BEYOND PARODY [Andrew Stuttaford]
CNN's balanced coverage of world events continues and has, this evening, included a segment entitled Ode to Earth Day - Saving Mother Earth. The interviewee? An 'environmentalist' by the name of Julia Butterfly Hill.
Posted 5:28 PM | [Link]
COME TO THINK OF IT: [Rod Dreher] I might oughta walk over to the old D.H. Holmes building on Canal and see if Claude Robicheaux is there. I bet he could 'splain this business to me about the "communiss." (And if you don't get the reference, you don't know your "A Confederacy of Dunces." And if you don't know your "Confederacy of Dunces," you don't know the greatest American comic novel of all time. Ignatius' excuse to his mother, explaining why he lost his job at Levy Pants, is gonna be my epitaph: "They were confused by my excellence." Hah! Seriously, my late Uncle Murphy up in Starhill, La., a rascally eccentric, chose a great epitaph for his tombstone. He won the thing off an undertaker he cleaned out at bourre', and kept it outside his front door for 20 years or so, with his name on it and everything. Every night he'd go out and pee on the thing. When he died, there was no question but that that tombstone, with his self-chosen epitaph, would go on his grave. If you stop at the cemetery now off Highway 61 in Starhill, you can visit his grave, and see his review of life six feet under for yourself, chiseled on the stone: "This ain't bad, once you get used to it." God, I love Louisiana.
Posted 9:31 AM | [Link]
MOVING ON: [Rod Dreher] ...to an altogether more pleasant topic, we had dinner last night here in New Orleans at Peristyle, on the corner of Rampart and Dumaine (a famous address, if you know your Professor Longhair). Just what the doctor ordered. The prices were reasonable, the wine list was wonderful, and the food was spectacular. Best of show: the appetizer of fresh Louisiana oysters gently poached in a sauce of butter, Chablis, leeks and watercress, and a dessert made of warm, slightly sweetened goat cheese, wading in armagnac, with blackberries and shredded fresh mint. Must remember to talk to Rich about opening an NRO bureau in the Big Easy. Jonah, I may need some help getting our New Orleans office up and running -- you game? Meet you at Felix's to discuss over raw oysters and cold beer.
Posted 9:20 AM | [Link]
"PROTESTANTS AND COMMUNISTS": [Rod Dreher] Here's a novel excuse for not turning a child-molesting priest over to the cops. Today's New York Times (link requires registration) reports on the case of a pederast priest convicted of molesting boys in Queens, who was sent back to Venezuela with a clean bill of health from Bishop Daily of Brooklyn, and who then took up sodomizing poor boys there. The Venezuelan bishop suspended the priest, finally, but said he didn't call the cops because "it would have been a great scandal, and all the energies of the Church would have been spent dealing with those who would take advantage -- the Protestants and the communists." I'm not making this up.
Posted 9:09 AM | [Link]
FUN AND GAMES II [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If you don't see much in The Corner today, this is why.
Posted 9:05 AM | [Link]
FUN AND GAMES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jonah, I think twice before I leave town without a laptop again. :-)
Posted 9:04 AM | [Link]
HEYERDAHL UPDATE: [John J. Miller]
In my obituary for Thor Heyerdahl, I wrote: "Every bit of genetic and linguistic evidence continues to suggest that Polynesia was, in fact, settled from the west rather than the east." Apparently this was a bit too strong. As Steve Sailor informs me by email: "In his 'Daughters of Eve' book, Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes has a chapter debunking Kon-Tiki. Yet, he mentions in passing that two Polynesians in his sample did have what appeared to be South American Indian genes. So, 'Kon-Tiki's' thesis can't be ruled out absolutely."
Posted 5:02 AM | [Link]
E-DAY PRIMER: [John J. Miller]
Monday is Earth Day, so get ready for the worst kind of nonsense from the Greens. You may want to prepare yourself by checking out this fair-minded paper by Gregg Easterbrook on the Bush administration's environmental record.
Posted 4:46 AM | [Link]
EGAN DECONSTRUCTED: [Rod Dreher] I posted Cardinal Egan's "apology" earlier, on my way out the door to the airport. Now a little commentary. First, is it the shrinks' fault? Some of them have said in recent weeks that Egan wouldn't listen to their advice when they told him a particular priest shouldn't be back on the job. Anyway, this is an excuse that was bogus when Cardinal Law used it months ago. If an average Catholic like Margaret Gallant, the relative of a number of boys abused by Fr. Geoghan, a woman who wrote anguished letters ages ago to Law's predecessor begging him to stop him, knows that a monster like that has no business in holy orders, why is it that bishops do not? Second, I hate this "we" -- it's a way of avoiding responsibility; the buck always stops at the bishop's desk. Third, the cardinal said nothing about the extreme hardball his legal team played with victims, which has caused such outrage. Finally: "If ... mistakes may have been made ... I am deeply sorry." This passive, conditional voice is so, so weak. Do you, reader, believe that someone who phrases an apology like that can really be "deeply sorry"? Good luck selling this kind of contrition to New Yorkers.
Posted 2:13 AM | [Link]
TRICK QUESTION: [Andrew Stuttaford]
I have just received a jury qualification questionnaire from New York County. As a foreigner I am (unlike John Derbyshire) ineligible to serve. Nevertheless, I enjoyed question 7:
"Can you understand and communicate in the English language?"
Giving any answer, presumably, is a 'yes'.
Posted 3:59 PM | [Link]
FIRST IN THE HEARTS OF HIS COUNTRYMEN? [John J. Miller]
Mount Vernon plans to build an $85-million museum and orientation center over the next few years. Embedded in the Washington Post story on the announcement is a sad commentary on why it must be done: "Over time our staff started to realize the people coming through the gates were different than 20 years ago, down to the fact the children wouldn't laugh about the dentures or the cherry tree," said Jim Rees, executive director of the mansion. "They didn't know the staples of Washington. It was shocking." You're too kind, Mr. Rees. The problem isn't that they're different, it's that they aren't educated.
Posted 2:32 PM | [Link]
CRIKEY: [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rod, Jonah, could I put in a word for 'dog-gone it'?
Posted 2:23 PM | [Link]
SIMON WON'T SAY: [John J. Miller]
Anybody's who getting optimistic about Bill Simon's chances in California--those poll numbers look encouraging, don't they?--needs to read this story about how he's handling a flap over his tax returns. Also keep in mind that Gray Davis has not started spending $30 million on anti-Simon ads yet.
Posted 12:53 PM | [Link]
CARDINAL EGAN SORT OF APOLOGIZES: [Rod Dreher] I've just seen a copy of a letter Edward Cardinal Egan will have read at all masses in New York over the weekend. In it, he asks for prayers for the upcoming summit in Rome, and addresses his controversial conduct while bishop of Bridgeport, Conn. Egan writes: "Over the past 15 years, in both Bridgeport and New York, I consistently sought and acted upon the best independent advice available to me from medical experts and behavioral scientists. It is clear that today we have a much better understanding of this problem. If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry."
Posted 12:03 PM | [Link]
"DANG": [Rod Dreher] Jonah, I'm so far gone into irony that ironic expressions are now used unconsciously by yours truly. I love "dang" because every time I say it, it makes me think of "The Far Side." Another good "Far Side" expression I use: "Crimony!"
Posted 11:52 AM | [Link]
DANG [Jonah Goldberg]
Rod, I know that some people associate my arrival at NRO with a certain slide in formal language at NR. But for the record, I don't believe I've ever used the word "Dang" in these pages without irony.
ALAS FOR ME [Jonah Goldberg]
It turns out I've got to leave for NYC earlier than planned (I’m going to Nick Schulz’s wedding. Feel free to congratulate him .). So not only will I not be able to take advantage of K-Lo's absence. It also means that I will not be able to finish the G-File before the NR web monkeys flee for their weekend of tomfoolery. I apologize for the misleading decker on the homepage (If you want to check out my syndicated column, feel free). This all just goes to show that everything falls apart when K-Lo isn’t around.
Posted 11:49 AM | [Link]
ALAS FOR ME: [Rod Dreher] Dang, Jonah, I'm traveling today too, so I won't be able to engage in your fun "cat's-away-mice-will-play" game! Happily, I'll be having dinner in New Orleans tonight -- woo-hoo! -- and will be spending the next few days with friends in the Mississippi countryside. They don't have TV at their place, and the New York Times doesn't get delivered there -- all to the easement of my mind, I'm sure. I'll have my laptop, though, so if anybody knows where to eat well in Meridian, Miss., write me at email@example.com. Weidmann's is the only place I know there. Where can a hungry Southern expatriate get some good fried catfish?
Posted 11:11 AM | [Link]
BYRON WHITE, R.I.P. [Roger Clegg]
The Washington Post has an editorial today praising Justice Byron White, who died earlier this week. This is as it should be, but it is somewhat ironic, since it is contrary to the tenor of the editorial the Post ran nine years ago, on the occasion of Justice White's retirement. You can get the flavor of the latter editorial from the letter to the editor I sent the Post at that time:
In today's editorial, the Post notes that retiring Justice Byron White was initially "in sync" with the Warren Court, "especially in cases involving racial discrimination," but more recently has "joined his conservative colleagues in opposition to [affirmative action] remedies," "lean[ed] toward the government in criminal cases," and "voted to sustain the states' authority to prohibit abortion and criminalize homosexual conduct." The Post then writes: "The increasing conservatism of his views disappointed those who hoped for another kind of performance from the only Democratic appointee now on the court."
I wonder who are the "disappointed those" to whom the Post refers. I doubt that it would have included those who led the Democratic Party 31 years ago, when Justice White was appointed [by President Kennedy]. That party indeed stood then against racial discrimination-and it was not yet the party of quotas, abortion, gay rights, and letting off criminals on technicalities. There has been no "increasing conservatism of [Justice White's] views." What has happened is that the Democratic Party has moved dramatically to the left.
And what this means is that it is unthinkable that President Clinton will appoint the sort of justice whom his hero President Kennedy did. There is simply no way that President Clinton would even consider someone who believes in a colorblind Constitution, or rejects the ACLU's Constitution, or cannot find in the Constitution some mysterious provision that ranks the rights of homosexuals above those of fetuses.
Posted 11:05 AM | [Link]
A READER CHIMES IN ON CAT Vs. DOG DEBATE [Jonah Goldberg]
I've abridged this a bit:
FROM A DOG'S DIARY
FROM A DOG'S DIARY
Day number 180
8:00 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
9:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
9:40 am - OH BOY! A WALK! MY FAVORITE!
10:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
11:30 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
12:00 noon - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
1:00 PM - OH BOY! THE YARD! MY FAVORITE!
4:00 PM - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
5:00 PM - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
5:30 PM - OH BOY! MOM! MY FAVORITE!
Day number 181
8:00 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
9:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
9:40 am - OH BOY! A WALK! MY FAVORITE!
10:30 am - OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
11:30 am - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
12:00 noon - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
1:00 PM - OH BOY! THE YARD! MY FAVORITE!
4:00 PM - OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
5:00 PM - OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
5:30 PM - OH BOY! MOM! MY FAVORITE!
EXCERPTS FROM A CAT'S DIARY
DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.
DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair...must try this on their bed.
DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm. Not working according to plan.
DAY 768 - I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick minds could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.
DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of the
glass tubes they call "beer.." More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.
DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time.
Posted 10:53 AM | [Link]
KATHRYN'S TRAVELLING TODAY... [Jonah Goldberg]
So: let's get busy talking about Star Trek, Dogs, women's prison movies and any other topics normally forbidden under the Lopez regime!
Posted 10:23 AM | [Link]
FRAUDI ARABIA: [Andrew Stuttaford]
Unfortunately, I'm not sure that Instapundit's idea works. Arabia is a bigger geographical entity than the Saudi bandit 'kingdom' . It includes Yemen, for example. We should not be encouraging the Saudis in their delusions of grandeur. The answer, I think, lies in a carefully insulting (if somewhat obsessional) use of quotation marks. I always try to refer to Saudi 'princes' for example. Following the spirit (if not the letter) of the Instalabel, could we not start referring to 'Saudi' Arabia? There is a precedent for this. In Cold War days some sections of the West German media used to punctuate East Germany's formal description in a similar way. 'German Democratic Republic' worked somehow, and so does 'Saudi' Arabia.
Posted 10:22 AM | [Link]
MORE MCKINNEY MAIL [Jonah Goldberg]
The pro-McKinney email keeps coming. If her supporters are like her, this is probably because they're slower readers. Here's the best today:
"You're not a journalist, you're just a juke-box... how many words can you write for a penny? You're not worth a single hair of congressman Cynthia McKinney, wash your dirty hands before writing of someone with her courage! Better, do a favour to the planet and consider the opportunity of moving to another job, in this one, anyway, you're not bound to win a pulitzer."
Of course, he's probably right about the Pulitzer.
Posted 8:55 AM | [Link]
SLIM CHANCE [Dave Kopel]
TechCentralStation looks at the (im)plausibility of the $70 million lawsuit filed by the mother of the teenage fan of bin Laden who flew a small plane into a Tampa office building, asserting that the teenager anti-acne Accutane treatment was to blame.
Posted 8:38 AM | [Link]
AROUND [Dave Kopel]
The Cato Institute's Doug Bandow explains why "Befriending Saudi Princes" is "A High Price for a Dubious Alliance." He details why the corrupt totalitarian Saud monarchy has little to offer the United States, and why there is little to fear should the dictatorship fall. Meanwhile, InstaPundit suggests a language improvement to distinguish the terrorist-funding rulers from the nation they currently misrule: "Talk about 'Arabia' rather than 'Saudi Arabia' whenever you're talking about the country. Talk about 'the House of Saud' or 'the Sauds' when you're talking about the government." After all, we've always called England "England", rather than "Plantagent England" or "Stuart England," or whatever monarchy happened to be temporarily on the throne.
Posted 8:30 AM | [Link]
LONG LIVE CONAN! [John J. Miller]
In a movie review of The Scorpion King--which I will probably break down and rent when it's a video--Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post pays tribute to the great movie Conan the Barbarian.
Posted 8:24 AM | [Link]
ANOTHER PHOTO, PLEASE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I know Catholic priests are easy bad guys these days, but is it really necessary to recycle Robert Blake playing a priest for his murder-arrest stories?
Posted 7:47 AM | [Link]
MORE FOR ME [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, many congratulations on joining the ranks of the Yanks. Can I have your spare Marmite now, as you won't be eating that foreign muck anymore.
Posted 7:21 AM | [Link]
THROW GRANDMA IN THE SLAMMER? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Did the New York Times have Kim Gandy write their editorial on the Child Custody Protection Act today? The bill prohibits a nonparent from taking a CHILD to another state to have an abortion. The way the Times sees it, Daschle needs to keep the bill from passing so as to "keep grandmothers out of prison." I think it's safe to say this law--which will likely not make it's way through the Senate to the president, anyway--would not wind up throwing too many grandmothers in jail. It's curious that some of these opponents are actually parents themselves, because the way their editorials and speeches sound, you'd think parent is synonymous for criminal. Or at least, for anti-abortion--were that so. Frankly, if this were simply a ploy to try retrict abortion--which, yes, many of us do actually view as a laudable goal--it would be an unimpressive attempt.
Posted 7:21 AM | [Link]
NEW RECRUIT [John Derbyshire]
Yes, Kathryn, my Oath Ceremony kicks off this morning at 11, in Manhattan's Javits Center. Great relief in the Derb household--my family is sick of hearing me say: "This is the last time I shall mow the lawn as an Englishman...," "This is the last time I shall eat dinner as an Englishman..." I think the kids vaguely expect me to come home transformed, like Charlton Heston after his encounter with the burning bush. Drinks to follow, so if I owe the magazine any copy, it'll have to wait a couple of days.
Posted 6:59 AM | [Link]
ONE OF US [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think today is citizenship day for the remarkably talented John Derbyshire. Congrats, John!
Posted 6:29 AM | [Link]
GOOD QUESTIONS [Dave Kopel]
Jonah asks "What if the Israelis were gay?" Another interesting question is, "Why don't all the people who are supposedly so concerned about the oppression of Arabs demand that the people of every Arab nation be given the same property rights, right to vote, and freedom of speech that Arabs who live in Israel have?"
Posted 6:03 AM | [Link]
DITCHING CRAWFORD? [Andrew Stuttaford]
UPI is reporting that Saudi sources are saying that "prince" Abdullah's trip to Crawford is still not firm. Abdullah, of course, should have been invited to DC, not Crawford (he is a convenience, not a friend) and whatever he decides will likely be an embarrassment. If Abdullah cancels, it will give more ammunition to those who argue that the White House has 'lost control' of the Mideast situation. If on the other hand, the Saudi despot deigns to show up, there will be the suggestion that he is only doing so as a favour to a desperate administration. I don't have an answer to this one, but it is yet another reminder that the "alliance" with the current Saudi regime is looking like more trouble than it is worth.
Posted 5:30 AM | [Link]
BIBI [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here’s rhetorical rock star Benjamin Netanyahu on terror and tyranny in the Journal.
Posted 5:07 AM | [Link]
REMARKABLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
How we can go from shooting at the Church of the Nativity to watching a white car on a California freeway. Geraldo was reporting live from Beruit last night--on Robert Blake.
Posted 5:01 AM | [Link]
OFF TRACK: [John J. Miller]
When my wife and I drove by Amtrak's Auto Train station in Lorton, Va., last weekend, Amy suggested that we take it down to Florida one day. I'm not sure we'll ever do that after she learns about yesterday's fatal derailment, which killed six people. The Washington Post story contains plenty of grim details, plus this explanation: "There are numerous possible causes of such a derailment, including equipment defects, track problems and vandalism." What happened almost certainly fits into one of these categories. But shouldn't we also be cognizant of another possibility nowadays, as a routine matter of course: terrorism?
Posted 4:28 AM | [Link]
MORE PALESTINIAN CHRISTIANS [Jonah Goldberg]
While I was busy writing my syndicated column, my email box filled with stuff about the Christians of Palestine – or lack thereof. If you’re interested in the topic, here are a few links. Here’s an article on the Islamicization of Bethlehem. Here’s a "report" from the Arab news on Christians fighting with their Muslim brothers. Here’s an Israeli site on Christians fleeing the Holy Land. And, here’s a great picture of the French Prime Minister getting squirted in the face with ketchup, in case you don’t care about Christian Palestinians.
Posted 4:10 PM | [Link]
RICH... [Jonah Goldberg]
I hope you weren't out too late, your cats might have worried. But hey I'm sure they welcomed you home with a heart-warming semi-stifled yawn and a joyous blink or two.
Posted 3:50 PM | [Link]
ARAFAT'S ARCHBISHOP [Rod Dreher]
A nifty blog called Midwestern Conservative Journal has dug up the goods on the odious Hilarion Capucci, the Greek Catholic archbishop who ran weapons to Yasser Arafat long before Arafat was anybody's partner for peace.
Posted 3:11 PM | [Link]
WENT TO…: [Rich Lowry]
…Yankee Stadium last night. Made my first appearance on a stadium jumbotron when the stadium camera focused on a grade-school-aged kid behind me who should have been at home working on his math, but instead was there with a sign reading “Hey, Mr. Tucker—the Yankees Ate My Homework.” It sounded like a Jonah-esque excuse to me, but there you go. Yanks won 7-1 with five homers. Giambi hit his first Stadium shot, which was higher than it was long—it landed in about the first row of the right-field porch. But at least the Stadium fans are finished booing him for the time being. I have to say I still miss the O’Neill/Martinez/Brosius team. It seems the Giambi/White/Ventura edition may have more power, but less charm (and maybe less heart).
Posted 2:58 PM | [Link]
MAZEL TOV, MSGR. JACOBY: [Rod Dreher] Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe's conservative superstar columnist, may be an Orthodox Jew, but today's stirring column shows him to be a better Catholic than many who wear the collar.
Posted 2:52 PM | [Link]
RE: CHRISTIAN PALESTINIANS: [Rod Dreher] They make up about two percent of the Palestinian population, Jonah. Their ranks have been decimated since 1948, mostly through emigration to the West (Palestinian Christians have tended to be much better educated than the Muslims, and to have families and other connections in the West). What kind of future do you think you would have if you were a Palestinian Christian resident of the occupied territories? On the one hand, you have to endure the discrimination and humiliation that comes from all the security measures that Israel has no choice but to employ to keep itself safe from terrorism, even if you yourself, as a Christian, have no sympathy for the jihad terrorists. And for another, you live under Arafat's corrupt mafia-ocracy -- and you know that when Arafat dies, his successor(s) will likely come from one of the radical Islamic factions, which look upon Christian Arabs as traitors and infidels. You'd emigrate too, if you had the chance. Sad.
Posted 2:44 PM | [Link]
HEY ANDREW…: [Rich Lowry]
…I happened to see that protest. Was riding by in a cab. Wanted to give them a big thumbs up, but couldn’t get window rolled down in time.
Posted 2:38 PM | [Link]
MORE ON CHRISTIAN PALESTINIANS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader notes:
"I believe the number of Arab Christians living in Palestine has plunged significantly. It has not been Israeli occupation that has enticed them to flee to America and Europe, but rather the radical Islam that gives mere lip service to the "Peoples of the Book" concept. These people live in fear. Lebanese Christians are in the same boat. Someone should push for an Independant Arab Christian state - can you imagine the Saudis going along with that?"
Posted 2:13 PM | [Link]
SUICIDAL DESPAIR [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader makes an excellent point, if he's right on the facts. He notes that there are plenty of Christian Palestinians. They live under the same terrible circumstances as their Muslim comrades, but they have the added humiliation and hoplessness which comes with being a minority. He says that he's not aware of a single Christian "suicide bomber." Does anyone know if this is true? If it is, it offers some interesting illumination on the whole "Islam means peace" issue as well as the bogus contention that hopelessness breeds homicidal self-detonation.
Posted 1:35 PM | [Link]
A DIFFERENT KIND OF DEMONSTRATION [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, a sight to delight your eyes this lunchtime on Madison Ave--an anti--French demonstration. To be more precise, the demonstration (organized by the Jewish Action Alliance and located outside the offices of the French Tourist Board) was designed to protest the current wave of anti-Semitic attacks in France. These disgraceful incidents are something that ought to have embarrassed France, but, judging by that country's complacent response, they do not appear to have done so. Demonstrators were calling for a boycott of French exports, including a certain type of mineral water. That might be a mistake. With France seemingly indifferent in the face of evil, it might be a useful reminder to see the name "Vichy" around the place...
Posted 1:31 PM | [Link]
CIA IN VENEZUELA: [John J. Miller]
Robert: At some level, I hope the CIA was involved in the Venezuela coup--at least in the sense that they were on top of events, rather than disconnected from them. This is far different from saying they "stage-managed" the coup, as some have suggested. What amuses me is how the Left--without a shred of evidence--assumes the CIA was down there doing bad things.
Posted 1:23 PM | [Link]
FINISHING THE OLD ONE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonah, you speak more truly than you may know. We've never formally terminated hostilities from the Gulf war. Does anyone know what that implies for our legal authorization, both in domestic and international law, to move against Baghdad now? E-mail me if you have the info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted 12:18 PM | [Link]
NO CONCESSIONS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Robert, I do not concede that supporters of the death penalty--and I myself am on the fence on that issue--must believe that there is "human life unworthy of life." When a man is executed, it is not, or should not, be because he is considered unworthy of life, any more than when a man is fined it is because he is considered unworthy of having as much money as he has. The punishment is imposed, rather, to restore an order of justice that his actions have upset.
Posted 12:13 PM | [Link]
NO NEW WAR ON IRAQ [Jonah Goldberg]
As usual, whenever a protest march is scheduled for DC, crazy socialist fliers and signs pop-up all over my neighborhood (in fact, on weekends there are kids handing out actual copies of the Daily Worker only a few blocks from my house). One sign all over Florida Avenue reads "No New War In Iraq!" I was tempted to get out of my car and write, "Okay, how about we just finish the old one?"
FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
My epic-length Goldberg File is up, by the way. It’s the first installment of a two-parter. Tomorrow I will make the case for opening a can of whup-ass on Saddam. I pretty much know what I want to say, but if anybody’s read anything particularly good on the subject, let me know.
Posted 10:54 AM | [Link]
WHAT IF ISRAELIS WERE GAY? [Jonah Goldberg]
I think the Corner is best when we get a little give and take among ourselves. So here’s a question for anybody interested. What do you think the reaction of, say, Mother Jones, Nation or the New York Times would be if Israel wasn’t a Jewish homeland, but a gay one. Gays have been persecuted for thousands of years. They’ve never had their own nation – though the quasi city-state of San Francisco is something of a gay Zion. Gays, like many Zionist Jews, feel a very strong need to prove they won’t be pushed around anymore. Homosexuals will never be safe from gay-bashing pogroms, they might argue, until they have a homeland of their own. Any takers?
AMERICAN PEACE KEEPERS? [Jonah Goldberg]
I’m against the idea. And I will be at least until someone decisively rebuts Robert Kagan’s excellent op-ed today.
Posted 10:34 AM | [Link]
TALPRA MAGYAR [John Derbyshire]
Whoa! What's going on here? John O'Sullivan writes about Hungarian politics today. I just submitted my end-of-week article to NRO--basically a Mideast piece, but takes the battle of the Lechfeld (A.D. 955, Hungary vs. Germany) as a starting point. The letters column of the 4/22 print NR has a letter from a Hungarian. One of Jay Nordlinger's recent pieces had a Hungarian segment. And the snippets I've been collecting for my own month-end blog--sorry, diary--include a Hungarian joke. Only a matter of time before we're accused of running an amen corner for Magyar nationalists...
Posted 10:30 AM | [Link]
JESSE THE VULTURE: [Rod Dreher] Today's New York Sun (which doesn't yet have a website) reports that the vulturous Jesse Jackson was seen yesterday circling Ground Zero. He spoke at an economic development conference in downtown NYC, and said minorities deserve a priority set-aside on all the reconstruction business that will soon get underway in the financial district. "This does not come at the expense of quality," he told the Sun. This defies reason, because giving a set-aside to someone based on their race or gender means quality is of secondary concern. But you knew that already.
Posted 10:12 AM | [Link]
MCCALLING: [John J. Miller]
Rod, all I can figure with Boy Cuomo is that he hopes--nay, prays--that Giuliani will endorse him, just as he endorsed Dad Cuomo over Pataki eight years ago. It's almost certainly a delusion but perhaps one Boy Cuomo subscribes to. What fascinates me about this race is why Carl McCall isn't the obvious frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Here's a guy who's been in NY politics for a long time and has a long track record actually winning races. If memory receives, he received more total votes in 1998 than Pataki did. Cuomo, by contrast, has never run for anything. When black Democrats talk about how their party doesn't appreciate them, this is the sort of thing they mean.
Posted 9:26 AM | [Link]
FEDERALISM 1, LIFE 0 [Jonathan Adler]
A federal judge in Oregon issued a permanent injunction yesterday barring the Justice Department from blocking Oregon's assisted suicide law. Last fall, the Justice Department sought to trump the Oregon law by reinterpreting the Controlled Substances Act to prohibit prescribing medicince for the purpose of assisting suicide, irrespective of state law. As Judge Robert Jones noted "the fact that opposition to assisted suicide may be fully justified, morally, ethically, religiously or otherwise, does not permit a federal statute to be manipulated from its true meaning." Oregon's law may be an abomination, but the ruling is a victory for federalism. It also was predictable. George Mason University Law Professor Nelson Lund -- an avowed opponent of doctor-assisted suicice -- wrote a devastating critique of the Justice Department's position in the Feburary Commentary. My own early thoughts on the matter are here.
Posted 9:20 AM | [Link]
ALLY, RIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Having just read Robert’s “Walk Like an Egyptian” line I thought of Jon Bon Jovi first, 80s rock sensation, when I saw that Fox has cancelled Ally McBeal--he is currently starring as the title character’s plumber boyfriend. But then I remembered John Derbyshire’s Ally piece last year and his roundup: “TV is junk.”
Posted 8:45 AM | [Link]
NOT SO SAFE? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Although there’s quick action to make sure no one thinks the abortion regimen itself could be dangerous, the company that puts out RU-486 has issued an alert that six women have developed serious illnesses and two have died after attempting the chemical abortions.
Posted 8:43 AM | [Link]
HOLLYWOOD BE NOT PROUD [Jonah Goldberg]
They’re making a sequel to "Dude, Where’s My Car." Apparently all the poor saps who made the first one had "sequel" clauses in their contracts so they have to go back and bugger their careers a bit more. Now, I think I have some credibility when I say this: I like glandular and idiotic comedies about waste-oids who really dig hot chicks. But this is not a movie deserving of a sequel.
THE UNITED NATIONS: TERRORIST LANDLORD [Jonah Goldberg]
Michael Rubin has an outstanding indictment of the UN’s complicity in terrorism. Did you know that on Monday France, Belgium and four other European Union members endorsed a U.N. Human Rights Commission resolution condoning "all available means, including armed struggle" to establish a Palestinian state? If this keeps up, Sharon won’t look so silly for saying "we won’t be your Czechoslovakia" after all.
Posted 7:51 AM | [Link]
BOY CUOMO EATS FOOT: [Rod Dreher] Andrew "Son of Mario" Cuomo is running for the Democratic nomination for governor in New York state. He made some startling comments yesterday, in which he denounced incumbent Republican governor George Pataki for the way he handled the 9/11 disaster. "There was one leader for 9/11: it was Rudy Giuliani," Boy Cuomo said. "If [9/11] defined George Pataki, it defined George Pataki as not being the leader. He stood behind the leader. He held the leader's coat." This is not going to play well here. For one, the suck-up to Giuliani is embarrassing; for another, people here remember Gov. Pataki as having been a constant presence during the crisis, doing what he could to help. If he let Rudy take the lead, then good on him for not wanting to hog the spotlight from the mayor whose city was under attack. I don't think much of Pataki's liberal politics, but Boy Cuomo's doing himself no favors with this sleazy line of attack.
Posted 6:42 AM | [Link]
NO. 1741: [Rod Dreher] A Corner reader writes to say he appreciates NR's calling on Bernard Cardinal Law to resign, but he's puzzled as to why we didn't cite canon law to bolster our position. He specifies Canon No. 1741, which lists the principal reasons for which a parish priest can be removed: "1) a manner of acting which causes grave harm or disturbance to ecclesiastical communion; 2) ineptitude or permanent illness of mind or body, which makes the parish priest unequal to the task of fulfilling his duties satisfactorily; 3) the loss of the parish priest's good name among upright and serious-minded parishioners, or aversion to him, when it can be foreseen that these factors will not quickly come to an end; 4) grave neglect or violation of parochial duties, which persists after a warning; 5) bad administration of temporal goods with grave harm to the Chuirch, when no other remedy can be found to eliminate this harm." Goodness, sound like anybody we know?
Posted 6:19 AM | [Link]
UNWORTHY [Robert A. George]
Ramesh: Sorry to nitpick here (and I candidly admit that it is a nitpick, but an important one): The concept of "human life unworthy of life" is not an absolute and it can be rejected. In other words, it's not simple-minded and confused to "reject-categorically" that concept. But neither is it totally monstrous entertain it. Those who support the death penalty, for example would argue that those who take life (murder) have forfeited their right to live. (I'm not saying you necessarily believe this, but that is the argument for the death penalty). That is another way of saying that not all human life is worthy of life. I admit of course that is not the same thing as saying that there is a difference between a "human life" and a "person."
Posted 5:47 AM | [Link]
TROUBLEMAKER [Robert A. George]
I'm feeling that The Corner has been just way too genteel (no, you Middle East fans, that's not the same as Gentile) of late, so let me toss in a couple of stinkbombs:
To John Miller: I thought you were dead-on in your analysis of the criticisms of the Left vis a vis the Chavez coup. However, it should be noted that the Wall St. Journal was also very skeptical of the administration's all-too-quick readiness to "bless" this coup (and put it in the context with it's recent serial missteps in the Middle East). Secondly,what if the various critics are right and the CIA was involved? Based on recent history (hello, pre-9/11), the coup's failure would be in keeping with quality of the Company's record of late. Question: Does this mean Dubya puts in a call to his old man to ask him exactly what's going on back at his old office?
Posted 5:37 AM | [Link]
FOR THE RECORD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Twilight Zone will never be banned here. "To Serve Man" was good, but can you beat "Time Enough at Last" (civilization destroyed by an bomb and a bookworm has the rest of his life to do what he has always wanted--read. Until...).
Posted 5:36 AM | [Link]
THE ZONE [Andrew Stuttaford]
On the assumption that the Lopez Star Trek interdiction does not apply to other science fiction TV series, it is worth noting that Damon Knight has, sadly, died. He was the writer of one of the Twilight Zones' finest episodes, "To Serve Man" (the one about cannibal aliens). His obituary is in today's New York Times.
Posted 9:12 PM | [Link]
ALTERNATIVE WALK [Robert A. George]
While Mr. Derbyshire is way too sophisticated to have indulged in this behavior, I can attest to the fact that many Americans in the '80s did their best to "walk like an Egyptian."
Posted 9:01 PM | [Link]
BOMBER NAMES [Robert A. George]
Belatedly add me to the group that hates the term "homicide bombers." When I first heard it, I kind of liked it because it seemed to make people -- Europeans in particular -- realize that Israelis are being murdered by these people strapping tonnage to their bodies. But then, I realized how simultaneously redundant and uninformative the term "homicide bomber" was. Hey, wasn't Timothy McVeigh a "homicide bomber" in the literal sense? May I suggest the somewhat inelegant neologism (thank you, Washington Post's Bob Levey), "SUHO bomber"? It's someone who kills themselves (suicide) while killing others (homicide) through the use of explosives (bomber). This phrase also doesn't offend the sensitivities of kamikaze fans such as Mr. Kopel.
Posted 8:44 PM | [Link]
CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
One of Virginia Postrel's correspondents, resorting to the most pretentious and overused of intellectual put-downs, says I've committed a "category mistake" in assuming that all "humans" are "persons." If the charge is that I reject the existence of a category of "human non-persons," I plead guilty. I find the concept monstrous. To say that's a category mistake is like saying that someone is simple-minded and confused to reject-categorically-the concept of "human life unworthy of life."
Posted 8:39 PM | [Link]
"TEND TO"?: [Rod Dreher] Cardinal McCarrick of Washington had a little on-the-record sit-down with the Washington Post editorial board yesterday, the results of which you can read here. Here's McCarrick speaking of policy changes the Vatican may attempt to impose on the American bishops: "You can suggest, you can cajole. But if a [bishop] really thinks he has it under control in another way, then it's hard to get him to change. But if the Holy Father says, 'I think everybody should do this,' then we all tend to do it." [Emphasis mine.] What a revealing choice of words. Do you see a problem here?
Posted 4:37 PM | [Link]
WALKING THE WALK [John Derbyshire]
I am getting emails from people telling me that all this stuff about Americans having a distinctive gait is nonsense, that people everywhere walk just the same. Here is some evidence to the contrary from the Chinese classics. The following parable is told by the Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi (a.k.a. "Chuang Tzu," 369-286 B.C.), in the book named after him. Handan was the capital city of the kingdom of Zhao, in ancient times, before China was unified. Here is the parable: "In times past, Handan was regarded by people of all the kingdoms as a center of fashion. In particular, the gentlemen of Handan had developed an exceptionally graceful and dignified
gait. Everywhere under Heaven, people wanted to walk like the men of Handan. Some young men from the neighboring state of Yan journeyed to Handan just for the purpose of learning the Handan walk. They took lodging in the city, and every day they went out into the streets to observe and imitate the famous Handan walk. Try as they might, however, none of them could master it, and in their blundering approximations to the Handan walk just made themselves look ridiculous, not only to the stately walkers of Handan itself, but even to the merchants and travelers from other states who were resident in the city. Worse yet, when the young men of Yan returned to their own country, they found that in striving to copy the Handan walk, they had forgotten the customary gait of their native place. Not only had they made themselves ludicrous to the people of Zhao, they were now laughing-stocks in Yan herself. They had failed to learn the foreign style, and lost their own style." This parable is the source of an idiom: Handan xue bu, "copying the Handan walk". Guided by the wisdom of Zhuangzi, I am not going to attempt to walk like an American on attaining citizenship.
Posted 3:48 PM | [Link]
DITTO ON KAMIKAZES [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm with Dave on this one. I mentioned to my Dad (a big fan of Japanese culture) that I was going to start calling terrorist-bombers human Kamikazes or some such. He shut me down, noting that Kamikazes are still revered in Japan as embodiments of the Samurai code. The Kamikazes weren’t suffering from low-self-esteem, they weren’t trying to murder anybody, they weren’t looking to collect 72 virgins and all that other stuff Dave points out.
Posted 3:47 PM | [Link]
SORRY FOLKS [Jonah Goldberg]
I couldn't get my column done today. Among the hassles: an obstreperous phone repairman within my perimeter; my own fascination with/need to read-up on Middle Eastern history; house-buying hassles; my self-indulgent blogging; hot weather. It will be up first thing in the A.M.
Posted 3:41 PM | [Link]
THE FULL ORIANNA: [Rod Dreher] The translation of the Orianna Fallaci column to which I linked earlier did not, I've learned, contain the entire article. If you want to read the whole thing in English, click here. If you haven't seen this yet, you really should. Man, is she angry -- and man, is she right.
Posted 3:37 PM | [Link]
QUACKS LIKE A NATIONAL I.D. [Jonathan Adler]
Senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) outlined plans for federal ID standards yesterday at a congressional hearing. Is this the first step toward a national ID card? J. Bradley Jansen of the Free Congress Foundation one of those asked to testify, thinks so: "It looks like a national ID, walks like a national ID and quacks like a national ID."
Posted 3:34 PM | [Link]
WHO YOU CALLING KAMIKAZE? [Dave Kopel]
Regarding what to call Palestinian terrorist bombers who target civilians, Rod writes, "Why not resurrect the tried-and-true 'kamikaze'?" I'll tell you why not: Because it's an insult to the kamikazes. The kamikazes were adult members of the armed forces who attacked only military targets, namely U.S. Navy ships. They violated none of the rules of civilized warfare. Today's suicide/homicide bombers are vicious criminals who murder civilians, and these criminals do not deserve to be mentioned in the same
breath as soldiers who fought according to the laws of warfare.
Posted 3:33 PM | [Link]
ISLAMIC APOCALYPSE IS NOW: [Rod Dreher] Here's the full MEMRI translation of the hysterical sermon mentioned earlier in The Corner. It was given last Friday by a Palestinian imam, and broadcast on Palestinian TV. It's filled with the usual stuff, but the discerning reader will observe the language and images here are those of Islamic apocalypse. This imam is clearly signaling to the Palestinian people that these are the Last Days. Now, if you really believe the world is about to end, you don't have anything to lose. Ideas have consequences.
Posted 2:55 PM | [Link]
MORE TAPES: [Rich Lowry]
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) A second videotape that appears to be a message from Osama bin Laden's terror network --this one showing images of al-Qaida commanders killed by American bombs--has been delivered to an Arabic satellite station, the station reported Wednesday.
Like the images the Qatar-based station Al-Jazeera showed a day earlier, the tape aired by the Saudi-owned, London-based Middle East Broadcasting Corp. was described as a professional packaging of various material, including old statements from bin Laden and his aides. The tapes appeared to be different.
Posted 2:34 PM | [Link]
"HOMICIDE BOMBER": [Rod Dreher] I don't like the phrase. It seems redundant to me; isn't the point of most bombings to kill people? "Suicide bomber" is the more accurate designation, I think, because within the word "bomber" is the implication that the person set out to kill others. The modifier "suicide" points to the distinguishing characteristic of the act (that is, what makes this bomber different from other bombers). As someone points out in this L.A. Times story about our language being inadequate to describe the horror of our world today, neither "suicide bomber" nor "homicide bomber" seem powerful enough. Why not resurrect the tried-and-true "kamikaze"?
Posted 2:23 PM | [Link]
MORE TAPES: [Rich Lowry]
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) A second videotape that appears to be a message from Osama bin Laden's terror network --
this one showing images of al-Qaida commanders killed by American bombs--has been delivered to an Arabic satellite
station, the station reported Wednesday.
Like the images the Qatar-based station Al-Jazeera showed a day earlier, the tape aired by the Saudi-owned,
London-based Middle East Broadcasting Corp. was described as a professional packaging of various material, including
old statements from bin Laden and his aides. The tapes appeared to be different.
Posted 2:23 PM | [Link]
GOOD QUESTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a reader: "Forget Lowry -- why is Jonah playing in the Corner when the G-file isn't up yet?"
Posted 1:43 PM | [Link]
SWAGGER [John Derbyshire]
In my review of Dinesh D'Souza's new book yesterday, I noted that Americans--I think I probably just meant "American men"--have a distinctive way of walking, and cited Malcolm Muggeridge in support of this assertion. Several readers have asked about this. "What is this style of walking that you say we have? Where can I find the Muggeridge quote?" On the first, it involves a gentle rolling of the hips, a sort of cowboy swagger. On the quote: it was from memory, and I no longer have the book, but it is somewhere in Muggeridge's multi-volume (and very funny) autobiography Chronicles of Wasted Time.
Posted 1:40 PM | [Link]
LOWRY SITING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, there are reports that Rich Lowry has slipped across the border into Downtown. NRO, however, is a sensible organization. It will be using its own forces to track him down rather than relying on local mercenaries drawn, say, from the Village Voice.
Posted 1:28 PM | [Link]
WHERE IS RICH LOWRY? [Jonah Goldberg]
No posts from the boss in a while. Oh, I know: he must be locked in his office playing with his cats. I have it on good authority that his office reeks of catnip and that sometimes you can hear the faint jingle-jangle of cat toys from behind his door. Not that there’s anything "wrong" with that.
Posted 1:09 PM | [Link]
SHOCKING COINCIDENCE [Jonah Goldberg]
From the pages of Ripley's Believe It or Not: Jesse Jackson's biggest donors were companies he threatened to boycott. What are the odds of that?
Posted 12:51 PM | [Link]
BEST NEWS I'VE HEARD ALL DAY: [Rod Dreher] Michael Rose, author of Goodbye, Good Men, the blockbuster expose of homosexuality and heresy in American seminaries, e-mails to say he just filled an order from a Polish monsignor in the Vatican, who ordered four copies and promised to do his best to get a copy into the Holy Father's hands before the pontiff meets next week with the American cardinals. You go, Monsignor! If John Paul reads only chapter four, "The Gay Subculture," he will meet the cardinals with fire blazing in his eyes. In other good news, Regnery Publishing has bought rights to Goodbye, Good Men, which is now out only in paperback, and will be rushing a hardcover edition into stores next month. Regnery's involvement means this extremely important book will get huge distribution and exposure.
Posted 12:50 PM | [Link]
MONEY-MAKING PLAN [Jonah Goldberg]
Since none of you saw fit to shower me with cash after my last few attempts at blegging (the posting of selfish appeals online), I have another idea. You could buy massive amounts of stocks I own, hence running up the value for me. The first stock already in my portfolio: NexMed. They are developing a cream that does what Viagra does, if you know what I mean. The stock is dirt cheap. Go buy bushels of it. I don’t think a legal disclaimer is necessary since I am disclosing that I own the stock but what the hey: National Review doesn’t have anything to do with this and anyone who follows my stock advice without further study is a moron. The fact that I am doing this at all should illustrate that I am not in a position to offer sound financial advice. Now do as I do, not as I say.
WEAPON OF TERROR [Jonah Goldberg]
There is one downside. I wouldn’t want Yasser Arafat to find out about NexMed’s new cream. If he chose to become a suicide bomber he could carry it into a meeting with Israelis and simply rub it all over his body. Within seconds, he’d swell-up and explode.
OKAY… [Jonah Goldberg]
That was a dumb joke.
Posted 12:35 PM | [Link]
TINFOIL HEAD RESOURCES [Jonah Goldberg]
My criticism of Cynthia McKinney has prompted some folks to send me the "proof" I need to realize she's right. A lot of people point to this as the intellectual clearinghouse for those who believe Bush was "in" on September 11. I don't have the time or patience, but if you folks are interested, have at it. Never let it be said I'm not fair and balanced.
Posted 12:08 PM | [Link]
AMIN LIVES IN THE HOUSE OF SAUD [Andrew Stuttaford]
Uganda's Idi Amin was one of the 20th century's nastier dictators. It is estimated that his security forces were responsible for the slaughter of 300,000 people. His dungeons were notorious for their baroque cruelty. Amin's personal behavior (he was, reportedly, a cannibal) was as bizarre as it was repulsive, and included murder, mutilation, and torture. He was also responsible for the destruction of the Ugandan economy and, in a move that combined racism and theft, the expulsion and expropriation of Uganda's East Asian minority. Amin remains at liberty today. Since 1979 this monster has been an honored guest of, you guessed it, the Saudi government. That's just another thing to remember the next time the Riyadh regime has the effrontery to lecture the rest of us on human rights.
Posted 11:43 AM | [Link]
McKINNEY CAIRS [Jonah Goldberg]
McKinney is great friends with CAIR. That's all.
Posted 11:13 AM | [Link]
WHERE DOES ISRAEL REPORT TO GET ITS REPUTATION BACK? [Jonah Goldberg]
Everyday it's becoming more clear that there was no massacre in Jenin. Just throw this on the pile of Arafat's lies.
Posted 11:04 AM | [Link]
LA BELLA ORIANNA: [Rod Dreher] I love, love, love this screed about European anti-Semitism, written by the Italian contrarian journalist Orianna Fallaci. She's not intimidated by the Islamofascists one bit, and she lays into the Islamofascist fellow travelers among the European Gentiles. This take-no-prisoners essay from a feisty Italian broad reminds me: where the heck is Camille Paglia? Why has she not been heard from lately? I'd love to know her thoughts on the war with Islamofascism, and the Church scandal.
Posted 11:00 AM | [Link]
LOSING OSAMA, GETTING FRANKS [James S. Robbins]
Today's Washington Post article alleging that bin Laden got away during the Tora Bora attack is most noteworthy for being another in a series of slams on General Tommy Franks, the CENTCOM Commander. He had previously been criticized for not allowing the CIA to fire a hellfire missile at Mullah Omar, for the conduct of the Ranger raid on Omar's complex and for slow response to Air Force targeting requests, among other things. That was all before the Taliban completely collapsed of course. The Post article cites "civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge" and "intelligence officials" and so forth, no way of knowing who they are. I'm not as interested in the conclusion that bin Laden escaped as the inside-baseball aspects--the timing of the article, who contributed to it, and who is out to get General Franks and why. I don't see much good coming from this sort of blame game. Afghanistan isn't the only place that can be paralyzed by factional infighting.
Posted 10:44 AM | [Link]
ROMAN HOLIDAY?: [Rod Dreher] In today's Boston Globe, Eileen McNamara says that the wrong people -- the American cardinals -- have been summoned to Rome. "No loss of confidence in any institution has been reversed by turning to solutions to those who precipitated the crisis," she writes. I agree. If you ask me, the Holy Father would profit more by hearing from faithful Catholic families who have gone through hell because of clergy sex abuse, but also from church leaders like Fr. Tom Doyle, the canon lawyer who prophetically warned in 1985 that this crisis was coming, and who has been ministering to and fighting for victims of this abuse for years. People like Fr. Gary Hayes, who was abused as a child by a priest, but who went on to become a priest himself, and now leads The Linkup, a national network of survivors of clergy sex abuse. People like Sister Jane Kelly, the California nun who blew the whistle on the sexually and financially corrupt Bishop Ziemann of Santa Rosa, who was subsequently removed by the Vatican. People like Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, a brilliant and faithful priest who is being persecuted for his orthodoxy by the San Francisco Jesuit establishment, which is itself mired in homosexual scandal. Anybody else? Let me know what you think at email@example.com.
Posted 10:11 AM | [Link]
RE: REFUGEE PROBLEM: [Rod Dreher] More to the point, Jonah, why on earth doesn't it occur to these people that the reason they live in such misery is that they insist on murdering Jews? If the Palestinians made real peace with Israel, they'd get their own state; most Israelis want that to happen, when they can be reasonably sure that Israel will be secure. But then, Arafat and his mafiosi would have the responsibility of building something, not just destroying something -- and this they cannot do. It's much easier to tear down what a neighbor has than build something yourself. You know, it's easy to sympathize with the Palestinians once you see with your eyes, as I have, how they have to live. Which is why you have to remind yourself over and over again why it's their own damn fault.
Posted 9:49 AM | [Link]
HELP FREEDOM'S FIGHT [Dave Kopel]
Persons who want to help front-line fighters against terrorism may want to contribute to the Libi Fund, which provides humanitarian assistance for members of the Israeli Defense Forces. You can contribute online by credit card, or send $100 or more by check to a special fund which qualifies for a U.S. tax deduction. The website prominently features this timely quote from Shimon Peres: "Our soldiers prevail not by the strength of their weapons but by their sense of mission; by their consciousness of the justness of their cause, by a deep love for their country, and by their understanding of the heavy task laid upon them: to ensure the existence of our people in their homeland and to affirm, even at the cost of their lives, the right of the Jewish people to live their lives in their own state, free, independent and in peace."
Posted 9:36 AM | [Link]
ARAFAT VS. BIN LADEN [Dave Kopel]
Most accurate observation by a political commentator in the last 24 hours: "There's more evidence that Arafat's a terrorist than that bin Laden is." Bill Maher, Politically Incorrect, April 16. He's right; there's plenty of evidence that al Qaeda is a terrorist organization, but the evidence personally linking Arafat to terrorism is overwhelming, very public, and quite explicit.
Posted 9:32 AM | [Link]
CYNTHIA MCKINNEY'S MONEY [Jonah Goldberg]
In case you were wondering who'd be crazy enough to fund a congresswoman who claims Bush is more or less a murderer, here you go.
Posted 9:17 AM | [Link]
REFUGEE PROBLEM [Jonah Goldberg]
Yesterday The New York Times had a long, very sympathetic article on the plight of Palestinian refugees. I don't want to dismiss the idea that these people are actually living in a bad way. Of course they are. But take a look at this paragaph:
"The children always ask us why we live in such misery," said Khalil Ghadallah al-Fayoumi, 53, a teacher in Baqaa, speaking of his brood of 19.
"I tell them because we are not living on our land," he said. "I tell them they will live in their country in a comfortable way, but it is occupied. You live on 90 square meters because someone else took thousands of meters of your land."
Um, did it ever occur to this guy -- or, say, The New York Times -- that maybe having nineteen kids might have something to do with his troubles? "Now kids, share that egg! There's enough for everybody!"
Posted 9:03 AM | [Link]
NO TIME FOR MORE BUREAUCRACY: [Rod Dreher] Today's Boston Herald says in an editorial that the cardinals headed to Rome next week are expected to receive new and uniform guidelines for handling sex abuse allegations. The Herald notes that this is a decent start, but only a start. If the Vatican thinks this crisis is a problem of insufficient regulation, rather than gravely deficient leadership from bishops, it will hardly begin to get at the root of the problem. This seems right to me. My greatest fear is that the Pope will read the riot act to the cardinals, who will return home and do ... nothing much. The American bishops have quietly defied the Holy See on important matters for years, with no repercussions (Ex corde ecclesiae, anyone?) Why change now?
Posted 8:53 AM | [Link]
BUSH OFF HIS GAME [Jonah Goldberg]
The Wall Street Journal nails it this morning.
UNLESS... [Jonah Goldberg]
Michael Kelly is right.
Posted 8:27 AM | [Link]
SOBERING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
WashingtonPost.com’s main page: Bin Laden escaped. Powell meets with Arafat again.
Posted 4:39 AM | [Link]
YASSER-TV [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The latest from MEMRI, this, an excerpt from a sermon on Palestinian Authority TV on Friday, from an imam (This is only a taste here):
We are convinced of the [future] victory of Allah; we believe that one of these days, we will enter Jerusalem as conquerors, enter Jaffa as conquerors, enter Haifa as conquerors, enter Ramle and Lod as conquerors, the [villages of] Hirbiya and Dir Jerjis and all of Palestine as conquerors, as Allah has decree... 'They will enter Al-Aqsa Mosque as they have entered it the first time...
Anyone who does not attain martyrdom in these days should wake in the middle of the night and say: “My God, why have you deprived me of martyrdom for your sake? For the martyr lives next to Allah”...
Posted 4:34 AM | [Link]
HE GOT AWAY AT TORA BORA--HEARTBREAKING WASHPOST STORY: [Lowry]
After-action reviews, conducted privately inside and outside the military chain of command, describe the episode as a significant defeat for the United States. A common view among those interviewed outside the U.S. Central Command is that Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the war's operational commander, misjudged the interests of putative Afghan allies and let pass the best chance to capture or kill al Qaeda's leader. Without professing second thoughts about Tora Bora, Franks has changed his approach fundamentally in subsequent battles, using Americans on the ground as first-line combat units.
In the fight for Tora Bora, corrupt local militias did not live up to promises to seal off the mountain redoubt, and some colluded in the escape of fleeing al Qaeda fighters. Franks did not perceive the setbacks soon enough, some officials said, because he ran the war from Tampa with no commander on the scene above the rank of lieutenant colonel. The first Americans did not arrive until three days into the fighting. "No one had the big picture," one defense official said.
The Bush administration has never acknowledged that bin Laden slipped through the cordon ostensibly placed around Tora Bora as U.S. aircraft began bombing on Nov. 30. Until now it was not known publicly whether the al Qaeda leader was present on the battlefield.
But inside the government there is little controversy on the subject. Captured al Qaeda fighters, interviewed separately, gave consistent accounts describing an address by bin Laden around Dec. 3 to mujaheddin, or holy warriors, dug into the warren of caves and tunnels built as a redoubt against Soviet invaders in the 1980s. One official said "we had a good piece of sigint," or signals intelligence, confirming those reports.
"I don't think you can ever say with certainty, but we did conclude he was there, and that conclusion has strengthened with time," said another official, giving an authoritative account of the intelligence consensus. "We have high confidence that he was there, and also high confidence, but not as high, that he got out. We have several accounts of that from people who are in detention, al Qaeda people who were free at the time and are not free now."
Posted 11:23 PM | [Link]
A JOB FOR FED EX? [John J. Miller]
And you thought our mail service was slow: In China, archaeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old letter that still hasn't been delivered.
Posted 9:12 PM | [Link]
ONLY CERTAIN TERRORISTS ALLOWED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
So the U.N. is ticked because some of its members have not filed their terrorism reports—what they’re doing to fight it. It is unclear, however, why they would care, considering this vote was cast by the venerable body yesterday—allowing for Palestinian violence in pursuit of their state.
Posted 8:29 PM | [Link]
WE’RE JUST DOING OUR JOBS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Weblogs increase productivity? Um. Sure.
Posted 8:17 PM | [Link]
FOR THOSE ON CHURCH WATCH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
You might find this interview I did with scholar Philip Jenkins for the National Catholic Register worth reading.
Posted 8:16 PM | [Link]
RE OCCAM'S MIDEAST RAZOR [John Derbyshire]
For godssakes, Ramesh, did you have to tell the whole world that I read Andrew Sullivan? I shall never hear the last of this.
Posted 4:49 PM | [Link]
E.B. WHITE AGREES WITH JOHN DERBYSHIRE [Jonah Goldberg]
"Liberals are like dogs: The liberal holds that he is true to the republic when he is true to himself. (It may not be as cozy an attitude as it sounds.) He greets with enthusiasm the fact of the journey, as a dog greets a man’s invitation to take a walk. And he acts in the dog’s way too, swinging wide, racing ahead, doubling back, covering many miles of territory that the man never traverses, all in the spirit of inquiry and the zest for truth. He leaves a crazy trail, but he ranges far beyond the genteel old party he walks with and he is usually in a better position to discover a skunk."
Of course White was talking about a different kind of liberal and he was wrong. But there you go.
Posted 4:44 PM | [Link]
DOGS, KIDDIE PORN & STAR TREK [Jonah Goldberg]
(Hey, that’s a good book title). Unfortunately, I was out with Cosmo when the conversation got interesting around here. First of all, while I think it is wrong to judge dogs by human political categories they most certainly aren’t liberals. Dogs may try to run your life, but they do not much care about running the lives of people they’ve never met. And still, they are willing to judge others -- and admit it. They are morally pragmatic, loyal and willing to share with family while outraged or flummoxed by the idea of taxation for the benefit of people or dogs they don’t know. They firmly believe in sexual harassment as a modus vivendi. They believe nature is a tool. They are not vegetarians and reject animal rights. They chuff at egalitarianism. In short, I think they are Monarchists; they believe in something very close to a Great Chain of Being with humans and dogs at the top (and, even at the top humans and dogs have different ranks). Think of the dogs in the movie "Babe."
KIDDIE PORN [Jonah Goldberg]
Jonathan – If all you were arguing for was the need for judges to read the law as written, I lay down my arms and agree with you. But, I must say, it didn’t sound like that.
STAR TREK [Jonah Goldberg]
I defy you Lopez. I defy your capricious and arbitrary ban on the phrase Star Trek. I just have nothing interesting to say on the subject right now.
Posted 4:28 PM | [Link]
CANINE TOURIST SPOTS [ANdrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, Now that we have added Russian scientists to the canine controversy I thought I would pass on a useful tourist tip. Any readers visiting St Petersburg should be sure to check if the "Museum of Hygiene" is still open. The exhibits include one of Pavlov's dogs, electrodes still attached.
Posted 4:07 PM | [Link]
REDUNDANT? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
CAIR has announced a pro-Palestine rally in DC for later this month. Don't they do that at Foggy Bottom daily?
Posted 3:42 PM | [Link]
NO KIBBLES, NO PEACE [John Derbyshire]
Oh, come on, K-Lo, just one more. Look, I got dog-name stories. A few weeks ago I mentioned in a Corner post that I was researching a Russian mathematician name of Pafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev. The name "Pafnuty" stuck in my mind somehow, and I started wondering why I
hadn't seen it before. With the help of some kind readers, I eventually tracked it down to its lair (for which, see Philip J. Davis's book The Thread). Well, in the middle of this exciting enterprise, a lady emailed me to ask if I would suggest a name for the dog she had just acquired...There is now a Pafnuty running round somewhere in the Midwest.
Posted 3:17 PM | [Link]
SAUDI IS COMING TO CRAWFORD: [Rich Lowry]
Posted 3:16 PM | [Link]
WILL THE MOOSE SWITCH TOO?: [Rich Lowry]
There is now a mini-groundswell among neo-liberal writers for John McCain to become a Democrat. There’s a piece in the Washington Monthly. And Jonathan Chait has an interesting one about to appear in the new New Republic. Here’s a flavor: “McCain’s domestic agenda increasingly consists of bold reforms that expand the scope of the federal government. During the campaign, McCain paid lip service to anti-government bromides while supporting government intervention in specific instances. In the last year, though, his ideology has grown coherently progressive. “We have had regulatory agencies always to curb the abuses or potential abuses of the capitalist system,” he said earlier this year on “Face the Nation.” “This is not a totally laissez-faire country.” McCain, in other words, now believes in progressive government to counteract the excesses of the market and recognizes that the mere fact business interests complain about such intervention does not by itself make it wrong. There is a term for people who think like this: Democrats.”
Posted 3:09 PM | [Link]
A READER TELLS ME... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That pets--dogs, cats, ardvaarks, and zebras--along with, yes, kiddie porn, should probably go the way of Star Trek Corner posts real soon. (Andrew, am I forgetting anything?) Me thinks I agree.
Posted 3:05 PM | [Link]
SOME THINGS ONLY AN INTELLECTUAL CAN BELIEVE: [Rod Dreher] Dr. Fred Berlin, the Johns Hopkins sex think-tank muckety-muck, says that even though the overwhelming number of victims of pederast priests are male, that doesn't mean the priests doing the molesting are homosexuals. He tells the Washington Times that Dr. Berlin said any adult male who repeatedly seeks sexual relations with adolescent minors has a sexual disorder known as ephebophilia. "This doesn't mean they are homosexual. They could be homosexual ephebophiles or homosexual pedophiles," depending on the age of the youngsters, Dr. Berlin said. Uh, right. As my friend Mark says, "Spam for breakfast or Spam for lunch, it's still Spam."
Posted 2:54 PM | [Link]
YOU DOG PEOPLE, FEH: [Rod Dreher] Dogs shmogs. Dogs -- Cosmo excepted, I'm sure -- are so predictable and dumb, and if they're not dumb, they're skittish as all get-out, all yappy and annoying. I ask you, have you ever met a dumb cat? Moreover, cats are self-cleaning, a fact that I appreciated growing up in the country with dogs who loved to roll in dead armadillos. Dear Charlotte Hays is a conservative feline-ophile down on the Potomac who has a cat named "Ottoline," presumably after the Bloomsburyite Lady Ottoline Morrell. That's a great cat name, if you ask me. If my bride weren't allergic to cats, I'd get me a pompous fat furbag and name him Evelyn, that's EE-vullin, as in Waugh. And with any luck, he'd be a right bastard, and a decent mouser, too.
Posted 2:44 PM | [Link]
DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT [Jonathan Adler]
Jonah hasn't read the decision, so I suppose I can't fault him for thinking I was making a slippery slope argument. I wasn't. There's no need to slip here. Indeed, the dissenters readily acknowledged that the statute could be construed to cover films such as "Traffic" and "American Beauty" because it covered "simulated" sex acts involving minors or those who appear to be minors. The dissenters argument was simply that the law "need not be construed to reach such materials." In other words, the plain language of the statute may threaten such films, but judges should interpret the statute to prevent such problems. This is quite different from suggesting that such concerns either do not exist or presume a slippery slope. One other point: That the Clinton administration never sought to prosecute such films -- or any "virtual" child pornography -- is proof of nothing. The Clinton Justice Department was notoriously lax in prosecuting the real thing.
Posted 2:38 PM | [Link]
GET REAL [John Derbyshire]
Come, come, Andrew. A conservative name for a dog? Whatever their inner principles may be--we can only guess--so far as their actual lifestyles are concerned, dogs are liberals, if not outright socialists. Our Boris, at any rate, is deeply into the dependency culture. No sooner has he finished his morning bowl of chow--which, of course, he has done nothing to earn--than he is whining peevishly for his "right" to be walked. For this dog, even "Boris" is a bit of a stretch: "Noam," "Jesse" or "Gus" would be more to
Posted 2:20 PM | [Link]
CHUTZPAH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rich, Let me see if I've got this right. The Saudi going on about "freedom" is a member of an UNELECTED "parliament"....
Posted 2:16 PM | [Link]
OBSCENE REASONING [Jonah Goldberg]
As I said, I hadn't read the actual case yet (note how I say "yet" as if I actually might, heh heh). If this is an attempt to save women's prison movies for late-night HBO, I'm all for it. That said, the movies you cite -- "Traffic" and "American Beauty" -- were made and released after this law passed and I don't think they were ever in danger of being prosecuted. Which illustrates my position generally on such things. Even if we have a hard time defining pornography or obscenity, the culture is pretty smart about differentiating it from "art" when it needs to. Since, in general, I am not frightened by the idea of censorship, I tend to find slippery-slope arguments against it unpersuasive. In fact, it seems to me that the slippery slope has been sliding the other way on such issues for a very, very, very long time. As for the snuff films, I'm agnostic on whether any actually exist. I'd bet some do, but I'm certainly open to the possibility that they don't. But my example still works either way I think.
Posted 2:06 PM | [Link]
Saudi: Suicide Bombings Not Terrorism: [Rich Lowry]
By DONNA ABU-NASR
Associated Press Writer
April 16, 2002, 12:03 PM EDT
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- A Saudi official said Tuesday he told President Bush and Congress in a letter that Palestinian suicide bombers are not terrorists and are instead sacrificing "their souls for freedom."
The member of the unelected Consultative Council, which acts like a Parliament, also warned that Washington's perceived support for Israel would intensify mounting hatred toward the United States.
Ahmed al-Tuwaijri said in his letter that U.S. policy has "destroyed our dreams and the dreams of peace-lovers around the world." The 120-member council is appointed by the king and reflects government opinion.
Tuwaijri's comments came after the Saudi ambassador to Britain, Ghazi Algosaibi, wrote a poem in the Arab daily Al-Hayat over the weekend praising a female suicide bomber.
Last week, a government-run telethon raised more than $100 million to help the Palestinians amid the Israeli offensive in the West Bank. Some in the United States accused the Saudis of fueling violence, though the Saudis denied any of the money was going to suicide bombers. …
Posted 2:02 PM | [Link]
ENUFF ON SNUFF [Jonathan Adler]
Are snuff films simply an urban legend? This article raises the question. Moreover, Jonah may be surprised to learn that there are plenty of movies that simulate the essentials of a snuff film, including a 1970s schlock sex film with the title "Snuff." Such films are legal, so long as they are not "obscene."
Posted 1:44 PM | [Link]
IN DEFENSE OF THE COURT (AND MYSELF) [Jonathan Adler]
I think Jonah is missing quite a bit. "Virtual" child porn, for purposes of this case (Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition), is material that is neither obscene (e.g., Jonah's "snuff" films) nor depicts actual children (e.g., real kiddie porn or pictures of real kids "morphed" into sexual situations). Such material remains illegal. At issue is material that appears to depict individuals who appear to be engaged in sexual activity. Nor is the statute limited to depictions of "prepubescent kids." Under the statute, a movie containing a scene in which an adult actor, portraying a teenager, engages in sexual activity would risk prosecution. No need for "kiddie-buggery" or simulated "snuff"; a production of "Romeo and Juliet" might suffice. The statute covers "simulated" sexual activity so recent films such as "Traffic" or "American Beauty" could have been perilously close to the line as well. The choice before the court was either to strike down the offending portions of the statute -- again, leaving intact the prohibition on pornography made with children -- or, as the dissenters urged, construe (read: "rewrite") the statute to cover only the "hard core of child pornography" and thereby protect material with serious literary or artistic merit. One does not need to be a law professor to think this is a close call. Ultimately, however, I believe that Thomas and the majority got it right. (Indeed, when Thomas and Scalia disagree, the former usually gets it right.)
Posted 1:33 PM | [Link]
MORE SNUFF [Jonah Goldberg]
Maybe this is a better way to think about it. In most snuff films, the murder is apparently faked. But all snuff films, I believe, are illegal. Now, if you made a real snuff film – i.e. murdered someone on film – I would expect that you'd be charged with murder. If you made a fake one, I would assume you’d be charged with some lesser offense, maybe only a civil penalty. I hope the distinction between virtual and real is clear here – even to intellectuals.
Posted 1:03 PM | [Link]
PET NAMES [Andrew Stuttaford]
I'm concerned to read that the hound of the Derbyshires goes by the name of “Boris.” Somehow that doesn't seem very NR to me. What's wrong with Whittaker, Ronald, or Antonin?
Posted 12:55 PM | [Link]
ET TU, POTEMRA? [Jonah Goldberg]
Mike, the question isn’t whether I can draw a distinction between fake kiddie porn and real kiddie porn. I can. So what? Simply because the distinction exists between, say, animated and actual child molestation, doesn’t mean the state is wrong to ban both (I gather this law was federal, which does raise questions of federalism, but let’s forget that for a moment). In my mind, such distinctions are only relevant in regards to the punishment of the perpetrators not the legitimacy of the ban. I see nothing wrong with the State banning X-rated "snuff" cartoons ("snuff" movies apparently come in a number of varieties but they all involve the murder and sexual abuse of someone) or video games which earn you points for buggering a child. Does that mean I would want the animators or the programmers to be charged with rape or murder? Of course not. But I would want them charged with something.
Posted 12:51 PM | [Link]
GUN NEWS [Dave Kopel]
The City of Boston has dissolved the consent decree which the city had previously signed with handgun manufacturer Smith & Wesson. The decision was a conciliatory move by the city, following the city's decision to drop its lawsuit against other firearms manufacturers, due to the high cost of litigation and the slim chances of eventual legal success. Because the dissolution of the consent decree, Smith & Wesson no longer has any agreements with any of the plaintiffs or other entities which initiated in the abusive lawsuits against handgun manufacturers. In the summer of 2000, Smith & Wesson and the Clinton Department of Housing and Urban Development made a highly publicized announcement of plans to enter into a consent decree, but the plans never materialized, because the parties did not agree about the meaning of particular terms in the proposed decree. Signing the agreements was never the idea of Smith & Wesson's employees, but was imposed on Smith & Wesson at the insistence of Tompkins PLC, the British conglomerate which owned Smith & Wesson, and with the acquiescence of Smith & Wesson's president. That president is no longer employed by Smith & Wesson, and Smith & Wesson has been sold to new American owners.
Posted 12:42 PM | [Link]
HURRAY FOR JONATHAN ADLER [Michael Potemra]
And for Justice Clarence Thomas, whose intellect continues to surprise and impress even in his second decade on the Court. To argue that virtual child pornography is the same as real child pornography is like saying Matt Damon and George Clooney should go to prison for burglary because they were in the movie Ocean's Eleven. (For making such a lousy movie, maybe; but not for burglary.) I mean, I'm all for moral clarity and everything, but surely you can admit a distinction between "real" and "fake" without facing an accusation of being a (horrors!) intellectual ...
Posted 12:35 PM | [Link]
THE JENIN LIE [Jonah Goldberg]
By the way, if you haven't read Ariel Cohen's piece today on the Jenin "massacre," you really should. It's excellent.
Posted 12:33 PM | [Link]
OCCAM’S MIDEAST RAZOR: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
At yesterday’s editorial meeting—we have one every two weeks in New York—John Derbyshire brought up Andrew Sullivan’s argument that the administration’s Mideast policy is brilliantly Machiavellian. Derb said he hoped that Sullivan was right. But when you have a policy that looks, from the outside, as though it were moving this way and that in response to shifting pressures from Europe, the Arabs, the media, and domestic opinion, it may be because that’s what the policy is.
Posted 12:26 PM | [Link]
NOT AN ILLUSION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rod, thanks for the link to the Herald article. I don’t think Cardinal Dulles is saying the “sex-abuse scandal is pretty much an illusion.” I do think, however, that he is saying that this is not the Reformation, and the Catholic Church will be standing when all is said and done. And, yes, it’s hard to deny that the media does give you a sense of institution-ending crisis. To some extent that is a good thing because it forces action. But I don’t blame the fine cardinal for reminding people that the Church is more than just scandal and in that sense is not in crisis. People who live by the media—even the truth-seeking media—couldn’t be hurt by that reminder.
Posted 12:24 PM | [Link]
GREAT NEWS [Jonah Goldberg]
While Ramesh enrages our technophile libertarian friends and Jonathan Adler tries to open another front on the Right by endorsing "virtual" kiddie-buggery, I want to be a uniter, not a divider. In that spirit I call your attention to a story which shall no doubt be greeted with cheers by the entire NR-clan. Derbyshire conservatives and Postrellian dynamists alike must be delighted by the scientifically confirmed news that the more alcohol you drink, the more successful you become. Break out the champagne!
Posted 12:18 PM | [Link]
ON THE BRINK [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The third point: What frustrates me is not so much that Postrel and like-minded writers don’t argue the case that blastocysts aren’t persons when they write about cloning—although I would like to see more of that—but that they write as though pro-lifers like me don’t have a case. See, for example, my friend (and trade guru) Brink Lindsey’s remark that the pro-life position rests on a “theological assertion” that is “absurd on its face.” Maybe my reasoning is wrong, but it is reasoning. Brink read my post yesterday as an attempt to place libertarian pro-cloners on the lunatic fringe. That wasn’t my intent. I do think that libertarians, whose own views are so easy to caricature as crazy, lacking common sense, etc., should think twice before attacking others on those grounds.
Posted 12:11 PM | [Link]
NO TELEOLOGY HERE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Virginia Postrel was kind enough to respond to my little post on cloning yesterday. I don’t have time right now to provide the rejoinder it deserves—maybe I will after we go to press—but let me make three quick points: 1) Postrel attributes to me the view that “it's absurd not to take a teleological view, declaring something a person because, given enough time and the right circumstances it could become one.” Actually, my view is that we should recognize a blastocyst, pre-embryo, or whatever one wants to call it as a person not because it could *become* one but because it already is one—it’s a member of the human species, and all humans are persons. 2) I don’t think her position is “absurd,” at least in this society; it used to be my own position.
Posted 11:56 AM | [Link]
VIRTUAL, SHMIRTUAL [Jonah Goldberg]
Jon - I don't know about the rest of NR, but count me opposed. I haven't read the decision, nor have I paid close attention to the arguments so maybe I am missing something. But I doubt it. Child porn is a not subject well-suited for clever examination or nuanced reasoning. Prepubescent kids should never be depicted in pornographic situations. Period. Whether they’re "virtual" or not matters as little to me as whether or not the "actors" are wearing masks or come from countries which allow kiddie porn. Scholars can be inventive as they like on the subject, but I think it should be simple. Zero tolerance is zero tolerance.
Posted 11:52 AM | [Link]
INTERESTING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Dick Morris: “America does not really have a presidential system any more—one where a man gets elected, governs for four years and then runs again. Now we really have a parliamentary system—one where a president needs a daily majority in order to govern.”
Posted 11:41 AM | [Link]
TAKE IT TO THE PEOPLE [Dave Kopel]
A CBS News poll, taken April first and second, suggests that the American people are not as inclined as the U.S. State Department to see Yasser Arafat as a partner for peace. Only 2 percent of the American public has a "favorable" view of Arafat, while 53 percent are "not favorable." Asked if they thought "Yasser Arafat wants peace in the Middle East enough to make real concessions to the Israeli government in order to get it or not?"14 percent said yes and 70 percent said no.
Posted 11:40 AM | [Link]
VIRTUAL PORN PROTECTED [Jonathan Adler]
This morning the Supreme Court struck down portions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 which prohibited "virtual" child pornography--that is, depictions of minors engaged in sexual activity that do not actually involve minors. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion for himself and the four liberals on the court. Justice Thomas concurred, Justice O'Connor concurred in part, and Justice Scalia and the Chief dissented. Thomas's concurrence is particularly interesting. He noted that the government does have an interest in prohibiting "virtual" child porn if such a prohibition is necessary to prosecute the real thing. Thomas noted, however, that the government cited no instance in which a pornographer mounted successful defense by claiming material was only "virtual" porn created by computers or digital technology, and therefore not the real thing. Therefore, the ban was merely speculative. No doubt I am one of the few contributors to this site that thinks Thomas and the majority probably got this case right.
Posted 10:52 AM | [Link]
IT'S THE MEDIA'S FAULT: [Rod Dreher] Avery Cardinal Dulles, the distinguished theologian, tells the Boston Herald that the sex-abuse scandal is pretty much an illusion. ``I don't think there's any great crisis in the U.S.," the cardinal says. "It's really practically no news. To the extent it's a crisis, it's created by the news media."
Posted 10:50 AM | [Link]
CANINE CIVILIZATION [Jonah Goldberg]
When your Canine Civilization project gets off the ground, Jonah, please note that Boris Derbyshire, 11 years old (that's 77 in people-years) and wise in the ways of the world, is available for interview.
Posted 10:23 AM | [Link]
TODAY'S FUNNIEST HEADLINE [Michael Potemra]
It's a London Times story linked to by Drudge. The headline says, "Sex scandals may lead US Catholics to defy Rome." This is like a headline saying, "Recent drought may lead frat boys to drink beer."
Posted 10:22 AM | [Link]
BLEGGING, CONT’D [Jonah Goldberg]
I may have started it, but John Derbyshire gave it a name: "blegging," the posting of a self-serving request in blog format. So, herewith another example. I really want to write about Canine Civilization. Alas, I believe that I’ve hit my dog-article quota at NR and, besides, I’d like to do a pretty big piece and let's face facts, Lowry's a cat-person. So, if you’re the editor of a well-paying magazine – the Atlantic or the NYT magazine would be ideal – please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Posted 9:42 AM | [Link]
GREAT SERMONS OF OUR TIME: [Rod Dreher] In a Texas church this past weekend, the priest did not give his usual homily. Instead, he read aloud from the pulpit this hard-hitting but inspiring column from Fr. Joseph Wilson of Brooklyn, who wrote it for The Wanderer, a traditionalist Catholic newspaper. It received wild applause from the congregation, who are to be commended for their good sense. This one's a keeper.
Posted 8:16 AM | [Link]
EXTRA! EXTRA! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The new conservative paper the New York Sun has hit the newsstands. (It's actually a reincarnation of an old name.) I haven’t seen a copy yet, but I hear from the more blessed that there’s a Jay Nordlinger music piece in there today. The paper, no doubt, is worth reading for many reasons, but this, my favorite: Our Michael Ledeen, freedom fighter, is a bridge correspondent.
Posted 7:10 AM | [Link]
BYRON WHITE, RIP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Retired Supreme Court Justice Byron White may have been a Democrat, but if he were nominated today he’d probably have a hard time getting through the Senate, Douglas Johnson from the National Right to Life Committee reminds me. Remember, White famously dissented in Roe v. Wade, which he called "an exercise in raw judicial power," and consistently voted to allow states to restrict abortion on demand.
Posted 6:51 AM | [Link]
COUNTER-COINAGE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Ananda Gupta, responding to my previous post about libertarian blogorrhea on cloning, says that my own "lengthy screeds" on the subject should be described as a "Ramess." Nice.
Posted 6:50 AM | [Link]
SEEING IT THROUGH [Dave Kopel]
Rich Lowry's posting last night notes Cornel West's assertion that Harvard President Larry Summers is "the Ariel Sharon of American higher education." Logically then, Cornel West would be the Yasser Arafat of American higher education.
Posted 6:20 AM | [Link]
HILLARY TO BUSH [Rich Lowry]
"As long as Arafat continues to support and fund terrorists, it is difficult to conceive that any progress can be made from meeting with him. Most worrisome, a meeting between Secretary Powell and Chairman Arafat in light of today's attack in Jerusalem validates the contention that Arafat is gaining ground through his strategy of terror."
Posted 6:07 AM | [Link]
AL QAEDA TAKES CREDIT FOR ATTACK [Rich Lowry]
Posted 6:06 AM | [Link]
GRANHOLM FOR VEEP IN '08? [John J. Miller]
Jennifer Granholm--remember the name. She's running for Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Michigan. This fall, GOPers wouldn't mind facing either of her primary opponents, former governor Jim Blanchard and congressman David Bonior. Granholm, however, is someone they really fear. If she wins, this moderate liberal will quickly become a national political player. In a typically strong online column for the Wall Street Journal today, Tom Bray explains why.
Posted 5:55 AM | [Link]
WORTH READING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Bret Stephens on moral distinctions (or lack thereof) in the press in the Jerusalem Post.
Posted 4:57 AM | [Link]
ARAFAT'S LITTLE GIRL [John Derbyshire]
How tasteless of me to recall the "fake news" item on Saturday Night Live the week Mrs. Arafat's pregnancy was made known: "The Happy Arafats say they don't care if it's a boy baby or a girl baby -- just so long as it hates Jews!"
Posted 4:46 AM | [Link]
ALL WE ARE SAYING... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Perhaps Colin Powell can chair the next meeting of the Arab League and draft a statement denouncing terrorism that everyone can sign onto. Step One in the U.S. terorism peace process. Then he can meet with heads of state in Iran, Iraq, etc.
Posted 4:45 AM | [Link]
PRO-ISRAEL MADE SIMPLE: [Rod Dreher] Instapundit reader Arnold Kling made the best simple argument yet for going to yesterday's pro-Israel rally in Washington: "The moral state of things is this: 1) If the Palestinians unilaterally lay down their arms and renounce violence, they will be given peace, dignity, and their own state; 2) if the Israelis unilaterally lay down their arms and renounce violence, they will be slaughtered; 3) as far as most of the world is concerned, either outcome would be satisfactory." Wish I had been there too.
Posted 11:00 PM | [Link]
Cornell West calls Summers ''the Ariel Sharon of American higher education'' and a ''bully.'': [Rich Lowry]
Posted 4:21 PM | [Link]
MARKETING RESEARCH [Ramesh Ponnuru]
There’s been an explosion of anti-Bush commentary from pro-cloning libertarian bloggers in recent days. Blogorrhea, we could call it. It’s probably not worth responding to their posts, since they are both beyond argument and politically ineffectual. But their lack of self-awareness is truly remarkable. First, you have the spectacle of libertarians--of all people--complaining about other people’s “fanatical” and “theological” convictions and using public opinion as an argument for their side. Second, they’re bitching about President Bush using the phrase “research cloning” rather than “therapeutic cloning.” (Bush’s choice supposedly exploits negative stereotypes about scientists.) But “therapeutic cloning” is itself a term of art. It’s the same procedure as “reproductive cloning”: The only differences are what comes afterward and the intention of the cloner. People who want cloning for research and therapeutic purposes invented the phrase to make it sound as though they were talking about something completely different--a fiction that quite a bit of the blog commentary continues.
Posted 3:37 PM | [Link]
"THE CLOSED CIRCLE": [Rod Dreher] "What is normal procedure within the system of tribe and religious affiliation looks to those outside it like evidence of bad or vicious character. To suppose that the Middle East today is in a state of special and almost inexplicable turbulence, that the wars of the Arabs are somehow Western-induced, and in any case a general threat to the peace of the world, is a Eurocentric misreading of the nature of these conflicts. Tribes and religions do not have institutional mechanisms for compromise and mediation. Instead they resort to war in a perpetual process of adjudicating issues outstanding between them. What might look like volatility or willful self-damage is customary, normal on its own terms." -- NR's David Pryce-Jones, on the ways of the Arabs, in his terrific 1989 book The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs, now back in print.
Posted 3:23 PM | [Link]
EASY SACRIFICE [Andrew Stuttaford
In an apparent defense of murder/suicide bombings, Mrs Arafat has announced that there would be no greater honor than sacrificing her son for the cause. Suha Arafat, of course, only has a daughter. With tyrants, it is always other people's sons.
Posted 3:01 PM | [Link]
BREAKING [Andrew Stuttaford]
The London Evening Standard is reporting that another bin Laden video has surfaced. While the date of the tape remains unclear, it does include footage of bin Laden's deputy referring to the WTC attacks as a "great victory." This may disappoint those idiots who still claim that the Jews did it, but nobody should hold their breath waiting for any apologies.
Posted 2:59 PM | [Link]
CRAWFORD PROTOCOL[Andrew Stuttaford]
UPI is reporting that Saudi Arabia's "Prince" Abdullah may cancel his visit to Crawford, Texas. Tempting as it is, a response of "good riddance" would be a mistake: In the current crisis there is, obviously, a real need to maintain some sort of dialogue with the Arab world's leadership. However, inviting Abdullah to Crawford rather than some more formal venue was a mistake. Crawford should be for chums, and that is one thing that the Saudis are not. America's relationship with the current administration in Riyadh needs to be seen as nothing more than an ugly diplomatic convenience. Suggestions of a real friendship can only serve to push potential opposition to the Saudi regime further into the Islamist rather than the more progressive camp. Revolutionary change in Saudi Arabia is inevitable. Too close an American embrace of the existing order just increases the chance that the revolution will be led by a Lenin not a Jefferson.
Posted 2:42 PM | [Link]
CORRECTION: [Rod Dreher] In my NRO story today about the Church crisis, I wrote that a Law underling, Bishop William Murphy, had advised the rapist priest Paul Shanley on how to avoid detection by his victims. I've just learned that there were two William Murphys working for Cardinal Law at the time; the one who wrote the letter to Shanley is not the same William Murphy who is now bishop of Rockville Centre, Long Island. The Boston Herald, which initially reported that Bishop Murphy was the offending party, later published a correction -- which I did not see on its online version. I regret the error, and hereby apologize to the bishop.
Posted 2:27 PM | [Link]
MORE MUST-READ STORIES: [Rod Dreher] Former priest (and still-active Catholic) Michael Dubruiel returns to his blogspot with more sober, thoughtful reflections on his life in the seminary, and how what he heard and saw there foreshadowed the current crisis.
Posted 1:57 PM | [Link]
PREFERENTIAL POISON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Occasionally, supporters of racial preferences argue that their harm is overstated: Every time a black kid gets into college because of preferences, only one white guy loses out--but fifteen think they did. Roger Clegg responds to that argument on NRO today. I'd add that the number of grievances a policy creates--even if those grievances are not, strictly speaking, correct--is an argument against it, not for it.
Posted 1:49 PM | [Link]
CHECK OUT…: [Rich Lowry]
…if you haven’t already, Mark Helprin’s case for more—much more--defense spending on NRO. Also, Slate ran a rejoinder to this piece recently when it ran in the print mag.
Posted 1:45 PM | [Link]
GREELEY: [Rod Dreher] As I've pointed out, this abuse crisis in the Catholic church doesn't fall along the usual orthodox-versus-dissenter lines (note to sociology grad students: this is a doctoral thesis in the making). You have conservative bishops like Cardinals Law and Egan caught up in it, as well as liberals like Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop Weakland. And both the Catholic right and Catholic left are hopping mad. Here's an interesting column by Fr. Andrew Greeley, the priest many Catholic conservatives love to hate, which, except for the last couple of lines, could have been published with pride by most orthodox Catholic journals.
Posted 1:39 PM | [Link]
AMSTERDAMNED: [Rod Dreher] A reader sends a wire photo of some of the rioting pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Amsterdam the other day. Yep, nobody here but us Dutchmen.
Posted 1:10 PM | [Link]
BEGGING LETTER [John Derbyshire]
Jonah's begging letter on The Corner this morning has opened my eyes to the possibilities of this wonderful new feature. With the permission of the noble editor, I should like to submit my own online beg (should we call this "blegging"?) The International Congress of Mathematicians, held every four years, is meeting this time round in Beijing, August 20-28. As a keen amateur mathematician, fully paid-up member of both the AMS and the MAA (those who understand, will understand), and keen reviewer of pop-math books the once or twice a year an opportunity arises--as, in short, a hanger-on of mathematics, the equivalent of what I think in sports is called a "jock-sniffer"--I claim the status of "math journalist"... or rather I would do, if such a thing existed. I should dearly like to attend the Beijing bash, but can't afford it. If there is any kindly newspaper editor out there who seeks to furnish his readers with a blow-by-blow account of the lastest presentations in noncommutative spin geometries, operator algebra cohomology or Gromov-Witten invariants, I AM AVAILABLE.
Posted 1:06 PM | [Link]
ANOTHER BAD U.N. IDEA [Jonathan Adler]
Professor Ruth Wedgwood of Yale and Johns Hopkins University wrote a powerful critique of the International Criminal Court in today's Wall Street Journal (Page A17 -- it's not online). Prof. Wedgwood notes that foreign claims against the U.S. that were rejected in the World Court could likely get a receptive hearing in a new ICC. ICC defenders claim that "complimentarity" would protect U.S. interests because the court would prosecute only when the U.S. was "unwilling or unable genuinely" to prosecute domestically. Yet, notes Wedgwood, "the U.S. is hardly likely to prosecute its own pilots for faithfully carrying out the air attacks assigned to them Where there are good faith differences in warfighting doctrine, complementarity provides no protection against magistrates from abroad."
Posted 12:40 PM | [Link]
THE U.N.'S NEW CAUSE [Jonathan Adler]
Rest assured that it's now safe to grow old. The United Nations Second World Assembly on Aging in Madrid yielded a 44-page action plan to protect the rights of the elderly. The plan aims to combat "elder abuse," guarantee pension rights, and ensure that the aging have access to health care in the developing world. Of course, in many developing countries, those who live long enough to grow old are the lucky ones.
Posted 12:08 PM | [Link]
AUTO COUP [John J. Miller]
Stephen Johnson of the Heritage Foundation has been an outstanding source of information and analysis on Venezuela over the last few days. In a conversation with me on Friday, he predicted serious difficulties for Ramona's transition government, suggesting it wasn't prepared to take power. In today's Wall Street Journal, he floats a fascinating if speculative idea: the possibility that Chavez "cleverly manipulated events aimed at isolating and discrediting his opponents." In other words, Chavez staged his own coup in order to strengthen his grip on power.
Posted 12:01 PM | [Link]
READERS TO GOLDBERG: DROP DEAD [Jonah Goldberg]
As expected, NRO readers have exactly zero sympathy for yours truly. I suspect tax-time is making everyone a bit cranky. Among the responses so far:
"You could, of course, get a real job like the rest of us."
"We'd all feel a lot sorrier for you if we didn't know that your wife had a great job..."
"Join the club, dumb-ass."
"Did you actually think working for National Review would be lucrative?"
"Don't worry about a thing, kid. I'll get right on it. After all, it's not like I have taxes to pay."
Posted 12:00 PM | [Link]
VENEZUELA UPDATE [John J. Miller]
Oh, wait a second. It isn't possible to update events in Venezuela, where coups and counter-coups have made it unclear who's in power and who's out. Simple facts are hard to come by. There have been reports that Hugo Chavez has detained a hundred top military officers and also reports saying this isn't true. There have been reports that Pedro Carmona--apparently head of the country for about 48 hours this weekend--has been arrested, as well as reports denying this. Some of the initial commentary has suggested that Chavez is now more entrenched than ever. This may turn out to be correct, but again, it's not entirely clear he has control of his country right now--Venezuela could very well be headed toward civil war.
Posted 11:58 AM | [Link]
FLAGRANT AND SHAMELESS APPEAL FOR MONEY [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm about to write the largest check of my life to pay my taxes. You see, I am technically self-employed – I’m a "consultant" to NR, for example -- so none of my paychecks have withholding. Getting married got in the way of some quarterly filing, so now the Leviathan state is giving me a full-bodied cavity search like you wouldn't believe; "This will be like having a blind man use a garden rake to remove a football from your, well, you know," explained my accountant, who was breaking the news to me gently. I know what you're thinking: "That's disgusting." But hopefully others are thinking: "How can I help?" Well, other than direct cash payments (journalistic "ethics" discourage that), you could get some publisher to give me a lucrative book contract without demanding an actual proposal from me. Or you college kids and professors could force your schools to contact my speaker’s bureau and say the words they want to hear: "We want Goldberg and money is no object!" In the meantime, I can make no promises that my columns will not suffer as I live off of puddle water and government cheese. At least I can take solace in the fact that my tax dollars are so well-spent.
Posted 11:30 AM | [Link]
SUHA-CIDE BOMBERS WILL TUMBLE 4 YA: [Rod Dreher] From the safety of her luxurious life in Paris, Suha Arafat, the first lady of Palestine, has endorsed suicide bombing. Here's what I want to know: were lovely Suha and transvestite has-been Boy George separated at birth?
Posted 10:34 AM | [Link]
THE ONLY REAL CHRISTIANS IN THE WORLD: [Rod Dreher] A reader sends these comments by the late philosopher Eric Hoffer, who published them in the aftermath of the 1967 war: "The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. ... But in the case of Israel the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back ever single Arab. ...Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world." Hoffer concludes with a prophecy that should resonate with all of us living under the threat of Islamofascism armed with weapons of mass destructions: "As it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us."
Posted 9:31 AM | [Link]
TINFOIL HEADS TO THE RESCUE! [Jonah Goldberg]
Yesterday, on CNN's "Final Round," I noted that Cynthia McKinney "has a known track record of saying things that are both pugnaciously stupid and pugnaciously evil." This has resulted in a small boomlet of email from McKinney supporters who think she's speaking truth to power. Here's my favorite so far:
"How dare you attack the one woman willing to state the obvious! Ms. McKinney is a national hero. Nazis like you couldn't see the truth if it [graphic sexual metaphor]. This is a white racist war for profit! You people won't get away with silencing her the way you did JFK! Wipe the S**T from your eyes!"
Posted 9:31 AM | [Link]
MORE BOMBINGS TO COME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Arafat’s little statement on Saturday has not made an impression on these Palestinians. They must have seen the wink.
Posted 8:21 AM | [Link]
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If the White House is hoping to make Arab friends through the peace process, it’s not working--if newspaper columnists are any indication. Check out some of the Arab newspapers. Here’s a Jordanian columnist: the U.S. demand for a statement from Arafat was "American political terrorism….It is illogical to ask the victim to denounce terrorism and not to ask the butcher to stop his terrorism." From Syria: "We had expected that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell would take a strict stand toward Israel's dangerous violations of U.N. principles. But what happened was absolutely the opposite."
Posted 8:08 AM | [Link]
M&D: [John J. Miller]
The plight of the Mason-Dixon line. It's biggest enemy now appears to be the snowplow.
Posted 4:36 AM | [Link]
THE CLASSICS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, thank you for the news on the purloined library books. No big surprise there. The borrowed Star Trek book was almost certainly the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, always useful, but not always comptatible with hu-man legal requirements...
Posted 8:10 PM | [Link]
"USEFUL AND CONSTRUCTIVE" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Wouldn't it be refreshing if for once an American diplomat came out of the Arafat compound saying this was the last high-level meeting with Arafat? Terrorist must be rooted out, yadayada. Israel, roll as needed.
Posted 9:14 AM | [Link]
AMERICAN IN CHINA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Chinese police are holding a 21-year-old American student who reportedly held up a banner and shouted support for Falun Gong in Tiananmen Square.
Posted 9:04 AM | [Link]
EMBARRASSING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah's post on the British poet Tom Paulin should shame all Brits. Paulin is an embarrassment both to the UK and (my alma mater) Oxford. The most depressing thing about the whole matter is how little attention his comments have attracted in the UK. Verbal violence of this sort is, apparently, no longer really noteworthy, at least in Europe.
Posted 9:00 AM | [Link]