CROOK, THUG, BULLY [Andrew Stuttaford]
In between dodging indictments, Jacques Chirac has made great play of attacking George W. Bush for his supposed arrogance, unilateralism and all-round nastiness. Well, let's take a look at how Chirac has behaved in pushing the candidacy of slimy Guy Verhofstadt for the presidency of the EU bureaucracy. We needn’t waste too much time discussing Verhofstadt himself. He’s the Belgian prime minister, a job roughly on a par with being emperor of Wyoming. Talentless, sleazy and vain, he’s just the latest nonentity to crawl out of the cesspit that makes up that unfortunate country's political establishment. But Chirac wanted him installed as the EU’s top bureaucrat, and what Chirac wants, Chirac often gets, and if he doesn't...
Let the Independent take up the story:
“Another source said of the French President's stance: "It had overtones of Chirac's performance when he told the new countries of eastern Europe to shut up over Iraq. He was trying to bully them into dropping their positions. He was accusing small countries that didn't declare their support for Verhofstadt of moral cowardice."
Or the Daily Telegraph
“Mr Chirac said it would be better if the EU executive were headed by someone from a country with long experience of the EU and which was a member of all its activities, including the single currency and the Schengen open-border agreement. That ruled out contenders from Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and all 10 new eastern European member states - most notably Chris Patten, one of Britain's EU commissioners, who had won last-minute backing from the centre-Right European People's Party, the biggest group in the European Parliament.”
None of my comments on this issue, of course, should be taken as derogating from my support of the Barnier! campaign for the Commission presidency. Mysteriously, this latter-day Richelieu, this Mazarin, this Talleyrand, was omitted from the Independent’s roll-call of candidates. Just for a moment, why not admit it, I was tempted away from the Barnier! camp by the splendid credentials of Portugal’s Antonio Vitorino (“a Socialist, he is little known outside Brussels and his home country”), but then sanity reasserted itself….
Posted at 03:21 PM
KERRY TO VARELA: "DROP DEAD" [Andrew Stuttaford]
However noble in inspiration, some of the foreign policy dreams we have seen touted in recent years are just that, dreams, but ‘realism’ should never be used to kick in the teeth of the defenseless. This comes from an intriguing column by David Brooks:
“Sometimes in the unscripted moments of a campaign, when the handlers are away, a candidate shows his true nature. Earlier this month, Andres Oppenheimer of The Miami Herald asked John Kerry what he thought of something called the Varela Project. Kerry said it was "counterproductive." It's necessary to try other approaches, he added.
“The Varela Project happens to be one of the most inspiring democracy movements in the world today. It is being led by a Cuban dissident named Oswaldo Payá, who has spent his life trying to topple Castro's regime. Payá realized early on that the dictatorship would never be overthrown by a direct Bay of Pigs-style military assault, but it could be undermined by a peaceful grass-roots movement of Christian democrats, modeling themselves on Martin Luther King Jr.”
Even if Kerry were right about the Varela project (I don’t think he is, but that’s a legitimate debate), why say what he said aloud?
Posted at 02:38 PM
IT IS SAFE TO GO BACK TO D.C. [KJL]
Posted at 02:35 PM
CARELESS WHISPER [KJL]
Andrew, watch your titles. Didn't George Michael get in a bit of trouble for something similar to that?
Posted at 02:03 PM
THEN AND NOW [Andrew Stuttaford]
On the EU ‘constitution’s’ ratification process (from the Telegraph):
“If a single country fails to ratify the treaty it is legally - though not politically - null and void. In reality, a "Petit Non" by a small country is not the same as a "Grand Non" by one of the big players.”
From Animal Farm:
"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."
Posted at 01:49 PM
HERE THERE BE DRAGONS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Posted at 01:30 PM
JACQUES CHIRAC'S POODLE [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the Daily Telegraph today:
"We must take the constitution seriously. Mr Blair has made perhaps the most serious blunder of his premiership by signing it. He should have rejected this mind-numbing, 260-page document on principle. It is the capstone of a federal state, and gives the EU a foreign minister, a criminal code, a European prosecutor and a police force. We face a net loss of vetoes in about 40 areas and the constitution sets in stone an outdated, over-regulated economic model just at the moment that it is failing."
Posted at 01:28 PM
NRA-DIO [Andrew Stuttaford]
James Taranto on the NRA’s new radio station:
"In a direct challenge to federal limits on political advocacy, the National Rifle Association plans to begin broadcasting a daily radio program on Thursday to provide news and pro-gun commentary to 400,000 listeners," the New York Times reports.”
”In a direct challenge to federal limits on political advocacy, the New York Times Co. plans to continue publishing a daily newspaper to provide news and antigun commentary to 1.1 million readers.”
Posted at 01:16 PM
MIDGET FIGHT! [Andrew Stuttaford]
With the EU Constitution done for now, discussion now shifts to a successor to Prodi as president of the EU Commission. Prodi is as venal as he is ineffective and was thus perfect in the job. Where to look now? Well, here’s the Guardian’s take:
”Neither leader made much attempt to deny the continued deadlock over the choice of a new president for the Brussels commission - with Mr Blair leading a six-nation bloc against the French-backed Belgian candidate and Mr Chirac giving the thumbs down to Britain's Chris Patten. The prime minister said his rejection of the Belgian premier and anti-American federalist, Guy Verhofstadt, meant "no disrespect". Mr Chirac is now promoting Michel Barnier, the lacklustre French foreign minister, against the Portuguese prime minister, Jose Manuel Durao Baroso.”
Barnier sounds perfect. Barnier! Barnier! Barnier!
Posted at 11:07 AM
DON KWIXOTT, CONTINUED [Andrew Stuttaford]
I’m still getting angry e-mails from readers outraged, outraged, by my remarks on the pronunciation of Cervantes’ epic. That doesn’t change the fact that ‘Don Kwixott’ is how it used to be pronounced (in England). Yup, that’s how it was. Live with it. No comments, interestingly, from these folks so far on that rather awkward ‘quixotic’. Or should that be Keeyotic?
Whilst on this topic, however, lets take a look at the Irish word for ‘prime minister’, taoiseach. It’s a perfectly good word, even a splendid word, but it’s an Irish language word, not an English one. For some reason, probably to do with some vague blend of political correctness and guilt, the British press (particularly its more liberal sections) regularly describe the good Mr. Ahern as ‘Taoiseach’ rather than Prime Minister. That’s odd. The only precedents I can think of for this sort of treatment were Mussolini, regularly described as Duce, and old Adolf, the Fuhrer, and neither of these precedents is exactly, well, flattering.
Posted at 10:51 AM
IT'S 1998 AGAIN [Tim Graham]
I only caught the end of Tucker Carlson's PBS interview with Kenneth Starr last night, but it had entirely the same mellow, wouldn't-be-prudent vibe as the entire 1990s. So to the extent that anyone pays attention to both men this weekend, it sounds a little like this:
Ken: Well, gee, the president was very impressive. He's a very effective speaker and advocate. I have no judgments to offer that weren't in my referral, heavens to Betsy.
Bill: Ken Starr was the instrument of the vast right-wing conspiracy, crushing innocents as he squandered millions of dollars and oppressed poor Susan McDougal, trying to get her to lie. His operation was unethical and illegal.
Posted at 10:37 AM
OUR LADY OF BRENTWOOD? [Tim Graham]
The workmates started giggling the closer they looked at the cover of Arianna Huffington's new book, Fanatics and Fools. It is just us, or does it strike you as a bit egomaniacal that Arianna is painted as sitting God-like with her satiny hair highlights over a little chessboard of national leaders that she so thoughtfully ponders as a sunburst of rays seems to shine from her all-knowing aura?
Posted at 10:24 AM
RETRIBUTION [Rod Dreher]
Dear Charlotte Allen at The Inkwell chortles over the fact that one of the paintings that burned up in that huge art warehouse fire in London recently was Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary." You might remember that that painting depicted the Virgin Mary covered with cow dung. It hung in the Brooklyn Museum of Art several years ago, and caused quite a stir. One's heart bleeds at this tragic loss.
Posted at 10:19 AM
MORE FOR THE DUBIOUS-FREEDOM FILES: BIOLOGICAL CLOCK GETS MORE PRECISE? [KJL]
Will women soon be able to measure their egg inventory? I'm picturing a monthly check-off for the career gal...how far women have come!
Posted at 10:17 AM
CAMPUS SEGREGATION [KJL]
There's a column in the education section of the Washington Post that annoys me: Arguing that college admissions tours should divide up students and parents for tours because when they are together, students tend not to ask questions.
What questions are they afraid to ask?
Leung, the tour guide at Harvey Mudd, said he wanted his parents with him when he was a high schooler visiting colleges "because I wanted them to be okay with my coming to a college that they knew very little about . . . and I wanted to see their reactions during the tour." But for many families, he said, tours without parents would work well because students would be more apt to ask about issues of concern to them, like the social scene, roommates, parties and dating.Here's a fuddy-duddy point: Choosing a college should first be about academics and scholarship. The social life is obviously important and an essential part of it, and will likely change your life (for better or worse), but I don't think a little focus on the academic life, and adult questions like safety, too, can hurt high-school students, at least for this tour. Goodness knows they'll be lots of social time during the spring view event for attempted students, and then countless ones during (sometimes both summer and fall) orientation. Keep the kids with their parents. They'll be thrown to the dogs of "freedom" and "independence" soon enough!
Posted at 10:00 AM
JOINING THE CLASS-ACT EX-PRESIDENTS [KJL]
From AP excerpts of the Clinton book: "Among them was Clinton's recollection of warning President Bush during the post-election transition that Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network were the biggest threats to national security, but that Bush said little before changing the subject. "
Posted at 09:50 AM
Friday, June 18, 2004
BLAIR ON JOHNSON'S MURDER [Andrew Stuttaford]
"The first thing to say is to express our shock at such an act of barbarism. It shows the nature of the people we're fighting. People who can do that sort of thing are not people you can negotiate with. They're people you have to defeat.''
Posted at 07:05 PM
TIMES CHANGE (2) [Andrew Stuttaford]
"Valery Giscard d'Estaing has been heading a 105-member convention aimed at simplifying EU treaties, putting them into a language everyone can understand and bringing the organisation closer to citizens. "
"The constitution probably faces a bigger battle to get ratified than it did to get agreed. One of its major problems is that it is so complex that it is completely inaccessible to most EU citizens. "
Posted at 07:02 PM
FORGIVE ME... [Rich Lowry]
...for responding to Andrew Sullivan--everyone must be sick of all the back-and-forth in The Corner with him. But he bizarrely misreads my column today as arguing that no one should criticize the Bush administration's handling of Iraq. But the point of it is instead that we should have patience with this mistake-prone occupation (I call it "ever shifting, contradictory, beset by bureaucratic squabbles and undone by events on the ground") because occupations tend to be mistake prone. To buttress this point, I draw on the work of that notorious Bush-hack Niall Ferguson. Andrew writes, "I don't think it helps the war effort never to critize it." Who possibly could disagree with that? What's so bizarre about Andrew's line of attack is that two months ago he wrote a piece attacking NR for being TOO criticial of the Bush-led occuptation in Iraq (we said, among other things, that “the Bush administration has shown a dismaying capacity to believe its own public relations”). Andrew's piece was titled “Quitters,” and warned--I kid you not--that NR was “flirting with” a “kind of skepticism and realism.” Strange, very strange...
Posted at 06:43 PM
"SHUT UP" [KJL]
From an e-mailer:
I have an idea about the torture tapes shown at the AEI the other day.ME: NRO gave you the graphic run-down here. And a trip to the AEI site, after a few seconds scan of the layout, will bring you to the tape if you want it.
Posted at 06:27 PM
ON A SOMEWHAT LIGHT (COMPARATIVELY), DUMBING-DOWN NOTE [KJL]
Vote and get a free beer?
Posted at 06:11 PM
AL QAEDA CHIEF IN SAUDI DEAD? [KJL]
Al Arabya is evidently reporting that Abdel Aziz al Muqrin has been killed (pretty immediately after the Johnson body was found, if so). (I just heard on CNN; here's Reuters.)
Posted at 05:45 PM
NYT ON PAUL JOHNSON [Andy McCarthy]
This from the Times -- a little further down in the article than I would have expected it, but as predictable as the morning sun: "Resentment toward the United States has intensified in the Middle East in recent weeks with the disclosures that Iraqi prisoners were mistreated by American jailers."
Posted at 05:36 PM
TNR--WAS IT WRONG? [Rich Lowry]
Just read The New Republic's editorial on whether it was right to support the war or not. I have some quibbles, but it seems pretty reasonable. I'm glad that they make this concession: "Iraqis, who we hoped (and still hope) will become a model for their region, have proved more susceptible to its pathologies than we expected. Fanatical Islam, America--hatred, and a penchant for conspiracy theories--all forces we hoped a free Iraq would undermine--have instead undermined our efforts to build liberal institutions." A lot of Wilsonian supporters of the war have been very slow to admit that the nature of Iraq--a tribal society, ravaged by tyranny--is part of the problem with our occuptation there. They have preferred to pretend if their advice had been followed on various policies, more troops, more spending, Iraq would practically be a liberal democracy by now. Bully to TNR for being more honest than that. Also, I was struck by the last paragraph, which is very similar to the last paragraph of NR's editorial two months ago that was denounced as “wobbly” on the TNR website: "The outcome of that debate is in Arab hands, not American ones. Even in Iraq, although we must still assist as best we can, our control is slipping away. Ultimately, it is this new, bewildering, liberating debate, rather than U.S. force of arms, upon which our hopes for Iraq, and the whole Arab world, now rest. Americans no longer have the power to redeem this war. But Iraqis still can." Very reasonable stuff, but different in tone from (but not strictly contradictory with) Peter Beinart's column a few weeks ago scoring conservatives for being ready to blame Iraqis if the occupation doesn't work.
Anyway, I think it's a totally reasonable exercise to re-examine the grounds for going to war, in light of events. But two fundamental points: 1) the decision to go to war always has to be made on the basis of imperfect knowledge at the time--you obviously can never make the decision in retrospect; 2) if you support a decision to go to war, you buy into things inevitably going wrong, and if you can't handle that, or don't think the venture will be worth it if they do, you shouldn't support the war in the first place. That's why the tone of some of the neo-cons lately, and the about-faces of some of those who banged the drums for this war very loudly strike me as pretty disgraceful.
Posted at 05:30 PM
SURPRISE [Andy McCarthy]
The winner, already, is choice (b). This just in from Reuters:
After describing the three photos of "what appeared to be Paul Marshall Johnson's severed head[,]" the story elaborates:
"This act of revenge is to heal the hearts of believers in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula," the statement said.
Posted at 05:14 PM
TIMES CHANGE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Tony Blair, Warsaw, October 6th, 2000:
"It is perhaps easier for the British than for others to recognise that a constitutional debate must not necessarily end with a single, legally binding document called a Constitution for an entity as dynamic as the EU. What I think is both desirable and realistic is to draw up a statement of the principles according to which we should decide what is best done at the European level and what should be done at the national level, a kind of charter of competences. This would allow countries too, to define clearly what is then done at a regional level. This Statement of Principles would be a political, not a legal document. It could therefore be much simpler and more accessible to Europe’s citizens."
Via the bloggers over at EU Referendum who note that the text of this speech is "strangely, no longer available on the No, 10 Downing Street web site."
I wonder why that could be.
Posted at 05:11 PM
MEMO TO DEMOCRATS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, & CO. [Andy McCarthy]
Every time you parade the Abu Ghraib photos, every time you parrot the patently ridiculous pretension by these repulsive murderers that decapitations are motivated by what those photos depict -- rather than by a belief system that exudes hatred and murder -- you are guaranteeing that there will be more Daniel Pearls, Nick Bergs and, now, Paul Johnsons. You are telling these monsters that they get a free ride: They get to kill, which they would do anyway, and they get to have you tell the world that the proximate cause of the killing is the U.S. government rather than militant Islam. Scorecard: al Qaeda - win, win; America: lose, lose; Americans: die, die.
There are two possible story lines here: choice (a) Paul Johnson was viciously beheaded today, becoming just the latest of thousands of victims slaughtered by a menace that cannot be managed, need not be culturally understood, and must be totally eradicated; or choice (b) Paul Johnson died today; an Arabic website, upon first breaking the news, explained that his death was retaliation for the scandalous abuse of Iraqi prisoners by occupying U.S. forces in Baghdad, where the Bush administration is alleged to have employed harsh interrogation tactics -- in violation of the Geneva Conventions -- in order to press for intelligence about weapons of mass destruction which have yet to be found.
Anybody have the slightest doubt which choice we'll be reading and seeing?
Posted at 05:03 PM
A MOTHER'S BRAVERY, AN EXAMPLE FOR A COUNTRY [KJL]
This comes from Karl Zinsmeister's hot-off-the-presses book, Dawn Over Baghdad: How the U.S. Military is Using Bullets and Ballots to Remake Iraq
There are times when the best response, perhaps the only response, to the hard blows of existence is to embrace each lump as a badge honoring the determined striving that produced it. In 1918, Teddy Roosevelt’s son Quentin (who had left Harvard during his sophomore year to serve in World War I) was shot out of the sky in one of aerial warfare’s early dogfights. German propagandists took photos of his maimed body amidst his plane’s wreckage and, hoping to dampen American morale, sent one to Mrs. Roosevelt. Rather than let herself be cowed, however, she insisted that the picture be framed and displayed over a mantelpiece, a symbol of her family’s sturdiness and their pride in sacrifice for a high cause.ME: Mrs. Roosevelt saw probably the worst image imaginable--a mother having to look at the remains of her son, sent by gleeful, evil people--and she wouldn't let anyone forget it. May we react similarly to the murders of Mr. Johnson, Mr. Berg, Mr. Pearl. We should react similarly to the scenes of torture of Iraqis. And to the memory of everyone who was murdered on September 11. And to everyone who has been murdered at the hands of the terrorists who would have us all dead.
Posted at 04:40 PM
SUICIDE NOTE [Andrew Stuttaford]
"BRUSSELS, June 18 (Reuters) - European Union leaders formally adopted a historic first constitution for Europe on Friday, giving a new start to the reunited continent six weeks after the bloc's enlargement across the former Iron Curtain. "The constitution is OK," an EU diplomat said as the leaders applauded Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who successfully chaired the negotiations."
Invective to follow.
But before that, it's worth noting that the Treaty has not yet been "adopted", but, hey, I've long since given up hopes of any accuracy from Reuters. Adoption depends on ratification at the national level, and that is where things will get interesting. In the UK, Tony Blair's task will be to persuade a skeptical British public that the white flag he has just waved is in fact tinted a reassuring shade of gray.That won't be easy. The historically-minded, meanwhile, will note that today is the anniversary of the victory at Waterloo. The Iron Duke, one imagines, would not be impressed by the way this June 18th has turned out.
Posted at 04:40 PM
PRESIDENT BUSH ON THE JOHNSON MURDER [KJL]
I want to express my deepest condolences to the family of Paul Johnson. We send our prayers and sympathies to them during this very troubling time.
Posted at 04:33 PM
Cliff will be on Crossfire at 4:30ish.
Posted at 04:30 PM
RE: THE JOHNSON COMMINIQUE [KJL]
Cliff May points out to me: "Notice also his was al Qaeda’s “Fallujah Detachment.” So the NYT may not think there’s any link between al Qaeda and Iraq – but al Qaeda does."
Posted at 04:28 PM
AEI & THAT VIDEO LOOK AT HELL [KJL]
Michael, I greatly appreciate that AEI has made that video available to the world. It's worse than even Nick's graphic descriptions describe. I do strongly suggest you read Nick's piece and read the AEI transcript before you consider watching that video. If you haven't seen those images yet, you'll be surprised how unprepared even you are.
Posted at 04:22 PM
RE: THE TORTURE TAPES [Michael Ledeen]
I have a coupla thoughts about the torture tape story. As mentioned earlier in here, last week we showed such a tape at the American Enterprise Institute, and presented six Iraqi victims, the ones who had had their hands amputated at Saddam's orders.
In addition, the victims identified at least one torturer who currently holds a position of power in Iraq. And they pointed out that they are among the few people able to testify about Saddam's crimes against humanity at the upcoming (let us hope at least) trial of the ex-dictator.
The USG has not done well by these people, as Richard Perle and I pointed out at the AEI conference. It took private benefactors to get them to America and to arrange for their surgical repair in Houston. And private benefactors have raised money to help them develop decent security back in Iraq. One would hope for more. One might even ask Jerry Bremer why he has not done more. After all, he has signed billions of dollars of checks while serving as viceroy. Why not protect these people?
In short, it was a pretty newsworthy session. Nobody came from CNN or from the "majors." Nobody came from the NY Times or the Wash Times or the Wash Post (although the "Post" had buried the existence of the tape on page 18 or something a couple of days before. Pretty stingy, but still something, and the headline was something like "Administration seeks to deflect attention from Abu Ghraib..."
The entire session was shown live on the web. It is now posted on the aei website www.aei.org, and the torture tape is there too, sound and all.
Maybe forty people showed up. You can be sure that if we'd found more Abu Ghraib--American style material there would have been hundreds of people. Deborah Orrin wrote a wonderful piece about it for the NY Post.
So Aaron Brown can claim to have "covered" this, but it didn't happen. I'm glad CNN did something, but it isn't good enough.
Posted at 04:14 PM
JOHNSON COMMINIQUE [KJL]
The conclusion of the message from his murderers to us--you and me: "As for the Americans and their supporters, blasphemers and criminals who ganged up in their coalition for a war on Islam, this action is an example and a lesson for them to be sure that those of them who came to our country will receive the same fate and God is our guide to the path of righteousness." (Courtesy the Site Insitute.)
Posted at 03:47 PM
JOHNSON PHOTOS: (WARNING: SOME DESCRIPTION FOLLOWS) [KJL]
My reaction isn't particuarly special or unique, is it? How could it be? I am livid and repulsed again--photos are circulating again of an American beheaded, his detached head is resting on his body. I am reminded again, in this terrible way that every American is at war right now. George Bush didn't make that choice. The bad guys did. And they will keep killing us. Secondguessing the liberation of Iraq isn't going to save American lives, only resolve, clarity, courage, and sacrifice will.
Posted at 03:44 PM
BELLY OF THE BEAST [Jonah Goldberg]
I just did a luncheon panel at the Brookings Institution. I was the only conservative in the room. On the panel: Michael Tomasky, Harold Meyerson, Tom Mann, Belle Sawhill, Peter Beinart and host E.J. Dionne. It was actually pretty interesting and everyone was quite nice to me, even though quite a few seemed to think I had two heads. What was particularly interesting: liberals and Democrats inside the Beltway feel pretty damn good about John Kerry's chances.
Posted at 03:25 PM
PREPOSITIONAL PREPOSTEROSITY [John Derbyshire]
Speaking of (a) ending sentences with prepositions, and (b) the expression "down under" (for the antipodes): I believe the most prepositions anyone has ever ended a sentence with is eight, in the bedtime grumble of a young child: "Aw, Mom, what'd you bring that book I don't like to be read to out of about Down Under up for?"
Posted at 03:22 PM
KNOCKED 'EM IN THE OLD KENT ROAD [John Derbyshire]
Corner readers baffled by the heading on Andrew Stuttaford's last posting might care to know that "Brahms and Liszt" is Cockney rhyming slang for the state of being inebriated. A google on "rhyming slang" will flesh out the details.
As an explanation for the decline of the British from straight-backed, pith-helmeted, poetry-loving, brown-kneed apostles of parliamentary democracy and fair play to illiterate leering drunks, the rise of rhyming slang is hard to beat. What time or energy can you have left over for the Civilizing Mission when you have to spend your days trying to figure out what the other guy meant by "'Ave a butchers at me new yoyo"?
Posted at 03:21 PM
THE WHITE HOUSE ON THE TORTURE TAPE [KJL]
From yesterday's White House press briefing:
Q On Tuesday, the American Enterprise Institute held a media event where a video of Saddam's atrocities was shown. The tape showed fingers being cut off, tongues being cut out, and beheadings. None of the networks showed the tape. And few media outlets even mentioned it. Did anyone in this administration ask that these images not be showed to the American people?
Posted at 03:20 PM
FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
New G-File is up.
Posted at 03:17 PM
NOTE FOR RUMMY'S NEXT PRESS CONFERENCE [John Derbyshire]
"In Infinity and the Mind (1982), on the other hand, Rudy Rucker proposes a number of ingenious ways finite beings like us might really know, and not merely 'know', infinity but does not go so far as to argue that we could really know that we really know."
---Michael Harris, reviewing David Foster Wallace's Everything and More in the current Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
Posted at 02:47 PM
BENEATH THE SOUTHERN CROSS [John Derbyshire]
News from Down Under: "TASMANIA celebrated one of the more outrageous and, until recently, almost unmentioned episodes in its colourful history yesterday with the unveiling of a painting called The Flash Mob by local artist Peter Gouldthorpe. Back in 1844, about 300 disgruntled inmates at Hobart's women's prison, the Female Factory, hiked up their skirts to flash their bottoms at Governor John Franklin. According to the diary of the Reverend Robert Crooke, the women slapped their buttocks in unison and made 'a loud and not very musical noise'. Gouldthorpe's work shows Franklin and his bemused wife looking on as prison chaplain William Bedford provokes the show of defiance. The Flash Mob will be sold in print and postcard form to raise funds for continuing restoration works at the Female Factory site."
Posted at 02:40 PM
BRAHMS & LISTZ [ANDREW STUTTAFORD]
Commenting on a jibes about British drinking habits in Baghdad's 'green zone', Stephen Pollard has this to say:
"Since the most important element of a night out in Britiain - an overwhelming sense of impending violence - is already present, all that is needed is the stench of urine and vomit in the street and it'll feel just like Blighty."
Posted at 02:10 PM
THEY KILL AGAIN [KJL]
Reports: Paul Marshall Johnson has been beheaded by al Qaeda.
Posted at 01:56 PM
DO I HAVE THIS RIGHT? [Jim Geraghty]
The Left: The war on Iraq is a disaster! The world hates us! You did it unilaterally! You should have gotten Russia on board. You should have gotten Putin to support a U.N. resolution. The support of Russia would show this isn't just America being imperialist, but the whole unified world coming together to face Saddam.
The Right: Well, Putin says Saddam was going to attack us with terrorists.
The Left: Well, who the hell trusts Putin and the Russians?
Posted at 01:49 PM
ISN’T THIS NEWSWORTHY? [KJL]
Another words or so about the Abu Ghraib torture tape Nick wrote about yesterday: A source who was involved in the process tells me it was actually made from a longer composite tape which lasts about an hour and a half. The source tells me: “The 3 and a half minute tape [the one NRO has] begins with a clip of a man with two hands standing and then continues through his operation and a shot of him in recovery with his stump bandaged. At the press conference in the Senate and at the AEI event [Deborah Orin wrote about this week], the person in question whose hand was amputated actually was a LIVE PARTICIPANT who sat and watched the clip of his own atrocity. Apparently the journalists in the room did not find this compelling.” That’s two public events this month now—how is it not a story? I just don’t get it.
Posted at 01:49 PM
IMPRIMATUR [John Derbyshire]
Writing "which I responded to here" instead of "to which I responded here" would not involve you in having dangled a participle, nor even in the lesser syntactical crime -- actually, pseudo-crime -- of having ended a sentence with a preposition. I refer you to Fowler's entry headed "unattached participles," or (better, for my money) Follett's headed "danglers." (Though you must then proceed straight through to read the following article: "danglers, acceptable."
Which reminds me of a Wodehouse moment I had many years ago. I was attending a full-dress military event in a north of England town. The star of the thing was a much-decorated elderly Brigadier, who came up from Aldershot on the train. It had been arranged that he would stay overnight at the home of my C.O., a Colonel, with a very prim and proper wife. The Brigadier duly arrived at the house, parked his bags in the hall, and went off to his bedroom to get kitted up for the event. This, for reasons I forget, involved him pinning on his actual medals, a thing not easy to do when you've already got your jacket on. A few minutes later, the downstairs company was treated to the sight of this old soldier leaning over the upstairs balcony, calling down to the Colonel's wife: "Would you mind coming up to the bedroom, my dear? I need help with my danglers."
Posted at 01:38 PM
MAKING YOUR WAY THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD [KJL]
Don’t forget to check out the homepage today: Meghan Gurdon on diplomatic maneuvers in her household, Tom Gross dissecting the Beeb, Scholar Tom Madden writes on the latest blow to Inquisition conventional wisdom, Rich on how history bears on the current struggles in Iraq; Leonard Albin on why John Kerry’s best bet in the Veep department is…himself; Fox’s David Asman, John Podhoretz, Jana Novak, Bruce Stockler, Colleen Carroll Campbell, Jonah, Derb, Stuttaford, Nick Schulz, & K-Lo others on fatherhood; plus the ombudsnuisance on immigration, a Mark Steyn sneak peek at his NRODT "Happy Warrior" column, Kudlow, a Florence King misanthropic flashback, and much more.
AND don’t forget to be checking that Kerry Spot.
AND...there is still more to come today, including a G-File and WFB. So keep your browser on NRO.
Posted at 12:32 PM
THERE THEY GO AGAIN [Mark Krikorian]
When I started at the Center for Immigration Studies almost 10 years ago, my goal was to be denounced by name on the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, which is a flamboyant supporter of open borders. Well, I finally got my wish, in Thursday's editorial on immigration.Other than mentioning me, though, it's essentially the same article the Journal published a few months ago, to which I responded here. (I started to write "which I responded to," but I fear retribution from the Ombudsman for the dangling participle!) Michelle Malkin uses the editorial to describe her own experience with the Journal's loopy open-borders orthodoxy.
Posted at 12:20 PM
ODE TO FATHERS [ Jonah Goldberg ]
A nice collection from the NRO crowd.
Posted at 12:19 PM
APPLYING THE ABD [Nick Schulz ]
Aaron Brown says he consistently applies the eponymous doctrine. To bolster his case, he says “October 30, 2003, Newsnight and CNN aired a Saddam torture tape that sounds very much like the tape you describe.” This is where the Swiss cheese comes in.
It should be noted that Brown doesn’t address the primary charge: a bipartisan group of U.S. senators released a Department of Defense tape showing ritual torture and mutilation by the Hussein regime two weeks ago--a newsworthy event--and the mainstream media ignored it.
As one reader wrote to me regarding Brown: “Does he honestly think that one time on one night in October” is enough? Did Newsnight show picture of U.S. abuse at Abu Ghraib only one time? It’s a question of proportion.
Anyway, Brown’s a good guy… even if he doesn’t apply his doctrine consistently. It’s lunch time. A ham and Swiss on rye is sounding pretty good right now.
Posted at 12:18 PM
THE AARON BROWN SANDWICH [Nick Schulz]
I must admit I like Aaron Brown. My affection stems from watching his newscast on a regular basis. In the wake of my piece on the media’s torture-tape blackout in which I coin the “Aaron Brown doctrine,” Brown writes to NRO that “there was a point in my career when I would have considered success having a sandwich named after me at a good deli.” This raises all sorts of interesting possibilities.
Certainly the Aaron Brown sandwich would be on rye bread, for the wry delivery on display in his letter and that endears his fans--of which I’m one--to his newscasts. There would have to be ham between those two rye slices; as his gracious and good-natured letter makes clear, Brown has a sense of humor. And that ham would have to go with Swiss cheese, for all the logical holes in his response to my media criticism. I’ll be heading up to the Stage Deli on 7th Avenue later shortly and will recommend they add the “Aaron Brown” to their extensive list.
Posted at 12:16 PM
HOIST BY HIS OWN PETARD [Andrew Stuttaford ]
"Welcome to McCain-world, home of campaign-finance reform, where the First Amendment is repealed, outside-the-club voices get increasingly muffled as Election Day nears, and a Newspaper of Record -- along with its network news echo chamber -- overtly, energetically, and shamelessly shills for the Democrats to return to power. "
Well said, Andy. Now, who was it that signed that disgraceful piece of legislation into law?
Posted at 12:07 PM
RE: COLLABORATION VS. RELATIONSHIP [John Derbyshire ]
While this is a fun talking point here in the journo echo chamber, I suspect most Americans couldn't care less.
So far as the connection between 9/11 and Saddam's regime -- or any other Middle East regime -- is concenred, most Americans probably share the attitude of a neighbor of mine, who, when I tried to raise the topic, shrugged and said: "Ah, they're all in it together."
Posted at 12:04 PM
IT’S NOT JUST NRO, TALK RADIO, WSJ NOTICING [Mark R. Levin]
Lee Hamilton, Democrat vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, yesterday: "I must say I hae trouble understanding the flack over this. The vice president is saying, I think, that there were connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government. We don't disagree with that. What we have said is what the governor just said, we don't have any evidence of a cooperative, or a corroborative relationship between Saddam Hussein's government and these al Qaeda operatives with regard to the attacks on the United States. So it seems to me that sharp difference that the press has drawn, the media has drawn, are not that apparent to me."
Posted at 12:01 PM
TERROR TIES BELIEVABLE…IN CLINTON ERA [Tim Graham ]
The liberal media now scoff at the idea that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had any kind of partnership, but back on January 14, 1999, ABC News aired a prime time report about links between the dangerous duo. Reporter Sheila MacVicar cited sources from the Clinton administration's intelligence agencies: "Almost certainly, they say, bin Laden has been told he would be welcome in Baghdad." See more here.
Posted at 11:58 AM
PAT TOOMEY, STILL FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT [Jack Fowler]
The retiring Pennsylvania Congressman will not go quietly into the night: he’s organized a team of House members who are bankrolling current and former conservative colleagues now running for the Senate (where, if elected, they will hopefully offset the votes of Arlen Specter). Here’s part of a release from a press conference Toomey held yesterday in D.C.:
Conservative House Members Back Colleagues with Resources
Posted at 11:55 AM
SCANDAL GOES GLOBAL [Rod Dreher]
Here is an audio link to an NPR "Morning Edition" interview with a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, which this weekend will begin to publish the results of an 18-month international investigation into the international reach of the U.S. Catholic church scandals. The full series will begin to roll out starting Saturday afternoon on dallasnews.com, and in Sunday's print editions.
Posted at 11:53 AM
PANEL IN NEW HAVEN [Rich Lowry]
I will be on a panel Monday night at 5:30 at the University of New Haven in the ECA Arts Hall at 55 Audubon Street. The topic is "Red & Blue Nation." Other panelists are Michael Barone, Nancy Soderberg, and Stanley Greenberg. The event is open to the public, so feel free to come and bring other Cornerites.
Posted at 11:31 AM
“LOSING THE IRAQIS?” [Rich Lowry]
It’s become a cliché among critics of the war and even some nervous hawks that we have “lost the Iraqis.” To some extent, we obviously have. But that the occupation would eventually incur the wrath of most Iraqis was something astute observers of Arab political culture considered inevitable. So the Bush administration could have done many things differently and better, but most Iraqis would probably still see us as occupiers and want us to leave as soon as feasible. Here’s what David Pryce-Jones wrote in the pages of National Review in April 2003, before the war had even ended: “It may be necessary to the United States to keep the peace during a transitional period. But any sort of American military or civil administration with political responsibilities is certain almost immediately to arouse both an Islamic and a shame-honor reaction uniting the population against it. Iraqis would perceive themselves are defeated and colonized rather than liberated, and the shame of that is likely to lead to an intifada even more violent than the Palestinian model.”
Posted at 11:20 AM
SUPPPORT FOR THE IRAQ WAR… [Rich Lowry]
…appears to have stabilized, according to this poll Drudge is playing up at the moment. It seems that the public has more patience and sobriety about Iraq than the media, nervous hawks, overly emotional bloggers, and other elite “opinion makers.”
Posted at 11:11 AM
MARTIAL LAW IN IRAQ? [Rich Lowry]
A Wall Street Journal report today says Iraq’s Interior Minister has raised the prospect of martial law in Iraq if the bombing attacks continue. This is not surprising, since no society can tolerate over the long run the kind of violence Iraq has suffered in recent months. I have long thought that once the Iraqis have the chance, they’ll be much tougher in cracking down on the insurgency than we have been. Here, for example, is what former Iraqi Governing Council member Younadem Kana, an Assyrian Christian, told NRO’s Meghan Clyne a few weeks ago: “If Iraqis are upset with the American troops, it's mostly because they are very nice — too nice — with these criminals, dealing with them as prisoners of war. But they are not prisoners of war, they are criminals; they are killers. But Geneva Convention rules put pressure on the Americans to be nice, and to take good care of them.” In the Journal report today, a U.S. official is quoted referring obliquely to the fact that Iraqis will be much less “nice” than Americans have been: “There are going to be Iraqi solutions to a lot of these problems and they will not necessarily be the solutions that we would have tried to use, but that is what sovereignty is about.” Martial law or similar measures will create embarrassment among some Wilsonian supporters of the war and prompt howls from the war’s critics, but security is the predicate for all other progress in Iraq. So long as a crackdown can be implemented without destroying the country’s democratic evolution, it will be a welcome development—certainly to Iraqis, if not to second-guessers here at home.
Posted at 11:06 AM
HAVEL ON NORTH KOREA [Rich Lowry]
A notable call to action from Vaclav Havel on the Washington Post op-ed page today.
Posted at 10:53 AM
EUROPE’S “FAILED PREEMPTION” [Rich Lowry]
A good Washington Post editorial today on the Europeans’ failed gambit in Iran.
Posted at 10:48 AM
WARNING [Rich Lowry]
I will be making a few references in here to Legacy in coming days, mostly to give people a heads-up about Clinton-related radio I’ll be doing. I assure you it’ll be nothing like the avalanche of Legacy plugs last year, but wanted to give everyone a warning, just in case you want to start skipping over all my posts right now.
Posted at 10:48 AM
THIS IS INTERESTING [Jonah Goldberg ]
All over the wires this morning:
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, in comments sure to help President Bush, declared Friday that Russia knew Iraq's Saddam Hussein had planned terror attacks on U.S. soil and had warned Washington.
Now I don't trust Putin in the slightest. But if he's lying that's interesting and if he's telling the truth, that's interesting.
Posted at 10:45 AM
RE: RELATIONSHIPS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Seems to me that Congressional Democrats are more willing to give Saddam the benefit of the doubt over his contacts with Al Qaeda than they are to give Cheney with his post-election contacts with Halliburton.
Posted at 10:37 AM
THE MICHIGAN-BORN ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS MADONNA [KJL]
is now named Esther and sports a British accent. Only in New York, kids, only in New York. (The celebrity world is like Cindy Adams's New York writ large, I suppose. Just ask Andrew Breitbart.)
Posted at 10:34 AM
POOR EU [Jonah Goldberg ]
You can download the whole EU study mentioned in the Journal here. Here's the summary:
If the European Union were a state in the USA it would belong to the poorest group of states. France, Italy, Great Britain and Germany have lower GDP per capita than all but four of the states in the United States. In fact, GDP per capita is lower in the vast majority of the EU-countries (EU 15) than in most of the individual American states. This puts Europeans at a level of prosperity on par with states such as Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia. Only the miniscule country of Luxembourg has higher per capita GDP than the average state in the USA. The results of the new study represent a grave critique of European economic policy.
Posted at 10:30 AM
WSJ EDITORIALS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Two good ones today. Reg Req'd. The first is on the 9/11 Commish. The second on the ever-declining (in relative terms) wealth of Europe. I'll post a chunk of that one because it's harder to get to on the site:
The growing split between the U.S. and Europe has been much in the news, mostly on foreign policy. But less well understood is the gap in economic growth and standards of living. Now comes a European report that puts the American advantage in surprisingly stark relief.
There's more, though I'm a bit more skeptical about the numbers in the part on inequality.
Posted at 09:51 AM
"ALL THE NEWS THAT'S... [Andy McCarthy]
. . . Full of S**t"-- uh, I mean, "Fit to Print."
Bill Clinton was President for 8 years of ceaseless terrorist attacks on the U.S. -- 8 years that featured ineptitude, an innate resistance to responding militarily to a belligerent that had declared war on us, and not merely a proclivity but an established, official policy -- put unapologetically in writing -- that prevented the criminal investigators and prosecutors who had handled 8 years of prosecutions (i.e., the people who knew more about the enemy than anyone else in government) from conferring with the people whose job it was to assess and prepare for the threat posed by that enemy (i.e., the intelligence community). By contrast, George W. Bush was President for 8 months prior to 9/11, much of which was spent in disarray because Clinton's Vice President, Algore, refused to acknowledge for 6 weeks that he had been defeated in the 2000 election -- thus delaying, in many cases well into the summer of 2001, the appointment and confirmation of executive branch officials whose positions were pivotal to the nation's preparedness.
Nevertheless, today's lead "news" story is a Kerry 2004 Campaign ad (gratis) that, to use the Times's own screaming page one headline, depicts a Bush administration in "Chaos" on the morning of 9/11. Anyone who bothers to crawl into the paper beneath page one will find a Kerry 2004 hitpiece, under the stealth heading "NEWS ANALYSIS", which analyzes that the commission "has called into question nearly every aspect of the [Bush] administration's response to terror, including the idea that Iraq and Al Qaeda were somehow the same foe[,]" because, the Old Grey Trollop elaborates, "[f]ar from a bolt from the blue, the commission has demonstrated over the last 19 months that the Sept. 11 attacks were foreseen, at least in general terms, and might well have been prevented, had it not been for misjudgments, mistakes and glitches, some within the White House." You would have to wade down to paragraph 16 in order to learn, in passing, that "The [commission] staff has been critical of the Clinton administration, too, pointing out missed opportunities in the late 1990's, when that White House shied from what might have been opportunities to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda."
Welcome to McCain-world, home of campaign-finance reform, where the First Amendment is repealed, outside-the-club voices get increasingly muffled as Election Day nears, and a Newspaper of Record -- along with its network news echo chamber -- overtly, energetically, and shamelessly shills for the Democrats to return to power.
Posted at 09:49 AM
RELATIONSHIP V COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIP [Jonah Goldberg]
I understand that there's a lot more nuance to this Cheney v. Commission story than I am allowing for here. But in the wake of 9/11, there was this generally agreed upon proposition that those who give aid and comfort to terrorists, or "safe harbor" to them, are no different than the terrorists. Well, after 9/11 for people to be defending Iraq because they had "only" been having meetings, coffee klatches and the like with al Qaeda strikes me as pretty lame. No, alone in a vacuum having meetings with al Qaeda isn't cause for war. But we weren't operating in a vacuum. There were quite a few other variables involved, WMDs, deteroriating sanctions, Saddam's defiance of the UN, the need to be proactive after 9/11 etc. In other words, if we heard that France had been having get-togethers with al Qaeda, war wouldn't be an option. But Iraq -- a country we were still more than technically at war with since 1991 -- holds meeting with al Qaeda, that strikes me as serious, very serious.
Posted at 07:21 AM
THOMPSON'S COMPLAINT [Rich Lowry]
Caught Jim Thompson complaining last night on O'Reilly about how the media has handled the 9-11 commission's conclusions about Iraq and al Qaeda--reporting it as if the commission had said there was no connection at all. I'm glad Thompson is such an acute critic of the press, but wasn't this sort of play entirely predictable? Didn't the commission make it almost inevitable given the cursory way it handled this explosive topic? If the commission had been more responsible, it would have gone into the question of the connection at more length, in which case its reporting would have looked more like a Steve Hayes or Rich Miniter piece, cataloguing the long history of connections and THEN saying there is no evidence that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in attacks against the United States. That wouldn't have been so susceptible to media misreporting. So, unless some forces on the commission intended to get this sort of media reaction, this episode has to chalked up as another 9-11 commission screw-up. Either way it speaks badly of the commission.
Posted at 07:13 AM
BECAUSE WE HAD TO [Michael Graham]
KJL, my listeners and I were talking yesterday about “President O.J.” and his claim of a “badge of honor” at being impeached but avoiding removal from office. Some Clinton defenders—and there aren’t many left—said Clinton should be proud because he never should have been impeached anyway. My question for them was “If Congress knows that a sitting president has lied to a grand jury and a federal judge and used his office to get others to do the same, what do you WANT them to do? Ignore it? Call the D.C. police?” Think of the horrible precedent that would have been set by allowing a president to flaunt the courts and abuse his power this way.
Bill Clinton may have started this mess “because he could,” but the Republican Congress impeached him because they had to.
Posted at 07:08 AM
FOR THE RECORD [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew Sullivan did write on his site on Feb. 29 that the FMA would be a Bush deal-breaker. I missed it (and so did a lot of folks) and I'm sorry I did. I think my point about implied versus explicit still holds water, but a bit less.
Posted at 07:08 AM
RE: BILL AND DAN [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, you have no choice but to obsess on the topic of Clinton's indiscretions, since it may be the main news story of the next week or so. Oh, and don't assume Dan Rather followed up on anything, or I'll send you back to my link.
The shock-jocks Don and Mike were already giggling about "because I could" yesterday, so it could be on the way to joke status soon. Clinton really ran the presidency a la Howard Stern -- I'm president and, man, what I great way to get some! A sizable number of men defended him on those puerile terms. "Because I could" seems like an apology to his political allies -- it might seem like the worst excuse when you've compromised the whole liberal agenda for some fleeting intern intimacy.
Did you follow that patter about how he had "complicated psychological reasons" that he wouldn't get in to? I was the Fat Kid in Band, so I have to sexually harass Paula Jones? Ugh. (No one wants to remind the audience that harassing Paula Jones, which Clinton admitted by settling, was the real beginning of Monicagate, and that without the Jones suit, Lewinsky was a tabloid expose, not a legal case.)
The Clintonistas are going to get through the book tour using the same wounded routine of "how dare you focus on the peccadillos, when he did so much for the country." Lanny Davis went on CBS yesterday morning to hit precisely that point. As Hannah Storm wanted to stick to the private-life script, Davis whined about how Clinton created 23 million jobs.
Posted at 07:07 AM
I'M POSTING THIS FOR THE WORST POSSIBLE REASON--JUST BECAUSE I CAN [KJL]
Not to obsess on the topic, but Bill Clinton tells Dan Rather re: Lewinsky affair: "I think I did something for the worst possible reason — just because I could." Is that really the worst possible reason for doing something you shouldn't do? Malicious intent? Wouldn't that be worse? And, then, of course--I hope Rather followed up--what he did with Lewinsky was not the worst of what he did, contrary to popular belief about what Ken Starr was after. It was the lying. It was the abuse of power....sigh.
Posted at 05:29 AM
Thursday, June 17, 2004
GONE FISHIN' [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm off to the Great White North -- well, Chilcotin British Columbia -- for some fly-fishing, so don't expect much from me in the Corner for the next several days. Actually, don't expect anything at all. In K-Lo's words, I'm going to be a "hermit" because where I'm going won't have internet access. Don't let Derb do anything crazy while I'm gone.
Posted at 10:36 PM
MY THEORY RE THE VEEP RUMORS [KJL]
Edwards is blufffing us all with buzz. He knows Kerry's not picking him, so he's ekking out a few more press stories with young, attractive '08 potential Edwards.
Kerry is picking veep post-Clinton week as previously announced... or, since he's known as a waffler anyway, he leaks a week from now for a day or two his campaign is looking into adding a running mate after the Republican convention....
Posted at 10:10 PM
KERRY VS. CLINTON [John Hood]
Kathryn, you're right that a Kerry Veep announcement this weekend would compete with the Clintonian Restoration.
But, couldn't that be the goal? Wall-to-wall Clinton doesn't really do anything for Kerry at this point. It changes the subject, and emphasizes that a previous Democratic administration (and Senate, for that matter) failed to combat al Qaeda effectively or put policies in place to handle a 9/11-style threat.
Posted at 10:04 PM
IRAQ & AL QAEDA [KJL]
"There was a relationship"..., George W. Bush, today.
Posted at 06:57 PM
RE: HIP-HOP ARCHITECTURE [John Derbyshire]
A reader has supplied an example
(WARNING: Strong language, of the four-letter sort.)
Posted at 06:54 PM
RE: KERRY [Mark R. Levin]
More than his veep, I'd like to know who he would appoint at Defense, State, CIA and Justice. That would tell us much about his seriousness in fighting the war on terror, to the extent we don't already know.
Posted at 05:46 PM
RE: VEEP WEEKEND [KJL]
For the record, I don't buy the buzz. Would seem stupid for Kerry to announce his veep when everyone is in Clinton ME ME ME mode.
Posted at 05:43 PM
VEEP WEEKEND [KJL]
There is buzzing that Kerry may announce this weekend and Democratic sources in the south are saying that Edwards has a clear schedule for the weekend. They take that to mean one thing....but someone may be saying that in Missouri, too, etc.... Watch the Kerry Spot for more as things develop (or as Jim Geraghty stomps on lies and debunks Corner rumor mongering).
Posted at 05:26 PM
MIDDLEBROW? MIDDLEBROW?! [KJL]
Bet Chicago residents don't use NR when they box their glassware, wrap their fish...
Posted at 05:22 PM
CLINTON LIES [KJL]
He says his marriage was a mess and to fix it: "We'd take a day a week, and we did - a whole day a week every week for a year, maybe a little more - and did counseling." Huh? Who has time like that? Is that possible? A whole day every week? While he was president? If not while he was president, while she has been senator?
Posted at 05:08 PM
SUNDAY NIGHT PREVIEW [Tim Graham]
For a review of the sadly supine record of past Charmin-soft interviews Dan Rather has given Bill Clinton, see here.
Posted at 05:05 PM
DAMNING BY FAINT PRAISE [Jonah Goldberg]
The good news: Chicago Tribune (Reg. Req'd) names National Review one of the 50 Best Magazines!
The bad news: Here's what they have to say: "National Review. This right-wing glossy offers smart, certain ideology for these uncertain times. More serious than Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh and less Air Force One-obsessed than the Weekly Standard, the middlebrow NR even manages to squeeze the pretentious arts through its conservative wringer."
Posted at 04:35 PM
RE INTERROGATORS [Jonah Goldberg]
Apropos of Rich's post about the Navy, I found this email particularly interesting:
Posted at 03:55 PM
NAVY JAG? [Rich Lowry]
The speculation I hear is that Navy JAG was probably responsible for the leaks of the torture documents. I'm told the Navy tends to be the least aggresive about such things, since its work is often “cleaner” than that of the Army and the Marines--i.e., Navy guys are less likely to be in situations where a detainee has information about someone about to try to blow up their friends with a roadside bomb. For what it's worth...
Posted at 03:47 PM
REAGAN + GRENADA = CONSERVATIVE [Jack Fowler]
This from a loyal NRO reader, on how he became a conservative two decades ago while serving in the Navy:
In 1983, I was a young man without political interests until my experience in Grenada made me a conservative, and a Reagan devotee. We were welcomed as liberators. I will never forget the gratitude I received from the people of Grenada. When I cam home, and to this day, the American news media refer to Operation Urgent Fury as the “Invasion of Grenada.” Yet, in Grenada, October 23rd is celebrated as “Thanksgiving Day.”
Posted at 03:45 PM
JOE LIEBERMAN [KJL]
reminds us what this war thing is about at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies (Cliff May's group) conference yesterday. Text is here.
Posted at 03:35 PM
TORTURE [Rich Lowry]
I missed most of the “torture memo” furor while I was away, but got a taste of it yesterday. What ridiculous hysteria. The purpose of these documents was to set out the absolute legal limits of what we could do with detainees from an orgization committed to murdering Americans. The legal analysis may have been too aggresive--that is a legitimate point of contention. But writing these memos was a perfectly legitimate exercise. Were policymakers just supposed to intuit what the legal limits are without consulting lawyers? What they apparently did was to determine the absolute limits of the legally permissible and craft a policy--i.e., Rumsfeld's approval of “stress techniques”--well short of that line. I'm just not shocked that we would make people uncomfortable IN THE COURSE OF TRYING TO SAVE INNOCENT LIVES. What happened at Abu Ghraib was obviously appalling, but no one has established any connection between these legal documents and the abuses Abu Ghraib. Anne Applebaum begins her column yesterday with the totally illogic suggestion that because the memos were written and the abuses happened they ipso facto must be related. She also makes the absurb contention that because Spc. Graner didn't look guilty during his abuses, he must have known they had the approval of the U.S. government. But do sociopathic thugs--which Graner appears to be--usually appear guilty while abusing people? Or do they appear to be enjoying themselves? The increasingly erratic Andrew Sullivan endorses the he-didn't-look guilty argument, if you can call it that. Man, the September 10 mentality has returned, with a vengance.
Posted at 03:31 PM
SPEAKING OF ANDY MCCARTHY [KJL]
He'll be on Nightline tonight, taking on Pat Leahy on torture. Good TV. Make the bartender at O'Finnegan's turn it on...
Posted at 03:28 PM
ANDREW MCCARTHY [Rich Lowry]
If you haven't read his piece on the homepage today about the Iraq-al Qaeda connection and the 9-11 comisssion, drop what you are doing and read it now. The best thing out there on the topic....
Posted at 03:10 PM
THANKS... [Rich Lowry]
...for the Japan-Germany e-mails. I ended up relying mostly on the account in Niall Ferguson's extraordinary new book, Colossus.
Posted at 02:55 PM
HEZBOLLAH OFFERS TO HELP MICHAEL MOORE'S MOVIE? [KJL]
Posted at 02:47 PM
COYNESS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Greetings from a long-time reader of both you and Andrew Sullivan,
Posted at 02:44 PM
LUNCH [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Jonah, If you're serious about getting a raise, don't let Lowry find out that you can afford such luxuries as midday meals.
Posted at 02:21 PM
ANDREW AND MOM [Jonah Goldberg]
I just got back from lunch. Yes, yes, yes. I've seen that Andrew Sullivan has taken the time to criticize some postings at Mom's site. No, I don't know if this was intended as a sort of "your mother wears combat boots" jab but I kind of doubt it. I will say I don't agree with, like, or condone some of the things folks over there are saying and, I must say, it feels kind of nice to be in a position to tell mom I think she should clean up her room for a change. Then again, she stopped telling me to do that a long time ago and I'm sure she can defend herself is she decides it's even worth it without help from me.
But, I will say I've always treated Andrew and his arguments with respect and plan to keep doing that. So, if the point of cherry picking some off-color comments from a few LDotters is to make a guilt-by-association claim about where I'm coming from, I think it's a very lame effort and a form of argumentation that could be applied to thousands of sites on the web, left and right, without being particularly revealing or interesting.
Oh, one last thing. As for the social price Andrew has paid for his views compared to my own, I'm sure he's right. I'm just not sure what that has to do with anything I've said, done or believe.
Posted at 01:58 PM
HERE COMES "CANDOR"? [Tim Graham]
When Hillary's book came out, a common media term was she was "candid." Hillary told a fascinating tale about how she was such an ingenue that she had no suspicion that her husband really had a sexual relationship for Monica Lewinsky for eight months after the story broke, and then when he admitted it, she "gulped for air." Now Bill's book is on the way, and already the media are saluting Bill's "candor."
But the snippets Howard Kurtz uses today are very similiar to the things Clinton has been saying since 1998, that he made an error, that they went through counseling, that Ken Starr and the House managers are evil. But we'll get "candid," and not "self-serving" adjectives. Clearly, "candor" doesn't mean anything to reporters. It doesn't mean honesty. It's just a promotional word for "says something new" to spike the Nielsens, even if not much new gets said.
Posted at 01:37 PM
WHERE IS DERB? [John Derbyshire]
Sulking in my tent after yesterday's affronts to my timei.
Since apparently neither "Sodomy and the Single Samurai" nor "Liechtenstein -- Linchpin of Terror" came up to your exacting "standards," Kathryn, I am going to practice the Joycean virtues of "silence, exile, and cunning."
Posted at 01:30 PM
WHAT IS HIP-HOP? [John Derbyshire]
The sense of the meeting seems to be that hip-hop is a sort of esthetic -- like High Baroque -- which can express itself in music, poetry, architecture, the decorative arts (e.g. graffiti), and so on. Rap is just a manner of poetic diction, like "Augustan" or "Romantic," which may not even be set to music.
Hope that's right. Now, just to further clarify my understanding, could someone please point me to an architectural exemplar of the hip-hop esthetic?
Posted at 01:28 PM
RE: AIR DEFENSE [Michael Graham]
One of the topics on my talk show this morning was whether the "chaos" on 9/11 was a failure of our goverment and military, as the media described it; or the inevitable result of a massive, successful terrorist attack. It was amazing how many people want to believe that the America of pre-9/11 could have stopped the unforseen 9/11 attack.
Here's one media take:
"Kristen Breitweiser of Middletown Township, N.J., whose husband, Ronald, died in the World Trade Center, said a lack of foresight on the part of those agencies was compounded by mistakes on the morning of Sept. 11.
'I think we were ill-prepared, and I think people showed poor judgment,' Breitweiser said. The airliner that crashed into the Pentagon, in particular, could have been stopped, she contends.
Posted at 12:45 PM
THOSE CONNECTIONS [Mark R. Levin]
For years the media have been reporting on connections between al-Qaeda and Iraq. At some point, the media reversed course and now hypes all claims of no such relationship. The issue has always been the extent and nature of the relationship, not its existence. And as a matter of logic, are we to believe al-Qaeda is and was active throughout Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, and even the U.S., but avoided Iraq because bin Laden and Hussein didn't share religious beliefs? Finally, the Commission doesn't say there was no connection. It makes no such definitive statement. The language it uses, which is contained basically in a single sentence, has been heavily lawyered. The Commission's language is notable for what it does not say.
Posted at 12:25 PM
FOX [Rich Lowry]
FYI, will be on later today at around 1:30.
Posted at 12:06 PM
AIR DEFENSE & 9/11 [KJL]
I'm not paying close attention to this week's 9/11 Commission hearings because I know Andy is, but is someone actually seriously being blamed for not shooting down planes on 9/11 (though there certainly seem to be legitimate concerns about the communications mishaps that morning)? Can you imagine if we had?
Posted at 11:31 AM
IRAQ & AL QAEDA [Andy McCarthy]
Kathryn, here's the exchange from the 9/11 hearing yesterday morning between Commissioner Fred Fielding and Chicago U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald (who indicted bin Laden in 1998 as a Manhattan federal prosecutor), regarding the allegation in the 1998 bin Laden indictment about an understanding between Iraq and al Qaeda:
FIELDING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
For the panel, I really have very specific questions about a specific subject.
One of the hazy questions that surrounds Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida is really its relationship, if any, with Iraq and with Saddam Hussein.
We've often heard that Osama bin Laden would not have been a natural ally, for religious reasons, for the composition and nature of Saddam Hussein's regime. And our staff report, as you just heard, basically says there's no credible evidence of any cooperation between the two. However, there seems to be some indicia that there may have been.
And, Mr. Fitzgerald, I'm delighted you're here, because this first question really I wanted to ask specifically to you, because it relates to the indictment of Osama bin Laden in the spring of 1998.
This is before the U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa and the administration indicted Osama bin Laden. And the indictment, which was unsealed a few months later, reads, "Al Qaida reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that Al Qaida would not work against that government, and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, Al Qaida would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."
So my question to you is what evidence was that indictment based upon and what was this understanding that's referenced in it?
FITZGERALD: And the question of relationship between Iraq and Al Qaida is an interesting one. I don't have information post-2001 when I got involved in a trial, and I don't have information post-September 11th. I can tell you what led to that inclusion in that sealed indictment in May  and then when we superseded, which meant we broadened the charges in the Fall, we dropped that language.
We understood there was a very, very intimate relationship between Al Qaida and the Sudan. They worked hand in hand. We understood there was a working relationship with Iran and Hezbollah, and they shared training. We also understood that there had been antipathy between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein because Saddam Hussein was not viewed as being religious.
We did understand from people, including Al-Fadl -- and my recollection is that he would have described this most likely in public at the trial that we had, but I can't tell you that for sure; that was a few years ago -- that at a certain point they decided that they wouldn't work against each other and that we believed a fellow in Al Qaida named [Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, aka Abu Hajer al-Iraqi], tried to reach a, sort of, understanding where they wouldn't work against each other. Sort of, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
And that there were indications that within Sudan when Al Qaida was there -- which Al Qaida left in the summer of '96 or spring '96 -- there were efforts to work on joint -- you know, acquiring weapons.
Clearly, Al Qaida worked with the Sudan in getting those weapons in the national defense force there and the intelligence service. There were indications that Al-Fadl had heard from others that Iran was involved. And they also had heard that Iraq was involved.
The clearest account from Al-Fadl as a Sudanese was that he had dealt directly with the Sudanese intelligence service, so we had first-hand knowledge of that.
We corroborated the relationship with Iran to a lesser extent but to a solid extent. And then we had information from Al-Fadl, who we believe was truthful, learning from others that there were also was efforts to try to work with Iraq. That was the basis for what we put in that indictment. Clearly, we put Sudan in the first order at that time as being the partner of Al Qaida.
We understood the relationship with Iran but Iraq, we understood, went from a position where they were working against each other to a standing down against each other. And we understood they were going to explore the possibility of working on weapons together.
That's my piece of what I know. I don't represent to know everything else, so I can't tell you, well, what we've learned since then. But there was that relationship that went from opposing each other to not opposing each other to possibly working with each other.
FIELDING: Thank you. That's very helpful.
Posted at 11:01 AM
QUICK BLEG [Rich Lowry]
Anyone out there have any special expertise in the post-WWII occupations of Germany and Japan, and especially the problems associated with them? Would love to hear from you (but not after 12:45). Thanks...
Posted at 10:27 AM
JUST BACK... [Rich Lowry]
...from Paris. What I encountered was a weak and pathetic people desperately clinging to the last dying embers of Western civilization in that country. Well, not really. It was actually delightful. I've always been mildly suspicious of people who come back from Paris singing of its wonders. But it's a wonderful place, almost--almost, I said--enough to make Jacques Chirac worth it.
Posted at 10:23 AM
THE GENEVA CONVENTION [Jonah Goldberg]
I've gotten sooo many emails like this in response to my syndicated column. There are good points (though many emails contradict each other) and they're mostly given as constructive criticism in good faith. But what I particularly enjoy is the criticism that my column was too simplistic -- it probably was -- and that I should have included 75 trillion ifs, ands, buts and the like -- all with corresponding sub clauses and whatnots. For example:
Jonah: While your ultimate conclusion on the applicability of the Geneva Convestion(s) to Al Quaeda is correct, the reasoning you set out is a little simplistic, and glosses over a couple of salient points. Since your readers are a sophisticated lot, it might be worth addiind a little more detail. As you pointed out in your syndicated column, Al Quaeda is not a nation state, and is not a party to the Geneva Convention, or any other treaty. However, under the terms of the Third Geneva Convention, that is not necessarily a bar to granting combatants "status" under the convention. Article 4, Section A2 provides that:
Posted at 09:54 AM
MY APOLOGIES [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew Sullivan does mention the Advocate essay and my criticism today. I didn't read the post headlined "The Marriage Thing" thinking it was another post about gay marriage. I'm sorry for saying otherwise. As for the case he makes, I'll let it stand for itself.
Posted at 09:25 AM
SPLIT INFINITIVES [John Derbyshire]
Yo, Limey, this is the U.S. of A., and we take our rulings from Follett's MODERN AMERICAN USAGE.
"Like parallel fifths in harmony, the split infinitive is the one fault that everybody has heard about and makes a great virtue of avoiding and reproving in others. Again like the musical bugbear, the split infinitive has its place in good composition. It should be used when it is expressive and well led up to. Long before Fowler's defense of splitting, Shaw had delivered the controlling opinion: 'Every good literary craftsman splits his infinitives when the sense demands it. I call for the immediate dismissal of the pedant on your staff [who chases split infinitives]. It is of no consequence whether he decides to go quickly or to quickly go.'
"One fact has not been noted, or if noted, not made enough of: the temptation to split an infinitive is extremely rare in spoken English, because the voice supplies the stress needed by the unsplit form or conceals by a pause the awkwardness of the adverb placed before or after. It is in written work that splitting is called for, and desk sets should include small hatchets of silver or gold for the purpose."
All of which notwithstanding, I have just taken delivery of a custom T-shirt with the following message printed across the front: BECAUSE I'M THE OMBUDSMAN, THAT'S WHY.
Posted at 09:09 AM
THIS IS NEWS? [KJL]
This, on page 1 of the Times today ("With 9/11 Report, Bush's Political Thorn Grows More Stubborn.") I'll take Andy McCarthy on NRO today instead, thank you.
Posted at 08:56 AM
LOOK, I KNOW I'M CLUELESS, BUT... [John Derbyshire]
What is hip-hop? I mean, can someone give me a thumbnail definition? Is it different from rap (which I think I know when I hear it)? If so, how? Or what?
Posted at 08:54 AM
ULYSSES CHEAT SHEET [John Derbyshire]
The BBC has published the following brief cheat guide to James Joyce's ULYSSES.
It is followed by many reader comments, offering all shades of opinion. Sample: "This book is the greasy pole of literature. You simply cannot get past page 10 without sliding back to the beginning and trying again to understand what on earth is going on. The best cure for insomnia when Germany are not playing football.---Philip Winter-Taylor, Ashford, UK."
Posted at 08:51 AM
SCHADENFREUDE WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Yes, yes, Chirac and Schroeder did badly in the EU elections, delightfully so. I’m shedding no tears, but there are hints of some wishful thinking out there in the VRWC, firstly on the implications for Chirac and Schroeder's stance on Iraq (and elsewhere), and secondly, for what the results could mean for economic reform in Germany. Let’s look at some examples:
Here’s William Safire, channeling, well, you know who:
“RN…You saw the results of the European Parliament elections? Schröder is finished. Chirac has had it. Next year they'll be begging Bush for support.”
Alas, no. ‘RN’ may be right that Chirac and Schroeder are toast, but the last thing these wicked weasels will do is turn to George W. Bush for help. In both France and Germany keeping out of Iraq is very popular and keeping in with George W. Bush is very unpopular. That hasn’t changed.
Meanwhile writing over at TCS, Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute concludes an interesting piece on Germany with this:
“For the United States, the latest election is tremendous news. A chastened Schroeder will have to be a more reasonable political ally. And the pressure for the EU to adopt centralized German socialism rather than free market principles is now significantly lower than it once was. This will be a strong boon for the European economy, and will be an even bigger plus for Germany if the voter revolt begins a dramatic overhaul of its economic policies.”
I wish Hassett were right. In fact, the German elections were a vote against the very modest economic reforms Schroeder has been pushing. That’s not a lesson that will be lost on Chirac (his poor results can at least partly be attributed to the unpopularity of his reform program) or other folk who pull many of the strings in Brussels. Don’t be misled by the fact that the center-right did so well in Germany. With a few (possibly important) exceptions, they don’t offer voters much of an alternative to the current German economic model. Remember that it was the center-right (Helmut Kohl only ceased to be chancellor in 1998) who took the decision to impose the high tax/high cost/high regulation model on ex-East Germany with such destructive results.
As always, pessimism is called for.
Posted at 08:37 AM
SPLIT INFINITIVES [Andrew Stuttaford]
A reader writes:
"Fowler's actual words on the topic are actually quite inspiring, and deserving of quotation in the Corner:
"The English-speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and approve; and (5) those who know and distinguish. Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority, and are a happy folk, to be envied by most of the minority classes."
My source is of course the Second Edition, the definitive Fowler.
Posted at 08:33 AM
ME & ANDREW [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll keep this brief. Andrew replies to one of my posts, but not the other. To my "everyone into the pool" criticism, he responds with a host of complaints about Bush and contrasts them to a column I wrote (and linked to in my original post) as if I'm contradicting myself. Indeed, he makes it sound as if I'm being hypocritical for criticizing Bush myself while criticizing him for doing the same (he also implies that because I'm "institutionally related" to Bush through NR I could never have a truly intellectually honest position).
This is a bait and switch. I didn't say there are not legitimate complaints about Bush. Indeed, I stipulated there were and linked to some of my own. His expasive list of complaints about Abu Ghraib etc are all fine, I suppose, but they are off topic. The point was that Andrew was treating "fiscal conservatives" as if they are creatures who operate on a single issue wearing blinders to every other issue (and I should note that even blinkered fiscal conservatives do like tax cuts, a lot.)
As for my second post about him not mentioning on his blog that he has categorically ruled out supporting Bush, he's said nothing publicly. But a few of his readers and others have noted that Sullivan has publicly said elsewhere that he cannot support Bush and this is not news. And others have pointed me to long passages by Andrew where he details his anguish over Bush's support of the FMA which, if you read between the lines he makes it pretty clear that he cannot support Bush. Again, if you read between the lines. If you don't, they read more like he's building suspense. And the overwhelming majority of folks I've heard from who regularly read Sullivan's site were shocked that he would say something so coyly at home and so clearly elsewhere.
Update/Correction: I posted this above too, but I'd better say it here as well since there are some many permalinks to this post. Andrew Sullivan does mention the Advocate essay and my criticism. I didn't read the post headlined "The Marriage Thing" thinking it was another post about gay marriage. I'm sorry for saying otherwise. As for the case he makes, I'll let it stand for itself.
Posted at 08:30 AM
HELP FOR THE OMBUDSMAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Si metrum non habet, non est poema.
(Kathryn, you'll be glad to know that a reader has sent me many, many useful Latin phrases.)
Posted at 08:25 AM
SHAME ON MATT LAUER [Tim Graham]
Did you see the "Today" segment this morning exploiting the pain of the son of Paul Johnson, the American hostage in Saudi Arabia? He's sitting there crying on the set, while Matt Lauer thanks him for being there (to spike the Nielsens). It reminded me of those Kevin Nealon "SNL" skits where he'd get a celeb to cry a la Barbara Walters and then grin into the camera at what he had wrought.
Posted at 07:56 AM
PUTTING A STAKE IN THE HEART... [Jonah Goldberg ]
of the McCain for Dem Veep meme, John McCain stumps for Bush.
Posted at 07:48 AM
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
WHO KNEW? [Jonah Goldberg ]
I read Andrew Sullivan's site fairly regularly, as do lots of people I know. In fact, I get some grief from some readers -- and Cornerites -- for paying as much attention to Sullivan as I do. That doesn't bother me. I respect Andrew, consider him a friend and I respect his influence which is an objective fact regardless of my personal attitudes.
As even moderate readers of Sullivan's site can attest, his positions of late have been something of a moving target. I get lots of conjecture from our mutual audiences about "what's going on" with Sullivan and it varies in persuasiveness. Whatever his motivations, no one who reads his stuff can deny that he's moved increasingly into the anti-Bush camp, often for reasons that don't seem powerful or at least persuasive enough to match his pro-Bush conviction from, say, this time last year (See my "everyone into the pool" post below).
But I must say I was surprised to discover this link from the gay magazine The Advocate. It seems that Andrew had been unequivocal about his opinions on Bush in that publication but not in his blog. In his advocate essay he writes:
But it’s time to say something very clearly: Bush’s endorsement of antigay discrimination in the U.S. Constitution itself is a deal-breaker. I can’t endorse him this fall. Like many other gay men and women who have supported him, despite serious disagreements, I feel betrayed, abused, attacked.And...
Now I disagree with much (but not all) of what Andrew says in his essay. But it's an honest and decent position. Still what baffles me is why, to my knowledge, he's made no reference to this essay or his absolutist position on his site. Maybe, I missed it and he has. But I don't think so. Obviously, there's no binding code of ethics governing the blogosphere and even if there were I doubt it would have anything to say about not linking to articles you've written elsewhere or being obligated to express every significant opinion you have. But still, reading Andrew over the last year, you would have gotten the impression that at least theoretically his mind was open on who to support. According to this piece, it isn't. And that strikes me as an extremely significant silence.
Indeed, last March, Andrew offered this response to a post by Kathryn Lopez:
I think that's all fine, if a bit haughty. But, Andrew, whatever happened to the benefits of "thinking out loud"?
Posted at 08:51 PM
INTERESTING... [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the LA Times:
"WASHINGTON — Immigrants are filling nearly three out of every 10 new jobs in the rebounding U.S. economy, a development that may dilute the political dividend to President Bush from an election-year recovery, a study to be released today concludes. The report by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center found that workers who were not U.S. citizens claimed 378,496 jobs out of a net increase of 1.3 million from the first three months of 2003 through the first three months of this year."
Of course, these numbers may mean less than you first think. They seem to contrast the absolute number of non-US citizens taking these jobs against the net total of jobs created rather than against the absolute number of hires in that three month period. Doing the latter would (I imagine) show a far less dramatic percentage, and thus be less of a story. Still, the report is certainly food for thought, as is this:
"But the Pew study suggested that Latinos, in strictly economic terms, may have more to lose from immigration than other workers."Immigrant Latinos, especially the most recent arrivals, have captured the most jobs," the report said. "Moreover, the improved employment picture has not delivered higher wages to workers overall and to Latinos in particular." The median, or midpoint, weekly earnings for Latinos dropped from $402 in the first quarter of 2003 to $395 during the same period this year, after adjusting for inflation. They lost ground when compared with African American and white workers. "The growth in the supply of labor has surely contributed to keeping wages down," Kochhar said.
Kochar, the labor economist who prepared this study, is surely right about this. Labor is much like most goods. Increase the supply and the price will go down. And this, of course, is one of the many reasons to oppose the bizarre Bush immigration scheme which, by dramatically increasing the supply of legal workers, primarily (I imagine) in already low wage sectors of the economy, might be a good thing for the Wal-Marts of this world, but would be terrible news for blue collar America.
Posted at 08:27 PM
I'M HURT [KJL]
that President Clinton did not send me an advance copy of his book. Why Dan Rather over me? I'm thinking of encouraging a write-in campaign urging him to do an interview with me for NRO. BC meets the VRWC? How could anyone resist?
Posted at 08:25 PM
LEARNING HIS LESSON? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here's another European politician who may not quite have understood the implications of the EU elections. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen (not a bad guy, but like so many on the Danish center-right, he has a blind spot when it comes to the EU) has announced that the "most important signal from the elections was that we must bring the EU much closer to [its] citizens."
Well no, Anders. The real signal from those elections was that most of the EU's citizens want Brussels to be kept as far away from them as possible. Try listening.
Posted at 08:14 PM
PRESIDENT BUSH [KJL]
gave a progress report/pep talk to troops today.
Posted at 05:32 PM
GO PISTONS [John J. Miller]
My fellow Michigander Jon Chait writes on the virtues of the Detroit Pistons, here.
Posted at 05:28 PM
there will be a vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment in the Senate during the week of July 12th. We knew that it would be in July from earlier reports, but now we know the week.
Posted at 04:32 PM
SHIBBOLETHS [Andrew Stuttaford]
The correct phrase is to 'party heartily'. Anyone who says 'party hearty' is not doing good. Split infinitives? The rule against them is, as someone who must not be named would say, illogical, Jim. See H.W. Fowler for more on this exciting topic. Finally, mention of Cervantes' great book reminds me that Don Quixote is correctly pronounced 'Don Kwixott'. Any alternative from the mouth of a native English-speaker is, like, Beijing, Kebek, Ni-ha-ra-uah and so on, nothing but an affectation.
And, having now condemned affectation, I shall now try to think of something to say in Latin...
Posted at 03:40 PM
COINKY-DINK [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, Talk about random, but I'm reading Don Quixote for the first time (I'm 28, but didn't get to read much classic literature in school) and today at lunch I happened across the very dog story that you copied into the Corner today. I don't read DQ every day, and then only about 15 pages at a time, so what a very odd coincidence. Thanks for explaining the moral, as I found it a bit puzzling when encountering it in DQ. Although I also found it interesting that you didn't include the last line of the story, since it pertains to your current profession. The man also says, "You think it's easy to write a book?"
Posted at 03:12 PM
HEARTY V HARDY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
It is possible to party hard(y) without throwing your whole heart into it. I've been to many a shin dig where I was partying hard, but it was not something that I threw my whole self into the swing of things.
Posted at 02:55 PM
POOR TEDDY KENNEDY [Jonathan H. Adler]
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued another opinion by Judge William Pryor yesterday.
Posted at 02:40 PM
NOT TO BE FLIP... [KJL]
but the 9/11 commission could have been prevented
Posted at 02:39 PM
DIFFICULT VS. GOOD [John Derbyshire]
Great story! My own favorite along the same lines is an anecdote about Dr. Johnson. (Not in the Life, I think, prob. one of Mrs. Thrale's.)
Johnson was quite deaf & found it difficult to enjoy music. In spite of this, Boswell persuaded him to go along to hear a famous, very innovative & avant-garde young violinist play.
Walking home afterwards, Boswell tried to coax an opinion out of Johnson, but could only get noncommittal grunts.
At last he said: "Well, you must at least allow that what the young man was doing was very difficult."
Johnson: "Difficult, Sir? I wish it had been IMPOSSIBLE!"
Posted at 02:36 PM
ACADEMIC FREEDOM AT BERKELEY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Pejman Yousefsadeh dissects the problems with the Berkeley law students who organized a petition against former Justice Department official John Yoo, demanding he repudiate the memos on the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to captured terrorists he wrote at Justice, or resignj his post on Berkeley's faculty.
Posted at 02:32 PM
JOYCE [Jonah Goldberg]
I've never been able to read Joyce. But the point that it took him 7 years to write Ulysses reminds me of a story out of Don Quixote.
A man walks to the center of town, and gathers a crowd to watch the show he's about to put on. The man picks up a dog and inserts a tube into its rump. He begins to inflate the dog. The crowd watches, fascinated. The dog grows larger. Eventually, the man pulls the tube out and lots of air noisily escapes. The dog runs away. The man turns to the crowd expectantly, and asks: "You think it's easy to inflate a dog with a tube?"
Moral: Just because someone works hard at a piece of work doesn't mean it's great art.
Posted at 02:26 PM
RE: BLOOMSDAY [John Derbyshire]
Conversation I had some years ago with a kindred spirit, an old college buddy in England named Peter Nalder.
JD: "People say 'Ulysses' is a great book."
PN: "Possibly so, I really can't say. Never could get into it."
JD: "It took him seven years to write, you know."
PN: "I think it would take me longer than that to read it!"
Posted at 02:10 PM
RE: SPLIT INFINITIVES [John Derbyshire]
Wasn't there once a TV show that urged us "to boldly go..."? But I forget the name.
Posted at 02:05 PM
RE: EVERYONE INTO THE POOL [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm getting lots and lots of email along these lines:
Re: Sullivan's flirtation with "the pool" -- COULDN"T AGREE MORE. I am one of Sullivan's "fiscal conservatives," and I am FAR from comfortable with Bush on the spending front. However, I am willing to live with my discomfiture as long as I can, well, just plain continue to live, and I need a President who's strong in the WOT to continue doing that. Being in MA and having watched Kerry in action for years now I am more than convinced he doesn't fit the bill.
Posted at 02:05 PM
CAVEAT BLOGGOR [John Derbyshire]
OK, Jonah, that's it for the Simpsons references. Any more, you can kiss your recess goodby!
Posted at 02:03 PM
HEARTY VS HARDY [Jonah Goldberg]
I agree with this reader on the superiority of "Hardy" but I would assume NR would reject his method. Proper usage shouldn't be a popularity contest. Of course, I am not an absolutist myself on such issues. Anyway, from a reader:
When I want to see which of two variants of something is more widespread, I just google each phrase and see which has more hits. In this case, Party Hearty has a slight lead over Party Hardy. It should, because it makes more sense. Party Hardy seems more fitting for, say, an outdoor party in the Arctic.
Posted at 01:39 PM
USAGE SHIBBOLETHS [Jonah Goldberg]
So where does National Review come down this ancient question: Is it Party Hardy or Party Hearty?
Posted at 01:26 PM
THOSE SWEDES [John Derbyshire]
In re David Frum's piece on Sweden: There is much more to Sweden than meets the eye. In some Corner exchanges a few months ago, I learned that the Swedes are fonder of their national flag than just about anybody, and fly it proudly at the slightest opportunity. Also, someone recently told me -- and I may have this garbled, so will welcome correction -- that while military service is voluntary in Sweden, if you choose not to do it, you are thereafter ineligible for government employment and some state benefits.
Jan Morris, in one of her travel books, washes up in Stockholm and goes on about how much she detests the dull, smug bourgeoisity of the place, yet allows that the Swedes seem pretty happy with it all.
Posted at 01:25 PM
SPLIT OR NOT? [KJL]
Many readers point out:
The Chicago Manuel of Style has not frowned on split infinitives since 1983. "In this day and age, it seems, an injunction against splitting infinitives is one of those shibboleths whose only reason for survival is to give increased meaning to the lives of those who can both identify by name a discrete grammatical, syntactic, or orthographic entity and notice when that entity has been somehow besmirched."We wouldn't be conservatives if we didn't reject such radical ideas, right? (Not that I have ever been so reckless...)
Posted at 01:16 PM
FROM THE DEPT OF INFO NOBODY WANTED [Jonah Goldberg]
Re today's G-File, from a reader:
Posted at 01:10 PM
ONLY A SERIOUS SIMPSONS GEEK... [Jonah Goldberg ]
could produce something like this.
Posted at 01:03 PM
NRO ON WATER [John Derbyshire]
Yes, as Ombudsman I shall be bringing my staff and seals of office with me. How are they getting on with the robes, K-Lo? Don't go overboard with the gold trim, a la Rehnquist -- just enough to give a touch of *gravitas*, you know?
Posted at 01:03 PM
COME ON EVERYONE! INTO THE POOL! [Jonah Goldberg ]
Andrew Sullivan rightly zings Bush on his love of big government and overspending. There's nothing wrong with that. Indeed, National Review -- and particularly Ramesh -- has been doing that for a while. In fact I did it again just the other day.
However, Sullivan concludes by asking "No president since Johnson has been so supportive of big government as George W. Bush. Why are fiscal conservatives still supporting him?"
This is surely another example of Andrew's effort to build some sort of eagle-schwarzenegger-McCainiac-Catania-liberal Republican-pro-gay marriage-South Park popular front against Bush. So far, needless to say, the bonfire isn't catching.
And I think I know why. Indeed, I think the answer resides in Andrew's question: "Why are fiscal conservatives still supporting [Bush]?"
The answer is that fiscal conservatives aren't single-issue voters, and I'm kind of astounded that Sullivan thinks they should be. A blog which soared with high-minded rhetoric about how the war on terror is the test for this generation and that Bush was the right man to lead that struggle, now day-after-day tries to whittle away at reasons to support Bush in the fall as if the war on terror were merely another issue which can be trumped by any other issue you happen to feel more passionate about. Maybe "fiscal conservatives" aren't defined by their fiscal conservatism? Or maybe they think this election isn't a choice about a single issue be it the deficit or, say, gay marriage? Maybe the election is about a choice between George W. Bush and the people he would appoint to staff his administration and the judicial branch and John F. Kerry and the people he would appoint and how those respective administrations would govern across a wide array of issues including first and foremost the war on terror? And maybe most conservatives find that a cost-benefit analysis on that question yields a fairly obvious answer. Perhaps conservatives are less afflicted with the identity-politics attitude Andrew seems to be imposing on them?
Some days it really sounds like Sullivan wants to jump into the anti-Bush pool but he just can't muster the gumption if others won't join him.
Posted at 12:56 PM
HATCH JOB [John J. Miller]
Here's Sen. Orrin Hatch on CNBC last night, discussing stem-cell research: "If we can keep it out of politics and really talk about science, about the benefit of mankind, I think we have a number more than 60 votes. And, as you know, the letter in the House was signed by more than 200 House members. So the fact of the matter is, I believe if we keep it out of politics and we bring it up and basically argue from a standpoint of decent scientific research and the setting of moral and ethical standards and the hope for treatments and cures that might come from this type of research, I think we can pass it." Hold on there, Orrin. You're touting a letter signed by a bunch of politicians and in the same sentence saying we need to keep stem-cell research out of politics? Oh please.
Posted at 12:52 PM
MORE NYT-PICKING REAGAN [Tim Graham]
Clay Waters can quote only so many New York Times quotes on Reagan, but I have a couple of "favorites" from all our Reagan-reviewing in the last week. From the August 27, 1989 edition, reporter Kirk Johnson forwarded the view of "some experts" (read: "Reagan haters") that the way in which "the Reagan administration questioned the value of racial quotas and affirmative action made speaking out against such programs acceptable. [Horrors!] This, they contend, made it easier for racists to openly express their attitudes. Groups like the Klan and the Skinheads have both begun [?] targeting the young for recruitment."
In March of 1995, Lamar Alexander was in the early months of a run for president, and the NYT's Tom Friedman was horrified to ponder someone as president "who is such an outsider to Washington and American foreign policy." (He seemed to have already forgotten the election of Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.) Alexander said, "Did Ronald Reagan scare you, Tom?" Friedman replied, "He sure did." When Alexander suggested "I thought he was the best national defense and commander-in-chief and foreign policy president we've had since Eisenhower," Friedman sneered: "Ask 245 Marines in Beirut about that."
Posted at 12:48 PM
MORE HOOPS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Congratulations are also due to Detroit Pistons coach Larry Brown. There is no more deserving coach in the NBA. For two decades he has consistently been one of the best coaches in the game. John's right that the Pistons won by playing team basketball -- something typically lacking in the NBA today -- but that's no accident given they have Larry Brown for a coach. This championship is way overdue.
Posted at 12:48 PM
BLOOMSDAY [John Derbyshire]
A reader writes: "Derb---It's the hundreth anniversary - how come no comments in the Corner?"
Well, other Cornerites must speak for themselves, as no doubt they will. There has been no comment from me because, after several earnest attempts across many years, I have been unable to get more than a quarter of the way through Joyce's "masterpiece" before falling asleep. The few dozen pages I have read left almost no impression on my mind. The only thing I recall is him describing a pier as "a disappointed bridge," which is mildly clever.
This is the kind of remark that starts a fist fight, though. I sense that numerous readers are alread seething, and reaching for their keyboards with hands trembling with rage. Hey, look: chacun a son gout and de gustibus non disputandum -- if you're thrilled by Joyce, I wish you a very good day. For myself, I fully expect, and hope, to go to my grave never having finished Ulysses (nor even OPENED Finnegan's Wake).
Posted at 12:42 PM
LISTEN TO K-LO [Jonah Goldberg]
Her motto is "Auctoritas, non veritas, facit legem" -- as Hobbes would say.
Posted at 12:20 PM
YOU THINK THIS IS FUN? YOU DON'T KNOW FUN YET... [KJL]
Judging from my in-box, some of you got a good chuckle or two out of The Corner this morning, while learning things (latin?), too. Imagine how much more fun a Corner on water would be! Picture yourself, relaxing after the loooong presidential election with National Review-ers. Derb's going. So is his (our) gal Michelle Malkin. So is VDH. And Rich. And Ramesh. And Jay. And Steve Moore. And Dinesh D'Souza. And mideast scholar Bernard Lewis. And RNC chair Ed Gillespie. Can you imagine? Dinner, cocktails, stimulating panels--with this crew? Heck, I'm about getting out my wallet! Go here for all the info. And before you think, "outside my budget," go to the site, read the details, remember this is pretty cool vacation, with people you know and love. And you deserve it.
Posted at 12:10 PM
STRUCK BY A METEORITE [John Derbyshire]
Several readers tell me that the riposte: "What, and be struck by a meteorite?" (given in reply to a suggestion that one sit outdoors in fine weather) was coined by Robert Benchley. He seems to have said "meteor," which is strictly correct, as the thing doesn't become a meteorite until it hits the ground.
Posted at 12:04 PM
WE HAVE A WINNER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Easily the dumbest thing I've read about Reagan in the last two weeks.
Posted at 11:59 AM
MORE RE: 9/11 HEARINGS [Andrew C. McCarthy]
Individual Commissioners picking up on themes they’ve pursued before. For example, Sen. Bob Kerrey: There was plenty of information publicly available during the Clinton administration that would have allowed Clinton to make the case for going to war as early as 1997, and certainly by 1998. (He also added that there was cause for Bush to have acted in the months before 9/11.) Through the panel witnesses (U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald, FBI Special Agent Debbie Doran, some CIA people), Kerrey marshaled evidence that by 1998 we knew, for example, about al Qaeda’s role in killing U.S. forces in Somalia in 1993; in 1996 OBL expressly declared war against, and urged attacks on, the U.S. military; and in early 1998, OBL expanded that declaration of war to a fatwa to kill Americans--including civilians--wherever on earth they could be found. Leaving aside the failure meaningfully to respond to this and other publicly available information, Kerrey pointed stressed the inexplicable failure to account for much of what was publicly known about the OBL threat in the CIA’s annual National Intelligence Estimates during that time. He also marveled at how much more edifying information was publicly available through what came out in court during the 2001 trial of the embassy bombing trial than what was given to President Bush in the infamous August 6 memo. Kerrey said, not really joking, that it would have been a lot better to send Pat Fitzgerald to brief the President on August 6, 2001 than to send the CIA’s memo.
Posted at 11:30 AM
SO MUCH FOR THE DULLARD WHO LETS CHENEY RUN THINGS [Byron York]
Reviewing three new books that purport to psychoanalyze the president, including Justin Frank's Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, the online magazine Salon concludes, "Three new psychological portraits of George W. Bush paint him as a control freak driven by rage, fear, and an almost murderous Oedipal competition with his father. And that's before we get to Mom."
Posted at 11:18 AM
9/11 HEARINGS [Andrew C. McCarthy]
Chicago U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald, one of my two partners on the blind Sheik case and later the lead prosecutor on the embassy bombing case, is, bar none, the best prosecutor in the U.S., and probably the best lawyer (and certainly one of the best people) I have ever met. He testified this morning before the 9/11 Commission, which makes sense because he knows more about al Qaeda than anyone who is not actually in al Qaeda.
Pat made three points about our enemy that are often missed, and that are why militant Islam is often underestimated: First, they are not a collection of uneducated thugs. As he pointed out, when you see a videotape of bin Laden seated with his second-in-command outside a cave, you tend to forget that that guy, Ayman Zawahiri, is a trained surgical doctor. This is not altogether unusual. Many members and supporters of al Qaeda are serious, educated professional people. Ali Mohammed (UBL bodyguard who pled guilty in the embassy bombing case) was a high-ranking officer in the Egyptian army for 17 years before coming to the U.S. and joining our army for three years (while training some of the 1993 WTC bombers in his spare time). They accomplish what they accomplish because they are smart, capable and extraordinarily patient (our evidence indicates that some operations are literally years in the making).
Second, this idea we seem to have that al Qaeda training consists of climbing monkey bars in a faraway playground. In fact, while physical exercise is certainly part of it, there is a sophisticated level of training in ciphers, codes and compartmented cells. While the U.S. has obvious superiority in force capabilities that the terrorists will never be able to match, al Qaeda understands that the gap narrows when they become expert in – and their individual operatives nearly match our individual operatives – in technical intelligence capabilities. Analogously, when they run a front – especially a front like a charity or a health care facility – it’s a professional operation that you’d have a very hard time identifying as a front. Pat compared it very favorably to a mafia front – if you went into an ostensible café and tried to order a cup of coffee, you would very quickly realize that this was not a coffee shop. To the contrary, when al Qaeda runs a charity or a hospital, there is real charitable activity and health care going on. It makes it very hard to pierce the façade – and as al Qaeda well knows it makes it politically and socially very difficult to investigate aggressively.
Third, al Qaeda probably spends more time studying us than it does planning operations. It understands our weaknesses very well and exploits them to a fare thee well. The two biggest ones he cited were our immigration system, which makes it extraordinarily easy for a competent terrorist with easy access to phony documentation to enter and stay in the country; and the media, which is exceptionally easy to manipulate.
Posted at 10:58 AM
DOCTORS SHUN LAWYERS [Jack Fowler]
Revenge is sweet: AP reports doctors are retaliating against malpractice insanity by refusing to treat trial lawyers (and in one case the daughter of a state lawmaker who opposed tort reform).
Posted at 10:47 AM
REAGAN MYTHS [Tim Graham]
Brent Bozell takes on last week's newly minted myths that Ronald Reagan "ignored" the AIDS epidemic (with help from Deroy Murdock on NRO) and "began" the 1980 campaign by pandering to white racists in Mississippi.
What the Reagan-bashing stories left out about the 1980s was the liberal fearmongering of that era – that the news media (and women's magazines, and Oprah) suggested the AIDS epidemic would soon spread to the heterosexual population and cause a wave of mass death, that AIDS was an "equal opportunity destroyer." Old myths fall away, and new myths take their place.
Posted at 10:33 AM
LATIN CORNER [The Thorn]
The Corner is officially a parody of itself.
Posted at 10:20 AM
AIN'T NOBODY GOIN' TO OUT-LATIN THE DERB [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: Urticae proxima saepe rosa est, if you get my drift.
Posted at 10:15 AM
Stuttaford's speaking Catholic! Our whole world's turned upside down.
Posted at 09:59 AM
OUR OMBUDSMAN PROBLEM [Andrew Stuttaford]
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Posted at 09:57 AM
REAGAN [John J. Miller]
A portrait in jellybeans.
Posted at 09:54 AM
SAY IT WITH ME, SAY IT LOUD & SAY IT PROUD! [Jonah Goldberg ]
From an article in today's Washington Times on Kerry's appeal to union-members in New Jersey:
"Asked whether Mr. Kerry's patrician — some say French — face and wife worth an estimated $550 million hurts his ability to relate to the working class, Mr. Mullen replied, 'Yeah, but he's our rich French guy and we got to stick with him.'"
I for one cannot wait for the Democratic Convention, with chants of RFG! RFG! RFG! (that's rich French guy).
Posted at 09:48 AM
KERRY'S A LOSER CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
Howard Kurtz picks up the old standard and useful standard.
Posted at 09:32 AM
UM [Jonah Goldberg]
What the bejeebers is going on in here? Everyone seems to be whirling-derbish.
Posted at 09:29 AM
MEMO FROM “PUFFED-UP, SNOOTY, ARROGANT, SELF-IMPORTANT, OVERPAID, BROWN-NOSING, TALENTLESS” EDITOR [KJL]
Mr. (Don't-You-Have-a-Book-to-Write-Today-or-House-to-Build?) Derbyshire: Your pet-podiatrist-scandal piece went in the same Mike Bloomberg-approved "recycle bin" as your "Homosexualists in 13th Century Japan" and "Jihad Against Amnesty for Liechtensteiners" pieces.
Posted at 09:16 AM
KILLED [John Derbyshire]
Nice piece, Alex. A modicum of self-promotion, including even mention of one's own books, articles, and minor literary ventures, is acceptable, provided it doesn't get out of hand.
And btw, Kathryn, speaking of pieces that get "killed" by puffed-up, snooty, arrogant, self-important, overpaid, brown-nosing, talentless editors -- people who DON'T HAVE A FRIGGIN' CLUE WHAT MAKES GOOD COPY! -- what happened to that piece I sent in about the pet-podiatrist scandal?
Posted at 09:06 AM
IRAQI PRISONERS [John Derbyshire]
"Iraqi officials also said they expect the coalition to turn over to the Iraqi government the nearly 5,000 Iraqis detained at Abu Ghraib and other prisons..."
Oh boy, I bet those poor prisoners, after all they've suffered under the iron heel of the U.S. occupation forces, just can't wait to find themselves transferred to the tender fraternal administration of their fellow Iraqis...
Posted at 09:04 AM
RON REAGAN JR. [KJL]
Is the supposed surprise that he might have been knocking George W. Bush (and the idea that there is a debate over whether or not he likes the current president) in his eulogy Friday the most disingenuous (delayed reaction) story of the week?
Posted at 08:31 AM
RE: KILLING ROSE'S THREAD BEFORE IT'S HATCHED [KJL]
Ombudsego or no, no one should consider that last post an invitation to discuss pieces of theirs I've killed.
Posted at 08:28 AM
BLATANT SELF-ADVERTISING [Alexander Rose]
If anyone's interested, I have a review about The State of Journalism in today's New York Observer here.
Posted at 08:26 AM
DIRECTIVE FROM THE OMBUDSMAN [John Derbyshire]
In the hope of setting up a satisfactory scale of punishments for transgressors, I have been reading up on the practice of Outlawry, as understood by the medieval Icelanders. There is a brief account here.
Note especially the following:
"If a man calls a man ragr or stro?inn or sor?inn. And they shall be punished as fully slanderous words, and a man is given the right to kill for these words."
Since, obviously, we do not want any bloodshed on The Corner, I hereby absolutely prohibit all Cornerites from referring to anyone as ragr or stro?inn or sor?inn.
Posted at 08:03 AM
MISGUIDED KERRY [Tim Graham]
Steven Pearlstein, a fairly liberal reporter and columnist in the Washington Post business section, surprises this morning: "The critical issue of the presidential campaign is not jobs, or the deficit, or even the war in Iraq. The issue is credibility: which candidate can lead the country by telling the truth about where we are and where we need to go. And in that context, the efforts of John Kerry's team to portray the economy as being in terrible shape, and President Bush as being the Herbert Hoover of his era, are badly misguided."
Posted at 08:01 AM
WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE? [Michael Graham]
That’s the question Iraqi Alaa Mery is asking after six Shi’ite truck drivers were found dead Monday. They had sought refuge at a police station in the Sunni city of Fallujah when they couldn’t pay ransom to a gang of Syrians operating a shakedown operation. When their families couldn’t pay, they were turned over to a mob and killed. Alaa Mery had gone to Fallujag to try to negotiate with the kidnappers. "Fallujah clerics and people made a big fuss regarding Abu Ghraib torture, but now they are killing and mutilating Muslims," Mr. Mery said. "They are not resistance. They are a copy of Saddam."
Posted at 07:36 AM
HOOPSTOWN [John J. Miller]
Congratulations to the Detroit Pistons for winning an NBA championship that few people thought they were capable of winning. I've seen a lot of sports teams come and go, but I'm not sure I've seen one that is both so good and so balanced at the same time--a real team, rather than a couple of superstars aided by a few interchangeable bit players. Perhaps hometown pride is overwhelming me right now. Still, it was an impressive playoff run, and an especially impressive performance against the Lakers. We now return to our regular programming.
Posted at 05:21 AM
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
ENVIROS & ENERGY TAXES [Jonathan H. Adler]
A reader argues that I should not equate traditional enviornmental activist support for energy taxes with environmentalist support for higher energy prices. This would be a fair point except for the fact that environmental activists have supported energy taxes because such taxes would increase prices and reduce consumption. Higher prices, particularly forof carbon-based fuels, is their explicit policy aim. Thus, it is hypocritical for environmentalists to criticize the administration for not adopting policies that will reduce energy prices.
Posted at 11:35 PM
YANKEES WIN [KJL]
I believe you're about to witness a new age of (cyber)Prohibition...so says the woman with the password power. Blame the Derbyshire/Rose Enlightenment for keeping you from any and all fun you wish you were having in here.
Posted at 11:28 PM
OMBUDPERSON'S OMBUDPERSON [Alexander Rose]
I think John Derbyshire is doing a fine job with his new Captain Bligh-like powers of chastisement and ritual humiliation. For too long, Kathryn has been running a loose ship on this corner and letting people like Andrew Stuttaford hijack the agenda for his own dubiously partisan ends. That is no doubt why Time has ignored NRO in its current round-up of blogs. Now that we have a real, live ombudsperson at the helm, we too shall enjoy the balance, toleration, and fairness for which Time is renowned in the most enlightened circles.
Posted at 11:22 PM
MORE RE: REAGAN, PREJUDICE & CONTEXT [Peter Robinson]
You’re quite right to note, Rick, that the Civil War remained a living memory in the Illinois in which Ronald Reagan grew to manhood, as witness that I once heard Reagan depart from the text of a speech I’d written to ad lib several lines about his boyhood. He’d been struck, he said, by the proud old men he’d seen march in parades on Decoration Day. Those proud old men were Civil War veterans.
Posted at 11:08 PM
NOTES FROM THE ROAD [Peter Robinson]
Planning our family vacation a month or so ago, I posted a bleg, asking for advice about where a family might go and what it might see in northern New England. To the nearly 100 readers who replied, two notes:
a) My wife and I took your suggestions seriously enough to plan ten days of our two-week vacation around them (reserving the remaining four days for my Dartmouth College reunion, which begins this coming Thursday).
b) The death of a certain former actor disrupted our plans, leading us, after landing last Tuesday in Boston, to drive, not north to the Maine coast, the first stop we had planned, but south to Washington, where we where found ourselves remaining for the better part of a week. You have our thanks, in other words, for all your help—but those ten days of vacation have now been collapsed into just two.
What’s left of our vacation? We spent today on the Maine coast, where, dropping by Kennebunkport, we spent a delightful couple of hours with an old boss of mine and his wife. (My former boss just turned 80, and, to get around his summer place, he has taken to using a Segway, on which he happily showed off for the Robinson children, riding backwards for a couple of hundred feet while pointing out the sights—and this just 48 hours after celebrating his birthday with a parachute jump). Tomorrow we’ll be in the New Hampshire mountains, staying at the Eagle Mountain House, a vast, rambling, nineteenth-century hotel, with—vital for the kids—a tennis court, a pool, and a driving range. Thursday we’ll hike Mt. Moosilauke. (That’s the plan, anyway. I’m 20 years older than I was the last time I climbed the mountain, and this time around I’ll be carrying a two-year-old in a pack on my back. We shall see.) And on Thursday evening we’ll roll into Hanover for my 25th Dartmouth reunion, just as originally planned.
More notes from the road as we roll along.
Posted at 11:05 PM
CIGAREETS AN' WHISKEY AN' WILD WILD WIMMIN [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: There is something about smoking and drinking together. In my cigarette days, I was a light smoker -- around ten ciggies per working day. If I spent a long evening at a bar, though (or in England, pub + after-hours club), I'd get through a whole pack right there.
You have not really sampled all life has to offer unless you have woken up with a grade-A hangover and a tongue that feels like it's been dragged through the La Brea tar pits. Ah, good times...
Posted at 08:53 PM
Posted at 08:48 PM
BELATED AND UNRELATED TO MUCH [KJL]
Yesterday, Stuttaford said "dang" in here, in response to something TV related Jonah said, I believe. It seemed as foreign as Margaret Thatcher using the word "Fella" in her Reagan eulogy.
Posted at 06:51 PM
OUR READERS ARE INGENIOUS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email: "By imposing 'No Smoking' on bars, Mayor Bloomberg and his ilk are hurting American industry: i.e., manufacturing jobs (so precious in this election year). There are several companies which make high capacity electronic air filters for bars and restaurants which permit smoking. The Hawk & Dove here in Washington has several installed. IF there is a smoker near to the intake end of the filter, you cannot smell the smoke at the outlet end (6 feet or so on this model). The fans are strong and can cope well with, I would say based on first-hand observation, about a dozen smokers in one room (the Hawk has two barrooms, I am speaking here about the smaller of the two). Shame on Mayor Bloomberg for taking away American manufacturing jobs!"
Posted at 06:06 PM
SMOKE-FREE BARS [Jonathan H. Adler]
I have three thoughts in response to Ramesh's question. First, it may well be the case that smokers place greater weight on whether a bar or restaurant allows smoking than non-smokers. That is, a restaurant may lose smokers by going smoke-free, but may not gain any more non-smoking customers. If that is indeed the relative weight of each group's subjective preferences, we would expect relatively few non-smoking bars.
Second, in some cities, local regulations operate to increase the smokiness of bars by prohibiting smoking the in main dining rooms of restaurants above a given size, but allowing smoking in bars and adjoining areas. Such laws can have the effect of turning bars into the de facto smoking areas of many restaurants.
Third, despite the above, some restaurants go non-smoking and promote that fact, and the number may well vary based upon local preferences. Carlyle Grand is a notable, and very popular, example of a non-smoking establishment in D.C. that advertises its policy. Out here in Bozeman, non-smoking establishments are widespread, incuding sports bars, ale houses, and most restaurants. In Cleveland, on the other hand, I can only think of a handful of establishments that prohibit smoking, including a few wine bars and the Great Lakes brew pub. That the ratio of smoking to non-smoking establishments would vary from city to city is no surprise.
It is certainly fair to wonder why there aren't more non-smoking estabilshments. Of course, if anti-smoking activists spent half as much time trying to pressure individual restaurants to limit or prohibit smoking as they did trying to enact laws, the number of non-smoking establishments would surely rise.
Posted at 06:04 PM
BATTLE OF HALHIN GOL [John Derbyshire]
Yep, hardly anyone knows about this battle. Yet it was really important. One reader: "So we have Stalin and Marshal Zhukov to thank for Pearl Harbor?" Quite possibly.
I'd never heard of the battle either, until it was written up in the *Spectator* 3 or 4 yrs ago.
Posted at 05:27 PM
SMOKE-FREE BARS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Ramesh, if I may (so to speak) butt in here, there are, I think, three main reasons for this. (1) The percentage of smokers is much higher among drinkers than amongst the population as a whole, so the economics of non-smoking bars are not quite as clear-cut as at first seems to be the case; (2) Even if they don't smoke, regular bar-goers are less likely to be the sort of people to believe in that mixture of junk science, hysteria and self-righteousness that together make up that strange and obsessive belief in the peril of 'passive smoking'. Either that, or these tipplers crave beer more than they are bothered by cigarettes; and (3) thanks to the declining popularity of tobacco, even smoky bars are not so smoky (and thus not so objectionable to non-smokers) as in the past.
Posted at 05:22 PM
THE SCRIBBLER [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 05:13 PM
IRANIAN TROOPS AT THE READY, ON IRAQ'S BORDER? [KJL]
Posted at 04:59 PM
A QUESTION FOR ADLER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
You mention that the market is perfectly capable of generating smoke-free bars if people want them. I've always been struck by how uncommon such bars are outside of places where smokelessness is mandatory. Why do you suppose that is? Clearly there are a great many people who dislike smoke. Even assuming that smokers drink more, why aren't there more bars that cater to them?
Posted at 04:46 PM
RE: VERSE FOR A PURSE [John Derbyshire]
All right, all you comedians out there. That's quite enough e-mails offering to pay me NOT to write poetry.
Posted at 04:07 PM
JAPAN VS. USSR [John derbyshire]
It should be noted, by the way, that the USSR had their own engagement with the Imperial Japanese forces, at the nearly-forgotten but tremendous Battle of Halhin Gol, in Mongolia, in 1939. The Soviets wiped out two Japanese divisions, after which the Japanese decided to strike south rather than north... See here for an account of the battle.
Posted at 03:44 PM
RE STRAUSS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah: Our politics are quite different, but I certainly agree with you on the academic front. I hope you know that not all of us liberals support the sophistic foucauldian crap that has taken over our universities. I don't particularly like Strauss' readings of texts, but at least he was READING great texts. If you haven't already, read Allan Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind."
Posted at 03:39 PM
VERSE FOR A PURSE [John Derbyshire]
Hey, I'm up for it, Kathryn! There will be a scale of fees: $25 for a Clerihew, $100 for a Sonnet (though I may add a premium if you want your sonnet Petrarchan -- they are slightly trickier), all the way up to $1,000 for a sestina. (Sample sestina here--do a find on "derb".) I will also do epic in heroic couplets: $10 per couplet, up to a maximum 10,000 lines. Accepting reservations.
Posted at 03:36 PM
RE: EUGENE DEBS [John Derbyshire]
Very few people know this -- very few NRO readers, I imagine -- but there is actually a radio station named after Eugene Debs: WEVD, New York (Debs's middle name was Victor.) I was on this station once, with Alan Colmes -- who is a witty, courteous and hospitable guy. Not a bad guy at all in fact... for a lefty.
Posted at 03:29 PM
I SEE THE T-SHIRTS NOW [KJL]
From a reader:
New Derb-gear slogan...
Posted at 03:26 PM
RE: D-DAY, AS THE RUSSIANS SEE IT [John Derbyshire]
A reader sees off Max Hastings:
"Derb---What irritates me about comparisons like the one you posted between Soviet and British/American contributions to WWII is that it is all so much crap. The Soviet Union was INVADED by Germany, thus they were forced to put up a fight (meanwhile, the French were invaded and did not). Britain was bombed, but never invaded by the Nazis. American shipping was attacked, but Germany never posed any threat to the mainland. Thus for a Russian to get all snippy about who did what is pretty asinine. Frankly, we didn't HAVE to do ANYTHING, at least not immediately. Furthermore, weren't the Soviets the country who appeased Hitler with the infamous non-aggression treaty? For a country so brave, they sure did everything they could to avoid fighting until Hitler's Panzers drove right through their front yard.
"Furthermore let it be noted that we were kind of, you know, fighting the Japanese at the same damn time. Call me crazy, but I would say that counts for something. Given their proximity to one another, I'm sure the Soviets and Japanese had their skirmishes, but I rather doubt the Reds were even so much as a splinter in the sides of the Japs."
Posted at 03:21 PM
YOU LEARN NEW THINGS EVERYDAY [KJL]
Did you know there is a luggage line (not a new thing) called "Zero Halliburton." Made me do a doubletake when I saw in a store window.
Posted at 03:20 PM
RE: DERB'S POETRY [KJL]
You know, I know this can be a fundraiser. For Christmas, Derb will write a poem exlusively for you, for the right price. We've seen Derb's tax returns, so we know he wouldn't ask for too much of a percentage of the take-in total.
Posted at 03:16 PM
RE: PALMER RAIDS [John Derbyshire]
Jonah has a good point. If memory serves, it was that great Republican president Warren G. Harding who released lefty troublemaker Eugene Debs from jail (whither he had been sent by Wilson) on Christmas Eve 1921, saying: "I want thim to eat his Christmas dinner with his wife."
Harding's middle name was "Gamaliel." When I first encountered this fine man in my reading, I didn't know where to stress "Gamaliel," so I asked an American historian. Then I wrote a poem to help me remember.
Gave up the ghost.
Woken from slumber,
Sworn in by father,
Took up the post.
[Kathryn: I have lots more poetry for The Corner, if there's a demand for it. Kathryn? Hello?]
Posted at 03:14 PM
KERRY'S HIGH MEDIA POSITIVES [Tim Graham]
The Center for Media and Public Affairs studied ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from January 1 to March 1, the eve of Super Tuesday, and assessed the “evaluations of non-partisan sources and reporters” in campaign stories. Their findings show a historic result since they began tracking TV campaign news in 1988:
"Kerry had best press of any nominee we’ve ever tracked -- 81 percent positive. But Edwards had the best press of any major candidate -- 96 percent positive. The Democratic field got the best combined coverage ever -- 75 percent positive. Democratic primary candidates have gotten 60 percent good press since 1988, compared to 45 percent for Republicans."
Posted at 03:11 PM
RE: SITE R [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: After I posted yesterday on how New York City still has 42 Russian nukes targeted on it, I got a number of emails from readers telling me that back in the warmer phases of the Cold War -- 1950s & 1960s -- Americans took a good deal of pride in the nuke-worthiness of their home towns and places of residence. People would boast: "Oh, we're a prime target, you know..."
This strikes me as admirable -- kin to the pride London Cockneys showed after a particularly ferocious blitz. ("Cor, we didn't 'arf cop it last night!")
So, to any readers who live within lethal-blast radius of Site R: Congratulations!
Posted at 03:06 PM
D-DAY, AS THE RUSSIANS SEE IT [John Derbyshire]
"Although President Putin turned up on Sunday, Russian veterans of the 'Great Patriotic War' have not been celebrating the D-Day anniversary. In 1944, like Stalin himself, they regarded the Anglo-American contribution to the European land campaign as too little, too late. 'We never felt any weakening of German pressure because of what the Western Allies were doing,' said artillery officer Major Yury Ryakhovsky when I interviewed him a couple of years ago for a book on the last phase of the war. 'Indeed, we didn't feel they were doing very much. Their campaign was merely a splinter in Germany's side.' Lieutenant Pavel Nikiforov said almost contemptuously, 'It was a pity the Americans and British did not start fighting sooner.' He remarked that he himself had been wounded in action three times before the first Allied soldier stepped ashore on D-Day. A Russian history which remained an official sixth-form school textbook until at least the 1990s describes D-Day briskly: 'In June 1944, when it had become obvious that the Soviet Union was capable of defeating Hitler's Germany with her forces alone, England and the USA opened the Second Front ...The Anglo-American forces met with practically no opposition from the Hitlerites ...For these operations the Germans had diverted only 60 divisions to the Western front, while the Hitler command maintained 259 divisions and brigades on the Soviet-German front.' There is enough truth in this to make Anglo-American triumphalists uncomfortable. Consider a statistic: in the second world war British and US ground troops killed about 200,000 German soldiers. The Russians killed more than three million."
----From Max Hastings's "Diary" in the june 12 Spectator
Posted at 02:47 PM
NOT TO OBSESS [KJL]
But that <i>Time magazine piece on blogsmentioned last night (which seemed to go out of its way to not mention NRO or The Corner, not the first of its kind), reminded me of the April Vanity Fair piece on blogs. It did mention NRO, but in a odd way; but it also mentioned a liberal blog site that has running feature parodying Meghan Cox Gurdon’s Fever Swamp column on NRO, without ever mentioning “The Fever Swamp,” Meghan, or NRO. Very weird. People always tell me, when I complain about NRO not getting its due, that articles about blogsites tend to ignore us because we are “big media.” Huh? I certainly don’t feel like big media. Can anyone even seriously suggest that we’re on par--resource-wise with a New York Times, Time, or ABC?
For the record: For a few hundred thou, I am willing to shut up about this all for a long while.
Posted at 02:43 PM
DANG: AP BOTCHED IT [Jonah Goldberg]
That Zarqawi letter wasn't legit. From the AP:
Posted at 02:42 PM
THE STRAUSSIAN PARADOX [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader (at the University Of Chicago, known breeding ground for the Straussian bacillus):
Posted at 02:39 PM
LEARNING THE LESSONS FROM THE VOTE, NOT. [Andrew Stuttaford]
If the recent EU elections revealed anything, it was the degree to which the EU's political class has succeeded in alienating, boring, and generally irritating large numbers of voters. Under the circumstances, you'd think a little diplomacy might now be called for. You'd think. Well, here's Wilfred Martens, former Belgian Prime Minister and President of the European People's Party (the supposedly center-right grouping in the EU's 'parliament' ), on the topic of the high abstention rates recorded in the Eastern European countries that recently signed up for Brussels.
"For the new countries, Europe is too complicated..."
I wonder what the Polish is for 'patronizing bastard'.
Posted at 02:29 PM
PREJUDICE, LINCOLN, THE CIVIL WAR [Rick Brookhiser]
Re: Lincoln and the Civil War: In his second inaugural, Lincoln, looking back on the origins of the almost-concluded war, said, "One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuaate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it."
Re: prejudice, and what it might have seemed like in this country to a man of Reagan's age, see the essay in Terry Teachout's latest book on a lynching, in 1942, in his hometown of Sikeston, Missouri (a state which did not join the Confederacy, though some of its citizens wished to). Through the forties, race riots referred to those occasions when whites, often workers alarmed by the competition of non-unionized blacks, rampaged through black neighborhoods. John's memory of racial tensions between G.I.'s in Britain during WWII only confirms the point.
Posted at 02:19 PM
WATCHING BUSHGREENWATCH [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today BushGreenwatch assails the Bush Administration for supporing an energy bill that won't lower energy prices. Yet environmental activist groups have long agitated for higher energy prices in an effort to wean Americans from fossil fuels. When President Clinton proposed a broad-based energy tax, environmental groups cheered. Organizations like the NRDC lamented that the proposal was scaled back to only an increased tax on gasoline. Yet more evidence that the Washington environmental establishment places partisan politics above its purported commitment to environmental protection.
Posted at 02:13 PM
RE: METEORITE [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: I am not very outdoorsy, to put it mildly; and, as I have mentioned on The Corner, find it wellnigh impossible to read while sitting in the garden, or on a beach. So when Rosie urges me to go sit outside because the weather's lovely, my stock reply is: "What -- and get struck by a meteorite?"
(I confess I have plagiarized this from some American comedian of long ago, but I can't remember which one.)
Posted at 01:45 PM
RE: PALMER: HMMMM [Jonah Goldberg]
John - I'll take your point under advisement. But some preliminary thoughts:
1) Surely you have no problem illuminating the inconvenient fact that the Red Scare was the product of a liberal Democratic administration. To listen to liberals talk about McCarythism, one would think that such episodes can and must spring forth only from Republican and conservative administrations and politicians. Surely, the fact that the Wilson administration was far more complicit in a far greater crackdown on dissidents, socialists, and "Bolshies" than anything which transpired on Eisenhower's watch or was done by Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn is significant.
2) When I condemn Palmer -- at least in this context -- I'm trying to illustrate that by the standards of the liberal-left Palmer was a very bad guy. For some reason, when the liberal-left commits heinous acts we're supposed to believe they were the product of America's fundamental badness. When "conservatives" do bad things, however, we're told such crimes are a direct and logical consequence of their ideology. In this way, liberals can (or try to) claim that they have always and everywhere been on the right side of history, which is utter nonsense.
Hence "America" failed when a liberal president interned Japanese-Americans. Hence America or, even better, "right-wingers" were responsible for the Red Scare under Wilson when in fact liberals and even socialists deserve much of the blame.
Industrialists, for example, may be partly to blame for the "rush to war" in WWI, but that explanation was in no small part put forward to hide the blame which deserved to rest squarely on the shoulders of pro-war socialists and liberals in America. Indeed, most liberals and socialists in America were very pro-war. And for all the grief conservatives get these days for being “haters,” we can’t hold a candle to those guys. Pro-war socialist Charles E. Russel declared that his former colleagues should be “driven from the country.” J.G. Phelps Stokes insisted that anti-war socialists should be “shot at once without delay.” Etc. Etc.
3) I do not dispute that during the witch hunts of the Red Scare there were real witches. But that doesn't absolve the Wilson administration of everything it did. Truth be told, the Palmer Raids and that stuff doesn't bother me nearly as much as the way Wilson and Creel manipulated the public into war. But that's a subject for another day.
Posted at 01:42 PM
PEG O' MY HEART [John Derbyshire]
If what I am hearing off-line is correct, after her column this morning, Peggy Noonan may have trouble filling her dance card at the next Vast Right Wing Conspiracy ball...
Posted at 01:38 PM
RE: PHOEBE, GRAPEFRUIT-SIZED VISITORS, & SUCH [KJL]
Derb, did this news story make you jealous? Just wondering.
Posted at 01:35 PM
OUR OMBUDSMAN, CAPTAIN QUEEG [Andrew Stuttaford]
To mix literary analogies, I feel a bit like Victor Frankenstein. What have I done? As for he who must never be mentioned in the Corner, if the (wildly enjoyable) last few episodes of The Practice are anything to go by, there's going to be plenty to look forward in a certain new show. Danny Crane!
Posted at 01:32 PM
RE: SITE R [KJL]
I have some fascinating e-mails regarding emergency bunkers. Basically, I seem to be the last person to know the location of Site R and, since that's the case, it's probably not the infamous undisclosed location anyway. Here's a snippet from one bunker guy's e-mail: "I wouldn’t call the revelation of Site R as Cheney’s undisclosed location as inexcusable (or even unexcusable)- mostly because it is neither a revelation or not necessarily true. Most people in the area surrounding Site R (the ANMCC, Alternate National Military Command Center, primary being at the Pentagon) are familiar with its purpose and activities. Site R has been published numerous times as a “Doomsday bunker” in newspapers around the country. I believe Time even had a story mentioning the bunker 10-15 years ago by Ted Gup. So I would hardly call any mention of Site R a revelation- why else would the military have a tiny mountain sized installation in the middle of nowhere but within travel time of DC?!"
Posted at 01:23 PM
RE: PALMER [John Fonte]
The response from a reader to Jonah on A. Mitchell Palmer (he was okay because he "jailed Bolshies") was basically on target. Conservatives should not join the liberal-left in attacking Palmer and bemoaning the "Red Scare" after World War I. The so-called "Red Scare" was more accurately a "Red Threat," with bombs going off on Wall Street and a lot of alien subversives running around who deserved to be deported by the US government. By trashing Palmer, the liberal-left (and, alas, some on the right) seek to discredit anti-subversive activities in general, including the Red threat of the 1930s-1950s and the domestic Radical Islamist threat today.
Posted at 01:19 PM
BAD LATIMES POLL [KJL]
The Kerry Spot was all over that when it came out, by the way.
Posted at 01:16 PM
BOLIVIA'S LAST PRESIDENT? [John Derbyshire]
This is a long article but well worth the trouble for the light it sheds on current issues of race, nationality, globalization, and the drug war
Posted at 01:01 PM
GOOD NEWS (IF REAL) [Jonah Goldberg ]
Zarqawi is starting to panic according to this open letter to Bin Laden. Of course, it might be a fake. But if it's real: Great. And if it's fake: Great. There's nothing wrong with this sort of propaganda war -- if it works.
Posted at 12:55 PM
WE WON TWICE BEFORE, WE'LL WIN AGAIN [KJL]
I'm pondering banning all current or former British subjects from The Corner. The last laugh is on us free-Cornermen and women though, I'm sure. After all, the banned surely have a future in priceline.com commerials.
Posted at 12:47 PM
LARRY CRAIG [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, I see the Republican supporting that amnesty scheme is Larry Craig. He's the man who held up air force promotions (in 2003, a time when US planes were on combat missions over Afghanistan and Iraq) in order to ensure the delivery of a juicy piece of pork to his state. Classy guy.
Posted at 12:44 PM
DOWNSIDE OF THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP [John Derbyshire]
See, Kathryn, you let a couple of Brits in the door, and before you know it the site is silting up with obscure references to Gilbert & Sullivan, Monty Python, Marmite, and treacle.
Too late now, anyhow. The Battle of Yorktown was fought in vain....
Posted at 12:36 PM
UGH: STRAUSS PART XXXII [Jonah Goldberg ]
I found a link to this very long essay on AL Daily. I don't know much about the author and the piece itself is much better than I'd expected. But there's nothing in it that shakes me from my general conviction that commentary about the evil influence of Leo Strauss on American politics is almost never worth reading. The upshot seems to be that Straussian rhetoric has infected contemporary liberalism making it more hostile to democracy. The usual dot-connections between supposed Straussian administration officials (who when they are not Straussians are Trotskyites) and the war on terror are presented, again.
Maybe it's because I'm halfway through Richard Wolin's excellent book, The Seduction of Unreason which chronicles the Left's forty year infatuation with fascist thinking and opposition to all the principles of the enlightenment but I just have no patience with liberals who bitch and moan about the damage Leo Strauss wrought. When the academy is overrun with disciples of Heiddegger and Foucault, the idea that Leo Strauss posed the major threat to democratic principles is so brain-poundingly stupid it drives me to distraction. Foucault supported the Islamic Revolution in Iran for pete's sake. Maybe you should get your own houses in order before you scapegoat a scholar most college students and virtually all journalists know nothing about.
Posted at 12:27 PM
O SONG [KJL]
I blame Andrew Stuttaford and Alex Rose.
Posted at 12:19 PM
THE OMBUDSMAN'S SONG [John Derbyshire]
(With apologies to W.S. Gilbert)
When a blogger is engaged in his profession
Of posting his opinions to the 'net.
---To the 'net
His capacity for error and omission
Is greater than you ever would expect.
My duty is to stamp my foot and glower
---Foot and glower
When my colleagues break the journalistic code
Jonah, Kathryn, Rick and Jay resent my power
---sent my power
But I'll keep them on the straight and narrow road!
Posted at 12:18 PM
M.O.B. RULES [Rod Dreher]
This past weekend, the Dallas chapter of a national outfit called Mothers Against Bush held a get-together in a city park. It got nice press coverage in the Dallas Morning News, which ran a charming photo of a toddler whacking a punching bag with President Bush's image on it. Today our paper has an editorial on the topic, in which we reprint the photograph. We said that teaching your little children to disrespect the President of the United States like that, no matter who the president is, is wrong. Let them learn partisanship when they are old enough to understand politics, but let them learn patriotism while they are still innocent. That poor child in the photo has no idea what she's doing. But I bet her mother does. For shame.
Posted at 12:02 PM
THE TOP PRIORITY FOR U.S. SENATE LEADERS IS... [John Derbyshire]
The War on Terror? Stabilization in Iraq? Health care? Social Security reform? Tort law reform? Education?
No: it's amnesty for illegal immigrants
Posted at 11:37 AM
IN, UN, DIS, UM, UH... [Typo-Happy Lopez]
Quite right, Derb. Boy, you better make yourself comfortable around here.
Posted at 11:34 AM
THE OMBUDSMAN SWINGS HIS NIGHTSTICK [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: That's "inexcusable," not "unexcusable."
And I have noticed that you have a tendency to split infinitives. Please be more careful!
Posted at 11:33 AM
"SITE R" [KJL]
Seems unexcusable. [NOTE: YES, this should beinexcusable. Ombudsperson Derbyshire has sent author of this post back to Ronald Reagan nursery school.]
Posted at 11:17 AM
RE: REAGAN AND PREJUDICE [John Derbyshire]
Rick: As I noted in an earlier posting, Ronald Reagan seems to have had an especially strong aversion to racial discrimination from an early age. I am sure that was in part the result of his parents' influence. That still does not make tenable the proposition that "bigotry and prejudice are the worst things a person could be guilty of."
What the Reagan remark signals to me is not the tremendous awfulness of "bigotry and prejudice" in the middle 20th century, but the innocence and serenity of America at that time. This is not a sentiment that would have occurred to the average peasant in, say, the China or Poland of 1920. And if that peasant had heard it, he would have laughed out loud.
Nor, I must confess, am I quite convinced that Americans of that time regarded the Civil War as having been fought against "bigotry and prejudice." I am sure that some Americans felt that way. To many others -- as to, I believe, Abraham Lincoln -- the war was fought to preserve the Union.
Your case is even weaker for WW2. I grew up among people who fought in that war, and I can't say that any of them gave me the impression of having believed they were fighting against "bigotry and prejudice." To be sure, those were English people. We had Americans stationed in the country, too, though, and I heard all the stories about them. Prominent were stories about how the black and white servicemen had to be kept apart, as if they were allowed to mix, a fight would invariably break out....
Posted at 11:08 AM
MICHELLE MALKIN'S BLOG [John Derbyshire]
Michelle Malkin, one of the best opinion journalists in the business today, has started her own blog, here. It's pure Michelle: trademark no-nonsense style, strong clear opinions, and brilliant deployment of facts & statistics. Also a permanent link to The Corner...
Posted at 11:02 AM
RE: AMERICA WANTS TO KNOW [KJL]
America sounds like Page 6, Derb! Ombudsperson creds may be questioned by the Federation authorities.
Posted at 10:59 AM
AMERICA WANTS TO KNOW [John Derbyshire]
Who is "The Hack" in Peggy Noonan's column (last 7 paragraphs)?
Posted at 10:56 AM
WORST EX-AG [Jonah Goldberg ]
Can anyone think of a better candidate for this title than Ramsey Clark?
Posted at 10:37 AM
RE: BAD AG'S [Jonah Goldberg]
More on Krugman's partisan hackdom from a reader:
Well, John Mitchell went to jail for things he did in office. He was Nixon's AG. So forget Reno or Palmer (and, to be candid, jailing bolshie's never bothered me) isn't John Mitchell the gold standard of AG malevolence? You are right about liberals not even remembering where they were just yesterday.
Posted at 10:31 AM
PREJUDICE [Rick Brookhiser]
Re: Reagan and prejudice, we have to recover some context. Reagan's father refused to let his children see "Birth of a Nation"--the W.D. Griffiths film, honored in film schools for its technical skills, but full of images of ape-like Negroes carrying on in Reconstruction-era legislatures and attacking virginal white women, until they are routed by the heroic Ku Klux Klan. The Great War of American memory when Reagan was born was still the Civil War; lynchings were not unknown outside the Deep South (Edmund Morris has a lurid description one in Wilmington, Delaware, in Theodore Rex). Speaking of the Klan, it had a major revivial in the twenties--based on anti-Catholicism, as much as racism--and its sympathizers prevented Al Smith from winning the Democratic nomination at the 1924 convention. World War II, of course, was fought primarily (in Europe) against the Nazis, no comment necessary. Yes, Communism infected the corpse of a major nation in 1917, and had sympathizers world-wide. But for the first 33 years of Reagan's life, bigotry and prejudice, in their modern malevolent forms, were certainly among the worst things in the world, here and abroad.
Posted at 10:22 AM
FIRST RUN AS OMBUDSPERSON [Alexander Rose]
Derb, thank you for that wonderful contribution from our Ombudsperson Laureate. I shall be only too pleased to submit all of my journalistic efforts to John Derbyshire for monitoring for proper content before passing them to Kathryn Lopez.
See, this is how newspapers ought to be run.
(On a related note, I quite agree about the profusion of Simpsons references. We need to have more South Park ones, of course).
Posted at 10:20 AM
DOGGEREL [John Derbyshire]
Lots of readers append favorite quotes or snatches of verse at the end of their communications. Here's a particularly cute one that caught my eye. It's by Danish mathematician-poet Piet Hein, whose name is well known to fans of Martic Gardner's old Mathematical Games column in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.
The road to wisdom? Well, it's plain
And simple to express:
Err, and err, and err again,
But less, and less, and less.
Posted at 10:18 AM
COOL PEOPLE [KJL]
Going through the inbox and came upon this missed e-mail:
I just witnessed something truly touching. I'm in Anchorage on business and I was sitting in a noisy restaurant when some one turned the TV to Ronald Reagan's sunset burial service. The entire restraint went quite. The noisy weekend crowd full of jaded, cynical business travelers like me, went almost completely silent. When they lifted up his casket to carry it to his final resting place, the crowd spontaneously stood up. It was truly a remarkable moment. I don't suspect I'll see anything like it again.
Posted at 10:05 AM
THE NEW YORK TIMES GOES TOO FAR [Andrew Stuttaford]
No, no, no.
Posted at 10:02 AM
PAST THE HYPERVENTILATING [KJL]
A few answers to Krugman’s “facts, from a well-informed reader:
I must respond to your Corner e-mailer who agrees with Krugman, "minus the hyperventalating". This, from recent AG testimony before Senate Judiciary:
ME: Read all of Ashcroft’s testimony here.
Posted at 09:59 AM
WISDOM OF THATCHER [John Derbyshire]
(From Peggy Noonan's current column.) "The cortege was coming toward the steps. We looked out the window: a perfect tableaux of ceremonial excellence from every branch of the armed forces. Mrs. Thatcher watched. She turned and said to me, 'This is the thing, you see, you must stay militarily strong, with an undeniable strength. The importance of this cannot be exaggerated.'
"To my son, whose 17th birthday was the next day, she said, 'And what do you study?' He tells her he loves history and literature. 'Mathematics,' she says. He nods, wondering, I think, if she had heard him correctly. She had. She was giving him advice. 'In the world of the future it will be mathematics that we need--the hard, specific knowledge of mathematical formulae, you see.' My son nodded: 'Yes, ma'am.' Later I squeezed his arm. 'Take notes," I said. This is history.'"
Perhaps I should send Lady Thatcher a copy of Prime Obsession .....
Posted at 09:52 AM
YOU THINK I AM A PESSIMIST? [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 09:47 AM
ANTI-SMOKERS VS. PROPERTY RIGHTS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Radley Balko had a nice letter in the Washington Post about how the failure of an anti-smoing ballot initiative is a victory for property rights. At heart, Balko notes, the issue"is about letting D.C. bar and restaurant owners make their own decisions about their own businesses." Bozeman, Montana (where I am this summer) illustrates this nicely. There are plenty of smoke-filled bars and restaurants here, but also many smoke-free establishments. Smokers and non-smokers alike have a wide range of eateries and wateringh holes from which to choose, and the market rewards those establishments that do the best job of catering to consumer wants. There's no need for prohibition. If consumers truly want smoke-free bars, establishments that go smoke-free will get plenty of business.
Posted at 09:44 AM
KEEP READING, SHE SAYS [KJL]
An e-mail response to the earlier Krugman post:
Sorry, I rarely disagree with the cornerites and have never agreed with Krugman, but this time, if you ignore the hyperventilating I think he's got a point. Bush is running on his record as strong on terror. Well, he's got a justice department that competes with homeland security on who can scare us better yet there have been no successful prosecutions, no raids such as happen in Europe every couple of months and they're totally bogged down on this enemy combatant thing -- they don't justify it succinctly -- and they're getting a well-deserved black eye as a result.
Posted at 09:42 AM
WHAT HAPPENS TO SADDAM? [Tim Graham]
AP reports that while coalition forces intend to keep Iraqi detainees they consider dangerous, "in an interview with Al-Jazeera television, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said Iraqi officials expect to take possession of Saddam and all other detainees with the transfer of power."
Posted at 09:40 AM
THE MEDIA'S REAGAN RECORD [Tim Graham]
When liberals complain that last week was an intolerable seven days of praise for Reagan, you can always note that it's hardly a balance for twenty or thirty years of media attacks. Like this one, from just five years ago, from Katie Couric promoting the odd Edmund Morris book on Reagan: “Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead! That’s one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan that’s drawing a tremendous amount of interest and fire today, Monday, September the 27th, 1999.” To see more of the media's Reagan record, see here.
Posted at 09:39 AM
LIBERAL AMNESIA [Jonah Goldberg]
That Krugman opener is a classic example of liberal historical amnesia. One gets the sense that Krugman didn't even bother to look at a list of former of AGs before he declared Ashcroft is the worst. It's the pragmatic liberal's use of history, if your version works, it's true enough. What about A. Mitchell Palmer? He was the architect of a massive society-wide clamp down on political dissent. Indeed, he was the mastermind of precisely the sort of clamp down Ashcroft haters falsely claim this administration is guilty of and which was far worse than anything that happened during the McCarthy "era." Or, for that matter, what about Bobby Kennedy? He was the one who bugged Martin Luther King -- which we are always told is the highwater mark of government perfidy (they just leave out who was responsible).
Meanwhile, maybe the reason Ashcroft hasn't had too many successful terrorist convictions on his watch is that he's too concerned with preventing more terrorist attacks. There haven't been any on American soil since 9/11 -- which would have shocked everybody three years ago, including Krugman. But I'm sure he's forgotten that too.
Posted at 09:14 AM
NOT SO FAR-FETCHED AFTER ALL [Roger Clegg]
Proponents of racial preferences typically tout the need for “representation” and “diversity” to trump simplistic notions of “merit.” One nonetheless doubts that they will be high-fiving after reading the sports page recently: Larry Bird says there need to be more white basketball stars because "the majority of fans are white America"; and the minor league American Basketball Association has announced a Native American-only basketball team since “diversity [is] a key ABA goal.” We opponents of preferences, on the other hand, have always worried that perhaps it sounded a little far-fetched when we warned that the logic of this kind of affirmative action could just as easily hurt African Americans in, say, the NBA. Well, maybe a little less far-fetched after last week.
Posted at 09:10 AM
MICHIGAN TRIFECTA [Roger Clegg]
An embarrassment of riches over the past few days in Michigan. As noted here last week, the Michigan house of representatives passed an amendment to its higher-education budget bill last Wednesday that prohibits the state universities from using racial and ethnic admission preferences. Then, on Friday, two important rulings from the state courts. The Michigan court of appeals ruled that Ward Connerly’s ballot initiative to ban preferences can continue to gather signatures, dismissing a challenge that the petition language was misleading. And, in an employment case, the Michigan state supreme court interpreted a state statute as protecting all races equally, prompting a local civil-rights expert to observe: “The Michigan judiciary has made it crystal clear that it will not allow reverse discrimination. I don’t see how [the court] could allow reverse discrimination in college admissions after this opinion.”
Next week will mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases, which were hailed by proponents of preferences and decried by their opponents. As disappointing as the Court’s decisions were, however, they upheld the use of preferences only narrowly, and left the door open to political and legal challenges to them. Those challenges are continuing—which is unsurprising, given how unfair, divisive, and unpopular this affirmative discrimination remains.
Posted at 09:09 AM
BOLLYWOOD LOSES ITS INNOCENCE [John Derbyshire]
Hindus are taking violent exception to a Bollywood movie about two lesbians. Story here.
This story strikes me as sad. It's a loss of innocence. Up to now, Bollywood moviemaking has been a trivial art form, like TV sitcoms, or science fiction, or rock'n'roll. Now they are starting to take themselves seriously, getting all self-conscious and ponderous and "relevant." The beginning of the end.
Posted at 09:06 AM
BLAST ASHCROFT; CHECK! [KJL]
Paul Krugman makes you stop reading with his opener today: “No question: John Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history.”
I trust he suffers from selective amnesia and the name “Janet Reno” doesn’t even register with him. (And, yes, I’m ignoring any legitimate criticisms he may have—anthrax—because I stopped reading there….)
Posted at 08:54 AM
THE COURT AND THE PLEDGE [Jonah Goldberg ]
No Left Turns has a very interesting post on the Pledge case yesterday. Most interesting is this snippet from Clarence Thomas who writes:
as a matter of our precedent, the Pledge policy is unconstitutional. I believe, however, that Lee [v. Weisman] was wrongly decided. Lee depended on a notion of “coercion” that, as I discuss below, has no basis in law or reason. The kind of coercion implicated by the Religion Clauses is that accomplished “by force of law and threat of penalty.” 505 U.S., at 640 (Scalia, J., dissenting); see id., at 640—645. Peer pressure, unpleasant as it may be, is not coercion.
Posted at 08:02 AM
Monday, June 14, 2004
KENNEDY REBUFFED [Jonathan H. Adler]
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CIrcuit rebuffed Senator Kennedy's request for permission to submit an amicus brief arguing that Judge William Pryor's recess appointment was unconstitutional. The ruling was made on procedural grounds, Senator Kennedy's motion was submitted too late, but it is a significant setback for Kennedy's anti-Pryor campaign nonetheless.
Posted at 11:13 PM
I HATE TO COMPLAIN, BUT... [KJL]
Time has four pages on blogs this week and manages to completely avoid The Corner and NRO.
Posted at 05:47 PM
RE: REID [Tim Graham]
Jonah, I meant to mention last week that it was quite interesting to hear Sen. Reid on C-SPAN Radio last week with his tribute to Ronald Reagan. He discussed meeting with Reagan and expressing grave concern that Reagan wanted to invade Nicaragua. He said Reagan smiled and said something like "I'm not going to invade Nicaragua. But I don't mind those [Sandinista] SOBs thinking I'm going to invade Nicaragua." Reid didn't even tell this tale with any Chris Dodd-style seething over Reagan policy in the region. It's not in his official statement for his website, though.
Posted at 05:44 PM
WATCHDOG [John Derbyshire]
Shouldn't that be "ombudsperson"? In any case, I am honored to accept the position, and have composed a celebratory ode to meet the occasion.
Lines on Assuming Guardianship of National Review's Moral Fiber
by John Derbyshire
Condemned to blog while others play,
Ye wretched hacks!--Now mind your style!
Be careful what you write and say
For I'll be watching all the while!
There'll be some rules: No making up stuff --
This is not the New York Times!
One "Simpsons" quote per day's enough,
And Trek allusions count as crimes.
Of President and Flag we'll write
With due respect, as people oughta.
Not POTUS nor his kin we'll slight
(And definitely not his daughter.)
The only leeway I'll allow
Is for the French--on them, please vent.
They've got it coming, anyhow--
Puncture their self-aggrandizement!
Now write with care. My watchful eye
Is on you, and I shall not flinch
To punish, when a fault I spy.
You have been warned -- I AM THE GRINCH!
Posted at 05:41 PM
QUIZ ANSWERS [KJL]
Every one of those quotes was about Reagan.
1) Michael Mandelbaum, Foreign Affairs, ”America and the World 1985”
2) Mary McGrory, Washington Post, June 10, 1982
3) New York Times, May 9, 1982
4) US News & World Report, December 20, 1982
5) James M. Markham, New York Times, October 23, 1983
6)Los Angeles Times headline, December 4, 1986
7) United Press International, June 11, 1985
8) Anthony Lewis, New York Times, March 24, 1986
9) John B. Oakes, former senior editor, New York Times, November 1, 1981
10) Don Oberdorfer, Washington Post, November 20, 1983
11) Tom Morganthau, Newsweek, August 27, 1984
12) Editorial, Los Angeles Times, August 7, 1985
13) Robert Kaiser, Washington Post, October 30, 1983
14) John B. Oakes, New York Times, March 7, 1986
15) Anthony Lewis, New York Times, March 10, 1983
16) Anthony Lewis, New York Times, March 10, 1983
17) Tom Wicker, New York Times, March 15, 1983
18) Haynes Johnson, Washington Post, January 29, 1984
19) The Associated Press, January 30, 1984
20) Dom Bonafede, The National Journal, May 5, 1984
Posted at 05:39 PM
I DON'T THINK THAT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
asking what Ronald Reagan would do is the best way to begin thinking about federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. I do think that if I wanted an answer to that question, there are a few million people I would turn to before Jonathan Alter.
Posted at 05:27 PM
REID'S BLOCKING ALL BUSH NOMINEES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Until his man is appointed to the Nuclear Regulatory Agency:
In the latest flare-up of a long-running fight, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is once again blocking action on dozens of President Bush’s nominees for executive branch posts until the Senate approves the nomination of one of Reid’s aides for a seat on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Reid’s move threatens to unravel a deal he struck last year with the White House on Greg Jaczko, a Reid staffer and nuclear physicist who has been chosen as a Democratic nominee for the NRC. Bush nominated Jaczko in February for a Democratic slot on the five-member commission, but the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — after hearing intense opposition from the nuclear-power industry — has not yet cleared his nomination.
Posted at 04:54 PM
TED KENNEDY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Makes $2,500 a year from a parking space. And other interesting info.
Posted at 04:51 PM
CHECK OUT MEMRI [Ramesh Ponnuru]
"Commander of the Khobar Terrorist Squad Tells the Story of the Operation."
Posted at 04:36 PM
THERE'S A NEW TRAILER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
for Michael Moore Hates America.
Posted at 03:28 PM
POP QUIZ [KJL]
20 Quotes: Is it Reagan or W.? (Answers later today.)
1)“European discomfort with the President, however, goes beyond the political differences that preceded and will outlast his presidency. It has, as well, a personal basis. He appears to Europeans to be ill equipped for the responsibility that he bears, a kind of cowboy figure, bellicose, ignorant, with a simplistic view of the world…
2)“[The President] came to Europe to persuade people that he is not the shallow, nuclear cowboy of certain unkind assessments. Said [a] White House spokesman … on the eve of departure, ‘Some in Europe do not know or understand him.’ But now that the president has been among them… Europeans may think they got him right the first time.”
3)“For many Europeans… America has become paranoid… [which has] led them to take their distance from us… Mutual recrimination becomes political action. Both sides of the Atlantic, writes … an editor of the influential Hamburg weekly Die Zeit, are ‘losing interest in each other.’ … The estrangement has not come naturally. The communality of heritage and beliefs between the United States and Europe is old and powerful and has withstood frequent vicissitudes. However, an accumulation of events and developments has built up enough discord to threaten the most solid of foundations.”
4)“The anti-American theme, a popular subject for campaigning politicians, is aimed mostly at U.S. policy and the [U.S.] administration. This country is pictured as a French David standing up to an American Goliath. [The French foreign minister] warned during the … controversy: ‘There is a progressive divorce between Washington and Europe …. The U.S. seems totally indifferent to our problems.’”
5)“In a day of protests across Western Europe, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated against the [American policy]… The protest organizers said about 1.2 million people took part in the demonstrations…. Hundreds of thousands jammed central London in what was said to be the largest protest of its kind in British history. In Rome, an estimated 350,000 marchers paraded through the center of the city.”
6) “Europe Sees U.S. Foreign Policy As Out Of Control” – Los Angeles Times headline
7) “Speaking to members of the American Stock Exchange, [Senator Edward] Kennedy said, ‘Our present course is taking the United States toward unilateral intervention … toward a war, whether we want it or not, whether we like it or not, (that) will inevitably involve American forces in combat. But surely, an American invasion… would plunge us into the most unwanted, unnecessary and unjustified war in our history,’ Kennedy said…. Kennedy said Congress must propose ‘an alternative policy with a real prospect of success.’ ‘So, as a first step, we must call off the dogs of war,’ he said.”
8)“[W]e have a President who is obsessed by the subject. [Nicaragua for Ronald Reagan – or Iraq for George W. Bush] is his Moby Dick. Like a political Ahab, he pursues it beyond reason, beyond humanity, beyond safety. In his frustration, he spews out rage and hate, fear and falsehood.”
9) “[The President] has substituted a mindless militarism for a foreign policy… frightening our friends… Already, the cost of [the President’s] policies is devastating to our country in economic strength, in diplomatic influence, in national security, in moral stature.”
10) “‘This has been a foreign policy without a guiding star,’ said… a former official in Republican administrations… ‘It has been the most ideological administration of U.S foreign relations I've seen and the least conceptual, in terms of a clear vision of what the world ought to be like and what we would do to get there.’”
11)“The tangible achievements of his first term have been relatively modest. His economic program, in the judgment of many experts, has succeeded almost in spite of itself – and the current recovery is built on record deficits that will burden the nation for a generation. His foreign policy has lacked coherence…”
12) “Unilateral intervention by a truculent and trigger-happy Uncle Sam might delight some U.S. citizens – frustrated by events, eager for easy answers – but elsewhere… it would only serve to reaffirm the worst fears…”
13) “The United States has a myopic, ideological foreign policy that really isn't a policy at all, but a collection of maneuvers produced by prejudice and instinct. The men responsible for American diplomacy, it seems, often fail to grasp they have put us into grave trouble around the world…. [The President] has angered and undermined his closest ally in Europe, [the British Prime Minister], and he has aggravated the gravest problem facing the United States, a problem symbolized by the largest protest demonstrations in Europe since World War II...”
14)“To win that vote [congressional vote to authorize support for its foreign policy goals], the Administration is now reduced to McCarthyite tactics: the insinuation that foes of its … policy are … stooges or worse. Can Congress be whipped by these tactics into a policy of such moral, military and political degradation?”
15)“When a politician claims that God favors his programs, alarm bells should ring… If there is anything that should be illegitimate in the American system, it is such use of sectarian religiosity to sell a political program. And this was done not by some fringe figure, but by the President of the United States.”
16)“What is the world to think when the greatest of powers is led by a man who applies to the most difficult human problem a simplistic theology – one in fact rejected by most theologians?... What must the leaders of Western Europe think of such a speech? … The exaggeration and the simplicities are there not only in the rhetoric but in the process by which he makes decisions.”
17)“Perhaps even more dangerous, [the President’s] smug view, if further inculcated in Americans, will preclude self-examination, humility, a willingness to concede error. Are we so clearly a God-directed, chosen people that we have no need to question our virtue, or the evil of our rivals? If [the President] really thinks so, he has shaken off the strongest restraints on human conduct – doubt and fear.”
18) "[Pollster Lou Harris] believes that [the President] is polarizing the country more than any president since Franklin D. Roosevelt and that, when such strong political polarization occurs, it tends to lead to a greater voter turnout. That would benefit the Democrats…"
19) "'[The President] has been a divider, not a uniter… The American people will reject four more years of danger, four more years of pain,’ [a leading congressional Democrat] said."
20) "[One state Democratic chairman] said: '[The President] has a lot of problems. The less he does, the better he does; the more he does, the worse he does. He keeps polarizing the voters, and the Republican Party is not big enough to allow that. An incumbent President must unite the country, not divide it. It’s unbelievably bad strategy on their part.'"
Posted at 03:11 PM
W. ON CLINTON [KJL]
As painful as listening to the current president heap praise on his immediate predecessor was this morning, you can't really argue with much of this: "Over eight years, it was clear that Bill Clinton loved the job of the presidency. He filled this house with energy and joy. He's a man of enthusiasm and warmth, who could make a compelling case and effectively advance the causes that drew him to public service. "
Posted at 02:37 PM
BRIAN SAVIO O'CONNOR [Rod Dreher]
Here's an editorial from today's Dallas Morning News addressing the plight of Brian Savio O'Connor, a citizen of India and a Roman Catholic who has been held by the Saudi religious police for months on charged of preaching Christianity and selling drugs -- both of which carry the death penalty there, and both of which his family denies. The man's family says he is being tortured by the Saudis, and being pressured under penalty of death to renounce his Christian faith and accept Islam. The Indian Bishops Conference is trying to get the Saudi government to respond to their concerns about the charges against Mr. O'Connor and his treatment, but the royals are giving them the runaround. Seems to me we should not let the name of Brian Savio O'Connor be forgotten.
Posted at 01:37 PM
NR'S OMBUDSMAN [Alexander Rose]
Apropos of nothing, Andrew Stuttaford and I were having dinner last night and decided that National Review needs an ombudsman (they’re all the rage right now) to guard our morals. We have decided to nominate John Derbyshire for the (unpaid) post. He can be counted on, we are sure, not only to provide a moderating influence on our writers, but to treat illegitimate complaints with the delicacy they deserve.
Posted at 01:34 PM
FIRST AMENDMENT MYTHOLOGISTS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Well, dang, Jonah: I agree.
Posted at 12:47 PM
SOROS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Tim, far be it from me to defend George Soros, who has said some extraordinarily dumb things in the course of this electoral cycle. And he's funded folks who are even worse. Nevertheless, looking carefully at Byron's piece, it seems to me that Mr. Soros was saying that 9/11 and Abu Ghraib could be compared in the sense of their psychological impact on Americans. When it comes to politics, Soros may tip over into nonsense and bile on occasion, but, bad as the abuse was at Abu Ghraib, I don't think even he would regard it as a horror equivalent to the mass murders of 9/11. If he does, he's delusional. His point, however, (if I've understood it correctly) is that both 9/11 and Abu Ghraib were major psychological blows to this country, and there, I think, he's onto something. In addition to the pain and loss of the 9/11 victims and those that mourned them, 9/11 was a terrible, and probably fatal, blow to America's sense of its invulnerability, a sense that had somehow even managed to survive the tensions and dangers of the Cold War years. Abu Ghraib too was a bad blow to Americans' sense of themselves, the sense that their troops are liberators, the good guys, something in which, given its history, this country, quite rightly, takes enormous pride. And no, discomfort and shame over what happened in that prison is by no means confined to the liberal elite.
That said, I think the psychological impact of 9/11 was, for obvious reasons, far, far worse, and will be infintely more durable, than Abu Ghraib, but I don't think that it's fair to reduce Soros' argument to saying that "he suggested the prison abuse was equivalent to the terrorist attacks.." He's a little more subtle than that, subtle, but still utterly misguided.
Posted at 12:39 PM
RE: FIRST AMENDMENT "FUNDAMENTALISTS" [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew, Obviously, I agree with your agreement with me (and, yes, I realize that reads like a parody of the Corner). Still I would object to one word "Fundamentalists." My problem is largely a semantic one. We generally equate fundamentalists with those who want to get to the original, pure or authentic meaning of this or that. And none of those adjectives apply to people who believe the first amendment was ever intended to bleach all references to God from the public square. These folks are first amendment mythologists, for want of a better word.
Posted at 12:21 PM
FIRST AMENDMENT FUNDAMENTALISTS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, I couldn't agree with you more. Trust me, there is no contradiction at all in being profoundly skeptical about the existence of any deity while being quite happy to recognize that God is part of the warp and woof of America's culture, history and heritage. Throwing the old fellow out of such national ceremonies would be nothing more than vandalism, and vindictive at that. As for the pledge, the dollar bill, and so on, I am at a loss to understand why the religious elements in these symbols seem to worry so many secular sorts. In an age of rising fundamentalism, ever more crass superstition (and don't even get me started on creation 'science') there are a lot more important matters to consider - and, of course, we only have one life in which to do so.
Posted at 12:13 PM
TAX CREDITS AT RISK? [Jonathan H. Adler]
In another case, Hibbs v. Winn, the Supreme Court held that state taxpayers may challenge the constitutionality of educational tax credits that provide credit for donations to private religious schools. I expect that most such suits will ultimately prove unsuccessful. In the meantime, the 40 states with education tax credits of some kind will have to face suits from activists charging that such policies amount to unconstitutional subsidization of religious schools. The AP story is here.
Posted at 11:58 AM
PLEDGE CASE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Pledge survives on a technicality. A five justice majority of the Court held that Newdow lacks standing to bring the case. Only three justices -- Rehnquist, O'Connor and Thomas -- found Newdow had standing and reached the merits, all arguing that the Pledge is constitutional. Interestingly enough, most of the justices in the majority have previously endorsed an extremely permissive approach to standing, while Rehnquist and Thomas have been far more restrictive. Justice O'Connor, appearing unusually consistent in this case, has typically not joined other conservatives in seeking to restrict standing.
The Court also handed down five other decisions today, and granted cert in three more, so there will be more to say later.
Posted at 11:53 AM
TARGETTING COLUMBUS [KJL]
Posted at 11:51 AM
TARGETING NEW YORK [John Derbyshire]
The whole topic of targeting of nuclear missiles has a sort of morbid fascination to it. In a recent Newsmax article, I learn that New York City and its immediate surroundings have 42 (if I have counted right) one-megaton thermonuclear Russian bombs targeted on them. For me, living just 36 miles from the Empire State Building, that should make quite a show. (Followed by quite a fallout plume, which I am directly under.) Relevant quote:
"In addition, a report commissioned in the 1980s by the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment is still as relevant today. It said Soviet nuclear war plans called for aiming two one-megaton bombs at each of the following: The three airports serving NYC; Wall Street; each major bridge; all major rail centers; all power stations; four NYC-area oil refineries; and the NYC port facilities."
Say what you like about the decline of the Northeast, the Big Apple is still important to somebody out there...
Posted at 11:50 AM
POLLSTER BOB TEETER HAS DIED [KJL]
Just heard on FNC. R.I.P.
Posted at 11:22 AM
"EXORCIST NOT ABOUT GORE" [KJL]
Posted at 11:19 AM
PLEDGE CASE & REAGAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Of course, I'm delighted the court dismissed the case, but I would have liked a thorough drubbing better.
Still, this reminded me of something. Reagan's funerals (State and national) were dripping with references to God, the almighty, providence etc. The State funeral was officiated by two chaplains from the legislative branch and the national one was in a church conspicuously festooned with all of the rituals of faith. Did the government pay for any of it? And if so, why aren't the ACLU and Newdow crowd furious?
Of course they probably are hopping mad, but nobody gave them a platform (if an ACLUer shrieks in the woods and nobody hears it...). Nevertheless, as a matter of law and custom, you'd think last week's ceremonies proved the government's position on God in much the same way all of those letters to Santa demonstrated it's position on him in Miracle on 34th Street. Whether your an atheist or not, God's part of the culture -- legal, political and all otherwise. Deal with it.
Posted at 11:11 AM
RE: BIGOTRY [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: Hmmm. I doubt that, even in provincial Illinois *circa* 1920, "beating your wife, starving your kids, cheating your friends, or betraying your country" were utterly unknown aspects of human behavior. Incontinent drunkenness most certainly was not, as the young Ronald Reagan knew very well from personal experience.
Ronald Reagan does, though seem to have nursed a deep dislike of racial segregation from an early age. Examples have shown up in some of the articles about him this past few days -- like this one. Perhaps it is too easy for us now to forget how gross and objectionable race-segregation appeared to fair-minded people at that time.
The idea that this is the worst thing human beings are capable of is still pretty darn silly, though, and I am going to stick with the most charitable explanation I can think of -- that it was just cant, words uttered without thought.
Posted at 10:55 AM
HEY... [Jonah Goldberg]
Has anybody bothered to ask if Tim and Michael are related?
Posted at 10:37 AM
WILL SOROS PLAY IN PREORIA [Tim Graham]
Bill Sammon reports in today's Washington Times that the Bushies are going to push congressional Dem candidates to embrace or reject Kerry/Soros/MoveOn.org liberalism. For example: "In a conference call with Louisiana reporters that was set up by the Bush campaign, [Rep. David] Vitter also demanded that his rivals take a stand on recent remarks by billionaire Democratic financier George Soros, who last week compared the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse to the September 11 terrorist attacks." No, it's worse than that: he suggested the prison abuse was equivalent to the terrorist attacks...
Posted at 10:31 AM
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? [Michael Graham]
This cartoon on today’s Washington Post editorial page lays the responsibility for the current tragedy in Sudan at the feet of…the Bush administration. Excuse me, but how did America get stuck with this? Aren’t the 158,000 refugees and thousands of deaths the responsibility of the United Nations? I thought liberals at the Post objected to unilateral action by the United States abroad?
If the U.N. doesn’t exist to intervene in situations like the crisis in Dufar, then why have a U.N. at all? If the United States has become, as the Post insists today, the de facto U.N., then lets stop paying our billions in dues and send Kofi and the gang packing.
Posted at 10:31 AM
THONGS [Andrew Stuttaford]
I'd agree that posters of thongs are an utterly unconvincing, if attractive, example of First Amendment rights at play, although why anyone would worry about such advertising is quite beyond me. On the other hand, the idea that government should intervene to support "the norms informally enforced by... religious communities" seems, to the extent that those norms are specifically 'religious' in inspiration, both (1) in breach of the separation of church and state and (2) in an age where this country seems to be playing host to increasingly fundamentalist sects, profoundly unwise.
Posted at 10:28 AM
IMMIGRATION WEEK [John Derbyshire]
Last week was, among other things, immigration week in Derbland. Tuesday morning I went to a Manhattan Institute bash, a panel discussion with panelists Tamar Jacoby of the MI, John Fonte of the Hudson Institute, and Peter Brimelow, who runs the VDARE immigration-restrictionist website. (All three of them have written for NR or NRO at various times.) That one I have written up for NRO, should be online in a day or two.
Then on Thursday I went to a lunch-presentation organized by Mark Krikorian at the Center for Immigration Studies, to < a href="http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/6/9/201607.shtml">present an award to CNN's Lou Dobbs. Lou has been doing a series of pieces called "Broken Borders," about our loss of control over immigration. Also present was Rep. Tom Tancredo, the most outspoken voice in Congress on immigration issues.
Attending these events, and talking to people at them, and about them, I get the impression of a slow thaw going on, a gradual turn in the public mood. What Peter Brimelow calls "The National Question" is not quite respectable yet in mainstream politics. You won't be hearing diddly about it from Bush or Kerry between now and November, and if you poke your head up above the parapet on this issue in the elite media, you will find yourself on the Southern Poverty Law Center's watch list faster than you can say "hate group." Yet more and more people in the Commentariat -- people like Lou Dobbs and Michelle Malkin -- are willing to speak frankly and clearly about, at least, the folly of not properly securing our country's borders and entry points. And with Sam Huntington's new book, it is apparently OK now for serious scholars to venture into the larger area of U.S. population policy.
The eye-opener of Thursday's event for me was a lady I found myself sitting next to, Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of a book titled FUNDING TERROR. As NRO regulars know, Rachel is a leading authority on how international terrorists finance their operations. As the British and Irish govts have learned all too well this past 30 years in Northern Ireland, terror and crime are inseparable. Rachel knows all the details, including the nasty little secrets of international banking, for whom the terror/drugs/crime nexus is big business -- too big to ignore, and mighty profitable.
Posted at 10:27 AM
PLEDGE CASE [KJL]
just got thrown out by the Supreme Court
Posted at 10:24 AM
PLEDGE CASE [KJL]
just got thrown out by the Supreme Court
Posted at 10:23 AM
EVEN BETTER PICTURES OF PHOEBE [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 10:19 AM
RE: BIGOTRY [KJL]
An interesting take on the Ponnuru/Derb complaint re: W.'s eulogy:
Ronald Reagan: “I was raised from my childhood by parents who believed bigotry and prejudice were the worst things a person could be guilty of.”
Posted at 10:14 AM
BODACIOUS [John Derbyshire]
Many readers have e-mailed in to share my distress over the marriage of Anna Faris. There is wellnigh universal agreement on Ms. Faris's tremendous bodaciousness. (Though some readers prefer "bodacity.")
There are schools of thought within the general agreement, though. The main division concerns Ms. Faris's hair. Is she more bodacious blonde (Scary Movie 3) or brunette (Scary Movie 2)?
I think I prefer the blonde Ms. Faris (or Mrs. Indra, as she now is). It's not an easy choice, though. As the Duke of Wellington remarked after the Battle of Waterloo: "It has been a d***ed nice thing -- the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life..."
Posted at 10:08 AM
RE: THONGS NEAR MOSQUES [KJL]
Actually, I am for the government cracking down. Had government not forty years ago abandoned its cracking down on indecency, we would all be in better shape today. Now, I would prefer that it be local government doing the cracking down. And I'm sure that government (local, state, or national) cannot bear exclusive or even primary responsibility in this area. Government's role must be subsidiary: supporting the norms informally enforced by families, religious communities, etc. And prudence will sometimes counsel restraint. But what we've leaned over the past forty years, is that when government abandons the field, the institutions of civil society cannot by themselves maintain the norms. Indecency, when tolerated in a society like ours, flourishes; and it imposes large and variegated social costs. But someone will ask: Is it worth sacrificing free speech to avoid these costs? Conceiving the problem as a trade-off between free speech and public morality seems to me to misconceive it. The public display of buttocks, etc., isn't even remotely the subject that is protected by our constitutional commitment to freedom of speech. To suppose otherwise is to trivialize free speech. That free speech is today so widely trivialized in precisely this way is a testament to William J. Brennan's skills at witchcaft.
Posted at 09:56 AM
U.S.E [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, Churchill did indeed make some remarks favouring a United States of Europe. He did not, however, think that the UK should be in it.
Posted at 09:54 AM
IRELAND SHUTS DOWN OBSTETRIC TOURISM [John Derbyshire]
Interesting story from Ireland "[Irish] voters have overwhelmingly approved a plan to do away with a constitutional provision granting automatic Irish citizenship to any child born in Ireland or the neighboring British territory of Northern Ireland..."
The U.S. government currently interprets the first sentence of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as requiring that anyone born in the U.S. is automatically a citizen -- an interpretation very similar to the constitutional provision the Irish have just voted down. This has led to the phenomena of "obstetric tourists" and "anchor babies": women from abroad (especially South Korea, now increasingly China) getting pregnant, coming to the U.S. for delivery, and going home with a U.S. citizen.
This interpretation of the 14th Amendment is not the only possible one. There is plenty of wiggle room in the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," and if we ever turn our attention to constructing a rational citizenship/population policy, this is something we should debate.
(That is, of course, a mighty big "if." Attempting to start a debate on this point at the present time will get you tagged a "nativist," "xenophobe," and very likely "racist" -- filled, of course, with "hate" -- by the massed forces of Political Correctness. As to holding a referendum so that U.S. citizens can vote on a topic like this -- Heaven forbid!)
Posted at 09:50 AM
POLITICAL PSYCHOLOGY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Nick Confessore writes:
Frequent readers of Tapped know that there are few arguments that I detest more in political punditry than the one that your opponents are crazy. And the evidence is that big-name conservatives do this far more than their liberal equivalents. Among allegedly respectable conservatives, alleged psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer is one of the repeat offenders. Among less respectable pundits, Ann Coulter is an obvious candidate. But you see this pretty much throughout the right-wing press.
Me: Fair enough, I say. It's a legitimate gripe, though I think he might be too quick to over-read a stylistic fluorish for an actual charge of mental illness. Still, considering Tapped's -- and progressives' -- far more entrenched tendency to ascribe racism to their opponents, you would think there'd be a little less righteousness on the point. After all, I would certainly prefer to be called crazy than racist, and I should know since I get called both all the time.
But even more to the point, I assume Nick condemns the five decades old tradition in the social and medical sciences in (liberal) academia (starting with Adorno) to brand political conservatism a mental defect. See, here for example. Or, wait for my book.
Posted at 09:42 AM
RE: US OF E. [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Your latest Corner post is slightly off in that it misinterprets Churchill's somewhat famous "United States of Europe" remark.
Posted at 09:25 AM
BUSH, REAGAN, & BIG GOVERNMENT [Jonah Goldberg]
Because of the Reagan ceremony on Friday, my syndicated column didn't get posted until this morning. It notes how different George W. Bush is from Reagan on the issue of Big Government. So does Sebastian Mallaby in a good column. Mallaby blames the times. I blame Bush.
Posted at 09:13 AM
THE EURO-VOTE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Such good news on the Euro-front. I'm particularly happy that the anti-EU UK Indpendence Party did so well (their posters weren't easy to spot in London, but in Bath they were all over the place -- when I was there). Historically, European nationalism has been the enemy of American interests. But today, it seems to me, the opposite is true. I know Churchill and all those guys thought a United States of Europe was a good idea, but that it was in the context of the WWII and the Cold War. Today a European super-state which prevents the British from acting as our traditional allies and yoking the continent to French ambitions and values is simply not in our interests. So, the more nationalism -- or, better, patriotism -- we see in the UK and elsewhere, the better (exceot in Germany, of course, where patriotism is loyalty to pan-Europeanism.
Posted at 08:38 AM
THE BOOK ON CLINTON [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's a nice compilation of what a bunch of folks (including yours truly) would like to read in Clinton's new book.
Posted at 07:04 AM
Sunday, June 13, 2004
BUILDING THE EUROPEAN DREAM [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s how it’s going…some early (and shamelessly selectively chosen) statistics from the EU elections:
Poland: turn-out estimated at, ahem, 21 percent;
Sweden: Votes for the (fledgling) euroskeptics of the Junilistan: 14 percent (three seats);
Holland: anti-EU corruption crusaders: two seats;
UK: anti-EU UK Independence Party 17 percent (12 seats), the (generally) euroskeptic Tories 27 percent (25 seats); and
Czech Republic: the euroskeptic Civic Democrats come top with around 29 percent of the vote.
Ha ha ha.
Posted at 11:59 PM
SLOWCOACHES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Horses, apparently. Beaten by man and dog.
Posted at 02:50 PM
NOT A FAN, APPARENTLY [Andrew Stuttaford]
“Lack of accountability is inherent in the EU. You will sometimes hear it said that the Commission, the EU's governing body, is undemocratic. In fact, uniquely in the Western world, it contrives to be anti-democratic, in the sense that you generally have to lose an election to be sent there: witness Neil Kinnock or Chris Patten.”
Posted at 02:48 PM
NADER SCOOP [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post reports on Page One today that the Ralph Nader campaign is sharing office space (and officers) with the nonprofit group Citizen Works, a classic Nader Empire move, but a campaign no-no. Perhaps with the Bush-Kerry race so close, the liberal media will give us a deeper look into the secretive ways Nader operates, to keep the MoveOn.org types in the Kerry camp.
Posted at 02:46 PM
'DR.' SPITZER [Andrew Stuttaford]
Again, it’s too early to decide on the merits of Spitzer’s case, if not his (reprehensible) motives, but this letter I received in response to yesterday’s post makes interesting reading:
“Since I am pharmaceutical research scientist, I could be accused of bias. On the other hand, one might take the position that I might happen to know what I am talking about. Spitzer's attack on GlaxoSmithKline is my opinion wrongheaded and misguided. He alleges that the company failed adequately to promote a study that cast doubt on the utility of one of its anti-depressant products in adolescents.
“The problem is, clinical studies in depression are notoriously difficult to complete… It therefore requires multiple, repeated studies to get reliable, authoritative information. Some antidepressants were studied for many years before definitive decisions could be made. After many, many clinical trials. The results of one clinical trial should always be interpreted cautiously. …In the case of the particular study referenced by Spitzer, there were clear methodological problems. In fact, when the study was publicized by one of the investigators at a national meeting, it was for the purpose of underscoring and discussing these methodological issues.
“Whether a drug works or not [should] be decided, for regulatory purposes, by scientific experts at FDA, and not by state attorneys general.”
Spitzer’s intervention may well prove (in the precedent it sets) disastrous and, medically speaking, catastrophic in its chilling effect on research. All I can say is that he had better be right on the facts of this case. High stakes, Mr. Spitzer, high stakes.
Posted at 02:43 PM
DR KERWIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, he sounds like a tremendous doctor. Amongst the numerous doctors in our family, we always enjoyed the spectacle of great uncle Tom, a splendid, if faintly eccentric, individual who lived amongst his patients in the Fleggs, a remote and marshy part of Norfolk. As an old man, he was joined in his practice by a keen young doctor (my father). Not long after he started, the keen young doctor returned from calling on one of his patients (those were the days), who I’ll call Mrs Smith.
Great Uncle Tom: “How did you get on with Mrs Smith?”
KYD: “Fine, there’s nothing wrong with her, she’s just a little depressed.”
Great Uncle Tom: “Did you give her anything to take?”
KYD: “No, there was nothing wrong with her. She just wanted a chat.”
Great Uncle Tom: “That won’t do, that won’t do at all. Patients expect a pill. You’ve got to give ‘em a pill.”
At that point, he pointed to some large medicine jars filled with brightly-colored pills. The nearest thing they had to an active ingredient was sugar.
Always did the trick, he said.
Posted at 02:40 PM
CASSINI MISSION SNAPS PHOEBE [John Derbyshire]
Terrific pictures of Phoebe from Friday's fly-by
All fingers crossed for orbital insertion July 1st.
Posted at 02:29 PM
HEALTH MULLAHS (CTD) [Andrew Stuttaford]
It’s a rare mullah who will consider his work well done without a little censorship. The health mullahs are no exception. The issue of censoring smoking in movies has been around for a while now, particularly so far as, yes, you know what’s coming, you can hear their little feet just about now, yes, ‘the Children’, are concerned, but now there are fresh moves afoot in the UK to restrict youngsters’ access to films that fume.
Much of the research on which such initiatives are allegedly based (in reality, they are, of course, nothing more than an opportunity for a proclamation of ‘virtue’) is dubious, but it’s a shame too for what such censorship could mean for the little historical accuracy that remains in the movies.
As the Independent notes, “the initiative has received a mixed response from film critics, who raised the possibility of "anachronistic film- making" where scenes set in the 1940s or 50s would show no one smoking. Will Self, the Evening Standard's film critic, said: "In LA Confidential, which is a good film, there's one scene set in a 1950s Los Angeles police squad room, and no one is smoking. Already films are becoming anachronistic in their treatment - you get working-class pubs where no one smokes."
And then there’s this:
"England football stars have been criticised for promoting snacks and drinks at the root of Britain's obesity crisis. The England squad is sponsored by McDonald's and Coca-Cola. David Beckham promotes Pepsi and Wayne Rooney helps advertise Pringles crisps."
Posted at 02:13 PM
HEALTH FASCISM IN THE U.K. [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: I cherish the memory of my childhood doctor, whose name was Kerwin (now long deceased). He delivered me & then saw me through every illness a child can have -- measles, mumps, whooping cough, tonsillitis, etc. etc. Not only did Dr. Kerwin smoke like a chimney, he was also a staggering drunk. I grew up believing that whiskey-sodden breath was an essential part of the professional persona. He was a fine doctor, though, and it is thanks to him that I made it to adulthood (though sans tonsils, adenoids, & appendix). People are too darn fussy nowadays.
Posted at 02:05 PM
VICTORIA CROSS ON THE WAY? [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the Independent today:
“A 19-year-old soldier is to be recommended for the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest gallantry decoration, after driving his blazing vehicle through an ambush, saving the lives of its injured commander and crew in southern Iraq last month.”
British history buffs will know that the most Victoria Crosses (11) won at a single engagement was at Rorke’s Drift, the battle later immortalized (and, inevitably, somewhat fictionalized) in Zulu, one of the finest, possibly the finest, war movies ever made. The medals themselves are made from Russian guns captured in the Crimean War.
That's the history. And now there's Iraq, history being made today:
“Though still being hit by machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenades, the driver succeeded in crashing through the barrier and led the way for the rest of the convoy to get to safety. He then unloaded the wounded and made sure they were tended by medical orderlies before remounting his burning vehicle and driving it to where it could cause little harm if the fuel and ammunition still aboard blew up. He drew a fire extinguisher to tackle the blaze before he was taken away to have his own wounds treated.
“When a platoon of Argylls still trapped in the first ambush position ran out of ammunition, they then carried out a bayonet charge to clear their positions.”
'Hero' is an often debased label these days. Not on this occasion.
Posted at 12:52 PM
EU ELECTIONS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Results for elections to the EU’s ‘parliament’ are due out tonight, and in the UK the focus will be on the size of the vote for the UK Independence Party, a party that advocates withdrawal from the EU. For a one issue party – and one with a good percentage of oddballs in its ranks - UKIP did surprisingly well in the local elections, winning two seats in the London Assembly and doing pretty well in the other local elections it contested, both indications that it might be celebrating tonight.
The worry for the Tories? That support for the UKIP will siphon off some of the votes that they could otherwise expect. Well, that’s as may be, but a shift by the Conservatives in the direction of outright opposition to the EU would be a mistake. It would allow Labour to portray them as extreme and unfit for government, and the voters would almost certainly agree.
The answer is for Michael Howard to continue to stress his eurosceptic policies: opposition to the proposed EU ‘constitution’, UK adoption of the Euro, and further regulatory overreach by Brussels. And then to make clear that if those policies cause a crisis in relations with the EU, well, that’s just too bad. Promising to try and renegotiate the treaties would, however, be a step too far.
This report from The Observer has more. Note the comment from one Lucy Sykes of the pro-Brussels ‘Britain in Europe’ pressure group:
'We cannot take it as read that people in this country understand or are passionate about Europe…"
I’ll say, Lucy.
Posted at 12:19 PM