WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE TO THE RANTISI KILLING [KJL]
As we have repeatedly made clear, Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorist attacks. Hamas is a terrorist organization that attacks civilians, and that claimed responsibility for the suicide attack today that killed one and injured other Israeli guards at the Erez crossing. The United States is gravely concerned for regional peace and stability. The United States strongly urges Israel to consider carefully the consequences of its actions, and we again urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint at this time. This is especially true at a moment when there is hope that an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza will bring a new opportunity for progress toward peace. All parties should focus on the positive, concrete steps needed now to make the Gaza withdrawal successful.
Posted at 08:15 PM
MOMMA'S GOT A BOMB [KJL]
I missed this during the week: a 28-year-old Palestinian mother of 7 was stopped with a bag of explosives on the West Bank.
Posted at 08:01 PM
I'd love an update on how these Marines are doing in their quest for a MarineTV Iraq. If you haven't checked it all out (though I know a lot of you have contributed), click here.
Posted at 07:48 PM
EMORY STUDENTS VS. MARY ROBINSON [KJL]
Posted at 07:46 PM
MEETING MR. RIGHT: HE COULD BE A--GASP!--REPUBLICAN [KJL]
MSN Dating advice:
Strike that balance between agreeing with everything the other person says (being a blank slate is boring) and attacking everything he says as being wrong-minded. Testani says, "Just because someone's -- gasp! -- a Republican doesn't mean he doesn't belong on the planet."
Posted at 07:25 PM
PRESIDENT POWELL [John J. Miller]
Ramesh: And don't forget whom the Standard wanted as president, before it wanted John McCain.
Posted at 06:01 PM
DON'T FORGET YOUR FAVORITE SECRETARY [KJL]
Posted at 04:58 PM
ISRAELI TAKES RANTISI [KJL]
Posted at 04:41 PM
LANCE LANCED [Andrew Stuttaford]
It may be a fine newspaper, but the Wall Street Journal can, occasionally, be a little harsh. In an article (weekend section) on Friday on Hollywood’s increasing use of ‘no name’ actors in blockbuster movies, the newspaper mounted an astonishing attack on the great Lance Henriksen, noting, rather snootily, that Henriksen “recently played Garbageman in the straight-to-video insect thriller Mimic 3,” as if this somehow signified 'no name' status and thus disqualification for a lead role in the latest Alien movie.
Well, first off, there is absolutely nothing wrong with straight-to-video insect movies, a respected genre, even if I can’t, ahem, pin down any other examples at this moment. Secondly, as any fule kno, as “Bishop” in two of the earlier movies, Henriksen (also the star of the much-missed Millennium) has strong Alien credilility.
He will do splendidly.
Posted at 04:41 PM
FILTH AND "SCHOOL OF ROCK" [Peter Robinson]
From a reader:
I watched it TWICE with my 3 children. I, like Derb, believe "popular culture is filth". But this movie is an exception to that rule.Thank you very much, and this daddy is off to Blockbuster.
Posted at 04:39 PM
MERMAID DISSED [Andrew Stuttaford]
What, exactly, were the police thinking? From Sky News:
“Daryl Hannah has been questioned by police after acting like her Kill Bill: Vol 2 character at the LA premiere. She aroused suspicion by doing kung fu poses and behaving cockily…”
That’s an offense?
Posted at 04:31 PM
FLIPPER [Andrew Stuttaford]
A bastard, apparently:
“The following dolphin-perpetrated atrocities have been widely documented: gang rape of dolphin females; prostitution of same; porpoise holocausts; adults grabbing adorable baby dolphins in their beaks and whacking them to death.”
Sharks, the lot of them.
Posted at 04:26 PM
DISILLUSIONS [Peter Robinson ]
Still catching up, I just read the new editorial from NRODT, “An End to Illusion.” A marvelous piece of analysis and writing, the editorial is tightly-reasoned and—an element lacking in much commentary over the last couple of weeks—calm. A couple of sentences:
“Even if the administration had avoided…mistakes…it is still possible Iraq would be very messy. But this concession points to an intellectual mistake made prior to the occupation: an underestimation in general of the difficulty of implanting democracy in alien soil, and an overestimation in particular of the sophistication of what is fundamentally still a tribal society and one devastated by decades of tyranny.”
As my Hoover colleague Tom Sowell said over lunch a couple of weeks ago (I made notes afterwards rather than during lunch itself, but this is a close paraphrase): “Don’t they [the members of the Bush administration] realize how many centuries it took to establish democracy in Europe? And now we’re supposed to establish democracy in Iraq? On a timetable?”
A democracy in Iraq would be splendid, of course. But since in all history the Arab world has seen exactly one democracy, that of Lebanon, which lasted only from the 1940s to the 1970s, it would represent a high achievement if we could merely ensure that Iraq proved, on the whole, peaceable and prosperous, becoming, as Mark Steyn has put it, “the least badly–governed Arab country.”
Posted at 04:12 PM
BOOKSTORE SABOTEURS [John Derbyshire]
Larry Henry notes: "John---I found Midge Decter's 'Old Wife's Tale' in 'History of Feminism' at the B & N in Clark, NJ. So if that's where you've gone, you've got good company."
OK, everybody getting the message here? If you want to find a book by a conservative author, head for the feminism/queer studies/African-American shelves. If that doesn't pan out, try wherever it is they shelve CLASS WAR FOR DUMMIES.
Posted at 04:06 PM
HOMER RODS [John Derbyshire]
Can't resist posting those "I bet you won't post this" posts, even the ones that tell me my fly is open.
"Hi John--You mentioned Mao Zedong's quote about a man's death being either 'light as a feather or heavier than Mount Tai.' The quote is actually from Sima Qian's Shi Ji, written in the 1st century BC. (click here and scroll down the the last selection - but the website got the wrong century!)
"You're not likely to post this, but in any case please be sure to withhold my name."
Posted at 04:05 PM
IRANIAN STUDENTS GET 30 LASHES [KJL]
for their role in last spring's unrest.
Posted at 04:03 PM
RE: KERRY & THE CARDINAL [KJL]
Peter, McCarrick’s spokeswoman made a statement, as did the Kerry camp, emphasizing that the meeting was pastoral/ get-to-know you visit. The cardinal’s spokeswoman, Susan Gibbs, also said "we are to be clear in our teaching, and the faithful are called to understand and live the teaching.” Unfortunately what that teaching is seemed not to be mentioned to the press, and she added, "Cardinal McCarrick would be reluctant to use the Eucharist as a sanction." It would have been nice had the cardinal made a 101 statement on this all—as he happens to be heading a bishops' committee on Catholics pols with these issues.
Posted at 04:03 PM
CATCHING UP [Peter Robinson ]
Just back from Tahoe, where we took the kids during Easter break for some spring skiing. (Note of parental pride: In three days, the kids went from never having skied in their lives to skiing expert, or “black diamond,” runs. Spring snow is slow snow, of course, and it would be too much to say that the children skied the expert slopes in an expert fashion—our seven-year old managed to get one ski stuck so securely in a mogul that the ski and the boot both popped off, leaving Andrew wiggling a stockinged foot in the air as he bleated for help from his mother, while our eleven-year old, Pedro, lost control on a patch of ice, fell, and then slid a good 75 yards on his bottom—but each of the children spent most of his time upright and all his time displaying adventurousness, rapidly developing skills, and high hilarity.) After catching up on the postings I missed while out of town, two questions.
The first for Kathryn: After his meeting with John Forbes Kerry, did Theodore Cardinal McCarrick issue a statement? Or say anything to the press? Or was it just as you feared—namely that the Cardinal said nothing, in effect giving the senator his imprimatur as a Catholic in good standing?
And the second for Derb: After our trip to the mountains the whole family is tired and in the mood to stay in and watch a movie or two this weekend, but if I have to sit through “The Sound of Music” of “Finding Nemo” one more time I’ll go mad. Our kids run in age from seven to just a couple of months shy of 13. (There is also a two-year old, but since she’s uninterested in anything more advanced than “Barney,” she does not, for present purposes, count.) Do I understand your posting below to mean that you’d recommend “School of Rock?” Even for children? This is important.
Posted at 04:00 PM
TWENTY TO THREE, HARDLY FAIR [Tim Graham]
While I'm lolly-gagging around with a visit from my parents who flew out from Wisconsin, MRC's Rich Noyes and Jessica Anderson were counting up the appearance of 9-11 victim families on the morning shows from March 23 to April 15. Nine guests, with a total of 20 appearances, were critics of the President, compared with only three interviews with two Bush supporters. (None of the relatives were neutral or ambiguous in their comments about the Bush administration’s supposed negligence.)
Neither ABC nor CBS featured any morning interviews with pro-Bush relatives, while NBC squeezed in two Bush backers: Jim Boyle, the father of a New York firefighter killed on 9/11, appeared twice on the Today show, while Deborah Burlingame, the sister of one of the pilots on American Airlines Flight 77, appeared once. But they were hardly alone in their views; Boyle was one of 40 9/11 relatives who signed a public letter praising Condoleezza Rice and rejecting the charge the President ignored obvious signs that the horrible terrorist attacks were coming, according to the April 14 New York Post.
Posted at 03:41 PM
RE: THE STANDARD [KJL]
Gee whiz, what about the neocon war conspiracy?
Posted at 03:40 PM
THUGGERY [Andrew Stuttaford]
As tens of thousands of victims could testify (at least those who were left alive) brutality has been as much a characteristic of Castro’s regime as economic failure, oppression and lies. You would think, however, that, these days, Castro’s thugs would have the sense to confine their violence to their home turf. Apparently not.
“After the United Nations Commission on Human Rights narrowly passed a resolution today [April 15] critical of Cuba, members of Cuba's governmental delegation attacked Frank Calzon, executive director of the Washington-based Center for a Free Cuba.”
Wait, what am I saying? Those goons knew they would be safe:
“The attack took place inside the United Nations building in Geneva.”
Posted at 03:03 PM
KERRY AND TAXES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kerry, at least, is not inevitable, but over at Instapundit there’s some discussion as to what the Democratic candidate has been doing when taxes strike home. It appears (and note that word) that, in the past Kerry has declined to participate in a masochistic opportunity offered by the Massachusetts tax code. In Massachusetts, state taxpayers can choose an optional higher tax rate of 5.85% - instead of the normal 5.3%. Personally, if Kerry didn’t pay this extra, I wouldn’t blame the guy one bit, and, yes, he could make some ‘free rider’ arguments to defend his stance. Nevertheless, this could be something worth remembering next time you hear Kerry preaching about ‘the rich’ needing to contribute more.
You first, Senator.
And, while on the topic of tax, what about Mrs. Kerry’s returns? She’s not releasing them, citing her own privacy. That’s understandable. In some ways, we ask politicians to disclose too much of their personal business, let alone their personal lives, and that’s even more true of their families. Hillary Clinton, a ‘co-president’ with an explicit role in policy-making was one thing, but disclosure by a Mrs. Dean (whose general insistence on her right to live her own life was, I thought, entirely praiseworthy) or, possibly, Mrs. Kerry might be a different matter altogether. Then again, the sums of money at Mrs. Kerry’s disposal are, reportedly, so large that they raise issues in their own right.
Over to you, Senator.
Posted at 02:55 PM
IT'S CALLED COMPETITION [Andrew Stuttaford]
Well, this looks absurd. CNN is reporting that “U.S. radio broadcasters have asked federal regulators to bar rival satellite radio services from offering content tailored to local markets.” The FCC is, apparently, ‘reviewing’ this request.
What’s to review? The broadcasters should be told to take their request, and shove it.
Posted at 02:41 PM
THE WEEKLY STANDARD VS. RUMSFELD [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The latest Kristol-Kagan editorial argues that we have too few troops in Iraq, and that Rumsfeld should learn from his mistakes--or Bush should find a SecDef who will. Strong stuff, and I'm sympathetic to the view that we have had too few troops in Iraq. But didn't Kristol and Kagan come out for Rumsfeld's resignation from the administration back in 2001, when the China spy plane incident supposedly showed the administration's lack of seriousness about national security? (They wanted Wolfowitz out too.) How many times can you go back to this well?
Posted at 02:07 PM
GAS TAXES: ANOTHER POINT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
On the site, I have a piece in which I claim that the best argument for a gas-tax hike is that it would redirect oligopoly rents from OPEC to the U.S. Treasury. One thing I did not note is that this argument is in tension with the claim that a gas-tax hike is a good idea because it would promote conservation. The anti-OPEC argument assumes that the price is already about as high as it can go, and any tax would come out of the profits. The conservation argument assumes that the price will go higher--indeed, it is more effective to the extent it leaves OPEC with the same share of the revenue from any particular gallon.
Posted at 02:01 PM
Friday, April 16, 2004
MORE FOX [KJL]
Andy McCarthy is on Fox & Friends tom'w at 820am.
Posted at 08:22 PM
KRAUTHAMMER DOWNPLAYS EXPECTATIONS TODAY [Rich Lowry]
"The other major difference between Vietnam and Iraq is the social terrain. In Vietnam, we confronted a decades-old, centralized nationalist (communist) movement. In Iraq, no such thing exists. Iraq is highly factionalized along lines of ethnicity and religion.
Until now, we have treated this as a problem. Our goal has been to build a united, pluralistic, democratic Iraq in which the factions negotiate their differences the way we do in the West.
It is a noble goal. It would be a great achievement for the Middle East. But it may be a bridge too far. That may happen in the future, when Iraq has had time to develop the habits of democracy and rebuild civil society, razed to the ground by Saddam.
But until then, expecting Iraqis to fight with us on behalf of a new abstract Iraq may be unrealistic. Some Iraqi police and militia did fight with us in the last few weeks. But many did not. That is not hard to understand. There is no de Gaulle. There is no organizing anti-Saddam resistance myth. There is as yet no legitimate Iraqi leadership to fight and die for.
What there is to fight and die for is tribe and faith. Which is why we should lower our ambitions and see Iraqi factionalization as a useful tool. Try to effect, within the agreed interim constitution, a transfer of power to the more responsible elements of the Shiite majority, the moderates who see Sadr as the Iranian agent and fascistic thug that he is."
Posted at 05:33 PM
DEBATE [Rich Lowry]
I will be debating David Corn at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota Thursday at the OEC Auditorium, 2115 Summit Ave., at 7:30 pm. If you are a conservative in the area, please come.
Posted at 05:05 PM
THE BRAHAMI PLAN [Rich Lowry]
Here is what I’ve picked up from those following Iraq closely about the Brahami plan. I’ve been wondering why picking another group of Iraqis to govern the country will make for a body with any more legitimacy than the current governing council. I’m told these are the reasons: 1) the key people in the government will be independent and not associated with any political party; 2) they won’t be exiles, so will have deeper organic connections to Iraqi society; 3) they’ll be picked by the UN—although with our input—so they don’t carry the taint of being selected by the occupying power. There will also be a broad advisory council selected of perhaps more than 1,000 people that will serve as a clearing house for all Iraqi opinion and work to achieve consensus on important issues. The dirty secret about this assembly is that it will probably be chosen in a process very similar to the original U.S. caucus plan that was shot down by Sistani and others. As for the tough questions raised by David Rivkin and Lee Casey on the homepage right now, I’m told that it shouldn’t be a problem because a new UN resolution will authorize the U.S. military presence and thus protect it from having the rug pulled out from under it. Also, we should probably expect some level of carping about our military operations because resentment against us, weirdly enough, is an important element in achieving the sort of Iraqi unity we want. We are going to have to put up with a major piece of cognitive dissonance in Iraq: they dislike us for invading and humiliating them, but don’t want us to leave yet because they know we are important to the progress of their society. I'm not sure what to make of all this myself exactly, but pass it along...
Posted at 05:02 PM
FOX [Rich Lowry]
I’m scheduled to be on Fox tomorrow at 1:30 pm. Also, I’m a guest panelist on Fox News Watch, which airs tomorrow at 6:30 pm and is repeated at various times during the weekend.
Posted at 04:58 PM
ECUMENISM: THE AMERICAN WAY [Mike Potemra ]
John Allen, Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, is a truly indispensable journalist. Most of his scoops, understandably, have to do with the actions and controversies of the leaders of the Catholic Church in Vatican City. But in his latest column, he tells a wonderful story about spending Easter in a small town in Kansas: “When we arrived, [my wife and I] learned that the Ministerial Alliance, an ecumenical coalition of the various Christian denominations in town, had pooled $1800 to rent the local cinema for free showings of ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ open to anyone who wanted to come. For three nights, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals and Lutherans sat shoulder by shoulder, then went out for coffee, pie, and conversation. . . . This was not a one-off event. On April 9, the Ministerial Alliance held its annual Unity Service at the local Christian Church, a liturgy celebrating common Christian identity rooted in baptism. A similar event took place around the same time in a neighboring town, and Hill City’s Catholic pastor, Fr. Don McCarthy, cited the sermon given by the Methodist minister that day in his own Easter homily. The gesture seemed to encapsulate the close relationship among the town’s ministers. Hill City’s churches hold an annual picnic together, they sponsor a food pantry together . . . The churches also pray for one another during Sunday services.” Allen says his grandmother can still remember a time, some 50 years ago, when Hill City Protestants tried to prevent the construction of a Catholic Church; those days are over. This vignette from America’s Heartland says great things about our country--the kind of stuff we think about on the Fourth of July. Whenever we think about our soldiers in Iraq, we should reflect that we have a very high national purpose: to help the rest of the world enjoy some things we take for granted.
Posted at 03:52 PM
UNDER THE GUN [John J. Miller]
Here's a quick review of Arlen Specter's record on gun rights.
Posted at 03:23 PM
DALLAS CONFIDENTIAL [Rod Dreher]
Dallas DA Bill Hill has been in hot water for a couple of years over a huge scandal involving the jailing of illegal Mexican immigrants for selling what authorities knew were fake drugs. There's a grand jury trying to get to the bottom of who knew what, when, and there are lots of questions centering on whether or not the powerful Hill, a son of Dallas' tony Highland Park neighborhood, knew that his prosecutors were putting away innocent Mexicans. So get this: last week, a day before an assistant prosecutor in Hill's office, a young man who had recently fallen out of favor with Hill, was set to testify before the grand jury, the guy turns up dead in his own home, with slit wrists. And all of official Dallas is as silent as the grave about this very suspicious turn of events -- except for my colleague Ruben Navarrette. Ruben's column today only touches on the tip of the iceberg.
Posted at 02:07 PM
AREN'T THERE ANY CONSERVATIVE BOOKSTORE CLERKS? [John Derbyshire]
A reader in upstate New York: "Dear Mr. Derbyshire---Just a quick FYI, I was browsing at Barnes & Nobles on Wednesday night and had the urge to take a look at your book Prime Obsession (I am a bit of a freeloader, I like to read the books in the bookstore, since I graduated from college last May the first job does not pay all that well). I had trouble locating it in the math section so I asked one of the helpful Marxist clerks if he could help me find it. He looked around and could not seem to find it, and then he consulted the computer and said that the computer records indicate that they should have seventeen copies in the store. We went back to the math section and then the science section but to no avail. The clerk said that the last name Derbyshire sounded familiar and I mentioned you write for National Review and NRO and he kind of chuckled. In closing, I think either your books are being shoplifted at an alarming rate OR your books are stowed away in the History of Feminism section."
General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, used to ask: "Why should the Devil have all the best tunes?" Looks like Old Nick has all the bookstore clerks, too. Grrrrr.
Posted at 02:03 PM
DISCOVERY [John Derbyshire]
I'm probably way behind the curve here -- I usually am (why do you think my NRODT column is called "The Straggler"?) -- but I have just discovered Jack Black. The guy is funny.
This happened last weekend. Mom took Nellie (11) to the store to get a family movie we could watch. There was a mix-up, and Nellie came home with School of Rock . Well, when they got home with it, Mom expressed surprise -- she thought they'd chosen something else, and Dad pronounced it Not Suitable. Rituals of pleading and beseeching then took place, with some taking of oaths and promises of reform. Dad buckled, and we watched the thing. It was funny. I'm not sure why -- the story is totally implausible, but somehow Jack carried it off. I never heard of this guy before. He's GOOD. Even funnier in the supplementary material than in the movie -- always a good sign. Thanks, Jack.
Posted at 02:00 PM
DICK CLARK ON LARRY KING TONIGHT [KJL]
Weird, it's just been three weeks really, and I, of course, assumed grandstander, not bandstander. I was wrong.
Posted at 01:49 PM
MY SPECTER [John J. Miller]
Looks like there was a problem with the link I posted to my Specter story this morning. Try this one.
Posted at 01:28 PM
PLEASE MOVE YOUR EYES AND CURSOR TO THE TOP OF THIS PAGE [KJL]
Give the good folks at the Acton MBA program about a click and look-see. As you may know, ads are a lifeblood for us, and the more you click on the ones we've got, the more we get...and so the more we can give you in return. And, you might find a good new resource or opportunity in the meantime.
Posted at 01:25 PM
RE: PRIVATE OF THE BUFFS [John Derbyshire]
A reader chides me for posting a link to Sir Francis Doyle's fine poem, on the grounds that the poem is politically incorrect.
Well, duh. The friggin' thing was written 140 years ago. What do you expect? That all our ancestors, back into the immemorial past, should have conformed to the intellectual fads of the early 21st century?
Is there any way we can stop people like this from reading NRO, Kathryn?
Posted at 01:13 PM
RE: POP CULTURE UEBER ALLES [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: In re the Florida teen who told the hitman to shoot his Mom but spare the TV, one canot but recall dear old Barbara Frietchie
"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country's flag," she said.This is really just an early-21st-century version of Barbara Frietchie. After all, I have no doubt that there are several millions of American teens who value their TV higher than their country's flag.
Posted at 01:12 PM
PA. OFFICIAL CHARGES SPECTER STAFF THREATENS: NO ENDORSEMENT, NO PROJECT [Jack Fowler]
Big story in Allentown Morning Call and other papers is bad news for Arlen Specter as his race against conservative Rep. Pat Toomey enters home-stretch. In a nutshell: Lehigh County (PA) Commissioner Andy Roman – discussing a local rail project with Specter legislative aides – says
And at the end of the conversation, the question was, "By the way, we understand there’s a possibility you may not be supporting the senator." And I said, "Well, you’re right, I’m supporting U.S. Rep.Pat Toomey." And the tenor of the conversation changed very quickly. They said, "If that’s the case, your rail initiative will come to a sudden end, and it will never happen."Specter spokesman denies conversation happened that way. But Roman says “This kind of intimidation is widespread across the whole state. . . . Arlen Specter has put the fear of God into every elected official you talk to, and people are given the message quite clearly: That if you cross Arlen Specter, you will pay a price.”
Posted at 01:07 PM
"AIR AMERICA" [Jonah Goldberg]
My anti-Franken column has generated some hysterical (in every sense) emails. Most are wayyyyyyyy too long to post, which in itself is a sign of hysteria. But here's an okay one, but it is brief:
Hypocrisy thy name is republican!! The word has become ugly among many on the left and the middle. I voted for George Bush in the 2000 elections and it's the worst mistake I've ever made. I'll never vote for another republican as long as I live. Why did I go to the left? Because I see a pervasive movement among the people on the right to take away my rights in the country. My rights as a woman (abortion legislation) and my rights as a citizen (Patriot Act). I am also VERY alarmed at the influence the religious right has over the current administration. Considering your name is Goldberg (I'm assuming your Jewish) you should be deeply concerned about this as well. I also see a profound level of secrecy in this administration that has not been seen since the Nixon administration. What do they have to hide? Lots. People seem to forget- these people are suppose to be working for us. In addition to the complete lack of accountability.... need I go on? How are republicans so blind to the dubious acts of this administration? How can you justify us taking valuable and limited military resources out of Afghanistan to fight an uneccessary war in Iraq? How can you excuse the promotion of freedom and democracy for Iraq by this administration when they're shutting down their newspapers? You people call yourselves conservatives but YOUR president has taken us from a substantial surplus to billions of dollars in debt, that is going to take generations to pay off. How can you excuse the inexcusable? The list is growing ever longer. You say Al and Air America have no content? How arrogant and absurd. Looking at the current situation the only people I see without a leg to stand is you sir and the people you represent. Liberal now and never going back....
Posted at 11:52 AM
CONTRA YGLESIAS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Kay Hymowitz looked at the ideological trends among college kids recently. The Harvard data wasn't out yet, but the longterm trends seem to support my view.
Posted at 11:38 AM
CHAVEZ VS. GORELICK [John J. Miller]
Linda Chavez was on the Jamie Gorelick beat a couple of weeks ago: See here. Here latest column is here.
Posted at 11:17 AM
SNARLIN' AT ARLEN [John J. Miller]
A Philadelphia newspaper has printed a short piece by me on what's wrong with Arlen Specter.
Posted at 11:04 AM
COLORADO SENATE [John J. Miller]
A new poll suggests that Pete Coors is a stronger general-election candidate for the GOP than Bob Schaffer, though both trail Democrat Ken Salazar.
Posted at 10:57 AM
POP CULTURE UBER ALLES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Over to you Derb: Florida teen tells hitman to kill mom, protect TV.
Posted at 10:43 AM
COLLEGIANS ON THE DOLE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:41 AM
CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Matt Yglesias draws much comfort from some data showing that college kids lean Democratic. That's fine. But he erects something of a strawman by saying that "There's been a campaign under way for several years now to convince the world that young people in general, and college students in particular, are a bunch of Bush-loving rightwingers." I'm sure some folks have been involved in what Yglesias calls "myth-making" but on the whole I think he misses the real effort and the real argument. The twofold argument I've been hearing from conservatives in recent years (inlcuding from me) is that the left's generations-long myth making about the inherently progressive nature of "the youth" is a bunch of bunk. And Yglesias' preferred numbers demonstrate that ably. Kerry leads Bush among college kids by 48-38 and does even better among likely voters. Okay. But more than a third of college kids don't like Kerry. And, I'll not only bet you those numbers will improve in Bush's favor as they are "soft" but I'll also bet that most of these numbers are personality driven rather than ideology driven.
Second, the trend conservatives have been noting is that the students are to the right of the professors -- which I think is undoubtedly true. I would also bet that they are even further to the right of the administrators. The fact that support for Nader is declining among college students further illustrates that the liberal babyboomers' solopsistic B.S. about college kids being inherently radical is so much wishful thinking.
I'd also add that college kids are increasingly libertarian these days. Whether that holds over time remains to be seen since collegiate libertarianism is often (but not always) based in a desire to be cool and rebellious against the right and the left. But, it's certainly true that a libertarian, principled or otherwise, could go either way between Bush and Kerry
Look, I have a long track-record of disdain for "youth" oriented politics of all kinds, but if Yglesias is basically putting a cheery spin on both a trend and a revelation that does not help the left. Sure, it's a myth that college kids are all Burkeans today. But I don't know anyone who ever said they were. I do know lots of people who've said and believe that being young is synonymous with being liberal, or "progressive". And that's bunk, and largely always has been.
Posted at 09:58 AM
READ HENNINGER TODAY [KJL]
Posted at 09:40 AM
RE: BOB DYLAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Tim - I don't what you guys are talking about. I look at Bob Dylan with that cigarette-stained skin powdered up to look like a laundered old couch, those baked-bean teeth, that thousand-mile stoner stare and that white man's 'fro and I think of only one thing: Masterful lover.
Posted at 09:28 AM
PRIVATE OF THE BUFFS [John Derbyshire]
I realise, a little late, that people not raised in England probably don't know the story on which Sir Francis Doyle based his poem. Here it is, from the London Times of 1860: "Some Sikhs and a private of the Buffs (the East Kent Regiment), having remained behind with the grog-carts, fell into the hands of the Chinese. On the next morning they were brought before the authorities and commanded to perform the kotow. The Sikhs obeyed; but Moyse, the English soldier, declaring that he would not prostrate himself before any Chinaman alive, was immediately knocked on the head, and his body thrown on a dunghill." This was during the Anglo-Chinese War of that year.
Here is a charming note on the poet, from Michael Turner's anthology of Victorian verse, Parlour Poetry:
SIR FRANCIS HASTINGS CHARLES DOYLE, second baronet (1810-1888), came of military stock and most of his male relatives seem to have been colonels at the very least. He went to Eton and Oxford, where, the D.N.B. [= Dictionary of National Biography] reports, "his intercourse with Gladstone became very intimate." Called to the bar, he later received the appointment of receiver-general of customs. To compensate perhaps for remaining a civilian, he wrote stirring military ballads: "The Red Thread of Honour" was translated into Pushtoo and "became a fovarite among the villagers on the north-western frontier of India." To crown his literary ambitions, he was elected professor of poetry at Oxford in 1867.
Posted at 09:19 AM
DEATH OF A HERO [John Derbyshire]
All honor, praise, and glory to Fabrizio Quattrocchi, who died like a man at the hands of those who wish to destroy his civilization -- the civilization to which his country contributed so tremendously much.
Mao Tse-tung noted that "a man's death can be as light as a feather, or heavier than Mount Tai." For once, the old despot got something right. There is something especially stirring about the story of an unarmed man, helpless at the hands of pitiless thugs, who yet refuses to kneel or bow. May Fabrizio Quattrocchi be remembered in that select company, like the Private of the Buffs. (Who, if memory serves, has a walk-on part in one of the Flashman books.)
Just a thought: As a tribute to this brave hero, why not offer honorary U.S. citizenship to any members of Quattrocchi's immediate family that care to take it?
Posted at 08:56 AM
THE NATION FOR ARLEN [Jim Boulet]
The Nation, a far-left magazine that still believes Alger Hiss innocent, seldom speaks well of any Republican. Yet its just-released May 3rd issue carries an article "Election Matters: The GOP Hunts Its Own" which bluntly backs Pennsylvania's Republican Senator, Arlen Specter, for reelection. Why does The Nation love Arlen so?
[I]n a closely divided Senate, Specter's tendency to side with liberals on social issues, as well as his willingness to challenge the worst excesses of the right on judicial nominations, tax cuts, the minimum wage, school choice and tort reform, has made him a Republican that Democrats can deal with. ...Stephen Moore's warning in NRO to Senator Specter's Republican friends looks more prescient than ever. Both The Nation and The New Yorker have stated that Arlen Specter is the best choice for Pennsylvania Republicans. Pennsylvania Republicans have now been warned.
Posted at 08:36 AM
BILL VS. KWAME [Michael Graham]
was on guest hosting a talk show last night leading up to the Apprentice and my callers made their predictions. The near unanimous consensus: Bill outperformed Kwame, but Kwame would win because that's what happens in America when two well-qualified candidates compete for a job and one of them is black.
I'm stunned Trump didn't pick Kwame only because, if he had, talk radio would be abuzz this morning with complaints about reverse discrimination. From a "shameless self promotion" standpoint, that seemed to be the Donald's obvious pick.
Posted at 08:24 AM
GORELICK UPDATE II [Tim Graham]
The WashTimes also editorializes on Gorelick today.
Posted at 07:08 AM
GORELICK UPDATE [Tim Graham]
In the Washington Times, Charles Hurt updates the Jamie Gorelick Memo story. The Dems are wrapping their defenses around Tom Kean. I dispute the expert in the story who said her background as deputy AG from 1994-97 was "well-known" -- perhaps to D.C. insiders, but not the average American who's being denied the Gorelick scoop by the TV news titans.
Posted at 07:06 AM
SHILLIN' DYLAN [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, the spousal unit lets out a big "Eeewwww" when that Bob Dylan ad comes on. Victoria's Secret has to know that it's selling a, ahem, May-December "romance" message. Still, for Leslie Bennetts to complain that her icon of anti-war nihilism is selling out sounds a little weird coming from a writer for Vanity Fair. What's that publication, a free monthly on newsprint with no bling-bling ads?
PS: Personally, the really confusing ad is the one where the stick of pink chewing gum jumps out of an airplane speaking with a Scottish brogue, lands in a tree, and yells at a squirrel, "What are you lookin' at, you mangy beast?" Now that's thinking waaay outside the box.
Posted at 06:36 AM
RICH RADIO [KJL]
Lowry will be on Bill Bennett's radio show today at 7:30 am (EASTERN)...available in 74 cities nation-wide and at www.bennettmornings.com
Posted at 04:17 AM
WE NEED REGIME CHANGE [KJL]
in Iran for peace in Iraq. It's LEDEEEEEEEEEEN.
Posted at 03:26 AM
BRAS AND BAD MOVES [KJL]
Whatever you think of Victoria Secret primetime network shows (I suspect I know The Corner consensus given gender demographics), seems sad Bob Dylan is creepily in their new ad.
Posted at 03:23 AM
THE NIGHT IS YOUNG [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: The night is indeed young. I, however, am not. Further, it has been a bad evening: dental crisis -- Daniel Oliver cracked a tooth when trying to eat a popcorn kernel (? don't ask, I have no idea) & had to be hauled off to the dentist for a look, then, on the dentist's recommendation, to the oral surgeon for an extraction. Fortunately it was a milk tooth, not an adult tooth. Anyway, he was a brave soldier, so the tooth fairy will come with a $2 reward. Since the darned extraction cost me $315, this makes no economic sense at all -- but then, practically nothing does, I am slowly concluding. And so goodnight.
Posted at 12:22 AM
OUT OF IT [KJL]
We're not exactly a watercooler, but are generally on top of pop culture, right? Bill? Kwame? "You're fired." Ever heard of it? I know everyone's busy getting Jamie Gorelick to resign, but someone must have watched The Apprentice.
Posted at 12:21 AM
ORSON SCOTT CARD TO MEL [Rod Dreher]
The popular science-fiction novelist Orson Scott Card, a practicing Mormon and a political conservative, really loved "The Passion of the Christ," and has lengthy, interesting comments about the film and the reaction to it here. He also sends this open letter to Mel Gibson:
Dear Mr. Gibson,
It looks like you're going to make a profit on The Passion of the Christ. Please don't donate any part of the profits to charity. Instead, use it to finance other films, so this faithful audience can have the visualized stories they hunger for. Keep the standards high, and the audience will only grow. This will do far more for Christianity -- and religious faith in general -- than any other donation you might make.
Remember the parable of the talents, and keep putting this money at risk in service of your faith. Remember that these profits were given to you by fellow believers, because we trusted you as an artist and as a Christian to bring the scripture to life in a way that no sermon -- and no lesser artists -- ever could.
And when award season rolls around next year, please withdraw The Passion of the Christ from consideration for any and all awards.
It would demean this great film to be listed as a competitor for a prize. We don't need to hear absurd and offensive statements like "The Passion of the Christ really has legs as a contender for the Golden Globe" or "The Passion of the Christ is a shoo-in for the best-makeup Oscar."
Hollywood shut you out on this one. Keep this film outside. Don't let them use it as a tool to show how open-minded they are, after the fact. Since this is one of the few perfect films ever made, and since it deals with a subject matter sacred to you and to most of its audience, there will never be four other films worthy of being listed with it in any category.
Posted at 12:19 AM
FIGHT, FIGHT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, no disrespect at all, on the contrary, just disagreement, lots of it! You’re quite correct, there’s no point in going through the drug debate again, but as you sort of, do so shall I. Sort of.
Let’s start with those offending adjectives, and, at the risk of being called Clintonian, some parsing. Remember too that this discussion was kicked off by reference to a striking dishonestly commercial that, in essence, impugned the patriotism of millions of Americans, rough talk indeed at a time of war.
When I used the terms you objected to, I was talking very specifically about ‘drug warriors’. You are quite right that there are many good reasons to oppose legalization. It’s a perfectly respectable point of view held by you and many other reasonable people. The motives of the ‘drug warriors,’ basically the political and ‘moral’ activists who have subjected this country to the disaster of what is, yes, a truly “fatuous” (‘foolish,’ ‘silly’) crusade, are, however, often something else. For far too many of them, their stance is either about political advancement, proclaiming their moral superiority or both. Given that their crusade has, in my view, been immensely destructive to this nation, describing it as ‘self-indulgent’ seems, if anything rather mild.
Turning quickly to the wider subject we’re not meant to be discussing, I certainly don’t think that ending prohibition would be a panacea (we are an imperfect species), but I’m convinced that it would solve more problems than it created.
You mentioned the tragic story of your friend. Awful. Horrific. But no reason to espouse a policy that has wrecked far more lives than legalized heroin ever would. It's worth recalling that ‘addiction’ is a far more complicated phenomenon than drug warriors usually admit. Is an addict a slave to the drug, a zombie who has lost his ability to take decisions for himself? No, of course not, not physically anyway. Cold turkey from opiates is unpleasant, very unpleasant, basically like a very, very nasty case of the flu, but it’s perfectly possible to get through it. What’s more, the idea that the decision to take, and continue taking drugs, is ‘irrational’ is, in fact, usually wrong. Drug taking may be misguided, and it may be self-destructive, but that does not make it irrational.
Are there some people, your ‘irreducibles’ perhaps, who cannot find the strength to quit? Sure, but their problems are better dealt with by physicians than prosecutors. How many junkies have died, I wonder, because the criminalization of their habit pushed them into an environment where medical help was elusive, needles were infected (‘fatuous’ does not even begin to describe the rules against needle exchanges), and cravings were fed by pushers whose only interest was in increasing the dose, the dependency and thus the danger?
Vast subject, so that’s it - for now…
Posted at 12:02 AM
GOOD NIGHT????? [KJL]
The night is young. Wimp! (Can be translated as "Relatively normal person.")
Posted at 12:01 AM
Thursday, April 15, 2004
GOOD NIGHT RABBIT [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm off to bed. Will be on CNN at 8:35ish in the AM. My socks won't match but you'll never be able to tell.
Posted at 11:38 PM
BILL CLINTON JUST TRIED TO KILL ME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Really. I'm serious. Honestly. Talkingpresidents.com Bill Cllinton just fell off a shelf and hit me in my head. Serves me right for having one.
Can you imagine that obit?
Posted at 11:19 PM
SPEAKING OF THE FRENCH [Jonah Goldberg]
Some may be shocked that they've declined Osama Bin Laden's offer to surrender. But my sources say their holding out for a better offer. Maybe something involving actual kowtowing.
Posted at 11:18 PM
NOW, THAT'S AN ARGUMENT! [Jonah Goldberg]
From a "reader":
Considering it was only kikey little farts who led the chorus of anti-French rants, it was worse than racist. It was whiny Jew racism, the worst kind.
Posted at 10:57 PM
DRUG WAR ARGUMENTS [Jonah Goldberg]
Folks - I will read everyone's email as soon as I can. But on this subject especially I don't think I will be responding to emails personally or in the Corner. I know feelings run high on all sides, but with all due respect I've heard all of these arguments before, pro and con (at least judging from the 40 or so emails I've gotten in the last hour) and I simply cannot afford right now to engage in this debate (again). Just one clarification, I did not say that in the long run there will be more drug addicts. I think perhaps the most compelling arguments from the pro-legalization crowd are long-term ones. But in the short run -- a few years to a decade or two -- there would be a lot more drug addicts as the culture worked out the consequences. I am sympathetic to the argument that in the long run society would build up sinew to deal with the issue. But even then, assuming no new technology, we would be making peace with the fact that an irreducible number of people would be permanently enslaved to drugs. Yes, I know an irreducible number of people are enslaved to alcohol (we call them "Kennedys"). But that's an argument which will take us to another place and I'm only mentioning this to clarify my position.
Posted at 08:58 PM
FATUOUS AND SELF-INDULGENT [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew - I have neither the time nor the inclination to restart an argument we've (meaning all of us at NRO) have had many times before. But let me say for the record that I'm often astounded by the inability of drug war opponents to treat with respect or good faith those they disagree with.
I know you obviously meant no offense to me personally, but the phrase "fatuous and self-indulgent," it seems to me, could very well apply to countless legalization advocates who refuse to recognize that there is a good faith argument on the other side. Indeed, I think many of the folks who glibly talk about legalization as if it were a cure-all, a nigh-upon utopian remedy to the very real problems of the drug war miss a simple fact: If we legalized drugs tomorrow, America would have a lot more drug addicts the next day. Not a lot fewer. That would mean a lot more ruined lives. Having watched what drugs have done to people very close to me, including one friend who died in his twenties after years of heroin addiction, I don't think a lot more cases like his would constitute huge progress.
Indeed, I think it is fatuous and self-indulgent to think so. Fatuous because there are simply no truly good answers (except perhaps in some future technology which makes for better drugs or better treatment) and self-indulgent because so many people who've used drugs and stopped think it's just as easy for everybody else to do the same. I like personal responsibility too Andrew, but personal responsibility requires humans to have the capacity to be rational actors. Drug addiction robs many people of precisely that capacity.
I understand that there are real problems of constructing public policies around the misfortune of a relatively small number of individuals. I just wish more pro-legalization conservatives would make the small concession of admitting that they are comfortable with the fate they will in all likelihood be consigning those individuals to if they got their way.
Posted at 05:15 PM
A BRAVE MAN MURDERED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Amid all the talk about European 'appeasement', it's worth reading this extract from a Reuters story:
"ROME, April 15 (Reuters) -...Fabrizio Quattrocchi, one of four Italian security guards abducted [in Iraq] earlier this week, was shot dead on Wednesday after Italy refused to bow to the kidnappers' demands that it withdraw its troops from Iraq. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said a video recording of the killing showed that Quattrocchi was hooded when his kidnappers put a gun to his head. "When the murderers were pointing a pistol at him, this man tried to take off his hood and shouted: 'Now I'm going to show you how an Italian dies'. And they killed him," Frattini said. "He died a hero," he added..."
Indeed he did. The murderers that butchered him are, needless to say, beneath contempt.
Posted at 04:57 PM
DRUGS AND TERROR [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, it may be valid, but it's irrelevant. The black market created by the war on drugs helps fund the terrorists' war on us. It's that simple. The drug warriors are always talking about personal responsibility, well, it's time they took some themselves. We can add terrorism to the list of evils made more destructive by their fatuous and self-indulgent crusade.
Posted at 04:54 PM
DON'T DISARM THE MILITIAS [Rich Lowry]
Jim Hoagland makes an interesting point about the militias in his column today:
"The CPA and the White House must also accept that not all Iraqi militias were created equal, or evil. There are Iraqi security forces willing and able to fight against the Baathist remnants, foreign gangs and Shiite brigands who have put sections of the country in flames.
Posted at 04:22 PM
THANKS TO ALL THE RESEARCH HELPERS TOO [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 04:17 PM
FALLUJA [Rich Lowry]
Interesting piece in the New York Times today about how the Marines killed more than 100 insurgents in a battle Tuesday, while only two Marines were wounded.
Posted at 04:14 PM
EVERYTHING SUPPORTS TERRORISM [Jonah Goldberg]
Numerous readers -- as expected -- don't like my defense of the drugs-help-terrorists ads. Several have noted that buying oil helps terrorists because it sends money to the Saudis and the Saudis give that money terrorists. Others say buying anything could support terrorism because money doesn't support terrorists, people with money suppport terrorists.
I concede the point.
However, terrorists will seek out sources of revenue which are more likely to be invisible to law enforcement. For example, if you buy bootleg cigarettes you are more likely to be supporting terrorists than if you buy regular cigarettes.
Also, by definition, if you buy something illegal you are helping criminals, some of whom might be tied to terrorism in some way. Buying stolen property aids criminals, buying illegal weapons aids criminals and buying illegal drugs aids criminals. You could say if drugs weren't illegal you wouldn't be giving money to outlaws. But I already conceded that point.
Posted at 04:12 PM
THANKS FOR ALL THE VIETNAM EMAILS [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 04:03 PM
LE GARBAGE [Jonah Goldberg ]
The French US Ambassador claims it was "racist" to mock the French in the run-up to the war.
I'm crashing on a deadline. But I'll have comments later.
Posted at 03:20 PM
DRUGS AND TERROR [Jonah Goldberg]
I seem to recall there was a lot of mocking and sneeering around here -- and certainly elsewhere -- when the Drug Policy folks were running ads linking drug use to terrorism. Well it turns out that drug use funded the Madrid bombing.
Yes, yes, yes: I understand that drug legalization advocates can claim this as evidence as to why we should de-criminalize drugs. Fine. But, that doesn't change the fact that the drug-use-helps-pay-for-terrorism argument is essentially valid.
Posted at 03:16 PM
SUSPECT COMMISSION [KJL]
Andy McCarthy's latest on Gorelickgate here. He'll be on Hannity and Colmes tonight, fyi.
Posted at 02:57 PM
RE: BACK IN THE HARNESS [John Derbyshire]
Blimey, people are asking how they can place advance orders already. I am immensely flattered -- thank you! -- but so far the book is just a twinkle in my eye. I don't even have a title yet. (Or rather, I have one, but nobody -- agent, editor, publisher -- likes it.)
Posted at 02:53 PM
RE: DEAD POETS [John Derbyshire]
I am reliably informed (lower left corner you'll see the names) that the University of Nebraska at Lincoln has a residence hall named after Ezra Pound.
Posted at 02:48 PM
THE PRESIDENT'S PRESS CONFERENCE [John Derbyshire]
From a reader in the UK: "I find it difficult, as well, to be sanguine about the press conference, especially since he gave the BBC some fodder to display him as a bumbling fool. On the news last night they played two or three bits of his prepared remarks before going right to him hemming and hawing about not being able to come up with something he wished he'd done differently. He should have known that many outlets were craving footage just like this. Quite depressing, but not unexpected from the BBC."
Yes, this is another thing the President and his handlers need to keep in mind. When he does a speech or a press conference, his enemies -- both foreign and domestic -- are going to edit it to make him look as bad as possible. Moral of the story: Even the bad bits need to be good. Sure that's not easy. Who said the Presidency was an easy job?
Posted at 02:47 PM
BOURGEOIS GENIUSES [John Derbyshire]
A reader: "Mr. Derbyshire---Regarding your corner posting, in the field of music we have J.S. Bach, whose mind was one of the great finely-tuned bourgeois instruments of all time. Particularly let me point out his raising of twenty or so children, which is so much at odds with the intellectual / bohemian mentality."
Posted at 02:40 PM
RE: OBL'S OLIVE BRANCH [John Derbyshire]
Excellent suggestion, from reader Gregg Fanselau in Denver: "Hi Derb---Since it appears bin Laden has offered a treaty, I'd suggest that one of our new allies - perhaps Poland - offer to take him up on it, but on the condition that he present himself to sign the treaty. It would be a win-win: either OBL is killed/captured or he's shown to the world to be a cowardly extortionist."
Posted at 02:38 PM
THANK YOU, ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT [KJL]
The Denver bishop provides some clarity on the KerryCatholicism issue.
Posted at 02:36 PM
LEFT BEHIND [John Derbyshire]
The definitive negative comment on the Left Behind books, from a reader: "I did read the first book and concluded that it was aptly titled: it was half-a**ed."
I take no position. If anyone has an equally definitive positive comment on the books, I'll post that, too.
Fair & balanced, fair & balanced. (It's worth watching FNC just to see Laurie Dhue say that. Or say anything...)
Posted at 02:22 PM
RE: JONAH'S BOOK [John Derbyshire]
Plainly Jonah, like me, cleaves to the "iceberg" theory of authorship: i.e. that the author should only tell a tenth of what he knows.
A surprising number of books are written on the converse principle, the author telling ten times more than he actually knows...
"The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write: a man will turn over half a library to make one book."---Johnson.
Posted at 02:19 PM
TIMING IS EVERYTHING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, while we wait to see how the 'European street' reacts to "bin Laden's" offer, I have to say that the timing of the Bush administration's decision to support the Sharon plan has me puzzled, to say the least. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of that plan (that's an entirely different discussion), to come out in support of it now, particularly against a backdrop of major problems in Iraq is, quite simply, senseless. Yes, we can all mock, and, rightly so, Kerry's 'nuanced' diplomacy, but that's no reason to offer shooting oneself in the foot as the principal alternative. It shouldn't need repeating, but the overriding aim of US foreign policy must be the destruction of the Islamist terrorist threat directed at this country. The President's stance gives Europe yet another 'reason' to distance itself from the US in that struggle and it makes matters even more difficult for America's allies or potential allies (such as they are) in Iraq and elsewhere in the Muslim Middle East. And what does the US get in return? Nothing, so far as I can see. I hope I'm wrong.
Posted at 02:10 PM
MISSED HEADLINE [KJL]
Philly personality Michael Smercondish makes a scary point today.
Posted at 02:08 PM
RE: THE GB SHAW AWARD [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I know the inscription, courtesy of GK Chesterton: “A man like Shaw could invent a new sophistry every ten minutes. It’s as easy as lying, because it IS lying.” (The quote is from “Orthodoxy.”)
Posted at 01:57 PM
RE BATTLE OF NEW YORK [Jonah Goldberg]
Fair point from a reader:
Posted at 01:41 PM
RE: MY BOOK [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I consider myself fairly intelligent- BBA and JD. But when I read the Corner about the topics your requesting for your book, I get the feeling I will need to go back to school first and get a Masters in Liberal Arts, political science (a minor of mine) or perhaps European History in order to understand it fully. Not saying I am not going to buy it, that a definite, but just think its going to be one of those books with a billion footnoted references, all of which will be required reading before taking on the subject and ideals you intend to expound on. My limited knowledge of fascism is limited to my pol-sci professor calling me one for stating that I did not think the Vietnam war was immoral or un-winable and that our leaders only need to stop fighting a war in a PC fashion and carpet bomb the north with daisy-cutters until they surrender unconditionally ala Japan in WWII.
Me: Fear not. I just want to make sure I know what I'm talking about. Nothing in this book will go over anybody's head and it won't go too far in the weeds, except in the appendices where I might tackle some of the academic issues.
Posted at 01:39 PM
RE: BATTLE OF NEW YORK [KJL]
FYI, that's another difference between the MEMRI translation and others’. They translate it as “Battle of New York,” while others have it as “day” or “events.”
Posted at 01:35 PM
RE: BATTLE OF NEW YORK [Jonah Goldberg]
Maybe it means something different in Arabic, but my quick glance at the dictionary suggests that Osama's description of the sneak-attack on the Big Apple as "the Battle of New York" is just factually nuts. Battles require two sides fighting.
Posted at 01:26 PM
OBL'S OLIVE BRANCH [John Derbyshire]
"The Battle of New York," indeed!
Let's exterminate these vermin.
Posted at 01:18 PM
FROM PLATO'S LINTEL [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: "Ageometritos mideis eisito." So there.
Posted at 01:17 PM
OBL SPEECH [KJL]
We've just posted, exclusively at the moment, MEMRI's translation of of bin Laden's speech. There's is slightly different than other versions--they hone in on the Arabic word "suhl," translating the offer as not just a truce, but a peace treaty. Read here.
Posted at 01:10 PM
ANTI-ORWELL LIBERALISM [Jonah Goldberg ]
It sounds like this guy buttered much of the book he was trying to write. But what's interesting nonetheless is the extent to which the substance of arguments matters less than the label attached to those making the arguments. If this reviewer is being fair then Scott Lucas's criticism of Orwell is that his arguments against socialists weren't wrong on the merits, they were wrong because Orwell was "secretly" a conservative. It's as if Orwell would be wrong that two plus two is four if historians could find his secret conservative movement membership card.
Posted at 12:50 PM
ANOTHER BLEG [Jonah Goldberg]
Does anyone know where I can find a complete English translation of the entire Enciclopedia Italiana essay on Fascism written by Giovanni Gentile and Mussolini?
Posted at 12:31 PM
MATH BOOK! [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb - Congrats on the news. I can't tell you how many times I've said, "What the world really needs is more books on math!" Just giving you a hard time. That's very cool.
Posted at 12:20 PM
BLEG: ANTI-NAZI CONSERVATIVES [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's another one. I've got an okay file on this already, but I am always looking for more. Some of the least enthusiastic Nazis were German conservatives in the tradition-bound Army etc. Nazism was a revolutionary ideology after all, and traditionalists in all parties have trouble with revolutionaries. If any students of the era know of any particularly apposite anecdotes, books or essays on this theme please drop me a line at JonahResearch@aol.com.
Posted at 12:18 PM
CAN'T BEAT 'EM [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb - That's a good idea. Anybody know any professional societies that would take a cheap slob like me?
Posted at 12:10 PM
RE: DERB [KJL]
That is wonderful news! Congrats, John.
Posted at 12:09 PM
"ONCE AGAIN" [Jonah Goldberg ]
Once again, President Bush (news - web sites) misspoke on a weapons issue, telling the nation that 50 tons of mustard gas were found in Libya — twice the amount actually uncovered.
Maybe, the AP began a lot of stories about Bill Clinton with "Once again, Clinton boinked an intern..." or "Once again, the President perjured himself..." or "Once again, the President blamed others for his mistakes...." but I don't remember it.
Posted at 12:08 PM
BACK IN THE HARNESS [John Derbyshire]
I have just (literally: I just put down the pen) signed a contract for a new pop-math book, manuscript to be delivered 5/01/05. Are palindromic dates auspicious? Let's hope so.
Posted at 12:05 PM
RE: JSTOR & GATEKEEPERS [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: You are right, JSTOR is great. The way I got access was, by taking a $25-per-annum option on my membership subscritpion to the AMS (= American Mathematical Society). That's a route you might go. My guess is that most professional or academic associations offer some similar option.
Posted at 12:03 PM
TAIWAN'S POLITICAL PARTIES [John Derbyshire]
A few days ago I remarked that the "blue" party in Taiwan (centered around Chiang Kai-shek's old Kuomintang) was the "daddy" party, like the Republicans in the U.S., while President Chen Shui-bian's "greens" were more of a "mommy" party, like our own dear Dems. I was working from the fact that the "blues" are more closely associated with business and the military, while the "greens" tend to favor things like gay marriage and environmental conservation. For a much more nuanced analysis, here is an American living in Taiwan:
"Derb---As a Republican economist living in Taiwan, I think your comparison of the KMT and Republican Party is rather far-fetched. One's views toward China largely determine whether one is Green or Blue, so on economic issues there is more difference within the parties than between the parties. The only exception is trade with China and that is no more an economic question than trade with the USSR during the Cold War was an economic question.
"The environmental policies of the DPP central government and the KMT Taipei City government are equally annoying. One way in which the KMT is similar to the Democratic Party is that government bureaucrats, educators and the press are as strongly KMT here as their American counterparts are Democratic. For this reason, it is very hard to imagine that the DPP could successfully cheat in an election or fake an assassination. At least 3/4 of the vote counters are Blue.
"I think the reason that the Blues and the Democrats both attract bureaucrats, teachers and reporters is that like Democrats, the Blues tend to believe in the superiority of experts and have a strong Chinese respect for education and the ability to pass academic tests. Blues like to stereotype Greens as uneducated. Greens are mainly Taiwanese (often small businessmen) who feel disadvantaged within the Mandarin-Chinese education system and their sceptical view of intellectuals reminds me of American Republicans.
"As far as social policy is concerned, Pres Chen often panders to left-wing PC groups, but the younger generation in the KMT, the Taipei mayor for example, are trying hard to keep up with him on this front. Since the average Green voter is more rural than the average Blue voter, they often have more traditional values. Pres Chen can officiate at gay marriages because the average green voter has never met a gay person and has no more opinion on gay marriage than he has on inter-species marriages among zoo animals.
"Although I prefer some of the Blue policies and many of my friends are Blues, I tend to lean Green. Partly this is because I am very suspicious of China, partly it may be the influence of my Green Taiwaneese wife, but I think mainly it is because unlike the Republican 'daddy' party, the KMT really is domineering and paternalistic. Both the Republicans and the Blues believe strongly in absolute moral values, but Republicans think that the man on the street usually understands these values better than high-falutin intellectuals and government experts. The Blues think these moral absolutes are understood mainly by the government and the properly-educated classes and that the unwashed masses have to be force-fed these truths."
Posted at 12:01 PM
UNCLE JOE'S GLEE CLUB [John Derbyshire]
Courtesy of a generous reader who sent me a gift copy, I have been reading Simon Sebag Montefiore's _Stalin - The Court of the Red Tsar_, which is about the personal realtionships among the Soviet leaders during Stalin's time. It's a fascinating book, but the following item from Chapter 46 really got my attention.
Like Hitler, Stalin used to enjoy giving dinners for his colleagues, at which he would try to get them drunk so they might say indiscreet things. These dinner parties often included sessions of singing and dancing, with Politburo members expected to perform.
"When Zhdanov moved to the piano they sang religious hymns, White anthems and Georgian folk songs... Stalin loved singing and was very good at it. The two choirboys, Stalin and Voroshilov, joined Miloyan, Beria and Zhdanov at the piano."
There is a footnote to this passage. The footnote reads as follows.
"They were so pleased with these sessions that they made a record of this murderous boy band with Voroshilov on lead vocals, backed up by Zhdanov on piano. There one can actually hear the fine voices and tinkling piano of a night at Kuntsevo. This remarkable recording is in the possession of the Zhdanov family."
I never knew this. I'd very much like to hear that recording. Does anyone familiar with Russian affairs know if it has been released into the public domain in any form?
Posted at 11:59 AM
BUSH IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT [Jonah Goldberg]
One of the most common complaints from liberal readers of my syndicated column yesterday is that blaming Bill Clinton is pointless since "George Bush is the president now." Bush is running for president and so his actions are more relevant etc. Many also go one to whine about my "obsession" with Clinton etc.
Fine, fine, fine.
There's just one problem. The 9/11 Commission is not supposed to care that this is an election year! And, to the extent the press is supposed to be covering the substance of the commission's work, it shouldn't care that this is an election year either.
If we are asking the question, "How did 9/11 happen?" then Bill Clinton's blame-worthiness is not an academic or petty issue. For eight years he set the foundation for what happened on 9/11. By all means, let's also look at George Bush's 8 months. He was the guy at the wheel after all. But if the Commission is true to its mission then Bill Clinton's culpability is entirely pertinent.
Posted at 11:58 AM
BLEG [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, since pretty much all of the academics are too afraid of the JSTOR cops to give me access to their accounts, I'll just throw this bleg out there. One of the many things about the history of fascism I am investigating is the evolution of fascism as not only a synonym with "conservatism" (which is nonsense) but it's segue into a psychological state. In other words capital F Fascism was once an ideology but in the 1950s it became lower-case f fascism and came to describe personality types who were invariably "right wing." Bullies, police, prudes, et al all became "fascists" psychologically. Adorno's "The Authoritarian Personality" was obviously a major source of this cultural trend. Hebert McClosky's 1958 paper, "Conservatism and Personality" in the American Political Science Review was also seminal (though I haven't read it yet, hint hint). The most recent example of this was that idiotic Berkeley study which claimed to have identified the conservative psychosis common to Reagan, Hitler etc.
Anyway, if any researchers, academics or layman run across anything they think would be particularly useful to this story, I would love to see it. I'm interested in the academic stuff as well as instances in the popular press and popular culture where the word "fascist" was cavalierly hurled at Republicans, conservatives, the police etc. Please send suggestions, examples, articles, leads etc to JonahResearch@aol.com. In fact, feel free to send anything you think might be of interest to me in regard to my book to that address.
Posted at 11:45 AM
KERRY AND HEINZ CO. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Kevin Hassett writes a piece on Kerry's corporate-tax plan. One point Hassett makes: It turns out that the plan contains a loophole that keeps Heinz, and very few other companies, from getting hit.
Posted at 11:36 AM
WOMBATS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader (unsure of what he wanted, I edited out the name of his school):
Posted at 11:29 AM
MOTHER OF PEARL! [Jonah Goldberg ]
Oliver Stone is a horrible man. He wins the George Bernard Shaw award for the day.
Posted at 11:25 AM
CARDINAL MCCARRICK WILL MEET WITH JOHN KERRY TODAY [KJL]
If the cardinal doesn't make some kind of clear statement about the responsibilities of Catholics in public life afterward, it's going to look like sone sort of imprimatur on the Kerry/Cuomo model.
Posted at 11:21 AM
CORRECTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry, but this is important. JSTOR is not a for profit enterprise! From their website :
Posted at 11:09 AM
RE PEACE IN THEIR TIME [Jonah Goldberg]
One point I did mean to mention, which numerous readers have reminded me of, is that the "truce" offer from Bin Laden could also be a great sign of our success. Crying uncle is never a sign of strength, even if you're just crying uncle to your European relations.
Posted at 11:06 AM
HUNT SAYS SPECTER COULD LOSE [Rich Lowry]
Kathryn, what I found most interesting about the Al Hunt column this morning was that he says his “gut suggests an upset.” For the first time perhaps ever, let’s all hope Al Hunt is right.
Posted at 11:00 AM
AND... [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 10:57 AM
RE: LIBRARIANS [Jonah Goldberg]
A few emails and I'll get off of this:
Posted at 10:55 AM
A PRETTY GOOD LIST [Rich Lowry]
"Subject: I got your Vietnam analogies
This should seem familiar to everyone.
During the Vietnam War:
-The anti-war crowd portrayed the administration as evil and un-caring.
Posted at 10:52 AM
LIBRARIANS UNITE! [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm getting the first email from librarians. Apparently there's an "open access" movement which has been agitating about this stuff for a while. I kind of assumed there would be, given the logic of the internet age. A few have objected about the costs. "Who's going to pay for free access?"
Look: I don't know. But someone's paying for free access to libraries. The science journals cost a fortune to subscribe to. Considering the amount of Pharma money out there, and the public interest in furthering science you'd think someone would come up with a way to lower the costs there. I don't particularly care about the details. But I think it's a straw man to say the costs are what keeps me from paying for a single-user subscription! Few business models rely on denying the customer the opportunity to pay for the product.
As for giving this stuff out for free, libraries already do that. They just make it hard, by requiring the interested party to physically go to the library. I've been told that JStor itself is for profit, but the economics of the academic-industrial complex make it difficult for it to spread the wealth. Fine. But where are the foundations? Where is the National Endowment for Humanities? They could help pay for public access. I'll take a few fewer exhibitions on lesbian literature in ante-bellum Kentucky in exchange for free access to the accumulated wisdom of Western scholarship.
What the opponents of putting this stuff out for free seem to be saying is that they don't want it to be easy to get. Maybe that's because it will make librarians less important, maybe that's because it will result in fewer posh conferences for academic journal editors. I don't care. I just think it's hypocritical for people who claim to answer to a higher calling than mere profit to defend the principle of denying the public this stuff. As for the practical objections, someone else can sort them out.
Posted at 10:42 AM
HELP—VIETNAM ANALOGIES [Rich Lowry]
I’m working on a column on how Iraq is like Vietnam, just not in the way all the critics say. Like in Vietnam we face a vicious and murderous adversary; our cause is infused with idealism; the war has prompted splits in the U.S. along cultural lines; there have been battles—Tet then, Falluja now—that have been very bad for the insurgents, as we kill large numbers of them, but the press plays them as defeats for the U.S.; failing would be catastrophic for U.S. interests globally; and a U.S. pullout would lead to massive bloodletting, with our allies getting slaughtered in the wake of our departure. If you can think of any other similar analogies, I’d love to hear from you before 12:30. Thanks.
Posted at 10:33 AM
JSTOR & GATE KEEPERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
I must say that, in all geekiness, I am painfully jealous of people with easy access to JSTOR. For those of you not in the know, it's basically the egghead Nexis and it goes back a billion years. When I blegged for that Political Science Quarterly article from the 1920s yesterday, numerous members of the professoriate simply punched a few doodads and sent it to me. I searched in vain to see if I could get a single-user subscription to it, which I'm sure I couldn't have afforded anyway.
This does raise an interesting ethical question. If academics are dedicated to the spread of human knowlegde, if librarians are even more dedicated to the dissemination of learning via the printed word, why shouldn't such a resource be available to everyone? Why create firewalls and gatekeepers to human wisdom, if that is what scholarly research is? Don't get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with Nexis-Lexis charging for its services. They are a for-profit enterprise. But universities and libraries are not. They serve a different mission. So why keep the common man out of the intellectual Promised Land?
Posted at 10:11 AM
RE: SHAW AND FRIENDS [John Derbyshire]
I have been reading Roy Foster's biography of Yeats, who was friends with Pound for many years, before Pound became too much for him. Now, it is plain from Foster's book that Yeats, for all the famous "silliness," was a straight-up human being: a dutiful son, a loving husband (with some slight allowance for his aristocratic/bohemian notions, which his wife was fully in accord with) and father, an affectionate sibling, a loyal friend, and a conscientious citizen. (He served in the Senate of the Irish Free State for 6 yrs.) The very brief flirtation with the Blueshirts (= Irish fascists) in the early 1930s was nothing -- in particular, nobody has ever found a trace nor a hint of antisemitism in anything WBY said or wrote. I ended Foster's books liking & admiring Yeats tremendously.
Now: if such a good man as this could keep up a friendship with Pound across many years, I submit that Pound could not have been all bad. Pound is in hell, all right; but like Humbert Humbert, he is let out one evening a year and allowed to stroll in a green country lane, on account of his friendship with Yeats.
BTW, I have for some years nursed the notion -- it hardly rises to the level of a theory -- that while arrogant, irresponsible, rules-don't-apply-to-me egotists of the type so memorably described in Paul Johnson's book Intellectuals -- Shelley, Hemingway, etc. -- have certainly given us much, the true greats are sober, decent, and bourgeois types: Horace, Longfellow, Kipling, Tennyson and Yeats come to mind. The little we know of Shakespeare suggests that he was a solid citizen, and a good and decent man (that "second-best bed" notwithstanding). What do you think of this notion?
Posted at 09:52 AM
I WAS HAD FOR A FEW SECONDS [KJL]
I see an ad for a fertility clinic on the Drudge Report and (obviously, as NR egg correspondent--doesnt every major pub have one?) click on it to find a nutty renogade cloning clinic(though the name itself was a tipoff, "The Godsend Institute"). Within seconds its obvious its a spoof of some kind, with testimonials to how successful cloning is (oh wait, or was the Jim McGreevy website?)--it's a spoof site for the new De Niro movie.
Posted at 09:48 AM
MISQUOTING MISTAKE ON MISTAKES [Tim Graham]
Both ABC's Kate Snow and NBC's Norah O'Donnell made the mistake yesterday of suggesting that the President couldn't think of a single mistake he made in his presidency. AP's Calvin Woodward did that one better last night:
"President Bush acknowledged a good deal of introspection after all the questions lately about his government's actions before the Sept. 11 attacks and in Iraq, but not a whiff of contrition. Bush was asked in his prime-time news conference if he had made any mistakes. 'I'm sure something will pop into my head here,' he said Tuesday. It didn't."
At least the AP story develops more of the exchange with Time's John Dickerson than ABC or NBC did, but they all mangle the question Dickerson actually asked: "After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?" Bush had trouble identifying his BIGGEST mistake, not any mistake. You'll notice in the AP story that Kerry took that misquote and underlined it for audiences. "The president may refuse to acknowledge a single mistake in the course of his presidency..."
Posted at 09:34 AM
RE: OBL [KJL]
Dems would consider his use of their Halliburton talking points as an unfortunate thing, right?
Posted at 09:32 AM
AL HUNT TAKES NOTE OF THE TOOMEY CHALLENGE [KJL]
Sen. Specter has been challenged from the right before, but never by anyone so formidable. And the political demographics are working for the challenger. Pennsylvania once was described as a state with two big cities -- Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and their suburbs -- as bookends, with the rest of the state resembling Alabama with no African Americans. Republican primaries used to hinge heavily on the four big suburban Philadelphia counties. Now, notes Rick Robb, a longtime GOP operative in the state, "the growth of the party" is west and north of that region -- Lancaster and York and Lehigh Counties.
Posted at 09:25 AM
PEACE IN THEIR TIME? [Jonah Goldberg]
If this Bin Laden tape is legit and al Qaeda is in fact asking for a truce with the Europeans in exchange for bowing-out of the war on terror and making nice-nice on Muslims, it's a big deal. Even if strategically it amounts to little -- even the French wouldn't publicly accept such a bargain. But it reflects a great deal about the way al Qaeda sees this conflict. It is now impossible for the champions of nuance to claim that the Spanish capitulation was anything but a huge victory for al Qaeda -- in the eyes of al Qaeda. Why? Because this tape shows that they now believe they can build on the success of Spain and create a non-aggression pact with Europe.
From the vantage point of an Islamist, Europe is much less of a threat. Militarily, it can't do much beyond its borders. It's not particularly Christian any more and is getting less so everyday. Meanwhile, Muslims already have significant demographic advantages in Europe and those advantages are only increasing. Why not divide the West?
After all, America is the danger and, even better, America cares what Europeans think. Indeed, for some reason many Americans actually believe doing good is bad unless there are a bunch of white guys with foreign accents helping us out. If Europe turns its back on America, won't America lose it's nerve even further?
What will be interesting is not how European leaders react -- they will all say very dismissive and brave things. What will be interesting is to see how the "European street" reacts. I fear many will be all too willing to make such a deal. After all, many of them have been demanding such an arrangement for a while. And, the more interchangeable the war in Iraq and the war on terror become, the more Europeans will be attracted to such a bargain.
Posted at 09:09 AM
LUNCH WITH PODHORETZ [KJL]
By the way, make plans now: John Podhoretz--author of Bush Country will be talking about his book (and signing books) Friday at 12:30 pm at Trover Books on Pennsylvania Avenue on Capitol Hill and Saturday at 1:00 pm at the Borders in Tyson's Corner.
Posted at 03:33 AM
WE GOTTA BE STARTING SOMETHING [KJL]
The NYPost & WSJ are both on Gorelick's case today.
Posted at 03:28 AM
John Podhoretz is optimistic about Bush's Mideast talk yesterday.
Posted at 03:26 AM
OBL TRUCE TO EUROPE [KJL]
Will they take it?
Posted at 03:12 AM
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
(IN)VOLUNTARY TAXATION [Jonathan H. Adler]
Brian Doherty surveys the five top reasons some believe the income tax is voluntary. Fun stuff, so long as you don't take the arguments seriously. (Brian has a companion story here.)
Posted at 10:06 PM
GREEN OBSTRUCTION [Jonathan H. Adler]
Senator Jeffords is blocking the confirmation of four Bush appointees to the Environmental Protection Agency. Jeffords is insisting that the EPA release internal documents relating to various administration policy decisions, proclaiming he is concerned with "truly life-and-death matters." Yet while Jeffords insists he does not oppose the nominees themselves, some enviornmental groups hope he maintains his holds, Grist reports. Some nominees the greens oppose, such as Interior Department lawyer Ann Klee, would sail through the Senate were Jeffords to release them.
Posted at 10:02 PM
SHAW AND FRIENDS [Rick Brookhiser]
Shaw belonged to a group of very-early-twentieth century second tier geniuses: Chesteron, Belloc, Kipling. Their lives had been so sheltered for so long that they played with political fire, not realizing that it was hot. Their common thread was contempt for, and boredom with, parliamentary government.
Of course, World War I encouraged them in their bad tendencies, for the opposite reason--everyone had been fried, and wanted to change the nature of everything even more desperately.
How does it all fit together? Maybe chaos and strife were incomprehensible--not enough of it, then way too much. Kipling, often the most vulgarly brutal of the lot, may actually have been the most realistic, having spent so much time in India. Kipling wrote a set of epitaphs for fictional victims of World War I which are grave and wise--at the level of "Recessional," or the Greek Anthology.
Posted at 09:29 PM
DRUM ON GORELICK [Jonathan H. Adler]
Kevin Drum weighs in, agnostically, on whether Gorelick should recuse.
Posted at 09:05 PM
SHAW [Rick Brookhiser]
Jonah, sorry for the late reax, but I do believe Shaw takes the cake. His underlying problem was monstrous pride, compounded by a strange streak of inhumanity. Not, as that term is usually understood, cruelty--but detachment from normal human emotions. The wonder is that, with these defects, he wrote so well, and plays no less, where one must create many characters. The plays have their limitations too: Yeats compared attending one of them to listening to a great clattering sewing machine.
BTW, I did once read a quotation from Ezra Pound, praising Lenin's piercing intelligence. That plus Mussolini is a bad day's work, but Pound was much more a black shirt. His vileness lacks the versatility and depth of Shaw's.
Posted at 08:58 PM
HENRY GETS A TALKING TO [Kate O'Beirne]
"We were very well-educated on the topic, and we let him know that we would not stand for any commissioner having any conflicts." Kirsten Breitweiser quoted in the Chicago Tribune, December 14,2002.
Posted at 07:09 PM
Slade Gorton just tried to get Chris Matthews to leave Jaime Gorelick alone on Hardball right now, as Matthews tried to get her to address the wall memo. Gorton repeated the Kean "get out of our business" line to Sensenbrenner and others questioning her appropriateness on the panel, calling the criticisms "garbage."
Posted at 07:08 PM
9/11 WIDOW ON COMMISSION RECUSALS [Kate O'Beirne]
Kirsten Breitweiser said that victims' families "do not want any kind of cloud hanging over the commission." The effect of recusals? ". . . it just reaffirms how important it is that this commission be beyond reproach, pure and nonpolitical." Kirsten, who has since taken to co-hosting Hardball, was quoted in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times on December 14, 2002 in response to Henry Kissinger's recusal. No word on her response to call for Jamie Gorelick's recusal.
Posted at 07:04 PM
TEARS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF WINE [KJL]
The scene as TurboTax gets closed up for this April...maybe its time for that weekend job at Starbucks!
Posted at 06:12 PM
I DON'T "WORK" AT STARBUCKS! [Jonah Goldberg]
I was working at Starbucks, not for Starbucks. Still, considering all of the people who responded by saying "Wow, Lowry really needs to give you a raise," maybe I should fill out an application.
Posted at 06:10 PM
FAST TRACK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jacob Levy responds to my query from the other day about its constitutionality; I'm not convinced, but he raises issues I have not considered before. Will blog more later if I have time.
Posted at 06:05 PM
CATHOLIC DEMOCRATS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The Hill reports that Catholic House Democrats are compiling a "Catholic Voter Scorecard" that "shows" that “Democratic House members vote with the Catholic interest much more often than their Republican counterparts.” (So apparently this project, spearheaded by self-identified Catholics, regards Catholicism as an interest group.) The scorecard includes votes on issues such as partial-birth abortion and cloning--but also the minimum wage and "assistance to needy families." No word from the article on whether all these issues are weighted the same. The bishops' spokesman of course says nothing intelligent. He says nothing to suggest that the bishops' positions on legislative issues carry differing degrees of authority. You would think that a Catholic is obligated to think that the minimum wage never throws anyone out of a job. If ever there were a case that the bishops should get out of the business of making prudential judgments that they have no particular qualification to make, and sticking to a public witness that emphasizes their church's moral principles, this scorecard is it.
Posted at 05:58 PM
THE BOSTON GLOBE ON QUESTIONS ABOUT KERRY'S PURPLE HEARTS [KJL]
Posted at 05:25 PM
BLOG CANADA [KJL]
The National Post editorial folks have started a blog--a first for a Canadian paper, they tell me.
Posted at 04:58 PM
"PEOPLE OUGHT TO STAY OUT OF OUR BUSINESS" [KJL]
Was Tom Kean's sum-up answer to a question about Gorelick's conflict of interest, at a press conferene right now. (He had defended her, and added that she is one of the hardest working, nonpartisan members of the commission.) That, after he had gone into how important it was to "have the public with us" (this quote from memory), and thus the public hearings.
Posted at 04:32 PM
MORE CLAMORINGS IN TEHRAN? [KJL]
Posted at 04:28 PM
ACKNOWLEDGING GORELICK'S CONFLICT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Kudos to Matthew Yglesias for acknowledging Jamie Gorelick has a conflict of interest on the 9/11 Commission and should never have been appointed (even if he's not sure she should resign). As he notes in the comments, "her own work is part of what the commission needs to scrutinize." Interestingly enough, most of the other thoughtful, lefty bloggers (Drum, Kleiman, DeLong, the Timberites) are silent on the issue, as are Yglesias' colleagues at TAPped.
Posted at 03:51 PM
INGELWOOD AND WAL-MART [KJL]
I had missed this: This weekend Impromptusman Jay Nordlinger had a piece in the LA Times on Wal-Mart (read here--warning, LATimes asks for info). You can read his cover story in NRODT, of course, if you subscribe to NRODT (or just NR Digital).
Posted at 03:32 PM
WOW! THANKS [Jonah Goldberg]
I got up to get a cup of coffee (I'm working at Starbucks) and when I came back three people sent the article to me. Very much appreciated!
Posted at 03:02 PM
BLEG [Jonah Goldberg ]
Any of you academic types have electronic access to really old copies of the Political Science Quarterly? I'm looking for an article, "Mussolini: Prophet of the Pragmatic Era in Politics" (June, 1926). I thought I had it, but I don't and I need it kind of quick.
Posted at 02:45 PM
GOOD ONE! [Rich Lowry]
“Subject: Should've answered...
Biggest mistake since 9/11? Not trading George Tenet.”
Posted at 02:27 PM
WIDOWS VS. DOROTHY [Tim Graham]
Yet again, Chris Matthews was interviewing widow/aspiring politician Kristen Breitweiser just now. Why don't they just hire her as an NBC News Consultant? Just pay the girl for her round-the-clock, 3,000-murdered-on-Bush's-watch talk. Matthews actually asked blandly for a response on the great Dorothy Rabinowitz slam today, and Breitweiser actually laughed dismissively (just like an aspiring politician) as she repeated: I know terrorists killed my husband, but Bush failed to save lives, yada yada yada....
Posted at 02:24 PM
AIR SCHADENFRUEDE [Jonah Goldberg]
Bwaaahaa ha ha ha! From Drudge:
Posted at 02:20 PM
BUSH APOLOGIZES [KJL]
Posted at 01:50 PM
SPEAKING OF VILLAINY [Jonah Goldberg]
In the course of my book-research, I've been reading up on the various American and British apologists for Mussolini and/or Hitler. In terms of sheer ideological evil, I'd be interested to know if there's anybody who counts as a more horrible human being than George Bernard Shaw? He apologized for Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler and most of all Stalin who, in Shaw's eyes, couldn't kill enough people. There might be a few major leftist intellectuals who outscore or tie GBS in terms of Stalin-phillia, or for love of Communist dictatorships in general, but for all around fondness for tyranny it's hard to imagine a more famous and highly regarded SOB than Shaw. Derb, Andrew, Rick, Steve: Am I missing anyone?
Posted at 01:34 PM
THROWIN' ME A BONE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Numerous readers have informed me that VillainSupply.com is probably the best place to show for laser sharks.
Posted at 01:29 PM
"AN EXCUSE" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Posted at 01:21 PM
A GOOD OMEN?! [KJL]
From last night, right before the presser:
Posted at 01:02 PM
AN AUSTRALIAN 13-YEAR-OLD TO GET A SEX CHANGE OP [KJL]
Posted at 12:52 PM
FOX [Rich Lowry]
FYI, I’m scheduled to be on around 1:40, although the Bush-Sharon press conference may scramble the schedule a bit.
Posted at 12:50 PM
GETTING PAST THE HEADLINE [Jonah Goldberg ]
While, as far as I know, no serious liberal journalists have taken up my challenge/request to rebut Gerard Alexander's essay "The Myth of Republican Racism," (though Ramesh did offer one objection ) countless liberal emailers have. Some have offered very thoughtful critiques of Republican rhetoric, conservative priorities, etc as they related to race. Others have issued tiresome screeds about how conservatives are "obviously" racist and there endeth the lesson. And quite a few have offered a mixture of these approaches. What no one has done -- other than Ramesh -- is address the actual substance of Alexander's article. They've vented about the Bell Curve or welfare reform or anti-affirmative action policies. And, while some of these arguments are not illegitimate, they have almost nothing to do with Alexander's essay. I don't know any conservative, Alexander included, who's said there are not now and have never been racists on the right, and yet that seems to be the strawman these folks want to tackle. Either these folks only read the headline of the article or they have no response to the actual analysis of the piece. Either way, the response so far does not speak well of the liberal counter-argument.
Posted at 12:44 PM
DISSENTING ON TENET [KJL]
A (right-leaning) reporter familiar with the intel world e-mails:
The Tenet-must-go, should-have-gone-already mentality is the type of reaction one would expect from the chicken-little left, not from the bright minds at NRO.
Posted at 12:40 PM
BUSH PRESSER [Rich Lowry]
I thought it was quite a strong performance. The opening statement was marvelous. In answering the questions, Bush was relaxed, conversational and in command, at least most of the time. After about 45 minutes, he seemed to fade a bit. His dodge of the Mike Allen question about why he was testifying jointly with Dick Cheney before the 9/11 Commission was so transparent it was hard to watch. His fumble of the Sammy Sosa/mistakes question was also cringe-inducing and inexplicable, since he had handled other versions of the question earlier just fine. The most important substantive point I took away from the event was that the June 30 deadline needs to stick. Bush effectively rebutted those who argued that the deadline is arbitrary and can be easily discarded. No, Bush said, handing over power then is a crucial signal to Iraqis of our good intentions. Overall, I think Bush will be helped a little by the press conference, which was his strongest public performance in months.
Posted at 12:38 PM
REP SENSENBRENNER CALLS FOR GORELICK TO RESIGN [KJL]
Sensenbrenner Urges Commissioner Gorelick to Resign from the 9/11 Commission Because of Her Conflict of Interest
Posted at 12:36 PM
WISCONSIN BLOGGING [Jonathan H. Adler]
On the road today, speaking on "Conservation without Regulation: Property Rights, Markets and Environmental Protection," to the University of Wisconsin School of Law chapter of the Federalist Society at 3:30pm this afternoon.
Posted at 12:33 PM
FIRING TENET [ Jonah Goldberg ]
Rick - I agree. John O'Sullivan had a good piece about the need to fire folks after Pearl Harbor. I don't know if Tenet deserved to be fired or not. My guess is he didn't. But Bush should have cleaned house as much as possible and put in a team with no incentives to whitewash the past. He could have done this in a very statesmanlike way, finding nice face-saving jobs for some and kind words for others. But the one thing that comes through remarkably clearly from these hearings is that the bureaucracy could use some creative destruction.
Posted at 12:27 PM
IRANIAN NEWS AGENCY ON U.S. TROOPS [KJL]
Iran's news organ is accusing U.S. troops of "systematically" raping Iraqi citizens:
Little has changed for the people of Iraq. They used to be bombed and shelled by Saddam's henchmen for refusing to believe his lies - and are currently being bombed, shelled and abused by the coalition forces for refusing to toe the U.S. line.
Posted at 12:21 PM
SILLY SEASON AT CATHOLIC COLLEGES [Jack Fowler]
Student groups at Seton Hall University Law School (the South Orange, New Jersey school is the oldest Catholic diocesan college in the U.S.) will be giving their annual “Sandra Day O’Connor Medal of Honor” to Judge Maryanne Trump Barry of the U.S. Court of Appeals (Third Circuit) on April 16th. Besides being sister of The Donald, Judge Barry is best known for authoring the 2000 opinion striking down the New Jersey's partial-birth abortion statute – her award may be fitting given that Justice O’Connor has been the pivotal pro-abortion vote in recent SCOTUS rulings. In 1998 then-NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman won the O’Connor award, but the ceremony was forced off-campus by SHU president Monsignor Robert Sheeran, who held that "Seton Hall has a clearly stated policy that no public recognition is given to those espousing positions contrary to our Catholic mission. . . . This includes publicly supporting pro-choice views." One can only hope Msgr. Sheeran sees fit to once again play his trump card by Friday.
Posted at 12:02 PM
TENET [Rick Brookhiser]
George Tenet should have been fired on the afternoon of 9/11. Loyalty is one of W's great vices, as well as one of his great virtues.
Posted at 12:00 PM
LATTER DAY CORRECTION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg, I love your work and read it regularly. However, I have just one quick comment about your April 14th piece entitled "The Blame Game." I've been a Mormon all my life and like to think I know a great deal about the things we Mormons do and like. As far as I know, we Mormons don't tend to go in for bowling leagues all that much. I'm not sure why. It seems an enjoyable sport. We're more into Softball and Basketball. And we can get downright nasty if it’s an important game. Smiley emoticon I wish we were more into Hockey, but that seems to be something only Canadian Mormons enjoy. Again, love your work. Keep it up!
Posted at 11:51 AM
NEW ON NRO [KJL]
Michael Rubin on the problem of the U.N. in Iraq.
Posted at 11:48 AM
ROD'S CROSSDRESSING REPUBLICAN [KJL]
Posted at 11:26 AM
"THE GREAT ESCAPE BY GEORGE TENET" [KJL]
What Chris Matthews just called the now-ended Tenet testimony. There was no grilling. Talk about a snoozer. And this is from the 9/11 Commission, talking to the CIA chief! Cliff May on NRO last week said the Commission was loosing focus; they might have finalized that today. These public hearings are such a waste.
Posted at 11:24 AM
So there are huge structural problems that make communication and efficiency impossible. It will take years to fix the architecture, after an outsider comes in to tell them how to do it. Tenet sounds like the epitome of a bubbled bureacrat (to whom all brother insidery types on the Commission bow). I didn't listen to all of it, but why would I--didn't seem to be much substance. This is getting so old, but how about some new blood and the fixes YESTERDAY. Before I incite a headline, I'm not blaming Tenet for 9/11, but he's obviously the head of a diasterous ship. Of his making or not, he's not done the fixing, by his own admission. I love this president, but I have yet to be convinced there is any reason heads have not rolled, and the most obvious ones. Kate gets into this wonderfully elsewhere on NRO today.
Posted at 11:18 AM
GORELICK: NOT THE FIRST CALLS FOR RESIGNATION [KJL]
Andrew Stuttaford is too modest to mention, I'm sure, but he called on Gorelick to resign back in August, for another reason:
CONFLICT OF INTEREST? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Posted at 11:01 AM
This is what "The Week" in the April 19 issue of NRODT says on Clarke's 9/11 Commission apology:
Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism expert for Presidents Clinton and Bush, began his testimony before the 9/11 commission with an apology: "Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard. But that doesn't matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness." Moralists warn against the spurious sorrow that afflicts the first-person plural of so many collective apologies: We erred, says the penitent, though he clearly intends to shift blame and odium to his fellows. Clarke has now developed a first-person singular that apes this dubious plural: I ask for understanding and forgiveness for our misdeeds--meaning that Bush, Rice, and the other bums don't deserve it. Clarke's supposed honesty was moral preening. Did we mention he has a book out?And don't forget: You can read the whole "Week" in the new issue, just going to bed now, just as soon as it is available--this Friday--online if you subscribe.
Posted at 10:51 AM
POST LOWS [Michael Ledeen]
For a while now I have been saying that the Washington Post is getting better, but today's front page is close to an all-time low. Every headline seems written to attack Bush: "Ashcroft's Efforts on Terrorism Criticized," "Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings," "Bush Acknowledges 'Tough' Weeks..."
The first, an article by Dana Priest, is a puff piece on the (failed and, one would hope, discredited) "intelligence community." It contains references to "headlines" on "intelligence reports" such as "Bin Laden threats are real," which would be laughable except that, as we know, the intelligence community had no clue about OBL's actual plans.
The second, by Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus, quotes the testimony by (the failed) Thomas Pickard saying that Ashcroft didn't want to hear about terrorism. And then the usual language: "Ashcroft, who denied barring Pickard from offering him threat reports..." You have to go to the jump to find anything about Ashcroft's presentation of the Gorelick memo creating a "wall" between criminal and intelligence investigations.
The third, by Dana Milbank and Mike Allen, is pretty straight, except for a bit of overwriting: "Bush mixed an expression of concern about the killings with an absolute certainty that his course of action is the correct one." Absolute? Should have been edited out.
And then the front-page article labelled "Analysis" by Dan Balz, "President is Long on Resolve but Short on Details," as if Bush were supposed to present our tactics in a press conference.
Finally, there's Thomas Ricks, "Insurgents Display New Sophistication," which is fine so far as it goes, but I am still waiting for the Post to discuss the terrorists' use of women and children during the fighting. An Italian general, interviewed in the Corriere della Sera, gave details. He said that when the Italian forces started to get the upper hand in a firefight, first children then women in black came forward, causing the Italians to stop shooting. when the terrorists had reorganized, the women and children went away...
Quite a performance by the Post.
Posted at 10:45 AM
NOT A SNOOZER [KJL]
Derb just plugged David Frum, so Derb should be plugged. Don't be the last person to read Prime Obsession...(Graduation gift? Father's Day?...)
Posted at 10:35 AM
RE: LAST NIGHT'S SNOOZER [John Derbyshire]
A reader agrees: "Derb---I'm with you all the way regarding your last Corner posting. As I watched the press conference, I was thinking that the President reminded me of a graduate student at his oral prelims who wasn't really ready, but thought the committee would just let him skate through. To wit--Reporter: 'Mr. President, during the 2000 campaign you stated that the biggest mistake in your life was trading Sammy Sosa. What has been your biggest mistake post 9/11?' Bush: 'Um. . . Gee whiz, Fred, I wish you would've submitted that question in writing beforehand so that I could prepare for it.' Well Jesus, Mary, and Martha, how could he (and his group) not anticipate that kind of question? Even a trite reply of 'never apologize, never explain' would be better that the answer he gave."
This is right. It sometimes seems that GWB is determined to play to the negative stereotype of him, viz. that he is lazy, sloppy, and ill-prepared. First-hand accounts of the administration, like David Frum's book, don't leave that impression at all -- but only us inside-baseball types read those accounts. To the great majority of voters, Bush is what he appears to be at events like last night's: sincere, human and patriotic, but at the same time lazy, sloppy, and ill-prepared.
Posted at 10:32 AM
LASER SHARK RETAILERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
One readerr ssuggests I keep checking in here. .
Posted at 10:10 AM
THE 9/11 COMMISSION [Jonah Goldberg ]
In the course of writing today's column , I basically decided the Commission had jumped the shark. I don't know exactly where the tipping point was, but it might have been when Bob Kerrey whined about how "unfair" Condi's "filibustering" was. In the first place, Kerrey had eaten up his own time delivering a stem-winder (and preening about his stem-winder) on the war in Iraq -- a war he'd supported in the Wall Street Journal that morning. Moreover, Rice had already spoken to the Commission for hours on end in private, where filibustering was not an option. In effect, what Kerrey was whining about was that Rice was eating up his on-camera time. And, keep in mind, I think Kerrey's been one of the best Commissioners.
Posted at 10:08 AM
RE: INTERNET KILLED THE TRADITIONAL BOOK REVIEWER [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: The book reviews on Amazon should be taken with a large helping of salt. The temptation to post a flattering review of your friend's, son's, wife's or lover's book is irresistible. Conversely with the temptation to trash a book by someone you dislike for personal reasons. (Though Amazon is in the business of selling books, so they are not going to let the proportion of negative reviews rise too high.)
The sensible approach to evaluating the Amazon reviews is: (1) Ignore the most flattering review -- that's the author's mother. (2) Ignore the most hostile review -- that's the last employee he fired. (3) Take an average of the rest.
For the real skinny on book reviewing from a seasoned veteran, you should read my "Straggler" column in the forthcoming NRODT.
Posted at 10:02 AM
COMPARE AND CONTRAST [Jonah Goldberg]
When Ken Starr was investigating the President, there was a concerted, White House approved effort to descredit him. Starr, who had been one of the most respected lawyers in Washington by Democrats and Republicans alike (Dems and Reps approved him to read Bob Packwood's diaries, for example), was villified for any number of imaginary or exaggerated misdeeds. The one the White House seemed to favor most was that he was a "tobacco lawyer," as if representing tobacco companies -- as opposed to, say, rapists -- is not only a conflict of interest, but actually disqualifies you from public life.
Now, Jamie Gorelick is revealed to have a pertinent, first-hand and an obviously irrefutable appearance of a conflict of interest. I don't think this makes her a bad person or anything like that. And, obviously, the comparison is far from perfect since Bush isn't being "charged" (except politically) with doing anything wrong. Nonetheless, Gorelick's involvement in the conceiving, administering and implementing of anti-terrorism policy and her continued role as a 9/11 Commissioner strikes me as a real issue deserving of serious scrutiny. After all, Henry Kissinger and George Mitchell were disqualified for the leadership of the Commission because of their business ties, surely crafting the policies being investigated is no greater conflict of interest.
Posted at 10:01 AM
LAST NIGHT'S SNOOZER [John Derbyshire]
Perhaps I'm over-stimulated, but I thought last night's Presidential press conference was a real snoozer. I'm looking at my notes:
"We appreciate the commitment of our allies ... We must remain steadfast ... A free Iraq will be a major blow to terrorism ... Given a chance, Iraq will be a free and stable society ... It's important for our soldiers to know America stands with them ... I feel strongly that the course this administration has taken will make America more secure and the world more free..."
I guess these things need saying, but they slide off the consciousness like Muzak. Nothing sticks, nothing makes an interesting point. And nobody's mind gets changed.
I'm on board with the Iraq war. I'll be voting for George W. Bush in November. The petty sniping at the War & at the administration's anti-terrorism efforts, the blood-for-oil insinuations, the infantile sloganeering -- "Bush lied," "Halliburton's war," and so on -- is disgraceful. I'm with this guy, I'm on his side. Still, there is just something about a Bush speech, or news conference, that fails to stir my blood. I'm sorry, but I think the President is desperately, hopelessly inarticulate.
Posted at 09:41 AM
RE: GORELICK MEMO NON-COVERAGE [Tim Graham]
The ABC, CBS and CNN evening newscasts on Tuesday all failed to mention the Gorelick memo, though NBC Nightly News gave it a brief mention, in the context of Ashcroft playing “the blame game,” and FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume focused on it while the subject was discussed on MSNBC’s Hardball as well as other evening cable shows.
Posted at 09:34 AM
MEMO? WHAT MEMO? [KJL]
An e-mailer asks: "Has anyone witnessed any major media outlet discussing the declassified Gorelick memo? I followed this development in the Corner yesterday but watching the various outlets last night, I didn't hear a single mention of the memo. The focus seemed to be on the conflicting testimony between Pickard and Ashcroft." CNN's Wolf Blitzer show at 5 mentioned it last night--held up the memo. Brit Hume's did. Other than that, I've seen nothing. The Wash. Post ignores this morning. (Tim, have you guys got a count?) Gorelick appears to be off the hook...unless the blogosphere manages to keep the heat on...
Posted at 09:15 AM
BRAIN IMPLANTS BEGIN [Jonah Goldberg ]
But what does a guy have to do to get some sharks with some frick'n laser beams attached to their heads?
Posted at 08:59 AM
HE NEEDS A BEATING [Jonah Goldberg ]
I hope this guy gets a jury trial.
Posted at 08:55 AM
BUSH CAMPAIGN SCALES BACK ADVERTISING 30 % [KJL]
How about just scaling back the part of the commercials where W. says "I'm George W. Bush, and I approve of this message."?
Posted at 08:32 AM
RUMSFELD AS SECSTATE [KJL]
An e-mailer asks:
Is it possible that GWB merely let slip something for his second term?????
Posted at 08:28 AM
RE: DOOCY AND KATHIE LEE [KJL]
Tim, you're just being negative to be negative now. That is Fox and Friends.
Posted at 08:03 AM
DOOCY AND KATHIE LEE [Tim Graham]
Is it just me, or is it jarring to tune in to "Fox & Friends" and see Kathie Lee Gifford in the E. D. Hill chair, trying to wax eloquent on Fallujah? Can she somehow work Cody and Cassidy into discussions of the war on terror?
Posted at 07:53 AM
THE POST-GAME SHOW [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brent Baker reports that following President Bush's news conference on Tuesday night, NBC News anchor Brian Williams pointed out to David Gregory how Bush refused to "admit" any mistakes and complained that "I didn't detect a straight-on answer there." Gregory agreed before he insisted: "This President could be accused in some places today of filibustering at times."
Similarly, over on ABC, George Stephanopoulos bemoaned how "the President was quite defiant tonight, even at times defensive. No apologies, no acceptance of personal responsibility." ABC's Peter Jennings acknowledged the agenda of the White House press corps in repeatedly trying to get Bush to admit mistakes and errors during his presidency and Stephanopoulos admitted reporters "want to see some concession of responsibility by the President."
Posted at 07:52 AM
JUST PLAY IT STRAIGHT, AND LET THE CHIPS FALL... [KJL]
In e-mail talking about the president's news conference last night with some insider types, some words of wisdom: "You know, I wish it was a perfect world where you can admit mistakes and where pointing out facts was not ridiculed as playing the "blame game," but neither is the case, and failing to get that misses the more salient practical point. The press is not really interested in what Bush thinks the mistakes were; they want him to admit one because they know it can then be hung around his neck again and again in campaign ads. And they want 'blame game' out there as a pejorative hammer to discourage the Bush admin from explaining its side of the story (i.e., Aug 6 PDB = incompetence and nonchalance; Gorelick 1995 Wall memo = Blame Game). I say -- with all due respect -- screw 'em. Why should Bush modulate his message for people who are not in good faith engaged in an exchange of ideas; if you do that, you're letting your opponents define you. He's gotta put his best foot forward and not worry about how the NYT is gonna twist it. Remember when Richard Clarke testified two weeks ago? We had a full week of clamor from the commissioners and the NYT: Clarke's raised very serious issues; we need POTUS to waive executive privilege because we need to hear Condi Rice answer these very serious assertions. Well, I watched Ashcroft throw that 1995 memo down today. I must have missed the commissioners and the NYT. Surely, they must have been saying, Ashcroft has raised really serious issues and we need to have Jamie Gorelick resign as a Commissioner so she can be available as a witness to answer his assertions. Tell me I was out of the room when that happened. And if it didn't happen, what does that say about how POTUS ought to conduct himself in this environment?"
Posted at 07:33 AM
INTERNET KILLED THE TRADITIONAL BOOK REVIEWER? [KJL]
Posted at 05:46 AM
IF NEW YORKERS AREN'T LISTENING TO FREEDOM LOVERS IN THE BLOGOSPHERE... [KJL]
...Rick Brookhiser will make them...Amen!
Posted at 01:35 AM
DOROTHY RABINOWITZ VS. KRISTEN BREITWEISER [KJL]
Says Americans are tiring of the media-touring 9/11 widows.
Posted at 01:05 AM
NOT JON BON JOVI! [KJL]
Forgive me an Eighties moment: I just found this on the Kerry website: "Several notable celebrities, entertainers and high-profile Democrats will join Kerry on the last two legs of the tour, including rocker Jon Bon Jovi, Blink 182's Tom DeLonge, Senator Hillary Clinton and others."
I have never, ever thought of JBJ & HRC in the same sentence. Youth lost....
Posted at 12:24 AM
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
ANDY MCCARTHY TO THE RESCUE [KJL]
A few of us just asked him to explain the memo ( "these procedures, which go beyond what is legally required"--we're layman, translate!). Here's his translation:
Part of the reason that this is such a mess is that nothing DOJ assumed was required (and then proceeded to "go beyond") really was legally required. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. A wiretap is a "search and seizure" -- it captures conversations. So what the Fourth Amendment minimally proscribes is unreasonable recording of conversations. If someone is plotting against national security (by terrorism or espionage), it is perfectly reasonable to record such a conversation, whether or not you have a court order permitting it.
Posted at 11:04 PM
REPORTERS WERE TOUGH [Tim Graham]
Reporters were tough with Bush tonight, but didn't stomp over the politeness line and alienate the viewer a la Bob Kerrey. If any liberal wants to push these reporters out of an airplane again tonight (as I quoted earlier), I just can't imagine what would satisfy them short of throwing balloons full of blood at Bush.
Stephanopoulos seemed to make hay tonight out of the notion that Bush wasn't apologizing or admitting mistakes, even though he said as much without saying "I'm sorry, I'm a loser, maybe someone else should have this job." How lame coming from Stephy, who worked for a man who constantly claimed he and his wife "have done nothing wrong." May I add that this whole emphasis on apologies and admissions of error is especially lame coming from reporters at the TV networks, which make on-air corrections about as often as we change presidents.
Posted at 10:55 PM
OVERALL [Jonah Goldberg]
I thought Bush was fine though. At first I thought the prepared remarks were a bit too down-tempo. But it became clear his comments were building on each other. I think he set the right tone and said the right things.
Posted at 09:48 PM
ADMITTING MISTAKES [Jonah Goldberg]
I am sure there is a brilliant, well-formulated and principled rationale on offer at the White House to justify Bush's refusal to admit any pre-9/11 mistakes. But I haven't heard it and I think Bush is making a mistake by not offering some token answer that changes the subject. But what I find amazing is that Bush didn't even prep an answer -- even a glib one -- to the question. He was asked it in one form or another a bunch of times and he even said he was "put on the spot" by the question. I thought he was sincere in his flummoxed-ness. You'd think someone would tell Bush that he could just say "Oh I wish I'd realized just how deep the structural problems at the FBI were," or "I wish we'd passed the Patriot Act before hand." The answer doesn't even have to be a good one, it just has to show that he's reflected on his pre-9/11 tenure in office enough to come up with something substantive.
Posted at 09:46 PM
KINDA EASY [Michael Graham]
Bush called on 15 reporters. It didn't seem like that many, partially because the questions were so predictable. Where was the heat?
Posted at 09:34 PM
RE: DEBUNKING THE CLAIM THAT CERTAIN PEOPLE CAN'T GOVERN THEMSELVES [Michael Graham]
Bush plays the race card! And his repeated pointing out the terrorist attacks target Jews--Daniel Pearl in particular--was a brilliant way to bring the reporters' traditional liberal values regarding prejudice into this debate.
Posted at 09:19 PM
THE NEXT AOL HEADLINE PREDICTION [KJL]
That cruise missile line, along with the Ashcroft stuff today, is going to be "blame game" fodder for many a liberal columnistand headline writer. (Though both are absolutely right.)
Posted at 09:18 PM
BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE [Rick Brookhiser]
He looks tired and determined.
Posted at 09:15 PM
NO APOLOGIES [Michael Graham]
"The person responsible is Osama bin Laden." Yeah, baby!
Posted at 09:13 PM
MISTAKES WERE MADE [Michael Graham]
During my days as a political flak, I always told candidates that the easiest statement for the voters to understand is "I was wrong." Shouldn't the President admit that we've made mistakes in post-war Iraq? Would that really hurt him? Why not say "Dragging a nation from decades of tyranny into the free world is a hard job. We have made mistakes, but the mission is so important we can't afford to wait for perfection. We've got to learn and move on." Wouldn't that be the right answer politically, in addition to being the truth?
Posted at 09:10 PM
MINOR VANITY POINT [KJL]
This is nothing new, tradition of sorts, but why do the top aides (Rice, Rove, Card...) have to sit there, within camera view looking like they are grading him?
Posted at 09:05 PM
BERNIE GOLDBERG, CALL YOUR OFFICE [KJL]
A local newsman type guy emails: "The elite, enlightened libs here in the newsroom are cackling, not about what W is saying, but about his mis-speakings--like misidentifying Rumsfeld as Sec'y of State, and a couple of other meaningless fumbles. Just shows you where the focus here is."
Of course, on the other extreme, I suppose, I didn't even notice...
Posted at 09:03 PM
VIETNAM [Michael Graham]
Bush missed an opportunity by not confronting the Vietnam question head on. But knowing this press corps, he'll get another swing at it. He could have hit the Vietnam issue point by point, including hammering home just how much that comparison hurts the troops and their families personally.
Posted at 08:51 PM
NO OFFENSE... [KJL]
...but does he have to send Richard Armitage to the Mideast? He thinks Iran is a democracy, and the mullahs there are at the heart of the problem in IRaq right now.
Posted at 08:43 PM
W. SO FAR [KJL]
Seems like a solid 101 for the American who rather be watching American Idol.
Posted at 08:40 PM
TV ALERT [KJL]
Rich will be on Hannity and Colmes, sometime after the W. presser, probably around 10:45.
Posted at 08:37 PM
HEADS UP [KJL]
When Bush goes on tonight, his opener is going to be about this war we're in. Sources tell The Corner he will start off narrowly, explaining who the players are in Iraq, the state of play--all pro forma. Then he'll launch a muscular defense of the war on terror, and Iraq specifically. He'll go into the history of terrorism--how the bad guys were on a jihad against us pre-9/11, for decades. 9/11 is when we started fighting back, going into war mode. He'll explain that Iraq is now the focal point --- where the terrorists have gathered, showing their barbarism, as we've seen. He'll hold firm on the deadline, and making the stakes even higher than the are now in Iraq.
Posted at 08:24 PM
"ASHCROFT PLAYS THE BLAME GAME" [Jonah Goldberg]
That's almost the exact line from the NBC Nightly News report from Lisa Meyers tonight. It was very clear was that they put their piece in the can much earlier in the day and added about two sentences about Ashcroft at the very end. It's too bad because I generally think Meyers tries to be fair, but she came off as very biased -- not because she is editorially but simply because she gave short-shrift to the newsier story which broke later in the day.
Posted at 08:07 PM
GORELICK INTERROGATES ASHCROFT [Andy McCarthy]
Gorelick's a good lawyer. She couldn't avoid questioning, since that would have been a tacit admission that she should recuse herself, but she avoided going anywhere near her '95 memo because to confront it would have underscored how hopelessly conflicted she is as a Commissioner. She's trying to make the best legal record she can for her fitness as a Commissioner. But I wonder what normal people who aren't lawyers think of all this. Isn't the normal impulse to wonder why she's not answering the gauntlet the AG threw down?
Posted at 05:46 PM
NEW AOL HEADLINE: [KJL]
"Ashcroft Plays Blame Game."
Posted at 05:43 PM
EUGENE VOLOKH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
has two good posts (that I am mentioning at the moment; I don't mean to suggest that his others aren't!): one on Scalia's odd invocation of the First Amendment, and another on an attempt to regulate google.com.
While I'm on the subject of this blog, I may as well mention a post there that had caused me some puzzlement. Jacob Levy, in the course of making a point about originalism that I think is wholly sound, remarked that he thought that the "fast track" procedures for approving trade agreements were unconstitutional. ("Fast track" has been relabeled "trade promotion authority" for obscure p.r. reasons.) I had previously associated this view with crackpots, not people who know what they're talking about, so I was surprised to see it coming from Levy--and I'd be interested in seeing why he takes it.
Posted at 05:29 PM
HOW ASHCROFT IS PLAYING [KJL]
From the NYTimes: Headline: "Ashcroft Faults Clinton Era for Lapses That Preceded 9/11"; Included: "The attorney general sounded almost contemptuous as he spoke of a 'legal wall' put into effect in 1995 to separate criminal investigators from intelligence agents in an effort to safeguard individual rights."
Posted at 05:26 PM
ZARKAWI'S IN FALLUJAH? [KJL]
and Sadr speaks.
Posted at 05:17 PM
is questioning Ashcroft now...no sparks yet.
Posted at 05:14 PM
BODIES OF FOUR CONTRACTORS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN FOUND IN IRAQ [KJL]
Posted at 05:12 PM
JUST LIKE VIETNAM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Except that we've captured Ho Chi Minh, we've taken Hanoi, there's no draft, and the boat people have mostly come back. Not all of the comparisons are, however, to our advantage: It took nine years for the Democrats to be willing to cut off funding for the military then. It took seven months this time.
Posted at 05:09 PM
RE: WONDERING [KJL]
Ramesh, I certain there will be a backlash. AOL in the last hour had a goofy looking picture of Ashcroft with the text "'He Did Not Want to Hear.'" Tomorrow's headlines are that, and "Ashcroft Blames Ex-Clinton Official" or, hey, "Ashcroft Blames Clinton fo 9/11" or somesuch.
Posted at 05:05 PM
I WONDER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
if there's a danger of a backlash to the Gorelick-memo declassification.
Posted at 04:58 PM
THE GORELICK MEMO [Jonah Goldberg]
It sounded like Governor Thompson had no idea this memo existed. And Ashcroft intimated that the Commission knew nothing about the memo. Now, what makes that interesting is that one person on the Commission had to have known the memo existed -- its author. If in fact everyone but her was in the dark about it, and if in fact her memo was as central to this whole "wall" problem as Ashcroft suggests, why didn't she mention it? Presumably it's relevant and even if it's not there is definitely an appearance of relevance, which is a standard we know she's familiar with. It's not up to her -- or shouldn't be -- to decide whether the Commission should know about this.
Indeed if you listened to Philip Zelikow's "staff statement" at the begining of the hearing it was pretty clear that she would have had reason, cause and opportunity to mention it. Here's what he said:
Finally, even though the number of agents devoted to counterterrorism was limited, they were not always fully utilized in the field offices. We learned through our interviews that prior to 9/11, field agents often were diverted from counterterrorism or other intelligence work in order to cover major criminal cases.
Posted at 04:31 PM
RE: GORELICK [KJL]
Doesn't she have to question Ashcroft now? Isn't silence admitting she shouldn't be there?
Posted at 04:29 PM
THE GORELICK MEMO [KJL]
Here it is. Looks pretty damning to this layman.
Posted at 04:25 PM
ASHCROFT ON THE CULTURE OF THE WALL [Andy McCarthy]
AG Ashcroft on the in terrorem effect of the wall after the '95 Reno/Gorelick guidelines: Prosecutors and agents were deeply discouraged from sharing information out of fear of severe discipline. Sharing information could be a "career-ender".
Posted at 04:19 PM
IS IT ME [KJL]
or was John Ashcroft trying not to laugh at the preposterousness of Janet Reno's earlier testimony claiming there is no wall, as Gov. Thomspon read it?
Posted at 04:15 PM
GORELICK IN THE HOT SEAT [Jonah Goldberg]
Ashcroft revealed that Jamie Gorelick wrote the memo which expanded and raised the wall between intelligence and criminal investigators and analysts. Not only that, but the commission did not ask for the memo and so Ashcroft declassified it for them.
Can you feel the burn?
Posted at 04:12 PM
RE: SMOOTH [Andy McCarthy]
That's a 1995 memo to FBI Director Freeh -- firming up the wall and bragging that it goes beyond legal requirements to separate intel and criminal info. But, he adds, I must tell you in the interest of full disclosure that the author is a member of this Commission -- Gorelick.
Posted at 04:09 PM
Ashcroft has a Gorelick memo declassified
Posted at 04:06 PM
GORELICK & PICKARD [Andy McCarthy]
Gorelick kept her questions tightly focused on summer 2001 and homed in on communications break-downs between FBI field offices and FBI headquarters (as opposed to between FBI intel division and FBI criminal division). Pickard was polite, and confined his answers to the questions, resisting whatever urge he may have had to say "Well, let's talk about why we don't communicate effectively . . ." Again, the point is not that Gorelick's questions shouldn't be asked; it's that choosing to ask some questions and not others in the limited time a commissioner gets reflects a value judgment about what's important. We shouldn't be in a position of having to wondering whether, in Gorelick's case, its a dispassionate value judgment.
Posted at 04:04 PM
ASHCROFT [Jonah Goldberg]
There was no covert action program to kill Bin Laden.
Posted at 04:00 PM
RE: CAPTURE, NOT KILL [Andy McCarthy]
Jonah hits on a central problem of fighting a military war with a law enforcement mindset. In the military, primacy is given not only to making sure orders are followed but that they are clear and understandable to those in the chain of command. Lawyers are trained to give directions that will be defensible if there is a later lawsuit or other claim. If people are arguing about what the words of an order mean, that is a major problem, and whether Berger or Black have it right, there certainly is ambiguity. The same can be said of the FISA wall. Former AG Reno stressed today that if you look at the words of the governing procedures, there are plenty of communications that are permitted. That may be so. But look at how the they read (in just the portion the FISA Court of Review quoted:) "the FBI and Criminal Division should ensure that advice intended to preserve the option of a criminal prosecution does not inadvertently result in either the fact or the appearance of the Criminal Division's directing or controlling the [foreign intelligence] or [foreign counterintelligence] investigation toward law enforcement objectives." 1995 Procedures at 2, 6. If you were the FBI or DOJ's Criminal Division, would you be sure you'd know what you were supposed to do? Is it any wonder that the Staff Statement (No. 9) says the wall "apparently caused agents to be less aggressive than they might otherwise have been" in using FISA at all?
Posted at 03:34 PM
ICON WARS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Cute, but not hilarious.
Posted at 03:29 PM
CAPTURE NOT KILL [Jonah Goldberg]
It sounds like Cofer Black has undermined a key claim of Sandy Berger's. Black said there was a unanimous opinion that the directive to the CIA was to "capture" not "kill" Bin Laden. Berger said he thought the CIA was told to kill him.
Posted at 03:11 PM
LANDMARK LEGAL CALLS ON JAMIE GORELICK TO STEP DOWN FROM THE COMMISSION [KJL]
Posted at 03:05 PM
I HADN'T THOUGHT OF THIS... [KJL]
Ms. Lopez, You should note that the ESPN index is at least logical and traditional in its correlation between scoring and what it seeks to measure. A zero on the Kerry Misery Index signifies unimaginable, horrific depths of misery while a zero on the ESPN Misery Index indicates a complete absence of misery. Which do you think is going to make more sense in a soundbite?
Posted at 02:50 PM
THE COMMISSION STAFF STATEMENT ON THE WALL [Andy McCarthy]
From this morning's Commission Staff Statement No. 9 on "Law Enforcement, Counterterrorism, and Intelligence Collection in the United States Prior to 9/11":
[For the FBI, a] core challenge was a legal issue that became a management challenge as well. Certain provisions of federal law had been interpreted to limit communication between agents conducting intelligence investigations and the criminal prosecution units of the Department of Justice. This was done so that the broad powers for gathering intelligence would not be seized upon by prosecutors trying to make a criminal case. The separation of intelligence from criminal investigations became known as the “wall.” New procedures issued by Attorney General Reno in 1995 required the FBI to notify prosecutors when “facts and circumstances are developed” in a foreign intelligence or foreign counterintelligence investigation that “reasonably indicate a significant federal crime has been, is being, or may be committed.” The procedures, however, prohibited the prosecutors from “directing or controlling” the intelligence investigation.
Over time, the wall requirement came to be interpreted by the Justice Department, and particularly the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as imposing an increasingly stringent barrier to communications between FBI intelligence agents and criminal prosecutors. Despite additional guidance on information sharing issued by Attorney General Reno in February 2000 and by Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson in August 2001, the wall remained a source of considerable frustration and concern within the Justice Department. Justice Department prosecutors and FBI criminal agents were responsible for large criminal cases, like the Embassy bombings. The intelligence side of the FBI, though, had the legal tools that were essential for domestic intelligence work, such as FISA surveillance. In this environment, domestic counterterrorism efforts were impaired.
* * *
The “wall” between criminal and intelligence investigations apparently caused agents to be less aggressive than they might otherwise have been in pursuing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance powers in counterterrorism investigations. Moreover, the FISA approval process involved multiple levels of review, which also discouraged agents from using such surveillance. Many agents also told us that the process for getting FISA packages approved at FBI Headquarters and the Department of Justice was incredibly lengthy and inefficient. Several FBI agents added that, prior to 9/11, FISA-derived intelligence information was not fully exploited but was collected primarily to justify continuing the surveillance.
Posted at 02:36 PM
BOMBS, BULLETS, BAYONETS [Andy McCarthy]
Gotta love Tom Pickard. After, pointing out that al Qaeda was graduating many more terrorists out of its camps than the FBI and CIA were graduating out of their agent schools pre-9/11, he pointed out that his only weapons against them at that time were indictments and handcuffs. President Bush, he said, showed them something much different: "bombs, bullets and bayonets."
Posted at 02:25 PM
YOU'RE SO VAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
German Chancellor Schroeder found time out from presiding over the wreckage of the German economy to threaten lawsuits over suggestions that he dyed his hair. Is the man vain? Well, check out this photograph. It demonstrates his standing in Germany rather well. The text is worth reading too.
Posted at 02:10 PM
RE: ANTI-SMUT STUFF [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, one example of a DVD that could use a snip is "The Cat in the Hat," which my Abby totally loved when the Mrs. rented it last week. Snip out the "son of a [bleep]," the "dirty-hoe" joke, and lame acronym for a called S.H.I.-etc. -- all totally unnecessary -- and you're approaching that dreaded land of The G Rating. Eeek!
Posted at 01:54 PM
ESPN DOES ITS OWN MISERY INDEX [KJL]
Posted at 01:52 PM
TOM PICKARD [Andy McCarthy]
Former Acting FBI Director Tom Pickard, who took over the FBI when Louie Freeh retired, will be testifying this afternoon. Fox News just reported that Pickard told the Commission in private interviews that he believed the terrorism problem was bigger than law enforcement; that AG Reno and DAG Gorelick strongly disagreed, and believed law enforcement was the way to go; and that he (Pickard) was very surprised to learn that Gorelick is a member of the 9/11 Commission. Could be an interesting session. Pickard's time frame as acting Director was mid-2001 until about a week before the 9/11 attacks. Will be very interesting to see if Commissioner Gorelick decides to participate in the questioning.
Posted at 01:31 PM
FREEH VS. CLARKE [KJL]
From this morning:
GORTON: I want to read you the one paragraph, it was the subject of Bob Kerrey's question, and ask you whether or not it is accurate.
Posted at 01:28 PM
FLORIDA DEMOCRATS [KJL]
Terry McAuliffe, who, not so long ago erroneously charged NRO with hate speech, had better get on this.
Posted at 01:26 PM
SNUFFING SMUT [KJL]
This is why there could be a market for such things, from another e-mailer:
The e-mailer who questioned the worth of a G-rated version of Scarface has missed the point. I'm pretty sure nobody is yearning for a G-rated version of Scarface, the Untouchables, Wild Thing, Freddy vs. Jason, etc.
Posted at 01:17 PM
RHEINGOLD: NEW YORK'S CHOICE [Andrew Stuttaford]
As this attractively illustrated post makes clear, Rheingold is, quite clearly, the best beer in America. Nurse Bloomberg is, reportedly, furious with the brewer's new TV ads which poke fun at the mayor's ludicrous smoking ban, so much so that some minion (deputy mayor Daniel Doctoroff, a man who really, really needs to get a proper job) called Rheingold to complain. Rheingold's CEO is, rightly, unrepentant:
"It's all about freedom of choice, which is one of the things that makes this city so great."
Well it did, Tom, it did.
Posted at 01:04 PM
MI-5 [Andy McCarthy]
Most positive development of the morning: the unanimity against the creation of a new intelligence bureaucracy, the American MI-5 -- much discussed in today's NYT. The idea of such a creation would be to take away the FBI's counter-terrorism portfolio, thus divorcing the intelligence function from the law enforcement function. It take eons to get such a bureaucracy up and running efficiently (think: Department of Homeland Security). Perhaps more importantly, anyone who has ever dealt with informants knows it is very often the threat or reality of prosecution that gets people to cough up the most sensitive information -- information which itself leads to more informants and more information. What is needed is time and appropriate resources (a mere fraction of what a new agency would cost) to make the FBI's natural advantage and acquired expertise work better. As Louis Freeh put it, if you think the "wall" between intelligence and law enforcement information was a problem, the separation between intelligence and the enforcement function would be a "fortress."
Posted at 12:52 PM
FOR CONSERVATIVE INTERNET TRIVIAL PURSUIT [KJL]
Daniel Pipes has just launched a French version of his website. He has websites in seven languages.
Posted at 12:44 PM
THE ARMY STANDS UP [Rich Lowry]
"Rich,Pleeeease . . . surely the subscription rate among Army officers is higher than in the Marine Corps!
Come and visit the Army War College someday soon. We just hosted Victor Davis Hanson for two days last week. There was standing room only for his `optional' noontime lecture."
Posted at 12:42 PM
DEAD CAT BOUNCE [Andrew Stuttaford]
EU takes desperate steps to increase its popularity in the Far East.
Posted at 12:35 PM
GORELICK & CONFLICT [Andy McCarthy]
It looks as if Commissioner Gorelick, very appropriately, is not participating in the questioning of the FBI and DOJ witnesses -- Louie Freeh and Janet Reno -- whose testimony bears on the TIME when she was an actor in the facts that the Commission is inquiring into. Conflict, however, is not simply time specific; it is also ISSUE-specific. The Commission is looking into the issues of information sharing and the overall law enforcement approach to terrorism, not just during the time of 1994 through 1997 (when Gorelick was Deputy AG). It is also, unavoidably, getting into blame assessment. The problem is that Gorelick has a powerful motive to focus on blunders that occurred after she left office, and particularly after the Bush administration entered office. That doesn't necessarily mean she will act on that motive -- although I think one can fairly argue she already has, unwittingly or not. But the fact that she has the motive at all makes the Commission's overall fact-finding and blame assessment on the crucial issues suspect.
Being a Commissioner necessarily calls on one to ask: did a catastrophe that happened in 2001 occur because of mistakes made at that time; did it occur because of judgments made in years past; is it some combination of both; and if it is a combination, what mistakes were primary? Involvement in the facts of any of those judgments or mistakes should be disqualifying. That doesn't mean Gorelick wasn't a valuable public official; she was. It doesn't mean she didn't do some good here that ought to be recognized; the 1996 anti-terrorism law, for example, was a major advance. And it doesn't mean that her perspective is not one the Commission should have the benefit of; it is. But not as a Commissioner.
Posted at 12:25 PM
JOINING US... [KJL]
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy will be popping in now and again in The Corner (see his piece elsewhere on NRO), fyi, most especially today during FBI/AG testimony...delighted to have him.
Posted at 12:20 PM
ANNOUNCING NR "POST-ELECTION’" CRUISE (WITH VDH, DERB, ET AL.) [Jack Fowler]
We’re announcing NR’s 2004 “Post Election” Caribbean Cruise, scheduled November 13 to 20, on Holland America Line’s luxurious MS Zuiderdam. We’ll be cruising the Eastern Caribbean (visiting Tortola, St. Thomas, Nassau, and Half Moon Cay, HAL’s gorgeous private island), and with an All-Star cast of speakers, including:
Mega-influential author and NRO Contributor Victor Davis Hanson, world-renowned Islam authority Bernard Lewis, RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, Club for Growth president Steve Moore, acclaimed author Dinesh D’Souza, NRO favorite John Derbyshire, and NR editorial stars Rich Lowry, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Jay Nordlinger.
And we’ve also just heard from syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, (the author of Invasion, the 2002 blockbuster on U.S. immigration policy)--she’s agreed to join us for our seven days of fun, sun, and conservative shop-talk.
Prices for the National Review 2004 Post-Election Caribbean Cruise are lower than, well, than Democrat campaign tactics: starting at just $1,549 per person (which includes port fees, taxes, and gratuities), and $1,899 for “singles.” Heck--even a stateroom with a private verandah can be yours for only $2,399 p/p!
How can you not come?!
In addition to a great cruise (Holland America is all about luxury, pampering service, and gourmet cuisine) we’ll be having, as is our custom, numerous exclusive events: seminars where our panel of experts will make sense of the election results, prognosticate about politics in 2005, and ruminate on current events, fun-filled cocktail receptions and pool-side smokers (featuring world-class H. Upmann cigars and much conservative revelry), and intimate dining (on at least two nights) with our guest speakers and editors.
This is going to be a blow-out. Our last “post-election” journey had over 400 people attend (we were eventually turning them away!) so sign up today so you’ll be assured of a cabin (at the level you want).
Don’t delay: Visit www.nationalreviewcruise-carib.com for more information and to (securely!) reserve your luxury stateroom.
Posted at 12:17 PM
RENO ON PATRIOT [Jonah Goldberg]
I do love the fact that Janet Reno supports the Patriot Act and basically sees no problem with it except for a narrow concern about FISA warrants. I am no fan of Reno's but I think it's so inconvenient to the anti-Patriot liberal hysterics that she can't bring herself to find big problems with it. The anti-Patriot conservatives can at least be consistent since they thought Reno abused her authority and trampled citizens' rights all the time.
Posted at 12:09 PM
RE: HOLLYWOOD TO HELP DEMS? OR HURT? [Meghan Keane]
Well Tim, it looks like another actor is coming out of the woodwork to defend his Bush vote. Dennis Hopper told the London Times that he voted for Reagan, Bush Sr., and W. and plans to vote for W again. Unfortunately, his better half is the vocal one in their marriage. Says Hopper: "I support Bush and I support my wife and what my wife's involved in. That's all. We don't talk politics. I respect her things, and you know, whether she respects mine doesn't really matter to me."
Posted at 12:07 PM
WATCH FOR PRESS ELBOWS TONIGHT [Tim Graham]
I expect the press questioning of Bush might be quite rude in tone tonight. Liberals will be prodding for some blood-drawing after their extreme disappointment over the last formal press conference on March 6, 2003.
At that time, ABC reporter Terry Moran made waves by telling the New York Observer that Bush left his colleagues in the press corps “looking like zombies.” New York Press columnist Matt Taibbi suggested reporters were routed, like Texans at the Alamo: “The entire White House press corps should be herded into a cargo plane, flown to an altitude of 30,000 feet, and pushed out, kicking and screaming, over the North Atlantic.”
By October, Bill Moyers told the left-wing web site Buzzflash.com that “Matt Taibbi wrote in The New York Press at the time that it was like a mini-Alamo for American journalism. I’d say it was more a collective Jonestown-like suicide. At least the defenders of the Alamo put up a fight.” A review of the that supposedly soft session is here.
Posted at 12:06 PM
RE: ANTI-SMUT STUFF [KJL]
Your comment about DVD’s containing alternate “clean” versions of films is…well – silly. Why would you rent a film for your family that is not intended as family-fare? Is there really anything achieved by watching a G-rated version of “Scarface”? I’m tired of parents asking Hollywood to raise their kids. Movies have ratings for a reason – use them. Stop looking to have everything child-proofed. Some movies aren’t meant to be viewed by children. Try this: instead of requesting filmmakers neuter their work, how about renting TWO films that day – one for everyone and one for you later when the kids are asleep. I happen, incidentally, to be a fairly conservative Republican who often finds myself nodding my head in agreement with your posts. On this subject, however, it seems you have more in common with the PC police than the G.O.P.I actually basically agree. There are more than enough things one can do with the kids that don't involve movies that include things you don't want them to see. That said though, if there is the technology, and a market...why not.
Posted at 12:04 PM
TV UPDATE [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be on Aaron Brown's show tonight sometime after the President's remarks to "react." I'm thinking I'll start with interpretative dance and then maybe some mime.
Posted at 12:02 PM
A REASON FOR HAPPY TALK [Rich Lowry]
Rich, I agree about the "happy talk," particularly with regard to the effect it has on expectations - both those actually created, and those artificially created in retrospect any time something goes wrong.
But I wonder whether such "happy talk" might not be a natural and justifiable response to the doom-crying I watch every morning on the three televisions that sit in front of my treadmill at the gym. It is hardly insightful to point out that news coverage in Iraq is focussed almost exclusively on the negative, but one doesn't really get a flaor for the impact of that negativity until faced with a three-pronged, simultaneous assault. This morning, subjected to a coordinated closed-captioned assault by Katie Kouric, Diane Sawyer and that bitter fella over at CNN (whose name is on the tip of my fingers but is escaping me), I almost ran right off the treadmill and into therapy. The picture the coverage paints is that bad: a running, macabre body count (only of Americans); endless footage of downed helicopters, burning convoys and cheering militants; constant interviews with grieving families of slain soldiers; unrelenting concentration on hostages... Rip Van Winkle, waking from his slumber and turning on the tube this morning, would justifiably draw the conclusion that the United States is in its death throes, soon to be crushed under the heels of the Islamic militants.
At any rate, your comments got me thinking - if I and/or my beliefs were a peripheral target of all of this negative coverage, I'm not sure my response wouldn't be to slip on the rose-colored glasses and indulge in a bit of optimistic hyperbole...
Posted at 11:57 AM
RE: JIM BUCKLEY FOR SENATE [KJL]
You wrote: "Jim Buckley wanna run again?"
I'm dusting off my button collection. Will the slogan be "Isn't it time we AGAIN had a Senator?"
Posted at 11:39 AM
PARRIS ISLAND [Rich Lowry]
Parris Island was a blast. I’ll be writing more about it in the magazine. One thing that is both awe-inspiring and heartbreaking is just how young the recruits are—they’re really just kids, some of them still with baby fat (although not for long). What was especially gratifying is how many NR fans there were among the officers. I’m guessing NR’s highest subscription rate per capita among any distinct population group must be with the Marines. Semper Fi.
Posted at 11:27 AM
HAPPY-TALK HAWKS [Rich Lowry]
It seems things in Iraq are stabilizing for now. Some of the outright panic we saw in the press was clearly unjustified, but I hope we see some more realism in conservative commentary on Iraq going forward. There has been a distinct tendency toward happy-talk from the hawks since the end of the war. The post-war looting was explained away at the time as the natural and understandable exuberance of a newly-liberated people (now some coalition officials cite the unrest as one of the reasons reconstruction has been so slow). Then we watched a conservative secretary of defense deny the obvious reality of a guerilla resistance and compare it to urban street crime in the United States (!). Then we were told killing Uday and Qusay meant we had turned a corner. Then capturing Saddam meant we had turned a corner. Then, when the corner remained unturned, every three-day period when Americans weren’t killed was hailed somewhere on the web as a great sign of a breakthrough. Throughout, hawks have comforted themselves with the utterly meaningless cliché “Failure is not an option.” And we are supposed to be the hard-headed and realistic ones? Well, failure is very much an option. That doesn’t mean it’s inevitable, but I think it is very much possible that we could do everything right in the coming months and still fail. This problem is just that hard. We should remain resolute, but downplay expectations. If we leave Iraq in some sort of orderly condition, with some sort of legitimate non-dictatorial government, and a roughly working economy, we will be doing very well. But it won’t happen unless reality gets a little more respect from hawks inside and outside the administration than it has to this point.
Posted at 11:23 AM
BAD NIGHT [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry for my silence. I had an awful night last night. I had such a bad stomach I felt like I'd tried to save money on sushi in Port-au-Prince. I'm feeling okay now, but I'm kind of out of it.
Posted at 11:20 AM
DODD/BYRD NON-CONTROVERSY [KJL]
A footnote on last week's Dodd/Byrd comment controversy: One mainstream media reporter emailed, pointing out that (s)he contacted the Connecticut and national NAACP the day after Dodd's remarks started getting criticism from the blogs.
The Connecticut NAACP's listed phone number went straight to voice mail most of the week, and the voice mailbox was full, so reporters couldn't even leave messages asking for comment. (Would they have answered the phone, or checked their messages during the week if GOP Connecticut governor John Rowland had made the same comments?) The national NAACP initially didn't want to comment because they hadn't heard Dodd's words themselves. They were referred to the Congressional Record, and then didn't return phone calls on the subject for the rest of the week. (Their main media relations number also goes straight to voice mail; guess they're screening their calls.)
Posted at 11:14 AM
LOYA JIRGA [Rich Lowry]
We are supposedly looking at three options for the post-handover government. One is sticking with the current governing council. Another is expanding the current governing council. Both of these would seem to be mistakes. The governing council does appear to have legitimacy problems. Exiles are heavily represented on the council. And they just don’t cut it in what is still largely a tribal society where personal connections matter hugely. The best option then is for some sort of loya jirga-like process to choose an assembly. It might look something like this. Iraq has 18 provinces. We would pick three guys in each province and give them the responsibility for picking 10 representatives to send to Baghdad. That would create a broadly representative assembly of—if my math is correct—180 people, who could in turn elect a cabinet. This process would give us some loose control, since we would be selecting the people at the beginning of it, while ensuring that all factions in the country get a voice. This is the process we should be lobbying U.N. representative Lakhdar Brahimi to bless.
Posted at 11:10 AM
WITMER CONTEXT [KJL]
A reader e-mails:
You wouldn't know it from the written reports, especially the selective (and probably out of context) quotes from the grieving father, but these girls are (were) exceptionally brave soldiers who knew that what they were doing was right. On my local TV news, an interview with Michelle from last winter was aired last night where she talks about how awesome it is to realize how much good they are doing in Iraq, and how hearing from the local Iraqis makes it all worthwhile. Apparently Michelle was talking to locals that hide from the American press corps.
Posted at 11:07 AM
JUNE 30TH [Rich Lowry]
I don’t think the deadline should be treated as sacred, but we should try very hard to meet it. Part of what is happening in Iraq seems to be an understandable nationalist reaction to being governed by a foreign occupying power. The sooner we can hand it over to an Iraqi government, the better.
Posted at 11:06 AM
BIG MAC [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, not only does Shandi like McDonald's, she likes supersized meals. What a splendid girl. I do note, however, that she is confessing to once having wrestled a greased pig in a mud pit. There are a lot of jokes that can be made about that, and I'm not making any of them.
Posted at 10:46 AM
IT'S THE UNITED STATES MILITARY, NOT A SAFE AND EASY SCHOLARSHIP FUND [KJL]
The story of Michelle Witmer, who died in IRaq on National Guard deployment, and her two sisters, also deployed is a sad one. Sad, because a young life has been lost, of course, But also sad because someone didn't realize what the three girls were signing up for. One wonders if the U.S. military, in seeking to fill quotas, were all that honest about a) what signing up would mean b) about what being a potentially deployed women would mean c) what having three sisters potentially deployed somewhere would be d) what being a political pawn for feminists would entail....
Witmer said he worried about his daughters joining the military but felt at the time that duty with the National Guard would be relatively safe, especially with a military police unit. The Witmers also have two sons.
Posted at 10:44 AM
MORE RE THE CLINTON BOOK [KJL]
As noted earlier, the New York Times reports today on Democratic anxiety over the expected release this summer of Der Schlickmeister's memoir, which "Some people" say may be "more candid than cynics expect." (Mr. "Some People," no one who is not a fool expects candor from a Clinton.)
The Times begins with the notion that Kerry fans are worried about how the book will divert attention to "Mr. Clinton's outsize legacy of scandal and achievement." How's that for a Chex-spoiling sentence?
Posted at 10:30 AM
ALERT THE DITTOHEADS [Tim Graham]
Rush Limbaugh is hereby alerted that the laughs the ditto-heads had a few years ago over holding a bake sale to retire the federal deficit can now be repeated, since it is now a Kerry fundraising tactic:
"On Saturday, April 17, MoveOn PAC will hold the world's largest bake sale -- an event which will show the voters and the media that while Bush has the millionaire vote locked up, we've got the grassroots on our side."
They'll "also be registering voters and passing out flyers on John Kerry's positions and accomplishments." (Will they include his stands on both sides of every issue?)
They say so far, more than 500 sales are set up, with supposedly witty names like:
--Have Your Cake and Beat Bush Too, Brooklyn, NY
--No CARB (Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfield [sic], Bush) Bake Sale, Denver, CO
--Aunt Polly's Warm Scones & Hot Coffee for Cool Democrats, Albuquerque, NM
Posted at 10:28 AM
RE: SMUT-FREE [KJL]
Because that would be an admission by Hollywood that the blood/sex/language is gratuitous. If it can so easily be removed from the product, it didn't need to be there in the first place.
Posted at 10:26 AM
THE COMMISSION HEARINGS: DARN! [KJL]
Gorelick has recused herself from questioning Freeh.
Posted at 10:21 AM
WAL-MART SMUT FILTER [KJL]
Wal-Mart is selling a DVD player that makes participating titles family friendly. I've actually wondered about this: You buy a DVD for $15-$25 and get it in English, Spanish, French. You get bloopers and alternative endings. Sometimes a "making of" documentary. Sometimes games. Why not a no sex/no bad language/ no blood version?
Posted at 10:11 AM
PATRICK RESIGNS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Former Clinton Justice Department civil rights chief Deval Patrick resigned as general counsel of Coca Cola amidst an SEC investigation of Coke's accounting practices.
Posted at 10:06 AM
PRYOR MISREPRESENTATIONS [Jonathan H. Adler]
For some reason, liberal pundits continue to misrepresent the positions of former Alabama Attorney General, now 11th Circuit Judge, William Pryor. Never fear, for Feddie at Southern Appeal is on the case.
Posted at 10:04 AM
AIR STANDARDS IMPOSED [Jonathan H. Adler]
A report to be released later this wek will reveal that millions more people live in areas where air pollution violates federal air quality standards, the NYT reports. Does this mean air pollution is getting worse? Not at all. Rather, the increase in so-called "nonattainment" areas is the result of new, and much more stringent, federal air quality standards. Indeed, the new standards, put in place by Clinton EPA-chief Carol Browner, are so tight that some parts of the country could fail to comply even if they forced all cars off the road. If a state fails to comply, it faces the loss of all federal highway funds.
Posted at 10:03 AM
ANDREW--MISS USA [KJL]
Her favorite food comes from McDonald's! (Which, when you think about it, is probably just to make a point, right?)
Posted at 09:57 AM
ABOUT THE WALL [KJL]
Andrew McCarthy has a thorough look at the intel wall and why Jaime Gorelick shouldn't be ASKING questions, but answering, on NRO today. And be sure to read the "Wedge" man himself, Mark Riebling, in this piece from 2002.
Posted at 09:52 AM
BUFFER ZONE [KJL]
The pro-abortion chicks will be getting some padding from professional anti-globalization protesters at their march on Washington later this month (which, yes, I'm going to. see you there?).
Posted at 09:49 AM
I'm taking the rest of the month off. I can't handle Schumer for governor. Hillary as the senior senator. (I won't even consider the president thing.)
And, who fills Schumer's seat? (The answer is usually bad news in NY. Jim Buckley wanna run again?)
Posted at 09:44 AM
HASSLE-FREE FLORIDA [Jonah Goldberg ]
They've worked out the kinks!
Posted at 09:38 AM
SCHUMER FOR PREZ? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Bob Novak reports (third item) that Senator Schumer is eyeing a run for Governor of New York so as to lay the groundwork for an eventual White House run.
Posted at 09:35 AM
I AM SOOOO NICE [KJL]
You can find the swimsuit shots yourself.
Posted at 09:31 AM
OUR KIND OF MISS USA [Rick Brookhiser]
Pictures of the young lady?
Posted at 09:30 AM
HOLLYWOOD TO HELP DEMS? OR HURT? [Tim Graham]
Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times sums up today what Hollywood's lefties are preparing in their own effort to tilt the election in the summer and fall, including films from Michael Moore, Harry Thomason, and George Butler, the former friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Posted at 09:28 AM
PERHAPS I MISUNDERSTAND... [KJL]
...by why is the staff presenting part of their draft report (i.e. attacking Ashcroft) before Freeh, Reno, Ashcroft, etc. testify?
Posted at 09:18 AM
OUR KIND OF MISS USA [KJL]
Shandi Finnessey, 25, from Missouri won the Miss USA pageant last night. Looks like she wants world peace, by stomping out terorrism. From Reuters:
A Republican, she told Reuters she would use her position to help explain America's involvement in Iraq. "What needed to be done had to be done," she said.
Posted at 09:16 AM
DEMOCRATIC-OXYGEN HOG [KJL]
Everything anyone ever needed to know about Bill Clinton, in the NYTimes today, about his book: "Mr. Clinton, for his part, has increased the nervous speculation about the book in Democratic circles by making a habit of picking up the phone to regale friends with long passages and even chapters of his prose. Mixing boyish enthusiasm with a craving for approval, people who have received the calls said, he has proudly narrated excerpts about everything from college antics with his pals at Georgetown to his 1995 standoff with Republicans that led to a government shutdown."
As John Kerry lives in fear that Big Bill will rain on his parade and release the book during his campaign...
Posted at 08:42 AM
CLOSE TO SADR? [KJL]
A top aide evidently arrested. Rumors swirl it could be Sadr. (But, it's SkyNews...)
Posted at 04:14 AM
FREEH UP [KJL]
I can't help but think today's 9/11 Commission hearing is going to be some good TV, better exposing some of the Commission members for who they are (i.e. Jamie Gorelick, no objective observer--try someone who has a vested interest in seeing that someone other than herself and colleagues gets blames). Did you catch Louis Freeh, who testifies today, in the Journal yesterday?
Freeh: Protecting our homeland from attacks by foreign terrorists had long been the FBI's priority. Back in September 1994, I recommended to Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick that the DoJ strengthen investigative powers against suspected "undesirable aliens," accelerating deportation appeal proceedings and limiting U.S. participation in a visa waiver pilot program under which 9.5 million foreigners entered the U.S. in 1994. I also recommended that we include provisions for the detention and removal of undesirable aliens, under a special, closed-court procedure. I also criticized alien deportation appeal procedures wich often took years to conclude. Finally, I recommended legislation to provide the FBI with roving wiretap authority to investigate terrorist activities in the U.S. President Clinton requested that authority in 1996. . . .Ashcroft's also up today. He was moving against Khobar tower terrorists (getting indictments) in June of 2001 and, I am told, asked for a look at lowering the wall between CIA and FBI in the spring of 2001. You know, the Gorelick wall.
Should be interesting... (And stay tuned this morning on NRO for Andrew McCarthy on that wall.
Posted at 03:38 AM
CLARKE WORKS FOR ABC [KJL]
Posted at 03:36 AM
JOHN KERRY IN THE WASHPOST [KJL]
Posted at 03:34 AM
There's a new issue of City Journal out (and, more importantly for web critters, UP). It's got NRO/NR homies Victor Davis Hanson, and Theodore Dalrymple and cool Manhattan Institute residents Heather Mac Donald, Kay Hymowitz, Sol Stern, and more. Check it out.
Posted at 03:28 AM
Did you see this in the NYTimes Magazine? "What the World Needs Now Is DDT." Is this an alternative universe? Show me some more, I might want to stay.
Posted at 03:00 AM
TV ALERT [KJL]
NRO Contributor Cathy Seipp will be on Dennis Miller tonight.
Posted at 02:51 AM
Monday, April 12, 2004
RADIO ALERT II [Jonah Goldberg]
I will be on KSFO tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM West Coast Time (10 AM EST). I will be wearing a subservient chicken suit (scroll down).
Posted at 09:35 PM
RADIO ALERT [KJL]
Rich will be on Bill Bennett's nationally syndicated "Morning in America" tomorrow a.m., 7:30 (Eastern), Tuesday, & available at www.bennettmornings.com
Posted at 08:21 PM
RE TEDDY'S CONSISTENCY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader in response to today's column:
Mr. Jonah Goldberg I have just read your editorial, Whistling Defeat, with considerable interest in view of the analogy of Iraq and Vietnam. In May, 1969, I joined my Marine Corps battalion as a young infantry officer, while it was engaged in a fierce combat operation. The 101st Airborne were in a ferocious battle with North Vietnamese Army units dug in on a hill that came to be known as Hamburger Hill. My Marine unit, 9th Marines, was working in support of the Army in the general area, but not on the hill itself. I can still remember reading in our military newspaper, Stars and Stripes, in the field in Vietnam, that Senator Edward Kennedy was lambasting the American effort at Hamburger Hill for the casualties and in a general indictment of our war effort. I remember also how demoralizing it was to read what our elected representatives were saying while we were engaged with our enemy. I am sure that our forces in Iraq today can sense the same frustration and betrayal as others of us sensed 35 years ago. Thanks for an informative message.
Posted at 05:15 PM
KERRY'S ALTAR EGO [Tim Graham]
NBC's "Today" covered the John Kerry-communion controversy this morning. Reporter Carl Quintanilla explained Kerry's position: "Dismissing some conservative Catholic bishops like this one in St. Louis who say Kerry's pro-choice voting record in the Senate makes him ineligible for communion. In Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley recently said of all politicians. Quote, 'If they're not voting correctly on these life issues they shouldn't dare come to Communion.'"
Kerry: "I fully intend to continue to practice my religion as separately from what I do with respect to my public life. And that's the way it ought to be in America."
Separation of church and state is not so broadly defined as to extend to demanding that the Catholic church give carte blanche to Catholic politicians (especially those running as the Democratic nominee to be president of the whole blooming country) to confuse the public about what the church teaches. Kerry's "declaration of independence" (as NBC described it a minute or two later) looks like officers of the state trying to overrrule the church on church policy, which would seem to breach the wall in reverse, right?
Posted at 05:04 PM
GIRL SCOUTS AND ABORTION [KJL]
26% of Girl Scout councils have ties to Planned Parenthood, according to a pro-life group's survey.
Posted at 04:53 PM
BUSH SPEAKS! [Michael Graham]
I'm one of those Bush supporters who's been wondering where the heck he's been the past 10 days. I'm glad he's doing a televised presser, but I think I had an even better idea last week on my radio show, when I somewhat self-servingly suggested that the President needs to do an hour of talk radio.
I'm very serious about this. President Bush, taking an hour to answer regular questions from regular people about Iraq would have a tremendous impact on the American people.
He could appear on Rush and that would be fine, but even better would be to simply go on the air, open up the lines and take calls from typical Americans. No host, nobody interjecting or re-framing the question. Just George W. Bush explaining to normal people what's going on in Iraq and why it's important.
The magic of call screening would control most of the "looney" factor, though he'd probably have to deal with a "bababooey" or two, but so what? One thing I've learned doing radio is that it builds intimacy in a way television does not. It also reveals your natural personality.
These are both winners for President Bush, in my opinion. And I think the minor stumbles and bumbles of real-life conversation that would occur would help, not hurt, the president.
What the people I'm talking to on the air right now need is reassurance. Nobody can do that as well as President Bush, speaking with passion, confidence and knowledge about his plans for Iraq.
If the White House is afraid the President isn't up to doing an hour of talk radio, let me remind them that I actually do it for a living--how hard can it be?
Posted at 04:50 PM
MORE ON THE TIMES' EDITORIAL [Jonah Goldberg]
Immediately after the passage I quoted, comes this bit:
"He could, for instance, have left his vacation in Texas after receiving that briefing memo entitled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.' and rushed back to the White House, assembled all his top advisers and demanded to know what, in particular, was being done to screen airline passengers to make sure people who fit the airlines' threat profiles were being prevented from boarding American planes."
Um, I'm fairly certain that even after 9/11 the Times had a big problem with "screening" passengers who fit the "threat profile." Or am I wrong?
Posted at 04:08 PM
ROONEY'S ASININITY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Getting a lot of email about Andy Rooney's
Most laughable is his claim that 23 suicides (however tragic) is evidence of how awful the situation is in Iraq. According to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, there were 10.7 suicides/100,000 individuals in 2001 . However, the ratio of male to female is 4:1. Therefore, the rate for males is 17.2/100,000, assuming a 50/50 population gender split (check math with Derb). 1 in 7 soldiers deployed in Iraq is female (http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1265/context/cover) (maybe not the best reference). Assuming 130,000 soldiers deployed in Iraq, one would expect 19.2 male suicides and 0.78 female suicides for a total of 20 (once again, check with Derb). The 23 suicies in Iraq is most likely not significantly different from any random group of 130,000 people in the US with a 6:1 split of male to female over a year. As usual, when condemning our actions, people fail to factor in what would have gone on over the last year had we not invaded Iraq. If by some wild chance you decide to post any of this, please don't use my name. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Posted at 04:03 PM
SUBSERVIENT CHICKEN [Jonah Goldberg ]
Very creepy potential here.
Posted at 03:56 PM
#$%^! INDIAN STEEL TYCOONS! [Jonah Goldberg ]
They're buying up all the real estate that should go to hard working Americans! This is where outsourcing is taking us!
Posted at 03:20 PM
THE MAN HAS A POINT [KJL]
James Taranto on Mark Shields to our Kate O'Beirne on CNN on Saturday night... Shields said: "Kate! Time out, Kate! You've had three times now. That's enough for you. Women talk too much." Taranto says, "If He Were a Republican, This Would Be Hate Speech."
Posted at 02:51 PM
THE "CONCEIVABLE" STANDARD [Jonah Goldberg]
The New York Times editorializes:
No reasonable American blames Mr. Bush for the terrorist attacks, but that's a long way from thinking there was no other conceivable action he could have taken to prevent them.
I absolutely agree. There were a great many actions the government could have conceivably taken. It could have conceivably grounded every plane in America. It conceivably could have announced it was going to scrutinize every Muslim and Arab living in America without citizenship, and every single one which didn't have his or her papers in perfect order would be deported. It is conceivable that George W. Bush could have championed measures even stronger than those in the Patriot Act before 9/11. It is conceivable that he could have bombed Afghanistan, issued orders to assasinate every Jihadist terrorist it could get in the crosshairs. It is conceivable that he could have told Americans that civil liberties would have to take a backseat to security and that tourism would have to suffer.
The only thing that is inconeivable is that the New York Times would have condoned any of these measures or measures which fall far short of these. Indeed, it is inconceivable that the Times would have done anything but denounce the President as a would-be dictator. Indeed, it is difficult to find very many examples of things President Bush did after 9/11 to prevent terrorism that the New York Times did not sneer at in some way.
Applying the standard of "conceivability" is not only intellectually dishonest for the Times it is hypocritical since it is something approaching this standard which the Administration applied to its decision to go to war with Iraq -- "are we doing everything conceivable to make sure this never happens again?" -- and we all know how much support the Times has offered for that effort.
Posted at 02:36 PM
"REPUBLICAN RACISM" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I was just chatting about that article at lunch with two colleagues. Two of us had read it, and agreed that its main weakness was its treatment of the 1964 election results--in which Goldwater won the Deep South, not the border states---as an anomaly.
Posted at 02:12 PM
8:30 PM/EAST ROOM/TUESDAY [KJL]
President Bush will hold a news conference.
Posted at 02:07 PM
A CALL FOR MORAL SERIOUSNESS [KJL]
I'd love to have been a fly on the wall for this interview:
While Kerry does not adhere to all the strictures of the faith, Bush may not be any better a choice for Catholics, added Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.Catholics deserve clarity from the bishops' conference.
Posted at 01:47 PM
9/11 EASTER [Rod Dreher]
An odd thing happened this weekend. I keep on my bulletin board on my home office a clipping from the Times, one of the "faces" obits it ran of the WTC dead. My wife and I had met this man, his wife, and a young relative with whom they were traveling in early 2001, in Europe. We shared the breakfast table a couple of times, and enjoyed very much meeting these fellow New Yorkers abroad. The man, whose name I'd rather not divulge, was killed in the north tower when the plane struck his floor. His remains were never recovered. I keep that clipping on my bulletin board to remind me that real people died on that day, including a man I'd broken bread and shared a laugh with in happier times.
Anyway, at some point over the Easter weekend, I was passing through my office and something about that clipping caught my eye. I thought: I wonder how his wife is doing. I wonder how she's feeling this holiday weekend. I said a little prayer for her, and went on. This morning, I got to my office, downloaded my work e-mail -- and there was a letter from her! After all this time! She wrote, in part, that this ordeal "has tested my faith, to say the least, and not just in a spiritual sense -- also faith in the world. I know now, from personal experience, how much evil really exists in this world. I feel disdain for those I would call the 'secular absolutists.' For example, those who would say that there is no 'evil person' in this world, only evil acts. A distinction that to me is a mere intellectual game." Yet her letter was positive, and her recovery continues, though neither she, nor any of us who lived through that day and its consequences, will ever be the same again. Isn't it strange that on a weekend in which I'd thought about this man and his widow for the first time in a long time, and even felt moved to pray for her, that she wrote me out of the blue for the first time since the fall of 2001? Makes one wonder what goes on around us and between us, unseen.
Posted at 01:03 PM
HOSANNAHS TO NR KIDS BOOKS! [Jack Fowler]
Faith & Family magazine says The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature “contains a wide selection of some of the best stories for kids ever published. The wholesome, exciting stories will entertain you as well as your kid. The book contains page-turning tales by greats like Jack London, Louisa May Alcott, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, and more …” Truer words were never spoken! So we have faith that you will get your family our wonderful children’s books (including The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories) here.
Posted at 12:51 PM
THE VIACOM DISCLOSURE PROBLEM [Tim Graham]
AP reports that "60 Minutes" will now try to inform its viewers when they're spotlighting their Viacom partners in the book world (Simon & Schuster et al).
CBS certainly does not have a great record of making their corporate connections to S&S obvious to viewers. They didn't do it with Dick Clarke. They didn't do it in January with Paul O'Neill. They didn't do it in December with the latest James Carville screed. They didn't do it with Hillary Clinton's auto-lie-ography last summer, although that promotional effort started with ABC. Liberal bias isn't just a reality at Viacom -- it's also an example of a convenient political/corporate win-win strategy.
Posted at 12:44 PM
ENCOURAGING MARRIAGE-POLL NUMBERS [Stanley Kurtz]
Important and extensive new polling data shows strong opposition to same-sex marriage. Here’s the full report, and here’s a summary.
Posted at 12:34 PM
RE: THE MADHI ARMY [Steve Hayward]
Readers who are interested in learning more background on Poppa Goldberg's reference to the Madhi's army in the Sudan in the late 19th century be interested in a piece I published right after 9/11, drawing the parallels found in Churchill's great book about that episode, The River War. (The River War is my favorite Churchill book, though the original edition, which he suppressed for political reasons, is very hard to come by.) The piece was called "A Churchillian Perspective on September 11," and can be found here.
Posted at 09:38 AM
THE MYTH OF REPUBLICAN RACISM [Jonah Goldberg ]
I know Ramesh and Peter Robinson have both linked to this already but I only got around to reading it this weekend. Gerard Alexander's debunking of the liberal conventional wisdom on GOP racism is really outstanding. It's in the Claremont Review of Books, which has really taken flight in its short time on the scene. Since Alexander's piece has been out for a while, I was wondering if any serious liberals have tried to rebut it? I would love to know what Ruy Teixeira, Peter Beinart or Josh Marshall make of this. If anybody's seen a sincere attempt by folks from that crowd, please send it along.
Posted at 09:22 AM
"PRESIDENT KERRY" [Jonah Goldberg]
A depressing email from a reader (I'm not as bummed out as him, though I generally agree that Milbank's stuff has refined the art of journalistic cheap-shots to an unprecedented level):
After this weekend, I think we all need to get used to the sound of President Kerry as depressing as that is. Never did I think I would see the Press sink to the level they are at. They have stopped even pretending to be journalists and are now full fledged Dem hacks, and they don't care who knows it. Dana Milbank appears to be a Krugman disciple, and he is supposed to reporting actual news, not writing opinion columns that belong in MoveOn.org. Milbank's pieces on the PDB are just unbelievable. W is wrong on everything according to the Press, the Press is politicizing the war and 9-11 to no end (see Bush-hating 9-11 widows, they went to Afghansistan to prevent the war for pete's sake, but does the press mention that, of course not), good economic news is on a need to know basis and course no one needs to know about that in an election year (can you say Kerry boom starting Dec 04), and Kerry's incredible baggage is swept under the rug (He was the leader of a group and was at the meeting where they took a vote on assasinating sitting U.S. senators, he said U.S. soldiers committed war crimes in Senate testimony, and he went to Paris to negoitate with Hanoi, which is illegal). Very, very depressing.
Posted at 09:16 AM
MAHDI ARMY [Jonah Goldberg]
Email from my Dad (imagine him saying this while pushing me on a swing and you have a fairly good snapshot of my childhood):
I don't think anyone has explained the significance of the name of the Shiite militia, the "Mahdi Army" - or at least I haven't seen it. The Mahdi, mainly according to Shiite belief, is the messiah who will appear at the end of history and will reward and punish. Many Moslems over the years have claimed to be the Mahdi but the one who is most famous for it was Mohammed Ahmed (I think) who had a following of zealots in the late 19th century in the Sudan, which was then ruled by Egypt, but with British overseerage, and it came to be restructured as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (also referred to as the Condominium.) The Mahdi rebelled against Egypt and Charles ("Chinese") Gordon was sent to put him down, conquering Omdurman, the old Sudanese capital (the twin city of Khartoum. Gordon defeated the Mahdi but in the process was himself killed. Lord Kitchener was then sent to avenge the British deaths, which he did and laid out the new Khartoum in the design of the Union Jack. Winston Churchill, incidentaly, was with the Kitchener force and participated in what probably was the last classical cavalry charge, swords drawn. The Mahdi was extraordinarily charismatic and while he lived Omdurman was substituted for Mecca as the destination of the hajj for Sudanese and some other Moslems. I don't know if Sadr is proclaiming himself to be the Mahdi - I doubt it - but it's an interesting name for his "army." (Gordon, incidentally, was callerd "Chinese" because he put down the Taiping Revolution in China with his "ever-victorious army " a very popular guy, hence the need to avenge his death.)
Posted at 09:14 AM
THAT SUICIDE BOMBER FACTORY [Jonah Goldberg]
The Washington Post has a very interesting front page story on the suicide bomber factory (I'd link but I'm having laptop problems too dull to explain). NPR had a similar report. The most interesting part isn't that these guys are foreign fighters, it's that they seem to be as or more interested in fighting Shiites than fighting Americans. We know that the Wahhabists consider Shiites to be almost subhuman heretics, but one would have thought the foreign fighters pouring in would make attacking America job #1. It appears the fear of democracy in Iraq -- and the Shiite empowerment that would bring -- is still a big part of the story.
Posted at 09:08 AM
SYRIA, SAUDI ARABIA GET TIGHT [KJL]
Posted at 08:37 AM
ONE YEAR LATER [KJL]
Friday, as we noted, was the one-year anniversary of the day the Saddam statue came down in the heart of Baghdad. Here's what was said on the "Iraq the Model" blog:
It’s the day that brought me back to life. It’s the 9th of April and I’m free, and they will not steel my joy again and they will not silence me. A year ago at the same date, the thieves and criminals prevented me from celebrating my freedom in the open air, and today thieves, criminals and fanatics are doing the same, but they will not steal my happiness that is making my soul fly and dance with joy and they can’t stop this.
Posted at 08:30 AM
AL JAZEERA, AL MANZAR... [KJL]
could use some journalism-ethics classes. Rule #1: Don't aid terrorists.
Posted at 08:26 AM
VIETNAMIZATION [Tim Graham]
Katie Couric is once again saying "some people" are comparing Iraq to Vietnam. Couldn't she at least say "some Democrats" or "some liberals"? And couldn't the guest (former AP reporter/hostage/Democratic congressional candidate Terry Anderson in today's case) just once suggest the comparison is crazy loco? What they never consider is the major similarity: pessimistic liberal media elites trying to create a terrible self-fulfilling prophecy.
Posted at 08:20 AM
D.C. TOURISM UP [Tim Graham]
In one sign that Americans have a growing feeling of pre-9/11 safety, tourism to DC is sharply up, reports the WashPost. The tourists are back, and the "DC native" tourist-bashers (why, I've lived here for months now!)will be back, too.
Posted at 08:17 AM
RE: MISCHIEF [John Derbyshire]
Numerous readers, in response to my post about the boys stripping my Ann Coulter doll: "Hey, just be glad it wasn't your GWB doll they were interested in..."
Posted at 08:13 AM
RE: THE CANDY'S GETTING SOGGY [John Derbyshire]
Tim: I know exactly what you mean. The pressure to garnish every holiday, including the Hallmark ones, with free STUFF is rising. The rule in my house is the one I grew up with: you only get STUFF at Christmas and birthdays. At Easter you get a choccy egg. That's it with the STUFF. This attitude is now so old-fashioned, I suspect it will soon be illegal.
Nowadays I hear wails of: "Don't we get ANYTHING? Ashley's Dad bought her a bike for St. Patrick's Day!" In vain to I try to deemonstrate that Ashley's Dad is a moral criminal for filling his kids' lives up with STUFF. The kids think it's their birthright to get STUFF seventeen times a year. I am holding the line, but just barely.
Posted at 08:08 AM
RE: DERB'S FAVORITE EASTER HYMN [John Derbyshire]
A kind reader has found Lyra Davidica -- last but one on this page.
Posted at 08:06 AM
WE KNEW ABOUT THE MEMO [KJL]
Posted at 08:01 AM
THE PRESIDENT KNEW! [ Jonah Goldberg ]
"Intelligence sources tell TIME they have evidence that bin Laden may be planning his boldest move yet--a strike on Washington or possibly New York City in an eye-for-an-eye retaliation. "We've hit his headquarters, now he hits ours," says a State Department aide."
Posted at 08:01 AM
BREAKING NEWS! [KJL]
A headline right now on the Washington Post website: "Lobbyists Seek Political Edge."
Posted at 02:59 AM
SPAIN'S CROWN PRINCE GETS NO RESPECT IN MIAMI [KJL]
Subject to a security check after flying into Miami via charter jet from the Bahamas, Crown Prince Felipe is apologized to by Miami's mayor, after, evidently, getting royally peeved. Seems though, as silly as the prince of Spain being patted down is (no doubt a waste of time that could have been avoided), he should welcome it, a month after the devastating terrorist attack in his own country.
Posted at 02:56 AM
HOSNI AT THE RANCH [KJL]
Probably getting it exactly right, the Washington Post this morning calls Egypt's Mubarak "THE LARGEST OBSTACLE to President Bush's democracy initiative in the greater Middle East." Stay tuned later this morning to more on that subject on NRO.
Posted at 12:47 AM
DAVID VS. GOLIATH IN PA. [KJL]
Jason Riley on the Toomey-Specter race. (Appeared last week, but just up on their free site this weekend.)
Posted at 12:31 AM
Sunday, April 11, 2004
JOHN KERRY'S CATHOLICISM [KJL]
Some bishop has got to say something: the most prominent Catholic in the country receives Communion with the whole world watching, the New York Times reporting on it. As Charlotte Allen writes in the Washington Post today, it is a line in the sand of sorts.
Posted at 07:29 PM
DERB'S FAVORITE EASTER HYMN [John Derbyshire]
(...but to neither of those tunes. I prefer the Lyra Davidica, which is the one in the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal.)
A Blessed Easter to one and all!
Posted at 04:37 PM
EASTER AT THE W. RANCH [KJL]
Fresh Mozzarella, tomato, and avocado chopped salad
Posted at 04:36 PM
FIT TO PRINT? [Andrew Stuttaford]
The back page of today’s New York Times ‘Week in Review’ section proudly displays a list of Times’ journalists who have won the Pulitzer prize, a prize which is, apparently, “widely considered journalism’s highest honor”.
Right near the top is “1932: Walter Duranty, for coverage of the news from Russia.”
Yes, that Walter Duranty, the liar, the fraud, a man who denied genocide, a man still on the Times’ honor roll.
Draw your own conclusions.
Posted at 04:02 PM
NOT AGAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
While on the subject of drivers’ licenses, it seems that, when it comes to the question of illegal immigration, Jeb Bush is as feckless as his brother George. The Florida governor is backing a bill that would allow ‘undocumented aliens’ to get drivers’ licenses.
”The bill he is backing has enough safeguards that it would ensure terrorists are not getting licenses, Bush said Monday.”
Wow. He should tell Tom Ridge his secret.
Posted at 03:59 PM
88 ILLEGALS [Andrew Stuttaford]
In response to a post on Saturday about 88 allegedly illegal immigrants detained after a domestic flight to Newark, a reader asks exactly what form of i/d they were using. Good question. They could, I suppose, have been using passports from their native lands, but, if not, they must have been using drivers' licenses, which in turn must either have been illegally obtained or were fakes.
Homeland security has, clearly, a way to go.
Posted at 03:23 PM
FUNDAMENTALISM (2) [Andrew Stuttaford]
A reader takes me to task for writing that Al Qaeda’s ‘demands’ are ‘for a world put back a thousand years’ noting that “if Al Qaeda's [demands were for a] world…put back 1,000 years, it would be progress.” The Islamic sages of the early Middle Ages “tried to learn from whatever sources of knowledge were considered valid at the time. Al Qaeda simply do not want to know… They may refer constantly to the former glory of their civilization, but they actually show no sign of wanting to return to it. Listen closely, that's not… the Koran you hear in the background: it's the banjo from Deliverance.”
Posted at 02:46 PM
FUNDAMENTALISM [Andrew Stuttaford]
Will Hutton is a surprisingly influential British commentator with the quite remarkable ability to be wrong about almost everything always. Notorious both for his slightly unhinged anti-Americanism and his creepy devotion to the Brussels ‘project,’ Hutton now turns his attention to ‘fundamentalism’. Now, I’m no fan of religious fundamentalism of any description, but to compare its American version to the poison of Islamic extremism is, quite simply, nonsense. Doubt me? Well, lets take a simple (and rather crude) test. Would Mr. Hutton rather fly in a plane piloted by an Islamic or a Christian fundamentalist? I think we know the answer.
The reality is that, while all forms of fundamentalism may share certain psychological causes, they also differ very greatly. More than that, to regard all fundamentalisms as the same is to ignore the fact that what someone believes is as important as how they believe. Fundamentalist Christianity is very different from fundamentalist Islam, and to deny that is a blind, idiotic fundamentalism all of its own.
An exaggeration? Well, read this comment from Hutton and judge for yourself:
’In Iraq, the two unforgiving eye-for-an-eye fundamentalisms - American and Islamic, informed by the doctrine of blood sacrifice - confront one another in an arena of escalating violence.”
What a cretin.
Posted at 02:32 PM
ON EASTER [Peter Robinson]
The following, from the 1928 Myles Connolly novel, Mr. Blue, takes place atop an office building in lower Manhattan.
Jay Blue, the book’s central character, has chosen to live on the roof. This development puzzles Blue’s friend, the narrator. Here Mr. Blue has persuaded the narrator to observe Blue’s rooftop home for himself.
For non-Christians, a stirring passage about a beautiful, poetic dream—and for Christians, the truth.
Night had smothered the city, and the city gave up its protest in uncountable millions of bubbles and gasps of light. Below was glittering Manhattan. The east was black. The opaque hilly horizon of the west was razor-edged against a last gleam of cold white light. Destroyers rode the unbridged Hudson; ferries and small craft flecked her with light. The East River lay her dark secretive self, coddling her treasure, Blackwell’s Island, lay a cool, lamp-spotted, many-bridged stream between the sprawling white conflagrations of Brooklyn and Manhattan. It was terrifyingly beautiful up on the roof, four hundred feet above the gaudy streets, four hundred feet up in the cool dark silences, four hundred feet up nearer the stars….
Posted at 10:59 AM
FOOTNOTE TO GRAVITY B [Peter Robinson ]
Yesterday I ran into a senior physicist here at Stanford. When I asked him about the Gravity B probe, he shook his head, replying that he was a “dissident.”
The experiment, he explained, could produce only two results, neither of which would advance science a jot. The first result? “It’ll give us the measurements we’re expecting. In that case it won’t tell us anything about general relativity that we don’t already know.” The second? “It won’t give us the results we’re expecting. But we’ve had so many confirmations of relativity since this experiment was proposed 40 years ago that everyone will believe the experiment itself was at fault.”
Was Gravity B a good use of something like $800 million of taxpayers’ money?
“If you’d known when the experiment was proposed that it would take 40 years to get it launched, and that in the meantime we’d have gotten so many confirmations of relativity, you’d have had to say, ‘Don’t do it.’”
Posted at 10:47 AM
POINTING KERRY TOWARD CENTER [Tim Graham]
People always ask the conservative media critic: "What about conservative media bias? Why don't you expose that, too?" We like to leave that to people like the Chomskyites at FAIR, "Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting" (I substitute "Revolution" at the end). Many times, their analysis seems a little ridiculous, like when they get upset in war time that anchormen use the word "we" for U.S. forces ("How are we doing over there?") as if anchormen lived as citizens of the United States.
Here's one area where they can make a point for the Ted Kennedy fan. Liberal reporters do make noise from time to time about the need for Democrats to "move to the center" -- although it's often much more about appearances than reality. Nevertheless, the pose is a bit demoralizing to the liberal faithful.
I would only add that I start giggling at some of these examples, like Howard Fineman suggesting that Kerry can get past his lifetime ACU rating of six percent by saying he once worked as a prosecutor and he voted once for welfare reform when President Clinton said it was okay. It sounds a little like Al Franken's impersonation of Pat Robertson, saying he should be president because he's not a televangelist, he's been a caddy and bagged groceries.
Posted at 10:46 AM
IRAQ & VIETNAM [KJL]
Posted at 10:44 AM
ANOTHER QUOTATION FOR ANDREW [Peter Robinson ]
Andrew, your Orwell quotation reminds me of one from C. S. Lewis. Lewis could hardly have been more different from Orwell, of course, but he had as sharp an eye for cant, hypocrisy—and evil:
“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.”
Posted at 10:39 AM
THE CANDY'S GETTING SOGGY [Tim Graham]
On the other hand, Derb, you can be eager for the growth process to evolve naturally. My six-year-old cried into her Easter candy because there weren't enough gifts mixed in. It's called Who Let Daddy Cheapskate Make the Baskets?
Posted at 10:29 AM
BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY & HOLY EASTER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
(The White House Easter message; history of the White House Easter Egg Roll.) (From the pope to priests: Holy Thursday letter; papal Easter Vigil homily.)
Posted at 10:14 AM