THAT SAID: [Rod Dreher] That said, Andrew, my wife tells me I have to admit that when we travel to south Louisiana next week to visit my family, I intend to stand over my mom's sink and eat sandwiches made from fresh-sliced tomatoes, straight out of the garden, with a little mayonnaise, salt and pepper, between two slices of the softest, mushiest white bread I can find. There's just something about mushy supermarket white bread that's metaphysically consonant with a sliced tomato sandwich.
Posted 10:55 PM | [Link]
YOUR MOTHER WAS A HAMSTER, STUTTAFORD: [Rod Dreher] I wondered who was going to cite that WSJ piece against me, and damned if it wasn't you Stuttaford, you poor Velveeta-choked blighter. The best distinction between the leftist ninnies of the sort quoted in this piece and real crunchy-right stalwarts was put to me by a reader who was raised a red-diaper baby with hippie tastes in food, and who now raises organic vegetables with her Marine husband in rural Virginia, and labors for gun rights. She said the difference between her and her unreformed siblings is that she sees eating organic vegetables as part of a good life; for her leftist family members, it is their life. She's an observant Christian, and I thought about her when I read the following from The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection, a wondrous cookbook-essay by Fr. Robert Farrar Capon, an Episcopal priest and passionate amateur cook. What a fantastic book this is, and belongs on every crunchy-conservative's reading list. Here he is on idolatry: "Whatever good may have resided in the Golden Calf -- whatever loveliness of gold or beauty of line -- went begging the minute the Israelites got the idea that it was their savior out of the bondage of Egypt. In making the statue a matter of the greatest point, they missed the point of its matter altogether."
Posted 10:50 PM | [Link]
GRANOLA GRADGRINDS [Andrew Stuttaford]
The mystery of Granola conservatism has been revealed. Over breakfast this morning (Diet Coke, processed white bread, Kraft cheese slices) I noticed this piece in the Wall Street Journal on a Marxist teach-in.
Amongst the highlights is a discussion between Josh, 'a graduate student' and a lecturer by the name of Lisa Featherstone. Josh is concerned that "that the lives of the [anti-globalism] protesters were shot through with what Marx referred to as the fetishism of commodities. Their love of organic food, he implied, was greater than their love of the oppressed who grow it. Ms. Featherstone conceded the point. She mentioned that organic farming might actually be "more exploitative" than large, mechanized farms, "because it requires more stooping.""
So, that's it, Mr. Dreher.
Posted 3:22 PM | [Link]
WHERE'S CHRIS PATTEN? [Andrew Stuttaford]
The Spanish reconquest of Parsley Island has been a richly comic saga (and one that is entertainingly difficult to reconcile with Spain's traditional attitude to British rule in Gibraltar or, for that matter, the Falklands), but, as is reported in today's edition of the London Independent, it has also provided a splendid example of the EU's diplomacy at work.
Posted 2:58 PM | [Link]
OILY [Andrew Stuttaford]
The arrival of Russia as a major - and constructive - presence on the international oil markets has been one of the most encouraging developments of the last six months, and the OPEC cartel is far from pleased.
A Financial Times report today quotes "a senior OPEC official" as complaining that "the Russians are playing a dirty political game with OPEC and it is becoming very hard to trust them."
Someone from OPEC is whining about "dirty political games" and a lack of trustworthiness?
Oh, that's rich, very rich...
Posted 2:39 PM | [Link]
INACTIVISM: A DEFINITION [Andrew Stuttaford]
Did Jonah betray his inactivist credentials with his frenzied search for the perfect inactivist slogan? At least one inactivist thinks not (others, presumably, couldn't be bothered to write in):
"Inactivism...is not the avoidance of mere activity, but of activity that someone thinks you should do...Clearly, no one thinks Mr. Goldberg should spend his time wading
through hundreds of inactivism slogans. But most likely he is doing this for the express purpose of avoiding some deadline or task that one of the bosses in his life has assigned him. In so doing, he is striking a blow -- or rather, not striking a non-blow -- for inactivists everywhere -- or rather, wherever."
Rich, Kathryn, any thoughts?
Posted 2:18 PM | [Link]
EVIL GENIUS [Andrew Stuttaford]
A reader writes to say that there should have been no surprise that works on higher mathematics were amongst the most commonly stolen books from Manhattan's Strand bookstore. As he points out, "Professor Moriarty taught math".
Posted 2:04 PM | [Link]
NRO CITED [Dave Kopel]
Eighteen state Attorneys General have written a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft commending his recognition of the Second Amendment as an individual right. The letter also recognizes that the right to bear arms protects public safety, and cites one of my NRO articles on the failure of gun control in Great Britain.
Posted 8:14 AM | [Link]
TERRY, TERRY QUITE CONTRARY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
McAuliffe might want to chill a bit with the business-past flamethrowing. Yesterday he was nagging Cheney. Here's Byron York's piece on what McAuliffe's got in his past.
Posted 7:46 AM | [Link]
JUST FOR THE RECORD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I was just being a Bastille-week, Ugly American jerk. I did not really think the world's youth hate Canada. So if you would please stop throwing the bacon...Thanks.
Posted 7:40 AM | [Link]
RE: WORLD YOUTH DAY: [Rod Dreher] But Kathryn, Toronto is an English-speaking city (and a great one too; I've been there to its film festival three times), and the Canadian dollar is low against the U.S. dollar, making it a bargain. And, Canada is right next door to the United States, making travel there by Americans easy. World Youth Day in Paris was bigger, and it took place in a French-speaking country, on a continent where (unlike North America) the Catholic faith has withered. World Youth Day in Manila was bigger. Hey, Lord knows I'm not happy about this. I think John Paul's outreach to young people has been one of the best things about his papacy. It's just terribly sad that what may well be the great man's final WYD will likely be the worst one in terms of attendance. But it's understandable.
Posted 5:28 PM | [Link]
JUST WAIT UNTIL THE NY POST FINDS OUT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted 4:44 PM | [Link]
THE MRS. SCHLAFLY FAN CLUB [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Ann Coulter's column on Phyllis Schlafly is terrific.
Posted 4:41 PM | [Link]
CATHOLIC CATFIGHT!: [Rod Dreher] National Catholic Register editor Tom Hoopes and I are having a good old Catholic catfight over Goodbye, Good Men over on Mark Shea's blog.
Posted 3:57 PM | [Link]
RE: WORLD YOUTH DAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rod, it's in CANADA. Come on. That's not a huge sell. (Sorry. They speak French.)
Posted 3:56 PM | [Link]
WORLD YOUTH DAY FLOPS: [Rod Dreher] Next week, Pope John Paul II comes to Toronto for his annual World Youth Day. But not very many world youth will be there to meet him. Canadian organizers say only a small fraction of the 750,000 expected to show up will be there, and if their prediction holds up, this will be the smallest WYD since they began in 1984. The organizers are blaming the sex scandals in the American church for dampening enthusiasm.
Posted 3:52 PM | [Link]
A GOOD AUDIENCE: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The transcript shows that when the president declared his intention that we be ready for "any enemy," someone burst out with, "Let's get Saddam!" The remark was greeted with cheering and applause.
Posted 3:34 PM | [Link]
BANG THE DRUM: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Here's what President Bush said at Ft. Drum today: "You might have heard about a treaty that would place American troops under the jurisdiction of something called the International Criminal Court. The United States cooperates with many other nations to keep the peace, but we will not submit American troops to prosecutors and judges whose jurisdiction we do not accept. [Applause.] Our nation expects and enforces the highest standards of honor and conduct in our military. That's how you were trained. That's what we expect. Every person who serves under the American flag will answer to his or her own superiors and to military law, not to the rulings of an unaccountable international criminal court."
Posted 3:26 PM | [Link]
THE CASE AGAINST ECUMENISM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Good piece in the Journal today--in the wonderful "Houses of Worship" space, by Mollie Zeigler, a member of the Lutheran Missouri Synod.
Posted 3:24 PM | [Link]
JUNK BONDS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Ramesh, Jonah, yes, you're quite right: there is nothing inherently wrong with junk bonds. In fact, there's a lot that can be right with them (both as an investment vehicle and as a financing tool). The problem in the 1980s was what they came to be associated with. For a fascinating, if somewhat critical account of the phenomenon, check out Connie Bruck's book from 1988, The Predators' Ball.
Posted 2:38 PM | [Link]
A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah Goldberg, self-styled inactivist, is busy "sorting through...over 100 inactivist slogans"? Jonah, what's wrong with you? Just pick the first one you see.
Posted 2:25 PM | [Link]
ATTN RED SOX FANS: [Rich Lowry]
If you want to get in on this gentlemanly wager, let me know. Robert Doherty, a brave soul, has challenged me to this bet: if the Red Sox overtake the Yankees by Sept. 1 (assuming no strike), I must take very high-profile note of the fact in The Corner, and post what, to me, will be very embarrassing and self-abasing positive sentiments about the Red Sox; if on the other hand, the Yankees hold on, Doherty will buy a subscription to NRODT. (If you're already a subscriber, you can renew instead.) Let me know...
Posted 2:20 PM | [Link]
THIS IS THE MOST DEVASTATING…: [Rich Lowry]
…criticism that I have received of my Nigeria piece:
“Nigerians get high on lizard droppings
A cheaper way to escape from the realities of life
By Dan Isaacs
"Three men sit on the ground inside a house. Beside them is a bowl containing a bright blue liquid.
Scattered around are various ingredients that go into the mixture:
Clothing dye powder, medicinal herbs and seeds and most bizarre of all, lizard droppings.
In a nutshell, this is the source of the new "high" sweeping northern Nigeria. ..
'The lizard dung is the most important part of the mixture,' Drug addict."
Posted 2:18 PM | [Link]
HARLEY E-MAIL: [Rich Lowry]
“I agree wholeheartedly with your article "Patriots in Leather." Another commendable aspect of the average biker is their support for police officers, firefighters, and the military. Contrary to the image of the outlaw biker, most bikers are law-abiding citizens who supports those who put their lives on the line to ensure the freedom and safety that the rest of us take for granted.
I am a member of Division 99 (Philadelphia) of the Ancient Order of Hiberians. Our division namesake is Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, who was slain by liberal poster-boy Mumia Abul-Jamal. One of the groups we work with are the Bikers Allied to Commemorate Uniformed Police (B.A.C.U.P.), which has donated $62,000 to a variety of nonprofit organizations that support the families of slain police officers. Every year, they also sponsor the Daniel Faulkner Memorial Bike Run in Philadelphia (www.bacup4699.org), which draws thousands of bikers from across the country to raise money and support the cause. I think these individuals are exactly the type that you characterize as symbols of `self-reliance and freedom and, hence, of the American spirit.’"
Posted 2:16 PM | [Link]
HARLEY CORRECTION: [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "Harley Davidson was founded in 1903. They are just beginning their year-long celebration of their 100th anniversary. This week only marks the 99th."
Posted 2:13 PM | [Link]
JONATHAN JONES DECIDES TO CARRY HIS OWN WEIGHT (LESSON—ALWAYS LISTEN TO MOM!): [Rich Lowry]
“I did not mean to become a Corner topic! The plea was completely tongue in cheek, but the emails that followed go to prove conservatives do have a heart. I am tempted to take up the offer.....
But my mother was not happy when she read the Corner post, and told me `to fund my own damn subscription.’ In any event, I will be happy to add myself to the list of new subscribers upon arrival in Chapel Hill. I have taken advantage of NRO for too long. I am impressed and a little touched, however, at the kindness of readers and suggest buying a subscription for their favorite young person of student age.”
Ed Capano couldn’t have said it better!
Posted 1:54 PM | [Link]
BY THE WAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The "Born Alive Infants Protection Act," baby of NR contributor Hadley Arkes, passed the Senate last night.
Posted 1:45 PM | [Link]
THE STREET Vs. THE INACTIVISTS CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
The only thing I would add to this is that a lot of Americans misread the activism of the Arab street too. Lots of people, liberals and conservatives alike look at all those angry Arabs and assume that their passion is so much greater than ours because they are in the street. They try to imagine what it would take to get Americans to pour into the streets like that and assume Arabs have the same threshold for rage. Call it "emotional equivalence." The reality is that people in the Middle East and elswhere in the world have shorter tempers. They also have government officials paying them (or threatening them) to protest.
Posted 1:18 PM | [Link]
VERY SMART INACTIVIST [Jonah Goldberg]
In an email entitled "Inactivism vs. Islamofacism" a reader offers an excellent observation:
Here's a point that may bewilder foreigners about American inactivism. In most parts of the world, big, angry public demonstrations are a traditional way of responding to provocations. We have grown accustomed to seeing "the Arab street," for example, staging big rallies with banners and burning effegies and the like. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., there was remarkably little of that even after September 11 - a bunch of memorials and prayer services and bumper stickers and hanging flags, but Americans were remarkably united in their disinterest in carrying "death to bin Laden" placards, let alone stringing up the first Muslim they could lay hands on. Terrorists blew up my office, and I spent more time over the next week on conference calls than demonstrating in the street.
Posted 1:12 PM | [Link]
JUST DON'T! [Jonah Goldberg]
G-File is in K-Lo's capable mits. I'm now sorting through what appears to be over 100 inactivist slogans. Actually, it's a lot more than that because most emails have multiple suggestions. So far the most popular seems to be "Just Don't!" Will report back soon. But please, no more suggestions until I work my way through what I've got.
Posted 1:04 PM | [Link]
OF SCANDALS AND MEN [John Derbsyshire]
Ramesh, Jonah: There is a very good book on this--Dan Fischel's Payback. I made use of it for the trading-scandal sections in my deeply unread novel Fire from the Sun, from which the following sample:
"Never mind due diligence. There's stuff done with no documentation at all, I believe."
Overstone Bruys laughed. "I'm sure you know ITSA better then I do, Val. Our nation's Congress, assembled in all its wisdom, declined to define the term 'insider trading'."
"Didn't stop them passing a law against it," said Klein. He was referring to the Insider Trading Sanctions Act of 1984, known on the Street as ITSA.
"Indeed. A law against an offense they chose not to define."
Fire from the Sun is available via my website. (Also on Amazon, but they don't make clear which of the 3 volumes you are buying.)
Posted 12:42 PM | [Link]
CLONING III: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Bailey's arguments in this article for research cloning--people should be free to do what they want to do without restrictions, and restatements of this premise--simply fail to deal with the major objection to it, viz. that what they want to do is in this case homicidal. Bailey concludes, "History has shown that truly wise public policy allows people, including biomedical researchers, maximum scope to pursue the good and the true in their own ways, in conformity with the dictates of their own consciences." Really? Maximum scope? History has shown us that? I believe that there are in fact restrictions on the scope of human experimentation on the books, and that these restrictions apply regardless of the dictates of a particular researcher's conscience. Shall we abolish these restrictions in order to get right with history?
Posted 12:21 PM | [Link]
CLONING II: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Ronald Bailey, Reason magazine's science correspondent, is one of the few cloning proponents to engage the arguments for refusing to destroy human embryos. Although, to my mind, he does not succeed in defeating those arguments, he deserves credit for at least making the attempt. His take on the Kass commission, however, was disappointing. He writes, "Cloning research is aimed at producing stem cells that can be transformed into tissues and organs that would be perfect transplants for patients." That isn't the only goal of such research, or even the primary one. Elizabeth Blackburn's argument for such research, which is attached to the commission report, argues that "the most immediately promising areas for [cloning] research. . . involve not tissue transplantation but rather the development of laboratory tissue that has been grown from somatic cells with known genetic mutations that are needed for study and for testing of new pharmaceutical interventions." Creating diseased embryos to watch the progress of their diseases and to test drugs on them may not be as politically appealing as immediate cures for sick people, but that does appear to be what researchers are actually interested in.
Posted 12:16 PM | [Link]
CLONING: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I think Charles Murtaugh is wrong to support the cloning of embryos for research purposes. But he has some thoughtful comments about the Kass commission.
Posted 12:02 PM | [Link]
I KNEW.... [Jonah Goldberg]
My junk bond post would be like chum in the water for Ramesh. Give me a few more posts and I'll be ahead of the game for my syndicated column next week. Thanks.
Posted 11:59 AM | [Link]
JUNK BONDS: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonah, I believe that junk bonds were controversial in part because they were associated with hostile takeovers of established companies (although in fact junk bonds were not the primary source of financing for such takeovers). Established managements didn't like that. With a little help from media hysteria, they managed to get legislators to make such takeovers harder--thus insulating management and, to some extent, paving the way for '90s vices.
Posted 11:54 AM | [Link]
RE: SLOGANS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, How about "change is not reform" ? A reader tells me that this was the slogan of an early-19th Century legislator in Virginia. I wrote down the guy's name, then I left it at home, but, hey, never mind...
Posted 11:43 AM | [Link]
TERRORIST CHIC [Mike Potemra]
A new German movie opening today demonstrates that Europeans are now fully capable of producing Hollywood-style garbage. "What to Do in Case of Fire" is noisy, upbeat, saccharine, and morally uncomplicated: in short, state-of-the-art Hollywood pap. But there's a sinister twist: The movie's heroes are terrorists. Now, I'm not one of these guys who goes around branding anyone who tries to understand terrorists as a "terrorist sympathizer" or a practitioner of "moral equivalence." But this movie isn't an attempt to understand anything: It's a sentimental sugarcoating of terrorist bombers-portraying them as lovable eccentrics, pure and simple. A bad movie in a bad cause.
Posted 11:39 AM | [Link]
THE 90s VERSUS THE 80's [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm noodling a theory as I continue to avoid finding a G-File topic. Could it be that the Clinton years were far more corrupt than the Reagan years? Oh, I don't mean in terms of the men or their respective administrations. There's no argument that Clinton was corrupt in a wide array of ways while Reagan wasn't. I mean specifically in terms of Wall Street. In the 1980s the big "crimes" were insider trading and Junk Bonds. While, so far, the evidence suggests the 90s was also about insider trading and stock fraud. For the moment, let's assume the insider trading in both decades cancel each other out.
But it seems to me that if the question is which is worse junk bonds or stock fraud, the answer is obvious. Junk bonds were legal instruments. The buyer was fully informed about the inherent risks and potential benefits. Meanwhile, stock fraud by definition conceals risk and amounts to theft. Maybe greed is a constant, but using junk bonds to feed your greed isn't dishonest. Lying about your stock value is flagrantly so. Besides, I never understood what was wrong with junk bonds. My best guess is that the objection was they became popular during Reagan's tenure. After all, there were more junk bond sales under Clinton -- by far -- than there were under Reagan but nobody seemed to care about junk bonds once Reagan was out of office. Anyway, it is entirely possible that this whole meditation frames the issues laughably wrong. As I said, I'm just noodling.
Posted 11:13 AM | [Link]
SUGGESTIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm going to ask the suits if we can get bumper-stickers printed up which capture the growing sense of inactivism out there in grassroots America. This makes sense since grassroots don't move, after all. But I need a good slogan for our lethargy. So far "Just don't do something, stand there" makes the most sense. But it's a bit trite and long for a bumper sticker. if you've got a good one, lemme know. Of course, "Standing Athwart History, Yelling Stop" could be changed to "Slumping On My Couch, Yelling Stop." But we don't tamper with that sort of thing around here.
Posted 10:04 AM | [Link]
IF.... [Jonah Goldberg]
You like the Simpsons (a lot) and you like wasting time at the office and you have a big project you have to get done today DO NOT click here.
Posted 9:52 AM | [Link]
THE HISTORICAL ROOTS OF IDLENESS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader complains:
Posted 9:35 AM | [Link]
I'M BEGINNING TO THINK THE ARAB NEWS IS THE ARAB ONION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Geez, Jonah, they have an actual ode to Cynthia McKinney.
Posted 8:28 AM | [Link]
PAGLIA ON FRONTPAGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Camille Paglia, after a hiatus of bookwriting, has a piece on David Horowitz's Frontpage today on that debate with Andrew Sullivan, Norah Vincent, Richard Goldstein and others at the New School in NYC a few weeks back.
Posted 8:20 AM | [Link]
ON THE HORIZON [Dave Kopel]
The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz brings very good news: the United States will move against Iraq in mid-August. No longer dependent on a coalition with the Left, the French government quietly supports toppling Saddam and removing Yasser Arafat.
Posted 8:15 AM | [Link]
THEY'RE SORRY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The State Dept. has evidently apologized for that email calling critics of their lax visa programs Nazis. How about not apologizing and fixing the problems that helped make Sept. 11 possible.?
Posted 8:11 AM | [Link]
SAUDI JUSTICE [Andrew Stuttaford]
Another delightful tale from the 'Kingdom', with a special contribution from our Belgian friends.
Posted 11:55 PM | [Link]
YES, AN AXIS OF EVIL [Andrew Stuttaford]
Those still not sure whether the North Korean regime can be described as 'evil' might want to read this and this.
Posted 11:38 PM | [Link]
AN EPIDEMIC OF SUBSCRIPTION BLEGGING: [Rich Lowry]
"I Need a Little NRODT Welfare! I know I'm a little late on this one but as long as people are sponsoring subscriptions for poor students I would love to get in on it. I promise I'm one poor law student who needs to read NR and the law library's copy always mysteriously disappears." Let me know if there are any takers out there.
Posted 5:00 PM | [Link]
ON NOT OVERREACTING: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
In the Independent Review, a libertarian journal, economist Roger Congleton argues that we are devoting too many resources to fighting terrorism, given that in 2001 “the probability of being killed by terrorism in the United States was less than that of being run over by a car while walking.” He does factor in some of the costs associated with terrorism but not with traffic accidents. But this way of thinking about terrorism seems deeply misguided. The 9/11 attacks can’t be usefully analyzed from a purely individualist perspective; they were a public phenomenon, as is the response to them. To put it another way: Let’s say that instead of killing 3,000 people that day, the terrorists had killed only one—the president of the United States. Would it make sense to say, well, the odds of anyone becoming president and then being assassinated are tiny, so let’s not overreact here? Of course not.
Posted 4:58 PM | [Link]
A RELIGION OF PEACE: [Rod Dreher] In Pakistan, the state executes blasphemers of Islam, even if they're clearly mentally ill.
Posted 3:56 PM | [Link]
SAME PLANET, DIFFERENT WORLDS: [Rod Dreher] Your church: bake sales, potluck dinners, picnics on the grounds. These churches: something else entirely.
Posted 3:47 PM | [Link]
Gadi Niram writes...: [Rich Lowry]
"Before I send in my resume I want to be clear, does the TSA leadership position (Undersecretary of Transportation for Security) come with a comp subscription to NR?" I think it depends on your position on profiling...
Posted 3:09 PM | [Link]
AND ANOTHER THING: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
TNR also refers, not for the first time, to a law that Congress passed, over President Clinton's veto, as a sop to corporate wrongdoers. As in previous cases, the reference is brief and passed off as though no serious controversy existed about that characterization. This time, Clinton's veto is held up as an example of him standing up to special interests. In point of fact, the bill--which aimed to discourage frivolous securities-fraud lawsuits--did not hurt victims of such fraud; both the number of awards and the average amount of the awards has increased since passage of the law. In addition, while many businesses did indeed back the law, the opposition came from an even narrower interest: the trial lawyers, and specifically Bill Lerach. As was widely noted at the time.
Posted 2:56 PM | [Link]
MORE STOCK-OPTION NONSENSE: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It's nice to read The New Republic taking Tom Daschle to task, but it would be nicer if the rebuke wasn't based on the same mistake that Irwin Stelzer makes in the Weekly Standard. See the second item here for my analysis of that mistake.
Posted 2:52 PM | [Link]
OH WELL... [Jonah Goldberg]
Influenctial inactivist P.J. O'Rourke beat me to the punch on some of this. Perhaps, years from now, when I am the King of Inactivity, my Supreme Court will consult O'Rourke the way constutional scholars today invoke Blackstone and Locke. Or maybe my Supreme Court will stay home and watch the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" marathon instead. Who knows? And, more appropriately, Who cares?
Posted 2:45 PM | [Link]
HERE’S A SMART E-MAIL ABOUT THAT ARMITAGE LETTER: [Rich Lowry]
“I did a little checking into this visa situation. Unfortunately, Armitage is right. Joel Mowbray is correct that the Immigration and Naturalization Act does not require the issuance of visas to eligible applicants (i.e., the Act says a consular official may issue the visa, puts the burden of proof on the applicant and allows the official to revoke a visa at his discretion). The regulations the State Department has adopted (which, as you probably know, carry the force of law), however, do require the issuance of a visa unless legal grounds can be found to deny it. To me, this multiplies the outrage. The State Department has, in effect, turned the visa-issuance portion of the INA on its head and given nonimmigrant visa applicants an affirmative right to a visa and a whole host of due process rights in the event of a refusal. This usurpation of their power needs to be brought to the attention of our lawmakers in Congress.”
Posted 2:35 PM | [Link]
THANKS FOR THE MANY...: [Rich Lowry]
...offers to buy Jonathan Jones a subscription. John Sonnick was first, so he gets the honor. Here's his e-mail: "If nobody has purchased Jonathan Jones a subscription yet and we have some way of confirming he's a poor student at UNC, I'll gladly fund his education in modern Conservatism. I can't help but feel that this is almost anti-Conservative (it's like NRODT Welfare) but I don't think I'll get too worked up about it until he starts asking me to send him cash."
Posted 2:32 PM | [Link]
COULD.... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mineta be next?!
Posted 2:13 PM | [Link]
MAGAW RESIGNS [Dave Kopel]
Transportation Security Administration head John Magaw has just resigned, due in part to MSNBC's exposure of failures and coverups at the TSA. The resignation offers President Bush an opportunity to demand of the TSA the same kind of accountability he is demanding of private corporations, and to appoint a leader who will improve security rather than build a bureaucracy. In holding confirmation hearings on Magaw's replacement, Congress should insist that Magaw's replacement specifically repudiate Magaw's failed policies -- including misdirected screening of airport passengers and an anti-gun policy so ridiculous that even Barbara Boxer opposes it.
Posted 2:13 PM | [Link]
WRONG-WAY MARCH [Dave Kopel]
The "Millions for Reparations March" is scheduled for August 17 in Washington. But in seeking reparations from the federal government, the marchers are foolishly demanding payments for the very government which destroyed American slavery. A much more logical target for reparations would be the governments which actually participated in the slave trade -- namely, the West African governments which captured blacks in Africa and then delivered them to African ports for transportation to the western hemisphere. These governments are the primary illegal profiteers from slavery. Without these slave-capturing governments, the slave trade would have been impossible, since the ship crews hardly had the resources to capture large numbers of slaves personally. Rather than merely protecting slavery as a legal institution (as almost every government in world history did at some point), these African governments were actual slave traders. The successors of these wicked slave-trading governments are the wicked dictatorships which control almost all of West Africa today, and which continue (in more subtle ways) to plunder the people of Africa. Accordingly, if the reparations movement wants to be considered as just cause -- rather than just another shakedown scheme of American taxpayers -- the reparations movement ought to demand reparations from African governments for their indispensible and enormous role in the slave trade.
Posted 2:09 PM | [Link]
BOOK HIM, DANNO [Andrew Stuttaford]
There's a startling revelation in the middle of an article in today's New York Times on stealing books. Fred Bass, the owner of Manhattan's most addictive bookstore, the Strand, is reported as saying that the most popular targets for theft in his store are books on "higher mathematics and philosophy, and scholarly religious works".
"There's a certain group of intellectuals who feel entitled to their knowledge, and steal for themselves", warns Mr. Bass.
Posted 2:02 PM | [Link]
A GIANT OF INACTIVISM [Andrew Stuttaford]
Jonah, there was a late-19th Century English politician who would be perfect for the inactivist 'movement'. He was famous for dismissing all suggested innovations with
the three words: "Far better not." Of course, he's dead and I couldn't be bothered to look up his name, but who cares?
Posted 1:58 PM | [Link]
I JUST WOKE UP AN' IT'S TIME TO LAY DOWN [John Derbyshire]
May I propose this anthem for Jonah's new inactivist movement? There is a lovely recording by, I think, Peter Lind Hayes.
Posted 1:39 PM | [Link]
THE DREAMS OF DICK GEPHARDT [Mike Potemra]
So he's thinking of picking up 40 seats because of the corporate scandals. Actually it's more likely to turn out the way the Clinton-impeachment issue turned for the House GOP in 1998: A handful of people were energized, but the American people mostly yawned and the GOP lost seats. The broader issue of the economy might help Democrats, as it did in 1982; but remember that just two years after 1982 came a thumping national endorsement of President Reagan's free-market economics.
Posted 12:56 PM | [Link]
GEPHARDT'S PREDICTION [Jonah Goldberg]
He thinks Dems could pick up between 30 and 40 seats because of business scandals.
Posted 12:46 PM | [Link]
INACTIVISTS UNITE...EVENTUALLY [Jonah Goldberg]
Our motto could be Bart Simpson's pledge when he ran for class president. "My opponent says there are no easy answers. I say he's not looking hard enough!"
I can become a passionate advocate for "stasis rights" with an impressive list of "inaction items" and a healthy respect for "status quo symbols." Maybe this is my destiny. After all, one of my high school yearbook quotes was from Joe Walsh, "They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time."
We need bumper stickers right away! Or whenever!
Posted 12:17 PM | [Link]
I LIKE IT... [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader's suggestion:
I like your columns that deal with the wisdom of doing nothing. Instead of being referred to as a "columnist", you should adopt the title "inactivist." You could lead a grass-roots movement toward your way thinkng and be the first "inactivist activist."
Posted 11:20 AM | [Link]
ONE GOOD SIGN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Say what you will about the Bush administration's TIPS plan, the news that the US Postal Service is declining to participate must have increased the chances that the program will be effective.
Posted 11:13 AM | [Link]
MASS. MARRIAGE AMENDMENT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Legislators in Massachusetts ended their constitutional convention abruptly yesterday without taking up marriage-amendment, thwarting efforts to ban gay marriage there.
Posted 11:08 AM | [Link]
"WHEN WONKS ATTACK": [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Democrats are touting a recent study that claims that President Bush's plan to let people invest some Social Security funds will lead to drastic benefit cuts. But the study is a fraud, according to an excellent article at TechCentralStation by, er, Ramesh Ponnuru.
Posted 10:39 AM | [Link]
CONSERVATIVES AND BILL SIMON: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Tony Blankley, the new editor of the editorial page of the Washington Times, told me a few weeks ago that he wanted his pages to be more politically engaged. Today’s lead editorial is the kind of thing he has in mind: It’s a tough, smart attack on the campaign strategy of Bill Simon, the Republican candidate for governor of California. Should cause a buzz in Washington—and maybe Sacramento.
Posted 10:31 AM | [Link]
JACKO'S NO WACKO [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Michael Jackson is bravely fighting for the rights of "both African-Americans and former African-Americans." Here's the proof.
Posted 9:49 AM | [Link]
HERE'S THE TIMES PIECE MENTIONED BELOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted 9:24 AM | [Link]
I THINK MOWBRAY MIGHT BE A NAZI [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From UPI: WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- Top State Department officials have accused Republican House leaders and White House officials of McCarthyism and neo-Nazism for criticizing the visa system's failures, the Washington Times reported Thursday.
In internally circulated e-mail messages to several State Department officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Consul General in Rome Chuck Keil complained that congressional critics have been saying terrorists "were able to enter the United States due to a lack of vigilance or downright negligence."
"All this smacks of the days of Sen. Joe McCarthy, when a witch hunt conducted in the name of protecting Americans from the communist menace ruined the careers of foreign service officers who had allegedly lost China to the Reds, or else helped Communist and Communist sympathizers obtain visas to enter the United States," Keil wrote in the e-mail obtained by the Times.
Posted 9:19 AM | [Link]
NOW WE CAN GET SERIOUS ABOUT THE SAUDIS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Saudi prince indicted for drug smuggling. Maybe John Walters can lead the crackdown on the kingdom.
Posted 8:45 AM | [Link]
ELMO'S HIV+ FRIEND [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Doesn't exist. The news about the sick Sesame Street character was a little exaggerated.
Posted 8:36 AM | [Link]
JONAH? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted 11:24 PM | [Link]
TAKING NAMES (AND URLS)... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...as potential "cool sites." If your second favorite site on the web (NRO your first, natch) hasn't been featured as and NRO "cool site," send your nominee to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted 11:04 PM | [Link]
I BET... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
...Jim Robbins knows where he is...
Posted 10:33 PM | [Link]
MORE BIN LADEN SPECULATION [KJL]
But this guy works for the gummint...in the FBI, too...
Posted 10:06 PM | [Link]
WORKING FOR THE GUMMINT [John Derbyshire]
HUGE e-mail bag, around one-third of it from government employees saying: "Derb, you don't know the half of it...."
Posted 9:45 PM | [Link]
TODAY'S HISTORY LESSON [Andrew Stuttaford]
That's an interesting anniversary, Jonah. The Pope wasn't amused. All English Protestants were excommunicated a few decades later. I'm more than a little hazy on the theology and the history, but I think that matters remained that way (in theory at least) until the 1970s. If that's true, John Derbyshire and I may be the only NRO contributors to have been excommunicated.
Posted 9:44 PM | [Link]
ADVENTURES IN ECUMENISM: Can a Catholic have a church wedding to a practicing witch? The Diocese of Wheeling, W. Va. says, ""You bet!" Lord have mercy, is this true? Somebody let me know. (Thanks to Emily Stimpson for pointing this out.)
Posted 6:02 PM | [Link]
WHO'S MISSING?: [Rod Dreher] In the wake of 9/11, and the revelation that some of the terrorists made use of fradulently obtained Social Security numbers, the Social Security Administration is trying to tighten up its policy governing the issuance of those numbers to aliens. Ultimately, the agency will have the Immigration and Naturalization Service verify the status of all aliens before it grants them a SSN. Last week, the Social Security Administration began the process by putting citizens of four countries on the list: Iran, Iraq, Libya and Sudan. An agency spokeswoman said these countries were chosen per Department of Justice guidelines, and they represent only the initial stage of the program, which will extend to all countries. Still, the Social-Security-defrauding terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 were not from any of these countries, but chiefly from Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- both of which were left off the list. Can't imagine why.
Posted 5:48 PM | [Link]
RE: BUSINESSES AND US: [Rod Dreher] Point taken, Ramesh. Can't speak for Jonah, of course, but come to think of it, what gets my goat is the fetish so many conservatives have for big business and the free market. Don't get me wrong, I certainly support the free market, but I don't believe that one has to be an uncritical backer of corporations to be a conservative. In fact, big business can and does often oppose conservative ends. The conferring of an MBA does not erase the stain of original sin. I know you know that, but some of the folks who have been writing to complain about my "crunchy-conservative" views seem to think that if the market determines something is successful, it is therefore worthy in every respect, and to question it amounts to expressing doubts about capitalism.
Posted 5:40 PM | [Link]
FYI [Jonah Goldberg]
It was on this day in 1536 that the Pope's authority was declared void in England. Make what you will of that.
Posted 5:20 PM | [Link]
BUSINESSES AND US: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
No, Jonah, I don't think every corporate decision is correct--obviously. But businesses' funding of their environmentalist "enemies," as you put it, can make sense when the enviros are promoting regulations that hurt their competitors. Anyway, your initial complaint was that corporations were not useful in the culture wars. That's not their job. I may be oversensitive on this point, as a student of the evolution of Pat Buchanan's views over the years. He started to complain in the 1970s that corporations weren't bankrolling conservatives and were thus rope-sellers, etc. But as your fine column today shows, you're very far from going down that path yourself.
Posted 5:15 PM | [Link]
JONAH…: [Rich Lowry]
…sooooooo suspicious. Most people send the confirmation note that they get when they order here.
Posted 5:15 PM | [Link]
I'M NO CAT PERSON... [Jonah Goldberg]
But this guy should get what he gave.
Posted 5:03 PM | [Link]
RICH... [Jonah Goldberg]
While I am sure nobody would ever tell you that they subscribed when they really didn't, I still think you should have the suits confirm these subscriptions. And if anybody has lied to you, we should publish their names and mock them.
Posted 5:01 PM | [Link]
TO EVERYONE...: [Rich Lowry]
...who has subscribed today thanks. I'm going to have to stop naming all the names, but will note that Dana Gordon writes, "I accidentally paid TWICE. Use my extra payment to keep sending Elizabeth issues!" Also, if anyone is interested in funding a subscription for Jonathan Jones, a poor UNC student who wants NR to help him "combat the snooty postmodern hippies," just let me know. Otherwise, he too will have to wait for a free copy until he becomes an assistant secretary of state.
Posted 4:55 PM | [Link]
CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS: [Rod Dreher] The Mother of All Battles 2002 has concluded, and the West emerged victorious. Rah.
Posted 4:51 PM | [Link]
UMMM [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh, I agree that we should support free markets. But do you honestly believe that every time a big corporation funds environmental groups who lobby against the free market they are making a wise investment? Do you think every time the businessmen who sit on various college and foundation boards vote with the multiculturalists and activist professors they're making shrewd business decisions? How about when they pay-off Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton? I for one don't like the idea of conceding that any decision a business makes is necessarily the right decision from a business perspective. After all, the decisions made by Enron and Worldcom were hardly good calls.
Posted 4:46 PM | [Link]
PROBLEM SOLVED: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
David Broder has found something new to worry about: "[T]he federal budget is literally being held hostage by Wall Street." Literally? Well, don't get too worked up. Wall Street isn't refusing to release the budget until we fly it to Havana. It's just that federal revenues are now dependent on capital gains, which has introduced "a dangerous element of volatility into government economic policy." The government, he argues, can't make fiscal plans on the basis of predictions about the stock market's ups and downs. Broder's problem is easily addressed: If the ups and downs of revenue from capital gains is such a dilemma for the federal government, it could always stop taxing them.
Posted 4:42 PM | [Link]
ENOUGH BUSINESS-BASHING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
How have Jonah and Rod gotten it into their heads that it's businessmen's job to fight for social conservatism or, for that matter, economic conservatism? Businesses behave like businesses. If government regulations and subsidies offer them opportunities, they will take them; if buying off liberal activists helps their bottom line, they will do it; and under very rare circumstances would they ever join a conservative crusade to upset the status quo on, say, racial preferences. Anyone who defends the free market on the basis that corporations are fine institutions that promote all that is good deserves to have his illusions shattered. We should support free markets because it's the right thing to do, not because we expect corporations to do us political favors in return. Which, come to think of it, would be kind of venal in its own way.
Posted 4:34 PM | [Link]
MORE TERROR, DEATHS IN ISRAEL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted 4:28 PM | [Link]
MORE DON'T BLAME ISLAM [John Derbyshire]
I think to "give Lindh's ideology a name" would be to insult the word "ideology." To return to the main points I started from in my Friday piece: (1) Islam isn't about to go away; (2) There is obviously some good in it, since lots of Muslims are perfectly nice people; so (3) Let's seek the good, promote, and encourage it, while dropping our meanest, most horrible weapons on the bad, when it can be geographically isolated to a satisfactory degree. To make a parallel: Nobody who's read much of my stuff can be in any doubt how I feel about the IRA; yet I'll give $100 to anyone who can show anything I've written that blames the Catholic Church for them. So far as I am acquainted with the actual content of Islam--and my Friday piece was pretty frank about how far that is--I should say that Islam offers more opportunities for twisting it into a vehicle for murderous hate than does the average religion--than Unitarianism, for sure. But every religion has texts that lunatics can fix their glitering eyes on (see, e.g., Matthew 10:34). As I said in my piece, "Texts are never as important as the attitudes people bring to them." Lindh is just a dimwitted idiot trying desperately to find a masculine principle in the world, for reasons that NRO readers are probably well acquainted with. Sure, the Islamic cultists he fell in with are very wicked people, and we should kill them wherever we find them. Who disagrees with that? None of that invalidates my (1), (2) and (3) above, or gives us a license to insult an ancient, proud religion that fortifies and consoles hundreds of millions of people, including many of our fellow countrymen, in this vale of tears.
Posted 4:21 PM | [Link]
KEVIN McSWEENEY WRITES...: [Rich Lowry]
"I don't think anyone's questioned this, but what kind of last name is Boucher? IT'S FRENCH!!! Although I believe Americans generally pronounce your State Deparment flack's name as "Bow-cher", it would originally have been pronounced "Boo-shay." Perhaps the "coddling" is innate, or perhaps it continues for several generations. You could, perhaps, sponsor an investigation with all this new subscription money rolling in. Interestingly, although the most common translation of Boucher would be "Butcher", another translation (which is at least a French Canadian, if not France French sense), is "to block." For example, "Si Boucher va le boucher, Mowbray n'y pourra pas partir" (If Boucher blocks him, Mowbray won't be able to leave)."
Posted 3:20 PM | [Link]
WOW: [Rich Lowry]
We’re about to post the Richard Armitage letter that Mowbray reported on earlier today. Check out this paragraph: “Unfortunately, the information we have received from FTTTF [the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force] so far has been insufficient to permit a consular officer to deny a visa. The information we have received states only that the FTTTF believes the applicants may pose a threat to national security and therefore the FTTTF recommends against issuance.”
Posted 3:11 PM | [Link]
OK, NOW EVERYONE…: [Rich Lowry]
…expects (their well-deserved) credit for post-Elizabeth Jones subscriptions, so here are a few more: Michael Ansel, Chad Potter, Tom Kreitzberg, Taylor Hines, and Ernesto Segura (and, I’m sure, countless others). Mr. Hines writes: “Be sure to send Ms. Jones a thank you note from NR for all the new business she is bringing in. Perhaps now with the extra revenue Jonah's "living wage" can finally be supplemented.” Meanwhile, Bill Picou, who renewed the other day, generously offers, “If it will annoy Ms. Jones, you are more than welcome to say that I was 'pre-outraged' by her pusillanimous behavior.” Also, Tom Stearns asks if he can get Elizabeth Jones’ free copy. Yes, Mr. Stearns—provided you get yourself an appointment as an assistant secretary of state.
Posted 3:07 PM | [Link]
GO, JONAH: [Rod Dreher] Jonah, if you don't sufficiently wallop big business for its pathetic record on standing up for cultural conservatism, allow me to finish the job. The deference the GOP shows to business interests is one reason this (crunchy) conservative sometimes finds it hard to identify with the Republican Party. In my extensive reporting last year on Jesse Jackson, I constantly ran across utterly craven American businessmen who opened their wallets to Jackson, knowing full well what a hustler he is, and how he poisons American race relations. T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor is the only CEO I know of who actually stood up to Jesse -- and he won! How rare he is in his courage. You will search far and wide to find American CEOs who don't run screaming like frightened schoolgirls into the arms of diversity consultants when anyone so much as mentions "racism," "homophobia" or other buzzwords. Fairness and common sense go right out the window. And let us not even get me started about how eager American business is to sell out the country's interest to the communist Chinese. Anyway, you're right, we movement conservatives are forever defending business (because hey, we believe in capitalism), but many big businesses don't know who their friends are. Let 'em have it.
Posted 3:04 PM | [Link]
I HAVE TWO WORDS FOR THESE GUYS [Jonah Goldberg]
Posted 2:56 PM | [Link]
AS LONG AS STATE'S BOYCOTTING NR...: [Rod Dreher] ... do you suppose they'll join the Muslim boycott of the New York Post? It stands to reason, given how eager-to-please America's diplomatic corps is in these matters.
Posted 2:52 PM | [Link]
IDEAS MATTER [Jonah Goldberg]
John, I see your point and I agree with much of it. But it still seems to me that we're talking around the issue. You say don't blame Islam in its broadest sense. I say fine, more or less. But does this mean we cannot blame any subsidiary interpretations of Islam? I won't blame Christianity for what Hong Xiu-quan did with his interpretation of Christianity. But can I blame him? And, can I blame his version of Christianity? Even a little? It sure sounds like "Hong Xiu-quanism" made some people want to kill some other people (Note: all I know about Hong Xiu-quan is what I learned in your post). Some people became Nazis because they wanted to do some bad things. But other people wanted to do some bad things only after they became Nazis.
There is an interpretation of Islam out there which serves as a coherent religious ideology. That ideology says hate, kill, destroy anything non-muslim. I'm fine with the notion that some people are using this ideology as an excuse for what they want to do anyway. But isn't it fair to say that some people are turned into haters and killers because of that ideology? As you concede, John Walker Lindh wouldn't have picked up a gun if he'd joined the Unitarians. So, if you want to insist that the ideology which made Lindh our enemy is not Islam, fine. It's certainly true that Muslims in general are not our enemy, even if some particular Muslims are. But it would be helpful if you could give Lindh's ideology a name. That way we would know what to blame since we're not blaming Islam.
Posted 2:50 PM | [Link]
Brad Torgersen writes…: [Rich Lowry]
“I almost never read any hardcopy magazines anymore, being a creature of the Internet Age. But you can now count me in with Edward Lilly. I'm proudly bringing the NR 'dead tree' edition into my home, where it will compete with my wife's Womens Studies manifestos that she brings home from college. Keep up the great work at NRO, and I looked forward to 16 crisp issues of NR.”
Posted 2:31 PM | [Link]
TUCKER GOODRICH… [Rich Lowry]
…has joined the post-Elizabeth Jones stampede of subscriptions. You can too here.
Posted 2:29 PM | [Link]
DON'T BLAME ISLAM [John Derbyshire]
"Or is your position that if John Walker Lindh had had a chance encounter with a Unitarian brochure he would have become a Unitarian?" That is indeed my position. And then, of course, we should never have heard of him, since there is no world-wide terror network claiming Unitarian inspiration. (Or, if there is, they have not yet made their presence known...) Yes: of the thousands of witless, half-educated kids in Marin County, I am sure a certain proportion do give themselves up to Unitarianism, Taoism, Stoicism, and anything else they stumble across. I don't think this fact, or their subsequent actions, tell us anything useful about the religions concerned. Consider, for example, the case of Hong Xiu-quan, who founded the 19th-century Chinese peasant rebellion called Taiping Tian Guo. He got his start by reading some Chinese-language pamphlets handed out by Christian missionaries, and the spiritual energy of his movement was provided by his very eccentric interpretation of Christianity. The number of people who died in the subsequent rebellion and its suppression is so large it is not known even to the nearest ten million. (The full Chinese name of the movement translates as: "Heavenly Kingdom of Perfect Peace.") Does this tell us anything about Christianity? I have never thought so; but there is pretty general agreement that it tells us a lot about China. (Jonathan Spence wrote a very good account of the Taiping. If you prefer your history fictionalized, see Harry Flashman's hilarious encounter with Hong in Flashman and the Dragon).
Posted 1:43 PM | [Link]
RICH... [Jonah Goldberg]
Beware the velvet fist inside the velvet glove! My understanding is that she's still lobbying Don Rumsfeld to use nerf bats and Super-Soakers on the Iraqis. I read it in a secret cable (come and get me!)
Posted 1:23 PM | [Link]
IT TURNS OUT…: [Rich Lowry]
. . . that Elizabeth Jones is not actually a subscriber, but that she canceled her free copy of NR. Such is her unbridled rage at the depredations of NR. Boy, if I were a Kazakhstani, I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of this assistant secretary of state.
Posted 1:17 PM | [Link]
E-MAIL: [Rich Lowry]
"Your notice of Asst. Secy. Jones's cancellation request reminded me of something I heard over 20 years ago, when WFB himself held your job. Perhaps it's only an urban legend, but according to the story, some malcontent demanded that NR `cancel my subscription,' to which WFB responded that he should `cancel your own goddam subscription.'" This is a true story.
Posted 1:12 PM | [Link]
EDWARD LILLY PICKS UP THE SLACK: [Rich Lowry]
E-mail: "In honor of the State Department, I have decided to stop reading National Review On Dead Tree at my local library and am now a subscriber." Mr. Lilly forwards documentation showing that he subscribed this afternoon at 12:57 p.m. You can do the same here.
Posted 1:11 PM | [Link]
$5 WORDS [John Derbyshire]
I am coming in for a certain amount of mockery from readers for having used the word "adscititious" in today's column. It's a Sam Johnson word: in one of the Rambler essays, the great Tory actually uses "adscititious" and "equiponderant" in the same sentence. I hope one day to rise to those heights myself. In the meantime, "adscititious" can be found in any decent
dictionary, waiting for employment. To leave it lying there neglected would, in the opinion of this word-lover, be little short of flagitious.
Posted 1:10 PM | [Link]
IF IT'S WEDNESDAY IT MUST BE PICK ON WARREN CHRISTOPHER DAY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a 1993 article by Philip Terzian in the American Spectator:
I suppose that my ill-defined hostility to Warren Christopher is grounded in my very brief service some fifteen years ago as a speechwriter for him and his patron Cyrus Vance. Having observed the horrors of Democratic policymaking up close, I was allowed on this occasion to watch Christopher at some distance, both spiritual and physical. At first glance, he appears to be a character in one of those low-budget cartoons of the 1960s -- "Clutch Cargo," for instance -- where the figures are inert but the eyes and lips move. At second glance, he has the look of an Indian on exhibit at the Smithsonian: Chief Warren, of the now-extinct Christopher tribe, who was brought to the capital in 1910 to be examined but died in the harsh winter of 1911, was embalmed, and whose brown, waxy, deeply-lined countenance (clothed in western garb) now stares out at visitors in the final month before he is moved off display and buried with dignity in his ancestral
Posted 1:03 PM | [Link]
McCAIN '04 [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Rod asked yesterday if the corporate scandals would give McCain an opening to mount a primary challenge to Bush in 2004. Well, if the bear market continues through the end of 2003, maybe. But I wouldn't count on that. Could there be an opening for a primary challenge to Bush for other reasons? Sure. Let's say that the war on terrorism is stalled, with no action in Iraq; or that the war is seen to have ended in a complete and thorough victory for the U.S. in mid-2003, with no domestic action from the president following it. I wouldn't bet on either of those scenarios, either.
Posted 12:58 PM | [Link]
BY THE WAY.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Here I am two thirds through my column more or less defending Wall Street and the heartless CEOs and it strikes me: conservatives are constantly coming to the defense of Big Business. But when was the last time corporations pitched in on the culture war? I know the gang at the American Prospect and Mother Jones still thinks corporations are "Right Wing" because they read something to that effect in an Upton Sinclair novel. But the truth is corporations are next to useless on almost all cultural issues -- affirmative action, gay rights, etc. And, they tend to fund their enemies in the environmental movement too. It kind of makes me feel like we're Charlie Brown and the corporations are Lucy with the football.
Posted 12:54 PM | [Link]
IF ONLY ... [Jonah Goldberg]
...Warren Christopher were still alive. He'd clear up everything.
Posted 12:48 PM | [Link]
THE STATE DEPT. RETALIATES: [Rich Lowry]
Elizabeth Jones, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, just had a minion call here to cancel her subscription to National Review. Golly, we’re really beginning to feel the heat! Ms. Jones, no doubt, is infuriated by the unceremonious canning of her fellow career diplo Mary Ryan, and NRO’s constant exposure—thanks to Joel Mowbray--of the duplicity of yet another Foggy Bottom careerist, Richard Boucher. Ms. Jones’ long list of credentials includes serving as Executive Assistant to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who presumably taught her how to play such intimidating hardball.
Posted 12:44 PM | [Link]
RE: DON'T BLAME ISLAM [Jonah Goldberg]
John, to paraphrase Renee Zellweger in "Jerry Maguire," you had me at "In a piece on Taoism in The New Criterion...."
More seriously, I take your point. But isn't there a bit of a chicken or the egg angle here? If certain types of people will gravitate toward the religion that most reflects their tendencies, doesn't that say something about the religion to which they are gravitating? Or is your position that if John Walker Lindh had had a chance encounter with a Unitarian brochure he would have become a Unitarian? Surely, he was exposed to all sorts of pacifist ideas, faiths and fads in Marin County, California. But there was something specific to Islam which spoke to him.
Posted 11:24 AM | [Link]
DON'T BLAME ISLAM [John Derbyshire]
My apologies, Jonah, I somehow didn't spot your follow-up point posted on Monday, asking how John Walker Lindh and the Anglo-Caribbean "shoe bomber" fitted into my strict-cultural-realism view of the thing, i.e. Islam as a coat of paint on Arab, Turkish, Persian etc. folkways. Well, hard cases make bad law, and I would not deduce anything large from the existence of a few lone nutters. In a piece on Taoism in The New Criterion recently, I noted the following, which I think is relevant: "Plainly there is a huge market for Taoism among Americans of our time. .... The reason for this probably lies in the obscurity of the language, which allows Tao Te Ching to serve its readers as a 'mirror' text — one into which they can project their own hopes and fears, rather like a newspaper horoscope. The psychological processes involved here were drawn very well by Tom Wolfe in his 1998 novel A Man in Full. One of Wolfe’s characters is Conrad Hensley, a thoughtful but ill-educated and unformed young man who by chance encounters the works of Epictetus and soon becomes a proselytizing Stoic. In an age like ours, when many people — probably most people — reach adulthood without ever having passed through any strict moral education deeper than the vapidities of 'political correctness,' there is bound to be a demand for such products."
Posted 11:05 AM | [Link]
PERV BISHOP OUT [Rod Dreher]
Dominico Bettinelli reports that the Vatican has removed one of the world's most notorious bishops. Reginald Cawcutt, a foul-mouthed South African who was a key member of St. Sebastian's Angels, a pornographic gay website for priests, has, um, resigned. No details yet, but it was announced by Rome that his resignation occurred under a provision of Canon Law that states, "A diocesan Bishop who, because of illness or some other grave reason, has become unsuited for the fulfillment of his office, is earnestly requested of offer his resignation from office." Grave reason indeed; as Roman Catholic Faithful documented years ago, Cawcutt's musings on the site included perverse commentary about men he desired, as well as wishes that the Holy Father and Cardinal Ratzinger would die.
Posted 11:02 AM | [Link]
LOBSTERISIMUS BUMMAKISIMUS [John Derbyshire]
A number of readers have e-mailed me with their job experiences in both the public and private sector, drawing comparisons. These comments bring irresistibly to mind the Peter Cook & Dudley Moore sketch titled "The Worst
Job I Ever Had," which can be found here. Warning: This is a very "British" style of humor, dark and irreverent to the max, not to all American tastes.
Posted 10:52 AM | [Link]
SLATE'S DILEMMA [Jonah Goldberg]
As explained in the Village Voice: We are great. But we must determine -- at our well-deserved retreat, away from the Michael Crichton readers in the mail room -- whether our greatness is due to our mass appeal or our internationally recognized high standards and intellectual rigor. People love us because we are brilliant, but perhaps more people will love us if we use our brilliance to seem less brilliant. Sure, we're the very best Harvard has to offer, but we're more than smart enough to explain things to the folks who went to state schools. We discovered that under Michael Kinsley things couldn't possibly have been going better, but now we have the opportunity to make things twice as good because we can experiment with new incredibly innovative approaches. We get massive traffic from the Microsoft Network, but that's because people recognize quality they haven't even read yet. Our most popular features: all of them. Some people think we're arrogant, but they understand we deserve to be, because we're just that good.
Posted 10:43 AM | [Link]
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SAUDI ARABIA YOU LEARN IN THE ARAB NEWS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Kevin Cherry e-mails his deconstuction of the Arab News piece mentioned earlier:
Defending his nation from MacFarquhar, John Bradley writes:
"MacFarquhar similarly tells of how bookshops in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah sell a book with advice on how to shun non-Muslims: Don’t smile at them, don’t wish them well on their holidays, don’t address them as ‘friend’, and so on. He could not have independently verified this fact, since as a Christian he is not allowed to enter either holy city; but if he had bothered to ask any Christian permanently living here if Saudis return their greeting and call them “friend”, he would have been told that yes, indeed, almost all of them do."
Bradley goes on:
"The point here is not to deny the existence of extremism and extremists in Saudi Arabia. Rather, it is to say that theirs should be considered as one of many voices."
Good voice or bad? He doesn't say. And it's hard to tell when Bradley laments things like, well, this:
"As with all other Western journalists writing about Saudi Arabia at the moment, [MacFarquhar] simply cannot get over his Sept. 11 fixation, in this or any other context."
Yep, we're stuck on that day (except the State Department). But we shouldn't be stuck on Saudi Arabia; we should turn our gaze inward:
"[MacFarquhar] cannot bring himself to accept that in many ways the press here is more dissenting and expresses a wider range of political opinion than in the United States."
Right. And then, of course, there's the token anti-Semitic remark:
"Serious criticism of America’s support for Israel cannot be aired in the supposedly “free” mainstream media."
But of course, it's okay, because at the end Bradley reveals his true colors and his doubts about Osama; his inability to distinguish between terrorism and accident:
"The country’s armed forces can carpet bomb the poorest country in the world on the flimsiest of evidence that it is harboring criminals, in the process kill more unarmed civilians than died in the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, but provoke no voice of protest raised above a whisper."
Posted 10:41 AM | [Link]
THE MCCAIN BANDWAGON [Jonah Goldberg]
Robert, I was giving you a hard time for saying "it's likely" when that's cost free, like saying "it might happen." If it doesn't happen you're not on the hook. Anyway, I doubt McCain will run against Bush. One reason, albeit not a major one, is that there are a lot fewer Republicans who'd be willing to sign up with McCain this time around. It's one thing to work for the "maverick" when it's an open primary, it's another to challenge the sitting president. More important, I think "it's likely" we will be at war with Iraq around then and McCain won't challenge a wartime president.
Posted 9:56 AM | [Link]
BRINGS BACK BAD MEMORIES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Government work for ya, Derb: Palm Beach's new voting machines have problems.
Posted 9:47 AM | [Link]
SADDAM IS VOWING TO DEFEAT US [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted 9:27 AM | [Link]
SO THAT'S WHERE THEY GET THEIR SPEECHES [Jonathan Adler]
The Democratic Party One-Minute SpeechMaker.
Posted 8:39 AM | [Link]
DON'T DISPARAGE THE KINGDOM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jonah, the Arab News is having a fit about that New York Times "hatchet job" on them, the piece you wrote about in your Friday column. The Arab News writer calls it a "diatribe" and opens with this: "Since Sept. 11 there has been a continuous stream of negative articles about Saudi Arabia written by visiting Western journalists." Where have all these articles appeared?? And why aren't they all on Colin Powell, Richard Boucher, and Norman Mineta's (can't leave him out) desks?
Posted 8:25 AM | [Link]
STUD OF A DAD [Andrew Stuttaford]
Kathryn, Well, the Darren nomination was sort of ironic although both of them seemed like a nice guy. You want a real champ TV dad? Well, Hank Hill, of course.
Posted 8:14 AM | [Link]
YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI: [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"The chances of a murderous skinhead wandering around an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood without premeditated intent to kill are about as likely as an armed Muslim fanatic who just happens to open fire at a counter of Israel's national airline."
Posted 5:52 AM | [Link]
'o4 SET-UP [Robert A. George]
Ignoring the obvious smartass comment from that Goldberg character, I find myself in total agreement with this George fellow. McCain is setting himself up for a challenge to Bush. The Harken Hangover, I believe, is going to be lingering over Bush for quite sometime. McCain can credibly say (as much as many at NR might dislike the thought) that this is exactly what he was talking about in 2000. (Gore can say something similar, but he has the Clinton record on terrorism to defend). New Hampshire, unfortunately, doesn't like Bush. McCain beat him handily with all those independent votes once before. Also, keep an eye on the Smith-Sunnunu race. If Smith wins against the White House-blessed Sununu and goes on to beat Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, look for Smith to do everything he can to make Bush's life hell if the president faces a challenger in '04.
Finally, if McCainiacs Lindsay Graham and Mark Sanford win in South Carolina this year, they would control the political apparatus in 2004. That could make the state much more fertile for Ragin' Arizonan this time around. I don't think McCain could beat Bush in an extended primary, but he could certainly bloody him and would completely upset Karl Rove's plan for a clear road against a divided Democratic field.
Posted 5:44 AM | [Link]
RE MCCAIN [Robert A. George]
Rod, on your McCain question, allow me to refer you to comments made on the wonderful CNN show, Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer last Sunday. Specifically, the "Final Round" segment. Note this exchange on the transcript:
GEORGE: I would say, and you heard it here first, that it is likely that McCain will actually challenge Bush in the primaries in 2004. He won't win, but he could cause him a lot of embarrassment in New Hampshire and possibly upset him in New Hampshire.
GOLDBERG: We heard it here first that it's likely?
Posted 5:43 AM | [Link]
BAD WRITING [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: You could submit that piece as an entrant for one of the many bad-writing awards. My favorite is the Bad Sex Prize, given annually by Literary Review (an excellent magazine, by the way--nothing diminished since the death of its founder, Auberon Waugh, last year) for really cringe-inducing descriptions of The Act in fiction. Here is a newspaper report of last year's award, presented by Jerry Hall, who presumably knows the territory.
Posted 5:39 AM | [Link]
WAG THE DOG [John Derbyshire]
The fascinating thing here, Rod & Ramesh, is to watch how the corporate & market disasters work with (or against) the war in election calculations. John Podhoretz in yesterday's NY Post has already called openly for an "October surprise."
Posted 5:37 AM | [Link]
REALLY, ANDREW? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Durwood? I always thought him a bit of a wimp. I'm surprise no one mentioned Major Anthony Nelson yet, though.
Posted 5:35 AM | [Link]
ANOTHER FATHER [Andrew Stuttaford]
And, John, let's not forget Darren Stephens (both of him).
Posted 5:23 AM | [Link]
NO POST FOR YOU!: [Rod Dreher] I had wondered why, in recent days, I could no longer by my morning New York Post at the newsstand by the subway tracks under Brooklyn's Borough Hall. Now Anne Wilson explains it via a link to the New Yorker: some Muslim merchants are boycotting the paper. Well then, I'll just have to quit buying soda and water from that Muslim merchant. You may remember earlier this year, my writing about deciding to quit shopping at another Muslim-owned bodega in the neighborhood, after a wiry, intense Arab man tried to start an argument with me over buying the Post there. He told me it was a paper that printed lies about Muslims, and was owned by Jews. Ten seconds later, he was arguing that the Holocaust didn't happen, besides which the Jews provoked Hitler into mass-murder. If I'd have stuck around for ten more seconds, he probably would have asserted that all the Muslims Saddam Hussein had killed were really Jews.
Posted 12:11 AM | [Link]
GO WINGS! [John J. Miller]
A very significant vote in the House today congratulating the Detroit Red Wings on their Stanley Cup victory. It passed 410 to 0. Four members voted "present," including Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo, who is no doubt disappointed by the Wings' lopsided game seven win over the Colorado Avalanche in the conference championship. Not voting at all was David Bonior, the Michigan Democrat currently trying to win his party's gubernatorial nomination. One of his opponents should go after him for going MIA on this roll call--it might actually sway a few votes in Hockeytown.
Posted 9:39 PM | [Link]
SOMETHING FOR THE CORNER NOT TO ASPIRE TO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Winner of a bad writing contest: "On reflection, Angela perceived that her relationship with Tom had always been rocky, not quite a roller-coaster ride but more like when the toilet paper roll gets a little squashed so it hangs crooked and every time you pull some off you can hear the rest going bumpity-bumpity in its holder until you go nuts and push it back into shape, a degree of annoyance that Angela had now almost attained."
Posted 6:01 PM | [Link]
A DIFFERENT VIEW [Jonah Goldberg]
This reader is more succinct in his agreement:
"Being a 23 year-old with a dual French citizenship who lives in Manhattan, I have only four words for you: The French are a**holes. (I forget whom I am quoting)
Posted 5:56 PM | [Link]
LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN, AND OUR FATHERS WHO BEGAT US [John Derbyshire]
Ernie Bilko; Ralph Kramden; Archie Bunker; ...
Posted 5:48 PM | [Link]
BOO! GOLDBERG FILE [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader complains:
Dear Mr. Goldberg:
Posted 5:48 PM | [Link]
LES 35 HEURES: [Rod Dreher] Regarding the annual French-bashing G-File, this fact jumped out at me: "[French]Government agents stake out companies suspected of working their employees more than 35 hours a week. Some exiting employees are searched to make sure they don't bring any work home with them." This sounds like hyperbole, but it's true. A good friend of mine is a French computer scientist who grew frustrated by his company continually falling behind their American competitors. He said the 35-hour rule was a disaster for research and development. Because his work is essentially creative, there were plenty of times when he and his colleagues needed to stay late to finish a project. Didn't matter; they had to vacate the building at closing time, and if they didn't, both the company and the individual workers would have to pay a fine. He and his wife also got sick of the envious attitude of their countrymen. He told me that people routinely called the government tipline to turn in their neighbors on suspicion of fraud if the neighbor bought a new car, or otherwise gave an indication that he might be living above his means. Finally, my friend had had enough. He and his wife migrated to Silicon Valley, where he got a great job that allows him the freedom to fulfill his creative and intellectual abilities -- and get rich doing it, without having to worry about envy-ridden neighbors questioning whether he's earned his keep. Bienvenue, citoyen, to the American dream.
Posted 5:17 PM | [Link]
STILL CRUNCHING: [Rod Dreher] Thanks, readers, for the continued correspondence on the crunchy-right phenomenon. Keep it coming. The blogland debate among conservatives still keeps rolling. Josh Claybourn has been a busy beaver on the topic, and if you scroll down a bit, he links to what other right-wing bloggers have been saying, not all of it kind to yours truly. Hey, we're a big tent, so it's all good. I do want to say something about one blogger's contention: "I mean where are these straw men that Rod is thinking of? Where are the conservatives who hate good-tasting food and seek out ugliness wherever they can find it." Talk about straw men! Nobody is going to admit to liking crap food and ugly architecture. The key issue is an indifference to aesthetic quality that, unfortunately, many on the Right seem to evidence -- you know, as if to pay attention to how food tasted or one's neighborhood looked were evidence of effeteness. My e-mailbox is overflowing with letters from conservatives all over the country who notice the same thing. I'm not sure why this is true, but I think it has something to do with the fact that in college, almost all the conservatives I knew were in business school, leaving arts, letters and journalism wide-open to liberals. It doesn't have to be this way.
Posted 4:44 PM | [Link]
WATCH MCCAIN: [Rod Dreher] Ramesh (and everybody), I'm curious to know if you think that the corporate scandals might give John McCain an opening here to challenge Bush for the GOP nomination in 2004. Whatever else it did, his campaign finance reform crusade (which I didn't support, on First Amendment grounds) gives him a history of being against "corporate fatcats." If anything, he's more hawkish than Bush on the war, which is the president's strong suit. And the media love him. If the bear market continues over the next year, the country goes into a double-dip recession, and things go awry with Saddam ... whaddaya think? Might Bush have to slay that dragon before taking on the Democrat in the fall?
Posted 4:37 PM | [Link]
MORE ON THE COURTS: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Brian Anderson has a good overview on the rise of judicial power in the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.
Posted 4:32 PM | [Link]
UH OH: [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A Republican strategist—an actual one, not just one of the people with those words under his name on tv—shares Rod’s gloom over the politics of the bear market and the corporate scandals. “If you are in the out party with a president sitting in the White House of the other party,” he tells me, “it is imperative you nationalize the election. This election is getting close to being nationalized over an issue.”
Posted 4:22 PM | [Link]
REAL PHILOSOPHY [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, Al Bundy as one of the great Twentieth Century philosophers? Absolutely, but let 's not forget the only other serious contender - Norm Peterson.
SAM: "What'd you like Normie?"
NORM: "A reason to live. Give me another beer."
Posted 3:50 PM | [Link]
I’M TOLD…: [Lowry]
…that Richard Boucher was asked the other day at the press briefing whether he had any reaction to my letter, and said he hadn’t read it. Which doesn’t surprise me--between harassing Joel Mowbray and kowtowing to the Saudis, he’s a really busy guy. But I wonder if he’s going to read this letter from Sen. Grassley and Rep. Weldon.
Posted 3:46 PM | [Link]
"WHO BOUGHT BUSH'S STOCK?": [Rod Dreher] Writing this week in New York Press, the Weekly Standard's Christopher Caldwell sees the ongoing corporate scandals as "hatching a catastrophe for Republicans." This is the first column on the mess I've read that really makes me worry. I think he's on to something. I've been talking over the past few days to family members in Red America who have taken serious hits to their retirement funds because of the stock market. To a certain extent, that's life, and they know that, and they're surely not talking about voting Democratic because of it. But when I heard my dad on the phone last night light furiously into the "cheating bastards" running these companies, I thought: God help the GOP if President Bush is credibly presented to voters as one of the corporate elite who get rich and take care of each other, while ordinary folks who trust them to play fair are left holding the bag.
Posted 3:43 PM | [Link]
FROG BASHING [John Derbyshire]
I cannot say how thrilled I am to see Jonah quoting one of the most quotable of late 20th-century thinkers, the ineffable Al Bundy. I quote Al all the time, and have in fact mulled over the idea of compiling a book of Bundy wit and wisdom, a sort of Thoughts of Chairman Al (though strictly speaking, of course, it should be "Sofa-man"). Sample: "Women! Can't live with 'em; can't live with 'em." Al's daughter Kelly also deserves a mention in this context: as when, struck with a sudden brilliant insight, she leapt to her feet and shouted: "Urethra!"
Posted 3:33 PM | [Link]
THE CHICAGO CUBS OF MILITARY HISTORY? [Jonah Goldberg]
In today's G-File I wrote: "Obviously, I'm hardly the first guy to chronicle France's status as the Boston Red Sox of military history" A reader replies:
Jonah, ok, that one hurt. I would like to point out the following:
Posted 3:21 PM | [Link]
ANGRY IN THE NAME OF MULLAHS [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader is cross with my post below regarding blind clerics. I think he protests a bit too much (especially since I never said those jokes had any merit), but his explanation is certainly interesting:
The most likely reason why 'so many' (just how many, anyway?) Arab clerics are blind is because in most traditional (pre-industrial) societies the role of town reciter and/or memorizer is given to someone who is disabled, and/or has a good auditory memory. Such people are frequently blind. In most Arab communities as well the Koran is primarily recited, not read. Just watch the beginning of Lawrence of Arabia.
Posted 3:06 PM | [Link]
FROG BASHING, FINALLY [Jonah Goldberg]
My Bastille day column is finally up.
Posted 2:38 PM | [Link]
COOKIE PUSHER LOGIC [Jonah Goldberg]
Rich, keep in mind that Boucher is a holdover from the Albright days. Hence, he should stop treating Mowbray as a rogue journalist and instead consider Joel a "Journalist of Concern."
Posted 2:34 PM | [Link]
DEATH NOT GOOD ENOUGH [Jonah Goldberg]
Cosmo does not think this is even remotely funny.
Posted 2:28 PM | [Link]
MOWBRAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From today's Ari Fleischer press briefing:
Q Does the President believe that those two State Department officials who e-mailed their insults of Congressman Ben Gilman should have been merely reprimanded, rather than fired, with not even a reprimand for whoever it was that ordered the State Department police to detain reporter Joel Mowbray as extensively reported in both the Post and the Times?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not familiar with the e-mails, Lester.
Q What about Joel Mowbray? That was reported, you must have been familiar, because both of Washington's dailies reported this. How does the President stand on that? Does he feel that reporters should be detained by police?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President understands that the law is a law, and the law should be enforced, and that reporters have a right to report.
Q Does the President believe that felons who break the law should be allowed to vote for those who make the law?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President believes that's a matter for each state to look at their own laws, which jurisdictionally --
Q How did he feel in Texas? Did he -- did he --
MR. FLEISCHER: I'd to take a look at the law in Texas, Lester. I don't know it off the top of my head.
Posted 2:20 PM | [Link]
TUNE IN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Larry Kudlow is about to explain stock options on Rush.
Posted 2:00 PM | [Link]
A SUGGESTION: [Rich Lowry]
Here’s an idea that might make for conceptual break-through at State that will help Boucher and Co. decide whether they will adopt a new no-harassment policy with regard to Mowbray. State should from now on treat National Review as a foreign power. Then, the answer to all this becomes easy: just appease us!
WAITING…: [Rich Lowry]
It’s been about 24 hours and STILL no answer from Richard Boucher to my letter asking that he guarantee that Joel Mowbray be subjected to no further retaliatory harassment at the State Department. I wonder what the hold up is. Maybe Boucher needs to get Colin Powell’s clearance before answering? Maybe Boucher, Powell, and Richard Armitage are huddled in a Foggy Bottom conference room fiercely debating how a no-harassment policy on Joel Mowbray will affect the “coalition”? Maybe Boucher is trying to reach Prince Bandar to make sure that the Saudis would be OK with a new no-harassment policy? Maybe the French are balking?
Posted 1:36 PM | [Link]
MORE ON COLLABORATORS [Jonah Goldberg]
John, you're right. During the last Intifada, Arafat's men summarily executed over 800 "collaborators." People keep asking why the Palestinians don't produce a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King (Israelis would respond to guilt a lot better than the mass murder of teenagers, after all). Perhaps the best explanation is that Arafat had him shot before we ever heard who he was.
Posted 12:43 PM | [Link]
RECENT...: [Rich Lowry]
...State Dept. detainee Joel Mowbray is scheduled to be on Moneyline with Lou Dobbs and the O'Reilly Factor tonight.
Posted 12:12 PM | [Link]
I WONDER WHAT RAMESH MAKES OF THIS IDEA?: [Rich Lowry]
Outside View: Pledging our sacred honor by Newt Gingrich 7/15/2002 11:29 PM
”What power does Congress have to protect the Pledge of Allegiance? Does it, in fact, have any? Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the U.S. House, argues that it is now incumbent on the Congress to remove the judges who ruled the pledge to be unconstitutional from the bench.”
Posted 12:10 PM | [Link]
UNTOLD STORY IN THE MIDDLE EAST [John Derbyshire]
One great untold story in the Middle East is that of the Palestinian "collaborators" who are now being rounded up and shot in batches by Arafat. Why are there so many of them? Nobody, as Larry Henry points out here, is looking into this.
Posted 11:50 AM | [Link]
THE RIGHT GUY? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
UPI reports on the growing concern about Hamid Karzai.
Posted 11:44 AM | [Link]
DOUBLE STANDARD: [Rod Dreher] Citing its desire to maintain confidentiality, Planned Parenthood won't help police find the killer of a newborn infant. Mark Shea makes the superb point that when the Catholic bishops cite confidentiality to conceal criminality, it's called obstruction of justice, but when abortionists do it, it's called heroic.
Posted 11:01 AM | [Link]
BLIND HOLY MEN [Jonah Goldberg]
The other day I asked why it is that so many Muslim clerics seem to be blind. The response has been impressive. The most common answer have been an assortment of jokes about punishing Mullah Omar (the one-eyed cleric, if you get my meaning). But others have suggested that it can be attributed to the high rates of diabtes in the Arab world combined with poor health care. Others have reported that poor folks, especially in the past, often walked rather than drove to Mecca and Medina and were hence subjected to terrible sandstorms which can cause severe eye damage. One suggestion is that ghonorrea is prevalent in the Arab world but the ability to seek treatment is severely limited since swinging is hardly popular. Just an FYI.
Posted 10:17 AM | [Link]
THE COST OF VANITY?: [Rod Dreher] Surely, with the moral stakes on the cloning issue so high, the singing Senator didn't allow himself to be bought for, well, a song. Surely. From the NYTimes: "Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who threw his political support to groups like CuresNow, a therapeutic cloning advocacy group founded by Hollywood producers, worked with some of the same producers on a film project. Senator Hatch has written a song for the soundtrack of 'Stuart Little 2,' produced by Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher, who, with the producer Janet Zucker and the director Jerry Zucker, founded the cloning advocacy group. Senator Hatch's song, 'Little Angel of Mine,' is performed by the group No Secrets. Mr. Hatch also had a song on the soundtrack of the first Stuart Little movie."
Posted 9:40 AM | [Link]
SOUNDING A LITTLE LAX [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A car bomb explodes outside a Helsinki synogogue. This, by way of the AP:
The car bomb may not be related to the current Middle East security crisis, Detective Chief Inspector Ollie Torahs told The Associated Press.
Posted 9:34 AM | [Link]
ANOTHER ATTACK... [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
On an Israeli bus on the West Bank.
Posted 8:41 AM | [Link]
CHINESE YAHOOS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Yahoo has agreed to operate under the Chinese government's censorship rules.
Posted 8:36 AM | [Link]
JEWS: MASTERS OF DISGUISE: [Rod Dreher] I was talking today to a Muslim friend here in NYC, a young Arab guy who came to the US from the Middle East to go to school, and stayed. Great guy, open to and tolerant of Christians and Jews ("Most of what's considered Islam today is not Islam to me," he said.) Anyway, he told me about being in a cafe in an Arab neighborhood in Brooklyn over the weekend, and getting into a conversation with a Yemeni immigrant about the coming US war on Iraq. My friend said he ventured the opinion that he was looking forward to the US attack, in part because Saddam Hussein has killed so many Iraqi Muslims. "The Yemeni went nuts, and said that they all deserved to die -- because they were Jews!" my friend said. "I just turned around and walked out. You can't talk to some people."
Posted 12:07 AM | [Link]
BELGIUM BLOVIATING [Andrew Stuttaford]
It is not easy having an ego rather larger than the country you purport to represent, but there's still no reason to feel sorry for Belgium's relentlessly self-important foreign minister, Louis Michel, a man who wants everyone to know that he is "unhappy."
Commenting on the US compromise over the ICC (in reality, an agreement to avoid resolving this issue for another year), Mr. Michel has announced that he was "not very happy, since it is a new blow to the credibility of international law and to the ICC's deterrent capability."
In fact it is the opposite. The compromise gives the 'court' another year to entrench itself as a force to be reckoned with.
More to the point, if Belgium is really worried about international lawlessness, it needs to start sorting out the mess within its borders (highlighted in that London Spectator article posted on the Corner on Saturday).
Posted 5:47 PM | [Link]
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL RANGE [John Derbyshire]
Spent a happy afternoon at the town range exercising my 2nd Amendment rights. (Rosie, as I headed for the door: "Where you going?" Derb: "To the range for a couple of hours." Rosie: "Oh, you're going to vent." Right, Honey; better I should vent down there than in here.) My town range was laid out 50+ years ago in the middle of nowhere. Now there is an industrial park on one side, a residential development on the other, and a school less than a mile away. There is a movement afoot to get the range shut down, even though range procedures have now been tightened up to the point where, if you point your firearm one degree above the horizontal, five range officers instantly dive-tackle you. Going to the range is not just fun, it's a statement. There must be similar situations all over the country. Support your local range!
Posted 5:07 PM | [Link]
MAYBE IT WAS THAT SONG [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Did you know the YMCA was a liberal outfit? I got an e-mail from someone telling me that the World Council of the YMCA is meeting in Mexico City this week, and that the Danish delegation plans to offer an anti-Israel resolution. The American delegation is said to be opposing it. So I hop over to http://www.ymca.int/program.html, and what do I find? Statements about “growing inequality, injustice and poverty”; the need to ban landmines; our “suffering planet”; the importance of signing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and Israeli “atrocities.”
Oh, and a letter from YMCA secretary-general Nick Nightengale dated Sept. 17, 2001, that says, “[M]ost people are more than convinced that the spiral of violence and counter violence, or revenge will be futile and counter productive. The words that must govern and dominate our hearts and minds must be peace and dialogue.” Actually, those aren’t the first words that come to my mind as I read the letter.
Posted 5:05 PM | [Link]
COULDN'T DO IT [Jonah Goldberg]
Sorry, endless doctor's appointment today. Couldn't get Bastille Day done. Will file tonight/first thing in the AM. In the meantime, here's my syndicated column.
Posted 4:45 PM | [Link]
CAN'T MAKE THESE THINGS UP [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A quadriplegic sues a...ahem..."gentlemen's" club for the inaccessibility of its lap-dance room.
Posted 3:14 PM | [Link]
RE: THE MARKET [Andrew Stuttaford]
A friend at one of the major investment banks is now quoting Warren Zevon: "Send lawyers, guns and money." Either that, or read what Larry Kudlow has to say.
Posted 3:05 PM | [Link]
JUST SO EVERYONE KNOWS…: [Rich Lowry]
Joel Mowbray has raised the bar pretty high for getting a rise out of someone criticized in NRO pieces. From now on Jonah shouldn’t be considered as having scored any real points against Cynthia McKinney unless the Capitol police show up at his place, confiscate his computer, remote control, and pepperoni sticks, and place him under house arrest!
Posted 2:51 PM | [Link]
CAN ANYONE SAY GRAY MONDAY? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
You guys watching this market? 400-plus down and falling....
Posted 2:45 PM | [Link]
ROCK OF LIFE [Andrew Stuttaford]
The UK's long-running "discussion" with Spain over Gibraltar is in the news again. This follows the revelation by the British foreign minister that London might be prepared to share sovereignty over the territory, which has been British for nearly three hundred years. This has not impressed the people of Gibraltar who have repeatedly made it clear that they wish to stick with the land of Marmite. They are unlikely to be reassured by comments yesterday from Peter Hain, another minister in the British government.
"OK, a Spanish flag might fly on the Rock, but what does that amount to? Life will go on as usual, except for the better."
Mr. Hain, needless to say, is Britain's "Europe Minister."
Posted 2:26 PM | [Link]
SPARED A LINDH CIRCUS [James S. Robbins]
Sanity has prevailed in the Walker case. The plea deal spares us an interminable media circus. I wrote in NRO last December: "If Walker went to trial the TV coverage would be incessant, the lawyers would be ubiquitous, and attention and resources would be diverted from continuing the global struggle against terror." I'd rather have seen him tried by the Afghans, but in retrospect that's a trial the new government does not need. Best to just let the guy serve as an intelligence asset and then quietly go to jail. The biggest losers are the cable news show producers.
Posted 1:51 PM | [Link]
INCH BY INCH [Jonathan Adler]
Roll Call reports on the glacial moves toward the eventual confirmation of judicial nominees. A deal to move over a dozen may come through, but Senator Durbin suggests the vetting of D.C. Circuit pick Miguel Estrada could take months, citing the Pickering nomination as precedent.
Posted 1:44 PM | [Link]
GOOD SIGN? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
UPI reportsthat British troops are gearing up for war in Iraq: Analysis: Brits gear up military for Iraq
By Peter Almond
Published 7/12/2002 4:06 PM
LONDON, July 12 (UPI) -- There are as yet no official plans, no meetings and no preparations for any NATO nations to join with the United States in any attacks on Iraq. But the war drums are beginning to sound louder, and in Britain Friday there was substantial talk about just how 25,000 British troops are being prepared to be sent to the region within the next six months.
While NATO's chief spokesman in Brussels insists there are no changes to forward military planning and that Iraq is not on official agendas, other NATO sources say that the dates of larger exercises planned from October through next April are beginning to be circled as 'questionable.' A British source at Lloyd's List said the international shipping publication is receiving questions about the availability of ships taken up from trade from November onwards.
Posted 1:25 PM | [Link]
BIN LADEN UPDATE [James S. Robbins]
Al Jazeera reports the following: "The chief editor of the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, Abd-al-Bari Atwan, has cited individuals close to Usama Bin Ladin as saying that Bin Ladin is alive and well after recovering from wounds he sustained in an air attack against Tora Bora in Afghanistan last December. They say that Bin Ladin was hit in the shoulder by shrapnel and that he has completely recovered. They however said that from now on al-Qa'ida leader will not appear on videotapes just to speak but to react to any possible future attack against the United States."
Posted 12:03 PM | [Link]
IRELAND WATCH [John Derbyshire]
I have suggested, in an NRO column that Ireland may be a pilot project for 21st-century nationhood. There is actually some very interesting thinking going on among Irish patriots. See this, for example. (NB: I didn't say you'd like it; I said it was interesting.) (NB: "Eire Nua" means "New Ireland," and refers to a scheme being put forward by Sinn Fein for a federal Ireland based on the ancient division of the island into four provinces.) (NB: References to "west of the Bann":--The river Bann divides the heavily Unionist eastern part of Northern Ireland from the more Republican western part.)
Posted 11:49 AM | [Link]
SUPREME CORRECTION [Melissa Seckora]
Matthew J. Franck, a Radford University politics professor, writes in to correct me on Ted Olson's remark that the current justices on the Court have been together longer than any group of justices in 200 years. "I've been seeing this mistake a lot lately, but the truth is the record still belongs to the Marshall Court of the 1810s and 1820s. After Joseph Story was sworn in on 3 February 1812, the Court didn't get another new member until Smith Thompson took the oath on 10 February 1824. Today's Court has a ways to go, and probably won't beat this record."
Posted 11:49 AM | [Link]
MOWBRAY: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here's my theory: Norm Mineta had been put in charge of screening visitors in and out of the State Department that day. Joel was picked out as a potential terrorist (along, of course with the now obligatory granny, toddler, and disabled war veteran), and the rest is history.
Posted 11:20 AM | [Link]
EURO BEATS DOLLAR [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
See you in a bit....Have a few checks from Europe I've been holding onto that I should run and cash.
Posted 11:19 AM | [Link]
IF YOU SNAP SID BLUMENTHAL OPEN... [Jonah Goldberg]
These things pour out.
Posted 11:17 AM | [Link]
WAHABIS, QUTBIS, SHI'AS [John Derbyshire]
A very moving e-mail from a reader, a practicing Shi'a Muslim who lives in Texas, and is as big a fan of America as I am. Quote: "I hear invective against my faith evey day on talk radio here in Houston but I have experienced the opposite in my dealings on a personal level." This reader goes on to say: "I heartily recommend the text "Peak of Eloquence" by written by Ali ibn Talib, who was the chosen successor of the Prophet Muhamad. Its a much more accurate look at what Islam's moral code and structure is, undistorted by the Wahabis and the Qutbis and ... their self-serving hadith and fundamentalist interpretations. Shi'a revere Ali as the only person of the Prophet's SAW companions who had the permission and authority to interpret the Qur'an. Muhammad SAW himself said that 'I am the city of Knowledge, and Ali is the Gate'." But can anyone tell me what "SAW" stands for?
Posted 11:06 AM | [Link]
FASCINATING.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Maybe Johnny Taliban's lawyers simply ran through all of the other defense strategies. They seemed to change their arguments every week. Still, we should read the fine print, I would hate to find out later we agreed to helping return Spain to Muslim control as part of the deal.
Posted 11:02 AM | [Link]
LINDH AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted 10:51 AM | [Link]
BTW... [Jonah Goldberg]
Thanks to the non-lawyers who've assure me that I'll be fine because the people's republic of DC is so tenant-friendly. Alas, I'm the heartless landlord in this case. Details to follow. Back to the French, as the Germans used to say.
Posted 10:28 AM | [Link]
ATAVISTIC, PUERILE [John Derbyshire]
In re Mike Potemra's comment about "atavistic, puerile hatred of Islam," a reader writes:
Islam is fascism.
Derbyshire loves Islam. Therefore
Derbyshire loves fascism.
Posted 9:43 AM | [Link]
PROMESSE DU BASTILLE [Jonah Goldberg]
I have not forgotten my promise to write my Basttille Day French-bashing column. It won't be in the "Decker" today though because I have a couple unavoidable appointments and I don't know how long they will delay me. So, worse case scenario, the column will be posted late tonight or first thing in the morning.
Posted 9:05 AM | [Link]
LEGAL HELP [Jonah Goldberg]
I need to pick someone's brain about a tenant-landlord hassle I may be facing. If you're a lawyer and I can pick your brain for five minutes, please drop me a line. As there are like 5 billion lawyers among NRO readers, please no emails from international trade lawyers, patent lawyers, historians of the constitutional congress etc. Thanks very much.
Posted 8:59 AM | [Link]
I SLAM, YOU SLAM, WE ALL SLAM ISLAM [John Derbyshire]
I have just noticed (way behind everyone else, probably) that this fruitcake academic at the University of Manchester, England, who booted two Israelis off the board of her journal to protest Israeli "war crimes," is actually Egyptian. This is not obvious because her name is always given (including on her own website and academic references) as "Mona Baker." It is starting to crop up in UK news stories, though, that she was in fact born and raised in Egypt, by Egyptian parents. What is it with Egyptians? There was that airline pilot who committed suicide with a plane full of passengers; then Mohammed Atta and several of his accomplices; then the loony at LAX airport last week... Could it be the psychic stress caused by living in a "moderate" Arab nation?
Posted 8:49 AM | [Link]
BLAMING ISLAM CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't know if Derb has any plans to continue the "Blame Islam" discussion, but I'd be curious to know how he explains John Walker Lindh, Jose Padilla et al. Surely, the trajectory of their lives would have been different had they converted to Mormonism?
Posted 8:44 AM | [Link]
...I'm afraid all the calls for "reform" of the All Star game strike me as silly. They should just play until someone wins--not a radical idea in baseball.
Posted 8:20 AM | [Link]
WHAT'S YOUR SIZE? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If you're female, that's getting harder to answer. Some designers are cutting their clothes bigger (i.e. a size 6 becomes a size 4) to boost women's self-esteem.
Posted 5:50 AM | [Link]
PAKISTANI COURT FINDS 4 GUILTY OF DANIEL PEARL'S MURDER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted 5:44 AM | [Link]
MAYBE J. C. WATTS WASN'T THE LAST BLACK REPUBLICAN AFTER ALL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
John Fund on Joe Holland.
Posted 5:36 AM | [Link]
THE JOURNAL ON MOWBRAY-GATE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Posted 5:33 AM | [Link]
BIGGEST GOVERNMENT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Brookings says Department of Homeland Security plan is too large.
Posted 5:28 AM | [Link]
SORRY, RICH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
But this sounds like a much better approach to an all-star game than the playbook used Tuesday, from the Arizona Diamondbacks’s (a.k.a. the team that stole victory from the Yankees in 2001) Curt Schilling:
"I've got two solutions," Schilling said. "One, increase the rosters and just tell guys that some of them won't play unless the game goes extra innings. Or two, play nine innings no matter what. Tell everybody from the start. And then, if it's tied, each team picks one guy, and you decide it with a Home Run Derby. How great would THAT be?"
Posted 12:00 AM | [Link]
MOWBRAY MONDAY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mowbray's going to be on ABC's Good Morning America and then on CNN's American Morning Monday morning. Also, on The O'Reilly Factor later in the day .
Posted 9:15 PM | [Link]
SO DEEPLY DISTURBING > [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Another "bomber baby" photo.
Posted 7:49 PM | [Link]
BEACHED WHALE [Andrew Stuttaford]
There's an interesting piece in yesterday's New York Times on the latest musings by "postmodern provocateur" Stanley Fish. Apparently he begins a recent defense of his philosophy with the question:
"Are you now or have you ever been a postmodernist?"
Ah yes, the McCarthy analogy: that favorite tool of the intellectually bankrupt.
As the Times (who'd have thunk it?) asks, "Cannot pomo be taken to task...without Mr. Fish and others retreating into McCarthy-era rhetoric, posing as victims of Western absolutism?".
It would seem not.
Posted 6:02 PM | [Link]
MORE 'ENLIGHTENMENT' FROM ARAB NEWS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Arab News is running an article by Mark Weber. Who? Blogger Damian Penny seems to have some details (scroll down to the July 13 entries) .
Posted 5:36 PM | [Link]
BASTILLE DAY> [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A shot was fired at Jacques Chirac as he reviewed troops in a Bastille Day parade. The shooter, who was subsequently arrested, is being described as a neo-Nazi.
Posted 4:29 PM | [Link]
FREE & GREEN [Jonathan Adler]
Free market environmentalism -- what David K. calls "progressive environmentalism" below -- is based on the notion that a free people are more effective environmental stewards (or less prone to environmental mismanagement) than government bureaucrats. Those who want more information on this approach can check out the "free and green" page on my website . I'll freely admit that much of the stuff on the page is mine -- but, hey, it's my site. There's also a bibliography, links to books, think tanks, etc. In the end, conservatives must always remember you don't have to be red to be green.
Posted 4:23 PM | [Link]
MCCAIN TO RETIRE? [Jonathan Adler]
Bob Novak reports on rumors that McCain might not run for reelection to the Senate in 2004. There is speculation he might run for President as an independent, but there's also speculation he may step down. In any event, Novak also reports that Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake
Posted 4:19 PM | [Link]
A LOSS IN CHINATOWN [Andrew Stuttaford]
Rod, some time ago (early 90s, I think) I played noughts and crosses against a chicken in Chinatown.
Posted 3:44 PM | [Link]