Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


A reader brought to my attention this piece on Hungary by Richard Bernstein in The New York Times. It is not a propos anything, save the fact that next May Hungary will join the European Union, along with nine other countries, most from the former Eastern bloc. The piece is OK, perhaps a bit prosaic. If you want more detail for a country that (as Berstein says) "hums with a kind of ardor, an avidity for new prospects that one seldom feels in the take everything-for-granted countries further west," you might want to go to the CIA World Factbook. Not to throw cold water on Bernstein’s optimistic tone, yet I bring to your attention the seemingly natural (read ancient) pessimism of the Hungarians as reflected even in the first paragraph of their anthem (adopted in 1844):

"God bless the Hungarian,
With good cheer, and abundance,
Extend to him a shielding arm,
If he battles with the enemy;
Torn by ill fate for too long,
Bring onto him joyful year,
These people have expiated,
The past and the future!"

The word "expiated" is awkward (in Hungarian it is "megbunhodte") and it means that they think they have already made ammends or atoned for all their sins (past and future). You get it? You can hear the melody by clicking here.

Hispanic immigration debate

There is an interesting debate on Hispanics, immigration, and whether or the GOP can get (or even should try to get) the Hispanic vote at The Remedy. Good folks like Steve Hayward, Peter Robinson, and Nivholas Antongiovanni, et al, are in it. Good stuff, follow the links. I favor Hayward’s approach, and may get into it later.

Liberal fund raising

Thomas Edsall reports on a liberal attempt to raise a lot of money, and to skirt McCain-Feingold. Americans for Coming Together already has commitments for more than $30 million, including $10 million from George Soros, $12 million from six other philanthropists, and about $8 million from unions, including the Service Employees International Union. And John Podesta has put together something called American Majority Institute, meant to function as a liberal counterpart of the Heritage Foundation.

Russian better off at Gitmo

A Russian mother of one of the eight Russians held at Guantanamo says she prefers he stay there rather than be brought back to Russia: "At Guantanamo they treat him humanely, the conditions are fine." She also said: "I think that there is not even a health resort in Russia on the level of this place."

Iraq ordered chemical attack

The Boston Globe reports that David Kay told Congress in a closed session last week that he has found documents that indicated that a chemical attack (artillery) had been ordered during the war. He means to find out why it wasn’t carried out and, of course, where the suff is.

Attacks in Iraq are down

The Strategy Page notes that attacks on American troolps have dropped: "In the last four weeks, attacks on American troops have declined from about 40 a day to about three dozen. Defining what is an ’attack’ is sometimes difficult. US troops hearing nearby gunfire often discover they have come upon a crime being committed, or two groups of Iraqis settling a dispute. But the lethality of the attacks is going down. In the past week, there were four straight days without an American fatality. Iraqi attackers have become more cautious of late, because American ’targets’ are often traps.

American intelligence efforts have gathered a growing mountain of information on what’s going on among Iraqis and that has made it possible for troops to more effectively go after the Baath Party resistance. The same ’battlefield internet’ that was so useful doing the fighting is now enabling commanders to quickly share information on the situation inside Iraq. This has led to the rapid development of new tactics and understanding of the rapidly changing situation in Iraq. This high speed communication system was enormously popular during the war, and continued in use after the shooting stopped. The impact of these new communications tools has gone largely unnoticed in the post-war operations. One of the few visible signs of this commo situation is the talk of ’keeping Saddam on the run.’ This chase has been propelled by the masses of information gathered and the battlefield internet."

Gun control a loser now

USA Today notes that those in favor of gun control are behind public opinion in a big way. This explains why Demos are not talking about it.

Smallest synthetic motor

Scientists have created the world’s smallest motor, tinier than the width of the human hair. Amazing.

Phony Baloney

Fox News
that Leo Terrell, a prominent Los Angeles civil rights attorney and “Democratic champion of the left has resigned as a member of the NAACP, saying officials tried to strong-arm him into dropping his endorsement of a controversial Bush judicial nominee.” Terrell has supported Bush’s nomination of California judge Carolyn Kuhl to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “I am proud to support Judge Kuhl,” Terrell wrote in a press release, adding that having argued civil rights cases in her courtroom, “she was fair and she applied the law.” Perhaps even more important than his Kuhl support is Terrell’s ringing endorsement of the NAACP after 13 years of voluntary legal services— “It turned out to be a really phony organization.”

The Arnold phenomenon

This is just came over the wire: President Bush "edged into California’s turbulent recall campaign today, saying that movie actor Arnold Schwarzenegger would make a good governor.

White House officials have taken pains to stress that Bush will stay out of the recall campaign against Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, and Bush asserted that ’the people of California will sort all this out.’

But he acknowledged that he was closely watching the campaign unfold."

The fact that Bush came out with a form of an endorsement is significant. He sees something that could be very good, and almost certainly will be better than what currently exists (including a GOP governor in the largest state). The short of it is that--in response to Eastman and Alt--while I understand that AS is not a conservative, etc., it is also clear to me that he will energize all kinds of voters who normally don’t get energized and who, even good guys like McClintock, have not yet energized. As someone said AS is now a phenomenon, and we have fallen into a different mode of politics (ala Jesse Ventura at his start) that we can’t stop, but perhaps we can affect. I think he will be elected because he is running against the establishment (in this case the Democrats) and because there is nothing to lose by having him go in and try to clean the place out. Will he clean house? Probably not, of course. Yet, the attempt could be worthy. And, if he is well advised and very smart, it could have a long lasting effect. After all, it is not as though Republicans, conservatives, or otherwise, have done so well in California lately (read, they have been completely ineffective). We will have to see how he talks about some issues. So far, he is being very smart. I’m impressed, and it has (almost) nothing to do with the fact that this appealing immigrant may try to teach something to the natives.

And see this liberal op-ed in the Chicago-Sun Times beating up on folks who don’t like liberal movie stars opining on everything under the sun, and yet think that the AS phenomenon is a good thing. Amusing and heartening.

Why Arnold Entering the Race Could Be Good for Conservatives

At the risk of taking a left turn, I am going to suggest that Arnold’s entrance into the California fray will be good for conservatives. First, I think that it is all but certain that he wins. He will be hit very hard (as he already has) by Davis’s scandal mongers, but unless something really big comes up, I think the terminator is a shoe-in.

Why, then, you may ask, is this good for conservatives? After all, Arnold is socially liberal and probably toward the moderate end of fiscal policy. First, even that less than preferable posture will be a substantial shift to the right from Davis, who is literally in the pocket of special interest. But more importantly, Governor Arnold puts California back in play in 2004. The Democrats have gotten a pass in the last few presidential elections in California--collecting huge amounts of campaign cash from their Hollywood friends, but, California politics being what they are, not having to spend much of that money in the Golden State. Schwarzenegger changes this. He will be a popular campaigner for Bush. While I do not necessarily believe that this will swing the state, it will put it back into play. As such, Dems will have to spend a considerable sum in California, which has three large media markets (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego). The Democratic candidates will also have to spend significant time in California, and will therefore reduce their time in other key states. Run, Arnold, Run.

California Sureme Court declines to intervene

California Supreme Court declined to interfere in the recall election, it rejected all five lawsuits; the recall will be held in October. Here is Daniel Weintraub’s analysis.

Arnold the Magician

I doubt even a cloistered monk is not aware of Arnold’s entrance into the race to replace the soon-to-be-recalled Governor Gray Davis, but the accolades being heaped on the "terminator" are taking on a surreal quality. From this morning’s Wall Street Journal: "He’s shown a serious interest over the years in politics and government, notably through his promotion of Proposition 49, a statewide initiative that makes public funds available for after-school programs." And now for the magic part, still quoting from the Wall Street Journal: "The measure, which did not raise taxes or take money away from other state services, was approved with wide support last November." Perhaps I’m missing something, but can someone explain to me how directing public funds to a new program (and locking in levels of support by initiative rather than legislative deliberation, to boot) can be done WITHOUT raising taxes OR shifting money from other programs? The normally staid WSJ thinks Arnold is only a social liberal, but unless he is really Houdini in disguise, methinks he is a fiscal liberal as well.

Condi Rice speech

This is a report on the speech Condi Rice gave to the National Association of Black Journalists on Iraq. She "likened Iraq’s halting path toward self-government to black Americans’ struggle for civil rights in the 1960s, imploring black journalists Thursday to reject arguments that some people are incapable of democracy."
Here is the transcript.

Zimbabwe’s downward spiral

The London Telegraph reports on the 60th annual congress of the commercial farmers in Zimbabwe. The situation is simply awful, Mugabe has destroyed the farmers; agricultural production is down 50% from last year.

Flight 93 questions

This AP story in the WaPo considers the mystery of what really happened on Flight 93, on 9/11. Did the Americans get into the cockpit? Apparently not, according to the FBI. In other words, they think the highjacker intentionally crashed the plane once it was clear that the uprising was successful.

Gore’s speech, III

The New York Times reports on the speech. The Scrum wonders why he gave it. Does he want to be a power broker for the Demos? He said he would endorse someone, but not run himself.

Gore’s speech II

Here is the transcript of Al Gore’s speech of today to, a left-wing outfit that he sought ought to address. I think it is a terrible speech, moving fully left. Perhaps he does want to run in 2004 and he must think that lurching left is the way to do it. Too bad. Maybe Gore should have looked at this Democratic Leadership Council poll. It clearly shows that those who identify themselves as Democrats has been slipping since 1998; it is now down to 33%. The GOP has the advantage with young white men by 15-30%, etc. Worth a look.

new book on judicial activism

The Cloaking of Power: Montesquieu, Blackstone, and the Rise of Judicial Activism (Chicago) just kanded on my desk. It is by Professor Paul O. Carrese (he is at the Air Force Academy). It looks very good. I should have it read in the next year or two!

Hayward on Arnold

Steve Hayward has a few good paragraphs on Arnold over at The Corner, which I quote in full:

"Let me provide the other side of the cogent case Tim Graham makes against Gov. Arnold. (But let me first add the full disclosure that I am committed to Sen. Tom McClintock, who is the best and smartest conservative in the race, which I would say even if he weren’t a friend).

Because of his enormous celebrity status and the fact that he can command huge media attention (which is a big problem in state politics in California--easterners are always astounded to learn that not one TV station in LA, SF, or San Diego keeps a bureau, reporter, or camera crew in Sacramento to report on state politics, which is why governors travel to those cities to make news as often as they can), he is perhaps the one person who could seriously intimidate the Democrats in the state legislature to back down on some things. Arnold is absolutely right that the legislature is a wholly-own subsidiary of the liberal interest groups (especially the public employee unions and the trial lawyers). This stranglehold is much worse than anything from the railroad robber baron days. The big question is whether Arnold is serious about breaking this stranglehold; if he is not he shouldn’t bother running. The fear is that even though a nominal Republican, he will end up more like the feckless Jesse Ventura, who found the limits of celebrity fairly quickly. So far in the first 24 hours, Arnold has made the right noises, and he has around him the very experienced and savvy Pete Wilson team, which, say what you will about Gov. Wilson, knew how to win elections and govern effectively.

I place the odds at about once chance in three that Arnold would turn out to be the serious reformer I envision here, but if so, he has a better chance of succeeding than the other Republicans. Any other Republican is going to face all-out war from the Democrats and special interest groups.

Gore’s speech

Here is a short Fox News report on Gore’s speech to the liberal meeting. Boston Globe’s account of the same speech. Gore is "deeply troubled" just about everything going on in the country.

Issa is not running in California

Rough & Tumble says that CNN is announcing that Darrell Issa is not going to run for Governor. I remind you to look at California Insider and Rough and Tumble if you want to be up to date on the mayhem in California.

The War on Terror

A little revolution every now and then can be a good thing. I have nothing to add on what’s going on in California.

There’s so much nonsense about the War on Terror in the news that I thought these two articles might be useful. Here’s some good common sense on the step-pby-step prudence of the War on Terror from the Israeli Insider
and here’s nice restatement of the Bush Administration’s purpose and policy in the War on Terror by Condi Rice .

Time Out for a Commercial Announcement

Time out from electoral politics for a moment for a plug. No Left Turn readers in Ohio and elsewhere may be interested in a paper I have just published with AEI on the "New Source Review" air pollution controversy, which can be found here.

This is of special interest to Ohio and other midwestern states that have a lot of coal-fired power plants and old industrial factories.

Let the Mayhem Begin

The dam is bursting in California today. The Lt. Governor, Cruz Bustamante, is going to run on the Democratic side (Davis has always treated Bustamante like minimum wage hired help), which will attract a lot of the Hispanic vote. But Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, a Democrat who has panted after the governorship unsuccessfully for 20 years, is also likely to run, which will split the Dem vote more. (Garamendi is something of a centrist, as California Dems go.) Loretta Sanchez may run, which will dilute the Hispanic vote further. There are stirrings about Leon Panetta (who??), and I still expect to be an 11th hour intrigue over Feinstein.

Democratic Politics

Mario Cuomo wants Al Gore to run again. Is this endorsement supposed to help Gore? Michelle Nunn, former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn’s daughter is thinking about running for the Senate in Georgia. AFL-CIO delays endorsing a candidate; another blow for Gephardt. John Edwards started TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. They will not help his campaign. He’s not going anywhere.

Bush-Cheney Fundraising

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Bush-Cheney campaign will raise more than the $170 million planned; probably closer to $200.

Jerry Springer not running

Jerry Springer has decided not to run for the Senate. Nice news to wake up to. It also means that he Democrats don’t have a chance to beat Voinovich.

Hasta la vista, Davis!

So, as of this writing, we know this: Schwarzenegger is running for governor of California. I think he will probably be elected. But what is more important is the fact that Governor Gray Davis will lose his job; even the California Supreme Court can’t save him, although it can delay the recall election. The Democratic Party’s unity behind Davis has collapsed, caused in part by the very smart timing of Arnold’s last minute annoucement. Lt. Gov. Bustamante (D) will be on the ballot, as will state Insurance Commissioner Garamandi (D). Neither they, nor Gary Coleman, nor Larry Flynt, nor Arianna Huffington will be elected, of course. It is possible that Rep. Darrell Issa will give Arnold a run for his money, but I doubt it. Arnold’s news conference was pretty good, I thought. He said most of the things he should have said, and seemed forthright. Another immigrant boy makes good, there is opportunity in America, and he is going to pay it back by clening up the state. He said he is going after the special interests, and identified unions as special interests. His job won’t be easy, but it will be great theatre. He will pull new voters into the voting booths and just that will be enough to get him elected. And the Democratic Party--almost wholly corrupt in California--will be the big loser in all of this. They are responsible for placing California in bankruptcy, for making the politics of the Golden State look bad in comparison to Russia or Nigeria. And now everyone will start questioning many of the Progressive movement’s unhealthy additions unto the constitutions of almost half the states. You can already tell that even liberals will now start making the argument representative democracy is healthier than direct democracy. Good, it’s about time. Go Arnold!

Arnold’s In!

So Arnold’s in after all. I imagine that California Democrats are filling their BVDs about now (as I write it is 8:30 p.m. California time). Arnold timed this entrance exquisitely, waiting for the Democratic strategy (close ranks around Davis; Feinstein stays out) to gel, and then scrambling their calculations with only 72 hours to go before the filing deadline.

I suspect this will increase the pressure on Feinstein to enter the race. I rate the chances at better than 75 percent that she will now be in the race come Friday night.

Update on Conservatism Conference

Updated information is now available at the Ashbrook Center website for this Fall’s conference, The Evolution of Modern American Conservatism. It will be held at the Ashbrook Center on Saturday, 11 October, and is open to the public for a small fee (which will include lunch).

Hispanics optimistic, poll

New York Times/CBS News Poll of Hispanics found that "they are far more optimistic about life in the United States and their children’s prospects than are non-Latinos, despite the fact that many are much poorer and many do not intend to gain the full benefits of citizenship."

There are a couple of nuggets in it that are worth reading, I note only one: "In Mexico one can study and study but there’s no good work when you finish school," said Sylvia González, 39, a custodian in Denver who moved to Colorado from the Mexican state of Morelos. "Here we do the jobs that no one wants to do because we know the value of work. Here we understand that the person without a job is the person who does not have the will to work." I assume Gonzales is a legal immigrant. It might be a reasonable question to ask whether such a person is likely to vote Democratic.

Indonesian Terrorist Threat

This story out of Australia reports,"Terrorists claiming responsibility for the Jakarta bombing have sent a chilling warning that they will kill more Westerners if Bali bomber Amrozi is sentenced to death today."

Recall Update--Deja Vu All Over Again

Don’t take too seriously Dianne Feinstein’s declaration that she won’t be a candidate to replace Davis. She had to say something immediately to stop the momentum from building to get her on the ballot. Davis’s support is slipping by the day in polls, and Democrats are getting very very nervous.

Davis’s support is slipping because of one of those great coincidences. Notices are arriving in California mailboxes right now infomring people of the tripling of their car registration fees, which Davis brough about a few months ago. It reminds me exactly of Prop. 13 in 1978, which polls showed was neck and neck until about a month before the election, when new property tax assessments landed in mailboxes showing that many people’s property taxes owuld double or even triple. Support for Prop 13 soared immediately after this, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This is among the reasons Davis is so desperate to have the election put off until next March.

If the polls deteriorate further by Friday, expect panicky Democrats to twist Feinstein’s arm at the last minute; she can run saying she is against the recall, but can’t run the risk that the GOP will take the governorship uncontested.

Democratic politics

This Washington Post article runs through the workings of the draft Wesley Clark movement. Speculation is that he may announce in a week or so. Al Gore continues to fuel speculation that he may drop back in; he is giving a "major" foreign policy talk on Thursday. Bob Graham continues to lose support in Florida. Larry Kane thinks that Biden may yet jump in. Dick Morris thinks that Hillary should jump in; she should remember what happened in 1968 and 2002. Worth reading, but I disagree: She will not run in 2004.

Dull Arianna

That Ariana Huffington is planning to run for Governor of California is not especially significant for me, but I use it as a ploy to get you to read this column on her by Rammesh Ponnuru. It’s priceless.

WMD in Iraq

Michael Gordon writes, in The New York Times, the probable form the WMD in Iraq debate will take in the future. Sensible. But also look at John Yoo’s piece on the legalities of the war.

FDR and the Depression

Jim Powell writes how FDR prolonged the great depression. This is on my mind because Gary Quinlivan (St. Vincent College) spoke to the Ashbrook Teachers Institute ("Progressivism and the Origins of 20th Century Politics") on the same topic last night.

Why is Davis happy?

Janiskee, Erler, and Eastman opine about this federal ruling and why Davis is so happy with it.

"The recall ballot will comprise two questions. The first is whether or not to recall Davis. The second consists of choosing a successor should the governor be recalled. Federal District Court Judge Barry Moskowitz struck down a particular element of this process on July 29. Section 11382 of the California Elections Code states, "No vote cast in the recall election shall be counted for any candidate unless the voter also voted for or against the recall of the officer sought to be recalled."

"We have argued for some time that it has been a mistake to count Davis out before the battle is over. This recent federal court ruling has the potential to make it even more difficult, literally, to count the governor out of office. Here’s how." Read the whole for the explanation. (via The Remedy)

Re: Davis Recall

Peter: Davis is a wholly-owned subsidiary of organized labor, so it is not surprising that the AFL-CIO would come to his aid with as much as $10 million. He has been worth much more than that to labor. Of course, one shouldn’t put it past Davis to have threatened labor; if they don’t help and he survives, he can punish them, and he would.

In talking with Republican operatives I know in Sacramento and elsewhere, priority Number 1 if there is a 24-hour transition to a new governor is to lock up the governor’s office at midnight, or as soon as the vote is certified, so that the files can’t be purged or shredded. There is likely enough dirt to be found to indict Davis. He is not known as the nation’s first coin-operated governor for nothing.

Bantus of Somalia

USA Today has a long article on the Bantus who have started arriving in America.

Davis recall

Here is Davis’ petition to delay the recall election. Both The Sacramento Bee and The San Francisco Chronicle are reporting that Davis’ support is tanking and that Democrats are beginning to talk openly of getting someone on the ballot. But The Los Angeles Times reports that the AFL-CIO is going to support Davis in every way, including with $10 million dollars. Will this help convince other Democrats that they should stay out?

No Left Turns Mug Drawing Winners for July

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

Jo Ann Zavala

Cindy Jurina

Brad Callender

Ellen Parodi

Daphne Hittell

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 August’s drawing.

More Judicial Misconduct at the Sixth Circuit

I’ve previously written about the flouting of court rules by the Chief Judge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Michigan Affirmative Action cases. Indeed, we highlighted the matter in our brief to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the petition for certiorari. Now comes news that the same Chief Judge ordered the court clerk not to circulate to other judges a government motion to stop a hearing that was delaying a scheduled execution, until after the hearing had begun. This Chief Judge seems to think that "the rule of law" is not even a law of rules, but a law unto himself. A formal complaint has been filed by Judicial Watch, but at some point, this lawless behavior has got to qualify for proceedings under Article III, Sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution: "The Judges ... shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour."

Hinglish as a delight

A trip to India moves David Gardner to write a short and amiable essay reflecting on the use of English in India: "Welcome to the wonderful world of Hinglish, a Hindu-inspired dialect that pulsates with energy, invention and humour — not all of it intended. Hinglish is full of cricket terminology and army metaphors, with echoes of P.G. Wodehouse and Dickens. It contains clunky puns and impeccably logical neologisms. In short, it is a delight." There are a few excellent examples.   

Rise of Russia’s criminal state

David Satter writes a thoughtful and readable piece called "The Rise of the Russian Criminal State." It’s an adaption from his book, Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State (Yale). So called capitalism needs the rule of law: "In fact, a market economy presupposes the rule of law because only the rule of law is able to assure the basis of a free market’s existence, which is equivalent exchange. Without law, prices are dictated not by the market but by monopolization and the use of force."  

Kagan’s The Pelopponesian War

Mac Owens reviews Kagan’s new one volume on the Peloponessian War, and reflects on the writing of history, and the greatest of Greek wars as tragedy. Excellent. I have read into the Kagan volume and I agree it reads very well.

When Greenland was warm

The Atlantic Monthly calls its readers’ attention to a recent article in the journal Climate Research. It seems the case for global warming isn’t such a slam-dunk after all. When compared to the past ten centuries, it turns out that no matter what the chicken littles have suggested, average temperatures weren’t unusually high in the twentieth century. As the editors point out, during the tenth century Greenland was able to support large-scale human habitation, and one could find olive trees doing quite well as far north as Germany. The conclusion: "[T]he study makes a strong case that human societies have always been able to cope with significant climatic shifts."

Take that, Greenpeace.

Howard Dean time, still

U.S. News also has Dean on it’s cover this week (as do Time and Newsweek, see a few posts below). And Business Week reports that Dean may not be a liberal. The Des Moines Register says that the Iowa Poll shows that Dean is now in the lead in that state, getting 23% to Gephardts 21%. And Howard Kurtz in today’s WaPo continues the Dean momentum drum-beat.

Walzer Interview

This is an interview with Michael Walzer in A Journal of Analytical Socialism on the whole question of just war, and how he sees the Iraq war. It is long, and complicated, but may be of interest to those of you who are willing to put aside Hegel or Kant for the day for something slightly more readable. (via Instapundit)

Germans watching the Saudis

Agence France Press is reporting that "German secret services have been conducting surveillance of Saudi diplomatic missions and other Saudi interests in the country amid suspicions that the rich Gulf Arab kingdom is supporting extremist networks such as al-Qaeda, influential news magazine Der Spiegel said.

The revelation comes after a US congressional report last month that raised questions about Saudi Arabia’s role in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, which were blamed on al-Qaeda.

Previously, such missions were not monitored because Saudi Arabia was considered a ’partner’ of Germany, the magazine added in its edition due to appear on Monday."

Counterterrorism, what not to do

Bruce Berkowitz’s op-ed on the tug-of-war between the White House and Congress on the creation of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center is brief and to the point: enlarging existing counterterrorism operations will not solve our problems. The "tradecraft" (read business model) for Homeland Security is different than for the CIA; in fact, it’s the opposite. He thinks the White House’s solution is wrong; this new Center will be an impediment to information sharing, the same problem we had before 9/11. 

Gephardt has problems in Iowa?

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch claims that Gephardt’s "leadership team" in Iowa is falling apart--some are jumping ship.

Education as self-esteem

Mark Steyn thinks that it’s been a great week for those who want to re-segregate America: he takes on the Oberlin High School black history issue, and the all gay public high school in New York. It all has to do with placing the emphasis on self-esteem, rather than education. His solution to all of it is either to abolish high school, or to have one set up just for bullies, and leave it at that.

It’s Howard Dean Time

The Washington Post on Sunday runs a piece on Dean showing how he understood as governor of Vermont why he had to be a fiscal conservative and how he bent other (i.e., more liberal) Democrats to his will. How he stayed out of the gay union issue, then backed it and, as one political science professor put it, "We overturned 3,500 years of Judeo-Christian tradition in three months, and nothing happened." Time and Newsweek not only run pieces on him, but have him on their cover: the only Democrat in the race who is gaining support and raising real money.


Glenn Reynolds has some thoughts on Greenpeace’s rather reasonable view of nanotechnology. Joe Katzman has a few quick and useful thoughts of his own. The title gives it away: "Why Nanotech Dockers Matter."

Political vandalism

George Will reflects on the political incivilities we have been wittnessing since the Bork hearings. He doesn’t like it. His conclusion: "Life has been called a series of habits disturbed by a few thoughts. Civil society is kept civil by certain habits of restraint. Inflammatory political ideas can overturn habits, sometimes for the better, usually not. But no discernible ideas, at least none that are more than appetites tarted up as ideas, account for the vandalism by political overreachers of both parties.

Each vandal seems to think that his or her passions are their own excuse for existing. As Santayana said, such thinking is the defining trait of barbarians."

Maleness is back in fashion

Christina Hoff Sommers on why those who attempt in "trying to resocialize boys away from ’toxic masculinity’" are failing.

Gray Davis’ pandering

Matt Welch in Reason beats up on Gray Davis. The pro-Democratic unity on Davis might be breaking down.

Nation Building, Rand Study

This is the Rand report "America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq". It is a book length, includes seven case studies (Germany, Japan, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan) and lessons learned. It is divided by chapters, each in PDF files. Useful information. 

Poll on Hispanics

The New York Times has a lazy report on a new poll that calls "an unusually extensive effort to measure the political and social attitudes of those who call themselves Hispanic." The short of it is that Hispanics are less monolithic than Democrats would like. For example, while the majority say they are Democrats (two to one), they are in favor of tax cuts and school vouchers, and are against abortion; they are evenly divided on legalizing homosexual relations. Not exactly Democratic core voters, in short.

Video games for soldiers

Wired reports that the Air Force has invested a lot of money in setting up networked gaming centers so off duty airmen can play viedeogames. Gives them a little piece of home.

Russian Mafia now smuggling drugs into the U.S.

This is not good news. The Russian mafia has penetrated Mexico’s drug carterls and is helping to smuggle drugs into the U.S.

John Steinbeck on Bob Hope

This is one of John Steinbeck’s dispatches to The New York Herald Tribune in 1943. It is reprinted by today’s The Mercury News. He wrote this after seeing Bob Hope giving one of his shows to the troops. A lovely read. (via RealClearPolitics).