Im losing track of the number of nights, I think it is night ten of rioting and destruction. This is not, according to this story, a political revolution, or one controlled by criminal gangs, or even a Muslim uprising. "Theres a lot of rage. Through this burning, theyre saying, I exist, Im here." The rioting has spread to some 15 cities, including to the center of Paris, with some 900 cars torched. They exist, theyre everywhere.
Stephen F. Hayes shows how it can be done with respect to judgments about pre-war intelligence.
Three reasons to read The Weekly Standard.
As you watch the loathesome Jimmy Carter pop up on all the TV chat shows promoting his dreadful new book, Our Endangered Values, just warm yourself with the thought that today is the 25th anniversary of the election of Ronald Reagan and the end of the long national nightmare of that grinning fool.
Heather MacDonald is very critical of the Mexican government and its diplomats. She says that even if it may be true that diplomacy is the art of lying for one’s country, the Mexicans have taken it to a new level. To say they are not helpful with immigration issues is an understatement. In the meantime in Argentina the President of Mexico Vincente Fox comes to Bush’s aid on free trade against Hugo Chavez.
Another 420 set ablaze last night in suburbs surrounding Paris. Thats 420; with 187 cars destroyed; but only five buildings were destroyed. One cop said, "The peak is now behind us." There was some TV coverage of the events last night. This story puts the cars torched at over 500, as the unrest has spread to 20 provincial towns.
"According to one report, a disabled woman was doused in petrol and set on fire when she was unable to escape a bus under attack in the northern suburb of Sevran. She was rescued by the driver and is being treated for severe burns, according to state prosecutors.
Disturbances also took place for the first time in other towns, including Dijon, Rouen and the outskirts of Marseille.
Television networks have mostly stayed away from the scenes of the confrontations. Camera crews have been physically attacked and reports blamed for stoking the discontent."
says that many of the rioters are Muslims of north African origin and "They are mostly second and third-generation immigrant youths who feel cheated by Frances official promises of liberty, equality and fraternity."
Allison Hayward regrets that the Online Freedom of Speech Act failed to pass the House on Wednesday. She thinks that now the FEC will be more inclined--thinking that Congress is not interestied in protecting the Internet--to get involved with Internet rulemaking, to everyones disadvantage, including bloggers. She blames the media, in large part, for misrepresenting what the bill was all about. Good read.
Ill almost certainly write an op-ed on this subject, but for the moment you can take a look at this NYT article, this old Yale Law Journal note, and the 3rd Circuit opinions collected here. Heres PFAWs preliminary report, the AU press release, and the Alliance for Justices preliminary report.
Very preliminary bottom line: no surprises here; Alito is squarely in the mainstream of conservative jurisprudence, which means that the liberal interest groups will call him an extremist, perhaps even an incipient theocrat.
Joseph Loconte takes a critical look at recent Christian attempts to offer a pacifist response to the global war on terror. He finds a lot of woolly thinking and willful ignorance of al Qaedas aims. The best of the lot are the self-conscious neo-Augustinians, but even they would have a hard time overcoming the arguments offered here and here.
See this. Saddest quote:
Irene Choi, a psychology student and member of the Undergraduate Council, is thrilled to have more choices. She said that most students “dread” core classes, and that the “about 1,000 students,” she said, that take “Justice,” in the moral reasoning category, just take it for lack of anything more enticing. “Some core fields are so underdeveloped that everybody takes one class,” she said.
Choi added that a science student wants to take three economics courses to fill a social sciences requirement, they should be able to. “Students pay for their education and they expect to be able to take courses they’re interested in,” she said. “If a student wants to take all econ. Why not let them? They’re still learning things.”
Faculty dont have to teach outside their research areas, which makes for narrow and/or trendy classes. Students dont have to be challenged by subjects with which theyre uncomfortable or in which they dont think theyre interested. The cause: self-interest and consumerism. The effect: narrow specialization, ignorance, and illiberality (in the classical sense).
Congratulations to this month’s winners of a No Left Turns mug! The winners are as follows:
Gary L. Mauer
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 Novembers drawing.
"Parents have a right to inform their children when and as they wish on the subject of sex,’’ said Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the 3-0 ruling. "They have no constitutional right, however, to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise.’’
This is one reason why we home-school.
This ruling gets at the fears people have about losing control of their childrens sexuality. It is within the privacy rights of a minor child to have an abortion without informing or receiving the consent of her parents, but it is not within the privacy rights of a parent to consent before their minor children are probed by strangers about their thoughts concerning touching the genitals of strangers. This ruling is incendiary because it has everything to do with the proper place of sexuality in American public life. Its why were having a culture war. Its why we get things like Prop 2, the anti-gay marriage amendment Texans will be voting on next week. And its why, Tom Frank, that Kansans keep electing Republicans.
James Ceaser, the best American commentator on why and how Europeans misunderstand us, patiently explains why the European post-Christians really cant effectively address the problem of promoting democracy in the Islamic world. Because they misunderstand American religiosity, they assume that only their brand of secularism holds out the hope for a liberal and democratic future. American elites, who pay obeisance to their allegedly sophisticated European intellectual betters, are misled by their own heated disputes with conservative religionists and go along with this fruitless quest. Ceasers advice is to take a two-track approach, American and European secularists speaking to their Middle Eastern counterparts and American religionists explaining to Muslims how its possible to be faithful to religion and to liberal democracy.
Rioting went into the seventh night (also see here).
No Passaran has taken note of the fact that the rioters are now using real bullets against the cops, and the French press is mystified by all this since guns have been banned a long time in the great Republic. Young French bloggers are making things worse, keep scrolling down at No Passaran.
If you are interested in campaign finance issues and related matters, you had better have a look at Skeptic’s Eye. Always good, clear, hard hitting and, as far as I can tell, right. Good job Allison!
Commentary magazine is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. Good for them, good for the country. Take a look at
this symposium on American foreign policy and the Bush doctrine: Defending and Advancing Freedom. Over thirty "leading thinkers" (e.g., Buckley, Berman, Hanson, Kristol, Helprin, Boot, Luttwak) respond. Useful.
A sample. Eliot Cohen’s concluding paragraph, harsh, but elegant:
"The expansive vision of the Bush administration seems to me broadly right, and I admire unreservedly the courage and determination with which it has pressed the fight. But how I wish that the spine of steel had found its match in an eloquence suitable to the moment; how I would have desired as great a stress on talent as on fidelity; how much better if the commitment to a vision of freedom abroad were matched with an equal and effective commitment to greatness at home; how ironic and sad that competence—the quality upon which this administration prided itself when it came to office—has, for too long, been in such short supply."
Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this case, pitting a small American branch of a Brazilian syncretist religious group against the federal government on the question of whether the U.S. can ban importation of an hallucinogenic tea the group uses in its ceremonies. The issues, established by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, are whether the the federal government’s interest in controlling drug abuse is compelling and whether a blanket prohibition of the importation of the tea is the least restrictive means of achieving that interest. Things don’t seem to be going to well for the government, when even Antonin Scalia, the author of the Employment Division v. Smith opinion, observes that "you can make exceptions without the sky falling."
For commentary from big guns, go here, here, here, and here. Michael McConnell sided with the religious group in the 10th Circuit en banc hearing. I also take this opportunity to note that my brief prognostication about this case will likely be incorrect, since Scalia seems to be questioning the compelling state interest articulated in the Controlled Substances Act (which is to say that he’s doing what RFRA told the courts to do).
Update: Marci Hamilton, who doesnt like this one bit, has more here.
Here. The conclusion:
A War Like No Other is very much a post-9/11 book. Certain of Hanson’s emphases—on the role of terror in the war, on the nature of “asymmetrical” conflict—reflect this fact. His purpose, however, is not to draw facile lessons for today from these events of so long ago. He is much too careful a scholar not to maintain a wall between his historical efforts and his journalistic ones. His appeal is to the serious reader who shares his interest both in this most fateful of Greek wars and in the anatomy of war as such. He evokes for us, today, the harsh fates of so many ordinary men of a vanished epoch, concluding with a litany of the obscurely fallen and the injunction to remember them, for if the study of war and its lessons is for all of us, the fighting of the Peloponnesian war was “theirs alone.”
Last and perhaps best, Hanson’s achievement encourages us to return to the masterpiece upon which it depends. You can never be too rich or too thin, or have too many reasons to reread Thucydides.
Thanks to John von Heyking. (If you want links to the other Orwinian nuggets he shared, send me an email.)
Francis Fukuyama argues that terrorism is not just (or at all) a problem of dysfunctional Middle Eastern societies and polities. Many terrorists live or came of age in Europe. Their Islamism, Fukuyama argues, is a response to their failure to integrate into their new home countries. And that failure can be traced to misbegotten mulitculturalism and labor policies. Here’s the core of Fukuyama’s conclusion:
The real challenge for democracy lies in Europe, where the problem is an internal one of integrating large numbers of angry young Muslims and doing so in a way that does not provoke an even angrier backlash from right-wing populists. Two things need to happen: First, countries like Holland and Britain need to reverse the counterproductive multiculturalist policies that sheltered radicalism, and crack down on extremists. But second, they also need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non-Western backgrounds.
The final recommendation, by the way, amounts to an elevation of the American example: a "nationalism of principle" can ultimately accommodate and integrate immigrants much better than can one that focuses on ethnicity.
Update: Andrew McCarthy responds to Fukuyama, but without engaging what I take to be his most interesting conclusion. McCarthy seems to assume that what Fukuyama wants is more better multiculturalism, and a weakening of various European national identities. I dont think so. What he seems to want is a reconception of national identity in terms that dont depend upon ultimately illusory conceptions of ethnic homogeneity.
Thats a long blog title for this relatively brief column. His bottom line advice is that Roe might more effectively be overturned bit by bit, rather than by an assault on its center. If he means by this that judges should never overreach the facts of the case before them and that they should decide only what needs to be decided in order to settle the case, Im inclined to agree. Its up to the legislatures (that lead and reflect public opinion) to push the "constitutional" envelope so that judges can roll back the decision.
The Paris riots continue. This is worth watching because it is in France, it has to do (at least in part) with Muslims, and--perhaps most important--this has everything to do with the future of French politics (de Villepin vs. Sarkozy), and perhaps with the future of France and Europe. Note that Sarkozy at one point said: "I talk with real words."
Here is how a Washington Times story on the Maryland race for governor starts: "Black Democratic leaders in Maryland say that racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his bid for the U.S. Senate are fair because he is a conservative Republican.
Such attacks against the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland include pelting him with Oreo cookies during a campaign appearance, calling him an "Uncle Tom" and depicting him as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal Web log." It just gets worse. This is shameful stuff! I hope Steele wins.
Update: You can find a version of Bill McClays piece, on which I rely quite a bit, in the June, 2005 issue of Commentary (unfortunately only in the subscriber-only archives online).
I missed this Peggy Noonan column last week in which she quoted Christopher Lawford (Teddy Kennedys nephew) telling about a remark of Teddys at a family gathering, "Im glad Im not going to be around when you guys are my age. I asked him why, and he said, Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart. "
There it is, in one short sentence: a fundamental aspect of liberalisms long decline. Liberalism used to be an optimistic creed, and liberals believed in progress and the ability to solve problems through the persistent application of human intelligence and will. The future was always something to look forward to; now they dread it. Now looking forward to the future is a Reaganite trait. Teddy and his like appear reactionary.
Does this mean Teddy wont run for re-election? Nah; too much to hope for.
A few Republicans have joined the bandwagon for the economically illterate idea of imposing a "windfall profits tax" on the oil and gas industry. But lo and behold, guess who makes the largest windfall off gasoline sales? The government. According to this study from the Tax Foundation, between the years 1977 and 2004, the government has collected $1.34 trillion in gasoline taxes, while the combined profits of the oil companies was $640 billion.
Meanwhile, even as gasoline prices are starting (predictably) to decline, natural gas prices look to stay very high through the winter. The Argonne National Laboratory issued a report entitled Environmental Policy and Regulatory Constraints on Natural Gas Production that identifies more than 30 different laws and regulatory regimes that have put off limits at least 100 trillion cu. ft of natural gas in the United States—a 20 year supply at current rates of use. Instead, were soon going to have to start importing natural gas from you-know-where. (Hat tip to Holman Jenkins column in todays Wall Street Journal—not available to non-subscribers—"Something to Think About While Shivering in the Dark.")
"Most parents want their boys to go to church," he said. "Ive had atheists, Jews, Catholics and Muslims play for me, and Ive never not started a boy because of his faith. Im Christian, but all religions have some kind of commandments, and if kids would obey them, the world would be a better place."
In fact, he said, when about 70 percent of his players come from single-parent homes, or are reared by an extended family, it is his right and responsibility to be candid about his faith. "You got 90 kids in a history or psychology classroom around here, and a professor can stand up and say anything he wants in creation," Mr. Bowden said recently in an interview at his office. "Why cant I tell my boys what I believe?"
I might have to reevaluate my aversion to the Seminoles and the Bulldogs.
With Samuel Alitos nomination to serve as the fifth Catholic on the Supreme Court, I thought it worthwhile to catch up with what the Catholic law professors over at Mirror of Justice were saying. Heres one post, with links to this one (on the changing face of conservatism) and this one (a joke).
In general, its noteworthy that the evangelical George W. Bush is nominating a second Catholic after a failed attempt to nominate an evangelical (Michael McConnell, by the way, is an evangelical). At MOJ, Thomas Berg offers one explanation--that the conservative Catholic talent pool is deeper than that of conservative evangelicals, since the former have been attending elite institutions for at least a decade longer. Thats plausible, but I wonder if theres another explanation as well--that the Catholic tradition is much more conducive to the development of legal doctrine. The good news for evangelicals in these matters is that the common causes in the culture wars are bringing together folks from all sides of the traditional Protestant-Catholic split, and providing for interesting cross-fertilization, as is evident here and here.
News this afternoon is that Democrats have forced the Senate into a secret session, which can be done without consent or a majority vote, to complain about the lack of investigation into the origins of the Iraq war.
The Brave Sir Harry Reid (hat tip to Brave Sir Robin of Monty Python fame) probably thinks hes emulating the confrontational style that served Newt Gingrich so well in is drive to gain a Republican majority in the House ten years ago. More likely Reid is just neutering himself in much the same way the GOP did in 1998 by overdoing the Clinton scandal. Or at least so thinks Glenn Reynolds.
Just heard on ABC Radio news that according to a Gallup Poll, 81 percent of Americans are not paying attention/dont care about Prince Charles and Lady Camillas visit to the U.S. The American republican tradition lives!
Ken Masugi has nothing nice to say about this speech by Patrick Leahy, who doesnt sound like he will be voting for Samuel Alito. Leahy presents himself as a constitutionalist, defending the Presidents prerogatives against extremists in his own party. And he claims to be able to define what constitutes the mainstream, not only of the Republican Party, but of the nation as a whole. Ken is right: it wont work, but only if Alito is defended on the level of principle.
Michael DeBow calls our attention to this review of Patrick Allitts Im the Teacher, Youre the Student. The reviewer notes that, after reading the book, an account of Allitts undergraduate American history course, his continued devotion to teaching seems mysterious.
While Jim Wallis’ book, God’s Politics, is no longer as ubiquitous as the author himself, Doug Bandow’s review, just published, remains timely, above all because he makes a strong case for the role of prudential judgment in applying Biblical principles, such as they are, to politics. Bandow himself has a book on this subject. Hat tip: Hunter Baker.
Jonathan Adlers WSJ op-ed explains why those interested in the rule of law should be pleased with a Justice Alito. As Adler notes, Judge Alito "is not a dogmatic conservative; his record shows a man more interested in getting the law right and faithfully applying applicable precedents than scoring rhetorical points or advancing an ideological agenda. As he commented in an interview earlier this year, Judges should be judges. They shouldnt be legislators, they shouldnt be administrators." Adler concludes: "We may not all agree with all of [Roberts and Alitos] decisions, but we will respect their judgment, appreciate their analyses, and admire their commitment to the law." Read the whole thing.
Muslim youth were at it for the fifth night in a row; it has also "spread to neighborhood towns" (whatever that means). Also note this remark by Sarkozy, which I do not claim to understand (from the International Herald Tribune): "Sarkozy says that violence in French suburbs is a daily fact of life. Since the start of the year, 9,000 police cars have been stoned and, each night, 20 to 40 cars are torched, Sarkozy said in an interview last week with the newspaper Le Monde." Why is there no TV coverage of this?
Jackie Spinner, writing in the Washington Post, gives the reader a little bit of the right flavor of what change of regime means from the ground up. Creating a new Iraqi military is hard work. What is persuasive to an Iraqi is not exactly duty, honor, country stuff, but rather, money, privilege, authority. The American grunts trying to teach the Iraqis some measure of responsibility are very impressive. For much more on such themes see Robert Kaplan.
George Will reflects on the Alito nomination, and finds it satisfying, and considers the two most disreputable arguments made by Demos against Alito. Coming from the Left, David Corn argues that the Democrats must make a serious argument against Alito. The Senate Dems must argue that Alito would be bad for America.
E.J. Dionne, Jr. has become a spokesman for Moveon.org and all the other left wing interest groups, arguing, in effect, for a filibuster of the Alito nomination until the Bush Administration comes clean on all its misdeeds concerning the Wilson-Plame affair. The nomination of Alito is, in any event, a divisive (unlike the nominations of Breyer and Ginsburg) attempt to distract us from the real issues, which involve a self-important ex-ambassadors attempt to discredit intelligence that the British government still endorses and the alleged outing of a covert agent whose husband was doing everything possible to call attention to himself and whose current status didnt and doesnt meet the requirement of the law.
Mike Krempasky of RedState collects the good on an unsigned, "not-for-attribution" memo circulating DC attacking Judge Alito for failing to secure the prosecution of a few Italian mobsters back in the 1980s. Just what are they trying to imply here, hmmm?
Trouble is, Microsoft Word documents can be unlocked to see their coding, etc, and it turns out this document was produced at the Democratic National Committee. Moreover, the document originated back in July. Who knows how many anonymous, "not-for-attribution" slime sheets the DNC has on file for all the other potential Court nominees.
What a classy bunch.
I think that these few paragraphs from Stanley Kurtz (at The Corner) on why the Alito nomination is a winning political move for Bush and the GOP just about nails it in a few paragraphs. Harry Reid warned Bush not to pick Alito, by the way. Hugh Hewitt mentions that Jonathan Turley told Katie Curic that the Demos "will come out of the dugout on this one," and predicted a filibuster. Kurtz thinks that should that happen it will be to the GOPs long range advantage (i.e., 2006 elections). People for the American Way are hopping mad about this. The president of that outfit, Ralph G. Neas, said this: "Right-wing leaders vetoed Miers because she failed their ideological litmus test. With Judge Alito, President Bush has obediently picked a nominee who passes that test with flying colors." By the way, someone just said to me that if Alito is confirmed he will make the fifth Catholic on the Court. Is this true?
David Forte reconsiders what Bush was up to with the Miers nomination, and argues that the Alito nomination is very good and W. "has recentered himself on values consonant with his basic instincts and our constitutional order."
Prince Charles hasnt visited the United States for 20 years. We should be thankful for such small favors, and hope it is another 20 years before he visits again. According to The Daily Telegraph, Prince Charles thinks the U.S. has been too intolerant of Islam since 9/11, and plans to make this case to President Bush in his upcoming visit.
We’ll know today, this article says. The top three are said to be Alito, Luttig, and (Peter, sit down) Batchelder. Harry Reid says:
"If he wants to divert attention from all of his many problems, he can send us somebody that is going to create a lot of problems. I think this time he would be ill-advised to do that. But the right wing, the radical right wing, is pushing a lot of his buttons, and he may just go along with them."
Having been attuned to Reid’s political instincts last time, I don’t think the President will make the same mistake again.
This article adds McConnell, Karen Williams, and Maura Corrigan to the mix, and contains another Reid quote:
"The president should come forward with some middle-of-the-road person, somebody that is going to be a good Supreme Court justice, not somebody that’s going to be writing the law from the bench."
The good news here is that we all apparently agree now that legislating from the bench is a bad thing to do. The President may be under fire, but he is still setting the agenda. And the Democrats can’t offer an alternative that doesn’t echo his rhetoric.
This NYT article adds Priscilla Owen to the WaPo list and doesn’t mention McConnell. The big issue here is the filibuster. Reid makes yet another appearance, objecting most strenuously to Alito and Owen, and mentioning a filibuster.
I say to Reid: make my day. Public opinion will support the President on his judicial nomination, and he can take a page from Bill Clinton’s government shutdown book (sans unconventional uses of the oval office) in the face of Democratic obstructionism. I’m feeling better already.
Update: As noted in the first comment, it’s Alito. More later, once I’ve had time to think about it.
The MSM in every form--print, radio, TV--has been pushing the line that the White House is in dissaray and chaos. The Libby indictment is simply the straw that broke the camel’s back: That camel has been burdened with Iraq, the failed response to Katrina, the foolish Miers nomination, etc. The president is now alone, he no longer trusts his staff. It goes on and on. David Broder--a man who always seems to perfectly and thoughtlessly reflect the latest liberal-establishment view of things--asked whether the White House "has the capacity to recover" from the full retreat it finds itself in. Quite remarkable that a man can make a living saying such things. What we have here in the case of Libby, I suggest, is a cover up of a non crime, and W. must be very happy that this is all there is to it. Rove stays. But I think that the Harriet Myers debacle will be blamed on the Chief of Staff Andy Card, and he will leave by January. In the meantime the President has a do-over in the Supreme Court seat. He should decide who he nominates only on the basis of excellence, and he will win the battle and public opinion will begin to turn back toward him, as the Democrats continue to rave inanely about the far right. This will be the beginning of the comeback, helped by the economy growing at 3.8%, and the upcoming Iraqi elections. Three or four months from now, the White House will be writing another story, one that even the MSM will not be able to ignore, and the current low approval rating of 39% will be ancient history.