MONK TV [K. J. Lopez]
Holy reality TV, Batman.
Posted at 04:55 PM
RUNAWAY BRIDE [K. J. Lopez]
Can we say "slow news weekend"? CNN is doing a one-hour special on the bride story. Perhaps the worst part of the story is it will encourage video sales of a bad movie.
Posted at 04:49 PM
TEDDY KENNEDY YELLED AT ME! [Cliff May]
For 20 years this story could not be told. Now, finally, here is the long-suppressed truth -- and what it means for John Bolton.
Posted at 04:34 PM
SGRENA LIED [Jonah Goldberg]
Satellites recorded the shooting of the Italian car. It was going at least 60 miles an hour. Captain's Quarters has details.
Posted at 04:34 PM
ALABAMA, CTD. [Andrew Stuttaford]
“I am a citizen of Alabama. I did not think the story about the people worshiping around the Ten Commandments monument was a smear. It was an accurate description. I lived in Montgomery when Roy Moore was grandstanding, and let me tell you, the lowest common denominator of Christian representation were on hand to protest (I am a Christian, but find Roy Moore deplorable...also, take note that no local churches organized protest, the protests were done by out of state people) People were throwing themselves down in front of the rock like it was Baal. It was disgraceful.”
Well, I was certainly no fan of Moore’s rock remaining where it did on either legal or aesthetic grounds. If nothing else, it was a prime candidate for wrapping, Christo-style, but permanently.
Posted at 04:34 PM
TIME TO SELL THE EURO? [Andrew Stuttaford]
This is interesting. With the German economy falling deeper and deeper into the mire, Schroeder seems to be swinging further to the left. There was a bout of business-bashing last week, and now there’s this piece of news via The Daily Telegraph:
“Germany is backing a 1970s-style Keynesian to take over the crucial job of chief economist at the European Central Bank, marking a dramatic shift in Berlin's economic thinking and horrifying the guardians of orthodoxy in Frankfurt. The post has been held for the last eight years by Dr Otmar Issing, a monetary hawk who has fought off political pressure for lower interest rates and sought to uphold the low-inflation traditions of the former Bundesbank. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder now hopes to replace him early next year with Professor Peter Bofinger, the leading advocate of a ''New Deal'' spending blitz to cut unemployment and lift the country out of protracted slump.The government slashed its growth forecast for 2005 yesterday from 1.6pc to 1pc after a week of grim confidence figures from German industry. Morgan Stanley has warned that the country may already be in recession.”
If you’re in a hole…
Posted at 04:33 PM
THRONE DRONE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Windsors may not be the sharpest knives in the block, but at least they keep their meddling in politics to a minimum. Not so Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, a woman deservedly notorious (yes, yes, ludicrously biased choice of adjective) for her establishment left politics.
Pieter at Peaktalk has a useful post on Beatrix, triggered by the recent appearance of a documentary about her. He seems to be something of an admirer, but with reservations. These comments are worth repeating:
“…Despite her political instincts she remained notably absent during the aftermath of both the Fortuyn and Van Gogh killings. This is somewhat odd as the documentary makers point out that in both cases there was a rare call from Dutch politicians, public and media to let the queen come forward and unify the nation with a speech or other symbolic gesture. In the interviews the queen briefly refers to them as “political murders”, enabling her to duck any elaborate treatment of both assassinations. It’s a clever escape route, the queen does not get involved in politics, but in view of her active engagement in matters of state as well as her very clear concerns over the direction of the society she represents it’s odd that she declined to act on such a traumatic experience. Her visit to an immigrant youth center shortly after Van Gogh’s killing was designed to appease Muslim sentiments rather than native Dutch anxieties and was deemed to be inadequate. She isn’t that quiet on Europe. Together with the current prime-minister she delivers a well-crafted pitch for the European Constitution in the documentary, the former touching on the efficiency of it, while the queen refers to the past-wars and violence that often tore the old continent apart. Her interviewer engages her on this topic and without missing a beat Beatrix points out the dangers of nationalism while underlining the importance of one’s own culture. Read into it what you want, but it was a gentle yet forceful push to encourage Dutch viewers to try and see the benefits of European integration arguing that it could still enable the preservation of their own national culture. To give you some material to reflect on this, picture an American president arguing that nationalism is a bad thing on the eve of an amalgamation with Canada and Mexico. So, in summary the current Dutch monarch has been able to exercise a tremendous amount of influence on areas where in theory she shouldn’t have and in doing that she has used her powers selectively to promote certain causes. It’s hard to accuse her of enforcing a political agenda, but throughout her tenure she has often come out where she and the political leadership felt Dutch public opinion was headed and that was hardly ever on the right of the political center.”
Time to restore the republic, I reckon.
Posted at 04:24 PM
MENDOZZZZA! [Jonah Goldberg ]
This odd movement spreads like a wildfire. Anyone see last night's Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered?
Maybe we need a Corner TV show?
Posted at 04:21 PM
GEORGE BUSH'S FRIENDS [Andrew Stuttaford]
While George Bush was holding hands down in Texas, this is what his friend’s regime was doing back at home (via MEMRI).
“The Saudi daily Al-Jazirah reported that 40 men, women, and children with Pakistani citizenship were arrested on April 21, 2005 after performing Christian religious rites in an apartment in the Thaharat Al-Badi'a neighborhood in western Riyadh. The arrest was part of a sweeping police operation by the Riyadh District Police, at the order of Riyadh Governor Prince Salman bin Abd Al-'Aziz. The paper reported that the operation came after Saudi religious police – known as the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice followed and collected information on the activity of the 40, who listened to a proselytizing lecture by a Pakistani minister. The paper also noted that during the police operation, which lasted nearly 10 hours, a cross and a large number of proselytizing books and cassettes were found [in the apartment]. The detainees themselves stated that they had come to listen to lectures by the minister. One of the detainees was a Muslim Pakistani, who acknowledged that he had been influenced by the Christian ideology.The Saudi daily Al-Riyadh said that the detainees had set up a church in the apartment, equipped with crosses, pictures, and statues. Likewise, it was said that during their religious activity, one of them was found praying, as the others present repeated their words, and one of the women arrested was listing the people's confessions and distributing writs of absolution. The Al-Riyadh report included a photo of the detainees and of a large cross and the group which was arrested. A Saudi religious police source explained the reason for the arrest: "These people tried to spread the poison and their beliefs to others, by means of distributing pamphlets and [missionary] publications." He said that all the detainees "had been transferred to the relevant bodies for investigation."
And there's this:
“A member of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's entourage was banned from the prince's trip to Dallas last week after showing up on a no-fly list, federal officials said Tuesday. As is routine with international flights, the Department of Homeland Security checked passenger manifests against terrorist watch lists and no-fly lists 24 hours before Saturday's trip. Homeland Security forwarded the information to the State Department, which denied the delegation member a visa to come to the United States, said an administration official, who did not want to be named.”
What's most revealing about the latter story is what it reveals about the degree of contempt in which the Saudis must hold the President.
Too much grovelling will do that, I suppose.
Posted at 04:20 PM
UH OH [Andrew Stuttaford]
“French voters would approve the proposed European Union constitution in a referendum next month, the first opinion poll to give a swing in favour since mid-March showed Saturday. The TNS-Sofres-Unilog poll for the RTL radio station indicated 52 percent of decided voters would back the constitution in the May 29 referendum.”
The EU Rota blog has this to say:
“A new poll is out showing the Oui with a slight edge over the Non in the upcoming referendum battle to be held on 29 May. Good news, bad news? Try irrelevant news. It bears repeating, whether a Oui or a Non is the outcome on 29 May, free markets will suffer. The reason? A Oui will require Jacques Chirac to continue his fight against "ultra-liberalism" and his reinforcement of the "social model." A Non will be misread by Chirac as a signal to continue his fight against "ultra-liberalism" and his reinforcement of the "social model." Now that socialist promises have been made by Chirac, and will continue to be made, a Oui or Non is becoming irrelevant in terms of the French economy.”
That’s right, so far as it goes (anyone wanting a taste of the ‘yes’ campaign should check out how often those in favour of the draft ‘constitution’ have taken to using the term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ as a term of abuse), but only so far as it goes. In the sense that a ‘no’ vote will also throw a spanner in the works of the larger EU project, which is, now, basically the creation of permanent social-democratic rule throughtout Europe, it can only be welcomed.
Posted at 04:20 PM
BLAIR [Andrew Stuttaford]
“A frantic mix of effrontery and panic characterises Mr Blair’s whole career, as they must with any confidence trickster. He’s been found out and he knows it but he won’t confess and you won’t pin him down.”
Ha ha ha.
Posted at 04:18 PM
HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE [Warren Bell]
The new film of H2G2G (is that how the nerds do it?) is not good. Even my kids, who love everything (cf. Baby Geniuses II, The Master of Disguise, and 90 minutes of exquisite torture called Yu-Gi-Oh: The Movie) were bored. My 11-year-old's four word review: "What was that about?"
I read the books years ago and enjoyed them, as I did Douglas Adams' other writing. But what makes his novels so breezy and fun is Adams himself, his light voice, his digressions and asides. Something about that doesn't translate well to a visual medium, almost the same way no one's ever been able to capture Thurber well outside of the page. When we first encounter a Babelfish early on in Hitchhiker the book, we're astounded by the invention -- of course, you'd need some way to understand all the other languages. In the movie, it's just a squishy Henson-created fish being jammed into an unhappy man's ear.
Then there's this: maybe I'm paranoid, but Sam Rockwell plays Zaphod Beeblebrox, who has recently been elected President of the galaxy despite being notoriously stupid because he is charming and likable. Rockwell renders this charming but stupid leader with a distinctly familiar Texas twang.
Posted at 11:29 AM
THE SCOTS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Are the Scots ‘foreign’, Jonah? Most definitely. Just ask them – and, yes, it is true that they had a much more self-consciously ‘philosophical’ tradition than the English. So great, for example, was the intellectual influence of the Scottish enlightenment that Voltaire famously announced that it was to Scotland for “all our ideas of civilization.”
Posted at 11:14 AM
IDIOCY IN ALABAMA [Andrew Stuttaford]
Tim, that’s interesting – and telling - what you say about Strassman. It’s worth noting that the report was inaccurate in one important respect. CBS, as one reader pointed out to me, had another Dan Rather moment: the proposed legislation did not include a ban on books merely because the authors were, horrors, homosexual.
“If the bill became law, public school textbooks could not present homosexuality as a genetic trait and public libraries couldn't offer books with gay or bisexual characters. When asked about Tennessee Williams' southern classic "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," Allen said the play probably couldn't be performed by university theater groups. Allen said no state funds should be used to pay for materials that foster homosexuality. He said that would include nonfiction books that suggest homosexuality is acceptable and fiction novels with gay characters. While that would ban books like "Heather has Two Mommies," it could also include classic and popular novels with gay characters such as "The Color Purple," "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "Brideshead Revisted."
Posted at 10:57 AM
"WHEN AINUR TAIROVA REALIZED SHE WAS ON HER WAY TO HER WEDDING, SHE STARTED CHOKING THE DRIVER." [K. J. Lopez]
Fascinatingly frightening story on marriage in Kyrgyzstan. The New York Times says the trend for more than half of marriages there is: Want a wife? Go get her. Right now. Like, just grab her.
Posted at 09:35 AM
BABY BRATZ?!? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Another sign of the impending apocalypse (or at least the utter collapse of American civilization).
Posted at 09:33 AM
CLIFF, [K. J. Lopez]
so they like The Corner? They really, really like us!
Seriously, amazing the memories people have. At the Dubliner last night, more often than not, someone would say, "Remember when Jonah said...?" or "Remember when you posted..." or "Thank you for when you posted..." Sometimes just breaking news, too. I've never quite figured out the right formula. How many "this is happening, look" and how much analysis, and how many timewasters, and doing it all while still managing to be productive elsewhere on the site and in life. But the way we all sorta just do it seems to be a good mix for a lot of people.
Posted at 09:33 AM
“INDIVIDUALS ON THE INTERNET LIVING OUT THEIR DREAMS” [K. J. Lopez]
Seems like something is being made of comments Matt Drudge made on C-SPAN about blogs. He's not a blog, he said. Sounds right. The Drudge Report is a pioneer. And then he went on criticizing the very word "blog," as dismissive. I just listened to it. Sounds like he's not dissing the bloggers, he's actually paying them a compliment. You guys rising to the top of whatever the blogosphere is shouldn't let yourselves be put in a corner kinda thing, he basically says. He defined it all as “Individuals on the Internet living out their dreams." Pretty cool. And that's what some of these folks are doing. People who wouldn't have the voice they have in the world without this new media.
Of course, if peeps really got into too extensive a debate about the semantics of the blogosphere, I'd probably suggest a chill pill would be in order, but at any rate...the Drudge Report is an American institution, already earned a place in the Smithsonian and still going strong on this ever-growing world-wide web.
Posted at 09:31 AM
RE: COMICS [K. J. Lopez]
No, Adler, you can't. When you're SecDef the second time, you can though.
Posted at 09:30 AM
DEAR SIR [K. J. Lopez]
John, it was the tweed jacket. You looked professorial. But at least you matched--stick in your top six moments people asking "Is Rich here? Is he still mismatched?".
Posted at 09:30 AM
SPIDEY & RUMSFELD [Jonathan H. Adler]
If Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld can pose with Spiderman and Captain America to promote a "Support Our Troops" comic book, shouldn't we be allowed to discuss Marvel comics on The Corner as much as we please? (Note, he's posing with Marvel characters, and those dopedy D.C. Comics types are nowhere to be found . . . ).
Posted at 09:28 AM
BRITCONS [John Derbyshire]
Andrew: I don't know how you feel about this, but the older I get, the more I come to think that the British are a very peculiar people indeed.
"Insular" simply doesn't cover it. I have lived as an expat in China, and in the USA. In both countries I have found myself at expat-Brit gatherings where the main entertainment was a long sniggering collective critique of the weird & fantastic customs of the natives, that critique conducted in exactly the same terms in both places.
I deduce that culturally, the distance between the British and the Americans is the same as between the British and the Chinese -- which, since two nations further apart & with more different histories than Britain and China can hardly be imagined, probably implies that the Brits are at some similar cultural distance from _every other nation_.
This agrees with my wife's experience. Leaving China for the first time in her life at age 24 to settle in the USA, she soon got the hang of things. Our year of living in the UK, by contrast, was disturbing and upsetting to her. The only cultural connection she could make was to the "broad" style of British humor, which indeed closely resembles Chinese humor. (The TV Britcom "Are You Being Served?" was a great favorite.) To this day, if you ask her about Britain, she will reply: "Not a country for foreigners."
Perhaps it's something to do with being an island nation. I have heard old Asia hands refer to the Japanese as "the British of Asia." Yes: the Brits are as peculiar and one-off as the Japanese. Time and again, in my years as a young Brit roaming the world rather aimlessly, I found myself thinking, of some nation or other: "Boy, these people have a long way to go! But why do they hate us Brits so much? And why don't I care?"
Posted at 09:22 AM
AN HLS GRAD ON HARVARD LAW "UNBOUND" [Jonathan H. Adler]
From a regular correspondent and Harvard Law School grad:
As a recent HLS grad (and, more to the point, sensible human being), I have to agree with Bainbridge's suggestion that HLS Unbound may actually unseat the American Constitution Society as "the least necessary organization in the law school world." But looking at the first issue's offerings, I must note that HLS Unbound could actually fill a useful role as the world's most unintentionally hilarious legal publication.
Posted at 09:21 AM
JOHNSON CONFIRMED [Jonathan H. Adler]
Senate Republicans broke Senator Carper's hold and confirmed Stephen Johnson as EPA Administrator yesterday. According to this story, the vote for cloture to break the hold was 61-37.
Posted at 09:21 AM
THE TIGERS [K. J. Lopez]
It's really early in the season, John J. But enjoy it while you can. Just like the Red Sox can soon go back to being cursed, Shannen.
Posted at 09:20 AM
SOUTHERN APPEAL PRAISES MTV [Jonathan H. Adler]
No, really, here.
Posted at 09:19 AM
THE MIND OF BRITAIN [Rick Brookhiser]
No principles, please, we're British.
It's an old strain, that pokes out of Oakeshot, Popper, Bentham, Hume, you name it. Burke on the right and Mill on the left sipped the poison.
The politics of the mid to late seventeenth century were simply too traumatic for the mother country. The best analysis is Old Mortality, by Sir Walter Scott. The wing-nuts came to America.
Posted at 09:14 AM
MORE HAPPINESS [Rick Brookhiser]
A late coda.
The founders were not all, or only, classical republicans, thank God. It is a ferocious doctrine when uncut by anything else, an expressway to Sparta. It also has nothing to do with Christianity, as Machiavelli, the modern reviver of c.r., knew. The founders were principled men, but they defined their principles in their own way, using an eclectic mix of common law, classical republicanism, natural rights theory, Christianity, and (among the most intelligent) nascent economics. Montesquieu may have been the modern writer they most admired, but they manhandle him whenever they need to.
My hunch is that Jefferson switched property to pursuit of happiness because of his greatness of spirit, and his golden ear. You don't fight the British army for the mortgage.
Posted at 09:13 AM
LAURA INGRAHAM'S [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 09:08 AM
RE: IDIOTIC [Tim Graham]
Andrew, you might find it unsurprising that politicians are speaking up for "the children," but even less surprising is CBS searching for that strange and primitive species known as the Christian conservative in Alabama. Mark Strassmann was the reporter on this story on Roy Moore and the people nearly fainting before the Ten Commandments monument. He's also the liberal activist who hung around an Orlando preview of "The Passion" and highlighted one rabbi's fervid opinion that the movie was an "ecumenical suicide bomb."
Posted at 09:03 AM
TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM THE DUBLINER [John J. Miller]
5. People offering to buy me drinks. I wish I hadn't been the designated driver.
4. Having my picture taken with a college student who kept calling me "sir," as in "Excuse me, sir," and "Thank you, sir."
3. Talking to the guy who read Our Oldest Enemy while vacationing in France.
2. Meeting a fellow who works for Hershey. He drove down from Pennsylvania. Did you know that the company's best-selling product isn't the Hershey bar or Hershey kisses -- but Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?
1. On the way out the door, telling Rich Lowry that the Detroit Tigers have a better record than the New York Yankees.
Posted at 06:06 AM
THANK YOU! [K. J. Lopez]
to everyone who came to the Dubliner tonight. Another great showing...great to meet so many of you...
Posted at 03:30 AM
MADE MY DAY [Cliff May]
I’m at the airport in Miami. I just had a U.S. Marine come up to me and say: “Excuse me, sir, don’t mean to interrupt you but I saw you and Dr. Ledeen on CSPAN debating Pat Buchanan and Bob Novak. I thought you did a great job and made very good points. I have respect for Buchanan and Novak but I think you’re right and they’re wrong on this. How can they not understand that Hezbollah is a danger? How can they think it wouldn’t matter if radical Islamists took over the Middle East? ”
BTW, this morning I was on a Heritage Foundation panel here about blogging and new media (with Paul Mirengoff of Powerline, Tom Bezan of Real Clear Politics and Nick Schultz of TCS). Talked a lot about The Corner. Afterwards, loads of people came up to me asking how they can get their issues – or themselves – on the Corner. Also, one guy said: “Can I ask how I can get my own blog at no cost?” I said I didn’t know. He said: “Can I call you later, when you find out?”
Posted at 03:27 AM
Friday, April 29, 2005
PENSION TROUBLE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Andrew Samwick makes sense. See also his post on the conservatives-in-the-academy question. (And yes, Rich, now I will get back to those deadlines.)
Posted at 03:57 PM
ANDREW SULLIVAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I see that his blog "hiatus" is going to be like William F. Buckley Jr.'s "semi-retirement": Both of them manage to keep producing at a rate that puts the rest of us to shame. Sullivan has responded to my comments on his essay on conservatism. (Those comments have been reproduced here in a more reader-friendly format.) I'll come back at this as soon as I get past a few deadlines. (I didn't say I was going to try to improve my work ethic!)
Posted at 03:45 PM
SOCIAL SECURITY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I forgot to add: I thought that the president's remarks on payroll taxes represented a potentially significant shift. He said he "will work with Congress on any good-faith proposal that does not raise the payroll tax rate or harm our economy." That last bit, about economic harm, seems to close the door a little bit on raising the payroll tax cap.
Posted at 03:05 PM
MORE ON THE PRESS CONFERENCE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I also thought Bush's answer on religion in public life was pretty good--I'd have said very good if there weren't some of the usual verbal goofiness. ("Faith-based is an important part of my life, individually. . .") He politely disagreed with the Family Research Council on whether the judicial filibusters were attacks on "people of faith" qua people-of-faith. (Based on the FRC's latest statement, I'd say the organization is wisely taking a half-step away from this claim itself.) And he demanded up-or-down votes on judges.
Posted at 02:48 PM
CAPTAIN RUMSFELD [John J. Miller]
Is this what the Pentagon means by force restructuring? (Memo to Jonah: You must click this link.)
Posted at 02:44 PM
JONAH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I didn't mean to ignore your earlier question; I've been having technical difficulties all day, and now that I'm back online I'm trying to catch up on email and blogs.
I liked the president's remarks (which I read rather than watched) on Social Security. They may modestly help him.
You may recall that back in January, there was some debate in conservative circles about whether Congress or the president should lead. The last three months have, I think, conclusively shown that Congress is incapable of getting where the president wants it to get on its own. By beginning to outline a plan, the president may encourage some consolidation among Republicans. And by including progressivity in his benefit cuts, he may increase his chances of picking off a Democrat or two.
What's changed over the last few months? The Beltway has over the last few months pronounced reform dead, dead, dead, but the Beltway was basically saying the same thing (albeit with less conviction) in late December. The White House line is that the president has succeeded in persuading the public that Social Security needs to be reformed, and now can move to specifics. So what's changed are the political class's view of Bush's likely success (marginally down), the public's view of the urgency of the problem (up), and Bush's popularity and pull (down). I think Democrats are overconfident that they've already beaten Bush on Social Security--but it will take more than last night to turn things around.
Posted at 02:40 PM
LET'S GET PHYSICAL, PHYSICAL -- THAT IS METAPHYSICAL [Jonah Goldberg]
Jarrett Conner chimes in on today's G-File etc.
Posted at 02:24 PM
RE: BRITISH CONSERVATISM [Jonah Goldberg]
Andrew - Do you Brits consider the Scots foreign? Just curious.
Posted at 02:07 PM
RE: DERB-SULLIVAN & CONSERVATIVES I WOULD LIKE TO MEET [Jonah Goldberg]
That raises an interesting point for discussion around here. I've met Sullivan and Derb and was enriched by the experience on both counts.
But there are some conservatives I've yet to meet. Among those I would most like to remedy that situation are:
Paul Johnson (though as a TV producer I did technically meet him, but never chatted)
And then there's a whole slew of conservative folks that I've met but have never really had a good conversation with. But that's a list for another day. Fortunately, I will meet Johnson on the British Isles Cruise.
Posted at 02:05 PM
UN WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
"Zimbabwe, the human rights pariah accused of violence, intimidation and suppression of free speech against its people, has been re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Commission for a three-year term over the strong protests of Australia, the US and Canada."
Posted at 02:03 PM
RE: AND YES [Jonah Goldberg]
As a conservative outfit, maybe we should keep mentioning Atlanta forever?
Posted at 01:47 PM
BRITISH CONSERVATISM [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, two key differences, perhaps. The first is that religion plays far less of a role in the case of British conservatism, the second is that British conservatism is less 'philosophical' than its American counterpart. This latter view, of course, reflects the (entirely justified) British suspicion that most philosophy is not only a waste of time but, worse, foreign.
Posted at 01:47 PM
IDIOTIC [Andrew Stuttaford]
"Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters."
So long Oscar, so long Walt...
And the justification for this nonsense?
Yup, you guessed it.
"Protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."
Posted at 01:43 PM
MARYMOUNT MANHATTAN COLLEGE [K. J. Lopez]
is no longer Catholic.
Posted at 01:29 PM
DERB-SULLIVAN [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: I wouldn't make too much of it.
I have never met Andrew Sullivan. However, a few months ago a person who is friendly with both Andrew and myself told me that he had suggested to Andrew, in conversation, that Andrew might like to meet me, as I was basically a decent sort in spite of you-know-what, and quite good company.
I heard this with interest, and asked my friend what Sullivan's reaction to the suggestion had been.
Friend: "Strongly negative."
Posted at 01:18 PM
RE: CLASH! DISPUTE! SCANDAL! [Andy McCarthy]
Rich, what do you suppose Jehl would have written if he had learned that it had been BOLTON rather than Hutchings (the intel guy) who had uttered the words "I remember saying specifically that I wanted us to play hardball on this one"?
To paraphrase something a friend of mine used to say about AG Ashcroft, if John Bolton proposed a government-subsidized vaccination program for depressed urban areas, the Times would report, under the headline, "Nominee Would Stab Children With Sharp Objects", that "President Bush's nominee to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has recommended that African American children be injected with bacteria, viruses and fungi known to cause disease and infection. ..."
Posted at 12:42 PM
HEADLINE HOOEY [K. J. Lopez]
This is a pretty bad exaggeration. On--imagine--Tom DeLay, in the Washington Post.
Posted at 12:35 PM
AND YES [K. J. Lopez]
we will stop mentioning Atlanta VERY SOON. As in, a matter of an hour or so. At which time it will be too late for you to join us.
Posted at 12:33 PM
BLOGGER ON BOARD [K. J. Lopez]
"Feddie" of Southern Appeal will be at our Atlantafest.
Posted at 12:30 PM
LET THE GAYMES BEGIN [Jack Fowler]
Lexington (MA) cops arrest dad po’ed because local school is teaching his six-year-old son about gay marriage, reports today’s Boston Herald. So much for parental rights (unless the kid was in a coma and the father wanted to starve him to death).
Posted at 12:22 PM
AHEM: ATLANTA [Jonah Goldberg]
It'll cost someone a bit more than the $500 cover to drink me under the table. In future posts please insert "try to" before all such statements.
Posted at 12:22 PM
BRIT CONS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 12:20 PM
THE CALLING [K. J. Lopez]
Time is really running out for you to sign up to join us in Atlanta on Thursday. As you might have heard, today is the last day for sign-ups.
Why join us in Atlanta? Why spend $500 in Jimmy Carter's homeland?
Because ** you think NR is cool and want to keep having new excuses to be reading it--your $500 goes toward supporting the whole National Review operation, including NRO.
** you want to drink Jonah under the table.
** you want to find out all the secrets we won't share without a bribe. Admission fee covers bribe.
** panel discussions, Q&As, fine food and drink.
** quality conversation with Jonah, Rich, Kate, Ramesh, Jay, Derb, Stuttaford, & more. If you've been to one of our bar nights--like tonight's in D.C.--you know the dynamic there. You bring a friend or two and maybe get in some chatting with NR-ers, if you can find them in the friendly but noisy right-wing crowd. That's not the case with these fundraisers. We keep 'em intimate to foster mingling and all the good things that good dinner parties/cocktail parties/afternoon salons are. You meet good people you wouldn't have otherwise. Have some debates. You name it.... And you'll enjoy it.
Anyway, we're down to the wire now, please consider joining us.
Posted at 12:08 PM
POST-RETIREMENT-AGE RAISE [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 12:06 PM
BRITISH CONSERVATISM [Jonah Goldberg]
More seriously, it dawned on me that a main reason Sullivan's explanation of conservatism doesn't quite click is that it is so bloody British (which would also explain why he and Derb are more sympatico in outlook than he realizes). The British constitution, for example, is a very different beast than the American. The philosophical requirements for supporting an unwritten constitution are significantly different than those needed for supporting a written one, particularly the American one. Sullivan's Oakeshottian approach -- which never really caught on America -- is also, obviously, very, very British.
I'm not nearly up to speed enough on the subtler distinctions between British conservatism and American conservatism to go on much longer without thinking and reading more. But I think there's more than a grain of truth here.
Posted at 12:04 PM
HEH [Jonah Goldberg]
The Derb-Sullivan rapprochement continues. Delighted to see it (though technically rapprochement implies that there were cordial relations to begin with, which I don't think is the case).
All I'd suggest to Andrew is that he consider that when his new categories cause him to find new common ground with his nemesis, perhaps it's the new categories that are flawed.
Posted at 11:59 AM
CLASH! DISPUTE! SCANDAL! [Rich Lowry ]
Doug Jehl of the New York Times continues on the Bolton non-scandal beat. Today again he writes about how Bolton might have THOUGHT about saying things that the intelligence community didn't support, but then didn't. Check out this passage, quoting a former senior intelligence official:
Posted at 11:35 AM
YOU TOO CAN BE A FORMER SENATOR QUOTED BY THE NYT [Rich Lowry ]
Here is Bob Kerrey, quoted by the New York Times this morning: “Among the things the president has going for him is that he's still president.”
Posted at 11:31 AM
ISRAEL AT COLUMBIA [Stanley Kurtz]
Columbia University has decided to solve the problem of its biased Middle East Studies program by establishing a chair of Israel Studies. Well, that’s not nearly enough, as I argued in “The Princeton Way.” But now comes an incredible development. The already inadequate solution of a chair in Israeli Studies turns out to be utterly bogus–on a par with Columbia’s now infamous whitewash report on its Middle East Studies scandal. Turns out that the search committee for Columbia’s new chair in Israel Studies is going to be controlled by disciples of Edward Said. Martin Kramer has the details.
Posted at 11:12 AM
YES... [Jonah Goldberg]
I know that the Zombie story's a fake. I acknowledged this in the update a posted two minutes after the original post. No need to keep sending me emails saying it's a fake.
Posted at 11:06 AM
SOCIAL SECURITY PROGRESSIVITY [Rich Lowry ]
This is the column. I wrote about it a while ago. As we are about to see, liberals hate personal accounts (they might be popular, after all--see Jonathan Chait) more than they love “progressivity.”
Posted at 11:05 AM
E.R. [Jonah Goldberg]
Am I the only one to notice that pretty much all the characters on E.R. are unlikable -- or not particularly likable -- people now?
Posted at 11:01 AM
GOOD DEAL [Rich Lowry]
The window for joining us in Atlanta is rapidly closing, so let me make one last plea. If you join us, you are basically guaranteed to have a good time--people just don't come away from these things disappointed. Something about that NR gemutlichkeit (maybe it's just all the mis-matched clothes). But let's ignore that for a moment. It's important for us that these events be well-attended because, frankly (as Newt Gingrich used to say), we raise money from them. And NR/NRO always operates at a loss. It's just the nature of the business. We're not complaining. We always say we exist to make a point and not a profit. But to keep doing what we do, and--we hope--to keep improving, it takes resources, i.e. your support. So if you are in the Atlanta area and you are a NR/NRO devotee, please join us. You'll enjoy yourself while supporting the cause. And what could be a better deal than that?
Posted at 11:00 AM
SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS [Rick Brookhiser]
From my recent trip:
Posted at 10:52 AM
WERE YOU THINKING OF WRITING A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF LIL' KIM? [Andy McCarthy]
... After all, her sentencing is coming up. A law prof pal informs me that her website contains some helpful hints. Only in America ...
Posted at 10:47 AM
LAST CHANCE. LAST CHANCE. LAST CHANCE. [NRO Broken Record ]
Posted at 10:42 AM
"IT'S A NEW ERA IN LEBANON NOW." [K. J. Lopez]
Michael Totten is optimistic.
Posted at 10:41 AM
WHAT THE...!? [Jonah Goldberg]
BBC reports that there's been an outbreak of "Zombism" in Cambodia:
There has been a small outbreak of “zombism” in a small town near the border of Laos in North-Eastern Cambodia.
Me: Is this a parody? Does BBC run parodies after April Fools? Is Zombism real? Isn't this the sort of thing found in the Book of Revelations?
Update: Yes, it must be a parody -- as I suspected. The URL is not a BBC URL. But it looks very convincing when one is reading while on the phone.
Posted at 10:39 AM
LAST NIGHT [Stanley Kurtz]
I think the president did well. A bit lackluster delivering his opening statement, the president came alive during questioning. He was relaxed, confident, thoughtful, in control. Most important, the president wasn’t just delivering talking points. His big picture argument is convincing–politically and substantively. Reforming social security is a lot like bringing democracy to Iraq. It takes patience and courage–a willingness to endure intense opposition and dips in the polls, in the conviction that big problems demand bold solutions. As Iraq has taken a turn for the better, domestic issues have come into the foreground. But I think the whole Iraq experience–the president’s boldness, his willingness to hold fast when the going got tough, and eventual results–has earned him tremendous political capital. Poll fluctuations may not show this, but I think the public recognizes that this president thinks and acts on the big picture and for the long term. That’s why I think the president’s social security plan is still very much alive. He’s made good adjustments to his plan. These will make it even harder for the Democrats to refuse to offer a plan of their own. They’ll also take away some of the key arguments against the president’s plan. Over time, I think the president is going to win the social security issue. Either he will get reform, or he will be forced to bow out without paying a political price. The public understands that there’s a serious long-term problem with social security. It’s the Democrats who are going to pay a price if this problem doesn’t get solved.
Posted at 10:28 AM
BUSH & "GOODIES" [Tim Graham]
The press conference was a good thing, both in satisfying the press (if not miffed "Survivor" fans) and in giving the president some face time without any notable mistakes. I suspect that after all that happened last year and all the media's dour foreboding about his impending political doom, the president is not exactly shaking in his boots about the idea that his approval rating is a tad low 18 months before the next elections.
One odd thing I noticed afterward was ABC's Terry Moran on "Charlie Rose" declaring private Social Security accounts as a "goodie." Hmm. How is it that keeping your own money in an investment account is a "goodie," but giving it to the government to "save" for you for 40 years is a "historically successful program"? I do wish more conservative politicians would talk in Limbaughesque terms about how Democrats want to preserve Social Security so they can always accuse the Republicans of wanting to starve the elderly, about the political usefulness of keeping retirees dependent on Washington for a large share of their retirement income.
Posted at 10:26 AM
HEY RAMESH [Jonah Goldberg]
What did you think of Bush's Social Security proposal last night? Inquiring minds and all that.
Posted at 10:26 AM
RE: HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS [K. J. Lopez]
Man, I'm glad women don't have more choices and therefore more opportunities to mix colors/fabrics/etc./etc. badly.
Posted at 10:24 AM
CLEARLY [Jonah Goldberg]
All of the people who care that I wrote a G-File today on the Sullivan thing are distracted by the violent cat-cannon timewaster I posted. I can here digital crickets chirp.
Posted at 10:21 AM
IMPORTANT NEWS [K. J. Lopez]
I just got this e-mail from a fella who is ready to head over to the Dubliner now: Subject Line: "Beer 411": "Beer truck unloading at the Dubliner. (I work across the street.)"
Posted at 10:14 AM
RE: HATE IT... [Mark R. Levin]
And what's wrong with a blue jacket and gray paints?
Posted at 10:09 AM
RICH... [Jonah Goldberg]
Don't feel bad. Why this morning when I raced outside to get the morning paper, I noticed that I have a blue Kleenex® box on one foot and a Safeway generic yellow box on the other foot. Thank goodness the other shut-ins are unlikely to see me.
Posted at 10:07 AM
HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS [Rich Lowry ]
I'm not every good at keeping myself together generally, but when travel is involved it gets even worse. On the way to catch a morning flight for a speech today, I realized--too late to do anything about it--that I'm wearing a blue suit jacket and gray suit pants. So it's the old mismatched suit problem. I'll be the guy suavely carrying my jacket over my shoulder for most of the day....
Posted at 10:03 AM
ACADEMIC REDUNDANCY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Professor Bainbridge has stumbled across the academic equivalent of Maxim's annual "sex issue."
Posted at 09:59 AM
PRYOR NOT ALONE [Jonathan H. Adler]
As this roundup of news notes, Terrence Boyle is stil waiting for a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He's been qaiting quite a while, as he was originally nominated 14 years ago.
Posted at 09:57 AM
PRYOR DELAY [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Senate Judiciary Committee was supposed to vote on the (re)nomination of William Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit yesterday. No such luck. More here at SA and here at How Appealing.
Posted at 09:55 AM
GOVERNOR QUAYLE? [K. J. Lopez]
Not that one. The other one.
Posted at 09:48 AM
RE: "BIZARRO" [K. J. Lopez]
You got that right, Jack. But at least he knows where the action will be Thursday.
Posted at 09:38 AM
BIZARRO DR. SEUSS WITH GEORGIA ON HIS MIND [Jack Fowler]
I don’t care how I do it, I don’t care where I banter,
On a boat, in a car, on a horse in full canter,
I just want to hang with NR in Atlanta,
To drinko on Cinco de Mayo with KLO,
And Kate O and Jay No and Editor Rich Lo,
And all of the rest –
Heck, even Ramesh –
So many are coming, the best of the best!
Why if I didn’t go I’d be so darned depressed!
So I’m going to click here, or here, here, or here,
To sign up for this glorious chance to drink beer,
And chew lots of fat,
And discuss this or that,
At next week’s Dixiefied NR editor chat!
Oh the things I will learn,
Oh the stories I’ll swap,
As I stand athwart history and Derb yelling “Stop!”
A night to remember, NR – you enchanter,
I can’t wait to hang out with you guys in Atlanta!
Posted at 09:36 AM
HEH [Jonah Goldberg ]
Georgia Republicans repeal Jim Crow laws.
Funny how the Dems never thought of that.
Posted at 09:34 AM
RE: ATLANTA [Jonah Goldberg]
That's right folks. You could be like Henry in the snows of Canossa pleading for entry, check in hand, and the suits will merely pour hot lead from the rooftop on you.
[Note: this analogy cannot withstand close inspection]
Posted at 09:23 AM
HIGHLARIOUS UPDATE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Remember the story I linked to about the two guys who allegedly found very old dollars in their backyard? Look like they stole it. They've been arrested.
Posted at 09:19 AM
THIS IS IT [K. J. Lopez]
The door to our Atlantafest closes TODAY. It's an act now moment.
You don't want to be left behind if you don’t have to be…
Posted at 09:01 AM
THE DEMS' CHRISTIAN STRATEGY [Stanley Kurtz]
Yesterday, I suggested that the Harper’s cover story could signal the start of a larger campaign against conservative Christians. Well, take a look at plans for this upcoming conference at City University of New York, “Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right,” which features luminaries like Karen Armstrong and one of the Harper’s authors, Jeff Sharlet. Notice that the conference is supported by People for the American Way, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, The Nation, The Village Voice, and the National Council of Churches. After the election, there was some talk of Democrats reaching out to Christians and toning down their language of attack. This conference shows that the Democratic left is determined to go the opposite route. The strategy seems to be to tar the Republicans as captive of Dominionist Christians–folks who want to force every American to pay church tithes and bring back capital punishment for blasphemy and witchcraft. Looks like it’s going to be an interesting election.
Posted at 08:57 AM
GEEK BLEG [K. J. Lopez]
I'm looking to get a Blackberry of some sort (I'm slow). Just want to be able to use the web and e-mail from wherever without headaches. Do what I need to do conveniently from anywhere. Any recs? (Blackberry or Treo, etc?) Thanks in advance.
Posted at 08:55 AM
HAVE YOU [K. J. Lopez]
clicked on this link and read it?
Yes, it's about Atlanta. Want to get away for a day? Consider it.
Posted at 08:37 AM
PPS [The Couch]
Didn't Tony Blair just outlaw Gunning-Foxes?
Posted at 08:35 AM
P.S. [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm hoping my use of the phrase elan vital will boost my score on that Gunning-Fox thingamajig.
Posted at 08:33 AM
ME V SULLIVAN [Jonah Goldberg ]
I slapped together a G-File on Sullivan's Opus trying to focus on one of the themes Ponnuru didn't already address.
Those of you who want to yell at me about it can swing by the Dubliner tonight. I will be the guy using the bartender's garnish tray as a salad bar. "Ooooooo...cocktail onions and lemon wedges...!"
Posted at 08:32 AM
RE: THE BLOG CHICKS [K. J. Lopez]
Amen. I like Inside Politics. Much less since that blog thing started. I arged a little with our friend Hugh Hewitt a few weeks ago about it. He likes--just its existence proves the MSM knows how important the blogoshere is, etc. But I see it as "let's see what the children are doing over in their cyber paypen." And, yes, that made up conversation Jonah just ran with: I know I heard that last week on there.
Posted at 08:18 AM
THE BLOG REPORT [Jonah Goldberg]
Or Blogline, or Meet the Blogs or whatever that thing's is called. Let me use Judy Woodruff's departure from Inside Politics as an excuse to call it -- i.e. the Blog Street Journal, not IP -- the dumbest feature in television news today. Have you seen it? Some newsettes sit around and read from their screens whenever Judy asks "What's going on with the blogs...right now."
"Well, Judy. A poster on the Daily Kos seems to think Howard Dean is doing a great job. But -- and this is interesting! -- the conservative blog site Little Green Footballs seems to disagree. There's no telling what to make of that Judy. But we'll stay on top of this story as it develops. Back to you Judy."
I'm sure the intrepid screen readers who handle this heavy-lifting are perfectly fine and decent people who are merely going with the best gig presented to them. But I find the whole thing so lame as to be mortifying. It's amazing to me that the network which claims to be taking the high road -- on arguably its most serious show -- goes in for this kind of gimmick. On the other hand, that the entire MSNBC network is this gimmick doesn't surprise me in the slightest.
Posted at 08:07 AM
LAST NIGHT [K. J. Lopez]
Read or watch the press conference here. Based on many conversations this morning, many of you will want that.
Posted at 08:03 AM
6-8 TONIGHT [K. J. Lopez]
Be at the Dubliner or be square. (I exclude anyone with really important business, which includes feeding the kids. Some among us just don't feed the kids some nights. Some children thrive on that. It's all in Dr. Spock--the other one.) Corner folk, The Buzzman will be there. Come one, come all.
Posted at 07:51 AM
ARTS & LETTERS DAILY [Jonah Goldberg]
A month or two ago, I criticized them for seeming to drift to the left. Still good, but not as great as they once were, was my appraisal.
I'm coming around the view that they were just having a bad stretch. Maybe lefty treacle sprout like algae plumes every now and then and ALD -- which kind of serves as water filtration plant for intellectual currents -- simply reflected that for a little while. Or perhaps the unbridled power of the Corner's admonishments forced them to change their ways! Who knows? But it's been pretty good lately.
Posted at 07:47 AM
SEX DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAIN [Jonah Goldberg]
Boys and girls are different from the get-go. From Scientific American:
On a gray day in mid-January, Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard University, suggested that innate differences in the build of the male and female brain might be one factor underlying the relative scarcity of women in science. His remarks reignited a debate that has been smoldering for a century, ever since some scientists sizing up the brains of both sexes began using their main finding--that female brains tend to be smaller--to bolster the view that women are intellectually inferior to men.
Posted at 07:43 AM
KITTEN CANNON [Jonah Goldberg ]
Too early in the morning for violent anti-feline timewaster?
Posted at 07:30 AM
ABOUT LAST NIGHT [Jonah Goldberg]
All I know is that it would have been a more exciting presser if Bush announced "Osama Bin Laden has been captured. He's in the basement. Barney and Mrs. Beasley are down there barking at him now."
Posted at 07:24 AM
LAURA INGRAHAM, POST-OP [K. J. Lopez]
"I think I took a turn for the worse when in the middle of the night I turned on CNN to see Al Gore popping gasket about 'extreme' judges at the moveon.hasbeens rally." More on her website.
Posted at 06:27 AM
HASAN AKBAR [K. J. Lopez]
has been sentenced to death.
Posted at 06:23 AM
UNGAG THEM [John J. Miller]
I've got some unsolicited advice for the White House regarding its unconfirmed judges: Let 'em loose. Or at least a few of them. Like Janice Rogers Brown, for instance. I've never understood why people nominated for a Senate-confirmed job all of a sudden have to shut up and not say anything publicly. Well, actually, I do know: This is an ancient D.C. protocol that's meant to show respect for the world's greatest deliberative body, or somesuch nonsense. Yet a nominee like Judge Brown is her own best advocate. She ought to be going on Larry King and a few other shows to talk about her background -- born in the South, attended segregated schools, remembers Brown v. Board decision coming down, etc. Americans will like her. But right now they've never met her. And they won't ever meet her as long as she's bottled up by Democratic senators, to whom the administration continues to pay fealty by observing a set of outdated and counterproductive rules.
Posted at 05:39 AM
ABOUT LAST NIGHT [K. J. Lopez]
Watching a press conference in which both the press and viewers struggled to stifle yawns as the President tried to compete against baseball, sitcoms, polls and pop star contests, all I can think of is how far we've come in just 42 months, from a point when every sentient being on the planet sat on the edge of their seats relishing every expression of this President's response to the worst attack on American soil in history. And what little credit we give him for leading us through that journey, back from the precipice to the relative ho-hum of a present day preoccupied with old-age welfare projections 30 years out.
Posted at 05:31 AM
Thursday, April 28, 2005
I'M REALLY ONLY CASUALLY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE [K. J. Lopez]
Seemed like SS beggining is what you would have expected (good). Iraq was good. Judges left something to be desired (The inherent unfairness of the obstruction wasn't well elucidated....)... And he looks comfortable, which always goes a long way.
Posted at 08:23 PM
SEEMS A PRETTY STRONG... [Rich Lowry]
...start to me. But sometimes he gets tired as he goes and gets more ragged. We'll see...
Posted at 08:20 PM
JUST POINTING OUT... [K. J. Lopez]
It's baseball season. The Yankees (And Angels) are up against W. Won't be among the most watched presidential pressers...
Posted at 08:12 PM
A JET [K. J. Lopez]
Yes. Just what the suits planned to use the Atlanta fundraising money for. (NOT--it all about making NR/NRO better reads for you.)
Posted at 06:25 PM
I'VE GOT IT [Jonah Goldberg]
NRO needs a jet.
Posted at 05:40 PM
OH HOW I WISH... [Jonah Goldberg]
...some major executive at Delta Airlines were a Corner fan so I could have the person who screwed up my itinerary dressed down. I've spent over forty minutes with them, paid through the nose, blew out my entire Frequent Flier account only to discover on inspection that the whole thing was done wrong, has to be cancelled and cannot be booked correctly -- so now I'm back where I started. Argh. Grrr.
Posted at 05:30 PM
LEGAL DISPUTES AND PARLIAMENTARY MANEUVERS [Rich Lowry ]
Someone was just describing to me what happened today in the Iraqi assembly with the approval of the cabinet ministers. I hope there are good, detailed accounts in the papers tomorrow. There was a bunch of back-and-forth about what exactly was the technically lawful way for going forward and debate about the correct parliamentary procedure of the sort we usually associate with Frist and Reid. I'm sure Maureen Dowd will complain at some point, “What's wrong with these Iraqis--all they do is bicker about the law?” Anyone with any perspective, of course, will realize what a marvel this is to behold.
Posted at 05:29 PM
GUNNING FOG INDEX [John Derbyshire]
I must work to get my score down. From this day on, all the words I use will be as short as I can make them. I shall use no words of more than one... you know what.
If you still find my blogs hard to read, I shall try to cut down on the count of words per blog.
A man can do just so much.
Posted at 05:12 PM
JUST SAY "NEE" [Andrew Stuttaford]
"Europe, for the Dutch, has lost its allure. Few politicians now call for an ever-closer union. Even fewer see in Brussels a model of efficiency, probity or accountability. The Dutch are to vote on the European constitution three days after the French referendum. Disillusioned with EU bureaucracy, resentful that they pay a disproportionately high share of the EU’s rising costs and fearful of losing their national identity, the Dutch may vote decisively against...Above all, the country is reacting to years of stifling liberal consensus. There is a backlash against the assumptions that The Hague should pay generously for other Europeans, take a lead in development aid or make concessions to a club dominated by larger members determined to have their own way. The Dutch want to concentrate on priorities at home. What they dislike is not the idea of a constitution, but the accretion of more power to an unaccountable Brussels. The Netherlands has the chance to speak for Europe. The Dutch should vote “nee” in the referendum."
Zo is dat.
Posted at 05:08 PM
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [K. J. Lopez]
For the record, Jonah, exclamation points don't make you right. Italics do.
Posted at 05:07 PM
TITANIC DECODED [John Derbyshire]
I don't THINK this is the same reader who explained to me in 8,000 words why "Cool Hand Luke" was the New Testament in allegory, but I wouldn't swear to it.
"Dear John Derbyshire - The fact you think Titanic is a cinema masterpiece is an indicator of your sophistication and taste. Titanic is indeed a great work of art, despite a few instances of stinker lines. James Cameron is one of the most solid screenwriters working today, most of the dialogue in Titanic smacks of realism. People who criticize the sappy romantic dialogue of the two main characters are forgetting just how sappy two kids in love can be, and I wonder whether any critic of that dialogue has ever had a whirlwind young romance of the type experienced by them.
"I want to make an important, I think vital, point about a metaphor that exists in the movie. It's no secret that Cameron intended the Titanic to be a big philosophical movie - in the film, the Titanic is America, a luxury liner filled with idle rich partying it up on their journey across the ocean while the underclass and immigrants are crammed into steerage. To Cameron, a liberal apparently appalled by the materialism of the mid-90s, the iceberg that lay in it's path was any number of leftwing horror scenarios - global warming, environmental change, class warfare, etc. (It's important to note that Cameron is an apocalyptic film maker - see Terminator 1 and 2; Strange Days and The Abyss. In all the world is either ending or teetering on the brink of some kind of transformation or evolution.)
"We can forgive Cameron for never realizing that the real iceberg was 9-11 - an event that as sure as anything ended the partying, materialistic Clinton 90s. Watch Titanic again, and meditate on the visual imagery - the unsuspecting travellers, jarred by a violent collision; the sinking ship that becomes a tower slowing collapsing into the sea; the doomed clinging to the side, letting go and falling to their deaths - as someone who was in Arlington on 9-11, watching the towers collapse on TV as the Pentagon burned 5 blocks away, it's almost too hard for me to watch. Cameron's artistic achievement with Titanic is eeriely presient, and I can't imagine why no major writer about film has ever commented on this.
"To me, Titanic is a stunning achievement, more insightful and presaging of the imminent challenges to civilization than similar works of art like The Magic Mountain or The Rules of the Game. In 100 or 500 years, when future students want to understand the mindset of America in the late 20th century, they will watch Titanic.
"It's an amazing film, the most important American film in decades. Again - my compliments on your taste in cinema."
Er, thanks, Chris. Let's not get carried away here, though. It was just, you know, a movie.
Posted at 05:03 PM
RE: JUDY WOODRUFF [K. J. Lopez]
That's of course the only CNN show I watch regularly. We all watch Cap Gang, but only the weekends Kate's on.
Posted at 04:46 PM
IRAQ GOVERNMENT... [Rich Lowry ]
...is mostly set. Very good news.
Posted at 04:42 PM
AN ANSWER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
from someone who is a political scientist:
"Your questioner mixes two questions-- parliamentarism vs. presidentialism and federalism vs. unitary states.
"Federalism has been adopted in many successful ongoing constitutional democracies, including Canada, Australia, Germany, India, and Spain.
"What hasn't been adopted successfully is presidentialism. This is [a result of] both path dependence and selection effects.
"1a. Path dependence: Britain is parliamentary, and lots of the constitutional democracies in the world are former British colonies. Strong royal governors who existed in the 13 colonies in 1776 (standing in for a still-strong Crown at home), and strong republican governors filled their shoes, with a strong independent president following later. But by the time Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, etc., framed their governments, their local administration and the Westminster system in London were parliamentary.
"1b. Path dependence: The [West] German Basic Law has been more influential and more widely-copied in the postwar world than has the US Constitution. And the fact that the U.S. planted parliamentary systems in Germany and Japan probably helped to kill off the thought that even the U.S. thought a separately elected strong president was necessary for constitutional democracies.
"2. Selection effects. Lots of countries have *tried* independently elected strong presidents. And they haven't tended to remain constitutional democracies under that system. The U.S. political culture and underlying political conditions are very robustly republican-democratic-liberal; we could get a lot of institutional things wrong and still end up with a constitutional democracy. But where those things are more fragile, presidents seem to tend to become strongmen and dictators. Presidentialism has been a terrible failure in Latin America when it's been tried-- and it often was, in the 19th century, when the new Latin American republics took on the U.S. Constituion as a model.
"I'm sentimentally attached to presidentialism, and I theoretically like the stronger separation of powers you get with an independently elected executive. But the evidence suggests that the U.S. is unusual in being able to tolerate presidentialism and remain a democracy, and that parliamentarism is much the better bet for new constitutional democracies.
"(But parliamentarism is fully compatible with federalism--Canada, Australia, India, Spain.)"
Posted at 04:14 PM
INDEX OF ENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS [Jonah Goldberg]
BTW, I found the joint Pacific Research Institute - AEI publication extremely useful in getting prepared for my talk at U Minn this week. I wrote a column about environmental stuff today (i.e. out tomorrow) but I didn't get a chance to mention it there, so I'm doing it here. Steve Hayward and his colleagues do great work.
Moreover, they are advertising on our site. Look to the top of the page. You could do them, us, and yourself a big favor -- assuming you're interested in such things -- by clicking on the link.
Posted at 03:57 PM
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEMS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
An email opens up a new topic: "The United States has been the world’s greatest inspiration to freedom-lovers and young democracy movements for over 200 years. So why is it that worldwide – including now in Iraq – new democracies overwhelmingly choose the parliamentary form of government, rather than our federalist model? Is it because other nations (particularly smaller ones) don’t have the same rigid patchwork of semi-independent states we have? Or does it have to do with placating ethnic/sectarian concerns by giving them a chance to be part of a governing coalition? Still, the latter concern doesn’t seem like it would be a factor in, say, Israel.
"I have wondered this before, but I thought of it again with today’s news that Iraq has finally formed its new government. If they had followed the American model, they would have had their government in place by mid-February. The parliamentary form of government is certainly more responsive to the electorate, but its inherent instability would seem to make it a poor choice in a place like Iraq where a stronger executive branch could deal more effectively with law and order and keep things on a more consistent and even keel.
"But I’m no poli-sci expert, so please enlighten me (and maybe the Corner readers, as well)."
Wish I could. It's a good question, but I've never seen a satisfactory explanation.
Posted at 03:30 PM
FEAR OF PERSUASION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Doug Kern on military recruiting in high schools.
Posted at 03:26 PM
HAPPINESS, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Another email: "In this context, it might be worth quoting John Adams' 'Thoughts on Government.' Keep in mind that Gordon Wood calls 'Thoughts on Government' 'the most influential work guiding the framers of the new republics.' Adams explicitly connected happiness with virtue:
"'We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man. From this principle it will follow, that the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best.
"'All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue. Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, Mahomet, not to mention authorities really sacred, have agreed in this. If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?'
"An etext can be found here: http://www.founding.com/library/lbody.cfm?id=139&parent=54
"The bit I quote is at the beginning.
"It has been a couple of years since I read it, but wouldn't we find a
Posted at 03:17 PM
IT WOULD BE COOL!!!!!!! [Jonah Goldberg]
If (!!!!) exclamation points (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) automatically made you right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted at 03:12 PM
RE: BOLTON [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Subject: You are an idiot!!!
Posted at 03:07 PM
FEDERALIST 10 [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here's the full quote, backing up the point Jonah's correspondent made: "The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source."
Posted at 02:49 PM
JUDY WOODRUFF [K. J. Lopez]
is leaving CNN. Inside Politics might be the only CNN show I watch. This is a substance thing, not a ratings thing--seems like a big loss for the network.
Posted at 02:44 PM
GET THEE TO HIGH SCHOOL [K. J. Lopez]
Ponnuru is one of my favorite reads. He was not on the index; I was astonished!
Posted at 02:35 PM
THE WHOLE FRIST SPEECH: [K. J. Lopez]
Throughout the judicial obstruction debate, emotions have run high on both sides. This should remind all of us, once again, of the need to return civility to our nation’s capital.
Posted at 02:34 PM
RE: GORE [Jonah Goldberg]
From one of my more regular and hysterical lefy readers:
Posted at 02:32 PM
HAVE WE REALLY COME TO THIS? [K. J. Lopez]
The Mary Kay Letourneau wedding will be televised.
Posted at 02:27 PM
GORE & TOLERANCE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:13 PM
GORE & FACTION [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Well it appears that Al Gore has gone to the infamous tactic of taking quotes out of context. It doesn't really matter if Christianity or any religion has degenerated into a political faction because Madison's whole point in Federalist #10 was that we should embrace faction heartily as a necessary part of a large republic. A one-faction rule results when there aren't enough factions in and outside of political parties, since each of those factions resists incursion on its "turf" by other factions. Suppressing factions, no matter how influential, strikes at the core of the American, or indeed any other, democracy. Heck, even the communists are operating in this country without fear of arrest, (until they do something stupid like vandalism ala the McDonald's in France). Cheers
Posted at 02:09 PM
RE: GORE SPEECH [Jonah Goldberg]
Quick question: Doesn't Gore's actual argument feed the case made by evangelicals that the Democrats are deliberately filibustering judges of faith? I mean he's saying that Christians are a religious faction who see their judges being discriminated against. Isn't that pretty close to what evangelical conservatives have been saying? The merits of the argument(s) are one thing. But as a political argument, this seems like something the Democratic Party would try to avoid conceding.
Posted at 02:08 PM
FRIST OFFERS A COMPROMISE ON JUDGES [Byron York]
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is taking to the floor at this moment to offer Democrats a compromise in the battle over the president's judicial nominees. Under the terms of the compromise, which Frist calls a "fair deal" on nominations, Democrats would give up their filibusters and Republicans, in turn would offer:
a) Guaranteed up-or-down votes on nominations for Circuit Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court nominees.
b) Guaranteed debate time of up to 100 hours for those nominees.
c) Guaranteed reporting of nominees from the Senate Judiciary Committee to the Senate floor.
d) Guaranteed protection of the legislative filibuster.
Republicans say the deal would address the grievances of both parties in the last decade, that is, that nominees of both parties were not allowed up-or-down votes on the Senate floor. But Democrats are sure to reject the offer unless it were accompanied by a GOP offer to withdraw some or all of the president's currently filibustered nominees, and Republican sources tell National Review that Frist will not give any ground on any of those current nominees.
Posted at 02:05 PM
GORE SPEECH [Jonah Goldberg ]
The second interpretation it is. From the speech, as reprinted at
Through their words and threats, these Republicans are creating an atmosphere in which judges may well hesitate to exercise their independence for fear of Congressional retribution, or worse.
Posted at 01:58 PM
PERFECT! [Warren Bell]
My writing seems to Gunning-Fog in the low sevens, meaning that my target audience is seventh graders. Hey, I'm a sitcom writer -- that's a bulls-eye!
Posted at 01:55 PM
GORE V. AMERICA [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader writes:
Let's give Algore the benefit of the doubt that it was religious intolerance in Europe that led in part to North American colonization, and thus the birth of America. Otherwise, he truly is nuts, and I don't think he is that.
Me: Let's hope so, though even that interpretation isn't so benign -- or sane. Anybody have the full transcript?
Posted at 01:37 PM
WOW -- AND PEOPLE THINK IT'S A SHAME HE'S NOT PRESIDENT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Al Gore in his speech to MoveOn:
"This aggressive new strain of right-wing religious zealotry is actually a throwback to the intolerance that led to the creation of America in the first place," Gore said as many in the audience stood and applauded. The speech was sponsored by the liberal group MoveOn's political action committee.
Posted at 01:28 PM
I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS E-MAIL [K. J. Lopez ]
So I'm sharing it:
grade-level requirements to read NRO authors-
Posted at 01:19 PM
LOOK! COWS! [Jonah Goldberg]
Another thing that would make sense with a glossary.
Posted at 01:18 PM
DON'T LET THE BAD SPELLINGS DISTRACT YOU [Jonah Goldberg]
From all the bad arguments this guy makes re my piece in USA Today:
JG, I read your aticle in the USA today and you are way off base if you dont mind me saying. Just because the tech., ideologies, and terraain are different, one could not make an analogy betwwen the 2 wars. They are alot more similiar than they are different thats for sure. Just to name a few: 1. Both McNamara and Bush repeatdly lied about how well the wars were going. Everyone knows that is it complete chaos overthere now.
Posted at 01:14 PM
DOBSON IS NOT THE "ANTI-CHRIST" [K. J. Lopez]
Ken Salazar "regrets" having said he was.
Posted at 01:10 PM
MENDOOOOZZZAAAA! [Jonah Goldberg]
If we had a glossary, I could shout that more and confuse people less!
Posted at 01:04 PM
WAR OVER THE BARRETT REPORT [Byron York]
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn is circulating a letter today in an effort to stop a Democratic amendment that would cut off funds to the office of Independent Counsel David Barrett.
Barrett spent years investigating the case of Henry Cisneros, the Clinton administration Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Cisneros was accused of lying to the FBI about payments he made to a former girlfriend. In September 1999, Cisneros pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Barrett, who has finished his final report, is said to have uncovered evidence of Internal Revenue Service officials' efforts to protect Cisneros over allegations Cisneros had not paid taxes on the money he gave to the former girlfriend. Democrats are attempting to cut off Barrett's funds to keep the report from being made public.
Here is the Coburn letter, in full:
The Honorable Thad Cochran
Posted at 01:01 PM
WIKI-NRO [Jonah Goldberg]
Mostly positive responses so far. A sampling of pro and con emails:
No! No glossaries!
Posted at 01:00 PM
DC-ERS... [K. J. Lopez]
Are we going to see you tomorrow night at the Dubliner? One warning: Jonah is only allowed to be a quarter-of-the-way entertaining. He's saving himself for Atlanta.
Posted at 12:59 PM
P.S. [K. J. Lopez ]
I wouldn't mess with Tea Leoni too much either, or Stuttaford's X-Files defense mechanisms will kick in and take you outside in Atlanta to protect the good name of Mrs. Fox Mulder. Just warning you. I may be too busy chatting with the other neat people there.
Posted at 12:50 PM
DON'T MESS WITH SPANGLISH, BELL [K. J. Lopez ]
Warren, I stand by my previous Spanglish comments. It's a sweet movie about marriage and fatherhood.
Posted at 12:48 PM
NOT ALL CALIFORNIANS [Warren Bell ]
Like many parents of young children, my discussion of movies is frequently limited to A) anything animated that's out in theaters, B) Star Wars, and C) what just came out on DVD. So forgive me if I'm treading on already trodden ground.
My wife and I just watched Sideways and Spanglish. (Or most of Spanglish, anyway. In a home with several comfortable viewing areas and good-sized screens, we choose to watch most movies in bed on a 15-inch iBook, and the need for sleep frequently overwhelms the need for finding out what happens to Adam Sandler's burgeoning feelings for his housekeeper.)
Sideways was a disappointment, and how could it not be, after all the raves and awards? Paul Giamatti's performance is beyond superb, but I found the movie bleak and hollow. I've been saying this for years, but "neurotic" is not a synonym for "interesting." Spanglish is just a big mess all over, with over-the-top performances matching hateful, unrelatable characters. What could an audience do with Tea Leoni's Deb, except hope to avoid her?
Since both movies take place within driving distance of my home in SoCal, I fear they may be giving audiences a bad impression of what we're like out here. I want to assure people (especially those of you I may meet in Atlanta) that not all Californians are fatuous, self-involved, adulterous alcoholics. I am in fact only two of those things.
Posted at 12:45 PM
BEHOLD! [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 12:39 PM
HOT AND HEAVY NR XXL-ATHON [Jack Fowler]
Big NR duds (windshirts, polos, long- and short-sleeved tees) for big NRO dudes at great prices, with freebies, going fast, here.
Posted at 12:32 PM
HERE'S AN IDEA [Jonah Goldberg ]
I just got this email:
Hi Jonah, I am fairly new to politics: I only really started paying attention during the last election because there was so much at stake. This email is a cry for help- now that I am an NRO junkie I need help with all the technical terms like "Borking" and what volcano lancing lasers are for- is it a metaphor or are we talking actual volcano lancing? Now I know I'm incredibly ignorant- but I can't be the only one who could use some details. How about this: You could put up a sort of glossary on NRO of all the vital things a good conservative should know. We need Ramesh to explain the tricky bits, the Derb to explain what he said, and you to keep it funny. How about it? It would be a huge service, and a great running gag.
Me: Maybe this is crazy of me. But since I know for a fact no one at NRO wants to be assigned the job of actually writing an NRO glossay, maybe we should use a wiki to create an ongoing NRO glossary or NROpedia? I have no idea if I'm using Wiki in the absolutely correct way. But I think this could be a pretty cool innovation in web journalism and interactivity. Over time, it could evolve into a pretty useful document, with explanations of not just jokes and phrases we use around here, but whole concepts, biographies etc.
I will ponder more but I think there's real potential here.
Posted at 12:28 PM
RUMORS, RUMORS [K. J. Lopez]
File this under unsubstantiated gossip. Was chatting with Jim Robbins. He keeps hearing this morning that the president might have some OBL news tonight? A new Islamist website is reporting that bin Laden is dead...and Musharraf has for the first time said publicly that OBL is in his country. We shall see...I'm skeptical. Jim is too. Jim adds wisely though: "if there is major terrorism news the president should just talk about that and talk domestic politics later -- if there is no major news, he should stick to his domestic agenda." Social Security reform rocks, but, uh, would get buried with OBL in the news coverage.
Still...skeptical. But I said Ratzinger wasn't going to be pope.
Posted at 12:20 PM
I TAKE IT BACK [K. J. Lopez]
Okay, okay. 47 years of (literally) unblemished happiness might be a much for even for the happiest among us. Maybe. I'm more depressed about the Instathing. My guess is, though, that the Glenn Man was reading the press accounts. Pro-lifers strike another blow to abortion rights! We're obsessing about our hang-ups while we leave Ted Kennedy to fight the war. But that silly post is depressing beyond anything Insta...back to the morning papers and TV reports. It is depressing that more people can't look at this bill for what it is. This was a commonsense kinda thing, as I said last night. Teachers shouldn't be able to take your kid to get an abortion (and worse...). A lot of reasonable people can agree there--I think many would if they got a straighter story. .
Posted at 12:12 PM
TERRY ANDERSON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
on Jared Diamond and Montana.
Posted at 11:34 AM
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Continuing the discussion from yesterday, an email:
"1. Why did Jefferson replace 'property' with 'pursuit of happiness'? Historians usually attribute the alteration to a widespread awareness that 'property' was a colonial euphemism for 'slavery.' Had the Continental Congress proclaimed the purpose of government the preservation of life, liberty, and slavery, the document would have lost something of its rhetorical force, no?
"2. More seriously, I think [Andrew] Sullivan is widely off the mark in suggesting that the Founders were indifferent to the government's role in cultivating virtue. To a one, they subscribed to the logic of classic republicanism, which held that liberty could only be maintained by a virtuous people. (It held as a corollary that the only reliable means of safeguarding virtue was the cultivation of religious piety, but that's another matter for another time.) They believed that local governments were best positioned to cultivate the moral sentiments necessary for republican governance, but they weren't averse to seeing the national legislature take on the task within its proper domain -- specifically, in the federal territories. Recall, for example, Article 3 of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which stipulated that 'Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.'
"There's a lot more to say about this; I could go on for pages and pages. Suffice it to say, I think that Sullivan's interpretation can't bear the weight of overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary."
RP: This is all very interesting, as was the discussion yesterday, and I thank the correspondent. I think that the bit there about religion and morality "being necessary. . . to the happiness of mankind" gets you part of the way (but only part of the way) to an answer to my original questions--which were, again, whether we can identify a particular view of "happiness" among the Founders and whether that view included a moral component (whether, that is, they regarded happiness not just as satisfaction but as something closer to justified satisfaction).
Posted at 11:27 AM
REYNOLDS'S WAR [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Via GalleySlaves, I ran across a puzzling post from Glenn Reynolds. He is linking to a post by Kathryn about the passage of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act with the comment, "It's not like there's a war on, or anything." If Reynolds thinks it's a good idea for minors to be able to get abortions without parental notification, let him argue it. But the idea that it somehow detracts from the war effort for Congress to busy itself with such matters--as though Reynolds would have been delighted to see it happen in February 2001--is hard to take seriously.
Posted at 11:13 AM
WHAT AN AWFUL, DEPRESSING SENTENCE [K. J. Lopez]
From the NYTimes: "THAT a marriage begun in the Connecticut of the late 1950's could have produced a near unblemished record of happiness over 47 years seems as unlikely now as the chance of a fine tan acquired during a visit to Minsk."
Posted at 10:38 AM
SLIPPING... [Stanley Kurtz]
Family Scholars Blog has some interesting stuff, from Matthew Yglesias welcoming the slippery slope to polyamory, to a slide down that slope in New Zealand.
Posted at 10:00 AM
YOU TOO CAN BE A PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLAR... [Rich Lowry ]
...judging by the level of analysis in this quote by presidential scholar Stephen Hess on Bush: "He's basically lucky — some presidents just are lucky."
Posted at 09:57 AM
OH... [Jonah Goldberg]
And here's my column on Bolton -- up a day late because I was travelling.
Posted at 09:45 AM
ALSO IN THE USA TODAY... [Jonah Goldberg ]
Kathryn - on the opposing page from Elaine's piece is my own humble contribution on the 30th anniversary of the end of Vietnam.
Posted at 09:41 AM
"HOMOSEXUALITY IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH MILITARY SERVICE" [K. J. Lopez]
Elaine Donnelly makes a case.
Posted at 09:36 AM
CHRISTIAN FASCISTS [Stanley Kurtz]
The article from Harper’s I discuss in today’s piece is not available on the net, but you can find an excerpt about “Christian fascists” over at Mahablog. One thing I didn’t mention in my piece is the remark that appears to caution liberals against playing by the “old, polite rules of democracy” when dealing with conservative Christians. If I’m reading that right, then not only do we have a systematic attempt to identify conservative Christians with fascists in a mainstream organ, we also have a call to disregard democratic principles when opposing them. How’s that for the side that claims to respect “checks and balances?”
Posted at 08:52 AM
A REAL PRACTICAL REASON TO GO TO ATLANTA WITH NR NEXT WEEK [K. J. Lopez]
The Corner, I promise you, will be slooooow Thursday and Friday. Wouldn't you rather be yukking it up with Jonah, Rich, Kate, Ramesh, Derb, Stuttaford, and all the rest than staring at a 7-hour old timewaster? Do what you need to do.
Posted at 08:19 AM
FEEL THE LOVE [K. J. Lopez]
Saudi chief justice "is telling Saudis it's OK to go to Iraq and kill Americans and Iraqis and they won’t be punished for doing that,"
Posted at 08:16 AM
RE: PRIME TIME PRESSER [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, you have to applaud Rove for canceling out "Will & Grace" instead of the engrossing train wreck on "American Idol." But if I may get out my itty-bitty nitpicking tool, I noticed something in the AP story you posted. Why do the accuracy-obsessed media use the term "soaring" to describe gas prices, which are presently declining, at least on the gas station signs I'm looking at?
You could use words like "high," even "wallet-pinching" and be accurate. This happened in yesterday's TV reporting, with one network using "soaring," and CBS's Bill Plante in particular using "skyrocketing." Logging into Comcast to lodge this mini-complaint, the Comcast home page used the word "astronomical" as the adjective for gas prices. Pardon me for hypersensitivity if I sniff just a bit of malaise-building in this. For my own car, the current hike in gas prices is costing me about an extra five bucks a week, I think. It's not exactly an "astronomical" sacrifice -- unless, of course, it was a gas tax increase, in which I would find it intolerable and the liberal media would tell me it was "pennies."
Posted at 08:11 AM
SCUBA TANK MOVIE [Jonah Goldberg]
The reviews are in! From a reader:
That was perhaps the dumbest thing you have ever linked. Made even dumber by misspelling Los Angeles in the credits. Made even more head-scratchingly unfathomable by making me wonder what role the "Los Angleles Sheriff's Department" had in the making of the movie, and why. Thanks!
Posted at 07:44 AM
AN ARCHBISHOP QUOTES MARY KATHERINE DOWD [K. J. Lopez]
Unlike Jack Miles, Archbishop Chaput of Denver has a well-grounded piece on the Catholic Church and U.S. politics. He writes, in part:
One of the lessons from last year that too many American Catholics still don’t want to face is that it’s OK to be Catholic in today’s public square as long as we don’t try to live our beliefs too seriously; as long as we’re suitably embarrassed by all those “primitive” Catholic teachings; as long as we shut up about abortion and other sensitive moral issues and allow ourselves to be tutored in the ways of “polite” secular culture by experts who have little or no respect for the Christian faith that guides our lives.And, yes, he quotes Maureen Dowd's "cafeteria" line.
Posted at 07:22 AM
IT'S 2005 [K. J. Lopez]
It took schools this long to figure out how to control the prom music? No Elvis for you!
Posted at 07:18 AM
"RATZINGER WON THE ELECTION FOR BUSH." [K. J. Lopez]
I'm just getting to Jack Miles in the L.A.Times (from yesterday) now. It's...too funny. "If Bush backs Rome on abortion and euthanasia, Rome will do what it can to turn U.S. Catholics against the filibuster." He has got to be kidding. Mr. Miles has got to stop talking to the DU conspiracy theorist types.
Posted at 07:08 AM
FINALLY! [Jonah Goldberg]
Someone has made a film about what happens when you shoot scuba tanks with a rifle. I hope the academy is paying attention.
Was the scene in Jaws accurate? You find out.
Posted at 07:00 AM
EDWARDS '08? [K. J. Lopez]
Potential first ladies might want to stay far away from the DU abyss, no? What an awful Internet hole.
Posted at 06:34 AM
WELL, DEAR, YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE... [K. J. Lopez]
...in fact I sued a hospital because you are here...
Posted at 06:32 AM
MOVIN' OUT [K. J. Lopez]
Andy Ferguson says the future is not in the city.
Posted at 06:30 AM
IN OTHER TEEN NEWS [K. J. Lopez]
Girls in Canada can now get birth-control pills without parental consent, from a school nurse.
Posted at 01:29 AM
"A VICTORY FOR ABORTION OPPONENTS" [K. J. Lopez]
It's a true but annoying description of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (NYT). It was a victory for common sense. Still gotta get through the Senate obstructionists though.
Posted at 12:20 AM
RE: FIRST POST [K. J. Lopez]
Don't press your luck, L.A. newbie.
Posted at 12:17 AM
FIRST POST [Warren Bell]
Cheaters never prosper.
Posted at 12:16 AM
MUST-SEE TV IS BACK [K. J. Lopez]
Or so is the Rovian hope.
Posted at 12:16 AM
DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, JONAH... [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 12:10 AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
VICTORY FOR LIFE IN THE HOUSE [K. J. Lopez ]
The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act just passed 270-157. The law would make it a federal offense to take a child across state lines for an abortion. Two loophole-imposing amendments were shot down during the course of the afternoon.
Onto the Senate...
Posted at 07:14 PM
THAT'S INCREDIBLE [K. J. Lopez]
Ramesh, you'll want to check out Peter Robinson's interview with Craig Good from Pixar, too.
Posted at 05:53 PM
TITANIC THE MOVIE [Warren Bell]
In writer circles, Titanic is widely reviled. My two-word review (a specialty of mine): "Sink already." My favorite observation on the film concerns the moment at the end when Old Age Rose throws the extremely valuable gem overboard. Someone said, "Boy, she must have really hated her kids."
Posted at 05:50 PM
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: The class-war stuff didn't rise to serious irritation level with me -- and this working-class English lad is normally a mimosa about that kind of thing, so I'm astonished it got such a strong reaction from you. Guggenheim and several other gents were shown doing the decent thing (though we didn't see J.J. Astor being squished by the funnel, unless I forgot it). And IMS it *was* the case that the survival rate among first-class adult men was higher than for steerage children...
Posted at 05:37 PM
TITANIC: AN ENGINEER WRITES [John Derbyshire]
"Derbs: I wouldn't put Titanic in the all-time classic category, but what struck me was the gradual encroachment of the flooding (eerily disconcerting, eh?) and the superb depiction of the engineering spaces (especially when the Chief Engineer orders a reversal of the engines-- WOO HOO!!! that's what I call engineering)."
Posted at 05:36 PM
SPEAKING OF MOVIES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here's something about "The Incredibles and the Right" which I had not known.
Posted at 05:34 PM
"COULDN'T HAVE GONE BETTER" [K. J. Lopez]
Laura Ingraham's cancer surgery went well yesterday. I'm told she's in good cheer. Read the official update here. Our continued prayers and best wishes...
Posted at 05:19 PM
TITANIC: THE MOVIE [Jonah Goldberg]
Derb - I think it was a technically very well-made movie. I also hate it.
Did we really need all of the class war nonsense? The real story about some of the world's most fabulously wealthy and powerful men willingly sinking to their deaths was almost ignored in favor of all that treacle and cliche. Bleh.
Posted at 05:10 PM
JUST WHEN YOU WEREN'T BEING ANNOYED... [Rich Lowry ]
...by the 9/11 commissioners they are back, in a front page USA Today article. They warn that their recommended changes aren't being implemented quickly enough and may not be implemented before the next attack. Now, some of these recommendations seem necessary, even urgent--like more radio frequencies for first responders. But reorganizing congressional committees? Appointing a civil liberties board? Promoting American values in the Middle East (important, yes, but emphatically not a short-term project). The 9/11 commissioners are going to hold more hearings on all of this soon. If they had the guts to include border control in a high profile way, it might all be tolerable, otherwise this is going to be more insufferable, preening theater from people famous for it.
Posted at 05:01 PM
THE THINGS THEY COMPLAIN ABOUT [John Derbyshire]
An innumerable host of readers objects to my having said: "Coming to me for language instruction would be like going to the captain of the Titanic for lessons in navigation." Poor old E.J. was not at all deficient in navigational skills, these readers point out; he was just going too fast for the conditions.
Yeah, yeah. If he'd navigated his way round that danged iceberg, though (or, according to one school of thought, gone into it head-on instead of side-swiping it), we'd have one less simile to fool around with.
Incidentally, am I the only Corner resident who thinks that the 1997 movie "Titanic" was a masterpiece of modern film-making? I have seen it three or four times, and am more impressed each time. Sure, the human story is kind of hokey. It works, though, as hokey stories sometimes do; and the effects are simply superb. Every little thing -- the way the windows blow out as the stern goes down. You think: "Gosh, yes, that's what would have happened." And hokey as it is, the story is "true" at the evol-psych level. That young couple is full of pagan life force. "Have lots of babies!" are very nearly Jack's last words to Rose. You can't get more evol-psych than that.
Posted at 04:40 PM
WHAT HAPPENED TO NOT MIXING POLITICS WITH INTELLIGENCE? [Rich Lowry ]
Here's a paper written by one of the intelligence analysts that Bolton clashed with, Fulton Armstrong. There is some sound stuff in here about how intelligence analysts should behave, but this passage gives a pretty good idea of where he is coming from:
Should analysts accept the point of view of narrow interest groups as valid expressions of national interest, when an administration appears to endorse them?
He doesn't say so directly, but the strong implication is that if an administration accepts the “narrow” view on a question--in this case a tough-on-Cuba line--analysts shouldn't really accept it. That's certainly the way Armstorng behaved, waging a mini-war against Bolton on Cuba in the press and Capitol Hill. The thrust of the Democrats' position on this is that intelligence analysts should be able to do whatever they please, including undermining policymakers, without policymakers doing anything about it. That's no way to run a government obviously, and it would have been a travesty if Bolton HADN'T pushed back against the likes of Fulton Armstrong.
Posted at 04:26 PM
THAT TIME AGAIN? [Meghan Cox Gurdon]
I just found myself stuck in traffic behind a small car with a bumper sticker that read, "JOHN EDWARDS: PRESIDENT 2008" The first!
I suppose it's never too early, eh?
Posted at 03:38 PM
FIRST ON THE BLOCK, BEST ON THE BLOCK [K. J. Lopez]
I confess, Rich--I'm always in for the slightly less grimy option! Dubliner has always had my heart. See ya there.
Posted at 03:28 PM
THE DUBLINER!?! [Rich Lowry ]
Back in the day, I spent a lot of time at Irish Times, the Irish bar right next to the Dubliner in Washington. I'm not sure why, but I fostered an intense dislike of the Dubliner and always maintained that you were either an Irish Times person or a Dubliner person. It was definitely "a narcissism of small differences" kind of thing because all that distinguished the two was the the Dubliner was less grimy and the music there wasn't as bad (and now they are offering us a good drink deal!). But old loyalties die hard, so I'll look forward to seeing people on Friday at the SECOND best Irish bar on that block.
Posted at 03:24 PM
AND... [Jonah Goldberg]
Here are many Euro-geo timewasters. Say Buh-bye to Wednesday geography geeks.
Posted at 03:11 PM
MORE RE: RANDI RHODES [Tim Graham]
Ten years ago, on April 24, 1995, with the Oklahoma City bombing still echoing in the news, President Clinton denounced "promoters of paranoia" on the "airwaves." Peter Jennings relayed: "Clinton did not say so specifically but he clearly had the words of many ultra-conservative talk radio hosts in mind. All you have to do is listen to some of them to hear how they react to those with whom they do not agree." The network newscasters demonized talk radio as "democracy run amok." Tom Brokaw said Clinton appeared to aim at "talk radio programs that cater to the far right of the political spectrum" and that talk had "achieved a machine gun reputation in recent years." Who's betting they'll ignore Randi Rhodes tonight?
Posted at 03:11 PM
US GEO TIMEWASTER - HARDER [Jonah Goldberg ]
The first one was set at intermediate difficulty. This one doesn't keep the states up on the screen after you place them. this one's harder.
Posted at 03:06 PM
DEAR, DEAR KATE [K. J. Lopez]
People will fear the wrath of K-Lo if they don't pretend I'm the reason they are in Atlanta.
Nice try, though.
You can still sign up, by the way. And, yes, Kate, will talk. You'll love it--and her.
Posted at 03:00 PM
JUDGES AND RELIGION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Professor Bainbridge has been debating various libertarians (and the occasional liberal) about this topic. Everyone involved seems to share the premise that Senate Democrats are applying an abortion litmus test that excludes nominees who either think that Roe was a mistake, think that abortion is immoral, or think that it should be illegal--and are applying this test even to nominees who swear that as appeals-court judges they would adhere to Roe as a precedent. Everyone seems to agree that this test has the effect of ruling out traditionalist Christians--as Bainbridge puts it, it has a "disparate impact" on Catholics.
Bainbridge, as I read him, is not saying that the Senate Democrats are motivated by any special hostility or "bigotry" toward Catholics. As long as Republicans avoid saying that--or, worse, saying that Democrats are against "people of faith" generally--I don't see what the problem is. The fact that the Democrats' litmus test excludes faithful Catholics and evangelicals is a reason to reconsider the wisdom of the test. And to say that the Democrats have a litmus test that excludes faithful Catholics and evangelicals strikes me as fair game, not least because it is true.
Posted at 02:59 PM
HAPPINESS [Rick Brookhiser]
Jefferson was immediately reworking George Mason, whose premable to the proposed Virginia constitution, adopted June 12, 1776, says, "All men are created equally free and independent and have certain inherent and natural rights..., among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."
1. These are stock phrases of English whiggery: Locke, Kames, Jim Bob Jones, everybody used them.
2. Jefferson's genius was to phrase it absolutely right. Compare poor old Mason floundering around with what Jefferson wrought. As Mark Twain said, the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.
Posted at 02:55 PM
SPIN CITY [Cliff May]
Arms Move to Syria 'Unlikely,' Report SaysThe Bush administration's senior weapons inspector said in a report that it was "unlikely" that Saddam Hussein's forces moved weapons to Syria.
- The New York Times April 26, 2005
CIA can't rule out WMD move to Syria “The CIA's chief weapons inspector said he cannot rule out the possibility that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were secretly shipped to Syria before the March 2003 invasion, citing "sufficiently credible" evidence that WMDs may have been moved there.” - The Washington Times, April 27, 2005
Posted at 02:53 PM
AN APOLOGY FROM NPR [K. J. Lopez]
This, from a press release from Regnery:
Washington, D.C.—In a correction and apology broadcast yesterday, National Public Radio admitted that it falsely accused Mark Levin, author of the New York Times bestseller, Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America (Regnery 2005) of advocating violence against judges in a recent broadcast of the NPR program, “Day to Day.”
Posted at 02:53 PM
A CENTRIST THIRD PARTY? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Brendan Nyhan thinks it's a fantasy, and I'm inclined to agree.
Posted at 02:31 PM
HAPPINESS [Jonah Goldberg]
Once again, it seems the irrefutable wisdom of "if it's not Scottish, it's crap" has been confirmed. Iain Murray writes:
Chaps, It's my understanding that Jefferson took the concept from Scottish philosopher Lord Kames, whose work Principles of Morality in National Religion included the passage, "People have an innate sense of right and wrong. When they act virtuously, they increase the general happiness of mankind. Thus, the pursuit of virtue and morality is the pursuit of happiness." My notes tell me Jefferson underlined this passage. So Andrew is wrong, again, it seems...
Posted at 02:18 PM
NICE NOTE [Jonah Goldberg]
About last night, from my host:
Posted at 02:10 PM
THE PRESIDENT AND PRO-LIFERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Augustine over at RedState disagrees with my article yesterday. He thinks, first, that the administration should have been quicker to enforce the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, and second, that the president ought to spend more time and effort making the case against abortion. I don't have strong objections to either point. But I do think my point that pro-lifers need to make a sober assessment of the political constraints on pro-life politicians is stronger than Augustine allows.
Augustine writes, "The reality is that, as countless polls have indicated, the country is more and more open to the arguments of the pro-life cause.
"I would argue, in fact, that this has been the President's greatest failing. Forget the more public matters, such as the dominance of pro-choicers in his Cabinet and as speakers at the RNC convention. It is indisputable that the President has personally on several occasions used the excuse that the cultural climate in America has not moved to a point where they will accept a ban on abortion--an excuse which is at best cowardly, at worst a crass political maneuver--yet the simple fact, based again on numerous polls, is that the current law is far less restrictive than what most Americans would tolerate."
I don't agree with Augustine's reading of the polls. It is true (and has long been true) that a small majority of the public will answer yes when asked if abortion should be banned with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. It is also true (and has long been true) that large majorities favor prohibitions on second- and third-trimester abortions. Majorities or near-majorities say abortion is murder.
But if you ask the question differently--if you ask, for example, if abortion should be "between a woman and her doctor"--you get pro-choice results. And you also get majority support for Roe (especially when Roe is misdescribed in the polling question, but that's another story). The percentage of people who consider themselves pro-life is lower than the percentage who support a general ban on abortion.
There are a variety of ways to make sense of this data, but I think it is reasonable to make two assumptions. The first is that some people who hold pro-life views hesitate to call themselves pro-lifers because they associate the movement with zealotry and extremism. The second is that people don't like to think or hear about abortion. (That's one reason pro-choicers rarely use the word.) Only a small number of voters consider abortion one of their top issues (most of them are pro-life). The general public is simply not looking for officeholders who present abortion--stopping it or keeping it--as one of their top priorities. Take the special election in the 22nd district of California in 1998. It's hard to believe that a majority of voters there favor partial-birth abortion. But when the Republican candidate was seen as making the race turn on the issue, the public reaction was highly negative.
Hillary Clinton's remarks reflect a real pro-life advantage in public opinion, and especially in voting intensity. But they also reflect the imperative that she not be seen as a pro-choice crusader. The lesson of her remarks is not that pro-lifers can be seen as crusaders themselves.
More Augustine: "And even if you doubt all of those polls, the question becomes: what is the permanent standard for the President on abortion? Is it expecting him and his Administration to work in a dedicated, sustained manner to stop abortion? Or is it an expectation that they will only undertake what they think 'our culture' and 'political realities' will tolerate?"
I think the standard should be somewhere between doing the bare minimum to keep pro-lifers in the Republican camp and doing so much that you make it impossible to create and sustain a pro-life political majority. If the House voted on a Human Life Amendment today, it would get less than 100 votes--and there would be fewer pro-lifers in the next Congress. I think Augustine understands that I don't like a lot of the phenomena I'm describing--but again, they can't be wished away.
Posted at 02:04 PM
YOU ASKED FOR IT. [Jonah Goldberg ]
Find the European capitals!
Posted at 01:53 PM
RE: GEO TIMEWASTER [Jonah Goldberg]
I love all the people writing me to tell me that while the timewaster was fun, it wasn't hard enough and therefore not a good timewaster. Translation: "Better" timewasters waste more time of readers.
Posted at 01:51 PM
RE: HAPPINESS [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - I'm sure you'll get lots of responses to your question more thoughtful than this -- which really isn't an attempt at answering your question.
But don't you have to start with Locke's second treatise which used the phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of property" (or something close to that, I'm quoting from memory). Why did Jefferson switch the words? My own personal view was always that while the pursuit of property (in the Lockean sense) is necessary for a liberal regime it is not sufficient for a moral -- i.e. healthy -- society. I guess I agree with Charles Murray. "Happiness" obviously includes the pursuit of property but it includes something more -- I think, an acknowledgment of something larger and more transcendent which must include notions of a decent life. Obviously, Jefferson didn't use "virtue" instead of "happiness" for a reason but, like you, I don't know what that reason was.
Posted at 01:42 PM
RE: CRIMINEY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Thanks Jonah. I did, however, skip over one interesting point Sullivan makes. I was so busy earning brownie points with my boss that I omitted this parenthetical passage from Sullivan's essay: "(The purpose of the Constitution was to preserve the Declaration of Independence's right to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' The word 'virtue' is not included in that phrase. Its omission is the single greatest innovation of the U.S. founding.)" Now it seems pretty clear that the Founders did not consider the promotion of virtue to be among the major tasks of the limited federal government they established--although I'd be interested in any argument to the contrary that anyone wanted to make. It also seems pretty clear that they had no great objection to the promotion of virtue by state governments. But the point I find interesting here is: What was the prevailing understanding (if there was one) of the phrase "the pursuit of happiness" at the time of the Founding? There is a respectable view that happiness, properly considered, has a moral component--that it means, as Charles Murray put it in In Pursuit, "lasting and justified satisfaction." (I believe that Murray goes on to suggest that a person who experiences constant pleasure as a result of drugs is not truly "happy.") What, I wonder, was the Founders' view of this matter? Someone must have done work on this subject--maybe the folks at the Claremont Institute?
Posted at 12:59 PM
GET TO A FLOOR VOTE [Rich Lowry ]
That's the White House strategy on Bolton, according to the Washington Post. This passage suggests the WH is on the right track generally:
The White House is providing detailed rebuttals to any allegations Republican senators find troubling. Bush is also looking to make the debate over Bolton about reforming the United Nations, not Bolton's temperament, and working with Senate Republicans to produce a vote count this week showing there are enough votes to approve the nominee on the floor.
Posted at 12:38 PM
RE: DOG EAT DOG WORLD [Cosmo]
I resent that.
Posted at 12:34 PM
IT'S A DOG EAT DOG WORLD [Kate O'Beirne]
around here. (Rich would never permit any cat on cat violence). Our Atlanta blow-out May 5th will provide my cut-throat colleagues with the latest opportunity for the vicious one-upmanship I live with. So, will a few people please sign up now for Atlanta and explain that they are coming specifically because I asked them to? Then we'll see if Jonah or Ramesh can top THAT!
P.S. There's lots of Capital Gang gossip. . .
Posted at 12:07 PM
(EDUCATIONAL) TIMEWASTER! [Jonah Goldberg ]
Cooler-than-average geography puzzle. I like how it tells you how many miles your off.
Posted at 12:02 PM
HOLY SECOND HELPINGS, BATMAN! IT’S THE NR XXL-ATHON [Jack Fowler]
Yes, Boy Wonder, it’s true: there are thousands upon thousands of big-boned, EEEE-shoed, comfort-fitted, conservative tough guys out there, and National Review has the good-lookin’, right-wingin’ duds these brawny behemoths need. The acclaimed NR XXL-Athon is now in progress, and we’ve got a number (but not a lot!) of official NR polo shirts, windshirts, and tee shirts (long and short sleeves) on sale. Heck, we’ve even got some windshirts and polo shirts available for those scrawny XL guys and gals. As usual, shipping is free, and anyone who makes a purchase will receive a FREE NR tee shirt. So come on you Paul Bunyeon wannabes, get those glorious and comfortable NR duds, now, while supplies last. Order them securely here.
Posted at 12:01 PM
CRIMINEY! [Jonah Goldberg]
The other day I said I'd respond to Sullivan's opus after I read it (I still haven't; forgot to bring it on plane). Ramesh sent me a note asking if I'd mind if he went first as he'd already read it. I said, sure no problem, free country etc.
I come back to find he methodically unrolled his entire ginsu knife set -- complete with that curved-bladed thingamajig no one knows how to use -- and dissected the piece like a lab frog. What's left for me? The punctuation? The kerning? Jeepers.
Posted at 11:56 AM
TONGUE TIED [John Derbyshire]
Coming to me for language instruction would be like going to the captain of the Titanic for lessons in navigation. As I confessed a while ago on NRO, I don't do languages.
Posted at 11:46 AM
I HAVE RETURNED [Jonah Goldberg]
I had a really fine time at UMN. CFact -- a campus conservative environmental group -- was a fine host. My talk seemed well received. People laughed at the appropriate spots (at Ithaca earlier this month when I gave a talk about diversity I felt like I should stop every now and then and say "these are the jokes people") and asked a lot of thoughtful questions. What was particularly interesting was that while the relatively smallish room was packed, NRO readers and folks who saw a mention on Powerline outnumbered students by -- I'd guess -- five to one. I shudder to imagine what the room would have been like if only students attended.
I also shudder to think what I will do to the kid from CFact who was supposed to drive me to the airport this morning but slept through his alarm leaving me stranded -- should I ever encounter him again.
A major highpoint was meeting and having beers with James Lileks who joined a bunch of students and NRO readers at some bar -- I believe called Big 10. We cornerd a few tables and had a fine time talking all things blogish, conservative, family life and whatnot. Lileks is not only a very, very nice and smart guy, but I can also report he's literally half the man I am.
Update I now see that Lileks has already -- and very kindly -- recounted the events of last night. He leaves out that he was as greeted like Aragorn at the Prancing Pony Inn at the Big Ten. But again, very good dude.
Posted at 11:41 AM
WARREN BELL [K. J. Lopez]
will be hanging in The Corner a bit regularly. If you haven't read him yet, he's graced NRO with his love for his aforementioned car, advice for what to say at awkward moments, and his theories on men and women and comedy (Larry Summers is right!).
Happy to have him beaming in from L.A. Until he breaks various prohibitions....
Posted at 11:35 AM
“BUSH TO WED SAUDI PRINCE” [Rich Lowry ]
Mildly amusing Borowitz Report:
Former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, who was accused of being overly affectionate in public with his then-running mate, Sen. John Edwards, while on the 2004 campaign trail, was one of the first to note the steamy display between Mr. Bush and Prince Abdullah.
Posted at 11:28 AM
IN PRAISE OF DISNEY [Warren Bell]
We took our boys to Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland theme parks yesterday and had much the usual time of it -- long lines, thousands of overweight Americans, and Disney's continued inability to serve anything other than the most wretched food imaginable inside the park. (Just outside the gates in Downtown Disney, there are several terrific restaurants.)
But the real eye-opener is a new attraction -- Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. BLAB is a terrific combination of ride and arcade game, putting two people in a traditional bucket-car equipped with laser blasters, then moving them "It's A Small World"-style through a lengthy maze full of targets, including Buzz Lightyear's enemy Emperor Zurg. The car also rotates with an onboard joystick and keeps each player's scores. My boys scored in the teen-thousands, while my wife managed an impressive 45,700 and I scored an obviously malfunctioned 34,500. (The uber-nerd in front of us had 495,000.)
The point being: Guns! At Disneyland in the 21st century, our children are being given guns and urged to shoot them! Surely the protests begin tomorrow.
Posted at 11:23 AM
SOMETIMES WE'RE FREE AND EASY [K. J. Lopez]
If you're in D.C. Friday, don't forget to stop by the Dubliner.
Posted at 11:22 AM
RE: RANDI RHODES [Tim Graham]
Air America, full of venom? That's funny. The New York Times listened to Air America's first day last year and complained there was not enough "rage."
But in retrospect, the funniest part of that article was Janeane Garofalo insisting they would not be as nasty as right-wingers. "On the left traditionally, you've got a nicer type of person. You've got a person who is more willing to engage in conversations that have context and nuance."
Posted at 11:20 AM
THIS CAN'T HAPPEN IN THE MASERATI QUATTROPORTE [Warren Bell ]
"Would Be Burglar Locks Self in Trunk"
The QP has a convenient little pull-handle on the inside of the trunk lid that releases the locked trunk. Those Italians! What will they think of next?!
Posted at 11:19 AM
RE: "SOUL-DESTROYING" WORK [K. J. Lopez]
Yes, I saw the Star Trek reference. It was too creepy and the general subject matter too awful to comment on that detail.
Posted at 10:25 AM
"SOUL-DESTROYING" WORK [K. J. Lopez ]
This is another engrossing article in the news today: From the LA Times, on tracking down child abusers. Horrific work, horrific realities for the "unsmiling girl" and other children caught in this web of evil, child pornography. But thank goodness there are good folks who are on the trail. Witness, for an example:
Almost every investigator in the office has a talisman to ward off the ghosts that haunt the workday. For Gillespie, it's a Christmas card from the mother of a 3-month-old boy who had been raped by his uncle, thanking Gillespie and encouraging him to keep going even when he wants to give up. Gillespie tells a bit of the child's story, then swivels his chair to face the window when his eyes begin to well up. He turns back, recomposed.But the same detective, Det. Sgt. Paul Gillespie of the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit, also points out: "We're doing a terrible job," he says in his office at police headquarters. "Five hundred kids of 50,000? What is that?"
Here's to many more successes…'till every last abuser is behind bars.
And I suspect after reading the piece, they'll be more than a few folks praying for the protection of these guys' souls.
Posted at 09:49 AM
SOUNDS LIKE A JOB FOR THE DERB [K. J. Lopez]
Perhaps pur next fundraiser idea should revolve around Derbyshire giving Chinese lessons.
Posted at 09:43 AM
AIR AMERICA AND VIOLENCE [Byron York]
The skit this week by Air America host Randi Rhodes featuring simulated gunshots fired at President Bush is at least the second time Rhodes has used her program to discuss the idea of killing the president.
On her May 10, 2004, Air America program, Rhodes compared Bush to Fredo Corleone, the weak son in the Godfather movies, who was, on his brother Michael's orders, taken on a fishing trip during which he was murdered with a gunshot to the head. "They are the Corleones," Rhodes said of the Bush family. "The Fredo of the family is the president of the United States, so why doesn't his father take him, or his brother, one of them, take him out for a little, uh, fishing? You know, let him say some Hail Marys, he loves God so much. Yeah, take him out, you know, 'Hail Mary, full of grace, God is with thee' -- POW!" Rhodes paused briefly before adding, "Works for me."
Posted at 09:40 AM
MODO PLEA [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail: "I beseech you. Every time you reference one of her columns, I am compelled to go and read it. Like a train wreck, I can't seem to look away. Then, my day is spoiled. Please stop."
I hear you, but fight the power. MoDo should never how the power to ruin anyone's day. Not even The Corner should have that power...well, unless we don't like you. Or you abuse the Star Trek rules. Or...
Posted at 09:34 AM
"PRICELESS" [K. J. Lopez ]
Cathy Settle, who attended our NY fundraiser in February sends me an unsolicited memo "To: Any Atlanta Fence- Sitters." She writes:
I am a single mom who works for a company on the verge of liquidation. My required union dues take the equivalent of a Mercedes car payment out of every paycheck. So of course I sent in my $750 and flew out to N.Y. for the first NRO fundraiser [of the year]….the weather: abominable, the evening: priceless…. At the N.Y. fundraiser there were 70 of us 'guests' and yet it was truly an intimate cocktail party atmosphere. Better that we imagined. The NRO/Corner Editors are even taller, smarter, better looking, funnier and more charming and verbose than they are on The Corner. Atlanta area fans/readers, you won't have one regret about spending $500 to 'hang out' with your NR friends.
Posted at 09:07 AM
WMDS IN SYRIA? [K. J. Lopez]
The CIA can't rule out that's where Saddam's weapons went.
Posted at 09:01 AM
FRIENDS IN MSM PLACES? [K. J. Lopez ]
There is a pro-Bolton op-ed piece in the Boston Globe! I wouldn’t have bet on that one.
Posted at 08:59 AM
HE'S BAAACK [Tim Graham]
In case you missed it, an aging empire of fierce ideology has returned power to one of its real hardliners: that's right, Bill Moyers is back on PBS. The show "Wide Angle" focused on Pope Benedict last night, in a fairly balanced and respectful way -- until Moyers ended the program with a conventional left-wing take by interviewing author James Carroll, who expressed our dire need for a pope like Gorbachev.
Posted at 08:33 AM
B16 ON "BENEDICT" [K. J. Lopez]
From his general audience at the Vatican today (as relayed by the Vatican Press Office):
"Resuming the Wednesday general audiences," he went on, "I wish to speak of the name I chose on becoming bishop of Rome and pastor of the universal Church. I chose to call myself Benedict XVI ideally as a link to the venerated Pontiff, Benedict XV, who guided the Church through the turbulent times of the First World War. He was a true and courageous prophet of peace who struggled strenuously and bravely, first to avoid the drama of war and then to limit its terrible consequences. In his footsteps I place my ministry, in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples, profoundly convinced that the great good of peace is above all a gift of God, a fragile and precious gift to be invoked, safeguarded and constructed, day after day and with everyone's contribution.
Posted at 08:22 AM
CONSTRUCTIVE DIFFERENCES [K. J. Lopez]
Young theologian Pia de Solenni on women in the Catholic Church. (I missed it--is from Sunday's WashPost Outlook section.)
Posted at 08:19 AM
"UP, DOWN OR OUT" [K. J. Lopez]
Bob Dole has a sensible op-ed in the NY Times today on judges and Senate rules:
In the coming days, I hope changing the Senate's rules won't be necessary, but Senator Frist will be fully justified in doing so if he believes he has exhausted every effort at compromise. Of course, there is an easier solution to the impasse: Democrats can stop playing their obstruction game and let President Bush's judicial nominees receive what they are entitled to: an up-or-down vote on the floor of the world's greatest deliberative body.
Posted at 08:15 AM
RE: SURPRISE! SYRIA LIES [Andy McCarthy]
Memo to the Washington Post: Please. Go to your room and read Michael Ledeen. As long as Hezbollah is in Lebanon, Syria is in Lebanon (as is Iran).
Posted at 07:26 AM
DRINKS, MEATS & THE BLOG RECORD [K. J. Lopez]
James Lileks tells what Jonah was really doing in Minnesota.
Posted at 07:26 AM
MAUREEN & ME--RIGHT ON, SISTA! [K. J. Lopez ]
In general, MoDo reads (I don't really read her though, I [skim] her--life is too short as I always say about my CUA sorority sister) like she started drinking before deadline again (something I'm always tempted to do myself—if only I had a Pulitzer to fall back on), but two quick things.
I can't be the only one who wouldn't hate to see this: John Bolton "chasing the Syrian ambassador down the hall, throwing a stapler at his head and biting at his ankles?" Or something like that…beats months of warnings: Now, Saddam, go hide or destroy all your weapons now, because the U.S. might be moving in soon…
And, yeah: Right, on Maureen, on this outrage of modern life: "George Tenet presided over the two biggest intelligence failures in modern history. He slam-dunked a Medal of Freedom out of them."
Posted at 07:14 AM
DIDYA EVER THINK? [K. J. Lopez]
NYTimes columnist makes the case for W to nominate his dad...to the Bolton spot.
Posted at 07:04 AM
SURPRISE! SYRIA LIES [K. J. Lopez]
Washington Post: "Syria has not withdrawn a significant part of its intelligence presence in Lebanon, undermining its claim yesterday to have ended its 29-year intervention in its western neighbor, U.S., European and U.N. officials said."
Posted at 07:03 AM
R. GREGORY STEVENS, RIP [John J. Miller]
I found this story in today's NYT -- headlined "The Mystery of Hollywood's Dead Republican" -- totally engrossing.
Posted at 05:49 AM
MILLIONS...NOT [K. J. Lopez]
Now me, when I see the "first post of the day" I get supremely irritated. But there's no accounting for taste. You should poll the readers of The Corner and ask what they think of this ritual. I can imagine others, like me, getting angry, but I'm curious how many people leap for joy when a favorite pundit battles the odds and emerges as the victorious FIRST POSTER OF THE DAY!
Posted at 05:35 AM
FPOD [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 01:57 AM
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
TED KENNEDY'S CHOICES [K. J. Lopez]
Arthur Chrenkoff makes an observation.
Posted at 08:45 PM
INTERNET INTERRUPTED [K. J. Lopez]
Smart, clever Andrew Breitbart, once of the Drudge Report, now of the Huffington Post, says his piece.
Posted at 08:20 PM
IS IT ME [K. J. Lopez]
or are Dems/the Left shooting themselves in the electoral foot for constantly finding the let's-be-hostile-to-religious-conservatives angle. See the latest line of attack on Janice Rogers Brown in the LaTimes today. (I think, by the way, you can agree with my first sentence while still not necessarily loving all of Brown's language.)
Posted at 06:22 PM
DEPT. OF CIVILITY [Byron York]
The cover of the new American Prospect magazine:
Posted at 04:04 PM
AND DOWN SOUTH [K. J. Lopez ]
The point of the Atlantafest on May 5 is to offer you something we can give ya—some quality panels, mingling, drinks, and a meal, and overall, some good quality time with NRO writers—while raising some money to keep keeping the whole National Review operation going. And we fundraise so we can not only keep doing what we’re doing but keep doing it better. We want to keep adding and growing and giving you new reasons to click on and stay on. And so if you really want to talk to X about X, or you and yours have wanted to spend a few Spring days in Atlanta anyway, or you just want to get away and think about NR things for a little, come down and feel good about making an investment in something you’re into. We even keep the price really reasonable for this one; if you can spare it, and it sounds fun (how couldn’t it?!), we’d love to see you there. And we thank you in advance. And make sure you let me thank you in person on May 5.
Posted at 03:07 PM
DOWNING SOME AT THE DUBLINER [K. J. Lopez]
I never want NRO to sound like we will only hang out with you if you give us money. We’re obviously not like that. For instance--hello!--NRO itself is free.
In that NRO spirit, we’re having a real casual pub night on Friday night in D.C. If you’re in town, bring a friend and meet us at the Dubliner, over by Union Station (520 N. Capitol St., NW). Grab friends and stop by. We’ll be hanging there from 6- 8 P.M. downing $3 drinks and appetizer specials.
Who’s we? Jonah Goldberg, Kathryn Lopez, John Miller, Kate O’Beirne, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Byron York. And some other familiar faces I was too lazy to tell this about in time to get their names into The Corner post (you know who you are if you’re free; the rest of you know who they could be!)
So come. No big bucks, no pressure. Just some fun with some friends. Kinda like The Corner.
For head-count purposes, R.S.V.P. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted at 03:07 PM
THE ARTICLE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
then moves on to the usual broadsides against “fundamentalists” and an attempt to claim Ronald Reagan for the “conservatives of doubt.” (Christie Todd Whitman, I’ll give him.)
“Advocates for government restraint cannot, in good conscience, keep supporting a party that believes in its own God-given mission to change people’s souls.” I’ve got to start reading those platforms more carefully—I somehow missed that.
He closes with what I don't think he intends to be a smear but will surely be taken as such by many: “If we are fighting such a conservatism of faith abroad--and that is the core of the war on Islamist terrorism--then why should it be so hard to confront it in much milder forms at home?” But Sullivan has at least as much in common with the Islamists as religious conservatives do. Like the Islamists, he thinks that belief in an objective moral order is incompatible with freedom. They’re wrong.
Posted at 03:05 PM
THE CLINTON LEGACY [K. J. Lopez]
D.C. interns continue to suffer.
Posted at 03:02 PM
SULLIVAN VS. LOWRY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
“Is this conservatism [of doubt] philosophically strong enough to endure? Rich Lowry of National Review recently argued that it is not: ‘The secularist view misses that freedom is grounded in truths, in the God-given dignity of man as a rational creature and in our fundamental equality. This is why the pope could say, “God created us to be free.” If the idea of freedom is detached from these truths, it has no secure ground, because the strong will inevitably attempt to dominate the weak unless checked by moral truths (see slavery or segregation or communism).’ Without Christianity, Lowry argues, the rights of the individual will be trampled. But what if Lowry's fellow citizen is an atheist? How can the atheist be persuaded to consent to truths that are only solidly grounded in a faith he doesn't share? And what happens when even those who share the same faith disagree profoundly on its moral and political consequences? Lowry seems to forget that men of Christian faith strongly opposed and backed slavery and segregation—and used Biblical texts to do so.
“The defense of human freedom offered by conservatives of doubt, on the other hand, is founded on more accessible and less contentious arguments. Such conservatives can point to the Constitution itself as the basis of U.S. political life, and its Enlightenment concept of freedom as sturdy enough without extra-Constitutional theology. . . . They can point to the astonishing success and durability of the U.S. experiment to buttress the notion that the Constitution is a much more stable defense of human equality than that inherent in any religion. The Constitution itself has far wider support among citizens than any theological argument. To put it another way: You don't need an actual religion when you already have a workable civil version in place” (emphasis in original).
Lowry had pointed out that the campaigns against slavery and segregation had a religious character. How would a conservative of doubt, who doesn’t believe in moral truth but sees some unexplained obligation to the Constitution, have responded to those evils? The conservative of doubt in the 1850s couldn’t have pointed to the Constitution to condemn slavery, since the Constitution allowed it. The conservative of doubt in 1952 could have pointed to the Fourteenth Amendment—but there were plenty of people making the case that the amendment was compatible with segregation (and the courts agreed). If noting disagreement among Christians on matters of moral import is a decisive objection to Lowry, then disagreement among people who claim to support the Constitution must be a decisive objection to Sullivan as well. The arguments against slavery and segregation could never have been made except by people who believed that moral truth was accessible to the human mind.
Posted at 03:01 PM
DEEPENING DOUBTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
We then find that in addition to supporting legal abortion, “conservatives of doubt” are wary of supply-side economics, prefer divided government, think states should set policy on stem cells and same-sex marriage, are disillusioned with Bush, and like the filibuster. (Later we discover that this conservative of doubt dislikes the faith-based initiative too.) Now does anyone think that a skeptical and intellectually humble frame of mind necessarily results in support for Sullivan’s views on all these issues? Is that really even plausible?
Posted at 02:59 PM
THE PLURAL OF CONFUSION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
“Even when conservatives of doubt disagree with others’ moral convictions, they recognize that, in a free, pluralist society, those other views deserve a hearing. So a conservative who believes abortion is always immoral can reconcile herself to a polity in which abortion is still legal, if regulated. Putting government power unequivocally on the side of one view of morality—especially in extremely controversial areas—must always be balanced against the rights and views of citizens who dissent. And, precisely because complete government neutrality may be impossible on these issues, government should tread as lightly as possible. The key in areas of doubt is to do as little harm as possible. Which often means, with respect to government power, doing as little as possible.”
This just makes no sense. What’s that “So” doing there? Because alternative views deserve a hearing—something, by the way, that most “conservatives of faith” would agree with—those views must be allowed to prevail? And doesn’t the reason that something is held to be immoral matter? A person who believes adultery is always immoral should be able to reconcile herself to (or even enthusiastically support) a polity in which it is legal. She may not be able to reconcile herself to the killing of innocent human beings, and she shouldn’t. We do not, on account of “pluralism,” generally allow people to make their own decisions about who they can kill. There was a time when the morality of slavery was an “extremely controversial” area. Government power was eventually put unequivocally on the side of one view of morality. The fact that many people disagreed—and expressed themselves rather emphatically—was not (and should not have been) held to be a decisive reason for the government to refrain from acting.
Posted at 02:57 PM
DOUBTFUL CONSERVATISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
“The alternative philosophical tradition begins in precise opposition to the new conservatives’ confidence in faith and reason as direct, accessible routes to universal truth. The conservatism of doubt asks how anyone can be sure that his view of what is moral or good is actually true. Conservatives of doubt note that even the most dogmatic of institutions, such as the Catholic or Mormon churches, have changed their views over many centuries, and that, even within such institutions, there is considerable debate about difficult moral issues. They understand that significant critiques of human reason—Nietzsche, anyone?—have rendered the philosophical quest for self-evident truth even more precarious in the modern world. Such conservatives are not nihilists or devotees of what Pope Benedict XVI has called ‘the dictatorship of relativism.’ They merely believe that the purported choice between moral absolutism and complete relativism, between God and moral anarchy, is a phony one. Their alternative is a skeptical, careful, prudential approach to all moral questions—and suspicion of anyone claiming to hold the absolute truth. Since such an approach rarely provides a simple answer persuasive to everyone within a democratic society, we live with moral and cultural pluralism.”
Here is where things start to go seriously awry. In a way, this passage represents a step forward for Sullivan, since he is making it fairly clear that his quarrel is not with “fundamentalist” religion so much as it is with reason and truth (although, as you can guess, fundamentalism will make a re-appearance in the essay). It isn’t terribly persuasive: To conclude from the existence of disagreement that there is no certain truth is simply an error. Moreover, the pope has not offered a “choice between moral absolutism and complete relativism.” The only person conjuring up that choice, in order to reject it showily, is Sullivan himself. And as the rest of the essay goes on to demonstrate, Sullivan’s view of a “skeptical, careful, prudential approach to all moral questions” turns out to be a view that reaches his preferred positions on all controversial moral issues. It is not at all obvious that his views are any less “absolutist” than contrary views.
Posted at 02:56 PM
ON ROVE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Sullivan writes, “In Bush's case, paternalism isn't a metaphor. It's a commitment worth trillions of dollars of other people's money. The single most influential architect of this conservatism, Karl Rove, sees this as a virtue, not a problem. In a recent speech to conservative activists, according to John Heilemann of New York magazine, ‘Rove rejected the party's “reactionary” and “pessimistic” past, in which it stood idly by while “liberals were setting the pace of change and had the visionary goals.” Now, he went on, the GOP has seized the “mantle of idealism,” dedicating itself to “putting government on the side of progress and reform, modernization and greater freedom.”’ The model for Rove's conservatism, in other words, is liberalism. The difference is merely how government directs its vast power, and for whom.” I don’t think Rove’s comments can bear the interpretive weight that Sullivan (following Heilemann) places on them.
Some liberals may well believe that to seize “the mantle of idealism” and to put government on the side of reform require bigger government—but the quote does not make it at all clear that Rove agrees. When conservatives changed the emphasis of their pitch for welfare reform from the money it wasted to the lives it marred, they were seizing the “mantle of idealism” without coming out for bigger government. Seizing “the mantle of idealism” was an important part of Ronald Reagan’s contribution to American conservatism, and it didn’t stop him from regarding himself as a foe of big government.
Posted at 02:55 PM
MY FIRST SUBSTANTIAL DISAGREEMENT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
comes when Sullivan is talking about the use, by “conservatives of faith,” of government “to promote certain activities. . . and to deter others”: “Bush has added another twist to this philosophy, seeking not only to expand government programs from the top down, but from the bottom up, by incorporating new mechanisms that give citizens more choice. Hence Health Savings Accounts in Medicare and personal accounts within Social Security. If that actually means more government borrowing and spending, so be it. If government must be expanded to give more people a sense of ‘ownership’ within government programs, fine. This is what remains of conservatism’s old belief in individual freedom. The new conservatism of faith has substituted real choice in a free market for regulated choice within an ever-expanding welfare state.”
When Sullivan talks about contemporary conservatism, he’s generally talking about Bush. The fact that the No Child Left Behind Act was a bipartisan bill—House Republicans were five times more likely to vote against it than House Democrats—does not stop him from saying that the act reflects modern conservatism. That’s not an illegitimate move. But it bears keeping in mind here, because it isn’t true that Bush takes a “so be it” attitude on increased spending for Health Savings Accounts and personal accounts within Social Security. Bush does not concede that the Social Security accounts mean a long-term increase in spending or borrowing; the administration has been talking about pairing the accounts with cuts in future benefits. Nor does Bush concede that a tax cut—which is what the health savings account is—is “spending.”
I think it is unreasonable to regard health savings accounts or Social Security accounts as expansions of the welfare state. Both measures are anti-statist in themselves, and may have broader anti-statist effects down the line (which is part of why some conservatives, including me, support them). They are part of a strategy for limiting government in an era where direct limits are extremely difficult to enact. This passage is a small part of Sullivan’s essay, but I think it is an important wrong turn in his analysis. Because if you get this wrong, you misunderstand the impact of Bush’s project on conservatism.
Posted at 02:52 PM
"CRISIS OF FAITH" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
So I've read that Andrew Sullivan essay that Jonah linked to yesterday. It is a thoughtful and clear statement of Sullivan’s position; name-calling is kept to a minimum (at least until the end). The essay begins in earnest with a contrast between a “conservatism of faith” and a “conservatism of doubt”—what others might call an “axiomatic” vs. a “skeptical” conservatism. Sullivan notes in introducing them that he is speaking of “ideal types”: “I know very few conservatives who fit completely into one camp or the other.” His argument is that contemporary conservatism needs a lot more doubt and a lot less faith. He makes some points with which I wholeheartedly agree: that modern conservatism is not as concerned with reducing the size of the federal government as it should be, for example, and that religious humility is a feature marked by its frequent and unfortunate absence from the religious Right.
Posted at 02:51 PM
COVER ART [Tim Graham]
Memo for The New Republic: If you're going to do a cartoon cover on the GOP in danger, did you have to have your troubled GOP giant resemble Charles Schumer so much?
PS: The back cover is an ad for HBO's latest biopic on FDR (I'm sure it will be just as nasty as that Showtime film on the Reagans, right?) It features Kenneth Branagh as young FDR and Cynthia Nixon as Eleanor Roosevelt. I've never felt Ms. Nixon was a knockout, but she sure makes Eleanor Roosevelt look better.
Posted at 02:02 PM
WHITE HOUSE LOBBIES FOR ‘REAL ID’ [Jack Fowler]
The Bush Administration is heavily lobbying House and Senate conferees on the defense supplemental appropriations bill to pass it with the “Real ID” ban on illegal immigrant obtaining drivers’ licenses. This from a White House letter sent yesterday to House Appropriations Committee chairman Jerry Lewis:
The Administration strongly urges the conferees to include the Real ID Act of 2005 in the final version of the bill. This important legislation will strengthen the ability of the United States to protect against terrorist entry into and activities within the United States. In particular, the legislation tightens procedures for non-citizen entry into and presence in the United States, facilitates the building of physical barriers where appropriate to protect U.S. borders, and facilitates the strengthening of State standards for the security and integrity of drivers' licenses. The Administration has some concerns with the House-passed version of the bill and will work with the conferees to make sure these concerns are addressed. The Administration also supports provisions in the Senate version of the bill that would exempt returning seasonal, documented workers from current visa caps.
Posted at 12:24 PM
“FORMER TOP-NOTCH PEST EXTERMINATOR” [Rich Lowry ]
Eugene Robinson manages two snotty exterminator references in his DeLay column today.
Posted at 12:02 PM
CANDY CROWLEY... [Rich Lowry ]
...had a piece on DeLay on CNN last night that wasn't friendly, of course, but seemed generally fair. I was struck that the way she described the ethics committee action with regard to DeLay--usually portrayed as a stinging series of admonishments--was sober and accurate:
Never charged with violating House rules, DeLay has skirted the edge, warned by the Ethics Committee on four separate occasions.
Posted at 11:56 AM
YOU DON'T SAY? [Rich Lowry ]
The Washington Post has a Bolton story today headlined, “Foreign Policy Disputes Are Subtext in Battle Over Bolton.” The story is also notable for its on-the-record (!) favorable (!!) quote about Bolton from Dick Armitage. He points out that one of these allegations--as so many are--is really about a routine bureucratic dispute:
A new allegation has emerged in recent days that Bolton, in the midst of the Iraq war, delayed efforts to provide military funding for Baltic and Central European countries that were to join NATO, because they had not signed agreements exempting U.S. military personnel from prosecution at the controversial new International Criminal Court. Some of the countries wanted training to assist in their deployments in Iraq.
Posted at 11:50 AM
MINUTEMEN IN D.C. [Mark Krikorian]
Hundreds of Minutemen and other immigration-control activists are in Washington through tomorrow, lobbying Congress and expressing their opposition to amnesty proposals from the president and others. The effort has been spearheaded by San Diego radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock and he's lined up a lot of other hosts to do one of those "talk radio row" things here, where people do their various shows all together in the same place. And other talkers who didn't come to Washington are nevertheless focusing on immigration this week (I just did a show with WRKO in Boston).
The presence of so many conservative radio talkers points to the GOP's conundrum on immigration, as layed out by David Frum and others: The party's base hates the president's stance on immigration, and this threatens to sunder the Republican coalition. I remain amazed that the instinct for self-preservation among the big-business and libertarian elements within the party is still so weak that don't understand their stake in controlling and reducing immigration.
Posted at 11:40 AM
SPEAKING OF TOWNSEL... [Rich Lowry ]
...here is another letter rebutting her Bolton allegations.
Posted at 11:36 AM
MEXICO'S NEXT PRESIDENT [Mark Krikorian]
Mexico City's socialist mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, beat the rap yesterday and is back on the job. This is important because he is expected to run for president next year and win--if he's on the ballot. The legal dispute was a contrived attempt by his political opponents to prevent that from happening, and it appears to have failed spectacularly, with nearly 1 million supporters marching on Sunday and federal prosecutor dropping the charges against him.
What this means is that come next summer, President Bush will lose his compadre, Vicente Fox, and instead have to deal with the candidate of the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD in Spanish), a sort of Hugo Chavez-lite. Among other things, this is not a guy who's going to cooperate with the president on a guestworker program. He's also likely to push expanded dual citizenship for people of Mexican origin in the United States, since so many immigrants here are supporters of the socialist PRD.
Posted at 11:32 AM
THAT FILIBUSTER POLL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It's criticized here and here. I think the wording of the question makes it worthless. (It's question 36 here.) The Post asks: "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?" The question should have been something like "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules so that judges can be confirmed by majority vote?" I'm sure the results would have been very different.
Posted at 11:27 AM
KANG & KODOS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader. One of many:
Jonah -- when I saw the picture of the president and Prince Abdullah holding hands, I thought of Kang and Kodos, disguised as Bill Clinton and Bob Dole during the 1996 campaign, walking down the street hand-in-hand.
Posted at 11:04 AM
FILIBUSTER POLLS? [Tim Graham]
Next to a nice picture of the Syrians departing Lebanon, the Washington Post tops its front page with a new poll showing 66 percent of those surveyed opposing "changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees." Only 26 percent support it, including only half the Republicans. The first thing that should be said about this result: how much do the American people know about the circuit-court confirmation process? How many news stories has ABC or the Washington Post done on it? As a general rule, television news can't manage more than a thimble full of coverage about a judicial nomination below the Supreme Court, conservative or liberal. See the Miguel Estrada fight, for example.
This disturbs the usual pattern of network polling, after weeks of intensive liberal bias, in which the networks hope to discover confirmation that their bias has won the day for liberal arguments. But it should be noted that NBC's poll is much less dramatic (and more explanatory in its question), finding a 50-40 split on the filibuster.
Posted at 10:59 AM
MELODY TOWNSEL... [Rich Lowry ]
has a plagiarism problem, she explains in a letter to Daily Kos. Could this be part of the reason that Democrats are shifting away from the personal abuse allegations and going back to intelligence?....
Posted at 10:50 AM
HOLDING HANDS WITH TYRANTS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Forget holding hands, George Bush shouldn't even have shaken hands with that man. Still, It could have been worse...
Posted at 10:48 AM
ARGHHH! [Jonah Goldberg]
Some people need to get humor injections. Of course I'm joking around about the hand-holding stuff. Readers who think I'm saying it's illegitimate for gay men to hold hands, readers who think I'm being a Western jingoist know-nothing and all the rest need to lighten up. The point Byron was making had nothing to do with men-qua-men holding hands and everything to do with Bush holding the hand of a Saudi ruler (the mention of the second inaugural should have been a tip-off). And my points were made with such glaring jokiness I'm embarrassed to even feel the need to clarify my position (though I too highlighted the theocratic potentate objection at the end).
Take a deep breath.
Posted at 10:38 AM
MUST-SEE RAMONES-TV [Rich Lowry ]
Definitely check out the Ramones documentary on PBS tonight, if you enjoy such things. I saw it when it was playing at a theater here in NYC--funny, exhilarating, touching stuff. Lots of delightfully dyspeptic Johnny Ramone interviews.
Posted at 10:22 AM
RE: YEAR OF THE NERD [K. J. Lopez]
One suggestion for an Atlanta top-ten list: "see Kathryn realize that Land of the Lost posts are way more egregious than Star Trek posts."
I so look forward to that...go ahead, make my day.
Posted at 10:20 AM
IT'S JUST A CUSTOM [Jonah Goldberg ]
Lots of readers are saying it's just a custom in the Arab world for men to hold hands. From a guide to such things:
"Touching, long handshakes, grasped elbows, even walking hand in hand by two males is common place in the Arab world. A considerable number of Arabs touch more between the same sex, to show liking--not sex. They hold hands, hug each other, kiss if close friends. As Arab customs and behavior condones the outward display of affection between male friends, one may see Arab men, even officials and military officers, holding hands as they walk together or otherwise converse with one another. If an individual Arab does not touch you, he does not like you--or he may be trying to restrain himself because you are not used to being touched. A full body embrace, accompanied with hugging, should not be initiated until you are sure that the Arab is a close friend. If the Arab initiates it, participate and consider yourself honored and/or accepted. Contact between the opposite sex in public is considered close to obscene"
I was, in fact, aware of this.
However, we have customs here too. Dudes rarely hold hands, and when they do it's usually because they're cops and one cop couldn't complete his rooftop leap across an alley while chasing a perp and his partner has to grab his hand to pull him up. Also acceptable is when your buddy has been shot by a Columbian drug lord and you hold his hand as you promise to look out for his wife and kids and you vow to exact revenge on Mendoza and his entire organization. When life flickers out of your buddy's eyes, you may continue to hold his hand as you shout heavenward "Mendozzzaaaaaaa!" at the top of your lungs. But most times men rarely hold hands. Even Butch and Sundance grabbed an ammo belt rather than hold hands when they jumped off the cliffside. I have searched the manual and there seems to be no exception for holding the hand of a theocratic Islamic potentate. But I may not have gotten the latest monthly supplements.
Posted at 10:16 AM
JEB OUT IN FRONT [K. J. Lopez]
and other news over in Buzz central...
Posted at 10:13 AM
SPEAKING OF CANCER FIGHTERS [K. J. Lopez]
Today is Tony Snow's second day back on air since his colon-cancer operation and recovery. Congrats to him and his family. Does success get much better? Giving and protecting life. Being a mom or a dad. Stayin' alive. Making life better for someone else. They trump all else, don't they?
Posted at 09:55 AM
THE YEAR OF THE NERD [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 09:46 AM
HEADING BACK TO MINNI, MINNI... [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'm off to the University of Minnesota in a little bit. And I have some homework to do before I go. But if you're in the area come on down. Details here.
Posted at 09:45 AM
PRAYERS AND BEST WISHES TO LAURA INGRAHAM [K. J. Lopez]
I'm keeping Laura Ingraham in my prayers and I know a lot of you will want to too. She found out Friday that she has breast cancer and will be operated on today. She's a great, bright, funny woman--who has made a real home for herself on radio and we wish her the best.
Our prayers are not entirely selfless--a lot of us want to hear her biting sarcasm and analysis back on the radio soon! I suspect she'll take the prayers happily anyway. But do, of course, take your time and be well, Laura.
Posted at 09:40 AM
SIGNS OF LIFE [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
I was fortunate enough to spent some time yesterday afternoon with the Pro-Life Club at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. What a terrific group of young people! Enthusiastic about protecting human life. Enthusiastic and committed and yet necessarily and appropriately realistic about the world around them. They’ve got a smart group of student leaders, and are blessed with a swift and devoted moderator, Fr. Peter Pilsner, and have a healthy interest among the student body. They have some terrific programs going, trying to reach students where they’re at, help women who need it (holding baby showers for women who would never have them otherwise, for instance)--and they are getting the word out about truly pro-life alternatives for teens in need. And they’ve also got good vibes coming from the inspirational Sisters of Life (wonderful women who should be the definition of "pro-life"), who have a spot right on the school campus.
Most of the Spellman seniors I chatted with are headed off to secular schools in August. They seem ready for the challenges they’ll face--vaya con Dios, as J-Lo might say, you know, Jenny from the Bronx blocks. (Why J-Lo had to enter K-Lo’s post is an excellent question.)
Anyway….Kudos to the Pro-Life Club at Spellman, Fr. Pilsner, and the school for investing time in this most worthy cause. These youngsters are off to a good start—which is great for the rest of us, who can only benefit from an infusion of such lively informed young citizens.
Posted at 09:23 AM
THINGS PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT [Byron York]
It's been discussed a bit here, but not in blunt terms: Many Bush supporters, not to mention his adversaries, are finding the president's decision to hold hands with Saudi Prince Abdullah to be outrageous. They ask: Has the president read his second inaugural address lately? What message does he want to send to the world by being photographed literally hand-in-hand with the Saudi leader?
Posted at 09:22 AM
I'M AFRAID IT'S ABOUT TIME [K. J. Lopez]
to start an Atlantafest top ten list. Anyone care to get it started? I officially apologize for everything that might follow.
Or just sign up. Once we overtake the population of Atlanta, we'll have to close the party list anyway.
Posted at 08:58 AM
YEAH! [Jonah Goldberg]
What Michael said! That's what I would have said if I had more time.
Posted at 08:49 AM
THE NYT CAN’T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND [Michael Novak ]
In an article in the New York Times on Sunday that tries to be fair, the authors, perhaps unintentionally, get off more than one insulting line. They say, for instance, of the young George and Josef Ratzinger that they "became priests. The Church gave them educations and, perhaps, not incidentally, improved their social status." Say again?
When the totally humiliating defeat of the Nazis arrived in 1945, Josef Ratzinger had barely reached his 18th birthday. His whole future lay open before him, free at last of Nazi tyranny. There were hundreds of thousands of young women of Germany whose boyfriends or young husbands had perished in distant places. Universities were opening again on all sides, and the numbers of young men to attend them had shrunken drastically. High-level professions of all kinds clamored for new young talent.
Despite cruel coercions by the Nazis that had disrupted his early life, Ratzinger had had a very good gymnasium education. He was now about to begin his university and professional studies. He chose, as not so many did, philosophical and theological studies leading toward ordination as a Catholic priest. But one price of making that choice was to sacrifice his sexual life in a vow to seek a higher love, in the following of Christ, the Son of God.
For a young man of Ratzinger's brilliance, one can think of many other choices that would have brought him much higher status than being a mere priest--professor, and much else besides. Consider, too, that In past centuries, millions of youths had also chosen to give their lives to Christ, many to the point of martyrdom. And yet the only reason the writers can think of to explain the choice that Ratzinger made is "to improve his social status."
Contempt is hidden in the words "perhaps not incidentally." This vocation, the authors continue, was the boys' "ticket" to "social, intellectual, and even cultural advancement." (Can you imagine the authors writing the same thing about themselves or other self-made men?) How do editors let such lapses stand?
Posted at 08:49 AM
ON NAZI RELATIVISM AND OTHER KINDS [Michael Novak]
I'm really grateful to Jonah for making a distinction Andrew Sullivan missed. Nazism and Communism may have had their own metaphysical pretenses, but they both treated the human being as a thing, as a means, as an instrument, and in important ways as a non-moral (and certainly non-spirited) material agent. In the human and moral sphere, in other words, they required the surrender of any "objective" moral compass, "natural law," or allegiance to "God's law"–all those bourgeois illusions–and in this task they were greatly aided in their preparatory work by the cult of "the absurd" among the intellectuals, the literary set, and students of the time.
Albert Camus found this out, for one, when (in a literary trope) he tried to persuade "a German friend" that he could not join the Nazis, and his friend sharply retorted: "And in a world where everything has lost its meaning, those who, like us young Germans, are lucky enough to find a meaning in the destiny of our nation must sacrifice everything else." In a world in which everything has lost its meaning.
Camus, despite his own teaching on the absurd, had suddenly to find and to defend a meaning. This he did, in his Second Letter to this friend–but not very satisfactorily. It took partial explorations in a series of book until he found his way out of the nihilism he had described in The Stranger and in arguing the logic of suicide in The Myth of Sisyphus.
But the most vivid example I had in mind is from real life. A Communist authority I met in Switzerland told me what had led him to break, at least inwardly, from Communism (for he was a Party member and government official still) had been a crisis for him in Africa. On his posting there, he was ordered to take part in some killings of a number of rivals of the Communist Party in that nation. He experienced deep revulsion and managed to slip out of the task. That was the first time he had come to a clear insight that there are some things he could not, morally, do. He had thought he had lost all such primitive sentiments. They now seemed to him more than sentiments, and more than primitive, and overriding. He was still looking for a way out.
A second example was not unlike it. Another friend of mind had a father high in the Party in another East Bloc state, who after one of Pope John Paul II's visits to a neighboring country, would shut off the television in anger if he heard the word "God." My friend explained that his father had felt highly compromised by many actions he had taken in his career–treatment of dissidents, "traitors," dangers to the state–and could not bear the thought that there was a more humanistic standard of ethics than the needs of the Party. He had surrendered his personal moral code to the judgment of the Party. Nothing else counted morally. He had to keep things that way in the peace (or un-peace) of his own soul. What helps the Party is moral; what hurts it is immoral; any other moral principle is an illusion. Metaphysically, this is not nihilism, for at least the Party has ontological status as the dynamo of history and measure of moral progress. But for the participating individual it requires a relativizing of every other moral code. An emptying out of the moral individual, so that the Lie may occupy that place.
"If God is dead," a brother Karamazov said, "everything is permitted." Well, obviously there are atheists who have a strongly reasoned, and as they see it "objective" moral code based upon reason. They are not relativists. But there is now again, as there was in the 1930s, a spreading invisible gas of relativism, even among such atheists, not to mention among former believers in God. For growing numbers, it seems, ours is becoming again "a world in which everything has lost its meaning." The academic fashion of Post-Modernism puts an ideology to this, and its roots seem to me much too like those that led up to the fashion for Fascism and Communism among "the Clerks."
In a recent blog on the website of US News and World Report, an unimaginative professor at the University of Notre Dame failed to grasp that on certain occasions, in certain eras, arguing with Fascists or Communists involved one in a sort of lie. And one had to desist from it. For Fascist and Communist protagonists of violence did not believe in the same reason based upon evidence that, say, Albert Camus did. They believed, finally, in violence, and everything else was simply means to the moment of their triumph of will. As Albert Camus concluded early, at some crucial point those committed to liberty and justice and the very idea of truth must recognize that such enemies must be stopped, and combated to the death. For theirs is only a pretense of argument; they intend the systematic dehumanization of man.
It was just here that Camus drew the line of "resistance" and "rebellion," even at the cost of "death."
As Camus confesses, he and his fellows drew that line much too late, after much too much bloodshed and strutting violence. It had been better to nip the cult of the absurd far earlier. That is, to make some crucial distinctions.
Posted at 08:44 AM
NAILED? [Rich Lowry]
This Dyktra stuff is distressing--who couldn't love the way that guy played?
Posted at 08:33 AM
EVEN BETTER--MORE WORTHLESS SENATE TALK [Rich Lowry]
There's been a lot of rhetoric about how the “nuclear option” will change the Senate forever, which is supposed to be a bad thing. But folks who talk like this seem to identify the Senate entirely with inaction and verbosity. So for them, the consequences of the “nuclear option” should actually be good, because they might end up making the Senate even more frustratingly Senate-like. Consider this other Democratic threat from the New York Times: "Mr. Reid and Mr. Durbin said that if Republicans changed the filibuster rule, Democrats would hold the Senate to the letter of the rules on other matters, like forcing the reading of all legislation on the floor."
Posted at 08:26 AM
DEMS WON'T GO NUCLEAR [Rich Lowry]
The Democrats sort of back down from their stop-the-Senate threat. Their new threat is to put forward important porposals for the nation! I was afraid that would happen eventually, if Republicans pushed them too far:
"At the same time, Democrats, fearing a backlash, suddenly abandoned talk of using the chamber's arcane rules to bring the Senate to a standstill in the fight over judges. Instead, they said they intended to call up their measures on health care, education and veterans' benefits with the hope of making Republicans take what could be politically awkward votes.
"What we are going to attempt to do is move to items that we think are of real importance to the nation," said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat. He said Democrats had in recent weeks placed 13 measures on the Senate calendar and would not follow the tradition of allowing the majority simply to proceed to legislation of its choice but would force Republicans to reject the Democratic-sponsored measures.
Republican officials dismissed the Democrats' change in tone as window dressing and said the result of their planned actions would still effectively bring the Senate to a halt."
Posted at 08:14 AM
GOOD TIERNEY COLUMN [Rich Lowry]
He'd be rich if he retired in Chile...
Posted at 08:08 AM
ANOTHER BOLTON NON-SCANDAL [Rich Lowry ]
The New York Times hits Bolton on Syria today. This passage is typical. Bolton is guilty of proposing going beyond the intelligence, although he ultimately didn't:
"One newly declassified message, dated April 30, 2002, and sent by a senior State Department intelligence official, dismissed as `a stretch' language about a possible Syrian nuclear program that had been spelled out in a draft speech circulated by Mr. Bolton's aides for approval. In the speech itself, delivered five days later, Mr. Bolton made no reference to a Syrian nuclear program."
Posted at 08:05 AM
A GOOD DAY [Jonah Goldberg]
People find a big pile of money in their backyard.
Posted at 07:59 AM
LIGHTENING BOLTEN [John J. Miller]
The Washington Examiner has an editorial today that punches back at Bolton's critics and appears to break some news: "What do Nostradamus, 'Star Trek' and the Book of Revelation have to do with the Bush administration's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations? In an attempt to deep-six John Bolton's nomination, Democrats placed stories in The Boston Globe, USA Today and CNN citing a women who claimed Bolton threatened her - the very same woman who published an article on newsmax.com using those sources to predict world peace was at hand. Those articles also failed to mention the fact that Lynne Finney, the women who claims she was abused by Bolton, has problems with her memory..."
Posted at 05:36 AM
Monday, April 25, 2005
RE: BUSH & ABDULLAH HOLDING HANDS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah: I'm gay and I find the photo disturbing. Almost as disturbing as I find male synchronized diving.
Posted at 04:59 PM
MAYBE.... [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'll wear this in Atlanta.
Posted at 04:53 PM
GNOSTICISM IN SCI FI [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Gnosticism is really a feature of Star Wars, since the Jedi are the elite keepers of esoteric knowledge and powers inaccessible to the hoi poloi. Battlestar Galactica, on the other hand, owed its philosophical and religious overtones (such as they were) to Mormonism (thirteenth tribe, wagon train trekking to find a new promised land, rule by a council of patriarchs, occasional contact with angelic beings quoting Joseph Smith, etc.)
Posted at 04:37 PM
RE: LAND OF THE LOST [Jonah Goldberg ]
Since not that many people seemed impressed by the trivia tidbit that Al Pacino was an office boy at Commentary, maybe some of you would like to know that Bill Laimbeer was a Sleestak.
Update: Oh and several readers have insisted I mention that Will Ferrell played Federal Wildlife "Marshal Willenholly" in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."
Posted at 04:13 PM
BOLTON EMAILS [Rich Lowry]
Gary Schmitt of the Project for a New American Century has a good run-down he’s sending around of emails the Times left out of its weekend report on Bolton:
• For example, the Times quotes a September 25, 2002 email from Thomas Fingar, the No. 2 official in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, to Westermann in which Fingar “deplored ... the toll inflicted on Mr. Westermann by Mr. Bolton and Mr. Fleitz.” Fingar was responding to an email from Westermann two days earlier complaining that the both Bolton and Fleitz were “impugning” his integrity.
• Also not published in the Times piece was an email Frederick Fleitz received the same day from another government official again related to the behavior of Westermann:Fred: In my opinion, INR violated both State and IC protocol, big time. INR speaks to the IC on behalf of State, so the IC must presume that, when it receives an INC communication, INR is speaking on behalf of State.
• Finally, when Westermann informed Fleitz that he had the sent the memo to the CIA he did not mention that he had sent his own memo with it.
Posted at 04:13 PM
RE LAND OF THE LOST [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:53 PM
JUST FOR THE RECORD [Jonah Goldberg]
Yes, I am nostalgic for the days when the President of the United States would get at least some grief for holding hands with the ruler of Saudi Arabia. Maybe it's my xenophobia, homophobia or Islamaphobia talking, though I don't think that's it. See Drudge for details.
Posted at 03:48 PM
CONTRAFACTUAL HISTORY [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's an idea for some intrepid blogger or fellow NROnik: What would be the constitutional history of the last couple decades if Robert Bork had been confirmed? That would mean Kennedy wasn't. It also might mean Souter wasn't -- since the need for stealth nominees might not have materialized.
What decisions would have worked the other way? A couple readers say Roe would have been overturned in 1992. I think it'd be a great piece for someone with a serious understanding of the Court to write. It'd probably have interesting lessons for liberals conservatives alike, with liberals saying "shhweeeooooo" and conservatives saying "dang."
Posted at 03:25 PM
A READER DOES MY LATIN HOMEWORK [Jonah Goldberg]
Bononiense molam repudiat.
Posted at 03:12 PM
LAND OF THE LOST [Jonah Goldberg ]
A remake with Will Ferrell is in the works.
Posted at 03:00 PM
H-H-H-H-HOTLANTA [Jonah Goldberg]
Now that it's so close, I've started my training regimen. Just last night I ate 15 of those pickled eggs I always see at biker bars. Then I read Whittacker Chambers' Witness aloud while doing a shot of bourbon everytime I encountered a dualistic metaphor -- light versus dark, good versus evil, etc. Tonight I'm going to learn how to ask Why Does Bologna Reject the Grinder? in latin and look for gnostic falacies in Battlestar Galactica.
Posted at 02:13 PM
SULLIVAN'S OPUS [Jonah Goldberg]
I haven't read it yet, but the cover of this week's New Republic is a lengthy essay on conservatism's crisis by Andrew Sullivan. I'll read on the plane tomorrow. Oh, and for those of you who always write me to say Sullivan should always be ignored around here, pretend you already sent me the email. No offense, it's just that I've heard the arguments already.
Posted at 01:58 PM
BAINBRIDGE ON JUDGES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Two posts worth reading.
Posted at 01:54 PM
HARVARD & ITS ADMITTED PLAGIARIST [Jonah Goldberg ]
Interesting stuff on Larry Tribe here.
Posted at 01:52 PM
BOLTON CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
Seveal readers are making the passionate case that Borking helped the Dems more than it hurt. They make a good case, basically relying on the fact that we got stuck with Souter and Kennedy.
Good point and I will reconsider.
In the meantime, Borking didn't help the image of the Democratic Party. It made them look cowardly (because borking -- at least in its original incarnation -- is cowardly). But the elevation of the personal to the political has not helped Democrats. The Bork (and Thomas) precedents made Clinton's private life fair game in ways that it might not have been were it not for that precedent. We forget how many of Clinton's nominees were blocked or damaged by a similar standard. We also don't know how many more leftwing nominees there might have been without the fear that closets would be opened. Also keep in mind that the Democrats are the minority party in both houses now. Obviously, this wasn't directly caused by the Bork episode. But the Bork episode did represent a real turning point for the Democratic Party. The special interests stopped being back seat drivers and actually grabbed the wheel. The Congressional Party increasingly came to look like hysterical fearmongers.
That said, I guess at the end of the day, I'd still rather have had Bork on the Supreme Court instead of Kennedy. I'll keep pondering.
Posted at 01:49 PM
BOLTON [Jonah Goldberg]
I really do hate tit-for-tat congressional politics. But if the Democrats really do tear down Bolton on what is, ultimately, rinky-dink nonsense then Republicans will be obliged to make the management style and office demeanor of all future Democratic nominees an issue. This will make Republicans hypocrites in the sense they think what the Democrats are doing to Bolton is wrong in the first place but will do the same thing to liberals later. But this is how Congressional politics must work. If one side establishes a new standard the other side has every right and obligation to adopt it. This is really the only way to get both sides to think twice about establishing precedents which might hurt them if applied to them in the future. I really do wish there was another way. You'd think that liberals would have realized that their introduction of Borking in the late 1980s did not help Democrats very much in the 1990s.
Posted at 01:23 PM
CHECK THE OIL ON THE ICBMS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Putin says the collapse of the Soviet Union was "the greatest political catastrophe of the last century."
Posted at 01:14 PM
THE DEMOCRATS' LATEST PROBLEM [Jonah Goldberg ]
The parents gap.
Posted at 12:31 PM
LARRY KING INTERVIEWS THE POPE [K. J. Lopez]
There's fun like this in every issue of NRODT, from Rob Long. Why deprive yourself any longer?
Posted at 12:16 PM
AMERICAN CATHOLICS LOVE B16 [John J. Miller]
The chattering classes may not care for the new pope, but more than 8 in 10 American Catholics approve and 73 percent say they're "enthusiastic," according to this poll. This is no surprise, of course, and it's this kind of thing that drives the three major newsweeklies to put B16 on their covers, even as (at least Time and Newsweek) probably dish on him inside.
Posted at 12:13 PM
PRISON HEADLINES WE'D LIKE TO SEE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Just once I would love to read a headline that says:
Posted at 12:01 PM
JUSTICE FOR BOLTON! [K. J. Lopez]
A list of distinguished signatures is on this letter in support of John Bolton's nomination.
Posted at 11:58 AM
THE HEADLINE WHICH WILL NOT DIE [Jonah Goldberg]
At least Fox Butterfield got the day off:
Posted at 11:47 AM
RE: WHO SAID THAT? [K. J. Lopez]
Play a similar game with Senate Democrats.
Posted at 11:14 AM
WHO SAID IT? [Jonah Goldberg]
"As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it."
Cardinal Ratzinger? Nope. Vaclav Havel.
Posted at 10:46 AM
SORRY, KEVIN [K. J. Lopez]
Star Trek is banned in Atlanta except for paying customers. Which means you can defy the K-Lo tyranny at the Atlantafest.
Posted at 10:37 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AL PACINO [Jonah Goldberg]
The veteran actor who in the midst of an outstanding career returned to over-acting school so he could learn to yell all of his lines except when he looks like he's about to fall asleep turns 65 today.
Still it's nice to know a former office boy for Commentary magazine has made good. No, I'm not making that up.
Posted at 10:11 AM
JIB-JAB [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted at 10:00 AM
BENEDICT TRIFECTA [Tim Graham]
All three news magazines have Pope Benedict on their covers today. It must have been nice having your cover concept nailed down by Tuesday. But expect a lot of liberal philosophizing about whether the new pontiff has the "capacity" to seek change with all the new "circumstances." Can he accept "moderate innovations"? Time's David Van Biema shows you the come-to-liberals-Papa approach...
Posted at 09:59 AM
KATIE COURIC, EXPOSED! [Jonah Goldberg ]
The New York Times turns on Couric: "...lately her image has grown downright scary: America's girl next door has morphed into the mercurial diva down the hall. At the first sound of her peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels, people dart behind doors and douse the lights."
Posted at 09:49 AM
ARE WE THERE YET? [Kevin Longstreet, Demi-Suit]
The Atlanta invasion is little more than a week off. These will be the last few days to sign up. Don’t miss this opportunity to ask Jonah to show you his Trekkie memorabilia, or to ask Derb to hum a few Romania tunes, or to ask Rich, Kate, Ramesh, Kathryn, and Andrew anything your little heart desires. Time’s awastin’.
Posted at 09:41 AM
MORE COLUMBIA COVERUP? [Stanley Kurtz]
Columbia University’s report on the scandal in its program of Middle East Studies is itself a scandal. We already know the report was a whitewash, produced by a panel stacked with professors with ties to those under investigation and/or signers of an anti-Israel divestment petition. And we know that Columbia conspired with reporters at The New York Times to produce a biased front page story that would exonerate the university by excluding the opinions of critics. Now Martin Kramer may have uncovered a totally new dimension of the Columbia coverup. Columbia needs to come clean about what looks like it could be a very important source of outside pressure on its report.
Posted at 09:34 AM
UNHOLY ALLIANCES [Cliff May]
“Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and al Qaeda have a partner in Al-Jazeera and, by extension, most networks in the U.S. ...The collaboration between the terrorists and Al-Jazeera is stronger than ever….What does Al-Jazeera promise the terrorist organizations in order to get consistent access to their video? …does Qatar's funding of Al-Jazeera constitute state sponsorship of terrorism? … Do the U.S. networks know the terms of the relationship that Al-Jazeera has with the terrorists? Do they want to know?” Dorrance Smith raises these and other disturbing questions here.
Posted at 08:51 AM
HAGGIS [Andrew Stuttaford]
A distinguished Scottish journalist writes in to defend the nightmare cholula and haggis combo, sipping, no doubt, a whisky and coke as he does so:
“While adding hot sauce to the great chieftain of the pudden race may be unorthodox, it is not a crazy notion. Indeed, good haggis has a peppery spiciness that could be pleasantly enhanced by a dash of hot sauce.”
Then things turn ugly (“Haggis is splendidly versatile. I have in the past made haggis ravioli and served it to general approval”) and defensive (“It's odd that andouille sausages, sweetbreads and other less than immediately appealling treats should be afforded great respect, while the poor old haggis is treated as a macabre joke”) and culminate, naturally, with old Mr. Burns (no, Jonah, not that one):
“Is there that owre his French ragout/Or olio that wad staw a sow?Or fricassee wad mak her spew/Wi perfect sconner/Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view/On sic a dinner?
“..Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care/And dish them out their bill o fare/Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware/That jaups in luggies/But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer/Gie her a Haggis!”
There's nothing I could possibly add to that – not even cholula sauce.
Posted at 07:46 AM
WASHINGTON EXAMINER [John J. Miller]
Today, on the weekly books page I edit for the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney reviews The Vast Left Wing Conspriracy by Byron York, and novelist William Kent Krueger describes writing his books in longhand at a coffee shop.
Posted at 05:40 AM
Sunday, April 24, 2005
ONE DROP RULE [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't necessarily disagree that Kristof's article was a bit of a muddle, but I also don't know about this "insistence" on the left that children of interracial marriages - like, um, me - must be identified as black. What I've seen, among the folks in my generation that I've spoken with - including my sister and 2 cousins, also interracial (my Mom has fun stories about the grandparents reaction to her and her sister both marrying black men back in the sixties) - tend to self-identify as black. I get the sense in younger kids that that may have changed, though not all that much. You may not like the "one drop" notion - I certainly don't - but spend your childhood on segregated playgrounds and you learn that looking different gets you, well, pegged. I don't wish to suggest any sort of bitterness or political dudgeon about life 25 years or so ago; it was what it was. But I also don't give a fig what the left, or the right, expect me to be. I am who I am. But I think of myself as black, however much my upbringing and subsequent life have been, largely, in the white world. And, yes, much of the world I know still exists in black and white. Again, not an especially angry point, just something of a reality.
Posted at 05:27 PM
CHIRAC REBUFFED AGAIN? [Andrew Stuttaford]
In his first attempt to win round the French on the constitution referendum, crooked Jacques debated a bunch of 18-30 year olds.
Now he’s aiming at a younger age group.
It doesn’t look as if it is going well.
Posted at 05:03 PM
DIMMER THAN DIAZ? [Andrew Stuttaford]
A reader followed one of the links to the story I posted earlier about the numbskull Angel. Here’s what he found:
“Noelle finally chose to go diaperless and looked to traditional cultures for inspiration. "How I longed for a simple, dirt-floored, baby-friendly hut like that of a Yequana family," he wrote.”
Haven’t we all?
Posted at 05:02 PM
SCOTCH EGGS, CTD. [Andrew Stuttaford]
A dissenter writes in:
“Many, many years ago, whilst I early in my commissioned career as a naval officer (I was previously enlisted), I was conducting an inspection of our pre-BRAC submarine base in Holy Loch, Scotland. We occasioned to dine at a unpretentious pub on the fringe of the base and upon hearing of my earlier, unsullied stint as a non-commissioned officer, the publican, a retired Royal Navy enlisted man himself, offered the best fare they had—Scotch Eggs and Ale. I stupidly tried to match him on both counts and lost, tragically. I cannot recall I time, short of a gunshot wound to the low belly suffered in a hunting accident, that I felt worse for the experience.”
This grumbling gourmet goes on, however, to confess that still eats Scotch Eggs once a year on Burns’ night followed by haggis and cholula hot sauce.
Haggis and cholula hot sauce.
Think about that for a moment, and once the retching and nausea have passed, take time to understand that that astonishing revelation could in itself be enough to trigger hundreds, maybe thousands, of learned articles about the globalization of culture.
Then continue retching.
Posted at 05:01 PM
THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY [Andrew Stuttaford]
For fans of the Grim Reaper's sports pages, there's been another classic obituary from the Daily Telegraph. Here's an extract, but read the whole thing.
“The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, whose death aged 66 was confirmed yesterday, demonstrated the dangers of the possession of inherited wealth coupled with a weakness for women and Champagne… It was said, after his mysterious disappearance from a Cannes nightclub, that the 10th Earl, like Gladstone, had been devoting himself to helping vulnerable young girls working in nightspots on the French Riviera to start new lives. But as the mystery deepened, it seemed that his interest was more than merely philanthropic. Indeed, Lord Shaftesbury had always exhibited a weakness for exotic women. At Eton he had famously penned an article for the college magazine in which he described English debutantes as "round-shouldered, unsophisticated garglers of pink champagne". His subsequent amorous career was notable for his avoidance of the species… [After the collapse of his second marriage in] 2000 he embarked on a string of short-lived and expensive love affairs with younger women distinguished by their exotic looks and equally colourful past histories. He became a familiar figure in some of the loucher nightspots on the French Riviera, where he cut a curious figure in leather trousers, pink shirts and large red-and-black spectacles; he was notable for his habit of flashing his money around as he bought drinks for a succession of nubile female companions.”
Sterner sorts will note that he came to an unfortunate end.
Posted at 04:56 PM
THE BBC, AGAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Britain’s state broadcaster is, yet again, showing its true colours:
”The BBC was last night plunged into a damaging general election row after it admitted equipping three hecklers with microphones and sending them into a campaign meeting addressed by Michael Howard, the Conservative leader. The Tories have made an official protest after the hecklers, who were given the microphones by producers, were caught at a party event in the North West last week. Guy Black, the party's head of communications, wrote in a letter to Helen Boaden, the BBC's director of news, that the hecklers began shouting slogans that were "distracting and clearly hostile to the Conservative Party". These included "Michael Howard is a liar", "You can't trust the Tories" and "You can only trust Tony Blair". Mr Black's strongly-worded letter accused the BBC of staging the event "to generate a false news story and dramatise coverage. . . intended to embarrass or ridicule the leader of the Conservative Party". The letter said that BBC staff were guilty of "serious misconduct". At least one of the hecklers was seen again at a Tory event in the North East, Mr Black added. Last night, the BBC claimed that the exercise was part of a "completely legitimate programme about the history and art of political heckling" and said that other parties' meetings were being "observed". However, The Telegraph has established that none of Tony Blair's meetings was infiltrated or disrupted in similar fashion.”
Painfully predictable stuff, made even more painful that taxpayers are picking up the tab.
It’s worth remembering that displays of such bias are, relatively speaking, much more important in the UK than in the US. Free speech restrictions in Britain (they make McCain-Feingold-Bush look like a hymn of praise to the First Amendment) mean that there are fewer sources of alternative information out there for voters, and the BBC has, therefore, a disproportionate influence.
Posted at 04:55 PM
GUESS WHO? [John J. Miller]
Jonah: The irony is, if the gender roles were reversed -- i.e., the movie featured a black man and a white woman -- some NYT columnist would tell us how this feeds into white sexual paranoia that has its origins on the plantation. But then this is the liberal burden. When the rest of us see the possibility for an amusing comedy at a time when racial tolerance never has been greater, and can rejoice in the humor of a black man putting down a white whippersnapper, liberals see black people and think of slavery.
Posted at 04:27 PM
C IS FOR CARROT [Jonah Goldberg ]
A blog which seems to be dedicated to humorless, pious parents disagrees with me about Cookie Monster. I guess I'm not into "serious" parenting. Of course, one might question the seriousness of any parent if all that separates their kid from gluttony is a newly ascetic Cookie Monster.
Posted at 04:26 PM
KRISTOFF, CONTINUED [Jonah Goldberg]
Oh and this line is absurd:
The latest "Guess Who" is about a white man in love with a black woman, and that's a comfortable old archetype from days when slave owners inflicted themselves on slave women.
"...comfortable old archetype from days when slave owners inflicted themselves on slave women."
Oh come on! I haven't seen the movie, but I've seen enough of the previews. First, it's a comedy. That in and of itself is a huge step forward in that everyone can laugh at what was once a real taboo.
Second, I'm sure someone will correct me if I've misread the tea leaves, but my sense is the whole movie is an endless series of jokes about a successful black guy -- played by Bernie Mack -- bullying his white would-be son-in-law -- played by Ashton Kutcher. Here's one of the two quotes from IMDB from the movie:
Theresa (daughter): I was just showing Simon around the house.
Posted at 04:01 PM
STICK TO DARFUR [Jonah Goldberg ]
Nick Kristoff makes the strategic error of writing something offbeat today. The whole column is about how we need to have more interracial love affairs on the big screen. Maybe we do, maybe we don't. Who knows? But his discussion seems to omit entirely the 1970s, 80s and 90s. I mean Jungle Fever was over a decade ago, right? There's also no mention of Save the Last Dance. Plus how you can talk about interracial canoodling without mentioning Star Trek's notorious Kirk-Uhuru lip-lock is beyond me (several Southern stations dropped the show when they did it. Muckling with green chicks was no problem though).
Moreover, while I agree that the rate of interracial marriage is an important and revealing statistic about race-relations, a more heroic approach would be to question the left's insistence that any product of a white-black interracial union must be black. It is, as Stephen Thernstrom noted long ago, the most bizarre reiteration of the old racist one-drop rule in "progressive" clothing.
Posted at 03:49 PM
SUBMISSION, AGAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Regular readers will remember the saga of Submission, the movie attacking Islamic violence against women. Its director, Theo van Gogh, was murdered by a Muslim fanatic outraged by van Gogh’s opinions. Van Gogh’s collaborator, the Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, remains in hiding.
An Italian Member of the EU’s ‘parliament’ (he’s from the Northern League, a populist party that is (or is not; I’ve lost track) in coalition with Berlusconi (who is, or is not, Italy’s prime minister; I’ve lost track) has been trying to get Submission shown at that parliament. For reasons that are unclear to me (copyright, perhaps?), the owner of the rights to the film objected, but the MEP persisted.
Then another part of the parliament’s apparat, an Ulster Unionist MEP by the name of Nicholson, intervened to stop the film being shown citing the producer’s objections and, well, this:
“The controversial nature of the film is apt to provoke disturbances of the public order within the Parliament and might even put the essential long-term EP security interests at stake".
Good grief, this ‘parliament’ is so craven that if it had been the Reichstag in 1933 it would have burned itself down.
Elaib of the excellent ‘England Expects’ blog has more. Check out too what he has to say about AP coverage of this contretemps.
Posted at 01:45 PM
SON OF SHARIKOV [Andrew Stuttaford]
Sweden's Margot Wallstrom, the EU’s commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communications Strategy is notable mainly for a blog that is, as numerous eurosceptics have discovered, good for hours of brutal fun in a pulling-the-wings-off-a-fly sort of way.
Now, if this account from Expressen can be believed it seems that this squeaky-clean moralizing bore may be joining the numerous ranks of EU Commissioners with a touch of murkiness in their past. The source of her problem lies in Sweden’s system of state funding for political parties. I’m not entirely clear of all the details of this system, but it appears that the more members a party could sign up, the greater the subsidy. It’s now alleged that Sweden’s Social Democrats indulged in a little jiggery-pokery with those numbers back in the 1970s, swelling the ranks with a ‘dead soul’ or two, three or fifty, thereby defrauding the already hard-pressed Swedish taxpayer. It’s now alleged that la Reine Margot may have had a hand in such dealings.
Quizzed on this, Wallstrom’s press spokesman said that Margot had no comment. Margot, most conveniently, was “travelling.”
In an unusual burst of investigative journalism I contacted a reliable -and very smart - source in Sweden. He gave me additional background information about the allegation, including the delightful detail that an apparatchik in the Stockholm Social Democratic Youth League had reportedly enrolled at least one ludicrously overqualified individual into the ranks of those phantom Nordic leftists.
The dog’s name was, apparently, Engels.
Posted at 01:44 PM
TIME FOR SOME FACT-CHECKING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Tom Friedman ran a piece endorsing Tony Blair in the New York Times Friday. Well, Friedman has a right to his opinions – however misguided (Blair’s rule has been characterized by incompetence, bullying and dishonesty, and needs to come to a rapid conclusion) but, when it comes to the hard data, he ought to get a few facts right.
Let’s take some examples.
In the course of his article, Friedman writes about how Blair’s supposed improvements to the National Health Service (largely illusory to those luckless enough to be its patients) and other ‘reforms’ have been achieved with ‘few’ tax increases, something that will be news to the luckless British taxpayer.
Here, Tom, are a few numbers (via the London Times):
“Britain is not yet a decisively high-tax country, but it is on a path heading back that way. For most of the previous decade, tax as a percentage of national income hovered in a range between about 33 per cent and 37 per cent. By the start of this decade, however, the tax burden had climbed into the high thirties, as Gordon Brown increased taxes by a total of £26 billion to finance a rapid expansion of state spending. Today, the Chancellor’s projections envisage the Government’s revenues, as measured by current receipts, rising to 40.5 per cent by 2008, and remaining there to mark the highest tax burden for more than two decades. These figures, of course, do not take into account any post-election tax rises, which most independent economists believe will be needed to curb a large structural deficit in public spending.”
It’s worth noting that many of these tax increases have been by stealth, most notoriously the decision to abolish tax credits on dividends received by pension funds, a technical change that few Brits understood at the time, but which has now devastated the once healthy British pensions system.
Oh yes, Tom, as for all those jobs you were talking about, consider this:
“Since 1999-00 Britain's public sector has been expanding rapidly. Overall public spending increased by 25.5 per cent in real terms between 1999-00 and 2004-05. It is planned to increase by 44 per cent between 1999-00 and 2009-10…one in four jobs are now in the public sector, with one in three women employed by the Government. Half of all new jobs created since 1997 have been in the public sector, a rate of increase twice that of the whole economy. In total, 861,231 additional public sector jobs were created between the summer of 1997 and the autumn of 2004, taking the total to 6,906,922.”
And on the government debt, Tom, Labour is now behaving with the sort of fiscal irresponsibility that we would expect from, oh, the GOP. According to S&P, the national debt is rising rapidly from 34 percent of GDP today to an estimated 150 percent by 2050. It’s worth noting that S&P’s numbers exclude an additional USD 100 billion of dodgy off-balance sheet financing (the Private Finance Initiatives) organized by Blair’s ‘deft’ (your words, not mine) Chancellor of the Exchequer, the vindictive, and more than a little loopy, class warrior, Gordon Brown.
Now it is true that the British economy has performed well since 1997, but with the exception of one genuinely good – and daring – reform (the decision to grant independence to the Bank of England), this has been despite Tony Blair’s government (which has added an enormous regulatory burden to industry), not because of it.
Throw him out.
Posted at 01:26 PM
WHALE SHARKS [Rick Brookhiser]
Saw one (perhaps two on two different occasions), off Gladden Spit, locally known as the Elbow, 17 miles out from the town of Placencia. He was about twenty feet long. They have huge heads, graceful tapering bodies, huge tails. They are dark grey with white spots. This guy was somewhat curious, and veered rather close at times. He was impressive, slow, and conscious of his size--like a senator. But he seemed neither arrogant nor timid, unlike a senator.
Posted at 09:52 AM
THE GREAT DEBATE [Cliff May]
I forgot to mention: Michael Ledeen and I debated Pat Buchanan and Bob Novak today as planned. How did it go? Michael and I agree that any debate we get through without a pie in the face is a successful debate. (I actually don’t so much object to a pie in the face – if it’s really good pie.)
Seriously, I thought we had an interesting dialogue and managed to disagree in an agreeable way. (Thanks are due to Bay Buchanan who put this together.)
Most of the points I made in the debate are in my latest Scripps column.
Also, CSPAN recorded it, so it should be available soon for you couch potatoes who were too lazy to go to Tyson’s Corners in the rain on a Saturday.
Posted at 09:51 AM
"DO NOT BE AFRAID..." [K. J. Lopez]
The new pope's inaugural homily.
Posted at 09:48 AM
BAD BAN [John J. Miller]
Today's NYT: "Despite dire predictions that the streets would be awash in military-style guns, the expiration of the decade-long assault weapons ban last September has not set off a sustained surge in the weapons' sales, gun makers and sellers say. It also has not caused any noticeable increase in gun crime in the past seven months, according to several metropolitan police departments."
In fairness, some of the gun-control groups said the ban never was effective because it didn't go far enough -- but this NYT statement is nevertheless a ringing affirmation of what the NRA and others said for years.
Posted at 05:50 AM