RE: SUMMERS [Stanley Kurtz]
I take your point, Derb, and it’s a good one. But let me make the opposite case. I wonder if Harvard’s feminists might have trapped themselves. Even The Washington Post today editorialized its concern about free debate at Harvard. Summer’s talk was well within the bounds of reasonable discourse, and the public knows this. To get rid of Summers now would be too embarrassing to Harvard, and too damaging to the free exchange of ideas in colleges everywhere. I know colleges suppress ideas all the time. But the level of public scrutiny is so high here that the academic left may have overplayed its hand. They are stuck with Summers now, and whether he goes or stays, they’ve turned him into a free speech martyr. I say we’re winning.
Posted at 11:32 PM
RE: U.N. & CLONING [K. J. Lopez]
Andrew, I basically think the U.N. is an ineffectual body. That said, can it hurt for the supposed world to make a statement saying human cloning is beyond the scope of what civilized people do? I doubt it. Does it carry any weight, or should it? Probably not. At the end of the day, Congress needs to act quickly. I suspect we disagree on the merits of limits, you and I, but we're probably on the same page re: whether much of anything done on the East River there matters much--and frankly, given sovereignty concerns and, at the end of the day, moral authority inexistence, whether it should.
Posted at 08:44 PM
CHANGING THE CHANNEL [Cliff May]
I’m watching Bob Novak on Capital Gang right now casting serious doubt on Syrian culpability for the assassination of Rafik Hariri, insisting there’s “not a shred of proof” -- as though anybody could wander around Beirut planting hundreds of pounds of explosives along the route of the former prime minister without drawing attention.
But that ain’t all. He also – can you guess? – is saying that blaming Syria is part of “the Israeli agenda.”
How does he figure? Because the Israelis don’t want Syrian troops occupying Lebanon. (Oh, that would explain it. Can he not find any Lebanese Christians and Muslims to talk to? How about Syrians in exile? I’ll give him phone numbers. Hey, I’ll supply him with the quarters.)
Thank goodness Kate is on the show. (She’s the only conservative on today – the others re Mark Shields and Al Hunt, with Margaret Carlson sitting in the middle. What happened, did the invited guest get stuck in traffic?)
Posted at 07:16 PM
JENNA SPEAKS! [Andrew Stuttaford]
Elfman, not Bush
“I intend to make Scientology as accessible to as many people as I can. And that is my goal,” Elfman said. To do this, she says, it is my “duty to clear the planet.” By “clearing” she means to rid the world of “body thetans” — aliens who Scientologists believe inhabit the earth from a nuclear explosion 75 million years ago. She continued that “the more successful I became, the more suppression I bumped into … especially in the entertainment industry, which really is home to rabid suppression.”
Permit me a bellow of insensitive laughter.
Posted at 04:36 PM
THEO VAN GOGH [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Norwegian Defence Research Institute (who knew?) has now issued a report of the murder of Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh. Its conclusion?
”This report surveys in depth the available open source information about the ritualistic murder of the filmmaker Theo Van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam on November 2, 2004. The report makes the case that the murder of Van Gogh was a terrorist attack implemented by an al-Qaida inspired radical Islamist group within the framework of global jihad, and not an act of religious violence by a lone fanatic. The report also argues that the invasion of Iraq was an important motivational factor for the assassin and his accomplices, in addition to grievances related to the Dutch government’s policies concerning immigration and Dutch counter-terrorism measures.”
In yet more grim news from Holland, it has been disclosed that controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders – his stance on multiculturalism and immigration has earned him a steady stream of death threats from real or purported Islamist groups - is being housed in a prison for his own security.
Yes, it has come to this.
Via Dutch Report.
Posted at 04:33 PM
AN EASIE GUIDE TAE THE VOTEIN IN NORLIN AIRLAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
It’s election year in Britain, and diligent British expats are registering to vote.
A friend of mine – a former British army officer now living in NYC – takes up the story:
“This link takes you to the official website of the Electoral Commission, something I laboriously have had to do to register as an overseas voter. I noticed the Languages hyperlink, and so, anticipating the usual polyglot mix of tongues to reflect (a) our glorious Imperial past; (b) the inevitable legacy of our immigration policy; and (c) our role as 19th century colonialist oppressors (take your pick) in I went. Imagine my surprise when, nestled amongst the possibly deserving Pakistani, Punjabi and Chinese (?) translations, a sub-site for the "UlsterScots" language.”
There it is: “An Easie Guide Tae The Votein In Norlin Airlan
Over to you, Derb. Over to you, Scott Burgess.
Posted at 04:27 PM
THE UN AND CLONING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, so the UN has voted to ban human cloning eh? Whatever we may think about human cloning, we should both agree that this really is none of the business of the UN or the ‘international community’ it purports to represent. The US should decide for itself what science it chooses to adopt, reject, or ban. For the UN to get involved is, quite simply, insolence.
To say that the international community has some sort of jurisdiction in this respect makes it far more difficult for the US to reject (with any degree of consistency) the encroachments on national sovereignty represented by Kyoto, the International Criminal ‘court’ or the proposed, and repellent, Law of the Sea Treaty.
Posted at 04:15 PM
A PLAGUE OF SPITZERS [Andrew Stuttaford]
What is it about the name ‘Spitzer’?
His main focus?
Oh come on people, you know what it is….
Yup. Ja. ‘Die Kinder’
"Children who watch TV have narrow horizons…It reduces the plasticity of their brains which remain unstimulated and fail to develop properly. Later they smell and taste things differently because their senses are warped, and, as adults, go on to buy unhealthy foods, similar to those they have seen advertised on television."
Legislation, doubtless, to follow.
Posted at 03:58 PM
OLYMPIA REDUX [Andrew Stuttaford]
The inspectors of the International Olympics Committee are in London, and all the stops are being pulled out to impress these grandees. Appropriately enough, given the Olympics’ long association with totalitarian pageantry, this detail, I thought, brought a hint of Speer, a touch of Riefenstahl, to the proceedings:
”At the palace the commission was led through the quadrangle, illuminated by torches…”
The only thing missing? A speech by Prince Harry.
Connoisseurs of the continuing Tory collapse meanwhile will note that Tory ‘leader’ Michael Howard has endorsed the British capital’s bid for Olympic martyrdom.
Posted at 03:45 PM
DEMOCRACY ON THE MARCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
This, rather wonderful, story comes from Kirghizstan:
"It would be either the “lemon” or the “tulip” revolution. Kazbek and his friends could not quite decide. But as they watched Ukraine’s Orange Revolution unfold last year, they were convinced of one thing: Kyrgyzstan could be next. Their mountainous homeland was thousands of miles east of Ukraine, and one tenth of its size, but the political parallels between the former Soviet republics were striking..."
Read it all. And give a cheer to Kazbek.
Posted at 03:40 PM
WAS BABY 81 A FAKE STORY? [Jonah Goldberg ]
The famous Baby 81 story has made the rounds for a while. This Sri Lankan writer claims it was largely fraudulent and claims to be a Jason Blair style story.
Posted at 12:49 PM
BEARD V COMICS [Jonah Goldberg]
I have not seen Constantine and I never read the comics upon which they were based. But I thought the least I could do is post this email from a fellow-traveller who disagrees with NRO's review (see homepage for link):
Dear Mr. Goldberg:
Posted at 12:13 PM
ESTRICH VS. KINSLEY, CONT. [John J. Miller]
This dust-up keeps getting funner and funner. Today's Washington Examiner publishes the latest exchange, in which Estrich accuses Kinsley's Parkinson's disease of affecting his brain. (What a creep!) Charlotte Allen offers more lucid and entertaining commentary here.
Posted at 09:59 AM
SUMMERS & CHURCHILL [Cliff May]
Here’s an idea: Let Ward Churchill and Larry Summers switch places. Let Churchill take over Harvard and have Summers head up the Department of Diversity, Ethnic Stereotyping and Mau-Mau Studies (or whatever it’s called) at CU.
It would serve Harvard right and it would do Colorado – and the whole diversity dodge – a lot of good. (And, for his troubles, Summers will be rewarded with Colorado’s pleasant climate (much better than in Boston) and superior skiing.
Posted at 09:37 AM
VESTI LA GIUBBA [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: "Cleaning up the office"? Why interfere with a 50-year tradition?
OK, gotta put on suit, write address, work self up into Science Writer mode.
Oh, for the readers who've been asking about Radio Derb: Back on the air next week. Sorry about hiatus. Will be regular from now on, DV.
Posted at 09:34 AM
THE THINGS ONE FINDS WHEN CLEANING THE OFFICE [K. J. Lopez]
A map of New Hampshire? No offense...where next? Vermont?
Posted at 09:16 AM
AOL AVERSE [John Derbyshire]
So I'm sitting in this hotel room in DC working from my laptop. On the road I use AOL, just because of the variety of connections I'm likely to encounter. I have got to say, though, I hate the darn thing. Perhaps it gets better with real familiarity, if you use it all the time I mean. For occasional users like me, though, it's a dog. I can never find anything. After a couple of years of this I now know that F% does a screen refresh, but I don't know much else. And what are all those darn pop-ups you get at sign on? What on earth is a "buddy list"? Why should I care? Isn't there an option to make these things NOT pop up when I sign on? I spent half an hour looking for one, but couldn't find.
There must be a lot of folk like me who connect with one of the common browsers most of the time (MS Internet Explorer in my case) & only use AOL on the road. Couldn't AOL make our lives easier by just simulating our normal browser? So at sign-on you get a panel saying: "What is your normal browser?" and taking it from there. They have a nice billing plan for on-the-road users, why don't they have a nice interface?
Now how the heck do I send this darn thing?
Posted at 08:28 AM
AVE ATQUE VALE [John Derbyshire]
Then we shall pass like ships in the night, Kathryn: You a feisty man-o'-war looking for enemy to fire on, me a stately old merchantman leaking at the seams.
Posted at 08:17 AM
DOING IT ALL FOR THE ’08 PRIMARY [K. J. Lopez ]
The Globe also has an opinion piece (from yesterday, actually) basically arguing that Romney is positioning himself for a cloning loss because it will give him right-wing creds. If he were only in it for ’08, though, wouldn’t he have just gone all the way and been against using IVF frozen embryos for research, too? I just don’t see how it’s a brilliant long-term strategy--pro-lifers aren't even embracing it en masse.
A little too cynical perhaps.
Posted at 08:10 AM
K-LO DOES D.C. DIFFERENTLY [K. J. Lopez]
I don't get invited to the smart science and math stuff. I'd need a decoder ring.
Posted at 08:08 AM
DERB DOES DC [John Derbyshire]
I am sorry not to have posted this yesterday. I am down in DC at my publisher's command, to join a panel at the AAAS conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, around noon. I don't think you have to be a AAAS member to attend. We are panelling about writing science books, presenting science to the public, etc. etc. Be glad to meet any NRO readers, though I have to run for a train after the meeting & can't stop for drinks, dinner, etc.
Posted at 08:07 AM
WEIRD [K. J. Lopez]
I expected more of a blow-up by now on Summers. But the Boston Globe is still only thinking women.
Posted at 07:59 AM
SUMMERS LEASE TOO SHORT [John Derbyshire]
Stanley: I think it's worse that you say, and Larry Summers is in deep doo-doo. He pretty much laid out the entire case against the "diversity" racket. He even included the most telling argument of all, the one that says: "Look, if, as you claim, there is this pool of super-talented people who are being passed over because of 'discrimination,' then why doesn't some academic entrepreneur sweep them all up and create a super-department out of them?" These things must not be said. Once you open these doors, there is no telling where thought will lead you. The diversity business is huge -- just look at its glossy magazine, DIVERSITY INC. It will not be mocked. Summers is toast.
Posted at 07:57 AM
"POPE SKIPS MASS BUT RESUMES PRIVATE AUDIENCES" [K. J. Lopez]
You know how many Catholics will be encouraged to sleep in tomorrow after seeing that headline?
Posted at 07:56 AM
SNEER ALERT [Tim Graham]
Lest you think that liberals don't speak out in public about how the al-Qaeda threat is a trumped-up paper tiger for more defense dollars like the Red Menace, there's always Tom Oliphant of the Boston Globe.
Posted at 07:44 AM
MORE DEATHS TODAY [Tim Graham]
As the news today typically leads with violence against Iraqis in Iraq, I'm reminded of the old liberal axiom (from I believe Herbert Gans) that one death in America has the newsworthiness of say, 2000 in Africa. I forget the exact math in the axiom, but the point was that it takes great casualty counts for the news media to get around to reporting from remote corners of the globe where it has no regular presence. But in Iraq, any car bomb that kills six is front-page news.
The subtle message that the media sends, intentionally or unintentionally, is that Iraq is a mess, and in maybe more of a reach, that if Bush hadn't acted there, these people would not be dead. It's definitely true that if Bush hadn't acted there, and Saddam remained, Iraqi deaths would probably not even make the papers most days. For our media, the discovery of mass graves in Iraq containing hundreds or thousands of dead were a one-day story, but the killing of four or six or 30 by insurgents is a front-page story every day. If Bush had lost to Kerry, it could have been suggested that one reason was the today's-mess nature of the press coverage.
Posted at 07:44 AM
IWO JIMA [John J. Miller]
60 years later -- a WSJ article by NR contributor Arthur Herman.
Posted at 05:40 AM
Friday, February 18, 2005
COFFIN, ADULT? [K. J. Lopez]
Does he remember baseball season?
Posted at 06:03 PM
GOODNESS [Shannen Coffin]
I can see that it is dangerous to leave the Corner without adult supervision for a day. Me as a liberal? I don't think so.
Posted at 06:02 PM
RE: SUMMERS [Stanley Kurtz]
Jonah, I’ve now read the transcript of the Summers talk, although not yet the Q & A. I agree with you that the campaign against Summers is an outrageous inquisition. Summers’s talk is very thoughtful. It makes a perfectly reasonable case that biology might play a role in career choice. Summers has been attacked for using the weak anecdotal example of his daughters’ reaction to toy trucks, but he in fact invokes a number of important arguments for a biological role in sex differences¬the Israeli kibbutz experience, separated twin studies, our changing views on the causes of autism, and divergent career outcomes in spite of a growing pool of women with graduate educations in mathematics and engineering. All of these arguments can be challenged, and Summers’s admits that. But if it is illegitimate even to put this sort of argument forward, then free speech at Harvard is a thing of the past.
Something else emerges from these transcripts that I think helps to explain this whole flap. I don’t doubt that those who are complaining about Summers are infuriated at biological explanations. But it’s pretty clear from this transcript that their deeper goal is to get rid of Summers because he is asking too many uncomfortable questions about the way affirmative action works. In this talk, Summers calls for research on whether affirmative action does what it claims to do. Do diversity searches really find top quality professors who were only being overlooked because they are minorities, or do these searches only yield professors of middling or low quality? Summers also points out contradictions in what diversity advocates are asking for. Some of them want faculty picked on purely objective criteria like number of papers published. This will supposedly eliminate subtle hiring discrimination. But other diversity advocates want the opposite. They call for choosing minority candidates based on subjective considerations like potential and collegiality, supposedly to overcome the discrimination built into objective criteria. Summers asks, which is it? He also wants data to back up the choice of strategy. So in this talk, Summers is subtly but clearly exposing the contradictions and secrets of the campus diversity industry. By calling for objective proof that diversity searches really produce faculty equal in quality to color blind or sex blind searches, Summers is laying out a standard that he knows diversity proponents can’t meet. And the contradictory criteria thrown up by diversity advocates are just different ways of getting to the numbers they want. By calling for objective studies of which strategy actually works, Summers is exposing the failings and contradictions of the whole diversity enterprise. I think this is the deeper reason why Summers is in trouble. His pro-affirmative action opponents can’t openly condemn him for asking these questions, so they’ve focused on the biology issue instead.
Posted at 05:54 PM
CLONING IN THE U.N. [K. J. Lopez]
Austin Ruse passes this along:
Breakinging News United Nations voted for Total Ban on Human Cloning
Posted at 05:51 PM
IN THE ANTIWAR TANK [Tim Graham]
Liberal Washington Post reporter Evelyn Nieves writes the "peace" movement is plotting to re-emerge, and she's making a case for them: "In a way, the antiwar groups' task is easier than it was before the U.S. invasion, when the idea of then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein attacking the United States with weapons of mass destruction convinced many people that a preemptive strike was necessary. Polls show that support for the war has eroded as its cost in lives, the economy and the social fabric of communities throughout the nation has climbed." But if you weren't a liberal reporter, you might see that in a way, the "peace" movement now looks like an "anti-democracy" movement. You might see that since Bush was re-elected, in a way the "peace" movement alienates people through their ideological insistence that anywhere U.S. military policy goes, only disaster follows. No critic of the "peace" movement makes the story. Shocker.
PS: To get the real flava of the current "peace" organizing with its radical-left talk of American "empire" and "killing machines," see here.
Posted at 05:49 PM
COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU [Mark Krikorian]
Atlanta-area readers: I’ll be speaking at the Georgia Christian Coalition’s “Families & Freedom” event tomorrow.
Dallas-area readers: I’ll be speaking at the Barbara Bush Republican Women’s Club March 1; contact email@example.com
Boston-area readers: I’ll be speaking at Harvard’s Institute of Politics on March 7.
Posted at 05:43 PM
SAUCE FOR THE GOSS [Mark Krikorian]
In his testimony Wednesday, CIA Director Porter Goss made a vague reference to the fact that campaigning for Mexico’s presidential election next year would likely stall progress in various reform initiatives there. An observation almost certainly true, and completely unobjectionable.
Except that the Mexicans objected. The interior secretary, Santiago Creel, said, "It's also reprehensible for an agency of a foreign government to be expressing opinions about Mexican affairs. I reject interference in affairs of an internal character ... in which the CIA has no reason to be making opinions." This is the same government that is distributing a handbook on how to sneak into the United States and avoid detection, calling on native-born Americans to acquire dual citizenship and influence U.S. policy to the benefit of Mexico, and which is furiously lobbying from coast to coast for acceptance of its illegal-alien ID cards, in-state tuition, and drivers licenses for illegal aliens. “Interference in affairs of an internal character” indeed!
Posted at 05:41 PM
‘$100 MILLION FOR PAKISTANI BORDER SECURITY’ [Mark Krikorian]
I don’t mean to beat a dead horse here, but the administration sure seems to believe that border enforcement works overseas -- how about trying it here?
Posted at 05:40 PM
DEEPTHROAT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Lots of readers have asked me why I don't think Deep Throat was real. They usually ask because I say things like this "there was no deep throat." I've been meaning to write a column making my case. But Eric Burns basically made it for me. He adds some fascinating details I didn't know, but his conclusion is the same. Deep throat was a composite of Woodward and Bernstein's sources.
Posted at 05:39 PM
PROPER ENGLISH [Mark Krikorian]
This column in the DC Examiner got my attention -- not because of the content, which I basically agree with, but because the writer used (and the editor allowed) the contraction “it’ll,” which I don’t think I’ve seen in print before. This relates to the split infinitive thread from a couple days ago -- I prefer that written language be reasonably close to spoken language, and my experience is that this is more true in English than elsewhere. In Armenian, for instance, the kind of language used in newspapers or on TV is far more stilted than the normal spoken language, something that I’ve also noticed in my limited knowledge of Russian and even more limited Spanish. In college I remember seeing a course offering on “Egyptian Newspaper Arabic,” which still strikes me as funny. There’s no political point, just that the democratic character of the American nation manifests itself in numerous ways.
Posted at 05:39 PM
DREAM ON [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 05:25 PM
RE: K-LO AND COFFIN [K. J. Lopez]
I accidently left the link to the creator of this grand scheme off The Corner this morning. Is here. As you can see, he's not fully with the K-Lo/Coffin party line, but I think he'll sign onto the project all the same.
Posted at 05:22 PM
BRAIN DEA-D [Andrew Stuttaford]
DEA administrator Karen 'Sharia' Tandy, an expert, apparently (who knew?), in the teachings of the Koran, has reportedly "called on Pakistani religious leaders to issue a fatwa, or religious decree against drugs. "Narcotics are against the teaching of the Holy Quran," she said in remarks carried on a Pakistani radio station. "Pakistani ulema [Muslim religious scholars] should give fatwas against narcotics and support the anti-narcotic effort..."
If accurately reported, Tandy's remarks are as disturbing as they are patronizing, but they do serve one useful purpose - they are yet another reminder that the 'war against drugs' has long since left the realm of the rational - if it was ever there.
Posted at 05:10 PM
REHNQUIST IS GOING TO MISS [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 04:35 PM
WOW [K. J. Lopez]
Too bad Shannen's not around today. He had no idea how cool we are. Another e-mail:
Hello,I suspect Coffin's going to be particularly picky about who gets to play him.
Posted at 04:27 PM
A BIPARTISAN OPPORTUNITY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 04:25 PM
BABY NAMES [Jonah Goldberg]
Hillary and Monica plummetted in popularity during the 1990s. I have no idea why.
Posted at 03:49 PM
REBEL YELL [Jonah Goldberg]
The other day Max Boot walloped Thomas Woods' The Politically Incorrect Guide to American HistorySouthern Appeal is hosting what amounts to a postgame post-mortem on the whole thing with defenders on both sides of the debate. Poke around for the relevant links and what not. I ordered the book from Amazon the other day and it should be here shortly. Until then, I give the benefit of the doubt and the argument to Boot. But there are definitely two sides to the whole thing. ("Man, you weaselled out of that one." -- The Couch).
Posted at 03:47 PM
MARRIAGE AS A PUBLIC POLICY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Justin Katz takes issue with a comment I made the other day. The point I was trying to make was that there is no reason for governments to recognize marriage (as opposed to enforcing whatever contracts individuals happen to make) unless governments have some legitimate role, however limited, in encouraging moral behavior and good character.
We tend to think of public policies in either welfarist or libertarian terms. Many of us reject, or think we reject, the idea that the promotion of morality is a legitimate aim of the government (although I suppose most people would allow that the inculcation of good habits can be a kind of incidental byproduct of, e.g., laws against theft).
But neither welfarism nor libertarianism allows much of a defense of marriage laws. A libertarian conception of marriage law is always going to be vulnerable because people will be making analogies to situations where everyone has the liberty to swing his fist until it hits someone else's nose. "How would those people's polygamous union affect your marriage?" will be the question. If you can't count in cultural effects that occur through subtle influences on people's behavior and beliefs, you've lost that argument.
A welfarist conception of marriage creates another impossible situation for anyone who wants to resist a slide toward a purely contractarian view. You would have to show conclusively that certain types of unions don't promote the public welfare in social-scientific terms. You would have to show, for example, that kids raised by threesomes get colds more often than other kids. And even that wouldn't really work--you'd never be able to show that bad outcomes would happen every time a threesome was recognized as a family unit by the government.
If marriage laws promote liberty and social welfare, as I think they do, they do so precisely by encouraging moral behavior--by channeling sexual behavior, in a pretty non-coercive way, into desirable patterns. I don't think that this point, incidentally, ought to be the exclusive property of either side of the same-sex marriage debate. I gather that Jonathan Rauch, a thoughtful supporter of same-sex marriage, believes something similar to what I've just said. He thinks that the morality that marriage laws promote, and should promote, is a morality of commitment. Same-sex couples can qualify. Opponents of same-sex marriage, on the other hand, tend to think that the public moral good that marriage laws promote is tightly bound up with procreation in a way that means that legal status for same-sex couples cannot serve that good.
If you don't see a legitimate role for government in promoting morality at all, on the other hand, then you would support same-sex marriage only as a move toward a contractarian policy. Ultimately, I think, you would have to say that marriage is none of the government's business.
Posted at 03:40 PM
NIñO NAMES [Jonah Goldberg]
As expected, the name "Jesus" has gone up dramatically in recent years -- no doubt due to Hispanic immigration. But both Pedro and Juan were more popular in the first half of the 20th century.
Posted at 03:36 PM
BABY NAME TIMEWASTER [Jonah Goldberg ]
This is kinda cool. Jonah's glory days are right now. Ramesh's got lots of room to grow. Rich's glory days seem to be in the late 1940s. Fittingly John's decline from the 19th century has been steady and inexorable. And Kathryn has good times and bad.
Posted at 03:33 PM
GO ADLER! [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I agree with Jonathan about the P2P legal issue he posted on last night: the law is what the law is, whatever the law should be and whatever effects the current law might have on the availability of child porn.
Posted at 03:17 PM
FROM THE DUKAKIS CAMPAIGN CHIEF [John J. Miller]
"I'm sure some people consider my opinions silly," writes Susan Estrich. Really? Really?
Posted at 01:25 PM
OUR SITCOM [K. J. Lopez]
A friend e-mails, re: the "K-Lo & Coffin" sitcom:
K-Lo and Coffin: Can a die hard Yankee fan and a long time Red Sox supporter find peace as roommates tune in next week as our duo debates who was tougher The Babe or Curt Schilling.Darn Red Sox fans and their curses. He should be a liberal...we'll have to take artistic liberties.
Posted at 12:50 PM
D.C. [K. J. Lopez]
is frrrreeeezzzing. NY girl thought this was the south. Florida next time. (Yes, yes, I know...)
Posted at 12:44 PM
DERB KNOWS WHERE TO GO FOR THIS [K. J. Lopez]
A reader: "While VDH is always wonderfully insightful, this week's is one of his best. It should be encased in luccite. You should tout it loudly in the corner."
Posted at 12:43 PM
SOMEONE HAS TO PAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
That's Posse Incitatus's theory of the Summers assault. It's also basically what Harvey Mansfield says in today's Journal. It's payback for Kerry.
I'm off to tape the Carlson show. This Darth Vader costume sure is tight.
Posted at 12:35 PM
A TRAGEDY TONIGHT! [Rick Brookhiser]
A nice piece today on Addison's Cato. John quite rightly says that "it's not an outstanding piece of theater." In Founding Father I was less kind: "smooth as a board, and just as stiff."
And yet perhaps we are too harsh. When my production team staged a scene of Cato for "Rediscovering George Washington, our PBS documentary on GW, I found it surprisingly effective. I imagine the love subplot would stink, whikle the political main plot might play well. There is an African villain who is a kind of doubltetalking Ward Churchill.
Posted at 12:31 PM
PUBLICITY OPPORTUNITY = PROTEST OPPORTUNITY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 11:26 AM
ACADEMIC FREEDOM, YEAH RIGHT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader at Harvard:
Posted at 11:09 AM
RE: COOL [Jack Fowler]
Jonah: “The tsunami may have uncovered an ancient city” is nothing compared to what the Weekly World News is reporting http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/features/aliens/61248.
Posted at 11:07 AM
I WAS REMISS [Jonah Goldberg]
Several readers have noted that if I'm going to link to exciting geek trailers, I should have put the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trailer up a long time ago. They're right.
Posted at 11:07 AM
YOUR TEN BUCKS [Jack Fowler]
is all that stands between a high school junior and his making a horrible decision about which college he’ll attend. For your sawbuck we can send a high school – let’s take your alma mater, for starters – the one book that will help kids there avoid making that stupid mistake, and that will guide them to attending colleges that provide a solid, traditional education. When we send a high school, thanks to your generosity, a copy of Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth About America’s Top Schools, scores of juniors and seniors will have access to its critical, detailed information about 125 leading colleges and universities. For ten bucks you’ll be helping numerous kids make a wise and informed choice – the kind they won’t be able to make without this acclaimed book. All it takes is ten measly bucks. You say you want to make the world a better place, then do it by taking us up on our “Sawbuck Challenge,” here.
Posted at 10:53 AM
TUCKER CARLSON UNFILTERED [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be back on this weekend. Check listings.
Posted at 10:40 AM
REMOVE YOUR DOGS FROM BEIRUT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Chuck Freund on the Hariri funeral.
Posted at 10:38 AM
SUMMERS CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
I've read the whole transcript including the Q&A now. It seems to me that Summers' sin is that, despite saying he's just being provocative, he really does believe there is a strong genetic component to the cognitive differences between men and women. Of course, he's making a statistical point. There are more male geniuses and there are more male morons while women tend to be in the middle of the distribution. This doesn't mean, at least from what he's saying, that there aren't women who are just as brilliant as the most brilliant men, it's just that there are fewer of them compared to men. He allows that better socialization and tougher anti-discrimination efforts could and should boost the numbers of women at the top, but he seems to believe the underlying statistical difference reflects a basic reality that can never be completely erased.
And there you have it. Because he believes something the Harvard faculty do not want to concede even might be true, he must say it is not true. That fits the pattern of inquisitions perfectly. Recant what you believe to be scientifically true because a sophisticated mob says you must.
Posted at 10:25 AM
THIS MORNING [K. J. Lopez]
David Geffen makes me smile.
Posted at 10:03 AM
AN IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail: "While the band name is simply 'Smashing Pumpkins' (I've looked at my CDs, they're all pretty clear on that), the Smashing does, in fact, refer to the adjective not the verb. Just thought I'd clarify..."
Posted at 10:01 AM
IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME [Jonah Goldberg ]
That's probably what Kathryn will say when she sees I posted the Fantsatic Four movie trailer.
Posted at 09:55 AM
I HAVE NOW DECIDED [Jonah Goldberg]
Tha the faculty at Harvard is going mad. It's like the Crucible or something. It's approaching an inquisition. Here's an excerpt from the New York Times:
Now look. The guy said he was there to provoke people. He said he was there not as a president but as an academic. He was speaking to an off-the-record session of grown-ups. He said numerous times that he was offering theories he hoped would and could be falsified. And for this the Harvard faculty might vote no-confidence in the guy. And he's already been forced to apologize three or four times (I'm losing count) and appoint not one but two task forces which no one doubts will release reports saying Summers is a neanderthal.
Meanwhile, that no-talent-ass-clown Ward Churchill is a champion of free speech for refusing to apologize or even "back-up one inch" on his statement that the decent, innocent victims of 9/11 were the moral equivalent of the man who sent babies and old women to the gas chambers.
What is wrong with these people?
Posted at 09:47 AM
THE "THE 'THE...'" PROBLEM [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: One thing I have never been able to work out is when to use a "the" in titles like "The New York Times." I feel pretty sure that a sentence beginning: "The 'The New York Times' correspondent said that..." has something wrong with it. Yet it's perfectly logical: "The New York Times" is the proper and correct name of Mr. Sulzberger's mighty organ. One of its correspondents is therefore a "The New York Times" correspondent, and a definite one is the "The New York Times" correspondent. Isn't he? Or should it be: "The 'The New York Times's' correspondent..." Eeeeeeek! Cabling up a home computer network (were I ever to attempt such a thing, which I never, ever would) is -- would be, I mean -- child's play by comparison with this stuff. Man is a tool-making animal, not a sentence-making animal.
Posted at 08:37 AM
COOL [Jonah Goldberg]
The tsunami may have uncovered an ancient city. Woops Original link was to something completely different. Fixed.
Posted at 08:35 AM
HHHMMM [K. J. Lopez]
Alanis Morrisette is an American now. What was that Larry Schweikart was telling me?
Posted at 08:34 AM
THANK YOU, SIR [K. J. Lopez]
Greyhawk from the Mudville Gazette is back home from Iraq. Thanks for your service--both on the frontlines and online (to Mrs. Greyhawk, too).
And pass our thanks on down to your brothers.
Posted at 08:32 AM
THE NEGROPONTE CHOICE [K. J. Lopez]
I remain a underwhelmed, but I have gotten more positive than negative feedback from intel vets I’ve heard from. But, like my first instinct aired in these parts, there’s not any ecstasy over the choice that I’ve detected from much of anyone. Maybe that’s too high a standard for any spot, I realize… Here’s one:
John Negroponte is a smart, effective, honorable man. He's probably the best man our State Department has produced in a century -- and I mean that as a great compliment to him. He's terrific.There’s definitely an underwhelming enthusiasm for the DNI spot, too, anyway. It’s an impossible job. Not expecting much from anyone. It had to be superman heavyweight to garner any real optimism on the right, I think.
Posted at 08:30 AM
BLAME K-LO [K. J. Lopez]
If things get out of hand in The Corner at any point today, it’s because I’m looking under mailboxes in the nation’s capital for the next big right-wing writer, or something like that. Doing the nation’s business, for sure.
Posted at 08:28 AM
IT IS GOOD TO REMEMBER [K. J. Lopez ]
Kathryn, Hope all is well at "the", uh I mean "NRO".
Posted at 08:28 AM
MEDICINE, NEEDLESS TO SAY, CAN BE AMAZING [K. J. Lopez]
In diameter, the arteries were the size of the tip of a pencil, Reddy said, and the aorta was 3 millimeters, or about one-eighth of an inch, long. His chest was the length of the doctor's finger.Open heart surgery was performed on a preemie. According to CNN, “The hospital [the baby boy] is expected to have a normal life, barring any medical complications from his premature birth.”
Posted at 08:26 AM
COMING TO A NETWORK NEAR YOU [K. J. Lopez ]
I’m ignoring all substance in this blog post and homing in on the important observation: “wouldn't that be a good name for a sitcom: "K-Lo and Coffin!"
Anyone in Hollywood buying? I’ll whip Shannen into working and we’ll come up with a screenplay for the right price. The possibilities are endless…
Posted at 08:24 AM
ANTI-SUMMERS ANGST SPREADS [K. J. Lopez]
Yale women protest their lot in life. They should talk to the New Haven women of, say, 1965.
Posted at 08:22 AM
ON SMASHING PUMPKINS [John J. Miller]
There's no article. I've just checked the cover of the band's first album, Gish. It happens to occupy a special place in my memory. Right after I asked my wife to marry me, at the center of the Diag in Ann Arbor, we walked over to South University Avenue, ate some ice cream, and went in a record store. I bought a copy of Gish, by Smashing Pumpkins. About a month later, I saw the group perform at St. Andrew's Hall in Detroit. I moved to Washington, D.C. the next day.
Posted at 07:53 AM
$954,695,456 [Jonah Goldberg ]
That's what the Kyoto protocol has cost the world in order to achieve the potential of saving us 0.000009899 °C in temperature increases as of this posting. The cost is going up fast. That's according to the Kyoto Count-Up over at JunkScience.com.
Posted at 07:47 AM
THE SUMMERS TRANSCRIPT [Jonah Goldberg]
Kathryn posted the link below, but I think his opening statement is worth reading right away:
I asked Richard, when he invited me to come here and speak, whether he wanted an institutional talk about Harvard's policies toward diversity or whether he wanted some questions asked and some attempts at provocation, because I was willing to do the second and didn't feel like doing the first. And so we have agreed that I am speaking unofficially and not using this as an occasion to lay out the many things we're doing at Harvard to promote the crucial objective of diversity. There are many aspects of the problems you're discussing and it seems to me they're all very important from a national point of view. I'm going to confine myself to addressing one portion of the problem, or of the challenge we're discussing, which is the issue of women's representation in tenured positions in science and engineering at top universities and research institutions, not because that's necessarily the most important problem or the most interesting problem, but because it's the only one of these problems that I've made an effort to think in a very serious way about. The other prefatory comment that I would make is that I am going to, until most of the way through, attempt to adopt an entirely positive, rather than normative approach, and just try to think about and offer some hypotheses as to why we observe what we observe without seeing this through the kind of judgmental tendency that inevitably is connected with all our common goals of equality. It is after all not the case that the role of women in science is the only example of a group that is significantly underrepresented in an important activity and whose underrepresentation contributes to a shortage of role models for others who are considering being in that group. To take a set of diverse examples, the data will, I am confident, reveal that Catholics are substantially underrepresented in investment banking, which is an enormously high-paying profession in our society; that white men are very substantially underrepresented in the National Basketball Association; and that Jews are very substantially underrepresented in farming and in agriculture. These are all phenomena in which one observes underrepresentation, and I think it's important to try to think systematically and clinically about the reasons for underrepresentation.
Does this really sound like a guy who should be slow roasted for his "insensitivity" to women?
Posted at 07:27 AM
OK, WAIT THERE’S ONE MORE [K. J. Lopez]
Another e-mail—I would have neverthought of this:
Since Talking Heads have come into it, I wonder if you know whether it's The Smashing Pumpkins or just Smashing Pumpkins? It makes a much bigger difference than putting the article in front of National Review or Talking heads because, in this case, it's the difference between pumpkins that one finds fabulous--"Smashing!"--or the physical act of smashing them against something.
Posted at 07:02 AM
THE "THE"S [K. J. Lopez]
Wow, some e-mailers give these things way more thought than I ever want to:
Your e-mailer said, “Sorry to come in late, but dropping the article just sounds "cooler". You could always spot the poseur when he referred to David Byrne's band as The Talking Heads.”I’m officially done with this thread unless WFB cares to weigh in on whether or not “The” National Review is like nails on a blackboard to him.
Posted at 07:00 AM
IS THIS REALLY REAL? [K. J. Lopez]
Anyone who has lived on both coasts knows the following:
Posted at 06:58 AM
NEITHER RIGHT NOR LEFT, JUST RIGHT [K. J. Lopez]
If you don’t have the common sense not to drive while watching a DVD in the front seat, you shouldn’t have a license. Your deep thought for this morning, from the ugly realities of modern-day life.
Posted at 06:57 AM
Thursday, February 17, 2005
LARRY SUMMERS [K. J. Lopez]
The transcript is out.
Posted at 11:43 PM
MYRNA'S STORY [Tim Graham]
For more on the Mike Wallace-Peter Jennings discussion that Myrna Blyth writes about on NRO today, see here.
Posted at 08:44 PM
MORE RE: THE NATIONAL REVIEW [K. J. Lopez]
Sorry to come in late, but dropping the article just sounds "cooler". You could always spot the poseur when he referred to David Byrne's band as The Talking Heads.
Posted at 08:30 PM
THE KINKS [Rick Brookhiser]
How that takes one back. Dawn Eden knows 1966 as an archeologist, but I was there.
"And I love to live so pleasantly,
Live this life of luxury,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon."
(quoting from memory)
There was more English music hall in the British invasion than we knew at the time.
Posted at 08:27 PM
GOOD POLICY NOT ALWAYS GOOD LAW [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm certainly willing to believe the claim Peggy Nance, et al. make in their NRO column that P2P file sharing networks facilitate the distribution of child pornography and other objectionable -- indeed, in some cases truly evil -- material. While this is interesting for policy purposes, I don't believe it is particularly relevant to the merits of the MGM v. Grokster litigation. I certainly enjoy beating up on the Ninth Circuit as much as the next Cornerite, but the soundness of their opinion in the case needs to be judged on the merits of the legal claim, and not the practical outcome in other areas. If it turns out that otherwise legal P2P file sharing makes it too difficult to control child porn, then this is a matter for Congress and state legislatures, not the courts.
Posted at 07:11 PM
POLITICS AND MOVIES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A great friend of mine once complained to me about how I was always complaining about political messages in movies--often messages that he didn't see or didn't think were an important part of the movie. What difference did it make if moviemakers were trying to promote liberal viewpoints? Later, we watched some Grisham movie and he said to me that if corporations really behaved the way they did in the movie, it was a powerful case for regulation. I think I managed to refrain from issuing a new complaint. Anyway, James Bowman has an excellent column on the liberal denial that Million Dollar Baby has any political content.
Posted at 06:11 PM
AND NOW, MINNESOTA [K. J. Lopez]
Clone and kill effort, again.
Posted at 06:07 PM
THE BEEB: IRAN'S SEX CHANGE OPERATIONS [Andy McCarthy]
As an old fan of Ray Davies and the Kinks, I would have made this headline: "Insha - La - La - Lola!" Story is here.
Posted at 05:56 PM
FAIR AND BALANCED [Stanley Kurtz]
The other day I blogged about Newsweek’s one-sided cover story, suggesting that they ought to have gotten Mary Eberstadt to do a counter-column to balance Judith Warner’s feminist take on working mothers. Well, to its credit, the Diane Rehm show has just had both Judith Warner and Mary Eberstadt on, talking about their two very different new books on the families and children. You can catch the rebroadcast on PBS radio, I think at 9PM, but that may differ in your area. It will be a rare chance to hear a feminist and a conservative go at it on the question of mothering and working women. Now if we can just get some balance at Harvard...
Posted at 04:34 PM
FDR, PRIVATE ACCOUNTS, ETC [Jonah Goldberg ]
Al Franken drags Nick Schulz into this.
Posted at 04:03 PM
BADILLO-MANIA [Rick Brookhiser]
Before we let the Badillo thread go, I should note that he is a phenomenon, maybe not unique to NYC, but uniquely important here--the true liberal who is truly conservative on certain key issues. (The reason these liberal heretics loom so large here is the near-North Korean dominance of liberals.) The greatest example, of course, is Giuliani. Badillo's conservative issue is school standards. He was a kid from the Puerto Rican boondocks who believes he flourished in the NYC public schools of yore because he was not shunted to some Spanglish track.
His long career was a string of near-misses. He would have won the 1969 Democratic mayoral primary, if Norman Mailer hadn't split the liberal vote. In 1973 Beame beat him with the "Vote for Badillo!" flatbed trucks. His last run was in the 2001 GOP primary against Bloomberg and, as Andrew well knows, the better man did not win.
Posted at 03:55 PM
RE: RATHER RETRO [K. J. Lopez]
Some rich dude should fund a blogosphere-produced alternative Rather documentary.
Posted at 03:45 PM
SHAME, SHAME [Shannen Coffin]
It's mid-day and no one has mentioned that pitchers and catchers report today. Must be a bunch of bitter Yankees fans around here.
Posted at 03:39 PM
RATHER RETROSPECTIVE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 03:28 PM
NIPPING BRITGATE IN THE BUD [Jonah Goldberg ]
If you haven't heard, lefty bloggers want Brit Hume's head on plate because of what he allegedly said about FDR's plans for Social Security. Much like Ishtar, the full story is long and uninteresting. Nevertheless, the folks at Villainous Companyhave tried to put this whole issue to rest. Something tells me that A) they won't be successful and B) Brit Hume's job is safe and sound.
Posted at 03:25 PM
EMAIL FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
For over a year I "turned off" my old JonahEmail@aol.com address because it had become so spamified. I recently switched it so it could receive email again and I'm discovering that many people are still sending email to it. This is a bad idea in that I still almost never check it (thought it's perfect for really annoying press releases and the like). If in the last year or so you were baffled why I never responded to your million-dollar deal or some such and you sent email to that account, you now know why you never heard from me.
Posted at 03:15 PM
RE: ANDREW'S CLONED CAT [K. J. Lopez]
Andrew and I swore a while back we would never discuss human cloning in the same room.
Posted at 03:12 PM
MAKING FELINES A FELONY [Andrew Stuttaford]
"Animal welfare" activists crazed, quite evidently, by self-importance and the viewing of far too many horror films, are taking aim at pet-cloning, something that would be bad news for companies like the marvelously-named Genetic Savings and Clone, and for those who (however misguidedly) believe that Kitty really can have nine lives. How do I know that this is an example of busybodies run wild?
"The group has also been working with a California lawmaker to introduce state legislation that would ban the sale of cloned or genetically engineered pets."
The intervention of a 'California lawmaker' is almost always the sign of a really, really dumb idea.
Posted at 03:07 PM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR LEADER! [Andrew Stuttaford]
"An army dance ensemble performed a concert featuring numbers such as General on a Galloping White Horse and a female solo, I Do Not Know a Warmer Bosom. Pyongyang's central square "turned into rising waves of dances when the participants presented more enthusiastic dances, waving the flags of the supreme commander", said the official Korean Central News Agency."
Posted at 02:57 PM
RALPH REED [K. J. Lopez]
is running for Lt. Gov. of Georgia.
Posted at 02:51 PM
GANNONGATE [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't agree with all this or even most of it, but this is a civil and honest case from the other side. It's not the first one I've received but they are a distinct minority amidst the many emails on the subject:
Jonah: You are probably getting deluged with e-mails from leftists like me, so I want to make one point. I want to focus on what I think the importance of the story is to you as an independent journalist and conservative.
Posted at 02:49 PM
SOCIAL SECURITY & THE FAMILY [K. J. Lopez]
the MarriageDebate blog is discussing Richard Vigilante's NRO piece of yesterday here.
Posted at 02:32 PM
I'M SOLD [K. J. Lopez]
I'll take this spin, from an e-mail:
Face it, you guys have become "the" National Review. There are no others, be it on dead tree or online. You are a monolith, the only review of the nation in existence. Or as Jonah would say the "Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu waza Banga"And another:
I’d consider “the” a blessing in disguise. When someone verbally says “the National Review,” it sounds just like “the national review.” In other words, the speaker is subliminally equating your magazine with the national review of the way things are. Not a message I’d think you’d want to dissuade.
Posted at 02:26 PM
TWAIN, KIPLING, ALOTT, BAUM, BURGESS--THE GANG’S ALL HERE! [Jack Fowler]
NR’s kids books have been justly acclaimed for being wholesome collections of the best writers and the best stories. Our titles are exactly the kind of books that should be in every home. That’s why we have this special promotion, where you’ll get two books--The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories and Queen Zixi of Ix--FREE and postpaid when you buy (for just $29.95) volume two of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents, parents: these books make great gifts! Take advantage of this special offer here.
Posted at 02:21 PM
WE NEED TO OPEN A BOSTON BRANCH [K. J. Lopez]
Massachusetts General Hospital is taking a woman with Lou Gehrig's disease off life support next week, against her family's wishes. "Do no harm mean" anything at Mass General?
Posted at 02:16 PM
CRANKY EDITOR [K. J. Lopez]
What's with the attraction to the article before "National Review" and "National Review Online" (see the Comedy Central bit)? Normally I'm lazy and drop articles, but when talking about NR/NRO, more often than not, "the" is added. It always bugs me. Probably the smallest thing in the world that bugs me, but bugs me all the same.
Posted at 02:08 PM
RE: NRO VS. WASHPOST [K. J. Lopez]
Jon Stewart gets it, man.
Well, ok, this time.
Posted at 02:08 PM
NRO V. THE WASHINGTON POST [Jonah Goldberg]
From today's Hotline:
Last week CNN's news director Eason Jordan resigned from his post after a remark he made at an allegedly off-the-record session at the Davos conference in Switzerland. Jordan had said he felt U.S. troops had been targeting journalists in Iraq. A blogger at the conference published Jordan's comment on a Davos blog. It was then picked up by the National Review online, reprinted on a blog of a radio talk show host and finally appeared in the Washington Post. That's the Washington Post's new motto 'You heard it here, Twelfth'" ("Daily Show," Comedy Central, 2/16).
Posted at 01:56 PM
MORE ADVICE [Jonah Goldberg]
One more tidbit for Geraghty. He must rehearse his answers to the question "What do Americans think of Turkey."
I predict he will be asked this 8 hundred katrillion times.
Posted at 01:33 PM
WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE! [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Good news and bad news. During lunchtime just now I went to the local Borders to buy the latest issue with your Groundhog Day article. The good news is there was only one copy left which means plenty of $$ into NR's bank account. The bad news is that the lower right corner of the cover was torn away so that only half the UPC remained and the price was nowhere to be seen, rendering it unpurchasable (or at least, un-quickly purchasable). I didn't buy it because I had to get back to work and there was a long line and I didn't want to wait for the clerk with the blue hair, black lipstick, and pierced everything to do a price check. I hate to assume the worst in people but my spidey sense tells me some angry lefty ripped the cover deliberately in order to stop the plague that is the spread of conservative thought.
Posted at 01:16 PM
HOW DO YOU TALK TO AN ANTI-AMERICAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Jim Geraghty of Türkiye'de Konumun Sütunu (TKS) is trying trying to figure out how to deal with America-bashers when he goes to Turkey. I don't have any great advice. Besides, my one extended stay abroad was in Prague in the early 90s, and it wasn't that extended. Most of the anti-Americans I met were, uh, Americans. And that requires a whole different social etiquette.
(If I remember it right) I did like the line the French ambassador used on John Miller at the Fox green room when he learned that John had co-written an anti-French book: "We have much to discuss."
This could serve well in situations where politeness is required but time is short. It establishes that you disagree with the person without sounding too condescending. It also suggests that you might be open to give-and-take while at the same time upholding the reality that the guy is flat-out wrong.
Of course, this all depends on what the person says. But my guess is Jim will be travelling in fairly polite elite circles. Even if not, I've been to Instanbul -- I went there by train from Prague (remind me to tell you that story) -- and I found the people incredibly gracious and friendly.
I do think that Hugh Hewitt's suggestion that Jim bring some extra copies of a pro-America book is a good one. But it might be more practical to bring something shorter, like an extended article which he can make copies of. Not sure what that article would be though. If you have ideas, tell Jim.
Posted at 01:10 PM
HAMA RULES [Cliff May]
I criticize the NYT when it deserves it but I give praise when praise is due. Tom Friedman today has quite a good column on Lebanon, Syria and the broader picture. Key excerpt: Message from the Syrian regime to Washington, Paris and Lebanon's opposition: "You want to play here, you'd better be ready to play by Hama Rules - and Hama Rules are no rules at all. You want to squeeze us with Iraq on one side and the Lebanese opposition on the other, you'd better be able to put more than U.N. resolutions on the table. You'd better be ready to go all the way - because we will. But you Americans are exhausted by Iraq, and you Lebanese don't have the guts to stand up to us, and you French make a mean croissant but you've got no Hama Rules in your arsenal. So remember, we blow up prime ministers here. We shoot journalists. We fire on the Red Cross. We leveled one of our own cities. You want to play by Hama Rules, let's see what you've got. Otherwise, hasta la vista, baby."
Me: The MSM, including the NYT, needs to discuss and debate this in a way they have not. We have Sen. Ted Kennedy and NYT columnist Dick Clarke and so many others on the left telling the administration what it can’t do – e.g. “no stress and duress for terror suspects, no tight T-shirts on women interrogators, no knocking down buildings in Fallujah, no …” but the truth is we at war with an enemy who we will not be able to defeat with one hand tied behind our back and the other wearing a kid glove.
P.S. Hama is the Syrian city that the Assad pere leveled in 1982, killing up to 20,000 people, including radical Islamists and whoever else happened to be in the neighborhood.
Posted at 12:57 PM
THE SOX CURSE LIVES (FOR HOCKEY) [Roger Clegg]
As explained here, the Boston Red Sox curse still lives, at least for hockey fans. When the Red Sox won the series in 1918, the following season’s Stanley Cup playoffs were canceled because of an influenza epidemic. Then everything went along fine for 85 years, with the Sox losing and the Cup being awarded. But then, last fall, the Red Sox won another series and, sure enough, hockey fans must now again suffer a Cupless season.
Posted at 12:54 PM
LOONATICS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Cartoon Brew has more. Note: I've been informed the above linked site links to some unsavory sites. Be warned.
Posted at 12:46 PM
CAN YOU IMAGINE? [K. J. Lopez]
Did you see this breaking news from Washington yesterday?
New intelligence information strongly suggests that Al Qaeda has considered infiltrating the United States through the Mexican border, top government officials told Congress on Wednesday.
Posted at 12:29 PM
BADILLO! BADILLO! [Rick Brookhiser]
Jonah, the anti-Badillo ploy was used by Abe Beam in 1973--or that's the version of the urban legend I heard.
Posted at 12:22 PM
FREEDOM ENVY [K. J. Lopez]
Peggy Noonan on the blogosphere:
Blogging changes how business is done in American journalism. The MSM isn't over. It just can no longer pose as if it is The Guardian of Established Truth. The MSM is just another player now. A big one, but a player.
Posted at 12:14 PM
TIE BREAKERS [Allison Hayward]
During the recent exchange about how to decide close elections, I attracted some grief (from Maximum Leader Lowry, among others) for suggesting that a coin flip could be useful as an alternative. In fact there are jurisdictions that break election ties in this manner. But, as always, the devil is in the details, and the town of Pittsfleid, Wisconsin has to "re-do" the flip, see here. I am duly chastened. Perhaps using duels instead would bring more finality to the process . . . Hat tip to Rich Hasen's Election Law blog.
Posted at 12:11 PM
RADIO POWER [Mark Krikorian ]
The White House is seeking big budget increases for the Voice of America, especially for its broadcasts to Muslim countries. This is something people with various views on our Middle East policies should be able to agree on. Simply piping information into the communist world was one of the most important things we did to weaken and delegitimize the Soviet regime -- I remember people eagerly awaiting the next news broadcast, jazz program, or “special English” tutorial (where the broadcasters spoke verrrrrry sloooooowly so foreigners could listen and learn). It’s not that everyone was a dissident awaiting instructions from Washington, but rather that the very existence of VOA’s relatively non-political broadcasts (editorials were clearly labeled as such) was a reproach to the totalitarian goons. This same thing is likely, especially in Iran, but really anywhere with a tightly controlled press. And although I expect I’ll be bombarded with criticism, it does seem to me that the more aggressive propaganda broadcasts, like Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe, were less effective.
Posted at 11:57 AM
DEFENDING TURKEY? [Mark Krikorian]
I’ve never found myself in this situation, but Jim Geraghty’s disillusionment with politics and society in Turkey (see here and here) is unwarranted. Look -- Turkey is an Islamic nation in the Middle East, and pretty much everyone in the Middle East thinks America runs the world and the Jews run America. The only reason people might expect otherwise is that they’ve swallowed the hokum about shared values with a fellow “democracy” and friend of Israel. Maybe my Realist slip is showing, but if it’s useful to ally with Turkey (as it was during the Cold War), then let’s do it, and if it’s not (as during Turkey’s quasi-alliance with Hitler), then we won’t. Our goal in the Islamic world is more-benign governments, and Turkey’s is benign by regional standards. But if we start expecting miracles, we’re going to continually be disappointed.
Posted at 11:53 AM
LOLLYGAGGERS … [Jack Fowler]
Get on the wait list for the NR 2005 British Isles cruise at www.nrcruise.com.
Posted at 11:42 AM
APOLOGY [John Derbyshire]
I am wrestling with a book that's proving more difficult to write than I thought, & so am falling behind on NRO postings. With the editrix's permission, and with blithe disregard for the laws of copyright, I am going to fill in from time to time by just putting up a link to some non-NRO piece from my archives, so that my name might live for ever on the lips of men. Here I am writing about knots. Yep, knots.
Posted at 11:35 AM
COME CHEW MY WALL [John Derbyshire]
A reader who may not know much about art but knows what he likes:
"Derb---I'm doing some home improvements and my house is afflicted with some hideous, ancient wallpaper that refuses to come off. I'd like to volunteer it as a project for that NY conceptual artist who likes to gnaw on walls. She probably won't have much more success than my scraping efforts but she could use that concept, calling it a comment on the futility of postmodern life; a scathing rebuttal of the American dream or some such nonsense. As for me, I'd just enjoy seeing a goofy lefty chick chewing on my walls."
Posted at 11:33 AM
RE: OY HIGH-LARIOUS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
This line amused me
Posted at 11:10 AM
START SPREADIN' THE NEWS... [John Derbyshire]
An envious (?) reader from the heartland:
"If it isn't some 'conceptual artist' chewing through your apartment wall, it's an NR editor singing Romanian pop songs on Park Avenue during rush hour. Only in New York."
Posted at 10:32 AM
RE: NEGROPONTE [K. J. Lopez]
The elections came off, so that's a good sign, but when one rereads this Michael Rubin piece on some of the bad decisions made in after-the-fall-of-Saddam Iraq, one can't help but be a little underwhelmed by the Negroponte choice.
He's also a State Department kinda guy--does that put him in the position to be able to shake up the intel world? I always thought it had to be a real heavyweight for the DNI position to mean much.
But I really don't know. I look forward to hearing from Rich and others though--Rich wrote probably the most thorough piece after-the-fall Iraq there is.
Posted at 10:29 AM
OY! HIGH-LARIOUS [Jonah Goldberg ]
From the Times of London:
Posted at 09:51 AM
ROMANIAN POP SONG [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: That song was huge in Germany, but I'm not clear about its impact in Romania herself.
When I come in for editorial meetings I walk across town from Penn Station to NR World HQ. After crossing Park Ave I stop to buy a cup of coffee from the street vendor there. (NR house coffee is excellent... for stripping the rust off bolts.) The guy is Romanian, and I amuse both of us by exchanging the very few words I know in that language with him. Well, the first time you posted that clip, my kids went nuts for it -- they can now lip-sync the whole thing. So I had it in my head & I actually sang a few bars to the coffee guy. Drew a complete blank. He never heard of it.
Posted at 09:48 AM
OUT FRICKN' RAGEOUS [Jonah Goldberg ]
This is worse than New Coke. If there's one issue which should mend the left-right divide on the web, this is it. Bang the war drums.
They...are...ruining Bugs Bunny!
They are making him "futuristic" with to-be-named-later super powers.
They are also mucking with Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, the Tasmanian Devil, Daffy Duck and some broad named Lola Bunny who I could care less about.
In the new cartoon called "Loonatics," reports the NY Post, "the six characters are being projected 700 years into the future, given superpowers, and outfitted in tight-fitting, slenderizing space gear."
"Slenderizing space gear"? Wile E. Coyote is famously emaciated to the point of anorexia. The Road Runner works out -- a lot. And Bugs has such a girlish figure he can pull of a woman's dress.
Come on, is nothing sacred? See picture of the "new" Bugs Bunny here.
Bang the war drums.
Posted at 09:41 AM
NEGROPONTE FOR DNI [K. J. Lopez]
Word is John Negroponte will be director of national intel, W announcing at 10
Posted at 09:40 AM
JUST IN CASE.... [Jonah Goldberg ]
...you finally cleared your brain of that Romanian pop song, here it is again.
Posted at 09:28 AM
ARCHBISHOP CRITICIZED LOYOLA'S VM CHOICE [K. J. Lopez]
The archbishop of New Orleans says the Vagina Monologues is "contrary to sound Catholic teaching and does not advance the important questions about women, human sexuality, violence against women and the common good, which it proposes to address." He wishes Loyola had not shown it. (We get a mention in the Times-Picayune piece about it; here's my rant from earlier this week.)
Posted at 09:04 AM
THE APARTMENT NEIGHBOR FROM HELL [John Derbyshire]
Renaissance Italy had nothing on present-day Noo Yawk when it comes to artistic achievement. Not only do we have Christo's shower-curtain construction in Central Park to wonder at; here is a report from America's Newspaper of Record on "conceptual artist" Emily Katrencik: "whose ongoing project consists of gnawing through a wall in the apartment of Louky Keijsers, owner of the LMAKprojects gallery in Chelsea.
"Katrencik does this by eating through 1.956 inches a day. The project started on New Year's Day, and the hole in the wall is now big enough that she can stick her head through it."
Roll over, Michelangelo.
Posted at 08:53 AM
CHINA EATS A LOT [Jonah Goldberg]
So what? Drudge highlights this story from the BBC on a new report showing that China consumes more stuff than the US. Okay. Not hugely surprising. They've got four times more people than us. What makes me particularly skeptical about the intent of the story is that Lester Brown wrote the report upon which the story is based. I always watch my wallet when I hear that Brown has policy recommendations.
Posted at 08:05 AM
GUCKERT...GANNON...OH MY [Jonah Goldberg]
Prof. Bainbridge whacks Joe Conason for trying to make and even bigger deal out of the Gannon story.
On that point: I'm still getting email from left-wing sites or the people who read them about what a huge deal the Gannon story is. I'm starting to feel the same way I do when I look at one of those posters with all the tiny dots which if you look at the right way you can see space ships or unicorns or whatever, because I just can't see it. Nothing anybody has said has made this come into focus for me. So he may or may not have had a gay/sketchy/weird past. I agree he probably shouldn't have been credentialled. But beyond that I just don't get it. Conason et al. make a big deal that the guy was a bad writer, by their lights. Having never read his stuff, I'll concede the possibility. Hacky writing from someone with a day pass to the White House briefing room! What a scandal!
The only angle that seems legit to me is the Plame issue. Allegedly he's been subpoenaed -- though he denies it. He's alleged to have had access to a document that undermined Joe Wilson's credibility. But it seems more likely that he merely had access to the Wall Street Journal which described the document. Evidence that this aspect of the Gannon story is a dud, comes in Conason's fairly brief and uninteresting treatment of what he calls a "cameo appearance" in the Plame affair. Regardless, investigate away on that front. Though it's not like journalists haven't been paying attention to that stuff already.
But meanwhile I've had several people try to explain to me that the gay sex angle makes this story no less significant than the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Jeff Gannon = Commander-in-Chief. I don't see it.
But most people just say this proves what hypocrites conservatives are. I don't get that either. I'd never heard of Gannon/Guckert before this story. I'd hazard to guess that's true of most people on the right. But now we're all supposed to be ensnared in this guy's peccadilloes? If we never heard of him, how were we supposed to know he was supposedly gay? And if he was gay, so what? Nobody on the right has said that gays can't be journalists or even "Republican dirty tricksters" (no pun intended). Was he trying to marry another male reporter? I just don't get it and the more people explain it to me what a huge story it is, the smaller it gets.
Posted at 07:57 AM
REDEFINING “EMBRYO” [K. J. Lopez ]
From yesterday’s hearing:
University of Massachusetts ethicist Marjorie Clay said stem cells created for research and treatment are not really embryos, since they cannot grow alone. “A fetus will not happen unless that clump of cells is implanted in a uterus,'' Clay said to the legislative panel, adding that excess embryos from fertility procedures are discarded regularly. ``If we thought they were really persons, would they pitch them?''This Ramesh piece from 2001 is worth rereading.
Posted at 07:52 AM
I’M GOIN’ BACK TO MASSACHUSETTS [K. J. Lopez ]
Cal Thomas gives Romney props for principle in his column yesterday. Unfortunately, what the governor needs is some bipartisan bravehearts (it’s not a comfortable position to be against Michael J. Fox) to join him.
Posted at 07:50 AM
WIKIPEDIA [John Derbyshire]
Am I more "inflammatory" than Ward Churchill? Hard to tell from Wikipedia:
[Wikipedia entry for John Derbyshire]
Posted at 07:49 AM
WHERE THE GIRLS ARE [K. J. Lopez ]
Not in China, where they’re “painless[ly]” aborted.
Posted at 07:41 AM
LBJ'S SCAR [John Derbyshire]
Cholecystectomy, not appendectomy. Sorry.
Posted at 07:41 AM
THE “HI, I’M MICKEY” TEST [K. J. Lopez ]
A Stanford researcher has the green light to put human brain cells into a mouse and see what happens.
He’s got some extremely stringent boundaries from the Stanford ethics committee: “If there is anything that might suggest some risk that there is anything that might remotely be viewed as `humanness' being transferred to a mouse, we've asked him to stop'."
Posted at 07:35 AM
NO LIMITS [K. J. Lopez ]
The Massachusetts example isn’t the first time, of course, when it’s be crystal clear biotech folks are not fans of borders (as Wesley Smith noted the other day). There was a day not so long ago, in fact, when advocates of research on embryos were talking about a 14-day limit on the research lifespan of research embryos (I noted this in the N.J.-debate context a bit back, here). As one biotech lobbyist told the Kass commission: "I don't know that it's appropriate to say that limits on scientific research should stay static over the course of decades as things change.”
Posted at 07:33 AM
“KILL THE BILL, AND HIS HOPE DIES WITH IT.” [K. J. Lopez ]
It’s heartbreaking and infuriating to read some of the coverage of yesterday’s hearings in the Massachusetts statehouse. A paralyzed man makes the case that all his hope rests in cloning embryos. How can one argue with that?
There were some attempts: A former dancer, for instance, now stricken with Parkinson’s made the case that cloning and killing embryos is passing a moral boundary. She said, according to the Globe, “[M]y suffering isn’t the real issue. The real issue is what we are being asked to do in the hope of relieving our suffering.”
There’s more to say (and I wasn’t at the hearing, so maybe it was said): I’m sounding like a broken record, but why don’t cloning advocates expend some energy not on doublespeak propaganda (saying a bill that allows cloning actually bans it, for instance—see New Jersey, California), but on alternatives that have shown actual signs of hope. I suspect I know the answer to that, of course—as Mitt Romney has seen pretty clearly, as his opponents show no interest in meeting him in any kind of compromise on using frozen embryos (again, not my ideal position, but a big deal if he won all the same), for instance. In the end, it’s cloning that’s their goal.
Posted at 07:29 AM
JEFFORDS GETS LOTS LOVE [K. J. Lopez ]
Yes...Vermont sounds like bike-path hell.
Posted at 07:20 AM
ORANGE GATES [John J. Miller]
Here's Myron Magnet on the orange gates (he doesn't care for them.) I don't have much of an opinion on them myself, but I am impressed by the fact that they apparently have been financed entirely by private dollars, despite the high cost. Maybe Christo's next project can involve padlocks on the doors of the NEA's offices in Washington, D.C. -- and unlike the orange gates, which will disappear in a week or so, these will be permanent.
Posted at 07:07 AM
A SECOND THOUGHT [K. J. Lopez ]
Maybe we can pretend the orange Christo Gates are a bluest-state celebration of Ukranian freedom?
It’s Thursday, cut me a break.
Posted at 06:54 AM
TRUE FIRST IMPRESSIONS II [K. J. Lopez ]
Christo in Central Park: Probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. And I’m spent the bulk of my time in N.Y. & Washington, D.C., so that’s saying something.
Posted at 06:53 AM
TRUE FIRST IMPRESSIONS [K. J. Lopez ]
Otherwise occupied late yesterday, I didn’t see the Bush-open-to-raising-taxes story until this morning…at which time I was pretty certain I woke up in the wrong Bush administration.
Saw too much Twilight Zone as a kid, I guess.
Posted at 06:53 AM
ESTRICH VS. KINSLEY [John J. Miller]
Today's Washington Examiner is a must-read. The editorial pages publish a brutal exchange between Susan Estrich and Michael Kinsley, as well as some withering commentary from Charlotte Allen.
The story begins on Valentine's Day, when Estrich sent a hysterical screed on "fighting blatant sex discrimination at The Los Angeles Times" (where Kinsley is now an editor) to a group of her email buddies. In an exclusive to the Examiner, Kinsley fires back. And Allen, an LAT contributor who is also a target of Estrich's wrath, unloads as well. (The Examiner excerpts from Allen's blog at the Independent Women's Forum.)
This is fun stuff, not least because Estrich comes off looking so ridiculous.
Posted at 06:38 AM
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
RE: RE: RE: HOLD THE OUTRAGE [Jonah Goldberg]
I think Shannen makes a good point. As he notes there are two cliches that Dean is buying into, the first is that the Republicans are lilly-white, the second is that waiters and busboys are automatically black and Hispanic. There's obviously truth to both, at least in Washington DC where hotel staffs are generally black and Hispanic. But they aren't everywhere. As for who should be outraged and why, I'll leave that up to people who can muster outrage over such things.
However, I do think that once again Dean is demonstrating how much of a blue-state limousine liberal he is. This strikes me as the sort of comment Democrats routinely mocked Republicans for.
Indeed, he is essentially a country club Republican who simply believes in taxing the rich, affirmative action and state-run healthcare. He even comes from a wealthy Park Avenue Republican family. And remember how he talked about the South during the primaries -- prompting John Edwards' most effective moment of his entire campaign when he smacked Dean for his northeastern liberal arrogance. Culturally, Dean is a Democratic version of what Democrats most derided about Poppa Bush (actually, so was John Kerry). That's not what the Democratic Party needs to change its image. He may learn as he goes, but he's got a lot of learning to do.
Posted at 06:08 PM
RE: RE: HOLD THE OUTRAGE [Shannen Coffin]
Ramesh, a reader points out something I didn't bother to look at. Both Republicans calling for the apology are prominent black leaders, JC Watts and Lt. Gov. Steele. So they fall within justifiable outrage class. It is certainly well within their province to take umbrage at this sort of stereotype, whatever the reaction from the rank and file Republican party.
Posted at 06:06 PM
RE: HOLD THE OUTRAGE [Shannen Coffin]
Wait a minute, Ramesh. You are no doubt correct that Dean's comments were hyperbole and made to make a somewhat comical point. But they are based on a fairly stereotypical premise that blacks are likely to be found washing dishes and bussing tables. If a Republican had come close to making this sort of comment, he'd be slaughtered. I'm not sure whether it was a planned line or not -- given that Dean's best line on the stump was exposed as a Carvilleism during the summer, it's hard to tell. But it is clearly indicative of a double standard here. That said, Republicans calling for an apology here is absurd. If an apology is owed, it is owed to the black community, who can speak for themselves as to whether they are offended.
Posted at 05:49 PM
SYRIA'S FEELING THE HEAT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 05:44 PM
YUP [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 05:33 PM
PRESIDENTIAL IMAGES [Steve Hayward]
I've been out and about all day and missing all the Corner fun with the oxymoronic Jimmy Carter attack submarine. But I can't let pass Derb's mention of LBJ's famous appendectomy scar, which prompted Dick Gregory to comment: Lucky for America that LBJ didn't have hemhorroid surgery.
Posted at 05:25 PM
ARLEN SPECTER [K. J. Lopez]
has Hodgkin’s disease. I wish him well in this fight.
Posted at 05:17 PM
HOLD THE OUTRAGE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
As Eric Pfeiffer notes over at our new "Beltway Buzz" feature, two Republicans are calling on Howard Dean to apologize for saying that the GOP couldn't fill a hotel ballroom with "people of color" unless they brought in the hotel staff. Let me quote the complaint: "In his comments to the Democratic Black Caucus, Dean equates African-Americans who support Republicans to 'hired help.' This kind of backward thinking reminds us of a horrible time in history when blacks were only seen as servants." Give me a break. Dean is saying, hyperbolically, that there aren't many blacks or other nonwhites in the Republican party. He's right. I've been to many, many Republican dinners where most nonwhites present have been serving the food. (Or giving the keynote.) If Republicans are bothered when people make that observation, they should try to make it less true.
Posted at 05:15 PM
OKAY ALREADY [Jonah Goldberg]
More email like this keeps pouring in:
Posted at 05:15 PM
A MEASLEY $10 [Jack Fowler]
That’s all it will take to make a huge difference for juniors at your old high school. For that unassuming sawbuck you could send your alma mater a gift copy of Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth About America’s Top Schools--the nation’s premier college guide, giving mega-detailed information (from a distinctly conservative perspective!) of 125 top institutions. For the price of a bad movie and a bag of greasy popcorn you can help scores upon scores of kids avoid making bad decisions (going to colleges that are liberal indoctrination camps). For a roll of quarters you can introduce these kids to solid, traditional schools (yes, there are a bunch of them out there!) which don’t graduate left-wing flying monkeys. These kids are desperate for a speck of your generosity! Help them by getting them Choosing the Right College, here.
Posted at 05:14 PM
CHURCHILL AND BROOKHISER [Jonah Goldberg]
A very nice column, though it's not clear to me where Rick comes out in the end. If I read him right, Rick's in the "no big loss" if Churchill gets the boot column.
If so, I welcome him to the fold.
Posted at 05:09 PM
TKS [K. J. Lopez]
Jim Geraghty is talking blogs, Turkey, CBS (sorry, didn't mean to be redundant) & more.
Posted at 04:55 PM
BELTWAY BUZZ [K. J. Lopez]
Eric Pfeiffer's watching Dean, Greenspan, and more.
Posted at 04:54 PM
WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO [K. J. Lopez]
George Michael is is singing his swan song, in a careless whisper (sorry).
The big issues here in The Corner.
Posted at 04:52 PM
BLOOD, SWEAT & DOCTORED FOOTNOTES [K. J. Lopez]
Rick Brookhiser on Ward Churchill.
Posted at 04:49 PM
SAM FRANCIS [Jack Fowler]
Posted at 04:27 PM
LYNNE STEWART [K. J. Lopez]
It was while talking about breaking news, so I will give Judy Woodruff the benefit of the doubt, but she just described Lynne Stewart as only "a controversial civil-rights attorney." Maybe she meant to say "convicted."
Posted at 04:26 PM
KUDOS [K. J. Lopez]
Offline, the WSJ has printed a good number of criticisms of their Eason Jordan “kerfuffle” editorial in their letters section today. I think they were off, but so did a whole lot of their readers, evidently, and their letters page reflects that.
Posted at 04:24 PM
MAYAGUEZ INCIDENT [John Derbyshire]
Several readers did not know about the Mayaguez Incident. It's worth knowing about. Not really the Ford admin's finest hour (I'm not sure they HAD a finest hour), but good forceful action by a US president against very evil people determined to insult and harm us, and a fine disciplined showing by the US armed forces under difficult circumstances, and at a time when their prestige was at its nadir. At the very least we should remember with honor and gratitude the 91 US casualties. Here is a link with the full story.
Posted at 04:13 PM
STAYING ON MESSAGE [Jonathan H. Adler]
It seems Senator Reid and PFAW's Ralph Neas are singing from the same hymn book on judicial nominations. The only question is who wrote the words.
Posted at 03:39 PM
BAINBRIDGE'S QUESTIONS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
1) "Would we achieve significant actuarial improvements in the health of the Social Security system by (a) changing the method by which the benefits is calculated from being based on wages to one based on prices . . . and (b) increasing the retirement age?" The answers are yes and yes. I gather that you'd have to raise the retirement age pretty high to attain the same improvements that a shift to price indexing would yield.
2) "If we can achieve significant savings and ensure the health of the system with the changes mentioned in # 1, is there a non-ideological reason for introducing private accounts? Even proponents of private accounts concede that the transition costs will require trillions of dollars of government borrowing. Do we conservatives really want revenge on FDR and the New Deal at that price? Personally, speaking as a small government fiscal conservative kind of guy, I'd give up personal accounts if any money thereby saved was spent on deficit reduction or, better yet, an income tax rate cut."
My answer would be: It depends on what you mean by "ideological." I suggested two possible justifications for personal accounts in my previous post: the "lockbox" justification and the softening-the-blow justification. The lockbox justification depends on some assumptions about government. A third argument that I think could be made--that it is a good thing for various reasons to see to it that almost everyone owns some capital--could also be seen as "ideological," especially to the extent that one of the reasons it's a good thing is that it might make the public more tolerant of sound economic policies. Even if it is an "ideological" reason, that doesn't mean that it's not a good reason (or set of reasons).
I would add that people like Bainbridge might want to think of personal accounts as a kind of payroll tax cut--a tax cut made conditional on the money being invested in certain ways, to be sure, but still a decision by the federal government to let people retain ownership of their money.
3) "Why aren't conservatives talking about other entitlement programs, such as Medicare, which reportedly is scheduled to go broke long before Social Security does?" Beats me. I suspect that the answer is that a reform of Social Security that reduces its future costs looks more achievable than a reform of Medicare. If it is true that Social Security reform will yield an electorate more disposed to such policies as a reform of Medicare, then it certainly makes sense to tackle Social Security first. That could be either because of the investor-class theory or because Social Security reform had demonstrated that entitlements can be reined in without destroying whoever proposed it.
Posted at 03:18 PM
NESTOR AND NEST EGGS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Robert Samuelson argues that the Supreme Court case of Flemming v. Nestor “demolishes” Bush’s case for personal accounts. The Court held in that case that a claim on future benefits isn’t property. People don’t own their Social Security benefits. Congress can cut them at any time. Therefore, reasons Samuelson, it is not accurate to say that personal accounts merely make the government pay earlier for costs that it would have to pay eventually. It doesn’t have to pay those benefits at all.
There is substantial truth to what Samuelson is saying. The unfunded promises of Social Security aren’t exactly debts--which is why most reformers talk about them as “implicit debts” rather than explicit debts. Maybe Samuelson would say that even the modifier leaves the phrase too strong (although those promises aren’t nothing). If so, then presumably it’s wrong to talk about future benefit “cuts” as well--those future benefits don’t exist yet and aren’t obligations of the government. These terminological changes would, I think, suit Samuelson just fine. I gather that he wants to solve Social Security’s fiscal problem largely by paying less to senior citizens--today’s and tomorrow’s.
But most reformers are talking about a package deal that includes both personal accounts and a cost-saving change in the way benefits are calculated. Obviously the package doesn’t assume that future benefits are set in concrete. The assumptions rather are 1) that there is no free lunch: the growth of benefits has to be moderated and 2) that personal accounts will soften the blow for tomorrow’s retirees. The personal accounts don’t just shift costs from the future to the present. They’re part of a deal that reduces those costs while shifting some of them.
One of the arguments for personal accounts is that they are a way of pre-funding retirements. Precisely because the accounts would be the account-holders’ property, it would be more difficult for the government to divert this funding to pay for other government operations the way they have diverted the Social Security surplus. The accounts would function as secure lockboxes. Flemming v. Nestor strengthens that argument for the accounts--which is why proponents of personal accounts have been far more likely to bring up that case than opponents have over the last ten years.
Posted at 03:06 PM
THE ROAD TO CLONE-AND-KILL IN MASSACHUSETTS [K. J. Lopez]
The state senate today has been holding hearings on the embyronic-stem-cell research/cloning bill Romney opposes. The Catholic Conference there appeared in opposition to the bill--they'd make a good coalition with Romney on this, even with Romney's frozen-embryo exception, because if they won this battle they'd at least ban cloning new embryos in Mass.--which wouldn't be a bad start.
Posted at 02:56 PM
"GENUINE CONSERVATIVES" AND THE COURTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I think this argument is sort of the Brezhnev doctrine of judicial liberals: We get to keep all our old liberal precedents. I think I first heard this line about 15 years ago, when NR editorialized in response that liberals should understand that we can't go back to the good old days when you couldn't turn back the clock.
Posted at 02:44 PM
SEN. CORNYN ON REID AND JUDGES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Cornyn's office responds to Reid's comments, about which I blogged yesterday.
Posted at 02:38 PM
"REAL" JUDICIAL CONSERVATIVES [Jonathan H. Adler]
Justices Scalia and Thomas aren't "real" conservatives, you see. That title belongs to the likes of Justice O'Connor and Yale Law Prof Bruce "I prefer constitutional moments to Article V Amendments" Ackerman. David Wagner at Ninomania has more.
Posted at 02:36 PM
DRINK COFFEE [Jonathan H. Adler]
So says Eugene Volokh.
Posted at 02:30 PM
CRUSHED ICE [Jonathan H. Adler]
This year's NHL hockey season is over before it ever began. Today the NHL announced what many of us expected (and feared): The remainder of the season will be officially canceled.
Posted at 02:29 PM
KYOTO IN FORCE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The United Nations global warming treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol enters into force today. The United States, while still a party to it, has not ratified Kyoto and so is not bound by its commitments. As it happens, many of the countries that have ratified Kyoto seem to not be bound by it either, as they are failing to meet their emission targets (see, e.g., here). Today's Post reports "With the United States on the sidelines, the Kyoto treaty could end up as ineffectual as the post-World War I League of Nations." One can only hope.
Posted at 02:28 PM
"AT THE EARTH'S CORE" [Jonah Goldberg]
The consensus is that I was thinking of that movie, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs series.
Posted at 02:12 PM
BAINBRIDGE WANTS ANSWERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sorry, going for bad A Few Good Men reference. Anyway, this cries out for Ramesh.
Posted at 02:07 PM
ROCK-BORING [Jonah Goldberg]
I could have sworn there was such a machine in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Maybe in one of the remakes? And I remember Crack in the World. It scared the dickens out of me as a kid. Anyway, the email:
First, Jonah, there is no earth-boring machine in Journey to the Center of the Earth...James Mason and Pat Boone and Alrene Dahl (like the characters in Verne's novel) simply folow the trail of an earlier explorer through a series of caves associated with a volcano in Iceland.
Posted at 01:43 PM
JAPAN [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't want to relaunch last night's thread on Japan, but this seems fair closing comment:
Jonah, A thread has run through the posts re nukes and Japan that I find incredible. Starting with the unsually sound Krauthammer, everyone commenting on this issue starts from the assumption that we can tell Japan what to do, or that we somehow control what Japan can do.
Posted at 01:37 PM
LOOKING FOR FEMALE GUN OWNERS [K. J. Lopez]
A Fox News bleg (BLEG--Derb, do you have that [trademarked] yet?)
Posted at 01:27 PM
ROCK-BORING-NUKE-HUNTERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's what I've learned. A great many readers are concerned with waking up or otherwise disturbing slumbering beasts, morlocks and the like within the earth. Also, Winston Churchill was fascinated with the idea of a trench-digging tank of some kind. A few folks say we're working on this sort of thing on the QT (nudge, nudge, wink-wink). As for the technical reasons we probably can't do it, these emails are representative:
Jonah, I've emailed you before about this, but your post evokes the previous question. We live on a vast blob of molten rock, gazillions of degrees hot, covered with a cooled crust. I'm imagining chocolate pudding that's been on the table for a half hour. Yet, I say YET, we have an energy shortage. I figure all of those UFO sightings are aliens who fly by for a big laugh. I posed this thought to my brainy petroleum engineer little brother and he just got annoyed. Lectured me for a bit about "what it's like down there". Turns out it is pretty weird. Natural gas is sometimes in liquid state on account of heat and pressure. Solid rock is not as solid as you'd think, and other silly excuses. Still, call me crazy but this sounds like something that Halliburton should be all over.
Posted at 01:20 PM
SPECTER WATCH [K. J. Lopez]
Senator Specter is back doing Senate business and pushing for expanded federal embyronic-stem-cell research (free modern-day Galileos!), co-sponsoring a bill with Tom Harkin.
Adult stem cells anyone? Anyone?
Posted at 12:49 PM
"BLOG" [K. J. Lopez]
Senator Cornyn's office tells me he was the first senator to use the word "blog" on the Senate floor, this morning: “The news media is of course the main way people get information about government. The media pushes government entities, and elected officials and bureaucrats and agencies to release information that the people have a right to know, occasionally exposing waste, fraud and abuse. And hopefully, more often than that, letting the American people know what a good job their public officials are doing. But we’ve also seen in recent years the expansion of other outlets for sharing information outside of the mainstream media – to online communities, discussion groups, and blogs. I believe all these outlets can and do contribute to the health of our political democracy.”
Posted at 12:38 PM
RE: CARTER SUB [K. J. Lopez]
Interesting points from a Navy guy:
*Surprisingly, the name of the ship Carter is replacing, the USS Parche (SSN 683), hasn't been mentioned. Parche is the most decorated ship (I think) in the U.S. Navy, certainly the most decorated submarine. Parche was decommissioned a couple of months ago at the Bremerton (WA) Naval Shipyard and is on her way to becoming razor blades. She earned nine Presidential Unit Citations - not awarded lightly. Go here or here.
Posted at 12:27 PM
USS HILLARY [K. J. Lopez]
There is one--sorta. See the description of Weapons of Choice on Amazon:
At the start of Australian author Birmingham's stellar debut novel, a United Nations battle group, clustered around the U.S.S. Hillary Clinton (named after "the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States"), is tasked in the year 2021 with stopping ethnic cleansing by an Islamist regime in Indonesia. When an experiment goes horribly wrong on a special ship doing research on wormholes, most of the battle group is deposited in the middle of the U.S. fleet on its way to Midway in 1942. The WWII carriers and supporting vessels attack a Japanese Self-Defense Force ship, triggering devastating computer-operated defensive fire from the 21st-century fleet. While the action sequences are outstanding, this book really shines in depicting the cultural shock that both navies experience. The Clinton group reflects a multicultural society that finds the racist and sexist attitudes of 1942 America almost as repugnant as those of the Axis powers, while the mere thought of non-whites and women not just serving in uniform but holding command drives many Allied officers and civilian officials apoplectic. The author also subtly shows the ways in which 20-plus years of the War on Terrorism have changed our attitudes. Unlike many alternate histories, the novel avoids the wish-fulfillment aspect inherent in the genre. This is the first of what should be a hugely (and deservedly) successful series.
Posted at 12:22 PM
THE BIKE PATH LEFT RETURNS [Jonah Goldberg ]
My latest column on Howard Dean.
Posted at 12:11 PM
FREE BOOKS! [Jack Fowler]
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Posted at 12:08 PM
ROCK-BORING-NUKE-HUNTERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, in the grand spirit of airborne-laser-volcano-lancing, I would like to ask why we don't have really cool underground drilling vehicles -- a la Journey to the Center of the Earth or (for younger readers) the third Matrix movie. We're currently researching ground penetrating nuclear weapons because our enemies have learned to bury their nuclear facilities deep, deep underground. Well, why can't we have a really cool drill-tipped winebago that can tunnel underground and come up right in the middle of the floor of the nuke labs? Special armored tanks and troop carriers could follow behind.
I suspect the answer is quite simple. Rocks are too hard. But I think this is a cop-out for such a can-do people.
Posted at 12:02 PM
PRIDE OF THE DEPTHS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
As a proud alumnus of the General Dynamics - Electric Boat nuclear submarine yard, I can guarantee that they will deliver one of, if not THE most absolutely sophisticated weapons platforms on the planet today.
Posted at 11:57 AM
RE: NARAL ADS [K. J. Lopez]
NR Publisher Ed Capano tells me we turned down that NARAL ad the NYTimes mentions is running in The Weekly Standard (see Tim's NYTimes post). As Ed puts it, "we hunger for advertising, but we’re not that hungry."
Posted at 11:57 AM
JIMMY CONT’D [Jack Fowler]
My favorite attack submarine, largely because its naming upset left-wing Catholics, is the USS City of Corpus Christi .
Posted at 11:42 AM
KILLER RABBIT PICS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Here and here.
Posted at 11:24 AM
THE KILLER RABBIT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Several of our younger readers have asked what the killer rabbit story was. Here is a useful account.
Posted at 10:44 AM
JIMMY CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
From the Donovan:
Posted at 10:31 AM
CURIOUS [K. J. Lopez]
From the NYTimes on Larry Summers's faculty meeting yesterday: "Most speakers took aim at Dr. Summers for what they described as an autocratic management style that has stifled the open debate that is at the core of the university's values. While their comments were respectful, they were forceful and were greeted by strong applause."
Isn't open debate what he was doing when he brought the men-and-women issue up in the first place?
Posted at 10:11 AM
PRESIDENTIAL IMAGES [John Derbyshire]
It's sad, and a bit unfair, that our presidents tend to get remembered mostly for odd incidents, of the kind that could happen to anyone.
Jimmy Carter --- Fighting off that rabbit
Gerry Ford --- Bumping his head while leaving the presidential helicopter
LBJ --- lifting up that beagle by its ears
Bill Clinton --- The meaning of "is"
Personally, I remember Ford for the Mayaguez incident, Carter for his stunned surprise on figuring out that Leonid Brezhnev had been telling him whoppers, Clinton for the Elias Gonzalez kidnapping. LBJ? Er, showing his appendectomy scar...
Posted at 10:05 AM
GOOD STUFF [K. J. Lopez ]
Walter Reed volunteers tell me that Air Tran Airways has donated airplane tickets to wounded soldiers and their families who need to fly to and from the military hospitals. They have given the tickets to the Helping Our Heroes Foundation, which is getting the word out and arranging travel. Pass it on.
Posted at 10:04 AM
JIMMY'S CREW [Jonah Goldberg]
You do have to feel sorry for the crew of the USS Jimmy Carter. I'm sure they'll be very well qualified and all that. But as several readers have noted, they're just never going to hear the end of it. Here's one email:
Posted at 09:58 AM
4 WORD ANSWER: NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE, BABY [Jonah Goldberg]
From the Financial Times:
Murdoch executives to map out net vision By Aline van Duyn in New York and Tim Burt in London
Posted at 09:55 AM
SETTING DERB STRAIGHT ON THE CATECHISM [John Derbyshire]
A reader offers some theological education:
"Dear Mr. Derbyshire---Fascinating column today. I recall my own confusion when I read your column in National Review, so I was grateful for your piece today in that it clarified your main point. Thank you. I have one point of disagreement with something you wrote today, however, involving the following paragraph: 'I can't even agree with the Roman Catholic church that homosexuals are "called to chastity." While I have nothing against chastity per se - I think it can be an honorable choice for a person to make in some circumstances, and would even go so far as to say that I believe the very low status of chastity in popular culture is regrettable - it seems to me arrogant and unkind to tell people that they are "called to chastity" if they do not hear the call themselves.'
"From the viewpoint of faith, or belief in the teaching of the Roman Catholic church, your assertion of perceived arrogance and unkindness misses the point. Using your own example of an arsonist, I hardly think you or I would find it arrogant or unkind to tell people they are 'called to not burn down your neighbor's house.' Likewise, the church views one's engagement in homosexual acts (or any sexual activity outside the sacrament of marriage) as damaging to the person's soul, a risk that endangers their eternal life with God in heaven. And furthermore, the church teaches that the meaning of our very existence is to spend eternity with God in heaven (from the old Baltimore catechism: Why did God make us? He made us to know Him, love Him and serve Him so that we may be happy with Him forever in heaven). You obviously disagree with the church's point on this matter; fine. However, it seems a bit off the mark to use terms such as arrogant or unkind, when in reality the pure motivation is mercy and kindness.
"This particular line of reasoning of yours (in regard to homosexual sex and the church) seems to be a starting point for general agreement with Andrew Sullivan and his long-running jihad against the church's teachings on sexual morality. That battle, ultimately, is a losing one."
Posted at 09:53 AM
RE: CARTER [K. J. Lopez]
A reader points out:
According to Jim Dunnigan's "How to Make War" web site the USS Jimmy Carter will be the designated SPY SUBMARINE for the US Fleet, taking the place of the USS Narwhal and others. That means that Jimmy Carter's namesake will creeping about violating other nations sovereignty and SPYING on them! Considering Mr. Carter's credentials, I believe that this is the cruelest and best revenge possible by the Navy on one of its alumni.
Posted at 09:51 AM
USS JIMMAH [Jonah Goldberg]
My buddy Scott asks:
"Will the U.S.S. Jimmy Carter be hammered together by weekend volunteers?"
Posted at 09:42 AM
USS JIMMAH [Jonah Goldberg]
Sooooo many emails like this:
The USS Jimmy Carter?!? My mind is starting to explode with all of the comedic possibilities. What, will the sub break down in the middle of the ocean on its way to rescue operations? Will everyone on the sub have to wear sweaters? Instead of a morale officer, will the boat feature a "malaise official?" What if the sub comes across a rabbit in the water? Will there be a "moral equivalent to combat operations" on this sub? These jokes just write themselves.
Posted at 09:41 AM
YES, YES, YES [K. J. Lopez]
I've heard all the killer rabbit jokes this morning re: Carter.
Posted at 09:28 AM
RE: CARTER [K. J. Lopez]
Yes, I, too, shudder to think what we'll be naming after Clinton--(gulp--potentially both of them!).
Posted at 09:22 AM
THE USS JIMMY CARTER [Jonah Goldberg]
Yes, I've received the email. I saw Kathryn's post.
A couple things I want to know:
*Are they going to issue Warren Christopher Assault Rifles -- delicately designed to shoot the enemy only in the leg or arm?
Ensign: Tubes 1 and 3 loaded sir.
Skipper: Release the diplomats!
* If a Russian sub attacks undefended ships, will the USS Jimmy Carter immediately boycott the US-Russian softball game in Guam?
Posted at 09:19 AM
ABSTINENCE ED. KILLS [Tim Graham]
For social conservatives, there are two interesting pieces in the New York Times today. Reporter David Kirkpatrick, usually assigned to covering those strange alien beings known as conservatives, covers how any move to the center on abortion by Democrats "runs risks." (The Times would be slow to assert that doing a hip-shaking boogie on the pro-abortion extreme is a risky strategy.) No one in the story is a "liberal," but NARAL is running an ad in the "conservative" Weekly Standard. The more shocking article comes from candidate Nicholas Kristof, who is eager to assert that abstinence-only sex education is a death trap:
You see, for all the carnage in President Bush's budget, one program is being showered with additional cash - almost three times as much as it got in 2001. It's "abstinence only" sex education, and the best research suggests that it will cost far more lives than the Clinton administration's much more notorious sex scandal.
Posted at 09:18 AM
RE: HOME ALONE AT NEWSWEEK [K. J. Lopez]
To give ya even more of a taste of an alternative view to Newsweek's, here's the Q&A I did with Eberstadt a little while back. She really notes some disturbing facts, which, I'd think, even as difficult as it all is, most parents and prospective would want to know about.
Posted at 09:14 AM
IN MOST OTHER STATES, THIS WOULD RALLY ROMNEY SOME SUPPORT [K. J. Lopez ]
Ted Kennedy ripped Romney on cloning yesterday. Said Kennedy, according to the Boston Globe:
''Banning it or prohibiting it, making it illegal, would be a major mistake," Kennedy said in an interview with the Globe. ''It's a big opportunity. We are in the life science moment of research on this planet. This is the time, and now is the moment, and Massachusetts is the place."It’d be nice if some brave Dems in the statehouse would really take a look at the science—and the promise that alternatives to embryonic-stem-cell research and cloning and harvesting embryos hold, comparatively.
Posted at 09:10 AM
HOME ALONE AT NEWSWEEK [Stanley Kurtz]
Media bias, the red/blue divide, the culture war–call it what you will, it’s everywhere. Have a look at Newsweek’s cover story on “The Myth of the Perfect Mother.” The story conveys the latest feminist line, as told by former Newsweek stringer, Judith Warner, and Newsweek columnist, Anna Quindlen. Warner is hyping her new book, while Quindlen helpfully echoes Warner’s point. It wouldn’t have been difficult for Newsweek to juxtapose Warner’s story with a column by Mary Eberstadt, author of Home Alone America. But instead of presenting the reader with different points of view, Newsweek worked an in-house cheerleading session into a cover story. It says something (entirely unsurprising) that Newsweek’s in-house experts on the family would be like-minded feminists. We see the bias of America’s elite institutions clearly when someone like Lawrence Summers stumbles across it, and all hell breaks loose. But what’s really scary is that we don’t usually hear any fuss at all–precisely because the cultural left has a lock on both MSM and our universities.
So what about the substantive argument of Newsweek’s “Myth of the Perfect Mother” cover story? It’s the usual feminist line, cleverly packaged as empathy for the stressed out working mother. Working mothers are having a terribly tough time blending family and profession. But they shouldn’t blame themselves, says Judith Warner, they should blame society. The only solution to the family/work dilemma, claims Warner, is the European welfare state. Warner and her friends won’t be satisfied till they turn the United States into Sweden. Trouble is, Europe’s welfare state is on the verge of collapse, chiefly because no-one is having babies. And although Warner doesn’t mention it, Europe’s massive welfare state has gravely weakened its families.
Anna Quindlen is nostalgic for the days when our standards of mothering were less exacting–the days when children could roam their neighborhoods freely for hours without that implying maternal neglect. But as Mary Eberstadt shows in Home Alone America, the real reason children can’t run free anymore is that, with both parents at work, it’s no longer safe for kids to go out alone. Of course, we get only one side of that story from Newsweek.
Posted at 09:00 AM
SPECTER WATCH [K. J. Lopez ]
He was one of two senators who missed the Chertoff vote yesterday (Baucus of Montana was the other). Not a big deal, in one sense, since Chertoff was clearly going to be confirmed, though always good to be on record on the homeland-security chief. Word is Specter is sick with the flu and in Pennsylvania. So I wish the senator well.
Posted at 08:50 AM
AN ATTACK SUBMARINE? [K. J. Lopez]
Here's the "Day by Day" cartoon today.
Posted at 08:47 AM
AIR POLLUTION HARMS A FETUS? [K. J. Lopez]
How does NOW handle such a study?
Posted at 07:59 AM
IMMIGRATION AND ALCOHOL [K. J. Lopez]
I'm a fan of Senator John Cornyn on so many issues--immigration not being one of them. He tells the Washington Times, while talking about illegal immigration:
"In some respects, the closest analogy I can think of is Prohibition " Prohibition was passed, it was a law that did not enjoy the support of the masses, so people found a way to get around it by making gin in a bathtub or whatever, and so then we repealed that law and said 'OK, the best way to handle this is not to prohibit it but to regulate it,' " he said. "That seems to have worked reasonably well when it comes to alcohol consumption."
Posted at 07:50 AM
I'M JUVENILE [K. J. Lopez]
but I can't get over how ridiculous a the sound of a Jimmy Carter attack sub is. The enemy trembles.
Posted at 07:42 AM
ON THE RADIO [NRO Staff]
NRO Financial Columnist Stephen Moore will be on Bill Bennett's nationally syndicated radio show "Morning in America" today at 7:30 a.m. (Eastern).
Posted at 06:53 AM
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
DOGS PLAYING POKER [Jonah Goldberg]
NEW YORK (AP) _ A pair of paintings from the famed series depicting dogs playing poker fetched nearly $600,000 at auction Tuesday.
Posted at 09:26 PM
JAPAN NEEDS NUKES [Jonah Goldberg ]
A thorough meditation on same here.
Posted at 09:24 PM
MORE ... [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
This is in response to the Korean-American reader who wrote to you. As a Korean-American whose parents suffered under Japanese rule, I totally disagree with the previous person regarding Korea/China/Japan. Maybe you should get everyone to read Sharansky's book on democracy. China in 50 years will be a threat to Korea, both militarily and economically, unless it becomes a full democracy. China has already impacted Korea's economy by siphoning off a large chunk of foreign investments. Letting short-term outlook and past grievances affect your policy is a foolish view in my opinion.
Posted at 09:20 PM
JAPAN V. KOREA II [Jonah Goldberg]
Again: I so don't have a dog in this fight, but I find this stuff very interesting. Another reader -- with a Japanese first name -- chimes in:
Posted at 08:26 PM
JAPAN V. KOREA [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 07:30 PM
NYT IS (FAR) GONE [Tim Graham]
Clay Waters at MRC's TimesWatch notes that the New York Times somehow finds NRODT to be more deserving for extreme political classifications than terrorist carrier-pigeons and neo-Nazis:
Saturday's Metro Section sports a Michael Cooper feature on conservative disaffection with New York Gov. George Pataki, in a story headlined "Pataki Takes His Lumps, And They're From the Right." So far, so what? But turn the page to read further, and the "jump page" headline reads: "Pataki Takes His Lumps, From the (Far) Right." Meanwhile, another story on the front of Saturday's Metro section on radical leftist lawyer Lynne Stewart reads simply: "Regretting the Bravado, a Convicted Lawyer Examines Her Options."For another example of the Times' sloppy labeling, check the headline it slapped upon a Reuters dispatch from Germany Monday on a group of neo-Nazis marching in Dresden: "Rightists Mar Remembrance In Dresden." So neo-Nazis are merely "Rightists," while National Review is of the "(Far) Right"?
Posted at 06:41 PM
BOEHLERT ALERT [Tim Graham]
From the Pot Calling the Kettle Black Department: Is there a funnier sentence on the Web than Salon.com's Eric Boehlert writing "Guckert's brand of openly partisan journalism was often suspect"?
Posted at 06:41 PM
U.N. STILL COVERS SEVAN [K. J. Lopez]
Norm Coleman gave Kofi Annon an obvious action item today:
"Did Benon Sevan personally receive oil allocations from the Hussein regime? A review of the evidence will suggest that the answer to that question is 'yes,'" Coleman said.Get moving.
Posted at 06:11 PM
RE: SUPER-TERRIFIC-HAPPY-NUKES [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm not endorsing this email, nor am I condemning it. I just find it interesting:
I completely disagree with this reader: http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/05_02_13_corner-archive.asp#056273
Posted at 06:08 PM
REID ON FILIBUSTERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Harry Reid today said that the people President Bush just renominated for judgeships "have already been turned down in the Senate." He also said that there has "always been a 60-vote [threshold] for judges": "Go back decades and it's always been that way."
It's not true that the Senate has turned down these nominees. It has not voted them down. None of them were put to a vote and got less than 50. They just haven't been able to overcome filibusters.
And it's not true that it's "always" taken 60 votes to get through the Senate. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both got nominees confirmed with less than 60 votes.
Posted at 05:46 PM
WA GUBERNATORIAL CONTEST UPDATE [Stefan Sharkansky]
The next court hearing in the Washington gubernatorial election contest is scheduled for this Friday at 9am local time. Judge Bridges is expected to set a date for the actual trial, presumably for sometime in March. He is also asked to clarify his earlier rulings on the standards that the Republicans need to meet in order to have the election set aside. The Republicans assert that it is sufficient to show that the sum total of administrative irregularities and illegal votes makes it impossible to know who really won the election. The Democrats are pushing for the implausibly strict standard that the Republicans must show which gubernatorial candidate got each alleged illegal vote.
Posted at 05:33 PM
NOT EXACTLY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
On Feb. 1, Jim Geraghty commented, in his regular NRO space, on the Eason Jordan story. He mentioned that Rony Abovitz had alleged that Jordan had made the offensive remarks. Geraghty then quoted a blogger (GayPatriotWest): "Had [Rep. Barney] Frank not challenged [Jordan], the global elites there might have taken Jordan's words at face value, convinced that Americans were indiscriminately targeting journalists. Thanks to Barney Frank, world leaders assembled in Davos learned that there was no substance to such claims." After the quote, Geraghty echoed the sentiment: "Good job, Barney Frank."
Here's how the same passage reads in Roll Call today: "'Thanks to Barney Frank, world leaders assembled [at the World Economic Forum] in Davos learned that there was no substance to such claims,'" wrote Rony Abovitz of the National Review. 'Good job, Barney Frank.'"
So Roll Call has found two quotes written by different people, attached them together, and attributed them to another person who didn't write either quote and who does not, in fact, exist. (There is no "Rony Abovitz of the National Review.") That's going to be complicated for the newspaper to correct.
Posted at 05:16 PM
QUICK: STOP ME BEFORE I TAKE CHRIS ROCK TOO SERIOUSLY, TOO [K. J. Lopez ]
I am fond of this line, from a few months back (also a joke, I note):
As the father of a baby girl, Chris Rock discovered that his main job is giving her a healthy first impression of men.If there’s any truth in any of his jokes, I’m guessing he probably hopes his daughter doesn’t wind up at an abortion rally, either.
Posted at 04:51 PM
RE: WRIGHT'S RESPONSE [Jonah Goldberg]
By the way, I have to say that I'm impressed by Wright's response, but more by her willingness to respond. The merits of her original story can be debated of course. But I don't see how there's any downside for reporters like Wright to do this sort of thing. It's classy, it's somewhat disarming and it shows she listens to criticism. Oh, and since a couple of you asked, I did ask her if I could post it before I threw it up in the Corner.
Posted at 04:32 PM
RE: CAMPUS BIAS [Stanley Kurtz]
For those interested in that AEI symposium on campus bias, you can see a full video of the debate, and get a copy of the main written presentation here.
Posted at 04:30 PM
CHERTOFF BEING CONFIRMED NOW, BTW [K. J. Lopez]
Voting currently 96-0.
Posted at 04:29 PM
RE: HOUSE CIVILITY CAUCUS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The caucus is supposedly going to "elevate the discourse" on "policy" as well as "process." The Republican involved in setting up the caucus, Tim Johnson of Illinois, is practically owned by the National Education Association. That may be an uncivil thing to say, but it's true.
Posted at 04:29 PM
SUPER-TERRIFIC-HAPPY-NUKES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 04:27 PM
FAIR USE [Jonah Goldberg]
Kevin Drum pointed to this story at Outside the Beltway. The Tulsa World doesn't want bloggers to link to or excerpt in anyway its content. There's no way that can or should be legally enforceable.
Posted at 04:25 PM
PLAYING NICE [K. J. Lopez]
Two congressmen have formed a "civility" caucus. (Hug time!) How about just getting a few members of Congress (Barbara Boxer) some anger-management sessions with Jack Nicholson, instead?
Posted at 04:18 PM
NO, [K. J. Lopez]
there is no “it’s-a-small-world”-and-everyone-in-knows-someone-who-reads-The-Corner song, but there should be one.
Posted at 04:14 PM
RE: VALENTINES FOR TROOPS--I'M GLAD SOMEONE THINKS OF SUCH THINGS [K. J. Lopez ]
Cue to the “it’s-a-small-world”-and-everyone-in-knows-someone-who-reads-The-Corner song again; here's an e-mail I just received:
Posted at 04:10 PM
ROBIN WRIGHT RESPONDS [Jonah Goldberg]
I received this email from Robin Wright at the Washington Post in response to this earlier post:
Jonah - Someone forwarded your comments to me. Never hesitate to contact me directly. I'm always grateful for input, including tough criticism.
Posted at 04:07 PM
RE: TO-MAY-TOE/TO-MAH-TOE [K. J. Lopez]
Rachel Friedman has more on liberal Lynne Stewart love here.
Posted at 04:02 PM
P.S. [K. J. Lopez]
The difference between Bill Maher and Chris Rock, in case you were wondering about any inconsistency in me taking people seriously, is that Maher takes himself too seriously (the Jon Stewart club). As far as I know, Rock just considers himself a funny guy (though I've not done heavy research on the matter).
Posted at 03:57 PM
TO-MAY-TOE/TO-MAH-TOE [Jonah Goldberg ]
The National Lawyers Guild is calling for a "National Day of Outrage" over Lynne Stewart's well-earned conviction.
Okay, they call it a day of outrage. I call it "Day of drinking beer and eating buffalo wings while angry and bitter reds have conniptions on C-Span while I laugh real hard."
Theirs is easier to say, I admit.
Posted at 03:54 PM
ROCKING THE WRONG HOUSE [K. J. Lopez ]
I just got a press release from a pro-life group condemning Chris Rock and calling for him to be ditched from the Academy Awards for his abortion remark during one of his stand-up acts.
That's a mistake.
Many people e-mailed me yesterday with the Drudge link about abortion, presumably to blast him. But why would I?
First off, he was doing a joke routine—vulgar, inflammatory, and in terribly bad taste, but it was comedy, not a political treatise.
His joke was that he likes knowing which women are probably game for one-night stands. Better go to an abortion rally than a Bible study if that’s what you’re into. Actually, he has a true-enough point there.
As for him being delighted abortion is legal--thinking it’s “beautiful” (and yeah, it makes me shiver just hearing that, of course, regardless of the context): I have no idea what Chris Rock’s real views on the matter are. He couldn’t care less for all I know. (And I would not be screaming for his ouster as Oscar host if I found out he supported legal abortion.) But what I do know is that he was making a joke, not a political statement--that’s what he does. And to take Chris Rock too seriously here is probably a mistake. Especially when there are actually serious fish to fry when it comes to cultural battles.
(A little more on the Rock thing tomorrow on your favorite website, btw.)
Posted at 03:50 PM
RE: TOKYO NEEDS NUKES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a well-placed military research guy:
Jonah: Japan is classified as a "Virtual Nuclear State". They have developed a complete nuclear fuel cycle (including plutonium breeding and extraction) but have only refrained from developing nuclear weapons because of the cultural stigma involved. North Korea's antics over the last decade have been eroding this cultural taboo at an ever-increasing rate. Serious analysts of Japan's nuclear industry argue (including a very senior member of the National Security Council) that Japan could go nuclear within six weeks of deciding to do so.
Posted at 03:43 PM
DO CREDIT CARDS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
increase household debt? Todd Zywicki explores the question.
Posted at 03:22 PM
CAMPUS BIAS [Stanley Kurtz]
I just received an account from a very sharp reader on an important symposium held recently at the American Enterprise Institute on the problem of political bias on our college campuses. Here's his report:
On February 14, the American Enterprise Institute hosted a session on liberal bias in higher education. Daniel Klein went first and recounted the findings of his study of voter registration. The tally ranged from department to department (economics: Dems 3-1; anthro: Dems 30-1), but overall the discrepancy was more than 8-1 Democat to Repub. And the problem is worsening: the younger the faculty members are, the more Leftist they are. One interesting thing was that when Klein asked faculty about their attitudes toward different policies (such as tariffs on imports), the Republicans showed far greater viewpoint diversity than did the Democrats. Republicans were all over the board, while Democrats clustered at one end. So, within the Republican professorate one finds much wider latitude on political issues.
Posted at 03:15 PM
SEPARATION OF MARRIAGE AND STATE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
John Coleman tries to recruit St. Valentine to the cause. If it really is the case that "matters of character" are "matters that should precede governmental authority," as Coleman concludes, then I think his separationist conclusion certainly follows. I'm sure more people accept the premise than the conclusion, which is the reverse of the problem marriage traditionalists have.
Posted at 02:45 PM
RE: DOG SHOWS [K. J. Lopez]
Good to hear--I guess. I defer to Jonah on dogs. I only pay attention to them when they are near jumping on me and I can't ignore them.
Posted at 02:36 PM
REEDUCATING WOMEN IN COMMON SENSE [K. J. Lopez]
Meghan Gurdon had a very funny, smart Valentine's piece in the D.C. Examiner on chick-lit advice books:
And it's a measure of American womanhood's rejection of feminism's false promises that so many are unhappily groping their way back to a traditional understanding of virility with the help of an entire genre of mortifyingly-titled books.... "These books are a rip-off," scoffs my friend Colleen, who admits to having paged through a few. "Once you've read the title, you've read the book."More here.
Posted at 02:32 PM
WHO KILLED HARIRI? [Jonah Goldberg]
Tony at Across the Bay has more thoughts and more round-ups.
Posted at 02:32 PM
DOG SHOWS [Jonah Goldberg]
I've evolved a bit on the subject because I think the industry has. They're definitely more popular now than they were when I wrote that piece. The movie Best in Show probably helped, even though I thought it was a funny-but-flawed movie nowhere near as good as Waiting for Guffman. It seems like the anti-big-dog bias has eroded a bit. A bloodhound -- of all dogs! -- won the AKC championship not too long ago. I find this very positive news and I suspect the TV execs have put pressure on the industry (though I have zero proof of this). Anyway, I agree they're still very silly events, but I love watching them and, besides, the betting is always fun.
Posted at 02:27 PM
THREE DEALS [Jack Fowler]
We’re running three great deals on NR books. For once I’ll keep it short and sweet:
1) You get a free beautiful NR “Right Writer” pen when you buy a copy of Florence King’s side-splitting collection of curmudgeonliness, STET, Damnit! The Misanthrope’s Corner, 1991 to 2002 Order now, here.
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3) The critics rave about our kids books. Now you can get of them – volume two of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature, The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories, and Queen Zixi of Ix, or the Story of the Magic Cloak--for just $29.95! Order here.
Posted at 02:21 PM
WRIGHT'S 180 [Jonah Goldberg ]
On the night after the election Robin Wright seemed to have a different take on the Iraqi election. I guess someone changed her mind. Here's an excerpt from CNN's Larry King:
REP. JANE HARMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, Larry, I observed the first free elections in Chile, in Hungary, in Czechoslovakia, and the scenes are very similar. People in their Sunday best with the indelible ink on their fingers, smiling and laughing. But my question is, what will the scene be like a month from now?
I am truly worried about how we keep stability in the country. Remember, today we had 300,000 security troops, half ours and half theirs, and helicopter over-flights and a lockdown for three days. We actually had an intelligence success. This might have been our first. We predicted what would happen and we prevented it.
But over time now, the Iraqi security has to phase in. The face of America has to be reduced. And we have threats all over the region, especially in Iran, that we need to pay more attention to now. And Iran may be an unintended victor today, in the sense that now there will be a Shia majority in neighboring Iraq, as well. And we've been preoccupied there for so long that Iran has had a chance to build up its nuclear and missile capability without too much attention.
So I worry about a month from now and a year from now. I'd love to see these people dancing in the streets then, after two more successful elections at the end of the year. That's what the challenge is.
KING: Michael Weisskopf, do you share Jane Harman's concern?
WEISSKOPF: Yes. And I would add to that, that whenever we get too euphoric about Iraq, we end up paying the price big-time. And this has got to be seen with a certain perspective. And the perspective is that, while extraordinary numbers turned out, that this was an election which was orchestrated by our government and it was also supported by a ruling -- or at least a majority religious community, the Shia community. And they are capable of delivering many millions with a Friday prayer service in that direction.
So it's best to see this as an important event and look at it quickly through our rear-view mirror and see how it's going to look a month from now or many months from now.
WRIGHT: Well, I guess I share those concerns. But I'd also say that there are many in Iraq, including the senior cleric Ayatollah Sistani, who was said over and over again that they don't want to copy Iran's theocratic system, that, in fact, they want a secular constitution, in which Islam plays an important role, but that doesn't call for religious rule by the clerics.
And there's a tremendous difference between Arabs in Iraq and Persians in Iran. They've fought wars. They've been hostile to each other in the past. They continue to be political rivals. And, while they are brother in that they're both dominated by Shiite Muslim majorities, they have very different visions, different traditions, different nationalisms.
At the end of the day, when the two countries fought a war, Iraqi Shiites were loyal to Baghdad and did not move across the border into Iran. So I think there are tremendous differences between these two countries. And I frankly think that we are a country that has strong Judeo-Christian values in our Constitution -- reflected in our Constitution and that Iraq -- most Iraqis, anyway -- really want to see Islamic values reflected in their constitution, but that's different from having an Islamic rule.
Update: Wright responds here.
Posted at 02:20 PM
GONE TO THE DOGS [K. J. Lopez]
I'm not a dog person (or cats for that matter--before you think I'm on Rich's team in that fight), but I was stuck in a Westminster Dog Show ruckus by Madison Square Garden Sunday night. The dogs look ridiculous, and are treated like precious gems--it's a hairdresser contest, as Jonah wrote a few years back. (I do have to admit I would have never had any interest in the dog show anyway.) Anyway, I finally reread his piece, which is here and seems as relevant today as it was in 2000.
Posted at 02:17 PM
TOKYO NEEDS NUKES [Jonah Goldberg]
The recent developments in North Korea prompted me to dust-off (or virtually dust-off) this column from 2003 by Charles Krauthammer. Some of the details have changed but basically we've still got the same terrible hand we did in 2003 and as Krauthammer wrote then:
Let's give China a timetable for Japan's nuke acquisition and see if they can't get the North Koreans to play ball.
Posted at 02:00 PM
POLITICALLY INCORRECT [K. J. Lopez]
You won't agree with it all, but some interesting honesty (the first part, really) from Bill Maher on Larry King last night:
MAHER: Because he's Bush the resolute, the one people think is going to protect them. He's sold the story and they bought it. Like I said, you can't work backwards from our disdain for George Bush. I never liked this guy either, but I have to admit, he pulled off a pretty good election victory there in Iraq, and it could work. It could work. I think that was a huge moment for the Iraqi people. I don't think as so many liberal friends of mine are finding ways to dismiss that. Oh, anybody can have an election. They really didn't vote for anything. Who cares what they were voting for. The point is, it wasn't about voting. It was about them going outside their homes. It was hands across Iraq. It was showing each other, we're real people who want a real country. And these insurgents, they're not part of us. That was a huge moment, and... KING: People were knocking the election. MAHER: Oh, poo pooing it. Making it seem like it wasn't a big event. And it really was a big event. Now, of course, what it proves is that freedom is so powerful that it could even work when you've screwed everything up until the day they had the election, as much as you possibly could. I think the question is, does this absolve George Bush, even if it works in Iraq. Does this absolve George Bush of all the mistakes he's made leading up to it? Does it cab absolve Abu Ghraib Prison. Does it absolve freezing on 9/11. Does it absolve ignoring the warnings leading up to 9/11, all of his other mistakes. And also, does this administration get the fact that even if Iraq works, al Qaeda, which is, let's not forget, the real enemy, has morphed and evolved now into a sort of different kind of enemy. It's more of a lifestyle than it was before. And there's no denying that fighting the war in Iraq has energized the Jihadis. Those are the people we really have to fear, and really attacking us. Even if Iraq works, I would give him credit for it, does not necessarily make us safer and that's the issue.
Posted at 01:48 PM
DAD, THE ART CRITIC [Jonah Goldberg]
Poppa Goldberg has a fun piece at TCS on art and "the gates" in Central Park.
Posted at 01:46 PM
SUPREME CONFIDENCE [K. J. Lopez ]
MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish prosecutors are seeking a total of 222,000 years in prison and nearly $1.17 billion in fines for three suspects accused of aiding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.Considering their current approach to fighting the war on terror, maybe misplaced confidence?
Posted at 01:41 PM
NEW COOL STUFF [K. J. Lopez ]
Eric Pfeiffer, formerly of “The Hotline” starts up a new feature on NRO today: Beltway Buzz, soon to be an everything-you-want-to-know-about-D.C. daily, running blog feature.
I think you’ll like it. Go and bookmark here.
Posted at 01:40 PM
THE IRAQI ELECTIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
Patrick Ruffini has an excellent map illustrating why Robin Wright's Washington Post piece was off-base.
Posted at 01:29 PM
WESLEY WHO? [Allison Hayward]
Here are the most recent totals for public grants to primary election campaigns - paid under the Presidential Primary Matching Funds Act.
Who's in the lead? With a cumulative total to date of $7,615,360.39 in matching governmental funds . . . its Gen. Wesley Clark! Followed by John Edwards at $6,654.161.44, Joe Lieberman and $4,267,796.85, Richard Gephardt at $4,104,319.82, Dennis Kucinich at $3,291,962.59, and Lyndon LaRouche at $1,456,019.13.
These totals are subject to change, since each campaign must undergo a governmental audit, and after the audit campaigns may be ordered to repay some public funds.
It's a cliche but I'll use it anyway: Your tax dollars at work.
Posted at 12:49 PM
SYRIA [K. J. Lopez]
CNN is reporting that we're withdrawing our ambassador to Syria in response to the Hariri murder. My question: Should we even have one in the first place?
Posted at 12:37 PM
VALENTINES FOR TROOPS--I'M GLAD SOMEONE THINKS OF SUCH THINGS [K. J. Lopez ]
Neat little story, via an e-mail: “ as I was going to work this morning I hopped off the bus at the Pentagon Metro station and saw two women, in the rain (but under umbrellas), holding up posters. I wondered what protestors were doing...boy, was I wrong! Both women had Valentines Day posters (We love our troops! messages, complete with pink and red hearts). Very touching! It really brightened a grey, rainy day -- and I hope the Pentagon personnel enjoyed the Valentines even half as much as I did. And how gratifying to see the public support of our military.”
Posted at 12:28 PM
FLASHIE ALERT [John Derbyshire]
A new Flashman novel is coming out (though only in Britain so far).
Posted at 12:03 PM
DERBYSHIRE INDEX [John Derbyshire]
I proposed that someone make a daily posting of the cost of getting to Baghdad central from the airport, which last November the BBC reported being north of $5,000. Well, a person from Iraq, with intimate knowledge of the situation, send me the following very interesting email. I have removed all identifying information.
"John---...I have some input on ... your comments regarding the Derbyshire Index and the Baghdad airport road to the International Zone ("Green Zone" is un-PC since the sovereignty transfer).
"...I have been working on the counter-Improvised Explosive Device (IED effort). The difficulty of controlling the airport road has obviously been discussed more than once within our group.
"As a fan of the Big Mac Index [The Economist runs this one: it estimates the strength of currencies around the world by comparing the costs of a Big Mac in various capital cities--JD], your proposal intrigued me, but on further review, I don't think it can be made to work for the airport road. I'm not sure where you got your original figures from, but at a minimum, the math is wrong. As I recall, your figure came down to over $5,000 for the trip, which you then broke down to $340/mile. Given that the length of road in question is 10 Km/about 6 miles, something is wrong with the initial analysis (by the way, I've driven up and down the road at day and night, riding along on patrols specifically searching for IEDs).
"Besides, I have never believed ANY calculation of what any particular military operation costs. People tend to double count costs. For example, I believe that most calculations of how much our military presence in Iraq costs include all the costs of paying the troops. Why, I've never understood. After all, they have to be paid where ever they are. The real costs are those incurred through being in Iraq that would not be incurred from being somewhere else. Now....don't get me wrong, these costs are still considerable, they just aren't quite as stratospheric as some estimates. [This is a very good point--JD]
"But more important than figuring out the cost of going from the airport to the U.S. Embassy, is the nature of the attacks our forces are facing. The threat at first consisted of IEDs. We got very good at countering those and their use on that road dropped of significantly. That caused the terrorists to switch to suicide vehicle borne IEDs (VBIEDs, is the term of art), as a means of targeting moving vehicles on roads where they couldn't effectively plant regular IEDs. Now, the airport road is a very modern, very busy road. Given that the decision has been made not to close down the road, that automatically puts you at risk as long as the enemy has martyr wannabees and enough explosive devices. Our forces have countered by enforcing a standoff between civilian vehicles and our vehicles. This has reduced casualties and usually results in the VBIED detonating too far from our vehicles to cause damage/casualties. But......they then cause Iraqi civilian casualties.
"By the way, I believe that the sheer volume of civilian traffic in Baghdad is an important indicator of what is going on for the average Iraqi. It is easy to concentrate on just the attacks and forget that for the average Iraqi, life is going on. The roads are filled with people going about their daily lives, earning livings, visiting friends and relatives, etc.
"As our forces have adopted better procedures and have received better equipment, the casualties produced by each individual IED/VBIED have gone down. Obviously the problem has not been solved, but at least the trends are positive in that area."
Posted at 12:02 PM
SLAMMER TIME? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Judith Miller and Matt Cooper lost their appeal:
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a ruling against two reporters who could go to jail for refusing to divulge their sources to investigators probing the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name to the media.
Posted at 12:01 PM
THE OFFENDING JACKET [John Derbyshire]
It's not THAT bad.
Posted at 11:59 AM
HITCH IS A NEOCON [John Derbyshire]
An interesting debate between a guy who hates religion and a guy who hates America.
Posted at 11:57 AM
WHO KILLED HARIRI? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Belmont Club has a round-up of theories.
Posted at 11:51 AM
SNOPES CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I’ve been disappointed to discover that Snopes has a vague lefty bias, because I rely on them heavily to debunk or verify quirky stories among friends and family. Since I’ve discovered their slant, I read their reports – especially those with a political angle – much more carefully. You’ll note that Snopes begins its “debunking” of the brothel story by addressing the political angle, explaining that it had “struck a chord in many readers as an example of liberal morality and bureaucracy run amok”. I would say they go too far defending “liberal morality and bureaucracy”. I don’t claim that the brothel story is true, but I find Snopes’ debunking of it unconvincing.
Posted at 11:43 AM
RE: HERE WE GO AGAIN [K. J. Lopez]
The Washington-state effort reminds me how important it is Romney is facing down the cloning legislation currently proposed in Massachusetts. There's so much doublespeak it's hard to get anyone to pay attention, nevermind try to understand the depths of duplicity going on. He deserves support in his effort, even if his position isn't perfect. If he has his way, he'd stop cloning in that state--that's big, and a precedent maker.
Posted at 11:29 AM
AARP [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 11:24 AM
REIHAN SALAM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
thinks I should be executed.
Posted at 11:22 AM
CAMPUS PC [Stanley Kurtz]
If this report is accurate, this is one of the most egregious cases of campus political correctness I have ever heard of.
Posted at 11:16 AM
SNOPES [Jonah Goldberg]
Several readers have dissented from Snopes' conclusion that the German brothel story is untrue. Others have launched a broader attack on Snopes itself.
And point 2:
Dear Jonah, I have mixed feelings these days about Snopes.com (which you used Tuesday AM re the German brothel story). I think they're very accurate when it comes to non-political news, but they can no longer be trusted blindly on all issues. For example: Snopes has never revised their dismissal of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth charges re Kerry, despite my request that they balance their citations at http://www.snopescom/politics/kerry/swift.asp with pointers to the Swiftboat vets website (http://www.swiftvets.com/index.php) and to O'Neill's book Unfit for Command. Unwary readers reading Snopes' entry might well conclude that Kerry's stories about Vietnam never faced a serious challenge. If you can't trust Snopes all the time, what about About.com's Urban Legends website? The entry for Swift Boat Veterans also reveals a pro-Kerry bias: http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_swift_boat_veterans.htm although it does, at least, link to the Swiftvets, but not to the O'Neill book (but only after prompting from readers such as yours truly). I still refer to sites like these for non-political issues, but as these examples show, the major gatekeepers of fact vs fiction online have a very hard time keeping their political biases from coloring their selection of facts, links and treatments of issues. Blessings on you, the Fair Jessica, Lucy, Cosmo and (last but not least) the couch.
Posted at 11:13 AM
THE ARMCHAIR DOVE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Doug Kern goes after him.
Posted at 11:09 AM
THERE GOES MY ALMA MATER [Shannen Coffin]
K-Lo has an interesting, if not distressing, piece up on the main page about a letter to alumni from the President of Loyola University (New Orleans), Father Kevin William Wildes, S.J., defending the Catholic university's decision to allow the Vagina Monologues to run on campus. It's more of an embrace of the decision than a defense, actually. I'm an alumnus of the school, having graduated from the College of Business some 15 or so years ago. To say I was disheartened by Fr. Wildes' email "letter" would be an understatement.
I haven't seen the play, nor will I. But I have read enough about it -- passages devoted to statutory rape between a twenty-something woman and a 13 (now 16, given the initial outrage) year old girl -- to know that it has no place on a Catholic college campus. I had unfortunately deluded myself into thinking that my alma mater was immune from this sort of non-sense, which has infected a couple dozen other Catholic colleges and universities. But I was wrong. So cheers to Fr. Wildes, the new admininstrator of the University. He's succeeded in dumbing down an excellent educational institution in the name of political correctness.
Posted at 10:58 AM
HERE WE GO AGAIN [K. J. Lopez]
Wesley Smith reports this morning on another stealth-cloning effort, this time in Washington state. As we saw happen in New Jersey, proponents of cloning claim it bans cloning, it doesn the opposite, but the science all sounds so complicated few pay too much attention--including those who have to vote the legislation up or down. Hopefully Wes's piece will be the beginning of the end for the Washington effort.
Posted at 10:56 AM
"THE ENTIRE TRIAL WAS THIS ENDLESS CYCLE OF TESTIMONY, PUMP, TESTIMONY, PUMP" [K. J. Lopez ]
Isn't it just silly there has to be a law about such things--nursing moms getting off jury duty? Should just happen.
Sometimes the simplest things are made so oddly complicated.
Posted at 10:48 AM
RE: JONAH'S ON DRUDGE, ETC. [Jim Robbins]
I keep waiting for an MSM type to say dismissively, "Oh, you just read that in The Corner." Because we know they are out there.
Posted at 10:43 AM
PATRICK RUFFINI [Ramesh Ponnuru]
analyzes the Iraqi election results.
Posted at 10:34 AM
PERSONALIZING POLICY [Mark Krikorian ]
An illuminating story in Monday’s LA Times points to a meeting the president had in June with two refugees as the reason for increased refugee admissions. Now, the reporters may be wrong about the causation, but it rings true, highlighting a serious problem in the president’s (and many other people’s) decision-making on immigration, i.e., it is driven by little more than personal anecdotes and experiences. Anecdotes can, of course, be a useful marketing tool, but the measure being considered ought to be sound in its own right. In this instance, our refugee resettlement program is a mess, riddled with greed and political gimmicks, admitting the mediagenic while the truly desperate languish. More broadly, an immigration policy driven by anecdotes (“All the immigrants I know are hard workers,” “Look at all the immigrant entrepreneurs,” “Oh, the restaurants!”) results in unfortunate consequences no one expected because no one took the time to think it through.
Posted at 10:28 AM
COMPELLING INTEREST? [Mark Krikorian]
A great line from a presentation
Posted at 10:27 AM
RE: JEWISH IS THE NEW NAZI [Mark Krikorian]
John, you missed the best line from the story: “Yesterday, Sir Gerald Kaufman, a senior Labour MP who is also Jewish, said the alleged remarks could jeopardise the capital's bid to host the 2012 Olympics.” In fact, Red Ken’s leftist Jew-hatred almost certainly improves London’s prospects of getting the Olympics, given that event’s status as the sporting auxiliary of the UN.
Posted at 10:27 AM
EUREKA [Jonah Goldberg ]
Scientists have successfully measured Bush's big government tendencies.
Posted at 10:22 AM
NORTHWESTERN U. [Jonah Goldberg]
Yes, I'm still scheduled to speak there on Feb. 28. I know I'm having dinner with some students at 5:30 and then speaking at 7:30. I don't know exactly where this will all take place and I'm not sure whether it's open to the public. But these things usually are. When I know, you'll know. After-talk beers a possibility for NRO fans and students of legal drinking age.
Posted at 10:20 AM
SLAP! [Jonah Goldberg ]
An excellent whack at Ward Churchill and the affirmative action ethos which got him hired in the first place, from CU Law School prof Paul Campos (nod to Instapundit):
Posted at 09:13 AM
NR BRIT ISLES CRUISE SOLD OUT, WAIT LIST CREATED [Jack Fowler]
We warned you that by Valentine’s Day all cabins in our allotment for the NR 2005 British Isles Cruise would be sold out, and we were right. We’re happy as can be, but the sell-out is not good news to those of you who foot-dragged on making a reservation. But hope springs eternal: We’re working diligently to get more cabins from the cruise line, so we’re continuing to take new applications and place them on an official wait list.
To get on this wait list, go to www.nrcruise.com and complete the booking form on the "How to Book this cruise" section, then forward the application to The Cruise Authority. As staterooms become available, only those bookings for which we have received an application, and placed on a wait list, will have the opportunity to formally reserve a cabin. You will be contacted by The Cruise Authority if/when a cabin becomes available, and we will not book a stateroom nor charge a credit card until we have checked with you first. In other words, there’s still a chance to be part of this great trip, but not unless you finally get off your keister and send in that application!
Posted at 08:54 AM
I'M LOVIN' IT [K. J. Lopez]
NR trashes Pataki (cover, current issue), Pataki's numbers crash.
FEEL THE POWER. FEAR THE POWER.
Who wants to be our next cover? Any volunteers?
That, of course, is the Pataki piece you'd have to read if you subscribed, which you can do here.
Posted at 08:38 AM
GRAMMY PANDERING II [Tim Graham]
One of my musical pals pointed out to me that while the Clintons have three Grammy Awards, pop legend Brian Wilson just received his first one. (Ditto for Rod Stewart.) More on that here.
PS: Would it surprise you to know that other Spoken Word Grammy winners are Maya Angelou, George Carlin, and Al Franken?
Posted at 07:47 AM
READ TEACHOUT [Tim Graham]
If you've read E.J. Dionne today about the wonders of the late playwright Arthur Miller, you need to read Terry Teachout for an antidote.
Posted at 07:47 AM
"PROOF OF BRAIN ROT" [Tim Graham]
Slate's Jack Shafer says don't cry for Eason Jordan, and don't feel his pain exquisitely the way David Gergen does:
If Jordan ever harbored thoughts that U.S. forces had targeted journalists, a position that could be supported by the Kurtz story, then it was his duty as a newsman to pursue the story by assigning a CNN investigative team to it. If he did, I'd love to see the results. But it's fairly obvious that he didn't. Jordan's dereliction is less a mistake than it is proof of brain rot. The supreme editor of a news organization can't expect to make unsupportable inflammatory statements and maintain the respect of his truth-seeking troops at the same time. CNN did the right thing to show him the door. I would have done the same.
Posted at 07:46 AM
RE: BLOGGER HATERS [Andy McCarthy]
Maybe I am dense, but I don't get the blogger haters. The bloggers and talk radio and the cable talking heads, like the old media, can drive a story into our consciousness if they are determined enough, but they can't get a scalp if the facts don't warrant it. Let's say Jordan had said: "The troops did not adequately protect embedded reporters." That may or may not be true -- I have no idea. But it would not have been a big deal. If it were true, it would mainly be of interest to the media, not to their audience. If it were untrue, it would be yet another catty shot at military by CNN -- yawn. But a million bloggers blogging 24/7 could not have turned something so vanilla into a scandal, let alone a firing offense. Jordan went down because, once attention was raised, it turned out that what he said was bad and indefensible. We may only have heard about it because of the bloggers, but they are the conduit, not the cause.
And the story here is not the bloggers but the MSM's wilfull burying of the story even after it was undeniably a story. Even if you don't think Jordan should have been canned, what earthly good reason is there for people in the news reporting business not to call for disclosure of a tape in connection with something that had become a story even if the MSM didn't judge it to be a newsworthy at the start.
Imgaine listening to the MSM if the government were to say: "You press people really don't need to be here in the courtroom watching what actually happens at the trial. We'll decide what's important and let you know." How quickly do you figure CNN or the WSJ would be lecturing the planet on the "public's right to know"? How quickly would they be screaming for transcripts of even the most uneventful court proceedings? I bet PDQ.
Posted at 07:45 AM
CONCENTRATING THE MIND [K. J. Lopez]
David Brooks writes as an American in Europe today. Lots of interesting things--and surprising, actually about American pols abroad (Hillary being tough on the U.N...). And this observation, which I wish were true in more cases of American pols:
But I'd tell the marines that I didn't hear too many Europeans giving specific ideas on how to make Iraq a success. Instead, I heard too many speakers evading this current pivot point in history by giving airy-fairy speeches about their grand visions of the future architecture of distant multilateral arrangements.
Posted at 07:30 AM
WHAT'S THAT? [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's how today's Washington Post describes Hezbollah -- a little outfit I could have sworn we called a terrorist group until recently:
Lebanese government officials linked Hariri's killing to mounting international pressure on Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and to end its sponsorship of Hezbollah, an armed Shiite Muslim political movement that operates in the south.
Posted at 07:02 AM
THOSE GERMAN BROTHELS: TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE [Jonah Goldberg]
I can't remember when we posted the original story about women being forced into prostitution by the government, but it's not true apparently.
Posted at 06:42 AM
Monday, February 14, 2005
DODD [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader dissents:
Posted at 05:07 PM
RE: BLOGGER HATERS: PREDICTION [Jonah Goldberg]
For years those of us who defended Matt Drudge against his more unhinged critics would grind our teeth when people would say "Oh you heard that on Drudge" when they really meant "You found the link on Drudge." Obviously Drudge did real reporting. But as an Ur-blogger much of his stuff was merely links -- and that remains the case now. But by calling attention to a wire story he could move it to the top of the media chatter. I remember when Alec Baldwin issued a statement condemning some "Drudge story" when really all Matt did was link to an interview in (I believe) a German magazine.
I predict we'll hear a similar refrain more and more from the MSM. "Oh, you just heard that on a blog...." This isn't new (long before the pajamehedeen Krugman was calling Sullivan's site "too vile to read"), but I think it will get more intense.
Posted at 04:20 PM
NO GONDOLAS! [K. J. Lopez]
Venetian gondoliers, enraged by a ban on boating at night, have gone on strike - spoiling many a couple's dream of a Valentine's Day boat trip.
Posted at 04:02 PM
BLOGGER HATERS [Tim Graham]
Now that Geraghty's doing the NewsHour tonight, he can disabuse the idiots who want to caricature bloggers are pretend-journalists, like this questioner on the Howard Kurtz Washington Post chat today:
Bloggers are to journalism what "Entertaiment Tonight" is to television news -- nothing more than infotainment and gossip. Furthermore, someone who relies on bloggers for information (or newspaper columns) is performing the same quality fact-checking that led to situations such as Jayson Blair and Dan Rather's early retirement.
Posted at 04:01 PM
TRENT LOTT, EASON JORDAN, BLOGS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Me: Lots of folks have mentioned the first part, but not that many the second part. It's certainly true that if conservatives hadn't come out of the block very early -- almost immediately really -- to condemn Lott he probably wouldn't have stepped down as Majority leader. It's hard to think of a similar situation working out the same way on the left. That said, we should all keep in mind that Chris Dodd and Barney Frank really did stand-up for truth and justice in this whole Eason Jordan thing. I doubt this would have happened had they not. We should also remind people that the collection of scalps is not first and foremost the primary job of conservative journalists or bloggers. It's a by-product of what they do in a few specific circumstances.
Posted at 03:58 PM
THE NEW MATH [John Derbyshire]
...is all about -- guess what? -- "respect for human differences":
I am getting the impression (not just from this: I have two kids in public schools) that our public school systems would be more honest if they scrapped current subject headings and announced that from now on they were just going to teach "Respect for Human Differences" all day long.
Posted at 03:56 PM
ANTI-VALENTINE'S DAY [K. J. Lopez]
Jonah, I've been waiting for your "Every kiss begins with Kay." rant for days.
Posted at 03:54 PM
TO THE RACES [K. J. Lopez]
The president just renominated 20 blocked judges:
Court of Appeals:
Posted at 03:49 PM
BLASPHEMY [John Derbyshire]
For falling-off-the-chair-laughing news items, this one on Chris Rock deserves, well, some kind of award.
I am not such a fool as to offer an opinion on the content of Rock's remarks. Celebrity-hood (-dom, whatever) is practically the state religion of the modern West, and I am not about to blaspheme in public. And there are so many different kinds of political incorrectness in play here, you could get whiplash.
Rock's idea that ALL awards for any kind of art are bogus, however, deserves thought. Whether or not a certain thing is art, and if so, whether it is GOOD art, is, probably, a thing that only posterity can judge.
Have I ever watched the Oscars? Depends what you mean. All the way through? No. I've seen bits and pieces, sometimes 5 minutes or more, before fidgeting set in. It never occurred to me that the fidgets were anything to do with my, or their, sexual orientation, though. I am just a bit allergic to showbiz self-congratulation, that's all. These people do a pretty good job of entertaining us, but hey, they are darn well paid for it.
To expect us to be INTERESTED in them seems to me an expectation too far.
(I except Zhang Ziyi from these remarks.)
Posted at 03:44 PM
APOLOGIES [Jonah Goldberg]
If you sent me an email. The box filled up at 1,000 again while I was out attending to Valentine's Day related issues. I cleared away some of the white feathers.
BTW, am I the only one around here even remotely surprised there's been zero anti-Valentine's day posting around here?
Posted at 03:44 PM
WAIT, QUICK, NO CUPCAKES! PUT THE CARDS AWAY! [K. J. Lopez]
Where's the outrage today?
How can public schools celebrate "Valentine's Day" without explaining to impressionable youngsters who he was and how he became a saint -- before their teachers encourage them to create and distribute the very symbol of Valentine's sainthood?
Posted at 03:37 PM
JEWISH IS THE NEW NAZI [John Derbyshire]
According to "Red Ken" Livingstone.
Posted at 03:06 PM
FATIMA VISIONARY DIES [Jack Fowler]
Sister Lucia, who was one of three Portuguese children who witnessed visions of the Virgin Mary in Fatima in 1917, died yesterday at the age of 97 . No surprise her death came on the 13th – the day of the month when she and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco, had their visions from May through October in a small town some 70 miles from Lisbon (and named after the daughter of Mohammed – there must be something to that). Hers is a fascinating/frightening story – more of which can be learned about here and here. For those who take their knowledge via the idiot box, Warner Brother’s 1952 movie, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, is a decent popular take on what transpired for the kids (conservatives will love how they refused to bend in the face of nasty harassment by bureaucrats from Portugal’s anti-clerical government!). Rent the video. RIP good sister, as you no doubt will, and put in a good word for me!
Posted at 02:24 PM
SEMPER FI DEVIL DOGS [Jim Robbins]
My favorite anecdote from Saturday: One of the wounded Marines was in ICU, and was still feeling the effects of the anesthesia, having just come from surgery. A Lieutenant General stopped by to see how he was.
"How are you doing, Lance Corporal?" he said.
"Lance Corporal my a**," the semi-conscious Marine said, "I have enough time in to be a Corporal by now." The 3-star nodded, went off and made a phone call. Within the hour the young Marine had his corporal's stripes.
Let me add that when I was assigned to Quantico I often had the opportunity to buy rounds for the guys but toasting the Corps with these young men was a moving experience.
Posted at 02:23 PM
RE: STEM-CELL RESEARCH [Wesley J. Smith]
Remember, the pro human cloning side has been continually shifting the terms of the debate and changing definitions. Only 4 years ago, they were proclaiming loudly that ALL they wanted was access to leftover IVF embryos that were going to be tossed out anyway. As soon as Pres. Bush made his "compromise" funding decision, that story began to change. Soon, "therapeutic cloning" was touted as the key to curing Uncle Charlie's Parkinson's. When that didn't sell, advocates dropped the "C-word" and started calling it "somatic cell nuclear transfer for stem cells," being careful to continue to call the same procedure "cloning" when referencing using the technology to bring a baby into the world. Then, SCNT became simply embryonic stem cell research. Thus, Ron Reagan touted cloning at the Democrat Convention, but called it embryonic stem cell research. Now it is just stem cell research.
And now, they claim that SCNT does not make a human embryo. It just makes a bunch of cells.
This could be blown away in the flash of an eye, except the media is like a dancing partner following the lead of the biotech ideologues.
Posted at 01:16 PM
IT’S NEVER AN HONEST DEBATE [K. J. Lopez ]
An op-ed by two state senators in the Boston Globe yesterday is titled “Stem-cell research essential to Bay State.” No, they mean, they want embryos cloned and killed. That’s what this debate is about—in Boston and across the country (and then some). As I wrote Friday, Mitt Romney called his opponents’ bluff when he met them on frozen embryos. These exist already, we’ll use them, he said. But his opponents have no interest in working with him from there. Because that’s not what they really want. Seems pretty clear. Everyone supposedly wants “stem cell research,” but I’m (for instance) not opposed to stem-cell research, just a particular kind—on embryos. But you’d never know that listening to most of these folks, who often don't give the time of day to anything but embyronic-stem-cell research. That's not only misleading, overall, but a tragic shame.
And an uphill battle for those willing to take on the fight for clarity and the dignity of human life.
Posted at 12:41 PM
LEBANON BOMBING [Cliff May]
FDD Senior Fellow Walid Phares on the assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri:
“Rafiq Hariri was close to Syria in the 1990s; he distanced himself from Syria after the war in Iraq. Last summer, he resigned in protest of the continuing Syrian occupation of Lebanon. As a consequence, he was threatened by the Syrian Baathists. Hariri was close to the French and the more moderate Saudis, and was seeking rapprochement with the Lebanese Christians and Druze, and with the United States.
“Last fall a car bomb – almost certainly planted by Syrian intelligence agents in Lebanon -- missed one of his allies, a Druze former minister. In September 2004, the United States and France introduced UN Security Council Resolution 1559, calling for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Hariri supported the resolution. Media in Lebanon yesterday quoted French and Western sources warning the Syrians not to harm Hariri. Today, sources from the Lebanese opposition charge that the Syrian regime was behind the assassination.
“Other sources have said that Hariri endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It is known that Hezbollah, a close ally of Syria, has vowed to support the radical Jihadists against Israel, and against any settlement between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
“This assassination may trigger a significant confrontation between the Lebanese opposition and the Syrian military occupiers.”
Posted at 12:16 PM
BEST WISHES AND PRAYERS [K. J. Lopez]
to Tony Snow, who announced today on his radio show that he has colon cancer.
Posted at 12:14 PM
ENJOY THE GRAMMYS? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
You should have--you helped pay for them.
Posted at 11:59 AM
A TWO FREE NR KIDS BOOKS! [Jack Fowler]
You know the story, but it’s so good it’s worth repeating: anyone who sends $29.95, the cost of Volume Two of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature, will also receive, free and postpaid, The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories and Queen Zixi of Ix. All three can be ordered Order here.
Now this might get me suspended, but I’m swiping a copy of Volume Two for my good pal Nick Willey, power forward on the National Review Raptors, which is holding its own (8-5 record) in the Milford (CT) Boys “Rec” Basketball League. Nick is a stalwart dude, a great American, and a Rock of Gibraltar under the boards. He never complains and always gives his all – Nick, for all you do, this book’s for you!
Posted at 11:57 AM
HOW ABOUT “HE UPHOLDS THE LAW?” [K. J. Lopez ]
In an article on Saturday, the NYTimes suggests Bill Pryor will have a shot at getting a vote in the Senate. But, of course, Arlen Specter, as we have heard previously this week, makes his case based on the contention that Pryor has been moderate/progressive in his rulings.
How about just saying, “He upholds the law?” Because that’s the legitimate case for him.
Posted at 11:43 AM
KILLER BEACH BALLS [Jonah Goldberg]
Since I don't know when we'll be on this topic again, I should mention John Carpenter's Dark Star.
Posted at 11:38 AM
GREAT NEWS FOR "THE PRISONER" FANS [Jonah Goldberg ]
A large black ball, originally designed by Swedish scientists for use on Mars, could be the latest weapon in the war against burglars. Mortgage Services
Posted at 11:28 AM
GOOD KIDS, THE YOUNGER VARIETY [K. J. Lopez ]
Kudos to the students of Saint Rose of Lima School (Pre-K-8) in Washington Heights, N.Y. and the fourth graders at Deer Creek Prairie Vale Elementary school in Edmond, Oklahoma, for their cheery Valentine’s Day cards and thank yous to the troops. I brought them along with many NRO reader e-mails on Saturday.
Posted at 11:28 AM
RE: VALENTINES TO OUR TROOPS [K. J. Lopez ]
Blame any cheesiness on the homepage on me. And, feel free to e-mail with stories about your own heroes. I know so many of you reading—because you’ve told us—have sons and husbands and brothers, etc. fighting or who have fought.
Posted at 11:27 AM
THE TRIP TO WALTER REED [K. J. Lopez ]
On Saturday I was pretty sure I would not be able to write anything about the day, because I was—and remain—overwhelmed. If you know a war hero or war heroes intimately, you know what I mean. When you are among a group of them, you just are--to latch onto a cliché, albeit a true one--darn proud to be an American. And you feel pretty silly about the things you complain about on a given day. These guys have the usual crap life’s days can throw you—family spats, girl troubles—and then trying to figure out how to walk on two new legs. And maybe an arm on top of that. And maybe no sight. And sleepless nights of hellish nightmares. Even the littlest things: the sight of Marines who can’t finish a plate—because of months of not eating (maybe while in a coma, maybe while his mouth was shut closed), shrunken stomachs is heartbreaking. But they overcome—and sometimes go back. So many of the guys I talked to Saturday just wanted to get back to work. Captain David Rozelle went back to Iraq—after running a marathon and a few other business items.
Anyway, in that atmosphere, it’s actually kinda hard to even make the first approach—even as a journalist. All you want to do is say is “thank you” and let them be. Maybe talk about something fun, but not make them relive what happened. But these guys are great and natural, and so before too long, they ease you into it, make you comfortable. Making you evermore grateful for them (as if almost dying wasn’t enough).
By the end of the day—a few NR-types hung out with a few awesome Marines at Daily Grill in Georgetown (the restaurant was great, people eating at the restaurant were in awe) till the wee hours—I couldn’t not write a few words about these remarkable young men, since we have this forum here and all. You just can’t help wanting everyone to get to meet them in some way.
And as I said yesterday, having these guys in your memory bank does make you louder and angrier when you’re screaming at Democrats dribbling their talking points about Iraq. Don’t you ever tell these guys their effort was a waste. Can you imagine what that’s gotta be like to hear from members of Congress?
Posted at 11:26 AM
COULD’VE BEEN TERRI SCHIAVO? [K. J. Lopez ]
HUTCHINSON, Kan. - For 20 years, Sarah Scantlin has been mostly oblivious to the world around her — the victim of a drunken driver who struck her down as she walked to her car. Today, after a remarkable recovery, she can talk again.
Posted at 11:18 AM
AND TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION [K. J. Lopez]
No, we’re not starting a dating service. Though Jonah as Hitch (the Will Smith matchmaker, not Christopher)….hmmm….
Posted at 11:14 AM
LOGGING ON FOR LOVE [K. J. Lopez ]
Dr. Neil Clark Warren seems like a good guy with an interesting product in eharmony.com. He seems to—sorry, can’t help it—have his heart in it. Anyway, eharmony doesn’t seem to be your typical newspaper (or web, these days) meat-market personals. He’s got dating down to a science. Whether you want it/need it/or think it’s ridiculous on its face, it’s fascinating to read about (IMHO). I talked to him last week (he has a new book out) and here’s the Q&A to show for it. I’m not shilling (I'm agnostic), just picking his brain, but when David Frum reminds us a decent portion of the population may be popping Bittersweets today, you gotta wonder if Warren’s hit on something pretty cool. (Once you get beyond the glorified personals aspect, of course…)
Posted at 11:13 AM
RE: SMOKIN' [Rick Brookhiser]
Given our origins, there will always be X amount of puritanism in American life. When it lets go of sex, it migrates to something else.
Posted at 11:00 AM
ACKERMAN DOESN'T UNDERSTAND [Jonathan H. Adler]
Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman labels Justices Scalia and Thomas "neo-conservatives," and Stuart Buck explains why this is "inapt in every conceivable way. It's as if someone criticized the war in Iraq by deeming it an example of "original intent jurisprudence."
Posted at 10:57 AM
CONSERVATIVE FILM BLOG [Jonathan H. Adler]
The organizers of the Liberty Film Festival have launched a blog, Libertas, devoted to "conservative thought on film." Recent posts have discussed the controversy over "Million Dollar Baby," Hollywood's unsubtle hostility to red-state values, and Keanu Reeves' acting skills (or lack thereof). With the Oscars approaching, it's worth frequent visits.
Posted at 10:55 AM
BEN STEIN’S BIG PICTURE [K. J. Lopez ]
Check this out, from a parting-shot gossip column:
How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model?
Posted at 10:52 AM
TV [NRO Staff]
Barbara Comstock will be on Fox around 12:10p.m. talking Dr. Dean.
Posted at 10:50 AM
BAD TIMES FOR DEMS [K. J. Lopez ]
It's worse than I thought--worse than Howard Dean as DNC chair. From Roll Coll:
Sick and tired of losing, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee seems to have adopted a new and very basic recruiting tactic for the 2006 elections: Simply call the Republican Member you are hoping to beat and ask him who the best candidate would be to run against him.[bold mine]
Posted at 10:48 AM
EASONGATE AFTERMATH [Jonah Goldberg ]
Andrew McCarthy on the Wall Street Journal's defense of Jordan. Me on what it says about the left-blogs and the right.
Posted at 10:24 AM
"YOU'RE THE INSPIRATION" [Jonah Goldberg ]
Kathryn on that trip to Walter Reed.
Posted at 10:21 AM
RE: RED FLOWERS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader responds to that Reuters piece on Valentine's day in Saudi Arabia:
[Quoting Reuters:]"Florists say the move is part of an annual campaign by the committee -- whose members are known as 'mutawwaeen' or volunteers "
Posted at 09:54 AM
A DIFFERENT LOOK AT IRAN [Jonah Goldberg]
A very interesting review of "In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs" in yesterday's New York Times. Here's the opener:
IN the prosperous northern Tehran suburb of Elahiyeh, ladies who lunch visit a French-trained psychologist downtown (to talk of their adulteries, no doubt), while their teenage daughters (''matchsticks marinated in Chanel,'' in Christopher de Bellaigue's pungent words) get nose jobs, hang around the pizza parlor and perform oral sex on their boyfriends so they'll still technically be virgins when married off to their first cousins. Occasionally the ''morals police'' stop by in Land Cruisers to check handbags for condoms, but Elahiyeh honors the age-old Iranian principle of veiled surfaces and highly embroidered interiors. Indeed, when de Bellaigue and his Iranian wife invite one of the Ayatollah Khomeini's former hoodlums to lunch -- an Indian meal -- the man and his wife marvel over the apartment's interior design.
Posted at 09:47 AM
WRIGHT IS WRONG [Cliff May]
Kathryn, not only does the Wash Post’s Robin Wright cite Juan Cole as her expert, her analysis piece is schlock. It is nothing less than an attempt to bolster the spin that Bush’s policies are failing (even when they appear to be succeeding) and that “most of the neo-conservative assumptions about what would happen have proven false” – this from “analyst” Rami Khouri of the Beirut Daily Star, no doubt a keen observer of American politics.
Cole damages whatever reputation he has left further by saying that the new Iraqi government “will have very good relations with Iran. [Kurdish leader Jalal] Talabani is very close with Iran. The Kurdish victory reinforces this conclusion.”
Anybody who knows anything about Talabani and his Kurdish followers understands that they are determinedly secular, that they are Sunni not Shia, and that they are openly and avowedly pro-American. Do they want strife with their neighbor to the east? Of course not. Are they concerned about the fate of Iranian Kurds? Sure. Does Cole’s analysis anything other than leftist spin? No.
It should be noted that the NYT’s Dexter Filkins provides a much better, much fairer analysis.
Posted at 09:42 AM
OH MY STARS AND GARTERS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a story on public schools in Newton, Mass:
According to benchmarks for middle school education, the top objective for the district's math teachers is to teach "respect for human differences." The objective is for students to "live out the system-wide core value of 'respect for human differences' by demonstrating anti-racist/anti-bias behaviors."
Posted at 09:41 AM
IRAQI ELECTION RESULTS [Cliff May]
The ballots have been counted and there is reason for optimism. Starting at the back of the pack, Iyad Allawi, perceived by many as America’s candidate, came in third. What does that prove? That this election was decided by Iraqis, not by Americans. That’s how we wanted it. That’s how we said it should be. That’s how it was.
The Kurds came in second. That’s good, too. Not just because the Kurds are Iraqis who suffered greatly under Saddam and did indeed celebrate the arrival of America troops by cheering, waving flags and throwing flowers (far from CNN’s cameras, unfortunately) but also because the Kurds will insist on minority rights -- not just for themselves but also for the Sunnis. (Actually, most Kurds are Sunnis – but they are Kurdish Sunnis, not Arab Sunnis and relatively few of them are Salafists, that is radical Islamic fundamentalists.
The Shia, who also were oppressed and slaughtered under Baathist rule, came in first – but with a plurality, not a majority. If they are smart, they will understand that to govern Iraq will require forming alliances, making compromises, working issues out in the political sphere (a concept with which few in the Middle East have had experience). In other words, they will need to develop democratic habits which can lead to democratic values which will give solidity to democratic institutions.
It is true that many Sunni did not participate in the voting. Two explanations: Some were afraid to vote, intimidated by the terrorists. So we have to work with freedom-loving Iraqis to eliminate those who prevented their fellow Iraqis from exercising their rights. Others may have chosen not to vote. That does not de-legitimize the elections, any more than it would have de-legitimized the election of Nelson Mandela had white South Africans chosen not to participate. It is to be expected that some Sunnis chose not participate in an election that would bring to power groups that had long been subject to the will and whims of an unelected minority. But such people can not hold democracies hostage.
The American interest here is straightforward: We want an Iraqi government that isn’t hostile to us, that isn’t vowing revenge and shouting “Death to America!”, that isn’t sponsoring terrorism, that isn’t developing WMDs, that isn’t slaughtering, torturing and raping its own people.
An Iraq that is a free and democratic, that provides opportunity and, in time, prosperity – that would be a bonus. Yes, we do hope for such a bonus. That, along with our desire to leave Iraq rather than rule Iraqi, is a big part of what makes us different from the imperialists and interventionists of the past.
Posted at 09:29 AM
BOOK OF LOVE [John Derbyshire]
Some columns you only need to write once.
Incidentally, today's NY Post "Book of Love" contains a tribute to Mrs Derb... but you could never find it.
Posted at 09:27 AM
CLIMBING TREES [John Derbyshire]
Why does a foam-flecked reactionary like Derb keep up his subscription to a left-elite rag like THE NEW YORKER? Well, here's one reason: Richard Preston's piece on climbing giant redwood trees in the Feb. 14/21 issue. The piece is gripping, in spite of some lefty-greeny asides and a dash of Hemingwayesque gruff-loner-uebermensch twaddle. Sample:
"With my weight on the motion lanyard, I leaned back, until my body was horizontal and my feet were planted on the trunk, and I walked up the trunk of Adventure [name of a tree--JD]. I threw one end of my lanyard over a higher branch, clipped it back to my saddle, and pulled myself up. Suddenly, I hung near the top of the tree. At three huindred and twenty-eight feet, I found myself in the middle of a bush studded with huckleberries. I began eating them. They were tart and crunchy. The branches in the tree's top were festooned with beard lichens -- they looked like the frizzy beards of dwarves. It was a sunny day, and a breeze was blowing, which stirred the lichen beards, and the air held a tang of the sea -- the Pacific Ocean lay over a ridge to the west. Adventure rocked in the breeze, like a ship lying at anchor."
Posted at 09:27 AM
TEACHING I.D. [John Derbyshire]
The libertarian solution
Posted at 09:26 AM
GRAMMY PANDERING [Tim Graham]
What I caught of the Grammy show (which should NOT schedule against the Pro Bowl if they want a decent ratings number) seemed good. The more it's like a concert interrupted by awards presentations, the better. It's too bad the "previously awarded" Grammys in obscure categories like Best Gospel Polka Album were just put up in tiny letters on screen like sports scores on ESPN.
But can we all agree that giving Bill Clinton another Grammy is just liberal pandering? Do we really believe Clinton's My Life deserves a Best Spoken Word Grammy for Clinton's narration? Or even less believably, for the book's content? (It's probably dangerous to drive and listen to sentences like "I flew from South Korea to Tokyo, where Prime Minister Hashimoto and I issued a declaration designed to reaffirm and modernize our security relationship...") I somehow can't imagine the music elite handing out a Grammy to Ronald Reagan, but when you see this is the third Grammy for the Clinton family, you know someone's just playing kissy-face.
Posted at 09:25 AM
CRITICAL DIFFERENCES [Jonah Goldberg]
The guys at ABC's the Note offered an interesting A very useful rundown on the differences between the GOP and the Democrats -- from a non-conservative perspective. I found it at Tapped:
Witth the Democrats gathered in Washington for Dean's coronation and in the wake of Bill Clinton's delivery of a Delphic roadmap at the Terry McAuliffe send-off last night, let's examine what separates the Republicans from the Democrats (with apologies to Ralph Nader):
Posted at 09:10 AM
I DON'T GET IT [Jonah Goldberg]
There's all of this hullabaloo about us using spy planes and drones to monitor Iran's nuclear program. Why is this even remotely controversial? The only major controversial aspects I can think of is that it was reported in the press and to a lesser extent that we were using Iraq as the base for these operations. I can see why that might be diplomatically problematic. But I want -- nay demand -- that the US government keep tabs on anti-American regimes as they pursue nuclear weapons. It would be a monumental scandal if we weren't doing this.
Posted at 09:02 AM
YES, WE HAVE NO RED FLOWERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Happy Valentine's Day:
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia Reuters:) - Saudi Arabia's morality police are on the scent of illicit red roses as part of a clampdown on would-be St Valentine's lovers in the strict Muslim kingdom.
Posted at 08:37 AM
WRIGHT'S GUY [K. J. Lopez]
FYI, Jonah, Juan Cole is an expert of choice for Robin Wright today on the Iraqi elections.
Posted at 08:36 AM
THE WHITE FEATHER [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of corrections on this point:
Posted at 08:26 AM
"A NEW CLASS OF VICTIMS" [Jonah Goldberg]
I won't turn this into an all day affair. But it is nice to hear after the relentless drubbing I've been getting. So indulge me:
Mr. Goldberg, I have been a long subscriber of NRODT and have followed your writings on NRO before and after 9-11. As a professional Army officer and physician who has been to Iraq twice (1991, 2003) and looking at a third tour later this year I want to express my gratitude to you for the support you have given us in the miltary with your writings and words during imnummerable debates. But now I think it is time to return the favor. I can tell you that reading NRO on my laptop in Iraq even as the mortars impacted on our camp or after taking care of wounded soldiers was enough to buck up my morale. Your support and those of other Americans was just as valuable to me as the body armor I wore and the kevlar plating on my ambulance.
Posted at 07:51 AM
YOUNG MEN'S BUSINESS [Jonah Goldberg]
I get a lot of notes like this. Indeed, I should have mentioned how enormous NRO's military readership is and how much pride we take in the fact that NRO is the homepage to so many in the military. Regardless, it's nice to hear:
Posted at 07:36 AM
CATWOMAN [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm on record as being no great fan of Black History Month, but even I must protest the hate crime that the cable movie channel Starz is perpetrating. Every day I see these commercials on our local cable which inform me that Starz is running "Catwoman" as part of its Black History Month programming. Come on. This is like celbrating Jewish heritage by running Caddyshack II because it has Jackie Mason in it.
Posted at 06:50 AM
THE BACKLASH BEGINS [Jonah Goldberg ]
The Wall Street Journal comes to the defense of Eason Jordan. Excerpts:
By now, everyone on the Good Ship Earth knows that this particular story ended Friday with Mr. Jordan's abrupt resignation from CNN. This has certain pundits chirping delightedly. It has been a particular satisfaction to the right wing of the so-called "blogosphere," the community of writers on the Web that has pushed the Eason story relentlessly and sees it as the natural sequel to the Dan Rather fiasco of last year.
Posted at 06:43 AM
CHICKENHAWK REDUX [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sorry for reopening what may be for most folks an old and tedious argument. That’s not my intention. Unfortunately, my recent spat with Juan Cole has launched a second front of hate mail, spam and blog flames. And since I don’t have the time or energy to respond to every email or ever blog post, I figured I could respond here and then I’d at least have a link I can send back to folks.
As you may recall, Cole advocated the position that every able bodied male in America who supported the Iraq war should have enlisted. In response to these and similar “chicken-hawk” arguments I mentioned in passing that “a few” of the reasons I never signed up before the war were my age, my financial situation, my brand new baby daughter and my physical condition. The blogger Atrios considered this an “incredible” admission as have several other leftwing bloggers. The moral outrage seems to be based on what I can only figure to be several misunderstandings and one fair point. The misunderstandings include the fact that I never said these were the “only” reasons I didn’t sign up. Merely that these were among them. I never expected Atrios to be a fair reader (he’s too concerned with my looks). But apparently this misreading has now become the official one among many on the web. I’ve received lots of email from folks who sincerely believe – for one reason or another – that I was saying my family or my financial situation was more important than those of the soldiers, marines and airmen in Iraq who also have families and, often, even greater financial challenges. So let me just say here that this was never my intention nor my meaning. If I gave that impression, I’m sorry. While obviously my family is everything to me, I have never thought in those terms. And I have never done anything but marvel at the contributions of America’s warriors. And, having gone to Walter Reed this weekend to meet with wounded vets, my gratitude and admiration for their sacrifices is even greater. What I was trying to say was that it doesn’t matter what my reasons for not enlisting were, it wouldn’t matter to people who think it’s more satisfying or effective to hurl insults than engage in arguments. Indeed, the fact that I am too old to enlist seems to bounce off of most of these people (to serve at my age I would need to have already served before or be in the reserve).
But as for the larger argument, I still think it is absurd. Every morning I get these emailed images of white feathers sent to me by folks who think I should sign up. The reference is to WWI when women would give young men not in uniform feathers to shame them into enlisting. It’s a clever bit of web-bullying I suppose. But the analogy is stupid. Those women supported the war. The people reprising the role of WWI prim ladies on the homefront do not. Daily Kos’ reaction to the mutilation of American contractors in Iraq was "I feel nothing over the death of the mercenaries [sic]. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them."
That’s not the sort of thing one says when in support of the war effort.
The lefty blogs love pointing out conservative hypocrisy. Fair enough. But this chickenhawk nonsense itself is grotesquely hypocritical. Recently many on the left took great umbrage at Peter Beinart’s suggestion that much of the left opposed the Afghanistan war. No we didn’t! They declared. Well, okay. But if they didn’t oppose it, why didn’t they sign up? What about for the first Gulf War? Or Bosnia?
Look, in the age of the all-volunteer military, and in a country which prides itself on civilian control of that military, there is no shame in not signing up. Or even if there is shame, it’s personal not political. We have, by my rough estimate, some 70 million men of military age. Should they all join-up the moment they agree the military should do something dangerous? I favor aggressive law enforcement at home, does this mean I should become a cop? Of course not.
I supported the war and I support the work the military is doing there now. I make no apologies for that. I do not believe they’re there on a fool’s errand nor do I consider them to be hapless dupes and slaves to a cause not worth fighting. About the folks sending me these feathers, I know no such thing.
Note: I fixed a couple typos from the version I originally posted.
Posted at 06:39 AM
THE WAR IS "EFFECTIVELY OVER" [Jonah Goldberg]
From The New York Times:
The new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, said in an interview this weekend that the war with the Israelis is effectively over and that the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is speaking "a different language" to the Palestinians. Mr. Sharon's commitment to withdraw from Gaza and dismantle all Israeli settlements there and four in the West Bank, despite "how much pressure is on him from the Israeli Likud rightists," Mr. Abbas said, "is a good sign to start with" on the road to real peace.
Posted at 06:24 AM
RADIO [NRO Staff]
Byron York will be a guest on Bill Bennett's nationally syndicated radio show, "Morning in America," Monday at 7:30 a.m. (Eastern).
Posted at 05:02 AM
Sunday, February 13, 2005
RE BAD BOOKING [Cliff May]
Good points, Jonah.
I think Sharansky held his own (in what is still, after all, a very foreign language for him) but it was an odd pairing. More disturbingly, as you suggest, this match-up avoided the bigger story: the fact that so many liberals have adopted a Buchananite perspective, the fact that so many liberals have become post-democratic (they no longer believe in Kennedy’s vision of Americans “bearing any burden” to spread freedom and democracy), as well as post-humanitarian (they have little or no concern about Muslim-on-Muslim crimes, e.g. mass murders, torture and rape).
Also, as moderator, Russert should have guided the debate away from such digressions as what “democracy” in Gaza would mean for Israeli settlers. (His argument assumes the flawed premise that democracy means majority rule – when it actually means such institutions as minority rights, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a free press, etc.). Russert should have brought the debate back to the issue at hand: the Sharansky thesis that Bush is championing – the idea that spread of freedom and democracy furthers not just American values but also vital American interests.
Buchanan opposes this concept – a concept essential to the Bush Doctrine. Buchanan’s main argument is that “interventionism causes terrorism.” Which is like saying the injustice of the Versailles Treaty was responsible for Nazi aggression, or that anti-Communism caused Stalin to do terrible things.
Of course, radical Islamists want infidels off “their lands.” But radical Islamists have been refreshingly candid. They have made clear that such “progress” hardly represents all they seek. In their world view, there is the Dar al Islam – the world of peace, of submission to the one true faith; and then there is the Dar al Harb – the world of infidelity and war. Every nation and territory that is not part of the Dar al Islam is, by definition, part of Dar al Harb.
Posted at 05:21 PM
THE ELECTION SEASON IS OFFICIALLY OVER [K. J. Lopez]
She is Teresa Heinz again.
Posted at 05:19 PM
RE: BAD BOOKING [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah Goldberg -
Posted at 03:55 PM
GOOD FLAG BURNING [Mark Krikorian]
I've frequently driven by the American Legion post near my home and admired the small missile displayed there, but only today noticed a mailbox next to it where you can deposit old flags to be disposed of properly (i.e., ceremonially burned). A google search yields lots of Legion posts that do this, which I was happy to see since I have a tattered, faded (and cheap) flag that I've been wanting to get rid of but obviously wasn't about to throw in the trash.
Posted at 12:52 PM
NEITHER SILENT NOR DEEP [Mark Krikorian]
I spent last night on a retired WWII submarine moored in Baltimore Harbor, the USS Torsk, with my oldest son's Cub Scout den. The Torsk sunk the last enemy ship of the war and holds the record for the most dives of any sub, at nearly 12,000. Now, having 12 kids and 11 parents locked in a tin can overnight is an experience in itself, but even briefly living in conditions similar to what our submariners endured (and still endure) for weeks a time underlines the unpayable debt we owe to those who stand watch as we sleep, and especially to the 52 subs lost during WWII, their thousands of crewmen "still on patrol" until the Last Day.
Posted at 12:50 PM
ARAB DISSIDENTS [Cliff May]
Ammar Abdulhamid is a Syrian dissident and pro-democracy activist. A profile of him in today’s New York Times magazine is worth reading.
While he “harbors mixed feelings about the United States' decision to invade Iraq, he says he believes that the American presence in the region is vital to the prospects for reform.”
Writer Lee Smith also notes that for “the last half-century, the Islamist movement and Arab regimes themselves have pushed Arab liberals to the sidelines. As a result, the Arab world's democracy activists and intellectuals do not enjoy the same advantages their Central and Eastern European counterparts did back in the 80's: whereas the generation of Havel and Walesa was backed by the Catholic Church and its Polish-born pope, Arab activists enjoy no such solidarity with any established Muslim institutions. … Even so, the liberals seem to be gathering a little momentum.
Martin Kramer talks about Abdulhamid here.
Posted at 12:11 PM
BAD BOOKING [Jonah Goldberg]
Tim Russert had Pat Buchanan and Natan Sharansky on. Buchanan's a great talker and a great debater. Sharansky is neither, though I don't think he did that bad.
But what, exactly, was Russert's thinking? President Bush faces significant political opposition from the Democratic Party and its leftwing base -- not from the Buchanan wing of the Buchanan Party. Ted Kennedy or Michael Moore would be more accurate and representative of political reality. Is it that it's unseemly to have Democrats shown-up for their lack of democratic idealism? Or did Democrats simply refuse to come on? Or, was Russert more attracted to the box-office appeal of Sharansky and Buchanan trading punches? Of course, as anybody could have predicted, they ended up trading punches over Israel more than they did over Bush's foreign policy. Entertaining, maybe. But not exactly a debate which reflected where the policy-makers or the two parties are.
Posted at 11:56 AM
NOSTALGIE DE LA BOUE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s a remarkable piece of economic illiteracy or, perhaps, something worse, from the Guardian in which Neil Clark appears to wax a little nostalgic for the good old days in Eastern Europe:
“The statistics speak for themselves. GDP in the former communist states fell between 20% and 40% in the decade after 1989 - an economic contraction which, in the words of Budapest economist Laszlo Andor, "can only be compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s".
Um, Neil, those old statistics were meaningless. Let’s take one simple example. An Eastern European factory in the communist era might produce, say, a refrigerator, and that would count towards its country’s production statistics. But if that refrigerator was typically faulty what did that ‘production’ really amount to? Nothing. My memory may be faulty, but I don’t recall Eastern European household appliances as models of reliability. Looking at the real world, as opposed to the dodgy math of socialist statistics (back in the 1970s I can remember people claiming that East Germany was roughly as prosperous in the UK), many factories in the old Soviet bloc were, in fact, value destroying. Their output was worth less than the cost of its inputs: the steel, say, was worth more before it was transformed into that faulty fridge.
Predictably (we’re talking the Guardian here, people), Clark also raises the question of inequality:
“Inequality has risen sharply. Countries that not so long ago prided themselves on their egalitarianism now challenge Britain at the top of the European income inequality tables.”
Oh, come off it. The old Socialist states were paragons (if that’s the word) of privilege and inequality, but that inequality was hidden, concealed beneath the privilege of access to scare goods and resources for the party elite. Yes, there is inequality now, but it’s open – and there’s less of it.
This is not to say that the transition from Communism has been easy; far from it, particularly for the elderly, but after half a century of economic insanity how could it not have been?
Posted at 11:34 AM
SMOKIN' [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s a lovely article from Spiked on smoking:
“…cigarette smoking wasn't only about good and bad; it was also about the awareness of death. (Clean-air fanatics might go much further and insist that smoking isn't about death but murder and suicide. That feels a little overwrought to me.) Though I gave it up years ago, I still miss it, and certainly don't hate those who continue to smoke. Partly thumbing one's nose at death, partly flirting with it, part defiance, part acceptance - each breath of smoke was all of these, and when we smoked together in bars and clubs, at parties or at home, the consciousness of our mortality may even have coaxed us into making the most of the limited time that we knew we had.”
“What worries me is the hum of panic that I sense underneath the public ordinance, a panic engendered by a cult of health that's taken so many forms over the past 30 years that it's become the single religion of much of Western society. You run across it everywhere: in our preoccupation with diet and exercise; the endless ads in the media - in the US at least - promoting new drugs for an increasing number of exotic diseases; and the inclination to turn all eccentric behaviour into a 'syndrome' that can be treated medicinally. While none of these is alarming in itself, they add up to a new Puritanism that turns the old paradigm on its head: now instead of tempting the Fates by being bad, we put all our efforts into being good. If smoking was about being grown up, the new Puritanism is about being a perpetual child, and living in a protected world that has never existed except in fantasy.”
Too true, too true.
Posted at 11:23 AM
SAUDI ELECTIONS [Andrew Stuttaford]
At the risk of damaging his credibility in the liberal street with a favorable mention in our corner of iniquity, Matt Yglesias has, I think, read the Saudi elections just right:
“…The decision to prohibit political parties was a boon to the Islamists since they have, in the mosques, an institutional network of support that's legal even in the absence of political parties. To make a long story short, Abdullah did everything possible to ensure that Islamists would win the election. He also managed to ensure that no matter what the result, he wouldn't lose any real power. Upshot -- articles in the western press calling him "reform-minded" and that build the case for him not to engage in further democratization since, as we just saw, Abdullah's earnest efforts at reform are counterproductive since they just bring Islamists to power. It's everything an absolute monarch could dream of in an election. He keeps absolute power, gets credit for being a reformer, and gets off the hook in terms of pressure to reform.”
Sad but true.
Posted at 11:18 AM
RE: THE DERBYSHIRE INDEX [John Derbyshire]
Several readers, hearing that Baghdad cabbies charge $340 per mile, are headed out there to set up cab businesses and make their fortunes. Er, I think the quoted price is not just for a seat in a cab, but for an armed convoy...
Posted at 11:17 AM
DERB'S DIZZINESS DISSIPATES [John Derbyshire]
Ramesh: I think I misrepresented you actually, in saying "your notion that we must transform the politics of the ME because its oil is such a vital component of the world economy." I am sure that while that is one factor in your thinking, the War on Terror is in there, too. Be that as it may, I think we have been round the circle on this one, and can leave it for readers to weigh our posts for themselves.
SoSec reform wasn't raised on the Brian Lamb show -- which of course is what always happens when you take pains to cram up on something expecting it to come up -- remember college exams? I still say your NR piece is the best briefing on the subject, though -- the only piece of any length, in fact, that I have read all through...
Posted at 11:16 AM
CAMPAIGN IN SPAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Spain will be voting in the EU referendum on the 20th. The vote will be a yes, but the turnout will probably be low, not something that Brussels will like too much (remember that the constitution was meant to rekindle popular enthusiasm for the European ‘project’), and so Spanish PM Zapatero has bringing in, um, celebrities such as Jacques Chirac to stir things up a little. One of these guests, Daniel Cohn-Bendit (1968’s ‘Danny Le Rouge’), a prominent member of the European Parliament, had this to say:
“If the EU constitution fails, they will be toasting with champagne at the White House. A weak Europe is what the US wants.”
Actually, Daniel, a free market Europe made up of sovereign nations would be far stronger, but Cohn-Bendit’s comments are just another reminder that the foundations of this new, deeper EU are profoundly anti-American. In a way they have to be. The EU cannot define itself by what it is (who would rally round a corrupt, and pointless, bureaucracy?), and so has to define itself by what it is not.
Posted at 11:09 AM
LOW COUNTRY LOWDOWN [Andrew Stuttaford]
More from the low countries, this time Belgium. There’s an article today in the NY Times on the rise of Belgium’s far right ‘Vlaams Belang’ . It’s interesting enough, so far as it goes, but there’s one point that the Times touches on but does not elaborate, merely noting that the party had changed its name (from Vlaams Blok) last year.
Well, as more skeptical readers of the New York Times will be unsurprised to discover, there’s more to that 'name change' than that paper chooses to disclose. Basically, early last year Belgium’s supreme court upheld a government ruling effectively banning Vlaams Blok (the party’s access to state funding – essential in Belgium – and television was barred) on the grounds that it was ‘racist’. The Vlaams Belang is the successor party specifically designed to get round (for now) this ban.
Now, as a political party, the Vlaams Belang leaves quite a lot to be desired and it certainly contains some unpleasant elements, but it would, one would have thought, have been of interest to Times readers to learn that it is the successor to a popular political party ‘banned’ in Belgium last year, the sort of ban that should be unacceptable in a free society.
And that in turn raises another question. Why is no longer fully democratic Belgium permitted to remain in NATO and the EU?
Posted at 10:46 AM
THIS WAR [K. J. Lopez]
I should have just turned off the TV when I saw the Meet the Press lineup. Charlie Rangel was just ranting on pooh-poohing the Iraqi elections. “I guess by Republican standards you can call it a good election.”
Yeah, we gotcha. You don’t get any of this.
He went on to say that going into Iraq “was all a fraud.” And “[Americans] don’t want people to die for other people’s freedom.”
Our American kids are dying and coming back without arms and legs or sight (or all of the above) to fight terrorism. I blame the White House, mind you, for not making that case better, but don’t tell the families who are giving their loved ones to this cause that it is a fraud or a waste.
Rangel’s shtick is nothing new, but I’m especially cranky to it having had the honor to spend a little time with some of these injured boys yesterday (more about them tomorrow--every American should get to meet our war-injured heroes). They did—and are doing—an important thing. And thank God we have them to do it. 8.5 million Iraqis might agree.
Posted at 10:43 AM
RE: WARD CHURCHILL [Steve Hayward]
I saw the C-SPAN show, too. Three observations:
1) If this is the face of the Left today, they haven't much of a future. Pathetic.
2) What's with the burly security perimeter around the dude? The audience was whooping and hollering for the guy; there was no threat of disruption or harm to the speaker. The security people, with their paramilitary looking vests, made the thing look like a low-rent Nuremberg rally--which is what it was, come to think of it.
3) When the Italian-American chap asked why he shouldn't have his free speech rights to hold a Columbus Day parade, Churchill offered an absurd explanation involving the Ninth Amendment and international treaties. To repair once again to the Gertrude Stein-on-Oakland remark, "There's no there there" with this guy. It is all posing and hatred. At least the SDS in the 1960s had a manifesto, the Port Huron Statement. This guy probably writes in crayon.
Posted at 10:33 AM
GROUNDHOG DAY [K. J. Lopez]
We've-almost-got Zarqawi talk is in the air again.
Posted at 08:50 AM
DEAN'S MOUTHY DEBUT [Tim Graham]
For those of you just waiting for Howard Dean to start making gaffes, see the Saturday Washington Post account of his tour through the party's special-interest caucuses. I'm somewhat shocked the Post publicized this little tour. For pure, unadulterated Dean, you get this: "You are among the most persecuted people in the history of mankind," Dean tells his first audience, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus. Let's hope the African-American caucus didn't hear that. (Not to mention anyone who remembers the Holocaust, the Huguenots, throwing Christians to the lions...)
As for what Dean said to the black caucus, he kicks the GOP in the groin. "He surveys the crowd of 150 crammed into the room. 'You think the RNC could get this many people of color into a single room?' he marvels. 'Maybe if they got the hotel staff in there.'"
It's also somewhat entertaining to read Dean trying to adopt spin control about the party's ultraliberalism. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20050213/ap_on_el_ge/democrats
Dean says that no one is "pro-abortion," but "we are the party in favor of allowing women to make up their own minds about their health care." And Democrats are not for "gay marriage," but "we are the party that has always believed in equal rights under the law for all people." Voters are smart enough to know that the Democrats are staunch defenders of abortion and homosexuality, whatever rhetorical embroidery Dean attempts. How he will help in red states with this kind of talk is a mystery.
Posted at 08:48 AM
8.5 MILLION PEOPLE [K. J. Lopez ]
voted in Iraq, according to the results being announced right now. That’s something like 60-percent turnout, according to CNN. And that’s exhilarating, if you ask me.
Posted at 08:44 AM
WARD CHURCHILL [Jonah Goldberg]
I watched the whole Ward Churchill rally on C-Span last night. Wow, that was great television. More later. Work now. (Second post of the day).
Posted at 07:18 AM
BEHOLD.... [Jonah Goldberg]
The awesome power of a fully operational blogosphere.
Posted at 07:02 AM