Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Jobs and Economic Growth

John Podhoretz echoes Peter Schramm’s observations about the political effects of yesterday’s news that the economy grew at 7.2% the last quarter. The Democrats will be increasingly desperate and likely say even crazier things about Bush’s foreign policy. (Although it probably also means that Hilary Clinton can’t be talked into running for President in ’04.)

A former student of mine sent the following e-mail expressing a note of caution about all of this euphoria about the economic numbers. He is in his early thirties and has had a very good job in the Information Technology Sector for several years. Recently, he quit his job because he knew that his job like many others at his company was going to be outsourced to India or the Phillipines. He’s decided to be a stay at home Dad while his wife continues to work. He thinks that this economic rebound doesn’t have much in it for the middle class. He thinks there are a lot of disgruntled people out there even with these rosy economic numbers. I don’t know whether he is right about the extent of the problem.

There are two interesting links on outsourcing, immigrants legal and illegal at the end of his e-mail.

Here’s his e-mail:

"Yes, I see problems ahead -- not just for Bush but for the U.S. The GDP numbers look good but when the haze from mortgage refinancing and impulsive auto purchases clears we will see some troubling statistics. There are no new middle class jobs emerging as part of this economic recovery -- corporations are generating earnings but middle class jobs are scarce. Large numbers of middle class jobs have been eliminated in the U.S.; they have been moved offshore or they are filled by foreign workers here on visa and all indications point to a continuation of this trend. The replacement of American workers began in industry and has now moved into the "white collar" professions -- most notably the IT sector but it is also beginning to affect professions such as accounting. There isn’t a new wave of middle class jobs on the horizon which will replace that which has been lost and is being lost on a daily basis by "offshoring" and the widespread use of H-1B and L-1 visa workers here in the U.S. (This is the information age and nothing more concretely epitomizes the loss of our leadership and social prosperity in this age than the elimination of the American software engineer.)

In addition to questioning the relevance of the GDP figures, it is well to mention that there is widely-discussed problem of under-employment which is not tracked in government statistics but is talked about and read about in a variety of mediums, including the internet. (I’ll share an example with which I am quite familiar. One of my former colleagues from ... has been unable to find an IT position for over 1 year; he’s now working in a lumberyard!) These stories accumulate and have the unpleasant capacity to affect consumer confidence and consumer spending and voting.

If the middle class jobs issue is of concern to many of us now, imagine what it will be like in the next few months. Worker replacement programs will actually gain momentum and more professional people will lose their jobs. Any numbers indicating economic growth are of little consequence to people in professions put out of work or threatened by foreign worker replacement. It isn’t difficult to see why consumer confidence may be quite indifferent to reports indicating economic growth. Educated people ("opinion leaders") follow news reports and share information (such as the items you see at www.outsorcecongress.org). Those of us in the middle and upper-middle classes are talking a great deal about corporate worker replacement programs because many of us know friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members who are affected. As a rule, "opinion leaders" aren’t complacent people who just accept events as unachangeable nor do they accept shallow excuses from elected officials.

Link One

Link Two

Private Schools Bring Accountability to Education

In a recent blog I noted the rise of private "cram schools" in New York, for which even poor families were sacrificing to get a better education for their children. I had mentioned that this phenomenon had gained serious momentum in India and some parts of Africa, and now here’s an article from the Oct. 29 Financial Times with the details: "Private schools can bring education for all".

James Tooley, professor of education policy at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, writes:

"What is the main advantage that private education has over state schools? The Probe Report put it succinctly: accountability. The private schools, the report said, were successful because they were more accountable: ‘the teachers are accountable to the manager (who can fire them), and, through him or her, to the parents (who can withdraw their children)’. Such accountability was not present in the government schools, and ‘this contrast is perceived with crystal clarity by the vast majority of parents’."

For more on Tooley’s work and that of the E.G. West Centre, which Tooley directs, see
their website
. Vouchers anyone?

No blogging on Friday

I’m off on a quick trip to Michigan on Friday, will be gone the whole day. I’ll blog again on Saturday.

Israel and U.S. biggest threat to world peace

At least according to Europeans in anew poll commissioned by EU. "Over half of Europeans think that Israel now presents the biggest threat to world peace according to a controversial poll requested by the European Commission.

According to the same survey, Europeans believe the United States contributes the most to world instability along with Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and North Korea." I pass this along, in case any of you doubt where Europe stands. I think everyone should consider vacationing in Texas next year.

Stephanopoulos has sunk

Drudge has some nice Nielsen stats on ABC Little George Sunday Show (isn’t that what it’s called?). He continues to stay at the bottom, especially with younger vievers, the ones he was supposed to attract. Que lastima!

Map of fires

This is a useful national map of current fires. Click on area, for example, So. California, to get good detail.

Wesley Clark, glory hound

The historian Thomas Fleming is very critical of General Clark’s character. He makes a quick examination of other generals who wanted to be president, including John J. Pershing, and concludes: "The bottom line of this rapid survey would seem to be fatal to General Wesley Clark. Like MacArthur and Pershing, he was a star at West Point, graduating first in his class. (Grant was in the lower middle of his class, Eisenhower likewise. Taylor skipped the whole thing.) During Clark’s ’war’ in Kosovo, he was extraordinarily fond of getting his picture in the papers and on TV in his well tailored uniform. To the enlisted men this spells a damning phrase: glory hound. Moreover his war was an elitist operation in which all the fighting was done by a handful of pilots and techies in charge of cruise missiles. No large numbers of enlisted men served under Clark and learned to like his ways. Add it all up and Wesley’s appeal to the American voters, outside the corps of desperate Democrats searching for someone to beat George Bush, is close to zero."

Don’t Count Your Hatch Until He’s Chickened

Following up yesterday’s post on this is today’s story from the Washington Times:

Conservatives are furious over a Republican proposal to create two new Michigan-based judicial seats in exchange for getting Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, to lift his blockade on four of President Bush’s nominees from that state. . . .

"The report that Chairman Hatch would even consider rewarding Sen. Carl Levin’s detestable tactics by handing the Michigan Democrat two new judgeships ... is unconscionable," said Richard Lessner, director of the American Conservative Union.


"This is tantamount to paying blackmail. It’s the result of the Republican failure to take a more aggressive approach to the Democrats’ unprecedented filibustering tactics."

Fun, fun, fun till they passed that law...

The AP reports that a new Florida bill would ban suicide as ’entertainment.’

And you thought we were slouching toward Gomorrah.

King James

LeBron James played like a man among men last night in his NBA debut. 25 points (to lead all scorers), 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, a blocked shot, and only 2 turnovers -- playing point guard. Of course, the Cavs still lost.

ESPN gives props where props are due.

Sandra Day O’Connor’s uncalled for opinion

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is less and less interested in the Supremes upholding the Constitution, than in upholding international law and the opinion of foreign courts. Amazing and awful, if this is true. Maybe she ought to recuse herself from all cases brought before the Court.

Bad signs from Russia

Leon Aron of the American Enterprise Institute, considers what the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the chief executive and principal owner of Russia’s largest oil company, Yukos, means. He was charged with with tax evasion, fraud, forgery and embezzlement. "It has exposed the complex and deep divisions within the elite and the public alike about the nature of state control over the economy, the role of big business in politics and the influence of personal wealth in what still is a poor society." Arons says that this means, "’If we don’t like you, how can you be rich?’ That is the message that the state bureaucracy intends to send with Mr. Khodorkovsky’s arrest. Other oligarchs, as well as hundreds of thousands of owners of smaller businesses, must take heed."

Reading can be dangerous

A pediatrician writing in the New England Journal of Medicine is warning that children spending too much time reading Harry Potter books are suffering from headaches and other aches and pains. I’ve often suspected that children are better off spending their time doing something productive, like playing video games.

Politics and the Economy

The Commerce Department reported today that the economy grew at a 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter. It was the strongest pace since the first quarter of 1984; it also beat analysts’ estimates for a 6 percent growth rate.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that new jobless claims last week declined by 5,000 to 386,000, signaling a slowdown in layoffs. Also, the stock market has been climbing since mid-March. For a thoughtful analysis of this boom or boomlet in the conomy (with some good links included), see Daniel Gross.

This is bad news for the pessimistic Left (that may be redundant, aren’t all Lefties pessimistic?), according to William Safire. That explains why the President was not asked even one question about the state of the economy in his press conference a few days ago. They all dwelled on Iraq, which now is the pessimists last hope. If Iraq goes South, then they have a chance in the elections of 2004; if it doesn’t, they don’t. Please note their annoying tendency to criticize the administration in the (seeming) hope that first the economy and now foreign policy fall into an unmitigated disaster. This is not only wrong of them, it is also not helpful to them electorally, and it is most certainly not helpful for the political health of the country. They are--I keep repeating because I believe it to be a massive fact--putting themselves in a political cul d’sac out of which they will be unbale to climb in time for the election. They now have no alternative but to claim the most egregious things about Bush: that he is a liar and a cheat, and one not to be trusted, etc. Instead of criticising Bush’s policies and offering their own solutions (which they are not) they are in the mode of questioning Bush’s purposes and character; they argue that Bush should not be trusted. Bad move on their part. They will pay for this at the polls next year.

Democrat Endorses W

Zell Miller , the Democratic Senator from Georgia, endorsed President Bush. He says he will vote for Bush in 2004 because Bush is like Churchill and that’s what the world needs the next five years.

As a Conservative Democrat, Miller is protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Proper interrogation tactic?

The Washington Times reports that "The Army has filed a criminal assault charge against an American officer who coerced an Iraqi into providing information that foiled a planned attack on U.S. soldiers.
Lt. Col. Allen B. West says he did not physically abuse the detainee, but used psychological pressure by twice firing his service weapon away from the Iraqi. After the shots were fired, the detainee, an Iraqi police officer, gave up the information on a planned attack around the northern Iraqi town of Saba al Boor." This nineteen year veteran has been charged with one count of aggravated assault. I can argue that this is not torture, and he got the information he needed and it saved the lives of some of his men (and his own), and therefore his action was justified. Yet, I can also see how we Americans are inclined to take a different view of these matters having to do with means and ends than our less scupulous enemies. On the third hand, prudence may dictate that the severity of the "crime" may not be sufficient to throw the guy out of the Army, or to give him the maximum sentence of eight years. I gather an imebedded reporter filed this story. Interesting, worth reading.  

Canadian embryos beware

The lower House of the Canadian Parliament has passed a bill that would allow researchers to experiment on human embryos.

The most controversial portion of the proposed legislation would allow a government-appointed agency to approve using embryos left over from fertility clinics for stem-cell research.

When was the last time we heard good news out of Canada?

When two rites make a left

From the Washington Times:

The Episcopal bishop of Washington plans to develop rites for same-sex "marriages" for the 94 churches in his 40,000-member diocese, saying a resolution passed during the summer at the Episcopal General Convention gives him carte blanche to do so.

Reagan revised by CBS

Ed Morrow has a lovely piece on the Reagan’s and this CBS travesty that is about to appear. I am betting that CBS will make some last-minute adjustments in the script in this revisionist history because they are already feeling the heat!

Howard Dean is a Metrosexual

While campaigning in Colorado, Howard Dean declared that he is a Metrosexual.

What’s that you ask? Read on in this Denver Post report.

Wesley Clark is finished

Even the liberal Will Saletan is critical of Clark in this short note. Matthew Continetti is even more critical of Clark’s views on Iraq, and at greater length. I saw Clark with Katie Curic this morning and I was not impressed. He is a dodger and a trimmer, it turns out. Furthermore, he is hyperventilating on Bush: Bush is no leader and he can’t be trusted. Clark even averred that Bush is somehow--it was unclear exactly how, even though Curic pushed him a bit--to be held responsible for 9/11. On the other hand, he was unable to offer any suggestions regarding how to make things better, save for the old standby that the UN should be more involved, or any international body or coalition should be more involved because (he so implied) anyone else is more trustworthy than Bush (or, if you like America). It was not a good show. At every opportunity Clark is revealing himself to be dull and even robot-like and oppportunistic and now entirely predictable. He has simply jumped on the beat-up-on-Bush-on-all-things bandwagon with the rest of the Demos. They have painted themselves into a corner by arguing (ad nauseam) that Bush is untrustworthy and even full of treachery and Clark has joined them. He, along with the others, will not be able to escape from that corner. I had thought that Clark would not do that and thereby end up serving both his party and his country well by making some positive arguments how he would do things differently from Bush. I was wrong.

Classical education

Tom Krannawitter has some solid thoughts on the decline of classical and liberal education. He makes reference to two solid pieces which you should also read. One is by Chris Flannery and the other is by Terrence Moore.  

California matters

Daniel Weintraub has a modest proposal for Arnold: Abolish the job of Secretary of Education (it is rumored that Arnold will offer it to Dick Riordian). It is a job without real purpose, established by then Gov. Wilson to prove that he was pro-education, and it just ads to the bureaucracy. It would also save one million dollars. Weintraub claims that this would prove to all that Arnold wants to cut back the size of government. In the meantime: "Gov. Gray Davis has warned Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger that California’s unemployment insurance system will go bankrupt only weeks after he takes office, forcing the state to seek its first-ever bailout loan from the federal government that could top $1.17 billion." The whole story is here.

"Now he’s one of them"

Says the soon to be ex-wife of Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette (OH). Blaming the Washington culture for her husband’s infidelity, Mrs. LaTourette has gone public with his request for a divorce.

“I think Washington corrupts people,” she said. “He was a wonderful husband and father, the best I ever saw, until he went there. I told him I was trying to get him out of the dark side, all that power and greed and people kissing up to them all time. Now he’s one of them. All they care about is getting reelected. I hate them all.”

Marriage vows aren’t the only promises LaTourette seems to be breaking. After promising to only serve four terms, then five, he’s now running for a sixth. All sad. Very sad.

Let’s Make a Deal

The Washington Times has this report on an alleged deal aimed at breaking the Senate filibuster on judicial confirmations.

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee is negotiating with Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, to add as many as two new Michigan-based federal judgeships in exchange for lifting a filibuster against all of President Bush’s judicial nominees from that state.


Though no deal is yet final, a top Republican staffer familiar with the talks said the plan would add a seat to the 22-member 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that would be filled by a nominee from Michigan. . . .

One Senate aide familiar with the talks said: "The White House is not happy with this. [Republican] leadership is not happy with this. Nobody is happy with this."


Read the story and you’ll see why.

Yale to the Chief

Yale law faculty are up to their legal tricks again. From Fox News:

Three groups of university students and law professors have filed suit against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (search ), protesting the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy for homosexuals.

The most recent suit comes from a Yale (search ) professor and 43 of his colleagues, hoping to bar military recruiters from the law school’s career office because the military, unlike other employers, refuses to sign a non-discrimination pledge.

Recall that it was Yale professors that gave us Planned Parenthood v. Griswold which, of course, gave us other things.

Watch what you say

Wesley J. Smith had this to say in the Weekly Standard about the "clear and convincing" evidence used to support Terri Schiavo’s starvation. Worth reading.  

CBS’s version of Reagan

Cal Thomas begins to take apart the CBS miniseries "The Reagans," which is to air on Nov 16. If only half of what I hear about this unbalanced portrayal of the Reagans is true, I predict that it will backfire badly both on CBS and Reagan’s detractors.

Bolick’s defense of Justice Brown

Clint Bolick defends Justice Janice Rogers Brown.

Brand on FDR

You can listen to Donald Brand’s colloquium on Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was here ten days ago.

The Senate voted yesterday to restrict military aid to Malaysia in response to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s assertion that Jews control the world through their influence over major powers. Mahatrit is scheduled to retire this week after 22 years as Prime Minister.

Short-term interest rates to remain low

Economists think that the near rock-bottom short-term interest rates are likely to stick around for some time as Federal Reserve policy-makers hope to foster a climate to keep the economic resurgence moving forward.

Sowell defending Justice Brown

Thomas Sowell has written three hard hitting columns defending California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown’s nomination to the federal Court of Appeals. He hopes she isn’t left dangling in the wind by the administration, as Miguel Estrada was. Here is the second and the third.

The central civil rights issue in our time

Abigail and Stephen Thernstrom’s op-ed considers the central cvil rights issue in our time: "Here in Massachusetts, where the high school class of 2005 has begun the MCAS testing process, the gap is crystal clear. On the first try, 82 percent of white 10th-graders passed, and the figure for Asians was almost as high (77 percent). But the success rate for Hispanics was 42 percent and for blacks 47 percent. Across the nation, the glaring racial gap is between whites and Asians on the one hand, and blacks and Hispanics on the other.

This gap is an American tragedy and a national emergency for which there are no good excuses. It is the main source of ongoing racial inequality, and racial inequality is America’s great unfinished business, the wound that remains unhealed. Our failure to provide first-class education for black and Hispanic students is both an educational catastrophe and the central civil rights issue of our time."

Clark and Kerry talking nonsense on Iraq

Andrew Sullivan takes Kerry and Clark to task in The New Republic for their "rhetorical cheapness" regarding Iraq.

A new guerilla campaign in Iraq?

Phil Carter writes a short essay on why the coordinated Baghdad attacks portend a new Iraqi guerilla campaign. These are more sophisticated than previous attacks, and he thinks it’s a paradigm shift because: 1) The attacks today were time-coordinated so that they would happen with near simultaneity; 2) The attacks today employed suicide bombers, something not frequently seen in Iraq; 3) Today’s attacks also were precisely targeted at "soft" symbolic targets of the continuing U.S. occupation.

He thinks the trend is clear: "We are seeing the outbreak of a truly 4th Generation War in Iraq, which pits American-led forces against a loose-knit network of guerillas with increasingly sophisticated tactics, techniques and procedures. If I had to guess, these tactics are being heavily influenced by both Al Qaeda and Ansar Al-Islam, as well as other international terror groups, and there are probably a number of veteran terrorists directing the action from behind the scenes now. The only viable course of action at this point is to seize the offensive -- to gather intelligence, launch raids, and disrupt the terrorist cells before they can strike again. Undoubtedly, our enemies are planning to strike again."
 

The Classical Trivium

Terrence Moore’s latest considers why the Classical Trivium is still the best mode of learning. Because he refers to Dorothy Sayers’ notable essay, "The Lost Tools of Learning," I include it here.  

Detail map of the Calif fires

Here is a detailed map of the fires (PDF file), with notes on how many lives, structures, and acres it has consumed.

Support the Ashbrook Center

We’re still celebrating our one year anniversary here at NoLeftTurns, and we’re still accepting donations to help fund the Ashbrook Center. This past year has been interesting to say the least. The very first post was this:








NJ


If you want a perfectly clear (and shocking) explanation and interpretation of the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on the Torricelli case, see this great Robert Alt piece. And George Will argues persuasively that the Democratic Party should be punished nationally for this travesty.


Posted by Peter Schramm  |  Link to this Entry  | 10/8/2002  8:13 AM


The Torricelli debacle continued to play out during the elections, and Lautenberg was elected to the Senate.

Since then we have posted 2933 times to the NoLeftTurns. That’s over 8 posts a day. A $100 gift to the Center breaks down to $.03 per post per year. Not a bad price for some of the most thoughtful and incisive commentary on the Web. We ask that you contribute today to ensure that NoLeftTurns continues its commentary and insight. To show our appreciation to those of you who donate, we will send a NoLeftTurns mousepad/notepad for every donation of $25 or more. Thanks so much.

Child alcoholics in Russia

Moscow has opened a clinic for alcoholic children. Yup, children. One is eight, another is twelve. It can house 25 children; there are an estimated 12,000 child alcoholics in Russia.

Satellite view of California fires

Here is a satellite view of the fires in Southern California. It is spectacular and awful.

Detroit schools and the $200 million

Joe Kline writes the story of the $200 million offer by Bob Thompson to Detroit schools that was, in the end, withdrawn because the teacher union opposed it. It is an amazing story that even Kline and Time magazine can’t get wrong. I can’t believe that this hasn’t caused more of a fuss. (Thanks to Powerline)

Army intelligence problems in Iraq

Thomas Ricks’ article in the WaPo is on the problems of Army intelligence in Iraq. He focuses on a report by the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to be out this week. The report, he says, "uses unusually blunt language to identify the intelligence problems and to recommend solutions." Interesting.

Charles Murray on Western decline

The New York Times runs this story on Charles Murray, whom it calls "America’s most notorious social scientist." The excuse for the story is the publication of his latest book, "Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950," which Murray calls, an "exercise in honest multiculturalism." Murray takes a largely quatitative approach, called "historiometry," which I don’t yet understand, but I’m suspicious.

"Mr. Murray has issued what he says is a mathematically precise global assessment of human achievement, a "résumé" of the species in which Europeans like Shakespeare, Beethoven and Einstein predominate and in which Christianity stands out as a crucial spur to excellence. Equally provocative, he maintains that the rate of Western accomplishment is currently in decline."


Murray: "As I write, it appears Europe’s run is over. In another few hundred years, books will probably be exploring the reasons why some completely different part of the world became the locus of great human accomplishment. Now is a good time to stand back in admiration. What the human species is today it owes in astonishing degree to what was accomplished in just half a dozen centuries by the peoples of one small portion of the northwestern Eurasian land mass."

Twenty-six percent of Americans live alone

Christian Science Monitor ran this story a week or so ago, which I just caught up with. It is an interesting account of another demographic revolution: "In 1940, less than 8 percent of Americans lived alone. Today that proportion has more than tripled, reaching nearly 26 percent. Singles number 86 million, according to the Census Bureau, and virtually half of all households are now headed by unmarried adults."

GOP counteroffensive on judicial nominations

Robert Novak claims that the GOP is beginning a counteroffensive against the Demos on judicial nominations. He has the details. I hope it works.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed talks

Reuters says that the German mag, Der Spiegel, is reporting that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has talked. Der Spiegel’s report was based on transcripts of the U.S. interrogation. The mag didn’t say how they got the transcript. KSM said that Congress was the fourth target; there are other interesting facts.  

Are you a neonconservative?

Christian Science Monitor has this elaborate quiz to determine if you are an isolationist (Buchanan and Calvin Coolidge), a liberal (Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter), a realist (Eisenhower and Colin Powell), or a neo-con (Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan). Or, if you don’t feel like taking the quiz, just go to the results. Amusing, if you like categorizing people (which I don’t; but I am a neo-con-realist, by the way).

Schroeder sinking

This (in German) report on a poll shows that the Social Democrats (SDP) are in deep trouble: they get a 22% approval rating, the lowest ever. Apparently, Schroeder’s anti-American policies aren’t working. Many Germans, for example, are not amused with Schroeder’s policy of not wanting to forgive Iraq’s debt, and his unwillingness to help more with Iraq. Perhaps they still remember the Marshall Plan? David Kaspar thinks that is the case.

"Terri’s Law"

Here’s what the Florida legislature passed to save Terri Schiavo’s life. And here’s a report on the ACLU’s decision to join Michael Schiavo in challenging it.

Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, will break his media silence and appear tonight at 9pm on Larry King Live.

The Marlins

I agree with Stewart that the coverage of the game and the commentary with it was not great; neither were the questions asked of the major players and the manager. Why is this? It has to do with two things: a lack of knowledge of the game, and a lack of poetry in the hearts of commentators. Even if they might know something of the game, they don’t give the impression that they love it. That’s a shame. I watched the game last night, and I thought it was high drama. This twenty two year old kid, this demi-god, pitched with Authority. He was very impressive. The Manager, Jack McKeon, said this of his young pitcher, Josh Beckett: "This guy has got the guts of a burglar."

Furthermore, when he was asked after the game how he felt about winning the World Series, etc., Beckett said something like this: I’m glad it’s over, now I can go deer hunting. Is this guy for real? Sonnets should be crafted for the man; nothing complicated, just something about being smarter than you have right to be at that age, something about being a craftsman, something about the simplicity of excellence, something about courage. And what about that kid Cabrera and the old gray head, McKeon, maybe something should be said about how crabbed age and youth can live together and prosper? Let’s have some analysis, some poetry I say! Let’s take the sport of Americans and talk about virtue. Here is Agamemnon to the Greek princes: "Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan/Puffing at all, winnows the light away,/And what hath mass or matter by itself/Lies rich in virtue and unmigled."


Here is Thomas Boswell’s attempt at poetry in the WaPo.

Compassionate conservative?

Here’s an interesting AP report on Judge Greer, the Florida judge who handled Terri Schiavo’s case for years. He is a "man who friends describe as conservative, religious and particularly sensitive to protecting the disabled." Greer is a legally blind, moderate Republican, and "a member of a conservative Baptist church which recently advocated keeping Terri Schiavo alive in a church newsletter."

Quite frankly, I never saw the judge as the problem in Terri’s case. The real problem seemed to be Florida law and a husband with conflicting interests, which the state’s legislature may or may not have remedied. In any event, I am dismayed that those looking to save Terri’s life have stooped to threatening the life of the judge.

Sportscasters

Would someone please explain the sportscaster thought process? I’ve seen this before and Fox proved no exception, why was the second question to Marlins catcher Pudge Rodriguez, "what uniform will you be wearing next year?" And why was the second or third question to Joe Torre about the fate and future of Don Zimmer and his strained relationship with George Steinbrenner? A guy just won the World Series, catching his pitcher’s complete game shutout, and another guy just lost it, is it really too difficult to ask questions about the WORLD SERIES?

It was baseball in October last night...

and the Yankees (gulp) lost. I must admit, once the Cubs, Red Sox, Giants, Twins and Braves were eliminated, I really didn’t care who won, but congrats to Josh Beckett, a boy among men and he pulled it off.

Gene Genie

While there are risks and dangers and certain moral questions raised by genetic biotechnology, here’s a sample of some potentially positive developments and discoveries in genetic research:

A gene may have been found for obsessive-compulsive disorders. Two genes greatly heighten cancer risk; and researchers have identified the gene for triggering puberty. One study suggests dad’s genes may be to blame for causing cancer, and a UK-German project has mapped gene switchesbehind cancer, while British doctors discover why a particular kind of gene therapy gave boys cancer. Another study suggests that gene mutation is linked to long life. Researchers also believe a gene may help explain SARS distribution.

All of this work is being done on a genome that has now been made to fit on dime-size chip.

Leftover life?

A new study shows that American couples have mixed feelings about what do with the "extra" embryos leftover from infertility treatment, and most haven’t given the problem much thought. Meanwhile, Canada has decided to use them for research.

Mock and Awe: Scalia at ISI Banquet

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this week.

At a gala dinner Thursday night in Washington, D.C., Justice Antonin Scalia spoke and, according to news reports, mocked the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on sodomy in the ’Lawrence v. Texas’ case.

Here’s a brief excerpt: The ruling, Scalia said, "held to be a constitutional right what had been a criminal offense at the time of the founding and for nearly 200 years thereafter." ..., Scalia said judges, including his colleagues on the Supreme Court, throw over the original meaning of the Constitution when it suits them. "Most of today’s experts on the Constitution think the document written in Philadelphia in 1787 was simply an early attempt at the construction of what is called a liberal political order, ..., All that the person interpreting or applying that document has to do is to read up on the latest academic understanding of liberal political theory and interpolate these constitutional understandings into the constitutional text."

Let’s hope he hasn’t set himself up for future recusals.

New Zogby Poll: New Hampshire

This new Zogby Poll shows Howard Dean with 40% and John Kerry with 17% in New Hampshire. Clark and Edwards come in with 6% each, Gephardt with 4%,Lieberman with 3%, and Kucinich, Sharpton, and Mosley-Braun with less than 1% each.

Dog breeds and neighborhoods

The New York Times reports that there is a correlation between dog breeds and neighborhoods in New York. For example, many of the city’s Shih Tzsus live on the tony Upper East Side, and its Rottweilers are likely to live in the South Bronx. And where is the Chihuahua to be found? Spanish Harlem.

Demo politics

Howard Dean leads Wesley Clark by six points (21 to 15 percent) in Michigan. Dean has taken the lead away from Lieberman in New York. Dean has 18 and Liberman 16 percent, according to the Marist Poll. Dennis Kucinich has declined to be on Hardball, criticizes Chris Matthews "conservative agenda." He is running dead last.

Intelligence in the internet era

A. Denis Clift writes a long article on intelligence in the era of the internet. Surprisingly readable. It appears in the CIA’s quarterly Studies in Intelligence.

Bush, Mahathir and Islam

This AP is on both Bush’s reaction to the Malaysian PM’s anti-Jewish comments, and other matters having to do with religion and the terror war, boardly understood. I am quoted, briefly, near the end of the article, for what it’s worth.

Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer

The New York Times is reporting that a professor (Mark von Hagen of Columbia) to analyze Walter Duranty’s writings on the Soviet Union, for which he received the Pulitzer. Other have been saying that he whitewashed the USSR and his Pulitzer ought to be withdrawn. The professor said this: "That lack of balance and uncritical acceptance of the Soviet self-justification for its cruel and wasteful regime was a disservice to the American readers of The New York Times and the liberal values they subscribe to and to the historical experience of the peoples of the Russian and Soviet empires and their struggle for a better life."

Should his Pulitzer be taken away? "They should take it away for the greater honor and glory of The New York Times," von Hagen said. "He really was kind of a disgrace in the history of The New York Times."

Is longer human life span worth it?

Scientists are reporting this as a result of their experiments on worms: "Further genetic interference of mutation-carrying worms, plus the removal of their reproductive systems, produced lifespans six times longer than normal."

Action, Action, Action, Action says Arnold

Here is the Sacramento Bee on Arnold’s meeting with the outgoing Davis. Please note a couple of things, first: "Promising to follow through on two highly contentious issues he hammered on during the gubernatorial recall campaign, Schwarzenegger said the special legislative session will deal with workers’ compensation reform and abolition of the new law to allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
If lawmakers don’t agree with him on the driver’s license law, he told them he’d actively support a proposed initiative that would ask voters to repeal the measure." He later said, "It will be repealed."

Second, "When a television reporter asked whether it might be wiser to move slowly during his first days in office so he can learn about the Capitol and build alliances with Democrats, Schwarzenegger scoffed at the notion.

’Action, action, action, action,’ Schwarzenegger said in characterizing his approach.

’That’s what people have voted me into this office for. They wanted to have a governor that is filled with action, that performs and that represents the people, and that’s what I’m here to do.’"

Just for the record, notice the inferior reporting in the AP report.

The Comeback of Blab Schools

Lucas Morel elaborates on the theme he blogged on below ("Willing Hearts in Harlem") in this good essay. Isn’t it about time that the catastrophe that is K-12 education for many so called minority students be revealed for what it is? Morel talks about the "cram schools" (or what Lincoln called "blab schools’): "While others have been blathering about finding new ways to teach America’s untouchables—the so-called unteachable kids of the inner city—more and more parents have decided not to wait for the next ’solution’ by the education ’experts.’ They are realizing that the most precious gift they can give their children is a proper education, and that this responsibility begins at home with their own decision to ensure that real learning actually take place." Read the whole thing.    

Willing Hearts in Harlem

Leave it to a Florida newspaper columnist to publicize a story about Harlem that should have been treated to a week-long series by the New York Times. Bill Maxwell of the St. Petersburg Times reports on “cram schools” in Harlem—that’s close to New York, isn’t it?--that are changing the lives of students through old-fashioned notions of what it takes to get good grades and, more importantly, instill a love of learning in youth.

In
“Black Families Open Up, Cram Education In” (Oct. 22)
, Maxwell reports that his cousin, despite being a single mom raising two boys in tough circumstances, is devoting hard-earned dollars to provide an education for her boys that is somehow not being provided by the tax-dollar-supported local school. Here’s an excerpt:

“One tangible payoff is the improvement of the boys’ grades. They went from earning C’s and the occasional B to making all A’s and B’s. The grades are important, but Shirley says she cares more about the boys’ new love of learning: ‘Up here in Harlem, they don’t have a lot of role models their own age. A lot of these kids don’t open a book after they get off the subway. My kids just don’t fit in because they love to study. That makes me feel bad.’

“‘The cram school is different. Those Korean kids study very hard. My boys are the only blacks in the school, but they fit in. I mean, it’s normal to work hard. Nobody says they’re acting white. When they see all these other kids studying, my kids don’t feel weird. The peer pressure is positive. Studying has become a habit--second nature.’”

“The boys’ new love of learning”? It’s “normal to work hard”? “Studying has become a habit”? Who knew?! When relatives told her she was pushing her kids too hard, she told them to get lost. I lift my No Left Turns mug   to the "cram schools" of New York, and say, "Leave no child behind."

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956

The Hungarian Revolution against the Soviets and Communism of 1956 started on October 23, 1956. Here are a few photos, re-published in one of today’s Hungarian newspapers (scroll down a bit, there are dozens). By circa November 4th, the Soviets decided to move and that was that. The last free Hungarian radio station (maybe it lived until the 6th or 9th, I can’t remember) spent its last hours broadcasting the Gettysburg Address in seven languages, follow by S.O.S. The Hungarian gave the phrase "freedom fighter" to the world. May the 30,000 or so thousand who died in those few weeks Rest in Peace. Oh, yes, one more thing. I want to say "thank you" to my parents for having the courage and the foresight to leave the country and to bring their family (my sister was four years old and I was ten) to the United States of America. When I asked my father why we were going to the U.S., he said "Because we were born Americans, but in the wrong place." Smart man, my father. Sokszor koszonom!

The non-headline news from Iraq

Austin Bay says that the "if it bleeds it leads" headlines from Iraq are not so much wrong, they are misleading and very incomplete. He rolls through some of our accomplisments. Karl Zinsmeister also goes over the great good that has already been done in this social and political revolution in Iraq. Would the headlines and the stories would reflect all this!
Trudy Rubin argues that the changes that have taken place in Mosul, under the leadership of Maj. General Petreaus (commander of the 101st Airborne) is a great example of how things should work, and Congress should take note: money is needed. General Petreaus has announced that his troops are moving out of Mosul and handing security over to Iraqis "as local government takes root and life slowly returns to normal." He also said that it would be possible to cut back on American troops by late February or early March without without adversely affecting security. Even the BBC is noting some of the progress made in re-establishing education.

Rumsfeld’s memo and uncertainty in politics and war

David Tucker doesn’t mind that Rumsfeld’s private memo was leaked to the press, because he thinks it is a good memo: it asks the right questions. The fact that he can asks such questions in the middle of things, as it were, is a good sign. This is the sort of things our enemies have never understood about Americans: Americans are able to act decisively, yet seemingly be disengaged in the midst of that action and ask rather philosophic questions and, if necessary, turn on a dime. Surprise to our enemies, political or military. And, as George Will reflects on Rumsfeld political character (in our lifetime only two other people have had political careers of such breadth, George Schultz and Patrick Moynihan)and his mid-western roots (his biographer calls him a "child of that prairie-driven culture of vitality.") he explains that Rummy is acting according to his own axiom: "A narrow focus on the certain obscures the almost-certain." Politics isn’t mathematics, and certainty is a luxury policymakers often cannot wait for. It’s too bad that Rummy’s opponents (and the administration’s opponents) don’t understand all this, with "their calculated extravagance." I believe they will suffer for it.

Arnold

Daniel Weintraub has a few good paragraphs on the naming of Arnold’s chief of staff, Patricia Clarey, and his first opening to Tom McClintock.

Canada’s health care

Sally Pipes, of the Pacific Research Institute, has written four articles on Canada’s health and insurance systems. You had better read these first if you are inclined to be critical of our system. Here is second, third, and fourth.

Afghanistan

Lt. Gen. Goetz Gliemeroth,Commander of the 5,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, said that "Apart from, if I may say so, the typical terrorist, we’ve got a new species," they are "excellently trained and ... they also have improved technique at hand." Not good news. Pakistan started fortifying its border with Afganistan to prevent to prevent al-Qaida and Taliban fugitives from sneaking
into the country.

North Korea, the horror

Claudia Rosett writes in the WSJ about the horror that is North Korea.

Intelligence, Iraq and WMDs

Seymour Hirsch has a New Yorker piece on intelligence, Iraq and WMD out. Before you make up your mind about what it means, you may want to glance at Kevin Whitted’s lengthy blog on tha matter.

Why Rumsfeld’s Memo is Good News

David Tucker, finally getting off of his lazy derriere, argues that this leaked memo by Rumsfeld is good news. He calls this memorandum "remarkable" and he explains why. Instead of spinning the story, you would think that the elite media could talk about it the same way, i.e., say something intelligent. A must read.   

Democrats attacking Democrats

Andrew Cuomo (son of Mario) blasts the Democrats’ for fumbling their response to a post 9/11 world. What’s more, Cuomo is praising President Bush "for recognizing the challenge of 9/11 and rising to it." Apparently, Andrew has a new book out. Zell Miller argues that his party has abandoned him and the rest of the South, in his new book.

Dean and Gephardt

According to a Zogby Poll, Gephardt has retaken the lead in Iowa. Howard Dean continues his lead in New Hampshire.

Freedom and Empire

Mac Owens confronts an old debate between Pinckney and Hamilton, the city and empire, poverty or freedom, because a new orgnaization called Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy has been brought to his attention: It is opposed to Bush’s foreign policy. Mac has a few things to say about it.  

On recusing oneself and the Constitution

Robert Alt pontificates on this recusal issue brought up recently by Justice Scalia, and thinks that today’s confirmation hearings on Justice Janice Rogers Brown should keep his points in mind. It is a Catch-22, he argues. Matthew J. Franck thinks that Alt is wrong; he thinks that the requirements of judicial ethics should not trump the constitutional obligations of Senators.

What’s in a name?

This was brought to my attention from The Corner.

RODEO, Calif.- Animal rights activists want the East Bay town of Rodeo --and pronounced ro-day-oh -- to change its name to Unity.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the name recalls the sport of rodeo. They claim rodeo animals are abused and mistreated.

If Contra Costa County supervisors vote to change the name, PETA says it will donate $20,000 worth of veggie burgers to local schools.


I wonder if the Germans would rename Hamburg in exchange for some veggie treats. Someone should probably ask.

Intelligence doesn’t win wars

John Keegan explains why intelligence doesn’t win wars. Good piece, thoughtful, and useful for everyone, even though he emphasizes the British context.

"F.H. Himsley, the historian of British intelligence in the real war against Hitler, made a sustained attempt to show how intelligence affected its outcome. His conclusion, which did not please the intelligence establishment, is that the efforts of MI6 and Bletchley Park shortened the war, but emphatically did not win it.

His judgment has general application - intelligence never wins wars. As the American David Kahn, the supreme intelligence historian, puts it: ’There is an elemental point about intelligence - it is a secondary factor in war.’"

Please note Keegan’s new book: Intelligence in Warfare: From Nelson to Hitler.

Rumsfeld’s leaked memo

Here is the full text of Rummy’s leaked memo. It’s short, to the point, and asks the right questions. I don’t see anything to be upset about, these are just the kinds of questions the boss ought to be asking. It reveals to me that he continues to be a serious person; even in the middle of a war that he must be thinking about tactically, he is able to step back and ask strategic questions. The liberal press is spinning it every which way, to the surprise of no one.

"It’s restored my belief in God."

That’s how Terri Schiavo’s father has described the Florida legislature’s passage of a bill to save Terri’s life. Terri is being rehydrated thanks to the new Florida law that empowered Governor Jeb Bush to order her feeding tubes restored. The bill passed the House 73-24 and the Senate 23-15, and Bush signed it within minutes of passage. FoxNews has this story.

Under God

The Supreme Court will rule on the 9th Circuit’s decision to ban the words ’under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Ninth Circuit argues that the words ’under God’ constitute an establishment of religion.

Here are three good essays on the upcoming case by James Piereson ,

Terry Eastland , and

Robert Alt .

The articles discuss Scalia’s recusal, the question of standing, and the likelihood that the Supreme Court will reverse the 9th Circuit. Eastland believes that the Supreme Court will reverse the ruling but predicts the quick passage of a Constitutional Amendment if the Court doesn’t reverse the decision. Piereson thinks there’s a good chance the Court will uphold the 9th Circuit’s ruling.

Fire Boykin?

Fareed Zakaria argues that General Boykin ought to be fired. John Podhoretz agrees, sort of.

Woolsey on Posner’s book

James Woolsey, the former CIA chief, while stating that Gerald Posner’s "Why America Slept?" seems "to paint a representative picture of our somnolence, but my experience of being interviewed for the book, as a former director of the CIA, might give some readers pause about details." Worth reading.

Grade Inflation

USA Today notes that the proportion of of A students among college-bound seniors who took the SAT increased significantly in the past decade, but those students’ SAT scores fell during the same period.

Law of 14

Jonathan Rauch claims that "Presidential hopefuls have only about 14 years to make it to the White House." That means that "Only four candidates have a shot next year. They are President Bush, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. The rest are history. Sorry, Dick. Sorry, John. Sorry, Dennis, Joe, Carol, and Al. Turn off the lights behind you." Charming, let him explain.

God and War

Glenn Elmers , over at The Claremont Institute, weighs in on the recent controversy caused by General Boykin’s comments on God,i.e, the Christian God is the real god, War, Bush, etc.

A good, hard-hitting commentary.

Smoking and the Soul

Contra Harry Jaffa, Michael Foley makes the case for smoking and its relation to the soul in this article from ’First Things’. In case you didn’t know, cigarette smoking is to the passionate part of the soul, as cigar smoking is to the thymotic part, and pipe smoking is to the rational part of the soul.

No doubt Schramm will be off to the local tabacconist for a pipe soon.

Foley is a student of that Divine Comic, Ernest Fortin. A fun read.

Three Races for Governor

Here are updates, from RealClearPolitics.com, on the three gubernatorial races which will be held next month: Louisiana , Kentucky , and Mississippi .

Partial Birth Abortion Vote

The Seante has scheduled a vote on the partial birth abortion ban, according to this Newsreport.

The Presisdent will sign the bill and then the lawsuits will be filed.

Man Survives Plunge Over Niagra Falls

without a barrel.

Schiavo update

The Florida House of Representatives has passed legislation giving the governor the power to restore feeding and hydration tubes for patients in certain circumstances.

The House measure would give the state’s governor 15 days to order a feeding tube to be reinserted in cases like Schiavo’s. The governor’s power would be limited to cases where a person has left no living will, is in a persistent vegetative state, has had nutrition and hydration tubes removed and where a family member has challenged the removal.

The Florida Senate is taking up the bill.

Terri Schiavo Update

Republicans in the Florida legislature today discussed passing emergency legislation that might save Terri Schiavo’s life.

House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, R-Plant City, said negotiations were under way to see if some kind of a moratorium could be passed Monday to keep Schiavo alive.


Lawmakers were eyeing "moratorium on the removal of nutrition and hydration from those who do not have a written directive and where there’s a contest among the family about how to deal with this," Byrd said.

Governor Jeb Bush has been sympathetic to the Schiavo case, doing everything within his legal power to help, but said today "the legal ways, the remedies, don’t exist. We’ve tried every possible legal remedy and have been shut down by the courts."

Not So Fast

I read the article about Justice Stevens that Steven and Peter discuss below. Stevens’ quote is a little more ambiguous than they make it out to be. When Stevens talks about imposing the Justices’ will on the country, he didn’t expressly say that he wanted to impose his will on the country. He was making an argument for getting the Court out of the way and letting the state decide. He was saying that the conservatives would impose their will if they struck down the Michigan L.S. affirmative-action policy. I doubt you can use the quote below, all by itself, to indict Stevens as a justice who writes the law as he goes.

Bush confronts Mahathir

President Bush has condemned Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir’s remarks! Apparently he pulled Mahathir aside between meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and said the following, according to the AP: "President Bush on Monday personally condemned the Malaysian prime minister for his statement that Jews rule the world, pulling Mahathir Mohamad aside at an international economic meeting to tell him the remarks were ’wrong and divisive,’ Bush’s spokesman said.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan quoted Bush as telling the Malaysian leader, ’It stands squarely against what I believe in.’" Good for Bush! I wonder if anyone will accuse him of being undiplomatic. Maybe Chirac should.

Government Health Care Redux?

Here’s a recent ABC/WaPo story and poll that might suggest Americans would favor government-run health care:

Americans by a 2-1 margin, 62-32 percent, prefer a universal health insurance program over the current employer-based system. That support, however, is conditional: It falls to fewer than four in 10 if it means a limited choice of doctors, or waiting lists for non-emergency treatments.

Yet another reason for Republicans to retain both houses and the Oval Office.

Immiment Threat?

Tom Brazaitis (who used to be a senior editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but is now identified as a "Washington columnist," writes a column responding to a reader who demanded that he prove that Bush ever said Saddam was an "imminent threat." Brazaitis admits that he was wrong in saying that! Yet, he goes on to say that Bush implied it! Amazing stuff and this is another example of a liberal going overboard (and even lying) and the generic problem with the elite media. He concludes: "Let’s be honest. The president took us to war because he wanted to and because he could." Instapundit has a few choice words on the matter.

Denied Last Rites

From the AP:

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) — The Roman Catholic priest of a brain-damaged woman whose feeding tube was removed this week tried to give her a final communion Saturday but was refused entry by police officers guarding the entrance to the hospice.


Bob and Mary Schindler, the parents of Terri Schiavo, were joined by Monsignor Thaddeus Malinowski when they told officers they wanted to administer the Catholic rite of Viaticum, the last communion for a Catholic before death.


Police officers at the hospice told the family the rite would violate a doctor’s order that nothing be placed in her mouth, to prevent choking and aspiration.


Of course, if Terri Schiavo doesn’t choke on the wafer, but is actually able to swallow it, then in all likelihood the starvation efforts would have to stop and her life would have to be spared. It seems her husband doesn’t want to take that chance.

Judge Stevens’ comment

I just read the WaPo article that Hayward notes below. This is amazing. To be so public in revealing that all you are interested in is promoting agenda x,y, or z, rather than the Constitution can only mean that he didn’t think any mischief would follow. Stevens is assuming that since everyone has known this for years, he’s just making something public that everyone (or, at least certain Justices) has known in private. Well, I think mischief should follow. Don’t these guys take an oath to uphold the Constitution? Imposing their will on the public? Will the public take this lying down? Does the Constitution have no friends?

"If we impose our will..."

Critics of current jurisprudence have made much of the sheer willfulness of judges these days. In an astonishing article in Sunday’s Washington Post that I nearly missed, Justice John Paul Stevens spilled the beans on what he said to his fellow justices in their private conference on the Michigan affirmative action cases:

"If we impose our will on the nation, there will really be a sea change in societal behavior that will not easily be reversed."

Nothing about the law, or applying the principles of the Consitution. Not even an argument about what the principles of the Constitution are. Instead, Stevens sees the court as an institution of social engineering ("change in societal behavior. . ."). Amazing.

Amazing. Stevens should be impeached.

Change in Swiss politics

The Swiss People’s Party has won the biggest share of the vote in parliamentary elections in Switzerland, throwing a decades-old system of consensus government into turmoil. The SVP (as it is called) ran an anti-foreigner campaign (according to the BBC), and is now the largest party in Parliament.

Chirac won’t condemn Mahathir’s comments

It would seem that almost everyone is able and willing to condemn the Malaysian Prime Minister’s anti-Semitic remarks, except the French. Surprise. Here is the full text of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s talk. Mahathir has thanked Chirac for his support.

The Last Emperor

Peter Maass writes the cover article for the NY Times Magazine on one of my heroes: The Dear Leader, as he is called, Kim Jong Il of North Korea. It is long portrait of a tyrant, full of interesting information, and altogether a good read.  

History of the Phrase

James Piereson writes a long and thoughtful meditation on the meaning and origin of the phrase "under God," and especially as it may apply to its use in the Pledge of Allegiance. No doubt, some of his interpretations are arguable, yet, it is a fine long piece. I recommend it.   

Ig Nobel Prize Winners

The 2003 Ig Nobel Prize winners have been announced at Harvard. My favorite is in the category of physics: "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep Over Various Surfaces," published in Applied Ergonomics. Here is the whole paper in PDF format. You may also want ot glance at the Peace Prize, awarded to an Indian man for a triple accomplishment. I’m thinking that maybe you have nothing to do on this lovely Monday morning. You might want to have a glance at this before you go on your morning ride.

Are we in a Republican realignment?

Fred Barnes insists on saying yes. Although his article is worth reading because it lays out a number of GOP gains over the last few years and even deeper trends over the last few decades (including the California recall vote, and Arnold’s election), he is wrong is claiming that this is a realignment. The guys over at Powerline are right in arguing that Barnes is wrong. They point to a pregnant paragraph from Charles Kesler arguing that even the 1984 election did not lead to realingment (he wrote it in ’85). Here is the paragraph: "[T]he truth is that a sufficient cause for realigment -- a clear purpose or end that would organize and inform a new majority -- has not yet been articulated. To align, after all, means both to put something in a straight line and to take sides. Putting the definitions together, one might say that in American politics a realignment means that the voters take or switch sides in order to put the country back into line with its fundamental principles, or at least with what they regard as its fundamental principles. Hence realigning elections are sometimes called ’critical’ elections because ’critical’ implies a ’crisis,’ a turning point in the fortunes of the parties and the destiny of the country....[In the years of previous critical elections], the voters truly were presented with a ’choice, not an echo’; and based on that choice -- presented by a critical issue that cut across existing party lines or coalitions -- an enduring majority party was formed that dominated American national politics for the next 30 to 40 years."

It would have been better for Fred Barnes to note Kesler rather than Walter Dean Burnham, who claims that there is a "creeping mode of realignment, election by election." A realignment is not the same as marginalizing the opposition. FDR in the 1930’s not only marginalized the opposition, but build a new Democratic Party that cut across existing party lines or coalitions (as Kesler says) and thereby formed an enduring majority both electorally and ideologically. That realignment reigns--I’m sorry to say--to this day. Although Reagan took good shots at the New Deal ideology, he was never able to transform his thinking into a movement that became the basis of a political party (in the 1984 election he didn’t even try, hence his last-minute stop in Minnesota just to try to prevent Mondale from getting his home states’ electoral votes, rather than spending that time campaigning for Republican Congressional condidates); a re-invigorated political party according to the new principles is necessary for a realignment. Reagan failed, albeit he has come as close as anyone thus far in making a dent in the New Deal realignment.

This is not to say that (in theory) it can never be done. It is true as Barnes says (hence the usefulness of Barnes’ facts and figures) that the Republicans have made many gains over the last couple of decades, and even the last few years. But this is not yet enough. Yet, there are some signs that the thing may break. Here they are, quickly. The Democrats, in part because of Florida, and in part because of their extraordinary positions that they’re taking on the "war-on-terror-Iraq" (note which ones of them voted against the $87 Billion supplemental), and because of their over-the-top criticism of not only Bush’s policy in Iraq, but even questioning Dubya’s integrity, are putting themselves in a political cul de sac. The war on terror (I include Iraq in that) may end up breaking the realignment issue wide open. But it’s a big "maybe." The Republicans will have to take advantage of this by arguing (at some point) divisivelly that the Democrats have turned into a party that can no longer be trusted on certain issues, like national security because they no longer understand American principles. This argument would look and smell like the argument that FDR made against the GOP in the ’30’s: They are reactionaries, the party of the Tories, not to be trusted with articulating and putting into practice the things for which we stand (never mind for a moment that FDR mislead the people about what those principles meant, etc.). At the moment I don’t see any other basis for putting something in a straight line and taking sides (as Kesler puts it); the centralized welfare state that FDR used to separate the parties is no longer--at least for now--being questioned at its heart, as it seemed to be during the Reagan years.

All this doesn’t mean that Barnes’ isn’t partly right that the Demos are in a very weak position. They are. But it’s not a realignment because the Republicans have not yet made the disagreement with the Demos a matter of principle and a matter of party.

Clark in trouble

Time Mag reports that yet another video has emerged wherein Wesley Clark praises President Bush, this time it is eight months after the first praise which was in May 2001. A FOX News Poll notes that Clark’s national support has slipped 7 percentage points since September, yet he still leads with 13 percent.

Hillary in Iowa

Gues who’s going to be emceeing Iowa’s Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson dinner next month? Hillary Clinton, and the other Demo candidates are not amused.

California notes

The Sacramento Bee considers Arnold’s choice of Donna Arduin for new auditor. "Friends and foes of the new auditor describe her as a tough, smart fiscal conservative, totally loyal to her boss and more than ready to recommend budget cuts that anti-tax activists will love and the poor people’s lobby will hate."

Daniel Weintraub says that California Attorney General Bill Lockyer(D), says he voted for Arnold! The two paragraphs Weintraub has on this is worth reading; do not miss the second paragraph entitled, "Update."

The Colonial Machiavelli

Caleb Crain reviews David A. Price’s Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Heart of a New Nation. I like the review, the book might be a good read. It reflects on Captain John Smith’s "negotiations with people who would prefer you dead."

"In short, the English had landed in the sort of delicate, high-stakes, multicultural imbroglio that is best handled by an arrogant, contumacious, know-it-all bully. Fortunately, in addition to a number of well-connected gentlemen, the Virginia Company had appointed to the colony’s ruling council John Smith, a commoner who had read Machiavelli in his youth, self-consciously, and had fought the Ottoman Turks as a free lance in Eastern Europe."

"Remembering his Machiavelli, he always negotiated from a position of strength. When he first approached the neighboring Kecoughtans, they saw no need to pay a high price for his metal goods, because they thought the English were starving and desperate. Smith changed their minds; he would later tell two stories about how he did it. According to the first, he bluffed. He offered to sell at prices that were as scornfully high as the Kecoughtans’ were scornfully low, and he handed out gifts to the tribe’s children. The Kecoughtans decided he wasn’t desperate after all, and the next day Smith was able to bring 16 bushels of corn back to Jamestown. Smith’s second version did not feature such subtle psychology. In that account, Smith merely ’let fly his muskets, ran his boat on shore, whereat they all fled into the woods.’ In the scuffle that followed, the English seized an idol sacred to the Kecoughtans, who filled his boat with wild game and bread to ransom it." 

Let Iraq Rebuild Itself

Ilad Alawi (this month’s president of the Iraqi Governing Council) asks the U.S. to help rebuild Iraq’s military and police force, as soon as possible. "Iraqis are grateful for the tremendous efforts and sacrifices the United States is making on our behalf. Yet, ultimately, only Iraqis themselves can restore security, rebuild national institutions, enact a constitution and elect a democratic government. America must not rebuff Iraqis who are eager to have a stake in this intimate national process. Like any free people, we want to ensure that we are in control of our own destiny."

Change needed in Muslim lands?

Thomas L. Friedman’s op-ed in The New York Times is worth a quick read. He notes there are two tremors shaking the Arab world. The first is that the Saudis are preparing for some local elections. This news is akin to hearing that is is snowing in Riyadh! What’s going on? Well, among other things, Freidman argues, the Saudis are preparing themselves for "the uncomfortable possibility that by 2005 Iraq will hold a free election, which will shame all those who never have." The second is that some courageous Arab scholars are releasing the second Arab Human Development Report tomorrow. (Go to my July, 2002, comment on this report. And here is the very long 2002 Arab Human Development Report.) Although the 2003 Report is embargoed until tomorrow, Friedman thinks it will be another "bombshell." It will focus on the need to rebuild Arab "knowledge societies." The authors of the report believe that there must be some serious change in the region, changes that are more hospitable to human development; especially toward freedom of thought, women’s empowerement and the accountability of governments to the people. Developments in Iraq, Freidman implies, will help this needed change come about. I will take note of the new report as as soon as it is available.

A Little Taste of Home

WaPo is reporting that Burger King has a thriving restaurant at the Baghdad Int’l Airport. In the five months since it has opened, Baghdad Burger King has become one of the top ten BK franchises on the planet in sales. Of course, this isn’t the only place to eat at the airport. There is also the aptly named "Bob Hope Dining Facility."

Dulles on the situation in Germany, Dec. 1945

Foreign Affairs reprints Allan W. Dulles’ update on occupied Germany seven months after our victory. (via Instapundit)  

The $87 billion Senate vote

Here is the New York Times recounting of the Senate vote ob Bush’s $87 billion supplemental request for the troops and Iraq. Bush got almost everything he wanted, but the Senate voted to have $10 billion of the $20 as loans. This is a very bad idea, and I am hoping that this gets worked out in the conference committee; Frist thinks it can be done. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R, S.C.) supported the loan provision: "It’s very hard for to me to go home and explain that you have to give $20 billion to a country that’s sitting on $1 trillion worth of oil. And the net result of this policy we’re pursuing is that the people who died to liberate Iraq are going to be left holding the bag." I expected more from him.

War in space?

Lt. Gen. Edward Anderson warned that: "In my view it will not be long before space becomes a battleground."

Good looking teachers

This may explain why I get such consistently excellent student evaluations!

On dating, chivalry and flirting

Courtship, flirtation, charm, or showing some more skin? "Any woman can flash skin," says Southern author Ronda Rich, "but the most irresistible damsel is the one who seduces and flirts with a sharp, knowledgeable mind." Laura Sessions Stepp, in the WaPo Style Section, has a good article on these matters. It could be titled, "why your grandmother knew more about these matters than you do." 

Therapy vs. Friends

Jennie Bistrow reviews Furedi’s Therapy Culture. The last lines should get your interest: "Life doesn’t make us ill, and friends are better than therapists. This may be shorthand: but it beats ’I blame my parents.’"

Hillary, Inc.

Here is the long National Journal article on Hillary Clinton, focusing on her extraordinary fundrasing abilities and how she has come to the top of the Democratic hierarchy. No one in the party (except for Bill) comes near her in this regard. It should not surprise anyone, according to the article, that she is considered to be a possible candidate for 2004, never mind 2008. Good, useful, information.  

Let Us Now Praise a Good Man

Let’s see: In the last 72 hours, we’ve seen a tiny amount of news coverage for the Malaysian politician who said "Jews run the world" (nothing about this in the LA Times for example), and the pillorying of a general for expressing his religious views in church. What is making news instead is a tempest about Gregg Easterbrook.

Easterbrook is genuine, independent-minded writer and thinker. I once embarrassed him slightly by comparing him favorably to George Orwell; like Orwell, his political orientation leans slightly to the left, but his clarity and hard-headedness incline many of his judgments to the right. His 1995 book, A Moment on the Earth, is in my mind the most sensible book ever written about the environment. For this good deed he was relentlessly attacked by the politicized wing of the environmental movement.

On his New Republic weblog (see here), he attacked the violent content of the new Tarantino movie, Kill Bill, and went on to criticize movie studio executives for putting money-making above moral considerations. He then went on to reflect that that Jewish movie producers behind Kill Bill ought to know better, as they belong to the ethnic group that has suffered such extraordinary violence in recent history.

Trouble is, that’s not how it came out as he originally worded it. It sounded like he was recycling the old stereotype of Jewish money-mongering. For this Gregg has profusely apologized and said that what he wrote was "simply wrong."

This is not the end of the story. It seems no apology can be direct or profuse enough. There is a campaign under way to ruin Gregg, get him fired from his gig as a football analyst on ESPN’s website, and undermine his forthcoming book, The Progress Paradox, which I know will be a terrific book. (I saw him preview some of it last spring, and it is good stuff.) Undoubtedly his enemies and critics will use this recent episode as a means of discrediting his book, and his other work. (He has, for example, defended the Bush administration’s environmental record in Time and the LA Times.)

One small thing we call can do as a show of support is go on to amazon.com and pre-order Gregg’s book here.

Muslims, Jews and Americans

The Prime Minister of Maylasia said the "Jews ruled the world by proxy," at the Organization of the Islamic Conference. He has refused to apologize. In the meantime Senator Lieberman was heckled when he spoke to an Arab-American group in Dearborn, MI, even though he opened his talk by saying, "I am Joseph, your brother." Dennis Kucinich and others were well received. The Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for the resignation of Lt. General William Boykin because he said some things he didn’t like. An apology is not enough.

The Democrats and Iraq

David Brooks summarizes the factions within the Democratic Party, when it comes to the future of Iraq, and why "this is a party teetering on the brink of full-bore liberal isolationism." He thinks there are three camps: One, the Pelosi Democrats; two, the Evan Bayh Democrats; three, the Cantwell Democrats. He adds a fourth, the Clark Demos, these are too mealy-mouthed to take a stand either way.  

Classic Strom

Trawling through ’The American Spectator’s’ new and improved web-site, I found a section called classics. This is a favorite. Florence King on Strom Thurmond.

Read it and weep, read it and laugh.

Haley Barbour in Mississippi

That ’aw shucks, good ol’ boy’, Haley Barbour is running for Governor of Mississippi against Democratic incumbent, Ronnie Musgrove. The elections is in 2 1/2 weeks.

Here’s a ’New York Times Magazine’ overview of the campaign.

Republican Realignment

Republican realignment, it’s already here, according to this ’Weekly Standard’ article by Fred Barnes .

Frau Thatcher?

The BBC has an interesting piece on Germany looking to "Thatcherism" to solve its current economic struggles. "Historian Dominik Geppert argues in his book Maggie Thatcher’s Radical Cure - a recipe for Germany? that there are parallels between Britain in the 1970s and Germany now."


Will yet another British Prime Minister need to rescue the German people from their leaders?

Kass’ Report

Here is the full copy of Beyond Therapy (in PDF format) referenced by Nate Stewart below.

Terri Schiavo’s Starvation Information

For those following or curious about the national debate over Terri Schiavo’s court-appointed date with death, here is a blog (set up by a Florida appeals lawyer) devoted to Florida law and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals with a page devoted to the Schiavo case. All the basic facts of her case are provided with explanations of Florida’s law on the subject.  

Bioethics Council Releases Report

The New York Times has reported that Leon Kass and the President’s Council on Bioethics has released Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness, a report expressing concern over the potential misuse of burgeoning biotechnology. From the Times:

The report’s overall thrust is that people’s desire to improve themselves or to give their children an edge carries the risk of putting strain on human nature in many unintended ways. The council expresses concern at "the attractive science-based power to remake ourselves after images of our own devising." It asks if the purpose of medicine is "to make us perfect, or to make us whole?" It concludes that "the human body and mind, highly complex and delicately balanced as a result of eons of gradual and exacting evolution, are almost certainly at risk from any ill-considered attempt at `improvement.’"

For those who don’t keep close tabs on bioethics, allow me to assure you that we are indeed blessed to have Dr. Kass (as opposed to a host of other self-proclaimed ethicists) advising the President and the ethics community at-large on these issues.

American by choice

A statue (too modernistic for my taste) of Michael Kovats de Fabricy was recently unveiled at the Hungarian Embassy. He was a Hungarian by birth, but an "American by choice," who fought and died in the American Revolution. He was a Colonel, a commander of light cavalry, a Huszar, serving under Gen. Pulaski. He died in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 11, 1779. Paul Wolfowitz’s gave a speech. And here are remarks by the Hungarian Ambassador, and the Minister of Defense.

Arnold mural faces termination

A mural was painted on one wall of the structure to promote the upcoming DVD and video release of Schwarzenegger’s latest film, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines." Someone is trying to remove it, and politics has nothing to do with it!(?)

The UN vote

Deborah Orin says that "President Bush won a major diplomatic victory yesterday as the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on other nations to provide troops and financial aid to Iraq.
The 15-0 vote came after France - which led opposition to the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein - found itself isolated and belatedly decided to vote yes, spurring even Syria to agree." And this: "The fact that the vote was unanimous also offers Bush a direct rebuttal to Democratic 2004 challengers seeking to portray him as a unilateralist who alienated the world and can’t win support from other nations."

Classical Liberals and Social Liberals

Mickey Craig’s point about there being a difference between a classical liberal and a social liberal is well taken. Libertarians often refer to themselves as "economically conservative, but socially liberal" as a quick and dirty (too dirty) definition of their views. But my question is, how can we tell the difference as a practical matter? If a politician is pro-choice, might it not be on the classical liberal grounds that laws against abortion represent an infringement on the right to property (in this case the womb), rather than the from the social liberal’s insistence on "liberation" from responsibility for one’s actions? The same might be said of those who oppose sodomy laws. Libertarians and social liberals might agree on this issue, but for very different reasons, and unless the person advocating this position has expressed the thought processes behind it (as Arnold has, I believe, never done), how are we to assume that the Governor-elect is the latter rather than the former?

Moreover, I take issue with the statement "that those who indulge in drugs today, as a practical matter, become in one way or another wards of the state." As Jacob Sullum’s recent book suggests, there is (and long has been) a lot more drug use going on in America than statistics on "addiction" (which may or may not be a useful term) suggest. Drug prohibition, like that of the Prohibition of liquor and the modern crusade aganist tobacco was, in fact, the product of the same Progressive mentality that Craig denounces. Alas, the "marijuana industry" lacks the highly-paid lobbyists necessary to fight back.

Brazil’s president

C.Preston Noell has a good letter to the Washington Times on Brazil, and its leftist President Lula da Silva. Scroll down to "Lula’s Leftism."

Our First Year

I noted our one year anniversary and asked you to consider putting some money in our purse. A number of you responded, and we are very grateful. By the way, it’s not my purse we are talking about--I already have a motorcycle!--it’s the Ashbrook Center’s purse. Thank you. Here is a nice note from a reader:

"Congratulations on your first year. I have been with you from the beginning. I enjoy the kind of ’conversation’ that a blog represents--it’s like sitting down with a friend to talk over the events of the day, but more important are the references to other good articles, sites and papers. There are magazines that I would never subscribe to, nor visit regularly that occasionally have an important piece. There is something about this great swarm of information, of conflicting opinion, that far surpasses what a daily paper can offer.
Anyway, thanks, and Peter, make sure those other guys are holding up their end."

Robby George at Princeton

Princeton Alumni Mag runs this long piece on Professor Robert George, what he teaches, his social and political conservatism, his influence on students. Last few lines: "However people may react to his positions, George makes no apologies for his beliefs. ’The United States isn’t perfect,’ he says, ’and our history includes sin and shame, especially slavery and segregation. But our founding principles and constitutional ideals are, in my opinion, profoundly good and true.

’I don’t force students to accept those principles, but I do want students to understand them,’ George continues. ’I see my role as that of a teacher rather than a preacher. At the same time, I believe that if students understand our nation’s principles, they will grasp their wisdom and goodness.’"
 

Dirty bomb and al Qaeda

Bill Gertz writes on al Qaeda’s search for a dirty bomb. "A key al Qaeda terrorism suspect was in Canada looking for nuclear material for a ’dirty bomb,’ The Washington Times has learned.
Adnan El Shukrijumah is being sought by the FBI and CIA in connection with a plot to detonate a dirty bomb — a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material."

Response to Moser: Can the Twain Meet

Thanks to John Moser for his post on whether one can combine social liberalism with fiscal conservatism.

The article by Brian Janiskee was about Arnold. The point of Janiskee’s article is that one seldom or never finds an office-holder with real responsibility who combines these two qualities well. Janiskee expresses skepticism, which I share, about Arnold’s ability to combine his social liberalism with his fiscal conservatism. One can rest assured that Arnold will not compromise his social liberalism and that if he compromises anything it will be his fiscal conservatism. Let’s hope he sticks to his stated purpose not to raise taxes. Let’s hope President Bush’s praise of him bears good fruit.

Moser points to libertarians as the example to prove that my post was "demonstrably false" but then agrees with or reiterates the main point of Janiskee’s article: There are no state-wide office holders in this country, whether Senators or Governors (are there any?), who combine social liberalism and fiscal conservatism. He blames this on the fund-raising that is necessary to win state-wide elections. Fund-raising is certainly a problem but, I think, fund-raising is not the cause of the problem but more an effect or symptom of the disease. The need for extraordinary fund-raising these days is due to the size of the modern administrative state. The size of the modern administrative state follows from the premise of social liberalism or progressivism.

Moser suggests that libertarians prove that one can combine social liberalism with fiscal conservatism. I think Moser is mistaken when he equates the classical liberal/libertarian with the social liberal. The classical liberal, whether a follower of Von Mises or Hayek or a follower of the principles of the Declaration of Independence, believes that government’s purpose is limited to securing the individual’s rights to life, liberty and property. As Madison writes, government is a reflection on human nature which is fallible. The social liberal or progressive believes that government’s purpose is unlimited because he believes that the human condition is perfectible. Thus, the social liberal believes that government has an obligation to do social justice, especially by intervening in society or the private sector to overcome the inequities or injustices there. So the social liberal/progressive denies one of the fundamental premises of classical liberalism, the distinction between state and society.

The social liberal’s principles are fundamentally different from the classical liberal. The reigning dogma of the social liberal is found in the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in ’Planned Parenthood v. Casey’(1992) which was repeated in ’Lawrence v. Texas’ in the most recent term of the Court: The mystery clause states: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of life." A more popular expression of that dogma is Hilary Clinton’s "We are free to redefine what it means to be a human-being." This is democratic nihilism. In other words, the most radical expression of social liberalism or Progressivism is that man has become his own maker. So if I want to trans-gender myself (I can since I’m infinitely malleable/perfectible), government must not only protect me in that right but also it must fund that right. In the classical liberal understanding, the individual is held to be responsible and self-governing, in the social liberal understanding, the individual is liberated from all traditional notions of morality and the government must protect him/her/it from victim status. To use just one example of social liberalism, the family must be redefined in an idiosyncratic way. The demand for same sex marriage, or the legal recognition of domestic partnerships, and even in the end, polygamy, and bestiality, is simply one policy consequence of this radical social liberalism. For the social liberal, government must protect these radically autonomous expressions of free will from any restraint. That requires the end of any traditional notion of self-government, federalism or local control, and the separation of powers. In other words, social liberalism is incompatible with Constitutionalism, including fiscal conservatism. I don’t think that is the position of classical liberals.

John J. Vecchione makes a good point in his Comment on Moser’s posting. Vecchione writes: "One cannot long be both an economic conservative and a social liberal because the policies of social liberalism encourage social breakdown that is then addressed by massive government spending on prisons, health care, ..." etc. The Classical Liberals I have known stridently argue for the legalization of drugs, while they themselves don’t indulge in such things. I make the point that Mr. Vecchione makes, that those who indulge in drugs today, as a practical matter, become in one way or another wards of the state. As Tocqueville argued, this radical individualism requires or demands a centralized administration.

An aside on Ron Paul, he is the exception who proves the rule. When he ran for Governor of Texas (I believe it was in 1982), he lost the Republican Primary. He then won the Libertarian Party nomination for President in 1984 (his main rival, if I recall correctly, was Sista Boom Boom). He then found a district in Texas where he could be re-elected to Congress, running as a Republican. So the Libertarian must run as a Republican, even in Texas. He is one of my favorite Congressmen because he is principled and bases his actions on the Constitution (sometimes a too narrow reading of that document, I think). The Libertarians have something like the status of Epicureans at the time of Vergil. Interesting and, in many cases, admirable but there’s just not enough of them to go around to be politically relevant.

I’m getting long-winded (well, it’s this or blue books). I think Janiskee’s point stands: It is impossible to combine social liberalism with fiscal conservatism in public life today. I argue that’s because they have two diametrically opposed starting points.

Thanks to John Moser for provoking me.

Curses

The curse of the Billy Goat and the curse of the Bambino are alive. It is best to remain silent in their presence.

NLT’s anniversary and our purse

Let’s pat ourselves on the back. We started No Left Turns one year ago, as the Ashbrook Center blog. We wanted to have a place in which we could bring interesting news stories and commentary to the attention of our friends on a daily basis. And, of course, we wanted to offer a place to our unusual bloggers (professors, scholars and friends from Ashland, Hillsdale, Washington and Lee, the American Enterprise Institute, the Claremont Institute, St. Louis University, etc.) to pontificate on whatever they thought was interesting and important. We had no idea of how it would work, or that it would be valuable. We think it has worked and it is of value. We have grown together, suffering one another and encouraging our virtues, yet always molded to one stem. Help us celebrate our anniversary by putting money in our purse. Thank you.

Dubya and Arnold meet

Here is the San Francisco Chronicle report of their private meeting which, apparently, went well, and the few words they said after the meeting (I haven’t seen it on TV yet): "For his part, Bush said he was glad to have met Schwarzenegger, then joked about ’how much we have in common.’

Both ’married well,’ said Bush, and ’some accuse both of us of not being able to speak the language.’ Bush also joked that he and Schwarzenegger also shared a third thing in common: ’big biceps.’ When the laughter subsided, Bush suggested that ’two out of three isn’t bad.’" I told you it would be full of mirth.

The Queen and the EU Constitution

The Daily Telegraph reports the following: "The Queen is growing more concerned about Tony Blair’s plans to sign a European constitution that she fears could undermine her role as sovereign.

The Telegraph has learnt that Buckingham Palace has asked for documents highlighting the constitutional implications of the EU’s plans to be sent to her advisers."

What Americans believe

This FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll states, among other things: "The national poll, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, shows that about a third of Americans believe in ghosts (34 percent) and an equal number in UFOs (34 percent), and about a quarter accept things like astrology (29 percent), reincarnation (25 percent) and witches (24 percent)." Also this: "Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they believe in God (by eight percentage points), in heaven (by 10 points), in hell (by 15 points), and considerably more likely to believe in the devil (by 17 points). Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they believe in reincarnation (by 14 percentage points), in astrology (by 14 points), in ghosts (by eight points) and UFOs (by five points)."

Can the Twain Meet?

Thanks to Mickey Craig for calling attention to this article, which, while interesting, proves nothing. That there can be no such thing as a person who is simultaneously an economic conservative and a social liberal is demonstrably false. There are thousands of such people, and they call themselves libertarians, or classical liberals, or something of that sort.

More importantly, the author here is making a very bold claim, but basing it on the narrowest of samples--the current makeup of the United States Senate. It does not even extend its analysis to the House, where the author would at least have to deal with Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former Libertarian Party candidate for president.

The real question, it seems to me, is not whether or not "libertarians" can exist, but rather why there are none in the Senate. My hypothesis is that it has a great deal to do with the amount of fundraising that must be done to be elected at a statewide level. The pressure groups that keep Republicans and Democrats alike in office have little interest in supporting true mavericks. A consistent liberal, or a consistent conservative, would seem to be a far safer bet.

I’m certainly willing to have this hypothesis shot down, but the argument that a survey of the Senate establishes that one cannot be economically conservative and socially liberal is unconvincing.

Can the Twain Meet: Social Liberal-Fiscal Conservative

Brian Janiskee posts this article on Arnold, Gray Davis, Tom McClinitock and the Recall on The Claremont Institute’s web-site.

Janiskee asks the question: whether such a thing as a social liberal and fiscal conservative can co-exist in the same person. Janiskee reviews the voting records of social liberals in the U.S. Senate and finds that not one rates better than a ’C+’ on fiscal conservatism. Indeed, what he finds is that social conservatives tend to be fiscal conservatives, etc.

Let’s hope the son-in-law of Camelot can put the two pieces together.

Mirabile dictu

Is Latin dead? Terrence Moore doesn’t think so, and he’s glad of it. "One curious phenomenon of contemporary school reform is that Latin is making a comeback. Recent press releases indicate that nationwide certain schools are experiencing growth in their Latin programs, the number of students taking the AP Latin Exam has doubled in a decade, and students are actually enjoying their study of the language. The reasons for taking Latin are various, but they all stem from the advantages of either utility or pleasure."

Property and the Founding

In piddling around with some issues of property, especially as understood during the Founding, I came across this paper by our own Eric Claeys. Clicking on his name will give you the summary, and clicking here will give you the whole paper in PDF form. It is entitled, "Property, Morality, and Society in Founding Era Legal Treatises."  

Pursuing Biohappiness

Leon Kass, Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, has this excellent piece in the Washington Post on the "kind of human being and the sort of society we will be creating in the coming age of biotechnology."
  

Economy picking up speed

The economy is picking up steam: "The U.S. economic recovery is picking up steam, according to government reports on Thursday, indicating the job market is improving and the troubled factory sector is turning around. U.S. industrial production rose in September, the Federal Reserve said, as factory output posted its biggest gain since April 2000."

Dreier vs. Boxer?

The Washington Times speculates that Arnold’s right-hand-man may be willing and eager to take on U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer.

Nomina sunt consequentia rerum

Pejman Yousefzadeh has a modest proposal: rename the Nobel Peace Prize to the Nobel Freedom Prize because he agrees with Dante that "names are the consequence of things."  

Clinton on al Qaeda to Bush

Bill Clinton "said his inability to convince Bush of the danger from al Qaeda was ’one of the two or three of the biggest disappointments that I had.’"

Terror moving to Africa

Paul Marshall’s op-ed in the WaPo is pretty clear and pretty hard on the Bush administration. Terrorists are not only moving into African countries in a big way (especially to Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania), but radical Islam is spreading South of the Sahara, and we are not doing much about it, he argues. 

Scalia’s Recusal

Here’s one take on Scalia’s recusal from the Supreme Court’s Pledge of Allegiance case by law professor Jonathan Adler at NRO’s The Corner:

As the Washington Post reports Justice Scalia has recused himself from the Pledge of Allegiance case. Might this lead to a 4-4 affirmance of the Ninth Circuit? Perhaps, though there are other possible outcomes. (One possibility is that the Supreme Court tosses the whole case, holding plaintiff Michael Newdow never had standing to challenge the school board policy.)

The Celebrity Bandwagon

Yahoo reports that TV’s Pat O’Brien is considering a run for Governor in S. Dakota in 2006.

Maybe Barbra can run against Arnold in 2006.

The banal view of Arnold’s victory

William Schneider, of CNN fame. I had always assumed that the things he said on CNN were scripted to be banal and inoffensive, and therefore not interesting. I guess I was wrong, as this so-called analysis of the California recall and Arnold’s victory in The Atlantic shows. He may have disposed to think at some time in the past, but another CNN thought struck him. Too bad, it’s just the Democratic line, re-packaged. Change worked against Davis, so it will work against Bush. We’re in deep waters here, folks.

Clark Leads in California

The Field Poll (PDF) says that Clark leads among Demos in California with 17 percent. Dean and Lieberman are at 14 percent, Kerry is at 9, and Gephardt has 5 percent.

Roots of Hispanic

This Washington Post article tells the story of how the word Hispanic (rather than Latino, for example) came into use by the Feds. Unsurprisingly, it has to do with a committee of bureaucrats in the Department of Health and Human Services, in 1975. It’s very much worth reading. I am reminded of a speech Richard Rodriguez (author of "Hunger of Memory") last year sometime (I saw it on C-Span) in which he said something like this, by way of mocking such nomenclatures: I flew to Bolivia once, got off the plane, went to the nearest local and said to him, "Would you be kind enough to take me to a Hispanic, I’ve never met one. He didn’t know what I was talking about."

Bush-Arnold meeting

Here is the L.A. Times story on the Bush-Arnold meeting that is supposed to happen today (soon). " When President Bush shakes hands with California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday in Riverside, the event will be as scripted as if Bush were meeting a foreign head of state." Not bad. Yet, as you read the article, you will note that it has a tinge of both saddness and apprehension about it. The writer implies that they will have a lot to overcome, a lot of wrinkles to iron out, if the meeting is to go well. Well, I think that’s hogwash. The meeting and the short speeches will be friendly, open, and full mirth and merryment. All the world’s a stage, and neither will forget his part.

Palestinian dread

Palestinians are dreading the USA’s wrath after murders. Good.

Iraq war swells al Qaeda’s ranks

Reuters
reports that the International Institute of Strategic Studies (payment required) argues that the "War in Iraq has swollen the ranks of al Qaeda and galvanized the Islamic militant group’s will." US intelligence appears to agree with this assesment.

Pain and ethnicity

University of Michigan reports on a study that examined (or tried to?) different kinds of pain (e.g., from broken bones, from cold, etc) and how people of different ethnic background put up with it. “Across the board, and consistently, there are racial and ethnic differences in pain." Examples: Hispanics from broken bones are more likely to go without pain medication than say Hungarians (I’m making that up! Although I don’t like being without Advil.) Weird stuff. I wasn’t surprised to find a dentist deeply involved in such studies. A better study would be this: What kind of people want to become dentists, and why, regardless of their ethnic background?

Genetic Dispositions

Reuters reports that:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 — The Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a landmark bill that would bar health insurers and employers from discriminating against people who have a genetic predisposition to disease.

The President has said he will sign it.

The Spectator is Back

The October hard-copy issue of ’The American Spectator’ announces that the old gang is back in charge of the Spectator. After years of persecution by the Clinton adminstration, all sorts of financial difficulties, and a change in owners, Emmett Tyrrell is back as editor in chief, Wladyslaw Pleszczynski is back as executive editor, and Bob Bartley now serves as a Senior Editorial Advisor, along with Alfred Regnery as Publisher.

Steve Hayward has an excellent review of Lou Cannon’s latest entitled ’Governor Reagan’ and Peter Robinson’s ’How Reagan Changed my Life.’

Among many other excellent articles, there’s a nice interview with Congressman Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and his primary challenge to Arlen Specter.

Check it out at the Spectator’s refined and enlarged web-site.

Newsweek and the Problem of Pain

Apologies for the length of this post, but things need to be said about Newsweek’s hit piece on Rush Limbaugh that fails to veil Evan Thomas’s glee and the palpable disdain for Limbaugh and his 20 million listeners. I can’t resist highlighting Thomas’s east-coast boorishness and poor word-choice.

Limbaugh’s story owes more to the “Wizard of Oz” than “The Scarlet Letter.” The man behind the curtain is not the God of Family Values but a childless, twice-divorced, thrice-married schlub whose idea of a good time is to lie on his couch and watch football endlessly. When Rush Limbaugh declared to his radio audience that he was “your epitome of morality of virtue, a man you could totally trust with your wife, your daughter, and even your son in a Motel 6 overnight,” he was acting.

First, the Oxford English Dictionary defines "schlub" as something of a blockhead: a "worthless person, a ’jerk’, an oaf." For context, the OED provides this example: "When a man doesn’t know the facts and nobody will tell him and people keep throwing apples and unkind remarks at him, he has no choice but to look like a schlub." Characterizing Limbaugh as a schlub is the sort of Al Franken ad hominem that really ought to be above the standards of a national news magazine. But beyond that, it’s not even an accurate ad hominem description. The fact is Limbaugh makes his living discussing daily world and national events in law, politics and culture in a way that has captivated 20 million Americans every weekday for the past 15 years. But I’m sure any ol’ schlub could do that.

Second, Thomas’s assertion that Rush’s idea of a good time is related to a couch and football seems based on a quote from Maureen Dowd who claims that Rush told her that he works, watches the news, and the N.F.L. So? I fail to see how this makes Rush a schlub. The guy works, reads news incessantly, pays vigilant attention to world-events, analyzes speeches, editorials, and commentary, and yet his downtime watching football somehow detracts from his mental accumen? Even watching football turned into a brief stint on ESPN as a commentator!

Then, of course, there’s the obvious response: If Rush is such an idiot, why is Howard Dean running against him? Why do the Dems run against Rush every election year? Why do they lament the dominance of Rush and his dittoheads on talk radio? Why do they look for a liberal answer to the EIB Network? There is a strong sentiment among liberals that Rush may be the biggest, most powerful weapon the Right has in its arsenal (which is likely why the National Enquirer held this story for 2 years). Apparently, the Left has been out-smarted by a schlub. Pity.

But Thomas’s disdain is apparent throughout the piece, as he acknowledges: "Limbaugh’s act has won over, or fooled, a lot of people....he is the darling of Red State, Fly-Over America." Imagine us Red State folk being fooled by a schlub. But I repeat myself.

The kicker for Thomas’s piece though is the ending: "Limbaugh’s long-running act as a paragon of virtue is over. Now the question is whether he can make a virtue out of honesty." Make a virtue out of honesty? This is Limbaugh’s job? Perhaps after years in Washington covering the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal Thomas has forgotten that honesty is in fact still a virtue, and that by admitting his addiction, taking steps to overcome it, and cooperating with investigators, Limbaugh has already succeeded in following this very virtue. Whether he continues to act virtuously in this regard remains to be seen, but it’s certainly not Rush’s job to "make a virtue out of honesty." What does that even mean?

Losing Bin Laden

Horace Cooper had this to say about Richard Miniter’s new book "Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror."
 

The Terrorist’s Morality

The Telegraph reports the following:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, yesterday urged America to recognise that terrorists can "have serious moral goals".

*

Dr Williams said that no government should act as its own judge on whether to launch military action against a rogue state.
"Violence is not to be undertaken by private persons," he said. "If a state or administration acts without due and visible attention to agreed international process, it acts in a way analogous to a private person. It purports to be judge of its own interest."


Mind you, he wasn’t speaking here of our actions in Iraq. Rather, he said, "in its criticism of al-Qa’eda, America loses the power of self-criticism and becomes trapped in a self-referential morality." And to think, this guy isn’t even French.

Out of Gaza

U.S. citizens have been ordered out of Gaza, after three Americans were killed.

South American mischief

Are there connections between Venezuela and terrorism? Check out this UPI story. In the meantime, tanks have encircled the presidential palace in Bolivia, where things are rough and are likely to get rougher; over fifty people have been killed during the last few weeks.

Jill Stewart blasts L.A. Times

Jill Stewart rips the Los Angeles Times on its attempt to hurt Arnold during the last few days before the election. Long, but enlightening; not to the Times advantage.

Ex-Clinton aides on Clinton

Rich Lowry, whose book Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years has just appeared (I haven’t read it, yet) recounts what Clinton’s aides say about the man. Fascinating.  

Body Armor

Phil Carter has more on the body armor issue (brought up by Alt earlier today). He asks why there is a backlog, and he claims it has to do with the overall trend toward consolidation in the defense industry; smaller firms have been swallowed up by larger firms or have gone out of business. He thinks that this is a strategic risk and the strategy of pre-emption is in danger. Good, short read. 

Arnold’s Transition Committee

Here is the full list of Arnold’s Transition Committee, with brief bios. A number of interesting names should be noted: Eloise Anderson, Sally Pipes, George Schultz, Bill Simon, et al.

Latinos in California turning toward GOP?

This Los Angeles Times article considers the Latino vote in the recall. About 55% of Latinos voted against the recall, and about the same percent voted for Bustamante (in past elections Demos could count on about 70%). Democrats are concerned with this drop and they should be, especially when it is noted, as the article does, that the more upwardly mobile the Latino voter is, the more likely he is to vote Republican. 

Moore Latin

For those of you who are not big on Latin translations of popular songs, Terrence Moore offers this more scholarly statement on why the study of Latin is gaining popularity. As always, Moore is worth a read.   

Scalia Recuses Himself

Nate Stewart’s blog below reports that the Supreme Court will take up the Pledge of Allegiance case This Washington Post article reports that Justice Scalia has recused himself from the case, it seems, because he has expressed an opinion on the issue.

God save this honorable Court.

God in the Public Square

With the Supreme Court’s decision to take the Pledge of Allegiance case making waves, I thought I would bring to your attention this short piece I wrote immediately after the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, describing other references to God in the public square that would seem just as unconstitutional under the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning.

Pumping Irony

Andrew Sullivan writes a clever piece on Arnold as a model of a new kind of politician. It is thoughtful, even if you don’t agree with it. "In our political wars, he’s a synthesis. In our culture wars, he’s a truce." Like I said, clever. Ralph Reiland seems to say the same thing, but in prose. And Matt Labash recounts the last five days of the Arnold campaign. To say it was a circus doesn’t do it justice. Very long, too long, but funny. Read only if you have nothing better to do. Back to my Lincoln seminar.

China

The Daily Telegraph reports that China thinks highly of the European Union and hopes that it will rival the U.S. as a superpower. Glenn Reynolds hopes that the upcomign Chinese space mission will spur competition from us. He thinks NASA is dying. He makes a nice reference to the Chinese cancellation of maritime exploration in the 15th century. That invard looking China is history. Is this a good thing?

Baby Got . . . Clunes?

Alright, the following web site is not for everyone, but for those of you who remember Sir Mix-A-Lot’s popular song about his preference for, umm, large posteriors, someone has taken the time to translate the lyrics into Latin. Hilarious. (Thanks to J. Bird for pointing it out.) 

Don’t Send Cookies . . . Send Body Armor

AP reports that one-quarter of U.S. troops in Iraq do not have the military’s best body armor. This armor, which contains ceramic plate inserts, is desiged to withstand a hit from high powered rifles such as the AK-47s commonly used by Iraqi combatants. The government is blaming the lack of body armor on funding, production, and shipping delays.

In the meantime, however, families of servicemen are picking up the slack. Despite the $1500 price tag, many relatives of servicemen are sending body armor to kin in Iraq. I understand that this is not unusual. A friend related to me a story at dinner this past weekend of a Marine he knows. The soldier said that it was commonplace for Marines to purchase much of their own gear, because they can get better goods on the open market than that which the government provides.

Italian private eyes

Francis X. Rocca asks why the Rome Yellow Pages carries 49 pages of ads and listings (compared with one and a half in central London, and two in Manhattan) for private investigators. He has some thoughtful and amusing answers about Italians love of spying, and their love of and manifest flair for both spectacle and sport.

Dog’s Hitler salute

A German man has taught his dog to give the Hitler salute.

The black sheepdog-mix, named Adolf, has been taught to lift his right front paw up straight in the salute on command. Mercifully short.

Sabine Herold

Matt Welch writes about Sabine Herold, the young French woman--a libertarian--who "has in the last few months emerged as the massively popular and highly photogenic leader of -- zut! -- a burgeoning pro-market, pro-American counterculture in France. Earning comparisons to Joan of Arc, Brigitte Bardot (!), and Margaret Thatcher in the panting British press, she represents something French politics hasn’t seen in years: a public figure eager to take on the country’s endlessly striking unions."

An unholy trinity?

The headline reads: Ban on scientists trying to create three-parent baby. Apparently, Chinese researchers created fetuses (one of which was aborted and the other two dying in the second trimester) with the genetic material of three people. Here is a fairly succinct description of what was done:

The process involves taking the nucleus - which contains all genetic material - out of an unhealthy egg and inserting it into the egg structure of a donor from which all genetic material has been wiped.


The resulting embryo contains all the genetic make-up of the infertile woman but also mitochondrial DNA from the donor egg. Mitochondrial DNA is in effect the powerhouse of all cells and is common to everyone, but it contains tiny and subtle differences in each individual. Therefore, human nuclear transfer creates an embryo with the genetic make-up of two mothers and a father.


Always seems strange to me that China of all places is so actively working on infertility treatments.

Supreme Court to Hear Pledge Case

The AP reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will decide whether the Pledge of Allegiance recited by generations of American schoolchildren is an unconstitutional blending of church and state.

Perhaps some of our resident legal scholars can specultate on whether this will still be "one nation under God" or just Sandra Day O’Conner.

Arnold of Ohio

In today’s Wall Street Journal ("Review and Outlook") there is an article on Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s attemtp to become not only a tax cutter, but also to set "off a useful debate about whether the Republican Party in Ohio stands for anything except retaining power." Blackwell’s political gambit, it goes almost without saying, could have massive consequences for state politics, as well as his own political career. Here is about the first half of the article. You should read the rest in the Journal.

"California isn’t alone. Back East another revolt is brewing against politicians who break their word and raise taxes. This time it’s against the Republicans who’ve been running Ohio’s state government for what seems to be entirely too long.

The ringleader is Ken Blackwell, Secretary of State and apparently a rare Republican who understands that Ohio needs some fiscal discipline. Over the summer Governor Bob Taft and state lawmakers pulled a fast one on taxpayers, approving a 20% sales tax hike as part of an omnibus two-year budget package.

The increase is the largest in state history, and it came after the Governor specifically and repeatedly promised supporters that he would oppose broad-based tax hikes without a public vote. Less than a year ago, the second-term Governor could be found on the campaign trail referring to Democratic opponent Timothy Hagen as ’Tax-Hike Tim.’

Now Tax-Hike Taft’s decision to go back on his word has prompted Mr. Blackwell to do what the Governor originally promised: Take any large tax increase directly to the voters. Mr. Blackwell is leading an effort to repeal the levy, a process that requires him first to gather 96,870 signatures by December 20. If that happens, a bill will be put before the legislature asking it to reconsider the tax increase. If it refuses, Mr. Blackwell says he will gather the necessary additional signatures to ’place the tax repeal directly in the hands of outraged taxpayers on November 2, 2004.’"

Michigan Governor Vetos Abortion Bill

Updating an earlier discussion here, it seems Michigan’s governor has just vetoed the legislature’s attempt to ban partial birth abortions by defining "the moment a person is legally born as when any part of a fetus is expelled from a woman’s body." The vote in both houses was at or very near veto-override margins. Could potentially get more interesting.


In other related news:
INDIANAPOLIS -- Minors need the consent of only one parent to get an abortion, even if their parents are divorced and have joint custody, an Indiana Court of Appeals panel decided.


And:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A federal judge yesterday blocked a state law that would have required a 24-hour wait for abortions. . . . Planned Parenthood sued to stop the law, contending it was too vague to be properly enforced. The group argued the law doesn’t adequately let abortion providers know what type of conduct is prohibited, and the murky wording would encourage arbitrary enforcement and violate their constitutional right of due process.

First Cloned Embryo Ready

The controversial Dr. Zavos is in the news again with claims that his cloned embryo is ready for implantation. The bad news, of course, is that we may be on the verge of human cloning. The good news is that Dr. Zavos has claimed all of this before and is really only one step removed from Raelian type media hype. Very few (if any) people in genetics research and bioethics for that matter take Dr. Zavos seriously. In case you’re wondering, the reason no one takes him seriously is because no other scientists have even reproductively cloned a primate yet, and all other scientists cloning human embryos have failed after just a few cell divisions.

Davis signs Domestic Partner Law

While those who certify elections in California dilly, Gray Davis continues to dally. This Yahoo report announces that Gray Davis has just signed a Domestic Partnership Law.

You have to admire his brazenness. Perhaps not.

Senator Voinovich speaks

Senator George Voinovich is speaking at the Ashbrook Center today. Click on his name to listen to it live. His talk starts at circa 12:25.

Texasmander

This news report announces that the Texas State Legislature has finally sent a redistricting plan to the Governor. The Republicans in Texas stuck to their guns and have redrawn the map.

Kudos to Governor Perry for sticking to his guns.

David Brooks

Ric Brookhiser offers his thoughts on the reaction of some readers of the ’New York Times’ to David Brooks.

Good.

Columbus Day

Here is a high school teacher in Indiana trying to revive a non-revisionist study of Christopher Columbus, "the NASA astronaut of his age." No celebs at the parade today, according to NY Mayor Bloomberg.

Arnold effect in Germany

Reuters reports that Arnold’s election as governor of California is having a surprising effect on the public in Germany. They are beginning to ask why German politicians can’t speak in clear and understandandable German, as Arnold can in English. "Manfred Guellner, managing director of the Forsa polling institute, said there is widespread discontent with politicians.

’The dissatisfaction is growing every day,’ he told Reuters. ’Germany and Europe are ripe for the same sort of phenomenon. People feel they’re being messed with. They want simple language and simple remedies.’"

Monkeys with brain implants

Monkeys, with brain implants, can control robotic arms. "Scientists in North Carolina have built a brain implant that lets monkeys control a robotic arm with their thoughts, marking the first time that mental intentions have been harnessed to move a mechanical object." Needless to say, this could have some intersting uses. "The technology could someday allow people with paralyzing spinal cord injuries to operate machines or tools with their thoughts as naturally as others today do with their hands. It might even allow some paralyzed people to move their own arms or legs again, by transmitting the brain’s directions not to a machine but directly to the muscles in those latent limbs.

The brain implants could also allow scientists or soldiers to control, hands-free, small robots that could perform tasks in inhospitable environments or in war zones."

Politics and Ideology in the Classroom

David Brooks’ 27 September column, "Lonely Campus Voices", deals with the obstacles faced by conservatives who seek academic careers. It has sparked a lively debate on several internet listservs, but particular on the Law and Courts Discussion Group, which came to focus in particular on Robert George of Princeton. The question was raised whether, because of George’s well-known opposition to gay rights, gay and lesbian students might feel uncomfortable in his classes. The discussion has been reproduced here. Definitely worth reading.

Sontag receives German award

Susan Sontag--the silly and shamefull writer--accepted the prestigious peace prize from the German booksellers’ association on Sunday. They said that she has an "exceptional sense of morality and immorality." This about a woman who is incapable of making moral distinctions, for example, between terrorists and not. In her acceptance speech, Sontag held true to her reputation. She seized the opportunity to criticize President George W. Bush’s administration. She drew attention to the "deliberate absence" from the ceremony of the U.S. ambassador to Germany as typical of Washington’s current ideology of distancing itself from "old Europe."

She went on to lament a transatlantic divide shaped by "latent antagonism" and America’s view that it alone could save civilization.

"They see themselves as defending civilization. The barbarians are outside the gates," she said describing the attitude of many Americans, who believe, that as long as "God is on its side," nothing can go wrong.

The anti-American obsession

Jean-Francois Revel has a lengthy article in The New Criterion on this theme. Although long, it is thoughtful in considering globalism, French exceptionalism, French government subsidy for the arts, the spread of the English language, and so on. "Contrary to what Jacques Chirac maintained, globalization is not a ’cultural steamroller.’ It is and always has been an engine of enrichment. Think, for example, how the French artistic sensibility was revitalized by the discovery—or rather fuller knowledge—of Japanese painting afforded at the end of the nineteenth century, or by the arrival in France of African art ten or twenty years later. There are plenty of similar cases. Unless one has been brainwashed by the brawlers of Seattle and Porto Alegre, the age-old lesson of the history of civilizations cannot be erased: barriers are what diminish and sterilize cultures; commingling is what fructifies and inspires them."

Franch arrogance and French decline

This may be a pleasant way to start the week. Paul Webster writes in the London Observer about a France in decline. Apparently, there is much talk in France that is very critical of the country, its leadership, policies, both domestic and foreign, and most especially the French arrogance that continues to be hyperbolic. A good read, the essence: "Both pale into insignificance alongside L’Arrogance française, where the journalist authors, Romain Gubert and Emmanuel Saint-Martin, state: ’With our sermons, our empty gestures and our poetic flights, we (the French) have pissed off the planet. Worse: we make them laugh.

’It’s a sickness to which French people are addicted - believing that France must offer the world Light, Law and Liberty; that their leaders are the carriers of a universal message.’"

Reagan’s pen pal

Rudy Hines, as a child, was the pen pal of President Reagan. This WaPo story recounts the story of their letters and relationship (using "Reagan: A Life in Letters," which I noted a few weeks ago, which I have read into and highly recommend). Hines is now 26 years old, and was interviewed for the story. Lovely.   

Rush is Hooked

FoxNews is reporting what Rush apparently admitted on yesterday’s show: he’s hooked on prescription meds. He has promised to check into rehab for a third time, and will take a 30 day hiatus from his radio duties. It’s the right call (once again) from Rush, for so many reasons. Obviously, checking into rehab may in fact save his life, but in my estimation admitting one’s weakness, addressing it when confronted, and (hopefully) overcoming it, is what makes all of us stronger and better people -- and no, that’s not Clinton-esque, a distinction I predict the Left will be unwilling to make.

DLC response to California recall

This is the Democratic Leadership Council’s response to the Democratic loss in California. Some of it is quite sensible:

"But it’s clear the success of the recall effort was no mere right-wing conspiracy. Californians are deeply frustrated by what they perceive as a political establishment -- in both parties -- that’s not listening to their concerns, acting on their needs, or paying much attention to anyone who does not belong to a bedrock partisan constituency group."

"Democrats also need to tend to their own garden and take very seriously the decision of California voters -- who still decisively tilt Democratic in party identification and overall policy views -- to support what began as a nutty right-wing crusade and ended as a popular movement. They need to regain their centrist, problem-solving reputation, and must absolutely reverse the recent perception that they don’t give a damn about anybody who doesn’t belong to a reliable Democratic constituency group. California voters can help both parties move away from the current polarization by approving a ballot initiative next year that would bring back an open primary system -- re-enfranchising moderate and independent voters, and re-engaging today’s isolated parties in a competition to win elections through new ideas and successful governance."

Evolution of Conservatism Conference

By the way, "The Evolution of Modern Conservatism Conference" is goin on as I write and you can listen to it live by clicking here. If you click here, you can get the day’s schedule, speakers, etc. Enjoy.

Democrat despair

Someone sent me a note asking me why I hadn’t said anything about the Demos debate last night. I confess that I saw some of it, and I can’t remember why I would want to. It could have been an accident. I was tired. I’m not kidding about this (and I apologize to Democrats and their fellow travellers, I’m not rtying to hurt): I find these guys past boring. I despair when I listen. They are either talking about saving big or small parts of the welfare state (and sometimes adding to it); this is what folks mean when they say politics is policy. I leave that stuff to economists and accountants. Or, they are all cannon, fire, smoke, and artificial heat! That prune-like fellow Gephardt was on when I tuned in, and he was forward-leaning and loud-sounding about some
false quarrel. I would have turned it off but then Sharpton came on and said something that smacked of wit, and I lingered. But this is Al Sharpton, isn’t it? Can this man-without-modesty or a cause be a candidate? Mosley-Braun then said something semi-interesting, and I lingered. The others blended into one monotonous tone, farewell content, farewell mirth and pleasure, gloom and doom sorrounded me. Then they were all in their shirtsleeves (how did that happen, did they just all take off their jackets?), looking even more affectedly earnest. They blended into one form. After some while I heard nothing, but a low buzz. And I have nothing to say. I am past hope.
Here is Dan Balz in the WaPo, if anyone is interested.

Arnold is not a moderate Republican

This Daniel Henninger piece in Wall Street Journal is excellent. Read the whole thing, please. Henninger thinks that the Davis recall and Arnold’s election is a tectonic shift in American politics. It effects American politics, in part, because California lies on the San Andreas Fault, and the aftershocks of any earthquake there will be felt throughout the country. The immediate effect is this: the definition of political "moderate" has shifted seismically to the right. And this new moderation that Arnold represents (the first such moderate was Giuliani, elected as mayor of New York in 1993) is not the old Rockefeller or Olympia Snowe, et al. "On the core governing issue of the state’s proper role in economic and political life, Arnold Schwarzenegger is well to the right of these people, Henninger says. Arnold is not your Republican father’s moderate. I agree.   

The Recall should be partisan

This Los Angeles Times article outlines Schwarzenegger’s moves toward a transition team that is "diverse." That is, it includes everyone from right to left (well, almost everyone, it doesn’t include McClintock, for example). It would seem to be non-partisan. John Zvesper explains an important point about the idea of the recall, and how the Founders thought through the idea. He examines the politics of the 1790’s and shows that the populism created then (in effect a recall against Hamilton)--a more direct and partisan appeal to the people--could be a good thing if it is partisan. Zvesper says: "The American party system has been from its outset a way for (in Madison’s words) ’the great body of the people’ to ’interpose a common manifestation of their sentiments.’"

"From this point of view, what is suspect about the recall is not that it gives public opinion a more direct and immediate influence on government, but that it is too candidate-centered, and too neglectful of the energy and the constraints that political parties can bring to government. What the Founders would object to about the recall is not its populist aspect but its non-partisan aspect. Recall contests bring to the center of public attention not political parties, with their shared ideals and memories, but individual candidates. The recall makes it possible to remove untrustworthy officials and to replace them with more trustworthy-looking candidates, but that is actually less populistic than party-centered elections. In a recall based on comparative trustworthiness, the people give their trust to the newly-elected official, and lay down fewer guidelines for official conduct and fewer criteria for future accountability than they would in a more partisan election. Political parties are still there the morning after, providing a large target to be rewarded or punished by the electorate’s judgement of their performance in office. " Maybe this could be brought to Governor-elect Schwarzenegger’s attention.

Rejection is painful

A UCLA study shows that pain from a broken heart (shock, rejection) registered in the same part of the brain, called the anterior cingulate cortex, that also responds to physical pain.
"These findings show how deeply rooted our need is for social connection. There’s something about exclusion from others that is perceived as being as harmful to our survival as something that can physically hurt us, and our body automatically knows this," said the scientist.

The recall as suicide

Marc Cooper understands the meaning of the California election, liberal-left though his paper might be. (Thanks to Taranto) 

FedEx’s counter terrorism

A reader reminded me to mention Phil Carter’s excellent blog, Intel Dump, which is worth visiting. His most recent note was on FedEx’s efforts to counter terrorism in its operations: it has persuaded Tennessee to authorize a police force for the corporation, and this has enabled FedEx to become a part of the Memphis area Joint Terrorism Task Force, an interagency working group managed by the FBI.

Demo Party line on California, cont.

I finally got around to reading this Dan Balz article in today’s WaPo on the recall. Even from the non-partisan feeeling title, "Aftershocks Are Unpredictable:
Nervous Politicians Weigh Election’s National Impact," you get the sense that we’re ready to fall into the Democrat-full-bore-spin-zone, and you are not dissapointed as you read on. Indeed, both parties are unsettled by the outcome of Davis (D) losing his job and Arnold winning it. Gosh, I wonder how both parties are unsettled? "That same kind of anger and frustration can happen across the country if the economy doesn’t improve, if the job situation doesn’t improve, if gridlock in Washington continues on major issues," said Leon E. Panetta, a former U.S. House member representing California and White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration. "If I were an incumbent in any office, I would be a lot more nervous today." Thanks, Leon. As Terry McAuliffe said, "George Bush and Karl Rove have got to wish this thing never happened." Right, Terry. Clear thinking.

De Soto’s Turn

J. Bishop Grewell makes a strong case for next year’s Nobel Prize in Economics -- Hernando De Soto. Having just read De Soto’s "The Mystery of Capital," I second Grewell’s nomination. Here’s his summary of this fabulous book.

As his [De Soto’s] most recent work, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else explained, Western systems are built upon a bedrock of property rights. Without this basic system of property, and the capitalism built on it, those stuck in the third world are cut off from capital markets, cut off from investment, and cut off from doing business with anyone beyond their immediate kith and kin. They have no officially recognized property that can be offered as collateral.

Read Grewell’s piece at NRO. And if you haven’t already, read The Mystery of Capital.
   

"Need to resist conservative efforts"

This was said at The Second Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health with respect to the U.S.-led efforts to limit cloning and state-sponsored abortions:

"We need to resist conservative efforts attempting to force us into a moral approach than an evidence-based approach in shaping reproductive health policies,"


--Rosalia Sciortino, regional representative of the Rockefeller Foundation, in her remarks at the opening session.

According to the Inter Press Service, "The Second Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health, which runs from October 6-10 in the Thai capital, has attracted some 1,500 participants, including doctors, policymakers, activists and social workers, from 41 countries across Asia."

Corn Flake?

The Hill reports that Gephardt is attacking "big agriculture." A seemingly risky and hypocritical move on his part considering "Campaign finance records show Gephardt has received more than $200,000 from two of the largest agribusiness corporations — Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Monsanto." But, according to the report,

“I’m running for president to provide opportunity to everyone in rural America and not just those farmers whose last name is spelled I-N-C-period,” Gephardt said, adding, “I intend to fight for farmers with names like Smith and Davidson, not Smithfield and DeCoster,” two large agriculture-related companies.

Turkish troops

As we know, Turkey agreed to send troops to Iraq. The fact that they have finally done so--after not even allowing our troops entry in preparation for the war--is in itself interesting. There are two possibilities: First, we have given away the kitchen sink in order to get this commitment. If this is true, then my question is, why? Why is this so necessary now? Just so we can remove some 10,000 U.S. troops? Second, Turkey thinks that things are going much better for us in Iraq than they thought it would, and don’t want to be left out. Still, given the intense dislike of the Turks in most of Iraq--as well as the governing council’s lack of interest in allowing the Turkish trops in--I wonder if this is worth it. Is this not dangerous? Yet, it is possible that what is most useful here is the world knowing that the Turks are willing to send troops, even if they’re never used, or used only as part of a larger multi-lateral force. Ralph Peters has some harsh words--perhaps too harsh--on this.

Bush’s counterattack on Iraq

The administration is (finally?) becoming more public in its defense of our Iraq policy. Here is Condi Rice’s defense, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. Here is
Rice’s
speech in full.

This story recounts some of the good things happening.

French Wine, California Wine

French wine is in trouble. "This year had been looking like a low-volume harvest ever since extreme heat hit France in July, but producers were always confident that quality could be good, or even exceptional." Not only that, but this: "The fragrance may occasionally leave something to be desired."

But California wine is not in trouble. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is a fine California vineyard. And here is something more about it and its owner, as it received the Professional Excellence Award for 2003. No wonder the White House served Warren Winiarski’s Cabarnet at the state dinner for the President of the Republic of Poland in July. (It also happens that Winiarski means "vintner’s son" in Polish.)

Guantanamo Crimes

Phillip Carter writes about why the espionage charges, if proven true, may be serious enough to warrant the death penalty. 

Governor Schwarzenegger notes

Debra Saunders recounts why Arnold won, and how the Demos view it. Matt Welch focuses on the Latino vote, and why Bustamante lost 30% of it to Arnold. Even Richard Cohen likes Arnold. Hugh Hewitt explains that if the Demos continue to think that Arnold won because this is a revolt against incumbents and a protest against the economy, they’re making a serious mistake. I agree completely. Larry Elder explains that even the media doub le standards couldn’t stop Arnold. Robert Novak explains what Arnold can do for Bush and the national GOP. A lot!

Bobby Jindal

John Fund has good things to say about Bobby Jindal, the son of Indian immigrants who may become the next governor of Louisiana. Fund says this: "He treats his Indian background as an overall plus but won’t trade on it. He left the space for ’race’ on his qualifying papers blank and attacks the division of people along racial lines. ’I’m against all quotas, all set-asides,’ he says. ’America is the greatest. We got ahead by hard work. We shouldn’t respond to every problem with a government program. Here, anyone can succeed.’"

Democratic politics

Howard Dean is notching up his criticism of President Bush (I didn’t think that was possible!). The N.Y. Times reports: Howard Dean, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Wednesday offered perhaps his most overarching critique yet of the Republican incumbent, saying, "I think what the president is doing is setting the stage for the failure of America."

"If you look at what’s happened to other great countries," Dr. Dean said over lunch with reporters and editors of The New York Times, "they get in trouble when they can’t manage their money — and this president’s certainly proven himself adept at that — and they get in trouble when they overstretch their military capabilities."

Wesley Clark’s campaign now resembles a soap opera, with the campaign manager resigning. He said that the Gore-Clinton people have taken over the campaign. Ex-Al Gore spokesman Chris Lehane has shown up, for example. Mark Fabiani is already there. Clark is returning payments received from speeches, having violated campaign laws. Here is a report on tonight’s Democratic debate.

De-Legalizing Marriage?

Social conservatives have long lamented the "marriage tax" imposed by the IRS that rewards "couples" for staying single by giving them a higher deductible than married couples, essentially penalizing the couple for tying the knot. But now, Fox reports,

A group of legal scholars and gay advocacy groups are calling for marriage to be de-legalized in order to make the distribution of benefits more fair for people who aren’t married, including gay couples.

The cynical side of me has often wondered if much of what lies behind the gay marriage movement isn’t just... money. There, I said it.

The Cubs Win! The Cubs Win!

and the Red Sox took Game 1 from the Yankees. Call me a Fox executive, but I find myself pulling for a Cubs-Sox Series.

Money for Iraq

This New York Times article is reporting that there is going to be a lot more money for Iraq than heretofore thought from foreign sources. "The Japanese are talking in the billions. The Europeans are revisiting their earlier numbers. They’re all beginning to look at this as a security issue, not a development issue, and they’re scrounging for money from other places in their budgets," according to a senior administration official. NOte that it is now a security issue.

The Arnold transition starts

Daniel Weintraub reports that the transition has started. And, interestingly enough, most of the names he cites are not Wilson’s people: Dreier, Jim Richardson (an aide to Senate GOP leader Bruelte), Rob Stutzman, et al. This FOX News report has some detail and expands on other issues having to do with Bustamante’s future, etc.

The California Demos

Daniel Weintraub has a telling short interview with California Sen. Sheila Kuehl, the Santa Monica Democrat who hopes to replace John Burton next year as leader of the state Senate. She is a partisan leftist, but, Weintraub says, is level headed and courteous and intelligent. The interview is only a few paragraphs long but it is worth a read because the woman is very angry and gives away how they think they’re going to treat Arnold by saying this: "This guy has no idea how to run a state. One of two things will happen. He’ll have his own ideas and no way to carry them out. I mean he has already proposed three things that the governor cannot do. He wants to roll back the car tax on his own by fiat, which he can t do. He wants to tax the Indians, which he can’t do. He doesn’t know anything about running the state. So either he will propose a lot of stuff he can’t do and we’ll have to govern, or he’ll be pretty well manipulated by people who have an agenda, very much the way I think the president of the United States has been handled by people who are really telling him how to do these things. In which case we may have to counteract things that are worse than things he proposed on his own. His handlers will probably be more conservative than he is, or in the Republican Party line. Convince him he’ll bring businesses back to the state by cutting more benefits to workers, by unraveling anti-discrimination statutes which they call job killers." Please note the hatred, the snarling contempt, the utter under-estimation of a political opponent who just beat the pants off you; the sheer ignorance. If they stay in this mode, I’m going to become an optimist! This is wonderful.

Dog biscuits

Alec Baldwin goes down to Texas to do some fundraising for Democrats. So far so good. He takes a box of dog biscuits with him, for Governor Rick Perry (R). "I wanted to give this to Tom DeLay’s lap dog, Rick Perry. I thought maybe he had worked up a big appetite up there on the Capitol so Governor Perry, AKA Tom DeLay’s lap dog in the Texas state Legislature, this box of dog biscuits is for you and I hope you enjoy it while you’re toiling away at a redistricting plan." Cute, or just stupid. You choose.

Der Gropenfuhrer?

Here is a perfect example of how not to understand the California recall and Arnold’s big win, Steve Lopez writes an op-ed wherein he calls Arnold Der Gropenfuhrer. I hope they keep this up.

California electoral map

This is a Map of California, by county, shwoing that Bustamante won only seven counties around the San Franciso region. And here are the official returns , by county. I just saw Nancy Pelosi on TV saying that the California election is a bad sign for Bush: It shows that the people are disenchanted with the political leadership and their handling of the economy. I also saw Bob Mulholland say the same thing last night, but was speechless after Brit Hume pressed him. I hope they continue to believe such matters. This is embarrassing.

Iraq, press coverage

Ralph Peters is not amused about the press’ coverage of what is really going on in Iraq. He’s right.

War in the Middle East?

This article, Israel Clears Way to Call Up Army Reservists reports that Israeli will call up their reserves. The reason given is fear of a new and bigger wave of suicide bombers.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel is increasing pressure on Syria to expel the terrorists. Assad of Syria says he will not expel the Palestinians because they have broken no law. Israel reinforces the border with Syria, there are clashes on the border with Lebanon. Assad says he will strike back in the Israeli’s strike Syria, next time. Palestinian Authority spokesmen deny that Arafat has had a heart attack.

All sides deny that they want war. Harold Rood taught us to look for anomalies. This sounds more like a preparation for battle.

Perhaps Schramm could make another prediction.

LA Times Editorial Cartoonist

For a refreshing and edifying look at current events for the past month or so, folks should take a gander at Michael Ramirez’s offerings at his Los Angeles Times
webpage
. Incredibly, given the Times’ political leanings, he’s their feature editorial cartoonist. Although Ramirez gives the valiant Tom McClintock one too many beatings (Sept. 13 & 27), all in all this review of cartoons is at times laugh-out-loud funny (Oct. 3 and Sept. 2) or serious as a heart attack (Sept. 6). Enjoy.

The Pastime

First game of the NLCS, extra innings. A beautiful sport.

McClintock’s fate

Here is John J. Miller at the Corner on McClintock: "So McClintock didn’t win and didn’t spoil--seems he wasn’t even a factor. Will he be in the future? I would have voted for him, but a part of me wishes he had endorsed Arnold last week, if only to maintain his viability within the GOP. I want McClintock to have a political future in California, but I fear that he won’t have much of one now. Some folks have suggested that he run for the Senate against Barbara Boxer next year, but I’ve always thought this would be a mistake. McClintock’s strength is on state budget matters, and a race for office in DC wouldn’t play to that. He’s much more suited for state controller, an office he nearly captured last year. The rap on my man all along has been that he’s not a team player, and there’s plenty of truth to it. His reluctance to play with the team usually has been based on sound principle, but now I’m afraid that he’s going to spend the rest of his political career on the backbench. My guess is we’ve heard the last of him, except as an occasional speaker at right-wing confabs. This saddens me. Is anybody more optimistic?"

Arnold thoughts

Daniel Weintraub writes about the Arnold victory. His points might be a bit prosaic, but I believe they’re true. And Mickey Kause, a liberal, explains why he voted for him. The reason it is worth reading (although there is much here to disagree with) is that there are enough interesting details both about Arnold’s way of thinking and behaving (much of it not complimentary) and how his opponents view him, that begins to open some possibilities. So, in an attempt at a quick response to Stewart’s questions below here is my turn of mind. This is a unique situation; both the recall and Arnold’s victory. Arnold is a new addition to the political equation. His personna, and his political smarts, and the circumstances of the recall, put him in a situation where dramatic political breakthroughs are possible. I think he knows this. Folks use the word realignment too loosely; let’s call it a possible tectonic shift in California, with some serious effects elsewhere. McClintock has contributed to this shift with his serious and thoughtful attacks on the particulars of the Davis administration and his mode of governing. People turned toward him to listen. Liberals ended up praising him. In gaining the kind of intellectual support and, indeed, honor, that McClintock has gained, he will help Arnold to establish a new mode of governance, with an infusion of new people, and new ideas that will be even at first sight well received. The political opening is reflected in the fact that about twenty five percent of Democrats voted for the recall and maybe twenty percent of the votes Arnold got was from Democrats. This is not a small thing. All of it combined is a breakthrough, something new and different. I expect Arnold to try to pull everyone together, not by compromising or trimming, but by acting dramatically in every case that he can. His opponents will be petty towards him and his pirposes and will be seen to be ordinary, and he will always rise above that. If he does that he will create a new political universe in California that will have an effect elsewhere. I think McClintock should help him do that, should work from the inside by generally being supportive and by continuing to be persuasive. Those who simply try to buck Arnold’s new regime (either from the left or right) will end up paying a high price. McClintock and the conservatives should be inclined to work with him, and yet be prepared to persuade him when necessary; but from the inside. Don’t seem petty and don’t carp, and don’t underestimate this guy and don’t underestimate the political opportunity that this situation offers. Those who talk about the upcoming changes in California in simply policy terms will miss the big picture that is being redrawn as I write. And if I were a California Democrat I wouldn’t sleep for six months with worry, and if I were a national Democrat I would be deeply concerned for the future of my party. California will be front page news for six months and how the state GOP handles that honor will have an effect on the political climate and disposition of a nation in a bit of a funk. High drama, this.

An "F" for the FCC?

Apologies for the nature of this post and for diverging from the news dujour, but Fox reported yesterday that the FCC is giving Bono (lead singer of U2) a pass on his use of the "F" word during last January’s Golden Globe Awards. As might have been expected, parent groups and conservative media watchdogs objected and petitioned the FCC to slap Bono’s wrist. But, for rather unsettling reasons, the FCC has ignored their plea, "ruling that Bono used the vulgarity as an adjective or to emphasize an exclamation and that ’the use of specific words, including expletives or other ’four-letter words’ does not render material obscene.’"

Now, I understand that a slip of the tongue may not really merit a stiff penalty, and even that circustances can be taken into account on such things (Bono had just won an award and was expressing his surprise), but what bothers me is the FCC’s rationale. To say that using the "F" word as an adjective or for emphasis makes it an innocuous exclamation and not obscene is just begging for Howard Stern and all the television screenwriters to throw it around as an "adjective."

I once heard a former National Review editor give a speech on the history of the F-word in which he explained that it can be used in a single sentence as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb and, yes, an expletive. So to say that the word is acceptable so long as it’s not used as an expletive or in an offensively "descriptive manner" underestimates the nature of the word itself.

California 54

Not to be forgotten among the balloons and confetti, Proposition 54 "that would have banned the collection of racial information in public education, contracting and employment and would have set aside a portion of the budget for infrastructure repairs," failed yesterday 56% to 43%.

Redux on McClintock

So I’m curious what readers & bloggers think . . . Now that we know Arnold pulled in 47% of the vote and McClintock around 13%, did McClintock advance the conservative cause by not endorsing Arnold last week?

Tricky question. On one hand, McClintock did conservatives a favor by forcing Arnold to mind his right flank until the end of the race. And McClintock kept conservatives from having any responsibility if Arnold & Pete Wilson’s advisers try to raise taxes, or if the Sacramento Dems flay Arnold once he’s in office. On the other hand, Arnold’s margin of victory and McClintock’s low showing will tempt Arnold and Wilson’s advisers to think that the conservatives are irrelevant. And if Arnold blows it, I bet the California Republican Party will get blamed no matter what McClintock & the conservatives say or do.

World Marvels at Schwarzenegger Victory

I’m sure the Dems can take consolation in that headline and, as one elated Austrian put it, in knowing that "Many people in the world - and in America - now know where Styria is." You do know where Styria is, don’t you Gray?

California "in play"

Donald Lambro speculates in the Washington Times this morning (along with everyone else) on how the Governator’s victory will impact Bush’s chances in California next year.

Republican Party strategists said last night that the overwhelming vote to oust Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and the stronger-than-expected vote for the movie-star action hero — now a rising star in the party — will dramatically change the political climate in a state that is the biggest electoral prize in presidential elections.

As one Republican official put it, "Regardless of who wins, we think California is in play for us in 2004."

The vote

L.A. Times has these numbers, with 96% of the votes counted:

Recall: Yes, 54.2%; No, 45.8%

Schwarzenegger, 47.7%, Bustamante, 32.6%, McClintock, 13.2%

The "no" vote on the recall was higher than I expected, by about five points, and Arnold’s victory was larger than I expected, by about three points. And Bustamante got four points more than I expected. So Hayward’s prediction turned out to be closer to the vote by about two points. Alt was also off by only about two points. So I lose.

First Numbers

Here is the Los Angeles Times site, they seem to have more numbers up than anyone else. With 9% of the vote: Recall--Yes, 53.3%, No, 46.7%. Arnold, 50.9%, Buztamante, 31%, McClintock, 12%. (At 11.49 p.m. EST) I’m going home. Sleep well.

Gray Davis said

Daniel Weintraub reports that Davis said the following on Larry King about an hour ago; a statement not exactly brimming with confidence. "The voters have been good to me, electing me twice as governor, allowing me to serve 35 million people. I’m very grateful to them, very grateful for the opportunity to try and move the state forward, and whatever their judgment is tonight, I will accept it." I’m so glad!

A Kindergarten for men

While you are waiting for the polls to close, amuse yourself with this story out of Germany.

German women fed up with their partners’ grumbling on weekend shopping trips can now dump them at a special kindergarten for men offering beer and entertainment.

"The women are issued a receipt for their partners when they hand them in and can pick them up again when they return it to us later," Alexander Stein, manager of the ’Nox Bar’ in the northern city of Hamburg told Reuters on Tuesday.


The men are given a name badge on arrival and for 10 euros (7 pounds) they get two beers, a hot meal, televised football and games.

California returns

When I see Ceci Connelly (the unimpressive) on FOX saying things like the Democrats may be having a tougher time of it than most of us thought they would have....then I know that Drudge is probably close to the truth when he says that exit polls have 59% for the recall and 51% for Arnold (with 30% for Bustamante and 13% for McClintock). We’ll find out in about 20 minutes.

Clark’s Campaign Manager Quits

CNN and others are reporting:


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wesley Clark’s campaign manager quit Tuesday in a dispute over the direction of the Democratic presidential bid, exposing a rift between the former general’s Washington-based advisers and his 3-week-old Arkansas campaign team.

California Dreamin’

Contrary to NLT wisdom, FoxNews reports that

The packed [California] polling places were good news for Democrats, who had predicted and hoped for strong voter turnout because the state’s largely left-leaning electorate would likely help keep Davis in office.


Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres said the high turnout "could be the definite advantage for the governor."

We’ll see about that.

The grandson of the Ayatollah

This is a nice short break between Xenophon, Lincoln (my seminar tonight) and the hurly-burly of the California election. (Other work aside, my phone is ringing off the hook, people are making bets with me, even reporters from Connecticut to California; somebody is going to eat well for the next few months!). Christopher Hitchens writes in Slate about the grandson of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Yup, Hossein Khomeini is the grandson of the Ireanian bad guy, the tyrant. Hossein now lives in Iraq and is a junior cleric. It’s a good read altogether, but note the precious passages wherein he calls the U.S. presence in Iraq a "liberation" and he can’t wait for the U.S. to liberate Iran!

Exit Poll Bleg

I have yet to see any exit polls. If anyone finds early (and seemingly reliable) numbers and could comment on this entry with their location, I would appreciate it.

Do Gun Bans Work?

Last week, the CDC shrugged its shoulders. Here’s the press release and links to the full report.

Firearms Laws


The [CDC] Task Force review of the effects of various laws showed insufficient evidence to conclude whether firearms laws impact rates of violence.


Among the areas under task force review were: bans on specific firearms or ammunition, restrictions on firearm acquisition, waiting periods for firearm acquisition, firearm registration and licensing of firearm owners, “shall issue” concealed weapon carry laws, child access prevention laws, zero tolerance for firearms in schools, and combinations of firearm laws.


A finding of “insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness” means that, based on the current body of literature, the Task Force is unable to determine whether the intervention was effective or not. The task force agreed that additional scientific studies relating to these interventions might help to provide clearer answers.


The task force is a nonfederal panel of health-care and community-based prevention experts supported by the CDC. It directs systematic reviews of scientific research across the entire spectrum of public health issues and makes practice and research recommendations based on its findings.


The full report is available here.

More Predictions

I can’t let Schramm and Hayward have all the fun. Mind you, I am writing later than they did, but I have yet to see any exit polls. I predict that turnout will be high, about 62%. Davis will be recalled by a "Yes" vote of around 58-59%. And Arnold will terminate all-comers, finishing with a comfortable 5-7 point margin on his next closest rival, putting him at 44-45%.

As for the legal challenges, you can count on them, but the margin of victory will make them all but impossible. If Arnold pulls out a 5 point margin of victory, that would translate into a victory margin of about 700,000 votes. Even the wildest punchcard claims don’t suggest that they could pull 700,000 votes out of their hats if given the chance by the courts. And keep in mind that the California Supreme Court was actually fairly reasonable (they refused to even hear the silly punchcard claim). No one can count on the Ninth Circuit to be reasonable, but once again, a large margin of victory pretty much takes it out of their hands. So Arnold will win, and the court challenges will be swept away quickly.

South Carolina Still Birth Conviction Upheld

From the Christian Science Monitor:

WASHINGTON – A South Carolina woman sentenced to 12 years in prison for homicide as a result of suffering a stillbirth has lost a bid to reverse her conviction.


In a one-line order issued Monday, the US Supreme Court let stand a South Carolina Supreme Court decision upholding her conviction for homicide by child abuse. The woman in question had used cocaine during her pregnancy.

Senator Gregg’s Wife Abducted, Released

The networks are reporting that New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg’s wife was robbed and taken from her home at gunpoint and then released.

The Road to Self-Rule in Iraq

A nice op-ed on the making of Iraq’s next constitution by David Brooks, Iraq’s Founding Moments
, updates us on the possibilities and pitfalls of designing a constitution for a war-ravaged, despot-haunted region.

Here are the lead paragraphs:

Imagine if James Madison and the other Founding Fathers had tried to write a constitution while carriages were being blown up on the roads from Boston to Philadelphia. Imagine if, instead of holding their debates in complete secrecy, they had been forced to conduct them in the full glare of the global media. Imagine if they had been forced to write that document while America’s neighbors worked to ensure their failure.

If you can imagine those things, you can begin to understand how difficult it is going to be for Iraqis to write their constitution. And yet, so far, things are going pretty well.

The first vote in California

This is from a reader in California:

A fog settled down in my neck of So Cal in the pre-dawn hours. The polls opened at seven a.m. I got to mine at the local grammar school at 7:01--the place was packed. Unprecedented. Voters streamed like ghosts out of the mist. The dutiful septuagenarian stopped every one of them at the door, asking, "Do you know the line number of your candidate?" Unprecedented. We are all half asleep, the swirling fog makes the school feel like a scene from Blade Runner, no one has ever been asked such a question going into a polling booth, and we’re Californios--so what do we do? We answer! Only some of us think he wants to know the page, so we say, "Page Two!" "No, no," says the old citizen who could have played the sheriff in Much Ado about Nothing, "Not the page, the line number!" "Oh, uh, I forgot my glasses, let me see . . . uh, line 31, I think." "No, you don’t have to tell me. We’re just making sure you’re not confused by the ballot." "Oh." "Page 2, Line 31," says the next one before even being asked. And so on. It turns into a mantra. Citizen ghosts in the fog chanting "Page Two, Line 31!" It takes on a rhythm. People begin to sway in a kind of civic cha-cha-cha. Page 2, Line 31: Ahnold. It’s over. And the fog hasn’t even lifted. Of course the counting of the absentees will go on for weeks, and the Dems are already knocking down the courthouse doors. Never mind. "It has frequently been remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of California to give democracy a whole new meaning." p.s. An old blue hair sashays out of the fog with a freshly minted sweatshirt. On the back: "Grope me for California." Duty calls. Then I disappear in the mist.

The Pastime

Bottom of the ninth. Bases loaded. Two outs. Two strikes. The crowd on its feet. The season on the line.


No matter who you hoped would win last night’s Red Sox-A’s game, you had to love its storybook ending.

Parthenogenesis Explained

For those interested in the particulars of the debate over using "parthenogenesis" technology to create "human" embryos so as to avoid ethical controversy, Nancy Jones of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, has done a commendable job explaining the issue and how we might want to think about it.  

Eco-Activists Exposed

Cato’s Steven Milloy has a nice piece at FoxNews on the real environmentalist agenda and the hypocrisy behind it. 

California Mandates Healthcare

Solidifying California has a bad place to run a business, the soon-departing Governor Davis has signed a bill mandating businesses provide employees with health care coverage. A controversial measure, the law is expected to cost employers an estimated $1300-3500 per employee annually.

The measure "establishes the principle that if you work hard and pay taxes, you should get health care," said Art Pulaski, head of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, a backer of the bill and a supporter of Davis’ effort to survive tomorrow’s recall election.

Yes, I suppose it does establish that principle Mr. Pulaski, but is that a principle California really needs right now? Opponents have rightly noted
"It’s a job-killer bill," said Ron Zappardino, owner of Top of the Cove restaurant in La Jolla and vice president of the California Restaurant Association.


Zappardino said once the bill’s provisions take effect, he will reduce his full-time work force from 65 to 50 to avoid having to pay the fee imposed under the legislation. He expects other restaurants to do the same thing.

Here’s the full article.

Helping Hayward

I’m glad to see that Hayward is on board. I know he has his own good sources, and even The Field Poll agrees with him. The Field Poll estimates a 30% increase in voter turnout over the 2002 election. This is huge, it would be about 65%, nearing the 70% for the 2000 presidential election, and certainly larger than other non-presidential vote in state history.

Revised Prediction

Without withdrawing a scintilla of my attack on Peter’s prognosticating abilities, I should like to revise my predictions upward a little bit toward his. (Note: the polls are not yet open as of this writing.) Conversations with sources in California last night indicate a very large turnout is expected. This can only mean one thing: A recall/Arnold blowout. (70% aren’t going to turn out to vote for Bustamante.)

So: I now say, Recall 57%; Arnold, 44%.

Someone mathematicaly inclined (that also wouldn’t be Peter) should set up a point-spread betting line on all of this.

California prediction & Hayward’s attack

It’s early in the morning, and I am about to go into my freshman class and talk about Xenophon’s "The Education of Cyrus." You know, how to do good for your friends, and how to lie, cheat, and in general be a dissembler against your enemies. Hayward not only works for AEI (what is that?) but he’s a historian. What does he know about elections? I have a union card in politics, I know these things. I have a right to guess and my guesses have my profession’s stamp on them. Therefore, Hayward can’t be right. I’ll take any bets.

Take Peter’s Bet!

Peter has been gone from California a long time. Also, I recall some past Peter predictions:

1) Mike Antonivich would win the 1986 GOP Senate primary. (He finished a distant third or fourth, almost in single digits, as I recall).

Reagan would get 62% of the vote in 1984. (Not too far off: he got 59%).

Wasn’t there a Bush landslide in 2000 predicted? I can’t recall. Anyway, to all you Ashbrookians, take Peter’s money, I say.

My prediction: recall and Arnold win, but by narrower margins. I’ll say 54% for recall; 38% for Arnold.

Bush asserts Israel’s right to self defense

The President did not beat up on Israel for going into Syria.

California Prediction II

I am reminding you of the prediction I made yesterday on the California recall election. I still hold to it. In short: Davis loses the recall by circa 20-25 points! "Yes" will be about 60-63%, and "no" will be 37%, no higher than 40%! Arnold will win with circa 40-45%, Bustamante will get around 28% and McClintock will get 15%. I know that I could put up some safer numbers, but that would be no fun now, would it? Daniel Weintraub has a few good paragraphs explaining why the polls may well underestimate Arnold’s percentage. He says that perhaps ten percent of the people who will vote "no" on the recall will not vote on the second part of the ballot. That would be an amazing advantage for Arnold. Anyway, I’m going with my hand. I’m not folding. I’m right. I’ve put a few bucks aside for the lunch bets that I’ve already made....I’ll take all takers on this. Bet me, I dare you.

An irresistable footnote to all this; a sort of poetic rendition of the truth. A San Francisco paper reports on the campaign, and in the middle of the story, there is an aside about a woman who pulls out a bumber sticker that reads: "I’d rather be groped by Arnold than screwed by Gray Davis."

Around the world

Here is an AP report on the chaos that is (still) Somalia. An Italian aid worker was
killed
in Somalia. She had been there for thirty years treating tuberculosis patients.

This New York Times piece explains why Dubai is the focus of terrorist financing.Liberia is not yet quite peaceful.Brazil is bombing the landing strips Columbian drug trafficers use. Russia’s man wins the election in Chechneya; many consider it a farce. A Sunni leader, not exactly a good guy, is gunned down in Pakistan.

News from Iraq

This foreign service officer, in charge of the multi-billion reconstruction effort in Iraq, is home on leave for a few weeks in Texas. He is very surprised by the negative reporting he sees. "There’s just an incredible amount of productive stuff going on over there, with a lot of Iraqi participation," he said. "To come here and see it portrayed as a failure in the making -- it’s very superficial and inaccurate." (thanks to Instapundit)

No Left Turns Mug Drawing Winners for September

Congratulations to this month’s winners of a No Left Turns mug! The winners are as follows:

Sean Cain

Vickie Dunn

Mike McFall

Shay Williams

Deanna Ducher

Thanks to all who entered. An email has been sent to the winners. If you are listed as a winner and did not receive an email, contact Ben Kunkel. If you didn’t win this month, enter October’s drawing.

Life in Baghdad

The Washington Post ran this on Sunday. It seems a much fairer assesment than the norm about how life has changed in Baghdad for the better.

Jacuzzis and a college education?

The New York Times runs this story very much worth reading called "Jacuzzi U.? A Battle of Perks to Lure Students." Colleges and universities are spending a great deal of money--often getting into more debt than they should--to make life more pleasant, indeed, luxurious, for their students. They are building lavish student centers, recreation centers with hot tubs and water falls and pool slides, because that’s what the students expect. They want luxuries, say the administrators, and we have to provide it for them in this competative environment, else we lose students. In the meantime, student fees and tuition continue to rise. What does this have to do with those of us who focus on a serious education instead of this hoopla? Well, I think there are plenty of students--and I wager that the numbers are growing--who are more and more interested, perhaps even demand, a real education for their money. We should focus on those students, give them their money’s worth, and
let these matters of luxury be juxtaposed to the real value and purpose of higher education. I do not doubt who will win that argument. Those of us in this sport (I include the real students here) know the difference between the real purpose of education, and it’s material condition. It would make me feel better if there were some administrators quoted in the article who used this great race toward luxury as a means to entice students to come to their college and then teach them something of value. Sure, go ahead and use the jacuzzi, use the climbing wall, hit a couple of golf balls, even get a massage because it might make you more able to wrap your mind around Aristotle or Shakespeare or Madison or physics or chemistry; in short, allow you to contemplate in true comfort the nobility and baseness of human nature. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone said something like that?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could justly say to a potential student: This place has furnished us with minds and books, and the more we study them the more they talk to us, this is a place of words and more words, a place where we study the cause and why and wherefore in all things. And we don’t ignore the beautiful. And it is made comfortable for you so that you might do it in leisure, as did prosperous ladies and gentlemen of long ago. Take advantage of it, or you will regret it.

Bobby Jindal in Lousiana

Bobby Jindal, the young conservative Republican, received 33% of the vote in Lousiana (his closest opponent got 18%). The runoff is in November. The Times-Picayune has a few paragraphs on his background: son of Indian immigrants, former Rhodes Scholar, president of the University of Louisiana system at age 27, etc. Very impressive. Worth watching.

California wrap and prediction

Daniel Weintraub recounts the origin of the recall movement against Davis, writes a few very clear paragraphs on why the voters mistrust and dislike him, and explains why it is a race between Davis and Arnold. In order for Davis to win, he has to get over 50% of the vote on the first ballot. Davis can’t do that (he only won 47% last November). He’ll be lucky to get 37% of the vote. So the only question is how many votes will Arnold get? Will Arnold get above 40%? Yes, and he might go as high as 45% (I assume Bustamante will get no more than 28% and McClintock no more than %15).

And this will happen despite the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in registration (43.7% to 35.3%). Yet, almost 40,000 more Californians registered as Republicans than Democrats during the heart of the recall campaign, according to figures released by the Secretary of State’s Office. This shows that intensity and turnout are on the side of the anti-Davis forces; voter turnout will be much higher than the 50.6% that voted last year. The question is, will it rise to the 71% of registered voters who voted in the 2000 presidential election. The higher the turnout, the worse for Davis, in my opinion. Davis has not succeeded in persuading Democrats to come out and vote for him, and it is estimates that 25% of Demos who vote will vote to recall Davis. Even this Los Angeles Times story recognizes the insurmountable obstacle that Davis needed to overcome, but, of course, couldn’t. That obstacle is himself. He couldn’t give himself either a character or a personality makeover. Read into this article to get a good sense of the Al-Gore-like-wooden-and-all-too-boring-and-arrogant Davis speaking to a group of Hispanics, and hear his words land with a dull thud. Hasta la vista, baby.

Manufacturing decline?

This article in the London based The Economist notes that much is being made of the decline of manufacturing jobs in the industrial countries. It is a big deal in Europe, but an even bigger issue in the U.S. There is a lot of jawboning going on. Something should be done, especially about China. The Economist claims that this doesn’t square with the facts. Many things have to be considered, including efficiency: U.S. manufacturing has doubled in the last thirty years. This testimony before the Senate Finance Committee by the Hoover Institution economist Robert E. Hall speaks to the issue by recounting the evolution of U.S. manufacturing. I am not claiming to understand all this, but I am paying attention.

Revolutionary Frenchman

George Will has a well crafted column on Bernard-Henry Levy and his new bookWho Killed Daniel Pearl? It’s theme turns out to be larger. 

Steyn on California

Mark Steyn’s observations on the California election, especially on the media coverage. True and fun. 

Iraqi success story

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a nice story on what is going on in Kirkuk, Iraq. "When they realized that the newly trained local police force desperately needed walkie-talkies, the U.S. troops who patrol Iraq’s fourth-largest city didn’t wait for civilian bureaucrats to buy them, as have their Baghdad counterparts.

The soldiers in Kirkuk found a dealer and ordered the radios with their emergency funds. They did the same with weapons, vehicles and office furniture."
 

Dennis Miller interview

American Enterprise On Line has a great interview with Dennis Miller. There are too many good and amusing lines in it for me to pick one. Read the whole thing.  

Arnold notes

Here is the New York Times story clarifying that Arnold was misquoted. It’s short, read it for yourself. Instead of saying he admired Hitler for what he did, Arnold said "But I didn’t admire him for what he did with it." The so-called author responsible for the misquote says: "I am amazed that something like that escaped me." Right. And thanks for the
New York Times for not checking the source. And this BBC report on the California bruhaha notes how Arnold chased Nazis in Graz, according to a news report filed a month ago. The
AP
has more on the same issue. Also short. And the Survey USA Poll (PDF file) finds that the vast majority of Californians accept Arnold’s apology on the groping issue, and 58% think that those revelations are an attempt to smear him. The AP reports that the TV networks are all making a big-deal out of the California election and have set up shop in the state.

Ted Kennedy To Receive George Bush Award

Here’s a reminder why the first President Bush was a one termer.

"The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation today announced that United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy would receive the 2003 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service at a dinner ceremony held at the Bush Library Center on the Texas A&M campus on November 7." Here’s the whole report.

The Interim Progress Report on Iraqi WMDs

Was it too early for an “Interim Progress Report” from the group searching for WMDs in Iraq? The statement made yesterday by David Kay, the director of the Iraq Survey Group, comes after three months on the job. I don’t know whether he was required to make this report, but it might seem that three months is a long time to be searching a small country like Iraq and that surely we now have a pretty good idea of what is there. I just finished reading the statement and the truth is quite otherwise. Overall, the report is notable for its extreme caution. While admitting that no stocks of illegal weapons have been found, it concludes that we can’t say yet whether or not such weapons exist now or existed before the war; what we do know for sure is that there is plenty of evidence that Saddam intended to maintain a WMD program.

What is really interesting, though, are the problems in the search for WMD. First off, if your idea of what they are looking for is something big and distinctive, like a Soviet missile, a Wal-Mart store, or even a locomotive engine, you have the wrong idea. What Kay is looking for is small, the kind of thing that can be hidden in a scientist’s back yard or concealed in spaces “not much larger than a two car garage.” The things we are looking for, Kay says, are “difficult to near impossible to identify with normal search procedures.” It is going to take a lot longer than three months to get to the bottom here.

Besides that, Kay reveals that the Bathists went to great lengths to disperse and conceal their weapons programs. Indeed, his team has already “discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment” that Iraq successfully concealed from UN inspectors in 2002. Dozens! And then, leading up to, during, and even after the war, there is evidence of a systematic plan to destroy material and records relating to weapons programs. Again, Kay’s team has been able to examine only 10 of the 130 known Iraqi “Ammunition Storage Points, many of which exceed 50 square miles in size”. In other words, only 7% of the most obvious known sites have even been examined. Still again, the report suggests that some of the Iraqi scientists who might be willing to cooperate with the search team are holding back for fear of exposing themselves to war crimes prosecutions. And finally, as American inspectors go about their business the remnants of Saddam’s regime are shooting at them. In September alone, they were attacked three times, most recently on the 24th, when their Baghdad headquarters came under mortar attack. For all these reasons, I’d say that the “Interim Report” is more like a “Very Preliminary Report”. It is possible, even probable that Saddam destroyed or moved the most incriminating evidence, but there is an awful lot more work to be done before we can conclude that Iraq had no illicit weapons.

Rushing to judgment

Robert Alt, who among my many good and noble friends has more courage and wit than a couple of us combined (plus he can write!) gives us his opinion of the Rush-as-racist tempest. Read it.   

More on the Schwarzenegger Surprise

Anyone scandalized by the allegations in the Los Angeles Times regarding Arnold has probably never been involved in show business. If they were, they would realize that the atmosphere of even a high school drama or local theater rehearsal--let alone a Hollywood movie set--is a far cry from that which exists in the average office. The art of performance is an emotionally intense experience, and capable of generating behavior that would be far less acceptable in ordinary circumstances. Those old stories about the immorality of "show business folk," going back at least to the Elizabethan era, stem from this, I would argue. I have seen this sort of behavior personally in virtually every theater production in which I have been involved--going back to my Catholic high school drama club.

All of this is not necessarily to defend Schwarzenegger (although I would rather see him as governor than either Davis or Bustamante), but merely to try to put his behavior into some kind of perspective. He may well be a cad, but I have seen even people with otherwise high moral standards behave, in the context of the stage, in ways that would be shocking to those who have never been in such an environment.

Bad news morning?

This is my last blog for today. Nothing but meetings. I was busy all day and into the evening yesterday, got home, turned on the tube and everybody was talking about Arnold being a Nazi and Rush being a dope addict (yesterday he was proven to be a racist). And this was just after Arnold was responding to accusations of having behaved badly with some women on some movie set or another I don’t know how many years ago? And all this seemed to go on through this morning, as well. And there are long and serious interviews with Governor Davis where he is waxing philosophic and hardly partisan about these issues. He was being interviewed as if he were a professor of ethics and the case he was being asked to pontificate on was one in which he had no personal interest (I think it was CNN). What can one say about all this? Can these things be true? Or, is it possible that the establishment press and media has turned into the old fashioned partisan press of two hundred years ago? Accuse everyone and anyone of anything, and make sure the timing is right. Lord, what fools these mortals be. Do they think that the American people are so stupid that they don’t see through this stuff? What should this sort of so-called journalism be called? It has to have a name. And then there is an election on Tuesday...

Schwarzenegger Defense from an Unlikely Source

Susan Estrich, of all people, has come forward with an attack on the harassment allegations against Arnold. As she points out, none of the women mentioned in the Los Angeles Times story ever came forward before, to accuse him of a crime, or even to complain about the way he had behaved toward them. The newspaper, it seems, went looking for them, not vice versa.

Redux on McClintock Bowing Out

NLT is not the only website with a lively in-house debate about how McClintock should behave in the last week heading up to the election. On NRO, Arnold Steinberg and Wesley Smith are having an argument similar to the one Peter and I were having here with Steve Hayward and John Eastman a couple of days ago. (Smith’s piece is posted on the NRO Corner, on Wed. the 1st, so you’ll need to scroll down.)

Wesley Smith’s take is to say that McClintock is positioning himself for statewide office, e.g. like running against Barbara Boxer in 2004. He knows he’s not going to win the recall, but he’s using his message and the free media to build toward next year or thereafter. Even though he is not conceding to or endorsing Arnold, Smith argues, McClintock has taken the high road by not speaking ill of Arnold. This is not an unreasonable interpretation of events. The obvious questions are: Could McClintock earn more gratitude -- and reciprocity for 2004 -- from nonconservative Republicans by conceding to Arnold to cement a victory now? On the other hand, how much does McClintock protect his fortunes and those of California’s conservatives against Arnold’s being a disaster of a governor by not endorsing Arnold?

More Bad News Out of North Korea

North Korea claims it has developed atomic weapons.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea said Thursday it is using plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel rods to make atomic weapons, a move that could escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula and raise the stakes in Pyongyang’s standoff with the United States.

House Passes Partial Birth Ban

Fox News reports "[t]he bill, passed 281-142, could be taken up by the Senate as early as Friday." Should it ever be signed into law, an immediate court challenge has been promised.

Limbaugh Facing Drug Allegations

Fox News is now reporting that after resigning from ESPN yesterday, Rush Limbaugh now faces allegations that he has "illegally obtained and abused prescription painkillers in Florida."

The Wilson tempest

The Washington Post and the other suspect elite media are on top of this non-story. They smell scandal, and they mean to have one. This guy Wilson is all over television going on about I-don’t-know-what. But he wants some satisfaction; this foreign policy advisor and contributor to Kerry’s campaign, this intellectual snob, this self-serving chest thumper, does want satisfaction. Is there anyone who has seen this guy for more than two minutes think that he is a straight shooter, that he is really concerned about his third trophy-wife’s well being, that he is really concerned about national security, etc.? Well, I don’t. I think all this is a phony storm, nothing interesting will be discovered, and the investigation will go on and on, the President will be blamed more and more, and there will be no clarity, the so called scandal will just hang in the air.(Why doesn’t he conduct his own internal investigation? Why doesn’t he fire someone already? The justice department can’t really do it right, so maybe we ought to have an independent counsel, and so on.) But it will have served a nicely partisan, albeit temporary purpose by creating the appearance of a scandal; run with it and see what mischief you can cause. This White House is not scandal ridden enough, let’s get something going already! Maybe we can get Karl Rove in the process; and since he is the boy-genious behind all of Bush’s electoral victories, if he is thrown out, maybe we have a chance to win in 2004! If there turn out to be facts in this matter that differ from this I will change my mind. For now, I am settled on this opinion. Here is Robert Novak’s recent take on all this, since he is the one being held responsible for saying that it was a leak back in July. This stinks.

WMD Discovered

The Associated Press is reporting that Kuwaiti security authorities foiled an attempt to smuggle $60 million worth of chemical and biological warheads from Iraq to an unnamed European country. Hans Blix, who in recent days has reaffirmed his belief that no WMD would ever be found, may now take a bow: his prescience is as honed as his inspection skills. Members of the media and the Democratic flacks who called Bush a liar for the past 6 months should begin to compose their heartfeld apologies, which I am sure will include the words "but this doesn’t change anything."

Of course, this would require the story to get some coverage. Right now, I have only seen it once, and it seems to be far behind Rush-bashing in the news cycle. My sense is that it will be treated like the first day of the war: Saddam fired something like a dozen SCUD missiles--you know, the very missiles that he was not supposed to have and that Hans Blix never found. Yet despite this clear violation of UN directives, and despite this evidence that the inspectors failed to find all his weapons, the SCUD story received very little if any coverage. Oh well, I guess it is not as exciting as making flimsy claims against Rush.

Clark Not Registered

The Washington Times reports this morning that General Clark isn’t even a registered Democrat, "but that the paperwork to change his registration ’has been sitting on his desk for the last couple of weeks.’"

Show Me the Money

The Hill reports:

The Republican National Committee revealed yesterday that it has already socked away $27 million in the bank so far this year, a sum that could dampen Democratic hopes of retaking the White House next year.


That total is triple the$9 million that Democratic National Committee officials have reported saving in the first nine months of the year.


***


For the year as a whole, the RNC has raised roughly $77 million and the DNC has raised close to $31 million.

George Will on WMD

George Will writes with perfect clarity about how, on the hand, government is not an instrument of precision, and, on the other, how it must occasionally have to say--including possibly regarding the WMD in Iraq--we were wrong. He thinks everyone would understand and that it would be better for everyone concerned (including future government policy) than the kind of dancing the Bush administration has been doing.

Arnold’s agenda

The Sacramento Bee offers a brief report on a speech Arnold gave on Wednesday (with Simon, Riordan, and Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte at his side) in which he outlined what he will do during the first hundred days as governor. "On his first day in office, he said, he would repeal the tripling of the state car tax then move to have the state budget audited and call a special session of the Legislature to enact spending cuts.
He also intends to seek a percentage of Indian gaming revenue and renegotiate state employee union contracts."

Daniel Weintraub has a few useful thoughts on this. He thinks that it is probable that Arnold could do most of what he wants to do: repeal the recent increase in car tax, freeze spending, and call a special session of the state legislature to make spending cuts in the current budget. He also wants to negotiate new compacts with the casino tribes, and new contracts with state employees. Weintraub covers the rest. Then he asks, "But can he succeed? I think he can. Just as Schwarzenegger has rewritten the rules of political campaigning, if he wins, he will be able to re-write the rules of governing. He would do this because he would have an ability that the Legislature does not have and that most governors before him have not been able to master: the ability to communicate directly with the people of California."

Arnold and Women, LA. Times

Surprise! A front page story in this morning’sLos Angeles Times on Arnold. "Six women who came into contact with Arnold Schwarzenegger on movie sets, in studio offices and in other settings over the last three decades say he touched them in a sexual manner without their consent." I know I am not the only person who thinks that this is low-ball politics in the guise of reporting. Four of the six women are anonymous, and the L.A. Times sought them all out, not one of them came forth to lodge a complaint at any time! There is probably more to come from similar anti-Arnold sources. All nicely timed to appear just a few days before the election. I can’t help thinking that they waited to use it until it was clear to them that Arnold is likely to win. He still will.

Faltering France

The International Herald Tribune runs this article on the decline of France. Especially the French intellectuals, it argues, are becoming resigned to the fact that their leadership--even within Europe--is not particularly wanted; this news is becoming acknowledged by the French elite.
"At its most hurtful and remarkable, and yet perhaps its most honest, there is the start of acceptance by segments of the French intellectual community that French leadership, as it is constituted now, is not something Europe wants - or France merits." Revealing and thoughtful. (via Instapundit)

Do students have too much homework?

This report on a Brookings study on the amount of homework students are assigned in primary and secondary schools makes clear what parents already know. It is light, less than one hour a day.

"High school students have an extraordinarily light homework load when compared with international peers, according to the Brookings study, citing a 1995-96 math and science survey. Among students in their final year of public schooling, those in France, Italy, Russia and South Africa reported spending at least twice as much time on homework as American students."

Here is the whole report from the Brookings Institution. (PDF file)

Poll numbers

Jill Stewart talks about how misleading numbers and polls can be. She references California, and the LA Times especially. Helpful. By the way, she mentions in passing that Californians have tried to recall a governor 31 times(!) without success.

Profile of Wilson

Here is the WaPo profile of Joseph C. Wilson, the one making all the accusations against the Bush administartion. You be the judge of who this guy is, and what his motives might be.

The Obvious: It’s Karl Rove

In case you hadn’t noticed, the latest media frenzy in D.C. has no other object than decapitating Karl Rove and thus the Bush Presidency. Some times the obvious has to be said, the Wall St. Journal says it here .

Here’s an excerpt: "We’ve been knocking our heads trying to figure out how a minor and well-known story about an alleged CIA "outing" has suddenly blossomed into a Beltway scandal-ette. The light bulb went off reading Monday’s White House press briefing.

Right out of the box, Helen Thomas asked if "the President tried to find out who outed the CIA agent? And has he fired anyone in the White House yet?" OK, the point of this exercise is to get President Bush to fire someone. But whom? That answer became clear when the press corps quickly uttered, and kept uttering for nearly an hour, the name "Karl Rove."

Of course!"

Isn’t that the politics of personal destruction?

Partial Birth Abortion 2

Augmenting Dr. Craig’s earlier post on the federal partial birth ban, The Detroit News reports that the Michigan legislature has sent its own partial birth ban to the governor. Incidentally, the ban passed the House with the exact number of votes necessary to override a veto, while the Senate was one vote shy of veto-override. Notably,

The bill would create the "Legal Birth Definition Act." It would define the moment a person is legally born as being when any part of a fetus is expelled from a woman’s body.

The state’s Democratic governor has not yet promised a veto, and I dare say that the override margins make this a trickier decision for her.

Corner Post on "Return"

I had planned to cross-blog my Corner comment on Return of the King here at No Left Turns after it was safely up, but Peter beat me to it. Here it is anyway, for dedicated NLT readers without time to get over to The Corner:

How can you preview a movie that is being released three months from now? When it’s the third installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Return of the King . The two-and-a half-minute trailer for "King" was released on Monday (see here), and although this is not much to go by, it offers hints that the last installment will get the big things right.

I have written previously (see here ) that the filmmakers have managed the rare feat of improving some aspects of Tolkien’s moral vision. One of the things that sets apart Tolkien’s great book from other recent so-called epics was the prominence of the tragic cost associated with the victory over Sauron’s evil. Contrast this with the treacly ending of the first Star Wars trilogy and you’ll see what I mean. The text messages in the trailer for King read: “There is no triumph without loss; No victory without suffering; No freedom without sacrifice.”

Near the end of the story Aragorn and Gandalf lead a last-ditch attack on Mordor with an inferior force that knows it marches to its death—a diversion they hope will aid Frodo’s chances of destroying the ring. In the book, Gandalf has a long parley with a senior captain of Sauron’s forces before the battle begins. It wouldn’t work very well on film, and it appears from the trailer that the filmmakers have substituted an original speech (that is, not from the book) from Aragorn in place of Gandalf’s parley that reminds of nothing so much as the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V: “A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. This day—we fight!”

Okay, maybe not as lyrical as Shakespeare, but both fictional scenes recall a real moment from the not-too-distant past: Churchill’s “choking in our own blood” speech on May 28, 1940. Not yet three weeks in office, Churchill was facing intense pressure from the appeasers still in his war cabinet (Halifax and Chamberlain) to seek terms from Hitler. Churchill put them down once and for all with a speech to the entire cabinet that ended as follows: “If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.” (Churchill’s deed didn’t become publicly known until after the war. The whole story is told in John Lukacs’ superb book Five Days in London, May 1940, from Yale University Press.) The point is: moral fiction does reflect reality at moments of great clarity.

Return of the King opens December 17. See you in the theater.

Return of the King

Steve Hayward at The Corner has a few great paragraphs on Return of the Ring, the third installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Hayward thinks that the films actually improves Tolkien’s moral vision. Good stuff, even on Churchill. It will be in theatres December 17th.

Response to John Moser

John Moser’s comment below needs to be taken seriously, of course. Actually more could be added. For example, I am against the recall (and referendum and initiative) as a matter of principle. These are additions to constitutional structures (or, representative democracy) stemming from the Progressive movements, as we know. (Heck, I’m even against the direct election of Senators, never mind the progressive income tax). Senator Kennedy said about a week ago, "This is too much democracy!" I agree. But, here we are, so in 1978 I voted for Proposition 13 in California.
And if I lived in California now I would vote for recalling Davis and for Arnold (not McClintock only because I don’t think he can win.) Will the recall be now used over and over again? Probably not, in my opinion. The recall has been attempted before for more ordinary partisan reasons (against then governor Reagan, as I recollect) and it never got enough signatures. If we go into such a "mobocratic" mode, time and again, we should oppose it, and try to change the system back to a more constitutional mode. That, of course, would take some doing because we would have to make the case that the people have too much power; a hard argument to make to the people. (And also that the political elites, via the constitutional structure, can be trusted; tough sell.) It goes without saying that the twist in all this is that these progressive modes (Referendum, initiative, recall) have been used against the liberal-progressive elites because they have strayed too far from the views and sentiments of the people. They stopped listening to the people (they have lost the trust of the citizens) and the citizens got a bit angry. So the liberal-progressive bunch are now against it because a kind of accountability is being forced on them that they don’t like. Well, on the one hand, let them suffer, on the other hand, it would be good to revert to the old and good and constitutional ways.

Distorting Bush’s EPA Record

Jonathan Adler has a fine piece at NRO on how the president’s critics distort the EPA’s regulatory reforms.
 

Searching for Solomon

The BBC reports on the two British women who each challenged Britain’s embryo law requiring which says "both parties must consent to the storage and use of embryos at every stage of the IVF process." In both of the High Court cases, the women wanted to implant their embryos and birth a child, while their male partners wanted the embryos destroyed. The High Court ruled that under British law the embryos must be destroyed.


This is an interesting spin on an anti-abortion strategy often proposed in the States. Anti-abortion advocates have suggested that because the father has just as much interest in the fetus as the mother, both parties must consent before the fetus can be destroyed. Of course, that’s not how it works here or in England, but it’s been argued. As the women note,

if they had fallen pregnant naturally, and then split up with their partners, the men would have no say over whether or not they could have their babies.

But oddly enough, in the case of embryos, even if the mother wants to have the child, the father’s interest in not procreating trumps the interests of both the mother and the child. Giving men a final say, it seems, will not always save the embryo from King Solomon’s sword.

Skepticism on the Recall

In the midst of the rejoicing over Davis’s apparently imminent political demise, and the debate over whether or not McClintock ought to withdraw, I wonder if an important point is being missed. The recall is, from a constitutional standpoint, a nightmare, and now that Republicans have let the genie out of the bottle, they might not like what it will do next. Assuming the polls are good predictors, Arnold Schwarzenegger is likely to be elected governor by a minority of the electorate. Would it not be reasonable to assume that some wealthy Democrat will immediately launch a campaign to recall him as well? As long as the political atmosphere remains so toxic--not only in California but nationally--I fear it may be quite some time before a governor in the Golden State will be allowed to serve a full term.

California Recall

The new L.A. Times Poll makes it more or less official: "A solid majority of likely voters favors removing Gov. Gray Davis from office in the recall election Tuesday, and Arnold Schwarzenegger has surged ahead of his rivals in the race to succeed him, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll.

By 56% to 42%, likely voters support ousting the Democratic incumbent, a sign that Davis has lost ground in the closing phase of his battle for political survival. Support for Davis has slipped among key parts of his political base — Democrats, women, moderates and liberals among them — since the last Times poll in early September found 50% for the recall and 47% against it."

"The shift in voter support toward Schwarzenegger is dramatic: Since the last Times poll, he has made double-digit gains among Republicans, independents, whites, senior citizens, women and other major voting blocs. The early September poll had Bustamante in the lead with 30%, followed by Schwarzenegger at 25% and McClintock at 18%. Bustamante had also led Schwarzenegger in an August poll, 35% to 22%."

There is a great amount of scrambling by the Demos in California, as you can imagine. Huffington drops out, now supports Davis (she had half of one percent in the poll). McAuliffe was visiting and blathered on yesterday, and a Clinton radio ad against the recall vote was aired; it is rumored that he’ll back to the state to try to help Davis. And Clark is there today. There are rumors that maybe Bustamante ought to drop out (he has kind of disappeared, by the way), that way Davis can pretend to be running against Arnold. Note that Latinos back the recall 50-47 percent, and 37 percent will vote for Arnold or McClintock. It goes on. Dying campaigns are kind of pathetic. Arnold’s victory will be a shock to the Democrats, and not only in California. What happens after that is not predictable, but it can’t be worse than Davis. Clearly, that’s what the voters are saying. The anger is real, the revolt against the arrogant elite has arrived.

Graph on deaths in Iraq

Samizdata has an interesting graph up on the coalition military deaths by month. There is also a good link to a chart detailing each death, both by accident and in combat. Very instructive, clearly a disconnect between what’s happening on the ground and what the elite media is reporting. (via Andrew Sullivan)