HUH? [Jonah Goldberg ]
I love internecine ideological squabbles, as any longtime reader knows. I love arguing about what is or is not the correct position for conservatives, libertarians, trekkies and trekkers and everything in between. But I usually expect a minimum level of argumentation. Why is this or that the conservative position? Why do you say Hayek or Burke or Strauss would like this or dislike that? Why do you claim there's a conservative position on X or Y at all? Etc, etc.
Maybe that's why I find this sort of thing so lame.
The "cunning realist" writes:
Apparently, there is some sort of virus going around that affects ostensibly Conservative media outlets. Over at The Corner, it seems they've overstepped their literary charter a bit, forgotten their ideological roots, and perhaps taken leave of their senses in the process. From Jonah Goldberg:
Me: Note there's no argumentation here whatsoever. He simply asserts that my statement is not merely "un-conservative" but the "absolute antithesis of Conservative ideology."
Nonsense. I am not going to waste much time arguing with someone who doesn't even try to make an argument. But one would expect someone who calls himself a realist would at least understand the realism of my point. I am all in favor of the man getting a fair trial. Then I'm all in favor of him being executed once the reality of the situation is comfirmed by a court of law.
Regardless, I am a commentator, an opiner, a journalist, a citizen. There's nothing in conservatism or in America's judicial system which says I cannot proclaim my opinion on anything I choose. Stalin was never convicted of a crime, nor Hitler. I do not call them "alleged" criminals either. And, O.J. Simpson was cleared by a jury and I think he's guilt of murder and I see nothing wrong, never mind unconservative, in saying so. Frankly, I don't know what this guy is talking about and since he makes no effort to explain himself, I see no need to explain myself further.
Posted at 09:51 PM
RE: FIRST POST [K. J. Lopez]
Not Rich TOO!!!
Posted at 06:08 PM
IN RESPONSE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Andy, by the end there you seemed to have almost embraced a kind of cosmic pessimism that makes tactical questions moot. Nil desperandum. Republicans have managed to have a few political successes over the years even with their flaws, the Democrats' wiliness, and the media's bias.
You are right to suggest that we don't have the kind of precise exit-poll data that would make it possible to speak a bit more confidently about the role of judicial-confirmation fights in recent Senate elections. That's why I tried to make sense of what evidence we have. I think it is reasonable to view the social issues and the judicial issues as politically intertwined. It is simply the case that the judicial-confirmation issue has what political punch it does, on both sides, because of the way it intersects with the social issues. And it is also the case that a good chunk of the time the social issues come up in the Senate, it's in the course of the judicial-confirmation wars. Pro-lifers and pro-choicers did use the judicial-confirmation issue to rev up their troops, and, as I said before, it appears that the pro-life/conservative side did so more successfully--and not just in South Dakota. Also, to repeat a comment I made in our last go-round: The fact that Senate Republicans have been far more likely to exploit this issue when trying to get votes suggests that the practical understanding politicians on the stuff they know best--what works for them politically--aligns with my view. (I know from my reporting that President Bush believes that the judicial issue was a major reason the Republicans took back the Senate.)
Finally, a word on the AG/Supreme Court question. I argued that the reason Daschle refused to filibuster Ashcroft in 2001 was that he figured that it would be too politically costly; and the reason that calculation was correct was that the public thinks it important that the job be filled. I argued further that a Supreme Court vacancy would play out similarly--the public would want that position filled. But appellate courts just don't command the same attention, and can be filibustered at lower cost (but still a real cost). Andy says that the real difference here is involvement in national security: That's why the public wants the AG spot filled, and it means that the Supreme Court is more like the appellate courts than like the AG slot. All I can say was that nobody pressed the national-security argument hard back in early 2001. But we may find out who's right about this point fairly soon.
Posted at 05:59 PM
RE: RE:MCCARTHY'S POSTS ON THE POLITICS OF FILIBUSTERS [Andy McCarthy]
My practice, on the rare occasions when I find myself in disagreement with Ramesh, is to go back to the drawing board and try to figure our where I went wrong. That is not working for me this time, though.
My argument is that Ramesh and others who claim that judicial filibustering has meaningfully hurt the Democrats politically are engaged in wishful thinking (and no small amount of revisionist history). I have asked, for example: Other than the defeat of Daschle – which they hopefully but not convincingly attribute to the filibusters – what is the evidence that filibusters have actually cost the Democrats anything? This is a prelude to asking what is obviously the more significant question: Does whatever cost that can be quantified outweigh what Democrats gain by filibustering?
Ramesh has come back with an unpersuasive argument that filibustering almost singularly took Sen. Daschle down, no indication of filibustering fall-out independent of Daschle, and no engagement on the question whether the filibusters are a big net gain for Democrats, as I believe they are.
Ramesh begins by changing my argument in order to challenge it. I never contended, as he suggests, that filibustering did not hurt Daschle at all. What I explicitly said was (a) that the filibusters were part of a much broader case that Daschle was a stealth obstructionist, (b) that we can only say with confidence that it was this broader case (as opposed to the narrow issue of filibusters) that cost him his seat, and (c) that, as we cannot say confidently either that filibustering cost Daschle his seat or that South Dakota is a bell-weather of national trends, it is not justifiable to argue that filibustering has cost the Democrats nationally in any meaningful way. I have thus asked what other evidence, besides Daschle’s defeat, there might be to show, as Ramesh and others contend, that Democrats have “paid a price”? I also pointed out that Daschle very nearly won, and that, had he won, Ramesh and others would (quite properly) not have regarded that as a national approbation of the filibusters, so I don’t see how they can say Daschle’s defeat is a national condemnation of the filibusters.
Ramesh responds that my counterfactual doesn’t work because, if Daschle had won, “we could confidently have said that filibustering judges didn't hurt him enough to cost him the election--but we would still have said that it hurt him.” But, as I said, I’m not contending that it didn’t hurt him at all; I’m contending that it wasn’t a big enough deal that you can identify it as the proximate cause of his defeat – much less extrapolate from it a credible claim that Democrats are paying a price across-the-board. If a few thousand votes going the other way would have caused Ramesh to say filibusters registered but weren’t that important, it is because, as an objective matter, filibusters registered but weren’t that important. Whether Daschle won or lost, the relative significance of the issue doesn’t change.
Moreover, Ramesh’s reliance on national polls showing that voters would rather have Bush than Kerry picking judges proves exactly nothing regarding either Daschle’s loss or public attitudes (if any) about filibustering. Those polls are reflective of leading questions being put to voters, not what is important to voters if you ask them in an open-ended fashion. I am certain that if you asked voters whether they would rather have Bush or Kerry picking the Secretary of Defense, you would get a sizable majority saying Bush. If you then asked the very same people, “Give me the top ten reasons you are voting for Bush or Kerry” (without supplying them with possible answers), the fact that the president chooses the defense secretary would be on almost no one’s list.
It is also worth observing that, in relying on polling data, Ramesh must draw extravagant inferences from polls that do not ask directly about filibustering. Had the filibusters actually been an issue of the consequence, as Ramesh suggests, such polling data would of course be readily available. It’s not, because it wasn’t. As a result, he is left to insist, conclusorily and without the slightest back-up, that “we know that those social issues [which polls indicate did have a profound impact on the 2002 and 2004 elections] are deeply entangled with the judicial-confirmation issue.” What in the world is the evidence of that? As a matter of straightforward fact, the fact that, say, a state judge in Massachusetts orders the state to permit gay marriage has nothing whatsoever to do with Democrats filibustering a nominee to sit on a federal appeals court in Texas. It is fair enough to say that voters (especially in the red states), are angry over and motivated by the former; but that hardly means they relate it to the latter, much less that they relate it in a way that makes them similarly angry and motivated.
I argued that the lack of political consequence of the judicial filibusters can be seen by the fact that Democrats did not filibuster the last two Attorneys General – because that position is identified with national security, something the public cares about, and Democrats thus understand the political fall-out would be profound. Ramesh doesn’t mention Gonzales at all but counters that at the time of Ashcroft’s nomination, AG was seen as important but not really national-security related. I guess I simply disagree – our main national security issue since the end of the cold war has been terrorism, and both officially (by means of executive orders) and unofficially (by means of countless high-profile press conferences), the AG was – up until the 9/11 attacks – the chief federal counter-terrorism official. But maybe that’s neither here nor there. For present purposes, the point is that when the cost would be high, the Democrats don’t filibuster. For judicial nominations, the cost has not been high; and even if it would now be somewhat higher than it was before, it does not come close to outweighing what they have to gain (in control of the courts and fundraising) by persevering in the filibuster strategy.
Finally, it’s fair enough to argue, as Ramesh does, that Democratic senators, who of course want to keep their seats, are apt to be more responsive to political pressure to end filibusters than liberal activists and donors. But the important point is that there would have to be an awful lot of political pressure to push them in that direction given how obsessively the activists and donors on whom they depend care about blocking conservative judges. I don’t think there is anything near that kind of pressure right now, nor do I foresee it without some cataclysmic event – like if the GOP deployed the “nuclear” option – that forces this issue into the public consciousness. Even if that happens, though, we should not overestimate our ability to control the terms of the debate (if we had such an ability, the thing would not be called the “nuclear” option – we’ve already lost that language battle). The media will paint Democrats as heroes who are trying to stop Bush nominees from rolling back the “progress” of the last 40 years. Some nervous Republicans, with 2006 looming, will go wobbly and attack “extremists” who have taken over their party. This will embolden Democrats. I just don’t see the conditions for this purported groundswell of opposition to the filibusters – not before and not now.
Posted at 04:40 PM
LEBANON ROUND-UP [Jonah Goldberg]
Publius has an excellent summary of recent developments. (Nod to Instapundit).
Posted at 03:52 PM
BEINART [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I was surprised to see him making such lame arguments--although it's possible that the story didn't capture them well. Surely he realizes that differences in infant mortality rates among places reflects more than differences in state health-care spending. Beinart doesn't seem to be making any allowances for state income levels. And the data on increased abortion rates under Bush is very dodgy. Maybe we'll get better data that shows this claim to have been true, but there's no good reason to believe it today.
Posted at 01:41 PM
MORE FILIBUSTER STUFF [Ramesh Ponnuru]
from outside the Corner. (Via therightcoast.)
Posted at 11:48 AM
BEINART V. COULTER ON VALUES [Jonah Goldberg]
Fun read. I'm having the same debate, I think, with Peter in West Virginia in a couple weeks.
Posted at 11:42 AM
CANADA BASHING [Jonah Goldberg]
As a close student -- and sometime practitioner -- of the genre, I must say Matt Labash has introduced a new standard of excellence. A very, very strong showing.
Posted at 11:30 AM
THE ATLANTA SHOOTINGS [Jonah Goldberg]
Three quick points. Fair or not many readers have commented that the fact the deputy who was overpowered was a woman is relevant. I agree to a point, but I've seen plenty of scrawny dudes working in similar roles. Still, if there are physical requirements for the job, they should be enforced regardless of the "disparate impact" on women or anybody else.
However, I find it astounding that it is against the law for a defendant to be brought into the courtroom in handcuffs on the grounds that it might influence the jury.
Lastly, the death penalty. Again, this guy is guilty. There are many witnesses, including this poor woman who was shot in the fact, the pistol-whipped AJC reporter, the dozen or so people in the courtroom who were held at bay etc. Nichols apparently went considerably out of his way -- postponing his escape -- to shoot down a judge. Opponents of the death penalty who make their arguments on procedural grounds -- as opposed to strictly moral or ideological grounds -- need to explain why this man should not be executed. Fine, fine, there may be others on death row somewhere who shouldn't be. Or, there may not be. But none of that is relevant to whether this guy should get what he deserves.
Posted at 07:25 AM
FIRST POST [Rich
Eat your heart out, Stuttaford....
Posted at 12:40 AM
Friday, March 11, 2005
OH. NO. [K. J. Lopez]
I see a G-File coming on Star Wars, don't I?
Posted at 08:03 PM
LUCAS & SPIELBERG [Jonah Goldberg]
Rick - This conversation shall be continued.
Oh, yes. It shall be.
Posted at 08:02 PM
PAUL CLEMENT [Barbara Comstock]
A strong second to Shannen's kudos for Paul Clement. Paul will be a fabulous Solicitor General and is held in high esteem by the entire legal community.
Posted at 07:57 PM
IRAQ [Jim Robbins]
Looks like the top leadership posts in the new Iraqi government will be divided between representatives of the Unified Iraq Coalition and Kurdish Alliance, with Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, leader of the Shia al-Dawa party, as Prime Minister and Kurdisj leader Jalal Talibani as President. The insurgents have been hoping to bring these tow groups into open civil war (witness yesterday's bombing of a Shia mosque in Kurdish Mosul) but the pro-democracy Iraqi's are more sensible than the terorrists or many western analysts have given them credit for.
Posted at 07:39 PM
GEORGE LUCAS [Rick Brookhiser]
I offer my opinion re: George Lucas. He and Steven Spielberg are two of the most disastrous pop cultural figures of the last thirty years. They converted an entire medium to childishness--scary sharks, space men, Indiana Jones. Star Wars is bits of plastic put together with Scotch tape. There were clever moments here and there, and more often cheap thrills. But anything adult was banished.
Spielberg so lowered the bar that when he turned around and did Schindler's List he was hailed as some sort of Dante. But who had turned Nazis into thick-accented goons pursuing the Ark of the Covenant?
Posted at 06:44 PM
PAUL CLEMENT [Shannen Coffin]
The President has nominated Deputy Solicitor General Paul Clement to be the next Solicitor General. Paul is an excellent lawyer. This is an outstanding choice, and one that most people who had been following it on our side hoped would happen. Good luck in confirmation, Paul.
Posted at 06:35 PM
DOESN'T ELLEN TAUSCHER'S STAFF [K. J. Lopez]
check Snoopes.com and things?
Posted at 06:34 PM
RE: TECH BLEG [John Derbyshire]
Bless you all -- bless you, bless you. I now have FOUR lines of attack on Nellie's AIM problem: (1) Switch to Trillian.
(2) Switch to GAIM.
(3) Refresh & run NAV.
(4) Check for missing autoexec.nt in the \windows\sytem32 folder -- some spyware thinks its adware and trashes it.
I shall try them all when Nellie comes home from drama rehearsal. I like the kids to be around & watching when I fix things -- may as well drag out the illusion of parental omnicompetence for a couple more years.
Posted at 06:14 PM
HA [K. J. Lopez]
The same day I recklessly whine about the GOP, I read that I am "the new face of the G.O.P."
Posted at 05:02 PM
TEXAS [K. J. Lopez]
is debating embryonic-stem-cell research, too, right now.
Posted at 04:56 PM
RE: MCCARTHY'S POSTS ON THE POLITICS OF FILIBUSTERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Andy McCarthy is asking me (among others) to justify the claim that Senate Democrats have paid a price for filibustering Bush's judicial nominees, and arguing that even if they did lose some Senate seats they would find that a price worth paying. The question is good and the argument interesting.
First, on Daschle. Here's McCarthy: "Had Daschle won, which he came very close to doing, could it really credibly have been said that this signalled that the filibusters were a a winning Democratic strategy? We would have scoffed at such a contention, and I don't think the counterclaim is any more persuasive just because he lost." I think the counterfactual doesn't work. If Daschle had won, we could confidently have said that filibustering judges didn't hurt him enough to cost him the election--but we would still have said that it hurt him. Why? Because we know from national polls taken during the election that voters, by a ten-point margin, preferred Bush to appoint judges rather than Kerry. Because we can see that in red states, it's Republican Senate candidates rather than Democrats who have been raising the issue on the stump. Because we have plenty of reason to think that the social issues such as abortion have been helpful to Republicans in Senate elections in 2002 and 2004 in Missouri, North Carolina, Georgia, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Louisiana--I'm probably leaving a few states off the list--and we know that those social issues are deeply entangled with the judicial-confirmation issue.
McCarthy is of course quite correct to point out that most people don't pay close attention to politics--and that's an understatement. But I'm not sure how far this gets you. People don't have to be consciously aware of the details of candidates' positions on issues for those positions to affect their votes. If Daschle had gone along with, say, the Estrada nomination, it would have made it much harder for the Republicans to portray him as an obstructionist opposed to conservative values. Given how close the vote was, I'm inclined to say that the obstruction made the difference in that race (which, of course, could also be said of other issues).
I don't think it's true that Ashcroft was confirmed without a filibuster because his job is seen as a national-security job or that his confirmation therefore holds no lessons for a Supreme Court confirmation fight. The position simply wasn't seen as primarily or even largely national-security-related in January 2001; it was debated in terms of race and religion. I think what's crucial is that the public thinks that the AG position is important and has to be filled for the government to run. They think that also about the Supreme Court. They don't think that about appeals-courts nominees.
Finally, on the question about Democrats' being willing to give up Senate seats in return for justices: that's a perfectly reasonable point when it comes to liberal activists or donors. But it's not obvious that the Democrats who hold those seats are always going to have those same priorities.
Posted at 04:53 PM
BUH-BYE FRIDAY (NEW TIMEWASTER) [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 04:14 PM
CAMPAIGN FINANCE "REFORM" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
and its special interests.
Posted at 03:59 PM
BABY CAL [Jonah Goldberg]
It would be nice if everybody who played could put NRO in their name so that we could dominate the high score list. It would be nice if I wasn't such a dork too.
Posted at 03:46 PM
BANKRUPTCY & DRUGS [Jonah Goldberg]
Interesting perspective, from a lawyer:
Jonah: Strange coincidence: A little while ago I was discussing the proposed bankruptcy reforms with a partner of mine who does recovery work. We talked about how the credit card companies want to limit access to relief under a personal bankruptcy filing - for fairly obvious reasons. Not two minutes later, I see your post on the HBO drug addict documentary. Another two minutes, and I get a call from my mom about a relative with a drug habit. It seems this relative (22 years old, no income), following what she describes as a common practice of drug addicts, obtained credit cards from several department store chains. She then purchased gift cards up to the limit of each store credit card (several thousand dollars under each card). These gift cards were then exchanged for drugs at about 50 cents on the dollar. She now wants to use bankruptcy to clear the debts. So on the one hand, I'm completely sympathetic with the argument that this kind of irresponsible build up of debt is not the type of situation where the bankruptcy laws should be used for a "fresh start". On the other hand, how much sympathy can one feel for the credit card companies if this debt were wiped clean - what were they all thinking in giving several thousand dollars in unsecured credit to a young unemployed person? Easy access to bankruptcy may make borrowers less responsible, but this seems to be one case where the lenders were hardly more responsible in extending credit. But either way, it also shows another negative social harm caused by drug addiction. Anyway, I thought it was strange to have the two themes collide like that while both were fresh on my mind. Keep up the great work.
Posted at 03:27 PM
RE: THE ONLY STORY [K.J. Lopez]
I think it was on Fox, when, a few hours ago, I heard someone worry that shooting a judge when you disagree with his ruling might become an epidemic. Terrible crime for those who have lost love ones. They better get the maniac. But let's not go nuts.
Posted at 03:22 PM
WE'LL ALWAYS REMEMBER WHERE WE WERE [Rod Dreher]
The only news channel we can get on our office cable system is CNN, and I'm about to shoot out the TV on my desk in frustration. The only story -- THE ONLY STORY -- they have been covering all day long is this courthouse shooting in Atlanta. It's an important story, to be sure, but CNN has given it wall-to-wall coverage. One of their on-air personalities actually likened the event to 9/11! I'm not making this up! I'm guessing the attack happened only blocks away from CNN World Headquarters, which is the only explanation I can imagine for this runaway case of parochialism in news judgment. I half expect the normally excellent Miles O'Brien to pull a Cronkite-on-Nov.-22-1963 on us here.
Posted at 03:20 PM
HA [K. J. Lopez]
Re your "Independent" post -- I think Cornerites can fairly say we are of the "Cosmo" generation of conservatives. And I don't mean "that" magazine, either.
Posted at 03:16 PM
NOT-SO-BREAKING NEWS [K. J. Lopez]
From the Independent:
The average 29-year-old now hankers for a return to the lifestyle of a 1950s housewife. The daughters of the "Cosmo" generation of feminists want nothing more than a happy marriage and domestic bliss in the countryside, according to a survey.
Posted at 02:58 PM
YUSHCHENKO TURNED TO U.S. DOCTORS [K. J. Lopez]
A team of U.S. doctors, headed by a University of Virginia professor, secretly flew to Vienna in mid-December to assist in the treatment of then-Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, according to U.S. officials, two of the doctors and the head of the Austrian clinic visited by Yushchenko....
Posted at 02:57 PM
BRAVE, RESILIENT MARINES [K. J. Lopez]
Are you sitting? This comes via NPR.
Posted at 02:48 PM
CHAIT: OPPOSE PERSONAL ACCOUNTS BECAUSE PEOPLE WOULD LIKE THEM! [Rich Lowry ]
Just read Jonathan Chait's TNR piece in favor of Democratic obstruction on Social Security. It's well done, even if I disagree with it. But this is a revealing bit. Chait argues that Democrats have to stop accounts now because the public would like them and demand their expansion and liberalization:
Conservatives believe, not without reason, that private accounts will offer an invidious comparison to traditional Social Security. Workers will note that the taxes they send off to the traditional program disappear, while the money in their own accounts grows before their eyes. The private accounts will, in most cases, also appear to provide a higher rate of return. As noted above, the comparison is deceptive--traditional Social Security will be bearing the weight of the legacy debt, disability benefits, and, for affluent workers, redistribution to those earning less. But the comparison will create a constituency clamoring for expansion. Conservatives once proclaimed this unabashedly. The 1983 Cato Journal paper, which advocated what it called a "Leninist Strategy" for undermining Social Security, argued, "This mechanism for demonstrating the individual gains and losses that occur under Social Security is a key step in weakening public support for our present system."
This is a tidbit I'll have to put into my quiver for later use: “Even liberal Jonathan Chait says the public would LOVE personal Social Security accounts.”
Posted at 02:37 PM
WARD CHURCHILL [K. J. Lopez]
is being accused of plagarism. (There's no excuse for bad writing and thinking when you steal it!)
Posted at 02:23 PM
YEAH, I'M THAT, TOO, I SUPPOSE [K. J. Lopez]
Totally meaningless comment, but I read "you're at a cybermag" as "you're a cybernag". Sorry. Funny how the brain works.
Posted at 02:21 PM
FEEL LIKE YOU’RE MISSING OUT?? [K. J. Lopez ]
Are you thinking right now, “Man, I would like to read National Review right now? Lose that left behind feeling! Subscribe to the paper version here.
Don’t want more paper in the house? Subscribe to the digital version of NR. You get the same magazine, faster, online. You go here for the digital version.
Posted at 02:11 PM
IT HAS ARRIVED!! [K. J. Lopez ]
The new issue of NR is up, if you subscriber, log on:
Posted at 02:10 PM
RE: FRANK RICH [Rich Lowry ]
Now that Frank Rich is being shifted back to the opinion pages, maybe he'll finally start giving us some actual arts coverage.
Posted at 02:05 PM
TECH BLEG [John Derbyshire]
My daughter likes AIM for instant messaging with her friends. She was IM-ing happily along there for several days on her new computer (Win XP). Then I scrubbed her system: NAV, SpyBot, AdAware. Now AIM doesn't work. We uninstalled & reinstalled -- nope. "AIM has encountered a problem and will close..." Anyone know a fix for this? AOL is no help -- Why should they be? This is the free download version. I must have scrubbed something that AOL wants.
Posted at 01:57 PM
RE: POINTS [Rod Dreher]
Kathryn, thanks for posting the link earlier this week to Points, the new Sunday opinion section of the Dallas Morning News, which I'm editing. I had an opportunity to come up for air this morning, and I've been re-reading a week's worth of rockin' Corner posts. Being an editor instead of a full-time writer eats up an incredible amount of time, and I've been pretty slack on blogging and column-writing. I'm also making the final turn on "Crunchy Con," the book I have forthcoming from Crown next year, which is consuming all the time I have outside of the office. I've got two chapters left to write -- one on Religion, another on The Environment -- and a conclusion.
Anyway, thanks to those who e-mailed me about Points. We have some cool stuff coming up, including a short interview I did with Mel Gibson for this weekend, in which he says some pretty provocative things about Hollywood and "The Passion," and in a couple of weeks, a really good piece by journalist Randall Sullivan, writing about how he was treated by the MSM, of which he (as a bestselling author and Rolling Stone contributing editor) has long been a part, after he came out as a Christian with the publication of last year's "The Miracle Detective." I've got Charlotte Allen, Bat Ye'or, Christine Rosen and others that NRO-niks love to read circling above DFW, waiting to land. I'll be running stuff from smart liberals too.
Posted at 01:56 PM
NEWS THAT'S FIT TO SPIN [Tim Graham]
N.Y. Times reporter Stephen Labaton made it a habit of using terminology about helping out or excusing "corrupt companies" four times in one story on bankruptcy legislation, as TimesWatch notices here.
Posted at 01:49 PM
"WHO IS ARLEN SPECTER?" [K. J. Lopez]
I write this with all respect, but I think you're being just a touch myopic in believing that the issue of judicial filibusters could ever have resonated with the general population. Most people-including intelligent, educated, folks who consider themselves to be politically aware-not only don't know who Arlen Specter is, they don't know what a filibuster is.ME: I'm totally with this fella, to an extent. Believe me, I don't hear or have conversations about filibusters much outside the office, so to speak (the office being a nebulous thing when it is 2005 and you're at a cybermag). But, as I argued in the summer a few times, the national campaign could have focused on personalities--Meet Bill Pryor....here's what the Senate Democrats did to him. I don't believe that wouldn't have rallied people in a non-complicated kinda way. And then when you can easily tie basic unfairness like that to the top issues of the day: the war, the family...you've got a strong message.
It's water under the bridge, but since the conversation started, just elaborating...
I still want to be completely wrong about Specter, for the record--I rather have good judges than be right.
Posted at 01:46 PM
PRIVILEGE [Rich Lowry ]
WFB has a very favorable review in the new NR of Ross Douthat's Privilege, a memoir of his time at Harvard. I read the book in galleys a few month ago and it is a delight, beautifully written, wry, and profound. Pick it up. You won't regret it...
Posted at 01:25 PM
PASSION RECUT & REWOUND [K. J. Lopez]
Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is being re-released today in a slightly less graphic form for those who asked for a slightly less graphic version for mom or grandma, or whomever. We ran a bunch of pieces on the movie and the controversies surrounding it. Here are some of them, if you're interested (in no particular order): Ramesh Ponnuru
A. Larry Ross
S. T. Karnick
Ralph Winter & Mark Joseph
Posted at 12:30 PM
BELTWAY BUZZ... [Rich Lowry ]
...is all over the DeLay Korea-US Exchange Council pseudo scandal...
Posted at 12:27 PM
GOOD POINT RE: THAT NINA EASTON PIECE [K. J. Lopez]
No one will give a hoot what Mitt Romney's father did in 1964 or in 1968, when the elder said he had been "brainwashed." Only political junkies care.
Posted at 12:07 PM
CHINESE SHADOWS [John Derbyshire]
Good reminder here from the Daily Telegraph about the nature of the Chinese regime.
On Monday I had lunch with Liu Chenghui, a Chinese novelist & newspaper editor. We traded opinions as to how far behind the U.S. China is, politically and socially. Me: 30 yrs. He: a hundred.
Posted at 12:04 PM
MICHAEL STEELE FOR SENATE [K. J. Lopez]
FLASH: Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), longest-serving Senator in Maryland history, is expected to announce this afternoon that he will not seek a sixth term in 2006, ROLL CALL reporting... Developing...Michael Steele should run.
Posted at 11:37 AM
A BAD MAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Killed some good men.
Posted at 11:37 AM
BABYCAL [Jonah Goldberg ]
For those still playing, I broke 6,000 yesterday, which is cool.
Posted at 11:25 AM
RE: SPECTER CONTROVERSY [K. J. Lopez]
Oh, I totally agree with you, Andy, that most Americans still don't know who Arlen Specter is--I , of course, as you know, blame the GOP (I say in a slapdash way, noting the Bush/RNC reelect team did do a great ground-op job, etc.) for that, too. If judges had been the huge issue during the campaign it should have been, the Specter controversy would have resonated with more people (to some extent--I'm realistic here--really) post-Election Day.
Posted at 11:05 AM
RE: FAR BE IT FROM ME TO ARGUE [Andy McCarthy]
Shannen, respectfully, I think you are proving my point about wishful thinking. First, I don't know how you can say I have blinked reality by purportedly missing the electoral importance of Daschle's obstructionism. I explicitly said that Daschle was beaten because he "was shown to be a vigorous partisan obstructionist." Where we part company on this is that you seem to see the filibusters as burned into the public mind as the symbol of that obstructionism, and I think that is a vast overstatement. As I said, the filibusters were part of a much broader case that Daschle was an obstructionist. I think it is a mistake to deduce from Daschle's defeat a conclusion that Americans are angry over the filibusters such that the Democrats realize they should avoid them. If that were true, it would mean that had Daschle won by a few votes rather than lost, you would be in a position of conceding that Americans approved of the filibusters. I don't think you'd make such a concession, and you'd be quite right to resist it.
Moreover, outside of Daschle, what is it that causes you to say the Democrats have paid a price for filibustering? Or that they have much reason to worry about paying a price? I'm afraid I don't see anything but a big net gain for them. My sense is that these calculations about the political consequences misses the main point. The Democrats don't need to be a national party or a legislative majority. We keep acting like this is vital to them -- it's not. If they control the judiciary, and the judiciary imposes its will on the electorate, the Dems get to force their agenda on the country without needing to win seats in Congress. What would you rather have today: 60 seats in the senate or 6 seats on the Supreme Court? I'm betting the Dems would be satisfied for the foreseeable future to have only 44 senate seats if they could have 6 (or even 5 dependable) votes on the Supreme Court and parity or better on the appellate courts.
Finally, I think you and Kathryn are over-estimating the degree of controversy attendant to Sen. Specter's assumption of the Judiciary Committee chair. Concededly, the Judiciary Committee is and was a very big deal at NRO, among conservatives, and among lawyers (like you and me) who care passionately about the composition of the courts because we see more up close the day-to-day consequences of judicial legislating. But if we extend out of that regrettably small fishbowl, it just wasn't that big a deal out in the country. Had it been, the GOP had several viable options for blocking Sen. Specter. They did not avail themselves of those options because, while there was some controversy, there was no political groundswell for doing so.
Posted at 11:02 AM
RE: DOPE SICK LOVE [Jonah Goldberg]
This blogger says my post about Dope Sick Love is "rote nonsense" and he sent me the link with the subject header "you're dead wrong." He writes:
As for Goldberg and his rote nonsense: I would remind him that even in the political/legal climate as it is now, with all attendant corrosion of American culture beyond the immediate circle of this sort of thing (let's see who can distinguish between the actual dopers and everybody else who has to live with the widespread destruction of liberty that the War on Drugs has wrought), people still choose this way of death, and there is nothing on earth that he or anyone else can do about it when they do.
Me:I find this not only to be childish table pounding, but completely off-point. When did I say we could "save" everyone? When did I suggest such was my goal? In fact, which of my points is this guy actually refuting? Or even trying to refute? The fact that these people are drug addicts despite the War on Drugs is a point I would make for my case. That some water makes it over the dam is not an argument against having the dam. That some people choose this "way of death" despite all of the barriers we throw up, does not demonstrate that there would not be many, many more people like this if we took those barriers down. Easier access to cheaper drugs would not create fewer addicts -- at least not in the short run (I am open to the argument that in the long run society might find an equilibrium). There are some people who become slaves to drugs very quickly and the only reason many do not become so enslaved is that it is a relative hassle to get them and use them in the open. Take away the hassle factor -- i.e. lower the price -- and you will increase the consumption.
And, as this documentary demonstrates, for some irreducible percentage of the population once they are addicted they cannot be un-addicted.
I have had this argument too many times to count now. I don't dispute that some people are simply self-destructive (I've known more than my share). But drugs like crack and heroin -- but not pot, which I favor decriminalizing -- make some people self-destructive who otherwise might not be. The economic model so many legalizers emphasize assumes people are rational actors without accepting that drugs by definition transform you into an irrational actor -- some permanently, others just for an evening. I'm not being "liberal" in pointing out that there are costs and benefits for both policy options. Legalization will have horrible costs in my opinion. Mature advocates of legalization admit this. They simply think the current costs of the drug war are greater and the benefits of ending it would outweigh the downside. All I disagree with is their accounting.
Posted at 11:01 AM
HISTORY FOR DUMMIES [Tim Graham]
Here's a good sign you've been teaching bored high school kids too long. My son's history homework assignment last night was to devise answers to a "Dictator Dating Game." (His dictator was Tojo.) An Internet version of this quiz suggests students provide a "very brief and funny summary of the leader" based on questions like these.
1. What is your ideal date?
2. Where would you go and why?
3. What are your pet peeves?
4. What kind of books do you like?
5. What are your hobbies?
6. What do you do in your spare time?
7. What are your favorite methods for controlling the masses?
8. What is your favorite cartoon character?
9. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
Instead of merely getting the students to provide two or three paragraphs on Tojo's life, he had to instead try to make up sad jokes about his hobbies (POW torture, perhaps?) Imagine the same jocularity about Hitler and Stalin, which other students were assigned. I tried to do what the teacher should do: convey the utter inhumanity of totalitarianism. I read my son some Tojo-related pages from Paul Johnson's "Modern Times." Let today's pampered, Nintendo-besotted kids (like mine!) understand how lucky they are.
Posted at 10:55 AM
THE CHURCH REPORT [Rich Lowry ]
Jed Babbin has a good gloss on it today in the New York Post , pointing out that it rebuts the notion that Gonzales and Rumsfeld in any sense approved or created the environment for the abuses:
The Church report proves those assertions wrong. It says, "We found, without exception, that the DoD and senior military commanders responsible for the formulation of interrogation policy evidenced the intent to treat detainees humanely, which is fundamentally inconsistent with the notion that such officials or commanders ever accepted that detainee abuse would be permissible . . . [and] it is clear that none of the pictured abuses at Abu Ghraib bear any resemblance to approved policies at any level, in any theater."
As the Church report shows, the terrorists are trained in our interrogation methods and how to resist them. When we use more aggressive techniques — as we did in the case of two "high-value" detainees at Guantanamo who resisted standard interrogation for months — the new techniques "successfully neutralized the two detainees' resistance training and yielded valuable intelligence."
Posted at 10:50 AM
I'M NO FAN... [Rich Lowry ]
...of Michael Scheuer. But I think his bottom line in this piece about how CIA operatives tend to get scapegoated when the political climate happens shifts against some particular hard-nosed tactic--in this case, renditions--rings true:
All Americans owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women of the agency who executed these presidentially requested and approved operations, often at the risk of their lives. Unfortunately, rather than receiving thanks, the C.I.A. officers are again learning the usual lesson: to follow orders, make America safer and prepare to be abandoned and prosecuted when the policy makers refuse to defend their own decisions.
Posted at 10:42 AM
DEMS AGAINST OBSTRUCTION [Rich Lowry ]
The fact that Bush's second-term agenda is so ambitious is obscuring the fact that he has scored major bi-partisan legislative victories with the class-action and bankruptcy bills. Here's the Times on the latest:
As the bankruptcy bill emerged, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, sought to rally members of his party around a series of amendments that would offer special protection for those whose bankruptcy was attributed to health care costs or other unexpected expenses. But on that and nearly every other attempted change, solid Republican opposition, bolstered by a handful of Democrats, prevailed.
Posted at 10:39 AM
FRANK RICH... [Rich Lowry ]
...back to the Op-Ed page.
Posted at 10:36 AM
CONGRATULATIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
To TechCentralStation. They celebrated their 5th anniversary last night here in DC. For five years our friend Nick Schulz has done a stupendous job in making an indispensable site only better and better -- despite the hardship of what I consider to be a truly lame name for a magazine. Perhaps at their tenth anniversary party they'll re-christen it GadgetPortAuthority or GizmoMainTerminal.
I say it out of love.
Posted at 10:32 AM
"UNFILTERED" [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'm doing Tucker Carlson's show again tonight. Topics will not include immanentizing the eschaton. They will include Dan Rather, the subject of I today's column.
Posted at 10:24 AM
ESCHATOLOGICAL DEATH MATCH [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Jonah and Andrew, Thanks gentlemen for the Reason vs. Revelation death match. Kidding aside, it is a worthy conversation, although I think that there may be disconnect in it.
Me: A very thoughtful email. My only objections, for now, are that A) Schmitt wasn't merely a one-time Nazi. In every meaningful sense once he became a Nazi he never stopped being one. He never expressed any remorse for the Holocaust even long, long after the details were known. The "crown jurist" of the Nazi Reich may have gotten into some intra-party squabbles and the like, but in his heart he remained a Nazi in the ways that count.
And B) I'm not positive the reader is exactly right about Schmitt's definition of the political. My understanding is that Schmitt believed every thing was political even those things which we call apolitical -- since to declare something beyond politics is itself a political act. Interestingly, Mark Lilla argues that Schmitt was fundamentally a theological thinker (which may play into my argument with Andrew more than the reader allows). But this may all be a trivial point and I am no expert on Schmitt (though I've been reading more by and about him lately).
Posted at 10:17 AM
THERE THEY GO AGAIN [Mark Krikorian]
The Journal runs another ad today for illegal immigration, this time in the form of a front-page story featuring farmers claiming that U.S. agriculture “could not exist without a foreign work force.” Illegal immigration is simply another form of corporate welfare for agribusiness, and like all those feeding at the trough of government goodies, these lobbyists are not above trotting out the same lies decade after decade. A case in point: "the use of Braceros [Mexican farmworkers] is absolutely essential to the survival of the tomato industry." This wasn’t from today’s Journal story; it’s from testimony before the California Senate in 1961. Congress ended the guestworker program that existed at the time anyway, and since illegal immigration didn’t pick up the slack right away, the tomato farmers accelerated the mechanization of the harvest, leading to a quadrupling of the production of tomatoes for processing between 1960 to 1990 and a fall in the real price of tomato products.
Posted at 10:10 AM
"DOPE SICK LOVE" [Jonah Goldberg]
It's a must-see new documentary on HBO. It is a brutal-but-riveting depiction of the worst ravages of drug addiction. It is not suitable for little kids.I would encourage advocates of legalization to watch it, not so much to change their minds (though some might) but because it's an important reminder that at least at first, legalization would create more cases like the ones depicted in this film, not fewer. I am perfectly comfortable admitting that the drug war has huge downsides, many of which I would like to ameliorate. It would be nice if more proponents of legalization at least acknowledge that there would be massive downsides to ending it at well. I'm not trying to create a strawman, I know there are realists around here. But they don't read my email.
Posted at 10:07 AM
MASS MURDERS, SECULAR AND OTHERWISE [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew - I think you make a truly excellent and fair point about technology being a -- or perhaps the -- key restraint on some previous genocidal campaigns. Lord knows how much worse off, say, the Huguenots might have been if the Gatling gun had been around. But while I'm no student of pre-modern genocide, it seems to me that a lack of technology hasn't stopped some mass murderers from getting away with, uh, murder. Rwanda had no Auschwitz.
And I guess we agree on much else as well. I think you're probably right to look at what unites genocidal movements rather than the ideas they profess to hold. I guess what interests me for the purposes of this discussion is that so many of the forces of "reason," truth, light and progress which were allegedly unleashed by the Enlightenment in general and the French Revolution in particular were in fact used as ruses for horrors as bad as any which came before -- and in some cases worse -- and were all the more horrific because they were commited by the most "enlightened" elements of society.
This, in the modern era, is the crucial distinction I was trying to highlight. It is one thing to believe in an actual religion which puts God and the hereafter permanently in the hereafter. It is another to use the passions of religion in an attempt to bring heaven to Earth. I agree that fanatics of authentic religions have attempted to do just that with bloody results. But the deadliest cults in the modern era have tended to hide behind the language of reason, or The People, or "social justice" or "the Proletariat." And even some religious movements are really religious in name only. Much of al Qaeda's schtick is really just warmed-over anti-colonialism and nationalism with a thick Islamic varnish to make it more attractive to the rubes who blow themselves up in order to get their 72 first dates.
Posted at 10:00 AM
SAINT BRENDAN VS. SAINT PATRICK [K. J. Lopez]
John Miller gives you something to argue about at the pub on Paddy's Day (Thursday).
Posted at 09:51 AM
RE: ROMNEY AND THE COW PALACE [K. J. Lopez]
An NRO friend and Romney fan points out: "[T]he story doesn't say young Romney, himself, walked out--heck, what a tribute that he stayed to hear those famous lines, written by Harry Jaffa, intellectual founder of the Claremont Institute......and if he did walk out, well, we all did irresponsible things in our younger and more vulnerable years. "
Posted at 09:30 AM
"FOR THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF HER LIFE, SHE WAS SO SMALL SHE SLEPT IN A FRUIT BASKET.” [K. J. Lopez ]
You read a story like this one, about a baby who was misdiagnosed and left to die, and you’re instinct is to think recklessness or terrible mistake--or that in some other way, we just don't know the actual story. But in a day when we are told (by supporters of infant euthanasia) there are “at least five newborn mercy killings occur for every one reported” in Holland…and who knows how many elsewhere, how safe is that instinct?
Posted at 09:20 AM
DUTCH TREAT [Andrew Stuttaford]
After the apathetic ‘si’ that Spain gave to the proposed EU constitution, attention is now turning to the referendum in France, now pushed to an earlier date by a Jacques Chirac concerned that support for this revolting document among the French is fading away.
But could the Netherlands be about to spring a surprise? The London Times has this to say:
“The Government has announced that a referendum on the constitution will take place on June 1. It will be the first time that Dutch citizens are asked what they think of the EU. While international attention has been focused on the French referendum, just three days earlier on May 29, the Dutch are far more likely to slam on the brakes of the constitutional juggernaut. Polls in France still show a majority in favour of the constitution, but the Government in The Hague has been shocked to find that a majority of its citizens are opposed, and by no small margin. A recent poll was telling. It showed that 42 per cent of Dutch would choose to vote “no”, against 28 per cent who plan to vote “yes”. The Netherlands is the only founding member of the EU in which opinion polls suggest that the constitution will be rejected.”
What makes the Dutch poll so remarkable is that, with the exception of the maverick Geert Wilders, an MP forced by death threats from Islamic groups to spend his nights in a prison, almost the entire Dutch political establishment is busy supporting that national suicide note that Brussels likes to call a constitution.
Posted at 09:15 AM
GODS AND MONSTERS [Andrew Stuttaford]
I’m swimming in very deep waters here, Jonah, but I’m not sure that it’s possible to draw that bright line between the murderous ‘secular’ philosophies of the twentieth century and what went before. Looking, for example, at the fury and bloodshed of some of Europe’s nastier religious wars, isn't it possible to think that the reason that the protagonists did not indulge in twentieth century style slaughter was that they did not have the technology?
Better I think, to look beneath the very different beliefs professed by the mass murderers, and see what unites them. Some will be cynics merely using an ideology for their purposes, while others, more dangerous, are the true believers – in the ‘People’ perhaps, or a god – who feel that so long as they are acting in the interests (as they interpret it) of their faith any atrocity can be justified, however appalling.
Yes, belief in a god can often act as a welcome restraint on the worst of human nature because of the threat (or the promise) it brings with it - that every individual will one day have to account for his actions to a higher authority - but it’s no guarantee.
Posted at 09:15 AM
FAR BE IT FROM ME TO ARGUE WITH ONE OF AMERICA'S BEST PROSECUTORS [Shannen W. Coffin ]
Andy, a couple of points. You and I generally agree that this has not been a high profile national issue -- or at least not high enough -- but Daschle's obstructionism played a key role in the Thune race, especially with the bloggers that Thune now credits for helping him win. In a race that close and the target of that much national attention, it blinks reality to suggest that obstructionism was not a factor in that race. And given that Daschle lost by only a few hundred votes, there is no question that it can be interpreted as such. My claim was simply that the Democrats lost their Senate leader on this issue. That is a price suffered by the entirety of the Democratic party, even if other individual races were not as clearly affected. Second, I think the filibuster issue played a major part in the groundswell of opposition to Specter's chairmanship. "Had the national election actually raised the profile of the filibusters issue in any meaningful way, Sen. Specter's assumption of the Judiciary Committee chair would have been much more controversial than it actually was." If by that you mean, opposing forces would have won the battle, then perhaps you have a point. But there's little doubt that his Chairmanship brought with it major controversy.
Posted at 09:05 AM
FILIBUSTERS, DASHCLE, SPECTER & THINGS [K. J. Lopez ]
Hey, Andy, I agree re: your Daschle point (judges played a role, but there was more there there), and I’m not sure Shannen or Ramesh would disagree too much (if at all), and I complained during the summer that the GOP wasn’t doing what they should have been doing with the judge issue—the war and the courts were the two issues, it seemed to me. But, one quibble: The Specter nomination was controversial, and a heck of a lot of people got the problem. I blame the club in the Senate and weak-kneed Republicans for the fact he’s chairman—they could have fixed that (relatively) easily right after the election, but they didn’t…and here we are, back with the prospect of filibusters, with a Judiciary chairman whose got staff that’s not even on our team, and the likes of Bill Pryor wondering if he’s going to be in Alabama or Atlanta next year, because the fate of the president’s nominees rests with the likes of Pat Leahy and Charlie Schumer, not those who actually won the election.
Posted at 09:05 AM
MORE ABOUT HEZBOLLAH [K. J. Lopez]
here--my interview with Barbara Newman, co-author of a new, alarming book on the dangers of Hezbollah.
And read Ledeen.
And read Hanson.
Posted at 08:33 AM
NOT THE STORY A ROMNEY '08 CAMPAIGN WILL WANT TO BRING UP WHEN SPEAKING AT THE REAGAN RANCH [K. J. Lopez]
WASHINGTON -- At the 1964 Republican Convention, 16-year-old Mitt Romney was sitting in the balcony of San Francisco's Cow Palace when, as he recalls it now, he saw his father stand up and walk out to protest nominee Barry Goldwater's explosive statement that ''extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."(Later in the Globe article, Mike Murphy points out, "He's much more conservative than his dad.")
Posted at 08:27 AM
CREDIT WHERE DUE [Jonah Goldberg]
The new Star Wars trailer is, well, really, really good. Download here.
Posted at 08:22 AM
GLOBE & ROMNEY ’08 WATCH [K. J. Lopez]
The Boston Globe today is all about 2006, a little about 2008. The main hook is a poll finds Massachusetts doesn’t want Romney to run for president, but they didn’t want Kerry too, either, as it turns out.
Posted at 08:17 AM
HEZBOLLAH'S PREDICAMENT [Jonah Goldberg ]
I just got around to reading this post at the Belmont Club. Very interesting.
Posted at 08:16 AM
FINAL STAR WARS TOO SCARY... [Jonah Goldberg]
for little kids, according to George Lucas. Of course, he also says he's "very please with the whole" series. So take his judgement as you will.
Posted at 08:04 AM
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER TODAY [K. J. Lopez]
articulates, essentially, the Mitt Romney position on stem cells and cloning, and emphasizes that a prohibitive move needs to be made now:
It is time to act on precisely that intuition and pass a law that draws that line: no creation for the purpose of destruction. We need to do it consensually. And we need to do it now. Tomorrow is too late. By tomorrow we will have an embryo manufacturing industry, and we will already be numb to it.
Posted at 07:59 AM
CRUNCH TIME FOR BUSH & "ASSADDAM" [Jonah Goldberg]
According to Claudia Rosett:
BEIRUT - With the reinstatement yesterday of the same pro-Syrian prime minister who resigned 11 days ago, Omar Karami, Lebanon's democratic spring is turning into a high-stakes showdown not only for the Lebanese, but for President Bush's policy of busting up the autocratic rackets of the Middle East.
Posted at 07:58 AM
GOT CARRIED AWAY THERE [K. J. Lopez ]
Did I mention that the FBI director said of our dear Andy McCarthy (and Cliff May owns him too, he’s a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) “He's one of the best prosecutors you can find in the United States. He is one of the best prosecutors you'll ever find in handling a terrorist case.”
Posted at 07:58 AM
OH COME ON, WEAR YOUR READERSHIP WITH PRIDE: SAY IT WITH ME: NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE [K. J. Lopez ]
HEARING OF THE SCIENCE, JUSTICE, STATE, COMMERCE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
Posted at 07:56 AM
RE: RE: FILIBUSTER DEBATE [Andy McCarthy]
With due respect to Shannen and Ramesh, I don't believe there is convincing evidence for one of the key propositions they seem to agree about: viz., that the Democrats have already paid a political price for their prior filibustering.
This claim is most often made in connection with the defeat of Sen. Daschle. But the suggestion that his very narrow defeat in a state that is not a bell-weather was somehow akin to a national disapproval of the filibusters is wishful thinking at best. Daschle was beaten because of an overall sense that he was a phony on many issues -- a senator who pretended to be a moderate bridge-builder when speaking with the home folks but who was shown to be a vigorous partisan obstructionist in Washington. The filibusters were part of that, but they weren't close to being all of it. Had Daschle won, which he came very close to doing, could it really credibly have been said that this signalled that the filibusters were a a winning Democratic strategy? We would have scoffed at such a contention, and I don't think the counterclaim is any more persuasive just because he lost.
My general impression before and after the election, fwiw, was that the administration had done a poor job making the judicial nominations a consequential political issue. I agree that the filibusters are a matter that could and should resonate with the American people, but I don't see evidence that the issue has been exploited. I don't know what Democrats other than Daschle we are talking about when we say they have "paid a price." Had the national election actually raised the profile of the filibusters issue in any meaningful way, Sen. Specter's assumption of the Judiciary Committee chair would have been much more controversial than it actually was. (That's not a comment on Sen. Specter's stand on filibusters; just an observation that more people would have cared about who was put in charge of the Judiciary Cmte.) The argument after the election was about whether voters had primarily been swayed by national security concerns or social issues like gay marriage. The judiciary, which should be an issue of similarly weighty dimension, simply was not one.
This is why the Democrats feel safe continuing to block nominees. Look at the contrast: They did not filibuster AG Ashcroft or AG Gonzales, even though they objected to both, because national security has been successfully made into a consequential national issue, and thus they did not believe they could afford politically to be responsible for leaving those posts vacant. There is no such urgency about the judiciary. Filibustering is a safe strategy.
The upsides to the Democrats of filibustering are abundantly clear: (a) their core constituency groups, including Hollywood, the trial lawyers and the pro-abortion lobby, fork up lots of money; (b) since they have not been successful convincing voters to support their policies in the normal democratic process, the power to hold sway over the composition of the federal courts means they get important parts of their agenda imposed by judicial fiat; and (c) if they can hold out long enough, the inevitable backlog (due to what is a months-long vetting process for each of hundreds of nominees) will inevitably result in more open seats to be filled by a Democrat if one wins the White House back in 2008.
To the contrary, the downsides are not clear at all -- neither that the Dems have suffered in the past, nor that they will suffer meaningfully going forward. They know the mainstream media will be with them, and there is every chance -- with 2006 elections looming and with several "moderate" Republican senators already wobbly on the wisdom of dispensing with the filibuster rule -- that the Dems will conclude, perhaps rightly, that the GOP will not have the unity needed to exploit the filibusters for political gain.
I wish I could be more optimistic, but the only realistic way this becomes a high-profile political issue is if the senate Republicans pull the trigger on the "nuclear"/"constitutional" option.
Posted at 07:55 AM
SINGER V. POSNER [Jonah Goldberg]
Old dialogue from Slate between Peter Singer and Richard Posner. My favorite passage from Posner:
Now you may reply that these are just facts about human nature; that they have no normative significance. But they do. Suppose a dog menaced a human infant and the only way to prevent the dog from biting the infant was to inflict severe pain on the dog—more pain, in fact, than the bite would inflict on the infant. You would have to say, let the dog bite (for "if an animal feels pain, the pain matters as much as it does when a human feels pain," provided the pain is as great). But any normal person (and not merely the infant's parents!), including a philosopher when he is not self-consciously engaged in philosophizing, would say that it would be monstrous to spare the dog, even though to do so would minimize the sum of pain in the world.
I do not feel obliged to defend this reaction; it is a moral intuition deeper than any reason that could be given for it and impervious to any reason that you or anyone could give against it. Membership in the human species is not a "morally irrelevant fact," as the race and sex of human beings has come to seem. If the moral irrelevance of humanity is what philosophy teaches, and so we have to choose between philosophy and the intuition that says that membership in the human species is morally relevant, then it is philosophy that will have to go.
Posted at 07:54 AM
“PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION IN SYRIA IS MET WITH BEATINGS” [K.J. Lopez ]
According to the Reform Party of Syria:
Washington DC, March 10, 2005/RPS/ -- The Arab Human Rights Committee in Syria, led by Dr. Ammar Qurabi, called for Syrians to peacefully march to the Ministry of Justice today to object the lack of freedom and expression and to free prisoners of conscience in Syria.
Posted at 06:11 AM
ASSAD TIGHTENS HIS GRIP [K.J. Lopez]
Posted at 06:02 AM
MILLION-DOLLAR CATCH? [K. J. Lopez]
The fella offering $1 million to Michael Schiavo was a backer of the Prop 71 embryonic-stem-cell/cloning inititiative that passed in California this November. (Hat tip.)
Posted at 05:38 AM
Thursday, March 10, 2005
MICHAEL SCHIAVO IS OFFERED $1 MILLION [K. J. Lopez]
to not starve his wife to death.
Downside: More TV time for Gloria Allred. Upside (besides the whole life thing): Allred puts her fellow feminists to shame for not speaking up for Terri Schiavo. Bottom line: Publicity stunt, I assume.
Posted at 06:35 PM
RE: HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON, SYRIA [Cliff May]
“One revolution is like one cocktail,” Will Rogers observed. “It just gets you organized for the next.”
My Scripps Howard column is here.
Posted at 06:19 PM
ANOTHER PROFESSIONAL OPINION [K. J. Lopez]
As a pediatrician and medical geneticist I've had to deal with the issue of newborns with fatal malformation or syndromes on a few occasions, and this whole euthanasia thing in the Netherlands really makes my skin crawl. About 1 in every 7 or 8,000 newborns has trisomy 13 or 18, for example (think Down syndrome, only a lot worse). These conditions are almost always lethal in the first few months of life and are characterized by a variety of birth defects, everything from cleft lip and palate to complex congenital heart disease, to structural brain malformations and severe retardation. Very few live more than a few years. These are terrible conditions, but they're not painful, except, of course to the family. Counseling in these situations usually involves spelling out the facts (obviously in much more detail) and, in my experience, most families accept the situation, understand their baby is going to have a short life, and enjoy the time with their baby as much as possible. I've never heard anyone suggest euthanasia. However, medical intervention is often tailored to the situation, for example, in an otherwise healthy newborn with complex congenital heart disease, corrective surgery would be arranged. However, if the infant has trisomy 13, it's difficult to justify the expense, resources and pain required to fix the heart, if the ultimate outcome won't be altered. So if no amount of medical intervention is going to lengthen their life, why put them thru it? It's always seemed to me that the humane thing to do in these hopeless cases is to just let nature take its course, and I don't mean exposure on a hillside, but rather provide food, comfort, love and attention, and understand that medical technology can only do so much. I don't see how any active measures to "speed things along" could ever be justified on the basis of sparing the infant unnecessary suffering, because I really don't think they are suffering. While I'm sure there is a financial incentive driving this, as every day in the NICU costs thousands of dollars, I think it's clear that one reason infants are being euthanized in the Netherlands to spare their parents (and the "caregivers") needless suffering. Once we start justifying infanticide to make ourselves feel better, what's next?
Posted at 05:27 PM
MORE AGREEMENT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
You're quite right, Shannen, to say that losing a Supreme Court seat to pick up a few Senate seats would be a very bad deal. I'm certainly not proposing that.
Posted at 04:57 PM
CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS ON CONTRADICTIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
My post about contradictions has elicited some interesting email. Perhaps I'll columnize on it later. But there was one thing I wrote in haste that an old friend of mine who's a real-live working historian called me on. He's right. The New Deal didn't break the consensus about a pluralistic society. It was simply the apotheosis of a trend which started with the Progressives. The salient bit from his email:
Posted at 04:25 PM
RE: INFANT EUTHANASIA [K. J. Lopez]
Let me preface this post with this: None of these issues are easy, and I in know way mean to suggest they are. It's heartbreaking, needless to say, to watch someone suffer, especially someone young, or especially someone in the twilight of their lives--in both cases, people who might not be able to even verbally express their pain.
But...killing infants? And where is the line drawn on what kind of "life of suffering" is too much? Here's an e-mail from one doctor (and I'm very interested in hearing from others):
Let me also point out that I have yet to see a patient -- ever -- with truly untreatable pain. There are other symptoms that can be very refractory to treatment, particularly nausea or depression, but pain is *easy*. The difficulty comes when the dose of medication required to treat pain produces enough depression of respiration to endanger the patient's breathing. That's where the "doctrine of double effect" comes in -- the idea that a dose of (for example) morphine that hastens a patient's death is not euthanasia and hence ethically acceptable if it truly is the lowest dose required to make the patient comfortable. It's the intent of the prescriber that matters, not the effect on the patient. While this can be difficult in the sense of trying to evaluate someone's conduct afterward, I've never had any difficulty in knowing the difference between increasing the dose of a pain medication because the patient still hurts (even though I know I'm taking greater risks with his breathing, risks that are acceptable to him because of limited prognosis) on the one hand, and prescribing something with the intent of ending someone's life (which I've never done). The idea of killing an infant because I in all my wisdom think that his life is not worth living is repugnant.
Posted at 04:07 PM
HORTICULTURE -- THE RACE ANGLE [John Derbyshire]
Roger: Well, there is something there that needs explaining. My wife is a keen gardener. She is also one of those innocents who notice things that respectable people aren't supposed to notice. Well, the first time we went to Washington D.C., we spent most of a day strolling round the beautiful National Arboretum in the northeast of the city.
After a while she asked in a puzzled tone: "How come there are no black people here?" I hadn't noticed (being impeccably respectable myself), but she was right. It was odder still, since the arboretum is in a heavily black section of this heavily black city. All right, perhaps it's mainly a tourist attraction; but admission is free, and if I lived within a mile of it, I'd go there often just to relax and look at the plants. So... where are the locals?
Posted at 04:06 PM
RE: THE FILBUSTER DEBATE [Shannen W. Coffin ]
Ramesh, I agree that there has been a political price paid, at least in Tom Daschle's case. I'm not sure how much obstruction of judicial candidates played a role in other political races -- whether Senate or Presidential -- this last term. Losing Daschle, though, hopefully sent a strong signal to Senate Democrats. However, they have proved adept at ignoring pretty obvious warning signs before, and Harry Reid doesn't seem to have gotten the message. I think a Supreme Court filibuster might be more costly for them politically. But perhaps this is our point of departure -- I think the prize is too important at that stage. A "political win" in the Senate is not nearly as important as getting the right Supreme Court nominee confirmed. If we add a Republican Senator or two in a couple of years, we have not come close to undoing the damage wrought by a single filibuster of a good Supreme Court candidate. Think of the tradeoff of a Justice Bork with a Justice Kennedy. Imagine the difference over the last 15 years if we had won that battle. Against that objective, greater control over the Senate -- where common sense often goes to die or at least spend a very expensive vacation on taxpayer dollars -- is a shallow goal.
Posted at 04:01 PM
MORE FILIBUSTERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
As you note, Shannen, we agree on a lot here. Senate Republicans are certainly within their rights to abolish judicial filibusters. (I think they would probably be within their rights to abolish filibusters altogether by a simple majority vote.) And neither of us knows for sure how a fight over a Supreme Court nominee would go under the current rules. Even on the politics, I'm not sure how much we disagree. I'm not contesting your claim that the Democrats have a high level of commitment to beating conservative nominees; so far at least, you have not contested my contention that the filibusters of judicial nominees have been politically costly for Democrats. (These views are perfectly compatible with each other: One could argue that the fact that Democrats persist in filibustering even though they are paying a price for it shows how committed they are.) Nor have you contested my contention that we have reason to think that a Supreme Court filibuster would be even costlier for them.
If we had a situation where the Democrats persisted in filibustering a Supreme Court nominee in the face of public opposition--and if the filibuster could not be broken no matter how intelligently and forcefully the Republicans fought it (and I would hope that under these circumstances they would do rather more than they have done to date). . . . Well, then my argument against ending the filibuster would lose much of whatever force it has. And that would probably be the most propitious time to impose a rules change.
Posted at 03:26 PM
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD? [K. J. Lopez]
Andrew Stuttaford cites Phyllis Schlafly as a must-read. Meanwhile, last week I took on a Schlafly-associated group. What kind of upside-down month is March?
Posted at 03:19 PM
KICKED IN THE TEETH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Phyllis Schlafly has the details:
"Most of the reservists called up to serve in the Iraq war have paid a big price: a significant reduction of their wages as they transferred from civilian to military jobs, separation from their loved ones, and of course the risk of battle wounds or death. Regrettably, on their return home, those who are divorced fathers could face another grievous penalty: loss of their children, financial ruin, prosecution as "deadbeat dads," and even jail. Reservists' child-support orders were based on their civilian wages, and when they are called up to active duty, that burden doesn't decrease. Few can get court modification before they leave, modifications are seldom granted anyway, and even if a father applied for modification before deployment the debt continues to grow until the case is decided much later. These servicemen fathers cannot get relief when they return because federal law forbids a court to reduce the debt retroactively. Once the arrearage reaches $5,000, the father becomes a felon subject to imprisonment plus the loss of his driver's and professional licenses and passport."
Beyond the issue of reservists, Schlafly has plenty more to say about how 'deadbeat dads' are treated. The whole piece is well worth reading.
Posted at 03:16 PM
IRAQ [Rich Lowry ]
The Iraqis settled on a government today and it will be announced next week--
Posted at 03:12 PM
THAT TIMES HEZBOLLAH STORY [Rich Lowry ]
Someone who is on the inside and familiar with administration policy-making writes about Steven Weisman's story today about the administration allegedly taking the Kofi line on Hezbollah:
1. NO ONE at SENIOR levels ascribes to such nonsense.
Posted at 03:09 PM
SOVEREIGNTY WATCH [Mark Krikorian]
Kudos to the administration for withdrawing from part of a treaty that gives the World Court effective jurisdiction over immigrants in our domestic criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the main treaty, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, still creates sovereignty problems. Article 36 of the Convention requires that foreigners who are arrested must be informed of their right to contact a consular officer from their country. This is a common-sense measure I like to call the “Midnight Express” rule, and it protects Americans from rotting unknown in Turkish, or other, jails. But when combined with the reality of mass Mexican immigration, it exposes every local criminal justice system to co-management by the Mexican government, in the most intimate and permanent fashion. And criminal defense attorneys have been cooperating, trying for years to raise the Vienna Convention notification to the level of a Miranda warning, so that evidence would be excluded and convictions overturned in its absence. We aren’t at that point yet, and the State Department’s decision yesterday is a heartening development, but the danger clearly exists. Maybe the potential of such a sweeping loss of sovereignty is worth reducing the price of lettuce by a nickel a head, but I would have to vote no.
Posted at 02:42 PM
GOD, M.D. [K. J. Lopez]
I've not yet obtained a copy of the full article, but here are excerpts from The New England Journal of Medicine article on infant euthanasia that AP story was based on:
"Suffering is a subjective feeling that cannot be measured objectively, whether in adults or in infants. But we accept that adults can indicate when their suffering is unbearable. Infants cannot express their feelings through speech, but they do so through different types of crying, movements, and reactions to feeding. Pain scales for newborns, based on changes in vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing pattern) and observed behavior, may be used to determine the degree of discomfort and pain. Experienced caregivers and parents are able to evaluate the degree of suffering in a newborn, as well as the degree of relief afforded by medication or other measures. In the Netherlands, euthanasia for competent persons older than 16 years of age has been legally accepted since 1985. The question under consideration now is whether deliberate life-ending procedures are also acceptable for newborns and infants, despite the fact that these patients cannot express their own will. Or must infants with disorders associated with severe and sustained suffering be kept alive when their suffering cannot be adequately reduced?
Posted at 02:26 PM
RATIONALITY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, we could probably argue forever about the impulses that led to the Holocaust, the Gulag and countless other horrors, but when it comes to the causes of such barbarism, I'm not sure how clear a distinction can really be made between the 'rational' and the irrational. One man's idea of sweet reason is another's notion of madness (Paging Peter Singer, Paging Peter Singer..), and 'transcendent moral precepts' are all too often used as an excuse for mass murder. The real distinction is, as you describe it later, between those who can accept the contradictions, imperfections and trade-offs inherent in any society, however successful, and those who cannot.
Posted at 02:21 PM
SYRIA'S ASSAD WANTS WHAT IS BEST FOR LEBANON [Rich Lowry ]
The worst op-ed from two days ago:
It was an historic speech at a delicate time for the tall, well-educated and soft spoken man.
Posted at 01:50 PM
SOCIAL INSECURITY [Mark Krikorian]
An editorial today is the Journal’s latest open-borders hokum, regurgitating a libertarian think-tank report claiming that immigration bolsters Social Security. Now, I don’t blame Stuart Anderson, head of the think tank and former INS appointee, for his gullibility in taking the data at face value, but the Journal claims to be statistically and economically literate, even sneering in the editorial at “anti-immigration Republican lawmakers who claim to know something about labor markets.” (Hey, at least “anti-immigration” is an improvement over “anti-immigrant”!)
My research director, Steve Camarota, has something in the pipeline on this, but a few points: Even if the Social Security Administration estimates are correct, the boost from immigration would be trivial – less than one percent of expenditures over the next 75 years. But the estimates are flawed, assuming as they do that immigrant earnings and tax payments are the same as natives’ from day one – when even a high-immigration think tank like the Urban Institute has found that immigrants pay only 85 percent as much in Social Security taxes as natives. The estimates also assume that immigrants use Supplemental Security Income, SSI, at the same rate as natives, whereas research shows legal immigrant use of the program is 25 to 50 percent higher. It’s also important to note that legal immigrants are twice as likely as natives to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the EITC was established, according to the IRS, specifically to “offset the burden of social security taxes" on low-wage workers.
This Social Security fantasizing by the high-immigration folks is the public policy equivalent of cold fusion. You just can’t fund a welfare state with large numbers of low-income taxpayers, or, in Milton Friedman’s words, “It's just obvious that you can't have free immigration and a welfare state.”
Posted at 01:13 PM
SENATE AND FILBUSTERS [Shannen Coffin]
Ramesh, I think you've misunderestimated the Democrats resolve here. The potential filibuster of a cabinet official is a much lower stakes battle than that of a Supreme Court Justice, be it Chief or Associate. So the Democrats can be expected to do everything to hold the front line in the fight. No doubt, certain Red State Democratic Senators -- such as Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson -- will be under tremendous pressure to allow an up or down vote. Indeed, I've done my best to step up the fight to bring Landrieu around (or at least to accountability) on the filibuster. But so far, Landrieu has been in lock step with the Democratic leadership in every major nominee battle that has been filibustered. While the jury may still be out on whether or not the Democrats filibuster is constitutional or not -- a purely philosophical dispute that is never likely to be decided by the Courts because of threshold problems of justiciability (although it certainly could be decided by the Senate) -- I join the chorus that disagrees with the NR editorial board on the need for filibuster reform. Whether or not the filibuster of judicial nominees is technically consistent with the constitution is not entirely relevant to the issue of whether it is should be done away with. A ruling from the chair need not be on constitutional grounds, though there are plenty to support it, as Mark Levin has pointed out. Simply put, Republicans in the Senate should do everything to ensure an up or down vote for all judicial nominees, Supreme Court or otherwise. I don't think we disagree too much on the underlying substance, but your opposition to filibuster reform seems to paint a not-altogether-realistic portrait of the political battle brewing here.
Posted at 01:11 PM
IRANIANS PROTEST [Jonah Goldberg ]
A reader who sends me email about developments in Iran just sent me this:
Today 50 Iranians, inspired by the comments of Iranian scholar and righteous activist, Frood Fouladvand (who runs a TV station out of his home in London) gathered in London, boarding a plane to Brussels. In Brussels they refused to get off the plane that is still sitting on the tarmak of the Brussels airport and they are conducting a very quiet and peaceful protest against the heads of the E.U. who refuse to stop doing business with the bloodthirsty regime of the Islamic Republic and the Mullahs in Iran. The protestors have been verbally abused by the Belgian authorities, being accused of hijacking and though the protestors are doing nothing but singing Iranian national anthems of a free Iran and asking to speak to the UK, French and German representatives to the E.U. they are being nonetheless abused by Belgian authorities who are refusing to allow the media on plane.
Posted at 12:43 PM
THREE MINUTES LATE [K. J. Lopez]
This ridiculous Michael Jackson circus this morning (he walked into court in pajama pants if you are sparing yourself or work for a living) would have been the O.J. Bronco chase if it were in prime-time and interrupted a big Knicks game.
Posted at 12:39 PM
HIT "PUBLISH" TO SOON [Jonah Goldberg]
I edited that post below a tiny bit because I hit publish before I was ready.
If you're looking for the Burke quote I yanked, here it is: "The nature of man is intricate," wrote Edmund Burke, "the objects of society are of the greatest possible complexity; and therefore no simple disposition or direction of power can be suitable either to man's nature or to the quality of his affairs."
Posted at 12:36 PM
SILLY RACIAL ANGLES [Roger Clegg]
You know the joke about the insistence of liberal house-organs on finding a racial angle to everything: The New York Times’s headline when World War III starts will read, “NUCLEAR BOMB DESTROYS CITY/Blacks, Hispanics Suffer Most.” Well, the Washington Post’s “Home and Garden” section today descends to self-parody with an article about the appalling shortage of minority … horticulturalists. The article finds an academic to do some forehead furrowing about the problem—“the applicants coming in aren’t representative of what we would like to see”—and speculates that, “For many blacks considering a life in horticulture, perhaps soil work recalls the periods of slavery and sharecropping.” Well, nice job, “Home and Garden” section: You’ve made your diversity quota for the Post’s editors this month, and provided some amusement for the rest of us.
Posted at 12:34 PM
SINGER, CONSERVATIVES, HYPOCRISY ETC. [Jonah Goldberg ]
That horrific nonsense from Singer reminds me of something.
I've received some fascinating email regarding yesterday's post on conservatism and hypocrisy. Most of it, alas, is too long to put in the Corner.
But a point that I keep returning to in my correspondence with some readers on this point is that I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that one of the defining differences betwen liberals and conservatives -- of a certain type at least -- is the way they approach the "problem" of internal contradictions in a given society. Singer comes from a branch of thinking which despises contradiction. He defends his horrible policy conclusions by saying they were reached by logical deduction and that he's a "consistent" philosopher. All of that is debatable, but to a certain extent irrelevant. Just as Chesterton tells us that the purely rational man will not fight nor marry, the perfectly "rational" society of Peter Singer will countenance infanticide and inter-species "dating" all in the name of having perfectly consistent standards.
I believe in consistent standards, but they need to be drawn from something other than a sterile rationalism which does not take certain tanscendent moral precepts as givens. Singer doesn't take the sanctity of human life as a given. He doesn't give the the taboo of human-animal sex as a given. He finds the messy contradictions and hypocrisies of organic society offensive to his intellect. The problem is that any real society must have internal contradictions. It must be immune to the impulse of pure rationality. But like an obsessive compulsive who washes his hands so much they end-up bloody and raw, the obsessive-planner is convinced that just a bit more tweaking, a bit more data, will yield the contradiction-free society. There's a serious argument that it was this obsession with the rational not the obsessive irrationalism of anti-Semitism, which led to the Holocaust.
With important caveats, liberal pluralism and traditional conservatism once shared the view that society was too complicated to be made entirely rational.
Posted at 12:30 PM
BUMPER-STICKER OF THE WEEK [K. J. Lopez]
"Bad liberal! No bumper sticker."
Posted at 12:25 PM
BAD-TASTE CORNER [John Derbyshire]
A kind reader has sent me Ed Subitzky's strip "Saturday Nite on Antarius (The planet with 12 different sexes)" from the Feb. 1974 National Lampoon . It is as good as I remembered it, though not altogether suitable for a family webiste.
E'xtar, a healthy green-blooded young alpha, goes out for a night on the town. He starts by cruising the beta bars, of course. After a couple of brush-offs, he meets V'obik, a willing beta. (Whose thought bubble says: "It's not very big for an alpha, but the place is beginning to thin out...") Off they go looking for a gamma. They get lucky: the gamma has a friend tagging along -- a delta! The delta, however, has doubts: "I'm not sure it's right before marriage." The others scoff: "Come on! This is the 9,032nd century!"...) Things go along in this way until one of each sex is present. Then they all go to E'xtar's apartment, where things get intimate. ("Did anyone ever tell you you have xenon breath?" ... "Don't be shy, of course you can touch my storps"...) After a satisfactory conclusion, E'xtar asks: "Er, I was wondering... if all of you aren't doing anything a week from tinight..."
They don't draw 'em like that any more.
Posted at 12:23 PM
FROM PETER SINGER'S WEBSITE, FYI [K. J. Lopez]
And in Dutch, among other, hospitals, clearly: "Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living."This is acceptable in Western civilization in 2005?
Posted at 12:03 PM
IDLE THOUGHT [Tim Graham]
Why are the same people who are saying there's no crisis in fixing the Social Security crackup in mid-century the same people who say we have to act now to prevent the earth from warming up a Fahrenheit degree or two by 2100?
Posted at 11:09 AM
PETER SINGER'S WORLD [K. J. Lopez]
Euthanizing terminally ill newborns, while still very rare, is more common in the Netherlands than was believed when the startling practice was reported a few months ago -- and experts say it also occurs, quietly, in other countries.
Posted at 11:02 AM
CAT SHOOTS BACK [Rich Lowry ]
BATES TOWNSHIP, Mich. Mar 10, 2005 —
Posted at 11:01 AM
EQUAL TIME [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:52 AM
DON'T LOOK NOW: "U.S. CALLED... [Rich Lowry ]
...Ready to See Hezbollah in Lebanon Role"
Posted at 10:48 AM
RE: THAT WORST OP-ED OF THE DAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
A fast-googling reader noticed that the author of that op-ed who claims to be neither a Republican nor a Democrat ran a Meet-up for John Kerry.
Posted at 10:22 AM
IKEA'S PREDICAMENT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader re the post about Norway's Prime Minister:
Jonah, you only caught one piece of this absurd story. Ikea is in a no win situation. They have deliberately avoided using female figures because "it feared it might offend the Muslim world." But, in the process they've offended Sweden. All of this because they already switched from actual written instructions to the hieroglyphics (reversing an improvement in human communications made several thousand years ago) because printing them in some language or some number of languages might offend those who speak others and assembly instructions in 100 languages would weigh more than the furniture. I suggest they leave them out all together. That way they'd only tick off.......well.........all their customers.
Posted at 10:06 AM
RE: SHANNEN ON FILIBUSTERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Shannen: I suspect that you are correct and Democrats will do everything they can to block a conservative Bush nominee. That includes mounting a filibuster. I just don't expect that filibuster to be successful. Consider, first, the example of the Ashcroft nomination to be attorney general. The Left, following Florida, wanted to filibuster him. Daschle said no, and did so because he thought it was too politically risky. The Left has increased its power within the Democratic Senate caucus, so it is probably now impossible for Democrats to say no. But Daschle's calculation still strikes me as fundamentally correct. The public does not want jobs it considers important--jobs it has heard of--going unfilled because of Senate obstruction. (And there are more Republican senators than there were in early '01.) To turn to the Supreme Court specifically: The polling tends to suggest that people aren't scared of conservative judges (although of course if you ask questions that are loaded enough to yield liberal results you can get them). People will be paying some attention to a fight over the Supreme Court, and they will think it unfair to deny the nominee an up-or-down vote. It's also worth remembering that 12 Senate Democrats come from states Bush carried by 5 points or more. Voting against a Bush nominee to the Supreme Court is not risk-free for red-state Democrats, and filibustering one certainly isn't.
Posted at 10:05 AM
CAN'T PLEASE EVERYBODY DEPT. [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I love your work, Jonah, but I am a busy person. I don’t have time to wade through foolishness to reach the meat of your discussion nor do I have the time to read the first paragraph of your posts to see if it is worth my time. Please preface all popular culture/science fiction/time waster posts with the word “crap”. That way I won’t have to waste my time. No offense intended. It is strictly a practical matter.
Posted at 10:01 AM
WORST OP-ED OF THE DAY [Jonah Goldberg]
In the DC Examiner. Here's the Cliff's Notes: Conservative grumpy, bad, greedy people. Liberals, smart, life-loving people. I like the Examiner and hope to do some work with them in the furture. But this is sophormic twaddle.
Posted at 09:54 AM
SCANDALS AT THE END OF HISTORY [Jonah Goldberg]
Some nations live beyond the edge of the envelope at the end of history (they are allowed to do so thanks to the umbrella of peace and prosperity America maintains). All major arguments about the organization of life have been settled in these societies, even if they cannot see it themselves. Conflicts are manufactured like those on a college campus where the tensions are high but the stakes are low. But even these islands at the end of history must deal with the rest of the world and while some of these interactions -- i.e. immigration -- are very serious most of these forays into the slipstream of history highlight how petty the issues of the new age are.
Case in point: The Prime Minister of Norway is furious that the pictograms explaining how to build Ikea furniture are male-normative. Ikea is a Swedish company.
Posted at 09:43 AM
BUSH WAS RIGHT [Jonah Goldberg]
Jeff Jacoby on the Arab spring.
Posted at 09:33 AM
DOOM'N'GLOOM [John Derbyshire]
You think **I** am a pessimist? Check out this reader:
"1. Civilized democrats will indeed come out of the closet in the Arab world : this will make them easier targets for the bloody theocrats. 70,000 democratically-minded Lebanese one day, half a million murderous fanatics the day after : now we know who will win that next Lebanese civil war (which Hezbollah is actively preparing).
"2. Islamists will win democratic elections and this will NOT turn them into civilized human beings : done already in Saudi Arabia, close call in Iraq (and even there, they're becoming the dominant power in the governing coalition anyway).
"3. Autocrats will fake elections in order to ingratiate themselves with the US, rig them and stay in power. The US will see that game and do nothing about it. Egypt is well on its way.
"4. Arab antisemitism will not abate. It's been around for about 4,000 years, since the boy Ismael was thrown out by his father Abraham. It's here to stay.
"5. Iran will get nukes and threaten the free world with them for decades. Europe will bow and lick boots. The US will huff and puff and let it happen.
"The only consolation is that the Iraq war will make the Muslim world slightly more cautious in its aggressiveness. I emphasize 'slightly.' As time goes by, the difference will be less and less noticeable."
Oh, Lord. Where'd I put my suicide pills?
Posted at 09:16 AM
WHY DO I LINK TO THESE THINGS [K. J. Lopez]
Sidney Blumenthal vents on John Bolton in the Guardian.
Posted at 08:41 AM
HAPPY UNBORN CUSTOMER [Jack Fowler]
From good old reliable Nathan, who e-mails us about NR’s children’s books:
I bought the books as a birthday present for my wife and a pre-birthday present for our unborn baby. This is our first, and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading them to him or her, although I expect I may be reading "Go, Dog. Go!" a few times first. Anyway, thanks for making some quality material available!You’re welcome Nate, and prayerful wishes to you and Mrs. Nate for a healthy kiddie. Birthday, days of birth, and just about any occasion is reason enough to get the kids and grandkids The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature (perfect for ages 9 to 14 and beyond), The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories (ideal for beginning readers and as bedtime reading for wee ones), and Queen Zixi of Ix (the book “Oz” author L. Frank Baum believed to be his best) – all three wonderful and wholesome titles which can be ordered, postpaid, for just $29.95. Take advantage of this special offer here.
Posted at 08:35 AM
MORE ON SUDAN [K. J. Lopez ]
A senior U.N. envoy said on Wednesday that far more people had died in Sudan's Darfur region than the 70,000 previously estimated and chastised African nations for not sending enough peacekeepers.
Posted at 08:33 AM
THE SUFFERING IN SUDAN [K. J. Lopez]
From Doctors Without Borders:
Women and girls in war-ravaged Darfur are continuing to suffer a high incidence of rape and sexual violence, according to a report issued today by Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). Stories of rape survivors told to MSF are a horrific illustration of the daily reality of the ongoing violence that has displaced almost two million people in Darfur.
Posted at 08:32 AM
THE CEDAR REV GOES ON [K. J. Lopez ]
Chatting with Farid Ghadry, president of the U.S.-based Reform Party of Syria, this morning about the latest in Lebanon—the reinstatement of the pro-Syrian premier, here’s what he said (bold is my emphasis):
The difference between the Cedar Revolution and the staged pro-Syria demonstrations we have seen in the last two days is that the Cedar Revolution is a grass root movement nurtured by the will to seek freedom. On the other hand, the staged demonstrations in support for the Syrian Ba'ath party are instigated by fear. People are ordered to participate. Therefore, they can only do one or two of these demonstrations at the most while the Cedar Revolution will continue.
Posted at 08:22 AM
RE: RADIO [K. J. Lopez]
Caught that. Jonah is pretty funny for kinda early. Bennett's always good--smart show, if you're not a listener.
Posted at 07:46 AM
RE: "THE U.N. IS DEAD" [K. J. Lopez]
Andy, watch out. You're liable to be the next ambassador to the U.N., after Bolton.
Posted at 07:28 AM
RE: ANNAN SAYS ACCEPT HEZBOLLAH [Andy McCarthy]
I'm still dizzy from this (posted by Rich yesterday afternoon). Let's say we substitute the words "bin Laden" of "al Qaeda' or "Zarqawi" for "Hezbollah" in Kofi Annan's reported remarks. Do the sentences not still work all the same? After all, they too have been expressing the opinion that they don't want "interference from outsiders." They can also be said, for certain, to be "a force in society."
This is why the U.N. is dead: even with regard to the most abject evil -- groups and individuals who target civilians for gruesome murder as a political strategy -- Annan and his ilk are incapable of rendering an informed moral judgment. If such judgments are beyond the capacity of the "international community" -- if theirs is a Nitzchean world in which we should train ourselves to recognize only the quantum of power and disregard quaint notions like whether that power is used for good or bad purposes -- why would we want to be part of that? Why would we ever think inviting it to be a factor in addressing complex problems like democratic reform in Iraq or the Palestinian/Israeli conflict would be helpful?
Posted at 07:25 AM
RATHER'S FAREWELL [Tim Graham]
I'll be surprised if Rather's farewell gave CBS much of a ratings boost last night. I remember, back in the old days when I was a geeky teen, watching Walter Cronkite's last newscast, which really felt like the end of an era. By contrast, Rather's farewell last night was overdue by months, a postponed end to a dreadful scandal. You could tell it was a bitter end. While Tom Brokaw's sendoff on NBC seemed very warm and heartfelt inside 30 Rock, CBS has signaled anything but warmth in the last week. Even yesterday morning, ABC's "Good Morning America" had warm words for Dan at 7:15, with taped interviews with Peter Jennings and others. CBS's "The Early Show" didn't mention Dan until 8:50, and then co-host Harry Smith overcompensated by calling Rather "the greatest television journalist whoever lived."
In almost every radio interview we did yesterday, people made jokes about what kind of a party we were going to have to celebrate. We didn't have one. But while it's comforting that Rather was held accountable for the TexANG fiasco in some way, no one really believes the liberal-bias problem is immediately ameliorated at CBS by Rather checking out. It's still going to be a regular Superfund site of toxic conservative-bashing.
Posted at 07:20 AM
LEFKOW MURDER [K. J. Lopez]
A man in Wisconsin kills himself and leaves a suicide note claiming he killed that Chicago judge's husband and mother.
Posted at 07:12 AM
WOW [K. J. Lopez]
The NYTimes today runs a letter from John Cornyn in response to a Sunday editorial on filibusters. The Texas senator writes:
Now you praise the filibuster as a "time-honored Senate procedure." In 1995, when Bill Clinton was president, you called it "an archaic rule that frustrates democracy and serves no useful purpose."
Posted at 07:08 AM
RADIO ALERT [NRO Staff]
NRO Editor at Large Jonah Goldberg will be a guest on Bill Bennett's Morning in America radio show at 7:30 a.m. Eastern today, now heard on 113 stations nation-wide, as well as XM Satellite.
Posted at 05:54 AM
RE: FILIBUSTERS [Shannen Coffin]
Ramesh, I hope that you are right, but think that the Democrats will be playing to their base in any Supreme Court nomination fight. Thus, the most qualified of candidates -- whether it's someone like former Solicitor General Ted Olson, or a sitting and distinguished judge like Michael Luttig, John Roberts, or Michael McConnell, to name a few -- will meet with howls and obstruction. If Dems are willing to pull out all the stops to shut down the appellate court pipeline, I have very little doubt that they'll raise the stakes with a Supreme Court vacancy. I don't think the Republican leadership should remove any countermeasure from its arsenal, be it filibuster reform or even -- gasp -- the threat of a recess appointment to the high Court. Maybe Bill Pryor should get another recess appointment, just to a different court. The point is that we have to be willing to do what it takes to break the logjam.
Posted at 05:16 AM
DAN'S LAST NIGHT [K. J. Lopez]
Did everyone in here have something better to do than watch the CBS Evening News last night? Just like every other night, I guess.
Posted at 04:07 AM
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
SEN. HEINZ WILL PUBLIC? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Now that the Presidential campaign is long over, it seems that the late-Senator John Heinz's will is going to be made public. Details here.
Posted at 06:59 PM
BUSH & INTERNATIONAL LAW [Jonathan H. Adler]
Speaking of foreign law, President Bush has issued a directive that seems to order state courts to comply with a judgment of the International Court of Justice. Julian Ku has the details at Opinion Juris here and here. Then again, the NYT is reporting that the U.S. is withdrawing from the ICJ.
Posted at 06:57 PM
FOREIGN LAW [Jonathan H. Adler]
To paraphrase Justice Scalia, citing foreign law to justify an opinion is like looking out into a crowd and picking out your friends.
Posted at 06:46 PM
COMMON LAW AND INTERNATIONAL COURTS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah, I agree with your correspondents who have suggested that judicial decisions on common law questions in other common law countries are potnetially relevant to the resolution of common law questions in American courts, but this cannot excuse the reference to foreign court opinions by the Supreme Court. Common law questions almost exclusively arise in the context of state law, rather than federal law. As a result, the U.S. Supreme Court is rarely called upon to resulve common law questions. Rather, almost every Supreme Court case turns on either the Constitution or federal statutory law. In these contexts, the decisions of common law courts in other countries are irrelevant. One could argue that some common law decisions pre-dating the Constitution's ratification or predating the enactment of a particular statute may inform a particular question, but only if it would have informed the Constitution's Framers or the statute's drafters. So, even with this concession, the Supreme Court's eagerness to cite foreign nations fails the test. The only other context in which the Supreme Court would be justified in citing foreign law is where a case turns upon the interpretation of ambiguous treaty language. In such cases, the Court might be justified in considering how the treaty's language has been interpreted by other signatories to the treaty. Again, however, this is a very small set of cases -- I seem to remember one from last year involving airliner liability for harms to passengers on international flights -- and cannot justify some of the current Justices fixation on foreign legal opinions.
Posted at 06:44 PM
MOVEON.ORG GOES AFTER JUDGES [Jonathan H. Adler]
MoveOn.Org is organizing a campaign to preserve the Democratic filibuster of President Bush's appellate nominees. Their on-line petition opposes the renomination of "20 highly partisan, pro-corporate candidates for the U.S. Courts of Appeals."
Posted at 06:27 PM
ANNAN SAYS... [Rich Lowry ]
Posted at 04:56 PM
FILIBUSTERS, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email: "The gap in your argument is what happens to (a) the current appellate court nominees being filibustered, and (b) future nominees who are filibustered. You can argue that once a filibuster is broken on the Court that it’ll go away for every lower court judge, or you can argue that Dems won’t add anybody to the current tally, or you can argue that we can tolerate lower court filibusters. . . . I look forward to your follow-on post . . ."
The emailer is quite correct to identify that gap in my argument. I would fill it in two of the ways he suggests. I do think that a Democratic defeat on a high-profile filibuster would tend to limit their willingness to use filibusters in later battles over appeals-court nominees. I also don't care as much about the appeals-court nominations as I do about Supreme Court nominations. And to the extent that I do care about the appeals-court nominations, it is in large part (though not exclusively) because of their effect on the Supreme Court fights to come.
Posted at 04:55 PM
RE: SCALIA AND COMMON LAW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
If I recall correctly, Mary Ann Glendon's contribution to the same volume (A Matter of Interpretation) offers a partial corrective to Justice Scalia's tendency (in those lectures) to make it sound as though common-law judging were the root of all evil in constitutional law. Fwiw.
Posted at 04:42 PM
FILIBUSTERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Shannen: The reason I'm not for a formal restriction on judicial filibusters is not that I'm pessimistic about what the Democrats will do in retaliation. It's that I'm optimistic about the politics of a Supreme Court nomination. I think, first, that Bush is likely to nominate a conservative rather than to pre-empt the liberal filibusterers by nominating a squish. I think, second, that a Democratic attempt to filibuster a nominee to the Supreme Court will go down very badly with the public. Democrats have already paid a price for filibustering appeals-court nominees, and I suspect that they will pay a higher one when it comes to the Supreme Court (since more people will be paying attention). Finally, I think we'll be in a better position to appoint conservative judges in the future if the Democratic filibuster fails in a high-profile fight and is seen to inflict damage on the party than if Republicans make a procedural change that prevents a Democratic filibuster from failing and being seen to fail.
If you're less optimistic than me about the likely outcome of a Supreme Court filibuster (or its threat), then of course you'll reach a different conclusion. You'll also reach a different conclusion if you think there's a constitutional obligation to end judicial filibusters. I don't see such an obligation, but a lot of smart and principled conservatives, including the great Mark R. Levin, do.
Posted at 04:34 PM
MODERN INTERNATIONAL LAW V. ENGLISH COMMON LAW [Shannen Coffin]
Jonah, you're correct that there is a major difference between the Court's reliance on English common law tradition at the time of the adoption of our constitution in the late 1700s and the sort of importation of modern international legal trends that has become so popular with today's Supreme Court. One of the more amusing, albeit distressing, opinions that conflates those two concepts was Justice Souter's opinion last summer in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain (and I'm not just mentioning that opinion because I was mentioned in fn. 21). At issue was whether the Alien Tort Statute (or Alien Tort Claims Act), a 1789 law that gave federal courts jurisdiction over any civil action by an alien for a tort committed in violation of the law of nations, would support a federal cause of action for the alleged false arrest of a DEA agent's murderer in Mexico. After correctly reviewing the "law of nations" applicable in 1789 and concluding that private causes of action for such torts were extremely limited to a very narrow category of cases, such as piracy and the infringement of the rights of ambassadors, the Court went on to conclude that more modern equivalents might be allowable, too. But those modern claims, Souter concluded, must "rest on a norm of international character accepted by the civilized world and defined with a specificity comparable to the features of the 18th-century paradigms we have recognized." As with last week's Kennedy opinion, I'm still trying to figure out what that means. But it clearly leaves the door open for a much more expanded incorporation of modern international standards than the narrow category of cases recognized by the Court as applicable at the time of passage of the statute. This is simply an example, but the danger is even greater in the area of constitutional interpretation. At least with respect to the ATS, Congress could always change the Court's prevailing interpretation with a simple majority vote of both Houses and the President's signature. When the Court looks to modern international trends in interpreting the constitution, we have but two choices: Amend the constitution or amend the Court's makeup. Because the latter is much easier than the former, the politicization of judicial nominations will only increase in the immediate term.
Posted at 04:26 PM
STOP ME IF THIS HAS BEEN SAID BEFORE [K. J. Lopez]
The daily blog-watch segment on CNN's Inside Politics is really irritating. Now let's go see what the kids are playing with today.... is the attitude.
Posted at 04:24 PM
MORE DEMOCRATIC INFIGHTING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
in the name of Democratic unity: The Nation vs. the DLC.
Posted at 04:23 PM
ENOUGH TO MAKE ME HAND IN MY ZIONIST DECODER RING [Jonah Goldberg ]
Israeli Defense Forces discriminate against D&D players.
Posted at 04:22 PM
LAWYER EMAILS [Jonah Goldberg]
This is exactly what I feared. I've excited the lawyers (and even some judges). I can't post all of their emails, but I thought this one was particular interesting:
Your first CHLA's point tracks Justice Scalia's opening argument in his brief book, A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION. Indeed, the title of his main essay is, "Common-Law Courts in a Civil-Law System: The Role of United States Federal Courts in Interpreting the Constitution and Laws."
Posted at 04:19 PM
RE: THE DAILY STAR EDITORIAL [Jonah Goldberg]
In my own defense, I will note that I said the editorial was "very interesting." I didn't say it was very correct.
Posted at 03:55 PM
THE FUTURE OF THE COURT [Shannen Coffin]
A message to Jonah from someone in the know: It won't matter what we question Supreme Court nominees about so long as we have filibusters. In other words, if filibusters are not nuked, which NRO says should not occur, then we need not worry about the Supreme Court. No vacancy will be filled unless the President nominates another Kennedy.
I agree with the prior emailer completely on the procedural point. I think recent events have shown that filibuster reform is absolutely necessary in the current environment. There have been some heated discussions on this page about the advisability of such a procedural device. Ramesh, for instance, has indicated a concern about the Democrats' argument that it will grind the Senate to a halt. But the Democrats response should be taken head on. They say that "going nuclear," as they like to call it, will result in the complete shutdown of the government. What they're not saying is the reason that will happen -- they'll take their obstruction tactics to the next level and will grind the legislative business of the government to a halt. If the Republican anti-filibuster vote is nuclear, what's that make the Democratic response? The Seven Plagues Option? I say, "Bring it on." Let's let the chips fall where the may. If Republicans fix the current system and Democrats throw a temper tantrum in response, I suspect the voters can sort things out.
Posted at 03:55 PM
COMMON LAW [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:46 PM
I SHOULDN'T ADMIT THIS [K. J. Lopez]
but I am in a feverish haze right now, and, frankly, could not control a Corner riot if one were to break out. I may need reinforcements, unless Fair Jessica makes Jonah go for another physical for the afternoon.
Posted at 03:34 PM
DON'T PEDDLE THE LIE [Jonah Goldberg]
A friend of NRO sent this note to Kathryn who forwarded it to me:
Posted at 03:32 PM
"NOT THE CONSERVATIVE POSITION" [Jonah Goldberg]
This reader offers a complaint:
Jonah, I'm all in favor of ignoring international law in American jurisprudence (except for treaties and executive agreements, which aren't really international law at law, insofar as they've become domestic law upon ratification/order).
To a certain extent, I agree that common law questions are worth reading. And I really wish I could remember Scalia's response to this point when it was raised at that AU event with Breyer.
However, the spirit with which these Justices have engaged foreign law -- at least from what I've read -- is different than the above criticism would suggest. Justice Kennedy was not reaching back to ask what Blackstone had to say about this or that. He was looking at international elite opinion and citing all sorts of other soft sources from outside the law. Indeed, public opinion in other countries has -- I believe -- been raised as a relevant factor in the Supreme Court's decision-making of late. That's outrageous.
Maybe Shannen, Ramesh, Jon or Andrew McCarthy have more to add.
Posted at 03:20 PM
BLATANT BRAGGART'S NOTE [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, I'm quite sure we coined the term "Ratherism" in 1992. See the first usage (and vintage Dan cornpone) here.
Posted at 02:16 PM
EXCEPTION! [Jonah Goldberg ]
From the Mudville Gazzette
Jonah On behalf of all MilBloggers, I claim an exception to your declaration that "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is a tired cliche - we live it every day. In fact, it's the motto of the MilBlogs Ring. You're right insofar as the rest of the world is concerned though. For them I say "Prove it." ANd you still made the team.
Posted at 01:40 PM
NON-CITIZENS VOTED IN KING COUNTY [Stefan Sharkansky]
According to King County election records, we now have two confirmed cases of non-citizens who voted in Washington State in November 2004. There don't appear to be any databases of citizenship or immigration status that are accessible to ordinary citizens, so it is extremely difficult to detect other cases of non-citizen voting. But I suspect these two cases represent only a tiny tip of a very large iceberg.
Posted at 01:33 PM
THE ROTORUA DEFENSE [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: To Mr. Englar I offer what is know in the Antipodes as the Rotorua Defense: "I was just helping that sheep to get over the fence, officer."
Posted at 01:30 PM
MEET GUY BENSON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
One day, he will own all of us.
Posted at 01:21 PM
I WISH I'D THOUGHT OF THAT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Title for Sheep rape item on Corner: "If Luvin' Ewe is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right"
Posted at 01:05 PM
THE DARK SIDE OF COALITIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
Very interesting editorial in the Lebanese Daily Star making the point that Hizbollah is more on the side of Lebanese nationalism than Syrian soldiarity.But this was the most interesting point:
We hope we won't be led into another situation like 1990, when America's strategic interests outweighed Lebanese democratic aspirations, and Syria was given carte blanche in Lebanon in exchange for its support of the U.S.-led Gulf war. Lebanon must not fall prey to any outside agendas; the Lebanese must be free to democratically govern themselves, without any foreign interference.
Recall how John Kerry and many, many, many other Democrats criticized George W. Bush for not building a "grand coalition" the way his father had? Well, what was always left out of these criticisms is that grand coalitions need to be built with something. Was it really so grand to have Syria in our coalition if it came at the price of acceding to Syria's control of Lebanon for a decade? Was our coalition more legitimate -- as Kerry and Howard Dean claim -- because it had so many members or was it less legitimate because in order to gain allies like the Syrians we had to betray our principles.
Again: the key foreign policy principle of the Democratic Party -- and the pro-Europe "multilateralists" -- coming out of the Iraq war is this notion that it is better to do wrong in a group than to do right alone.
Just something to ponder.
Posted at 01:03 PM
IN PETER SINGER'S AMERICA... [Jonah Goldberg ]
Somebody was making nighttime visits to farmer Terry Patterson's sheep barn in the 600 block of Big Mount Road in Paradise Township, police said.
Or then again, maybe it would be a crime because the baler's twine suggests that maybe the relationship wasn't consensual?
Posted at 12:53 PM
DEALING WITH COMMIE JOURNALISTS [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Seems to me the best advice one can offer our troops manning checkpoints in Iraq is the same as that given informally by friends & neighbors to me when I became an armed homeowner: If you have to shoot, shoot to kill. You'll face much less trouble afterwards.
Posted at 12:46 PM
MORE ON THAT CAR [Jonah Goldberg]
not shot here.
Posted at 12:45 PM
"LIKE A JACKKNIFE THROUGH PEACHES" [K. J. Lopez]
I don't think I knew this until I read Mike Walker's Rather Dumb:
Then there was Dan’s nasty, off-the-wall report on the release of former ABC newsman Charles Glass, who’d escaped terrorists holding him hostage in Lebanon. Time reported that Rather “sounded a jarring note of skepticism, referring to Glass as ‘a young man who says he was a hostage.’” ABC’s courtly Nightline anchorman Ted Koppel reacted in uncharacteristic fury to Rather’s sneaky innuendo that the kidnapping of their reporter might have been a hoax and delivered the stinging retort that the CBS newsman’s vicious, unsupported implication was “beneath contempt.”Here's my interview with Walker, by the way, who's a gossip columnist for the Enquirer(!).
Re: Subject line: It's a Ratherism.
Posted at 12:43 PM
JUDGES AND FOREIGN LAWS [Jonah Goldberg]
A point I didn't get to make in today's column about Kennedy and the Supreme Court's habit of heading foreign courts: in the next confirmation battle for the Court I would rather hear conservative Senators grill nominees on this point than on virtually any other. Because if you think rulings from European Courts, India, Zimbabwe and Jamaica can justify an opinion, you basically believe that your opinions need no justification whatsoever. If the whole world is a source of precedent, than the world is Felix the Cat's magic bag and justices can yank whatever they need from the global lexis-nexis. This, it seems to me, is a worthwhile litmus test. It is not geared to a specific policy, but rather a judicial temperament and understanding of our own constitution's primacy and exclusive authority over the United States and its laws. To me there's no difference in citing science fiction and citing the laws of Jamaica when it comes to their respective relevance to what our constitution requires.
Posted at 12:33 PM
A BIT MORE [Jonah Goldberg]
About this Italian reporter. The best proof, by far, that the US was not targeting her as a matter of policy or by mistake is that she is still alive. If the mens rea was there the Americans would have A) put a lot more holes in that car (though still probably not the "rain of fire" she complained about) and B) they would have finished the job, if for no other reason than the best way to have your policy of executing journalists exposed is let a big-mouthed one who sympathizes with the enemy -- i.e. her kidnappers -- get away wounded.
Again, it's awful that an intelligence agent from such a loyal allied nation was killed by friendly fire. But I have hard time believing there isn't quite a bit of opportunism in the waves of outrage among anti-war Communists in Italy who normally do not grieve over spies killed in the line of duty.
Posted at 12:27 PM
THIS CAR [Jonah Goldberg ]
I think it's absolutely awful this Italian intelligence agent died. But about this journalist, please keep something in mind: Communists lie.
Posted at 12:14 PM
CURMUDGEON LUVIN’ [Jack Fowler]
The Great Kathryn forwarded this email (from Terry in Arkansas) which, of course, I’m leveraging into a testimonial as to why you should get STET, Damnit!:
I am an avid Corner addict. Please keep up the good work. I am currently working through the "Misanthrope's Guide to the Galaxy" and came across one of her more priceless phrases that seems quite timely. In the article for November 2, 1992 she writes, "Dan Rather, whose membership in the "cultural elite" proves that America really is a classless society." This sentence made me laugh so loudly that my wife came into the study to see what was up. Every time I read more of "STET, Damnit!" I realize how amazing it is that America remains such a great country in spite of the behaviors that Ms. King so effectively exposes.Thanks, Terry! Now, for the rest of your Florence fans, for just $29.95 we’ll send you the complete collection Ms. King’s revered NR columns. And we’ll ship this beautiful hardcover book wrapped in, yes, a beautiful (and free!) NR T-shirt! Order here.
Posted at 12:01 PM
WHAT'S COOKING [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 10:42 AM
DON'T BITCH ABOUT DINNER [K. J. Lopez]
Bitch magazine (what? you don't subscribe?) is holding a fundraiser. One of the auction items: for $20, the editors cook you dinner. I think we have our idea for the next NRO fundraiser...who's cooking? And how much will you pay?
Posted at 10:19 AM
NOT PHAT [K. J. Lopez]
Doesn't NOW's Kim Gandy have better things to expend energy on than worrying about Kristie Alley's Showtime show? Though, I suppose, given NOW's priorities, I should be glad she's distracted.
Posted at 10:01 AM
YES, I'LL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT, BTW [K. J. Lopez]
that we're probably piling on in other parts of NRO (the homepage) re: Rather. But his legacy is what it is.
Posted at 10:00 AM
LIFE INSURANCE [K. J. Lopez]
Jonah--give us a count at day's end on how many pitches you got after that post.
Posted at 09:59 AM
LIFE INSURANCE [Jonah Goldberg]
I have to get a physical today for a life insurance policy. I always thought getting your car fixed was one of the least fulfilling ways to spend money. All you get is the status quo ante minus a few hundred bucks.
But this might be worse. I understand it's the mature, responsible, grown-up and, uh, [reading from talking-points handed to me by wife] fatherly thing to do. But any gains in peace-of-mind one might get from thinking that your family will be okay when you die is overwhelmed by the bummer of the realization that you're A) gonna die and B) worth more (financially) in that state than you are alive. And for the money I'm spending I could be a lot closer to a flat screen TV.
Posted at 09:14 AM
DOES LEDEEN WRITE FOR THE ONION [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 09:09 AM
HYPOCRISY & CONSERVATIVES [Jonah Goldberg]
In response to my Starbucks interview, one of my regular non-conservative correspondents writes:
Me: Not sure what to say about item 1. I agree that there are many principled individual liberals and I agree that there are some enduring liberal principles. Though there have been many liberals, Herbert Croly for example, who rejected the idea there were, in fact, liberal principles. Regardless, the Golden Rule, I'm not sure is one of them. The rule of do unto others is also a personal rule of ethics and religion which, conservatives would say, we subscribed to just as much as liberals do. Conservatives, however, do not commit the fallacy of translating the Golden Rule into a writ of universal government interference. To the extent the Golden Rule means anything in daily life, it boils down to a niceness rule and -- I'm sorry to say -- that if niceness is a closely held liberal principle then liberals have a very serious hypocrisy problem.
Which brings me to point #2. I think this steals a great number of bases off a ball hit foul. Hypocrisy is not the great "flaw" of conservatism it is the great insight of conservatism. We are all hypocrites if we hold real principles because all conservative doctrines believe in original sin. We are flawed creatures. A fact government cannot change. Therefore, any principle worth holding is going to be difficult to maintain perfectly and at all times. I find it fascinating the way so many liberals cite hypocrisy as conservatism's chief flaw not because I consider it a particularly interesting insight into conservatism but because I think it reveals a great deal about liberalism. In both of my correspondent's criticisms (and he's a good guy, don't get me wrong) there's an underlying belief that the problem with conservatism is that it doesn't immanentize the eschaton -- that it doesn't subscribe to a totalizing conception of the political which incorporates every virtue and excludes every vice, inconsistency and contradiction. Conservatism's flaw is that it is uninterested in making a heaven on earth. Conservatives from Kirk to Strauss to Hayek and Oakeshott would scoff at the notion that a political philosophy or orientation worth having could be devoid of hypoocrisy because only angels -- to paraphrase the Federalist -- are never hypocrites.
Oh, and in the case of Dan Rather. The complaint about him was never really that he was a hypocrite. The complaint was that he was big fat arrogant liar, dunce and show-boater who couldn't see the evidence of his biases because he was too busy acting on them.
Last, I think it's revealing that "bleeding heart" liberalism is cited as an example of liberal principles. It's not. It's an example of liberal emotionalism, which is often the exact opposite orientation to principled liberalism -- or principled anything for that matter. Feeling passionately about something -- contrary to the popular culture's version of politics -- doesn't prove you have principles. It proves you're excitable and leaves open the possibility you have principles.
Posted at 09:04 AM
ASSAD: "IT'S NOT ME" [Rich Lowry]
"According to Saudi officials, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah told Assad last week during a meeting in Riyadh that he must immediately withdraw Syria's 14,000 soldiers in Lebanon.
`Not everything is up to me alone,' Assad replied, according to the officials.
In a Time interview published this week, Assad again hinted he was not responsible for some of Syria's policies. Told he had done the impossible by bringing the United States and France together in unity against him, Assad answered with a laugh: `It's not me, actually.'"
Posted at 08:50 AM
HEART-BREAKING STORY... [Rich Lowry]
...in the New York Times about a woman named Katie Dallam who was brain-damaged in a boxing match with eerie similarities to "Million Dollar Baby." Here's what her sister Stephanie told the Times:
"Maggie, in the story, had a crusty and protective trainer who became a surrogate father and who reluctantly and heartbreakingly helped her die. `That guy in the movie played by Clint Eastwood took the easy way out by killing her rather than having to deal with what her life would have been like,' Stephanie Dallam said."
"The damage to the left side of her brain also affected her right arm and right leg, causing her to tremble and walk oddly. Her vision was affected, leading to weird nighttime hallucinations that persist. When Katie left the clinic, and realized that she would never be able to go back to her job, she decided to kill herself, she said.
Doctors told her to be careful not to get her pulse rate too high, so she waited until she was alone and exercised furiously. But her shattered brain held firm. Later, she decided to save her medication and take it all at once.
`Fortunately, the part of her brain that lets you lie had been damaged, and she just couldn't lie,' Stephanie said. `So when somebody asked her, she told exactly what she planned to do. We moved her in with me that day.'"
Posted at 08:49 AM
DONKEY KONG [K. J. Lopez]
gets his due
Posted at 08:15 AM
WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE AMNESTY [K. J. Lopez]
La Raza warms to Alberto Gonzales.
Posted at 08:05 AM
GET TOM SHALES A HANKY [Tim Graham]
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales writes a very syrupy Rather tribute piece today, comically headlined "Dan Rather, Leaving by the High Road." That’s funny, I thought he was leaving because he made a slimy, dirty-tricks, phony-documents "news" report trying to destroy President Bush’s re-election. Shales begins by touting Rather’s framed embroideries received from a nun – poetic, again, since Rather certainly embroidered on the Bush record – and goes downhill from there, including the notion that he’s "one of the few men over 60 who can successfully still wear jeans." He concludes as if he's granting Dan a knighthood: "Arise, Dan Rather, to gain thy dreams..." Shales should never again be allowed to claim someone has squandered their chance to ask a newsmaker the tough questions, because he clearly asked Rather nothing more than how sad he feels that his anchoring career was tragically cut short by the haters.
Of course, if you need a strong antidote after all that syrup, there’s always the less forgiving farewell of Brent Bozell.
Posted at 07:56 AM
FRIENDLY HEZBOLLAH COVERAGE [Tim Graham]
My colleague Jessica Barnes noticed yesterday that ABC went LIVE on two occasions to the Hezbollah protests bashing America in Beirut on "Good Morning America," albeit just for a brief shot as they described the protests in passing. They also had the usual habit of describing Hezbollah in euphemistic terms as a "militant" group. But what’s really sad about this is that, on "Good Morning America" last week, they had no time for any coverage of the pro-American, anti-Baathist protesters. It’s additionally sad when you consider the same ABC morning show had no time in January for pro-life protesters in Washington, but can scramble to produce live pictures of an America-bashing protest by a terrorist group abroad.
For a real slice of pro-Baathist coverage, listen to NPR on yesterday’s "Morning Edition" here. Ivan Watson touted a "massive" demonstration, "really massive numbers that we have not seen in the opposition Lebanese protests...I must say, though, that despite this huge number of people [at] this Hezbollah-led protest, it is peaceful, it is very well-organized, and people are very friendly."
Posted at 07:54 AM
WILL VIETNAM BE THE NEXT IRAQ? [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 07:10 AM
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
BILL RICHARDSON [K. J. Lopez]
is a neocon! Well, maybe not, but he's able to give credit where it's due. Put under 2008 watch?
Posted at 11:33 PM
RE: PRO-SYRIAN DEMONSTRATION IN LEBANON [K. J. Lopez]
Leave it to a guy to notice: Where were the women?
Posted at 11:30 PM
POINTS [K. J. Lopez]
Our friend Rod Dreher's new Dallas Morning News opinion section (Sundays; Rod edits it) debuted this weekend.
Posted at 11:17 PM
MARTHA BAYLES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
has a blog--has had one for some time, actually. But I just found out (and bookmarked it) today.
Posted at 11:14 PM
PARADING TERRORISTS [K. J. Lopez]
Bad guys are having to confess again on Iraqi TV.
Posted at 10:49 PM
BUT WHERE'S THE COURAGE? [K. J. Lopez]
Omar from IraqtheModel is not too discouraged by the pro-Syrian demonstrations in Lebanon.
Posted at 10:39 PM
RE: SPECTER /JUDGES/ GOING NUCLEAR [K. J. Lopez]
A knowledgeable D.C. source says:
Shannen’s right about the floor scheduling piece. Specter has told people privately (that he will determine whether or not to have hearings on re-nominated Appellate nominees “on a case by case basis.” He says he will have a hearing in those cases where he thinks it will be helpful to secure confirmation and not hold another hearing where it would be unproductive. Pryor falls in the latter category. When the Committee reports out the nominees, it’s the Senate Leader’s job to schedule.
Posted at 10:06 PM
OF COURSE [K. J. Lopez]
Don't let today go by without giving thanks that the First Lady is Laura Bush and not Ms. Heinz with her wacky theories. (Can a Republican ever be elected legitimately?!)
Posted at 09:58 PM
HELP--I NEED SOMEONE TO EXPLAIN THIS [K. J. Lopez]
How is starving someone (Terri Schiavo) to death a "a peaceful death with dignity" ?
Posted at 09:53 PM
MEANWHILE, ON THE BINDING-VOTE FRONT [K. J. Lopez]
Dems in Massachusetts are revving up to spend $100 million on embryonic-stem-cell research and cloning.
I wonder how many legislators behind the destructive bill even know what they are planning on voting for.
Posted at 09:50 PM
SENATOR COBURN INTRODUCES E.O. 13166 REPEAL BILL [Jim Boulet]
Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) introduced legislation, S.557, to repeal Clinton Executive Order 13166 late this afternoon.
The Coburn bill, coupled with Congressman Peter King's E.O. 13166 repeal bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 136), means that for the first time since 1998, virtually identical legislation on the same official English issue has been introduced in both chambers of the U.S. Congress.
Posted at 09:10 PM
IRA JUSTICE [John Derbyshire]
Check out this story.
The IRA is in trouble for hacking a guy to death -- a Catholic, for the record, like most of the IRA's victims -- after he looked at a senior IRA man the wrong way in a Belfast bar. They then warned all the many witnesses not to talk to police, and of course no-one did.
The victim's five sisters have been raising a great fuss about the killing, and the IRA's stock in Ireland is at an all-time low. (It didn't help that all this came shortly after they robbed a Belfast bank of $5m.)
So the bold lads of the IRA had a meeting with the five sisters to defuse the situation. They said they knew the guys who'd killed the brother. They offered to shoot them.
Posted at 09:08 PM
A DISK FOR YOUR NEXT DANCE PARTY [John Derbyshire]
I can't believe I just bought this, but I did.
Posted at 09:07 PM
A LOT OF GOOD STUFF [Ramesh Ponnuru]
over at RedState.
Posted at 07:18 PM
BUSH ON CLONING [K. J. Lopez]
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENTI'm so glad he included that last line, just as it is.
Posted at 07:10 PM
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED [John Derbyshire]
Exchange with a reader.
He: "Mr. Derbyshire---Given that Pi is at least as important as New Years, will you celebrate the wonder of Pi shortly after 1:59 AM (or 3:49 AM depending on your notational preference) by stepping into your back yard and shooting your revolver into the air?"
Me: "Only if there is a helicopter full of liberals flying over. Which, this being Long Island, and my house being under the flight path from Manhattan to the East End, there quite often is."
Posted at 06:29 PM
THE "PRO-SYRIA" RALLY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Several readers have asked me what I think about it. I think it's too bad. I can't wish away the fact that it's bigger than the previous opposition protests. But I'm not that disheartened or surprised by it. We knew the Lebanese Shia -- as represented by Hezbollah -- are generally pro-Syrian. But it's important to recognize how politically adept these guys are. Today's rally is ostensibly against the foreign interference of the UN resolution calling on Syria to withdraw. It's full of anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric, but Hezbollah has been more careful than it seems not to rub against the grain of Lebanese nationalism. In a sense, it seems to me, that it's a conflict of two nationalistic visions -- the anti-Israel nationalism of the Shia and the anti-Syrian vision of the rest.
Anyway, I need to read more. I'm generally bullish about all of the developments in the Mid-East and in Lebanon, but I have a theory about how it's going to play out that I need to cogitate a bit more on. Not that anyone's waiting with bated breath.
Again, in the meantime do check out Across the Bay which really is very useful.
Posted at 05:42 PM
OPTIMUS PRIME IS ALIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
The sad thing is I knew this. From a reader:
Every true Transformers fan knows that Optimus Prime died in 1986's "Transformers: The Movie." It included the climactic battle of life and death between Optimus Prime and Megatron at the START of the movie, in which Prime was bested and died...before passing on "The Matrix" to his successors. It was a pivotal emotional point for many guys today aged 23-32 I suspect, as it showed the mortality of one of our superheroes.
Posted at 05:33 PM
WILL SMITH FOR PRESIDENT? [K. J. Lopez]
While movie flacking, he said: "I really, truly believe I could be the president of the United States if I wanted to. Now somebody could probably lay out all of the reasons for me why that will never happen, but there's a weird naiveté that I have that I truly believe it."
Good thing Harvard doesn't elect presidents or he and his heteronormative wife would never have a chance at moving into the White House.
Posted at 05:03 PM
RE: DON'T TRY TO OUT-MATH THE DERB [John Derbyshire]
I didn't mean "hexagesimal," I meant... some other darn thing.
Posted at 04:46 PM
DON'T TRY TO OUT-MATH THE DERB [John Derbyshire]
A reader: "Having some knowledge of math I figured out why Monday is Pi day. March 14th. first 3 digits of Pi = 3.14. But shouldn't there be pi minutes (and seconds though I don't know pi to more than 5 decimal places)? March 14 at 1:59 am and pm?"
Well, if you really want to get chronological about it, let's take minutes and seconds in the Babylonian style. I'll allow you a 24-hour day, but from then on it's hexagesimal. The precise time on 3/14 corresponding to pi will then be decimal 0.1592653589793238462643... expressed as a/24 plus b/1440 plus c/86400 etc., with the denominaotrs going up in multiples of 60 for ever after. Unless I have screwed up the arithmetic, which would not be a first, this works out to 3 hrs 49' 20" 31'" 37"" 15'"" 24""" 56'""" 38"""" 24'"""" 11"""""...
Posted at 04:38 PM
NEWS [Ed Capano]
I know Kathryn wouldn’t post this so I am going to use my power of privilege to let you all know that Kathryn is starting a syndicated column via the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA)/United Media. The column will commence Thursday, March 10th. If you can’t find it in your local newspaper, be sure to look for it on NRO. And be sure to let the syndicate know how much you enjoy it so the newspapers will clamor to get it.
Posted at 04:37 PM
RE: THE INTERVIEW [K. J. Lopez]
No kidding: "The opinions put forth by contributors to 'The Way I See It' do not necessarily reflect the views of Starbucks."
Pretty cool, G-Man. Who's going to be the first NRO fan to request a Jonah cup? Buy multiple coffees in one sitting until you get a Jonah cup? Or are you a Panama La Florentina only?
Posted at 04:25 PM
DANG [Jonah Goldberg]
I should have used this quote:
I want to die peacefully, in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming, terrified, like his passengers.
A friend of mines quote generator for his email came up with it. No attribution.
Update: Several readers tell me that this is a Jack Handey "deep thought" from SNL.
Posted at 04:24 PM
JONAH GOLDBERG: THE STARBUCKS INTERVIEW [Jonah Goldberg ]
Okay, so here's the thing. Almost a year ago Starbucks asked me to contribute a quote for their new series of "The Way I See It" coffee cups. Some time starting next month over 1 million Starbucks cups will have my quote on them. Starbucks motives for all of this are a bit murky to me, but part of it is to get more old-fashioned "coffee-house" debate going.
Anyway, they interviewed me for the series. You can find my quote and read the interview here.
And, no, I didn't get paid anything to do this.
Posted at 04:15 PM
CURSE NO MORE [Shannen Coffin]
Dan Shaughnessy, author of The Curse of the Bambino and thus the man who stood more to lose than anyone from the Red Sox winning the World Series, has updated the story in Reversing the Curse: Inside the 2004 Boston Red Sox, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin at the end of March. K-Lo, Rich and other Yankees fans may want to stay home the day I file my book review. One of my favorite aspects is that the book skips from Chapter 12 ("When the Yankees Really Did Suck") straight to Chapter 14 ("No More Curse"), with the explanation that: "There is no Chapter 13. This is the year of the happy ending." Stay tuned for an Opening Day (or thereabouts) book review. But first I have to read it. I know it will be a labor of love.
Posted at 03:55 PM
DEMOCRATS AND DEMOCRATIZATION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An interesting post by Noam Scheiber.
Posted at 03:11 PM
RE: OPTIMUS PRIME [K. J. Lopez]
Is that supposed to raise awareness? Maybe it's a guy thing? Your beloved robot dies and you get your prostate checked?
Posted at 03:07 PM
GIULIANA SGRENA [Andrew Stuttaford]
Interesting angle on this story via Dutch blog Zacht Ei.
Posted at 03:04 PM
BRING ME MY SMELLING SALTS [K. J. Lopez]
A major regional newspaper to hire a conservative female columnist? The myth of the gender gap is dying, perhaps, for real?
Posted at 03:03 PM
OPTIMUS PRIME, RIP [Jonah Goldberg ]
Optimus Prime, leader of the Transformers, has died of prostate cancer. He left behind many autobots, minicons and othersto mourn his passing.
I am not kidding.
Posted at 03:02 PM
RE: PO-MO BLOGGING [John Derbyshire]
I'd just like to make it clear that those were New York City cops, Mike Bloomberg's finest, **not** Long Island cops. ***AND*** I do not have a self-built, self-wired, uninspected, possibly-code-noncomplicit home office in my attic. No! No no no!!! Absolutely not!
Posted at 02:49 PM
PO-MO BLOGGING [John Derbyshire]
I should just like to alert readers, or "readers," of The Corner that some of my posts are not intended to be taken at face value, as if they were "texts" purporting to have "meaning," but are ironically self-referential, to a depth of several (but only finitely many!) layers, the form of presentation conditioned of course by my socio-historical status as a heterosexual white male from a culture steeped in post-colonialist denial.
So if it's time-wasters you're wanting, try untangling the semiotics of my posts.
Then, go and read a nice mystery novel.
Posted at 02:47 PM
ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE CASE [K. J. Lopez]
The DC Court of Appeals has reversed a district court's decision in the AJC v. Notre Dame case, having to do with Americorps participation.
Here is a link to the decision. Some analysis here.
Posted at 02:34 PM
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY! [Andrew Stuttaford]
EU Commissioner Margot Wallstrom (whose blog is one of the more grimly entertaining spots on the web):
" 8 March: International Women‘s day. Rightly the small daughter of my friend asks: “So, are all the other days men‘s day then?“ Indeed, what is there to celebrate? The TV is showing a weeping Indian girl who would have liked to go to university instead of getting married to someone she has never met before. Or Lilya from Lithuania, victim of so called trafficking (sounding like innocent transportation, but meaning prostitution) having to “serve” 10 – 12 men per day. Why not call it by it‘s right name – sex slavery! Turkish women attacked by police all over with teargas and stopped from demonstrating – No, Turkey, this won‘t do if you want to come closer to the EU! So many women all over Europe feel overworked, underpaid and tired, tied up in their many roles between job and family and – some time for themselves! Every year thousands of women are beaten to death by their husbands. The issue of violence against women and children in the home is a huge hidden problem. Domestic violence is, according to Amnesty International figures, the major cause of death and disability for European women aged 16 to 44. It accounts for more death and ill-health than cancer or traffic accidents."
But, Margot, fear not. The EU is coming to the rescue:
The Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia are the top candidates for hosting the new EU gender institute. The European Institute for Gender Equality, announced by the European Commission today (8 March), is supposed to collect, analyse and circulate data to provide a basis for future policies on gender equality.
Posted at 01:46 PM
WELL, I KNOW NYC COPS [K. J. Lopez]
have better things to do than ticket Girl Scouts (even on Long Island--think of what Derb could be doing in his new home office or treehouse).
Posted at 01:12 PM
MESA WATCH [Stanley Kurtz]
Looks like the MESA radicals have lost a battle in their efforts to block students with knowledge of Arabic from serving our government. Martin Kramer has the details.
Posted at 12:37 PM
RE: RE: CORNER AS TIMEWASTER [K. J. Lopez]
I don't have the time to waste to count 'em.
Posted at 12:18 PM
ESTRICH/SUMMERS WATCH [Stanley Kurtz]
We live in an oppressively sexist society. Men and women continue to act differently. (Hey kids, let’s hold a “provocative” conference to figure out why!) Have you seen the ads for this new product called scentstories? It’s a kind of smell record player. Well, all of the people in the ads are women. The smell discs even have pictures of women on them. So do men not have noses? This kind of rampant sexism must not be allowed to pass without protest. Susan Estrich, call your office.
Posted at 12:16 PM
RE: CORNER AS TIMEWASTER [Jonah Goldberg]
Kathryn - I've lost count. How many times have people written up parodies of the Corner now?
Posted at 12:06 PM
FOR SOME, [K. J. Lopez]
The Corner is the ultimate timewaster.
Posted at 11:58 AM
BABYCAL EXPLAINED [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 11:57 AM
ANTHONY KENNEDY [Jonah Goldberg ]
I meant to post this yesterday. I found the Charles Lane profile of Anthony Kennedy far more damning of Kennedy than any conservative commentary I've seen, in part because it might not have been intended to be anything other than favorable.
Posted at 11:51 AM
DISAPPOINTING EMAIL [Jonah Goldberg]
A government laser expert sent me an email telling me that airborne-laser volcano lancing may be centuries off. He asked me not to post as it contains other details that are on the QT government-wise.
Then again, they said the Berlin Wall would never come down, man would never fly, and that you couldn't possibly double the "stuff" in Oreos too.
Posted at 11:49 AM
BOLTON AND THE LEFT [Stanley Kurtz]
I wonder how Peter Beinart and TNR feel about the Bolton nomination. Apparently, the Democrats are planning a big confirmation battle. Do they think they'll gain anything by opposing a guy who puts America's interests first? Fighting Bolton is catering to the Democrat's base. Nothing could undermine the Democrat’s hawkish make-over than a big confirmation battle over Bolton. We’ve had Nancy Pelosi’s dovishness, Ted Kennedys call for an Iraq pull-out, the grilling of Condoleeza Rice, and now a big confirmation battle over John Bolton. (I know I've left out plenty, but who has time.) I can’t see how fighting Bolton is going to do anything but carve the Democrat’s dovish image even more deeply into stone.
Posted at 11:48 AM
SCHIAVO UPDATE [Jack Fowler]
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Rep. David Weldon (R-FL) are introducing “Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act,” which could save Terri Schiavo’s life by giving her and other incapacitated people the same due process rights and protections enjoyed by murderers on death row.
Posted at 11:46 AM
RE: THAT CHECHEN REBEL LEADER [K. J. Lopez]
Nikolas K. Gvosdev of the National Interest tells me:
The basic comparison I can come up with is what would have happened in 2000-2001 if Israel had assassinated Arafat. Basically you've eliminated the titular head of the separatist/terrorist movement, but since he really didn't control his ostensible subordinates, you haven't dealt a "death blow" to the movement.
Posted at 11:44 AM
BILL CLINTON BACK TO HOSPITAL [K. J. Lopez]
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former President Clinton is set to undergo another operation. His office says Clinton will undergo a surgical procedure Thursday to remove scar tissue and fluid from his chest associated with his open heart surgery.
Posted at 11:41 AM
THE EASIEST EDITORIAL IN THE WORLD TO WRITE [Jonah Goldberg ]
The NY Times wants the rules of engagement in Iraq to be as close to perfect as possible.
Posted at 11:41 AM
THAT (OTHER) LA TIMES PIECE [Jonah Goldberg]
Wow, it's like one long cliché. I'm not saying there aren't arguable points to be made in favor of keeping religion out of the public sphere. But the who Wahabbi = Christian Right thing is so old and the comparison is so forced I'm amazed they ran the piece. I mean the comparison falls apart on so many levels. Saudi Arabia was never a secular society overtaken by religious fanatics. Wahhabism considers other forms of Islam to be illegitimate. The Ten Commandments are intended -- and defended -- as being ecumenical so as to include not only Protestants, but Catholics, Jews and Muslims. Again, I'm not saying you can't have a reasonable disagreement about all of this but invoking Saudi Arabia almost automatically makes it an unreasonable disagreement.
Posted at 11:31 AM
BABYCAL THROW [Jonah Goldberg ]
Okay, I'm still fascinated by yesterday's timewaster -- the babycal throw -- but to be brutally honest I have no idea how to get good at it. There's something I'm missing because the high scores are just way too high for there not to be a trick I'm missing.
Posted at 11:24 AM
THE MUKHABARAT [Jonah Goldberg]
I know that the conventional wisdom on the right is that it's not good enough if only the Syrian troops leave.
I understand that the Syrian secret police, the Mukhabarat, are deeply embedded in Lebanon and the Lebanese won't free until they're gone. Bush and Rice have been good about keeping this issue alive. And I agree with people who know more about these things when they say we must insist the Mukhabarat must go. What other position is there, really? Even if it's only at the superficial level of starting position for an eventual negotiated compromise, it would be absurd to have any other position at this stage. To say they could stay would undermine our moral authority and concede that we think Lebanon can never truly be free. Much as Michael Ledeen often argues about Iran (and elsewhere) accomodating the terror regimes only conveys a sense of permanence to their rule.
Still, I'm a bit dubious that we have to make sure, ourselves, that the Mukhabarat leaves Lebanon. I've been thinking for a while that if Syria's troops leave, the predicament of the secret police would be untenable -- for the secret police. The Lebanese backlash against foreign interlopers would be huge, and without the protection of their troops it's easy to imagine a "Syrian scare" type frenzy which would spell very bad news for the Syrians left behind. In fact, I doubt the secret police are as secret as people say. My guess is that most Lebanese know who the bad guys in their midst are the same way it wasn't that hard to tell who was KGB in various Soviet satellites. Once, the troops are gone, they can find these guys very quickly.
Anyway, I found a small bit of corroboration at the end of a piece about the Mukhabarat in the Times of London:
Posted at 11:13 AM
"MADE-IN-AMERICA WAHHABISM: THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT IS OUR OWN BRAND OF EXTREMISM." [K. J. Lopez]
Did you see this in the LATimes? No, not Jonah's piece--keep reading after that.
Posted at 11:04 AM
MORE BREAKING [K. J. Lopez]
"Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov has been killed, a spokesman for Russian forces said Tuesday."
Posted at 10:59 AM
SUPER-VOLCANO GUARANTEED TO DESTROY EVERYTHING [Jonah Goldberg ]
Some day. And there's nothing we can do about it....now.
Posted at 10:58 AM
U.N. CLONING BAN [K. J. Lopez]
This just in from the East River: Members states voted to ban all forms of human cloning as inconsistent with human dignity--84 countries, including the United States voted for the resolution condemning human cloning. 34 states voted against with 37 abstentions.
Posted at 10:55 AM
PI IN YOUR EYE [John Derbyshire]
Next Monday, as no doubt you already know, is Pi Day. Regarding which, the indefatigable Howard Greenspan emails me thus:
"John---Our Pi-Day link to the PiDepartment at MathematiciansPictures.com has been a lot of fun. And while the MathematiciansPictures.com site is nominally apolitical (is anything apolitical?) there definitely seem to Politics of Pi.
"While Pi to 5,000 digits, Pi-by-the-yard, and Pi-by-the-meter seem to be mainstream (if you consider purchase of shirts and posters to be votes), there is also an opposition group (left or right we're not sure) who consider the precision to be of no practical value, and simply obsessive. For them we have introduced 'Casual Pi' (Pi is approximately equal to 3) shirts and posters which allow them to picket and protest the more mainstream group.
"We're not sure which is the 'red' team, and which is the 'blue' team: PERHAPS YOUR READERS HAVE AN OPINION?
"Of course, the larger mainstream group insist that the reason to tackle Pi's infinite irrational precision is clearly the logic of tackling any great natural challenge: 'because it's there'.
"And, while the natural beauty of the Pi-in-the-Sky, Pi-cubed, and newly introduced Strawberry Pi shirt (and newly introduced mug) - first entry in our PI-Of-The-Month Club - have a strong following, the down-to-earth 'Pizza Pi' shirts and posters are clearly filling a need.
"The BIG QUESTION (currently being puzzled) is what Pi Tshirt would George Bush wear?"
The one that shows where, in the decimal expansion of pi, is the number of votes needed to get Social Security reform through the House?
Posted at 10:53 AM
STRATEGY? [Shannen Coffin]
You're all assuming there is a strategy at work here. But remember that the Judiciary Committee Charman does not schedule floor votes in the Senate; that job belongs to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the Republican leadership. So Chairman Specter's hand in this drama is pretty much played after a candidate is voted out of committee. Whether he wants Bill Myers or Tom Griffith brought to the floor first is pretty much irrelevant. He may be able to hold others in committee, but once voted out, it is up to Frist and company to decide who the first candidate is to test the filibuster waters. That issue is very much up in the air still.
Posted at 10:53 AM
FERAL CATS -- TRUE STORY [Jonah Goldberg]
One day when I was a wee policy gnome, I was riding the ol' 42 bus from Adam's Morgan to my job at AEI. I was standing up reading the paper so that I was basically hovering above a youngish couple. He looked like a young Clintonite on the make. She was crunchier, like maybe she worked for some Dupont Circle environmental outfit. Anyway, they were chatting away about their schedules and whatnot when the guy asked the gal when she was going to pick up these two new cats she agreed to adopt. She said she was going to pick them up after lunch and drop them off at their apartment before she went back to work, or something to that effect.
He said, "great."
Long pause. Then he asked, "What color are they again."
She replied, "Oh, I think it's called 'Feral.'"
"What's that?" he asked.
"Oh, I think it's a mix of colors."
"Great," he said.
Of course I can't prove this but from the context it seemed pretty obvious that the young lady was adopting two feral cats and she thought feral referred to the color. I didn't get a chance to rudely barge in on their conversation and explain their folly. But I always liked to imagine how they learned that feral isn't a color, it's what you call cats who destroy your apartment when you adopt them.
Posted at 10:40 AM
LARRY SUMMERS WATCH [John Derbyshire]
My daughter Nellie (age 12.17) is completely addicted to THE SIMS, a computer game.
In this game, you create people, families, and neighborhoods. You can spend ages adjusting the appearance and temperament of your creations. They date, marry, have babies, divorce....
Posted at 10:39 AM
BUSH BEING BUSH [Cliff May]
“We will keep the terrorists on the run until they have nowhere left to hide….The tyrants themselves have reason to fear…Freedom will prevail in Lebanon.”
He’s speaking now at the National Defense University. He just demanded Syria withdraw its soldiers and spies -- before Lebanon’s elections this spring.
Posted at 10:36 AM
"INVASIVE" CATS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Rich, sorry to let you know but "feral" cats -- wild cats descended from domesticated cats -- are ecologicalyl destructive invasive species. They can wreak havoc on native bird populations.
Posted at 10:06 AM
RE: GLOIRE [John J. Miller]
Andrew: I'm reminded of a certain line that appears in a certain book: "Time and again in the last two centuries, France has refused to come to grips with its diminished status as a country whose greatest general was a foreigner, whose greatest warrior was a teenage girl, and whose last great military victory came on the plains of Wagram in 1809."
Posted at 10:05 AM
SPECTER'S PRIORITIES [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm with you about strategy, K-Lo. While Senator Specter has sought to move some of President Bush's stalled appellate nominees, his priorities seem odd. For whatever reason he has to act first on those nominees for which there are non-ideological grounds to oppose: William Myers last week and no Thomas Griffith. Myers was criticized for alleged conflicts of interest at Interior. While I do not think the allegations are serious enough to oppose his nomination, he's hardly the President's strongest nominee on the merits. As for Griffith, I have tremendous respect for his abilities and accomplishments, but I am lukewarm about his nomination to the D.C. Circuit because he practiced law without a license for several years. Compared to Bush's other appellate picks, including Owen, Kavanaugh, and Brown, these two would not be at the top of my list.
Posted at 10:04 AM
STILL SEEING A HERO IN THE MIRROR [Tim Graham]
Dan Rather goes out firing today in the Boston Globe:
Asked why he has long been target of conservative critics complaining about a liberal bias in the media, Rather says: ''I am independent and fiercely independent. It's the role of movements and partisan political organizations to apply the pressure and to try and intimidate. It is the job of the journalist in a free society to say 'no.' . . . I haven't stopped trying."
Posted at 10:03 AM
ASSESSING SPECTER [Jonathan H. Adler]
Robert Novak's latest column argues Senator Specter has fulfilled the Right's worst fears as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Posted at 10:01 AM
RE: PRYOR [K. J. Lopez]
That is excellent news, Coffin. But what the heck was the strategy there? I guess Specter tested the waters in the press and was shocked that the Dems were still determined to oppose Pryor and make it another hearing spectacle. It's a shame Pryor wasn't the first up this term. The GOP could have come out of the gates determined to end obstruction. Would have been great leadership.
Still, that's good news about Pryor, now.
Posted at 09:58 AM
PRYOR [Shannen Coffin]
Reports are that Arlen Specter has changed his mind and will not require Judge William Pryor to stand trial again -- er, that is, to appear for another confirmation hearing -- before voting his nomination out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is good news. If the Democrats indeed plan to filibuster Pryor again, why require him to go through the ordeal of another confirmation hearing? And even if they didn't, what more is there to learn about him? We've done this once. Let's get on with the show.
Posted at 09:51 AM
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK [Shannen Coffin]
One of the few advantages to being caught in late rush hour traffic in a D.C. rainstorm is getting to catch Michael Graham's morning radio show on WMAL. This morning, he is talking about Montgomery County, MD's new sex education program and the fairly explicit video that the County itself created, with a young woman showing 10th graders how to put a condom on a cucumber (shades of "Old School") and how condoms help protect against spread of disease in oral, anal and vaginal sex. I need not join the choir that has spoken out against this insanity, but see it for yourself.
Posted at 09:44 AM
GLOIRE [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, far be it from me to defend the French, but they do have something of a military tradition. Wasn't there some fellow called Napoleon, for example? The bad luck the French had was that their military were good, but those of another country (ahem) were better...
Posted at 09:41 AM
MORE REASONS TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE ELECTION RESULTS [K. J. Lopez]
Susan Rice is not national-security adviser, which could have happened under a President Kerry. See her op-ed re: John Bolton today, in which, among other things, this is meant to be a criticism: "He described the United Nations as "a great, rusting hulk of a bureaucratic superstructure . . . dealing with issues from the ridiculous to the sublime . . . ."
Posted at 09:22 AM
W ON SPECTER YESTERDAY IN PA. [K. J. Lopez]
"I do want to thank Senator Arlen Specter for joining us today, and I appreciate him coming here. He's always telling me what to do, and I'm telling him what to do."
Posted at 09:07 AM
EUROPE [Stanley Kurtz]
I had missed this important piece on Europe's demography by Pavel Kohout at Tech Central Station. Its frightening, and well worth reading. Hat tip to Canadas John Galt.
Posted at 08:49 AM
THE CELL BLOC [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's that piece I said I was doing on felon re-enfranchisement. Certain longtime readers will be disappointed that a certain cocktail was not mentioned. Don't blame the LA Times, it was my call for space and editorial reasons.
Posted at 08:42 AM
THE MILITARY GREATNESS OF FRANCE [John J. Miller]
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, the French defense minister says "France has a glorious military tradition." Ah yes, the great victories of Puebla, Sedan, the Maginot Line, and Dien Bien Phu. (WSJ subscribers can read the piece here.)
Posted at 08:36 AM
GREAT PROFILE [Jack Fowler]
of NR Board member and super-successful entrepreneur Jeff Sandefer in recent Forbes.
Posted at 08:15 AM
SPECTER ON THE RIGHT [K. J. Lopez]
Asked if he now considered attacks from conservatives less important, Specter said, laughing: "That depends on how important I ever thought it was.
Posted at 08:06 AM
CLONING, FYI [K. J. Lopez]
There's a vote in the U.N. general assembly this morning on that human-cloning ban.
Posted at 07:52 AM
RE; REPUBLICAN PLAYGIRL [Jonah Goldberg]
She may in fact vote Republican, but it seems like an obvious publicity stunt to me.
Posted at 07:37 AM
REPUBLICAN PLAYGIRL [K. J. Lopez]
Somewhere some Republican strategist is wishing this revelation waited until a tight election.
Posted at 07:18 AM
AS YOU WILL SEE [K. J. Lopez]
when you do a Google search today, it is International Women's Day. Some other key dates you might not have on your calendar are here.
Posted at 07:14 AM
THOSE COOPTED ALGERIAN REFORMERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
I found this quote over at the American Scene. It's from a Washington Post story on John Bolton going to the UN (though the linked Post story doesn't have the quote anymore). Anyway here it is:
Some U.N. ambassadors said they expected Bolton would have to moderate his views on the United Nations. "When you're outside the United Nations you can be a very strong critic," said Algeria's U.N. ambassador, Abdallah Baali. But "when you join the U.N. and you work with U.N. people then you progressively change your attitude."
Maybe I'm miss-reading this, and lord knows I'm ignorant when it comes to the finer points of Algerian diplomacy, but how would the Algerian ambassador know this? Was he calling for reform in a previous career and I missed it?
Posted at 07:06 AM
BE GRATEFUL KERRY ISN'T PRESIDENT AND BOLTON IS THE U.N. PICK [K. J. Lopez]
Tim Carney found this nugget: from the May 8, 2001 confirmation hearings for John Bolton to serve in his current position as Under Secretary for Arms Control. It's Senator John Kerry (he was in attendence--wild!):
On another issue of great importance to stability in Asia, Mr. Bolton has criticized the Clinton administration's efforts to freeze North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs as 'egregiously wrong.' This despite the undisputed facts that the 1994 Agreed Framework has successfully stopped Pyongyang's nuclear program and more recent talks have convinced North Korea to unilaterally suspend its missile tests until 2003.
Posted at 07:06 AM
RE: THIS ONE'S FOR KATHRYN [K. J. Lopez]
That's better than coffee for a morning jolt.
Posted at 07:04 AM
THIS ONE'S FOR KATHRYN [Jonah Goldberg]
Brad and Jen are trying to work it out.
Posted at 06:37 AM
IN PRAISE OF WOLFOWITZ [Jonah Goldberg]
David Brooks commits the grave sin of saying nice things about the man. Excerpt:
If the trends of the last few months continue, Wolfowitz will be the subject of fascinating biographies decades from now, while many of his smuggest critics will be forgotten. Those biographies will mention not only his intellectual commitment but also his personal commitment, his years spent learning the languages of the places that concerned him, and the thousands of hours spent listening deferentially to the local heroes who led the causes he supported.
Posted at 06:35 AM
Monday, March 07, 2005
AWESOME [Jonah Goldberg ]
Nod to Instapundit.
Posted at 10:18 PM
ATONEMENT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Several readers have complained that the unadulterated lameness of the Energy Dept. timewaster was so great that it should reflect poorly on me. They say I should atone by posting something really great. I reject the premises of these complaints. Nevertheless, if it will appease some of you I present you the chicken-vac. [click to watch the video]
I'm a little horrified by this because I actually have qualms about factor farming (please, let's not start that conversation). Still, if a nation can create the chicken-vac, surely we should have an airborne-laser volcano lancer by now. Faster please.
Posted at 06:00 PM
OH NO--HUNTER WANTS OPEN SEASON FOR CATS [Rich Lowry ]
By Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. -- Hunter Mark Smith welcomes wild birds on to his property, but if he sees a cat, he thinks the "invasive" animal should be considered fair game.
Posted at 05:52 PM
SOME INTERESTING SOCIAL SECURITY POINTS [Rich Lowry ]
A friend writes:
In yesterday’s New York Times, Eduardo Porter points out some surprising features of Social Security benefits, based on calculations by Eugene Steuerle and his colleagues at the Urban Institute. For example, women earn a rate of return that is about 50 percent higher than men with the same earnings history White males earn a higher rate of return than black males, and male college graduates do better than high school dropouts.
Posted at 04:32 PM
ENERGY WASTING TIMEWASTER [Jonah Goldberg ]
The Dept. of Energy has a truly awful timewaster paid for by you the taxpayer.
Posted at 04:28 PM
I'M WITH ROGER CLEGG [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm actually working on a piece on the subject for another publication. I basically agree with Will -- though he seems more in favor of reinfranchisement than I am. One of my biggest problems with the whole movement is that it frames the debate away from where I'd like it framed. As longtime readers know, I think standards for voting should be tighter, not looser. But a society which is debating whether or not rapists should get the right to vote isn't going to debate about whether or not we should raise the voting age or expect people to do their homework before they vote.
Posted at 03:53 PM
KOFI ANNAN… [Rich Lowry ]
…just LOVES John Bolton evidently:
'The Secretary General warmly congratulates Mr. Bolton and looks forward to working with him on U.N. reform and many other issues,’ Dujarric said. Asked if the United Nations had concerns about Bolton's history of criticizing the international organization, Dujarric said, ‘I don't know about previous bias he might bring’ to the new job. But he said that the United Nations would welcome a tough reformer. `We do want to be held accountable.’
Posted at 03:50 PM
GEORGE WILL ON FELON DISENFRANCHISEMENT [Roger Clegg]
In the current issue of Newsweek, George Will notes many of the constitutional, political, and policy problems with a new federal bill that would, among other things, forbid states from disenfranchising felons. Will does say, however, that “there are two conservative arguments for states to stop, or at least severely limit, disenfranchisement,” namely (1) “there is something troubling about criminal penalties that never completely end,” and (2) by “diminishing the lingering stigma of a felony conviction and by encouraging a civic connection with the community” we might combat recidivism. True enough, but the best way to accomplish these ends is by reenfranchising felons on a case-by-case basis, rather than doing it wholesale. Felons shouldn’t have the right to vote restored on the day they walk out of prison; there should be an evaluation period of at least a year or two; and the restoration should depend on the felon’s good and bad deeds during that period, as well as on what crimes had been committed (murderers and traitors should have to wait longer than forgers and shoplifters), how many, and how recently. In sum, if a felon stays clean for some period of time after getting out of prison, and starts to give something back to his community, he could earn back the franchise, which could be formally restored at a courtroom ceremony similar to the naturalization of immigrants.
Posted at 03:39 PM
ANOTHER HAPPY CUSTOMER! [Jack Fowler]
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Posted at 02:50 PM
CLINTON @ DAVOS [Jonah Goldberg]
Bill Clinton re-opens the playbook from his apology tour. I got the transcript from Little Green Footballs who has the full audio. Jim Gerraghty and Realclear politics have more. Here's the money quote:
Rose: (Referring to the Iraqi elections) Do you have confidence that this government, uh, will, as they write the constitution, will not be a mirror-image of the Iranian theocracy?
Posted at 02:42 PM
TOO FUNNY [Allison Hayward ]
In the 3/5/05 issue of National Journal, in a sidebar discussing the fate of candidate who lose presidential elections, about Michael Dukakis, it says: "Although he occasionally gets involved in local political causes, such as promoting pedestrianism . . ."
Local? Wasn't that his national platform?
Posted at 02:13 PM
NEW SAT [Stanley Kurtz]
Well, the new SAT has arrived, and just as I predicted, the pressure to gut it has already begun. Saturday's Los Angeles Times featured an op-ed piece by Kevin Zhou arguing that we need to move to a two track testing systemone for well off students and one for poor students. (Kevin Zhou is a high school junior, but this sort of thing doesnt make it into The Los Angeles Times without being pushed by adults.) Under this proposal, well off students would take the new SAT, which is now an achievement test rather than an aptitude test. But poor students would take an old fashioned SAT-type aptitude test. So let me see if Ive got this right. The old SAT aptitude test was eliminated because poor and minority students didnt do well enough on it. But now that the SAT has been turned into a challenging achievement test, poor students ought to be allowed to go back to the old aptitude test. Thats absurd. A two-track testing system takes the double standard of affirmative action to a whole new level of insanity. And how will we decide which students take which test? Id like to see the school board meeting where that little problem gets resolved. I predicted this sort of thing in Seeing Our Future. What were seeing now is only the beginning of a whole series of pressures to gut the new test. And the new test will be vastly more susceptible to these pressure than the old one was. The fact that were getting this outrageous a proposal before the new test is even off the ground is a sign of just how messy this reform of the SAT is going to be. (For a history of my criticisms of the new SAT, find the link inside Seeing Our Future to my previous piece and keep following links backwards.)
Posted at 02:00 PM
QUIRKY? [Mark Krikorian ]
Today's Post has a story on North Koreans living illegally in China which refers to the "quirky" rule of madman Kim Jong Il. Talk about understatement -- how about the "dour" regime of Stalin, the "enthusiastic" rhetoric of Hitler, or the "sincere" reform goals of the Khmer Rouge?
Posted at 02:00 PM
LIONS' DEN [Mark Krikorian ]
I'm headed to Harvard for a speaking engagement tonight. It looks like it'll be three against one -- but I'm used to those odds.
Posted at 01:56 PM
BECAUSE NO ONE CAN READ ENOUGH ABOUT MONKEYS [Rich Lowry ]
Right to name new monkey species sells for $650,000
NEW YORK (AP) — The right to name a new species of monkey sold Thursday for $650,000 in an online auction, with the funds going to protect the Bolivian habitat where the species lives, the Web site that handled the sale said.
Posted at 01:38 PM
ANOTHER ON "OPPORTUNITY COSTS" [Rich Lowry ]
Among those arguing seriously, the alternative presented by many opponents of military action to effect a regime change in Iraq was not more of the same toothless UN inspections. It was a regime of more aggressive inspections, backed up by a beefed-up force-in-waiting based in Iraq's neighbors, mainly Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Estimates for the necessary size of such a force ranged from 50,000 to 200,000, if I remember correctly. So those now arguing "opportunity costs" should consider the costs of maintaining a large, semi-permanent force in the Gulf States. Besides the obvious costs in troops unavailable for other contingencies and in resources spent on maintaining the force in the region (in other words, costs we would bear with or without regime change, albeit in different amounts), there are the intangible political and strategic costs. Among these was the most obvious: that Saddam Hussein's regime would have remained in power, seeking to exploit divisions among the coalition arrayed against him and rebuilding his military capabilities.
Posted at 01:35 PM
BLOOD LIBEL [Cliff May]
My most recent Scripps Howard is on a French blood libel--and Jacques Chirac’s refusal to set the record straight.
It is clear is that Israelis did not kill Mohammed al-Durra. It is still unclear whether the Myth of Mohammed al-Durra's Murder is the result of a tragic misunderstanding--or a spectacular fraud, intended to stoke the fires of anti-Israeli hatred and establish, in the public mind, a moral equivalence between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli soldiers.
The column is here.
And you’ll appreciate this email I received in response:
Dear Mr. May,
Posted at 01:08 PM
GEORGE WILL ON ANTHONY KENNEDY AS AN INJUDICIOUS JUSTICE [Cliff May]
Posted at 01:05 PM
THANKS, AMERICA [Cliff May]
"The children - they know the name of President Bush. ... They realize the Americans are helping us."
Who said that? It was an Afghan democrat, which is a somewhat species than, say, a Vermont Democrat.
Read all about it here.
Posted at 01:04 PM
ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Look, Jonah, your correspondent is living in a maaaadhouse if he is using Planet of The Apes as a guide to simian behavior, but he should check out the recent remake of that movie where the lead villain, General Thade, is indeed a chimp, whose evil is underscored by the fact that he is played by a Brit (Tim Roth).
Posted at 12:59 PM
THAT’S A WRAP! [Jack Fowler]
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Posted at 12:55 PM
I'M REALLY SORRY [Jonah Goldberg ]
This is the best timewaster I've seen in a while. If you have work to do, don't click the link. Also, don't blame me.
Posted at 11:59 AM
MORE “OPPORTUNITY COST" [Rich Lowry ]
Posted at 11:55 AM
MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO KNOW [Jonah Goldberg]
An expert chimes in:
Posted at 11:48 AM
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO'S (HOME OF WARD CHURCHILL) [K. J. Lopez]
president is resigning.
Posted at 11:41 AM
“NO PLACE IN ENLIGHTENED POLITICAL DEBATE” [K. J. Lopez ]
It’s worth noting—I don’t think we did—that the Boston Globe seemed to suggest last week that opposing same-sex marriage simply isn’t a legitimate point of view.
Posted at 11:39 AM
RE: BOLTON [Rich Lowry ]
That's excellent news, but get ready for a heck of a confirmation fight...
Posted at 11:35 AM
JOHN BOLTON [K. J. Lopez]
will be the new U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
Posted at 11:23 AM
ACROSS THE BAY [Jonah Goldberg]
Tony remains relentless in his dissection of our favorite Middle East scholar.
Posted at 11:11 AM
MONKEY STRENGTH: THE STRAIGHT DOPE [Jonah Goldberg]
In the final analysis, they're very strong. This would only make sense when you think about their ability to fling their body weight around in the trees.
Posted at 11:06 AM
DR. ZAIUS SONG [Jonah Goldberg]
Yes, I found it. Go linked in the "update" to the original post.
Posted at 10:57 AM
HOMINA, HOMINA.... [Jonah Goldberg ]
This story has a different account of the man's injuries. I won't reprint here. But it's in the second graf of the story here.
Posted at 10:55 AM
GREAT IMAGE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 10:51 AM
GIULIANA SGRENA [Jonah Goldberg]
Michael Instapundit has a very useful post on the awful incident where an Italian spy was killed protecting the Communist reporter.
Posted at 10:36 AM
SPEAKING OF MONKEYS [Jonah Goldberg]
Maybe Peter Singer will be an expert witness for Michael Jackson?
Posted at 10:35 AM
PLANET OF THE APES [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew - It looks like we're both wrong. This reader has made a monkey out of both of us (note: I did look for the audio of The Simpsons Dr. Zaius song but couldn't find it). From a leading primatologist reader:
Update: Found the Dr. Zaius song. Scroll down to Dr. Zaius.
Posted at 10:29 AM
PLANET OF THE APES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, you're quite right. With the exception of the wimpy bonobo, chimpanzees have a remarkable tendency to violence, both against each other and, on occasion, us...Demonic Males is an excellent book on this topic. Throw in Lord of the Flies and it's easy to understand the true nature of humanity. Calling Thomas Hobbes, calling Thomas Hobbes...
Posted at 10:02 AM
WHAT'S THAT BOOK JONAH'S WORKING ON? [K. J. Lopez]
Perfect Madness--The Mr. Mom Edition?
Posted at 09:59 AM
SICK WARD [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, so last Saturday I got the stomach flu. Badness, much badness. A day or two later, my daughter got it. That was all the projectile you know what I vaguely referenced around here which kept the grown-ups awake all week. Meanwhile, my wife got a sore throat and the beginings of a cold, presumably from the stress. Daughter went to doctor and said she had strep throat, which apparently in tiny humans can cause major nausea. Lucy snapped back the moment she started taking antibiotics. But saturday night the fair Jessica got the stomach flu of Exorcist proportions. And now I have a cold (I started taking Zinc on the advice of many readers and it seems to help). And everyone's got deadlines on top of deadlines. Whatever happened to the idea that working from home was supposed to be stress free?
Posted at 09:51 AM
CHIMPANZEE ATTACK [Jonah Goldberg ]
I've always been fascinated by the fact that chimpanzees are much, much, much stronger than humans. You never get that sense from watching TV and movies -- largely because most actor-chimps are still babies and because no one wanted to seen Bonzo snap Ronald Reagans thighbone like a twig and then use it to fish for termites.
The attack that was in all the papers was truly horrifying and it was a useful reminder that chimps aren't as cuddly as we often think. Apparently to chimps got out of their cages and were furious that an older couple was bringing a birthday cake for another chimp (though investigators are still a bit baffled by the whole incident). Here's what the two chimps did to the husband -- who protected his wife from the worst of the attack:
St. James Davis lost all the fingers from both hands, an eye, part of his nose, cheek, lips, and part of his buttocks in the ferocious attack, his wife, LaDonna Davis, told NBC's "Today Show" Saturday. His foot was mutilated and his heel bone cracked.
Posted at 09:44 AM
WHAT CLIFF AND MARK ARE READING [K. J. Lopez]
That link was bad--now fixed. If you were looking for it, it is here.
Posted at 09:40 AM
SUNDAY ON LONG ISLAND [K. J. Lopez ]
I spent some of Saturday on John Derbyshire’s island, at Chaminade High School in Mineola (I gave a talk). Good people and nice, smart, disciplined young men (all boys’ Catholic high school). And--of sidebar interest to loyal Corner fans--the house pet (a dog and not a cat, appropriately) is named Jonah. I was disappointed the principal’s name was not Cosmo, but Brother Joe seems terrific nonetheless.
The trip was a treat.
Posted at 09:30 AM
A COUPLE OF UNCONNECTED THOUGHTS. [Shannen Coffin]
First, K-Lo's link to the NYTimes article on why the Yankees' dysfunction is a good thing cracked me up. Nothing like setting expectations low at the beginning of a season. Second, Alex Massie's review of the Python-related Spamalot on Broadway interested me (see the homepage), simply because I was one of those kids who could quote everything they ever did (and a chance encounter with Eric Idle in a hotel lobby is one of the more memorable brushes with greatness I've ever had -- made even better because it was he that quoted Python to me in our short chat). But I'm not sure I want to see this new installment. Part of the Python greatness was the performances of the Pythons themselves -- nothing like seeing Cleese's silly walk. Yes, their writing was brilliant, but their acting out their bits was even more so. So I may take a pass on David Hyde Pierce's take on Python, if you please.
Posted at 09:23 AM
IT'S CONTAGIOUS [K. J. Lopez]
KUWAIT, March 7 (Reuters) - Around 500 Kuwaiti activists, mostly women, demonstrated outside parliament on Monday to demand female suffrage amidst tensions in the Gulf Arab state over a government drive to grant women political rights.
Posted at 09:18 AM
THE DIFFERENCE A FEW HOURS MAKES [K. J. Lopez ]
A child died. I'll say even it if it can't be said in the NYTimes Mag. It is an added sadness that this couple was unable to spend any time with their child, presumably because of a termination (choice?), as the NYTimes Mag would put it, but the why is unclear. I’m reminded of Rick and Karen Santorum’s. blessed two hours with their premature Gabriel
Dawn Eden points to some parents who were in similar situations as the NYTimes Mag couple, but who got to meet their babies, and whose short time with their children was a treasured lifetime:
I feel very blessed to be Mary Elizabeth's mother. I always knew that my baby needed me to protect her and to be her voice from the time that she was conceived. I am so very thankful that I was able to hold her and see her beautiful face. The 34 hours that we had with her will forever be etched in my mind as a very special time with a very special little girl. I know that my daughter is safe and is in heaven now. I miss her terribly and would give anything to have her here with me. I feel comfort in knowing that one day I will hold her again in heaven. Mary Elizabeth taught me so much about love, being humble, and thankful in all things.
Posted at 09:15 AM
FETUS DIED? LIFE ENDED? POTENTIAL LIFE ENDED? PREGNANCY LOST? WHAT DO I SAY? [K. J. Lopez ]
The most interesting thing about this most recent “Lives” column, though, is how conflicted it is. That, despite talk of relief, this one seems to cry out something like “I know I lost a child but my sophistication won’t let me fully admit it.” The couple cried and he even uses the word “mourn.” It's a painful read--but not, this time, because it is pure propaganda, but because you feel the couple's pain.
Posted at 09:11 AM
“WE WERE TRULY THERE TO DELIVER OUR BABY. OR FETUS. I WAS NO LONGER SURE WHICH IT WAS. SEVEN YEARS LATER, I'M STILL NOT” [K. J. Lopez ]
The New York Times Magazine isn’t much into branching out in its “Lives” column. From Costco No! Selective Reduction Mom to The Fetus Looked Like an Alien Dad, yesterday.
Posted at 09:10 AM
"HERE IN WASHINGTON," SHE WRITES, "I HAVE SEEN MUCH OF AMERICA AT ITS WORST: AT ITS MOST COMPETITIVE AND RAPACIOUS AND AMORAL AND MORALIZING AND JUST PLAIN MAD." [K. J. Lopez]
This last quote from the Rosin piece is to make up for the Yankee-BoSox post: Doesn't most of America probably think D.C. is America at its worst? And let's just say, for the record, that Cleveland Park-Chevy Chase voters are not exactly red state (red-Communist? you're getting warmer).
Posted at 08:46 AM
WHO’S GOT THE STAYING POWER? [K. J. Lopez ]
This is for Shannen Coffin:
But social scientists who have studied group performance under pressure say that often it is decentralized groups (like the Yankees) that prove more resilient than strongly connected ones (like the Red Sox); they are better able to weather outside criticism and internal quarrels.
I apologize to everyone with little to no interest in the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the northeast in general.
Posted at 08:39 AM
MORE WASHINGTON POST (WHO'S 'POOR, UNDEREDUCATED, AND EASILY LED? [K. J. Lopez]
See David Frum
Posted at 08:36 AM
AND NARAL’S IDEOLOGY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SELF-INDULGENCE, RIGHT? [K. J. Lopez ]
One more pull-out from that Rosin piece: “’I don't want to be associated with women who panic over playground politics because that's not me and I think it sounds self-indulgent and precious,’ says Betsy Cavendish, former legal director for the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America.”
Posted at 08:33 AM
DAMN CUPCAKES! [K. J. Lopez ]
That last post links to a Hanna Rosin piece on Judith Warner’s Perfect Madness. Here’s more silliness:
Whoever you are, you conduct your daily routine of dress, feed, get off to school, feed again, bathe, tuck in with a new degree of self-consciousness. One Washington woman spent the night before Valentine's Day baking cupcakes with her two sons. She woke up the next morning to read Warner's New York Times op-ed piece on how we now celebrate the holiday for our children instead of our husbands. "Is our national romance with our children sucking the emotional life out of our marriages?" Warner asked. The woman dumped the cupcakes in the garbage and declared herself a failure.
Posted at 08:33 AM
IT’S SIMPLY MADNESS (OH BROTHER!) [K. J. Lopez ]
“White tablecloths or blue? Tulips in two vases or one? “
Posted at 08:32 AM
MINIMUM-WAGE SHOWDOWN [K. J. Lopez ]
Santorum vs. Kennedy, tonight.
Posted at 08:32 AM
WHAT THEY’RE READING [K. J. Lopez ]
Two NRO regulars somehow find time to read--they Cliff May and Mark Krikorian tell you what here.
Posted at 08:31 AM
Sunday, March 06, 2005
BULLETS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Call me suspicious, but is there anything in this supposed ‘explanation’ that is a little, um, unconvincing?
”Moscow, March 5 - The chief of Ukraine's security service said Saturday that the country's former interior minister, Yuri F. Kravchenko, had shot himself twice in the head on Friday, refuting speculation that he had been killed by someone else.”
Posted at 07:33 PM
MCCAIN-FEINGOLD-BUSH [Andrew Stuttaford]
The gift that keeps giving….to incumbents, that is:
“Anyone who decides to "set up a blog, send out mass e-mails, any kind of activity that can be done on the Internet" could be subject to Federal Election Commission regulation, Bradley A. Smith, a Republican commissioner, said in an interview posted Thursday on the technology news site Cnet.com”.
Posted at 05:13 PM
ENDS V. MEANS [Jonah Goldberg]
If my ends were to receive lots more email on ends versus means then I was justified! The Conservative Philosophereven chimed in, as requested. Not exactly what I was looking for, but interesting and helpful nonetheless. More later, perhaps.
Posted at 03:52 PM
"OUR CHALLENGE IS TO ESTABLISH A STANDARD THAT BOTH ENCOURAGES THE STEM CELL RESEARCH THAT SAVES LIVES AND SETS THE ETHICAL LIMITS THAT RESPECT LIVES.” [K. J. Lopez]
Mitt Romney has an op-ed in the Boston Globe todayon that stem-cell bill
Posted at 02:38 PM
WHAT OPPORTUNITY COST? [Rich Lowry]
More on Meet the Press: Both Mike Allen and Paul Krugman talked about the “opportunity cost” of the war in Iraq with regard to Iran and North Korea. This is such an opportunistic argument. Would Krugman, for instance, support invading Iran or North Korea but for the fact that the US military is tied down in Iraq? Of course not. The Democrats dissent from Bush's Iran and North Korea policies because they think we should be doing more negotiating (and offering of economic and diplomatic carrots), which you can do regardless of how your military forces are occupied. So on the Democrats' terms there has been no real “opportunity cost” to the Iraq war.
Posted at 02:29 PM
WHAT I WISH MCCONNELL HAD SAID ON MEET THE PRESS [Rich Lowry]
Russert badgered McConnell a bit on how personal accounts address the solvency problem of Social Security. He should have said something like, “Whatever we do to address the solvency problem--whether raise taxes or restrain benefits--makes Social Security an even worse deal for young workers. Personal accounts, with their higher rate of return, are a way to sweeten whatever deal we make for young people.”
Posted at 02:28 PM
"BUSH SENDS HIS GREETINGS!" [Rich Lowry]
That's what Lebaonese protesters shouted as they watched Assad's speech yesterday.
Posted at 02:27 PM
FRIEDMAN PROVIDES A USEFUL REMINDER... [Rich Lowry]
...today of how the Europeans how very little combat or power-projection capability: "If you put all the E.U. armies together, they total around two million soldiers in uniform - almost the same size as the U.S. armed forces. But there is one huge difference - only about 5 percent of the European troops have the training, weaponry, logistical and intelligence support and airlift capability to fight a modern, hot war outside of Europe. (In the U.S. it is 70 percent in crucial units.) The rest of the European troops - some of whom are unionized! - do not have the training or tools to fight alongside America in a hot war. They might be good for peacekeeping, but not for winning a war against a conventional foe.... The U.S. is building 180 C-17 long-range lift aircraft to transport troops and tanks anywhere in the world, and 112 C-5's, to replace the aging C-141's. The European NATO members have exactly four C-17's. They all belong to Britain and even those are leased from Boeing. The Europeans are so short of long-range lift aircraft that they basically have to depend on leased Russian and Ukrainian Antonov transports to get to the battlefield. George Robertson, the former NATO secretary general, used to ask them what they would do if a war broke out during the Christmas season, when most of the Antonovs are leased to toy companies shipping electronic games around the world."
Posted at 02:26 PM
ATONED [John J. Miller]
Remember during the Clinton impeachment days how the Europeans would howl about Americans violating the personal privacy of the president? So many people over there love to portray us as Peeping-Tom Puritans. That's why I enjoyed the interview with British author Ian McEwan in the current issue of Publisher's Weekly: "I would say that American journalism is far less intrusive. If I'm going to meet an American journalist in London, I'd quite happily have him come to my home, because he isn't going to focus on my private life. I wouldn't let a British journalist through the door. It's always been like that. British journalists like to conflate you with the characters in your work. American journalists tend to be quite literary; they simply don't press you with personal questions."
Posted at 06:08 AM
ENDS VERSUS MEANS BLEG [Jonah Goldberg ]
I have to say this was the most disappointing result of a bleg to date. Except for some perfectly interesting and thoughtful personal observations on what the whole ends versus means thing means to some readers, nobody's pointed me to anything worth reading (save an old essay from WFB and exhortation to read through John Courtney Murray "writings"). I understand the point that some ends justify some means. I believe Buckley put it sort of like this, we are all against shoving an old lady, but we will do so if she's about to be hit by a bus. Some ends most certainly justify some means. But few ends justify any means.
That's all fine and good, but presumably someone has written at length about this (other than Pragmatists). And I was really hoping for an intellectual history of the concept. Has such a thing really never been written?
Maybe the gang at The Conservative Philosopher could throw a dog a bone?
Posted at 05:54 AM
WILL DO [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 05:38 AM
WATCH KATE O'BEIRNE [K. J. Lopez]
on Meet the Press this morning, by the way...
Posted at 03:34 AM