DIDN'T KNOW THAT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email: " saw your post on the papal futures, which you probably noted simply because, well, it's is interesting that the futures are going to a European.
"There's a reason, I suspect. Even though Latins are half the lay population of the Church, they currently have just a little more Cardinals then Italy alone. 22 to 21, if I remember.
"I'm not sure if someone else mentioned it in the Corner already, but even if they did, it's worth repeating, placing bets on the next pope, as I'm sure you know, is forbidden of Catholics. Apparently it was quite the cottage industry in Italy when the Pope stepped and stopped the practice about 400 years ago."
Posted at 10:39 AM
ABORTION AND CRIME [Ramesh Ponnuru]
John Tierney has a slapdash column on it. Steve Sailer's site takes apart the theory that abortion is responsible for half the drop in crime. (Actually, he took it apart when Steven Levitt first floated it, but Levitt has apparently not adjusted his argument since then.)
Sailer has an article coming out in The American Conservative on the theory. Some highlights:
"Levitt's idea outrages Pro-Lifers, who complain that King Herod used similar logic in ordering the slaughter of thousands of babies to try to eliminate the threat posed by the infant Jesus. That doesn't mean it's false. As a social scientist, Levitt has an obligation to follow the data wherever they may lead him. But that doesn't mean it's true, either. . . .
"[T]he acid test of Levitt's theory is this: Did the first New, Improved Generation culled by legalized abortion actually grow up to be more lawful teenagers than the last generation born before legalization? Hardly. Instead, the first cohort to survive legalized abortion went on the worst youth murder spree in American history. . . .
"[Levitt] argues that crime fell first in the five states that legalized abortion back in 1970. Okay … but isn't it at least as interesting that crime had previously gone up first in those early legalizing states? And hardly surprising it then burned out there first?"
Posted at 10:23 AM
PAPAL FUTURES CONTRACTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
They exist, courtesy of TradeSports. The markets are heavily predicting a European.
Posted at 08:59 AM
BANNING [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 08:54 AM
Friday, April 15, 2005
BAD DAY FOR THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The George Mason faculty came out against the Patriot Act--and the Washington Post unloaded its big guns on John Bolton. Can the news get any worse for Rove? . . . Ed Kilgore finds in the attack on Bolton an opportunity for a little bit of bipartisanship. What struck me about the article was Robin Givhan's anxiety about newsworthiness. She doesn't just want to write a piece about how a figure in the news presents himself sloppily and thus serves as a warning for us all. That article wouldn't be my cup of tea, but there's room in the world for fashion columnists. But no! There has to be a serious point here to justify all the cattiness. So the article has a thesis: that Bolton's sloppiness amounted to "insolence" and "disrespect" for the Senate, the United Nations, the American public, and possibly God. Give me a break.
Posted at 04:27 PM
QUOTAS & AFFIRMATIVE ACTION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:40 PM
GOTTA LOVE ACADEMIA [Jonah Goldberg]
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- In a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference.
Posted at 03:33 PM
RE: FALSE KILLER WHALES [Jonah Goldberg]
From, well, this guy:
Jonah, Maybe OJ can help find the real killer whale(s).
Posted at 03:09 PM
FALSE KILLER WHALES, JOURNALISM, ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
I hadn't read that article closely enough. It's actually a classic example of the sort of journalistic narrow-mindedness I learned to hate at feet of the master, my dad.
I think most people have never heard of the false killer whale before. And yet the article says "False killer whales do not closely resemble killer whales. They grow to 20 feet, weigh up to two tons and have a tapering, rounded snout that overhangs their toothed jaw."
This leaves the reader with one important question: Why do they call them false killer whales?"
Were they wrongly accused in the past? Did they attempt identity theft?
This is an important point for young journalists: No reader has ever been offended by learning something interesting. Would it have killed them to offer two sentences as to why they're called false killer whales?
My dad always tells me that "every sentence you write should be either interesting or important." This is usually an unatainable ideal and I'd probably throw in "entertaining" as a third category. But it's a good rule of thumb.
Anyway, then there's another gaffe caught an intrepid reader. I'll post his email:
Posted at 03:04 PM
RE: BETTER THAN [Jonah Goldberg]
K-Lo At first, I assumed that you were forgetting that I just came back from taping an episdoe Tucker Carlson Unfiltered. But now that I see you were linking to the hoe-down in Hotlanta I recognize you're right!
By the way: It seems to me that Young Republican outfits at various Sourthern schools should think about taking their year-end surpluses and putting them toward sending some delegates to the Hotlanta fundraiser bash.
Where else will you be able to pose with the nearly the entire NR cast while holding up a copy of your college's conservative newspaper? Not at C-PAC. Not at my house.
Posted at 02:53 PM
NUMA NUMA INTEREST [John Derbyshire]
If, like me, you have been unable to get that wretched tune out of your head, consider just surrendering to it. (1) You can download it as a ring tone for your cell phone: (2) You can watch a novel version of Gary Brolsma's classic rendition here.
Posted at 01:30 PM
MMC [K. J. Lopez]
Actually, Marymount does not seem to sell itself as Catholic--at least on its website.
Posted at 01:11 PM
BETTER THAN [K. J. Lopez]
anything PBS ever offered you: here.
Posted at 01:08 PM
HRC TO SPEAK AT "CATHOLIC" COLLEGE GRADUATION [K. J. Lopez]
From the Cardinal Newman Society:
MANASSAS, VA (April 14, 2005) – Marymount Manhattan College has invited pro-abortion Sen. Hillary Clinton to deliver its commencement address and receive an honorary doctoral degree on May 20, publicly defying New York’s Cardinal Edward Egan and the U.S. bishops who forbade such honors in a statement last June.
Posted at 12:42 PM
TWISTED [Allison Hayward]
This is too fab (link found on Throwing Things Blog): Dee Snider of Twisted Sister shows us the true meaning of Passover.
Posted at 11:49 AM
BEHOLD [Jonah Goldberg]
The Wholpin. Part whale, part dolphin -- all party animal.
I also learned there is such a thing as a "false killer whale." Talk about names that don't help self-esteem.
Posted at 11:43 AM
RE: IMPEACHING JUDGES [Andy McCarthy]
Sorry to arrive late for what has been yet another great Corner discussion about the judges. The question that occurs to me reading the exchanges is: For what egregious thing would we impeach a judge?
I was probably as critical as anyone during the Schiavo controversy of the arrogance with which the courts – state and federal – ignored the direction of the political branches to scrutinize the underlying facts. But there’s a huge gulf between acknowledging that the stakes here were extraordinarily high (viz., life and death) and, on the other hand, concluding that coming out on the wrong side was an impeachable offense.
Some of the things Judge Greer did in the case appear indefensible to me. But I don’t see anything that the federal courts did that was indefensible. Wrong? I think so (although reasonable people disagree). But indefensible? As in, “without colorable basis in law”? Clearly not. For example, Congress could have written a law that expressly directed reinsertion of the feeding tube. It didn’t, no doubt because this would have provoked a debate that would have made expedited passage impossible. As a result, the courts were left to have the debate congress avoided – over such questions as whether the ordinary preliminary injunction standards applied, whether the All Writs Act should be employed to circumvent the usual rule that a party must show a likelihood of success on the merits, etc.
Profoundly disagreeing with how the judges came out on these questions is a far cry from saying what they did was irrational or, worse, impeachable. It seems highly irresponsible to speak about impeachment in the Schiavo context, where even we around here (not to mention the American people) were in pretty spirited disagreement about what the courts should do. (I should emphasize that the discussion in the Corner has been about impeachment generally, *not* impeachment in the particular context of Schiavo.)
But if it came to it, for what would we impeach a judge? I’ve never been too impressed by the conventional wisdom that the failure to impeach Justice Samuel Chase in 1804 stands as insuperable precedent that a judge may never be impeached for unpopular rulings – even if the rulings are unpopular precisely because they far transcend the proper role of the judiciary and usurp the people’s democratic prerogatives.
But, that said, how outrageous would a ruling have to be such that we would say the judge was no longer in “good Behaviour” status (Art. III, Sec. 1) and should be impeached? And should our calculation today be the same as Hamilton’s, given that Hamilton wrote before the Supreme Court seized the mantle of ultimate constitutional arbiter in 1803 – and long, long before that ruling (Marbury v. Madison) was cemented as seemingly indisputable law.
Let’s say a judge held that the logic of the “right to privacy” required government recognition of three-party marriages or of the freedom to inject heroin in the privacy of one’s bedroom? Or let’s say a judge ordered the president to pull all troops out of Iraq on the ground that our invasion was not approved by the Security Council and thus violated the UN Charter? Are those rulings impeachable?
They are surely wrong and would (one hopes) be swiftly reversed. But I suspect there is enough bad, judge-made law out there that they would not be deemed so irrational as to warrant an impeachment that two-thirds of the Senate would endorse. This only underscores that the problem we are talking about here is, to echo some of what’s been argued, cultural and systemic.
Posted at 11:41 AM
‘REAL ID’ BILL UPDATE [Jack Fowler]
Here’s the latest mauling Rep. James Sensenbrenner’s “Real ID’ bill is getting in the Senate. Why pretend anymore that there’s a difference between the “il-” and “legal” forms of immigration.
Posted at 11:37 AM
HUMBLE FORENAMES [Jonah Goldberg]
Well, we did consider "StudentOfLife" instead of Lucy.
Posted at 11:35 AM
RE: SUPER ASIANS AND HARVARD [John Derbyshire]
The odd thing about that business of mainstreaming-by-name is that it ended by making the name-bearer's Jewishness more obvious than ever. I mean, if you hear of someone named "Irving" or "Sheldon," you assume he is Jewish.
I'd like to know more about the social mechanics here. Was it a case of "gentile flight" from names that were being preferred by Jews for their Waspiness? Or were these names always unusual among Wasps, and Jews just picked them for some auspicious or euphonious quality they had, the way Chinese people go for "Amy" (sounds like "pretty" in Chinese)?
The idea of naming a kid "Harvard" is kind of cute. Best to start with low expectations, though: Should Mrs. Derb favor me with further issue, I shall consider "SuffolkCommunityCollege" as a possible forename.
Posted at 11:33 AM
DAVID FRUM [NRO Staff]
will be on Bill Maher's show tonight
Posted at 11:31 AM
"I HAVEN'T HEARD OF HIM" [K. J. Lopez]
Geraghty on Frist.
Posted at 11:12 AM
SUPER ASIANS AND HARVARD [Jonah Goldberg]
A friend of mine has a theory about Jews of a certain generation (my father's) who have names like Irving, Sidney, Martin etc. It was an attempt to "mainstream" Jewish kids into American culture by giving them "anglo" names.
He was the first to point out to me how Asian kids are going through the same thing today. There are lots of whitebread names followed by Fong, Hsu, etc.
But there's something else going on too. I have received emails from several Asians (I assume Chinese) whose last names are obviously Chinese (i.e. like Wong, or Chang) whose first name is "Harvard."
Posted at 10:57 AM
FAITH AND DOUBT [John Derbyshire]
That's a great Muggeridge story, Peter. In the quotability stakes, Mugg was way up there. I especially liked his remark about David Frost: "When I first saw David Frost, I expected that he would soon sink without trace. In the event, he has *risen* without trace."
However, the quip about the Ten Commandments being like an examination paper--"Six only to be attempted"--though often attributed to Mugg, in fact came originally from Bertrand Russell.
Posted at 10:56 AM
QUOTAS FOR ASIANS [John Derbyshire]
The best from a clutch of Asian super-kid stories. This from Noah Millman.
"John---My senior year of high school, I had a girlfriend who was Chinese.
"Well, her parents had a problem with this, because, you see, everyone back in Taiwan knew that the best university in the world was Harvard. How could her daughter shame them by going to a second-rate university, particularly if she actually got *in* to Harvard (which she did)?
"That year, the Westinghouse people took all the finalists on a trip to China for a month. So, while their daughter was away, my then-girlfriend's parents drove up to Cambridge, and pleaded with the Dean of Admissions at Harvard to let their daughter rescind her reject and accept a spot at Harvard. Naturally, the Dean assented. They then called up Stanford and told the admissions office there that, regretfully, their daughter had changed her mind and decided not to attend Stanford after all.
"When their daughter returned from China a month later, it was too late to undo her parents handiwork. So she went to Harvard.
"We're not in touch, so I don't know how she feels about her parents these days. But I rather think when they get old enough to be thinking about what kind of nursing home their daughter will install them in, they should worry that they banked just a little too much on traditional Chinese filial piety."
Great story. This HarvardGirl diary entry of mine from last year is also pertinent.
Posted at 10:44 AM
A DEEP BENCH [Michael Novak]
In my post last night (when I was still bleary from too little sleep after the long flight from Rome the afternoon before) I misspelled the name of Cardinal DAnneels--and hereby beg pardon.
I note on Father Neuhaus's daily blog at www.FirstThings.com that someone in his presence said of the College of Cardinals that they had "a deep bench," and said this in fact in comparison with our own political parties in the U.S. and in, say, the European Union. Let me own up to that. I said that. I think swiftly of several men I would enthusiastically support as our next Pope, men that I have met over the years: the young Cardinal Scola of Venice, Cardinal Schoenborn of Vienna (architect of the new Catechism, specialist in Islamic-Christian relations, wise and brilliant), Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria (wise, conservative, great sense of humor and vivacity, steady and solid), for instance.
Then there are three whom those I respect praise a great deal: Cardinals Bergoglio of Argentina (takes public transportation around Buenes Aires to attend to his duties), and Diaz of India (uncommonly thoughtful, and steeped in the special place of Jesus Christ among the world religions). Maybe most impressive of all is the strong executive, Camillo Ruini, favored by Pope John Paul II as his vicar actually to run the diocese of Rome, in which vocations are up, as is mass attendance. Ruini ran the Italian Bishops Conference during the Iraq period, and called attention to human rights abuses in Iraq and the just causes behind Italy's modest military support for the Coalition that ousted Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. For this, he won the gratitude of the Chaldean Patriarch of Iraq, who also came personally to thank Ambassador James Nicholson, the US ambassador to the Vatican, for saving his people, one of the oldest of all Christian communities, and in danger of extinction. If the bishops are looking for real leadership--a doer, and a very smart and pastoral one--Ruini may be their man. John Paul II thought a lot of him.
I have heard others put Cardinal Pell of Australia on the list, and he's a great candidate, too, in my book, another doer and good thinker, tall and straight and candid. Australia is in the South, after all. (Unless by "South" people don't really mean geography... Japan is in the South, too.)
Well, I think it's a deep bench.
There is no such thing as a man without flaws. But each of the above (and some others) shows potential above the ordinary. After JP II we have to remind ourselves that we are not looking for another Great pope--there have only ever been three--but need to be praying for a really good pope. Most of all, one will continue JP II's work, and help us to assimilate it and pass it on. Especially among the young.
Posted at 10:36 AM
FREE SPEECH IN AMERICA [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader raises a nice -- if unpleasently so -- point about free speach in academia. How exactly is it under threat when just this week an NYU student asked Justice Scalia if he sodomizes his wife. He asked while his wife was present.
But, yes, the academy is in danger.
Posted at 10:34 AM
HAPPY FIFTIETH MICKEY D'S [Jonah Goldberg]
My ode to McDonald's from -- good golly! -- five years ago.
Pretty amazing that McDonald's and National Review were founded in the same year -- and they say the fifties were boring!
Posted at 10:29 AM
HAMAS ATTACK [K. J. Lopez]
Apparently Reuters made a mistake.
Posted at 10:20 AM
UNIONIZING GRAD STUDENTS: A VIEW FROM ENGLAND [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Assuming that 'grad' students in the US are the same as post-graduate students in the UK, it is ludicrous for them to consider striking.
Posted at 10:19 AM
HONORING A GREAT CONSERVATIVE [John Derbyshire]
A great Tory, to be precise: the incomparable Samuel Johnson. This year marks the 250th anniversary of the publication of his Dictionary.
Reader Debby Witt reminds me of some gems from that work.
I am not yet so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven. Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas: I wish, however, that the instrument might be less apt to decay, and that signs might be permanent, like the things which they denote.
Posted at 10:17 AM
MALCOLM MUGGERIDGE AND AN ANGLICAN DOUBTER [Peter Robinson]
When I was studying at Oxford a couple of decades ago, I rented a car and drove to the south of England to visit Malcolm Muggeridge, who lived in Robertsbridge, and his closest friend of some six decades, the prominent Anglican cleric, Alec Vidler, who lived in Rye. (As a little boy Vidler had known Henry James, whose home, Lamb House, had stood at the end of the street.)
When Muggeridge and Vidler had met at Cambridge, Muggeridge had been an agnostic, Vidler a believer. By 1980, when I talked to them, they had swapped positions. Muggeridge, the journalist, humorist, and rake, had become devout (and would two years later become a Roman Catholic), whereas Vidler, who had been a priest in the Church of England all his life, had become a doubter.
“I once asked Alec,” Muggeridge told me with a chuckle, “how much of the Creed he believed to be literally true. Alec said he thought it more likely than not that ‘He suffered under Pontius Pilate.’”
Posted at 10:16 AM
RE: QUOTAS FOR ASIANS [Jonah Goldberg]
Thanks Derb. I got one for ya. Without revealing names, an Asian-American I know was presented with a contract by his parents when he was twelve years old. Sitting around the kitchen table, they explained to him that the contract obliged him to become a doctor, engineer or lawyer when he grew up. They threw the lawyer option in there as a concession to Americanized sloth.
Posted at 10:16 AM
ELITE BIGOTRY [Stanley Kurtz]
The shameful truth about Columbia University–and too many of our elite college campuses.
Posted at 10:14 AM
BOLTON'S FURY [Jonah Goldberg]
It will shock few of you to discover I am no expert on diplomatic history. But I have a question maybe someone who knows about such things can answer: Where is it written that diplomats always and everywhere must be soft-spoken, arms-are-for-hugging types? I understand that the gravity of institutional, professional, psychological and ideological forces all pull in that direction. Diplomats are talkers and therefore doplomats are heavily invested in the value of talk. Nonetheless, is it really the case that arm-twisters, table-pounders, butt-kickers and straight-talkers have never been effective in the diplomacy trade? Are they really never called for? It seems to me I remember some foreign diplomats who've gotten too much out of America by such methods. But I could be wrong. To read the liberal assault on Bolton is to get the impression that it is axiomatic that such people can never be good diplomats. Surely there are some good counter examples. James Baker didn't seem like the kind of guy who ate lady fingers without dropping a single crumb.
Even if China-shop bulls have been successful in the past, it wouldn't necessarily constitute a case for Bolton one way or the other of course. You'd have to ask if this specific situation requires a Bolton type. But, it seems to me, you could certainly make that case considering how the UN has hardly excelled under the current regime of "no, after you, I insist" types.
Posted at 10:09 AM
X, Y, Z [Rixk Brookhiser]
Thanks to Ramesh for reminding antiquaries of one of the great firestorms of the Adams administration. (Adams I, that is.) John Marshall vs. Talleyrand--it almost calls out for action figures.
Posted at 09:59 AM
GREY LADY ON LADIES IN SCIENCE [Stanley Kurtz]
Today’s front page New York Times story on women in science. Is a classic case of the paper’s liberal bias on cultural issues. The entire story is constructed from the talking points of academic feminists. There is simply nothing here that is critical of the feminist point of view. When the Times stuck a deal to omit the comments of complaining students from its front page story on Columbia University’s Middle East Studies scandal, it caused an uproar–even at the Times. How is that different than putting out a front page story on women in science built entirely around the viewpoint of Nancy Hopkins–the professor who almost fainted at Lawrence Summers’s talk? Hopkins has long been an extremely controversial figure. Her claims about women in science have been disputed for years, here at NRO and elsewhere. So despite the efforts of the Times to admit and apologize for the Columbia story debacle, it would appear that, days later, the paper has learned absolutely nothing. The New York Times seems to be strongly in favor of workshops in which men can overcome their “unconscious gender bias.” How about a series of workshops in which MSM reporters can overcome their “unconscious bias” against conservatives?
Posted at 09:59 AM
HIGH-LARIOUS [Jonah Goldberg]
The Washington Post has nuggety-nugaty story about the nugatory nature of academic nabobs. The George Mason University faculty senate voted against the Patriot Act yesteday with much high-minded nonsense. Which is to say 30 professors voted against it. Here's one nugget:
Me: Which "point of view" is being oppressed. You can still take out a copy of the "Hermeneutics of Herpes: Sexually Transmitted Dissidence in Haight Ashbury 1965-1974."
The only point of view the government is interested in is the point of view which says, "Hey, maybe that dirty bomb would go better under that playground."
David L. Kuebrich, an associate professor of English who is secretary of the faculty senate, said he thinks the danger in the Patriot Act "is that we will curtail speech or research that would be quite critical of foreign policy at a time when we really need a broad review and to be open to dissenting voices."
Me: Ahh the arrogant solipsism of the literary genius overlooked! But tell me professor, If the government hasn't picked off Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky or Al Franken why, exactly, would they crush their jackboot down upon the craniums of the adventurous GMU scholar eager to speak truth to power about the sexual rhetoric implicit in the cruise missile?
Get over yourselves people.
Posted at 09:53 AM
SOUTH PARK CONSERVATIVES [Jonah Goldberg]
Ed Driscoll has a big take-out on Brian Anderson's new book over at TCS.
I should note that the book is lavishly blurbed by yours truly. Actually, it's blurbed by yours truly and the blurb is lavishly displayed on the front cover of the book (the full quote is on the back).
This should serve as noification to publishers who do not send me free (good) books: My name moves product!
Posted at 09:34 AM
HANDWRINGING IN THE VLWC [Byron York]
In an article entitled "Half-baked observations of a VLWC conference," the influential leftist blogger Markos Moulitsas (of the DailyKos) is both encouraged and disheartened at the work of liberal activists trying to broaden the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy--the coalition that includes MoveOn.org, Democratic 527s, the Center for American Progress, and others. Some selections from Moulitsas' article:
Last week I spent three days at a conference of various leaders of the budding VLWC, and it was, well, interesting. As happens at any such gathering, the networking was the greatest benefit. Met lots of good people. The sessions were too touchy-feely for me. I'm not a liberal who likes to talk about "feelings".
Posted at 09:13 AM
QUOTAS FOR ASIANS [John Derbyshire]
Excellent piece, Jonah. Here's an anecdotal supplement.
The Derbs went to Washington last weekend to see the cherry blossoms. We stayed Saturday night with some old friends, mainland-Chinese, 10 yrs in the USA, two kids. Well, the kids both play chess. They wanted to play me. I stink at chess, but I thought "Hey, they're just kids," so I played them. The 12-year-old cleaned my clock in less than 10 minutes while doing three other things at the same time. What really hurt, though, was losing to the 5-year-old. In under 20 minutes.
Our friends just recently moved down to DC. Their main worry, his wife told my wife, was finding a good violin teacher for the 12-year-old.
Posted at 08:54 AM
MORE FROM "THE BUSINESSMEN" [Mark R. Levin ]
BEERSHEBA, Israel (Reuters) - Palestinian suicide bombers killed at least 16 people in simultaneous attacks on two Israeli buses on Tuesday, breaking a long lull in suchviolence and threatening to disrupt an Israeli plan to pull out of Gaza.
Posted at 08:51 AM
NEVERMIND "BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS" [Andy McCarthy]
Hamas are "freedom fighters."
Posted at 08:51 AM
THE POPE WAS A ZIONIST HERETIC [Andy McCarthy ]
Here's some insightful analysis from those nice "business professionals" down at Hamas (and an editorial on the report here). As it explains: "For example, Hamas' newspaper, Al-Rissalah , which is published in Gaza , printed an anti-Semitic article attacking Pope John Paul II for his sympathetic attitude to the Jews ( April 7, 2005 ). It directed most of its wrath at the fact that the Pope had 'absolved modern-day Jews from the guilt of having murdered Jesus.' The author considered the absolution 'a terrific heresy' in the Christian faith and noted that modern-day Jews were 'criminals like their ancestors.' He also complained about the Pope's attitude toward the Holocaust: the Pope's request that the Christians apologize to the Jews and ask forgiveness was 'a service to the Zionists,' calling it “Pope John Paul II's worst crime…'”
Posted at 08:50 AM
IMPEACHING JUDGES [Mark R. Levin]
Regretfully, I don't think impeachment gets us too far. We will expend enormous capital on the sympton -- one or two judges, perhaps -- which would be better focused on a systemic change, in my view. There are a number of proposals out there, including a couple of mine -- term limits (which would have some limited value) and a congressional veto by super-majority vote. But they require amending the Constitution, which admittedly would be difficult, at least for now. Congress's Article III power is probably the most direct and likely successful tool, but even it requires an extensive public education effort to overcome opponents in and out of Congress. Congress took a little step in exercising this power in the Schiavo case, for which it has been criticized, especially by those who favor government by judiciary, and some conservatives based on federalist arguments (with which I don't agree, but that's not the issue here). My views on the filibuster are fairly well known around here, so no reason to repeat them. But whatever the approach, the Senate Republicans and the White House (which, remarkably, seems to have taken an hands-off approach) must start communicating with the American people. They have the arguments, if they'll make them.
Posted at 08:05 AM
WHAT? THE U.N? YOU EXPECTED THE U.N. TO RUN AN EFFICIENT, ABOVE-BOARD, MORAL OPERATION? HAH! AS IF! [K. J. Lopez]
Secretary-General Don't Pick on Me Annan points fingers at the U.S. and U.K. for the Oil-for-Food scandal. (What scandal?) He told the BBC: "The bulk of the money Saddam Hussein made out of smuggling was on the American and British watch."
I'm going to take this to mean that we are oddly on the same wave length as Kofi: The U.N. has no moral authority, that's his tacit admission.
Posted at 08:03 AM
HORSERACING, ATTACK ADS [K. J. Lopez]
Ok, fine. Maybe I'm wrong. It's just like a presidential election. See (Daily Show video).
Posted at 07:42 AM
SLIME MOLD! [K. J. Lopez]
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld.
Posted at 07:09 AM
I FIRMLY BELIEVE [K. J. Lopez]
the papal conclave cannot be horseraced. But John Allen is with Michael Novak on saying the Ratz talk is real. I laughed at everyone who said last week during/after the papal funeral, "Ratzinger just made himself pope." Wishful thinking, I said. Who knows, maybe the laugh will be on me.
Posted at 06:57 AM
FOR SHAME! [K. J. Lopez]
Today is not the day to diss TurboTax.
Posted at 06:52 AM
AND HIS HAIR IS A MESS, TOO! [K. J. Lopez]
John Bolton's style is offensive, the WashPost Style section says: "During this testimony, his hand was constantly reaching up to adjust his no-frills glasses. His attire was not merely bland but careless. His hair was so poorly cut, it bordered on rude. Bolton might well argue that appearance has nothing to do with capabilities. But it certainly can be a measure of one's respect for the job. "
Posted at 06:47 AM
Thursday, April 14, 2005
SEN. CARPER BLOCKS EPA HEAD [Jonathan H. Adler]
Senator Carper is seeking to block the confirmation of Stephen Johnson to head the EPA. I hope to have more on this shortly.
Posted at 09:38 PM
JUDICIARY APPROVES GRIFFITH [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Thomas Griffith to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by a vote of 14-4. Four Dems supported the nomination -- Schumer, Kohl, Feinstein, and Durbin -- making a filibuster extremely unlikely. Griffith was nominated to the D.C. Circuit after Miguel Estrada withdrew in the face of a Democratic filibuster.
Posted at 09:37 PM
RE: DELAY [Cliff May]
I was in the Green Room at CNN with two Democrats. One said to the other: “The best thing would be to keep DeLay. Make him the poster boy for Republican corruption. Use him going into the next election. Why would you want to lose someone that useful to you politically?”
The other Democrat replied: “Because he too effective, that’s why.”
Posted at 09:22 PM
RATZINGER GAINING [Michael Novak]
Now that the Italian press is reporting that Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, a hero of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and perhaps the closest intellectual associate of Pope John Paul II during the past 25 years, has already received the support of 40, maybe 50 cardinals, out of the 77 votes needed to be elected the next Pope, it is time for the American media to begin searching into the mind and heart of one so close to JPII. The Pope and Ratzinger, his closest cardinal friend, met for long discussion at least once a week, and often twice a week. Their theological and philosophical commitments to ideas like the primacy of love (glimpsed by the newborn child in the eyes of its mother, and felt in her touch, from the first moments of birth) and their bold visions for the future of the church united them, although they also loved to argue. Ratzinger's theological mind is encyclopedic, sweeping over nearly all of Christian history, and his interests--in bioethics, for instance, and in the analysis of history and culture-- draw him into excited engagement with contemporary problems. Recently, he published a short book called Without Roots on problems of nihilism and relativism in contemporary Europe, in dialogue with the President of the Italian Senate, the intelligent and probing Senator Marcello Pera. In the European and Italian context, Ratzinger is strongly pro-American on issues of religious liberty, and rather Tocquevillian in his interpretation of the American experience. He has expressed a certain disdain for efforts three decades ago to wed Catholicism to Marxist economics--he had seen too much of the latter close-up. He has a strong commitment to honest and frank ecumenism, based upon fraternal love but not upon false and mealy-mouthed pretendings of unity, where there is no unity.
It was Ratzinger who presided over the magnificently conducted funeral of John Paul II, the greatest funeral in the whole history of Rome along the axes both of history and of global reach. Many said: He looked every inch the Pope. Most surprising to many were the warmth and poetry of his sermon, evoking Pope John Paul II so realistically that at several points the vast crowds broke out in affectionate applause.
And, actually, my own sources in Rome now suggest that the number of cardinals supporting Ratzinger is closer to 55, leaving him at this early point some 22 short. Some caution should be exercised here, since in Rome counting of this sort is in most cases not actually by head, as is done in Washington by a Senate or House whip. In Rome, estimates are usually made by inference from known connections of cardinals and their close associates. However, some people in Rome (not necessarily with experience in American mayoralty elections) do know how to count votes. Those I know of in this camp are keeping their cards close to their chest. But they do not dispute the published numbers, except to hint that the true number is higher.
What no one disputes is that the numbers of the "progressives," once gathered around Cardinals Donneels of Belgium and Martini of Milan (now retired), have collapsed. There are not even enough of them to block the majority seeking a "Continuator" of John Paul II's legacy. The loyalty expressed by millions all around the world to John Paul II became so visible at the funeral that "Continuator" is now the motif. Whether that mantle falls on Ratzinger--or, perhaps, on someone younger and more vigorous--such as Angelo Scola of Venice, a truly brilliant and creative student of the much-beloved theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, will soon enough become clear. There are four or five who could fill this place in the batting order, or take their turn next time around.
Posted at 09:05 PM
“JUST HAVING FUN” [Rich Lowry ]
For fans like Derb of America's Newspaper, a/k/a The New York Post, there were some hilariously typical sorta-denials from subjects of recent Page Six items today, including “I was with my friend and she got a little crazy, that's all” and “I was just having fun.” But of course...
(Warning: the link is not terribly family-friendly)
Posted at 05:43 PM
RE: THE WARRIORS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
You probably already know this, but apparently most fans of the movie don’t: The Warriors retells the story of Xenophon’s Anabasis, wherein the Persian Cyrus, while trying to take the Persian throne, was killed and his Greek troops, led by Xenophon, were left stranded in enemy territory and had to fight their way back home. That’s why the movie works—it’s pretty faithful to the spirit of the original.
Posted at 05:31 PM
LIBERALS AGAINST THE FILIBUSTER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonathan Cohn is the latest.
Posted at 05:31 PM
SCIENCE V HUMANITIES [Jonah Goldberg]
Getting a lot of emails like this:
Posted at 04:43 PM
CAAAAAAANNNNNNN YOUUUUUUU DDDIIIIIIIIIIIIGGG IIIIIITT!? [Jonah Goldberg ]
They're making a videogame out of "The Warriors."
Posted at 04:40 PM
THE ATLANTIC [Jonah Goldberg]
I just got a press release announcing that The Atlantic will move from Boston to Washington over the next year. That is all. You may now resume your normal activities.
Update: Woops. Original post said the Atlantic was moving to New York. It's DC.
Posted at 04:34 PM
THE POPE'S HEADWEAR [Jonah Goldberg]
I think this should wrap-up what should have never gotten so unwrapped. From a reader:
I wish could find the picture. But, I believe it was in the Jerusalem Post that there was a picture of JPII being greeted by an Israeli official, perhaps Barak. The caption read something to the effect, "Pope John Paul II is greeting by Prime Minister Erud Barak. The pope is the one in the yarmulke. "
Posted at 04:17 PM
THE GENOGRAPHIC PROJECT [Jonah Goldberg]
This is Cool.
Posted at 03:57 PM
PAPAL YARMULKES [Jonah Goldberg]
Many, many readers wish to clarify:
Please pass this on to your reader who doesn't know why Catholic clergy wear the zucchetto: They wear the zucchetto because, in the olden days, monks were tonsured (shaved a circle of hair off the tops of their heads) and the zucchetto was worn to help them stay warm in the pre-central-heating days.
Posted at 03:55 PM
WITHOUT A DOUBT [Jonah Goldberg ]
This is the finest Lego Church I've ever seen. Do the whole slide show.
Posted at 03:48 PM
LIBERAL WOLVERINES [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 03:06 PM
FIRE THE GRAD STUDENTS [Jonah Goldberg]
One regular reader says that grad students should unionize because they are abused. I responded, so are rookie cops and fraternity pledges. He came back: yes, but unlike grad students, they have futures. Another reader offers this:
Posted at 03:01 PM
RE: THE XYZ AFFAIR [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Y: "I’ve not seen one instances where Tom DeLay himself was knowingly doing anything in violation of rules or laws." X agreed with that sentiment, but was not confident in its remaining true. The subject did not come up with Z.
Posted at 02:59 PM
RE: THE X,Y,Z AFFAIR [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - Just curious did the three GOP strategists say whether they thought the actual charges against Delay were legit? Surely, even in the GOP caucus the issue of whether or not Delay did anything wrong has to play some role in their thinking about whether he should stay.
Posted at 02:52 PM
FIRE THEM. [Jonah Goldberg ]
Grad students at Columbia and Yale are going on strike. If they want to be treated like employees instead of students. Fire them. Now. See how fast they start acting like students again.
Posted at 02:39 PM
THE SUN AND THE MOON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Y alludes to Samuel Lubell’s theory about the in party being “the sun” and the out party “the moon.” The Democrats, he says, are stuck reacting to a Republican agenda. “We have had a couple of rough months that has given [the Democrats] an opportunity. If they don’t seize the opportunity, the moment will pass and we’ll still be in the driver’s seat. We are in a period where the Republican party is the sun party and the Democratic party is the moon party. Nothing in the last couple of months has changed that.”
Posted at 02:38 PM
TOM DELAY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here there was sharp disagreement. X predicts that DeLay will be “gone” by December—and says that it will be a real blow to conservatives, since DeLay has been a strong advocate of theirs within the House leadership. He thinks leaving soon would be the best outcome for DeLay personally, but that he won’t do it.
Z notes that DeLay isn’t helpful in some Republican congressmen’s districts: “Whenever you can’t take your leader home to the hometown barbecue and meet the family and the neighbors, you’ve got a problem. . . . That’s your leader. It happened to Newt. He wasn’t welcome in some towns. . . . He can survive. You can put him on a life-support mechanism for a long period of time. . . . If I were the Democrats, I would want him to survive.” Even if Republicans conclude that it is time for him to go, they won’t necessarily have the stomach to shove him aside: “He’s going to put the desk up against the door and pull out the guns and say I’m not leaving. You’ll have to physically remove him.” And getting rid of DeLay, Z adds, will leave the party in a bind: “They have no one with his skill set: raising the money, making sure the members get reelected, doing the tough stuff.”
Y is for hanging tough with DeLay: “People need to understand something: If the Democrats and the New York Times get Tom DeLay that’s not the end of a process, that’s the beginning of a process. [It will only] validate their charges [against the entire Republican majority].” He adds, “I don’t think he’s going to go down.”
Posted at 02:36 PM
THE ECONOMY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Two of the Republican strategists expressed some bewilderment over public unhappiness with the economy. “I have been surprised [by] consistent data and focus groups [showing] how negative voters are about the state of the economy at a time where we are creating jobs, the markets are kind of up and down, and housing values are holding steady,” says Y. “People are bearish and don’t feel they’ll be better off next year.” They attribute the dissatisfaction to gas prices.
Posted at 02:35 PM
SOCIAL SECURITY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
“I think that at the end of the day [Bush] will get a deal,” says Z. “It will not have private savings account in it, but he will get a deal.” X and Z lay out similar scenarios: Republicans give up, at least temporarily, on personal accounts, in return taking tax increases off the table. The only thing left is cuts in future benefits—probably progressive ones. A deal like that, they think, might be able to peel off a few Democrats who have conceded that Social Security faces a serious problem. Both parties will get a victory: Democrats will be able to say they have stopped private accounts (at least for now) and Republicans that they have “saved Social Security.” Republicans will live to fight another day. Y seems to think the president could still prevail with a plan that includes private accounts.
Posted at 02:34 PM
THE SCHIAVO FALLOUT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Two of the three strategists favored the congressional intervention in the Schiavo case on the merits, but two of the three were concerned that it had done long-term damage to the Republican party. Y said that Republicans had been successful in making the Democrats look like the party of intolerance, since it treats its pro-lifers worse than Republicans treat their pro-choicers. He worried that this case would leave a contrary impression.
X, on the other hand, thought that the public had in large part reacted against having to watch a terrible story that they didn’t want to think about night after night on television, and blamed the Republicans for their having to go through it. The underlying impulse not to dwell on this topic, he thought, would keep it from having a lasting negative impact. He noted that the controversy over Clinton’s impeachment lasted longer and brought Republicans’ poll numbers lower—again, in large part, because people resented the Republicans for making this a long-running news story—but the controversy did not seem to hurt Republicans in the next election and may have helped them.
Posted at 02:33 PM
THREE STRATEGISTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I’ve spoken at length to three smart and influential Republican strategists in recent days and thought I’d share their thoughts on their party’s status. Some of their remarks were on the record and some of them weren’t, but I’ll call them X, Y, and Z in order to be able to use as many of their thoughts as possible. I’ll break this into a few posts. Here’s the overview: Two of them were worried about the fallout from the Schiavo case, two of them were bearish about DeLay—but all three of them were moderately bullish about Republican success on Social Security.
Posted at 02:30 PM
RESPONSE TO ADLER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I think some of the problems that you bring up--which I agree are real problems--are connected to the problem of judicial supremacy. We have a political culture that treats the enforcement of the Constitution as, primarily, a job for the courts, and so it is not surprising that legislators do not pay careful attention to the constitutionality of bills and figure that the courts will sort it out. I don't know if I would say that the courts are the chief threat to the right ordering of American government--I suppose one can always come up with deeper problems, such as the insufficient quantity of right reason distributed among the population--but I do think it is a very big problem. If you believe that abortion-on-demand is a grave injustice and in principle calls into question the foundation of human rights in general (as I believe)--and if you believe that same-sex marriage is a grave threat to the future of American society (as I do not believe, but some thoughtful people do)--then those assessments will affect how you view the magnitude of the problem.
Posted at 01:49 PM
RESPONSE TO COFFIN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
So, Shannen, you are "doubtful" that a campaign to impeach lawless judges would work and think it "distinctly unlikely to succeed," but you think it wrong to deny the practicality of such a campaign. I don't think these positions are going to get along well with each other. I think you are led into this cul-de-sac because you have too limited a set of alternatives. You make it sound as though the alternative to ending filibusters and impeaching judges is doing nothing to challenge judicial imperialism.
But ending the filibuster is only a means to the end of confirming judges (who are committed to the proper enterprise of judging). If you can get just as many or more such judges confirmed by breaking a Supreme Court filibuster--which has been the basic claim I have defended against you and others--then ending the filibuster through a formal rules change doesn't do anything more (and may do less) than that course of action. Your bringing up the filibuster issue begs the question.
And what about the alternative of trying to get good judges confirmed, making the conservative case about judicial power, and removing issues from the courts' jurisdiction? A majority of the House has gone on record for limiting jurisdiction. It won't do the same for impeachment.
Posted at 01:43 PM
RE: IMAGINE [Jonah Goldberg]
That would actually be an interesting exercise: go back through the old mastheads of NR and imagine what Corner conversations would be like between various old staff members. I won't be doing it, but it would be interesting. The word "Communist" would come up a lot.
Posted at 12:42 PM
HEY, I LOVE THE BRITISH [Jonah Goldberg]
But this guy doesn't. From a reader:
I think I'll sleep a bit better tonight knowing that al-Qaeda's master poisoner thinks that the best way to kill large numbers of Britons is to target the toothbrushes.
Posted at 12:40 PM
MORE INTERESTING THAN ERIC RUDOLPH... [Jonah Goldberg ]
But just as deserving of execution! From the Sun:
COP killer Kamel Bourgass was yesterday unmasked as Osama Bin Laden’s master poisoner — with a mission to murder as many Britons as possible.
Note: Ignore their strange habit of ALL CAPPING some WORDS. Also, ignore those page 3 girls. Tsk. Tsk.
Posted at 12:20 PM
IMAGINE [K. J. Lopez]
A reader: "if WFB had the Corner in the 70s, I don't think there would have been a President Carter let alone a Snuffy debate.... "
On second thought: That e-mail wasn't sacrilegious, was it?
Posted at 12:17 PM
WHAT WAS SCOTT MCCLELLAN THINKING? [K. J. Lopez]
Andy McCarthy on disturbing/infuriating/perplexing Hamas comments at the White House yesterday. His comments cannot stand...
Posted at 12:14 PM
ROBOT REVOLUTIONS & SUPER VOLCANOS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 12:13 PM
DO YOU THINK [K. J. Lopez]
if the '70s guard at NR had The Corner they would have debated Snuffy's outing?
Actually...don't answer that.
Posted at 12:11 PM
ME, TV [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be on Tucker Carlson's show tomorrow. And on Reliable Sources on Sunday. I think Tom Delay will be discussed on both.
Posted at 12:11 PM
I DON'T KNOW WHEN HIS BIRTHDAY IS [K. J. Lopez]
but here's a birthday gift for Steve Hayward, by Ned Rice, a funny man.
Posted at 12:07 PM
WASTE PAPER [John Derbyshire]
A pal in Minnesota alerts me to a parody of The Waste Land by none other than the eldritch H.P. Lovecraft, about whom our own J.J. Miller recently wrote in the WSJ. I'd never seen this parody before. It's WAY better than the original! (Lovecraft, says my correspondent, thought Eliot a valuable intellectual but a terrible poet. I always knew HPL was, as Jeeves would have said, basically "sound.")
Posted at 12:01 PM
GREAT REAGAN BOOK [Jack Fowler]
Our well-read colleague, Michael Potemra, wrote this is a recent issue about NR’s new collection on the Gipper:
Those of us who grew up reading National Review in the darkest days of the Cold War remember with fondness how consoling it was to be reassured, every two weeks, that there were some folks out there who understood the true dimensions of the conflict, and how important it was that the good guys win — not just deal, or trade, or coexist, but win. In this regard, NR’s history is bound up with the biography of its most famous subscriber: the late Ronald Reagan, whose summons to moral clarity ended up toppling an Evil Empire. Tear Down This Wall: The Reagan Revolution — A National Review History (Continuum, 197 pp., $12.95) is an anti-Communist nostalgist’s dream, a moving anthology of some of the best NR pieces about Reagan (and some by him), as well as his most important speeches. To read this book — which contains an amazing amount of material in its brief length — is not just to revel in a past that ended well, but to be strengthened for the struggles America will face in days to come.Makes you want to run out and buy a copy. Do that: Barnes and Nobles has made a special effort offering the book, which can be purchased at any of their stores. Or you can purchase Tear Down This Wall right now, here at the B&N website.
Posted at 11:57 AM
SNUFFY'S OUTING [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I’m in the same age range as you, and that’s not quite the reason for Snuffy’s outing. As was explained to me by someone who worked for the station – because I admit I was in fits enough about it to complain to my mother, who called and asked – Snuffy was supposedly encouraging kids to have imaginary friends. Enough parents complained that they outed Snuffy.
Posted at 11:57 AM
EXPLAINING THINGS [Jonah Goldberg]
I will use this email to clarify several issues for readers in the dark. From a reader:
It isn't a yarmulke. It's a zuchetto.
A. I know it's not a yarmulke. The joke was simply that The New Republic is famous for having an unofficial Jewish orientation in the same way some thing NR has an unofficial Catholic orientation. I should also add, "A yarmulke by any other name..."
B. The Snuffy/Big Bird thing. The reason it was "dated" was that Snuffy is no longer Big Bird's secret friend. Everybody knows about him. When I was a kid -- hence the standard timeframe for my juvenalia -- Big Bird could never get the other Sesame Streeters to believe Snuffy existed because Snuffy would disappear when strangers approached. My understanding that they cancelled this schtick when someone got worried that kids would take away the lesson that adults wouldn't believe them if they said child molesters or some such were harrassing them. This was not a concern for the producers of the Flintstones apparently, even though Mr. Kazoo certainly gives off far more of a molester vibe than a giant woolly mammoth-like creature who walks and talks at 2 miles per hour and has no opposable thumbs (opposable thumbs strike me as essential tools for most perverts).
Update Perhaps it's the Great Gazoo not Kazoo. Google is unhelpful on this. But I really don't want to have the issue settled. Let's keep it a delightful mystery.
Posted at 11:48 AM
BOLTON—IT ONLY GETS WORSE [Rich Lowry ]
Subject: News Flash re Bolton
Posted at 11:34 AM
RE: OIL-FOR-FOOD [K. J. Lopez]
THe indictments are here.
Posted at 11:21 AM
DELIVER YOURSELF! [Ed Capano]
Herman Cain to join NR at Atlanta bash: Come meet rising conservative star, Herman Cain, at the NR fundraiser in Atlanta. The former Georgia GOP senatorial primary candidate (he ran against Isakson) and former chairman of Godfather pizza will be joining all your NR favorites.
Posted at 11:19 AM
OIL-FOR-FOOD [K. J. Lopez]
DOJ is announcing indictments...
Posted at 10:53 AM
88% MAMMOTH [Jonah Goldberg]
Scientists with the Mammoth Creation Project hope to find a frozen woolly mammoth specimen with sperm DNA. The sperm DNA would then be injected into a female elephant; by repeating the procedure with offspring, a creature 88 percent mammoth could be produced within fifty years.
One question: Will the creature be invisible to everyone except Big Bird? ("Dude, that's so dated and inside" -- the Couch).
Posted at 10:28 AM
A NEW TIMEWASTER [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 10:19 AM
GIVE ME A BREAK [Jonah Goldberg]
From a regular liberal reader of mine:
Imagine John Kerry had won the election. (I can hear you shudder from here). Now imagine that authorities caught a terrorist (think al Qaeda or maybe an extreme Left Wing environmental group) responsible for multiple deadly bombings here in the US… and that prosecutors cut a deal with him that avoided the death penalty.
Me: He should think harder.
I get this sort of email all of the time. I don't think it's illegitimate to read the "significant silences" on blogs. What someone chooses not to write about can say a great deal about a writer. But this simply strikes me as nonsense. I haven't written about Rudolph because I haven't followed the story much. I suspect it's the same for a lot of folks around here. From what I have read, it sounds like the plea deal was an issue of prosecutorial discretion. Personally, I'd have no problem with Rudolph getting the chair. I doubt anyone at NR -- who supports the death penalty -- would disagree. (It was, recall, Ashcroft who decided to seek the death penalty in the first place and no one complained about that).
But there's a lot of apples-and-oranges thinking here. Rudolph is certainly newsworthy -- and if you google his name at NRO, you'll find it's come up a lot. But he's hardly representative of a news story nearly as huge, complex and interesting as al Qaeda and the war on terrorism. It'd be nice if folks didn't automatically leap to the conclusion that the lack of comment on something is an explicit endorsement of the most execrable position possible. Alas, it happens every day and it says more about the people leaping to conclusion than it does about those of us who are leapt upon.
Posted at 10:15 AM
THE THREAT [Shannen Coffin]
Jonathan, when you lose the ability to vote in an election, the legislative and executive branches can become your biggest bogeyman. But ask Gray Davis just how accountable the elected branches are for out of control government. They are, and you lose sight of the massive political check that can be brought to bear on the likes of Tom Daschle by suggesting otherwise.
Posted at 10:13 AM
STUDENT SOLIDARITY OPPRESSES WORKERS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Professor Bainbridge has the details here.
Posted at 10:05 AM
ARE JUDGES THE GREATEST THREAT? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Here's a slight note of dissent. I certainly agree that the judiciary has strayed far beyond its proper role. But I don't share the view voiced by many conservatives that judges are the greatest threat to liberty and self-government in America today. It is the political branches that refuse to cut spending, adopt budget-busting entitlements, suppress political speech, create uncontrollable bureaucracies, authorize regulatory intrusions into everyday life, and so on. To me, this remains a far greater threat than the occasional judicial usurpation. Don't get me wrong. I think the judiciary is exceedingly important, but I also think conservatives should be careful not to overstate the judiciary's impact.
Posted at 10:05 AM
BROOKS ON BOLTON [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today's Brooks column debunks the misguided worldview of many Bolton opponents
Posted at 10:04 AM
CONSERVATISM'S ENCYLICALS, KIDS [K. J. Lopez]
Speaking of NRO editorials--we've just put one up on the Patriot Act, smacking down some of its critics.
Posted at 10:02 AM
METAPHYSICS, ANGLICANISM, POETRY, AND THE WHOLE DARN THING [John Derbyshire]
Rick: You asked last week whether the low-keyed dogma-averse wilfully-imprecise Anglican outlook still has any influence in the USA. Well, I refer you to Daniel Mark Epstein's article in the current (April '05) issue of The New Criterion, titled "The Metaphysics of Richard Wilbur." It's an excellent piece, on one of the very few American postwar poets worth reading.
Here is Wilbur's Episcopalianism, according to Epstein: "And then, Wilbur's religion is apparently a complex matter, as he once stated in an interview: 'I'm afraid I'm not very catechistic,' and 'what doesn't particularly interest me is the Creed, although I find that I can say it.' Well. This doesn't sound like T.S. Eliot or some other paint-by-the-dots Episcopalian, but a man with an idiosyncratic spiritual life."
Naturally I enjoyed the swipe at T.S. Poseur---sorry, Eliot. For your pleasure, though, the following article ("Travels in 'The Waste Land,'" by Adam Kirsch) is a worshipful tribute to the old fraud. At least I think it is; I fell asleep after the first paragraph.
And how nice to see metaphysics get an airing. IMS, when the Younghusband expedition got to Lhasa in 1904, the Tibetan government official they found themselves dealing with bore the title "Grand Metaphysician." We could use one of those in Washington.
A Wilbur story. Assembling my "36 Great American Poems" CD http://www.olimu.com/36Great/36Great.htm , I needed permissions for all the poems. This is a suicide-inducing chore in the case of dead poets, as you have to find out who has the rights, then spend hours arm-wrestling with publishers and lawyers. Wilbur, however, was (and is) still alive, so I just wrote to him directly. He sent back a charming letter (old-fashioned blue letter-paper, manual typewriter), saying he was flattered that I wanted to use his poem in my collection, that I was free to do so, and that I should pay him whatever I thought it was worth! I think I sent $100, which is about the average for a poem. What a gent.
Posted at 09:59 AM
PBA NEWS [Shannen Coffin]
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing argument today in the first of three appeals of the federal partial birth abortion rulings by district courts last summer. Good luck to my old colleague, friend, and uber-lawyer Greg Katsas, who will be arguing in defense of the federal ban. From what I understand, the 2nd Circuit will hear the appeal from Judge Casey's ruling in New York sometime next month.
Posted at 09:56 AM
GOOD RULING ON FELON DISENFRANCHISEMENT [Roger Clegg]
On Tuesday this week, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled—correctly—that Florida’s law disenfranchising felons violated neither the U.S. Constitution nor the Voting Rights Act. The ruling was decisive: 11-1 on the constitutional question and 10-2 on Voting Rights Act question. The court said that, while the law may have a racially disproportionate effect (since the percentage of African Americans, for instance, who are felons is higher than their percentage in the general population), there is no evidence that this is the reason the law was passed. A similar challenge to a New York disenfranchisement statute is now pending before the Second Circuit. Kudos to the Bush administration’s Justice Department, which has filed briefs on the right side, defending the legality of the Florida and New York laws.
Posted at 09:55 AM
RAMESH AND JUDGES [Shannen Coffin]
Ramesh, Today's circumstances make such a campaign distinctly unlikely to succeed, but I am not willing to write off entirely its wisdom. The public has been sold a bill of goods by proponents of judicial "legislation" on the need for an "independent" judiciary, which, in constitutional terms, only means life tenure (assuming "good Behaviour") and the protection of their compensation, but it certainly does not mean that the judiciary is beyond reproach, either by the public or the elected branches of government (and I don't take you to be suggesting otherwise). I am doubtful that a targeted impeachment approach would work either, but if we are unwilling to rely on constitutional checks simply because the problem not foreseen by Hamilton has become so pervasive that it would be difficult to manage, then we have lost the check entirely. You and I probably don't disagree much on whether we would actually ever invoke such a drastic constitutional remedy, but by denying its practicality, I think the editors make a mistake. At some point, and I don't suggest we are there yet, there may come a time when the people who elect the representatives who appoint the judges may just be fed up with the Imperial Judiciary. And one of the few constitutional options remaining at the back end is impeachment.
I find the NRO Editorial especially problematic when coupled with the earlier editorial denouncing (if ever so lightly) filibuster reform in the Senate. We both agree that, as you wrote yesterday, "it is profoundly unhealthy for the republic to have a judiciary that effectively defines the limits of its own power and a political class that regards the rule of judges as the rule of law." But if we are not willing to take action against it, the problem will only get worse. Of course, I am willing to hear you out on more practical options. The problem cannot, however, go unresponded to.
On Hamilton's point in Federalist 81, your suggestion has some merit. The executive and legislative branch bear a great deal of responsibility for getting us where we are now, but they also have the tools to deal with the problem. I would not wish to deny them those tools.
Posted at 09:52 AM
IS THE POPE JEWISH? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Gotta love that The New Republic's cover pic of the Pope is one where he's wearing a yarmulke.
Posted at 09:52 AM
J-LO V. PETA [Jonathan H. Adler]
Apparently the stakes are high.
Posted at 09:51 AM
"DO YOU SODOMIZE YOUR WIFE?" [Jonathan H. Adler]
A student apparently asked that question of Justice Scalia after a speech at NYU.
Posted at 09:50 AM
ON JUDGES [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm with Ramesh insofar as he argues that impeaching judges is not a viable means to discipline the judiciary. Insofar as the judiciary holds too much sway over the nation, it is -- as Ramesh suggests -- largely due to the abdication of the other branches. Save in very rare instances, Congress does not seriously consider the constitutionality of statutes. Sure, Congressmen occasionally worry whether a statute will pass court muster, but they rarely focus on thye antecedent question of whether a statute should pass court muster. Similarly, we have recent Presidents -- including Bush -- who are willing to sign legislation that they believe to be unconstitutional. If the legislature and executive absolve themselves of any responsibility to uphold their constitutional oaths, we should expect judges to fill the gap.
Posted at 09:48 AM
LUNAR REAL ESTATE [John J. Miller]
Now this is my kind of news: Scientists are recommending a particular site for a moon base. Here's the original report, in Nature, plus an article on it (mentioning Arthur C. Clarke!) in the Telegraph.
Posted at 09:46 AM
JIM GERAGHTY [K. J. Lopez]
has saved you a trip to Ankara. And is in the NYSun today (but it is one of those *&^* subscriber-only links).
Posted at 09:38 AM
DISROBING OUR MASTERS & PROF. TAMANAHA [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm not going to get into a big thing about posting email re yesterday's column. Many folks think I was too hard or unfair to James Dobson, many don't. I'm sure we'll have opportunities to debate that again. On the underlying point, I've gotten a lot of email too. But we're covered on this topic in the Corner generally anyway. Still, this guy clearly worked hard on this email and it's got some interesting stuff, I figured it's worth posting:
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Posted at 09:36 AM
BASH THE EDITORS! BASH THE EDITORS! [Jonah Goldberg]
Shannen's post reminds me: I've been thinking we in the Corner should try more often to debate, question or applaud NR editorials. Lots of folks don't understand that for the most part only a tiny cadres of intellectuals and ideologists write our editorials. I don't have anything to do with them for example. Neither do most Cornerites, I suspect. But the public doesn't always understand this. Often they will see a one-time contributor's piece as authoritatively reflective of the magazine's stance on an issue. Columnists and bloggers will declare "National Review contends...blah blah blah" because some freelance writer wrote something on our site. Conversely, when a frothing emailer screams at me about NR's drift, or apostasy or whatever, I'll point out that our editorial position remains Gibraltor-like on this point or that. They'll respond as if this is irrelevent. While obviously what we run -- and how much we run of it -- reflects our editorial policies to a certain extent, only the editorials actually reflect official positions.
So, I think it'd be helpful -- so long as it doesn't get me fired -- if we chat up these things a bit. Hopefully, it will convey that A) there's more dissent around here than some folks contend B) it will call attention to the editorials which are invariably high-minded, well-considered and well-written, C) get some good Corner chatter going.
Note: A couple readers have interpreted this post differently than I intended (such are the perils of NR Kremlinology). I think the editorials are generally great and persuasive. More important, I have no desire to write or work on any of them. Rather, I just think they reflect something more important than a random op-ed and would therefore make a good conversation starter around here.
Posted at 09:27 AM
CONSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Shannen: I don’t think that the idea that judges can licitly be impeached for exceeding their constitutional authority is “madness” (and have alluded to that same Hamilton passage to make the same point). You rightly suggest that whether impeachment should be used depends on circumstances. I agree with the NRO editorial that today’s circumstances make a campaign to impeach usurpative judges distinctly unwise. There are, for one thing, too many of them. Impeaching them all is impracticable—notwithstanding the fantasies of a few hotheads who, I gather, have been talking about impeaching a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court. Singling out a few targets would look (and could to some extent be) vindictive. And there are no easy targets. The net effect of politicians’ speaking loosely about impeaching judges will be to make them (and all partisans of conservative views on the judiciary) look nuts, and nobody will be impeached. As the editorial suggested, Hamilton’s remedy makes sense when applied to a few bad apples. But that’s not the situation today, and it’s counterproductive to create the impression that it is.
Incidentally, I have always wondered about Hamilton’s alleged lack of foresight in Federalist 81. Isn’t his deeper point that judicial usurpation cannot occur without the acquiescence of the other branches? I think that’s a plausible reading of his comments—that since the courts cannot command either sword or purse, their power depends ultimately on the esteem in which they are held.
Posted at 09:17 AM
CAESAR'S BATH GAME [Jonah Goldberg]
According to the rules of the game, we can't play until we're invited. I choose to honor these rules for good conservative reasons and sloth, which can often be a good conservative reason. I learned about it at American Scene, followed the link to Matt Yglesias which actually explained the thing and after that, well, you can keep clicking to learn more. It's sort of the blog equivalent of one of those painting where the guy is painting himself painting himself painting himself....
It would be interesting -- in the sense of not really interesting but you'd listen if someone told you -- to know how long it takes a lefty blog meme to jump into a righty blog host and vice versa.
Posted at 09:16 AM
IMPEACHMENT OF JUDGES [Shannen Coffin]
I believe the editors of NRO are far too dismissive of the importance of impeachment as a check on a runaway judiciary, where they conclude that in today's editorial that "impeachment makes no sense as a remedy for the defects of the modern judiciary." Certainly, the authors of the Constitution did not think it madness. Alexander Hamilton may have lacked the jaded foresight necessary to foresee the degree to which the modern judiciary would encroach on legislative judgments, when he wrote in Federalist No. 81 that those encroachments would "never be so extensive as to amount ot an inconvenience, or in any sensible degree to affect the order of the political system." But his extended reasoning for reaching that conclusion reinforces the validity of impeachment as an option for a runaway judiciary:
[T]he inference [that the danger of judicial encroachment was limited] is greatly fortified by the consideration of the important constitutional check which the power of instituting impeachments in one part of the legislative body, and of determining upon them in the other, would give to that body upon the members of the judicial department. This is alone a complete security. There never can be danger that the judges, by a series of deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature, would hazard the united resentment of the body intrusted with it, while this body was possessed of the means of punishing their presumption, by degrading them from their stations. While this ought to remove all apprehensions on the subject, it affords, at the same time, a cogent argument for constituting the Senate a court for the trial of impeachments.
That impeachment might be a "complete security" for an out-of-control judicary suggests that legislators who refer to it as a constitutional check are not completely off-base. Naturally, the circumstances for using such a constitutional mechanism would have to be dire. But by dismissing this as a real constitutional option, my friends at NRO are exacerbating the very threat that Hamilton thought non-existent.
Posted at 09:13 AM
POSTED WITHOUT COMMENT [Jonah Goldberg]
Trying to use a loophole in the K-Lo ban.
Posted at 09:08 AM
I'M HURT [K. J. Lopez]
I wasn't invited to this:
The BlogHer conference is a woman-centric conference on blogging to be held on July 30 in Santa Clara, CA: ...
Posted at 08:48 AM
IN SUPPORT OF "A FAIR VOTE ON JUDGES" [K. J. Lopez]
The Judicial Confirmation Network has just unveiled their first commerical. Watch it here.
Posted at 08:40 AM
WHILE THE CORNER IS GROGGY [K. J. Lopez]
it's the perfect time to sign up for our Atlanta bash.
Posted at 08:36 AM
IT'S ABOUT 8:30 [K. J. Lopez]
and I've been sent a Napoleon Dynamite soundclip page, so there's your first post of the day. So, yes, reader Greg Sharp, you win the first post of the day contest, as you hoped. Dang!
Posted at 08:28 AM
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
OREGON GAY MARRIAGE CASE TOMORROW [Steve Hayward]
All eyes on Oregon tomorrow, when the Oregon Supreme Count is expected to announce its decision in Li v. Oregon, the case challenging the constitutionality of the gay marriage ban that voters enacted there. The Oregon Supreme Court has been highly activist in recent years: Expect a bad result.
Posted at 08:28 PM
REAGAN AND THE POPE [Cliff May]
In a Letter to the Editor of the Washington Times today, Tony Dolan (an old friend, former chief speechwriter to President Regan, now a special advisor to Rumsfeld) challenges the claim made by Arnaud de Borchgrave in a column Tuesday that Reagan and CIA Director Bill Casey “played down the Soviet link” to the 1981 assassination attempt on the pope.
Dolan says quite the opposite was the case. In fact, Tony writes:
“President Reagan over some internal objections and at a particularly sensitive time in US-USSR relations went out of his way to publicly raise the issue in a Feb 18, 1983 Washington address. He spoke directly to the claim the Untied States was nervous about an investigation that might turn up Bulgarian -Soviet connection.”
Reagan said: “Now, it would be also unconscionable during any discussion of the need for candor in our foreign policy not to mention here the tragic event that last year shocked the world -- the attack on His Holiness, Pope John Paul II -- an act of unspeakable evil, an assault on man and God. It was an international outrage and merits the fullest possible investigation. Tonight, I want to take this opportunity to applaud the courage and resourcefulness of the Government of Italy in bringing this matter to the attention of the world. And, contrary to what some have suggested, you can depend on it, there is no one on our side that is acting embarrassed or feeling embarrassed because they're going ahead with that investigation. We mean to help them. “
Tony adds that he recalls “the last two sentences here were an ad-lib and meant to stress Reagan's determination to see the matter pursued. Incidentally, this caused just the sort of diplomatic stir Reagan was warned against.”
The rest of Tony’s letter is worth reading (though it doesn’t appear to be on-line yet). It’s important that the record be straight on this kind of question.
Posted at 08:20 PM
ALSO RE BOLTON [Cliff May]
I was on the BBC Monday debating the Bolton nomination with Peter Beinart. Peter is smart and I like him but he said something I just found weird. He said that Bolton should be disqualified because he had been “disloyal to his subordinates.”
Is there something I’ve missed in my reading of Peter Drucker and other management gurus? Since when is the goal to demonstrate loyalty to subordinates? Shouldn’t the goal be for subordinates to show loyalty to those they’re supposed to be working for?
And keep in mind: This is coupled with the constant refrain from the left that Bush should choose cabinet members and other senior deputies who are “independent” – in other words who disagree with him and are disloyal to him.
What’s more, anyone who has spent any time in a government bureaucracy understands that the real problem is not being too tough with subordinates. The real problem is that in government bureaucracies there is too little you can do about subordinates who aren’t doing their jobs adequately. You can’t fire them or even stop them from getting scheduled pay increases. The most you can do is shift them from one part of the building to another.
Posted at 08:20 PM
BOLTON [Michael Ledeen]
So the host of a radio talk show asks me what I think about these Bolton stories, you know, chewing out subordinates and all, and I say, “you are talking to a person who was special adviser to secretary of state Alexander M. Haig, Jr.”
And that was pretty much the end of the discussion…
Posted at 08:18 PM
INTERNET POLITICAL FREEDOM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
There's a bill--sponsored in the Senate by Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, in the House by Republican Jeb Hensarling of Texas--to protect online freedom of speech from the FEC. What's your congressman waiting for?
Posted at 05:57 PM
CARL FORD, POLITICAL FRAUD [Rich Lowry ]
When this guy said yesterday what an absolute rock-ribbed Republican he was it seemed kind of suspicious. He might be a Republican, but not exactly the “self-described loyal Republican, conservative to the core” (in the words of CNN) he portrayed himself as yesterday. Pfeiffer has the goods over at BB. He has given money to Rangel, Inouye, Harman, and Kerry.
Posted at 05:25 PM
BOLTON, LATEST [Rich Lowry ]
Well, the vote has been put off. I just bet John Bolton has his hands on his hips right now. Apparently the foreign relations committee has a custom going back to Helms that says any member can delay a meeting for any reason, once. The Democrats have invoked that. The Republicans have said, OK, in that case we're going to vote on Tuesday. Until then, Democrats will hunt for other incriminating information about Bolton's conduct--such as audible sighs, impatient finger-tapping, eye-rolling, vigorous head-shaking, and other universally-recognized signs of dangerous, uncontrollable rage...
Posted at 04:19 PM
RE: BOLTON--NOW, THIS WOULD BE DISQUALIFYING [Rich Lowry ]
"Subject: It's not the hands on the hips that you have to watch out for...
Posted at 04:12 PM
SEND COSMO TO THE STATE DEPT. [Jonah Goldberg]
Rich, walk down the hall and try it on a couple interns and staffers. See if putting your hands on your hips and asking tough questions in a low voice makes 'em cry. I just did it to Cosmo (Why do you shed so much? Where's your tennis ball? etc) and he chuffed at me and then went back to sleep.
Posted at 04:07 PM
JOHN BOLTON, A HANDS-ON-HIPSTER [Rich Lowry ]
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has posted some of the transcripts of its interviews with witnesses pursuant to the Ford/Westerman controversy. Spend some time reading them and you soon realize what a tiny flap this is, blown totally out of proportion. Now, remember John Bolton is supposed to be a “screamer.” But here is Christian Westerman's supervisor, Thomas Fingar, giving the shocking details of his encounter with an enraged John Bolton:
Q: Frank, could we go back? Could you characterize your meeting with Bolton? Was he calm?
There it is. He didn't scream, he put his hands on his hips! We can't have this in the U.S. diplomatic corps! What if Bolton puts his hands on his hips when dealing with a French or North Korean diplomat at the UN? Can you imagine the international outrage? Would our standing in the world ever recover?
Posted at 03:16 PM
AH, GRASSHOPPER [Jonah Goldberg ]
He who masters timewaster has still wasted time.
Posted at 03:14 PM
MORE BOLTON [Rich Lowry ]
ME: This is a good point. The Robb-Silberman commission says that policymakers should be more aggressive in challenging intelligence analysts, rather than less. But the intelligence bureaucracy isn’t going to like it…
Posted at 02:38 PM
LOTS OF THIS SORT OF EMAIL, BTW [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, I'm normally linking every buddy I have to your articles by this point in the morning, cutting and pasting my favorite quips and quotes into chat windows, and ROFL'ing mightily all the while. I appreciate your keen wit and razor-like sarcasm like no other NRO contributor.
Posted at 02:38 PM
BOLTON, CURRENT STATE OF PLAY [Rich Lowry ]
Lugar is trying to get the Democrats to agree to have the vote tommorow afternoon, in keeping with their original commitment last week. Not clear whether the Democrats will go along. They are still fishing around the state department and talking to anyone Bolton looked cross-eyed at while he was there. Chafee still seems OK.
Posted at 02:34 PM
ME + MIA [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry folks. I had to pick up the wife and kid at the airport this morning. Then I had a meeting with a friend in the....West Wing. I can report that there weren't nearly as many people running around, bumping into each other, and dropping pieces of paper as there are in the TV version.
Now I have a very important deadline to meet. But I'll be back. Oh yes...I'll be back.
Posted at 02:24 PM
GINGRICH AND DELAY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It may be worth remembering that DeLay got into the House Republican leadership by beating Gingrich's candidate, and that DeLay played a central role in the abortive coup against Gingrich in the summer of 1997.
Posted at 01:02 PM
GINGRICH: BURDEN ON DELAY [Rich Lowry ]
This is from last night--Newt semi-non-supportive of DeLay on the CBS Evening News:
Former Representative NEWT GINGRICH (Republican, Georgia; Former House Speaker): I don't want to prejudge him, and I--my hope is that Tom will be able to prove his case. But I think the burden is on him to prove it at this stage.
Posted at 12:14 PM
FORD V. BOLTON [Rich Lowry ]
Let's say we believe all the trash Carl Ford piled on John Bolton's head yesterday. I don't. For instance, it's demonstrably false that Bolton is “kiss up, kick down” kind of guy. As Bill Kristol is pointing out, Bolton clashed routinely with his superiors at state, Colin Powell and Richard Armitage, making his own life miserable in the process. Anyway, let's stipulate that it's true. According to the New York Times, Democrats say it all has “grave and far-reaching implications for American credibility, especially telling in light of the failure to find illicit weapons in Iraq.” Come again? How? If Bolton was tough on one intelligent analyst on Cuba, it threw all of U.S. intelligence out of whack, including on Iraq? This is absurd. Even Ford admits as much, according to this quote I saw only in the New York Sun today:
Mr. Ford, however, said in the hearing, "I can't lay on Secretary Bolton the intelligence community's failure." He added, "It had nothing to do with Bolton."
Posted at 12:12 PM
GOOD POINT RE BOLTON [Rich Lowry ]
Subject: comment from a U.S. dip who agrees with you.
Posted at 11:36 AM
STILETTOS & DIRT [K. J. Lopez ]
New York sounds ripe for Smut, which is on the top of my book pile.
Posted at 11:24 AM
GOOD QUESTION, LINDA [K. J. Lopez]
Linda Chavez on much ado about DeLay.
Posted at 11:09 AM
JUDGE TALK [NRO Staff]
A New editorial up on NRO
Posted at 10:50 AM
CORNER TICK [K. J. Lopez]
Comics, bioethics, and moustaches all in one link.
Posted at 10:40 AM
IT'S GONNA TAKE A LOT TO DRAG ME [K. J. Lopez]
You could recover your coolness very easily: buy an IPOD, pin it to your chest then tap it occasionally, saying to it, “Uhura, are you there?”, and have it play “Africa”. Jonah would die on the spot.
KJL: Uh...no. And isn't Toto more K-Lo than Jonah? I'm losing track. Identity crisis.
Posted at 10:38 AM
MONARCHIES & MEDIA [K. J. Lopez]
Rick Brookhiser is on fire.
Posted at 10:34 AM
THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS VS. BYRON YORK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Brendan Nyhan, formerly of Spinsanity, comments--and provides links to past CAP "dissembling."
Posted at 10:33 AM
DOBSON ON JUDGES [Mark R. Levin]
I was the guest on Dr. Dobson's radio show when he referred to the KKK and the white robes when we were discussing the men in black robes (see Jonah today). It has been taken completely out of context by David Brock and others. Context is important. We had been talking for 20 minutes or so about the Court's history, including the fact that it not only upheld slavery, but imposed it on the free territories in Dred Scott. We also discussed Plessy, in which the Court held that separate but equal is equal under the 14th Amendment. Moreover, we talked about the Court upholding the internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans. Obviously, this isn't the complete history of the Supreme Court, but when it came to slavery, segregation after Reconstruction, and massive due-process violations during World War II, the Supreme Court as an institution has done enormous damage to this nation. That's not to give a pass to the other branches of government, or to ignore the good things the Court has done. But we must be honest about the full legacy of the Court. That's what Dr. Dobson's reference was about. (As an aside, there have been justices who wore white robes or were racists in black robes.) Beyond critiquing Dr. Dobson's comments, I find the Court's liberal supporters largely blind to the history of the Court, unwilling to engage in a substantive debate of its power or the societal impact of its exercise of power. They dismiss the early history of the Court, legitimate criticism as provoking threats against judges, and so forth. They're so enamored with and committed to government by the judiciary that the same critical thinking they use in analyzing the elected branches is absent here. This is simply intellectually dishonest. So, they prefer to demonize Dr. Dobson, or Tom DeLay, or John Cornyn, or whomever. But it's time to engage on the substance.
Posted at 10:32 AM
SPEAKING OF BENNETT: FOR THE RECORD [K. J. Lopez ]
Robert Scheer yesterday wrote about how Bill Bennett was dispatched to the Vatican to make our case for the Iraq war. Never did such a thing, never—I asked—was asked. Scheer also mentioned Michael Novak, who as NRO readers know, did make such a trip.
Posted at 07:54 AM
IPODS [K. J. Lopez]
Rick has one too? Am I the last without one? How lame am I?... Don't answer that.
Posted at 07:52 AM
PLAY LIST [Rick Brookhiser]
The President is not alone. I got an iPod for my birthday, and when I get around to programming it, one of my songs will be "Cocaine Blues," sung by Dave Van Ronk. The guitar playing will remind you of Segovia. The lyrics are deeply ambivalent--both an addict's reverie, and a commercial for the drug war. Andrew and Jonah can both sing along.
Posted at 07:51 AM
STACHES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM [Rick Brookhiser]
James Taranto reminds me that Taft had a stache, and that Taft, poor man, succeeded TR.
Posted at 07:50 AM
SHEESH [K. J. Lopez]
That Bill Bennett should really have some NR people on now and again.
Posted at 07:14 AM
JAY NORDLINGER [NRO Staff]
will be a guest on Bill Bennett's nationally syndicated radio show, Morning in America, at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.
Posted at 07:13 AM
THE PLEASURE CAN BE YOURS [K. J. Lopez]
Jeremy Kareken of NYC writes of NR’s NY fundraiser in Feb.:
Elbows and palms, what a sincere pleasure it was to rub and press them, respectively. All my heroes were there: from the delightful, Celt-zonian Kate O’Beirne…to that epitome of geek-chic Jonah Goldberg…. Thank you, National Review, for introducing me to libertarians, wonks, social conservatives, and econ-junkies. My brain and soul thank you, whilst my liver hopes you understand if it holds grudges.
Come to our Atlanta fundraiser—details here.
Posted at 07:06 AM
A MARYLAND EMBRYONIC-STEM-CELL EFFORT [K. J. Lopez ]
Posted at 07:00 AM
CHECK OUT [K. J. Lopez]
The Hillary Meter.
Posted at 06:57 AM
THAT'S MY EX! [K. J. Lopez]
Radioblogger explains why Hillary Clinton can never be president: She reminds men of their shrill ex-girlfriends/wives.
Posted at 06:55 AM
GEN YOUNG AND SOCIAL SECURITY [K. J. Lopez]
Young people are increasingly interested (read: realizing they’re invested) in the Social Security debate.
Posted at 06:54 AM
MORE IMING?! [K. J. Lopez]
Isn’t more instant-messaging the last thing college kids need? I love new tech as much as the next online gal, but a little time away can’t hurt.
Posted at 06:52 AM
'08 WATCH? [K. J. Lopez]
A Romney olive branch to Dems.
Posted at 06:03 AM
OTHER FIRST PITCHES [John J. Miller]
I've never seen a presidential first pitch in person. But I did see Gov. Engler of Michigan throw out the first pitch at Tiger Stadium in the early 1990s. He was a very good governor, but also quite unpopular immediately after his first election because he was cutting arts spending and the like. When he was announced to the crowd, the booing was loud--but Engler trotted onto the field with a big smile and waving to everybody. When they showed the image on the 11 o'clock news that night, all you saw was Engler--no sound (the sportscaster was talking). If you weren't there, you would have assumed the fans were cheering him on. Clever move, sort of like waving from the tarmac even though there's nobody there to see you except the cameras.
My other first pitch was in Baltimore in about 1993, for the filming of the movie Dave. Before the game started, they filmed a scene with Kevin Kline taking the mound. It took him a few tries before he pitched a ball the director thought he could use. Kline got booed, too. That's not in the movie, either.
Posted at 05:39 AM
AHHHHHHHHHHH...SCHADENFREUDE [Jonah Goldberg ]
The opener from the NY Sun:
For 23 years, the Socialist Scholars Conference was a big tent under which leftist activists and academics took shelter in an increasingly conservative America. Last June, however, seven of the group's 16 board members resigned, "in protest of the lack of democratic and participatory governance procedures."
Posted at 05:32 AM
FIRST PITCHES [John J. Miller]
President Bush is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Nationals' home opener tonight. The Wash Post has a graphic on the history of first pitches here. Every prez since William Taft has tossed a first pitch, with one exception: that killjoy Jimmy Carter. Reagan only did it twice. G.H.W. Bush hurled (no pun intended) on foreign soil--in Toronto.
Posted at 05:30 AM
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
ABRAMOFF DENIES... [Rich Lowry]
...that Newsweek story from the current issue, for what it's worth. From The Forward:
"Lobbyist Denies Newsweek Story on DeLay
By E.J. Kessler
April 12, 2005
Embattled Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is denying Newsweek's story that he told a lunch companion that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay knew about the financing for several trips abroad that have raised ethical questions....
`Those S.O.B.s,' Newsweek quotes Abramoff as saying about DeLay and his staffers. `DeLay knew everything. He knew all the details.' Newsweek sourced the remark to an unnamed companion with whom Abramoff lunched last week.
Abramoff, however, is denying the story. `Mr. Abramoff strongly denies making the comments attributed to him in the April 18 issue of Newsweek,' Abramoff spokesman Andrew Blum wrote in an e-mail to the Forward. `He is furious that in the media's latest attempt to create a story where none exists, it now seeks to pit him against those that he has known and supported for years. Even Mr. Abramoff's unidentified lunch companion referred to in the Newsweek article has flatly denied ever stating that Mr. Abramoff said these things....'"
Posted at 10:07 PM
NEVERMIND NICHOLSON'S STACHE [K. J. Lopez]
How about Chertoff?
Posted at 09:17 PM
RE: I THINK THEREFORE I AM A MUSTACHE [John Derbyshire]
An old China hand emails: "JD---I'm sure you will recall that foreign correspondents in China's capital (do I dare say Peking?) used to call those portraits [i.e. of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin] 'The History of Shaving.'"
We actually prefer "Pei P'ing," Sir... but "Peking" will do.
Posted at 06:52 PM
RE: POGONOPHOBIA [Cliff May]
I have to admit: I thought the word meant fear of Pogo, the cartoon character (who was not a member of the Justice League).
But Jonah asks if John Bolton will be the highest-ranked government official with a full-blown lip-warmer. My former boss, Jim Nicholson, until a few months ago ambassador to the Holy See, is now a member of the Cabinet, Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs. He’s long worn a moustache -- and proudly.
Posted at 06:14 PM
HARDEE HAR HAR [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
All this talk about referring to WWI before WWII reminds me I have some very old coins marked with the year 412 BC on them. Want to buy some?
Posted at 05:50 PM
FAIR POINT ON MACKINNON [Jonah Goldberg]
I should add that I agree with the reader that on a personal level MacKinnon is quite nice (though, for the record, I'm sure she doesn't remember me). From a reader:
Posted at 05:48 PM
FOR VOLCANO WATCHERS [Jonah Goldberg]
This reader has some guidance:
Posted at 05:41 PM
OKAY, OKAY! [Jonah Goldberg]
Spielberg is a pious genius! Indiana Jones is the most biblically and theologically accurate fiction since Pilgrim's Progress. I am a fool and must be punished! Etc!
Posted at 05:37 PM
EVERYONE—EVEN THE WASHINGTON POST—KNOWS THE TRUTH [Roger Clegg]
Halfway through a piece by one of the Washington Post’s Metro columnists over the weekend is an offhand reference to “the punishing quotas that Asian students face in the college admissions game -- colleges don't admit to using quotas, but the numbers tell the story ….” Just so.
Posted at 05:18 PM
HOW LIBERALS COULD THRIVE IN A POST-NUCLEAR-OPTION SENATE [Jim Boulet]
Jonathan Adlerhas already linked to the American Prospect's counterproposal to end all filibusters. The Prospect article includes a discussion of a one-page memo of mine on the dangers of the nuclear option. That memo is now available online here.
Posted at 05:16 PM
WWI ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry to carry on yesterday's conversation, but a reader just sent me this snippet from a 2003 column by William Safire:
In the early days of television, the comedian Sid Caesar, playing a jubilant doughboy on Armistice Day at the end of what was then called the Great War, shouted, "World War I is over!"
Posted at 05:13 PM
INDIANA JONES & GOD [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah,Me: A fair point on the Ark. But I didn't catch that at the end of Last Crusade. It seemed to me the evil guy was dessicated because he drank from the wrong cup. He should have had someone else take a sip first.
Posted at 05:05 PM
WWW.WOMEN [K. J. Lopez]
There are more women online than men?
Posted at 05:01 PM
HITCHENS ON OHIO [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 04:53 PM
WHICH REMINDS ME [Jonah Goldberg]
I liked the Indiana Jones movies quite a bit. But it always drove me crazy that the plots of the first and the third hinged on Hitler getting artifacts which would give him divine power. The idea that God would let Hitler -- Hitler! -- use the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail for evil purposes always struck me as hilariously blaphemous.
Imagine: God's up there looking down as Hitler uses the Grail and the Ark to enslave humanity and Jesus and Moses are looking at Him with "What's up with that?" expressions.
And all God can say is, "Hey, my hands are tied!"
Posted at 04:51 PM
ÜBER SUPERMAN & THE SPEAR [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 04:46 PM
RE: ANDREA DWORKIN [K. J. Lopez]
Ramesh, we were hanging out in the wrong places, clearly. I never met her either. Here's Ms.'s blog on her--different than Charlotte's or NR-nik takes.
Posted at 04:45 PM
RE: SIN CITY [K. J. Lopez]
Tom Hibbs had a different take.
Posted at 04:44 PM
I FEEL LIKE WINSTON CHURCHILL... [Jonah Goldberg ]
warning against German rearmament in the 1930s. Another volcano fires a shot across the bow of humanity. How many more times must this happen before we accept the need for volcano-lancing technology?
Posted at 04:43 PM
THE TROUBLE NO-TALENT-A**-CLOWNS CAUSE OTHERS? [K. J. Lopez]
Tough to be Rick James.
Posted at 04:41 PM
AM I THE ONLY NR-NIK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
who didn't meet Andrea Dworkin? Anyway, Charlotte Allen has her own take here.
Posted at 04:40 PM
WELL... [Jonah Goldberg]
I might as well chime in on Dworkin. I met her too, albeit briefly. As some readers might recall, I went to Goucher college which had only really gone co-ed my freshman (freshperson?) year. Goucher was not overrun with angry feminist types, but it should hardly surprise anyone that in a school that small which had been all-women that they'd be over-represented. Anyway, I heard a talk by her in our small auditorium. I asked a question I do not remember. But she was unpleasent. Her talk was quite thoroughly anti-male. She was clearly playing to the audience and she left a poor impression on me. As did her writing. And, most of all, her effect on many of the young women I went to school with and some of the teachers I learned from was anything but admirable or edifying.
I'm sure she was partly the person David and Rick found her to be. But I don't think that was the whole person. That New York Sun obituary David links to covers the facts well enough. But in summary, I would say she cultivated a persona and a political partnership with Catharine MacKinnon (whom I've also met and talked to at length) et al. which perpetuated some horrendous cultural stereotypes of men as thugs and women as victims (and yes, fine, Dworkin didn't exactly say that "sex is rape"). She trafficked in what amounted to a neo-Victorian feminism -- women must be protected by the state from their own choices, etc. But Victorianism at least has charms to go with its faults. Dworkin's worldview lacked anything even remotely resembling charm. It was all bile, no frosting. That doesn't mean there aren't truths undgirding both worldviews: Men are sinful by nature, pornography is degrading, society needs rules (though not necessarily laws) to govern relations between the sexes, etc.
As for the sentiment expressed by both David and Rick that, despite her faults, she was authentic, "she really meant it," etc. I know where they're coming from and I agree that intellectual integrity is something to admire in almost all cases. But intellectual integrity is an attribute that cannot overwhelm character, or morality. The devil has intellectual integrity, as do all sorts of Stalinists, Nazis and other vile ideologues and useful idiots. I recall a wonderful interview a few years ago with Eugene Genovese about his days as a youthful Stalinist in academia. When asked if, in his younger days, he would have agreed to the mass executions of his friends and colleagues if the Communists gained power in America, he replied (I'm quoting from memory) "Oh, absolutely." Genovese grew out of that nonsense, which is an even greater sign of an even more admirable intellectual integrity.
This isn't to say Dworkin was a vile person. I get the sense that she was more damaged than deranged. But "She stuck to her convictions" isn't the greatest epitaph if her convictions were wrong.
Lastly, it's worth noting that Dworkin and MacKinnon were collosal failures in their most famous campaign: pornography. Whatever success they had in combating "date rape," and date rape sans-quotation-marks, it's hard to say since lots of people are against rape. But on the pornography front they failed spectacularly. Over the time they were working against pornography, pornography has become mainstream and vastly more profitable, glamorous and corporate. Perhaps if they hadn't struck such an unlikable, needlessly radical, but authentic! public pose -and behaved more like the woman David and Rick met, they might have had been more successful.
Then again maybe not.
Posted at 04:35 PM
SIN CITY [Rich Lowry ]
Speaking of comics, I saw Sin City last night. Interesting and well-done, but very hard to watch for those of us who don't have a high tolerance for torture and dismemberment.
Posted at 04:32 PM
O'SULLIVAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
These paragraphs seemed to me to be worth highlighting: "It is widely believed in Washington that the Tories are weak on Iraq. Here is what the Tory manifesto says on the topic: 'If a Conservative Government ever has to take the country to war, we will tell the British people why. Mr Blair misrepresented intelligence to make the case for war in Iraq, and failed to plan for the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's downfall. It is nevertheless the case that a democratic Iraq would be a powerful beacon of hope in a troubled part of the world. So we believe that Britain must remain committed to rebuilding Iraq and allowing democracy to take hold.'
"A little more measured and less passionate than Tony Blair's personal position — though a great deal more satisfactory than that of most Labor ministers and MPs — but firmly on the American side. On the longer-term and more vital question of the common European foreign and defense policy, moreover, the Tories are somewhat closer than Blair to the U.S. They would oppose the European constitution which imposes a common foreign policy and they believe that European cooperation in defense should occur only within the framework of NATO — a commitment on which Blair is very slippery.
"American conservatives and neoconservatives who pine for a Blair victory should consider two points. First, Blair is a personal phenomenon with a short remaining shelf-life. Within a few years he will be replaced by a leader, probably Gordon Brown, who is more reflective of his party. And, second, that a Labor victory even under Blair would entrench the European integration in defense and foreign policy that might deprive the U.S. of British (and Italian, and East European, and Baltic) support in some future Iraq crisis."
Posted at 04:26 PM
THE NEXT TIME YOU ARE COMPELLED [K. J. Lopez]
to write Jonah a long comic-book-geeky e-mail, sign up for an afternoon and evening with us in Atlanta instead. You can talk to him about comic books all night in person.
Posted at 03:53 PM
ANDREA DWORKIN [Rick Brookhiser]
Re: David Frum's column today: In the latest nineties, my then publisher, The Free Press, sponsored a symposium of their writers at Tavern on the Green, which they asked me to moderate. My four discussants were David Gelernter, David Horowitz, Deborah Lipstadt and Andrew Dworkin. I dreaded an evening of commotion. When I was introduced to Andrea Dworkin the first thing she said was how much she had enjoyed Founding Father, and how much she admired George Washington.
I was pleased (as a vain author) and also stunned. Washington was the ur-Patriarch, so much so that he was Father of his Country. Later, in a book of Dworkin's essays, I found her citing Howard Zinn as a guide to American history--hardly a source of Washington bouquets. What was the source of her high opinion? Maybe the fact that there is no credible tale of Washington's sleeping with a slave (there is an incredible one), and the second fact that the last act of his life was to free his own slaves. As I point out whenever I talk about GW, Founding Father is 63,000 words long; if I had to re-write it in 4, they would be, "He really meant it."
Later on, when NR twitted feminists for supporting a later president, Bill Clinton, I got a note from Dworkin pointing out that she didn't. I wrote a paragraph for "The Week," beginning with the old New Yorker lead-in, "A friend writes..."
Dworkin's prose was unrelenting, hard, clean and compelling. Florence King praised it (while disagreeing with many of her conclusions). She really meant it. R.I.P.
Posted at 03:50 PM
MORE COMICS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader explicates one of the many ways DC Comics stinks:
Posted at 03:40 PM
BRITISH ELECTIONS [K. J. Lopez]
John O'Sullivan inaugurates a series you'll be seeing a lot more of in the coming weeks.
Posted at 03:24 PM
I THINK THEREFORE I AM A MUSTACHE [John Derbyshire]
I feel moved to contribute something to the postings about mustaches, but nothing very consequential comes to mind.
For what it's worth: The Chinese language does not distinguish between a beard and a mustache. It used to be the case, and very likely still is in some quarters, that Communist Party offices in the People's Republic were decorated with a row of framed portraits on the wall, the persons portrayed being Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. These were known popularly as "the four beards."
Posted at 03:10 PM
MUSTACHE PARADE [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader invokes one of my favorite scenes:
J-Go writes, "There was a time when mustaches were macho and certain men of alternative orientation sought to out-macho everyone else."
Posted at 03:08 PM
A MAGIC BULLET? [Jonah Goldberg]
Kathryn - What about comics?
From a reader:
Clearly, I am outing myself as something here, but while it doesn't answer your WWII question, a couple of the current Superman series deal with a story lines in which Superman has involved himself in a middle-eastern war (a little vague on where, countries are fictional of course), also sort of covers the Palestine/Israeli and Iraqi war (but could be any similar war)- in the PLO/Israeli one- Superman basically disarms both sides of their guns and similar weapons at superspeed, only to have each side start to attack him and each other with rocks- get it- Superman can't make people stop killing each other. In this series (Lois lane his wife has disappeared along with perhaps millions of other people worldwide from some sort of superweapon being tested that randomly made people vanish -its latter discovered that its his device that sends people to the phantom zone-which now as an earthlike environment) - Anyway... and more importantly though and applicable to your posting is that -he and the other members of the justice league get into it at their moon base, because Superman broke an unwritten rule against interfering in acts of State, which could turn the world on them. Apparently Superman is acting out, asking for wide latitude and to be left alone, since he is grieving thinking Lois may be dead- which the Martin Manhunter calls him on as lots of people are grieving- Superman doesn't like being compared to them, which MM also calls him on, asking if Supes grief is somehow worse than others or his (MM being the sole survivor of Mars) [sort of a hint that Superman could go rogue if something bad enough happens and thinks he is somehow better than humans]- While they never actually show a fight, Aquaman is especially angry and goes with a large invasion force to the fortress of solitude (ships, wales, etc)- see Aquaman is the King/Emperor of Atlantis, a sovereign nation, so Superman overriding acts of State just because he can- makes Aquaman very angry, no fight occurs (or at least isn't shown- maybe latter in a flash back- one can hope)- basically just a stare down and a not very subtle warning to the Big S from Aquaman, to knock it off, Aquaman will not sit back while Superman interferes with sovereign countries affairs, especially his.
Posted at 02:23 PM
RE: HAIR THREADS [K. J. Lopez]
No, Jonah, that doesn't give you a greenlight to post indiscriminately about Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galatica.
Posted at 02:18 PM
ASPIRIN & THE FDA [Jonathan H. Adler]
If aspirin were invented today, could it get approved by the FDA? It's a good question.
Posted at 02:14 PM
LESS FREE UNDER THE BIG SKY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Hit & Run rightly laments the demise of Montana's independence -- courtesy of the federal government.
Posted at 02:14 PM
SPEAKING OF POGONOPHOBIA [Jonah Goldberg]
Another unspoken context in all of this is what is commonly referred to as another form of phobia. There was a time when mustaches were macho and certain men of alternative orientation sought to out-macho everyone else. The gay biker crowd is one of the only white, middle class, urban, blue state subcultures which still sports the seriously bushy 'stache. Not that there's anything wrong with that. So if someone gets crosswise with you for disliking the Village People you can say "Hey, I don't care what they do with their private life. It's just that I'm a pogonophobe."
Posted at 02:13 PM
RE: POGONOPHOBIA [Jonah Goldberg]
You know, I get a lot of grief around here for random, oddball and at times (allegedly) "juvenile" postings. But the thing is, if you subscribe to the magic bullet theory of blogposts you have to throw a lot of junk in the air to see if one hits. How many of you would have prediced that I would get both Brookhiser and Steyn to take the bait and offer such slow-day enriching posts.
Posted at 02:08 PM
BOLTON'S "DISDAIN" [Jonathan H. Adler]
Some of Bolton's critics think he has "disdain" for the United Nations. This is meant as a criticism. Yet given the institution's history of corruption and incompetence, Professor Bainbridge suggests, Bolton's critics should consider that this disdain is well-deserved.
Posted at 01:13 PM
FILIBUSTER ROPE-A-DOPE? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Matt Yglesias wants Democrats to one-up Republicans and propose ending filibusters for all Senate business.
Posted at 01:13 PM
FLO BLOGGING [Jonathan H. Adler]
I know I haven't been on The Corner much of late. The end of the semester brings with it a rush of deadlines and obligations. But today I'm trying to make up for it a bit blogging from downtown Cleveland's hottest new eatery Flo Cafe. (For those in the area, it's at the corner of West 6th & Lakeside -- and it seems the wireless is working.)
Posted at 01:12 PM
POGONOPHOBIA [Mark Steyn]
I like John Bolton's moustache, which seems to me rather Balkan, and thus potentially discombobulating for European foreign ministers.
On the broader subject of the rampant pogonophobia in Western politics, as one of the more hirsute National Review contributors, I note that the Brookhiser thesis on transatlantic facial hair fashions never extended to Canadian public life. Even in the great 19th-century heyday of political beards, when America had Ulysses S Grant and the British Empire reached its zenith under the magnificent shrubbery of the Marquess of Salisbury, Canadian prime ministers were already fully depilated. In so many malign trends--shaving, multiculturalism, government health care--as Canada goes today so America goes tomorrow.
Personally I pine for the old days when beards were all but compulsory for effective political leaders. In ancient Egypt, you'll recall, Queen Hatshepsut felt obliged to go around in a false beard in order to enhance her credibility. Were Senator Clinton to do this, she'd be assured of my support.
Posted at 12:48 PM
CONSECRATED-HOST CHRONICLES [K. J. Lopez]
This site claims he who purchased the consecrated host on ebay did so with devout intentions.
Posted at 12:39 PM
THE NUCLEAR OPTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh's post highlights something that's been bugging me for a long time. Frist's decison to change the rules is not the nuclear option. The nuclear option is Harry Reid's. He can decide whether to respond nuclear-ly or not. If China invades Taiwan despite America's threat that we may use nuke's in response, by way of a terrible illustration, that doesn't mean China's decision to invade constituted a nuclear option. If we decided to respond with nukes it would. It is the Democrat's choice to "blow up" the Senate. The news that it's dawning on the Democrats that this was as much a dangerous bluff as it was a sure threat only serves to demonstrate that.
Posted at 12:35 PM
FILIBUSTER UPDATE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm hearing that Republicans now have at least 50 votes to change the rules--which means at least 51 if you add Cheney. Senator Byrd's hysteria helped pad the total.
And if Michael Crowley's reporting in the New Republic is correct--and I have no reason to think it isn't--the Democrats have no idea what to do about it. Senate Democrats have vowed to shut down the Senate if Republicans end judicial filibusters. But the Democrats don't want to be accused of shutting down the government or hindering national security, there aren't many Republican agenda items that they can block any more effectively than they already are blocking them, and Democrats want to get pork passed just as much as Republicans do. Crowley's conclusion: An "increasing number [of Democrats] are desperately hoping that Frist's bomb never detonates." So while the Republicans are almost guaranteed to get very bad press for ending the judicial filibuster, it's not clear whether they'll face serious retaliation from the Democrats.
Posted at 12:21 PM
BUZZWORD OF THE DAY [Jonah Goldberg]
From the AP:
A former chief of the State Department's bureau of intelligence and research castigated John R. Bolton on Tuesday as a "kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy" who abused analysts who disagreed with his views of Cuba's weapons capabilities.
We'll hear that phrase a lot more. Whether it's accurate or fair to say that about Bolton, I have no idea. But should it matter? The notion that this isn't the attitude of blajillions of career government types -- and business people in general -- is laughable on its face. In other words, if people are going be disqualified for kissing up to their superiors and being gruff with their subordinates than we're going to have to fire a lot of government workers. Which, on second thought, isn't such a bad idea.
Posted at 12:20 PM
RE: THE STAKES IN ATLANTA [K. J. Lopez]
That's my new slogan: Do it for the bus trip!
Posted at 12:18 PM
THE "MOLESTACHE" [Jonah Goldberg]
Apparently many anti-mustache young ladies in their twenties call them that.
Posted at 12:14 PM
RE: GEN Y [Jonah Goldberg]
Sooo many emails like this:
I always take these sort of generational predictions with a grain of salt.
Posted at 12:12 PM
ISO... [Jonah Goldberg]
At the NRO meetup at Fado's in DC, I met a nice lady who works for Bloomberg in DC. I've lost her business card. If you're around could you drop me a line?
If this works, I'm going to start tracking down old friends from high school.
Posted at 12:10 PM
KSFO [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm off...right now.
Posted at 11:33 AM
KSFO [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm on .... right now.
Posted at 11:09 AM
RE: FAIRNESS TO LIBERALS [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - I agree with your point (and many of Engel's). But I'd also add that he leaves a lot out of the historical evolution of the word liberal. By the time FDR was president, never mind JFK, "liberal" had already changed profoundly and was characterized more by a faith in positive, largely economic, rights (think of FDR's "second bill of rights"). The Civil Rights movement was in an important sense a return to a liberalism grounded in traditional understandings of the word -- which is what gave it much of its moral authority; it was consistent with the best principles of the Declaration of Independence etc.
But as almost any leftwing academic will tell you today, many of the leaders of the civil rights movement, starting with King on down, believed in "economic justice" and the whole suite of positive rights that come with such things. Almost invariably that is the "unfinished legacy" of MLK they refer to. And because that agenda involves a liberalism-in-name-only which really means statism it hasn't been nearly as popular.
Posted at 10:59 AM
MORE STACHES [Rick Brookhiser]
The first president with facial hair was Lincoln, the last TR. The last serious candidate was Dewey. Mrs. Longworth's comment that he looked like the groom on a wedding cake put that fashion finally in the tomb.
American facial hair fashions track British facial hair fashions. I have seen the mid-nineteenth century fashion for facial hair attributed to the Crimean War, when officers could not shave for extended periods (why? did their razor blades corrode in the Black Sea air? Was it easier to shave during the Peninsular campaigns?). Another explanation is that Englishmen grow facial hair when they have reigning Queens (William III does not count). Elizabeth I gave us many sleek sinister staches and goatees, Victoria ruled over beavers and full sideburns, Elizabeth II coincided with the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper phase. I am not familiar with the hairiness or otherwise of the reign of Queen Anne. This theory too has some holes in it, since hairiness has not extended throughout the reign of the current Queen. Maybe it Prince Charles had a stiff spiky beard he would be less fatally attractive to women.
Posted at 10:57 AM
CLARIFICATION [Jonah Goldberg]
I didn't think I'd have to explicit about this point but lots of emailers are "informing" that we've have presidents with facial hair before. Of course we have had them in the past. That's why I said "looking foward."
As for Rick's point, folks: stop with the Whoopi Goldberg jokes, please!
Posted at 10:51 AM
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMO ALERT [Steven Hayward]
Andrew Ferguson kindly praises my annual effort to confound the enviro-doomsayers in his latest Bloomberg column, here.
I'll have more to say when Earth Day (which falls—coincidentally??—on Lenin's birthday), rolls around on April 22.
Posted at 10:50 AM
STACHES [Rick Brookhiser]
Or some combination of Jonah's four?
"She had no mustache to speak of"--Evelyn Waugh.
Posted at 10:46 AM
FAIRNESS TO LIBERALS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Joel Engel has a piece on the shifting meanings of the word liberal. He wants to retrieve the word for an older, better liberalism. Fair enough. And several of his specific points are reasonable. But a few of them go overboard in a way that weakens his force. Here is how he starts his litany of liberal betrayals of liberalism: "BUT ALAS, somewhere over the last two decades or so, liberalism lost its root as the word liberal was perverted to the point of Orwellian inversion--and therefore rendered meaningless. For example, rooting against the United States and for 'insurgents' who delight in slaughtering innocents is many things (stupid, for one, also sad, evil, and short-sighted), but it is assuredly not liberal. Decrying the American 'religious right' for advocating a 'culture of life' while simultaneously praising the neck-slicing Islamofascists is many things (start with pathetic), but it is not liberal. Calling 3,000 workers who died when the buildings fell 'little Eichmanns' is many things (vile, as well as repulsive and morally repugnant), but it is not liberal."
All of that is true--but most contemporary liberals would presumably agree with those sentiments. It may be that liberals should be criticized for not doing enough to distance themselves from people who hold these sentiments; but it is neither true nor fair, I think, to suggest that most liberals hold those sentiments themselves. And it advances no worthwhile cause to depict our society as more divided than it actually is.
Posted at 10:39 AM
DANIEL DREZNER [Stanley Kurtz]
versus Juan Cole.
Posted at 10:32 AM
BOLTON'S TRUE ACHILLE'S HEEL... [Jonah Goldberg]
...is obviously that mustache.
I'm only partly kidding. I think we've discussed it around here before, but I think it's fascinating that mustaches endure in America as much as they do despite the fact that almost no politicians have them and with the exception of Tom Selleck -- and Burt Reynolds in the late seventies and early 80s -- virtually no popular Hollywood icon wears one. Am I wrong for thinking that Bolton will be the highest-ranked government (or at least most prominent) official in years with a full-blown Marlboro man lip-warmer?
I've had beards and goatees (or van dycks) before. But I've never been a fan of the straight out 'stache. I think it works on some people. But I think that having all of that hair at, shall we say, a hygenic crossroad is just a bad idea.
Regardless, one obvious part of the equation is that mustaches have regional resonance. I'm not very up to speed on country music or Nascar, but the 'stache seems to be alive and well where such passtimes are thriving. Similarly, professional baseball seems to be another holdout. With all of the discussion of the south and west's political ascendancy in American politics, it's a bit surprising we haven't seen more politicians with mustaches in recent years. Could it be that at the national level, facial hair is too much of a red-state identifier?
So here's a question for you to discuss amongst yourselves (i.e. please don't inundate me with email on it): Looking forward, in what order will we have: a female president, a Jewish president, a black president, a president with facial hair?
Posted at 10:23 AM
NRO DAYBOOK [K. J. Lopez]
Jim Robbins will be at Columbia U. in NYC at 7 pm tonight (Hamilton Hall), discussing why we are winning the war on terrorism.
Frequent NRO contributor Peter Kirsanow will be at the University of North Carolina (Bingham103) at 7:00p.m. Topic: A New Approach to Civil Rights.
Posted at 10:22 AM
MES UPDATE [Stanley Kurtz]
In an op-ed in today’s Washington Post, Peter Berkowitz and Michael McFaul suggest a way out of our Middle East Studies bind. Not a single tenured professor in the departments of political science at Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Chicago, or Yale specializes in the politics of the wider Middle East. So why not make an end run around the intellectual ghetto of our Middle East Studies programs by expanding Middle Eastern expertise in departments where few such faculty now exist? It’s a great idea, yet it’s apt to be undermined by the powers that be in Middle East Studies. Middle East Studies centers are interdisciplinary, and could easily coopt new professors in various departments. Yes, we need to expand our resources for studying the languages and cultures of the Middle East. And as Berkowitz and McFaul say, we need to find ways to get professors and graduates to work in and with the government on the wider war on terror. Yet the greatly increased government spending Berkowitz and McFaul propose will all go to waste in the absence of a strong system of accountability and oversight. That makes support for Title VI reform, and for the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program, all the more important.
Posted at 10:08 AM
BOLTON, THE STATE OF PLAY [Rich Lowry ]
Here's how it's looking at the moment to those following it closely: The Democrats know they are losing Chafee. There are 10 Republicans on the committee. As of now, Bolton has 9 3/4 of them. Democrats clearly wanted Bolton to lose his composure yesterday, but he never did. There will probably be only one witness against Bolton today, Carl Ford who has already testified about the Cuba BW flap previously and in a way that was basically exculpatory. The fishing around that the Democrats have done for other witnesses apparently hasn't panned out. Republicans will try to avoid making a big deal of Ford one way or the other, hoping to get it over with quickly. Then it just becomes a question of whether Lugar keeps Biden to his commitment to vote on the nomination today. Democrats will want to delay a vote so they can keep looking for negative information. Lugar shouldn't let them.
Posted at 10:06 AM
THE STAKES IN ATLANTA [Jonah Goldberg ]
Just so you know, the Atlanta fundraiser is not intended to raise money so the suits can buy new slippers to drink champagne from. Not only will that money go toward a new roll of quarters for my coin-operated dialysis machine, I've been told by the capo di tutti capi of suits that if these fundraisers are successful, then quote: "all things are possible." This was offered in response to the various wacky ideas Kathryn and I have bandied around about NRO-related bus-trips, road shows, brewery tours, gladatorial contests etc. Now I can't guarantee that (and you know what Tommy Boy says about guarantees). The last time I got a guarantee, the suits gave me a roll of Canadian quarters for my dialysis machine. But, I think I can guarantee that without yourr continued support such exciting adventures won't be possible.
Oh, one more thing: I was thinking that if there are some really deep-pocketed types out there, you could send checks directly to me. Or if you're not comfortable with that, you could buy a bunch of tickets for the Atlanta fundraiser and then we'd find some way to raffle 'em off to various needier NRO fans who can't afford to shell out the large dollars. Think about it. I gotta go. My machine is going chipocketa, chipocketa again.
Posted at 09:54 AM
DELAY [K. J. Lopez]
A new editorial up on his travails, here.
Posted at 09:52 AM
FIESTA! [K. J. Lopez]
Cinco de Mayo con NR. It's drinks, drinks, fine food, and good right talk. Ask some of your NR favorites all the questions you've always wanted to to know the answer to. How did Jonah save Lowry from the prison riot? You know, all the important pressing issues of the day. And we promise no math puzzles from Derb unless they are specifically requested. They'll be a private room for that. (Stuttaford will relive his captain-of-the-chess club days there, too, only if requested.) Special My Sharona tribute to the president. We're open to other requests--but only if you're coming! Read the invite here--you're invited. We'd love to see you.
Posted at 09:47 AM
CONSECRATED HOST [K. J. Lopez]
sold on ebay. I'm not sure if I more bothered that someone saved and sold it or that another person paid $2,000 for it.
Posted at 09:13 AM
QUEEN WILL NOT ABDICATE! [Jack Fowler]
I refer, of course, to Queen Zixi of Ix (whose hallowed name has not appeared in this space for weeks!), and I do so to remind you that the fascinating L. Frank Baum book which bears her name, plus two beautiful, 512-page hardcover titles--The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature (filled with over 37 stories by Kipling, Twain, London, Alcott, Burgess, and so many more giants, and ideal for kids ages 9 and up) and The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories (10 wholesome tales by Thornton Burgess, delightfully illustrated by Harrison Cady: it’s perfect for wee ones and beginning readers!)--are yours, shipped FREE, for only $29.95. Absolutely no family library should be without these wonderful books. Take advantage of this special offer here.
Posted at 07:55 AM
INTERESTING [Jonah Goldberg]
Rummy makes a surprise visit to Iraq.
Posted at 07:09 AM
WHY GENERATION Y [Jonah Goldberg]
Generation Y likes having "choices."
This is such shocking news! I remember how generation X craved a lack of choices. And, if memory serves, the modus vivendi of the babyboomers was to demand that all but the very worst choices be repealed from the cultural menu.
Isn't it possible that everyone likes choices in one form or another -- except the ones who don't -- and this latest round of generational astrologizing is so much confirmation bias?
I think there's a lot of interesting stuff in this article -- about the future of the culture war, etc -- but saying that some that studies prove some members of Generation Y will choose one thing and other members will choose the opposite renders the notion that there's a generational essence a bit moot. "All Generation Y kids love hot dogs with dijon mustard -- except the ones who don't!"
Posted at 06:24 AM
THE CHAIT DEBATE [Jonah Goldberg]
Stuart Buck chimes in.
Posted at 06:06 AM
Monday, April 11, 2005
SOMETHING AWFUL VS. THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR [Jonah Goldberg]
A fight I want nothing to do with. But some folks might find weird/odd/funny/stupid/scary/whatever.
Posted at 10:49 PM
SUPERMAN VS. THE NAZIS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I may be out-geeking you here, but D.C. did do a storyline to answer that question in its retro WWII series "All Star Squadron" in the 1980s.
Posted at 10:21 PM
A PATRIOT ACT [K. J. Lopez]
blog of sorts.
Posted at 05:55 PM
WORLD WAR [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, for what it's worth, I have an history of England (poems by Kipling!) published some time before the Great War. It refers to what we usually call the Seven Years War (1756-63) as the 'World War'.
Posted at 05:25 PM
WHO'S EXTREMIST [Mark R. Levin]
Posted at 05:22 PM
ANDREA DWORKIN [K. J. Lopez]
has died, at 59.
Posted at 05:21 PM
WW EYE & SOL III [Jonah Goldberg]
Don't let that correspondent diffuse any righteously pedantic outrage. Doesn't it always bother you that Star Trek races tended name their planet in reference to orbit number of their star, like "Legara IV" from TNG and "Camus II" from TOS? As if Earth is "Sol III." Unbelievable.
Posted at 03:54 PM
EEEENTERESTING [Jonah Goldberg]
I'd note there is a small but significant difference between calling it "the first world war" and calling it "World War One." But this is still interesting.
From a reader:
Posted at 03:39 PM
SY HERSH: PROUD LIAR [Jonah Goldberg ]
Chris Suellentrop wallops the dickens out of Sy Hersh for just saying whatever he pleases. A must read. The opener:
Since the Abu Ghraib story broke eleven months ago, The New Yorker’s national-security correspondent, Seymour Hersh, has followed it up with a series of spectacular scoops. Videotape of young boys being raped at Abu Ghraib. Evidence that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may be a “composite figure” and a propaganda creation of either Iraq’s Baathist insurgency or the U.S. government. The active involvement of Karl Rove and the president in “prisoner-interrogation issues.” The mysterious disappearance of $1 billion, in cash, in Iraq. A threat by the administration to a TV network to cut off access to briefings in retaliation for asking Laura Bush “a very tough question about abortion.” The Iraqi insurgency’s access to short-range FROG missiles that “can do grievous damage to American troops.” The murder, by an American platoon, of 36 Iraqi guards.
Maybe Al Franken should reissue his book with a new foreward?
Posted at 03:04 PM
NRO TV [NRO Staff]
Barbara J. Comstock will be on CNN's Crossfire talking DeLay & Bolton today (4:30 EST)
Posted at 03:04 PM
APROPOS OF NOTHING [Jonah Goldberg]
A favorite peeve of mine is when people in movies refer to "World War I" before World War II takes place. It doesn't happen much. The first time I remember noticing it was a few years ago in a movie about TR and the Rough Riders starring Tom Berringer. But they sorta do the same thing in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow in which they refer to World War I even though it's pretty clear World War Two has not transpired. They get a bit of a pass because the movie is so thoroughly a sci-fi tribute. And, yes, I rationalized watching it -- on pay-per-view no less! -- as "research." The aesthetics of the movie are splendidly fascist-campy. The fascists were very, very, very into airplanes, by the way.
Posted at 02:58 PM
BUZZ ON FOX [Rich Lowry ]
FYI, Eric Pfeiffer will be talking DeLay on Fox at around 2:40 p.m....
Posted at 01:55 PM
RE: DERB STAYS IN THE PICTURE [Jonah Goldberg]
One question: Are other NRO-niks really out in front in their support for Intelligent Design? If they are I hadn't noticed. My guess is quite a few of the gang around "here" don't care much about it one way or the other. But I've never really seen it is as major NR issue one way or the other.
Posted at 01:09 PM
DERB SURFACES BRIEFLY [John Derbyshire]
Strewth, you go away for a couple of days (the Derbs went to DC to view cherry blossom) and people take all sorts of liberties. In haste (due today: column, book review, Radio Derb)---
---How do I feel about being praised by Andrew Sullivan? Same way Dr. Johnson felt when his play failed: Like the Monument."
---What do I think about the talking points remarks? I have never in my life been handed a sheet of talking points--I doubt I'm alone here. We say what we think, that's all.
---Have I really "split with the other NRO-niks on nation-building in Iraq, on intelligent design, on Terri Schiavo and now the Pope." Well, I am very skeptical about nation-building; but that skepticism is a strong vein within conservatism, which even George W. Bush once subscribed to. Iraq is a huge pot of oil, and anyone who seizes power there -- even comparatively nicely (Mubarak style, I mean) will be fabulously wealthy. That is not a recipe for democracy in a place that has never had democracy. Intelligent design? I have never had a single conversation with any NRO writer about it, either on or off line. If feelings on it run strong here, the fact has entirely escaped my attention. Perhaps people are just being polite. Terri Schiavo? Yes, I favor euthanasia in some cases, including hers. This is not an extraordinary position, even among conservatives, and rational people can disagree about it without losing their tempers. (Though irrational people, of course, can't.) The Pope? One of the great men of our time, a giant... but popular Catholicism has cratered since 1978, as anyone can see.
---Is Anglican sensibility a la Matthew Parris a force in American life?
Yes, I think so. I associate it with the old WASP elite (about whom Rick has written a very fine book), and whose Philadelphia variety can also be inspected in John Lukacs's more curious book A THREAD OF YEARS). Did you ever see anything less convincing than Poppy Bush in the 1988 campaign declaring himself a born-again Christian? Religious enthusiasm is a great energizing force in American life, almost entirely on the political Right, and I personally look on it warmly and am grateful for it, though I shall never be an enthusiast myself. A ship needs ballast as well as boilers, though; and I think the cool Anglo-Saxon (and, yes, Protestant) skepticism that Parris describes -- the deep visceral distrust of grand systems and ideologies, the dislike of logic-chopping intellectuals (including -- perhaps ESPECIALLY including -- atheist ones), the preference for leaving certain stones unturned, the distaste for displays of spiritual enthusiasm -- is useful ballast for a society to have. I find it widespread among older American WASPS, with whom I generally get on well at once on common instinctive grounds. To the degree that WASPery is still a force in our life, so is that cool, happily muddled and inconsistent, Anglican sensibility. I'd like to see more of it, though not too much more -- too much ballast leaves you dead in the water. Or sunk.
---Camilla. A honey. I go nuts for the tweedy style, have a dogged ongoing (though so far unsuccessful) campaign to get Mrs. D into tweeds, headscarfs, and sensible shoes. Charles is a prime twerp, though. Camilla is marrying down, could do much better. It would have served Charles right to be stuck for life with Diana.
---Pronunciation of "Sylow" and "Lie." The Norwegian "y" seems to be the French "lune" vowel (German "glueck," Chinese "qu," etc.--pretty much every language except ours seems to have it--no, wait a minute, Russian & Spanish don't--though Hungarian has it in TWO varieties, long & short). The "o" is short, not "oo" as I said. "Lie" is either "Lee" or "Lee-eh," depending on which Norwegian you ask. Nobody seems to know whether he really did go hiking in the nude. A couple of readers want to go hiking in the nude with Scandinavian girls.
Posted at 01:02 PM
THE NOT PARADOXICAL POPE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Jarrett Conner writes:
I agree with Ramesh and Jonah on the Corner regarding the Pope's positions that defy simple right/left categorization. I think that it is a mistake to dub the Pope paradoxical, however. It is the parties that have the paradoxes. The Pope's positions are all in sympathy with one another. Why oppose totally unregulated free markets? Because they degrade human beings. Why oppose communist domination? Because it degrades human beings. The Pope's positions moderate the worst passions of both parties. The current challenges for modern civilization (and the church) which are so well described in the Derbyshire piece mentioned below, may be all the more challenging in that left and right are both more aligned against the church teaching than in these previous battles (where perhaps one party would adopt the church's position). Consider stem cell research on human embryos. If the principle of human dignity is to be upheld (and applied to embryos as the church would have it) then embryonic stem cell research should not only be unfunded--it should be illegal. Neither party has the political stomach for that, which suggests that the political center of the brave new world debates is much further away from the church's teaching than on say, social safety nets or abortion. On biotech--and many related issues--it appears that neither party genuinely wants to stand with the church. None of that changes the fundamentally un-paradoxical nature of the Pope's teaching.
Posted at 12:42 PM
NRO TV [NRO Staff]
Byron York will appear on The Daily Show tonight to talk about his new book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
Posted at 12:40 PM
RE: SNL [K. J. Lopez]
Correction and elaboration:
Your earlier correspondent is a little confused. While Cameron Diaz hosted SNL last week, the huge roar for "Ann Coulter" went up because she was being played by Drew Barrymore, a surprise guest whose appearance on the show had not been announced. The audience was, at that point, pre-disposed to happy-happy-joy-joy, as the sketch - the very funny "Barry Gibb Talk Show" - also featured two other surprise appearances, former cast member Jimmy Fallon and heartthrobby former host (and Diaz boyfriend) Justin Timberlake.
Posted at 12:21 PM
"FREE MICHAEL" [K. J. Lopez]
Roger Simon is setting up a Ledeen Defense Fund.
Posted at 12:14 PM
ATLANTA [The Suit]
We are slowly closing in on our goal for the Atlanta shindig. If you haven’t yet signed up for this golden opportunity to have face time, not to mention food and booze, with your favorite NR editors, Jonah, Rich, Jay, Ramesh, Kathryn, Kate, Derb, and Andrew, why not do so now before you forget.
Posted at 12:08 PM
HHHMMM [K. J. Lopez]
Saturday Night Live audiences are usually reliably liberal, cheering on cue at each leftitst dig. But on Saturday, Tina Fey's snarky comments on Tom Delay got only a handful of claps, while an enormous roar went up when Cameron Diaz appeared as Ann Coulter. Signs of change, perhaps, or just a bunch of flyover tourists in the audience?
Posted at 12:03 PM
TELLING [K. J. Lopez]
From the LATimes today, on why Hollywood isn't too interested in getting involved in local races:
Today, the reasons for Hollywood's disengagement are not all that different, according to Lawrence O'Donnell, an MSNBC political analyst and a writer and producer for "The West Wing." Like many of the city's wealthiest residents, he said, the Hollywood elite doesn't rely on local government for much.
Posted at 12:02 PM
RE: THE PARADOXICAL POPE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
The Pope's *religious* legacy was mana from heaven for conservatives. Actual Catholicism. What a concept.
Posted at 11:53 AM
SHEESH [K. J. Lopez]
The NYTimes manages to bash the National Guard, and the president's service in it, in an article on his iPod today.
Posted at 11:26 AM
PAUL SARBANES [K. J. Lopez]
just seemed to try to overcompensate for lack of substance by yelling at Bolton. If worried you'll lose, make noise.
Posted at 10:53 AM
BIDEN V. BOLTON [Rich Lowry ]
I don't think he laid a glove on him. He made a distinction between Bolton seeking to remove officials from his “portfolio” and having them fired, noting that Bolton is being accused of the former not the latter. I'm sorry, but trying to remove someone from your portfolio just doesn't have the same kind of zing as a charge. Then, he got into the weeds with Bolton over his view on the distinction between peace-keeping and peace-enforcement. I can't believe anyone cares much about this, and the general impression Bolton gave is of someone who is extremely well-informed and thoughtful on these issues--indeed, probably better-informed and more thoughtful than the distinguished ranking minority member.
Posted at 10:48 AM
COLUMBIA [Stanley Kurtz]
I’ve just read Ryan Sagar’s excellent piece on the Columbia whitewash. You should too.
Posted at 10:45 AM
THE POPE, LEFT AND RIGHT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonah: Your point about the Right's greater willingness to embrace Pope John Paul II is true and interesting, but it's also true that the Left would have been far harsher toward him and the Catholic church had there not been elements of his/its teaching that the Left found congenial. And the fact that there were things that the Left and the Right could each find "useful" or appealing in the Church was good, I think, for the Church.
Posted at 10:40 AM
MARTIN WOOSTER ON THE DRILL INSTRUCTOR [Jonah Goldberg ]
He heads to Parris island.
Posted at 10:39 AM
BOLTON SAYS RELEASE IT ALL [Rich Lowry ]
Pfeiffer is blogging Bolton's hearing. Bolton just called on the committee to release all the documents related to the controversy over those "intimidated" intelligence officials.
Posted at 10:34 AM
LUGAR ON BOLTON [Rich Lowry ]
Pfieffer over at the Buzz notes an important exchange on "Late Edition" yesterday. Lugar basically said that the foreign relation committee's interviews with witnesses don't support the charge against Bolton that he tried to get intelligence officials who disagree with him fired.
Posted at 10:18 AM
F/911 = 32 IN '04 [Jonah Goldberg]
From Byron's piece (link on the homepage):
To make a comparison: Which film had a better opening weekend, Fahrenheit 9/11 or Barbershop 2: Back in Business? The correct answer is Barbershop. In terms of opening receipts, Mean Girls also beat Fahrenheit 9/11, as did Starsky & Hutch, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Alien vs. Predator, 50 First Dates, and several others. The year’s big hits, like Shrek 2, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Spiderman 2 all had openings between four and five times the size of Fahrenheit 9/11’s. In the end, Fahrenheit 9/11 had the 32nd-best opening weekend of 2004, taking in $23,920,637 in its first days.
Posted at 10:14 AM
WE'RE WINNING [Rich Lowry ]
...in Iraq, and people are finally beginning to notice. Don't miss the New York Times lead story today.
Posted at 10:13 AM
IN DEFENSE OF LEO III [Jonah Goldberg]
This reader illuminates how behind I am on the latest research on Charlemagne. I plead guilty. NRO readers are awesome:
Posted at 10:08 AM
STOP DELAYING ON DELAY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Mr. Goldberg - Something I have noticed, regrettably, for the last thirty years or so, is that Republicans are almost always too slow to react to attacks, appear to be on the defensive most of the time, and lack something I call the "Atwater gene".
Posted at 10:04 AM
THE LONG VIEW [Jack Fowler]
Rob Long’s column in the current NR stars good old reliable Bubba, this time writing to the cardinals in Rome:
Gentlemen--and you are all gentlemen (for now! But I’m getting ahead of myself again!)--I know that when you think of the words “Supreme Pontiff” you don’t automatically think of “Bill Clinton,” but I want you to take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just let the words “Pope Bill I” sound in your ears.Very funny stuff, as usual for Rob. To read the rest of his column, and all the great articles in the new NR (John O’Sullivan, Michael Novak, and Radek Sikorski provide three brilliant retrospectives on Pope John Paul II, plus there’s much more) you’ve got to subscribe to America’s premier magazine, which is something we’ve made very affordable--just $21.95 for a full year!--when you take National Review Digital. Order it here.
Posted at 09:59 AM
DEMOGRAPHY DISGUISES [Stanley Kurtz]
Yesterday, when rolling out its expanded op-ed pages, The New York Times reaffirmed its news policy of “struggling every day to provide the fairest and most impartial report possible.” Yeah, right. The actual policy guiding the Times’s Week in Review section seems to be, “Bolster the Democrats’ Social Security talking points.” The president has rightly stressed the demographic crunch facing the social security system. And fair-minded economists who are far from boosters for either Republicans or Democrats confirm it. So now the Times has decided to take on one of the most prominent of those economists, Lawrence J. Kotlikoff. Following up on their Nicholas Confessore fiasco, the Times floats another superficially “balanced”article that is in fact an attempt to discredit Kotlikoff, and the larger demographic argument behind the president’s case. Titled “Maybe We’re Not Robbing the Cradle,” (There’s an idea for a fair headline: “Maybe the Times Isn’t Impartial.”), the story is essentially a puff piece for the statistical sleight of hand of Gary Burtless, of the Brookings Institution. Burtless disguises the coming demographic crunch by comparing it to the baby boom. After all, says Burtless, society paid for huge numbers of dependents during the baby boom years, and the economy still survived. But of course there’s all the difference in the world between directing your wages toward your own family and children and having them garnished for taxes to support elders you don’t even know. Burtless tries to turn our declining fertility rates into a plus by noting how many resources this frees to care for the old. But that leaves out the fact that we’ll pay a long-term price for that fertility decline in exponentially falling population rates. Over time, that will make paying for the elderly even tougher. Then the Times quotes an economist who downplays the demographic crunch, yet admits in passing that we’ll “probably require people to work a little longer in life and perhaps get a bit less in Social Security benefits.” Really? Well, have you seen any Democratic proposals for benefit cuts? If this is the best the Democrats...er, I mean The New York Times can do to turn aside the idea of a demographic crunch, I'm decidedly unimpressed.
Posted at 09:56 AM
THE POPE, LEFT & RIGHT [Jonah Goldberg ]
By now everyone who's been paying attention, has heard someone comment on the "paradox" of JPII. John Paull II was anticapitalist and anticommunist, for freedom and social conservatism, a friend of the Jews but not so much of Israel, whatever. The editors of NR offer some outstanding debunking of some of the more objectionable false-parallelisms in the media coverage. I also wrote a column -- for which I've received a lot of very nice feedback -- trying to address the fact that the Pope's transhistorical message doesn't fit into ideological categories.
Nonetheless, the "paradoxical pope" analysis seems to have gelled in conventional wisdom. Whatever the merits or demerits of this idea, what I find interesting is that conservatives generally saw the pope as an unmitigated hero while liberals tended toward the "mixed" legacy view. Indeed, to read E.J. Dionne and others, is to get the sense that the whole "paradoxical pope" meme is an attempt by liberals to reclaim JPII by saying, "He disagreed with conservatives too!"
But that's what's so interesting. From a purely ideological, movement conservative perspective, if the paradoxical pope stuff were true, the Right should have been just as eager to say the pope's legacy was "mixed" as the Left was. JPII was opposed to the Iraq war(s), free-market economics (to some extent), the Cuba embargo, the death penalty etc. But, by and large, the Right refused to quarrel with him (Derb's Derb's superbly done column notwithstanding). The NR editors debunking of the paradoxical pope is peruasive but somewhat moot since I think most people haven't thought as hard about the false-parallel's as NR's editors have.
Obviously, I'm not talking about rank-and-file Democrats and liberals. But at the level of ideological debate in this country, liberals found the Pope's positions demonstrably more unforgivable than conservatives did. There are exceptions and complexities to this generalization, but I think it's fundamentally right. It might illuminate one of the political problems Democrats have in addressing the "values issue." Or maybe not. Something to ponder.
Posted at 09:56 AM
DELAY, NOVAK & THE NEW YORK TIMES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Now, I haven't made up my mind about Delay yet. I think it is obvious that there is a liberal campaign to "get Delay." But that doesn't mean he's not guilty.... of something. So far, I haven't seen anything that scandalizes me, let alone makes me think he should resign. But I have to admit, these kinds of stories where good-government types wig-out about junkets always leave me cold. Obviously, many liberals really do think there's a real story here. And just as obviously, many Democrats want to tear the guy down. Ultimately, both (overlapping) camps will need real facts to get what they want.
Again, one only needs to see old stories on the front page of the Post and the Times or listen to the "how long can Delay last?" conversations on NPR, to appreciate there's a get Delay movement afoot. But I think Bob Novak's "gotchya" on this is unpersuasive.
His column today in the Washington Post claims that the fact the New York Times op-ed page tried to get Bob Livingston to write an op-ed calling for Delay to resign just isn't shocking in my book. As David Broder said a long time ago, political journalism is basically a fight-promoting business. The news value in an op-ed from Livingston only exists if he calls on Delay to resign. Now, I suppose if you buy into the fiction that the New York Times op-ed page isn't liberal this effort might be more shocking. But surely Bob Novak isn't surprised. Look at it this way, I sincerely doubt that NR would have hesitated to have any prominent Democrat endorse Bush in 2004 in its pages. The New Republic went out of its way to find conservatives for Kerry. Heck, I'd be shocked if the Times didn't run at least one op-ed from a Democrat calling on Jim Wright to resign. Op-ed pages have ideological bents, sure. But they also like to create buzz.
I also suppose there's a certain tackiness in how the Times asked Livingston. It sounds like they said something to the effect of "We'd love an op-ed from you -- assuming you don't hold the barbaric position that Delay should stay." But at the end of the day, so what?
Note Just to head-off email, Novak's column in the Post has been updated to account for the fact that Chris Shays called for Delay to step down. I've linked to Chicago Sun-Times version which doesn't.
Posted at 09:25 AM
NR ON BOLTON [K. J. Lopez]
Our take up this ayem
Posted at 09:12 AM
LOSING A LOVE [K. J. Lopez ]
In his book Coming to Term, Jon Cohen writes heartbreakingly and informatively about miscarriage. I review the book here, in the Sunday NYPost's always-worth-reading "opinion books" section.
Posted at 09:03 AM
57 $2 BILLS [K. J. Lopez ]
If this story is all accurate, I love this man's way of protesting. The whole story sounds like it has the makings of a classic country song.
Posted at 09:02 AM
COOL TV [K. J. Lopez ]
Michelle Malkin subbed for John Kasich this weekend on FNC.
Posted at 09:01 AM
EVEN CORNER READERS… [K. J. Lopez ]
…cannot always have good taste.
An e-mail: … Just wanted to let you know that this avid and daily Corner reader will be spending the day in beautiful, beloved, historic Fenway Park for…. Well… you know the reason… no sense rubbing it in…
Posted at 09:00 AM
DUNKIN' DONUTS... [K. J. Lopez ]
...should be advertising on NRO. (Maybe these guys can get on it.)
Posted at 09:00 AM
"DISGUSTING" [K. J. Lopez]
John Snake-Oil Salesman Edwards would be wise not to remind people of his shining moment during Election 2004.
Posted at 08:54 AM
SPARING YOU [K. J. Lopez]
Throughout the weekend, Atlanta "poetry" kept rolling in. I'm going to spare you. But I can't promise I will for too long--you'll be doing us all a favor if you sign up for Cinco de Mayo con NR. Details here.
Posted at 08:51 AM
LIBERTARIANS AND MARRIAGE [Stanley Kurtz]
The other day, I said that fact of childhood dependence was one of libertarianism’s fundamental blindspots. Well, I was referring to today’s anything goes version of libertarianism--the sort of libertarianism that wants to abolish legal marriage. Jennifer Roback Morse, on the other hand, offers an extremely thoughtful libertarian case for a state supported culture of marriage. I’m far from an expert on libertarianism, but I suspect that Morse has successfully drawn out the assumptions about the family implicit in classic libertarianism. Roback is right that de-institutionalizing marriage would vastly expand the welfare state. Look at Scandinavia and what you’ll find is welfare-state socialism publicly justified by a “libertarian” (in the post-sixties sense) family ethos.
Posted at 08:26 AM
RAMBLING WITH THE REAGAN ROSE [Tim Graham]
Husbands know the dangerous urge that can occur when it grows warm and sunny: the wife decides it's time to go buy plants and play in the mulch. (Don't worry, someone else can tell you how cool it was to watch golf.) So when the lady of the manor wanted an extra rose bush for the side of the house, which one did she pick to avoid my veto? The Ronald Reagan rose.
Posted at 08:25 AM
SPEAKING OF BOLTON [K. J. Lopez]
The Bolton hearings have not actually started today, but this has been on the AP wire for a bit now this morning:
Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton faced tough questioning Monday from Senate Democrats on his nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Republicans were looking for swift approval from the Foreign Relations Committee.
Posted at 08:16 AM
BOLTON [Stanley Kurtz]
Get ready for the Democrats' assault on John Bolton. Even Peter Beinart is on board. This is political suicide, pure and simple. Why bother to explain. This is almost too good to be true. Maximum publicity, please.
Posted at 08:05 AM
STATES & FMA [Stanley Kurtz]
This honest and thoughtful same-sex marriage advocate seems to have missed the memo on using federalism talk as a smoke screen. The plan is to have the Supreme Court override state constitutional amendments and impose gay marriage on the country as a whole. That is why a federal marriage amendment is the only solution
Posted at 08:04 AM
WHAT SHAYS SAYS [Tim Graham]
Rep. Chris Shays is winning the Michael Forbes Award for his statement to AP that Tom DeLay needs to resign. Why Forbes? He said at the end of 1996 he would not vote for Newt Gingrich for Speaker, and ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC all devoted a full story to this one New York GOP back-bencher. For putting his own media clip file ahead of party loyalty, many Republicans would like Shays to continue on the Forbes path: switch parties, and then lose your seat.
These kinds of stories should prompt one to remember how much loving media attention and encouragement the media gave Democrats who considered voting for Clinton's impeachment: cue the crickets sound effect.
Posted at 08:02 AM
RICH [Stanley Kurtz]
Wake up and smell the hatred. That’s what happened Sunday when I read Frank Rich’s “Culture of Death” op-ed. What is this piece about? It’s not a policy argument. So far as I can tell, the purpose here is to whip up hatred against Christian conservatives and direct it toward the president. I’m no mind-reader, but it’s tough to take Rich’s piece any other way.
Look, passionately felt–even angry–op-eds are perfectly legitimate. But the best polemics yoke emotion to substantive argument. Rich’s angry tail is wagging the dog here something awful. Yeah, I know. It’s supposed to be a “cultural analysis.” But cultural analysis here reduces to using pop culture references to draw lurid caricatures of people you really, really don’t like. I know the point’s been made before, but secular liberals talk about traditional Christians in ways they’d never dream of speaking about any other religion.
Does anyone remember Tom Wicker or James Reston? I’d love to see the rhetoric of these old liberal lions of the Times compared with Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd, and Paul Krugman. Oh for an anger-ometer. It isn’t just a question of David Brooks and William Safire being less fire-breathing than their liberal Times colleagues. I wouldn’t be surprised if the average anger rating of an NRO piece came out below the anger level of Dowd, Rich, and Krugman. The days when conservatives were blamed by fans of Washington Week in Review for lowering the tone of political discourse are gone.
We heard all about the new liberal anger during the election. Jonathan Chait’s “I hate Bush” piece broke the dam. The president’s victory loosed another torrent of hatred toward religious conservatives. Then the mood seemed to shift. Chastened Democrats called for more respectful treatment of the traditionally religious. Peter Beinart asked for a purge of Michael Moore-style vituperation. That moment seems far off. The way things are going, if Democrats want to moderate they’re going to have to purge The New York Times.
Fear of losing cultural influence is driving this anger. It’s always tougher to lose what you have than not to get what you want. The election and the Pope’s funeral say traditional Christians are now somewhat less culturally marginal. (This is what liberals call a “theocracy.”) The thought that they may be losing their taken-for-granted cultural centrality has unhinged the secular left. Supposedly, conservative complaints about activist judges are reaching dangerously hot rhetorical levels. Well, has anyone taken the temperature of liberal rhetoric in even the most prestigious cultural venues? Far from abandoning the tactic, mainstream Democrats seem to have adopted demonizing religious folks as their core strategy. And on college campuses, we are now only a step away from violence.
Posted at 07:49 AM
COLUMBIA TIMES [Stanley Kurtz]
Well, Columbia University’s attempt to foist a whitewash on the public has blown up in its face. New York Times ombudsman, Daniel Okrent, lays into his paper for its corrupt deal with Columbia. The Times published a front page story touting a report by a panel of Columbia luminaries largely clearing the school’s Middle East Studies program of charges of bias. Given that the panel was a badly stacked deck, the report was problematic enough. What’s worse, in violation of its own policies, the Times made a deal with Columbia to publicize the report without asking the students who’d brought the complaints to comment. That is indeed scandalous. Yet Okrent’s missed the point. Writing as if simple lust for a scoop drove the deal, Okrent ignores the fact that the story was highly favorable to campus leftists. Does anyone believe the mere promise of a scoop would have convinced The New York Times to publish a front page story favorable to campus conservatives? Can you imagine the Times accepting an exclusive deal to tout a study of campus political correctness by the American Enterprise Institute, or the National Association of Scholars, on condition that the paper not ask liberal academics for comment? I’m grateful to Okrent for highlighting this scandal. And Okrent was forthcoming on the bias issue once before. But the fact that Okrent doesn’t even raise the possibility of political bias in a case like this shows he hasn’t come to grips with the paper’s core problem....Wait a minute. What a relief! I’ve just read Paul Mirengoff’s piece on the Columbia whitewash. Here at last is an excellent description of the outrage The New York Times abetted with its corrupt deal. Next time you see me writing about legislation designed to reform Title VI aid to Middle East studies departments, think Columbia University and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Posted at 07:44 AM
NO MODO ON SUNDAYS [K. J. Lopez]
NYTimes shuffling means Maureen Dowd is off the Sunday pages and David Brooks is on.
Posted at 07:04 AM
THE ANGLICAN TEMPER [Rick Brookhiser]
A question for Andrew and JohnD: what role does the Anglican temper, as described by Matthew Parish, have to play in the United States? Any?
Posted at 05:45 AM
Sunday, April 10, 2005
RE: NRO AS TALKING POINTS [K. J. Lopez ]
If that were true, of course, we’d typically be days behind newscycle-wise. You would be amused—or perplexed—to know oftentimes how much work it takes to get a few words out of some GOP offices. Far from working arm in arm (which I wouldn’t want anyway), I often see Jon Corzine’s deal before I see NAME JUST ABOUT ANY REPUBLICAN POL’s take on an issue. More than one high-ranking Hill type has said to me the likes of: I love NRO. And it is so useful. Something breaks, I have no idea what the White House is thinking, what the other side of the Hill is thinking, but I get what conservatives are thinking. Now, of course, there will be more than one conservative view often, even in The Corner. I think, at heart, that e-mailer AS published doesn’t a) read NRO b) read NRO enough to know that not even NRO writers (even besides Derb) agree with each other on everything c) read NRO enough to know sometimes the White House and Republicans in Congress wish we would shut up and stop criticizing them d) basically, again, he just doesn’t read NRO.
Posted at 07:26 PM
THE C OF E [Andrew Stuttaford]
The London Spectator does not, incredibly, allow access to its web site these days even to subscribers (like me) of its print edition unless they pay an extra charge, and that’s a shame because it means that Matthew Parris’ brilliant – and curiously moving - article on the Church of England won’t get the readership it deserves.
It’s never easy to explain the traditional English attitude to religion (which used to find many an echo over here too) to those outside Albion, but Parris (an atheist, as it happens) does as well as I’ve ever seen:
”The Established Church…understood in her bones two great truths: the English are wary about religion; but the English do not want to be atheists. To the English mind, atheism itself carries an unpleasant whiff of enthusiasm. To the English mind, the universe is a very mysterious thing and should be allowed to remain so. And so the English church became what up to our own day it has always remained: a God-fearing receptacle for intelligent doubt; the marrying of a quietist belief in order, duty, decency and the evident difference between right and wrong with a shrewd suspicion that anyone who thinks he can be sure of more than that is probably dangerous…That right at the center of [English] national life, should for so long have stood this great and lovely edifice of sort-of religion, adorned (through her buildings, her rituals, her art and her music) with so much beauty, so much grace and so much balm for troubled spirits, and served in her priesthood by so many luminously decent men, has surely for centuries helped confound atheism on the one hand, and serious religious enthusiasm on the other. Not so much religious belief as religious relief, this has calmed everybody down. “You really don’t need to decide,” has been Anglicanism’s refrain, “and besides, who knows?”
Posted at 07:25 PM
AHEAD OF HIS TIME [Andrew Stuttaford]
Before Mulder there was MacArthur, General Douglas MacArthur. The penultimate London Spectator quotes from a speech that MacArthur made to West Point cadets in 1955:
“The next war will be an interplanetary war. The nations of the earth must someday make a common front against attack by people from other planets.”
Obviously he had seen the wreckage of the Roswell spacecraft.
Posted at 07:25 PM
NOT DURAN DURAN! [K. J. Lopez]
Simon Bush bashing?
Posted at 07:23 PM
AN ACCOMPLICE TO GENOCIDE [Andrew Stuttaford]
…is honored by the New York Times today. The name of Walter Duranty is included in the newspaper’s list of Pulitzer winners, which it proudly publishes today (in its Opinion section). Well, it’s true that Duranty did indeed win the prize, but it might be nice to see the Times acknowledge (with a footnote, say) that what Duranty published was a pack of lies from start to finish. And, yes, while it might be a little embarrassing for the Times to have to put up such an admission, it’s surely far less shameful than the alternative: including an apologist for mass murder on its annual roll of honor without a word of explanation.
Posted at 07:21 PM
A VERDICT IN HOLLAND [Andrew Stuttaford]
Arjan at Zacht Ei has details of what looks to be a most remarkable court decision. Judge for yourselves.
Posted at 07:20 PM
WHAT THEOCRACY MEANS [Andrew Stuttaford]
President Khatami was in Rome for the Pope’s funeral. Smiles and handshakes all round. Here, however, is the reality of the country he heads:
”Christian Persecution watchdog groups are protesting the upcoming trial of an Iranian church leader of an Assemblies of God congregation in the southern port city of Bandar-i-Bushehr in Iran. The lay pastor, 47-year-old Hamid Pourmand, is to go before a Sharia court next week on charges of apostasy from Islam and proselytising Muslims. The former charge is punishable by death.”
Posted at 07:19 PM
MR. CLEAN? [Andrew Stuttaford]
"SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on Wednesday pulled a political ad that ran on Google Inc. when Web searchers typed in the acronym for American International Group Inc., a prosecutorial target of the crime-busting gubernatorial candidate. During Wednesday morning and early afternoon, Google searchers who typed in the key word "AIG" were delivered a search ad at the top right of the results page that read "Spitzer for NY Governor." People who clicked on that ad were sent to www.spitzer2006.com. "It wasn't appropriate and as soon as Mr. Spitzer found out about it, he had it removed it as soon as possible," Darren Dopp, a spokesman for the NY attorney general, told Reuters. Dopp said it appeared that a relatively low-level campaign staffer responsible for promoting Spitzer's campaign Web site made a mistake and put in the AIG key word."
Handy things, those ‘relatively low-level campaign staffers’, aren’t they?
Posted at 07:18 PM
A MANDARIN WRITES... [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Financial Times plays Pravda to Brussels’ Kremlin, so it is always interesting to see which letters to the editor it decides to publish. Right at the top of the selection this weekend was a screed by Sir Roy Denman, a prominent British bureaucrat whose career has included a stint as the EU’s ‘ambassador’ to Washington. The letter is a priceless piece of high-flown mandarinese, elegant, eloquent and thoroughly misleading.
Sir Roy is worried that Britons will vote no when they are (finally) given the chance to vote on the EU Constitution. He notes that “even if France votes No on May 29, it will not help Britain…There will be a general disposition to make sufficient changes to allow France another vote. When it then votes Yes, conscious of the dangers of French isolation, France and Germany may well propose going ahead definitively without the UK.”
Translation: a ‘no’ vote by the French people will be unacceptable to Brussels.
I wonder what French voters will think of that.
As for Denman’s hysterical comments (less influence than Norway!) on the UK’s international position if it chose to stay out of Eutopia, they would be laughable if they were not so sad.
Read the whole thing.
Posted at 07:18 PM
YEUCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Could Head and Shoulders save the planet?
“Millions of tons of dandruff are circling the Earth, blocking out sunlight, causing rain and spreading disease, startling new research shows.”
Posted at 07:16 PM
DUTCH TREAT? [Andrew Stuttaford]
For those following the ratification process of the proposed EU ‘constitution’ most of the focus has been on the vote in France, which is due on May 29th. At the moment, the noes are nicely ahead there, benefiting from a wide – and often conflicting – range of factors (some noes, for instance, see the EU as too free market, others as too interventionist), as well as an entirely justified suspicion that the French political establishment is ganging up on the French people to try and force the wretched document through.
But it’s also worth watching what’s going on in the Netherlands. There’s been almost no debate in that country, but polls there seem to be showing a trend there too towards the noes (the Dutch vote on June 1st), albeit against an atmosphere of tremendous apathy. That apathy might well be the best ally that the yes camp has, and is, probably, being deliberately encouraged by the main political parties. Most Dutch feel it is a civic obligation to vote, even on issues they don’t care much about, and the natural inclination of such apathetic voters will be to vote according to the recommendations of their party – and, in almost all cases, that’s for a yes.
That, needless, to say would be a shame. The No campaign needs to be doing a lot more. It’s not as if the EU hasn’t thrown up a number of issues – from widespread corruption to the goings on at the EU’s nuclear facility at Petten – that should unite many Dutch, of all political affiliations, or none, in an effort to deny Brussels yet more power to abuse.UPDATE It's now being reported that the majority of Germans are opposed to the proposed constitution. The difference between the Germans and the Dutch? The Germans are not being allowed to vote on it. Via England Expects
Posted at 07:16 PM
HOW TO STEAL AN ELECTION [Andrew Stuttaford]
More from the London Sunday Times:
"Welcome to the banana republic of Blackburn, the northern town where, according to one parliamentary candidate, citizens’ votes are no longer their own. This week Craig Murray, a former diplomat hoping to become the local MP, will be writing to the Electoral Commission to raise his fears of vote-rigging in the constituency. The soaring numbers of people voting by post, he said, are leaving the election wide open to fraud. “I’ve been approached by several people in the Asian community who are under huge pressure from Labour activists to apply for a postal vote rather than a ballot vote and then hand their postal vote over to the Labour party,” he said. “That is happening now in Blackburn on a wide scale. In my career as a diplomat I’ve been used to precisely this situation abroad but wasn’t expecting to face it in the UK.” In Blackburn the contest is particularly tense. The sitting MP is Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and the local Muslim community is threatening to vote him out in protest over the Iraq war. In its efforts to hang on to every vote it can, Labour is urging people to register for postal votes; already 50% more people than in 2001 will be using the system in Blackburn this time. Many of them, claimed Murray, are facing pressure or even threats of “repercussions” intended to influence who they support. The allegations in Blackburn are by no means isolated. The British electoral system, once the envy of the world, is under unprecedented fire...The police are also conducting investigations in Woking, Burnley, Reading, Peterborough, Oldham, Bradford and Halton. Critics blame the scandal on Labour’s changes to the system, which now allows anyone to ask for a postal vote. Thrown on the defensive last week Tony Blair insisted: “Overall, the postal voting system is no more prone to fraud than other electoral systems....” The loopholes were all too clear to Labour activists in Birmingham during the local elections last year. Some candidates for the council had obtained thousands of blank postal voting forms and set up a secret fraud factory in a warehouse. Corrupt postmen handed over sacks of postal ballots to Labour candidates, tricked voters into parting with blank forms and paid small boys to steal postal ballots from letterboxes."
Don’t worry Tony, I’m sure that you can persuade Jimmy Carter to testify that the election was ‘free and fair,” and the BBC can probably be relied upon not to say too much.
Looks like a job for the British blogosphere to me.
Posted at 07:15 PM
TONY BLAIR'S LABOUR [Andrew Stuttaford]
Regular readers here will remember the strange tale of the Labour Party and postal vote ‘irregularities’ in the course of local elections in the UK.
Now the Sunday Times reveals this:
"MINISTERS ditched a bill to combat postal voting fraud even though leaked cabinet minutes show they agreed it was essential to make the electoral system secure. The papers show that a cabinet committee chaired by Peter Hain, the Commons leader, decided that the safeguards were “clearly needed” to prevent electoral fraud in postal votes. Ministers went so far as to draw up a bill but then dropped it after a government-commissioned study showed it would reduce the turnout of key Labour voters such as the young and poor. The disclosure will reignite the row over postal voting. It follows a senior judge’s warning last week that the British electoral system is now wide open to fraud and would “disgrace a banana republic”."
That Tony Blair’s rule has been marked by abuses of power is no secret, but that it may have descended into outright electoral fraud is, well, disappointing, and something to remember the next time you hear him pontificating about the spread of democracy.
With elections coming on May 5th, the Tories need to be on this story, relentlessly.
Posted at 07:14 PM
OH MAN OH MANOSHEVITZ [Jonah Goldberg]
Talk about the perfect recipe for a really chilly workplace environment.
Posted at 12:14 PM
MEDICARE & CONSERVATIVES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 08:05 AM
WIKIPEDIA & THE NYT [Jonah Goldberg]
Several readers argue that the Times did not plagiarize from Wikipedia but that the sentence in question was added after the Times came out. I assume Dinocrat will get to the bottom of it.
Posted at 08:01 AM
11 EUTHANIZED [K. J. Lopez]
at a British hospital?
Posted at 07:24 AM
CAMILLA! [Andrew Stuttaford]
I’m no great fan of the monarchy, and even less of an admirer of Prince Charles, but it’s hard not to feel sorry for the way in which he has been treated by Britain’s media (and a good chunk of its population) in the run-up to his marriage to Camilla Parker-Bowles. Yes, Camilla is (as the British press seem to take great – and cruel - delight in pointing out) no great beauty, particularly when compared with Lady Di, but what of it? She and Charles are obviously devoted to each other and she, it appears, has a great deal of the commonsense, good manners and tact that Charles so obviously lacks. She’ll likely do him – and the House of Windsor – a great deal of good.
Good luck to them both.
Posted at 07:13 AM
EAST MEETS WEST [Andrew Stuttaford]
Back from a brief trip to the left coast, so brief, in fact, that I never really had time to grasp where I was. One clue, however, could be found in the the (more or less) Japanese place where I had lunch – one of the premium sushi rolls was named after Sarah Michelle Geller. Very good it was too.
Posted at 07:12 AM
MAE MAGOUIRK [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 06:50 AM
AROUND THE WEB [K. J. Lopez]
The Anchoress has moved.
Posted at 06:42 AM