Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

New Web-Site

Here’s the web address for a new journal,’The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society,’ published by the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The premier issue features articles by Leon Kass, Victor Davis Hansen, Peter Lawler and others.

No doubt, it is part of the vast, Straussian, Neo-Con, Leo-Con conspiracy.

India-U.S. Relations

The Congressional Research Service published this "Issue Brief for Congress" in April, that may be a good primer for those of you wanting to follow the--seeming--sea change in India-U.S. relations. (It is in PDF format).

Democratic Alliance Against Terrorism?

The Asia Times runs an interesting story on the closer cooperation between the United States, Israel, and India, as outlined by India’s national security advisor, Brajesh Mishra.

"In an address to a meeting of the American Jewish Committee, Mishra argued that democratic countries that are the prime targets of international terrorism should form a ’viable alliance’ and develop multilateral mechanisms to counter the menace. He identified India, the US and Israel as countries fitting that description. ’Such an alliance would have the political will and moral authority to take bold decisions in extreme cases of terrorist provocation. It would not get bogged down in definitional and causal arguments about terrorism,’ he maintained."

The whole thing is worth reading; full of interesting tid-bits. But, also see this article for the effects that the Saudi terrorist attack may have had on India’s inclination to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq.

Discontent with Bush?

The Economist maintains that President Bush’s relationship with social conservatives is quite frayed. A story in The Washington Times claims that Bush is losing much of the "defense establishment" support because of the aggressive transformation project of DOD chief Rumsfeld.

History and Ingratitude

David McCullough is reported as saying some very good things about history and how it is taught (or not taught). 

Comment on Texas Demos Walk-out

A seventeen year old comments on the meaning of the Demo lawmakers walkout in the Houston Chronicle. OK, it’s overwritten (she is 17), but I like the sentiments. (via Common Sense and Wonder).

France as Victim

France is complaining about the bad treatment they are getting from both the press and the US government. At least parts of the government are denying it. Amusing.

No Growth in Europe

VOA is reporting that "There is more news of a slow economy in Europe. For the first time in almost two years, the European Union has reported a zero growth rate for a three-month period."

Recall Gray Davis Effort

In the history of California, there have been numerous attempts to recall the Governor. None of those recall attempts ever gathered even 10% of the signatures necessary to get the recall inititive on the ballot.

The current Governor of California faces serious problems and faces a serious recall effort. Over 100,000 signatures (of the 900,000 necessary to get the recall proposal on the ballot) were recently turned in to the Secretary of State’s office.

Here’s the official web-site of the
Recall Gray Davis effort. This link details the problems Davis faces and how internet technology and talk radio are contributing to the momentum behind the recall effort.

We could wake up in six months with Arnold Schwarzenegger or some relative unkonwn as Governor of California.

Bush’s Poll Numbers

Patrick Ruffini has some useful thoughts (see 5-15-03 under "Political Swingers") on Bush’s is amazing polling numbers in New Jersey and New York against the main potential Demo opponents. Follow his links, including "Swing Aanlysis Map," useful.

BBC’s story on Saving Private Lynch

This BBC story is interesting. It is really a non-story (in my opinion), give it a careful reading, look for sources, etc., yet it is already starting to make the rounds among the anti-war crowd. Special forces using blanks? Really! I don’t know what to make of this, unless it’s that the BBC has completely tanked. No wonder the Brits no longer show BBC news on their warships.

Bush’s Tax Victory

This Washington Post story on the Senate vote in favor of a tax cut and Bush’s victory, reminds me of something that may be played out in the next year and a half: I believe there is a distinct chance that the President’s opponents (not excluding the elite-liberal media) will go after him for being heavy handed, if not dictatorial in the way he deals with Congress. In fact, this President has been extraordinarily effective in getting what he wants. He sticks to his guns and uses every ounce of authority and power that he has to get his way. In all the ordinary way students of politics understand these matters, this President will go down as effective (compare that, for example, to Carter who had a large majority in Congress, and could do nothing). Yet, because of this, his opponents will go after him for being too powerful, too pushy. I believe this mode has started, I glimpsed some of this on TV news last night. Needless to say, I am glad that Senator Voinovich came aboard at the last minute (the tit-for-tat is explained in the article).

Diversity and the New York Times

Diana West has a nicely crafted piece on the diversity issue broadly understood, with some thoughts on journalism and Jayson Blair. And Hugh Hewitt skewers the New York Times. And Newsweek is now starting to make the case that there might be a bigger scandal at the Times than originally thought. This will continue to be interesting.

Diversity Rightly Understood

Lucas Morel writes a wonderful essay in the latest issue of On Principle (the rest of the issue on line within days) on affirmative action/diversity. He starts with the Michigan case, but his point is far broader; how affirmative action is defended now as a way to promote racial diversity, rather than as a remedy for the "lingering effects" of discrimination. Read the whole thing, by all means. I’ll just give you his last paragraph:

"’America is woven of many strands; I would recognize them and let is so remain.’ So spoke Ralph Ellison’s ’invisible man’ in his landmark 1952 novel of the same name. Ellison discovered the diversity of individualism many years before it was hijacked by the affirmative activists. He saw that diversity could be a strength or weakness depending on society’s recognition and treatment of each individual. As the invisible man put it, ’Diversity is the word. Let man keep his many parts and you’ll have no tyrant states.’ Racial minorities have suffered much as a group throughout American history. But the protection of their rights as individuals can come only by identifying themselves as American citizens. For when it comes to securing the rights of all Americans, it’s the minority of one — the individual — that is the focus of the Constitution’s protection. Only the equal protection of individual liberty can produce a diversity worthy of free human beings and society."   

Saudi Terrorist Attacks

This article out of Australia makes a pretty good case that the attack on the residential compounds in Riyadh were thought through and well chosen. The target was the Vinnell Corporation, a susidiary of the defence contractor Northrop-Grumann. And also note, as this short London Times article says, the company has been accused of being a CIA front.

More on Strauss

Reductio Ad Absurdum, a new blog I just discovered, has a some interesting thoughts on this Straussian-Neocon silliness. If you scroll down, there are even longer comments on the same theme, including one on the Jeet Heer article from the Boston Globe. Worth your attention. Thoughtful.  

National Enquirer more accurate than NY Times

And a tabloid journalist explains why. Short.

Emotional Democracy

A Spanish Green mayoral candidate in Southern Spain has proposed a sex voucher. "A Spanish politician is offering half-price love to the youngsters of southern Spain, with an electoral pledge to subsidize hotel rooms for young couples." He also said: "Happiness, well-being and autonomy...are very important. It’s about emotional democracy." Read the whole thing, it’s short.

JFK Intern Revealed

The New York Daily News has tracked down the now famous "Mimi". Dalleck’s new bio of JFK revealed the trist with the intern and now Marion (Mimi) Fahnestock (nee Beardsley, at age 19; she is now 60 years old) admits that she is the woman. She says: "The gift for me is that this allowed me to tell my two married daughters a secret that I’ve been holding for 41 years. It’s a huge relief. It’s all true." I like her attitude, and her civility. Worth a read. (Thanks to

Tillman Brothers are OK

Pat Tillman and his brother are OK, still out in the field somewhere.

Neocons and Straussians, again

That great intellectual giant William Pfaff writes about so-called Straussian and Neocons in the International Herald Tribune. He has Strauss’ understanding of the world, of course, exactly wrong. I am amazed at how stupid these people are. Also see Mickey’s blog below.

Democrat Politics

Dick Morris maintain that because there will be no GOP primary battle, independents will have great influence on the Demo presidential primaries, and this should help Lieberman. Yet, he says, Lieberman is not doing well. This CBS Poll shows that over 60% cannot name any Democratic contender. But The Hartford Courant claims that the Liberman campaign is now "clicking."

Iraq’s National Library Not Looted

It turns out that Iraq’s National Library was not looted and the precious volumes were carted away before the war and kept safe.

Thatcher Speaks

Margaret Thatcher broke doctors orders and spoke in New York. Hardball. Here are the first few lines from this London Times story.

"Baroness Thatcher returned to politics last night with an attack on the French, whom she accused of collaborating with ’enemies of the West’ for short-term gain.
In a one-off comeback speech in New York, which broke a medical ban on speaking in public, the former Conservative Prime Minister attacked those who use environmentalism, feminism and human rights campaigns to fight capitalism and the nation state.

She praised Tony Blair, but above all President Bush, for overriding the ’rot’ that ’paralysed’ the United Nations."

Senate Rules and the Filibuster

There is precedent for changing the filibuster rules with a simple majority vote. This article from the Washington Times’ describes how the Senate under a Democratic majority in 1975 changed the filibuster rules by a simple majority vote and how today Senate Majority Leader Frist and other Republicans consider consider the ’nuclear option.’

Let’s hope the Republicans have the courage to force the vote.

The Saudis in Trouble

This Michael Isikoff piece in Newsweek recounts how the Saudis did not do enough to thwart the terrorist attack, ignoring our specific warnings, etc. This is quite a mess, and may well be the beginning of the end for the Saudi regime, or, the necessary start of a serious partner in the war against terrorism (although I doubt the latter is possible).

More on the Struassian Conspiracy

’The New Republic’ weighs in on the Neo-Con, Leo-Con, Straussian conspiracy, which allegedly dominates U.S. foreign policy, in this article, ’Et Tu Kristol,’ by Daniel W. Drezner.

If you want to read more about Strauss and Straussians and also have a handy dandy link to all the recent news articles on this Neo-Con cabal go to

One gets the feeling that the cultural elite begins to realize that Strauss’s teaching is the only thing in the way of the post-modern universal and homogenous state.

Paper of Record No More

This story in the NYTimes recounts the extraordinbary session Howell Raines had with his employeees. Andrew Sullivan continues to have some good thoughts on this outrage and what it means (including how the issue of race plays into it). I don’t have much to say on the matter (being in general agreement with Sullivan) except to say that the Times has lost whatever authority it had left and is unlikely to regain it (under the current leadership) anytime soon. Good riddance to an arrogant and not-so-subtle ideologically biased newspaper. It has been called the paper of record. No more.


For those of you interested in federalism generally, and specifically with regard to education and Medicaid--and an analysis of the state budget problems--this Michael Greve analysis is worth reading. He claims that there are too many federal incentives in place for states to spend; hence the huge problems they find themselves in. This is some real policy-wonk stuff for those of you interested, and I cannot say I agree with all of it, but if you’re one of those who likes such detailed analysis (I can’t say his solutions are worthy; I just don’t know), this one is worth reading. 

Karl Rove

David S. Broder writes on Karl Rove in today’s WaPo. While praising Rove (and Broder has known him for almost a decade) he is suggesting that Rove may be becoming a bit more well known to the public than such a "political" adviser should be. He bases his opinion in part a another lengthy article on Rove that appeared in the New Yorker by Nicholas Lemann (not on line). I recommend the Lemann article, too. It is in the May 12 issue.

Ray Bradbury

John J. Miller writes a lovely paean to Fahrenheit 451 and Ray Bradbury. Bradbury is one of the good guys. I met him (interviewed him for over an hour, actually) in the late 1960’s when I was a student and immediately liked him. Still do. Because Fahrenheit 451 is about education (reading) and the corruption of society--especially the education system--and if you like it, allow me to recommend Jarry Pournelle’s (he wrote it with Charles Sheffield) Higher Education: A Jupiter Novel . This is meant as a sort of boys "coming of age story" about the lack of education, and what happens to one young man who has some potential. The boy grows up. A very good read with a good point. Great for boys in their early teens (and adults, of course). Here is a short review of it.

Kipling Rediscovered

Andrew Roberts writes on op-ed in the London Telegraph praising a biography of Kipling published last year (The Long Recessional) by David Gilmour. He thinks this is one form of revisionist history that is good. Gilmour’s book, according to Roberts, "triumphantly succeeds in rescuing Kipling’s reputation as a significant political thinker." Kipling has long been abused as an imperialist, racist, and so on. Not true, argues Gilmour and Roberts.

I admit to having been a Kipling fan for a long while and I can open Kim to any page with wide-eyed delight. The great friendship between the saintly Tibetan pilgrim and the thirteen year old white boy who "had known all evil since he could speak," and "was hand in glove with men who had led lives stranger than anything Haroun al Raschid dreamed of," is always full of wonder for me. And in awe I have seen and touched the great bronze cannon Zam-Zammah, that "capturer of strongholds", in Lahore. While my mind is on books about Kipling, let me also recommend Peter Hopkirk’s Quest for Kim (1999), also a great read in which Hopkirk (who also wrote The Great Game) tries to rediscover Kim by travelling across India and Pakistan, to all the places mentioned by Kipling in Kim; it is a kind of travel book and literary detective story. Even though Kim has never been out of print since its publication in 1901, Hopkirk recommends that you read it "before the ideologues and zealots of political correctness consign it to the flames, or insist on it being rewritten." With the publication of Gilmour’s biography (and the honor it has received by being awarded the Longford Historical Biography prize) perhaps Hopkirk will have proven to be wrong. I hope so. In case you have the time, here is a favorite Kipling story I must have read a thousand times to my four children, The Elephant’s Child. And here is his poem, Recessional.

The Case Western Shootings

Over at The Corner, (under "Crime @Case Western) Dave Kopel quotes at length from the Director of Information and Technology at Case Western Law School, regarding the incident, and how it would have ended differently if someone would have had a concealed firearm on him. Just a couple of paragraphs, but very good. 


The San Francisco Examiner ran this story a few days ago about how vexed the Democrats are by Bush’s unflagging popularity. As you read along, you encounter increasing gloom and doom from the Demos, none of the candidates have caught fire, etc., until you get this from "Democratic stategist" Gary South: "It’s almost like we have an embarrassment of riches. . . . We have a very high-quality field, and all of the candidates have raised considerable money. One of the reasons people are sitting on their haunches, and others are giving (donations) to five or six candidates, is because they’re waiting to see who reaches critical mass with regard to breaking out from the rest of the pack." Now there is a real Democrat optimist, talking about a very high quality field when a recent Pew Poll shwed that only about 25% of the voters are even "fairly interested" in the Demo primary candidates. They have their work cut out for them.

Here is a report from the Raleigh News & Observer pointing out some of the problems Lieberman is having i.e., lack of support and lack of money. And just to make an even broader point, the article is entitled, "Liberman Dismisses Charisma Concerns." And Wesley Clark, while denying that he is in New Hampshire to test the waters, jumps into a YMCA pool for a swim, with reporters watching. And over 50 angry Texas Democrats were found--finally--in Oklahoma. They are thinking of applying for political assylum.

Saudi Death Toll Rises

The number of dead in the Saudi terrorist attack dead are now said to be over 90, at least 10 of them are Americans.

Ravitch on History Textbooks

Diane Ravitch bashes history textbooks in an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times. She says, "the textbooks reflect the relativistic views that permeated higher education during the last decade: All cultures are equal; none is better than any other; we are not to judge other cultures’ ways of life." (Registration required)

Non-Lethal Warfare

This lengthy Popular Science article considers the new generation of non-lethal weapons that are being developed and even used. Fascinating, from the low-tech end of "sponge-tipped rounds" to a microwave "pain beam" designed to heat the skin to intolerable levels without burning it.  

Teacher Testing in Federal Court

This USA Today article reports this: "An obscure trial challenging New York state rules requiring teachers to pass competency tests wrapped up testimony in a federal court in New York City last month. More than 3,300 black and Latino teachers sued the state, saying their careers were derailed after they flunked certification exams."

"To the teachers, the issue is about fairness. They claim the tests for basic math and literacy skills have nothing to do with their performance in the classroom. And they say because minority teachers failed at far higher rates than whites, the tests were biased."

More on Dr. Germ

Some background on Dr. Germ. "Dubbed Dr. Germ by the press, Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons chief has made enough doses of enough lethal germs to kill every human on the planet. Her handiwork is a large part of the reason America is planning to go to war again.

Taha, widely described as shy and unassuming, has spent most of the last two decades spinning a web of horrors: bugs that make eyes bleed, bacteria that peels skin off the body, viruses that cause fever and pox and lingering, agonizing death." Read on, if you can take it.

Wolfowitz on Iraq

David Ignatius writes on Wolfowitz’s thinking about the future of Iraq, de-Baathification, and so on.  

Ben Franklin and Moral Perfection

Terrence Moore, the Principal of Ridgeway Classical Schools, has another fine op-ed on education. He uses Benjamin Franklin’s thirteen virtues to create an assigment for his students: to create their own list of virtues and monitor their own behavior based on that list. 

Hillsdale College’s Liberty Walk

This Toledo Blade article reports on the erection of a statute of George Washington at Hillsdale College, the first of many in what is called the Liberty Walk.

Saudi Bombing

Here is the Washington Post story on the bombing last night in Saudi Arabia. At least 13 were killed (including 10 Americans) and 160 wounded (including 40 Americans).

Joe Klein on the Democrats

Joe Klein has a long piece on what the problems are with the Democratic Party. He claims that "They face challenges on three different fronts: patriotism, optimism and confidence." He would like them to, among other things, have a better sense of humor. I can understand this. Good advice. Now, let’s reflect on how Gephardt, Kerry, Dean, or Moseley-Braun, can be funnier? See the problem.

Black Republicans

The Washington Times runs a story about how the GOP is making an unusual (and many of us would say, much belated) effort to woo black voters away from the Democratic Party. And the GOP is doing this well before an election; good sign.

bin Laden Dead

Claims a French expert. "Ghislaine Alleaume, a historian and Arabist at the French national research centre, the CNRS, reached her conclusion after studying television and internet messages circulated by Bin Laden’s supporters. She bases her theory mostly on a video of the al- Qa’ida leader broadcast by al-Jazeera television on 27 December 2001. Bin Laden looks weary and sick but Mme Alleaume also believes he has had his left arm amputated. ’He is wearing a military camouflage jacket and you can see that someone has placed a bag in the same colours just behind him to disguise the fact that he has lost his arm,’ she said. She believes he died of his injuries soon afterwards. ’Given the sanitary conditions, it would not have been easy to survive an amputation,’ she said."

JFK Affair with Intern

Robert Dallek’s new biography of Kennedy, An Unfinished Life, claims that JFK had an affair with an 19 year-old intern, ABC reports. Short.

NATO’s Sect General Remarks on the US

NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, is warning about anti-Americanism, especially in Britain. This is a short BBC report.

The Jayson Blair Story

Here is the Jayson Blair mea culpa from Sunday’s New York Times. It is a very long story, worth lightly reading for many reasons. But it does seem to me to be overstating the case to say, as the first paragraph does, that this the "low point" in the 152 year history of the newspaper. Unsurprisingly, Andrew Sullivan has a great deal to say on the matter. I would only dispute the emphasis he places on the editor; I think the problem is much more endemic and institutional.

Gelernter on Space, Time and Software

Dvaid Gelernter has some thoughts especially on the outmoded software we are all using. Worth a cup of java. 

Blumenthal’s Book

Even this puff piece in The New York Times on Blumenthal’s new book, The Clinton Wars, due out in a few days, can’t hide the fact that it is a "deeply partisan" book, one which tries to settle many scores. It will be worth seeing how it is received, and maybe even read.