THE NYTIMES, NATCH, [K. J. Lopez]
took a very different message from the pope's final days than I did; from their editorial:
The death of Pope John Paul II came at a time when Americans have been engaged in an unusual moment of national reflection about mortality. The long, bitter fight over the unknowing Terri Schiavo was a stark contrast to the passing of this pontiff, whose own mind was keenly aware of the gradual failure of his body. The pope would certainly never have wanted his own end to be a lesson in the transcendent importance of allowing humans to choose their own manner of death. But to some of us, that was the exact message of his dignified departure.
Posted at 11:05 PM
CHRIS MATTHEWS, BTW, [K. J. Lopez]
only got worse as the night wore on. I will avoid MSNBC during the coming days, to spare you and maybe my soul (from another black mark, anyway).
Posted at 10:50 PM
THERE GOES THAT FR. MCBRIEN AGAIN [K. J. Lopez ]
I just got chastised by my favorite Notre Dame professor for “conviently” forgetting that the pope condemned the war in Iraq—on a canned piece on ABC, he snidely noted “conservatives” selective memories re: PJPII, because we dig his sex talk (abortion, etc.) but ignore his war scolds. I’ve of course been hearing this all day, that the pope adamantly disagreed with President Bush over Iraq, that he believed it to be an unjust war. Not so, though. We’ve been through this before in The Corner. I refer you to a Peter Robinson-driven thread from December. The pope never condemned the war in Iraq. He said peace is a good thing. He said war should be a last resort. As any reasonable person would expect him to. He did not say, President Bush, you’re wrong. (More Corner on this point here and here.)
Posted at 10:40 PM
SOME OF PJPII'S FAVORITE [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 10:39 PM
IF YOU NEED A COUNTER TO "NEWS" CROWING ABOUT PJPII'S BACKWARD THINKING ON WOMEN [K. J. Lopez]
Read the man himself on the dignity and vocation of women. As Kate mentioned yesterday, he was a man who lost his mother at a young age and probably because of that early absence, had a deep devotion to Mary, a special appreciation for women, the importance of femininity (as a gift), and the vocation of motherhood, women and nurturers of life. And, of course, his "new feminism" talk.
Here's a list of cool links. Here's Fr. Neuhaus in NR.
Posted at 09:39 PM
TEACHING THROUGH HIS LAST DAYS [K. J. Lopez ]
Much has been and will be said about Pope John Paul’s most recent silent teaching—his lessons from his example of his own suffering: How to live, how to die. To respect all human life, even when sickly. I think also when you realize that he did not go to the hospital this week it was another specific lesson by example--and a striking one this week of all weeks. He took his antibiotics, he had a feeding tube, and had doctors on hand treating him, but his situation was grave and he didn’t opt for any extra (read: extraordinary?) care that, perhaps, might have given him a few more days. We’re not to be absolutists, but realists who are called to be protectors of this amazing gift we’ve been given—human life.
Posted at 09:18 PM
RE: EVANGELICALS AND THE POPE [K. J. Lopez]
That's a great point, Ramesh. And, I think the president's committment to a "culture of life" (however much Anna Quindlen hates the phrase) is a rich tribute. We'll keep reading and hearing that the pope lost Americans on sexuality/abortion/etc. but seems it would seem not as much as some in the media and among the more, ahem, "open-minded" in the Catholic Church would prefer.
Posted at 08:48 PM
JPII [Shannen Coffin]
I have struggled all day with what to say, whether to write a column or just remain silent. The words are all being spoken by others more eloquent than I. But for many, we have lost a spiritual father. In my case, three quarters of my life has been spent at the feet of John Paul II. I was a pre-teen when he was chosen to shepard the Church, and I remember little of his predecessors, just childhood snapshots. I had the good fortune of being in an audience with him at Xavier University in New Orleans in 1987, along with 500 or so others. Also in his earlier appearance at the Super Dome, which was rocking more than any Super Bowl ever played there. His commitment to faith was inspirational to billions of people. And his commitment to the protection of life was unparalled. I have little worries of what will happen next for him. But for me and for the Church, I pray that we have the wisdom to find a successor as marvelous as he. Rest in the peace of Christ, Karol Wojtyla.
Posted at 08:44 PM
EVANGELICALS AND THE POPE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I keep getting press releases over email from evangelical congressmen mourning the death of John Paul II. Their praise is not just a tribute to the way he, to borrow the unfortunate phrase I've heard twice now on tv, "transcended his religion." It is evidence of how the political struggle over abortion has reconfigured American religion, making possible first joint political action and then joint theological reflection that would have been unimaginable before.
Posted at 08:30 PM
THESE POOR PEOPLE [K. J. Lopez]
Terri Schiavo's remains were cremated today, despite her parents pleading that her body be buried.
What a gracious statement that family made on the day of her death. God bless them.
Posted at 07:38 PM
AND THE VATICAN WEBSITE [K. J. Lopez]
has up a tour of his papacy, with audio and texts.
Posted at 07:26 PM
ON THE PAPAL VACANCY [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 07:24 PM
JP2: A REMEMBRANCE (OF SORTS) [Cliff May]
“El Papa Viene!” That was the headline in the local newspapers about a quarter century ago when a new and very vigorous Pontiff paid his first visit to Mexico. I was a young and inexperienced foreign correspondent living in Mexico City and I somehow found myself on the team covering the visit for CBS News Radio.
And I got one plum assignment: I was asked to do a live, color commentary as Pope John Paul II arrived at the Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico’s holiest shrine. A sound truck was stationed near the church, along the route he was scheduled to take and I perched on top of the truck ready to tell the world what the Pope looked like, the crowd’s reactions, whatever happened.
But just as I got on the air, something went wrong: The Pope-mobile wasn’t going the right way. I couldn’t see a thing. Where was he?
I was reduced to reciting the radio equivalent of B-copy: “Pope John Paul the Second has arrived here at the Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico’s holiest shrine and thousands of Mexicans have gathered to see …Pope John Paul the Second, here at the Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico’s holiest shrine …” I was dying! This was the end of my career!
And then: A miracle happened. The Pope-mobile turned sharply. It was coming right toward me. I could see – and describe – John Paul’s every gesture. I could hear the shouts of the crowd – everything they were saying. There was color and drama, and I was conveying it to all the folks out there in Radio-land. I was saved!
Later, my producer (Tony Brunton, if memory serves) was to tell me how pleased he had been with my coverage. Listeners had written and phoned in to say they could hear the genuine excitement and enthusiasm in my voice. How wonderful, they added, that CBS had assigned such a good Catholic boy to the story. I just smiled.
Posted at 07:12 PM
FROM THE VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE [K. J. Lopez]
(Website here, this from an English-language e-mail):
SUMMARY: THE DEATH OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
Posted at 06:50 PM
FINAL FOUR [K. J. Lopez]
Pope John Paul II said Mass at Edward Jones Dome in 1999, where the Final Four is being played right now.
Posted at 06:46 PM
SAY IT AIN'T SO [K. J. Lopez]
Chris Matthews is in Rome. He just argued with a young theology-professor priest about clerical celibacy. I can only imagine what will come. I'll try to avoid it.
Posted at 06:34 PM
POPESTAKES [Rick Brookhiser]
For next pontiff, either an Italian (the cautious option) or an African (the high roller option).
Posted at 06:31 PM
BROOKHISER ON JPII [K. J. Lopez]
from his Observer column, a few weeks ago.
Posted at 06:21 PM
"LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP" [K. J. Lopez]
Though he was "Kennedy" like in his ability to energize, this pope ticked American Catholics off because of he was so "conservative and inflexible," according to the NYTimes.
Posted at 06:00 PM
DESPITE MY IN-BOX, EXPANSIVE AMEN CORNER [K. J. Lopez]
I'm an atheist; the notion of a diety, to me, is an absurdity. But whatever my belief, or yours, this Pope was a great, great, man and we shall all miss his moral stature. He spoke for goodness and the dignity of humanity in a way that transcended matters of faith so it would be understood as universal truths. We should consider ourself extremely lucky to see anyone like him again in our lifetime.
Posted at 05:56 PM
I REALLY NEED TO TURN IT OFF [K. J. Lopez]
It was just pointed out to me that the aforementioned Christiane earlier said that John Paul II was "the first non-Catholic" to be selected pope. Then Shep Smith on Fox referred to St. Matthew's Cathedral (in D.C.) as St. Patrick's. Another reporter on CNN earlier called the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington as Washington’s National Cathedral (the latter isn’t Catholic). Paula Zahn a few minutes ago called President Bush the “pope.” The list could go on. Cardinal McCarrick was called Fr. McCormick on CNN, also.
Goodness knows I make many, many mistakes. However I’m pretty confident everyone at NR gets paid less than any of the above and has a tremendously smaller staff backing them up.
Posted at 05:55 PM
ANOTHER NICE CATCH [K. J. Lopez]
from the Anchoress:
I wish folks could have seen Keith Olberman last night. Someone read to him a passage from JPII's masterwork on the Theology of the Body, in which he writes about the importance of sexual fulfillment, and Olberman was both blushing and confounded. "There is no area he hasn't touched on, seemingly," he marvelled. "Reading material for Fr. McBrien.
Posted at 05:37 PM
LECH WALESA & OTHERS [K. J. Lopez]
EWTN's website has a collection of remembrances. (It also has a map of what happens next.)
Posted at 05:30 PM
"ALWAYS, THE POPE POINTS US TO THE THINGS THAT LAST AND THE LOVE THAT SAVES. WE THANK GOD FOR THIS RARE MAN, A SERVANT OF GOD AND A HERO OF HISTORY. [K. J. Lopez]
The speech President Bush delivered at the dedication of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center right by my alma mater Catholic U in D.C. is here.
Posted at 05:27 PM
"PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN THE FALL OF COMMUNISM AND THE DEMOCRATIC TRANSFORMATION THAT SWEPT EUROPE" [K. J. Lopez]
I am deeply saddened by the death of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. The pontiff was a world statesman whose leadership played a key role in the fall of Communism and the democratic transformation that swept Europe in its wake. In the 26 years of his papacy, Pope John Paul II's advocacy for human rights and human dignity never wavered. The wisdom and universality of his teaching will continue to guide all of us who, like Pope John Paul II, believe in freedom and faith.
Posted at 05:23 PM
"NEED SOME QUOTE FROM SUPPORTER" [K. J. Lopez]
Do you really have to look that hard? Maybe if you're at the NYTimes?
Posted at 05:20 PM
MATTHEW 19:14 [K. J. Lopez]
Karen and I have been blessed to have the opportunity to meet the Pope on five separate occasions, three of which we were privileged to receive mass from him in his personal chapel. On one occasion, six years ago, Karen and I, and our children met the Pope in his personal chapel. As we received mass, we were struck by the fervor in which Pope John Paul II prayed. As he knelt at the altar, he deeply and intensely involved himself in prayer.
Posted at 05:14 PM
THE CONCLAVE [K. J. Lopez]
I've heard Cardinal McCarrick of D.C. say this a few times now: apparently there are three who voted for this pope who will vote for the next, one of them is former D.C. archbishop William Cardinal Baum.
Posted at 05:02 PM
THANK YOU, SISTER ANNE [K. J. Lopez]
I evidently missed last night's angry nun on CNN (who was exactly thhe woman I've been expecting to see).
Posted at 04:45 PM
COOL-SOUNDING BLOGGING SISTAS [K. J. Lopez]
Here and here. I'm an instafan.
Posted at 04:38 PM
"THE MORAL FORCE BEHIND VICTORY IN THE COLD WAR" [K. J. Lopez]
Lady Thatcher today on Pope Jon Paul II:
We should remember Pope John Paul II not just as the greatest Pope of modern times but also as a valiant fighter for the truth," she said.
Posted at 04:35 PM
"ONE OF HISTORY'S GREAT MORAL LEADERS" [K. J. Lopez]
Here's President Bush's full statement:
Laura and I join people across the Earth in mourning the passing of Pope John Paul II. The Catholic Church has lost its shepherd, the world has lost a champion of human freedom, and a good and faithful servant of God has been called home.
Posted at 04:33 PM
THE FLAG TREATMENT [K. J. Lopez]
This just in from the White House, from the president:
As a mark of respect for His Holiness Pope John Paul II, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half‑staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on the day of his interment. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half‑staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
Posted at 04:29 PM
FYI [K. J. Lopez ]
I’m getting more than a few e-mails from readers annoyed we’re covering the pope’s death. So I'll warn you: They’ll be more coming.
Posted at 04:22 PM
ST. PETER'S SQUARE [K. J. Lopez]
Besides EWTN, there's Vatican TV online.
Posted at 04:18 PM
IT HASN'T BEEN AN HOUR [K. J. Lopez ]
And CNN (Christiane Amanpour) is already talking about the pope's backward views on condoms and celibacy. I should have turned the TV off when Ledeen complained. At least they don't have a dissident nun on the scene yet. I'll take comfort in small blessings.
Posted at 04:15 PM
GEORGE WEIGEL [K. J. Lopez]
Spare yourself some of the TV coverage. If you want to read up on Pope John Paul II (a number of you have asked for reading suggestions) dip into George Weigel's Witness to Hope. It's the biography, and a rich one.
Posted at 04:11 PM
YOU’RE KIDDING ME, RIGHT? [K. J. Lopez ]
I caught a few minutes of Religion and Ethics Newsweekly this morning on PBS and Fr. Richard McBrien of Notre Dame was on and said that Pope John Paul II’s “Achilles heel” was human sexuality. You have got to think Fr. McBrien is selective in his readings of the Holy Father. Evangelium Vitae, the Theology of the Body, Love and Responsibility. I don’t think his teaching or grasp on the importance of was the problem…
Posted at 04:08 PM
"A HERO FOR THE AGES" [K. J. Lopez]
President Bush on Pope John Paul II at the White House right now (watch it here, on video).
Posted at 04:04 PM
ON THE SCENE [K. J. Lopez ]
By the way, your best shot at hearing the prayers in the Vatican City right now seems to be EWTN, which was doping talk earlier, but seems to be praying now.
Posted at 04:01 PM
MAN, LEDEEN! [K. J. Lopez ]
You don't want to hear Shep instead? Apparently Fox (etc.) thinks you're in the minority. Man, I hope not.
Posted at 04:00 PM
IN THE VATICAN CITY [Michael Ledeen]
It is utterly infuriating, almost maddening, to try to watch the Rosary at St Peter's, because the accursed tv people just will not ever let us watch an event. They must tell us what to think about it, even as it is happening. And so we lose a sense of the real drama, we just cannot experience it for ourselves, they will always be there between us and real life.
Which is why I don't watch tv...I went down to see if anyone would just broadcast it, but there isn't...
Posted at 03:57 PM
WHAT NEXT? [K. J. Lopez ]
The Teaching Company has two lectures on the papal succession process online.
Posted at 03:49 PM
HE LIVED THE SPLENDOR OF TRUTH [K. J. Lopez]
Here's Tom Hibbs on John Paul the Great.
Posted at 03:35 PM
GEORGE WEIGEL ON PJPII [K. J. Lopez]
An interview, here.
Posted at 03:31 PM
PAPAL PICTURES [K. J. Lopez]
There are a lot of telling images of the man, but this one has always been my favorite, meeting with and forgiving his would-be assassin:
Posted at 03:11 PM
GOODBYE IL PAPA [Jonah Goldberg]
What a glorious man. We won't see another like him and let us hope we won't need another like him as much as we needed him.
Posted at 03:03 PM
KAROL WOJTYLA, 1920-2005 [K. J. Lopez]
Ap/NBC and others are reporting Pope John Paul II has died. R.I.P. and thank you.
Posted at 02:57 PM
LIBERALS RESPOND CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's a more favorable note:
Posted at 02:55 PM
PJPII COVERAGE [K. J. Lopez]
The smart, spirited Anchoress is "liveblogging" cable coverage.
Posted at 02:50 PM
LIBERALS RESPOND [Jonah Goldberg]
Quite a few have chimed in along these lines. I think they offer a fair complaint. The problem, of course, is that whenever one begins a sentence "liberals think" or "conservatives believe" you are automatically being unfair to some liberals and some conservatives because neither camp is ideologically or intellectuallyhomogeneous. Anyway, the email:
Jonah-- Your correspondent says that liberals want a "more equal" world. But it's not true. He can't cite any Democrats saying so, just Thomas Sowell. In fact, liberals want greater equality of opportunity.
Posted at 02:50 PM
LARRY SUMMERS, PRESSING HIS LUCK [K. J. Lopez ]
A certain under-fire Harvard president just made me a lot less willing to come to his defense (I'm sure this is his main worry in life): He’s got an op-ed today in the Boston Globe hailing the statehouse embrace of cloning. It’s of course not exactly a surprise, and is also a smart attempt to keep money flowing into Harvard, despite his problems.
Posted at 11:01 AM
ATTENTION TV PRODUCERS, REPORTERS, ETC, [K. J. Lopez]
Fox may have discovered this already--saw some good folks on there when I checked on and off throughout the night. If you're looking for guests to talk about the pope/Catholic stuff, here's a good guide to start with, on the website of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, some media saavy people worthy chatting with as you do 24/7 coverage.
Posted at 10:55 AM
SOME GOOD NEWS [K. J. Lopez]
A Florida man emerges from a coma (this story says PVS). Best wishes to this high school coach and his family.
Posted at 10:13 AM
SALVIFICI DOLORIS [K. J. Lopez]
PJPII on suffering
Posted at 10:10 AM
ON PRAYING FOR THE POPE IN HIS FINAL HOURS [K. J. Lopez]
Cardinal George of Chicago's homily yesterday (audio).
Posted at 09:50 AM
MUGABE [K. J. Lopez]
Scrappleface scared me while I skimmed my inbox headlines this ayem.
Posted at 09:44 AM
RE: IL PAPA [K. J. Lopez]
Thank you, Ledeen. I somehow always think of John Paul Superstar saying "Be Not Afraid" in front of a group of kids. But I sell the man short when I do. So many contexts, so many successes, challenges, lessons.
Posted at 09:43 AM
IL PAPA [Michael Ledeen]
We were in Rome when John Paul II was elected Pope, and, like most people, I didn't know much about him. Most of the commentary at that time described the Conclave's decision in political terms, and Karol Wojtyla was said to be a "detente Pope," a gesture of peace toward the Soviets.
I went over to Communist Party headquarters in Via delle Botteghe Oscure to ask them what they thought of it, and one of the real hardline Stalinists put it nicely: "well," he said, "at least our Polish comrades won't have him around to (and here he used a colorful Roman phrase that roughly means 'give them a hard time.').
The Communist knew what he was talking about, and the scribblers and kibbitzers didn't. For Catholics, John Paul II will obviously be an inspiration for generations, and even those of us who do not share his faith have been ennobled and inspired by much of what he said and did. But for the entire world, he will forever stand as a symbol of the power of individuals standing firm for freedom. "Be Not Afraid" is indeed the phrase we will associate with him, as it was the phrase that inspired millions of people to risk all against tyranny.
I had the good fortune to be a sort of informal ambassador to the Vatican when I worked for Secretary of State Haig, in the early 1980s, and I met several times with the Pope's personal secretaries, one Polish the other African. Contrary to the nonsensical accounts of various imaginative journalists, these conversations had nothing to do with covert action, but everything to do with a mutual search for understanding world events. John Paul's closest associates were at once brilliant, patient and constantly inquiring. They even had moments of dry humor, as when one of them asked me, "Ledeen, how can it be that in all the world, only the CIA does not know who tried to kill the Holy Father?" HoHO.
John Paul II was a towering figure at a time when the world abounded in great men and women: Reagan, Thatcher, Juan Carlos, Deng Xiaoping, Walesa, Havel, Solzhenitsyn and Bukovsky and Sharansky, Nakasone etc. He had many things to do, and he accomplished most of his mission.
It's the mark of a world historical figure that we see him shaping great events, rather than simply "being there" when big things happen. Such was John Paul II, and all of us will feel diminished at his passing.
Posted at 09:35 AM
SINCE NO ONE ELSE IS AROUND [Jonah Goldberg]
An email re: my debate with Chait:
Posted at 08:29 AM
Friday, April 01, 2005
INSIDE THE VOLCKER CMTE [K. J. Lopez]
More from Roger Simon.
Posted at 05:59 PM
HIS TRAGEDY -- OR OURS? [Rod Dreher]
As the Pope lays dying, I am reminded of an extraordinary assessment of his legacy offered several years ago by Washington Post reporter Roberto Suro, who spoke as part of a PBS "Frontline" documentary on John Paul. The entire interview, which is fairly critical of the pontiff, is here. Here is the money quote:
I think the pope has to be a prophetic figure, somebody who changed humanity. What he offered, what he suggested, the road laid out, if followed, would have transformed humanity in a spiritual sense. He was calling at the end of the twentieth century for a spiritual life to become the center of man's humanity, for all men, and certainly for all Catholics and all Christians to rediscover spirituality as the guiding force in their lives. If he had accomplished that, he would have been a millennial figure, not the man of the century. Somebody who produced much grander changes than that.
Posted at 05:32 PM
FOR ROE TO LIVE, TERRI SCHIAVO HAD TO DIE [Jim Boulet]
So argues The Nation's resident abortion absolutist, Katha Pollitt:
The Schiavo case only looks unprecedented: For decades, women seeking to terminate pregnancies have faced gantlets of screamers, invasions of privacy, violence in the name of "saving babies," charges of murder and of evil motives, politically motivated legal obstacles, spurious medical "expertise" (abortion causes breast cancer; Terri Schiavo just needs therapy). There is the same free-floating vitriol: Abortion is the "Silent Holocaust," while, according to Peggy Noonan, those who support Ms. Schiavo's right to die are on "a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz" ...Mark Schmitt was worried too:
[T]he Schiavo case reveals the true priorities of the right: they are happy to abandon the principles of federalism if the issue is related to questions of "life." But if they are willing to cast aside federalism in the Schiavo case, won't they be willing to do the same in the context of abortion? And if they are, won't that inevitably lead to attempts to pass federal legislation banning abortion?
Posted at 04:38 PM
"THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE" [K. J. Lopez]
The Holy Father is love personified in so many ways. He taught us how to live as a Christ taught and surrender all to God . He had a special love for persons the world sees as lacking value. During his wednesday audiences he saved the "best seats in the house" for those in wheelchairs. When he was able to move easily he would come and bless and touch individually each person in a wheelchair in the audience hall . I know because in July 1991 I was blessed by the pope from my special front row seat in my wheelchair and that day I looked into the face of a saint . He taught us all how to love no matter how challenging our every life is and he taught that the suffering we have has value even when we don't understand it.
Posted at 04:21 PM
RE: I'LL BE BACK [Jonah Goldberg]
Earlier I posed: "I'll be back... But I have to drive out to tape Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered"
Several readers wanted to know if I used duct tape.
The answer is yes.
Posted at 04:17 PM
RE: JP II & THE LIMITS OF SADNESS [Jonah Goldberg]
Lost of this sort of email:
Jonah, Although I am not Catholic in exactly the same way you are not Catholic, I think I will take the time to grieve Pope John Paul II. Because it is human to do so, yes, but also because after being constantly reminded over the past couple of weeks how less than ordinary most of us are, it makes me sad and lonely to lose someone that is extraordinary.
Posted at 03:18 PM
JPII & THE LIMITS OF SADNESS [Jonah Goldberg]
I suppose I'm with Ramesh & co. Though I am not a Catholic, I can muster many emotions at the the thought of John Paul II passing away. But grief really isn't chief among them. The man has been suffering for a long time and he has endured that suffering with greater dignity than most of us could dream of mustering. He lived a long life of great courage and conviction, acting nobly when acting otherwise would have been much easier and less dangerous. Through his actions and his example he left the entire world a better and safer place than when he left it. When his time comes, be it in hours or days or whenever, few will say he hadn't done more than his fair share. This is no tragedy. His life isn't being brought short by the hand of man. There's no cause for rage. But there's room for gratitude and the sort of remorse one feels when the world is made a little less by the loss of someone it sorely needed. So why overly grieve for a man who is surely worthy of reward in the next life?
Perhaps the answer is simple, because it is human to do so.
Posted at 02:42 PM
A MOTHERLESS BOY [Kate O'Beirne]
I have always been struck by the Pope's tragic childhood. He was eight when his mother died and 12 when he lost his beloved older brother to scarlet fever. He lived alone with his devoted father. A priest in the parish where Karol Wojtyla was an altar boy said he saw "the shadow of early orphanage on him."
Posted at 02:39 PM
"THERE IS NO HOPE FOR THE HOLY FATHER" [K. J. Lopez]
Miles O'Brien on CNN and others keep saying this. If you believe in eternal life and all that, could anything be further from the truth for Karol Wojtyla? As Ramesh said, he's among those most prepared to meet his Maker.
Posted at 02:36 PM
SANDY SCISSORHANDS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Ballonjuice rounds up all those who tried to defend Sandy Burglar, and adds a link to this amusing picture of "Sandy Scissorhands."
Posted at 02:24 PM
RE: BE NOT AFRAID [K. J. Lopez]
I was struck by that earlier, watching the scene in Rome: all kinds of people, but so many young people gathered to pay tribute.
Posted at 02:12 PM
BE NOT AFRAID [Kate O'Beirne]
Young people, in particular, will feel the loss of Pope John Paul II. Not only is he the only pope they have ever known. He loved them and they knew it and they loved him. With tens of thousands of others, our younger son went to World Youth Day in Toronto to see our Holy Father in 2002. The sea of teenagers, a reported 600,000, continually chanted "Pope John Two, We Love You." News accounts talked about the "genuine rapture in the voices of the young people" who packed the park as they began a 24-hour "prayer fest" before the pope celebrated Mass. He made the trip against the advice of his close advisers, determined not to disappoint those he called "the future and hope of the Church and humanity."
Posted at 02:11 PM
"CONSCIENCE" VETO [K. J. Lopez]
Romney will veto the cloning bill, even though the statehouse will override.
Posted at 02:08 PM
MORE RE THAT DISSENTING READER [K. J. Lopez]
This is a good point, this last sentence:
It's been almost ten years since my father died. He had a feeding tube because of a tracheotomy caused by cancer in the throat (L.S.M.F.T). I did not allow him to "dehydrate to death" nor would I have starved him. He went quietly to the Kingdom of God during his sleep after a continuous decline. I think the Dr's a little hypersensitive but given his job and what he sees daily I would be too.E-mail makes one quicker to be hypersensitive, too, I know from experience!
Posted at 01:57 PM
RE: THE LIMITS OF SADNESS [K. J. Lopez]
It's a great thing he's been here as long as he has. Really an amazing life--from fighting Nazis and Communism, to being a thinker (way before he was someone we all knew), devotion to the dignity of human life... Thank God we've had him. And you don't have to be Catholic to be grateful for this gift of a man.
Posted at 01:49 PM
RE: THE LIMITS OF JOURNALISTS [K. J. Lopez]
CNN, to their credit, has been very careful about the Reuters report.
EWTN, the Catholic network, is running a life-story bit on the peope, which, frankly, if you're watching TV, is probably the thing to watch for now while everyone else guesses if he's alive still or not.
Posted at 01:46 PM
THE LIMITS OF JOURNALISTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
FoxNews has just walked back its report of the Holy Father's death.
Posted at 01:44 PM
THE LIMITS OF SADNESS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Few of us are as prepared to meet our Creator as the pope is. And the Church's future is, in the long run, assured. R.I.P.
Posted at 01:39 PM
RE: RIP [K. J. Lopez]
Vatican has not confirmed that yet, FYI.
Posted at 01:30 PM
RIP [Shannen Coffin]
Reuters is reporting that John Paul II has died. God bless him.
Posted at 01:26 PM
THE SERVANT OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD [Peter Robinson]
I joined a group of parishioners saying the rosary this morning at St. Raymond's Church in Menlo Park. Sad, of course, but moving beyond words to find oneself united with people around the world--from those in our little church in suburban California to those in the great cavern of St Patrick's on Fifth Avenue to those in St. Peter's Square--in praying for this one great and holy man.
Posted at 12:57 PM
RE: PJPII [Shannen Coffin]
FoxNews is reporting that Pope John Paul II has lost consciousness and is in his last moments in this realm. I cannot imagine a world without him.
Posted at 12:31 PM
SANDY BURGLAR & KOFI ANNAN [K. J. Lopez]
Captured by Chris Muir
Posted at 12:28 PM
I'LL BE BACK [Jonah Goldberg ]
But I have to drive out to tape Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered
Posted at 12:14 PM
THINKING PEACHY MAY [K. J. Lopez ]
Richard Campbell, who attended our NYC fundraiser, writes: “The NRO fundraiser I atteneded will surely be the peak of my “brush with greatness,” what with chatting with WFB himself, Kate O’Beirne, (fellow Ann Arborite and brilliant NY Sun Music Critic) Jay Nordlinger, Andrew Stuttaford, Ramesh Ponnuru, and others. Unfortunately, I could not break through the throngs of Jonah Goldberg acolytes to ask how exactly he saved Rich Lowry’s life during the prison riots.” Details here.
Posted at 12:10 PM
PJPII UPDATE [K. J. Lopez]
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican says the pope's breathing "has become shallow" and his kidney function is deteriorating.
Posted at 12:02 PM
ME VERSUS CHAIT [Jonah Goldberg ]
As is the wont of such debates, we've descended into highly geeky insidery snarky stuff. But there seem to be quite a few folks out there who like this sort of thing, so here is my latest -- and in all likelihood, last -- response. There were quite a few non-central points and allegations I left on the cutting room floor for the sake of brevity. Alas, I did not achieve my goal, for it is long. Anyway, feedback always welcome from folks who actually like these sorts of debates. But if you're the kind of person who doesn't like these sorts of debates -- don't read it. I will interpret your silence as disapproval.
Posted at 11:59 AM
I GET ALL KINDS OF EMAIL [Jonah Goldberg]
From a student at NYU:
Jonah- I am in a 230 person lecture right now and someone has purchased a remotely controlled fart machine and it may be the funniest thing i have ever heard. Gets all the serious stuff today slightly out of your head.
Posted at 11:54 AM
IT'S ALL SO FUNNY [Jonah Goldberg]
When the Burglar episode first broke, recall that Clinton's explanation for Berger boiled down to the notion that this was just the way that lovable rapscalion ran the National Security Council. "The innocent explanation is the most likely one, particularly given the facts involved," Clinton assured us. He told a newspaper reporter in Colorado "We were all laughing about it on the way over here." He continued: "People who don't know him might find it hard to believe. But ... all of us who've been in his office have always found him buried beneath papers." Well, now that the innocent explanation isn't the real explanation, presumably someone will assure us that this sort of thing wasn't
Posted at 11:52 AM
BOOK AD [Jonathan H. Adler]
It seems Matt Yglesias doesn't like one of NRO's ads.
Posted at 11:48 AM
NOT TO BEAT A DEAD HORSE… [K. J. Lopez ]
…but, where are the big feminist groups on cloning in Mass. (and elsewhere)?
Posted at 11:43 AM
RE: ”FERTILZED EMBRYO” [K. J. Lopez ]
I asked Robert Princeton George about that Massachusetts rep’s weird science (which was heard a bit in the California cloning debate, too) and Robby responded thus:
Bosley's comments are Barbara Boxer-level wacky. "Fertilized embryo" is--how shall I put this?--a non-concept. The point Bosley is missing (or trying to evade) is that embryos can be brought into being in two (in fact, more than two) distinct ways: by fertilization of an egg cell by a sperm cell OR by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Either way, if the process is successful, what you end up with is a nascent human being--a whole, living member of the species homo sapiens--who will, if provided with a suitable environment and adequate nutrition, soon be conjugating verbs and then asking for the car keys. Now, of course cloning can fail; so can fertilization. Embryos can be defective, and can be defective in ways that will prevent implantation. In the case of cloning experimentation, many embryos will be defective. Yet they are embryos, just as retarded children are children. At the same time, sometimes failures of fertilization or cloning processes are so severe that embryogenesis doesn't take place. What is created is a non-embryonic growth, such as a complete hydatidiform mole or a teratoma. These are disorganized, tumor-like entities, rather than embryonic members of the species. But this is not what Bosley has in mind (to the extent that he can be said to have anything in mind).
Posted at 11:41 AM
ACCK—IT’S THE C-WORD! GET BACK TO DOUBLESPEAK CLASS! [K. J. Lopez ]
The Associated Press missed out on the latest pro-cloning talking points: trick folks into thinking embryos aren’t actually embryos.
In their story on the Massachusetts bill passing the House, the AP reports: “The measure would allow scientists to create cloned embryos and extract their stem cells for research into the treatment and cure of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries and other conditions.”
But this is how one pro-cloning legislator put it to the Boston Globe earlier in the week:
''I can't quite figure out where the governor's objections are coming from," said Representative Daniel E. Bosley, the North Adams Democrat who is shepherding the bill in the House. ''Somatic cell nuclear transfer involves transferring a nucleus into an egg, not an embryo. It is then tricked into thinking it is fertilized. It is not a fertilized embryo. Many scientists feel that it cannot be implanted, and, if it is implanted, that it will not grow."(Globe columnist Joan Vennochi has something similar yesterday.
Posted at 11:39 AM
PILING ON SANDY BURGLAR [Jonathan H. Adler]
Glenn Reynolds rounds up some thoughts on Sandy Burglar's deal here. While I agree with Jonah that his career in public life should be over, I am disturbed by the lightness of the punishment. As one of Glenn's readers notes: "Why did Martha Stewart go to jail for lying to investigators? Berger now admits he did exactly the same thing. But he'll get off with a fine and an admission of "his mistakes". Can one honestly say Martha's lies were more damaging than Bergers? I don't think so." I don't think the answer is that Sandy Burglar had better lawyers, and is not as if Stewart's alleged insider trading was anywhere near as serious an offense.
Posted at 11:38 AM
BURGLAR [Jonah Goldberg]
From the Donovan:
Simple. What he did was far worse than what Martha Stewart did. One can only wonder what the thinking was on the side of the Justice Department.
Posted at 11:38 AM
MORE BURGLAR [Jonah Goldberg]
The more I think about this (and more I hear from people who've explained some details), the more peeved I get. If he was caught dead to rights stealing and destroying classified materials, by what rationale is the Justice Department letting him off with a "slap on the wrist" in Shannen's words? Were his reasons more noble than those of folks who get sent to prison for years? If so, again, the media must work harder to tell us what those motives were -- and so should the government. It sounds to me that Gonzales is, again, getting off to a bad start (Full disclosure: My wife is still working for DOJ and for the new AG. But my reasons for being disappointed in him have nothing to do with that).
Posted at 11:34 AM
RE: RE: DISSENTING READER [K. J. Lopez]
NRO's editors did not, contrary to Derb's dissenting neurosurgeon, overreach in posing the rhetorical question " Why not kill Mrs. Schiavo quickly and efficiently, by depriving her of air to breathe?"...[D]on't forget that Judge Greer also prohibited feeding Terri by MOUTH, thereby depriving her of any opportunity for sustenance and analogous to depriving someone of any opportunity for respiration--"artificial" or otherwise. Greer's dual prohibition's against feeding Terri orally or by feeding tube is akin to removing not just a respirator, but all of the air in the patient's room as well.
Posted at 11:19 AM
REVOLUTION TIME [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 11:10 AM
RE: BURGLAR [Shannen Coffin]
Jonah, my only reaction to the Berger story is that the Justice Deparment obviously had the goods on his sticky fingers (and whatever other body parts were involved) and he took the best deal he could get. With a misdemeanor, he faces a lot less potential jail time than the more serious national security related offenses that could have been charged. He's obviously hoping for a slap on the wrist for not putting up a fight, which of course is much more possible with the federal sentencing guidelines being rendered merely advisory by the Supreme Court. Does it end his political career? That's hard to say. But it certainly doesn't help in the security clearance area.
Posted at 11:09 AM
MORE SANDY BURGLAR [Jonah Goldberg]
I really think the Mainstream Media should be ashamed of itself if it doesn't go after this story just a little bit more. Why did Berger destroy these documents? What did they reveal -- or not reveal -- about the administration. We've never gotten clear answers about this.
Posted at 11:01 AM
SANDY BURGLAR [Jonah Goldberg]
Let's accept a few obvious facts. Sandy Berger had good legal representation. Sandy Berger is a man of considerable political ambition. Sandy Berger is a man who values his reputation.
Given these facts, I think this plea agreement is pretty astonishing. He's thrown away almost any chance of serving in government again and he's admitted to a crime that cannot be spun as anything other than serious. I mean given all of the charges about intelligence screw-ups and secret agendas over the last five years, isn't it interesting that the Clinton administration is still generating criminal charges in these areas?
I'd be curious what Shannen and Andrew think of this since they know this stuff. Am I wrong?
Posted at 10:56 AM
NO DEBATE ZONE [Mark R. Levin]
So, Ted Kennedy is accusing Tom DeLay of encouraging threats against judges. Where have we heard this before? When GW law professor Jeffrey Rosen accused me of the same thing. The liberals have their mantra down now. And when Cathy Young tried the same thing against DeLay and Kathryn. Gee, and I thought the unrelenting attacks on Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and a score of Bush nominees by Kennedy and his ilk, not only criticizing their past decisions or experiences, but labeling them as extremists and worse, might be responsible for stoking the fires of hate for the judiciary. Apparently the Left prefers to attempt to intimidate conservative critics of the judiciary with these vicious mud-balls rather than debate issues.
Posted at 10:45 AM
17 NEW BISHOPS [K. J. Lopez]
I had heard maybe two weeks ago from a Vatican source that a list of new bishops had been approved by the pope, but then I heard nothing of it. Well, just now, Fox News flashed that, hours after heart failure, he's approved 17 new bishops. Probably not a big deal, but it seems like a classic bad-timing gaffe from the Vatican aides--would have been less weird before today.
Posted at 10:08 AM
RE: DISSENTING READER [K. J. Lopez]
Derb, your neurosurgeon seems to make the same mistake so many have--confusing the Schiavo case with their own experience, of different circumstances. Terri Schiavo was not on a respirator. That may seem like a small point, but I don't think it is. She was breathing on her own. She just needed to be fed. There were people who loved her and wanted to make sure she was fed. That's not NR or anyone else dictating when grandpa's multiple machines can be turned off, it's a relevant question in a disturbing instance that has captivated the attention of a nation, though apparently--in terms of details--not enough.
Posted at 10:02 AM
SUBJ: CORNER: A READER DISSENTS [John Derbyshire]
The reader who sent this in asked for his name to be withheld:
Posted at 09:55 AM
AL QAEDA'S GRAND STRATEGY [Rachel Z. Friedman]
Michael Doran, the Princeton professor NRO covered here, gave a well-attended lecture on Monday on the question: "Can an organization that does not have a well-developed command and control network--such as al Qaeda--have a grand strategy?" TigerHawk's extensive post on the lecture (via Roger Simon) is well worth a read.
Posted at 09:54 AM
DST [Jim Robbins]
John J. Miller will appreciate that Benjamin Franklin first suggested daylight savings time as a solution to the sloth of Frenchmen who slept in all morning.
Posted at 09:41 AM
SPEAKING OF APRIL FOOL'S DAY [Tim Graham]
MRC's traditional annual "April Fools Edition" of Notable Quotables is up, if you want to fool people into thinking these satirical quotes are real. Enjoy here.
PS: It has happened that a "fake quote" later erupts in a manner far too close to the satirical version. See our old Lithuania example here.
Posted at 09:40 AM
BOLTON'S ENEMIES [Jonathan H. Adler]
SA's Patrick Carver investigates the 59 former diplomats who signed a letter against John Bolton's confirmation. His findings are interesting. In short, some of the "Republican" signatories are not quite what they seem.
Posted at 09:32 AM
RE: SMACKDOWN ATLANTA [K. J. Lopez]
Some of the details of that last post might have been influenced by today's date and might not actually be true. Though, we are hanging in Atlanta in May, and it is a fundraiser to keep us a-running, and it will be fun. That last sentence is completely true. Details (true ones) here.
Posted at 09:30 AM
SMACKDOWN ATLANTA [K. J. Lopez]
We've moved the location of the Atlanta fundraiser to a boxing ring. Jonah has agreed to take on Jonathan Chait, Klingons, and whomever else dares enter the city for this unprecedented event.
Posted at 09:28 AM
PLO LOSES IN COURT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Howard Bashman has the details here.
Posted at 09:21 AM
SANDY BURGLAR [Jonathan H. Adler]
From the NYT story:
When the issue surfaced last year, Mr. Berger insisted that he had removed the classified material inadvertently. But in the plea agreement reached with prosecutors, he is expected to admit that he intentionally removed copies of five classified documents, destroyed three and misled staff members at the National Archives when confronted about it, according to an associate of Mr. Berger's who is involved in his defense but who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plea has not been formalized in court.
Posted at 09:19 AM
WHAT A ROTTEN THING TO SAY [K. J. Lopez]
Michelle Malkin scolds Chis Matthews.
Posted at 08:44 AM
"DEVOUTLY" SECULAR [Tim Graham]
If you haven't yet seen the Media Research Center study of a year's worth of network religion coverage that I compiled with Ken Shepherd, see here. I was unpleasantly surprised (but I shouldn't have been) in how eager reporters were to present John Kerry as a "devout Catholic." Expect a lot of this in the weeks to come: TV discoveries of a flock of "devout Catholics" that want to remake the Church entirely.
Posted at 08:22 AM
117-37 [K. J. Lopez]
On Beacon Hill, the Massachusetts house yesterday followed the senate in passing an embryonic-stem-cell bill that greenlights cloning. They did it, as you can imagine, for the children:
''The House of Representatives voted significantly in favor of helping children and people of all ages who suffer from debilitating diseases and illnesses," said House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. ''I think this is a giant step for medical research."
Posted at 07:51 AM
HOW ABOUT THE WASHINGTON POST JUST MOVE TO OREGON [K. J. Lopez]
From their Schiavo editorial: "Yet there has to be space in a free society for others to differ: to draw up living wills that specify limits to life-prolonging medical interventions, and perhaps also to opt for assisted suicide." (Emphasis mine.)
Posted at 07:36 AM
PJPII [K. J. Lopez]
The pope suffered heart failure, the Vatican has said, but is now ‘‘conscious, lucid and tranquil."
Posted at 07:07 AM
Thursday, March 31, 2005
SANDY BERGER HAS AGREED TO PLEAD GUILTY [KJL]
to a misdemeanor for mishandling classified docs (breaking--msnbc)
Posted at 05:53 PM
POPE'S CONDITION WORSENS [K. J. Lopez]
An Italian news agency is reporting, AP picks up. Update: Vatican confirms. Update: 4:40, CNN reports confirmation that he has been given last rites.
Posted at 03:47 PM
"SOME PEOPLE HOLD RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS SO HEARTFELT THAT THEY COULD NOT BOW TO PUBLIC OPINION OR THE COURTS AND ACCEPT THE FACT THAT MS. SCHIAVO SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DIE. [K. J. Lopez]
That's from the NYTimes editorial on Terri Schiavo's death. We simple folk, don't get basic facts (and somehow some non-religious fellow-travellers). That a feeding tube is extraordinary care? That parents who want to care for their child just don't know the real meaning of "love" (a word George Felos used a lot in his press conference today).
Posted at 03:22 PM
"A MATTER OF...PRESERVING LIFE ON THIS PLANET" [K. J. Lopez]
Here's what I mean about the "debate" being near impossible (or feeling that way) on cloning--ridiculous over-reaching rhetoric on the pro-cloning side, as a matter of course. Here's a depressing taste of how the "debate" went in the Massachusetts state senate yesterday according to notes from a source there:
The Massachusetts State Senate approved Senate Bill 2028, endorsing research on human embryos and human cloning by a vote of 35-3, with only Senators Knapik, Lees and Moore opposing the bill (Senators Berry & Shannon were absent). There was no debate and lots of speechmaking by senators touting their handiwork and predicting their supposedly prominent place in history.
Posted at 01:56 PM
COLUMBIA AND THE NEW YORK TIMES [Rachel Z. Friedman]
I’m looking forward to reading Stanley Kurtz’s thoughts on the latest report out of Columbia. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting this post on the relatively new website CampusJ, which relates that the university gave first dibs on the committee report to the New York Times, along with the Columbia Spectator, in exchange for the papers’ promise that they would not solicit any comment from the students who made the complaints. (See also this article in the New York Sun.) According to CampusJ, the Times article was released before students were even permitted to read the committee report. (Ariel Beery, one of the most involved of the students, confirmed this in an e-mail: “The Times published on-line as we were waiting in a hallway for Provost Brinkley to let us into his office--and even that was hard-won, with us waiting for him in the cold for three hours until the administration would meet with us.") Putting aside for now the report’s content, this detail alone should raise serious doubts about Columbia’s commitment to seeing the controversy fairly resolved.
Update: In fairness to the Spectator, it should be said that their initial articles on the committee report did contain student quotes. According to the paper's editor (you may need to scroll down), they were given the same ground rules as the Times but somehow managed to evade the "no students" condition.
Posted at 01:52 PM
CHAIT HAS RESPONDED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 01:17 PM
FEMINISM AND TERRI SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
Charlotte Allen continues the thread.
Posted at 01:15 PM
"COME ON, EILEEN..." [K. J. Lopez]
I don't know about you, but stuck-in-the-80s me especially appreciated Warren Bell today (but go to it from the homepage for the full effect)...
Posted at 01:08 PM
RE: ROMNEY [K. J. Lopez]
Your post on Romney and the Globe edit is reminiscent to me of an argument I've heard by opponents of private social security accounts that, since most proposals offer only a number of government-approved funds for investment of these accounts, they don't really offer that much choice, which is one of the reasons conservatives have promoted them. Of course, they don't offer as much choice as the right might like, but we try to play nice....I should clarify something about the Romney situation, however: So far as I can tell, his position is not just a strategy, but he believes it. I.e. it's not Arlen Specter giving Pat Leahy too much and not getting anything in return. And, while, I don't want to be using those frozen embryos for research, this Massachusetts debate (or lack thereof) has highlighted the our-way/all or nothing attitude from what Wes Smith calls "big biotech" and it's legislative supporters.
Posted at 01:00 PM
K STREET: BINGO [Jonah Goldberg]
From a friend:
Posted at 12:52 PM
PRO-NATALISM AND SOCIAL SECURITY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, I don't think that your first correspondent has it right. Expansive public retirement systems are a product of affluent societies. Women in affluent societies tend to have fewer children. Beyond a certain point, the phenomenon he describes is (mostly) a question of correlation - not causation. On the other point ("everyone, whether they have children or not, contributes to the raising of the next generation"), your other, perturbed, readers are, of course, quite correct.
Posted at 12:50 PM
PROTECTING THE WEAK [K. J. Lopez]
President Bush, a little earlier:
Today millions of Americans are saddened by the death of Terri Schaivo. Laura and I extend our condolences to Terri Schaivo's families. I appreciate the example of grace and dignity they have displayed at a difficult time. I urge all those who honor Terri Schaivo to continue to work to build a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others. The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life....
Posted at 12:29 PM
IF K STREETERS WERE ANGELS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Matt Yglesias (I know, two mentions in one day: sigh), hates the consumption tax and says George Will should be ashamed of himself for hawking it. The merits of his complaint seem worth debating and pondering. But then Yglesias offers this absurd, ruthlessly naive howler:
The way to curb K Street's influence over policy in Washington would be to replace the current crop of shameless, endlessly corrupt individuals who are running the country at the moment.
Me: Hey, I've got no love for K Street and rent-seeking Republicans, but c'mon: Who honestly believes that K Street was demonstrably less corrupt and infested with racketeers during the Clinton administration? I know Matt likes to mention how he wasn't in Washington during the Clinton years, but that's no excuse for writing as if they didn't exist.
The problem of businessmen, grafters, hucksters and others seeking favor from government not only predates Bush and Clinton, it predates the Republic -- and quite probably -- the invention of the wheel.
Posted at 12:28 PM
PAUL R. SMITH [K. J. Lopez]
A website has been set up in honor of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, who died in combat in Iraq, whose family will be receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Bush in his name.
Posted at 12:27 PM
“IF WE DON’T FIX THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, GENERATION X’S RESERVES OF HUMAN CHARITY WILL BE MORE THAN USUALLY DEPLETED.” [K. J. Lopez ]
It’s not just whack-job nuts like me who fear the worst in the after-Schiavo big picture: Rick Brookhiser writes on that “culture of life” stuff Anna Quindlen doesn’t get in his Observer column this week. He writes, in part:
For years, family doctors and hospitals have made discreet use of the kindly overdose of morphine. But law is uncomfortable operating in the shadows. Where should its lines be drawn? Politics can teach us nothing about moral philosophy, but it does train us in figuring out who is winning, who is losing. When we look at the dynamics of life and death, which side is sweeping all before it? Is it the Christians praying in the street outside Terri Schiavo’s hospice? Is it Congress, whose two-party system is the serious and the showboaters? Is it George and Jeb Bush? Or is it a handful of medical experts, and the judges who heed them? Two branches of the federal government wrapped themselves in awesome majesty to save a woman’s life, but the bench held firm. In Europe, the tide is even stronger. The Dutch practice euthanasia so briskly that they will kill themselves even before the Islamists get around to it.
Read his whole piece here.
Posted at 12:22 PM
“POLITICAL FOOTBALL” [K. J. Lopez ]
I could talk about the Boston Globe all day (don’t worry, I won’t). Columnist Joan Vennochi basically dismisses much of the Right on every hot “social” issue of the day. She closes: “The easiest thing to understand about stem cell research is that it is another political football in the bitter ‘culture wars;’ just like gay marriage, abortion, and Terry Schiavo's right to live or die.” Those crazy ring-wingers, they’re just being divisive again.
She explains what’s going down in Massachusetts in terms from the great medical text, her own paper, the Globe: (Seriously--she tells us: “To write the above paragraph, I drew upon a detailed explanation offered by The Boston Globe.”)Romney supports the use of embryos left over from in vitro fertilization, which might be discarded anyway. He opposes ''therapeutic cloning" or ''somatic cell nuclear transfer." That involves taking the nucleus of a cell such as a skin, heart, or nerve cell and implanting it in a human egg cell that has had its own nucleus removed. The egg would be stimulated to grow in a laboratory dish for several days until it becomes a ball of about 200 cells called a ''blastocyst." Researchers then develop a new batch of embryonic stem cells from this ''blastocyst." The egg is never fertilized, so supporters such as Travaglini and Kennedy say scientists are not creating life.
Rather than a preeminent medical dictionary, Vennochi has got the new talking points from the pro-embryonic-stem-cell/cloning side down pat. In chatting with folks about this line of thinking—that somehow there are not new embryos really being created, because, frankly, the folks promoting the research don’t want you to believe they are, one close observer of these issues reacted:
It's painfully frustrating to see people speak this way, and other people fall for it. So the cells don't go into an embryo but into an egg...and it's not a fertilized embryo...ah huh. OK. So what is it? And if you implant it and transfer it, what is it then? What is Dolly? An unfertilized sheep? And these people are supposedly on the side of science.Political football? Try key issue of our day. Muddle it all you like, it’s not going away. Unfortunately, it will continue to be muddled. And that’s not likely to mean a good end result for anyone concerned with the dignity of human life.
Posted at 12:11 PM
ANOTHER ROBB-SILBERMAN DATUM [Rich Lowry ]
The estimates of Iraq's nuclear and bio programs began to get more dire in early 2001 and early 2000 respectively, well before Dick Cheney allegedly began demanding trumped-up intelligence.
Posted at 12:10 PM
LIMITS? WHAT LIMITS? [K. J. Lopez ]
In the debate (such as it is—there’s so much confusion and euphemisms it’s not a conversation accessible to most) over cloning, one thing has been consistent—those who support cloning have kept moving the bar.
Here’s some of what I wrote about a similar debate in late 2003 in New Jersey. It was the same kind of deal as in New Jersey: nearly no one wanted to oppose the panacea research that would save us all, or so folks were told:
This New Jersey bill is telling. Research-cloning (so-called "therapeutic cloning") advocates routinely argue that they are only interested in research on early embryos — that there could be a 14-day cutoff. Of course, for those who believe that an embryo is a human life from the get-go, that's no ideal. On the other hand, an argument could be made for the virtues of baby steps (versus deadlock — which in this case is no prohibition on the cloning of humans). But the New Jersey bill moots that option — it casts doubt on the willingness of the biotech industry to stop after 14 days.No one talks about 14 day limits anymore. The bar keeps getting moved.
Posted at 12:06 PM
BOSTON GLOBE: HEY ROMNEY, YOU’RE NOT ANTI-CLONING ENOUGH! [K. J. Lopez ]
You’ve got to hand it to them. Those who support legal cloning play the politics of it well. In the Boston Globe today, the editorial board turns what should be the pro-cloning advocates’ handicap around on Mitt Romney. In a Globe editorial today, the editors write: “If an embryo created by cloning is human, then so is one created, but not used for, in vitro fertilization. To be consistent logically, Romney should oppose in vitro fertilization.”
As I’ve said before, I don’t like that Romney is for using frozen embryos for medical research, but by doing so he is clearly willing to meet folks who want to do embryonic-stem-cell-research half way (and for those who oppose cloning--he is the guy to side with if you want to keep the door closed on cloning in Massachusetts and the subsequent domino effect in other states to come). We shouldn’t be in the business of creating new life, Romney says, but if there are “surplus” embryos available with no designated place to go, they can be used. But we should not, he says, be in the business of “cloning and killing” as creating embryos for use in medical research has been dubbed.
But that’s not enough for those who support not just stem-cell research in general, not just embryonic-stem-cell research, specifically, but cloning embryos for that research. As Romney put it in a press conference in February, "All of the rhetoric has been, 'We are throwing away embryos — surplus embryos — that could be used for stem-cell research and that makes no sense.'... And now, now that I've said, 'Ok, I support that,' now [the other side says], 'No, that's insufficient. How could you possibly limit it to that?' Well, that's what they've been asking for."
Posted at 12:04 PM
RE: PRO-NATALISM & SOCIAL SECURITY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a somewhat perturbed reader representing other perturbed readers:
Jonah, is your letter writer insinuating that, under our current system of government, parents pay the full support of their own children? What rubbish!
Posted at 12:00 PM
IT'S CESAR CHAVEZ DAY [Mark Krikorian]
Today is the late farmworker champion’s birthday, which is a holiday in California (it was observed Friday to create a three-day weekend, of course). I’m speaking at a conference today in L.A. on immigration put on by a Hispanic policy group, and I’ll make sure to note the irony that Chavez was actually an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration.
Posted at 11:55 AM
CONSUMPTION TAX FAQ [Jonah Goldberg ]
FairTax's FAQ is useful for inquiring minds.
Posted at 11:54 AM
ODD BEDFELLOWS [Mark Krikorian]
The Post finally has reported on Set America Free, the right/left effort to liberate us from Arab oil. But the scope of the effort needs to be broader; the goal is not only to free America from foreign oil but to free the rest of humanity from the Middle East. Which is why I still think it should be named the Vasco Da Gama Project.
Posted at 11:52 AM
TAKE A BITE OUT OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION [Mark Krikorian]
The Minuteman Project is already working. The mother of all neighborhood watch programs, as Michelle Malkin has called it, doesn’t even start til tomorrow with its month-long effort to assist the Border Patrol in southeast Arizona. But in anticipation, the Border Patrol has launched a new billboard campaign urging the public to report alien and drug smugglers. Of course, the main goal is to draw attention to a broken border, which they’ve already done, with hundreds of news stories, discussion in the blogosphere, and a scheduled visit from Rep. Tom Tancredo.
It’s unfortunate that citizens have to shame their government into action on immigration, but it’s not new; in 1990, hundreds of people in San Diego, led by Border Patrol widow Muriel Watson, line up their cars at the border and turned on the headlights, in what was called Light Up the Border. Mrs. Watson’s idea was denounced by the usual suspects but resulted in political change that has made that part of the border, at least, less anarchic.
The Minutemen have also been denounced by the usual suspects (which now, I am ashamed to say, include the President of the United States) -- it remains to be seen what its political outcome will be.
Posted at 11:49 AM
RE: THE GEORGES [K. J. Lopez]
I actually always refer to him as Robert Princeton George. Sure he loves that. NYPost dude is just Robert George--despite his election-time issues.
Posted at 11:43 AM
P STANDS FOR PRINCETON [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't why that memory device didn't occur to me before. Robert P(rinceton) George. Perfect. And for my friend Robert A. George -- who more or less endorsed Kerry in 2004 -- the A. can stand for "apostasy"!
Posted at 11:36 AM
WHAT NOW? [K. J. Lopez]
Robert P. (the Princeton prof) George sent this e-mail to some friends right after the Schiavo news broke. I know some in these parts disagree that she was killed, but many don’t, as well (and, here, is NR’s editorial today, just up). So, I’m going to share this, with his permission—and I think most of us can agree, at least, that we need some good to come out of this, and erring on the side of life in our hospitals, laws, and courts (regardless of your opinion on what happened here is) should be a goal:
Let us mourn, but not be discouraged. Let us forgive those who have acted wrongly in our name, even as we beg forgiveness from the Author of Life for whatever failures and delinquencies on our own parts have contributed to the culture of death. We are all sinners, and have fallen short; and the wages of sin truly are death. Let us resolve that Terri's death shall not have been in vain. In her name, let reform and renewal be our undoubted mission. Let us now, even in the depths of sorrow, rededicate ourselves to our ancient creed, affirming that every human being, as a creature fashioned in the divine image, possesses a profound, inherent, and equal worth and dignity--a worth and dignity that it is the high duty of the officers and institutions of constitutional republican government to respect and defend.
Posted at 11:24 AM
PRO-NATALISM & SOCIAL SECURITY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader in the know:
Posted at 11:21 AM
“WE MIGHT HAVE CHOSEN A DIFFERENT SOLUTION” [Rich Lowry ]
I think this passage from Robb-Silberman basically says, “Uh, guys—it was dumb to pass a major intelligence reform bill before we even finished our work, but we’ll just have to live with it”:
About halfway through our inquiry, Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which became a sort of a deus ex machina in our deliberations. The act created a Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The DNI’s role could have been a purely coordinating position, with a limited staff and authority to match. Or it could have been something closer to a “Secretary of Intelligence,” with full authority over the principal intelligence agencies and clear responsibility for their actions— which also might well have been consistent with a small bureaucratic superstructure. In the end, the DNI created by the intelligence reform legislation was neither of these things; the office is given broad responsibilities but only ambiguous authorities. While we might have chosen a different solution, we are not writing on a blank slate. So our focus has been in large part on how to make the new intelligence structure work, and in particular on giving the DNI tools (and support staff) to match his large responsibilities.
Posted at 11:10 AM
CASE CLOSED [Rich Lowry ]
Maureen Dowd writes today, “political pressure was the father of conveniently botched intelligence.” Cut to the Robb-Silberman report:
These are errors—serious errors. But these errors stem from poor tradecraft and poor management. The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community’s pre-war assessments of Iraq’s weapons programs. As we discuss in detail in the body of our report, analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments.
Posted at 11:09 AM
RE: HATING JOURNALISTS [K. J. Lopez]
From skimming the Net, e-mails and flipping the channels it is clear "coma," "life support," and other myths will clearly live on.
Posted at 11:03 AM
"WHY PEOPLE HATE JOURNALISTS" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
From The Washington Post (Braniagan):(my emphasis)
Posted at 10:59 AM
RE CRACKED ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Spot on, Jonah!
Posted at 10:55 AM
POLICY SYNERGY! [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, I've got it. Let's get a consumption tax which decreases in proportion to the number of children you have. Zero children: full rate. Ten children: everything you buy is tax free!
Posted at 10:53 AM
"THE WORST THING...IS TO BE ENCOUNTERED BY DEATH AND NOT TO BE CHANGED BY THE ENCOUNTER." [K. J. Lopez]
Richard John Neuhaus on death. Not Terri Schiavo's specifically, but that line in particular, is worth noting.
Posted at 10:32 AM
PRO-NATALISM DOWN UNDER [Jonah Goldberg ]
Interesting! Australia's government told (and bribed) the people to make more babies and they did. I was under the impression that these sorts of things usually fizzled in industrialized democracies. Japan, Italy & Germany take notice.
Posted at 10:26 AM
THIS IS HEARTBREAKING [K. J. Lopez]
...the parents and their two other children "were denied access at the moment of her death. They've been requesting, as you know, for the last hour to try to be in there and they were denied access by Michael Schiavo. They are in there now, praying at her bedside."
Posted at 10:20 AM
WELL... [Jonah Goldberg]
Someone's going to have to post something after that news. So: now that she has passed let us hope and pray that Michael Schiavo was right and her parents were wrong, even if we don't believe that to be the case. Rest in peace.
Posted at 10:16 AM
R.I.P. [K. J. Lopez]
Terri Schiavo has died.
Posted at 09:55 AM
"NO MAN CAN EAT FIFTY EGGS" [Jonah Goldberg]
Come to Atlanta and see me prove that wrong.
Note: Nothing in above post should be construed as a declaration that fifty chicken eggs will actually be eaten on the evening in question.
Posted at 09:53 AM
BAD TASTE CENTRAL [John Derbyshire]
It's nice to know that we can always depend on South Park for the occasional (please) dash of bad taste to spice up our daily grapplings with the big, serious matters of the world.
In last night's episode, Kenny was the only one of the crowd to get his hands on the newest PlayStation gadget. Playing night and day, he got up to an incredible Level 54 in the new Heaven versus Hell game. Then he was run over by a truck. His soul went to Heaven, where the archangels explained that the armies of Hell were massing for an attack, and God had sent the new PlayStation to earth in hopes of finding someone who could outwit Satan. Kenny was that person. He started playing in earnest as the Hell army marched. But then the hospital, by heroic measures, resuscitated him, and his soul, to the dismay of all the Heavenly folk, went back to earth. He was, however, in a persistent vegetative state, on a feeding tube. Cartman, who had wanted the PlayStation for himself, enlists a bunch of judges on his behalf, to get the feeding tube pulled out so Kenny can die and Cartman can inherit the PlayStation....
However do they think this stuff up?
One nice touch: Kenny's lawyer finds a living will he'd left. In it, Kenny specified that if he should ever be totally incapacitated, his guardians should not turn the situation into a media circus.
Posted at 09:52 AM
HOT ATLANTA NIGHT [K. J. Lopez]
Have you signed up yet? Notice Jonah hasn't tried breaking any bans this week...he's determined not to sit next to me on the plane ride down.
Posted at 09:49 AM
SURPRISE [Rich Lowry ]
Syria is engaging in sleight of hand to stay in Lebanon and is probably behind the recent bombings:
"We believe they are behind those attacks," the first senior U.S. official said. "We're concerned that they want to foment the kind of bombings and dislocation that the Lebanese fear could happen -- and that will allow the Syrians to say this is what happens when we remove our forces from your country."
Posted at 09:45 AM
“A POWERFUL AIR OF COMMON SENSE” [Rich Lowry ]
Much, obviously, can be done to improve our intelligence capabilities. But we should also be realistic about how good intelligence can ever be when it is based on human beings wrestling with necessarily imperfect knowledge. This passage from the Robb-Silberman report is a critical, but very reasonable account of how what seemed “common sense” assumptions at the time helped foul up our intelligence about Iraq’s WMD:
Throughout the 1990s, therefore, the Intelligence Community assumed that Saddam’s Iraq was up to no good—that Baghdad had maintained its nuclear, biological, and chemical technical expertise, had kept its biological and chemical weapons production capabilities, and possessed significant stockpiles of chemical agents and weapons precursors. Since Iraq’s leadership had not changed since 1991, the Intelligence Community also believed that these capabilities would be further revved up as soon as inspectors left Iraq. Saddam’s continuing cat-and-mouse parrying with international inspectors only hardened these assumptions.
Posted at 09:40 AM
NRO RADIO [K. J. Lopez]
I'll be on Laura Ingraham in a little bit, which I mention not so much so you listen to me, but remember to listen to her regularly. Biting, important, and fun all at the same time, daily.
Posted at 09:19 AM
PICTURE WORTH A THOUSAND [Jack Fowler]
From the March 29 North County Times: “Crowded by reporters and watched by curious Mexicans waiting to jump into the United States on Tuesday, four U.S. congressmen lobbied to ignore environmental concerns and finish building a bigger, ‘triple-layered’ border fence.” Click here to read the article and – most importantly – check out the photo of the “curious Mexicans.”
Posted at 09:05 AM
LINDER & WILL [Jonah Goldberg]
I may have taken it on the chin yesterday on the gas tax stuff, but I'm still intrigued by the consumption tax. George Will's column only heightens my interest.
Posted at 09:03 AM
STRANGE MORNING [Tim Graham]
There were some surprising guests on morning TV. NBC had Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life on the Schiavo case, and clergy are not common on the networks. But Fox took the cake by having Revolutionary Communists on to denounce this violation of separation of church and state in the congressional Schiavo intervention.
Posted at 09:00 AM
CITATION [John Derbyshire]
I have got a citation on MathWorld.
Apparently Steve Wolfram has forgiven, forgotten, or not noticed my you've-got-to-be-kidding review of his own recent book in NRODT.
Posted at 09:00 AM
IDEOLOGY ON "HIGH COOK" [Jonah Goldberg]
This reader raises an interesting point. Maybe the Greater Internet is like a microwave oven which can cook ideologies in half the time as conventional ovens. I kind of doubt it -- in part because ideas need to seep into the public consciousness -- but I think it's a really interesting question to ponder. Anyway, from the reader:
Posted at 08:25 AM
PUNDIT NARCISISM & RAMESH [Jonah Goldberg]
I should add in a collegial spirit that Ramesh is the pundit least prone to this analysis around today. Indeed, much of his writing's force comes from the fact that he stands in the pocket between "good" politics and good policy and so he rarely confuses the two. That's why you'll find him making these distinctions time and again on issues like abortion and the difference between the GOP's success and the conservative movement's success. And no, I don't owe him money. I've just always been envious of his ability to see these distinctions immediately and seemingly effortlesssly when the rest of us have to work to separate the two (though many pundits make no effort in this regard at all and blithely write as if their policies and their politics are perfectly in synch internally and with the American people).
Posted at 08:21 AM
COLUMBIA [Stanley Kurtz]
I'm on the run today and so can't comment in detail on the big NYT's story on Middle East Studies at Columbia University. I agree with those who say that this faculty committee was badly stacked against the students. In any case, I'll have more to say about Columbia in the coming days.
Posted at 08:17 AM
KINGS BATTLE [Stanley Kurtz]
I posted Tuesday on the King’s College outrage, and talked about it on Bill Bennett’s radio show Wednesday. I hope to have much more on the King’s College battle–which is far from over–in the near future. If you want to follow events as they play out, check out this website.
Posted at 08:16 AM
WISE WOMAN [Stanley Kurtz]
Harvard professor Ruth Wisse has a very nice article on the Summers affair in the latest issue of Commentary Magazine. Wisse begins by offering a reading of the controversy that neither side has even bothered to consider. Wisse argues that Summers actually means his apologies sincerely. She might be right. Then Wisse explains how affirmative action really works, painting a realistic picture of a sample faculty search. Wisse’s thoughts at the end on feminism and the true situation of women are penetrating. Not for nothing is she named “wise.”
Posted at 08:14 AM
CAMPUS BIAS [Stanley Kurtz]
Tuesday I posted on a just published empirical study of liberal bias on campus. You can find a copy of the full study here.
Posted at 08:11 AM
FDR, BUSH AND THE CRACK-UP THESIS [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'm getting a lot of interesting grief for the concluding paragraph of yesterday's column. I wrote:
I could have been less cute and more clear I suppose, but I was pressed for time and sleep. My point here was this: The folks peddling the crack-up thesis look at bad policies and think they must translate themselves into bad politics. The confusion of personal policy preferences for smart political moves is one of the most common bad habits among all political commentators. Lefties like Thomas Frank want the Democrats to embrace radical populist economics. But they cannot content themselves with arguing in favor of the policy, they also have to believe it would be smart politically for the Democrats to return to the days of FDR or William Jennings Bryan. For example, a while back Andrew Sullivan argued that it would be both good policy to embrace gay marriage but, hey, Republicans would even pick up a few gay votes. Now, I have no problem with Sullivan or anybody else who favors gay marriage making their case for gay marriage. But the idea that gay a pro-gay marriage stance would be a net gain for Republicans at the polls is silly.
Anyway, all of the folks telling me that the New Deal was a "disaster" miss my point entirely. Yes, it may well have been a policy disaster in many respects. But what serious historian or political analyst would call it a political disaster? Who would argue that liberalism fell apart -- i.e. cracked-up -- because of FDR. Liberalism surely changed -- I think for the worse -- because of FDR and, interestingly, this was when the libertarians (then called "traditional" or "19th century" liberals) bolted from the Democrats (and, oddly, the Communists) and increasingly became the intellectual shock troops of the American right. There's a reason the first chpater in George Nash's history of the post-1945 Conservative intellectual movement is titled "The Revolt of the Libertarians."
Anyway, Rove and Bush are changing the Republican Party and of necessity the American right. I don't like all of these changes. Some of these changes may have been inevitable in the wake of the Cold War and with the advent of new technologies, globalization etc. I don't which were inevitable and which were whimsical. I agree with my libertarian friends that many of the changes are troubling or at least worrisome. And sure, some libertarians may well feel the need to jump ship. But let's keep in mind, the story of modern American conservatism is also the story of libertarians jumping ship and either drowning on their own, setting-up shop on tiny islands no one cares about, or eventually swimming back to the boat in the hope being taken back.
Regardless, I don't confuse these changes as a political calamity. Keep in mind: The reason Bush & Rove are changing the party is in order to get more votes. In other words, political success can be the source of ideological calamity -- and vice versa. There's a certain amount of narcissism involved when a commentator says "I don't like their policies, therefore the whole thing will surely blow up." You'd think by now conservatives and libertarians would recognize that the mass of American people don't always share our views of ideal policy outcomes.
Posted at 08:10 AM
CONSERVATIVE SUCCESSES, REPUBLICAN FAILURES [Jonah Goldberg]
I think Matt Yglesias offers a pretty useful corrective here on the subject of liberals' overestimation of the Goldwater movement's success. Obviously, I don't share much of the anti-conservative bias Yglesias brings to the subject, but I think his point is basically right. However, I think he gets the history a little bit muddled, if not necessarily wrong. He writes:
For one thing, it's really not the case that the Goldwater Republicans "didn't try to become Democrats" after losing in 1964. Goldwater ran on a platform of eliminating Social Security, opposing the Civil Rights Act, opposing the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, and opposing a federal role in education finance. By the time Ronald Reagan brought the conservative movement to power in 1981 he had abandoned all of those planks and also had to accept the existence of the EPA and various other innovations of the 1970s. What he did once in power was basically scale back to some extent programs that didn't even exist when Goldwater ran.
Me: What's left out of this timeline is Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party. The GOP did in fact become like Democrats. This happened when Eisenhower affirmed the bipartisan nature of the New Deal. In 1960, Goldwater rallied conservatives against Ike's "dime store New Deal" and Nixon's disastrous "Pact of Fifth Avenue" with Nelson Rockefeller which made Nixon promise to put all sorts of liberal planks in the platform (Nixon was triangulating in the big leagues when Clinton was triangulating in his crib). There was all sorts of great invective against the pact. Lots of conservatives called it "Munich on the Hudson" and Goldwater called it "The Betrayal in Babylon."
Despite a strong draft Goldwater movement, Goldwater bit the bullet and promised to be a loyal Republican. He delivered his "let's grow up Conservatives!" speech and implored the the insurgent Right to stay in their historic home and support the nominee (which, was a bit of a stretch since the Republican Party wasn't in fact always known as the indisputably more conservative of the two parties). The conservatives supported Nixon and when Goldwater got his turn in 1964, the ungrateful, petulent liberal Republicans refused to help (remind you of anybody Sens Chafee, Specter & Jeffords?). Goldwater lost in a landslide. And, somewhat contrary to Yglesias' (and Bill Bradley's) history, Nixon and the GOP did in fact become like the Democrats. Nixon of course was a spectacularly liberal and statist president. He also won elections handily.
In some respects I think the comparisons between Nixon and Clinton are revealing. Both men won the presidency by trimming the differences between their party and the other party. Both presidencies left their respective parties weaker and more shorn of principles. The good news for the GOP was that conservatives had stuck around to take up the fight and eventually -- via Reagan -- win back the Oval Office and Congress. Yglesias is right that the Reaganized conservative movement wasn't as purely libertarian as the earlier Goldwater movement. But then again, the Goldwater movement lost the White House in a landslide. The Reagan movement was more fusionist in that it had a much broader coalition -- Southerners, evangelicals, anti-Communist "neocons," Reagan Democrats, free markerters etc.
The problem for the Democrats is that their corresponding Reagan movement seems a less likely candidate for similar successes. First, who is their Reagan? Second what do they believe? Third, What movement? Surely the MoveOn crowd isn't remotely up to snuff. People forget that Goldwater-Reagan movement spent decades working on ideas, magazines, think tanks etc. Listen to liberals today and you get the impression that that sort of internal debate and ferment can happen over night. It can't. The Goldwater analogy falls apart, on this point alone. If liberals really want to follow in Goldwater's footsteps they'll either have to embrace a serious left ideology the American people won't accept or they'll have to go back to square one.
Posted at 07:40 AM
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
MORE RE PRIMUM NON NOCERE [Peter Robinson ]
This reader makes a point:
How do we know that the Hippocratic Oath "survived" several millennia (if by this you mean that it was used in its classical form from the time it was created to sometime in the last couple of decades)? Do we know anything at all about the percentage of doctors who took the oath at the time of the birth of Christ, in 500, 1000 or 1500 A.D.? Even the website to which you link says that only about a quarter of American medical students took the oath in the 1920s. And if most doctors took the oath in 938 or 1428, did they take the same oath?In saying that the Oath came down to us intact across several milennia, I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that all physicians in all places and at all times during those many centuries had taken the Oath, but rather that the Oath had survived as a powerful ideal—and that modern western civilization, until very recently, had embraced it.
But can anyone fill me in on actual American practice? Was the Oath prevalent in this country in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for instance? By the middle of the twentieth century, it’s my impression, the Oath was used at most American medical schools, but I may be mistaken. Can anyone fill me in?
Posted at 06:25 PM
PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY [K. J. Lopez]
is running anti-filibuster-rule-change commericials, romanticizing current Democratic senators as Jimmy Stewarts.
But my pressing question this day of Corner bad movie postings: How long will it take for interest groups to use Elle Woods in their commericials, from the obvious new cinema classic for D.C. idealists?
Posted at 06:05 PM
RE: PRIMUM NON NOCERE [Peter Robinson]
Many emails re the Hippocratic Oath, or rather re the gutting of same, of which this provides a neat summary:
The old oath was inconvenient to modern medicine and so has been rewritten variously in different med schools. For more information, look here, but the important finding runs as follows: "According to a 1993 survey of 150 U.S. and Canadian medical schools, for example, only 14 percent of modern oaths prohibit euthanasia, 11 percent hold convenant with a deity, 8 percent foreswear abortion, and a mere 3 percent forbid sexual contact with patients -- all maxims held sacred in the classical version."Still intact after several millennia, the Hippocratic Oath has over the last couple of decades simply been tossed aside.
Posted at 05:50 PM
PEOPLE ARE DREAMING OF ATLANTA ALREADY [K. J. Lopez]
Hi K-LO, Maybe you aren't destined to fly. I had a dream right after you announced the Atlanta shindig that you, Jonah, Rich, Derb, and a few others showed up in a mini-van at my house in Chattanooga, TN, to pick me up on your way to Atlanta! So maybe you're really supposed to be driving instead of flying...you could turn your trip South into a bus tour! Think of all the red-state NRO fans you could see!
Make your dreams a reality here.
Posted at 05:29 PM
THE STASSEN FILES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Never have so many liberals made so much out of so little data. Michelle Malkin is on the case. I've written about this before (see here and below) and also about a related matter (see here).
Posted at 05:29 PM
IF ANYONE CARES ABOUT MS. POLITICS, THIS IS INTERESTING [K. J. Lopez]
From the NYObserver on Ms. [Elaine Lafferty is the outgoing editor.]:
At first glance, the ASME-nominated abortion essay by Martha Mendoza—a journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for investigative reporting—seems like classic feminist material, but according to Ms. Lafferty, it was the source of another struggle between herself and the publishers. In “Between a Woman and Her Doctor,” Ms. Mendoza recounts the agony she went through to obtain a late-term abortion after she found out, 19 weeks along, that the baby growing inside her had died.
Posted at 05:27 PM
ELEANOR SMEAL & MS. [K. J. Lopez]
look to NR for inspiration
Posted at 05:22 PM
THE VOTE IN BOSTON [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 05:04 PM
BULL MOOSE [K. J. Lopez]
wants the blogosphere to stop the genocide in Darfur. Sounds like a good use of power...
Posted at 05:00 PM
OUTRAGEOUS WRONG [Robert P. George]
In my twenty years as an academic, I have spoken out on a wide range of controversial moral questions, including such blood pressure raisers as abortion and homosexual conduct. Never have I received hate mail as vicious as what has come in since my appearance on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to oppose the decision to remove Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. Still, no one has threatened my life. Sadly such a threat has been made against a prominent academic who has spoken publicly on the other side of the question, Art Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania. Evidently, the threat is being taken very seriously by University security officers. That Professor Caplan or anyone speaking out on either side would be threatened with violence is an outrage. The persons responsible for the threat deserve the most severe condemnation, and not merely because they grossly dishonor the great cause they purport to serve.
Posted at 04:57 PM
ITHACA [Jonah Goldberg]
That story Ramesh posted about Bill Kristol getting smacked with a pie reminds me: I'll be at Ithaca college on April 6 talking about diversity & stuff.
I suppose Bill responded the correct way, but transforming oneself into a helicopter of fists certainly has its appeal as well.
Posted at 04:56 PM
THE MASSACHUSETTS SENATE [K. J. Lopez]
has just passed that cloning bill.
Posted at 04:51 PM
THE BOOK BUSINESS [Rich Lowry ]
Some folks have e-mailed in asking about a book brouhaha going on in some parts of the blogosphere involving us. Here is what happened: A National Review Book Service e-mail blast for the book "The Life And Religion of Mohammed" by Rev. J.L Menezes was sent out a couple of weeks ago to the magazine's (opted-in) e-mail list. The ad copy in the e-mail, which invoked “the dark mind of Mohammed” among other things, was written by author Robert Spencer. But it went out under the name of a member of NR’s publishing staff, who should have, but didn’t review it. The book service is a joint project with a publisher who has been responsible for what books to feature in this service and how best to publicize them.
So, National Review didn’t sit down and say, “Hey, let’s have a public fight over Mohammed and aggressively market books about him,” then reverse course. In contrast, Robert Spencer and some others on the right feel very strongly that it is important to discredit Mohammed and Islam as such in order to win the war on terror. That’s certainly their prerogative, but it is not the tack NR has taken, even as we have vigorously attacked Islamic terrorism and supported the war against it. CAIR has been agitating for us to apologize for weeks, but we obviously aren’t going to apologize for a position that isn’t our own. We are, of course, more than happy to defend our own actual positions against CAIR, or any other noxious grievance group.
Now, back to your regular programming…
Posted at 04:42 PM
TROY MCLURISM [Jonah Goldberg]
The more I read aboutt Michael Jackson the more I'm convinced he shares a sexual abnormality similar to Troy McClure's. Recall this conversation (I know I've mentioned this before):
Posted at 04:42 PM
NR AIR [K. J. Lopez]
A reader writes: “Is it flying you fear, or placing your life in some stranger's hands? Take some of those big bucks NRO rakes in and learn to fly, maybe a couple of you can do it, and then go in on a group deal for a puddle jumper or a corporate lease, then you could fly yourself to those remote 'do's'. Strike a blow for self-reliance and give TSA the finger at the same time, a twofer!”
This dear reader has an inflated idea of what NR makes off…anything. Lest anyone else have that idea, too, these fundraisers are really just efforts to make sure we have a future. Heck, PBS fundraises and they even have taxpayer money. We don’t have that safeguard!
And on the fear of flying thing: I trust strangers for a gazillion things, as we all do. It’s just an irrational fear—but I’d probably fear flying even more if one of us were flying.
Perhaps, though, we should have a contest among NR writers attending—the loser has to sit next to the gal editor screaming at every bump in the air on the flight there and back. The plus though: I’ll be doing shots of tequila the whole way, which means at least two of us will be mighty fun once we hit Atlanta….Come on, you must join this scene!
Posted at 04:40 PM
NASTY TACTICS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I hope it at least tasted good.
Posted at 04:30 PM
ME V. CHAIT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Prestopundit is on my side. Some super-cool guy named biobrain isn't.
Posted at 04:19 PM
OBAMA, TOO? [K. J. Lopez]
Check out Byron's piece today if you haven't. The Left's reliance on MoveOn is kinda sad--for not just the Left, but American politics.
Posted at 04:07 PM
CRISIS, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email raises another point:
"I'm pro-Roe-- but this sounds quite weird. A bit of weirdness you didn't go into:
"'Internationally, pro-life red-staters may find travel and business dealings difficult among Europeans'
"But merely overturning Roe wouldn't turn the U.S. into some weird outlier compared with European countries. Roe is the outlier. A constitutionally- (or, if one prefers, "constitutionally-" with scare quotes) mandated prohibition on any restriction of abortion for two trimesters and little constitutionally permissible space for regulation even in the third trimester-- this is unique. The combination of extremely liberal abortion laws for six months and the constitutionalization of such laws isn't some kind of requirement for OECD membership.
"Do, say, Germans find it uncomfortable to travel in Europe? Germany's abortion law is much more restrictive than anything I'd expect to see in a post-Roe federal legal code, or in the post-Roe legal codes of any but a few states or jurisdictions such as Louisiana and Guam.
"As I said, I prefer the US approach here. But it's silly to offer, as a defense of Roe, that it allows us to fit in with Europeans. (Well, it'd be silly even if its factual premise were true. But it's even sillier since the premise is false.)"
Posted at 04:00 PM
CHECK OUT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
this concurrence by Bush I appointee Stanley Birch, which declares the congressional act trying to save Terri Schiavo's life to be unconstitutional. Some of the rhetoric about congressional intemperance seems to me to be intemperate itself (as well as self-glorifying).
Posted at 03:55 PM
THE LATEST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
from the Eleventh Circuit, denying the latest Schindler appeal.
Posted at 03:43 PM
CRISIS MAGAZINE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
has a bizarre cover story (not online yet) in which Elizabeth Thecla Mauro worries that Roe v. Wade may be overturned prematurely. Or something. It's hard to make heads or tails of her essay. So I'll skip over the many disgressions and concentrate on what seem to be the main points.
She seems to be worried about two prospects. First, that the end of Roe "could actually lead to a full-blown schism" within the Catholic church, with parishes breaking away, battles over property ownership. "Such an event could be ruinous for the fiscal health of the Roman Church." Her second worry is that the end of Roe, and the resulting political battles in the states over abortion policy, would "have family members, parishes, and ultimately whole communities choosing sides and growing in distrust and dislike." She continues, "Internationally, pro-life red-staters may find travel and business dealings difficult among Europeans. . . . Domestically, resourceful, blue, pro-abortion states could do serious economic damage to landlocked and less monied pro-life red ones." ("Some of what I'm saying," she writes, "must surely sound over-the-top." Well, yes.)
So instead of overturning Roe, Catholics should instead have their church spread a new message "emphasizing not law and legalism and duty, but mercy and tenderness and love," and explaining that abortion is "the Destroyer of Love."
This is pious nonsense.
First of all, it's worth noting that the Catholic church doesn't own the pro-life issue. Are evangelicals supposed to accept the killing of unborn human beings for as long as ending it would inconvenience that church's accountants? Is Nat Hentoff supposed to as well? And why should Catholics hold these priorities? They're supposed to believe that their Church has a guarantee of eventual triumph.
Second: It's a mistake to view changing the law and changing the culture as wholly separate enterprises. Our government teaches that abortion is a right guaranteed by our fundamental law. Overturning Roe is a step toward changing the culture by ending that teaching.
Third: Once Roe went, we'd be fighting not just over "abortion rights" in the abstract but over particular policies that Roe now bars: tighter parental-consent laws, bans on late-term abortion, etc. Why should those fights be any more divisive than the fight over the Supreme Court?
Fourth, there's the matter of the Constitution. Do we really have to wait for the Catholic bishops to get their communications strategy in order before we're allowed to get it back?
Posted at 03:32 PM
CATHY YOUNG [K. J. Lopez]
won't like this.
Posted at 03:19 PM
MESCAREYA [K. J. Lopez]
Mascara causes cancer?
Posted at 03:16 PM
JUST TO BE CLEAR [Jonah Goldberg]
In response to several emailers, I was not lobbying for the Carlson show. Seriously. I knew that there was no way I could make that point without some people thinking that was my motive. But it wasn't. But just so folks don't think I'm entirely without ambition, Beinart & I have discussed the idea of a Beinart & Goldberg show a la Kudlow and Kramer, which I think would make a lot of sense. But that's a project for a post-book world.
Posted at 03:14 PM
RE: TUCKER [Tim Graham]
Jonah, if they take "Unfiltered" off the PBS airwaves, after it just debuted last June, it tells me one thing: the chat about moving the PBS lineup to the center is over. It was just another ploy to sway GOP legislators to the belief that the channel isn't all "Frontline" all the time. Granted, the Moyers show "Now" has been cut from 60 minutes to 30, and without Moyers, it has to be less obnoxious. But Tucker's show was never going to match Moyers for invective, and mild-mannered host aside, Tucker's guest list was 50-50 in its ideological divide at best. All the fulminating about right-wing PBS bias from the Media Matters types is going to look even more empty.
Posted at 03:13 PM
TONY BLAIR [Andrew Stuttaford]
For all those who think that Tony Blair should be re-elected (an election is likely on May 5) because he has "got the big things right":
"Tony Blair's plans for defence cuts are a "stab in the back" for the men and women he has sent to war, Michael Howard, the Tory leader, has said. Infantry battalions are being reduced from 40 to 36 under a shake-up which will create a new Scottish "super regiment". But the Conservatives have pledged to spend £2.7 billion to save the regiments if they are elected.Mr Howard today accused the Prime Minister of taking a "gamble with our national security". He said: "Anybody who has given serious thought to the threats we face today could not conclude that we currently have enough soldiers in the infantry."But Labour have let Armed Forces' manning levels drop 3,000 below establishment. On top of that, the Government has announced a further cut in our infantry levels of four battalions."What a stab in the back for the men and women Mr Blair sent into the line of fire." Mr Blair's "obsession" with Europe was also damaging Britain's defence capability, Mr Howard said. EU proposals to lift the arms embargo on China, opposed by the US, are a prime example of the way Europe was working against British interests, he said. George W Bush, the US president, has signalled that UK and European defence contracts could lose contracts while EU forces could be denied US technology if the embargo is lifted. "The attitude of Mr Blair's Government at best has been ambivalent," Mr Howard said. "Let us remember this is an arms embargo - not a trade embargo."
The Tories are terrible, but Tony Blair is far, far worse. Chuck him out.
Posted at 03:10 PM
MORE CAMPAIGN-FINANCE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
schemes, exposed by Ryan Sager.
Posted at 02:57 PM
TUCKER CARLSON, UN/FILTERED [Jonah Goldberg]
I will be on this Friday, but that's not the point.
I also just received a press release announcing that Tucker's show is going off the air. They attribute it to the fact that Tucker's new MSNBC gig -- and relocation to New Jersey -- makes the show untenable. That's unfortunate and understandable, but not to be too crass, why not find a new host? Tucker's good and the show was/is good. But surely the rationale for the show extended beyond merely the need to get Tucker on PBS. CPB -- run by Republican appointees -- is the chief funder of the series and might want to ponder, say, "Rich Lowry: Undiluted" or "Mark Steyn: 99 & 44/100ths Pure."
Posted at 02:46 PM
PRIMUM NON NOCERE [Peter Robinson]
Do med school students still take the Hippocratic Oath when they graduate? If so, has anyone addressed the conflict between the Oath and physician-assisted suicide? Perhaps a medical board of ethics in Oregon (which of course already has an assisted-suicide law) and Vermont (which seems to want one)?
I'd be grateful to any reader who could fill me in.
Posted at 02:43 PM
CREATIVE COALITIONS [K. J. Lopez]
It wasn't necessarily a Rovian kinda strategy, but Mitt Romney may be getting some help from his Left on his battle against cloning--or so recent activity in California might suggest: the main proponent of Prop 71, the cloning bill out there, is now calling for a moratorium on egg extraction. Here's a bit of the story.
Posted at 02:40 PM
NOAM SCHEIBER HAS A THEORY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
that President Bush is helping the Democratic party by selling the public on an idealistic foreign policy with which Democrats will, in the long run, be more comfortable than Republicans. "It's not a given that Democrats will be able to rise above their partisan dislike of Mr. Bush's war, and their broader suspicion of United States power, in order to embrace democratization. But by 2008 the job of consolidating democracy will probably be primarily nonmilitary in nature. It will involve financing and training indigenous political activists, helping to build highways, schools and hospitals, and nurturing democratic institutions like a free press and labor unions. Which is to say, all the things Republicans roll their eyes at and Democrats have long embraced."
Now let's assume that the top foreign-policy issue of 2008 will be training activists abroad, etc.; that Democrats will be more enthusiastic about this agenda than Republicans; and that the public will support this agenda. Even if all these conditions were met, how much would the Democrats really be helped? If that's what the foreign-policy debate looks like in 2008, then foreign policy isn't going to be much of an issue in the elections that year.
Now that would certainly be better for the Democratic party than if foreign policy were a big issue that hurt it, as in 2004. But the party's increased fortunes would owe entirely to the fact that the foreign policy issue had gotten less politically salient. It would not be because Bush had sold the public on Democratic ideas.
Posted at 02:24 PM
BAD SUPREME COURT DECISION TODAY [Roger Clegg]
The Supreme Court ruled today, in Smith v. City of Jackson, that employers can be held liable for violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act even when there is no evidence that a challenged policy does not discriminate on its face, was not intended to discriminate, or has not been applied evenhandedly—so long as it has a “disparate impact” on the basis of age. The employer still has the opportunity to persuade a judge or jury that the challenged policy is “reasonable,” but of course that is a roll of the dice, and the end result—as is always the case under the “disparate impact” approach—is that many employers will either abandon perfectly sensible and productive policies or else adopt surreptitious quotas to make sure there is no disproportionate effect in the first place. Most disappointing of all is that fact that the decision was 5-3 (Chief Justice Rehnquist did not participate), and the defecting conservative justice this time was not O’Connor, not Kennedy … but Scalia! Say it ain’t so, Nino.
Posted at 02:22 PM
IN DEFENSE OF MALTHUS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:14 PM
BARRY POULSON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Poulson accuses me of "overlook[ing] several factors" that have contributed to the state's budget problems. The first is the absence of a rainy-day fund in the budget--to which I alluded when I noted that the state's budget rules don't take adequate account of the effects of recessions. The second is the state's constitutionally mandated education spending--which I explicitly mentioned. I may not have gone into these things in as much detail as Poulson preferred, but that's not the same as overlooking them.
Poulson also objects to my statement that "Owens's plan foresees a tighter constraint on the growth of the budget than the rule that ALEC and the National Tax Limitation Committee want other states to adopt." Again, it's not clear what substantive disagreement he has with me here. The ALEC rule, as Poulson notes, is to restrict revenue and spending growth so that they grow no faster than inflation plus population growth. My point was that under Owens's plan, over a ten-year period revenue and spending growth would be even lower than that. Poulson does not dispute that.
And both of us think that Colorado voters should reject the governor's plan. So what's his problem with me?
Posted at 02:10 PM
THE UN LIKES MARKETS [Jonah Goldberg ]
The hidden good news in the new doomsday report.
Posted at 02:08 PM
MORE DANFORTH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Danforth was, as he notes, a reliable anti-abortion vote during his time in the Senate (although he came out in support of funding research on tissues taken from aborted fetuses toward the end of his time there). Many people claim that trying to outlaw abortion is an impermissible mixing of religion and politics. Generally, these people claim the same thing about attempts to outlaw cloning. How does Danforth distinguish between the two cases? "I am and have always been pro-life. But the only explanation for legislators comparing cells in a petri dish to babies in the womb is the extension of religious doctrine into statutory law." (This, mind you, from a man who used to give speeches on abortion that ended with quotations from St. Paul.) So it's okay to say "life begins at conception" when you're trying to ban abortion, but not--oh, never mind, this argument isn't worth anyone's time. Basically, Danforth's position boils down to this: Any religious-conservative initiative he supports doesn't cross a church-state line, and any such initiative he opposes does. And when a religious conservative and Danforth disagree, it's the former who's being "divisive." He used to be called "St. Jack." I always thought that was a tribute to his decency, not his sanctimony.
Posted at 01:56 PM
CORNER SYNDICATED COLUMN HYPING [K. J. Lopez]
Here's my second for United Media (written two weeks ago--I'm posting them late on NRO so you all make your local papers sign up). Cheery topic, I know (if you've read it, you know what I mean).
Posted at 01:55 PM
THE STRANGE WORLD OF GEORGE FELOS [K. J. Lopez]
Eric Pfeiffer read a book no sane man should have to....
Posted at 01:49 PM
59 DIPLOMATS WITH FUNNY NAMES [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, NBC's Today highlighted this anti-Bolton story briefly yesterday. But where's the actual letter and signatories? What we'll find is that many of the signatories (including those dreaded "even Republicans," as in "even Republicans oppose Bolton") endorsed John Kerry for president last year. (Princeton Lyman did.) Why should it be newsworthy that people who campaigned for Kerry are unhappy with Bush appointments?
Posted at 01:47 PM
DANFORTH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here's what the man writes in today's Times: "During the 18 years I served in the Senate, Republicans often disagreed with each other. But there was much that held us together. We [Republicans] believed in limited government, in keeping light the burden of taxation and regulation. We encouraged the private sector, so that a free economy might thrive."
Baloney. During the first Bush administration, Congress imposed regulations on the private sector far more substantial than any it has passed during the last five years: the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Restoration Act, for example. Danforth voted for the former and was the lead sponsor of the latter. He voted for the first Bush's tax increase in 1990. And he voted for the first major regulatory initiative of the Clinton administration, the Family and Medical Leave Act. Republican congressmen have become less pro-regulation, not more, and it is partly because they are no longer burdened by the likes of Senator Danforth.
Posted at 01:46 PM
RE: ROLL OVER MALTHUS [Steven Hayward]
Jonah wonders where I and brother Jonathan are while this new doomsday UN study is being released. Brother Jon is probably in class, but I'm enjoying the coastal environment out in California at the moment--in fact, watching the once-endangered grey whales spout off in increasing numbers right out my window.
There is nothing surprising about the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; it has been in the works for several years. I haven't read it yet, but I suspect much of it is correct: there are massive environmental problems in the developing world. The question is what to do about it. Certainly not the UN agenda. Also, it will be worth noting what the assessment says about the U.S. Almost every environmental category in the U.S. continues to improve dramatically (10 million acres of forestland gained in the last decade, for example; 2004 lowest air pollution levels since monitoring began in the 1950s, species loss greatly reduced, etc). Why? Because we are a wealthy nation. The solution for the developing world is clear: get rich. Then you will have the resouces to save your forests and fix your lakes and rivers. Keep the UN bureaucrats away. These problems are serious, but they are not the apocalypse. One hundred years from now the degree of alarm over this will look silly, like Teddy Roosevelt's worry in 1901 that we might have to ban Christmas trees because the U.S. was running out of trees (true story).
Posted at 01:26 PM
"WHAT DO FAUNTLEROY AND POINDEXTER THINK?" [K. J. Lopez]
Or quote of yesterday--Best of the Web had some fun with those names yesterday.
Posted at 01:09 PM
P.S. RE: QUOTE OF THE DAY [K. J. Lopez]
Yes, e-mailer also wrote: "Do you think Spurgeon M. Keeney, Jr's Dad went by "Big Spurge" down at the Penn Club?"
Posted at 01:01 PM
CLIFFORD MAY IS LOOKIN' GOOD! [Michael Graham]
This morning’s Washington Post-Democrat features a profile of NRO contributor Clifford May in the “Usual Suspect” feature. (A title they clearly plagiarized, by the way.)
Cliff’s secret shame? That is first celebrity crush was Hanoi Jane Fonda: “But I was very young -- and so was she. This was around the 1968 release of 'Barbarella,' directed by Roger Vadim and billed as a 'psychedelic science-fiction sex comedy.'”
Oh, the shame…
Posted at 12:41 PM
JOHN DANFORTH TO THE GOP: ABANDON THE PRINCIPLES OF LINCOLN [Peter Robinson]
Brother Hugh Hewitt is always worth reading, but his reply today to John Danforth's piece in the New York Times is just marvelous. Lord, how a good polemic can put a spring back into one's step.
Posted at 12:38 PM
QUOTE OF THE DAY [K. J. Lopez]
In an e-mail to me about 59 former U.S. diplomats opposing John Bolton's nomination: "Call me a drooling red-stater, but the fact that John Bolton is opposed by someone named Monteagle Stearns proves he's the right man for the job."
He adds, in more biting analysis:
You name your kid "Princeton," that's pretty much a guarantee that he'll grow up to be an ambassador. Or a snotty, rich brat in an 80's movie. Or both.
Posted at 12:33 PM
ROLL OVER MALTHUS [Jonah Goldberg ]
This (via Drudge) will launch a huge spike in the number of time Julian Simon's name comes up in Nexis and Google. And rightly so. Meanwhile, where are Adler and Hayward when we need them? Probably off blogging elsewhere, fickle eco-libertarians that they are.
Posted at 12:24 PM
ISLAND LIFE [Alex Rose]
Regarding the reader who suggested that sending prisoners to an island to fend for themselves was no bad thing, let us recall the movie, Escape From New York. That place seemed pretty cushy to me, and the thieves got on perfectly well with the murderers. I never quite understood, though, why the authorities couldn’t have dumped them all on Staten Island (or Rhode Island, for that matter). Manhattan, even at the height of the crime wave, contained much valuable real estate, after all.
Posted at 12:16 PM
ATLANTA [Ed Capano]
For those who are debating whether or not to attend the NR invasion of Atlanta, please keep one thing in mind, it is for a very good cause--support of NR/NRO so we can continue to expand and improve, and bring you the best news and commentary possible. To continue, as one Cornerite so aptly put it, to ROCK! (And despite consistent rumors, it is not for reupholstering Jonah’s couch!)
Posted at 11:51 AM
ESTROGEN-LITE FILMS [Jonah Goldberg]
Since Cruising is little more than gay porn with a plot, let me try to put an end to this thread before we start listing films which have no place being mentioned on a family website.
The Great Escape
Now obviously, this list is not exhaustive. There are also many movies readers cite which I would not. For example "The Dirty Dozen" has both high-class German ladies at the big party and it has cheap hookers earlier in the film (much to the chagrin of the absurdly named "maggot"). But while it's true that the women don't play big roles, we're now competing in a field where even tiny roles for women are problematic.
Anyway, I say all of this in the hope that I can beat back the flood of email on this topic -- which was initially appreciated but now I think it's moment has subsided.
Posted at 11:32 AM
GOLLY [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader reads a lot of nice things into what some might call the fetal crouch I fell into on the whole gas tax thing:
And this is precisely why liberalism is sinking like a stone: The presence of debate in conservative Corners and the absence of it on the left.
Posted at 11:20 AM
CRUISING FOR CHICKS [Alex Rose]
There was just one woman, if I recall, in the Al Pacino all-action movie, Cruising, from 1980. She did not have a large role.
Posted at 11:17 AM
NEW TOPIC: NEVERMIND [Jonah Goldberg]
I think never mind should be one word.
I've been reading a lot of old (1920-1940s) newspapers this year and it amazes me how much words, usage and spelling change. For example, in the 1940s the Washington Post used the word "indorse" instead of "endorse." Candidates received "indorsements" etc.
So, I think there's room for growth with "never mind." If nonetheless can be one word and insofar (but not "insofaras" -- even though nobody uses insofar without the "as") why can't never mind be economised to nevermind.
On the wisdom of this insight, there can be no debate.
Posted at 11:16 AM
BLOOD SPORT [Jonah Goldberg]
This reader's thinking outside the box:
Nevermind banishment, let's bring back gladiatoral games! For death penalty cases only of course. Think of the spectacle! And who wouldn't want to see Richard Ramirez vs. Scott Peterson?
Posted at 11:13 AM
GAS TAXES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Some sensible arguments from Arnold Kling at TCS.
Posted at 11:09 AM
BANISHMENT [Jonah Goldberg]
I understand the appeal of the idea. But I do have a few reservations. If a guy is convicted of robbery is it really fair to send him to an island where he'll get killed? Isn't that just a death sentence, once removed? Also, is it remotely conceivable that environmentalists would allow us to send men to an uninhabited island and develop it agriculturally? I doubt it.
Anyway, I bring this up because of this email:
Jonah, While I agree that 'No Escape' is a bad movie, what I thought was interesting was that the writers somehow thought placing the country's hardest and most violent killers on an island surrounded by mines and guarded by helicopter gun ships was wrong. Of course they make the warden and the criminal justice system to be the bad guy however wouldn't things be interesting in the community of criminals if they truly had to live in a society of their own design? Place them on a respectable island that can sustain some kind of agriculture with a boy scout handbook and let them fend for themselves. No worries about death penalty cases and the such.
Posted at 10:59 AM
ANOTHER SATISFIED CUSTOMER [K. J. Lopez]
L. Roger Boord writes of our February fundraiser:
Meeting the NR editors in person…was an incredible experience. I learned that Jonah Goldberg is taller than a Wookie, and that Ramesh Ponnuru knows how to party. I also learned how The Corner was born from Rich Lowry: “I received an email from Jonah with 10 ideas on how to improve NRO. The first nine were terrible. The last one was The Corner.”The things you learn! Come and learn more and have a ball in Funlanta in May--details here.
Posted at 10:58 AM
MEANWHILE... [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm getting a lot of nice email re my response to Jonathan Chait. I make no case for gas taxes there.
Posted at 10:55 AM
TRIAL BALLOON TAKING MANY ARROWS [Jonah Goldberg]
Here are a few:
Mr. Goldberg, If we were to fix oil prices by raising taxes on them whenever the price dropped below it, would the sellers really be daft enough to sell below that price? Furthermore, the reason why high prices encourage alternatives is because the alternatives are preferable to the high prices but not the low ones -- otherwise we'd already be seeking those alternatives. Artificially raising the prices of gas in order to gain some laudable objective is simply forbidding the best of three options in order to take the second best -- it must decrease total utility and value. More or less by definition. I'm all in favor of taxes designed to internalize externalities (the cost of carbon and other pollutants, for instance, or wars and other foreign policy costs attendant with our consumption of foreign oil). But with all due respect to yourself and Mr. Krauthammer, there's a reason why price fixing is generally considered a bad idea by economists.
Jonah, Put down the banana peels my friend. You've jumped off the deep end with this adjustable tax to keep oil prices stable. Haven't we already learned this lesson in innumerable ways that the government and more specifically the politics that drive it are a very poor substitute for a free market. Btw, why are you proposing a tax increase of any kind? What happened to shrinking the size of the government. Lets push to kill obsolete departments instead. P.S. Can the real Jonah come out and play? P.P.S. Love your work. :-)
Here's my concern on this, Jonah: If we opted for stable pricing, and a notionally adjustable tax, then this pegging would distort the wholesale market price, since consumer demand would be factored out, and intermediaries could, in essence, take the Treasury's share of the revenue. In short, it will not work. Taxes are instruments of confiscation, not market control. The only way it might work is if the USG has a monopoly of oil distribution, so that it could buy on the world market and sell to all the refiners at the pegged price, and the retailers had a fixed markup from the crude price. I suspect that's more market changes that we would want. Now, if you want to make the tax 90% of the price, like in Europe, then you will be able to curb the swings in the pump price, but you damn well better spend all the money on hydrogen fuel cell development.
Me: Message received.
Posted at 10:54 AM
CLASSIC INBOX [Jonah Goldberg]
Half of my mail is about gas taxes and their many flaws or few advantages. The other half is about movies that had few women. For the record, several readers have claimed that the Hunt for Red October had only a femal flight attendant. Not so. It also featured Dr. Jack Ryan's wife -- played by that woman who also played the insufferable Dr. Beverly Crusher on a show we shall not name. I did like this email though:
Posted at 10:41 AM
RE: NEW ERA FOR OIL [Cliff May]
Jonah (and others) check out Set America Free, an approach to attaining energy independence endorsed by a remarkably diverse group, including Jim Woolsey, Frank Gaffney, Gary Bauer, Eliot Engel, Robert McFarlane, James Watkins and Dan Pipes.
Posted at 10:35 AM
"HELP ME OPPOSE THE RADICAL CLONING BILL NOW ON BEACON HILL." [K. J. Lopez]
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney hits the radio airwaves today in hopes of stopping the cloning bill in the statehouse there. Listen to his ad here.
Gov. Romney, again, articulates a position I'm not 100-percent enthused about--those "surplus" embryoes from fertility clinics he talks about don't need to be destroyed--but conversations about adopting embryoes will be totally moot point when Mass. opens the door to creating new embryoes, nevermind using ones already around, to use for medical research. So the choice about who to support in this Massachusetts battle is not a hard one for those who oppose cloning.
Romney does make the important point (besides the hardline he takes against creating new life to destroy for research) that rarely gets heard in the ad: That he is--as am I, as is everyone I can think of--for stem-cell research. It's when we start talking embryoes where things get promblematic.
Posted at 10:29 AM
A NEW ERA FOR OIL [Jonah Goldberg ]
Maybe it's the nitrogen bubbles in my brain or the afterglow of reading Bob Samuelson's column today, but I finally feel willing to float a trial balloon in the Corner which, I admit, has been launched more times than the Goodyear blimp: Increase gas/oil taxes.
Admittedly, current high oil prices have caused pain for some and are probably a drag on the economy in significant respects (the airline industry, for example), but the negative effects certainly don't track with the predictions of doom and gloom which typically accompany fuel tax proposals. Clinton's 4.3 cent a gallon tax elicited howls that the economy would go off the rails, for example. Well, now gas prices are much higher than they were in 1996, though still lower -- adjusted for inflation -- than they were in the early 80s. And, more to the point, the economy seems to have absorbed high gas prices better than most would have predicted.
Anyway, since it's impossible to deny that our dependence on Middle East oil -- or our dependence on foreigh oil, a lot of which comes from the Middle East -- skews our foreign policy in undesirable ways (and enriches folks we'd rather see make their money from ordinary development), it seems worth considering a tax system which weans us of oil as much as possible. Demand from China and India will be putting upward pressure on oil prices for decades to come. And since I'm increasingly sympathetic to consumption taxes in general, it seems to me a fuel tax is a good place to start. I kind of like Charles Krauthammer's idea to peg oil prices at a stable level and try to keep to keep it there by adjustung taxes accordingly. If oil prices skyrocket, lower the tax. If oil prices plummet, raise the tax -- But keep prices at a sufficiently high -- or "realistic" -- level to encourage more efficiencies and investments in alternative fuels and to protect the economy from volatility as much as possible. I'm not talking about a net hike in taxes. I'd be delighted to see a cut in other taxes to accomodate the rise at the pump. And I have no problem whatsoever with investing lots and lots of money in nuclear power.
Posted at 10:21 AM
PATRICK RUFFINI [Ramesh Ponnuru]
vs. Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post.
Posted at 10:11 AM
TWO MEN ENTER.... [Jonah Goldberg ]
My reply to Jonathan Chait is here.
Posted at 10:06 AM
WE HAVE A WINNER [Jonah Goldberg]
This didn't take long. From a reader:
Posted at 09:27 AM
HMMM: RE NO ESCAPE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 09:21 AM
SUMMERS REVEALED! [Stanley Kurtz]
The great Andrew Ferguson on the never ending Lawrence Summers fiasco. But wait! Here’s the most incredible Summers twist of all.
Posted at 09:17 AM
CHICAGO "CONSERVATISM" [Stanley Kurtz]
A couple of libertarian readers have missed the point of what my recent piece, “Rick Santorum Was Right” had to say about the University of Chicago. My point is that the university as a whole, the law school included, is getting less conservative–especially when it comes to social conservatism. Sure, libertarian conservatism is well represented at Chicago’s law school, and elsewhere at the university. But social conservatives are growing more scarce. Too many hear that U. Chicago is home to “conservatives,” and assume that this includes a healthy share of social conservatives. That is misleading. When it comes to social issues, Chicago’s law school and the university as a whole are now largely liberal. The Committee on Social Thought is less of a home to social conservatives than it used to be. Sunstein and Nussbaum at the law school are now leading influences on political theory in the university as a whole. The great days of Allan Bloom are gone. Chicago’s humanities and social sciences look more and more like any other left-leaning university. The faculty has succeeded in gutting the Western Civ. requirement. The school’s distinctive character is slipping away. Yet Chicago still relies on it’s reputation with conservatives for special support. That is misleading.
This matters because, at the moment, there are virtually no other places for conservatives to go. Social conservatism in particular has been excluded from the contemporary academy. Without Chicago, there is virtually no serious alternative. There is a crisis of conservative reproduction at America’s universities, social conservatism most of all. Conservatives need to know about that–and the decline of Chicago very much a part of the problem. The public remains conservative on a broad spectrum of issues, but it’s not clear where the next generation of conservative intellectuals will come from.
My focusing for the moment on social conservatism is not to say that Chicago is balanced on issues like the war or Middle East Studies. It isn’t–although outside of MES, Chicago is more balanced on military and foreign policy issues than some other major research universities (which isn’t saying much). The real advantage for a conservative student at Chicago is other conservative students–many of them attracted by the school’s traditional reputation. Sheer numbers help conservative students get respect. But the increasingly leftward tilt of the faculty is a real and growing phenomenon. It’s great to have smart libertarians at Chicago, but that does not address the central problem.
Posted at 09:15 AM
ANOTHER FAKE MEMO? [Tim Graham]
Howard Kurtz looks into the questioning of the authenticity of a "GOP memo" on Schiavo reported by the Washington Post and ABC News.
Posted at 09:01 AM
SOMETHING IS OUT THERE [K. J. Lopez]
But it's not even Talking Tina.
Posted at 08:57 AM
GRATITUDE [K. J. Lopez ]
Speaking of cracking up…thank you, Cathy Young, for giving me some of my creds back—of late I’ve been told I’m not pro-life enough. So, thanks!
Posted at 08:40 AM
CRACKS [K. J. Lopez ]
I now send you to Jonah Goldberg on how the right is not cracking. (The Corner is just a plug for people’s syndicated columns. And a research engine…and….)
Posted at 08:39 AM
“A GREAT WRONG” [K. J. Lopez ]
I just focused on the me part there, but the worst part of Young’s piece is this:
Amidst such hysteria, is it any wonder that some champions of "life" are making death threats against judges and legislators who have ruled or voted the "wrong" way?Since when is having a strong opinion inciting violence? Mark Levin got this treatment from Jeff Rosen in the Washington Post re: his judge book this weekend. I happen to believe we are nearing a turning point in our history, as I’ve expressed here before (and folks like Jonah and Derbyshire, who don't agree with me on all of the specifics have as well). Technology is outpacing our “ethics.” Or, rather, bioethicists, are talking themselves into circles making life-and-death decisions evermore muddled. Cloning, end of life, beginning of life…these are big issues. And they are ones that we have to get right now, before we rush into things and dive too deep. So we’re going to keep talking about these issues. And we’ll debate them here, as we have. But we’ll also be coming from a clear position on many of these, as NR has. Does Cathy Young, rather than debate, want us just to shut up because some lunatics happen to agree in part with us?
That doesn’t seem to jive with her libertarianism. AAACK….Libertarianism is cracking up!!
Posted at 08:38 AM
THERE GOES THAT “HYSTERIA” AGAIN [K. J. Lopez]
Cathy Young is not happy with the let-Terri-Schiavo-live conservatives. She writes, in “Lifers on the Loose,” that all she sees is a “sickening display of cynicism and fanaticism.” She takes aim at hysteric in chief K-Lo (right after Tom DeLay!), saying, "On the website of the conservative National Review, writer Kathryn Jean Lopez railed at the feminist groups' lack of outrage that "a man—and his male lawyer and doctor—backed up by a male judge, is cutting off his wife's food." We live in bizarre times when a conservative chides feminists for not acting like professional male-bashers. "
Bizarre, perhaps. But their behavior is a little bizarre, dontcha think? Women’s-studies courses are full of ranting about the bad things marriage does to women. But there is a real-world example of a woman who is crying out for a voice, whose very life is being ended by a man with pretty severe conflicts of interest. You gotta wonder what these gals stand for.
Do I want “male bashing”? Give me a break (my routine nagging of the men in The Corner and irrational Star Trek bans don’t count). And, as readers in this parts know, while I don’t want to harp on the person of Michael Schiavo, I think the contention that he is some kind of Everyman doesn’t hold water. He’s moved on, creating what should have been a legal problem for him, but foremost, an ethical one, as her poor parents stand on the sidelines, begging desperately for their daughter’s life.
But most who are not blinded by a reflex to think anti-abortion=hysteric, I think, can see the feminist point: They prove themselves, time after time, to be about one thing: keeping abortion legal. And they won’t touch anything they fear might get in the way—and chip away at, in any theoretical way, that flimsily constructed “right to privacy” (who knows what the enamations from Schiavo penumbras can mean for Roe!).
As I’ve said before, I hate that this Schiavo case rose to a level of congressional involvement—these are heartbreaking issues families should deal with; if they can’t, courts should deal with fairly. Whether the latter happened is questionable at best, and there entered the real public debate. That liberal feminists did not rush to Terri Schiavo’s bedside is an odd thing, not one not unworthy of notice.
Posted at 08:34 AM
"NO ESCAPE" [Jonah Goldberg]
This (basically very bad) Ray Liotta movie was on cable last night. The only thing notable about it, I think, is that it is one of the few action movies that has absolutely zero women in it, even in crowd scenes or in the background. This is really uninteresting trivia, but I'm just waking-up.
Posted at 07:59 AM
ON RADIO [NRO Staff]
NRO Contributing Editor Stanley Kurtz will be a guest on Bill Bennett's nationally syndicated radio show, Morning in America, today at 7:30 a.m. Eastern
Posted at 06:45 AM
11TH-CIRCUIT CONSIDERS SCHINDLERS' REVIEW PETITION [K. J. Lopez]
Is this some kind of cruel joke? On the 13th day of her starvation and dehydration?
Posted at 01:10 AM
LAMAR... [Rich Lowry]
...endorses a national ID.
Posted at 12:35 AM
NOW THEY TELL US [Rich Lowry]
Turns out that the kind of centralization of U.S. intelligence that the intelligence "reform" law is supposed to promote isn't such a good idea, according to the Robb-Silberman commission. Remind me why there was such a rush to pass that bill again?
Posted at 12:30 AM
THE SCARY AARP [Rich Lowry]
I'm not sure what's scarier, as outlined in this Jeff Birnbaum piece. Having the AARP oppose you:
"When President Bush arrives in Iowa today to talk up his private-accounts proposal, the senior citizens group plans to counter him with two news conferences, the release of a national poll, full-page newspaper advertisements and commercials on radio and television.
Over this week and last, AARP, the nation's largest lobby, will have spent more than $5 million on ads attacking the president's Social Security plan -- nearly three times as much as all the supporters of his proposal put together. That's just for starters."
Or having it cooperate with you, in a deal that could be terrible:
"Yet behind the scenes, Novelli and his staff have been consulting with Bush aides Karl Rove and Allan Hubbard about finding common ground, and talking with congressional leaders of both parties....
AARP isn't averse to changing Social Security; it merely disapproves of Bush's plan on private accounts. AARP would add such accounts as a supplement to Social Security and rejects the idea of putting the program's basic guaranteed benefit at risk with market investments. It also would be willing to fiddle with other aspects of the program (such as who gets taxed) to make sure it remains solvent in the long term."
Posted at 12:20 AM
ARMY MIGHT LIKE TO SPONSOR THE NATIONALS [Rich Lowry]
This is kind of cool (and not just because it's the first post of the day)...
Posted at 12:08 AM
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
RE: ASBESTOS DAY [Rick Brookhiser]
What a grinch you are, John. Don't you love the carols?
The holly and the asbestos,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the fees that are in the court,
The asbestos wears the crown.
Posted at 11:15 PM
ASBESTOS AWARENESS DAY [John J. Miller]
It will be celebrated by all, and I suppose especially by trial lawyers, on April 1. I am not making this up.
Posted at 05:16 PM
HOTLANTA: LIONEL HUTZ WOULD WANT YOU THERE [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't like to exaggerate but if you don't go to the Atlanta shindig you will be the greatest fool on earth since that judge who refused to affirm Lionel Hutz's lawsuit against the makers of "The Never Ending Story" for false advertising.
Besides, the money goes to a good cause. Why I bet you think we fancy-pants conservatives work in skyscrapers and wear belts.
Posted at 04:53 PM
"WHAT'S KEEPING YOU?" [K. J. Lopez]
I know, I know, $500 isn't pennies for many of us, but it is dinner, panel, cocktails, Q&A, new friends, and old buds (if you hang around here a lot). Good stuff worth treating yourself to...if it's something you can consider, please do. It's to keep us going, so you can feel good about the splurge, if it is one for your pocketbook. (And if it's not a plurge for you, what is keeping ya?)
Posted at 04:41 PM
GOOD THING FOR JPII GEORGE FELOS AND DR. CRANFORD ARE BUSY [K. J. Lopez]
AP: Pope may require feeding tube
Posted at 04:36 PM
"HER CRIME WAS BEING DISABLED, VOICELESS, AND AT THE DISPOSAL OF OUR MEDIA" [K. J. Lopez]
Nat Hentoff on Terri Schiavo
Posted at 04:18 PM
"2 YO GETTING RAPED DURING DIAPER CHANGE" [K. J. Lopez]
Michelle Malkin has more on P2P. I'm with Michelle not knowing what the solution is, but I know people need to know what's going on....
Posted at 04:12 PM
GROKSTER [Barbara Comstock]
Today the Supreme Court heard the case of MGM v. Grokster. Here are a number of recent op-eds and editorials in the NYT, Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), Washington Times which discuss why this case is such an important case to protect property rights and the rights of innovators. The Washington Times and NYT editorial pages are in agreement on this one!
Full Disclosure: I'm working with the MPAA and RIAA on this.
Posted at 03:51 PM
NOAH MILLMAN'S [Ramesh Ponnuru]
blog has a lot of lengthy, interesting posts.
I think he goes interestingly wrong in this digression in a post on Schiavo:
"Let me make an analogy. The reasoned, absolute pro-life position holds, for example, that personhood begins, from a moral and, those who reason thus hope, one day from a legal perspective, when sperm meets egg. The reasoning is impeccable, in that this is a bright-line test that works: an event actually happens, on one side of which there is an entity with a full complement of genes and the natural ability, in the proper environment, to develop into a full-grown baby. It is, as Ramesh Ponnuru likes to say, exactly what a human being looks like at that stage of development.
"But it is also a biological fact that our reproductive system disposes of such human beings willy-nilly. The death rate is, I think, something like 30%. If we are really supposed to believe that these entities are morally no different than other humans, then that loss is an enormous tragedy, far greater, numerically, than the losses due to abortion. Does it make a moral difference that these losses are natural -- that they are part of how we are designed? The rights-based account of why abortion is wrong would suggest that it does not: death is death, and if we're on the side of life then just as we have an obligation not to take life we have an obligation to try to save it. If that means redesigning how human reproduction works, I should think the moral case would favor such an effort.
"Hopefully, my readers would agree with me that such a conclusion is absurd. . . ."
This reader agrees that the conclusion is absurd, but also thinks that it is not entailed by a pro-life position. There is a difference between acts and omissions, between acts intended to end human lives and acts (or non-acts) that merely allow human lives to end. (That's one reason the debate about Schiavo has so often turned on the question of whether removing the tube amounts to "killing" or "letting die.")
Let me make another analogy. There have, I assume, been times and places where infant mortality rates have been as high as 30 percent; but few people would conclude that infanticide would therefore have been morally defensible in those circumstances. For that matter, I imagine that a lot of 91-year-olds don't make it to 92; that doesn't make it morally defensible to kill 91-year-olds.
It is a good thing when medical (and other) advances lower the infant mortality rate and the miscarriage rate and extend the lifespan. But nobody is under the same moral obligation to work to lower the infant mortality rate that he is to refrain from killing infants, nor under the same moral obligation to extend the lifespan as to refrain from killing the elderly. I wouldn't concede that the rate of spontaneous abortion--whatever that rate is (and keeping in mind that embryo-like growths that are not human organisms should not be counted in the total)--should have any bearing at all in moral judgments about abortion and related matters.
Posted at 03:42 PM
THE SACRIFICES WE MAKE [K. J. Lopez]
As everyone who has ever sat next to me on a plane knows, I hate flying. Irrational fears, whatever, I hate it. And yet I am flying down to Atlanta for our big shin-dig because I love meeting NRO readers and because I believe that much in the future of what we're doing. If I can do it...deathly afraid of flying...what's keeping you?
Atlanta details here.
Posted at 03:31 PM
"A VERY KIND MAN" [Andrew Stuttaford]
That's how EU development commissioner Louis Michel chooses to describe Fidel Castro. Rumors that Michel went on to describe Charles Manson as "likeable" are, however, thought to be false.
Posted at 03:25 PM
"FIRST PRINCIPLES" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
This seminar looks pretty interesting.
Posted at 03:10 PM
MORPHINE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Liberty Files asks a good question that hadn't occurred to me. (Via Galley Slaves)
Posted at 03:00 PM
EDWARD FESER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
has another excellent article on TCS today.
I imagine that while Feser believes that beliefs that are both "rational" and "religious" can legitimately be brought to bear on public policy, he also believes that not all moral norms that are both rationally and theologically grounded should be enforced by the state. It might have been wise for him to include a caveat to this effect in his essay, so as to ward off misunderstanding.
I think he goes slightly wrong at the end, too, with these lines: "This is not to deny that the fact of pluralism poses a serious political problem: it does, and I frankly confess that I have no idea how to solve it. But then, neither does the liberal, whose favored 'solution,' as I have argued elsewhere, basically amounts to the proposition that all views in a pluralistic society can be tolerated only so long as they submit themselves to the liberal's own idiosyncratic and highly contestable conception of justice." Why should we imagine that there is a solution to the problem of pluralism (if, indeed, it is right to think about it as a problem)?
Posted at 02:58 PM
ON THE OTHER HAND [Rod Dreher]
Kathryn, I yield to no one in my appreciation for the Rev. Jesse Jackson's cynicism, but lookit, have there been any other Democratic party figures of his stature who have taken a clear and firm moral stand on Terri Schiavo's behalf? There's no percentage in defending Schiavo's right to life for Democrats, but Jesse Jackson is there.
It strikes me as profoundly meaningful, and profoundly depressing, that Jesse Jackson -- Jesse Jackson, for crying out loud! -- made a point to go to the hospice and stand by the Schindlers and speak out for Terri's right to life, but not a single American Catholic bishop has done so.
Posted at 02:20 PM
SCHIAVO TODAY [K. J. Lopez]
Randall Terry weeping at the sight of Jesse Jackson at the Schiavo hospice? This is weird.
Though, let me say, if this were 15 days ago or so before her feeding tubes came out, I'd be delighted even publicity hounds were taking up her cause, for the sake of bipartisan success and her survival.
I wonder if an understanding of the patent unfairness Terri Schiavo has gotten in the courts will become a bipartisan outrage....
Posted at 02:16 PM
STRANGE DUDE [Rich Lowry ]
Check out the customer reviews of George Felos' bizarre book, “Litigation as Spiritual Practice.”
Posted at 12:49 PM
MISTER DERBY REGRETS [John Derbyshire]
...he's unable to blog today. No, cat hasn't got my tongue, but publisher has. I am chained to my bench & pulling on an oar while a large mean editor whacks a drum behind me. There's a Radio Derb coming out of the shop any time now, and my month-end diary will appear as usual.
I am immensely flattered by the reader who is willing to pay $500 to meet me. I shall do my utmost to justify his expectations. However, and without wishing to dissuade anyone from coming to the Atlanta bash -- which will, on past form, be royal fun -- I cannot forbear appending below a piece of boilerplate I keep on my disk as an expectation-lowerer. OUCH! Go easy with that lash, will you? Look, I'm writing, I'm writing....
"A transition from an author's book to his conversation is too often like an entrance into a large city, after a distant prospect. Remotely, we see nothing but spires of temples and turrets of palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendour, grandeur, and magnificence; but when we have passed the gates, we find it perplexed with narrow passages, disgraced with despicable cottages, embarrassed with obstructions, and clouded with smoke." ---Samuel Johnson: Rambler #14 (May 5, 1750)
Posted at 12:46 PM
RE: TREASON [K. J. Lopez]
Confession: I was a Mets fan for about 6 months in 1986. I was a kid--it was my youthful "rebellion" stage--and it was, of course, winning year.
I realize this will endear me to neither Rich nor red-state readers, but I'm honest.
Posted at 12:26 PM
BASEBALL TREASON [Rich Lowry ]
David Brooks asks today whether you can switch your allegiance as a fan from one team to another. My answer--provided, of course, you are a true fan--would be, “No, never.”
Posted at 12:18 PM
"WHY WE ARE HERE" [Jonah Goldberg]
A moving video on why we're in Afghanistan.
Posted at 12:10 PM
"SEE YOU IN ATLANTA!" [K. J. Lopez]
This e-mail just in:
Kathryn:Networking? Networking! Whatever gets ya.... Take a look here and see if you can invent an excuse to hang with some NRO regulars and support the work we do here.
Posted at 12:04 PM
P.S. [K. J. Lopez]
Dear David K., you can always be a Jesus buddy, if you want...(corny humor thread continued from Q&A with Klinghoffer about his new book).
Posted at 11:56 AM
BTW, HERE'S A NON-JESUS BUD [K. J. Lopez]
(David Klinghoffer) who cares about what's happening to Terri Schiavo--even if the liberal Jews he's encountering aren't with him (he explains why they aren't).
Posted at 11:53 AM
EMPIRE STATE AND KING'S [Stanley Kurtz]
Here’s an outrage from the halls of academe. In her aptly named piece, “Board of Bozos,” Naomi Schaefer Riley, exposes what appears to be an egregious case of anti-religious bias by the New York State Board of Regents. An evangelical school named Kings College has established itself in the heart of New York City–in the Empire State Building, in fact. The idea is to bring top quality religious education into the capital of American secularism. King’s students have higher SAT scores and higher high school GPA’s than students at most colleges in the SUNY system. King’s has excellent student-faculty ratios, and faculty members have graduated from schools like Cornell, Yale, Fordham, and Wharton. King’s has hired Boston University administrator, anthropologist, and frequent NRO contributor, Peter Wood, as its provost. (Wood is an old friend and colleague of mine.) Even though the New York State Education Department’s own evaluators recommended a five-year extension of the college’s accreditation, the Board of Regents has torpedoed King’s College by giving the school a mere one year extension. That is equivalent to a death sentence–making it impossible to recruit students or faculty. Although we can’t be certain, anti-Christian bias is an all-too-likely explanation for the Regents’ decision.
The man behind the move to kill King’s College is New York State Board of Regents member, John Brademas. Brademas was a liberal Democratic congressman from Indiana, and a long-time backer of the National Endowment for the Arts. After losing his seat in Congress, Brademas went on to become the president of New York University. As Riley shows, Brademas has repeatedly raised bogus objections to King’s College. A major power on the Regents, Brademas has gotten the Board to ignore its own evaluations and administrators, effectively placing King’s under a death sentence. Brademas denies anti-religious bias, and maybe he’s right. But it’s tough to make sense of his baseless accusations against King’s in any other way.
Here’s are some questions for Corner readers. What do you know about the political backgrounds and educational philosophies of the members of the New York State Board of Regents? In particular, what do you know about their views on the place of religion in education and public life? Here is what appears to be a current list of the New York State Regents. This study suggests that Brademas lost his congressional seat, in part, due to opposition from the Moral Majority. Do readers know anything else about the relationship between John Brademas and religious conservatives? References to written sources would be particularly helpful. I hope to have more in the future on the King’s College outrage, and what readers can do about it.
Here’s one more point about the King’s College scandal. The just released study of academic bias reported on by Howard Kurtz confirms that professors are far more secular than most Americans. This is not a matter of self-selection. It is a question of bias. How do we know that? We know it because of incidents like the King’s College outrage. When religious folks make a good faith (in every sense of the word) effort to establish an intellectually serious institution of higher education, the powers that be step in to destroy it. Campus bias doesn’t just happen. It is the product of a deliberate effort to exclude conservative and religious views.
Posted at 11:47 AM
“THEY'RE HERE TO TEACH ME SOMETHING” [Rich Lowry ]
Nice story in USA Today on a family with five autistic children...
Posted at 11:46 AM
REPUBLICANS DON'T HAVE SEX? YOU WISH! [K. J. Lopez]
Wassup with this? A poll on Americans being too tired for sex includes a picture of Bush-Cheney supporters on election night. Wishful thinking from Reuters?
Posted at 11:41 AM
SHOULD WE COMMISSION A REVIEW BY JOHN KERRY? [Rich Lowry ]
This just in:
SIMON & SCHUSTER/POCKET BOOKS' NEW IMPRINT
Posted at 11:30 AM
SCHIAVO AND POLITICS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
John Podhoretz and Noam Scheiber both make good points.
Posted at 11:21 AM
I HAVE RETURNED [Jonah Goldberg]
The plane from Morgantown to Pittsburgh was delayed this morning. And, since that flight is a gut-wrenching adventure of shrieking terror, we decided it'd be better to drive back rather than wait and risk near certain death in the flying death box. So we rented a car. The good news is that Peter Beinart got in the car a Fabian Socialist and after three or four hours of sustained Sam Kinison style "persuasion" from me (God likes tax cuts! Say it! Say it!), he is now a dedicated conservative stalwart. The bad news is that I'm now exhausted.
Posted at 11:20 AM
THE RESURRECTION [Rich Lowry ]
I have missed my newshook on this one by a few days, but definitely check out Jon Meacham's cover story in Newsweek from last week on the resurrection. It is a stunningly sympathetic treatment of the idea that Christ did indeed rise from the dead. Must reading for all “theocrats.”
Posted at 11:18 AM
EUPHEMISMS [K. J. Lopez ]
Rich, by the way, makes some great points about language re: Schiavo today in his syndicated column. It's very similar to what's happening in the Romney cloning battle. Again, if there are enough nice words to make everyone comfortable with a giant leap in ethics, there we go jumping off the cliff.
Posted at 11:14 AM
RE: RICH'S IN-BOX [K. J. Lopez]
I guess there are no frequent flier miles on Kevorkian Airlines, unless they are transferrable. High-school goth cliques group suicide deals and the like, perhaps?
Posted at 11:12 AM
RE: INBOX [Rich Lowry ]
Kathryn, here's a good one for you in response to my Schiavo column today:
You are sadistic. It is none of your business that the husband wants to treat his wife like a human, while you prefer to treat her like a bunch of bones. No decent person would treat a sick dog like that.
Posted at 11:08 AM
ROMNEY AND ORWELL [K. J. Lopez ]
The governor of Massachusetts has a quote in the Boston Globe today that gets at the heart of the uphill battle for those who oppose cloning. He said: "Calling a rose a carnation doesn't make it a carnation. It is still a rose. Calling cloning something else still means it's cloning." The battle over cloning is a completely muddled confusion, with euphemisms the key to cloning winning. Cloning is pretty easy to legalize if hardly anyone in the state knows the battle is over cloning.
Posted at 11:08 AM
RE: MASS. [K. J. Lopez ]
If you're looking for background, I wrote about the Romney cloning fight here and Ramesh did here. Christine Rosen wrote on Harvard’s eugenic past here. If you or your friends live in Massachusetts and oppose cloning, I’d get to serious work today.
Posted at 11:06 AM
BAY STATE NEW WORLD [ K. J. Lopez ]
Massachusetts is speeding closer to embracing legal cloning. The state senate is even pooh-poohing state oversight, fearing folks who opposing cloning in any of its forms (read Governor Romney, who has taken a hard-line against cloning) will try to restrict research. According to all reports I’ve seen or heard, Romney’s veto of the bill once it hits his desk will not stand—the propaganda in the Boston air is rich for an override.
Posted at 11:05 AM
TWO OF THE LAST PEOPLE I'D VOTE TO HAVE ANYWHERE NEAR TERRI SCHIAVO'S HOSPICE ARE NOW THERE [K. J. Lopez]
Randall Terry and Jesse Jackson.
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (CNN) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson will not be permitted to see Terri Schiavo on Tuesday, a member of the Schindler family and another person close to the family told CNN.
Posted at 11:04 AM
ANOTHER LOOK INTO THE DEPTHS OF K-LO’S SCHIAVO IN-BOX [K. J. Lopez ]
Sadly, I don’t have to look too deep--this is pretty much what I've been seeing (the e-mailers tend not not make the most convincing cases).
subject: wowKJL: Yikes—I hope no one puts Dr. Cranford on that last case.
Posted at 10:56 AM
PRYOR PRESS [Jonathan H. Adler]
SA's Feddie rounds up the press on Judge William Pryor.
Posted at 10:41 AM
ADLER V. HEWITT [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm a big Hugh Hewitt fan. So I was delighted to appear again on his show last week. Alas, Hugh and I disagree on aspects of the Schiavo case. For those interested, the transcript is here.
Posted at 10:40 AM
BAD NEWS ON CAMPUS [Stanley Kurtz]
As Tim noted, Howard Kurtz reports today on the latest empirical study of political bias on college campuses. The numbers are bad. According to Kurtz, college faculties “lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined.” I was especially struck by the 87 percent liberal versus 13 percent conservative division on elite campuses. I haven’t yet seen the original study, but it appears to include relatively conservative programs like engineering and business (although even these turned up as liberal on balance). Subtract those more conservative programs and humanities and social science faculties at elite schools would appear to be over ninety percent liberal. The study’s authors are cautious. They take these imbalances as “preliminary” evidence of “possible discrimination” against conservatives. Any conservative who’s been on a college campus lately knows the score on that one.
John Knight, director of academic freedom and tenure for the American Association of University Professors, was delegated the unenviable task of dismissing the survey. He pretends the faculty’s liberalism has nothing whatever to do with the curriculum. Yeah, right. Of course Knight, the man who supposedly safeguards academic freedom for all of us, neglects to mention that academic freedom exists to nurture and protect a marketplace of ideas. By that classic standard, real academic freedom no longer exists in the American academy.
Another important finding here is that the leftward drift has gotten far worse over time. Back in 1984, just a few years before Allan Bloom and William Bennett began the war against campus political correctness, 39 percent of faculty members described themselves as liberal. Today the figure is 72 percent (87 for elite schools). The actual content of the campus culture wars may not have changed much in 20 years, but the larger situation has changed. At this point, conservatives aren’t just outgunned on campus, they are almost entirely excluded–especially on elite campuses. Where is the next generation of conservative intellectuals going to come from?
Posted at 10:21 AM
WHY ARNOLD SUCCEEDS [Jonathan H. Adler]
The LA Times' Kevin Starr has an interesting profile of Arnold Schwarzenegger -- actually the LAT calls it an "intellectual biography" -- and why he is succeeding in California politics. It's worth a read. Professor Bainbridge has additional thoughts here (as well as a summary for those who don't want to register to read the article).
Posted at 10:07 AM
DID JARED DIAMOND INVENT QUOTES? [Jonathan H. Adler]
AEI's Steve Hayward thinks he might have. Specifically, Hayward raises questions on The Commons Blog about the provenance of some quotes from Diamond's latest book, Collapse attributed to mining executives. The quotes lack citations and seem almost too good to be true, suggesting that "anti-environmental" positions are due to a combination of religious extremism and corporate greed. In short, the quotes help construct the perfect environmental bogeyman.
Posted at 09:53 AM
ANNA QUINDLEN VS. “CULTURE OF LIFE” [K. J. Lopez]
I have nothing profound to say about Anna Quindlen’s Newsweek column on Terri Schiavo except that it gives me the chills. She writes, in part:
Arguments about Terri's case centered on something described as a "culture of life." It is an empty suit of a phrase, absent an individual to give it shape. There is no culture of life. There is the culture of your life, and the culture of mine. There is what each of us considers bearable, and what we will not bear. There are those of us who believe that under certain conditions the cruelest thing you can do to people you love is to force them to live. There are those of us who define living not by whether the heart beats and the lungs lift but whether the spirit is there, whether the music box plays…
So in Quindlen’s dictionary: life: n., when the music box (preferably running a Carole King or Gloria Gaynor tune) plays inside a person. Determined by husband, whether he has an obvious conflict of interest in another woman and the children he’s fathered with her or not. Music-box existence can be determined with the not-so-objective aid of a right-to-death-advocate doctor. If parents and siblings see music box where husband doesn’t, tough for them...
Posted at 09:51 AM
PEACHY [K. J. Lopez]
If you haven't read the fine print, May 5 in Atlanta will be a panel session with some of your NR/NRO faves, Q&A, cocktails, and dinner. It'll be a treat for all. Consider it. Rich, Jonah, Kate, Jay, Ramesh, Derb, Stuttaford will be there (so will I). Hopefully great Atlanta weather for a nice long weekend in Georgia will be there. Or drop by if you're a local--a Thursday break. Whaddaya say? Read up on it here.
Thanks! Besides being a treat for all there, it's a fundraiser for us...so we can keep growing and thriving. How's that for a good excuse to hang for a few hours and enjoy yourself?
Posted at 09:45 AM
O, WHAT A NIGHT! [K. J. Lopez ]
Corey Bridges e-mailed, after attending the February NYC NR fundraiser with his wife Jen: “We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We had the chance to converse with individuals who have made and are making history, fighting the good fight. And while we anticipated meeting kindred spirits, it was an unexpected treat to end up with friends—from within the NR staff and without.
We’re eager to do it again. Let us know the next stop on the NR 50th anniversary tour.” Next stop is Atlanta, Georgia. Be there! Details here.
Posted at 09:39 AM
LEANING TOWER OF IVORY [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post reports on a new survey on the overwhelming liberal tilt of college faculties compiled by Robert Lichter and Stanley Rothman (of "The Media Elite" fame) and a Canadian professor.
Posted at 09:32 AM
DEHYDRATION TO ... [Robert P. George]
The next move in this chess match is obvious. Having won the battle over the dehydration of Terri Schiavo, the partisans of euthanasia will claim that their victory validates the right to bring about death, pursuant to a fact finding that a patient in a severely debilitated condition would want to die, by withholding nutrition and hydration. They will then make the point that there is no logical or moral difference between bringing about death by deprivation of food and water, and bringing about death by painlessly administering a lethal dose. The precise object of the act or omission in either case is to cause the death of a patient who, if supplied with nourishment and fluids, would go on living against her will (or the will of the person exercising "substituted judgment" on her behalf). They will further observe that the lethal dose is quicker, considerably cheaper, and avoids any possible risk that the person whose desire for death is being honored would suffer during the period of deprivation of nourishment and fluids. And the answer to their argument is . . . ?
Posted at 09:22 AM
4 HOURS LATER [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm off to the Morgantown airport the most invigorating airport in the world. See you in a bit.
Posted at 05:19 AM
SORRY... [Jonah Goldberg]
But Having just gotten to my room and needing to be up in just over four hours, I choose to defy the Opinion Duel Gods and not respond to Jonathan Chait by morning. My understanding is that one of the suits will come for my pinky, or perhaps my thumb, as punishment. Nevertheless, if it helps, I haven't read Chait's piece yet and I will try to write a response on the plane ride home in the morning.
Posted at 12:53 AM
Monday, March 28, 2005
THE DEATH CERTIFICATE [Wesley J. Smith]
If they are honest, they will record the cause of death as caused by dehydration. That is what the death certificate of Nancy Cruzan stated was the cause of her death, with the secondary cause being her cognitive impairment.
Posted at 08:47 PM
LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION [John Derbyshire]
The knotty problems of legal and constitutional precedence aired on the site today are way above my pay grade, so I'm not going to address them directly. There is a thing I'd like to say, though.
A couple of times, visiting places around the country, I've had the opportunity to address a roomful of judges -- including, sometimes, the highest legal officers of a state. Every time I have mingled with these people I have come away in awe of their dedication to the law. The most recent such event was in Alabama last year, at the time of the Roy Moore controversy. I wrote up my impressions here.
I suppose you could say that this intense dedication to statute, precedent, and process has its downside. It doesn't make for very imaginative thinking; and these folk may come to think that they are an Elect blessed with superior wisdom. And certainly the law is sometimes, as the beadle says in Oliver Twist, "a ass" -- think of that dreadful Amirault case in Massachusetts. On the whole, though, when I think of judges like those I had the privilege to meet in Alabama, I'm very glad they are there, and have the rigid principles they have, and that I don't live in a country where the law is just a racket run for the benefit of the powerful, as is the case in much of the world.
Posted at 08:44 PM
“VULNERABLE-LOOKING?” [Rich Lowry ]
Is Condi Rice really “vulnerable- looking,” as Bob Novak says in his column today? Under great stress, she can occasionaly be vulnerable- sounding--I can remember a few instances where she's had a little quiver in her voice. But, from where I'm sitting, there's nothing vulnerable-looking, or vulnerable in any way, about Condi Rice...
Posted at 05:36 PM
WEEKEND PALAVER [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brent Baker reported some journalists, on talk shows over the weekend, used the Schiavo case to forward their personal political agendas. On "Inside Washington," NPR's Nina Totenberg contended that "if we really believed in an unmitigated, uncurbed in any way culture of life, we would be having universal health care." Colbert King of the Washington Post raised the school shooting in northern Minnesota and asked: "What about the guns that take away the life?" On "The McLaughlin Group," Newsweek's Eleanor Clift castigated the Republican Party for only caring "about people before they're born and then really after they're dead. What about the time in between? That's when we need government involved." So Terri is as good as dead to Eleanor.
Posted at 05:10 PM
RE: CAUSE OF DEATH [Robert P. George]
From the PBS Newshour on Friday, here’s a neurologist named Dr. Russell Portenoy on the question:
JEFFREY BROWN: Dr. Portenoy, a final medical question. When Miss Schiavo does die, what will she die of?
Posted at 05:06 PM
CAUSE OF DEATH [Robert P. George ]
As the end nears for Terri Schiavo, one question remains: What will officials record on her death certificate as the cause of death? The truth is that the cause of her death will be malnutrition and/or dehydration. But will officials tell the truth? Or will they sugar coat it with euphemisms, or even record as the cause of death something that did not cause her death, such as brain damage resulting from a loss of oxygen? Scholars studying the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands noticed from the beginning a tendency of some doctors to misrepresent the cause of death in the case of mercy killings (many of which, we now know, were and are performed without the consent of the person killed). Will the same thing happen here? Will truth be another victim in the Schiavo tragedy.
Posted at 05:05 PM
WE HAD IT COMING [Mark Krikorian ]
The Left’s latest blame-America-first story line: We are the ones actually responsible for the birth and spread of the vicious Central American gangs that plague our cities.
Posted at 04:51 PM
IMMIGRATION BLOG [Mark Krikorian ]
Check out The Immigration Blog, a group effort that Michelle Malkin spun off from her main site yesterday, in order to focus on, well, you know.
Posted at 04:51 PM
POLITICAL ZOOLOGY [Mark Krikorian ]
To add to the animal threads today on rats and gators, Turkey seems to have invented a new field of study: political zoology. The “democratic” government there is changing the Latin names of certain animals to remove references to Kurdistan and Armenia. Apparently, calling the red fox Vulpes Vulpes Kurdistanica or a wild sheep Ovis Armeniana are “against Turkey's unity.”
Posted at 04:48 PM
GOOD FOR ANDREW SULLIVAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The link follows this passage from Sullivan: "It's been striking lately how the rhetoric of some conservatives has morphed into revolutionary tones. Bill Kristol, at heart an ally of religious radicalism, calls for a revolution against the independent judiciary we now have. Fox News' John Gibson has argued that 'the temple of the law is not so sacrosanct that an occasional chief executive cannot flaunt it once in a while.' Bill Bennett has said that the courts are not the ultimate means to interpret law and the constitution, that the people, with rights vested in the Declaration of Independence, have a right to overturn the courts if judges violate natural law precepts such as the right to life. Beneath all this is a struggle between conservatives who place their faith in the formalities of constitutionalism and those who place their literal faith in the God-revealed truths they believe are enshrined in the Declaration, truths that alone give meaning, in their eyes, to America as a political project."
I disagree with Gibson's views and will therefore not try to defend them. Kristol and Bennett, meanwhile, are being caricatured. To argue (as Kristol does) that the courts have assumed too much power in American life over the last few decades and need to be divested of some of it is not necessarily to argue that their "independence" should be threatened. The discussion of Bennett is hopelessly confused. To affirm that the courts are not the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution is not to say that anyone may rightly ignore the Constitution (nor need anyone who thinks that there are occasions when the courts should be overruled on a point of constitutional interpretation feel obligated to confine those overrulings to occasions when the natural law is violated). Finally, the question of whether (and to what extent) the Constitution should be read in light of the Declaration of Independence doesn't underlie any of this. It is perfectly possible to be skeptical of grandiose claims for the authoritativeness of the Declaration on legislators and courts while also believing that the courts don't have a monopoly on constitutional interpretation. There are conservatives who believe both these things. (I'm one of them.)
Basically, Sullivan is tossing everything he dislikes about various conservatives into a bag, shaking it up, and pouring it out. This may be what happens to otherwise "sane, moderate, thoughtful people" who start trying to lead a "purge."
Posted at 04:43 PM
SALON, BULL MOOSE AND GROVER NORQUIST [Jim Boulet]
Today, Bull Moose strongly endorses Grover Norquist's complaint about GOP involvement in the Schiavo case because of the results of opinion polls:
Advocates of using federal power to keep this woman alive need to seriously study the polling data that's come out on this," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has been talking to both social and economic conservatives about the fallout. "I think that a lot of conservative leaders assumed there was broader support for saying that they wanted to have the federal government save this woman's life."The polling data has been questioned by Democratic Pollster Pat Caddell , who said of the CBS poll (the same poll Salon uses today to berateDavid Frum): "This poll is so basically designed to produce certain results, and then being reported as such, makes me very concerned. Now it could be just pure incompetence, however I suspect that there's more here than that." (Transcript courtesy of johnny dollar's place.
Michelle Malkin picks apart ABC's earlier poll here.
Posted at 04:17 PM
SHIRT-FOLDING [Rich Lowry ]
This may be the world's most facinating video treatment of the subject of shirt-folding.
Posted at 03:34 PM
“MOM” [Rich Lowry ]
That's the first word James Avery said after he came out of what doctors had called a persistent vegetative state, according to this moving Boston Globe article from yesterday. His family had decided he was suffering too much and had taken him off his ventilator, but--despite all expectations--he breathed on his own. He is now severely disabled, but roars with laughter at jokes. The piece includes reports on two other cases, also involving tragic accidents. Collen Soroka, in a coma, breathed when they took her off her respirator and woke up a few days later. She recently “danced” in her wheelchair at her brother's wedding. Her sister says: “Every day she wakes up is a battle. But it's better than her not being here.” Indeed, it would be a mistake to sugarcoat these cases. They represent awful, wrenching tragedies (and the third case involves a brain-damaged 41-year old, injured when he was 17 in a car accident, who says he wished he had died). But such is the power of love that something redeeming can be found even in this kind of terrible pain and loss.
Posted at 03:29 PM
GAY PATRIOT SILENCED [Jonah Goldberg]
I posted his stuff several times around here. He's been bullied out of the blogging business.
Posted at 03:23 PM
CORRECTION ON SHERLOCK [Tim Graham]
My apologies to all involved for mixing up my quotes on the Kurtz piece this morning. (I must have been distracted by the excellence of my Honey Bunches of Oats.) John Roberts was the one who had the lame comment about DeLay being okay as long as he's not indicted. Schieffer had the other rather obvious quote: "I would not want to be Ken Lay right now...He may want to rethink his strategy after seeing that it did not save Bernie Ebbers."
Posted at 02:44 PM
REACTIONS [K. J. Lopez]
I can't help but hope at this point that these reports--that Terri Schiavo is recognizing loved ones--are wrong, misinterpreted, etc. To go a dozen days without food and know it and feel it...it's terrible enough that this woman, who is not terminally ill, is being killed, but at this point, you have to hope she is not aware of what's happening to her--it's a bit to unbearable to think about otherwise.
Posted at 02:23 PM
NRO READERS ON RATS [John Derbyshire]
"Derb---You've gotta think about it from a rat's perspective. Those rats are watching each other. When one goes into your house and doesn't come back, the others think 'Roger never came out, there must be something good to eat in there! I'm going in there before it's all gone.'"---Jeff
[JD: For the record, and so my social life doesn't evaporate completely, there are no rats in my house, only in my garden. Sorry, YARD.]
"Derb---You need to give the surviving rats some feedback. Are you taking the drowned rats and displaying them around the perimeter of your property? Maybe you should just maim a few and send them back with a message."---J.M.McC.
[JD: What if that riles 'em up and they attack in force? Remember Willard.]
"In fact, all this time you've been catching the same rat - he owns and operates a discrete aqualung."---Mike
[JD: Well, he forgot to bring it this morning. I just checked the bucket where he took his last swim.]
"Mr. Derbyshire---Yes, rats are stupid--not just ignorant, but actually stupid. I'm surprised that you did not know that. Was your experience with them in the UK substantially different?"---T.C.
[JD: Never met a domestic rat in England. Where I grew up, rats were a farmers' problem.]
"Derb---The problem is, when you kill every rat you find, the rest of them don't know about it. You're too efficient. What ya gotta do, see, is catch a couple and just kill one of 'em, then let the other one go. It'll go back wherever they came from and warn the rest of the pack (?) about that crazy guy that lives beneath the tree house."---R.R.
[JD: If the durn things ever actually get *into* my beloved treehouse, then it's gloves off -- no more Mr. Nice Guy.]
Posted at 02:14 PM
ME VERSUS THE NEW REPUBLIC [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm in Morgantown West Va at the lovely Radisson. I'm debating Peter Beinart tonight at WVU. Come on down if you can. Also Jonathan Chait takes wildly irresponsible potshots at me today at well (see NR homepage). Okay, I don't know that they're irresponsible or not as I haven't had a chance to read his opening salvo in our debate thingamajig. But I'll take a look and respond by tomorrow. I must now eat some lunch and prepare for tonight's battle.
Posted at 01:52 PM
WHAT THE...? [Jonah Goldberg]
I leave for a couple hours and I come back to find that Bill Bennett has taken my place in the Corner!
Posted at 01:48 PM
ALL-AMERICAN BLING [K. J. Lopez]
I guess it's not actually bling if it doesn't shine, but it is cool, GI-supporting jewelry, here. (Via MMalkin)
Posted at 01:33 PM
RE: DELAY & SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
I wasn't the only one. Here's Michelle Malkin.
Posted at 01:28 PM
ANDREW SULLIVAN & TERRI SCHIAVO [Bill Bennett]
Writing in Sunday Times of London, Andrew Sullivan argued: “The idea that government should have the final say, that the government could be swayed by political lobbies, strikes me as grossly inappropriate. If limited government means anything it means leaving decisions like this as close to the individual as possible.”
That’s certainly one argument, but government has always had lobbies and those who persuade and advise it from the outside. Nonetheless, Sullivan misses the major point: the decision of the individual here, Ms. Schiavo, is precisely what is in dispute--“ambiguous at best” Dr. Bernadine Healy former Director of NIH has said.
Sullivan continues: “If the American principle of federalism means anything it means that the local state’s courts are the only relevant instruments to deal with such a tragedy. But that is not what American Republicanism now thinks. It has a religious drive that puts theological certitude before prudential or legal reasoning and a growing contempt for an independent judiciary.”
Really? How? Tom Harkin and Joe Lieberman supported congressional intervention--were they putting theological certitude before legal or prudential reasoning? Was Bill Frist or Dave Weldon, who made medical-ethics arguments? I will forgive Sullivan for not understanding American principles of federalism, perhaps he wasn’t on the scene here in America or perhaps he was too young to remember how they were hammered out during the civil-rights struggles, when it was precisely his argument the segregationists made--leave the feds out, this is our local decision, they argued. Well, sorry, there’s something called a 14th Amendment.
Sullivan then goes on to write: “That is how Bill Bennett, a leading conservative activist, could write last Thursday in the conservative National Review, that Jeb Bush, the Florida governor, should simply overrule the courts, break the law and send armed guards to insert the feeding tube by force. This attack on the basis of constitutional liberty in the name of religion is usually called theocracy. Polling shows that large majorities do not think the federal government should get involved.”
Sullivan either misreads or distorts my piece with Brian Kennedy, and couldn’t be more wrong. First, we didn’t say it would be breaking the law for Governor Bush to act, but following the law, and why. We didn’t write that Gov. Bush should “simply over-rule the courts,” we wrote that he should use his executive authority to challenge what he thinks is an unconstitutional act based on the local Florida constitution--what Sullivan said we should look to in the first place: local law. We did not write Gov. Bush should send in “armed guards,” although that rhetorical flourish of Sullivan serves his purposes to marginalize our argument. Governor Bush can simply switch the posture of the police, the very police who are now armed and protecting Terri Schiavo from receiving food and water. And nowhere did we appeal to religion, nowhere did we argue for theocratic principles but, rather, democratic principles. Finally, I find it odd that of a sudden Sullivan cites large majorities. He wasn’t concerned about them when he celebrated Gavin Newsom as a model of civil disobedience in our time for his flouting the law and large majorities by ordering gay marriages be recorded in San Francisco.
Posted at 01:24 PM
RE: DELAY [K. J. Lopez]
Was I the only one to think, "what a nasty piece to run Easter morning." about Tom DeLay's father, in the LA Times yesterday. The Times tries to make the case the same as the Schiavo case, which it is not. Mr. DeLay was terminally ill, there was no family disagreement, he needed more than food and water to live...etc. The Times seems to want you to believe the DeLay and Schiavo situations are more similar than they are.
Posted at 01:21 PM
THE SOFTER SIDE OF SANTORUM [K. J. Lopez]
Far be it from me to contradict what is probably good buzz for the junior senator from Pennsylvania in U.S. News this week, but he did play a key roll in the Senate, with Mel Martinez, Tom Harkin, and others, on the Schiavo bill(s). I don't think he's changing all too much, I think it might be more like D.C. conservatives feel slightly more free to be conservative post-2004 Election Day. Emphasis on slightly.
Re: Schiavo, btw, no one was going to be the face of congressional action on that legislation once DeLay was involved, so far as the media was concerned.
Posted at 01:14 PM
SEASONAL EVENTS [John Derbyshire]
I have caught my first rat of the year.
Are rats stupid, or what? I've been catching and drowning the little devils for ten years now, and they STILL haven't got wise to the fact that my property is not a good place to be.
Posted at 12:57 PM
EASTER IN THE GREAT STATE [Rod Dreher]
Actual phone conversation from this weekend:
"Hey Ma, it's me. Just calling to see how y'all's Easter weekend is going."
"Your Daddy, I swear. You not gonna believe what he's done now. You know how the alligators get to moving this time of year. Well, he saw a baby one, about three feet long, crossing the road in front of the house. He didn't want a gator in our yard, so he picked it up and threw it into the back of his pickup. He wanted to show it to me before he went and dumped it in the swamp, so I came out to the carport to look at it. It started to crawl out of the back of the truck, so your Daddy grabbed it by the tail to pull it back in. The damn thing spun around on him and bit his hand!"
"You're kidding! Did he go to the hospital?"
"No! You know how he is. He had me put peroxide on it and bandage it, then he went and threw the gator into a bayou somewhere. He's out there now installing an air conditioner. We got to go to a crawfish boil tonight for some Japanese people visiting town. That's gonna be some story for them to hear, I imagine."
It's good to be from south Louisiana. Bonne Paques, y'all.
Posted at 12:51 PM
THE BLOGOSPHERE [K. J. Lopez]
really does weigh in on all the most important things in life.
Posted at 12:39 PM
8.2 EARTHQUAKE [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 12:26 PM
MORE RE: ROSEN & LEVIN [Andy McCarthy]
I would add to Mark's posts one more thing which shows that Rosen does not understand (a) Mark's book, (b) what conservatives want from the judiciary, and (c) democracy.
Rosen quotes Mark: "According to Levin, 'de facto judicial tyranny' today 'frustrates and disenfranchises the American people and thwarts representative government.'"
Rosen then describes Tushnet's argument, which he misleadingly says puts the lie to Mark's point about disenfranchisement: "the Rehnquist court has actually supported the views of a narrow majority of the American people, rather than thwarting them, in all the most controversial cases of the culture wars, involving affirmative action, gay rights and access to early-term abortions."
Here's the problem with Rosen's argument: What Mark is talking about is democratic government, where the people exercise self-determinism through their elected representatives -- not their unelected judges. Free people living in a democratic system do not want or need the courts to support their views. They can effectuate their views at the ballot box.
Even taking Tushnet at face value (and for the reasons Mark details, it would be a mistake to take him at face value) his argument would not disprove that the the courts are disenfranchising the American people and thwarting representative government. At best, Tushnet's claims suggest that the courts have tyrannically imposed trendy pieties which, according to Tushnet, are shared by slight majorities of the American people. Even if that were true, that's not democracy. The people are still disenfranchised and their elected representatives are still dictated to by the courts. In fact, the term for what Tushnet and Rosen are arguing in favor of is "benevolent tyranny" -- which is sure to become malevolent tyranny long before it ever becomes democracy.
Posted at 12:12 PM
RE: RE: ROSEN, JUDGES & ME [Mark R. Levin]
I note, too, that while claiming that the Court acts in the mainstream of American thought, Rosen then disparages congressional reaction to the Court's actions--Congress being the representative body in this dispute. You would think if the Court was so mainstream, Congress wouldn't feel the need to act. Rosen then attempts to get around his contradiction by claiming Congress, run by Republicans, is a tool of the religious right. This is liberal elitist dogma, used to dismiss any independent thought that doesn't embrace government by judiciary. Of course, I'm not of the religious right. And I wrote the book defending congressional action, to which Rosen refers. But not a word from Rosen in defense of Congress's legitimate Article III power, which it actually has used repeatedly in our history to determine federal court jurisdiction. He also must downplay the Court's contortions when it delves into political and policy areas with often absurdly reasoned decisions which, of course, is at the heart of activism and our "living and breathing" Constitution. I much prefer to debate the issues, and the arguments I make in the book, or arguments others make about the book, rather than chasing fictions. I understand why liberals, most law professors, and writers for The New Republic--Rosen being all three--consider the Court mainstream on cultural issues. But many of us don't.
Posted at 11:52 AM
RE: ROSEN, JUDGES & ME [Andy McCarthy]
It is not often discussed publicly for reasons of privacy and in hopes of not encouraging more of the same type behavior, but it has been common in terrorism cases since 1993--indeed, even before then in cases involving Croation and other terrorists--for judges and other trial participants to need protection. It's no mystery why.
Part of the evidence implicating El Sayyid Nosair (who murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990) in the terrorist conspiracy that led to the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 involved his (unsuccessful) efforts to orchestrate the murder of the New York State judge who sentenced him to prison. In the 1980's, I investigated Sicilian mafia groups--who have for years targeted judicial officials in Italy, and have killed prominent ones--who talked about importing these methods to America. In 1989, federal Judge Robert Vance in Atlanta was killed by a letter bomb over his handling of a case. The Westchester County Courthouse in New York is named after federal Judge Richard Daronco, who was murdered in 1988 by an unhappy and unstable litigant. Many prosecutors offices around the country--federal and state--have for many, many years routinely investigated serious threats against federal judges and their families. When I ran a satellite USAO in New York (1999-2003), we had several cases of threats against federal judges and their families--and, before I got there, the wife of one of our judges was poisoned and nearly died from chocolates that were intended for the judge. I could go on and on. Did Mark's 2005 book factor in all those cases too?
Jeffrey Rosen's intimation--drawing from the Schiavo case and the recent murder of a judge's husband and mother in Chicago--that threats on the judiciary are a recent phenomenon is inaccurate. Big cases have ALWAYS brought out the nutters--and they are encouraged in part by liberal heavyweights in acadmia, the civil liberties lobby and the media who insist that any sensible curbing of free expression would violate the First Amendment, and who fret that curbing the advocacy of violence would somehow deprive us of worthy assertions of poltical dissent. Culturally, what is happening today--with judges and others--is much more about declining norms of civility and the cult treatment of celebrity than it is about the modern significance of the judiciary and court cases.
Judicial decision-making has always been important in our history, and has always prompted controversy--in many instances more heated than what we have today. In the early 19th century, the Jeffersonian Democrats impeached Justice Samuel Chase over his disgraceful handling of the Alien & Sedition act cases. At the end of the War of 1812, then-General Andrew Jackson, while administering martial law in New Orleans, had a judge arrested and marched out of the city limits when the judge tried to issue a writ of habeas corpus for someone Jackson's troops had arrested. Justice Taney's Dred Scott decision was a catalyst for the Civil War, and President Lincoln nearly had him arrested when he tried to issue habeas writs interfering with the prosecution of the war. FDR famously got the Supreme Court to buy on to the New Deal by threatening to pack the court (the so-called "stitch in time that saved nine"). For Rosen to act like we are in some kind of unprecedented age for criticism of, scrutiny of, and threats to the judiciary fails to take account of the rich history on this topic.
Posted at 11:51 AM
ROSEN, JUDGES & ME [Mark R. Levin]
In Sunday's Washington Post, Jeff Rosen, a law professor at George Washington and an editor at The New Republic, does two things that give writers a deservedly bad name: he links my book to threats against judges, and quotes something written here on NRO rather than my book.
He writes, in part: "The U.S. Marshals Service reports a 'dramatic increase' in threats against federal judicial officials in recent years. And political attacks on judges seem to grow ever more vitriolic. The title of a best-selling new book makes its unsubtle point: 'Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America.'"
This is truly pathetic hyperbole. You simply cannot read my book and conclude that I am making over-the-top political attacks on judges. You might disagree with my assessment or conclusion about a justice and his or her given opinion or approach to the law. But Rosen's attempt to mischaracterize my book as encouraging threats or harm against anyone, which is the clear implication, is grotesquely irresponsible.
Rosen also writes, in part: "Some justices have been senile, racist, and crooked," Mark Levin, author of the conservative 'Men in Black,' told the National Review Online. According to Levin, 'de facto judicial tyranny' today 'frustrates and disenfranchises the American people and thwarts representative government.'"
I assume Rosen read my book, yet nowhere in his opinion piece does he actually cite to it. My full quote, which actually appears on page 1, states: "The biggest myth about judges is that they're somehow imbued with greater insight, wisdom, and vision than the rest of us; that for some reason God Almighty has endowed them with superior judgment about justice and fairness. But the truth is that judges are men and women with human imperfections and frailties. Some have been brilliant, principles, and moral. Others have been mentally impaired, venal, and even racist."
Again, quoting from NRO, Rosen also writes, in part: "According to Levin, 'de facto judicial tyranny' today 'frustrates and disenfranchises the American people and thwarts representative government.'" He adds: "In addition to its intemperance, the accusation that judges are anti-democratic elitists is also flatly wrong. As Mark Tushnet of Georgetown University Law Center argues in a less popular but far more convincing new book, 'A Court Divided,' the Rehnquist court has actually supported the views of a narrow majority of the American people, rather than thwarting them, in all the most controversial cases of the culture wars, involving affirmative action, gay rights and access to early-term abortions. ..."
I'm not surprised Rosen would find Tushnet's book more convincing as nowhere in his opinion piece does he actually discuss what's in my book. In any event, to argue that the Court has represented even a narrow majority in the culture wars is laughable -- from affirmative action and partial birth abortion to the Pledge of Allegiance and the 14th amendment's supposed recognition of same-sex sodomy. And the 800 pound gorilla ignored by Rosen is the Court's latest reliance on foreign law to strike down juvenile death penalty statutes. More to the point, Rosen ignores completely my analyses of the various instances and techniques by the Court to skirt the confines of the Constitution, as well as the occasions where I argue that the Court failed to exercise its legitimate power to strike down certain unconstitutional acts.
I don't expect a liberal law professor to be convinced by my book, which is why it's not written for the likes of Professor Rosen. But I do expect intellectual integrity when commenting on it.
Posted at 11:49 AM
RE: RANDALL TERRY [K. J. Lopez]
That Randall Terry dynamic Rich suggests probably goes just as much for some of the protesters outside Terri Schiavo's hospice and their signs. This story remains infuriating and heartbreaking on so many levels.
Posted at 11:34 AM
ANOTHER NRO FAN LOOKS FORWARD TO ATLANTA [NRO Staff]
“If you thought Sherman made an impression on Georgia, wait until all your NRO favorites arrive! See Jonah’s power point presentation on his couch; hear Derb’s renditions of the Romanian folk classics; and much, much more. If you haven’t signed up for the festivities on May 5, you can do so here.”
Posted at 11:27 AM
THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER [John Derbyshire]
As John Miller and others have mentioned, there is a new free newspaper, The Washington Examiner, is being distributed around the capital region as of (I think) last month. Check out their website http://dcexaminer.com/
And, as John noted, yesterday's issue ran my review of Camille Paglia's new book. If you don't have the time, permit me to summarize: Yecch.
Posted at 11:24 AM
RANDALL TERRY [Rich Lowry ]
I'm guessing that everytime he opens his mouth on TV support for keeping Terri Schiavo alive drops another couple of points...
Posted at 10:26 AM
ELIAN VS. TERRI [K. J. Lopez]
John Fund on the Left
Posted at 08:23 AM
SHERLOCK SCHIEFFER [Tim Graham]
In today's WashPost, Howard Kurtz takes a promotional peek at the new Bob Schieffer-led "CBS Evening News," and proclaims it relaxed and "unstuffed." Schieffer likes stating his opinions in the broadcast. After one Tom DeLay story, he proclaims, "My bet is that DeLay will survive this unless, of course, that Texas prosecutor decides to indict him." This is a classic Schieffer trait, to state either the fully-baked conventional wisdom or the incredibly obvious as his opinion. "I think the Republicans are going to win, Dan, unless the Democrats can pull it out," would be the way you would make it up.
This raises the question about the role of opinion in journalism. Schieffer's style of editorializing seems at once unimpressive and unthreatening. I find it annoying, but the more obnoxious variety of bias grabs you by the collar and tells you what you should think, like when CBS's Eric Engberg would call Newt Gingrich "bombastic and ruthless." Right now, CBS seems to be trying to use Schieffer to be an Odor-Eater, using his aw-shucks folksiness to take the stench out of the network's arrogant refusal to admit wrongdoing in Rathergate for weeks. Sorry, your feet still smell.
Posted at 08:03 AM
IT'S ABOUT TIME... [Jonah Goldberg ]
Michael Jackson played the race card. Obviously this is not to be taken seriously since very few people consider Michael Jackson "black" at all. But what always bothers be about this argument is that whenever a prominent black takes a tumble, someone somewhere claims its because The Man wanted to bring him down. The white "establishment" cannot abide successful blacks. Heck, "we" went after Bill Clinton, many claimed, because he was the first metaphorically black president. Are there no celebrity blacks capable of screwing-up without the help of a white conspiracy to bring them down? And what about all of the prominent blacks who don't (allegedly; yawn) kill their wives, (allegedly; uh huh) give Jesus juice to little boys etc. Are their successes attributable entirely to the fact that whitey hasn't gotten around to bringing down the thunder yet?
Addendum: That is unless they're black conservatives or blacks who say some conservative friendly things (a la Cosby). Then the refrain is "serves 'em right."
Posted at 06:48 AM
ANNAN KNEW EVEN MORE [K. J. Lopez]
than previously thought about Oil-for-Food corruption.
Posted at 06:02 AM
EXAMINE THIS [John J. Miller]
My books page in the Washington Examiner today includes two NRO regulars: John Derbyshire reviewing Camille Paglia's new book on poetry, and Roger Clegg reviewing a former Berkeley admissions director's attempt to defend racial preferences.
Posted at 05:29 AM
Sunday, March 27, 2005
BTW [K. J. Lopez]
Blessed Easter wishes to you and yours.
Posted at 10:48 PM
MORAL VALUES [ Jonah Goldberg]
I'm debating 'em at West Virginia U tomorrow (monday) night. Details here.
Posted at 10:25 PM
FOR THE RECORD [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't think there's a much of anything in Andrew's take on British v. American conservatism that I would disagree with -- though I would date the dawn of American-ideological conservatism's rise just a bit later. I agree that FDR had a lot to do with it, but the anti-FDR "right" and the Right of William F. Buckley and the 1950s have a great many important differences. Indeed, the differences are probably more important -- and numerous -- than the similarities. But I agree entirely that American conservatism is more ideological, which is a source of its greatest strengths and some of its greatest shortcomings.
Posted at 04:47 PM
STYLES OF CONSERVATISM [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: Let it not be forgotten, please, that the Brit/American conservatism exchanges began with me quoting the Spectator's Stuart Reid thus: "We [i.e. Brits] don't have the moral intensity of Americans, nor do we have their Manichaean certainties. In other words, we are not as good as the Americans, but neither are we as hysterical."
You can call that a back-handed compliment if you like, but it's still a compliment.
Posted at 04:09 PM
L'ESCROC [Andrew Stuttaford]
Via the Sunday Telegraph:
”The French judge who first uncovered the corruption scandal engulfing the country's most senior politicians has claimed that bribery and cronyism are still rife at the highest levels of government. Eric Halphen, whose investigations into kickbacks from public works programmes led to a number of President Jacques Chirac's closest allies going on trial last week, said that the prosecutions "in no way" signalled an end to the corruption that has blighted French politics for decades.”
And it’s no great surprise to read this:
"Investigating judges have said that there is "strong and concordant evidence" that Mr Chirac was at the very least aware of the kickback scheme. They established in 2001 that he had paid the equivalent of about £330,000 in cash for dozens of luxury family holidays between 1992 and 1995. The source of this money has never been established. They also unearthed evidence that Mr Chirac had spent about £3,500 of City Hall funds each week on family groceries, including foie gras and truffles, much of it paid for in cash. Some of the reimbursed food bills were found to have been faked. Mr Chirac may still face charges in connection with a fake job scam while he was the mayor of Paris, and could lose his immunity from prosecution when his presidency ends in 2007. Yet his success in avoiding indictment has led to scepticism that "Supermenteur" (Super-liar), as his critics call him, will ever face a court.”
Posted at 03:47 PM