PRESIDENT'S REMARKS TODAY AT WWII MEMORIAL DEDICATION [KJL]
Posted at 09:44 PM
A WORLD WAR II VET VS. APARTMENT COMPLEX [KJL]
Clarence Thomas's father-in-law defiantly flies his flag. We're right behind you, sir!
Posted at 04:21 PM
TO BE A CICADA ON A SHOULDER: WARM FUZZY AMERICANA [KJL]
There’s something remarkably American about one scene in particular at the dedication of the WWII Memorial today. Right after the ceremony, George W. Bush was chatting with Bill Clinton and his dad. Clkinton must have said something silly or sarcastic. Suddenly you saw George H. W. hit him lightly, but with both hands, laughing, like they were all old friends. (This, I think is right before.) I happen to unforgiving when it comes to campaigns and elections and remain annoyed at both George Bush 41 and Bob Dole for letting Clinton win. But you gotta love a country where you can see a scene like that.
Posted at 04:15 PM
POSSIBLE AL QAEDA HOSTAGE SITUATION IN SAUDI ARABIA [KJL]
Posted at 04:05 PM
WHY WE OBSERVE MEMORIAL DAY [KJL]
D.C.-area resident Ian Drake gives a glimpse of the sense of the Mall this weekend here.
Posted at 03:50 PM
FORMER RESERVIST TOM SELLECK [KJL]
talks to our John J. Miller here about Ike, Ike, and more.
Posted at 03:00 PM
"I NEVER HAD A CROWD LIKE THIS WHEN I WAS RUNNING" [KJL]
(We know this too well to be true.) That was from Bob Dole, taking the stage at the WWII Memorial Dedication, at what I understand is the largest seated event on the national Mall in history.
Posted at 02:58 PM
RELENTLESS POST [Tim Graham]
Remember Friday’s paper whenever anyone tries to tell you that The Washington Post is not a liberal newspaper – that it’s not written by liberals, written for liberals, and if they’re lucky, written to mint new liberals. Every section of the paper today carries some evidence of liberal bias.
On the front page comes the latest attempt to keep the Abu Ghraib bubble inflated: “Warner Bucks GOP Right On Probe of Prison Abuse.” Reporters Helen Dewar and Spencer Hsu describe Sen. John Warner as “a throwback to a forgotten era of congressional comity” with “a penchant for bucking his party, taking heat and surviving.” Readers who go deep enough in the story get a list of all the times Warner has betrayed his party (oh, he’s Comity Central, all right). But senators who buck their own Democratic Party never get a front-page puff piece. Do they, Zell Miller?
At the very bottom of the front page of the Business section (that’s Section E) – the Post buries what should be on the front page of the A section: 4.4 percent economic growth. At the very bottom of the Business section’s front page is the headline: “Growth May Be Slowing.” Reporter Nell Henderson wrote: “The U.S. economy grew at a healthy 4.4 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, but growth appears to have slowed more recently as consumers and businesses deal with rising inflation and interest rates, economists said yesterday.” The front page of Business also carried a chart showing “Help-wanted ads dipped, despite evidence that the labor market is creating jobs.” Nowhere in the story did Henderson report that growth in the last 12 months is the highest 12-month growth rate since 1984.
In the Sports section, Liz Clarke’s notes on the French Open, the major tennis tournament currently under way, include a report on the debut on the scene of the al-Jazeera Sports Channel. For the apparently clueless sports fan, Clarke suggested the notion that al-Jazeera has a bias is debatable: “The al-Jazeera satellite news channel, based in Qatar, has been criticized by some American officials for having what they say is an anti-American slant.”
In the Metro section, Vanessa Williams reports on how openly gay Republican D.C. Council member David Catania left the Grand Old Party yesterday, after a rather unsurprising turn. Since he pledged publicly that he is not supporting President Bush in the fall (and even pledged to campaign against him at one point) over the president’s endorsement of a Federal Marriage Amendment, the D.C. Republican Party decided not to certify him as a delegate to the Republican convention. Much hand-wringing follows about agonizing gay Republicans. That is news in old D.C. , but the Post has not done any reporting this month on the Democratic convention’s delegate selection, where 15 states and Puerto Rico are setting “numerical goals” for the number of openly gay delegates. In California, the target is 22 gay men and 22 lesbians, for example.
In the Weekend section, film critic Michael O’Sullivan’s review of the green disaster flick “The Day After Tomorrow” concludes “the film’s biggest joke comes when the vice president goes on national television to apologize for his advocacy of the rapacious depletion of the earth’s natural resources at the expense of our children’s future. Like that’ll ever happen. Not in my lifetime, pal.”
In the Style section, Mel Gibson/Passion-bashing film critic Ann Hornaday is much cheerier about the weekend’s Christianity-satirizing films, a reissue of Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” and the Jesus-freak-high-school movie “Saved!” She adores the line of the film’s cynical heroes when they see a Christian girl coming out of Planned Parenthood. There’s only one reason for that, one says. The other says: “Planting a pipe bomb?” Hornaday says the film “bears the unmistakeable stamp of authenticity, even at its most outrageous.”
Posted at 02:54 PM
WWII MEMORIAL [KJL]
Its website is worth looking at; included are links to teacher guides for parents and teachers.
Posted at 02:11 PM
BAD MOTIVES [Jonah Goldberg ]
The folks at Crooked Timber are having themselves a giggle fest over my alleged hypocrisy at criticizing Matt Yglesias for asserting bad motives on those he disagress with. I'm a hypocrite, they allege, because in my current London Times column I criticize those who are currently blaming "the Jews" for the problems in Iraq. It's behind a registration wall, but it borrows much from the syndicated column I wrote on Hollings and includes Gen. Zinni's new comments about pro-Israel neocons. Cited as proof of my hypocrisy is my lead:
"HERE we go again. It is time to blame the Jews. That seems to be this month’s explanation for the Iraq war. Obviously, this is hardly a new idea on either side of the Atlantic, particularly for readers of, say, The Guardian or Le Monde. But in America, the emphasis on the theory has reached almost French proportions."
Now it's probably unfortunate that the editors at the Times cut the sentence where I explictly said I don't think Zinni is anti-Semitic, but even so I don't say that Zinni is anti-Semitic and, as in my syndicated column, I say that Hollings is a buffoon, not a bigot. As for Matt Yglesias, I really do respect the guy but he is increasingly asserting bad motives without evidence these days, a point I made last week when he suggested my lack of an opinion on Achmed Chalabi was attributable to my desire to "come out on top in the end" and not to, say, my intellectual honesty or even my ignorance.
Even so, Crooked Timber's point is still just a hypocrisy charge and not a defense of Yglesias. Saying I'm a hypocrite for attacking motives while criticizing others who do the same doesn't excuse Yglesias for doing it and it doesn't rebut my charge either. It's a non-defense defense.
Posted at 02:06 PM
RE: CHALABI -- WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE? [John Derbyshire]
Sorry: we truncated the URL. Here's the link
Posted at 01:47 PM
GRINCH WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
“A hospital has banned McDonald's from sending staff to hand out free burgers and fries on a children's ward after parents complained.”
The sad thing about this was that it was some parents and one obnoxious-sounding grandmother who complained, smug, self-righteous zealots so wrapped up in their puritan indignation and scientific illiteracy that they would deny a sick child a small treat. They are the sort of ghastly, crabbed individuals who would have told the repentant Scrooge to send the Cratchits broccoli for that famous Christmas meal. It would have been so much better for them, you see, than turkey.
Posted at 01:44 PM
THE PARTY OF BIG GOVERNMENT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Step forward the latest bone-headed big government Republicans. Their names? Mike DeWine (a senator, amazingly) and Tom Davis (a congressman, astonishingly). In alliance with Ted Kennedy and the appalling Henry Waxman, these know-nothings are promoting a bill to give the FDA authority over tobacco products. That’s a bad idea to start with, but, interestingly, the bill also includes specific provisions banning certain types of flavored cigarettes (strangely, no flavors manufactured by Philip Morris are prohibited…). The whys and wherefores of this latest piece of legislative excess are discussed by Jacob Sullum in an excellent piece on Reason’s website, but this treacle-flavored phrase oozing out of Davis should tell you all that you need to know (and, yes, you can guess what’s coming):
"This bill will help keep our children away from tobacco products and protect them from being targeted by the tobacco industry."
Ah, ‘the children’, the tiny, gap-toothed, tow-headed hallmark of worthless legislation everywhere.
Davis and DeWine should go and look for work somewhere more worthy of their talents. I believe that Burger King is hiring.
Those with a taste for the truly bizarre should also follow Sullum’s link to a remarkable assertion made last year by the hyperbolic National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse: “Girls and young women who drink coffee are significantly likelier than girls and young women who do not to be smokers (23.2 percent vs. 5.1 percent) and drink alcohol (69.8 percent vs. 29.5 percent). Young women who drink coffee began smoking and drinking at earlier ages.”
That's probably true, but so what? Is there something about the difference between correlation and causation that those folks don’t understand?
Interestingly, Florida First Lady Columba Bush sits on CASA’s board. She, along with other people who should know better, makes a fool of herself by associating with such charlatans.
Posted at 01:40 PM
RE: GREEN'S DATA [Jonah Goldberg]
Interesting points from a reader:
I'd be inclined to take Green's state-level findings with a grain of salt.
Posted at 01:35 PM
NARRATIVES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Interesting article in the Daily Telegraph by Charles Moore looking at the basis of the (hopelessly biased) perspective that has colored many Brits’ view of America for decades, at least among the chattering classes, and on how it works today:
“Today, we are presented with a similar narrative - so powerful that I find that 90 per cent of people here believe it, even those who think of themselves as conservative. The narrative is that America is bullying and naive about the outside world. It is very keen on killing people. George W Bush is taken to embody these characteristics, since he wears cowboy boots and is inarticulate and prays a lot. (Fine for Muslims to pray, not for Christians.)
“There are good Americans who, again, come from the north-east and never talk about religion. You can tell they are good because they are not "unilateralist". Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, is, ex officio, a good American. But the bad Americans, with guns and money and a white God, are in charge. To show the strength of the narrative, take two stories out of Iraq.
“Suppose that the reports accusing UN officials of corruption in the oil-for-food programme had been made against America. Suppose that it was Halliburton, the company for whom Vice-President Dick Cheney once worked, which had taken 10 per cent off the oil-for-food contracts. Suppose that America were accused of the sort of behaviour that has been alleged, on the basis of Iraqi official documents, against France and Russia. I think we would have heard of little else. As it is, though, the oil-for-food story has somehow drifted away in a muddle about who's going to run the next bit of the investigation.”
Posted at 01:23 PM
PAT TILLMAN WAS PROBABLY KILLED BY FRIENDLY FIRE [KJL]
Posted at 01:21 PM
INTERESTING DATA [Jonah Goldberg ]
From Ryan Lizza at TNR. BTW, I'll be on Inside Politics with him tomorrow.
Posted at 10:47 AM
BAM! [Jonah Goldberg]
First post of the day!
Posted at 07:51 AM
Friday, May 28, 2004
POLLY MATH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Over in the UK, Polly Toynbee is a prominent left-wing columnist whose columns are normally good for hours of harmless merriment. Here she is on the obesity ‘epidemic’:
”The inequality/obesity link is mirrored internationally. America has by far the most unequal society and by far the fattest. Britain and Australia come next. Europe is better and the Scandinavian countries best of all. No doubt there are also social policy reasons for this: the best social democracies pick up family problems earliest and offer most support, putting people back on their feet, preventing social exclusion. But the narrower the status and income gap between high and low, the narrower the waistbands.”
Oh really? Blogger Scott Burgess, ahem, weighs in and concludes as follows:”Unfortunately, no statistics are available as to the obesity rate in Belarus, which leads the world in income equality, and therefore represents Polly Toynbee's vision of heaven on earth. Polly is correct about one thing, though. As she puts it: "This obesity debate is full of humbug and denial."“ I couldn't have said it any better.”
Ha ha ha.
Posted at 07:23 PM
DOWNSIDE OF MODERN LIFE [John Derbyshire]
Look, you know how I hate to grumble, but...
In the mail today I got a wee (actually, quarto-size) booklet (actually, book) from my life insurance company (the Hartford). Title: "Stag Variable Life Insurance Products -- Underlying Funds." The introductory page begins: "Dear Policyowner---The enclosed updated funds prospectuses contain important informationa bout the many investment choices within your variable life insurance polcy..."
There follow 400 pages packed with small-font text, graphs, bar charts, and tables.
I'm willing to believe that this stuff is "important." Probably, if I gave over a couple of weeks to studying it, I could improve my prospects of having some decent retirement income. But who on earth's got the time? Or expertise -- I only recently figured out the difference between a stock and a bond.
I've always tried to do my best with stashing stuff away for retirement/kids' college/etc. (While, being a natural pessimist, always nursing the dark suspicion that it will all disappear in some financial catastrophe, or be stolen off me by the government somehow.) I'm not going to read 400 pages of financial crap, though. Any Hartford directors among the NRO readership? Will you please stop sending me this stuff?
Posted at 07:18 PM
CHALABI--WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 07:15 PM
CONVEXITY IN POLITICS [John Derbyshire]
"Mr. Derbyshire---I have been pushing (among my peers) the following constitutional amendment.
"'Each state must choose its congressional districts to have the following properties: 1) Each congressional district has the same population, and 2) The points lying on straight line between any two points in the district must, if in the state, also be in that district.'
"The upshot is that congressional districts must either be convex sets, or if not convex, then the non-convexity is due to the non-convexity of the state itself. It is easy to prove that there always exists a way to do this if things are sufficiently smooth.
"Let F be a measure mapping subsets of the state to R. (By smooth, I mean assume that sets with zero area have zero F-measure.) Next, take a north-south line, and starting from the western border, move it eastward until the F-measure of the area west of the line is P/N, where P is the population of the state and N is the number of districts. Then, starting from here, do this N-2 more times.
"But this will never get adopted. In whose interest is it to push this?"
Well, it seems to me it is in the national interest, Sir. But then, so is the flat tax, nuclear power, immigration enforcement,...
Posted at 07:12 PM
PC MYSTERIES [John Derbyshire]
Now here's a thing. I am anti-PC, of course; but until a few months ago, I was pretty sure I knew it when I saw it. This is a useful thing to know in my line of work, as when I feel vituperative, I can deliberately violate PC codes and scandalize all the PC-niks thereby -- which is a fun thing to do when you feel bored.
Recently, though, PC seems to have drifted off over the horizon. I now outrage the PC-niks quite inadvertently, saying things which seem to me utterly innocuous. I blogged about this a few weeks ago in The Corner, in relation to a trip I made to U.Mich. Prior to going, an NRO reader there informed me that one of the graduate students in the department I was scheduled to address had found my website, read some of my columns, and taken mighty offense. This grad student had printed off the offending columns and pinned them to the department bulletin board to spread the outrage. Well, I had a few quiet guesses as to which columns had scandalized him, and went off to U.Mich. Sure enough, there was my stuff on the board... but none of my guesses panned out. The things that had outraged the guy were harmless stuff like this.
At this point I knew I had lost touch somehow. I didn't even know what was PC any more.
Another illustration of this alarming state of affairs turned up today. A blogger called Noam Alaska posted the following on his site, then helpfully sent it on to me (thanks, guy!):
"In Defense of Ann Coulter
"Perhaps my headline may be a bit of an overstatement. However, let me say this. Back in September 2001, the National Review fired Ann Coulter after she suggest that airline security pay particular attention to 'suspicious-looking swarthy males.'
"And yet, week after week, they continue to publish the hateful ravings of the repugnant John Derbyshire. Here is a tidbit from his latest missive:
"'For myself, I am serenely optimistic about the war. I think we did the right thing taking down Saddam, I think we should do more of this kind of thing, and I believe we shall get out of Iraq in a way that leaves the American public satisfied as to our national honor. As to what the Arabs think about us: Try as I might (and I confess I haven't tried very hard) I can't summon up an ounce of interest in what the Arabs think about us. Nor the Bushmen of the Kalahari, neither. Though I think the Arabs should be considerably worried as to what we think about them.'
"This kind of thing has become almost trademark Derbyshire trash talk, but he continues to receive paychecks from his employer.
"Why the Coulter/Derbyshire double standard? I'm assuming it's because Coulter is something of a superstar in right-wing circles, so when she says outrageous things, people pay attention. However, because 'the Derb' works in relative obscurity in a conservative backwater, there is no pressure from outside to hand him his walking papers."
Now of course this guy is entitled to his opinion. But what is it? That I am "hateful" and "repugnant"? Fair enough; but what is it in the extract he quoted that makes him think so? Just read through the extract again (from "For myself..." to "...think about them.") What is there in that passage to excite such wrath? I am honestly baffled.
The only thing I can think of is that this Baked Alaska dude thinks it is outrageous of me to compare Arabs with Bushmen. This (he thinks) is demeaning to Arabs, and thereby violates the multi-culti dogma. But wait a minute: if that's what got his goat, isn't he being demeaning to the Bushmen of the Kalahari? And doesn't that violate multi-culti dogma?
No, I just don't get it. These people have gone into orbit somehow. Please don't bother offering suggested explanations, though. I care about the thing just enough to finish this posting. In fact, come to think of it, I'm not even sure I care that m.......
Posted at 07:10 PM
RE: MORE SBC FALLOUT [Rod Dreher]
I thought I should point out that the helpful SBC executive who initially contacted me wrote again after this morning's Corner post saying he would personally dispatch a truck to my house to fix the problem if I would stick by SBC DSL. I told him (sincerely) that he'd been a prince about this, but if after all he'd done through personal intervention I still wasn't getting service, that SBC DSL was not a company I had faith in any longer. A Cornerite wrote to say that this public exposure might have done SBC DSL a favor:
I wanted to congragulate you on speaking with your feet by going with the cable modem. As a manager in a software company, sometimes it takes people like you to make us aware of the problems. The fact that the executive called you personally with the full intention of fixing your problem through "excecutive will", and the fact that the problem has not been solved, should be a kick in the teeth. Often times this type of thing causes sweeping "Jack Welchian" changes. I have personally seen them triggered by relatively minor customer service issues.
Tune in next week to see me warn you all off of The Dish Network. We cancelled it when we left the house we were renting to move into our new place. My wife called before we moved to ask what equipment we needed to return to them. They said nothing about some doohickey on the roof dish. Now that we've left the house, they're telling us that if we don't climb onto the roof and retrieve the thing, they'll charge our credit card and sic a collection agency on us. Rudest customer service people we've ever dealt with. My wife asked the guy who told her she should have read the fine print in the contract, "What if I was elderly or disabled?" Tough, he said. Oh, y'all, I'm just getting started on these pirates!
Posted at 07:05 PM
BOO, HISS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Matt Yglesias employs an odd new version of argument ad Hitlerum in a column for the advocacy group the Center for American Progress titled "The Return of the 'Stab in the Back.'" He says the critics of the press's one-sided coverage of American setbacks in Iraq are laying the groundwork for "a new version of the 'stab in the back' myth that helped destroy Weimar Germany":
No matter how far south things go in Iraq, the blame will be laid not at the feet of the president who initiated and conducted the war, but rather on those who had the temerity to note that it wasn't working. Rather than the critics having been proven right, or so the story goes, the critics are to blame for the failure of the very policy they were criticizing. It's an ugly tactic, and as you go down the journalistic food chain, it grows uglier still.
Talk about ugly tactics. Who, exactly, employed the "stabbed in the back" theory to such success? Hmmm, let's see. Oh, I know: The Nazis. Hitler rose to power through his harrangues against the "Traitors of 1918" who denied Germany its rightful victory. He was more closely associated with this peerspective in the 1920s than he was any other, including perhaps anti-Semitism. But Yglesias certainly knows this, why else draw the analogy? And in order to make his ludicrous analogy work he needs to flesh out a few more similarities. So, in that spirit, he conjures a bizarre and unfair suggestion that media critics like Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) will unleash their Brownshirts and foment mob violence against the new Traitors of 2004 if they don't support this great patriotic war. Reynolds ably defends himself here. Obviously the comparison is sloppy history at best and atypically cheap shot at worst. Hitler wasn't scapegoating the press, not even the "Jew-run press." He was blaming the men who signed onto a bad peace deal and ended the war without honor. He was certainly right that it was a bad peace deal, if for no other reason than it created the conditions for his rise to power. But that's all too complicated and inconvenient for Yglesias' shoddy analogy.
Yglesias offers some other strange points in his essay, including his suggestion that it was the press' excess of patriotic fervor which drove the faulty coverage leading up to the war. But it's his -- granted, novel -- invocation of the "our enemies are Nazis" nonsense that is so disappointing and perhaps revealing. At least the Vietnam analogy, so flawed in so many ways, would be far more apt here. Yes, many of us are blaming the media for a host of transgressions. But we are not plotting a Nazi coup and Yglesias would improve his arguments if he stopped his recent habit of increasingly asserting bad motives on anyone he disagrees with.
Posted at 06:38 PM
CANNNNNN YOUUUUUUUU DIIIIIIIGGGGGGG IIITTTTTTTTTTTT?????? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sorry: JunkYardBlog's new Gore remix has a serious Warriors soundtrack feel to it and I got nostalgic for Cyrus' speech.
Posted at 03:55 PM
MEMORIAL DAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
The Donovan (one of my military guys) has his Memorial Day weekend post up.
Posted at 03:49 PM
ALTER'S "AGAIN" [Jonah Goldberg ]
Alter writes: "Someday, when Iraq is peaceful again (and that day will come), tourists will want to see the square where the Saddam statue toppled, the spider hole he hid in and, of course, Abu Ghraib Prison."
Isn't this a lovely encapsulation of the "give peace a chance" crowd's definition of "peace"? When does Alter think Iraq was peaceful? When the hundreds of thousands of Saddam's victims weren't on TV and so therefore weren't being killed?
Posted at 03:36 PM
DRUM FOLLOW-UP [Jonah Goldberg]
Just to be clear (as numerous readers have noted), the relevant "supposed consequence" of the Madrid bombing, from Bin Laden's perspective, wasn't the reshuffling of partisan chairs within the Spanish government, it was the reshuffling of Spanish troops out of Iraq and out of the coalition. This is what prompted Bin Laden to offer Europe a truce if it broke from America. And this is why Ashcroft noted the need to protect both the Democratic and Republican conventions.
Posted at 03:16 PM
"I'LL MAKE IT OFFICIAL..." [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I am black, and I found Rivers' article both insulting and head-swimmingly stupid. I presume he was a slave for all those years he played for the Broncos because he was expected to actually suit up and play.
Posted at 03:05 PM
CONCAVITY INDEX [John Derbyshire]
Incidentally, there is actually a mathematical theory of convexity. Prof. C.A. Rogers, one of my teachers at University College, London, was an authority on it. It doesn't seem to be well represented on the web -- I can't find a neat summary. If you want to try for yourself, good additional Google arguments are "steiner symmetrization" and "isoperimetric inequality".
I have often wondered whether this branch of math might have some application in politics. We read a lot about the convoluted electoral districts produced by computer-selecting precincts to make every congressional seat a safe one. Perhaps that kind of thing could be stopped if some convexity requirement was placed on the shape of congressional districts...
Posted at 02:38 PM
AMNESTY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Amnesty International is not a bad organization, it really isn’t, but this is just dumb:
“Earlier this week, Irene Khan, Amnesty International's secretary-general, said of America: "Not since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 has there been such a sustained attack on its values and principles."
Well, the Daily Telegraph has a question for Ms Khan:
”Erm, what about the Russian gulag, Pol Pot's Cambodia, the Great Leap Forward and mass starvation in China, the Hutu slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda, Ne Win's Burma, North Korea under the Kims, the Argentinian disappearances, French colonialism in Algeria, Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, Idi Amin's Uganda, Jean-Bedel Bokassa's Central African Republic, Slobodan Milosevic's quest for Greater Serbia. We could go on.”
Posted at 02:27 PM
ANOTHER VIEW OF OUR ARMED FORCES [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 02:18 PM
MILKING IT [Andrew Stuttaford]
I’ve always suspected that the fact that kids these days (“kids these days”, have I really just written that?) drink so much soda and so little milk is partly a legacy of the half-understood fat scares of two decades or so ago. Milk ceased to be quite so much ‘the’ childhood drink as parents began to ask themselves whether cow juice was, you know, sort of dangerous. Well, a recent fatwa from the health mullahs (sorry, Josh!) over at the Center for ‘Science’ in the Public Interest is just the sort of nonsense that will perpetuate those attitudes. They are trying to drive 2% or whole milk, the milk that kids actually, well, like out of schools. CSPI’s press release is here and, unsurprisingly, it comes with a junk statistic or two:
“A girl who drinks one cup of 1% milk instead of 2% milk each school day would cut 47,000 calories and 11 pounds of fat from her diet during her 13 years in school…”
Leaving aside the fact that calories are not really ‘cumulative’ in that way, let’s do the math. 47,000 calories over 13 years is 47,000 calories over 4,745 days. In other words, less than ten calories a day.
Oh, the horror.
Via blogger Sasha Castel.
Posted at 01:32 PM
THE DANGER OF BAD ANALOGIES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Mr. Rivers should realize that analogies can work in reverse. My son just got out of the Marines. Given the amount of partying, drinking, chasing women, and such that he and his fellow Marines were doing during their free time, I guess that means that the lives of slaves on southern plantations must have been a lot of fun -- hard work for the master during the day, partying all night.
Posted at 01:29 PM
CAUGHT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Two suspects have been apprehended in the horrible child-murders in Baltimore.
Posted at 01:27 PM
POLITICS AND TERRORISM [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 01:21 PM
DEFINING SLAVERY DOWN [Jonah Goldberg ]
American soldiers are slaves, according to one of the dumbest columns I've read in years:
Our military is one of the last bastions of slavery in the United States. At the moment, our slaves are stuck in a combat zone, getting killed and maimed, and there's nothing they can do about it except hunker down and pray.
Me Unless I'm in the dark about why this isn't moronic, I'll just let it speak for itself. But if for some reason people think this guy's onto something we can have a nice long conversation in here about why joining the army of your own free will in order to serve your country in exchange for A) money B) education C) experience D) training E) a lifetime of benefits and the respect of your country is ever-so-slightly different than slavery.
Indeed, blacks should be deeply offended by this nonsense since it erodes the moral horror that actual slavery is in the same way that PETA's comparison of factory farming to the Holocaust is offensive. And, obviously, veterans and soldiers alike should be upset because it suggests they are nothing more than buffoons. Shame on Reggie Rivers and shame on the Denver Post.
Posted at 01:15 PM
I BET MOORE'S LYING [Jonah Goldberg ]
Occam's razor, my friends, the simplest explanation is usually the best.
Posted at 12:43 PM
OLYMPIC HORROR [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Olympic Games have always brought out the worst in politicians. Just ask Adolf. Now here’s Britain’s ‘Culture’ minister (why is there such a person?) attacking those Brits (the majority, apparently) who are, quite rightly, horrified at the prospect of the whole ghastly spectacle showing up in London in 2012.
“Whingeing pessimism and hostility will not stop our campaign but it will hand votes to the cities against which we are competing. It is whingers who will weaken our national will. At this moment, optimism, self-confidence and ambition is what we need. Let that win, not the whingers.”
While we’re on the topic, here’s hoping that New York doesn’t “win” either. Send ‘em to Paris.
Posted at 12:36 PM
THE SBC DSL FINALE [Rod Dreher]
Thanks to all the Corner readers -- there must have been 60 of you -- who wrote to me about my problems with SBC's DSL service, which has been given me fits owing to the company's incompetence. So very many of you wrote with the same horror story, saying that the company took forever to get the service installed, broke promises, charged you for services you didn't order, and so forth. Some tech types wrote to say forget DSL, which is a hopelessly flawed technology, and go to cable modem. I said I didn't want to do that because cable modem service was too expensive. And a very kind SBC executive contacted me personally and promised to get his people working on my situation.
Yesterday we got a message at our house saying that the DSL service was up, and we should sign on. Last night, I tried that. Six times the service rejected my password, which I typed in slowly and meticulously. So I called up tech support, and after spending some time on the phone with him, heard him say, "Sir, our computers say your service won't be active until 6/02." I would have hit the roof, if I had anything left in me with which to fight SBC. This morning, I got another phone message while I was logged on with dial-up, with another unfailingly polite SBC executive reminding me that the service was on and urging me to log in. So, once more into the breach ... and my password was denied.
Comcast is coming over Sunday to install the cable modem. As for SBC DSL, it's amazing to me that a company's internal workings can be so messed up that they can defeat even the good will of executives trying to make things right for a single customer. I don't know what's going on with those folks, but I want no part of it anymore.
Posted at 12:34 PM
TAKE A XANAX KEVIN [Jonah Goldberg]
ME: This is the sort of thing which really demonstrates how unhinged many liberals become on the subject of John Ashcroft. Maybe his statement could have been phrased better, though I think it's just fine as it is. But if I used a statement like that to justify calling Clinton "a revolting, loathsome, toad" I would be deluged with email from Drummian liberals calling me an irrational Clinton-hater too blinded by hatred to speak intelligently about the man.
Are we to believe that any mention of the Madrid bombings and their consequences are now out-of-bounds for the administration? If not, how would Drum rewrite the statement so as to preclude any such inference? If this statement elicits this silly "revolting toad" nonsense, surely even a more restrained mention of Madrid would still result in critics saying Ashcroft is implying the terrorists want Kerry to win.
Oh, and for the record: I know my wife didn't write Ashcroft's comments (she's his speechwriter) because she was in London with me when the press conference came on.
Posted at 12:20 PM
CASUALTY RATES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
To date there have been about 673 soldier fatalities (all coalition forces) from hostile action. Although there were about 300,000 coalition forces at the beginning of the war in Iraq, the number has averaged conservatively somewhere around 150,000 since. If you do the math, the fatality rate due to hostile action is less than 1/2 of 1%. I dare say, that had the Pentagon and George Bush guaranteed that rate to the New York Times in March 2003, reporters would have proclaimed them conquering heros and named their first born George. So why the disconnect in today's reporting?. Well, do I really need to ask.
Posted at 12:06 PM
LEDEEN ON CHALABI [Jonah Goldberg ]
It's because of pieces like this one that I never feel like I know enough to speak intelligently at length about Chalabi.
Posted at 12:03 PM
PRESS & POPULISM [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 11:36 AM
CATHOLICS AND "ROOT ROT" [Jonah Goldberg]
Interestingly several readers have made similar points already:
One of the more successful adult religious programs to come out of the School of Theology of the University of the South is "remedial Sunday School". I posit from the polls which claim that self-identified Roman Catholics display little familiarity with Church teachings that the Roman Catholic Sunday Schools have been about as effective as those of the Episcopal Church in teaching what the Church and Christianity are about. The Roman Catholic Missals I've seen are kind of light in the catechism department — are there even catechists left? Root rot.
Me Of course, I'm not throwing stones here as plenty of Jews have similar problems, including me.
Posted at 11:33 AM
NOT SHOCKING [Jonah Goldberg ]
More Americans would prefer to have a BBQ with George Bush than John Kerry. What is shocking is that 39% of Americans would want to grill-out with Kerry. I would have put the number much lower. Still, there's plenty of time for Kerry to introduce himself to the American people and get that number down into the single digits.
Posted at 11:14 AM
LIBERAL ROOTS CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
It figures that the liberal roots brouhaha I started would really get going while I was out of town. It looks like lots of folks have chimed in, some with very interesting arguments and objections. I can't spend the day wading through all of them -- just look at how long this one from Crooked Timber is. But I will try at some point soon to have a coherent response.
That said, there seem to be a few points people are confused about -- which is probably my fault. Of course, there is a philosophy called liberalism. Actually there are several. One of them -- the classical variety -- is one that most conservatives adhere to or at least admire. There is also a philosophy of the modern, or "progressive" sort, which includes Rawls and Dworkin and all those cats. I was not trying to say that there's no such thing as liberal philosophy so much as that "liberals" -- i.e. the folks who pound the pavement and write regularly in favor of "social change" or other treacle -- don't have much use for it. Moreover, I've found, they don't have much use for their own history as a philosophical tradition. And by use I mean use. They do not invoke their thinkers to justify their policy positions with much regularity or conviction. They invoke men and women of action. I still stand by that and nothing I've seen has really persuaded me otherwise.
A lot of smart liberal bloggers, however, have gone to their metaphorical book shelves to quote a bunch of Rawls to prove they know their stuff -- and many do. But, in all likelihood, they won't be mentioning him again for quite some time because -- again -- that's not how liberals debate today. The conspicuousness of the name-dropping, I think, helps demonstrate that point.
That said, I should also say I've been very impressed with the fluency a lot of these folks do have with their intellectual traditions (though invoking a bunch of living or very recently deceased philosophers really isn't the same as invoking a tradition). That said, all of this kind of reminds of when Nixon declared that it was obvious to him the world is overpopulated because wherever he went he saw huge crowds. Those who've responded most forcefully to my suggestion that liberals don't know their roots are the liberals who know their roots. But as lots of these folks concede with their nods to "grains" and "kernels" of truth in my argument, they are the exceptions. I meet with the editors of student newspapers and leaders of campus political groups pretty often and the differences between conservatives and liberals are simply too obvious.
Posted at 11:11 AM
INSTANT MESSAGE FROM THE MISSUS [Jonah Goldberg]
Was making public my desire to adopt the oxblog kid necessary? Really?
Posted at 10:41 AM
RE: TED SHAW [Tim Graham]
Amen, Roger! This was a passage I found especially howling and Al Goresque:
"As a nation, we wage war on poor people in this country, not on poverty. In many ways we are a nation struggling to maintain our moral compass. Violence and dysfunction in poor black communities are under an especially glaring spotlight."
First, any honest media critic, liberal or conservative, would tell you that black troubles in the inner cities are absolutely not in "an especially glaring spotlight," at least not on television news.
But Shaw absolutely embodies the don't-blame-the-victim mentality that Cosby attacked by using that bunk about "we wage war on poor people in this country." Accuse most Americans of neglecting the poor in their busy lives? Fine. (I'd have to say I'm too often guilty of that.) But that also means they're too busy working and supporting their own families to "wage war" on them, either. It's not like middle-class people drive through poor neighborhoods, stealing their stuff, and trying to destroy their schools or their chances at steady employment. It's this kind of guilt-tripping ultraliberal hyperbole that Bill Clinton realized was ruining Democratic electoral hopes 12 years ago. Shaw sounds like he's still trapped in 1973.
Posted at 10:39 AM
RE: CASUALTY BLEG [John Derbyshire]
A reader whose powers of recollection are slightly less dim than mine: "If I recall the deal in Desert Storm was that since Saudi Arabia was dry far fewer traffic accidents occurred and this was the big factor driving the 'negative' casualty rate."
Posted at 10:28 AM
BEATING THE PRESS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader responds to today's column:
Posted at 10:25 AM
OXBLOG [Jonah Goldberg ]
Jessica and I had drinks with Josh Chafetz of OxBlog fame. He's a very smart, very nice guy. My wife expected some 40 year old comic book guy from "The Simpsons" and for some reason I expected to meet a young Hasid or something. I don't where she got that impression, or I got mine, but it turns out he looks like a college sophomore (he's actually getting his PhD.) with good manners. My wife was deeply smitten, declaring "I would love to have a son like him!" -- which I'm sure will embarrass them both.
Posted at 10:23 AM
WHAT SOUR ECONOMY? [Tim Graham]
Strong economic growth? Strong job growth? Strong hike in disposable incomes? Don't look for that news to be highlighted on network TV. See MRC's latest "reality check" on how the only economic news worth obsessing about is gas prices -- even though overall inflation is low.
Posted at 10:21 AM
FRITZ AND JONAH [Tim Graham]
Great column by Jonah on Ernest Hollings pulling out the old Jim Moran card on the Iraq war -- the Jews made us do it -- and how it makes no sense. I can report that the networks (except for a few mentions on Fox) totally skipped it.
Posted at 10:19 AM
RE: CASUALTY BLEG [John Derbyshire]
A reader whose powers of recollection are slightly less dim than mine: "If I recall the deal in Desert Storm was that since Saudi Arabia was dry far fewer traffic accidents occurred and this was the big factor driving the 'negative' casualty rate."
Posted at 10:17 AM
LONDON POST-MORTEM IV [Jonah Goldberg]
Fourth, for reasons I can only assume are coincidental I saw more people with broken arms around London over a few days than I have in the preceding couple years. Is there a reason so many Brits are busting their wings?
Posted at 10:08 AM
LONDON POST-MORTEM III [Jonah Goldberg]
Third, apparently not only is thong underwear in -- it's out. Women -- many of whom would not be wearing thongs were I the bureaucrat in charge of such things -- seem to think that the world shuld know you're wearing such a garment, so they wear very low-cut jeans and hike the "waistbands" high so you get full view of their anal floss. We were having lunch at Fortnum and Mason -- a place where well-dressed grandmothers should take their granddaughters for proper tea or desert -- and we saw one young lady showing more plumber butt than a fat guy looking for a lost screw in the back of the dishwasher.
I'm no prude, and I understand the complaints from Brits that they can't be frozen in time for the entertainment of nostalgic Americans, but is it so unreasonable that to lament their mad rush to a cool Brittania defined by slattern-chic?
Posted at 10:07 AM
LONDON POST-MORTEM II [Jonah Goldberg]
Second, I think I'm going to do a longer piece on London, so I'll save some of my ammo, but I can't shake the feeling that England is at a crossroads between becoming a post-historical theme park (like Belgium) where people care about shopping, pretty-boy soccer players and, um, shopping and staying true to its traditional role as an engine of historical progress. Reading the papers, watching British news, talking to folks all gave me the sense that the Brits are weary of being special and making people angry and want to be a normal country where the rules of the vast continental college campus across the channel apply. That seems to me to be what's at stake with Britain's choice to join the EU.
Posted at 10:06 AM
LONDON POST-MORTEM I [Jonah Goldberg ]
First of all we had a grand trip, even though it was un-Godly expensive. Picture going to New York City with pesos. If we didn't have frequent-flier miles I'd still be doing dishes at some Indian restaurant.
Speaking of which, in response to many requests, I'll post a list of suggested restaurants in a little bit.
Posted at 10:06 AM
TED SHAW JUST DOESN’T GET IT [Roger Clegg]
Ted Shaw, director-counsel and new president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, had an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post, the point of which was … well, I’m not exactly sure what the point of it was. He doesn’t exactly disagree with Bill Cosby’s criticism of irresponsibility in the African-American community, but he’s very grudging about any agreement. He is, in particular, unhappy that “conservatives are applauding Bill Cosby for saying that the problems of the black community stem primarily from personal failures and moral shortcomings.” He himself responds to overwhelming problems in that community with regard to, for instance, crime by pretending that any criticism in that regard is somehow counterbalanced by isolated instances of police misconduct in the “war on drugs” (his scare quotes). He lauds “single mothers” who “work for low wages,” ignoring the fact that illegitimacy (seven out of ten blacks are born out of wedlock) is the greatest single problem among African Americans. He wants the U.S. to join “much of the world” and enforce “human rights protections against discrimination on the basis of economic status”--meaning what: that it should be illegal to refuse to sell to someone who can’t pay? The fact is that most of the problems facing African Americans today cannot be credibly blamed on white racism, and there is no way to solve them except by taking to heart the points made by Mr. Cosby. But many in the civil rights establishment, including Shaw, remain in denial about this fact.
Posted at 10:02 AM
CARTER'S BADNESS [John Derbyshire]
Re: Carter's badness: I would say it blossoms from the sin of pride, which is especially deadly in the professionally humble.
Posted at 09:59 AM
ERRATA [John Derbyshire]
(With thanks to numerous readers.)
---Sault Ste. Marie is in Michigan (and also Ontario), not Minnesota.
---The Smashing Pumpkins album is named "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness," not "1979." "1979" is a track on the second disk of this double album.
Posted at 09:57 AM
LEST WE FORGET [John Derbyshire]
Any time I write about Reagan or Thatcher, I get e-mails like these. I find them very moving. I post this one here, with identifying information removed to avoid giving embarrassment, just as a reminder of what was won in the 1980s. "Victory in the Cold War" is a nice phrase; here is the human reality. The writer is responding to my yesterday piece about 1979.
"John---Thank you so much for the beautiful article. I was only [age] then but my father spoke to me many times about 1979 and Reagan, Thatcher and the Pope. I grew up loving, admiring and worshiping these people. Thanks to them communism collapsed in eastern Europe and in my native country of Albania and I came in USA. May God bless these people and the USA."
I sent a brief e-mail to thank the writer. I mentioned the fact that Albania is beginning to get her act together. He responded with this:
"John---Yes it's true that Albania has began to do well specially after the catastrophic set back of the pyramid scheme and violence that follow it in 1997. There is a lot of corruption and most of the government officials and nouveau-riche are former communists. EU membership is possible but as a friend of mine who works for the EU in Brussels told me, it will take a decade or more. Hopefully Albania will be a NATO member sooner than that. On a personal note, my family suffered immensely from communism and we always dreamed of coming to America ... I came here in [early 1990s], went to college and love this country so much for all it did for us during communism and the opportunity it gave me here. Perhaps I am one of the few that still believe the Vietnam War was right and those soldiers died for a noble cause. I consider them my heroes because indirectly they died for me and my family in the war against communism..."
But while we congratulate ourselves -- justly -- on what was achieved, let's spare a thought for the millions of poor souls still suffering under Leninism in Cuba and North Korea, in Vietnam and Laos, in China, Tibet and Eastern Turkestan.
Posted at 09:49 AM
HE'S BAAACK [KJL]
Thank goodness. Rich tried with the Kerry workout, but we're in need of the G-Man's special touch.
Posted at 09:19 AM
THE WAY WE SPEAK NOW [John Derbyshire]
Here is a story for our times -- a true one.
My wife has a friend, an immigrant from China, a capable and industrious woman whose English is less than fluent (though a darn sight better than my Chinese). This woman has a daughter the same age as ours (11). The daughter is a very bright kid, straight 'A's at school, spends spare time in the library, plays two musical instruments... the whole "model minority" thing.
Well, the lady got a flier from the school district about a free summer camp program. After reading it as well as she could, she signed up the daughter for it, listing my wife as a back-up contact.
My wife got a call from the school district.
"Mrs Derbyshire, I'm not sure your friend understands the nature of this camp program. Perhaps you could explain to her."
"Oh? I'm not sure what you mean."
"Well, this program is for special kids."
"Oh! Retarded, you mean?"
"No, no. Kids with... *issues*."
"I'm afraid I don't quite..."
"These kids are all from the projects, you see."
"Disadvantaged kids. With special needs."
"I'm not sure..."
"Your friend's daughter would really be out of place there."
"The camp program is run by the police department..."
[At around this point, the penny dropped. Our friend's daughter will not be attending the camp.]
Posted at 09:17 AM
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW [Steve Hayward]
The Day After Tomorrow opens in theaters today, and Al Gore can hardly wait. The reviewers can, however. You can read my thoughts on the movie here. My summary point may be enough: "The Day After Tomorrow is to serious climate science what Hogan’s Heroes was to serious depiction of prison camp life in World War II."
Other reviewers are finding the movie just as comical. The Washington Post this morning says of the film’s director Roland Emmerich, "He’s never made a movie you could believe and he still hasn’t." And the Wall Street Journal’s indispensible Joe Morgenstern says "the movie comes to feel like a giant TV tuned to the Weather Channel on Groundhog Day. . . Seldom has grandeur struggled so mightily, and fruitlessly, with rampant goofiness."
The final delight of this film is that it is backed by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox. Which means that Murdoch, the bogeyman of the Left, will be laughing all the way to the bank on the paranoia of the greens. I’m taunting environmentalists that there is no disinformation in the film that can’t be dispelled on Fox News in the coming weeks, and I thank them for cross-subsidizing Brit Hume.
Posted at 08:35 AM
HOW DARE HE? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Boston Herald opens a can of whup-ass on Al Gore. Here's the kicker:
Gore even had the audacity to defend the perpetrators of the prison abuse - by name - while denouncing President Bush [related, bio] for ``humiliating'' our nation. How dare he. How dare a former vice president of the United States go beyond disagreeing with the current president's policies - a right of anyone in this free country - and denounce Bush as ``incompetent.'' How dare Gore say that Americans have an ``innate vulnerability to temptation... to use power to abuse others.'' And that our own ``internal system of checks and balances cannot be relied upon'' to curb such abuse. And this man - who apparently has so much disdain for the nature of the American people - wanted to be elected to lead it? It is Gore who has brought dishonor to his party and to his party's nominee. The real disgrace is that this repugnant human being once held the second highest office in this great land.
Posted at 07:05 AM
I'M BAAACK [Jonah Goldberg]
Digging out and such this AM (also gotta do CNN @ 8:30ish). But I'll be hanging out around here.
Posted at 06:42 AM
Thursday, May 27, 2004
"JUSTICE" IN ZIMBABWE [Dave Kopel]
According to ZWNews, the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe has filed murder charges against a white farmer who apparently shot one person in an armed mob of people who had invaded his land. The Mugabe regime has been disarming potential victims of government violence (including white farmers), and has been stealing land to give to thuggish young gangsters who support the tyrant in exchange for impunity to rape, rob, murder, and pillage the rest of the population.
Posted at 10:13 PM
LISTEN [Dave Kopel]
Here's what I talked about yesterday. In the evening, I gave a tribute to Harry Truman at the Boulder County Democrats annual Truman Dinner. Before that, I appeared on WBUR's national program "On Point," where Jim Hightower and I debated the influence of Michael Moore. Our discussion begins at 17:30 into the show, following an interview with Frank Rich.
Posted at 10:08 PM
RE: A READER WHO LOVES JIMMY CARTER [Peter Robinson]
In asserting that Jimmy Carter had "NOTHING to with the high rate of inflation," Derb, your reader is badly mistaken. From How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, p. 52:
"After pursuing a restrictive monetary policy early in 1980, Volcker [Carter's Fed chairman]...reversed himself in the spring, engaging in one of th emost rapid expansions of the money supply since World War II--an expansion that would timulate the economy in time for the presidential election that autumn. 'Volcker was playing games,' says Milton Friedman, whose classic Monetary History of the United States remains the authoritative text in the field. 'He was trying to re-elect Carter."The inflation that came to characterize the Seventies did indeed begin under Nixon--Milton Friedman had a falling out with his old friend and mentor, Arthur Burns, when Burns, as Nixon's Fed chairman, inflated the money supply to help Nixon's re-election bid in 1972. But what Carter and Volcker did as the decade drew to a close was take a bad inflationary situation and make it, on balance, even worse.
Posted at 09:11 PM
IRAQI CASUALTIES, CORRECTED [Peter Robinson ]
UNICEF’s estimate that before the war 36,000 Iraqis died each year for want of food and medicine, one reader notes, fails to take into account the hundreds, and perhaps thousands, whom Saddam killed intentionally.
A second reader notes that on “Iraq Body Count,” the site that purports to estimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have suffered untimely deaths in the 14 months since the war began, the casualty figures are thoroughly suspect. As the reader explains:
[Iraq Body Count’s] claim: "[c]asualty figures are derived solely from a comprehensive survey of online media reports. Where these sources report differing figures, the range (a minimum and a maximum) are given. All results are independently reviewed and error-checked by at least three members of the Iraq Body Count project team before publication."Using the estimates from UNICEF and Iraq Body Count in my posting earlier today, I implied that the war in Iraq had saved the lives of some 25,000 Iraqi civilians. I stand corrected. The number is almost certainly higher.
To paraphrase Al Gore, how dare George Bush—how dare he—use the men and women of our armed forces to…save so many lives.
Posted at 08:22 PM
MORE OF THOSE INCOMPREHENSIBLE READER E-MAILS [John Derbyshire]
"Derb---Whatever else might be said about Jimmy Carter, certainly it is true that he couldn't find his wazoo with both hands and a gazeteer."
Posted at 07:56 PM
A READER WHO LOVES JIMMY CARTER [John Derbyshire]
"Hello---I enjoy reading your column, but in today's piece you wrote: 'Tell it, preacher! But Carter's own faults - his naivety, feebleness of will, and obsession with detail - contributed much to the malaise he complained of. The year closed with an annual inflation rate of 11.3 percent, the highest in 30 years.' The fact is Jimmy Carter had NOTHING to do with the high rate of inflation in the late 1970's. In fact, the problem(s) with inflation in the USA had more to do with the ending of Nixon's wage and price freeze in the 70's coupled with the huge hike in oil prices the middle of the decade.
"Jimmy Carter is a better man than Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2 and any other Republican will ever be. Except for the last great GOP president, Abraham Lincoln."
And not even a word for Calvin Coolidge!
Posted at 07:54 PM
SMASHING PUMPKINS GOT THERE FIRST [John Derbyshire]
A reader: "Derb---Have any readers pointed out that mid-90s-it-band The Smashing Pumpkins is in agreement with your sentiment vis-a-vis 1979? The band had a hit album in 1995 and 1996 called '1979', and the title track became a hit. The lyrics, nonsensical though they may seem, hint at the songwriter's melancholy during the period:
"Shakedown 1979, cool kids never have the time
On a live wire right up off the street
You and I should meet
June bug skipping like a stone
With the headlights pointed at the dawn
We were sure we'd never see an end to it all..."
Wow. I gotta listen to more pop music for column ideas.
Posted at 05:49 PM
RE: 1979 [John Derbyshire]
I don't understand this reader's point at all: "Derb---Move your gazeteer slightly to the side, and you'll find your wazoo."
Posted at 05:36 PM
CASUALTY BLEG [John Derbyshire]
If I read those numbers aright, it is possible -- in fact probable -- that the Iraqi casualty count for the war is negative -- i.e. that less Iraqis died unnatural deaths during, and as a result of, the war, than would have otherwise.
I recall reading a few years ago somewhere that U.S. military caualties in Gulf War 1 were likewise negative -- i.e. that the military actually suffered fewer casualties than they would normally have done in a similar peacetime period via training accidents, traffic accidents, etc. The writer put it down to enhanced discipline and alertness in the combat theater. If anyone can remind me where I read that, or re-create the numbers (or authoritatively debunk them), I'd be obliged.
Posted at 05:30 PM
ONE LAST CARTERISM FOR DERB [Steve Hayward]
There is one thing Carter is undoubtedly qualified to do: Help Derb build his tree house. I hear Jimmy is pretty good with a hammer.
Posted at 05:28 PM
AL GORE IS A WEIRD MAN [KJL]
Rick Brookhiser from NR, c. 1999.
Posted at 05:27 PM
CARTER’S QUALIFICATIONS [Steve Hayward]
Derb is narrowly right only in the sense that Carter met the constitutional "qualifications" to be Prez, but using the term this way is essentially meaningless, since that "qualifies," what, 200 million Americans? By the common-sense understanding most citizens use, he was only thinly qualified. His own mother had the right insight about him: When Jimmy, then finishing his term as governor, told his family that he was going to run for President, she said, "President of what?" A prominent Atlanta businessman who was invited to have lunch with Governor Carter to discuss his presidential campaign assumed that Carter meant to run for the presidency of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He was better qualified for that.
Posted at 05:25 PM
RE: 1979 [John Derbyshire]
Where, by the way, is the Wazoo? I can't find it in my gazeteer.
Posted at 05:23 PM
FEDERALISM ISN'T CHAOS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Setting aside (for the moment) the legal issues in the Oregon doctor-assisted suicide case, I find it hard to take seriously Wesley Smith's argument that allowing states to set their own policies on doctor-assisted suicide could produce "chaos." There are lots of areas in which individuals or companies operate in multiple states with conflicting policies -- from real estate and taxes to gambling and alcohol -- and this hardly creates a problem. Different states have different rules regarding alcohol importation and sale. We may not like the policies adopted in some states, but the lack of a "national alcohol policy" hardly creates a crisis.
Posted at 04:50 PM
RE: 1979 [John Derbyshire]
Incidentally, here's a thought of my own about my previous reader's post about Jimmy Carter being "unqualified" to be president.
It's not a profession, with an accrediting exam to pass. The only "qualification" to be president, far as I know (other than the native-born & age things) is winning the electoral college vote. So Jimmy Carter was just as "qualified" to be president as any of the other 42. I say again, I have no argument with anyone who wants to say Carter was a stinker as prez -- he sure was. But he was "qualified" up the Wazoo.
It sounds like I'm nit-picking here, but I think this point rewards a moment's thought....
Posted at 04:45 PM
CASUALTY BLEG: SOME ANSWERS [Peter Robinson ]
In my bleg the other day, I asked a couple of questions about Iraqi civilian casualties before and since the war. With thanks, as always, to the readers of this Corner, herewith some answers.
1. How many Iraqis were dying early deaths before the war? According to UNICEF, some 36,000 a year, of which 21,000 were children.
Note the use of this statistic by Fareed Zakaria, writing in his Newsweek column in October 2003:
“Those who now oppose the war must recognize that there was no stable status quo on Iraq. The box that Saddam Hussein had been in was collapsing. Saddam's neighbors, as well as France and Russia, were actively subverting the sanctions against Iraq. And yet, while the regime was building palaces, the restrictions on Iraqi trade had a terrible side effect. UNICEF estimated that the containment of Iraq was killing about 36,000 Iraqis a year, 24,000 of them children under the age of 5. In other words, a month of sanctions was killing far more Iraqis than a week of the war did. This humanitarian catastrophe was being broadcast nightly across the Arab world. Policy on Iraq was broken. We had to move one way or the other. Either we could lift sanctions and welcome Saddam back into the community of nations, or we could rid Iraq and the world of one of the most evil dictatorships of modern times. One of The New York Times's best war correspondents, John Burns, made this latter point as well as anyone: ‘Terror, totalitarian states and their ways are nothing new to me,’ he said in an interview, ‘but I felt from the start that [Iraq] was in a category by itself.’ Iraq was a threat, but more important, it was an opportunity.”
2. How many Iraqi civilians have died untimely deaths since the war began 14 months ago? A number of readers referred me to a site called “Iraq Body Count (www.iraqbodycount.net).” As one reader put it:
“As to the Iraqi war deaths, no official statistics have come out, nor do I think anyone can get very accurate estimates given the state of Iraq's infrastructure in the lead up and during the recent war. An anti-war group [Iraq Body Count] estimates between 9,000 and 11,000. Keep in mind, however, that Saddam Fedayeen often used local civilians as protection in their fighting with US forces, forcing them to stand by them and hold weapons at gunpoint.”
Food in Iraq is everywhere available, clean water is flowing, electricity is being produced at levels higher than those before the war, hundreds of schools have been rebuilt and some 30,000 teachers trained—and whereas before the war Iraqi civilians were dying untimely deaths at the rate of 36,000 a year, now even an anti-war group estimates that in the last 14 months the number of Iraqi civilians to die unnatural deaths numbers at most about 11,000.
This represents a record of which George W. Bush is supposed to be ashamed?
Posted at 04:22 PM
HAVE YOU TUNED INTO THE NEW DERB RADIO YET? [KJL]
Posted at 04:18 PM
FEDS WARN ON AL-QAEDA TRUCK BOMBS HERE [Jack Fowler]
Fox News reports FBI is warning local police forces to “be alert to a person ‘of investigative concern’ who possesses a commercial driver’s license with authority to transport hazardous materials or who buys a ‘heavy vehicle’ such as an ambulance, bus, van, or utility vehicle.” Counterterrorism officials “are especially concerned about the possibility of a truck bomb and said an influx of credible intelligence has been received suggesting that Al Qaeda may be contemplating such a bomb.”
Posted at 03:42 PM
GOVERNING COUNCIL MEMBER'S CONVOY AMBUSHED [KJL]
Posted at 03:08 PM
THE JOHN KERRY WORKOUT [Rich Lowry]
Kind of amusing, especially if you hit the “hips” option.
Posted at 02:54 PM
A GUY WHO SHOULD HAVE GOT THE NOBEL PRIZE [John Derbyshire]
Admirers of my treehouse project sometimes speculate that I must have been a Boy Scout, to know all that stuff about trees and knots. Nope: I never was a Scout. I've read the book, though -- and reviewed it.
Posted at 02:34 PM
RE: 1979 [John Derbyshire]
This one will please Steve Hayward (and echoes many others along the same lines:
"Good piece today, Derb---BUT, you were MUCH too kind to Carter. Yes, in better times he might have schlepped through a presidency without any major catastrophes, but that would have had nothing to do with him and everything to do with luck. On the other hand, his weaknesses and petty tyranny (you should talk to people who worked in the Carter Administration -- his amazing focus on teeny, tiny administrative idiocies while ignoring big problems was amazing) would have caused problems even if he had been lucky. Not catastrophes, but backward movement in any case.
"Don't forget, he BARELY won election against Ford, who was following the Nixon debacle and who announce in a debate the Eastern Europe was not under communist or Soviet domination. Carter was never qualified and should never have been put in office.
"His activities after office also demonstrate what a mean-spirited, self-serving person he is. Ugh! I can't stand him, and the more years that go by, the more I detest him. Good Riddance! His only saving grace was being SO bad that we got Reagan elected."
Oh, hey, if you're going to tell me that JC was an egregiously awful president, I have no quarrel with you. I have never thought he was a bad *man*, though; and his early career, when he stood up doggedly & fearlessly against a lot of powerful interests, is a fine example of public spirit.
And let's remember him as he was during his presidency -- i.e. as an incompetent doofus. He is nastier and more anti-American now, probably as a result of fermented anger at his humiliating rejection in 1980 by the American people, who preferred to vote for -- Bah! Grrr! Gnash! -- that "second-rate movie actor." Even so, I think the root cause of these later antics has not really been malice so much as a sort of intrinsic, congenital silliness.
Posted at 01:52 PM
ANOTHER DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN [Mark Krikorian]
Only one reader who'd actually seen the movie "A Day Without a Mexican" has contacted me, his assessment being that is was "freaking hilarious, and makes some very valid socio-economic points."
Be that as it may, readers who hadn't seen it had much to say. The idea for the movie seems to have come from a play, "Day of Absence," by Douglas Turner Ward, where all the blacks in a southern town in 1965 magically disappear and the feckless white people are unable to cope.
Ethnic chieftains have tried to bring about real-world versions of this; most recently through a "Latino general strike" in California last December that was only observed by a few high school students, turning the "general strike" into Senior Skip Day.
From another reader:
In 2000 we actually had "A Day Without A Cuban" in Miami. As a protest against the repatriation of Elian Gonzalez, Cuban leaders in Miami called for a one-day work stoppage by all Cubans in the city. Even six Florida Marlins, including Mike Lowell, sat out that night's game.Finally, another reader suggested a variation on the theme:
Perhaps what's really needed is a movie "A Day Without the U. S. A.". Europe ruled by Nazi Germany, East Asia by Japan, Latin America still colonies of Spain and Portugal.
Posted at 01:42 PM
1979 [John Derbyshire]
Extraordinarily rich crop of thoughtful, witty & erudite reader responses to my 1979 piece on today's NRO. I have to do garden clean-up work this afternoon (for the great Memorial Day treehouse-warming party!!) but shall take a break now & then to post some I particularly like. Here's one that made me smile:
"Holy Cow John---In 1979 'China invaded Vietnam, Vietnam invaded Cambodia, Russia invaded Afghanistan'? I thought these altruistic compassionate selfless redistributionists were unerringly 'anti-war'. Communists invaded these poor noble oppressed 3rd world innocents in response to what? WMD's? Terror threats? Was it all about oil? Was there a Halliburton subsidiary in each of those aggressor nations? Wonder what Move on.org, International ANSWER, Democratic Underground, Robert Fisk, Rachel Corrie, Ed Asner, Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn, Janine Garafolo and Michael Moore were up to? I don't remember hearing from them! KBO---John Stotz."
Posted at 01:35 PM
INTERN CALL (YOU'RE NOT TOO LATE) [KJL]
Are you a conservative college student, excited by the prospect of doing ANYTHING for the magazine William F. Buckley Jr. founded? Does your day begin and end in The Corner? (Actually, please don’t answer that one—an answer in the affirmative might get you committed.) Would you love to learn firsthand how the premier conservative webzine comes together?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you might be exactly who we are looking for in our NRO summer intern search. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume, cover letter telling a little about yourself and why you would like to be a part-time NRO intern, and available days of the week for the summer. The subject line of the e-mail should read “Internship.”
Posted at 01:22 PM
CHE CHIC [Tim Graham]
In the New York Times, Larry Rohter explains the meaning of "idealistic" Che Guevara to new generation. One helper is former Time magazine writer and Che biographer Jon Lee Anderson: "To the younger, post-cold-war generation of Latin Americans, Che stands up as the perennial Icarus, a self-immolating figure who represents the romantic tragedy of youth...Their Che is not just a potent figure of protest, but the idealistic, questioning kid who exists in every society and every time."
Too bad they can't ask all the people Guevara murdered for Marxism about the adjective "self-immolating."
Posted at 01:13 PM
TAKING ISSUE WITH DERB [Steve Hayward]
The central point of Derb's column today, "Seismic 79" (namely, that it was the year the West began to rally) is correct, but there are a couple of details that set me twitching, especially, "It is not hard to feel sorry for Jimmy Carter."
Yes it is, especially in regard to Iran. There was nothing inevitable about the fall of Iran into the hands of the Islamofascists. In fact, the formidable Iranian military, which we had trained (one of our instructors of their officer corps there in the 1970s was Norman Schwartzkopf), was eager to work with us to create a successor regime to the failing Shah, but Carter recoiled from the necessity of imposing martial law to do so. Our failure to do so led to the loss of morale among the Iranian officer corps, such that they stayed neutral in the power struggle that commenced when the Shah left the country. Big mistake; one of these first things Khomenini did upon taking power was to execute most of the officer corps. Those lucky enough to escape finished out their lives as taxi drivers in New York and Washington.
In retrospect, the fall of Iran may have been the single greatest foreign policy blunder of the last 50 years, not excepting Vietnam. Had Iran not become a bastion of international terror, it is unlikely we would be where we are today. Rather than feel sorry for Carter, we should impeach him retrospectively.
Another small point: Carter actually never used the word "malaise" in that awful 1070 speech, though in a larger sense he deserved the label, since he had campaigned on the slogan of giving us a "government as good as the people," and by 1979 was essentially saying that the people were no good. I tell the whole back story behind that speech, and the appalling fall of Iran (including the pro-Khomeini faction in Carter's State Dept) in my new book (plug-plug), The Real Jimmy Carter.
Now, Derb, regarding your complaints about Home Depot. As a Home Depot stockholder. . .
Posted at 01:09 PM
"AND HERE'S WHERE I KILLED NIC...I MEAN, WHERE MY WIFE DIED" [KJL]
O.J. Simpson is on a 10th-anniversary money-making media tour: willing to do paid interviews and a photo shoot at the scene of his wife and Ron Goldman's murders for the right price.
Posted at 01:05 PM
FROM THE GULAG TO ABU GHRAIB [Rod Dreher]
I was deeply disturbed by allegations last week that part of the Abu Ghraib abuse involved a US interrogator forcing a Muslim prisoner to blaspheme his religion. So was Frederica Mathewes-Green, the Eastern Orthodox writer, who notes the similarities between methods used in Abu Ghraib and used by the Romanian communists against their prisoners--whose number included her spiritual director, an elderly Orthodox priest now living in the United States. Read this riveting account and reflect on John Miller's question: when will the victims of communism get their monument?
Posted at 12:38 PM
THE GIFT OF A CHILD [Peter Robinson]
Bill McGurn and his wife will be traveling to China next month to adopt a child, their third. (Formerly of National Review, Bill is now the senior writer for the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.) When I asked Bill about life as the father f adopted children, he sent along an article he’d written for the Notre Dame alumni magazine about adopting his first daughter, Grace. I found Bill’s article beautiful—stunningly beautiful.
To read it yourself, click here.
Posted at 12:34 PM
TERRORIST LOOKOUT [Jack Fowler]
Short bios and pics of the seven al-Qaida suspects the FBI believes may be in the U.S. plotting mayhem.
Posted at 12:30 PM
NO ONE SMOKING GUN, BUT MUCH SMOKE [KJL]
Do read the al Qaeda-Iraq edit in the WSJ today and, next week, take a look at Steve Hayes new book: The Connection : How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America.
Posted at 11:31 AM
KERRY SPEECH--ADVANCE WORK [KJL]
Jim Geraghty is "live blogging" a Kerry camp conference call right now on Kerry's foreign-policy speech to be delivered later today.
Posted at 10:21 AM
WOMAN DRIVER IN DEADLY CRASH IN KSA [KJL]
Saudi crackdown likely?
Posted at 10:07 AM
NORDLINGER ENCORE [Jack Fowler]
Jay, even better the second time around, will be on CNBC’s Dennis Miller show again, tonight at 9PM Eastern time. Long-time NR fave Tom Selleck will also be appearing.
Posted at 08:46 AM
COLD STEEL [John Derbyshire]
Lots of fascinating stuff on Capt. Millett's charge. For an artist's view of the event, see here.
And here is a note on the place where it happened:
"Mr. Derbyshire---Having been stationed at Osan AB in South Korea, I enjoyed your recent reference to Millett. My unit's building was only a hundred yards or so from the historical marker which describes Millett's charge. As a Captain, I'd take many of the new 2Lt's up to that spot and then look down on the runway below, explaining that MiGs had taken off from that field to attack Americans. The field trip also served to emphasize our proximity to the North Koreans, and to remind them of how Americans had fought and died to take Osan back from the Communists.
"It's a small marker, low to the ground (the inscription is in English and Korean), and it mostly goes unnoticed. Thanks again for the reminder.
"Sincerely, "Fred 'Bits' Bacon
"Lt Col, USAF "
Posted at 08:30 AM
SPEAKING OF LONDON [KJL]
Radical cleric Hamza arrested
Posted at 06:34 AM
BEAT LONDON MAN [KJL]
Jonah to the first post of the day!
Posted at 12:37 AM
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
HAT TIP: THE ANSWER, NATCH [KJL]
Posted at 11:54 PM
NO MORE MEXICANS? [Mark Krikorian]
A mockumentary entitled "A Day Without a Mexican" opened earlier this month in several dozen theaters in California and Texas. I would have written a review for NRO, but it's not being shown anywhere I can get to (I understand Steve Sailer is reviewing it for the upcoming issue of The American Conservative). The premise is that Californians wake up one day and all Hispanics have magically disappeared -- not just illegal aliens or even all immigrants, but all Hispanics. Much hilarity is supposed to ensue, as clueless white and black people haplessly try to wash dishes and rake lawns.
Without passing judgment on the movie as such, it's clearly based on the usual false assumptions of the open-borders crowd: there are jobs Americans won't do, the price of produce would skyrocket without foreign labor, only racists want to enforce immigration laws, etc. Perhaps most insidious is the effort to blur the difference between legal and illegal immigrants, and between citizens and non-citizens. The very premise of the movie is thus blood-and-soil nationalism of das Volk (or rather, La Raza), which is only socially permissable when advocated by approved ethnic groups.
I'd love to hear the reactions of any Corner readers who've seen the movie.
Posted at 11:49 PM
OSAMA-MOBILE? [Mark Krikorian]
With all the talk of a major al Qaeda attack expected this summer, you'd think the authorities would do a better job of addressing obvious problems. My biggest personal concern is abandoned cars in sensitive areas of our nation's capital. I drive across the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge into Washington from Virginia each day and since at least last Friday there's been a broken-down white Toyota hatchback sitting on the side of the bridge. Now, it's probably not filled with explosives and wired to explode at the height of rush hour, but it would be nice if someone would get rid of the thing just in case. My carpool mate actually called a variety of agencies today trying to find out who is supposed to get rid of it and got the kind of run-around you would have thought went out the window after 9/11. And last year, an abandoned car sat for weeks on the grass next to E Street, not 50 feet from the rear entrance to the State Department. We are fortunate to have stupid enemies.
Posted at 11:47 PM
IRAN DUPED US INTO IRAQ [KJL ]
The Guardian expands their Chalabi line. (Hat tip. Wait—women don’t hat tip. What’s the cyber equivalent?)
Posted at 11:25 PM
COOL L.A. [KJL]
Rob Long, Cathy Seipp, Andrew Breitbart, and some very cool bloggers...if you live in L.A. you must attend this.
Posted at 11:18 PM
KERRY SPEECH PREVIEW [KJL]
From Jim Geraghty on the Kerry Spot page: "A preview of Kerry's speech on foreign policy, coming tomorrow morning: "There will be continued language about speaking the truth to the Saudis," a Kerry adviser said. "As he said yesterday, the increases in gas prices Americans are suffering are the 'Bush-Saudi gas tax' that is dangerous beyond pennies at the pump... It's no doubt music to Bill Kristol's ears."
Posted at 10:56 PM
CLAUDIA ROSETT'S LATEST [KJL]
on the Oil-for-Food scandal is here. A taste:
But the cost of KPMG's services [accounting firm] is hardly the real issue. The crucial effect has been to greatly delay any professional investigation in Baghdad, home of abundant documentation kept by Saddam on Oil-for-Food. The KPMG team was due to issue a preliminary report by early June. That won't happen. Instead, as outlined in a draft U.N. resolution now being sent around by the U.S. and U.K., Iraq's public money, including funds to cover relief contracts leftover from Oil-for-Food, will be handed back on June 30 to an interim Iraqi government now being assembled by U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. In other words, the still-uninvestigated U.N. will again have a hand in deciding who oversees the remains of Oil-for-Food. If Annan is serious about his claims of U.N. transparency, he ought to provide his man in Iraq, Brahimi, with a business card that reads: Conflicts-of-Interest-R-Us.Claudia also breaks the news of a British adviser to the Iraq Governing Council whose computer was hacked into and wiped clean last week. Read it all.
Posted at 09:52 PM
JUNE 22 [KJL]
Bill Clinton's book date moves up. Does that mean a) he's making life easier for Kerry, giving him a little breathing room or b) giving Hillary more time to work on legacy completion/Clinton comeback 2004?
Posted at 09:22 PM
RUSH RESPONDS TO GORE [KJL]
Posted at 09:15 PM
IF ONLY AL GORE LISTENED [KJL]
to Mark Levin. He might be sane today.
Posted at 09:10 PM
"NATIONAL REVIEW, A GREAT MAGAZINE" [KJL]
Dennis Miller just now, with a proud smile (the kind a happy, well-read subscriber tends to have).
Posted at 09:08 PM
KERRY-GORE 2004 [KJL]
Barbara Comstock on Capital Report tongiht: "Al Gore is proving to be the most irrelevant, comically absurd former Vice President since Spiro Agnew. He is no longer a serious political figure." But she did indicate she would love for Gore to be prominently featured at the Democrat Convention and they should even put him on the ticket again as VP!
Posted at 07:02 PM
A SIDE-JOB OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU? [KJL]
Read this. A reader just e-mailed me: "You may be familiar with the website About.com, which has "guides" to various topics. They have a "Conservative Politics, U.S." topic which has been without a guide for months, maybe years. The "Liberal Politics, U.S." topic, on the other hand, has an active guide.
"Being an About.com guide is a paid position, depending on the amount of traffic the guide's site gets. The minimum starting pay is $500, and goes up from there as long as you keep increasing traffic. That's pretty good for essentially just being a conservative blogger, which many people do for free....
"Link to apply to be a guide: http://beaguide.about.com/index.htm Link to the out-of-date Conservative guidesite: http://usconservatives.about.com"
ME: Let me know if you get the job! I know many of you are qualified.
Posted at 05:44 PM
KERRY WILL ACCEPT NOMINATION AT CONVENTION [KJL]
Kerry's taking the nomination in Boston...
Posted at 05:43 PM
HEY MARK... [Rich Lowry]
... very interesting post. I've been thinking a lot about Savimbi too lately, a great example of well-meaning conservatives getting snowed by a Third World figure.
Posted at 05:28 PM
CHALABI [Mark Krikorian]
I don't have a dog in the fight over whether he's a good guy or not, but past experience should at least have instilled in us a sense of caution before lionizing foreign political figures. When I was in college, Jonas Savimbi was feted by the Right as a heroic free-marketeer holding the Soviet empire at bay -- at least until Radek Sikorski's 1989 article in NR that exposed the man for the lying gangster that he is. During the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, conservatives could be seen aping the Mujaheddin by wearing Afghan Chitrali hats on campus and some even made their way to Central Asia, as though it were Spain in the 1930s for the Left. And the folly of those who glorified the head of the Chinese Nationalists was nicely summed up by his nickname: Generalissimo Cash-My-Check this. Best not even to mention "Uncle Joe" Stalin.
The same is true for many foreign political figures we've demonized. Woodrow Wilson started the bad habit of not recognizing governments headed by people we didn't like when Gen. Tinoco took power in Costa Rica in 1917, as though he were any different from any other Latin gangster in uniform. And how about Assad of Syria or Khadafi in Libya -- they're our enemies, sure, but are those governments really all that different from those of Egypt or "Saudi" Arabia?
My point is not that we shouldn't support bad guys in some cases and oppose them in others, but rather that foreign affairs are a dirty business, best approached with a certain emotional detachment. Our democratic -- naive? -- tendency to international politics has gotten us into trouble before, and will probably do so again.
Posted at 05:12 PM
MORE RE: GORE SPEECH [Andy McCarthy]
Let's not overlook the obligatory slanders of treatment of unlawful combatants and the Patriot Act. Gore: "The same dark spirit of domination [that caused Ghraib] has led [the Bush administration] to - for the first time in American history - imprison American citizens with no charges, no right to see a lawyer, no right to notify their family, no right to know of what they are accused, and no right to gain access to any court to present an appeal of any sort. The Bush Admistration has even acquired the power to compel librarians to tell them what any American is reading, and to compel them to keep silent about the request - or else the librarians themselves can also be imprisoned."
For the record:
(a) The cases of the two American citizens, Jose Padilla and Yasar Esam Hamdi, have not just gotten to "any court" -- they were heard last month by the Supreme Court of the United States. They both had access to counsel, and their Supreme Court cases were argued by both their counsel and several supporting amici curiae.
(b) The Patriot Act's Section 215 does not even mention libraries; it addresses business records. The authority -- which requires the government, in national security cases, to obtain approval from a judge, has not been used a single time -- either for library records or any other records. To the contrary, agents conducting criminal investigations have, for decades, been able to subpoena business records (including library usage records) without a court order. In 1995, moreover, my DOJ colleagues and I made quite a fuss about the reading habits of some New Jersey residents. As it happened, their fingerprints festooned bombing manuals and pamphlets urging violent jihad against Americans. After the jury convicted those New Jersey residents of bombing the World Trade Center and attempting to blow up much of lower Manhattan, the Clinton Administration gave my colleagues and me an award for it and later invited us to attend a Rose Garden ceremony at which Vice President Gore looked on as President Clinton first lavishly praised our efforts and then signed sweeping anti-terrorism legislation. I guess times have changed.
Posted at 04:43 PM
“ALMOST DIE” [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: “Mr. Lowry, Are we to now assume that Sen. Kerry, '…know(s) what it's like to almost die,' because of his Vietnam experience? Am I missing something. I seem to recall that none of the stories of the aforementioned hero including a near-death experience. In fact, weren’t all of his injuries pretty minor compared to those of many in his 'band of bothers?'”
Posted at 04:40 PM
MORE “FOR” [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: “Mr. Lowry, Years ago, when I was in college, I spoke with a Republican challenging an incumbent Democratic congressman. His campaign literature, signs, etc. omitted the 'for' because by leaving it out, some people might think he was already a congressman (Smith for Congress vs. Smith-U.S. Congress). I don't know if this is common, but if it is, it seems that it can only work at a local level where people may not know their representatives. It didn't work for the guy I met.”
Posted at 04:38 PM
YET ANOTHER QUESTION [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: “Another question I would have to ask of Kerry is what, exactly, does he mean by 'I'm not talking about some cushy situation where they live off the fat of the land in prison. I'm talking about tough.' This would be an interesting question, especially with Abu Ghraib as background. How do you purposefully make prisons 'tough,' on a day to day basis, for the prisoners. It seems like an escape clause to win votes, but with zero substance.”
Me: I’m guessing it means no TV—a fate worse than death!
Posted at 04:34 PM
KERRY & HELL [Rich Lowry]
E-mail:"Whether one believes or not in hell is irrrelevant to this discussion. We are not electing a theologian. The question at hand is whether John Kerry favors the death penalty. As to Timothy McVeigh, no one can know if he faces an eternity of punishment. If he confessed his sins and was truly repentant, he will not. Is that not the Catholic position?"
ME: OK, I take your point about the death penalty debate. I'm still curious about whether Kerry believes in hell.
Posted at 04:31 PM
THE CASE OF THE MISSING "FOR" [Rich Lowry]
I don't know what the usual etiquette is for campaign planes. Maybe presidential candidates always leave out the "for," but it makes sense that you wouldn't. That's why the AP erroneously reports what Kerry's campaign plane actually says: "The plane is emblazoned 'John Kerry for President' and can seat 94 in five separate cabins."
Posted at 04:16 PM
ANOTHER QUESTION FOR KERRY [Rich Lowry]
Do you believe in hell? He seemed to say on MTP that the only punishment in dying is the act of dying itself. But if you are a faithful Catholic like Kerry don't you believe someone like Tim McVeigh, an unrepentant mass murderer, is in for an eternity of punishment?
Posted at 04:08 PM
KERRY ON DEATH PENALTY FOR TERRORISTS [Rich Lowry]
TIM RUSSERT on 12/1/02: "But, Senator, why shouldn't Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Oklahoma building, or if John Muhammad is convicted of being a sniper here in Washington--why shouldn't they receive the death penalty?"
SEN. KERRY: "Tim, I think that, as I said, you know, different people have different opinions about what's worse. I've seen people die and I know what it's like to almost die. I don't think that--you know, dying is scary for a while, but in the end, the punishment is gone. When you're alive and you're deprived of your freedom each day and you're in tough circumstances--and I'm talking about tough circumstances. I'm not talking about some cushy situation where they live off the fat of the land in prison. I'm talking about tough. But if you're deprived of that freedom for the rest of your living days until God decides to take you, you know, that is tough, my friend, and I think that plenty of people think that."
Posted at 04:02 PM
QUESTION FOR KERRY [Rich Lowry]
Is he for the death penalty for Terry Nichols?
Posted at 03:55 PM
ELECTORAL LICENSE [Mark Krikorian]
Immigration is not shaping up to be an important element of the presidential campaign. The president won't even utter the word since getting burned by the ferocious reaction to his January illegal-alien amnesty proposal; Sen. Kerry, while an even more enthusiastic support of amnesties than the president, doesn't talk about it either, apparently fearing that voters will come to think of him as the illegal-alien candidate.
But that could change if Kerry picks New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson as his vice-presidential running mate. The reason is not that Richardson is half Hispanic (though that may be why Kerry picks him), but that Richardson signed a bill last year giving illegals driver's licenses and continues to defend it. He recently described opposition to such measures as "ideologically senseless" and said changing the license law was a response to "reality in border states."
The lack of political backlash to Richardson's stance may be seen as a sign of his political acumen and a potential asset as a vice-presidential candidate. After all, Gray Davis lost the governorship in California after signing just such a bill, and Jeb Bush was recently forced to back down from his effort to give illegals licenses in Florida -- so if Richardson was able to pull it off, he must be a genius.
Well, no. Despite its name and the fact that it's a border state, New Mexico is not an important immigrant destination. The INS in January 2003 estimated that New Mexico had fewer illegal aliens than Indiana or Tennessee, and the percentage of New Mexico's population that is foreign-born is less than that of Connecticut or Alaska. Immigration is not a politically salient issue in New Mexico because there just aren't that many immigrants -- so Richardson can get away with promoting licenses for illegals. But at the national level, this is not the case, and even if the president doesn't make a point of it, other Republicans will.
Posted at 03:50 PM
GORE'S SPEECH: NEWSROOM REAX [Michael Graham ]
The buzz in the newsroom over here--and our newspeople are hardly right-wingers--is "What the hell happened to Al Gore?" People are stopping each other in the hall and asking "Did you hear that?"
Are we shocked because we're out of the loop and he's in it? Why weren't the people at the speech shocked? Are they the real America? Or is Al Gore gone ga-ga?
I can't remember a public statement, other than Howard Dean's, that has had this impact on people.
Posted at 03:47 PM
THE CORNER GETS RESULTS [Rod Dreher]
So, I've heard from an SBC muckety-muck who very kindly has offered to take my problem under his wing and fix it -- for which I'm grateful, for sure. Yet I've also been deluged by e-mails like this one:
I couldn't believe it when I read about your problems with SBC! My husband, who runs a non-profit consulting business for churchs, moved his office to a building in southwest Houston, and set up his phone service with SBC, which was to include internet service. He spent 4 MONTHS trying to get the internet!! He talked with a different person each of the times he called, and would reference the previous person he spoke with. There were many calls, not once did one person he talked to know any of the previous ones. It has been unbelievable how inept, disorganized, unproductive, and so lacking in customer service they have been!!!
To be fair, I've gotten three e-mails from readers who say they've had nothing but excellent DSL service with SBC -- but these folks are outnumbered 10-to-1 in my e-mail. I'm thankful that somebody high up in the company saw my complaint on The Corner and wrote so quickly to promise to take care of it (I got his e-mail something like 10 minutes after I posted), but I do feel sorry for those folks, including our readers, who are having the same problems, but who don't have access to a forum like The Corner to voice their complaints. Several readers have also said that I should do as they did, and go with a cable modem. Can't do it; too expensive.
Posted at 03:41 PM
NICHOLS--GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS [KJL]
Verdict just in
Posted at 03:39 PM
THE MAX CLELAND MYTH [KJL]
More ammo contra Gore, if you need it: Lowry on the Cleland smear smear.
Posted at 03:37 PM
KERRY PLANE MISLABELED? [Rich Lowry]
Check it out--Kerry plane doesn't say “for president,” but just “president.” Isn't he getting ahead himself?
Posted at 03:36 PM
GORE'S YEAGH! MOMENT [KJL]
A reader suggests, I agree:
I humbly suggest that moments such as these, when a politician demonstrates, through ranting and raving in front of supporters, that he is too unhinged, unstable, and just plain nuts to run a hot dog cart (let alone a nation) be known as "YEAGH! Moments," after Howard Dean's famous meltdown speech.
Posted at 03:23 PM
OREGON RULING [Jonathan H. Adler]
My view on the Oregon doctor-assisted suicide ruling may be the minority view on NRO. Based on this summary, I believe the panel majority got the law right, but I won't get the chance to read the full opinion until tonight (after I'm done grading my students' ConLaw exams). Howard Bashman has a roundup of early commentary on the ruling here. I also think the result of the opinion is correct as a matter of policy (as I argued here), though not because I have any fondness for doctor-assisted suicide. Assisted suicide, like abortion, homosexuality, and a host of other issues, is a matter best left up to the states in our federal system. That's my view on the subject, though I suspect some other Cornerites would disagree.
Posted at 02:57 PM
BROKAW THROWS COLD WATER ON KERRY IDEA [Rich Lowry]
On Larry King last night, Tom Brokaw mused that a Kerry delay in accepting the nomination might prompt NBC to ratchet down its coverage (courtesy of The Hotline): “My personal belief is that if he announces he will not accept the nomination, that there's no good reason for NBC the network to be in Boston covering the convention, it will be just one large political rally and party. Now, I'm told today that they're working on some variations on that theme. He'll give a big speech and then say as of September 30 or September 1st I accept your nomination, a later date. I'm not sure that's going to fly either. ... But my own judgment is, and I can get overruled about this at NBC, is that I'm not sure that NBC should go to Boston just to cover a big pep rally. We go there because there's going to be a nominating convention and at the end of that nominating convention, there will be the formally nominated presidential candidate of the Democratic party.”
Posted at 02:41 PM
BRAHIMI ABOUT TO MAKE PICK [Rich Lowry]
According to MSNBC, Brahimi is leaning toward a Shiite nuclear scientist named Hussain Shahristani to be prime minister of the interim government. Brahimi may be allegedly selling us out in Iraq according to Chalabi partisans, but at least he reads the Wall Street Journal! Here is what MSNBC reports: “Iraqi officials familiar with Brahimi's mission said it was an op-ed piece Shahristani wrote for the April 29 Wall Street Journal that piqued Brahimi's attention. Headlined ‘Election Fever,’ the piece criticized the U.S. occupation authority for failing to prepare for elections sooner and for promulgating an interim constitution that was drawn up behind closed doors. He called for the government taking power on June 30 to have limited powers aimed at preparing the country for elections—a position advocated by Sistani.”
Posted at 02:38 PM
JAY NORDLINGER ON “DENNIS MILLER SHOW” [Jack Fowler]
Tonight at 9PM EST.
Posted at 02:37 PM
KERRY TROLLS FOR LAW PROFS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today my colleagues and I received personalized, unsolicited form-letter e-mails inquiring whether we would be willing to participate in network of law professors supporting John Kerry for President. I politely demurred.
Posted at 02:36 PM
MOOKIE LIEUTENANT GOES DOWN [Rich Lowry]
MSNBC is reporting that we’ve captured a key al-Sadr aide: “Riyadh al-Nouri, al-Sadr's brother-in-law, offered no resistance when American troops raided his home during a series of clashes in this Shiite holy city, according to Azhar al-Kinani, a staffer in al-Sadr's office in Najaf. The capture of al-Nouri would be a major blow to al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army, which has been battling coalition forces since early April. Al-Sadr launched his uprising in response to a crackdown by coalition authorities who announced an arrest warrant against him in the April 2003 assassination of a moderate cleric in Najaf.”
Posted at 02:35 PM
RE: WEIRD NPR STUDY [Tim Graham]
To quote you on this, K-Lo, "sigh." Liberal media outlets have a strange habit of accepting lame studies from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), so lame that they're trying to argue that National Public Radio is a haven for conservative Republicans. My colleague down the hall suggests the lunacy of this assertion requires no comment. Or we could begin with the old comment, "FAIR are the people who tried to put over the hoax that Super Bowl Sunday is the greatest day in America for domestic violence." See Christina Hoff Sommers and "Who Stole Feminism?" on that one.
But I can't help it. FAIR's studies never analyze media content. They count guests or soundbites. Studying the journalists is not consider relevant, or journalist-friendly. In other words, the anchor can say "Today, the fanatical weasels of the military-industrial complex continued their campaign of vicious lies against innocent, misunderstood Iraqi insurgents" and be considered irrelevant to the question of whether NPR is ideological.
The key phrase in this piece of work is "frequency of appearance." In an entire month, on four separate programs, they found President Bush soundbites on 36 occasions. (Doesn't that seem low?) Rumsfeld was second with eight. This is cited as proof that conservative voices dominate NPR? So we're running a war, and quoting the president and the secretary of defense shows a Republican bias?
The think-tank comparison is also lame. They say conservative tanks beat liberals, four to one. But they put largely Democratic Brookings in the center, and the largely Democratic Council on Foreign Relations in the center. Do we all put the Center for Strategic and International Studies uniformly on the right these days?
In short, don't bite on the notion that NPR's shifted right. Try to take a listen any morning or afternoon and hear for yourself. Or peek at npr.org/politics.
Posted at 02:18 PM
RE: GORE [Andy McCarthy]
Even if he believes half of what he says, this has to be one of the basest tirades from a former VP ever. For all his talk about dignity, he has no sense of it -- no sense of how inappropriate it is for someone of his rank to stoop to this sort of thing, no sense that, in caves someplace, bin Laden and Zarqawi are smiling ear-to-ear. He cites Richard Clarke but he might as well be Ramsey Clarke. Claiming that the Bush White House had "a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be 'stressed' and even - we must use the word - tortured - to force them to say things[.]" Can he conceivably believe that is true? And even if he does, can someone with his brain not understand that saying something like this -- i.e., that the Ghraib excesses are American policy rather than an aberration that has mobilized a decent country toward corrections -- while we have troops on the battlefield makes it at least marginally more likely that American prisoners will be abused. I know they say politics ain't beanbag, but this is really low-brow stuff. It's especially sad for what it says about the Dems: only 20 years ago, a speech like this would have embarrassed them; now, Gore probably gets a prime-time convention slot.
Posted at 02:12 PM
FED COURT ASSISTS SUICIDE [Jack Fowler]
Panel of 9th Circuit Court upholds Oregon “assisted suicide” law on 2-1 vote, ruling Bush Administration and federal government can’t consider doctor-administration of deadly doses a crime.
Posted at 02:03 PM
GORE KNOCKS RUSH, TOO [KJL]
Read Kate if you have not on that count.
Posted at 01:52 PM
SBC IS AWFUL [Rod Dreher]
In the spirit of Derb's bashing the service at Home Depot, I have to tell you I'm pulling my hair out over dealing with SBC, which provides DSL service for north Texas. I've been waiting for them to get my DSL service straight FOR A MONTH! They keep screwing up, apologizing, and screwing up again. Now they tell us we'll have DSL service on June 1. I'll believe it when I see it. I don't want to overreact -- though I use the Internet for my work, and have to have access at home -- but this does remind me of the ridiculous go-rounds I had four years ago with MCI Worldcom and its horrible billing and service problems with its wireless business. I spent a lot of time on the phone with all kinds of people at MCI Worldcom, trying to straighten out the messes they kept making. I'm a very polite and patient guy, but after weeks of trying to work things out with those people, I was reduced to yelling. I thought, "Is this just happening to me, or is this indicative of a badly-run business." As we later found out when the company collapsed amid scandal, the way this company dealt with me was symptomatic of bigger difficulties.
Posted at 01:37 PM
AJAMI'S DREAMS, CHALABI'S AMBITIONS, BUSH'S IMPERATIVES [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: Fouad Ajami did indeed get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Never having shared his dream, though, I can't be much affected by its air of gloom. Here is what I said back in February: "The key issue in the Iraq war, it seems to me, is the degree to which the administration believes its own rhetoric about bringing democracy to the Middle East. Completely, says Ms. Pond. The Europeans, she notes, would have been happier if they could discern some cynicism beneath the Bush team's crusading zeal. They saw none, only 'a Manichean perception of good and evil.' Those childish Americans, so obsessed with their outdated moral categories! So unlike us worldly Europeans, who can perceive a hundred different shades of gray!
"I don't myself believe this picture, though. When I contemplate Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and George W. Bush, the phrase 'naive moralizers' is not the one that first leaps to mind. If, following the pullout our administration seems determined on, Iraq should lapse into anarchy, I doubt much sleep will be lost in Washington. The despots of the world will have been taught a useful lesson: that if they make themselves a serious nuisance to us, we will go and smash up their regimes and humiliate their leaders. The satisfaction of having delivered a punitive lesson is the least we should hope for, and we can hope for more. For the American people at large, however, the knowledge that we ended the career of Saddam Hussein and woke his fellow despots from their dreams of invulnerability may be sufficient justification for the war of 2003."
I stand by that. Now, it would be a very cynical asperity indeed to suggest that the administration's guff about "bringing democracy to Iraq" was just colored smoke from the beginning. Probably senior admin. officials believed it at some level. Perhaps they still do. And it is not impossible; it might yet happen, and here is one cynical old Jacksonian who'll be cheering with the Wilsonians if it does. But let's face it -- as Ajami, to his credit, has done in this Op-Ed piece -- the Arabs are probably hopeless, and despotic squalor is their natural order. If this is not so, it's for them to show us it's not so, by building stable societies under constitutional government, that are not a threat to each other, to our allies, or to us directly. Until that day comes, let's expect the worst from them.
Posted at 01:35 PM
SAY IT WITH MEANING [KJL]
The cheers from Washington Square to this section of Gore's speech near rocked the NR World Headquarters from its foundation: "How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people. How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace. How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison." But the cheers paled in comparison to Gore's Dean-like delivery.
Posted at 01:26 PM
HERE IS [KJL]
the rabid Gore text.
Posted at 01:21 PM
WHERE WE AGREE WITH GORE [KJL]
He also wants Tenet gone: "George Tenet should also resign. I want to offer a special word about George Tenet, because he is a personal friend and I know him to be a good and decent man. It is especially painful to call for his resignation, but I have regretfully concluded that it is extremely important that our country have new leadership at the CIA immediately. "
Of course, the only regret we have in this regard is that it has not happened yet.
Posted at 01:17 PM
Reading the prepared remarks now: Gore says: "We simply cannot afford to further increase the risk to our country with more blunders by this team. Donald Rumsfeld, as the chief architect of the war plan, should resign today. His deputies Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and his intelligence chief Stephen Cambone should also resign. The nation is especially at risk every single day that Rumsfeld remains as Secretary of Defense.
Condoleeza Rice, who has badly mishandled the coordination of national security policy, should also resign immediately.
Posted at 01:15 PM
GORE'S RANT [KJL]
I think he's going to call for Bush to resign. He just one upped Pelosi, blaming him for the death of innocents and tirrading against Bush's arrogance, incompetence. "He has exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every U.S. town and city to a greater danger of attack by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfulness, and bungling at stirring up hornet's nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us." (Is he actually saying Iraq posed no danger whatsoever to us"?) He says Bush has made the world "a far more dangerous place" and that Abu Ghraib was "the nature consequence" of Bush policies. And I'm only half listening via conference call.
Posted at 01:11 PM
GREAT MOMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF CRIME [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the Daily Telegraph:
"A knifeman made shopkeepers laugh when he tried to hold them up wearing a plastic bag with eye holes on his head and carrier bags on his feet. One petrol station cashier told 24-year-old Simon Kent: "Bugger off, you look silly." A shop assistant just said no when he demanded cash. When he returned to a village store he had robbed of £350 a few weeks earlier, he fled when his plastic bag mask blew off. He was thwarted in an off-licence raid when the cashier locked herself in a cupboard and he could not make her come out. Two assistants in a self-service store ran away and he could not open the till.Michael White, 29, his getaway driver, did not help by using his own car. Witnesses jotted down the registration number, Lewes Crown Court heard.Apart from the £350 robbery, at Broad Oak, East Sussex, only one of their other raids in Kent and Sussex was successful. Their haul was £5 and two packets of cigarettes."
Posted at 01:04 PM
"THE MOST DISHONEST PRESIDENT SINCE RICHARD M. NIXON" [KJL ]
Al Gore, just now. That’s something from Bill Clinton’s vice president.
Posted at 12:59 PM
NPR'S SOURCES ARE REPUBLICANS [KJL]
An odd survey
Posted at 12:57 PM
MICHELLE MALKIN VS. BELTWAY PERVERSIONS [KJL]
Michelle Malkin takes on a very inside-the-Beltway sex-scandal story. I won't give the names involved another Google hit here, but Michelle makes some good points, especially about the Washington Post which salaciously helped make a mini-media celeb out of an immature 20something. The"story" represents exactly what many of the honest but cynical--you know them well--all over America thing about Washington, D.C. Too bad the great things that happen everyday in D.C. aren't sexy enough.
Posted at 12:43 PM
MOVE ON ALREADY [KJL]
Al Gore was scheduled to speak at 12:30 As of three minutes ago, he still was not at the NYU locale.
Posted at 12:42 PM
ANNA THE BISHOPS [Tim Graham]
Newsweek has joined Time in offering its back-page commentary to bashing the Catholic Church debate on eucharistic rules and politicians. I should probably not try to make sense of Anna Quindlen, but here goes. She starts by complaining that by expecting Catholic politicians to vote against abortion, "certain segments of the Roman Catholic hierarchy are behaving like wholly owned subsidiaries of the Republican Party, hellbent on a course that will weaken the church's moral authority."
But oh, does Anna work to weaken the church's moral authority, pounding on the sex-abuse scandal to insist that the entire American church now has no standing to judge or instruct its flock: "Why were known pedophiles permitted to give communion for years, while people of conscience at odds with Vatican teaching (not church dogma) are prohibited from receiving it? It brings to mind the always topical injunction that it's he who is without sin who gets to cast the first stone."
In modern, sexually randy times, Quindlen found that American Catholics ignored the church's teachings on artificial contraception, and let's bring up abuse again: "Little by little Catholics made their peace with consulting their conscience instead of Father, especially on intimate issues. The intermediaries became increasingly irrelevant, especially when, in recent years, the full extent of priestly sexual predation became known."
Anna concludes: "Next month American Catholic bishops meet for a retreat in Colorado. There they should speak out against grievous sin, the sin of using communion to punish by those who have not the moral authority to persuade."
Does this sound like someone who really wants the Church to have moral authority? Or only when it turns its dogmas upside down to please "Catholics for a Free Choice"?
Posted at 11:44 AM
BRING ON THE WILD HORSES [Jonathan H. Adler]
I don't know enough about wild horse management policies to know whether this critique is accurate. I would note, however, that environmentalist outcry over the Bush Administration's alleged failure to protect wild horses on the western range is a bit ironic as these horses are not indigenous to North America. There were other horse species on the continent way back when, but they all died off several hundred years ago. All the horses here now -- wild and domesticated -- are descended from stock brought over by European settlers. It is a bit much to pretend that herds of wild horses are somehow part of the West's natural legacy. That there are any wild horses on the Western range at all is merely happenstance.
Usually, enviros complain about "alien" and "exotic" species and their environmental impacts. Indeed, that's one of the arguments some Greens make against grazing cattle. But now that wild horses compete for rangeland with ranchers and other land users, it seems some environmentalists are ready to take up this alien species' call.
Posted at 11:41 AM
SIERRA CLUB V. PRYOR [Jonathan H. Adler]
Feddie has some choice words for the Sierra Club over their motion to disqualify Judge William Pryor and their feigned devotion to originalism. The Birmingham News also takes the Sierra Club to task, albeit in a more restrained manner.
Posted at 11:31 AM
THE DREAM IS DEAD [KJL]
Ajami is depressing this morning. What say the crowd?
Posted at 11:20 AM
RFK'S GOOFY GREEN SLANG [Jonathan H. Adler]
Tim -- Maybe the reason Robert F. Kennedy Jr. resorts to goofy slang and ad hominem is because he has such a difficult time arguing the facts.
Posted at 11:08 AM
THE RIGHT NATION [John Derbyshire]
Someone mentioned Mickelthwait & Woodridge's new book THE RIGHT NATION a few days ago. My review of this book is in this morning's New York Sun. You need to register, but you should anyway -- it's an excellent newspaper. (Though if you are lazy or cheap, I've archived the review on my own website.)
After I sent in the review I got an e-mail from the editor congratulating me for having used the word "armigerous." Hey, these words are in the dictionary. They are for us to enjoy in our usufruct.
Posted at 10:58 AM
CICADAS HAVE NO SENSE OF JUSTICE [KJL]
Don't they know these guys have important work to do?
Posted at 10:54 AM
CHALABI [Rich Lowry]
Derb, I read that Chalabi editorial in the Journal too. I think they are right that the raid against Chalabi was a mistake—it was a very clumsy way to distance ourselves from him. If we no longer trust him, it would have been much better to cut him off quietly and leave it at that. Ultimately, however, despite all the vitriol from both sides of the Chalabi debate, I just don’t think he matters much. He apparently has very little political support in Iraq, and if we are going to make Iraq into any sort of democracy, being popular is going to be necessary to political leadership. Now, perhaps with his newly minted demagogic anti-U.S. rhetoric (“let my people go!”) Chalabi will be able to get some of the political support he has heretofore lacked. A word on Brahimi. If I remember correctly—the political process has had so many twists and turns it’s hard to keep it straight—I believe we tapped Brahimi in the first place because Sistani wanted someone from the UN, not just us, to certify that elections wouldn’t be possible until January. I don’t like Brahimi much either. But this is how shrewd international politics should work—you use someone who says things you don’t like and whose politics you don’t share to achieve your goals. In this case, our goal is to set up a somewhat legitimate interim government on June 30th. If Brahimi can help us do that by making the whole process seem less under the control of the U.S., I don’t care what he says about Israel. We, of course, have to watch the selections to the interim government very closely, but I haven’t seen anything in the press that makes me believe the interim government is going to be controlled by Sunni strongmen, as Chalabi’s heavy-breathing supporters sometimes suggest. Again, if Chalabi is the great democratic savior of Iraq as his boosters maintain, he can prove it at the ballot box in January.
Posted at 10:48 AM
PETER SCHRAMM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
didn't like my post yesterday about David Brooks. Brooks had said that the Declaration of Independence embodied the sentiment that God has given all people "the ability to function as democratic citizens." I said that the Declaration embodied no such sentiment, and that the sentiment is false. Schramm thinks I have the Declaration wrong, am displaying knee-jerk paleo tendencies, have never read Lincoln, and--worst of all--am "snippy."
The plain meaning of what Brooks said is not just that all people, in all times and places, should be governed by consent, as Schramm would have it, but that they actually can govern themselves democratically. What else would it mean to be able to function as democratic citizens? And that claim seems to me to be nearly obviously false. Schramm does not, himself, try to maintain its truth.
Schramm says that Brooks's formulation is "close enough for a column" and that I should not criticize a "relatively thoughtful columnist who happens to support both the President’s actions in Iraq [and] the final reason for that action." I cannot agree. I think that the political thought of the Founders is important, and deserves more careful attention than "close enough for a column"--and it is hardly a compliment to Brooks to defend him in such terms.
But I do agree with Schramm that the comments to his post are worth reading.
Posted at 10:33 AM
CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD [KJL]
From Cathy Seipp today on A&E's Ike, a reporter's exchange with director Lionel Chetwynd:
Question: "You did contribute to [Bush's] campaign?"
Posted at 10:25 AM
GORE'S OUTINGS [KJL]
Members of my own personal Corner Kitchen Cabinent who have checked in don't think he goes for Rice--southern white male and all. Ok, then: Feith (a.k.a. "Gestapo" head) or Cambone. Alternative to Dick Meyers most suggested: Abizaid (now my PC alarm goes off though--would he go for the Arab? though, Abizaid is not Christian.).
Posted at 10:01 AM
SHUT DOWN ALL THE AIRPORTS--NOW! [Michael Graham]
If I understand Mr. Moore and co. correctly, President Bush is responsible for the deaths in the World Trade Center and Pentagon because he didn't act on intelligence reports at the time.
Those intelligence reports went something like this:
"U.S. officials have obtained new intelligence deemed highly credible indicating al-Qaida or other terrorists are in the United States and preparing to launch a major attack this summer, The Associated Press has learned.
The intelligence does not include a time, place or method of attack but is among the most disturbing received by the government [in three years], according to a senior federal counterterrorism official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday."
This is an AP report from TODAY. So if the Bush-bashers are right, why was Logan Airport open this morning? Shouldn't the president have grounded all commercial air traffic right now?
And if he did, can you imagine the reaction?
So tell me again, Mr. Moore--why was 9/11 President Bush's fault?
Posted at 09:34 AM
GOOFY GREEN SLANG [Tim Graham]
On Tuesday's Scarborough Country, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. slammed CEI's Myron Ebell by saying that free-market groups are all just in bed with the oil and coal industries. "We call them biostitutes," he said. What he didn't say: the Capital Research Center will tell you that shamefully, oil companies have also given plenty of money to green groups. We could call that bio-masochism.
Posted at 09:32 AM
THE IRAQ WAR IS HELPING AL QAEDA [Michael Graham]
That's how this terrorism study from the International Institute of Strategic Studies is being played. In addition to warnings of a possible attack this summer, CBS and others are claiming that there are 18,000 Al Qaeda terrorists at large and "its ranks are growing because of the conflict in Iraq."
Oh, really? Then explain this observation from the same story:
"The estimate of 18,000 fighters was based on intelligence estimates that al Qaeda trained at least 20,000 fighters in its training camps in Afghanistan before the United States and its allies ousted the Taliban regime. In the ensuing war on terror, some 2,000 al Qaeda fighters have been killed or captured, the survey said."
So there were 20,000 before we went into Iraq, but 18,000 now...and this is supposed to be "growing?" And where is it that these 18,000 terrorists are training, planning or getting medical care? It used to be Afghanistan and Iraq.
Today, Al Qaeda members are reportedly flocking to Iraq for the chance to get killed by our soldiers and marines. This is definitely progress, but not for the terrorists.
Posted at 09:30 AM
NEVERENDING ABU GHRAIB [Michael Graham]
The Washington Post manages to turn President Bush's call to demolish Abu Ghraib into two new stories: We don't have the money to build a new prison, and there are some Iraqis who don't want Abu Ghraib demolished.
And sure enough, the Post finds a few Iraqis to complain about Bush's plan. Note that this is the same WaPo that ran stories a week ago complaining that the U.S. didn't tear down Abu Ghraib in the first place. No doubt multiple new angles are in the works for tomorrow's paper...
Posted at 09:23 AM
IT'S FLEET WEEK! [KJL]
The Corner should go live from a ship or something. Although that does mean going all the way over to the West side. (If you're averse to NYC references, I just lost you, I'm sure.) I think we could make the sacrifice...
Posted at 09:17 AM
CHALABI IN THE WSJ [John Derbyshire]
Interesting editorial in the Wall St Journal today about the Chalabi business. The main drift is, that the Bushies are so keen to hand off the whole shebang to the UN & get out, the admin is dancing to the UN tune... and the UN, or at any rate their man Lakhdar Brahimi, wants a Sunni strongman running the place. That shuts out Chalabi, who is (a) a Shia, and (b) a democrat. So Chalabi's gotta go.
I have no idea if this is right, but it's more plausible than most of the Chalabi stuff going around. Supposing it's true, how do I feel about it? It's a tough call. As a matter of abstract political science, I think I would much prefer Chalabi's vision of a new Iraq to Brahimi's. On the other hand, I regarded the whole expedition as punitive from the beginning. Teach them a lesson; smash up their stuff; kill as many of the black hats as we can find; then get the heck out. I doubt the US public has the patience for the hard slog that building up Chalabi's Iraq would require. I am perfectly sure that *the US media* doesn't. So possibly the admin's course (supposing it is as presented in the WSJ editorial) is a wise one. It does, though, reinforce the impression, which must now be very widespread, that being a friend to the US is not a good career choice.
Posted at 08:58 AM
WHO GORE WANTS OUT [KJL]
Al Gore--I know, I already lost you--will be calling on five Bush administration officials to resign in a speech today, and one member of the military command. Jim Geraghty makes predictions over in the Kerry Spot. I differ with him on only one: Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Ashcroft, Condi Rice, and Gen. Myers. (Jim has Ridge instead of Rice.)
Posted at 08:54 AM
FIRST AMENDMENT FUNDAMENTALISM [Andrew Stuttaford]
I'm all for America's separation of church and state, but this is just nuts.
Via Eugene Volokh
Posted at 08:40 AM
DERB MAKES WIRED [John Derbyshire]
"Wired," a magazine -- an excellent one -- for propeller-head geeks (a category to which I myself once belonged) has given Prime Obsession a mention. Here is Jim Raskin, creator of the Macintosh and author of "The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems," writing in the current "Wired":
"There have been a lot of books about eccentric mathematicians, but Bernhard Reimann blows the stereotype away. He had a quiet family life, was shy, and didn't go crazy like John Nash. It's nice to read about someone ordinary who was perhaps as bright a mathematician as has ever been. Derbyshire goes into great depth, and the math is quite difficult. If you're interested in it, there it is - the real equations. But if you're not, you can skip it. This is one of the best mathematical biographies I've read - and I've read a lot."
This is high praise, from an uber-geek. I blush.
The Paperback edition of Prime Obsession is now available for $10.50 on Amazon. Buy it! My children are hungry!
Posted at 08:37 AM
IRAQ & THE BEEB [KJL]
Iraqis give the BBC's Arabic site positive feedback on Iraq's progress.
Posted at 08:22 AM
RE: THE TASTE OF COLD STEEL [John Derbyshire]
The humble bayonet has a more prominent place in modern warfare than you might think. Read about this hero.
Posted at 07:45 AM
ADLER? ADLER? [KJL]
What to think about wild-horse policy?
Posted at 07:00 AM
A JOB FOR JONAH [KJL]
He should drop by 10 Downing and straighten out this perceived non-difference difference.
Posted at 06:49 AM
DIANE OR FANTASIA? [KJL]
I can't remember a recent time when I completely ignored a pop-culture phenom as much as I have ignored American Idol--voting controversies and all. I'm not immune to the whole reality-TV thing: I watched the first season of The Bachelor, Rocco reeled me in for most of the first round of The Restaturant...but Idol I've escaped. I'd ask if John Derb has been watching, but isn't it opposite O'Reilly? That would kill it in his house, I imagine.
Posted at 06:43 AM
GAY OR NOT [KJL]
Rosie O'Donnell has a new magazine. Hasn't she sufficiently proven it might not be her thing? My theory: The folks at Court TV, Fox, or CNN have invested in the new pub, on the promise of months and months of court proceedings to come.
Posted at 06:27 AM
SWEAT NO MORE [KJL]
Our man Richard Simmons is off the hook. The "six-foot-two, 250-pound ultimate cage fighter" he slapped after said large man dissed him dropped assault charges, presumably tired of being laughed at.
Posted at 06:23 AM
In case you missed it on the homepage (do check the homepage regularly, though!): You did it! This past week was National Review Online’s second-ever fundraising drive. We set our goal at $50,000. With your help — and a little rallying by some friends in high places — we met and exceeded it. In more ways than you know, NRO is as good as you are. We rely on you for financial support, criticism, occasional cheerleading, and READERSHIP. As we may have mentioned once or twice in the past week, NRO, like NR, is not a moneymaker. That's the nature of the opinion-journalism beast. Still, we try to keep the tin-cup days to a minimum. Thank you for bearing with us, and for your generosity.
Posted at 06:09 AM
CAN JONAH [KJL]
move to London? I could get used to the early start.
Posted at 05:55 AM
IN MEMORIAM [KJL]
When do Communism's victims get a memorial? A John J. Miller special.
Posted at 05:50 AM
MY "HYSTERIA" [Steve Sailer]
I realize my old buddy John Derbyshire has promised you'll find "gibbering hysteria" about Chalabi's Charade at my ISteve.com blog . Sorry to disappoint. I'm just siding with President Bush-- who recently told King Abdullah of Jordan, 'You can p**s on Chalabi'" (UK Telegraph) -- rather than with the shrinking remnant of Chalabi Cheerleaders left in the civilian wing of the Pentagon and a few thinktanks. But, please drop by and check out iSteve.com. You may find it as fun to read as Derb does.
Posted at 05:38 AM
THE TIMES MEA CULPA [Jonah Goldberg ]
NYT recants, corrects, apologizes etc it's Iraq coverage:
Over the last year this newspaper has shone the bright light of hindsight on decisions that led the United States into Iraq. We have examined the failings of American and allied intelligence, especially on the issue of Iraq's weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists. We have studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is past time we turned the same light on ourselves.
Posted at 05:20 AM
TOM CLANCY ON IRAQ [Jonah Goldberg ]
He comes out with some criticism for the Iraq war. I stopped reading Clancy a long time ago (not good enough a writer to simultaneously become an industry and deal with the end of the Cold War), but he's still got a lot of fans and they are a natural Bush constituenciy. Instapundit has more.
Posted at 04:46 AM
MUGABE'S JUSTICE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Shoot (by accident!) a member of the mob invading your home and you'll probably get chagred with murder:
A white farmer has allegedly shot dead one of President Robert Mugabe's supporters during an attack on his property.
Posted at 04:40 AM
BATTLING FOR BATTLEGROUND STATES [Jonah Goldberg]
Michigan and New Jersey going good for Bush, Ohio in the tank.
Posted at 04:29 AM
TAKING A BATH [Jonah Goldberg]
We're going on a day trip to bath today. Why? Because we can. Be home tomorrow.
Posted at 04:14 AM
REVEALED [Jonah Goldberg]
The real reason I'm in London is that I've sworn a blood oath to track down all of the Nigerian Oil Ministry and Other Third World Bank fraud emails I get every day. So far I've managed to stay out of the tabloids as I go from gritty internet cafe to gritty internet cafe thrashing sketchy dudes in Kente cloth and funny hats who begin all of their emails with anything like: "Dear Kindest Sir, You may be surprised I am contacting you this way. I received your name through a mutual friend in the diamond/oil/gas industry. I wish to transfer to you US$14,000,000...." It can get awkward reading over their shoulders until I'm sure it's them.
Posted at 04:11 AM
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
CALLS TO PRAYER AND SILENCE [KJL]
Posted at 09:00 PM
TALES OF SOCIALIZED MEDICINE [KJL]
Not even the Swedish prime minister gets satisfaction: Goran Persson needs a hip-replacement, but has to wait in line. He tells reportes: "Right now I'm in quite a lot of pain, but that's not the fault of the health system." He hopes to get his surgery by Christmas.
Posted at 08:58 PM
CASUALTY BLEG, PART II [Peter Robinson]
Two questions: 1. Before the Iraq war, I recall hearing, one group or another--the Red Cross? Amnesty International?--estimated that some 5,000 Iraqis were dying each month for want of food or medicine. Is there a reader of this Corner who can provide a source for this statistic (and, as goes without saying, correct me if my memory is mistaken)?
2. How many Iraqi civilians have died unnatural deaths since the war began? That is, how many have died for want of food or medicine or as a result of the fighting? I'm unaware of any official statistics on this, but it's my impression that a fair estimate would lie in the range of 5,000 to 10,000. Again, is there a reader of those Corner who can provide a source (and, again, correct me if I'm mistaken)?
Posted at 08:52 PM
MOORE RADIO [Dave Kopel]
On Wednesday, May 26, on WBUR Radio, Boston, I will be discussing Michael Moore, his new movie Farenheit 911, and his role in American culture. The show airs from 7-8 p.m. Eastern Time, and is available live and archived here. Listener call-ins are allowed. The program is "On Point," a syndicated National Public Radio program hosted by Tom Ashbrook. The show will open with a segment with New York Times columnist Frank Rich. Then Jim Hightower and I will talk about Moore.
Posted at 08:49 PM
RE: NORTHERN ALLIANCE [Steve Hayward]
The Powerlineblog guys at the Northern Alliance are good friends of mine; they are a good bunch. Their blog is worth checking regularly.
Posted at 08:35 PM
ATTACKS THIS SUMMER [KJL]
I have the distinct impression most everyone ignores these warning reports at this point, as a matter of course.
Posted at 07:51 PM
U.N. SEX-FOR-FOOD [KJL]
Infuriating story out of the Congo involving U.N. troops and teenage rape victims.
Posted at 06:58 PM
SMART BLOGGERS YOU SHOULD READ [KJL]
Just got done with my weekly Hugh Hewitt radio show show and on it was chatting with a bevy of boisterous bloggers from the Northern Alliance who were guesthosting for Hugh. If you think they are freedom fighters, you really need to go here.
I hear they're chasing a K-Lo-Affleck rumor. Eat your heart out E! True Hollywood Story. Think of the free NR/NRO publicity that would come from that one!
Posted at 06:44 PM
THE TASTE OF COLD STEEL [John Derbyshire]
Apropos the recent bayonet charge in Iraq by the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, a reader sent me the following stirring passage from Chapter 4 of Byron Farwell's book "Queen Victoria's Little Wars." This is an incident in the First Sikh War of 1845-46.
"Sir Harry Smith was in the thick of it and he described the action in a letter to Sir James Kempt: 'I carried the works by dint of English pluck, although the native corps stuck close to me, and when I got in, such hand-to-hand work I have never witnessed. For some twenty-five minutes we were at it against four times my numbers, sometimes receding (never turning round, though) sometimes advancing. The old 31st and 50th laid on like devils.'
"Hookhum Singh, a Sikh gunner manning a gun facing the 10th Foot, has left a description of how the advance of the British infantry looked from his viewpoint:
"'Nearer and nearer they came, as steadily as if they were on their own parade ground, in perfect silence. A creeping feeling came over me; this silence seemed so unnatural. We Sikhs are, as you know, brave, but when we attack we begin firing our muskets and shouting our famous war cry; but these men, saying never a word, advanced in perfect silence. They appeared to me as demons, evil spirits bent on our destruction, and I could hardly refrain from firing.
"'At last the order came -- Fire! -- and our whole battery as if from one gun fired into the advancing mass. The smoke was so great that for a few minutes I could not see the effect of our fire, but fully expected that we had destroyed the demons, so, what was my astonishment, when the smoke cleared away, to see them still advancing in perfect silence, but their numbers reduced to about one half. Loading my cannon, I fired again and again into them, making a gap or lane in their ranks each time; but on they came, in that awful silence, till they were wit a short distance of our guns, when their colonel ordered them to to take breath, which they did under a heavy fire.
"'Then, with a shout, such as only angry demons could give and which is still ringing in my ears, they made a rush for our guns, led by the colonel. In ten minutes it was all over; they leapt into the deep ditch or moat in our front, soon filling it, and then swarmed up the opposite side on the shoulders of their comrades, dashed for the guns, which we still bravely defended by a strong body of our infantry, who fought bravely. But who could withstand such fierce demons, with those awful bayonets, which they preferred to their guns - for not a shot did they fire the whole time - and then, with a ringing cheer, which was heard for miles, they announced their victory.'"
Posted at 06:38 PM
KERRY'S NOMINATION MISTAKE [Dave Kopel]
According to the Boston Globe, Senator Kerry had the following reaction to Republican criticism of his plan to delay accepting his party's nomination:
The senator chuckled at the criticism. "Once again, the Republicans don't know history, and they don't know facts," he said. "The truth is that it used to be that the convention, after nomination, traveled to the home or the state of the nominee to inform them they've been nominated. Woodrow Wilson was at his house in Princeton, N.J.; Harry Truman was in Independence," Mo., he said.In fact, it is Senator Kerry who apparently does not know the history and facts. On July 14, 1948, President Truman's name was placed in nomination at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia by Missouri's Governor, Phil M. Donnelly. Just as Governor Donnelly was nominating President Truman, President Truman and his family arrived in Philadelphia by train. The Democratic delegates voted for Truman's nomination that night. The next night, July 15, 1948, President Truman came to Convention Hall in Philadelphia, and accepted his party's nomination, delivering a blistering speech which set him on the course for victory in November.
As for Wilson, Kerry is closer to the truth. The 1912 Democratic Convention in Baltimore voted for the nomination to Woodrow Wilson on the 46th ballot on July 1. Wilson was formally notified of the offer on August 7, 1912, by a convention delegation which traveled to Wilson's summer home in Sea Girt, New Jersey (not Princeton).
Posted at 06:16 PM
DOWNSIDE OF GLOBALIZATION [John Derbyshire]
Globalization isn't all beer and skittles. Stories like this raise the question: are there some countries too backward and dysfunctional to benefit *even* from free trade?
Posted at 06:12 PM
RICH LOWRY ON HANNITY AND COLMES TONIGHT [KJL]
Look for him at the top of the show.
Posted at 06:08 PM
NANCY'S NONSENSE [Tim Graham]
Brent Bozell has the goods on how Nancy Pelosi can suggest that President Bush is a complete moron with blood on his hands and glide right past the Guardians of Political Civility known as the liberal media elite.
Posted at 06:06 PM
IT WAS SARIN [KJL]
Comprensive testing complete.
Posted at 05:44 PM
DERB ON SAVAGE NATION TONIGHT [John Derbyshire]
I'll be on Michael Savage's radio show around 7:30 pm EST.
Posted at 05:00 PM
ABCS ON NRO [KJL]
Of course, if readers are keeping up on their NRODT and NRO reading, they know all about Ted Greene and the ABCS. See Doug Slyva. See Rod Dreher. See Kathryn Lopez. See NRODT, Rod Dreher ("Death in Africa," Feb. 10, 2003--the cover story that issue). See Ramesh Ponnuru (“Fighting AIDS Right”), NRODT, May 19, 2003. And more…
Posted at 04:14 PM
RE: UGANDAN WISDOM [Jack Fowler]
The Winter, 2004 issue of the Human Life Review contains a great essay by Melinda Tankard Reist – “Condom Nations” – on the amazing success of “ABC” in Uganda. By promoting abstinence over condom use, premarital and multi-partner sex in Uganda has fallen dramatically, and thereby so has the HIV infection rate – it’s declined from 21 percent in 1991 to 6 percent now. For more on the powerful impact of ABC – which has knee-capped of the sacred liberal dogma that condoms and condoms alone can prevent AIDS and other STDs -- check out this May, 2003 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Dr. Edward Green, Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (he’s the expert on the issue).
Posted at 03:58 PM
UGANDAN WISDOM [KJL]
Former Surgeon General David Satcher endorses ABC AIDs prevention--"Abstinence, Be Faithful, Use Condoms"--for the U.S.
Posted at 03:31 PM
FRENCH SENSE ON FAHRENHEIT 9/11 [Jonathan H. Adler]
Not all Frenchmen like Michael Moore's latest. Legendary French filmaker Jean-Luc Goddard called Moore "halfway intelligent" and said Moore "doesn't know what he's doing" in his "documentary" film.
Posted at 03:30 PM
RE: TREEHOUSE PROGRESS REPORT [John Derbyshire]
Several readers: "You don't whip poly rope; you *fuse* it with a cigarette lighter."
I never thought of that. Now I do think of it, it seems wrong somehow...
Posted at 03:24 PM
VOICE OF THE SOUTH [John Derbyshire]
From a reader in SC: "We don't need Julia Ward Howe running the damned war effort; we need Bedfort Forrest! ('War means fightin', and fightin' means killin',' quoth that sage. 'Let us die to make men free,' wrote Howe by contrast, though keeping her spotless Universalist self a fair distance from all the dying she volunteered the bluebellies for."
Posted at 03:22 PM
GOD IS A REPUBLICAN [KJL]
David Klinghoffer on church-goers & presidential elections, from a few days ago in the LA Times.
Posted at 02:53 PM
MISSING COSMO [KJL]
(Did I really just write that?) "He'd" have fun with this cicada/squirrel fun.
Posted at 02:23 PM
IF THE RADIO GIG DOESN'T WORK OUT... [KJL]
...Al Franken can always run for Senate.
Posted at 01:52 PM
MARK SHEA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
wants people to know that they can find his blog, Catholic and Enjoying It!, at markshea.blogspot.com. For some reason, people who try www.markshea.blogspot.com aren't getting there. And I would not want to have people's inability to enjoy his site on my conscience.
Posted at 01:37 PM
TREEHOUSE PROGRESS REPORT [John Derbyshire]
On schedule for grand Memorial Day opening.
Posted at 01:14 PM
ENGLISH PRIDE [KJL]
Iain Murray e-mails: "[Jonah's] right: cricket is not a sport. It's an art." I have no opinion on the matter but I do know the Brits in The Corner are a fiery sort and probably care more about cricket than the Yanks willing to take issue with it.
Posted at 12:51 PM
GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ [KJL]
Sadr gets denounced. Michael Ledeen relays here.
Posted at 12:38 PM
PALEOS IN ORBIT [John Derbyshire]
If you think the lefty media are nothing but Abu Ghraib 24/7, try reading paleo sites, which are now Ahmad Chalabi 24/7. And if you think there's rising panic among the Beltway neocons, down there among the paleos it's gibbering hysteria.
Steve Sailer, a guy who comes up with more interesting ideas per annum than the average university, and who is a funny and literate writer with it (see his review of the movie Troy in the current American Conservative), has let his imagination loose on the Chalabi flap.
Steve's conclusion: The Iranians, using Chalabi as their cats-paw, suckered the cloddish George W. Bush and his administration of wily Zionists, dim-bulb Affirmative Action hires, and blood-for-oil globalist-corporatist schemers, into getting rid of their arch-enemy Saddam for them, by spinning tales about WMD.
I have been urging Steve for some years to write a book, a thing he has not yet done. I'd been thinking of something in the nonfiction line, but reading this stuff, Steve, maybe you should give science fiction a try?
Posted at 12:25 PM
15 KIDS?! [KJL]
There was a day (not so long ago) that wasn't so abnormal. And not just in Arkansas.
Posted at 12:04 PM
12:01 FAST APPROACHING [Rich Lowry]
Don’t miss your window to sign up for the party with NRO at Kate’s house. You can meet the great Kathryn Lopez, hobnob with Jonah, pick Ramesh’s brain about anything you like, and hang out with the rest of the NRO crew.
Posted at 11:56 AM
KRAUTHAMMER'S GASEOUS ARGUMENT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Charles Krauthammer's argument for higher gas taxes is even more "gaseous" than Ramesh indicates in this morning's piece. One aim of Krauthammer's proposal is to reduce U.S. "dependence" on MidEast oil, but his proposals will do no such thing. Oil "dependence" -- that is, an economy's vulnerability to price shocks caused by sudden changes in foreign oil produciton -- are a function of oil's proportion of overall energy consumption, not whether it is imported. Because oil markets are global, increasing domestic production and tax importation does nothing to insulate the U.S. economy from price spikes caused by supply disruptions, such as could occur were Saudi production sabotaged. This would be true even if the U.S. produced all of its own oil and imported nothing. Moreover, insofar as domestic production is more expensive than foreign production (and nearly all global production is more expensive than Saudi production), a marginal decline in U.S. oil consumption will result in less domestic produciton, and an increase in the relative share of U.S. oil that comes from the Middle East. In the end, all Krauthammer's proposal would get us is higher energy prices -- which have a significant dampening effect on economic activity -- and greater government intervention into the economy. And for what? So Americans could drive smaller (and, on the margin, less safe) cars. No thanks.
Posted at 11:55 AM
DEFENDING SCANDANAVIA NUMBERS [Stanley Kurtz]
"Pay no attention to that continent behind the curtain." Andrew Sullivan, The New Republic, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, and now Slate have desperately sought for reasons to ignore the fate of marriage in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. But the reality is, where gay unions have been tried, marriage is in decline. Today, in "Unhealthy Half Truths," I expose the statistical trick at the core of Slate's supposed refutation of my Scandinavia work. And do have a look at "Going Dutch?" my new piece on the effect of gay marriage on the Netherlands. Critics of my Scandinavia work have said that Scandinavian registered partnerships "don't count," because they're not full and formal gay marriage. They claim I haven't sufficiently isolated the causal effects of gay marriage from other causes of marital decline. And my critics say gay marriage, having followed so much marital decline, is only an effect of that decline, not a cause. I've answered all that, but the case of the Netherlands finally puts these criticisms to rest. Holland has full and formal gay marriage. The causal effect of gay marriage in the Netherlands can be disentangled from other factors. And in the Netherlands, parental cohabitation didn't begin in earnest until the campaign for gay marriage gave it the green light. Don't believe me? Read "Going Dutch?" And I'll have more on the causal nexus in the Netherlands in the next week or so. The fundamental problem faced by my critics is that marriage in Scandinavia and the Netherlands is in fact in decline. No matter how many bogus rationalizations and statistical tricks my critics deploy, the stubborn facts will return. Marriage in Europe is in free-fall. And gay marriage is part and parcel of the process of decline.
Posted at 11:50 AM
ONE SENTENCE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
in David Brooks's column today fairly leaps off the page: "[Bush] began this war in Iraq repeating the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence, that our creator has endowed all human beings with the right to liberty, and the ability to function as democratic citizens." I see two problems with this formulation: God has manifestly not "endowed all human beings with . . . the ability to function as democratic citizens," and the Declaration of Independence says no such thing.
Posted at 11:21 AM
BUSH SINKING [Rich Lowry]
I was talking to a Bush strategist yesterday who was making the case that Bush was in OK shape. Incumbents lose when their job approval is in the low 40's or high 30's--like Carter or Bush. Incumbents win when their approval is above 50--like Reagan or Clinton. Even with all the bad news, Bush seemed to hit a “floor,” according to this strategist, of an approval rating of 46-49, meaning that he can take a punch and he's still in a spot where he can win. Sure, there was the Newsweek poll that had him at 42, but no other poll had him that low. I wonder if this strategist's mild optimism has survived the new CBS poll that has Bush's rating at 41, seeming to put him closer to Carter and Bush I territory.
Posted at 11:07 AM
KERRY WHO? [KJL]
Delay nomination? As if. Kerry can keep spending, but the nomination is for the taking in July, and the it will be taken...by Hillary-McCain 2004
Posted at 10:48 AM
HISTORIC VERMONT [Rick Brookhiser]
And what, may I ask, is worth remembering about Vermont's history? When the Green Mountain Boys weren't fighting for the United States, they were scheming with the Brits. Vermont also has the distinction of being the only state to be carried by the Anti-Masonic Party. Treacherous crackpots.
Posted at 10:09 AM
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN [KJL]
If you want to sign up for the Kate O'Beirne bash, a splendid NRO kickoff to the heart of the election season, sign up BEFORE NOON today. Shutting down the operation at 12:01 EST. Thanks! Hope to see you there (as does Derb and Stuttaford and Jonah...and...).
Posted at 10:06 AM
Do note Jonah's post of last night:
THE PARTAY [Jonah Goldberg ]Jonah, naturally, will be there, and in fine form.
Posted at 10:04 AM
TAPPER'S TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT [Tim Graham]
What a weird story on ABC's "Good Morning America" today: the historic-preservationists want to list the entire state of Vermont as a historic treasure. Apparently, those Arkansas Huns from Wal-Mart want to put seven stores in the state. Horrors! ABC reporter Jake Tapper seemingly couldn't find anyone in the entire state of Vermont who wouldn't mind paying a couple of bucks less for mouthwash or dress socks.
Posted at 08:34 AM
DEFEND AMERICA, DEFEAT BUSH? [Tim Graham]
MoveOn.org is now preparing an ad with an Abu Ghraib-style mask over the Statue of Liberty. Its new bumper stickers are "Defend America, Defeat Bush" and the words "Mission Accomplished" with the word "Mission" crossed out the word "Nothing" penciled in.
Posted at 08:32 AM
IT'S OFFICIAL [Jonah Goldberg]
Cricket is not a sport. It's complete nonsense the British and their subjects do to keep the rest of the world confused.
Posted at 08:19 AM
LONDON UPDATE [Jonah Goldberg]
We just did a little tour of Parliament. I've done it before -- and recommend it highly -- and now I'm wrapping up the syndicated column. The tour guide claimed that the verb "lobby" -- as in lobby your congressman -- comes from the lobby outside the House of Commons. But I've read and heard several times that it comes from America. The story I'd heard is that comes from the lobby of the Willard Hotel in Washington -- where presidents traditionally stayed before their inauguration. Favor-seekers allegedly waited to press their case with the new president in the lobby and some president supposedly said "get these lobbyists" away from me or some such. I'll get the answer when I get home (PLEASE: don't bombard me with email while I'm in London as I am having a very hard time with email, thanks).
Posted at 07:02 AM
Monday, May 24, 2004
RE: CASUALTY BLEG [Peter Robinson]
Off to the studio in just a moment to appear on Greta van Susteren’s show, where I intend to say just what I thought of the President’s speech (maybe it’s living out here in California, a couple of thousand miles from the panicky eastern corridor, that does it, but I thought Bush spoke calmly and well). First, though, a report on my casualty bleg of this afternoon:
1. I misstated the number of casualties so far in Iraq. The American dead we’ve suffered since the war began 14 months ago numbers not under 600 hundred but just over 800 (as of today, 801).
2. The number of dead we suffered in Vietnam peaked in 1968 at 538 in September and then the same number again in November. (For details, click here: http://members.aol.com/forcountry/kiamonth.htm).
3. The number of American dead on the Normandy beaches of D-Day is unclear—the official figures combine several kinds of casualties (dead, wounded and missing) and several forces (Americans, British, and Canadians)—but a reasonable estimate, several readers suggested, would put the figure at about 1500. A still more arresting statistic: During the Second World War the United States suffered an average of 400 dead every day for a thousand days.
4. A reader offered these striking casualty figures from the Civil War: At the 1862 Battle of Antietam, 23,000 fell, killed or wounded, in a single day, while at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, 7,000 Union soldiers fell in 20 minutes.
Thanks to the more than 70 readers who replied to my bleg. Whatever the panic the press may be voicing, the readers of this Corner have convinced me, our casualties in Iraq have by any historical standard been not alarmingly heavy but remarkably light.
Posted at 10:26 PM
BUSH'S PROPER FOCUS [Tim Graham]
I liked the speech. As the media focuses relentlessly on American failings, seeing Bush live hopefully reminds Americans that we have high hopes and idealistic visions, and an enemy that murders without mercy and terrorizes without conscience. Now is the not the time for hand-wringing and skittishness. Now is the time for confidence and condemnation of the evil Baathist and terrorist remnants who bomb the United Nations, who bomb the Red Cross, who assassinate the courageous rising leaders of a new Iraq. Bush is properly focused on their crimes. Too many Americans are not.
Posted at 10:17 PM
IT'S A START [Cliff May]
But only a start. Too often in the past, this administration hasn't understood the importance of repeating a message, elaborating on a message, working a message until it burns its way into the public's mind and imagination.
Yes, it was reassuring to see the President appearing confident, articulating a plan, going into detail about who, what, when and where. But now he -- and those who claim they work for him -- need to drive the ideas he only sketched out tonight.
Also, and perhaps because the President needed to seem in command of the facts, the speech came off as rather wonkish. Hawkish national security conservatives don't need to be sold yet again on the necessity of this war. But those who will never understand such strategic arguments need to hear the human rights case for this difficult and costly project.
Maybe Kofi Annan and Michael Moore think the Ba'athists in Fallujah and that butcher Zarqawi are the equivalent of the Minutemen and the French Resistance, but most Americans understand in their guts that it would be a disaster were we to abandon Iraq to such barbarians.
Commenting on the speech tonight, Joe Lieberman said: "If we don't lose our will, someday we'll look back on what we've done in Iraq with pride." That's more the tone I'd hope to hear from the President in the days ahead. Bush and his speech writers need to think Churchill and Kennedy (John, not Ted) if the President is to successfully rouse the nation to fight and win this difficult war against these ruthless, fantatical and determined enemies.
Posted at 09:57 PM
REAL AMERICA VS. THE BELTWAY [KJL]
Posted at 09:21 PM
TALKING ABOUT ABU GHRAIB IS THE SYMPTOM [Michael Graham]
The problem with the speech tonight is that it largely still focused on the past. "Here's what we've done." And while I'm happy to cheer the unreported good news from Iraq thus far, the political problem is that people believe the situation in Iraq is going the wrong way. Driving us back down that road doesn't help.
I was hoping to hear a more forward-looking conversation, not one that dealt with cleaning up past problems. Nobody doubts the president's resolve. He's not going to quit.
The question was "How are we going to win." His answer seemed to be "We already are." I'm not sure there are many takers for that argument.
Posted at 08:45 PM
SANCHEZ OUT? [KJL]
Posted at 08:44 PM
32 MINUTES [KJL]
I think he gave a great big-picture outline. A sober one, acknowledging, once again, the ugliness we've seen and cautioning to expect more. And if you were someone watching who hadn't previously heard the whole general plan in one sitting, you got that. But as far as chilling the panic: I don't know. From my informal scan of panicked conservatives today, some of them promised me they weren't going to watch. If they watched, I can't imagine they were too satisfied by the end.
Posted at 08:41 PM
WE DID NOT SEEK THIS WAR ON TERROR [KJL]
…but this is history as we find it.”
Posted at 08:31 PM
Michael, he had to go there. And I think he did it the right way.
Posted at 08:29 PM
"THE TERRORISTS WILL NOT DETERMINE THE FUTURE OF IRAQ" [KJL]
Posted at 08:28 PM
ABU GHRAIB [Michael Graham]
President Bush just put it on the front page for at least one more day.
Posted at 08:26 PM
UNITED NATIONS [KJL]
How wonderful it would be if the president challenged the U.N. to clean house--as an act of good will to the Iraqi people and as the right thing to do.
Posted at 08:25 PM
WHO IS BUSH TALKING TO TONIGHT? [Michael Graham]
I wish he would speak to people like my listeners on 630 WMAL, conservatives who want to support the war. I think they'd like to hear specific examples of good news from the front. I think they'd like to hear specific examples of how he is going to change conditions on the ground to help our friends and hurt our enemies.
Right now, alas, I'm listening to wonkish, U.N.-style briefing paper. Is this working for anyone?
Posted at 08:16 PM
12 GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES ARE NOW UNDER THE DIRECT ADMINISTRATION OF IRAQIS [KJL]
I'm sure that's something most Americans don't know.
Posted at 08:11 PM
"IRAQ IS NOW THE CENTRAL FRONT IN THE WAR ON TERROR" [KJL]
Posted at 08:04 PM
ALWAYS A HELP [KJL]
to speak in front of a military audience. Guaranteed cheers.
Posted at 08:02 PM
FROM PREVIEW FACT SHEET [KJL]
What the media will be looking for: "A new Iraq will also need a humane, well supervised prison system. Under Saddam Hussein, prisons like Abu Ghraib were symbols of death and torture. That same prison became a symbol of disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values. America will fund the construction of a modern, maximum security prison. When that prison is completed, detainees at Abu Ghraib will be relocated. Then, with the approval of the Iraqi government, we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison, as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning."
Posted at 07:51 PM
I have had the hono of attending a Kate O'Beirne party, and it was a blast. Her husband, Jim, is an excellent host in his own right, the food was fantastic and the company divine. In fact, it was such a great party that we hardly noticed that Kate...wasn't there!
She was called away at the last minute to represent the Bush administration overseas (I'm not sure how much I am at liberty to reveal, but I can report she looks great in a burkha).
If the party was that great without Kate, I can't imagine what will happen when she's actually there.
I may need a double dose of meds. You DON'T want to miss it.
Posted at 07:44 PM
TOO BIG-THINK TO WIN? [KJL]
Excerpts from the president's speech that have been released give me the impression he's not going to win over anyone on the right he's lost on Iraq. Unless he confesses to being an emperor, who on the Left will warm up to him I exaggerate...a little)? An example: "Our actions, too, are guided by a vision. We believe that freedom can advance and change lives in the Greater Middle East, as it has advanced and changed lives in Asia, and Latin America, and Eastern Europe, and Africa?"
I dunno. Maybe the five steps will work. Oremus.
Posted at 07:43 PM
THE PARTAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
News of the happeningest shindig on the conservative calendar is going to be held at KOB's pad this September. As I am on the other side of the Atlantiic and it's past midnight here in London, I haven't had a chance to clear this date with Cosmo. His social itinerary is quite full, but for this we can probably work something out.
Posted at 07:15 PM
JACOB LEVY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
makes a bunch of good points about the liberal roots discussion that Jonah started.
Posted at 06:36 PM
CAIR [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Eugene Volokh makes a good point about it.
Posted at 06:22 PM
BUSH HITS NEW LOW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
in Washington Post poll. His job-approval rating is 47. He's still leading Kerry, though within margin and with a strong Nader vote.
Posted at 05:36 PM
MOOKIE [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "Rich, This is perfect. God Bless the American soldier. My only hope is that al-Sadr knows that his nickname is Mookie."
Posted at 04:47 PM
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS WATCH [Rich Lowry]
What do the mainstream media, the neo-cons, and the Iranians agree on? The innocence of Ahmed Chalabi. This could be a strange bedfellow alliance for the ages. Granted, most of the media is piling on Chalabi, but the New York Times amazingly ran a pro-Chalabi op-ed on Saturday. This is the strange new respect that comes with bitterly denouncing the U.S. occupation. Meanwhile, the liberal Boston Globe ran an editorial against the Chalabi raid titled “The Attack on Chalabi.” As for the Iranians, they are outraged by the espionage accusations against Chalabi. This is how a report for Radio Free Europe put it: “Iran has called the U.S. accusations ‘baseless and unfounded.’ A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Hamid Reza Assefi, said yesterday that the United States is fabricating the espionage claims in order to ‘cover up their massive problems in Iraq.’” Interesting…
Posted at 04:44 PM
BERNSTEIN COMPARES BUSH TO NIXON [KJL]
Posted at 04:40 PM
PROPOSED DRINKING GAME [KJL]
Every time the president says "United Nations" tonight, take a shot. You might need it.
Actually, you might need to water it down a little, come to think of it.
Posted at 04:28 PM
KUDOS TO DUNPHY [Roger Clegg]
Kudos to Jack Dunphy for his very moving column today on the death of Bryan Lockley. You name the social pathology, and illegitimacy correlates with it, as NRO has long documented. According to the latest National Vital Statistics Reports of the federal government, 34 percent of all births in the United States now are to unmarried mothers. Of course, it will surprise no one that nearly all births to girls below 15, and 80 percent of those to girls between 15 and 19, are out-of-wedlock. But even among women between 20 and 24, 52 percent of births are now illegitimate.
Those figures are for all races and ethnicities. As the federal report notes, however, in a decided understatement: “Birth rates for unmarried women vary widely by race and Hispanic origin.” Among African Americans, 68.2 percent of births are illegitimate, versus 23.0 percent for non-Hispanic whites. For American Indians, 59.7 percent of births are illegitimate; for Asians and Pacific Islanders, 14.9 percent; and for Hispanics of all races, 43.5 percent.
Of course, “Asians and Pacific Islanders” and “Hispanics” are artificial categories, and this is reflected in the wide range of illegitimacy rates among their respective subgroups. Thus, only 9.0 and 10.3 percent of Chinese and Japanese births, respectively, are out-of-wedlock, versus 20.0 percent for Filipinos and 50.4 percent for Hawaiians; and the percentage of illegitimate births for Puerto Ricans (59.1) is double that of Cubans (29.8), with Mexicans (42.1) and Central and South Americans (44.8) falling in between.
I will not belabor the obvious point: To indulge in an understatement of my own, those groups with higher illegitimacy rates aren’t doing as well as those with lower illegitimacy rates. Finally, let me note that one can hardly blame the high illegitimacy rate among African Americans on racial oppression. When Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote the controversial report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” in 1965, the nation was only then in the process of ending Jim Crow, yet he was alarmed that “Nearly One-Quarter of Negro Births are now Illegitimate,” to quote one of his headings. Only the delusional would deny that since then the rights and opportunities for blacks have improved dramatically, yet illegitimacy rates among African Americans have skyrocketed.
Posted at 04:21 PM
POOR RANGER [Kate O'Beirne]
We have a golden retriever who is afraid of squirrels and I fear he's no match for Cosmo. Maybe we'll board him for the party. . .
Posted at 04:04 PM
PARTY PLANS [Kate O'Beirne]
I have in mind some conservative luminaries to include at our NRO family affair on September 18th and think we should also consider inviting our least favorite "conservative" to sandbag. We'll be a pretty rough crowd. . .
Posted at 04:02 PM
CASUALTY BLEG [Peter Robinson]
In an effort to put our casualties in Iraq, which remain below 600, into some perspective, I've been casting about for historical comparisons. Is there a reader who can help me? My questions:
I know that during a single week in Vietnam, the worst week of the war, we lost 535 soldiers. Was that week in 1968 or 1969?
How many Americans did we loose on the beaches of Normandy during the first day of the invasion?
Posted at 04:00 PM
GITMO & THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS [Peter Robinson]
The episode of Uncommon Knowledge in which John Yoo and Erwin Chemerinsky do battle over the meaning of the Geneva Conventions is now online. Click here, then click on the link below "This Week's Show."
Posted at 03:59 PM
MOOKIE’S BAD WEEKEND [Rich Lowry]
It’s been a bad couple of days for Moqtada al-Sadr, who is apparently nicknamed Mookie by our troops. We have managed to deal severe military blows against his forces at the same time we have worked with other clerics to isolate him politically. We seem to have handled the situation deftly and forcefully.
Posted at 03:42 PM
KATE’S HOUSE [Rich Lowry]
Please consider signing up for the shindig at Kate’s place—it should be a blast. And if there is some conservative luminary you would like to see there who doesn’t already write for NRO—yes, there are some—just let us know and we will try to get him or her there for you.
Posted at 03:38 PM
EXPIRATION DATE [KJL]
Just a nudge note: The Kate bash invite will turn into a pumpkin tomorrow at noon--there won't be a week of annoying nags from me on this one--so act now. It will be a cool chance to meet not only NRO writers but fellow readers.
Posted at 03:24 PM
MOORE LIED ABOUT FRED BARNES [KJL]
Think of all the jealous pundits right now...
Posted at 02:52 PM
GRETA & ME [Peter Robinson]
Just learned that I'll be joining Greta van Susteran on Fox News this evening to discuss the President's speech.
11:00 PM Eastern, 8:00 PM Pacific.
Posted at 02:27 PM
BUT IT ISN'T EVEN JANUARY [Peter Robinson]
Oh, sorry, Derb. Catching up on the Corner, for a moment I thought your Friday posting was "Hogmanay in Massachusetts."
Posted at 02:26 PM
WAR GAMES [Jim Geraghty]
Blogger David Wong urges video game companies to create a war game simulator that is a little more realistic. He suggests players have a "Public Support meter to rise and fall according to Troops Lost, Length of Conflict, Innocents Killed and Whether or Not There is Anything Else On TV That Week." He also wants "my Mission Objectives to change every 30 seconds, without anyone letting me know. I want little talking heads to pop up on my screen--commanders, politicians, allies, military intelligence--each giving me different sets of victory parameters, all of them conflicting and many of them written in [expletive deleted] a**-covering doublespeak." Warning, his commentary, with illustrations, contains bad words and video-game violence. But it's also a unique statement about what modern wars include today that they didn't two generations ago.
Posted at 02:21 PM
GREAT MOMENTS IN POP MUSIC [KJL]
Jewel insults her paying audience.
Posted at 02:09 PM
THE PROBLEM WITH GEPHARDT [KJL]
A reader points out (I hadn't realized the National Guard history): "Dick Gephardt might not be the man for Kerry's VP slot for the simple reason that he served in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. The fact would seem to spoil the he-man war hero v. party boy draft dodger motif that so many of Kerry's supporters adore. "
Posted at 01:33 PM
TERRY SCHIAVO'S PARENTS [KJL]
are finally granted access to see their daughter.
Posted at 01:12 PM
"SEX BRACELETS" [KJL]
This jelly-bracelet sex-game trend is maddening on a number of fronts--but any female who was between 7 and 16 or so in the 1980s will be especially bothered.
Posted at 12:58 PM
If my e-mail inbox is any kind of survey, Corner readers are a Home Depot shopping kinda crowd, as the enthusiasm for Derb's treehouse building, I think, makes clear, too.
Posted at 12:48 PM
RE: THE LAST POST [KJL]
No, I am not completely serious. Only partially.
Posted at 12:46 PM
RE: DICK MORRIS-ISH [KJL]
But then when Kerry goes and picks an underwhelming Gephardt to run alongside underwhelming Kerry, the Dems get Hillary anyway. Maybe Kerry's even cut a deal with the Clintons to be underwelming so that folks will enthusiastically embrace HRC. THe delay-nomination strategy could be all part of setting it up...
Posted at 12:44 PM
BOOED AT HOFTSTRA [KJL]
Some at Hosftra U. wouldn't let E.L. Doctorow get away with calling W. a liar this weekend at their commencement.
Posted at 12:20 PM
NOT TO BE TOO DICK MORRIS-ISH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
but doesn't the McCain-veep boomlet help Hillary Rodham Clinton? According to the papers, Kerry thinks it's a good idea to talk up his interest in having McCain join him on the ticket even if that ticket doesn't eventually materialize. But if it's not McCain, won't almost anybody else be underwhelming? There's only one other celebrity choice out there. . . .
Posted at 12:12 PM
THERE SEEMS TO BE NO END [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 12:07 PM
MORE MCCAIN-HASTERT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Following up on Rod's last post: To go into our remaining disagreements--which of us is accurately characterizing that Dallas Morning News editorial, etc.--would be tedious. I think there are several points where you and I agree: 1) Denny Hastert is a less than ideal Speaker of the House. 2) His comments about McCain were dumb. 3) It would be nice if Republicans cut, or at least restrained, spending. 4) Some Republicans go too far in their criticisms of John McCain.
But--to get back to our disagreements--a lot of that criticism is deserved. The man has moved left in recent years on everything from embryonic stem-cell research to Internet taxes to guns to health care. One increasingly finds him voting with Chafee, Snowe, and the Democrats. (Or are conservatives supposed to eschew the RINO label for Chafee, too?) He is prone to displaying a preening moral vanity that his admirers seem incapable of seeing. He does seem awfully eager to pander to the media. One can disagree with his conservative critics, but let's not pretend there's no reason for them to be dismayed by his recent behavior.
Posted at 12:04 PM
From a reader: "I think the barn-raising idea is a good one although I imagine that as a whole, the Corner readers are inept with hammer and nails. It would be interesting to do a survey."
Posted at 11:50 AM
SEPT 18 [KJL]
I was rushing into a meeting as I sent you to Kate. Basically, here's the deal: For $750 a person and $1,000 a couple, you can party with your NRO favorites (we won't be cheap on getting NRO regulars there) at Kate O'Beirne's house in Virginia. Kate's parties are the best out there, and this is a first-ever event for NRO, and promises to be an unforgettable evening for any NRO fan. Do consider. And read Kate's whole invite here for more details. You know where to find me if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing you there!
Posted at 11:45 AM
...do I miss Jonah.
Posted at 11:40 AM
LONDON [Jonah Goldberg]
We've been here for a couple days now. Having a great time. The weather has been fantastic. Cool, high 60s to low 70s. Everything is astoundingly expensive because A) it's London and B) the dollar is worthless. I blame Stuttaford.
Anyway, I'll check-in more in a bit. I'm meeting Josh Chafetz of OxBlog fame for drinks in a couple hours and I have to do some work. Tomorrow we're doing a special tour of the parliament with my mother-in-law and two of my sisters-in-law who are arriving in London today.
Posted at 11:21 AM
DAMN GUAMANIAN GOP! [Jonah Goldberg]
Air America is falling apart and so far it's all the GOP's fault-- by lame implication:
Papantonio and others attributed the company's troubles thus far to mismanagement by Cohen, a former Republican political operative in Guam.
Posted at 11:18 AM
A SPECIAL OFFER [KJL]
We've saved the best until last in our NRO fundraiser: Let Kate tell you about the party she's got planned for September and how you can get on the guest list here.
Posted at 10:11 AM
RE: OUTRAGE [KJL]
Tim, the movie does, indeed sound awful. And it is repulsive that some of the supposed brightest (or most creative, or whatever Cannes is) would embrace it so. But, I tell you, there's so much to get outraged about in the world, I confess to often skip over Michael Moore. Which is wrong, granted, because he is a bestseller, household name. So I guess I'll buy some of those pills off you.
Posted at 09:19 AM
PEW STUDY FINDS U.S. MEDIA DISPROPORTIONATELY LIBERAL [Jack Fowler]
Yesterday the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released a broad study of journalists which includes a look at newsroom ideology, proving (yet again) that the Fourth Estate is way out of ideological sync with normal folks. While a third of Americans are self-described “conservatives,” only 7 percent of those who work in the “national press” are such. On the flip side, 34 percent of national reporters call themselves “liberal,” well over the 20 percent of unfortunate Americans who admit they’re lefties. You’ll find the details here. Save it for the next time Joe Conason and Eric Alterman and their comrades rant about the vast right-wing media conspiracy.
Posted at 08:16 AM
YOU SHOULD GET MAD [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, I know the Moore results aren't shocking, but the film sounds like it truly is. If you can't get upset with a film that crazily attacks the president and slanders the war effort, and makes wild accusations about the Bushes being tight with the bin Ladens, then you should take some outrage pills. Then there's all the liberal film critics. The same people who earlier this year sounded like a pack of anthropologists who miraculously all attended the crucifixion of Christ and became fiercely convinced that Mel Gibson is mangling history will now all treat Michael Moore like his documentaries aren't the slightest bit factually mangled. They will try to promote wide viewing of the film, evangelists of an entirely different kind. See Time's pathetic puff piece here. If anyone doubts Moore's fact-mangling record, mosey on over to www.moorelies.com and their list of related sites.
Posted at 08:13 AM
MOORE GETS A 15-MINUTE STANDING OVATION [KJL]
Is anyone surprised or outraged by Michael Moore's win at Cannes? I think I'd only be surprised if he had not been hailed there. (I can't even get worked up about the contention that it was not a political gift.)
Posted at 07:34 AM
YOU GOOGLE YOU? [KJL]
How often do you self-Google?
Posted at 07:24 AM
OUR ANIMAL-FRIENDLY FRIEND, [KJL]
Matt Scully, is profiled in the Washington Post today.
Note to anyone who needs it: Let's not coin "AnimalCon." You can be conservative and like animals. Are you sitting? There are even right-wing vegetarians.
Posted at 06:34 AM
Sunday, May 23, 2004
MONDAY'S LEAD? [Tim Graham]
Robert Moran of the Knight-Ridder reports that there is no evidence that the U.S. clumsily shot up a wedding party last week. These charges of U.S. killing of women and children led the network newscasts Wednesday night. What will they report now? And how much emphasis will they give it?
Posted at 10:46 PM
NOT THE PRETZELS! [KJL]
The BBC wonders if W. is accident prone after his mountain-bike mishap this weekend. Somehow I think a 57-year-old who is mountain-biking 17 miles has already more than proven himself on that count.
Posted at 09:37 PM
RE: BARN-RAISING [KJL]
An important details, one reader e-mails: " There definitely have to be T-shirts so we can freak out our liberal friends."
Posted at 08:59 PM
IMMIGRATION 'REFORM' [Andrew Stuttaford]
From today’s New York Times:
“After a four-year drop, apprehensions — which the Border Patrol uses to measure human smuggling — are up 30 percent over last year along the entire southern border, with 660,390 people detained from Oct. 1 through the end of April, federal officials said.”
Is this anything to do with the President’s proposed immigration ‘reform’? Well, judge for yourself. Here’s more:
“My feet hurt and I'm thirsty, but I will try again after a rest," said Edmundo Saënz García, 28, who was apprehended on the reservation one morning near the end of his journey. His toes were swollen and blistered. He walked in cowboy boots. After being fingerprinted for security, he will be sent back to Mexico, agents said.
“Mr. García said he had heard that the new Bush immigration plan, which would grant work visas to millions of illegal immigrants inside the United States and to others who can prove they have a job, was "amnesty," and he wondered why he was arrested. He said he would try to cross again in a few days…Agents and groups opposed to open borders say the spike in crossings and deaths are the fault of the Bush proposal, which is stalled in Congress and unlikely to be acted on this year. But it has created a stir in Mexico, they say.
"They've dangled this carrot, and as a result apprehensions in Arizona are just spiking beyond belief," said T. J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents about 9,000 agents. "The average field agent is just mystified by the administration's throwing in the towel on this."
”Mr. Bonner, who is not related to the border commissioner, said the people were crossing in huge numbers, even at the high risk of dying in the desert, because "they're trying to get in line for the big lottery we've offered them."
Was anyone in the administration even thinking when they dreamt up their big idea to sort out the immigration mess?
Posted at 03:28 PM
THINK LOCAL [Andrew Stuttaford]
There’s an interesting piece by Mark Steyn in today’s Chicago Sun-Times, advocating a more localized approach to giving the Iraqis more say over their affairs. Here’s an extract:
“In the Shia province of Dhi Qar, a couple hundred miles southeast of Baghdad, 16 of the biggest 20 cities plus many smaller towns will have elected councils by June. These were the first free elections in Dhi Qar's history and ''in almost every case, secular independents and representatives of nonreligious parties did better than the Islamists.'' That assessment is from the anti-war anti-Bush anti-Blair Euro-lefties at the Guardian, by the way…
“We need more of that. The best bulwark against tyranny is a population that knows the benefits of freedom, as the Iraqi Kurds do. Don't make the mistake of turning Iraq into a dysfunctional American public school, where the smart guys get held down to the low standards of the misfits and in the end they all get the same social promotion anyway. Let's get on with giving the Kurdish and Shia areas elected governors and practical sovereignty, province by province.”
If it’s doable (which is a big ‘if’, but with the Kurds, at least, it seems undeniable that it is), there’s a lot to Steyn’s argument. Read the whole thing.
Posted at 02:46 PM
STRUCK A NERVE? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Over at the always readable Oxblog, Josh Chafetz is very, very upset about the term ‘health mullah’. “Disgusting moral equivalence,’ he calls it, analogous to American leftists describing this country’s religious right as ‘the American taliban.’ He wants an explanation. Well, with the striking exception of his views on salmon, Josh is (usually!) a sensible guy, and the subject he raises is an interesting one, not only for the point he makes, but also for what it reveals about the sometimes too anodyne nature of contemporary political debate, so here goes…
Let’s start with those mullahs. The term ‘mullah’ is an English translation of a word widely used throughout the Middle East denoting a man who is (very roughly speaking indeed) a cleric. There are mullahs in, for example, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and, for that matter, all over the Western world. Well, Josh, in my view and (for what little it’s worth) as I’ve written before, health has become the new holiness, a secular religion that, for far too many of its adherents, comes with many of the weaknesses displayed by the followers of other faiths, secular or otherwise, intolerance, bigotry, superstition and the insistence on compulsion. Of course, there’s a touch of exaggeration about it, but comparing some of its adherents with “mullahs”, a word that, thanks to Iran and elsewhere, now comes freighted with notions of oppression seems entirely appropriate within the context of debate over the increasingly aggressive tactics of the anti-tobacco fanatics, the anti-obesity warriors, the anti-alcohol crusaders, well, you get the point...
As for comparing America’s 'religious right' with the Taliban (a specific regime, remember, with specific policies), that’s silly, and, with the principal exception, say, (from what I understand of them) of Christian Reconstructionists (hardly the most significant of groups) it doesn’t stand up to much examination, but as a debating tactic by the Gulag-nostalgic commies of the American Left, it doesn’t worry me, and it shouldn’t worry Josh.
‘Health mullahs’ it is.
Posted at 02:31 PM
"MOST INFLUENTIAL" [Peter Kirsanow]
NRO is the most influential website in America. I'm constantly amazed at how many of the nation's leaders and decision makers read NRO's commentary daily. K-Lo is the conductor of the finest orchestra of thinkers and writers in all of blogdom. They provide intelligent analysis and reporting unseen anywhere else. And the Corner — raucous, irreverent, erudite — is an Algonquin Roundtable of rocket scientists with a sense of humor.
Posted at 01:58 PM
TAXING TIM [Tim Graham]
Howard Kurtz's interview with Tim Russert in today's Washington Post Magazine promises to show "what he really thinks about tax cuts." But Russert actually tells Kurtz "I don't have a view on tax cuts, I really don't." But Russert's pattern of questioning very often pushes the idea that tax cuts are a bad idea. See the file of evidence here.
Posted at 01:24 PM
KYOTO WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
After a long period in which it seemed that Russia would, quite rightly, have nothing to do with the appalling Kyoto Treaty, it looks as if Putin might sign up after all. In terms of the perception over here of an “isolated” US, that’s bad news, as that is likely to increase domestic pressure on this country to sign up for this suicide pact as well. So, there are two points, for now, to make about Moscow’s new stance. Firstly, it appears to have nothing to do with the environment (Russian scientists have been scathing about the ‘science’ of Kyoto) and everything to do with Moscow’s attempt to win EU support for Russia’s admission to the WTO. Secondly, because Russian heavy industrial production is currently far lower (all those hopeless Soviet factories inefficiently producing goods that no-one wanted or needed) than it was in 1990 (the base year for Kyoto purposes) the restrictions on carbon emissions imposed by the treaty will have no effect on Russian economic development.
UPDATE: There's some useful commentary on Russia's move here.
Posted at 01:24 PM
WHAT VICTORIA REGGIE KENNEDY DOESN'T GET [Ramesh Ponnuru]
She has an op-ed in the Washington Post on communion that displays a very common misunderstanding, one relevant to non-Catholics as well as Catholics. (That is to say: This specific mistake comes in her thinking about abortion, not her thinking about communion.) She writes, "Essentially, proponents of this harsh penalty make the flawed and intellectually dishonest argument that a vote not to criminalize abortion is the moral and church law equivalent of the act of abortion itself. Then, building on that mischaracterization, they erroneously conclude that pro-choice politicians are 'obstinately persevering' in the 'manifest grave sin' of abortion and must therefore be denied the Eucharist."
Leave aside the question of whether the denial of communion is properly understood as a "harsh penalty." Kennedy seems to think that the communion-deniers are acting as though a legislator who votes to legalize adultery is himself guilty of adultery. But abortion presents a different kind of issue. The act of abortion is wrong. But so is the act of withholding justice from the unborn by denying them a right to life. It is, so to speak, a separate injustice. Even if there were no abortions in America, the legality of abortion would remain an injustice. A legislator who votes to reduce legal protections for the unborn (or votes against efforts to provide them with protections) is himself guilty of an injustice even if he himself is "personally opposed" to abortion. If he voted to make it legal to kill Italians, he would be guilty of injustice even if he himself did not go on to kill any Italians himself. These things are true, obviously, for non-Catholics as well as Catholics.
Kennedy makes the same dumb death-penalty argument that everyone else on her side of the communion argument is making. But in her case, the aforementioned misunderstanding does the key work. It is held to be worse for legislators to vote for the death penalty than for them to vote for legal abortion because their responsibility is more direct in the former case. But their responsibility for the denial of justice to the unborn is direct when they vote to deny it. Add in the fact that the church does not teach that the death penalty is gravely unjust, as abortion is, and her argument collapses. I won't bother to go into her take on canon law, which isn't worth anyone's time.
Posted at 11:59 AM
"THE FISH" [Andrew Stuttaford]
Well, it seems that the health mullahs (credit to who thought of that phrase, I’ve just forgotten who he/she is) down at Bondi Beach are not alone in using ‘the fish’ as the latest argument for banning smoking on beaches. The London Observer has more:
”Smokers are turning Britain's coastline into a giant deathtrap for marine wildlife, prompting calls for smoking bans on beaches similar to measures being introduced in the US and Australia.
“An authoritative survey of the nation's beaches reveals that over the past year there has been a sharp rise in the number of cigarette butts being discarded, with potentially fatal consequences for birds, mammals and fish.
“Wildlife groups say the butts, containing a form of plastic called cellulose acetate, can last for up to 100 years and pose serious risks to animals. Figures published by the Marine Conservation Society show that last year there was a 25 per cent rise in the number of discarded butts collected by its volunteers, an increase that has alarmed the charity. During one weekend last September volunteers collected 14,659 butts from 244 beaches - the equivalent of 109 stubs every kilometre. The previous year the society collected around 11,000 butts, or 86.7 every kilometre, suggesting more and more smokers are failing to clean up their litter.”
Oh, where to begin?
Well, it is, of course, highly counter-intuitive to think that the Brits have suddenly started chucking away dramatically larger numbers of cigarette butts over the course of just one year - especially as smoking is on the decline. It’s much more likely that this year’s crop was the result of a more thorough search, but the Observer doesn’t give us data comparing the work (number of volunteers etc.) that went into this year’s “authoritative” survey as compared with the last effort. Funny, that.
More to the point, nasty though it is to throw away cigarette ends on the beach like that, an accretion of 14,659 over the course of one year is hardly a dramatic total, even if it only represents a smallish fraction (does it?) of the butts munched by seagulls or swept out to sea to be swallowed by, er, halibut, flounder and jellyfish.
The only thing that this survey shows is that the anti-tobacco jihadists will clutch at anything, anything , however dubious, to justify their assault on smokers. It would be nice, for once, if they could be held to the same standards of honesty which, quite rightly, we insist on from the cigarette companies.
How about it?
Posted at 11:46 AM
RE: KOPEL ON FRANKEN [Mark R. Levin]
Sorry Dave. I don't share your high opinion of Al Franken's show. It is awful. His ratings trend is awful. He is obsessed with Rush. The chemistry between Franken and his junior host is non-existent. And his humor usually falls flat. Otherwise, he's terrific. I guess he sounds differently over the Internet than over the radio.
Posted at 11:42 AM
By the way, I'm game on Jonah's civically responsible idea. Open to ideas...
Posted at 11:36 AM