GEORGETOWN [Mark Krikorian]
Warren: Georgetown used to be a lot more interesting before the chain stores came in and turned it into an open-air shopping mall. And you’re right about the left coast not having anything like it – I remember going on a tour of someplace in Sonoma, I think, and the guide remarked with awe on the antiquity of some building – that was built in 1897.
Posted at 08:06 PM
REVENGE OF THE SITH [John Derbyshire]
OK, saw the darn thing -- someone had to take the 9-yr-old. It is incredibly awful. Neither straightforward, honest black hats/white hats space opera, nor movified version of decent one-good-idea sci-fi short story a la "Alien." Just a horrid mess of part-digested theme fragments from Julius Caesar to Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, kitted out with over-the-top FX, impossible to follow (Where are we now?), not an original thought in the whole thing, and pretentious as all get out. The 9-yr-old loved it. I really must pay more attention to his education.
I can't see the point of light sabers. Wouldn't a regular saber do just as well? If you have a light saber and I have my SIG 9mm, don't I... have the edge on you, actually? (According to the movie: Yes, sometimes. Several Jedi knights got shot by guards wielding projectile-firing weapons. But then, other Jedi knights from an assault by hundreds of same. Huh? What happened to ray guns, anyway? And how come a transgalactic civilization hasn't developed the epidural? Etc., etc., et bloody ectera.))
Posted at 08:05 PM
MAGICAL THINKING [Andrew Stuttaford]
I’m late to pick up on this aspect of the fiasco in Kansas:
"TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Kansas school board's hearings on evolution weren't limited to how the theory should be taught in public schools. The board is considering redefining science itself. Advocates of "intelligent design" are pushing the board to reject a definition limiting science to natural explanations for what's observed in the world. Instead, they want to define it as "a systematic method of continuing investigation," without specifying what kind of answer is being sought. The definition would appear in the introduction to the state's science standards.The proposed definition has outraged many scientists, who are frustrated that students could be discussing supernatural explanations for natural phenomena in their science classes."
Posted at 07:36 PM
PETTY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Look, I understand – even if I do not agree with – the notion that homosexual ‘civil unions’ represent some sort of threat to the institution of heterosexual marriage, but this veto by the governor of Maryland seems to fail the test of commonsense as well, lets say it, common decency:
“The [vetoed] legislation would have granted nearly a dozen rights to unmarried partners who register with the state. Among those: the right to be treated as an immediate family member during hospital visits, to make health care decisions for incapacitated partners and to have private visits in nursing homes.”
For heaven’s sake.
Posted at 07:21 PM
SADDAM'S ABU GHRAIB [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the London Times, February 25, 2003:
“The Mukhabarat never extracted a verbal confession from Mr Muhammad during the four months he was held in a tiny cell in the headquarters. He said that he was interrogated by a Mukhabarat officer named Basim twice a day, each time being whipped with cables while suspended from the ceiling, his hands tied behind his back. He had his jaw, ribs and hands broken. Sometimes he was taken to the basement, strapped into an electric chair and given shock treatment. “I had nothing to confess to,” he said. “They said I worked for Mossad (the Israeli intelligence agency) but my only mistake was that I sold Bazoft a roll of film.” In January 1990, days before Mr Muhammad’s trial, the Mukhabarat inked his thumb and pressed it against a statement in lieu of a signature. He was charged under article 158 of Iraqi law and sentenced by a military court to life imprisonment. He was transferred to the notorious Abu Greeb penitentiary, west of Baghdad, where 7,000 political prisoners lived in constant fear of torture and execution. He spent the next three years in solitary confinement. He was taken out of his cell twice a week for beatings. He said that in the prison basement were deep pits, each a metre wide. Up to ten prisoners deemed guilty of disciplinary offences would be dropped into these pits and kept there for a week at a time. “Many died in those pits,” he said. Last summer Mr Muhammad had the top joint of the second finger of his left hand smashed off with an iron bar for insulting Saddam, an offence for which five years were added to his sentence.”
Where were the mass demonstrations in support of the Muslims murdered by Saddam?
There weren’t any.
Where was George Galloway?
Kissing up to Saddam, that’s where.
Posted at 07:18 PM
GALLOWAY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s Gerard Baker of the London Times’ on James Wolcott’s ‘hero’, George Galloway:
“As he railed against the senators, I couldn’t get out of my head that spectacle of the same man smiling as he lauded Saddam Hussein. As he exploited the fustiness of the surroundings and the plodding lawyerliness of his interlocutors, I couldn’t help but remember how, in the face of a different sort of power, he had saluted its indefatigability and promised to march on to Jerusalem.I also wondered what his and our life might have been like if he had deployed some of his little-man courage before Saddam; standing up for some of those other hundreds of thousands of other good Muslims — Iraqis, who could have done with a persuasive advocate there and then. “
Posted at 07:10 PM
NUTTERS [Andrew Stuttaford]
“Some among the crowd burned an effigy of Tony Blair on a crucifix and then set fire to a Union flag and a Stars and Stripes.”
No further comment necessary,
Posted at 07:07 PM
A PIECE OF WESTPHALIA [Andrew Stuttaford]
Meanwhile, adding to the sense of crisis within the EU, economic woes in Germany mean that there’s another vote to watch – in North Rhine-Westphalia, the largest of the country's Laender, on Sunday, May 22nd. Currently, NRW is run by a ‘Red-Green’ coalition between Chancellor Schroeder’s SPD and the Greens, but it seems likely that this will be thrown out of office. If that happens expect Schroeder to tack sharply – and dramatically - to the left…
If you’re in a hole…
Posted at 07:04 PM
HE TOLD THEM SO [Andrew Stuttaford]
One of the major objections to the introduction of the euro was that it was a step too far too soon. Regardless of anything else, imposing a single currency on economies operating on very different rhythms was a recipe for disaster. It was, arguably, the Germans who were the first to pay the price, with the European Central Bank maintaining interest rates at levels far too high for the faltering German economy, but, as this report from the Daily Telegraph notes, the malaise continues to spread:
“Italy is in much the same mess as Argentina in the last throes of its disastrous dollar-peg and faces a "horrible martyrdom" as long as it remains inside the eurozone, according to a market report issued yesterday. Banque AIG, the financial wing of the US insurance giant, said Italy needed a 20pc devaluation to prevent a slump and a "horrendous" explosion of public debt. The warning came as fresh data from Portugal and Italy point to the worst budget deficits since the launch of the euro. Portugal's central bank has revealed that the country's deficit was likely to reach 7pc in 2005, far higher than earlier estimates. Lisbon is mulling "Draconian" cuts that risk driving the debt-laden economy into deep recession. Rome's REF research institute forecasts an Italian deficit of 5.7pc next year, smashing the EU's 3pc limit. Both countries have seen a sharp loss of competitiveness under the European Monetary Union, chiefly through higher wage inflation than Germany. They now face grinding "deflation" to claw their way back to health. The AIG note, by chief economist Bernard Connolly, a former EU official and stern critic of EMU, said Italy was "being asked to bear the unbearable". It has lost 30pc of its world share of exports since the late 1990s and is now "on its knees", according to the industry federation.”
What makes this particularly interesting is that the author of the AIG report is none other than the Bernard Connolly who was a former EU official fired by Brussels in the 1990s for warning that monetary union was, yes, a recipe for a disaster. Books on monetary policy are not normally the stuff of high drama, but if you want to understand the background to the mounting crisis in the eurozone (currency speculators, pay attention), there is no better starting point than Connolly’s Rotten Heart of Europe - and it’s a terrific read.
Posted at 06:59 PM
NEE, NON, NEIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
I wouldn’t want to overstate this, but with mounting dissent in France, Holland and Germany, there seems to be a slight whiff of 1848 in the air in Europe these days.
For example, looking at the increasingly encouraging signs that the Dutch are going to vote no to the wretched and impertinent insult that is the draft EU constitution on June 1st, the Economist has this to say:
“The no campaign points out that the same elite that signed up to the euro and allowed mass immigration with little public discussion is now lining up behind the EU constitution.”
Indeed they are – and it’s time to show this corrupt, complacent and profoundly malign elite the door. All of it.
And if you want to understand why the Dutch yes campaign has (so far) been so counterproductive, go here or read the comments of Dutch socialist MP Harry van Bommel, one of the fairly small number of Dutch parliamentarians opposed to the constitution:
“Mr Van Bommel also said Dutch people were being pushed towards a No vote because of the "ghost stories" being told by the government. "The justice minister has even said there is a chance of war in Europe if there is a No vote - referring to the break-up of the former republic of Yugoslavia. "The people in this country sometimes are not completely informed about what is going on, but they are not stupid. They are angry at the government for the fact that they are insulting their intelligence."
They are right to be angry and kudos to van Bommel (a dreadful lefty, but still…) and, on the right, the courageous Geert Wilders, for pointing this out.
Nee’s the way.
Posted at 06:51 PM
IS HARVARD UNCONSTITUTIONAL? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Gail Heriot ponders whether Harvard University is unconstitutional. As a Yale guy, I think it's an interesting question.
Posted at 02:32 PM
ACTIVATE "AUTO-DISCREDIT" [Jonathan H. Adler]
Tom Maguire wonders how anyone can take Tom Delay's persecutor, er prosecutor seriously if he's giving partisan political speeches. I haven't been following the Delay stuff closely enough to know whether there's anything there, but this certainly doesn't make the Texas prosecutor look like a non-partisan public servant.
Posted at 02:30 PM
WATT VS. THE "RELIGIOUS LEFT" [Jonathan H. Adler]
James Watt takes after the "Lies of the Religious Left," Powerline reports.
Posted at 02:29 PM
SOMETHING TO SAY [Warren Bell]
Actually I had something to say all along. (Thanks to those who had faith.) Who's up for a love letter to our nation's capital?
We're here for four days for the AIPAC policy conference, drumming up (and more often, thankfully, just reinforcing) Congressional support for Israel. Speakers include Condi, Hillary, Harry, Ariel, Howard, and a good number of other people who require last names. (Am apparently to remain fiercely non-partisan when I speak on AIPAC's behalf to our representatives. Must practice. "Yes, Senator Reid. Thank you for your vote on that foriegn aid bill. Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Oh, and on that judge thingy, why don't you go take a flying-- er... I mean... Yes, Senator." Hmm. Getting better.)
We were warned of horrible rainy weather and landed just after the downpour ended yesterday. This morning is brilliant, a cloudless sky and warm spring temps. The effect is, dare I say it, Los Angeles-quality. (By the way, on the trip in from the airport, I noticed the traffic is also Los Angeles-quality.)
I have not been here since a quick one-night stop 15 years ago, and before that it was my high school senior class trip, where, I continue to assert to Vice-Principal Solt, no beer was consumed. On the cab ride in yesterday, I realized what a stroke of genius it was to design a city around the function of Nation's Capital, rather than jamming government buildings into an already existing cityscape. The feeling of imposing power is palpable. One imagines an emissary from a foreign nation arriving here and going, "I was going to declare war on you people, but jeez, look at this place."
Our hotel is in Georgetown, which is an impossibly charming neighborhood, even if it sports a Johnny Rockets. Rather than making dinner plans last night, my wife and I just hit M Street, shopped, and finally wandered into Nathan's, the kind of pub/chophouse that simply doesn't anywhere exist in Los Angeles. Actually, nothing like Georgetown exists there, or really even comes close. And that is a damn shame.
Anyway, nice job, L'Enfant. I dig it. And if you don't hear much of me in The Corner for a few days, this is why. If you're a Cornerite at the AIPAC thing, say hi.
Posted at 01:10 PM
DOES IT GET ANY BETTER? [Warren Bell]
Starbucks on M Street in Georgetown (on the cozy second floor, no less!), a Mac iBook G4 laptop with an Airport card, a T-Mobile daypass, and The Corner.
If only I had something to say...
Posted at 01:08 PM
HILLARYCARE [Mark R. Levin]
Posted at 01:04 PM
KORAN FLUSHING EQUALS MASS MURDER [Andy McCarthy]
More on the militant arithmetic from CNN:
About 300 people have taken part in a noisy protest over the alleged desecration of the Quran outside the U.S. Embassy in central London. …There's also a picture:
Two questions: First, where are the counter-demonstrations? That is, where can adherents of a “religion of peace” be found publicly condemning claims that their religion calls for “death, death, death” over something as comparatively minor as a defiling of the Koran – much less one that didn’t happen?
Second, will CNN or anyone else in the MSM write a story observing that no Americans are engaged in mass demonstrations today, torching Korans or calling for “death, death, death” to Muslims in response to the gleeful burning of American flags, much less calls for the murder of our president or the “nuking” of our capitol?
Posted at 01:03 PM
HITCHENS V. GALLOWAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
A must read.
Posted at 08:12 AM
Friday, May 20, 2005
UH HUH [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg:
Posted at 10:19 PM
POP POP BANG! [John Podhoretz]
Just to whet your appetite: The upcoming Cinderella Man, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ron Howard, is a thrilling piece of work. No, more than thrilling. I left the screening room this afternoon exhilarated, moved, excited, stirred and overwhelmed, convinced that Cinderella Man is one of the best movies ever made. Since I've learned not to trust my early enthusiasms (I had forgotten until some merciless wags recently reminded me that I actually said nice things about the horrible Phantom Menace when it opened six years ago), I'm going to let a few weeks go by and see Cinderella Man again when it opens on June 3 before I say it a second time.
Cinderella Man is the true story of a boxer named James J. Braddock and how he was lost and then found again in the depths of the Great Depression. It's a great boxing movie -- Braddock's patented style of pugilism is here called "pop pop bang," and that little soundbite captures the vivid intensity of the scenes in the ring -- but it's not just a boxing movie. It's a terrific Depression melodrama, but it's not merely a Depression melodrama. It's a sterling biopic, but it's not a standard-issue biopic. It's, rather, the story of a family man and a portrait of a good marriage -- and it's the depiction of these simple phenomena that makes Cinderella Man so wonderfully powerful.
Howard has become his generation's answer to William Wyler -- a classic cinematic storyteller who can work wonders in any genre. As for Russell Crowe, there's almost no superlative that wouldn't be appropriate. Crowe hasn't made a full-on comedy yet. If it turns out he can do that too, Russell Crowe will then have proved himself unquestionably the greatest screen actor not only of our time, but probably of all time.
Posted at 07:26 PM
"FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" [K. J. Lopez]
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- In what organizers called an unprecedented event, dissidents from groups opposed to Fidel Castro's communist regime gathered publicly Friday and chanted "Down with Fidel."...
Posted at 04:53 PM
MAD [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 04:31 PM
APOLOGISTS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES [John Podhoretz]
I've been receiving e-mails all day accusing me of being an "apologist for torture" because I pointed out earlier that today's New York Times story on horrific instances of abuse in Afghanistan was clearly intended to buttress Newsweek's retracted Koran desecration story -- to make the point that Newsweek's account was, in essence, fake but accurate. I guess if you believe in the slippery-slope argument -- the idea, current in all the toniest armchair-critic circles, that if you allow tough detention tactics at prisons you will inevitably end up at torture -- then you also believe that criticizing a story on an incident of prisoner abuse makes the critic a torture apologist. My major criticism of the New York Times story was that the cases it cited occurred two-and-a-half years ago and that every fact in the story was uncovered and reported on by the U.S. military itself in one of those acts of self-examination for which the U.S. military is never, ever, ever given the slightest credit.
Posted at 04:23 PM
THE FACE OF A "SURPLUS" EMBRYO [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 04:20 PM
WHAT IS NEWS? [Tim Graham]
All three network morning shows highlighted newly published tabloid photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear, but only NBC’s Today treated it like a human rights scandal, inviting on Saddam defense lawyer Giovanni DiStefano to voice his outrage. ABC and CBS didn’t give a dictator’s lawyer time today to complain about due process the dictator never granted. Compare that to April 15, when the New York Times reported the discovery of new Saddam-era mass graves in southern Iraq, including one believed to be holding as many as 5,000 corpses. NBC didn’t air that story. How do undies pictures of Saddam compare to Saddam’s mass murder on the human rights meter? NBC’s record of coverage suggests America should find the undies pictures more outrageous.
Posted at 04:09 PM
VITTER VS. LANDRIEU [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Louisiana's senators aren't getting along (via Redstate).
Posted at 03:39 PM
THE FEC [Ramesh Ponnuru]
needs to hear from you (at least if you have views on how or if the feds should regulate bloggers).
Posted at 03:37 PM
CUBA, LIBRE [K. J. Lopez]
From the White House:
CUBAN INDEPENDENCE DAY, 2005
Posted at 03:30 PM
THE STRENGTH OF FAITH [John Derbyshire]
To those readers who are perfectly irreligious and can't see the point at all, as well as to those (ahem) who see the point but aren't as pious as they wish they were, I commend this piece from the Daily Telegraph.
What happened to Mrs. Witchalls is about as bad as a thing can be. Her faith is seeing her through it with a smile and words of forgiveness.
I swear this must be constitutional. I could no more exhibit that kind of spiritual strength than I could run 100 meters in 9.4 seconds, or solve the Riemann Hypothesis, or play the fiddle like Jascha Heifetz. I know a lot of you disagree, but I line up with Tom Utley here. Admire? Sure. Emulate? No way.
(And, as a matter of fact, even my admiration is a bit qualified -- not so far as Mrs. Witchalls's ability to handle the situations, which is a shining example to us all, but in regard to the turn-the-other-cheek stuff. I think the bastard who did that should swing for it. In fact, it seems he has already committed suicide, which is better than he deserves.)
Posted at 03:16 PM
ROCK OF LIFE [K. J. Lopez]
The president today said he'll veto the Castle stem-cell restriction-easing bill in the House if passed:
"I've made my position very clear on embryonic stem cells," he said. "I'm a strong supporter of adult stem cell research, of course. But I have made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is - I'm against that."
Posted at 03:08 PM
JUST GOT BACK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
from giving a talk about federalism to a group of young congressional aides brought together by the Heritage Foundation. I was surprised by how interested the audience was in the topic. People were spellbound. So hypnotic were my words that some people in the audience seemed to be moved into a deep trance-like state. . .
Posted at 02:06 PM
CRANKINESS DEFUSION KIT [Jack Fowler]
School will be out before you can say Heather Has Two Mommies. Looming ahead are booooooored kids in the hot hot hot summer. Ugh. Now, you can suffer too, or you can head off the crankiness by getting the kids NR’s great childrens literature books. For just $29.95 we’ll send you three of our best titles (Volume Two of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature, The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories, and the great L. Frank Baum’s Queen Zixi of Ix). All told, you’ll get over a thousand pages of world class stories that will provide hours and hours and hours of wholesome, old-fashioned entertainment for kids from 5 to 15. Don’t delay – take advantage of this special offer (you’re getting two books free!) by ordering securely here.
Posted at 02:04 PM
LINDSEY GRAHAM [K. J. Lopez]
is the latest worry for Republicans. You might want to nudge him on the filibuster. A senator with higher aspirations than the Senate might want to listen.
Posted at 12:50 PM
BY THE WAY [K. J. Lopez]
Did the Timewaster King just tell me I need discipline?
Posted at 12:22 PM
RE: RE: RE: THAT GREEK LADY [K. J. Lopez]
Crack isn't a good thing...even if NR is for drug legalization.
You do remind me of some unfortunate events during the election involving The Corner being quoted in DNC press releases though.
Posted at 12:22 PM
RE: GIVING NEWSWEEK COVER [Tim Graham]
It is obviously the role of the press in a free American society to publish reports of American failures in the war on terror. But part of what is wrong in this whole Newsweek aftermath is the distinct reality that the American press, by and large, is almost exclusively interested in scrutinizing America. It's not interested in scrutinizing the United Nations. It's not interested in scrutinizing the actions of France or Russia. It often seems more interested in making excuses for our most troublesome allies (Last week, they were running around expressing offense that anyone would quibble Russia's what-captive-nations talk around the V-E Day ceremonies.) We need more balance in scrutiny -- scrutinize everyone, not just pick, pick, pick apart at the American side and give everyone else a free pass or a shoulder to cry on.
Posted at 12:17 PM
WHAT CHAPUT SAID [K. J. Lopez]
His speech is here.
Posted at 12:12 PM
SPEAKING OF CATHOLIC THINGS AND THINGS [Elizabeth Fisher, NRDC]
Yesterday I went to a tribute to the late Pope John Paul II at the US Capitol. To celebrate John Paul II’s would-be 85th birthday as well as the recent Senate Resolution passed in the late pontiff’s honor, Sen. Sam Brownback’s office hosted the official public unveiling of a new icon, “Our Lady of Light.” This painting is intimately connected with the pontificate of JPII because it was inspired by the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary which he instituted in 2002. It also hung in JPII’s private library, at his request, during the 2004 Christmas season. Inspired by the Luminous Mysteries, Natalia Tsarkova, the official portrait artist of John Paul II, was commissioned by the Primavera Fine Art Foundation in 2004 to create this first of three pontifical icons. In the spirit of John Paul II’s regardfor artists, The Primavera Fine Art Foundation hopes to rejuvenate the religious art movement in America by commissioning and exhibiting Christian works of art across the nation. Proceeds will help support religious vocations in the Catholic Church. The painting itself is a beautiful and classically rendered allegory of hope, depicting the Madonna and Child eager to share the mysteries of light with humanity. The painting will temporarily on display at the National Shrine in Washington, DC. Details can be found on the Primavera Fine Art Foundation website.
Posted at 12:10 PM
HE MUCH BETTER NOW [John Derbyshire]
A lot of readers want to know how I'm getting on at the re-education camp. It's great! The food is terrific! We have games and stuff, and the nurses are really kind. I've learned a lot from the group sessions, too. You can be sure I shall never again give an approving mention to... Ow! Where do these electric shocks come from?
Posted at 12:08 PM
ONE MORE FILIBUSTER POINT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A number of smart people have brought up a point I should address in arguing that NR's editorial stance (which I share) really is inconsistent: Back in December, NR argued that the filibuster of judges was compatible with (though not required by) the Constitution. Now NR is arguing for a rules change that is premised on the filibuster being unconstitutional. So there's an inconsistency, right?
I don't think so, because I don't think the premise is true. We're not talking about a point of constitutional order being raised, and I've been given to understand by multiple experts on the Senate rules that no senator who votes for the rules change has to do so on the basis that he thinks it is unconstitutional (even if many of them will vote for it on that to-my-mind-flawed basis).
Posted at 12:03 PM
EMPLOYMENT STATS [Jonah Goldberg]
From the Joint Economic Committee:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report today on regional and state employment and unemployment for April (available at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/laus.pdf ). A summary of the report can be found at the Joint Economic Committee website at: http://jec.senate.gov/_files/StateEmploymentStatisticsApril2005JEC.pdf ).
Posted at 11:49 AM
RE: THAT GREEK LADY [Jonah Goldberg]
Guys, I have no problem keeping tabs on the H-Bomb. But let's try to avoid saying things that can be converted into Hollwood style blurbs. Kathryn, when you say it's "crack for some of us political geeks" you are giving them a gift. Do you want to see that attributed to NRO in their next press release? Discipline people!
Posted at 11:40 AM
WHERE'S THE LOVE? [K. J. Lopez]
I go to D.C. so it is monsooning since I got here. Come on!
Posted at 11:29 AM
TODD, CHRIS [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 11:28 AM
READERS TELL ME [K. J. Lopez]
I need to have a sense of humor about the Moveon ad. I don't think it's funny. Sorry. And I think I've proven I have a sense of humor now and again, however dorky it may be.
Posted at 11:25 AM
THAT GREEK LADY [K. J. Lopez]
I'm so with JPod. It's a hard habit to break. As I've said before, I think the world of Andrew Breitbart, so that's come of it, but it's crack for some of us political geeks. And you sorta can't believe they are willing to say on this blog the exact things (maybe will softer language...sometimes) they'd say at a Hollywood cocktail party (say at AH's house).
Posted at 11:22 AM
ARCHHBISHOP CHAPUT [K. J. Lopez]
of Denver also spoke at the Reagan Hilton this morning, warning Catholics (any person trying to live their faith in the world can appreciate the message) about the "cost of fitting in." Faith should guide you in every aspect of your life. The personally opposed stuff doesn't cut it, in other words. That's my convenient sum-up (convenient for me), if I get the text I'll share. I've said this before, that man is a bishop, constantly teaching. Thankfully.
Posted at 11:19 AM
FR. TIM VAKOC [K. J. Lopez]
The president mentioned Fr. Tim Vakoc, wounded in Iraq last year. He's one of those whose names we should know and be grateful for. The WSJ wrote about him here.
Posted at 11:15 AM
GOOD STUFF [K. J. Lopez]
from the president at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast this morning. Here he is.
Posted at 11:09 AM
DEFILING THE HOLY BOOK … SOME PERSPECTIVE [Andy McCarthy]
From a brave WSJ op-ed by Ali al-Ahmed of the Saudi Institute in the WSJ this morning:
As a Muslim, I am able to purchase copies of the Quran in any bookstore in any American city, and study its contents in countless American universities. American museums spend millions to exhibit and celebrate Muslim arts and heritage. On the other hand, my Christian and other non-Muslim brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia -- where I come from -- are not even allowed to own a copy of their holy books. Indeed, the Saudi government desecrates and burns Bibles that its security forces confiscate at immigration points into the kingdom or during raids on Christian expatriates worshiping privately.
Posted at 11:07 AM
FILIBUSTER/NUCLEAR OPTION POLLING [Byron York]
Sen. Rick Santorum has just sent a memo to Sen. Frist and all Republican senators summarizing results of polling done by the GOP on the issue of judicial filibusters. Here it is, in its entirety:
TO: SENATOR BILL FRIST
Posted at 10:44 AM
GIVING NEWSWEEK COVER [John Podhoretz]
The New York Times continues the bizarre act of carrying Newsweek's water in the wake of the false Koran-desecration story (which I write about this morning here). The paper's lead story is a lurid account of the vicious treatment of two Afghan prisoners by U.S. soldiers -- events that occurred in December 2002 and for which seven servicemen have been properly punished. Let me repeat that: December 2002. That's two and a half years ago. Every detail published by the Times comes from a report done by the U.S. military, which did the investigating and the punishing. The publication of this piece this week is an effort not to get at the truth, not to praise the military establishment for rooting out the evil being done, but to make the point that the United States is engaged in despicable conduct as it fights the war on terror. In the name of covering the behinds of media colleagues, all is fair in hate and war.
Posted at 09:32 AM
THAT GREEK WOMAN'S WEBSITE [John Podhoretz]
Apropos of my post last night about Laurie David's latest addition to the ineffable Post-Toastie, reader Colin writes: "Leaving aside the fact that the best thing Mrs. David could do for the environment would be to trade her private jet for a first class ticket (a Gulfstream on one NY-LA trip burns roughly as much oil as a decent-sized family car does over its entire lifetime), I am thoroughly dissatisified with the frequency with which you and K-Lo are posting links to that Greek woman's website. Don't you see you're playing into her game? The only way to make it stop is to stop talking about it!"
Ah, Colin, would that it were so easy. K-Lo and I just can't look away. It's as if NPR and Air America Radio got together and staged a reality show online -- a an online version of VH1's "The Surreal Life," with a weird assortment of celebrities and wannabes moving in together and pretending to be able to write, think and express views. Where else can you go to get Norman Mailer saying the White House planted the Koran-desecration story in Newsweek, Diane Keaton complaining that nobody is interested in an L.A. mayor's race that turned out to very dramatic indeed, Richard Blow -- oh, excuse me, Bradley -- lecturing on ethics when he first came to fame firing people at George magazine for talking about John-John Kennedy's death and then taking $600,000 to write a book about JFK Jr., and just SO much more.
There's even good stuff on it -- genuinely funny stuff by Danielle Crittenden about Washington excesses and the totally berserk Greg Gutfeld, who has decided to make a ritualistic habit of tormenting David Gergen. But listen, there's always somebody to root for on even the worst reality show.
Posted at 09:20 AM
SORRY JOHN [Jonah Goldberg]
The Hamsters must die.
Posted at 09:17 AM
YEAH, THAT'S GOTTA BE IT. [Jonah Goldberg]
A lake in rural Russia disappears and it's got to be our fault. From Reuter's (Who else?):
Officials in Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga river east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.
Posted at 08:32 AM
NOT JESSE [John Podhoretz]
Here in the Big Apple, they once called a local shyster "Rent-a-Mob" Sharpton.
Posted at 08:17 AM
BRILLIANT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Indian opens rent-a-crowd company. Maybe Jesse Jackson can get the US franchise rights.
Posted at 07:44 AM
THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE [K. J. Lopez]
said no to Romney again on cloning/stem cells. Additionally, on the definition of human life. (Background on what was at stake here.) It's depressing that the pro-life groups in the state couldn't pressure their reps on at least that last point when all else was lost--nevermind their inability to combat the heart of the bill, and get behind the governor on it.
Posted at 05:22 AM
THE SPECTER [K. J. Lopez]
I'm obliged to point out: From the Washington Post, in a loving piece on "center" pols: "Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (Pa.), who has not said how he will vote on the rule change, participated yesterday." It was "deal" sessioning he participated in. Needless to say, I'd like my Senate judiciary chairman elsewhere.
Posted at 03:11 AM
WE'RE CORRUPT. GIVE US MONEY! [K. J. Lopez]
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's chief of staff yesterday acknowledged that scandals involving Iraq, peacekeeping and human rights have hurt the world body, but said any move to freeze or cut U.S. dues would set back the cause of reform....
Posted at 03:08 AM
GONE TO THE DOGS [K. J. Lopez]
Just noting: Amtrak has an only-service-dog policy. Tonight, getting into D.C., I took a cab with a gal who got off the train who had a dog in her bag. Real quiet small one. But Amtrak simply doesn't seem to check anyone getting on their trains. Seems like a big problem still post-9/11.
Posted at 02:59 AM
OK, SO... [K. J. Lopez]
...the Washington Post didn't get to anti-cloner Richard Doerflinger (apparently the only anti-cloning person in the MSM rolodex) until screen two of its report on the SK developments.
Posted at 02:57 AM
JUDGES [K. J. Lopez]
Wendy Long on women wars here. And Wendy again, taking on Norm Ornstein here. You reading Bench Memos?
Posted at 02:44 AM
QUICK OBSERVATION [K. J. Lopez]
Caught Brian Williams's newsshow before I ran out tonight and the gist of his stem-cell/cloning report was that this was big news with big concerns, the two aspects driving the story. He gave the ethics as much play as the scientific "progress" angle. Thank you, sir. The NYTimes, on the other hand, among others, make you comfortable with the "progress" angle first, then they move on to getting the necessary other side quotes, graphs in. Which I, in my irritability, find misleading and...rritable.
Posted at 02:37 AM
LAST ADD SW ROTS [Warren Bell]
Easily the best thing about it was the trailer for Chronicles of Narnia. Looks great, and there was equal excitement in all quarters of my family.
Posted at 02:18 AM
POLI-SCI-FI [Warren Bell]
I deliberately avoided the political overtones of Revenge of the Sith. Enough has been made of it already. But I did want to point out one thing. The opening crawl begins thus: "War! The Republic is crumbling under attacks by the ruthless Sith Lord, Count Dooku. There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere."
Heroes on both sides? Utter nonsense. If there are heroes on the Separatist/Droid side, we never see them. The notion that there are heroes on both sides sounds an awful lot like "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter," and it's indicative of the grade level of Lucas's political sophistication.
Posted at 02:17 AM
RE: JOHN POD AND THE DANCING HAMSTERS [Peter Robinson]
From a reader:
Please be aware that some of us sneaking a peak at The Corner while working away in little cubicles, surrounded by our fellow employees. A little warning that audio accompanies the link would enable us to hit the “mute” button before thoroughly embarrassing ourselves.
Posted at 01:48 AM
HE ALSO SAID HE RAISED TAXES TOO MUCH -- AND THEN TRIED TO RAISE THEM AGAIN [John Podhoretz]
Bill Clinton now acknowledges that his agonizingly boring memoir, My Life, was excessively verbose. ""Most people thought it was too long — a fair criticism," Clinton says. Unfortunately, he says it in a new paperback edition that adds something like 15 pages to the already endless 957 of the hardback.
Posted at 12:11 AM
Thursday, May 19, 2005
CURB YOUR ENVIRONMENTALISM [John Podhoretz]
In a historic first for the Post Toasties, famed showbiz wife Laurie David manages to write an entire enviro-screed without mentioning Larry. Congrats, Laurie! Now try to write something in which you don't suggest that people with wives and children could only disagree with you because they're greedy. If you can next make an actual argument without resorting to the wife-and-kids gimmick AND not mention Larry, you will be on your way to pundit-dom!
Posted at 11:29 PM
ROTS [John Podhoretz]
Warren, I acknowledge that the last five minutes of the movie are far and away the best five minutes of the movie. But everything that's interesting about those five minutes has entirely to do with the memories it evokes of the first movie. Plus you have to sit through a whole lotta stuff to get to that five minutes. Did you notice, by the way, that in this highly advanced civilization, everybody's living in an airport terminal? And that despite the fact that people can read minds, throw things telepathically and invent spaceships that go into hyperspace, the term "ultrasound" seems to be unknown to them?
Posted at 11:18 PM
TIVO NO GO [K. J. Lopez]
It's a pda or a TIVO so TIVO loses. If I weren't already going, I'd just make my choice easier and go to NRO's Chicago fundraiser.
Sorry...trying with the suits for the Christmas bonus this year. Thinking TIVO 2006, ya know?
Posted at 07:30 PM
RE: TIVO [Warren Bell]
It's better than that. TiVo would have TiVoed it for you. TiVo would have realized long ago your feelings for Mr. Wyle.
Posted at 07:28 PM
TIVO TEMPTATION [K. J. Lopez]
Warren scolded me for not having a TIVO earlier this week. I'll be out during Dr. Carter's final episode of ER tonight. Missing that is like missing Neil Armstrong walk...ok, maybe not. But I would have TIVOed it.
Posted at 07:18 PM
WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? [K. J. Lopez]
MOVEON shows Frist trying to nuke the Capitol in their latest ad.
Posted at 07:07 PM
THAT MOVIE [Warren Bell]
With all due respect, I think John Pod made a mistake in his review of ROTS. I think he reviewed it as a movie, when it really needs to be reviewed as a Star Wars movie. And in that light, where we all agree that George Lucas has systematically lowered the bar for a hit movie with leaden dialogue, stilted performances, and childish reliance on digital spectacle over actual human drama, ROTS is by far the best Star Wars movie since Empire Strikes Back.
Oh, the dialogue can be creaky. The Anakin-Padme scenes have the same awkward feel that made one wag call Attack of the Clones "Anakin's Creek." And what kind of director does it to take to make Sam Jackson look bad? Lucas also long ago decided that "storytelling" meant having two characters sit onscreen and tell the story to each other, rather than playing it out in action.
Okay, now the upsides. Visuals: amazing as always, but a little more so this time. Action sequences: pretty slam bang. Villains: General Grievous: "He has four arms and Jedi moves, but he's a wimp." On the other hand, Ian MacDiarmid's Palpatine/Sidious is really something. He steals the show.
But finally, what made ROTS work for me was the totally unexpected spark of human drama in the last act. I felt something when we lost Anakin for good, and when he realized that meant he'd lost Padme and Obi-wan. I never thought I would be moved by this film, and I was. Also, a muted cheer to Lucas for truly owning the tragic ending. He doesn't sugarcoat it. It's a full-blown tragedy, and you will leave the theater with a bit of ache in your heart.
My 11-year-old loved every second, though he said when we got home that the ending was "troubling" him. The six-year-old cried when things got intense with Anakin, Padme, and Obi-Wan. There was some hiding of the eyes throughout the last act. His line at home: "I can't believe that's PG-13 with all that killing." The wife liked it and didn't snooze, though I briefly did in the boring stretch in the middle.
So go. Or don't go. It's up to you.
Posted at 07:03 PM
HATCH: I SECOND THAT EMOTION [K. J. Lopez]
Rich said earlier that Orrin Hatch should be made use of publicly more often on judges. I agree 100 percent--especially if that means he's out there less on cloning (I say after seeing him doing his pro-cloning shtick on the NBC Nightly News).
Posted at 06:58 PM
YOU MISS A LOT IF YOU GO TO AN AFTERNOON MOVIE [Warren Bell]
Dr. Woo Suk Hwang? K-Lo, this is the kind of situation where we agreed you would call the emergency number.
Posted at 06:50 PM
DREAD: LAST WORD [Jonah Goldberg ]
From the New Scientist.
Posted at 06:37 PM
DREAD: ARGGGHHH [Jonah Goldberg]
I've been inundated with email from physicists. I really don't want to be the clearinghouse for this. But I will post this:
Posted at 06:13 PM
RE: SIDEKICK STORY [K. J. Lopez]
I'll always have an odd soft spot for Paris.
Posted at 05:57 PM
RE: SIDEKICK [K. J. Lopez]
So, ok, maybe there was the Paris Hilton problem...
Posted at 05:54 PM
CONTINUING THE TRIP DOWN THE INTERNET MEMORY LANE... [John Podhoretz]
....All Your Base Are Belong to Us!!!
Posted at 05:45 PM
TV [NRO Staff]
Ramesh will be on Larry Kudlow's show tonight.
Posted at 05:44 PM
DISPATCH FROM THE FRIENDLY SKIES [Peter Robinson]
This just in from a friend here in Silicon Valley:
I am on an airliner in Denver. The scene is how I imagine the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest might play if it were set in the airline equivalent of the cramped World War II submarine of Das Boot.
Posted at 05:34 PM
EUROPE HATES [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 05:24 PM
ROTS [K. J. Lopez]
Even Jim Geraghty saw the new Star Wars, in Turkey.
Posted at 05:23 PM
SIDEKICK [K. J. Lopez]
When I blegged about my dream machine that would allow reasonable/efficient web/browser working and e-mailing while out of the office, enough sent me to the Sidekick that I am intrigued.
Posted at 05:10 PM
RE: BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT FOR YEARS [Peter Robinson]
Adorable, John, and...fubsy.
Posted at 05:06 PM
MORAN [Tim Graham]
I fear we've lost a little context in the increasing focus on ABC's Terry Moran lecturing Scott McClellan on how he's not allowed to tell Newsweek what to do. Look at the transcript again. What's odd is that Moran HIMSELF asks McClellan what the President would say that Newsweek should do: "Scott, you said that the retraction by Newsweek magazine of its story is a good first step. What else does the President want this American magazine to do?" When McClellan answers, then he turns on the outrage. It's silly for Moran to insist presidents aren't allowed to offer an opinion on how a media outlet could improve. It's downright ridiculous to attack a presidential spokesman to offer advice right after you've asked him to offer advice.
McClellan: "Well, it's what I talked about yesterday. This report, which Newsweek has now retracted and said was wrong, has had serious consequences. People did lose their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged; there is lasting damage to our image because of this report. And we would encourage Newsweek to do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done, particularly in the region. And I think Newsweek can do that by talking about the way they got this wrong, and pointing out what the policies and practices of the United States military are when it comes to the handling of the Holy Koran. The military put in place policies and procedures to make sure that the Koran was handled -- or is handled with the utmost care and respect. And I think it would help to point that out, because some have taken this report -- those that are opposed to the United States -- some have taken this report and exploited it and used it to incite violence."
Posted at 05:00 PM
BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT FOR YEARS... [John Podhoretz]
....and it's still adorable.
Posted at 04:27 PM
BLOOMBERG: BOLTON HAS THE VOTES TO PASS [Rich Lowry ]
From a Bloomberg report today:
John Bolton's prospects of being confirmed by the Senate as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations appear strong at this time with at least four Democrats saying they might support him and only one Republican saying he'll vote against.
Posted at 04:19 PM
DREAD: IT'S REAL [Jonah Goldberg ]
I feel sorry for the French. It must be like doing calisthenics what with the posts saying it's real and then it's not real. Each time they hear it's real they gotta drop to the ground in surrender. Anyway, stay down Frenchies. It's real. Here's the Patent.
Here's an explanation how it works from a reader:
The people writing to you to slam the DREAD are missing a simple piece of physics: the gun supposedly converts *angular* momentum (of, I assume a rapidly spinning disk) into straight-line momentum. This is the equivalent of a machine in a batting range throwing balls at you, or doing a round-house throw with your arm--your arm doesn't recoil backwards when you simply let go of the ball (one more example would be a driver hitting a golf ball--the head doesn't recoil when it hits the ball, it slows down dramatically--giving its momentum and energy to the ball.)
And here's a video.
Posted at 03:25 PM
I HOPE [Jonah Goldberg]
Dr. Woo Suk Hwang didn't go to high school in the States. That'd be one hard name to carry around.
Posted at 03:17 PM
ON THE RADIO-O-O-O [Shannen Coffin]
For readers in the Baton Rouge area, I'll be doing Ed Buggs talk radio show from 3:10 to 3:30 CST.
Posted at 03:09 PM
I'M DEPRESSED, NYTIMES IS ETHUSED [K. J. Lopez]
In what scientists say is a stunning leap forward, a team of South Korean researchers has developed a highly efficient recipe for producing human embryos by cloning and then extracting their stem cells.
Posted at 02:56 PM
DREAD [Jonah Goldberg]
Email is split so far:
and from a military guy:
Posted at 02:46 PM
D.C. PORN [K. J. Lopez ]
Danielle Crittenden knows Washington.
Posted at 02:42 PM
DEADLY SANCTUARY [Mark Krikorian]
Illegal alien murders Denver police officer. Said illegal was protected by the city’s “sanctuary” policy that prohibits officers from using immigration offenses without some other major crime being involved. Said illegal also worked at a restaurant owned by the mayor, which had been informed that the worker’s Social Security number was fake. So what does the mayor do? He defends the city’s sanctuary policy!
Posted at 02:35 PM
RAMESH'S OPPONENTS AS NINJA EXTRAS [Rich Lowry ]
Subject: AN ANTI-RAMESH STRATEGY
Posted at 02:29 PM
THE SKY IS BLUE … [Mark Krikorian]
…the Pope is Catholic, and “the Muslim world is largely anti-American.”
Posted at 02:27 PM
RE: CLASSY GUY [K. J. Lopez]
Well, I'm not that jaded: I still have the ability to be a little shocked. Thanks for the test, Mr. Wolcott.
Posted at 02:26 PM
DID WESTERMANN LIE? SORTA, KINDA, MAYBE NOT [Rich Lowry ]
Amusing passage in the Democrat’s anti-Bolton report. Intelligence analyst Christian Westermann wasn’t straight with Bolton’s staff about the fact that he had sent prejudicial language to the CIA along with the draft text from a Bolton speech. Here’s how the Dems try to massage it:
Mr. Fleitz made a serious allegation that Mr. Westermann lied to Mr. Fleitz in his e-mail to him stating that he sent his language to CIA ‘‘intact.’’ Specifically, Mr. Fleitz stated that ‘‘Mr. Westermann lied when he told us that he had sent the language that Mr. Bolton wanted declassified to the Agency intact, and only with source citations. That was untrue.’’ Fleitz’ description of Westermann’s e-mail is not precisely accurate. The text of Mr. Westermann’s e-mail was as follows: ‘‘I sent your memo intact to CIA for coordination through the IC for cleared language. I added citations so they could reference the intel[ligence].’’ There is nothing false in Westermann’s e-mail to Fleitz. He had e-mailed the Fleitz memo intact, and he had included the source citations. If Westermann is guilty of anything, it is an act of omission: he did not tell Fleitz that he had also sent INR’s comments on the Bolton language. But, as discussed above, he was under no obligation to do so, because that comment was part of a process that was internal to the Intelligence Community. It also bears emphasis that there is no evidence of the precise question posed to Westermann by Fleitz that resulted in Westermann sending his e-mail. Westermann appears to have been responding to a phone call or message from Fleitz, not an e-mail, and there is no record as to what Fleitz said in his phone call or message. Thus, it is impossible to conclude that Westermann lied in his e-mail without knowing the question that prompted it.
Posted at 02:24 PM
RE: ANTI-RAMESH STRATEGY [K. J. Lopez]
The silence is deafening, Rich. Where is he weighing in on the Sith? He distracts us with other “issues.”
Posted at 02:24 PM
DREAD WEAPON [Jonah Goldberg]
I've gotten a few emails like this:
There is no getting around the laws of physics - every action has an opposite and equal reaction.
Posted at 02:22 PM
CLASSY GUY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Wolcott's NRO jealousy strike again. Mocking NRO's fundraising drive "thermometer" he writes:
This is what Wolcott means by thinking outside the box, going from being bitchy to classless.
Posted at 02:17 PM
AN ANTI-RAMESH STRATEGY [Rich Lowry ]
I think while he is distracted by fights and posts over filibusters, history, preferences, stem cells, social security, and women in combat, someone should just absolutely hammer him on tax reform. This is such a ripe moment for some flat-taxer out there.
Posted at 02:03 PM
THE DREAD WEAPON SYSTEM [Warren Bell]
France just surrendered.
Posted at 01:59 PM
GALLOWAY [Andrew Stuttaford]
"But he looks so much like what he is: a thug and a demagogue, the type of working-class-wideboy-and-proud-of-it who is too used to the expenses account, the cars and the hotels all cigars and back-slapping. He is a very cheap character and a short-arse like a lot of them are, puffed up like a turkey. He has managed to fuse being a Baathist with being a Muslim sectarian and a carpet bagger in the East End as well as a front for a creepy sub-Leninist sect, the Socialist Workers' Party. He's got the venomous riff-raff at one end and your one-God fanatics on the other. Wonderful. Just what we need."
Posted at 01:58 PM
RICH [Jonah Goldberg]
I realize I have no authority to enforce this fatwa, but I hearby declare that you may not use the phrase "Digging Orrin" again for at least one year.
Posted at 01:56 PM
THE DREAD WEAPON SYSTEM [Warren Bell]
France just surrendered.
Posted at 01:55 PM
AS FLIMSY AS IT GETS [Rich Lowry ]
The Democrats are making another “new” Bolton charge in their minority foreign relations committee report on his nomination. It is that he was much more involved in trying to “oust” or “punish” (as press reports have put it) intelligence analyst Fulton Armstrong than known before and he misled the committee in his testimony about his level of involvement. This is absurd. Bolton said he had one conversation with Armstrong's supervisor about getting him re-assigned (not fired). This is true. What Democrats are now pointing to is e-mails by Bolton's staff over a draft letter to George Tenet about Armstrong that was never sent and over having Bolton talk to Tenet about it, which never happened. Once again, Democrats are pounding Bolton for things he never did, but might have thought about, or at least his staff might have thought about. Nor is this information new. The Democrats had it all along, but just wanted to wait so they could have an excuse to get Doug Jehl of the New York Times to write another tendentious anti-Bolton story, which he obligingly did today. In their dozens of “questions for the record” submitted to Bolton, Democrats never asked about all this, precisely so they could use it, unrebutted, at an opportune moment. The memos and e-mails haven't yet been made public. They should be so everyone can see how little there is to this.
Posted at 01:55 PM
RE: FROM WAS TO IS [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh, Okay, fair enough. I was hoping that while you were distracted by your filibuster fight I could sneak up behind you and hit you over the head with a chair.
Posted at 01:46 PM
RE: FROM WAS TO IS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Well, sure, I see some use for history. But I wouldn't argue, as Will does, for history at the expense of philosophy, religion, and poetry. You need to bring philosophy to bear on history to generate moral conclusions. Nor would I argue for history over philosophy, as Will does, on the basis of philosophy's capacity to generate disagreement. (As though the study of history had no such capacity: I guess Will hasn't checked out Southern Appeal lately.)
Posted at 01:39 PM
FAIRFAX IS CALLING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Should I take a hint?
Posted at 01:36 PM
DIGGING ORRIN [Rich Lowry ]
Caught Orrin Hatch on “Hardball” last night. He is the best-informed, most persuasive Republican on the judges/filibuster question. They should have him doing wall-to-wall media...
Posted at 01:32 PM
WHY TED STEVENS IS AN AWFUL SENATOR [Jonah Goldberg]
Part 1,986,997.b: Anchorage's new $1.5 million bus stop.
Posted at 01:26 PM
ATTENTION... [Jonah Goldberg ]
Gun nuts, second ammendment enthusiasts, military tech-geeks and keepers of the faith that the arsenal of democracy could always use a little more oomph: The DREAD weapon system:
Posted at 01:24 PM
YUP [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, I'm an undergrad at Miami University (in OH) and I'm spending my summer studying the election and the "emerging Republican majority" and how it will affect the country over the next few years. As soon as I started delving into the studies and analyses done on the subject, I started to realize what you just wrote your column about - the defining characteristics of Republicans seem to be optimism and patriotism, not wealth or class, and the reverse (pessimism and cynicism)best characterize Democrats. The key factor binding each of the parties together is an outlook on life and the country, not any demographic indicator. This is not to say that cynicism is not sometimes warranted, just to share with you my thoughts on what I think might be a coming sea change in American politics.
Posted at 01:21 PM
SW: ROTS [Jonah Goldberg]
I have not seen it yet and I have withheld judgment. I may try to sneak out for a late show tonight. But I will certainly see it between now and Monday.
Posted at 01:17 PM
FROM WAS TO IS... [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - sorry to pile on. But what exactly is your problem with the Will column? I didn't love it, but it seems to me one can derive some moral lessons from the history of humanity. I don't think history will ever convince a large number of atheists that God exists -- or vice versa -- but surely your inner Hayek or Burke sees some use for history in moral argumentation?
Posted at 01:15 PM
PREFERENCES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Stanley: That's one of the reasons I put the word "arguably" in there. It seems to me that the most natural reading of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is that it prohibits most racial preferences. (That was Justice Stevens's reading in Bakke, which the majority unpersuasively rebutted.) If Congress ever did enact a law authorizing racial preferences, on the other hand, the reasoning of the conservative justices would seem to require the nullification of that law.
Posted at 01:14 PM
RE: THE PREFERENCE REVOLUTION [Andy McCarthy]
On Stanley's point, another key element has been consent decrees -- which are an even more stealthy way of regularlizing things that are irregular (and of dubious constitutionality) than bureaucratic regulations. Consent decrees can be a form of extortion. And, unlike regulations, they don't get challenged in court precisely because the party on whom they are imposed actually agrees to them as the prices of avoiding the risk of even more ruinous consequences.
Of course, as a condition -- such as quotas -- is repeatedly included in a consent decree, and as it is thus actually enforced by (as opposed to having its propriety tested in) courts, it becomes harder and harder to claim convincingly that the condition is unconstitutional or promotes bad policy.
Posted at 01:14 PM
TOWARD SOLVENCY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The White House says that its progressive benefit cuts would eliminate 70 percent of the deficits projected for Social Security 75 years from now. Critics such as Jason Furman say that Bush's plan would actually get rid of only 30 percent of the program's deficit over the next 75 years. (Via Brendan Nyhan.) Who's right?
They're estimating different things, to start with. The Bushie estimate is about what happens in one year, the 75th. The point is that the cuts move you very close to a positive cash-flow by then and thus gets you on the path to sustainable solvency. But since there are deficits before (and afterward) that year, it's right to say that the cuts would eliminate only 60 percent of the cumulative deficits over the next 75 years.
The 60 percent and 70 percent figures are each useful to keep in mind.
Furman, however, gets from 60 to 30 by counting the costs of personal accounts. The accounts cost the government money over the 75-year period because some people contribute to their accounts before 2080 but retire afterwards, so the savings from the reduced traditional benefits they accept in return for the accounts isn't recorded. This "loss" is really just an artifact of accounting. Looked at on a person-for-person basis, or over the infinite horizon, the accounts don't make the program less solvent.
Posted at 01:06 PM
NR EDITORIAL & JRB [Peter Kirsanow]
Ramesh: Not to beat a dead horse, but I don't think you need to be concerned that Janice Rogers Brown may turn out to be " a Richard Epstein clone". Epstein's approach would likely strike down the preponderance of regulations that even remotely have the effect of redistributing wealth.And what appears to be his more restrictive approach to the Commerce Clause would invalidate yet an additional body of legislation (to say nothing of his pronouncements regarding the 1964 Civil Rights Act). While Brown's speeches clearly evince libertarian sympathies arguably more profound than those of any of the other filibustered nominees, those sympathies don't appear to be anywhere near as powerful as Epstein's; and to the extent they can be discerned in her opinions, they are comfortably within the legal mainstream. Heck, she even makes reference to Holmes' approach to property regulation in one of her opinions---hardly evidence of Epsteinism.
Posted at 01:00 PM
THE PREFERENCE REVOLUTION [Stanley Kurtz]
Ramesh, I may be wrong, but as I understand it, racial preferences were largely not established through “democratically enacted laws.” Race preferences have been established for the most part through a combination of administrative regulation (originally, by the Nixon White House), and later confirmed by the courts. The public opposes race preferences, and when given a chance to vote on them, they generally disallow them. The striking thing about race preferences is that legislators tend to avoid the issue, preferring to leave the matter to the courts. True, Title IX of the Higher Education Act–which prohibits discrimination in college sports–is a law. But it was turned into a quota system–against the meaning and intent of the original legislation–by Clinton administration bureaucrats. Then the bureaucratic revolution was confirmed by judges. I’m open to correction here. I don’t have chapter and verse on this. But as I understand it, the preference revolution was largely enacted via an end run around legislatures by bureaucrats and judges.
Posted at 12:59 PM
SULLIVAN ON THE FILIBUSTER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Not one of his most careful posts. First, he praises our December editorial suggesting that it would be unwise to make a formal rules change. He introduces a quote from it thus: "Here's an elegant argument that both decries the Democrats' tactics against judicial nominees and yet resists the filibuster." Surely he meant "and yet resists getting rid of the judicial filibuster"? Then he quotes the editorial and suggests we've flip-flopped. But the quoted material hardly justifies that claim. The quoted material suggests that filibusters of judicial nominees are constitutionally permissible. The magazine hasn't said anything to the contrary. Indeed, the latest editorial--the alleged occasion of the flip-flop--restates that very point: "Almost everything else in the debate is a diversion. The text of the Constitution does not forbid the Senate to let the majority confirm judges, as Democrats preposterously insist; nor does it require it" (emphasis added).
[UPDATE: On second thought, I'm probably being too tough on Sullivan--he doesn't seem to have been slamming us, which is the impression I left.]
Posted at 12:52 PM
"NEWSWEEK HAS EARNED ITS SPOT RIGHT BESIDE THE NEW YORK TIMES AND CBS." [K. J. Lopez]
NR's take on Newsweek
Posted at 12:36 PM
FROM MY IN-BOX [K. J. Lopez]
"Hello--I enjoyed reading your article, which was reprinted inn our local Newspaper on Kauai...."
That newspaper really should consider a resort conference with columnists it runs on a panel. In Kauai, however, panels should be very short. D.C. is for long panels.
Posted at 12:33 PM
CLINTON AND GINGRICH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Arnold Kling writes skeptically about their joint proposal for health care.
Posted at 12:16 PM
THE TIDE IS TURNING [John Derbyshire]
A reader wants to know if I was totally sober on the Michael Savage show last night.
Define "totally." It was 8:30. I'd had dinner, with my customary glass of wine. All right, couple of glasses. And perhaps a glass after dinner. It's still legal... for a while longer.
Posted at 12:16 PM
THE MEDIA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
This item on the press's reaction to criticism is worth reading, as are its links.
Posted at 12:11 PM
FISTS A-FLYIN' [Rich Lowry ]
In the movie Oldboy (out now, but probably only available at arty big-city theaters) there is a wonderful fight scene where the protagonist is assailed by about two dozen guys with sticks. He is knifed in the back, has the sticks break over him he is hit so hard, collapses at one point and gets the heck kicked out of him, but eventually emerges victorious, bloodied, but unbowed. That reminds me a little of Ramesh in the Corner this morning...
Posted at 12:04 PM
PEE-POT TOME [Rich Lowry ]
Subject: re: Crapperquiddick
Posted at 11:56 AM
I LOVE [K. J. Lopez]
when Ramesh has days like today in The Corner.
Posted at 11:45 AM
THE INT'L PRESIDENT OF THE NEWSPAPER GUILD [Ramesh Ponnuru]
pulls an Eason Jordan.
Posted at 11:38 AM
NR'S EDITORIAL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It has critics elsewhere, too. Matthew Yglesias faults NR, first, for ignoring various points he thinks it ought to have addressed. "That the Senate rules do, in fact, allow for filibusters is not mentioned. Nor is the fact that changing the Senate's rules does, in fact, require 67 votes." Well, sure, the editorial doesn't explicitly say that the Senate rules allow for filibusters. But since it explicitly advocates a rules change to end filibusters against judges, such an acknowledgment would seem to be unnecessary. And changing the Senate's rules does not, "in fact," require 67 votes. It is entirely possible that the Senate will vote to change them by 51 votes--something that the Senate rules also allow for.
Second, Yglesias says that the idea that conservative judges would allow voters and legislators to decide more policy issues--and that this is the reason liberals object to them--is "a load of crap" that NR writers "don't believe for a minute." Many conservative jurists, he notes, would be "far more eager" to strike down economic regulations than liberals. He could have added campaign-finance regulation and, more arguably, racial preferences, as other issues where conservative jurists would be more likely than liberals to strike down democratically enacted laws.
Now that strikes me as a fair point--which may be a function of the fact that I am much less gung-ho about judicial invalidation of campaign-finance laws, racial preferences, and certain economic regulations than other conservatives. But I think that the editorial's generalization is nonetheless sound as a generalization.
I don't assume that all conservative judicial nominees are going to be Richard Epstein clones; I assume, rather, that very few of them will be. (Janice Rogers Brown being the one about whom I have the most concerns.) I think that at the most, you'd have judges who try to advance the Rehnquist federalism "revolution." And that revolution has restricted democratic self-government hardly at all. Almost all of the laws that have been struck down could be rewritten in a way that would not change their substance but would pass muster under the Court's federalism jurisprudence. (For example, the Gun-Free Schools Act could have been rewritten so that states' keeping their schools "gun free" was a condition for continued receipt of federal subsidies.) For the federalism revolution to actually start restricting democratic self-government, Justice Thomas's concurrence in Lopez would have to have four more allies.
Now liberals (or other conservatives) might well see the federalism cases as a bigger deal than I do. But I don't think it is true that no conservative could reasonably regard them as a minor issue (as I do) or think that they are not what the current judicial-confirmation debates are about (as I also do).
Posted at 11:34 AM
WOMEN IN COMBAT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Philip Gold and Erin Solaro have an op-ed arguing for it. I don't know whether to trust their judgments on the empirical points they raise, but their conclusion certainly seems questionable: "But there is an issue at stake here greater than military necessity. The issue is citizenship, and it is the same issue behind gay marriage. Are all citizens subject to the same rights and responsibilities? Are some citizens more equal than others? Shall we treat each other as citizens or as members of groups, some of whom may be excluded from full rights and responsibilities simply because others don't like them? For decades, conservatism has argued, vehemently, against 'group politics.' Who's practicing it now?"
This follows a complaint about conservatives going with "theory" and "emotion" rather than "facts." The argument they're making here is as much a "theory" or "ideology" as anything these conservatives have said--and it's a weak theory. We aren't saying that disabled citizens are lesser citizens when we exclude them from military service. Whether it's rational to exclude women from combat is, of course, a contested issue. But the Gold/Solaro formulation just begs the question and hides the fact that it is doing so in rhetoric designed to appeal to the emotions. (Not that I object to such rhetoric, but they've just given us their spiel about emotion being beside the point.) And the "simply because others don't like them" ought to have been beneath them.
Posted at 11:11 AM
HOWLS OF DERISION [Warren Bell]
If you hear them in about 4 hours, it's just me, taking the kids to Stars Wars ROTS. The squeals of delight will be the boys. The adorable snoozing noise is my wife.
Posted at 11:07 AM
JUNE 23 [K. J. Lopez]
The date is set and the room is booked! Join NR in Chicago next month for a fundraiser. Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, Jay Nordlinger, John Derbyshire, Andrew Stuttaford, and Byron York will be there. Me too. We're all looking forward to meeting you there--do come if you can! Details are here.
Posted at 11:03 AM
BROOKS ON NEWSWEEK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I think his column is mostly good sense, but the defense of Newsweek is weak.
"Countless conservatives say the folks at Newsweek were quick to believe the atrocity tales because they share the left-wing, post-Vietnam mentality. On his influential blog, Austin Bay writes that the coastal media 'presume the worst about the U.S. military - always make that presumption.'
"Excuse me, guys, but this is craziness. I used to write for Newsweek. I know Mike Isikoff and the editors. And I know about liberals in the media. The people who run Newsweek are not a bunch of Noam Chomskys with laptops. Not even close. Whatever might have been the cause of their mistakes, liberalism had nothing to do with it."
So: Brooks doesn't know the cause of the mistakes, but he's sure that "liberalism had nothing to do with it." To think that liberalism had something to do with it is "craziness." The reason we can be sure it's craziness is that the people at Newsweek "are not a bunch of Noam Chomskys with laptops." I assume we can read this as a denial that Newsweek reporters and editors seek consciously to advance a liberal agenda through the magazine's reporting. I don't disagree with that denial.
But isn't Brooks excluding a lot of middle ground here? Couldn't it be that the reporters and editors tend to be liberal, and that their liberalism influences their decisions? Or is that more "craziness"?
Posted at 11:00 AM
RARELY HAVE I SEEN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
a less persuasive George Will column. How does he propose to get from "was" to "ought"?
Posted at 10:53 AM
AN ANSWER FOR WARREN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The Founders did not put the 60-votes-to-cut-off-debate rule in the Constitution. The abuse of that rule to create a de facto supermajority requirement was not foreseen by them.
Posted at 10:49 AM
RE: CHECKS AND BALANCES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm in favor of supermajority requirements for tax increases. But I don't believe that a general preference for checks and balances is anywhere near sufficient to compel that conclusion.
Posted at 10:43 AM
CHECKS AND BALANCES [Andrew Stuttaford]
Ramesh, where do you stand on the question of super-majorities for certain tax increases? Just curious.
Posted at 10:22 AM
LOUISIANA'S [K. J. Lopez]
house passes a cloning ban... but debate continues.
Posted at 10:13 AM
RE: NR ON FILIBUSTERS [Andy McCarthy]
I’m happy to take that bait, Jonah.
NR’s earlier position was based on two things: an interpretation of the Constitution that I think was wrong (and I say that acknowledging, again, that it was the same wrong position I held at the time), and an assessment of the politics that was always debatable at best (i.e., that the politics of the filibuster were bad for the Democrats--recall that we have had very spirited Corner debates on this subject.)
NR’s new position seems to be Constitution-neutral. It neither rejects nor revisits the legal position taken back in December, although it does assert that the Constitution does not require filibusters (in response to an absurd claim that it does, made by some Democrats). The new position, instead, is singularly politics-dependent.
In that light, I think it’s appropriate. First, politics are always fluid. Leaving aside that I disagreed, and still disagree, with NR’s assessment of the politics of filibusters for the Dems (I think it is good politics for them in the greater scheme of things), the politics has unquestionably changed for the GOP. The Republicans are now more invested in the issue than they were before. If they fail, the failure will be more costly.
I don’t think it betrays principle to alter one’s position when conditions on the ground have changed. You frame the issue in the kind of negative light that is the hallmark of a skillful polemicist (“Is NR's argument that ending the filibuster would be bad but now that GOP prestige is on the line it's necessary?”). In fact, though, if the question was always one of political calculation, prestige is an unavoidable component of politics. So, changing one’s position because of an actual change in risk to prestige is not politically unprincipled--and it’s entirely rational.
Of course, if I am correct that filibusters violate the Constitution, we’d be obligated to oppose filibusters regardless of the politics. I don’t understand NR to have altered its stand on that, though.
Posted at 10:03 AM
THE WASHINGTON TIMES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
reports on embryonic stem-cell research controversies. It describes Mike Castle's bill thus: "It would allow researchers to use embryos from in vitro fertilization clinics that otherwise would be discarded." Ugh. This is a disputed point. It's too bad Amy Fagan and Stephen Dinan took the bill's supporters' spin as fact.
Posted at 09:51 AM
A SHY QUESTION ABOUT CONSTITUTIONAL INTENT [Warren Bell]
Look, I have a BFA in Television from NYU, and while I would be proud to show you the paper I wrote on the merits of "Remington Steele," I am a bit embarrassed about the shallowness of my book-learning. (Meanwhile, I was in the legendary Rick Rubin's dorm room as he invented Def Jam Records.)
My question is: did the framers realize (or plan, even) that the 60-vote cut-off-the-debate rule would allow for the occasional need for a super-majority? Is this even in the Constitution, or is it like a little-known codicil in the Faber charter allowing for double-secret probation?
My point is: here's what I hate about basketball. In the waning moments of a game, a team may realize they have a "foul to give,' meaning that they can foul the opposing team without suffering any penalty. In fact, the "foul to give" can provide the offending team with an advantage as it costs the other team seconds off the clock and court position, since the next play begins with an inbounds pass. It just seems wrong that manipulating a loophole in the rules should provide any advantage.
Posted at 09:45 AM
NR'S "REVERSAL" ON THE FILIBUSTER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I don't understand why you don't understand it, Jonah. NR had argued that a formal rules change was unnecessary to get conservatives confirmed to the courts. That was why NR judged the campaign for a formal rules change to be a mistake: a prudential judgment. It's in the nature of those judgments to change as circumstances do. The way the debate has unfolded over the last few months means that it is now much less likely that conservative judges could be confirmed without the rules change. Anyway: what's inconsistent about suggesting that it may have been wrong to go down a particular road but that now that we have, we ought to go forward?
Andrew: If "the more checks and balances the better" is your watchword, why stop at a 60-vote requirement? Why not make it 100 votes?
Posted at 09:44 AM
WINNING THE WAR ON DRUGS [Jonah Goldberg ]
The results. Note: PG-13. Some will laugh, some will not. Lowry will cry.
Posted at 09:39 AM
I HAVE A QUESTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Please explain to me how this comment is responsible for murder: ''The actions on the part of the Florida court and the U.S. Supreme Court are unconscionable.'' That's Rick Santorum speaking about Terri Schiavo. And, well, that's a legitimate, civil point of view.
You can argue about some other ill-advised comments from others, as we have corporately here, giving a little grief to guys we generally like a lot like John Cornyn. But, for instance, I think that Roe v. Wade is an abomination” (luckily I'm not up for a judgeship). Does that make me responsible for what some crazy person does claiming to carry some kind of "pro-life" torch (a despicable contention to those who truly work to defend life)? (Argh--I probably just gave the Democrats a new talking point on Pryor now. Not that they need the prodding, they are that unfair on their own.)
I bring this up because AOL delivers this Santorum-is-responsible-for-violence-against-judges insinuation this morning in a story on Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow's testimony on the Hill yesterday (it's an AP story, see here, too).
I suppose I probably take this loose you-cause-violence-against-judges stuff a little too personally because I've been accused of it (as has Mark Levin). But I know what I write, and I've read Mark's book, and I'm pretty sure we're in the clear there. Unless of course your position is that strong opinions are the direct cause of violence. But it seems to me, to adapt a trite but true cliché, that opinions don't kill people, people do.
Anyway, say what you will about Rick Santorum, there aren't too many politicians who can beat his commitment to the dignity of human life, as our mutual tradition would put it (partial-birth abortion, Laci and Conner’s Law, Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, parental notification, religious liberty in Sudan, China, North Korea…the list goes on). That AP story is reckless, if you ask me.
Posted at 09:38 AM
THERE'S NEWSWEEK GOSSIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
in Beltway Buzz.
Posted at 09:37 AM
MORE ON DEMS AND SOCIAL SECURITY [Stanley Kurtz]
One Democratic congressman exposes the truth about the Democrats only alternative solution to Social Security and the House Democratic leadership throws a fit.
Posted at 09:33 AM
DEM PROBLEMS [Stanley Kurtz]
Has a House Democrat just proposed the largest tax increase in American history? Here’s the real reason the Democrats don’t want to offer their own plan for Social Security.
Posted at 09:24 AM
DAVID BROOKS [K. J. Lopez]
is in the Andy McCarthy camp on Newsweek.
Posted at 09:23 AM
DAVID PRYCE(LESS!)-JONES [Jack Fowler]
Few know better the intricacies, dirty dealings, cultural tics, political complexities, the potentates and shadow-dwellers, and the history of the Middle East and Islam than does NR’s esteemed senior editor. David Pryce-Jones is a jewel (heck, a treasure chest!), and his article in the May 23 issue of NR about Syrian President Bashar Assad, his fate, and recent events in Lebanon is but 1,400 words, but never did 1,400 words describe a situation so clearly. Here’s the article’s finale:
Repression and violence are the absolute ruler’s habitual tools. The secret police have already shot dead a score of Kurds in Qamishli and elsewhere demonstrating for autonomy on the lines of Iraqi Kurds. And in Lebanon Bashar can hope to activate those stay-behind agents to set the ethnic and religious communities against each other, in effect reviving the Lebanese civil war that contributed religiously inspired terror and the suicide bomber to the practices of the region. A couple of bombs have already exploded in Beirut. Hezbollah is waiting in the wings, and Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, its leader in Lebanon, likes to emphasize that he is at the head of “a resistance movement and not a militia.” Hezbollah, he also claims, is driving Israel to retreat, and it could do Bashar’s dirty work — and precipitate fighting — by firing some of those rockets when and if the Israelis leave Gaza as planned. Hafez Assad was a master of black arts of that kind, but in the post-Baathist world a hand-me-down reprise of them may not be enough to save Bashar.You can read David’s entire article – and fine pieces by Ponnuru, Nordlinger, York, Sikorski, Goldberg, O’Sullivan, Brookhiser, and many more, including Mark Krikorian’s cover essay on immigration politics – right now by subscribing to National Review Digital. A full year of NRD costs just $21.95, which is almost one third the cost of NR’s print magazine, and you can access NRD (in convenient Text, PDF, and Image formats) the day its paper big brother comes off the press; in other words, before the US Postal Service can misplace your copy!). Don’t, as they say, take my word for it – check out National Review Digital right now, right here.
Posted at 09:18 AM
THE TIDE IS TURNING [John Derbyshire]
Opinion Journal runs a pro-immigration-enforcement piece.
Pretty soon the federal government will have to start enforcing federal laws.
Posted at 09:13 AM
CAL THOMAS [Jack Fowler]
Our good friend (who’ll be sailing on a 2006 NR cruise, more about that in a few weeks) and Dem-agogue Bob Beckel--well, let’s just call him an acquaintance and leave it at that--have a new gig going on at USA Today, called “Common Ground,” which you should check out. Today’s back-and-forth across the ideological abyss covers the good, bad, and ugly of congressional travel.
Posted at 09:11 AM
OH RIGHT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Oh I see, so Rameshgets to review the Bailey book. Typical. Censorship! Dixie Chicks! John Ashcroft!
Posted at 09:09 AM
FILIBUSTERS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Be afraid, Jonah. I'm with you on the NR reversal. Speaking more generally, the more checks and balances built into the system the better, I reckon, so I'm far from convinced that the 'nuclear option' is wise...
Posted at 09:09 AM
RE: BRAIN SPA [K. J. Lopez]
I can't wait for Ron's upcoming Liberation Biology: The Moral and Scientific Defense of the Biotech Revolution (forward by Rod Serling). (Ramesh, all systems go for a review?)
Bailey would never believe I once waited on line on a Saturday morning for him to sign a copy of one of his books. We didn't have Google at the time--or he wasn't into head freezing yet.
I can tell you that Ron's a very gracious guy--even when he thinks you're insane on some of the pressing issues of the day (the feeling being mutual, hopefully on both counts).
Posted at 08:46 AM
RE: ECOTERRORISM [Stanley Kurtz]
Here’s a better link on the ecoterrorism issue than the one I provided below. And check out what the liberal senators had to say.
Posted at 08:26 AM
A DAY AT THE BRAIN SPA [Jonah Goldberg]
Ron Bailey describes a world where your brain can get a nice steam and rubdown.
Prediction: Stuttaford will love this story. Lopez will be horrified.
Posted at 08:19 AM
DEBATING SOCIAL SECURITY [Stanley Kurtz]
What's this? An honest debate about Social Security? Big media isn't carrying the story, but the Stanford Report is. Peter Orszag, author of the real Democratic plan on Social Security, is one of the participants.
Posted at 08:14 AM
IT...HAS...ARRIVED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Or so I hear. My Starbucks cup is apparently wending its way through the Starbucks bloodstream as we speak. I do hope it shows up in the Starbucks on 82nd and Broadway in New York, as I suspect it would have highest annoyance-impact there. Maybe James Wolcott will scald himself when he sees it.
Posted at 08:14 AM
MAGGIE GALLAGHER ON NEBRASKA [Stanley Kurtz]
Kathryn links to it here.The most powerful thing about this piece is Gallagher’s account of her 2003 congressional testimony, when Democratic Senators pooh-poohed the idea that federal judges might overturn state definitions of marriage. The other day, in “Reassurances Against Reality,” I took my own look back at such claims. It is truly striking to compare the reassurances floated just a few years ago with the reality of today.
Posted at 08:13 AM
LEFT EVANGELISM [Stanley Kurtz]
Big media’s melting down. Movies are in a slump. Why? The media’s losing money because contemporary secular liberalism is really a kind of religion. Liberals don’t want to make money. They’re out to win souls. Oh sure, within the acceptable parameters of their secular religion, liberals are pleased to make a profit. No doubt Hollywood and MSM do plenty of market research and such. But it’s obvious that the media would rather “make a difference” (i.e. gain converts to secular liberalism) than make money. It wouldn’t be hard for the big newspapers and magazines to attract reporters and writers from all sides of the political-cultural spectrum. In fact, a news magazine that truly covered stories from both the left and the right would excite interest, buzz, loyalty–and make money. Readers would also be more disposed to forgive mistakes. But big media doesn’t do this because, for secular journalists, making the culture more liberal is the mission that gives meaning to life.
Contemporary liberalism seeks to diminish Christianity and promote secularism. And liberals sometimes do this in ways that play into the hands of Islamic terrorists. I suppose I could be talking about Newsweek, but I’m really thinking of “Kingdom of Heaven,” Ridley Scott’s film about the Crusades. I had the misfortune of seeing “Kingdom of Heaven” the other day. It is the apotheosis of Hollywood’s secular liberalism. Hatred of religion. That is what “Kingdom of Heaven” is about. Every scene, every character, every plot-twist advances the central message: religion bad/secularism good. Are secular liberals running a campaign against “people of faith?” You bet they are. Just go to the movies and you’ll see it. This is not about making money. “Kingdom of Heaven” is pulling Hollywood further into its slump. Who wants to see this p.c. propaganda, anyway? No, the media’s on a crusade against religion. And they’re sinking under the weight of their missionary obsession.
Now check out this nonsensical assertion from today’s New York Times: “As a rule, Hollywood studios go to great lengths to ensure that their projects–both in the development stage, and especially when they are positioned in the marketplace–are free of messages that could be offensive to any great swath of the moviegoing public.” You’ve got to be kidding. Has this guy even thought about Hollywood’s treatment of religion?
Posted at 08:12 AM
NOT ALL DOGWALKING [Stanley Kurtz]
Where is the greatest threat of home-gown terrorism coming from? The answer may surprise you. And what well known organization may support these terrorists? Here is a remarkable allegation.
Posted at 08:10 AM
CHINA [Stanley Kurtz]
The big question appears to be whether China’s ties to the world economy will pull it into the broader world system, thereby reducing the threat of war. The answer appears to be, not just yet.
Posted at 08:07 AM
NR ON FILIBUSTERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Let's stir the pot nice and early. I'm not sure I understand NR's reversal on filibusters. In a December editorial -- titled "Let them Filibuster" -- the magazine said:
So we sympathize with those Republicans who have been proposing to change the Senate rules to make it easier to confirm nominees who have majority support. Nevertheless, we think the idea is a mistake.And yesterday we said:
For Republicans to leave the filibusters in place now after months of demanding a change would be ignominious. The same pundits who are saying that the majority party should not insist on its prerogatives would turn around and say that the majority party is responsible and should be held accountable for everything the government does. More important, a surrender would tell everyone — conservative voters, Democratic senators and interest groups, and the White House — that Republican senators were irresolute in their support for judicial conservatism. It would thus set back the urgent cause of a reformation of the federal judiciary.Here's what I don't get: Is NR's argument that ending the filibuster would be bad but now that GOP prestige is on the line it's necessary?
Posted at 08:04 AM
"FLUSH BUSH" [K. J. Lopez]
Jersey meets Greek cyber-chic.
Posted at 07:20 AM
RE: SCHUMER [Tim Graham]
Is there a more stubborn faith-based dogma, more opposed to the scientific record, than the doctrine that the involvement of religious conservatives in the Republican Party is disastrous to its efforts to build a majority? From the "revolution" of 1994, when what Dan Rather called "the people calling themselves the Christian Coalition" were credited (or blamed) with driving up GOP turnout, the Republicans have been able to sustain (and recently grow) a majority. Using the actual record of elections, it would be much more plausible to assert that the Democratic Party's attachment to the If It Feels Good, Do It lobby and the Defining Marriage Down groups has been more harmful.
Posted at 07:19 AM
"CATHOLIC" COLLEGES [Mark Krikorian]
It's worse than I thought. From a reader who attended GU about 10 years after me: "Sadly, Georgetown University is now a Catholic school in name only. When Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria spoke at Commencement a few years ago, several professors staged a walk-out because he spoke out against abortion, divorce, adultery and homosexuality, and the school’s administration apologized *to the professors* for the Cardinal’s remarks."
ME: The speaker at my commencement was Mother Teresa, and her exhortation to us to preserve our virginity for our eventual spouses was met with a certain degree of puzzlement, but at least no one walked out.
Posted at 07:15 AM
BRING ON THE POT [K. J. Lopez]
It's better than what I'm doing right now. Except we're doing it for a cause, goshdarnit.
Posted at 12:05 AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
STAR WARS [Alex Rose]
Could I have a say before the new Star Wars opens? I'm intrigued by the brouhaha about the politics of the line, "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes." It seems to me that George Lucas has been banging on about the Good Side and the Dark Side since 1977, but it seems that now only Siths think in terms of such absolutes and the Jedis -- a bunch of self-appointed megalomaniacs, if you ask me -- are presumably sort of ambivalent about the whole thing. Which means that all the other stuff about sticking with the Good and avoiding the Dark is rubbish, and that Lucas has been lying to The Children (hat tip to Mr. Stuttaford) all this time.
Could it be that Lucas himself is a Sith? I think we should be told.
Wilhuff Tarkin (Grand Moff)
Posted at 11:49 PM
TRIVIA [K. J. Lopez]
Did you know Rick Santorum used to be a lobbyist for the World Wrestling Federation?
Posted at 10:50 PM
WHY IS EVERYONE POSTING? [K. J. Lopez]
Our readership is outside movie theaters all over the country right now, hopefully not dressed as storm troopers (though, I guess in the George Lucas/much of the H-Bomb world, that would be their/our natural attire)....
Posted at 10:44 PM
RE: A GOVERNMENT ROLE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
If I could jump into the assimilation thread a bit late: I am not in principle opposed to a governmental role in encouraging assimilation. I think, however, that less intrusion by the government into the culture will be necessary the fewer immigrants (legal plus illegal) there are, and the more places they come from. Assimilation under those circumstances will occur more naturally. The flip side of that is that the more immigration you have, and the more it comes from one source, the more aggressive an assimilative policy will have to be--and the less likely it will be, given modern political realities, that you will be able to have an aggressive policy.
Posted at 10:38 PM
"EXTREME" BECOMES "EXTRAORDINARY" [Byron York]
Participants in the bipartisan Senate filibuster talks remain optimistic they can make a deal that will head off a Republican decision to exercise the nuclear/constitutional/Byrd option.
One change that has occurred is Democrats are no longer demanding the right to filibuster future nominees whom they deem "extreme." Republicans note that Democrats have referred to virtually every Bush nominee to whom they object as "extreme," meaning that including the word in any agreement would give Democrats a blank check to filibuster nominees in the future. Now, both sides are using the phrase "extraordinary circumstances," which is believed would indicate a Democratic commitment to refrain from filibusters.
There has also been discussion of parity of demands. So far, Democrats have offered to refrain from filibusters -- except in those "extraordinary" circumstances -- in return for a Republican guarantee not to use the nuclear/constitutional/Byrd option for the remainder of the 109th Congress. Republicans, on the other hand, have discussed offering to refrain from using the option except in "extraordinary circumstances" -- in other words, agreeing to the same conditions as Democrats. It is not clear whether Democrats will accept that condition.
But it does appear that Democrats are backing down somewhat on the number of nominees they would insist on killing as part of any agreement. One scenario has Democrats agreeing to up-or-down votes for all nominees except William Myers and Henry Saad, meaning five currently blocked nominees would receive up-or-down votes in the full Senate.
Finally, as of now, Republicans plan to hold a cloture vote on the nomination of Priscilla Owen next Tuesday night. If no agreement is reached by then, Republicans will test the Democrats' commitment to filibuster Owen. If Democrats choose to continue, then the GOP plan calls for the vote that will end the filibusters.
Posted at 10:31 PM
FAKE BUT PLAUSIBLE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A new standard for judging these things.
Posted at 10:16 PM
DE COLORES, AS WE KNOW 'EM [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 09:59 PM
SLECHT IDEE? [Andrew Stuttaford]
French enthusiasts for the draft EU constitution may now be reduced to babbling on about ‘the children’, but, alarmed doubtless by the mounting scandal over the exchange rate at which the Netherlands swapped the Guilder for the Euro (a scandal which is helping the ‘nee’ campaign), one minister in the Dutch government is taking a rather more aggressive tack in their referendum debate (the Dutch vote on June 1, the French on May 29). He’s saying that the Dutch people are too dumb to decide on the constitution for themselves, an announcement that is not only rude, but disappointing given that part of the rationale for this wretched document in the first place was to ‘explain’ the EU to its luckless citizens.
'Plebiscites can be a good thing, but this one is about something the Dutch people know nothing about,' explained Economics Minister Brinkhorst.
Brinkhorst, old fellow, I’m not convinced that was the smartest thing to say… Arjan at Zacht Ei goes a little further. He thinks that the Dutch government has “lost its mind”.
He has a point.
In Denmark, meanwhile, we have this news (via England Expects):
"It appears that a huge row has bubbled up in Denmark prior to the launch of the Yes and No campaigns for their September referendum. The bottom line is that the PM, despite promising otherwise earlier decided not to send a copy of the treaty to every household citing the cost."
Adding to the fun, it now turns out that the government has overstated the cost.
Posted at 08:57 PM
RE: GALLOWAY [K. J. Lopez]
Here's Claudia Rosett
Posted at 08:48 PM
ROTS [K. J. Lopez]
Warren: You were neither the first nor the last.
Posted at 08:48 PM
SOMEONE [K. J. Lopez]
is starved for attention.
Posted at 08:45 PM
GALLOWAY [Andrew Stuttaford]
”In a statement last night after Mr Galloway's fierce testimony on Capitol Hill, the Charity Commission took issue with his statement that its inquiry had examined "all money in and all money out". It said: "We did not undertake a detailed review of sources of income to the Appeal because the original concern prompting our inquiry was about the use to which funds had been put. "Our inquiry did not find evidence of donations direct from oil companies but noted that one of the major funders of the Appeal was Fawaz Zureikat, an individual named on 12 May 2005 by the US Senate Sub-Committee as allegedly connected with payments in relation to allocations of oil under the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme. "We have no evidence to show that the income received by the Fund from Mr Zuriekat came from an improper source. But had the recent allegations been known to us at the time of our inquiry, we would have made the information available to the appropriate UK authorities for them to decide whether the Mariam Appeal had received funds from an illegal source."
Posted at 08:35 PM
DOUBLE STANDARDS? [Andrew Stuttaford]
I'm no great fan of Tom DeLay, but this is too good not to pass on.
Posted at 08:07 PM
ALL ABOUT ANDREW [John Podhoretz]
" I'd wager I know much less about Joan Crawford, Mae West or Bette Davis than John does," says Andrew Sullivan in an effort to provide a riposte to my suggestion earlier today that he might wish to channel someone other than Natalie Portman's character in Star Wars in his prose. I'd wager it too. Maybe if he learned a little about self-mockery from these performers, Andrew might find his way to the long and winding path that might lead him, eventually, to uncover a sense of humor.
Posted at 08:02 PM
HMMM [Andrew Stuttaford]
Anne Applebaum: “Now, it is possible that no interrogator at Guantanamo Bay ever flushed pages of the Koran down the toilet, as the now-retracted Newsweek story reported -- although several former Guantanamo detainees have alleged just that. It is also possible that Newsweek reporters relied too much on an uncertain source, or that the magazine confused the story with (confirmed) reports that prisoners themselves used Korans to block toilets as a form of protest.”
Via Instapundit, who has this to say: “I had missed those confirmed reports, but heads should roll at the Pentagon for this. Not because it happened, but because we didn't make it a big story across the Arab media. That's unforgivable.”
Posted at 07:55 PM
THE CARDINAL NO [K. J. Lopez]
Just in from the Cardinal Newman Society:
MANASSAS, VA (May 18, 2005) - Today Baltimore's Cardinal William Keeler informed Loyola College of Maryland interim president David Haddad that the Cardinal refuses to participate in an event honoring Rudolph Giuliani, an advocate of abortion rights and probable Republican candidate for U.S. president in 2008.
Posted at 07:37 PM
WHY THE FRENCH SHOULD VOTE "OUI" [Andrew Stuttaford]
Alarmed by new polling data, the socialist mayor of Paris explains the reasons for voting in favour of the draft EU 'constitution':
“I hope that on the day, the French people will think of themselves, of their history, of their children.”
Ah, for ‘the children’. Of course.
Posted at 07:25 PM
OWEN AND GONZALES [K. J. Lopez]
Ramesh addresses here.
Posted at 06:38 PM
DERB ON THE WIRELESS [John Derbyshire]
I'm to be on Michael Savage's show this evening about 8:30 EST.
Posted at 06:15 PM
RE: ENTERING THE NEW AGE LATE [K. J. Lopez]
Readers say "just click and buy this." Here's my question: Is there a Blackberry/Treo/etc. that any one of you uses that besides doing e-mail is good on the web, actually browsing and working on the Internet? Everyone I talk to says theirs is useless on webpages. But is it out there? My dream machine?
Posted at 05:58 PM
RE: HOT INTERROGATORS [K. J. Lopez]
I think Barbara Comstock made this point months back: it's Alias.
Posted at 05:41 PM
MOVEON... [K. J. Lopez]
...has now moved their papal judge image off their site. Here is what they had up earlier:
Posted at 05:32 PM
SUBJECT: HOT INTERROGATIONS [Rich Lowry ]
`...the tactics involved things deliberately meant to push the detainees' cultural buttons, such as sexually suggestive female interrogators.' And this is a problem how, exactly? Let Todd...er, Newsweek...run with this little tidbit, and you'll have riots on American college campuses, with energized crowds of young men demanding to be taken to Gitmo for interrogation.
Posted at 05:32 PM
CRAPPERQUIDDICK? WELL, IT'S BETTER THAN KORAN-GATE [Rich Lowry ]
Reader Clinton Taylor writes:
Posted at 05:29 PM
SCHUMER: "LIKE A BANANA REPUBLIC" [Byron York]
New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer took time out from the debate over judicial nominees today to hold a conference call with a group of left-wing bloggers. According to several accounts, Schumer said that the situation on Capitol Hill is "like a banana republic" and charged that the entire Republican party has been taken over by religious extremists. In the words of one blogger's account: "Why are the Republicans doing this when, in Schumer's words, there are 25 Republican Senators who believe in the filibuster? Four words. The Extreme Religious Right. James Dobson & Co. To put it plainly, this is Schiavo Part 2. Frist has made a despicable Faustian bargain - do what Dobson tells him on the Nuclear Option, judicial nominees, and just about everything else, and they will back him for President in 2008. It is that simple. Senator Schumer expressed amazement at the total control that the Extremists have over the WHOLE Republican Party. He stated that is has never been like this before."
Posted at 05:21 PM
DARTH VADER IS BLOGGING... [Darth Pod]
...and let me tell you, he's a whole lot more interesting and amusing than the awful movie.
Posted at 05:14 PM
RE: MORE GITMO [John Podhoretz]
Rich, it is certainly possible that the fallout from theNewsweek story will boomerang in the magazine's favor, or be seen in that light because the press has rallied around Whitaker and Company in a startling display of guild loyalty. But that's an elite-media vs. regular-folks misunderstanding of why Newsweek's behavior was so enraging. People here aren't mad because of the falsity at the heart of the story's reporting. They are angry because the magazine reported something in an offhanded and thoughtless manner that caused anti-American riots that led to deaths and injuries and did injury to the United States. That Stateside anger isn't going to dissipate because people discover the Koran hit the floor in 2003.
Posted at 05:04 PM
ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE FUBSY [The Guy Who Is Sorry He Used the Word 'Fubsy' in the First Place]
This is boring even me.
Posted at 04:53 PM
MORE GITMO [Rich Lowry ]
If anything bad ever happened to the Koran at Gitmo we now are going to find out about it, given the bout of fresh reporting generated by the Newsweek flap. And whatever that was will be used as a way to vindicate the magazine. My guess is that there won't be anything as extreme as the alleged Koran-flushing incident (but one reason the Pentagon was slow in rebutting the Newsweek report was that after Abu Ghraib no one wants to be caught saying “never,” just because you never know). A Koran was definitely dropped on the floor, creating a protest at Gitmo. And it is probably the case that something prompted the January 2003 memo that set up very strict standards for handling the Koran. But Gitmo is less likely to have produced the sort of unauthorized abuses that we had at Abu Ghraib. My understanding is that the interrogations there are obsessively logged and reported in true Bob Graham-fashion. From what I gather, the out-of-ordinary, tough measures were applied almost exclusively to two detainees with connections to the 9/11 plot. The difficulty for the administration is 1) that there won't be any Abu Ghraib-style defense because all of the pressure tactics were almost certainly specifically authorized by Pentagon officials; 2) (and this goes to the kind of points Jonah and Andy have been making) the tactics involved things deliberately meant to push the detainees' cultural buttons, such as sexually suggestive female interrogators. Now, that doesn't shock my conscience, but given the standard of cultural sensitivity that has been set in the Newsweek flap, it's going to put the administration in a tough spot.
Posted at 04:50 PM
RELIGION [K. J. Lopez]
& the jduge debate: Thanks MoveOn, for a little honesty.
Posted at 04:50 PM
WORD FROM ISLAMABAD: LEAVE THOSE JOURNALISTS ALONE! [John Podhoretz]
Rich, I have received important but, alas, confidential e-mails from the MIddle East and South Asia reliably informing me that ordinary people were hurling their plates of baba ganoush to the ground upon hearing that Newsweek's Mike Isikoff was getting heat from the White House -- and that there was great wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth in mosques all over the Gulf at the idea that Newsweek's Mark Whitaker's job might be in jeopardy. "Allahu Akbar!" they are shouting. "Is it not bad enough that Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine is facing jail time in the Valerie Plame case? By the beard of the Prophet, this administration's treatment of reporters is inflaming my tensions!"
Posted at 04:49 PM
ALEC GUINESS, INDEED! [Peter Robinson]
"Fubsy?" Why, the word dates from the eighteenth century, as witness this entry from the Oxford English Dictionary:
Of the figure, limbs, etc.: Fat and squat.John, I now count myself a notch out of your debt.
Posted at 04:41 PM
RE: CATHOLIC SCHOOLS [K. J. Lopez]
Congressman Sherwood Boehlert has withdrawn as this year's commencement speaker at the St. Elizabeth College of Nursing. That's because of rumors groups would be picketing over Boehlert's abortion views.
Posted at 04:37 PM
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS [Mark Krikorian]
Bravo to Kathryn’s column on Catholic colleges. (OK, I’m a kiss-up kind of guy -- but I don’t kick down!) I went to Georgetown as an undergrad, and even 25 years ago the place was working hard to shed its moniker (probably self-assigned anyway) as the Catholic Harvard. The provost at the time (he was still a Jesuit then; now both provost and president are laymen; at least they’re Catholic, I think) said something to the effect that they would make sure that at least half of each incoming freshman class was Catholic, and my Irish Catholic girlfriend at the time was scandalized at such terribly discriminatory comments. And a school’s Catholic-ness shouldn’t be limited to not inviting baby-killers to be commencement speakers; what’s wrong with requiring all incoming students to take two semesters on the faith a dogma of the Catholic Church? You don’t have to believe it, but if you’re there, you should know it.
Posted at 04:34 PM
GLASS HOUSES [Mark Krikorian]
On the same day that Vicente Fox groveled before Jesse Jackson for his “jobs even blacks won’t do” crack, the Mexican government released a poll about discrimination within Mexico, with Indians, foreigners, and non-Catholics (among others) found to face daily discrimination. We are all fallen beings, of course, but next time before they whine to the UN about our mistreatment of illegal aliens, our neighbors to the south might sneak a look at the Gospel of Matthew: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
Posted at 04:33 PM
GAME SYSTEMS [Warren Bell]
We have a Gamecube for the kids, mainly because their titles tend to be less graphically violent or mature. I have an XBox of my own, and can confess to a lengthy period with a monkey called "Halo" on my back.
Peter, I understand the instinct to bargain your way to a "good" electric keyboard instead of a "bad" videogame system. There is no doubt that videogames are addictive (to certain kids, anyway (and certain adults)) and we have to constantly monitor their use.
But there is no doubt in my mind that videogaming has had an upside for my boys. Most obviously, it provides a common ground for socialization for them and their friends. They all talk the same language and play the same games. But beyond that, I found that playing the more challenging, goal-oriented games (as opposed to say, a racing game) has taught my boys about adversity, and how to overcome through perserverance. My older boy (age 11) kind of has the world on a string -- he's gorgeous, well-liked and brilliant, I tell you with all bogus humility. But videogames are tough, and he has fought his way through tears of frustration many times to "beat" them. Now of course, I wouldn't mind if he were perservering similarly in his mastery of the piano (two lessons and out), but I genuinely feel he has at least learned that things that are hard require extended effort, and that he's up to it.
My wife would counter that I am out of my mind and that the games are a plague on our house.
Posted at 04:32 PM
OH, PLEASE [Rich Lowry ]
Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker now seems to be claiming that administration pressure on Newsweek risks igniting further riots in the Muslim world. From the Washington Post: “Are they making the story in the Arab street that the administration is trying to silence reporters about these sensitive issues, and is that going to keep the unrest going?” Gimme a break.
Posted at 04:05 PM
CBS SHAKE-UP [Jonah Goldberg]
60 Minutes II cancelled. Dan Rather to move to 60 Minutes. Unclear what he'll do there.
Posted at 03:40 PM
FUBSY UPDATE [John Podhoretz]
Readers are all over me for saying Alec Guinness coined the word "fubsy." It appears in a 1913 dictionary described as an insult term in the U.K. for "chubby." And it appears in a Rudyard Kipling poem inside The Jungle Book:
Oppress not the cubs of the stranger, but hail them as Sister and Brother,
For though they are little and fubsy, it may be the Bear is their mother.
Here endeth the lesson on "fubsy."
Posted at 03:29 PM
CRIMSON ROOM SPOILERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Now get back to work.
Posted at 03:25 PM
DEMS START [K. J. Lopez]
to shut down the Senate?
Posted at 03:22 PM
CRIMSON ROOM [Jonah Goldberg ]
Okay, anybody who has the answers to the Crimson room timewaster from yesterday send them to me and I will post them.
Posted at 03:16 PM
VOTING FOR DEMOCRACY [K. J. Lopez]
Here's our new editorial on the current judge debate.
Posted at 03:13 PM
RE: ANDREW SULLIVAN IS MRS. ANAKIN SKYWALKER [John Podhoretz]
A very clever reader follows up on my suggestion that Sullivan channel Mae West, or Joan Crawford, or Bette Davis, rather than Natalie Portman:
Mae West: "A soldier at Guantanamo was heard to say, 'When I'm good I'm very good, but when I'm bad I'm better.'"
Joan Crawford: "Are we to believe the guards at Guantanamo do not use wire hangers -- EVER?"
Bette Davis: "In observing our behavior at Gitmo I can only say, 'What a dump!'"
Oh, and I can hear Sullivan's reponse now...."NRO makes light of accusations of torture...this is no laughing matter...the beagle wept when he heard about the mistreatment of the Koran...Men should be naturally hairy...."
Posted at 03:06 PM
RE: FUBSY [Peter Robinson]
Guiness! I swoon for Alec Guiness. We tend to think of him as a fine, wry character actor, but as you'd know, John, in his youth he was brilliantly funny--in the chase scenes in The Man in the White Suit he moved as well, which is to say as hilariously, as Chaplin himself. Come to think of it, the character Guiness played in that film was...fubsy.
Thank you, John. A fine word explained, and an excuse to think for a moment about one of the greats. I count myself a notch deeper in your debt.
Posted at 02:54 PM
TRIPPING THE TIVO FANTASTIC [Peter Robinson]
Mister Warren Bell is right again, as usual: Tivo is a good thing, not a bad thing. Since getting Tivo for Christmas (all right, I confess: I talked the kids out of a game console by promising them an electric keyboard and Tivo), the Robinson children have discovered the joys--and "joys" is the word--of I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, and the original Star Trek, while Edita and I have recorded tens of hours of Mystery, Masterpiece Theater and (another confession) Desperate Housewives, not that we have time to watch all that we record. The point? That Tivo enables familes to pearl dive through the seas of dreck.
Jonah, K-Lo, to Circuit City, march.
Posted at 02:53 PM
ANDREW SULLIVAN IS MRS. ANAKIN SKYWALKER [John Podhoretz]
Jonah, since you haven't yet seen the Star Wars execresence yet, you may not know that, in what may be the worst writing moment of his career, Andrew Sullivan has actually decided to echo the worst screenplay ever written by the worst screenplay writer. When Andy wrote, in that nauseatingly self-gratulatory passage you quote, "This is how liberty dies - with scattered, knee-jerk applause," he was speaking in the voice of Natalie Portman, who, in Star Wars ROTS, says, "This is how liberty dies -- to thunderous applause." If he's going to go all camp on us, couldn't the Sullied One have quoted Mae West or Joan Crawford or Bette Davis or something?
Posted at 02:46 PM
CORNER READERS KNOW EVERYTHING [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail: "I'm not sure you're aware of this, but Thomas Dolby is the keyboardist/synthesist responsible for all of the great synthesizer work on Foreigner's '4' album, including the cool rhythmic electronic parts in Foreigner's monster hit 'Juke Box Hero'. Pretty crazy how they're related beyond the mere song titles, eh?"
Posted at 02:45 PM
GIVE ME A BREAK [Jonah Goldberg ]
Andrew Sullivan is casting himself as the pastor Niemoller of the blogosphere again:
We couldn't even get a law passed forbidding the CIA from using torture. And what I find remarkable is that interrogatory abuse is now taken for granted, even by defenders of the administration. Here's Jonah Goldberg today:But what on earth was gained by Newsweek's decision to publish the story — whether it was true or not? Were we unaware that interrogators at Gitmo aren't playing bean bag with detainees?No we were not unaware. We were just looking the other way. So yesterday's outrage becomes today's world-weary assumption. This is how liberty dies - with scattered, knee-jerk applause.
Me: This is nonsense. The level of censorship -- official and self-imposed -- during the war on terror is a fraction of a fraction of what was routine during World War Two. Today we have silly debates about whether journalists should wear tiny flags on their lapels. During WWII, Walter Cronkite wore a military uniform while reporting the news (and gladly subjected his reports to censorship). Did liberty die to the tune of scattered, knee-jerk applause then?
Posted at 02:37 PM
GOTTA LOVE RINOS [K. J. Lopez]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – NARAL Pro-Choice America, the nation’s leading advocacy organization for personal privacy and a woman’s right to choose, announced that Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island will deliver the keynote address at the organization’s annual gathering of its state affiliates. The speech is slated for Friday, May 20 at the Beacon Hotel in Washington, DC.
Posted at 02:30 PM
FUBSY [John Podhoretz]
Peter, "fubsy" is a word invented by the peerlessly witty actor Alec Guinness to describe the kind of character he played in great British comedies like The Lavender Hill Mob -- "a man given to handwashing gestures," Guinness once said, a person who was no threat to anybody.
Posted at 02:19 PM
RE: FEELING K-LO'S PAIN [Peter Robinson]
Ah, K-Lo, we finally dodged the issue last Christmas by buying neither a Playstation nor an Xbox nor a Cube. Instead we got the kids to settle on a Yamaha electric keyboard with countless sound effects--push enough buttons, and the eight-year old sounds like a five-man band. (To himself. After listening to the cacaphony for about ten seconds, I decreed that anyone wishing to use the keyboard would have to turn off the sound and wear earphones. And--a point I'd better not overlook--continue to practice each day on the real piano.)
But the keyboard dodge exhausted our imaginations. So this Christmas? Well, K-Lo, I'll rely on you to tell me which game console to purchase.
Posted at 02:10 PM
FOR JOHNNY POD [Peter Robinson]
"Fubsy?" I of course join you in hailing the new Wallace and Gromit, John, the more so since your daughter will soon be old enough to enjoy the clueless Yorkshire cheese-eater and his sly sidekick of a dog. But "fubsy?" Definition and deriviation, please. (We have standards in this here Corner.)
Posted at 02:09 PM
CATHOLIC COLLEGES WHO WANT TO BE CATHOLIC [K. J. Lopez]
Re: this syndicated column: St. Thomas More College is looking for a new president. Maybe you're reading The Corner.
Posted at 02:02 PM
TV UPDATE [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll post some links tomorrow for those interested. In terms of my own issues. This TV must be wall mounted so some of the options people suggest are no good for me.
Posted at 02:00 PM
THE RETURN OF WALLACE AND GROMIT [John Podhoretz]
If you are unaware of the astounding series of short films about a fubsy Briton inventor named Wallace and his trusty beagle, Gromit, then I both feel sorry for you and envy you the wondrous experience of seeing them for the first time. For those who do know, the fantastic news is that their creator Nick Park has made a full-length movie about Wallace and Gromit. The trailer is now online, and it looks amazing.
Posted at 01:56 PM
CATS VS. DOGS AND JUDGES [K. J. Lopez]
It's ridiculous the things that come up when the rules have you bloviating endlessly (seemingly). (Speaking of the ugh-factor...)
Posted at 01:51 PM
PETER (ROBINSON) WILL FEEL MY PAIN [K. J. Lopez]
After fighting on lines and ebay for a new-version Playstation 2 this Christmas, there's, of course, a 3 coming.
Posted at 01:45 PM
PETER SINGER [K. J. Lopez]
hearts Whole Foods.
Posted at 01:36 PM
AVOIDING THAT WORD [Warren Bell]
I complained about "blogosphere" and suggested a perfectly reasonable alternative ("the number four bus to Oak Park") but I think I have been bested by Ace of Spades.
He suggests "Shadow Media,' which I like because it makes me feel sneaky and cool. (And there's your link, Ace.)
Posted at 01:33 PM
BLIND [K. J. Lopez]
For shame! The New York Times doesn't factcheck an 80s' pop reference. (What that blogger I just linked to misses: The Foreigner option.)
Posted at 01:14 PM
RE: LUDDITES [K. J. Lopez]
Dude, I'm still dragging on the Blackberry purchase. Maybe if NR had a personal shopper on call...(not happening--don't worry everyone who just donated money to us!).
Posted at 01:13 PM
LUDDITES [Warren Bell]
Jonah doesn't have Tivo, neither does K-Lo (from the sound of things), Derb doesn't sound like a big TiVo guy. Come on, people! It's the 21st-frickin'-century! Jonah, you have a child! You have a responsibility to time-shift Spongebob and fast forward through the commercials! Do you know how many episodes of Dora the Explorer a good TiVo can hold? All of them! This is what's leading to America down the road to... someplace where people don't watch as much TV, and my pay gets cut!
And Jonah, if you do go flat-screen, and therefore more than likely high-def, many of the cable companies have high-def boxes with high-def DVRs (the generic of TiVo) built-in. You don't buy it, it's just a fee on your cable bill, and another reason cable is better than satellite. (No emails, please, I win, end of argument.)
Do it for the children.
Posted at 01:11 PM
CONSERVATIVE LAFFER [Warren Bell]
I didn't pitch the "ended a scourge called Communism" joke, nor did the other (shh!) conservative on staff. If one of us did, we would have been roundly mocked for pushing our agenda, and more than likely, punches would have been thrown, and after a bloody melee, we would have triumphed, only to be fired.
No, the line in question came from writers whose agenda was to get a laugh, and what better way to do so than to make our occasionally dim lead character sound like Ronald Reagan? Or that's the "thinking."
Posted at 01:08 PM
SINCE GEORGE LUCAS IS USING DARTH VADER TO SELL M&MS... [John Podhoretz]
...and since Lucas has basically all but said Vader is George W. Bush, the brilliant blogger Patrick Ruffini has decided to turn Vader into a walking ad for the GOP, and he invites your participation too. See if you can spot the NRO reference!
Posted at 01:07 PM
RE: KATHY IRELAND [K. J. Lopez]
vs. Bill Maher.
Posted at 12:36 PM
ANTIVENOM [Peter Robinson]
Today in the Wall Street Journal, Alan Reynolds replies to the New York Times, which, in its annual only-too-obvious-bid-for-a-Pulitzer, has begun ponderously unrolling a thumbsucker of a piece on class. “Recent ‘news’ reports implying it has become more difficult for young Americans to live better than their parents,” writes Reynolds, “fail to identify any genuine problem. And they suffer from one added handicap: They are demonstrably untrue.”
Posted at 12:24 PM
RE: PEPSICO [K. J. Lopez]
That speech has now been released.
Posted at 12:10 PM
RE: SCHOOL BUDGETS [John Derbyshire]
Good point from a reader: "A quick way to debunk the 'we need more money' claims from public schools: calculate how much they are spending per class.
"Lets suppose the district is spending $8,000 per student, which I believe is below the national average and well below what they spend in your region. If each class has 20 students, which again would be quite low, they are spending $160,000 per class. If there are 25 students then its $200,000. On what? Pay the teacher $80,000 and you still have $80,000 left for the building, administrators, buses, books, etc, $120,000 if you use the bigger class.
"Give me $100,000 to educate 20 kids for a year and I'll gladly quit my job as an attorney, rent the necessary facilities, and provide a much better education to them than the public schools do.
"As a homeowner who would under no circumstances allow any of my five children to attend any public school (which means I am giving up a $1/2 million government subsidy), I find the amounts the government spends on schools to be utterly outrageous."
Posted at 12:03 PM
FEMINISM [K. J. Lopez]
leads to alcoholism
Posted at 11:44 AM
RE: FYI [K. J. Lopez]
Expect the blogger gals on CNN's Inside Politics to watch your every blog on this.
Posted at 11:40 AM
FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
Hearing fighter jets in the air around my house again.
Posted at 11:34 AM
RE: TV, LAST NIGHT [K. J. Lopez ]
Fitting in According to Jim has nothing to do with being a fan of a writer or two there.
Posted at 11:16 AM
TV, LAST NIGHT [K. J. Lopez ]
I rarely catch current sitcoms (the timing is terrible), but occasionally…last night on According to Jim, Jim Belushi's character, going off on a rant on why men rule (responding to the TV wife's typical men-can't-be-trusted-to-do-anything-responsible schtick) announced with pride that men ended Communism. What I thought was funny? Margaret Thatcher is the type who wouldn’t have minded in the least. One of the many reasons we like the Lady.
Ms. bloggers: Be outraged!
Posted at 11:16 AM
CHINA TALK [John Derbyshire]
Stanley: The outbreak of China analysis has reached even to the paleocon magazines. The June '05 issue of Chronicles has a good piece by Bill Hawkins of the US Business & Industry Council. The article is surprisingly belligerent for a magazine of this sort. The closing paragraph, reproduced below, could have come out of The Weekly Standard. (That remark just got me banned for life from Chronicles Christmas parties.)
"Washington must concentrate on enlarging and sustaining its own capabilities -- industrial, technological, military, and financial -- to ensure that it stays generations ahead of China. This will take more effort than was needed to defeat the Soviet Union, as Chinese capitalism is a much more vigorous contender than was Russian communism. But safeguarding America's preeminence is just as imperative, regardless of the nature of the threat."
Posted at 10:56 AM
SCHOOL BUDGETS [John Derbyshire]
Several supporting posts from taxpayers.
---Reader A: "I have worked as a supplier to government institutions for years. Let's say the maintenance department has a budget of $100,000 a year, but they only spend $30,000. Next year's budget will be $30,000. That's a great system, for me as someone who supplies the schools with heating equipment because at the end of the year they will just buy to maintain the budget. My question is always, 'What is the incentive for being fiscally responsible?' Answer - less of a budget. The wonderful leviathan at work."
---Reader B: "When taxpayers [in my district] demanded more AP high school courses to justify bigger budgets (we were sick of funding new fields, gyms, sports programs), the number quickly jumped from 6 to 20. Well, guess what. Only 30% of the students who take the AP courses are passing them! Don't know if the problem is stupid kids, stupid teachers, or a little of both. But there is no accountability whatsoever. The school website brags about the 20 courses, but does not reveal the success rate. When I publicly asked for the data at an 8th grade parents' informational meeting, I got quizzical looks, shrugs, and this answer: 'Most pass.' A few minutes of Internet searching and I had caught them in a lie."
I'm going to continue voting down any and all local spending proposals every chance I get. You'll cut school buses? I have a car. You'll cut police? I have guns.
The only way to kill municipal socialism is to starve it to death.
Posted at 10:52 AM
POST-MODERN MATH [John Derbyshire]
A reader passed on this column from some West Coast rag.
The writer has a point, though I am not clear what it has to do with postmodernism. The easy availability of desktop computing power is changing math quite radically. We are heading back in a more practical, computational direction. As a keen computer myself I welcome this. It's a whole change of mood, though. Back in the 1960s, when I was studying math at university, the conventional wisdom was that Western math was starting to fall behind Soviet math because we had access to computers (lumbering great mainframes in those days, of course), while they didn't, so they had to use their brains more. In fact it didn't work out that way at all.
I'm not sure where this revolution will take us, but it'll be a relief from the 20th-century trend of seeking ever higher levels of generalization and abstraction. I don't say that trend has been fruitless; but it's been awfully wearing on those of us who love NUMBERS...
Posted at 10:50 AM
THE GONZALES-OWEN LIE [K. J. Lopez]
Harry Reid just said for the 10000th time that Alberto Gonzales called Pricilla Owen an extremist. He didn't. And here is the AG on Owen here and here.
Posted at 10:39 AM
DID ANYONE KNOW... [Guy Who Has Too Much Trivial Nonsense in His Head]
...that one-time NFL player Bernie Casey, later best known for playing the formidable head of the black fraternity organization Lamda Lamda Lamda in Revenge of the Nerds, began his brilliant film career playing a gargoyle in a 1972 TV movie called Gargoyles?
Posted at 10:33 AM
REVELATIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
Since I don't have Tivo (Damn you Mendozzzzaaa!), I've only been able to catch bits and pieces of the miniseries inspired by the Left Behind series. But can people stop saying this is sop to the Christian right or the Christian market. By my count Hollywood hasn't gone more than a few years without putting out at least one or two biblical/apocalyptic movies for the last thirty or forty years. I mean, off the top of my head, there are the Omen movies, the Seventh Seal, End of Days, Earnest Goes to Camp...
Posted at 10:32 AM
TERRI SCHIAVO'S PARENTS [K. J. Lopez]
meet the pope.
Posted at 10:29 AM
GARGLE, GARGOYLE... [John Podhoretz]
...but what about my favorite term signifying "an argument," which is...argle-bargle?
Posted at 10:24 AM
DID ANYONE KNOW... [Jonah Goldberg]
that most gargoyles aren't visible to naked eye from street level?
Posted at 10:22 AM
THE END-THE-FILIBUSTER DEBATE MAY BE COLORFUL... [John Podhoretz]
...but did it have to be conducted by the colorless Harry Reid and the even more colorless Bill Frist? I hate George Galloway, to be sure, but he sure was fun to watch yesterday, what with his Scottish accent and his Mexican-jumping-bean moustache and high-and-mighty rage. We could use some more of that today, just to keep us awake.
Posted at 10:20 AM
DID ANYONE KNOW... [Jonah Goldberg]
that gurgle, gargle and gargoyle are all related words?
Posted at 10:20 AM
TV [Warren Bell]
J-Pod is right -- decide on what size you need and how much you are willing to spend. The rest is too confusing, especially if you add DLP TVs into the mix. DLP is digital light processing, and offers you a cheaper (but not flat) alternative -- they are more like the older big projection TVs, but not nearly as deep or heavy.
The real point is, get thee to high-definition anon! High-def totally changes the TV experience, especially with sports, nature programs, and movies. (It doesn't do much for sitcoms, except for occasionally show part of the set you shouldn't have seen -- the widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio still confuses some directors and cameramen!)
Posted at 10:11 AM
AL QAEDA BEHIND BOMBINGS [Jonah Goldberg]
According to Pentagon.
Posted at 10:03 AM
RE: WET NOSTRILS [K. J. Lopez]
Reminder to writers: You don't need to share all your e-mail.
Posted at 09:56 AM
VADER @ NATIONAL CATHEDRAL [Jonah Goldberg ]
Kathryn, If you had seen my seminal documentary " Gargoyles: Guardians at the Gate" you would have known that.
I'm not really bragging in that I don't really recommend anybody watch, never mind buy, this film unless they are really, really, really interested in Gargoyles. It's not very good by normal standards but it is outstanding if you take into account my budget and staff.
Regardless, I shot at the National Cathedral for the documentary (as well as Princeton, New York, Paris and Oxford). I got to climb all over the forbidden spires of the National Cathedral. There are all sorts of crazy, weird Gargoyles up there.
Oh, and if the title -- Gargoyles: Guardians of the Gate -- has you wondering "What gate?" the short answer is: any gate you want.
Posted at 09:53 AM
THEY'RE GOING NUCLEAR...ER, CONSTITUTIONAL! [John Podhoretz]
Looks like today's the day. Fox has gone live with the debate.
Posted at 09:46 AM
PROPOSED COMPROMISE [Roger Clegg]
All right, Jonah—you can have ONE cricket field. But you have to sell hot dogs at the games, and the vendors have to speak English. Sauerkraut, salsa, and accents are welcome.
Posted at 09:46 AM
SO WEIRD [K. J. Lopez]
I don't think I knew this: Darth Vader is carved into the National Cathedral.
Posted at 09:45 AM
RE: GOV'T ROLE [K. J. Lopez]
Just to save me from the e-mails here: For the record, I was purposely starting something--but of course I see that government role there.
Posted at 09:43 AM
WET NOSTRILS--THE WRITER'S GREATEST LAUREL [Jonah Goldberg ]
Re today's G-File:
I was reading your piece on the Newsweek Koran issue. I was drinking coffee. I got to the end and read the line about low flow toilets. I laughed until coffee came out of my nose. It was not pretty. Perhaps you could put some type of beverage warning on pieces like that.
Posted at 09:42 AM
A QUICK GUIDE TO FLAT-SCREEN TVS [John Podhoretz]
Jonah, Having spent a month shopping for one last year, here's the skinny. There are PLASMA sets and LCD sets. The LCD set is like a bigger version of a laptop computer screen. Plasma is some weird kind of gas screen. Anyway, they're both really good and the more money you spend the better quality you'll get. There used to be a problem with Plasma sets that they might "burn in" an image the way an old-timey computer screen did, but that's been fixed in the newer sets. Which means: Pick by size and look and cost. Period. My wife and I got a plasma set because we wanted a 37 inch screen and the only one available was a Sony plasma. We LOVE it. My folks got an LCD set. They love it. Both were pretty seriously expensive, though.
Posted at 09:42 AM
"GOVERNMENT ROLE" [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm with Roger on the big principle. If government's gonna be in a business it might as well do it right -- i.e. in accord with American values. This is, of course, the great dilemma for all libertarian-minded conservatives. If you don't think, for example, the government should be in the school-business at all, then how and when do you give up that argument in favor of the government at least doing the best possible job. Statecraft as soulcraft and all that jazz.
But, I'm not too worried about the park thing. Immigrants will play soccer no matter what, because soccer -- alas -- is here to stay and soccer fields will always be essentially interchangeable with football fields. As for cricket, how many cricket fields are they really going to make? I think it'd be cool to watch people play cricket (Officially known as The Most Incomprehensible of all Civilized Sports) in the local park. In New York, I always liked seeing old men play bocce in local parks even though I knew it was an example of enduring European influence.
As long as TV and capitalism encourage American sports, I don't think we need to worry overly about a burgeoning ghetto of cricket players.
Posted at 09:36 AM
GIVING THE U.S. THE MIDDLE FINGER [K. J. Lopez]
Did you hear the one about the head of PepsiCo?
Posted at 09:32 AM
FLAT PANEL TV--BLEG [Jonah Goldberg ]
Has anybody read a straightforward, simple, buyer's guide on such things? Glenn Reynolds' explainer was too complicated for me.
Posted at 09:28 AM
TOBY KEITH DEMOCRATS [K. J. Lopez]
Marshall Wittmann, who calls himself one (and coins the phrase) says: "If Toby had opened the '04 Democratic Convention with 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue', old John Kerry would likely occupy the Oval Office. Democrats - say no to Michael Moore and yes to Toby Keith! "
Posted at 09:26 AM
SMELLING SALTS [Roger Clegg]
“Government role”?--sure. Public schools should focus on English, not the immigrants’ language of choice, right? A preference for traditional American cuisine in school cafeterias--why not? That’s not to say you can’t have tacos once in a while, or egg rolls now and then--but not every day. And local governments have to decide which sports to build fields for, or else not build them at all (the libertarian solution, I suppose). I’m not talking about prohibiting cricket or Spanish or kung pao chicken, but I do think that the government has a role to play in encouraging immigrants to embrace many elements of American culture, and NOT encouraging them to NOT to assimilate.
Posted at 09:26 AM
THE COMING CRISIS [Stanley Kurtz>]
Robert Samuelson tells the cold hard truth today about the coming retirement crisis. Samuelson tries to stay non-partisan, but it's obvious that his proposals are much closer to the president's than the just-say-no liberals. This story will get bigger every year. Ten years from now, domestic politics will be organized around the retirement crisis. From that vantage point, president Bush will be recognized as a hero for boldly raising the issue. Yet the president's proposals will seem timid by comparison with what the country will be debating at that point.
Posted at 09:23 AM
BARNETT VS. KAPLAN [Stanley Kurtz>]
The other day, I put up a long post on our emerging China debate. One of the articles I discussed was Robert D. Kaplan’s fascinating Atlantic Monthly cover story, “How We Would Fight China.” Since then, several readers have pointed me to a ridiculously overheated critique of Kaplan by Thomas P. M. Barnett. Apparently, Barnett is a smart and interesting fellow who’s book, The Pentagon’s New Map, has had a real effect on Defense Department thinking. I guess Barnett was having a bad day, because his response to Kaplan is too much of an adolescent rant to warrant comment. Maybe someday, after Barnett calms down, we’ll have a real debate.
Some folks are disposed to discount Kaplan on Barnett’s say-so. That would be a mistake. Barnett’s basic complaint--that Kaplan is just parroting the Navy line--is way too simple. For one thing, Kaplan’s piece has the effect of exposing a weak-point in Barnett’s theory. Take a look at this review of Barnett’s book by Mackubin Thomas Owens and you’ll see what I mean. Owens suggests that Barnett is repeating the mistake of the pre-World War I intellectuals, who believed that close economic ties rendered war impossible. There’s certainly room for a serious debate here (although Barnett needs to calm down first). But to dismiss Kaplan on Barnett’s say-so is silly. The bigger point is that, encouraging as they are, China’s growing economic ties to the West do not guarantee peace.
Posted at 09:19 AM
10 [K. J. Lopez]
Happy Yankees days are here again.
Posted at 09:15 AM
SCHOOL BUDGET [John Derbyshire]
Just got back from the school bus stop. Stood there chatting with the neighborhood moms for 10 minutes. The big news is, our school budget got voted down yesterday.
The budget proposal voted down would have raised school spending (which comprises over 56 percent of my property tax bill) by seven percent. That would be about $200 out of my pocket. But even after we've voted the darn thing down, the budget will still go up four point something percent anyway, because of state mandates. And they'll probably just put the budget up for a vote again, and depend on voter fatigue to get it passed eventually. So the news is not all good. Still, it's nice to know people have taken some kind of a stand against the ever-swelling public sector.
Illegal immigration was lurking under the surface here. Even among these moms -- nice middle-class northeastern American liberals who have internalized all the "tolerance" and "diversity" stuff -- phrases like "people who shouldn't be here" popped up a couple of times. Budget-wise, though, that's a scam too, as the local costs of illegal immigration -- things like ESL classes -- are under state mandates. The local education bureaucrats will cut Orchestra and Chess Club, not the special programs for children of our our "undocumented" guests.
Another factor is the rising awareness & resentment among people working in the private sector of the widening gap between themselves and public employees. Here in Long Island, one teacher in 12 makes over $100,000 a year (according to last Sunday's NY Times Long Island section). That's with wellnigh guaranteed employment, masses of fully-paid vacation, and a gold-plated benefits package. A schoolteacher-cop married couple is in the upper middle class. This, while private-sector workers are struggling to stay afloat in a fast-changing economy.
I voted against the budget. I don't even look into the numbers, I just automatically vote down any budget proposal. I know they want more of my hard-earned money, and I know they'll waste it. Let them cut, we'll cope.
Posted at 09:13 AM
READERS FAINT [K. J. Lopez]
Government role, Roger?!
Posted at 09:10 AM
CRICKET VERSUS BASEBALL [Roger Clegg]
Front page story in today’s Washington Post about how local park managers are building more cricket and soccer fields, and thus fewer baseball and football fields, in order to accommodate new immigrants. Question for discussion: Are we missing an opportunity here to encourage assimilation? Sure, immigrants add elements of their old cultures—food, music, slang, etc.—to the melting pot, and probably that includes sports, too--which all contribute to our melting pot. But isn’t there a role for government in encouraging new immigrants towards American culture: English, apple pie, and baseball? We don’t want to be a nation of ethnic enclaves, after all.
Posted at 09:08 AM
ANOTHER CRAZY KATHRYN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Is everyone named Kathryn/Catherine bonkers (see here)?
Don't answer that, actually, for obvious reasons. Catherine Crier rants about judges on the H-Bomb and ominously ends, warning against a filibuster rule change: "Please remember, the results are with us FOR LIFE." Girl, it's a procedural rule for goodness sake. This isn't a life and death decision. Heck, people get married with less deliberation than is happening over this rule change attempt. And...there is a lot that is silly in her rant, but perhaps most ridiculous is this: "However, I am watching as a mere fraction of a president’s nominees is objected to through legitimate Senatorial procedures. Instead of questioning the validity or appropriateness of his choice, President Bush is prepared for his Senators to move the goal post to insure approval for his lower court nominees today, and more importantly, for his Supreme Court nominees in the near future." What has been happening for the last four years over Priscilla Owen? The fact of the matter is the Senate Dems don't care that the likes of Owen and Bill Pryor, etc. are perfectly (and exceptionally) qualified--because the case has been made again and again and again. It's all about keeping them in limbo. And so there is the badly named "nuclear option."
Posted at 09:05 AM
REYNOLDS V. SULLIVAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Instapundit instaresponds. Nicely done, I think.
Posted at 08:44 AM
THE BUSH DOCTRINE AT WORK [Jonah Goldberg ]
It is just amazing how what would have been remarkable six months ago and unimaginable 2 years ago becomes boring today. This is from page A 10 of The Washington Post. Obviously, there's room for skepticism and pessimism. But sheesh:
DAMASCUS, Syria, May 17 -- Beset by U.S. attempts to isolate his country and facing popular expectations of change, Syrian President Bashar Assad will move to begin legalizing political parties, purge the ruling Baath Party, sponsor free municipal elections in 2007 and formally endorse a market economy, according to officials, diplomats and analysts.
Posted at 08:40 AM
GOT THE MEMO? [K. J. Lopez]
Dan Rather was the Newsweek source, in one cartoonist's vision.
Posted at 08:40 AM
ATTENTION ALL CORNERITES [Andy McCarthy]
Run, don't walk, to Bench Memos and read Ed Whelan's "Perspective" -- posted yesterday. Borrowing from Sen. Hatch, it outlines exactly what the battle over what kind of judiciary we should have is about by studying the jurisprudence of Judge Rosemary Barkett (confirmed to the 11th Circuit in 1994) -- the kind of jurist the Democrats find to be "outstanding" while having the temerity to label the Bush nominees extreme.
If you read nothing else, skip down to the end to read from a shocking dissent she joined in a brutal capital murder case.
Posted at 08:38 AM
AND TO THINK [K. J. Lopez]
Jonah and Andy complain about American toilets. Count your blessings.
Posted at 08:34 AM
W WAS IN DANGER [K. J. Lopez]
A hand grenade found close to George W Bush during his visit to the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia was armed and could have gone off, an FBI agent has said.
Posted at 08:32 AM
HENTOFF AND THE JUDGES [K. J. Lopez]
The Village Voice columnist defends Janice Rogers Brown and factchecks the New York Times in his latest.
Posted at 07:49 AM
GALLOWAY'S GALL [John Derbyshire]
I must admit I have been smiling over the Galloway hearing.
Don't get me wrong: Galloway is a piece of offal, who used a sick-kids charity as a cover for enriching himself, and smooched with one of the world's nastiest dictators for the same purpose.
Galloway came up through the UK parliamentary system, though, where you have to be fierce and clever in debate, and need to be able to think fast on your feet. The US Senate is full of pompous bores, stuffed up to the nose holes with a conviction of their own terrific importance, whose idea of debate is to drone their way through a speech some minimum-wage staffer has written up for them. This was like watching an alley mongrel let loose in a room full of pampered, overfed lap dogs.
To judge from Galloway's name, appearance, and style, this was also a vivid illustration of the good old Scotch-Irish scrapper from the Borders taking on a smug establishment. I wouldn't want Galloway at my dinner table, but I must confess, this was fun to watch.
Posted at 07:44 AM
ZZZZZZZZZZ [K. J. Lopez]
Comeon, Bill Press, you can do better than that.
Posted at 07:40 AM
COLEMAN V. GALLOWAY [Jonah Goldberg]
One hopes that such a performance puts a bit more zeal into the efforts of the Congressional investigators to nail Galloway -- assuming he's guilty, as I do. Though it's entirely possible he was Saddam's lickspittle on principle.
Posted at 07:37 AM
KSFO [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be on today at 11:00 AM my time so 8:AM west coast time. I'll be the guy wearing mismatched socks.
Posted at 07:32 AM
HEH [Jonah Goldberg ]
"The United Keetoowah Band would like to make it clear that Mr. Churchill IS NOT a member of the Keetoowah Band and was only given an honorary 'associate membership' in the early 1990s because he could not prove any Cherokee ancestry."
Posted at 07:17 AM
COLEMAN [K. J. Lopez]
Yes, yesterday was a terrible day to float Norm Coleman's name into the '08 mix. Galloway day was a mistake.
Posted at 07:08 AM
PAWLENTY WATCH [K. J. Lopez]
The Minnesota governor was hanging with bloggers last night.
Posted at 07:07 AM
DON'T BE SAD [K. J. Lopez]
"Maureen Dowd is on book leave until July 6."
Posted at 07:06 AM
KATHY IRELAND [K. J. Lopez]
Yep, she be cool.
Posted at 07:04 AM
WHAT'S ASYLUM FOR? [Mark Krikorian]
The Christian Science Monitor has an editorial today on the metastasizing grounds for asylum. What started as a way to provide haven to people fleeing communism has turned into a way for ordinary illegal aliens from backward societies to get legal residence in the United States. We have granted aslyum to women fleeing primitive cultural practices like clitoridectomy, a handicapped boy from Pakistan whose countrymen saw his condition as shameful, women abused by their Latin or Muslim husbands, and homosexuals who were harrassed by their neighbors. Bad as these things are, it's not our obligation to fix the social ills of the Third World; the Monitor (which is usually good on immigration) says in its editorial that changing our rules to admit victims of domestic violence "could raise global awareness of this issue." There are other, better ways of doing that.
Posted at 07:04 AM
STAR WARS [Mark Krikorian]
No, not the movie, about whose crappiness I have no doubt, but the real thing. Today's NY Times reports that the Air Force wants the green light to deploy weapons in space. We should have done this long ago, blanketing the planet like white on rice. What do we think the Chinese space program is for, delivering takeout? (Insert disclaimer and groveling apologies here.) The "peaceful uses of outer space" stuff is just another effort by the U.N. to limit American sovereignty and create an area where post-national bureaucrats can be in charge, without those pesky governments getting in the way (like they're trying to do even now, with help from the Senate GOP, on the verkakte Law of the Sea Treaty).
Posted at 07:03 AM
ONLY STOP THE BAD ILLEGALS [Mark Krikorian]
A damning tidbit in testimony by former INS official Mark Reed at a Senate hearing Tuesday on immigration and security: "Almost twenty years ago President Bush declared the War on Drugs. I was present at a high level strategy meeting between representatives of Federal Law Enforcement, DOD, and the State Department regarding the urgency of sealing the Mexican border to stop drug smuggling. When DOD stated that they were capable of detecting and interdicting any intrusion, but could not distinguish between groups of migrants from drug smugglers until interdiction, the dialogue became difficult. When DOD refused to entertain the idea that they should only detain drug smugglers upon interdiction, the meeting was abruptly terminated. The safety valve that illegal immigration provided toward the stability of Mexico seemed to be a more compelling national security priority than drug smuggling."
So, the Defense Department offered to spot every person sneaking across the border, but since that would identify regular illegal aliens as well as dope smugglers, the whole thing was shelved. Outrageous.
Posted at 07:00 AM
IT'S NOT ALMOST 7 AM ALREADY [K. J. Lopez]
I may be on the East Coast, but I opt to work on Left Coast time for today.
Posted at 06:53 AM
RE: THE BABE LINK [K. J. Lopez]
"The ONLY Woman Announcer in Professional Boxing!!"? How random.
Posted at 05:58 AM
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
I LINK TO THIS WITHOUT COMMENT [The Pod]
As a follow-up on the Kathy Ireland issue.
Posted at 10:07 PM
WARREN, THAT'S ONE SPECIAL POST-TOASTIE! [John Podhoretz]
Your Ms. Ireland seems to be a few potatoes short of a full Idaho. By the way, I have it on good authority that Kathy Ireland -- in addition to being a babe, having the speaking voice of Minnie Mouse and the immortality that comes from having played the title character in the ineffable 80s flick Alien from L.A. -- is a major right-winger and evangelical Christian.
Posted at 09:45 PM
HUFF-PUFF HITS NEW LOW? [Warren Bell]
This one's quite special.
It's not Kathy Ireland, the supermodel, by the way. She's a decorator. And as I understand the top-secret draft legislation that Dick Cheney keeps in a titanium cylinder in his sock, only the children of the exceptionally dim will be called up.
Posted at 09:38 PM
I SURE HOPE KATE LEHRER FEELS DIFFERENTLY [John Podhoretz]
Regarding Jim Lehrer's threat of delivering "unshirted hell," a wise reader e-mails, "If there's one thing left and right can agree upon, it's that nobody wants to see Jim Lehrer with his shirt off."
Posted at 08:01 PM
"HOLD ME, ANNAKIN! HOLD ME AS YOU DID BY THE LAKE ON NABOO!" [John Podhoretz]
Just a little taste of what Cornerites are in for if they go to see Star Wars at midnight. Enjoy.....suckers.....
Posted at 07:58 PM
HIGHWAY RUN INTO THE MIDNIGHT SUN...YOU'RE ON MY DIME [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 07:50 PM
I DON'T WANT TO KNOW, DO I? [K. J. Lopez]
How many Corner readers will be seeing Star Wars at midnight?
Posted at 07:45 PM
UNSHIRTED HELL [John Derbyshire]
On a point of information, Jonah: If I remember my Milton, the demons in hell occasionally take a break from roasting sinners for a pick-up game of volleyball, shirts vs. skins. I think that's what's being referred to here.
Posted at 06:32 PM
TIME AND PATIENCE WASTERS [Warren Bell]
That's all delightful, Jonah, but WHAT NUMBERS DO I PUT IN THE SAFE????????
Posted at 06:31 PM
RE: TIMEWASTERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Warren - I started posting them on a lark and now I can't stop. While I like getting them, even if I didn't the fact is reader demand for new timewasters is insatiable. You wouldn't believe the angry email I get if I go more than a day or two without providing lawyers, engineers and grad students something to waste time on. I actually had one guy tell me at the Dubliner meet-up that my timewasters are a "lifesaver."
I don't completely understand it and I really wish I could personally capture a tiny fraction of the lost national income that comes with such things. But I do what I must.
Posted at 05:55 PM
"UNSHIRTED HELL"? [Jonah Goldberg]
I like this phrase -- a lot. I gather it means raising quite a bit of Hell, and certainly more than mere shirted Hell. But I want to know more. Is there pantsless Hell? Sockless purgatory? Unbelted Hades?
Posted at 05:42 PM
RE: JRB & CT [Peter Kirsanow]
Ramesh: I concur that Brown's natural-law comments go beyond that of Thomas's pre- confirmation commentary. But recall that Thomas didn't back down when challenged by Biden regarding the salutary effects of natural law on the role of a judge.It strikes me that Thomas's refusal to disavow natural law in the context of a searing confirmation battle--the most hostile ever--is even greater testament to one's position on the subject than Brown's speech in the friendly confines of the Federalist Society.
Thomas seems to maintain that natural law can be one of the most effective brakes on activist tendencies among judges, more so than even the positivism championed by (I believe) Judge Bork. This is also consistent with Federalist #78.
I personally don't think a raw embrace of natural law as a supertext to the Constitution is wise or appropriate (although I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks on that one--esp. re: Bill of Rights issues--need to think it through a bit more) and I think you raise valid concerns about Brown's extra-judicial statements. But I think Brown's body of opinions may be the best evidence that Thomas may be right about the ability of natural law to curb judicial activism ..
Posted at 05:26 PM
WONDERING [Warren Bell]
If it's your job to design timewasters, what do you do to goof off? Write columns for NRO?
Posted at 05:23 PM
Z'S [K. J. Lopez]
It's that time of day--or some of us should have tajen a siesta. I zzzed before I saw John's. Hmmm. Too late for naptime?
Posted at 05:23 PM
ZZZZZ [K. J. Lopez]
Michael Newdow is still working on getting God out of the Pledge?
Posted at 05:16 PM
THE NEWZZZZZZ HOUR WITH JIM LEHRERRRRRRR [John Podhoretz]
This just in--Jim Lehrer tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that he will raise "unshirted hell" if the Corporation for Public Broadcasting tries to "interfere" with his nightly newscast.
Actually, sources tell me that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting wanted to interfere with the broadcast, but it kept falling asleep and waking up every 13 minutes or so only when that annoying trumpet music came on announcing the end of a segment.
For more background on this story, we turn to our own Terrence Smith.
Wake up, Terrence!
Wake up, Terrr.....zzzzzzzzz...............
Posted at 05:12 PM
MEIN LEBEN IST VERPFUSCHT [John Derbyshire]
"I have sworn never to move house again, having boxes still unpacked from our last move twelve years ago..."
I actually wrote that in NRODT. A reader just phoned me to point out the mistake.
I blamed it on the editor.
Posted at 05:09 PM
RE: FEEDING FRENZY [Tim Graham]
What happens if there were Koran-flushers in Cuba? Certainly, Newsweek can say that rioting deaths were based on an (eventually proven) true story, not necessarily that first unsubstantiated one. We could then certainly accuse the guilty interrogators of being true idiots, instead of merely accused idiots. But Newsweek remains guilty of shabby, poorly sourced and anonymously sourced journalism.
Posted at 05:07 PM
RE: ANDY, [Andy McCarthy]
Rich, I appreciate the kind words. I think, though, that you’re underestimating the degree of provocation that is appropriate in our project, and overestimating the degree to which the violence we have witnessed stems from actual outrage, motivated by deep religious conviction, over the Koran being defiled.
First, we’ve been at this for a number of years now but have kept doctrine and values (except for the procedural aspects of democracy – as opposed to the substantive values aspect) completely off-limits. This is a fairly strange way to approach what everyone agrees will be a lengthy war against an enemy motivated by a doctrine. As long as we continue to do nothing to engage the ideology that is underneath all this, as long as we don’t allow ourselves to even whisper there might possibly be some nexus between doctrine and violence, I agree that things will not change, even a little bit, any time soon – even in a place like Afghanistan, where we have been nation-building for years.
Second, the President has been saying, since the very day of 9/11, that Islam is a religion of peace and that it does not promote the kind of barbarity that occurred that day. I am willing to be open-minded about that – notwithstanding that the militancy seems to keep popping up in the Islamic countries. But if what the President has said, which is official U.S. policy, is the case, and if the places where the events of the last few days have occurred are indeed places where “deeply, deeply religious” people follow a religion of peace, why then does murder, rather than peace, keep breaking out over comparative trifles like this?
The execrable art exhibits I talked about in the article were condemned by people of good will in the strongest terms. But no one took to the streets and rioted – not even the so-called “religious right,” which the esteemed press in this country considers tribal and unsophisticated. When do we get to the point – which is not a terribly evolved point – when the reaction to something stupid and wrong is simply to call it stupid and wrong?
Finally, this is not about religious provocation. It is anti-American zealotry. Islamic militants – the people doing the killing – have no hesitation using the Koran as either a physical weapon or a weapon of exhortation when it suits them to do so. In this instance, they were not incited to murder because the Koran was abused; they perceived a ready-made opportunity to make anti-American mayhem, and they took it. And it was smart of them to do so, since it has provoked the usual recriminations and self-loathing which inevitably lead to more of the same.
On that score, the depressing prospect suggested by Jonah's question is on the mark. If there is a true and provable allegation of Koran abuse, the way this incident has been handled – with lugubrious piety about Islamic symbols, rather than some perspective about where Koran-flushing fits in the greater scheme of things – will encourage repeat (or worse) of what we have just seen. And this time, the gotcha media will make the story that *we* had it coming – not that *they* are engaged in an absurd overreaction.
Posted at 05:02 PM
D--N YOU TO H--L, JONAH!! [John Podhoretz]
Your timewaster is driving me crazy!!!!
Posted at 05:00 PM
RE: HUFF-PUFF [John Podhoretz]
Or maybe the Post-Toastie?
Posted at 04:57 PM
H-BOMB NO MORE [Warren Bell]
If the H-Bomb is being rejected as the derisive nickname of choice, may I offer the Huff-Puff? Seems to capture the windbagginess and the celeb worship.
Posted at 04:46 PM
"STAR WARS" IS CRAP [Warren Bell]
Yeah, it is, but it's my generation's favorite crap, and I guess it had some value as that. Then it became my kids' generation's crap, and it's nice to share your crap with your kids. That said, I have long held that 95 percent of the appeal of "Star Wars" is the lightsaber. Without that singular implement, it's just another sci-fi flick.
Posted at 04:45 PM
YAK-EATING SURRENDER LLAMAS? [John Podhoretz]
The British columnist Simon Jenkins offers a hilarious Jonah-inspired soundbite as he asks why the Bush administration isn't hitting harder at the government of Uzbekistan: "Have the neo-cons turned yak-eating surrender llamas in the steppes of middle Asia?"
Yak-eating surrender llamas. Now that's good.
Even more amazingly, this witty attack can be found in, of all places, the H-Bomb.
Posted at 04:38 PM
ELITIST SNOB? MOI? [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: To your reader who objects to my Star Wars-ophobia (stellabellophobia?... never mind), I say: Feugh! I wasn't objecting to SW because it's spaces opera -- for heaven's sake, I put in an approving mention of Buck Rogers! -- but because it's LOUSY space opera. Anything can be done well or badly, including the lower types of entertainment, and SW is done really, really badly. And I can't believe this droid saying "Escapism is not always a bad thing." Who ever said it was? Not me. I read very little but sci fi from ages 12 to 16, and don't regret a minute of it. It did, though, give me a grounding in the difference between good sci fi, bad sci fi, and puerile dreck. SW is... guess which.
If we're going to give escapism to kids -- and I'm all for it -- why not throw in some plausible science while doing so? It doesn't hurt. Neither do a plausible storyline, plausible dialogue, plausible characters, etc. Plenty of sci fi writers managed this. So did plenty of kids' writers (including, since your reader mentioned LOTR, J.R.R. Tolkien.) Why can't Lucas? Because he's a clueless, talentless, imaginationless lefty, that's why.
Posted at 04:36 PM
MORE NEWSWEEK [Mark R. Levin]
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times today reported its own unsubstantiated version of the Newsweek story. Here's the relevant excerpt:
"A lawyer who helps represent a dozen detainees at Guantanamo Bay said Monday that on two separate occasions two prisoners told her that guards and interrogators desecrated the Koran. She spoke on condition of anonymity because high-level talks were underway with the State Department to win the release of her clients.
Posted at 04:35 PM
IN GRAND TRADITION OF ZORK [Jonah Goldberg ]
Posted at 04:34 PM
RE: TRUTH SHMUTH [John Podhoretz]
Funny--I say the same thing in my column in the New York Post today! (I would shamelessly plug something else I wrote this week, but everything else I've written this week is in the Corner.)
Posted at 04:28 PM
RE: LIGHTEN UP ON STAR WARS [John Podhoretz]
Funny, that's just what I say George Lucas needed to do -- and failed to do -- in my review. Yes, you see, I've actually seen the thing. Pity me.
Posted at 04:23 PM
"TRUTH SHMUTH" [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 04:23 PM
BIBLES AND KORANS [Mark R. Levin]
Washington Times, reporting on May 15, 2002 on Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity: "Catholic priests said that some Bibles were torn up for toilet paper ..." I'm still waiting to hear from the world's Muslim leaders about this.
Posted at 04:20 PM
SIGH [Jonah Goldberg]
You'd think that after spending nearly a decade publicly smacking the liberal media I'd get just a teensy-weensy bit more of the benefit of the doubt. But no, already the majority of email from purer-than-thou folks on the right is decidedly of this flavor (asterisks are mine):
In a world full of trouble and Newsweek making s**t up out of whole cloth, we can allways count on one thing. Jonah Goldburg will act like a spinless "what-if...what if" Candy-A**.
I do agree I'm "spinless" though.
Posted at 04:20 PM
RE: ET FOR POLICY WONKS [K. J. Lopez]
Cathy Seipp interviews Andrew Breitbart about the H-Bomb.
Posted at 04:07 PM
DERB STAR WARS BACKLASH [K. J. Lopez]
For a group of people who don't like elitist liberals, you sure are sounding a lot like them with your Star Wars bashing. Star Wars is space opera, not science fiction, and is meant to be fun. Reading the criticism on the Corner takes me back three years to the howls of protest literary circles prior to the release of the LOTR movies (if the masses like this it must be bad, and not high literature). Escapism is not always a bad thing-and the Star Wars movies are meant to be escapist. Reading criticism about the opening sentence in all six movies not conforming to the science about the number of galaxies and the actual distance between them just reinforces the media stereotype that conservatives are stuffy, uptight snobs who take themselves and life entirely too seriously.
Posted at 04:05 PM
QUESTION FOR TIM, RICH ET AL [Jonah Goldberg]
I like anti-MSM mobs as much as the next guy, but I have a bad feeling about where this one is going. What happens if in the coming weeks a true and provable allegation of Koran abuse surfaces?
What will be the reaction from frenzied-feeders be then?
Posted at 04:03 PM
RE THE LEAKER [Rich Lowry ]
I'm not under any illusions that he will be found, given that leak investigations almost always come up empty. But let's at least expend a fraction of the energy that has been devoted to trying to find the Plame leaker. The Isikoff leaker has helped do actual damage...
Posted at 04:00 PM
RE: NEWSWEEK [Mark R. Levin]
I agree with Andy. The killers are to blame for killing. But Newsweek was extremely irresponsible and created enormous problems for our military and diplomatic efforts. And knowing how the nutcases would use such a story -- true or not -- Newsweek had a responsibility to get it right. As for getting the leaker, my guess is that this did not come from the Pentagon. The story said "sources tell Newsweek ..." My guess is Isikoff tried to get the Pentagon to sign-off on it, but couldn't.
Posted at 04:00 PM
I'M PRO-FEEDING FRENZY [Tim Graham]
Andy, as long as we're talking about predictable complaints, let me be predictable: This IS in part, a media bias scandal. While conservatives should be careful to blame the rioting deaths directly on Newsweek (blame criminals first, not their "inspiration"), Newsweek gullibly walked into a buzzsaw here because they were willing to believe the sexiest-sounding charges about our hyper-insensitive military that handles the Koran with "clean gloves." Newsweek is still an outrage, even if it seems tedious to express outrage after decades of this untrustworthy gunk.
Posted at 03:45 PM
RE: LEAKER [K. J. Lopez]
Hugh Hewitt wants Congress involved if Newsweek doesn't name names.
Posted at 03:44 PM
THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES [John Derbyshire]
If you thin I am down on Star Wars, read Anthony Lane's review in the 5/23 New Yorker. He is especially good on Yoda: "No, the one who gets me is Yoda. May I take the opportunity to enter a brief plea in favor of his extermination? Any educated moviegoer would know what to do, having watched that helpful sequence in 'Gremlins' when a small sage-colored beastie is fed into an electric blender." Delicious... though wasn't it actually a microwave oven?
Posted at 03:41 PM
THE LEAKER [John Podhoretz]
You can expect the leaker's name to be made public around the same time that Jim McDermott and Tom DeLay have lunch together at Jack Abramoff's restaurant.
Posted at 03:41 PM
JANICE ROGERS BROWN AND CLARENCE THOMAS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Peter: Let me just comment on one of your subpoints. "Brown is not the first judge to cite natural law in this regard. Clarence Thomas, among others, has done the same and his track record in adhering to the applicable law in the case before him is well known (and not dissimilar from Brown's). . . . Conservative nominees who, in their non-judicial commentary, tip their hat to natural law have generally proven themselves to be more disciplined in checking their ideology at the courthouse door than liberal nominees who tip their hat to a living breathing constitution."
Kirsanow is surely right to say that a good record can trump a bad speech. But there's natural-law commentary and then there's natural-law commentary. I think Brown's comments were more troubling than Thomas's pre-confirmation remarks. Thomas, recall, basically said something nice about an article by Lew Lehrman in Lehrman's presence. He did not suggest that the natural law authorized judges to overrule the positive law; I find it hard to see how Brown's comments can be read to mean anything other than that. (Nor has Justice Thomas engaged in objectionable forms of "natural-law judging," with the possible exception of his concurrence in Adarand.)
In Brown's defense, I would say, however, that her apparent willingness to rethink incorporation mitigates the problem as far as I'm concerned (although it will, of course, make the problem worse for liberals). As an appeals-court judge, of course, she could/should neither roll back incorporation nor indulge in any "higher law" activism. If she were on the Supreme Court and did both, the net effect might well be to reduce the relative power of judges.
Posted at 03:40 PM
YES, YES, YES... [Jonah Goldberg]
The leaker deserves heaping piles of scorn and abuse. And, what's best is it doesn't matter if the Koran story is true or false, he shouldn't have given it to Isikoff or anybody else in the first place.
Posted at 03:38 PM
CORRECTION [K. J. Lopez]
Al Jazeera's site does have a story on the Newsweek retraction. It takes some looking. (As does the Arabic site, or so I am told.)
Posted at 03:38 PM
THE SENATE [K. J. Lopez]
has just passed the highway bill. Veto it!
Posted at 03:36 PM
ISIKOFF'S LEAKER [Rich Lowry ]
Not enough attention has focused on him. This guy deserves to be exposed--and assuming he's not protected by some rules or other--fired...
Posted at 03:34 PM
IT'S LARRY DIRITA'S FAULT [Rich Lowry ]
Another thought on the Whitaker/Isikoff complaints about the Pentagon not doing a better job fact-checking their magazine. Since when do they take anything Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita, or anything any other pro-Rumsfeld Pentagon official says as the gospel truth?
Posted at 03:29 PM
WHERE'S AL JAZEERA'S MENTION [K. J. Lopez]
of the Newsweek retraction? (Hat tip Laura Ingraham.)
Posted at 03:15 PM
RE: ANDY’S PIECE [Cliff May]
He’s right, of course. And let me add this: When the Taliban destroyed the ancient Bamiyan Buddha, did Buddhists riot and kill people?
When Jordanians desecrated Jewish holy places in east Jerusalem before attacking Israel and losing the 1967 war, did Jews go on a rampage?
“Piss Christ” engendered controversy – but not carnage.
The problem is not Muslims. The problem is not Islam. The problem is radical Islamism, an extremist totalitarian ideology that demands not tolerance, not respect but deference. And that deference will not be reciprocated. The radical Islamists are not fighting for equality. They are fighting for superiority.
If the MSM understood this context, their reporting would improve.
BTW, my most recent Scripps column tries to figure out who it is we’re fighting in this war.
Posted at 03:08 PM
TV [NRO Staff]
Cliff May, Crossfire, CNN, 4:30 EST, re Newsweek brouhaha.
Posted at 03:06 PM
STOP US BEFORE WE PUBLISH UNSUBSTANTIATED MATERIAL! [Rich Lowry ]
That seems to be the attitude of Whitaker and Isikoff behind these comments. From the New York Times: “In the interview, Mr. Whitaker expressed frustration at the Pentagon for not informing the magazine of questions about the accuracy of the original account until about 10 days after it was published.” And the paper quotes Isikoff: “The Pentagon saw the item before it ran, and then they didn't move us off it for 11 days afterward.” But it was the responsibility of Newsweek to get it right in the first place, and not publish the item until it knew it was right. I wonder what Isikoff's conversation with the original source was like. How certain did the source sound that the Koran incident was in the SouthCom report? He was obviously was working off memory. How long ago had he seen the report? And why didn't Isikoff ask to see the relevant text or at the very least have the source read it to him, which is pretty standard practice? Also, if they were trying hard to confirm the Koran incident, why didn't they ask the second source specifically whether he could confirm it or not, rather than taking his lack of comment on the Koran incident as implicit confirmation?
Posted at 02:58 PM
TIMEWASTER [Jonah Goldberg ]
Seems like it's more up Derb's alley than mine. As it is closer to math than Zombie killing.
Posted at 02:53 PM
ANDY, [Rich Lowry ]
I loved your piece today. It's a good corrective to some of the conservative excesses on the Newsweek story. But...I think you are being unrealistic in your expectations. You ask if this is what we get after pouring so many resources into Afghanistan and Pakistan--irrational murderous riots over what, at the end of the day, should be a minor infraction? The answer is “of course.” We are dealing with countries where a lot of the population is unsophisticated, tribal, and deeply, deeply religious. That is not going to change anytime soon. Basically, we have to live with it and work with it, hoping to promote change over the long term. My attitude is that certain provocations are necessary. The Iraq war, for instance. It stirred the hornet’s nest in the short term, but over the long term it should (could) help nudge the region further toward modernity. But unnecessary provocations should be avoided, even if it means accommodating irrational sensitivities and going out of our way to say obsequious things (as President Bush often does). So flushing a Koran down a toilet would be stupid and wrong. And falsely reporting that that is what we are doing is stupid and wrong. If your standard for success in the war on terror is seeing anytime soon a Muslim world where this sort of thing doesn't happen, you might as well throw up your hands and give up now. We are involved in a project that is going to take decades...
Posted at 02:25 PM
I'VE CHANGED MY MIND [Jonah Goldberg ]
Ever since I gave an off the cuff interview to Salon about extraordinary rendition I've been increasingly uncomfortable with my answers. In theory, I still don't have major objections to the "ticking-bomb" justification for torture. Nor do I have any major objections to smacking around the worst sorts of terrorists if it's deemed productive. But theory and practice are different lands and I think extraordinary rendition is torture by outsourcing and ultimately counterproductive and immoral. I've been noodling it for awhile, ever since I read Victor Davis Hanson's adamant opposition to it alongside by on-the-one-hand this and on-the-other-hand that answer. But Reuel Marc Gerecht's recent piece in the Standard turned me around officially. I doubt my change of heart will be of much interest to anybody, but I thought I should throw it out there.
Posted at 01:57 PM
THE NEWS ISN'T NEWSWEEK [K. J. Lopez]
Andy McCarthy focuses on the war we're in here.
Posted at 01:16 PM
RE: JANICE ROGERS BROWN [Peter Kirsanow]
Ramesh maintains that my defense of Janice Rogers Brown places insufficient emphasis on the content of speeches in which she does, indeed, comment favorably on natural law as a supertext over the constitution. Ramesh asks whether I'd view similar comments allegedly betraying an activist bent from a liberal nominee as casually as I view Brown's comments.
As I state in my piece, Brown's speeches are less troubling than they otherwise might be because her track record as a judge over 10 years provides ample evidence that she is not a judicial activist inclined to permit the themes expressed in her speeches pull her in directions inconsonant with precedent and textual interpretation. Were she nominated from , say, academia without a record of sublimating her personal political philosophies to her job as a judge, her speeches might give greater pause. Besides, Brown is not the first judge to cite natural law in this regard. Clarence Thomas, among others, has done the same and his track record in adhering to the applicable law in the case before him is well known (and not dissimilar from Brown's).
With respect to Ramesh's question as to whether I'd cut a similarly situated liberal nominee the same slack I purportedly cut Brown--well, if that person had demonstrated the same ability Brown has to decide cases according to the law and not politics or ideology--very possibly.( Although I'd at least seek some assurances during the confirmation process that the nominee's predilections wouldn't corrupt strict legal analysis. The confirmation attacks on Brown, on the other hand, are,uh,a bit less sincere). But as Ramesh fully knows, this is not an apples to apples comparison. Conservative nominees who, in their non- judicial commentary, tip their hat to natural law have generally proven themselves to be more disciplined in checking their ideology at the courthouse door than liberal nominees who tip their hat to a living breathing constitution.
Bottom line: her speeches do merit inquiry. After studying her opinions, inquiry resolved in her favor.
Posted at 12:56 PM
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER [John Derbyshire]
The e-mails are pouring in, and wellnigh every single one of them agrees with me about Star Wars. Luc
as lost me right away at the very, very beginning, with "...in a galaxy far away..." All galaxies are far away, exceedingly far away. The nearest proper one (unless you count vague scraps, dwarves, clouds, and clusters) is M31, and that's 17,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles away. And with 100 billion or so stars to choose from in our own galaxy, there was no need to place the story in another galaxy anyway. The people who wrote this junk just didn't know the meaning of the word "galaxy."
I'll allow that Carrie Fisher was cute back in 1977. But then, so was I.
Posted at 12:54 PM
LETTER TO HARVARD [Roger Clegg]
Re: K-Lo’s earlier posting, Harvard invited comments on its $50 million diversity announcement. Here’s the letter the Center for Equal Opportunity sent this morning:
May 17, 2005
Posted at 12:53 PM
DISCUSS AMONGST OURSELVES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 12:43 PM
RE: STACK ARMS [K. J. Lopez]
I could have done without the "his/her."
Posted at 12:37 PM
WHITE HOUSE AND NEWSWEEK [K. J. Lopez]
What will Putin think?
Posted at 12:36 PM
STACK ARMS [K. J. Lopez]
OK, OK, it's "stack arms" over here. And the drill is just as impossible to master. Pay attention, now: there'sll be a quiz period afterwards.
(The following is for the M-1; From Appendix A of the Marine Corps Drill and Ceremonies Manual, available here. Thanks to a helpful reader for this.)
A-22 TO STACK ARMS
Posted at 12:34 PM
WHICH DESPERATE HOUSEWIFE [K. J. Lopez]
are you? The quiz you have all been waiting for.
Posted at 12:25 PM
JOHN MILLER, CALL YOUR OFFICE [Andrew Stuttaford]
How does the rest of Europe see the French? Well, the Telegraph (do I detect a little gloating, chaps?) has the details:
"Perhaps unsurprisingly, Britons described them as "chauvinists, stubborn, nannied and humourless". However, the French may be more shocked by the views of other nations.For the Germans, the French are "pretentious, offhand and frivolous". The Dutch describe them as "agitated, talkative and shallow." The Spanish see them as "cold, distant, vain and impolite" and the Portuguese as "preaching". In Italy they comes across as "snobs, arrogant, flesh-loving, righteous and self-obsessed" and the Greeks find them "not very with it, egocentric bons vivants". Interestingly, the Swedes consider them "disobedient, immoral, disorganised, neo-colonialist and dirty".But the knockout punch to French pride came in the way the poll was conducted. People were not asked what they hated in the French, just what they thought of them. "Interviewees were simply asked an open question - what five adjectives sum up the French," said Olivier Clodong, one of the study's two authors and a professor of social and political communication at the Ecole Superieur de Commerce, in Paris. "The answers were overwhelmingly negative."
Posted at 12:24 PM
OUR ET [K. J. Lopez]
Very similar to George in that way.
Posted at 12:16 PM
LET'S FACE IT [John Podhoretz]
The Huffington Post is like "Entertainment Tonight" for policy wonks.
Posted at 12:08 PM
TRUE CONFESSIONS [K. J. Lopez]
I was independently reading the Diane Keaton post at the exact moment JPod was linking to it.
Posted at 12:05 PM
WELL, LA-DI-DA, LA-DI-DA, LA-DA, YEAH, YUP, YUP [John Podhoretz]
Today's signature Huffington Post inanity comes from Annie Hall herself -- 27 years older and just as articulate. (But boy, she sure was fantastic in Something's Gotta Give two years ago, and should have won the Oscar that Nicole Kidman got for wearing a false nose and pretending to be Virginia Woolf.)
Posted at 12:00 PM
"THE VOTES ARE THERE.” [K. J. Lopez]
Eric Pfeiffer of Beltway Buzz just talked to Orrin Hatch about judges.
Posted at 11:57 AM
OH, DERB, DERB, DERB... [John Podhoretz]
...Beware praising those who have placed themselves outside the bounds of civil discourse. Really.
Posted at 11:53 AM
FAKE BUT ACCURATE, PART 2 [John Podhoretz]
So the Boston Globe, the New York Times, Nightline and others are trying to make the world believe that even though the Newsweek story on the Koran was spurious, its substance was true. Here we are back again in Memogate territory. It's "fake but accurate" -- which is the last refuge of the media scoundrel.
Posted at 11:50 AM
PAT PILES ON [John Derbyshire]
Excellent we-are-doomed-doomed talk from Pat Buchanan here. This sentence caught my eye though: "So, Mr. Buchanan concludes, Republicans have 'abdicated from the cultural war. They've stacked arms.'"
Is this actually U.S. military usage? The British army doesn't stack arms, it piles arms. The old Lee Enfield had a piling swivel for precisely this purpose.
Posted at 11:49 AM
OLBERMAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Wow. I suppose this shouldn't be surprise, but people really dislike the guy. I mean really dislike. Getting lots of (unprintable) email from people who make long -- but expletive laced -- arguments that he's a hack, a moron, a jerk etc. I'd hate paying him the compliment of revealing that some folks care about him so much. It almost makes him sound like a leftwing O'Reilly. Of course, the big difference is that lots of people watch O'Reilly.
Posted at 11:33 AM
SCAPEGOATS [John Derbyshire]
Tom Sowell's new book--which I haven't read--apparently blames the problems of America's black underclass on their having picked up the attitudes and lifestyle habits of the Scotch-Irish.
This, if it really is Sowell's thesis, strikes me as highly implausible on a number of grounds. Be that as it may: The Scotch-Irish being the way they are, I expect a challenge to Prof. Sowell from James Webb.
Perhaps they could wrassle for it....
Posted at 11:19 AM
I WOULDN'T HAVE GUESSED [K. J. Lopez]
There's a right-winger on Lifetime.
Posted at 11:07 AM
HARVARD FINE [K. J. Lopez]
Larry Summers earmarks $50 million for diversity promotion.
Posted at 11:01 AM
KEITH OLBERMAN SHOULD STOP BLOGGING [Jonah Goldberg ]
If he wants people to take him seriously at all. He accuses the White House of treason -- yes, treason -- in the Newsweek story. No, really: treason.
Nod to Express-News Watch which had the courage, fortitude and obviously monumental supply of free time to keep track of what Olberman writes.
Posted at 10:51 AM
FEAR OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The number and the intemperance of the attacks on "the religious right" has increased in recent months. We seem to be going through a period of hysteria about religious conservatives' involvement in politics, not unlike the one that occurred between 1989 and 1995. Not a day goes by without my reading two or three criticisms that seem to me to lack all sobriety. The topic has even persuaded Alan Wolfe to drop his usual pose of moderation--check out his essay in the latest New Republic. (The essay is not without its comic touches, as when Wolfe authoritatively informs the reader that Jim Wallis's reading of Scripture has it all over Pat Robertson's.) Then there's this, from Katharine Seelye and Neil Lewis in the New York Times story on the Newsweek retraction: "Both [Afghanistan and Pakistan, analysts] pointed out, have political forces seeking to undermine their respective United States-allied heads of state: the Taliban against President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, the religious right against the self-described moderate, General Musharraf, in Pakistan" (emphasis added).
Posted at 10:51 AM
H-BOMB [Jonah Goldberg]
There's another usage for H-Bomb. I have a couple friends who went to Harvard and they used to joke that when they were hitting on girls in bars, they always kept the H-bomb in reserve until they needed it. Then, if they really wanted to impress the girl they'd drop the H-bomb on them.
Another version I've heard has the exact opposite meaning, i.e. when you tell people you went to Harvard -- i.e. drop the H-bomb -- they think less of you.
To be fair, when I worked as a public television producer, a few of us would joke about hitting on girls in bars and playing the super-sensy (i.e. super-sensitive) PBS polar bear and navajo rug-maker documentary card. "Oh, she seems pretty liberal, better put on my PBS cap and talk about filming kittens affected by global warming..."
Posted at 10:45 AM
MAN & LIBERTY [K. J. Lopez]
An interview with Michael Novak
Posted at 10:44 AM
RE: "CRAP" [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 10:43 AM
JANICE ROGERS BROWN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Peter Kirsanow makes a valiant effort to defend her, but I'm not persuaded. The key defect in Kirsanow's argument, it seems to me, is that it places too little weight on Brown's speeches. He says that her record as a judge ought to trump those speeches, and that "if one's philosophical meanderings and musings in speeches, debates, or lectures are presumptive of how such nominee will rule as a judge, 90 percent of those who've ever taught a law-school class, given a luncheon address, or participated in an ABA panel discussion would be disqualified. Only the intellectually incurious would remain."
So are we to conclude that Brown didn't mean what she said when she suggested that judges had to apply a law higher than the Constitution? How far would Kirsanow go with this? If a liberal Kerry nominee to the courts had given speeches analogous to the ones Brown gave--or even ones with the exact same phrases--you can bet that conservatives would not be dismissing them as "meanderings and musings" and looking only at her record.
Posted at 10:40 AM
I CAN NO LONGER REMAIN SILENT [John Derbyshire]
Star Wars is crap. The whole thing, all of them -- crap, crap, crap. An insult to the intelligence of our kids. Buck Rogers made more sense -- and that's not EVEN to mention Dan Dare, Tom Corbett, Kemlo, and countless other far-more-worthy-to-be-remembered precursors. George Lucas took classic space opera and MESSED IT UP. Verpfuscht! The Empire has no clothes.
Posted at 10:39 AM
H-BOMB: ARGH [K. J. Lopez]
We may need a new way to reference the Huffington Post. I was reading Ross Douthat’s Privilege last night. On Page 188 he notes that H-Bomb is Harvard’s porn mag.
Posted at 10:24 AM
ESPECIALLY CATS [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mailer re: GWBUSH.org: "Beyond the extreme paranoia and conspiracy theorizing, I can't take any page seriously where each contributor is represented by a photo of their kitten or a star wars character. Unless it's the Corner. Then I would change my opinion in a heartbeat. Or the chip in my brain would make me change it."
Posted at 10:13 AM
NO AMNESTY [K. J. Lopez]
Our take on McCain/Kennedy.
Posted at 10:06 AM
OIL FOR FOOD HEARINGS [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 10:02 AM
THANK YOU [Ed Capano]
Many thanks to all of you who so generously supported our fundraising effort. We fell a bit short of our goal, but with your continued support and encouragement we will strive to improve and expand and to move ahead with our plans to fulfill our goals and justify your faith in us. I also want to thank those who didn’t have the opportunity to contribute but support us by continuing to visit NRO. Traffic is especially important in our never-ending quest to attract advertisers. Again, thank you all. Everyone at NR and NRO is grateful.
Posted at 09:54 AM
TRUTH IN ACRONYMS [Warren Bell]
Am I the first to notice this? "Star Wars Episode III: ROTS."
Posted at 09:51 AM
FUNNY STUFF [Warren Bell]
On the main page today from Tony Woodlief and Ned Rice today. Which makes me think maybe I should write something today. Yup. Right away. After a haircut. And a hike. Only ten miles, then straight to it.
Posted at 09:51 AM
DERB'S GERMANOPHILIA GETS OUT OF CONTROL (AGAIN) [John Derbyshire]
A few columns ago I mentioned Effi Briest, Germany's entry in the great 19th-century female-adultery novel stakes. France gave us Madame Bovary, from Russia we got Anna Karenina, and Germany brought forth poor little Effi Briest.
Interesting to see such a faithful adaptation. Faithful? Half the time there's a voice-over just reading the darn book. On the whole, though, I thought it was nicely done--dry & understated, but then so was the book. That's kind of the point. And seeing the movie made me realise, what I don't think I did when reading the book, that the pre-duel scene between Instetten and his friend is the real nerve center of the whole thing. BR> BR> Swoon moment for Germanophiles: Instetten, near the end, reflecting on the whole sorry business, says: "My life is a mess." That's how the English subtitle translates it, anyway. What he actually says on-screen is: "Mein Leben ist verpfuscht." BR> BR> Verpfuscht! (Pronounced "fair-PFOOSHT.") Is that a splendid word, or what? Does any language in the world have a more apt way to express this particular sentiment? Verpfuscht! It would almost be worth messing up your life just to be able to say: "Mein Leben ist verpfuscht." BR> BR> Spanish is, according to Bobby Dylan, the loving tongue; but for sheer vigor of expression, German is hard to beat. BR> BR> Dear NRO readers: May your lives never be verpfuscht.
Posted at 09:50 AM
NYT & NRO [Jonah Goldberg]
I would like to point out -- just for the record -- that many of you (I'm thinking of you, and you, especially you, not you, but usually you and the guy next to you) get a lot more out of NRO than you do from the New York Times. We are much, much, much smaller than the Times. And yet they feel the need to charge fifty bucks to read Bob Herbert. We're not going down that path -- yet -- but that doesn't mean we couldn't use a little extra shmundo from you guys.
Posted at 09:40 AM
SEX IN THE INNER-CITY [K. J. Lopez]
Kay Hymowitz on motherhood and marriage and a new book.
Posted at 09:37 AM
SAM BROWNBACK [K. J. Lopez]
visits a cord-blood bank.
Posted at 09:21 AM
HOUSE MOVES TOWARD [K. J. Lopez]
easing stem-cell-research restrictions.
Posted at 09:20 AM
BOGUS MIDDLE [K. J. Lopez ]
E. J. Dionne hurts his “courage” piece today on a pro-legal-abortion Dem Catholic who wants to reduce abortions when he lumps the Long Islander in with Hillary Clinton. Mrs. C opposes a bill that would prohibit girls from going out of state for abortions and she voted against the ban on partial-birth abortion. That’s no middle ground anyway you cut it.
Posted at 09:12 AM
BEYOND TODD [K. J. Lopez ]
I just read the Boston Globe story on Newsweak. Similar to NYT. That Newsweek made a mistake is almost the sub-story. That Koran desecration probably happened is the main story. Newsweek just couldn’t get the goods, but everyone says its going on—or at least a lot of bad guys do. Lets assume that’s true--that someone in our military, or someone treated a Koran with less than respect--because others will. Then here’s my question: Ok, what if some of our guys have desecrated Korans? That makes rioting and killing ok, because it would all then be justified? Isn't that the message with no widespread condemnation of the voilence? Think about Theo Van Gogh. He seriously ticked some people off, in ways similar to Koran desecration stories. He was killed. Where was the widespread outrage that he was murdered? Noticing a bad pattern?
Posted at 09:10 AM
NORTH KOREA [Stanley Kurtz]
The North Korea nightmare continues to play out. This article echoes the usual liberal call for two-party talks.
That can only result in the sort of bogus agreement struck by President Clinton. But the article is right to point to China’s foot-dragging. I still hope China might come around and pressure North Korea on the nuclear issue. Perhaps at the last minute it will. But the greater likelihood is that China actually prefers an aggressive and nuclear North Korea. What better way to keep the United States in check? And if a terrorist bomb purchased from North Korea happens to take out Washington, why would China object?
North Korea’s economy is a disaster area. That’s what makes it vulnerable to a Chinese withdrawal of sales and subsidies. But that’s also what gives North Korea the motive to make money the only way it can–by selling military contraband. Does North Korea have any reason not to add nuclear weapons to its already hefty military sales inventory? I don’t think so. But I do think North Korea has a motive to forgo a nuclear test. A test would only alarm the world. The Koreans would be smarter to develop nukes without testing and sell them on the sly. Then the world’s complacency, and the calls for bogus deals, would continue.
Posted at 09:01 AM
MINNESOTA DREAMING [K. J. Lopez]
First Pawlenty, now Coleman?
Posted at 08:51 AM
"NO NUKES" [K. J. Lopez ]
Goodness, John Tierney's actually writing about nuclear power, not judges. Took me a second...
Posted at 08:37 AM
CHARLES K. ZINGERS [K. J. Lopez ]
Move over Laura Bush….
Posted at 08:36 AM
ABOUT LAST NIGHT [K. J. Lopez ]
You know you’re a prestigious magazine when… David Gelernter is but your introducer, as he was at Commentary’s dinner last night (introducing Mr. K.).
Posted at 08:36 AM
'08 DARK HORSES, CON'T [K. J. Lopez]
Norm Coleman. Hmmm. An e-mail: "Young, moderate and midwestern, but still carries the water on a major conservative issue - UN corruption. His star is on the rise, and that's the type it takes to win the White House. Do you remember W in 1997?" He is the U.N. reform stud at the moment...
Posted at 08:35 AM
SACRILEGE [John Derbyshire]
I confess I haven't followed the Newsweek flap very attentively. It's got my attention now though. Just look at the front cover of this morning's New York Post! That's Zhang Ziyi they're flushing down the toilet! (Which means, duh, it's the WRONG ISSUE of Newsweek anyway!!)
What on earth has happened to journalistic integrity? In America's Newspaper of Record, of all places?!?!!
If this doesn't bring out indignant mobs in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Long Island, then the human race has lost its sense of outrage.
Posted at 08:33 AM
APUZZO & BAINBRIDGE ON EPISODE III [Jonathan H. Adler]
More conservative commentary on Episode III, courtesy of Jason Apuzzo and Stephen Bainbridge. (Note, the Apuzzo review contains spoilers.)
Posted at 08:20 AM
RE: THE KRAUTHAMMER ZINGERS [Jonah Goldberg]
Re: John P's 10:51 post, some may not know that Krauthammer's had time to hone his zingers in the last couple issues of the National Interest -- where Krauthammer and Fukuyama have been conducting a scorched-earth debate in the letters section. In terms of insidery policy battles between heavyweights, it doesn't get any better.
Posted at 07:56 AM
YOU'RE NO CHURCHILL, MR. RATHER [Tim Graham]
The Washington Post reports Dan Rather "got downright Churchillian" in remarks at the Peabody Awards last night, as he accepted an award with Mary Mapes for their Abu Ghraib expose: "In their name and on their behalf," he said of his staff, "I accept this award and join them in hoping this recognition will further inspire us and others to never give up, never back down, never give in while pursuing the dream of doing integrity-filled journalism that matters."
The Post headline was "Anchors Comic and Serious Win Peabodys." After reading that quote, I'd put Rather in the Comic category. The Post meant Jon Stewart as the comic, but they could have started the story: "Two fake news anchors accepted awards last night...."
For his part, Stewart, who the liberal Peabody gang hailed for equal-opportunity humor, went for the conservative-bashing, and this case unfunny bashing: The chicken with the noodles, he said, "shows a distinct liberal bias. I hope that next year the group will consider veal medallions and succotash, which I feel are more reflective of the traditional values of our country."
Posted at 07:38 AM
A TRULY DISGUSTING TIMES [John Podhoretz]
Following up on the Nightline post below, check out today's New York Times, which rehearses every unsubstantiated charge made against American interrogators at Gitmo while telling the story of Newsweek's retraction: "In fact, complaints from released inmates that the Koran had been thrown into a toilet go back at least two years."
Gee. Allegations that Jews put the blood of Christian children into Passover matzah go back at least eight centuries. Clearly, then, according to the logic of the Times, Jews are to blame for the blood libel.
Posted at 06:41 AM
A TRULY DISGUSTING NIGHTLINE [John Podhoretz]
On last night's Nightline, supposedly about Newsweek's admission that the murderous story it published about flushing a Koran down the toilet at Gitmo is a lie, the introductory piece actually blamed the United States government for the riots that erupted as a result. "It would certainly be convenient to say that all this is Newsweek's fault," said Nightline.'s John Donvan. "The problem is, America also has a credibility problem in the Muslim world."
Quoting Pentagon spokesman Brian Whitman's declaration that the story is "demonstrably false," Donvan responded in an incredulous voiceover, "Demonstrably false? At Guanatamo Bay almost nothing is demonstrable, especially to the Muslim world. It's a secret prison -- for good reason perhaps -- but secret. What really goes on at Guanatamo Bay no one really knows."
The thing is, no one really knows what goes on at Nightline either. And we know network news has a credibility problem. So would that make it all right for me to report that, according to an anonymous source, Ted Koppel flushed a Koran down the toilet?
No, Ted Koppel did not flush a Koran down the toilet. But according to Nightline, we just can't be sure, can we? Maybe John Donvan did it.
Posted at 05:49 AM
BAN ON MOSQUE RAIDS [Rich Lowry]
I'm all for the Iraqi government finding ways to reach out to the Sunnis--and realize that we won't like all of them--but the effect of this new ban on military raids on mosques is going to be entirely predictable: the increased use of them by the insurgents as a base for attacks. The Times details a few of our experiences to this point: "Ramadi, another insurgent stronghold, has also been the scene of mosque raids, including one in November witnessed by a reporter for The New York Times in which American troops from the 503rd Infantry Regiment attacked after taking fire from a minaret. They used the minaret to fire on a suspected suicide bomber racing toward the mosque, causing the car to explode. Inside the mosque, the soldiers found Kalashnikov rifles and ammunition magazines hidden in an air duct.
American officers from the First Cavalry Division who accompanied Iraqi national guardsmen to a mosque in the Qaddisiya area of Baghdad in November recounted how they had been greeted by the mosque's senior imam with assurances of good will and of hostility toward the insurgents. When the Americans withdrew and the Iraqis searched cars in the mosque's parking lot, they discovered trunkloads of Kalashnikovs, grenade-launchers, bomb-making equipment and ammunition. The cleric was arrested and sent to Abu Ghraib."
Posted at 02:16 AM
RULES FOR HANDLING THE KORAN [Rich Lowry]
This Washington Post piece has a run-down of the rules at Gitmo: "The Pentagon memo, among other directives, barred military police from touching the Koran. If a copy of the book was to be moved from a cell, the memo said, it must be placed on a `clean, dry detainee towel' and then wrapped without turning it over at any time. Muslim chaplains must then ensure that it is not placed in any offensive area while transported."
Posted at 01:54 AM
EIGHTH POST OF THE DAY! [Rich Lowry]
Posted at 01:50 AM
JPOD'S QUESTION [K. J. Lopez]
Just slowly get up and walk away. There's a beautiful world out there--fresh air and everything...oh yeah: and sleep!--but it requires moving away from your keyboard. And your crackberry. And your darn text messages and cell.
Posted at 12:29 AM
WHY DID I KNOW [K. J. Lopez]
Ceci Connelly would be psyched about the ACLU-Silver Ring Thing suit?
Posted at 12:26 AM
QUESTION NOT BEING ASKED TOO MUCH [K. J. Lopez]
Irshad Manji: "Why riot violently over the mistreatment of a Quran?"
Posted at 12:19 AM
QUESTION FOR THE VETERANS [The Pod]
How do you stop blogging?
Posted at 12:16 AM
MORE ON WINE CASE [Jonathan H. Adler]
An e-mailed tempers my enthusiasm for the practical result in the wine shipment case. As the Supreme Court decision merely bars states from discriminating against out-of-state wine makers, some states may respond by barring all direct wine sales to consumers. Such regulations would be regrettable -- but completely constitutional. Stephen Bainbridge has more on the decision here.
Posted at 12:06 AM
RE: RUDY [K. J. Lopez]
Fair enough, Rick!
Posted at 12:04 AM
MIDNIGHT EST [K. J. Lopez]
Don't go there...
Posted at 12:01 AM
Monday, May 16, 2005
RUDY FINIS [Rick Brookhiser]
Kathryn, so to wrap this up, in criticizing Rudy, you would be more effective to focus on his actual shortcomings: egotism, mania, does not play well with others, would marry gay fetuses then abort them, etc., etc.--all of it true. But to imply that he is "all hype"--especially compared with GeorgeAllenBillOwensMittRomneyJohnMcCain and all the other bland voids he would be running against (McCain is a hero as to biography, a bland void as to career)--is simply false.
Posted at 11:59 PM
YALTA...ON THE OTHER HAND [Peter Robinson]
From a reader, the other side of the argument--and my final posting on the matter:
THe idea that somehow [Yalta]...could have been different "if only" is just nonsense. The Soviet army, by '45, was largely unbeatable. Despite our guys and the brits heroics against the nazis, it was clearly the Soviets who did most of the fighting (and dying). East Europe was (sadly) a lost cause....
Posted at 11:58 PM
AMERICA ON THE DARK SIDE? [K. J. Lopez]
An open letter to George Lucas.
Posted at 11:58 PM
WARSAW AND YALTA [Peter Robinson]
From one reader:
Not quite true that no supplies got through [to Warsaw]. This from http://www.polonia.co.za/WarsawFlights/Page.htm:And from another: Stalin [at last]… relented and allowed a single [American] supply run to Warsaw in mid-September, 1944. By that point, the Polish Home Army was on the verge of collapse (after holding most of the city early the previous month) and over 90% of the 1200+ supply canisters we dropped fell into German hands. British bombers flying from Italy had made several largely ineffective night drops earlier in the summer but suffered heavy losses on the long round-trip flights over German-held territory and were forced to give up the effort.
George Kennan later wrote in his memoirs that Moscow's refusal to allow us to use existing bases to provide meaningful support to the Polish rebels was the moment when, "if ever, there should have been a full-fledged and realistic political showdown with Soviet leaders." Whatever Kennan said, or didn't say, later in his life, he was absolutely correct on this.
Posted at 11:54 PM
TODD, ARISE [Warren Bell]
They were so just trying to get linked.
Posted at 11:51 PM
THIS GUY IS PRETTY GOOD AT GOLF PLAY-BY-PLAY [John Podhoretz]
...but when it comes to intelligible political analysis, Jim Lampley ought to take a lifetime Mulligan.
UPDATE: A good Fisking by Donald Gooch, a guy patient enough actually to engage Lampley's pseudo-ideas, can be found here.
Posted at 11:42 PM
NEWSWEEK'S SEPOY REBELLION [John Podhoretz]
Two men far more learned than I -- Fox News's George Russell and Dow Jones's Gordon Crovitz -- independently came up to me tonight with the identical perfect parallel for Newsweek's riot-inducing rumermongering about flushing Korans down toilets. It is, they both said, the contemporary version of the "Sepoy Rebellion" -- a riot among native-born soldiers in India in 1857 that was fomented by crazed rumormongering about how the grease used on the cartridges for British Enfield rifles was made of pig and cow fat. This was an immensely complex and confusing incident, and the most revealing quick hit I could find about it on the web is here.
Posted at 11:31 PM
THE PEW REPORT ON AMERICAN POLITICS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Patrick Ruffini analyzes it here and here.
Posted at 11:11 PM
THE KRAUTHAMMER ZINGER [John Podhoretz]
At a speech tonight in New York -- okay, it was the first annual Norman Podhoretz Lecture, delivered at a dinner hosted by Commentary Magazine -- Charles Krauthammer gave a characteristically brilliant disquisition on "neoconservatism as a governing philosophy." But he earned his biggest laughs and biggest applause when he took on an obnoxious essay by Francis Fukuyama published last year in the National Interest.
Fukuyama, Krauthammer said, said the Bush democratization project was a bad idea and had always been a bad idea and everybody who supported it and led it should have known it was a bad idea -- even though in the year before the war Fukuyama was utterly silent about it.
Krauthammer called the Fukuyama article "retrospective prophecy," and noted that in the aftermath of the Iraqi elections it had already been proved wrong. "Maybe," he mused, quoting Fukuyama's own highbrow soundbite back at him, "that's what happens at the end of history."
Yee-ouch. Talk about being hoist on your own petard. Game, set, and match to Krauthammer.
Posted at 10:51 PM
RE: TODD [Jonah Goldberg]
Running dog, mayo eating, late-Springsteen-loving, bourgeois slackers have rejected "Todd." In the more rebellious corners of the number 4 bus to oak park people understand a lion eating a tree. Why? Because a vest has no sleeves, of course.
Posted at 07:46 PM
TODD [Warren Bell]
Most of the internet has shortened "number 4 bus to Oak Park" to "no4." Sadly, "Todd" has not caught on similarly in the no4.
Posted at 06:08 PM
RE: NUMBER 4 BUS TO OAK PARK [K. J. Lopez]
Jonah, Todd didn't quite catch on, did it?
Posted at 05:44 PM
RE: THAT LAST JOKE [K. J. Lopez]
I do ride in cars other people drive, Mr. Smart Guy. I'm a great back-seat driver.
I bet the mistress of the H-Bomb doesn't drive either. Speaking of buses: I probably do take buses more often than AH. Just a guess.
Posted at 05:41 PM
THAT LAST JOKE [Warren Bell]
Not likely to be appreciated by certain delightful and ironic non-driving Queens of the Blogosphere -- er, I mean, Number 4 Bus to Oak Park.
Posted at 05:38 PM
GPS CHIPS AND SALSA [Warren Bell]
I don't think implanting GPS chips into everyone is a good idea. I can only imagine that slightly odd female voice coming into my head all the time saying, "at the next available intersection, make a u-turn."
Posted at 05:35 PM
GEORGE BUSH WANTS YOU IMPLANTED WITH GPS CHIPS [K. J. Lopez]
Didn't you know? What was Warren saying about paranoia?
Posted at 05:16 PM
BEHIND THE HYPE [K. J. Lopez]
Rick, okay, fine: What was behind the "all hype" comment? It's all about who I want to be president. And that's not Rudy (shocking, I know).
Seriously, though, wouldn't running for president only make him more human in the eyes of America and the world? I'd keep making money if I were him.
Posted at 05:05 PM
RUDY REPLY [Rick Brookhiser]
Kathryn, you're shifting your ground. Giuliani wants to be president because every politician does. We, the voters, must evaluate their qualifications. He's got plenty of negatives--I've written about them for NRO--but to dismiss talk of him as "all hype" struck me as unreal.
Posted at 05:03 PM
RETRACTED [Mark R. Levin]
Fox News is reporting that Newsweek is retracting the story.
Posted at 05:02 PM
BEFORE YALTA [Peter Robinson]
A number of e-mails to the persuasive effect that Yalta could have turned out a lot differently if FDR and Churchill--but especially FDR--had stood up to the Soviets more vigorously during the preceding several years. Consider this, from MT:
An additional point: During the Warsaw Uprising (in which my mother fought) Churchill wanted to resupply the Polish Home Army with air drops of weapons and provisions. To stop this, Stalin refused to allow U.S. and British planes to land on Soviet soil -- they could not make it to Warsaw and back without landing in Soviet controlled territory. Churchill told Roosevelt we should send them anyway -- that Stalin would never actually prevent them from landing once they were in the air. Roosevelt refused. Stalin's troops waited on the other side of the Vistula for the Germans to wipe out the Polish resistance (and thus the leaders of a free and independent Poland). If we had resuplied them, it would have sent a clear signal to Stalin that we would not acquiesce to his subjugation of Eastern Europe -- and Yalta would have been a very different meeting....
Posted at 04:58 PM
BWAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA [Jonah Goldberg]
Prediction: This will hurt the NYT immeasurably. Even if they get a satsifactory number of people to pay -- my doubt runneth over on this point -- the divide between liberals and conservatives will be enormous. The New York Times, which has been fighting -- or claiming to -- the image that it's a "blue state" newspaper will reinforce that impression to the nth degree. There are people in the world who will pay to read Krugman and Dowd (and in a more caring America their medication would be paid for by the government). But virtually none of them are conservatives. The Times op-ed page will become largely invisible to those who disagree with it. This will in turn only amplify the echo chamber effect. Krugman will think the country's coming to its senses because he'll stop getting hate mail. Poor David Brooks will mostly get harsh feedback (people who read print editions email reactions much, much less than e-readers). The Times' status as an agenda setter will drop as producers and scribblers will be less likely to be reading online (if they're smart, the Times will give out thousands of free electronic subsriptions to journalists).
Look, I want charging for web content to work. It'd help us a lot. But I am delighted the Times is the one charging the machine gun nest.
Posted at 04:55 PM
THE NEEXT BIG SUPREME COURT RELIGION CASE? [K. J. Lopez]
ACLU vs. Pittsburgh faith-based abstinence program.
Posted at 04:53 PM
RE SOURCES [Rich Lowry ]
Mark, that's an excellent point--goes to how the item was written in a way to obscure the flimsiness of its most explosive allegation. Something else I've wondered about. Newsweek this week says the sources that they ran the piece by, corrected one point in it: “The official challenged one aspect of the story: the suggestion that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, sent to Gitmo by the Pentagon in 2001 to oversee prisoner interrogation, might be held accountable for the abuses. Not true, said the official (the PERISCOPE draft was corrected to reflect that).” But the May 9 Periscope item still says, “These findings, expected in an upcoming report by the U.S. Southern Command in Miami could put former Gitmo commander Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller in the hot seat... given the complaints that were being raised, sources say, the report will provoke questions about whether Miller should have known what was happening-- and acted to try to prevent it.”
Posted at 04:49 PM
I LIKE THE WAY IT...SURROUNDS A STORY, PART 2 [John Podhoretz]
Oh, and the Times will pay you $179.99 a year if you manage actually to complete reading a single Bob Herbert column.
Posted at 04:41 PM
QUESTION FOR JOHN POD [Peter Robinson]
Is Laurie David by any chance related to Larry David, would you happen to know?
Posted at 04:38 PM
I LIKE THE WAY IT...SURROUNDS A STORY... [John Podhoretz]
The New York Times is about to charge $49.95 a year if you want to read its opinion columns on the web. For $79.95 a year, you don't have to read Paul Krugman.
Posted at 04:37 PM
RE: SARBANES FAINTS [John Podhoretz]
How could anyone tell?
Posted at 04:34 PM
"IT WAS REVEALED THAT ONE WOMAN FROM LONDON HAD SIX ABORTIONS IN JUST 12 MONTHS!" [K. J. Lopez]
You gotta hope this isn't true--whatever your position on abortion.
Posted at 04:32 PM
RE: NEWSWEEK [Tim Graham]
Jonah, I have to disagree again! I think some Rather comparisons are apt here, especially Mark Whitaker saying in the New York Times today "We're not retracting anything" because they don't know what's wrong yet. Newsweek should NOT be trying to claim it’s apologizing, but then refuse to retract. They should retract the entire story, and say it should be proven true before we publish it again, not suggest it should all be considered true until someone can disprove it. Newsweek is making PR mistakes here by trying to change the subject (hey, French and Russian reporters circulated this garbage before we did).
Newsweek should NOT be trying to assert they reported this story "very carefully, with great sensitivity and concern," as Managing Editor Jon Meacham claimed. They were not careful at all. They used one anonymous source, who now can’t back himself up. They sent the story to two Pentagon officials. One declined to respond. The other challenged one aspect but did not dispute the Koran-flushing charge. Just as in the Rather case, failure to object does not equal proof that your sensational story is true. The ironic thing here is since the original story was so short (320 words), I'm guessing both Newsweek and the Pentagon were blase about the content. If Newsweek had a 4000-word expose, both sides would have been much more careful.
Meacham also claimed: "We have tried to be transparent about exactly what happened." Wrong. You can’t use anonymous sources and say you’re "transparent." Transparent would mean you put the source on the record and let the readers judge whether that person is qualified and whether they have an agenda.
Posted at 04:29 PM
FOR THOSE WHO, LIKE ME, HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN READ THE INSANE CELEBRITY RAMBLINGS ON ARIANNA'S BLOG... [John Podhoretz]
...we breathlessly await the day leading rich-lady environmentalist Laurie David is able to write a blog item without mentioning her husband Larry. You know. Larry David. The "Curb Your Enthusiasm" guy. His name is Larry. Larry David. He did "Seinfeld." Larry David? Okay, maybe if she could just write one sentence that doesn't include his name, that would be something.
Posted at 04:29 PM
LONGEST-SERVING SENATOR [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 04:27 PM
"PROM SURVIVAL KITS" [K. J. Lopez]
Planned Parenthood sends the kids off for a "magical" night. And, actually, PP might be unintentionally pro-abstinence in practice here: Teenwire's website gets so mechanical, kids might actually get turned off.
Posted at 04:23 PM
RE: YALTA AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN [Peter Robinson]
Fascinating. Also persuasive. Thanks.
Posted at 04:22 PM
SOURCES [Mark R. Levin]
Re-reading the May 9 Newsweek report, it doesn't reference one source, but sources. "... sources tell Newsweek ..." I've yet to hear Newsweek even attempt to explain this. There was one unnamed source, and two other people -- one who essentially ignored the inquiry and another who complained about a separate issue.
Posted at 04:18 PM
"DO YOUR OWN DISHES" [K. J. Lopez]
VDH on immigration.
Posted at 04:16 PM
RE: YALTA AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN [David Rivkin]
Peter Robinson asks a good question. In the short run, Soviet control of Poland may have not been impacted by different Western behavior at Yalta. However, several things ought to be kept in mind. Having nearly lost the war to Hitler, and having emerged with a large army, but with the country in ruins, and behind in new weapons technology, Stalin was exceedingly cautious in the immediate post-war period, probing his way. As a result, a strong Western rejection of the legitimacy of the Soviet-installed government in Poland, and its continuation of the endorsement of the London-based Polish government, may have given Stalin pause. Moreover, even if this was not the case as far as Poland was concerned (Stalin obviously believed that Russia had important historic claims on Poland), he may have thought twice about bringing the Polish model to the other countries. Yalta effectively gave Stalin peace of mind, accepting that his legitimate sphere of influence would be defined by the Red Army's 1945 reach. Moreover, there were several periods of upheaval in Eastern and Central Europe in the years to come, following Stalin's death in 1953, again in 1956, etc. I happen to believe that the failure to legitimize the initial Soviet domination may have made a pivotal difference during one of these upheavals, bringing down the whole house of cards long before the Velvet Revolutions of 1989.
Posted at 04:14 PM
MARY, MARY, LESS CONTRARY [K. J. Lopez]
Catholics and Anglicans together.
Posted at 04:13 PM
SHUT UP AND LIGHT SABRE [K. J. Lopez]
Striking back at the Bush empire. What was that the JPod was saying?
Posted at 04:09 PM
RE: THE NON-RETRACTION [Rich Lowry ]
I'm guessing Newsweek is just hoping that something turns up. The fact is that they went with an explosive story based on a single-source with no real confirmation (although they attempted to get confirmation). After Abu Ghraib, any allegation involving a military prison has to make you nervous. But the Koran-flushing thing seems inherently implausible. There was an uproar at Gitmo in the late-2002 timeframe over our guys just dropping a Koran on the floor, so I doubt anyone would have been flushing one down a toilet. Because the cells of the detainees sometimes have to be searched and they have Korans in them, the military has had to come up with procedures over how to handle them. My understanding is that they wear gloves, have the detainees themselves turn the pages, and only touch them with their right hands. Our guys really deserved much more of a benefit of the doubt than Newsweek was willing to give them--but is anyone surprised?
Posted at 04:05 PM
MODERATE MUSLIMS SPEAK OUT [Cliff May]
On Saturday, Free Muslims Against Terrorism (FMAT) and a number of other organizations held an anti-terrorism demonstration in Washington. Among the speakers was Mohamed Eljahmi, a long-time friend and the brother of imprisoned Libyan dissident Fathi Eljahmi.
Mohamed told the crowd that he and others had come "to send a message of hope and support to the people of the Greater Middle East in their struggle to build free and democratic societies. We also salute the men and women of the US armed forces, who continue to sacrifice for the cause of freedom and liberty in the Greater Middle East.
"Free societies follow the rule of law, abhor violence, abhor anti-Semitism and abhor religious intolerance, while repressed societies create environments of despair and hate. The Free World must tell the Arab tyrants, that decades-long abuse and repression of their people must end." The rest of his remarks are here.
Also, to see and hear a superb, principled and impassioned speech by Imam Khaleel Mohammed click here.
Posted at 03:48 PM
REMEMBER THE TSUNAMI AID? [K. J. Lopez]
What's wrong with the U.N., con't--by Mark Steyn.
Posted at 03:47 PM
"DO NOT" [K. J. Lopez]
True love can withstand a lot, but some little annoying habits can make it a challenge. New research finds these are some "do nots" for couples, according to the Scotsman:
• Fabricating anecdotes in a desperate effort to liven up a dinner party.(Sound like your life?)
Groundbreaking. We so needed a study to explain this all. Thank you.
Posted at 03:37 PM
NEWSWEEK, CONT'D [Mark R. Levin]
Re: Jonah's point: It may well have taken the Pentagon 11 days to figure out if the charge was accurate. But then Newsweek should have waited until it was sure it was accurate before running with it. This, it seems to me, goes to the heart of accurate reporting and is no small matter, i.e., confirming a story before running it. Newsweek may now be looking to determine whether this kind of thing has ever happened, but its May 9 report ran with a specific charge.
Posted at 03:37 PM
BACK TO WORK. BUT... [Jonah Goldberg]
154, Level 14.
Some tips for those who really don't get the zombie game but keep emailing me to figure out what the tricks are. The real trick is, don't play. But if you insist. First, the mouse has to basically be on the zombie to kill it. Second, whenever you can, shoot the buggers before they completely emerge from the ground -- only takes one shot. Third, you can buy some time by shooting the thin zombies in the ankles -- it makes them fall over. Fourth, understand that the shotgun is less useful than it seems because of the reload factor. Fifth, if you have a break in the action and only one bullet left, shoot it so you can fully reload.
Posted at 03:30 PM
THE DISNEY PORN PICS GIRL [K. J. Lopez]
Has been found.
Posted at 03:23 PM
YALTA AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN [Peter Robinson]
On the evidence of Meacham’s own book, Franklin and Winston, FDR behaved appallingly at Yalta, flattering Stalin shamelessly while maneuvering to limit Churchill’s role in the negotiations. Churchill? He spent much of the meeting sulking. But as to the substance --that is, as to the agreements the summit meeting produced --what, exactly, ought FDR and Churchill to have done differently? What could they have done differently? Defend Poland from Soviet domination? But how? Poland had already been occupied by the Red Army.
This isn’t a rhetorical question. Could someone with knowledge of the political and military realities --David Rivkin, perhaps? --describe what a good Yalta agreement would have looked like?
Posted at 03:20 PM
RE: HOW ANIMAL HOUSE HAPPENED [Peter Robinsona]
Gotcha, John. To the question, How did Animal House happen?, there is a simple, one-word answer, which explains not only Animal House but a legion of otherwise inexplicable achievements--and, come to think of it, nearly all achievments.
Posted at 03:18 PM
THE NON-RETRACTION [Jonah Goldberg]
I listened to the editor of Newsweek on NPR in the car today. I'm afraid, I'm growing squishy on the whole thing. I still think it was a major screw up. But unless the editor (I can't remember his name) was b.s.ing than I think their position is defensible. Essentially, they aren't opposed to retracting, but since the story partly unravelled the night before they went to print, they want to investigate it further. They vetted the piece before it went to press and the Administration source(s) they showed it to didn't object to the Koran aspect. There have been numerous reports in other news outlets from freed detainees claiming they witnessed such acts. So, I think their position is that they want to research the whole thing more before they say unequivocally that it never happened. Obviously, researching this better beforehand would have been the preferable way to go. And I agree Newsweek screwed up, but there's blame to go around. The Pentagon never commented on the item when given the opportunity -- according to Newsweek -- and only denied it 11 days after it ran -- i.e. after the riots took place. I just don't think this is akin to the CBS/Dan Rather stonewall.
Posted at 03:11 PM
RETRACTION [Mark R. Levin]
Can anyone explain the logic behind Newsweek's refusal to retract its false story?
Posted at 03:03 PM
THE SHOOT ZOMBIES, DON'T THEY [Jonah Goldberg ]
My best: Level Thirteen, 120.
Posted at 03:02 PM
RAPPERS VS. FILIBUSTER RULE CHANGE [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 03:01 PM
RE: SPECTER ON ASBESTOS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
He doesn't really deal with the substantive case against his bill, preferring to make personal attacks on Dick Armey. The bill doesn't keep fradulent claims from getting money, and it doesn't close the door to further litigation.
Specter doesn't adequately rebut the arguments he does choose to address. He denies that the trust fund for paying out asbestos claims would be funded by taxes: "Mr. Armey says the bill would levy $140 billion in new taxes to create a federal trust fund for asbestos victims. He knows better. Manufacturers, which are liable for asbestos injuries, and their insurers have offered to create the $140 billion trust fund to avoid further liability. The bill is explicit that the federal government would pay nothing into the fund."
But the manufacturers would be sending money--based in part on their incomes--to a trust fund operated by the federal government. You could just as well say that federal welfare payments are from individuals rather than from the federal government, which is "just" a middleman.
Unfortunately, it looks as though Specter's bill has enough support from Democrats to pass through the Judiciary Committee over the objections of Senators Coburn, Kyl, and Sessions. The bill will have to be fixed in a House-Senate conference if it's to be fixed at all.
Posted at 02:56 PM
THE GERMANS ATTACK [K. J. Lopez]
The source of my problems this weekend.
Posted at 02:50 PM
"NEVER TRUST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
the Center for American Progress," says a liberal.
Posted at 02:47 PM
GEORGE ALLEN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here's a preview of the attacks that could be expected. I disagree with some of the Allen actions Nyhan mentions, such as the Confederate stuff and the Lott defense. I think he was right about other things, such as the 1991 Civil Rights Act. And none of this, including the stuff with which I disagree, strikes me as terrible or disqualifying.
Posted at 02:44 PM
HOW ANIMAL HOUSE HAPPENED [John Podhoretz]
Peter, the following tale comes from a book by Matty Simmons, one of the producers of National Lampoon's Animal House: "When we walked into his office, [Universal Studios president Ned] Tenen got right to it. 'I hate this!' he said. 'The story is all over the place. There are too many characters, too many things happening, and I don't like anybody in it.' Tanen leaned over and looked me in the eye. 'Can you make this for two and a half million?' he asked.
"At that point I didn't have the slightest idea whether the picture could be made for a million, ten million , or two and a half million. My background was in publishing and theater. 'Absolutely!' I told Tanen. 'I guarantee it!'"
Posted at 02:41 PM
I'VE GOT IT! [Jonah Goldberg]
Cheney for the Supreme Court!
Nothing in the Constitution says you have to be a lawyer. And, and, and...oh never mind.
But I do think it'd be cool if Bush picked a non-lawyer, just to see the legal community get all frumpy about it.
James Q. Wilson gets my vote.
Posted at 02:38 PM
MICHELLE MALKIN [K. J. Lopez]
has been to Seattle.
Posted at 02:32 PM
RIVKIN ON MEACHAM [Rich Lowry ]
NR and NRO contributor David Rivkin sends on this response to Jon Meacham's "Bush, Yalta and the Blur of Hindsight" in yesterday’s Washington Post:
"Meacham takes issue with President Bush's harsh characterization of the Yalta accords. Meacham basically argues that, while both Roosevelt and Churchill prove to be erroneous about Stalin's intention, the accords were not a cold-blooded betrayal of central and east European nations; according to him, "the language in the agreement they signed that day was eloquent and high-minded." This rosy assessment is hard to reconcile with the facts, since the accords contained a whole section on Poland, which basically delegitimized the London-based Polish government in exile, and blessed the establishment of a Soviet-dominated Polish provisional government. Significantly, this decision was made with the full realization of what the prior Soviet track record has been with regard to Poland -- including Stalin's aggression against Poland in 1939, in tandem with Hitler, the Red Army pausing on the outskirts of Warsaw, to enable the Germans to kill most of the participants in the Warsaw uprising, the Soviet imprisonment of a number of the Polish officials and officers who fell into their hands. This, by the way, charitably assumes that Churchill and Roosevelt were not aware in February of 1945, of the true state of play with regard the Katyn massacre of thousands of Polish officers by the Red Army and continued to believe that this was all German propaganda.
To put it in a nutshell, the Yalta accords consigned Poland, a country the protection of whose independence was the casus belli of the World War II, to the Soviet control. More broadly, by demonstrating to Stalin that the West was prepared to accept his domination of Poland, the accords gave Moscow the green light to do likewise in Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovia and other countries. Even if one assumes that Stalin was prepared to go to war over this issue -- and this is a huge assumption given how weak and devastated the U.S.S.R. was in 1945 -- and that the West was unprepared to use force to protect Poland and other countries from Soviet domination, there was no need to legitimize Stalin's policies. Indeed, if not for the misguided Yalta accords, the whole history of the Cold War might have looked quite different.”
Posted at 02:29 PM
RE: BLUTO [Peter Robinson]
The theme from Animal House? No way, John. It’s Twisting the Night Away or nothing.
But now that you’ve raised the subject, there’s a question I’ve always wanted to ask you. How did Animal House happen? The budget, as I recall, remained under $5 million, which even in the late Seventies was nothing more than peanuts, and the shoot lasted only about three weeks. Yet can anyone name a movie as full of exuberance, hilarity (vulgar hilarity) and sheer life? My buddies and I trooped down to the Nugget movie theater in Hanover, New Hampshire half a dozen times to see that movie during its original release, cheering for Bluto until we were hoarse, and when I watched the picture again just last year, you know what? It held up. And the music! Twisting the Night Away. Shout. Shama-Lama Ding-Dong. Even the ridiculous theme song for Faber College, composed by the author of dozens of fine film scores, Elmer Bernstein, is a fine piece of music--sonorous, memorable, and silly in just the right way.
Magic. How, I repeat, did Animal House happen? John?
P.S. You'll find the entire Animal House sound track right here.
Posted at 02:24 PM
JUDGES: SPECTER STARTED IT [K. J. Lopez ]
From the Wall Street Journal today:
On the eve of this brawl, it's worth recalling how we got here. Our own choice for what started the modern bitterness would be 1987 and the Robert Bork fight. There were previous court battles--Abe Fortas and Clement Haynsworth come to mind--but the trashing of such a widely respected jurist marked that date as the one when nominations became political campaigns.Okay, so maybe that wasn't the point of the editorial...more here (and you can just read it yourself, too).
Posted at 02:17 PM
CHENEY 2008 [Shannen Coffin]
Where do I sign up? Actually, when I've asked this question to friends close to the Vice President, I usually get "What part of 'no, nay, never," don't you understand?" I wish they'd be a little more clear in their statements.
Posted at 02:11 PM
ANOTHER STEM-CELL POLL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
This one's sponsored by the Catholic bishops. It turns out that when you ask people if they favor spending taxpayer dollars on research that would destroy "live embryos in their first week of development," a bare majority of 51.6 percent says no and 36 percent says yes. Opposition has increased slightly since last August, when the bishops last commissioned a poll.
Here's another question: "Stem cells for research can be obtained by destroying human embryos. They can also be obtained from adults, from placentas left over from live births, and in other ways that do no harm to the donor.
"Scientists disagree on which source may end up being most successful in treating diseases. How would you prefer your tax dollars to be used this year for stem cell research?"
A majority of 60.2 percent favored "supporting research using adult stem cells and other alternatives, to see if there is no need to destroy human embryos for research" over "supporting all methods, including those that require destroying human embryos, to see which will be most successful," which got 22.4 percent.
What I take away from the poll: Public opinion on this issue depends strongly on wording, which is a reason to doubt that there is much meaningful public opinion on the issue.
Posted at 11:51 AM
LET'S ALL CALL PETER ROBINSON "BLUTO" [John Podhoretz]
Peter, all of us who didn't get to vote for you because we didn't graduate from Dartmouth vow that we will donate a whole bunch of money in your name if you successfully petition the school to change its official song from whatever it currently is to Stephen Bishop's "Theme from National Lampoon's Animal House." After all, "Animal House" is based on a Dartmouth frat...
Posted at 11:50 AM
KUDOS TO BARNEY FRANK [K. J. Lopez]
Howard Dean says: Tom DeLay ''ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence."
Dean's remark, in a speech to Massachusetts Democrats at their party convention, drew an immediate rebuke from US Representative Barney Frank, the Newton Democrat and one of DeLay's harshest critics. ''That's just wrong," Frank said in an interview on the convention floor. ''I think Howard Dean was out of line talking about DeLay. The man has not been indicted. I don't like him, I disagree with some of what he does, but I don't think you, in a political speech, talk about a man as a criminal or his jail sentence."
Posted at 11:39 AM
2008 [John Podhoretz]
Like Jim Geraghty, I have it on very, very, VERY good authority that Dick Cheney will not be a candidate in 2008. I'm also hearing, from not as good an authority but a decent one, that McCain won't run either. What this means is that for those who want a defense tough guy, Rudy has to be taken seriously. Like K-Lo, I think Tim Pawlenty should get a look or two, because he will get those looks in 2007.
Posted at 11:37 AM
DARTMOUTH, ONE LAST TIME [Peter Robinson]
Cross my heart and hope to die, I won't go on and on posting about Dartmouth, I promise. But in today's edition of The Dartmouth, there's an item I can't resist: a marvelous column--by a freshman, no less--about the results of the trustee election.
Posted at 11:31 AM
RE: ALL HYPE [K. J. Lopez]
But that's just it, Rick. Rudy has already reached a political and cultural legendary zenith. Why would he want to ruin that by running for president?
Posted at 11:17 AM
ALL HYPE [Rick Brookhiser]
Kathryn's standards for all-hype seem highish. Yes, Giulliani is all hype if you're a New Yorker who doesn't care about have been saved from death, or an American who never heard of 9/11. Other than that, he is just your typical GOP wuss.
Posted at 11:15 AM
ANDY CARD [Jonah Goldberg]
Two readers have asked me why no one has mentioned Andy Card as a potential presidential candidate. All I can think of in response is, Because he's Andy Card.
Posted at 11:14 AM
MY 2008 PICK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I don't have a candidate, Jonah.
Two or three years ago, when Jeb Bush '08 was a hot idea in D.C. Republican circles, I thought the idea was crazy. Now that it's not a hot idea, I think better of it. The dynasty issue would be a problem--one mitigated but not eliminated by Hillary--but everyone else has a problem of his own that's just as bad if not worse. So I'd be for Jeb Bush, if I thought there was a chance of his running. But presidential candidates don't get truly drafted.
Under the circumstances, I think the process of elimination you're advocating for the Corner might make sense for conservatives generally. Conservatives can't consolidate behind one candidate, but rather will have to encourage all of the potentially satisfactory candidates to come toward us. So we need to identify who we can't support, hope there's a crowd on the left side of the primary, and then winnow down the field of supportables.
It does strike me that there is room for a candidate who is socially conservative, fiscally conservative, and a hawk. Those are the mainstream positions of the Republican party, but there's no strong candidate yet who represents all of them.
Posted at 11:13 AM
SINGING IN MY CAR [John Derbyshire]
Warren: I have commented at length on the sadness of an age when people don't sing.
Not only do we not sing: we don't dance, and don't wear hats.
Civilization has come to a pretty pass.
Posted at 11:11 AM
WOMEN IN COMBAT [K. J. Lopez]
Our take here. Plus: Iran & Europe, once again.
Posted at 11:06 AM
KATIE & ARLEN SITTING IN A TREE... [K. J. Lopez]
From the Media Research Center:
NBC's Katie Couric offered up a fawning tribute to Pennsylvania's liberal Republican Senator Arlen Specter, whom Couric termed a "moderate," on Friday's Today show. After touting Specter, who is currently undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, as a "feisty" and "firm" Senator with a "razor sharp mind," Couric delivered loaded questions that presented conservatives as the main cause of acrimony on Capitol Hill. She asked Specter: "Do you believe the religious right has too much influence on the Republican Party at this point?" Couric also singled out Republicans and their proposal to end the blocking of judicial nominees with filibuster, not Democrats who changed 200 years of tradition, as the culprits for souring the public: "If the nuclear option is played out, don't you think voters are going to be disgusted with all politicians and say come on, get out of the sandbox?"
Posted at 11:04 AM
CHINA CLARIFICATION [Stanley Kurtz]
The ever confusing Kaplan/Kagan distinction in my China post is throwing off some readers. There are two separate articles. I linked the Op-Ed by Kagan. The Kaplan article is the long one of the two China articles featured in the latest issue of The Atlantic. You need a subscription to read the full piece, but here’s a link to the long Atlantic article by Robert D. Kaplan.
Posted at 11:01 AM
CHENEY '08: THE TICKER'S THE KICKER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I do like the idea of having a Republican nominee who can't go on and on about how great his heart is, what's in his heart, etc.
Posted at 10:30 AM
DADAISM [Warren Bell]
I will be calling Newsweek "Todd" herewith, though I never read Todd unless am I at the doctor. My quest for a decent replacement for "blogosphere" brought in a lot of good suggestions from readers, but I think I have settled on "the number four bus to Oak Park."
Isn't the number four bus to Oak Park fun?
Posted at 10:25 AM
SUPREMES LIBERATE WINE SALES [Jonathan H. Adler]
Today the Supreme Court struck down state prohibitions on interstate wine sales. The 5-4 decision cuts across traditional ideological and doctrinal lines. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by Scalia, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer. Justices Thomas, O'Connor, Rehnquist and Stevens were in dissent. I'm not sure what I think of this decision as a doctrinal matter, but I'm thrilled I'll now be able to order wine direct from out-of-state!
Posted at 10:24 AM
OLDER PEOPLE [Warren Bell]
I was also with some older people yesterday, celebrating my friend's father's birthday. Gerry, a first generation Irish immigrant, turned 70. His daughter and her husband threw an afternoon birthday party for him, welcoming 30 or so of his friends in their backyard. After the barbecue, after a few drinks, about 4 in the afternoon, they got down to what they really enjoy: singing songs.
Almost everyone took a turn, especially the older folks. There were a few Irish standards, one man's hilarious version of "Delilah," a woman's spirited George M. Cohan medley (which took place terrifyingly close to the edge of the pool) and some songs from as recent as the Seventies. Gerry himself has a beautiful voice and favored us with "Jean." I'm guessing it's a part of Irish pub culture that this group of mostly immigrants brought here with them, but it struck me as a wonderful way to spend time with your friends and family. And then it struck me that it's a dying custom, something we just won't see at all 30 years from now. Happy birthday, Gerry.
Posted at 10:24 AM
FTWOTW [Warren Bell]
First timewaster of the week? I was with some young people yesterday, and with their distracting frolicsome energy they convinced me this was hilarious. "Yatta!"
At first glance, this music video appears to feature 6 young Japanese men in their underwear with a fig leaf over their hey-heys. Upon closer inspection, however--well, if you're like me, you won't make a closer inspection.
Posted at 10:22 AM
RE: PERISCOPE [Tim Graham]
Jonah, I have to disagree with you a bit on the notion that Newsweek didn't think it was a great story because it was in the Periscope section. The investigative hot shots regularly appear there since their bits and pieces of jazzy info might not warrant three or four pages (and if a weekly magazine thinks it has hot scoop, they're quite worried it will be old news by the next weekend).
The first thing to be said about this Newsweek scandal is that just as in the Dan Rather case, the allegation of Koran-flushing seemed "too good to check." This is where all the journalistic awards are won -- finding America's latest depredation. Nobody wins an award for uncovering Saddam's bribery or cruelty. But American mistreatment of prisoners -- that's gold!
My colleague down the hall wonders how all the "Plamegate" fanatics will react now. Valerie Plame suffered no harm--you can still see her smiling in sunglasses in Vanity Fair. But firing up the fanatics here caused real harm. Joe Wilson's Army better not try to whistle past this story.
Posted at 10:15 AM
CHINA MOMENT [Stanley Kurtz]
We’re having a China moment. First came Fareed Zakaria’s thought-provoking overview in Newsweek. There followed two cover articles in the latest issue of The Atlantic. Finally, Sunday’s Washington Post featured a superb China op-ed by Robert Kagan. To really appreciate Kagan, you’ve got to read him in tandem with Benjamin Schwarz’s piece from The Atlantic. Kaplan is responding directly to Schwarz–-and gets the better of the argument, I think. These two smart op-ed’s lay out a debate we’re bound to be enmeshed in for decades.
Robert D. Kaplan’s long article on the coming military face-off with China is stunning–chock full of insight and eye-opening information. Kaplan describes the coming competition with China as a second Cold War. Looking at the world today, you’ve got to say Samuel Huntington called it. For decades it’s going to be the West against Islamic terror on the one hand, and China on the other. A better way of putting it may be that Huntington and Fukuyama may have both been right. Huntington is more right now, but we darn well better hope that Fukuyama will be more right later. (For my take on Huntington vs. Fukuyama, see “The Future of History.” )
But framing the future as a choice between regional rivalries and advancing universal democracy doesn’t tell us exactly how to proceed. Should we accommodate China while slowly enticing her into the modern world-system, and presumably eventual democracy? Should we delicately bottle China up without much regard to her internal workings, and hope for democratization over time? Or should we contain China a bit more aggressively, knowing that someday the outcome of a cold or hot war may decide the issue of China’s internal structure? Schwarz argues for accommodation, Kaplan for patient, realist containment, and Kagan for a more aggressive form of containment.
Kaplan is a brilliant realist–-and I like that. But I think Kaplan sets up a false choice between realism and aggressive democratization. We’ve got to balance both. Even if Iraq ends up bringing a measure of democracy to the Middle East, argues Kaplan, that sort of war is too costly in an Asian setting. OK, but that’s an argument in favor of Iraq, not against it. We used force in the one place we could. That display of toughness will help us in contexts where war is less of an option.
Kaplan thinks our Middle East battles are a passing phase on the way to the new cold war with China. I think Kaplan’s wrong about that. Even with success in Iraq, nuclear terror from the Middle East is going to remain an all-too-real possibility. So once the Cold War with China starts in earnest, our military’s going to be over-stretched. Kaplan has great ideas for integrating our forces with those of other countries. Yet with the growing challenges we face, an eventual expansion of our military is in the cards. Of course, with Democrats eager to use that issue as a scare tactic against the Republicans, it will take another terrorist strike–-or a sea-going confrontation with China’s navy–to get us a bigger military. But wether via an expanded volunteer force or a draft, our military is destined to grow.
Posted at 10:14 AM
PENSION PROBLEMS AND LESSONS [Stanley Kurtz]
Four years before the massive wave of boomer retirements begins, we’re beginning to see cracks in our pension system. The retirement of the boomers is a crisis in waiting. And the problem goes way beyond Social Security. On Sunday, George Will described the private pension-fund meltdown that may soon spread throughout the airline industry and beyond–leaving the taxpayers to foot a gigantic bill. In Sunday’s Washington Post, Katherine V. W. Stone used the private pension crisis to argue against the president’s plan to fix Social Security. But the real lesson is the opposite of the one Stone draws.
Stone is right that with our private pension system in danger of collapse, Social Security is even more important. But that’s all the more reason to put Social Security on safe fiscal footing. The private pension crisis Stone describes is quite like the one that confronts Social Security. Corporate pension funds are failing because, when times were good, companies raided their retirement trust funds and diverted the money to other expenses. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what we do with the Social Security trust fund. (And as John Tierney pointed out the other day, that’s what we do with the badly depleted highway trust fund.)
Once bad economic times hit the airline industry, companies burdened with huge pension debts went bust. That’s what could happen to the United States itself if we pass through an economic rough patch while also being burdened with huge entitlement debt. Should that happen, there won’t be anyone to bail America out–the way taxpayers are bailing out private pension funds today.
Technically, Social Security goes into the red in about 2017. Yet long before then, pressure from boomer retirements–and from crises like the private pension fund meltdown we’re seeing now–could spook investors and send the economy south. The way to stop the ripple effect is to send out a signal that we’re putting our economic house in order. That’s why we’ve got to reform Social Security now. More than anything else, Social Security reform would insure that retirees are protected during what’s sure to be several decades of severe demographic pressure on the economy.
If we don’t reform Social Security now, this Sunday WaPo article shows why we probably won’t be able to fix it again until 2022, four years after the program goes into the red–igniting a severe budget crunch and who knows what alarm in the markets. By then, it may be impossible to prevent an economic “hard landing.”
Posted at 10:10 AM
PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW! [Jonah Goldberg]
Who does Mr. Ponnuru pine for?
Posted at 10:04 AM
RE: I NOTICE [K. J. Lopez]
You're always right-on, RP. Good guy, done some good stuff, love his human-rights focus, especially. But, '08, give me a break.
Posted at 10:01 AM
I NOTICE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
that so far neither Kathryn nor Jonah has taken the Brownback-for-president idea seriously enough even to dismiss it.
Posted at 09:58 AM
IT'S WHAT YOU BELIEVE [Stanley Kurtz]
Bob Novak has a column today on the opposition research being done against the president’s judicial nominees. Novak gives us an important quote in passing, without quite noting what he’s got. When asked why her organization was going after these nominees, NARAL president Nancy Keenan said that her organization was concerned about “out of touch theological activists” becoming judges. Now that’s interesting. I thought opponents of the president’s nominees were only concerned about judicial philosophy, not religious belief. Do you suppose msm will now come down on Keenan for injecting religion into politics? Will msm now acknowledge that the president’s nominees are indeed being targeted because of their faith? Will pigs fly?
Posted at 09:55 AM
NOT HAPPENING IN '08 [Jonah Goldberg]
Schwarzenegger. Why? Because he can't! Bwaaahahahahahaha!
And yet, in this country, if he were to kill a constitutional lawyer, he'd be the one to go to jail!
Posted at 09:55 AM
GET IT? [Jonah Goldberg]
Grapefruit, clock, smudge!
....clock smudge: heh, heh, Brilliant!
Posted at 09:52 AM
PEOPLE NOT HAPPENING IN '08 [K. J. Lopez]
I'd like to see Rick Santorum stricken from the '08 potentials. He's young, he can go back on the list for '12 if he wants. I just want all the Santorum energy going toward winning reelection in '06, no small feat.
Posted at 09:49 AM
SORRY, MICKEY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Kaus is trying to spin away CBS's mistake on Ken Starr. He says that CBS was right to say that Starr is against getting rid of the judicial filibuster--and that Rush Limbaugh is wrong to deny it.
But he misses what CBS's actual error was. CBS certainly implied that Starr had said that a rules 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"--which is why every news write-up of the CBS interview presented the quote that way, starting with the Associated Press. Starr says he didn't say that, it's not his actual view, and CBS's editing nearly reversed his actual meaning (since it was the Democratic filibusters of judges on philosophical grounds that he was describing as a radical assault). You can oppose a rules change without thinking it's "an assault on the judicial branch of government." CBS got this wrong, even if Limbaugh made an error of his own.
Posted at 09:39 AM
RE: LET'S DO THIS BACKWARD [K. J. Lopez]
Let the record note that Jonah this morning is officially more pro-Cheney than I have ever been pro-Romney.
Condi's definitely on my all-hype list for '08 potential. As is Rudy. And, again, put that Gingrich on your not-happening list. Frist will be just as happy being a surgeon than president, though he may try to tell you otherwise, so I'm with you there, Jonah. The only constituency I've ever seen go ga-ga for Pataki was Log Cabin Republicans during the Republican Convention this summer. Good luck running for president with a NE Corridor grassroots like that.
But Jonah--Hatch? We have so been-there-done-that on him. Let him cut an album or something--spare us the campaign.
Posted at 09:34 AM
NEWSWEAK VS. DADAISM [Jonah Goldberg]
Since I've long believed we need more Dadaistic punditry in this country, and since the "Newsweak" thing is such a cliché (get it? News + Weak? get it?) I think we should all call Newsweek, "Todd" and let the masses stew in their own bourgeois incomprehension. After all, grapefruit, clock, smudge.
Posted at 09:32 AM
RE: SERIOUS DARK HORSES [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 09:29 AM
LET'S DO THIS BACKWARDS [Jonah Goldberg]
Instead of figuring out who we want most, maybe it makes more sense to figure out who we'd like least. Among the potentials, I can really only think of one I'd never vote for under any circumstances and that's be George Pataki. Next up on the list are the hold-your-nosers. I don't know enough about the rest of the field to say categorically I'd be pinching my nose to vote for 'em, but I consider Bill Frist a serious contender for this category. If Hatch ran, he'd be a nose-pincher candidate for me. I'm very torn about Giuliani, but I admire his work in NYC enough to say that I'd have principled problems with the guy, and leave it at that. Let's say something similar about McCain. The rest range from bleh to need-to-know-more. Condi Rice is far more of an unknown than her backers claim.
But then there's Cheney. He has one of the best resumes of his generation. He was always more libertarian-Reaganite than Bush. And he likes to crack skulls for truth, justice and the American way.
Posted at 09:28 AM
CHENEY--LOL [K. J. Lopez]
Geez, save for the "social issues," which, hey, maybe W will fix if we win on judges, this sounds like a conservative's daydream: "Perhaps historians will note that he served admirably for 8 years under George W. Bush and then four in his own right -- when he launched a slash-and-burn program against the size and scope of the federal government and terrorist bastions around the globe. " Someone give Jonah the West Wing slot on NBC. Cheney's the conservative's President Bartlet.
We'll have fun with Cheney '08 this week. And it will come up every few months. But I rather the GOP be getting to work on some good, strong, viable types. Which, sorry, Cheney isn't (has something to do with those heart attacks, yes).
By the way: Gingrich? Let's not even flatter him by talking about him as a potential. I'm with Nordlinger, who notes that he is one smart dude, but he's not the stuff of a president. Just don't even talk about him (sorry, Newt), save the energy for serious dark horses.
Posted at 09:25 AM
PAY NO ATTENTION TO THOSE JUDGES BEHIND THE CURTAIN [Stanley Kurtz]
This little editorial from the Washington Post is a perfect specimen of mainstream-media arrogance on the issue of same-sex marriage. A federal judge tosses aside a marriage amendment passed by 70 percent of the voters of Nebraska, and all the Post can do is bemoan the fact that the decision seems to vindicate supporters of a federal marriage amendment. The Post makes no effort to hide its disgust at the idea of defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. A federal amendment is a “noxious proposal” that would “write discrimination” into the constitution. But don’t worry, says the Post, Judge Bataillon’s decision will probably be reversed on appeal. No need to get hysterical about a bad decision (which, by the way, the Post spends much of its editorial defending).
So here’s the real message from the Post: “You Americans, with your noxious bigotry, should pay no attention to this decision (which nullifies your votes on the grounds that they are noxious bigotry.) This decision is simply the action of one isolated and mistaken judge and is bound to be reversed on appeal. (Although our closer look shows that this judge’s opinion’s got a lot of merit.)”
In other words, the Post takes the American people for a bunch of boobs. It isn’t just that all those marriage amendments we keep voting for are noxious bigotry. We’re supposed to take the Post’s word for it that Bataillon’s decision is some kind of fluke. Yet the Post’s own editorial makes it plain that nothing could be further from the truth. Judge Bataillon’s decision embodies the very same view of the gay-marriage issue that the Post itself is pushing.
Bataillon’s only mistake was to move too quickly. Now the rubes might actually figure out what the plan is! Bataillon certainly could be reversed. Taking their cues from the Post on timing, the courts may now want to move more deliberately. Yet it’s equally clear that the courts will eventually follow the Post on substance. There are battalions of Bataillons out there, and one of these days one of them is going to get what he wants from the Supremes.
Why do judges keep making impolitic decisions on this issue? Why do they move so quickly and offer such sweeping verdicts? Why Lawrence? Why Goodridge? Why Nebraska? Every time one of these decisions comes down, thoughtful liberals worry that judges are unnecessarily roiling the political waters, and endangering the long-term prospects of the very reforms liberals support. The mechanism here is not mysterious. Liberal judges accept the Post’s view that traditional marriage is noxious bigotry. In theory, they might like to move against public sentiment more cautiously. Yet when a case actually falls into their laps, judges are loathe to do anything that might make the Post condemn them as noxious bigots. So the same-sex-marriage movement is a victim of its own success.
Even so, liberal control of the mainstream media has huge benefits. The Nebraska decision is a major event. Yet the press is purposely downplaying it--and the Post’s editorial explains why. Pay no attention to those judges behind the curtain! Our game plan is getting just a bit too obvious.
Posted at 09:16 AM
INVESTING IN IDEAS [Jonathan H. Adler]
James Piereson explains the giving philosophy that made the Olin Foundation so successful in the May Commentary.
Posted at 09:14 AM
RE: CHENEY'S COMEBACK [Jonah Goldberg]
Kathryn -- You write: "Cheney? Come on. He's already had his unexpected political comeback."
Maybe we've only seen the begining of his comeback. Halliburton was his Elba. Bush called him back from it. Perhaps historians will note that he served admirably for 8 years under George W. Bush and then four in his own right -- when he launched a slash-and-burn program against the size and scope of the federal government and terrorist bastions around the globe. A few bumps in the road notwithstanding, Cheney represents most of what I like best about this administration. I'm still a supporter of Bush, but many of the things which define him the most are not the things I like best about the administration.
Yes, yes, yes there is the pesky issue of Cheney's four -- or is it five? -- heart attacks. That's why you need a really strong VP pick. Also, fear of the grim reaper's political timetable might give my boy the added encouragement to get good stuff done early.
Please note, I don't actually believe Cheney will run. But I am just so underwhelmed by the field right now. I listened to a speech by Gingrich the other day and, for the life of me, I couldn't remember why I don't want him to be president. It all came back to me in time. But he was very good. I should say that I was impressed with George Allen when he spoke to NR, but I don't have a great feel for him yet. So, until a necromancer can bring us Reagan-Goldwater, I'm lining behind the man from Wyoming.
Posted at 09:06 AM
SPECTER'S PRIORITY [Jonathan H. Adler]
Senator Specter takes to the NYT op-ed page to attack Dick Armey and call for asbestos legislation.
Posted at 09:05 AM
FEAST TIME [Andrew Stuttaford]
Happy Sea Monkey Day!
Posted at 09:04 AM
"A CASE OF THE MONDAYS" [K. J. Lopez]
I wonder if Rich would be game to skip NR's editorial meeting this morning and watch Office Space instead. Are you with me? Nevermind that most of us could some extra time to sleep in/mow the law/clean the dishes/do the laundry/replenish the beer supply (trying to be inclusive here)/study for exams, etc. I'll take Office Space as a compromise.
Posted at 08:57 AM
MEDIA PRESUMPTIONS [K. J. Lopez]
Why is it that all the stories you read in Time-Newsweek-The New York Times-The Washington Post-Etc. or see on CNN-The BBC-CBS-NBC-Etc., why is it that all their stories about Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, etc., why is it that the presumption, the prejudice, the predisposition never goes the other way? Why is it that their reporters always assume the worst: that we're doing dirty at Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., and are primed to pick up and believe any rumor damaging to the United States?As David Frum puts it: "[I]sn't this whole terrible incident a reminder of why American journalists owe the US military the benefit of the doubt when the facts are uncertain?"
Posted at 08:42 AM
FEAST TIME [John J. Miller]
Happy St. Brendan's Day!
Posted at 08:41 AM
I'M SORRY [K. J. Lopez]
Yes, "Newsweak" is already way old.
Posted at 08:39 AM
RE: NEWSWEAK [K. J. Lopez]
The apology hasn't made the Turkish papers yet, Geraghty says.
Posted at 08:35 AM
FOR THE CHILDREN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Fun new toy from Japan
Posted at 08:32 AM
ALLEN [K. J. Lopez ]
I do think Bob Novak is right that Frist is a nowhere man when it comes to '08; George Allen is the leading senatorial contender (though Frist will try his darnedest to fix that in this judge fight). Which doesn’t say much, because senators don't have a lot of luck in this realm. Hillary doesn’t count so much as a senator, she's just a superstar.
Posted at 08:02 AM
NO APOLOGY NECESSARY [K. J. Lopez ]
Jonah, dude, contrary to popular belief, I'm not running the Romney for President campaign. He's impressed me in this stem-cell/cloning fight, as I've noted once or twice (if you're paying attention, he makes you want to hear more from him), but he's got some serious work to do yet before he's my '08 guy (the a-word being a major thorn in his political side). That said…Cheney? Come on. He's already had his unexpected political comeback.
Posted at 07:59 AM
CHENEY! CHENEY! [Jonah Goldberg ]
I'm not sure I buy it. But given the field we have right now, I'd be sorely tempted to line up early for Cheney.
Sorry Kathryn, my little homestead is made of asbestos when it comes to the Romney prairie fire.
Posted at 07:33 AM
CHE IN PERSIAN [K. J. Lopez]
AFP shot of voter sign-ups in Iran:
Posted at 07:18 AM
NEWSWEAK CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
Well, it looks like I may have been wrong about the capacity for outrage over the Newsweek story, if I go solely by the early rumblings. We'll see how the story plays out over the next 24 hours.
I should say that I don't think there's as much room for outrage as some of emailers do. I take Kathryn's point on Rushdie; the Koran is especially sacred and all that.
But, it's hardly as if defenders of the U.S. government's actions can be absolute purists either. The allegations about torture and whatnot reveal that it is not exactly uncommon for interrogators to use the religiosity of their prisoners against them. Flushing a Koran down a toilet -- and telling the press about it -- would certainly constitute a huge blunder. But how many of us were saying "there's no way that can be true!" when the story first broke?
And, just as I said when the Abu Ghraib photos came out, whoever gave this to the press isn't doing anybody any favors. I don't know who the senior Administration official is, but -- particularly if he wasn't sure it was true! -- telling Newsweek we're flushing Korans was a super-bonehead move. Running the story , under those circumstances was idiotic. That it ran in the Periscope section shows that they didn't really even think about what they were doing.
A pox on all their houses.
Posted at 07:17 AM
DAMNING! [K. J. Lopez]
The New York Times thinks it has the final nail in the Priscilla Owen nomination coffin: ties to Karl Rove!
Posted at 06:32 AM
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? [K. J. Lopez]
Howard Kurtz reports this morning on the Newsweek case: "The intensity of the anti-American riots, fueled in part by outraged Muslim clerics and radio broadcasts by elements of the ousted Taliban regime, took many Western analysts by surprise." What's the surprise? As Freedom House's Paul Marshall asks in a piece that will be up on NRO in a little bit: Remember Salman Rushdie? One only needs a cocktail knowledge of these things to have an idea American officials desecrating a Koran would be huge. And one would hope someone at Newsweek would be slightly more plugged in. These Western analysts need to get out more. I don't know what sand their heads are in, but apparently its very far away from anywhere Muslim.
Posted at 06:24 AM
SNAIL MAIL [K. J. Lopez]
A few of you asked before my e-mail went down over the weekend for a repeat of the snail-mail address for NRO contributions. Fund drive is over as of this morning, so this is my last post on this: NRO Fund Drive
215 Lexington Avenue
New York NY 10016
Thanks again, everyone, for your support. We plan to continue to do you right.
Posted at 06:18 AM
GIVE 'EM ZELL [John J. Miller]
This Newsweek episode provides another example of the media's deep-seated hostility toward the American military. The next time a reporter wants to make a sensational claim about our troops at Guantanamo or anywhere, maybe he or she should be required to read a few lines from Zell Miller's GOP speech last year: "Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home. For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press." And then there are Zell's words which were at the time directed at Democrats but right now could be aimed at Newsweek: "It is not their patriotism, it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking."
Posted at 05:49 AM
NEWSWEAK APOLOGY [John J. Miller]
I've read this "apology" several times now. It continues to strike me as incredibly limp -- an awful lot of passing the buck on to sources. It is a reporter's job to know when sources are credible and when they are not, and that's doubly true when the sources demand that their names be kept out of stories. Newsweek needs to do way more groveling.
Posted at 05:41 AM
I'M NOT IGNORING YOU [K. J. Lopez]
If you've e-mailed me since Saturday night sometime, our e-mail system doesn't want to let me read it. If I need to see your e-mail asap, email@example.com
Posted at 05:28 AM
FIRST POST [Rick Brookhiser]
Posted at 12:35 AM
Sunday, May 15, 2005
SHARE THE PARANOIA [Warren Bell]
It wasn't that long ago that large-scale paranoia was the province of the far Right; black U.N. helicopters, one world government, that stuff. But the Left has stepped up recently to share the burden of profoundly crazy worry.
Avedon writes on Atrios (via Wolcott via Lance Mannion, and isn't that how the blogosphere is supposed to work? And another thing, I'm not going to use the word 'blogosphere' anymore. Someone come up with something else.)
"One reason I don't think it's at all paranoid to suspect that the Republicans have deliberately taken over the voting system in order to cheat is that they keep doing things that don't otherwise make sense. There's a rather long list of things you just wouldn't expect them to think they could get away with unless they really thought they could control the ballot box, because otherwise they would have to expect that the public would kick enough of them out to not only end some political careers but also make impeachment - and prison - a distinct possibility.
And then there's this nuclear option thing - why would they be willing to remove any possibility of stopping majority party initiatives unless they were absolutely sure that they could never become the minority party again?"
Put down the hookah, friend. Sell crazy somewhere else. This isn't hard, okay? Republicans are in office because more people voted for them. They do things "that don't otherwise make sense" because -- and this is the tricky part for you Clintonite Dems -- they think it's right to do them.
Posted at 09:56 PM
NYT ON REVENGE OF THE SITH [Jonah Goldberg ]
The New York Times loved Revenge of the Sith and says it's the best one of the films Lucas directed (He didn't direct Empire). And he says it's particularly good if you don't care about writing or acting. I'm serious.
Posted at 09:42 PM
NEWSWEEK [Jonah Goldberg]
A majority of my regular lefty correspondents have chimed in with all sorts of odd outrage over my post about Newsweek. I am truly at a loss to understand why.
They offer a wide array of responses and I'm not sure how to answer many of them. But one common theme seems to be, "How can you say that when Bush got X, Y or Z wrong?"
My short answer is: easily. Name anything Bush got wrong or is alleged to have gotten wrong. On each score the media outrage -- canned or sincere -- has been enormous.
I don't absolve the rioters and I don't ascribe ill intent (yet) to Newsweek. But again, if Bush were responsible for a similar event I sincerely doubt his hecklers would have the same attitude.
Posted at 09:25 PM
CAMERON DIAZ, SUPER-GENIUS [John Podhoretz]
From the gorgeous star who told Oprah last year that "if you think rape should be legal then don't vote," comes the stunning realization that we're all the same, whether we make $20 mil a picture or are in danger of being killed by Mexican federales. She appeared at the Reebok Human Rights Awards (yes, you read that right), and read a prepared text: "Brutalized, attacked, imprisoned and tortured by the Mexican military, the Mixe found themselves without a voice," she said. Then, according to the hilarious report from Michelle Collins of the wonderfully named You Can't Make It Up blog, Diaz then "ad libbed, 'I think we all know what that feels like, right guys?' From the back of the auditorium came the response, 'I want to do you, Cameron!' She smiled and waved. 'You guys are so awesome!'"
Posted at 08:54 PM
ABUSING THE PRIVILEGE AT THE TIMES [John Podhoretz]
If you think the politics of the New York Times are lousy, you should check out the movie criticism. The paper's lead critic is A.O. "Tony" Scott, who achieved a kind of reverse immortality when he chose Steven Spielberg's alternately boring and sadistic A.I. as the best movie of its year. Now he has outdone even himself with a review of the new Star Wars.
"This is by far the best film in the more recent trilogy, and also the best of the four episodes Mr. Lucas has directed," Scott writes. "That's right (and my inner 11-year-old shudders as I type this): it's better than 'Star Wars'....It comes closer than any of the other episodes to realizing Mr. Lucas's frequently reiterated dream of bringing the combination of vigorous spectacle and mythic resonance he found in the films of Akira Kurosawa into American commercial cinema."
Look, you may not hate this movie as much as I did, but trust me -- saying that the new one is better than the original is like saying Godfather III is better than The Godfather. This ludicrous judgment puts me in mind of the only funny thing Trotsky ever said. (It's even funnier that he was talking about the pompous windbag of a critic named Dwight McDonald.) "Everyone has a right to be stupid," he growled, "but Comrade McDonald abuses the privilege." Comrade McDonald, meet Comrade A.O. Scott.
Posted at 08:11 PM
NEWSWEAK [John J. Miller]
It appears as though Newsweek has put George Washington on the cover of its new issue -- you know, the guy who never told a lie.
Several people need to lose their jobs over the magazine's huge error in falsely reporting on the Koran being destroyed at Guantanamo Bay. At least Jayson Blair's reporting never killed anybody.
Posted at 06:41 PM
THE 100 GREATEST AMERICANS? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Professor Bainbridge doesn't think so. I'm forced to concur that the Discovery Channel's list doesn't even come close.
Posted at 05:34 PM
DARTMOUTH LINK, RELINKED [Peter Robinson]
Readers have told me that for some accountable reason the link to the Dartmouth Review, in my earlier posting, "God and Man at Dartmouth," just doesn't work.
So? So try this.
Posted at 05:01 PM
"ABU GHRAIB" [Andrew Stuttaford]
Nobody can defend what happened, so disgracefully, so shamefully, in Abu Ghraib under US command, and Christopher Hitchens is not trying to do so. Here, however, is what he does have to say:
“Abu Ghraib was by no means celebrated as an ancestral civic and cultural center before the year 2004. To the Iraqis, it was a name to be mentioned in whispers, if at all, as "the house of the end." It was a Dachau. Numberless people were consigned there and were never heard of again. Its execution shed worked overtime, as did its torturers, and we are still trying to discover how many Iraqis and Kurds died in its precincts. At one point, when it suffered even more than usual from chronic overcrowding, Saddam and his sons decided to execute a proportion of the inmates at random, just to cull the population. The warders then fanned out at night to visit the families of the prisoners, asking how much it would be worth to keep their son or brother or father off the list. The hands of prisoners were cut off, and the proceedings recorded on video for the delight of others. I myself became certain that Saddam had reached his fin de régime, or his Ceauşescu moment, when he celebrated his 100-percent win in the "referendum" of 2003 by releasing all the nonpolitical prisoners (the rapists and thieves and murderers who were his natural constituency) from Abu Ghraib. This sudden flood of ex-cons was a large factor in the horrific looting and mayhem that accompanied the fall of Baghdad.I visited the jail a few months later, and I can tell you about everything but the stench, which you would have to smell for yourself. Layers of excrement and filth were being shoveled out; cells obviously designed for the vilest treatment of human beings made one recoil. In the huge, dank, cement gallery where the executions took place, a series of hooks and rings hung over a gruesome pit. Efforts were being made to repaint and disinfect the joint, and many of the new inmates were being held in encampments in the yard while this was being done, but I distinctly remember thinking that there was really no salvaging such a place and that it should either be torn down and ploughed over or turned into a museum.”
And then he goes on to conclude as follows:
“How shady it is that our modern leftists and peaceniks can detect fascism absolutely everywhere except when it is actually staring them in the face. The next thing, of course, if we complete the historic analogy, would be for them to sign a pact with it. And this, some of them have already done.”
Read the whole thing.
Posted at 04:51 PM
DOWN WITH SKOOL [Andrew Stuttaford]
That most of the supposed achievements in education under Tony Blair’s government were illusion, spin or dodgy statistics should be obvious to most observers, if not the British electorate or Tony’s admirers over here, but sometimes a story breaks that should catch even the attention of the most deluded admirer of ‘New’ Labour. The Saunday Telegraph has the details:
“Examiners marking an English test taken by 600,000 14-year-olds have been told not to deduct marks for incorrect spelling on the main writing paper, worth nearly a third of the overall marks.”
That’s dumb, really dumb
As any fule kno.
Posted at 04:51 PM
OOPS [Jonah Goldberg]
Newsweek apologizes for getting the Koran in the toilet story wrong, sort of.
Something tells me that if the White House made a mistake which resulted in riots, deaths, etc there'd be a just a smidgen more outrage than we'll hear about this.
Posted at 02:51 PM
RE: BE PREPARED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Andrew - You musn't forget to turn yourself blue, just in case.
Posted at 02:22 PM
BE PREPARED [Andrew Stuttaford]
I've been left behind by Left Behind,and I’m no great believer in the impending arrival of the End Times, but after a remarkable two hours (two hours) in a camping store (upcoming vacation in, ridiculously, Mongolia – blogging will be light) downtown, I know that such stores are the place to go if you want to sit out the apocalypse in comfort. Amazing. Flashlights for the head! Water purification kits! Strange laboratory-made multicolored garments! Whatever happened to the notion that the only requirements for foreign travel were stout walking shoes, a tweed suit, umbrella, hip-flask, gold sovereigns and, of course, a British passport…
Posted at 01:15 PM
OUR SAUDI FRIENDS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here, via the Sunday Telegraph is a little reminder of the true nature of the Saudi regime. It comes from the account of a Scotsman arrested and charged in a bomb plot. I’ll spare you some of the details (they can be found in the report), but this is worth repeating here:
“Mr Mitchell's torturers wanted him to sign a confession which implicated Simon MacDonald, an official in the British embassy (he is now the British ambassador in Israel). "They had his picture," Mr Mitchell remembers. "They wanted me to say he had ordered the bombing and that I was working for MI6. It was all absolutely crazy. I invented some names of people I said had ordered me to do the bombing. They discovered the names were invented the next day and beat me extra hard as a result." Mr Mitchell signed a preposterous confession in which he claimed to have detonated the bomb that killed Christopher Rodway while he was driving his car. "That was easily disprovable. I had receipts which proved that my car was being repaired when I was supposed to have detonated the bomb. The Saudis knew we were innocent from the start," he insists. "I had friends in the police force who told me that they knew the bomb had been planted by Islamic extremists, probably al-Qaeda."
And so is this:
“He was then placed in alone in a tiny cell with no windows. He would remain there for 15 months. "I wanted to die. I thought I was going to die anyway: I was convinced that the only way I would get out of that prison was in a coffin." Earlier, he had been taken out for a trial in a building on "Chop-Chop Square", the notorious location of Riyadh's public beheadings. The trial lasted 10 minutes. The chief prosecutor was Ibrahim, the man who had been his chief torturer. The judges asked Mr Mitchell if he had confessed to the bombing. He tried to explain that he had been tortured - they dismissed that, and announced his punishment: crucifixion, then partial beheading, after which his body would be left out to rot in public.”
I understand realpolitik as much as the next person – and I also understand that its necessities can mean that democratic states can have to keep some ugly company, but reading accounts like this underlines the fact that when George Bush goes that extra mile to kow-tow to Riyadh, even holding hands with the tyrants responsible for horrors such as this, he disgraces himself – and embarrasses America.
Or at least he ought to.
Posted at 01:14 PM
GERMAN SPAM CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
It appears the article below is part of a larger German spam problem (I'm talking email not whipped-meat). My email box is also full of other spam from Germany -- or at least it's in German. Suffice it to say that in the history of German transgressions, this ranks pretty low. Then again, I'm grading on a curve.
Posted at 11:03 AM
"THE WHORE LIVED LIKE A GERMAN [Jonah Goldberg]
My email box is crammed with dozens of emails from people forwarding me this disturbing article. Please read the article and please stop sending me the link.
Posted at 10:51 AM
KARL ROVE CAN SLEEP LATE [Jonah Goldberg ]
Ad agencies come up with some new slogans and logos for the Dems. Warning: This story is as dull as the logos and slogans.
Posted at 08:36 AM