HATING JOHN BOLTON [K. J. Lopez]
As I’ve mentioned before, I love the Seattle Times for running my syndicated column. My in-box is pretty full from John Bolton-column e-mails, but this one was just too persuasive and enlighted not to share. And you know I wouldn’t if it weren’t characteristic of a lot of what I’m getting (this is more true than you want to know)…
Hello Kathryn :
Posted at 08:53 PM
ABORTION & FUTURE PREGNANCIES [K. J. Lopez]
From the London Telegraph:
Having an abortion almost doubles a woman's risk of giving birth dangerously early in a later pregnancy, according to research that will provoke fresh debate over the most controversial of all medical procedures.
Posted at 08:49 PM
RE: CARZ [K. J. Lopez]
I'm forever picturing Warren as Ferris Bueller's friend Cameron, when he wrecked his dad's car and house. The car was, of course, way lame compared to KITT, so I guess that car won't be near that auction.
Posted at 08:17 PM
AWESOMENESS AVAILABLE [Warren Bell]
I like TV and I like cars, so this looks like a big ol' slice of heaven. The Petersen Auto Museum here in L.A. is hosting an auction of George Barris-designed vehicles from his career in Hollywood, where the mad genius of vehicular delight brought us the original Batmobile, the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard, KITT from Knight Rider and many others.
Cooler still -- you can buy a piece of history in your pajamas. The auction allows for online bidding. Anyone going after the Black Beauty from The Green Hornet had best be warned -- that's been my favorite car since I was old enough to accidentally release the emergency brake on my parents car and almost kill my brother and me. (I was Kato, he was the Green Hornet, see...)
Posted at 08:12 PM
GOD AND MAN AT DARTMOUTH [Peter Robinson]
From today's online editorial in the Dartmouth Review:
Over a half century ago, William F. Buckley Jr.’s God and Man at Yale asked whether the education provided at that university corresponded with the wishes of its alumni, to whom its administrators ultimately report. The answer at Dartmouth today, as it was at Yale then, is a resounding “no.” However, with Robinson and Zywicki’s upset win, the answer at one Ivy League institution could soon be “yes.”Todd Zywicki and I certainly intend to do our darndest.
Posted at 08:09 PM
CAN'T MAKE THIS UP: MORE FOX [Mark Krikorian]
Mexico's president Fox, speaking to visiting Texas businessmen Friday, praised illegal immigrants from his country by saying they do jobs "that not even blacks want to do." Now, I agree that we sometimes take racial sensitivity to extremes in our country; my favorite lampoon of that sort of thing is Eddie Murphy's actor character in "Bowfinger," who counted the number of times the letter K appeared in a scrpipt, divided it by three, and thundered that "KKK appears in this script 486 times!"
Fox's statement, on the other hand, really is outrageous -- imagine our president telling visiting Mexican businessmen that they need Guatemalan illegals to do the work that even Mexico's Indians won't do. That's putting aside the fact that Mexico tends to treat its Indians like it's Mississippi in 1890.
Posted at 08:09 PM
IRANIAN REVELATIONS [Michael Ledeen]
I am still in Naples, finishing the research for my book "virgil's golden egg and other neapolitan miracles," but I did want to pass on this remarkable email from one of my iranian penpals. I think it is enormously important, because it shows the depth of the hatred of the regime from a leading Shi'ite mullah, in a degree of detail I think most of us would find amazing. And it also provides very useful information about the official presidential candidate, Rafsanjani, who is often described as a "moderate." Here you go:
If this letter by the shiite cleric Hadi Ma'ssumi published on the iran-chabar site is true then this is just mega explosive: http://www.iran-chabar.de/1384/02/20/masoomi840220.htm
Posted at 08:07 PM
FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN [Andrew Stuttaford]
British columnist David Aaronovitch on being a leftie who supported the war:
“Since I decided, in January 2003, that if Iraq was invaded I would not oppose it, I have had the almost astral experience of finding myself excommunicated from the movement, sometimes by fellow journalists who I know do not possess a political bone in their entire bodies.All of a sudden I began to experience the left from the outside. And the first thing that struck me was its capacity for smug certainty and uniformity of response. Look at the cartoonists, whose work trumps debate. You may have Blair the poodle, Blair with blood-stained hands, Blair the liar, Bush the absurd chimp, but never, ever, Galloway the consort of tyrants or Kennedy the comforter of "insurgents”.
‘Excommunicated’ is the right word indeed.
Posted at 08:05 PM
THEOCRATS AND ALL THAT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Via Andrew Sullivan a fascinating article by Mark Lilla from the New York Times. I certainly don’t agree with everything Lilla has to say – far from it, but this passage (also highlighted by Sullivan) is worth repeating here:
“The leading thinkers of the British and American Enlightenments hoped that life in a modern democratic order would shift the focus of Christianity from a faith-based reality to a reality-based faith. American religion is moving in the opposite direction today, back toward the ecstatic, literalist and credulous spirit of the Great Awakenings. Its most disturbing manifestations are not political, at least not yet. They are cultural. The fascination with the ''end times,'' the belief in personal (and self-serving) miracles, the ignorance of basic science and history, the demonization of popular culture, the censoring of textbooks, the separatist instincts of the home-schooling movement -- all these developments are far more worrying in the long term than the loss of a few Congressional seats.”
Of course, it’s worth making the point (Lilla doesn't) that home schooling is often itself a reaction (and a very understandable reaction at that) to the other rising superstition of our time – you might call it, in fact, “ectstatic, literalist and credulous” – the multiculturalist mush and leftist slush that has invaded America’s education system and done so much to trash the study of history, of science and, yes, censor textbooks.
In fact there’s a nice little example of the way in which liberalism has swapped reason for dreams, fantasy and paranoia in a book review from today’s Financial Times. No link available so this one-fingered typist will transcribe it. It’s an (unsigned) review of a book called The Last Crusade: The Influence of the Christian Right on American foreign policy by Barbara Victor. Here goes:
“Victor analyses the accession of the religious right from relative obscurity to the forefront of US politics. She charts the gradual erosion of secular democracy, as politicians respond to the zeitgeist, channeling anxiety and popular desire for revenge into biblical patriotism. Saturated with religious influence, America has borne witness to the accession of a potentially dangerous “theocracy”…..
Its no good, I can’t go on.
Look, I share Derb’s profound skepticism about some aspects of the religious right (and accept the label – if not the spelling – as one of Jonah’s ‘skepticons’), but this sort of talk is, I’m afraid, simply nuts.
Posted at 08:03 PM
A HERO OF OUR TIME? [Andrew Stuttaford]
James Wolcott has described Saddam groupie – and British MP - George Galloway as “a hero of our time.”
Posted at 08:00 PM
NEWT AND HILLARY [Tim Graham]
The front-page huzzahs over Newt Gingrich and Hillary Clinton finding "common ground" are just the latest attempt for the press to move Hillary rightward. It's sad that Newt is so hungry for the spotlight that he's assisting. (Just as he assisted in pushing DeLay for more disclosure.) But can these pundits find the actual location of the "common ground" they're finding? I'm guessing it's so common everyone would agree on it if they looked it over. For their own sake, conservatives need to focus less on her supposedly brilliant strategic positioning and more on her ethical improprieties. If the indictments of Tom DeLay's aides can be used by the press to suggest "clouds" and "troubles" surrounding him, the same ought to be applied to Mrs. Clinton.
Posted at 08:00 PM
AND IN FRANCE.... [Andrew Stuttaford]
…the ‘oui’ camp moves slightly ahead. Writing in the Daily Telegraph Charles Moore explains why:
“Nowadays no important French politician (unless you count the cunning but grotesque Jean-Marie Le Pen) dares side with the nation against its rulers. The power of the elites is so great, the intermeshing of education and money and jobs and media and Brussels and Paris is so complete, that to question the system is to exclude yourself from power. This unanimity gives the "yes" campaign obvious advantages. They can control the money - Figaro calculated last month that the government had already spent 420 million euros on trying to secure a "yes" vote. They can control the media - all the main newspapers say "oui" and the state broadcasting service openly expresses the same view; the airtime given to "yes" has been 63 per cent, that to "no" 37 per cent, and that does not include three television hours of Chirac in favour of "yes" (after which the "no" standing rose in the polls). They can offer last-minute inducements - a promised reduction of VAT on restaurant meals is delightfully blatant. One half expects President Chirac to copy François Mitterrand, who announced his prostate cancer just in time to win the knife-edge vote in the Maastricht referendum.”
Actually, when it comes to the disclosure of Mitterand’s cancer, Moore is, I suspect, being a little unfair. If you want a better explanation as to how the Maastricht vote (a referendum on an earlier round of EU ‘reform’) was won, it’s better to look to that sudden – and rather mysterious - rush of last-minute votes from France’s overseas departments…
Moore also adds this:
”It has often been pointed out that the reason why many French dislike the constitution is the opposite from the "no" camp here in Britain. The French, it is said, hate the thing because it imposes "Anglo-Saxon" free-market ideas on them and undermines their "social protection", whereas British nay-sayers want to be free of all those social chapters and maximum working weeks. True, in part, but not contradictory. What voters resent, in both cases, is being forbidden by people they did not and cannot choose from organising themselves as they would prefer. Jean may want to knock off on Friday morning while Jack may want to work all Sunday: both agree that they should be able to make up their own minds about it.”
Read the whole thing.
Posted at 07:55 PM
NONE OF HIS BUSINESS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Interesting report in the FT today of comments from Vicente Fox, a man who seems to believe that he has a right to legislate America’s border control:
“Mexico has reacted furiously to a bill signed into law by the US this week that would fund a border wall and prevent illegal Mexican migrants from obtaining US driving licences. President Vicente Fox said he would lodge a diplomatic complaint, and was considering complaints to multilateral bodies if Mexico could not unable to resolve the problem bilaterally.”
To borrow a phrase from the much unmissed Teresa Heinz Kerry, President Bush should tell Fox to shove it.
I’m not holding my breath.
Posted at 07:54 PM
THE GRAND HIGH INQUISITOR [Peter Robinson]
As has been noted here, Pope Benedict XVI yesterday named Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco to replace the Pope himself as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the successor to the Holy Office, aka the Inquisition. What kind of man is the prelate the press is already attempting to portray as a new Torquemada?
Earlier this year, as it happens, I saw Archbishop Levada in action when he celebrated the fiftieth anniversary mass at St. Raymond’s parochial school in Menlo Park, California, the school four Robinson children attend. “By the authority invested in me by the Holy See,” the archbishop intoned at the end of the mass, as if about to call down lightning bolts, “I hereby declare…a day off from school.”
The couple of hundred children in the congregation gave Torquemada a cheer.
Posted at 07:51 PM
BEICHMAN MAKES HIS DEBUT [Peter Robinson]
Arnold Beichman, anticommunist, Hoover fellow, linguist, nonstop delight, and one of my closest friends, informs me this day that he is constructing a new website. Be sure to take a look. Ninety-two this coming summer, Arnold represents, with historian Robert Conquest, one of the few minds (as Christopher Hitchens recently put it) that comprehends nearly the whole of the twentieth century.
Posted at 07:49 PM
SAYING NEE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The London Times today has a report on that recent TV survey (discussed a day or so ago on the always ahead-of-its-time Corner) showing that the ‘no’ side was pulling ahead in the Dutch referendum on the draft EU ‘constitution’. Meanwhile, the Dutch PM (no hero, despite his uncanny resemblance to Harry Potter) is saying that a no vote will “harm the reputation of the Netherlands internationally”.
That’s nonsense, but more importantly it doesn’t matter.
The Dutch people would vote according to their interests – and only their interests. The demands of some imagined ‘international community’, in reality the international bureaucratic class, are an impertinence and should be an irrelevance.
And there's more here from the Daily Telegraph:
"A staff member of the finance ministry asked not to be named as he admitted that he would be voting No. "There should have been a referendum on the euro, there should be a referendum on Turkish entry," he said. "I'm voting against the constitution because politicians cannot tell me why I should be voting for it."
Of course, they cannot. Admitting that the purpose of this constitution (so beloved, apparently by Condi Rice) is the overthrow of what little remains of national sovereignty in favour of a corrupt - and unaccountable - elite.
That's not really a vote winner, is it?
Arjan at Zacht Ei tells it how it is:
“True, rejecting the constitution won't bring back the guilder. But we were cheated back then. First, by allowing Greece into the Economical and Monetary Union while their economy didn't meet the criteria. Second, by diluting the guilder to 90 percent of its real value only to please Germany.We were robbed. And you simply don't make new deals with people who've cheated you in the past without them having made amends or even having offered an apology. In other words, saying that this referendum isn't about the euro is the same as a salesman telling you there's nothing wrong with his camper vans, while you are still paying off the garage bills for the crappy car he sold you back in 1999.”
Zo is dat.
Posted at 07:42 PM
BASE CLOSINGS AND WALTER REED [K. J. Lopez]
I don't doubt this was a wise move, closing Walter Reed, from economic and efficiency reasons--I've heard enough stories here and there about Bethesda vs. Walter Reed to imagine many of the fellas who get stuck there will be better off with the reorganization. But it still seems so unfortunate from a pr view--it just looks bad, even if its not.
Posted at 07:34 PM
STORE WARS [Jonah Goldberg]
Rarely has such a stupid message been delivered in such a clever way. Stuttaford will love this. For Andrew, Warren & Jon Adler this is a must click.
Posted at 05:22 PM
SOCIAL SECURITY [Jonah Goldberg]
Because I'm so cool, I watched a big chunk of some Senate hearings on Social Security on C-Span last night. It seemed to be a Democratic deal -- there were no Republican Senators asking questions when I tuned in and the panel seemed to be wildly overstocked with opponents. There was a woman who barely said a word (so I don't know if she's pro or con). And there was an economist from Yale, the Brookings gu, Peter Orszag, and Brad Delong the blogger and economist. The only outspoken witness in favor was my old friend Derrick Max. I thought Derrick did a great job, especially given the odds. But I have to say that I thought the liberals made some very strong arguments, including DeLong (who, to date, has never had a kind word for yours truly). I'm still in favor of reforming the system and I'm still in favor of private accounts, but I thought the arguments were pretty persuasive that there are serious downsides to the idea too. I'd get into specifics, but that would give Ramesh all weekend to sharpen his scalpel. So, I'll keep pondering and start in again on Monday.
Posted at 02:53 PM
THE OTHER NUCLEAR OPTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Interesting piece in the Times today on the rift among Greens over nuclear power. Here's the opener:
WASHINGTON, May 14 - Several of the nation's most prominent environmentalists have gone public with the message that nuclear power, long taboo among environmental advocates, should be reconsidered as a remedy for global warming.
Posted at 02:42 PM
WOLCOTT [Jonah Goldberg]
John - Whenever you read Wolcott writing about the Corner, picture a kid sitting alone in the high school cafeteria, eating his brown bag lunch while muttering constantly about how those kids at the other table are all a bunch of losers who really shouldn't be having a good time because they aren't as cool as they think they are. Perhaps alone among all leftwing bloggers, he's the only one who I honestly believe is truly, completely, and unalterably wracked with jealousy. Virtually, all of his posts about us -- and conservatives generally -- are substance-free (or boringly hackneyed). All, of them are the kind of jabs one expects to hear from a male hairdresser about the more successful competition across the street. And they always recycle the same jokes, over and over again.
For example, he's now made I think a half-dozen fat jokes about me (I don't read him regularly, but from the emails I get that sounds about right). That's fine, I suppose. Though since I've been making fat jokes about myself for several years now, it's hardly what one might call original. Plagiarizing someone else's self-deprecating remarks is bad enough. But it's particularly ill-advised given this.
Posted at 02:28 PM
ROGAINE IS OF NO USE [John Podhoretz]
James Wolcott welcomes my arrival in the Corner by suggesting that I "went bald in his parents' basement pretending to be a Jedi warrior with the maid's broom." First of all, my parents didn't have a basement. Second of all, I was 16 years old when Star Wars premiered, and for reasons that only she can explain, my mother at the time refused to hire any domestic help and was therefore trapped in the laundry room of our apartment building on the night of the Manhattan blackout only weeks after the movie opened. And finally, James, I am more than willing to acknowledge I am challenged in the follicle department. So the question is: When are you getting your stomach stapled?
Posted at 11:36 AM
FOR THE RECORD [K. J. Lopez]
I love Cliff May. See one of the many reasons why here.
Posted at 11:25 AM
CRACKS ME UP [K. J. Lopez]
The FPOD comes from the Left Coast...after 11 am on the Right.
Actually there is some serious action over in Bench Memos this morning.
Posted at 11:21 AM
EBERT AND PODHORETZ [Warren Bell]
I sincerely hope that the studio behind Kicking and Screaming will pull for use in their ads the following quote from John's review of the film: "So go. Or don't go. It's up to you."
After a long week, isn't that just a fantastic distillation of the conservative world view?
Posted at 11:08 AM
Friday, May 13, 2005
BOLTON & JUDGES [Rich Lowry ]
Just talked to someone else regarding the timing here. The reason it's key to get to Bolton first is that otherwise his nomination might get swallowed up in fallout from the judges fight. And, assuming that he gets confirmed, it would give the GOP a nice win going into the judges fight. But the source I just talked to sounds pretty certain that the judges fight will come first. He says Bolton could only go first if Reid agreed to a fairly brief period of floor debate on Bolton. That's probably not going to happen because Reid knows if he could stretch out the Bolton debate it might eat into the lengthy period of time needed to set the predicate for the GOP to turn to the “nuclear option” on judges. This source says “the pump is really primed” for judges, and he makes it sound like Bolton is going to have to wait.
Posted at 05:32 PM
I'VE CRITICIZED DELAY IN PRINT [John Podhoretz]
Jonah, does this mean David Keene thinks I'm an attacker of conservatives?
Posted at 04:54 PM
MORE WEEKEND MOVIE NEWS [John Podhoretz]
Just saw Kicking and Screaming, the new family comedy starring Will Ferrell as a milquetoast dad who becomes a raving-maniac soccer coach. It's a big "eh," mostly because the moviemakers are so afraid we won't like Ferrell's character that they spend an hour making him almost repulsively inoffensive. The movie only really comes alive when Ferrell, supposedly hopped up on coffee, goes all out, berating, baiting, and pushing small children. But there is an unbelievably cute kid in the movie named Elliot Cho who is almost worth the price of admission -- and there's a startlingly funny turn by Chicago Bears legend Mike Ditka, who plays himself. No cursing and no violence except for a tetherball game between Ferrell and Robert Duvall. So go. Or don't go. It's up to you.
Posted at 04:47 PM
OH, JUST FOR THE RECORD [Jonah Goldberg]
This morning I heard David Keane of the American Conservative Union say that an attack on Tom Delay's ethics was an attack on conservatives everywhere and upon everything they stand for.
Now, the substance of the matter notwithstanding, I just want those of you who are worried about such things to know that I don't feel like I'm being attacked personally when Tom Delay is being attacked.
Posted at 04:46 PM
QUICK BOLTON VOTE STILL POSSIBLE [Rich Lowry ]
Just talked to someone familiar with the Senate who is following the Bolton stuff closely. Says that vote counts earlier in the week showed a majority for Bolton. But they will have to be re-checked in light of the committee action. He thinks Frist still hasn't decided when to schedule the vote. A deal has been worked out to vote on the highway bill (a/k/a veto bait) on Tuesday. It's possible that Bolton could be squeezed in there early/mid-week as well. But Frist will probably want to hear from other senators over the weekend and the decision probably won't be made until Monday at the earliest.
On judges, he says Frist is close enough to 50 to make everyone nervous--Republicans because he might not be there, Democrats because he might be there. He expects possible deals to be floated with even more intensity and points out that Frist, through his compromise proposal, has established 100 hours of debate as the standard for each of these judges. So even if he brings up one of the targeted judges, debate could drag on for as long as two weeks before there's an attempt to cut it off and “go nuclear.”
Posted at 04:44 PM
SEN. ALLEN PUSHES FOR QUICK BOLTON VOTE... [Rich Lowry ]
...Pfeiffer just talked to him.
Posted at 04:32 PM
“WE WON'T SHOW MERCY” [Byron York]
Markos Moulitsas, founder of the website DailyKos, is congratulating his contributors for their efforts to attack the story of Republican anger at Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's comments about the confidential FBI file of Bush judicial nominee Henry Saad. (They claim, incorrectly, that Reid said nothing out of the ordinary or that had not been said before.) Kos' message today:
It was fun flexing our muscles last night.
Posted at 03:37 PM
FILIBUSTER [K. J. Lopez]
Frist sounds ready
Posted at 03:19 PM
PFEIFFER ON HOLDS, ETC... [Rich Lowry ]
...Beltway Buzz has latest on Bolton action.
Posted at 03:11 PM
POSTING ERROR [Jonah Goldberg]
I think the post below is from Peter Robinson, not Rob Long. [It's fixed now.]
Don't worry, someone will be beaten for this.
Posted at 02:34 PM
DARTMOUTH [Peter Robinson]
As K-Lo was kind enough to note yesterday, the results of the election for the Dartmouth College board of trustees were announced yesterday evening: Among six candidates for two open seats, the winners were Todd Zywicki and me, each of us a “petition” candidate--that is, a candidate who got his name on the ballot by way of a write-in effort, circumventing the usual nominating process. Todd and I ran our campaigns independently of each other, but we both concentrated our attention on a couple of themes, including a demand for the College to sweep aside its de facto speech code in favor of true freedom of speech on campus. And we won. (I’m still getting used to that.)
At least one aspect of this election has ramifications for institutions other than Dartmouth itself: the importance of the blogosphere. Half a dozen established blogs, including those of Powerline, Hugh Hewitt, and Roger L. Simon, paid close attention to the campaign, and another half a dozen or so sprang into being for the very purpose of commenting on the campaign (including a couple that were dedicated, chiefly, to smacking Todd and me around). Dartlog, VoicesInTheWilderness, Joe’s Dartblog, the Dartmouth Observer--I learned more about what was actually taking place in Hanover by reading these blogs, all operated by undergraduates or very recent graduates, than I had in 25 years of reading the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. Alums at every institution in the country now have access to similar blogs about their own alma maters--direct sources of information that are completely independent of the institutions’ own purring PR machines.
Deans may still try to spin and dissemble. But get away with it? Harder--much, much harder.
To the many readers of this happy Corner who supported my candidacy, my thanks. And to K-Lo, relax. Your honorary degree is in the bag.
Posted at 02:16 PM
FIGHT! FIGHT! [K. J. Lopez]
Day #2 of Bench Memos, and the page is hopping, only getting better...
Posted at 01:47 PM
JEDI WARMONGERS [John Podhoretz]
I'm getting a lot of e-mails from obsessive fanboys who insist that the good guys in the Star Wars movies didn't start the wars in question but were tricked into it by a "Dark Side of the Force" conspiracy. It's almost impossible to wade through all the
Posted at 01:35 PM
BREAKFAST WITH THE PRESIDENT [K. J. Lopez]
W will be hanging with Catholics next Friday.
Posted at 01:34 PM
OUR FUNDRAISATHON [K. J. Lopez]
is almost over and we're not quite near our goal. If your thinking of helping now is the time...thanks for considering.
Posted at 01:29 PM
HANOI JANE ADMITS: "I'M A 'MONSTER"!!!! [John Podhoretz]
So Jane Fonda has this new movie out, her first in 15 years. It's called Monster-in-Law. Conservatives may actually enjoy it, because for the first time in her career Fonda is playing an out-and-out villain -- a drunken psycho who makes it her mission to destroy her son's upcoming marriage to a treacly dog walker played by Jennifer Lopez. Fonda specialized in playing difficult but noble women who just grow and GROW throughout the movie until they achieve some form of moral greatness -- usually by delivering a hysterical leftist spiel. Her movies became a chore -- just try and sit through the one with Robert De Niro as an illiterate where she tries to teach him to read -- and as a performer, she became a crashing bore. But in Monster-in-Law, Fonda tears into her part like a hungry dog into a piece of gristle, and she is great fun to watch. The movie, however, is just horrible, and features one of the worst scenes I've ever seen -- when Fonda's son decides to propose marriage to Jennifer Lopez with Fonda sitting right there.
Posted at 01:28 PM
VOINOVICH THE BULLY WHINER [John Podhoretz]
I have a column in today's New York Post about how Sen. Voinovich's conduct toward John Bolton reveals how bullying the Senate has become. In response, a senior staffer from the first Bush administration has informed me that of all Republican officials in the country, Voinovich was by the far the worst, most unpleasant, most difficult and most whiny. He was then the governor of Ohio, and he would send Bush 41 endless letters moaning about how he wasn't getting enough attention, Ohio wasn't getting enough, blah blah blah. His underlings, the staffer said, were equally impossible. "Who's going to primary this guy next time?" the staffer asked me. "'Cause there's a check I'd write in a minute." Judging from my e-mail over the past day, there's a lot of GOP folks who would be thrilled to support a Republican candidate for senate in Ohio who would take Voinovich on. Alas, he's not up for reelection until 2010.
Posted at 12:50 PM
SPECTER'S COMPROMISING POSTION REALLY WORKS TOWARD TONING DOWN THE LEFT [K. J. Lopez]
From today's Hotline:
A Final Push -- $1M Buy From PFAW Targeting Specter, Murkowski And The Maineiacs
Posted at 12:48 PM
MATT WALSH & US [Kate O'Beirne]
My father celebrated his 91st birthday this week with his four conservative daughters. He shares this political legacy with National Review, his favorite magazine....
Posted at 12:34 PM
PHILIP KENNICOTT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
one of the Washington Post's most tedious Style section writers, trashes Yale historian Donald Kagan today. I don't know Kagan and have read none of his books, but familiarity with his work isn't necessary to see what rotten about Kennicott's piece.
The trouble starts in the first paragraph: "It's hard to imagine a more successful or celebrated historian, and yet, just as he has for decades, Kagan still sounds peevish. Will he ever get over the audacity of other professors, who think the ancient Greeks and Western civilization are not the only things worth studying, to confront the old, settled way of doing things?"
My reactions: 1) What's a conservative in the academy got to be peevish about? Gee, it's just a huge mystery. What could it be? 2) Will liberals ever get over the idea that people who object to their various innovations are just opposed to new things? Some people object when old, settled ways of doing things are "confronted" stupidly.
Kennicott: "[Kagan] got laughs for little digs at the relativists (who believe that other societies may have equally legitimate values and truths) and the multiculturalists (who think the traditional canon is not so weak as to bear with a little expansion)."
Bull. Those are deliberately euphemistic descriptions of relativism and multiculturalism, and I cannot imagine that they're what Kagan has in mind when he's talking about relativism and multiculturalism. Kennicott is writing up a speech. Just as with a book review, a non-hack writer has to present his subject's case before rebutting it--rather than just describing it in a distorted, self-refuting way.
The conclusion, if you can believe it, is even worse.
Posted at 12:29 PM
THE H-BOMB GETS BLOWED UP REAL GOOD [John Podhoretz]
Arianna gets punked. Very funny.
Posted at 12:15 PM
XXL-ATHON [Jack Fowler]
The last of the XXL polo shirts are gone. Thanks. But there’s still plenty more stuff available for NRO’s big-boned readership.
Posted at 12:14 PM
ONLY FUNNY THING IN "AMERICATHON" [John Podhoretz]
...is that, according to its dystopic screenplay, Israel and its enemies have joined together to form the United Hebe-Rab Republic.
Posted at 11:59 AM
BEING ADULT [K. J. Lopez ]
I recently complained about the lack of focus on alternatives to embryonic-stem-cell research in the public-policy debate. Yesterday, the president's bioethics council released a report on some of those alternatives. I haven’t had a chance to read it, but look forward to it. There are some potentially rich opportunities out there that are free of the moral problems of using embryos for (and creating them expressly for) research. The report is here. May fresh conversations begin.
Posted at 11:43 AM
THE THINGS YOU LEARN [K. J. Lopez]
Tommy Lasorda has a blog.
Posted at 11:06 AM
SOCIAL SECURITY MILESTONE [Stanley Kurtz ]
No doubt about it, we’ve just had a major breakthrough on Social Security. An incredibly powerful House Democrat has publicly come out in favor of compromise. Although he rejects the idea of investment accounts, he does support the president’s progressive indexing proposal. He’s also calling upon Democrats to put forward their own ideas and work toward an agreement with the president. Perhaps most interesting of all, this powerful Democrat has openly chastised Democrat Social Security strategist, Rahm Emanuel, for refusing to deal with the president. True the powerful House Democrat in question is someone who used to have power, and doesn’t anymore. I’m talking about former House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Dan Rostenkowski. Naturally, conservatives aren’t going to like everything this crusty old Democratic bigwig had to say about Social Security. But the interesting thing is that liberals aren’t going to like what Rostenkowski had to say either. But any way you slice it, this is a fascinating story.
Posted at 11:01 AM
KISSING COUSINS [Stanley Kurtz]
A gay marriage-style argument is now being used to peel back prohibitions on incestuous marriage. Steve Chapman, of the Chicago Tribune editorial board, has endorsed cousin marriage. The idea that the antiquity of cousin marriage in the Muslim Middle East somehow justifies cousin marriage in America is absurd. The same argument would justify polygamy and polyamory here. But of course, Chapman approves of those too. Actually, cousin marriage may be at the root of some of the problems in the Middle East, as I’ve argued elsewhere. But the real point is that cousin marriage in the Middle East has a totally different meaning than it would here. I addressed the issue of adult incest in “The Libertarian Question.” The interesting thing is that a columnist and a member of an important paper’s editorial board is making a public argument for cousin marriage. And all the recent talk about polyamory is nothing compared to what we’ll be seeing after a possible national establishment of same-sex marriage. With that safely done, the cultural left will feel free to openly press for more–much more. But right now, on polygamy and incest, Steve Chapman is leading the way.
Posted at 10:58 AM
RE: LASORDA [K. J. Lopez]
Sorry, Warren, that's the kind of snarky ugly northeasterner sportstalk you don't like.
Posted at 10:54 AM
RE: RE: AMERICATHON [Warren Bell]
Hmm. Saw it, I think, at my girlfriend's house on what was then a very new thing called Home Box Office. I remember slightly less about the movie than I do about her, other than her having cable TV.
Anyway, I'll take Jay Leno's character, Larry Miller, as a tribute to my sage friend, the comedian of the same name.
Posted at 10:41 AM
RE: AMERICANTHON [K. J. Lopez]
Yeah, safe to say I never saw it. Have seen my fair share of weird movies, but not if Tommy Lasorda's in 'em.
Posted at 10:37 AM
GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ [K. J. Lopez]
in the New York Times!
I'm feeling faint...
Posted at 10:26 AM
RE: SPECTER VS. FRIST [K. J. Lopez]
I'm ranting now, but the Voinovich thing yesterday still has me infuriated. I've heard from people who were assured Voinovich would cooperate on Bolton as late as an hour or so before the hearing yesterday. People who should have known better. If Republicans lose seats in 2006 because of big losses (Bolton, judges...), it will be their own fault, if this is the way they run a majority. And no one is going to regret it more than Bill Frist, who will never be president.
And I'll just add: Imagine for a second that someone else, worried more about fairness than bending over backward for the other side of the aisle who will not return the favor, were judiciary chairman.
I'll hush up now.
Posted at 10:24 AM
AMERICANTHON V. NRO-A-THON [Jonah Goldberg ]
A reader says he'll send money if I start a discussion about Americathon in the Corner. "If you start a discussion regarding who on the NRO staff corresponds to the characters in the movie I will subscribe to NRO digital and send in an additional $25 to help pay for the free milk."
Here's the problem. While I remember liking Americathon quite a bit, I haven't seen it in a long, long time. And the only Cornerites I have a high degree of confidence are familiar with the movie are John P and Warren Bell. Regardless, anything for the cause. So I guess, I call dibs on the Meatloaf character, but I'm not sure that fits.
Posted at 10:23 AM
SCANDALOUS CPB? [Tim Graham]
Few news stories are funnier than Reps. John Dingell and David Obey attempting to fuss about "political interference" in public broadcasting. Since the system was founded in 1967, public broadcasting has been defined as liberal "political interference" in any plan for conservatives to be victorious. To be truly balanced out to compensate conservatives for thirty years of liberal bias, NPR's "news" programs ought to be replaced by Rush Limbaugh reruns for about a decade. Play this game with liberal friends: name one Democratic politician or liberal nominee who's ever had their career stopped or mangled by public broadcasting. Then remember that NPR's Nina Totenberg destroyed Douglas Ginsburg's nomination to the Supreme Court, and almost destroyed Clarence Thomas with Anita Hill's still-unproven allegations. Were they rough on Clinton? PBS's idea of being tough on the Clintons was the "Frontline" on "Hillary's Class," or the "Frontline" with seven liberals (and no conservatives) exploring why Clinton wasn't liberal enough.
There are two very different conceptions of what the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Liberals prefer CPB to be a "heat shield" against congressional scrutiny. They take some guff, and then pass off the money, preserving "editorial independence" (read: liberal bias with impunity.) Conservatives expect CPB to transmit the concerns of frustrated taxpayers that the system does not seek to fulfill its statutory mandate (never fulfilled) to observe fairness and objectivity "in all programming of a controversial nature." The idea that Ken Tomlinson should be investigated for investigating PBS content, when that ought to be CPB's job, is beyond bizarre.
Posted at 10:14 AM
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE [Warren Bell]
Seems to me we don't talk enough sports in The Corner. (Or is it on The Corner?) I know we do talk sports a bit, especially if certain nasty East coast baseball rivalries are concerned, but for my tastes we are still short of the mark. And you shouldn't talk about sports these days if you don't know Jim Rome.
Rome's daily syndicated show is to sports-talk radio what The Corner is to blogging; i.e. how it should be done, in a field where it is rarely done well. He is hilarious, insightful, and frequently very critical of all things in the world of sport -- and then every once in a while he will wander out of sports and into life, and he's great there, too.
So a hat tip to the Jungle (the show's nickname for itself; they tend to give things nicknames a lot) for this: "18 Month-Old Child Still Nameless."
If I'd named my kids at 18 months, they'd be "Won't Eat" and "Won't Sleep." (A sensitive nod here to John P. about the teething.)
Posted at 10:12 AM
RE: RED ARMY [Jonah Goldberg]
A friend of mine writes:
Your red army post reminded me of the fact that Marshal Zhukov really was a kiss up/kick down kinda guy.
Posted at 10:04 AM
LAST DAY [Jack Fowler]
NR “XXL-ATHON” expires at midnight. Just 6 beautiful blue NR XXL collared polo shirts remain! They’re the last of their breed (and will make a nice gift for Dad this June 19th). Get them here.
Posted at 10:01 AM
YALTA, WWII, RICK, ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
Just read VDH's excellent piece on WWII revisionism. Also finally talked to my Dad about the Yalta stuff (Yalta came up a lot in the Goldberg household when I was a kid. Me: "Can I have five dollars for the movies?" Dad: "Okay, but if it weren't for Yalta, you could have ten.").
Anyway, Pops is not a huge believer in the invincible Red Army view being bandied around these days. And without getting into all of those bells and whistles, I did have one question. Has anyone ever come with a hard number for how many Red Army soldiers died at the hands of the Communist Party? It's a well established fact that on the Eastern front (which I guess was the Russian Western front), the Russians shot their own soldiers at alarming rates when they wouldn't fight, particularly at Stalingrad). Indeed, if they even strategically retreated they could be sure they'd be executed.
I bring it up for a couple reasons. First, it runs a bit counter to the purist Russian sacrifice version of history. Many died miserably at the hands of their officers or the Commissars. Second, this undermines the notion that the Red Army was as formidible as everyone suggests in their determination to defend FDR. VDH notes that the Russians were not nearly as impressive militarily as the Anglo-Americans, who: "waged a global war well beyond the capability of the Soviet Union. They invaded North Africa, took Sicily, and landed in Italy, in addition to fighting a massive land war in central Europe. We had fewer casualties than did the Russians because we fought more wisely, were better equipped, and were not surprised to the same degree by a treacherous former ally that we had supplied."
I completely understand Rick's point about the desire of conservatives -- including myself -- to Monday-morning-quarterback the decisions made at Yalta. But, my chief objection is the one I inherited from my Dad and it remains intact. For fifty years we were told that not only was Yalta necessary, but it was good and to question it was nothing but mildly anti-American fever-swamp stuff. We've seen this propagandistic mindset crop up for the last week. Josh Marshall, who once criticized Yalta, now insists it's outrageous to do so. Jacob Heilbrunn is utterly contemptuous of second-guessing Yalta.
I think the argument that the players at the time perceived Yalta as necessary is defensible (though forcibly sending all of those people home to be slaughtered is not). But I think the insistence that we must translate that sense of necessity into moral celebration is repugnant. Since when do liberals consider realism morally superior?
Here's an example of what I'm getting at. The senior George Bush sold out the Iraqi Shia and Kurds after the first Gulf War. I am sure he and his administration thought it was necessary. That has never stopped me -- or any of these now self-righteous liberals -- from saying that was morally outrageous and counterproductive in the long run. Why we can't have the same sort of discussion about Yalta is beyond me. Unless, of course, some people think consigning Eastern Europe to slavery for nearly half a century wasn't counterproductive or morally distasteful. If you want to say we had to sign Yalta, fine. But why do we have to like it?
Posted at 09:57 AM
"100 GREATEST AMERICANS" [K. J. Lopez]
How do George Washington and Dr. Phil wind up on the same list? What a silly list, from the Discovery Channel. Not to pick on the new senator guy, but Barack Obama has some time yet to make such a list. But given some of the others on the list, I guess he's more than entitled.
Posted at 09:53 AM
NEW PARADIGM [Jonah Goldberg]
I don’t like the logic of pledge drives because — as Ned Beatty might say in Network — they defy the laws of nature. Giving the milk for free and all that.
Posted at 09:39 AM
SPECTER VS. FRIST [K. J. Lopez]
Have I mentioned lately that Republicans do not know how to be the majority? Here's Specter singing his same old "independent" tune. Didn't we, uh, see this coming a long time ago (like on the morning after the November election)--no united front?
Posted at 09:19 AM
READING THE BIBLE [John Derbyshire]
The English monthly "Literary Review" is so resolutely conservative it doesn't even have a website. It's still one of the best reads around, though, and of my 20-odd magazine and journal subscriptions, LR is one of the ones I grab from the mailbox and read right away.
The current issue (May '05) has an editorial essay/review by Damien Thompson on aids to reading the Bible. You could hardly find a better illustration of the diffident, skeptical Anglican mind-set that has been commented on occasionally here on The Corner.
Since there's no website, I have just scanned the piece into my own site. You need to use IE Explorer magnification thingy to read it, or the equivalent in your browser.
(I apologize to LR for the gross violation of copyright. As a founder subscriber, though, and occasional contributor, I throw myself on the mercy of the court.)
Posted at 08:59 AM
RATZINGER'S OLD JOB [K. J. Lopez ]
At the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gets filled by an American.
Posted at 08:42 AM
RE: ROSS [K. J. Lopez]
I don't really want to get into a death-penalty debate, but I can't swallow "finally" when anyone is killed--no matter how senseless and heinous and evil their crimes were--and how awful it is for the victims families having to see their loved-one's murder in the news again and again and again during appeals, etc.
Posted at 08:41 AM
RE: FIRST POSTS OF THE DAY [Jonah Goldberg]
John - Follow that observation through to its logical conclusion. I started doing the FPod's (no offense to any relatives of yours with the first initial "F") in earnest about two years ago. My little girl turned two in February.
Posted at 08:37 AM
THE SAGA ENDS [Jack Fowler]
Connecticut finally executes serial rapist/murderer Michael Ross.
Posted at 08:33 AM
BEGINNINGS [K. J. Lopez ]
I'm annoyed with Massachusetts lawmakers rewriting the definition of human life so that it begins at implantation (not a done deal—read here). But, according to this Planned Parenthood expert, it begins much later than that: "Most medical authorities and Planned Parenthood agree that it starts when a baby takes its first breath."
Posted at 08:26 AM
FRAUD & RESTORATION [K. J. Lopez]
Thank you, Charles K.
Posted at 07:33 AM
CAN HE DO ARIZONA NEXT? [K. J. Lopez ]
HERAT PROVINCE, Afghanistan, May 12, 2005 - Changes are taking place on the borders of Afghanistan, and one man is leading the way.
Posted at 07:12 AM
"THE ARMY HAS TO UNDERSTAND THE REGULATION THAT SAYS WOMEN CAN'T BE PLACED IN DIRECT FIRE SITUATIONS IS ARCHAIC AND NOT ATTAINABLE" [K. J. Lopez]
If you were looking for a fair piece on women in combat, do not look in the Washington Post today.
Posted at 06:35 AM
JUST WHEN YOU THINK THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER [K. J. Lopez]
They get worse:
U.S. Border Patrol agents have been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens along the section of the Arizona border where protesters patrolled last month because an increase in apprehensions there would prove the effectiveness of Minuteman volunteers, The Washington Times has learned.
Posted at 06:20 AM
IT'S EASY TO HAVE THE FIRST POST OF THE DAY... [John Podhoretz]
...when you have a teething baby....
Posted at 12:45 AM
Thursday, May 12, 2005
THOUGHTFUL LIBERALS [Jonah Goldberg]
I got some grief from some liberal emailers for only posting that "hooey" email earlier. So let me post now what I think is a thoughtful one:
Me:There are some interesting points here. Let me respond to two. I agree that there are liberal intellectuals who understand that humans are not perfectable creatures. But in a very important sense I'm not sure that matters as much as the reader does. The piece I wrote in the current issue of the magazine addresses some of this in more detail, but I think modern liberalism has very little use for formal philosophy. I'm hardly alone on this point, as a slew of prominent liberals -- from Martin Peretz, to EJ Dionne to Michael Tomasky -- have made this point in recent months or recent years (if this is a controversial point to folks out there, I'd be glad to defend it further).
I think liberalism today is much more of an agglomeration of emotional states, unarticulated convictions, and religious impulses. And at the psychological and sociological level liberalism operates like a religion which believes in the perfectability of man even if many of its smarter practitioners will deny it when pressed (just as many very religious Christians, Muslims or Jews might stray from dogma if interrogated). When one looks at what offends liberal sensibilities, what arouses liberal passions, what drives liberal activism it is hard not to come to something like this conclusion (at least for me). And when you look at the sub-ideologies of the left -- feminism, environmentalism, etc -- it becomes even more difficult to avoid such conclusions. I really don't believe I've set up a strawman version of liberalism.
As for my second point, I guess I don't see why my version of conservatism is destined to become a justification for plutocracy, but depending on what you mean by plutocracy, I'm not so afraid of it either. We have in a very real sense a plutocracy now. We had a plutocracy yesterday. And will, in all likelihood, have a plutocracy tomorrow. Now, I don't mean that literally, but only a fool would deny that rich people don't run the country more than your average poor person. The Senate, after all, is the world's most exclusive millionaire's club. It is the nature of rich people to go into government in democracies and in non-democracies being in government makes you rich. Even in the warped economic systems we call Communist that is and was true -- it's not like the politburo lived shabbily. It's true in the social democracies. It's true everywhere. The hope is that in a healthy society the wealthier people appreciate their privileges and accomplishments and understand that they need to set an example. I like elitism, and I think social stratification is inevitable. But that doesn't mean I have to approve of every elite or think that every member of the top strata deserves to be there (again: the Politiburo was not my kind of elite).
This is in part what I mean about being willing to tolerate contradictions. We in America are an egalitarian society and we are a society of inidividual opportunity. Both are good things, but they conflict with each other at some point. As a conservative, I like that we're all equal before the law, but it doesn't bother me in the least that we're unequal economically. In short, it's not my version of conservatism which results in "plutocracy" it's human nature. My version of conservatism merely recognizes that fact.
Posted at 11:55 PM
CLAUDIA ROSETT [K. J. Lopez]
writes on the latest Oil-for-Food revelations, here.
Posted at 06:52 PM
BTW [K. J. Lopez]
The H-Bomb is watching you.
Posted at 05:52 PM
BENCH MEMOS [K. J. Lopez]
If you haven't gone over: Coffin, Ponnuru, Gerry Bradley, Rick Garnett, Jonathan Adler, Sean Rushton are in there. More coming.
Posted at 05:51 PM
HEY [K. J. Lopez]
anyone want to write a big check before you go home? Had to ask...
Posted at 05:10 PM
WHAT NRO NEEDS [Jonah Goldberg]
Is a blog keeping track of our blogs.
Posted at 05:08 PM
RE: NEBRASKA [K. J. Lopez]
Ramesh weighs in over on Bench Memos
Posted at 05:07 PM
LAW & ORDER: THE CONSENSUS [Jonah Goldberg]
By rough count I've gotten forty emails from evangelical Christians -- including pastors and activists -- and not one of them says last night's "Law and Order" passes even the most rudimentary smell test. Not one reader says they ever even heard of evangelicals making such an argument. Not one said there's room in current theological teachings or precedent in recent politics to make such a case. Sure, it makes sense to go easier on a guy who shows remorse and repentance, but nothing like what they showed last night makes sense to anybody.
Posted at 05:02 PM
RICE ON GUN RIGHTS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Condi says "The Second Amendment is as important as the First Amendment."
Posted at 05:00 PM
FEDERALISM ON THE RIGHT [Jonathan H. Adler]
Where is it? That's what David Boaz wants to know.
Posted at 04:56 PM
FOR THE RECORD... [Jonah Goldberg]
I think my "skepticon" formulation is better than "dubicon" -- which sounds like either a conservative who smokes pot or who is dedicated to the Doobie Brothers. I understand these two categories may overlap.
Posted at 04:50 PM
SAME-SEX-MARRIAGE BAN STRUCK DOWN IN NEBRASKA COURT [K. J. Lopez]
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon struck down Thursday Nebraska's constitutional provision prohibiting gay marriage or civil unions.Read the decision here.
Posted at 04:48 PM
RE: THOUGHTS ON BOLTON [John Podhoretz]
Ramesh, I don't know see how more debate conducted by the full Senate will be of harm to Bolton. The fact that the nomination was reported out of committee without a recommendation will have no meaning whatever to 99 percent of the American people, so that argument won't do much for those who try to hang their No vote on it. Every Republican senator will understand the stakes now. This is the vote through which Democrats will attempt to turn the president into a lame duck and critically impair the GOP majority. That will hurt all of them.
However, this may do damage to the filibuster rule-change effort, because it means there will have to be a major confrontation on this very different matter first.
Posted at 04:42 PM
RE BOLTON [Cliff May]
I was just on CBN arguing that the real debate is between those who think the UN needs reform -- and those who think the US needs reform.
Sen. Voinovich appears to be among those who believe that that the problem is more American “unilateralism” than UN corruption, immorality, anti-Americanism and ineptitude.
A CBN reporter observed that these days there seem to be so many Republican “mavericks” (e.g. Voinovich, Hegel, McCain). You don’t see quite so many “mavericks” on the other side of the aisle.
Posted at 04:32 PM
VIA THE AMERICAN SCENE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I find a post with which I largely agree (which includes its points of agreement with Andrew Sullivan), continuing the dubicon thread, and yet another time-waster. (I'm an Enterpriser, by the way.)
Posted at 04:24 PM
ONE MORE [Ed Capano]
My favorite Soviet joke: man finally saves enough rubles to buy himself a car. Goes to the auto dealer and orders one and is told that it will be delivered on a Tuesday morning 10 years hence. Damn!, the man says; that’s when the plumber is coming.
Posted at 04:08 PM
IS ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION A “VICTIMLESS” CRIME? [Mark Krikorian]
Denver’s “sanctuary” policy, which prohibits cops from using immigration law to fight crime, has claimed the life of a Denver cop. Detective Donnie Williams was murdered early Sunday morning by an illegal alien whom the police had encountered at least three times before. The city government is furiously spinning, but the facts speak for themselves -- the (alleged) murderer presented a Mexican driver’s license three times as the result of traffic stops, but was never asked for an immigration document. Any legal Mexican driver in the U.S. has to carry with him at all times either a Border Crossing Card, a U.S. visa attached to the inside of his Mexican passport, or a green card. And it gets worse: the (alleged) murderer worked illegally in a restaurant owned by -- wait for it – the mayor. And the restaurant had been notified by the government that the employee’s Social Security number was invalid. Even if the various levels of government were to enforce the immigration law and protect the citizenry, some illegal immigrants are going to get through and some of them will commit crimes –but responsibility for this murder is clearly shared by federal and local officials.
Posted at 04:07 PM
RE: JOKES [Mark Krikorian]
I leave for a few minutes and people start telling Armenian jokes? I’m lousy at remembering jokes, so I’m not the person to go to. The only Armenian joke I can think of is just a translation of the (old) Jewish joke about an old woman complaining to her friend that her son is marrying another man, and the friend asks “Is he Armenian?” In Armenia they tell Kurdish jokes, which were like our Polish jokes – about dim-witted dullards. I would tell people that in America people (used to) tell Polish jokes, and they were amazed, because they saw Poles as tall, blond, sophisticated paragons of European-ness – go figure. When Deukmejian was elected governor of California, I remember Carson told two “Armenian” jokes (one had something to do with a flying carpet), but no one laughed, because most of them had never heard of Armenians in the first place, and ethnic jokes are impossible without stereotypes.
Posted at 04:03 PM
MORE DISTURBING THAN HUMAN-FLESH TOFU [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 03:59 PM
THOUGHTS ON BOLTON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
1. This at the very least slows things down. He was reported to the full Senate without a recommendation. Under those circumstances, how can further hearings/debate be refused?
2. Midwestern isolationism isn't what it used to be. Voinovich, like Hagel, talks about foreign policy very much the way modern liberal multilateralists do. Robert Novak opposed the Iraq war but supported Bolton, seeing both issues through a nationalist prism. It turns out that there is no real constituency behind that point of view.
3. It's long struck me what shallow roots Bush's foreign policy and the principles underlying it have in the Republican party. How committed are the 2008 hopefuls to that policy and those principles? Giuliani and McCain seem genuinely supportive. The rest of the lot seem to be go with the prevailing Republican winds.
Posted at 03:53 PM
FROM NES TO THE NSC? [Rachel Z. Friedman]
Reports say Michael Doran (the highly regarded Princeton Near Eastern Studies professor whose tenure battle NRO covered here) may be on his way to the National Security Council.
Posted at 03:47 PM
OLD SOVIET JOKES -- DERB'S FAVORITE [John Derbyshire]
Man goes out early in the morning on a rumor that fresh meat will be for sale in the local provisions store. He stands on line all day in the freezing cold outside the store. When evening comes, a security man shows up and addresses the line. "There will be no meat delivery today, Comrades."
The man loses his temper. "I've been standing here all day in the cold. Now you tell us there's no meat after all. It's a disgrace the way this country is run."
The security man goes over to him. "Comrade," he says quietly, "that's no way to speak in front of other citizens. You could spread discontent. I'm not going to take this any further, but remember what can happen to trouble makers." He forms his hand into a pistol shape and points it at his temple.
The man goes home. Seeing him empty handed, his wife says: "What? They've run out of meat again?"
"Worse than that. They've run out of bullets."
Posted at 03:45 PM
IN CASE YOU WERE WORRIED [K. J. Lopez]
Pelosi got her shoe back
Posted at 03:44 PM
GOOD POINT! [Rich Lowry ]
Do you think Senator V. realizes that his absence from such important hearings last month would get him fired from a major corporation?
Posted at 03:43 PM
IRISH SPELLING EXPLAINED [John Derbyshire]
...by a reader.
"John---It was discovered that the Welsh long ago sold all their vowels to the Irish who, to this day, do not know what to do with them. The Welsh are still having a great laugh on both the Irish and anyone who tries to pronounce any Welsh words."
Posted at 03:40 PM
BOLTON [K. J. Lopez]
is out of committee. No recommendation, but out of committee.
Posted at 03:38 PM
PETER ROBINSON [K. J. Lopez]
might have won an election, but he missed out on introducing solylent-green tofu to the world, as one current Dartmouth student has. (Hat tip)
Posted at 03:26 PM
MITT ROMNEY & THE MEANING OF LIFE [K. J. Lopez]
Proponents of embryonic-stem-cell research and cloning keep pushing the bar...today Mitt Romney sent the legislature back their bill with four requested amendments. The most jarring, which didn't get too much coverage before this Romney move: the bill that was sent to the governor changes the definition of human life in Massachusetts from fertilization to implantation. Romney's trying to get the law to stay as in a last attempt to change this pretty dramatic bill. I have a piece up on it now, here.
Posted at 03:21 PM
CHURCHILL, YALTA & JONAH [Steven Hayward]
Jonah baits me about Churchill and Yalta. This remains an enormously controversial subject among Churchill scholars, but alas I am at my office at AEI today, and away from all my Churchill books and files where I can consult key texts. One important point I do recall: Churchill wanted to revisit the Yalta agreement at the Potsdam conference in July 1945, where, by the way, he instantly got on with Harry Truman, and probably realized that Truman would perform better than the obviously ailing FDR had at Yalta. Also, by July 1945 we had The Bomb ready to go--the famous first test blast at White Sands went off during the middle of the Potsdam conference--which means the US had a theoretically stronger negotiating position than in January.
Churchill claims in his memoirs that he planned to "have it out" with Stalin at Potsdam. But then, fate intervened: he had to return to London for the results of the June election (the results were delayed for several weeks so the votes of overseas servicemen could be counted--attention US Dems in Florida 2000!!), and much to everyone's shock Churchill's party lost in a landslide. So it was Attlee, not Churchill, who returned to Potsdam to finish the conference. The promised showdown never occurred.
Who knows if Churchill really would have "had it out" with Stalin had he returned; this may have been post hoc justification in his memoirs. And if he had "had it out" with Stalin, there is no assurance he and Truman would have had any success. And it should be kept in mind that Attlee, and especially his foreign secretary Bevin, were solid anti-Communists, and had no illusions (unlike their Labour successors in the 1980s) about the Soviet Union. (There is a famous story about Bevin returning from Potsdam and being asked by his friends "what the Soviets were like," to whihc Bevin responded: "They're just like the Communists!" Bevin, an old trade union guy, knew from direct experience what Communism meant, just as a guy named Reagan learned the same lesson from his own trade union days. . .)
Posted at 03:20 PM
YALTA [Rick Brookhiser]
Jonah, Yalta did not come out of the blue. It had been preceded by Churchill and Stalin's "half-sheet of paper" discussion in October 1944, when they divvied up the Balkans. The description of the scene in Triumph and Tragedy is vivid, and chilling. There were also the broad vectors generated by our alliance.
The one window of time during which George Kennan was anti-Communist (and for which his latter-day admirers like John Lukacs are retrospectively so) was the period 1944-6, when Kennan was a lonely voice, trying to shove these vectors in a more Soviet-skeptical direction. He did not imagine, however, that they could be utterly changed.
Conservative criticisms of Yalta sound a bit like Andrew Sullivan today. You fools--send in the flying monkeys, and do everything perfectly, like I would!
It's not so easy in real time.
Posted at 03:18 PM
ROBINSON'S FOLLY [Andrew Stuttaford]
One word in reply, or is it three: Maryland, Merriland, Merrilun.
Posted at 02:29 PM
RE: AUDIOSLAVE IN CUBA [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, don't forget that Audioslave is a spinoff of Rage Against the Machine, the Marxist rap-rock group that embraced every trendy hard-left cause, from Mumia Abu-Jamal to Leonard Peltier to the Maoist Shining Path terrorists in Peru. Guitarist Tom Morello was criticized for going too "mainstream" with Audioslave, but clearly he's pleasing the critics by rocking the "Anti-Imperialist Tribunal." Personally, I've never gotten over the hilarity of naming a Marxist group "Rage Against the Machine," as if there's so much wild protest allowed under Marxist regimes. They should have been on a double bill with Shot In The Back of the Head.
Posted at 02:26 PM
RE: CHOLMONDELEY [John Derbyshire]
As I think I have mentioned before in this space, anyone who thinks that the pronunciation of English surnames is peculiar should stay well away from the Irish... Unless you want to be driven to seek the curative powers of this gentleman.
(Pronounced "O'Flaherty," of course.)
Posted at 02:21 PM
OLD SOVIET JOKES [Cliff May]
Ned May, who may or may not be related to me (but he does like old Soviet jokes and that’s probably in the DNA, right?) recalls a couple more good ones:
*Two guys are walking across the Siberian steppe and happen upon the tracks of the Trans-Siberian Railway. One says to the other, "Ah, now if only we had a loaf of bread, we could lie down on the tracks and commit suicide!"
*The other one asks: "Why would we need a loaf of bread?"
*The first one replies: "You could starve to death waiting for a train in this country."
*A guy is walking down the street in Moscow and sees a sign advertising, "Come in and see the talking horse! Only five kopeks!" He's curious, so he pays his five kopeks and goes in. A lot of other people are there in an auditorium sitting in front of a brightly-lit stage with a horse on it.
The horse quietly munches feed from a bag, but does nothing else. After ten or fifteen minutes the crowd gets restless and starts muttering ominously. A man appears from backstage with a plank and whacks the horse upside the head with it.
The horse turns to the man and says, "Why can't I just die?" * * * Shouldn’t someone be collecting these for posterity and history?
Posted at 02:21 PM
CONGRATS! [K. J. Lopez]
It looks like Peter Robinson should be having a victory party in the Dartmouth elections soon.
Posted at 02:19 PM
CONS [Mark R. Levin]
I declare Bill Clinton a con-con.
Posted at 02:13 PM
WHO WOULD HAVE THUNK IT [K. J. Lopez]
John Conyers engaging Byron.
Posted at 02:02 PM
DARE TO BE A... WHAT? [John Derbyshire]
My son Daniel, aged 9, declares himself an Oreo-con.
Posted at 01:58 PM
BUSH IN MOSCOW [K. J. Lopez]
Rick Brookhiser: "Who knew the oil-patch rich kid would be such a sans-culotte?"
Posted at 01:47 PM
INTRODUCING... [K. J. Lopez]
NRO's latest feature, "Bench Memos," a blog dedicated to judicial news, analysis, and hopefully scoop. I think it will prove to be a place to bookmark and refresh as we get deeper into the court fights in coming days and months. Lotsa contributors will be popping up as we move along. Here it is.
Posted at 01:35 PM
BOLTON [Rich Lowry ]
I hesitate to write this, since one of the more recent instances of the Lowry Curse had me predicting a 10-8 committee approval of Bolton three weeks ago, and we know how that turned out. But it is expected that the committee will vote 10-8 to pass his nomination out of committee without recommendation. So far it seems that Voinovich is the only Senate Republican opposing Bolton, so that means he will pass on the floor (barring a filibuster, of course, which people don't seem to expect). The White House seems to think that the nomination will even pick up the support of some Democrats, which I will believe when I see. But the bottom line is that, although the committee action won't be ideal today, the nomination should move forward and will probably still win ultimate approval.
Posted at 01:31 PM
YOU MAY THINK MY DAD IS A NEO-CON [John Podhoretz]
In fact, given his taste for high-end equipment, he is actually a Stereo-Con.
Posted at 01:15 PM
CON JOB [John J. Miller]
Jack: "Leo-cons" are Straussians.
Posted at 01:10 PM
RE: THE BIBLE AND POLICY [John Podhoretz]
What's God's position on ANWR?
Posted at 01:02 PM
RE: THE BIBLE AND POLICY [Jonah Goldberg]
Blessed are the peacemakers:
I thought that was one of the more interesting posts on The Corner in a while. I immediately got my Bible and looked some of the passages up. I don't see why that would be sooo embarrassing, but then again I'm just a Catholic.
Posted at 12:59 PM
IF HEGEL BEHAVES... [John Podhoretz]
...it looks like Bolton's in. As I understand it now from a whole bunch of Hill geniuses kind enough to e-mail me, Bolton will be reported to the full Senate without a positive recommendation from the Foreign Affairs Committee. He doesn't need the positive recommendation. With 55 Republican senators (and the vice president there to break a tie in case four GOPers join Voinovich in voting against Bolton on the floor), Bolton should make it through. If he doesn't, then it's really GOP crack-up time.
Posted at 12:58 PM
RE: THE BIBLE AND POLICY [Jonah Goldberg]
A couple folks have written-in with this sentiment:
Subject: Was it your intention to embarrass evangelical Christians by posting that e-mail?
Me: Me, I have zero-point-zero desire to get into -- to borrow this reader's analogy -- a family squabble between evangelical Christians. All I can say is that my intent wasn't to embarrass anybody. Whether anyone is "stupid" or should be embarrassed is a debate for others.
Posted at 12:52 PM
SORRY ABOUT THAT, ST. FRANCIS [Peter Robinson]
From a reader:
Please! It's "La Ciudad de Nuestra Seňora, Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula," of course. You forgot the last two words, which really are the key to the history of the name. Porciuncula was the name of St Francis's chapel, and the home of the Franciscans. The early Spanish settlers of LA included Father Juan Crespi, a priest of the Franciscan order who named the river the Porciuncula after it. So the original full name of the city, translated is "The City of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula."
Posted at 12:49 PM
DON'T FORGET THE DUTCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
With all the attention focussed on the French referendum on the draft EU 'constitution' (May 29th - still too close to call, but with the odds probably favouring a yes), the Dutch vote (June 1) is being overlooked. It shouldn't be. Here are two comments from a knowledgeable Dutchman.
The first dates from yesterday: "all internet polls routinely show comfortable majorities in the Tegen-camp [the noes], usually around 60%. Again today [Wednesday] a "panel" of 16,000 people for one of our newsshows came out with 60%opposed, in favor 21%, don't know 19%. 67% said that they were definitely going to vote. This sounds too high, however, and may indicate that the panel members weren't representative of the population."
The second is from today: "Good news--the only poll which, until now, showed a fairly clear lead for the yes-camp --not entirely surprisingly this is the government poll!-- has now also showed a considerable tightening: 40% No, 38% Yes, this compares with 30% No and 52% Yes in April. According to the government, this poll polls a group of voters who say they are definitely going to vote and are fairly well-informed. As such, the government claims this is the most accurate forecast available."
Nee's the way.
Posted at 12:48 PM
TEN QUATLOOS... [John Podhoretz]
....on the new guys!
Posted at 12:47 PM
JUST CHECKING [Jonah Goldberg]
In a column I'm writing, I'm discussing last night's bizarre Law & Order in which conservative Christians seek to have a murderer absolved of all legal accountability because he's been born-again since he committed the crime. I can't think of any event in recent memory that tracks with this storyline -- alllegedly "ripped from the headlines." There was the Karla Faye Tucker episode, but that was about staying an execution not letting her off Scot-free. Am I missing something?
Posted at 12:41 PM
THE BIBLE & POLICY [Jonah Goldberg]
Interesting, but I'm not sure I have any response to this:
Okay Jonah, I liked your article “What is a conservative?” from May 11th. However, I an evangelical Christian, disagree with you that Jesus doesn’t have any useful advice about how to fix Social Security. God, through the Bible, has given us all the knowledge we need to deal with all life’s issues social, political, etc. Let me give you a few quotes from the Bible (I prefer the New American Standard translation, but use whichever you prefer) for political topics: Representative Government: Genesis 18:13-27
Posted at 12:30 PM
RAND, WE SHRUGGED [Jonah Goldberg ]
A couple readers asked to know more about NR's relationship with Ayn Rand. Lots and lots has been written on the subject in various places and at various times. But here's where it all began, Whittaker Chambers' review of Atlas Shrugged.
Posted at 12:23 PM
HOPELESSLY CONFUSED [John Podhoretz]
Could one of our Hill geniuses weigh in here? Since Voinovich said that he believed he shouldn't second-guess the president and he thought Bolton deserved an up-or-down vote in the full Senate, wasn't he saying he would vote to confirm him -- and that therefore this whole thing is over and Bolton has made it? Or since he said he wanted the nomination to get to the whole Senate without a positive recommendation from the Foreign Affairs committee, has he somehow figured out a way to vote No? Helllp!
Posted at 12:22 PM
EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AND PEACE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Tim Worstall criticizes Margot Wallstrom, an EU official, for coming "pretty close to claiming that the only thing between Europe and a re-run of the holocaust is an acceptance of the new Constitution." Wallstrom's remarks are no aberration. The argument that European unification has kept the peace in western Europe since World War II has been a major weapon in the unificationist arsenal. I think it's quite weak, myself: NATO had more to do with western-European peace than the EU and its predecessors did.
Posted at 12:15 PM
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Another group blog. Looks good, except for the 10:56 post.
Posted at 12:06 PM
Bill Pryor just approved by committee on party-line vote.
Posted at 12:01 PM
WHY WE SHOULDN'T TAKE LESSONS IN PRONUNCIATION FROM THE BRITS [Peter Robinson]
The Lord Great Chamberlain (one of the few peers whose hereditary seat in the house of Lords was not eliminated by Tony Blair) is the Marquess of Cholmondeley. Which is pronounced, as any Englishman will tell you, "Chumley."
Posted at 11:44 AM
A MAN AFTER DERB'S HEART [K. J. Lopez]
One of many e-mails re Voinovich: "This now probably means Leahy gets to pick and choose W's judicial nominees."
Posted at 11:40 AM
LOS ANGLE-EES? [Peter Robinson]
John, Andrew, puh-leeze. The correct name of the city is La Ciudad de Nuestra Seňora, Reina de Los Angeles. And the “g” in “Los Angeles” is neither hard nor soft. It’s a brief, fricative explosion.
Posted at 11:39 AM
KEN STARR'S REAL VIEWS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
CBS, AP, and other outlets reported earlier this week that Starr had said that getting rid of the judicial filibuster would be a "radical, radical departure from our history and our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government."
This seemed like a very odd thing for Starr to say, so I contacted him.
He forwarded to me an email he had sent to someone else who had asked about this matter:
"In the piece that I have now seen, and which I gather is being lavishly quoted, CBS employed two snippets. The 'radical departure' snippet was specifically addressed -- although this is not evidenced whatever from the clip -- to the practice of invoking judicial philosopy as a grounds for voting against a qualified nominee of integrity and experience. I said in sharp language that that practice was wrong. I contrasted the current practice . . . with what occurred during Ruth Ginsburg's nomination process, as numerous Republicans voted (rightly) to confirm a former ACLU staff lawyer. They disagreed with her positions as a lawyer, but they voted (again, rightly) to confirm her. Why? Because elections, like ideas, have consequences. . . . In the interview, I did indeed suggest, and have suggested elsewhere, that caution and prudence be exercised (Burkean that I am) in shifting/modifying rules (that's the second snippet), but I likewise made clear that the 'filibuster' represents an entirely new use (and misuse) of a venerable tradition. . . .
"[O]ur friends are way off base in assuming that the CBS snippets, as used, represent (a) my views, or (b) what I in fact said."
Posted at 11:37 AM
A WHOLESOME BOOK FOR YOUNG ’UNS [Jack Fowler]
You really must get any new and beginning readers--little ones from kindergarten through the 3rd grade--The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories. Featuring ten delightful, instructive, wholesome, and thoroughly entertaining animal adventure tales (written by the great Thornton Burgess, and brimming with 60 charming illustrations by the renowned Harrison Cady), each story in this beautiful hardcover book is broken into 24 bite-size chapters, making for ideal bedtime reading (it’s also perfect for moms, dads, grandparents, and big brothers and sisters to read to the wee ones who love a wondrous tale as a prelude to sweet dreams!). It costs just $29.95, and comes with two FREE books--Volume Two of The National Review Treasury of Children’s Literature (this 512-page lavishly illustrated hardcover features over three dozen tales by the likes of Kipling, London, Twain, Alcott, and many more literary giants) and “Oz” author L. Frank Baum’s great kid’s novel--Queen Zixi of Ix. All of which is shipped FREE. We’ll even send it for you as a gift (with a handsome announcement card). What a deal! Order now, safely and securely, here.
Posted at 11:31 AM
VETO THIS! [K. J. Lopez]
Our take on the highway bill
Posted at 11:27 AM
RE: MEOCONS [John Derbyshire]
I'm hearing a lot of this stuff recently about how Andrew Sullivan and myself are soul mates.
I should just like to make it clear that on some topics we hold diametrically opposite views.
Posted at 11:23 AM
RE: MEOCONS [Jack Fowler]
Better things to do than this, but what the heck . . .
Mistress Cleo-Cons – tarot conservatives
EIEIO-Cons – conservatives who support farm and dairy subsidies
PeeO’d-Cons – angry conservatives
Theeo-Cons – Amish conservatives
Rio-Cons – pro-immigration conservatives
Leo-Cons – conservative fans of US News columnist
Zedillo-Cons – see “Rio-Cons”
Galileo-Cons – conservatives at odds with Vatican
Posted at 11:21 AM
RE: APPALLING [K. J. Lopez]
Sounded very much like, "But, rest assured, I don't think he's a child molester." Yeah, thanks. Some contribution to the oh-so-civil debate you guys are having.
Posted at 11:19 AM
VOINOVICH IS APPALLING [John Podhoretz]
After sliming him for fifteen minutes, he has the nerve to say, "I like John Bolton. I think he is a decent man." I'm not sure the same can be said of the senator for Ohio.
Posted at 11:10 AM
MORE BOLTON [Byron York]
Voinovich agrees with Carl Ford's characterization of Bolton as a "kiss up, kick down" official. Says he believes that John Bolton would have been fired if he worked for a major corporation -- and does not display the behavior that should be endorsed as the face of the United States in the world community. Calls Bolton the 'poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be."
Posted at 11:07 AM
BREAKING NEWS [K. J. Lopez]
Voin. just said he's talked to State Dept. folk who don't want Bolton to go through. Shocking!
Posted at 11:06 AM
RE: BOLTON [K. J. Lopez]
Buzz is liveblogging the hearing.
Posted at 11:04 AM
BOLTON DEBATE [Byron York]
Sen. George Voinovich is speaking at Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting. Calls Bolton "not the best candidate for the job." Says he has a "very uneasy feeling" about Bolton. Worries that Bolton will alienate other nations. Appears to be heading for a no vote.
Posted at 11:03 AM
MEOCONS [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't have to agree with it to find it amusing. From a reader:
Posted at 10:45 AM
ANDREW, JONATHAN, ETC... [Warren Bell]
Mr. Stuttaford, we were both in Atlanta, and shamefully I never introduced myself. You have set me on a personal quest to try scotch eggs at some point in my life. If you know of a place in California, do tell.
The argument for me is cupcakes v. Ho-ho. The only argument in favor of the Ho-ho is that it never goes stale, and I would submit that's not a good thing.
Posted at 10:40 AM
A CONSERVATIVE NO MORE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Here's Ramesh's old take down on Buchanan from 1999. Note the classic lines of the older NRO format. You can't buy purple digital paint like that anymore.
Posted at 10:38 AM
SUCCINCT, SELF-SERVING, HOOEY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a regular liberal reader re: yesterday's G-File:
Posted at 10:33 AM
TESTIMONY [K. J. Lopez]
Having "dined" with Warren in a non-ideal sorta setting (there was no Whole Foods in sight), I can say he is both cool and supremely reasonable (yeah, yeah, supremely cool, too).
Posted at 10:21 AM
JONATHAN, JONATHAN... [Warren Bell]
E-mailer Todd agrees with you...
"All natural? Give me a break. AIDS is all natural. Uranium is all natural. I'll take artificial any day. On a biochemical level, all we are tasting are chemicals anyway. For example, the only difference between real sugar and artificial sugar is that two different G Protein pathways are activated. So what's the big deal?
Don't worry. You're still a cool guy. I just wouldn't want to have dinner with you."
I think the important point here is that I'm still a cool guy.
I see the "natural/unnatural" issue as a spectrum. A potato is more natural than a Pringle. Corn, though clearly an invented substance, is more natural than Corn Pops. I am not in any way advocating anything as silly as an all-natural diet. I just think that the modern supermarket contains a lot of unhealthy, unnecessary junk mostly designed to attract a kid's eye and get him to tug on Mommy's hem whining, "I need that."
So much of my thinking on this has evolved out of my own parenting experience. When I say "real food is dull in comparison," that is based on our own efforts to get our kids, both picky eaters, out of the 15th percentile in weight. If you give them chicken that's not in the form of a finger, they look at you funny.
Maybe it's them. Either way, I'm still a cool guy.
Posted at 10:20 AM
LOS ANGLE-EES [John Podhoretz]
Andrew, We will pronounce the city's name in this fashion if you agree to pronounce the name of that English province as Bugs Bunny did: Wor-ster-sheester-shyster-sheester-shire.
Posted at 10:17 AM
WARREN, WARREN, WARREN, JONATHAN, JONATHAN, JONATHAN... [Andrew Stuttaford]
Warren, Jonathan is quite right to take you to task on "natural" food, but, Jonathan, let's not knock the sheer aesthetic, scientific and gustatory delight to be found in some of the world's finer processed foods...
Posted at 10:10 AM
THURSDAY, THURSDAY [K. J. Lopez ]
And so this is Christmas.
Ok, not quite. But, man, I wish. Can't miss typos when wrapping. And when you do the equivalent either people are too anxious to open the presents to notice the slip-ups, or by leaving the price tags on you get the full credit you might have secretly desired.
It's Thursday of fund-drive week and I probably haven’t been annoying enough. So we're not quite there yet.
So let me be a little annoying.
NRO is free. What do you get, say, on this week, for free? We've had a primer on conservatism, a Hollywood writer being real, a successful businessman trying to fix America's schools. Speaking of schools, here's a debunking of a new media myth. Here's media vet Myrna Blyth on motherhood. Stanley Kurtz is analyzing Social Security plans here (and then there was Ramesh taking him on in Da Corner yesterday). It's Larry Kudlow vs. Alan Greenspan here. We're shedding light on some of China's forgotten here. Byron York's giving you some of the freshest stuff on the judge fight in the Senate here. A cop whose hands are being tied outs a criminal outrage here. We've got senators and book reviews. Deroy Murdock is trying to save Ground Zero for posterity here. Carrie Lukas spares you from Glamour. Tomorrow you'll get your weekly Victor Davis Hanson dose, among a wide array of offerings. And there's a lot more. All outside The Corner (except for that one parenthetical I snuck in above). Also outside The Corner you've got Eric Pfeiffer watching D.C. Jim Geraghty seems to be all over Europe—literally. David Frum's got his diary. And yes, that brings us to The Corner. 2008. Star Wars. John Bolton. Timewasters! Philosophies of life. Cars. The end of the world. The eternal questions. Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Is there a topic we don’t touch?
And there's more. And if you like it, you'll only like it more in coming days and weeks and months. But I'll stop there for now. What's my point? My point is: Here at NRO we try to give you a good batch of reporting, analysis, commentary, culture and humor, hopefully with a smart, fresh style. I think we do. And many of you do, too, or you wouldn’t keep coming back as you do for more. So, what this week is about—without getting too annoying—is raising some dough to keep this thing going: with more authors, more features, more opportunities. We want you to stay and have rich choices to keep you here. We want to draw new people in. And we want to occasionally have the money to send some of our writers government-surplus cheese—the postage is a witch.
If you need more convincing, hear Ed Capano and Rich Lowry out here.
In short, please consider opening your wallet to NRO.
Posted at 10:05 AM
CHURCHILL & YALTA [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Me:Frankly, I don't know. I'm not enough of a Churchillologist to say. I'd bec curious to know what Steve Hayward, one of our resident Churchiphiles has to say about all of this. But he's probably off dirty-blogging with the No Left Turns crowd again.
Posted at 10:04 AM
BOYLE, PRYOR IN COMMITTEE [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the judicial nominations of Terrence Boyle, William Pryor and Brett Kavanaugh. As Howard Bashman notes, it's likely they'll actually vote on Boyle and Pryor. The vote on Kavanaugh will likely be delayed.
Posted at 09:46 AM
DON KWIXOTT [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, while I admire your kee-o-tic attempts to defend foreign pronounciation, James from Nebraska settled the matter last time this subject was discussed on the Corner:
” I ransacked my house this a.m. for John Simon's Paradigm's Lost without success so I'll have to rely on memory. I believe he gave his endorsement to the Funk and Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of the English Language as the standard for American pronunciation…We have two editions (1945 and 1966) and both agree with you on the English pronunciation of Don Quixote. Interestingly, on foreign words they list the English pronunciation first, followed by the pronunciation in the original language, i.e. as distinct from the English pronunciation. Other examples from the same page: Donizetti (don-ah-zetee, not do-nee-dzetee), Don Juan (don joo-awn), Dordogne (dor-dawny)”
Next question. Should the 'g' in Los Angeles be hard or soft?
Posted at 09:45 AM
RIGHTS BETTER THAN REGS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Iain Murray has a post on how the Anglers Cooperative Association is more effective at protecting stream quality than Britain's Environment Agency. For those interested in more on the topic, see this monograph by Roger Bate.
Posted at 09:44 AM
WARREN, WARREN, WARREN . . . [Jonathan H. Adler]
Hey, I like grass-fed beef and buffalo too, and cherish fresh produce over what one usually finds in a supermarket chain, but your claim that "food is a thing found in nature," is just false. Most animals we eat have been domesticated -- as in taken out of nature -- for centuries. Domestication, from the beginning, included breeding and human control.
If you insist on "natural" food you m ay well go hungry, as most crops are even more "unnatural." Corn, for instance, is a human creation. It never existed in nature. Native Americans created it centuries ago through primative forms of genetic manipulation. In short, the use of available scientific knowledge to develop and alter our food sources is as old as human civilization, so there is nothing "untraditional" about it.
As for your claim that "real food is dull in comparison" to cheaper, processed stuff, I beg to differ again. Fresh, expertly prepared, unprocessed food is heavenly. The problem is that it is expensive to purchase and extremely time-consuming to prepare at home. While I love to eat that way, I also enjoy not having to spend hours in the kitchen to enjoy such a meal. In that regard, less expensive processed stuff serves a useful purpose.
Finally, let's also recognize the "progressive" implications of the food industry: cheaper and more abundant food. There's a reason "a chicken in every pot" was once a promising campaign slogan. It's because chicken (and quality meat) were very costly items beyond the reach of many families. Because food is cheaper, more people have access to culinary choices that were once the exclusive province of the rich.
Posted at 09:44 AM
RE: DISAPPOINTED [K. J. Lopez]
Derb, talk to these kids.
Posted at 09:43 AM
DISAPPOINTED [John Derbyshire]
Following this news story, I have been trying to get a similar button, but of course gender-appropriate, to wear at next weeks' NR editorial meeting.
Alas, I can't find anyone selling such items. I guess I'll have to make my own .
Posted at 09:43 AM
FROM BUCHANAN TO YALTA [Jonathan H. Adler]
The reason Buchanan's column will "stir controversy" is because folks will juxtapose it with the President's Yalta remarks and claim they are cut from the same cloth. See, e.g., here and here.
Posted at 09:41 AM
COMPLETELY MISLEADING [K. J. Lopez ]
The opening paragraph in the New York Times story on Mitt Romney & stem cells/cloning misleads (misledes?). The Times makes it sounds like Romney is the radical, trying to change the meaning of human life, when, in fact, it is the legislature that is doing that (literally). Romney's fighting for the status quo at this point, on this narrow (but not-so) issue--which here is worth getting behind. I'll get into this a bit more later, for now, here's a little more of the story from the Boston Herald.
Posted at 09:37 AM
RE RE AARON BROWN [Cliff May]
I figure an outfit as sophisticated as CNN has done its market research and knows that Aaron Brown’s target viewer is 18 -34, with his computer logged off by 9 PM, in bed by 9:30, sipping a Dewar’s and water, and just waiting for the Ambient to kick in.
Posted at 09:28 AM
RE: RUNNING [K. J. Lopez]
Interesting e-mail, though I know I'd want the pages and interns out on the if-it-were-my-kid principle alone:
It is unseemly, especially when the White House staff does it. Part of the job (a responsibility in exchange for all the perks high government service entails) is staying at your post, even when there might be some hazards in doing so.I suspect post-9/11 though, the Ok executive staff, etc., could do their jobs from elsewhere, as could any White House/congressional officials who have work to be done at such a time....
Posted at 09:27 AM
AN NR JOKE ABOUT THE WEEKLY STANDARD [John Derbyshire]
Q--How many Weekly Standard staffers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A--10,000. One to hold the bulb, 9,999 to mobilize the carrier group.
Posted at 09:24 AM
RE: A WEEKLY STANDARD JOKE ABOUT NR [K. J. Lopez]
That's pretty funny. And...feels right.
Posted at 09:24 AM
RE: THE AARON BROWN THING [K. J. Lopez]
I'm with you...but the Aaron Brown thing might be nearly as bad. Afterall, if you are the type who can't wait to see what the NYTimes is going to play up, by the time that segment's on CNN, the new day's content is likely already on NYTimes.com. Now you could be too tired to log back on, but, if you are the type who cares enough (not that I'd have any familiarity with that type), you already or near-already know. Still, it's not as self-evidently insulting at the Inside Politics chick clickers. It's just bugged me too.
Posted at 09:21 AM
OLD JOKES ETC. [Cliff May]
Jonah, the reason there are “old” Armenian jokes is because, during the Soviet era, they were one of the few tolerated expressions for satirical criticism of the USSR. I learned these jokes – more than I can recount – years ago when I was an exchange student in Leningrad.
We ask Radio Armenia: What is the difference between American capitalism and Soviet Communism.
Radio Armenia replies: Under American capitalism, man exploits man. By contrast, under Soviet Communism, it’s the other way around.
Or how about:
We ask Radio Armenia: Is socialism a science or an art?
Radio Armenia replies: It must be an art. If it were a science, they would have tested it on animals first.
I don’t actually know if there are new, post-Soviet Armenian jokes. Krikorian, do you know? Anyone out there? Maybe CNN can find an Armenian joke blog.
K-Lo: Yes, Aaron Brown does do that but in fairness he’s giving us a late-night preview of tomorrow’s papers. He’s not tellling us what we would find on our computer screens right at this moment if only … if only what? If only we had a computer? If only we’d stop surfing the porn sites for a half hour?
Posted at 09:17 AM
A WEEKLY STANDARD JOKE ABOUT NR [John Podhoretz]
Q: How many NR staffers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Five. One to do it and four to argue whether lightbulbs are conservative.
Posted at 09:11 AM
DON KEE-HO-TEE [John Podhoretz]
Andrew, just because you English types insist on mispronouncing it Quick-sott don't make it right.
Posted at 09:06 AM
LATEST BOLTON STATE OF PLAY [Rich Lowry]
It all comes down to Voinovich. And no one has any idea what he's going to do. It doesn't help that Lugar runs a rather loose committee in the first place. Apparently Republicans on the committee aren't even meeting to strategize among themselves prior to the session. It is supposed to start at 10 am, with Lugar opening with a long point-by-point defense of Bolton. Then Biden will do a long rebuttal. Then there will be more debate until the vote scheduled for 3 p.m. But anything can happen, and probably will...
Posted at 09:06 AM
CINDERELLA STORY [K. J. Lopez]
During yesterday's evacauation:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was literally lifted out of her pinkish high heels by Capitol Police in a hallway outside the House chamber. One shoe was later found; the other remains missing...
Posted at 09:05 AM
RE: AND NOW FOR OUR ILLITERATE VIEWERS [K. J. Lopez]
Cliff, I hate to point this out, but doesn't Aaron Brown have that segment--what's in the morning papers?
Posted at 08:54 AM
CAN WE GET ED WHELAN ON THE SUPREME COURT? [Andy McCarthy]
He's got my vote. Today, as usual, is a must-read.
Posted at 08:52 AM
HISTORY OF JOKES [Jonah Goldberg]
One could include in this impossibly difficult social history a list of the different versions of Polish jokes. I know in Canada they tell "Newfie" jokes. All sorts of US states tell them about denizens of their border states. Indians tell them about Sikhs -- or so I've been told. And people at NR tell them about the gang at the Weekly Standard (I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Bill, boob-a-la, I kid because I love).
Posted at 08:39 AM
RE: AND NOW FOR OUR ILLITERATE VIEWERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Cliff - Is there any such thing as a new Armenian joke?
I don't mean to slight Armenians (Back off Krikorian). My dad is always referring to "old Jewish jokes." Such as: A guy gives a blind man a piece of matzoh and he replies "who writes this stuff?"
I think it'd be a fascinating bit of social history to trace how just plain jokes become "old [insert ethnicity here] jokes." Is it because certain groups tell them so often over such a long period of time they become associated with them?
Posted at 08:38 AM
PRONOUNCING FOREIGN WORDS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Time, John, to remind everyone - yet again - that in English Don Quixote is correctly pronounced "Don Kwixott."
Posted at 08:36 AM
15 YEAR DELAY [Jonathan H. Adler]
This morning the Washington Post reminds us all that Judge Terrence Boyle has been waiting fifteen years for his confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He was first nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, and has been blocked by Democrats since.
It is also worth noting that it was Democrats' refusal to move the Boyle nomiation in 1991 and 1992 that prompted Senator Jesse Helms to block Clinton's nominations for the same seat on the Fourth Circuit.
Posted at 08:25 AM
PAT THE BUNNY [John Podhoretz]
Buchanan's "controversial" column is an echo of an argument advanced in certain Far-Right circles in the late 40s and 50s -- the argument that we fought the wrong enemy in World War II. If you want to engage it seriously, the problem with it is that it falsely supposes we had a One From Column A, One From Column B choice in 1941 and could have picked confrontation with the Soviet Union rather than a war with Germany. The other problem with it should go without saying, so I won't say it.
Posted at 08:20 AM
NO AMMO, PLEASE, WE'RE BRITISH [John Derbyshire]
Say it ain't so: The British are now so gun-shy, even their MILITARY is gun-shy. A reader forwarded this, headed: "On British and Australian individual weapon procedure, from a friend in Country": "Our British and Australian colleagues immediately unload all guns (rifles and pistols) upon coming back through the wire, even though we live in a uninterrupted combat zone. Since we have to depend on them, I habitually ask, 'Are all your guns loaded?' Imagine my surprise when I first discovered that, in British military jargon, 'loaded' translates to 'transport mode.' [loaded magazine, but empty chamber]
"They are so afraid of actually putting a live round in the chamber of any rifle or pistol, most even carry outside the wire with an empty chamber. When they do load, they instantly unload every chance they get, even when it is conspicuously unwise to do so.
"Loaded guns are treated as if they carried some contagious disease!
"Don't get me wrong. Brits and Aussies are good soldiers, but they have been philosophically castrated by their respective nanny-states. In their national confusion, fear of guns has become a ubiquitous, domestic obsessionn, and it has spilled over, even into the military.
"These two nations will indeed be lucky to survive this current period of world history."
Posted at 08:18 AM
LATIN? OH [John Derbyshire]
"Derb---You *are* an Englishman. 'Latino' is pronounced 'lah-TEEN-oh.' Hearing 'latin-o' on today's otherwise lovely 'Radio Derb' made me laugh out loud. Poor Derb."
Don't cry for me, Ma'am. I belong to the fine old English (and I thought, also American) school of thought that, as Orwell says somewhere, believes it is effeminate to pronounce foreign words correctly, unless you are actually speaking the language -- and even then, it's a bit suspect.
"Latino" is a "latin," then an "o." Latin-o. Whaddya want?
(On reflection, is "Latino" actually a word in Spanish? If so, is it autochthonous, or is it a loan-word from English? Just curious. (Did you know, by the way, that "loan-word" is a loan-word? From German_Lehnwort.))
Posted at 08:17 AM
AND NOW FOR OUR ILLITERATE VIEWERS … [Cliff May]
Why not also a segment “reporting” on what’s been printed in the newspapers?
It reminds me of an old Armenian joke: “Yesterday, Radio Armenia was silent for 2 hours. They were presenting a special program for the deaf.”
Posted at 08:06 AM
BUCHANAN ON WWII [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm probably stupid for taking the bait, but Drudge links to Buchanan's column with the tagline "Buchanan's World War II Comments Spark Controversy... "
Now, I'm a fan of Drudge's, but what I find interesting here is that there's no evidence this is in fact true. I searched nexis and found no mention anywhere of Buchanan's column sparking a controversy. Rather, Matt (who is a friend of Buchanan's) is trying to spark a controversy by linking to the column and saying it already sparked one.
As for the merits of the column, I think it's an interesting read and raises some perfectly legitimate questions (and some not so legitimate). I'm not going to take his argument that we probably shouldn't have fought WWII too seriously though. But, as for his analytical fillip at the end where he says, "Yes, Bush has opened up quite a can of worms" as if Bush's Yalta comments will spark a broader reevaluation of World War Two's merits. This strikes me as profound wishful thinking on Buchanan's part. Buchanan was a great red baiter (and I say that as a compliment), but his new baiting techniques are out of synch with the times and saying he's sparking a controversy -- like saying Bush has opened a can of worms -- doesn't make it so.
Posted at 08:00 AM
THAT IS CONSISTENTLY THE MOST INNANE [K. J. Lopez]
and insulting segment on cable news. And that's saying something.
Posted at 07:46 AM
HIGH-LARIOUS [Jonah Goldberg]
This is not a parody. From yesterday's coverage of the rogue plane incident on yesterday's Inside Politics:
WOODRUFF: Today's security alert as seen by the blogosphere; up next, our blog reporters gather online reaction to the day's unusual events here in Washington.
Posted at 07:42 AM
TIDE TURNS ON BOLTON [Jonah Goldberg]
David Brooks has a good one. (reg required)
Posted at 07:30 AM
AIM HIGH [John J. Miller]
A big problem at the Air Force Academy: Too many Christians!
Posted at 05:56 AM
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
BUMMER [K. J. Lopez]
Dennis Miller is off CNBC as of Friday. Someone get this man another show. I didn't always watch it--time and life intervene--but whenever I did, I saw it clearly worked. He's a smart, funny dude.
And I don't this H-Bomb comment is going to have him crying in his beer: "It's a shame. He could have been Bill Maher or Jon Stewart." Yeah, SNL alum and all...he could only all dream! (I say that as someone who laughs at Jon Stewart a good deal. But Dennis Miller never seemed to take himself too seriously, which is part of his attraction.)
Posted at 10:51 PM
GOD'S THE WINNING TEAM [K. J. Lopez]
Good to know. Thanks, B16.
Posted at 07:52 PM
AUDIOSLAVE [K. J. Lopez]
rocks an embargo, plays in Havana. (70s/80s kids: Former Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman played there two weeks ago.) At each concert, the excitement is in part the audience holding out hope the musicians take Castro with them when they go.
Posted at 07:47 PM
I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE CHICKEN [Rick Brookhiser]
My test results on Ramesh's timewaster: Moralizing--0.53; Interference--0.20; Universalizing--1.00.
Posted at 07:04 PM
"NO MOORE" [K. J. Lopez]
Michael Moore voodoo doll/pin cushion, complete with...well, see for yourself.
Posted at 06:54 PM
WHAT ARE THE ODDS? [K. J. Lopez]
I just dialed a wrong #. (Yes, I occassionally exist off of the Internet.) It was Jerry Springer.
Posted at 06:49 PM
THE ANTI-BUSH STAR WARS [John Podhoretz]
Warren, it's all there, but believe me, the movie's plot is so confused that it doesn't really matter. At one point, Natalie Portman complains that "this war happened because of a failure to listen." But the war she's talking about was started by the good guys! It was the Jedi who secretly built the Clone army that appeared in the movie before this upcoming one. And, of course, the Rebellion that Luke Skywalker joined in the first trilogy was conducting a war against the Evil Empire which included blowing up Death Stars and arming Teddy Bears. Evidently 25 years into the Star Wars empire, George Lucas decided he just doesn't like war. Now he tells us. The whole confusion is reminiscent of the last Matrix movie, which is all about a noble truce between our heroes and the computers that have been using all of humanity as batteries. So that a few people could survive to have orgies in the underground city of Zion, billions of people had to remain in the Matrix. Inadvertently, both Lucas and the Wachowski brothers (who wrote and directed the Matrix movies) reveal with their brainless anti-Bushism the essential cowardly vapidity of pacifism.
Posted at 06:18 PM
UH-OH [Warren Bell]
E-mailer Dan alerted me to this review of Revenge of the Sith from Slant magazine.
Warning: this contains something of a spolier, though if you don't know what happens at the end of this movie, you were probably also surprised at the ending of Passion of the Christ.
I imagine that Revenge of the Sith is very much the film Lucas's fans want to see, but are some of them ready for an anti-Bush diatribe?Hard to think the "if you're not with me" line isn't intentional.
What will Jason Apuzzo say about that?
Posted at 05:39 PM
THE FEEL-BAD MOVIE OF THE YEAR! [John Podhoretz]
Just saw Crash, the highly praised new film from the guy who wrote Million Dollar Baby. Expect a bunch of Oscar nominations early next year. It's all about race and racism in Los Angeles, and by the time it was half-over, I wanted to kill myself. I don't think there's a true moment in the entire movie, but it's so unrelievedly grim that I can see how some people might be fooled into thinking it profound (though even for the most guilty liberal, the truck full of Thai slaves will surely be a bit much). You can sit for 100 minutes watching this overwrought hysteria-fest or you can get the idea in two minutes by going to ITunes and downloading the catchy little ditty "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" from the wonderful Broadway musical Avenue Q, which goes: "Everyone's a little bit racist sometimes,/Doesn't mean we go around committing hate crimes..."
Posted at 05:28 PM
DAILY KOS TRIES TO SAVE HIMSELF [John Podhoretz]
Earlier today I quoted Markos Zuniga Moulitsas (mistakenly referring to him as Markos Zuniga) dissing think tanks even as a new one called the New Politics Institute was trumpeting his important contribution to its launch. Moulitsas, known as the king of the Daily Kos website, sought to dig himself out of a hole today by attacking the Hill newspaper for misrepresenting his remarks: "I was not 'dismissive' of existing progressive think tanks. They have their role and are key components....However, what I said is that all the policy papers in the world won't do us any good unless we can figure out ways to actually win elections. Republicans have a machinery in place focusing on using technology and other tools to win elections in addition to their policy think tanks, we don't."
The Hill misrepresented nothing. Actually, "all the policy papers in the world" is exactly what a party in the wilderness needs. If Democrats want to change the country's direction, they better know where they want to go and why their answers are superior. Kos's enthusiasm for mechanistic solutions to the Democratic party's soul-sickness iis yet another example of present-day leftist philistinism and provincialism.
Posted at 05:14 PM
BIG-GOVERNMENT CONSERVATISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonathan Chait argues that it is conducive to corruption. Small-government conservatives tend to think that big government, whether liberal or conservative, is more prone to corruption than the small-government kind, and will therefore not reject Chait's general argument. Some of the specifics, on the other hand, seem to me dubious.
Chait attributes to me the view that Bush's support for big government is largely a response to the public demand for government--which is indeed a rough approximation of my views. He then argues that it's an inadequate explanation, because it doesn't explain why spending has grown faster under Bush than it did under Clinton. It seems to me that there are several possible explanations for this difference that are compatible with my view.
The most obvious one, with which I'm sure Chait is familiar, is that the replacement of divided government by unified government--and especially by a barely unified government--made for increased spending.
Another one--Mickey Kaus has made a version of it--is that the passage of welfare reform increased public support for (and reduced opposition to) government activism on behalf of working people. It is possible that the effect of its passage has grown with time; government is less and less seen as an enemy of middle-class values and thus public support for governmental activism has kept growing.
A third explanation is that the consequences of Clinton's defeat of the Gingrich revolution also grew with time. The ideological anti-government fervor of 1995 gradually cooled--especially after the House was no longer led by Newt Gingrich, who could claim to have brought the committee chairmen to power and therefore could impose some discipline on them. And I'm sure that plenty of other explanations would come to mind if I kept thinking about the question. The Clinton-Bush comparison does not strike me as a serious challenge to the theory.
I understated Chait's argument earlier, come to think of it. He's not just saying that big-government conservatism is conducive to corruption, he's saying it's a form of it. "Big-government conservatism consists of initiatives that benefit economic elites without using free-market mechanisms." I'm highly skeptical of this claim. The increased spending on education isn't about benefiting "economic elites," and nor is the faith-based initiative.
Chait sees various features of the Medicare bill as corporate subsidies. I disagree on some important particulars. For example, while the provision of the law blocking the federal government from negotiating lower drug prices obviously helps pharmaceutical companies, I tend to think it was a good provision. The alternative was to let the government use its market power to set de facto price controls.
And if this sort of thing counts as corruption, why isn't Third Way liberalism equally guilty of it? There were plenty of companies that supported the Clinton health-care plan in order to have the federal government relieve them of their health costs.
Posted at 05:11 PM
DERB [Ramesh Ponnuru]
There you go again, with the burning-heretics-at-the-stake stuff. . .
Posted at 04:44 PM
GRANDMAS AND GRANDPAS [Jack Fowler]
Summer approaches. That’s the time when your darling grandkids need something good – great! – to read. For $29.95 you can get them three great, big, beautifully illustrated books – NR’s Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories and Classic Children’s Literature, plus L. Frank Baum’s delightful Queen Zixi of Ix – that are crammed full of wholesome, world-class stories. Isn’t that what a grandparent is for – to buy the grandkids great things (like books with the very stories that enchanted you many moons ago)? Stop what you’re doing and order these three super books, now, and safely, here.
Posted at 04:27 PM
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER ON W [K. J. Lopez]
This is a good assessment for why the Georgians (dud grenade aside) get Bush:
Well, [the President has] shown that he meant every word he said in the inaugural address, his second inaugural address, which a lot of people said was only rhetoric. He believes in democracy. And he also was essentially saying to his friend Putin, "I can't really change how you govern Russia, but I'm going to make sure you're not going to export autocracy in your neighborhood."
Posted at 04:13 PM
ANOTHER SONG FOR THE SUBURBAN [Warren Bell]
When I'm not in my now legendary Maserati, I can be found in a fantastically huge Chevy Suburban, though it is typically the domain of my car-poolin' furniture-buyin' cutie. The best thing is when we go on a longer drive, we trick-- er, convince the kids that the third row of seats has the best view and is the most fun. We call it the Wayback. They dive over the second row into the Wayback, start chirping to each other about Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (an excellent video game which replaces the joystick with bongos) and as their voices fade into the distance, Lee and I actually get to talk. So, it may only get 12 miles per gallon, but it's good for your marriage.
Posted at 04:08 PM
OPPORTUNITY COSTS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
Posted at 03:55 PM
FROM THE IN-BOX: [K. J. Lopez ]
Mainstream Republican Groups Oppose Nomination of William PryorKJL:Since when is Log Cabin Republicans, which refused to endorse President Bush in 2004 a mainstream Republican group?
Nevermind the contradiction in opposing Pryor while claiming that they "support the confirmation of all fair-minded jurists." How about a little respect for the honest record.
Posted at 03:54 PM
HMMMM... [Jonah Goldberg]
Maybe the next time we all do a panel we should just pick one topic: Whither conservatism? and just duke it out. I think it'd be fun and enlightening. But, I'm a dork about this sort of thing.
Posted at 03:53 PM
CROSSING THE DUBICON [John Derbyshire]
I hereby suggest that we Conservatives of Doubt start calling ourselves "dubicons."
I don't know, Ramesh, I didn't find the Douthat piece particularly perspicacious. What's the guy saying? That we wishy-washy Anglican trimmers bob about helplessly on the sea of public opinion, changing our views to suit the times? Well, to a degree, of course we do, as does everyone else. (Unless somewhere I've not been told about heretics are still being burned at the stake and Friday is compulsory fish day.)
Douthat's best debating point is that "imposing moral absolutes" on society is exactly what the relativist-Left crowd (of which the gay rights crowd is a subset) are doing, with great success. The moral absolute here is that individual autonomy overrides all but the most pressing and obvious social requirements. Incest OK, murder bad.
I am not myself of that persuasion, though. Furthermore, I think it's a dangerous idea. I think civilization is a fragile thing and needs, especially down in the left-hand tail of the bell curve, quite strict standards -- rules. I'm a regulocon. That's where I part company with both fay ce que vouldras hedonists and let's-see-if-THIS-works experimentation with things like marriage.
A good, though not infallible, source for those rules is the accumulated collective experience of humanity. Another good, though (see above) likewise not infallible source is organized religion.
Where I part company with the Conservatives of Faith (fidecons) is in believing that some -- I think I'll say "a lot" -- of those standards are, from a metaphysical point of view, arbitrary, or at least arbitrary within certain narrow limits defined by human nature. And _that_ is why I think the present rapid increase in our understanding of human nature via the biological & human sciences is socially very important -- which puts me among biocons like Steve Sailer.
So put me down as a dubiregulobiocon.
Posted at 03:48 PM
SOWELL [Jonah Goldberg]
As I noted in my column, my argument isn't entirely -- or even at all -- original. Several readers have already mentioned that Tom Sowell has argued much the same thing in A Conflict of Visions. It's a brilliant little book. The Closing of the American Mind gets into this stuff too. I've been rereading parts of that lately. I didn't mention either in the column because, well, I didn't.
Posted at 03:43 PM
FROM HOLLYWOOD TO WALTER REED [K. J. Lopez]
Two years ago, Chuck O'Brien was in Hollywood making cadavers for "CSI: Miami." His masterpieces included a partially digested torso that spilled from a shark and a finger that oozed sweat.
Posted at 03:35 PM
BAINBRIDGE V. CONASON [Jonah Goldberg]
As if the outcome is in doubt.
The link above isn't working for some folks. Try this.
Posted at 03:08 PM
BY THE WAY [Jonah Goldberg]
I mentioned earlier this morning that Derb's piece inspired me to scribble a column on the meaning of conservatism. It's just been posted. Forgive me for not having the time to write a short a column.
Note: it's mostly aimed at people who like this sort of thing.
Posted at 03:05 PM
"MAKE-UP: THE NEW MASCULINE MARKET CRAVING" [K. J. Lopez]
It's not just King Tut anymore.
Posted at 02:57 PM
BRILLIANT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Levi's comes out against metrosexuals (I particularly like the "Mendoza crouch" at the no carb beer sign).
Posted at 02:57 PM
RE TESTING MORALS [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - I took the test as well. I think it's very flawed on a number of levels. For instance, they could have improved it greatly if they clarified what they mean by "punished." I am not in favor of a law telling people they cannot eat their accidentally killed pets nor do I support the state banning people from having sex with frozen chickens in the privacy of their own homes and then eating the chicken. However, I see absolutely nothing wrong with shaming such behavior. Do they count shaming (i.e. mocking, ostracizing etc) punishment? I do not know. Anyway, here are my results:
Moralising Quotient is: 0.67.
Posted at 02:53 PM
THE DEMOCRATS' SECRET NUMBER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
William Voegeli analyzes recent columns by Mickey Kaus and Matthew Miller.
Posted at 02:45 PM
RE: I SING THE CHEVY SUBURBAN [Peter Robinson]
In falling so hard for my Chevy Suburban, it has rapidly emerged, I am hardly alone. From a reader:
[B]ought one four years ago and it has been very good for us and our now 5 kids. Took a month last summer camping throughout the Western US. Over 7,500 miles from Florida and back. Super trip. No other vehicle could have done the job as well.
From another reader:
I bought my first Yukon [shorter than the Suburban but otherwise identical] a year and a half ago (used)….It is extremely comfortable and well built. It has 166,000 miles on it (60,000 of which put on by me since I bought it) and runs and handles like new. If Detroit built its passenger cars as well as they build these things, they'd never have to worry about foreign competition again.And from yet another:
The Suburban is definately the ultimate large family vehicle. Our criteria when replacing our own dying Plymouth Voyager (a '94), 2 years ago was something that would hold us, our 3 kids, a friend per kid, the beach gear with picnic supplies, and still have room to stop for groceries on the way home so as not to have to make an extra trip….The Chevy Suburban is a real tribute to American engineering. It just does everything right as either a work truck or a large family vehicle.Finally, a gorgeous little item from my friend Joe Malchow, an undergrad at Dartmouth:
I used to collect jingles and your post on the Corner reminded me of that Dinah Shore one. I uploaded the video to my blog.To see and hear the sublime Dinah encouraging you to see the USA in your Chevrolet, go to Joe’s blog by clicking here.
Posted at 02:40 PM
MORE YALTA [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots and lots of readers defending FDR put a lot of emphasis on the need to get Russia into the war with Japan. One reader writes: "Our entire general staff, including Marshall, was convinced that without the Russians the casualties on our side would exceed one million men. The main purpose of the Yalta conference was to get Stalin to agree to declare war on Japan once the Germans were defeated. Hence the bargain: Stalin gets Eastern Europe on the condition that he enter the war. This was how the deal actually went down."
I think this is a perfectly legitimate point. But it does raise a secondary line of argument not directly about Yalta but about the dawn of the Cold War. Schlesinger for example makes a big deal about the fact that Stalin was forced to agree to free elections in Poland and then blithely mentions that Stalin had to break that pledge in order to, well, annex Poland. Well, when it became clear that A) we no longer needed Russia to fight the Japanese -- hence the dissolution of the real politick argument B) Russia no longer honored the text nor the "spirit" of Yalta and C) we had a temporary monopoly on the atomic bomb, why didn't we use it to threaten the Soviets to get the hell out of Eastern Europe?
I know there are a lot of contrafactuals built into this and there were very good reasons why we didn't, but it seems to me that this might have ended the Cold War before it began. I have heard many good arguments about why we couldn't do this, but I've never heard a convincing argument about why we shouldn't have.
Posted at 02:39 PM
GADARENE SWINE [Andrew Stuttaford]
One of the fascinating challenges of Tony Blair's third term will be to see how/if he manages to reconcile the demands of the EU (into which, remember, he wishes to integrate Britain far more deeply) with an agenda that still at least pays lip service to the free market. Here's more proof that it cannot be done: Euro-MPs today have voted to scrap Britain's existing exemption from the EU law that provides that no-one may work for more than 48 hours a week even if he or she wants to. Brussels, you see, knows best. Interestingly - and ominously - the majority of Labour MEPs voted with the majority, despite the Blair government's opposition to this 'reform'. The Daily Telegraph notes that "the plans backed today would phase out the opt-out over three years - and in a bid to counter British complaints that the maximum 48-hour week would then be too inflexible, the maximum would be averaged over 12 months instead of the current 17 weeks." How kind.
Over at the Eursoc blog, they are not impressed: "EURSOC sees much irony in MEPs forbidding workers from earning a little extra cash through overtime. MEPs hardly work at all, enjoy very high salaries, fabulous taxpayer-funded perks and even manage to scam hundreds of Euros each day simply for signing attendance registers. What do these people know about how much, or how little, people in the real world should work? Unlike MEPs, families struggling to pay mortgages or save for retirement cannot vote themselves pay rises or swindle taxpayers through expenses fraud."
And nor is the Polish MEP Konrad Szymanski, "Today's vote is a black day for European entrepreneurship...They have decided to impose the worst legacy of the French and German economies on those countries that do not want that, such as Poland, Britain and Ireland."
Indeed they have. And that's the idea.
Now, this is not the end of the matter. It's possible that a blocking minority can be cobbled together at the intergovernmental level, but the result of this vote is yet another reminder that the EU's elite respect neither individual rights, nor the reality of global competition. Idiots.
Posted at 02:36 PM
COLUMBIA AND ROTC [Rachel Z. Friedman]
The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today about the Columbia University Senate’s vote against allowing ROTC to return to campus. The vote was particularly disappointing because, at least among students, there was significant support for ROTC’s return, with one poll showing 65 percent of respondents in favor and with the Columbia Spectator also on board. Last week I spoke with Jim Lowe, a Columbia ’51 graduate and the alumni leader of the campaign for ROTC. He thinks all the concern about “don’t ask don’t tell,” the main objection raised during the Senate debate, is a façade for the same old anti-military worldview that led to ROTC’s exile in the late-‘60s (those who don’t like DADT, he says, should take it out on Congress, not the military or the students who choose to serve their country).
But even if the concern about discrimination is principled (as Richard Bradley argues it is here), ROTC advocates say that in banning the group Columbia is discriminating against those who wish to choose military service as a career. In other words, assuming no change in the law, someone is excluded or given second-class treatment no matter what. The real question, then, it seems to me, is whether ROTC’s presence--especially right now--serves a good that is greater than the harm done by the exclusion of students who are openly gay.
Looking ahead, the advocates plan to continue their efforts, despite the setback: They can still rally alumni to withhold contributions to the university and work for incremental changes like improving conditions for cadets, stepping up recruitment, and promoting greater understanding of (and appreciation for) the military on campus.
Posted at 02:34 PM
THERE WAS A TIME [Mark R. Levin]
when George Will agreed with me.
Posted at 02:33 PM
TESTING MORALS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Via Bainbridge, I found this timewaster. I reject the choices in several of the questions and find the site's analysis seriously wanting, but, fwiw, here are my scores: My "Moralising Quotient" is 0.50, my "Interference Factor" is 0.20, and my "Universalizing Factor" is 0.75.
Posted at 02:29 PM
THE DEVIL MADE THEM DO IT [Mark Krikorian]
I just read Mark Steyn’s piece in the current NRODT (did I mention that I wrote the cover story?) and, as usual, it’s outstanding. But I think he gives the wrong answer to one of the questions he poses: Given that Europe’s looming demographic implosion meant that the Islamists were on track to take over anyway, why 9/11? In his words, “Why screw things up by doing something so provocative it meets even Bill Cohen’s criteria for a response?” He answers that “It’s always useful to test the limits of your adversaries” and to confirm the extent of their decadence.
This gives the enemy too much credit for strategic planning. The same question was asked of the Nazis--once they’d taken France and Czechoslovakia and Poland and Denmark and Norway, why invade Russia and declare was on us? Why not consolidate their gains and wait for new opportunities for easy victories? The real answer is the same for both--the very characteristics that led to initial success for the Nazis and the Islamists--the glorification of violence and constant struggle, the sense of holy mission, the fanaticism – and the very characteristics that led them to make reckless decisions. Bismarck wouldn’t have invaded Russia, but he probably wouldn’t have remilitarized the Rhineland, either. Cunning, farsighted Islamists wouldn’t have launched 9/11, but then such people also wouldn’t be willing to blow themselves up for Allah.
The Communists were a more serious long-term threat because they burned steadily, like a candle (and like the candle, eventually burned out); the Islamists are a firecracker whose echo will soon pass. The goal of the war against militant Islam needs to be to make sure we don’t get blown up along with the firecracker.
Posted at 02:22 PM
BLOOMBERG'S FOLLY [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, the West Side stadium is, I fear, madness (and the thought that it might serve to attract the loathsome farce that is the Olympics to this fair city only adds insult to injury). Stadiums create few jobs. In fact, there's considerable evidence to suggest that they dislocate more economic activity than they create. If Bloomberg wants to focus on a neighborhood that needs reconstruction, how about Ground Zero? Since Bloomberg got distracted by the stadium--and numerous Olympics junkets--that project has slipped badly.
Posted at 02:12 PM
NEW BEST FRIENDS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Ross Douthat makes some good points about the "conservatism of doubt."
Posted at 02:08 PM
OH...NO [Jonah Goldberg]
This timewaster is A) good B) hard C) literary D) macabre E) addictive. Do not click on this if, for example, you owe the print edition of NR a book review like some people in this conversation or if you're enmeshed in any other time sensitive work.
In short, if you're a timewaster addict of a certain age and a certain sensibility (i.e. you like to shoot zombies) I've ruined your day.
Posted at 02:05 PM
JOE BIDEN'S LITTLE GAME [John Podhoretz]
I thought his game was football, played by his miner ancestors who would scrimmage for four hours after coming up from the holler -- oh, wait, no, that was British politician Neil Kinnock, from whom Biden actually plagiarized a personal anecdote and was thereby compelled to quit the presidential race in 1988...
Posted at 02:02 PM
MR. T GOES FOR A DRIVE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Turn up the speakers and get your groove thang on.
Note: Contains pro-pot messages.
Posted at 01:58 PM
RUNAWAY BRIDE FORGERIES [John Derbyshire]
Just as cynics in the Middle Ages claimed that there were enough splinters from the True Cross to build a decent-sized cathedral from, so there are now, apparently, enough knock-offs of the Jennifer Wilbanks Image Toast Slice to stock a diner with. Some people have no scruples.
Posted at 01:55 PM
JOE BIDEN WON'T PLAY “MY LITTLE GAME” [Rich Lowry ]
I was walking through the Capitol for a different reason, when I saw a little scrum around Sen. Biden holding forth about John Bolton a while ago. So I stuck my head in and asked him whether he believes Melody Townsel. He began a song and dance, and referred to a contemporaneous witness. I asked him what witness he was referring to. He wouldn't say, but urged me to come to the hearing tomorrow. Then he said, “Whether or not he threw a paper across the room, I don't know.” He kept on saying in various forms, “I don't know” and that “it's not the only thing out there” (although no other witnesses have alleged that Bolton chased and threw things at them). But he added that Bolton knocking on her door and slipping papers under her door was plausible: “If you ask me if that's believable, I think it's believable.” I piped up and asked whether shoving papers under someone's door is disqualifying for the position of UN ambassador. He stopped, put his hand on my shoulder and gave me his best dose of senatorial disdain: “I'm not going to play your little game.” And let me tell you, when it comes to senatorial disdain, Biden is a real pro, who has had years of practice. (I have to work on my reportorial disdain to hold in reserve for such situations.) But the reason he wouldn't answer goes to a serious point: the idea that the Democrats would actually vote against Bolton based on the Townsel allegations is so absurd, they can't bring themselves to say it out loud. But neither can they afford to discount her allegations, because they need every possible thing to create a cloud around Bolton.
Posted at 01:51 PM
ANYBODY REMEMBER... [John Podhoretz]
...those long-ago days in the middle of 2002 when Joshua Micah Marshall seemed like a sensible person rather than a foaming-at-the-mouth lunatic?
Posted at 01:49 PM
BLOOMBERG THE REPUBLICAN [John Podhoretz]
Peter, the answer to your question about Mayor Mike's politics is: He doesn't seem to be much of anything, actually. We can presume he is socially liberal by the fact that -- unlike Rudy Giuliani -- he has no interest in or hunger for confronting the city's ideological elites. And he did raise property taxes 21 percent, though, to be fair, property taxes in New York City had been kept on the astoundingly low side for a long time.
In one key respect, though, Bloomberg has embraced a central principle of Republicanism -- the necessity for stimulating economic growth through deregulation. In New York City, you must deregulate in part by loosening up the city's demented zoning rules. He knows that a cash-hungry, benefit-consuming municipal government can only function if the city's economy is allowed to grow and grow. That's why he's staked his future on the construction of a new stadium on Manhattan's West Side--because he believes with some justification that the stadium, combined with rezoning, is the key to unlocking two square miles of dormant real estate. The infusion of public money that the stadium will require, which gets conservative hackles up unnecessarily, will be returned many times over by the infusion of private development funds resulting from the construction of an entirely new neighborhood west of Penn Station.
I underestimated Bloomberg in one regard four years ago. I thought he was a dilletante. Turns out he's pretty hard-charging. He's not a great mayor, not even all that good a mayor, but he's a competent mayor, and next to the bozos who are trying to unseat him, he towers like a Colossus.
Posted at 01:46 PM
RE: "THE DEMOCRATS PLAN" [Stanley Kurtz]
Thanks for the correction on the Diamond-Orszag plan, Ramesh. I have no problem with it. In fact, it only makes my point stronger. Diamond-Orszag is the real Democratic alternative to the president’s plan–and the public isn’t going to like it. Republicans need to emphasize that despite the Democrats’ denials, Diamond-Orszag is the de facto Democratic plan. Just putting the issue out there for scrutiny has already yielded your very useful correction. This is the sort of stuff that needs publicity, and not merely the silence of the Democrats.
Posted at 01:40 PM
BETRAYALS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Bryan Preston says Josh Marshall is betraying himself on Yalta.
Posted at 01:39 PM
THE WILBANKS STORE [K. J. Lopez]
Derb will once and for all be convinced the world is ending when he sees the array of Runaway Bride items on ebay.
Posted at 01:35 PM
A READER [K. J. Lopez]
just cc-ed me this e-mail to Peter R (women, forgive me):
I admire your strategy at making your wife think buying the truck was her idea. Brilliant, just brilliant. Not only does NRO provide its readers with great conservative thought, but strategies to trick our wives into buying really cool stuff. Donate and donate now to keep this resource for generations to come.
Posted at 01:28 PM
THE NORTHEAST ASIA PROBLEM(S) [John Derbyshire]
Reading Tom Friedman's column this morning, I recalled a conversation I had last year with a policy academic VERY well-informed about NE Asia.
Me: "Suppose Japan decided to go nuclear. How long would it take them to put a couple of bombs together?"
He: "Oh, about 24 hours."
I don't think he was kidding.
Posted at 01:10 PM
JOHN POD, BLOOMBERG, AND THE PARTY OF LINCOLN [Peter Robinson]
For John Pod, the New Yorker’s New Yorker, a question from out California-way: At this point, do you accept Bloomberg as a genuine Republican? When the mayor ran for election in the first place, the conventional take was that he’d registered as a Republican merely to avoid the expense of running in the Democratic primary. (That take that never made all that much sense to me, since Big Bucks Mike never seemed to worry about expenses). Now that you’ve had four years to observe him in action, what do you think Bloomberg is? A Rockefeller Republican? A non-partisan, good government type? Or a Democrat in permanent disguise?
Posted at 01:08 PM
I SING THE CHEVY SUBURBAN [Peter Robinson ]
A couple of weeks ago--and not ten days after I’d dropped $700 into it for repairs and a tune-up--our 1996 Dodge minivan suddenly died, the engine simply cutting off as the vehicle sat in our driveway. What was wrong? The computer needed to be replaced, or so the mechanic informed me after I’d had the car towed to his shop. After getting used to the idea that cars required computers these days, I asked what a new computer would cost. At least $1,000. And with that, my wife and I went new car shopping.
We intended to get a new minivan, and you can take it from me that the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey are both truly marvelous vehicles--tightly engineered, comfortable, easy to drive, pleasurable in every regard. The only drawback? We now have five children, not the three we had the last time we bought a minivan, and our three boys are starting to develop shoulders. Both the Sienna and the Odyssey felt…tight. What did we end up buying instead? To our astonishment--we’ve spent years now deriding these cars as land yachts or barns on wheels, permitting ourselves to feel superior for refusing to own one--a Chevrolet Suburban. After the test drive, Edita, startled, said, “This car would hold you and me, all five kids, two grandparents, and the dog. That would sure solve a lot of problems.”
And so it has. What to do on a cloudy Sunday afternoon, for one. The first Sunday after buying the car, we piled in the kids (after going to church, first, I assure you, Derb), then headed up over the coastal range to Big Basin state park, home, I soon learned, to the tallest living objects, coastal redwoods. (As distinct from the giant sequoias of the high Sierras, which, shorter but fatter, are the most massive living objects.) Position yourself in a stand of coastal redwoods, tilt your head back, and the trees rise so high you can’t see where they end.
The second Sunday--that is, this past Sunday--we piled in the kids once again, this time heading up to the San Francisco zoo. By the time we got there it was raining, but that only meant we had the place almost entirely to ourselves. And when you’re alone in the lion house, it turns out, you can really see the lions. Much, much bigger than they seem on television or in pictures. Not big cats. Small horses. All five kids, face-to-face through the bars of a cage with a giant, heavily- maned lion. Who suddenly growls. Causing said children to leap and shriek all at once. A lovely little primal moment, brought to us courtesy of General Motors.
Yes, I know. A Chevy Suburban is expensive (although a lot less than a Mercedes or BMW half its size, especially now that GM is tossing in bucketsful of rebates). It guzzles gas (although these days they all come equipped with engines that will permit the burning of ethanol, if you can ever find ethanol). But what a vehicle! Big and solid and fun and American--in no other place in all the wide world would any manufacturer even dream of such a vehicle.
The kids are already talking about driving up to the Pacific Northwest this summer and maybe even across the country. Is there anyone out there but me and John Podhoretz who can remember that lovely little jingle that Dinah Shore used to sing? “See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet!” Why thank you, Dinah. We will.
Posted at 01:07 PM
IT HAPPENED ON A BEAUTIFUL SPRING DAY [Elizabeth Fisher, NRDC]
They may have been panicking in the Capitol, but just a few blocks away on Penn., people are welcoming the interruption. I see a lot of Cap. staffers lying in the grass, some people smoking, others grabbing lunch and coffee. I bumped into an acquaintance and had the following conversation:
"Hi Meg, isn't this crazy?"
"They've evacuated the Capitol."
"Yes. They spotted an aircraft in the restricted airspace."
"Well, back to work, I guess."
"Yep. See ya."
Posted at 12:58 PM
FROM V THAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Than a reader:
"And his psychology is very different than Clinton's."
Me: I will try harder.
Posted at 12:46 PM
HARRY REID AND BUSH THE LOSER [John Podhoretz]
Harry Reid vote total in 2004 = 490,232
Bush vote total in 2004 = 62,040,606
Posted at 12:39 PM
MORALISM & FDR [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - Isn't that of a piece with the notion that FDR's legacy should somehow play a role in whether or not Social Security should be reformed? As if even in some small way we should tolerate a bad system as some sort of tithe to his memory. The whole "constititution in exile" thing strikes me as part of the romanticization of FDR too. Obviously, there's more to it than just that, but one does get the whiff that the New Deal court decisions are beloved for literary-romantic-political reasons along with legal ones. The symbolism of restoring pre-New Deal legal theories runs counter to too many liberal assumptions about the role of government and the "progress" of history.
And just try to explain to a conventional liberal the now fairly accepted fact that the New Deal prolonged the Depression.
Posted at 12:35 PM
SPEAKING OF LOSERS . . . [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Center for Security Policy produced this hard-hitting TV spot, "Sore Losers," in support of John Bolton's confirmation.
Posted at 12:29 PM
THE "LOSER" [Jonathan H. Adler]
Apparently Reid's not so sorry about calling the President a "loser" after all.
Posted at 12:28 PM
MORALISM, REALISM, AND YALTA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
One thing I don't get about Bush's Yalta critics: They're suggesting that selling out eastern Europe (at least symbolically) was prudent statecraft at the time. The state is a cold monster and all that. I think most of Bush's defenders will allow that the critics have a point there. But isn't it hard to reconcile with a moralistic attack on Bush? If Bush thinks that apologizing for Yalta is necessary to pursue the foreign policy of the moment--as a way to get eastern Europeans to like us, for example--then isn't that a defense of him, too? It's not obvious that selling out a president who's been dead for 60 years is worse than selling out millions of living (and some soon-to-be-killed) people, even accounting for FDR's having been an American.
Posted at 12:26 PM
NORK NUKES [John Derbyshire]
It's plain that the ChiComs' obsession with "stability" in NE Asia precludes them from being any help with North Korea. Playing the Japan card (i.e. trying to scare the ChiComs by saying: "Look, if you don't help us out here, Japan will go nuclear") just seems to have riled them up.
We're on our own with this thing. In hindsight, it would have been a wise, good, and just move to make a strike against NK in 2001 or 2002. Our grandchildren may curse us for not having done so.
Posted at 12:23 PM
RE: ALL CLEAR [Pod]
Yup, Secret Service has given the all-clear, so it was nothing--just a Cessna that didn't answer a radio call.
Posted at 12:20 PM
POP CULTURE OVERLOAD [John Derbyshire]
Paula Abdul... Michael Jackson... Runaway bride...
Where's the exit?
Posted at 12:19 PM
"ALL CLEAR" [KJL]
CNN reports folks are headed back into WHite House/Capitol.
Posted at 12:18 PM
FOX REPORTING... [John Podhoretz]
....that a small plane entered DC airspace, and that RNC headquarters have been evacuated.
Posted at 12:16 PM
MY LETTER FROM DEAN [Jonathan H. Adler]
So this morning I get an e-mail to my university address from Howard Dean, thanking me for "the tremendous support you provided the Party and its candidates as a volunteer attorney for the Democratic Party in the 2004 election," and inviting me to join the DNC's new "National Lawyers Council." This is amusing, of course, because I did not lift a finger on behalf of the Democratic Party last year. I did, however, receive numerous phone calls and e-mails at my office from various Democratic party activists who were systematically contacting law professors in battleground states. They were operating under the reasonable assumption that most legal academics would want to help Democratic candidates. I find this particualrly amusing given the conniptions some have whenever anyone dares suggest that the academy leans to the Left.
Posted at 12:15 PM
MORE YALTA [K. J. Lopez]
"The Editors" weigh in.
Posted at 12:15 PM
RE: ANYTHING I SHOULD KNOW? [K. J. Lopez]
What John Pod said. Those are fighter jets, according to Wolf Blitzer, but you didn't need him. "FAA is tracking unidentifiable plane" FNC just reported.
Posted at 12:14 PM
WOOPS. [Jonah Goldberg]
Just saw John P's post. Must be connected.
Posted at 12:13 PM
ANYTHING I SHOULD KNOW? [Jonah Goldberg]
There are serious fighter jet type planes flying back and forth over our neighborhood here in DC (we're in the Northwest corner near VA and MD). This used to happen a lot during the early post-9/11 days.
I can't see the planes from my window because of cloud cover and the view, but I would swear they're military jets. Commercial planes fly overhead constantly and sound nothing like this. Military planes sound exactly like this.
Posted at 12:12 PM
DON'T TELL KIDS ABOUT ABSTINENCE AS A VIABLE OPTION FOR THEIR YOUNG LIVES, THEY WON'T LISTEN, IS THE ARGUMENT [K. J. Lopez]
And so let's shoot down marriage as a realistic option for a happy life, too, early on, with "CNN in the Classroom," where a story on infidelity tells high-schoolers: "the increasing incidence of adultery has some people asking whether fidelity is even a realistic expectation for marriage today."
I'm not for sugar-coating life to teens, but something tells me they already know people cheat. How about some focusing on how marriage can be pretty cool instead of trying to normalize the breaking of vows? Or just spending another few minutes on Yalta or something some of them will never know about if they don't get it in school...
Posted at 12:09 PM
WASHINGTON EVACUATIONS [John Podhoretz]
The Capitol and the White House have been evacuated. No details why as yet.
Posted at 12:09 PM
BENDABLE CONCRETE [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm not that interested in the substance, but it really is a wonderfully literary phrase.
Posted at 12:08 PM
MACAULAY CULKIN DEFENDS MICHAEL JACKSON [John Podhoretz]
The "Home Alone" has-been has taken the stand to say that Michael Jackson never laid a glove on him all those nights he slept in the King of Pedo-Pop's bed. That's nice, and it may help Jackson escape a guilty verdict, but it makes all the sense in the world that MJ wouldn't molest the most famous boy in his bedroom. A lecherous man who hungers for any woman near him can restrain himself from, say, grabbing at the chest of a female police officer who writes him a ticket, or his boss's wife. If Jackson is a molester, he's clearly a very clever one who seems to zero in on kids whose families and destinies he can control either financially or through legal threats. Culkin wouldn't have fit in that category. Jackson may have wanted to look, but knew perfectly well he couldn't touch.
Posted at 12:07 PM
APPLEBAUM ON YALTA [Jonah Goldberg ]
She offers an insightful take on the Yalta business. I agree with many of her points, but in her effort to play the "both the left and right are wrong" card I think she gets Clinton's apology tour a bit wrong. What was particularly annoying -- for many of us on the right -- was that Clinton was apologizing for the Cold War's excesses when he came from a tradition and a party which was highly critical of the Cold War itself. He seemed to enjoy apologizing for America's Cold War sins because he felt no moral or intellectial culpability for them himself. Clinton's apology -- like so many of his apologies -- seemed like an attempt to buy grace on the cheap. Indeed, these days, when asked what he did wrong during his administration he'll often say something to the effect of "I underestimated how terrible my opponents were."
Applebaum makes a good point that the politics of today are causing people to see Bush's Yalta comments in the context of the Right's supposed current war on FDR's legacy. But I don't think that's Bush's aim. And his psychology is very different than Clinton's. First, Bush declared "No more Munichs, No more Yalta's!" in his first European address -- before 9/11, while he was still holding hands with Ted Kennedy and touting compassionate conservatism. So his opposition to Yalta seems to be a core principle and not part of the (alleged) anti-FDR moment. And Bush's psychology is self-evidently different than Clinton's -- a point friend and foe can agree on.
Posted at 12:06 PM
RE: COME UNTO ME WITH YOUR CATCHER'S MITTS [K. J. Lopez]
And there's always the Brick Testament (these legos for mature audience).
Posted at 11:57 AM
THE CAMERA ANGLE [Rachel Z. Friedman]
On Monday night the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) hosted its Emet Award dinner (emet means truth in Hebrew) in honor of David Steinmann. It was an elegant event with many impressive people in attendance. They keynote address was given by James Woolsey, who spoke about the three ideologies we are fighting World War IV (or “The Long War of the 21st Century”) against and how in his view we can ultimately win--that is, by leading the Middle East, as well as Southeast Asia, toward democracy. I’m a day late, I know, but this still seems a fitting time to congratulate CAMERA for their tireless efforts to correct factual errors in Mideast reporting, and for putting together a very nice event.
Posted at 11:53 AM
RE: DAILYKOS THINK TANK [K. J. Lopez]
An election-lawyer type points out to me: "the key is talking about 'democrats' rather than progressives, liberals, or whatever, and speaking about the purpose of the group as a founder who should know...that makes the activity 'partisan' and no eligible for tax exempt treatment under 501(c)(3)."
Posted at 11:51 AM
A WHILE BACK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Andrew Sullivan wrote a long cover story for The New Republic arguing that what’s wrong with contemporary conservatism is that it has too much faith and not enough doubt. I expressed a number of disagreements with Sullivan’s article, and he responded. I’m posting my rejoinder on a separate page, mainly so that you’ll be able to read it by scrolling downward.
Posted at 11:49 AM
NEW POLITICS INSTITUTE [K. J. Lopez]
DailyKosman is liable to keep it from a tax exemption...and the lefties who dish out cash won't out won't be able to write it off...
Posted at 11:45 AM
LITTLE CHILDREN, [K. J. Lopez]
come unto Me with your catcher's mitts.
Posted at 11:45 AM
"THE DEMOCRATS' PLAN" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm afraid that Stanley Kurtz, like Mickey Kaus, has fallen for some spin from Peter Diamond and Peter Orszag. The liberal economists claim that their Social Security plan is "balanced," and Kaus and Kurtz both repeat the claim that it would eliminate 50 percent of the program's (75-year) deficit via benefit cuts. Kaus and Kurtz then suggest that the parties are therefore closer than everyone thinks, since Bush's plan eliminates 70 percent of the program's deficit via benefit cuts. What's 20 percent between friends?
But Kaus and Kurtz are wrong. The Social Security Actuaries evaluated the Diamond-Orszag plan and found that its tax increases alone would eliminate 100 percent of the 75-year deficit, and its net benefit cuts an additional 18 percent or so. In other words, the plan is not balanced but rather relies roughly 85 percent (100/118) on tax increases. The benefit-cut gap is not between 50 and 70 percent, but between 18 and 70.
Posted at 11:44 AM
THERE'S PLAY IN THE JOINTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Paul Mirengoff, responding to an article (subscription required) by Robert P. George and me, discusses how politics can rightly affect the division of authority among the branches of the federal government in enforcing the Constitution. I agree with him.
Posted at 11:40 AM
CHAFEE WON'T SAY HE'LL SAY YAY [K. J. Lopez]
Buzz has the latest on the Bolton nomination fight.
Posted at 11:36 AM
DO LIKE LAUREL DID [K. J. Lopez ]
Laurel Boatright of Austin, Texas e-mails after donating to NRO's annual fund drive: "I'm a second year law student who has relied on NRO since the Long March that is law school began. You guys have made me laugh; you've made me think; you've blogged away while history is being made and the least I can do to say thank you is donate a little hard cash to the venture. Good luck! Keep up the fabulous work!"
Would you please join her?
Posted at 11:34 AM
A LATE ENTRY RE DERB [Peter Robinson]
The great 20th-century conservative presidents were Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan. Neither was an atheist, but neither was much of a church-goer either. Their expressions of religious belief did not venture far beyond the requirements of "ceremonial deism."I’ll leave Calvin Coolidge to someone else, but regarding the Gipper what we have here is a misleading half-truth and a straightforward error.
The error? Reagan’s expressions of religious belief ventured far beyond the requirements of ‘ceremonial deism.’ He spoke to religious groups often, and when he did so he discussed the importance of faith, including his own faith, in a way no deist would have countenanced. Google your way, for example, to Reagan’s 1983 address to the National Association of Evangelicals. The address concerned foreign policy—it’s remembered today as the “evil empire” speech—but take a look at just a couple of passages.
Reagan on his own faith (as I recall, incidentally, this was an ad-lib, not a passage in his prepared text):
The other day in the East Room of the White House at a meeting there, someone asked me whether I was aware of all the people out there who were praying for the President. And I had to say, "Yes, I am. I've felt it. I believe in intercessionary prayer." But I couldn't help but say to that questioner after he'd asked the question that--or at least say to them that if sometimes when he was praying he got a busy signal, it was just me in there ahead of him. I think I understand how Abraham Lincoln felt when he said, "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go."Reagan on the importance of faith to our well-being as a nation :
The basis of those ideals and principles is a commitment to freedom and personal liberty that, itself is grounded in the much deeper realization that freedom prospers only where the blessings of God are avidly sought and humbly accepted…. [T]hat shrewdest of all observers of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, put it eloquently after he had gone on a search for the secret of America's greatness and genius--and he said: "Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America. America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."The misleading half-truth? That Reagan wasn’t much of a church-goer.
As president, Reagan did indeed attend church only irregularly, explaining that he disliked the distraction that his presence and security detail always caused. Yet once he left office, he went straight back to attending Bel Air Presbyterian, the church he and Mrs. Reagan had attended before leaving California for Washington.
The more important point, though, is that church attendance was never an index of Reagan’s faith. His mother raised him in the Disciples of Christ, a denomination that stresses direct, unmediated relationships with the Almighty. Reagan often said he felt closest to God at his ranch, and if he sometimes spent a Sunday mornings on a trail ride among the live oak rather than sitting in a church pew, he was no less a man of faith for that. One of Reagan’s few true intimates, Judge William Clark, told me that Reagan called the ranch “a cathedral with oak trees for walls,” that when he and Reagan rode together they would often begin by reciting a prayer, and that in an beautiful place Reagan might rein in his horse and say simply, “Glory to God.”
Posted at 11:25 AM
CAN'T ANYBODY HERE PLAY THIS GAME? [John Podhoretz]
That was Casey Stengel's howl of pain as he coached the hapless expansion New York Mets back in 1962. Now New York City Democrats have reason to be howling about this year's mayoral race. The trend line over the past few months is unmistakable -- it looks like Mayor Mike Bloomberg is going to win reelection in a walk. Bloomberg should have been defeatable in a city with a 5-to-1 Democratic registration advantage and his own record as a massive tax raiser. But crime remains at historic lows, the city is looking good and feeling good, and you just can't beat something with nothing. Which is what the Democrats have: Nothing.
Right now two leading Democratic candidates are trying to garner union support by complaining that Bloomberg's administration has rezoned waterfront property in Brooklyn and Queens to open it to residential development. For decades this land has lain fallow because it has been reserved for industry. This is psychosis. Manufacturing has left New York City and it ain't coming back. Allowing precious waterfront land to become a functioning part of the city's tax base is something Democrats -- who want to spend, spend, spend -- should hunger for. Instead they want to live in a bizarre fantasyland where the most valuable real estate in a real-estate-starved city is kept a Ghost Town just in case World Wide Widgets wants to build a plant with a great view of the midtown skyline. Pathetic.
Posted at 11:22 AM
GOLDBERG, APUZZO - PLAY NICE [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah, if you can handle Pod's opinion of comic books and superhero movies, I'd assume you can handle Jason's take on Lucas.
Posted at 11:15 AM
YORK SPANKS LAMPLEY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Byron York turns The Huffington Post into a whipping post as he severely spanks Jim Lampley and other Ohio skeptics. Next time he'll know better than to get up after his first beating.
Posted at 11:10 AM
APUZZO RESPONDS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Don't worry, we won't be having a big back and forth. At least I won't. Here's his response. If online spats were translated into the world of sports, most people would take one look at it and say, "He throws like a girl."
Posted at 11:02 AM
THIS IS HOMELAND SECURITY [K. J. Lopez]
In NY, cops cannot revoke illegal immigrants' driver's licenses, or so ruled a judge yesterday.
Posted at 11:02 AM
THE T WORD [Stanley Kurtz]
Roger Kimball raises the $64,000 question–tenure. The tenure system has manifestly failed to perform its core function–establishing a marketplace of ideas on campus. Nowadays tenure does just the opposite. With the academy totally dominated by tenured radicals, the academic left can reproduce its ideological monopoly indefinitely. Although the new generation of students is more conservative than the last, conservatives have little prospect of ever making it into the academy. By using the tenure system to create an ideological monopoly, the radicals have made it impossible to reestablish a marketplace of ideas on campus. Kimball is right that the underlying problem here is the violation of a kind of unstated bargain. Implicitly, society promises to allow tenure, so long as professors refrain from abusing their privilege, by undermining the very principles of tolerance that are the point the system. Now we’re in a trap. It would be better not to go after tenure. Yet given the fact that tenure has been turned into a tool of ideological control, the tenure system probably does need to be questioned.
Posted at 10:46 AM
WHO ARE YOU CALLING A PHARAOH? [John Derbyshire]
Speaking of pictures on Drudge this a.m., that one of Tutankhamun was obviously taken AFTER the "Queer Eye for the Straight Pharaoh" makeover.
Posted at 10:40 AM
MORE BRAINLESS LEFTOID THINK TANKS [John Podhoretz]
Here's a new wrinkle on the lib-left Democrat copycat action over the past few years -- you know, how they need a radio network because conservatives have successful talk radio hosts, and an Al Gore-run cable channel because conservatives have the Fox News Channel, and a big fancy Place to Think Deep Thoughts in DC called the Center for American Progress because conservatives have Heritage and Hudson and AEI.
Now comes word of yet another liberal think tank out in California, to be called the New Politics Institute. The NPI has hired the man behind the Daily Kos, Markos ("'screw 'em' if American businessmen get killed in Iraq") Zuniga to help get its message out. Only Zuniga really isn't interested in thinking, not when there's bile to be spewed and lunatic left-wing rage to be stoked.
“Policy think tanks are pretty useless,” he told the Hill newspaper. “All the great policy white papers aren’t going to do any good.” The purpose of the New Policy Institute will be on “building a Democratic Party that is focused on winning.”
There we have it, a perfect encapsulation of the Babbittry that has overcome the Democratic Left. Ideas are bunk. "Policy white papers" are boring. What matters is salesmanship. On behalf of all conservatives, let me put out a passionate plea to all rich liberal Democrats: Stop blogging at Arianna's site for a moment, get out that checkbook, and donate as much money as you possibly can to the New Politics Institute.
Posted at 10:35 AM
MAY THEY NOT [K. J. Lopez]
kill the morning coffee next. Where will The Corner be?
Posted at 10:34 AM
CHANDRA & THE UNIVERSE [Stanley Kurtz]
I took a wonderful astronomy course in college, and a friend of mine is an X-ray astronomer. This has left me with a taste for the sort of astronomy we don't often hear about--astronomy that works through wavelengths like radio waves and X-rays. So I was fascinated to see that Chandra, the X-ray satellite observatory, has uncovered some important information about the formation of solar systems. In “Mission Worth It?” I expressed some doubts about our plans to head for Mars. One problem I didn’t mention is the danger that the money spent on a Mars project will starve out the basic science done by vastly cheaper and relatively unsung satellites like Chandra. Whether we go to Mars or not, I hope manned space projects won’t be allowed to kill relatively inexpensive, productive, and scientifically very important fields like X-ray astronomy.
Posted at 10:32 AM
RE: REAGAN QUIPS [Tim Graham]
Jonah, my old version of one of the Reagan quotes goes like this: "The most frightening words in the English language are 'More people watch ABC for their news than any other source.'"
Posted at 10:30 AM
BOLTON STATE OF PLAY [Rich Lowry ]
Here's the current read from what I'm hearing on the four Republican question marks: Chafee seems fine; Murkowski has talked to Bolton personally and seems fine; if Hagel is serious about wanting to be president, everyone assumes he'll be fine; Voinovich, no one knows. He's hard to read and doesn't respond well to pressure. If he's still up in the air tomorrow, the vote might have to be put off yet again. It should be interesting...
Posted at 10:30 AM
TRUE CONSERVATIVES [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Have you read John Lukacs's new book Democracy and Populism? It's highly pertinent to this topic, & also to some of the ideas we were kicking around in Atlanta the other night. I never quite know where I am with Lukacs. I'll find myself pounding on the desk, saying "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Then, ten pages later, I'm pounding "No! No! No!" His Budapest 1900 is a lovely book, though -- one of the best "character sketches" of a city ever done, better than Jan Morris.
Posted at 10:28 AM
CHILL WITH THE YODA [K. J. Lopez]
This chick knows what it's like.
Posted at 10:14 AM
RE: SOCIAL SECURITY POETRY [Jonah Goldberg]
Without commenting on the content of the post, I would say that aesthetically that is the ugliest post ever to appear in the Corner.
Posted at 10:12 AM
WHAT, NO LEAKS? [Rich Lowry ]
It just might be that the foreign relations committee Democrats have reached the bottom of the barrel. There is no fresh Bolton “revelation” in the New York Times today...
Posted at 10:12 AM
MORE YALTA [Jonah Goldberg]
While reading up on Yalta yesterday, I checked out what Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn had to say about it in Leftism (an organizationally chaotic but excellent book). He speculated in a fairly throw-away fashion that the clamor to "bring the boys home" after the war was so widespread and well orchestrated that it might have been directed from Moscow so that the fait of the Soviet occupation could remain accompli as it were.
Has anyone ever addressed this question head on? It seems to me self-evident that Americans would want their troops to come home. But that doesn't exclude the fact that the Soviets would want it too.
Posted at 10:10 AM
E-Z GUIDE [K. J. Lopez]
You want to contribute to NRO's fundraising drive but don't want go through PayPal, you can a) contact Tim Wolff at NRO World Headquarters with your credit-card information (212-679-7330; firstname.lastname@example.org) b) send a check to K-Lo's Vacation Fund; National Review; 215 Lexington Avenue; New York, NY 10016. Alternatively, address it to "Attn: NRO Fund Drive." Make checks out to "National Review." Thanks very much.
Posted at 10:02 AM
SOCIAL SECURITY POETRY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Not a week goes by without a fresh attack on the president's Social Security ideas from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. A reader who has made a study of the liberal think tank's papers was moved to write a poem about them:
(A Summary of Analyses by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
These accounts will lose money, a terrible imposition
But everyone will want one, causing an unaffordable transition
This rate of growth for benefits should fill our young with dread
We should save them from this horror and raise their taxes high instead
The top one percent of earners should get benefits above inflation,
Even if that means raising taxes on every worker in the nation,
When counting costs, sum all of the investments in accounts,
But to measure benefits, disregard all of those amounts,
Pozen’s benefit proposal solves too much of the riddle,
On second thought, it actually accomplishes too little,
Today’s unfunded promises should be considered as safe as in the vault,
But better funded promises should be taken with a grain of salt,
We believe that benefits and payroll taxes should stay linked,
But the system would be fine if only the death tax weren’t extinct
It’s regressive yet it’s welfare, costs go up but benefits not,
Your income has been cut if you get more than Grandpa got.
 http://www.cbpp.org/5-6-05socsec2.htm. Cites Shiller paper alleging that account holders will lose money, based on assumptions inconsistent with SSA projections, and a “life cycle fund” unrelated to Admin proposal.
 http://www.cbpp.org/12-13-04socsec.htm. Bases transition cost estimates on assumption that every eligible worker in America will voluntarily choose a personal account.
 http://www.cbpp.org/4-29-05socsec.htm. Describes benefit growth above inflation as the biggest benefit cut in history.
 http://www.cbpp.org/4-29-05socsec.htm Favorably mentions a plan to raise payroll taxes on future workers.
 http://www.cbpp.org/3-21-05socsec.htm. Argues that subjecting fewer than the highest 1% of wage earners to inflation-indexed benefits would destroy their support for Social Security.
 http://www.cbpp.org/3-21-05socsec.htm. Favorably mentions a plan to raise payroll tax rates that would affect workers at all wage levels.
 http://www.cbpp.org/12-13-04socsec.htm. Assumes that current system pays benefits as scheduled and that personal account investments are a purely additional expenditure.
 http://www.cbpp.org/4-29-05socsec.htm. Contains chart purporting to show severely reduced benefits for account holders, but without showing their benefits from the accounts.
 http://www.cbpp.org/4-29-05socsec.htm. Argues that the Pozen changes go too far in eliminating “most” of the shortfall.
 http://www.cbpp.org/5-6-05socsec2.htm, Argues that analyses of Pozen proposal should be disregarded because the Pozen plan does not solve the entire Social Security problem.
 http://www.cbpp.org/4-29-05socsec.htm. End of paper argues that the only reasonable comparisons for a plan are to all currently-scheduled benefits, even if these cannot be funded under current law.
 http://www.cbpp.org/5-6-05socsec2.htm. Argues that benefits under Pozen should be adjusted downward because Pozen is not a complete fix of the system. The promises under Pozen are much closer to what can be funded than are scheduled benefits under the current system, which CBPP previously argued should be the basis of comparison without adjustment.
 http://www.cbpp.org/3-21-05socsec.htm. Incorrectly argues that progressive price indexing would sever the link between Social Security taxes and benefits.
 http://www.cbpp.org/4-29-05socsec.htm. Favorably mentions a proposal to begin using estate tax revenues to fund Social Security, which would sever the connection between payroll taxes and benefits.
 http://www.cbpp.org/4-29-05socsec.htm. Argues that the proposal is not progressive based because it does not reduce the non-Social Security retirement income of the very wealthy.
 http://www.cbpp.org/3-21-05socsec.htm. Argues that progressive price indexing is too progressive and would turn Social Security into welfare.
 http://www.cbpp.org/2-3-05socsec.htm. Argues that personal accounts add costs.
 http://www.cbpp.org/5-6-05socsec2.htm. Numerous allegations of benefit reductions despite the supposedly added costs.
 http://www.cbpp.org/4-29-05socsec.htm. Refers to benefit growth above inflation as a benefit reduction.
Posted at 10:00 AM
RE: SONG AT TWILIGHT [Jonah Goldberg]
Commonest response: "Darn it, you're right, but I really hate to hear about it."These two things are not mutually exclusive, FYI.
Oh, and you inspired me to pen a column answering the ultimate question: What is a conservative? Scribbling now.
Posted at 09:55 AM
BLOOD ON THE SMARM [Warren Bell]
Just when the H-Bomb seemed doomed to an endless litany of dull "celebrity" musings (Larry Gelbart made me reconsider whether I actually ever liked "MASH"), Byron York has taken a few surgically precise shots at tuxedo-wearing sports announcer Jim Lampley's blather about the '04 election being stolen.
It's heavyweight versus lightweight, obviously, but still fun. Down goes Lampley!
Posted at 09:48 AM
JUST A SONG AT TWILIGHT [John Derbyshire]
Huge email-bag on my "Twilight of Conservatism" piece yesterday.
Commonest response: "Darn it, you're right, but I really hate to hear about it."
Commonest line of dissent: "The US citizenship made no difference, Derb -- you're still a rain-sodden fog-shrouded English pessimist. Americans don't think like this."
Commonest lines of abuse: (1) I shouldn't be writing for NR because I'm a libertarian. (2) I shouldn't be writing for NR because I'm a socialist. (3) I shouldn't be writing for NR because I'm a dipwad.
Most annoying misconception: I'm anti-religious. For the record, the main emotion I am aware of in myself when confronted with deeply religious people is envy. They seem happier and better adjusted than I am, and *much* better at child-raising. However, I've come to the conclusion, after several decades of trying, that religiosity is largely innate and temperamental, and there isn't much one can do about it.
Posted at 09:46 AM
WISCONSIN VOTER FRAUD [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that an official investigation of voter irregularities has found clear evidence of fraud, including thousands more votes cast than registered voters, over 200 felon voters and at least 100 people who voted twice. Powerline has more.
Posted at 09:42 AM
SEPARATED AT BIRTH? [John Derbyshire]
Check out the picture of Mick Jagger on Drudge
Anyone come to mind? Like, some female person recently married to a senior British royal?
Posted at 09:34 AM
JOHN BOLTON, WOULD-BE PSYCHOPATH [Rich Lowry ]
Only the New York Times would run a defense of Bolton on its op-ed page by James Baker and Ed Meese “balanced” by a piece about his psychopathic tendencies by a clinical pyschologist.
Posted at 09:34 AM
MILLION-DOLLAR-BABY SHAME [K. J. Lopez ]
Jonah should be ashamed he didn't grab one mil for his confessions of a right-wing lesbian.
(I'm banning K-Lo from The Corner for encouraging that running thread.)
Posted at 09:14 AM
"I AM JUST WAITING TO SEE HOW MUCH MARY CHENEY LOVES HERSELF." [K. J. Lopez ]
Hilary Rosen embraces the outrageous Kerry-Edwards-campaign attitude toward Mary Cheney (even ridiculing the idea that the Kerry camp used her unfairly--remember the debate? Remember Elizabeth Edwards?). People get money to write books. Welcome to capitalism—funny that the H-Bomb in-crowd would complain about that. Rosen does though, because, I guess, you're free to say and do what you please, unless you are not living your life in service to the right (re: Left) politics.
Posted at 09:10 AM
READ WHAT FIDEL’S RANTING ABOUT [Jack Fowler]
You’ve heard about El Jefe publicly reading NR--specifically, Otto Reich’s brilliant April 11, 2005 cover essay trashing Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez--to a crowd of Cubano Commies at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater a few weeks back. Why don’t you read the Reich article for yourself, which by happy chance is in the sample issue of National Review Digital--the affordable (only $21.95 for a full year!), convenient (comes in PDF, Image, and Text formats!), and speedy (available the day after NR “goes to press”) sibling of your favorite conservative magazine--that we’ve made available to one and all.
It’s simple: Go to the NR Digital subscription form page, here, and scroll down a bit, where you see in bold red “SEE A FREE SAMPLE OF NRD.” Click on it and you’ll be taken to the page where you can read the entire April 11 issue, including the Reich masterpiece. When your finished reveling in NRD--and you will revel--click back and subscribe, thereby ensuring yourself the next 24 issues of America’s premier journal of conservative news and opinion (and wit!).
Do it because you want to. Do it because you need to. And do it to tick off Fidel.
Posted at 09:01 AM
THESE ARE THE DAYS [K. J. Lopez ]
I'm trying to avoid being too annoying about our annual fund drive this week, but, well…it's going on this week and here at midweek I'd ask you to read this if you haven’t already and consider putting your money where your browser is. There's no waste of funds on perks here (as our starving writers will testify to!). We're focused on giving you the best product we can and want to be able to continue to--with more quality and quantity. That's where your support comes in. Thanks again for considering.
Posted at 08:27 AM
BTW [K. J. Lopez ]
Sense a little hostility in that Wilson link? Bioconservatives? Bioauthoritarians? How about we just debate the issues.
Posted at 08:20 AM
JAMES Q. WILSON [ K. J. Lopez ]
Has resigned from the Kass Commission, as people sometimes do when on commissions.
Posted at 08:20 AM
"PRIMARY VOTERS WILL BE WATCHING" [K. J. Lopez ]
The Manchester Union Leader issues a warning this morning: "[I]f the Republicans don't wise up and have the guts to stop the Democrats' current misuse of the filibuster, they will find that a President Hillary Clinton and her pals will have no such problem in suddenly 'discovering' that the Founding Fathers never intended judges or other Presidential appointments to be blocked in this manner."
Posted at 08:16 AM
HA! [K. J. Lopez]
Senators are too scared to vote against Bolton.
Posted at 08:16 AM
THE NON-CONNECTION THAT KEEPS ON CONNECTING [Andy McCarthy]
Oh, and did you hear the one about how Iraq has nothing to do with al-Qaeda? It was in all the papers...and the 9/11 Commission explained the whole thing to us -- thoughtfully analyzed in nearly two entire pages (see pp 61 & 66) of its 567-page final report.
Washington Times today reports that this Iraq that al Qaeda has absolutely, positively, cross-my-heart, nothing to do with is actually al Qaeda's last stand, and that if the network is defeated in this country that has really, really not been all that important to bin Laden, it will likely be finished. Just thought you might like to know.
Posted at 08:13 AM
WHATEVER [K. J. Lopez ]
Dudes, this reads so close to what all the sopshisticates think, you almost think it isn’t a parody:
Sarah Loomis, 32, of Great Neck, N.Y., agreed. "I think it's good for the church to have rules against killing and things like that," she said. "But I was really hoping the new pope would loosen up on things like abortion and homosexuality. This is the 20th century, after all. Or 21st. Whatever."
Posted at 08:13 AM
POLITICAL GREENS [Jonathan H. Adler]
I bet you didn't think the Bolton nomination was an environmental issue. Well, the Natural Resources Defense Council does. Yep, the environmental lobby and litigation shop is opposing his nomination, just like they are opposing several of Bush's judicial nominees. More evidence that Washington's environmental lobby is becoming an unofficial arm of the Democratic party.
Posted at 08:13 AM
GOD & MAN AT THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY, CON'T [K. J. Lopez ]
Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette is simply outraged.
Posted at 08:12 AM
"WE DO POT AND OTHER HEAVY STUFF" [K. J. Lopez]
K-Lo is a little too honest?
Had Mr. Duane Patterson continued his transcript from last night's Hugh Hewitt Show, you would learn the pot smoke was coming from others in the area, perhaps Loud Records, but not NR. But he conveniently stopped where he did. I would have done the same thing.
Posted at 08:11 AM
RE: AMERICAN I-DULL [K. J. Lopez]
Hey, we do pot and other heavy stuff, but we're down with Idol, too, John. Flunkie Nadia was even at our White House Correspondents Dinner pre-party (little details like that she might have just been using our reception as a means to an end are entirely unimportant).
Posted at 08:11 AM
SEIPP VS. O'DONNELL [K. J. Lopez]
The cartoon version (see here for the backstory).
Posted at 08:07 AM
NICE TRY, BUT [K. J. Lopez]
You know those days when you start out thinking you're so smart--sprinting toward the finishing line before people are even awake and then something like traffic throws it all off. Yeah, well...welcome to Wednesday.
Posted at 07:11 AM
THE GRENADE IN GEORGIA [K. J. Lopez]
"there was no chance it could explode."
Posted at 06:42 AM
GWYNETH [K. J. Lopez]
You know this is what they were all thinking.
Posted at 04:00 AM
ON THE RADIO [NRO Staff]
Shannen Coffin will be on NPR's Morning Edition during the 6:30 am half hour talking Cheney win.
Posted at 03:59 AM
OH, JOHN, JOHN, JOHN.... [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 03:54 AM
FIRST! [John Podhoretz]
Had to do it just this once...
Posted at 12:53 AM
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
GEORGE LUCAS... [John Podhoretz]
...is talking a lot about how he doesn't make his movies to please people, he has to tell the stories he wants to tell, he wants to make avant-garde films nobody wants to see, he doesn't like commercial entertainment, he felt compelled to tell the tragic tale of Darth Vader's fall from Jedi grace, blah blah blah. So why did I just see a commercial featuring Darth Vader using the Dark Side of the Force to choke a talking M&M?
Posted at 09:27 PM
LADIES, HELP ME OUT [Rick Brookhiser]
Charles Graner is utterly unattractive, right? I can see Ted Bundy, Robert Chambers, Scott Peterson. But Graner's attractions were solely a matter of power, sadism and perversion, yes?
Posted at 09:20 PM
AMERICAN I-DULL [John Podhoretz]
Enough already with the pot and the filibusters and the stem cells. It's time to talk about America's true obsession: "American Idol." There are four warblers left. There's Bo, who sounds like Bob Seger and looks like a guy who runs a waterbed store. There's Carrie, who sounds like Tricia Yearwood and looks like an Oklahoma sorority girl, which she is. There's Vonzell, who sounds like Alicia Keys played at the wrong speed and looks like Naomi Campbell if Naomi Campbell were stretched on a Torture Rack. And there's Anthony, who sounds like a guy who sings amazingly well for somebody who had a tracheotomy, which he did, and looks like a midget Ken doll.
There's no doubt the winner will either be Carrie or Bo. Millions upon millions of Americans will make the choice by calling one or another phone number. Bet on Carrie, because Bo was busted for cocaine possession once.
OK, now you can get back to the serious junk.
Posted at 09:18 PM
NOT A FULL WELCOMING-PARTY [K. J. Lopez]
A grenade was thrown near the president in Georgia today?
Posted at 07:08 PM
DEBATING DERB [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rich, I'd (broadly) agree with you that that the "Religious Right" has been identified with the rise of a more conservative, anti-government GOP, but times are changing. On the whole, I think it is fair to say that much of the Religious Right's earlier agenda (if you can really speak of one unified agenda - which I doubt) could be described as defensive - many people of faith felt (a) that the state had gone too far in telling them how to live their lives; and (b) that they were being shut out of the national debate ("national debate", yeuch: apologies for the NPRspeak). Those were fair points. Now, things are different, and as full participants in that national debate, the Religious Right, like most other political groupings, are pursuing a more active agenda. Emboldened by electoral success, they too are trying to set rules for everyone else. They are fully entitled to try to do so, just as those who disagree are fully entitled to shove back - that's democracy. Derb's point (if I have this right, John) is that we should no longer assume that this agenda is automatically opposed to big government. It's not. Derb is right - and he is right to be depressed.
Posted at 06:58 PM
BUSH ON YALTA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Pejman Yousefzadeh defends Bush's remarks.
Posted at 06:57 PM
ET TU KEN? [Mark R. Levin]
According to AP, Ken Starr tells CBS Evening News that [a filibuster-rule change would be] a "radical, radical departure from our history and our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government."
Posted at 06:56 PM
TOD LINDBERG [Ramesh Ponnuru]
comes out for ending the judicial filibuster.
Posted at 06:51 PM
WHAT WOULD THE LEFT DO [K. J. Lopez]
if the Bush administration promoted abstinence ed for the kids and this for the married folk? Just curious.
Posted at 06:39 PM
GOD WITHOUT DOGMA [John Derbyshire]
"Dear Sir---In your article, you mention the increasingly popular expression, 'ceremonial Deism' (it is a religion and thus, a proper noun). Deism, or the belief in a creator but not in revealed religion, is one of the fastest growing belief systems in this country. I hope that Deism is given more press as many Americans are Deists, and not Christians. As president of the United Deist Church, I'm honored to have so many people express satisfaction at finally being able to identify what they believe in. This is not mere ceremonial Deism. It is an organized group of people and emerging churches where Deists may finally come together in community and experience God without dogma.
"Rev. Keith R. Wright
"President, the United Deist Church "
Posted at 06:33 PM
TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN [John Derbyshire]
Boss: All right, all right, I'll try to be more cheerful, truly I will. There must be something good to be said about the state of the nation. I shall seek it out and broadcast it from the rooftops.
On the religion point, I think the instinctive contrarian in me took over there. I was writing about UK vs. US conservatism. The thing most commonly said in that context is that our conservatism is more solidly founded than theirs, because our religious Right acts as a sheet anchor for our conservatism. I just wanted to pick up & expand on Jeff Hart's argument that this ain't necessarily so. Which it ain't. So this point, which one hears all the time (e.g. from Micklethwait & Wooldridge) may be false comfort for US conservatives.
(Plus, I am a bit under Jonah's influence, having sat & listened to him expound on some related themes at Mahogany Ridge in Atlanta the other night. Ask him about Father Coughlin & you'll see where my thoughts were going.)
Posted at 06:32 PM
MORE POT [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "`I argue, we've decided to arrest more people for marijuana possession outside of any valid law-enforcement consideration.' Could it be that the law enforcement consideration is that it is ILLEGAL?"
ME: You got me! I put the modifier "valid" in there for a reason, though. Outside of extreme cases, I don't think there's any reason to be arresting people for possessing marijuana.
Posted at 06:30 PM
HAPPY WARRIOR [Jonah Goldberg]
A friend sent me this list of quotations. Many are familiar, all are nice to hear again:
Posted at 06:22 PM
I'M A STEVE MARTIN FAN [K. J. Lopez]
but it's a slow news day--or some editor's bored with the news, anyhow--when Steve Martin is the big picture on the washpost's website.
Posted at 06:21 PM
DERB, [Rich Lowry ]
I'm sorry if I misinterpreted you. After the proposition that the religious right will keep us “on the straight and narrow” you have a long section on the not-necessarily conservative bent of evangelicals and devout Catholics (because Catholics weren't for limited government during the Inquisition!), report that American conservatives “have not, historically, been very religious” (really?), and pointedly note that the great conservative presidents weren't churchgoers.
I really thought you were suggesting something larger with all this. If not, no problem. We can agree that the existence of devout Christians in the U.S. doesn't guarantee limited government. In fact, that seems obvious. But I'm sure you will agree, in turn, that the Religious Right has been identified with the rise of a more conservative, anti-government GOP over the last 25 years. So, despite your theoretical points about how evangelicals and devout Christians needn't support limited government, in fact they have been a major ally of the party that has been trying to do something about it (not always terribly successfully, granted).
Also, your dire pessimism is overblown. You say that Social Security reform isn't fundamental--but compared to what? What previous Republican president has proposed anything this big? And you should check out what Steve Moore was saying about Bush I in NR--let alone what he would have written about the Bourbons or Habsburgs!
Posted at 06:03 PM
I'VE BEEN BUTTERFIELDED [Rich Lowry ]
I thought someone would make a Fox Butterfield comparison with this passage in my marijuana column today: "Their crusade bears little or no connection to law enforcement. Crime generally has been declining from 1990 to 2002, even as pot arrests have increased. Are we to believe that crime is at its lowest rates in 30 years, but the nation is beset by rampaging marijuana smokers who are kept under minimal control only by ever-increasing arrests?"
Butterfield is the New York Times columnist who is constantly astonished that the number of people in prison goes up, while crime goes down. And James Taranto does compare me to Butterfield in Best of the Web today. But James didn't stop to think that, actually, when crime goes down, arrests should go down. Especially if you are keeping the prisoners locked up (which means, as Fox never grasps, the prison population will go up). Sure enough looking at the FBI crime statistics, arrests for murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and various other crimes went down from 1995-2000, while crime declined. But marijuana arrests have increased because, I argue, we've decided to arrest more people for marijuana possession outside of any valid law-enforcement consideration.
Posted at 05:48 PM
ALAMO [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't think I want to turn the Corner into a bulletin board of rage about the Alamo thing. Suffice it to say references to male bovine fecal droppings come up in a lot of emails. Brad Short summarizes:
To say it is b.s. is to do it far more credit than it deserves:
Posted at 05:38 PM
ANNOYED TEXANS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Oh my, yes. Like most native, red-blooded Texans, the Alamo is sacred ground to me, and I’m always moved to tears when I visit it. The forces of PC have completely re-written the story of the Alamo here in Texas. A few years ago, on a class field trip there, the dozen of us posed on the very edge of the Alamo grounds (just off the curb) with a Texas flag. We were told that we could not display the Texas flag at the Alamo. Let that sink in: We were not being loud oafs; we were quietly and unobtrusively posing with a Texas flag by way of remembrance of the men who died for that flag and all that it represented (the highest virtues of liberty)—at the very spiritual heart of Texas…where they died. And we were told that it wasn’t allowed.
Posted at 05:29 PM
FIGHTING WORDS [Jonah Goldberg]
Nickelodeon says the Alamo was fought so white farmers could keep their slaves. I don't know much about the Alamo or about Texas politics. But I know this is gonna annoy some people.
Posted at 05:03 PM
OH MY STARS AND GARTERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Well, this is it. I've found it.
The prophesies were true!
Posted at 04:47 PM
HOW NOT TO THINK ABOUT FEDERALISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Bruce Fein provides a lesson. He condemns the federal law against partial-birth abortion as an invasion of states' jurisdiction over the matter while entirely ignoring--not even mentioning!--the way the Supreme Court (a branch of the federal government, in case Fein is interested) has withdrawn that jurisdiction. He treats the ability of states and localities to set product-liability standards for guns made in other jurisdictions as simply an aspect of state sovereignty. But then he turns around and says that federalism requires letting states wink at undermining sister states' laws against abortion. And he concludes with Justice Brandeis's paean to the states as laboratories of democracy, which is not only a cliche but a distinctly unconservative one.
Posted at 04:44 PM
NEVERMIND ABOUT MY UNBORN FETUS [K. J. Lopez]
Moving on to the cat: "But in recent years, the legal community has debated whether animals should have independent status or be considered something more than property."
Posted at 04:27 PM
REDUCTIO AD INQUISITIONEM [John Derbyshire]
Further to Ramesh's point, a couple of readers have reminded me that referring to the Inquisition when writing about religion is like referring the the Nazis in a political discussion. Play stops and everyone goes back to his last legal position. Sorry about that.
Posted at 04:26 PM
LAWSUIT [K. J. Lopez]
slows down stem-cell/cloning in California.
Posted at 04:26 PM
DERB NAILS IT [John Derbyshire]
I hate arguing with the boss... but not as much as I hate being misinterpreted.
"From reading Derb's column today, you might get the impression that evangelicals and Catholics are somehow behind the drift toward 'big-government conservatism.'"
I suppose you might; but on my words as pixeled, it'd be a stretch. The force of my argument in re religion is that neither evangelical Protestants nor devout Catholics are necessarily dependable conservatives; though individually and/or collectively they might be at some point in time.
"The pre-religious right Republican party was characterized by a go-along-to-get-along establishment that was perfectly happy to accommodate ever-bigger government."
Gosh, that must have been awful! Thank goodness that's all in the past!
"It was thankfully swept away by the religious 'crazies'..."
Eh? Is the implication here that I think evangelicals or devout Catholics are crazy? My archived journalism must be well over a million words by now, going back over 20 years. Where in it have I said such a thing, or anything even close?
"What happened next is that congressional Republicans got trounced by Bill Clinton in the budget wars, chastening them forevermore."
Yes. Conservatism lost. That's partly what I'm saying. Lost, moribund, twilight, Goetterdaemmerung,...
"The GOP needed some sort of fresh approach and George Bush came up with 'compassionate conservatism.'"
Correct, and great for the GOP. But for conservatism?
"This was not something forced upon him by religious people."
I didn't say it was. I think you are stretching my remark about religiosity not being necessarily conservative over way too much ground.
"But it's not as though Bush could have discarded them and built an anti-statist political majority with some other group of voters."
Politicians do what they have to do, we all understand that. My complaint against W is the things he didn't have to do.
"Today's Republican party is more anti-regulation than, say, the GOP under President Bush's father was."
So federal regulations on, say, environmental impact cover less printed pages today than in 1992? You sure?
"It is more anti-tax."
It's a little too soon after April 15 for me to read that without a whimper.
"It is too lax on spending..."
Read Steve Moore's piece "Is U.S. in Slow Motion to Socialism?" in the 5/9/05 _Human Events_. Then tell me if "utterly out of control" wouldn't be more accurate than "too lax."
"Finally, it is more willing to broach fundamental reforms of the welfare state. Now, through Social Security reform, Bush is actually proposing a creative way to significantly reduce government's spending over time and ultimately its sway over our lives."
Talking about welfare-state reform after enacting the biggest entitlement program in the history of the world, is a bit like moving the liquor cabinet into the basement after recovering from an all-weekender. And how "fundamental" are the proposed reforms anyway? There will be public provision for the elderly, as there is now. Middle class folk will make their own additional investments for old age, as we do now. Sure, the mixes will be different -- ten percent here, ten percent there -- and the public fisc will be helped some -- but "fundamental"? Humbug.
"If it sinks, it won't be because of evangelicals and devout Catholics have risen up against it."
There you go again. Who said so? If it sinks, it will be because the country at large doesn't want it enough to drown out the loud factions like AARP.
Posted at 04:25 PM
BRIAN KALT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
According to him, there's a 50-square-mile bit of Idaho where you can commit crimes with legal impunity (including acts of vigilantism against criminals). He will be on NPR's "All Things Considered" around 5:50 today to discuss the topic.
Posted at 03:50 PM
RELIGIOUS WARS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Derb's quite right in his column today to suggest that there's no necessary connection between evangelicalism or Catholicism and limited-government conservatism. I wouldn't think it necessary to go back to the Inquisition to prove the point. But I think it's odd to say that "[e]vangelicanism is, in fact, too intellectually flimsy to sustain any coherent political position outside a narrow subset of 'social issues.'" Is it really a test of a religion's intellectual strength that it can sustain a "coherent political position"? I think you could make a decent argument that the more it sustained such a position, the less well it would speak of its intellectual strength.
And I'm afraid that Professor Hart, in the evaluation of evangelical Christianity to which you link, displays too little familiarity with contemporary evangelicalism to inspire trust in his judgment. The popularity of the LaHaye books does not speak well of evangelicals, sure; but there are plenty of bestsellers that don't speak well of other groups, either. (The DaVinci Code, anyone?) Mark Noll's book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind was a smart appraisal of evangelical weaknesses from the inside. My impression is that its thesis, arguments, and implications have been vigorously debated among evangelicals, at evangelical colleges, among other places. That the debate is occurring is evidence both that there are problems here, and that Hart's picture of an evangelical world that is all about emotion and not at all about intellect is a caricature.
Posted at 03:31 PM
DERB MISSES IT [Rich Lowry ]
From reading Derb's column today, you might get the impression that evangelicals and Catholics are somehow behind the drift toward "big-government conservatism." This is misconception that has appeared elsewhere too, so it bears some scrutiny. Everyone forgets that the infusion of the religious right into politics, and the shift of evangelicals into the GOP column, partly accounted for Ronald Reagan's victories in the 1980s. The pre-religious right Republican party was characterized by a go-along-to-get-along establishment that was perfectly happy to accommodate ever-bigger government. It was thankfully swept away by the religious “crazies” (and other new Republican voters). The trend continued with the role the religious right played in the 1994 Republican “revolution,” sweeping the Democrats from power and leading to a full-frontal assault on big government. What happened next is that congressional Republicans got trounced by Bill Clinton in the budget wars, chastening them forevermore. The GOP needed some sort of fresh approach and George Bush came up with “compassionate conservatism.” This was not something forced upon him by religious people. True, it was in some ways, especially rhetorically, pitched toward Catholic swing voters, who are not ideologically anti-statist. But it's not as though Bush could have discarded them and built an anti-statist political majority with some other group of voters.
Today's Republican party is more anti-regulation than, say, the GOP under President Bush's father was. It is more anti-tax. It is too lax on spending--but we complained about spending growth under Bush's father and even under Reagan. Finally, it is more willing to broach fundamental reforms of the welfare state. Now, through Social Security reform, Bush is actually proposing a creative way to significantly reduce government's spending over time and ultimately its sway over our lives. If it sinks, it won't be because of evangelicals and devout Catholics have risen up against it. It will be because of decidedly non-religious right Republicans such as Susan Collins and, well, Derb.
Posted at 03:00 PM
NEW STEM-CELL POLL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here's David Espo of AP: "Republicans who dissent from President Bush's policy are circulating a poll designed to show they have the party's voters on their side even if many fellow GOP lawmakers are not."
He highlights the poll's finding that 57 percent of 800 Republicans polled favored embryonic stem-cell research while only 40 percent opposed. Mike Castle, a Delaware Republican pushing for expanded funding of the research and for allowing research on cloned embryos, tells Espo: "Anytime you see a poll like that, that's a strong preference. Members of Congress understand polls."
Members of Congress, one hopes, also understand the limitations of polls--and of the ways interested parties like Castle can spin them. Here are some specific things they ought to understand:
-- The 57-40 percent support for embryonic stem-cell research does not indicate where public opinion stands on taxpayer funding or on cloning--the positions Castle favors. Dave Winston, who conducted the poll, tells me that these numbers, while interesting, do not reflect the policy question.
-- When asked their preference, 25 percent of Republicans said they wanted no government funding of the research, 33 percent favored the limited funding Bush offers, and 36 percent wanted expanded funding to cover research on leftover embryos at fertility clinics. So 58 percent of Republicans were with Bush or to his right, while only 36 percent were with Castle (and even that's with a question that arguably hypes the potential of the research).
-- Another finding: 70 percent of Republicans approved of the job Bush was doing on stem cells.
-- The 57-40 result came after respondents were exposed to 3 arguments for embryonic stem-cell research and 2 against it. I respect Winston's polling, and there are judgment calls on which arguments to select, but I think the ones he used tend to drive the numbers up artificially.
The argument that adult stem cell research is promising and does not involve ethical problems, and should therefore be pursued first, is the chief argument of the congressional opponents of the research. (I'm not find of this argument myself, but there's no denying it's the top one opponents are using.) Yet it's not one of the arguments presented to respondents.
Respondents are, however, presented with the argument that "fertility treatments should not be permitted" because they create embryos that will eventually be destroyed. Almost nobody is arguing for that position, it's an unpopular position, and it's only tangentially related to the policy question actually before the Congress.
-- Respondents were asked, understandably given the politics though somewhat oddly as an abstract matter, about what they thought about the promise of various lines of research. Sixty-nice percent thought that embryonic stem-cell research might generate medical advances. But when asked which avenue of research held the most promise, only 24 percent picked embryonic stem-cell research. Another 21 percent said adult stem-cell research, 31 percent said cord-blood stem-cell research, and 24 percent said (as I would have) that they didn't know.
These numbers aren't terrific for pro-lifers, but they're not the slam-dunk for Castle's side of this debate that he (and the Associated Press) would have us believe.
Posted at 02:53 PM
DOUBT [John Podhoretz]
"Doubt," the play that won the Pulitzer Prize this year, just got nominated for 8 Tony Awards. "Doubt" is a marvelous theatrical melodrama about an allegation of priestly pedophilia at a Bronx parochial school in 1964 -- and is noteworthy because its hero is a tough-as-nails, knuckle-wrapping nun named Sister Aloysius. But there's something deeply disturbing -- even disgusting -- at the center of John Patrick Shanley's play. Sister Aloysius is scolded by the mother of a 10 year-old boy whom the nun believes has been molested. Her son is gay, the mother says, his father beats him up and anyway, the kid is black. She's just happy the priest is nice to him and might help the boy get into a good high school. This scene is intended to suggest that the nun's moral absolutism has met its match in the mother's weary worldliness. But still, it veers uncomfortably close to NAMBLA logic. Shanley thinks he's being profound, when in fact he's put an apologia for pedophilia in the mouth of a victim's mother.
Posted at 02:37 PM
FLEW [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, most agnostics (ahem) are utterly indifferent to such matters. And that's the point. That Flew spent so much time thinking about such issues already revealed that he had a profoundly religious susceptibility. He's merely moved from one religion (atheism) to another. Big deal.
Posted at 02:34 PM
RE: TASER STORY [K. J. Lopez]
Just to clarify, I'm not accusing anyone at that paper of messing with the lady's quote. I just found it a distressing word to have used, and was wishful thinking--better that the paper be pc policing their quotes than mothers actually refer to their babies as fetuses. But, again, just to clarify, I have no reason to believe the paper did mess with the quote--in fact, the news story uses the word "baby" elsewhere. And, who knows, maybe there is a good reason. She was nervous and said something odd. Goodness knows I'm not immune to that. But it was weird and jarring to read. And we do live in a climate where some wouldn't find that odd at all.
Posted at 02:32 PM
SHOW ME THE MONEY [Mark Krikorian]
Washington is finally going to start reimbursing hospitals for a small percentage of the costs of providing emergency care for illegal aliens. This is in addition to a Justice Department program that reimburses states and localities for a small share of the costs of incarcerating criminal aliens -- a program the White House has twice unsuccessfully tried to eliminate. Maybe if the feds are forced to bear enough of the costs of illegal immigration, they might have an incentive to reduce those costs through immigration enforcement. Then again, maybe not.
Posted at 02:26 PM
MORTGAGES FOR ILLEGALS? [Mark Krikorian]
In an NRODT piece last year on an immigration strategy of attrition (as opposed to my cover story in the current issue, which you could read if you were a subscriber), I referred to “virtual chokepoints” where interior immigration enforcement should be conducted – events that were necessary for normal life in a modern society but infrequent, like applying for a driver’s license. Another chokepoint is applying for a mortgage, which illegals aliens shouldn’t be able to do if we’re actually serious about controlling immigration. Of course, not only are they are allowed to do so now but, as this story from a correspondent indicates, banks are actively marketing mortgages to illegal aliens. In fact, the bank in question actually issued a press release bragging about the program, quoting the Mexican Consul General in Atlanta saying that the program would enable illegal aliens “to become further involved in the local community.” This, indeed, is the central political question in immigration – do we squeeze the illegals to make them leave and deter others, or do we embrace them through legalization, either de facto legalization like this mortgage program or the de jure version, as the president and others are proposing.
Posted at 02:25 PM
THE HORROR [Andrew Stuttaford]
"Prince Harry has been pictured holding a cigarette next to a young orphan while carrying out charity work in South Africa. Harry, whose wayward behaviour has never kept him far from the headlines, was snapped crouched on the ground with the cigarette hidden by a shadow."
Harry is now in the (British - phew) army. That a soon-to-be army officer enjoys a smoke really should not be news. Even if some of "the children" are around.
Posted at 02:23 PM
WHY DON'T PEOPLE HAVE MORE SEX? [John Derbyshire]
An economist wonders
Posted at 01:40 PM
SOMETHING TO PONDER [Jonah Goldberg]
Does Scientologist Tom Cruise's participation in the remake of War of the Worlds constitute heresy to his "Church"?
Discuss amongst yourselves. I'm going to lunch.
Posted at 01:11 PM
"THEY COULD HAVE HURT MY UNBORN FETUS" [K. J. Lopez]
Who talks like this? Seriously, did the editors change that? Did the reporter? What non-NOW-trained mother says that? Or maybe cultural p.c. training is near complete (I don't think we're there yet, I'm not dooming and glooming you that much)? I'd much rather find out someone at the paper changed the quote.
Posted at 12:40 PM
MOVE OVER, HOMEWORK [K. J. Lopez]
Keep The New Yorker away from the children!
Posted at 12:23 PM
COIFFURE'S THE CLUE [John Derbyshire]
OK, Jonah, pay attention now.
This is Haley.
This is Halley.
You be wantin' the dude with the wig, not the one with the kiss curl.
Posted at 12:21 PM
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER [John Derbyshire]
I used to go out with a girl named Binks. She was good to me, but I treated her badly. I am really, really sorry.
Posted at 12:20 PM
UNDONE BY THE LITERAL-MINDED [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 12:11 PM
HOPE FOR ESTRADA? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Byron York's piece today suggests an eventual deal is possible on judicial nominees that would effectively deep-six some current nominees but prevent any filibusters of future nominees. This makes me hold out hope that one of the current nominations to the D.C. Circuit fails and Bush renominates Miguel Estrada for a quick confirmation to that court, and then to the Supremes. I have nothing against Bush's other D.C. circuit nominees, but none of them are Estrada. That someone of his caliber was denied confirmation to the appellate bench continues to stick in my craw.
Posted at 12:11 PM
THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK [K. J. Lopez]
Have you considered putting your money where your mouse is?
Posted at 12:10 PM
CAVEAT [Jonah Goldberg]
I haven't read anything from the site. I probably should have before I posted the earlier email. Anyway, this reader offers a warning:
Jonah- Be very careful of that www.feldgrau.com website. It's a great online source for information about the German and German-associated armies in World War 2, but it strays over into hero-worship of the Nazi German military. For an example of what I'm talking about, read the sections about the SS units and the German-allied factions like the Croats and Bulgarians.
Posted at 12:05 PM
CHENEY VICTORY [Shannen Coffin]
That's finally laid to rest after more than three years of litigation. What the U.S. Court of Appeals today decided is that the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch (plus the entire MSM) were simply wrong to suggest that the President and Vice President had any obligation to disclose the inner workings of the National Energy Policy Development Group. In its decision today in In re Cheney, the entire D.C. Circuit concluded that "severe separation-of-powers" problems prevented the court from applying the Federal Advisory Committee Act to require the Vice President to disclose the details of his meetings within and without the government in formulating the President's 2001 National Energy Policy (still not enacted into law, by the way). This was a case that a host of highly talented government lawyers sweated blood for over a period of three years and did a marvelous job. From the outset, it was a specious lawsuit brought for political purposes, and it finally dies a well deserved death.
Posted at 11:59 AM
AND ODD [Jonah Goldberg]
The piece about Flew I linked to says he won the "John Locke Prize in Mental Philosophy."
Um, is there any other kind?
Isn't this a bit like the Jim Thorpe Prize in Physical Running?
Posted at 11:58 AM
VLASOV [Rick Brookhiser]
One of the junior OSS operatives charged with guarding, then handing over the Vlasovites, was William Sloane Coffin. He described the episode in his memoirs, and identifies his guilt as one of the reasons for his later distrust of the American government during the Vietnam War. When I reviewed the book for NR, I acknowledged the power of his description, but lamented the fact that his initial error helped Stalin, while his penance helped Ho Chi Minh.
Posted at 11:57 AM
INTERESTING [Jonah Goldberg ]
Anthony Flew has embraced theism and the agnostics are cross. (Via the Conservative Philosopher). Correction! Flew has embraced "deism" not "theism." Debate the difference between the two amongst yourselves.
Posted at 11:55 AM
CHENEY WINS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, dismissed the lawsuit against Vice President Cheney's energy policy task force. Story here; opinion here.
Posted at 11:54 AM
VLASOV CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, The best essay I've read on the subject is a piece by Lt. Gen Anders and Antonio Munoz, "Russian Volunteers in the German Wehrmacht in WWII". It is accessible at http://www.feldgrau.com/rvol.html.
Posted at 11:37 AM
THE SYRIA NON-SCANDAL [Rich Lowry ]
Bolton critics lately have made a big deal of his testimony on Syria before a House committee. What is notable about this is that what he said was cleared by the intelligence community. The standard the Democrats are trying to create here is that you can't question anything intelligence analysts say at any point in the process. If you have your own views on how to interpret the intelligence--because you read so much of it and are so engaged--and have a rigorous back-and-forth with analysts about it, but what you say publicly ultimately reflects the consensus view, apparently you are to be disqualified for higher office.
Here is former intelligence official Jamie Miscik, asked about the Syria flap in her committee interview:
Q:... to the best of your knowledge, was the language that was proposed, in the end, or agreed upon by the IC community, used in the Syria speech?
Here is former intelligence official Robert Huthings, also asked about the ultimate result of the Syria controversy in two places:
Q: In the end, Mr. Bolton gave testimony that was cleared by you, is that correct?
Posted at 11:33 AM
BIG GOVERNMENT REPUBLICAN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Judging by reports in yesterday's New York Sun the latest recruit to the ranks of the big government GOP is one Charles Fuschillo, a state senator from Long Island. He wants to increase New York's smoking age to 19, older than the age at which people are deemed mature enough to marry, enlist, or vote. Here's my suggestion to Fuschillo, a disgrace who, quite clearly, does not deserve re-election: Why not go and visit a nearby military base and explain to any 18 year-old (smoker or non-smoker) soldier why he thinks that they cannot be trusted to make up their own minds whether or not to buy a cigarette. I'd like to see the response.
Posted at 11:33 AM
THE LAST STAR WARS? [Warren Bell]
What I fear about Revenge of the Sith is that Lucas is lying, or at least will soon change his mind: This is not the last Star Wars. He always said he had nine stories, that the saga has three more chapters that take place after Return of the Jedi. The big problem for him (and ultimately for the fans) is that the ending of this one is bound to be a huge downer (unless, as Jonah suggests, Jar Jar gets Mussolini-ed onscreen) as Anakin becomes Darth and all the Jedi but Yoda and Obi-wan are killed.
Compare, for example, the ending of the original trilogy, where Darth shrugs off the power of the Dark Side and saves Luke from the Emperor. I recently watched it again with my boys, and I have to say, it's pretty darn cathartic. I don't think Lucas will be able to don his plaid flannel every morning having bummed out an entire generation of future Jason Apuzzos.
I don't care if this movie is "good" or not--I already own my tickets for opening day. It has to be an improvement over Attack of the Clones, which I called "How a Bill Becomes A Law in Space," owing to its multitude of committee scenes. (You can see how Lucas, mired in endless production meetings, is truly writing what he knows.)
And I apologize to K-Lo, who has now had to hear this conversation twice.
Posted at 11:30 AM
OUT OF THE BLUE [Jonah Goldberg]
I'd like to say, "I much fear trouble in the fuselage, Frederick."
That's my way of saying welcome aboard to John Podhoretz. He'll understand (and so will some of you, I suspect).
Posted at 11:20 AM
I DID NOT KNOW THAT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 11:17 AM
NURSE! [Jonah Goldberg ]
Jim Lampley needs his medication again:
Many of the participants in this blog have graduate school educations. It is damned near impossible to go to graduate school in any but the most artistic disciplines without having to learn about the basics of social research and its uncanny accuracy and validity. We know that professionally conceived samples simply do not yield results which vary six, eight, ten points from eventual data returns, thaty's why there are identifiable margins for error. We know that margins for error are valid, and that results have fallen within the error range for every Presidential election for the past fifty years prior to last fall. NEVER have exit polls varied by beyond-error margins in a single state, not since 1948 when this kind of polling began. In this past election it happened in ten states, all of them swing states, all of them in Bush's favor. Coincidence? Of course not.
Looks like the H-Bomb's descent into goofiness is ahead of schedule.
Posted at 11:16 AM
STAR WARS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 11:10 AM
RE: YALTA QUESTION [John Podhoretz]
Right you are, Jonah. As the world learned again this weekend, the United States never recognized the Soviet dominion over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia even though the Soviets actually swallowed those three countries whole and insisted they had become provinces of the Soviet Union. Until their liberation 50 years later, each "captive nation" had an ambassador, consulates in major cities, and even possessed a currency that we supposedly accepted in fair trade for dollars. That was a noble thing to do, and because we did it, those three countries made the easiest and most thoroughgoing transition to democracy of any of the Soviet satellites and colonies.
Posted at 11:03 AM
JOHN POD [K. J. Lopez]
John Podhoretz, an occassional drop-in, is officially a Corner regular as of today. Welcome, man. You all know him from his starring role on the NYPost op-ed page, author of Bush Country and Hell of a Ride. John's also a 5-time Jeopardy champion, among other things. Anyway, he's here and we're delighted--enjoy.
Posted at 10:59 AM
YALTA QUESTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Doesn't the argument that the Red Army was already occupying Eastern Europe and therefore America had no choice but to recognize, codify and celebrate that fact run at least a little counter to the rage against the Israeli "occupation"? If it's so obvious that having troops in a place confers title to that place, why should anyone think Israel should return to pre-1967 borders?
I don't like -- or agree with -- the comparison of Israel to the Soviets, but the principle still holds.
Posted at 10:56 AM
JAR JAR BINKS [John Podhoretz]
Jonah, I fear I can't resist a spoiler. As you may recall, Jar Jar became a senator in the last film. In the new one, he refuses the Majority Leader's request to change a galactic rule that is being misused to deny Obi-Wan Kenobi a seat on the Jedi Council, and as a direct result of his cowardice is swallowed whole by Jabba the Hut.
Posted at 10:53 AM
VLASOV [Jonah Goldberg]
This should stir the pot. From a reader:
Uh Jonah, I think all this caterwauling about Yalta, Eastern Europe and Vlasov is silly. Schlessinger is right, the Red Army was going to occupy Eastern Europe, come what may. The question was, would we be able to persuade the Soviets to intervene against Japan? We could have angered the Soviets and they would STILL have occupied Eastern Europe, but they might not have intervened in Manchuria. And their intervention carried weight in the Japanese decision to surrender when they did. For reference read Franks' Downfall, on the Pacific end-game. And I have this question if something is inevitable, a la Soviet/Russian dominance in East Europe, can it be said to be a "wrong?" If a tree is falling on your car, has a great wrong been done or has physics taken its course? As to Vlasov, he was a Nazi collaborator! Yes, 60 years later he may be seen as a RUSSIAN patriot, but THEN he was seen as a Nazi collaborator! Seen by those folks who had just been at war with the Nazi's since 1939, seen their homes destroyed, seen their loved ones tortured by Nazis, and who had liberated the camps and seen, dimly the Endlosung/Shoah. Why, because VLASOV FOUGHT WITH THE NAZI'S! And that was all it took and I submit that if you had been there then, you'd have turned them over too. From the comfort of our lives 60 years later he may appear different, but it didn't seem that way at the time.
Posted at 10:50 AM
THE ABU GHRAIB LOVE TRIANGLE [Rich Lowry ]
A priceless (and very sad) story today in the New York Times about Lynndie England's fouled-up plea deal. Here's the lead:
In a military courtroom in Texas last week was a spectacle worthy of "As the World Turns": Pfc. Lynndie R. England, the defendant, holding her 7-month-old baby; the imprisoned father, Pvt. Charles A. Graner Jr., giving testimony that ruined what lawyers said was her best shot at leniency; and waiting outside, another defendant from the notorious abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Megan M. Ambuhl, who had recently wed Private Graner - a marriage Private England learned about only days before.
These are the people that the Left was happy to use to smear the entire U.S. military and our project in Iraq. Now, keep in mind that Andrew Sullivan once wrote that the only reason England and Co. would take such sick pictures in Iraq and look so remorseless about it is that they were getting orders from on high to do it. Then read this:
Just after the 372nd received orders to go to Iraq in February 2003, Private Graner, Private England and another soldier had a last party weekend in Virginia Beach. They drank heavily, and when their friend passed out, Private Graner and Private England took turns taking photographs of each other exposing themselves over his head.
One night in October, he told her to pose for photographs holding a leash tied around the neck of a naked and crawling detainee. He e-mailed one home: "Look what I made Lynndie do." The now infamous pictures of detainees masturbating, he said, were a birthday gift for her.
Eventually Graner moved on from England to Ambuhl:
She had been involved with another soldier in the unit. But by late December, she had ended that relationship and started one with Private Graner. In e-mail messages, the two dreamily recalled their nights stolen away in the crowded prison cells where the military police lived.
These people were a disgrace, and didn't need orders to behave abysmally.
Posted at 10:49 AM
YALTA! YALTA! YALTA! [John Podhoretz]
Bang that spoon, Jonah. We should never forget that one of the senior American diplomats at the Yalta conference was none other than Alger Hiss -- who was, of course, not serving the United States but the Soviet Union, whose undercover agent he was. A cable from the U.S. Embassy in Washington to the Kremlin in March 1945 made clear just how crucial Hiss's role was in the discussions that resulted in the 45 year subjugation of Central and Eastern Europe. (The cable uses Hiss's code name, ALES.) "After the YALTA conference," the document reads, "a Sovet personage iin a very responsible position (ALES gave to understand it was Comrade VYshINSKIJ) allegedly got in touch with ALES and at the behest of the military NEIGHNORS passed on to him their gratitude and so on." The code word "neighbors" referred to Soviet military intelligence. Comrade Andrei Vyshinski was the deputy foreign minister of the Soviet Union (and had been the chief prosecutor at the Moscow show trials in the 1930s). Hiss's presence at Yalta remains the most scandalous intelligence penetration in American history. It's probably worth bringing up once a week just to stick it to the odious Eric Alterman, who said a few years ago that he remains "agnostic" about Hiss's guilt.
Posted at 10:48 AM
I FEAR... [Jonah Goldberg ]
John may be right about Star Wars. He's certainly right about movie critics. Have you noticed how that guy from Rolling Stone gives blurb-worthy reviews of almost every bad movie to come out in the last five years?
As for Star Wars, my aim is simple. Constantly lower -- with a sledgehammer if necessary -- my expectations to the point where I will love it so long as it's not in Spanish.
And let's admit it: (John, no spoiler's please), if Jar-Jar Binks were gruesomely murdered in the film, that alone would make it a must see.
Golly, I hope all of this criticism of Jason Apuzzo's "colleague" by un-annointed conservatives doesn't cause the effete auteur to spew his latté at the screen again.
Posted at 10:38 AM
JUDICIAL FATES [K. J. Lopez]
Byron on the latest--move over Lott & co.
Posted at 10:23 AM
THE LAST STAR WARS [John Podhoretz]
It opens next week. I saw it, and here's the thing: It's unbelievably bad. O I'm telling you this because movie critics won't. So far all the early reviews -- all of them, from Variety to the Hollywood Reporter to Time magazine -- have been favorable. Why? Because while the movie critics of my long-ago youth were middlebrow snobs suspicious of populist entertainment, today's critics have turned into toadies. They are afraid of being on an audience's bad side, afraid that a movie they will pan might really strike a chord. Since it's a foregone conclusion that the final Star Wars is going to make a jillion dollars, the safe thing for critics to do is say nice things about it. The only nice thing I can think to say about it is that it's not quite as mindspinningly wretched as its predecessor, Attack of the Clones, but it's plenty awful anyway. Even Yoda gives a rotten performance. Go see it if you must when it opens next week, but at least you got one fair warning here.
Posted at 10:22 AM
RUSH LIMBAUGH [K. J. Lopez]
it seems necessary to warn Republican senators: This issue is extremely important to the grassroots out there. This is something that matters to the base, and they voted on this, and they'll vote on it again in the future however it turns out, and what we're all concerned about here is the power the judiciary exercises in this country today -- and we're concerned that not enough is being done about it by elected branches. And if a Republican majority in the Senate can't even -- or worse, even, won't -- step to the plate to reinstitute what was the status quo for 214 years and push back the Chuck Schumers and Ted Kennedys and the Joe Bidens, then what principles do they stand for? This isn't about the Senate "getting along." That was thrown to the wind when the Democrats started filibustering and undermining 214 years of history. This is about defending the Constitution.
Posted at 10:21 AM
LAST CHANCE AT YALTA [Jonah Goldberg]
I've thought about it and thought about it. This is probably the last chance for my entire career as a writer ("Which should be winding-down any moment now" -- the Couch) to bang my spoon on my highchair about the folly of Yalta.
This was a bread-and-butter topic for conservatives for two generations, but vanished with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's like Haley's comet, how can I take the chance this news peg will ever come back in my lifetime?
Posted at 10:13 AM
WE ARE DOOMED, DOOMED [John Derbyshire]
Several readers have emailed in with something like: "My, Derb, did you take one too many of your gloomy pills this morning?"
No, it was the usual dosage. Look, somebody has to act as counterweight to The Corner's general air of Goldbergian cheeriness. The world is going to hell in a handbasket. We avert our eyes most of the time, but an occasional reminder doesn't hurt.
Posted at 09:56 AM
THE NEW YORK TIMES SURRENDERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Well, not really. But this will still drive Todd Gitlin nuts.
Posted at 09:54 AM
STUPID FREEDOM FRIES [K. J. Lopez]
shouldn't keep liberals from criticizing France.
Posted at 09:54 AM
VLASOV [Jonah Goldberg]
I've received several emails like this one:
Me:I am sure there are readers out there who know more about this, but here's what I can answer off the top of my head. I wrote a paper on Vlasov in high school (such was the climate in the Goldberg household that no greater academic pursuit could be imagined) and have read bits and pieces ever since.
Vlasov was a heroic Russian general. When he realized that Stalin was just as bloodthirsty as Hitler he opted to fight him. This obviously through him into the Germany's orbit. They helped him form the Russian Liberation Army. People forget today that the German troops were often met as liberators by Ukranians and other peoples desperate to be freed from the forced famines and horror of Stalinism. For a nationalist Russian to seize that moment as an opportunity to topple Stalin doesn't sound stupid to me. Of course, thinking you could have Hitler as a partner was stupid.
Vlasov raised his army from willing Russians among German POWs. The Germans constantly tried to use Vlasov's army as if it was any other unit in the Axis forces, pitting them against Western forces. If I recall correctly the Vlasovites wouldn't fight the Allies, or at least not well. They wanted to get rid off Stalin. Period.
There's a huge controversy about the role Vlasov's RLA played in liberating Prague. At the end of the war, when Patton was barred from pressing to Berlin (grrr), the Red Army was heading for Prague but the Vlasovites were there first. The Pro-Vlasov version is that the Vlasovites had finally had enough of their German overlords and turned on them, liberating Prague. There are many other versions. One thing that's mostly not disputed is that the Americans barred the Vlasovites from fleeing the Red Army and they were slaughtered.
I'd be interested to know if I got any of this wrong as I've not read up on any new history which may have come out in the last decade.
Posted at 09:43 AM
RE: CHINA [John Derbyshire]
(1) Yes, the Newsweek piece on China was well done. Nobody knows which way China will go, so a commentator's opinions tend to reflect his own temperament and recent experience. I myself would not have written quite so breezily. Next year marks the 100th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen's "Three People's Principles" -- Sun's statement of the three areas in which the China of 1906 needed to concentrate her modernization efforts. In a nutshell they were: economics, politics, and the national question. On economics, I think China has done well -- has probably reached a point where economic stability can be taken for granted. There will be ups and downs, of course, and probably booms and crashes, but they are on the right path. Politics, however, remains "unresolved." So, even more so -- though it doesn't get so much coverage -- does the national question. What **is** China? The so-called People's Republic is in many ways a very artificial construct -- essentially, the old Manchu empire reborn, held together by force. It can't be democratized in its present shape (the Tibetans, for example, given a vote, would vote unanimously for independence). On the other hand, a break-up would, given the intensity of modern Chinese racial-national-imperial passions, be extremely ugly. So Newsweek left out some stuff. If the PRC holds together though (which, in my opinion, it can probably do, though only by remaining undemocratic), I think Newsweek's concluding paragraph is right: "A world war is highly unlikely... But there is probably going to be a soft war, a quiet competition for power and influence across the globe. America and China will be friends one day, rivals another..."
(2) Several readers have asked me to comment on Mark Steyn's piece about China in Jewish World Review. This looks like the piece he originally published in The Spectator last month. Jonathan Mirsky, one of the greatest of all China correspondents, had a letter in the following issue of the Speccie, pooh-poohing Mark's piece. Obviously I agree with Mark's comment that "As a centralized nation-state, [the People's Republic] is as artificial an entity as the more obviously appellatory crocks such as the 'Soviet Union' or 'Yugoslavia.'" Mark says that Russia, China, and the EU all have major structural defects, but "if you were betting on only one happy ending, I'd take China." I'm not sure I would.
Posted at 09:22 AM
SENSIBLE POINT ON SUICIDE BOMBINGS [Cliff May]
From John Tierney, new NYT columnist: “I'm not advocating official censorship, but there's no reason the news media can't reconsider their own fondness for covering suicide bombings. A little restraint would give the public a more realistic view of the world's dangers. …
Terrorists know the numbers are against them and realize that daily bombings will not win the war. All along, their hope has been to inspire recruits and spread general fear with another tactic, the bombing as photo opportunity. For some reason, their media strategy still works.”
Posted at 09:06 AM
L-WORD [K. J. Lopez]
Thanks so much for encouraging that thread, Cliff.
Posted at 08:58 AM
IS IT BECAUSE I’M A LESBIAN … [Cliff May]
…that I smell like this?
Posted at 08:56 AM
DEBATING THE MEK [Rachel Z. Friedman]
This article in Front Page Magazine, which recommends some sort of American recognition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (apparently the political arm of the Mujahedin-e Khalq), has generated an important debate, or at least the beginnings of one. Doctor Zin of the valuable Regime Change Iran blog has weighed in against American support for the MEK, which is a designated foreign terrorist organization; and Dan Darling of Winds of Change seconds his thoughts. Without getting into the merits of the MEK, it is possible to say that the nonviolent “third option” recommended by the Front Page article need not rely on them specifically; for example, this broadly supported referendum appeal isn’t interested in U.S. backing for any one opposition group.
Posted at 08:52 AM
WOMEN & THE F-WORD [Stanley Kurtz]
What exactly is going on with feminism nowadays? Abortion is a perennial issue, and in that sense the question of feminism never goes away. But abortion aside, feminist issues had largely ceased to be a focus of public controversy in recent years. The Lawrence Summers affair changed all that--at least for a time. But the question of the cultural status of feminism is still a bit of a puzzler. If the Summers affair is any indication, feminism is strong among the elites, yet flimsy among the public at large.
But that formulation doesn’t quite get at the complexity of the situation. Take the problem of a woman’s biological clock. A few years ago, Time Magazine did a cover story on Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s book about the biological clock. Hewlett raked feminists over the coals for suppressing public campaigns designed to alert women to the effects of aging on fertility. Yet with all the publicity, Hewlett’s book didn’t sell well. It was a downer for women, who didn’t want to hear about the pickle they were in. In a way, the feminist elites won that battle. In another sense, it a draw. The truth is that most women are in the muddled middle--unwilling to embrace feminist orthodoxy, yet equally unable to throw it off.
I thought about all this while reading Christine Rosen’s smart review of Steven Rhodes’s book on Sex Differences. I’m not at all sure I buy Rhodes’s biologism. (For my take on male/female differences, see my new City Journal piece.) In any case, what kept coming through to me as I read Rosen’s review was the strange silence and unsatisfactory compromise we seem to be stuck in when it comes to feminism.
Posted at 08:47 AM
CHINA [Stanley Kurtz]
I know I’m a couple weeks late on this, but I just read Fareed Zakaria’s Newsweek cover story on China. It’s great. China really is the next huge challenge on the international scene. Zakaria’s preps us for it with eye-popping statistics and a truly thoughtful overview. Not that I necessarily agree with him. Zakaria begins with a too quick dismissal of cultural factors, and some contrarian praise for China’s dictators. Later on, Zakaria smuggles culture back in, and (almost despite himself) shows us the messes even clever dictatorships make for themselves. But agree or disagree, this piece makes you think.
Posted at 08:44 AM
DOG SAVES BABY [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 08:36 AM
THE REAL REASON FOR OUR FUND DRIVE [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 08:29 AM
ANOTHER DOUBLE STANDARD [Tim Graham]
The networks are in Day Two of covering the mayor of Spokane, Jim West, a Republican who "opposes gay rights," exposed by the Spokane Spokesman-Review as a visitor to gay chat rooms. They used a man posing as a teenager to lure West into a damaging news story. While a conservative media critic can see the potential news value of this story (at least to the local area), the national media ignored last year's expose of former Portland Mayor (and former Carter cabinet official) Neil Goldschmidt, who had an actual affair with a non-fictional teenaged girl, despite the reporters on that story recently earning a Pulitzer Prize. If you're gay and Republican and "opposing gay rights," you're apparently a much better news story to the liberal network news.
Posted at 08:07 AM
W'S GOT RHYTHM [K. J. Lopez]
Georgians are impressed by our president, showing himself to be good on his feet, dance-wise. I'll attest to this: El senor presidente de los Estados Unidos was grooving with Mariachi Sol de Mexico at the White House last Wednesday night.
Posted at 05:12 AM
GOING NUCLEAR OVER OWEN [K. J. Lopez]
Washington Time says Frist is ready.
Posted at 05:01 AM
Monday, May 09, 2005
SEIPP VS. [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 11:16 PM
I'LL TAKE IT [K. J. Lopez]
Dear K. J. Lopez:
Posted at 10:59 PM
HOUSECLEANING BLEG [Warren Bell]
I made the mistake of checking out The Huffington Post without putting down a dropcloth. Does anyone know how to get all this sanctimonious ooze off my rug?
Posted at 10:57 PM
VATICAN RADIO [K. J. Lopez]
i feel guilty about this.
Posted at 10:43 PM
RENEE & KENNY: [K. J. Lopez]
some good news, for once.
Posted at 10:20 PM
SCHLESINGER [John Derbyshire]
Jonah: Schlesinger was the dude who dismissed Burkean conservatism as "the ethical afterglow of feudalism." Feugh.
Posted at 10:04 PM
FOOD FOR THOUGHT [Warren Bell]
If Crunchy Cons fought South Park Cons, who would win?
Posted at 09:31 PM
RE: SHE FELT CHASED [Jonah Goldberg]
By this standard, I "feel" like Rich Lowry bullies me over deadlines.
Posted at 09:01 PM
BEINART AND HILLARY [Jonah Goldberg ]
I didn't get a chance to read the op-ed Tim Graham referred to below until just now (scroll way down). I think Tim is right. Everyone knows I'm a fan of Beinart's, but I think his column is a bunch of wishful thinking. It seems like he stumbled on the conclusion first and the argument second. One point Tim didn't make: Peter tries to portray the "campaign" against Hillary as a fundamentally partisan conservative enterprise, as if conservatives have been working overtime to paint her as moving to the right (he notes a conservative publishing "imprint" is coming out with a (potentially) anti-Hillary book. He leaves out that the author isn't a conservative).
But I've been paying a little attention to this story and I'd say that the majority of the Hillary's-positioning-herself-as-a-centrist stuff has been pushed out there by liberals and "non-partisan" journalists. Peter notes that in his opening graf but then seems to insinuate that conservatives are driving this supposed myth. I don't see how he can make that case.
Posted at 08:55 PM
SHE “FELT” CHASED--MORE MELODY [Rich Lowry]
Here is a tidbit from the Townsel transcript I missed the other day:
Q: You make some reference, in your letter, to "chasing you through the halls." Is--
Posted at 05:47 PM
“WE'VE BEEN RIGHT AT 50” [Rich Lowry ]
Just had a conversation with a Republican senator. A few things he said:
--He thinks Bolton will get through the committee. Hagel has said he hasn't seen anything that would make him vote “no,” and Chafee has told the administration he's OK. Voinovich is probably OK, but he can't be positive about that. By way of explaining Voinovich's behavior at the meeting a few weeks ago when he blindsided Lugar, he says, “He's not the kind of guy to say, 'Hey, time out, let's talk about this for five minutes in private.'”
--On ending the judicial filibuster, he says, “We've been right at the 50 we need, although there may be some who don't jump one way or another until they have to. We may not have a hard count until there's a vote.” Of the Roll Call story from earlier today: “It's not a true story, but there's an element of truth to it.” Lott has been talking to Nelson, who apparently just sent him an e-mail saying that he had 6 Dems lined up for a compromise, although Lott hadn't seen the language yet. He says, “the view on our side is that Reid would like a deal.” But his caucus probably won't let him make one. He says Frist, in contrast, “wants to pull the trigger.” That's partly a matter of politics: “Our base views this as a huge issue.” Partly a matter of personal vindication in the struggle with the Dems: “They've just been jerking him around in terms of his leadership.” And it's partly because the merits of the case for ending the judicial filibuster are strong.
--On Social Security, it's looking “not great.” Grassley will try to get a bill out of his committee that has the progressive indexing, but no personal accounts. If that doesn't work, it’s a sign that there's no support for reform whatsoever. He guesses that Frist will end up using--excuse the Senatese--Rule 14 to get a bill with personal accounts onto the floor. The Democrats will filibuster and that will be that. Chances for a deal are very low: “In this environment, I just can't see it. The Democrats are so negative. Even people who will normally look at things, are saying, 'No way on this one. We're blood brothers.'”
--Finally, on immigration, he doesn't see anything happening either: “It's a little like Social Security.” The liberals will object to tough enforcement measures, the conservatives will object to anything that doesn't start with tough enforcement, and deadlock will be the order of the day.
Posted at 05:25 PM
"REPUGNANT": SPECTER ON DEAL TALK [K. J. Lopez ]
In a floor speech with its fair share of nothing, there's this important message. Frist may be doing something right behind the scenes? We'll see.
In the exchange of offers and counter offers between Sen. Frist, the Majority Leader and Sen. Harry Reid, the Democrat Leader, Democrats have made an offer to avoid a vote on the nuclear/constitutional option by confirming one of the four filibustered judges: Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor and William Myers with the choice to be selected by Republicans.
Posted at 05:25 PM
THE FIRST REVIEW IS IN [Jonah Goldberg ]
The LA Weekly does not like the Huffington Post.
I for one haven't made up my mind. I hope the best for my friend Andrew Breitbart who's the go-to-guy for the operation. But lord knows I am not a fan of Huffington's. Indeed, I will continue to give it a chance (as I did in the post below), but I think from now on I will refer to it as the H-Post or some such so I don't have to keep advertising her name.
Posted at 05:07 PM
YALTA [Jonah Goldberg]
What is Schlesinger saying? He writes:
The Yalta conference in February 1945 produced, according to President Bush, "one of the greatest wrongs of history." The Yalta agreements "followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.…Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable."
Putting aside his argument about what was or was not possible at the time, is he saying that the codification of the Soviet occupation wasn't one of the "greatest wrongs of history"? It is an odd moral argument which says that because (alleged) necessity requires acceptance of a great wrong, it is no longer a great wrong because it was (allegedly) necessary.
And, as it has long been of personal interest to me, does he think the forced repatriation of Soviet deserters, refugees and rebels (such as General Vlasov's army) to the Soviet Union was necessary? Because of Yalta, the U.S. and Britain returned perhaps hundreds of thousands of former Soviet troops to the Soviet Union who were subsequently slaughtered. Alexander Solzhenitsyn called this war crime the "last secret" of World War Two. I recall reading how the troops under British control went so far as to use the glass from their bathroom mirrors rather to slit their own throats rather than be sent back to Stalin's Russia. Did we have to do that because the Red Army was already in Eastern Europe? And if so, why? Or is that FDR can never be wrong in Schlesinger's eyes?
Posted at 05:03 PM
MEANWHILE, HARRY REID [K. J. Lopez]
tries to bogusly look reasonable by offering support for Thomas Griffith. The Dems don't have the votes for a Griffith filbuster--that's why Reid's being so giving.
Posted at 04:50 PM
BOTTOM LINE ON JUDGES [K. J. Lopez]
Alberto Gonzales today: "All judicial nominees deserve an up-or-down vote. It's a matter of fairness."
Posted at 04:48 PM
OH BROTHER [K. J. Lopez]
and Larry David "defends" John Bolton.
Posted at 04:48 PM
RE: CRUNCHY CONS [Rod Dreher]
No kidding, I told my editor that the only thing that I regret about the title "Crunchy Cons" is that it's going to make it easy for the Jonah Goldberg review to read: "Crunchy Con Job." Mike Potemra, if you decide to review this book, I beg you, assign it to Jeff Hart!
Posted at 04:45 PM
A FRESH NEW VOICE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. defends Yalta among the Huffers.
Posted at 04:43 PM
DAILY KOS [Jonah Goldberg]
Yawn. Kos is calling me a chickenhawk again. I haven't read it, but enough of his fans have sent me the same boring hate emails on the subject. I have nothing new to add to this tiresome "debate." And if you send me email on the subject don't expect a response either. I've learned not to waste my time on the issue, which I guess I'm doing right now, so I'll stop.
Posted at 04:42 PM
AH...CRUNCHY CONS [Jonah Goldberg]
For whom shall I review it....hmmmm. [Insert evil cackle here]
Posted at 04:38 PM
ALLERGY SUFFERERS... [Rich Lowry ]
...please note the mis-spelling. (Also, yes, I was just kidding about the rash). E-mail:
Posted at 04:37 PM
"WE'VE GOT EACH OTHER'S NUMBERS." [K. J. Lopez]
Cathy Seipp on mothers and daughters.
Posted at 04:22 PM
LOTT SAYS THERE'S NO DEAL (YET) [K. J. Lopez]
Press statement from Susan Irby, communications director for Senator Lott: “For some time now, Senator Lott and Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska have been trying to see if there is common ground that could forge a resolution on both sides of the judicial nominations issue. But Senator Lott has not agreed to this deal reported today. In fact, he did not even speak with Senator Nelson last week or this weekend. He has not changed his contention that all judicial nominees should have an up or down vote on the Senate floor.”
Posted at 04:17 PM
THE HUFFINGTON POST CHALLENGE [K. J. Lopez ]
There's been a whole lotta media focus on the glitz aspect of this new site, but Byron's post on judges up there now gets to the heart of how this could be a very interesting endeavor: Does the Left engage the Right? The Left stuff is somewhat hum-drum--Arianna hates DeLay, non-shocker stuff. You get it on newspaper frontpages already. But if Arianna, or whomever, engages the likes of the unfairness of the judge hold-up, this could be a healthy exercise of a website. We shall see. I'm a fan of civil discourse and of Andrew Breitbart, so I wish it well.
Posted at 04:15 PM
I AM DELIGHTED [Ramesh Ponnuru]
to see Andrew Sullivan come out for cuts in Social Security spending along the lines the president has suggested, although to my mind Sullivan has said far too little about this subject in recent months and, indeed, years. Welcome to the government-cutting club, Andrew!
Posted at 04:12 PM
"THE GURU OF COREY CLARK'S LOVE LIFE" [K. J. Lopez]
When good/sane people get sucked into weird news stories (the continuing Gannon chronicles).
Posted at 03:53 PM
SPEAKING OF JUDGES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Robert P. George, the Princeton professor, and I have written an article for the latest issue of NR on judicial independence--what it is, what's valuable about it, and real and mythical threats to it. George and I write in opposition to views expressed by, among others, Cass Sunstein, the editors of the Washington Post, Ted Olson, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Where else are you going to see all those guys together?
Posted at 03:27 PM
WASSUP [K. J. Lopez ]
With Crown Forum and loooong titles?
Posted at 03:20 PM
THE QUESTION ON EVERYONE'S MIND RE: DREHER'S BOOK [K. J. Lopez ]
How much of a take does the unnamed colleague mentioned in the first graph of your cover story get?
Posted at 03:14 PM
RE: CRUNCHY CON [K. J. Lopez ]
Congrats, Rod. Something tells me this will be the source of endless debates. Something? Ok, experience.
Posted at 03:13 PM
LINCOLN CAPLAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Yesterday's Washington Post carried an essay by Lincoln Caplan on the filibuster wars. There was hardly a paragraph with which I agreed.
1) Caplan has Ed Meese, in 1985, attacking "the concept of judicial review, a tenet of the American legal system since 1803." "To Meese, the Supreme Court's interpretations did 'not establish a 'supreme Law of the Land.' He asserted that officials of the Reagan administration were free to rely on their own views as authority for the meaning of the law." There is an element of truth to Caplan's description: Meese did indeed deny that the Supreme Court's constitutional interpretations were the same thing as the Constitution and, as such, did indeed deny that they were the "supreme Law of the Land." But Meese certainly did not make an explicit attack on "judicial review" or Marbury v. Madison (1803)--indeed, he presented himself as a supporter who wished to correct common misunderstandings. Caplan's description of Meese is thus essentially false.
2) Caplan moves immediately from Meese to a discussion of Richard Posner's 1985 book The Federal Courts. I have not read the book, but I am highly skeptical of Caplan's treatment of it (my suspicions raised by his treatment of Meese). Posner, Caplan writes, "argued that it would be 'restrained' of the court to overturn" Marbury. "Posner was well aware of the far-reaching nature of his argument. He wrote that 'A decision overruling Marbury v. Madison would be pretty wild stuff, but it would be self-restrained in my terminology because it would reduce the power of the federal courts vis-a-vis the other organs of government.'" The effect of Caplan's discussion of Posner, which is put in the context of a conservative campaign against the courts (Robert Bork was "a martyr for the cause heralded by Meese and Posner"), is to imply that Posner was advocating the overruling of Marbury. It is not obvious from the quoted material that he was. Posner could merely have been elaborating on a taxonomy which he had constructed in the book for some other purpose. Certainly in other (and more recent) writings Posner has seemed highly appreciative of Marbury and hostile to a "popular constitutionalism."
3) "Meanwhile the legal right is increasingly divided between those who practice what the politicians preach and others keen to pursue their own agendas through the courts. Some, like Stanley Birch, adhere to traditional concepts of judicial restraint. Others, including Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, in the name of applying what they regard as the original intent of the Constitution's framers, have no compunction about aggressively striking down acts of Congress in ways that conservatives once called activist." Birch is the guy who declared that the congressional act in the Schiavo case was unconstitutional. I'm sure there are all kinds of interesting divisions among legal conservatives, but this won't do. If Thomas and Scalia are one type of conservative because they strike down laws, how does this differentiate them from Birch, who struck down the Schiavo law? The distinction would appear to reside in the words "in ways that conservatives once called activist." If there are any thoughts that are supposed to lie behind those words, Caplan does not see fit to reveal them. He's not shedding any light on anything.
4) This one's a doozy: "The Democratic minority is defending the filibuster because, as seldom as its members say they expect to use it, they see it as a way of ensuring that no one will be given life tenure who is unworthy of judicial independence--who can't be counted on to make impartial rulings or, when necessary, to check the excesses of the political branches. . . . [W]hile it's bizarre to have an argument so fundamental turn on a fight over a procedural maneuver, the Democrats have the better of the disagreement from the viewpoint of the American system. The law is the compact between the people and our representatives. Sometimes it is judges who must say what that is, despite what the political branches have declared. That's the essence of judicial review and, without it, our system would be radically different. Because we count on judges' impartiality in making their rulings, Democrats are standing up for democracy in fighting to keep the filibuster. In the war over the courts, they recognize that it's a tool for ensuring that the president's nominees are worthy of life tenure -- especially when Republicans insist on their right to pick judges because of ideology."
So: because some conservatives allegedly dislike judicial review, and other conservatives allegedly like it too much, conservative judicial nominees cannot be impartial. And because they can't be impartial, we have to have a filibuster. Note that there isn't much of an attempt to establish that the use of the filibuster has any necessary connection to the preservation of judicial independence: Caplan isn't arguing that it would be impossible to use the filibuster to block the confirmation of judges who would be impartial. Of course it would be possible to use the filibuster for this purpose. The judicial filibuster as such is neutral with respect to what sort of judges turn out. The only possible argument that Caplan can be making is this: Republican judges are likely to be bad, so the Democrats deserve to win. In four years' time, if there's a Democratic president, he can switch sides.
Note also that Caplan is taking an absurdly negative view of Republican judicial nominees (they're supposedly all either foes of Marbury or Richard Epstein clones) while also taking an absurdly positive one of Democratic politicians (they're supposedly deeply concerned that Republican nominees aren't impartial, and they never pick judges based on ideology, Clinton's and Kerry's announced litmus tests on Roe notwithstanding).
There is no more substance to this essay than if Caplan had said, "I prefer Democrats to Republicans and therefore want them to win the political struggles over the judiciary." He could have saved the Post some space. Caplan, incidentally, is "the editor and president of Legal Affairs magazine and the Knight Senior Journalist at Yale Law School."
Posted at 03:10 PM
CRUNCHY CON BOOK FINISHED [Rod Dreher]
I've had lots of e-mails over the past couple of years from NRO readers wondering when my crunchy conservatism book was going to be finished. We'll, it's done. Crown Forum accepted the manuscript today, and publication is set for February 14, 2006. The title: Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party).
Callooh! Callay! I got the cover art over the weekend, and it's very, very cool. I couldn't have done this thing without you readers, and some of you will appear in the book. Anyway, we'll be putting together ideas for a book tour in the next few months. If you want me to come your way and talk about this stuff in the late-winter/early spring of 2006, drop me a note at rdreher-at-dallasnews.com. If you don't know what this is about, why, check out the NRODT cover story from 2002.
Posted at 03:09 PM
THE JIHADI'S JOURNEY [Rich Lowry ]
An eye-opening account in the Washington Post yesterday about the journey of the typical foreign militant into Iraq. The lesson here is that we desperately need to be putting more pressure on the Syrians:
The Islamist militants have their own foot soldiers in this unholy alliance: supporters who have poured across the mostly open borders from neighboring countries. I believe it is these people who are particularly useful to the Baathists, because they provide a supply of willing suicide bombers.
Posted at 03:06 PM
FOREIGN FIGHTERS ON THE RISE [Rich Lowry ]
Fascinating Washington Post article on the latest turn in the insurgency. An interesting tidbit: "U.S. and Iraqi authorities say suicide drivers are invariably foreign fighters. Officers here said they knew of no documented case in which a suicide attacker turned out to have been an Iraqi."
Posted at 03:00 PM
MIRACLE DRUG [Rich Lowry ]
This is a terrible allergy season, but I have been saved by a miracle drug called Singulair. I'm recommending it to everyone I can. There are no side effects (if you don't count the rash!), and I've sneezed maybe three times over the last month. I'd write a cover story about how well it works, except, well, you know...
Posted at 02:56 PM
INTERMARRIAGE WITH A VENGEANCE [Rich Lowry ]
Fakhri al-Qaisi, a Sunni leader in Iraq, is a broad-minded, tolerant guy. And he can prove it, with a variation on that old Iraqi chestnut, “some of my best wives are Shia.” From the New York Times:
Mr. Qaisi says he believes in nonviolence. His three wives are all Shiites, he says, so he understands the Shiite point of view.
Posted at 02:51 PM
WHY AL GORE WILL NEVER BE PRESIDENT [Rich Lowry ]
I love this bit about big Democratic fundraiser David Rosen, who is in legal trouble for that Hillary fundraiser at the moment. From the New York Sun today:
Among the recorded gripes on the tape was Mr. Rosen's complaint that although he worked closely with Vice President Gore, Mr. Gore later mistook him for a valet parking attendant, according to the Times-Picayune.
Posted at 02:38 PM
GOOD QUESTION [K. J. Lopez]
Would Ron Silver be a "C-list publicity hound" if he were a reliable Left winger? Was he a "C-list publicity hound" when he was campaigning for the other team?
Posted at 02:07 PM
THE MOST GRACIOUS HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET IS... [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 01:50 PM
SR. RED SOX [K. J. Lopez]
This is for Shannen Coffin, whose baseball joy will surely soon end (get to work, Lowry!).
Posted at 01:46 PM
"BAD" EXPLANATION [Jonah Goldberg ]
A bunch of readers have been quizzing me about two points I made at the end of today's syndicated column . The relevant section is here:
The Michael Jackson story is an extremely exaggerated microcosm of Hollywood's moral climate. Hollywood is ruled by a class of people who believe that money solves problems and that the worst sin in the world is to judge another person's behavior. "Comedian" Bill Maher, for example, recently explained that he thought the charges were no big deal, even if true. After all, Jackson didn't rape anyone, he's merely accused of "servicing" young boys — and that's not nearly as bad as getting beaten up by schoolyard bullies. Wrong. In normal America, if kids beat up your kid, you demand a reckoning. If a middle-aged freak "services" your kid, you call a hearse.
Before I explain myself, I'd like to note that this is actually a column from last week. I wrote it en route to the Atlanta fest and between the travel delays and the rush to get there, I want to shamelessly blame any inadvertant lack of clarity on the deadline pressures involved. That said, I stand by what I wrote.
The first question is, basically, What do you mean about the hearse line? Several readers asked if I support capital punishment for child molesters. While I am certainly open to the idea in some cases, that's not what I meant.
What I meant -- and still believe -- is that, as a parent, if some kids beat up my kid I'll be very, very angry. But to a certain extent -- particularly for boys -- getting into scraps is part of growing up. Things would have to get really out of hand for me to call the cops. However, if some adult, particularly an authority figure, repeatedly molested my kid the cops would be necessary to keep me from killing that person.
Bill Maher doesn't think child molestation is that big a deal in the scheme of things -- or at least certain kinds of child molestation. And neither do the parents who sent their kids to Jackson's house. Certainly the parents who kept sending their kids to Jackson after the allegations were made are, simply, horrible parents. I don't care if they believed the allegations were true (i.e. they convinced themselves they weren't true). It doesn't matter. No decent parent takes those kinds of risks. Period. And in my mind, it's inexusable to let your child to sleep alone in any non-relative adult's bed the way these kids did with Jackson. Even if Jackson weren't a self-evident freak and even if no one ever raised these charges, I don't think a good parent would have allowed this to happen the moment he or she became aware of it. If that makes me judgmental, so be it.
Which gets me to the second question from readers. They disagree with my assertion that such a thing could only happen in Hollywood. They make the entirely fair point that child molestation happens all over the place. Moreover, the Catholic Church covered up such cases in an institutional scandal of huge proportions. All fair points, and I guess I would clarify a bit if I had the column to do over.
But I think my point is still right. For the most part, parents didn't send their kids to Priests once they were aware of such allegatons. And if they did, they did so out of a denial that didn't involve getting piles of cash from the likes of Jackson. Also, while the Catholic Church covered up for some Priests, this was as much an attempt to protect the Church as an institution. This was a misguided "for the greater good" motive. The slime -- woops, there I go being judgmental again -- who created the vast enabling system for Jackson had no such motives. They did it because they were paid to. They're doing it now becaus they're paid to. I don't think the CEO of a major corporation anywhere else in America could count on everyone from the janitors to the legal department covering up for him in that way. In other words, Only in Hollywood.
Posted at 01:43 PM
MORE RE: SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
How awful (con't): Michael Schiavo won't divulge where Terri Schiavo is buried.
Posted at 01:41 PM
RE: THE LOWRY CURSE [John Derbyshire]
Rich: Wouldja please do a story -- all right, just a Corner posting -- about how it's plain that Derb is never, NEVER, going to finish that manuscript for which his publisher is sitting waiting in angry exasperation, fingers drumming on desktop? Thanks.
Posted at 01:38 PM
FOR THE RECORD [John Derbyshire]
If you write anything nice about the Crusaders, you will get a lot of e-mails saying: "Oh, so you approve of antisemitic pogroms, then?"
I should like to go on record as saying that no, I certainly do not approve of antisemitic pogroms.
This does bring to notice, though, the fact that while I have half a dozen books on the Crusades, including Runciman's splendid 3-volume shelf-buckler, none is by a Jewish author.
Is there a Jewish take on the Crusades? Well, I suppose there must be -- but can anyone point me to some sources?
Posted at 01:34 PM
IRAQ GOING SOUTH [K. J. Lopez]
I'm not so sure about that assessment, Jonah. Obviously, there's some terrible news. But did you read about this clear out of insurgents. There's the little government thing. A big bad guy is arrested. Arthur Chrenkoff has a long list of some good news from there.
Posted at 01:30 PM
RE: LOWRY CURSE [K. J. Lopez]
I can feel the baseball cover story in the works!
Posted at 01:25 PM
LOWRY'S CURSE [Jonah Goldberg]
Has anybody noticed that Lowry's cover stories seem to have unexpected consequences?
He writes the "Please nominate this man" cover story about Howard Dean and Dean's Presidential campaign falls apart like a tinker-toy go-cart.
He writes a cover story about how things are going badly in Iraq and suddenly things start getting better.
Then he writes a cover story about how we're winning in Iraq and suddenly things start heading south.
I think he needs to write a huge cover story about how I'll never get another raise.
Posted at 01:18 PM
THAT VILE FRANCE DUDE [K. J. Lopez]
I hear Denis Boyles (NRO regular and author of Vile France) will be on Dennis Miller tonight.
Posted at 01:02 PM
BREAKING [Denis Boyles]
Here's a front page item from today's LA Times: "Trend: Scientists have only recently begun to see that women are different from men."
I suspect "scientists" should read "LA Times editors," but that's only a hunch.
Posted at 12:57 PM
THANKS SO MUCH [K. J. Lopez]
to those who have gotten our 2005 fund drive going this morning. Share your reasons for contributing to email@example.com.
Posted at 12:47 PM
RE: NERD INTEREST [John Derbyshire]
A reader has suggested we try to get Gary Brolsma to join us on my projected Math Nerd Concert Tour. Yesssss!
Kathryn: You will forward enquiries from promoters, record companies, etc., won't you? I didn't hear anything yet.
Posted at 12:37 PM
SHADES OF GRAY [K. J. Lopez]
The New York Times heads in the blog direction.
Posted at 12:36 PM
WISHFUL JUDICIAL THINKING [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail: "I hope the compromise story is from the Onion."
Posted at 12:33 PM
THEY'RE DEBATING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
the Crusades over at The Right Coast.
Posted at 12:33 PM
MUSLIMS TO MARCH AGAINST TERROR [K. J. Lopez]
but there are some notable exceptions.
Posted at 12:18 PM
NOT SO EXTREME [Roger Clegg]
The AP story today on the Bush judicial nominees being filibustered says that they are being targeted because of what Democrats call their “extreme views” on affirmative action, among other issues. I would submit that it is not possible to have an “extreme view” opposing affirmative action. The furthest to the right you can be is to want racial preferences in college admissions, employment, and contracting completely eliminated—but that is actually the mainstream position, if by mainstream we mean what most Americans favor. It is possible to be an extremist in the other direction—favoring, say, mandatory quotas for every classroom in every university in every state in the country—but not on the right.
Posted at 12:08 PM
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL [K. J. Lopez]
A delayed dedication in Berlin.
Posted at 12:04 PM
LOTT-NELSON DEAL [K. J. Lopez]
From Roll Call today:
A bipartisan coalition of Senators believe it is close to a deal that would avert the looming showdown between Republicans and Democrats over judicial filibusters.Another moment when one wonders what being in the majority is actually good for. If this deal goes through, it's essentially a bipartisan agreement to allow Democrats to continue to unfairly block three nominees--probably Bill Pryor, Priscilla Owen, Brett Kavanaugh/Janice Rogers Brown. Some deal.
Posted at 12:03 PM
THE CHICKEN WHO CROSSED THE ROAD [K. J. Lopez]
got a ticket
Posted at 11:47 AM
PROBING THE SCHIAVO CASE [K. J. Lopez]
Mark Furhman is looking into it.
Posted at 11:38 AM
4 YEARS AGO [K. J. Lopez]
Today is a four-year marker in the judge-nomination fight in the Senate. Here's a statement from the president out this morning:
Four years ago today, I nominated Justice Priscilla Owen and Judge Terry Boyle to serve on the Federal courts of appeals. Four years later, neither has received an up-or-down vote in the Senate. Both have been rated well-qualified by the American Bar Association, the highest ABA rating a judicial nominee can receive. Both have been waiting to fill vacancies that have been designated judicial emergencies by the Judicial Conference of the United States. Much more than enough time has passed for the Senate to consider these nominations. The Senate should give these extraordinarily qualified nominees the up-or-down votes they deserve without further delay.
Posted at 11:04 AM
PR VICTORY FOR AL QAEDA? [Cliff May]
Today’s Washington Post refers to “the militant group al Qaeda in Iraq.”
Is al Qaeda not a terrorist group when it operates in Iraq? Does slaughtering Iraqi civilians not qualify you as terrorist? Does the Post consider Abu Musab Zarqawi one man’s terrorist but another man’s freedom fighter?
Posted at 11:02 AM
ON TEMPLE MOUNT [Michael Ledeen]
I think that the following, from paleojudaica.blogspot.com, tells us a lot about the depths of contemporary antisemitism, and the terrible march of political correctness throughout the Western world. Clearly the ravages of the Temple Mount are of enormous cultural significance, and people who were outraged at the Taliban's destruction of the glorious Buddhas cannot claim intellectual integrity if they remain silent now. This is one of those stories that go to the heart of our culture and to the corruption of so many Western souls.
Temple Mount Antiquities Destroyed In 'Cultural Intifadah'
Posted at 10:20 AM
MAYBE NEWSPAPERS ARE DYING [K. J. Lopez ]
Former USA Today Columnist Walter Shapiro isn't reading them--or is at least trying not to.
Posted at 10:18 AM
RE: NERD INTEREST [John Derbyshire]
You have to admit, that snippet of mathematical song is pretty catchy. It will be dancing around in my head all morning.
Now, with that, and my rendering (also a cappella, unfortunately -- we have to get some intruments on board) of the Riemann Hypothesis Song, I say we have the basis (!--math humor there) for a concert. I mean, this could be big!
Any impresarios or concert tour organizers should get in touch with me via National Review (see below).
Posted at 10:11 AM
GODFREY DE BOUILLON WAS A REPUBLICAN [John Derbyshire]
In a spirit of shameless self-promotion, I'd like to offer my own article on the Crusades from the December 3, 2001, National Review to those of you who have been outraged by this new Crusades movie. Come, drink at the pure clear waters of truth!
Posted at 10:06 AM
UMM... [Jonah Goldberg]
Kathryn - You left out "Attention: Jonah Goldberg"
Posted at 09:53 AM
NRO FUND DRIVE 2005 [K. J. Lopez]
If you rather not use PayPal, send checks via snailmail to:
2005 Fund DriveThanks again.
Posted at 09:49 AM
DERB, SCRUTON, & ELIOT [John Derbyshire]
Sounds like a firm of London attorneys. Anyway, I'm not sure what this guy's point is. It seems to be bafflement at the fact that while I like & admire Roger Scruton, Roger & I prefer different breakfast cereals. Or something. And "sequitur" is spelt like that, by the way --- 3rd conjugation present indicative active, you dolt!
I don't even have an opinion on Eliot as a social critic, not having read a single word (I think) of his social criticism. His social criticism might be the bee's knees, for all I know about it, or even the cat's pajamas. I just think he was a third-rate poet. And I'm trying to be nice there.
Posted at 09:47 AM
BAD [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader re today's column:
You come close to actually saying what few seem willing to say, when you write:
Posted at 09:45 AM
FEEDBACK [K. J. Lopez]
While you consider doing some financial investing in NRO: a) send me your reasons for giving, when you have. b) send me your wish-lists: what you like most, what you'd like to see, etc.
And thanks again.
Posted at 09:26 AM
PARENTAL [John Derbyshire]
Posted at 09:25 AM
NERD INTEREST [John Derbyshire]
For serious math nerds only: These guys advertise themselves as "the premiere a capella group of the world of higher mathematics." Which is a bit like Jim Cooke's business card: "America's leading Calvin Coolidge impersonator." Anyway, here is the Klein Four Group singing "Finite Simple Group (of Order Two)." Take it away, guys!
Posted at 09:22 AM
WHAT SHE SAID [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm crashing on a deadline this morning, but I thought I'd just offer Kathryn a megaditto.
Posted at 09:19 AM
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
I know, I know. We just moved on from Atlanta plugs and where are we know? Annual NRO beg-a-thonning. Before you get annoyed, read this. The gist: We hate the money pleas, but we're not a profit-maker (welcome to the world of opinion mags) and so this is what we do: We do our daily ideas thing and hold the hands out, hoping those of you who find our products (NRODT and NRO) useful, enlightening, educational, entertaining, etc., will contribute to our future (so we can bring you a bigger and better NRO). Please consider a contribution. This annual drive will be this week only. Bear with us for these days, and thanks in advance for your patience and consideration.
Posted at 09:08 AM
ON A ROLL [K. J. Lopez ]
It's a whole new world for now-free TV and movie producers in Iraq—with their own versions of The Sopranos & SNL, for two.
Posted at 08:32 AM
THE BIG ISSUES [K. J. Lopez]
Here's the cover of the new issue of NRODT, btw:
Posted at 08:29 AM
FROM THE NEW ISSUE OF NR [Jack Fowler]
Saudi police busted a secret ring of Christians, arresting 40 Pakistani men, women, and children who were praying in a Riyadh apartment. Police found religious books and cassettes and a cross. “These people tried to spread the poison and their beliefs to others,” said a police source, “by means of distributing pamphlets and publications.” Now that that’s all cleared up, on to al-Qaeda.Pithy, pointed, provocative. Positively! This editorial paragraph from the May 23, 2005, issue of NR is provided here to you as a courtesy. Yes, a courtesy. Normally it’s viewable only when you subscribe to NRODT or its more affordable sibling, National Review Digital, which costs only $21.95. If that sounds great, it is: NR Digital (available in PDF, Image, or Text formats) gives you a full year of America’s premier conservative journal, with each and every issue made available to you the day after the paper version comes off the presses (meaning--no US Postal Service complications!) at a third of the cost of the magazine. What are you waiting for?!--check out NR Digital, right now (there’s a free sample of a recent issue), right here.
Posted at 08:28 AM
THE SAUDIS' NUCLEAR OPTION? [K. J. Lopez ]
A preview of Gerald Posner's new book:
the Saudi Arabian government has in place a nationwide, self-destruction explosive system composed of conventional explosives and dirty bombs strategically placed at the Kingdom’s key oil ports, pipelines, pumping stations, storage tanks, offshore platforms, and backup facilities. If activated, the bombs would destroy the infrastructure of the world’s largest oil supplier, and leave the country a contaminated nuclear wasteland ensuring that the Kingdom’s oil would be unusable to anyone. The NSA file is dubbed internally Petro SE, for petroleum scorched earth.
Posted at 08:27 AM
MICHAEL GRAHAM, OF COURSE, IS THE ONE WHO GETS STOPPED FOR NOT HAVING A PROPER ID [K. J. Lopez ]
at an illegal-immigrant rally against Real IDs.
Posted at 08:23 AM
VIOLATING YOUR OWN PRIVACY FOR A GREATER GOOD [K. J. Lopez ]
Peggy Noonan on getting personal (You might have seen already--I'm slowly catching up on reading and responding and things).
Posted at 08:19 AM
MORE MIND-NUMBING MOTHERHOOD BREAKING-NEWS-TYPE QUESTIONS [K. J. Lopez ]
"What if parenting really isn't a zero-sum, children-take-all game? What if raising children is actually mentally enriching for mothers - and fathers?"
Posted at 08:18 AM
WILD WHEELS [Rick Brookhiser]
So Putin owns a '56 Volga, and he still thinks the Soviet Union was great?
Posted at 07:14 AM
THE WOMAN'S A LIB [Tim Graham]
Peter Beinart's monthly column for the WashPost is just wrong in its central thesis -- that Hillary hasn't moved to the center, but that she's been there since at least 1992. No conservative should see Hillary Clinton as anywhere near the center. She's as near the center as New York is to Little Rock -- and if she was really a plausibly centrist national candidate, she would have run from the Senate from there instead of trying the Bobby Kennedy Celebrity Shortcut.
Only liberals put someone in the center for saying abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare." That's empty rhetoric, not political action. What on earth did the Clinton admininstration do against the abortion lobby? That empty rhetoric is also endemic to her religion talk, where liberals think you look religious if you can gab credibly about Tillich and Bonhoeffer, even if you've emptied all those troublesome Scriptures out of your purse.Only liberals put someone in the center because they propose a more corporate-friendly nationalized health scenario instead of modeling on the Canadian single-payer health plan. Only liberals put someone in the center for backing military action with no actual national interest in the equation (Bosnia). Hillary is not unfairly maligned because she is a feminist, and hence "dovish, relativistic, and secular." She's maligned because she's dovish, relativistic, and secular.
Posted at 07:06 AM
NATAN SHARANSKY JOINS THE SHALEM CENTER [Rachel Z. Friedman]
Since resigning from his government post last week, Natan Sharansky has decided to join one of Israel’s most distinguished research institutes, where he’ll be writing a book about Israel’s role as the nation state of the Jews. (Disclosure: I’ve worked for both Sharansky and Shalem.) “We are in the middle of fighting two big wars--terror and the new anti-Semitism,” Sharansky said. “Both are directed at undermining the legitimacy of the Jewish state. We have to fight not only with the army, but on the intellectual level.” The Shalem Center’s press release says Sharansky will also continue to advocate democratization throughout the world, and particularly in the Arab world.
Posted at 07:06 AM
YAWN [Tim Graham]
You know nothing Earth-shaking happened last week when the news mags are highlighting female midlife crises (Time), America's best high schools (Newsweek), and presidential "escapes" (U.S. News.) That could be overstated -- since news magazines don't really like politician covers (or political concept covers like Social Security reform), since they won't sell as well as Fad Diets or Yoga or Jenny McCarthy with a cigar (it happened). But in this case, it's impossible to argue last week had a Big News theme. It's about as juiceless out there as the summer of 2001.
Posted at 07:06 AM
DECISION TIME FOR THE WHITE HOUSE? [Mark Krikorian]
Senators McCain and Kennedy have confirmed that their long-anticipated immigration bill will be unveiled this week. This will present the president with something of a dilemma: He's said several times that he's waiting for a proposal to come out of Congress, rather prepared a detailed administration proposal (beyond the outline he presented last year). So, will he endorse the McCain/Kennedy bill or not? If he opposes it, he strengthens the hand of the tight-borders faction in Congress and makes it unlikely any kind of amnesty/guestworker bill will make progress (which, of course, would suit me fine); if he endorses it, he risks a "read my lips" blow-up in the GOP, given that he has repeatedly and forcefully opposed amnesty for illegals, and defined that as arranging for illegals to get permanent residence (which is what the McCain/Kennedy bill will do). The best option for the White House would be to do nothing and utter soothing banalities about "useful starting points" and "constructive debate."
Posted at 06:47 AM
KERRY, ALWAYS WITH OUR BEST INTERESTS IN MIND [K. J. Lopez]
''Fight back against the lies, fight back against the distortions," Kerry implored the crowd. ''In the last campaign, there was an unbelievable amount of fear put out there -- 'war on terror, war on terror, war on terror.' How many alerts have we had since the election?"Would he prefer we just not be fighting terror? Maybe. Yes. Sometimes. No. Depending. Or that's how I remember his campaign platform on the issue.
Posted at 06:30 AM
INSECURITY [K. J. Lopez ]
KEARNY, N.J., May 7 - It is the deadliest target in a swath of industrial northern New Jersey that terrorism experts call the most dangerous two miles in America: a chemical plant that processes chlorine gas, so close to Manhattan that the Empire State Building seems to rise up behind its storage tanks.
Posted at 06:28 AM
ON THE ROAD AGAIN [K. J. Lopez]
John Kerry, looking "like a presidential candidate again."
Posted at 06:11 AM
PAINTING THE KREMLIN RED, WHITE & BLUE [K. J. Lopez ]
Talk about milestones: "We played inside the Kremlin walls! We played 'The Stars and Stripes Forever' on the streets of Moscow! It was a pretty emotional experience."
Posted at 06:04 AM
I'M PRETTY SURE [K. J. Lopez]
The new "Huffington Post" is the only place you'll ever find The Corner and RuPaul's blog together.
Posted at 05:15 AM
Sunday, May 08, 2005
SURE FIRE FLOP [Jonah Goldberg ]
Why? Because Geena Davis is too annoying to pull it off.
Posted at 10:28 PM
TV [NRO Staff]
Byron York will be on C-SPAN's After Words at 9pm eastern time discussing his book.
Posted at 07:46 PM
COLUMNIST'S KIDS SCORE BIG ON MUSIC TESTS [John Derbyshire]
Since things ARE going slow here, I'm going to take the opportunity to do some parental gushing. If you can't stand this kind of thing, avert your eyes.
A few days ago my kids did the annual NYSSMA exam (that's New York State School Music Association). Danny played piano, Nellie her violin.
Danny got an EXCELLENT after many months of effort at mastering a tricky Mozart sonatina. The grading for piano is Outstanding, Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, Fair, Needs Improvement. So my boy was near the top.
The grading system is different for violin. Nellie got A-plus, which is the absolute highest grade. Her points were 98 out of 100. She just lost a couple for insufficient vibrato.
Let's hear it for the Derb kids, who put a lot of hard work into those results.
Posted at 07:18 PM
DEATH OF BRITAIN [John Derbyshire]
And here's Theodore Dalrymple on the death of poor old Britain
Posted at 07:01 PM
YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST [John Derbyshire]
Here's Joe Klein saying what I've been saying: Hillary '08 will crash and burn
Posted at 07:00 PM
SLOWEST CORNER EVER [John Derbyshire]
I think that a posting that includes the word "embonpoint" is worth at least five ordinary postings.
And... is it me, or is it a fact, that we're going through an exceptionally dry spell news-wise? According to TV, Drudge, and America's Newspaper of Record , the big news when I got back from Atlanta was that some outsider had won the Kentucky Derby. Zzzzzz.
And this runaway bride thing --- enough already. But what else is happening?
Posted at 06:59 PM
DID UKIP "WIN IT" FOR LABOUR? [Andrew Stuttaford]
I don’t think so, (the ‘alternative votes’ of single issue voters are never that predictable) but here’s an interesting piece of analysis from Richard North over at the EU Referendum blog calculating the amount of potentially Conservative seats ‘lost’ as a result of the anti-EU (and, often, more than a little nuts) UKIP party. It also needs to be remembered that if the Conservatives had moved over into advocating outright withdrawal from the EU (UKIP’s position), it would have cost them far more votes than it would have won.
Nevertheless, this is yet another reminder of how ‘Europe’ continues to bedevil British politics. Blair must be praying for a French ‘non’ on May 29th.
Posted at 06:57 PM
RE: CORNER SLOWNESS [K. J. Lopez]
Yes, Atlanta was that good.
Posted at 06:53 PM
MICHAEL HOWARD [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here's the sentimental Matthew Parris on the unsentimental Michael Howard:
”The Conservative Party has come back out of the dark. Perhaps we should be grateful that a man that the media has called a creature of the night was entrusted with the task of guiding it through the shadows and into the light. Michael Howard’s success in this election campaign was limited and his reward in the coinage of percentages and seats was modest, yet what Mr Howard has done will earn him an everlasting place on the Conservative roll of honour: he has turned a decade-long retreat into the beginnings of an advance. He has turned the Tory project round…Lord, how I admire the unsloppiness, the unsentimentality, the starchiness, the understatement of this man. Among the moist eyes, quivering lips and posturing vacuities of the politics of recent years, Mr Howard stands out like a sliver of flint in a melting jelly. Think of the melodrama we shall have to endure when the present Prime Minister finally decides to hang up his powder-puff, think of the vapours and the hysterics — and blow the parchment-dry Mr Howard a silent kiss.”
Posted at 06:52 PM
SPEAKING OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES [K. J. Lopez]
Happy Mother's Day. (Moms deal with them a good deal.)
Posted at 06:51 PM
RE: IT'S OFFICIAL [K. J. Lopez]
"Infectious disease" generally guarantees that.
Posted at 06:50 PM
IT'S OFFICIAL [Jonah Goldberg]
s-l-o-w-e-s-t Corner ever!
Posted at 04:27 PM
RE: ONCOLOGY BLEG [Jonah Goldberg]
Thanks for the responses so far, though it turns out that I'm more in need of an infectious disease guy -- mostly thanks to my ignorance about what oncologists do.
Posted at 11:26 AM