Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

In favor of a consumption tax

Here is Pejman Yousefzadeh’s column in favor of a consumption tax, because, he says, "the so-called ’progressive income tax’ has been in effect since the adoption of the 16th Amendment in 1913, but as is increasingly clear, it has outlived its usefulness." I agree.

Putin’s gamble

Masha Lipman warns that "The arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s biggest oil tycoon, followed by the seizure of shares of his company, signals a dramatic escalation of the political change underway in this country." Putin is walking a dangerous--and tyrannic--path here; he has arrested the country’s richest man. There are going to be massive consequences. There already have been some, and arguably the country is in a crisis. Here is Leon Aron (once again) on the issue. The Russians are hitting back at the U.S.’s criticism of their tyrannic ways. There are fears within Russia that this is the start of the re-nationalization of industry and putting an end to the possibility of wealth creation. What do you think would happen to Russia if foreign investment stopped, by the way? Or, if their is a sharp increase in capital flight out of Russia? The Economist’s take on this matter. You should pay attention to this.

Iraq, the press, and the Demos

Simon Henderson, the biographer of Saddam Hussein, writes a good article on the press’ coverage of Iraq, and why, probably, it will not end the way the liberals want it to end. Jim Hoagland think that Bush will get it right: he is impressed by Bush’s ability to make mid-course corrections, by his national security team, and by his doggedness. There is no comparison between Iraq and Johnson’s failed Vietnam policy. Charles Krauthammer explains the significance of the car bomb ("the nuclear weapon of guerrilla warfare") and asserts that if Bush stays in power we will win. Debra Saunders is not impressed by the Democrats’ notion that what it takes to win in Iraq is another three step proposal to build an international coalition. It is just a matter of will at this point. Jonah Goldberg beats up on the Democrats--using Senator Zell Miller’s (D) endorsement of Bush for 2004 as a stage--and says that "Miller’s decision is the logical consequence of a party that, at the national level, has become consumed by appetite - for power, for payback, for partisan gain - and nothing more." That’s why they see each setback in Iraq as a political opportunity; and they ought to be ashamed. And Diana West gently takes issue with Bush’s all-too-gentle-and-all-too-diplomatic views of Muslims. Please note that Iraq’s fuel crisis, which the press made such a big deal about not long ago, seems to be over. And Johann Hari, in the left-wing Independent (London), of all places, makes the argument that the real problem is not the attacks in Iraq, but that a small minority of people in the U.S. and Britain are trying to persuade us that the Iraqi don’t want the good guys in their country. Good article.

Jobs and Economic Growth

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

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

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

Here’s his e-mail:

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

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

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

Link One

Link Two

Private Schools Bring Accountability to Education

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

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

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

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

No blogging on Friday

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

Israel and U.S. biggest threat to world peace

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

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

Stephanopoulos has sunk

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

Map of fires

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

Wesley Clark, glory hound

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

Don’t Count Your Hatch Until He’s Chickened

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you thought we were slouching toward Gomorrah.

King James

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

ESPN gives props where props are due.

Sandra Day O’Connor’s uncalled for opinion

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

Bad signs from Russia

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

Reading can be dangerous

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

Politics and the Economy

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

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

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

Democrat Endorses W

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

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

Proper interrogation tactic?

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

Canadian embryos beware

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

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

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

When two rites make a left

From the Washington Times:

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

Reagan revised by CBS

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

Howard Dean is a Metrosexual

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

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

Wesley Clark is finished

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

Classical education

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

California matters

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

"Now he’s one of them"

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

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

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

Let’s Make a Deal

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

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

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

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

Read the story and you’ll see why.

Yale to the Chief

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

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

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

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

Watch what you say

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

CBS’s version of Reagan

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

Bolick’s defense of Justice Brown

Clint Bolick defends Justice Janice Rogers Brown.

Brand on FDR

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

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

Short-term interest rates to remain low

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

Sowell defending Justice Brown

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

The central civil rights issue in our time

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

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

Clark and Kerry talking nonsense on Iraq

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

A new guerilla campaign in Iraq?

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

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

The Classical Trivium

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

Detail map of the Calif fires

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

Support the Ashbrook Center

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


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

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

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

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

Child alcoholics in Russia

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

Satellite view of California fires

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

Detroit schools and the $200 million

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

Army intelligence problems in Iraq

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

Charles Murray on Western decline

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

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

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

Twenty-six percent of Americans live alone

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

GOP counteroffensive on judicial nominations

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

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed talks

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

Are you a neonconservative?

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

Schroeder sinking

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

"Terri’s Law"

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

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

The Marlins

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

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

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

Compassionate conservative?

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

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


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

It was baseball in October last night...

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