MEL MARTINEZ [K. J. Lopez]
Just a real casual observation: He's a smart, good guy to have in the Senate. And is explaining the law involved in clear ways few pols do and can (though I confess to bias--imagine).
Posted at 06:44 PM
SANTORUM [K. J. Lopez]
Says "something will happen here tomrorow afternoon" or in "the wee hours of Monday morning."
Gives special thanks to Ron Wyden (of Assisted Suicide Oregon) and Carl Levin.
Posted at 06:36 PM
CAPITOL HOSTILITY [K. J. Lopez ]
“We have given the House another opportunity.” Tom Harken, right now in this Santorum-Martinez-Harken press conference is blaming the House for allowing yesterday to go down like it did and warning them they better get their act together. House leaders must be seething, at the moment. As I type, he just took particular aim at DeLay…. Everyone was mad on Thursday and Friday, stemming from a lot of confusion, is my impression talking to folks. DeLay took aim at the Senate. Behind the scenes lots of blame was going around, as you caught wind up. But...this woman is not being fed now. Today just do what you’ve gotta do and stop the blame game. But everyone get their acts together for future key battles. Please.
Posted at 06:32 PM
SENATE AND SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
FYI: Senators Rick Santorum and Mel Martinez will hold a 6:30 p.m. press conference tonight to discuss Senate action on legislation regarding Terri Schiavo.
Posted at 05:27 PM
ABSTINENCE CAUSES CANCER [ K. J. Lopez ]
Okay, not quite, but you gotta wonder a little about that virginity-pledge story out there today Rich linked to earlier: Were kids who learned Bill Clinton’s definition of sex the ones surveyed?
Posted at 04:59 PM
RE: FEDERALISM, HYPOCRISY, ETC. [Mark R. Levin]
I second Ramesh's point. The idiocy of the Left with their phony federalism arguments cannot be overstated. It underscores how completely devoid of arguments they are to support government-ordered starvation. And Ramesh is exactly right on another score, i.e., the issue of death (or life) is already a federal matter, as highlighted by the Left's favorite institution -- the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. Did the New York Times reverse course today and argue that Roe usurped state authority? Not the last time I checked. The Florida legislature and governor attempted to resolve this some time ago. The Florida Supreme Court stopped them. As I see it, Congress is coming to the aid of state elected officials. Moreover, Congress can and should say that the federal constitutional issue here is the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and it need not cite foreign law to prove that government-ordered starvation meets the test. I am, however, unconvinced that federal court jurisdiction, which is what Congress is fighting for, is the answer.
Posted at 04:53 PM
HASTERT & FRIST [K. J. Lopez]
(Washington, D.C.) Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist released the following statement today:
Posted at 04:51 PM
HERE ARE DELAY'S OPENING REMARKS FROM A FEW AGO [K. J. Lopez]
I am here to announce that House and Senate negotiators have agreed to the outlines of a bi-partisan, bi-cameral compromise bill to save Terri Schiavo.
Posted at 03:48 PM
TOM DELAY, FEMINIST [K. J. Lopez ]
On Michael Schiavo: “His abuse and neglect…is outrageous. Partnered with this judge who has allowed him to treat her like this…is outrageous…. What kind of man is he?
Posted at 03:43 PM
ROY BLUNT (DA WHIP) [K. J. Lopez ]
Gives a crash course to Saturday TV watchers who aren’t getting it from the media: “This is not someone who has had extraordinary measures going on to keep them alive.” She’s not on life support. We’re talking food and water…
Posted at 03:38 PM
JAMES OBERSTAR (D., MINN.) [K. J. Lopez]
(More from this presser): Compromise is "narrowly targeted, non-precedentia[l]."
Posted at 03:35 PM
DAVID DREIER (AT THIS PRESS CONFERENCE NOW) [K. J. Lopez ]
"I’m a Republican who believes passionately in states’s rights….it seems to me that we are at a point where we have no choice…that these parents…[should] have a chance to be heard in federal court."
Posted at 03:30 PM
FEDERALISM, HYPOCRISY, ETC. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
There may be reasonable criticisms of the Republicans' course of action in the Schiavo case--I haven't watched or thought about it in enough detail. But it seems to me that the Times's criticism of the Republicans for flouting "federal constitutional precedents" is at odds with the widespread criticism of them for getting involved in a state matter. To the extent that the Supreme Court's policymaking on euthanasia is in play here, the federal government is already involved, and any "federalist principle" militating against federal involvement in these matters--which I'm not sure exists in the first place--has already been breached.
Posted at 03:29 PM
PALM SUNDAY AT 1 [K. J. Lopez]
Hastert will call the House back in session, according to DeLay. Says he is convinced they have reached a compromise. DeLay praises Harry Reid for his helpfulness...
Posted at 03:25 PM
WE HEAR [K. J. Lopez]
There will be a Tom DeLay/Roy Blunt press availability in a few minutes on Capitol Hill announcing they're coming back tomorrow night/Monday morning and are looking for unanimous consent on a two-party, two-chamber compromise.
Posted at 03:16 PM
“CONSERVATISM COME UNDONE” [K. J. Lopez]
I’m with Andrew Sullivan that the steroids hearings were ridiculous (as we have made pretty clear here), but—not to be too simplistic here, but there's something at its heart pretty fundamental about the Terri Schiavo case: If you don’t have the right to live, the pursuit of any kind of happiness seems like a pretty moot point.
Posted at 03:10 PM
NYTIMES NEW CONCERN FOR FEDERALISM & SEPARATION OF POWERS [K. J. Lopez]
Their Schiavo editorial today: "Congress's rash assumption of judicial power and trampling on established state and federal constitutional precedents in "right to die" cases is nothing short of breathtaking."
I can't wait for their editorials about the tyranny of a lawmaking judiciary.
Posted at 02:40 PM
CONGRESS RE: SCHIAVO [KJL]
Evidently the Senate will be in session at 5.
Posted at 02:28 PM
AND WHAT'S TO STOP CONGRESS FROM... [Mark R. Levin]
And what's to stop Congress from calling women who might seek abortions? Well, what's to stop Congress from doing anything stupid or outrageous? We, the people. Even those who oppose abortion would likely react very negatively to such a spectacle. Congress has called witnessed who've had abortions who regret having had the procedure and others who've argued against prohibiting, for instance, partial birth abortion. This has been done without exploitation or abuse. But the question the critics of the House refuse to ask and answer is who or what can check a judiciary that, more and more, is making policy decisions? If not Congress, than no one. And in many cases, I expect that's perfectly fine by them.
Posted at 12:40 PM
RE: RE: HERE WE ARE [Mark R. Levin]
This is a typical slippery slope argument, applied only to Congress but not to the judiciary. I could ask, for instance: what next, will judges, on the word of a putative spouse, deny nutrition to alzheimer patients who, on their own, would surely die of starvation? And what of the standard of proof and evidence? There's nothing in writing here, no living will, no witnesses -- just heresay. Is that the standard judges will now use, and if they can use this standard on a matter of life and death, what about wills, trust, estates? Are they all to be decided now based on oral, unwitnessed representations?
The debate isn't whether government has a role in these decisions, but how government will exercise that role, including which branch of government.
Posted at 12:39 PM
SUPREME COURT, FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH [K. J. Lopez]
passed on taking up an emergency appeal from the House on Friday. Here's DeLay's reax.
Posted at 12:34 PM
P.S. RE: HERE WE ARE [K. J. Lopez]
That cover comes courtesy of a "Catholic" college.
Posted at 12:05 PM
PEDDLING A MYTH [Andrew Stuttaford]
A modern myth, which is unfortunately gaining circulation even around this wise Corner, is the idea that you cannot have economic growth without an increase in population, a proposition which would have been dodgy in, say, the 13th Century and, in an age where it is machines, not men that do much of the work, looks very difficult to sustain indeed.
Needless to say, a new report from the EU Commission, a bureaucracy that has always had its problems with wealth creation, has now endorsed this myth. The suggested solutions? More immigration (which has, for Brussels, the added advantage of diluting that stubborn sense of national identity that the Eurocrats so disdain) and, incredibly, even more of the workplace regulation (on this occasion supposedly designed to make it easier for young mothers to combine parenting and employment) that has so hit the economic productivity that is the real key to providing for an ageing continent’s financial future.
Posted at 12:04 PM
HERE WE ARE [K. J. Lopez]
Cover for the feminist Left for not being a defender of the rights of Terri Schiavo:
Marc Spindelman, a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University who specializes in bioethics, said the message sent by the subpoenas is chilling.
Posted at 11:43 AM
REHNQUIST... [Rich Lowry ]
...may return for oral arguments.
Posted at 11:41 AM
TONY BLAIR [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Derb wrote the other day how he many of his (fellow) Americans could not understand the dislike he felt for Tony Blair. I come across the same thing myself. Well, here’s one example of the way in which this most repulsive of prime ministers (his putative replacement, Britain’s twitchy nutcase of a finance minister, weird Gordon Brown, would be even worse however) operates, an example that shows rather well the sort of man that he is.
Britain is about to go through an election campaign. Notwithstanding a few freak polls, the unlovely, hopeless and rather disgusting (but better-than-Blair) Tories have no chance of winning. Despite that, there seems to be little in the way of limit to the depths to which Blair will descend in order to win a vote or two. On Thursday he and the oddball Brown posed in front of a poster that claimed that the Tories were planning some $70bn in cuts from public services, a claim so dishonest that even the BBC reporter who was there objected.
In fact, all that the Tories are planning to do (more’s the pity) is reduce the rate of increase in spending on those services from five per cent a year (Labour’s plans) to four percent.
That’s not a cut, Mr. Blair. And you, Mr. Blair, are a liar.
Posted at 11:36 AM
AWFUL STATISTIC... [Rich Lowry ]
...in this Washinton Post story on a study of teens, sex, and virginity pledges: "About one quarter of African American girls in the survey tested positive for at least one STD in 2002."
Posted at 11:36 AM
SLEEP EASY, JOHN J. [K. J. Lopez]
ABCNews says it's merciful:
The process of starving to death seems very barbaric but in actuality is very peaceful," said Dr. Fred Mirarchi, assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.
Nothing barbaric about starving a woman whose family wants her alive (and have countlessly offered to take his burden--their blessing--away from her husband), who's not been given fair legal representation, who has evidently not even had fair medical treatment and opportunities....
My wish, other than this would all shake out in the best interest of this helpless woman, is that more of us would pay attention to this moment.These aren't the same, but they're not wholly unrelated: Look at that wrongful birth case in Holland yesterday. Look at the facts of the Schiavo case. It's not a good moment.
Posted at 11:25 AM
"SERENE" STARVATION [K. J. Lopez]
While her parents, brother, etc. are pleading that her life be spared, ABC"News" is assuring people Terri Schiavo's starvation death will probably be "peaceful." Abcnews.com is also reporting that she is "brain dead." Wonder if the reporters assigned to the case did much other than read George Felos press releases. I can't just pick on ABC's website here, this kinda coverage has been more the rule than the exception.
Posted at 11:23 AM
"GRUELING, FILTHY, CONFUSING" [Rich Lowry]
I don't agree with Andy Bacevich's fundamental take on the Iraq war, but this passage in his Washington Post op-ed serves as a useful reminder that military force is a very blunt instrument:
Whereas technology was supposed to render the battlefield transparent, the "fog of war" settled over Iraq like a suffocating blanket. Never have U.S. forces fought in such ignorance of the enemy's purpose, strength, leadership and order of battle. George Armstrong Custer knew more about the warriors he faced in 1876 than U.S. commanders today know about their adversaries.
Posted at 11:22 AM
VIVE LA FRANCE! [Andrew Stuttaford]
A few weeks ago, l’escroc Jacques Chirac, a man who has never found a rule he could not bend, decided to advance the date for a French referendum on the EU ‘constitution’. His motive? Support for the yes camp was leaking away fast, something that brought back unhappy memories of an earlier French referendum – on the EU’s Maastricht treaty a decade or so ago. That campaign too began with a heavy lead for those who supported the treaty, but in the event the yes side only won in a photofinish and in somewhat suspicious circumstances. By pushing the vote forward to May 29th, Chirac hoped to avoid a similar close shave this time round.
There are encouraging signs that this gambit may fail. For the first time, the no’s are ahead.
This makes sense. After Mitterand and Chirac the French should know moral and financial corruption when they see it. With a bit of luck therefore, they ought to understand the disastrous consequences to them of handing the keys of their coffers to the kleptocrats of Brussels in perpetuity.
If the French have any sense, this time they should just say non.
Posted at 10:57 AM
ADDICTED TO UPSETS [Rich Lowry]
I'm not much of a basketball fan, but I half-watch these early NCAA games just to start really paying attention if an upset is afoot. Yesterday was great: Congrats to Vermont and Bucknell. I was pulling hard for the Catamounts, having no idea what they are. Now I know: They are short-tailed wildcats with usually tufted ears, valued for their fur.
Posted at 10:57 AM
HEARING FROM YUSHCHENKO [Andrew Stuttaford]
New Ukrainian president Victor Yushchenko will be visiting Washington in April. That’s good news. As the winner of an election that may represent a truly remarkable extension of democracy in a part of the world where freedom and the rule of law have been all too rare, and all too needed, an election which seems to be acting as an inspiration to other peoples from Lebanon to Kirkizstan, it would seem natural that Yushchenko should also be invited to speak to a joint session of Congress. Weirdly, House Speaker Hastert has not got round to asking him.
Perhaps he felt legislators had more important things to do.
Such as holding hearings on baseball.
Posted at 10:55 AM
IT’S THE JUDGES, STUPID [Mark R. Levin]
I see this more as a struggle between the elected branches and the judiciary. The Florida legislature and Governor Jeb Bush did, in fact, attempt to intervene in the Schiavo case a few years back, and prevent the removal of her feeding tube. But the Florida Supreme Court ruled, among other things, that the governor had no such power. Yesterday, Florida Superior Court Judge Greer, in essence, said the same about congressional authority. He quickly dismissed the relevance of the House subpoenas with this statement: "I have had no cogent reason why the committee should intervene." The state judge, therefore, contended that the House had to convince him of the legitimacy of its subpoena to compel witnesses to appear so it can conduct hearings. I've heard nothing from academia about this stunning judicial assertion.
As the courts continue to usurp the policy- and law-making power of the elected branches, and offend an ever-growing number of Americans and their representatives, we can expect the tension between the elected branches and the judiciary to grow. The judges have no one to blame but themselves. In the eyes of many, they have pursued a course that delegitimizes their institution and calls into question their motives. And while the courts set themselves up as the final arbiters of all conflicts between themselves and the other branches, at least the House, in this first test of constitutional wills, does not appear ready to surrender. After all, if it won't protect its own constitutional prerogatives, who will?
The more the House resists judicial usurpation, the more unhinged its critics in academia and the mainstream media will become -- accusing it of politicizing the independent judiciary, intimidating judges, and so forth. The reason for this is straightforward: the judiciary is the means by which the Left has been most successful in recent decades in imposing its agenda on society. They've gone to extraordinary lengths to obstruct President Bush's judicial nominations, including the unconstitutional use of filibusters in the Senate, and they will be equally zealous in the House.
Posted at 10:54 AM
A ROLE FOR CONGRESS [Mark R. Levin]
No one questions the power of Congress to issue subpoenas to pursue its core function, i.e., to conduct hearings and investigate issues where there might be a legislative purpose. And clearly, in this case, Congress is genuinely interested in taking up the issue of protecting disabled and incapacitated people. And Congress is certainly free to use the most widely known example of court-ordered starvation as a basis for its inquiry. If its purpose is also to save from starvation the person at the center of its inquiry, that's perfectly legitimate as well.
And when Congress issues subpoenas, they are to be honored by the recipients, or they face possible prosecution for contempt of Congress. Compliance with congressional subpoenas is every bit as critical to maintaining the rule of law under our constitutional system as is compliance with a court order. And a state trial judge is not free to blithely dismiss such congressional action, whether he agrees with it or not. He stands in the same shoes as others in this regard, i.e., he cannot take affirmative steps to contravene a congressional subpoena. Even if one wishes to descend into some kind of balancing test, the state trial judge could have easily prevented a constitutional confrontation by delaying his order until Congress could at least conduct hearings, thereby ensuring that the authority of both branches of government were not offended. Instead, the state trial judge did what too many judges do, i.e., he vetoed a decision or action by Congress. The mainstream media will ignore this aspect of what has occurred, as it already has, preferring to regurgitate the shrill accusations of academics and lawyers who worship before the bench.
Posted at 10:53 AM
FEDERALISM IS NOT THE THING [Mark R. Levin]
This isn't really an issue of federalism, as Tribe and his ilk are insisting. They're simply attempting to use this tragedy to score points about alleged conservative hypocrisy, while ignoring their own newfound embrace of federalism, albeit misguided.
Posted at 10:52 AM
TRIBE AND SCHIAVO [Mark R. Levin]
Harvard professor and Democrat favorite Laurence Tribe is all over the media today denouncing the House Republicans for issuing subpoenas yesterday in the Terri Schiavo case. Among other things, he claims this is a violation of federalism. And in the New York Times, he said this: "[Senator Joseph] McCarthy, for all his abuses, did not reach out and try to undo the processes of a state court." This is an argument? It would be as if I dismissed Tribe's views with the accurate charge that he works for an institution, Harvard, which played nice with the Third Reich over six decades ago.
The lawyer for Terri's "husband" referred to congressional action as "Stalinist." So, when Congress acts to try to save a life, and prevent the government-ordered starvation of a helpless human being while pursuing its law-making function, that's comparable to a dictator who murdered some 60 million of his own people, including by starvation? And this lawyer is taken seriously by a court of law?
Posted at 10:51 AM
CAR BOMB IN LEBANON [Rich Lowry]
It kills 9, according to the AP:
The motive behind the bomb attack wasn't immediately clear, but it devastated an eight-story apartment building in the largely Christian New Jdeideh neighborhood shortly after midnight and sent panicked residents in their pyjamas into the street.
It also played to concerns among some Lebanese that pro-Syrian elements might resort to violence to show, in their view, the need for a continued presence by Damascus forces. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have taken part in demonstrations for and against Syria since Hariri was killed. The anti-Syrian protests have featured large numbers of Maronite Christians.
``This has been the message to the Lebanese people for a while -- to sow fear and terror among Lebanese citizens,'' Christian opposition member Pierre Gemayel told Al-Jazeera satellite television. The message is ``if there is a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, look what Lebanon will face.''
Posted at 10:45 AM
GERARD BAKER [Andrew Stuttaford]
Yesterday’s link to Gerard Baker’s fine piece on the McCartney sisters brought this response from one reader:
“I appreciate your linking to Baker's column today. For all non-Times reading NRO devotees who may be unaware of Baker's always compelling columns, I urge you to link to this recent phenomenal piece by Baker headlined, "What have the Americans ever done for us? Liberated 50 million people…"
Delighted to oblige. Check it out here.
Posted at 10:44 AM
WYDEN FINGER-POINTING, FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH [Jack Fowler]
This from the Dem Senator from Oregon (aka the land of physician assisted suicide) on his role in Terri Schiavo legislative fight.
Michael Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos, is mistaken. As the Republican Conference Chairman, Senator Santorum, has said, there was “broad opposition” to the House legislation on both sides of the Senate aisle. I objected to legislation regarding Terri Schiavo only long enough to resolve the concerns I have stated in the Congressional record. I worked with the bipartisan leadership so the Senate could vote on the bill in record time. I was assured by the Republican leadership of the Senate that the Senate legislation would be accepted by the House.Seems someone in the GOP leadership blew it re the assurance that they had House approval for the Senate bill locked up. Did they, whoever "they" are, really believe Congressman Sensenbrenner was going to be steamrolled into jettisoning the House bill lock, stock, and barrel? Well, it wouldn't be the first time the cardinal political rule -- don't make a promise on which you cannot deliver -- was violated.
Posted at 10:44 AM
GREETINGS FROM STOCKHOLM [Andrew Stuttaford]
I was wandering down a bright, but chilly Birgerjarlsgatan today with three American friends and we had the, um, pleasure of running into a dim, but heated anti-American demonstration seemingly organized by the Left Party (the former communists). Interesting range of slogans on display including calls for an end to the "occupations" of Palestine and Iraq. No word, however, on the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.
Posted at 10:42 AM
DO LIKE DADDY [Rich Lowry]
The New York Times on Assad trying to act like a grown-up dictator: "Last week, though, his picture was on every street corner as Damascus held a well-orchestrated rally celebrating his rule.
The posters are the most visible and recent sign that Mr. Assad, 39, has shifted tactics, starting a campaign to consolidate power and shore up his position in the midst of the international crisis over Syria's three-decade domination of Lebanon.
`Bashar is learning that his father did things for a reason,' says Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma and the Web site Syriacomment.com, who is spending 2005 in Damascus. `If you're going to be a dictator you're going to have to act like one.'"
And here is a guess at his Lebanon strategy: "In fact, despite his foot-dragging, the pullout - if it occurs - may end up being one of his less fraught decisions. Mr. Assad and his advisers are betting that Mr. Lahoud and Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese Shiite party nurtured by Syria, will oversee Syria's interests even after it withdraws. Meanwhile, Damascus will have staved off international sanctions, pinning responsibility for disarming Hezbollah on the United Nations."
Posted at 09:31 AM
LCD? [John J. Miller]
A quick point about my question, which one of K Lo's emailers says "appeals to the lowest common denominator." Doctors say that the starvation of Schiavo will take something like two weeks. Isn't that a cruel and unusual way to die? Shouldn't the people who want her dead also advocate something like a mercy killing?
Posted at 05:59 AM
THE REAL FEMINISTS--THE "NEW FEMINISTS" SPEAK OUT [K. J. Lopez]
Patricia Heaton on Terri Schiavo.
Posted at 12:15 AM
Friday, March 18, 2005
FYI RE: CONGRESS [K. J. Lopez]
Joint Statement of Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist Congress to Work Through Weekend to Save Mrs. Schiavo’s LifePeople are working. But they were last night too. No one has convinced me the Congress option is going to work, successfully at this point. I'd be happy to be wrong, of course, but I don't think it's happening.
Posted at 07:27 PM
K-LO'S LETTERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It has been all Schiavo all the time around here. It's been helpful to me--I've been too busy with other things either to post on other subjects or to follow the story anywhere but here. So thanks, Kathryn. I loved email number 4, by the way. Does this person think that conservatives have generally championed a right to kill one's spouse as an implication of the sanctity of marriage?
Posted at 07:21 PM
TONY SNOW [K. J. Lopez]
FYI, Brian Wilson just announced Tony Snow will be on Fox tomorrow noonish talking about his battle with colon cancer. So glad he's on the mend.
Posted at 07:00 PM
BTW [K. J. Lopez]
Go to the NRO homepage--something I'd humbly recommend you do every weekday--and read pieces on the W Hitler slur, Iraq two years post-invasion, the freedom march in the Mideast, Social Security reform, reviews of The Ring Two and The Upside of Anger, a flashback from our archives by WFB on George Kennan, judges, Larry Summers & single-sex ed, an ANWR golden oldie, Geraghty is touring Turkey, David Frum is in Canada, and more....
Posted at 06:57 PM
FLORIDA [K. J. Lopez]
The girl, Jessica Lunsford, being looked for today has been killed. No sunshine in that state.
Posted at 06:47 PM
COMPARING CONGRESS'S SCHIAVO ATTEMPTS TO "MEMBERS OF STALIN'S PULITBURO" [K. J. Lopez]
More from G. Felos, Michael Schiavo's lawyer, from earlier. FYI.
Posted at 06:43 PM
THE IN-BOX [K. J. Lopez]
Some e-mails (to which I am randomly responding):
OK. I've reached total saturation here.[KJL: It was the news of the day. ]
I support the idea behind the "right to die" but only if there is a definitive prior indication that the individual has made that choice should the situation arise (i.e. a witnessed signed statement). I've become more pro-life over the years though not full-on quite yet (I think it should be about as rare as I think the death penalty should be, which is extremely limited). But, on the word of a husband that has already moved on and in light of the other facts in the case? Forget it, this one shouldn't even be close. Whoever pulls those tubes is committing murder. And the husband and courts are accessories.[KJL: I think more people would be there if they knew the facts..]
The Federal Gov't should not be deciding the specific case of Schiavo.[KJL: I refer you to Andy's post of earlier. More than anything else, perhaps, this case points to the courts and the responsibility Congress has in regard to who sits on them. I refer you prior discussions on the conflicts of interest discussions of earlier...]
Whatever happened to the sanctity of marriage your party has championed at the expense of homosexuals wanting to marry? Schiavo's husband is straight, right? They ARE married, right? So... where exactly is your leg to stand on?[KJL: again, I refer you to the facts of this case (see Wesley Smith, Andy McCarthy, Fr. J, etc.....]
Count me as a "Schwarzenegger Republican" who's mostly in favor of abortion rights (though not Roe v. Wade), who's very disturbed by the Schiavo case.Six:
You are right that this is a terrible story, but not for the reasons that you are espousing. It is terrible whenever a tremendously sad situation gets blown into a circus. The circus atmosphere that accompanied the matter in 2003 and over the past two days is sad. What is lost in this whole matter is that there are two sides to Terri's case, with no winners and no losers. (I have no opinion one way or the other on Terri and the feeding tube removal, by the way.)[KJL: "I do not know what process..." Excuse the broken record: The process is the thing to a large extent here....]
So where's the outcry on the Corner urging action on the genocide in Darfur? "Culture of Life," indeed. I guess Darfur just isn't a good occasion for sanctimonious grandstanding. Truly pathetic.[KJL: If we were actually silent on Sudan, I'd feel guilty...]
Posted at 05:46 PM
FEMINISTS FOR LARRY SUMMERS [John Derbyshire]
Can a feminist be realistic about male/female differences? Well, this one can -- in the lefty London newspaper The Guardian, of all places.
Posted at 05:38 PM
DELAY'S LATEST [K. J. Lopez]
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) today condemned the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube and pledged to continue working for a legal or legislative means to save her life.
Posted at 05:31 PM
"EXIT PROTOCOL" [K. J. Lopez]
Mapping out a killing
Posted at 05:16 PM
RE: THE LEFT'S PUNDITS [K. J. Lopez]
I hate this phrase, but the silence of the left-wing feminists is deafening. And if you had any doubts about their complete irrelevance, let this horrible case end those doubts.
Posted at 05:02 PM
YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ [Cliff May]
“Adolf Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, has become a bestseller in Turkey.”
As a Turkophile of long standing, I’m disappointed.
Posted at 04:57 PM
THE LEFT'S PUNDITS [K. J. Lopez]
Geoffrey Feiger--a.k.a. Jack Kevorkian's attorney--is on Crossfire. He says that Michael Schiavo has preeminent rights over his wife. A defenseless woman whose parents and siblings are trying to let her live--and Dr. Death's attorney is invoking property rights.
Posted at 04:54 PM
JUST CURIOUS [John J. Miller]
If somebody put a pistol to Schiavo's head and pulled the trigger--you know, to give the "dying process" a little nudge--would the shooter be guilty of murder under Florida law?
Posted at 04:37 PM
"THEY CANNOT WALK OVER THE DYING BODY OF TERRI SCHIAVO" [K. J. Lopez]
Felos is now telling people to get on their congressmen--that it is "shameful" that Congress has tried to "trample" on their rights. Hitting the Dems hard for voting for the legislation.
Posted at 04:34 PM
FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH RE: CONGRESS [K. J. Lopez]
Hearing: "House leadership says members need to stand by this weekend because they might get called in for votes Monday or Tuesday. Only reasonable deduction is that they think they can work something out, which would probably mean taking the Senate bill or something quite similar."
Posted at 04:23 PM
"HIS WIFE IS IN HER DYING PROCESS" [K. J. Lopez]
Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, just now, in a press conference. For your Brave New World dictionary.
Posted at 04:21 PM
RE: HANNITY [K. J. Lopez]
He has been good--giving voice to the Schindlers like few others, could teach some of his Fox colleagues.
Posted at 04:20 PM
RE: CONGRESS [K. J. Lopez]
Santorum and Sensenbrenner will both be on Sean Hannity's radio program shortly.
Posted at 04:16 PM
THE PRESS ON SCHIAVO [Tim Graham]
Kate would REALLY not like the current Washington Post poll question, which badly explains in its Schiavo question: "Doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her parents and her husband disagree on whether or not she should be kept on life support." But see how Fox asks the question a little differently and gets much different numbers -- and notice how opinion has shifted away from spouses having the most control over the decision.
Posted at 04:00 PM
CONGRESS & SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
I might have bought a little too much in a few particular corners' spins on the happening in Congress on all this re: Sensenbrenner. It might have been unfair. Jack Fowler e-mails me part of an e-mail from a House friend on my Sensenbrenner carping, specifically: ”is b******t from the Senate. The Senate bill -- passed after the House left -- does not require a federal court to hear Schiavo's appeal. The Senate bill explicitly allows a federal court to decide not to hear Schiavo's appeal, and instead to defer to the State court. [Sen. Ron] Wyden says the bill would affect Oregon's assisted suicide law when it wouldn't. … stop schlepping for Wyden/Boxer/etc. and help provide some cajones for the Senate leadership to pass the House bill.”
I don’t think I was schlepping for Wyden and Boxer (!), but I don’t know that it is fair to blame Sensenbrenner either.
Basically, there are cases made by smart people that different individuals are to blame, one or more of the takes could be true. What it comes down to, though, is some kind of fundamental leadership flaw somewhere there. They couldn’t get their act together, together. During the last 24 hours the overwhelming impression I’ve gotten from staffers is chaos. There were some good people doing yeomen’s work at all hours, and some particular members getting out in front, but that they didn’t manage to pass a uniform bill by today points to…a lack of leadership, something they had better get before they face the big court battles to come. I don't even want to think like this, but that needs to be one of many lessons from this terrible story.
Posted at 03:59 PM
I DON'T REALLY FEEL LIKE POSTING ANYMORE TODAY [K. J. Lopez]
but this is laughable--I've only read the first graph so far, but...if the campaign were well-orchestrated, Terri Schiavo's feeding tube would not have been removed.
Posted at 03:35 PM
MSNBC is reporting that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube has been removed.
Posted at 03:24 PM
OH, YEAH, THAT WAS MY FIRST THOUGHT [K. J. Lopez]
From that New Yorker piece on Dems trying to talk tough:
I asked Boxer if events in Lebanon and Egypt had changed her views. “History will judge,” she said, but added that in Lebanon “the streets are flooded with protesters today”—a reference to the Hezbollah-sponsored pro-Syria demonstration—“and you wonder if maybe a little quiet diplomacy there might have produced better results.”
Posted at 03:11 PM
BIDEN [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 03:05 PM
RE: SHOPLIFTING IS FUN [John Derbyshire]
"Mr. Derb---Why use the harsh term 'shoplifter'? Shouldn't we say 'undocumented possessor'? Since most of the main stream media doesn't want to say 'illegal alien' and instead says 'undocumented worker,' I am just waiting for someone to claim, 'Gee officer you're mistaken. This is my DVD player. But I don't have a receipt cause I'm the undocumented possessor.'---Texas Mom"
Posted at 02:56 PM
TODAY AND SCHIAVO [Tim Graham]
On the morning shows today, ABC led with Terri Schiavo, and CBS made it number 3 (after steroids and the David Letterman child-napping threat.) Both gave it serious news time. But NBC did only a couple of quick anchor reads. NBC beat the stuffing out of the steroids issue this morning instead. They also had more time for an interviews promoting the NBC drama "Crossing Jordan" and the Broadway satire "Spamalot" than they did for a woman on the verge of being executed.
Posted at 02:47 PM
RE:FOX IS REPORTING [Kate O'Beirne]
Fair and Balanced, but what about the facts? I caught some of Fox's coverage this morning and Bridget kept saying that Terri Schiavo is on "life support." She is on life support like a toddler being fed in a high chair is on life support.
Posted at 02:38 PM
THIS POOR CHILD [K. J. Lopez]
The Dutch High Court awarded damages on Friday to a severely handicapped 11-year-old girl because medics would not test for a genetic defect before her birth, despite her mother's request.
Posted at 02:32 PM
WHAT TOM DELAY SAID EARLIER [K. J. Lopez]
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) today delivered the following remarks at a press availability on the House of Representatives' efforts to save the life of Terri Schiavo.DeLay and the rest of the House leadership are pointing to Senate (while, mind you, they do their committee-supoena thing), but some of that (most?) is just not wanting to tick off Chairman Sensenbrenner who, as has been mentioned, has assured people behind the scenes he will not have anything to do with the Senate-passed version of the bill.
Posted at 02:23 PM
CNN [K. J. Lopez]
is reporting that Gov't Reform committe lawyers are going to a Florida appeals court to stay the order to remove the tube or get a temporary restraining order.
Posted at 02:17 PM
CONSERVATIVES AND SCHIAVO [Andrew C. McCarthy]
I’m getting a number of emails like this:
I completely agree with the husband of Terri Schiavo...you don't know about persistent vegetative states until your loved one is in that state. My [spouse] developed a persistent vegetative state about 1.5 years ago, and [our family] agreed it was most important to not let [my spouse] linger...it only tortures you the most. Let the woman die!
Posted at 02:00 PM
IF THOSE FEEDING TUBES ARE REMOVED [K. J. Lopez]
A Missionary of Charity (Mother Teresa's order) should be seen trying to deliver water and see if she is refused. Or Jeb Bush--or the whole Congressional leadership, as Peggy suggests.
Posted at 01:55 PM
"IF TERRI SCHIAVO IS KILLED, REPUBLICANS WILL PAY A POLITICAL PRICE. " [K. J. Lopez]
Peggy Noonan has a piece just up on Terri Schiavo, lighting a little fire perhaps, giving some good guys an extra nudge, among other things: Including, note, she has a push for leadership to plow over a stubborn Sensenbrenner (I'm spelling that out here) if they need to to save this woman.
Bill Frist and Tom DeLay and Jim Sensenbrenner and Denny Hastert and all the rest would be better off risking looking ridiculous and flying down to Florida, standing outside Terri Schiavo's room and physically restraining the poor harassed staff who may be told soon to remove her feeding tube, than standing by in Washington, helpless and tied in legislative knots, and doing nothing.
Posted at 01:51 PM
FOX IS REPORTING [K. J. Lopez]
that a Florida judge has reinstated the order to remove the feeding tube from Terri Schiavo. [Evidently they found the presiding judge, the one with the conflict of interest...]
Posted at 01:45 PM
A WORD FOR CNN [K. J. Lopez]
They've had some good coverage of the Schiavo case this morning. They've shown bits of the Schiavo videos, humanizing this supposed vegetable, pretty consistently.
Posted at 01:15 PM
BOXER, WYDEN, AND LEVIN [K. J. Lopez]
Tom DeLay calls them as "profile[s] in cowardice" for refusing to support the House bill, at a press conference right now.
Wyden, of course, is from Oregon. I understand from sources that this language was put in the Senate bill specifically to give Wyden cover to support the bill:
SEC. 7. NO EFFECT ON ASSISTING SUICIDE.The House bill doesn't have that kinda protection for Oregon, so Wyden is adamant in wanting to block it.
Posted at 01:09 PM
TUBES NOT PULLED TODAY [K. J. Lopez]
According to FNC, a judge just ruled that the feeding tubes will not be pulled today (apparently based on some kind of technicality).
Posted at 12:51 PM
TOM DAVIS'S BUSY DAY [K. J. Lopez]
In case you were wondering why his committee wound up issuing the subpoenas, it's because that committee's chairman has the most liberal subpoena power. As one conrgessional staffer said to me this morning, "If we can do it for baseball players, the least we can do is do it for Terri. "
Posted at 12:50 PM
THE MCCARTNEY SISTERS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Writing in the London Times, Gerard Baker has plenty to say, little of it complimentary, about the sudden change of mind by certain US politicians over Gerry Adams. Here’s an extract:
”The McCartney horror is not, as the word now has it on the streets of New York and Boston, some startling revelation of the way these men behave, not some grisly departure from the honourable Irish fight for freedom. It merely confirms what most decent Irish have known about the IRA for years. So let me answer my own questions. The tragedy heaped on the McCartney family and the brave stand of the McCartney sisters have not opened the eyes of Irish-American leaders to the horror of the IRA. They have not even shamed these leaders. They have merely made them start to worry about the political expediency of being seen alongside men whose own standing has suddenly dropped sharply. Where the McCartney sisters display true leadership, in the face of the gravest peril, the Irish American chiefs step heroically into line. So in many ways yesterday’s spectacle of Adams being snubbed at the White House and on parts of Capitol Hill, being sternly lectured to by Ted Kennedy and Representative Peter King (a longstanding apologist for Sinn Fein) and others, is even more nauseating than the one we used to watch at the White House each year. Irish America’s leaders, in other words, are showing exactly the same level of courage as they demonstrated when they looked away for 20 years or more as their supporters dropped $100 bills into the collection buckets so that the IRA could buy the guns and the Semtex that would kill and maim thousands of innocents at a nice safe distance of thousands of miles away.”
Food for thought, I think.
Posted at 12:43 PM
SIGH [K. J. Lopez]
Scanning the inbox this seems clear to me: A lot of folks who consider themselves "pro-life"--get worked up about abortion--want Schiavo protected. Those who are indifferent to or support legal abortion aren't particularly interested in hearing about the case--or assume her husband knows best.
I think the key in this case are these fact questions. This woman has not gotten a fair shake in the judicial process. And medically, she may not have gotten what she could--like the chance at rehab. If more people knew some of these basic facts of unfairness, and could see some of these videos (a point Andy has made), I think this "issue" would transcend labels and things.
Posted at 12:42 PM
RE: SENSENBRENNER [K. J. Lopez]
Worth noting that the Senate bill passed has this:
SEC. 8. NO PRECEDENT FOR FUTURE LEGISLATION.Precedent-setting concerns shouldn't really be a concern, because the bill is so specific.
Posted at 12:31 PM
LIFESAVER FOR NOW? [K. J. Lopez]
The subpoenas the House issued protects Schiavo from harm so long as their is this live subpoena that she appear on the 28th. Congressional sources believe this will keep them from pulling the feeding tubes today.
Posted at 12:29 PM
ON THE FLORIDA COURT SCENE [K. J. Lopez]
There will be a 12:30 hearing.
Posted at 12:24 PM
SCATTERED SHOTS FROM THE KEYBOARD [K. J. Lopez]
I'm feeding you piecemeal here as I chat with folks, take in conference calls and the like (while doing other things, too, unfortunately) on all this fluid and breaking news. Please read it all in that context.
Posted at 12:23 PM
ABOUT THE HOUSE [K. J. Lopez ]
I just got this confirmed: The House DID NOT adjourn for vacation last night. The Senate held the adjournment resolution yesterday.
Posted at 12:19 PM
THE POINT [K. J. Lopez ]
Of that Sensenbrenner information, I think, is a) that there seems to be no good reason for the House not to move on the Martinez bill. B) It is my understanding that the leadership, other than the aforementioned chairman, wants to act—would probably be willing to pass the Martinez version of the bill.
So, the point: If you want to do something, your congressman knowing that you want action could be a useful action. Or so I am told.
Posted at 12:14 PM
SENSENBRENNER [K. J. Lopez]
Is the problem in the House of Representatives right now, according to many, and high-ranking sources. He made it clear to senators yesterday that he would not accept the Martinez private relief bill that passed yesterday. His reasons being that it would break precedent and that it would encourage people to petition Congress more often (like death-row inmates). (My answer? So. Don’t jump at them.) For what it is worth, FYI,
All f these bills went through House Judiciary under Chairman Sensenbrenner and became law. H.R.867 Title: Private Bill; For the relief of Durreshahwar Durreshahwar, Nida Hasan, Asna Hasan, Anum Hasan, and Iqra Hasan. Sponsor: Rep Holt, Rush D. [D-NJ-12] (introduced 2/13/2003) Committees: House Judiciary; Senate Judiciary House Reports: 108-531 Latest Major Action: 10/30/2004 Became Private Law No: 108-4.We've been on Sensenbrenner's side on some other issues, but I don't see the point he's making by refusing this private relief bill that passsed in the Senate which is limited to the Schiavo case.
Posted at 12:10 PM
THE FLORIDA COURTS RIGHT NOW [K. J. Lopez]
Just talked to a lawyer involved in the Schiavo case who is waiting for word from the Middle District of Florida federal court in Florida. Presumably they’ll hear by 1. this emergency petition for an temporary injunction was filed there early this morning.
The basic argument, in my layman’s terms is that the hearings were fundamentally unfair. The assumption in the courts has been that Terri Schiavo wants to die. But how this assumption was reached was fundamentally unfair. The judge acted as judge and guardian for Shiavo. Michael Schiavo’s attorney acted as Michael Schiavo and Terri Schiavo’s representative. These dual roles presented conflicts of interests for both of them—and “taints the fact-finding process.”
This lawyer describes the situation in Florida as just like a death-penalty case—with the warden, so to speak, waiting by the phone for the halt order. And, as Andy McCarthy has argued and then some, argues that “If this person were Scott Peterson, this would have been stayed long ago.”
Anyway, the situation is waiting by the phone on potential federal court stay....
Posted at 11:51 AM
JONAH THE PHOTOGRAPHER [K. J. Lopez]
Some classic photographic from Goldberg:
Posted at 11:26 AM
"HELLHOLE" [K. J. Lopez]
If you or someone you know is outraged by the Senate vote to drill in ANWR, read Jonah. It's an NRODT classic from 2001.
Posted at 11:23 AM
SPECTER WATCH [K. J. Lopez]
Clearly an effective strategy at work, see Byron, here.
Posted at 11:21 AM
DIVERSITY PITCH [John Derbyshire]
I understand a good time was had by all at the lunchtime bash Ed Capano very generously threw for NR staff yesterday. (I was out here in the stix, chained to my word processor.)
In the interests of diversity, I'd like to invite all NR staff to join me on July 12th to celebrate the second color in Ireland's flag. Festivities will be at the nearest Orange pub to NR world headquarters. (Which I think means somewhere in the Ozarks.)
Come and join us to sing all the old favorites -- The Orange and Blue, Protestant Boys, On Boyne's Red Shore, Derry's Walls, and the others you know and love. Don't forget to wear your sash!
Posted at 11:05 AM
"SCHIAVO" ON THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN'S WEBSITE [K. J. Lopez]
Just an update.
Posted at 10:51 AM
GELERNTER ON SCHIAVO, FROM 2003 [CK. J. Lopez]
From the WSJ: "[W]ho dares say you have no right to commune with your gravely ill child? To comfort your child? To pray for your child? Who dares say you have no right to hope that she will recover no matter what the doctors say? Who dares say you have no right to comfort, commune with and pray for her even if you have given up hope? Yes, the woman is mortally ill. Who dares say that her life is therefore worthless, to be cut off at her husband's whim?..."
For years, thoughtful people have argued that "reasons for taking a human life" should not be treated as a growing list. There are valid reasons to do it, and they have been agreed for millennia. If the list has to change, better to shorten than lengthen it.
Posted at 10:49 AM
“AMERICAN AND COALITION FORCES ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF MILITARY OPERATIONS TO DISARM IRAQ…” [K. J. Lopez]
If you want to take a look back to see what NRO was saying as we rolled into Iraq two years ago this weekend, look here.
Posted at 10:42 AM
“SOMEBODY IS BEING CONDEMNED TO DEATH” [CK. J. Lopez]
Bill Frist on Terri Schiavo, from last night around 11:30 on the Senate floor. It's a rough transcript, but wanted to make it available to anyone who wants to read it...
Posted at 10:37 AM
RE: SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
Scroll down too--there were late-night and early morning posts...
Posted at 09:51 AM
HARVARD [Stanley Kurtz]
The Harvard faculty wakes up to the fact that they are destroying their own university. Witness the spectacle of folks at the top of the academic totem pole left speechless by their own mistakes. I hope those faculty members who supported the no confidence motion will do the right thing and resign.
Posted at 09:50 AM
FRIST ON THE LATEST CONGRESSIONAL SCHIAVO ACTION [CK. J. Lopez]
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) today made the following statement:
Posted at 09:47 AM
CLONING [CK. J. Lopez]
The Brownback-Landrieu total cloning ban was reintroduced yesterday in the Senate.
Posted at 09:40 AM
CONSERVATIVES AND TERRI SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
Andy McCarthy responds to the Washington Post's editorial today here.
Posted at 09:40 AM
CATS ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
The e-mail is still pouring (but not purring) in. For example:
Wonderously-reasoned piece. Brilliant insight. What a mind! Ever hear of RATS, you moron?
ME: This sort of thing is taking the lead among emailers. What I like about the macho cat defender position is that there's not a trace of environmentalism -- or desire to address my actual arguments -- anywhere to be found. It's all a Hobbesian argument in favor of killing birds because they're annoying (squirrels too). Why not simply poison the birds then? Why not design pesticides under the assumption that certain crop-eating bugs and birds are pests?
Posted at 09:07 AM
WARNING: THIS POST HAS THE POWER TO RUIN YOUR DAY [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 08:36 AM
GOLDEN DAYS OF DICTATORSHIP [Tim Graham]
From the same liberal media folks who gave you syrupy tales of people wishing for the golden days behind the Iron Curtain, today's front page of the Washington Post touts "nostalgia for [the] Taliban."
Posted at 07:45 AM
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH [K. J. Lopez]
Jim Geraghty said yesterday: "You know what I haven't seen in the Turkish media yet? Griping about Wolfowitz's nomination to head the World Bank."
Posted at 07:34 AM
LOVE, WOLFIE [Tim Graham]
The new left-wing line aimed at stopping the Paul Wolfowitz nomination at the World Bank is...he has a romantic relationship with a World Bank employee?? How lame is that? Isn't this an almost comical grasping at straws by people who loved the "sophistication" of Mitterrand's mistresses and were appalled by the sex-obsessed special prosecutors and House impeachment managers when they objected to the perjuries of the Kiss-It President? Maybe Europe will approve if gets a wife first before he has the girlfriend. (Both are divorced.)
Says the WashPost: "Bank policy allows spouses and partners to work on the staff as long as neither reports directly to the other, so the Wolfowitz-Riza relationship may not run afoul of those rules. But some staffers, speaking anonymously for fear of offending their prospective boss, said sentiment is running high that the ethics requirements should be stricter in cases involving the chief executive." Sentiment, indeed, is running several blocks ahead of reasonableness.
Posted at 07:32 AM
RE: THE HOUSE: "FIGHT IS NOT OVER" [KJL]
(Washington, D.C.) Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA), released the following statement regarding the Committee on Government Reform's inquiry into the long-term care of incapacitated or non-ambulatory adults: "The Committee on Government Reform has initiated an inquiry into the long term care of incapacitated adults, an issue of growing importance to the federal government and federal healthcare policy. The committee's inquiry arises out of the case of Terri Schiavo, who is currently being kept alive in a hospice in Florida. Later this morning, we will issue a subpoena, which will require hospice administrators and attending physicians to preserve nutrition and hydration for Terri Schiavo to allow Congress to fully understand the procedures and practices that are currently keeping her alive. The subpoena will be joined by a Senate investigation as well.
Posted at 06:55 AM
THE MCCARTHY P.R. CENTER [K. J. Lopez]
Will be a guest today on Bill Bennett's nationally syndicated radio show Morning in America at 8:05 Eastern to discuss his piece on Terri Schiavo.
Posted at 06:36 AM
P.S. AMONG SOME GREATS [K. J. Lopez]
[Offline] Guys, the checks are in the mail, right? I'll trust you this time...
Posted at 05:59 AM
AMONG SOME GREATS [K. J. Lopez]
Some folks we have around us here are some of the clearest thinkers alive. I'm thinking Victor Davis Hanson--you'll see in a bit. Andy McCarthy. Ramesh Ponnuru. The list goes on, actually--we've got a treasure-trove stable here, don't we?
Posted at 05:53 AM
THE HOUSE [K. J. Lopez]
has not given up yet on Terri Schiavo.
And Drudge reports: "The Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) has requested Terri Schiavo to testify before his congressional committee, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. In so doing it triggers legal or statutory protections for the witness, among those protections is that nothing can be done to cause harm or death to this individual. "
Posted at 05:23 AM
Thursday, March 17, 2005
THE ASHLEY SMITH STORY [K. J. Lopez]
Peggy Noonan writes on the love story that came out of the Atlanta escape/murders:
Is it a matter of happenstance, is it without meaning, that America was taken by this drama at Eastertide, in the days before Palm Sunday, when a wanted man rode by donkey to an appointment at Golgotha?Read her whole column, especially if you haven't read Ashley Smith's testimony about what happened.... You might have seen it this morning, but I'm glad I didn't get to it until now, considering the day we've seen.
Posted at 11:39 PM
PRESIDENT BARTLET AND TERRI SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
I'll stop now, but I can't help but think dogs are better off in today's political climate than Mrs. Schiavo is.
(I'm not picking on Sheen, actually, who probably would support Schiavo's right to life, if I had to guess, based on his general politics on these things.)
Posted at 11:15 PM
HERE'S A LINK [K. J. Lopez]
to an emergency motion filed with the Supreme Court on Terri Schiavo's behalf.
Posted at 11:15 PM
READ [K. J. Lopez]
Andy's piece again. This is the kind of thing that should never have had to be a matter for Congress, but that Congress can't manage to act on it...
Posted at 11:11 PM
SO PROUD TO BE A REPUBLICAN [Andy McCarthy]
The Republican controlled House passed a bill on Wednesday night that would have saved Terri Schiavo's life. But the Republican controlled Senate wouldn't pass it. The Republican controlled Senate instead passed its own narrower bill at 5:35 pm tonight, but it couldn't become a law because, 75 minutes earlier, the Republican controlled House decided, without waiting for the Senate vote, to adjourn for its vacation for Easter. Easter, of course, is the day we mark because the Savior of the World, without even taking a recess, sacrificed Himself to redeem us. I hope our congress enjoys their recess. Meanwhile, Terri Schiavo's torture begins tomorrow at 1pm.
Posted at 11:09 PM
“TO THEM (THE SYRIANS), WE ARE ALL ANTS” [K. J. Lopez]
the London Times is certain Syria killed Hariri.
Posted at 11:04 PM
TECHNICALLY THOUGH [K. J. Lopez]
the House is NOT in recess, i gather, though some are outta there...the Senate bill could pass by unanimous consent in the House in morning. Though I may be off on the rules here and, more importantly, I think general confusion set in a bit ago. [Looking at the Clerk of the House's website, I'm not holding out hope for action in the morning though. People I talk to don't have high hopes there either. ]
Posted at 10:46 PM
RE: SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
The Washington Post write-up is pretty depressing.
Posted at 10:33 PM
TERRI SCHIAVO IN CONGRESS: THE LAST 24 HOURS [K. J. Lopez]
These are notes from someone watching all the congressional goings on. If you have been trying to keep track, it lays out what’s been going on quickly:
Posted at 10:12 PM
HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE TIM NOAH? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Timothy Noah writes in Slate: "On March 15, I observed that in his new book, Taking Heat: The President, the Press, and My Years in the White House, Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary, scorned reporters for (among other sins) harboring a 'belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation's problems.' As I noted then, it is impossible to conceive of any role for government that doesn't involve solving some problems. A few libertarians wrote in to chide me and to say the only legitimate role for government was to provide a common defense, or to keep citizens from murdering one another, or some other bare-bones function. But what is the need to defend or police a society but a problem, for which government is the best, albeit imperfect, solution? I'll repeat what I wrote two days ago: 'We can argue about the particular problems government should solve, and about how successfully government addresses them at any given time, but not, I think, about whether government should be in the problem-solving business.' If you still can't follow this, see me after class."
I have no particular desire to see Noah after class, but I don't follow this--or rather, I don't think it follows. First, I don't think it's a huge stretch to see an implied "all" in Fleischer's "solve the nation's problems," which eliminates all of Noah's objections. Second, let's say one takes the view that government exists to prevent people from killing one another. I suppose one could try to redescribe this view in terms of problems and solutions: You could say that the government exists "to solve the problem that some people kill other people." But that can't be right. Nobody believes that this is, in fact, a problem that can be "solved." It is a condition that has to be managed. It seems to me to be no offense to logic or language to think about matters this way, and Noah's criticism on this point therefore strikes me as wrong.
Posted at 05:55 PM
SENATE PASSES SCHIAVO BILL [Jim Boulet]
[The private relief bill.] By voice vote. Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) announced he would vote "no."
Posted at 05:39 PM
RE: SHOPLIFTING IS FUN [John Derbyshire]
A scandalized reader writes: "Derb---Pullleeeesee, as the Municipal Prosecutor in an mid sized west Texas town it saddens me to see you display such insensitivity. After all, your recent post regarding 'shoplifting' was disrepectful to those chosing an alternative shopping lifestyle. I deeply respect you and your writing but am truly hurt that you would make such Kleptonormative comments. Saddened but still faithful..."
Posted at 05:26 PM
CONGRATS TO RYAN SAGER... [Rich Lowry ]
...for his eye-opening piece on CFR in today's New York Post. Read the whole thing, but here's the beginning:
CAMPAIGN-FINANCE reform has been an immense scam perpetrated on the American people by a cadre of left-wing foundations and disguised as a "mass movement."
Posted at 05:22 PM
DAVIS'S SNL SKIT [K. J. Lopez]
They're hilarious! Perhaps never before have congressmen so proudly expounded their collective loss of perspective. It would probably be a lot funnier if I weren't still concerned with the integrity of Congress. Anyway, I'm still hoping some of this tough-guy interrogation will lead to a few of these roid-heads flying into a rage, flipping some desks over and a full-on baseball-style brawl breaking out. It'd make for an interesting end of the day, seeing Waxman twisted up like a pretzel and Schilling throwing Davis across the room.
Posted at 05:06 PM
THESE BASEBALL HEARINGS [Rich Lowry ]
If nothing else, they will make for a hell of a Saturday Night Live skit...
Posted at 05:00 PM
MIRANDA HAS HIS SAY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Former Senate staffer Manuel Miranda has written a lengthy law review essay on the Senate Judiciary committee's "memogate" fiasco.
Posted at 04:24 PM
SPLITTING CELLS? [K. J. Lopez ]
Another thing about the Kass non-controversy controversy: The U.N. ban on human cloning (which is simply a statement, but, I think, an oddly strong one coming from a body frequently bereft of any moral conscience, never mind authority--it has the effect--or should: Geez, EVEN THEY see it) reminded us that there is no ban at home, of course. The Washington Post's piece that caused this series of articles on Kass outlined a supposed rift among conservatives on strategy. I actually am not convinced there is an actual strategy at the moment--the Senate's surely not itching to act on a ban, complete (on both research and reproductive cloning) or otherwise. But at least one source close to the strategy sessions (which in reality are a lot less shadowy than they sound--they're the usual D.C. wonky brainstorming from what I gather) tell me that key players--including some of those mentioned in the piece are not in the mood to back down, to give up on "research cloning" and only focus on reproductive cloning. A green light on any cloning would be opening the barn door to it all, eventually, which is something the players involved realize. Anyway, just based on my quick scan of the issue, that Post piece was much ado about nothing in the first place. Although if it nudges the GOP in Congress (any talk of splits, along with the U.N. vote), I won't complain. It sounds like, however, it's just distracting people.
Posted at 04:21 PM
MOVEON AGAINST JUDGES [Jonathan H. Adler]
MoveOn.Org's new television ad attacking the "nuclear option" on judges is just bizarre. It mischaracterizes history -- no judicial nominees to appellate courts have ever been filibustered -- and gives the impression that the White House (or, more specifically, Dick Cheney) is seeking to have the Senate rubber stamp nominations that have already been confirmed by the Senate (like John Roberts). The ad claims Cheney wants to turn the Senate into a rubber stamp, yet every nominee that has been filibustered thus far has had bipartisan support in the Senate.
Posted at 04:14 PM
DOH! [K. J. Lopez]
Ramesh said it better, first, before I hit go!
Posted at 04:05 PM
RE: RE: KASS [K. J. Lopez]
I've not read all the back and forth, that whole thing strikes me as a non-controversy controversy. We know he has policy positions. Heck, the president had some preferred policy positions before Kass was even appointed or the commission was created. I'm a fan of Iain's but I don't see the "breach of trust."
Posted at 04:04 PM
RE: KASS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I like Murray, and I've criticized Kass before, but Murray's objection to Kass is silly. Kass was on record as a critic of anything-goes bioethics long before the commission was put together, and the president knew he had positions on many bioethical issues. That's why the president put him there. If that was okay then, then why is it wrong for Kass to express his views now? If people object to the commission's existence or to Bush's initial selection of Kass to run it, then they should make that case--not pretend that Kass has committed some new offense that makes him unsuitable for the job. This "merits to one side" business seems to me to deserve some scrutiny, too. Would you really be jumping on this bandwagon, Andrew, if you agreed with Kass's agenda? Do you really have strong views on the appropriate advocacy role of commission chairmen?
Posted at 04:03 PM
RE: KASS [Andrew Stuttaford]
To admit a bias, I’m no fan of Leon Kass (to put it mildly), but it is interesting that Murray is and still thinks that Kass should resign as Chairman of the President’s Council on ‘bioethics’.
This is the heart of his argument:
"According to The Washington Post, Dr. Kass has teamed up with Eric Cohen, editor of the excellent journal of science, politics and philosophy The New Atlantis, to devise "a bold and plausible 'offensive' bioethics agenda…[aimed at] tak[ing] advantage of this rare opportunity to enact significant bans on some of the most egregious biotechnological practices." The merits of Dr. Kass's preferred policies are irrelevant here. The problem is that by hitching his star to a particular set of policies he has breached the trust set in him by the President, whose executive order creating the council asked it to "explore specific ethical and policy questions related to these developments; [and] to provide a forum for a national discussion of bioethical issues." At the very least, by sheer virtue of his position, his favored policies are more likely to get a hearing than those of other well-qualified bioethicists who do not have the authority of such an office (a point well made by Roger Pielke Jr of the University of Colorado here). Such a prospect would seriously undermine in the principle of "procedural justice" -- the right of all sides of a political argument to be heard without fear or favor."
Murray is right. Kass should go.
Posted at 03:50 PM
JAMES Q. WILSON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
defends Leon Kass.
Posted at 03:39 PM
TURKEY DID NOT EAT [K. J. Lopez]
Jim Geraghty--he's on the ground.
Posted at 02:57 PM
IT IS POINTED OUT TO ME [K. J. Lopez]
That it was Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) who objected to the unanimous consent requests that the Terri Schiavo bill be brought to the floor.
Posted at 02:55 PM
ED CAPANO [K. J. Lopez]
is a man of his word. 2:20 St. Patrick's Day and NR World Headquarters is a virtual ghost town.
Posted at 02:34 PM
I'M BRIMMING WITH CONFIDENCE NOW [K. J. Lopez]
ANNAN EXPECTS FULL SYRIAN WITHDRAWAL FROM LEBANON BY MID-APRIL TO MID-MAY New York, Mar 17 2005 2:00PM United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he expected the full withdrawal of all Syrian troops from Lebanon, including the intelligence apparatus and military assets, to take place before the Lebanese parliamentary elections scheduled for mid-April to mid-May.
Posted at 02:30 PM
HOUSE MUST STAY PUT [Kate O'Beirne]
Senator Bill Frist is on the floor looking for unanimous consent for Senate to take up House bill on Terri Schiavo it passed last night. Senators object to House bill, it's overly broad among other problems. Senator Frist will then look to get unanimous consent to consider Senator Martinez's bill, which a top Senate source says they are "very close" to getting. But, if it passes it has to go back to House and the House is planning to adjourn for Easter break in about two hours. Stay tuned to C-SPAN.
Posted at 02:16 PM
THIS JUST ISN'T A GIVEN ATTITUDE ANYMORE [K. J. Lopez]
From the White House press gaggle this morning, according to Eric Pfeiffer: “The president believes in a culture of life. On complex issues like this, our society and laws ought to have a presumption of life. Especially those that lie at the mercy of others ought to have special consideration.”
Posted at 01:58 PM
RICK SANTORUM [K. J. Lopez]
on Fox points out that the House goes out of session in two hours [and they are not going to pass the House version, but are working on the Martinez bill]....and what the Senate's doing remains unclear...more on Senate state of play to come...
Posted at 01:56 PM
SCHIAVO IN FLORIDA STATEHOUSE [K. J. Lopez]
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The state House passed a bill Thursday that could keep Terri Schiavo alive, less than 24 hours before the severely brain-damaged woman's feeding tube is scheduled to be removed.
Posted at 01:54 PM
WAS ALCOHOL SERVED? [Kate O'Beirne]
At the Washington Court Hotel yesterday? In the past, Democrats were hurt by appearing to be obstructionists, but they did succeed in keeping some good nominees off the bench. Once the Republicans make a rules change and confirm these stalled nominees by majority vote, the Democrats will stamp their feet and obstruct (some) Senate business. They will again be on the wrong side of public opinion by being obstructionists, but to no end. George Bush will be shaping the bench. Seems they've learned the wrong lessons from the Republican ascendency a decade ago. Friendly advice: when you get together don't tell Robert Byrd where the meeting is taking place.
Posted at 01:46 PM
NEW BOOK ON KURT GOEDEL [John Derbyshire]
I would guess that the only significant 20th-century mathematical talent well known to non-mathematicians, other than John Nash, was Kurt Goedel. Rebecca Goldstein has a new book out about KG. I reviewed it for the NY Sun a few days ago -- it's on their site if you have a subscription, which of course you should have, or here.
Posted at 01:45 PM
THE CONCILIATORY GOV. DANIELS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Robert Novak's column today was extremely irritating. Not because it was wrong or bad--it was a good column. It's just that I was planning on writing on the same basic subject--tax-hiking Republican governors--for NR's next issue, and it complicated my life.
But I think Novak's column did influence the comments Indiana governor Mitch Daniels just made to me over the phone. The governor wants a one-year, one-point increase in the state's top income-tax rate. Novak writes, "Daniels is contemptuous of criticism from Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform and The Wall Street Journal. 'If I told you how little I care,' he told me, 'it would be hard to exaggerate.'"
Without referring explicitly to that comment, Daniels twice struck a very different note with me just now. "I’m not happy that my old friends are disappointed, I’m really not and I understand their point of view, but I’m just trying to solve a problem out here and live up to a duty," he said, referring to the state's constitutional requirement that the budget be balanced. At the end of our interview he said: "I’m no different person than I was before and I’m not comfortable when my friends are out of sorts. Over the course of 4 years, I think they’ll have reason to feel that Indiana has been in the hands that they thought it would be all along.”
Posted at 01:22 PM
TERRI SCHIAVO BLOG [K. J. Lopez]
FYI, Fr. Robert Johansen, who writes about the bad "facts" in her case, blogs here. He's a Catholic priest who has been active in helping her family keep her alive.
Posted at 01:07 PM
I MEANT TO POST THIS AN HOUR AGO [K. J. Lopez]
Myers is out of committee.
Posted at 01:03 PM
THE PORTMAN PICK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The Cato Institute says he is one of the 25 most free-trade-leaning members of the House--although he did vote for a one-year ban on steel imports in 1998.
Posted at 12:56 PM
SPECTER WATCH [K. J. Lopez]
Playing both sides of the aisle has worked wonders for the chairman, clearly. Read (do) Byron's piece today on the weird MoveOn rally yesterday:
Boxer expressed a certain fundamental lack of respect for the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter. Referring to Leahy, who is the ranking Democrat on the committee, Boxer said, "I call him my chairman of the Judiciary Committee, because I don't recognize anyone else" — a remark that seemed to speak volumes about the effectiveness of Specter's efforts to reach out to Democrats.
Posted at 12:50 PM
THWARTED... [Meghan Cox Gurdon]
The only time it's really bothered me that I don't have a senator is today. When you type in your DC zip code to support Terri's law? This is what you get: "The District of Columbia and U.S. Territories and Insular Possessions are not represented in the U.S. Senate."
I'm sure Puerto Ricans are gnashing their teeth today, too.
Posted at 12:41 PM
BYRON AND THE RUSH MAN [K. J. Lopez]
Listen in for Byron York on the Rush Limbaugh radio show--that American institution--in the 1:00 hour today. [Strike that: NOWish.]
Posted at 12:31 PM
NRLC ACTION ALERT [K. J. Lopez]
visit the NRLC website at [here]. Please forward this message to your own lists.
Posted at 12:17 PM
PLUS CA CHANGE [Cliff May]
I have on the wall of my office a cover of Rising Tide magazine from the spring of 2000.
The cover story is entitled: “The GOP’s IPO: How Republican Policies Are Turning the Working Class Into the Investor Class.” The author is Ramesh Ponnuru.
There’s also a cartoon of a big guy wearing a T-shirt and a hard hat, and reading the Wall Street Journal.
(FYI, Rising Tide was the Republican Party magazine – I don’t think it still exists. I was the editor back then. I’m still around).
Posted at 12:14 PM
SHOPLIFTING IS FUN [John Derbyshire]
A peek into the moral universe of the Left.
Posted at 12:08 PM
WHAT’S THE EASTER BUNNY BRINGING? [Jack Fowler]
Why not some beautiful NR kids books?! Our “Bedtime Story” collection of wholesome and enchanting Thornton Burgess stories (ideal for beginning readers in grades 1 -3 and for nighttime reading when the little ones are being tucked in) just seems so very appropriate for this time of year, with Spring about the be sprung and all creatures great and small becoming bright and beautiful. It’s just $29.95, and with it you’ll get two additional free books: The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature (volume two) and Queen Zixi of Ix. Order here. Shipping is free too!
By the way, Bethany Rutledge, Director of Collections & Exhibits for the Thornton W. Burgess Society (visit it when you’re on Cape Cod, or on the web at www.thorntonburgess.org) has this to say about The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories: “I love this edition! It includes the first 10 Bedtime Story-books and is just a beautiful presentation!!!”
Short, sweet, and the absolute (unsolicited!) truth. Get this great book today.
Posted at 12:07 PM
RE: P.S. [K. J. Lopez]
No inside jokes here (ok, only a few): She is.
Posted at 11:56 AM
P.S. RE: THE SISTERHOOD [K. J. Lopez]
Kate, you should write a book on that.
Posted at 11:56 AM
RE: AWOL SISTERS [K. J. Lopez]
Like that Rick Santorum the feminist gals hate so much! Remember that congressional all-male picture NARAL & co. had up the day of the partial-birth-abortion bill signing? These are the types who are fighting for Terri Schiavo--with a few new faces like Mel Martinez.
Posted at 11:53 AM
RE:WHERE'S THE SISTERHOOD? [Kate O'Beirne]
A rhetorical question when it comes to the phonies and frauds who represent modern feminism. At the behest of her husband who has "moved on" with his life, a young woman will be killed. Not allowed to die - but killed just as you or I would be if we were denied food and water. Where's the First Wives' Club? It's the patriarchy that's rallying to save this woman in need.
Posted at 11:51 AM
TAXING COLORADO [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Gov. Bill Owens has reached a deal with Democratic legislators. There are some things to be said in Owens's defense--and I'll have more to say about it in our next issue--but a tax increase is a tax increase.
Posted at 11:40 AM
RE: MONA CHAREN [Ed Capano]
I don’t know what the NY Young Republicans smoke, but do any of them realize that March 17 is St.Patrick’s Day?
Posted at 11:06 AM
RE: KAINE [Tim Graham ]
If you'd like a peek at how the Washington Post tried (and failed) to elect Democrat Lieutenant Governor (and Volvo dealer) Don Beyer eight years ago instead of Republican Jim Gilmore, see here.
Posted at 10:54 AM
SEE MONA CHAREN [K. J. Lopez]
tonight, in NYC.
Posted at 10:44 AM
"THE NEW INVESTOR CLASS AND ITS CRITICS" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
is the title of an article of mine at TechCentralStation today.
Posted at 10:27 AM
REP. ROB PORTMAN [K. J. Lopez]
gets nominated by W for U.S. Trade rep.
Posted at 10:26 AM
SCHILLING, CANSECO, MCGWIRE, SOSA... [K. J. Lopez]
Did someone say "grandstanding"? Tom Davis is doing that just now and of course Fox is carrying it live. Read our steroid editorial if you haven't.
Posted at 10:07 AM
TODAY'S HERO -- DIANNE FEINSTEIN! [John Derbyshire]
Incredible but true. Parapundit has the goods.
Posted at 10:05 AM
YOU MEAN SHE HASN'T ASKED FOR A RAISE YET? [K. J. Lopez]
I nominated Claudia for a Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year.
Posted at 10:00 AM
HEWITT NOMINATES ROSETT FOR PULITZER [Cliff May]
Hugh Hewitt writes that Claudia Rosett deserves for the Pulitzer Prize. He says: “She ought to be honored in multiple categories, in fact, for rarely has a single journalist had the run of productivity that Rosett assembled in 2004, and which continues today.”
Claudia is the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ journalist-in-residence. And, Hugh, if you keep this up she’s going to want a raise!
Posted at 09:57 AM
SANTORUM ON SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, supports saving the life of Terri Schiavo.
Posted at 09:51 AM
IRAQ--LESSONS LEARNED [Rich Lowry ]
Here is a fascinating e-mail that is going the rounds in military circles. It is an account of a presentation given by one of the leaders of 1st Cav Div, just back from Iraq. I try to follow Iraq stuff pretty closely, but most of this I had never heard:
1. While units of the Cav served all over Iraq, he spoke mostly of Baghdad and more specifically Sadr City, the big slum on the eastern side of the Tigris River. He pointed out that Baghdad is, in geography, is about the size of Austin. Aus tin has 600,000 to 700,000 people. Baghdad has 6 to7 million people.
Posted at 09:29 AM
POWER TO THE PEOPLE? [Roger Clegg]
One of the leaders in the efforts to stop the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative—the Ward Connerly-led drive to ban racial preferences in Michigan—has admitted that the initiative “will probably pass if it reaches the 2006 state ballot and most likely can only be defeated by efforts to have it disqualified before the election,” according to The Michigan Daily. That is no doubt an accurate assessment, but it’s remarkable that the Left would so candidly admit that it wants to stop the people from having their say. Oh, and as for the claim in the story that the great unwashed in Michigan are going to be misled by the initiative’s “confusing” language, what it says is that the state “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin ….” What’s so confusing about that?
Posted at 08:53 AM
TORTURE [K. J. Lopez]
Andy puts some perspective on the Schiavo case here.
Posted at 08:33 AM
DISAPPOINTING [K. J. Lopez]
I thought Jack was going to work the Lieberman post into a pitch for the NR kids' books.
Posted at 08:24 AM
LIEBERMAN CHALLENGE [Jack Fowler]
Fairfield University poli-sci Prof. John Orman has announced he will challenge Joe Lieberman in 2006 Dem primary, claiming “Our party's Senator is no longer a Democrat. He has joined the Republicrat Party." Here’s the AP story. The Connecticut Post reports today (unlinkable) that it was the State of the Union kiss between Lieberman and President Bush that set off Orman, a well-known lefty in these parts.
Posted at 08:22 AM
WOLFOWITZ [K. J. Lopez]
McCarthy--you're part of the conspiracy aren't you? An e-mail:
Posted at 08:22 AM
IN THE AREA [Stanley Kurtz]
Area studies professors at the University of Michigan have been misrepresenting their willingness to cooperate with the government. Oh well, at least we’ve got them pretending to care about the war on terror. Believe it or not, that’s progress. Martin Kramer has the details.
Posted at 08:17 AM
DIVERSITY IN THE BLOGOSPHERE [Stanley Kurtz]
Kudo’s to Newsweek’s Steven Levy for coming up with a great idea: affirmative action for blog links. Coming out of a Harvard conference, we know this idea has got to be good. Levy wisely allows himself to be guided by the well reasoned views of Susan Estrich. When it comes to promoting “diversity” in the blogosphere, Levy seems to agree that only one approach is unacceptable: inaction. Some might argue that a mainstream media report ruling out opposition to affirmative action is itself unacceptable. But I’d like to do Levy’s bidding. Levy wants all of us white, male, English-speaking bloggers to find 10 bloggers who are not white, male, or English- speaking and link to them. Some might call that a quota. I prefer to call it a “goal.” But how do I meet Levy’s goal? Not all bloggers post pictures, and race or native language can sometimes be difficult to divine from a picture. So I suggest that all bloggers begin to post their pictures and clearly list their race, sex, and native language(s) beneath. Eventually, I hope a government agency can be established to mandate and manage diversity blog-linking “goals.” Until then, Harvard professors could be asked to pass resolutions condemning white male bloggers who refuse to link to at least 10 minority bloggers per month. At that point, the only noble option would be to give up blogging.
Posted at 08:16 AM
NEVERMIND THE TIMEWASTER [Katie Scarlett McLopez]
Where's my Irish coffee?
Posted at 08:15 AM
I'M REALLY SORRY [Jonah Goldberg]
A devilish timewaster.
Posted at 08:11 AM
HOOKED ON A FREAKY FEELING [K. J. Lopez]
Sounds and images from that David Hasselhoff video from the other day keep coming back to me at the oddest, most inappropriate moments. I'm still the Hasselhoff defender, but, man, if you were European, you'd wonder about us too...
Posted at 08:11 AM
KERRY’S WOLFOWITZ DIATRIBE [Andy McCarthy]
I do not pretend to be unbiased here: Paul Wolfowitz is not just a courageous visionary, he happens to be one of the best men it has ever been my honor to know.
That said, Senator Kerry’s diatribe boggles the mind. The nonsense about “Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz's repeated and serious miscalculations about the costs and risks America would face in Iraq[,]” is ironic, to say the least, on two obvious levels.
First, Senator Kerry himself has made “repeated and serious miscalculations about” every important strategic issue in the last 30 years – wrong about the Vietcong, wrong about Latin America, wrong about the Soviet Union, wrong about defense spending, wrong about terrorism, etc. If he is bent on attacking someone, I’m not sure track record is the way for him in particular to go.
Second, one thing I left off the above list is Iraq – Sen. Kerry was spectacularly wrong about that, too. And Paul Wolfowitz was right.
The historians will have plenty of time someday to sort out the difficulties attendant to the occupation. They were certainly difficult enough for Sen. Kerry, who famously managed to miscalculate them in the same breath: having “voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” But while Sen. Kerry spent months arguing with himself about Saddam Hussein, Dep. Sec’y Wolfowitz was busy winning the war and holding fast in the belief that Muslims living under tyrannical terrorist regimes yearned for freedom just like everyone else, and that helping them achieve it was the best guarantor of American national security. We are now watching that vision transform the Middle East.
Pace Sen. Kerry, I can’t think of anyone better to lead the World Bank.
Posted at 08:04 AM
THE MORNING CONSENSUS [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail: "Kindly ask Mr. Goldberg to P L E A S E publish more cat e-mails. Very entertaining."
Posted at 08:00 AM
WHERE'S THE SISTERHOOD? [K. J. Lopez]
A man--and his male lawyer and doctor--backed up by a male judge, is cutting off his wife's food tomorrow. Why is NOW not on the scene? The National Organization of Women. I went to the Feminist Majority's website. Nothing. On International Women's Day, Kim Gandy was spotted on CBS ranting about Kristie Alley's Fat Actress being bad for women (I kid you not), but she and her gals have nada to say about Terri Schiavo?
Posted at 07:56 AM
RAISING KAINE [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post greets Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine's announcement of a gubernatorial bid with the headline "Kaine Launches Va. Campaign on a Centrist Path." But in their dictionary, "centrist" and "tax hiker" go hand in hand. Kaine "allied himself with Warner's successful effort in last year's legislative session to win tax increases for state services and make other changes to the tax system."
They also noted late in the story that Kaine "is personally opposed to the death penalty and to abortion, including what opponents call "partial birth" procedures, but he supports a woman's right to choose. He did not mention either of those issues Wednesday." Something tells me the Post won't be touting Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore's bid for governor in the same helpful way.
Posted at 07:14 AM
THE GREEN SAINTS [K. J. Lopez]
I'll drink to them both.
Posted at 07:13 AM
ACLU-APPROVED GREETING [John Derbyshire]
Happy Green Day, everyone!
Posted at 07:13 AM
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY [John J. Miller]
Last week, in the Wall Street Journal, I argued that St. Brendan is a better patron saint for Irish Americans than St. Patrick.
Posted at 05:36 AM
I WAS IGNORING THE WOLFOWITZ REAX YESTERDAY [K. J. Lopez]
But John Kerry's opposing him for World Bank president.
Posted at 05:33 AM
SCHIAVO UPDATE [K. J. Lopez]
Around 10:30 last night the House passed HR 1332, the Protection of Incapacitated Persons Act of 2005. Even though Reps. Nadler, Nancy Johnson, Wasserman-Schultz, McDermott, and Blumenauer opposed the bill and spoke against it, the bill passed by a voice vote.
On the Senate side, things are still fluid...
Posted at 05:32 AM
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
FIFTEEN FELINE EMAILS [Jonah Goldberg]
As you might have guessed, I've gotten lots of email on my cat column. Here's a fairly representative sample. Obviously, you're under no obligation to read -- or care -- but I figured it's late night and no one else is in here.
I cannot believe I am arguing with you about this.
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Why don't you drink a DDT cocktail and see if it really causes cancer.
You must love getting hate mail ....
Your op-ed piece of killing cats is sickening. They are feral and often diseased because humans are heartless enough to abandon them or not bother to spay them.
re column: kill the cats..
My god you're an idiot!
Posted at 10:39 PM
THE FRIENDS OF DEMOCRACY BLOG [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 10:25 PM
HEY FOLKS [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry for the radio silence. I won't be around much tomorrow either. But I'll try to check in. Thanks.
Posted at 08:17 PM
NATURE, NURTURE, AND PIETY [John Derbyshire ]
Why are some people more religious than others? It's those darn genes.
I don't find this the least bit surprising. My own religious impulses, such as they are, have been with me for as long as I can remember -- and I grew up in an irreligious household.
Posted at 06:12 PM
RE: WWJS [K. J. Lopez]
It's basically a given that "the Judge" is probably wrong, right? 9 out of 10 or something? Andy, you keep score?
Posted at 06:07 PM
WWJS [Kate O'Beirne]
What would Jonah say? That Judge Napolitano is wrong. Robert Blake didn't "spend a year in jail for a crime he didn't commit." He sat behind bars for a crime he wasn't convicted of.
Posted at 06:05 PM
MORE ITALIAN "RESOLVE"? [Rich Lowry ]
From the New York Times:
Iraqi investigators who are trying to find the kidnappers of the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena say their work has been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the Italian intelligence services that won her release exactly a month after she was abducted on Feb. 4.
Posted at 04:09 PM
RE: REID PHOTO-OP [Shannen Coffin]
Kate, It wasn't entirely a united front behind Reid yesterday, as Washington Times' Charles Hurt explains.
Absent from Mr. Reid's side yesterday were nine Democrats, several of whom have expressed reservations about Democratic strategies on judicial nominees. One missing Democrat was Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who has never supported a filibuster and faces re-election next year in a very conservative state.
"Senator Nelson does not support the use of filibusters to block judicial nominees, but he also doesn't support the use of the nuclear option as a solution," said Nelson spokesman David DiMartino. "He'd prefer some compromise."
Also missing from yesterday's press conference was Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat. Her office said she opposes the nuclear option, but also wasn't eager to endorse Mr. Reid's proposal.
You may recall that I've had a bit of a shouting match with Mary Landrieu on this very issue in Louisiana newspapers. She claims to be deciding things on a candidate by candidate basis. But when push comes to shove, I have little doubt that she'll quietly fall in line with the Democratic leadership, sparing the photo ops, of course, since they wouldn't go down too well back home.
Posted at 03:54 PM
RESOLVE? [Rich Lowry ]
Isn't this a little Orwellian? In response to news that Italy is going to begin pulling its troops from Iraq this year, a spokesman for the Liberal Democratic Party in Britain said: "It is time that the UK showed a similar resolve."
Resolve? Is that what it is when you bug out in reaction to an accidental shooting?
Posted at 03:48 PM
BUDGET LINKS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Brian Riedl on how to balance the budget while still keeping tax cuts. . . and on "reforms" that will make things worse.
Posted at 03:06 PM
LONELY LEFT [Kate O'Beirne]
I thought one of the most interesting (and unsurprising) findings of the Whit Ayres poll about public atittudes on judges and the Senate fights their nominations prompt is the large majorities who don't think that being pro-life is disqualifying. 79 percent of all voters disagree that being pro-life on abortion should disqualify an otherwise qualified candidate, including 79 percent of Independents and 77 percent of Democrats. Given that this argument is a central line of attack by Senate Democrats, it appears they are representing the isolated, extreme views of only angry, demanding feminists. Bring on Bill Pryor.
P.S. Sixty-one percent of Democrats agree that Senators who are opposing nominees are "just playing partisan politics." Can't imagine that the photo-op stunt helped change their minds.
Posted at 03:04 PM
ALSO IN THE SENATE [K. J. Lopez]
An up vote for ANWR drilling
Posted at 03:03 PM
SENATOR MEL MARTINEZ [K. J. Lopez]
asks you to act now for Terri Schiavo: see here.
Posted at 03:01 PM
THE CAPITOL STEPS [Kate O'Beirne]
A Senate Republican leadership source explains that his GOP colleagues are unmoved by yesterday's photo-op designed to display Democrats' intent to go nuclear themselves by blocking Senate business should Republicans deploy their nuclear option to prohibit filibusters on judges. He explained that there isn't much to block given the things Democrats want for themselves. He predicted that appropriations bills would be acted on - "Never stand between a Senator and his asphalt." The GOP leadership also appears very confident that they have the votes for the filibuster rules change.
Posted at 02:52 PM
SENATE REPUBLICANS FALL INTO A TRAP [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Yesterday the Senate voted on a series of resolutions concerning Social Security. I guess they're warming up to the idea of actually legislating on the subject. The headline news was the 50-50 split on Florida Democrat Bill Nelson's resolution declaring that it was the sense of the Senate that no Social Security plan should involve "deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt." Five Republicans voted for the resolution. It seems to me that they all should have done so. Senate Republican sources told me they objected to the way the language seemed to push in the direction of tax increases as the only solution for Social Security. But wouldn't it have been better to vote for the resolution and explain that none of the conservative plans, properly viewed, involve deep benefit cuts or massive debt increases? Going on record for massive debt and deep benefit cuts strikes me as a political mistake.
The split also obscured the fate of some other resolutions. Republican Lindsey Graham got all 100 senators to agree to work together to ensure the program's permanent solvency and to reduce its cost. Jim DeMint, the other Republican from South Carolina, got 56 senators--all the Republicans but Snowe and Voinovich, plus Democrats Bill Nelson, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Robert Byrd of West Virginia--to agree that not doing anything would generate major tax hikes, debt increases, or spending cuts.
Posted at 02:37 PM
COOL VIDEO [John J. Miller]
...of a robot bug thing here. We're one step closer to personal AT-ATs here on earth.
Posted at 02:30 PM
RE: RE: JUDGES [Andy McCarthy]
I welcome this polling, reported by Shannen, as a consciousness raising device. It suggests, as Ramesh has maintained, that there may be a real (and perhaps even quantifiable) correlation between Democratic losses and filibusters. I don't think it demonstrates that the filibusters have not been a big net gain for Democrats, as I believe they have been, after these losses are offset by what Democrats have achieved by the filibusters thus far, and what they stand to achieve if they hold firm.
I remain skeptical about this kind of polling data. It is patently of the leading question variety and is not necessarily indicative of what actually galvanizes voters, as would be questions that did not supply (and, in fact, suggest) particular answers. I would be impressed, for example, about what 78 percent of voters thought the Constitution required if I really believed 78 percent of voters had either followed the judicial confirmation issue or had any idea of why it implicated the Constitution in some way.
But I sincerely do not mean to be dismissive. Undeniably, this kind of data indicates that there is a ready and perhaps excitable constituency out there if the case is aggressively taken to them, which the President is certainly capable of doing if he makes the judges a priority on the scale of, say, counterterrorism or social security reform.
Maybe this means Ramesh is right that the political conditions exist (or at least that the ground is fertile for bringing those conditions into being) to defeat the filibusters without having to change the senate rules -- i.e., to convince Democrats to abandon them as a political liability in the ordinary course. For the reasons I've argued, I am deeply doubtful about that. But as I've said, I'd rather Ramesh turned out to be right, and I wrong, since (a) such a scenario would obviously be preferable to the fall-out from the rules change I believe will be necessary if we are to get the President's nominees appointed, and (b) I have my doubts that, when it gets down to brass tacks, the 51 votes will be there for the rules change.
Posted at 02:07 PM
RED AND BLUE [K. J. Lopez]
Speaking of Rob Long: Guess who just got a pilot accepted with ABC? Yup. From FutonCritic:
RED AND BLUE (ABC, New!) - Dan Staley and Rob Long ("Cheers") have scored a last-minute pilot order for a new comedy about a liberal dad and a conservative grandfather who are both looking to lend their political influence to the next generation. The project is set up at Touchstone Television and Tom Shadyac's Shady Acres banner with Staley, Long, Shadyac and Michael Bostick executive producing. The pilot itself is scheduled to tape on Thursday, April 28 at Walt Disney Studios.Congrats, Rob, dude.
Posted at 02:02 PM
HOLLYWOOD WRITERS HAVE OPINIONS, TOO (AND, YES, SOME OF THEM ARE RIGHT, BY THE WAY) [K. J. Lopez]
Cathy Seipp is moderating a panel with Rob Long in L.A. on Saturday. Is there anything else you need to know to be there, really (assuming you're not, say, all the way across country like me...)?
A panel discussion, moderated by L.A. journalist and media critic Cathy Seipp, about how some successful writers manage to keep their distinct viewpoints even while writing for the mass market medium of TV. There will be a Q&A with the audience, followed by a reception with cocktails and canapes.More info here.
Posted at 01:59 PM
KRAMER VS. DEMOCRACY [K. J. Lopez]
Don't let the California marriage ruling of earlier this week pass by without you knowing what it's about--it goes beyond Massachusetts. Read our editorial today on the topic here.
Posted at 01:03 PM
W NOMINATES WOLFOWITZ [KJL]
to head World Bank.
(Oh the fits that are coming from the Left!)
Posted at 12:42 PM
CHINA HAS TOO MANY BOYS [John Derbyshire]
Several readers have noted that my comment in today's column about neither the USA nor China having enough of a young-guy surplus to get into serious war-fighting excludes the fact that China has a male surplus, owing to widespread female infanticide. On which I note the following:
---Chinese men have always been short of mates. In the past, in fact, it was worse: not only was female infanticide always common, but prior to 1950, so was polygamy. (Which, of course, reduces marriage opportunities for low-status males.) This is why "bride price" is such an established custom in backward parts of China, still today. If a man wants a wife, he has to PAY -- often very large amounts of money. There was an unhappy little echo of this in the "old bachelor" culture of American Chinatowns, of which much still remained when I first visited New York's Chinatown in 1973.
None of this led to testosterone-charged Chinese males marching abroad bent on conquest. I don't expect it to in future.
---The demographic math of societies with shortages of females like this is interesting. The results are never as dire as you would think. The shortages vary by age cohort, for example; so if there aren't enough women in your own age cohort, you explore others. (In pre-industrial societies this drove down the age at which women were acceptable as brides -- often down below the teens. I don't have any data on whether this applies to modern societes, though.)
---China may indeed have a surplus of young males, but because of the one-child policy (which is anyway driving the process), EVERY ONE OF THEM IS SOME FAMILY'S "LITTLE EMPEROR." Mom and Dad are not going to be happy seeing their only son -- and, in a non-welfare state, their main hope for old-age support -- go off to get killed fighting the Yanks.
---Presumably there is a hysteresis curve here somewhere -- I mean, there will be a "market correction" if women become scarce enough. We then proceed to my second point above...
Posted at 12:33 PM
RE: JUDGES [K. J. Lopez]
Harry Reid--who yesterday had a Capitol steps photo-op promising to shut down the Senate (who can be against the rules change now? sorry...)--has got to hate the timing of that poll.
Posted at 11:55 AM
JUDGES [Shannen Coffin]
This should add some fuel to the fire of the Ramesh-Andy debate over whether the public really cares about judicial confirmation battles or not. "A national, scientific survey of 800 registered voters reveals that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that qualified candidates for our nation’s highest courts deserve and up or down vote in the in the US Senate. The survey further revealed that Americans want partisan politics removed from the judicial confirmation process and that our Judges should focus on applying existing laws and not attempt to make new law in the courtroom." See the Judicial Nomination Network's website, here.
Among the findings of the poll, conducted by Ayres-McHenry and Associates:
**Eighty-two percent of voters agree that "if a nominee for any federal judgeship is well-qualified, he or she deserves an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate.
**By 78 to 12 percent, voters agree that Senators have a constitutional duty to vote on judicial nominations.
**Seventy-five percent of voters agree that "President Bush should keep his promise made during the campaign to nominate a U.S. Supreme Court justice who will apply existing law, not make new law.
**Overall, 67 percent of voters agree we should take politics out of the courts and out of the confirmation process.
For those who follow this sort of thing, demographics of the sample: By gender, 48 percent of the respondents are male and 52 percent are female. By political party, 35 percent are Republican and 33 percent Democrat, with the remainder Independent or other. By race, the sample is 80 percent white, 10 percent African-American, 8 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Asian.
Posted at 11:51 AM
THE MAIN DEFECT OF PETER KING [John Derbyshire]
Here is Rep. King writing about Northern ireland in today's New York Post: "And while there were murders, atrocities and human-rights violations on all sides, the security forces and the loyalist paramilitaries caused more civilian casualties than did the IRA."
There are a couple of things to be said about this. The first is that it is probably not true. The best reference here is LOST LIVES, a careful tally of all the dead in the Northern Irish "Troubles" of 1966-99. The book has a long statistical appendix, breaking down the numbers of the dead in various ways. It does not address Rep. King's point directly, mainly because of the difficulty of defining "civilian," and of ambiguities in which "side" to award a killing to. (E.g. if a British soldier kills a loyalist terrorist -- 10 UDA/UFF/UVF terrorists are listed as having been killed by the army.) Is a retired cop a "civilian"? The IRA did not think so, and targeted many. Is a prison officer a "civilian"? How about a clerical worker at a prison? Etc. etc.
The IRA's definition of a "legitimate target" included people like census takers and building contractors doing UK govt work. In fact, as Sean O'Callaghan has testified, for a lot of IRA operatives, "legitimate target" simply meant "Protestant."
LOST LIVES lists 3,636 dead in the Troubles 1966-99, of which Table 2 -- "Responsibility for deaths" awards 2,139 to republican terrorists, 1,050 to loyalist terrorists, 361 to the army and police, 86 to "other." That doesn't answer the question, since we don't have a breakdown of civilian vs. non-civilian in those numbers. If, for example, all 2,139 of the deaths attributable to republican terrorists were British soldiers, Rep. King might be telling the truth. Plainly this isn't so, but to what degree is not clear from the stats presented.
Table 20 -- "Deaths for which the IRA were responsible" shows 456 in the UK military (and one in the Republic of Ireland military), not counting the Ulster Defence Regiment and RIR (182 -- part-time soldiers, many farmers in border areas who fell to the IRA's "ethnic cleansing" program in these areas -- those are real nice farms out there...)
If you rank the categories in this table, for deaths for which the IRA was responsible you get: Civilians (636), UK military (456), police (NI, British, and 6 Irish Gardai -- 284), UDR/RIR (182), republican terrorists (i.e. their own "comrades"! -- 161), loyalist terrorists (28), prison service (23).
The second thing to be said is the nature of the IRA terror, its deliberate and savage frightfulness, by comparison with the amateurish butcherings of occasional lone loyalist psychopaths and operational blunders by the British Army and NI police. The Enniskillen massacre was a characteristic IRA operation, to which no military, police, or loyalist-terrorist actions even come close. It was almost certainly planned and carried out with Gerry Adams's approval. Why does Rep. King admire this man?
Posted at 11:43 AM
SAVE THE CARS!! (A STRETCH, BUT ALSO A CONTRIBUTION TO THE CONTINUING HASELHOFF-INSPIRED THREAD) [K. J. Lopez]
One morning early this month, when it was too chilly for her flirty purple skirt and pink top, former "Baywatch" actress Alexandra Paul wrapped her bare legs in a fleece blanket and settled down for a long sidewalk vigil in Burbank, Calif.
Posted at 11:41 AM
CONSCIENCE & CONTRACEPTION [K. J. Lopez]
Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Catholic archdiocese of Denver writes in the Denver Post today about a bill in that state involving religious hospitals and contraception:
At a minimum, Catholic hospitals - which provide their services based on moral and religious convictions about the dignity of the human person - should not be obligated to perform or refer for procedures which violate Catholic teaching. This doesn't involve "preaching" to anybody. It involves fidelity to principle and conscience - the same principles and conscience that animate Catholic service to the poor.Archbishop Chaput is a Fulton Sheen of our day inasmuch is he is publicly teaching Catholic positions in a practical way (practical issues being political in many cases, at least the ones I tend to note in The Corner) It's an important role to have the right guy (re: shepherd, if you're so inclined) in.
Posted at 11:25 AM
NEVER AGAIN? [Cliff May]
Seventeen years ago today, Saddam Hussein used weapons of mass destruction to slaughter more than 5,000 Kurdish men, women and children.
Will the MSM remember this sad anniversary? Will they remind “the International Community” about happened at Halabja?
There’s more here.
Posted at 11:12 AM
THE CYNICISM AND STUPIDITY OF TONY BLAIR'S IRISH POLICY [John Derbyshire]
My native-born American friends cannot understand my (let me put it as nicely as possible) lack of enthusiasm for Tony Blair. Well, here is today's Daily Telegraph on Blair's policy towards Northern Ireland, saying the same things I have been saying on NRO and elsewhere these past several years.
"How, then, did Sinn Fein win so many votes in 2003 -- including those, we are told, of at least some members of the McCartney family? And how did it come to win them at the expense of the SDLP, whose peaceful pursuit of a nationalist Ireland is much more in tune with most voters' wishes than the bloodthirsty methods of the IRA?
"The answer to those questions is given by Seamus Mallon, the former deputy leader of the SDLP, in his interview on page six today. Put brutally, Sinn Fein owes the strength of its power base to the immoral stupidity of the policies pursued by Tony Blair's Government. Mr Blair 'wiped out' the middle ground in Northern Irish politics, says Mr Mallon, by constantly doing secret deals with Sinn Fein behind the SDLP's back. When the SDLP asked for concessions from the Government, Mr Blair paid no attention. When Sinn Fein asked - and backed up its demands with the threat of a renewal of the IRA's bombing campaign - the Prime Minister was only too willing to oblige. No wonder nationalist voters came to believe that the best way to get what they wanted was to give more power to the gunmen, and to desert the moderates whom Mr Blair ignored.
"When he signed the Belfast Agreement, Mr Blair spoke of feeling the 'hand of history' on his shoulder. We must wait and see how history will judge a British Prime Minister who, unlike the brave McCartney family, has yielded at every turn to the IRA."
Posted at 11:08 AM
TED KENNEDY AND FRANK LAUTENBURG ARE SHOCKED, SHOCKED ... [Andy McCarthy]
.. that the Bush administration issues press releases that the media then use to publish news reports without attribution to the government. So says the Associated press. How do we know the senators are upset? Why, they put it in a letter that their offices obviously made public as, well, a press release.
The news here is that the Associated Press reported this story as a story. A big part of the federal government's budget goes to informing the public about what the government is doing. Naturally, a lot of this is spun in a way that makes incumbent officials look good, but most of it is entirely legit. Especially when a news story about some government action first breaks, the government is certain to be the repository of most of the basic facts. The public has a keen interest in how its tax dollars are being spent, and the government has an interest as well as a responsibility to make sure that accurate information about action taken in the public's behalf is disclosed when the time is ripe for disclosure. Further, some government missions -- such as law enforcement or national security -- have a deterrent component. The public is not safe unless the government makes clear that certain types of bad behavior will result in aggressive counter-action.
The Clinton administration was masterful at getting into the public domain information about the initiatives it was up to. In the years I worked in the Clinton Justice Department, I have trouble remembering a single big case that did not generate a press release -- and usually more than one. In fact, to feed the media beast, prosecutors were expected to have a press release ready just about the minute a jury returned a guilty verdict, even though most good trial lawyers think it tempts the fates in a most presumptuous way to write about victory before it has been achieved. And it was a rarity that the grateful reporters would ever cite to the Justice Department's press release, even upon cribbing from it liberally. It was no different in the Reagan or Bush 41 years. This is what government does, and what government should do.
The current "story" appears to be that what the government now puts out includes video -- rather than just the old written information. So what? This is just catching up with the times -- the reality that most people get their news from television. It doesn't convert government agency press offices into a propaganda ministries -- a la, say, George Creel's Committee on Public Information in the Democratic administration of Woodrow Wilson.
Posted at 10:41 AM
JONAH [K. J. Lopez]
will be out of pocket for a bit, there's an illness in the family. I'd leave his in-box from being bombarded if you can--I'll convey your good wishes.
Posted at 09:46 AM
JACK'S POETRY [K. J. Lopez]
If you only saw my in-box...
Posted at 09:34 AM
NARAL HAIKU CONTEST [Jack Fowler]
Wanted to share these before I submitted them. Do you think I have a chance of winning?
Doctor: “Lay down. Spread
Legs.” Wields curette. Kills son.
“Have a nice day. Next!”
I don’t care if it’s
A life. I’m “terminating” –
Spring break’s in two weeks!
Please someone destroy
The sonogram machines! They’re
Revealing the truth!
Posted at 09:34 AM
MARCH 17 IS... GREEN DAY [John Derbyshire]
A few months ago I posted an e-mail from a correspondent in Yonkers, NY, whose daughter's elementary school was marking Chinese-American History Month with a huge display flattering the Chinese Communist Party.
This same correspondent now tells me an even more harrowing tale.
"Mr Derbyshire---My daughter brought home an announcement today that the school will be celebrating a special event on Thursday, March 17: Green Day.
"It's the first week of Lent for us Orthodox Christians, but I sincerely hope some crazy Irishman 'gets his Irish up' about St Patrick being slighted like this."
It makes sense, I guess. The notion of "sainthood" is not only un-Constitutionally religious, but shamefully elitist. I mean, the whole point of saints is that they are much better than the rest of us.
So it looks as though the Yonkers school district is bent on doing to saints what St. Patrick did to the snakes of Ireland....
Posted at 09:33 AM
RE: THANK YOU FOR SMOKING [K. J. Lopez]
More things I didn't know about the upcoming movie, from a January article in Roll Call:
Filming begins today in Los Angeles for “Thank You for Smoking,” the screen adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s hilarious and quintessentially Washington novel.
Posted at 09:22 AM
IT'S TOUGH TO BE [K. J. Lopez]
Irish this week.
Posted at 09:14 AM
VERSE AND WORSE [John Derbyshire]
Verse always begets verse -- especially, for some unfathomable reason, math verse.
Here is reader Ned May, who plainly has a mad yen for poetry.
"A young man conducted flirtations
Whilst reciting Laplace transformations.
The girls took delight
And engaged him all night
In partially ordered relations."
Posted at 09:13 AM
"BOZELL JOKERS" VS. "NEUTRAL" KEITH [Tim Graham]
Left-wing conspiracy theorist/MSNBC host Keith Olbermann caused a stir around the office yesterday by telling the Hartford Courant that his conservative critics are a persecution squad: "There is a whole army of bloggers, radio hosts and TV people who have decided that any deviation from their political view is to be persecuted -- and the 'Olbermann Watch' and [Brent] Bozell jokers [of Media Research Center and Parents Television Council] are foremost among them. We made just as much sport of Kerry as Bush during the campaign, but neutrality is not what they want. They want conformity and a deliberate, institutionalized, pro-Republican slant. Guess what? They're never going to get it."
Actually, we had more laughs over the "made just as much sport of Kerry" line than the "right-wingers persecute the deviants" line. (Olbermannwatch.com has their own piquant response.) Olbermann's most noteworthy stretch last year was his extended tinfoil-hat trip over the possibility that John Kerry really took Ohio. (For a taste of his regular take on Evil Dubya or the right-wing Swift Vet conspiracy, see our "Kooky Keith Award" nominees here.
The other funny line of denial was this: "I did 228 consecutive shows on MSNBC in '98 on the Clinton-Lewinsky story, and not a one of them was pro-Clinton." But our files are bursting with Olbermann rants against the Lewinsky investigation. Just try on August 18, 1998 for size: "Facially, it finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler, including the glasses. If he now pursues the President of the United States, who, however flawed his apology was, came out and invoked God, family, his daughter, a political conspiracy and everything but the kitchen sink, would not there be some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?" Wow, Keith really likes that "right-wing persecutor" line.
Posted at 08:28 AM
HECK NO [K. J. Lopez]
NRO Takes Atlanta has people asking about not laser tag opportunities so much as paintball. As in pay to paintball your favorite NRO writer. Uh no. Well, unless as editor of NRO I can pull rank and count myself out. Then, maybe. Everytime a piece is turned in late, that writer gets another 10 minutes in the paintball quad...
Speaking of NRO Takes Atlanta, are you thinking of joining us? Please do. We'd love to see you there.
Posted at 08:28 AM
THE STARS AND STRIPES PHOTO OF THE DAY [K. J. Lopez]
is of WFB:
Posted at 08:25 AM
LIBERAL WASHPOST [Tim Graham]
Washington Post reporter Darryl Fears files a report on the Civil Rights Commission with all the typical labeling tricks. "Conservatives" on the commission are using the "conservative Heritage Foundation" and the "libertarian Cato Institute," with objections from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, as well as critics at the AARP and the NAACP, none of which are described as liberal groups. ("Liberal co-chair Cruz Reynoso" is used once, although "conservative" is everywhere, including the sub-headline.) I'm sure people who follow the Commission closely will groan at the Fears notion that the chair, Mary Frances Berry was "ousted" by Bush, instead of "refusing to leave when her statutory term ended."
Posted at 08:25 AM
DAN RATHER AND HARVARD [Stanley Kurtz]
Last night I suggested that, because of the massive public scrutiny in the Summers case, Harvard’s faculty has inadvertently trapped itself. I stand by that. But isn’t it curious that the mandarins of political correctness brought this scrutiny on themselves. It all started when MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins staved off her fainting spell long enough to alert the press to Summers’s talk. Yes, it’s telling that Hopkins couched her feminist complaint as an imminent loss of consciousness. Yet truth be told, Hopkins wasn’t anywhere near fainting. That was just a pose for press consumption. (Come to think of it, even the classic Victorian fainting spell was often a manipulative put-on.) Hopkins, who authored an influential (and bogus) MIT report on affirmative action for female scientists, calculated that press attention would help her. By the same token, Harvard’s liberal faculty has been acting as though its ongoing public flogging of Summers would strengthen its hand.
The liberals who command America’s key institutions still don’t understand that they’ve lost control of the culture. Dan Rather stood up to the bloggers because he thought he could get away with it. He didn’t realize how far we’d come from the old days of CBS dominance. By the same token, Hopkins and the Harvard faculty thought that bringing in their liberal compatriots in the press would give them an easy win. These folks are killing themselves because they still don’t realize that the blogosphere and the broader conservative media count. Their arrogant underestimation of their opponents is their Achilles heel. By the time it dawns on Hopkins and her Harvard faculty friends that their public antics have discredited them, it will be too late. Just ask Dan.
Meantime, here’s a link to Lubos Motl, a Harvard faculty blogger who is horrified by the excesses of his politically correct colleagues. Love your stuff Lobos. But take note, I’ve taught at Harvard and got my Ph.D. there. So it’s not true that I have nothing to do with the place.
Posted at 08:20 AM
DON'T WE NEED AN EXIT STRATEGY? [Cliff May]
"Within the past eight days there have been 21 homicides in Philadelphia."
The story is here.
Posted at 07:51 AM
9/11 & EBAY [K. J. Lopez]
The Mudville Gazette is watching the story of a flag.
Posted at 07:34 AM
ON RADIO [NRO Staff]
Byron York will be a guest on Bill Bennett's Morning in America radio program this a.m. at 7:35 a.m.
Posted at 07:30 AM
CHANGING THE SUBJECT [K. J. Lopez]
Peter Singer's op-ed reminded me of this recent piece in the Boston Globe on stem-cell research which changes the subject--to affordable housing. It's akin to the folks who e-mail me and say about abortion, or, goodness, infant euthanasia--"but you don't care about them after they're born." It seems to me that, in this case, infant euthanasia is an issue. Abortion is an issue. Infant mortality is an issue. Affordable housing is an issue. Education is an issue. And because you're expending time on one doesn't mean a) you're uninterested in the other or b) there's not someone at the same time expending energy on the other.
That infant euthanasia is being discussed on the pages of The New England Journal of Medicine, it seems to me, is an issue. And that we know that it is underreported in some first-world nations is an issue. It's not going to be the only issue discussed forevermore, nor should it be, but to ignore a pretty big milestone in NEJM would be wrong, too.
Posted at 07:14 AM
MERCY [K. J. Lopez]
I missed this over the weekend: Peter Singer in the LATimes saying hush up about the Dutch infant-euthanasia report.
Posted at 07:02 AM
STEP ASIDE, SYRIA [K. J. Lopez]
Editorial from today's Daily Star:
Syria and her allies in Lebanon should step aside and allow one of these candidates to take the helm of leadership in Lebanon. Other solutions are only a premeditated means of prolonging the agony of the Lebanese people. And doing so is not in the interests of Syria or Lebanon.
Posted at 05:37 AM
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
ANTI-MULLAH DEMONSTRATIONS [K. J. Lopez]
(Although this sounds scripted by John J. Oldest Enemy Miller:
In another area of the city people took to setting the French flag on fire while chanting: "Europe is finished and so are their Mullahs." OR "Bush, Bush, where is Bush?" (In Persian this rhymes: Bush, Bush, kush, kush!).
Posted at 11:00 PM
HARVARD [Andrew Stuttaford]
Time for the alumni to start withholding their donations, I reckon.
Posted at 10:55 PM
I KNOW I'LL REGRET THIS POST [K. J. Lopez]
A NARAL sex-ed haiku contest
Posted at 10:51 PM
CHILDREN TODAY [Andrew Stuttaford]
"Adverts featuring a giant blob of Marmite spread left children "terrified" and having nightmares, it has emerged. The TV commercials centre around a large brown "amorphous" object described as reminiscent of the monster from the 1950s science fiction film The Blob."
Posted at 10:31 PM
STOP ME BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT [John Derbyshire]
Carl Friedrich Gauss
Lived in a very nice house.
His ruler and compass construction of the regular heptadecagon
Astounded practically everyone.
Posted at 10:27 PM
ANDREW, [K. J. Lopez]
I know you read our edit on the topic.
Posted at 10:25 PM
PLAYING GAMES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Ooookay, I venture into baseball-related topics with some trepidation (Rich, K-Lo, Shannen, be kind, please) and perhaps I’m missing something here, but why, exactly, is it the business of Congress to investigate (on our dime) steroid use in baseball?
“Critics say muscle-building steroids have…provided young fans dangerous role models.”
Ah yes, “the children.”
I might have known.
Posted at 10:23 PM
PROUST [Rick Brookhiser]
Too bad he turned out to be gay.
Everyone is, they say.
Posted at 10:21 PM
APUZZO RESPONDS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Here. I'm even more underwhelmed with this guy. But I've got to go to the store to get milk for my daughter, so I'll respond in some detail in the morning.
My short response now (sorry Rick): this guy is a poseur of the first order and I don't buy his schtick in the least bit. It's almost like high camp, except he means it.
Posted at 09:37 PM
SUN HUDSON, R.I.P. [K. J. Lopez]
HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- A critically ill 5-month-old was taken off life support and died Tuesday, a day after a judge cleared the way for doctors to halt care they believed to be futile. The infant's mother had fought to keep him alive.
Posted at 08:31 PM
SUMMERS [Stanley Kurtz]
I call on the American people to hold a formal vote of no confidence in the Harvard faculty. After this vote has been held (and you know which way it will go), I call on Harvard’s faculty to resign.
Actually, I think the vote of no confidence in Lawrence Summers is a wonderful thing. Harvard continues to discredit itself with the American public. The faculty is trapped. If Summers resigns, this extraordinary example of political correctness will come back to haunt Harvard, and the entire academy, for years. But if Summers hangs on, the faculty itself will have been humiliated–checked by the very fact of public scrutiny. Either way, Harvard is tearing itself apart. So long as the public simply writes of the academy, the mice can play. But the intense public scrutiny in this case puts the captains of political correctness into a no-win situation. Like the closely watched Susan Estrich fiasco, this battle is doing lasting damage to the cultural left. As they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Posted at 07:54 PM
I'M GLAD THEY ASKED [K. J. Lopez]
the FBI for greencards...
Posted at 07:22 PM
SPAM [Mark Krikorian]
Junk e-mail that hawks mortgages, Viagra, Rolexes, and the like is so 2004; I just received a spam with the header: “Give Endless Seltzer For Purim”.
Posted at 07:17 PM
COURTHOUSE RULES [John Derbyshire]
Following my Radio Derb comments on the Atlanta horror, I have had a number of emails from law-enforcement folk and court officers, expressing disbelief at the sloppy and hazardous procedures apparently in force at the Atlanta courthouse. The following is representative. (I have removed some identifying information.)
"Dear Mr. Derbyshire---I listened to your commentary on the Atlanta shooting. I would like to add some information to it. I am a [**]-year veteran Senior Court Officer of the New York State Courts. I am assigned to the [****] County Court where I serve also as a training officer. I have read only accounts of the shooting and have not spoken to any witnesses and I can tell you there is a serious need of policy change, or some heads should roll as a result of world class negligence on the part of the court security unit.
"Firstly, while it may be law in the state of Georgia regarding a handcuffed inmate being presented to a jury, we face the same problems in NY. However, we solve that problem by bringing in a defendant, uncuffing them and seating them. When we are all in place, the jury is produced and we proceed. We are in relatively close proximity to the defendant. The jury may surmise anything they wish, but they cannot make decisions based on surmise and supposition. It is common in fact for a defense lawyer to openly admit his client is incarcerated and that incarceration is not an indication of guilt. I am stunned that this is not practice in the Atlanta court system, perhaps it will be now.
"As far as the sole officer escorting an inmate: This is close to insanity and if this is their policy, I'm surprised that this hasn't happened before. No officer, is EVER allowed to escort an imate by themselves in a NY courtroom. No officer unless it is an emergency situation is armed near an inmate.
"We recently had an individual attempt an escape from a court room. He was 6' 4" about 220 lbs. It took 5 fairly large sized officers to subdue and handcuff him. All 5 officers required medical treatment afterwards and one officer is still out on sick/injured leave. Unlike television and movies, handcuffing an uncooperative person while maintaining professional restraint is a most difficult task. When he returned to court at the next appearance, he had numerous escorts plus added units deployed in the courtroom. Guess what -- not a peep out of him.
"I hope that this was an aberration in Atlanta and was not foretold by the programs, policies and budget considerations of the Atlanta Court System."
Posted at 07:04 PM
SCHIAVO IN THE FLORIDA STATEHOUSE [K. J. Lopez]
As Congress tries their options,:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - Florida lawmakers are racing to block the removal of severely brain-damaged woman's feeding tube, which has been keeping her alive but is due to be taken out on Friday after years of legal wrangling.
Posted at 06:56 PM
THE MOST UNREPORTED STORY OF OUR DAY [K. J. Lopez]
"It ain't just about embryonic stem cells anymore."
Posted at 06:43 PM
JUST BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT [John Derbyshire]
Was the greatest novelist France has yet produced.
If only I could get all the way through
His "A la recherche du temps perdu"!
Posted at 06:36 PM
A GRIM DAY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The Washington Post says Bush's plan is sinking in the polls, having already said that Senate Democrats are an immovable wall of opposition. David Brooks comes close to saying the fight is over. Andrew Ferguson seconds the proposition. I think this is all premature, for reasons that overlap a lot with Byron York's. There are, however, reasonable points made in all of these analyses.
I just wanted to suggest why Ferguson's closing thought, an argument that I believe Robert Samuelson has also made recently, may be wrong. Here's Ferguson: "As a way of disentangling individuals from the welfare state, Bush's idea has serious flaws. The reasoning goes like this: On the one hand, citizens are smart and responsible enough to control their own retirement funds, which is why they deserve private accounts. On the other hand, the investments allowed for the private accounts, and the pace at which an account-holder can withdraw those 'private' funds, will be strictly controlled by the government -- because, presumably, citizens aren't smart and responsible enough to control their own retirement funds. Indeed, Bush's plan may very well flood the securities markets with investment money that is strictly regulated, placing vast chunks of those markets under Washington's control. This is hardly the way to strike a blow at the welfare state, as Bush's Republican allies are slowly realizing."
I think this is mistaken because, first of all, the accounts would create a constituency that would both resist restrictions that limited the account-holders returns and would demand a reduction in existing restrictions that limited returns. So the problem would tend to diminish over time, and there would be an inbuilt check on the danger of politicization. Second, it's worth noting that most of the restrictions being talked about are similar to those in 401(k) plans. Control was limited from the start--people could pick a few funds, alter their allocations a few times a year, etc. The regulation of their investment didn't cause huge problems, and loosened over time.
Posted at 06:12 PM
DEREK JETER [K. J. Lopez]
doesn't need a makeover.
If you want to make that another reason why the Yankees will always reign supreme, so be it.
Posted at 05:45 PM
RE: PROUST [K. J. Lopez]
I, like some others (Dear Leader Lowry) am sick, that's my excuse for allowing the French in The Corner today. But has anyone checked on John J. Oldest Enemy Miller? Some man's screaming about French Communists in the Metro and I'm afraid it might be him, having reacted badly to the appearance.
Posted at 05:39 PM
THE LUNGREN AMENDMENT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Rep. Dan Lungren (R., Calif.) is getting set to introduce his own version of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. It would read as follows:
SECTION 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of a legal union of one man and one woman.
SEC. 2. No court of the United States or of any State shall have jurisdiction to determine whether this Constitution or the constitution of any State requires that the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon any union other than a legal union between one man and one woman.
SEC. 3. No State shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State concerning a union between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage, or as having the legal incidents of marriage, under the laws of such other State.
From reading it (and listening to Lungren describe its aims), it sounds a lot like the Federal Marriage Amendment. Lungren says he "tried to take a fresh look . . . to see what would pass muster not only with the Congress but to bulletproof it against the courts." He says that the drafting has benefited from his experience of serving as California's attorney general. Referring to his legislative director and himself, he says, "We’ve had to go through the ninth circuit many times and realize how they can torture the language.”
Lungren says, "If you would have asked me 5 years ago if we would ever get involved with this, I would have said no. But it has been forced upon us"--forced, he says, by the courts. "It's not a radical notion. It's a response to a radical notion."
Posted at 05:27 PM
MOVIE NAZIS [Rick Brookhiser]
OK, one last point. Most movie Nazis are thick accented goons who are fighting us in World War II. Steven Spielberg made them thick accented goons who want the Ark of the Covenant.
But Spielberg is not David Klinghoffer. He does not care one whit about the Ark of the Covenant. Which raises the suspicion that he does not care one whit about Nazis, except as slambang props in his retro fest.
Until he made Schindler's List, and discovered that they were very very bad. Then he made the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan and discovered that people die in wars.
How can anyone admire this six year old?
Posted at 04:28 PM
EMAIL FROM BEIRUT [Cliff May]
Thanks Claudia for your article on March 15, 2005: “Million Lebanese Stage Massive retort to Terrorists,” NY Sun.Claudia’s piece is here.
Posted at 04:15 PM
YUSHCHENKO TO ADDRESS JOINT SESSION? OR NOT. [K. J. Lopez]
We hear that...Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko will be in D.C. during the first week of April. A visit with President Bush is on his schedule, but will a joint session of Congress be? Word from an informed source is that House International Relations Chairman Henry Hyde and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar have urged that an invite be issued, but Speaker Hastert is resisting. What's the resistance? Concerns about Putin? The question I've heard asked: Is Putin getting veto power over U.S.-Ukraine policy?
Posted at 03:14 PM
NEW MERCURY REGULATIONS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Environmentalists are not happy with the new regulations on mercury emissions. I have some further thoughts here, and Iain Murray adds his two cents here as well.
Posted at 03:09 PM
SOSEC REFORM -- THE DERB PLAN [John Derbyshire]
A reader concurs:
"Dear Derb---Of course, it ultimately works out to money in and money out, and it makes no logical sense to pretend that the revenues from the FICA tax are in any way segregated, or that the actuarial solvency of the Social Security system is a well-defined question. (The FICA proceeds are not really an 'asset,' and Congress can change the benefit levels and retirement ages at any time, so there is no legally mandated 'liability' either.)
"The next politician who can make mathematical points like that in a memorable way that everybody 'gets' could become President. Although the median person has no ability to apply mathematics in any meaningful way, the median person CAN follow a logical argument if it is properly presented and soundly illustrated, and mathematics is ultimately just logic.
"If the MSM wanted to, they could make sure that almost everyone understands basic quantitative features of our sociopolitical existence, such as the relative size of various risks. That they don't want to makes it harder to get such information across, but Reagan cut through the media headwind at a time when they had much more power than they do now to frame debate, so some other politician ought to be able to do it today."
[Derb here] When I talk to tax professionals, I always feel that there is some really, really fundamental point I am totally missing.
Preparing my stuff for my own tax accountant, in fact, I put at the front of the bundle two simple, double-spaced one-pagers: (1) Here is what came IN to the Derb household last year, in summary; and (2) Here is what went OUT, in summary.
It drives him crazy. Accountants don't think like that at all.
Posted at 03:08 PM
JOHN WILLIAMS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:03 PM
PROUST'S VERSION [John Derbyshire]
"Le jour mon bout est alle psychopathe en raison de cowboy Bush."
"In Search of Lost Hein[ie]."
"Remembrance of Things A--ed."
And numerous others not at all suitable for a family website.
Posted at 02:52 PM
RE: SECURE SECURITY [Jonah Goldberg]
Or ... we could require all attendees be brought into the panel discussions in commemorative National Review handcuffs -- "you'll be bound to love 'em."
Posted at 02:47 PM
ATLANTA [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail: "do you know how much cash you can raise if you opened the light sabre duel to your readership? ie, $500 buys you 5 mins. in the light sabre dueling ring with the NRO writer of your choice...kind of like a Republican Thunderdome."
So the next event should be Laser Tag? A lot of you would pay $500 to play Laser Tag with Jonah or Derb or... wouldn't you?
Posted at 02:45 PM
SECURE SECURITY [Kate O'Beirne]
Should we need some guards to keep throngs of enthusiastic fans in order at our Atlanta event, can we agree that we shouldn't count on a 51-year-old, five foot tall woman?
Posted at 02:44 PM
HYDE [Jonah Goldberg]
Hey, Ambassador to the Vatican would be pretty cool, no?
Posted at 02:42 PM
ATLANTA--DERB DOES HIS BIT [John Derbyshire]
I promise not to sing.
Posted at 02:41 PM
END OF AN ERA [K. J. Lopez]
From today's Hotline:
IL6: Hyde Seen As Likely To Retire
Posted at 02:38 PM
BERNIE EBBERS [Jonah Goldberg]
has been found guilty on all counts.
Jimmy crack corn and I don't care.
Posted at 02:37 PM
"BANKRUPTCY IN THE BLOGOSPHERE" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Tom Veal makes some reasonable points against the critics of the bankruptcy-reform bill (see also Todd Zywicki's NRO article today).
Posted at 02:35 PM
RE: NRO IN ATLANTA [Jonah Goldberg]
I will bring two inflatable light sabers and challenge Rick to a duel (or a hollitacker, as some might call it).
Posted at 02:16 PM
NRO IN ATLANTA [K. J. Lopez]
We're actually going to work for you down there (you can just listen to the Star Wars stuff if you prefer). Talking and Q&Aing. Then mingling and dinner. All at a great Atlanta restaurant (so people from those red parts tell me). Give yourself afternoon off and join Kate, Rich, Jonah, Jay, Ramesh, Derb, Stuttaford, and K-Lo. Check it out here.
And, yes: AT LAST, a red state.
Posted at 02:11 PM
PROUST'S VERSION [John Derbyshire]
The entries are coming in.
Cute, if a bit obvious: "À la recherche des culs perdus."
Posted at 02:01 PM
P.S. [Rick Brookhiser]
I have to work too, so farewell Star Warriors. May visions of Ewoks dance in your heads.
Posted at 01:58 PM
MOVIE MUSIC [Rick Brookhiser]
In a restaurant long ago and far away, I was having dinner with Jeffrey Bell and Larry Uzzell. Jeff was running against Bill Bradley, and Larry was working for him. Jeff gave an enthusiastic lecture about how John Williams was reviving serious music via the medium of the movie score. Well, no.
My rule for movie music: the better it gets without becoming actually good, the worse it is.
Kubrick knew how to do movie music: steal from Richard Strauss.
Posted at 01:56 PM
THE ARAB STREET RISES UP – AND SAYS THANKS, AMERICA [Cliff May]
Dispatch from FDD’s Claudia Rosett in Lebanon: “Many in the crowd were friendly to Americans. ‘Thank's Free World,’ (sic) said one poster, held high by a woman in a bright red jacket, Rawya Okal, who told me: ‘We thank Mr. Bush for his position.’ Overhearing this in the throng, a middle-aged man in a green baseball cap, Louis Nahanna, leaned over to say, ‘We love the American people - adding, ‘Please don't let Bush forget us. Your support is very important.’”
And Fadi Amrou Jamra, told Claudia: "You want elections? We're ready for elections now!"
Her story is here.
Posted at 01:37 PM
RE: THE DAY MY BUTT WENT PSYCHO [John Derbyshire]
Proust it ain't, I'll grant you, but it went over big with my son.
Lit-Crit note: Originally an Australian production, the title was THE DAY MY BUM WENT PSYCHO... but the publishers thought U.S. kids wouldn't know what was meant.
(Reader spot quiz: If Proust *had* written this book, what would he have called it?)
Posted at 01:33 PM
SO SEC REFORM -- THE SUBTEXT [John Derbyshire]
Isn't the debate about SoSec reform really a debate about the tax code? There is, after all, nothing to stop any American making private provision for his retirement right now. If I can carve off a bit of my SoSec payments & privately invest them, that's just a bit more in my funds, a bit less I shall depend on public provision for.
Since Congress just spends our SoSec payments anyway, why not just scrap FICA withholdings and just fund a universal basic pension from general taxation? The level, age at eleigibility, etc. can all be debated. Since we all understand (? I think) that there will need to be SOME public provision, though; and since no-one (except possibly Ralph Nader) wants to outlaw private savings for retirement; aren't we really just haggling about deductions on people's pay stubs? Which is to say, about the tax code?
Speaking of which: Look at how the Flat Tax is catching on in Eastern Europe. Is such a thing really so unthinkable here?
I'm going to get some bumper stickers made up: FLAT TAX, FLAT PENSION. Let's simplify things for a change, and put some lawyers and accountants out of a job.
Posted at 01:32 PM
LUCAS FOREVER [Rick Brookhiser]
I enjoyed most of the Star Trek movies, based on the first TV show. The first Star Trek, most of the time, is about Capt. Kirk and his ship (Roddenberry always told the writers, Put the Enterprise in danger). Its charm is the charm of genre fiction. Kirk is Jack Aubrey in the 23rd century. Spock is Maturin, the intellectual sidekick, though the actual MD is McCoy. O'Brian gives ripping yarn Napoleonic flavor; Star Trek gives science fiction flavor.
Some of the individual episodes had weirdly powerful touches. Others had weirdly dreadful touches (Uhuru dances, anyone?). The dreadulfness was often cued by music--"merry woodwinds," I would think when the TV show served up some "funny" concluding dialogue.
I also liked 2001, which was the world's best MTV video. The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers seemed scary, though we turned it off because my wife was scared.
Your point about foreign distribution is sadly true. I remember seeing in Jogjakarta a billboard for Witness. The picture: Harrison Ford pointing a honkin' big pistol at every Indonesian passerby. I know there is some gunplay in the movie, but that was hardly the point. The conflict between Amish and modernity doesn't translate very well, though.
If I may use you, Jonah, to communicate with my old friend Jason Apuzzo: 1) I have been in a movie--I was the writer and on-camera host of a ninety minute documentary, Rediscovering George Washington, and we shot film, not drecky digibeta. 2) So what? Samuel Johnson wrote one play, Irene, and it tanked. That does not disbar him from have opinions about Shakespeare.
To Shannen, re: the Rat Pack. So Dino told the Las Vegas audience, when Oceans 11 was being shot, "You call this working?" I don't call it working, or play, or any worthwhile thing. I call it celebrity slumming, or kitsch if you will. Kitsch is deliberately approving things we know to be bad. Why do that? The members of the Rat Pack made many excellent records, and turned in some fine acting (Sinatra in From Here to Eternity). Why waste time on Robin and the Seven Hoods?
Posted at 01:31 PM
TERRIBLE STORY... [Rich Lowry ]
...about an attempted hostage escape in Iraq. Sounds like he almost made it:
...a cameraman for the Kurdish satellite television channel KurdSat, Husam Hilal Sarsam, 28, was shot and killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul as he tried to run away from people who had kidnapped him the day before, co-workers and witnesses said. He was the sixth journalist to be killed in Mosul since U.S. forces invaded Iraq two years ago.
Posted at 01:29 PM
RE: INTERESTING QUESTION [NRO Staff, a.k.a. The Lopez Dictation Service]
The fact that K-Lo is napping right now has nothing to do with David Haselhoff defending.
Posted at 01:28 PM
"THE DAY MY BUTT WENT PSYCHO" [Rich Lowry ]
Fascinating Washington Post article on why boys have so much trouble learning to read compared to girls. Part of it may be that they are being pushed to do it too young, part of of it is that they like topics--eg., potty humor--that may not appeal to their teachers or parents:
Jerilynn Hoffman couldn't get her young son to read much until she found a book that wasn't her cup of tea but definitely was his: `The Day My Butt Went Psycho.'
Posted at 01:17 PM
NAZIS, MOVIES, ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
This sounds about right to me:
Rick writes: "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 01:14 PM
THE SILVER LINING [Rich Lowry ]
The Washginton Post write-up of its latest Social Security polling is down-beat today, except for the fact that the basic idea of investing is popular among everyone but the over-65 set:
In this month's poll, 68 percent of adults 18 to 29 years old said they support investing some Social the silver lining That Washington Post piece on its Social Security polling is pretty depressing, except for the fact that letting people invest is popular among all but the over-65 set: "Security contributions in the stock market. That support falls with the respondents' age, to 60 percent among those 40 to 49, 53 percent among those 50 to 64, and 37 percent among those 65 and older.
Posted at 01:07 PM
INTERESTING QUESTION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
If K.J.L. had known when she got up this morning that she would spend the day defending David Hasselhoff, would she have bothered getting out of bed?
Posted at 01:04 PM
THE POLITICAL WING [John Derbyshire]
It turns out there were two Sinn Fein candidates -- not members, CANDIDATES -- in that Belfast pub when Robert McCartney was hacked to death.
Did the candidates cooperate with the police investigation into McCartney's murder? Are you kidding?
Posted at 01:03 PM
BUSH ON HEZBOLLAH... [Rich Lowry ]
We view Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. I would hope that Hezbollah would prove that they are not by laying down arms and not threatening peace.
Posted at 01:00 PM
RICK ON STAR WARS ETC. [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, I gotta get back to paying work in a second. But here we go.
Here's Rick's original post, which I will quote in full:
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.
Me:I'll get to his follow-up post in a minute.
My short response is: Was it not ever thus? In 1976 -- the year before Star Wars was released -- the top three domestic films were Rocky, Logan's Run and The Pom Pom Girls.
In 1974 -- the year before Jaws was released -- the top 10 films were, in order:
Now, Rick may be able to tease out of this data the notion that Star Wars and Jaws were sudden and shockingly immature breaks with the more mature cinematic trends of the day. I do not see it. Obviously, there are some very good "grown-up" movies in this mix -- Godfather Part II and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest came out in 1975 -- but Benji, Pom Pom Girls, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Logan's Run, Earthquake and Towering Inferno do pop-out, don't they? Rocky was a good movie, though it was hardly a novel or particularly "adult" storyline -- it's real success was derived from the editing.
It seems to me that against this backdrop, Star Wars and Jaws raised the overall cinematic quality. Indeed, I think Jaws stands up very well and was a better monster movie than almost anything that came in the decade before it came out and is still much better than what has come out since.
In his follow-up post, Rick says that Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Jaws had terrible music. I'm woefully ignorant about music, but this strikes me as a bizarre statement. From everything I've read and heard -- and my own meager judgement -- I would say that John Williams dramatically improved the quality and importance of soundtracks in this country. Were there sci-fi movies or fantasy movies prior to Lucas and Spielberg with demonstrably better music? Personally, I don't know, but I'd surprised if that was the case.
It seems to me that Rick's real complaint isn't with the movies themselves but with their success. I agree that Lucas and Spielberg encouraged some awful copycats. But, that is an unfair criticism. Many great books have spawned some awful copycats as well. We don't hold that against the author, why should we hold it against Lucas and Spielberg?
As for Rick's longer follow-up comments, I think he defends himself against charges of snobbery and the like it would never occur to me to level at him so I will let them go uncontested. Still, I think he's still complaining about the films' success rather than their content. I don't think you can blame Spielberg and Lucas for what has happened to Hollywood so much as credit them for taking advantage of it. One major problem is globalization. Hollywood is making movies for a world audience more than a domestic one (which I wrote about for the print NR in 1998, alas it's not online). This means movies are geared to an even lower common denominator than they were in the 1960s and 1970s. That one could have such success with certain kinds of movies, was demonstrated by Lucas and Spielberg. But if they hadn't done it, someone else would have.
I don't see the point in debating the merits of the original Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back. I think they were very impressive bits of filmmaking for their time. That Rick disagrees is obvious. But I don't see how I could persuade him otherwise.
I think the giveaway is in Rick's statement that he was not in "awe of the preceding era of movies" either. Fair enough. Maybe Rick just doesn't like movies that much? All of these films -- Indiana Jones, Star Wars & Empire and Jaws -- were certainly better and more entertaining than much that could be found amidst the genres they were reinventing (even if I agree with Derb that we could use more thoughtful sci-fi in general). I think that's self-evident. If not Rick can tell me which great sci-fi and monster movies I'm forgetting.
Posted at 12:59 PM
ARNOLD--LET THE JUDGES DECIDE [Rich Lowry ]
Arnold Schwarzenegger was disappointing talking about the gay marriage decision on "Hardball" last night. What good is his populism if he doesn't care whether it is the people or judges who are making fundamental decisions about how we govern ourselves? A bit from the transcript:
MATTHEWS: Suppose the Supreme Court of this state says it is OK to have gay marriage, the same marriage kind of certificate as a heterosexual couple. Would you move to try to change the constitution?
Posted at 12:57 PM
ALL IS NOT LOST [K. J. Lopez]
Byron York brings us more good news on SocSec reform from the polls.
Posted at 12:56 PM
STAR WARS [John Derbyshire]
As an old sci-fi fan from w-a-y back -- I was once the proud owner of *all* the first 100 issues of NEW WORLDS magazine -- I am a bit of a snob about the Star Wars movies -- ALIEN was more to my taste. Star Wars type stuff is a legitimate sub-genre within sci fi, though -- "Space Opera," we used to call it (the analogy is with Soap Operas, not... operas) -- and good harmless fun, if you don't mind the corny dialogue, kitschy f/x, and ludicrous science bloopers (things exploding noisily in outer space, etc. etc.)
I do wish, though, there were a few more intelligent & truly imaginative sci-fi movies. What I wish, in fact, is that the ratio of intelligent stuff to shoot-'em-up corn was the same in sci-fi movies as it is in sci-fi print. Perhaps this is too much to ask.
Posted at 12:24 PM
CORRUPTION WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
As voters in some member states contemplating giving yet more power to Brussels, here’s a report (from the Daily Telegraph) that they might want to consider:
”The European Commission has a "chronically sordid" accounting system and is still unable to keep track of the EU's £73billion budget after a decade of financial scandals, according to a top EU insider. An internal email obtained by The Telegraph paints an ugly picture of an autocratic body with an "incestuous esprit de corps" that uses its bureaucratic muscle to "trash" any official who dares to question its methods. It said the Budget Directorate was in "persistent denial of the real nature and depth of problems" it faced, choosing "cavity filling solutions where root canals were called for".
Quite why anyone would want to give more to these people quite escapes me.
The Dutch, a people with a traditionally low tolerance for corruption, vote in their referendum on the draft EU 'constitution' on June 1st. The Netherlands is the highest per capita contributor to the EU budget. It makes absolutely no sense for them to vote yes.
Posted at 12:23 PM
RE: "HOOKED ON A FEELING" [K. J. Lopez]
Salmon-head biting aside, I wouldn't be so quick to jump on the Haselhoff-bashing bandwagon. Like, I said, there's a lot, I'm certain we don't know about his powers--for good.
And, I've been in your car, Jonah. His couch may write, but his car ain't K.I.T.T. I sense jealousy at the heart of this thread.
Posted at 12:07 PM
LOOTING? WHAT LOOTING? [Jonah Goldberg ]
A must-read by Christopher Hitchens on the latest revelations from the New York Times. An excerpt:
My first question is this: How can it be that, on every page of every other edition for months now, the New York Times has been stating categorically that Iraq harbored no weapons of mass destruction? And there can hardly be a comedy-club third-rater or MoveOn.org activist in the entire country who hasn't stated with sarcastic certainty that the whole WMD fuss was a way of lying the American people into war. So now what? Maybe we should have taken Saddam's propaganda seriously, when his newspaper proudly described Iraq's physicists as "our nuclear mujahideen."
Posted at 12:07 PM
CARTOON SKELETONS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 12:01 PM
LICENSE TO PONTIFICATE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader on Apuzzo's aspirations to be the cinematic Juan Cole:
[Apuzzo writes:]"So when my conservative friends know or care to know more about film, or when they know more about the arts in general, then I'll accept their opining about Star Wars more than I do now."
Posted at 11:26 AM
TAKING FILM SERIOUSLY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Jonathan Last says Apuzzo doesn't.
Posted at 11:20 AM
HOOKED ON A FEELING [Jonah Goldberg]
For those of you who've been clamoring for a glimpse of David Hasselhoff's "Hooked on a Feeling" video, it's right here. It really does round-out the Hasselhoff experience we're going for here today. I'd venture an opinion on the video, but I never went to film school so I have no right to do so.
Posted at 10:59 AM
ELDRITCH MIASMAS [John Derbyshire]
V. nice John J. Miller piece on H.P. Lovecraft in todays WSJ.
I believe I am still to date the only NRO contributor to have opened a column with a Lovecraft quote.
Posted at 10:49 AM
BLACK-HAWK BABY [K. J. Lopez]
Army medics deliver an Afghan woman's baby aboard a flying Black Hawk, a first, all according to one of Jonah's Military Guys (TM?).
Posted at 10:38 AM
ALL HAIL THE CINEMA PRIESTHOOD [Jonah Goldberg ]
A reader sent me a link to this snotty diatribe over at Libertas by Jason Apuzzo. He says he's friends with Rick Brookhiser, which speaks well of him. His post doesn't. An excerpt:
I think this is embarrassing snobbery -- and I normally don't really mind snobbery that much. Writers are supposed to know the difference between motion-control and motion-capture before they can have an opinion on Ewoks? Put down the crack pipe Apuzzo (or is it a glass of absinthe given his pretentions?). I know a bit about the Ring Cycle and I know who Tyrone Power "is" (technically it's "was"). But I'm a bit fuzzy on my Wolfram von Eschenbach, though I do know who he was too. Does that mean I can comment on the stupidity of the pod race but since I can't quote Parzival I should stop short of mocking Jar-Jar Binks' Creole-pidgin English?
Movies are great things and I love them, but the notion that we must always defer to folks who build castles of dropped names and moats of technical jargon is nonsense on stilts. Some of the most fascinating comments and insights into film come to me via email from stockbrokers, accountants, soldiers and grad students -- none of whom have ever "picked up a camera."
Indeed, this is a very strange kind of elitism Apuzzo is practicing. His claim is that by knowing all sorts of film arcana members of the Cognoscenti -- i.e. him -- are better suited at guessing what the public will like and if the public likes it, it's a good film by conservative standards. Since when do snooty conservative(!) critics judge a film's worth by how much money it makes?
As for his cheap debating point that people will be watching Star Wars movies long after my writing and Last's are forgotten let me ask, What critic is that not true of? It is most obviously true of Mr. Apuzzo himself (and I leave it to others to venture a guess as to whether his writing will have a greater shelflife than mine). All critics tend to be forgotten, even the great ones. Edmund Wilson is, even as we speak, fading away like an astral projection of Obi Wan Kenobi after he tells Luke to go to the Dagoba system to study under Yoda.
And, by the way, I agree with Apuzzo on much of what he has to say about Lucas and Star Wars. I just don't think that his opinion is worth that much more than my own because he thinks movie criticism is a priesthood which bars the likes of me. And, by the way, I was a television producer for many years and I do understand quite a bit about editing and camera work. Maybe now that Mr. Apuzzo knows this, he'll value my opinion of why I thought the dialogue in Attack of the Clones was so bad. Why it should change his opinion is beyond me though.
Posted at 10:36 AM
CALIFORNIA RULING [Stanley Kurtz]
There are plenty of things to say about the California court decision on gay marriage. Months after voters in red and blue states unequivocally rejected same-sex marriage, and a few years after California voters decisively did the same, it’s striking (though not at all surprising) that a judge would do this. But I think the real significance of this decision lies in the cultural influence of California. California is a huge chunk of the country. More than that, I assume (although I haven’t checked this) that California has no law like the Massachusetts statute that bans marrying out-of-state couples if the marriage in question would be illegal in their home state. If true, this would turn California into the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage. But the really important point is that California is one of our two media capitals–and arguably the most influential of the two. Give Hollywood real married couples to work with and it will flood the nation with movies, documentaries, television shows, news reports, etc. That will change the culture. Of course, California has long been famous as the origin point of national social trends. When it comes to the fundamental meaning of marriage, state borders won’t matter. It’s an illusion to believe that this country can operate with two fundamentally different ideas about the core meaning of marriage. If California goes, it will kick the culture war over gay marriage into overdrive. A national showdown will follow fairly quickly. In the meantime, we’ll be divided into recognizing states and non-recognizing states, and will rapidly discover how untenable that situation is. For more, see my “National Nuptials.”
Posted at 10:11 AM
PEACH TREAT [K. J. Lopez]
NRO is going to Atlanta....come and join us.
Posted at 09:35 AM
DAVID HASELHOFF [K. J. Lopez]
is not the antiChrist. I've long thought he might actually be our secret weapon. Distracting the enemy with Baywatch babes.
Think about it.
Posted at 09:33 AM
GET TWO FREE KIDS BOOKS [Jack Fowler]
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Posted at 09:29 AM
HASSELHOFF [Jonah Goldberg ]
Readers who weren't blinded or institutionalized by it may have blocked out their memories of the Hasselhoff Recursion. (Do not click this link if you're unprepared for the horror).
Well, we now know why such a thing exists. David Hasselhoff is the Anti-Christ.
Posted at 08:32 AM
LEBANON -- A GOOD DAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Very nice summary of the Lebanese Opposition protests in today's Times. Nice quote:
Posted at 08:20 AM
STAR WARS & RICK [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry for dropping the ball on responding. I'll get to it this AM.
Posted at 08:13 AM
IS JONAH MOONLIGHTING? [Tim Graham]
Dana Milbank reports that Antonin Scalia is trying to show a softer side as the Rehnquist opening becomes apparent. But what's really apparent: is Jonah Goldberg pitching in on Scalia's speechwriting?
In his talk yesterday, Scalia acknowledged a certain notoriety. He expressed amusement that he is often asked " 'When did you first become an originalist?' like it's a weird affliction that seizes people, like 'When did you start eating human flesh?' "...Discussing a case about the BMW painting process, he surmised that the vehicles' coating is "baked seven times in ovens deep in the Alps by dwarves."
Posted at 07:08 AM
DOTTY GRAY LADY [Tim Graham]
In New York Times stories about a week apart, TimesWatch discovered that how the group Judicial Watch is labeled defends on whether it's pursuing liberals like the Clintons (then you are a "conservative legal group," and "dogged Clinton haters") or conservatives like Tom DeLay (that makes you part of a "coalition of government watchdog groups"). Also: is the label "far right" broadly defined enough to include both Bret Schundler and German neo-Nazis?
Posted at 07:07 AM
"SYRIA INTEL PULLING OUT OF BEIRUT" [K. J. Lopez]
CNN.com: "Under pressure from the United States, Europe and significant portion of Lebanon's populace, Syrian intelligence units Tuesday were in the process of leaving Beirut, a Lebanese army source told CNN."
Posted at 06:55 AM
"HAWKS MAY BE AWAITING THE STORK" [K. J. Lopez]
Wow--I really read that headline differently than a normal American would. I immediately went to AEI, for starters...Help! Must seek red state....immediately...
Posted at 12:08 AM
Monday, March 14, 2005
"THE BIGGEST EVER" [Rich Lowry]
Wow. From ABC News: "The rally, perhaps the biggest anti-government demonstration ever staged in the Arab world..."
Posted at 08:48 PM
STATE--IT'S WHERE THE ACTION IS [Rich Lowry]
Interesting analytical speculation in The Note today, given the new job for Karen Hughes at State:
The President's most trusted advisor is running back to Washington not to rescue his Social Security plan, but to do something about America's image in the world (and maybe buff up Rice's image in the process).
Once confirmed, Ambassador Hughes' title will be Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy. And she's got some high-powered help: White House personnel diva Dina Powell will be Hughes' deputy and the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The Egyptian-born Powell is just 31, but she's the highest-ranking Middle Eastern woman in the Administration and she speaks Arabic. When she wasn't helping the President pick his cabinet secretaries, Powell often traveled to the Middle East as a White House emissary on reform and women's rights in the Arab world.
With Rice, Hughes, and Powell all at the State Department, the women who were closest to the President over the past four years (besides the First Lady, of course) will all be going to work at Foggy Bottom. Throw Liz Cheney into the mix (she started as an Assistant Secretary of State two weeks ago) and you have some real VP firepower over there as well.
Karl can keep the Social Security portfolio. Maybe, just maybe, the women are on to something. Could this President's best chance for a history-making second-term accomplishment be in the Middle East, not on Capitol Hill?
Posted at 08:41 PM
I CAN'T QUITE LET THE TOPIC GO [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Thanks, Andy. The next time someone asks me if I'm a McCarthyite, I'll say, Yes, if you mean Andy.
First, just to underscore how narrow the disagreements here have been: If in the next few weeks or months the Senate Republicans should actually go ahead and change the Senate rules to restrict the filibuster of judges, I imagine I will be with the rest of my interlocutors here in defending the Republicans against the many critics we are sure to hear from. I would say in that circumstance that the Republicans were within their rights to change the rules with 51 votes and did no violence thereby to the Constitution.
On the question of ideology, I think that it would be difficult to simply derive standards for rejecting judicial nominees on the basis of first principles. Maybe we could some day have a judiciary so altogether pleasing in every other way that senators would be debating whether a nominee had the right view of legislative history. All I would say is that a senator should consider, first, whether his own view of the judicial function is sound and, second, how far a particular nominee departs from that sound view. But practical political judgment would inevitably be necessary to determine how far would be "too far."
Posted at 06:22 PM
RE: THE SMART VS. THE DUMB [John Derbyshire]
Thanks to Jon Theiss for this Pi Day comic strip.
Posted at 06:17 PM
LONG ARM OF THE TAXMAN [John Derbyshire]
I just got a letter from the Inland Revenue (that's the British taxman) -- to be precise, from the Officer In Charge, Unit 353 Non-Residents, Bootle, Merseyside.
"Notice of determination of penalty for a late Tax Return for the tax year ended 5 April 2004.
"I did not receive your Tax Return by the due date so you are liable to a penalty.
"The penalty imposed on you under Section 93(2) of the Taxes Management Act 1970 is 100 pounds."
Note: I have not lived, nor had paid employment, in the UK since late 1991.
I cannot tell you the exquisite pleasure it gives me to toss this letter into my waste bin.
Posted at 06:13 PM
D.C. GOES HOLLYWOOD, BUCKLEY STYLE [K. J. Lopez]
Folks in Cleveland Park today couldn't help but noticed Thank You For Smoking, based on Chris Buckley's book, filming in the area. So much for me being on top of the news--I'm not sure I even realized there was a movie coming.
Posted at 06:06 PM
RE: A RESPONSE TO MCCARTHY [Andy McCarthy]
Ramesh, Thank you for your characteristically gracious response. I am back to my wiser practice of agreeing with you. To the extent “ideology” should be understood as including the judicial function – particularly, whether a judge deems himself free to legislate his subjective sense of justice rather than bound by the constitution and laws – I agree that this is a proper basis for voting against a nominee (although I have doubt about whether it would be an appropriate basis to filibuster a nominee, since I think congress owes the president an up or down vote on nominations). In a more perfect world, commitment to proper conduct of the judicial function would be an aspect of what we think of as "competence," but that ain't the world we're in.
I wonder, though, how far into the weeds we should be willing to go on this. Should judges, for example, take account of legislative history? I personally think Justice Scalia is right when he says no, but there are many fine judges who think otherwise and who try to apply legislative history honestly. Given the divergence of opinion among reasonable jurists on that one, I don’t think I’d be comfortable relying on it as a reason to vote against a nominee even though it implicates the judicial function. But on the more macro aspects of the judicial function – e.g., the nominee who thinks he can undo a law on the ground that he personally thinks it is foolish as opposed to unconstitutional – I think that’s absolutely a basis to vote against him.
Interesting and timely question: what about a nominee who believes it is proper to resort to foreign law (or treaties unratified by the U.S.) in interpreting U.S. constitutional provisions? I’m sure we’d agree that’s a bad thing. But, as a standalone, is it a justification to vote against confirmation? And does it matter if the nomination is to the Supreme Court or the lower courts? My gut tells me it probably is a good enough reason to vote against confirmation, at least at the Supreme Court level, but I’d need to think about that some more.
You’re right to point out our common ground on priorities. I regret if I misunderstood or misstated your position. Obviously, a disagreement about how best to achieve what is important is of less moment than a disagreement about what is important.
Posted at 05:48 PM
NORQUIST VS. GRAHAM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Americans for Tax Reform is distributing a letter to congressmen and senators taking issue with Senator Graham's recent remarks on Social Security. Although Norquist does not mention it in the letter, he has suggested that Republicans who vote for Graham's idea of lifting the payroll tax cap would be breaking their pledge not to raise taxes.
Posted at 05:39 PM
LAURENCE TRIBE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
has had a response to my recent article on him posted. We also got a copy of the letter today, and will carry it, with my reply, in our next issue.
Posted at 05:35 PM
MARRIAGE IN CALIFORNIA [K. J. Lopez]
Bill Duncan from the Marriage Law Foundation e-mails:
NRO readers might be interested in a recent decision of the San Francisco Superior Court in the consolidated cases challenging California's marriage law on state constitutional grounds. I have only skimmed the case (which is available here). Judge Richard Kramer concluded that he was unable to find any legitimate state interest in the current definition of marriage. Even though the law treats men and women the same, he believed that it was still a form of sex discrimination. The law being challenged (Proposition 22) was enacted by popular vote in March 2000 (with a nearly 60-40 margin).
Posted at 05:16 PM
THE SMART VS. THE DUMB [John Derbyshire]
Since today's Corner has included a contribution from Charles Murray, here is a link to a current piece in the Spectator [subscribers only] on a very Murray-esque theme: the exclusion & oppression now endured in western societies by the cognitively challenged.
It has been plain to me for some time -- even before reading The Bell Curve -- that modern society is increasingly a conspiracy of the smart against the dumb. This is especially obvious around tax time. Our tax code, our laws, our rules & regulations, seem increasingly designed to baffle & bamboozle those of us who didn't go to law school after taking our MBA.
And then there's our software...
Posted at 04:57 PM
MADONNA’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE CEDAR REVOLUTION? [Cliff May]
FDD’s Walid Phares notes this poster of Assad father and son, and the allusion to an old Madonna song. Walid notes: “This is what the Baathists are facing now in Lebanon.”
As others have pointed out (Jonah the other day, if memory serves) during the Cold War, Xerox machines were revolutionary weapons. Now it’s blogs and Blackberries -- but also Walkmen and iPods.
Also, check out the latest from Claudia Rosett in Beirut.
Posted at 04:38 PM
RE: IRRATIONAL [John Derbyshire]
Oh boy -- I just got to the bit where it goes "174939965143142980919065925093722..."
If this doesn't get your feet tapping, nothing will!
Posted at 04:33 PM
IRRATIONAL [John Derbyshire]
In celebration of Pi Day, I am sitting here listening to Ned Raggett's CD of himself reading the digits of pi.
It is... gripping.
Posted at 04:27 PM
NR ON THE STEROIDS HEARINGS [Rich Lowry]
Our take on the hearings and on Rep. Tom Davis is pretty harsh over on the home page...
Posted at 04:10 PM
LEBANON [Rich Lowry ]
That protest today should stiffen the resolve of those in the US government who got wobbly after the Hezbollah protest. Two longer-range issues we should be thinking about: 1) We'll have to get massive number of international election monitors in there, and not Jimmy Carter; 2) Someone is going to have to train and equip the Lebanese Army (and have to deal with the fact that it has been pretty extensively infiltrated). But this was a great day, and obviously puts more momentum behind the administration's policy of enforcing 1559.
Posted at 04:05 PM
TODAY'S PROTESTS ARE NOT ONLY IN BEIRUT [Cliff May]
From a Reuters story: "'We call on the Iraqi government to close all Arab embassies,' said a protestor in Baghdad's Shi'ite Sadr City district as others yelled 'No to Syria.'"
"Thousands of Iraqi Shi'ites protested on Monday after hearing reports that relatives of a Jordanian suicide bomber suspected of killing 125 people in the town of Hilla celebrated him as a martyr."
"After breaking into the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad and tearing down the flag, protesters called on all foreign Arabs to leave the country and denounced Jordan's King Abdullah.
"Anti-Jordanian sentiment has been spreading since Iraqis read newspaper reports that Jordan's Raid al-Banna blew himself up beside people lining up for jobs in the Shi'ite town of Hilla last month in the single bloodiest attack in postwar Iraq.
"Al Qaeda's wing in Iraq, led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the blast."
Posted at 03:48 PM
RE: CHRISTIANS AND MOURNING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email: "Funny thing, this week's Gospel was the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Before his miracle, Jesus wept over the death of Lazarus. Now if God Himself is going to weep over the death of one He loved, I find no problem with mourning over the death of Reagan or the Pope."
Posted at 03:32 PM
THE CHICOM DREAM PALACE [John Derbyshire]
Just been reading the press conference held by China's "Prime Minister" (elected by... nobody) Wen Jiabao following the session of the National People's Congress just ended.
Sad stuff. People I assume know what they are talking about tell me Wen is the best of the current crop of ChiCom leaders, a guy who can think out of the box. Not much evidence of it here. Nothing, in fact, but the same weary old cliches about China being a peace-loving, gentle nation, in whose mouth butter would not melt.
All the problems of the world are caused by others, mainly by their failing to acknowledge their own moral backwardness by comparison with the Middle Kingdom.
Tensions with Japan? Must be Japan's fault: "The fundamental problem is that Japan should correctly view history. ... take history as a mirror and face forward to the future. This year marks the 60th anniversary of China's victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45). This part of history reminds us of the untold sufferings the war brought to the people in China..." Also, of course, a by-product of U.S. meddling: "The security alliance between Japan and the United States is a bilateral matter between these two countries. Yet we are concerned in China because it is related to the question of Taiwan..."
The anti-secession law? Why, the people of Taiwan want to be united with the mainland: "We have enacted this law to give expression of the will of the entire Chinese people, including the 23 million compatriots in Taiwan, their will to safeguard national unity and territorial integrity and oppose secession of Taiwan from the country." In any case, the law really has nothing to do with force or intimidation: "This law is meant to strengthen and promote cross-Straits relations."
And always, always, that self-righteous, self-pitying whine: "In the recent hundred of years, China was subjected to bullying and humiliation. Yet till now our country has never sent a single soldier abroad to occupy an inch of foreign land." (Ask a Tibetan about that.)
You would never know, unless you looked at the past 56 years of Chinese history, that the smooth-taliing Mr. Wen is front man for a gang of lawless cutthroats.
Posted at 03:23 PM
CHRISTIANS AND MOURNING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Ross Douthat gently corrects Gregg Easterbrook.
Posted at 03:19 PM
NEGOTIATING WITH OURSELVES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonah, one of your correspondents seemed to be suggesting (if I'm reading him right) that George Will, you, and me are making any final deal worse by talking about tax increases of any size in a Social Security bill. An interesting point. I think it's reasonable to suggest that Senator Graham came out too early for this idea--Will sort of implies that he agrees with this criticism--but surely journalists of conservative disposition ought to be able to give assessments of various legislative compromises without facing the same political responsibilities as the people who will ultimately strike them. And in any case, our comments are far less important that those of Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert flatly rejecting any tax increase. I said earlier that I'm glad Will said what he did; I'm also glad DeLay and Hastert said what they did.
Posted at 03:15 PM
TWO TOTALITARIANISMS [Jonah Goldberg]
Excellent point from a reader:
Jonah, I think Zizek "falls off a cliff" a lot sooner than two-thirds of the way through his piece. Zizek points to the Stalinist show-trials' insistence on a trumped-up showing of "crimes" as the Communists' one Enlightenment-rooted saving grace. But the show-trials were not Stalinism's only abomination, or even the major one. Marxism has never had any problem in eliminating whole classes of undesirables, such as in the liquidation of the kulaks. There was never a showing that any of the millions shot or starved had actively opposed the Soviet state; their membership in an "enemy" class was all the Party needed to murder them. I don't see how this is any different from the Nazis' wholesale murder of the classes they perceived as enemies.
Me: I can see how it's different to murder based on class rather than ethnicity, I just don't see how it's "better."
Posted at 03:03 PM
RAISING THE CAP [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah (and Ramesh), Resisting the knee-jerk urge to knock you for being in favor of a tax increase -- any tax increase -- I'd like to ask you why you find the idea of raising the Social Security payroll tax cap to $162,000 more attractive than raising it on those who have truly large incomes (i.e., those making MORE THAN $162,000)? As someone who has been just over the payroll tax cap for the past 5 years or so, I can testify to the wonderful feeling in November and December, when the basic FICA deduction disappears from my paycheck and my family enjoys a "bonus" to help fund Christmas spending. I'm sure almost everyone making between $90,000 and $162,000 feels similarly -- we're not filthy rich, and the little added income at the end of the year is greatly appreciated. Instead, why not leave the tax cap where it currently is (with its built-in increases for the near future) and then have it kick back in at $175,000 or $200,000 and apply to all income above that amount? Wouldn't that generate a good bit of income, while affecting only those who most of us would agree qualify as truly high-income earners? Maybe there's a flaw in this argument, but I'm missing it.
Me: Well, what I favor is a complete zero-tax range which stops at one dollar below what I make any given year and kicks back in one dollar above what I make.
Actually, I'm sympathetic to the idea the reader offers and I agree with Ramesh. I liked Will's column because it understood that personal accounts is worth paying a bit extra for if it will get it passed into law. The exact amount of the tax bump is something I leave to others haggle about. I think Ramesh makes a strong point that this increase as a stand alone would be too high.
That said, I'd also propose a mega-billionaire tax to be levied solely on the super-duper rich guys who opposed repeal of the death tax because they "didn't need the money." Their names are on file in the New York Times op-ed data bank.
Posted at 03:00 PM
COOL! [Allison Hayward]
"His Peculiar Majesty Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia has joined the blogosphere, opining regularly on current events on his own web site."
Posted at 02:30 PM
THOSE PHOTOS [Meghan Cox Gurdon]
From Lebanon are the nicest thing I've seen since...well...the Iraqi elections. A real case of the camera trumping all spoken description.
Posted at 02:15 PM
BTW [K. J. Lopez]
There is a new Derb Radio up.
Posted at 02:08 PM
MILLION-YEN BABY [K. J. Lopez]
A Japanese town gives women money to have a third baby.
Posted at 02:05 PM
EPPUR SI MUOVE [ John Derbyshire]
So: The president of Harvard thinks that there might be intrinsic differences between men and women, and a NY Times Op-Ed contributor thinks there may be more to race than "social construction."
Coming up: A front-page article by the Washington Post science correspondent declaring that the earth does, in fact, go round the Sun!
Posted at 02:00 PM
"UH OH" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Not that I disagree with you and Ramesh, but when NRO staff and George Will are essentially debating the SIZE of the tax increase, and not whether we should have one AT ALL, then the inclusion of a tax increase in the social security reform package is a foregone conclusion.
Posted at 01:30 PM
RE: IRELAND'S YASSER ARAFAT [John Derbyshire]
Shannen: Indeed, recent British policy towards the IRA has been pusillanimous and self-deluding... though I doubt if the adjective "brilliant" could ever have been applied to any British policy towards Ireland since the two islands first became acquainted. For sure, the eagerness of the Major and Blair governments to sell Ulster Protestants down the river, all too apparent this past few years, has written another sad chapter in the long decline of British self-esteem.
It remains the case, however, that brave British men and women -- and some Irish ones, too -- were fighting and dying to defeat the IRA while Irish-American "useful idiots" like Peter King were funding and supporting it. Some things are hard to forget. There is still a street in New York City named (under the Koch administration) after an IRA terrorist.
Many of us -- including Mark Steyn -- were calling the IRA by its proper name long before 9/11. Nowadays we feel a bit like those "premature anti-fascists" Koestler wrote about.
Posted at 01:14 PM
RE: MODO ON WOMEN COLUMNISTS [K. J. Lopez]
Maureen Dowd, the castrator (read it yourself), was good enough to point out that Susan Estrich's LATimes ranting was insane, but MoDo didn't comment on the substance of Estrich's argument--that some of the women Kinsley has run simply don't count as women because they're conservatives.
Posted at 01:00 PM
THE SADDEST SENTENCE IN YESTERDAY'S TIMES [Meghan Cox Gurdon]
Had to be this statement of empowerment from a mother who hired a "parenting coach" to teach her how to handle her two boisterous boys: "I needed to find a way to say I really don't enjoy playing football all that much, I don't want to read Captain Underpants, I really don't want to look through your Lego catalogue."
Posted at 12:53 PM
JONAH IS WRONG [Ramesh Ponnuru]
to hint that I might be displeased by his liking George Will's column on raising taxes as part of Social Security reform. I liked it, too. I wouldn't oppose a modest tax increase as part of a package that, overall, cuts taxes, and I take personal accounts to be a kind of tax cut. But a few cautions are in order.
I take it that what Will has in mind is an increase in the payroll tax cap that causes people in a certain income range--he mentions the $90,000-$162,000 range--to pay an additional 12.4 percent tax on each dollar earned. (I'm counting the employer's share since it comes out of wages.) And I assume that Will would alter the rules so that the additional contributions do not result in additional benefits from Social Security. The whole point is to bring money into the system.
Caution number one is that this proposal is not a modest tax increase. When was the last time any president, Democrat or Republican, imposed a 12.4 percent marginal tax hike on any group of people? I think you'd have to go back at least 25 years.
Caution number two is that Will's calculation may turn out to be optimistic. "The tax increase from lifting the cap to $162,000 would be paid mostly by Republicans -- but also by the people most able to put substantial sums into the personal accounts that might become politically feasible only by raising the cap." That assumes that there's no limit on how much people can put in their accounts--and several proposals want to keep high-income people from investing "too much." It's highly unlikely they would come out ahead under Will's proposal.
If a modest tax hike buys enough Democrats to get a basically good bill through, it's worth it, and I'm glad to see Will thinking in this way. But I think the tax increase would have to be much smaller than the one Will suggests.
Posted at 12:43 PM
NOT YOUR FATHER'S NATIONAL REVIEW [K. J. Lopez]
When I posted about Michael Steel for Sarbanes seat on Friday, e-mails started coming in asking, "You mean from the Bangles?"
Posted at 12:38 PM
MOVEON.ORG'S MISSTATEMENTS [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Committee for Justice fisks MoveOn.Org's pro-filibuster propaganda.
Posted at 12:35 PM
THE MOTHER OF ALL DEMONSTRATIONS [Cliff May]
Some comments and pictures from FDD Senior Fellow Walid Phares:
A sea of demonstrators of at least 1.5 million, stretching to the Mediterranean.
According to most sources, more than a million and a half joined the demonstration. This would represent more than one third of Lebanon's population.
The other side of the demonstration.
Christian and Muslim women.
Sign saying: “We are two million demonstrators, without the “Brothers.” A hint at Hezbollah’s march last week, which included a third of Syrian workers.
Posted at 12:33 PM
BIG CROWDS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Nice to see the Lebanese opposition up the ante. Also the Journal has a good editorial today. They claim that many of the Hezbollah protesters were bused in from Damascus. It'd be nice if we could get that factoid nailed down.
Posted at 12:28 PM
JUST ABOUT THE ONLY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
critical word I've read about Jeffrey Sachs lately.
Posted at 12:21 PM
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF MY INBOX: YOU CAN’T WIN [K. J. Lopez]
These e-mails, very characteristic of what I get with every Schiavo post, came within minutes of one another:
Posted at 12:15 PM
AFTER ROE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email: "You are correct that overturning Roe would decrease the importance of the presidency to pro-life voters, but the opposite is true of the importance of the state officeholders. As long as Roe stands, the positions of my state legislators on abortion are almost completely irrelevant. My state can pass as many anti-abortion laws as it wants, and they'll all be instantly flattened by the Ad Hoc Nullification Machine that protects abortion.
"Remove Roe, and the states become the front lines in the battle to save the unborn. If the states were empowered to restrict abortion, there's just no way I could settle for a Christine Whitman."
That's a good point, but Whitman isn't a pro-choice moderate; she's a pro-choice extremist. Plenty of pro-lifers would be willing to vote for people who weren't 100 percent pro-life but were willing to make the law more just toward the unborn--and who would be able to do so in a post-Roe world. Because legislators would be actually legislating--and legislating compromises in most places--there would, I suspect, be less polarization.
Posted at 12:11 PM
COOL SCENE [K. J. Lopez]
From Beirut today:
(Via the Daily Star)
Posted at 12:09 PM
A RESPONSE TO MCCARTHY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Thanks for another stimulating post, Andy. A few things: First, you suggest, very reasonably, that the fact that the Democrats are gearing up to filibuster a Bush Supreme Court pick means that they don't think they'll pay a price for it. You might be right about that. But it's possible they are being driven by their left-wing base to behave irrationally--that is to say, that the party is currently configured in a way that makes it hard to pursue its actual interests. I think that there is some plausibility to this view in the age of chairman Howard Dean. They also pay no price if the mere threat of filibusters can get the Specters of the Republican party to make concessions; so there's no great reason for them to moderate now.
Second, I seem to have somehow created the impression that I am, or that I think Senate Republicans should be, more interested in increasing the number of Senate Republicans than in getting conservative judges confirmed. I'm with you, Andy, on the question of priorities. My argument has always been that we are likely to see Democratic filibusters at the Supreme Court level fail and that this failure will leave us better off on judicial issues than a rules change. You may disagree with that view--you have rather expertly gone about trying to pick it apart--but let's not forget the common ground we share.
But, what the heck, let me throw out a possibly provocative disagreement on a side-issue. You suggest that "character" and "competence" should be the chief issues that concern senators as they decide how to vote on judicial confirmation and that "ideology" is not "a proper basis for voting against a nominee." Now if what you mean by that is that it is improper to reject a nominee because he opposes (or supports) abortion or thinks the New Deal was socialistic, then I certainly agree. But if "ideology" refers here to views of the judicial function, then I think it is absolutely proper for senators to consider whether a nominee's view of it exceeds the courts' constitutional powers.
Posted at 12:06 PM
POSTMODERNISM AT MICROSOFT [John Derbyshire]
I just got an error message from a piece of MS software, saying the following:
---The program terminated while attempting to "read" a missing file.
I suppose the program in question was not aware that "files," missing or otherwise, don't really contain "text" or "code" with "meanings" that can be "read"...
Posted at 12:03 PM
DEBATE [Jonah Goldberg]
I hate posting third party events in the Corner because it encourages a deluge of press releases from P.R. types across the country. Nevertheless, some deserve it. For example:
I hope C-Span covers it.
Posted at 11:55 AM
"ALLEGED" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a lawyer reader:
Just to split hairs, I think perhaps the media use alleged criminal to mean not convicted and thus can't properly use the term murderer. Until convicted Brian Nichols is not a murderer, he is a killer. Killer being a factual statement, he shot three people who died as a direct result of being shot. Soldiers are killers, some policemen are killers, if I kill someone in defense of my life or another, I am a killer. a murder is an unlawful killing, so until a court and/or jury convicts a killer of committing murder, they are just a killer. I think I said this to you before, OJ is not a murderer, he may be a killer. Same would work if OJ had been convicted of murder but in fact had not killed anyone, he would still be a murderer until the conviction were overturned. I am probably given the media too much credit, they probably are using "alleged" to cover themselves in case of lawsuit by suspects in the event of their acquittal who could then sue for slander/libel for being called on tv or printed on-line or in a paper, a rapist, a murderer, etc.
Posted at 11:45 AM
RE: SANTORUM [Barbara Comstock]
When was the last time a Democrat from Pennsylvania was elected to a full term in the U.S. Senate?
(Courtesy of Jonathan Alter quiz)
Posted at 11:45 AM
RE: IRA [Shannen Coffin]
Ok, that's the second anti-Sinatra slur of the morning. It's an epidemic. On a more serious note, it is heartening to many Americans of Irish ancestry -- including this one -- that Gerry Adams got the boot this week from the White House. The legitimization of terrorist organizations like the IRA and the PLO over the last decade was one of the more detestable aspects of U.S. foreign policy. But as Mark Steyn properly pointed out in his syndicated column this morning, the Brits are as much to blame for that legitimization as anyone. But it is high time that we stopped glamorizing the thugs in Ireland simply because they supposedly practice the same religion as many of us in America. The days when Michael Collins tactics were thought necessary are long since gone, and the IRA should go with them.
Posted at 11:38 AM
MFUME TO ANNOUNCE SENATE RUN TODAY [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 11:27 AM
IRELAND'S YASSER ARAFAT [John Derbyshire]
The depravity of the so-called Irish Republican Army is now so apparent that even Ted Kennedy has noticed it!
Oh, it gets better -- I just read further: Even Rep. Peter King has noticed it!!!
Where were they when Gerry and his lads were blowing up Irish Protestants and London shoppers? Rattling the tin cup for Irish terrorists, that's where.
(Notice, by the way, that Rep. King still can't let go of his weasel words about Europe's most vicious and amoral terrorist gang. He says: "the IRA [have] made a series of poor decisions that had sparked anger in Irish-American circles." Translation: They are not bad people, just bad politicians. Rep. King is to the international terrorist movement what Frank Sinatra was to the Mafia.)
Posted at 11:26 AM
RICE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
She ruled out the prez race yesterday on the shows.
Posted at 11:22 AM
HACK WORK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
TNR also has a defense of Harry Reid's comment about Greenspan's being a "political hack." Its editors write: "Greenspan has also made a career of using his prestige to shill for Republican policies." He supported Reagan's budget plans in 1980, and the current president's tax cuts in 2001. Missing in TNR's account is Greenspan's support for President Clinton's tax hike in 1993, perhaps because it would complicate the picture.
Posted at 11:18 AM
“I BELIEVE GOD BROUGHT HIM TO MY DOOR” [K. J. Lopez]
What a [wonderful] woman Ashley Smith, who turned in Brian Nichols after being held hostage by him, seems to be.
Posted at 11:17 AM
WILL SUPREMES REVIEW PRYOR APPOINTMENT? [Jonathan H. Adler]
More speculation on whether the Supreme Court will review the constitutionality of the recess appointment here.
Posted at 11:17 AM
TRANSITION COSTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonathan Cohn's New Republic defense of the Democrats' fiscal record isn't online. At one point he writes that Republican entitlement reforms "don't even do a very good job of making the programs more affordable." He continues, "After all, it's the Republican plan for Social Security privatization that anticipates the federal government borrowing trillions of dollars in 'transition funds' in order to pay current beneficiaries while younger workers start their investment accounts. (Privatization advocates argue that these transition costs don't matter, because they merely force the government to take out a loan equal to the amount it already owes--as an implicit debt--to future retirees. But many economists worry that the bond markets will react much more harshly to this new, 'explicit' debt.)"
Cohn deserves credit for actually mentioning the reformers' argument on transition costs. But I think he's got an important detail wrong. Most reformers are talking about a package deal that includes both private accounts and cuts in future benefits. So they're not talking about taking out a loan equal to Social Security's implicit debt, but rather one much smaller than it. They are moving some costs forward while eliminating others--and it's entirely possible that the markets will react favorably to that combination.
Posted at 11:14 AM
RE: PARENTAL NOTIFICATION [K. J. Lopez]
I do wish this were true--of the ACLU, etc.; from the Rice interview:
"I am a strong proponent of parental notification. I am a strong proponent of a ban on late-term abortion. These are all things that I think unite people and I think that that's where we should be.
Posted at 11:13 AM
GEORGE P. BUSH ON TERRI SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
In the Dallas Morning News:
American society is about to enter dangerous territory, in which the slow-motion killing of a woman by her faithless husband will have been sanctioned by the court. After Terri's death, where will we draw the line between one's right to privacy and another's right to life? Are our legislatures to have no say in the matter?
Posted at 11:04 AM
PRESUMPTION OF GUILT [Jonah Goldberg]
A useful summary of what should be obvious but isn't, from a reader:
In law school, my Constitutional Law professor Akhil Amar frequently reminded us that the presumption of innocence is a courtroom presumption only. That is, before any evidence is introduced by the state, the jury in a criminal trial is bound to assume that the defendant is innocent. They are to to make no presumptions of guilt based on the fact that the defendant was arrested, indicted, and brought to trial. If the states presents no evidence, only the presumption of innocence is left, and the defendant must be aquitted.
Posted at 10:59 AM
CONDI RICE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
You may have seen the stories over the weekend noting 1) that she isn't ruling out a 2008 run and 2) that she describes herself as "mildly pro-choice." Number 2 won't be news to NR readers, although it will be to Dick Morris, who has been promoting her candidacy on the assumption that she's pro-life. For a lot of pro-lifers, being "mildly" for the slaughter of innocents is going to be a deal-breaker.
Every time I hear about one of these promising pro-choice Republican candidates, it strikes me that their chances would be much, much better if pro-lifers succeeded in overturning Roe. With Roe gone, having control of the presidency would matter a lot less to pro-lifers because appointing judges would matter less than electing legislators. A pro-choicer with restrictions such as Evan Bayh would have a better shot at the Democratic nomination, too. I don't believe the pundit CW that the end of Roe would be a disaster for pro-lifers. I do think we'd have a more moderate and less polarized politics.
Posted at 10:59 AM
NATIONAL LAW@PRINCETON [Stanley Kurtz]
For those Corner readers interested in natural law, there’s going to be a great summer seminar at Princeton that will get you in touch with academic stars like Hadley Arkes and Robert George. Here’s a link with info.
Posted at 10:55 AM
THE CURE WITHIN? [K. J. Lopez]
[O]ne researcher believes the best solution to Alzheimer's may lie closest to home: within the brain itself.
Posted at 10:53 AM
A CONSENSUS EMERGES [Jonah Goldberg]
Re: my post on Ms. Jews and the Harlem real estate boom. From a reader:
That was the dumbest post in the history of the internet.
Posted at 10:41 AM
"BRIAN NICHOLS, A SUSPECT IN A QUADRUPLE MURDER" [K. J. Lopez]
That, from a FoxNews.com story. We were a lot more certain of that during the all-day coverage on Friday, weren't we?
Posted at 10:41 AM
HE WAS TOO A MASS-MURDERER [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader complains:
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Me: There is much that I think is flat-out wrong here. But the point about the Ethiopians is fair (as is the general point that Mussolini's "will was ill").
But, I would argue that the invasion of Ethiopia had less to do with Fascism and more to do with old-fashioned European colonialism. When we discuss Fascists as mass-murderers -- or at least when we do it in the context of that "Two Totalitarianisms" piece -- we're usually referring to domestic genocide and the like rather than wars of conquest. It was not Mussolini's goal to put Ethiopians in camps, it was to give the gift of Italian civilization to them.
Or at least in part.
Which brings me to where I think the reader is wrong. The Fascist Party in Italy did not get stronger in the 1930s, it got weaker (When Mussolini was strongest, it was Fascist Italy which prevented Hitler from annexing Austria). This weakness was why Mussolini felt he needed the Ethiopian adventure in the first place -- to bolster his flagging regime. Similarly, the anti-Jewish laws -- while terrible -- were imposed because Mussolini became increasingly dependent on Hitler's support to stay in power. It should also be said that the anti-Jewish laws were never enforced with anything like German gusto and the real bad news for Jews came when the Italian Fascist regime crumbled and the Nazis essentially took over Italy. For more on this, you'll just have to wait for my book.
Posted at 10:40 AM
A RELATIVELY NEW [K. J. Lopez]
military blogger from Baghdad.
Posted at 10:38 AM
AP ON BEIRUT RALLY [K. J. Lopez ]
Hundreds of thousands of opposition demonstrators chanted "Freedom, sovereignty, independence" and unfurled a huge Lebanese flag in Beirut on Monday, the biggest protest yet in the opposition's duel of street rallies with supporters of the Damascus-backed government.
Posted at 10:19 AM
RE: LUCAS BASHING, ETC. [Shannen Coffin]
Alright, Rick, now you're playing with fire. It's one thing to insult Star Wars. There are enough people out there to defend it that I need not step in. But in doing so, do you really have to take a shot at "Robin and the Seven Hoods"? A flick with Sammy, Frank, Dino AND Bing. Come on. Lighten up. Enjoy the music. It was meant to be campy. A thoroughly enjoyable ride.
Posted at 10:13 AM
"INDIGESTABLE" [John J. Miller]
My obituary for John Barron of Reader's Digest appears on the main NRO site today. Three years ago, I wrote a story for NRODT on the rapid decline of Reader's Digest from America's greatest magazine to yet another grocery-store publication of zero significance.
Posted at 10:12 AM
WHAT ARE THE ODDS [K. J. Lopez]
A Nobel Peace Prize for Sistani? (This is the petition.)
Posted at 10:07 AM
THE WASHINGTON POST, BEHIND THE CURVE [Roger Clegg]
In its “Outlook” section yesterday, The Washington Post had a piece that began with a discussion of hammer-and-sickle chic, but this ground was covered weeks ago—and much better—by “The Corner,” so there.
Posted at 10:06 AM
NYTIMES OP-ED PAGE [Charles Murray]
I went on record in The Corner when David Shipley became editor of the New York Times op ed page that under his supervision it would be fair-minded and open to all points of view. Take a look at today's op ed on Armand Leroi as an example. Anyone care to nominate any other major op ed page in the country that would have printed this piece? Maybe the WSJ, but that's about it. And this comes about six weeks after the Sunday page had two op eds on the same day about the Summers flap at Harvard--both coming down on Summers' side. Granted, you have to ignore the in-house people (Brooks excepted) who take up a lot of room. But otherwise it has become most intellectually diverse op ed page in the country.
Posted at 10:05 AM
SCHIAVO BILL [K. J. Lopez]
Bill Frist, according to the Washington Times, wants to bypass committee hearings and put it on the floor Wed. Terri Schiavo's starvation is set to begin Friday.
Posted at 09:51 AM
BAD TIMES [K. J. Lopez]
China's top legislative body has approved a resolution that authorizes Beijing to use military force to prevent Taiwan from declaring its independence.
Posted at 09:45 AM
NIMIETY [K. J. Lopez]
Dictionary.com's word of the day comes from NR.
Posted at 09:45 AM
"DON'T YOU KNOW I NEED TO EAT?" [K. J. Lopez]
This woman has a very personal reason to raise her voice for Terri Schiavo:
Kate Adamson is the mother of two who suffered a double brain stem stroke and was in a coma for 70 days. She was completely unresponsive to stimuli and was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state. Doctors finally pulled her feeding tube and, for eight days, she lay dying. Instead of being unconscious as the doctors believed she was aware of everything....
Posted at 09:44 AM
MANSFIELD'S THE MAN [Stanley Kurtz]
Harvey Mansfield has got a book forthcoming on manliness. If this excerpt on Teddy Roosevelt is any indication, it’s going to be tremendous. In 2001, in “Harvard’s Book Problem, and Ours,” I noted that Harvard University Press had turned down Mansfield’s proposal for a book on manliness for fear that it would be anti-feminist. Mansfield’s manliness book will be published by Yale University Press. Harvard’s shameful conduct here is proof, if any was needed, that the problems don’t end with Larry Summers. But don’t let the publication controversy overshadow the book itself. This essay is Mansfield at his best, studded with insights from start to finish.
Posted at 09:38 AM
FRED ON EVOLUTION [John Derbyshire]
Several readers have sent me Fred Reed's rumination on evolution (go look for the March 7 column), which I had anyway read -- I am a great Fred fan. Fred & I have been exchanging occasional emails for a few years, and are basically simpatico -- he knows a surprising amount of math.
What did I think of the March 7 column? Well, I think the answers to some of Fred's questions are rather obvious. E.g.: Why are so many biologists reluctant to say "I don't know" when they don't know the answer to a question? Because they are members of the human race, that's why. Who among us is *not* so reluctant? (Not anti-evolutionists, for sure!)
Where Fred raises actual technical questions about the processes of evolution, they are ones that have been dealt with many, many times over, in books and on websites that are easy to find. This website is particularly good & well organized. I have started just sending the link for it in response to people who harass me with 2,000-word screeds about abiogenesis, frog proteins, or color vision. It's all there, with plentiful references for further reading.
Posted at 09:34 AM
IS IT BECAUSE I'M A LESBIAN? UPDATE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 09:20 AM
IT'S OKAY TO BLAME JEWS! [Jonah Goldberg ]
A much coveted NRO no-prize to the person who can predict where I'm going with this post without reading further. No takers? Okay, let's move on.
Yesterday's Washington Post had an interesting story about the real estate boom in Harlem. Gentrification is forcing renters out of their homes, etc etc.
The black community is somewhat split on the influx of money -- and whites -- into the neighborhood. Gentrification helps the black middle class, hurts low income residents. Again, etc etc etc.
One African-American buisnesswoman is delighted by the rapid growth in property values, and not just because it helps her bottom line. The owner of a fluorishing art gallery explains, "I grew up in South Bend, Indiana, hearing stories of the Harlem Renaissance -- it represents the beauty of my people," she said. "This is Harlem," she added. "This is what Harlem was."
Her name: Martha Reeves Jews.
That's right. Ms. Jews is pushing the bourgeoisification of Harlem.
Al Sharpton should seize on this right away. All of that hullabaloo about him blaming the profit-hungry Jews for ruining Harlem was a misunderstanding! He was talking about the Jews not "the Jews." Shweeooo.
Posted at 09:15 AM
STOCK UP FOR SPRING BREAK SEX [K. J. Lopez]
University of Wisconsin-Madison encourages students to pack emergency contraception.
Posted at 09:08 AM
TWO TOTALITARIANISMS CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
Good point, from a reader:
This is also transparently false, in fact may be the opposite of the truth: "Class antagonism, unlike racial difference and conflict, is absolutely inherent to and constitutive of the social field; Fascism displaces this essential antagonism."
Posted at 09:04 AM
ANTHRAX-ATTACKED POSTAL FACILITY IN N.J. RE-OPENS [K. J. Lopez]
after 3 1/2 years.
Posted at 08:57 AM
A SUDANESE “LOST BOY” RAPS ABOUT HIS HOMELAND [K. J. Lopez ]
"Our God, we will praise, Oh my God, I can't wait for the day when my people will be free in the land, I can't wait."
Posted at 08:51 AM
SEC. NORTON ON ANWR [Jonathan H. Adler]
Interior Secretary Gale Norton defends drilling in ANWR in today's NYT.
Posted at 08:47 AM
"EQUALITY" AIDED ESCAPEE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Ted Frank suggests that the nation's obsession with equality helped loose the Atlanta courthouse killer. Specifically, the watering-down of size and strength requirements left this thug in the care of a small, older female deputy who was easily overpowered.
Posted at 08:44 AM
DASCHLE DOES K STREET [Jonathan H. Adler]
I suppose it should be no surprise that Tom Daschle has signed up with a K-Street firm.
Posted at 08:39 AM
DEFENDING THE BANKRUPTCY BILL [Jonathan H. Adler]
Most of the blogosphere -- left and right -- seems intent on criticizing the bankruptcy reform legislation. Not Todd Zywicki. My former professor has several posts defending the bill -- and exploding myths of reform opponents -- here, here and here.
Posted at 08:36 AM
SPEAKING OF LUCAS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jason Apuzzo critiques George Lucas's critics (Rick excepted) here . (This follows on an earlier Lucas-ROTS post here.)
Posted at 08:34 AM
“TERRI'S HUSBAND SHOULD SIGN THE CARE OF HIS WIFE OVER TO HER PARENTS SO SHE CAN BE PROPERLY CARED FOR." [K. J. Lopez ]
Mel Gibson adds his name to the effort to save Terri Schiavo, in a brief statement, he gets to the heart of it.
Posted at 08:34 AM
MORE GEORGE LUCAS [Rick Brookhiser]
Jonah, I want to throw in a few more things as grist for your mill.
I saw Star Wars on its first run, and enjoyed it. I saw the Empire Strikes Back, and did not enjoy it. Check out moment: the Numinous Negro basso profundo of Darth Vader saying, Luuuke--I yam your fawther. Junk on stilts.
Then I saw Star Wars when it was re-released some years ago. The bar scene is funny. Harrison Ford was a star being born. It was fun watching Alec Guinness (did I get the right Brit? it wasn't Gielgud, was it?) walk through a part without trying, though that is a decadent pleasure--art should not be made for the sniggers of critics.
The rest of it? Utterly awful. Lame lines, terrible music, synthetic story. Why was it no surprise that Lucas admired Joseph Campbell? One may be inspired by specific stories--but by a theory of stories?
Someone is sure to say that Star Wars was a pop culture trope of Reaganism. Ronald Reagan had read Witness, and been threatened by commie union goons. He was much more serious than that.
I'm not averse to the relevant genres. I admire the Lord of the Rings (the book), and I enjoyed Star Trek (the first TV show, and most of the movies). I'm not a snob. I don't defer to the great names unless they earn it. I recently read Shelly's The Triumph of Life, and Keats's Hyperion and the Fall of Hyperion: three incomplete works by great poets, trying to create new mythologies; the Triumph of Life is an atheist's vision of hell; the Hyperion poems try to make an epic out of the fall of the Titans. Despite much glorious writing, I found myself thinking of Poe, Lovecraft and Hammer films. These are not compliments. Keats's and Shelley's imaginations did not match their talents or their intellects.
I am, finally, not in awe of the preceding era of movies. I remember the first time I saw a Rat Pack movie--not Oceans 11, but something about gangsters in Chicago. Sammy Davis and Dean Martin were very talented, and Frank Sinatra was probably a genius. But this movie was so corrupt it glowed. It was excrement you would not put in the compost.
But--George Lucas made a hugely successful piece of rubbish. Steven Spielberg, in his wittier way, has made many more. And we have all suffered. Thought experiment: post-Lucas, post-Spielberg: Could Lawrence of Arabia be made today?
Posted at 08:00 AM
RE: CNN OBJECTIVITY [K. J. Lopez]
Or, for goodness sake, as Jonah noted fairly recently, Lou Dobbs, who's on opposite Brit Hume is one hour-long Dobbs's opinion hour, in no way comparable to what Hume does.
Posted at 07:54 AM
UAW [K. J. Lopez ]
Posted at 07:53 AM
READING ASSAD [K. J. Lopez]
Whether Assad is a decision-maker or merely a frontman, who rules Syria matters. The choices the government makes will be crucial in determining the fate of Lebanon, where Syria has begun withdrawing about 15,000 troops, and Iraq, some of whose insurgents have found sanctuary in Syria. Israeli and Palestinian hopes for peace could also be dashed by Syria, which has given refuge to leaders of Palestinian militant groups. Former secretary of State Henry Kissinger once remarked, “You can't make war in the Middle East without Egypt, and you can't make peace without Syria.”
Posted at 07:51 AM
THE GREATEST ENEMY OF MANKIND [K. J. Lopez ]
Joshua Livestro e-mails:
Here’s a link to an interestng story (it’s in Dutch, so don’t even bother trying to read it, but I include a translation of the main sections below). This guy, Harald Doornbos, was working in Iraq as an embedded journalist for a small Dutch newspaper. He happened to be sitting next to Giuliana Sgrena on the plane to Baghdad. He describes a conversation he had with her and two other female Italian journalists heading for Iraq. Here’s a translation of the main sections:
Posted at 07:49 AM
CNN, THE OASIS OF OBJECTIVITY? [Tim Graham]
Permit me to start with an unsurprising complaint: Howard Kurtz almost never notices any research the Media Research Center does. Shocking, I know. (Last Monday, he publicized the latest Media Matters attack on a Boston Globe technology writer, Hiawatha Bray, after about six stories on the Media Matters-induced kerfuffle of "Gannongate.") Today he publicizes a study by the "Project for Excellence in Journalism," run by former Los Angeles Times media reporter Tom Rosenstiel, whose results we can only sum up as utterly unserious.
The story's big picture: in covering the Iraq war last year, 73 percent of the stories on Fox News included the opinions of the anchors and journalist reporting them, compared to 29 percent of the war reports on MSNBC and 2 percent on CNN. So Fox is 35 times more likely to spout opinions than CNN. Don't buy it.
But here's where it gets really silly: "Among news-oriented evening shows, journalist opinions were voiced in 70 percent of the stories on Fox's "Special Report with Brit Hume"...9 percent on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and 9 percent on CNN's "Newsnight with Aaron Brown." Anyone who's ever watched Olbermann sneer and Aaron Brown pontificate would be shocked to consider they're much less opinionated than Brit Hume. These numbers betray an awful lot of opinion in deciding what's opinion. Howard Kurtz is being a stenographer today, failing to ask any skeptical questions at all. He can't even tell us what the study periods are for these numbers. Is it the whole year? Or is itty-bitty pieces of a year, selected at random? The Post reader has no idea from the Kurtz story.
Posted at 07:49 AM
NPR ALUM VS. BUSH [Tim Graham]
Bob Edwards, for decades the host of NPR's "Morning Edition," is out making wacky comments in his home state of Kentucky. In a speech, he warned that the United States is in a period like the McCarthy era of the 1950s, in which the government is stifling political dissent while the news media and the public fail to speak out in vigorous opposition. Speaking at Centre College in Danville, Edwards said the "Bush administration holds reporters in contempt" and has become the "all-time champion of information control." Compared to what? To which totalitarian regime?
There is a very serious line coming out of the left now (see journalism prof Jay Rosen) that the White House is out to "de-certify" the press. That's of course, not literal -- they haven't cut up everyone's press credentials and told them go home -- it's just dramatic, like a brat's fit. (That's not counting CBS trying really hard to de-certify itself as a serious news outlet.) After trying to pound the innards out of Bush last year, the liberal media establishment would now have us believe that his current successes only prove his Kung Fu grip on the press's throat. Ridiculous.
Posted at 07:49 AM
WHOA—NEW AOL RULES [K. J. Lopez ]
Is AOL looking to drive folks into the arms of MSN?
Posted at 07:42 AM
HUH? CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg ]
The cunning realist responds..
He defines conservatism largely by what it means to him, which is to say how he "feels" about it. There's lots of righteous melancholy about NR and how -- yawn -- it has strayed. Since this is a red-herring on his part, let me just quickly respond by saying his comments about NR are A) fact free B) unsupported by a single quote or example C) a complete distraction and D) more than a little goofy.
In general, he seems to be lamenting -- again, sans evidence -- that conservatism isn't as ideologically disciplined as he is or as he would like it to be. Read closely and you will see that I am inconsistent in my conservatism because he disagrees with what I say. Period. He does all this, he says, because he wants to avoid "endless debate" about the nature of conservatism. Okay, but who doesn't? All I was asking for was the slightest bit of evidence to support his original post. He dodged that basic obligation -- twice.
Indeed, there's no attempt to defend how my comments were the "antithesis of Conservative ideology" -- save for the fact that he really didn't like them and therefore they must be the "antithesis of Conservative ideology." For he is the thesis. For the record, any decent liberal could say without fear of intelligent contradiction that declaring guilt before proving it is the anti-thesis of liberal ideology as well. This should have been a good sign to this guy that he was merely blogging gassily.
There is some more table-thumping about the rule of law and the like. That's all nice. I've written thousands of words on the rule of law. Sadly, there's no effort to justify his outrageous reference to finding a tall tree at Stone Mountain -- the site of annual KKK rallies -- as the logical conclusion to my position. Shame on him for that.
I like the rule of law. I just don't think this guy has demonstrated otherwise. It's a red-herring. Unable to grasp that my original post was designed to make a point about the death penalty, he thinks my efforts to stipulate Nichol's guilt for the purposes of making that point are the real scandal. Shabby reading on his part.
And he sums up with some shabby writing:
I am mindful of the cunning realist's gaze, but let me just say underneath his all seeing eye: balderdash. Again, nothing this guy has written -- that I've read -- inclines me to consider him particularly informed let alone authoritative on what is or is not conservative. As I've written this sort of thing before about the death penalty I am not being inconsistent with myself or with what I believe to be conservative principles. But all that's neither here nor there. Let's grant him level 17 conservative neuromancer status and let's imagine for argument's sake that I've been inconsistent in some way but his dog ate the evidence.
Does he honestly think I am supposed to write what I don't believe for the sake of movement principles? Does he think I should analyze events and come to a conclusion and then -- if it doesn't meet with the conservative checklist -- I should say the opposite? If he really knew anything about NR, or even the Corner, he'd understand that we try very hard not to practice Popular Front conservatism here. Evidence is NR's principled editorial opposition to most of Bush's domestic agenda (a point Andrew Sullivan, Ryan Sager and many others have missed as well). People read the Corner because of my endless string of timewasters (take that K-Lo). But they also enjoy it for the sense that everyone is trying to think through things on their merits. I would much rather be accused of intellectual honesty at the expense of conservative talking points than of fidelity to conservative talking points at the expense of intellectual honesty. Apparently the cunning realist sees things the other way around.
Posted at 07:39 AM
LEBANON, SYRIA, HEZBOLLAH [K. J. Lopez]
Walid Phares e-mails:
1. As of 3 PM (Beirut time) Monday, a massive anti-Syrian demonstration will be taking place in downtown Beirut. In response to last week's Hizbollah march, the growing democratic opposition has mobilized a large segment of Lebanon's civil society for a showdown with the Syrian occupation.
Posted at 07:15 AM
"THE TWO TOTALITARIANISMS" [Jonah Goldberg ]
It is a common -- and deservedly so -- complaint around these parts that Communism gets something of a free pass for its atrocities and systemized horror while Nazism does not. I don't know any conservatives who aren't perfectly comfortable demonizing, stigmatizing and otherwise de-legitimizing Nazism but we tend to object to the idea that Communism should be treated as somehow hip or cool or a mistake-that-went wrong. Anne Applebaum in recent years has led the charge on this front.
Very rarely do you find a good attempt to respond to it from the left. I really thought this might be the best short rebuttal attempted so far (Link via Arts and Letters Daily). I think I was right until about two-thirds the way through where it then falls off a cliff.
Slavoj Zizek offers some very interesting insights and opinions on the fundamental differences between Communism and Fascism. For example, he writes:
Till now, to put it straightforwardly, Stalinism hasn’t been rejected in the same way as Nazism. We are fully aware of its monstrous aspects, but still find Ostalgie acceptable: you can make Goodbye Lenin!, but Goodbye Hitler! is unthinkable. Why? To take another example: in Germany, many CDs featuring old East German Revolutionary and Party songs, from ‘Stalin, Freund, Genosse’ to ‘Die Partei hat immer Recht’, are easy to find. You would have to look rather harder for a collection of Nazi songs. Even at this anecdotal level, the difference between the Nazi and Stalinist universes is clear, just as it is when we recall that in the Stalinist show trials, the accused had publicly to confess his crimes and give an account of how he came to commit them, whereas the Nazis would never have required a Jew to confess that he was involved in a Jewish plot against the German nation. The reason is clear. Stalinism conceived itself as part of the Enlightenment tradition, according to which, truth being accessible to any rational man, no matter how depraved, everyone must be regarded as responsible for his crimes. But for the Nazis the guilt of the Jews was a fact of their biological constitution: there was no need to prove they were guilty, since they were guilty by virtue of being Jews.
But after an interesting discussion about this and other things he throws in this conclusion:
It is here that one has to make a choice. The ‘pure’ [European] liberal attitude towards Leftist and Rightist ‘totalitarianism’ – that they are both bad, based on the intolerance of political and other differences, the rejection of democratic and humanist values etc – is a priori false. It is necessary to take sides and proclaim Fascism fundamentally ‘worse’ than Communism. The alternative, the notion that it is even possible to compare rationally the two totalitarianisms, tends to produce the conclusion – explicit or implicit – that Fascism was the lesser evil, an understandable reaction to the Communist threat. When, in September 2003, Silvio Berlusconi provoked a violent outcry with his observation that Mussolini, unlike Hitler, Stalin or Saddam Hussein, never killed anyone, the true scandal was that, far from being an expression of Berlusconi’s idiosyncrasy, his statement was part of an ongoing project to change the terms of a postwar European identity hitherto based on anti-Fascist unity. That is the proper context in which to understand the European conservatives’ call for the prohibition of Communist symbols.
Two problems with this conclusion. First, he shouldn't have thrown Mussolini into this discussion at the end because it reveals his real agenda. Scholars are deeply split on the question of whether Italian Fascism and Nazism were really the same phenomena at all. To chuck Mussolini in there so glibly as a morally equivalent stand-in for Hitler is sleight-of-hand. Second, while Berlusconi was exaggerating, he was not lying (you can only exaggerate the truth). Mussolini wasn't a mass-murderer, let alone a genocidal dictator like Stalin, Hitler or Hussein.
Which brings us to the final point. By saying Berlusconi's "true scandal" was telling the truth, more or less, we can see where the author is really coming from. Zizek offered no evidence or even really any discussion at all to support his conclusion that there's an effort to undermine an identity rooted in Europe's "anti-Fascist unity." (How strong can that identity be if Europeans are so soft on the heirs to real Fascism today, but hold their oompah dances in the street to protest posters of George W. Bush in a Hitler mustache?). Instead he simply says we must choose which perspective is better based on the consequences of the choice. In this case, Zizek thinks losing the organizing myth of European anti-Fascism is to great a sacrifice. In other words, he thinks the "true" scandal of Berlusconi's statements was that Berlusconi uttered them at all, not that they were or were not true. This, itself, is a show trial mentality. To denounce the truth for the political consequences the truth will bring is a pretty good description of the original Communist version of political correctness.
Anyway, the piece is worth reading, even after it goes off the rails.
Posted at 06:58 AM
LAST POST OF YESTERDAY... [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 06:19 AM
Sunday, March 13, 2005
AND YOU THOUGHT BEING A FLACK IN WASHINGTON WAS TOUGH [Cliff May]
“When Iraqi government officials released new photographs of Mr. Zarqawi on Monday, [Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia] quickly responded with an explanation: the Americans had obtained them after killing a member of its ‘press department’ in Falluja.”
The rest of this interesting article (from The New York Times, on jihadis’ use of the web) is here.
Posted at 07:35 PM
RE: IN RESPONSE [Andy McCarthy]
Ramesh, on the matter of despair, you are missing my point. Far from cosmically pessimistic, I think I am spoiling for this fight more than you are. I just don’t want to underestimate what we are up against, which I fear you are doing. I also think you are miscalculating what makes good politics for the Democrats because you are incorrectly assuming that Republicans and Democrats have the same goals.
You concede that we don’t have unambiguous data to draw on regarding the politics of filibusters and say that you must therefore try “to make sense of what evidence we have.” I agree with that – but to do it, you have to try to make sense of all the evidence we have. You, instead, have mined what works in your favor: namely, that some Republicans in some red states have raised the filibusters to some unquantifiable but positive effect, and (more speculatively) that confirmations may be tied up with other social issues on which the GOP has gotten the electoral upper hand. I don’t disagree that this is relevant, nor do I question your excellent reporting on it.
But you are still skipping past the elephant (or, I suppose, the donkey) in the middle of the room: the Democrats promise to continue filibustering. That is a more salient fact than the ones from which you’re inferring that filibusters are hurting the Democrats. Unless you think the opposition is irrational, it should be a nearly dispositive fact. As it happens, they are far from irrational: they are doing what makes perfect sense for them to do.
You would be unassailably right here if everyone’s endgame were gaining a hammer-lock on the congress. But Democrats – being years away from any hope of that – are not primarily animated by that concern. They care most about what is possible for them in the here and now: control of the courts. This is smart. The more tyrannical the courts are, the less democracy there is, and the more control of the courts rather than control of congress is the determinant of real power. If you and the GOP leadership believe locking down a permanent legislative majority in the next few cycles is where the politics is at, I suggest – and I say this with the greatest respect – that you have your eyes on the wrong ball.
While the GOP homes in on that project, the Democrats are focused on changing norms. Thus it is that, despite increasing GOP margins in the last decade-plus, we have devolved steadily from a time when character/competence was the principal issue in judicial confirmations, to general acceptance of the notion that ideology is a proper basis for voting against a nominee, to the new norm that ideology is in fact a proper basis for blocking a nominee from even getting a vote.
Given that Democrats are much less inclined to democracy, sovereignty and tradition than we are, it makes eminent sense for them to do this. They have no current chance of becoming a majority; but they have a very good chance, if they stay the course, of either forcing President Bush to appoint non-conservatives who might impose Democratic preferences, or creating a backlog of vacancies that might eventually be filled by a Democratic president after 2008. That’s what’s important to their backers, that’s why the filibusters are good politics for them, and that’s why they are not going to stop, especially for a Supreme Court nomination.
For us, the endgame here is to get originalists on the bench – right now, when the openings are there (and emerging), when President Bush is at the height of his power, and when we are at a tipping point in the ideological composition of the federal courts. That will require defeating the filibusters, which I don’t think can be done in the short term (i.e., when we need it to be done) without the nuclear option.
My way, we take it head-on, endure the inevitable heat, end up with real democracy and a bunch of good judges, but probably lose parts of the President’s agenda – regrettable, but not as significant as winning on the judges. Your way, maybe the President can get some Democratic cooperation on the rest of the agenda, but I’m afraid we won’t get the good judges – at least not now. We’ll get the political issue that the Democrats are obstructionists, which might (or might not) help pick up a few seats in congress in 2006 and 2008, but almost certainly won’t garner the working majority of 60 that, thanks to the new norm (which will grow more accepted if not challenged), is now necessary to get nominees confirmed. Worse, in the meantime, we will have either unfilled judicial slots (which necessarily means many more big cases decided by unbalanced federal appellate courts tilted to the activist Left) or those slots filled by confirmable, “moderate” judges (rather than Scalias) who, we empirically know, trend Left and anti-democratic over time and will sit on the bench for the next quarter-century or more.
Finally, I give ground to you on Ashcroft. That AG was a high-ranking national security position does not change the fact that, as you correctly maintain, Ashcroft’s nomination did not play out in those terms. Gonzales is the better case for me on this point – because his confirmation was both after 9/11 and after the Democrats changed the norms on filibusters.
As for the rest of what we’ve discussed, I hope you’re right and I’m wrong.
Posted at 07:31 PM
MAYBE RAMESH & LARRY KUDLOW WON'T NOTICE... [Jonah Goldberg]
If I say this on a Sunday afternoon: I liked George Will's column.
Posted at 04:30 PM
THANK GOODNESS FOR THE INTERNET [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm no James Wolcott, but I know quality awfulness when I see it. A fantastically bad band.
Posted at 04:06 PM
SHARE A BUNKBED FOR ECONOMIC LIBERTY [Jonah Goldberg]
Sleep in a three tier bunkbed with dudes who favor tax cuts.
Posted at 11:33 AM
FAREWELL TO MAJOR TAMMES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Instapundit's Afghan photo correspondent is hanging up his camera. Glenn's got a nice farewell montage as well.
Posted at 10:51 AM
WHO IS BLACK? [Jonah Goldberg]
Note: These links are backwards, but I'm running out the door so you can figure it out.
Posted at 06:34 AM
HEH [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 06:13 AM