. He would have been right at the great moments of international threat we faced in the 20th century. I cannot think of a single moment in this Nation's 220-plus year history where he would not have been a valuable asset to this country. Certainly today that is not any less true.”
Dodd was just being nice to a (very) senior senator who happened to stand for some terrible things a long while back. Now replace “Dodd” with “Lott” If Lott had to resign his leadership position for saying something stupid in a tribute to Strom Thurmond, shouldn’t there AT LEAST BE PRESS COVERAGE of the Dodd remarks?
Posted at 07:35 PM
POWELL REBUKES TED KENNEDY [KJL]
on Tony Snow's radio show. (You can listen to the interview on the show's website.)
Posted at 06:51 PM
THE CHURCH OF KERRY [KJL]
John Kerry's creative interpretation of Catholicism continued today. If you haven't seen it yet, this is from the NYTimes:
Mr. Kerry became combative when told that some conservatives were criticizing him for being a Roman Catholic who supported policies, like abortion rights and same-sex unions, that are at odds with Catholic teaching.Huh? Freedom of conscience on abortion? Call me a paleo/theocon Inquisitor, but it does seem like some bishop (his own? the bishops' conference?) has an obligation to use this moment--when the most prominent Catholic in the U.S. is speaking nonsense about Church teaching--to educate. Intervening in such a way--to dissect what Kerry's said and explain what's wrong about it--would not be a partisan act, but leadership.
Posted at 06:44 PM
SIX POINTS [KJL]
separate Pat Toomey from Arlen Specter in the latest poll!
Posted at 06:32 PM
ON CNN IN A MINUTE... [KJL]
Mike Graham vs. Al Franken....
Posted at 05:40 PM
MORE RE: CRUNCHY COMS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rod, Rod, my comment wasn't altogether serious. 'Bauhaus with frills' was really a reference to politics, not aesthetics. A piece of art can - and should - be considered on its own merits, regardless of the politics of its creator. Nevertheless, it's also true that familiarity with an artist's ideological and/or spiritual viewpoint can be helpful (and is sometimes essential) in trying to understand what that piece of art is trying to 'say'. So, if we look at the creations of the Arts and Craft movement we see something that may or may not be of aesthetic appeal in its own right, but we also understand them better if we recognize that they were designed as a conscious rejection of the industrial revolution. Morris and his ilk were, in reality, arcadian fantastists, dreaming of some medieval neverland where everyone gathered around harmoniously making pottery, weaving and taking pride in simple acts of collective labor. The fantasy sounds like hell. The reality would have been even worse. That doesn't mean that many of their creations weren't lovely. What's interesting to me is that in some ways, in its queasiness about mass production and its embrace of an unostentatious 'simple' life, your 'crunchy conservatism' draws on similar intellectual and emotional roots. Maybe politics count after all. As for me, I'd rather live in a vast vulgar Gilded Age mansion or, failing that, Tracey Island.
Posted at 05:12 PM
DAVIDSON [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay so my speech tomorrow is officially open to the public and free of charge, so I expect a bunch of really drunk dudes to roll up in a caravan of panel vans and bring a keg. I'm kidding by the way. But here's the info for the mature and law-abiding (wink-wink): Me @ Davidson College on Wednesday, April 7, 8 p.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall.
Posted at 04:49 PM
RE: STRAUSSIAN WIVES [Steve Hayward]
No, I don't think so, Jonah. Straussians would interpret their wives silence as acquiesence. You can look it up in Aristotle.
Posted at 04:19 PM
SHIITE UPRISING [Jonah Goldberg ]
I keep hearing the Sadr rebellion being called a Shiite uprising. It's not, it's an uprising by a bunch of militants who happen to be Shiite. From the Christian Science Monitor:
Posted at 03:46 PM
RE: CRUNCHY COMS [Rod Dreher]
Now Andrew, surely you aren't so politically correct that you would reject an entire style of architecture because one of the founding members of the broad artistic movement was a socialist. Are you? It's simply wrong to say Arts & Crafts houses are like Bauhaus with frills. Nothing could be further from the truth. For one thing, Bauhaus architecture was not built for human comfort. A&C houses were. They emphasize simplicity, modesty and a connection to the hearth and nature. For another, according to the architectu Witold Rybczynski, they were part of architecture's attempt to create a comfortable and affordable domestic style in reaction to the fripperies of Victorian-style houses. Here's a fair description from a useful website:
When you walk into a Craftsman Bungalow the sense of space, the openness of the rooms, and the rustic or bold-square styling feel completely different from the Victorian houses still being built into the 1910s. The Victorian excesses referred to included "useless" ornamentation and gingerbread, living with a mish-mash of inconsistant patterns and style and copying "foreign" styles. The primary inspiration for the Craftsman style was to look to nature, local materials, local (nationalist or native) building traditions and to design and construct after the manner of honest craft traditions: iron and copper blacksmithing, pottery, coarse weaving and rough hewn materials. ... The house layout emphasizes the horizontal, rather than multiple stories, and the philosophy is very middle class in a contemporary sense without space for maids and servants. The "man" of the house still had the library, but the "woman's" workspace became more functional, and the fireplace or the hearth became the family center to a degree that was almost mythical.
What's communist about that, for Pete's sake? If you're a McMansion kind of guy, fine, have fun. But some of us on the Right actually prefer the workmanship, modesty and intimacy of these old Craftsman houses. An NRO reader responded to my earlier blog by saying that he too is a fan of the "Not So Big House" philosophy of Sarah Susanka: I have tried to spread the NSBH gospel to friends who are building houses, but they look at me as if I have just suggested that they paint their home a lovely shade of mauve. "Um . . . O.K., we might, um, look into that." What they are thinking is: "Don't you know that bigger is better? You know, resale value! Glamour bath! A walk-in closet the size of my parents' den! Are you nuts? Or a Commie, trash-composting vegan?" What they seem to miss is the central point of having a home: to live in it.
Posted at 03:42 PM
SPAIN WITHOUT THE BULL? [KJL]
Barcelona puts its opposition to bullfighting on the public record.
Posted at 03:29 PM
MCCAIN-KERRY? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I can understand the appeal the idea has for Democrats, but I don't buy it. To set up the ticket, McCain would have had to make a decisive break with the administration by now. As it stands, McCain is co-chairman of Bush's re-election campaign in Arizona. He has been praising Bush's leadership of the war on terrorism. And if NOW objected in 2000 to Evan Bayh as a running mate for Gore because Bayh voted to ban partial-birth abortion, how will a senator who says he wants to move toward a ban on all abortions go over? If I were Kerry, I would play down this fantasy--it will only make his eventual pick seem less impressive.
Posted at 03:11 PM
CRUNCHY COMS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rod, Arts & Crafts, eh? Politically speaking, very dodgy, indeed. Sort of like Bauhaus - with frills.
Posted at 02:42 PM
LAND OF THE WEE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Statistics Czar, Iain Murray, has now had a look at the London Observer article alleging that Americans "are growing shorter." He's not impressed.
Posted at 02:41 PM
STRAUSSIAN JOKES [Jonah Goldberg]
Q:How do Straussians tell when their wives are mad at them?
A: By the significant silences.
Posted at 02:21 PM
TURKEY BASTER [Jonah Goldberg ]
My apologies to the folks who didn't get the earlier reference. As the long-running joke goes around here, whenever there's good economic news, Paul Krugman kicks his cat (Hence the Krugman Cat Index) . Today's news was so good, I was implying, that his cat would simply liquify from the impact of the kick and he would have to pick him up using a turkey baster.
I know people say most jokes aren't funny if you have to explain them, but this may be an exception.
Posted at 02:20 PM
YOU SNUS YOU WIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonathan, considering its source, that's a surprisingly sensible article on snus (the Swedish form of snuff). I've been thinking of doing an article (any interest, Kathryn?) on this substance (which tastes horrible, in my view) for some time, not least because of profoundly ignorant comments such as those attributed by the New York Times to the doctor who works for the "Massachussetts Tobacco Control Program". Snus is associated with some health risks (cardiovascular, principally, but far less so than in the case of cigarettes), but if, in his reference to oral cancer, that doctor is talking about snus, he is, quite simply, wrong. Snus is not allowed in the EU, except in Sweden, but even the notoriously persnickety bureaucrats in Brussels agreed that the warning that snus was carcinogenic could be dropped from its packaging.
The risk of oral cancer that comes with American forms of chewing tobacco seems to associated with the presence of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs). For two decades now, Swedish snus has been required to have very low TSNA content, perhaps a twentieth of the level found in an American brand like Copenhagen. This probably explains why a long-term study of 135,000 Swedish men (published in the American Journal of Public Health back in 1994) found no increase in cancer risk. It looks as if the folks at the Massachussetts Tobacco Control Program need to do a little more homework.
The EU ban will be litigated before the EU Court of Justice starting in June, but overall the hitherto hostile attitude of health authorities towards chewing tobacco, Swedish or American, is yet another reminder that the anti-tobacco crusade is not about health, or money (except for the trial lawyers and their accomplices in state and federal government), but control.
Posted at 02:18 PM
DENDROLOGICAL DISASTER [John Derbyshire]
A key component of my tree-house BROKE while being hoisted aloft. While the piece itself can easily be replaced, the event casts doubt on my structural assumptions and calculations. I now have to start again from scratch with bigger pieces of wood and a more robust configuration. This is a major setback, a Dunkirk, a Bataan. But we retreat only to regroup. Like MacArthur, I shall return.
Posted at 02:15 PM
GOP STANDS BY ITS MAN (OR WHATEVER) [Rod Dreher]
Seems that photos have emerged of a 64-year-old GOP runoff candidate for Texas state legislature wearing women's clothes. Some Johnson County party officials have urged candidate Sam Walls to withdraw from the race, but he has no intention of doing so. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram story, Roy Giddens Jr., the county GOP treasurer and an elder statesman in the local Republican Party, shows just how big-tent even Texas Republicans have become:
And as far as Giddens is concerned, wearing earrings, a wig and high-heeled shoes does not preclude Walls from becoming an excellent state representative. "I don't have a problem with cross-dressing," Giddens said. "There are lots of them. People think J. Edgar Hoover was one of the greatest Americans that ever lived. He was a cross-dresser."
Posted at 02:14 PM
I CAN'T HELP MYSELF [Steve Hayward]
Okay Jonah, do you know how many Straussians it takes to change a lightbulb?
None: the light is made conspicuous by its absence.
Posted at 02:11 PM
CRUNCHY-CON CRAFTSMEN? [Rod Dreher]
It looks like my wife and I will this week close on our first house: a 1918 Craftsman bungalow in Old East Dallas. The inspections show the house is in good shape, and the previous owner did a nice renovation, though there's significantly more work, chiefly decorative, that we'll want to do if we buy it. We considered moving out to the suburbs, where you can get more house for your money, but inasmuch as schooling for the boys isn't a factor for us (we're homeschooling), we were free to consider older houses in the city. The McMansion crowd would hate it, but Julie and I fell in love with this great little 1900-sq.-ft. bungalow, which is a perfect example of what Sarah Susanka calls the "Not-So-Big House." When we first started looking at the bungalow, I began reading more about the Arts & Crafts movement, and now we're pretty excited about it. The architectural ideas of the movement really resonate with us, and they strike me as deeply consonant with the sort of principles we've talked about on this site re: crunchy conservatism.
Posted at 02:09 PM
BETTER THAN INDIANA JONES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Better than Indiana Jones was Cary Grant in Gunga Din, striding alone up to the front of a temple full of thuggees (while singing "Oh the Roast Beef of Olde England") and announcing "You're all under arrest.".
Posted at 02:08 PM
AW SHUCKS [Jonah Goldberg]
So far I've received lots of email from longtime Atlantic subscribers, liberal and conservative. Everybody agrees with me. This one captures the sentiment nicely and is very nice to boot:
Posted at 01:52 PM
NO BRIAN, THERE ARE THOUSANDS LIKE US [Jonah Goldberg]
And when we get a Democrat in the White House we will all qualify for free mental health coverage. From a reader:
Jonah, I have a small interview with the late Michael Kelly's wife regarding Things Worth Fighting For hanging on the front of my refrigerator. Its a quarter of a page interview that I ripped out of US News that includes a small black & white photo of Mr. Kelly and his family. My wife thinks I'm crazy. But the torn page acted as a reminder for me to order the book once it became available. Plus, I just liked the layout of the piece and the small photo of Kelly it contained. I had never once picked up a copy of the Atlantic Monthly until Michael Kelly took it over. I must admit, I've only picked up one or two copies since his death. I completely agree that a traditionally liberal magazine can still be a great magazine. I'm what some would consider a "right-wing Conservative," but The New Republic is one of my top three favorite magazines. Anyway, I have finally found a term to best describe my life-long hobby, "magazine nerd." Currently, I subscribe to The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, Newsweek, and US News. (sorry my National Review subscription has since ran out) Although I subscribe to the above four mentioned, I still find myself hitting the local Barnes & Noble on weekends to pick up a copy of National Review, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, or hidden underneath whatever my kid's are buying a copy of The Nation. I'm not sure how to describe it, but I'm definitely addicted to magazines. I realize most of these articles will eventually end up online. But there's just something about coming home from a boring day at work and finding a brand new copy of a magazine in your mail drop. I even enjoy simple things like the cover and style of the magazine. Although it annoys my wife, I cant bear to throw them out with the trash. I keep my magazines stored in the basement placed gently in those giant plastic containers you buy from Target. Each plastic container has its own name. For example, I currently have containers labeled, Clinton & Monica, Bush vs Gore, 9-11, Iraq, and I just started Kerry vs Bush. I was always under the impression that I was the only "magazine nerd" out there. Glad to see there is at least one more.
Posted at 01:41 PM
REALLY OLD SCHOOL ATLANTIC [Jonah Goldberg ]
Those days are over, alas.
Posted at 12:20 PM
THUGGEES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Weren't thuggees the bad guys in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"? If so, then what's needed is either for us to airlift Harrison Ford into the area, or for Bush to get on TV with a giant sword and bellow a paraphrase of what is undoubtedly the greatest line in cinema history: "Moqtada al-Sadr, prepare to meet Kali... IN HELL!!!" Man, used to be we knew how to deal with bad guys, you know? Frickin' Mola Ram and his child slavery.
Posted at 12:18 PM
BLIX BLIGHT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Blix says Iraq is worse off without Saddam. He says too many people are dying from terrorism. He's right too many people are dying from terrorism, but even more died at Saddam's hands -- but that doesn't count for some reason. Read the whole article.
Posted at 12:03 PM
SADR'S THUGGEES [Jonah Goldberg]
I want to start a meme. Sadr's followers are thuggees and they need to be crushed on the merits as well as for the demonstration effect for the future stability of Iraq. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Posted at 12:01 PM
WEBMASTER WELTANSCHAUUNG [Jonah Goldberg]
Steve - The Straussian site looks interesting. I particularly like the title at the bottom for their web guru: "Straussian Webmaster."
Do Straussian webmasters write in particularly esoteric HTML code?
If so this could shed so much light on the whole konzept of meta-tags! Maybe if I scanned The History of Political Philosophy into my computer, posted it on the web and then opted to "view source" I could figure out what Strauss was really saying about Pliny the Elder!
Posted at 11:40 AM
WHAT IS MAGGIE GALLAGHER TALKING ABOUT? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It is very hard to debate someone who persists in making comments such as the following: "I think (Ramesh disagrees) that if marriage really is a key social institution, defining it in the Constitution is no more anomalous than the many property guarantees, and the guarantee of democratic government, already in the document. (Ramesh must be one of the few Constitutional observers not to see property and other economic guarantees in the Constitution)."
I have never said that it would be "anomalous," or in any way improper, to define marriage in the Constitution. I have never said word one about the existence of economic guarantees in the Constitution (unless Gallagher is counting one column last year on the abuse of eminent-domain powers). The rest of her attempted refutation of me is similarly off-point. I'm open to the idea that my arguments are incorrect. But that has to be demonstrated through attention to the arguments I've actually made, not ones of Gallagher's imagining.
Posted at 11:28 AM
KERRY’S FANTASY [Rich Lowry]
Bush’s handling of Iraq is open to legitimate criticism, but John Kerry appears to be living in la-la land. This is from the New York Times today: “He called the absence of Arab neighbors as part of the stabilization force ‘staggering,’ saying, ‘All have a major stake in not having a failed Iraqi state, no matter how they feel about our getting there.’”
This is silly in a bunch of ways. First, the Iraqis have no interest in seeing troops from neighboring countries as part of the occupation, as was demonstrated with the rejection of Turkish troops several months ago. Second, it is very doubtful that Iraq’s neighbors, especially Syria and Iran, want to see us succeed in Iraq. Third, a patina of Arab troops would do nothing to keep former Baathists and people like Muqtada al-Sadr from wanting to kill Americans.
Posted at 11:23 AM
GOOD RIVKIN/CASEY PIECE… [Rich Lowry]
… on the need to try and punish insurgents captured in Iraq.
Posted at 11:07 AM
WOLFE, SCHMITT, STRAUSS--OH MY! [Steve Hayward]
If people are really interested in the rabid Wolfe, there is actually a Straussian website (www.straussian.net), and it even has a blog! (Though how you write "between the lines" on a blog is a neat subject to ponder.) The Straussian blog links to Jonah's G-File on Wolfe.
Posted at 11:05 AM
EIGHT POINTS IN FLORIDA [KJL]
Bush still in the lead in new poll.
Posted at 11:00 AM
RE: ASSIGNMENT DESK [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Sunday NYT Magazine article on the regulation of power plant emissions largely recycles the same old complaints about the Bush Administration's efforts to reform "New Source Review." I responded to many of these complaints last October in this NRO column. I would also recommend these articles on New Source Review by Steve Hayward and Joel Schwartz, and this piece by Howard Gruenspecht and Robert Stavins.
Posted at 10:56 AM
PRO-TOBACCO, ANTI-SMOKING [Jonathan H. Adler]
What if smokers who are unable to give up nicotine switched to smokeless tobacco? There would be far fewer deaths from cancer and heart disease. While smokeless tobacco has risks of its own, health experts should regard it as a less risky alternative, argues Dr. Sally Satel in today's NYT. "No one disputes that quitting is optimal," she writes. "But that is not practical in every case." Smokeless tobacco products "provide clear, lifesaving advantages over smoking that antitobacco activists refuse to acknowledge."
Posted at 10:53 AM
WORDS UPON WORDS [Jonah Goldberg]
Aaron Bailey -- the Lord of Ones and Zeros at NR -- counted up the total number of pieces I've written under the rubric of the G-File and came to the number 727. While this includes a few reprints from the magazine and a dozen or so syndicated columns it leaves out most of the stuff I've written for the magazine and a whole bunch of stuff I wrote for NRO that weren't G-Files -- movie reviews etc -- and, of course, my Corner entries. If you assume that each G-File was about 1,200 words (which is probably very low), and if you assume a few thousand words a week in the Corner, I've probably written more than 1 million words for National Review. For what that's worth.
Posted at 10:52 AM
HOLY UDDER [KJL]
Peta's Easter Cow Pope.
Posted at 10:49 AM
BOOKS FOR SOLDIERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Good cause for good guys doing good stuff. (Nod to Iraq Now.)
Posted at 10:43 AM
SEVERED SNAKE HEADS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:38 AM
YOU'LL NEED A TURKEY-BASTER... [Jonah Goldberg]
To pick up Paul Krugman's cat. Business confidence at a 20 year high.
Posted at 10:18 AM
AL QAEDA V. SPAIN [Jonah Goldberg ]
Al Qaeda is allegedly turning up the heat on Spain. This is an amazing and amazingly undercovered development. If it's true, the conventional wisdom about al Qaeda winning a victory by knocking Spain out of the coalition shouldn't be overturned so much as revised. If that had truly been al Qaeda's goal they would have been very, very smart to pocket the victory and attack Britain or Poland. Instead, by increasing the attacks on Spain they underscore the stupidity of Spain's appeasement since that appeasement bought Spain nothing.
Posted at 10:12 AM
GOOD QUESTION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Just a thought -
Posted at 10:07 AM
JUST HOW STRANGE ARE MATHEMATICIANS? [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 10:06 AM
THAT LYNDON [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 09:46 AM
GREETINGS FROM BAGHDAD [Jonah Goldberg]
An officer currently stationed in Baghdad writes:
Posted at 09:22 AM
WIN ONE [John J. Miller]
The Detroit Tigers are undefeated. Please, people, let me gloat for one day. It's been a long decade or so--you will recall that the Tigers lost their first 11 games last year--and this probably will become another long season. Still, it's April; a time for hope. The Tigers beat the reigning Cy Young champ in Toronto yesterday, 7-0. There's also a new book that every suffering Tigers fan deserves to own: '84: The Last of the Great Tigers, by Eli Zaret.
Posted at 09:20 AM
RUBIN ON SADR ETC [Jonah Goldberg ]
Worth checking out.
Posted at 09:16 AM
BY POPULAR REQUEST [Jonah Goldberg ]
This morning's actual Goldberg File is on Alan Wolfe's conservatives-are-fascist smear. Okay popular request is a bit of a stretch. A handful of folks who read the Chronicle of Higher Education kept sending me the article and since it fell under the rubric of my book I figured, why not?
Posted at 09:04 AM
MY ARCHIVES [Jonah Goldberg]
Every day I get at least one or two requests from readers asking for help to find something I wrote on NRO. If I know exactly what they're looking for I try to help, but sometimes the request is very vague; "you wrote a column in which you mentioned Orwell or maybe Orson Welles...." etc. I have no better idea about which column the reader is referring to than they do. My best advice is to use Google. Type my name and whatever keywords you can think of and you'll usually find what you're looking for. Also, the visibly accessible archive for the G-File doesn't go back very far these days (though I'm told that's not a permanent state). But Google should be able to get to them. If none of that works, please feel free to ask for help. But if you've already tried Google, odds are I won't be able to help much.
Posted at 08:57 AM
PULITZER FOR GULAG [Jack Fowler]
Congratulations again (scroll down) to Anne Applebaum for winning the Pulitzer Prize for Gulag: A History. She is the wife of long-time NR contributor Radek Sikorski. David Pryce Jones's NR review of the book is here. And Michael Ledeen’s glowing NRO piece on Gulag is here.
Posted at 08:41 AM
HMMMM [Jonah Goldberg ]
Clinton's final National Security report doesn't mention al Qaeda at all and only mentions Bin Laden four times. This needn't be that damning if the report is sufficiently tough on terrorism. But it doesn't sound like it. And it certainly doesn't sound like Clarke's assurances that terrorism and al Qaeda were an urgent priority. From The Washington Times :
The document boasted of "a dozen terrorist fugitives" who had been captured abroad and handed over to the United States "to answer for their crimes." Those perpetrators included the men responsible for the first attack on the World Trade Center, which the intelligence community largely thought by late 2000 to be the work of operatives with links to al Qaeda. Listed among those brought to justice was a man who killed two persons outside CIA headquarters in 1993, and "an attack on a Pan Am flight more than 18 years ago."
Posted at 08:24 AM
SADR [Jonah Goldberg]
The more I read about this yutz, the more it seems clear to me that he's, well, a yutz. He's not a religious leader -- though even if he was that doesn't absolve him of criminal acts -- he's an ambitious political thug in the tradition of all political thugs (Che, Mao, Stalin and countless more who died before attaining the fame necessary to be remembered). He's using poor, angry, disenfranchised men as, literally, Black Shirts. It was his newspaper which was -- rightly -- shut down last week and he incited violence this week only because there was an arrest warrant coming his way and he wanted to change the subject. It has to be done carefully, and ideally it would be done by the Iraqis themselves, but this guy needs to be squished.
Posted at 08:17 AM
THE ATLANTIC'S CHARTER [Jonah Goldberg ]
A new collection of Michael Kelly's writing, Things Worth Fighting For has just been released. I bring this up for two reasons. 1) Kelly was a truly great American writing machine and he deserves to be remembered for that as well as for being a profoundly decent guy. And 2) Because another part of his legacy was the revivification of The Atlantic into a truly excellent magazine. One way he did this was by throwing the doors open to new, iconoclastic and often conservative writers. It seems to me that legacy is starting to slide. The Atlantic is still a great magazine, but it seems to be inching further and further into official Liberal Magazine Land. One can be a liberal magazine and still be a great magazine, The New Republic has proved that more than a few times. But what made the Kelly and post Kelly era Atlantic particularly special was its effort not to be predictably on one side of the political ledger. The first three articles in the current issue are by Jonathan Chait, Ryan Lizza and Joshua Green. They're not particularly partisan pieces, and they're all good. But they contribute to the continued Slateification of the magazine, by which I mean that "post-partisan smart" is defined as a certain kind of enlightened liberalism which enlightened liberals see as simply correct, not liberal. Yes, I know Mark Steyn and PJ O'Rourke write for The Atlantic and lots of other conservatives, including from NR-land, still appear in there -- though it seems less and less. But Steyn writes about theater and music. P.J. is sui generis. And nobody's replaced David Brooks' voice over there.
Still, there's no better sign of the Atlantic's Slateification than their annual "State of the Union issue" issue which assigns the task of determining the objective truth about All Things to the New America Foundation, particularly Michael Lind. There are a lot of smart guys over there, Lind (grumble, grumble) included. I don't want to get started on that place, but suffice it to say they fit perfectly within the "post-partisan smart" = "Brookings with bite" framework.
Anyway, I bring this up becausse I like the magazine and I like what Kelly did with it and because, well, I'm a magazine nerd.
Posted at 08:10 AM
PAYING A COLLEGE TUITION? [KJL]
Rest assured: in the interest of "lightening up," your kid may be getting free massages and dogs to cuddle during exam seasons. (These are the kids who are going to be unleashed onto the world in a few months...bear that in mind when you notice they can't seem to handle reality.)
Posted at 05:58 AM
TAXIN' TOM DAVIS [John J. Miller]
Toad swallower: Rep. Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia.
Posted at 05:52 AM
Monday, April 05, 2004
A CLARIFICATION, IF IT'S NEEDED [KJL ]
If Kathryn Lopez is excommunicated, it is of her own doing, not because Cosmo or whomever judged her to be no longer Catholic in a blog or TV soundbite. My point re: Kerry, as I hope I made clear, is that there is no reason for "Catholics" to rally around Kerry as a "Catholic," because in his public life, he acts out of conformity with the public teaching of the Catholic Church. And a bishop acknowledging that a public figure is out of communion with Rome would be more than a few steps short of Inquisition--and actually, probably, a healthy and helpful educational opportunity.
Posted at 09:01 PM
NRO TORQUEMADA? [KJL ]
Andrew Sullivan chides me for "as usual..leading the inquisition," this time, to excommunicate John Kerry. I'm honestly curious though (and not because I'm the religious police): Does Sullivan believe that a politician (or anyone, for that matter) can call himself "Catholic" while supporting abortion--and to the extent that he votes against a ban on infanticide (partial-birth abortion)? It seems to me that not only is it not possible to claim to be a faithful Catholic while rejecting what the Catholic Church teaches to be true about abortion, but it compounds the offense to pretend, and thus lead impressionable people inside and outside the church to believe, that it is possible.
Posted at 08:59 PM
BAD SIGNS, ALL AROUND [KJL]
The HealingIraq blog was ready not too long ago to declare liberation overthrown. That's probably in-the-middle-of-it-all instant reax, but it's telling. If this blogger, whose used to thinking bigger picture, can be so easily convinced the world is falling apart...it's not a good sign...
Posted at 08:34 PM
KENNEDY’S SPEECH [Michael Graham]
K-Lo, I see that you picked up on Uncle Teddy's speech, too. Was I the only person who experienced a "suck-in-air" moment of horror when Kennedy announced "Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam?"
What bothers me isn't the political attack on Bush, but how the senator's idea is a slashing blow to the support for the troops. How does he think these soldiers feel being told they are now part of a "Vietnam," a word which translates into "immoral military action doomed to defeat?" I can't think of a statement more likely to undermine American soldiers than that claim.
What makes Kennedy's vicious attack even more outrageous is that it is demonstrably untrue. The progress on the ground in Iraq has been amazing, given the conditions in Iraq one year ago. We aren't losing in Iraq at all. We are in a war that we have the ability to win.
And Kennedy wants us to surrender. To declare "defeat" and go home. If we keep fighting, and fight smart, we are almost certain to win this war. Bush understands that, which is why Iraq won't be his Vietnam.
But if the Democrats continue to push defeat as an American policy, it could be theirs.
Posted at 07:17 PM
RAMESH, HATCH, MARRIAGE & ME [Maggie Gallagher ]
Sen. Orrin Hatch is on record supporting an FMA defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. I certainly did not intend to trash him. I do think the merits of the alternative language deserve a thorough airing.
Ramesh and I simply disagree on the cultural, political, and legal implications of shifting the Constitutional debate from "save marriage" to "leave it to the states." Ramesh's certainty in how the Hatch language will be interpreted by courts (a.k.a. what it "really" means) is touching, but I just don't share his faith. I think he is just plain wrong in describing, for example, questions raised about how Hatch language would interact with federal jurisprudence on marriage (such as Loving v. Virginia) as the spreading of "false" ideas. The actual reality is the legal consequences are uncertain, given the complexity of marriage as a legal idea and especially given the judiciary's flagrant lack of regard for framers' intent. The uncertainty and the complexity of the Hatch proposal legally will make is far less politically viable ultimately than an FMA with a clear and simple message, like: Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.
All the time we will have to spend combating the "false" ideas generated by the Hatch language is time not spent talking about marriage, which is the issue which actually motivates voters.
I think (Ramesh disagrees) that if marriage really is a key social institution, defining it in the Constitution is no more anomalous than the many property guarantees, and the guarantee of democratic government, already in the document. (Ramesh must be one of the few Constitutional observers not to see property and other economic guarantees in the Constitution).
I think (Ramesh disagrees) that changing the topic from marriage to federalism naturally implies that federalism is the more important issue, marriage is the less important one. When political leaders are talking about the states' right to disagree about the definition of marriage, and not the need for a shared, common culture of marriage, that' will be the natural conclusion.
Moreover on some issues, the house really won't stay divided. If marriage matters, a highly visible group of people can't be married in Massachusetts and unmarried (or charged with bigamy for marrying again) in South Carolina. The same internal logic that produced almost identical divorce laws in all 50 states, will produce a common national definition of marriage.
The question remains: which one?
Posted at 07:14 PM
CATHOLICS & PUBLIC LIFE, CON'T [KJL]
The Catholic bishop of Trenton, on NJ Governor Jim McGreevey:
“When he refers to himself as a devout Catholic and supports legislation and programs that are contrary to the teaching of the Holy Father and the bishops, he is not a devout Catholic,” said Bishop Smith. “He cannot compromise what it means to be a Catholic. I speak, as your bishop, for the devout Catholics of the Diocese of Trenton. (Gov.) Jim McGreevey does not.”
Posted at 07:04 PM
YOU STAY, I PAY [Michael Graham]
Those familiar with the painfully-liberal politics of Montgomery County, MD won't be surprised to learn that county taxpayers provide rent subsidies to illegal immigrants. But this knuckle-headed notion has also reached Arlington, in Northern Virginia. In fact, in Arlington there are citizens on a waiting list for this government largesse, while illegals are sitting comfortably in their tax-funded apartments.
I know the problem fo illegal immigration is never going to be completely solved, but how to county politicians explain making actual American citizens suffer while my tax dollars go to illegals? The answer: they don't explain, the just call anyone who points out this injustice a "bigot."
And "bigot" is an ironic accusation given that many citizens who receive housing aid are black and Hispanic, and some are naturalized American citizens as well.
If siding with a working-class black family over a group of illegal immigrants is bigotry, then sign me up.
Posted at 06:57 PM
NOT A CIVIL WAR, NOT A COUP D'ETAT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Instapundit and Andrew Sullivan both post this excerpt from a blog called Healing Iraq:
This makes for riveting reading and Glenn and Andrew are both right for posting it. But just to be clear this is not a coup d'etat and it is not, as Andrew suggests, a civil war. It is an attempt at a coup d'etat. A coup d'etat by definition is the successful sudden overthrow of a government. A civil war is something more than an uprising. It seems to me it is simply way too soon to say it's either. The government in Iraq is still the Coalitional Authority under Paul Bremer. I don't think anyone thinks he's been overthrown or is about to be. I don't know that much about all of this but I bet you I'm right when I say this is all a big deal, but not that big. And, it may prove to be good news or bad. If Sadr's forces are smashed and arrested, that could result in a worse climate or a better one. It's just too soon to tell.
Posted at 06:04 PM
TERRY TEACHOUT ON THE PULITZERS [KJL]
Posted at 05:40 PM
BUSH'S ECONOMIC RECORD [KJL]
(Note: don't click on that near your Kerry-supporting boss or co-workers--they'll hear it)
Posted at 05:38 PM
OFF TO PARRIS ISLAND [Rich Lowry]
I’m heading to Parris Island for the rest of the week to observe the process of forging new Marines. So I’ll be absent from the Corner for a few days, but in a good cause. Hoo-rah!
Posted at 05:33 PM
ANNE APPLEBAUM'S PULITZER [Andrew Stuttaford]
Walter Duranty must be spinning in his grave.
Posted at 05:05 PM
WHAT A LOSER [Jonah Goldberg ]
So, Alanis Morissette thinks she's being bold by attacking American "censorship" by stripping down naked in public. Of course, she doesn't actually do it. She wears a fake nude bodysuit. How is she any different than when Jason Alexander as George Costanza on "Seinfeld" tried to get fired by streaking on the field at Yankee stadium but didn't have the guts to actually streak. If you're going to be bold by "speaking truth to power" do it or don't do it. Don't pretend to do it.
Posted at 05:02 PM
THE POLITICS OF 9/10 [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A nice short piece by Nick Schulz.
Posted at 04:56 PM
ANNE APPLEBAUM WINS A PULITZER [KJL]
Posted at 04:55 PM
UNBORN VICTIM OF VIOLENCE [KJL]
The California supreme court upholds a fetal-homicide charge.
Posted at 04:53 PM
MAGGIE AND ME [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A reader emails me objecting to my latest web piece, which is my response to Maggie Gallagher about the Hatch amendment on same-sex marriage. I won't try to respond to the reader's Gallagherite argument in favor of what he calls a "strong" amendment, as I think I have already made my case as well as I can. I'll just address his objection to my comment, in regard to one of Gallagher's nine arguments, that it is "perhaps the most boneheaded" one she makes. The reader asks, "how does name-calling help this process?"
First of all, I don't think I've indulged in name-calling. The adjective was addressed to an argument, not a person. Even very smart people can make dumb arguments. Second, it was a highly qualified remark. An argument wouldn't have to be very boneheaded to be the most boneheaded in a set of arguments, let alone to be "perhaps" the most boneheaded one.
In any case, Gallagher is an adult; she is no stranger to polemics; she knows I take her seriously; and I hope she will take my directness in challenging her ideas, and my refusal to use kid gloves, as a sign of respect.
Posted at 04:19 PM
GOT A LIFE [John Derbyshire]
The cry goes round the chancelleries: "Where is Derb?"
Busy, that's where. In the open air. Building a tree house.
Posted at 04:01 PM
RE: CHRONICLE & CATHOLIC HIGHER ED [Stanley Kurtz]
Jack, thanks for the info on David O’Brien. Actually, although the Chronicle can certainly be biased, it is sometimes fair. I’m disappointed to see them stacking the deck like this. Maybe some folks can write the Chronicle to let them know that a little more fairness on this issue might be in order in the future. Sometimes the Chronicle colloquies have no moderators at all and simply let anyone speak their minds. That might have worked better here. I could be wrong, but to the best of my recollection, when the Chronicle puts someone very opinionated on a live colloquy, it’s usually because they themselves have written an Op Ed. It does seem a bit odd to hold a colloquy on an article about conservative Catholics that features a dialogue with a liberal Catholic historian. Again, if this seems odd to you, you might want to suggest that the Chronicle act a bit more fairly in the future. Or maybe just suggest that the Chronicle hold an open colloquy on this issue that allows all to speak their minds without filter.
Posted at 03:59 PM
MARK BOWDEN ON FALLUJAH [ Jonah Goldberg ]
Good stuff. An excerpt:
Posted at 03:44 PM
RE: CATHOLICS PROSPER [Jack Fowler]
FYI: Anyone who plans to view the Chronicle colloquy should know in advance that College of the Holy Cross professor David O’Brien is a well-know liberal – a “dissenter” assenter – in Catholic academic circles. Over the years he’s written scads of pieces for the National Catholic Reporter, and served on that lefty paper’s board of directors for a long spell in the 1980s. I never had him at Holy Cross (my alma mater), but Mrs. Fowler did (for two courses). I just called dear Sharon and she testifies to O’Brien’s “left wing slant and rants on everything … his heroes were the Berrigan brothers and Father Drinan ... he talked about them all the time; they were always ‘wonderful.’” So states my better half, and she should know. If you doubting Thomases want proof of O’Brien’s tilt, here the text of his 12/08/03 Worcester Telegram column attacking Massachusetts’ Roman Catholic bishops for opposing the state Supreme Court’s gay marriage dictat. Enjoy!
Posted at 02:35 PM
DAVIDSON DETAILS [ Jonah Goldberg ]
I hope everyone can make it (except you, the guy in the purple sweater with one eyebrow).
Posted at 02:30 PM
MUST READ [ Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 02:26 PM
MORE BLYTH [KJL ]
Myrna Blyth’s book is must-reading. Here’s David Frum on Spin Sisters. Here’s KJL on Spin Sisters. Here’s Kate O’Beirne on Spin Sisters (not online, unless you subscribe to NRODT). And, here's Myrna Blyth on the Spin Sisters.
Posted at 02:18 PM
“A LINDA TRIPPIAN FAKE FRIEND” [KJL]
I guess Myrna Blyth could just be grateful that the Times reviewed her book, even if it was a nasty, snide, catty, petty (get the point?) review. That’s more than John Stossel, Sean Hannity, Rich Lowry, etc., have gotten. I imagine John, Sean, and Rich might have received a slightly less ruthless treatment, though. The difference? None of those three gents betrayed the sacred sisterhood.
One of my favorite parts of the Times review may be where Nussbaum swipes Blyth for having “a seriously deaf ear for pop culture.” Nussbaum’s evidence? Blyth’s “sniping blandly on Lifetime’s women-in-peril movies with the complaint that they are insufficiently realistic.” There’s a lame swipe--not Blyth’s (the “network for women” speaks for itself), Nussbaum’s.
Posted at 02:03 PM
CAN WE STOP CALLING KERRY A "CATHOLIC" NOW [KJL]
Here's Kerry taking Communion at a Protestant church. Here's what PJPII reiterated on this matter in his encyclical ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA: "The Catholic faithful, therefore, while respecting the religious convictions of these separated brethren, must refrain from receiving the communion distributed in their celebrations, so as not to condone an ambiguity about the nature of the Eucharist...."
I really don't mean to nitpick. Who knows a judgment call a person makes in such a situation. That said, I'm tired of Kerry being protrayed as the "Catholic candidate" when a) he is no such thing, and that would be clear if more bishops (and they slowly are) would make such things crystal clear (i.e. you cannot advocate for abortion and call yourself Catholic and b) Catholic are not going to vote in a bloc, as a bloc, for or against him.
Posted at 02:03 PM
HAS THE SEVENTH SEAL BEEN BROKEN? [ Jonah Goldberg ]
A Swede is the richest man in the world.
Posted at 01:48 PM
RESTORATION [Andrew Stuttaford]
From an article in today's Financial Times on the Pulitzer prize:
"In Pulitzer Alley [the corridor at the New York Times headquarters where the newspaper honors its Pulitzer prize-winners], one gold-framed plaque has been taken down for what the New York Times calls "restoration". It honours Walter Duranty, a 1932 winner. But after a series of complaints, the citation will be amended to note questions about his failure to cover the famine in the Soviet Union that year."
Restoration? The restoration the Times should be interested in is the restoration of its good name. Asking the Pulitzer Committee to withdraw Duranty's prize would be a start.
Posted at 01:47 PM
PROGRESS REPORT [Jonah Goldberg]
Since so many people keep asking, I figured I'd let folks know how the book is coming. The answer: it's going okay. Not great. Not terribly.
As a guess, I've written somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 words of which -- again guessing -- I'd say 30,000 - 40,000 are anywhere between acceptable to great.
The good news is that the historical research-intensive stuff should be coming to a close soon. If I never have to read another book about fascism -- other than mine! -- I'll be happy. As I move into the contemporary stuff I will be able to draw on themes I'm more well-versed in from my normal day-work. That doesn't mean there won't be a withering field of blegs coming your way in the months to come as I don't have a full-time researcher/intern to do my bidding.
Still, I'm feeling sufficiently upbeat that I'm actually going to write an actual G-File tomorrow as opposed to the syndicated column (which I'll also be writing). Thanks again to everyone for their patience and support. I really do think it will be worth it.
Posted at 01:45 PM
RE: ASSIGNMENT DESK [KJL]
Greg Easterbrook read it, Ramesh....
Posted at 01:42 PM
IT'S TED KENNEDY TIME AGAIN [KJL]
The senior senator from Massachusetts compares Bush to Nixon in a Brookings speech.
Posted at 01:31 PM
THE BELLS AREN'T RINGING [ Jonah Goldberg]
I don't know how I missed this. In Arlington, VA the town is divided between people who oppose the ringing of Church bells and those who are in favor. While ringing them every fifteen minutes seems like a lot, I think the argument that they are an invasion of privacy is pretty pernicious. Personally, I like Church bells.
Posted at 01:27 PM
WHO IS MOQTADA SADR? [Michael Graham]
From the Washington Post today:
"Sadr has appealed to poor and disenfranchised Shiites, the majority of Iraq's population, with a relentless anti-occupation message. A junior cleric, the 30-year-old's authority is far overshadowed by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the country's leading religious figure. Sadr and his followers remain distinctly unpopular in the Shiite holy city of Najaf [emphasis added], where the more established clergy hold sway."
Posted at 01:19 PM
WHO SAID IT? [Michael Graham]
"These horrific attacks remind us of the viciousness of the enemies of Iraq's future. United in sadness, we are also united in our resolve that these enemies will not prevail."
In a moment of rare lucidity, it was U.S. Senator John Kerry's reponse to the slaughter in Fallujah.
Posted at 01:16 PM
CATHOLICS PROSPER [Stanley Kurtz]
Several years ago, I put out a series of articles in support of the Saint Ignatius Institute, a nationally renowned Great Books program run by traditional Catholics at the University of San Francisco (a Catholic university). SII had long been in tension with the liberal Catholics in charge of USF, and that conflict came to a head when the traditionalists who ran SII were fired, and the program gutted. The bad news is that the liberals at USF succeeded in exiling the traditionalists. The good news is that, after defeat and exile, the traditionalists have succeeded in building up their own alternative institutional network. If you want to read about the new and growing world of traditional Catholic higher education, The Chronicle of Higher Education has just published a major article on the phenomenon. The Chronicle will also host a live Colloquy with David O’Brien, as historian of American Catholicism and a the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, April 7, at 2PM. Of course, I myself am secular, and don’t share all the views of traditional Catholics. But I think it’s a travesty when classic Catholic education can’t find a place within the American academy–even at a nominally Catholic university. I wish the new Catholic higher education movement success. By the way, I first wrote about the Saint Ignatius Institute controversy on February 12, 2001, in “Save NEH, Save St. Ignatius.” And if you want to follow the whole saga, click here, here, and here.
Posted at 12:23 PM
RE: ASSIGNMENT DESK [Steve Hayward]
Ramesh, et al:
Yes, yes, the NY Times magazine article on Bush and power plants is on the top of today's "to-do" pile, though it is with a sense of weariness and duty that I shall read it. In the meantime, interested readers should see this piece, where I de-mystify much of the nonsense about "new source review."
For the moment, note one thing: Most of the enviro complaints abou Bush are always about process, and not results. The EPA's emission data on power plants for 2001 and 2002 (the most recent data available) show power plant smog emissions are going--down.
Posted at 12:05 PM
MY ASSIGNMENT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Don't worry Ramesh, the NYT piece is on my to-do list. Alas, I have a bunch of stuff on my plate, including a panel on "Balancing Liberty and Security," sponsored by the Case ACLU chapter (6pm in Clapp Auditorium for those in Cleveland).
Posted at 11:58 AM
CREEPY MISSION CREEP [KJL]
Excellent John Leo column on Girl Scouts, YWCA, UNICEF, and more. And, a law: "Leo's amendment to O'Sullivan's First Law: Any organization with 'women' or 'girls' in its title will tend to become part of the cultural left in general and the abortion lobby in particular."
Posted at 11:51 AM
ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR ANTI-AMERICAN CLERIC AL SADR [KJL]
issued by an Iraqi judge, for the murder of a Shiite cleric Abd al-Majid al-Khoei llast April.
Posted at 11:41 AM
PUFF PIECES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
There are two of them in the Washington Post's Style section, and weirdly enough they are about conservative figures: Fox's Carl Cameron and Ed Gillespie. I like Gillespie, but he's in the papers all the time. The recognition for Cameron is overdue and well-deserved.
Posted at 11:17 AM
PRYOR BATTLE IN COURT? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Howard Bashman discusses the prospects of a legal challenge to William Pryor's recess appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (see also here). While, as Bashman notes, there are serious textual arguments that recess appointments of judges are unconstitutional, I would be shocked if a federal appellate court were ever to make such a ruling. Like it or not, the practice of recess judicial appointments is well-established and goes back decades. There have even been recess appointments to the Supreme Court.
Posted at 11:12 AM
A reader informs: "Tune into CSPAN today at 12:57pm [EST] (Monday, April 5th) to catch a replay of Saturday evening's Toomey vs. Specter debate."
Posted at 11:10 AM
BUSH'S POLITICAL SCIENCE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Bush Administration has finally responded to repeated charges it has subordinated science to politics with a formal report addressing the allegations compiled in this Union of Concerned Scientists report. The full response is here; summary here.
Posted at 11:06 AM
WATCHING BUSH GREENWATCH [Jonathan H. Adler]
Earlier this year, Environmental Media Services (EMS), a division of Fenton Communications, and MoveOn.org launched BushGreenwatch to provide "accurate and timely information on the Bush Administration's assault on our environment and public health." Today's issue warns "EPA Deputy Administrator Nominee Brings Checkered Record." Yet the nominee BushGreenwatch attacks, Ann Klee, was nominated for a different position, EPA General Counsel. The administration's nominee for Deputy Administrator is Stephen Johnson -- something one would expect environmental activists to know as Johnson has been the acting Deputy for the past nine months. Alas, the substance of BushGreenwatch is not much more accurate than the headlines.
Posted at 11:05 AM
Why can Nader speak and Toomey can't?
Posted at 11:02 AM
ASSIGNMENT DESK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I just couldn't bring myself to read the cover story of the New York Times Magazine yesterday. It's about how Bush is poisoning the air for his corporate friends. So here's a request to Jonathan Adler or Steve Hayward: Can you go through what's wrong with the article so I--and NRO readers everywhere--don't have to read it?
Posted at 11:01 AM
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm pretty sure, Mark, that Jay Nordlinger wrote an article for us last year advocating what you are talking about, but I can't find a link.
Posted at 10:53 AM
IT MAY BE SPRING [KJL]
but The Corner is Spring Fever free zone. WAY too slow this morning, guys.
Posted at 10:49 AM
MORE MONKEY WRENCHING [Mark Krikorian]
Boy, my posting on how to answer race questions on forms got some interesting responses. Other than the usual "Race: Human" and "Sex: As often as possible" stuff, there was one person who answered "Jedi" for his race, and another, from the UK, who sent this link to a story on how several hundred thousand Brits listed "Jedi"as their religion in the last census (though this isn't necessarily a hopeful sign for Christianity there).
And this on the corrupting influence of race categories, from a retired military officer:
When the drawdowns started in the US Army after the Cold War, changing your racial status became a gambit for promotion, usually going for "Hispanic" or "Other". Evidentally enough officers did this that they stopped allowing you to do it via the clerk at your local personnel office; instead, a request to change racial status would be forwarded to Personnel Command, which would then contact the officer's command, which would verify the information via command channels (translated: "Try this buddy, and we'll put you on your own general's s**t list").The Racial Privacy Initiative, which would have prohibited California from collecting racial and ethnic data in most cases, failed last October, partly because it was swamped by the Gray Davis recall, but also because people were reluctant to take such a forthright step. So it might be better to start by simply forbiding any private or public institution from mandating the provision of race data, so that any form would have to give people an "I choose not to answer" escape hatch. This wouldn't resolve the issue, any more than the partial-birth abortion ban is a solution, but it would expose the radicalism of those opposing such a measure, since they'd have to explicitly endorse legal sanctions to force people to report their race or ethnicity.
Posted at 10:41 AM
IT'S SPRINGTIME [NRO Staff]
Picture sitting on the porch reading to your kids...picture reading from one of NR's children's lit collections (or bedtime stories). Click here to get your children started on WFB's good taste at an early age.
Posted at 10:07 AM
BLACK CLOUDS FOR DASCHLE IN THE BLACK HILLS [Jack Fowler]
The race between Senate Dem Minority Leader Tom Daschle and former GOP Congressman John Thune is tightening. In February, polls had Daschle ahead 50 to 43 percent, but in a new Zogby poll it's now 48 to 43 percent - the Rapid City Journal gives the complete survey analysis here. But the worst news for Daschle may be the flip-flop by Lakota Journal publisher Tim Giago, the Indian activist (and self-described "fully recovered Catholic" who attacks the Church for treatment of Indians) who announced on March 25 that he would challenge Daschle in the June 1 Dem primary. But in less than a week he shifted gears, and now says he will instead run as an independent in the November general election. That has Dems fearful that Giago will play the Ralph Nader role, siphoning enough votes from Daschle to elect Thune (who, as Byron York reported on NRO back in 2002 here and here was likely robbed of an election win over Tim Johnson thanks to massive voter fraud). Strap yourself in for is sure to be one of the bumpiest rides of 2004. And you can follow the badness in the Badlands on this interesting Daschle-disliking blog. (See more on the race on NRO here.)
Posted at 10:03 AM
MY DINNER WITH JONAH [Jonah Goldberg]
Some bloggers would like to have dinner with yours truly. They're right, it would be a blast -- so long as they kept their hands and feet on their side of the table.
Posted at 09:23 AM
SPEAKING OF NEW RADIO SHOWS [Jonah Goldberg]
Bill Bennett is starting his this week.
Posted at 08:00 AM
IT'S STARTING [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 07:56 AM
CHINA CRACKS DOWN ON ANNIVERSARY PLANNER [KJL]
An activist planning on commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings has been detained.
Posted at 07:26 AM
DENNIS MILLER [KJL]
He's done a great job repackaging his still relatively new CNBC show. (I'm just catching a rerun from last week right now.) He has variety, some in-depth interviews--and, oh yeah, he's funny. It's worth checking out.
Posted at 12:19 AM
Sunday, April 04, 2004
MORE PROOF MEDIA IS LIBERAL [Jack Fowler]
Associated Press wirestory on Toomey-Specter battle is laughlingly headlined "Pa. Conservatives Face Off in Senate Race." Note the plural. Hey, AP -- there's only one conservative in the race, and it ain't Arlen Specter.
Posted at 06:29 PM
I LOVE MAPS, BUT . . . [Mark Krikorian]
. . . I'll pass on the Gay and Lesbian Atlas, coming soon from the Urban Institute .
Posted at 05:39 PM
IT AIN'T THE O'FRANKEN FACTOR [Mark Krikorian]
Al Franken and his fellow droners aren't the only news in talk radio. Jerry Doyle, who played Garibaldi on the science fiction TV series Babylon 5, starts a weekday radio talk show Monday from 7 to 10 p.m. Pacific Time (he's been doing a weekend show since last year). OK, yes, I'm plugging it because I'll be the first guest of the inaugural show. But Doyle's not your typical celebrity idiot -- he actually had a life before Hollywood, first selling private jets, then as an investment banker on Wall Street. He also ran for Congress in L.A. in 2000, though he got clobbered by the incumbent in a Democratic district. The show's call-in number is (800) 449-8255.
Posted at 05:37 PM
MONKEY WRENCH THE RACIAL SYSTEM! [Mark Krikorian ]
It seems that high school students are increasingly unwilling to accede to the demands of multiculturalism. A story in today's Washington Post reports that last year more than one-quarter of kids taking the SAT refused to identify their race, nearly triple the percentage in 1996. (See the journal article that the Post story is based on here.) Apparently, this was unacceptable, because the SAT people have made it harder to skip the race question, and non-responses have fallen.
Be that as it may, this points to an interim strategy for those aspiring to a color-blind society. Until such time as federal law is changed (the Civil Rights Act, for instance, requires the government to determine who is and is not black), why not a civil disobedience campaign -- refusing to answer race questions on the Census, mortgage applications, blood-donation forms, SAT applications, school enrolment questionnaires, etc., etc., etc. In some cases, the official you're dealing with will just fill in the answer he thinks fits, but that's no reason to go along.
Or you could put in the wrong answer: When I was in college, each semester we had to fill out a form updating our address, which also included a race and religion question. The first semester, I left it blank; next semester, I saw that the computer had entered the default settings, which were white/other Protestant (at Georgetown!). I corrected the religion entry, but by the next semester I got mad and started to change my race and religion each time -- once I was a Puerto Rican Muslim, then a black Buddhist, and so on, and no one ever noticed. I'm sure it had no effect on anything, but it sure made me feel good.
Posted at 05:35 PM
A USEFUL IDIOT [Andrew Stuttaford]
The late Sir Peter Ustinov was a wonderfully gifted man, but, when it came to his political and moral judgments, like so many gifted men, he stunk. Stephen Pollard has more:
“Not that it was only Communists [Ustinov] defended. He opposed the military action against the Taliban in Afghanistan and criticised moves against Osama bin Laden: "You can't fight terrorism without becoming a terrorist yourself." Is that right, Sir Peter? What a shame he won't be around to point that out to al-Qaeda's next victims.
“He opposed - as if I needed to tell you - the Iraq war and thus would rather Saddam Hussein were still in power. Not just Saddam: he considered it quite wrong that Slobodan Milosevic should have been removed from power and put on trial. He should have been left alone to murder at will. Intervention against ethnic cleansing in Kosovo "was a mistake because it was not done through the UN".
“There were some people he did want to convict, though: businessmen. "The formation of the committee for the World Criminal Court is very important because there are corporations more powerful than many governments." Stalin: OK; business: criminal; al-Qaeda and the US: moral equals. Murdering Chinese dissidents: good; removing tyrants: bad. That was the world view of Sir Peter Ustinov, "humanitarian".”
That’s nicely – and devastatingly – put. What’s more, I suspect that the examples that Stephen gives (it’s well worth reading the whole piece) will come as news to many. Can you imagine that the same would have been true (or that the obituaries would have been so kind) if Ustinov’s beloved monsters had been on the ‘Right’?
Yet again we are reminded that some apologists for mass murder are more equal than others.
Posted at 03:56 PM
JUNK FOOD JIHADIST [Andrew Stuttaford]
Literally. From the Independent:
”Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed arrives 20 minutes late for our meeting in a small navy hatchback, his substantial frame shoehorned into the front passenger seat. With two frowning assistants trailing behind, the white-robed imam heads into Burger King, an unlikely choice of venue for the leader of Al-Muhajiroun, a party dedicated to the overthrow of Western society.
"Do you not want to get some fries?" asks the bearded and bespectacled cleric who teaches Islamic law. I mutter about the evils of junk food. He sighs and nods in agreement.
"That's why I'm fat!" he declares…
Posted at 03:17 PM
PREJUDICE AGAINST FATHERS... [Andrew Stuttaford]
…in custody battles? Bob Geldof thinks so, and he thinks it’s wrong.
Posted at 03:05 PM
THE SHRINKING AMERICAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
All junk food’s fault, apparently. Of course.
The data looks counter-intuitive (over to you, Iain Murray), and comments such as these don’t inspire confidence:
”America has eight million people with no job, 40 million individuals with no health insurance, 35 million living below the poverty line, and a population that exists mainly on junk food.”
Posted at 02:48 PM
MOROCCO [Andrew Stuttaford]
”The Islamist threat in Morocco is clearly far greater than anyone has so far been willing to acknowledge. It is no longer possible to ignore or cover up the kind of extremist fury which drove a young fanatic to stab seven tourists and then himself on the beach at Agadir last summer. 'This kind of assault is not isolated any more,' says M'Hamed Hamrouch. 'It is part of an Islamist culture of hate. Moroccans know what the dangers are, they have seen what has happened in Algeria with the growth of Islamism. But for sentimental reasons, or because they do not feel that they are like Algerians, they do not think that it can happen here.'
“The Algerian journalist Hassane Zerrouky is even more explicit, writing in Le Matin: 'Morocco now is just like Algeria was in the early Nineties. It begins in the social sphere, with people like Nadia Yassine influencing women and the Islamist students in the universities. Then the Islamists begin to ban everything by force they don't like, from cabaret shows to cinemas to women in swimming pools. This is how they get a grip on the culture.'
“Middle-class Moroccans argue that their culture is rich enough to withstand what they see as an alien culture exported from Algeria and, ultimately, Saudi Arabia.”
Read the whole thing.
Posted at 02:44 PM
PROGRESS? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Well, this is a small, but encouraging sign. Trevor Phillips, the head of the UK’s often rather Orwellian “Commission for Racial Equality”, seems, at last, to be acknowledging that multiculturalism has its limits.
The Guardian notes that In a newspaper interview [he]… said that 'multiculturalism suggests separateness' and added that the UK should strive towards a more homogeneous culture with 'common values ... the common currency of the English language, honouring the culture of these islands, like Shakespeare and Dickens'.
That’s a statement of the obvious, of course, but it’s nice to hear him say it. The responses to these comments quoted by the Guardian (including those of Lord Taylor, a ‘Conservative’ peer who has long since established his credentials for cretinism) are largely predictable, and largely depressing, although the philosopher Roger Scruton, as so often, gets it right:
”Multiculturalism is a recipe for disintegration and instead we should have a common culture that also embraces differences.”
America please note.
Posted at 01:56 PM
FAILING GRADE [John J. Miller]
The American Textbook Council--a sensible watchdog group--just issued a new report on world history textbooks for students in grades six through twelve. Would it surprise you to learn that they found some problems? "In subjects ranging from Africa to terrorism, the nation's leading world history textbooks provide unreliable, often scanty information ... In doing so, these textbooks foster ignorance of geopolitics and deprive students of authentic global understanding." Read the entire 35-page report here.
Posted at 01:54 PM
SAUDI WATCH [KJL]
From Michael Isikoff:
April 12 issue - A federal investigation into the bank accounts of the Saudi Embassy in Washington has identified more than $27 million in "suspicious" transactions—including hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to Muslim charities, and to clerics and Saudi students who are being scrutinized for possible links to terrorist activity, according to government documents obtained by NEWSWEEK. The probe also has uncovered large wire transfers overseas by the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The transactions recently prompted the Saudi Embassy's longtime bank, the Riggs Bank of Washington, D.C., to drop the Saudis as a client after embassy officials were "unable to provide an explanation that was satisfying," says a source familiar with the discussions….
Posted at 11:16 AM
PA DEBATE COVERAGE [KJL]
from the AP
Posted at 11:05 AM
MADRID RINGLEADER [KJL]
Do you still get your martyrdom rewards if you only take one innocent (a policeman) with you?
Posted at 10:10 AM