P.S. [K. J. Lopez]
Our webguy didn't know what "'Til Tuesday" was. Warren, we're getting old.
Posted at 12:00 PM
I TRY SO HARD NOT TO GET UPSET (BECAUSE I KNOW ALL THE TROUBLE I'LL GET) [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
We're going on a long-weekend posting hiatus this weekend to get some tech bizness done (translation: there will be nothing new in The Corner or anywhere else on the site over Memorial Day weekend--but there's plenty to catch up on). This is a first in a long time and some of us are a little nervous. It gets to be like crack after awhile, the ability to sound off on the latest Senate inanity, New York Times story, or bad restaurant. (Thanks for hanging with us while we do it.) But we'll all come through it ok. And we'll see you Tuesday. Enjoy the weekend. Best wishes 'Til Tuesday. And if you are away from home, making it possible for the rest of us to be free to barbecue and shout about politics all we want over beers and burgers, thank you; God bless you and all who make sacrifices with you.
P.S. If you experience difficulties accessing NRO over the weekend, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted at 12:00 PM
LAST... [The Pod]
LAST POST! LAST POST!
Posted at 11:59 AM
WON'T BE DOING THIS THIS WEEKEND [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail: "I would think K-Lo would spend the weekend watching all the Star Trek TV shows and movies so she could be up on all the references Jonah is constantly throwing out. Or is that developing a new and potentially bad habit?"
Posted at 11:59 AM
"THE BEST THING A SENATE MAJORITY LEADER WITH PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRATIONS CAN DO IS QUIT." [K. J. Lopez]
LATimes advises Frist.
Posted at 11:56 AM
CHAMPIONS [K. J. Lopez]
President Bush gave the commencement address at the Naval Academy this morning:
And as you begin your military careers, proceed with confidence, because our citizens are determined, our country is strong, and the future belongs to freedom. Across the world, liberty is on the march. In the last 18 months, we have witnessed a Rose Revolution in Georgia, an Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, a Purple Revolution in Iraq, a Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, and a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon -- and these are only the beginning. (Applause.) Across Central Asia and the broader Middle East, we are seeing the rise of a new generation whose hearts burn for liberty, and they are going to have it. America is standing with these democratic reformers because we know that the only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom. And by extending freedom to millions who have not known it, we will advance the cause of peace and make America more secure. (Applause.)
Posted at 11:55 AM
RE: LAST POST? [K. J. Lopez]
Nice try, Mark.
Posted at 11:50 AM
LAST POST? [Mark Krikorian]
Did I win?
Posted at 11:46 AM
ENFORCE THE LAW [Mark Krikorian]
The Senate had a hearing yesterday where Senators Kyl and Cornyn took McCain and Kennedy to task for proposing a big illegal alien amnesty. Kyl and Cornyn will drop a better bill this summer, with a lot more enforcement in it, but it will still be flawed, since it will still be based on the false choice of amnesty or mass roundups. I outline the third way, attrition through enforcement, here.
Posted at 11:45 AM
THE F WORD [K. J. Lopez]
Ed Whelan has more on the WPost's new aversion to "filibuster."
Posted at 11:44 AM
THE TERMINATOR STATE? [K. J. Lopez ]
California may soon become the second state with legal assisted suicide.
Posted at 11:30 AM
COMITY SHOMITY [Andy McCarthy]
Good synopsis of reader reaction: "It didn’t read like a joke from out here in the peanut gallery. It read like derisive mockery of someone’s earnest opinion. The 'Hey, I was just kidding/Where’s your sense of humor' defense is much abused."
Point well taken. Apologies to JPod and readers. Truce.
Posted at 11:10 AM
SILLY STORY [Roger Clegg]
Silly story in yesterday’s Washington Post, the gist of which is that the consolidation by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights of its six regional offices into four (in order to help get the Commission’s ruined finances in order) will leave many people without a way to complain when their civil rights are violated. In the first place, most people who want to contact the Commission would do so by phone or e-mail anyhow (there are, again, only six regional offices now), so what difference does it make that now they’ll be calling or e-mailing Chicago instead of Denver? More fundamentally, anyone with a real civil-rights complaint shouldn’t be wasting his or her time with the Commission anyhow, since it is not a law-enforcement agency (instead, it conducts research and writes studies). For legal violations, there are plenty of federal, state, and local officers to contact.
Posted at 11:08 AM
HAVE A BALL [K. J. Lopez]
The 20th annual Ball for Life is happening in Manhattan next week. All proceeds go to Good Counsel, which takes in needy pregnant women to help them facilitate the choice to have their children. Details here. Larry Kudlow, Rich Lowry & K-Lo, among others, are all delighted to have our names attached to the worthwhile (and fun) event.
Posted at 10:56 AM
THUNE [K. J. Lopez]
Michelle Malkin has more.
Posted at 10:51 AM
THUNE AND BOLTON--UGH [K. J. Lopez]
John Thune, in a bad place because of the closing of Ellsworth Air Force Base, is voting against Bolton. AP suggests its because of Ellsworth, but Thune also says: "John Bolton is not the best man for this job."
Posted at 10:42 AM
RE: LONGEST WEEKEND [K. J. Lopez]
Warren, I know. But everyone can use the time constructively. For instance, last night a friend asked me a question about Waterboy I couldn't answer, so re-watching that is on the to-do list, too. Amazingly, there are a few things that can be done outside The Corner--but just this weekend, develop no new habits (unless one of them becomes reading NRODT, of course).
Posted at 10:24 AM
WHAT A WORLD [Warren Bell]
Just when there's a new Adam Sandler movie that should receive every bit as much Corner attention as that Star Wars thingy, we have to shut down the server for two days.
It's not fair, K-Lo. It's just not fair.
Meanwhile, in Thomas Hibbs's positive review of said film, he refers to a "Lurch-like" character from the original. This is, of course, the famous Richard "Jaws" Kiel, the 7'2" actor who also appeared in Land of the Lost, as well a couple of Bond movies. But Lurch was the late Ted Cassidy, a mere 6'9".
Posted at 10:22 AM
HILLARY '08 [K. J. Lopez]
Rand Simberg thinks the blogosphere can do that effort in.
Posted at 10:21 AM
A LIGHT GOES ON IN NEW JERSEY [K. J. Lopez ]
"Welcome to the Brave New Jersey"--written by a "coldhearted, rational type of guy."
Posted at 10:07 AM
THE SENATE [Mark R. Levin]
Respecting Andy's point that the Democrats' word (at least the word of these particular Democrats) is not to be trusted:
Democrats clear way for Senate vote on Bolton
Posted at 10:00 AM
CONGRESS IS ALL ABOUT GROUP WORK [K. J. Lopez ]
From the piece on the Coburn sex talk:
"You keep mentioning the word 'monogamy'," a staffer named Roland Foster recalls one young woman asking after a lecture. "What is that?"
Posted at 09:44 AM
GEEZ, YOU THINK? [K. J. Lopez ]
From a Hanna Rosin piece on Tom Coburn's sex-ed lecture for congressional staff:
Conservative Christian leaders and STDs are in many ways a natural match. Seen from a biblical mind-set, the growing prevalence of STDs looks like the wages of sin, the price American society pays for the sexual revolution. And even medical experts agree that delaying sex until age 19 or 20 lowers the risk, and the only sure way to avoid ever contracting an STD is to be in a relationship where neither person has ever had another sexual partner.So, like, the prudes didn't just make up that abstinence might be a decent idea to introduce to kids. Who knew? Wow. Hope Ceci Connelly (who often "reports" on the radical right's backward thinking on such things) didn't read that, might throw off her worldview.
Posted at 09:43 AM
: RE: THE NEW CRITERION PARTY [John Derbyshire]
A reader, a lover of The New Criterion, offers the following with affectionate respect. These are, the reader claims, conversation snippets overheard at TNC's end-season dinner.
"George Will is here?... What an unkempt ruffian."
"No, no, There was an incorrect usage of the pluperfect subjunctive in that translation of Cicero's 3rd Philippic."
"Rembrandt was too postmodern for my taste."
"This red hints at a faint melange of Kenyan wheat grass, gunpowder, Nicaraguan jungle vine nectar and truffles... The vintner may have been distracted during the aging process."
"Will you be our fourth for rackets tomorrow?"
Posted at 09:41 AM
WHO "ASSAULTS" WHO? [Tim Graham]
In the Boston Globe, public radio host Tom Ashbrook considers it an "assault on NPR" to have two ombudsmen at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting look at complaints from the public. It's an "assault" to listen and evaluate and question the idea that public broadcasting questions everybody. Public broadcasters want to hide behind the so-called "firewall" at CPB and never have to answer for their bias. That would be "political meddling." They don't get that many conservatives consider biased public broadcasting itself a case of unfair "political meddling," using our tax dollars to trash our ideas and our leaders.
Ask the following question: which liberal icon or legislator or president or judicial nominee has had their career ruined or nearly ruined by public broadcasting? Conservatives can quickly cite Nina Totenberg sinking Douglas Ginsburg's Supreme Court nomination in 1987 and her attempt to sink Clarence Thomas in 1991 with still-unproven sex harassment allegations of Anita Hill. But Totenberg sat on her notebook for months in 1994 when Paula Jones charged Bill Clinton with sexual harassment until Jones officially filed suit. Then she rushed onto NPR and said Jones was greedy: "One sister says she was interested in money. Anita Hill never asked for money." She never mentioned that Hill, despite telling the Senate she had no plans to cash in, had landed a million-dollar book deal. When Juanita Broaddrick came forward in 1999 and said Bill Clinton had raped her, Nina Totenberg and "All Things Considered" aired nothing. ("Morning Edition" aired one story after Broaddrick appeared on NBC.)
In 1993, Nina went on NPR and bitterly complained that the Clinton White House wouldn't let her interview her liberal "quota queen" friend Lani Guinier before her Justice Department nomination failed, because "they were interested in burying her." (No editorializing there?) While Bill Moyers ran a "Frontline" cutely titled "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" to suggest Ronald Reagan should be impeached, does anyone remember how Nina Totenberg almost got Clinton impeached? She didn't. She was busy suggesting Kenneth Starr shouldn't have the Lewinsky portfolio because of his consultation with a lawyer for Paula Jones, the woman Totenberg usually ignored.
PBS president Pat Mitchell claimed at the National Press Club this week that "no one political party" has a hold on PBS. So would she like to explain how "Frontline" remembered the Clinton years with a two-hour 2001 documentary featuring only wistful Clinton aides? Or how it aired tough programs in the 1990s like "Hillary's Class," about the First Lady's Wellesley pals? Never believe anyone who tells you public broadcasting has earned a reputation for fairness or balance.
Posted at 09:40 AM
"THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE OF 2005" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Krauthammer's characterization of the filibuster deal seems a bit excessive. (Has anyone out there compared it to Yalta yet?)
Posted at 09:36 AM
NEGATIVE ON THE REACTION [Roger Clegg]
From the North Carolina News & Observer :
Also Thursday, several trustees expressed dismay about the gender imbalance at [the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill], where the 2004-05 freshman class was 58 percent female. Among recipients of the Carolina Covenant scholarships for low-income students, the disparity was even greater, with 69 percent women.But why not, Vice Provost Lucido? Actually, the University of Georgia did this until it got sued, so it’s not unheard of. Moreover, Asians are generally discriminated against in selective university admissions, since they are “overrepresented,” and white females are already discriminated against because of their race, so it’s not as if only white males are the victims of p.c. diversity efforts.
Maybe schools should just start ignoring race, ethnicity, and sex in their admissions policies? Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Posted at 09:33 AM
WALKING THE WALK [Warren Bell]
Come on, K-Lo, I'm up at 5:45 every morning with the dog. When would I have time to govern?
By the way, if Beatty did run for anything more than Mayor of Mullholland Drive, it would set up a fascinating test case for the L.A. Times. Remember their moments-before-election coverage of Arnold's alleged sexual indiscretions? Well, this is Warren Beatty we're talking about here. While I would not mean to suggest anything about his married years, prior to that the man was simply a legend.
Posted at 09:29 AM
HAPPY PAPPY [Jack Fowler]
What a great idea! – this Father’s Day, give Dad a gift subscription to National Review Digital (only $21.95 for a full year!). Get it done right here.
Posted at 08:51 AM
REWRITING HISTORY [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
David Brock's Media Matters wants you to know Robert Casey was never a second-class citizen in the Democratic party because of his anti-abortion position. They write (talking about a NYTimes Mag piece on Rick Santorum last weekend):
Sokolove also wrongly stated that "the late Gov. Robert Casey Sr. ... was barred from speaking at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because of his antiabortion views." Though the media have repeated this falsehood numerous times (see here, here, here, here, here, and here), the truth is that convention organizers denied Casey a speech in 1992 because he refused to endorse the Clinton-Gore ticket, not because of his views on abortion. Further, several speakers who opposed abortion rights did address the convention in 1992, and abortion rights opponents have spoken at every Democratic convention since then.Bill McGurn provided some of the color of the time here:
I didn’t know Governor Casey personally. But back in 1992, fate put me within a few feet of him inside Madison Square Garden during the Democratic National Convention. That was when Clinton officials refused a place at the podium for the Democratic governor of America’s fifth-largest state while also providing speaking slots for six pro-choice Republican women. To make sure the point was delivered, one of these was a pro-choice woman who had campaigned for Casey’s Republican opponent.More McGurn on Casey here, btw.
Posted at 08:38 AM
THE NEW CRITERION PARTY -- WILD OR WHAT? [John Derbyshire]
You haven't seen karaoke till you've seen Mark Steyn doing the Numa Numa song wearing only..... No, no, my lips are sealed.
Mark's in better shape than Saddam Hussein, anyway.
Posted at 08:37 AM
SEE YA [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 08:35 AM
HEADLINE ON THE LATIMES WEBSITE [K. J. Lopez ]
"Lopez: Warren, Was Your Talk Just an Act?"
Well, was it, Bell?
Posted at 08:27 AM
NANNY STATE IN THE LADIES ROOM [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
For goodness sake:
To the women of New York City, who like many of their sex in so many places have suffered long lines to answer nature's call, relief is on the way. To the women who have ducked into the men's restroom to avoid embarrassment, the City Council has heard your woes and acted.Yeah, the lines are long. We deal. I don't want to discuss this with Mike Bloomberg, thank you.
Posted at 08:26 AM
OXFORD--SO CLOSE! [Rich Lowry]
Debated last night here in Oxford and it was a fantastic experience. We went in expecting to be the Christians fed to the lions, but if we had flipped just five votes we would have won (I hope that doesn't sound too much like John Kerry trying to spin his loss). The proposition was “This House believes American religion undermines American values.” Which would seem to be a no-brainer for this crowd. A British friend who gave me some excellent advice the other day said at the end of our conversation, “You do know you're going to lose don't you?” Lose we did, but only narrowly, 116-107. I was part of a four-person team in opposition to the proposition, including my friends Eric Metaxas and Joe Loconte and a very bright student named David Powell. The other side was never able to coherently define “American religion,” and we piled on the evidence that Christianity is intimately intertwined with American values. It is a parliamentary-style debate, which means you can be interupted from the floor, giving the proceedings a pleasantly combative feel. The acoustics in the hall are awesome, practically demanding grand rhetorical gestures. It was so much fun I felt like Ernie Banks afterwards, “Let's play two!” Derb and Stuttaford will be happy to know that the final debate this term will be on the merits of Marmite. My only disappointment with the whole experience was that no one invited me to tonight's toga party.
Posted at 08:19 AM
NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER [Andy McCarthy]
Here’s James Taranto in Best of the Web on Wednesday, praising the filibuster deal and explaining how it will help Bolton:
From where we sit, then, the actions of the Republican compromisers look like not a capitulation but a way of letting Democrats back down from a losing position without being humiliated.Now, since it seems to have become necessary to make this clear, let me premise this by saying I am second to no one in my admiration for John Podhoretz. I am a James Taranto fan, too. I just disagree with both of them on this one -- which is admittedly perilous, but a little easier to do when they seem to be disagreeing with each other.
John is no doubt correct when he looks at the four corners of the deal struck Monday night, says the facts are the facts, and points out that the filibuster deal as a technical legal matter did not control the outcome of the Bolton fiasco. The problem with that line of thinking however is that the filibuster deal is not a technical legal matter; it is a political matter, and it has reverberations that go well beyond the four-corners of the agreement. Indeed, that is exactly the way it was sold by its proponents, who told us that the "fallout" from the nuclear option would be a general paralysis that would affect all senate business. I don't think it is consistent to argue that the rule-change would have had this transcendent effect but that the deal to avert the rule change is somehow only about the judges and nothing else.
Taranto's view, I suggest, was the more rational view among supporters of the deal, viz.: "If we do this crummy deal, it might help us with other things like Bolton." It didn't -- or at least it hasn't so far. That's because, as the more pessimistic among us have been saying all along, it's a bad deal, because the people with whom it was struck do not place much stock in consistency.
That is, it is unreasonable, based on past performance, for people on our side to believe that if the other side takes a certain position on Monday they will feel honor-bound to take the same position on Tuesday if the same facts arise. Since you can't expect them to honor precedent or reciprocate reasonableness (since there has never been anything reasonable about the scandalous way they have tarred the Bush nominees), you have to try to win when something is important and when you have a good chance to win.
Posted at 08:15 AM
BANKER'S HOURS [K. J. Lopez ]
Please, only contemplate suicide from 9-5.
Posted at 08:00 AM
YAMAHA'S GIFT TO THE TWO READERS MS. HAS LEFT [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
HUSBANDS are such a nuisance. They hog the family computer, watch television at nerve-grating volume, clutter up every flat surface with their hobbies and mess up a room with their very presence. Now a Japanese company thinks it has found the solution: lock up the monster in a soundproof wooden box.
Posted at 07:47 AM
LIGHTEN UP [Andy McCarthy]
Gee, John. Whatever happened to the “Coalition of the Chillin’”? It was a joke. And it’s not like I accused you of being “unhinged” or of claiming that world ended on Monday night. After all, that would be a “hyperbolic mischaracterization,” and I know you would never go in for that sort of thing.
Are the yuks only yuks when they go in one direction?
Posted at 07:46 AM
SKIPPING THE F WORD [Tim Graham]
The WashPost tries to avoid the word "filibuster" in today's Bolton story. The headline is "Democrats Extend Debate on Bolton," not "Democrats Filibuster Bolton" or even "Democrats Block Bolton." Reporter Charles Babington began, "Senate Democrats refused to end debate on John R. Bolton's nomination," waiting two and a half paragraphs to get to the F word, despite the fact that it's awfully relevant to the week's theme of Media-Appointed Majority Leader John McCain's Eternal Deal for Peace and Harmony.
Posted at 07:30 AM
53 FOR HILL [K. J. Lopez]
WASHINGTON — For the first time, a majority of Americans say they are likely to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president in 2008, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday.
Posted at 07:27 AM
THE MENACE IN YOUR KITCHEN...GOV'T, PLEASE RESCUE! [K. J. Lopez ]
Really, what took so long? We need knife-control laws.
From the Beeb (via the Drudgeman):
A&E doctors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing.
Posted at 07:24 AM
WELL, IF IT WORKS... [K. J. Lopez]
"McCain Offers iPod to Dems Who Vote for Bolton"
Posted at 07:22 AM
"WE WILL ESTABLISH, WITH GOD'S HELP, AN IMPENETRABLE BLOCKADE SURROUNDING BAGHDAD LIKE A BRACELET SURROUNDS A WRIST" [K. J. Lopez ]
Iraqi authorities are preparing to launch the largest show of force in the capital since Saddam's ouster in a bid to curb the rampant insurgency, which has killed more than 650 people since the country's new government was announced April 28.
Posted at 07:10 AM
CAPTAIN AMERICA [K. J. Lopez ]
I like this kid.
Posted at 07:05 AM
THE FLINCHERS [K. J. Lopez]
On Monday Republicans were within hours of passing a procedural rule that would have eliminated the Democrats' unprecedented use of the judicial filibuster. It would not only have freed from filibuster limbo seven Bush nominees to the appeals courts, but it would also have ensured future nominees, particularly to the Supreme Court, up-or-down votes.
Posted at 07:04 AM
ANDY AND COMITY SHMOMITY [John Podhoretz]
I'm glad I handed you a laugh, Andy, but facts are facts. The agreement was about judicial filibusters. Surely not even you, in the depths of a laughing fit, think that the filibuster is to be dispensed with entirely. And I never said the deal was splendid. I said it was a victory that put Democrats in a box when it came to judicial nominations.
And I'm relieved you can do math. Math, at least, requires exactness. Hyperbolic mischaracterizations aren't possible in math.
Posted at 06:47 AM
TIRED OF THE SENATE? MARK STEYN IS TOO [K. J. Lopez]
From the Hewitt show:
And this is why people loathe the Senate, because some empty, vapid, puffed-up poser, just sobbing and bleating about his grandchildren on there, I mean there are one hundred U.S. Senators out of a potential pool of 300 million. 400 million if you include all the fine, upstanding members of the undocumented American community in your part of the country.
Posted at 05:37 AM
Thursday, May 26, 2005
SITH & STUFF [Jonah Goldberg]
Hey, just an fyi, I know I've been remiss on the Star Wars piece. Something came up this week. I'll explain later. See you after the weekend.
Posted at 11:47 PM
RE: COMITY SHMOMITY [Andy McCarthy]
1. I'm trying to respond to your statement that the filibuster of Bolton has absolutely nothing to do with, is entirely separate from, and shouldn't even discussed in the same breath as, the filibusters of the judges that were thankfully ended by that splendid agreement on Monday night. Unfortunately, each time I read it, I start laughing again and stuff starts rolling out of my nose, making it very hard to type.
2. Thanks for the explanation that 3 for 10 equals .300. Glad you could clear that up.
Posted at 10:51 PM
DRINK TO COMITY! [K. J. Lopez]
Ralph Neas is trying way too hard to convince here what a big defeat for the "radical right" this week was. And I'm tired of the winning-losing stuff...actually, I'm just tired of the Senate. Good time for a recess...g'night.
Posted at 09:33 PM
BEYOND COMITY SHMOMITY [K. J. Lopez]
JPod: Is this really true: "Dems really can't just continue to use the filibuster at will without suffering grievous political harm"? According to most major media accounts, John Bolton is a demented choice for the world-community slot. So that filibuster is legit to anyone paying cursory attention. Then back to judges: They filibuster judge nominee x later on, who, they say loudly and often, is an "extremist." The Dems are reasonable, they insist about themselves, because they gave in on three "extremist" judges. At this point, in other words, hey'll always have Owen, now, who was quickly confirmed after the glorious deal. And add Brown and Pryor shortly to that and you've got a Democratic party that can make a case they're pretty fair folk.
Posted at 09:05 PM
FAKE AND INACCURATE [John Podhoretz]
The general in command at Gitmo says there is no "credible evidence" that the Koran was flushed down a toilet.
Out of 13 accusations of Koran desecration, the military found five in which the Koran might have been said to have been "mishandled." In other words, there were at least 8 accusations that were, plain and simple, lies.
Don't worry, though. You know people are just going to say the general is lying -- because, you know, that's what our military does. Or that what matters are the accusations themselves, not the truth of the accusations. As the New York Times puts it in a shocking act of dishonest summarizing in the midst of its own story, "the disclosures...reinforce the contentions of human rights advocates and lawyers for detainees that accusations of purposeful mishandling of the Koran were common."
Yes, the accusations of Al Sharpton about the rapists of Tawana Brawley were common also -- but there were no rapists. It was all a pack of lies. But according to the logic of the Times, Sharpton and Company should be excused from responsibility for those lies because they made so many accusations.
And by the way, since when do 13 alleged incidents over the course of more than 1000 days constitute a "common" occurrence?
Posted at 09:01 PM
HUMAN LEAGUE [Warren Bell]
Back in the good old days... (Gather round, kids! Gramps is tellin' stories 'bout the Eighties!) ...when you could put a record on a turntable, my friends and I took great pleasure in playing the 45 of "Don't You Want Me, Baby" at 33. The effect was to take the song about a man and a woman and their love gone wrong and make it about a man and a deeper-voiced man and everything gone wrong. We did this in our dorm rooms more than once. We lip-synched. We laughed and laughed.
I think my point is, I really liked beer.
Posted at 08:54 PM
COMITY SHMOMITY [John Podhoretz]
Kathryn, Mark, you never heard such talk from me on the deal, and I speak as perhaps the earliest and stoutest (no jokes, please) defender of the deal from a Machiavellian perspective. The spin about the deal -- that it was a wonderful event because it brought new comity to the Senate -- was nonsense, of course. This is a deal about whether the nuclear option was going to be pulled in relation to judicial filibusters. The ability of two of the seven Republicans to end the deal if Dems claim the right to filibuster a judicial nominee remains in place. The Bolton matter really is separate. In fact, you might say that a Bolton filibuster strengthens the Republican hand when it comes to future judicial nominees, because Dems really can't just continue to use the filibuster at will without suffering grievous political harm. The filibuster works to the extent that the public doesn't really know or understand what's going on. A high-profile filibuster is the sort of thing you can only do once before the public realizes the minority is simply making it impossible for there to be a simple majority vote.
Posted at 08:40 PM
I'M ONLY HUMAN [K. J. Lopez]
At NR World Headquarters, we are buried in review copies--books and occassionally CDs (usually not the books we want to review). These wind up in a corner bookshelf and a CD box, for the taking. I never look at any of these communal-area locations, because there is too much in my spacious oak-paneled office (you're laughing if you've been here) as is. Well, as I was walking past the CD box this afternoon, what jumped out at me but "The Very Best of the Human League." Now, Carnegie Hall regular Jay Nordlinger gets most of the CD review copies. Why he did not want to keep this particular one to fill out his library (or review for NRODT--it's a 2003 release, or I know he would) is a mystery to me. I naturally have picked it up and plan to give it to Rick B. next time I see him.
And, yes, "The Very Best of Human League" actually has more than two songs.
Posted at 08:30 PM
BOLTON AND JUDGES [K. J. Lopez]
John, it doesn't seem right to say the two things--judge deal and Bolton--have nothing to do with one another. I see your technical point (yeah, the rule change on filibusters was just about judges, dramatic Mr. Smith commericals to the contrary). But just about the first thing everyone in the Senate said to me the night the deal went down was "Bolton is happening before recess" or "Frist will push Bolton next" etc. Republicans certainly saw this saving-the-Senate routine as a Bolton oppportunity. And it looks like they couldn't pull it off, even though they likely eventually will. But right now I think that speaks to just how silly the statesman talk about the deal gang was, which we already knew, than that the deal has failed (though the Dems' lack of interest in ending obstruction in general is certainly on display tonight).
Posted at 08:27 PM
RE: BOLTON ROLL [K. J. Lopez]
Yes, Frist voted "Nay"--a procedural thing so he can reintroduce the cloture motion.
Posted at 08:12 PM
BOLTON CLOTURE VOTE [K. J. Lopez]
Here's the roll
Posted at 07:56 PM
COMITY [Mark R. Levin]
Not buying it John. I have been debating this deal for 2 days, and have been told often how this would help grease the way for Bolton. And the Republican deal-makers themselves have argued that this was broader than the judges -- comity, fresh start, end the fighting, etc. I could produce the citations, but have neither the time nor energy. But soldier on.
Posted at 07:56 PM
RE: SENATE COMITY [John Podhoretz]
We should all remember that the whole filibuster/no-filibuster thing we've been going through has to do with judges and only judges. The Dem filibuster of Bolton, wretched though it is, has nothing to do with the deal earlier this week. Where Bolton is concerned, the president can do a recess appointment if the Dems continue to stall (recess appointments are lousy ideas for judges because of the lifetime tenure issue).
However, Frist and Company should be going to town on Democratic sliminess. And it will be a cold day in hell before George Voinovich gets a single thing he wants from any Republican in Washington -- except maybe a filthy hanky for him to wipe his simpering eyes with.
Posted at 07:40 PM
DON'T DRINK BEFORE THE SHOW, CHRIS [K. J. Lopez]
Chris Matthews, in introducing Byron York on Hardball right now, referred to "the great National Review" (emphasis CM's).
Actually,Mathhews has actually written for NR in the not-so-far-off past.
Posted at 07:36 PM
ME AS DH [John Podhoretz]
Most teams would kill for a .300 (3 out of ten) DH hitter.
Posted at 07:34 PM
RE: RE: BOLTON VOTE [K. J. Lopez]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) made the following statement today after the Senate denied the cloture motion on the nomination of John Bolton as United States Ambassador to the United Nations:
Posted at 07:17 PM
RE: BOLTON VOTE [Mark R. Levin]
Well, so much for Senate comity. That lasted about 48 hours.
Posted at 07:01 PM
THE F WORD [K. J. Lopez]
Reid: "This is the first filibuster of the year, and maybe the last. i hope so."
Posted at 07:00 PM
THE BOLTON CLOTURE VOTE [K. J. Lopez]
just failed...back up after memorial day recess....Harry Reid and Joe Biden blaming the White House for not proving information they requested. (As if they don't know all they need to know about John Bolton--they know they hate him...) Biden insists it's not a filibuster and he's not going to prevent an up-and-down vote on Bolton. Frist is calling it "obstruction" and "looks like a filibuster."
Posted at 06:56 PM
THE FOLLOWING PLACES HAVE FAIRS [Warren Bell]
San Diego, Missoula, Dallas, the Quad Cities, Mississippi Valley, Nashville, Wilson County, Hunt County, Dutchess County, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Alabama, Kutztown (been to that one), and Ohio. Thanks, emailers. To quote one: "The Ohio State Fair is great fun and has (along with displays of alfalfa, quilting, and truly tacky junior cheerleading competitions) its share of funhouses, puke-provoking thrill rides, and seedy carnies. It also has a livestock building which is named after Ohio's very own George F. Voinovich."
Seedy carnies? Are there seedless carnies?
Posted at 06:45 PM
RE: GRUDGE SOFTBALL [Andy McCarthy]
John could DH for my team anytime. However, not all Bench Memo readers are as enthusiastic. One writes: "JPod thinks he can DH because to him 3 out of 10 is good enough. Tell him that's not good enough for GOOD judges." Hey, you know me, I'm just the messenger ...
Posted at 06:34 PM
GANG OF 14 [Cliff May]
Fox is reporting that it was not certain that Frist had enough votes to win on the Constitutional/Nuclear option. Specter was shaky. If that was indeed the case, the compromise deal was like Wagner’s music -- better than it sounded.
Posted at 06:12 PM
BEST RESPONSE TO THAT TINA BROWN PIECE [K. J. Lopez]
"She had me until Bush."
Posted at 05:50 PM
LETTING EMPLOYERS FIRE PEOPLE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
and other radical ideas are coming to Australia.
Posted at 05:41 PM
RE: BOO-HOO VOINOVICH [K. J. Lopez]
Warren, enough people won't see/hear it though. I've been through this with Hugh a few times--he plays the best (meaning worst) Dem moments. Hugh asks, "He won't get away with this?" or "People won't forget this?" My answer is typically, as it is here: Junkies like us will remember, but the state of Ohio won't (Corner-reading Ohio residents excepted).
Re: Men and crying: Bill Clinton's lip-quivering and the sensitive-man in pop culture hasn't made it more acceptable?
Posted at 05:26 PM
METROSEXUAL MULLAHS? [Cliff May]
Michael Rubin sends along the April issue of Hi Magazine (brilliant name!), an American-sponsored online publication, part of our public diplomacy outreach to the Arab world. He cites this article on metrosexuals.
As Michael notes: “We have mobilized the resources of our government to explain what metrosexuals are and to advise Arab men on moisturizers? This may not be the best way to counter al-Jazeera.”
The article briefly profiles Diaa Nour, a 24-year-old Egyptian-born resident of Washington, D.C., who “spends lots of time and money at day spas. He goes to a tanning salon. He loves shopping. ‘I think I have a shopping problem,’ he admits.” Mr. Nour adds: "I'd go to the theater over a sporting event any day of the week. I'm very interested in architecture; I subscribe to lots of magazines about it. I love to travel. I like languages. In the winter, I'll stay in and knit blankets.”
Yeah, no way fusty old radical Islamists can compete with values like those.
Of course, all this may finally answer the question: Why do they hate us? It’s because we’re beautiful. And metrosexual. And moisturized. And tan.
Memo to Karen Hughes: Faster, please.
Posted at 05:13 PM
RE: TO HIS CREDIT THOUGH [Andy McCarthy]
POTUS on the PA: "[M]aybe somebody will run on a war platform -- you know, vote for me, I promise violence. I don't think they're going to get elected, because I think Palestinian moms want their children to grow up in peace just like American moms want their children to grow up in peace. As a matter of fact, I think the people that campaign for peace will win."
Me: I hope he's right. I think he's wrong. See, for example, this report on "Educating children for hatred and terrorism" from the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S) .
This remains a place where children are reared in a culture of shahada (martyrdom, generally by suicide bombing) ... where the cult of Arafat lives, and where birthday of Saddam Hussein is marked with good wishes in the official press (see) by Fatah -- the supposedly moderate alternative to Hamas.
Posted at 05:12 PM
I HOPE THE SUITS AREN'T READING THIS [K. J. Lopez]
A reader suggests the stem-cell debate today be pay-for-view next time--a new NRO fundraiser. He further e-mails:
I can see the TV ads now:
Posted at 05:10 PM
PRISCILLA OWEN MAY BE CONFIRMED [K. J. Lopez]
but there is another problem--in Texas now.
I'm reminding you to read Bench Memos regularly.
Posted at 05:06 PM
BOO-HOO VOINOVICH [Warren Bell]
I heard JPod on the Hugh Hewitt show as I drove home last evening and had the instant feeling that Voinovich's blubbery speech will define him forever. There is a certain pantheon of men who have cried publicly in situations they perhaps should not have -- football coach Dick Vermeil springs to mind. No one denies a bereaved father or a gold-medal winner his emotions. But should a man go beyond a catch in the throat in some situation that we collectively deem not weep-worthy, and it will stain him forever.
Posted at 04:28 PM
ALL'S FAIR [Warren Bell]
Do the rest of you experience this? I write a post slamming a certain porcine Manhattanite writer/blogger in which by way of introduction I describe a visit to the Allentown Fair -- excuse me, the Great Allentown Fair -- and then all of my mail is about the Fair, which wasn't really the part I was stirred up about.
Anyway, it seems people who grew up like I did have sweet memories of the Fair as a youth, as do I, despite my experience in the sideshow trailer. And my question is, do people still go to Fairs? Or have theme parks crushed them like so much flattened hay on the fairgrounds dirt? I fear the latter.
Posted at 04:26 PM
POOR TOM CRUISE [K. J. Lopez]
Geez--Tina Brown just used him to get to the president.
Posted at 04:23 PM
BUSH AND THE DEATH PENALTY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I linked yesterday to William Saletan's criticism of Bush and his aides and said I agreed with most of it. I take that back, now that I've seen the full quotes.
Posted at 04:16 PM
HOWARD DEAN AND HILLARY CLINTON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
get fact-checked on abortion stats. (Thanks to Justin Taylor for passing this on.)
Posted at 04:10 PM
TO HIS CREDIT THOUGH [K. J. Lopez]
In front of Abbas, the president said today:
...Our position on Hamas is very clear, it's a well-known position and it hasn't changed about Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist group, it's on a terrorist list for a reason. As the elections go forward, of course, we want everybody to participate in the vote. There is something healthy about people campaigning, saying, this is what I'm for. The President ran on a peace platform; you know, maybe somebody will run on a war platform -- you know, vote for me, I promise violence. I don't think they're going to get elected, because I think Palestinian moms want their children to grow up in peace just like American moms want their children to grow up in peace. As a matter of fact, I think the people that campaign for peace will win.
Posted at 04:07 PM
RE: BUSH AND ABBAS [K. J. Lopez]
Given what Cliff wrote about the Bush-Abbas presser earlier today, plus what Abbas has been saying around D.C., who he is, etc., I find this picture infuriatingly unfortunate:
Until Abbas is unequivocally against terror and terror groups (re hamas), Bush should have never appeared with him (given who Bush is and says). Am I being unrealistic?
Posted at 03:59 PM
"DERBYSHITLER" [K. J. Lopez]
Thanks for ending the debate on such a high note, Derb.
Posted at 03:56 PM
RE: RE: RE: RE: DERB ON EMBRYOS [John Derbyshire]
Uh-oh. I know Ramesh is starting to frown when he switches from "Derb" to "Derbyshire." Next stop "Derbyshitler"?
I must say, though, I am quite taken with the idea of a slippery slope argument about slippery slopes. There's an infinite regress there somewhere -- a slippery infinite regress.
Be that as it may, I am now heading off to The New Criterion end of season party & dinner, which is always royal fun. I promise not to snitch about events in the later part of the evening, though, as I did last year, to the embarrassment of certain persons. What happens in The New Criterion stays in The New Criterion.
Posted at 03:54 PM
I LOVE THE DAYS WHEN [K. J. Lopez]
Ramesh responds to the Washington Post editorial before I have managed to read the editorial. Skips the reading and seething steps on my end. Andy McCarthy is good for this service too.
That said, I guess I should have read the morning papers by noon, nevermind after. Unless you consider the MSM irrelevant, which I, unfortunately, do not.
Posted at 03:39 PM
THE WASHINGTON POST ON CONSISTENCY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The Post objects to Tom DeLay's speech against federal funding for embryo-destructive research for two reasons.
First, it says DeLay is guilty of "irresponsible rhetoric" in saying that the other side would "fund with taxpayer dollars the dismemberment of living, distinct human beings for the purposes of medical experimentation." You could object to the word "dismemberment" on hypertechnical grounds, I suppose. But what DeLay said is a fair summary of why most opponents of the bill object to it. Is there another wording the Post would have preferred? Or are those of us who object to the bill to be silent about it because the Post, for reasons undisclosed, thinks our speaking up would be "irresponsible"? (Where would the goo-goo editorialist be without that word? And was the Post irresponsible ten years ago, when it had better editorialists working on these issues?)
Second, it says that DeLay, if he is to be consistent, should also 1) try to ban the freezing of embryos in IVF clinics as a form of torture and 2) try to ban the common fertility-clinic practice of "discarding" "unused" human embryos. There are specific logical problems with the first point, but let me address the general argument that to be principled a politician must either try to prohibit all moral evils or none of them.
Let's say a politician was in a place and time where people approved stoning homosexuals to death--which is not at all a theoretical possibility; there have been places and times like this. Let's say that politician himself believes that the principle of the equal dignity of all human beings entails not stoning homosexuals to death, not criminalizing their sexual conduct, and allowing same-sex couples to marry. There are serious people who believe all these things flow from a valid principle of equality. Leaving aside whether those people are right about these conclusions, what's a politician with those convictions to do?
If he comes out for same-sex marriage, he may lose the ability to make progress on the stoning front. (Or, to transport the debate to, say, Texas in the 1990s: A politician who argued for same-sex marriage might very well lose his ability to make progress in getting rid of anti-sodomy laws.) Since political prudence militates against his pushing for the full realization of his principle, is he therefore to do nothing? If he works within the bounds of the possible, does he therefore have no principles?
The Washington Post's editorial is titled "An Illogical Standard." But its own standard is one it would not apply to any other issue. You could, of course, make the same debater's points in reverse: The Post, to be consistent, should be for infanticide.
Note also that the Post's argument tends to validate slippery-slope fears about the sanctity of life. If we hadn't allowed the routine killing of human embryos by fertility clinics, people wouldn't be trying to use it to justify new moral evils today.
Posted at 02:56 PM
TO SAUDI ARABIA WITH LOVE [Cliff May]
Is now the right time to be giving gifts to the Saudis?
These members of Congress think not--and provide four very good reasons.
Posted at 02:47 PM
SLIPPERY SLOPES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
What Derbyshire has said in response to K-Lo is that if we allow slippery slope arguments on the embryo question, we will end up allowing it on all questions, with perverse results. It's a form of slippery-slopism itself. Which doesn't establish either its truth or its falsity. Some slippery slope arguments make more sense than others.
Posted at 02:35 PM
ANOTHER QUICK RESPONSE TO DERB ON THE EMBRYO [K. J. Lopez]
It's not entirely a slippery-slope argument if you buy that "week-old blastocysts" are human beings, however early on in their lives. They deserve protection as such. Supreme Court decisions aside, the law gives cover for that; not to be positively grade-school about this, but really ABC civil/social agreements like the Declaration of Independence & Constitution, and, forgive me, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights include this principle. That's not exactly a "single, precise, all-encompassing moral dogma" being imposed on a people clamoring for a form of research that hasn't even been subject to an intelligent national debate. (When it comes to imposing my absolutist RTL will on the country, I wouldn’t hold too strongly to the argument that Americans are overwhelmingly agreed on the "week-old blastocyst." And even if we were, again, it's a fundamental that deserves the least amount of fudge and compromise as is possible and plausible. )
I suppose the rest of my argument is a slippery-slope argument, but as a matter of principle I'm not opposed to making slippery-slope arguments when you're on an obvious slide.
Just quickly (deadlines, deadlines): As for your voting comparison--I guess I just don't see the voting age to be as fundamental as the right to life, and I can't see the hypothetical pro-nine-year-olds voting advocates having too much of a compelling case.
Back to the slide, I go to Ponnuru again, because he's already written it. This time in NRODT ("Cells, Fetuses, and Logic," July 23, 2001):
A pro-life position not rooted in logic ends up having the same line- drawing problem. When do pro-life supporters of stem-cell research believe life begins? They would seem to believe that a clump of matter that is not a person somehow becomes inhabited by a person as it develops. Rather than defend this theoretical disaster bordering on superstition, some of these pro-lifers have resorted to the name games that pro-choicers have used in the past: Blastocysts aren't embryos, embryos that have not been implanted are pre-embryos, etc. But none of these nominal distinctions-nor the biological distinctions they denote- mark a point of moral distinction.
Posted at 02:25 PM
RE: RE: DERB ON EMBRYOS [John Derbyshire]
Yes, Kathryn, but that is just a slippery-slope argument: "If we start treating week-old blastocysts as if they were utterly inanimate matter, where will it end?"
To which the answer is: It will end where we, collectively, decide it will end. Not all slopes are slippery. To pick up my previous analogy: We dropped the voting age from 21 to 18 back in, what? the early 70s. I suppose there must have been slippery-slopers at that time who said: "Wait and see!--By 2005 we'll have 9-year-olds in the voting booth!" Yet this has not happened.
A lot of RTL arguments seem to me to come down to saying that we, collectively, can't be trusted to decide such things.
Scanning back through history at some of the things that we, collectively, have decided, I do see the force of this point. Under a system of self-government, though, there is really no choice. We, the people, draw the legal line; and we, the people, must then guard that line vigilantly.
Sometimes, no doubt, we shall fail to do so, and there will be some sliding down the slope. But this is what self-government means. The only alternatives are (a) a nation united under a single, precise, and all-encompassing moral dogma to which practically all citizens voluntarily assent, or (b) despotism. For better or worse, we are far from being (a), and God forbid we should become (b). So we are left with fudge and compromise, even on matters concerning life itself--of which this, of course, is not the only one.
Posted at 02:14 PM
DERB, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
1) I don't think that the phrase "genuinely right or wrong" implies absolutism, although it does imply the existence of objective moral truth.
2) I don't think I've committed "metaphysics" any more than when I say that killing infants is wrong (or, for that matter, when I give an account of walking down the street). Nor does classifying a question as "metaphysical" eliminate the possibility of there being a rationally derivable correct answer to it.
3) It should be possible for a majority of the public to reject the idea that early-stage human embryos deserve legal protection without reaching the conclusion that parents should be legally obligated to see that their children get medical treatments derived from killing human embryos--which was the topic that gave rise to your disagreement with the phrase "genuinely right or wrong." Imposing that obligation on parents strikes me as more likely to give rise to "social disorder" than not imposing it.
4) In some sense, public policy will always be something the public is willing to put up with--and that sense is obviously stronger in a democracy. I am not proposing to abolish representative forms of government in order to impose an embryo-protective policy that the public hates. I do think it important to try to persuade voters and their elected representatives to move toward a more embryo-protective policy. It is no objection to that project to say that public policy should reflect public opinion.
5) The proposition that "not many Americans" object to the deliberate destruction of week-old human embryos strikes me as simply untrue.
6) The analogy to the voting age, where an arbitrary line must be drawn, is open to question. For one thing, society does not have to draw a line--it could prohibit the deliberate killing of any member of the human species. For another, the right to vote is not as basic a human right as the right not to be killed.
Posted at 02:10 PM
ANOTHER ENLIGHTENING H-BOMB VISIT [K. J. Lopez]
The resident doctor in the H-Bomb house has officially ended the debate over stem-cell research with this earth-shatteringly persuasive post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/jay-gordon/too-important_1654.html "Stupid" always helps make arguments more persuasive. Next time he might use caps and itals to just seal the deal.
If you're looking to kill time, there's also Erica Jong, writing about President Bush's "Snowflake" event this week: "[U]ntil Bush and Laura themselves adopt all the embryos that might otherwise be doomed to waste their sweetness on the desert air, his blastocyst reality show will be show and tell and nothing more."
Posted at 01:13 PM
BUY STOCK IN NEW ENGLAND SWEATER COMPANIES NOW [K. J. Lopez]
From Roll Call [sub. only]:
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark has taken a high-profile role, both on and off Capitol Hill, as a Democratic spokesman and foreign policy adviser, stoking speculation that he is planning another national campaign in 2008.
Posted at 01:04 PM
WASHINGTON REPORT [Stefan Sharkansky ]
Day Four of the Washington gubernatorial election contest trial will focus on testimony from expert witnesses on the statistical analysis of illegal voting and the standards the judge will use for evaluating the testimony. (There's streaming video of the trial here.)
Yesterday's main event was the testimony of King County mail ballot supervisor Nicole Way, who admitted in a pre-trial deposition to falsifying a key ballot accounting report, called the "Mail Ballot Report". The Mail Ballot Report has turned into one of the key issues in the trial and a centerpiece of the Republicans' claim of fraud. The report's purpose is to demonstrate to the canvassing board before certifying the election that all absentee ballots that were returned by voters were properly accounted for and that no ballots were stuffed or destroyed. As Way testified, the county's new computer system was unable to produce the actual number of absentee ballots returned, so she fabricated that number and created a falsely perfect reconciliation. She also testified that upper management ignored her earlier warnings about shortcomings in the new computer system and accepted her falsified report knowing how it was produced. The most dramatic moment came when the judge questioned Way from the bench. She told him that the computer system used in earlier elections had enabled her to obtain an independent number of the ballots returned, thus facilitating a valid reconciliation.
Way's testimony should support the Republicans' claim that election officials knowingly failed to do their statutory duty to reconcile ballots and protect the integrity of the election. This ties in with the Republicans' claim that King County tabulated 875 more absentee ballots than there were voters, which could not have happened had election officials done their duty to reconcile ballots tabulated against ballots returned.
Posted at 01:01 PM
RE: DERB ON EMBRYOS [K. J. Lopez]
Derb, I know you disagree, but especially given the fact we live in a world where civilized people are slouching toward (or downright advocating) infant euthanasia, appoint ethics professors who justify infanticide (Peter Singer), and can't even admit when they're talking about cloning human beings, etc. I think among our "sensible rules" is the rule that each individual deserves the right to life under law--one of the principles we got on paper pretty early on in the history of America (albeit at a time when we didn’t have the technology to think about the embryo much, nevermind blog about it endlessly). The drawing of an arbitrary line about when a human life is excisable and when it is not seems to a very dangerous one--with implications that are not far-off theories, but practical realities of our modern life.
I know I'm not convincing Derb, but if you're a reader wanting more on the topic, read that old Ramesh Hoover piece RP linked to the other day. He wrote, in part:
Our moral sentiments are an indispensable prop to our moral conduct. Many times, we can see that an injustice is being done without having to think too hard about it. But moral sentiments are not an unfailing guide to justice. Much of the task of a moral education is to train the sentiments to accord with justice. It is very easy for human beings to assume that others who do not “look like us” do not have any rights that we must respect—especially when ignoring their rights offers, or seems to offer, benefits to us. We need to think about the human embryo, not just look at it and conclude it is worthless except as an object of research.The whole RP thing is here.
Posted at 12:55 PM
BREAK THE FILIBUSTER [Jack Fowler]
against subscribing to NR. OK, so you’re a hip 21st Century dude who disses paper, who wants your conservatism electrified, all bits and bytes and giga-ed up. Well, that’s why we’ve got National Review Digital. And here’s why you should be subscribing to this great product
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Posted at 12:32 PM
LAW & ORDER: LIBERAL INTENT [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brent Baker has the goods on last night's gratuitous Tom DeLay slam on the season finale of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, complete with video. The script writers trashed DeLay as a hero to white supremacist gun nuts suspected of murdering two judges, one of them black, and who had expressed the view that the white woman judge who was murdered was a "race traitor" who raised her family in the "Zionist enclave of Riverdale." The chick-detective character suggested to her fellow detectives and an Assistant District Attorney: "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."
Posted at 12:31 PM
DERB ON EMBRYOS [John Derbyshire]
Thanks, Ramesh. I guess we part company, as usual, where you say: "I think it would be wrong for the state to require parents to do a genuinely wrongful act--indeed, that parents would have a moral obligation to defy such a requirement. (Note that the wrongness or rightness of the requirement turns on whether the act is genuinely right or wrong. It does not depend on what the parents happen to believe about it or the sources of their conviction.)"
The phrase "genuinely right or wrong" implies an absolute frame of moral reference, which the people of the U.S.A., collectively, have not got. We "happen to believe" all sorts of contradictory things, drawn from many different sources. The trick is to get sufficient common agreement that we can write legislation and enforce it without inciting social disorder. Not many Americans think it is flagitious to destroy a week-old blastocyst. Not many Americans think it is not flagitious to destroy a nine-month fetus. (I'm with the majority on both points.) So somewhere between the one week and the nine months we have to draw a line.
The line is an arbitrary one, of course; but absent common agreement on the underlying metaphysics, it has to be. Legal lines of this kind usually are. You can vote at age 18 in my state, but there is no implied metaphysical assumption that you suddenly acquire political wisdom at midnight on your 18th birthday. It's just that a line must be drawn, and we put our heads together and agree where to draw it... Reserving the right to change our minds and draw it somewhere else if collective opinion changes, or if science uncovers some relevant fact. (Voting age used to be 21. We changed it, by common agreement. Something similar is happening in Britain with abortion law, as a result of improved womb-imaging techniques.)
If that sounds cold-blooded, I must say, the absolutist position seems to me more so. Human beings are much more social animals than they are metaphysical animals. We get along, and build societies and civilizations, by coming to common agreements on topics like this, after discussion and reflection, after grudging compromises and fudging of differences--hardly ever by whacking each other over the head with metaphysical theorems. Only intellectuals like to do that. The rest of us just want some sensible rules so we can get on with our lives in a society not racked by disorder.
I shall now get a flood of emails telling me that this is a deplorably "British" point of view.
Posted at 12:11 PM
MY LAST SUBJECT LINE [K. J. Lopez]
Rick Brookhiser's voice in my head made me go more classic than the Jets. But you know which tune I'm humming in the office.
And now some of you are--if you happen to have a library of crappy (before you e-mail--is there a more appropriate word, really?) pop songs in your head.
Posted at 12:04 PM
ABBAS & BUSH PRESSER [Cliff May]
Abbas was very clear about what he wants, not a word about what he’s willing to give in return.
Bush described not who Abbas is, but who he hopes Abbas may become.
Posted at 12:03 PM
THE WORLD WILL PARDON MY MUSH ’CAUSE I HAVE GOT A CRUSH ON YOU [K. J. Lopez]
Margaret Carlson to John McCain
Posted at 12:00 PM
GDP REVISIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
From one of my economics Hill guys:
Jonah, I thought I might shed some light on your question about possible trends in the size and direction of revisions to GDP data. According to a 2004 study by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of GDP revisions from 1983 through 2004, “none of the mean revisions in GDP are statistically different from zero.” While it may appear to the naked eye that revisions are generally in a positive direction, that is not the case.
Posted at 12:00 PM
THE PONNURU T-SHIRT [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't know why exactly, but if Derb can have "Pop Culture is Filth" as his slogan, I'd like to see this on a t-shirt:
"Because tsunamis happen, is it okay to slaughter Asians?"
Posted at 11:59 AM
SECOND OPINION RE; FREAKY DUDE ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
From a military medical guy:
Posted at 11:57 AM
IMPENDING MERGER [Jonah Goldberg]
I prefer Weekly Review of National Standards, simply because it would horrify Franch Rich more. From a reader:
I've discovered the plan!!!
Posted at 11:52 AM
RE: FREAKY DUDE [Jonah Goldberg]
From someone in a position to know in Ohio state government:
Though I wish to remain anonymous, you can share with your readers if you wish that I've checked with the people who would know in both the Ohio Adult Parole Authority and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, and I can confirm that the Freaky Dude is no hoax, unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose, given your most recent comment).
Posted at 11:39 AM
ECONOMIC FORECASTS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Here's an assertion which I don't have the time to check today (I'll see if I can find some stats to either prove or disprove this assertion tonight):
Posted at 11:36 AM
RICHARD COHEN'S LATEST FALLACY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
He thinks that the president's event with families who had adopted "unused" embryos and raised them as children was emotionally manipulative. I suppose we should go back to the sober, rational debate we were having with pictures of disease-stricken celebrities.
His only argument is a version of the naturalistic fallacy: A lot of human embryos die because they fail to implant, therefore they weren't alive in the first place. In other words: because they die naturally, it's okay for us to kill them deliberately. Because tsunamis happen, is it okay to slaughter Asians?
Posted at 11:27 AM
THE DEAL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm glad John Podhoretz hasn't been "unhinged" by it--a Podhoretz off his hinges is a fearsome thing.
My own take on it, with the benefit of a few days' thought: I cared about the confirmation battles over appellate nominees only insofar as it affected Supreme Court confirmation fights. I still think conservatives are in a strong position to win those latter fights. Their chances are marginally worse because of the deal, for the reasons NR editorialized about. But they're marginally better because so much of the base communicated its displeasure with the deal.
Posted at 11:07 AM
NOT TALENT! [K. J. Lopez]
The Missouri Republican reminds us of Tom Daschle today.
Posted at 10:58 AM
DERB'S QUESTION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
is an interesting one. Let me first note that it has come up in a variety of contexts. For example, the House version of the cloning ban has included a provision that prohibits the importation of cloned embryos or products derived from cloned embryos. The biotech lobby interpreted this to mean that if a person came back from a medical trip with a new organ derived from an act of cloning, he would be arrested at the border. (It was a strained interpretation, and the Senate version of the bill does not include this provision.)
The general question of whether it is licit to enjoy benefits from the wrongful acts of another does not admit of a simple yes-or-no answer. It would depend on the circumstances, and people who agree on the wrongfulness of the act in question will disagree about how to weigh these circumstances. (You may find it helpful, Derb, in thinking through this question, to start with a case where you yourself agree that the underlying act is evil. Let's say we had a miracle cure discovered and produced in China by the extraction of organs from living, unanaesthetized political prisoners.)
The president believes that killing human embryos in the process of research is wrong, but that when that act has already taken place, it can be morally permissible to fund research on the stem cell lines derived in that act. I agree with him, but many other pro-lifers disagreed. The Catholic church has said that it is morally permissible for Catholics to see that their children get vaccines that were developed, in part, through the use of aborted fetuses.
I said the answer depended on circumstances. The questions I think should be asked include: Does getting the benefit require you to align his will with the wrongdoer? Is your getting of this benefit likely to lead to more of the evil in question?
The policy questions also depend on circumstances. W/r/t your analogy to the Christian Scientists: I think it would be wrong for the state to require parents to do a genuinely wrongful act--indeed, that parents would have a moral obligation to defy such a requirement. (Note that the wrongness or rightness of the requirement turns on whether the act is genuinely right or wrong. It does not depend on what the parents happen to believe about it or the sources of their conviction.)
I'm not sure what principles should guide us in thinking about trying to apply a life-protective law extraterritorially--nor, for that matter, what our practices are. My impression is that American law does not adhere to any consistent rule on this. We don't do a lot to prevent American tourists from hiring prostitutes in countries where prostitution is tolerated, but I think we do rather more when children are involved.
Finally, let me suggest that you are wrong to avoid the word "kill" in connection with early human embryos. It seems to me that the word does not necessarily imply a negative value judgment--it is permissible to kill living things in many circumstances (and sometimes obligatory). If you want to say that killing a human embryo in an early stage of development is no more morally troubling than killing a fly--and that one may sometimes have good reasons to do it--that does not commit you to denying that what is going on is in fact killing: causing the death of something that was a living organism.
Posted at 10:56 AM
THE TRACKS OF A SENATOR'S TEARS [K. J. Lopez]
JPod, RadioBlogger (a.k.a. Hugh's producer) has up that audio of Voinovich's Wednesday ridiculousness (along with the transcript from you on HH yesterday) here.
Posted at 10:18 AM
SYRIA & IRAQ: NOT SITTING IN A TREE [Jonah Goldberg]
From the Daily Star:
BEIRUT: A Syrian intelligence officer detained in Baghdad has admitted to launching the missile attack on the late premier Rafik Hariri's Future Television in June 2003, according to Al-Rai al-Aam Kuwaiti newspaper. In an article published on Wednesday, the newspaper said Hussein Ahmad Tah, 32, was arrested by Iraqi police when he was attempting to assassinate employees in an Iraqi public institution. Following his arrest, Tah decided to admit to his previous crimes, among which is the Future TV bombing.
Posted at 10:17 AM
RE ECONOMIC UPDATE [Jonah Goldberg]
I noticed that too. But, I have no idea why it happens, just that it happens -- a lot.
Posted at 10:12 AM
RE: ECONOMIC UPDATE [John Podhoretz]
Hey Jonah, doesn't it seem like the "revised" figures for the nation's gross domestic product are routinely 10 percent higher than the originally reported figures? If the initial figures are almost always too low, isn't it time for the feds to start changing the way the initial calculations are done? This is getting ridiculous, no?
Posted at 10:10 AM
THINKING ABOUT EMBRYOS [K. J. Lopez]
For anyone doing that, this interview might be of interest. It deals with the point Jonah mentioned a bit: the fact that the fact of IVF leaves us with some not-ideal options in regard to the embryo. It comes from a Catholic point of view, but, again, if you're thinking through this stuff, you might appreciate reading it. And--well, since NRO won't be updating and all this weekend--there are the volumes the bioethics commission has put out, dealing with some of this.
Posted at 10:09 AM
VOINOVICH'S TEARS [John Podhoretz]
Kathryn, Hugh Hewitt played the actual tape for me on his radio show last night. There he was, Sen. George Voinovich, the Republican from Ohio, choking back tears and then weeping as he spoke against John Bolton in the well of the Senate. I have to tell you, my first response was that he has gone totally crackers. The rhetoric he used was, quite simply, bananas. I mean, he fears for the lives of his grandchildren if Bolton is confirmed?
But then, I remembered -- and we should all remember and keep posting the fact that -- George Voinovich was fined $1,500 by the Federal Aviation Administration when he was governor of Ohio for insisting on his personal plane taking off even though the FAA had declared a no-fly zone at the Cleveland Airport because President Clinton was in town. "Shoot us down!" he screamed at an air-traffic controller. Then he spent six months fighting the FAA fine on the grounds that -- well, he didn't have any grounds. There are numerous interpretations of the incident. 1) He's a jerk. 2) He's a loon. 3) He's a jerk and a loon. 4) He's a loon and a jerk. 5) He's a jerky loon. 6) He's a loony jerk.
For the record, I go with the simple "jerk." And I hope his press secretary calls me to complain about this, which press secretaries of hotheaded, self-indulgent, loudmouth senators often do because their hotheaded, self-indulgent, loudmouth bosses insist they do so. Oh, how I hope.
Posted at 10:04 AM
JUST 25 DAYS UNTIL [Jack Fowler]
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Posted at 09:46 AM
WEEKEND SUGGESTION [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail: "I think you should make Jonah write a weekend's worth of articles between now and noon tomorrow and post them at once so we all have something to read this weekend." All unedited. And all posted under one G-File page.
Posted at 09:45 AM
RE: RE: WEEKEND [K. J. Lopez]
Warren, it's going to be much uglier than that. There is an EU vote happening this weekend. Stuttaford will implode.
Posted at 09:44 AM
RE: WEEKEND [Warren Bell]
Sweeeet! How furious will the competition be for the first post back?
Posted at 09:39 AM
THINKING THROUGH EMBRYOS [Jonah Goldberg]
Several readers have asked me what my opinion on the embryo issue is since I almost never write about it. There's a reason for that: I don't know what my position is. I find Ramesh's arguments eloquent and elegant but I've not made the complete leap yet. I do generally support the president's -- and Ramesh's -- position that these embryos do have a moral status but I'm not sure I reach the conclusions of the pro-life community generally. (If you're worried, my lovely bride sets prolife policy in our household). But as a matter of public policy I just don't know where I stand (in part because I just haven't read enough). I think the argument, made by Kathryn and others, that this is something of a red herring and that stem cells can be gotten other ways is more than plausible. And I think it's outrageous the way the left, particularly in Hollywood, have told a lot of sick people that embryonic stem cells will save everybody and cure everything. But it seems to me that once this country went down the path of IVF, prolifers were left with very few good options on this subject.
Posted at 09:39 AM
MAKE WEEKEND PLANS, DUDES [K. J. Lopez ]
For long-term good reasons, there's going to be nothing added to NRO between noon Friday (tomorrow—ack) and early Tuesday morning. Doing a server switch.
Wow. I know. Complaints from readers on the other side of the planet aside about no-posting in the wee hours from mostly East Coast American writers here aside, NRO has really become something of a 24/7 kinda thing. Check in when you get home from dinner and see if someone's weighed in on things big or small. Often, yup, there are a few someones on somethings.
But, anyhow, for one long weekend only, for the betterment of NRO--and therefore the world--we'll be falling a little silent (A good chance for you to catch up on missed NRO reading, NRO author books, NRODT reading…maybe have an outside-NRO life, like outdoors....) I wanted to warn you in advance. We're here today though, and tomorrow morning.
What do you think about this? I'm thinking of not e-mailing my colleagues, just as a test, to see who reads The Corner and who doesn't. When Jonah calls my cell at 2 am Friday wanting to know why his Klingon translation of The Corner won't go up, I'll know what I needed to know.
Posted at 09:23 AM
NO SUCH LUCK [K. J. Lopez]
I had hoped I had imagined the Voinovich badly holding back tears when talking about Bolton yesterday. But I didn't.
Posted at 09:19 AM
ECONOMIC UPDATE [Jonah Goldberg]
From the Joint Economic Committee:
Joint Economic Committee
Posted at 09:04 AM
THE REAL SCANDAL IN AMERICA TODAY... [John Podhoretz]
...is the season finale of the ABC series "Lost." The show is about survivors of a plane crash on a strange island. The tropical island features an invisible monster, a polar bear, a space hatch buried in the ground, a pirate ship in the middle of a jungle, a wheelchair-bound man who could suddenly walk, and a few other amazing supernatural things. For 22 hours over the course of the season, viewers have been waiting for answers for at least some of these mysteries. The two-hour final episode answered absolutely nothing. Not one thing. Basically, it appears that the series' creators simply threw all sorts of things out there to tantalize people and then had absolutely no idea where to go with it or what to do. This is a very, very bad idea. The audience for "Lost" will abandon the show over the summer and it will creak out a few more months until it is deservedly cancelled. Audiences will go for a sucker punch once, but no longer. Bye bye "Lost." It's been lousy to know ya.
Posted at 09:04 AM
THE FREAKY DUDE [Jonah Goldberg ]
I posted to yesterday (Scroll down to "Posted Without Comment") might be a fake. On the one hand I hope so. On the other I hope not. Indeed, wouldn't it be better if all sex-offenders looked like C*H*U*Ds, morlocks, molemen and the like?
Posted at 08:40 AM
RE: THE FUNDING THING & STEM CELLS [K. J. Lopez]
BTW, RP corrected The New Republic on the aforementioned funding point last year:
"George W. Bush cut off federal funding for [embryonic stem-cell research] in the U.S nearly three years ago." Actually, Bush provided funding for the first time. Congress had essentially banned funding, the Clinton administration issued preliminary regulations getting around the ban, and then Bush imposed a policy of funding with restrictions.
Posted at 08:33 AM
GRUDGE SOFTBALL [JPod]
Sorry, Andy -- no spiking me. I'm the DH.
Posted at 08:27 AM
VANDE HEI-HO [Tim Graham]
Washington Post readers are treated to a news "analysis" at the top of Page One today by Jim VandeHei, who explains the GOP plot "to consolidate influence in a small circle of Republicans and to marginalize dissenting voices that would try to impede a conservative agenda." When you try to marginalize dissenting voices that would impede a liberal agenda, that would make you suitable to write for the front page of the Washington Post.
Posted at 08:19 AM
POINT OF CLARIFICATION [K. J. Lopez]
The Wall Street Journal makes a good point this morning (though I'm not with them on all their conclusions in the editorial), one that alludes most of the Bush-is-anti-science, etc. critics: Bush never banned embryonic-stem-cell research. His August 2000 compromise was about federal funding. Private research has gone forward (for good or for ill--for ill for some of it, if you ask me); state funding of research, including toward human cloning (see New Jersey, California...) has gone forward... Which all, for one thing--wherever you are on whether these embryos used in embryonic-stem-cell research are being "killed" or not--begs the question: Why does the federal government need to fund this (the "soc-cons" and libertarians unite!)? (Never pretending to be the federalism purist in The Corner, I'd probably opt for a galaxy-wide ban on embyronic-stem-cell research, period, if I ruled, but we're not going there, so I'm just going to hold out hope for at least banning cloning in America at some point soon--which is no guarantee at the moment.)
Posted at 08:17 AM
RE: BO LOSES [Tim Graham]
I would have picked Bo as well, considering that would have balanced the idols out at two men and two women. But I'm guessing the majority of Idol voters are women, and some of them no doubt dislike Southern rock and the long-haired bearded boys who sing it. The real comment on last night's show has to be: has there been an emptier, more pointless 90 minutes than the first three-fourths of this show? And then the last half-hour packs all the musical acts in little two-minute spurts? Couldn't we all have been spared the stupid judges' skit?
Posted at 08:17 AM
THEY'RE NO MODERATES, MORE LIKE BLOWHARDS [K. J. Lopez]
Well, the conservative base that is hating the GOP in the Senate will be loving, loving, loving Peggy Noonan today. Here's her translation of Lindsey Graham: "I know there will be folks 'back home' who will be angry, but that's only because they're not as sophisticated and high-minded as I am. Actually they're rather stupid, which is why they're not in the Senate and I am. But I have 3 1/2 years to charm them out of their narrow-minded resentments, and watch me, baby." Read her column here.
Posted at 08:02 AM
POINT OF ETHICS [John Derbyshire]
I guess no-one will be falling off his chair to hear that I don't have a problem with the use of embryonic stem cells for research, and consider the embryos thus used to be getting "destroyed," not "killed." The contrary point of view doesn't strike me as preposterous or ill-motivated; I just don't agree with it.
I therefore pose the following question in a spirit of honest inquiry. I suppose it must have been worked over by people who discuss these things a lot, but I just haven't seen anything on it myself, not being one of those people.
Suppose some foreign country -- South Korea, perhaps -- using embryonic stem cells, develops a wonder drug that cures some awful crippling disease or condition. Suppose they then market this drug internationally. Should the FDA admit the drug to this country? If they do, and a person takes it to cure that disease or condition (or if they don't, and the sufferer travels abroad to be treated) has that person done a wrong thing?
There is a sect -- I forget which one -- that gets into trouble from time to time (or used to -- I haven't heard of this recently) because one of its adherents refuses to let his child take a blood transfusion, believing that blood transfusions are immoral. The child dies, there's a prosecution, etc. etc. Would we be in the same kind of ethical territory here with a wonder drug derived from embryonic stem cell research? Would right-to-lifers be willing to make similar sacrifices? Would they try to force those sacrifices on the rest of us?
Posted at 07:29 AM
CORNER V. BENCH MEMOS SOFTBALL GRUDGE MATCH [Andy McCarthy]
Great idea, Warren. I don't know which team I'm playing for, but let JPod know that that if he's covering second, I'm coming in high! (Unless he wants to compromise. Let's say: he let's me take second, and I really, really promise, cross-my-heart, never to go to third, ever, ever, unless some extraordinary circumstances ...)
Posted at 07:27 AM
NO-GO FOR BO [K. J. Lopez]
Well, Carrie is more the typical Idol. I'm going back to my old never-make-election-predictions rule for myself. Ratzinger, Bo (who will, of course, be fine and not have to go through life as "the American Idol")...I probably only didn't predict a Kerry victory because my heart couldn't take it. Keep your bookies very far away from me.
Posted at 07:25 AM
RE: A CHALLENGE [K. J. Lopez]
Great idea, Warren. But, unfortunately, I no can do. For reasons subscribers who own the Oct 14, 2002, issue of NR(ODT) can figure out pretty quickly, I've been banned by the intergalactic softball gods for life.
Posted at 07:21 AM
RE: ABBAS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I know, I'm being narrow-minded. Hamas are "business professionals."
Posted at 07:16 AM
THURSDAY MORNING GROAN: WHY IS BUSH MEETING WITH ABBAS? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NBC just showed part of a Norah O'Donnell with him where he gets offended at the suggestion the president should crackdown on Hamas. He replied: "Why should I crack down on these people if they are committed to the cause [of peace, I assume, and not…no…let's go with "peace"]" Among other things, that seems the wrong attitude for a guy who comes to town with hat in hand.
Posted at 07:15 AM
FILIBUSTER THE STEM-CELL BILL? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That's what Sam Brownback's hinting at, according to the NYTimes:
And at least one opponent of the measure, Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, has indicated that if Dr. Frist puts the bill on the agenda, he may try to block it by filibuster.
Posted at 06:19 AM
SPECTER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
presses Frist for a quick stem-cell vote, announces he'll sidestep Frist if the Majority Leader doesn't cooperate.
Posted at 06:13 AM
A CHALLENGE [Warren Bell]
Corner v. Bench Memos softball grudge match. I've had it with those know-it-alls. The last time I saw Ed Whelan he gave me the high hat. (Of course I've never met the man, but who can resist a little "Miller's Crossing" reference?) K-Lo seems to play on both teams, so she can ump or something.
Posted at 12:16 AM
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
LET'S BELIEVE THE AL-QAEDA TERRORISTS [John Podhoretz]
The Washington Post has a big story about the charges of Koran desecration at Guantanamo and how they appear in an FBI report. Big deal. All this means is that the terrorists at Guantanamo were retailing the story about a Koran flushed down the toilet and told interrogators about it. There are a few possibilities here. One is that the allegation is true, which seems to be a common presumption even though there is no evidence for it but the same prisoner tales repeated over and over until they sound like a cascade of differing reports. It seems at least as likely that the whole allegation is a gigantic game of telephone where the prisoners exchanged stories, the stories got retold and this is where it all ended up. It's also very possible that the whole thing is an Al Qaeda distortion game of the sort discussed in the infamous training manual uncovered in Manchester, England -- in which terrorists were instructed to use the softness of liberal democracies against liberal democracies should they get captured.
These are sociopaths we're talking about here. Andrew Sullivan would do well to remember that. As would the Washington Post. And Newsweek. And Amnesty International.
Posted at 09:01 PM
RE: WOLCOTT [K. J. Lopez]
Please don't let him represent "New York snark," Warren. It can exist as an artful tool in the world when done with class. I don't pretend to have it down...but you know it when you see it. It's like obscenity and judicial nominees (nod to John McCain...scroll down down down to yesterday somewhere for the reference).
Posted at 08:31 PM
I SHOULD KNOW BETTER [Warren Bell]
When I was a young boy, I went every summer with my family to the Allentown Fair, where I grew up in Pennsylvania. One year, with Dad's five dollars of spending money itching right through my Wranglers, my brother and I headed over to what passed for a sideshow. Moments later, having been relieved of a dollar, we stood in a trailer with a very fat African-American gentleman, and his cohort, a dwarf. After an awkward moment or two, we left. That's what you got for your curiousity -- a slightly sick feeling and a sadness about not being smarter.
It's a lesson I should remember as I type "jameswolcott.com" into my browser, but today I didn't. And so I got to read "Little Bully Lobbies Big Bully into Doing Its Bombing," Wolcott's take on this past weekend's AIPAC conference. His version of reporting seems to be culling sources from the Financial Times and the Corner, and then he mixes in his own tangy New York snark, resulting in something a bit more nauseating than that trailer at the Allentown Fair.
I visited the exhibit about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, which Wolcott lets the Financial Times describe for him. It was nothing like that. Frankly, a little Disney-style fright-fest might have been better. Though now that I think of it, the exhibit did contain something terrifying to Wolcott and his ilk.
Posted at 08:28 PM
RE: TREASONOUS [K. J. Lopez]
But now a ratings boost, no doubt, too.
Posted at 08:27 PM
DERB COLUMN FOOTNOTES [John Derbyshire]
(1) Yes, Trajan was a good emperor. So far as we can tell, anyway--his reign is singularly ill-documented. James Smith Reid gives him an excellent write-up in the 1911 Britannica. Just holding the empire together for 20 yrs & dying in your bed was pretty good going at this point. T's main virtue was that as a professional soldier, and a very capable & successful one, he had the respect of the army, so they did not feel inclined to kill him just to get a donative. (The soldiers got a donative--a cash "bonus"--on the accession of a new emperor--surely one of the dumbest customs any empire ever had.) In fact, Trajan's authority was so secure, he REDUCED the amount of the donative, without getting bumped off by angry guards. Brings to mind the remark by one of Eisenhower's biographers that whatever faults Ike may have had, at least he wasn't in awe of the Pentagon brass, having been brass himself & won a war.
(2) Lotsa Freecell sites. Try this. Also this, at a higher level.
(3) Very nice appreciative email from Steven Johnson, author of EVERYTHING BAD IS GOOD FOR YOU, who was reading NRO (is there anyone who DOESN'T read NRO?) while sitting in the departure lounge at Heathrow. Thanks, Steve.
Posted at 06:11 PM
TREASONOUS? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
No: just dumb, classless, and typical. (Via Huffington Post)
Posted at 06:10 PM
I'M LIKING THAT DEAL MORE AND MORE [K. J. Lopez]
With every press release like this one from NOW:
Today the Senate approved the controversial nomination of Priscilla Owen after a filibuster was ended — the result of a "compromise" by 14 senators Monday night. Democrats filibustered Owen's nomination twice in the past four years, and it is worth noting that they again garnered more than the 41 votes needed to maintain a filibuster, had that option not been removed by the compromise.
Posted at 06:02 PM
DID SOMEONE PAGE ME? [Warren Bell]
A number of emailers (and Jonah, sort of) have written to point HRC's shaky Jewish portfolio and the high likelihood that she was being ever-so-slightly less than genuine in her move-to-the-center speech to AIPAC yesterday.
Well... yeah. No kidding. Perhaps when I called her speech a highlight, I could have been clearer -- her performance was amazing. The brilliance of her political acumen is amazing. The threat to all on the right who say, "Oh, please, please, please let them nominate Hillary" is amazing.
But like Rachel Friedman, I remember that not so distant past.
Posted at 05:48 PM
HAROLD FORD [K. J. Lopez]
is running for Frist's seat.
Posted at 05:30 PM
I AM OPPRESSED BY THE PATRIARCHY, TAKE...OH, I LOST COUNT [K. J. Lopez]
Erica Jong on the work Laura Bush needs to do closer to home than the Mideast.
Posted at 05:29 PM
LINDA CHAVEZ ON “THE DEAL” [Roger Clegg]
She says it’s okay in her weekly column.
Posted at 05:13 PM
POSTED WITHOUT COMMENT [Jonah Goldberg ]
Warning: very disturbing. Not for kids, seriously.
Posted at 04:25 PM
YEAH, I GET THE WORKPLACE THING, MAUREEN [K. J. Lopez]
Sheesh, now you're quoting from Oprah? It's not a great idea to stereotype yourself like that in The Corner (it's a man's world...don't you think?). How about some beauty tips from Cosmo? Got any recipes from Martha Stewart Living? Gee, maybe you even read Seventeen?Not that quoting from Oprah was begging for e-mails along those lines.)
Posted at 04:15 PM
REGRETS, I'VE HAD A FEW [K. J. Lopez ]
Stewart also says, which I have to respect because it is totally true: "My interview with John Kerry wasn't very good… Our interviews wither have to be really funny or find some humanity in the subject. I didn’t do either. He remained hoarded throughout so it struck me as a boring fencing match."
Posted at 04:01 PM
WHAT I REALLY THINK OF TUCKER CARLSON [K. J. Lopez]
From the June Oprah, an interview with Jon Stewart:
OPRAH: You caused a media storm by calling Crossfire host Tucker Carlson a d*ck when you went on his show last year. Do you regret that?
Posted at 03:57 PM
TOTALLY USELESS... [Jonah Goldberg ]
But cool. The Corner in Japanese.
Posted at 03:50 PM
SALETAN AND BUSH [K. J. Lopez]
A reader: "The Pres should be (and probably would be, if he were reminded to) arguing that we should not take INNOCENT life to others. THAT is the moral distinction here." That sounds right -- and defensible. (I'd stick with W's language myself, but then follow it through on the death penalty.)
Posted at 03:42 PM
THE U.S. SENATE AND CHARLIE BROWN'S TEACHER [The Pod]
Actually, K-Lo, Barbara Boxer actually sounds EXACTLY like Miss Othmar. (mmm-mm-wah-mm-mm-wah-wah-wah).
Posted at 03:38 PM
FREECELL [John Derbyshire]
I am reliably informed by many readers that imperishable glory awaits the conqueror of Freecell game 11982.
Posted at 03:38 PM
SMARTEST GINK I KNOW [John Derbyshire]
That would be Steve Sailer, of course. Steve has chid me on his blog, though in the most gentlemanly way possible, for plagiarizing him on the Asian-American vote in a Corner post yesterday.
I stand reproved. For penance I shall have another try at using MS Excel to run a multivariate analysis -- a thing Steve does for fun while solving crossword puzzles with his free hand.
Posted at 03:37 PM
THANKS, BURT [K. J. Lopez]
In response to this post, I have received a few apologies. I predict flowers tomorrow from yet others.
Posted at 03:34 PM
WHO WOULD HAVE BELIEVED? [NRO Staff]
The NY Times on Bill Buckley’s Last Call for Blackford Oakes: “If Le Carré is the Henry James of suspense fiction, Buckley might be the Waugh.”
Posted at 03:31 PM
I KNOW THIS IS HELPFUL ANALYSIS [K. J. Lopez]
I have C-Span Senate on. Joe Biden talks and I hear the adults on Charlie Brown. But we know what he is saying, if the few talking points I've suffered through are any indication.
Posted at 03:25 PM
7 OF 14 AND ALL THAT [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 03:15 PM
I'LL SECOND THAT EMOTION [K. J. Lopez]
Thanks for the Saletan link, RP. I agree--and with your subhead comment.
Posted at 03:02 PM
THE NRO FATHER’S DAY GIFT SHOP [Jack Fowler]
is now open. Great great great deals on NR duds for beloved pops girthing from M to XXL (and all shipped FREE via UPS – the clothes, not the dads!). Available items are very limited, so get the lead out – first come, first served. Order securely here.
Posted at 02:59 PM
WHOA NOW [K. J. Lopez]
I'll put it this way: Corner readers are reading way too much into this MSNBC Owen graphic/text combo.
Posted at 02:58 PM
STEM CELLS AND THE DEATH PENALTY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
William Saletan notes that President Bush argues against embryo-destroying research on the ground that we should not take some lives to save others, but argues for capital punishment on the ground that taking murderers' lives will save others. I think Saletan's basic point is sound. President Bush is wrong to suggest that deterrence can by itself justify the death penalty. It can't make just an otherwise unjust policy (although, assuming the death penalty is compatible with justice, it can strengthen the case for it). My only criticism of Saletan's article is the subheadline (for which he may not be responsible), which says that Bush is guilty of "hypocrisy" when he's merely guilty of inconsistency.
Posted at 02:56 PM
RE: ONE SMALL STEP [K. J. Lopez]
Thanks, Jonah. For every one you try to slip by me, I'll get scores of replicate e-mails pointing each one out and explaining them to me.
Posted at 02:55 PM
THE LONGEST YARD [John Podhoretz]
I've seen it, Kathryn. It's going to be a huge hit. Begins really well, very vividly, then slows way down in the middle until it kicks it up at the finale. The major problem with it is that while, in the 1974 original, it seemed entirely plausible that there could be a prison as horrible as the one in the movie, the prison depicted in the new movie simply could not exist in the era of the consent decree. And the anti-criminal-justice, pro-prisoner take is annoying (watch for idiot movie critics making Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo references in their reviews on Friday).
Posted at 02:46 PM
WOMEN IN COMBAT [K. J. Lopez]
Duncan Hunter has put his bill aside.
Posted at 02:44 PM
RE: BURT REYNOLDS [K. J. Lopez]
Closer to home, I hope an author never pulls that on me. You haven't read my book? You've had my galley for two whole days! [Slap heard in the background.]
Posted at 02:41 PM
SUBSCRIPTIONS [Ed Capano]
Our communication problems have been solved. All those who have been dying to subscribe to NR dead tree or NR Digital, fire away! Many thanks.
Posted at 02:39 PM
BURT REYNOLDS [K. J. Lopez]
knows how to sell a movie. Aren't you afraid not to see The Longest Yard now?
Posted at 02:38 PM
CHILLIN' CONSERVATIVES [John Podhoretz]
Blogger Mark Coffey has come up with a graphic for all those of us on the Right who have not become unhinged by the filibuster deal:
Posted at 02:29 PM
F*J*B [Jonah Goldberg ]
Rachel Friedman has a good piece on Hillary at AIPAC (paging Warren Bell). But Rachel left out one more item from Hillary's Jewish portfolio. The allegation that she once called an aide a "F***ing Jew Bastard." Here's an old piece I wrote about the allegation at the time. Here's a column about why it can be bad to call someone a Jew rather than Jewish. And here's an old G-File which mentions that I starred in a porn movie by the same name.
Posted at 02:29 PM
ACTUALLY, JOHN POD [K. J. Lopez]
I actually do feel for MoDo. Did you see what her next book is? Are Men Really Necessary? Blame D.C. dating? (See Amazon: "Dowd explains why getting ready for a date went from glossing and gargling to Paxiling and Googling.") Good thing there aren't other angry, single women op-ed columnists at the Times or some good samaritan would go broke on eharmony gift certificates.
Posted at 02:26 PM
PERSIS KHAMBATTA... [John Podhoretz]
...is all I'm saying.
Posted at 02:22 PM
A PREDICTION FOR CARRIE! [John Podhoretz]
Reader Pete T. writes: "Your 10 year-old synagogue member is wrong. Bo has received all of the votes he's going to get by now, even Constantine's. It's Carrie who will benefit from the voters who'll migrate from Vonzell and Anthony, thus shoring up her coalition. Look for Carrie to win." The thing is, Pete is from Oklahoma City, which is Carrie's home town. ("And no, I'm not biased. Really.")
Posted at 02:20 PM
ONE SMALL STEP... [Jonah Goldberg ]
closer to that bald chick with the funny voice.
Note: I am trying to see how many references I can sail over K-Lo's head.
Posted at 02:18 PM
THE TRIMESTER MYTH, CON'T [K. J. Lopez]
A while back there was an episode of "Without a Trace" on which a pregnant teenage girl gets turned away by a doctor "because there is a law against having an abortion after the first trimester". She ended up having the baby, almost killing herself along the way.(What am I talking about? See here.)
Posted at 02:15 PM
YOU CAN DO IT! [K. J. Lopez]
Geez. Poor Mr. Dickerson. From Debra Dickerson in that piece JPod linked to on Dowd's tough job, on why she turned down multiple big-paper columnist spots: "But I was sort of hiding my light under a bushel basket, waiting for my husband to catch up. "
Posted at 02:12 PM
AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW... [John Podhoretz]
Maureen Dowd finds her job "stressful," apparently because she is a woman. She tells the New York Observer: "I’ve always wished I had more women colleagues on the page...I was talking to my brother Michael about this recently, and he said I should like being the only woman, that it makes me special. But it just feels stressful."
We know. We feel for you. We understand just how incredibly hard it is to be a world-famous, Pulitzer-prize-winning, bestselling columnist for the New York Times.
Posted at 02:03 PM
"POSITIVE ALTERNATIVES" [K. J. Lopez]
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed a bill yesterday that would give $2.5 million to crisis-pregnancy centers. He's not on enough 2008 lists yet for the media to automatically dismiss that as pandering to social conservatives.
Posted at 01:50 PM
DOES JONAH GET A COMMISSION? [K. J. Lopez]
I'm getting a good number of e-mails from "@budweiser.com" today.
Posted at 01:47 PM
OY--WE COULD [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail suggestion: "You should put up your pro-Castro/anti-American emails against Jonah's anti-Israel/anti-Semitic emails in a contest to determine the best example of leftwing freedom and democracy hatred. It would be a contest for the ages."
Posted at 01:36 PM
SITH SENSE TIMEWASTER [Jonah Goldberg ]
Give it a try.
Posted at 01:32 PM
FOR YOUR EDIFICATION [K. J. Lopez]
Some e-mails that have come into my in-box about this column:
I am a Spanish-speaking Canadian; I have been to Cuba thirteen times, and I know from personal observation that almost 100% of what you have written about that country is a pack of lies.
**I AM AMAZED OF HOW CUBAN RIGHTWING EXTREMISTS i.e. RADICALS ( GUSANOS & GUSANAS ) LIKE KATHRYN LOPEZ , COLUMNIST FOR THE NATIONAL REVIEW, ABUSE OUR U.S. NEWS MEDIAS TO CHANNEL OUT THEIR LIES, DECEIT AND HATRED FOR CUBAN PRSIDENT FIDEL CASTRO. **IT IS ALSO EXTREMELY IRONIC THAT THESE RIGHTWING LUNATICS WHO FEEL SO STRONG ABOUT TOPPLING FIDEL FROM POWER, THAT FOR THE LAST 46 YEARS ALL THEY DO IS ACT LIKE CRYBABIES & WHINE, BELLYACHE......AND WHINE, BELLYACHE SO MORE.
You need to do alittle research before you start running off at the mouth about Che. I have to date, never found a more honest man who has dedicated his life to destroying people that prey on the weak and less fortunate. I've lived my life in much the same way, a very long story, someone like you would never understand. So, I won't waste my time.
Thank you for your column about Fidel Castro. You made him look like an angel next to our president Bush.There was actually one other particularly penetrating one I noticed, but I'd have to *** every word to make it presentable for a family website.
Posted at 01:18 PM
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT [Roger Clegg]
A student Model Congress in New Jersey votes to eliminate race-based affirmative action. So, what is the real Congress waiting for?
Posted at 01:16 PM
QUOTING SELECTIVELY [Rod Dreher]
Andrew Sullivan has awarded me "Quote of the Day" status for a remark I made yesterday on Amy Welborn's blog, on a thread having to do with an Illinois priest who got beaten up when he propositioned two teenage boys in a public park. I said:
Vicious little punks'? Please. I'd say theirs was a healthy response.A reader could get the impression from the way Andrew presents the quote that I'm endorsing gay-bashing. But as anyone who reads further in the thread can see, I did not such thing.
When a Welborn reader named Dave said, "I guess I don't associate feeling manly with knocking out a gay person," I responded in the comments box:
Dave, we're talking about an older person offering to pay minors for sex. If this were a man offering to pay two girls for same, I'd feel exactly the same way, except probably more strongly, because they wouldn't have been in a position to defend themselves if the older man had forced himself on them.And that's what I really do believe. Dirty old men who come on to minors, male or female, deserve a pop in the nose because they're dirty old men, not because they're gay.
Posted at 01:15 PM
BROKERING A GOLDBERG-PODHORETZ DEAL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
McConnell for chief, Estrada for associate. Assuming two vacancies, of course.
Posted at 01:12 PM
JONAH, [K. J. Lopez]
I'd bet money it's McConnell...but we'll see.
Posted at 01:12 PM
SCOTUS [Jonah Goldberg]
The politics may be better with Estrada, but McConnell's the better pick on the merits.
Posted at 01:04 PM
EXTREMISTS ON SCOTUS [K. J. Lopez]
If Estrada takes a pass, the president could always take Bill Pryor all the way. I can see Russ Feingold crying now.
Posted at 01:02 PM
IRAN & US [Michael Ledeen]
Here's an e-mail from one of the best Iranians in the Disapora. Secretary of State Rice keeps saying that democracy is coming to Iran, but this administration never says a word about all the innocent people in prison, never lifts a finger to help the Iranian opposition, and never really calls for regime change (although the President often sounds like he wants it, really).
The best person to write to on this matter is Elliot Abrams, who previously was in charge of "democracy and human rights" at the National Security Council (but was, and is, notably silent on Iran) and is now one of the top NSC officials on the region. It would be nice to hear him, and his cohorts, start speaking out in behalf of freedom in Iran, and the case of Akbar Ganji is as good a start as any.
So here's the email:
Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji was has been arrested, tortured and held in solitary confinement since April 22,2000.
Posted at 12:55 PM
I SAID IT BEFORE, I'LL SAY IT AGAIN... [John Podhoretz]
...Associate Justice Miguel Estrada.
Posted at 12:53 PM
OWENS WAS CONFIRMED [K. J. Lopez]
Just re-emphasizing. Extremist Priscilla Owen. Anyone care to buy Ralph Neas a drink?
Posted at 12:51 PM
A CRUSADE FOR THE LEFT [K. J. Lopez]
Defeating embryonic-stem-cell-research opponents.
Posted at 12:46 PM
BOLTON IS NEXT UP [K. J. Lopez]
Debate is starting, vote det for tomorrow night.
Posted at 12:43 PM
56-43, OWEN CONFIRMED [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 12:41 PM
ALAS [K. J. Lopez]
FFD never happened last night. The procrastination option sits on the DVD shelf though, every night. (AI is clearly a work obligation, doesn't count.)
Posted at 12:40 PM
KING OF EMAILS [Jonah Goldberg ]
I've already registered JonahNRO@Budweiser.com just in case.
Posted at 12:38 PM
VOTING ON OWEN SHOULD BE OVER SOON [K. J. Lopez]
did you ever think we'd see the day? I almost feel like thanking John McCain. But not for saving the Senate.
Posted at 12:36 PM
RE: CONSTANTINE [K. J. Lopez]
Smart kid. The one real benefit of the White House Correspondents Dinner every year (and other celeb events) is you get some mileage out of it with some family and non-political friends. I heard you talked to Meg Ryan? Cool. You met Jane Fonda? Wow, I hate her. Folks who have no idea what you do are at least interested when these kinds of events come up. Anyway, this year I basically wasted the whole night because I never talked to Constantine, or so the exit polls revealed. (So much for 2005.) He's who the peaple want, I learned.
On Simon and Carrie, I thought he was just letting her down easy. He knew she was going to go tonight.
Posted at 12:35 PM
WEIRD -- BUT INTERESTING -- MORAL THEORY OF CLONING AND STEM CELLS [John Podhoretz]
It seems clear that while the argument against embryonic stem-cell research is losing out to the forces of relentless "progress," people are overwhelmingly opposed as a moral matter to "reproductive cloning," or the duplication of living people as newborn babies. But what if, in fact, this gets the morality exactly backwards? It was James Q. Wilson who pointed out (in an essay I commissioned for the Weekly Standard that formed the basis of his book length debate on cloning with Leon Kass) that there are natural clones among us -- identical twins -- and we have no problem assuming that they are separate persons with separate characters and even separate souls. Therefore, a baby clone of, say, Jonah, would nonetheless be a different person with a different gestation experience, a different birth, a different set of perceptions both in the womb and out. The clone might even hate Star Trek.
The moral case against embryonic stem cell research might therefore be stronger, as it involves the unwilling, unwitting, and entirely mechanistic and cannibalistic use of potential life.
Not sure this is a helpful argument to anybody, but it's on my mind anyway.
Posted at 12:32 PM
BO OR CARRIE (IF YOU DON'T WATCH AMERICAN IDOL, YOU WON'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT THIS ITEM IS ABOUT) [John Podhoretz]
Kathryn, Simon Cowell clearly thought last night that Carrie was going to win, and she did perform better than Bo. But it took a 10 year-old at my synagogue to set me straight on why it will be Bo. "All the people who voted for Constantine will vote for him," she said. Coalition politics on Idol! I have to agree with her and you now that Bo will take it. However, Carrie is the one who might actually have a serious career as a country star.
Posted at 12:21 PM
SUBSCRIPTIONS [Ed Capano]
if anyone has been trying to order a subscription to NR dead tree or NR digital, please know that we are having telephone transmission problems between NRO and our fulfillment house. We are told that the problem will be solved shortly so don’t despair and please keep trying. Many thanks.
Posted at 11:52 AM
SO, IS THERE ANY DOUBT [K. J. Lopez]
that Bo wins?
Just veering the winners-and-losers talk in another direction...
Posted at 11:38 AM
STEM CELLS: YESTERDAY'S VOTE [K. J. Lopez]
We have an editorial up on it here.
Posted at 11:30 AM
STEM CELLS AND CLONING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
TCS has an interesting article on the subject.
Posted at 11:23 AM
SHAYS VS. "SPECKS" [Tim Graham]
On today's "American Morning," CNN's Bill Hemmer interviewed Rep. Christopher Shays on embryo-destroying research, and ran a clip of Tom DeLay for a little rebuttal: "He is not one of those 50 Republicans I mentioned at the outset here. And consistently we hear from Republicans and those opposing this about the destruction of human life. When you balance your own decision going forward with this vote, how do you come down on that side?"
Shays answered: "Well, I think that they've got ideology that's boxed them in to the extreme. These embryonic stem cells were never in a mother's womb. They will never be in a mother's womb. They will be destroyed. In in vitro fertilization, you create 50 eggs, say, with the hope that you can have a child from one. You destroy the others. And what we're saying is, ‘Don't destroy them. Allow for certain cells within the embryo to be taken.’ The embryo is just a speck and within that speck we're taking out certain cells that can create any cell."
In other words, don't destroy them. We'll destroy them for you. It would be nice if anchormen would acknowledge that the destruction of embryos in research is not merely a conservative talking point. It is a very scientific fact. It would be nice for them to correct pro-"science" congressmen who dance around that fact. It would be nice if anchormen would force "moderates" to acknowledge that it's not "moderate" to be on the side that suggests embryonic lives are disposable on demand, fair game, a regular scientific human omelette. That is also an extreme position. That is also boxed-in ideology.
Later, Hemmer added a mention of that other stem-cell bill: "But immediately after that vote yesterday, there was another vote taken up on this issue. It passed 431-1 in the House. And this pertains specifically to embryos [sic] from the umbilical cord. What is the substantial difference in this discussion in the House right now as to why this issue could go forward and the issue that you're proposing right now could be shot down at the White House?" Hemmer risks looking like a dim-bulb anchorman here. Duh. Because no human life ends in cord-blood stem cell research.
Shays replied: "Well, because the opponents of embryonic stem cell research supported this, and we support both."
Posted at 11:20 AM
SCHROEDER'S EXIT [Stanley Kurtz]
Looks like Gerhard Schroeder may be on his way out in Germany. What would that mean for America. Here's a good analysis. (Via Arts & Letters Daily)
Posted at 11:10 AM
THE NRO MOU [John Podhoretz]
I propose this language for the Memorandum of Understanding suggested earlier by Mark Levin:
We, the undersigned, while acknowledging our differences on the virtues of comic books, Star Trek, Star Wars, the Pet Shop Boys, drug legalization and Tony Blair, resolve to:
a) try to keep our posts shorter than 25,000 words;
b) remind people as often as possible that Robert Byrd was in the Klan and that Teddy Kennedy cheated on his Spanish final at Harvard;
c) wake up every morning and say a prayer that Howard Dean is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee;
d) link to stupid Internet games that waste hours of people's time; and
e) hire a team of doctors and researchers to do a thorough study of the biology of one Kathryn Jean Lopez to determine just how it is that a person can stay awake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, forever.
Posted at 11:00 AM
EU DEFEAT AHEAD [Stanley Kurtz]
Looks like the EU constitution is headed for defeat in France. John O’Sullivan has a very plausible scenario for the aftermath, and for why America should be pleased if this constitution bites the dust.
Posted at 10:56 AM
ANDY... [John Podhoretz]
Andy, here's the problem with your posting: The position that all ten judicial nominees should have gotten through is true in a metaphysical sense, but not in a practical sense. You say you are not "against compromise," but the sad fact of the present moment is that sacrificing a few of the nominees was the only compromise position, given the conduct and views of the Democrats. Look, it stinks, it absolutely stinks, as a matter of fairness. If any human being on this planet should be a hugh-court judge in the United States, it's Brett Kavanaugh. But politically, it doesn't stink. Politically, it puts the Democrats in a box.
Oh, and if I know my President Bush -- and I think I do--when the Supreme Court opening comes up, he will appoint Miguel Estrada unless Estrada refuses him. And if not Estrada, then Janice Rogers Brown will make the fastest journey from judge to Justice in history.
UPDATE: Brett Kavanaugh's nomination was not one of the two explicitly sacrificed in the deal memo, so there's still hope there.
Posted at 10:51 AM
TAKE A BREATH [Cliff May]
I’m going to offer a radical suggestion: Let’s stop quarrelling about who won, who lost, who deserves praise, who deserves to be horse-whipped. Instead, let’s examine the opportunity that has now opened.
A few days ago, the Democrats, who have been the more skillful spinners, had an advantage. With the help of their allies in the media, they had persuaded a large swath of the public that
*it was Republicans who were breaking with tradition, changing the rules in the middle of the game, and
*attempting to put extremist judges on the bench, and
*threatening a “nuclear option” (thanks a lot, Senator Lott) if they didn’t get their way.
Now is the time for Republican communicators to clear their throats and drive the truthful message that:
*it is the President’s prerogative to nominate judges, and
*it is the Senate’s job to “advise and consent”--to accept or reject, to vote yay or nay, up or down, and
*while filibusters were always a pistol in the minority party’s holster, by longstanding tradition those guns were only to be removed and fired in genuinely extraordinary circumstances, and that
*it was Democrats’ unprecedented and promiscuous use of filibusters to deny nominees their right to be voted on, and to deny Senators their right to cast votes that caused Republicans to threaten to confiscate the filibuster weapons, and
*if this should come to pass and Democrats retaliate by shutting down the government, by punishing average Americans--not to mention children!--who rely on the government, they and they alone must bear the responsibility for such inappropriate and destructive behavior.
If Republicans will only drive these messages now--through the media and to their constituents--there may not be another fight, because Democrats will be reluctant to again attempt to use filibusters as a means to undemocratically establish a new rule that judicial nominees can only be confirmed by super-majorities.
Alternatively, if there is another filibuster fight--say over a Supreme Court nominee--Republicans will be in a much better position to come out on top.
Posted at 10:49 AM
JOHN ... [Andy McCarthy]
John, I am not against compromise, but compromise has to take account of ALL the relevant facts, not be entered into just because we want to appear reasonable. Otherwise, it's not a fair compromise -- it's just a bad deal. Here, the facts include that 3 good nominees have already been defeated, and that the filibuster is denying a VOTE, not a WIN.
I think all 10 of these nominees should have gotten through. They are eminently qualified. If they had gotten a vote, however, I doubt all 10 would have been confirmed (I have never bought into the rhetoric that asserts otherwise). It would be a travesty if 2 or 3 qualified people were beaten, but the rules are the rules, the senators have a right to vote nominees down for any reason or no reason, and that's life in the big City. I am not demanding a right to win. I am demanding a right to hold people accountable. The compromise here avoids accountability while denying confirmation to at least some nominees who would otherwise get through. That makes it a bad deal, and one that is not redeemed by the fact that you can label it a compromise.
Put in a setting I am more comfortable with, let's say I had compelling evidence that a guy committed 10 robberies for which he should be sentenced to 50 years in jail, but he was willing to spare me the trial by pleading guilty to 1 robbery that would send him to jail for 5 years if I dismissed the other 9. If I took such a bad deal, I don't think it would help me much to tell my angry boss, the U.S. Attorney, "You people of conviction just hate compromise."
Posted at 10:40 AM
STILL GOT THE CREDS [Mark R. Levin]
John, for the record, I know of no one who would suggest you're a centrist. I'd sign a MOU with you any day, my friend.
Posted at 10:39 AM
RE: BIG PICTURE [Jonah Goldberg]
On that I agree entirely with Mark. At the end of the day the MOU kicked the can down the road. The center will not hold because politicians -- particularly these days -- are slaves to the (perceived) interests of their constituencies. McCain may confuse the New York Times as a constituency, but it's not one. The interests of the bases haven't changed and so eventually the dam will crumble and we'll have a nice, big, knock-down drag out fight. Prepare the litters and leaches for many will fall in the final battle.
Posted at 10:38 AM
YES, MARK, YOU'RE RIGHT! THE DEAL WON'T LAST... UNLESS... [John Podhoretz]
...the 7 Democrats continue to vote for cloture. In which case, the deal is really the best of all possible worlds. Which is why lib-left groups are in such despair about it.
Posted at 10:38 AM
ODD PREDICTION [Jonah Goldberg]
A longtime email buddy writes:
Knowing how smart and widely-read and just plain common-sensical you are, here’s a prediction: One day, probably far down the road, you will don the Vader head/hat and become a liberal. Love you to death, JG, but there’s something about you that carries the seeds to an awful transformation. Hope as usual, a prediction from this quarter is wrong. Maybe it is a latent contrarian streak in you that will magnify to horrifying proportions, sweeping you along even as you see your doom. You’re nuts, Jonah, a good healthy nuts, but nutty people, including this one, sometimes really lose it. And once you do go to over, it will be hell to pay dealing with you. Please don’t but it’s likely beyond anyone’s, including your own, control.
Me: He's wrong that I'll be moving to the left in any way. But I will say I've been moving steadily to a more operationally -- though not metaphysically -- libertarian position over the last year or two. This is partly due to the lessons I've learned from writing this interminable book. Which I must now get back to. But fear not, my mitochlorians (?) are constitutionally incapable of moving leftward.
Posted at 10:33 AM
I AM NOT A CENTRIST [John Podhoretz]
Just for the record.
Posted at 10:26 AM
CHILLED BY FRUSTRATION [John Derbyshire]
A reader offers wisdom from one of the greatest of all conservatives: "Derb...Computer games are a subset of popular culture, and differing views of popular culture may be inevitable between and among generations. Dr. Johnson urges 'tenderness':
"'So different are the colours of life, as we look forward to the future, or backward to the past; and so different the opinions and sentiments which this contrariety of appearance naturally produces, that the conversation of the old and young ends generally with contempt or pity on either side. To a young man entering the world, with fulness of hope, and ardour of pursuit, nothing is so unpleasing as the cold caution, the faint expectations, the scrupulous diffidence which experience and disappointments certainly infuse; and the old man wonders in his turn that the world never can grow wiser, that neither precepts nor testimonies can cure boys of their credulity and sufficiency; and that not once can he be convinced that snares are laid for him, till he finds himself entangled.
"'Thus one generation is always the scorn and wonder of the other, and the notions of the old and young are like liquors of different gravity and texture which never can unite. The spirits of youth, sublimed by health and volatized by passion, soon leave behind them the phlegmatic sediment of weariness and deliberation, and burst out in temerity and enterprise. The tenderness, therefore, which nature infuses, and which long habits of beneficence confirm, is necessary to reconcile such opposition: and an old man must be a father to bear with patience those follies and absurdities which he will perpetually imagine himself to find in the schemes and expectations, the pleasures and sorrows of those who have not yet been hardened by time and chilled by frustration.'---Rambler #69 (November 13, 1750)"
Posted at 10:26 AM
FREECELL [John Derbyshire]
A reader from that Friendly Giant to the North wishes to know: "Please post your winning percentage in The Corner. Mine is 60% and I'd like to know what you think 'not very good' is."
Derb here. I don't go percentage-wise. What I do is, clear out the scores, then keep playing games till I lose one. Then I clear the scores again. So I'm going for consecutive numbers of games won. This way I never have to look at more than a 1 in the "games lost" box.
My record is a pitiful 44 consecutive wins, and even that was a fluke -- I rarely get past 20. If you apply some analytical thought, you can win any game of Freecell, they tell me. I have a friend who maintains a steady 100 percent. (He's also a good chess player.) I prefer to reserve my brain power for weightier matters...
Posted at 10:25 AM
JONAH ... [Andy McCarthy]
Jonah, I conceded that I could be wrong, so my math might not be conclusive. BUT, the MOU expressly signals that the filibusters will continue on Myers and Saad, and we have heard reports (as posted on Bench Memos yesterday -- see and here), that there is a side-deal that would do in Kavanaugh and Haynes. I understand that some people may be denying that this is the case, but call me a skeptic -- since I don't understand why they weren't mentioned in an MOU that went to the trouble of mentioning the other 5. Maybe it was just, ahem, an oversight.
Maybe Frist will bring all 4 to the floor, there will be no filibuster, if there is a filibuster some of the gang of 14 will break the apparent pledge not to seek a rule-change (right), they will get an up or down vote, and 1 or more will get through. I'm not holding my breath.
Posted at 10:24 AM
BIG PICTURE [Mark R. Levin]
Well, in the end, this deal won't last. There are too many ambiguities and too many temptations by the Democrats to filibuster. So we will be revisiting this, sooner rather than later. I don't believe this has accomplished much for those seeking middle ground.
Posted at 10:24 AM
RE: REAX [Jonah Goldberg]
I guess I fall somewhere between J Pod and Levin -- the era of centrism indeed! I despise the assumptions behind the deal (see today's column), but I'm coming around to the view that the Democrats come out of this less rosy than it seemed at first blush. Moreover, I take Mark and Andy's view to be the correct one that there's no way to deny this has all been unfair to the nominees themselves. But I'm not sure I get some of Mark's points at the end. Who cares where the Democratic base goes in this context if some of their Senators vote against them? Is it really so bad to have the conservative base mad at Bill Frist?
Posted at 10:20 AM
ANDY AND JONAH AND SEVEN OF NINE--OOPS, I MEAN TEN [John Podhoretz]
Of course the world would be a better and fairer and wiser place if every qualified conservative judge sailed through the Senate. But that didn't happen, and politics requires parties to deal with what is happening. The end-the-filibuster rule change was a radical step, and it's better not to take radical steps except in the most extreme circumstances because you have no clue what the fallout will be. People of conviction hate compromise, which is why there are so few people of conviction in politics.
And take care, Mark, on the "this has infuriated the base" argument. We have no idea whether that's true. It has infuriated conservative leaders and talk-show hosts, but there's absolutely no way of knowing yet how actual voters in the tens of millions feel. My guess is that 90 percent of them don't know what "cloture" is.
Posted at 10:11 AM
REAX [Mark R. Levin]
This deal has infuriated our base. It has infuriated movement conservative leaders who work with the base. I'd rather keep the base and have beaten back the unconstitutional (IMHO) filibusters than pulled 7 moderate Democrats more to the right -- if in fact that has occurred, and I don't think it has. I see the 7 Democrats as looking for political cover to avoid choosing between the leftists who run their party and their red-state constituencies. The benefit of a vote would have included exposing them as well and, as has been so articulately argued by NRO editorialists, using the issue to defeat them as in Daschle's case. In any event, I seriously doubt that as those 7 moderates go, so goes any of the Democrat base.
Posted at 10:00 AM
ANDY... [Jonah Goldberg]
I find your lack of faith disturbing.
Seriously, though. Do we know what will happen when Frist brings up one of the 7 of 10 (heh) not covered by the agreement? Do we know Frist won't? Am I missing something? In other words, why are you so sure your math is conclusive?
Posted at 09:55 AM
THE CENTRIST MOMENT [Andy McCarthy]
Due respect to Jonah and JPod, but the arithmetic that concerns me involves the dynamics within a set of 10, not 14 – which is to say, the nominees, not the centrists who have saved civilization as we know it.
POTUS nominated 10 well qualified people. The unprecedented filibusters the centrists have succeeded in preserving went on for so long that 3 of these pulled out entirely. Of the remaining 7, the centrists appear to have thrown 4 overboard. Now, maybe I’ll be wrong and it will turn out that 1 or 2 of these will get through (what would you rate the chances?). But for my money, it looks like at least 2 have been cast aside for sure, and it’s pretty craven of the memorandum of understanding not even to mention the other 2.
Taking the long view, the centrist moment has given POTUS a 30 percent success rate. This is not baseball – you gotta bat at least .750 in this league to make the cut. And even taking the first 3 out of the equation for argument’s sake (on the dubious ground that they decided to take themselves out of the running), the success rate is still below 50 percent with a slim hope of possibly edging slightly above that mark – which itself would be unprecedentedly poor.
To the contrary, if a rules-change had been approved, there is a good chance that at least 5 and maybe all 7 would have gotten through, perhaps some of the others could have been cajoled back into the progress, and – the rarely discussed but crucial benefit – good people who are currently unwilling to subject themselves, their families, and their successful professional lives to the no-end-in-sight scandal that this process has become might change their minds.
So, I don’t see how this is progress. And as far as “breaking the logjam” is concerned, that’s a pretty glass-half-full way of looking at a rout. I suppose if the centrists had deigned to let a single judge get through, that would have broken the logjam, too. Would that have been progress? And do you really think that by letting a conservative get through on a Monday the people controlling these filibusters deem themselves in any way bound by a precedent that they must honor on Tuesday?
Posted at 09:50 AM
LEFT AND MOD SQUAD ON SOCIAL SECURITY [Stanley Kurtz]
A couple weeks ago I put up a half-joking post about “an incredibly powerful House Democrat” declaring himself in favor of a compromise on Social Security. Then I let on that I was actually talking about a former Democratic leader: Ex-Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Dan Rostenkowski. I do think Rostenkowski’s comments were fascinating. But the beginning of the post was a put-on. Over at TAPPED, though, Sam Rosenfeld (champion of “the principled case for doing nothing” about Social Security) has been wasting time obsessing about that light-hearted post–-instead of, say, discussing the Harper’s symposium on entitlements, or the Diamond Orszag plan, or the Wexler plan, or Mickey Kaus’s take on Social Security, or that report the other day from Bloomberg. I guess this principled advocate of doing nothing is just taking his own advice to heart.
Now I don’t know if we’re going to get a deal on Social Security. And I certainly don’t know what an ultimate deal would look like, or just what I’d think of it. But I do believe a deal is more likely than most people realize. Looks like the “Gang of Fourteen” may try to arrange an agreement, as this piece from The Hill indicates. Now it’s going to be a whole lot tougher for centrists to put through a Social Security compromise than a deal on judges. Social Security reform will be impossible without direction from the president and the congressional leadership. Still, if the centrists join the debate on Social Security, that will build pressure on everyone to come to terms. In that atmosphere, the Democrats’ stonewall could fail.
We’re facing a huge entitlement problem. Failure to fix Social Security now is going to lead to years of political gridlock on Medicare reform as well. Over time, gridlock on entitlements could provoke an economic crisis. Could the Democrats succeed in blocking a solution? Sure. The shame of it is that some folks are actually proud of that.
It seems that former President Clinton agrees. At least that’s what Morton Kondracke claims. According to Kondracke, Clinton told ABC’s Good Morning America that the Democrats need to come up with their own Social Security plan. (But curiously, notes Kondracke, Good Morning America didn’t broadcast the exchange.) Clinton must of talked with Dan Rostenkowski.
Posted at 09:04 AM
BREAKING NEWS [K. J. Lopez ]
"The man of the house, it seems, is still not cut out for domesticity."
Posted at 09:02 AM
OH, I FORGOT TO MENTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Warren - Your comment yesterday that the Arafat-hugging Hillary is gone doesn't scan for me. The key to understanding Hillary, I think, is ambition. The fact that she's saying centrist things now is more a sign that she needs to be a centrist to achieve her goals. Contra Beinart and others, I just don't see Hillary's moves as anything more sincere than a sincere desire to position herself advantageously. That she sees a need to move right to move up the political ladder is a sign of the health of American politics, not of any powerful internal transformation on her part.
Posted at 08:46 AM
7 OF 14 [Jonah Goldberg]
Kathryn - I'm more impressed that you deduced from a single "heh" that I was making a Trek reference. I find your mind useful. You shall be assimilated.
Posted at 08:36 AM
I'LL CONFESS [K. J. Lopez]
I have no clue why 7 of 14 "(heh)" is a Star Trek reference. And I'm ok with that. Very much so.
Posted at 08:21 AM
I THINK [K. J. Lopez]
we should all take Wednesdays off. Especially on weeks when Senate Republicans annoy me. Which would be every week.
Posted at 08:21 AM
THANKS FOR THE MISLEADING EDITORIALIZING [K. J. Lopez]
From the New York Times:
Human embryonic stem cells, isolated from human embryos for the first time in 1998, have the potential to grow into any cell or tissue in the body, and so hold great promise for treatment of disease. But the embryos are destroyed when the cells are extracted. So Mr. Bush, intending to discourage further embryo destruction, insisted in 2001 that federal financing be limited to studies of those stem cell colonies, or lines, that had already been created.Scan some of the non-embryonic alternatives' successes here and here. (This--the relative successes of adult-stem-cell research is not the reason to oppose embyronic-stem-cell research, of course, but it's a sensible, ethical alternative more people can agree on that happens to have some successes already. Seems like an obvious option. And, anyway, one the Times could be forthright about.)
Posted at 08:14 AM
FOX IN THE HENHOUSE [K. J. Lopez]
NAACP invites the Mexican president to explain himself.
Posted at 08:05 AM
HOWEVER.... [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't think Conservatives should automatically dismiss a centrist bloc as a bad thing. It all depends "where" in the center the bloc is. If the gang of fourteen moves those seven Democrats even slightly more to the right than the seven Republicans move to the left, then the center of gravity in American politics, or at least the Senate, has probably moved to the right. I think you can make that case. The Democrats -- and not just the 7 of 14 (heh) -- have agreed that two of the most "extreme," "radical" and "rightwing" judges are actually good enough and mainstream enough to get a floor vote. That's progress.
Yes, it's annoying that McCain has solidified his role as a power broker, but the new watchword of the day is centrism. I think that pulls many Democratic Senators to the right and fewer Republican Senators to the left. I guess I'm coming around to the John Podhoretz position.
Posted at 08:01 AM
KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE [Jonah Goldberg]
Tim - A reader tells me that a Yahoo! News headline last night read: "Newly centrist Congress challenges Bush."
Take out your red pens everyone.
Posted at 07:56 AM
SLEEPER CELLS [Tim Graham]
On Today this morning, Tim Russert suggested the conservative position on embryo-destroying stem cell research has become evangelical "dogma" (and how about your Catholic church, there, Tim?) and added this could be a real "sleeper issue" for Democrats. Didn't they say that last summer, too? Ron Reagan was leading the New World Order? Where's President Kerry? The issue must still be asleep.
PS: I'm sure Brian Anderson would offer a rebuttal to Russert with the South Park Christopher Reeve/stem cell episode.
Posted at 07:49 AM
IT'S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE? [Tim Graham]
Newsweek's Howard Fineman wonders: "I’m wondering if we haven’t just witnessed a turning point in politics. Years from now, when we look back on the 'Gang of 14' deal, will we see it as the moment when the tide of conservative Republicanism crested?" Keep hope alive, Newsweek.
Fineman suggests Biblical excess as the problem: "A generation ago, voters turned against the Democrats for the excesses of their welfare-state, big-government thinking. Washington WASN’T the answer to everything. But, voters may conclude, the Bible isn't either. They could turn against the GOP if they think the party is sacrificing the American tradition of pragmatism and respect for scientific progress – on, say, stem-cell research – in favor of religious fundamentalism, however sincere." He weirdly argues: "Two religions are in collision, one of them secular and scientific, the other Biblical."
Posted at 07:32 AM
''IN A DIFFERENT PLACE" [K. J. Lopez]
Mitt Romney sorta kinda addresses his abortion problem.
Posted at 06:07 AM
FOR THE RECORD [K. J. Lopez]
Arlen Specter will be facing the president down on expanded stem-cell funding in the Senate. (Forever making Bush and Santorum delighted they went all out for him.)
Posted at 05:59 AM
THE PRESIDENT [K. J. Lopez]
holds an excess embryo
Posted at 05:54 AM
EW [K. J. Lopez]
"The Senate's Real Leader" by David Broder. Who is he? You guessed it--McCain.
Posted at 05:52 AM
AND NOW BACK TO THAT OTHER TRUSTY OHIO REPUBLICAN SENATOR [K. J. Lopez]
Voinovich sends colleagues an anti-Bolton letter.
Posted at 12:51 AM
"AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY" [K. J. Lopez]
The media and Iraq.
Posted at 12:49 AM
BURNS ENCORE [Rick Brookhiser]
The first link was to Robert Burns. This link, more authentic, is to Robbie Burns.
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
Posted at 12:43 AM
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
AN APPROPRIATE CLOSER--IN KEEPING WITH ONE OF THE THREAD THEMES OF THE DAY [K. J. Lopez]
We end the day with some appropriate verse, this one Nina Blackwood (or Dweezil Zappa--remember those days?) never introduced: this by Robert Burns.
Posted at 09:51 PM
RE: DUMBLEDORE RIP? [K. J. Lopez]
Words? Books? Sorry, I'm all pop-up-video ditz all the time here. Occasionally I'll dress up like Hermione though, but the kids at Barnes and Noble explained to me who she is.
Posted at 09:42 PM
DUMBLEDORE RIP? [Rick Brookhiser]
English bookies have been taking bets on which major character will die in the next Harry Potter book (J.K. Rowling has said that one will). But when Ladbrooke's noticed an unusual pattern of betting from the town where the book is being printed, they concluded there had been a leak at the plant. Apparently Albus Dumbledore will bite the dust. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
More interesting is the question, what will become of Rowling's prose?
I've read all the books. Rowling has a powerful imagination, with a real dash of Dickens. Unlike George Lucas, who pushes archetypes around like checkers, she understands the family dynamics that give rise to the archetypes in the first place. Lucas makes movies about father figures. Rowling writes about fathers.
In the last book, however, the prose (formerly serviceable with flashes of wit) showed real unraveling, especially in the dialogue. The problem was Harry's impending adolescence, and his budding love for the Chinese witch. If Rowling decides to tackle love, that will be a new ballgame, and require higher exertions.
J.R.R. Tolkien. with a better sense perhaps of his limitations, consigned the romantic subplot of LOTR (a very poignant one) to the appendices.
Kathryn, is this too geeky for you, or can we only talk about 80s rock n roll?
Posted at 09:36 PM
EASON JORDAN, ROUND II [Rick Brookhiser]
Newspaper union leader: U.S. military targets journalists
Posted at 08:54 PM
WORST-CASE SCENARIO [K. J. Lopez]
"Hat saves impaled man from bleeding to death"
Posted at 06:49 PM
RE: THE HOUSE VOTES [K. J. Lopez]
Here's the roll call.
Posted at 06:41 PM
THE HOUSE VOTES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Expanded funding for research that kills human embryos passes 238-194--well short of a veto-proof supermajority. Republicans voted 180-50 for the pro-life, anti-subsidy position. Democrats voted 188-14 the other way.
Posted at 06:31 PM
CASTLE JUST PASSED [K. J. Lopez]
off to Senate, then veto...
Posted at 06:10 PM
NATURALLY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
there's a CSPAN caller lauding Rep. Barton's speech for making him think.
Posted at 05:55 PM
RE: BARTON [K. J. Lopez]
And wasn't that just an awful phrase he used--"err on the side of opportunity"? But I guess it was fitting, considering what he was arguing.
Posted at 05:52 PM
REP. JOE BARTON (R., TEX.) [Ramesh Ponnuru]
is making the dumbest argument for expanded funding of embryo-killing research that I have ever heard. His view is that we allow adults to decide to risk their lives for the greater good--as in the case of members of the armed forces. He argues that if the embryos were capable of voluntarily deciding to sacrifice themselves for the good of science, some of them would; and since parents have custody of their children, they can make this choice for them.
Really. That's his argument. He doesn't deny that the embryos are living human beings--he explicitly says that he believes that they are.
If there are any parents out there who want to sacrifice their children for science, they've got a green light from one committee chairman.
Posted at 05:49 PM
JUDY BLEW IT [Tim Graham]
MRC's Ken Shepherd was taken aback by Judy Woodruff's first question to White House Domestic Policy Advisor Claude Allen this afternoon on CNN about frozen embryos: "Let me quickly cite to you what Congressman Castle of Delaware, co-sponsor of the bill says. He says these embryos would be discarded. In other words we're not talking about using any substance that has or had the potential to be a human being."
Allen quickly told her she was incorrect: "The President had, uh, 21 kids and 21 families represented here today that were products of frozen embryos..."
Posted at 05:40 PM
TEN-SECOND POST [K. J. Lopez ]
Tim, you think you need to tell me about the 5FD soundtrack? Come on. (Speaking of: that's a funny movie, which I'm now tempted to watch RIGHT NOW.) It's the perfect it's-been-a-long-week-already Tuesday treat (wait until after you tuck the kids in though). Enjoy if you go for it!
Posted at 05:37 PM
DARTH LOWRY... [Jonah Goldberg ]
suits up to catch that rat at NRHQ.
Posted at 05:22 PM
POP-CULTURE MATTERS [Tim Graham]
Tony the Tiger is all good, but that basso profundo booming out Grinch-busting lyrics like "Your brain is full of spiders, You've got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch. I wouldn't touch you, with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole." May his pipes rest in peace.
As for the Outfield, a neat little collection of redone '80s tunes (a nice summer/beach CD) is the soundtrack for the Adam Sandler film "50 First Dates," in which Wyclef Jean totally reggaefies "Your Love."
Posted at 05:21 PM
OXFORD BOUND [Rich Lowry ]
Thanks so much for all the debate e-mails. More later...
Posted at 05:17 PM
RE: SOUTH PARK CONSERVATIVES [K. J. Lopez]
By the way, I think if you are reading The Corner, if you are on the Internet, if you are conservative, you'll find the Anderson interview worth reading. Jonah, you may recall, addressed the Anderson SPC thesis at an early stage.
Posted at 04:50 PM
THURL RAVENSCROFT [Jonah Goldberg]
As 8 zillion readers have commented, he was also sang the theme song to "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."
Posted at 04:43 PM
WHAT MAKES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Mickey Kaus so sure that public attention to a Supreme Court fight makes a rules change less likely? Maybe it makes the denial of an up-or-down vote less sustainable for the Democrats. In fact, I think that's very likely.
Posted at 04:39 PM
ED GILLESPIE ON THE DEAL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here's the take of the former RNC chairman, now a lobbyist who's been working for the National Republican Senatorial Committee on the issue: "I think the deal’s fine. It’s a deal that gets our judges an up-or-down vote. I would rather have had the vote today on the constitutional option and be done with it." He notes that DeWine and Graham both say that they are willing to change the rules if necessary in the future: "I’m glad they’ve been clear that they just holstered their weapons, they haven’t surrendered them.”
"I think the Democrats have made clear that philosophical disagreement does not constitute an extraordinary circumstance. I think the question is what did Reid get?”
Whichever party "won" from the deal, it's pretty clear that the Republicans have lost the spin war over it. But ultimately that may not matter all that much.
Posted at 04:37 PM
TAX HIKES AND REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I wrote about this topic for NR a few issues ago (subscription required), disputing the contention (made in the Washington Post and Washington Monthly, especially) that the state-level Republican party was becoming less anti-tax. Recent events, I think, bear me out. The Washington Monthly piece I criticized led with the example of Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana. He proposed a tax hike on high earners to balance the budget. I noted that Republicans in the legislature were resisting--and now they have won. The final budget did not include Daniels's proposed tax increase.
Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota, has gone the other way, proposing a cigarette tax increase. That's not great in my view, but the fact that tax-hiking Republican governors are looking to cigarette taxes--rather than to income taxes, as tax-hiking Republican governors did in the early 1990s--suggests that the anti-tax movement continues to make incremental progress.
Posted at 04:33 PM
SPEAKING OF Q&AS TODAY [K. J. Lopez]
Do the sci-fi geeks among us give me props for this title?
Posted at 04:29 PM
SOME MEMBERS [K. J. Lopez]
have been disappointing on this Castle bill--people like Jo Ann Emerson (who has Susan B. Anthony List creds, for instance), who just came out for the Castle stem-cell expansion bill. I can't help but think--maybe it's just hopeful--that hearings would have avoided some of those unusual supporters.
Posted at 04:26 PM
SOUTH PARK FALLACIES [K. J. Lopez]
In his NRO interview today, Brian Anderson recounts a clever South Park dialogue--which happens to have a common error in it (SP's not BA's):
Here: "Wuh…But we prefer to abort babies a little…earlier on; in fact, there’s a law against abortions after the second trimester."
For the truth about Roe and trimesters, go here.
Posted at 04:19 PM
RE: EASTEND BOYS AND NR EDITORS [K. J. Lopez]
JPod, I'm not sure Jay wants to be playing best of the 80s. He's never covered Outfield concerts so far as I know.
I suppose the people-mistakenly-calling-me-Jennifer-thing would help put the foot in the door on this second-career front though.
Posted at 04:18 PM
THE DEAN SYLLOGISM [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Update: Another reader dissents:
If you are perfect, then you may lecture on morality. Dean is lecturing us morally.
Posted at 04:01 PM
THE COMPANY OF FRENCH MISERY [Denis Boyles]
The current sorrow index, courtesy of Forbes by way of Brandon Dutcher at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.
Posted at 03:58 PM
UP FOR AIR, FINALLY [Warren Bell]
I'm in the Dulles airport Starbucks, again thanking the T-Mobile/Mac holy duo. AIPAC was amazing, the nation's capital no less so, and the only regret is that I missed so much of the Corner. A rodent? (Quick thought to AIPAC organizers: a little Wi-Fi hotspot in the building next year? I'll pay for it. (Actually, having had the screws put to me by incoming AIPAC president Howard Friedman, I already have.))
No, Kathryn, the last Georgetown dinner was Saturday. The next 48 hours were non-stop AIPAC, and they know how to keep you busy. The highest of the highlights: Ariel Sharon, speaking this morning. Despite the protests outside (and inside) the building, Sharon was strong and resolute, the very essence of a leader. He is a hero, and may God bless his plan for disengagement. May God bless equally those unfortunate people who must leave their homes in Gaza. Sharon is also, improbably, very huggable. He laughingly talked about his own farm in Israel having more cows than the President's ranch in Crawford. One wishes he were an uncle.
Another highlight: Hillary Clinton. (Get up off the floor, close your gaping jaw, clean up the coffee you just spit out.) She praised our military. She praised, without qualification, the explosion of democracy and freedom in the Middle East. She reiterated Israel's right to defend itself against terror. The Hillary who hugged Arafat is gone. The new Hillary delivered a Middle East policy speech this morning that (to my ear, at least) could have been from a Republican.
Other highlights: Ari Fleischer, subbing on short notice for Ken Mehlman at Sunday night's dinner. Funny, warm, smart, touching and human. If he ever chooses to run for something, I will be there.
David Frum, debating Peter Beinart. Beinart knows all of Frum's moves and still can't stop the power. Frum won on a clean knockout in a room predisposed to Beinart's thinking. Senator Norm Coleman, for whom I promised to write jokes. I would be pleased if they were for primary campaign speeches in '08. (E-mail me, sir.) And Bush aide Tevi Troy, whose attention I hogged at the Gala dinner last night.
Two notable lowlights: Howard Dean spoke before Fleischer, relying heavily on his text. He was robotic and bland, and seemed to have never seen the speech before. I know that's not terribly unusual for public figures, but perhaps he could try harder to fake it. The other low: Senator Tim Johnson. Speaking to a small group of us before the dinner last night, he reiterated his support for Israel. So far, so good. Referring to the (then still-unsolved) filibuster mess, I joked, "And how was your day at the office, sir?" I expected him to laugh and say, "Well, we're here to talk about Israel." Instead, he made a disgusted face and grumbled that the problem was that Bill Frist had "sold out to the Religious Right."
Anyway, I could go on and on, and in fact I already have. I'll close with this. Best non-AIPAC moment: meeting Cliff May and Mark Dubowitz for a drink on Sunday night and joining the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Posted at 03:56 PM
AN NRO FLYING MONKEY THEME SONG? [Jonah Goldberg ]
A strong contender.
Posted at 03:30 PM
RE: WHAT'S WRONG WITH OHIO REPUBLICANS [K. J. Lopez]
Escape to Chicago.
Yes, that was a lame pitch. The event won't be though.
Posted at 03:29 PM
R.I.P. [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader sent me this:
Voice of Tony the Tiger dies
Posted at 03:26 PM
THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS IS NOT HAPPY [K. J. Lopez]
From Roll Call:
The Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday announced its opposition to a Senate deal aimed at preventing a showdown on the so-called nuclear option, calling the agreement “more of a capitulation than a compromise.”
Posted at 03:18 PM
GET NRD PDQ [Jack Fowler]
A tasty morsel from “The Week” in the new June 6, 2005 edition, of NR:
“Diversity,” “sensitivity,” “inclusion” . . . The warm, viscous vocabulary of the multicultural project washes over us day by day, enervating and stupefying us until at last we yield, to watch passively as yet another familiar and cherished aspect of our culture is dismantled and hauled away to the dump. Most of us yield, anyway. Not so the citizens of La Jolla, Calif. In response to demands that the word “Christmas” be dropped from the name of their traditional annual parade to make the event more “inclusive,” the La Jolla town council voted to keep the name just as it is. It will not become a Holiday Parade, a Winter Solstice Parade, or, as in the old Soviet Union, a Grandpa Frost Parade. It will remain a Christmas Parade. Thanks to the good people of La Jolla for thus standing athwart history; and God bless them, every one.You can read the entire issue--right now--when you subscribe to National Review Digital. For $21.95 (a ton less than the subscription cost for the paper version) you’ll get a full year of NR, in convenient PDF, Image, and Text formats, all accessible the day after the magazine is “on the press” (which means several days before the mailman would bring it). NR Digital is so convenient, and affordable, which explains why we have thousands upon thousands of subscribers. Why not become one yourself. Check out NRD right here.
Posted at 03:09 PM
AMERICAN IDOL [K. J. Lopez]
At least you knew who he was, Rich--as opposed to giving him the Larry Gatlin treatment.
Posted at 02:56 PM
"THESE LIVES ARE NOT RAW MATERIAL TO BE EXPLOITED" [K. J. Lopez]
The president met with 21 families in the Rose Garden a few minutes ago who know firthand that extra IVF embryos are not always trashed.
Posted at 02:52 PM
I JUST MET BILLY IDOL... [Rich Lowry ]
...but inexcusably missed my chance to get his autograph for KJL.
Posted at 02:51 PM
DEAL AND '08 [K. J. Lopez]
John (Pod), my e-mail on judges is a mixed bag, but definitely higher GOP-sucks volume. And they promise to have long-term memories. Here's one:
just what the gop needs: two nominees to not vote for: mccain & frist [<K-LO HERE: This totally works with Jonah's backward-strategy .]
Posted at 02:41 PM
MARCY KAPTUR (D., OHIO) [K. J. Lopez]
just announced she's opposing the Castle stem-cell bill because there were no hearings on it. She's no anti-cloning stalwart, fyi. Would be nice if she starts a trend--let there be hearings...
Posted at 02:37 PM
THE EXCEPTION TO THE RUTLER WOMEN'S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION RULE [K. J. Lopez]
Women--formerly known as right-wing "extremists"--who are nominated by President Bush to sit on the federal bench.
Posted at 02:23 PM
OF MICE AND MEN…AND WOMEN [K. J. Lopez ]
Father George W. Rutler, sometimes referred to (by me) as The Corner chaplain for his tendency to occasionally send in both witty and deep thoughts. Consulted by an NRO staffer about the morality of killing rodents (specifically the one in NR World Headquarters earlier today), Fr. Rutler, in his infinite wisdom, replied:
I killed a mouse at my parents' house once because it was chewing away at items. But I covered it with a piece of cardboard before I crushed it with a broom and each time I went to strike the object moved a few inches, which was unsettling. It is easier to shoot an antelope or mountain ram than a little mouse. Why? Because larger animals can attack and hurt us, but a mouse is small and helpless. - Why kill the mouse in your office? Has it committed a capital crime? Has it murdered anyone on the NR staff? Has it shot a policeman or blown up a building? Has it committed treason or deserted an army in combat? I expect not. Then why kill it? Russell was wise. My second question: did you measure the mouse's height? Was it taller than you or the other women in the office? Again, I expect not. Why were the women hysterical? Think of the little mouse confronted by several screaming women whose voices must have sounded to the little creature like cyclones and whose height must have seemed like tall buildings threatening to crash down upon it. Methinks the mouse should have been screaming instead of you. Indeed, it probably was in its own squeaking little way and its heart, which Jesus loves, must have been beating painfully within its fragile breast. This is but one more reason I think females should not be allowed to vote in general elections or hold public office.
Posted at 02:15 PM
ROVE'S BEST CONSPIRACY YET [Rich Lowry ]
An e-mail responding to my Dean column:
Subject: damn! It is Rove
ME: And did anyone notice the suspicious bulge in the back of Dean's jacket on Sunday?
Posted at 02:13 PM
CHILLAX [K. J. Lopez]
Cool link of the day: awesomtastic words not in the dictionary.
Posted at 02:12 PM
YOU GOTTA LOVE THE PET SHOP BOYS... [John Podhoretz]
...because they were two magazine writers who managed to become rock stars. It could happen, KLo. You! With Nordlinger on piano! On stage! Irving Plaza!
Posted at 02:07 PM
DEFENSE AGAINST RODENTS [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: A broomstick is traditionally the weapon of choice.
If there isn't one around NR HQ, call Sen. Clinton's NYC office. They should have a few spare.
Posted at 01:49 PM
ERRING ON THE SIDE OF LIFE [K. J. Lopez]
Rep. Curt Weldon announced a few minutes ago on the House floor that he's opposing the Castle embryonic-stem-cell expansion bill that is up for a vote today. He's chair of the diabetes caucus (He has diabetes) and said his doctor friends in the House convinced him to “come down on the side of life.”
Posted at 01:42 PM
PSB BACKLASH [K. J. Lopez]
Nevermind with the judge e-mails, JPod. I'm getting many e-mails along these lines (save for the first sentence--it's the middle sentence really, that keeps reappearing): "First of all, you are not evil. However, it was flat out wrong to post anything with PSB lyrics. Jonah should be demanding that you hand over your agonizer."
I always thought PSB would be something Andrew Sullivan and I could bond over. (They're like "listening to Churchill give speeches.")
Posted at 01:38 PM
THE NEW REPUBLIC BLASTS JUDGE BARGAIN [Jim Boulet Jr.]
The New Republic is not pleased with the events of last night:
CENTER FOLDS: So a deal has been struck on the filibuster. Republicans will allow Democrats to keep the filibuster as long as Democrats never use it. This way, both sides win (except for the Democrats).One of the nominees included in the bargain, Bill Pryor, is no right-wing radical, but he cost the Left millions of dollars by winning the Alabama official English case (Sandoval) and they seek revenge.
Posted at 01:11 PM
CORNER READERS WHO LIKE THE DEAL! [John Podhoretz]
I am surprised but heartened to discover my e-mail running about 50-50 in favor of the judges deal. Since all you're hearing is complaining, here are some positive reactions:
"The only thing that can make this a defeat is the ongoing noise coming from James Dobson, Sean Hannity, and the rest of the Corner. Tell me again why we want to set up primary challenges to these Republicans and possibly lose our majority in the Senat? The more GOP Senators the better. If we force the Senate campaign to waste money on primaries in safe states, it's less money to spend going after the openings presented by the retirement of Democratic Senators."
"I was always a lukewarm supporter of the 'nuclear option,' so I pretty much agree with you (although I can’t stand the Dems’ post-deal bloviating, and I wish McCain, et. al. had been able to wrangle an agreement to get votes for the two Michigan nominees). That said, I think the key here is not the precise wording of the deal per se, but rather how the deal affects the political calculus on judicial nominees. If the Dems are too cowed to filibuster anymore, then we win. If the Dems filibuster, and the RINOs bow their backs and drop the bomb, we probably win (although the media will have a big say in that). If, on the other hand, the White House goes the GHWB route and puts up wimpy nominees, or the Dems threaten to filibuster and the RINOs cave, or the Dems actually filibuster and the RINOs wimp out, then we lose."
"Just a note of support for your arguments. I'm a rock-ribbed conservative whose initial reaction to the deal last night was despair. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to the same conclusions you did."
"I am a conservative but I view each issue dispassionately and do not drink the Kool Aid. Thus, I think the filibuster deal is good for our side: 1. We get three judges with excellent conservative credentials. 2. This ends the use of filibusters to oppose judicial nominees simply for partisan reasons (ie, they are conservatives). We accomplished what we thought we needed the nuclear option to do. 3. We will not get the public opinion blow back that the nuclear option would have created. Think government shut down in 1995 which the MSM used to do enormous harm to our cause."
"I’ve been an avid Cornerite for years now, and while many of your compatriots are brilliant I’ve always felt they can occasionally overlook the back-and-forth compromise aspects of politics that you mention in your filibuster-deal posts. They are too pure for their own good. Although I too feel the sting of incomplete victory, I think you are 100% about this deal being a win for us in the long term."
Posted at 01:11 PM
RE: WASHINGTON [K. J. Lopez]
Don't miss Peter Kirsanow's piece on the trial.
Posted at 01:06 PM
WASHINGTON UPDATE, TRIAL DAY II [Stefan Sharkansky ]
The Washington gubernatorial election trial opened yesterday with the Republicans' opening statement emphasizing fraud by King County Elections officials and summarized by the quote "This election was stolen from the legal voters of this state by a bizarre combination of illegal voters and bumbling bureaucrats." The Republicans only starting making allegations of outright "fraud" in recent weeks after King County officials admitted in pre-trial depositions that they falsified ballot accounting reports that were used for certifying the election. It's unclear (though unlikely) that the trial judge will allow the Republicans to argue fraud in the formal sense. But it looks he'll allow them to present the evidence that indicates fraud. In a major ruling this morning he denied a Democrat motion and allowed the Republicans to submit evidence that King County counted 875 more absentee ballots than there were absentee voter.
Posted at 01:05 PM
"YOUR BLOG IS LIKE A SAUSAGE PATTY" [K. J. Lopez]
Some people have too much time on their hands.
Posted at 12:57 PM
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH [John Derbyshire]
I am sure I don't need to remind Corner readers that May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month -- yet another legacy of that wonderful Jimmy Carter administration. Republicans should take particular note of the event, since, as is well known, American of Asian origin are natural Republicans -- prosperous, law-abiding, and family-oriented. So of course they voted overwhelmingly for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney last November, didn't they?
Er, actually, no. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has released the results of a huge exit poll conducted after the presidential election. The 11,000 Asian American** voters polled went 74-24 for Kerry over Bush. Looks like Asian Americans are shaping up the way the Jews did: You know, earn like Episcopalians, vote like Puerto Ricans.
So let's see: Black Americans vote Democrat by around 8 to 1; Asians by 3 to 1; Hispanics by 3 to 2, and Muslims by, well, best not to ask. Anyone got any ideas for a Republican immigration policy?
** Chinese 46%, South Asian 25%, Korean 14%, SE Asian 6%, Filipino 5%; foreign born 82%. WARNING: AALDEF is a lefty organization and the poll was restricted to 20 cities in 8 states (NY, NJ, MA, RI, MI, IL, PA, and VA). The press release is here (but you need Adobe Acrobat).
Posted at 12:23 PM
IF YOU SAID I HAD A BEAUTIFUL BODY [Jack Fowler]
of literature, I wouldn’t hold it against you. Heck no! Fact is, our acclaimed kids books--Volume Two of The National Review Treasury of Classic Children’s Literature (this 512 page handsome hardcover contains countless beautiful illustrations complementing over 36 wholesome stories by Kipling, London, Alcott, Burnett, Twain, and many more literary giants), The National Review Treasury of Classic Bedtime Stories (this wonderful hardcover is ideal for new and beginning readers, courtesy of its 10 charming and instructive “adventure” tales written by the great Thornton Burgess), and Queen Zixi of Ix (the tremendous fantasy which “Oz” author L. Frank Baum considered his best story)--are perfect 10s of world-class literature. These books belong in every home--they’ll entertain and enrich everyone from toddlers to teens--which is why we’re making all three available for one low price: just $29.95 for the set (and that includes shipping and handling too!). Get these super-duper books today (securely!) right here.
Posted at 12:22 PM
PET SHOP BOYS CORRECTION [K. J. Lopez]
The actual lyrics are:
Posted at 12:21 PM
OHIO REPUBLICANS [K. J. Lopez]
From the Hotline:
May 24, 2005 - The Cincinnati Enquirer (5/24, Wilkinson) reports, "Today, congressional candidate Pat DeWine will become the second Republican to hit the TV airwaves, with a 30-second spot in which he ties himself to two formidable Republican names -- Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The ad, which will start airing on all Cincinnati broadcast TV stations, also points to the now-Hamilton County commissioner's record on Cincinnati City Council, where he successfully led an effort to roll back the city's portion of the property tax." The ad "describes DeWine as a 'Ronald Reagan conservative' who will go to Congress and vote to 'make the Bush tax cuts permanent.'" Republican candidate Jean Schmidt "beat DeWine to the airwaves by about a week, spending $30,000 for a TV ad that is no longer being shown on broadcast stations but is still on cable."Republicans don't need another DeWine right now, thank you. You'allhave another Voinovich up your sleeve too?
Posted at 12:13 PM
RE: SCOTUS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader dissents:
Jonah-- You blogged: "Why blow things up on the first pick when you know there will be fights over the second and third no matter what? And if the Dems consider McConnell an extraordinary pick justifying a filibuster better to demonstrate their bad faith as early as possible."
Posted at 12:01 PM
IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK [Jonah Goldberg]
That these sorts of photos get just a bit more play?
Posted at 11:46 AM
THE ALTERNATIVE [K. J. Lopez]
The White House also issued a statement in support of the Smith cord-blood bill here.
Posted at 11:42 AM
"STRONGLY OPPOSES" [K. J. Lopez]
The White House issues a statement in opposition to the Castle stem-cell bill. REad it here.
Posted at 11:41 AM
DON'T GO THERE [K. J. Lopez]
Oh Great yet Evil KJL,
Posted at 11:34 AM
SOCIAL SECURITY DEAL? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Stanley, the deal outlined in Business Week seems like a non-starter. I have real doubts about whether it could get through the House. It seems to me that if Republicans take personal accounts off the table, tax increases have to be taken off the table too.
Posted at 11:25 AM
WHAT HAVE I DONE, WHAT HAVE I DONE, WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS? [K. J. Lopez]
All action stops in NR World Headquarters as a rodent runs wild.
No, no, no Republicans senators are not visiting....
Are any readers exterminators, or should we call Tom DeLay?
Posted at 11:24 AM
RE: SCOTUS [Jonah Goldberg]
It seems to me this shouldn't change Republican strategy over the Supreme Court very much. Assuming the opportunity comes sooner rather than later, I still think Michael McConnell should be Bush's first pick. If he sails through -- as he should on the merits -- so much the better. Why blow things up on the first pick when you know there will be fights over the second and third no matter what? And if the Dems consider McConnell an "extraordinary" pick justifying a filibuster better to demonstrate their bad faith as early as possible.
Posted at 11:21 AM
THE PRESIDENT'S NOMINEES ARE CHILD PORNOGRAPHERS [K. J. Lopez]
An exchange on American Morning (McCain said something similar on NBC):
Hemmer: "There was one other outstanding issue on this though. This ‘extraordinary circumstances’ clause that could come back again. I dunno, maybe in weeks, maybe in months. Ultimately, is that where this debate is headed again?"
Posted at 11:19 AM
WHAT IT MEANS FOR BOLTON [Rich Lowry ]
Not clear. We should know more after the Owen cloture vote and the Senate policy lunches early this afternoon. Seems, though, that Frist wants to do Bolton this week and that the political environment for a Democratic filibuster (probably the only way to stop his nomination) is not great.
Posted at 11:15 AM
BE STILL MY BEATING HEART [K. J. Lopez ]
I'm "LOL" at this e-mail:
Under what possible circumstances could the Democrats stop Pryor from being elevated to CJ without breaking the deal? Here is the logic: Only "extraordinary circumstances" warrant stopping candidates; Pryor (and Brown and Owen and all the others placed on the C of Appeals by GWB) have not been stopped; Therefore, these nominations are not "extraordinary."Similarly, many readers have suggested trying SCOTUS next for Owen or Brown.
Posted at 11:08 AM
THE BEST THING ABOUT THE DEAL [Rich Lowry ]
John McCain is the highest-profile spokesman for it, with all that implies for his presidential campaign. The more media he does on this as far as I'm concerned (as an anti-McCainaic), the better. Please, please TV and radio producers, book that senator.
Posted at 11:07 AM
DARWIN AWARD DARK HORSE SWEEPS AHEAD [Jonah Goldberg ]
Full story here but registration required.
Posted at 11:00 AM
CAFE VS. CONSUMERS [Jonathan H. Adler]
CAFE standards are bad for consumers, no matter what US PIRG might say.
Posted at 10:54 AM
DINO RAGE [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
For a "glass is half full" perspective of the deal, turn on Air America and listen to Jerry Springer bemoan how much these idiot DINO senators gave up for NOTHING. After twenty minutes in the car listening to him, I'm starting to think that maybe the deal wasn't that bad after all. It just goes to show you that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' - maybe the deal looks bad from 'our' point of view, but it doesn't look much better from 'theirs' either. Isn't that what a compromise usually results in - two parties who feel like they've given up too much to gain too little but, ultimtately, are prepared to walk away from the table with just so much in hand? Instead of saying its a bad deal, just accept that members of both parties found a need to undercut their leadership and their orthodox base and move forward. Any compromise would have been hard to swallow on both poles. I'm taking solice in the fact that their pole is no less agrieved than ours, and saying shoot for 60 Republican senators to kill any need for compromise in the future.
Posted at 10:54 AM
WHO'S MY DADDY? [K. J. Lopez]
A classic post from McCarthy
Posted at 10:48 AM
"UNDERMINING TRUST" IN JUDGES [Jonathan H. Adler]
Eugene Volokh looks at who might really be responsible.
Posted at 10:48 AM
EDITH PIAF [Rick Brookhiser]
The New York Times reports that left-wing French opponents of the Euro constitution sing Edith Piaf's song, "Non, je ne regrette rien." As I recall, that was also the anthem of the right-wing army revolt in Algeria.
Posted at 10:47 AM
MIT [Jonathan H. Adler]
On her radio show this AM, Laura Ingraham said Senator Lindsey Graham was a little MIT -- "McCain-in-Training" -- based upon his comments defending the judge deal. Ouch.
Posted at 10:47 AM
BY THE WAY: DEWINE DEALING, VOINOVICH ON BOLTON [K. J. Lopez]
What is wrong with Ohio Republicans?
Posted at 10:43 AM
THE SENATE AGREEMENT HAS PUT THE DEMOCRATS IN QUITE A FIX [Stanley Kurtz]
on Social Security that is. Whether this agreement is a bad deal that truly surrenders the constitutional option, or simply a temporary compromise that leaves all possibilities open, the effect will be to make the Democrats’ continued obstruction on Social Security look bad. Have a look at this excellent report from Bloomberg on the Democrats’ political dilemma on Social Security. And remember, this was written before the agreement on judges. Meanwhile, Business Week says we’re surprisingly close to a compromise on Social Security–and outlines the main features of a possible agreement. This scenario will not delight everyone. I certainly find it less than thrilling. But it’s too early to know the exact shape of an agreement. The main point is that a compromise on Social Security is a lot more likely than most people realize.
Posted at 10:38 AM
BLACKFORD OAKES IS BACK! [NRO Staff]
Bill Buckley’s answer to James Bond has been revived one more time to do battle with infamous British traitor Kim Philby in Last Call for Blackford Oakes. Not only is this a terrific read, but you’ll be delighted with cameo appearances by the Reagans, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Pierre Trudeau. Even Gregory Peck pops in for a brief visit. You can get your copy here.
Posted at 10:37 AM
THE DEAL [Rich Lowry ]
Quick impressions (and I reserve the right to change my mind based on the latest posting in Bench Memos): 1) What a waste of time. All the energy spent on this and Republicans still didn't manage to codify what has been the practice for the last 200 years or so? It would have been better to force the issue much faster, and move on to issues people care about more than Senate procedure. 2) That key sentence in the agreement on the Republicans' end of the bargain should have started with the phrase “contingent upon” (with the necessary adjustments to follow) rather than “in light of.” 3) If I hear any more talk about the Senate “walking back from the brink,” or the 14 “saving the institution,” or any similar cliché, I'm going to catch the first flight I can today out of the country. 4)Labels are so important. When this rules changes became known as--thanks to Trent Lott?--the nuclear option, Republicans were behind before they even got started.
UPDATE: On point 4: In other words, I agree entirely with my fine colleague, the wise, the collegial, the esteemed Jonah Goldberg, who is so steeped in the traditions of the Senate and the practices of American politics that he almost always has the same thoughts I do--except at least 6 minutes before me.
Posted at 10:33 AM
FOR THE RECORD: THE NUCLEAR OPTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Whoever it was on the Republican side who coined the term "nuclear option," you should forever be banned from coining clever phrases. This has always struck me as an idiotic phrase on every level. First, it concedes that changing the rules would be radical and dangerous, which plays perfectly into the Democrats' hands. Second, it's factually untrue. Changing the rules wouldn't have blown up the Senate. The Democrats promised reaction to the rule change was the explosive part. If China announces they will launch a nuclear strike against the United States unless we ban usage of the phrase "Peking duck" in favor of "Beijing duck" we wouldn't be exercising the "nuclear option" by using the phrase "Peking duck." The Chinese would be when/if they retaliated unreasonably. But, no, the Republicans had to create a phrase which by its very definition made them sound unreasonable.
And lastly, the phrase simply smacks of that typical, annoying, testosterone drenched attitude of Hill Republicans. Noooo...we can't use a phrase like "restore comity" or "reform debate" for we are Klingons! We must talk the manly talk. We must show off our big swinging nuclear options.
Posted at 10:27 AM
DARWIN AWARD NOMINEES [Jonah Goldberg]
Two people fill fluorescent lightbulbs with gasoline in order to have a real-life light sabre duel.
Posted at 10:05 AM
ANOTHER REASON I HATE THE SENATE [K. J. Lopez]
Because of this judge nonsense, near no one is paying attention to the stem-cell/cloning stuff in the House--except for a few good soldiers (Hill and admin staffers, etc), who are doing some arduous work admist a lot of confused (or impossible) politicians (and their staff).
Posted at 10:02 AM
THE CASE FOR BUSH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
on stem cells: Here's an old piece of mine making it.
Posted at 10:01 AM
ENFORCEMENT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The editorial seems to suggest that given that a deal has been made, the useful thing to do now is less to praise or condemn it than to strengthen/enforce its limits on the judicial filibuster. I wonder what the various commentators who have deplored the filibusters and the "nuclear option" and called for a deal will do if Democrats filibuster a Bush Supreme Court nominee. At that point, will David Brooks and the editors of the Washington Post support a rules change?
Posted at 09:59 AM
ANDY MCCARTHY [K. J. Lopez]
doesn't agree with JPod on the "victory" thing.
Posted at 09:54 AM
THE IMPORTANT ISSUE OF THE DAY [K. J. Lopez]
Bo or Carrie?
Posted at 09:52 AM
YECHHH [Jonah Goldberg ]
Re: some on the left not liking it. You're right. Here's Tapped.
Posted at 09:51 AM
RE: MCCAIN ON NPR [K. J. Lopez]
I'm so not defending McCain, but I think there's ample reason to believe the Left is ticked. As one Senate staffer told me this morning, for some folks on the other side of the aisle, having Priscilla Owen or Bill Pryor on the bench is Hillary on the Supreme Court would be for the Right. The Left invested a lot in hating and defeating these people. As bad as the deal may be, the Left is ticked, too. That doesn't necessarily make the deal any better, but it's not a total victory on their side either.
Posted at 09:47 AM
DEALING WITH THE DEAL [K. J. Lopez]
Here's our editorial on what the Senate did last night.
Posted at 09:37 AM
RUDY '08? [John Derbyshire]
From America's Newspaper of Record this morning: (1) Cindy Adams says Pat Robertson is cool with a Rudy Giuliani candidacy in '08: "I don't believe this, you won't believe this, but believe this. Mouths that usually open only when they know something tell me: Rev. Pat Robertson, whose religion is conservatism, whose politics is conservatism, whose middle name is conservatism, and whose constituency has veto power over a presidential nomination, is saying he will not block it if Rudy Giuliani makes a grab for the Oval Office."
(2) John Pod says Rudy can square the social-conservative circle if he wants to run: "Such a shift in position needs to be handled adroitly, but it has been done, it can be done and it must be done if Rudy Giuliani actually wants to be president."
(You have to do a registration thing to read the Post online now, but it's free.)
Posted at 09:22 AM
OH...BY THE WAY [Jonah Goldberg]
McCain managed to squeeze a phoner with NPR into his busy schedule. He spent quite a bit of time trying assure listeners that the left is every bit as upset as the right about this deal.
Posted at 09:02 AM
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY HANGNAIL? [Jonah Goldberg]
I just listened to some treacle from some woman -- and a bunch of callers -- on C-Span radio about how glorious the Senate compromise is. I don't have a problem with people supporting or opposing the deal based on the merits. But this line about how "now, the people's business can be done!" drives me nuts. This woman explained that while the bases of both parties wanted a showdown over filibusters, most people weren't paying attention, they're saying things like "Hey, I've got to get my kid to the doctor."
Maybe so, but is your kid going to get to the doctor any quicker because Pricilla Owen gets a up-or-down floor vote? Should the Senate really be catering to the demands of the people who aren't paying attention?
I hate this sort of cheap populism where people assume that whatever the Senate is doing now isn't the real priority. Well the whole point of prioritizing is that you can really only do one thing at a time. This was the moment for judges. And, frankly, I have no idea when the doctor's office shuttle service comes up for a floor vote.
Posted at 09:00 AM
MCCAIN VS. "FAR RIGHT" [Tim Graham]
During McCain Face Time at Good Morning America, ABC's Charles Gibson read angry passages from conservative blogs, and then added Focus on the Family calling the deal a betrayal, to which McCain replied: "And I'm sure the far left was disappointed, too." It sounds like McCain's winning ways in the late 2000 primaries.
Posted at 08:33 AM
DEATH BY BLOGS [K. J. Lopez]
Kristof: "The Chinese Communist Party survived a brutal civil war with the Nationalists, battles with American forces in Korea and massive pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square. But now it may finally have met its match - the Internet."
Posted at 07:25 AM
EASY MORNING DECISIONS [K. J. Lopez]
American Morning or Smurfs?
Posted at 07:14 AM
AVOIDING A BEATING? [Tim Graham]
It's easy to predict that national reporters and editors will hail this deal as a triumph for back-slapping Washington, and easy to predict that moderates, as usual, get credit for "getting things done" and no blame for having great Plastic Man/Stretch Armstrong elasticity in their principles. It's the same way the media hailed the GHW Bush budget deal raising taxes -- and then, the media turned on Bush at election time and let Clinton pound him over breaking his campaign promises. Being a deal-making Senator also did wonderful things for Bob Dole's presidential hopes, eh?
But I'll confess I've been getting worried about the GOP taking a beating from the liberal media elite if the other "nuclear" course had been taken, as much as the Democrats' tactics are objectionable. Remember the government shutdowns of the Clinton era, and how thoroughly the media sold the idea that it was Gingrich's fault, not Clinton's? See pollingreport.com for an idea of how tilted the poll questions have been to favor the Democrats. (In one poll, a majority of those surveyed agreed a Supreme Court nominee should have to get 60 votes to be confirmed.) If the Democrats had shut down the nation's business over judges, the media would have presented it predictably as Conservatives Shut Down the Government Again.
For most Americans, this is the definition of an inside-baseball political issue, at least at the circuit court level. Circuit court nominees are almost never covered on TV news, even if they sit for four years like Priscilla Owen. CBS mentioned her once in 2002, and then not again until this month. ABC didn't mention her until this month.
You know what else is weird? In tracking the New York Times the last couple of weeks on this issue, they often left the NARAL/PFAW/Alliance for Justice types out of their stories, as if the Democrats didn't have a base of leftist interest groups telling them what to do. Meanwhile, Bill Frist was painted as James Dobson's sock puppet.
Posted at 07:14 AM
I KNOW YOU'RE SURPRISED [K. J. Lopez]
John McCain is the first guest on The Today Show with Katie this morning.
Posted at 07:08 AM
RESPONDING TO MARK [John Podhoretz]
1. 3 out of 10 breaks the logjam.
2. The principle that conservative judges have the right to serve NEEDED to be established again. That's what the current political moment demanded, because that's what the filibuster strategy by the Dems was intended to reject. You may not like it -- I don't -- but that's politics. I don't like the idea that someone who didn't pay a nanny's Social Security taxes can't get confirmed, but that's politics too.
3. The 7 Dem signatories have agreed to filibuster only in extraordinary circumstances. If they agree to filibuster an obviously acceptable nominee to the Supreme Court -- like, say, Janice Rogers Brown, whose confirmation they have pledged not to interfere with -- then the deal will collapse. That's also politics.
There's almost no point in arguing this, because I'm offering a predictive analysis, and only time will tell if I'm right or not.
Posted at 06:56 AM
BTW [K. J. Lopez]
Zara will meet Congress today--in a Joe Pitts press conference.
Posted at 06:41 AM
EVEN WITH JPOD'S READ [K. J. Lopez]
This "courage" nonsense is nauseating. The republic is saved!! Thank you, Senator McCain. Thank you, Senator Graham... The faith of our fathers is preserved! Amen, Alleluia.
Yeah, I'm going to lay off the coffee.
Posted at 06:33 AM
RESPONDING TO JOHN ON THE "DEAL" [Mark R. Levin]
1.It breaks the Democratic logjam on circuit-court nominees.
It ensures the confirmation of 3 of the 10 original circuit court nominees targeted for filibusters, no more, no less.
2.It establishes the principle that conservative judges have every right to serve on the higher benches even if Democrats can't stand it.
How so? A president has always left his imprint on the federal bench -- whether it be conservative or liberal. This deal treats this president's nominees like no other president in history.
3. And it means that if Republicans have to break the filibuster to ensure an up-or-down vote on a Supreme Court justice, they will have a very strong argument indeed. The argument will be that they are breaking the filibuster out of respect for the tradition that says the choices for the highest court must be advised and consented to by the full Senate.
I and others with far more influence in this process have made this argument since the first threatened filibuster. It will be no more or less persuasive as a result of this deal, in my view.
Posted at 05:35 AM
SOUTH CAROLINA [K. J. Lopez]
A potential primary challenger to Lindsey Graham on judges. Just FYI (it's from over the wekend).
Posted at 05:33 AM
DON'T TURN VICTORY INTO DEFEAT, PART 2 [John Podhoretz]
I'm already receiving middle-of-the-night e-mails condemning my position (and some praising it) in favor of the avert-the-filibuster deal. The major point I couldn't get to because the baby was crying is this: Despite the language in the deal about how the Republicans won't bring up the nuclear option until 2007, there's other language in the deal that clearly gives the Republican signatories the option to pull out of the deal should Democrats misbehave.
This deal is therefore effectively about the judges it mentions -- and about them only. Every future nomination will be decided as follows. If the Democrats insist that the next nominee(s) are bad enough to invoke the "extraordinary" right to filibuster, the Republicans have the right to say the Democrats are full of it, kill the deal and go to the nuclear option immediately.
Thus, the agreement is only binding to the extent that Democrats do not filibuster -- since it will be very difficult for the Senate Republicans to allow them to get away with the "extraordinary" right claim about a mainstream conservative nominee.
To my mind, that's the true essence of the political deal here. Every time the Democrats who signed it move toward filibuster, the Republicans move toward busting the deal.
And that's basically what Mike DeWine of Ohio, one of the GOP signatories, said last night to the Washington Post: "Republicans said they are free to back a ban if they believe Democrats act in bad faith and filibuster a nominee whose credentials do not amount to an 'extraordinary' circumstance. 'We don't think we're going to get there,' said Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), adding that he will not hesitate to vote to ban judicial filibusters if he concludes the Democrats are abusing the right."
Posted at 02:41 AM
BOLTON [K. J. Lopez]
If the Dems and the GOP mods keep saying they are all about "good faith," filibustering John Bolton would seem to not be a real option for them, if they want to hold onto that spin.
Posted at 12:46 AM
MY BEEF WITH JOHN [K. J. Lopez]
"last night"? Say it ain't so yet.
Posted at 12:42 AM
FULL SPEED AHEAD, CASTLE SAYS [K. J. Lopez]
Mike Castle's office is trying to downplay the Chris Smith cord-blood bill as an alternative to his embryonic-stem-cell-research expansion bill:
The cord blood bill "is not an alternative bill. It's an additional bill," said Elizabeth Wenk, spokeswoman for Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.), who introduced the embryonic stem cell bill with Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). "It's something we'd encourage all members to support because all avenues of stem cell research need to be explored."The fact of the matter is members on the fence, who might have concerns about the Castle bill (see Krauthammer's reasons, besides mine) do have an option--a viable one, in this cord-blood bill. It's a shame it has not gotten more attention.
Opponents of the Castle bill are not optimistic about how things will go on Tuesday, but there's still time to lean on congressmen.
Posted at 12:39 AM
DON'T TURN A VICTORY INTO A DEFEAT [John Podhoretz]
In the real world of real politics, there are -- there must be -- compromises. It is a necessary part of politics that there be those who believe all compromise is evil, because such people give backbone to the compromisers -- and scare the tar out of them. The compromise deal averting the filibuster showdown is a victory for the majority and for the Republicans. It is not a wipeout. It is not a rout. And for the two judge candidates who may have been sacrificed, it really really stinks. But what happened last night is very important. It breaks the Democratic logjam on circuit-court nominees. It establishes the principle that conservative judges have every right to serve on the higher benches even if Democrats can't stand it. And it means that if Republicans have to break the filibuster to ensure an up-or-down vote on a Supreme Court justice, they will have a very strong argument indeed. The argument will be that they are breaking the filibuster out of respect for the tradition that says the choices for the highest court must be advised and consented to by the full Senate. And all this was done without a major conflagration, which is (despite our hunger for major political melodrama) always preferable.
Posted at 12:39 AM
ON A SECOND READ [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm going to revise and extend my remarks. The sentence on rules changes runs: "In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress. . ." That wording seems to allow for some Republican wiggle room if Democrats act contrary to the deal's "spirit." Republican signatories--especially Graham, DeWine, and Warner--should be asked to clarify their reading of the deal's ambiguities.
Posted at 12:11 AM
THE DEAL [Mark R. Levin]
As I see it, we've gained 3 judges we would have gained had the rule been changed, lost 2 we would have otherwise gained, and the filibuster lives, only to be triggered if an "extraordinary" candidate -- i.e., an originalist -- who is nominated by the president, approved by the ABA, and is voted out of committee reaches the Senate floor.
Posted at 12:02 AM
Monday, May 23, 2005
MCCARTHY, WHELAN, [K. J. Lopez]
Franck, Adler, Rushton are all over in BM.
Posted at 11:52 PM
SENATOR L. GRAHAM [K. J. Lopez]
"We're going to start talking about who would be a good judge and who wouldn't."
What a novel idea, senator.
"And the White House is going to get more involved and they are going to listen to us more."
Because it was the White House causing this nonsense?
Posted at 11:51 PM
A PICTURE IS WORTH ... [Andy McCarthy]
From the NYTimes, accompanying a news story that laughably portrays the deal as a "modest victory for Bush:"
Posted at 11:45 PM
MR. NEAS [Rick Brookhiser]
What an exercise in base stealing this press release is: the Senate is the president's Constitutional partner in appointing judges, etc. etc. As any student of history knows, such constitutional partnerships are always worked out in the wash. (Cf. George Washington, the Cherokees, and the meaning of Senate advice and consent on treaties.)
Stick to your guns; then your position will become the wisdom of the ages.
Posted at 11:39 PM
SO IS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Posted at 10:41 PM
NAN ARON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
is very disappointed.
Posted at 10:40 PM
PFAW [K. J. Lopez]
Statement of People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas on Senate Compromise Rejecting Nuclear Option
Posted at 09:25 PM
TIN EARS [Rick Brookhiser]
Did Ariel Sharon, on his visit to New York, 1) encourage American Jews not to assimilate and 2) urge them to make aliyah? If Bush went to Israel and said, you wouldn't have any of this intifadah if you all moved to America, would that be thought boorish?
And did the Israeli ambassador visit Jonathan Pollard in prison? Surely there are more worthy objects for his charitable concern.
Posted at 09:18 PM
SPEAKING OF [K. J. Lopez]
PFAW hasn't updated their website. They hit the whiskey, clearly.
Posted at 09:17 PM
A LOSS ON THE LEFT, TOO [K. J. Lopez]
One thing to note, even if the GOP got the short end of the deal: As I said in Bench Memos earlier, the folks at People for the American Way have got to be pretty mad tonight, too. How much time and money have they spent painting Brown, Owen, and Pryor as crazy extremists?
Posted at 09:15 PM
RE: RE: ASYMMETRIC DEAL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I don't think your scenario, Jonah, is the most natural reading of the text. It leaves to each senator's discretion the question of what extraordinary circumstances would justify a filibuster. It does no such thing on a rules change--it rules out a rules change for this Congress.
Posted at 08:43 PM
RE: SLEEPLESS NIGHTS [K. J. Lopez]
Does anyone care about Harry Reid/Dick Durbin's sleepless nights over a Senate rules change?
Posted at 08:41 PM
THE DEAL [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 08:40 PM
RE ASYMETRIC DEAL [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - Your take sounds right, but if the Democrats filibuster in something which Republicans don't consider to be an "extraordinary circumstance" won't the deal be broken and then the Republicans will be free to change the rules. In other words, if it's really up to Neas, then you're right this is just a delay.
Posted at 08:37 PM
BENCH MEMOS [K. J. Lopez]
The actual deal is over there, Jon Adler, Sean Rushton, more to come.
Posted at 08:34 PM
OTOH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Lindsey Graham seems to be under the impression (as of the last minute on CNN) that he retains the right to change the rules.
Posted at 08:20 PM
AN ASYMMETRIC DEAL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here's what the Democrats commit to in the future: "Nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, and each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such circumstances exist." Here's what the Republicans commit to: "In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress. . ."
So: Democrats can filibuster nominees in "extraordinary circumstances," to be determined according to the "discretion and judgment" of Ralph Neas--I mean, of each individual senator. Republicans, on the other hand, are not getting any wiggle room to vote for a rules change in "extraordinary circumstances"--such as the Democrats' abuse of their wiggle room. It looks as though the majority party got taken in this deal.
Posted at 08:17 PM
A DEAL, FOR NOW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
This may have been a choice by 14 senators for comity, but its unintended consequence will be to raise the stakes on the next Supreme Court confirmation--which will decide what rules the Senate is really going to follow. A decision has been delayed, not made.
Posted at 08:02 PM
I'M NOT GOING TO CRY [K. J. Lopez]
about the filibuster pieces we had ready to roll for the morning. Nope.
Where's the whiskey?
Posted at 07:55 PM
THE COMPROMISE [K. J. Lopez]
is being blogged in Bench Memos.
Posted at 07:40 PM
A COMPROMISE IS HAPPENING [K. J. Lopez]
Watch Bench Memos...
Posted at 07:30 PM
HOWARD DEAN AND ABORTION [K. J. Lopez]
Charmaine Yoest has a visual.
Posted at 07:10 PM
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER ON THE CASTLE STEM-CELL BILL [K. J. Lopez]
He's on the same page as Romney--wants to use extra IVF embryos for research--but on the Brit Hume Show just now voiced his concerns nonetheless with this bill the House is set to vote on tomorrow, because it does not explicitly ban cloning. In other words (not that CK needs K-Lo rewording), it's a dangerous bill, even if you aren't where I (K-Lo) am on cloning.
Posted at 07:01 PM
NOT TO BE A BROKEN RECORD [K. J. Lopez]
but there's new stuff on Bench Memos--I'm going to stop reminding you now, so look yourself, without reminders.
Posted at 06:27 PM
SPEAKING OF AIPAC [K. J. Lopez]
It's been awhile since we've heard from him, so Warren Bell must have found some darn good restaurants in Georgetown. (I did love his ode to D.C. over the weekend--here if you missed it. Boy do Left-coast boys--and everyone in between--miss out. I remain a fool for the nation's capital.)
Posted at 06:09 PM
BENCH MEMOS [K. J. Lopez]
should be in and out of the Senate tonight. Be watching here. Senate staffers: check in between naps.
Posted at 05:58 PM
NEWSWEEK EQUIVALENCY [Kate O'Beirne]
The standard liberal response to criticisms of Newsweek's single-sourced erroneous report is that the Bush administration made a mistake, too, about Saddam's WMDs. This obviously ignores the difference between thinking the worst about Saddam when giving him the benefit of the doubt could be fatal and refusing to give the benefit of the doubt to the U.S. military, with the media always eager to believe the worst of them.
Posted at 05:56 PM
"POOR, UNEDUCATED AND EASILY TO COMMAND"? [K. J. Lopez]
Am I reading too much into this Washington Post piece from Saturday when I see a bit of a diss of the prayerful folk?
Modeled on the Protestant-led congressional prayer breakfast that has been held each February for more than half a century, the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is in its second year. It attracted 1,600 people, 14 members of Congress and the president to a packed hotel ballroom where waiters in black tie served scrambled eggs to activists who wore sweat shirts that read "You can't be Catholic and pro-abortion."I saw a couple of kids (teens/young adult types) in sweatshirts. The ballroom, meanwhile, was packed with business suits, etc. Even papists tend to dress up when the president is coming to breakfast. (And, I'm pretty sure the waiters at the Hilton always wear black tie--even when the Washington Post has breakfast there.)
Posted at 05:52 PM
"TWO VISIONS" FOR THE WAR ON TERROR [Rachel Z. Friedman]
Today’s lunch at the AIPAC conference was a discussion between AEI’s Richard Perle and Rep. Jane Harman (D., Calif.), moderated by Dan Senor, about the future of the war on terror. (It was billed as a presentation of “two visions,” but as Senor pointed out at the end it was more like one and a half, with Harman taking a pretty hawkish stance on most things.)
At times the audience’s reaction was as interesting as what was said. For example, toward the beginning of the presentation, Senor read aloud from a sermon that aired earlier this month on Palestinian Authority television:
We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again. The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world--except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history.
A few minutes later, responding to Harman’s suggestion that Bush work with Abbas to help him strengthen security, Perle said he thought the president shouldn’t cut the PA too much slack. “We should be tough on Abbas in his own interests and the interests of the Palestinians,” he said. For example, “I would say to Abbas, before you come [to Washington], why don’t you fire the person who put that [clip] on Palestinian television?” The audience loved it.
The audience also liked Perle’s statement that he would hope “if justification for military action developed in Iran,” the United States “wouldn’t expect little Israel to do our job.” He received more applause when he followed that up with, “If Iran is on the verge of a nuclear weapon, we will have no choice but to take decisive action.”
The same crowd erupted into chuckles when Harman said the administration’s short-term goal with regard to Iran should be to set a firm deadline for action by the U.N. Security Council. Perle agreed that tough economic sanctions could be effective, especially if combined with support for Iran’s democratic opposition. But, he said, we should ask “what could the U.N. do, and then what would it do?”
Much of what Harman had to say was well received, but interestingly enough it was Perle who managed to get the audience fired up.
Posted at 05:50 PM
I DO BLAME RAEL FOR MAKING PEOPLE IGNORE THE ISSUE OF CLONING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Look at this page: He looks like he could be a shoo-in for the alien who addressed the U.N. in "To Serve Man."
But there is real stuff happening.
Posted at 05:12 PM
BRILLIANT, GIVING THE BLUE PILL TO SEX OFFENDERS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Especially since a good portion of The Corner lives in or has lived in New York, I'd expect more anger about this government-funded idiocy (next year's SVU season opener).
Posted at 05:08 PM
JONAH'S MINI-ME (REALLY I JUST THINK HE WANTS TO BE A TRANSFORMER--MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE) [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
All the familiarity of the bizarre in sci-fi pop-culture makes it easy for people easily ignore the issue of cloning, too, is my impression. You say (or, I say, since that happens every now and again) "cloning" and many think black-and-white Twilight Zone reruns or anything on the SciFi Network, etc. You can't be serious, in other words. And it doesn't help that nuts like the Raelians get as much airtime as the South Korean scientists who are doing real cloning work. I typically get the impression most people don't think this debate is all that real.
Posted at 05:00 PM
CLONING, ALCHEMY ETC [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay I'll mention it too.
One of the things I think is interesting in a way I've never really thought through is how we've been fascinated by certain things long before science has caught up (by "we" I mean us humans). My dad always used to point out articles that dealt with science's efforts to make alchemy a reality. We've always wanted to transform lead into gold, Paul Krugman's column into genius etc. Science isn't completely there yet, but tinkering with molecules and whatnot to make X into Y still fascinates. And we do make our own diamonds already.
Humans have been looking for other dimensions, planes, realms ever since we were convinced dreams might be real. Physcists have been working hard to put meat on the bones of this instinct.
Something similar goes for cloning. We've been fascinated by dopplegangers, doubles, twins, clones for centuries. Science fiction drips with plotlines involving doubles, bodysnatching, lifelike replacement androids and the like. How many Star Treks involved doppleganger Captain Kirks? (I had to get that in there).
I think that's one of the problems the anti-cloning forces will always have to contend with. There's just something about the idea which titilates as much as it horrifies.
Posted at 04:45 PM
MALLOCH-IO [John Podhoretz]
Kofi Annan's second in command delivered a commencement address at Pace University Law School yesterday and referred to an "ungainly giant." No, Mark Malloch Brown wasn't refusing to the United Nations. He was talking about the United States: "This ungainly giant of a nation that has led the world in advancing freedom, democracy and decency, cannot quite accept membership in the global neighborhood association, and the principle of all neighborhoods - that it must abide by others' rules as well as its own."
Posted at 04:43 PM
CLONING! [John Podhoretz]
Just thought somebody else should mention it today besides K-Lo.
Posted at 04:32 PM
CONDI'S DRAFT [John Podhoretz]
Let me be the first to say: I think this squib is made-up garbage.
Posted at 04:30 PM
CONDI WANTS TO BE DRAFTED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Only problem: They don't do that anymore.
Posted at 04:14 PM
DEFUSING THE ISRAELI POPULATION BOMB [Jonah Goldberg ]
Interesting piece for demographic nerds, and probably a few others, in the Jerusalem Post (Reg. req'd). It turns out that the assumptions behind a lot of analysis may have been wrong. Here's the opener:
Demography is a central issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Conventional wisdom holds that Israel faces a demographic time bomb because the Palestinian Authority's reported 3.8 million population, combined with Israel's 1.3 million Arabs, already almost equals the Jewish population (5.4 million). Some Israeli demographers contend that given high Arab birthrates, Jews will quickly become a minority between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.
and the kicker:
The current Jewish majority, with its rising birthrate combined with modest aliya and/or returning overseas Israelis, would easily maintain the demographic balance in favor of the Jews. Parity between Jew and Arab might never be reached if Arab migration and fertility trends continue. And in Israel and the West Bank, Jewish dominance is overwhelming, both in absolute numbers and in terms of growth rates.
Posted at 04:06 PM
"MUSCLE-BOUND CONSERVATISM" [K. J. Lopez]
Don't let that Warren Beatty characterization of Ahnuld stand!
Posted at 04:05 PM
THE LAURA TRANSCRIPT [Tim Graham]
MRC's Geoff Dickens has transcribed the Laura Bush interview from the Today show. Katie Couric suggested that it’s a matter of opinion whether the majority of American troops are abusive to Muslims: "In your view, is the administration holding the people who are doing these things, and perhaps they are in the minority as you say, but do you think they’re being held sufficiently accountable?"
Mrs. Bush took exception to Katie’s P-word: "Yes I do. I mean there’s investigations going on the people are being held accountable and it’s not ‘perhaps in the minority.’ We know it’s very, very few people. A handful of people. We know that overall our troops are serving with distinction. They’re very helpful to the people where they are. They’re building schools, they’re refurbishing schools. They’re drilling well waters so that villages have clean water. They’re helping both Afghanistan and Iraq as they build they’re countries. They’re training troops in Iraq and policemen there."
Here's where the First Lady suggested American media coverage of prison abuse was extreme: "So the, the sad news is that the coverage is so extreme of a handful of really, really bad cases. And the American people are sick about it. They don’t want people around the world to have an image of Americans like that, because that’s not the way Americans really are. And it’s certainly not the way our troops, overall, serve anywhere around the world."
Posted at 03:58 PM
AN OPEN LETTER TO SEN. LINCOLN CHAFEE [Mackubin Thomas Owens]
This morning I posted an Open Letter to Sen. Lincoln Chafee on the Rhode Island blog site Anchor Rising. A shorter version will appear in the Newport Daily News. Nothing in it will surprise anyone who has been following the issue on The Corner or elsewhere on NRO. It won’t change anything of course, but at least some people who read it might see that Chafee’s all wet on the issue—but he is on so many other as well.
Does anyone know for sure the origins of the use of the word “filibuster” to describe tying up legislation in the Senate? The word, which comes from the Spanish for “freebooter” or “pirate,” was regularly applied in the ante-bellum period to pro-slavery Southern adventurers who raised expeditions to overthrow Latin American governments in an attempt to bring more slave states into the Union—Cuba, Nicaragua, etc. I am just guessing here, but I assume that it was simply extended to encompass the tactic of using the Senate’s rule of “unanimous consent” to protect slave interests, as John c. Calhoun did in 1841.
Posted at 03:56 PM
A UNITED EUROPE? THINGS GET INTERESTINGER AND INTERESTINGER [Peter Robinson]
The foundation on which every effort to build a United States of Europe has rested for the last four decades has been Franco-German cooperation. De Gaulle and Adenauer. Pompidou and Schmidt. Mitterand and Kohl. Now, however, cracks have begun to appear.
From a German reader of this happy Corner--K-Lo's empire knows no bounds--this acute observation:
What direction will Europe now turn? If France rejects the constitution because of resentments of "neo-liberalism", NATO and the like, while at the same time Germany could be ruled by conservatives and liberals after the recently-announced elections this fall, this could turn out to be quite interesting.
Posted at 03:40 PM
MOVE OVER SUSAN ESTRICH [K. J. Lopez]
Women aren't sources, either. Women are basically ignored and hampered in America. In Susan Estrich's (etc.) ideal world Priscilla Owen would be noninated to a federal court by Republicans and a chick would be editor of the 50-years-young conservative National Review's hip and happening website (the website not quite yet fifty). Oh wait....
Posted at 03:38 PM
SACRASTICALLY IMPAIRED [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
I have spent a great deal of time in Italy and I would venture a guess the majority of Italians are missing the area of the brain for comprehending sarcasm while the Fins are almost as good us.
Posted at 03:30 PM
TV [NRO Staff]
Frequent NRO contributor and bud Barbara Comstock will be on CNN's Crossfire today talking about Dean and judges.
Posted at 03:21 PM
DID SOMEONE MENTION CLONING? [K. J. Lopez]
Yeah, I'm obsessed today. As you might have guessed, I'm once again more than a tad bothered that the whole wide world isn't focusing on cloning and embryonic-stem-cell research, as Congress is set to take us another step deeper into that cliched but all too real Brave New World tomorrow. If you're looking to nudge your congressman, the National Right to Life Committee has a good page and remember congressmen have a cord-blood option. Unfortunately a lot of pols are where Matt Blunt is--a bit muddled, not sure what they're talking about on these issues.
Posted at 03:12 PM
DEAN CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
Dean declared, "Our moral values, in contradiction to the Republicans', is we don't think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night."
Did I miss the pro-hungry children plank in the GOP platform?
Posted at 03:10 PM
SUNNIS BUYING IN? [Rich Lowry ]
Encouraging stories out of Iraq over the last few days, about Sunnis and Sadr saying they will join the political process. Potentially significant...
Posted at 03:01 PM
WOMEN--WE WANT YOUR EGGS! [K. J. Lopez]
"Dolly" father Ian Wilmut wants women to give their eggs to cloning science. Most liberal feminists won't make a peep to express concern, but not all.
Posted at 02:56 PM
RE: WILSON BLEG [Jonah Goldberg]
Thanks for all the leads and advice. A reader-librarian has come through for me and is faxing the article. Corner readers rock.
Posted at 02:53 PM
BLEG--CHRISTIANITY AS A THREAT TO AMERICAN VALUES [Rich Lowry ]
I'm headed over to Oxford this week for a debate on whether Christianity undermines American values. I'm looking for state-of-the-art arguments that it does (so I can be better prepared to argue that it doesn't). Articles, links, random comments, all appreciated....
Posted at 02:45 PM
DEAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Rich - I agree. But I think the fact that this wasn't Dean at his worst was in a way more damning. We got to see how he thinks about things without the distraction of his silly schtick. For example, for a doctor to mock drug addiction is pretty galling. It's one thing to do it on the fly. It's another to be asked about it during a calm moment on a national talk show. Dean explained that since Limbaugh mocks others, it's okay for him to mock him about his addiction in turn. This is simply not how the Hippocratic oath works. Doctors treat murderers all the time. The fact that a patient murdered someone doesn't give a doctor a pass on treating him or mocking his condition. When Dean announced "I will use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy," it demonstrated what a truly shallow thinker he is. Is he going to denounce his donors who fly private jets while lecturing the rest of the country about getting rid of their SUVs (paging that Greek lady). Is he going to denounce all the Democrats who send their kids to private school? Since Limbaugh's hypocrisy stems from the fact that he's supported the drug war, is he saying that if you've ever used drugs, or even if you use them now, you have to be in favor of giving up the drug war?
Does Dean really think liberals and Democrats don't lecture conservatives about morality? I think he probably does because he is an amazingly unreflective person. Every time I see him, I find him more unlikable.
Posted at 02:20 PM
DEAN [Rich Lowry ]
I wrote a column about his “Meet” performance for tomorrow. It wasn't necessarily awful by Dean standards. But I'm always struck--per Jonah's e-mailer earlier--how little he knows. He doesn't know how to pronounce Abramoff. He doesn't know the cap for the Social Security payroll tax. Etc. These are things you just pick up by following the debate, even pretty loosely. I've always had the sense of Dean as someone who is smart, but doesn't know the things he doesn't know, and therefore doesn't have the patience or humility to--at the very least--get properly briefed on them.
Posted at 01:59 PM
SHE'S A LADY [K. J. Lopez]
I just saw Rich on Fox and he reminded me what I've gotta imagine is the worst part of this ridiculous, unfair hold-up, as far as Priscilla Owen is concerned: that defenders freely throw out her age.
Posted at 01:20 PM
BLEG [Jonah Goldberg]
Here's a real toughie but it would save me enormous time and effort, so I would be very, very grateful to anybody who might have access to it.
I need to get my hands on an essay written by Woodrow Wilson in the Nassau Literary Magazine in 1877 titled "Prince Bismarck."
I'd assume it's in the collected papers of Woodrow Wilson. But other than that, I have no idea.
Posted at 01:17 PM
I'M NOT IMPRESSED [John Podhoretz]
A brain featuring a sarcasm center that has overwhelmed all other parts of the brain found here.
Posted at 12:42 PM
I'M SO IMPRESSED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sarcasm center of the brain found.
Posted at 12:20 PM
CAR CLONING [K. J. Lopez]
I'm definitely opposed.
Posted at 12:09 PM
BILL BUCKLEY’S LATEST AND LAST! [NRO Staff]
Everyone thought that they’d seen the last of Blackford Oakes, the hero of Bill Buckley’s spy novels, ten years ago. Fans will be thrilled to learn that Last Call for Blackford Oakes , the 11th and last of the series, has just been published by Harcourt. As with all his novels, Buckley connects his plots with real events or people. This one revolves around real life British traitor, Kim Philby, who Buckley turns into one of his most chilling villains. If you’re a Buckley and an Oakes fan, you’re not going to want to miss this one. You can get it here.
Posted at 12:04 PM
OF COURSE [K. J. Lopez]
this is where the momentum is: leaning toward Woo Suk Hwang's cloning lab.
Posted at 11:56 AM
"THE ULTIMATE RECYCLING PROCESS" [K. J. Lopez]
Inside a cord-blood lab:
A little lab in St. Louis is at the forefront of the national effort to use stem cells from newborns' umbilical cord blood to treat deadly diseases.
Posted at 11:51 AM
SARBANES-OXLEY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Maybe not such a great law. (Via Liberty Lover.)
Posted at 11:44 AM
DEAN AND ABORTION [K. J. Lopez]
BTW, he hasn't always been forthright on the issue.
Posted at 11:43 AM
RE: DAN AND THE MYSTICAL, MAGICAL KNIGHTS [John Podhoretz]
Tim, why do I feel that Dan Rather saw the new Broadway musical Spamalot, the stage version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and actually took it all seriously? Remember these classic lyrics, revealing the dementia on display inside the castle at Camelot?
"We're knights of the round table,
Our shows are formid-able
Though many times
We're given rhymes
That are quite un-sing-able
We're opera-mad in Camelot, we sing from the diaphragm a lot!>br>
"Though we're tough and able,
Between our quests, we sequin vests
And imitate Clark Gable!
It's a busy life in Camelot --
I like to push the pram a lot..."
Or maybe he's channeling the lyrics to the theme song of the oldMary Poppins-inspired TV show Nanny and the Professor:
"Soft and sweet, wise and wonderful
Oooh, our mystical, magical Nanny..."
Either way, it's now perfectly clear: Dan Rather is now, officially, bonkers.
Posted at 11:41 AM
ANDY MCCARTHY [K. J. Lopez]
reviews Richard Posner's new book on intel reform here.
Posted at 11:40 AM
"NEWSWEEK'S STORY IS NOT AMERICA'S STORY" [K. J. Lopez]
Hamid Karzai is speaking out in defense of America at the White House, at a press conference right now. To anti-American types I just heard a "What the hell are you doing?"
Posted at 11:28 AM
SPEAKING OF ZZZZ [K. J. Lopez]
Is anyone paying attention?
Posted at 11:26 AM
I WAS WRONG [John Podhoretz]
I am reliably informed that I mouthed off about something I don't know enough about earlier when I said Pat Tillman's father's description of a "botched homicide investigation" of his son's killing was wrong because a homicide is an intentional act. The dictionary definition of "homicide" is the killing of one person by another person or group of persons. In other words, an act of unintentional manslaughter counts as a homicide. My apologies.
Another Tillman e-mailer offers this eloquent observation: "the misreporting on Tillman's death is shameful, and someone ought to lose their job over it. It is a betrayal of the trust and nobility that so many of our soldiers exhibit, and which is so crucial to public support of the military and its campaigns. Look at the many stories where we depend on the absolute truthfulness of our soldiers for our confidence in them in the face of horrendous allegations."
Posted at 11:26 AM
THE JUDGEZZZZ FIGHT [K. J. Lopez]
I'm hearing from the Senate that cots are being set up for a long night tonight...
Posted at 11:25 AM
RE: DEAN AND ABORTION [K. J. Lopez]
This is something Ramesh has written a bit about in The Corner (see here and here and here
Posted at 11:24 AM
ANOTHER DEAN ERROR [Rich Lowry ]
His statement that abortions have increased under Bush. New York Sun today on the case...[subscription required]
Posted at 11:08 AM
DAN AND THE MAGICAL, MYSTICAL KNIGHTS?? [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brent Baker was one of the few, the proud who watched Dan Rather being interviewed by Tina Brown in a session aired Sunday night on CNBC. He reported Rather praised Mary Mapes, the producer of the 60 Minutes story based on forged memos, as "a very good pro," and insisted that "she's the kind of professional that the audience should want in television." Asked by Brown if "after the flap over the National Guard story, do you feel inhibited?", Rather contended he's never "inhibited when it comes to news and trying to do fair-minded, accurate reporting on important stories." Then Brown wanted to know: "What are the realistic chances that you're going to be able to do a story that really shakes and rattles the Bush administration?" Rather maintained they are "excellent" since "CBS News has a culture, has a history that those of us who work here, it's very real -- that we see it as a sort of magical mystical kingdom of journalistic knights." At least Rather was aware enough to add: "And I know I can mentally hear people rolling their eyes. That's the way we feel."
Posted at 11:08 AM
CHAFEE GETS NARAL LOVE [K. J. Lopez]
He's their kinda Republican. Pro-legal abortion. Complains about the Republicans in the judge debate.
Posted at 11:00 AM
RE: PARENTAL NOTIFICATION [K. J. Lopez]
Oklahoma's governor signed an abortion parental-notification bill into law on Friday. As tends to happen, a lawsuit was immediately filed by abortion advocates (actually in this case, the suit was filed before the bill became law, but was thrown out; so this is a refiling that happened Friday).
Posted at 10:51 AM
CRYING ABOUT OP-ED CHICKS [K. J. Lopez]
The Estrich-initiated whine begins again, this time, over MoDo being replaced by a...HORRORS!!...man?
Posted at 10:46 AM
PRICKLY PROBLEM [Robert P. George]
Improperly disposed of contaminated needles is perhaps the most underreported public-health danger in the United States. Every year, some 3 billion injections occur outside of health-care settings. According to The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and Human Retrovirology, 93% of the needles and syringes are simply thrown into ordinary trash receptacles. Do the math: That's about 8 million needles and syringes per day. So far as I am aware, public health officials--federal and state--have not begun to take the measure of the problem, much less do anything about it.
A few weeks ago, the matter got a bit of public attention when a third-grade student in Philadelphia stuck nineteen schoolmates with her mother's diabetic needle. Shortly after that episode, there was another incident in a school in Harlingen, Texas where thirty-five students were stuck. OSHA estimates that something approaching 800,000 healthcare workers are victims of needle-stick injuries each year, but beyond healthcare workers no one seems to be keeping track. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta had a task force on syringe disposal at one point, but it was terminated a few years ago.
One thing that ought to be done is this: Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance programs should cover the costs of safe home needle disposal. There are technologies available, such as the needle disintegrator manufactured by Safeguard Medical Technologies in Ohio, that enable diabetics and others who must regularly inject themselves outside of healthcare settings to dispose of their needles and syringes without putting others at risk. The cost per unit of these technologies is modest, especially considered in light of the public-health dangers of improper disposal.
Posted at 10:41 AM
HADN'T YOU NOTICED THE SIMILARITIES? [K. J. Lopez]
JERUSALEM - Officials expressed outrage over the weekend that the City of Barcelona would publish a teachers' training manual comparing "the wall of shame Israel is building in Palestine" to concentration camps.
Posted at 10:35 AM
IN WASHINGTON [Stefan Sharkansky]
The long-awaited trial in the Washington gubernatorial election contest opens today and is expected to last two weeks. The Petitioners' Trial Brief, which summarizes the Republicans' case for setting aside the election of Democrat Christine Gregoire, is posted here. The trial will be carried live by the state government cable channel, with online streaming video here, starting at 8:30 am Pacific each morning.
Trial Judge John Bridges has set a high bar for the Republicans to overturn the election. I won't predict how he'll rule or what the state supreme court would do in the inevitable appeal. I will only observe that an unfavorable ruling would be difficult for many Washingtonians to understand. A public opinion poll released last week, after months of damaging revelations about ballot-counting irregularties in Seattle's King County, shows that Washington voters believe 57% to 37% that Republican Dino Rossi was the legitimate winner of the election. Rossi's favorable rating is 56% to Gregoire's 32%.
Posted at 10:32 AM
WHO'S BENDING DOWN TO GIVE ME A RAINBOW? [K. J. Lopez]
Reservations to our Chicago fundraiser are going quickly. If you don’t want to be shut out, you may want to reserve your spot now.
Posted at 10:21 AM
THE NON-DESTRUCTIVE ALTERNATIVE IN CONGRESS THIS WEEK [K. J. Lopez]
There's a cord-blood bill members can embrace free of worries about destroying life--I write about it quickly here.
Posted at 10:15 AM
SCOTUS [K. J. Lopez]
just agreed to hear a New Hampshire parental-notification case. (FNC)
Posted at 10:13 AM
SOURCE CRITICISM ANALYSIS - LOTR [Jonah Goldberg ]
Some much needed revisionism.
Posted at 10:11 AM
DEAN'S GREATEST HITS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Dean's "Greatest Hits"
Posted at 10:07 AM
WFB ON GOD [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 10:07 AM
SITH--WITH OUT TEARS [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, I saw it last night. I've got a mountain of stuff going on, but I will try to columnize on the whole thing soonish.
But I should say, I think the Johns are wrong. Yes, it's got some clunkers, and some howlers, and some really infuriating plot flaws, but it is indisputably better than the first two prequels which were awful (though, like John P, I was first inclined to like Phantom too much but grew to despise it). Accounting for incredibly low expectations (for which I am very grateful to the Johns) I would say, over all, it's in the same ballpark as Return of the Jedi.
Bonus to the first NRO reader who can get get me footage of Vader's "Noooooo....!" scene with the Ranier Wolfcastle "Mendozzzzzzzaaaa!!!!" dubbed over it.
Posted at 10:04 AM
"JUDICIAL ACTIVISM" SHOULD BE OFF-LIMITS [K. J. Lopez]
Not as a practice, as a criticism.
Posted at 10:01 AM
FANTASIZING ABOUT LAURA BUSH AND CONDOMS [K. J. Lopez]
The H-Bomb really sounds like what I imagine a cocktail party at A.H.'s house would be like, what people would be saying there. Actress Christine Lahti rants there about the U.S. and Africa today. Wonder if she knows President Bush has been a Bono-endorsed leader on giving aid to Africa vis-a-vis AIDS. (And if she knows the First Lady has, in fact, been there as First Lady...even if she hasn't passed out condoms, thankfully.)
Posted at 09:57 AM
PAT TILLMAN'S PARENTS [John Podhoretz]
The Washington Post has a powerful piece today about the reaction of the parents of Pat Tillman, the Army Ranger who died in a horrible "friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan after quitting the NFL to fight for his country after September 11, to the military's investigation of Tillman's death. "The military let him down," his grieving mother says, because even though reports of the friendly-fire incident had gone all the way up the chain of command, his family wasn't informed of the fact until well after the much-publicized memorial service last April.
But it's not until rather late in the article that you realize Tillman's parents think it's possible their son's fellow Army Rangers may have killed him on purpose. His father, who is a lawyer and therefore presumably knows the legal difference been an accidental death and a purposeful killing, calls it a "botched homicide investigation."
Friendly fire is one of the least-understood aspects of warfare. According to the peerless military historian John Keegan, throughout history as many as 25 percent of all casualties in warfare can be attributed to it. The effort to find a positive image of Tillman's death might be attributable, as his parents believe, to the military's fear of recruiting problems if everybody knew the truth. It is just as likely that, as has always been the case in the reporting of friendly fire casualties, the military acted with an eye to comforting the Tillman family by telling a nicer story than was in fact the case.
Tillman's grieving parents want the soldiers who shot him punished, want the Army punished, want restitution for the tragic end of their son. Part of the horror of a tragedy, however, is that it is not a crime, and therefore there is no restitution possible.
Posted at 09:54 AM
DON'T CLONE MATT BLUNT IN CONGRESS [K. J. Lopez]
We give Missouri governor Matt Blunt some much-deserved grief today.
Posted at 09:45 AM
BROKEN WINDOWS [Mark Krikorian]
The immigration service announced the arrest of dozens of illegal immigrants at power plants, refineries, etc. as part of what the DHS internally calls the “critical infrastructure initiative.” That’s all well and good, but the problem is that when you focus only on big crimes, you’re never going to get your arms around the problem. You need to do what Giuliani did in New York – go after all offenders, because when you arrest the subway turnstile-jumpers and the public urinators you accomplish two things: first, you find all kinds of serious bad guys, because that kind of person isn’t likely to be especially meticulous about paying the subway fare or whatever; and second, you restore a sense of order that causes people to think twice about breaking the law in the first place. In other words, the feds are always going to playing catch-up on immigration enforcement if all they’re doing is going after alien smugglers and alien rapists and illegals working at nuclear power plants, rather than going after immigration violations across the board.
Posted at 09:43 AM
"STUCK IN NEUTRAL" [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Though legal and state-funded, cloning in California is in a holding pattern at the moment—thankfully. Some scientists are furious at politicians who are holding it up—and a president who would ban it federally (if only there were the votes in the Senate…).
Posted at 09:41 AM
SLAVES TO P.C. [Roger Clegg]
Interesting article in the Washington Post on Saturday about the casting of a black student to play Huck and a white student to play Jim in a high-school play. The organization licensing the rights to the musical objected: “To ignore the racial component of Huck Finn does a disservice to the story” and “The ethnicity of the characters of Huckleberry Finn and Jim cannot be questioned.”
The p.c. odor here is unmistakable, doncha think?: Just as we were told, “It’s a black thing—you wouldn’t understand,” so we are being told now that it is presumptuous for anyone but an African American to wear the mantle of ex-slave. This victimhood is too valuable to share. How can we preserve identity politics if identities are not jealously guarded? And whites, conversely, but never be allowed to shed their identities as slaveholders and oppressors.
Of course, had a black student been told that he could play only a slave and was not eligible to star, then there really would have been a furor (and rightly so). Sometimes you just can’t win.
Posted at 09:40 AM
MORE THAN SUICIDE BOMBINGS [K. J. Lopez]
More good news from Iraq.
Posted at 09:31 AM
FEISTY LAURA [Tim Graham]
The First Lady submitted to interviews on all three network morning shows today, but I was most surprised to hear her tell Katie Couric that while everyone despairs over prisoner abuse, the coverage has been "extreme." That's exactly right. It's always galling to see the media profess worry over how inflammatory images of abuse could inflame the Muslim world, and then says "and now, let's show them for the 150th time."
Posted at 09:30 AM
THIS IS NATIONAL REVIEW [K. J. Lopez]
The new cover:
And your fortnightly reminder: You can subscribe to NR Digital only here. You can subscribe to the paper version, which includes digital access, here.
Posted at 09:20 AM
CHEESE-EATING SURRENDER MONKEYS--THEY'RE BIASED TOO! [Stanley Kurtz]
Outrageous media bias balanced by the Internet–in France.
Posted at 09:20 AM
PRINCETON PROTESTER/REPORTER [Tim Graham]
On Saturday, Powerline noticed the New York Times corrections section included the note that a student stringer at Princeton they used to report on a "Filibuster Frist" protest on campus had actually participated in the Frist-bashing event. The story itself, by Elizabeth Landau, stressed the supposedly nonpartisan nature of the event, even though a quick look at FilibusterFrist.com showed the event featured Democratic politicians like Rep. Rush Holt. For more on the Princeton stringer story, see the TimesWatch takedown here.
Posted at 09:18 AM
GOOD NEWS [Stanley Kurtz]
How are things going in the Middle East? According to Fouad Ajami, very well indeed, thanks to George W. Bush. Ajami just spent four weeks in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq. He calls them, “Bush Country.” (There may be more Red States than I realized.) I can see a lot of ways for things to go wrong, but this is a powerful story.
Posted at 09:17 AM
THOR [Stanley Kurtz]
Finally, a clergyman even secular liberals can love.
Posted at 09:17 AM
RED STARS [Stanley Kurtz]
Yesterday I dipped into Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left, by Ronald Radosh and Allis Radosh. This is a fascinating and important book. The Radoshes explode the myth of the Hollywood blacklist, as told by leftist chroniclers in countless films and memoirs. Not that the Radoshes excuse the blacklist itself–far from it. But using new evidence, the Radoshes expose the truth about Hollywood’s Communists–from their loyalty to the Soviet Union, to their use of liberal front organizations to disguise their activities.
While Hubert Humphrey was busy purging the communists from Minnesota’s Democratic-Farm-Labor Party http://www.nationalreview.com/kurtz/kurtz200412090827.asp communists taking orders from Moscow were busy duping America’s biggest stars into fronting for them in Hollywood. From committed communists to liberal dupes, an incredible number of stars make cameo appearances in this book: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Ed Sullivan, Danny Kaye, Ira Gershwin, Katherine Hepburn, Artie Shaw, Gypsy Rose Lee, Bert Lahr, Ethel Merman, Myna Loy, and on and on. Then there’s the fascinating follow-up material on today’s Hollywood left.
I was riveted by the story of how liberal dupe Ronald Reagan woke up and, with the help of James Roosevelt and Olivia de Havilland, devised a plan to smoke out the Communists who’d been using them as a front. The communist’s goal was to advance Soviet interests by having liberals like De Havilland and Reagan condemn Truman’s Cold War foreign policy as “incipient fascism.” The Communists claimed to want a foreign policy that promoted democracy. But what they meant by democracy was Communism. (In private they’d say, ” a two party system is in no way necessary or even desirable for democracy.”) When Reagan caught on, he proposed a resolution affirming belief in (American-style) democracy and opposition to Communism. Then all hell broke loose. If you remember, “I paid for this microphone,” this confrontation was a whole lot better.
The story of the Hollywood Left is not the black and white tale of right wing evil we’ve been fed for years. There’s blame enough to go around on all sides, but we’ve only heard one version of the story so far. This book is a very important corrective. Now the rise of an alternative media is beginning to change our view of history. With conservative publishers like Encounter, and the blogosphere to inform, it’s no longer possible for the New York Times to kill a conservative book with a bad review. If you want the truth about the Hollywood Left, Red Star Over Hollywood is for you.
Posted at 09:15 AM
READ HARPER'S(SERIOUSLY) [Stanley Kurtz]
It’s a cold day in May when I have anything good to say about Harper’s magazine. (Here’s what I thought of their last issue.) But it’s a bit chilly, and I do have something good to say. The just-released June issue of Harper’s has a must-read symposium on the coming entitlement crisis. The panel features a stellar cast. On the conservative side, we have Glenn Hubbard, head of the Council of Economic Advisors during President George W. Bush’s first term. Speaking for the left, we have Paul Krugman. And from the economic center, there’s Pete Peterson, former Nixon Secretary of Commerce, and deficit hawk extraordinaire. This is a superb debate--an honest discussion of the issues that offers a true picture of the basic alternatives. Outrageous as Harper’s often is, I think it’s provided a real service with this symposium.
After reading this debate, the reason for the Democrats’ silence on Social Security is clear. The only alternative to the President’s plan is a massive tax increase. If we were honestly debating the entitlement crisis, the Democrats would be out there asking for a huge tax hike, a single payer system of national health insurance, and health care rationing. Naturally, the Democrats don’t want to do that. So instead they pretend the president is the bad guy for telling the truth about the need to curb the out-of-control growth of benefits.
Among other things, this symposium makes it clear that an economic crisis (“hard landing”) is the key issue. It isn’t just a question of when Social Security goes into the red. What matters is what we do now to give the markets confidence in what is likely to be a difficult future. If we don’t fix Social Security now, politics is going to make it impossible to do anything until the possible second term of the new president. The markets could get spooked long before then by entitlement-driven deficits and political gridlock.
There’s a lot more here. The most interesting turn is when Hubbard catches Krugman in a major flip. Throughout the symposium, Krugman accepts the basic idea that Social Security has a serious problem that needs to be addressed in some form. When Hubbard points this out, Krugman denies it, and does his best to justify the Democrats’ current stonewall tactics.
Well, the Social Security stonewall by congressional Democrats and the left-punditariat is shameful, as this symposium shows. Fortunately, the Harper’s story also shows that the stone wall is cracking. Between the Diamond-Orszag plan the Wexler proposal, and now the Harper’s symposium, it’s clear that there is a serious Social Security problem--and equally clear that the Democrats are someday going to try to deal with it through an unprecedented tax hike.
Posted at 09:12 AM
N.K. [Stanley Kurtz]
We’re living out a North Korea policy nightmare. Fareed Zakaria blames the Bush administration. I don’t. Before criticizing him, let’s first acknowledge that it’s all-to-easy to knock Zakaria’s proposed solution to the North Korea crisis. That’s because there is no good solution to the North Korea crisis. But this is exactly what’s wrong with Zakaria’s piece. Zakaria acts as though the Bush administration can simply choose one of two plausible policy options, and then get down to work. Unfortunately, the administration is dithering because the hawkish and dovish alternatives are both awful.
China has not been willing to help us out by putting economic pressure on the North Koreans. Zakaria thinks we could move the Chinese in our direction if only we were willing to negotiate directly with the North. Presumably, Zakaria wants us to trade security guarantees for North Korean disarmament. But President Clinton tried that and failed. Zakaria even repeats the old line that we can afford to deal with the North because the government is destined to fall. That’s what the Clintonites said. Yet Clinton’s long gone and the Korean regime is still here.
Zakaria acknowledges that some Chinese would actually like to see North Korea get nukes. So much the better to keep the U.S. in check, think these Chinese hawks. Supposedly, these unreconstructed Third World revolutionaries are now a minority among the Chinese leadership. I’m not so sure. Whatever the Chinese say, their refusal to seriously pressure the Koreans indicates that the old revolutionary consciousness is a lot more alive than the Chinese are letting on.
Instead of pressuring Kim Jong Il to give up his nukes (something he’ll never do), why don’t the Chinese try to change NK’s regime? Why don’t the Chinese install a Korean regime friendly to China, yet also willing to de-nuclearize. Granted, this would be tough for even the Chinese to pull off. Chinese-managed regime change could backfire, creating more instability, not less. Still, there are probably ways for the Chinese to change the Korean regime. Who knows, they may be trying to do it right now.
In any case, this Korea problem is important in more ways than one. It could easily lead to nuclear terror in the U.S. It could also provoke rapid nuclearization in all of East Asia. And how much help China offers us with the Koreans may be the best indication of how far this rapidly rising power can be trusted. Last but not least, thank goodness Saddam is out of power and safely in jail. He would have been first in line at North Korea’s nuclear supermarket.
Posted at 09:08 AM
"ALL ATHEIST WEEKEND" [K. J. Lopez ]
A stereotypical San Fran scene.
Posted at 09:02 AM
IF YOU'RE, SAY, A CONGRESSIONAL AIDE WORKING ON STEM-CELL RESEARCH THIS WEEK [K. J. Lopez ]
You might find this and this useful.
Posted at 09:01 AM
GONZALES ON OWEN [K. J. Lopez]
The Justice Department issues a clarification letter to Frist and Reid.
Posted at 08:55 AM
OKRENT'S LOGIC [Jonah Goldberg]
I liked the column and good for him in writing what he did, but I found this graf a bit odd:
No one deserves the personal vituperation that regularly comes Dowd's way, and some of Krugman's enemies are every bit as ideological (and consequently unfair) as he is. But that doesn't mean that their boss, publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., shouldn't hold his columnists to higher standards.
Both of these amount to something like a non-denial denial defense. So Dowd doesn't deserve the personal viturperation that regularly comes her was because she falls into that subset of people we call "people." Okay, but that leaves room for a lot of non-personal vituperation that she may only irregularly receive.
And as for Krugman, Okrent merely says that some of his critics are as ideological as he is and therefore as bad as he is. While I reject the notion that ideology and unfairness go hand-in-hand, Okrent is still saying that Krugman's as bad as the crazies who criticize him. I'll take that.
Posted at 08:52 AM
OKRENT'S PARTING SHOT [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
He accuses Krugman and Dowd by name as he walks out the door as the NYTimes "public editor." Is it too dog bites man for comment? Might be.
Posted at 08:42 AM
MOST TELLING MISSTATEMENT EVER [John Podhoretz]
Howard Dean on "Meet the Press": " The thing that really bothered me the most, which the 9-11 Commission said also wasn’t true, is the insinuation that the president continues to make to this day that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States. That is false." (Hat tip: Gerry Daly.
Posted at 08:21 AM
I DON'T REMEMBER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
David Broder being this enthused about "bipartisanship" when the issue was bankruptcy reform.
Posted at 08:12 AM
"ON THE RIGHT OF THE SENATE TO GOVERN ITSELF" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Senator Jon Kyl made an excellent speech on the judicial-filibuster controversy last week. (Note that Kyl's case for reform, and his description of how reform would happen, depends at no point on the claim that the filibustering of judges is unconstitutional. People with different views about that claim can support the reform.)
Posted at 08:07 AM
THE DAY AMERICA DIED" [K. J. Lopez]
Please tell me that's a PhotoShop job.
Posted at 07:47 AM
Sunday, May 22, 2005
THE QUEEN, GOD BLESS 'ER [Andrew Stuttaford]
Peter, don’t get me wrong. By and large the Queen does her best, often impressively so, but I find it extraordinary that the same sense of duty that prompted her to boycott her oldest son’s recent wedding leads her to attend an event that is an insult to the memory of sailors who died fighting, at least in part, for her ancestors.
The Queen should give this grotesque and insulting charade a miss.
Prince Harry, a young man with an appropriately hazy understanding of history, would, I believe, be an ideal replacement.
Posted at 11:59 PM
NEIN. NEE, NON [Andrew Stuttaford]
Peter, the German people are not being allowed to vote on this question (the ‘nein’ in my headline referred to the North Rhine Westphalia election as yet another example of the increasing discontent on the continent) as their rulers believe that, based on the Third Reich, Germans are forever unable to decide such matters by referendum. You raise, however, two very important points:
(1) Do the no votes from some countries count for more than others? Disgracefully, it seems so. We are told that the French vote matters, but the Dutch referendum is an obstacle that can somehow be overcome, ignored or otherwise be dealt with.
(2) Could we be headed for some sort of crisis within the EU? I’m generally of the view that most ‘crises’ are the creation of overexcited journalists and ambitious politicians and that, in reality, they can generally be dealt with by that most conservative of approaches – muddling through. That said, I think that we may be heading towards the real thing in Europe at the moment.
Lets take a look. If the French vote ‘no’ (which I hope they do) they will be taking the right decision for, very largely, the wrong reasons. It will be a rejection as much of economic liberalism and les Anglo-Saxons as of European integration. The crowning irresponsibility of the EU’s elite is the way that they have allowed necessary free market reforms to be contaminated by the creation of their unnecessary and unwanted superstate.
A Dutch no, meanwhile, will primarily be a rejection of the way that the country has been run into the ground - and their currency trashed - for no good reason other (again) than the mad belief that a superstate is necessary if Europe is to avoid a return to 1940.
Over in Germany, a profoundly irresponsible, unpopular and destructive government will, after today’s provincial election results now likely swing sharply to the left, the last thing the country needs, in an attempt to avoid the electoral annihilation it so richly deserves. The country’s economic problems will remain unaddressed – and the extent to which the introduction of the Euro, ill-judged, ill-planned and economically illiterate, has devastated the country will be glossed over.
Moving to the South, both Italy and Portugal are facing enormous structural problems, with, after the introduction of the Euro, few ways to solve them.
Do I think that people over here are looking enough at all this? No.
Do I think that the administration should be doing or saying anything? No, it would be counterproductive.
Do I think that Condi Rice’s supportive comments on the draft ‘constitution’ reveal an ignorance so profound and an imagination so shallow that I am at a loss to understand why she has the job she has? Yes.
Posted at 11:56 PM
DEEP THOUGHTS... [Andrew Stuttaford]
…from Chris Martin of Coldplay
Tell that, Chris, to Shaima Rezayee.
Meanwhile the New York Post (Page Six, what else?) reports that Martin was seen celebrating his daughter’s (her name is Apple, poor mite) first birthday party at Moby’s restaurant on the Lower East Side. The luckless child was being fed vegan chocolate cheesecake.
The only consolation is the absolute certainty that one day Apple will change her name to something incredibly staid – and will feast all day on veal chops, pate de foie gras and the eggs of endangered birds.
Posted at 11:55 PM
DESPERATE SCHROEDER [Andrew Stuttaford]
Schroeder loses in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Deutsche Welle has more:
“The loss of NRW could also force Schröder to abandon plans to cut the basic corporate tax rate to 19 percent from 25 percent, a move designed to boost growth but strongly opposed by the left. An extension of the minimum wage to all sectors of the economy and tighter controls on hedge funds are other likely outcomes. SPD party leader Franz Müntefering has been telegraphing the possible return to the left for weeks, launching a scathing attack on "pure capitalism" and likening some financial investors to "locusts". But the leftist rhetoric has come to late to save the state for the SPD. The state had long been an SPD stronghold dominated by the coal and steel industry but NRW has fallen on hard times. Unemployment in NRW, a state in which one in five Germans live, surpassed the one million mark to a post-war high this year. The cause of this, disgruntled residents say, is down to Schröder's controversial labor market reforms, which include jobless benefit cuts.”
And watch for this…
‘The election result has ominous implications for the future of SPD and Greens cooperation as well as the future of the government. NRW was the last German state ruled by the Red-Green coalition and the result leaves the increasingly tense federal partnership in Berlin as the final alliance between the two parties.”
Somewhat counter-intuitively, many Greens are more economically liberal than their coalition partners in the SPD.
It looks like a rough ride ahead in Germany. The last time Schroeder was faced with the danger of election defeat he descended into the gutter for crude anti-Americanism of the worst type. That worked. I’d expect free enterprise to be in for similar treatment this time around.
Posted at 11:54 PM
DESPERATE JACQUES [Andrew Stuttaford]
“AMONG the Wayampi Indians it is not uncommon for children to give birth at 10 and become grandparents in their twenties. They hunt and fish in red loincloths. Their favourite food is smoked alligator. They are also among Europe’s most civic-minded citizens…Britain has the Pitcairn islands and the Dutch have West Indian Curaçao, but these cannot compete with the impressive French portfolio of dominions around the globe from the Pacific to the Amazon jungle. Their 1.4m voters could swing the result in the closely fought May 29 French referendum on the European Union’s constitution and determine the future of Europe, not to mention influence the timing of Tony Blair’s departure from No 10. The Wayampi do not know him but excitement was building last week at the prospect of playing their part in the politics of the palan isi lena, or the “land of the white man”, as Europe is known. Many speak only rudimentary French and have little understanding of qualified majority voting, but an election is always a welcome occasion for a gathering in this alligator-infested corner of French Guiana in South America."
EU money is pouring into the lands of the Wayampi and France's other overseas territories.
Draw your own conclusions.
Posted at 11:54 PM
DESPERATE LOUSEWIES [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the Independent:
.'This vote is just about the European constitution," pleads Lousewies van der Laan, alone in the studio with a television camera. The window behind her frames the Dutch parliament in The Hague; the desk in front conceals her blue jeans. "It's not about whether to allow Turkey to join the EU, or whether we should abandon the euro and get the guilder back.As one of the more photogenic and articulate MPs backing a "yes" vote in the Dutch referendum on the constitution next week, Ms van der Laan, 39, is much in demand to explain why the Netherlands, one of the six founding members of the European Community should not turn its back on its creation.”
Well, Lousewies, did you let the Dutch people vote on whether to adopt the Euro?
No you didn’t.
Well, Lousewies, do you have any plans to let the Dutch people vote on whether to admit Turkey to the EU?
No, you don’t.
So, stop blaming the Dutch people if they take the chance now to say what they think about the mess that you and yours have made of their country.
Posted at 11:53 PM
THE SILENCE OF GEORGE W. BUSH [Andrew Stuttaford]
No apologies for reproducing this Washington Post editorial in full:
”PRESIDENT BUSH has publicly cited Saudi Arabia's local and limited council elections as evidence that the kingdom is joining a regional shift toward greater political freedom. Better that he talk about Ali Dumaini, Matrouk Faleh and Abdullah Hamed, three intellectuals who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms last Sunday for advocating liberal democracy. Sadly, their trial was a clearer signal about where Saudi Arabia is headed than was the local balloting trumpeted by the president.
“The three men, a poet and two professors, were arrested along with 10 others in March 2004, after they joined in circulating an independent petition calling for a peaceful transition by Saudi Arabia to constitutional democracy. Mr. Dumaini, who received the stiffest sentence of nine years, further offended his captors by describing the Saudi educational system and Wahhabi religious ideology as causes of extremism -- an observation that by now is obvious to anyone following the stream of Saudi recruits for extremist causes ranging from the Sept. 11 attacks to the Iraqi insurgency. Ten of the dissidents were released after they signed pledges not to make further public statements or talk to the foreign press. When the others bravely refused, they were put on trial.
“The trial process simply served to demonstrate why the intellectuals' original dissent was justified. One open session was held last August; when supporters of the accused appeared there, the judge closed all subsequent sessions. Several lawyers for the defense were disqualified, and one was himself arrested after he refused to keep quiet. Inside the court, prosecutors accused the intellectuals of such crimes as "disobeying rulers" and speaking to foreign journalists.
“In a country where al Qaeda has been active and extremist groups recruit young men for suicide attacks against Iraqi and American soldiers, these would seem to be fairly minor offenses. Yet a Saudi government that has seen fit to pardon associates of al Qaeda proposes to imprison three intellectuals for six, seven and nine years for suggesting that a democratic rule of law gradually replace the power monopoly of the Saudi royal family. The message to society is clear: no independent reform movements, however small or moderate, will be tolerated; any change in Saudi Arabia will be dictated from above.
“The Bush administration's response to this outrage has been disappointingly muted. On Wednesday the State Department belatedly declared itself "troubled by the outcome" of the case, adding with almost comical understatement that the trials "appear to have been conducted in a somewhat irregular fashion." Mr. Bush himself has been silent. That doesn't sound like the president who, in his last inaugural address, promised "democratic reformers facing repression" that "when you stand for your liberty we will stand with you." If he is to keep faith with those words, Mr. Bush should stand up for Ali Dumaini, Matrouk Faleh and Abdullah.”
Well, Mr. President, how about it?
Posted at 11:53 PM
MY WIFE AND I ARE NOT ALONE [Peter Robinson]
From a reader:
My wife and I also watched "Sideways" last night. While I enjoyed it slightly more than you did, you’re right, the people in it were uniformly wretched. It’s like the Kevin Spacey character from “American Beauty” went on a road-trip.
Posted at 11:30 PM
RE: CAPITAL OF THE WORLD [Peter Robinson]
Your argument that a thousand years ago Baghdad was a city of greater eminence than Kaifeng strikes me as unanswerable, Derb. And anyway, eminence in the past has little enough bearing on eminence in the future, as witness Percy Bysshe Shelley’s meditation on Luxor, in Ozymandias, or, as we would name him today, Rameses II. (Any excuse to work poetry into the Corner, especially if by a poet on whose excellence Derb and I—and even Rick Broohiser—ought to be able to agree.)
Posted at 11:29 PM
THE SOURCE OF ALL THOSE KORAN-FLUSHING ALLEGATIONS? [Rich Lowry]
From Newsweek's Koran follow-up: "In light of the controversy, one of these incidents bears special notice. Last week, NEWSWEEK interviewed Command Sgt. John VanNatta, who served as the prison's warden from October 2002 to the fall of 2003. VanNatta recounted that in 2002, the inmates suddenly started yelling that the guards had thrown a Qur'an on or near an Asian-style squat toilet. The guards found an inmate who admitted that he had dropped his Qur'an near his toilet. According to VanNatta, the inmate then was taken cell to cell to explain this to other detainees to quell the unrest. But the incident could partly account for the multiple allegations among detainees, including one by a released British detainee in a lawsuit that claims that guards flushed Qur'ans down toilets."
Also, note these alleged incidents of mistreatment, all markedly minor: "In fewer than a dozen log entries from the 31,000 documents reviewed so far, said Di Rita, there is a mention of detainees' complaining that guards or interrogators mishandled their Qur'ans. In one case, a female guard allegedly knocked a Qur'an from its pouch onto the detainee's bed. In another alleged case, said Di Rita, detainees became upset after two MPs, looking for contraband, felt the pouch containing a prisoner's Qur'an. While questioning a detainee, an interrogator allegedly put a Qur'an on top of a TV set, took it off when the detainee complained, then put it back on. In another alleged instance, guards somehow sprayed water on a detainee's Qur'an. This handful of alleged cases came out of thousands of daily interactions between guards and prisoners, said Di Rita. None has been substantiated yet, he said."
Posted at 09:43 PM
RE: KORAN FLUSHING EQUALS MASS MURDER [Andy McCarthy]
A brave Muslim student in London responds to one of the questions I asked yesterday (name withheld):
You ask, "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?"A glimmer of hope but, depressingly, only a glimmer.
Posted at 08:38 PM
WASHINGTON GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION [Peter Kirsanow]
The Republican contest of last November's State of Washington governor's election goes to trial on Monday.Republican candidate Dino Rossi had initially "won" the election by a margin of 261 votes--out of 2.9 million cast--over Democrat Christine Gregoire. But then thousands of ballots began showing up in the oddest places (most of these odd places happened to be in Democrat strongholds) and after a machine recount, Rossi's lead narrowed to just 42 votes. More ballots kept showing up. A hand recount followed and Gregoire prevailed by 129 votes
The GOP's contest petition maintains that the election should be set aside and a new one conducted because of alleged errors, omissions and misconduct on the part of election officials, including the counting of numerous illegal votes,that made it impossible to determine who won the election. Local media has uncovered scores of votes cast by the dead, illegal aliens and felons.The petition also cites equal protection arguments based on a lack of uniform vote counting standards from county to county.
Nonetheless,the Republicans have a tough job. Unless they can establish outright fraud, the election won't be overturned at the trial court level unless Petitioners can establish that subtraction of the invalid votes would drain enough votes from Gregoire's total that Rossi ends up with the higher total.They will probably try to do this by statistical modeling-- but it's unclear whether that will satisfy petitioner's burden under state law.
This will be very interesting. Expect the losing party to take it to the Washington state supreme court.
Posted at 08:29 PM
RE: NEE, NON, NEIN [Peter Robinson]
For Andrew, two questions: 1. If the French and Germans both vote "yes" but the Dutch vote "no," what will happen? We've been told over and over that the constitution must be adopted unanimously--that is, by every member nation of the EU--before it will go into effect. Is it conceivable, though, that, should they squeak yes votes from their own people, the French and German ruling elites will permit their grand plans to be impeded by the grumpy denizens of a little country such as the Netherlands?
2. If by contrast either the French or the Germans vote "no," what will happen then? Wouldn't a "no" vote by either country prove devastating to the entire scheme to create a United States of Europe? Isn't it possible, in other words, that we stand less than a month from the irretrievable crack-up of the vision that has absorbed the best energies of the continental elites for some four decades? Has Europe itself absorbed that possibility? Has anyone in this country?
Posted at 08:27 PM
WHERE IS YOUR SENSE OF CHIVALRY, SIR? [Peter Robinson]
Andrew, surely you're being too hard on the Queen? The poor woman turns 80 in a matter of months, was trained according to a regimen in which doing her duty meant going wherevery she was told to go without complaint, and has now spent over half a century doing that duty, punticilously and selflessly, without ever permitting as much as a single undignified word to escape her lips.
Assert a few royal prerogatives? It's late in the day for that. But if you want to make the argument, surely the place to start isn't with a complaint that HM will be attending a silly Trafalgar reenactment but with the suggestion that during the next speech from the throne she roll her eyes each time she comes to a passage in praise of socialism.
Posted at 08:26 PM
CROSSWISE [Peter Robinson]
On Saturday night we watched Sideways. Our conclusion? Tedious and depressing from the beginning to the end. To the end? Yes, we watched it every minute, waiting, since we'd heard the film so widely praised, for some patch of good acting, or some truly amusing scene. None came. How did this movie develop such a wide and high reputation? John Pod, can you explain?
Posted at 08:24 PM
CAPITAL OF THE WORLD [John Derbyshire]
Nicholas Kristof has a gush piece about China in today's NYT. Quote: "Kaifeng, an ancient city along the mud-clogged Yellow River, was by far the most important place in the world in [the year A.D.] 1000."
That is highly debatable, though I suppose it depends on what you mean by "important." Culturally speaking, and in hindsight, Constantinople and Baghdad are surely better candidates, so far as the preservation & transmission of knowledge from the ancient Mediterranean civilizations is concerned. It is on that knowledge the most of the modern world -- including modern China -- is built.
Even just in the context of A.D. 1000, commerically and culturally, I think Baghdad has a better claim. As the western terminus of the Silk Route, it was where all civilizations -- Chinese, Indian, Moslem, Christian -- met, and a short run to the sea port at Antioch, whence trade routes went direct to Venice, Constantinople, Cairo and Cordova.
It's salutary to be reminded of the ephemeral nature of all terrestrial forms of supremacy, but I think Kristof has his facts on this one verpfuscht.
Posted at 08:20 PM
INTELLIGENT DESIGN [John Derbyshire]
Robert McHenry has a nice piece about I.D. on Tech Central Station:
Sample: "Then there is the simple fact that the 'theory' of ID is no theory at all, not in the sense that the word is used in science. It is not based on the best available evidence; it enables no predictions; and it is thus not testable. It is, at best, a paltry substitute myth that incorporates some of what actual science has learned or theorized but spurns not only scientific rigor but any intention to perform science. It is not, as claimed, a legitimate criticism of a scientific theory but a criticism of having such a theory at all. No less than the Creation Scientists, and no less than dear Bishop Wilberforce in 1860, though far less forthrightly, the proponents of ID wish to draw an arbitrary line and use the force of the state to declare that science shall not cross it."
NB to readers: If you want to respond to the piece, please respond to the feedback forum provided by TCS at the bottom of the article, not to me. I have given up reading emails about I.D. Same applies, btw, to emails about flying saucers, Martian canals, the hollow earth, Atlantis, telepathy, dianetics, unicorns, phrenology, astrology, orgonomy, alien abductions, Bridey Murphy, the location of Noah's ark, the fate of the Marie Celeste's crew, and whether or not the bishops of the Church of England should open Joanna Southcott's box. I do not wish to know any more than I currently know about any of these topics. If you believe in one, many, or all of them, I'm fine with it, and wish you joy of your belief -- just don't try to enlist me. And please don't try to dump any of this stuff into my kids' school science curriculum.
Posted at 08:19 PM
SHAIMA REZAYEE, R.I.P. [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here via the London Times is a horrific story that highlights, once again, the nature of the challenge that the West faces – and yet seems pathetically unwilling to identify for what it is:
“ SHAIMA REZAYEE was the face of a new generation of young Afghan women: she discarded her shalwar kameez and burkha for Western clothes and a glamorous job as a television presenter on Kabul’s answer to MTV. But two months ago her bosses were forced to dismiss Ms Rezayee, 24, under pressure from conservative mullahs who were disgusted by the “unIslamic values” of her music show. This week she paid for her unconventional choices with her life: she was shot dead in her home by an unknown assailant. “
Roughly half of the population of the Muslim world is under the age of 25. It’s time for the West to spend a little less time appeasing all the clerics, all the mullahs, and all the other aged, benighted irreconcilables and a little more time on helping their young win some of the freedom to which they ought to become entitled.
Posted at 04:36 PM
MAD [Cliff May]
Mutually Assured Destruction and “credible deterrence” were pillars of America’s national security strategy during the Cold War. Today, those pillars have to be seen as shaky and in need of replacement. My Scripps Howard column on this question is here.
Posted at 04:35 PM
ENGLAND EXPECTS...AND WILL BE DISAPPOINTED [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the London Sunday Times
“ADMIRAL NELSON saw off the mighty Franco-Spanish fleet at the battle of Trafalgar but 200 years on, he has been sunk by a wave of political correctness. Organisers of a re-enactment to mark the bicentenary of the battle next month have decided it should be between “a Red Fleet and a Blue Fleet” not British and French/Spanish forces.”
And people wonder why children don’t know anything about history these days.
I note that, bringing further embarrassment to her moth-eaten, tatty and absurd family, the Queen is showing up to this charade.
She should be ashamed of herself.
Posted at 04:34 PM
PETTY...OR NOT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, to be clear, I quite agree with you that the future of marriage is no petty matter, but lets also be clear that I am quite at a loss to understand how giving some legal status to the relationships of a tiny minority of a tiny minority will have any impact on an institution that has endured – in one form or another – for thousands of years.
But that’s a discussion for another time. What I thought – and think – was petty was to do nothing to make it easier for people to visit or otherwise help their sick or dying companions.
To be fair, however, one reader pointed out this to me:
“Ehrlich said he agreed with the intent of the bill that would create a registry for partners but thought the version passed by the General Assembly was flawed. He said he would work with the legislature in the next session to create a registry of advance directives and other legal documents to achieve the bill's aims.”
Get working, Governor.
Posted at 04:34 PM
WHY WON'T DEMS LET GOP GO ON RECORD AND VOTE ON "EXTREMISTS" [K. J. Lopez]
Because they're not extremists. Here's Wendy Long today in the Philly Inquirer:
When it comes to judges, Democrat Sens. Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahy, John Kerry, John Edwards, Harry Reid and company just won't budge.
Posted at 11:43 AM
RE: PETTY [K. J. Lopez]
Andrew, Agree or disagree, concerns about the future of marriage in America aren't "petty." And I highlight a part of the Post piece you didn't:
He said, however, that the bill's requirement that couples register as life partners "will open the door to undermine the sanctity of traditional marriage."
Posted at 11:39 AM
“PARENTS” [K. J. Lopez ]
Couldn’t help but notice Romney used “parents” to describe the owners (for lack of a better word—he used the better word) of frozen embryos in fertility clinics. He also talked about embryo adoption—like no one talks about embryo adoption (not no one, but how often on the Sunday morning shows, on network TV). His position is clearly wanting to make the most of an already unfortunate situation…but when you realize these people are, in fact, parents…it’s hard to see destroying an embryo as an option.
Posted at 10:41 AM
DISAPPOINTING FOX [K. J. Lopez ]
Fox News Sunday just had a stem-cell/cloning segment. Boomer Esiason and Mitt Romney were both on. Esiason taking comfort in the South Korean news this week, Romney with the opposite reaction (and making a good case about ethical lines in the sand—no creating life to destroy life). Romney did a great job articulating an anti-cloning position, but my beef with Fox is: both support using “surplus” embryos for medical research. Could we have had someone making the case against the bill coming up in Congress this week?
Posted at 10:39 AM
'08 AND STEM CELLS [K. J. Lopez]
Senator George Allen just basically came out for the legislation easing embryonic-stem-cell restricitions on This Week. Use "surplus" embryos from IVF clinics if you need to, don't create new embryos. That's the Mitt Romney position, just for the '08 record, with Romney understanding the general issue better (and has done some serious heavy lifting for the anti-cloning side), if a few minutes on This Week with Senator Allen is any indication.
On this Castle, etc., legislation, I think, among other things (like it is wrong to kill embryos), that the deeper the federal government gets into this world of seeing embryos as, in fact, a mere mass of cells that can be researched on, the harder it's going to be to stop the rest of what "science" and "medical progress" offers next.
Posted at 09:27 AM