Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Brzezinski’s view

Zbigniew Brzezinski , Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, writes a lengthy op-ed in the International Herald Tribune (originally given as a talk to a group of Democrats) outlining what he thinks the problem is with American foreign policy. The day’s been long, and I think I would rather read into Lincoln some more rather than respond at length to Zbig, but I will say this: The shape of the Democratic foreign policy mode is beginning to take shape. It goes something like this: The Republicans are articulating a "paranoiac view of the world." They are not interested in making friends, they would rather make war on anyone for the flimsiest reasons; they are overthrowing old alliances; they are only interested in making war on terrorism (which he finds hard to define and understand); this is an extremist vision of the United States, and we are, so this view goes, apparently interested in overthrowing our idealistic traditions. Oh yeah, and one more thing: we don’t understand what is going on abroad. O.K., I’m beginning to get it. Does this begin to sound familiar, this disposition? Look up some of the stories from the late 1970’s, with Carter’s so called human rights policy in full throttle, our inordinate fear of Communism, etc., and see how it compares. At least back then, it could be argues, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan may have had an effect on Carter. Did 9/11 have any effect on the Democrats?

Advice to Demos: forget about the South

Democrats should forget about the South, writes Thomas F. Schaller in the WaPo.

"The first rule of electoral politics is: Don’t Try to Win the Last Election. Why, then, do some Democrats seem bent on reviving a disintegrated New Deal coalition in order to replay, and somehow win, the 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1988 elections all at once? The bitter truth is that the Florida recount was the Democrats’ last stand in the South for the foreseeable future. Gore capitulated at the vice president’s residence in Washington. Appomattox would have been the more fitting location."

Of course, everything he says is arguable, yet, it’s interesting, and, you can learn a lot from the essay. If the Demos really gave up the South, they would have to win something like the equivalent of an inside straight to win a presidential race. That would mean working the South-West seriously, plus the mid-West, especially Ohio, and also not losing any more of the Hispanic vote. I don’t think any of that likely, at least for 2004.  

Media coverage of Afghanistan and Iraq

Powerline runs an interesting letter from a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Here is an interesting paragraph, but do read the rest.

"I would like to make one more observation if I may. Since I have been in Afghanistan, I would say that, on average, I know of about one U.S. or coalition soldier getting killed every week. However, I see almost no news reports on these deaths - and my wife at home does not either. My point is that per capita (with 10 - 15k soldiers in country), we are taking as many, or more hits than Iraq, yet no press coverage. Given this fact, it seems to me that the mainstream media are controlling public opinion by which information they cover. The liberals have a difficult time saying they are against the war in Afghanistan, but can oppose Iraq because the decision to attack wasn’t as clearly obvious - thus only report the bad stuff in Iraq - at least this is my take."

Cure for diabetes?

This is very interesting, but probably comes too late to save my father: "A cure for insulin-dependent diabetes may be in sight after United States scientists not only halted the disease in mice, but reversed it.

Planned patient trials could lead to a cure for the disorder, scientists say.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said they had reversed the disease in mice by injecting them with spleen cells from healthy animals."

Keith Richards

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones as a conservative, Christian, nice guy? I guess anything is possible, especially if the turn has to do with a good woman, his wife.

Chart on how things are going in Iraq

Michael O’Hanlon and Adriana Lins de Albuquerque (of the Brookings Institution) have an interesting chart (Iraqis detained, allies killed, numbers of Iraqi security forces, electrocity, etc.) that addresses the question, "How are things really going in Iraq?" A few paragraphs of text are included. The authors are guardedly optimistic. Useful. 

Louisiana goverenor’s race

Here is the Secreteray of State site for the official results on today’s election in Lousiana. The polls close at 8 p.m. Central.

Electoral map

There is a useful (and easy to use) electoral map on John Edward’s web site. It’s worth a look. Handy. Be sure to click on the bar that says "View Electoral Trends", just below the map. You get a clear look (color coded) which states have voted Democrat or Republican in the last three presidential elections; then move your mouse on individual states for some useful stats. For example, if you place your mouse on New Mexico you will see that it has 5 electoral votes and also that it has voted Democratic since 1988 and that Gore won the state by 366 votes in 2000, i.e., a margin of 0.13%. 

Hanging corpse or sculpture?

This story is out of Budapest. I quote the story in full: " Police on Friday removed the corpse of a man believed to have hanged himself at least a year ago after builders and students at Budapest’s University of Arts had initially mistaken it for a modern sculpture.

The body hung for a whole day in a garden building that had been re-opened for repairs before onlookers realized what it was and called the police, local media said.

The building, in campus grounds crowded with different types of sculpture, had been closed five years ago pending reconstruction work."

Umm Qasr’s reconstruction

Here is a promising report on the reconstruction of the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, Iraq’s primary portal to the Persian Gulf. This is a very impressive engineering project, run by Bechtel and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

Jessice Lynch and women in combat

Elaine Donnelly uses the Jessica Lynch story to argue against women in combat, and lays much of the blame on the Clinton administration. While I am inclined to agree with Donnelly, Phil Carter doesn’t let her get away with anything, either her general point, or her facts. In doing this he explains briefly (and as clearly as I have ever seen) what happened to the 507th Maintianence Company and how the Company Commander made some very grave mistakes. There are some good links in Carter’s article that are worth looking at, including the Army’ After Action Review.

P.J. O’Rourke on Iraq

This is an interview with P.J. O’Rourke in The Atlantic. O’Rourke covers the war for both The Atlantic and ABC Radio and his piece on Kuwait and Iraq will appear in the December issue. He covers what he calls the "backside" of the war, and he is perceptive and amusing. But after Michael Kelly’s death, he replaced him as an embedded reporter with the 3rd Infantry Division, and saw things he didn’t expect to see and didn’t sign on for. The interview is broad-ranging and often very funny. 

Here is P.J.’s response to this question, "In your last interview for The Atlantic you mentioned that Chris Buckley and Dave Barry are good friends of yours. What would happen if we locked the three of you in a room—with drinks and cigars, of course—and told you to solve the problems of the Middle East?"

"First of all, it better be a lot of cigars and a lot of beer! An awful lot of beer, because we’re going to be in there for a long, long time. The problems of the Middle East are the problems of mankind since we came out of the trees. They just happen to be a little more intense. When you look at a chaotic region like the Middle East, what you’re really seeing is most of human history, and some parts of America and some parts of Europe and a few parts of Asia are glaring exceptions. The kind of peaceful, productive, incredibly wealthy life that we live in these few areas around the world—this has only been going on for a nanosecond as time goes. It’s so exceptional I’m not even sure what it means. The whole world might degenerate back into the Middle East, because that’s what it’s always been. And you can’t solve the problem of the Middle East, because it’s not a problem, it’s a condition. It’s the normal condition of mankind.

If you read Donald Kagan’s The Peloponnesian War, it’s all there. It’s been going on like this, time out of mind. Little islands of human happiness, peace, and prosperity are so exceptional at this point in history that I’m not even sure we can draw lessons from them."

The Saudi and the Islamists

Amir Taheri’s op-ed in The New York Times recounts how the Islamist card has been played by various Muslim regimes, and especially elaborates on why the Islamists have decided that this was the moment to make a stand against their onetime benefactor, the House of Al Saud. Yet, Taheri writes, "It is too early to say whether the Saudi regime is truly determined to break with the Islamists, as the Egyptian and Algerian governments did in their time. A real break with Islamists will come when the Saudi leadership offers a new strategy aimed at an alliance with the modernizing forces in the kingdom. That has not happened."  

Wesley Clark and the Democrats

A recent Gallup Poll asked: "Are the Democratic candidates becoming better known after months of intensive campaigning?"

The Answer: "No, except for retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark. Despite a great deal of media focus on the Democratic race, including a number of nationally televised debates, most of the candidates are not better known today among members of their own party than they were back in August, just before the campaigning began in earnest." It is also arguably the case that
having Hillary Clinton emcee the big Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa tonight is not helpful to any or all of the Democratic presidential candidates, save maybe Hillary, if she should decide to run.

I think this must be terrible news for the Democratic candidates, although , of course, they can’t admit it. One of the more interesting developments has been the fact that Wesley Clark--after an initial quick boost--has gone nowhere. In part it is because he has contradicted himself many times, especially about Iraq. But, in a larger sense, there is something deeper going on here; his opinions and positions seem to reflect something more fundamental about his character and his judgment, and also about the Democrats’ struggle with how to talk about foreign policy, national interest, and war in a post 9/11 universe. See this extraordinary piece of analysis from Andrew Sullivan (in the current New Republic) on Clark’s position on the Iraq war, which he calls a "historic blunder" and illegitimate and the war in Kosovo which he was proud to lead, and which was legitimate. Sullivan’s is a devastating criticism and should be studied because it is a short treatise on what may authorize war. Sullivan uses this long profile on Wesley Clark from
New Yorker by Peter J. Boyer.  

Creating artifical life?

An artifical virus has been created, according USA Today. "It is the stuff of science fiction and bioethical debates: The creation of artificial life. Up until now, it’s largely been just that.
But an important technical bridge towards the creation of such life was crossed Thursday when genomics pioneer Craig Venter announced that his research group created an artificial virus based on a real one in just two weeks’ time.

When researchers created a synthetic genome (genetic map) of the virus and implanted it into a cell, the virus became ’biologically active,’ meaning it went to work reproducing itself."

U.S. kills seven in Iraq

Notice the title of this front-page Washington Post story: "U.S. Troops Kill Seven Suspected Iraqi Insurgents." I guess these are the first Iraqis we’ve killed since the end of major combat operations, or, maybe even during. I just found it odd.

"U.S. troops aboard an AH-64 Apache helicopter killed seven suspected insurgents Thursday night who were preparing to launch a rocket attack on a U.S. base near Tikrit. A follow-up search party then captured more than 900 enemy rockets stored in nearby bunkers, a military spokesman said here Friday."

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal is still ahead in the governor’s race in Lousiana (46-42%) although the race has tightened during the last few days, according to tracking polls. The election is Saturday. Worth watching. It will be fun to see how Democrats react if they lose another governor’s mansion in the South.

Aplogy for eating missionary

Fiji islanders wept as they apologized to descendants of a British missionary killed and eaten by their ancestors more than 130 years ago.

"The inhabitants of the tiny settlement of Nubutautau and the descendants of the Reverend Thomas Baker were taking part in a complex reconciliation ritual, which the villagers hope will lift a curse they blame for an extended run of bad luck."

Cannibals killed Baker in 1867 and ate him after a perceived slight against the then village chief, even boiling his leather boots with the local vegetable, bele, in an act which villagers say resulted in the curse.

"The tears were from our hearts deep inside because we have waited for so long for this moment," village spokesman Tomasi Baravilala told Reuters. "That’s our belief, we are Christians and today we will be set free from the curse."

Schools not doing well

Abigail Thernstrom thinks there should be outrage at the fact that schools are the main source of racial inequality today. (Registration required). The most recent national test results also show that about 70 percent are not proficient in math or reading, though students have made significant gains in math skills.

Hussein’s counterattack?

Phil Carter does some clear thinking about the insurgency in Iraq and especially focuses on whether or not this is something that Saddam had planned before the start of the war, as Vernon Loeb and Tom Ricks suggested in yesterday’s Washington Post. It is long, but thoughtful, with some good sites referenced.   

Fundraising map

Fundrace has some interesting maps showing where the presidential candidates (by county, or zip code) are raising money. You have to play with it a bit, but it may be worth it.

French problems

Retired European leaders, Nobel Prize winners, et al, have chastized the French for "secularizing the European Union." They said that Christianity was "at the root of the fundamental notion of the individual." As the U.S. Senate was passing the Syria Accountability Act, the French were cozying up to Syria. And, part and parcel of the secularist state debate, the French are considering banning all symbols of religious conviction from state run institutions, including the wearing of veils by Muslim students. An article in the Chicago Tribune considers some of the problems the French are having in integrating Muslims.

Naval Academy gay alumni association?

Gay and lesbian graduates of the Naval Academy propose an alumni association just for them. Ken Masugi at The Remedy tells us why it is a bad idea.

Jessica Lynch’s rescuer

Erin Montgomery recounts the the talk given by the Iraqi lawyer, Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, who rescued Jessica Lynch at the National Press Club a few days ago. I happened to see most of the short talk and much of his responses to questions and the fellow seemed sensible and decent. Some of the questions from the press were, frankly, embarrasingly silly. I hasten to add that all this doesn’t mean his story is the full story, yet it was ascinating. I find it odd that neither Lynch nor her family has visited this man to thank him.

Dancing at Wheaton

Dancing is allowed, for the first time in 143 years, at Wheaton College. Here is the college’s web site.

Campaign money

Donald Lambro explains why Bush needs so much money (he is up to $100 million) and why the Democrats must skirt campaign finance laws, and why all this is bad.

The brutal realities of war

David Warren is very persuasive on describing what is going on in Iraq, and what must be done about it.  

CIA’s leaked report on Iraq

Here is the Philadelphia Enquirer story on the bleak CIA report. You should read it. Yet, a caution is order: It does rely a bit heavily on second-hand accounts. Also, it is part and parcel of the CIA vs. DOD power struggle. Still, it is not without value. The points regarding the Governing Council and the point about how our inability to put an end to the insurgency may lead to others joining the terrorists, are worth considering. But see Michael O’Hanlon’s testimony to the House Armed Services Committeeon how the counterinsurgency war is going. It’s pretty optimistic, and O’Hanlon is normally quite careful.

Howard Dean: A Democrat to the Confederate Hilt

In his Nov. 13 Wall St. Journal essay
“Yo, Howard!”
Shelby Steele explains how Howard Dean’s politically incorrect appeal to “guys with Confederate flags in their pick-up trucks” did not reflect repressed white racism but rather the logical outcome of identity politics.

Simply put, Dean spoke as a modern-day Democrat. As such, he is running for the presidential nomination of a party that has long preached and practiced a politics of division. This politicking disguises itself as a politics of inclusion by insisting that every citizen identify himself as part of this or that group as the prerequisite for certain entitlements from the federal government. Forget your rights as an individual; check the appropriate box, find your place in the corresponding line, and wait your turn to receive whatever “your” government has decided people of your ilk deserve.

An excerpt from Steele:

White racism, black separatism, Islamic extremism and Nazism are all atavistic identities gone too far, gone to where one’s superiority is confirmed only by the denigration and even annihilation of an enemy. Whenever power is pursued in the name of an atavism -- my blackness, your whiteness, his Catholicism, her gender -- enemies arise and our democracy of individuals is injured.

As our long and tragic American history has demonstrated, wedding group identity and political power subverts the twin pillars of self-government: namely, human equality and government by the consent of the governed. Groups have no rights by nature and therefore should have none politically. The rights of the individual are the only rights that government should protect. Given their equal possession by each citizen, they should be protected no more and no less for each individual.

Steele’s delivers the knockout punch in the essay’s closing lines:

But if Mr. Dean shouldn’t act this way, why does modern liberalism encourage minorities to? Today, only the strictures against a white racial identity keep us at all civilized around race. Only whites are asked to put their race aside and behave as citizens. Our best hope is the fact that there are many minorities who want to live as citizens too.

War and Peace in Iraq

Things are getting interesting in Iraq, are they not? The rubber is hitting the road. Decisive and organized action is being taken by our enemies, and we seem to be responding with measures that--we think--the situation demands. That the outcome hangs in the balance is true; that is the very definition of a crisis. Things are in flux, as they always are in politics, and even more so during the fog of war. Trying to understand what is going on is not, therefore, easy. But we do know this: President Bush is a morally engaged man, determined to do what’s right. He will not fold, he is steadfast in his purpose. Great events are afoot, and great events do not call forth small men. I think he is the man for a crisis. This doesn’t mean that he will not be pushed around both by events and the media’s perception of those events. But his steady purpose will prevail, even as tactical changes will be made. And when those changes are being made--and some are being made as we speak--it is important to understand those changes as necessary or prudent changes demanded by circumstances, rather than a change in purpose. It seems certain that the American people--understanding how things have changed since 9/11--understand this and they will hold true. The people are less flighty than their detractors and pessimistic observers think. This is not a quagmire and this is not a Vietnam, regardless of what the small-souled Democratic candidates would have you believe.
Bad politicians always re-fight the last war, and they learn the wrong lesson. The President understands this. President Bush’s speech at the National Endowment for Democracy is a serious statement on the future of American foreign policy, and should be read and studied. He is trying to win a war, establish a new regime in the Middle East, deal with the Israeli-Palestinian issue, while he is trying to pressure Islam toward a liberal constitutional mode. Accomplishing all of this will not be easy, and will not be accomplished without sacrifice. Let our stout hearts be led with our good judgment, never forgetting the things for which we stand. If this is a test of wills, I remain optimistic.

Why we will win

Andrew Sullivan posts this letter from a reader:

"In addition to all the flights that had been canceled on Sunday, the weather was terrible in Baltimore and the flights were backed up. So, there were a lot of unhappy people in the terminal trying to get home, but nobody that I saw gave the soldiers a bad time. By the afternoon, one plane to Denver had been delayed several hours. United personnel kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats and take another flight. They weren’t getting many takers. Finally, a United spokeswoman got on the PA and said this, "Folks. As you can see, there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area. They only have 14 days of leave and we’re trying to get them where they need to go without spending any more time in an airport then they have to. We sold them all tickets, knowing we would oversell the flight. If we can, we want to get them all on this flight. We want all the soldiers to know that we respect what you’re doing, we are here for you and we love you." At that, the entire terminal of cranky, tired, travel-weary people, a cross-section of America, broke into sustained and heart-felt applause.The soldiers looked surprised and very modest. Most of them just looked at their boots. Many of us were wiping away tears. And, yes, people lined up to take the later flight and all the soldiers went to Denver on that flight. That little moment made me proud to be an American, and also told me why we will win this war."

Oberlin’s sex night

Jean Pearce writes a shocking article on Oberlin College. Apparently, there is something called "Safer Sex Night" on campus, which includes a "Tent of Consent." Now, I am tempted to describe all this in detail, yet, I can’t. If you are interested in finding out what goes on there, you should read the article yourself. If you doubt the article’s veracity, you should glance at this article (1999) from the Oberlin College student newspaper that reports on the Safer Sex Night of that year. Isn’t the world interesting. Oberlin is about forty miles from here as the crow flies. I drove through it yesterday on my way to giving a talk to the Elyria Rotary Club.

Italy to keep troops in Iraq

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said that Italian troops would remain in Iraq despite a bombing today that killed 15 military personnel and urged political adversaries to unite in national mourning. He said this to the Senate which was also broadcast nationally: "No intimidation will budge us from our willingness to help that country rise up again and rebuild itself with self-government, security and freedom."

Dean’s character

Now that Dean is marching toward victory, he is looked at with a bit more care than he has been. Howard Dean’s tendency to blow his cool and to scold are scrutinized in this USA Today article. Chicago Tribune examines the same problem.

Cal Thomas on Bush’s democracy speech

Bush’s speech at the National Endowment for Democracy is being criticized from both the left and right. Here is one from the right. Cal Thomas is critical of Bush’s understanding of why Arabs and Muslims may be interested in freedom. Thomas thinks that Bush is misunderstanding Islam. On the contrary, Cal Thomas is misundertsanding human nature--which desires and needs freedom--and thinks that Islamism can obscure this natural good.

Outsourcing jobs

Glenn Reynolds has a thoughtful comment on the issue of unemployment, loss of manufacturing jobs, and productivity. His links are useful, including to the Robert Reich article I mentioned a few days ago.

CNN’s planted question

Here is the Brown student’s response to the criticism that she asked a question posed by CNN. I thought Brown students were smarter than this.

Why we lack spies

This is a very interesting op-ed from the Asia Times. It tries to explain why this statement is true: "In terms of linguistic and cultural capacity, the US today commands what may be the lowest-quality clandestine service of any great power in history." His answers to questions why we don’t learn foreign languages, why children of immigrants lose the native language of their parents, etc., are thoughtful and, by and large, true. His emphasis on why we can’t find enough Arab speakers to be helpful is especially interesting. He even pulls in Heidegger and Wittgenstein.  

Ed Meese

Ed Meese spoke here last Thursday to about 500 people at lunch. He was very good. The subject was "Homeland Security and Civil Liberties." Listen to the speech by clicking on his name.

The Book of Judges

Horace Cooper had this to say a few days ago on the confirmation proceedings of Judge Janice Brown.

Whether it’s their attacks on the Boy Scouts, the Pledge of Allegiance, or the Ten Commandments, Judge Brown’s liberal opponents can’t abide any judge who on principle refuses to impose their elitist counter-cultural views on the rest of us.

Definitely worth reading.


Reporting on Iraq

Brendan Miniter asks why U.S. retaliatory strikes in Iraq aren’t reported more prominently.

Lake accuses Democrats of Conservatism

As this article by E.J. Dionne details, former Clinton National Security Advisor Anthony Lake is chastising Democrats for clinging to "the traditions of the last 50 years" in foreign policy. While he’s no supporter of the president’s approach, he agrees that the country ought to be engaged in spreading democracy abroad. Moreover, he claims that institutions like NATO and the UN must be reformed to reflect new international realities. In response to today’s challenges, Lake contends, Democrats "need to be thinking large, and they’re not."

"George Soros has purchased the Democratic Party"

The above quote is from RNC spokesman Christine Iverson. It comes from this article, which details how he has committed $5 million to in an effort to defeat the president in 2004.

According to the article, Soros was deeply "sensitized" by his childhood in Hungary, where he experienced occupation by both the Nazis and the Soviets. "When I hear Bush say, ’You’re either with us or against us,’ it reminds me of the Germans," he is quoted as saying.

Veteran’s Day

Today is the 85th anniversary of the end of World War I. Eisenhower declared in 1954 that Armistice Day should be called Veteran’s Day. He said that we should "solemnly remember the the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom." Today we honor the living veterans, on Memorial Day we honor those who gave their lives. And, yesterday, by the way, was the birthday of the Marine Corps. Honor is the subject of this day. Mark Steyn and Ralph Peters have some comments. And old veterans welcome the new veterans home.

Rich Lowry’s "Legacy"

Mark Cunningham writes a positive review of Rich Lowry’s book, Legacy: Paying the Price of the Clinton Years. I heard Lowry on Booknotes last night, and he was very impressive. The book recounts how little Clinton accomplished of anything and should be a great read.

Jews cause anti-semitism?

George Soros is Jewish, a liberal Democrat, and very wealthy. He apparently thinks that Jews and Israel are the cause of anti-semitism. This, of course, is ridiculous. The guy really is off his rocker. (via Andrew Sullivan).

The age of liberty

William Safire has a few good and short thoughts on President Bush’s democracy speech. He thinks we ought to read it in it’s entirety; he thinks it worthy. It is a great speech, one that will define his presidency and our foreign policy. He muses that no one, including the New York Times had the sense to reprint it in full. Here is the full speech, again. Safire likes this line by Bush: "And as we meet the terror and violence of the world, we can be certain the author of freedom is not indifferent to the fate of freedom."

On Bobby Jindal

A pretty good article on Bobby Jindal in the USA Today.

Honoring the War Dead in Texas

This is a brief account of a funeral of one our soldiers who died in Iraq.

What follows is a message from Vicki Pierce ( in Highlands Ranch) about her nephew James’ funeral (he was serving our country in Iraq):

"I’m back, it was certainly a quick trip, but I have to also say it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. There is a lot to be said for growing up in a small town in Texas.

The service itself was impressive with wonderful flowers and sprays, a portrait of James, his uniform and boots, his awards and ribbons. There was lots of military brass and an eloquent (though inappropriately longwinded) Baptist preacher. There were easily 1000 people at the service, filling the church sanctuary as well as the fellowship hall and spilling out into the parking lot.

However, the most incredible thing was what happened following the service on the way to the cemetery. We went to our cars and drove to the cemetery escorted by at least 10 police cars with lights flashing and some other emergency vehicles, with Texas Rangers handling traffic. Everyone on the road who was not in the procession, pulled over, got out of their cars, and stood silently and respectfully, some put their hands over their hearts, some had small flags. Shop keepers came outside with their customers and did the same thing. Construction workers stopped their work, got off their equipment and put their hands over their hearts, too. There was no noise whatsoever except a few birds and the quiet hum of cars going slowly up the road.

When we turned off the highway suddenly there were teenage boys along both sides of the street about every 20 feet or so, all holding large American flags on long flag poles, and again with their hands on their hearts. We thought at first it was the Boy Scouts or 4H club or something, but it continued .... for two and a half miles. Hundreds of young people, standing silently on the side of the road with flags. At one point we passed an elementary school, and all the children were outside, shoulder to shoulder holding flags . kindergartners, handicapped, teachers, staff, everyone. Some held signs of love and support. Then came teenage girls and younger boys, all holding flags. Then adults. Then families. All standing silently on the side of the road. No one spoke, not even the very young children. The last few turns found people crowded together holding flags or with their hands on their hearts. Some were on horseback.

The military least two generals, a fist full of colonels, and representatives from every branch of the service, plus the color guard which attended James, and some who served with him . was very impressive and respectful, but the love and pride from this community who had lost one of their own was the most amazing thing I’ve ever been privileged to witness.

Why the liberals are losing the culture wars

Brian C. Anderson writes at length in The City Journal why conservatives aren’t losing the culture wars anymore. There are three reasons he works through in detail: 1. Cable television, especially Fox News; 2. The rise of the internet, and blogging; 3. Book publishing. A good read.  

Loss of manufacturing jobs

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Clinton has a short comment on the loss of manufacturing jobs. Since 1995 some 22 million manufacturing jobs have dissappeared in 20 large ececonomies. It turns out that Japan has lost about 16% of its manufacturing jobs, China about 15%, Brazil lost about 20% (the US has lost about 11%). Why? Productivity.

Falstaff wars

Oh, this is a serious matter! Is there no virtue extant? Does virtue have no friends? Something wicked this way comes. The Falstaff wars have come to the Lincoln Center, according to this New York Times report. Does Harold Bloom love Falstaff even more than Shakespeare loved him? The director, Jack O’Brien, thinks that Bloom is way off base in his affection for this guy who lards the lean earth as he walks along. Is this Falstaff a trunk of humours, that huge bambard of sack, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, or is he the cause of that wit is in other men? Did he go to hell, or to Arthur’s bosom, if ever man went to Arthur’s bosom? Is he Samuel Johnson’s "fat knight" who "has never uttered one sentiment of generosity...and has nothing in him that can be esteemed." Or, is he, as Harold Bloom claims, one who exhibits a "comprehensiveness of consciousness that puts him beyond us?" Is he the "Immortal Falstaff?"

If the world were just, and I were rich and full of leisure I would re-read both parts Henry IV, and be able to fly to New York and see this just-under-four-hour compressed production of both parts into a single play. No doubt I would criticize and hoot and holler over the liberties of the director, yet, I bet I would enjoy Kevin Kline’s rendition of plump Jack, even if I ended banishing the production. The time is out of joint.

American exceptionalism

The Economist has an interesting essay (with some useful charts and graphs) about how America is viewed by Europeans and how we view ourselves. Paul Johnson puts some thought into "American imperialism" (and the new strategic doctrine post 9/11 foreign policy demands) and does not hesitate to beat up on Old Europe. Mark Steyn is less reserved and more amusing: Europe is dying.

Jindal courting black voters

This is a pretty good news-story on how Bobby Jindal is going after black voters in Louisiana. He needs to get about fifteen percent of black votes in order to win. Republicans habitually get about five percent. I’m betting he’s going to do it.