Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Simpsons and Math

The Simpsons, as you know, has a huge following. This site (thanks to Pejman) has to do with Mathematics: "Several episodes of The Simpsons contain significant mathematics that relates to material we normally cover in our classes. For these reasons, this program is an ideal source of fun ways to introduce important concepts to students, and to reduce math anxiety and motivate students in courses for non-majors."

Blair in Iraq

Here is the AP report on Blair’s visit to Iraq. Blair visited a school:

Mohammad Ade Mohammad, a fan of disco and soccer star Ronaldo who wants to be a doctor, was overjoyed. ``He and Bush liberated us from that criminal Saddam, that son of a criminal,’’ he said. Any insult preceded by ``son of’’ is serious stuff in Iraq.

Bush’s Tax Cut

George Will explains what Bush’s tax cuts have to do with the economy and the next election. 

A New Iraqi Army

James Dunnigan offers some very interesting thoughts on what the new Iraqi Army--which arguably will be one of the best in the region (because we will build it)--will be like, and what the consequences for the region might be.  

Bob Hope at 100

Happy Birthday to Bob Hope! I don’t know what to say about the man, except that I liked him, grew up with him, became an American while he entertained me. I saw him live only once (in Jonesboro Arkansas) in the 1970’s. One of his first lines was something like this: "I decided to come to America from England when I realized that I could never be king." (He was three.) How can you not like a guy that says that! Well, he did become a king here. Just ask anyone who served in the military and was fortunate enough to catch one of his USO shows. They loved him, and they should. Here is the site on him from the Library of Congress. No wonder he has been made an honorary veteran.

Iran, front and center

Michael Ledeen captures the essence of the Iranian problem, and has some suggestions. Worth a read. 

Hitchens on Blumenthal

This is Christopher Hitchens’ very long review of The Clinton Wars in The Atlantic.

The Old German

The oldest man in Germany, Hermann Doernemann, "turned 110 on Tuesday saying the only exercise he ever believed in was walking to the corner shop to buy beer and cigars." He said that if he knew he was going to live this long he would have taken better care of himself. Sounds like a Bob Hope line to me. This reminds me of my grandfather, Paul Schramm. He was about 89 when he died (in early 1979) in Hungary. He went through the whole of that awful last century, finding himself in WW I on the Italian front, then the Communist Revolution of 1919 (he was a with them), then the quasi-fascist regime between the wars, then WW II, then the Commies took over--by then he was an ordinary Social Democrat, but his wing of the party refused to go into a coalition government with the Reds--they arrested him and gave him ten years of hard labor. He made it through all of it, including the 1956 revolution. Then he went to the doctor for a check-up at age 89 (he was healthy), slipped off the couch in the waiting room, boke his hip, and died from complications a few days later. I advise this old German not to go to a doctor.

Another reason to fight

In other wacky news today, a (legal) brothel in Nevada has announced it will give away freebees to the first 50 Iraq war veterans who show up, as a way of giving thanks to our fighting men. Somehow I think this could be worked into the "Army of one" recruitment ad campaign.

Well, Duh

Stupid headline of the month award goes to this AP story (as carried in today’s Washington Times):

Condoms in schools don’t cut sex

The subhed offers little help: "New study finds teens more apt to use them if available."

What, did some educrat really think the kids would just use them on bananas as they’re taught in class?

Memory Loss

Many of you know I claim to have a bad memory (especially for names). This study out of England may help explain my memory loss. It may have to do with smoking. I’m trying to remember--as I light up--whether or not alcohol, specifically that bourbon I like, ah, helps rekindle memory; there must have been a study on that. I can’t remember. But now I’m trying to remember the name of the bourbon I like, you know, the one that is called, ah, the name has something to do with Lincoln; was it Sinking Spring Farm where Lincoln was born, no, that’s not it....darn it, I can’t remember the name, maybe it’s, yup, here it is, Knob Creek, about ten miles to the northeast, the place that Lincoln’s father bought when Abe was two years old because Sinking Spring Farm’s soil proved to be a barren waste. Knob Creek was a smaller farm, but it proved more fertile. Yup, that’s the one, Knob Creek, that’s the bourbon I like. Maybe there is hope for my memory loss. Now if I could only remember what Abe’s father was called...Thomas. All this with a smoke, and no Knob Creek. I amaze myself. I love these studies.

Clinton’s Latest

Bill Clinton spoke at the Kennedy library. Here is the Boston Globe story and the Reuters dispatch. Among other things, Clinton said that he thinks the 22nd Amendment should be changed because "people are living much longer." Disregarding the issue of whether or not the 22nd amendment should be changed or not (or clarified regarding the two consecutice term issue), this comment by Clinton is another indication of his tyrannic soul. I remember him saying back in December of 2000, when he only had but a few weeks left in the White House, how he loved being president and that he was going to try to sleep less while he was in office so it would seem as if he were president longer! That tendency on his part, loving the power and trappings of office, was the clearest intellectual indication (never mind some of his actions) of his tyrannic soul. And this is the guy that will not go away, who will--at least vicariously through his wife--try to become president again. No wonder some in the Democratic Party are claiming that he is sucking all the air out of the room. See John Fund on this issue, on the harm he has done to the Democrats, and how it is inevitable that he will continue to be in the limelight. He is still a newsmaker, but standing for no principle, still their best fundraiser, still full of himself, still full of charisma, but still tyrannic in every movement and with every breath. As Shakespeare has Pericles say: "’Tis time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss." Pity the Democratic Party.

New York Times Mess

I am not following the New York Times fiasco and cover-up in detail because others are doing such a good job with it. Andrew Sullivan, of course, is one of them. If you want to continue to follow the delicious details, read Sullivan.

Clinton Third Most Popular President

Pejman has a few good paragraphs on the latest poll showing Clinton to be the third most popular president (along with W.).  

Dick Morris on Blumenthal

Here is Dick Morris on Sidney Blumenthal. Not pretty.

Remembering Bill Clinton

Federalist #10 reminds us that ’Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.’ Lest we forget that in the age of ’W’, the Wall St. Journal’s Opinion runs two links today reminding us of the shenanigans of the Clinton years.

Robert Bartley’s review of Sydney Blumenthal’s ’The Clinton Wars’ is entitled ’No Wars, Only Scandals: A Look into the Parallel Universe of Clinton Spinmeister Sidney Blumenthal.’ To sum up the review as quickly as possible suffice it to say that Blumenthal is the Baghdad Bob of the Clinton Administration.

In addition, the Journal provides a lenghty chronology documenting the Clinton scandals from its six-volume collection on the Whitewater scandal.

It is as baffling to reflect on the differences between George W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton as it is to reflect on the differences between Karl Rove (and Karen Hughes) and Sidney Blumenthal (and James Carville).

Head of Al-Jazeera Worked for Saddam?

The Al-Jazeera chief was fired. There are accusations that he worked for (or with) Saddam’s intelligence services. I’m shocked and surprised. Who would have thought!

Gilbert and Cheeks

Natalie Gilbert singing and Maurice Cheeks helping. Sweet story, albeit a week old. 

The Left’s Lack of El Rushbo

Christopher Flannery has a lovely piece in The Claremont Review of Books on why the Left lacks an El Rushbo sort of their own. I can’t resist giving you the start of it, as long as you read the whole:

"In the past months, as the world and I were concentrating on more serious matters, our thousand-eyed media couldn’t help noticing, in a desultory way, a certain small sideshow. Compared to the events sweeping across the center stage of history, it seemed a bit like a lost sea-bird fluttering on the fringe of an armada, but perhaps you noticed it, too. I refer to the liberals’ increasingly desperate effort to discover or create a Rush Limbaugh of the Left. Hapless candidates for the job were trotted out, wealthy partisans forked up millions for the cause, and so on—the details fade mercifully with time. But one theme kept bobbing to the surface of the reportage and commentary. It came from friends as well as critics and neutral observers, if I remember, and it was not a deep insight, in itself. But it was suggestive. It caught the mind’s eye and invited at least a little more desultory attention.

What kept bobbing up was the observation that it is not much fun listening to liberals. Compared with the real El Rushbo—ever buoyant, larger than life, overflowing with conservative joie de vivre—the lefty pretenders appeared, to friend and foe alike, anemic, wan, somehow depressing. In a word, grim; even the professional comedians. The Left is not a barrel of laughs.

My own listening experience confirms this general truth and suggests a corollary: the lefter you go, the grimmer it gets. If my political ear has not deceived me, this is bad news for the Democrats, who have to tune to the far left of the FM dial and crank up the volume in order to reach their party’s activist core."

And then this march of logic: "Here, then, is the root cause of the Left’s chronic depression and the irresolvable problem at the core of the Democratic Party: America’s success is their failure. And here is the corresponding cause of the good humor and vitality of conservatives: So long as America succeeds, they cannot fail."

Porter Goss on Iran

Rep. Porter Goss, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said it very clearly on Face the Nation: He said that Iran has shown some cooperation on terrorism, but not enough.

"The trick in Iran is this: The good guys are trying to bring some reform; the bad guys control the levers of power. Sorting the two apart and then isolating the bad guys and taking the levers of power away from them is what’s got to happen. It’s got to happen in a way that does not shut down the reformists or cause repercussions to the reformists. This is hard."

Russian Weapons get a Boost from Iraq

Russian weapons (and Soviet origin mostly) are getting some good publicity from the Iraq war. "Russian analysts and industry sources said the Iraqi war will be remembered for the downing of U.S. fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft by Soviet- and Russian-origin surface-to-air missiles. They also pointed to the success of Russian anti-tank missiles."

Teaching Positions, Charter School

Terrence Moore (here is his latest essay for us), the principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Ft. Collins, CO, has announced that there are three openings for good teachers (first grade, sixth grade, and music). If you are serious about wanting to really teach something because you love the subject, consider this. Notice that teaching credentials are not required. Follow on to this "Comment" for the details, including a link to Ridgeview. The curriculum is great, and so are the teachers.

Elliott Abrams

With the Road Map getting under way, The Washington Post runs an article on Elliott Abrams, the President’s senior advisor on the Middle East. Oh, oh, another so called "neoconservative!" Not only is he Jewish, but he gets a lot of support from evangelical Christians, besides those two strikes note that he is an "Iran-Contra figure." That must be a kind of action figure that was once popular, I guess.

Victor Davis Hanson, Notes

The Boston Globe ran a story on Hanson a few days ago. And here is a seminar you can listen to--almost four hours long--that he held at The Ashbrook Center for about seventy high school teachers on March 29th. The title of the session was "The American Way of War." It’s very good.

Operation TORCH

In the latest On Principle Pat Garrity writes a fine review of Rick Atkinson’s An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943. The Allies killed or captured some 250,000 men, we lost almost 3,000, with 9,000 wounded, and some 6,500 missing.  

Sorenstam, Golf, and Excellence

I am not a golfer, but I paid a little attention to this Annika Sorenstam issue. While not exactly certain how I should think about the matter, Andrew Sullivan has a good long paragraph on the matter:

"Yes, she’s sexy. But the way in which the public rallied behind Annika Sorenstam’s pioneering golf game was surely because of something else: she represented an old, pure form of feminism, a message that has been somewhat lost in the politically correct culture wars of the last decade or so. Sorenstam, after all, was not portraying herself as a victim of male oppression. She’s a fabulously successful sportswoman, a wealthy celebrity, and happily married. She wasn’t asking for special treatment in any way. She played exactly the same course, under exactly the same conditions as her male peers. Despite the fact that women’s courses are generally shorter and less troublesome than men’s, Sorenstam played with the big boys - and beat many of them. And she’s refreshingly free of political posturing. She’s not aiming to be a feminist icon. She’s trying to play golf as best she can against the best competition in the world. She is also not attempting to deny the obvious: that there are significant differences between men and women. The more we learn about the impact of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and the deeper our understanding of evolutionary psychology, the clearer it is that some differences - in physical strength, subtle mental attributes, emotional temperament - can vary with gender. That’s why we don’t have co-ed sprinting races or expect women to compete with men in the shot-put. But what we have in common as human beings vastly overwhelms what differentiates us as members of one gender or another. Sorenstam is a pioneer in accepting this, and reveling in it. She’s not indistinguishable from the men; but she is competitive with them. She’s different but equal. Americans are far more comfortable with this kind of social message - and for a good reason. It’s about integration, not separatism. It’s about personal achievement, not group grievance. It’s about merit, not complaint. It’s about golf, not politics. Sorenstam cannot be accused of claiming any "special rights." She’s embracing the old American virtue of doing your best against the best, and not letting anything - gender, race, class, religion, sexual orientation - get in the way. That was once the core, simple, unifying message of the civil rights movement. Odd, isn’t it, that it took a Swedish female golfer to remind us."

Core Principles for a Free Iraq

In today’s’Wall Street Journal’, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld outlines the Core Principles for a Free Iraq.

Memorial Day

One American soldier killed in Iraq and eight were wounded in two separate incidents, making today "one of the most violent days for U.S. troops since the war ended last month." President Bush lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery. He said: "The moral force of democracy is mightier than the will and cunning of any tyrant." I painted a bathroom this morning, then visited a few cemeteries on my motorcycle--as is my habit on Memorial Day--to pay my respects. I took my son John to the cemetery in Loudonville. In the meantime, Britain is considering sending troops to the Congo where there are currently about 750 ineffectual (and unarmed) UN troops. The violence and death is extraordinary. I am not even sure if this is a civil war. "According to aid groups, between 3.1 million and 4.7 million people have died as a direct result of the war, making it the world’s deadliest conflict since 1945." The above short article from the Daily Telegraph is not for the faint of heart.

American Soldiers

This is a beautiful article by Jim Lacey who was embedded with the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne. The article illustrates the courage, compassion, and justice of American soldiers in Iraq. Justice includes no cookies for the Frenchman.

Let’s see, in Plato’s Republic, Socrates argues that good warriors must be able to harm enemies and benefit friends and know the difference between enemies and friends. It appears America’s armed forces approach the best regime.