ABU GHARIB, AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW [KJL]
Iraqthemodel: "What happened in Abu-Gharib should be a lesson for us, Iraqis, above all. It showed how justice functions in a democratic society. We should study this lesson carefully, since sooner or later we'll be left alone and it will be our responsibility to deal with such atrocities, as these will never seize to happen." Read the whole thing.
Posted at 09:42 PM
KERRY USES ABU GHRAIB TO RAISE MONEY [KJL]
Where's the W.-used-9/11-in-a-commercial outcry?
Posted at 07:19 PM
JACKALS [Andrew Stuttaford]
The idea that the appalling abuses at Abu Ghraib can somehow be excused by the savagery of regimes elsewhere in the Middle East is, of course, nonsense, but these words from Lebanese journalist Rajeh Khuri (quoted in the Washington Post) need to be remembered too. Rightly, he condemns the betrayal of American ideals that Abu Ghraib has come to represent, but then he goes on, in a piece entitled “The Chorus of Tearful Crocodiles” to say that what matters is not the rote denunciations in the Arab press of those cruelties, but silence about something else.
"We are concerned with the detention centers and jails filling the tunnels of regimes in the Arab world and the shredding of the soul of Arab citizens and their honor without one official batting an eyelash… Hundreds have perished in silence and out of sight, without even a cold announcement, and thousands have gone into detention and have not returned. . . . Then there are the names of those who disappeared and dissolved like salt between the ocean and the Gulf."
Bush was right to apologize to the Iraqis for what was done, and, politically it may have been shrewd to couch that apology in wider terms to all Arab peoples, but we should be clear about one thing. The denunciations of America by the Arab press outside Iraq has no more moral (politically speaking, it is something else) significance than the sight of a weeping Goebbels. It’s nothing more than the howling of a coterie of hand-picked hypocrites, flaks for the fascists, theocratic or otherwise, who run their countries, journalistic attack dogs who, it seems, have learned to love their leashes.
Posted at 06:26 PM
RESPONSIBILITY [Andrew Stuttaford]
The notion that Americans are incapable of taking responsibility for themselves is a key part of the bloated and overblown ‘war on obesity’. How then to explain yesterday’s announcement by Krispy Kreme that the company was cutting its earnings guidance by ten percent due to the increasing popularity of low-carb dieting?
If Americans can turn away from God’s doughnuts, there is no need to worry about this nation’s collective willpower.
Posted at 05:52 PM
TOLERANCE WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
In another example of the sophistication and generosity of Sharia ‘law’ , Governor Ahmed Sani of Zamfara State [Nigeria], has ordered the demolition of all churches in his state.
Meanwhile, an eighteenth century statue in a Spanish cathedral showing St James slicing the heads off Moorish invaders is to be removed to avoid causing “offense” to Muslims. Quite what pious Muslims would be doing within a Christian cathedral was not explained.
Blogger Mick Hartley has more.
Posted at 05:48 PM
'THE CHILDREN', CTD. [Andrew Stuttaford]
I don’t know much about Republican Representative George Nethercutt, but this was not one of his finer moments. Contemplating the possibility (now abandoned) that Major League Baseball was going to allow advertisements for the new Spiderman movie to be plastered all over its bases, Nethercutt decided to get involved, writing a letter to Commissioner Bud Selig, citing, of course, the interests of ‘little leaguers.’ Bah!
America’s new national pastime is clearly politicians sticking their snouts where they not belong, but only of course, in the interests of ‘the children’.
Via, naturally, Radley Balko.
Posted at 05:37 PM
THE PRISON CONNECTION [Andrew Stuttaford]
The New York Times is now taking up the idea that Abu Ghraib can, in some ways, be linked to abuses that seem to be tolerated, or even encouraged, within the American prison system. In time, of course, we may discover (I hope not) that Abu Ghraib was part of a deliberate policy, tacit or otherwise, but looking at the details (and the correctional service background of some of those against whom allegations have been made) it’s difficult not to suspect that there is some connection. A society that condones prison brutality will, in the end, be brutalized. It really is that simple.
Perhaps it’s too much to hope that this will actually happen, but if anything good is to come out of this miserable affair, it should include an overhaul of conditions in this nation’s prisons. You doubt that that’s necessary, well read the Times story and, say, the allegations of Roderick Johnson:
”In a case that began in 2000, a prisoner at the Allred Unit in Wichita Falls, Tex., said he was repeatedly raped by other inmates, even after he appealed to guards for help, and was allowed by prison staff to be treated like a slave, being bought and sold by various prison gangs in different parts of the prison. The inmate, Roderick Johnson, has filed suit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the case is now before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.”
It seems like a good moment to repeat the question I put a few weeks ago on the Corner to that ambitious Mr. Spitzer, New York’s attorney general. In the context of the prosecution of a Wall Street trader facing thirty years in jail, Spitzer was quoted by the Financial Times as noting (it seemed, with some satisfaction) that “this is state time…State prison has a certain edge to it that is not always present in the federal system. These prisons are not country clubs.”
I asked then, and I’ll ask again, what do you mean by “edge” Mr. Spitzer?
Posted at 03:26 PM
NRO readers should gather in bars to watch Jonah make Aaron Brown cry.
Posted at 02:37 PM
THE LIZARD KING II [Andrew Stuttaford]
Twitching, sweating and angry under the pressure of unaccustomed mockery, the freaks, fanatics and fools who fill the ranks of Iran’s hardline clergy are increasing their attempts to ban The Lizard , the new Iranian movie that satirizes their superstitions, stupidity and self-importance.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting comments from Ahmad Jannati, the head of Iran’s powerful Guardian Council, whining as he grumbles that, "the screening of such movies must be confronted because this makes fun of clerics. It should be banned."
In a way jihad Jannati has got it right. Humor can be a devastatingly effective weapon against the evils of theocracy. No wonder he’s worried. The world needs to see a lot more of such mockery, and not just in Iran. To start with, has, The Lizard, I wonder, been shown in Iraq. And if not, why not?
Posted at 01:45 PM
ME V. AARON BROWN [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be on Monday night to talk about my column. Here's how he opened last night's show:
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again everyone.
Posted at 01:31 PM
PRO-LIFE CURVES? [KJL]
The fitness chain gets grief .
Posted at 11:57 AM
DELIGHTFUL ARAB PRISONS [Tim Graham]
Here's the answer for every Arab journalist trotted out on American airwaves this week about American abuse of prisoners: shut up. When you reform your countries, you can criticize someone else. Let the Americans fix the Americans.
Posted at 10:45 AM
CONCOCTED CONSPIRACIES [Tim Graham]
Brent Bozell finds Michael Moore NEEDS to be censored by Disney (at least temporarily) so his film on censorship will resonate. The radical left has gone beyond blaming Jeb Bush for Moore's plight to blaming Saudi princes who invest in EuroDisney.
Posted at 10:42 AM
WANTING TO SEE RUMSTUD FALL [KJL]
Reading the Washington Post piece on yesterday's hearings (the Senate one, mostly), I can't help but imagine a few gleeful faces in newsrooms across across the nation. As McCain grandstanded a little, someone sang, under his breath, but still audible, "Ding dong, the witch is dead." Of course, he's not. And, I thought he had some of his best moments at the near end of the six hours on the House side (when the print journalists already filed and the prime-time news packages were already set). Anyway, here's some flavor of David Von Drehle's piece:
This image of a powerless secretary unable to summon up a cheap piece of plastic in the face of a "catastrophe," as Rumsfeld described the prison scandal, was a long way from the boldly assured Rumsfeld of a year ago. Back then, during the U.S. military's lightning drive on Baghdad, the civilian architect of two wars in two years described a computerized force in which data leapt from soldier to satellite to smart bomb, in which unimaginable firepower was just a few keystrokes away.
Posted at 10:39 AM
Friday, May 07, 2004
GMD II [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, Recognizing it's very difficult for conservatives to have an objective thought about the mainstream media, but please try to imagine the outcry if graphic pictures were shown of the mutilated "contractors" (can we stop calling them "contractors" since they don't do home repair and call them "hired guns" for that is what they are!) in Falluja. Mr. Goldberg, you know as well as anyone, if CBS showed the ghastly close-up photos and video of men hanging upside down burned beyond recognition, Rush, O'Leilly, Jonah and the rest of the cabal would have screamed about the insensitivity of the "liberal media." The simple fact is the prison abuse scandal is an important story that must be told in full. The American people need to know what is happening in Iraq in our name. Our national leadership volunteered this country for this war and we need to know where we stand so we can measure success or failure of this operation as we make a decision in November. Anyone who tries to withhold information or skew this story either doesn't trust the American people with the truth or has an agenda which includes protecting President Bush or both. Thank you for your time.
Posted at 11:57 PM
GREAT MINDS DISAGREE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
You are kidding, I hope. You blame the release of the photos for doing us damage? The damage was done by the perverts and sadists in Bush's war-profiteering venture. How can you be so dumb as to blame the messenger? The greatest curiousity of your attitude is that you couldn't see that your mother and her ilk should not have foisted destruction on America by going after a private sexual matter by Bill Clinton. And yet you condone this evil and want to keep it hidden. Jonah, you are a dope. And George W. Bush is a sociopath, a pathological liar, and a dangerous creature.
Posted at 11:55 PM
MAYBE THE AD'S A BAD IDEA [KJL]
(I happen to think it is) but referring to people as "theoconservative attack-dogs" does not count as the summit of rational discourse either.
Posted at 05:45 PM
KATE--IT'S NOT SO! [Rich Lowry]
Here, I'll post another e-mail:
"Quick background - West Point grad, former Apache pilot, currently in the National Guard. That line about leadership and discipline being able to keep sexual urges and differences in line is complete crap. Generally in a unit that has strong leadership and good discipline, the effects will be minimized, but they will still be felt.
When a unit has leadership problems, that is where the incidents flourish and the discipline spirals down.
It is hard to be a band of brothers when some brothers are competing to have sex with available sisters.
If you'll notice the units with the strongest sense of cohesion and discipline do not have any women (Special Forces, Rangers and Infantry in general)."
Posted at 05:26 PM
FOX [Rich Lowry]
I'll be on at around 1:30 tomorrow.
Posted at 05:19 PM
BUCK-PROOF [Kate o'Beirne]
The one place where the buck never stops, not within five blocks, is with Congress. Senator John Warner is now deeply worried about accountability and the chain of command. There hasn't been a Secretary of the Army for almost a year (Les Brownlee is testifying today in his temporary, acting capacity) because Senator John Warner has refused to allow the Senate to confirm a new one. On March 2nd at a hearing of his Committee, Senator Warner proudly announced that he was blocking all civilian nominees for the Defense Department because he has his knickers in a twist over the Boeing/Air Force controversy. Good thing there's not a war on. . .
Posted at 05:00 PM
DUMBEST EMAIL OF THE DAY [Jonah Goldberg]
In an email titled "kudos" in response to my column today:
Damn right! And the photos of Auchwitz and Dachau should never have been shown. What did we learn from these? They just distracted us from the more important issues.
ME Now, I've received a lot of dumb email today making a similar "argument", but nothing crams the idiocy into such a tight space. First, we are not akin to Nazis and the moral equivalence is repugnant. Second, the Abu Ghraib abuses are not similar to death camps. Third, it wasn't in the interest of the Nazis to have the images of the camps revealed to the world. It was in the interests of their enemies -- which is part of my point. Fourth, I never said and do not believe that the photos should never have been released, simply that releasing them now does more harm than good. Sigh.
Posted at 04:56 PM
HOW TO PRY THE FACTS FROM MR. ANNAN [Peter Robinson]
Over coffee the other day, John McCarthy, a member of the faculty here at Stanford, offered a wily suggestion. (Note to Derb: You’d love McCarthy. A brilliant mathematician, at 17 he was helping the U.S. Army on problems in ballistics. Six decades later, he remains active in computer science. And in between, he coined the term “artificial intelligence" and invented the computer language known as LISP.)
Since the press (aside, as usual, from the Wall Street Journal) has demonstrated no appetite for investigating corruption at the UN, in particular in the oil-for-food program, McCarthy noted, he’d advise the new government of Iraq to bring suit against Kofi Annan. As early as July 1, the date on which it achieves sovereignty, Iraq could file charges in, say, the Hague. And—this is the important point—it could very plausibly claim damages of between $4 and $10 billion, the low and high estimates of the amount that the UN permitted Saddam Hussein to use for bribing his friends, including friends at the UN itself.
Four to ten billion dollars. That ought to be enough to persuade a few very aggressive lawyers to investigate the UN in a way the press has refused to attempt.
Posted at 04:55 PM
RICH, TELL ME IT AIN'T SO [Kate O'Beirne]
I sure have my work cut out for me when Rich approvingly cites that old canard about gender integration being a non-problem if leadership lays down the rules. The Pentagon's gender sensitivity indoctrination courses take this line. I see it's working in the field despite what our common sense tells us about human nature.
The same rules were in effect during the Gulf War, after which a Rand study documented widespread sexual activity among the bands of brothers and sisters. Along with policing the sexual attractions, jealousies, and fraternizations, that same leadership, of course, is fighting a war. Plenty of studies on unit cohesion support the proposition that sexual tensions and unequal treatment (arising from favoritism or unequal standards owing to sex differences) is extremely destructive. Tougher rules than those cited in Rich's e-mail are imposed on the extremely disciplined, ambitious officers in training at our service academies - every one of which has had sex scandals. Is there a single example of "leadership" meeting this challenge and successfully preventing any of the prohibited behavior among a large co-ed group for a significant period?. . . I didn't think so.
Posted at 04:35 PM
KERRY'S COLORADO BUY [Jim Geraghty]
A Denver pollster with ties to the state Democratic party told me yesterday that the reason Kerry is spending $1 million over the next three weeks in Colorado is the poll numbers for Ken Salazar, attorney general and Democratic candiate for Nighthorse Campbell's Senate seat. The reason they would plunk down that kind of cash in a pretty darn red state (Bush beat Gore 51 to 42 in 2000; a Rocky Mountain News poll in April had Bush up 49 to 40, and the state has 150,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats) is the belief that Salazar may do so well in the Senate race, and bring out so many Hispanics with a newfound loyalty to the Democratic party to the polls, that Kerry could pick off the state's 9 electoral votes.
Analysts Stuart Rothenberg and Larry Sabato, among others, think the phenomenon of reverse-coattails is so rare as to be nonsensical. Rothenberg said, bluntly, it assumes the voters are "idiots," not following or having much opinion about the presidential election, but siomehow passionate about the Senate race. And the popularity of Salazar isn't likely to last as the GOP nominees (either Schaffer, or, more likely, Coors) get up to speed.
Coupled with last month's odd decision to spend money on fundraising ads in New York, California, Washington, Wisconsin, and New Jersey, you've got to wonder if the Kerry advertising strategists are either geniuses, seeing things no one else does, or fools, seeing things no one else does.
Posted at 04:03 PM
Here's the speech.
Posted at 03:49 PM
A CHALLENGE [Rod Dreher]
The American Life League is running a provocative ad challenging Cardinal Theodore McCarrick regarding Catholic politicians and abortion.
Posted at 03:45 PM
ILLUMINATING [Jonah Goldberg ]
Israel appoints Arab to its Supreme Court.
Posted at 03:33 PM
GENDER INTEGRATION [Rich Lowry]
All good points you make in the Corner. The solution is not necessarily segregating women from men in the military, though. I’m here in Iraq – we’ve got a no-sex and no-alcohol order here. Period. No sex with fellow soldiers. No sex with locals. No sex with CPA civilians. Also, no beverage alcohol (CPA civilians drink in our presence but our orders prohibit it to military personnel) anytime, anyway, anyplace. Our leaders/commanders are authorized to take non-judicial punishment against anyone who breaks these rules. Thus, this is a leadership issue and a good-order-and-discipline issue; it is not a gender integration issue.”
Posted at 03:19 PM
KERRY SPEAKING TO THE DLC TODAY [KJL]
"The Secretary of Defense apologized... But Truman didn't say the buck stops at the Pentagon... America doesn't just need a new Secretary of Defense. We need a new President of the United States."
Posted at 03:06 PM
POLL RE: RUMSFELD [KJL]
ABC News/ Wash Post poll says he should stay put.
Posted at 02:54 PM
KERRY’S TROUBLES [Rich Lowry]
Just talked to a Republican strategist. He pointed out how John Kerry came out of the Democratic primaries with a 2-1 favorable/unfavorable rating. Now his favorable/unfavorable rating is 1-1. According to the latest Fox poll, 40% of people have an unfavorable impression of John Kerry and 39% have a favorable impression. This is a testament to the effectiveness of the Bush ads. Kerry is now fighting back with bio ads, an essentially defensive action. He still has to prove to the American people he’s a decent guy, rather than promoting his agenda. And the Bush offensive against Kerry isn’t even finished yet. But the Republican strategist I talked to says by no means does this mean that Bush it out of the woods. If you look at presidents who have lost reelection, they have had job approval ratings in the high 30s or low 40s. Presidents who win reelection have job approval ratings in the low to mid 50s. Bush is smack in the middle, with an approval rating of 50% or a little below. This is worrisome, but that Bush has stayed at this level rather than sinking lower despite all the recent bad news suggests the support he has is rock solid. The positive economic news would suggest his job approval won’t go lower. In the latest Fox poll, Bush actually slightly leads Kerry on the question of who can better handle the economy, which represents a reversal of fortune on that issue. Of course, Iraq is still a major wild card and Kerry could still significantly help himself with his vice presidential pick. Stay tuned…
Posted at 02:48 PM
"SUPPRESSION OF THE NEWS" [KJL]
Sen. Mark Dayton says it was "antithetical to democracy" for General Meyers to have called CBS to ask them to delay the photo release in their news report (noting that much of the rest of the story was public info since January). Meyers said he had cause to worry their release could put our troops in danger. That's antithetical to democracy?
Posted at 02:35 PM
ONE GOOD PRIEST [Peter Robinson]
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Bill McGurn writes about the death of Thomas Herron, a Catholic priest in Philadelphia:
I benefited from his counsel over a span of nearly 20 years….But never more than from his example these past seven months, after doctors discovered that a cancer had wrapped itself around one of his veins.A powerful reminder that many priests remain, even now, saintly and heroic. Read the entire piece here.
Posted at 02:31 PM
TEARING DOWN ABU GHRAIB [KJL]
A number of people, including Republicans, are suggesting we do as much. But, as Rumsfeld just said at the hearing when asked, that's not something we should be deciding at this point. That's up to the Iraqis. Here consensus wants us to move out ASAP, but make decisions like that on the way out?
Posted at 02:24 PM
FOLLOWING ABU GHRAIB [ Jonah Goldberg]
By the way, as far as I can tell the blog Mudville Gazette has done the best job following all of the timelines, developments, issues etc.
Posted at 01:52 PM
HUMANIZING JAMES CARVILLE [KJL]
From a reader:
Posted at 01:41 PM
"RUMSFELD'S TESTIMONY FOR DUMMIES" [KJL]
Susan Collins seems completely devoid of common sense on this. But she did wind up inadvertantly giving Rumsfeld an opportunity to give a the most basic and clear explanation of what happened. (If his opening statement and prior testimony left doubts that they issued the Jan press release when they knew there were allegations, that the Pentagon did not have the photos since January, etc.
(I say that, by the way, having purchased a few "For Dummies" books in my time.)
Posted at 01:38 PM
RUMSFELD'S OPENING STATEMENT [KJL]
Posted at 01:28 PM
"WE ARE GETTING SOMEWHERE" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Me: Not quite. Though I should have been more clear: If Andrew's reading of the law is correct, then I agree that the law is ill-advised and wrong. I don't necessarily think the law constitutes persecution in the way Andrew does. And even if it does qualify as some kind of "persecution" -- a fairly nebulous word -- it does not automatically follow that it trumps standards of federalism. For example, we all remember Clarence Thomas' "notorious" conclusion that a prison guard did not violate the constitution when he illegallybeat up a prisoner. Something can be an outrage and a crime and not be unconstitutional.
In my book, for the persecution to justify trumping federalism it would need to meet a standard which justifies federal action, which is a high bar for me. I think I'm being perfectly consistent here in that I opposed, for example, sodomy laws but I didn't find them to be necessarily unconstitutional.
Posted at 01:19 PM
RE: THE HEARING [KJL]
Rich, Lieberman was, indeed, useful and reasonable. And, Jeff Sessions now, is being the stand-up guy he is. But does a Kennedy get the sound byte? And what was up with McCain's drill-seargent like insistence to try to catch someone in a hesistation (which worked, despite the fact Rumsfled seemed to have all the answers, but took the wrong strategy in answering--giving the other guys the chance to put a word in.
Posted at 01:18 PM
CONSERVATIVES VS. SCIENCE> [Tim Graham]
On the front page of the Washington Post, Mark Kaufman reports on the FDA ruling that "emergency contraception" can't be sold over the counter, and the liberal media once again must portray the battle as conservatives versus nonideological public-interest advocates:
"The denial was a major goal of social conservatives, including members of Congress who lobbied President Bush on the issue. Reproductive-rights advocates lobbied equally hard for its approval, and yesterday they criticized the decision as misguided and a historic blot on the reputation of the FDA as a science-based agency."
Not only is one side ideological, only one side is in favor of science? Now let's imagine if the Washington Times reported it this way, and wonder if it would be seen as objective:
"The decision was a major blow to social liberals, who favor minors making their own contraception and abortion decisions without parental knowledge or consent. Parental-rights advocates said they were pleased the FDA put women's health above politics."
That's actually what Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America said in the Post story -- in paragraph 10, inside the paper. See how you knew the liberal line (we're not for willy-nilly sex, we're for science!) in paragraph 2, but all you knew about the conservative position if you didn't follow the story inside is that they lobbied hard? See the CWA talking points here.
Posted at 01:18 PM
THANK GOD FOR JOE LIEBERMAN… [Rich Lowry]
…an adult, with a true moral sense.
Posted at 01:14 PM
BACK-HANDED COMPLIMENTS DEPT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader (and for the record I don't consider myself a comedian, I just look really funny naked):
Jonah, I've been reading NRO for a year or so now. While I've always appreciated your politics, I have to admit I initially found you dreadfully unfunny. It took me 6 months or so to figure out you even fancied yourself a comedian. Well, I don't know how it happened, but I've caught myself laughing out loud a few times over the past months. You are definitely funny in my view now. Keep up the good work. I'm sure I'll wake up tonight from a dream in which this line figures prominently: "I'll run your piece when I want beeeyotch [Flex]."
Posted at 01:01 PM
MORE TAGUBA [Rich Lowry]
"Greetings from an Army major in Germany.
While the content of the report has been a source of much discussion around post, the fact that the report can be pulled up on the Internet is quite a bit surprising to me. USA-Today provides a scanned version, which, when I opened on my unclassified computer, led to the obligatory,'Whoah!' when I saw it was a 'SECRET/NOFORN' document. The short of it: Not only classified, but not releasable to a non-American (No Foreign National.)
The conspiracy theorist in me says someone (probably the SecDef) leaked the document. Anyone looking through it and saying the situation wasn't investigated thoroughly is full of hot air. As surprised as I am to see it on the internet, I think it pretty much diffuses any claim the situation wasn't addressed. Must admit that after having done an Article 15-6 investigation or two myself, the general did a pretty good job putting things together."
Posted at 12:53 PM
MOORE'S HOAX [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 12:39 PM
RE: WE'RE THE BARBARIANS [Jonah Goldberg]
Fair point from a reader, though I've always been comfortable with the fact that we're answerable to a higher standard:
You forgot one crucial difference though in your examples. We're the ones who invaded another country for the stated goal of improving their lives. When that is our rationale for occupying a country, it's not surprising that we'll be held to high standards.
Posted at 12:32 PM
RE: WEIGHING IN [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - fair enough. Indeed, that's my position. If Andrew's right in his interpretation, then I think the VA bill's ill-advised (but they're free to do it). But I just don't know that he's right, his certitude notwithstanding. When you find out, please let us know.
Posted at 12:24 PM
ONE REASON I HAVEN'T WEIGHED IN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
on this Goldberg-Sullivan controversy about the Virginia bill: I have no idea what the bill would do. I don't know if the supporters of the bill believe that it would have the effects its opponents claim (such as voiding purely private contracts entered by same-sex couples outside Virginia); I don't know, if there is a disagreement, who is right. The key question is: What does the phrase "purporting to bestow the privileges and obligations of marriage" mean? Is this analogous to the "legal incidents of marriage" I spent so much time debating over the last year? Depending on the answer, the bill could be persecution (Sullivan says that's "the only interpretation of the law"); it could be mostly meaningless; or it could have some meaning I haven't figured out yet. I've got some calls out to try to gain some understanding.
Posted at 12:03 PM
PATENT NONSENSE DEBUNKED [Ramesh Ponnuru]
by Nick Schulz.
Posted at 11:47 AM
THE PAPER OF RECORD, AGAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Yes, yes, we all know that, according to the New York Times , Ronald Reagan is somehow responsible for most of what has gone wrong in the world over the last thousand years or so, but it was still surprising to find the following claim in the middle of Alessandra Stanley’s Thursday piece on the demise of Friends:
“"Friends" came along after the Reagan-Bush recession of the late 1980's and early 90's, a period that had fostered shows like "Married . . . With Children," "Roseanne" and "The Simpsons," caustic comedy centered around dysfunctional, financially strapped, families.”
Really? “The Reagan-Bush recession”? Sigh. Let’s take a look again at the record. Married... With Children was launched towards the end of the Reagan presidency, in 1987, a year when GDP was growing between 2-4 percent a year, the fifth consecutive year of GDP growth. Roseanne slouched onto our screens in 1988, another year of solid economic performance. In 1989, it was Homer Simpson's turn to show up and, yes, the rate at which GDP was growing fell that year from around 4% but it was still expanding - by slightly above 2% - in December. By the time the economy finally (and fairly briefly) entered into negative territory, the Gipper had been out of office for almost two years, and all the three shows supposedly fostered by this supposed Reagan-Bush recession were well-established.
The truth is much simpler. Married With Children, The Simpsons and Roseanne were shows designed to reflect the hardscrabble realities of the Everyman existence, a life that can be tough, recession or no recession.
Just ask Al Bundy.
Posted at 11:39 AM
BRIGADIER GENERAL JANIS KARPINSKI… [Rich Lowry]
…has been out very aggressively defending herself in TV interviews. I suspect she would be getting much tougher treatment from her interviewers if they had read the Taguba report. Here is one item from it:
“14. (U) During the course of this investigation I conducted a lengthy interview with BG Karpinski that lasted over four hours, and is included verbatim in the investigation Annexes. BG Karpinski was extremely emotional during much of her testimony. What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers.”
Posted at 11:16 AM
RE COLLEGE VOTING, EXAMPLE I [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
For years the small town of Murray, Kentucky had been a dry county. The college students were not allowed to vote unless they purchased a city-sticker. A few years ago they were granted the vote. Now the county is wet and the students can graduate and leave without worring about the increased crime rate. I, personally, am not opposed to the county becoming wet. I just believe that those with a long-term stake in the county should make the decision and not those that will leave shortly. It had no chance of becoming wet without the college vote.
Posted at 11:14 AM
MORE JONAH: [Rich Lowry]
He makes an excellent point in his column today.
Posted at 11:11 AM
JONAH, PLEASE DON’T REVEAL THE SECRETS OF MY EDITING STYLE [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 11:10 AM
LINDA CHAVEZ HAS… [Rich Lowry]
…come in for some criticism for that column The Corner linked to yesterday suggesting that sexual tension among the mixed-gender soldiers at Abu Ghraib may have contributed to the atmosphere of indiscipline there. But this argument is lent more plausibility by the reporting in recent days. Consider Pfc. Lynndie England, who is famous for holding the leash over the naked Iraqi detainee. Well, it turns out she wasn’t supposed to be mixing with detainees at all, but ended up doing so in visits she paid to her boyfriend. This is how the New York Post reported it today: “There, the young reservist was not supposed to oversee detainees, her family claims. Her role was to process and fingerprint Iraqis.
She would regularly visit her fellow reservists assigned elsewhere in the prison, including her boyfriend, Spc. Charles Graner, 35, one of six reservists from the Maryland-based unit now facing court-martial.
Army officials confirmed yesterday that she is pregnant. The baby is known to be Graner's child.
‘She was trained as an administrator - a paper pusher,’ her father, Kenneth England, told The Baltimore Sun. ‘At night, she would . . . see her buddies. They were the ones doing the interrogations.’”
Also consider the other news item of the last 24 hours (mentioned in The Corner yesterday): “One of the disciplined soldiers is a company commander, Capt. Leo V. Merck, 32, who is in trouble for another digital snapshot taken after the prison incidents. He was relieved of command and faces a court martial after a female U.S. soldier accused him of taking digital pictures of her while she was showering. Capt. Merck, a National Guard reservist, stored the incriminating photos on an Army computer, Gen. Taguba’s report says.”
Posted at 11:09 AM
UM RICH, FOR THE RECORD [Jonah Goldberg]
I agree with you about the chaos at the prison. However we should disclose that often after you aggressively edit one of my articles you take your shirt off and flex at me. "I'll run your piece when I want beeeyotch [Flex]."
Posted at 11:05 AM
THE PAOMNNEHAL PWEOR OF THE HMUAN MNID [John Derbyshire]
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelms. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Posted at 11:03 AM
AH, YES. WE'RE THE BARBARIANS [Jonah Goldberg]
While the greatest most powerful nation on earth cripples itself with rage, piety and guilt over the humiliation of some prisoners in our care, one of our chief enemies announces that anyone who captures a female British soldier can keep her as a slave But, yes, by all means, let's spend another month or two beating ourselves up over the prison abuses and Don Rumsfeld's arrogance.
Posted at 10:59 AM
CHAOS AT ABU GHRAIB [Rich Lowry]
I just read the Taguba report. Among other things, it brings home what a zoo the prison was. Consider this one little item, and note especially the idiotic muscle-flexing:
“9 June 03- Riot and shootings of five detainees at Camp Cropper. (115th MP Battalion) Several detainees allegedly rioted after a detainee was subdued by MPs of the 115th MP Battalion after striking a guard in compound B of Camp Cropper. A 15-6 investigation by 1LT Magowan (115th MP Battalion, Platoon Leader) concluded that a detainee had acted up and hit an MP. After being subdued, one of the MPs took off his DCU top and flexed his muscles to the detainees, which further escalated the riot. The MPs were overwhelmed and the guards fired lethal rounds to protect the life of the compound MPs, whereby 5 detainees were wounded. Contributing factors were poor communications, no clear chain of command, facility-obstructed views of posted guards, the QRF did not have non-lethal equipment, and the SOP was inadequate and outdated.”
Posted at 10:56 AM
DANG [Jonah Goldberg ]
The badgers are back and they brough their banana phone. This is not World War II code for the troopships leave at midnight.
Posted at 10:53 AM
DISCOURAGING THE COLLEGE VOTE [Jonah Goldberg]
Nick Confessore and his friend at Rolling Stone don't like it when small towns discourage college kids from voting locally. I haven't read the whole Rolling Stone piece, but I am at a complete loss as to why this is such an outrage. College kids, broadly speaking, do not live in the towns in which they go to college. They may go downtown to the record store, they may buy some buffalo wings and beers at the local bars, they may even make a few bucks at the local mall. But they don't -- as far as I know -- pay property taxes, they don't pay any taxes at all save perhaps sales taxes. They don't care about property values, the quality of the schools, the business climate, the traditions, values, standards, prospects etc of the small town they're in -- at least not in the way residents who devote their lives and their children's upbringing do.
So why should it be easy for college kids to vote in local elections? (Or why is it somehow outrageous to ask the question?) I know from my reporting in Burlington that the UVM kids are enlisted by the socialist (yes socialist) leadership of the town to pass all sorts of business un-friendly referenda and the like. If you're a working man in Burlington who lost the opportunity to work on a new highway or construction project because a bunch of Voter-Rocking college kids from out of town passed a no-growth resolution, wouldn't that annoy you?
It's very easy to demand that a town be eco-friendly and whatnot when you're an -- often spoiled -- tourist who has distant parents paying your bills and zero investment in the town's ongoing success. I don't think kids should be barred from voting locally necessarily. But creating standards for residency biased against the temporary visitors we call college students troubles me not in the least.
Posted at 10:45 AM
KIRK ON THE WEB [John J. Miller]
A couple of days ago, I urged readers of The Corner to check out the article on Russell Kirk in the current issue of Chronicle of Higher Education and join an online symposium with Wesley McDonald, the author of a new book on Kirk. To read a transcript of the very interesting symposium, go here.
Posted at 10:33 AM
UNLEASH THE FIRST AMENDMENT VOLUPTUARIES! [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 10:33 AM
POOR KRUGMAN'S CAT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Employment is booming
Posted at 10:25 AM
BATTLEGROUND STATES [Jonah Goldberg ]
This strikes me as a useful if slightly over-stated debunking of the battleground state conventional wisdom. I say overstated simply because I get the sense that they are slightly too motivated by civic concerns about includding all voters and the like. I mean there are some states more important than others, even if they change from year to year and election to election. Nevertheless, it's definitely worth reading.
Posted at 10:11 AM
RUMSFELD [Jonah Goldberg]
I tried to get this out on CNN this morning and buttered it.
I think Rummy should walk up to the table, take the oath, offer his prepared apologies and explanations and then, at the end of his remarks, he should take out a long Japanese knife. He should then cut off his pinky. If this Yakuza style contrition doesn't work he should look to the ranking Democrat on the committee and continue removing fingers until he gets a Shogun-like nod that his offering is acceptable. He should then wrap-up up his hand, curtly bow, and then say "I am now pleased to take your questions."
Posted at 10:06 AM
ANDREW RESPONDS II [Jonah Goldberg]
He says he's no radical because his position hasn't changed. Maybe so, but his rhetorical tactics have. It seems to me Andrew used to condemn the gay left for its totalizing attitude toward politics. Andrew's position now is that conservatives are immoral for fighting laws he disagrees with and for not-fighting laws he disagrees with. The only safe harbor appears to be agreeing with Andrew with the same amount of passion as Andrew, otherwise you're a "theocon" or some such. That's not fair. Indeed, he denounces me for being ignorant of the Virginia law and at the same time denounces me as if I were supporting it. That's not fair either. I have advocated from conviction the creation of social space, acceptance and tolerance of gays many times. But Andrew increasingly seems to have the same contempt for my lack of passion about gay rights as a Bolshevik had for a Social Democrat. I just don't think that's a good or smart approach for his side of the debate.
Posted at 07:26 AM
I KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING FISHY [Jonah Goldberg]
Michael Moore was being himself: He lied about Disney trying to Ban his movie.
Posted at 06:41 AM
PYONGYANG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE [John J. Miller]
So I'm bouncing around the web this morning, fact-checking an article that I'm about to file with my editors. And what do I discover? North Korea has an official web page. If you want to learn about business opportunities in the people's paradise, go here.
Posted at 05:43 AM
STILL NEED A PRESCRIPTION [KJL]
for the morning-after pill.
Posted at 12:10 AM
Thursday, May 06, 2004
THAT LITTLE PARENTHOOD THING [KJL]
Even on the final episode of Friends, Rachel and Ross's daughter was near invisible. It's you and me they said, talking about the future. Um, and, uh, your kid, maybe?
And, I could wonder: how are things likely to be any different for them when a little m-word never came up...
Posted at 10:06 PM
A READER WRITES [KJL]
"I notice that Jonah mentions the honor to be bestowed on Bob Bartley by Hillsdale College, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Bartley (and your own Bill Buckley) were honored last week at the Manhattan Institute's Alexander Hamilton Dinner, and not a peep was mentioned in The Corner, or NRO. Wonderful event."
Tis true. Some of us must have enjoyed too much we couldn't put it in words. In all seriousness, it was a terrific event. WFB was in fine form. David Brooks, John Stossel, and Paul Gigot spoke and were excellent (Brooks, introducing WFB, was hilarious) and philanthropist Peter Flanigan was inspiring, talking about the power of private schools.
Posted at 08:11 PM
THIS IS GOOD OF THEM [KJL]
It must break George and Laura Bush's hearts to have decided not to go to their daughters graduations. But they would, of course, create a huge spectacle by going.
Posted at 07:57 PM
LESSONS FROM ABU GHRAIB [ANDREW STUTTAFORD]
Kathryn, if the allegations are true, that captain's sleazy behavior was a disgrace, but I don't think that it's possible to draw any wider conclusions about the effect of pornography in their wake.
Something else to consider is the suggestion (implicitly made here by Instapundit) that the abuse of Iraqis by US troops in Abu Ghraib could be a reflection of the way in which sexual humiliation and violence in American jails now seems to be accepted (and sometimes even celebrated). Of course, we do not yet know all the details of what went on. We know even less about the motivation of the individuals against whom these allegations are being made, but it is striking that a number came from prison guard jobs back home. Now, this could simply be explained by the fact that (a) corrections officers were a natural choice for the army to make when deciding who should work as guards at Abu Ghraib, and (b) that there can always be bad apples in any group. It's also important to stress that the vast majority of prison guards in the US are decent people doing a tough job under very trying circumstances. Nevertheless, it never does any harm to ask again whether jailhouse brutality ends up brutalizing the society that condones it.
The answer, I would think, is clear.
Posted at 06:59 PM
FRIEDMAN TODAY [KJL]
Morton Kondrake just called it "bonkers." Credit where credit is due!
Posted at 06:45 PM
MEN, WOMEN, WAR & ABU GHRAIB [KJL]
Linda Chavez makes a good point:
The men and women who engaged in this behavior abused and humiliated their captives, dishonored their country and deserve severe punishment. But if we want to prevent this type of conduct from ever occurring again, we not only need to punish those responsible but also look at all the possible factors that might give occasion to such abuses -- including the breakdown in discipline and unit cohesion that have gone hand in hand with gender integration in the military.
Posted at 06:01 PM
SAUDI PRINCESS VS. MEMRI [KJL]
Posted at 05:56 PM
FRIENDS FINALE PARTY [KJL]
Gee whiz, Jonah, that would have been a moneymaker! I suppose readers wouldn't care if it were Frasier or Angel instead, as long as they get to hear Derb read TNC.
Posted at 05:54 PM
APOLOGY FEST [Kate O'Beirne]
The media is breathlessly asking whether Don Rumsfeld will apologize tomorrow when he appears before two committees chaired by Republicans to be raked over the coals? For what? Let's agree, at least here in the Corner, that apologies are owed by people who are directly responsible for some offense, to people who have been directly harmed. The former category does not include the American public and the latter category excludes the entire population of the Middle East.
Posted at 05:47 PM
TERRI SCHIAVO'S LIFE STRUCK A BLOW BY COURTS [KJL]
How can a woman in a coma exercise her "right to privacy"?
Posted at 05:42 PM
TOLERANCE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 05:36 PM
A LESSON OF ABU GHRAIB [KJL]
Pornography ain't harmless, kids. Would this really be a total coincidence?:
The head of a U.S. military police unit at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison is under investigation following charges he secretly photographed naked female American soldiers, officials said on Wednesday. Capt. Leo Merck, 32, a member of the California National Guard who commanded the 124-strong 870th Military Police Company, is under U.S. Army investigation and has been relieved of duty, they said.
Posted at 05:32 PM
BARTLEY TO RECEIVE POSTHUMOUS AWARD [Jonah Goldberg]
Just got a press release from Hillsdale. Here's the intro:
Hillsdale College to Confer Posthumous Honorary Degree On Former Wall Street Journal Editor Mr. Robert Bartley
Posted at 05:16 PM
PSYCHOLOGICAL REPORTS [Jonah Goldberg]
I've received a few emails along these lines:
Posted at 05:11 PM
RANGEL SAYS TO BUSH: FIRE HIM OR WE'LL IMPEACH HIM [KJL]
(I slipped that one through my self-monitor.)
Posted at 05:07 PM
I QUOTE KLO TO EXPLAIN WHY KLO WON'T BE POSTING ANYTHING MORE TODAY [KJL]
"If you actually read that sotry I linked to earlier, you would know what didn't seam to phase me when I linked to it"
Posted at 05:04 PM
THE LIZARD KING [Andrew Stuttaford]
As a reminder that the situation in Iran is more complex than is sometimes thought, here's a report on a new Iranian movie satirizing the superstitious thugs now running that unfortunate country. It's playing to packed houses. As the Daily Telegraph describes it, The Lizard follows an escaped thief, Reza Marmoulak (Reza the Lizard), who gives bogus sermons and advice while dressed in the turban and robes of a Muslim cleric, a disguise that apparently gives the film-makers plenty of opportunity to poke fun at the mullahs before the movie's inevitable (and prudent) politically correct conclusion (Marmoulak finds religion). Needless to say, some of Iran's ruling clergy are now calling for The Lizard to be stamped on. Can accusations of 'Islamophobia' be far behind?
Posted at 04:22 PM
RE: SITCOMS [KJL]
Raymond I like. But it is very possible I am strongly influenced by liking Patty Heaton off the show, who plays Ray's wife. (But I do think the show is good--whenever I get to see it.)
Posted at 04:14 PM
HIGH-LARIOUS: BUSH'S SELFISHNESS [Jonah Goldberg ]
It was Diogenes who said he wasn't a citizen of any nation, but a citizen of the world. But it took a member of the Beastie Boys to translate the case for cosmopolitanism into a political indictment of George W. Bush:
"He's just a sick f***. I think we'd be hard-pressed to get someone worse than Bush. I think if you had to sum it up he's an incredibly selfish man and his administration in my opinion puts Americans ahead of people in other countries."
Posted at 04:04 PM
SCARY FLASHBACK--GORELICK FOR CIA! [Rich Lowry]
"9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick was mentioned during the Clinton administration as a possible appointment to the CIA and/or Defense Department!
Source: The New Republic (December 2, 1996)
Article 'Cabinet-Making, Clinton Style: E.G.G. Heads'
by Hanna Rosin
Meanwhile, the White House is hiding an ace named Jamie Gorelick, the deputy attorney general who is mentioned for just about everything, including the CIA and undersecretary of defense. 'Can you imagine, the number two in the Defense Department being a girl!' says one justice official. 'The head of the CIA in a skirt! That seems a sentimental historic move Clinton can't resist.' The widely respected Gorelick has only one problem. 'She doesn't come with the right constituency,' says a White House source. 'The women's groups don't see her as one of them.'"
Posted at 03:53 PM
BUSH AT RNC [Rich Lowry]
I was down in Washington yesterday and saw Bush speak at the RNC “Gala.” He gave a ringing campaign speech that lasted about 30 minutes. This may seem a banal observation, but I was struck at just how conservative his speech was. It was all tax cuts and war. His compassionate conservative riff was relegated to a small bit at the end (Ramesh wrote a cover story about this a few issues ago appropriate called “The Death of Compassionate Conservatism”). Bush seemed fully engaged. He seemed to genuinely enjoy his own anti-Kerry jokes and appeared to get teary-eyed when defending his decision to go to war in Iraq. There is no doubt that he is up for this campaign, in contrast to his dad in 1992 and to himself at times in 2000. One disturbing thing was that almost all the speech was backwards-looking, defending things that he has done rather than talking about what he will do going forward. At this rate, if he wins a second term, it might well be a listless one. In the meantime, he is working up quite a campaign stump stem-winder.
Posted at 03:52 PM
RE: ROSS & RACHEL [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Thank you! Even though I'm not a big fan, I do watch the show, and the treatment of their child has been striking. And believe me, I in no way expect realism from a sitcom. But this is ridiculous. From what I've seen, there's no recognition they even HAVE a child--she's going off to Paris, boo-hoo, we'll miss you. Where's the kid? What's going to happen to it? (Him? Her? I don't even remember.) It's a subject worthy of further exploration, I'd say....at the risk of getting hooted at like Dan Quayle.
Posted at 03:49 PM
SITCOMS [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Yeah, too bad we missed that.
However, if there's one thing that sets my eyebrows on fire worse than a chick show, it's a doofus show. (You know, one where the men are all stumbling doofuses & the smart women run rings round them.)
So we can do the party when "Everyone loves Raymond" reaches the end of its run...
Posted at 03:47 PM
GOLDBERG V SULLIVAN CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay here are few thoughts in no particular order:
Second, Andrew's charges of conservative anti-gay hypocrisy, copping-out, disdain etc. are in this narrow context predicated on his assertion that A) the Virginia law is exactly what he says it is and B) That is is self-evidently so to everyone, including conservatives. I don't know that A or B are true. From that email I posed below it doesn't sound that way.
Indeed, Andrew's tactic of asserting as objective fact that something is outright bigotry and then shaming anyone who disagrees with him is a very frustrating one, most common to protagonists in racial arguments. So-and-so says support for racial quotas are required for non-racists, therefore anyone who opposes quotas is a racist. I'm still far from convinced that anyone who opposes gay marriage is ipso facto a bigot.
Third, I think Andrew does have a good point that conservatives who are more professionally and publicly invested than I am in gay issues are obliged to address events in Virginia, even if it is only to rebut Andrew's characterization of them. So, I guess I do think Maggie Gallagher and Stan Kurtz should respond in some way. But, as I said I don't speak for them and Andrew's attempt to make my personal "cop out" into NR's editorial policy doesn't wash with me.
Fourth, I will concede that being enmeshed in my book has made me more tunnel-visioned than I might otherwise be. And perhaps I would have spotted the Virginia thing sooner.
Fifth, I cannot even count how many times I have written in this space and others about how I favor federalism for gay marriage. Indeed, Andrew has written approvingly of my views on this score in the past. Well, part of the whole laboratories of democracy thing is for different states to experiment. Andrew wants to single out the treatment of gays as particularly and especially worthy of conservative attention at the national level. That's understandable. But from where I'm sitting there are any number of things going on in states relating to criminal law, racial spoils, gender nonsense, drugs, censorship, this, that and the other which I don't approve of but that I would not presume to ban either. Sometimes I comment on them, sometimes I do not. But I don't make a point to follow nearly any of these trends as closely as Sullivan follows gays. This might be a sign of too much indifference on my part to some readers, but it also my be a sign of Andrew's excessive focus on gays to others.
Last: If my comments are as profoundly revealing as Andrew says, I want a raise. Just kidding (wink wink).
However, I do think it is quite revealing when Andrew says that he sometimes wishes conservatives hated gays rather than not being bothered by them. It's revealing on two counts. First, I think it displays how radical Andrew is becoming on this issue, wanting everyone to be as radicalized as himself. It's also revealing because at a time when gays are making unprecedented progress in America and the world (and even the Virginia thing strikes me more as a halting of gay progress than a reversal of it), Andrew can see a conservative who's not particularly bothered by or about gays as more troubling than someone who sputters with hatred at them. This if-you're-not-with-us-you're-against-us approach doesn't strike me as very sensible (or conservative). Indeed, it doesn't even sound like the Andrew Sullivan who's done more to win hearts and minds on gay issues than anybody on the right.
Posted at 03:43 PM
RE: HELL IN RUSSIA [KJL]
If you actually read that sotry I linked to earlier, you would know what didn't seam to phase me when I linked to it: it's not about sex trafficking. It was hellish for those poor girls. Sex trafficking is terrible and Bush has led on the issue. But this is not an example of that. Apologies.
Posted at 03:36 PM
ANDREW RESPONDS [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'll post his response in full:
This strikes me as a revealing comment by one of the most enlightened conservatives at National Review, Jonah Goldberg:
I'll have more to say about this in a few minutes.
Update sorry for the bad formatting of this before. I fixed.
Posted at 03:00 PM
GAYS, SULLIVAN, IGNO-CONS ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
As a gay modcon, I have to reluctantly concur with your observations. OTH, ain't nobody perfect nowhere. You raise issues Andrew doesn't spend much time on, and vice versa. All I can add in his defense, though, is that things always look different to minorities than they do to majorities. It's just an unfortunate fact of life. From AS' (and my) point of view, hypocrisy on gay equal rights is screamingly awful, but to a straight person who is clueless on what it's like to be gay in America, it is equally possible to ask, "what's the big deal?" Ah, life--where's the manual?And...
Posted at 02:34 PM
RE ROSS AND RACHEL [Jonah Goldberg]
I hope I didn't ruin the surprise for anybody. I don't have any inside info but we all know (save Derb) that this is the only possible outcome. The only question is whether they simply throw their daughter to the wolves so they can have a more romantic relationship. Seriously, I'm not a regular watcher any more, but that show's treatment of parenthood -- as if it's only slightly more inconvenient than house-sitting for a friend and slighly less than taking care of someone else's dog -- has been scandalous. Then again, taking a show seriously where a paleontologist in New York City lives like a dotcom millionaire isn't exactly a good idea.
Posted at 02:24 PM
I SHOULDA THOUGHT OF THIS EARLIER [Jonah Goldberg]
We could have raffled off tickets to a "Friends Finale Party" at Derb's house. Fans of the show could watch him read the New Criterion as Ross and Rachel finally get back together.
Posted at 02:12 PM
RE MANDELA [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Posted at 01:13 PM
PRIME OBSESSION PAPERBACK [John Derbyshire]
Penguin told me the paperback PRIME OBSESSION was set to appear in July. Now I see the bookseller web sites saying it comes out May 25, and can already be pre-ordered. More details here
Authors are, in their relation to publishers, like cuckolded husbands -- always the last to know.
Posted at 12:42 PM
HELL IN RUSSIA [KJL]
Ordeals like the ones these two girls went through remind one why it is so important W.'s put sex trafficking on the world's radar screen.
Posted at 12:24 PM
RE: THE LIE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Michael - I agree, but I think it's even worse than that. It was a lie that it was a lie in the first place. Joe Wilson now admits in his book that Iraq did in fact inquire about uranium in Africa, or at least that's what Wilson's own source thought at the time. So all of the Wilson-inspired hoopla (or horse shinola) that it was all a lie was in fact not true. Bonus fun: The Iraqi agent who allegedly sought yellowcake was none other than Baghdad Bob himself. You can read all about this in the Washington Post.
None of this justifies deliberately outing Wilson's wife -- if that's what happened -- but if Wilson was as dishonest (or incompetent) as he now seems to have been when he was grandstanding on this specific allegation, it's not surprising that folks at the White House hated his guts.
Posted at 12:18 PM
A DEMOCRATIC SENATE? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Fred Barnes notes that it is theoretically possible for the Democrats to regain the Senate even while Bush wins re-election--if Daschle also wins re-election, Democrats lose only two races among the five in Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida, and Louisiana, and the Democrats pick up all four of the vulnerable Republican seats in Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, and Oklahoma. Everything Barnes says is true, but he doesn't say whether he thinks that a Democratic takeover of the Senate is more likely than an increased Republican majority. I think just looking through the conditions listed above suggests that Republicans are still likely to pick up seats.
I would also add that even if the Democrats net two seats, in their dream scenario, conservatives will have the same number of solid votes--the two gains in the South will neutralize the losses in Illinois and Oklahoma. (Indeed, people who are tougher on Senator Fitzgerald of Illinois than I am may consider that a pick-up.)
Posted at 12:07 PM
LIBERAL LIE THAT WILL NOT DIE [Michael Graham]
I happen to agree with columnist Richard Cohen that President Bush should have fired George Tenet long ago and that one of his greatest failings is not holding people responsible for their actions. But then Cohen undermines his own case by quoting this undying error of the Left:
"Or take Condoleezza Rice. Should she have known that Bush was blowing smoke when he told the nation that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger?"
AAARRRGGGHHHHH! Would you please stop it? For the one hundredth time, here is what President Bush said in the State of the Union address regarding Iraq, yellow cake and Niger:
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
That statement is true, and it's backed up by continuing discoveries in Iraq that Hussein--who had a French-back nuclear program in the 1980s--never gave up his aspirations for nuclear weapons.
Could someone kill this canard once and for all?
Posted at 11:51 AM
WILLIAM KRISTOL & ERIC COHEN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I am delighted to see them come out, in the Standard, for the Kass council's unanimous proposals on embryo research. These proposals would advance pro-life goals more than any recent piece of legislation, but many pro-lifers have objected to them for (I think) misguided reasons.
Posted at 11:48 AM
REPUBLIC OF NICE [John Derbyshire]
(That is one of Flo King's names for the USA in this era.) I thought S.T. Karnick's piece on "Friends" very good. It caught the true sappy awfulness of the thing.
My wife, by threatening me with grievous bodily harm, once got me to sit down and watch an episode of "Friends" with her. About five minutes into the show, this big red flashing light and jangling klaxon started going off in my head, with a voice yelling: "CHICK SHOW! CHICK SHOW! ABANDON SHIP!" I faked a bilious attack and ran for the bathroom.
Posted at 11:44 AM
OIL CRASH [Jonah Goldberg]
Man, it's like dozens of readers had been lurking for years waiting for me to mention the "oil crash thesis" so they could send me their term papers and pet theories. It's interesting stuff, but I hate to inform some folks that I am not interested in making energy issues and oil markets my life's calling.
Posted at 11:37 AM
P.S. ABOUT ANWR [Steven Hayward]
Regarding ANWR, the General Accounting Office did a study last year of the more than 500 national wildlife reserves in the U.S. and it turns out that we produce oil and gas or extract minerals on more than 100 of them. (And the Audubon Society allows oil and gas production on one of its own wildlife reserves.) Not much talk about environmental disaster at any of these sites. So producing oil in ANWR is not without precedent.
Posted at 11:30 AM
LOVE MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY I'M SORRY [KJL]
Does anyone doubt that Bush would be considered just as uncaring and unresponsive by U.S. and Arab media if he had explicitly apologized?
Posted at 11:28 AM
DENOUNCING LACK OF DENUNCIATION [Jonah Goldberg ]
Andrew Sullivan is on a tear about the Right and gays again. He makes some legitimate points. For example, I don't know anything about Paul Cameron except what his critics say about him but if Andrew's right about him, conservatives shouldn't have anything to do with Cameron.
But this sort of raises my problem with Andrew's approach in this post:
The other insistence by those opposed to equal marriage rights is that they are not averse to private contracts that might amount to some sort of civil unions. "See?" - they say. "We don't hate gays. We just love marriage!" Yet in Virginia, a law was just passed that explicitly denies the validity of any such contracts, voids civil unions of any kind, under any name, and may eventually be struck down by the Supreme Court for the radicalism of its attempt to prevent even private legal arrangements to protect such things as hospital visitation. This was a Republican-sponsored measure, and exposes the lie that the Republican party is tolerant of gays but draws the line at marriage. Have you heard Stanley Kurtz or Maggie Gallagher oppose this law? Have you heard a single conservative commentator worry about it? Recall that Kurtz is aware of five same-sex marriages in a remote region of Norway but is apparently unaware of what has just happened in Virginia.
Stan and Maggie can answer for themselves. But as a conservative who came out (pardon the phrase) in favor of civil unions a long time ago, I think Andrew's missing a basic point. Most conservatives who don't regularly write about "gay issues" refrain from doing so for a fairly simple reason: they don't care about them very much one way or the other. Speaking solely for myself, I don't track every event in the world of homosexually oriented public policy. The first time I hear about most of these sorts of things is from reading Andrew Sullivan's site. I think this is a sign of my generally libertarian attitude toward gay stuff. I don't think the silence of conservatives on such events as those in Virginia is a sign of our approval, my guess is it's a sign of our ignorance. Besides, every day I have to pick and choose what I am going to get outraged about enough to denounce. I have a full plate.
But it seems to me that to require regular denunciations on all issues gay advocates consider outrageous is unfair and counter-productive. Unfair because it in effect is demanding that everyone be as passionate about gays as gays are and counter-productive because mau-mauing conservatives into making choices may not move them into making the choices gays would like.
As for the substance, all I know is what Andrew says about it but I think Virginia's move sounds wrong. I think it's crazy to deny adults the ability to choose who can visit them in the hospital or the ability to share property. However, as a supporter of federalism, which Andrew claims to be as well, I don't know exactly what he wants conservatives at the national level to say about Virginia's democratically decided decisions. If it's okay for Massachusetts to be 100% in favor of gay unions up to and including marriage, and if Barney Frank is right that it's nobody's business but Massachussets' what Massachussets does, why is what Virginia does so different?
Posted at 11:17 AM
RE: LOOMING OIL CRISIS [Steven Hayward]
Jonah: I wouldn't put too much stock in the oil crisis talk. While a political disruption (the collapse of Saudi Arabia) would indeed roil the market severely (but that's what our Strategic Petroleum Reserve is for, not to mention the military), a political shock should not be confused with an intrinsic shortage of oil, which is what Erdman does with his reference to "Hubbert's Peak." This "production peak" talk has been recycled enough times to close down several landfills. It is no more likely to be true in the next few years than it was in 1970 when it first surfaced. I'm planning to write a long piece about this whole business over the summer.
Posted at 11:12 AM
RE: NEXT! [John Derbyshire]
Incidentally, I note that the little inspirational video about jury service that we all had to watch at the beginning of yesterday's proceedings featured Ed Bradley and Diane Sawyer. Couple of questions on thst.
1. How did this pair of raddled old lefties get to be the public face of jury service? Sean Hannity wasn't available?
2. I have a dim recollection -- perhaps a reader can refresh it -- of a gossip column item (prob. Cindy Adams) from a couple of years ago about Lesley Stahl showing up for jury duty in Manhattan, and being excused because she was "working on an important project." Do Ed Bradley and Diane Sawyer actually perform jury duty when called? Or are they, like their colleague Lesley, too darn important?
Posted at 11:09 AM
RE: PETER THE GREAT [John Derbyshire]
J.J.: Peter's article on why college is so expensive is indeed instructive and timely. Let it be noted, however, that the great bilking of the middle class by the educrats does not begin with college. Public schooling is extraordinarily expensive for the middle class too. We pay through the nose for our kids' grade-school and high-school education, mainly through property taxes and elevated house prices in neighborhoods with good school systems. In my own county, Suffolk (in NY state), real estate taxes, of which school costs constitute 70 percent, are set to rise from 8 to 12 percent this year. This is in an environment where inflation is running at less than 3 percent, and many of our schools are looking at declining enrollment.
Posted at 10:54 AM
BUSH SCOLDS RUMMY [Jonah Goldberg]
The coverage of the Rummy scolding is amazing. Even Bill Clinton's classless drubbing of Donna Shalala for mildly criticizing him about Monica Lewinsky (after inviting criticism) didn't get remotely this sort of page one treatment. The last time we saw anything like this was the Reagan-took-Stockman-to-the-woodshed moment two decades ago. Which is why I think Bush should have come up with a good euphemism for the scolding in order to enshrine it in the lexicon.
"Pimp slap" is my current favorite. But, as with the "woodshed" remark, it would work only if the President himself used the phrase. "President George W. Bush announced yesterday that he 'pimp-slapped' the Secretary of Defense in a private meeting in the Oval Office..."
Fans of the David Chappelle show can conjure their own images of Bush smacking Rummy and saying "I'm the Commander-in-Chief B**ch."
Posted at 10:49 AM
LOOMING OIL CRISIS [Jonah Goldberg]
Interesting piece. Time to talk about ANWR?
Posted at 10:42 AM
THE KINDA MOMENT YOU DON'T OFTEN GET ON FILM [KJL]
Bush comforts a girl whose mother was murdered on 9/11.
Mind you, I don't post that for hero-worship reasons or to suggest that Kerry would act any differently. More like a) it is a reminder of why we are at war b) the world could use something other than Bush hatred now and again.
Posted at 10:41 AM
NYT VS. WASH POST ON MANDELA [Jonah Goldberg ]
Interesting study in contrasts. Evelyn Mandela, the first wife of Nelson Mandela died on April 30. The Washington Post obit gives considerable space to Mrs. Mandela's view that her husband was no saint because of his adultery. Meanwhile The New York Times makes no mention of it whatsoever, erring on the side of saying that Nelson Mandela bravely sacrificed his marriage for the cause of freedom. Here's an example of how the Washington Post treats the issue:
She grew weary of his absences resulting from his anti-apartheid obligations as well as his extramarital affairs. A report in the Scotsman newspaper said she once threatened to pour boiling water on her husband and his lovers if he continued to use their marriage bed for his trysts.
Nelson Mandela's first wife, Evelyn Mandela, who quit the couple's marriage after telling him to choose between her and the African National Congress liberation movement, died April 30 at the age of 82, South African newspapers and news agencies have reported.
I'm sure there are good arguments on both sides of this. However, whether they reached their decision out of a desire to protect the saintly status of Mandela or because they don't believe adultery is a serious thing or because they were just being squeamish it doesn't change the fact that the "paper of record" opted for dishonesty.
Posted at 09:59 AM
PETER THE GREAT [John J. Miller]
Peter Wood's NRO article on why college is so expensive is excellent.
Posted at 09:26 AM
RE: GHOST OF BUCKLEY [Jack Fowler]
An NRO reader rightly points out that in 1970 James Buckley triumphed in the general election over lefty Republican Charles Godell (and liberal Democrat Congressman Dick Ottinger), not Jacob Javits -- he was bumped off in the 1980 NY GOP primary by Al D’Amato (in another three-way November slugfest, Javits appeared on the Liberal Party line, and siphoned enough votes from Dem Liz Holtzman to ensure D’Amato a squeaker win). I’d like to blame my error on the fact that Buckley and D’Amato look alike, and are so alike in demeanor, but I don’t think anyone, even juiced up on Thunderbird, would believe that. It’s impossible to confuse the Sainted Senator with Senator Pothole. Mea culpa.
Posted at 09:25 AM
A LITTLE LESS FEVER [Tim Graham]
Perhaps sensing that yesterday's shows went from grave concern for America's mistakes into a bit of the usual Bush-bashing (when will Rumsfeld resign?), the network morning programs pulled the prisoner-abuse story back a bit today, leading with the political analysts and ending the first half-hour with fluffier subjects.
Posted at 08:37 AM
NEXT! [John Derbyshire]
Spent yesterday at the county courthouse after reporting for jury duty. Actually spent most of it in an empanelling room where two attorneys preparing a civil-litigation case (dental malpractice) were sorting through 20 or so of us to figure out which ones they wanted on their jury. I was not picked, no idea why.
Attorney: "Tell us about your work, Mr. Derbyshire."
JD: "Well, I'm a writer. Had a book out last year, working on another one. Do a lot of opinion journalism, you know, commentary, reviews and so on, for conservative papers and magazines -- especially National Review..."
Attorney: "Mr. Derbyshire, do you have any opinion about the merits of civil litigation in general?"
JD: "Well, of course, it's desirable and necessary in a free society that people have access to some form of adjudicated redress when they feel they are wronged. I do think, though, that there are some systemic problems to be dealt with, mainly arising from the great political power accumulated by the Trail Lawyers Association in recent years, as illustrated, for example, by the tobacco litigation of the 1990s..."
Next! Oh, well, I'm off the hook for another 4 years. The irony is, that I was probably the only person in the room who wouldn't have minded serving on a jury. My time is my own, so that's no problem. I have the new citizen's keenness to do his civic duties; and I could probably have got a column out of it.
Posted at 08:00 AM
BRAVE NEW WORLD UPDATE [Tim Graham]
The New York Times reports on the front page today that Nancy Reagan's going to publicly advocate crumbling President Bush's compromise position on embryo-destroying stem cell research on Saturday.
Posted at 06:35 AM
A good Wall Street Journal editorial.
Posted at 05:51 AM
MORE IMAGES [KJL]
The Washington Post has published more terrible images from Abu Ghraib.
Posted at 05:40 AM
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
WHO'S ON FIRST? [John J. Miller]
With the Detroit Red Wings done for the season, my attention can shift from hockey to baseball. But baseball wants me to think about Spider-Man--there will soon be movie ads on bases. I am not making this up.
Posted at 08:44 PM
MIKE BLOOMBERG IS MISSILE PROOF [KJL]
Posted at 07:53 PM
MORE POLITICAL JUDGES [Rick Brookhiser]
...And Associate Justice Brockholst Livingston was elevated to SCOTUS by Thomas Jefferson after he had killed a Federalist in a duel. Jonah, that's industrial strength whup ass.
Posted at 07:51 PM
KERRY [Jonah Goldberg]
Why is he acting so surprised about these torture allegations? I mean isn't this pretty trivial compared to the stuff he said he and his colleagues did in Vietnam?
Posted at 05:38 PM
act are described in the Abu Gharib report; you can read it online here. We air our dirty laundry, and do justice, unlike the Saddam regime. Do remember that.
Posted at 05:37 PM
UNDERAGE DRINKING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
and bad logic at the Washington Post, courtesy of Jacob Sullum.
Posted at 05:26 PM
RUMSFELD WILL TESTIFY [KJL]
on Cap Hill , CNN reporting, Friday morning.
Posted at 05:01 PM
GOD COMPLEX [KJL]
Mad scientist claims he's produced three cloned babies (again). So why mention it, if he's basically a transparent publicity hound? It's a reminder of what a Gov. McGreevey has started us on the road to.
Posted at 05:00 PM
MCGREEVEY WILL NOT RECEIVE COMMUNION [KJL]
Posted at 04:52 PM
KERRY, RUMSFELD, AND KRISTOL [KJL]
At a press meet today, he reminded people that he had called for Rumsfeld's resignation months ago, but in specific regard to Abu Ghraib, he held off ruling on Rumsfeld's culpability, saying we need all the facts. If Kerry winds up jumping on a Rumsfeld resignation bandwagon, will The Weekly Standard consider endorsing him?
I suppose if W. wanted to preempt that, he could always tap Kristol for Negroponte's old job...
Posted at 04:48 PM
SA ON RISEN [Jonathan H. Adler]
Southern Appeal's Feddie has more to say about Clay Risen's hit piece on Brett Kavanaugh.
Posted at 03:56 PM
Thatcher vs. Blair
Posted at 03:50 PM
TNR'S ERRORS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Yep, TNR did correct two of the errors in the piece, though the article still wrongly attributes opposition to Justice Owen because she allegedly has "repeatedly spoken out against Roe v. Wade." Yet when one looks at the anti-Owen dossiers, what one finds is a critique of her opinions in parental notification cases, not anti-Roe comments. For instance, there are no antiRoe comments on this anti-Owen fact sheet produced by NARAL.
Posted at 02:52 PM
SUMMER -- AND BORED KIDS--ARE ON THE HORIZON. WE CAN HELP! [Jack Fowler]
Seems like the little rugrats aren’t home two days after school is closed when they’re bellyaching about how bored they are. “And no Mom, I don’t want to read any books …” But we all know that as the sultry weeks plod on the kiddies eventually turn to reading. So, make sure you have something darn good--books they’ll enjoy, books that are great literature, books that you can be assured are wholesome--for their little eyeballs. Make sure you get them our heralded kid’s titles--The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature (Original Volume and Volume Two, both with over 3 dozen stories each personally selected by William F. Buckley Jr.) and The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories (the delightful collection of Thornton Burgess’ beloved animal “adventure” tales--it’s perfect for beginning readers or as stories that you can read to wee ones). Order here.
And let me repeat the glowing review our first book received from Catholic Parent magazine last year:
The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature "can make summer 2003 a reading landmark at your house." It's "excellent, wholesome, and certain to broaden the horizons (mental and spiritual) of children and adults who love them.” This "lavishly illustrated" And "beautiful book of wonderful children's stories by great writers that will delight, entertain and nourish your youngsters and teenagers. Described by the publishers as 'a happy voyage back to the golden era of children's literature,' it is precisely that."
Posted at 02:14 PM
POLITICAL JUDGES [Rick Brookhiser]
Chief Justice John Marshall was a Federalist congressman, and cabinet secretary (State) before he ascended to SCOTUS. How political can you get? And Thomas Jefferson hated him for it--even as Marshall hated Jefferson.
Posted at 02:02 PM
GOUVERNEUR MORRIS AND COMMUNION? [Rick Brookhiser]
Of course he couldn't have received it, since he was a (nominal) Episcopalian. Nor would he have asked, since he had a sense of propriety. This is the man who, when he observed people making assignations during midnight mass in Vienna, wrote in his diary "this mode of employing an ediface dedicated to sacred purposes does not accord with my feeling."
Now Kathryn did note, in our interview, that he also made love to his mistress in the waiting room of a convent, but wouldn't the Catholics in the Corner agree that there is a distinction here?
Gentleman Revolutionary is now available in paperback.
Posted at 01:43 PM
ABU GHRAIB IS AMERICA [Michael GrahamThat Philip Kennicott is something else--a ludicrous, outrageous attack on us.
And I mean "us" literally. Kennicott condemns American society as a whole for the actions of a few out-of-control prison guards in Iraq.
"Look at these images closely and you realize that they can't just be the random accidents of war, or the strange, inexplicable perversity of a few bad seeds...we are, collectively, responsible for what these individuals have done...These photos ARE us." [emphasis in the original].
Kennicott goes on to compare us to the colonial powers of old Europe (America is an empire, remember?) and he even somehow links the crimes of Abu Ghraib to the popularity of internet porn.
You know, if a conservative Christian wrote an essay linking sex crimes and child abuse to the widespread availability of porn, the Washington Post would toss it into the circular file. But there is no attack on the war effort so ridiculous and irrational that it will not appear in my morning paper.
Posted at 01:36 PM
BEAM ME UP [John J. Miller]
The Chronicle of Higher Education runs an interesting article on the legacy of Russell Kirk this week. Tomorrow, it hosts a symposium with the author of a new book on Kirk. Go here to read the article and/or participate in the forum. I should note that an editor at the Chronicle has told me they could stand to receive a few more questions than the number they've gotten so far--so please, if you're at all interested in Kirk and have a few minutes--read the article and submit a question.
Posted at 01:17 PM
SWIFT ONES [KJL]
I caught the replay of their press conference last night on C-SPAN2.
Posted at 01:01 PM
BRINKLEY [Tim Graham]
I believe Douglas Brinkley's entire Kerry-polishing book and his interview schedule is a "highly politicized thing."
Posted at 12:54 PM
MORAL EQUIVALENCE ON THE MARCH [TIM GRAHAM]
For anyone who wants to say The Washington Post is no longer a liberal newspaper, please show them this jeremiad by Philip Kennicott, who's usually a music critic.
Posted at 12:52 PM
RE: TNR [KJL]
Jon, looks like TNR revised the piece after your post.
Posted at 12:49 PM
DISMISSAL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Historian Doug Brinkley (author of John Kerry, Warrior God) was quick and anxious to dismiss the Swiftboat vets last night on The O’Reilly Factor. Here’s Bill O’Reilly & Doug Brinkley:
O'REILLY: ….Now in "The Wall Street Journal" today, there was a devastating article, anti-Kerry article by a naval commander who served with Kerry in Vietnam, did the same thing that he did on the boats, on the Mekong River.
Posted at 12:44 PM
"POLITICAL" JUDGES [Jonah Goldberg]
I know Jon Adler knows this stuff far, far better than I do. But the notion that "political" judges -- as defined in Jon's post -- are somehow inappropriate or unqualified is so completely contrary to American history it's astounding that anyone could offer it with a straight face. Um, ever hear of the Warren Court? How about Sandra Day O'Connor? I mean how many judges in the United States are elected? Personally, I don't mind a stricter standard against lawyers with partisan experience than against nominees with, say, academic experience. But the notion that it is anything but opportunism to invoke this standard as disqualifying strikes me as hard to swallow.
Posted at 12:37 PM
TIM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I agree that the abuse does not put us on the same level as Saddam Hussein's regime, but I don't know how comforting that is--I would hope the bar for American conduct would be set a lot higher than that. I've seen the whole transcript now, and much of the time Limbaugh is disputing the idea that the abuse was "systemic" and making other sound points. He says, "[L]ook, this is a tough, tough line here, because I don't want you to think that I think this ought to be standard operating procedure. But I don't think that it is, and I think everybody is overreacting" (by jumping to the systemic conclusion). I see what he was trying to say. It was a tough line he was trying to walk. But when he ended up comparing the abuse to a fraternity initiations ritual, I'm afraid he fell on the wrong side of it.
Posted at 12:33 PM
CHANGING OF THE GUARD [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Conference Finals of the NHL playoffs start this weekend. Of note, none of the teams that have won the Stanley Cup in the past 14 years are among the final four (Calgary, San Jose, Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia).
Posted at 12:29 PM
ALA'S STATE OF THE SCARE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The American Lung Association has made it an annual ritual to exaggerate the nation's air pollution problems and ignore the substantial environmental progress of the past three decades. AEI's Joel Schwartz and Steve Hayward dissect their latest "State of the Air" report here.
Posted at 12:29 PM
RISEN'S RISIBLE ERRORS [Jonathan H. Adler]
TNR's Clay Risen penned this little hit piece against Bush judicial nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Alas, it is filled with picayune errors. For instance, Risen says 11th Circuit judge William Pryor "refused to take his daughters to Disney World because of its gay-friendly employment policies." Wrong. Pryor decided not to take his young daughters to Disney during "Gay Days" (as K-Lo reported here) -- that's quite a difference. Risen characterizes Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen as "a nominee to the Fourth Circuit who has repeatedly spoken out against Roe v. Wade." Wrong (twice). Owen was nominated to the Fifth Circuit, and the primary complaint was that she adopted a narrow reading of parental notification laws for abortion, not that she ever said anything about Roe (see, e.g., here).
Risen's charge against Kavanugh is that he is too political -- and that this makes him worse than an ideologue. In Risen's world, it's okay to have worked for an ideological organization, tirelessly promoting a given legal persepctive (irrespective of its grounding in text or precedent), but heaven forbid one has worked for partisan clients or
One has come to expect errors, misstatements, and novel standards for confirmation in attacks on Bush judicial nominees, but one does not usually expect to find them in TNR.
Posted at 12:27 PM
GOODBYE MILBERG WEISS [Jonathan H. Adler]
One of the plaintiff bar's biggest baddies, Milberg Weiss, is breaking up. This might be good news -- but then again, now there will be two of them!
Posted at 12:25 PM
FLYING MONKEY MOMENT [KJL ]
This is a highly cool cyberphoto:
The G Man, A Jonah Groomsman, Doug Anderson, and the Drudge Man, Andrew Breitbart (author of Hollywood Interrupted). Doug, you’ll remember has had some adventures with Jonah.
Posted at 12:24 PM
RAMESH, RUSH, THE PHOTOS [KJL]
The Rush comment listed on wonkette.com is a little out of context. It was one of many responses to callers on the subject and followed a statement/question by a particular caller. Rush did not condone the actions and believes people should be disciplined for out-of-line behavior. However, he did think the public/media reaction has been over the top concerning what was actually shown in the photos. Nobody was drawn-and-quartered, or stretched on a rack, etc. (my words). He stated that our soldiers are getting shot at every day by comrades of these prisoners and that maybe these soldiers were blowing off a little steam, however inappropriately. He made the observation that “the photos don’t show anything more outrageous than we could see at a Brittany Spears show.”
Posted at 12:21 PM
SATURDAY NIGHT IN THE BELTWAY [KJL]
NR held a reception before the White House Correspondents Association Dinner on Saturday night. To take a tour of the event, click here.
Posted at 12:19 PM
RE U OF I [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 12:11 PM
LOVE THE IRONY [Jonah Goldberg ]
The University of Iowa -- i.e. the public university of the Hawkeye State -- has cancelled a baseball game because the other team is called the Braves.
Posted at 12:01 PM
RE: RUSH [Tim Graham]
Ramesh, the average Corner reader may assume that it was Limbaugh who used the F-word. (Alert the FCC!) I did hear he endorsed the college-frat line. Look, there's no doubt those prisoners were humiliated. There's no doubt that in a democratic society, we want to hold our forces accountable for their abuses. We want to set a higher standard for ourselves than the Arab nations do. But the media is floating this story into creating a Big Quagmire Picture, where America is an imperialist country, an oppressive force with zero moral authority. Moral equivalence is running rampant. The media's concern for our democratic accountability can lead to an imbalance of outrage. How does what happened at Abu Ghraib under American control compare to what happened at Abu Ghraib under Saddam? The media don't want to ask that question. For more, see here.
Posted at 11:59 AM
I LIKE RUSH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
but this seems pretty bad. (The F-word is used in the link, btw.) I'm assuming this isn't taken out of context, but it's hard to imagine what defensible context there could be.
Posted at 11:05 AM
THE GHOST OF JIM BUCKLEY TO VISIT KEYSTONE STATE? [Jack Fowler]
The sainted former Senator is alive and well and pre-ghostly, but conservatives in Pennsylvania are studying his successful 1970 third-party effort that ousted super-lib Republican incumbent Jacob Javits. Jim Clymer of the Constitution party is talking up the idea of fielding a conservative alternative to Arlen Specter and the as-liberal Dem senate candidate Joseph Hoeffel. Read about it here. That’s the sort of thing that should keep Rick Santorum up late at nights.
Posted at 10:56 AM
TIMEWASTER FOR DERB [Jonah Goldberg]
It's kind of mathy.
Posted at 10:34 AM
ALBRIGHT'S WORLD TOUR [John J. Miller]
Remember when Madeline Albright got into a bit of trouble for going on French radio and criticizing the war in Iraq? Now she's mouthing off in Mexico. I'll confess that I don't keep careful track of everything the former secretary of state says and where she says it--for all I know, she's been visiting all the Absurdistans of the world and criticizing her country's foreign policy at each stop. But isn't this just unseemly, a former diplomatic official leaving the United States and then attacking the current government's foreign policy? Can't she just shut up when she travels abroad and save the rhetoric for New York Times op-eds or something?
Posted at 10:19 AM
ANOTHER BUSH-BASHING MORNING [Tim Graham]
The morning shows landed really hard today on Iraqi prisoner abuse. ABC and NBC pounded Rumsfeld for apologies (and Diane Sawyer asked about resignation). CBS had Gen. Peter Pace. On her show, Laura Ingraham nailed the obvious question: "How about Matt and Katie apologize for that lame show they put on every day?"
ABC put on McCain. NBC had Joe Biden. Then after Rumsfeld appeared on NBC, they had Biden and McCain back in the 7:30 half-hour for more breast-beating. Lots of talk about outraged Arabs. Fine. Everyone in America should decry these American mistakes. Next question, Katie: since when are Arab nations the world's leaders in prison decorum?
PS: Hey, what about a story about Vietnam vets mobilizing against the prospect of President Kerry? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Posted at 10:11 AM
"NO APOLOGY REQUIRED" [KJL]
Rep. Jo Ann Davis cheers on Karen Hughes. and issues a challenge:
As Mrs. Hughes stated, in the post-9-11 world, we as Americans have placed a greater emphasis on the value of life. We grieve for the loss of every soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan, cling tighter to our close friends and family, and are more conscientious of our personal and national security. Additionally, we celebrate the birth of every baby and adoption of every child into a loving family because we value each life.
Posted at 09:56 AM
TWO-TIMING TRIAL LAWYERS [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Hill reports that the American Trial Lawyers' Association is making renewed efforts to court Republican lawmakers. Apparently ATLA does not like its reputation as a Dem-leaning organization. Rather, they'd like to to have GOP politicians in their pockets too.
Posted at 09:51 AM
RUNNING WITH THE PRESIDENT [KJL]
The President jogging with Staff Sergeant Mike McNaughton, who lost his right leg to a landmine in Afghanistan. (Apologies if you've already seen--I'm slow)
Posted at 09:33 AM
ME @ BOWDOIN [Jonah Goldberg]
May 11, Bowdoin college in Maine, 7:30 I believe. Be there or be not there, that is the question. But if you are there, we'll be there together.
UPDATE Here's the actual info: Kresge Auditorium at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine at 7 pm, open to the public. Free breathable atmosphere and tangible matter will be available.
Posted at 09:11 AM
OH, LOOK, IT'S ARLEN SPECTER [KJL]
And he's voting with the Dems. Imagine that.
Posted at 09:07 AM
U.N. STONEWALLING [KJL]
The latest from Claudia Rosett.
Posted at 07:05 AM
Posted at 07:03 AM
THE ARAB TV SETS [KJL]
W. is going on, to address the abuse charges.
Posted at 07:00 AM
THE ARAB STREETS [KJL]
"Iraq the Model" suggests Iraqis understand the bigger picture, despite the awful abuse pictures.
Posted at 06:58 AM
WW2 MEMORIAL [John J. Miller]
I had a chance to drop by the new World War 2 Memorial in Washington yesterday. It's open to the public right now and will be formally dedicated in a couple of weeks. First impressions: It's big and bright, very clean, good fountain effects, a fine place to let your kids run loose. I suspect it looks pretty good at night, all lit up. In this sense it succeeds as a public space. Having said all that, I was disappointed with it overall. It seemed somehow sterile. For a memorial dedicated to a war we won, I expected to see images of soldiers in uniform, tanks, bombers, battleships--the very things that made our victory possible. And yet there was none of this. Names of battles are etched in stone, as well as a few quotes from presidents and generals (and even the popular author Walter Lord), but nothing in the way of powerful visuals to remind us that wars are fought and won by men and machines. Why couldn't they have parked a Sherman tank in the middle of the memorial? A little more martial vigor, please. When I returned to the luxurious suite of offices that is NR's DC bureau, I reported all of this to Kate O'Beirne. She made a good point in the form of a question. "So the best World War 2 Memorial is still across the river?" She meant the Marine Corps Memorial, sometimes called the Iwo Jima Memorial, in Arlington. And yes, it's still the best.
Posted at 06:55 AM
DE MAYO [KJL]
Drinks on you, John?
Posted at 06:53 AM
ABOUT TIME [KJL]
Shiites tell Sadrto quit it with the holy hideouts.
Posted at 06:50 AM
HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO [John J. Miller]
Today is the 142nd anniversary of one of the most embarrassing defeats in French military history.
Posted at 05:39 AM
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
THE COMMUNION DEBATE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Andrew Sullivan has now weighed in, twice, criticizing a Robert Novak column and expressing dismay that “even the usually sober Ramesh Ponnuru” has enlisted with the “theocons” on this issue. He says that the people who think the bishops should deny Kerry (and other pro-abortion politicians) communion should explain how far they would go: Do we think that opponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment should be denied communion? Supporters of the death penalty? Politicians who support legal abortion, or average citizens too? I am actually working on an article for NR that tries to answer just these questions, and also to make some suggestions about how non-Catholics should think about the issue. I think I will finish the article and then, if there are points Sullivan raises that I have not been able to address in it, address them here. (We have plenty of time: The bishops’ special committee to figure out what to do about Catholic politicians who favor legal abortion isn’t going to report until after the election.)
For now, let me say something about that word “theocon.” I think its use (and the use of the word “fundamentalist”) detracts from the more thoughtful parts of Sullivan’s commentary. The term originated in a rather nasty and inaccurate cover story by Jacob Heilbrunn in The New Republic in 1996. If it means someone who opposes religious freedom, supports theocracy, believes all religious obligations should be enforced by the state, or believes that religious truths inaccessible to human reason can be a legitimate basis for public policy in a modern democratic state, then I am definitely not one. If it is taken to describe someone who is both a conservative and a theist, then I suppose I am one. And if it covers a middle ground of territory—if it means conservatives who subscribe to a view of church-state relations that is not the same as that of contemporary liberals—then I am also a theocon. But the prefix seems unnecessary, since the vast majority of conservatives have always been in that camp.
Posted at 06:09 PM
GORELICK GORELICK GORELICK MUST GO [KJL]
A reminder. This 9/11 report wiill have very little credibility: Gorelick, Kerrey...and to top matters off, it will be released, if all goes as planned, in time for the Democratic convention.
Posted at 06:02 PM
CONCRETE IN CHINA [John Derbyshire]
Peter: Your reader echoes the remark made by P.J. O'Rourke in HOLIDAYS IN HELL, referring to 1980s Poland: "Commies love concrete."
Posted at 05:54 PM
I HAVE THE HONOR.. [Michael Graham]
...of moderating a debate among Republican candidates who hope to unseat Congressman Jim "Easy Credit" Moran from Virginia's 8th District tonight. If you're in the Alexandria area, the event begins at 7pm at Regent University.
Posted at 05:52 PM
VIETNAM SYNDROME: A PREDICTION [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm increasingly coming around to the Krauthammer position on Vietnam Syndrome-- that Americans as a group do not suffer from anything of the sort. Rather, liberal babyboomers and their intellectual progeny suffer from the syndrome. The symptoms come in all sorts of instances when liberals immediately leap to Vietnam-inspired analysis before the facts warrant it. They use the word quagmire prematurely -- days into the Iraq and Afghan wars, for example. They assume that when events overseas go poorly -- as they have been in Iraq -- that the political damage for the White House will be immediate and substantial when in fact the experience of the last four presidents suggests if not the opposite then at least something much more complicated. After all, public support for Vietnam took years to erode, but when you listen to VS sufferers you'd think Americans give up almost instantly. Also Bush did not suffer from all the bad Iraq news and Kerry did not gain, in the obvious ways VS sufferers would have predicted.
I haven't seen it yet in response to the Iraqi prisoner story -- except in a few emails -- but after listening to Ted Kennedy today I suspect we are going to be hearing more and more comparisons to the My Lai massacre, not least because of the involvement of Sy Hersh in both stories.
I haven't read up on My Lai in a while, but if memory serves the politics of My Lai were much more complicated than what one would expect a Vietnam Syndrome sufferer to believe. Americans rallied around American troops in large numbers. If I remember right, then-Gov. Jimmy Carter asked Georgians to rally around Calley and the others of My Lai and even as a presidential candidate his position on Calley (and Vietnam) was nuanced. Richard Nixon -- an acute student of electoral advantage -- all but pardoned Calley, releasing him from jail and sentencing him to house arrest. I think I'm remembering this correctly.
Now, I don't think the comparison to My Lai is a good one and I don't think the story of My Lai is as straightforward as some think. But obviously I think My Lai and the Abu Ghraib are both outrages, regardless of the context. But that's not my point. On the issue of the politics of this, I'll be interested to see whether VS sufferers once again misread the lessons of Vietnam and act on this story as if it will be politically damaging to Bush. My guess is yes.
Posted at 04:48 PM
RE: DERB'S PAYPAL BLEG [John Derbyshire]
Once again, thanks to all who bought my poetry CD last Friday to help me test my new PayPal account. I think I understand the darn thing now. It's pretty cool.
However, once I did the bank-verification business, it accepted all outstanding payments in a single lot, automatically. This means I can't deny the payments of those who helped me, as I promised. If you are miffed by this, please let me know by email & I'll send you a check to cover your payment.
Posted at 04:31 PM
CHINA ROUNDUP [ Peter Robinson]
In a posting yesterday, I asked whether the Three Gorges Dam, a building project in China, is now complete. I received what I always receive when I post a question in The Corner, namely, an education. Herewith, a sampling:
***Regarding the Three Gorges Dam itself, readers report that the project is now scheduled for completion in 2009. One reader also sends along a couple of measurements of the gigantic project: “It [will] stretch nearly a mile across and tower 575 feet above the world's third-longest river [the Yangtze]. Its reservoir [will] stretch over 350 miles upstream and force the displacement of close to 1.9 million people.”
***On the statistic, which I posted last week, that last year China consumed more than half the world’s concrete output, one reader adds that China is also estimated to consume 30 percent of the world’s coal output and 36 percent of each year’s production of steel.
***An architect writes to say that “I don’t know about concrete, but here in the Midwest steel prices and lack of availablity are being blamed on Chinese construction,” and a consultant to the steel industry sends a report that concludes with a nice little dig at the Bush administration: “Our[steel] mills [here in the United States] are producing as much as they can and prices have skyrocketed. China has done for the U.S. steel industry what tariffs could not.”
***My favorite email: “I'm teaching English in a city 2 hours south of Beijing that probably has 20 construction cranes operating at this moment. But they don't just use concrete for buildings. An empty field was recently covered in concrete to make a park. In fact, most of the city is concrete, including the parks. They love the stuff.”
Kathryn, did you hear that? This happy Corner is even being read in the People’s Republic of China.
Posted at 03:57 PM
OKAY, OKAY [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of folks have objected and commented on my comment that increased representation would not be uniform. I'll deal with all of it later. I got some other stuff on my plate right now.
Posted at 03:53 PM
TETE-MICHEL KPOMASSIE [John Derbyshire]
Readers of THE NEW CRITERION whose interest was caught by my piece about Tete-Michel Kpomassie, please note that the man himself can be heard in this www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/02202003 interview with Kpomassie conducted by Leonard Lopate of WNYC in 2003. He sounds just like his book, utterly charming.
Posted at 03:38 PM
PLUG FOR A GREAT MAGAZINE [John Derbyshire]
New issue of THE NEW CRITERION is out, with theater crit by Mark Steyn, an art piece by Vic Davis Hanson (no kidding), music crit by Jay Nordlinger, a review of Foster's YEATS by John Simon, and an off-the-wall piece by me on Tete-Michel Kpomassie's strange, wonderful travel classic AN AFRICAN IN GREENLAND.
Posted at 03:34 PM
"DISASTER FOR CONSERVATIVES" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, If Congress were expanded wouldn't that mean that the dense cities would be overrepresented? It seems that for the most part people are grouped mostly by geography (as far as thinking goes). The typically liberal cities would completely drown out the typically more conservative rural areas simply because the cities have more people per mile.. Perhaps some sort of compromise between population and area would work better. Maybe you can clean this thought of mine up a bit. Thanks for reading,
ME I don't have time to get too into this right now. But I don't think this is the case. The ratios of urban to rural would presumably stay pretty much intact, wouldn't they? In other words there would be ten times more New York Congressmen but there would also be ten times more Wyoming Congressmen.
Second, cities tend to have lots of conservative enclaves which get drowned out in Congressional votes. So it doesn't seem obvious to me that you wouldn't get more conservative voices from New York City, for example. Meanwhile, Wyoming has (I presume) fewer liberal enclaves.
Third, even if it'd be bad for Republicans, I don't know that it would be bad for conservatives since the hope would be that it would create greater inefficiencies in Congress and hence slow government down.
Fourth, I'm not a big believer in static political analysis. If the House became more liberal, the Senate might become more conservative in response. If a bunch of hot-heads went to the House maybe people would send more cool-tempered leaders to the Senate. This was what the Senate was originally intended to be. One of the founders called the House the cup and Senate the saucer. When the tea is too hot you pour the excess in the saucer and it cools down. Or something like that.
Fifth, I really just think it's an interesting point about our government and paying heed to the idea helps us see where our government is as opposed to where it was intended to be. I'm open to other suggestions of how to apply this lesson to governmental reform. Or, I should say I'm open to the suggestion there are better ideas out there, I'm just not sure I want to hear them.
Posted at 03:19 PM
JOHN MCCAIN ON TILLMAN [KJL]
Read his eulogy here.
Posted at 02:15 PM
JONAH AND CONGRESS [KJL]
That's a think tank begging to be established. Think of how much prettier your office would be! Think of the possibilities for the oak-paneled boardroom. And think of the money you can give me to sit on your board and do nothing.
Posted at 02:06 PM
THIS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Is exactly what Barbra Streisand thinks readers of NRO do all day. Warning violence and anti-feline content.
Posted at 01:59 PM
ODDLY FITTING [Jonah Goldberg]
Is it me or does the fact that Al Gore has purchased a Canadian news network seem appropriate somehow?
Posted at 01:54 PM
INDEED I HAVE... [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 01:50 PM
GOOD EVENT, GOOD CAUSE [KJL]
NYC's Ball for Life is on May 14. Dinner. Dancing. Drinking. And it all benefits local crisis pregnancy centers. Buy your tickets here.
Posted at 01:25 PM
Is it too simplistic to smell Air America II?
Posted at 01:14 PM
I THINK JONAH HAS ENDORSED THIS IDEA [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "Dear Mr. Lowry: My own opinion is that gerrymandering is only part of the story. What is needed is a lot more Congressional representatives. In 1790 each Congressman represented 38,000 constituents. By 2000 each Congressman represented 680,000 constituents. There's no conceivable way that any human being can adequately represent 680,000 constituents--it's a charade."
Posted at 01:12 PM
THE BUZZ IS STARTING [Jonah Goldberg]
People have been talking about the upcoming Vanity Fair article on Bill Clinton for at least a year. I've heard rumors about what's in it, but I don't know anything for sure. But the buzz and selective leaking is starting. There's nothing too exciting in the NY Post story , but it does confirm once again what a classy guy Bill is.
Posted at 12:34 PM
AND WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SOUND [KJL]
that is, Jonah. I though his publisher's got it exactly right, though, with the book cover: He's bigger than the White House. Certainly in his mind.
Posted at 11:39 AM
THE CHALABI SMEAR [KJL]
David Frum is on the case today.
Posted at 11:30 AM
DO YOU HEAR THAT? [Jonah Goldberg]
That's the sound of no one caring Joe Wilson came out with a book.
Posted at 11:02 AM
RE: RAMESH [KJL]
I guess in my bizarre little world, you'd be doing it at 3 am. :-)
Posted at 11:00 AM
NEWS OF THE WEIRD [Jonah Goldberg ]
How strange. We've cut taxes but revenues are increasing.
Posted at 10:56 AM
WELL, IN A SENSE, [Ramesh Ponnuru]
NR does pay me money to analyze (read: complain about) the morning papers. Although sometimes I don't get around to it until the afternoon.
Posted at 10:54 AM
BROCK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I've looked at his site, and it looks as though my hopes for its serving a useful role in correcting conservative journalists have been dashed. It's just shoddy. In dealing with economist Kevin Hassett's criticism of the Kerry corporate-tax plan, the site's idea of a knock-down refutation is that liberal journalist Tim Noah disagrees with Hassett (on unpersuasive grounds). But maybe the site will improve over time. Otherwise, it's a lot of liberal dollars misspent.
Posted at 10:52 AM
BREAKFAST WITH RAMESH [KJL]
All too briefly in my career at National Review, I worked in the D.C. office. One of the many joys of this period of my life was getting to listen to Ramesh read the morning papers. You just got a taste of it here in The Corner. I would pay money to get to hear Ramesh go through the the morning papers every morning.
Posted at 10:50 AM
BROOKS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
If I were a Democrat, his piece would be the most depressing thing I've read for a while. I am not at all convinced that a sensible-centrist, deficit-reducing, bond-market-friendly fiscal policy is the political winner Brooks thinks it is. Clinton didn't run that way in 1992. Brooks says that Kerry will be "incorporating the policies of the center with the anti-plutocrat language of the left." Isn't this what Al Gore tried in 2000--supporting nothing more radical than "gun safety" and a "patient's bill of rights" while also railing about "the people vs. the powerful"? Gore won the popular vote, of course. But not many people think that merely re-running his campaign is a good idea in 2004, and if Brooks thinks so he's not saying.
Posted at 10:42 AM
GEORGE WILL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I had mixed feelings about that one, Kathryn. In the (overstated) realist-neocon debates, I'm generally on the realist side (or, depending on your definition of the word, I'm a modified realist). But in a column condemning the administration for creating straw men, I thought Will created some of his own. "Being steadfast in defense of carefully considered convictions is a virtue. Being blankly incapable of distinguishing cherished hopes from disappointing facts, or of reassessing comforting doctrines in face of contrary evidence, is a crippling political vice." Agreed. But is it Will's position that the experience of the last year constitutes decisive evidence that liberty or democracy cannot be brought to Iraq? Didn't he hold this pessimistic view even before the last year? What, specifically, is the administration persisting in doing that he wants it to abandon? Does he want it to give up on moving toward elections? (The answer, based on previous columns, appears to be no.) He wants to criticize a foreign policy for relying too much on theory, but without leaving the realm of theory himself.
Posted at 10:28 AM
DIONNE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I like E.J., Kathryn, but I thought the column was full of holes. I'll try to give the short version of the critique.
1) It is not true that to be consistent, the bishops will have to deny communion not only to pro-abortion politicians but also to pro-life politicians who support pro-abortion colleagues. (I'll leave out the complete argument as to why this is untrue, in the interests of succinctness--but you can get the gist of it here.) Dionne writes, "Why is it acceptable for a committed Catholic abortion opponent such as Santorum to support Specter over an antiabortion candidate, but not Kerry over Bush? Might Specter's party label have something to do with it?" But nobody is asking for the bishops to condemn Catholics who support Kerry, or even to oppose his election. Let us imagine the impossible: that Santorum were to endorse Kerry this year. As far as I can tell, nothing being proposed today would give the bishops any call to deny him communion. Let us imagine another impossibility: that Santorum will start voting to to deny justice to the unborn. Then, under the standard that is actually being discussed, it would indeed be necessary to deny him communion. Party labels do not account for the substantive differences between these cases.
2) The article fails to take seriously the ideas that abortion is the unjust taking of human life, that to vote to allow abortion in the legislature is to perform an act of serious injustice, and that this act imperils the soul of the sinning legislator. Maybe Dionne does not subscribe to these ideas himself, but the Catholic church does. If he wants to give the bishops advice other than to ditch these premises, he needs to acknowledge their existence and force.
Posted at 10:14 AM
SOME GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ [KJL]
David Ignatius today:
Today Nasiriyah illustrates a new mood of pragmatism emerging in southern Iraq as Shiite political, religious and tribal leaders prepare for a transfer of sovereignty less than two months away. Iraqis here seem to understand that unless they quickly take more responsibility for security, the country could descend into chaos after June 30.
Posted at 09:00 AM
RE: DIONNE, KERRY & BOB CASEY’S GHOST [Jack Fowler]
Kathryn’s points are right on, while Dionne’s on regarding why Arlen Specter waterboy Rick Santorum should be considered a saint while Kerry is a sinner is very interesting. Anyway, as a pro-life war horse, who’s long wanted the bishops to crack down--and I still do--on the “personally opposed” crowd, I must remind myself that every Sunday the lines going to receive Communion are long indeed, filled with people who haven’t been to Confession since Hector was a pup. Supporting abortion isn’t the world’s only sin.
Regarding the Church, people used to go to Confession frequently. Now, most don’t even meet the Church’s minimal requirement--at least once annually. So most people who are receiving Communion every week are doing so without their soul being in the proper state (pure! clean!) to accept the what Catholics believe to be the Body and Blood of Jesus. Forgive the monster judgmentalism (I’ll make a point of mentioning this at my next Confession). This Confession fall-off is due to many things, a big one reason being that bishops and parish priests have downplayed the sacrament for a generation (you’ve got a better chance of winning Powerball than of hearing a priest encourage you to go to confession). And that in turn has compromised the practice of receiving Communion. So … if there is going to be bellyaching about who shouldn’t be receiving Communion, the answer is, given current practices, and pardon me for again for playing God, most people. Maybe we can have higher expectations of our bishops regarding pro-abortion Catholic politicians bellying up to the altar rail after we’ve seen our pastoral shepherds restore some dignity to the practice of receiving Communion and its critical partner, frequent confession. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that.
Posted at 08:18 AM
YOU GOTTA HAVE SOUL [KJL]
During the course of telling Dems to chill a little re: their Kerry vision-thing worries, David Brooks says, this ayem:
The one big problem they are not addressing — and are actually making worse — is the creepy tone of prudentialism that envelops this campaign. Nobody is passionate about John Kerry. Primary voters embraced him in a calculating frame of mind. Party leaders talk about him ambivalently. Even Kerry seems coolly calculating about himself.So...he till sometime next month.
Posted at 07:38 AM
RE: NIGHTLINE [KJL]
I've paid little attention to the ratings discussion here, but it makes sense that it would draw people in. Besides the controversy over Koppel's intentions, at the end of the day, it was a memorial show. I wouldn't read into the viewership any political leaning because they watched.
Posted at 07:15 AM
NIGHTLINE'S RATINGS [Michael Graham]
It looks like Drudge got it wrong yesterday. Lisa de Moraes in the Washington Post reports today that Nightline scored a ratings coup with their reading of the dead:
"The preliminary rating is about 22 percent higher than the show had done the previous Friday in the metered markets. In fact, it's the biggest metered-market rating for 'Nightline' during a May sweeps since 2002."
The Executive Producer of Nightline told de Moraes last week that he didn't even KNOW May was a ratings period. That's his report. You decide.
Posted at 07:10 AM
A CLINTON QUESTION [KJL]
This, related to Morri's column. Will there be a backlash against the Clintons when Kerry loses and politicos partly blame Clinton for sucking the oxygen out of the Kerry momentum? Does that hurt Hillary in 2008?
Posted at 06:54 AM
UNLESS, OF COURSE… [KJL]
…Hillary runs this year…. By the end of May it will be the big story again: brokered convention. Dems are definitely not enthused about Kerry. If he only had the passion of a Dean, without the insanity. Is Hillary even considering? I think the biggest reason she would: age. Botox can only do so much. Plus, overall, she’s a superstar now, why waste it?
Will it really happen? Probably not. (And, I know, I know, I am hearing Rick Brookhiser’s wise historian voice in my ear right now: It won’t happen. The pundits always want a brokered convention. Not happening.) But I’d probably put 10 bucks down on it anyway.
Posted at 06:53 AM
DIONNE, KERRY & BOB CASEY’S GHOST [KJL]
E. J. Dionne has a good point this morning (to an extent), but I think it is one we have expressed here. On the Kerry/Catholic/Abortion issue: I don’t think this is or should be a strategy for the Republican party. This is not something an Ed Gillespie or Karen Hughes, etc., should be calling for (they’re not): Archbishop O’Malley of Boston to make the “New Age” (was in one of those initial New York Times stories) Paulists refuse Kerry communion or himself condemn him, etc. Those of us harping on the issue in these parts—I think I can safely say—are doing so not because it’s a winning strategy for Bush. To the contrary. I have no idea how voters who happen to be Catholic respond to such things—and the “danger of a backlash” that Rev. Joseph Komonchak (former professor to both myself and my Dad before me) is, real, I think, politically, if it is perceived that the Republican party or the Bush camp is pushing a Kerry-is-not-Catholic-enough-strategy. I want bishops to speak out because it is the right thing. The litmus test is not a political one but a moral one, and moral leaders—Kerry’s shepherds and mine—are responsible for setting us on the right path on this essential issue (the dignity of human life at its most innocent and vulnerable). Contrary to Joe Conason, I’d want that if Tom Ridge (perish the thought!) were running for president, or Rudy Guiliani, etc. (Even if that hurt their candidacies? Yeah. But I don’t think it would—and I don’t think it will hurt Kerry’s necessarily, either.)
Is that an anti-Democratic-party position? I dunno. Right now it is, I guess. But could Catholic moral leadership trickle down to the political as a dose of civility into a debate that often seems to have very little? Could it effect a softening of the Democratic party’s position on abortion? That’s not a reason for bishops to lead, but it would be a positive effect, and, I think, a real possibility. It’s a day pro-life Dem Bob Casey from Pa. would have loved to have lived to see. A pro-life Dem for veep? Not this year. Maybe Hillary would consider.
Nah, after Jeb’s four years.
Posted at 06:50 AM
BILL CLINTON WANTS KERRY TO LOSE [KJL]
Thus explaining the June memoirs release. So says Dick Morris.
Posted at 06:19 AM
"LONGING FOR 'NAM" [KJL]
John Pod warns where Hersh & co are headed with the Abu Ghraib story.
Posted at 06:15 AM
JOHN O'NEILL [KJL]
, he who took down Kerry on Dick Cavett, has a piece in the Journal today. You, of course, met him in NRODT first, here.
Posted at 06:11 AM
CONSERVATISM 101 FOR THIS TUESDAY, MAY 4 [KJL]
"Ron Chernow's magnificent new biography of Alexander Hamilton begins with these of his subject's words: 'I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be.' That is the core of conservatism." Read on here for Professor Will's scolding of the Bush administration.
Posted at 06:06 AM
PLOT TO KILL PRESIDENT BUSH CRUSHED [KJL]
Posted at 05:45 AM
CAPTAIN KIRK [John J. Miller]
There's a long article on Russell Kirk in the current Chronicle of Higher Education. I haven't read it yet, but you can here.
Posted at 05:19 AM
Monday, May 03, 2004
RE: KOPPEL [Jonah Goldberg]
I come close to agreeing with Ramesh that this isn't as big a deal as people are making it (made it). However, Koppel's "An agenda? Moi?" attitude does get under my skin.
However, one thing I think Koppel is indisputably guilty of is committing bad television. It's just not good TV. And, as a former television producer who's produced his share of bad television (never mind a pretty dedicated television watcher) I know what I'm talking about.
Posted at 09:34 PM
RE: IT AIN'T SO, JOE [Peter Robinson]
"An indignant little Torquemada?" Me?
Why, if Joe Conason keeps this up, I may have to report him to the Inquisition.
Posted at 07:31 PM
KOPPEL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm a little late coming to this discussion, but I can't quite figure out why conservatives were so upset about the roll call of the lost. If it had been prefaced with something like "what follows is a list of brave Americans who have given their lives for their country and for the liberation of Iraq from a cruel tyranny," we wouldn't have minded, would we? No preface was given, of course; but we could still read that meaning into the show--whatever Koppel's intentions were.
Posted at 06:20 PM
HE IS JUST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
all class, isn't he? [Ed.: RP linked to this before some of the harsher comment language.]
Posted at 05:55 PM
RE: JIHADISTS SHOW THEIR MILITARY PROWESS [John Derbyshire]
Memo to all those paleo-cons who e-mailed me last week in fury because I described Israel as being one of civilization's front lines in the fight against barbarism, and were so keep to tell me about Israeli "atrocities": Can you please point me to any act by the IDF, or any other arm of the Israeli state, comparable to this one in brutality, and for which the Israeli government has then gleefully "claimed responsibility"?
Posted at 05:51 PM
PORN, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Come on Ramesh, I count you as one of the most intelligent people I know. You can do a lot better than your article on Knee. Anybody can criticize (and your criticism hardly went beyond Knee's preemption), but it takes a truly brilliant mind to create.
My response: I think that it is foolish (as well as cliched) to criticize someone for criticizing rather than creating. Criticizing bad ideas, or even bad arguments for good ones, is part of the way political cultures develop better ideas and better arguments.
Nor is this in any way an adequate answer to the question of whether the regulation would move porn offshore: the point is not that pornography would continue to be produced elsewhere, but that it could be produced there and consumed here, thus defeating the purpose of the ban (if its purpose is to end the consumption of pornography). The same-sex marriage analogy is inapposite, unless we're talking about the discrete issue of American governments' recognition of same-sex marriages contracted abroad. As for extending the proposed law to cover cartoons: Of course you could broaden the law in that fashion. But it would no longer, on the author's own argument, be constitutionally permissible. The whole point of his proposal was to use the ban on prostitution as a way to get at pornography. That justification won't work for cartoon characters.
Posted at 05:29 PM
CORNER VEEPSTAKES [Jim Geraghty]
The most obvious, easiest, solid-base-hit, no-interest-group-left-behind consensus choice for Kerry's running mate is John Edwards. So naturally, he won't do it. One, Kerry really bristled at Edwards' mildest criticisms during the primary, and two, I'm sure Kerry and his advisors dread the inevitable "boy, Edwards is so much more charming and charismatic than the guy at the top of the ticket" coverage that would ensue. So, the second-most obvious, easy, solid-base-hit, no-interest-group-left-behind consensus choice would be Dick Gephardt, who would offend no one, is a known quantity, seems somewhat prepared for the job, and could theoretically help the Democrats carry Missouri. (Whether a House member can really carry a ticket statewide from the veep slot is up in the air.) All the other ones - Richardson, Clark, Graham, Vilsack, Rendell, Warner, etc. seem like they have too much of a trade-off. So, as of May 3, Kerry-Gephardt seems most likely.
Posted at 05:25 PM
VEEP: BORING ISN'T NECESSARILY A BAD THING [Michael Graham]
I still think Dick Gephardt is a leading contender. The upsides are Missouri and the labor movement. Union households are in play this election, and if the economy keeps improving, more union members may tend to stray towards Bush. Gephardt's bullet-proof union credentials could help keep them in line.
Having said that, Gephardt brings all the electricity and excitement of a Sunday School superintendent. Two candidates with a near-zero Q rating is not a good thing. However, if you were John Kerry, would you really want a flashy, high-profile running mate stealing what little of the limelight you can attract?
Posted at 05:22 PM
KOPPEL FLOP [Tim Graham]
Michael, it shouldn't surprise that the "Nightline" ratings were down for this dry recitation of facts and pictures of our lost fighting men and women. But I think it is a surprise for the ABC gang, who thought the publicity would bring a boost. The boost may have caused the natural audience for this (gung-ho military supporters) to take a pass.
I spent an hour on my home-state Wisconsin Public Radio this morning on this topic, with rabid callers insisting that our soldiers are all "brainwashed" and the hostess wanting to insist the show was (a) objective and (b) a needed lesson to jolt people into questioning the war. I'm sure I sounded a bit feisty. I usually enjoy the well, pardon the pun, badgering. The host ended the show: "well, it's nice to have a lively discussion once in a while." It sounded like "that's the last time I'll have a conservative guest on for a while."
Posted at 05:20 PM
BASE BALL [Rick Brookhiser]
Jonah, if the Democrats win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College a second time in a row, there will be calls to abolish the Electoral College.
Posted at 05:18 PM
IT AIN'T SO, JOE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Joe Conason takes NR, the Standard, and other conservatives to task for advocating the denial of communion to John Kerry--but not to pro-abortion Republican politicians who identify as Catholics, such as George Pataki, Tom Ridge, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's a dumb cheap shot. Conason quotes a Corner post, for example, in which Peter Robinson quoted an email that was tough on Kerry; Conason identifies either Robinson or the correspondent (unoriginally) as "an indignant little Torquemada." He does not mention that Robinson has explicitly said that he thinks that Pataki and the other pro-abortion Catholic Republicans should also be denied communion. So have I. (And by the way, it's just sloppy to treat a letter quoted by Peter as NR's position.) One of NRO's earliest essays on the subject manages not to mention Kerry or the Republican or Democratic parties; it is solely directed toward the explication of the principle at stake.
As low as my opinion of Conason is, I expected a little better from him. I thought we'd get the usual line about Catholic teaching on the death penalty and social justice. No such luck.
Conason has no idea what the difference between "excommunication" and being denied communion is. He thinks that the label "thirteenth century" constitutes a theological argument. The idiocies just pile atop one another. Conason finds the "timing" of the calls to deprive Kerry of communion "suspicious"--as though the RNC were responsible for the Vatican's pronouncements over the last three years on the question of pro-abortion Catholic politicians, as though the bishops had set up a special panel to consider the question because of the RNC rather than the Vatican.
Conason thinks he has scored some point by noting that conservative Catholics have not protested Bush's hiring of Ridge. I have no problem with openly proclaiming that Bush can hire all the pro-abortion Catholics he wants to serve as ambassadors, heads of Cabinet departments, whatever (so long as they're not setting abortion-related policy). Neither NR nor the Standard is demanding that Bush start grading the quality of public officials' professed Catholicism. (Note that Conason himself is perfectly happy to question whether we are good Christians.) Whether they adhere to church teachings isn't Bush's responsibility. It is, however, a matter to which the bishops must attend, which is all we have been saying.
Posted at 05:03 PM
MEAN GIRLS… [Rich Lowry]
… is quite fun. A very well-done high school movie.
Posted at 04:28 PM
“THIS MOUNTING DEBACLE” [Rich Lowry]
Robert Kagan has a useful Iraq op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post. Two key passages.
One describes in very forthright language the kind of job the Bush administration has been doing there lately: “All but the most blindly devoted Bush supporters can see that Bush administration officials have no clue about what to do in Iraq tomorrow, much less a month from now. Consider Fallujah: One week they're setting deadlines and threatening offensives; the next week they're pulling back. The latest plan, naming one of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard generals to lead the pacification of the city, is the kind of bizarre idea that only desperate people can conjure. The Bush administration is evidently in a panic, and this panic is being conveyed to the American people.”
The other is a good defense of how some sort of democratic government in a unified Iraq still needs to be our goal: “The next time someone suggests that the goal of democracy is too ambitious, let him explain in detail what alternative he has in mind. Even if we wanted to establish a non-democratic government in Iraq, how would we do it? Is there a benevolent dictator out there who could enjoy sufficient legitimacy or wield sufficient power to maintain stability in Iraq without continued U.S. military support? Even a reconstituted, Sunni-dominated Iraqi army -- if such a thing were even desirable or possible -- could not impose order without employing all of the Hussein regime's brutal tactics, including the inevitable massacre of probably thousands of rebellious Shiites. Is that what advocates of ‘lowering our sights’ have in mind?
Nor would partition be any easier to engineer. Yes, there could be an independent Kurdistan (and an ensuing war with Turkey) in the north. But the Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq are neither geographically nor culturally separate. They are intermingled. So, does partition mean transfers of population? And who would carry out those transfers, and how? Again, people who call for partition as an alternative to Iraqi democracy should explain exactly what their plan would look like and how it would produce a more stable result.”
Posted at 04:22 PM
THE KERREY 9/11 STUFF GETS WORSE [KJL]
He waited for Domenici after he walked out onthe president of the United States.
Posted at 04:17 PM
FORD VEEP [Jonah Goldberg]
And I'm getting even more email like this:
I know this is a fine point, but in re to the reader who wrote: "The Constitution is silent as to the age of a Vice President, however, it seems absurd for a nominee to choose as his running mate someone who can't succeed him--succession being the only duty prescribed to the V.P. under the Constitution. Should Kerry choose Harold Ford, Jr. as his running mate, and should they be elected, Dennis Hastert, not Ford, would be next in line for the Presidency until May 2005. " Actually, the 12th Amendment says: "But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States." Therefore, Ford couldn't be Veep at all, even if the Dems wanted someone who couldn't succeed Kerry in an emergency.
Posted at 03:19 PM
BROCK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It will of course be hard to take seriously any claims of inaccuracy coming from him. (John Podesta demonstrated a heretofore unsuspected comic gift in predicting that Brock would survive character assassination on the strength of his facts. Yes, that's the Brock career path so far.) But it is nice to have people paying attention, and the scrutiny may help us do a better job--so I'm actually looking forward to reading what his group puts out.
Posted at 02:49 PM
JOHN O'NEILL RALLIES KERRY VIETNAM COLLEAGUES AGAINST KERRY [KJL]
Posted at 02:38 PM
FORD FOR VEEP [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of email along these lines:
There is a practical as opposed to political reason why Harold Ford, Jr. won't be Kerry's V.P. Art. II, Sec. 1 of the Constitution sets the minimum age for the President at 35 yrs. Congressman Ford will be 34 on May 11th. The Constitution is silent as to the age of a Vice President, however, it seems absurd for a nominee to choose as his running mate someone who can't succeed him--succession being the only duty prescribed to the V.P. under the Constitution. Should Kerry choose Harold Ford, Jr. as his running mate, and should they be elected, Dennis Hastert, not Ford, would be next in line for the Presidency until May 2005.
Posted at 02:35 PM
HAROLD FORD [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Another problem for him as a veep candidate: He voted to ban partial-birth abortion. That could be a problem for Dick Gephardt and Evan Bayh as well. In the past, feminists have said that Bayh would be an unacceptable vice-presidential nominee because of his vote on the issue. If Kerry picks an opponent of partial-birth abortion anyway, that will be an impressive move toward the center--and a stinging defeat for the feminists.
Posted at 02:31 PM
DISCUSSION ITEM [KJL]
Since it's tangentially been brought up, let's go for it, full thrust: if you had to put money on it today: Who will Kerry pick for veep. Curious what your thinking is.
Posted at 02:29 PM
ODD INTERVIEW [Jonah Goldberg ]
This NYT interview with Samuel Huntington is weird. I'm sure it was much longer than what appears on the page. But imagine it wasn't when you read it. It gets progressively snottier and dumber until Huntington admits he's pro Kerry and anti-Iraq war. Then, suddenly, it ends as if this data is too inconvenient and incomprehensible for the New York Times. That they edited it down to this strikes me as just strange.
Posted at 02:19 PM
FUKUYAMA'S ON THE FENCE [Jonah Goldberg]
He says he's not sure he'll vote for Bush.
Posted at 01:36 PM
FORD [Jonah Goldberg]
Michael - I've gotten a lot of the same email. Off the top of my head, I don't think Ford's a good pick because: 1) I'm pretty sure he's too young and would have to be sworn in four months after the election. 2) From what I've heard, excessive media scrutiny is not in his interest. 3) He couldn't deliver Tennessee, as you note. 4) Wouldn't Kerry seem like another Mondale? The comparison to Mondale-Ferraro isn't perfect, but it ain't that far off either. 5) I think he would look unqualified for the job next to Cheney and would be much more likable than Kerry, the worst of both worlds.
Posted at 01:33 PM
JONAH, WANNA COME VISIT? [KJL]
Posted at 12:59 PM
JONAH, WHAT ABOUT HAROLD FORD, JR? [Michael Graham]
As a Corner reader wrote me moments ago, he's southern, black, relatively moderate and attractive.
Also, I wonder if the Democrats are going to play "base-ball" again this year. That was the game in 2000 and, while they won the popular vote, it didn't give them a win. With the increased polorization of the electorate and the growth in pro-Bush states, it's possible the Democrats could win an even BIGGER popular victory this year and still lose. The Dems have to be asking themselves "Who helps us win in the right states?"
Not many black candidates fit that role, not even Congressman Ford who couldn't even deliver Tennessee.
Posted at 12:33 PM
TIM, HAVE YOU SEEN THE NIGHTLINE RATINGS? [Michael Graham]
Drudge has them: Ratings were down Friday night in major cities, and they lost audience from the previous Friday. No doubt the Nightline spinners will say "See, this proves were weren't doing this during sweeps for the ratings!" I think the more honest answer is, thanks to the publicity, it didn't work.
Posted at 12:30 PM
A KINDER, GENTLER ST. JAMES [KJL]
Spain doesn't want to offend any slain Moors.
Posted at 12:20 PM
BLACKS AND KERRY [Jonah Goldberg]
Michael - I disagree. The fact that 95% of blacks say they support Kerry or the Democratic nominee -- or anybody but Bush -- isn't the relevant fact. What Democrats desperately need is for blacks to actually show up at the polls in numbers commensurate with their views. Even a slight downtick in black voter turnout would be deadly for the Democrats. The fact that Kerry probably strikes many blacks as even more patrician, elitist, haughty, rich and plain old "white" than George W. Bush can't be good news for the Kerry campaign. Last week, when Kerry talked to his first major black audience he decided to roll out his plan for protecting chemical plants. This doesn't strike me as the sort of issue that really turns out the black vote. I think if there was a good candidate, Kerry would be very smart to pick a black Veep. I just can't think of anyone who's sufficiently qualified or who isn't too liberal or who isn't a member of Bush's cabinet.
Posted at 11:38 AM
KOPPEL VS. SLATE [Tim Graham]
All this debate over reading the names of the war dead again reminds me of Jack Shafer's Slate column last September discussing Matt Miller's journalistic proposal of "Still True Today," which repeats known facts (not "news") for political impact. It applies quite well to Koppel's publicity-stunt show.
Posted at 11:33 AM
KOPPEL'S GOSPEL [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brent Baker reports on the end of the controversial 35-minute Nightline devoted to Ted Koppel announcing, over matching pictures, the names of servicemen killed in Iraq over the past 13 months. Koppel concluded that "the reading tonight of those 721 names was neither intended to provoke opposition to the war, nor was it meant as an endorsement." Koppel acknowledged, however, that "some of you doubt that" and "are convinced that I am opposed to the war." He insisted: "I'm not."
But he did offer a personal opinion which seemed to integrate the liberal criticism of the Bush administration for not asking for sacrifices, such as raising taxes: "I am opposed to sustaining the illusion that war can be waged by the sacrifice of a few without burdening the rest of us in any way. I oppose the notion that to be at war is to forfeit the right to question, criticize or debate our leaders' policies."
Posted at 11:32 AM
DON'T THINK THEY'RE CONSIDERING CONDI [Michael Graham]
Jesse Jackson told the National Conference of Black Mayors this weekend that John Kerry needs to seriously consider naming a black vice president. He declined to suggest any names, but he did point out that "I have never been asked and I have never pursued it."
I'm trying to think of a single prominent black political leader who would help Kerry pick up additional votes, other than Colin Powell, perhaps. But when 95% of black voters are already supporting your ticket, there's not much pressure on Kerry to follow Jesse Jackson's advice.
Posted at 11:26 AM
TV NEWS JUNKIES WILL APPRECIATE [KJL]
Among interesting dorky things learned at the White House Correspondents Dinner: Dan Senor, from the CPA, can smile.
Posted at 11:11 AM
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES [KJL]
My rapid response instincts were evidently dead on Saturday night. At the Boomberg party (scroll down to Sunday morning), Saudi Arabia's pr flack, Adel al-Jubeir, walked into me and I said nothing. Imagine the possibilities.
Posted at 11:06 AM
"CONFESSED" [Jonah Goldberg]
A few readers object to the word -- preferring "boasted" or something along those lines. Their argument is that "confessed" implies contrition of some kind. It's a good point. I wonder if this is an objection which break down along religious -- or intensity of religiosity -- lines. Personally, I don't hear contrition or repentence in the word confess. But I can see how Christians generally or Catholics in particular might.
For example, when the cops put undercover operatives in jail cells, they get the criminals to unwittingly "confess" to the crime even though under those circumstances the criminal isn't showing contrition.
Posted at 10:48 AM
THE REAL DAVID BROCK [Tim Graham]
Is there anything funnier on Earth than factually challenged David Brock starting a web site to fight "erroneous assertions" by the conservative media? What kind of pitch is this? When I was a conservative journalist, I lied through my face. Now count on me to be your guardian of media ethics?
Posted at 10:47 AM
ANYBODY KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS ONE? [Peter Robinson ]
From a reader, an interesting query (although here on this happy Corner, we don't do footnotes):
Is the Three Gorges River Dam complete? How much of the 55% of the world's concrete was used to construct the dam? If the dam was still being constructed, I'd say the concrete used for that project would skew the number and that fact should be footnoted.
Posted at 10:45 AM
LEADING IN SOUTH BEND [KJL]
The governor of Indiana, Joe Kernan, will not be speaking at his high-school alma mater. He’s another of the pro-abortion Catholic pol breed. The bishop of South Bend, Bishop John M. D'Arcy, has made the school disinvite Kernan. That’s leadership. South Bend St. Joseph High School faculty, students, parents, etc. have now had a lesson in what can't be compromised. May other shepherds follow.
Posted at 10:29 AM
UPS UPDATE -- FINAL [John J. Miller]
My package finally arrived this morning, three days late. So now I'm off to work and planning to use Fed Ex.
Posted at 10:23 AM
RE: THE GAZA BABYKILLERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb - That post prompts me to once again offer free advice to the gang at Fox News (and all other journalistic enterprises). The phrase "claimed responsibility" is an antiseptic euphemism, white-washing reality in the name of objectivity. Instead of all the chin pulling about what to call suicide bombers and the like, I'd love to see the media replace "claimed responsibility" with "confessed." The words convey almost the same meaning, but confessed retains the moral component which recognizes that murdering a bunch of kids deliberately is a crime. I'd even be okay with keeping the "claimed responsibility" phrase for attacks on military targets. But when someone blows up a deli or pizza parlor and then admits it, that's a confession in my book.
Posted at 10:19 AM
A STRATEGY FOR IRAQ [Rick Brookhiser]
The Abu Gharib story, and the reutrn of the Baathist general to Fallujah, suggest a strategy for Iraq, though perhaps not a good one: Get American war criminals out of there so we can hand it back to Iraqi war criminals.
Posted at 10:09 AM
MORE RE: SNAKES [Mackubin Thomas Owens]
Apparently venomous snakes, like the individuals who read The Corner on a regular basis, are an extremely diverse lot. My attempt to be fair to reptiles elicited these and similar responses:
Mr. Owens, While I generally agree that there is a common misconception that snakes have malicious intent, there is an exception to that rule. The exception being the Cook's Tree Boa and several other tree boas. Corallus Cookii and other members of the Corallus genus are hands down the most evil animals in the world. I don't think I've ever seen a single one that would prefer to run away from a chance to strike at any moving object. This is especially true of the Cook's Tree species of tree boa. Not only would they not turn up a chance to strike, they actively pursue the opportunity to strike, and seem to take great pleasure in repeatedly striking anything that moves. This is not a venomous species, and the strike of a full grown adult hurts little more than a bee sting, but it is still amazing how many strikes a cook's tree boa can get in a matter of just a few seconds.And this:
Sir, Generally, the comments on the behavior of venomous snakes is true; there are, however, some notable exceptions. The mamba (black in S. America, green in Africa) is both extremely fast and extremely territorial. In Liberia, the American Embassy is located on a psuedo-penninsula called "mamba point." My father was a diplomatic communicator, and we were posted to AmEmb Liberia when I was a teen. There was a very particular cry of "waaarrgghh" emitted by a sprinting man that in that location is understood as a call to drop whatever you are doing, grab a machete, and help a brother out. I've never had to try to out run a mamba, but I've seen people running from them--with the snake close on their heels--screaming "waaarrgghh!" It is the stuff of nightmares. I am making no claim to any specific knowledge on matters of herpetology, but I'm telling you that mambas are fast, mean, and just plain scary. I would definitely face three armed Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah before one pissed off mamba on his home ground in Liberia.And this:
Mac, I've seen cottonmouths who DID stalk people. "They only bite as a last resort" is true of the rattlers and coral snakes I've come across, but not the cottonmouth. They're sonsabitches.And finally this:
Oh, Mr. Owens! You are not familiar with the water moccasin, which is a critter so aggressive that it will swim across a pond to attack you. Happily, this activity leads naturally to rifle practice with Grandpa's old .22, making for generations of good shots.Actually, I am familiar with water moccasins. But to refine my position, the Fallujah insurgents are like tree boas, mambas, cottonmouths, and water moccasins.
Posted at 09:56 AM
EVERYTHING YOU EVER NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT IRAQ YOU LEARNED FROM DAVID FRUM [KJL]
Well, nearly. Along with the rest of the NRO crew (Rubin, Robbins, Babbin, and more...) on Iraq today. David's here, and a good primer re the current state of affairs.
Posted at 09:46 AM
JIHADISTS SHOW THEIR MILITARY PROWESS [John Derbyshire]
"Several Palestinian militant groups, including the Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility" for this brilliant operation in the righteous Palestinian cause.
Posted at 09:43 AM
GOOD MOOOOOORNING, NRO [KJL]
Just making sure everyone's awake. I personally thought it was Sunday earlier. Or hoped.
Posted at 09:18 AM
SOUNDS SOUND [Jonah Goldberg]
A panel in Massachusetts has propsed bringing back the death penalty with some changes. Juries would need to find "no doubt" instead of beyond a resonable doubt. There'd be a second jury for the sentencing phase, etc. Whether or not all of these are necessary to administer the death penalty is another argument. But I think this is major progress. As we've discussed here quite a bit, most of the contemporary arguments against the death penalty overlook the fact that the overwhelming majority of people sentenced to death are not only guilty, but so obviously and completely guilty that there's no chance the wrong guy's getting the chair. Death penalty opponents (including our own Rod Dreher, if I recall correctly) have argued that a few abuses and errors dictate getting rid of the death penalty entirely, when those shortcomings actually require fixing the shortcomings. That Joe X was wrongly convicted does not dictate that Joe Y not be put to death for something there's no doubt that he did.
Posted at 08:56 AM
QUICK BLEG [ Jonah Goldberg ]
A friend of mine is trying to confirm that soldiers outside Fallujah are being charged $3/hour to use email and computers to contact home. Anybody know if this is true?
Posted at 08:44 AM
THE LONG HAUL [John J. Miller]
A smart column by Niall Ferguson on Iraq in today's Washington Post.
Posted at 08:24 AM
ANTIPHONY AND PROSOPOPOEIA [John J. Miller]
It's not the name of an ancient Greek tragedy--it's the rhetorical strategy Abraham Lincoln liked to employ, according to this New York Times story on actor Sam Waterston's upcoming re-enactment of the momentous Cooper Union speech. Piece of trivia: In Lincoln's day, the editor of the NYT was also chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Posted at 06:19 AM
SIXTH PLANET [John J. Miller]
New Saturn pictures, from the Cassini probe.
Posted at 05:18 AM
Sunday, May 02, 2004
SHOCKED, SHOCKED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Have environmental charities been exaggerating the dangers of climate change in order to raise more money?
Posted at 10:27 PM
DIEBOLD CAST OUT [Andrew Stuttaford]
From yesterday’s New York Times:
“California has banned the use of more than 14,000 electronic voting machines made by Diebold Inc. in the November election because of security and reliability concerns, Kevin Shelley, the California secretary of state, announced yesterday. He also declared 28,000 other touch-screen voting machines in the state conditionally "decertified" until steps are taken to upgrade their security.”
Posted at 10:24 PM
ABU GHRAIB [Andrew Stuttaford]
Former SAS soldier ‘Andy McNab’ has been writing in the Sunday Telegraph on the terrible reports of torture of prisoners by American and, it appears also, British troops in Iraq. McNab himself was tortured in Abu Ghraib prison after capture during the first Gulf War, so his words have particular force. He concludes as follows:
”The soldiers responsible for the abuse have guaranteed thousands of new recruits to the organisations such as al-Qaeda which want to kill as many coalition troops in Iraq as possible. The images of torture they have created will have stiffened the resolve of the Iraqi militants and encouraged those Iraqis who were wavering to join the resistance against the coalition. So more young American soldiers will be blown apart by booby-trapped cars and shot by snipers. Their unnecessary deaths will have been caused by the stupidity of their own comrades.
”There have been claims that the US interrogations resulted in valuable information. I doubt this. Whatever was going on when those pictures were taken, it was not the interrogation of prisoners by the US Army. It was some stupid kids bullying their captives for the sheer hell of it. You can tell that by the smiles on the faces of US soldiers - and indeed by the fact that there are any pictures at all of what happened. Those soldiers are anyway too young to be trained interrogators. Moreover, the woman wears a watch, which no serious interrogator ever does, because denying your victim any sense of time is an essential part of any properly-conducted interrogation.
”No, this was just a group of fools determined to have fun by humiliating their prisoners. That they were allowed to do it is an indictment of the discipline and leadership in their unit. I hope someone sorts the mess out soon - otherwise something similarly horrible will happen again. And the Americans will lose Iraq permanently, with dreadful consequences for the rest of us. “
McNab may or may not be correct in his view that these disgraceful incidents were ‘just’ the actions of stupid kids (rather than some sort of pre-interrogation softening-up process encouraged by those in authority), but his conclusion as to the potentially disastrous consequences of this appalling behavior looks, alas, spot on. Read the whole thing.
Posted at 10:20 PM
SNAKES [Mackubin Thomas Owens]
I realize that this is a rhetorical analogy and you aren’t really commenting on reptile behavior, but as someone who studies reptiles in the field—I would like to correct the misperception that venomous snakes will kill you if you don’t kill them first. Most snakes are reluctant to bite and do so only as last resort…and in fact, one is most likely to be bitten when they attempt to handle, harass or kill a snake. Unlike Iraqi militants, venomous snakes are best left alone. Fortunately reptiles lack the intelligence (and the desire) to organize attacks on humans. My apologies for what to you may appear off topic, but the misconception that snakes have malicious intent is a pet peeve of mine.
I take his point and wish to apologize to all reptiles and those who study them. I should not have compared the Fallujah insurgents to snakes. To paraphrase the old joke about lawyers, these killers will do things that no self-respecting venomous snake would ever do.
Posted at 03:08 PM
FATWA, RECONSIDERED [KJL]
Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson, a cleric, regrets his grandfather's Salman Rushdie fatwa.
Posted at 11:23 AM
FLYING MONKEYS WILL APPRECIATE [KJL]
How could the highlight of the evening not be being (or so he promised) the last person to shake Matt Drudge's hand at tbe Bloomberg shin-dig and hanging with his partner in crime, Andrew (bestselling co-author of Hollywood Interrupted) Breitbart.
Posted at 11:01 AM
Cathy Seipp reviews a month of Maureen Dowd (who I also ran into last night). The gent I was standing with at the time said something like, "It's amazing how someone so full of anger can look so stunning."
Posted at 10:38 AM
AFFLECK & CO. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Correspondents' Dinner is such a bizarre spectacle. There's Ben Affleck sitting with Karl Rove. There's Kathryn Lopez drinking with Bill, the Apprentice (true story, thank you very much). Its a weird thing watching the president and the First Lady have to sit through a video history of the White House press corps after a rubber-chicken dinner. But we free people do odd things sometimes.
And, we do, I confess, do interesting things to make sure we get into the Al Franken/Norah O'Donnell/Paul Wolfowitz/Drew Barrymore/Apprentice Heaven/Jonah Goldberg (what more do you need?!!!)/etc., etc. Bloomberg party.
Posted at 10:21 AM
I was at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last night and think the president did a perfect job. As we've discussed after other such dinners, I'm not a huge fan of these president-as-comedian nights. But he struck the right balance. He was charmingly funny (his natural state, from my observations) and poignantly serious. And Jay Leno, the comedian, was very funny, in a good-guy way.
Posted at 10:14 AM
What great news.
Posted at 09:57 AM