NRA VS. THE SIERRA CLUB [Jonathan H. Adler]
Apparently the Outdoor Writers Association is mad at the National Rifle Association because an NRA official was critical of the Sierra Club at a recent speech before the OWA> Yet based upon this news story, I am not sure what the fuss is about. The allegedly offending statement is that the Sierra Club is trying to "hoodwink hunters into voting for gun ban candidates." As a facutal matter, this is true: Most of the candidates the Sierra Club endorses or supports are supportive of gun control. Indeed, insofar as the Sierra Club tends to support the most liberal lawmakers, its efforts have the effect -- if not the intent -- of supporting greater restrictions, if not outright prohibitions, on guns. Whether the OWA's membership likes it or not, in most political contests hunters will be faced with a choice: Support those lawmakers who endorse the Sierra Club's agenda or support the protection of gun rights.
Posted at 06:12 PM
YUCCA DECISION [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah -- You're correct that both sides are claiming victory int he Yucca case. The reason I believe the decision is a defeat for Nevada is that the state sought to claim that the federal government could not impose its site selection on the unconsenting state. This was a losing argument, and the Court rejected it. Where Nevada won was on the issue of the radiation standard for the facility. The court found that the EPA had adopted a radiation standard without sufficeintly considering the views of a National Academy of Sciences report on the subject. Without a doubt this requires the EPA and Energy Department to do more work on the regulations governing the facility, and knocks the schedule back, but I believe this merely delays the inevitable. Specific regulatory standards are remanded all the time without invalidating the underlying government program or regulatory initiative, and I believe that is the case here. No doubt Nevada will sue again (and again, and again), and they may even be able to delay the the site's operation a little more, but unless they find a better legal hook than those they presented to the court in this litigation, or unless Congress changes its mind, I believe Yucca will eventually become the repository for the nation's nuclear waste.
Posted at 06:08 PM
SAMIZDATA [Jonah Goldberg ]
I haven't been there in a while (if memory serves they no likey me). But I must say their logo is awesome
Posted at 05:51 PM
THIN GRUEL [Jonah Goldberg ]
So I'm reading Josh Marshall's defense of Joe Wilson and it just doesn't do the job for me, starting with his shoot-the-messenger snarking at Susan Schmidt (always refereshing to have liberals complain about the pro-Republican bias of the Washington Post).
He quotes from the Schmidt article:
Plame's role could be significant in an ongoing investigation into whether a crime was committed when her name and employment were disclosed to reporters last summer.
And then Marshall replies:
"There's no 'challenging the bona fides of a political opponent' exception to the law in question. While Plame's alleged role may have some political traction, it's legally irrelevant. Government officials are not allowed to disclose the identity of covert intelligence agents, whether they feel like they have a good reason or not."
Frankly, I'll await someone else's legal analysis before I make up my mind about that. But assuming Marshall is correct about the law, am I alone in thinking he's being disingenuous? Marshall's been banging the drums about the Plame story for a very long time. The essence of the entire scandal has been the contention that the White House deliberately endangered a CIA agent's life in order to punish Wilson. Must we recount all of the paranoid pieties about how "this White House will stop at nothing to silence its enemies"? Now Marshall's new talking point is a legalism. Well, excuse me: If in fact the White House inadvertantly revealed Plame's identity in order to explain why a dishonest hack like Wilson was being sent to Africa (i.e. "His wife pulled some strings") and not so as to endanger a whistle-blower's life that sounds like more than a matter of "some political traction." That sounds like the whole enchilada, scandal-wise.
Again, maybe Marshall's correct about the law, but he's pretty deep in the bunker if he thinks there's no difference -- to the public or to a jury -- between someone trying to rebut and explain a partisan attack from someone pretending to be a dispassionate public servent and inadvertantly spilling the beans about her job and someone saying "let's frag Wilson's wife."
Indeed, if Plame did in fact promote her husband for the job and he did subsequently distort the facts in an effort to undermine the White House in willful disregard to the facts as he knew them, it sounds to me like Husband and Wife were in on a partisan conspiracy together. That doesn't sound like something CIA analysts are supposed to be doing. No this wouldn't absolve the leaking of her identity, but it would detract from her martyr status quite a bit.
Posted at 04:04 PM
NOMINATION FOR... [Andy McCarthy]
. . . Most Succinct Supreme Court Opinion of the Year: Justice Scalia's concurring opinion in Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (June 21, 2004). Scalia is well known for despising the practice of judges to mine the congressional record for snippets that appear to support the sometimes bizarre way they wish to construe statutes. Here is the entirety of the Scalia concurrence:
As today's [majority] opinion shows, the Court's disposition is required by the text of the statute. None of the limitations urged by petitioner finds support in the categorical language of 28 U. S. C. §1782(a). That being so, it is not only (as I think) improper but also quite unnecessary to seek repeated support in the words of a Senate Committee Report--which, as far as we know, not even the full committee, much less the full Senate, much much less the House, and much much much less the President who signed the bill, agreed with. Since, moreover, I have not read the entire so-called legislative history, and have no need or desire to do so, so far as I know the statements of the Senate Report may be contradicted elsewhere.
Posted at 10:20 AM
AT LEAST THEY'RE NERVOUS HE NEEDS LOTS OF HELP [KJL]
An e-mail: "I'm a law school student working at the London office of a mega American law firm ...A firmwide email was just sent out requesting volunteers who could help with the Saddam defence. Disgusted and appalled, I was hoping you might know whom I should contact if I want to volunteer with Saddam's prosecution."
Posted at 10:16 AM
JOE WILSON, DISCREDITED [KJL]
Those were 15 minutes we could have done without.
Posted at 10:14 AM
YUCCA [Jonah Goldberg]
Jonathan -- If you're around, how come everyone's writing up the Yucca decision as a victory for the anti-Yucca people?
Posted at 09:56 AM
BLOGOSPHERE ARISE! [Jonah Goldberg]
This story in today's Washington Post seems to indicate that Joe Wilson is a monumental liar, publicity hound and partisan hack. Truly a must-read. Spread the word.
Posted at 08:05 AM
GOOD MORNING EVERYBODY [Jonah Goldberg]
That's all. First post of the weekend!
Posted at 07:10 AM
Friday, July 09, 2004
FBI BACKGROUND CHECKS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm still flumoxed as to why when my wife had her FBI background check to work for Ashcroft, they talked to all my friends, all her friends, but never once to me. This was before we got married. Sure, I can see the argument that they'd expect me to lie. But wouldn't they want to talk to me just to make sure our stories matched?
Posted at 09:14 PM
DEM SENATOR ENDORSES MICHAEL MOORE [Rich Lowry]
The Moorification of the Democrats continues. This is not only bad on the merits, but will come back to bite them politically. From David Asman show (rough transcript):
MARY LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, talk about security. Let me talk about the movie. If there's any senator or any person that takes issue with
anything in that movie, they should lay their cards on the table. So far
ASMAN: Let me stop you there. You are saying there is nothing in the film that has not been criticized factually?
LANDRIEU: I am saying the last film out there and it's been out there
Posted at 06:52 PM
CHECK OUT THE KERRY SPOT... [Rich Lowry]
...Jim has it full of good stuff, including a response to this silly Kerry attack on Enron today.
Posted at 06:49 PM
THANKS... [Rich Lowry]
...for all the Blackberry back-up e-mails. They will help me avoid this problem next time. Sigh...
Posted at 06:48 PM
FBI BACKGROUND CHECK: WHAT NOT TO DO [Andy McCarthy]
Kathryn, I saw your post about Terry Teachout. Reminded me: I have a relative who works for the FBI in New York. Many years ago, when he first applied for the job, he was still living in a part of The Bronx that has a high concentration of mafiosi and their usual (and much larger) coterie of wannabes. The FBI, of course, knocked on various doors to try to conduct background interviews about my relative. Naturally, being the FBI, they are not always clear that the purpose of their questioning is to check out a potential employee rather than probe a potential crime. Even more naturally, the people of The Bronx wouldn't believe them even if they were clear. It should come as no surprise, then, that one night, a neighbor my relative barely knew rang the doorbell and told him, "The friggin' Feds came by askin' a lot of questions. But don't worry, I didn't tell 'em nuttin'." To this day, I don't know how he got the job. I hope Terry has good neighbors.
Posted at 06:08 PM
THE FBI IS INVESTIGATING TERRY TEACHOUT [KJL]
He's been nominated for a National Endowment for the Art commission, which requires a Senate confirmation. Luckily I think he doesn't have to meet the likes of Pat Leahy. I hope (I'm too lazy too look). Congrats!
Posted at 05:33 PM
DERB UNDERCOVER [NR Staff]
Subscribers to NRODT will enjoy the cartoon on page 28 in the latest issue. Clearly Derb's mission to do in Kerry by supporting Nader has been blown. The mountains are a feint, but the treehouse setting is a give-away.
Posted at 05:23 PM
OLD SCHOOL REPONSE TO TOUCHING [Rich Lowry]
Call me old fashioned, but I can think of only two circumstances in which this kind of `guy-on-guy action’ would be appropriate:
1) a congratulatory pat from the 1st base coach to a player who has just singled; and,
2) when it is necessary to bestow the "kiss of death" on some guy who has been designated for `whacking.’”
Posted at 05:14 PM
HELP--BLACKBERRY QUESTION [Rich Lowry]
A minute ago, in syncing my Blackberry with my desktop, I mistakenly accepted something I shouldn’t have and it somehow erased all my old contacts and replaced them just with the ten or so new ones. I assume there I no way to recover them or reverse such a process? They seem to be gone from my Blackberry and desk-top. Can you hear my weeping and the gnashing of my teeth?
Posted at 05:01 PM
LILEKS ON MOORE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Lileks takes on Michael Moore, and it is an absolutely beautiful thing to behold.
Posted at 04:45 PM
PREDICTION FOLLOW-UP [Rich Lowry]
"Guys, CONGRATS on the gay-baiting strategy to smear Kerry/Edwards. Way to go! Here is hoping it gets the reaction it deserves."
Posted at 04:40 PM
PREDICTION [Rich Lowry]
“I know it’s just a matter of time before Republicans get accused of 'gay-baiting' for the Kerry-Edwards PDA send-ups. 'Mean-spirited', 'insensitive', and 'homophobic' are going to make their appearance – and more than one media organization will present those accusations as self-evident facts. Just you watch.”
Posted at 04:29 PM
FOX, FYI [Rich Lowry]
Scheduled to be on “On the Record” tonight.
Posted at 04:26 PM
TOUCHING [Rich Lowry]
"I haven't watched the tapes enough to know for sure, but looking at the still on the Drudge Report, there may be some dominance games going on there. In particular, Kerry's touching of Edward's face is a very dominating move. Face caresses among primates are familial -- mates or parent/child interactions. An adult male touching another male's face asserts parental level seniority and dominance. Most of the pics on the Drudge site convey this sort of dominance message (to me, at least).
I saw in the Washington Times an article that claims this is a focus group generated maneuver to make Kerry seem warmer. If my read is correct, it won't work.... and it could have a negative subconscious impact on many male witnesses.
It also says something to me about Kerry's need to make it clear who the boss is. (I noticed, by the way, that Theresa reached across in one photo to full the youngest Edwards child's thumb out of his mouth, so this dynamic may already spread across the families.) My guess would be that all the family warmth they're trotting out right now will wear pretty thin for some of these folks before the campaign is over."
ME: This makes some sense to me. At times Kerry has seemed all but ready to pinch Edwards' cheeks--affectionate, but kind of demeaning.
Posted at 04:24 PM
WOOPS [Jonah Goldberg]
If you caught some very bad language in the Corner at the end of the previous post that was my fault entirely as I cut and pasted from an Instant Message. My apologies for any offense. Hopefully you have no idea what I'm talking about.
Posted at 04:16 PM
THE ISRAELI WALL [Jonah Goldberg]
I do like this. "The court's head judge, Shi Jiuyong of China, said in the ruling: 'The wall ... cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order."
Forget the fact that this guy is from a Communist country. Isn't anybody struck by the irony that a guy whose country's biggest tourist attraction is the Great Wall of China, is denouncing efforts to protect its citizens from foreign murderers?
(Yes, yes, I know the Great Wall didn't work too well. But still...!)
Posted at 04:11 PM
SADDAM HEADED TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT? [KJL]
One U.S. lawyer in the Saddam defense corps wants to.
Posted at 04:06 PM
ARGUMENTS V POLICIES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Matt Yglesias notes that Ramesh and I are (and others) are peeved with the failure of the GOP to make solid arguments. He then writes:
I think this focus on arguments is off-base. It's not that the Bush team has trouble putting together coherent conservative arguments, they don't put forward conservative coherent policies or, indeed, real policies at all. On the domestic front (as Paul O'Neill and others have told us) opportunism triumphs above all else while on foreign policy (except for a brief moment in Spring 2003 when Colin Powell was in a fit of personal pique against Dominique de Villepin) you have division, confusion, and drift. There simply aren't any arguments to be mounted in favor of the combination of tax cuts and entitlement expansions, or free trade agreements and shrimp tariffs and all the rest that we've seen from this administration.
There's a lot I do not buy in the current liberal meme about the White House being closed to contrary opinions, but there's a core truth to the criticism that the White House has not seemed overly concerned with convincing people it's right. And once you lose that concern you lose an important discipline which allows you to stay right (and be Right).
Posted at 03:50 PM
CHRISTIANS & JEWS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader writes about today's G-File:
Enjoyed your column as always. However, you wrote: "Indeed, they love observant Jews more than most Jews do. Why? Because the Right side of the culture war wants "traditionalists" of all stripes in its corner".
Posted at 03:36 PM
KERRY-EDWARDS IN LOVE [Rich Lowry]
Watch this with the sound on.
Posted at 03:14 PM
PASSION FOR THE CROSS [KJL]
Mel Gibson is reportedly donating $140,000 toward keeping L.A.'s city seal.
Posted at 03:05 PM
MIXED FEELINGS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah -- I totally agree that Nevada's legal arguments were weak, and many of the environmental concerns overstated. Nonetheless, I am not sure how I feel about the federal government a) taking responsibility for all of the nuclear waste in the nation, b) constructing a massive public works project to handle all of the waste in a single place, and c) pretending as if it can create regulatory controls that will continue to serve their purpose 100 years from now, let alone over 10,000 as the law requires. Do I have a better alternative? I'm not sure. Without a doubt there has been so much federal meddling in the nuclear industry -- both in terms of regulatory controls and federal subsidies -- that the feds cannot exactly walk away. Still, I am not convinced that this project was the best, or even least bad, alternative.
Posted at 02:58 PM
NUKES & THE FENCE [John J. Miller]
A rough week for Israel. First, the head of the IAEA basically says it's up to the Israelis to make sure the Middle East is free of nuclear weapons. In my mind, Israel performed a remarkable service to mankind when it destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, the one that was going to build what Saddam Hussein once described as the Arab atomic bomb. Most governments--including the United States--condemned the daring raid at the time. Thank goodness the Israelis had the gumption to do what they did. Second, the "World Court" has declared Israel's security fence to be "illegal." Nice of them to do that from the safety of the Hague, where people don't live in constant danger of being killed by suicide bombers. Israel has an excellent statement in response to ruling: "The Advisory Opinion fails to address the essence of the problem and the very reason for building the fence--Palestinian terrorism. If there were no terrorism, there would be no fence." The whole thing is worth reading, here.
Posted at 02:04 PM
HUG CONTROVERSY [KJL]
No, not them. Another left-wing couple: Tom Daschle denies Michael Moore's account of Daschle hugging Moore at F 9/11
Posted at 01:54 PM
WHY COSMO ISN'T ALLOWED TO PLAY WITH MATCHES [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 01:23 PM
BOWLING WITH THE LIKE-MINDED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 01:20 PM
JOHN-JOHN JUJITSU [Jonah Goldberg]
From the Borowitz Report:
Posted at 12:59 PM
HIGHLARIOUS [Jonah Goldberg]
California State Education Secretary Richard Riordan stupidly teased a young girl named Isis. She asked him if he knew that it meant "Egyptian Goddess" and he responded that it meant "stupid dirty girl." He meant it as a joke but it was mean and stupid nonetheless.
But the NAACP insisted that it was racist and that he should resign. Various other civil rights types got into the act. Calling for mass protests and the like. That is until they discovered the little girl is blonde and white. Then the same groups retracted their calls for his resignation. I love it.
Posted at 12:36 PM
MIXED FEELINGS? [Jonah Goldberg]
Jon - Having been to Yucca and written about it for the magazine, I'm curious to know what your mixed feelings are. Surely it's not the science? Is it the federalism issue? In the abstract I have great sympathy for that argument, but in reality Nevada is on very shaky ground given the fact that they love most of their federal "intrusions" -- i.e. air force bases, etc.
Posted at 12:23 PM
YUCCA TO PROCEED [Jonathan H. Adler]
The state of Nevada lost its legal bid to prevent the siting a of a nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain. This morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected all but one of the state's claims in a 100-page opinion. Nevada's only victory was a ruling that the facility would have to comply with envronmental standards beyond the 10,000 year period set by the EPA. (Pause and think about that. This is the year 2004 A.D., and a federal agency has to design regulations to control potential radiation leaks over 10,000 years in the future.) I have mixed feelings on the merits of the Yucca Mountain plan, but Nevada's legal challenges were always a long shot. From a political standpoint, however, this decision cannot help the President, as the project is extremely unpopular in Nevada.
Posted at 12:11 PM
THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE'S REPORT [Michael Ledeen]
The "intelligence committee" of the world's greatest deliberative body has now coughed up a report, and guess what? It is critical of the intelligence community. imagine! what a shock, such a newsworthy conclusion.
Never mind that we have known this for decades, and got confirmation of the most dramatic sort on 9/11.
But what gets me is that it has now become part of the conventional wisdom that Iraq did NOT have WMDs. None at all. Not hardly ever, that is. So when, say, Polish soldiers find some, "coalition authorities" are quick to say, nah, that doesn't count, that's older stuff. As if old WMDs weren't real.
I'm gonna try to talk to Angleton later today, or over the weekend at the latest and see what he thinks. But my own experience has been that the CIA really doesn't want to find WMDs in Iraq. Others tell me emphaticaly that the CIA team virtually never leaves the Green Zone. And Rumsfeld has handed over total authority on WMDs to CIA, so Pentagon people in Iraq can't go explore leads (talk about a bad decision!)...
And before the war started you may recall that I said Iraq was shipping WMDs to Syria and Iran, and remember that a couple of weeks ago the government of Sudan publicly asked the Syrians to take back their WMDs.
In short, I believe there were WMDs, and the issue is, what happened to them?
If you don't believe that, you will have to explain how every major intelligence service in the world agreed there were WMDs. Do you think Ahmad Chalabi duped the Israelis? The Russians? The French?
Give me a break
Posted at 12:08 PM
I KNEW IT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Yep - you're too late - it has already happened. Jay Leno ran the hug-fest as the new Kerry campaign commercial. In fact, I place the odds at 10:1 that Brit Hume replays it on the final segment of his Fox show."
Posted at 12:04 PM
JOHN-JOHN GROPING: PREDICTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Maybe it's already happened, but I haven't seen it. But it is entirely inevitable that if Kerry and Edwards keep man-handling each other in public, the Daily Show or SNL or someone will run a clip of them touching. Then another. Then another. And then the funnymen will get two stand-in look-alikes to start playing tonsil hockey and trading wrestling moves. It's such a predictable, natural, joke it is guaranteed to happen.
Posted at 11:57 AM
DRIVER'S TEST [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sorry for the radio silence in the Corner this morning. A) I had to write G-File. B) I had to do CNN and C) I got hopelessly addicted to this driving test. Corner readers should not click this link as it will cost the economy millions in lost man-hours.
Posted at 11:49 AM
LOVED ONE [John Derbyshire]
Think what Evelyn Waugh might have done with this
Posted at 11:42 AM
RE: MY BOY BILL [John Derbyshire]
Many, many thanks to the readers who tracked this down. You are all, every one of you, hereby promoted to the rank of DIG -- Derb's Intenet Guys/Gals. The clip is here. Get those fists pumping. -------------------
Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight.
Posted at 10:57 AM
WEEP FOR FIBBER MAGEES [Andrew Stuttaford]
The law's the law, of course, but read the sad tale of Fibber Magees, the pub that fought against Ireland's smoking ban - and lost.
"The Western Health Board, which is responsible for enforcing the ban in western Ireland, said it was preparing files to prosecute customers who smoked in Fibber Magees on Wednesday night. Each violator could be fined up to $3,700 or spend three months in jail."
"...the crowd dispersed when government leaders announced they would crush any further opposition to the ban..."
"In the southern port of Cobh, County Cork, another publican announced he also had stopped letting customers smoke in his pub. Danny Brogan said he had little choice — his pub was now "crawling" with officials."
'Health Mullahs'? Yes, I think so.
Posted at 10:54 AM
HOUSE FLOOR PRAISE FOR WFB [KJL]
From Rep. Joe Wilson (the other Joe Wilson!).
Posted at 10:28 AM
TERROR? JOHN KERRY DOESN'T HAVE TIME FOR SUCH THINGS [KJL]
Posted at 10:00 AM
TWO MOMMIES NO DIFFERENT THAN MOM & DAD? [KJL]
Maggie Gallagher had an interesting column yesterday, talking to an adult child of a same-sex couple. It's here.
Posted at 09:24 AM
#1,000 [John J. Miller]
Coalition forces in Iraq have suffered their 1,000th death since the start of the Iraq war. The U.S. military accounts for 88 percent of the dead.
Posted at 09:23 AM
RE: MY BOY BILL [John Derbyshire]
No, it wasn't the one listed on his website ("The Most Liberal Ticket Ever"). It concerned the hate-America crowd, especially those abroad, and tallied off the number of people liberated from horrible govts. by the USA this past hundred years or so. Maybe I dreamed it. If I didn't, the Big Mick's webiste is even more messed up than I thought.
Posted at 09:05 AM
RUN, DON'T WALK [KJL]
Every American should read Victor Davis Hanson today. Every single one. Just a bit:
Kerry is only now starting to grasp that a year from now Iraq more likely will not be Vietnam, but maybe the most radical development of our time--and that all the Left’s harping is becoming more and more irrelevant. Witness his talk of security and his newfound embrace of the post-9/11 effort as a war rather than a DA’s indictment. It is not a good idea to plan on winning in November by expecting us to lose now in Iraq.Read it. Pass it on. Read it again.
Posted at 08:59 AM
BIG ORANGE KEEPS TROOPS COOL [KJL]
It's a corporate sponsor of Operation Air Conditioner.
Posted at 08:54 AM
BIG ORANGE FOR STREET PEOPLE [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 08:48 AM
THE JEWS KILL ARAB BABIES, REDGRAVE SAYS [KJL]
Vanessa Redgrave, U.N. "Good will" ambassador goes even too far for the U.N. while in the Mideast: From the Chicago-Sun Times:
According to Vanessa Redgrave, the British actress and campaigner for human rights, especially on behalf of the Palestinians, Israel's troops practice wanton and deliberate infanticide.
Posted at 08:44 AM
MY BOY BILL [John Derbyshire]
Some of my colleagues scoff at Bill O'Reilly. I have problems with him myself -- on, e.g., the death penalty, "guest workers," the proper scope of the feddle gummint, and so on. The guy's heart is in the right place, though. The "talking points" memo at the top of his show last night had me pumping my fist in the air and yelling: "Yessss!"
I'd like to reproduce it for you here, but have never been able to find my way round Bill's website, which is more convoluted than a Calabi-Yau manifold. Memo to the big O: get a new webmaster. Memo to Corner readers: If you know how to get at Bill's "talking points," let me know.
Posted at 08:42 AM
HAIR FORCE ONE [KJL]
Survey says Bush wins, not Kerry.
Posted at 08:19 AM
CLASS ACTS [KJL]
Real classy fundraiser last night in NYC for Kerry-Edwards 2004. From the NYT:
The comedian John Leguizamo, who is half Puerto Rican, said the notion of Hispanics supporting Republicans was "like roaches for Raid." And Whoopi Goldberg, after joking about refusing to submit her material to campaign censors, made an extended sexual pun on the president's surname.
Posted at 08:16 AM
YOU'RE NOT READING THIS EITHER [John J. Miller]
I've been poking around the NEA website. Two years ago, it published a study on American participation in the arts. One possible reason why fewer people are reading novels today may be because more are listening to them. In 1992, 8 percent of Americans listened to books being read--most of them, I assume, while driving. Ten years later, 12 percent listened to books. Once more: This is not a national crisis. Here's the two-year-old NEA report (see page 29).
Posted at 08:09 AM
YOU'RE NOT READING THIS [John J. Miller]
Color me unimpressed by the new survey funded by the National Endowment for the Arts claiming that Americans are reading less literature. Yes, it's probably true. But it doesn't follow that just because Americans are reading fewer novels, they're actually doing less reading. That's what's strange about the NEA study--it isn't about literacy, but about reading fiction. Personally, I love to read fiction. I'm reading a novel right now. But lots of people prefer non-fiction. Some just don't have time for novels, in part because they're doing things like reading The Corner. "This report documents a national crisis," says Dana Gioia, chief of the NEA. I don't think so. It just means that despite the good efforts of Oprah and others, 10 percent fewer Americans read novels than they did 20 years ago. A national crisis? Maybe if you're a federal agency that thinks it can address the problem with a bigger budget.
Posted at 07:59 AM
SHOCKING NEWS [KJL]
The "world court" is set to rule against Israel's fence.
Posted at 07:44 AM
Thursday, July 08, 2004
LITTLE BOUNCE (YET) [John Hood]
A new poll for the Associated Press released Thursday gives Bush-Cheney a four-point lead over Kerry-Edwards (assuming Nader is in). There some good news for Republicans here, but the AP is spinning the results as showing a "slight" improvement for the Democratic ticket in the South after the Edwards pick.
By the way, I'm told by a Democratic friend that news about the Kerry campaign suspending their media buys in Arkansas and Louisiana is being over-interpreted in the media. The Dems still plan to spend some money there, and in North Carolina, at least for a while to see how the needles move. They've also been in some Virginia markets and, of course, in Florida. Tennessee, however, may not make the list.
Posted at 10:36 PM
"HIS NUMBER ONE POLITICAL ADVISER" [KJL]
AOL's frontpage right now has an Elizabeth Edwards puff piece. You know Kerry's people had to focus group wives--and she tested well.
Posted at 06:13 PM
RE: JULY SURPRISE [Jonathan H. Adler]
I was surprised by TNR's embrace of this tired conspiratorial tale. Are we supposed to believe Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and the rest are just hanging out in Pakistan waiting to get plucked at the appropriate time? And that the Pakistanis could have apprehended them at any time if only we had applied greater pressure? I got it. Maybe they're hold up on the back lot where NASA staged the moon landing. Yeah, that's the ticket. Gregory Djerejian further deconstructs the story. As he notes, the story is rife with anonymous sources and speculation, and devoid of serious context. If we're supposed to take this story seriously, TNR is going to have to do better than that.
Posted at 05:27 PM
MACHINE GUNS ON THE STREETS. UPRISINGS.... [KJL]
Here is an Iranian activist website, which has the latest news from Iran. Can you imagine the impact if a CNN were actually reporting from the scene?
Posted at 05:27 PM
THE RINO CONVENTION [John Derbyshire]
I agree, our gal Kate gets it right about the RINO -- sorry, I mean GOP -- convention.
For more on the recent trajectory of Rockefeller Republicanism, see this fine stinging editorial in yesterday's New York Post
Posted at 05:14 PM
NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FROM ALL WARM BODIES [John J. Miller]
Illinois Republicans still don't have a candidate to replace Jack Ryan. Today, just a few hours after Denny Hastert called him the best man to take the nomination, state senator Steve Rauschenberger demurred. What lousy choreography. Looks like they're going to have to draw straws in the Land of Lincoln.
Posted at 04:19 PM
LESSON LEARNED [Kate O'Beirne]
The Human Rights Campaign has a full page ad in today's Roll Call. It features pictures of Schwarzenegger, McCain, Pataki, and Giuliani and asks, "Want to get a primetime spot at the Republican National Convention?" and answers: "Oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment." I rest my case.
Posted at 04:15 PM
THE TIMES' TWISTS WITH THE TIMES [Jonathan H. Adler]
In 1996, the New York Times assailed welfare reform as "draconian. "atrocious," "harsh," "extreme," "devastating," "not humane," "punitive," "odious," "shocking," and "arrogan[t]." The legislation would throw millions of children in to poverty. So what does the gray lady say about reauthorization of the 1996 reforms today? It's a "no-brainer" that only cynical GOP partisanship could obstruct. This is an amazing, unacknowledged turnabout at the Times -- and Stuart Buck is on the case. (In case you haven't noticed, whether you agree with him or not, Stuart Buck has one of the best blogs around. It's a shame he has a real job, or he'd post more often.)
Posted at 03:42 PM
BOOK BLEG FOR LAWYERS [Jonah Goldberg]
My apologies for not carrying on the discussion about the social utility of lawyers, trial lawyers, plaintiff lawyers, talll lawyers and short lawyers yesterday. It just seemed like an endless corridor to start heading down.
Compounding my ingratitude, I'd like to ask the great legal minds out there for a little help. What is the state of Thurman Arnold's legacy? I'm interested in his writings as much as I am in his work as the head of FDR's anti-trust division. I'd be particularly interested to know if anybody still talks about his Folklore of Capitalism or claims to have been influenced by it.
Posted at 03:40 PM
RED MOON ON THE HORIZON [John J. Miller]
The Chinese say they want to send an unmanned probe to the moon by 2007.
Posted at 02:50 PM
"NEW TEAM BLENDS MESSAGES FOR A UNITED VISION" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
And in other news, Patriotic Workers Exceed Grain Production Quotas Again.
Posted at 02:48 PM
RE: JULY SURPRISE [Jonah Goldberg]
Rich - Yeah I hear you. And the skepticism from numerous military guy readers echoes the point. Moreover there are non-partisan political reasons for giving the ISI a deadline. Remember Spain? Nabbing Osama before an American election makes some sense, doesn't it? Also, we didn't give the ISI a deadline for two years and so for two years they didn't catch him. What's wrong with trying a deadline?
Also, while I think deliberately trying to disrupt the Democratic Convention -- if true -- would be a stupid move, since when is it so outrageous for an elected leader to try to deliver results to the electorate before an election? Isn't that the whole point of elections? To hold leaders accountable? That, after all, is a far different thing then the Michael Moore theories that Bush knows where Osama Bin Laden is and can produce him at any politically convenient time.
Posted at 02:27 PM
“JULY SURPRISE” [Rich Lowry]
Jonah, my first blush reaction--why would anyone trust anything they are told by the notoriously corrupt and unreliable ISI? And the claim that the White House asked for high-value targets to be killed and captured around the end of July seems inherently laughable. We should be happy if the incompetent and conflicted Pakistanis manage to kill and capture any al Qaeda bigs anytime in any circumstances--forget about having them do it on a exquisitely precise political timetable.
Posted at 02:15 PM
STARR ON CLINTON [Jonathan H. Adler]
Kenneth Starr comments on Bill Clinton's memoir in today's WSJ.
Posted at 01:17 PM
"JULY SURPRISE"? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Regardless of the merits (I'm still reading it) I guarantee we'll be hearing a lot about this.
Posted at 01:11 PM
MESSAGE V POWER [Jonah Goldberg]
From another reader:
Posted at 12:59 PM
BUSH THE MODERATE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
One factor we arch-wingers often fail to take into consider is that George Bush really isn't one of us. He didn't run in 2000 as a conservative, and he hasn't governed much as one -- particularly on spending, entitlements, the National Endowment for the arts, etc. On the other side of the ledger are significant accomplishments -- tax cuts and withdrawal from the ABM treaty. But overall, and excepting the war on terror, you might say he's a squish.
Posted at 12:27 PM
RE: CONVENTION SPEAKERS [Jonah Goldberg]
That was an excellent point Ramesh. And for the record I really didn't/don't disagree with Kate so much as disagree with the hay Andrew Sullivan is making of Kate's point. Truth be told, I'm fairly disgusted with the GOP these days. Again, I think conservatives sacrificed a lot when we bought into the notion that the President of the United States doesn't need to be an effective communicator. Yes, it's nice to know that Bush's gut instincts are often right (though they're also often left), but his inability or unwillingness to make serious arguments hurts. And that style informs the GOP style across the board these days. Being the majority party in a system which so effectively empowers the minority party means that everyone has to listen to your arguments, it doesn't mean your arguments automatically win.
So, when the majority party refuses to ground its actions in principle and defend them with reason it will, of necessity, look like it is ruling by whim rather than governing by conviction. With a few important exceptions, Bush's domestic priorities look like an attempt to buy support rather than persuade the public about anything. That works for Democrats because the Democratic Party is, at the end of the day, about bribing the electorate. The Republican Party is supposed to be the party which persuades the electorate that they'd be better off not accepting the bribes. And everyone -- America and the GOP included -- loses when the two parties get into a bidding war like divorced parents over who can spoil Americans more.
Posted at 11:52 AM
MORE CONFERENCE CALL NEWS [KJL]
in the Kerry Spot.
Posted at 11:42 AM
NEW W. COMMERCIAL NEWS [Byron York]
The Bush/Cheney campaign is launching a new ad questioning the voting record of Sen. John Kerry. Called "Priorities," the ad begins, "Leadership means choosing priorities," and continues:
While campaigning, John Kerry has missed over two thirds of all votes.In a conference call with reporters this morning, Bush campaign spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish said the ad was made to correct Kerry's recent claim that he shares voters' "conservative values." Calling Kerry's effort an "extreme makeover," Devenish said, "We entirely anticipated this campaign trail conversion, and we are prepared to set the record straight....We will launch a process of holding John Kerry to the record he has earned."
Posted at 11:39 AM
RE: EXPANDING THE DEATH PENALTY [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader makes a perfectly fair point: "If you expand the death penalty to child porn cases, you have the same problem that you used to have in rape death-penalty cases--you remove most of the incentive for the criminal to avoid killing the victim or other witnesses."
Now I think this is a legitimate objection worth considering. But what I do find interesting and/or ironic about it is how it buys into the logic of deterrence which we are told doesn't work. I should say, I've never thought the death penalty could be or should be justified solely on the concept of deterrence. But liberals say it's not a deterrence, that it doesn't influence behavior. Which is where the irony comes in. While the death penalty is supposed to have no influence on would-be murderers, it's supposed to be a major incentive for rapists and others to commit murder.
Posted at 11:35 AM
NR'S WAKE-UP CALL [KJL]
Kate O'Beirne will be on Bill Bennett's excellent radio show tomorrow morning at 7:30 EDT. Listen in.
Posted at 11:32 AM
CONVENTION SPEAKERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm with Kate, as usual. Jonah notes that the convention planners won't get good press no matter what they do--which is true, but all the more reason not to let worries about the media have too much influence over planning. If it really is true that spotlighting Pataki et al will win swing voters--more on that in a moment--that's fine. I don't think Kate is objecting to Pataki's being there. But Bush has a problem with the base too, and it should be represented as well.
I think Kate's criticism touches on a deeper problem with this administration: its unwillingness even to try to win arguments. So often, it appears more interested in getting its legislative agenda through sheer force--twisting enough arms to get the 218th vote in the House--than in persuading anyone that conservative (or conservative-ish) initiatives make sense. Overseas, it has been more interested in saying that we are going to do what we are going to do than in getting people to agree that what we are doing is in the world's interests. The convention line-up suggests that the Republicans believe that the conservative message could never possibly appeal to the unconverted. It's a far cry from Reagan's approach. It reminds me of Rick Brookhiser's old line about the Republicans: In their hearts, they know they're wrong.
Posted at 11:23 AM
DISCUSS AMONGST YOURSELVES [Jonah Goldberg]
If the new Moore-standard says you can be a force for good even if you argue through half-truths, guilt-by-association and innuendo, then the case against Joe McCarthy evaporates entirely. He did, after all, have the larger truths on his side.
Posted at 11:14 AM
HUGH NEWS [KJL]
Hewitt has a new book coming out, If It's Not Close They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It; just got a copy, am looking forward to reading.
Posted at 11:07 AM
RE: FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN FIRST LADY [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb - Actually Teresa's very big on saying to blacks "We Africans have to stick together" and other such too-cute-by-half stuff. My guess is it will backfire on her at a very inconvenient moment.
Posted at 11:04 AM
I TOLD YOU SO [KJL]
Hugh Hewitt has discovered the Kerry Spot, your election "must read." It's a very useful resource. Jim Geraghty's your opp-research go-to guy.
Posted at 10:59 AM
"HAPLESS FOOT SOLDIER" FOLLOW-UP [Andy McCarthy]
You'll never believe this. Some of those "Hapless Foot Soldiers" the NYTimes supposes we should never have detained at Guantanamo Bay in the first place are back on the battlefield shooting at American soldiers. Question: if one of them gets surrounded by our troops in one of those places where the Supreme Court says we have the kind of de facto control that extends the jurisdiction of the U.S. judiciary to the far corners of the galaxy, does he get to call time-out and file for habeas corpus before our guys can shoot back?
Posted at 10:45 AM
ROBERT REICH'S RELIGION PROBLEM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Southern Appeal has a comment.
Posted at 10:38 AM
AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN FIRST LADY [John Derbyshire]
A reader: "It occurs to me that John Kerry's wife, if she becomes First Lady, will be the first African American presidential spouse [Mozambique birth, I recall]. Has anyone mentioned this? Somehow I don't think she will pass."
Posted at 10:34 AM
KING ARTHUR [John Derbyshire]
Does King Arthur show up in any of the novels of Alfred Duggan that I have been promoting? Sure does: He has a walk-on part in "The Conscience of the King," a book narrated by a renegade Roman in late 5th-century Britain. With the skill of a born novelist, Duggan never lets us actually see Arthur, but leaves him a dim and shadowy figure, as he is in history. He refers to Arthur only by his Latin name, Artorius. The book has a good account of the batle of Maount Badon, where Arthur is supposed to have stopped the advance of the English across Britain.
("Dim and shadowy" hardly does justice to the extreme historical obscurity of Arthur. If he existed, he was a British warlord in the chaotic, and almost totally undocumented, century after the Roman legions left Britain, and the English started coming in from northern Germany to take over the country. Even Arthur's existence in unproved, however. All the romantic stories about him and his court were cooked up hundreds of years later.)
Posted at 10:26 AM
RE: MEGA BAMBANG [John Derbyshire]
J.J.: In re the Indonesian elections, I note that the incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri is a person of the female persuasion.
So on taking over her office, the incoming General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono could say: "Bambang, thank you, Ma'am."
Posted at 10:23 AM
OUTING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A thoughtful email--I've altered the quotation marks as usual but not the typos: "As most people can see, outing is a mean and nasty thing to do to someone—an invasion of their privacy. It’s uncvil. But the ideology underneath it is also uncivil. People like Signorile are in the grip of a powerful ideology that they do not recognize as such. You could be an advocate of gay marriage, and even think that supporting gay marriage flows naturally from accepting the equality and worth of gay people—that’s not the ideology I’m talking about. What I mena is when people assume that opponetns of gay marriage have to be against (or ‘hate’) gay people. That is, you don’t just think that accpeting the dignity of gay people means gay marriage; you think that the fact is so obvious that no person in good faith can think otherwise. There’s no humane argument on the other side that people can sincerely (though perhaps mistakenly) believe.
"Remember, the whole argument for outing is that gay people shouldn’t be making ‘anti-gay’ votes. So it depends on the identification of positions as simply, necessarily ‘anti-gay’: an ideological move that we’re all so used to that we hardly think to challenge it.
"Maybe the response should just be to out everyone whether or not it's true. Say Stanley Kurtz likes guys and Maggie Gallagher likes women and Orrin Hatch goes to gay bars. Fine. Stipulated. Now can we talk about whether gay marriage is a good idea--or, to make the point you always make, whether it's an idea that judges should embrace for hte rest of us?"
Posted at 10:18 AM
NETFLIX FOUNDER ONE OF US? [John Derbyshire]
A reader thinks so: "John---Last time I looked into it, the Netflix founder (whose name escapes me) set an ironclad policy of NOT purveying porno DVD's. The man is a neighbor of my kid brother ... in Palo Alto, and I inquired about his motives. Not conclusive - the guy had ambitions in state politics, yes, but I think his porno stand was principled rather than merely expedient. He was running for some state education slot, I think. In any case, it does seem as though he consciously forewent a significant revenue opportunity. Good for him. Maybe he's our kind of guy..."
Posted at 10:07 AM
ATTENTION BOSTON READERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
If you're looking for some counter-programming during the week of the convention, I'll be in town and available for speaking engagements. And for only a slightly higher honorarium, you can get me to stop talking. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Posted at 09:46 AM
THE OUTING [John J. Miller]
Jonah: Signorile's article on Mikulski is despicable--although it appears to have had the desired effect, or at least can plausibly claim to have had it. My temptation is to ignore it, because Signorile's goal obviously is to encourage gossip. I can't allow a couple of his claims about my old boss, Linda Chavez, to go unanswered, however. Signorile says that Chavez was guilty of "gay-baiting" Mikulski in their 1986 Senate race because she accused Mikulski of being a "San Francisco Democrat." This has become a piece of liberal mythology--i.e., anybody using the term "San Francisco Democrat" is a homophobe. Well, the term actually has a different pedigree. It came into vogue when Jeane Kirkpatrick, speaking as a registed Dem at the 1984 GOP convention, talked about the "San Francisco Democrats" who were weak on foreign policy. She mentioned San Francisco because that's where the Democrats had gathered for their own convention to nominate Walter Mondale a few weeks earlier. Kirkpatrick's words would be the equivalent of Zell Miller talking about the "Boston Democrats" this year. Given the recent ruling of the Massachusetts high court on gay marriage, I suppose that term would be considered anti-gay as well. For what it's worth, Chavez had called Mikulski not just a SF Dem, but "a San Francisco-style, George McGovern, liberal Democrat." That's not gay-baiting, that's accurate. Signorile's discussion of Mikulski aide Teresa Mary Brennan is equally one-sided--Chavez was trying to make an issue of Brennan's self-professed Marxism, not her sexual orientation. Finally, lest any of Signorile's readers come away with the false impression that Mikulski's campaign against Chavez was pure as the driven snow, it tried to make political hay out of Chavez's marriage to a Jewish man. Writes Chavez in her memoir, An Unlikely Conservative: "It is hard to remember a political campaign since President John F. Kennedy's when a candidate's religion was made more of an issue than mine was during my Senate race--while all the groups usually quick to condemn such tactics remained noticeably silent."
Posted at 09:42 AM
EXPANDING THE DEATH PENALTY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Going by the old adage of "if you're not on offense you're on defense" I'd like to return to the question of expanding the death penalty. A couple in Pennsylvania plus a third man were arrested for producing and/or distributing porn with minors (and abusing them and getting them drunk), including photographing a child less than two years old. (I found it via Drudge). Now, let's assume this is all as bad as it sounds. Let's assume it's even worse than it sounds. I know that pedophiles are gaining new found "legitimacy" in some corners because they're being redefined as mentally ill rather than, well, evil -- or because they produced Grammy-winning records.
But, really, what's the downside of having a death penalty for the very worst cases of child pornography? In the age of the internet and digital technology, the existing penalties don't work. Moreover, making a buck from other peoples' depravities at the expense of kids seems worthy of punishment by death. But hey, that's me.
Posted at 09:27 AM
AIDS CASES DOWN IN UGANDA [KJL]
From 29 to 8 percent. Remember this is the country that made "ABC" a way of life. It's way past time groups get past their sophisticated arguements against teaching behavior change. Uganda is proof it can be done successfully.
Posted at 09:22 AM
POWER & REVOLUTION [Michael Ledeen]
Today everyone must read wretchard at belmontclub.blogspot.com. He reminds us of the unique nature of American power and the effect of the American revolution. Here's the best part:
(The liberal) project and the dream of radical Islam are alike pursuits after lost glories. In its eighth century heyday, Islam wielded a two-edged sword. Not only were their mobile tactics superior to those of the petty kingdoms around them, they brandished a creed and social structure which was in many ways superior to the barbarian modes which they encountered. Similarly, while Napoleon wielded the levees en masse; he rode on the greater wave of revolutionary France before whose ideas the dynastic houses of Europe trembled. But at the dawn of the 21st century, these two mighty blades had dwindled into single-edged fillets of rusted iron. Islam no longer the representative of a prosperous and tolerant society and the idea of France shrunken to a kind of petty socialism peopled with legions of pensioners.Today in Washington many of us will demonstrate on behalf of the Iranian people and against their tyrannical regime. We yearn for the day when Iranians themselves will celebrate their freedom, but we know it is not far off, because of the razor sharp back edge of our terrible swift sword.
Posted at 09:05 AM
LEARN THE LANGUAGE [John Hood]
I made an excursion into the world of cable news-chat last night, after several blissful weeks of watching “Spider-Man” and “Iron Man” cartoons each night with the kids, only to be dismayed by how bad some of the conservative and Republican analysis of the John Edwards pick has been. Here’s a telling sign: I don’t think I ever heard a right-thinking commentator mention the words “black turnout,” and yet when I talk to Democrats that it often the first phrase they utter.
Before engaging in battle, Sun Tzu taught, “know your enemy.” Kerry and the Democrats may have blundered in picking Edwards, and Republicans certainly retain many good options for taking on the two Johns, but success requires that you first understand what the opponent is trying to do. The Edwards pick was not an act of desperation, or simply an attempt at a charisma transplant. It was, in part, a nod to elements of the Democratic Party that felt ignored (black constituencies) or nervous (candidates and activists facing competitive races in the South and Midwest). And it was an attempt to force the Republicans to spend time and money in a few more states.
Posted at 09:03 AM
NEW YORK, NEW YORK [KJL ]
There’s no planned demonstration in NYC, by the way. I’m told, though I didn’t do any legwork to get it confirmed, that it’s because of permit problems—that some city officials might have been afraid of violence if in front of the U.N. or the Iranian mission, in particular because of the news of the recent expulsion of Iranian diplomats for their curious picture taking.
It makes you livid: We should be encouraging the freedom supporters, and yet, again and again, in big ways and small, we seem to be, directly or not, wanting to suppress them a little, quell the passion.
Posted at 09:00 AM
FOR FREEDOM [KJL]
Today’s the day Iranians will united against their tyrannical government again. The will of these people is such a big, exciting, inspiring news story—you’d think CNN & the like would be trying to get us live feed from Tehran and the like.
With or without CNN et al, you know and you can spread the word. Throughout the world, including in a number of American cities, people will demonstrate in solidarity with the freedom lovers of Iran. The list is here.
God bless the people of Iran. Word is the government is all set to crack down, as they have before.
Posted at 08:59 AM
GIVE HIM A BREAK [Andy McCarthy]
There is plenty on which to disagree with Sen. Edwards, but, if I were a Republican campaign strategist, I would steer clear of this Charlie Rose interview. Being critical of Sen. Edwards's performance the day of the 9/11 attacks obviously invites comparison with everyone's performance that day. Recall that on 9/11, President Bush's team -- unsure, as we all were that day, about the extent and nature of the threat, kept him away from Washington for hours. While we know in hindsight that the President provided inspiring leadership, there were many who cheap-shotted the immediate response that day. We also now know that protocols were not in place that day that would even tell our fighter pilots what they were permitted to do if they confronted hostile aircraft -- which, of course, they never did because we were unable to get them scrambled quickly enough. I personally was in a room full of agents; several of us went about our business weeping -- in part over the enormity of the horror (we had been very proud of convicting the terrorists who had previously tried to destroy the twin towers) and in part over the frustration that communications in New York were in such tatters that orders to take action could barely be transmitted, let alone followed. How do I think the President or General Myers or the FBI chief in New York (or, for what it's worth, I) would have responded to Clancy's rat-tat-tat "What are you gonna do now" questions in the heat of 9/11? I suspect it would not have been anyone's finest hour.
It's all well and good for Tom Clancy, fiction writer, to have badgered Edwards that day. Edwards, to his credit, responded by giving the Bush administration a much wider berth to settle on a sensible response than Clancy gave Edwards. If the point is that Edwards, like most of us, was not Rudy-heroic that day, that's not much of a knock on Edwards.
In the aftermath of 9/11, as the President has had the conviction to prosecute the war, Sen. Edwards has flip-flopped on it while backing hair-brain schemes like an American MI-5 that would harm national security. That is to say, there is plenty of substance to argue about here. Let's not stoop to such dross as whether he performed well on a talk show while the buildings were still burning.
Posted at 07:21 AM
CONGRATS MICKEY [Jonah Goldberg]
Mikulski issues sudden press release.
Posted at 07:18 AM
JOE WILSON V. THE BRITISH INQUIRY [Jonah Goldberg ]
A British investigation says that British intelligence was justified in its claim that Saddam sought uranium from Niger. The "Saddam can strike in 45 minutes" claim was more iffy. Either way, why should anyone care what Joe Wilson has to say anymore?
Posted at 07:15 AM
RE: BIG APPLE CIRCUS [Jonah Goldberg]
Kate - I'd add one more thing to the merits of having McCain & Giuliani speaks (as far as Pataki goes, I'd be perfectly happy if quit to join the Democrats or the Black Panther Party for all I care).
At a time when the Democrats have been fairly successful in painting the war in Iraq as George W. Bush's mistaken or immoral adventure, isn't it a good idea to remind the public that even the more moderate members of the party support the war, want total victory and believe that Bush is on the right side of the argument? Bush is largely running for president to re-up as Commander-in-Chief. Using the politicians swing-voters love to make the case for Bush seems perfectly legitimate. Indeed, this isn't a lie -- as Sullivan claims -- it's a true show of support from Republicans who are united on the war on terror. No one expects to McCain to say he supports Bush's budgets (who does?), but presumably whatever "straight talk" he offers in praise of Bush will be sincere. Or is McCain only a straight talker when he criticizes his own party?
Posted at 07:09 AM
NOTICE, TUNE IN [NR Staff]
National Review Editor Rich Lowry will appear on Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" radio show this a.m. at 7:30 (Eastern)--Bennett's "Morning in America" is now aired on over 80 stations nation-wide, XM Satellite, and the Internet at www.bennettmornings.com
Posted at 05:34 AM
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
DOORS THAT MAN WAS NEVER MEANT TO OPEN [John Derbyshire]
"Dear Mr Ombudsperson---Why am I an anglophile, but a philosemite?"
Dunno. Beats being an anglophobic antisemite, I guess.
Posted at 09:08 PM
DOE, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonathan, regarding your second post on this topic, two points: 1) I doubt that the justices who wish to preserve Roe's "central holding" will really be swayed by learning that Roe and Doe were more limited than they thought. I don't think that their willingness to allow restrictions on abortion depends much on purely legal considerations. But one can hope. 2) I don't recall if Stenberg said anything about mental health, but it did make it pretty clear that an abortion regulation had not only to allow abortion where continued pregnancy threatened health, but to allow whatever the abortionist judged to be the safest type of abortion in the individual case even if continued pregnancy posed no health risks. That's pretty sweeping, and it makes the mental/physical distinction something of a sideshow. Judge Phyllis Hamilton's recent injunction makes this point even more explicit.
And here's an email I received about the question of whether Buck is right about Doe, which I have very slightly edited to remove identifying information:
"I caught your exchange in The Corner with Jonathan Adler about Stuart Buck's interpretation of Doe v. Bolton, and I went to have a look at Buck's blog. I think he--and alas, Justice Thomas--are wrong, though he has a point, sort of. I have myself made the same point as you about the Doe radicalization of Roe . . . and having read Buck's post and reread Doe, I might have to refine the way I make the argument, but I think you and I are still right.
"Here's why. What Blackmun confronted was a 'void for vagueness' complaint about the Georgia law, since its exception for 'health' did not specify what that meant--just physical health, or other kinds besides? And yes, Buck is right, he interpreted the statute broadly (following a precedent in the D.C. case of U.S. v. Vuitch) to cover every conceivable form of health, and did not explicitly state this breadth to be a constitutional requirement. But the question is, why did Blackmun make this move?
"The answer is that he was offering what is sometimes called a 'saving interpretation' of the law. That is, Blackmun believed the statute had to cover all forms of health or else it WOULD BE unconstitutional on vagueness grounds. Blackmun had a choice--he could have offered a narrow reading of 'health' (which would have accorded more with common sense), and said that that solved the vagueness problem. But he chose the broad reading, and that counts for something constitutionally, in my opinion.
"Does this mean that a more specific statute, expressly declaring that only danger to a woman's physical health could justify an exception to a proscription on late abortions, would pass constitutional muster? Maybe, but I doubt Blackmun would have tolerated it. The animosity of later courts toward any kind of ban on any kind of abortion at any stage of pregnancy for any reason is perfectly consistent with Doe. (Notice also that in Doe, Blackmun struck down the restriction of abortions to accredited hospitals, the use of hospital abortion committees, and the requirement of a second physician's concurrence. In other words, he did everything he could to leave abortions to the unreviewed discretion of single physicians who, in many cases, have a vested interest in performing the procedure, whatever a woman's reason for desiring one. Talking women out of it, or refusing them outright, was anathema to Blackmun.)
"Practical effect matters here. Some old laws remain on the books banning abortions of various kinds. If Stuart Buck, or Justice Thomas, or anyone else, can name a case in which a licensed physician was successfully prosecuted in the U.S. for no other reason than the performance of a post-viability abortion, I'll eat volume 410 of the United States Reports. The universal opinion of every prosecutor in America for the last 31 years seems to be the same as yours and mine."
Posted at 08:35 PM
THE BASE NO LIKEY TRIAL LAWYERS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Professor Bainbridge agrees:
[C]onstantly calling John Edwards a trial lawyer may not directly change a lot of votes; indeed, I'll concede that in some places (Madison County, Illinois?) it'll probably help the Dems. But here's what Reynolds et. al are missing: John Trial Lawyer Edwards is going to re-energize key segments of the GOP base who might otherwise have wavered. Doctors. Small business owners. The US Chamber of Commerce. The Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers. All part of Bush's base, but all wavering due to Bush's free spending ways, Iraq worries, the economy, etc. All of those folks, however, have a deep animosity towards trial lawyers. The prospect of having a trial lawyer one heart beat from the Presidency will re-energize them to contribute to Bush, the RNC, and the emerging pro-Bush 527s. If Bush makes real tort reform and class action litigation reform campaign issues, they'll do even more for Bush.
Posted at 08:12 PM
BUSH ON EDWARDS & JUDGES [Jonathan H. Adler]
President Bush met with blocked federal judicial nominees in North Carolina today. "You're being hung out by a handful of United States senators," Bush reportedly told them. Of note, Senator Edwards is responsible for blocking two of the nominees -- Terrence Boyle and Robert Conrad.
Posted at 08:11 PM
ROE & THE C.W. [Jonathan H. Adler]
Ramesh's post below illustrates the contradictions in the conventional wisdom on the state of abortion jurisprudence. On the one hand, it is often argued, Roe and subsequent Supreme Court decisions only protect early-term abortions from regulation. On the other hand, any restriction on abortion, no matter how minor, is assailed as a repudiation of Roe threatening women's equality, etc. Obviously, these assertions cannot both be right. But are they both wrong?
Posted at 08:05 PM
MORE "GIVE HIM A BREAK" [KJL]
Less than 24 hours after the attack took place, Tom Clancy wants Senator John Edwards to explain the exact details of how he thinks the US should respond to the 9/11 attack? That is crazy. We didn't even know for sure who committed the attacks. Shouldn't the response depend on the perpertrator? (If the attackers were Russian terrorists, would we have invaded Russia? What if they were part of a US militia?)
Posted at 06:26 PM
BY THE WAY [KJL]
Most readers e-mailing really don't agree with "Give Him a Break" guy at all.
Is this reader suggesting that Edwards was a veep candidate on 9/11? Or that he knew he was going to be one?
Posted at 06:14 PM
THE BIG APPLE CIRCUS [Kate O'Beirne]
Readers in agreement and dissent raised interesting points about the speaker lineup at the GOP convention. The Rockefeller label is admittedly not a perfect fit for the roster. It fits Gov. Pataki (who by the way is not just welcoming delegates on Monday night. He's speaking on the President's Thursday night) neatly, but Giuliani generally on only social issues. On the other hand, Senator McCain is generally pro-life, but I won't hold my breath waiting for him to mention the issue in his speech. Sure he's extremely quotable and personable, but his popularity with the media has been at the expense of his party. His strong national security positions make the views of a majority of Democrats extremely dangerous in his view. Let's see if he criticizes liberal Democrats in his speech.
Along with Giuliani, McCain has been a stalwart on Iraq, but readers won't forget campaign finance reform and his opposition to tax cuts. The fact remains that the only reliable Bush Republican will be Zell Miller. One correspondent reminds us that we can count on the media to point out that these chosen speakers disagree with the nominee on some fundamental issue, e.g. all of them oppose the federal marriage amendment.
I get the politics of the lineup, but that doesn't mean that conservatives who appreciate there will be good speeches by McCain and Giuliani shouldn't expect to see others who don't alienate large parts of the Republican base added to the primetime roster.
Some readers responded as though I wanted to clone Cotton Mather to deliver a fire and brimstone denunciation. Senator Sam Brownback is just back from Sudan with an urgent plea for action to prevent the death of tens of thousands of black Muslims. He and other conservatives have led the campaign against sex trafficking. Conservative Christians are now the most dedicated international human rights crusaders. Republicans ought to be talking it. Shouldn't "compassionate conservative" mean more than new programs and big spending?
Resignation was expressed. e.g. "the party is over" owing to big spending by the GOP. Another reader is voting Republican because "it's not like I have a better home anywhere else." About the Democrats? "I don't trust them to kill our enemies in sufficient numbers. . . these days that's about all that's keeping me on the plantation." Finally, "I'm working the presidential campaign out here in [undisclosed] and when I saw the lineup I was disgusted. The base is disgruntled enough right now and this isn't going to help any."
Posted at 05:52 PM
GIVE HIM A BREAK [KJL]
A reader writes: "Clancy (a fiction writer f'pete's sake) was asking Edwards to commit to an action. For a veep candidate to do such a thing, without conferring with the top, would be reckless. So the choice is 'Clueless' or 'Reckless'. Such is the rub for veeps."
Posted at 05:50 PM
"CLUELESS ON CHARLIE ROSE": HERE'S THE TRANSCRIPT [KJL]
Here's the transcript of John Edwards on Charlie Rose on 9/11. Courtesy of Steve Emerson and Andy Cochran from the Investigative Project. (Emerson was sitting next to Edwards. Sorry it's long. I've bolded the memorable Tom Clancy-John Edwards exchange. If I were at the RNC, my e-mail about it might begin: DO YOU WANT THIS MAN A HEARTBEAT AWAY FROM THE PRESIDENCY? Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards's response to 9/11: "Well, I think the-- I think the starting place is to do the thing."
CHARLIE ROSE: All right. Stay with me. John Edwards has joined us. The senator from North Carolina, a Democrat in the Senate.
Posted at 05:33 PM
MICKEY'S ALL MAN [Jonah Goldberg ]
Signorile outs Barbara Mikulski. I guess leftwing gays get to decide who's authentic or not based upon how they vote.
Posted at 05:30 PM
BUCK, ROE & DOE CONT. [Jonathan H. Adler]
Ramesh -- I think we largely agree here. I find Buck's post of particular interest because, as you note, it suggests that court decisions upholding modest restrictions on abortion hardly amount to a repudiation of Roe (not that Roe isn't worth repudiating). It's also relevant insofar as lower courts rely upon Doe to strike down state restrictions on late-term abortions or certain procedures (e.g. partial-birth) that don't include a mental and emotional health exception. Moreover, insofar as some of the current justices refuse to reconsider what they see as the "fundamental holding of Roe," demonstrating that the Doe holding is more limited than is sometimes supposed may even effect their votes in future cases. In fact, the Stenberg opinion striking down Nebraska's partial-birth abortion statute held that a health exception was required. Yet, as I recall, the opinion stopped short of reiterating the need to include psychological and emotional well-being.
Posted at 05:18 PM
ACE OF MARTZ [John J. Miller]
Another worthy conservative governor, a friend reminds me, is Judy Martz of Montana, who has produced a tax-reform plan that slashes the top marginal income tax rate of 11 percent (the highest in the nation) to 6.9 percent. What about highlighting her as one of America's great tax-cutting Republican governors at the GOP convention?
Posted at 05:09 PM
BOOKS FOR BAGHDAD [Jonathan H. Adler]
Professor Bainbridge highlights a truly worthy cause: Rebuilding the library collection at Baghdad University. Liberal education was hardly a priority under the Hussein regime, andmany libraries were burned during the Iraq war. As one of the organizers commented, "Our sending books over there has potential for a huge impact. This will show people there that we in the United States have their best interests in mind." Indeed, this is the sort of thing one should support irrespective of one's opinion on the war.
Posted at 05:03 PM
GOP CONVENTION [John J. Miller]
It really could use a few more conservative speakers. Here's a list the planners can draw from: Sen. Jon Kyl (Arizona's best senator), Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Gov. Craig Benson of New Hampshire. And how about adding Rep. Henry Hyde to the program? One of these years--possibly before the 2008 meeting--he'll retire. The time is now.
Posted at 04:36 PM
IRAQ & COLOMBIA [Rich Lowry]
A while ago I saw a documentary based on the Mark Bowden book “Killing Pablo.” Pablo Escobar, of course, was the drug kingpin and terrorist who ravaged Colombia for years. When the government couldn't adequately deal with him, a vicious vigilante group, Los Pepes, rose up and tried to kill everyone around him and destroy as much of his property as possible. It was brutal stuff, but it worked--the pressure on Pablo prompted him to make a mistake that allowed the government to kill him. I've often wondered when/if we'd see something in Iraq, another country beset by the sort of violence and criminality that no society can tolerate. Now it may be happening. Here is the Washington Post report on the reaction to the latest outrage:
"While Allawi laid down the interim government's hard line, four masked men holding automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers appeared on al-Arabiya television threatening to kill Zarqawi, who is believed to be responsible for a string of car bombings, kidnappings, beheadings and other attacks.
Calling themselves the Relief Movement, the men issued a challenge to Zarqawi, who U.S. officials say is linked to al Qaeda and who apparently began working in Iraq in the chaotic aftermath of last year's U.S.-led invasion.
'We tell Zarqawi, the criminal, that he has to go out of Iraq immediately, he and his followers,' the group said. They railed that 'innocent people were killed' by Zarqawi's action.
'What is his religion? Is it Islam, religion of peace, that allows him to do the explosions on a holy day in a holy city, or to car-bomb police stations or a commercial street to kill thousands of innocents? What religion is it that allows him and his followers to kidnap and slaughter foreign workers without any guilt? Who is he to threaten Ayad Allawi and kill our religious and patriotic personnel?'
What is very likely about to happen in Iraq will be embarrassing to some Wilsonians here, and will prompt tsk-tsking from Maureen Dowd and others. It will probably involve the sort of tactics we'd never condone (nor should we). But the Iraqis are about to try to take care of the jihadist threat in their own Iraqi way. Don't be surprised if the poll ratings for the Relief Movement, depending on its actions, soon eclipse that of the government.
Posted at 04:00 PM
"I WAS BUSH'S HOUSE NIGGA" [Jonah Goldberg]
Ted Rall's attempt at a funny joke about Condi Rice. Apparently it was up at the Washington Post earlier.
Posted at 03:16 PM
OUCH! [John J. Miller]
Breaking news: "When a questioner noted that Mr. Edwards had been described as charming and a 'nimble campaigner' and asked Mr. Bush to compare the one-term senator to Vice President Dick Cheney, Mr. Bush snapped: 'Dick Cheney can be president. Next?'"
Posted at 02:38 PM
THE WEAK GOP [Jonah Goldberg ]
First, we all know from media coverage of the last 8 katrillion GOP conventions, the GOP is screwed no matter what it does. If it showcases its core values and heroes the media interrupts the speeches constantly to talk about how divisive and extreme the party is -- even though the GOP is in fact the majority/plurality party in this country. If it showcases minorities and women, the media screams that the party is hypocritical. Given the lose-lose nature of the beast, I can't get too angry at the organizers. These days conventions are designed to reach out to undecideds, swing voters etc as much as they are geared to win over the faithful.
Personally, I think it's an often nauseating part of political system these days that politicians have to focus so much of their attention on the people who have the hardest time telling the difference between the two parties and the people who don't pay any attention to politics at all until the last minute. But don't get me started on the absurd fetishization of "swing voters" and undecideds.
Nevertheless, that's the world we're in. If trotting out Schwarzenegger, Giuliani, Pataki and McCain helps to win over the straw of the electorate which will break the camel's electoral back, so be it.
That said, I think Sullivan's point doesn't hold up that well. For months he's been saying how the GOP is narrow-minded and exclusionary. Well, now it's giving precisely the Republicans he loves primetime treatment. Rather than conclude the GOP is a big tent, he assumes it's all a lie. I agree there's some hypocrisy involved. But again, if McCain et al were not given primetime treatment Sullivan would be saying "See! I told you! The GOP can't tolerate dissent!" In other words, the GOP can't win, at least in terms of how it produces its conventions. Oh, and speaking of McCain, if picking Edwards is a sign of Kerry's weakness, my goodness, wouldn't it have been a sign of outright castration if he'd followed Sullivan's advice and picked McCain? When the most liberal Democrat in the Senate picks a pro-life Republican with nearly diametrically opposed views on foreign policy, it's not a sign he's confident in his own ideas, his party or himself -- it seems to me.
Posted at 02:29 PM
MEGA BAMBANG [John J. Miller]
Like most people, I haven't followed the presidential election in Indonesia very closely. I gather that the apparent forthcoming victory of retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono over incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri is modest good news for financial markets and the war on terror. But what interests me most are those great names, Bambang and Megawati. What can't we have candidates with such cool monikers?
Posted at 02:23 PM
BUCK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonathan: Interesting post by Stuart Buck. Thanks for bringing it to our attention; I'll give it a closer look later. But let's assume for the moment that he's right. How much difference does it make? The interpretation of Doe that he upholds as correct appears to be a minority view on the Supreme Court today. At some point, the Court reached the conclusion that any abortion regulation, at any stage of pregnancy, had to include an exception that allowed abortion when a woman's emotional or psychological health could be said to be threatened by the pregnancy--or even, in recent cases, by an abortion method different than the prohibited kind. Exactly when the Court reached this conclusion is a matter of historical interest. But the basic situation--that the Court enforces abortion on demand at all stages of pregnancy--is true whatever the answer.
The actual conventional account of the Court's abortion jurisprudence holds that the Court defends a right to abortion in the first trimester--I can cite you plenty of examples of journalists, pollsters, and politicians saying this--is still untrue. Indeed, to the extent that this actual CW holds that the Court retreated from Roe in Casey, and now allows more regulations, Buck's account suggests that this conventional wisdom is even less true than we thought. The Court has gotten more imperious, not less.
Posted at 02:20 PM
Golly, here I write that not everybody hates trial lawyers and somehow I end up being the meanie for picking on lawyers. From a reader:
I assume this will be one of a huge wave of e-mails you will receive so I do not anticipate a response.
Posted at 02:03 PM
THIS WILL BE ALL OVER THE NY TIMES FRONT PAGE TOMORROW -- NOT! [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 01:25 PM
DRINK COFFEE [Jonathan H. Adler]
So says Dan Drezner (well kinda).
Posted at 01:25 PM
RE: ZULU -- A QUIBBLE [John Derbyshire]
For a thorough account -- history & significance -- of the song "Men of Harlech," see here and here
Posted at 01:07 PM
RE: ATTENTION BUSH CAMPAIGN OPPO RESEARCHERS [John Derbyshire]
That 9/11 clip Steve Sailer mentioned, of John Edwards clueless on Charlie Rose -- you can buy a tape of it & view it for yourself, right here.
Posted at 01:05 PM
LAWYERS -- ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW [John Derbyshire ]
"You can't have too many lawyers"
Posted at 01:02 PM
BUCK ON DOE V. BOLTON [Jonathan H. Adler]
Roe v. Wade created only a limited constitutional right to abortion, subject to state limitations, particularly in the third trimester. Yet Roe's companion case, Doe ve. Bolton exploded Roe's limits by requiring that any state restrictions include an exception for the health of the mother, defined to include emotional and psychological factors. At least, that's the conventional account (see, e.g., Ramesh's recent piece here). Legal blogger Stuart Buck suggests this account is wrong. According to Buck, the language traditionally interpreted as requiring an exception for the expectant mother's emotional and psychological well-being did not establish such a mandate as a matter of federal constitutional law. Rather, it was interpreting the meaning of the state statute at issue, under which health was not limited to physical health and did include emotional and psychological factors. Although the Doe decision is over three decades old, this dispute continues in the litigation over state partial-birth abortion bans. For those interested in the issue, the Buck post is worth a look.
Posted at 12:43 PM
MORE ON THE HOLMES VOTE [Jonathan H. Adler]
MSNBC's Tom Curry notes that while most Democrats opposed Holmes' confirmation, most Southern Democrats -- even those not facing reelection -- voted in favor of Holmes. If anything, this suggests the judge issue will continue to help Republicans in the South, and may help President Bush hold some Southern states in November.
Posted at 12:40 PM
EDWARDS & PICKERING [Jonathan H. Adler]
Democrats are certainly hoping that the Edwards pick will help them in the South. Yet this story suggests that in some southern states he could be a hindrance due to his role in blocking President Bush's nomination of Judge Pickering to the federal appellate bench.
Posted at 12:37 PM
THE HOLMES VOTE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Quite a few Senators switched sides in yesterday's vote on "controversial" judicial nominee Leon Holmes. Democrats voting in favor of Holmes were Breaux, Landrieu, Lincoln, Miller, Nelson (NE), and Pryor. Republicans voting against were Chafee, Collins, Hutchison, Snowe, and Warner. Senators Kerry, Edwards, and Murkowski missed the vote.
Posted at 12:32 PM
BUSINESS NO LIKEY TRIAL LAWYERS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah, whether or not the average American likes trial lawyers, there are few things that unite the business community like their opposition to the plaintiffs' bar. Contrary to the impression some have, the business community is anything but uniformly Republican, and the Kerry campaign was chipping away at business support for the President. Yet one likely effect of the pick will be to unite the businsess community behind Bush. Indeed, yesterday's print WSJ carried a news story (written before the pick was announced), that an Edwards pick would likely reverse Kerry's recent gains with the business community, and that the Kerry campaign was bracing for the impact. Many companies and business leaders that would have been happy to sit on the sideline will now actively support the President's reelection. Indeed, the WSJ suggested that even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce might drop it's traditional non-partisan stance for this election.
Posted at 12:32 PM
"HEY, I'M A TRIAL LAWYER!" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Jonah - When you say "trial lawyers," I think you mean "plaintiffs' attorneys." Or more specifically, "contingent fee plaintiffs' attorneys." I'm a "trial lawyer," but I hardly think you'd object to what I do all day long - defend corporate clients from malicious and baseless lawsuits filed by overzealous plaintiffs' attorneys. So, when you say "trial lawyers," be careful - you may be alienating an innocent sector of your NRO readership.
Posted at 12:27 PM
JIM PINKERTON... [Rich Lowry]
...wrote a column the other day dissenting (mostly) from the view that we should help prevent massive deaths in the Sudan. I admire the questioning spirit of his column and I'm sympathetic with the foreign-policy realism that is its underpinning. Yet, realism begins with having same basic knowledge of a particular foreign-poloicy problem, and unfortunately Jim Pinkerton doesn't demonstrate that here. He notes, as a reason for staying away, that “Sudan's 39 million people are spread over a million square miles, an area almost twice the size of Alaska.” Interesting, but I'm not sure how that's relevant to the crisis in the western province of Darfur. Pinkerton makes it sounds as if to help we'd have to take over the entire country. Mostly what we have to do in Sudan is shame the government into stopping its blocking of humanitarian relief. Is that an impossible goal, too ambitious to even dare? I don't think so. I don't have any great hopes for Sudan, besides that we might keep up to 500,000 people from dying in coming months. Pinkerton's brand of foreign policy thought tends to accept whatever happens in the world as inevitable, so any effort on the part of the U.S. is futile. By this logic, we never should have been involved in diplomacy in the North-South conflict in Sudan (which Pinkerton conflates with Darfur). That diplomacy resulted in a cease-fire. Perfect? No. But it has held for roughly a year and saved lives. I guess Pinkerton thinks we never should have bothered.
Posted at 12:19 PM
FAVORITE LAWYER JOKE [John J. Miller]
Ninety-nine percent of trial lawyers give the rest a bad name.
Posted at 12:19 PM
LAWYERS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm sorry, I'm a bit distracted by other things today. But one thing I have definitely concluded from all the email I'm getting. Way too many lawyers are spending their days surfing the web and (presumably) billing the productive forces of our economy while doing it. Criminey! I thought lawyers were workaholics.
Posted at 12:16 PM
ADDICTIVE TUNE WARNING [Jonah Goldberg]
This gives the badgers a run for their money. Very addictive. Mind your volume.
Posted at 12:13 PM
RULE BY LAWYERS [John Derbyshire]
You are right that "Trial Lawyer" has a huge populist clout. They stand for the little guy against heartless corporations, etc. etc. The downsides, especially the facts that
---they often rake off more for themselves than the little guy gets
---they wreck commerce and destroy jobs for thier own enrichment can surely be successfully explained to the general public, though. Walter Olson's book is a great source on the social harm done by the trial lawyer culture.
And, for all the populist clout, there is a strong undercurrent of hostility to lawyers. A lawyer joke can raise a laugh in practically any kind of company. We can work this one.
Posted at 12:10 PM
RIGHT-WING KID [John J. Miller]
Jonah: During the recent NBA championships, featuring the victorious Detroit Pistons and the decimated Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit native Kid Rock sang "America the Beautiful" before one of the games in Auburn Hills, Mich. Reagan had just died--and Kid Rock dedicated his song to the former president, as well as to the troops and Ray Charles. A very nice touch, and totally sincere.
Posted at 11:52 AM
JEB BUSH'S TRIANGLE [John Derbyshire]
(**NOT** John Kerry's...)
Oh, it's degrees you're wanting, is it?
90.0000000000000000000000000000000000000... 53.1301023541559787031443874409065893424... 36.8698976458440212968556125590934106575...
Posted at 11:50 AM
ALFRED DUGGAN [John Derbyshire]
I mentioned this fine mid-20th-century writer of historical fiction on The Corner a few days ago, suggesting him as a superior alternative to G.A. Henty, who is apparently a staple of the home-schooling people.
There is a very good biographical sketch of Duggan in The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh. It is actually an obituary notice, taken from The Spectator of 7/10/64. Here is the Waugh touch:
"Romans and Normans, the worlds of empire and chivalry, were the natural founts of his imagination. Modern history he regarded with calm despair."
I am going to try to persuade some kind literary editor to let me "do" Duggan.
Posted at 11:48 AM
ZULU--THE ANSWER [John Derbyshire]
"Mr. Derbyshire---Zulu is one of my favorite movies and I have watched it several times with my 10 and 13 year old sons. I don't think that it is political correctness that keeps it of the shelf. It is American Movie Classics (AMC). AMC shows the movie about once a month and I don't see any reason to rent the thing when I can wait a few weeks to see it."
Posted at 11:47 AM
ZULU--A QUIBBLE [John Derbyshire]
ZULU is a great movie, but possibly not a perfect one. I always thought that the Welsh soldiers singing *Men of Harlech* in the final encounter would, at that point in history, much more likely have been singing it in actual Welsh. Am I wrong?
(It's very moving, anyway, even sung in English. But compare the scene in John Ford's HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY where the miners come back from the pit disaster singing John Hughes' magnificent *Cwm Rhondda* in Welsh.)
Posted at 11:44 AM
ATTENTION BUSH CAMPAIGN OPPO RESEARCHERS [John Derbyshire]
Steve Sailer notes an interesting moment from John Edwards' past: "Anybody doing opposition research on Edwards should get a video of his appearance on the 'Charlie Rose Show' on the night of 9/11/2001. I've never seen a top professional politician make himself look more inane and lightweight at a crucial moment. The debate between author Tom Clancy and Edwards over whether the U.S. needed to do something in response to 9/11 was jawdropping. Clancy: Yes vs. Edwards: Oh, well, maybe, perhaps we should study the situation ...
"I wasn't the only one who noticed Edwards' fiasco. Sam Smith of the 'Progressive Review' wrote: 'The only bright spot was when Tom Clancy mercilessly quizzed Clinton-in-waiting John Edwards as to what specifically he would do and Edwards could produce nothing but photogenic platitudes.'
"The show still exists somewhere on videotape. Edwards' enemies could just put it out on the Web and do him serious damage."
Posted at 11:40 AM
JOHN GRISHAM VS. TOM CLANCY [KJL]
Jim Geraghty makes a good point re trial lawyers here.
Posted at 11:09 AM
IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE . . . [Jack Fowler]
Who will be on the NR Post-Election Cruise this Nov. 13-20. And I’m just talking about the speakers! – Dick Morris, Pat Toomey, Victor Davis Hanson, Bernard Lewis, Ed Gillespie, Dinesh D’Souza, Michelle Malkin, John Hillen, Steve Moore, Rich Lowry, Jay Nordlinger, Ramesh Ponnuru, John Derbyshire, John O’Sullivan. What a line-up, and what a week (of seminars, political shop-talk, cocktail-receptions, late night by-the-pool smokers, dining with speakers – ZOUNDS!) it will be. We’ve made it super-affordable – prices start at just $1,549 a person – so you won’t miss it. For more info or to sign up visit our special cruise website. See you in November!
Posted at 11:00 AM
TRIAL LAWYERS: OPPOSING VIEWS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Wow. First Glenn Reynolds, and now you. As a fan of the Corner, I'd like to reply to your thoughts that trial lawyers aren't that bad. Here's what I sent the Instapundit...
Personally, I think that, except for those in the Criminal Legal System (Judges, Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys and supporting staff such as the FBI and Justice Dept) that somewhere between 90 and 99.5% of all lawyers in this country are parasites, providing no productive service and providing a disincentive for anyone to do anything. Double the percentage for lawyers that are also politicians.
Posted at 10:37 AM
BY THE WAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
I did write a G-File yesterday.
Posted at 10:34 AM
TRIAL LAWYERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Me no likey trial lawyers. But i think a lot of conservatives and Republicans are deluding themselves if they think most of America feels the same way. Hollywood loves trial lawyers and so does the Dateline-20/20-48 Hours-60 Minutes complex. And, come to think of it, so do all of those legal thriller writers. For all of these guys, they're sources for heroic storylines about the evils of HMOs and corporations who think they can makee a fortune irradiating kids on playgrounds and using puppies for landfill. That doesn't mean you can't go after them successfully, I just think it depends on the specific history of the trial lawyer in question. So far I haven't heard any silver-bullet ambulance chaser stories about Edwards. That doesn't mean they're not out there, but I kind of doubt it. I also doubt the trial lawyer thing will be all that useful politically for Republicans, save for the mountains of cash it will generate from terrified corporate donors.
Posted at 09:57 AM
VERY POSSIBLE [KJL]
A reader (very legitmately) protests my conclusion jumping:
Just a Southernism, if you ask me. Maybe you should look closely at the tape.
Posted at 09:47 AM
KID ROCK [Jonah Goldberg]
If you check out that Moore V. Spidey link, scroll down to the next item too.
Posted at 09:34 AM
GROUNDHOG SQUIRREL TIES FOUND [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 09:18 AM
SPIDEY V MOORE [Jonah Goldberg ]
A nice moment.
Posted at 09:09 AM
BYE BYE BLOCKBUSTER [John Derbyshire]
Numerous readers have told me about Netflix Default This looks like a really good service. No late fees, 20,000 videos to choose from, flat montly fee. Hey. And, yes, they have ZULU.
Posted at 09:01 AM
THE SMALL THINGS SAY THE MOST [KJL]
John Edwards said at that Fox Chapel appearance, talking about the John-John relationship: "We served in the Senate together." Now, last time I checked, they were both still in the Senate, present tense (although attendance records might suggest otherwise). People of Massachusetts and North Carolina, take note.
Posted at 08:59 AM
BIG ORANGE BABES [John Derbyshire]
Just what exactly is going on in all those closed-off aisles?
Posted at 08:55 AM
RE: THE CHILDREN [KJL]
This is all superficial, but sometimes politics is: I think that the single greatest gain by John Kerry in adding Edwards to his ticket is the Edwards family. Elizabeth Edwards with the kids--they just look like real Americans. The trial lawyer stuff, the voting record, the empty rhetoric--that's not visual. It was a good move, as the scene this morning with Jack Edwards becoming the star of the show, made clear.
Posted at 08:53 AM
IT WASN'T KERRY'S MATH MOMENT, IT WAS JEB BUSH'S [John Derbyshire]
Memo to self: Have first morning cup of coffee BEFORE first Corner posting.
Posted at 08:49 AM
TERESA'S NEW DISTRACTION DURING JOHN KERRY SPEECHES [KJL]
The Edwards children!
Posted at 08:47 AM
FIRST KERRY-EDWARDS JOINT APPEARANCE [KJL]
They're in Fox Chapel, Pa. and John Kerry is not only putting his wife to sleep, but appears to be asleep. Even John Edwards doesn't exude that trademark energy (so what's the point?) If you are going to do pre-9am campaign appearances, get some No-Doz, Dems.
Posted at 08:41 AM
KRUGMAN [Jonah Goldberg]
See, this is how I can't win. Yesterday, I took the high road and conceded that Krugman is a "serious economist." Since then I've gotten deluged with email from other serious economists saying "no he's not -- not anymore." But if I hadn't tipped my hat to Krugman and conceded his serious economist status I would have gotten drilled with emails saying, "he's the most respected economist since Keynes!" (let's not have a debate about Keynes, okay?).
Posted at 08:30 AM
KERRY'S MATH MOMENT [John Derbyshire]
Remember the fuss over Dan Quayle not being able to spell "potato"? Well, apparently John Kerry doesn't know that 125 plus 90 is greater than 180
An interesting feature of this story is that when readers first alerted me to the WFTV web page it's on, the report left the reader with the first student's answer of 30-60-90. That of course was incorrect, though WFTV obviously didn't know it. They must have got some somplaint e-mails and changed the page accordingly.
[Correct answer: The angles of a 3-4-5 triangle -- that is, one whose sides measure 3, 4, and 5 units long -- are pi/2, arctan(4/3), and arctan(3/4).]
Posted at 08:06 AM
ZULU [John Derbyshire]
We -- the whole family -- watched the fine old (1964) Stanley Baker / Michael Caine movie ZULU. I had been promising it to my son for weeks, since the Rorke's Drift anniversary. I had told him the story, and read him excerpts from VDH's book.
In order to show the kids the movie, I had to buy the DVD from Amazon. None of my local video-rental stores stocked it. I am mildly curious about this. Is it political correctness? (At the climax of the movie, a single company-size unit of British soldiers mows down a Zulu impi by sheer superiority of firing discipline.) Or is this just a movie no-one wants to rent? Any reports from readers in other parts of the country will be read with interest.
Posted at 08:03 AM
WHY THE HATE FOR CHALABI? [John Derbyshire]
A reader suggests: "Derb---It's because he did intelligence better than the CIA and statecraft better than State. Can't have that. Somebody might notice."
Posted at 08:02 AM
EDWARDS NOTES [John Hood]
An email correspondent called my attention to an oversight in yesterday’s NRO piece on John Edwards and the Democrats’ Southern Strategy. I left off my list a Southern clime, already considered a battleground state, where Edwards will spend time and may be an asset: Arkansas. Like Florida, it’s a battleground state that Bush won in 2000 and where Bush and Kerry are close in several polls right now.
My only defense is that a dozen years spent trying to forget the place, for obvious reasons, was apparently somewhat successful.
On a related note, political scientist Merle Black of Emory University — one of the masters of Southern political lore and a former teacher of mine — said yesterday that he thought Edwards would probably help the ticket most in the region in Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. These are all former Bush states that the Dems would at least like to make Bush work for this year.
Posted at 07:47 AM
JOHN LEHMAN TO CIA? [KJL]
Posted at 07:44 AM
BREMER NEVER SAID FAREWELL & OTHER TALL TALES FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES [KJL]
Some links, for your information.
Posted at 05:09 AM
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
WHERE TO GO FOR WAFFLE AND GRITS COVERAGE [KJL]
Say it ain't so, Hugh. Hugh Hewitt, on the air earlier, confessed to me he hadn't yet discovered the Kerry Spot. You really will be a more well-rounded, informed person once you make it part of your daily diet. I know Hugh will be checking in now (especially when he discovers Jim linked to him today), I know you won't be sorry if you do, too.
Posted at 08:12 PM
EXCUSE ME, I WAS SLEEPING [KJL]
When did Alf make a comeback?
Posted at 08:06 PM
ALVAREZ-MACHAIN REVISITED [Jonathan H. Adler]
Upon further consideration of the various opinions in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, one of the Supreme Court's more important (if less discussed) end-of-term decisions, I'd revise my initial comment. The Supreme Court correctly rejected Alvarez-Machain's lawsuit, but may left the door open to further mischief under the Alien Tort Statute (aka the Alien Tort Claims Act). I hope to have a piece discussing the case in detail within the next few days.
Posted at 07:21 PM
HOLMES SQUEAKS THROUGH [Jonathan H. Adler]
President Bush's nomination of J. Leon Holmes to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas squeaked through with 51 votes. Although Holmes is backed by both Arkansas Senators, some Republicans broke ranks, including Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Surprisingly, though, Senator Arlen Specter supported the President's pick.
Posted at 06:45 PM
JUDGE CONFIRMED [KJL]
Another People for the American Way target, Leon Holmes, was confirmed to the federal bench the president nominated him for 17 months ago, was just confirmed by the Senate, 51-46
Posted at 06:38 PM
LOWER STANDARDS FOR PRESIDENTS [Jonah Goldberg ]
There has been much tut-tutting by pundits who complain that the movie, though it has yet to be caught in any major factual errors, uses association and innuendo to create false impressions. Many of these same pundits consider it bad form to make a big fuss about the Bush administration's use of association and innuendo to link the Iraq war to 9/11. Why hold a self-proclaimed polemicist to a higher standard than you hold the president of the United States?
Yglesias gets Krugman's back, writing:
Me:There are two problems with this. First, Krugman's dishonest when he refers to "pundits." What pundits? Gwen Ifill? Richard Cohen? William Raspberry? Nick Confessore? All of these pundits have criticized Moore's tactics. The last two don't mind them that much. The first two do. But do any of the four consider it "bad form" to criticize the president's case for war? Show me some evidence of that.
Second, Yglesias wasn't in the game during the Clinton presidency. Nevertheless it is amusing to find a liberal who bemoans a president who benefits from being held to a lower standard and who gets to play fast and loose with the facts. I mean we never saw anything like that in the 1990s.
Posted at 06:04 PM
RE: BSE TESTING [Jonathan H. Adler]
I generally agree with Jonah that meat producers should be allowed to test for BSE and advertise that fact. More broadly, I believe food safety overall would be improved were there less reliance on USDA testing, and companies were forced to compete on safety -- that is, if companies could seek competitive advantage by ensuring greater levels of safety and sanitation in the production process. All of this is foreclosed under existing regulations, and would be the likely, if not inevitable, result of allowing one company to test for BSE. No doubt, this worries the folks at USDA. If they allow one company to test for BSE, then they will have little basis upon which to prevent other companies from adopting other (more meaningful) tests or safety procedures.
I would raise two other points that Jonah may wish to address. First, the need for widespread BSE testing is close to zero. The risk posed by BSE is infinitessimal compared to that posed by other food-borne illnesses. Yet because BSE is more mysterious and bizarre, it receives all of the attention. Thus there is an argument that allowing a company to grandstand on the BSE issue disserves public health because it focuses our attention (and resources) on an inconsequential health threat, while other -- far greater -- threats remain in the food supply.
Second, as I understand it there is a reasaonbly high rate of false positives in BSE testing. In amny cases, an initial positive finding is later demosntrated to be erroneous. Thus, were a company to start widespread BSE testing, it is inevitable that there would be a significant number of false positives, and that these erroneous reports of BSE contamination would roil domestic beef markets and harm other producers. While I do not find this to be a compelling argument against allowing a private company to test, I think it is a point that should be addressed.
Posted at 06:03 PM
DERB-CHALABI CONNECTION [John Derbyshire]
A few days ago on The Corner, I noted the passing of English children's author Anthony Buckeridge, who wrote a series of boarding-school novels which featured two boys named Jennings and Darbishire [sic]. In his Diary in the current (7/3/04) issue of The Spectator -- not, unfortunately, included in the online edition -- Charles Moore also mourns the passing of Buckeridge, then tells us: "Buckeridge attended Seaford College in Sussex... Another old boy of the school is Ahmed Chalabi, the now beleagured head of the Iraqi National Congress..."
Moore continues: "Poor Dr. Chalabi must be needing all that cheerfulness in adversity that used to be taught by those windy cliffs. He has been subject to a fierce campaign of black propaganda from the British and American foreign policy elites which much of the press has repeated as if its truth were proved. It is suggested, for example, that his intelligence misled America into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction; yet this error, if error it was, was accepted not only by America but also by the United Nations and, in effect, by UNSCOM. Dr. Chalabi is also dismissed as irrelevant because he was an exile and because he took US government financial support. Iyad Allawi, the prime minister of the newly sovereign Iraq, is an exile who formerly worked with MI6 and the CIA, had their financial backing and supplied intelligence about Saddam's WMD. But he, mysteriously, is all right. I do not know whether Dr. Chalabi is the answer to Iraq's problems, but if he is so negligible, why is so much effort put into attacking him?"
Posted at 05:46 PM
CHUTZPAH OF THE DAY [John Derbyshire]
"The North Koreans also painted a gloomy picture of relations with the United States. 'We told the Japanese delegation that between North Korea and the United States, there's no trust,' said Chung Sung-il, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official. 'The United States has to understand it needs to build trust if it wants to continue talking about nuclear weapons.'"
Oh, we need to "build trust" with a regime that's been lying through its teeth to us, and the rest of the world, for half a century.
[Thanks to the China e-lobby newsgroup for this.]
Posted at 05:43 PM
KRUGMAN VERSUS THE AP [Jonah Goldberg ]
Krugman says worst economy ever. The Associated Press says pretty much the opposite. Yeah, yeah, I know Krugman's a serious economist and there's a different focus between the two pieces. But I'd say this does highlight Krugman's biases a bit.
Posted at 04:40 PM
THE DEMOCRATS DAN QUAYLE [Jonah Goldberg]
One need not go trolling through Nexis for quotes from prominent Democrats (and pundits) insisting that Dan Quayle lacked the qualifications to be vice president. He was elected to two terms in the House and two terms in the Senate (the youngest man ever elected to the Senate from Indiana). Quayle's foreign policy credentials simply blow away Edwards' by comparison. Whether foreign policy experience was more important in the declining days of the Cold War were more or less important than in the early days of the war on terror is an interesting debate.
Neverthless, I think one quote is worth dredging up. In 1988 John Kerry got into a lot of trouble -- and eventually apologized -- for telling the following joke when asked about Quayle's qualifications:
"The Secret Service is under orders that if Bush is shot, to shoot Quayle."
Posted at 04:28 PM
SOOOOOO MANY EMAILS [Jonah Goldberg]
Like this one:
After reading your G-File and not even catching the Lionel Hutz reference until the last paragraph, I'm surprised to see that no references were included alluding to the episode where Homer used medicinal marijuana for his eyes and they all forgot to vote against the initiative to illegalize such usage. You could have said Phish would be disappointed, or called it a Homeric moment. Something...
Posted at 03:22 PM
PERFECT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 03:08 PM
YOO ON THE TORTURE MEMOS [Jonathan H. Adler]
UCal Berkely law professor John Yoo defends the infamous torture memos in today's LA Times. Yoo worked at the Office of Legal Counsel when the memos were drafted. A similar piece by University of Chicago law professors Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule appears in the print WSJ today, but it's not online for nonsubscribers.
Posted at 02:35 PM
THE PRO USDA ARGUMENT [Jonah Goldberg]
As succinct as it gets, from a reader:
Jonah, USDA's position on 100% testing by Creekstone Farms is probably justifiable on "False Advertising" grounds. They wish to advertise 100% testing and thereby imply a guarantee of 100% BSE free product. The current technology doesn't make that possible. BSE is such a slow developing affliction and most animals are slaughtered too young for the test to offer any absolute guarantee. Older animals, i.e., dairy cows or breeding stock have a much better statistical chance of having the disease at a detectable stage when they enter the slaughter house. But that is not Creekstone's market. I doubt that USDA would object to Creekstone doing 100% testing, but not telling customers. Creekstone wishes to make (imply) a health claim about their product that current technology won't support. That's a fairly standard area of governmental interference.
Posted at 02:28 PM
BY THE WAY... [Jonah Goldberg]
Please don't conclude that simply because I'm posting about the USDA's position on voluntary BSE testing that I'm not caught up in Edwards fever. I feel the excitement too.
Posted at 02:21 PM
BSE: A COUNTER EXAMPLE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:07 PM
BSE TESTING CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm getting lots of interesting email from Cornerites who are cattle experts (how cool is that?). Several make some very good points, a few of which have whittled at my confidence, but no one has dealt the death blow. Quite a few have made the point that my "better mouse trap" analogy is flawed because A) it's not a better mousetrap and B) Stonecreek is fairly exceptional in that sells mostly to Japan and therefore the market forces at work are slightly different (it gets complicated, but it's a fair point).
Still nobody's been able to explain to me why a private firm shouldn't be able to do whatever it wants so long as it doesn't endanger the public. If I want to sell cattle that's truthfully labeled "100% syphillis free" or "100% from cows with pretty eyes" why should the USDA be able to tell me I can't? Sure, there might be neegative consequences for cattle markets in the short term, but they are markets nonetheless. For all I know, Volvo had a negative effect on the auto industry by increasing the safety of its vehicles. Let's assume for the sake of argument that some of those improvements weren't justified on a cost-benefit analysis. Does that give the department of Commerce the right to tell Volvo it can't sell safer cars in the US because that would create negative pressure on Chrysler or because it would misinform the public about what constitutes "safe" cars?
Posted at 02:04 PM
ON THE WATERFRONT [Jonathan H. Adler]
With Marlon Brando's passing, there's good reason to rewatch The Godfather films (by that I mean the first two, the third is a bastard step-child) and On the Waterfront. All are among the best films ever made. Moreover, as The Right Coast's Mike Rappaport reminds us, On the Waterfront's politics are quite remarkable: "The labor union is the bad guy. The Catholic priest the good guy."
Posted at 01:59 PM
PROOFREADING JOB [KJL]
A national Catholic conservative newspaper is looking for a freelance copyeditor with no less than two years newspaper-proofreading experience. If you qualify and are interested, shoot me an e-mail and I'll pass it on (with "proofreading job" in the subject line"). But please do have those creds, my friends there tell me it's a "no exception" policy.
Posted at 12:35 PM
IT'S A SURPRISE TO ME [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I didn't expect Edwards to be the pick. I figured that Kerry would resent his staying in the primaries so long, resent the media campaign to put him on the ticket, resent the comparisons. Kerry did what he thought was necessary to win the election. If I were a Democrat, I'd be pretty pumped.
Posted at 12:30 PM
BSE TESTING [Jonah Goldberg]
I was going to write my syndicated column today about the USDA's decision to prevent a private firm from testing 100% of its cows for mad cow disease (but the Edwards thing got in the way). Basically, as I understand it, Creekstone farms wants to test all of its cows for mad cow. That would make their meat more expensive but it would also give it a marketing edge against other beef sellers who cannot offer a 100% guarantee. Creekstone, which sells much of its products to Japan, was willing to take the risk of passing the extra costs to the consumer. The USDA says Creekstone cannot voluntarily test its own product in order to meet a market demand. Their rationale, basically, is that it will roil the commodities markets, mess with trade arrangements and isn't scientifically justified. The big slaughterhouses back the USDA because such a move would create market pressure for them to do likewise. There are some technical arguments on the USDA's side, but they seem unpersuasive to me.
Whether 100% testing is scientifically necessary or not strikes me as irrelevant. So does the question of what it will do to the rest of the cattle industry. From the folks I've talked to, this sounds like a sop to the meatpackers and an outrageous infringement on freemarket principles. It's like telling a firm it can't build a better mouse trap because of what it will do to international mouse trap markets. But, since I'm postponing the column, I'm open to folks who think they can persuade me otherwise.
Posted at 12:23 PM
LANGUAGE LUNACY [Jim Boulet Jr.]
So much for Senator Kerry running to the right of President Bush on language issues. John Edwards has the most specifically anti-English record of any of Kerry’s possible running mates.
Edwards told the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund in June, 2003:
[W]e need to stop differences in language and culture from interfering with good health care. I'd start with a National Medical Translation System. That means an effective, in-person translation system at every hospital in the biggest cities. For smaller cities and rural hospitals, we need a National Medical Translation Center—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, translators on call. To make this work, it'll take new incentives for doctors and nurses to become translators.Why all this interest in translation mandates by a trial lawyer? Professional translators make mistakes. According to the January 2003 Pediatics study, “Errors in Medical Interpretation,” [warning: PDF file], 53% of the translations by professional interpreters contain at least one error “with potential clinical consequences.”
Every translation error by a hospital-paid employee can become grounds for a costly lawsuit -- something unlikely to happen if the “translator” is also a friend or family member. Here’s a slogan for their campaign: “If you think medical costs are too low, vote Kerry-Edwards in 2004.”
Posted at 12:20 PM
SPEAKING OF FRUM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
If his basic points in today's post are that America has an interest in Mexico's success and that its success would make our immigration problems much lighter, then he is obviously correct. (Note, however, that this point is already a departure from the open-borders orthodoxy. If mass immigration were really as terrific as it claims, the reduced flow of immigrants would be a regrettably byproduct of Mexican prosperity.) But promoting development in Mexico is a very long-term project, and success is, to put it mildly, not assured. If continuous mass immigration from Mexico is a problem, then shouldn't we assert some control over our borders in the interim?
Posted at 11:54 AM
SAMUEL FRANCIS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Applying his usual standards of honesty, the paleocon columnist is suggesting that WFB, by suggesting that in retrospect the Iraq war should not have been waged, qualifies as one of David Frum's "unpatriotic conservatives." If Frum had ever said that mere opposition to the war was unpatriotic, Francis would have a point. But Frum didn't say that; he explicitly denied it; and no amount of paleocon repetition of the claim that he said it will make it true. Here's what Frum actually wrote.
Posted at 11:44 AM
ANOTHER REASON TO BOOK A ROOM ON THE NATIONAL REVIEW POST-ELECTION CRUISE [KJL]
It is not the Ms. Magazine Post-Election Cruise. Who would you rather sail the Caribbean with? Martha Burk, Eleanor Smeal and Carol Moseley Braun ("Feminist land excursions"!), etc. or Victor Davis Hanson, Rich Lowry, and Michelle Malkin, etc.? Sign up for the NR cruise here.
Posted at 11:37 AM
BOB BECKEL ON FOX [Barbara Comstock]
From the mouth of Mondale/Ferraro Campaign Manager, just on Fox News a little while ago: "Yeah, it's a liberal ticket...."
What better testimony?
This is the "all special interest ticket". The #1 senator in special-interest contributions has chosen the #1 special interest: trial lawyers.
Posted at 11:36 AM
EDWARDS AND THE INVESTOR CLASS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Many liberals think that John Edwards had the best message of any candidate in the primaries. The core of that message was that Bush's economic values were askew. Bush, in line with conservative thinking on tax policy, has sought to end the tax code's bias against saving and investment. So he has cut taxes on dividends and capital gains and sought to increase the amount of savings not subject to multiple taxation. On Edwards's telling, Bush stands for taxing labor but not capital; he dishes out rewards to "wealth" rather than to "work." I don't think that the Edwards message will be nearly as successful as Democrats think it will. It's not as though this were 1980, and Bush had just decided to cut taxes on capital. Bush has been able to take the positions he has taken because of the rise of the investor class over the last 20 years. I know that some Democrats want to pit small investors against big investors and against management, and have a regulatory and redistributive version of an investor-class politics. To some extent, this agenda already failed in 2002--when the circumstances for it should have been good. Besides, an Edwards-style populist campaign has to denigrate the long-term project of wealth accumulation in which increasing numbers of Americans are engaged. But I suppose we will all find out who is right soon enough.
Posted at 11:33 AM
EDWARDS AND THE INVESTOR CLASS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Many liberals think that John Edwards had the best message of any candidate in the primaries. The core of that message was that Bush's economic values were askew. Bush, in line with conservative thinking on tax policy, has sought to end the tax code's bias against saving and investment. So he has cut taxes on dividends and capital gains and sought to increase the amount of savings not subject to multiple taxation. On Edwards's telling, Bush stands for taxing labor but not capital; he dishes out rewards to "wealth" rather than to "work."
I don't think that the Edwards message will be nearly as successful as Democrats think it will. It's not as though this were 1980, and Bush had just decided to cut taxes on capital. Bush has been able to take the positions he has taken because of the rise of the investor class over the last 20 years. I know that some Democrats want to pit small investors against big investors and against management, and have a regulatory and redistributive version of an investor-class politics. To some extent, this agenda already failed in 2002--when the circumstances for it should have been good. Besides, an Edwards-style populist campaign has to denigrate the long-term project of wealth accumulation in which increasing numbers of Americans are engaged.
But I suppose we will all find out who is right soon enough.
Posted at 11:33 AM
BOWLED OVER [John J. Miller]
The Edwards pick may give Democratic Senate candidate Erskine Bowles a slight boost in North Carolina, on the assumption that he'll bring more NC Dems to the polls in November--perhaps not enough for Kerry-Edwards to top Bush-Cheney, but maybe enough to help Bowles edge past GOP congressman Richard Burr in the Senate race. On the other hand, Doug Heye of the Burr campaign made the following points to me in a phone conversation a few minutes ago: 1. This will make it harder for Bowles to stay away from the Democratic national ticket, which is something he's been trying to do; 2. The pick energizes Republicans as much as Democrats. "We've already gotten a few calls this morning from people offering to volunteer for us," says Heye; 3. Burr has nothing to fear from Edwards--even before Edwards announced that he wouldn't be running for re-election, Burr was in the race, i.e., he was originally preparing to take on the single-term senator. Looks like he's going to wind up doing that, at some level, after all.
Posted at 11:20 AM
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, CAL [John Derbyshire]
Mike DeBow has chid me for letting July 4th pass without mentioning our only President born on that day. Mike has done his bit on Southern Appeal.
Posted at 11:13 AM
MORE PASSION/ FAHRENHEIT 9/11 COMPARISONS [KJL]
"Beautiful Atrocities" blog has a roundup.
Posted at 10:50 AM
FAHRENHEIT AND THE PASSION [KJL]
About the best we can expect from those liberals who have the decency to be appalled by Michael Moore's movie is to say that he's as bad as Limbaugh. That's what Richard Corliss writes in Time's cover story. The other comparison that's making the rounds: This is the Left's version of The Passion. They're both movies, they're both popular with one side of our political divide and unpopular with the other. But how much more can really be said? Another article in Time attempts to draw out the comparison--the author isn't named (might be a web error?), but the URL suggests it may be Andrew Sullivan: "Gibson and Moore--two sides of the same coin? Absolutely." "Quibble with Moore, and he will accuse you of siding with the devil." The devil? "Both Moore and Gibson use ominous, swelling music." Cameras, too...
Posted at 10:47 AM
HILLARY FUTURES [John J. Miller]
Let's not finish the morning without reflecting on the implications of Kerry-Edwards for Hillary. A Democratic victory in the fall, of course, all but removes her from the 2008 presidential picture. (Unless she challenges in the primaries, a la Ted Kennedy in 1980--wouldn't that be fun?) If the Dems lose, however, Edwards almost certainly is vaulted into the top tier of 2008 contenders. The only thing stopping him would be an absolutely miserable performance over the next five months--something involving a physical attack Dick Cheney during the veep debate or crack smoking in public. Odds are Edwards would have been a much-talked-about guy anyway, given his second-place showing in this year's primaries. Bottom line: He ultimately may become the one guy who can stop Hillary from the Dem nomination in 2008. So it's a down-arrow for HRC today.
Posted at 10:38 AM
READING THE SIGNS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
From Saturday’s Winston-Salem Journal editorial page: "U.S. Sen. John Edwards may be campaigning aggressively for the Democratic nomination for vice president, but he's overlooked a simple gesture. Although he's flown cross country speaking for the party's likely nominee, Edwards has yet to put a 'John Kerry for President' yard sign in front of his West Raleigh home. On a recent drive down Alleghany Drive, a Journal writer found yard signs for only one federal candidate: Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Richard Burr. The signs were not in front of Edwards' house."
Posted at 10:25 AM
A number of readers point out: The RNC bought http://kerrypicksgephardt.com and http://kerrypicksvilsack.com but not http://kerrypicksmccain.com.
Posted at 10:22 AM
I just taped a segment for Vatican Radio on Edwards and Kerry (stop laughing, Jonah)--one in an occasional series.
Posted at 10:19 AM
FOX [Rich Lowry]
I'll be on the Linda Vester show around 1:00 today.
Posted at 10:13 AM
NOT ANOTHER SPIDEY POSTING, HONEST [John Derbyshire]
This site is irresistible, at any rate for math/physics nerds. It rates movies on the awfulness of their science. (Ratings at bottom of the page.) Worst physics movie ever? THE CORE (which my son liked a lot.)
Posted at 10:10 AM
John McCain is endorsing President Bush over on the president's relection website.
Posted at 09:39 AM
KERRY ON EDWARDS [Kate O'Beirne]
Now is "not the time for on-the-job training," (LA Times, 2/3/04). NOW is the time for on-the-job training (Pittsburgh, 7/6/04)..
Posted at 09:29 AM
COOL SITE [KJL]
Posted at 09:25 AM
PRETTY VEEPS [John Derbyshire]
Isn't there a trend here? For each of the following ten pairs, identify the prettier one.
G.W. Bush, Cheney
G.H.W. Bush, Quayle
Reagan, G.H.W. Bush
Coding P, V, or T as the prettier (Prez, Veep, or Tie), I make it V-T-P-V-V-V-P-P-V-V. Seems to me there is a definite bias towards looks in the selection of veeps.
Posted at 09:23 AM
UM... [Jonah Goldberg]
Kerry's attempt to make his wife's life story a heroic won't fly if you ask me. He makes it sound like she's a boat person from East Africa or something.
Posted at 09:18 AM
RE: NY POST CONNED [John Derbyshire]
A reader: "Derb---I think you are missing one of the main points regarding the NY Post con. Media reaction to Kerry campaign conning the NY Post: 'Hee-hee, how cute! They really snookered those guys, didn't they?' Media reaction to Bush campaign conning the NY Post or any other media outlet (especially one of the liberal ones): 'How crass! How conniving! Can we really trust a man who would do something this unethical to run the country?' Three weeks of front page 'scandal' news and angry op/eds would follow. In other words, a Republican could never get away with it and the GOP knows it."
Not sure this guy's right. This particular spoof was very well calibrated to avoid any charges of being "mean-spirited" etc. Imagining the converse -- a GOP campaign putting one over on the Daily News -- I don't think even the liberals could hype it as a scandal. It's just a neat trick.
And, of course, the campaign in question can always claim, with high plausibility, that they are not responsible for journalists' guesses... "Putting out false information? Us? Prove it!"
Posted at 09:16 AM
CHEERING EDWARDS [KJL]
A reader with a different take:
With all respect to you and Jonah, but when it comes to Kerry's choice of Edwards, y'all don't know what you are talking about.
Posted at 09:13 AM
THIS IS [KJL]
John Kerry's idea of fun, I remind you. ZZZ.
Posted at 09:10 AM
KERRY'S ANNOUNCEMENT [KJL]
Proved that Kerry needs a little John Edwards. What a dud so far.
Posted at 09:08 AM
ADVICE FOR KERRY-EDWARDS [Jonah Goldberg]
Going by the picture on Drudge right now, John and John (or is that the other way around?) shouldn't face each other too much. Edwards has a way of puckering his lips that makes him look like he's looking to plant one on Kerry.
Posted at 08:55 AM
MORE ON WFB [Jack Fowler]
A nice adios editorial about Bill Buckley in today’s Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News.
Posted at 08:47 AM
WEB SLIGHT [John Derbyshire]
I apologize for getting this wrong. Just so everybody knows:
"Derb---I can't remember if the first movie went over it and I haven't seen the second, but in the recent cartoon and in a number of the comics, Spiderman didn't get the webs from getting bitten, he just got the strength and ability to stick to walls, the webs were some fluid-like substance he (being a junior-scientist/geek) created and wore shooters of this substance around his wrists."
Posted at 08:45 AM
NY POST CONNED [John Derbyshire]
Hee hee. The NY Post is my newspaper, and John Kerry is not my guy, but I can't help smiling at the way Kerry's people conned the Post over the Veep choice.
Although, back of the smile, there is the dull, sad realisation that our people could never be so clever and devious. I get the same feeling about the War on Terror. Not only does the Devil have all the best tunes, he has the best tricks, too.
See, the problem with us conservatives is, we're too nice. Just don't know how to think dirty.
Posted at 08:42 AM
BAD NEWS FOR BUSH -- PROBABLY [Jonah Goldberg]
I never agreed with John Miller on the wisdom of a Gephardt pick. This morning when I saw that the NY Post was saying it's Gephardt I was basically pleased. I thought Gephardt would be bad because the strongest argument for Kerry (or against Bush) is "change." Now I think change for change's sake is one of the most pernicious and intellectually vacuous sentiments in American politics. But that does not mean it's not a powerful impulse. Gephardt was not the candidate for change.
Edwards is. He's high energy. He hasn't been too infected with Potomac fever and Senatoritis. His stump schtick plays well with the populist forces in the Democratic Party and he's pretty (no serious person I know thinks Edward would have ever gotten into politics if he'd been burnt by acid as a teenager).
The downside: Edwards is among the worst choices possible if the issue this fall is national security and terrorism. He's not very sharp on foreign affairs. He has very little experience (Please, stop citing junkets to Afghanistan as a qualification!). If the Bush campaign can really make this election about national security, Edwards may not become a full-blown liability, but he might not make much of an asset either. One can be sure that the Bush team will be reminding everyone that Kerry's first pick was John McCain. And no logic which sees McCain as your first choice would then identify Edwards as the second choice -- unless, of course, the logic of winning was the only criteria.
Posted at 08:33 AM
BIRTHDAY GIFT [KJL]
Today is the president's 58th birthday. Is Edwards a gift? Not quite (at all, really). But it could have been worse. there's the McCain factor, which I don't think was all a media dream--either in McCain or Kerry's minds. Kerry could have picked someone with more distinct foreign-policy experience, like Sam Nunn, which I think would really hurt Bush. So, not that bad.
Posted at 08:25 AM
Cnn is still waiting for a web announcement.
Posted at 08:18 AM
TOTALLY OFFICIAL [KJL]
The e-mail is out:
Posted at 08:15 AM
ABOUT KERRY-EDWARDS 2004 [KJL]
No offense, but that's an all-lawyer ticket. As Rich mentioned yesterday, of course, the trial-lawyer-lobby money probably helped the Edwards case.
Posted at 08:08 AM
HEY, THAT'S OUR JOB [KJL]
Jack Cafferty on CNN just asked Jeff Greenfield: "What are the odds he picks someone else tomorrow?"
Posted at 07:57 AM
DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN [KJL]
John J. Miller said this to me about 10 minutes ago: "I wonder if the NY Post cover isn't some kind of fiendish head fake from Kerry camp--leak false news to enemy pub, get morning shows to buzz about veep, create 'Dewey Defeats Truman' synergy, screw a newspaper they don't like."
Posted at 07:47 AM
KERRY-EDWARDS 2004 [KJL]
Confirmed by AP and others.
Posted at 07:45 AM
OF COURSE [KJL]
Fox and Friends was displaying the NY PosT cover not so long ago...
Posted at 07:36 AM
IT'S EDWARDS [KJL]
That's what Fox is saying, crediting an "informed source."
Posted at 07:35 AM
IT'S GEPHARDT [KJL]
That's what the New York Post is reporting.
Posted at 05:39 AM
ANOTHER READER SPECULATES [KJL]
"kerry is making his v.p announcement in pittsburgh, and then flying to indianapolis, why on earth would he visit indiana unless it was to present evan bayh as v.p.? if it were edwards, doesn't it make sense to go to n.c.? if it's gephardt, wouldn't you go to missouri?"
Me: Surely he doesn't have to be so predictable. Frankly I'd want to take Edwards out of the South for the big day. Of course, he could just not announce his veep choice today, which strikes me as a good move--keep teasing the media.
Posted at 05:30 AM
IT'S EDWARDS [KJL]
That's what Jim Geraghty finds on an aviation chatboard, where someone claims the Kerry plane is being repainted....are you reading the KerrySpot?
Posted at 05:26 AM
Monday, July 05, 2004
I SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED [Ramesh Ponnuru]
that I came across that first Noah column via Jacob Levy. And that I liked this Noah column, too, so this may yet be becoming a trend.
Posted at 11:40 PM
SPEAKING OF NOAH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
In that letter, Bush wrote that "acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 [the Iraq war resolution] is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
The letter starts by announcing that it has been sent in conformity with the war resolution's section 3b, which asks that the president make a determination that (among other things) the use of force against Iraq is consistent with continuing to take the necessary actions against the 9/11 plotters.
It is by no means obvious to me that saying that fighting Iraq is "consistent with continuing" to fight the 9/11 plotters amounts to saying that fighting Iraq is part of the project of fighting those plotters. The more natural construction (or so it seems to me) is that the second fight doesn't conflict with the first. That is, Congress authorized Bush to use force against Iraq if he determined that it would not hurt the fight against al Qaeda, and he determined that it would not. I'll admit that the language is not particularly clear.
Posted at 11:34 PM
ON THE OTHER HAND [Ramesh Ponnuru]
that doesn't mean Ehrenreich's columns are correct.
Posted at 11:16 PM
I AGREE WITH TIM NOAH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
that Barbara Ehrenreich is a much better columnist than Maureen Dowd or Bob Herbert. And I don't expect the title of this post to recur for a long, long time.
Posted at 11:11 PM
SURVIVAL OF THE FATTEST [Andrew Stuttaford]
One of the ways that Eastern Europeans emerging from communism are trying to make their countries attractive for foreign investment and, indeed, entrepreneurial activity generally, is low rates of corporate taxation (to a lesser extent, the Brits and the Irish do the same thing). Needless to say, this is a threat to the Franco-German high tax/high spend economic model, and so what are Paris and Berlin now trying to do? Ban this supposedly unfair competition.
Ominously, EU Monetary Affairs Commissar, no, oops, Freudian slip, sorry, ‘Commissioner’, Almunia, now seems ready to support this idea. No surprise in that, Brussels is all in favor of ‘competition’ unless, of course, there’s too much of it…
Posted at 10:49 PM
SOME FUN. [KJL]
Posted at 10:49 PM
SPIDEY ROUNDUP [John Derbyshire]
TOTALLY my last posting on that wretched movie.
Reader: "My favorite moment: Prof.: 'When tau is equal to zero, who can tell me the eigenvalues?' Parker: 'Point-two-three electron-volts.' Being a physicist, and watching it with physicists, all I have is one word: guf-FAW."
Me: If the screenwriter had read PRIME OBSESSION http, he'd know what an eigenvalue is.
Reader: "Dear Mr Derbyshire---You say: 'The central, fairly preposterous, premise that time travel is possible....' Of course time travel is possible; I have been able to achieve it for a number of years, travelling forward at the rate of one hour per hour. I believe Einstein showed this rate could be varied simply be changing one's velocity. As for travelling backward, I understand (actually, I don't) that certain adherents of quantum mechanics profess no theoretical impediment, although Einstein, of course, would not agree."
Me: According to Big Al (Einstein, not Sharpton), you, and me, and everything else in the cosmos, are all traveling through space-time at the same speed -- the speed of light -- for ever. It's only that the space-component of our motions and the time-component are all different. To get around THAT is some trick. Relativity allows travel into the future at a speed higher than one hour per hour (as, if we ever master it, would suspended animation), but it doesn't allow you to travel backwards. The most recent physics I have read about seems to permit travel backwards in time, but only back to the point at which time machines are invented...
Reader: "I know exactly how you feel about Spiderman's science (although I liked the rest of the movie.) The problem isn't that comic book movies only get to have one preposterous, unscientific event. The problem is that in Superman or Batman, the main character isn't a scientist. Peter Parker is a brilliant science student, Dr. Otto Octavius is some brilliant physicist who's managed to create controlled (sort of) fusion. In the first Spiderman movie, where the science was weird and outlandish, they glossed over it and didn't try to explain it (no one explained what powered the glider, what chemical strengthened the Green Goblin, how that bizarre bomb worked, etc.) In this one, on the other hand, they felt a need to provide stupid pseudo-scientific explanations for the fusion reactions, etc. (stablizing harmonics? Intelligent tentacles?,) even when they weren't relevant to the plot. There was no need to explain the weird reaction that had the power to destroy New York, or even to claim it was fusion. If they had just made things up completely, it would have made more sense."
Me: I agree that preposterous science is best left un-"explained." It should just be what Hitchcock called a McGuffin -- take it or leave it. And I repeat my point that in a good sci-fi story there should be only *one* McGuffin. If the time traveler encounters a race of telepaths in the far future, the discerning sci-fi reader feels instinctively that something is wrong. (Is this a time travel story, or a telepathy story?)
Pursuant to which: Has there ever been a good telepathy movie? I always thought Eric Frank Russell's THREE TO CONQUER would make a good one, or A.E. Van Vogt's SLAN, or Theodore Sturgeon's MORE THAN HUMAN... I'd go with Russell, for the car chase scene.
Posted at 10:43 PM
RUN, ROBINA, RUN [Andrew Stuttaford]
I’m not normally a fan of the Olympics, but here’s one contender I’d like to see do really well. Go Robina!
Posted at 10:38 PM
JAMES PINKERTON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
believes that the Republican party will succeed politically if it ditches the neocons and the social Right and cuts government spending--in other words, if it comes closer into accord with his own views. I doubt that he's right about all of this, but what most strikes me is how convenient it is. I would be very happy if the way to win votes were to cut farm subsidies, abolish HUD, etc., but I see very little evidence that it's the case, and I think that political analysts should be more careful than most of us are most of the time to keep the wish from being father to the thought.
Posted at 08:37 PM
PUT THIS FACTOID ON DEATH ROW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Tom Lowenstein believes that 114 people have been "exonerated from death row." It's not true.
Posted at 08:29 PM
"WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME FUN" [KJL]
That's what Kerry said earlier, talking about an event tomorrow morning, that seemed to get people buzzing, making political analysts over analyze the word "fun." Fun sure doesn't sound like Gephardt. Doesn't feel like Vilsack (who?) either. Edwards? Surprise? Or maybe fun is something completely different...
Posted at 06:01 PM
MEDIA OUTLETS... [Rich Lowry]
...are buzzing about Kerry making a VP announcement sometime imminently, this afternoon or evening. Doesn't seem to make any sense to me, but I pass it along for what it's worth.
Posted at 05:56 PM
SO DOES THAT MEAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
that they're expecting Kerry to have a post-convention lead of 10?
Posted at 05:18 PM
RE: PAGING LADY BRACKNELL [John Derbyshire]
Lorgnettes didn't get your attention? How about a nice pince-nez?
Posted at 05:17 PM
SIX OF THE BEST [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 05:06 PM
ABOUT TIME TOO [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 05:04 PM
HERE'S A NEW ONE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Jews invented banks in London. Thanks to the indispensible MEMRI.
Posted at 04:32 PM
PAGING LADY BRACKNELL [John Derbyshire]
All right, I failed in my efforts to re-launch a fashion for spats.
Hope springs eternal in the true conservative's breast, though. Buy a pair of these for your favorite person.
Posted at 04:14 PM
RE: SPIDEY [John Derbyshire]
sarcastic reader: "Let me get this straight... in science fiction, you can have ONE bit of highly implausible science. You didn't like Spidey, but you DID like...
"...the story where the sole survivor of an exploding planet in another solar system is rocketed to earth, and, due to earth's yellow sun, gains the powers of super-strength, super-speed, x-ray vision, heat vision, super-cold breath, super hearing, invulnerability, magic costume changes, and most importantly, the ability to put on eye glasses and hide his identity from his employer and co-workers. Then, after barely being fast enough to catch an ICBM racing across America towards Washington, D.C., he circles earth's atmosphere counter-clockwise at such great speed that time itself is reversed, just far enough back to the moment before his beloved Daily Planet reporter girlfriend was buried alive in an earthquake caused by a nuclear explosion on the San Andreas fault. And the only thing that stood in his way was a Wizard-of-Oz-like Marlon Brando dead head in the sky."
Well, I'll admit the Brando character strained credulity...
Posted at 03:56 PM
MOORE & MOVEON [Dave Kopel]
MoveOn.org is running an "astroturf" campaign in support of Fahrenheit 911. As detailed by "doubleplusungood infotainment," the MoveOn has succeeded in getting newspapers to publish pre-written form letters to the editor. Most newspapers work hard to avoid publication of such phony "grassroots" letters, which are pushed by unethical groups on all sides of the political spectrum. Smaller papers are more vulnerable to such letters, since they do not have the staff to fully investigate all suspicious letters.
Posted at 03:54 PM
KERRY TO LEAD BY AS MUCH AS 15 [Rich Lowry]
Latest from Bush pollster Matthew Dowd:
As the post-primary season winds down and Kerry's VP selection and convention approach, I wanted to share with you what we should expect polls to show in early August.
Posted at 03:34 PM
MORE VEEPSTAKES [Rich Lowry]
Another GOP strategist fears Edwards for these intriguing reeasons, the first of which wouldn't have occured to me: 1) competition always makes candidates better, and Kerry will feel pushed to hone his campaign skills, to the extent it is possible, to try keep up with Edwards; 2) Edwards is able to connect with a “K-mart crowd” much better than the aloof Kerry; 3) Edwards comes off as optimistic and cheerful (even if his primary-campaign message was downbeat), and whatever can be done to make the Democratic ticket seem less dour, in all senses, helps Kerry. For what it's worth...
Posted at 02:28 PM
VEEPSTAKES [Rich Lowry]
One smart GOP strategist has a theory for why Kerry has Edwards on his short-short list: to wring as much dough as possible from Edwards' trial-lawyer friends to the very last moment, as they try to entince Kerry into picking one of their own and as Edwards tries to prove his worth to the ticket. Now, for all I know, Kerry may actually pick Edwards, but this is a theory that makes intuitive sense. As a wag just put it to me, we know Kerry has a preference for partners with money (although he may leave this one at the altar).
Posted at 02:08 PM
PREDATOR V ALIEN V BATMAN V JOKER [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 12:43 PM
ROWAN, NIGELLA AND TABOOS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Over at his Daily Ablution, blogger Scott Burgess is on good form today. His topics: the dangers of Nigella Lawson, the revelation that the Archbishop of Canterbury (yes, Rowan Williams again) is not only against cremation (greenhouse gases!) but has now also taken it upon himself to correct God, and, finally, an entertaining selection of ‘last taboos’ unmasked by the Guardian and the Observer..
Posted at 12:30 PM
CAN WE GET THIS FELLA WORKING FOR THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS? [KJL]
I suspect the American Catholic bishops are reluctant to deny kerry communion because they anticipate a public relations disaster that is counterproductive and devisive. I suspect that the kerry campaign is eagerly waiting for someone to deny him Communion. I agree completely with the feeling that he should be denied communion as he certainly is not "in communion" with the church on such a public moral issue; however I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the bishops' reluctance may be justified. However, Kerry's position cannot be ignored. It has to be addressed. My modest proposal is twofold. There should be a nationwide public prayer campaign asking God to enlighten the hearts and minds of Catholic politicians to accept the church's teaching not only in their private lives but also their public ones. I recall such a campaign praying for peace during the korean War. Secondly, whenever Kerry or some other pro-abortion Catholic politician attends Mass, the priest should automatically give a sermon outlining the Church's clear teaching on abortion and receiving Communion. It should be clear to the politician and to the people that he is risking his eternal soul.
Posted at 12:27 PM
SIGH [KJL ]
A very minor thing, but a trend: I heard a replay of Clay Aiken singing that Lee Greenwood song “God Bless the U.S.A.” at the Mall last night. The American Idol changed “I won’t forget the men who died” to “I won’t forget the ones who died.” Yes, women die in war, too. And not just in Iraq or Afghanistan. We know that. Do we really need Clay Aiken to spell it out? Would people really, seriously be offended if he sang “men”?
Posted at 12:23 PM
ON THE BEACH [KJL]
John Edwards did his annual Wrightsville Beach walk yesterday. Is it me, or does that strike anyone as a dumb political move? Isn't the beach just about the last place you want a politician sticking his hand in your face (in close competition with phonecalls during dinner time)? Or do I just not get local politics?
Posted at 12:18 PM
HOW COOL (OR STUPID) IS THIS!? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Alien Versus Predator! Kathryn - I call dibs on the review!
Posted at 12:05 PM
RE ID II [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of readers offering this possible/probable explanation:
Jonah, this is an easy one to figure out, based on the producers intentions with their most recent flick, "The Day After Tomorrow" (boy, that changed the whole course of the presidential election, didn't it?)
Posted at 11:57 AM
SPEAKING OF DICK GEPHARDT [KJL]
Did you read Rick Brookhiser's review of Hendrik Hertzberg's new book in the New York Times Review of Books? It begins:
When I picked up this book, I hoped I would find a description I have remembered, almost word for word, since I last read it, in Hendrik Hertzberg's coverage of the 1988 presidential campaign in The New Republic. It's here, on Page 192. ''Richard Gephardt . . . puts me in mind, unreasonably to be sure, of an earthling whose body has been taken over by space aliens. I keep expecting him to reach under his chin and peel back that immobile, monochromatic, oddly smooth face to reveal the lizard beneath.'' As a senior editor of National Review who was also covering that campaign, I wished I'd written that.
Posted at 11:52 AM
FEARLESS PREDICTION [John J. Miller]
Based on nothing but my gut, I predict that John Kerry will announce Dick Gephardt as his running mate tomorrow. I've made the case for Kerry-Gephardt here (see the first entry).
Posted at 11:47 AM
"WAR AGAINST WOMEN" [KJL]
John Kerry--who supposedly believes life begins at conception--sure hit all the right NARAL notes in this Jan. 2003 speech to the group (now NARAL Pro-Choice America, having undergone its own makeover). This speech is reprehensible, imho, if he truly believes what he is now saying he believes (the personally opposed nonsense).
Posted at 11:35 AM
INDEPENDENCE DAY (THE MOVIE) [Jonah Goldberg]
I watched it again last night. I still like it and suspect it will be a staple of July Fourth TV for a longtime to come. But why on earth haven't they made a sequel yet? Please spare me the quasi-rational response that they can't have a sequel because the aliens were defeated. One could certainly imagine a sequal begining with millions of aliens spilling out of the crashed alien ships in order to fight a pitched ground war. Plus, there's always the issue of reinforcements. If Spock can be brought back to life, Hollywood can churn out a few bazillion more aliens. Indeed, speaking of returning aliens, believability never got in the way of Aliens, Aliens III and Aliens IV (they should have stopped with Aliens, of course). And ID made a lot of money. So what's the problem? Surely it's not the high-standards of the cast?
Posted at 11:09 AM
BBC REPORTS LITTERED WITH ERRORS [Jonah Goldberg]
According to an internal memo the BBC runs dozens of deeply flawed and even libelous stories every day.
Posted at 10:51 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROCK'N'ROLL [KJL]
50 years ago today, Elvis recorded "That's All Right."
Posted at 09:39 AM
BLUE OR GREEN? BUS OF SUBWAY? BLOG OR MAGAZINE? [KJL]
Posted at 09:27 AM
HAPPY JULY 5TH [KJL]
We won't be resuming regular weekday NRO posting until Tuesday. We wish you the best for your day--hopefully many of you have off, time with family and friends, etc.
NR World Headquarters is abuzzing with the pieces of the next issue of NRODT coming together. BTW, have you subscribed? The drill is: paper subscriptions include both delivery to your postal mailbox and and access to the digital version (which is available, for instance, this Friday, vs. waiting till next week to give the new issue a first read). but you can also subscribe to the digital version only, saving yourself more paper in your house and some money. Wouldn't you love to be reading Rob Long, Mark Steyn, Rich Lowry, John J. Miller, John O'Sullivan, Byron York, Ramesh Ponnuru, Andy McCarthy, Rick Brookhiser and more right now? Curled up on your couch or practicing good posture? Consider getting yourself subscribed today.
Posted at 09:23 AM
SPIDEY [John Derbyshire]
All right, I admit, I was venting. SPIDERMAN 2 bored me, and I don't take kindly to being bored. Vex me, annoy me, burn my house, steal my car, drink my likker from that ol' fruit jar, but don't bore me.
I got arguments, though. Even comic-book movies must obey certain unities. In the realm of science fiction -- and c/b movies are a species, even if a low one, of science fiction -- the golden rule is: You can have one highly implausible bit of science. The rest of the science should be sound, or at least should follow logically from the central implausibility. THE TIME MACHINE is a great sci-fi novel because, once you have granted the central, fairly preposterous, premise that time travel is possible, everything else is just basic Darwinism and stellar evolution, as it was understood at the time.
The central notion in SPIDERMAN is that if you get bitten by a spider whose genes have been messed about with in a certain way, you will develop the ability to shoot 100-ft silk threads from your wrists (without, apparently, any loss of body mass). This is preposterous -- though not at a sensationally high level, as spider genes can be messed around with in an infinity of ways, and we don't actually know what would happen if you were bitten by a spider whose genes had been messed around with in way No. 29,485,672.
Having been persuaded to suspend our disbelief with respect to Spidey's powers, we should not then be asked to swallow any more preposterosities. And we know perfectly well what whould happen if you dumped a fusion reaction into the East River -- ka-BOOM.
I was also put off by Doc Oc's striking resemblance to the late Tony Hancock.
Posted at 08:44 AM
HOW COOL IS THIS? [KJL]
From an AP story: "[I]n Saddam Hussein's former stronghold of Tikrit, soldiers watched fireworks light the night sky as they held a joint celebration with Iraqi National Guard soldiers on a bank overlooking the Tigris. Thousands of troops celebrated at one of Saddam's old palaces with a buffet featuring hamburgers and hot dogs and traditional Iraqi dishes."
Posted at 08:30 AM
Sunday, July 04, 2004
CONCLUDING THE 4TH [Rick Brookhiser]
I just watched the Macy's 4th of July fireworks display over the East River, from my apartment window. Then I looked up Washington Irving's description of the climax of the Battle of Long Island--the first battle fought after the Declaration of Independence, only a few miles from where the fireworks were being lit.
Grant, Cornwallis and De Heister are British or Hessian officers. Stirling is an American general, who claimed a SCottish title (hence, Irving calls him "his lordship"). Smallwood was another American commander. Macaronis are dandified officers (as in Yankee Doodle: stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni). As the passage opens, the American line has crumpled, and Stirling is trying to take Smallwood's Maryland unit, which he is commanding, back to the American lines on Brooklyn heights, where Washington is watching the fighting.
"....His lordship now thought to effect a circuitous retreat to the lines by crossing the creek which empties into Gowanus Cove near what was called the Yellow Mills. There was a bridge and a milldam, and the creek might be forded at low water, but no time was to be lost, for the tide was rising.
"Leaving part of his men to keep face towards General Grant, Stirling advanced with the rest to pass the creek but was suddenly checked by the appearance of Cornwallis and his grenadiers.
"Washington and some of his officers on the hill, who watched every movement, had supposed that Stirling and his troops, finding the case desperate, would surrender in a body without firing. On the contrary his lordship boldly attacked Cornwallis with half of Smallwood's battalion while the rest of his troops retreated across the creek. Washington wrung his hands in agony at the sight. 'Good God!' cried he, 'what brave fellows I must this day lose!'
"It was indeed a desperate fight, and now Smallwood's macaronis showed their game spirit. They were repeatedly broken, but as often rallied and renewed the fight.....The enemy rallied and returned to the combat with additional force. Only five companies of Smallwood's battalion were now in action. There was a warm and close engagement for nearly ten minutes. The struggle became desperate on the part of the Americans. Broken and disordered, they rallied in a piece of woods and made a second attack. They were again overpowered with numbers. Some were surrounded and bayoneted in a field of Indian corn. Others joined their comrades who were retreating across a marsh. Lord Stirling had encouraged and animated his young soldiers by his voice and example, but when all was lost he sought out General De Heister and surrendered himself as his prisoner.
"More than two hundred and fifty brave fellows, most of them of Smallwood's regiment, perished in this deadly struggle..."
That is, 250 out of a total of 400.
They fought for us. Honor them. Be as brave as they were.
Posted at 10:46 PM
DC-ERS BRAVE RAIN FOR THE 4TH [KJL]
Posted at 09:51 PM
ALGERIA SUSPENDS AL JAZEERA [KJL]
Posted at 09:46 PM
IRAN HAS CHARGES TO SUBMIT TO IRAQI COURT AGAINST SADDAM [KJL]
Posted at 09:44 PM
ROBERT FISK [KJL]
names the Iraqi judge at the Saddam hearing the other day (last item).
Posted at 09:22 PM
KERRY'S CUOMO PHILOSOPHY [KJL]
He says life begins at conception; he's personally opposed to abortion.
Posted at 09:09 PM
BRIDGING THE LEFT-RIGHT DIVIDE [Jonah Goldberg]
Kevin Drum's endorsement of bratwurst as superior to the hot dog. I love a good hot dog, but they're really just great snack food. Meanwhile brats with beer and the right mustard is a great meal. Clarification: That was supposed to read: "I have to second Kevin Drum's endorsement of bratwurst as superior to the hot dog." Sorry for any confusion on this vital issue.
Posted at 05:42 PM
"DEMS LAMENT BUSH COMEBACK" [Jonathan H. Adler]
That's the lede of Novak's Sunday column.
Posted at 03:09 PM
SPIDER SCIENCE [Jonathan H. Adler]
RE: Derbyshire's Spiderman 2 review. Let me see if I've got this straight: Derb expects scientific plausibility in a movie about a kid who gets super powers, including the ability to shoot fully formed webs from his wrists, when he's bitten by a genetically engineered spider?
Posted at 03:07 PM
OUTSOURCING CUB SCOUTS? [Mark Krikorian]
The scout camp I went to with my son (I was one of two dads overseeing 11 boys full-time for a week -- it was a long week!) was called Camp PMI, one of several camps at the Washington-area scout council's 4,000-acre Goshen Reservation. Upon seeing the name of the camp I grew alarmed that the scouts had given into the the culture of efficiency-uber-alles by outsourcing the running of the camp to Parking Management Inc., the owner of parking facilities all over the Washington area! Improbable as it might seem, it was plausible, since the camp's red, white, and black oval logo was exactly the same as the company's. I was relieved to learn that the founders of the PMI company merely donated the money years ago to build the camp, which is why one of the other camps there is called Marriott.
Posted at 03:05 PM
...TO DO MY DUTY, TO GOD AND MY COUNTRY... [Mark Krikorian]
Just got back yesterday from a week as an adult leader at Cub Scout camp in western Virginia. Now, I wasn't into scouting as a kid -- I lost interest in Cub Scouts after one year, though my dad and brother were Eagle Scouts, Order of the Arrow, the whole thing. But the importance of scouting for the future health of our country can't be exaggerated. Patriotism, for instance, wasn't preached at camp -- it was just assumed as a normal part of life. Everyone went to the daily flag-raising and -lowering ceremonies and each of the two big campfire programs ended with a patriotic song (they called it "America the Beautiful," but it was not the familiar song, though it was a quiet and lovely tune). There were a variety of religious services and grace before every meal. Camp also gave the Cub Scouts structured, civilized outlets for their normal male urges and interests -- air rifles, archery, fire-building, etc. I especially appreciated the staff member who taught the nature program, who, while communicating his deep respect for nature, laughingly said he was no tree-hugger -- that properly managed hunting was good and that driving nails into trees was bad because they might break the chainsaw and cause injuries when it came time to harvest the tree. This from a college kid who looks like Weird Al Yankovic! And the all-black group from an AME church in suburban Maryland reminded me that few things would be of more help to black America, and America in general, than having more black scouts.
Posted at 03:02 PM
PASCAL ISHO WARDE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Via the No Pasaran blog, the story of Iraq’s new immigration minister. As the blogger points out, somewhat acidly, it’s easier for a French Arab to become a minister in Iraq than in France.
The whole piece is worth reading (and follow through with the links if you have time), but these comments from Warde are also well worth repeating here:
“Saying no to war was to say yes to Saddam so that he could continue to massacre us… Freedom comes at a price and France didn't want to see this. It retreated behind the UN, partly to defend its own economic interests."
Indeed it did.
Posted at 02:31 PM
A FAN OF THE JACKBOOT? [Andrew Stuttaford]
Mort Sahl was once, I am told, a famous comedian. This, I assume, can be the only explanation for the answers he gave to a questionnaire in the latest Vanity Fair.
”Q: Which historical figure do you most identify with?”
“A: Che Guevara.”
Che Guevara was, of course, a murderer, a terrorist, an avatar of totalitarian rule.
”Q: Which living person do you most admire?”
”A: Fidel Castro.”
Fidel Castro is, of course, a tyrant, a torturer and a killer.
Please, please tell me that Mr. Sahl is being ironic. If not, he is, quite simply, beneath contempt.
Posted at 02:27 PM
MORE ON MOORE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The success of Michael Moore both internationally and at home is, shall we say, a dismaying phenomenon. To respond to this challenge, it’s not enough just to point to the inaccuracies that litter Moore's work. Something else is needed. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Matthew D’Ancona has some ideas:
“Indeed, the problem with the American "neocons" - Cheney, Rumsfeld et al - is that they are not "neo" enough. They use old Cold War language to describe an utterly modern conflict. This war may well, for a start, be longer than the great struggle of the second half of the last century. It is certainly more complex: the triple, interlocked threat of weapons of mass destruction, global terrorist groups and rogue states is much more difficult to explain than the monolithic danger which was represented by the Soviet bloc and its ideology. And, to be prosecuted successfully, the war on terror will require durable public faith in politicians and the intelligence services that inform them: the very trust which has taken such a terrible beating before, during and after the Iraqi conflict. The anti-war lobby has the slick movies of Michael Moore. And what do we hawks have? The sickening images of Abu Ghraib, that's what.
“This is why it isn't enough to say that Moore manipulates the facts, or that he is a charlatan, or that his arguments are glib. The reality is that his methods are working, and working for a reason. He is the grizzled face of a culture in denial, the contrarian voice of the millions who would rather hate Dubya than confront the awesome threat that stalks our age. His success is an urgent warning to those who support the war, who grasp its importance, to raise their game, and fast. Nitpicking is not the answer. It's the big issues that count. And it's there that Michael Moore has no answers. If he is so visionary, why is his objective - to run Bush out of the White House - so parochial? What would he do about the new horrors of our time? Dude, where's your sense of history?”
Read the whole thing.
Posted at 01:46 PM
SYRIA: A HUGE PROBLEM [Andy McCarthy]
While the trial of Saddam Hussein is commanding lots of attention right now, a far bigger problem than constructing the legal case against Saddam is securing him -- and securing a place to have the trial of him and his henchmen. For that reason, among others, this Sunday Times of London story is unsettling. Syria is not only aiding the died-in-the-wool jihadists; it is pushing a Baathist revival. Obviously, this is the last news people will want to deal with, but it will be close to impossible to stabilize Iraq without dealing with Syria . . . and Iran. However unimaginable this may have sounded in December when he was unearthed from the spider-hole, it is not inconceivable that Saddam could be running Iraq again (or at least a large part of it) someday if he is not executed, if the Baathist support system is not demolished (in Syria too), and if an unstabilized Iraq plunges into civil war. There are many Iraqis who want to see Saddam executed, but there is a committed, well-armed, well-networked cabal that would like nothing better than to free him and restore him to power. This thing is not over yet, and as we are in it, we need to focus on winning it, decisively, before leaving.
Posted at 11:03 AM
MOVIE REVIEW [John Derbyshire]
Yestersday was my son's 9th birthday. Took him and a platoon of friends to see SPIDERMAN 2.
I think this may be the stupidest movie I have ever seen, not excluding DUMB AND DUMBERER, MISSOURI BREAKS, and LAST YEAR IN MARIENBAD. It was dumb, dumb, dumb and awful. This movie was just packed to the gunwales with every kind of awfulness, form bogus sentimentality to stupid science. (You extinguish a fusion reaction by DROWNING IT? Oy oy oy.)
I write as one who LIKES special effects, and grew up reading comic books and sci-fi. This movie is almost complete garbage. Its only redeeming feature was the balletic sequences of Spidey swooping through the canyons of Manhattan.
I canvassed Danny & two of his guests to rate the movie out of 10.
---Danny: 8, no 9.
---Friend A (age 11): 7
---Friend B (age 8): 8
Posted at 11:00 AM
THE AMERICANS [Andrew Stuttaford]
William Pitt (‘the elder’), Earl of Chatham, speaking to the House of Lords, June 17th 1774:
“If we take a transient view of those motives which induced the ancestors of our fellow-subjects, in America, to leave their native country to encounter the innumerable difficulties of the unexplored regions of the western world, our astonishment at the present conduct of their descendants will naturally subside. There was no corner of the world into which men of their free and enterprizing turn would not fly, with alacrity, rather than submit to the slavish and tyrannical principles which prevailed, at that period, in their native country.
“And shall we wonder, my Lords, if the descendants of such illustrious characters spurn, with contempt, the hand of unconstitutional power, that would snatch from them such dear bought privileges as they now contend for? Had the British colonies been planted by any other kingdoms than our own, the inhabitants would have carried with them the chains of slavery, and the spirit of despotism; but as they are, they ought to be remembered as great influences to instruct the world, to what a stretch of liberty mankind will naturally attain, when they are left to the free exercise of themselves.”
He got it.
Posted at 10:56 AM
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY [KJL]
May freedom continue to reign!
Posted at 10:52 AM
NOT YET SWEDEN [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 10:09 AM
THE PATRIOT'S ACT [Jonah Goldberg]
Me on patriotism in the LA Times (annoying registration requ'd).
Posted at 08:47 AM