SHOULD WE BE SURPRISED?: [Rich Lowry]
Here's a great Rowan Scarborough scoop:"Secretary of State Colin Powell has asked President Bush to reverse the president's position on al Qaeda and Taliban detainees and declare them prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. A four-page internal White House memorandum obtained yesterday by The Washington Times shows that Mr. Powell made the request and that the president's National Security Council plans to meet on the matter Monday morning." That we would treat al Qaeda as legit POWs is a travesty. It would set the precedent that terrorism is an acceptable form of warfare--a huge victory for the bad guys. But, then again, what does it matter if we're just going to send these guys home anyway? Between this, and the possible Saudi request to give us the boot, Osama bin Laden is having a bit of a comeback. The best weapon that the U.S. has always had in this war is moral and intellectual clarity. To lose it at such an early juncture, in the face of some European bullying/preening and talk-show bluster, would simply be devastating.
Posted 6:22 PM | [Link]
NOT TALIB EITHER: [Rich Lowry] Hey, Rod. A reader raises an excellent point about Walker terminology: "Everyone calls him the American Taliban (talib) and this is incorrect. By his own admission he was on the Line of Control in Pakistani Kashmir shooting at Indian soldiers and increasing tensions in a volatile, nuclear-armed region. The Taliban were not doing this, they were terrorizing their own nation, al Qaeda was. Why is every other non indigenous fighter found in Afghanistan an al Qaeda but Johnny boy is called Taliban?" (I had posted this earlier, but for some reason it disappeared--part of my pattern of double-, partial-, and generally incompetent posting. Kathryn Lopez must be having a heart attack.)
Posted 5:59 PM | [Link]
KRUGMAN WRONG? IS IT POSSIBLE?: [Rich Lowry]
I hope everyone noticed that today Paul Krugman had to go back and correct part of his Larry Kudlow slam from yesterday. He can't even get his smears right.
Posted 5:49 PM | [Link]
WACK WIZARD: [Rod Dreher] My wife is pushing the boy in a stroller down a Brooklyn street, near a movie theater where rowdy teenagers congregate on weekends and sometimes intimidate pedestrians. A matinee has just let out, and two 14-year-old gangsta-looking boys are walking straight for her, talking loudly to each other and gesturing wildly. Wife moves the stroller to the side to let the menacing hip-hoppers pass. As they draw even with her, she catches one saying to the other: "Man, what was Gandalf *thinking*!?!"
Posted 4:49 PM | [Link]
SATURDAY RECOMMENDATION I: [Jonah Goldberg]
Today's Washington Post has an excellent primer on why Arab countries are such an economic mess and how this exacerbates their cultural troubles. After describing the bureaucratic, political, and economic idiocy and corruption of Arab states, particularly Egypt, the Post's Paul Blustein offers this eye-opener:
"The result is a private sector that falls woefully short of the vitality needed to employ a burgeoning population. One statistic vividly highlights the feebleness of industry in this part of the world: Aside from oil, exports from the Middle East and North Africa (excluding Israel) are about the same as Denmark's, a country with less than one-fiftieth the population."
Denmark! Toledo, Ohio probably exports as much a Denmark.
Posted 12:08 PM | [Link]
THE BLESSING OF A FREE PRESS [Rod Dreher] It's painful to see an uber-liberal paper like the Boston Globe, which has never been a friend of the Catholic Church, romp in clover over its blockbuster revelations in the Geoghan sex scandal. But they've earned it, and those of us who only have a kind thought for the Globe because it publishes the great Jeff Jacoby now have another reason to be grateful to the Kennedy-succoring paper. If not for the Globe, and indeed for a free and independent press, corruption and vice of the sort the Archdiocese of Boston has been covering up would never be exposed. Several Catholic readers have written me to say how disappointed and bewildered they've been that much of the Catholic media has downplayed or ignored this scandal. They'll be further dismayed to learn that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently published guidelines for Catholic media, asking Catholic publications and broadcast media to submit programming and publication plans to the local bishop to make sure it's authentically "Catholic." Uh, right. Can you say "voluntary prior restraint?" I thought you could. A devout pal of mine was trained as a professional journalist, but now works for a Catholic radio station whose director enthusiastically embraces the new policy. He writes this morning, "Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would understand what it was like to work for Tass."
Posted 10:15 AM | [Link]
BOSTON AND GOMORRAH: [Rod Dreher] The Boston Globe has been sifting through documents a judge forced the Archdiocese of Boston to release, and found another child-molesting priest. Father Ronald Paquin, 59 and on "sick leave," admits to molesting four boys. "Sure, I fooled around, but I never raped anyone, and I never felt gratified myself," the priest tells this morning's Globe. Lovely, just lovely. Father didn't go all the way, and he didn't have fun, so it wasn't so bad, was it? In fact, the mother of one of Paquin's victims tells the Globe her son was left suicidal. We also learn from Paquin that he had been molested as a teenager by an unnamed priest. Moving on to the Boston Herald, we learn today that six months before youth group volunteer Christopher Reardon, later convicted for serial child molestation, a church secretary at St. Agnes parish, where he worked, tipped off archdiocesan authorities that the guy was up to no good with the boys. Citing multiple confidential sources, the Herald says the archdiocese either ignored the secretary's call or deputized the church's pastor. Father Jon C. Martin, to investigate. Fr. Martin reported no problems with Reardon. But church workers have told a grand jury that Fr. Martin, who is now on sick leave, was busy in his bedroom trysting with male inmates on work-release, which could explain his reluctance to ignore or cover up for fellow perv Reardon. And Cardinal Bernard F. Law has not yet been turned by the Almighty into a pillar of salt, but if that were the headline in the Sunday Globe, would anybody be surprised?
Posted 9:47 AM | [Link]
GULF WAR SYNDROME? [Jonah Goldberg]
I see in this morning's Washington Post (via Drudge) that we're going to be sending many of the Camp X-Ray kids home to their mommies and daddies. In a sense I can see why this might be the right thing to do. Putting them all on trial, in tribunals or otherwise, might be more trouble than it would be worth. The media insanity, the constant carping from the ACLU and our allies, the very real prospect that some could be found not guilty, could all have a very debilitating effect on morale and the "coalition" (whatever that is).
On the other hand: sending these highly radicalized militants back to as many ten different countries may well be precisely the sort of thing arab states perceive as weakness. One of the reasons Osama Bin Laden and various regimes lost respect (i.e. fear) for the US was that we didn't finish the job with Saddam. It showed a lack of resolve in their minds (as did our justified bugging out of Somalia). These countries kill their radicals. We feed and clothe them and send them home. For some reason I keep thinking about Lenin at Finland station. But then again, I haven't had my coffee yet.
Posted 9:10 AM | [Link]
CORNER BOOKS: [Kathryn Jean Lopez] I'm just going through my mail and see I have my copy of the rerelease of David Pryce Jones's Closed Circle. David is a genius and a gem of a man. He's also an NR senior editor; every piece he's done for us is worth clipping, IMHO (Sorry, just getting a little too comfortable with the whole web-logging thing). His Closed Circle is a seminal work--a primer and then some for the war on terrorism (I read it a year or so ago). For months I've seen e-mails from people annoyed that they couldn't find it over the last few months, especially--it's long been out of print. Anyway, now it's available, with a post-9/11 intro from DP-J. Here's the amazon link for anyone interested.
Posted 8:24 AM | [Link]
THINK YOU HAVE IT BAD?: [Kathryn Jean Lopez] Arts and Letters has a link to a fascinating piece on the second generation of Holocaust Survivors. Groups include the Jewish Lesbian Daughters of Holocaust Survivors. In some cases, the second generation wants what the first never fought for--in terms of monuments and the like. Of course, it's not just THE Holocaust. Victimization run amok extends to anything anyone wants to call a holocaust. Hey, anyone have blood relations with folks who lived through the Irish potato famine? There might be something in it for you! Worth checking out. Here's the link.
Posted 8:13 AM | [Link]
SELF-RESTRAINT, THY NAME IS JONAH: [Jonah Goldberg]
I'd just like someone to notice my remarkable maturity in today's Goldberg File. In a paragraph containing the phrases, "San Francisco," "gay," "gossip," "homosexuality," and a columnist named -- I kid you not -- "P.J. Corkery," I did not make a single off-color joke. Corkery! C'mon, somebody, give me my props. Doesn't that sound like one of those weird things banned according to some ancient law still on the books? ...Somebody? Corkery...? Somebody...?
Posted 6:36 PM | [Link]
WORTH REPEATING: [John Derbyshire]
I'm told Kathryn mentioned this yesterday, but it's worth repeating. If "genius opinion journalist" is a possible thing, then Mark Steyn is an instance of it. His current piece in the London Spectator, about the Guantanamo camp, is a masterpiece of the form: hilarious, pointed, and, when you stop laughing long enough to look closely, packed with f-a-c-t-s. Simply brilliant.
Posted 6:24 PM | [Link]
LIVING WITH O'CONNOR: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Kate O'Beirne argues that conservatives, believing President Bush's rhetoric about Justice Scalia being his favorite Supreme Court justice, will be upset if he elevates Sandra Day O'Connor to Chief Justice should William Rehnquist retire. But conservatives won't be too upset as long as that elevation is coupled with a solid conservative appointment to fill the vacancy on the bench. But no stealth candidate along the lines of Alberto Gonzales would meet that standard.
Posted 6:03 PM | [Link]
THE ORACLE SILENCED: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
John Berry, who covers the Fed for the Washington Post, is one of the best reporters on that beat. He had a lot of ground to cover in today's front-page story on Alan Greenspan's testimony before the Senate Budget Committee. Still, you'd think in an article headlined "Greenspan Doubts Need for Tax Cuts," which continues after the jump with "Greenspan Remarks May Doom Tax Bill," and which dwells on the ways Greenspan's remarks "may prove troublesome to the administration," there would be a little room left over to mention that Greenspan reiterated his support for last year's tax cut.
Posted 5:42 PM | [Link]
FIDELITY: [Rod Dreher]
At the risk of receiving the Goldberg Cup for Blogging in Extremis, I wanted to mention, in light of my earlier posts, a lunch I had today with a good and faithful priest friend. He agrees that the Catholic Church is in a very bad way, worse than most Catholics even grasp (he told a story about his moral theology prof in seminary running off to "marry" the leader of the local gay-rights group). It's not only the sexual scandal, but the scandals of bad catechesis, rotten liturgies, Catholic schools that undermine the faith, etc. And yet, he said he could not be happier being a Catholic. He talked about his love of Scripture, his preaching, his administering and partaking of the Sacraments, and all the things that make life as a Catholic a real joy. Bad bishops and priests can't take that away from him, or from any one of us, he said. In fact, he said, faithful Catholics are in a great position to educate themselves in the faith no matter what Father Frootloop and Sister Stretchpants say, owing to the Catechism and the wide availability of good books and media, and the Internet, which makes it possible for those Catholics who are hanging on despite it all to find each other. This is a hard time to be a faithful Catholic, he said, but that's not the first time that's been the case in 2,000 years, and we have many resources to help us endure. I came away from lunch today feeling much better, not least because it's a blessing to know that there are priests like Father J. fighting the good fight, despite it all.
Posted 5:09 PM | [Link]
STILL MORE ON CHENEY: [Byron York]
Late Friday, General Accounting Office chief David Walker went public with a threat to sue Vice President Dick Cheney unless Cheney gives up information on the outside consultations of his energy task force--immediately. Excerpts from Walker's statement:
We are giving the Administration a little time to reconsider its position on providing this information to GAO in light of recent significant events. These events include the letter we received from the four Senate Chairmen and several Republicans speaking out in support of the White House releasing the information. We are hopeful that the Administration will comply with our reasoned and reasonable request. We are, however, on a short fuse, and will make a decision next week on whether to file suit in federal court.
Posted 4:31 PM | [Link]
CHIEF JUSTICE SANDY?: [Kate O'Beirne]
I find myself in the weird position of agreeing with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Justice O'Connor told (the other) Katie, in an interview for tonight's Dateline, that the speculation she might be nominated to replace Chief Justice William Rehnquist is "nonsense." Candidate Bush declared that Justices Scalia and Thomas are the members of the Court he most admires. Surely, President Bush couldn't do an about-face and elevate O'Connor. After reading about her comments this morning, I stumbled on the most recent speculation about a Rehnquist retirement this year, from a well-informed source, who further speculated unhappily that Bush would elevate O'Connor. (First female Chief Justice, easily confirmed, old enough that everyone could live with her elevation, etc. . . ) Much can happen between now and November to effect the fate of Republican candidates. It seems to me, the biggest wild card is a Supreme Court vacancy that invites a disappointing nominee from the White House and leaves the conservative base demoralized--and home on Election Day. Like, for instance, Chief Justice O'Connor.
Posted 4:09 PM | [Link]
WAWMAR, CONT'D: [Rod Dreher] I'm of two minds on this topic, Jonah. On the one hand, I agree with you: big is ugly, small is beautiful. Aesthetically, Wawmar is a horror, with those big parking lagoons. One reason I remain in my little 1950s corner of Brooklyn, where you get to walk everywhere to shop, and you do your marketing at the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer, etc., is because that to me is a fine way to live. It's small-scale and human, and the neighborhood is beautiful because it is designed for human beings on foot. You know the movie "Moonstruck"? That's my neighborhood, and I'm happier there than a liquored-up Bert Convy in the banana section. That said, I am the breadwinner for our family, and I've gotta say that life in this great neighborhood is economically unsustainable in the long run. It's way too expensive. We have a normal apartment, and normal family expenses, but when the next baby comes, we'll have to move to Wawmar Land -- not out of choice but out of necessity. If you and the Fair Jessica decide to have Goldberglets, and y'all decide it's best for little Jonah Jr. to have a full-time mom, you'll know what I mean.
Posted 4:00 PM | [Link]
MORE ON CHENEY: [Byron York]
On Wednesday, Senate Republican whip Don Nickles raised eyebrows when he said that the so-far secret information about the outside consultations of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force "will come out in the very near future." Even though the White House quickly said Cheney's position had not changed, reporters wondered if something was up. Now, NRO has learned that within an hour after Nickles made his remarks, Cheney, speaking to a group of Republicans senators at a Capitol lunch, said, in effect: No way I'll give that information up. [Democratic Rep.] Henry Waxman wants to know everybody I consulted with, and that could set a precedent for all White House meetings in the future. Cheney is scheduled to appear on talk shows on Fox and ABC on Sunday, so perhaps he'll say more then.
Posted 2:49 PM | [Link]
KRUGMAN: TOO GOOD FOR THE NYTIMES!: [Rich Lowry]
Paul Krugman in his self-defense today says that conservatives want him off the op-ed page because he’s too effective. Yeah, right. Please Paul, please don’t hit us with another of those killer “the tax cut will drain the federal coffers in 2008” pieces!
Here’s NR’s take, if you haven’t seen it already on the site: “Back when economist Paul Krugman was on an advisory board of Enron's, he wrote an article for Fortune that lauded the company — and mentioned that he was on the board, though not that he got $50,000 for his services. When he became a columnist for the New York Times, Krugman left the board. He now flays Enron for practicing a corrupt `crony capitalism’ and the Bush administration for `dissembling’ about its ties to Enron. Should the Times can Krugman because he lacks journalistic ethics? No. These sins — failure to disclose relevant information, hypocrisy — seem fairly petty. The Times should end his column for other reasons. It's repetitive and predictable: Krugman seems to have only three or four column ideas (tax cuts are bad, private accounts in Social Security are bad, Republicans are bad). It's intellectually thuggish: Krugman caricatures opponents, falsely presents his opinions as `cold, hard fact’ accepted by all his fellow economists, and attributes all disagreement with him to crankiness and dishonesty. He has become, to some extent, a partisan hack, willing to make abrupt 180-degree turns if necessary to criticize President Bush. Finally, he's a mediocre writer at best, even making allowances for his being an economist. That companies like Enron go bankrupt is a sign that markets work. The canning of a lousy columnist would be another.”
Posted 2:41 PM | [Link]
WALMART HERESY: [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod, I know this is heresy among the free-market types but, in general, I don't like the megastores. I'm sort of a fusion of East Coast elitist and Russel Kirk conservative when it comes to the sprawl of semi-urban America. I don't begrudge communities to have the conveniences they want, but I also support the ability of those same communities to keep Walmart out if they want. Much of small town America has been ruined by these megastores -- at least aesthetically -- in my humble opionion. It may be my snobbery or my nostalgia talking, but I'm with Kirk when he decries, in The Conservative Mind, "a world smudged by industrialization, standardization by the masses, consolidated by the government."
Posted 12:49 PM | [Link]
WAWMAR: [Rod Dreher]
You may be right, Jonah, on the media analysis, but speaking as someone who doesn't read the business pages so often (if I had wanted to understand economics, I wouldn't have gone into journalism!), I'm fascinated by the cultural aspect of this KMart/Wal-Mart/Tarjay story. I think -- no, I *know* -- that it's impossible for cultural elites who live in places like NYC to understand the role Wal-Mart plays in the lives of many, many rural and suburban Americans. Whenever I go down to visit my family in Louisiana, I am fascinated by how making a Wal-Mart (pronounced "Wawmar" down South) run is considered as much a part of life as church on Sunday. As a New Yorker used to having to shop in narrow aisles and under low ceilings, I love those Wawmar expeditions; the sheer space of it all gives me vertigo, and things are cheeeeeap. It's tempting to overthink this, but there's gotta be some psychological and cultural reason(s) beyond mere location that renders Wal-mart Retailing's Biggest Kahuna on the same week that KMart goes kaflooey. Just don't count on any of us East Coast urban types to be able to tell the tale. That said, I think Wawmar's recently announced plan to market its own wine is hilarious (Nasty Spumante?). Some jobs should be left to the snotty-tots.
Posted 12:13 PM | [Link]
UNDER-REPORTED?: [Rich Lowry]
I am scheduled to do the Greenfield show on CNN tonight. If anyone has quick suggestions on what the under-reported story of the week is, I’d appreciate hearing them. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Posted 12:10 PM | [Link]
DAVID: SOMETIMES A BANKRUPTCY IS JUST A BANKRUPTCY: [Jonah Goldberg]
I really like David Brooks. His BoBos book was great. But David can take his analysis -- that cultural elites don't understand "red state" country -- too far. Today is a perfect case in point. He argues that Kmart is bigger than Enron, but the press hasn't noticed because of it's elitism. He writes:
"The Kmart story gets short shrift because . . . well, because it's about Kmart. National reporters tend not to shop at Kmart (though if Crate & Barrel ever went under, big national papers would run with black borders for weeks). The bankruptcy of Kmart is seen as a business story, but not a cultural story--not something to be debated and discussed."
Um, unless I'm missing something about the Kmart collapse, that's absurd. Last I checked, no White House aides are former Kmart consultants, Kmart didn't spread the schmundo around to politicians like Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack, no one called the White House in order to save the blue light special, and nobody is using the Kmart story as an excuse for a radical overhaul of the campaign finance system. Hell, Kmart isn't even going out of business, it's declaring bankruptcy to restructure because it can't compete with WalMart and Target (pronounced by the cognescenti as "tar-jay"). We aren't seeing the death of the megastores or anything like that (which would be a major cultural story).
Again, unless I'm missing something, David, the reason the media is treating the Kmart story as a "business story" is because...well, it is a business story.
Posted 11:58 AM | [Link]
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE OF DESPAIR: [Rod Dreher]
Man oh Manischewitz, you guys should see the e-mail I'm getting off my NR cover story on the Catholic Church and priestly pedophilia, and the NRO pieces I've done on same. Over and over, readers identify themselves as faithful orthodox Catholics who have simply had it with clerical cover-ups and corruption on the priest sex abuse issue. I think we're going to be hearing a lot more from these people if the Boston story goes national. Good. The thing is, these are *precisely* the kinds of Catholics the Church cannot afford to alienate. Their families -- well, *our* families, because I am one of them -- are the source of future vocations, and the backbones of parish life. We're the ones who do more than drop a dollar in the collection basket. We're the ones who teach the fullness of the faith to our kids, and defend Church teaching against all comers. Aside from my country, there two things I would gladly die for: my family, and my Catholic faith. It is intolerable that corruption among the clergy and the hierarchy put us in a position of seeing one as a threat to the other.
Posted 11:45 AM | [Link]
EMPTY COURT PRESS: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Abner Mikva says that the Senate shouldn’t fill any Supreme Court vacancies until after the next presidential election. The chief reason: President Bush “does not have the mandate of a national plurality.” Note the careful phrasing. Mikva can’t say that it takes a national majority to have a mandate to appoint justices, since that would mean that President Clinton would not have been able to put Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Stephen Breyer on the Court. This phrasing lets Mikva say that Bush lacks a mandate even though he got 5 percent more in 2000 than Clinton did in 1992. What’s the importance of a national plurality? Mikva doesn’t say, but we can guess: It’s a handy excuse for not confirming Bush nominees.
Posted 11:41 AM | [Link]
PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE: [Byron York]
This morning President Bush left the White House for a trip to Maine. As he walked to the helicopter on the South Lawn, he very prominently carried a copy of Bernard Goldberg's book Bias--title facing out, so no one would miss it. [Here's a look.]
Posted 11:34 AM | [Link]
PRESIDENTIAL-GREATNESS POLL JUST IN: [Jonah Goldberg]
Kinda interesting Zogby poll ranking presidents by perceived greatness. Bush edges out the Gipper. I think that's a bit much, but not surprising given the war and all. Meanwhile, I think Clinton's footing gets softer and softer.
Posted 11:23 AM | [Link]
SAUDI TURKEYS: [John J. Miller]
When did you first sit up and pay attention to the Taliban? For me, it came a few months before 9-11, when they destroyed those big Buddha statues. Now there's a story of cultural destruction coming out of Saudi Arabia. Certainly not comparable to what the Taliban did, but it sure has Turkey ticked off.
Posted 10:24 AM | [Link]
“AN INNOCENT ABROAD INADVERTENTLY DRAWN INTO A GLOBAL TERROR NETWORK”: [Rich Lowry]
I hate it when that happens! In fact, it’s why I generally avoid international travel. It’s the description, of course, in the Times today of John Lindh’s budding defense. One of the things this trial will serve to highlight is how so many aspects of our justice system—the technicalities that serve to suppress confessions, for instance--have nothing to do with getting to the truth. Quite the opposite: they are about suppressing the truth. They make sense only—and most of them make basically no sense—as a way to protect Americans from the awesome power of the state. It’s part of our social compact. The reason Lindh should be stripped of his citizenship and tried before a military tribunal (see Mark Levin on this) is that he has absented himself from that compact. He simply doesn’t deserve the elaborate protections created by the Left to protect common red-blooded American muggers and thieves from the consequences of their crimes.
Posted 10:10 AM | [Link]
THEY HATE POLITICS: [Rich Lowry]
Every now and then, campaign-finance reformers give the game away and show how they really don’t want to “clean up” politics but create less of it because they think it’s inherently such a nasty enterprise. Here’s Don Hewitt in the NYTimes today, railing against political advertising on TV: “We wouldn’t have to live with money’s grip on campaigns if America took a stand against political ads on TV as it once took a stand on tobacco ads.” Well, I’m not sure the tobacco ban was such a good idea, but tobacco at least KILLS people. But politics? This is also a great example of the hypocrisy of the media on this issue. Politicians should be made to give up producing television advertising as soon as Don Hewitt is willing to stop producing 60 Minutes.
Posted 10:03 AM | [Link]
MAYBE GROUNDSKEEPER WILLIE PUT HIM UP TO IT?: [Jonah Goldberg]
Good Golly! Am I the first to notice the name of the bus driver who kidnapped these kids in Pennsylvania? Otto! OTTO! No wonder this guy went beserk. Can you imagine going to work, going to parties, going to the store and people constantly saying "Hey, you're a bus driver and you have the same name as the bus driver in the Simpsons!" Maybe he wasn't actually doing anything sinister, but he just got caught up listening to the extended re-mix of Stairway to Heaven and took a wrong turn?
Posted 9:44 AM | [Link]
MINETA WATCH: [Andrew Stuttaford]
Check out the excellent lead editorial in the WSJ today on the FAA. NR has made this point before: Why is it, exactly, that Norm Mineta is in the government, and what is it, exactly, that he thinks he is doing?
Posted 8:25 AM | [Link]
PAGING WFB: [Rod Dreher]
Would one of you worthies please provide me with the telex number for Mr. Buckley in Switzerland? I have had it up to HERE with TV people referring to John Arthur Philip Herbert Walker Lindh as "the American Taliban." Paula Zahn just did it, and sexy gams or no, this has to stop. "Taliban" is the plural form of "talib," which means "student." He is "the American talib," singular. Worse, some network commentators insist on calling him "the Taliban-American," as if that were an ethnic classification. If this keeps up, they'll be giving this twerp his own ethnic parade up Fifth Avenue in the springtime. Personally, I'd be in favor of impaling the rat on spikes and turning him into a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but that's another story.
Posted 8:20 AM | [Link]
TALKING ABOUT TALK: [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The unrivaled Arts and Letters Daily highlights Andrew Sullivan’s Tina Brown-as-Clinton piece in yesterday’s Journal. Reminds me to do a commercial for a piece we have coming up this afternoon on NRO Weekend: Lucianne Goldberg’s take on Tina Brown and Talk’s demise. Something definitely worth checking in for.
Posted 8:18 AM | [Link]
KNOW NOTHINGS: [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
John, you are absolutely right. But it gets tiring saying that, being grateful they at least noted it. It just highlights how bad the overall coverage is. This is front-page above-the-fold stuff. And it doesn’t deserve to get backhanded treatment.
On a side note, I get criticized sometimes for using the phrase “embryonic stem cells.” The phrase makes them sound like something less than stem cells. Better to say the stem cells of embryos. Embryo’s stems cells. It’s a minor point. But I wonder.
Posted 6:14 AM | [Link]
ALTERNATIVE COVERAGE: [John J. Miller]
You're right about the tone of the Times coverage, Kathryn, but I'm definitely in the "at least they're writing about it" category. In any public-policy debate, it's important to have positive alternatives to the ideas of your opponents. This is ours, and it's pretty hopeful. People need to know it's potentially available. Who wouldn't prefer this to embryo farming? We should make the other side concede that adult stem-cell research is in fact preferable--it forces them to admit to make a moral distinction between research that destroys embryos and research on what are, in point of fact, just clumps of cells.
Posted 6:09 AM | [Link]
BEGRUDINGLY THEY COVER: [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
John, Thanks for pointing out the bone-marrow news. The media just can't get excited about stem-cell alternatives. It was nice to see the Times pick up on the story today...although what a begrudging way they go about it: They say, bascially, Hey guys, there's no hard science to back this up, but that's not stopping those "opponents of embryonic stem cell research" from heralding it. Seems to me that enough NY Times readers aren't experts in stem-cell research, certainly enough to warrant a little more detail—and not a near dismissal so early in the piece. And, I love, too, how the writers jump right into cloning, to get the folks who think they are only being human by embracing stem-cell research in all its forms to be comfortable with cloning. But then what else could one expect from the Times? One should really be grateful they even noticed the discovery.
By the way, folks who are interested should stay tuned for a Wesley Smith piece—coming soon to NRO.
Posted 5:59 AM | [Link]
MEDICAL MIRACLES: [John J. Miller]
What if it were possible to have the medical benefits of stem-cell research without the grisly side effect of having to destroy embryos at the same time? There hasn't been enough attention paid to the enormous potential of adult stem-cell research--which doesn't involve the killing of individual members of the human species--though a story in today's New York Times describes a hopeful new development.
Posted 5:33 AM | [Link]
CHURCH & STATE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A Democratic candidate for Senate said this week that he opposes the death penalty because it's "contrary to the will of God," which "puts it beyond debate" for him. Theocracy raises its ugly head in the sticks. . .
Posted 1:47 AM | [Link]
REAL JUSTICE: [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The prolific Rich Galen, who runs mullings.com has the perfect suggestion for punishing al Qaeda terrorists: Hand them over to New York City's firemen. How about a super special FDNY forces operation to Iraq to handle Saddam Hussein, too? Talk about momentum!
Posted 1:38 AM | [Link]
ABBY RULES: [John J. Miller]
Maybe Jesse doesn't want a rival rhymer. Seriously, though, this is another example of malfeasance on the part of the civil-rights commission's chair, Mary Frances Berry. She is perhaps the very worst public servant in the whole country. Lloyd Grove's gossip column in the Washington Post yesterday described the Foreman dispute. In it, Abby Thernstrom shows once again why she is one of the best public servants, simply for speaking the provocative truth: "Mary Frances Berry is a totalitarian. She's a book-burner, and she constantly lies."
Posted 1:31 AM | [Link]
JESSE'S WELL-EXTENDED HAND?:[John Derbyshire]
There was an interesting posting on an e-list I'm on from Prof. Chris Foreman at the University of Maryland. Here's the story: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issues a periodical, the Civil Rights Journal. Foreman was asked to do a book review for them, the book being Glenn Loury's The Anatomy of Racial Inequality. It was a thoughtful and mostly friendly review. However, it mentioned the work of Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom en passant; and the review was rejected on those grounds. "Elements of the Commission leadership," says Foreman, "insist that no reference be made to the Thernstroms' work." This, in spite of the fact that Abigail Thernstrom is a member of the commission!
The thing that actually struck me about Foreman's review is that it contains the following phrases: (1) "the figment of the pigment," and (2) "the enigma of the stigma." Could it be that the Rev. Jesse Jackson had a hand in it?
Posted 1:28 AM | [Link]
TRUE PATRIOTS: [John J. Miller] I have the misfortune of being a Detroit Lions fan, so this has been a crummy football season. (When you're a Lions fan, almost all of them are crummy.) With the Superbowl just a couple of weeks away, though, my interest in the game is rekindled. I'm pulling for the Patriots: Their quarterback, Tom Brady, is a University of Michigan alumnus (like me)--and they have a great team name. Who could cheer against the Patriots these days, for crying out loud? There are a few lousy sports team names out there. Can you imagine some team, a couple centuries from now, calling itself the Tennessee Terrorists? What's the difference between that and the Buccaneers or the Pirates--people who were the terrorists of their day? Anyway, let's go Patriots!
Posted 1:23 AM | [Link]
DAY ONE WRAP-UP [Robert A. George]
Two things on which we can all agree: Rod will never, ever again use the word "licit" and Jonah, will never, ever again use the phrase, "help a brother out." It's only a matter of time before someone then refers to another NR-er as "my [N-word]." Next thing, you know, Randall Kennedy has a whole new chapter for the paperback version of his book. (This was written by the black "New York Post" Robert George, not the white "Princeton" Robert George).
Posted 11:07 PM | [Link]
DUH! OF COURSE SAME-SEX BENEFITS WOULD "STRENGTHEN" SOCIAL SECURITY: [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader points out the obvious to me: "I think one of the answers as to how giving survivor benefits to same-sex partners would strengthen social security is that it would establish yet another group to rise up in revolt if benefits were cut, or, better yet, if we were to throw the whole program into the Dispose-All of crappy programs."
Posted 5:33 PM | [Link]
Al QAEDA & IRAN: [Rich Lowry]
Not a good couple of weeks for Iran. And it’s getting worse. Fox News had an excellent report last night about links between Iran and al Qaeda. Here is a bit from it: “U.S. government sources say new information from battlefield detainees in Afghanistan and a former Iranian intelligence official point directly to Iranian support for al Qaeda and global terrorism. Iran's state-sponsorship of Hezbollah, the Islamist terror group, has been documented by numerous countries for several years. Now, government officials tell Fox News that there is new information that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda had been conspiring with Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence officials for up to five years, and that a meeting occurred in a remote region of Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks.”
Posted 4:47 PM | [Link]
TAG, YOU'RE MY BEDFELLOW: [Rod Dreher]
I see your point, Jonah, and I may have misread your initial post on this thread as taking the European side. To clarify my view: I am all in favor of a practical Left-Right coalition to stop clone-mad scientists and all their pomps and works. It is not necessary for my side to convince the Todd Gitlins and Norman Mailers of the sanctity of unborn life for us to come together around those principles we do share. I don't happen to agree with PLAGAL on matters sexual, but I'd proudly stand next to them in the March for Life--unlike some of my pro-life friends. That said, I remain skeptical about the viability of such a coalition, simply because it's hard for me at this point to see the pro-choice anti-cloners' philosophical bottom line. If there is nothing sacrosanct about a human zygote, by what reason do we say Thou Shalt Not Clone to Get Uncle Cletus a New Liver? Anyway, I welcome pro-choice readers who are against cloning to e-mail me with their arguments. And hey, if you didn't want me to fling the word "licit" around, you shouldn't have put my desk near the wet bar here at NRO World Headquarters.
Posted 4:18 PM | [Link]
BITCHY TNR: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The New Republic, in a "Notebook" item, chastises us for editorializing that Tom Daschle appears to believe that tax cuts "cause recessions even before they're enacted." Daschle, according to TNR, believes no such thing, having said merely that the tax cut may have worsened the recession. The item concludes with the bitchiness we expect from TNR on fiscal matters: "Someone should tell conservative pundits that just because the president doesn't seem to have read Daschle's speech doesn't mean they shouldn't either." Please. The offending quote from NR was--yes--a bit of hyperbole. That's why the next sentence says, "That appears to be the economic theory Tom Daschle is advancing. . . " as opposed to "That's the economic theory Tom Daschle is advancing. . ." Besides, Daschle has to believe that a tax cut can cause a recession, doesn't he? If the expectation of a tax cut can make a recession worse, it ought also to be able to make an economy on the edge of a recession go into one. So what did we do wrong?
Posted 3:49 PM | [Link]
NOTHING LIKE THAT HERE: [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
In today's Washington Times John McCaslin notes a sign on the backdoor of Planned Parenthood's D.C. headquarters: Sign says: "No Deliveries." Too bad the irony's lost on them.
Posted 3:44 PM | [Link]
MORE OF THE SAME FROM FOX: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It's a pity that when it comes to abortion, Fox News continues to give us the same superficial, misleading analysis the rest of the major media provide. Once again, its poll question on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade says that the decision "made abortion in the first three months of pregnancy legal" and asks whether the Supreme Court should overturn Roe or let it stand. What Roe actually did was to prohibit any regulation of abortion in the first three months, allow regulation in the next three only to protect maternal safety, and allow restrictions in the last three as long as there is an exception for the health of the mother. The same day Roe came down, the Court ruled that health would be defined in the broadest possible way. So what Roe did was force abortion-on-demand--at any time, for any reason--on the country. Maybe next year, Fox News can ask what people think about that.
Posted 3:36 PM | [Link]
MORE DINGELL-WAXMAN: [Rich Lowry]
A reader writes: "Rich, excellent point about Waxman and Dingell. Did you notice Slate's new feature called 'The Best Web Sites (That Aren't Slate)' where they feature `a selection of the most provocative articles from around the Web'? Today they highlight three articles--and two of the three are the Waxman and Dingell articles. Imagine that. What was it that Michael Kinsley wrote about Bernie Goldberg and bias in the media again?"
Posted 3:33 PM | [Link]
PULP FICTION REDUX: [Rich Lowry]
Anne Applebaum raises a good point in today’s WSJ: If the Pentagon felt compelled to release pictures from Guantanamo, did it have to release one that looks like it was taken from a Quentin Tarantino torture scene? Why not instead snap a shot of one of these guys merrily bowing to Mecca from his cage?
Posted 3:32 PM | [Link]
MORE APPLEBAUM: [Rich Lowry]
She also writes: “If international law says that a tribunal needs to be held to determine their status before we can interrogate them and put them on trial, there seems no reason not to hold one.” The Geneva Convention does call for such hearings when prisoners’ status is in doubt. But the problem is that the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply here, so following its procedures on such hearings would be utterly arbitrary. What’s the point?
Posted 3:32 PM | [Link]
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO STEYN: [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I hate to state the obvious, but Mark Steyn is brilliant. British emigre Andrew Stuttaford (who is also brilliant) just e-mailed me Steyn's latest from the new London Spectator, on their countrymen whining about us not giving al Qaeda terrorists enough copies of the Koran. You'll love it.
Posted 3:28 PM | [Link]
CHERNOBYL REVISITED: [Jonah Goldberg]
Oh, before I forget. Here's the answer to the Chernobyl trivia thing. Chernobyl means "wormwood" in Ukrainian. And there's this passage in the Book of Revelations:
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. -- Revelation 8:10-11
If you want to learn more, type "wormwood" and "Chernobyl" into a search engine. I'm not about to endorse any particular apocalyptic website. Congrats to several readers who got it.
Posted 3:16 PM | [Link]
TOUGH LOVE: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
John Walker Lindh, or whatever his name is, loves America--so say his parents. Sure, that's the most obvious explanation for his behavior.
Posted 3:10 PM | [Link]
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS BACK ATYA: [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod, I'm not sure I disagree with you. Perhaps because I'm not sure I understand where you disagree with me. I merely brought up Europe's views to illustrate that the liberal media thinks that if pro-lifers oppose something pro-choicers must favor it. I'm perfectly willing to accept that the Euro-argument is weak, most usually are. But, I think that if you want a Left-Right "coalition" (as you put it at the bottom of this page) on stem cells, you better start boning up on those non-pro-life arguments because you will never win the Left using the abortion-is-murder line. One thing I'm positive about: You should never, ever, ever again use the word "licit" again.
Posted 2:26 PM | [Link]
LIBERAL TWO-PUNCH: [Rich Lowry]
Did anyone notice how Henry Waxman and John Dingell have almost identical op-eds on Enron in the Washington Post and the New York Times today? Have, say, Tom Delay and J.C. Watts ever had op-eds making the same point the same day in those two papers? Hmmmm.
Posted 2:16 PM | [Link]
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS, AGAIN: [Rod Dreher]
Sorry, Jonah, I see a weakness in the European view that abortion is licit, but cloning is verboten. Pro-lifers argue that life is sacred, period. No killing a baby in her mother's womb, no cloning a baby in some Vogon test tube. If one believes that the right to life of an unborn child is not absolute but contingent, then it seems to me one is on a very slippery slope. Put another way, if the right to life is not a moral absolute, then on what grounds do you argue against those who say that destroying embryos to harvest their stem cells, cloning a human being for whatever purpose, or any of the other Frankenstein procedures scientists now carry out? I think there are decent arguments, of course, but it seems that once you've conceded that human life at its earliest phase of development has no inherent rights, the philosophical, and ultimately the political, argument will be lost in the long run.
Posted 1:58 PM | [Link]
ONE-SIDED GENEVA: [Rich Lowry]
Good e-mail on the Geneva Convention. An argument of administration critics is that we are putting American soldiers at risk by treating al Qaeda as outside the Convention. A reader asks: "Why doesn't anyone mention the obvious? NO American adversary in war has followed the Geneva Convention in 84 years! Last night I watched Jonathan Turley portentously tell Jeff Greenfield that we dare not be legalistic in our interpretation of the Convention--after all, we needed it, our soldiers depended on it, so we should not really be too assertive or argumentative about our rights.
“But can Jonathan Turley or anyone else name one enemy of the United States in a war since 1918 (declared or not) that has followed the Geneva convention? The answer is no, because there aren't any--not Nazi Germany (see the Battle of the Bulge for starters), not Japan (which didn't even sign it), not North Korea or Red China (real undiluted torture), not the Vietcong or North Vietnam (the same), not Iran in the hostage crisis, and certainly not Iraq. Everyone of these countries egregiously violated the Convention in dealing with our soldiers and diplomats. OUR ENEMIES HAVE NOT FOLLOWED THE GENEVA CONVENTION SINCE THE KAISER. How is it possible to overlook this while piously genuflecting in the direction of Switzerland?"
Posted 1:49 PM | [Link]
WHAT YOU ARE SAYING: [NRO Staff]
"I have been on since 8:45 a.m. and I keep hitting refresh every 5-10 minutes or so....this could get me fired from my day job"
"The Corner is dizzyingly addictive... my toddler stands beside me, begging for his lunch, and I'm oblivious to him in my insatiable desire to refresh the page... (stop it, honey... go push the chair up to the cabinet and get yourself something to eat)"
"The idea is a great one! An Op Ed orgy of the highest magnitude."
Posted 1:46 PM | [Link]
SPEAKING OF CLONING: [Rich Lowry]
Check out Ramesh Ponnuru’s devastating takedown in the new NR of Virginia Postrel and other pro-cloning libertoids. Ramesh nails the libertoids on, among other things, the fact that they pose as hyper-rationalists when their own arguments often really amount to nothing more than cant and self-congratulatory preening.
Posted 1:42 PM | [Link]
ON THE DOLE: [Jonah Goldberg]
Hey guys, Greg Pierce of the Washington Times reports today that the DNC has come out in favor of providing Social Security benefits to gay couples. "Social Security would be strengthened if same-sex partners were treated equally," they said in a resolution. Arguments about gay marriage and all that aside. Could someone explain to me how this would "strengthen" Social Security?
Pierce quotes the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force as saying that surviving same-sex couples lose a $100 million a year because they don't qualify for benefits. So, doling out another $100 million a year makes the Social Security system stronger....how? Seems to me this is another example of using some abstract "good"--"the children," "the environment" etc.--to justify something completely unrelated. But maybe I'm missing something.
Posted 12:52 PM | [Link]
THE MOST IMPORTANT TECHNOLOGY SINCE FIRE [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted 12:42 PM | [Link]
GIN AND JUICE PART DEUX: [Jonah Goldberg]
For those of you who liked the Gin and Juice thing: A reader reminded me this is the same guy who did the Ebonic Delta Airlines commercial a while back. It's even less PC (though the bad curse words are bleeped in this version), but it's damn, damn, funny. Here ya go.
Posted 12:27 PM | [Link]
WAGE-GAP REDUX: [Melissa Seckora]
The Washington Post announces this morning that the so-called wage gap is widening, according to a GAO study that's being released today. Not so fast. This is a perennial complaint. The Independent Women's Forum debunked the wage-gap myth in their Women's Figures: An Illustrated Guide to the Economic Progress of Women in America, by Christine Stolba and Diana Furchtgott-Roth. When you take into account the women who stay home and raise their kids or work part-time, the "gap" looks much different. It's common sense, but that could be beyond the Washington Post.
Posted 12:26 PM | [Link]
GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE?: [Jonah Goldberg]
A number of readers have pointed out the similarity between something the inestimable P. J. O'Rourke writes in the current Atlantic and something I wrote a few months ago. P. J. writes:
One of the first anthrax attacks was made against the company that owns The National Enquirer. The company's name is displayed in large letters on its suburban Florida offices: AMERICAN MEDIA. Perhaps al Qaeda is less sophisticated than we feared. "Ah," thought the bin Laden operatives, "here is where the American media have their place of headquarters."
And here's what I wrote on October 15 in a column called "The Terrorist Mind":
....Anyway, my idea's that they sent that envelope of anthrax to "American Media" because they were given explicit orders to attack "the American media." Some former goatherd or eye surgeon or whatever--you don't need to be poor and uneducated to be ignorant--simply grabbed the yellow pages and looked up "American Media." And, lo and behold, there was an address. How convenient!
I'm certainly not suggesting plagiarism or anything sinister by the similarity. But, for the record, I beat him to it by two or three months.
Posted 11:35 AM | [Link]
HILARIOUS: [Jonah Goldberg]
This is not for the faint-hearted or the easily offended. But if you like seeing rap music brought down a peg--or if you’re just a fan of Snoop--this is for you.
Posted 10:47 AM | [Link]
THIS JUST IN: CHERNOBYL NO BIGGIE: [Jonah Goldberg] TechCentralStation has an interesting piece suggesting that the hype from Chernobyl may have cost more lives than the accident. Quick trivia: Does anyone remember why Chernobyl was supposed to confirm Biblical prophesy?
Posted 10:34 AM | [Link]
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS II: [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod (Kathryn, John, et al) re: the strange bedfellows thing: I agree the alliance is interesting. I wrote a bit about this a while back. The way abortion politics colors every medical issue in the U.S. is astounding. The elite press is sure that being anti-cloning is synonymous with being pro-life. But in Europe, for example, abortion is an enshrined right (hell, I think some EU bureaucrats think WWII was a crusade to protect a woman’s right to choose) and cloning is outlawed. In other words, the Euros see nothing inconsistent with being anti-cloning and pro-abortion. But here, the New York Times crowd can’t grasp that concept. That said, I wouldn’t bust out the champagne quite yet. Left-Right alliances are often more trouble than they’re worth. Embryonic stem cells and cloning are tough issues--though I’m leaning more and more libertarian (sorry, Kathryn) on the specifics--but the last thing I would like to see is the Left and Right cutting deals about which technologies should be banned. Moral objections are one thing, luddism is another.
Posted 10:28 AM | [Link]
FEEDBACK: [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader writes: “Yes, this is interesting, but I read it top down, which is apparently backwards.... I found out the Jonah was fired, but didn't find out why until later. If I had read in the right order, it would have seemed more of a conversation rather than a bunch of random weirdness. This is an interesting concept--serialized punditocracy, film at 11....”
Yes, the reverse order confused me too. But if you think about it, the most recent stuff should be up top. It'll take some time for everyone to get comfortable with this--sort of like exotic underwear. Okay, maybe not like that.
Posted 10:23 AM | [Link]
PROGRESS: [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay. I just tried to take a follow-up nap. I got back very late from my speech at West Chester U and I was exhausted this AM. Alas, the nap didn't take, so I am back. Anyway, I think this thing looks pretty cool. Curious to know what the readers--if there are any--think. Send me an e-mail to email@example.com and tell me. By the way, if you don't know what "The Corner" is, please see the announcement at the bottom of my column yesterday. At some point we might have a button on this page that explains what this page is. But, hey, this is a work in progress.
Posted 10:19 AM | [Link]
SPEAKING OF "PRO-CLONING FANTASISTS": [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Did you see Nick Gillespie’s attack on Kass’s Hawthorne reading assignment? Of course, in the end, Gillespie is just annoyed that Kass is anti-cloning and ain’t gonna compromise. Imagine!
Posted 9:50 AM | [Link]
FOR YOUR READING LIST: [John J. Miller]
Hey, this might be of interest: At the first meeting of President Bush's bioethics council, chairman Leon Kass asked members to discuss a Nathaniel Hawthorne short story called "The Birthmark," which makes the point that the hope of becoming perfect through scientific manipulation is a deadly illusion. Pro-cloning fantasists absolutely hate the story, which turns out to be pretty good. Read it online here.
Posted 9:47 AM | [Link]
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: [Rod Dreher]
Fascinating, and encouraging, piece in today's New York Times reporting that some abortion-rights backers are siding with pro-life conservatives on the cloning issue. These lefties--including novelist Norman Mailer and sociologist Todd Gitlin--not only oppose reproductive cloning, but stand against cloning for therapeutic reasons. This is big news, because it shows that deep concern over the abuse of human life and dignity through cloning is not a Left vs. Right matter, and a sign that building an effective coalition to fight pro-cloning legislation will not be stymied over the usual ideological divisions. Don't count on the Right capitalizing on this opportunity, though. I am reminded of the brave, lonely Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, which opposes abortion in part because it believes the future discovery of a gay gene will lead to massive abortions of unborn children harboring it. For years, PLAGAL has been excluded by organizers of the January 22 pro-life march in Washington, who object on moral and theological grounds to the homosexuality of its participants. Can we really afford to sustain these divisions in matters of such absolute gravity as the life and death of individual human beings, and the human race?
Posted 9:37 AM | [Link]
SURPLUS IN BLACK AND WHITE: [Rich Lowry]
I wonder if Jonathan Chait and Paul Krugman read the Washington Post. Specifically, I wonder if they happened to see the chart on page 6 today breaking down the CBO surplus projections. The CBO estimates for the surplus in 2002 have recently taken a $333 billion turn for the worse. The tax cut, right? Not exactly. Here’s the breakdown: -$38 from the tax cut; -$44 billion from additional spending; -$9 billion from other costs; -$148 from economic changes (uh, that would be the recession); -$94 billion from technical changes. This doesn’t quite paint the picture we usually get from our liberal deficit-hawk friends. The tax cut takes a much bigger bite out of revenues ten years from now, but those projections are nearly meaningless since these numbers change so much from month to month, let alone decade to decade. As the CBO 2002 numbers suggest, it’s the state of the economy that has the most influence on the federal books--all the more reason to pass tax cuts to make it grow.
Posted 9:27 AM | [Link]
THEY DIDN'T CARE: [Rod Dreher]
This Catholic is reeling this morning over new reports in today's Boston Globe concerning the Church's handling of the monstrous pedophile Father John Geoghan, who stands accused of molesting 130 children. Citing internal Church documents and depositions given in civil trials, the Globe found that Bernard Cardinal Law and his top staff knew all about Father Geoghan's little habit, but showed nothing but fraternal concern for Geoghan--and not for the children he attacked. As late as 1996, the cardinal wrote to Geoghan: "Yours has been an effective life of ministry, sadly impaired by illness. ...God bless you, Jack." These revelations are utterly damning, and confirm every anti-Catholic bigot's most poisonous view of the Church and pedophilia. And still, Cardinal Law insists he won't resign! This is beyond demented. I have a feeling that by the time all the Geoghan papers come out--and they're all set for release on Friday--and absorbed, this will have proven a watershed for the Catholic Church in America--for better, or, as I fear, for worse.
Posted 9:19 AM | [Link]
DEAR JONAH: [Rich Lowry]
1) No, this isn't the sort of thing you should be writing; 2) You're fired; 3) This is what NR says in the new issue about the Saudis: "Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering asking America to quit its bases there. The strategic calculations that made the U.S.-Saudi alliance important to both sides--as a way to balance the Soviet Union globally, and Iraq and Iran regionally--are becoming obsolete. As those considerations have vanished or receded, the Saudis’ broad sympathy with Islamic militancy has come to the fore. If we are chased from Saudi Arabia, it will be a stinging blow to American prestige and provide a vindication of the Sept. 11 attacks, which were intended primarily to remove the U.S. from the Arabian peninsula. The House of Saud will have sided with the militants, and America will therefore have to do all it can to overthrow it. For years, the U.S. has maintained a presence in Saudi Arabia to prevent the massive oil fields there from being taken over by a hostile power. Too late."
Posted 9:12 AM | [Link]
HERE WE GO: [Jonah Goldberg]
Testing…testing…sibilant, sibilant…oh wait, that’s how they test microphones not new web doohickeys.
It’s 11:27PM as I write the word “11:27” (is the time a word or a number?). I completely forgot that I promised Kathryn Lopez that I would get the ball rolling on “The Corner” tonight so we could have something to post first thing in the AM. So I am sitting on a train heading back to D.C. from a speech, having just consumed two beers and one a hot dog (Hebrew National dogs on Amtrak--smart because it’s the only way to be sure it doesn’t have cat or shoe or maybe Jimmy Hoffa in it). I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say. The first video on MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star,” so I feel like I should say something symbolic and momentous. But then again, this whole thing may tank faster than Steven Bochco’s Cop Rock, in which case symbolism and momentousness would be a bad idea.
I’ve just read an excellent piece in the latest New Republic by Martin Peretz. When he’s not painting Al Gore as an Olympian god he’s actually quite good. Anyway, he addresses the open secret that Saudi Arabia is an awful country. It’s a very good, if not exactly news-breaking, primer; there are more princes in Saudi Arabia than there are cab drivers and virtually no adult Saudis actually do any of the real work in the country. He mentions the tendency among the cookie-pusher Arabists at the State Department and the former Gulf War management team to call the “Saudis” moderate. This makes them sound like turbaned David Gergens and it drives me nuts. The only thing they are moderate on is cooperating with the U.S. government. It seems to me that Americans are willing to tolerate sons-of-bitches as allies when they’re not paying attention (South Africa, the--much maligned--Shah). When they do notice, however, we invariably want to dump them over the side. The question for us, I think, is should we be calling attention to Saudi awfulness or play it down out of concern for strategic interests?
Rich, Rod…help a brother out. Is this the sort of thing you think I should be writing? Also, do we have a web address for the reading public to write to? Or do they need to write us individually? Rich, you’re the point man on consigning OPEC to the ash heap of history, what do ya think about the Saudis?
I’m curious to know what other folks think of this idea (a.k.a. "The Corner"). So please send e-mails [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Posted 6:12 AM | [Link]
THE CORNER IS COMING: Check this space Thursday morning.
Posted 4:20 PM | [Link]