Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The wall between intelligence and law enforcement

Stewart Baker considers why the separation between intelligence and law enforcement is a bad thing. He’s worried. Very interesting and thoughtful.  

Paul Johnson on Europe

Paul Johnson, a historian whom I admire, considers the joint decision of the French and German governments to destroy the stability pact that underpins the common currency and says that this is the start of deep European problems that will not only destroy the Euro, but also make it impossible to establish a European super-state. The French and the Germans are to be blamed, and he is not surprised. He has some advice for the U.S. in this short but packed article.

The benign Putin

Paul Robinson argues that Vladimir Putin isn’t too bad, given Russia’s history. He concludes: "For all its dictatorial tendencies, the contemporary Russian state clearly exhibits some restraint. It does not seek to intervene in every aspect of its citizens’ lives, and Russia is a country where people can and do criticise the government without being molested. In many respects the government of Vladimir Putin is probably the most benign in Russian history. Like the Whites, Putin is no liberal democrat, but his promotion of state interests may well be the best hope for liberal democracy in Russia."

Samuel V. Wilson

This is a Knight-Ridder report on General Sam V. Wilson, the guy who invented the term "counterinsurgency", helped create the Delta Force, etc. He still teaches ethics. Good story.  

Russian high-tech help to Iraq

Evidence has been found that the Russians were indeed helping the Iraqis out with some high-tech military equipment, just as the administration maintained.

Modern Language Association meeting

The Boston Globe runs an article on the MLA convention that just took place in San Diego. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who is in the academy, yet it’s still sad to see. There are some very funny things that went on, Bush bashing, war bashing, "What does it mean, when imperialism comes wrapped in a black bow?" (i.e., Colin Powell) Etc.   

House slave, or is it "House Mexican"?

Rosario Marin, former Treasuer of the U.S., is in the GOP primary for the Senate seat in California. I don’t know much about her politics yet, or what her chances are, but what little I know about her is that she is a decent sort and a solid Republican. I’m watching FOX news last night (anything to get away from my duties of writing something sensible on the Emancipation Proclamation!) when I see the above cited report. A Hispanic supporter of Howard Dean called her a "house Mexican" who is not being true to her race! I saw the guy (his name is Steven Ybarra and he is a DNC official and head of "Latinos for Dean") on the tube and he was unrepentant. I couldn’t believe it and I looked for it to be mentioned on other news programs and, surprise, it was not. This is an outrage and good folks ought to be up in arms over it. The best that can be said about it is that she is now in the good company of Colin Powell, Condolizza Rice, and Clarence Thomas! But where is the outrage?

Here is the statement that Rosario Marin put out after Ybarra’s comment: "Apparently, according to Mr. Ybarra and many of his fellow Democrats, if you are not a liberal Democrat, then you shouldn’t be considered a legitimate minority. It doesn’t matter that I’m an immigrant, the daughter of a janitor and a seamstress, or that I had to teach myself English because my first language was Spanish." Just so. It is possible that liberals (and liberal Hispanics) are panicked given this California poll.  

Democracy in Iraq

Here is an optimistic essay (scholarly in form) by Adeed Dawisha, an Iraqi-born professor at Miami University (Ohio) on the prospects for "democracy" in Iraq. (thanks to Oxblog).

European Union

Marc F. Plattner has a lengthy piece on the European Union in the Journal of Democracy. Give that both Europe and the EU are boring, I guess that this essay is about as good as it can get.

US bases in the New Europe

We are negotiating with Poland on hosting US bases on its territory. This is part of a broder effort on our part: "The United States began a diplomatic offensive last month in a dozen European capitals to discuss a redeployment strategy expected to involve closing bases in western Europe and reflect a greater NATO focus on the east and south."

Saddam as a POW

Saddam n ow has POW status. I don’t think this means anything large. In fact, the status can be changed--as far as I can tell--at virtually any time, especially if he had anything to do with the post-war insurgency movement. I also do not think this prevents us from handing him back to the Iraqis for trial. Phil Carter’s essay on what the trial might look-like (he wrote it in December, just after Saddam was caught).

A million species to become extinct!

Ian Murray considers the reports that by the year 2050 over a million species will be doomed to extinction owing to the effects of global warming. It shouldn’t surprise you what he thinks of it: it’s alarmist hyperbole. He mentions this New York Times article notes the limitations of the study, which the Washington Post report does not.


Wesley Clark has said that under his administration there would not be another terrorist attack, or at least not another 9/11-like attack. I find this amazing. "Wesley Clark said yesterday the two greatest lies of the last three years are that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks couldn’t have been prevented and that another attack is inevitable.

He said a Clark administration would protect America in the future.

’If I’m president of the United States, I’m going to take care of the American people,’ Clark said in a meeting with the Monitor editorial board. ’We are not going to have one of these incidents.’"

If the General would elaborate and show a deeper understanding that, as John Ellis argues, this is election will reflect the motto, "It’s the war on terror, stupid," than that would be fine and we could have a real election. But the above comments by Clark just reflect a loose mouth not attached to anything real.

Rich Lowry is up in New Hamshire following Clark around. He also thinks that Clark is being well received and is picking up steam. Jay Nordlinger also notes some of Clark’s outrageous statements that are not given (yet) much notice.

Dean dropping

I note John’s post below that Dean will not be the nominee. I think he is probably right; I have been pushing myself toward this position for days, as you know. More ammunition for this position: ARG tracking poll says Clark continues to gain in New Hampshire (another two points since yesterday). L.A. Times says that Clark has the momentum, and the other candidates know it. That explains yesterday’s NY Times artcile about Dean having to watch his words now. Mickey Kaus has a few nice paragraphs on Dean and ends by saying this: "Dean’s certainly comfortable as a moderate--check out his old pundit tapes. His dilemma--the real Dean Dilemma, it seems to me--is that unless he keeps popping off, unless he maintains the mischievous posture of slightly irresponsible anger, when he moves to the center he threatens to bore everyone to death." On the other hand, the AP reports Senator Tom Harkin just endorsed Dean.

Having said all that, I don’t think anyone else but Clark is possible. John’s right that there is a remote possibility that it will have to be decided at the convention, but that means that 1) Clark will have to self-destruct, along with Dean and 2) Gephardt would have to win Iowa first and then come in at least third in New Hampshire and win in South Carolina. Although then he would have a chance, I don’t think he could carry it out in the end; then the convention choosing would be possible. But then it would be a brand new ball game, and Hillary would become the nominee (and she would have to be forced into it), probably with Clark as a runningmate. None of the other candidates have a chance, although I hear that the Kerry people are claiming that there will be a surge for him. I don’t believe it. This Austin Bay essay on the Mad How, not Cow, but, How, as in Howard Dean, disease in the Democratic Party is pretty good.

Prediction for 2004

It’s been a couple of weeks since Peter first asked us to make our predictions for this year. I just have one, and I’m going out on a limb for it. Howard Dean will not be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. I’m not sure who will be--probably Clark or Gephardt--but Dean isn’t going to be it.

Consider Dean’s poll numbers. True, they’re impressive for a northeastern liberal who was virtually unknown a year ago. But they’ve hardly moved at all in weeks. This suggests that Dean has already attracted all the support that he’s going to get, and it’s no more than a third of likely primary voters. As the primaries move closer, almost all of those undecided voters will end up going to Clark, Gephardt, Kerry, or Lieberman. Moreover, as the second-tier candidates drop out, their supporters aren’t likely to turn to Dean (except perhaps both of Dennis Kucinich’s).

The only question is when it’ll all be over. There may be some surprises in Iowa and New Hampshire, but if not the issue may not be settled until the national convention this summer--the first time since the 1950s, I believe, that this will have been the case.

WMD’s and Portugal’s PM

Portugal’s PM said this about WMD’s in Iraq (thanks Instapundit):"Former US president Bill Clinton said in October during a visit to Portugal that he was convinced Iraq had weapons of mass destruction up until the fall of Saddam Hussein, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso said.

’When Clinton was here recently he told me he was absolutely convinced, given his years in the White House and the access to privileged information which he had, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction until the end of the Saddam regime,’ he said in an interview with Portuguese cable news channel SIC Noticias."

Glenn Reynolds adds the following: "This is consistent with the other Clinton statements on the subject, of course, going back to 1998. And this doesn’t answer the "where are they?" question. (Syria? Lebanon? Vaporware by Saddam’s scientists?) But this does blow the popular Bush-made-it-up theory, and it suggests that if there’s an intelligence failure here (certainly possible -- the CIA famously blew the collapse of the Soviet Union, after all), it didn’t originate with the Bush Administration."

New Homeowner Policy?

Courtesy of Newsweek:

"The people have spoken ... the bastards."

British M.P. Stephen Pound, on agreeing to try to enact whatever piece of legislation would be voted most popular on a BBC radio station.

The winning entry: allows householders to legally kill intruders.

Lincoln revisionism

Thomas Hibbs and his three children visited Ford’s Theatre and discovered that--according to the guide--the good guy was the bad guy and the bad guy becomes the good guy. This is vulgar revisionist history, it is awful, and Hibbs is not amused. I’m mortified. Hibbs (philosophy, Boston College) is a thoughtful fellow. Click on his name for his web site.

In Secularism We Trust?

Turned off by Howard Dean’s late overtures to religiously-minded voters, Susan Jacoby complains in today’s New York Times that America needs a new history read as one shaped principally by "the secular convictions of the founders." In "One Nation, Under Secularism", exemplars for her revisionist project are none other than that dynamically secular duo of--drum roll, please--Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.

As if that weren’t enough, she goes on to argue for "the secularist contribution to later social reform movements" like abolitionism and even the modern Civil Rights Movement! For those interested in this debate over religion’s influence upon or interference with politics, read her article for an instructive lesson on how not to understand American history, from which I cull her closing paragraph:

Today, many voters, of many religious beliefs, might well be receptive to a candidate who forthrightly declares that his vision of social justice will be determined by the "plain, physical facts of the case" on humanity’s [NB: not "God’s"] green and fragile earth. But that would take an inspirational leader who glories in the nation’s secular heritage and is not afraid to say so.

No to Pete Rose

George Will has no compassion for Pete Rose. It’s not just the numbers, baseball--and sports generally--have to do with character and the two should be connected, indeed they are connected. Rose shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.

"Rose’s coming clean is the most soiled conversion of convenience since . . . well, Aug. 17, 1998, when DNA evidence caused Bill Clinton to undergo a memory clarification. On the diamond, no one ever wrung more success from less natural talent than Rose did. But his second autobiography, which refutes the first, makes worse the mess he has made."

Bush’s immigration proposal, again

Let me add David Frum’s opinions on Bush’s proposal. Thoughtful and a bit more detailed than most immediate impressions. It is half-way down.

Bush’s immigration proposal

Here President Bush’s speech on the temporary worker program. Some comments on the plan, from many perspectives: John Podhoretz, James Pinkerton, Ruben Navarrette, Washington Times editorial, and Washington Post editorial. I have not had time to focus on this, but I will. For now let me just say that as a serious substantive matter (ignoring its political effects) it is not crazy and my immediate opinion (without deep thinking) is favorable. This proposal is not off the wall, or crazy. And it most certainly will lead to some good conversations about this very big issue of illegal immigration, one in which I am perfectly willing to participate, but later. For the moment I’m trying to figure out the Emancipation Proclamation and its effects; another interesting problem having to do with citizenship.

Howard Dean, Theologian

The Washington Post reports this morning that Howard Dean was swayed by his religion to approve the gay civil unions bill in Vermont: Dean Says Faith Swayed Decision on Gay Unions. "From a religious point of view," Dean said, "if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people."

Now this ought to play well in the South. But at least he’s locked up the Unitarian vote.

Bush’s numbers

It has been pointed out to me that in the Gallup poll I cited earlier today regarding Clark, I neglected to mention that it was also reported that Bush also got very good numbers. True. Sorry. "Overall, 60% of those surveyed Friday through Monday approve of the job Bush is doing. And 55% say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country, the highest level in nearly nine months.

In the poll, Bush beat Dean by 22 percentage points among likely voters. Against an unnamed Democrat, Bush won by 17 percentage points." Here is the
CNN story on the poll.

Wesley Clark, moving up

American Research Group tracking poll shows that Clark has moved into second place in New Hampshire, dropping Kerry to third, and Dean’s lead has dropped by a few points. I am not saying that anything important is happening just yet, although I would keep my eye on things. Two things to watch for: First, as it becomes clearer that the main competition for Dean is Clark, watch the not yet commited Demo voters (about a third or more) to start shifting mostly to Dean or Clark. I am betting that most will shift toward Clark. Second, as it become clear (after Iowa, but especially after New Hampshire) that it has to be a two man race, watch for the supporters of Libermann, et al, to shift to the two front runners. I am betting that most of these voters will shift toward Clark. The only thing to effect this would be if Gephardt takes Iowa, which is still possible. But if that happens than the anti-Dean movement in New Hampshire will shift toward Clark (oddly) rather than Gephardt. David Broder implies that the longer the race is the more likely it is that Dean will lose. It’s not clear that the nomination will come before detonation.

Iraq and the war on terror

Andrew Busch notes that Dean (and others) are misguided when they assume that there is no connection between the war on terror and the war in Iraq. The Washington Post has a lengthy review of the status of the WMD search in Iraq. It is full of information; not much clarity, yet.

Cold Mountain

Mac Owens says that Cold Mountain is a good movie and is a kind of anti-God and Generals. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but Mac’s essay is good and I will.  

Colons and disfluencies

Colons are bad, according to many, especially in book titles. Example: Lincoln: A Life. Well, I’m not so sure I am against colons as a matter of principle. One of the first interesting political scientists I ever read as an undergraduate was Wilmoore Kendall. And one of the reasons I started taking him seriously is because (as I recollect) he loved colons. "Now listen to me: Locke’s relationship to the American founding is this." (I’m paraphrasing) This got my attention. This was much better than the typical dry-as-dust academic writing that we were forced to read for classes. And then he would say things like this: self-government includes "feeling with your hips" and "thinking on your feet." This article considers disfluencies is speech. I want to say, ah, um, you know....Some interesting facts are noted (there are specialists who spend their whole life studying this, ah, stuff!), including how frequently it occurs in English speech (circa every 4.4 seconds) and why it is that social scientists and those in the humanities say, uh, um, etc. more often than those in the sciences.

Schwarzenegger’s speech

Here is Schwarzenegger’s State of the State speech. And this isDaniel Weintraub’s long comment on it. This is Ken Masugi’s shorter comment, which I quote in full: "The Governor blended Progressive measures such as the referendum in March with the political need to blame the Democrats for raising spending and eventually make them pay for it. In this way, his administration will be a fascinating exercise in using (or threatening) Progressive means to curb the worst excesses of left-liberal politics. His ’empire of aspirations’ slogan is completely open-ended and susceptible of interpretation according to everyone’s wishes-- which is why it is a great political slogan.

But I preferred the punch of ’I don’t want to move boxes around; I want to blow them up.’ Good action hero dialogue."

Concealed Compromise

The Ohio legislature has apparently struck a compromise with Governor Taft to avoid a veto of a new concealed carry firearms bill. Under the new regs, Ohioans could legally carry handguns in purses, pockets, and hidden holsters after submitting to background checks, training seminars, and permit requirements. The committees meet today to discuss it, then the Senate is to vote on it by day’s end. Oh yeah, and journalists would have access to the list of all who are licensed to carry. Sound good to you?

Howard Dean and the Demos

Mark Singer writes a very interesting profile of Dean in the New Yorker. There are many details from his life that are revealing. He is a man of the New Left, his political disposition is formed by people and the era that came to mistrust the US, not only in its policies and leaders, but, somehow, even, its core. On the other hand, you can see how he is--unlike most politicians--kind of appealing because of his apparent forthrightness or, at least his willingness, nay, even inclination, to be loose and unstructured. And this mode of his has to do with his understanding that the Democratic Party is too willing to say and do anything just to win. He thinks that there are consequences to that kind of politics that are bad for both the party and the country. I agree with him on that. You can see why the Clintonistas don’t like him. Yet, somehow, it’s not very clear what he does believe in, save a kind of willfulness about his own opinions on top of an interesting diagnosis of what the problem is with the Demos. But I may not be giving him enough credit. It is not impossible that--should he win the nomination--he may well be instrumental in moving the party toward his kind of Liberalism (whatever that actually turns out to be) and doing it so persuasively that, even if he loses big, Hillary might have a much harder time taking over the party than I have thought heretofore. There is something Carter-like his character and method. Do note that Gallup Poll is reporting that Dean has dropped in the national poll that the 21-point lead Dean held over Clark less than a month ago has narrowed to just 4 percentage points, within the poll’s margin of error. Clark is rising. Also, do pay attention to new polls out of Iowa (they’re not out yet); I am betting that Gephardt will be moving up. The rubber is about to hit the road.

Here’s a Really Bad Idea

Headline on page one of today’s Wall Street Journal (not avilable online):

"State-Run Oil Company Is Being Weighed for Iraq."

Great: Let’s use the Mexican model--Pemex-- for Iraq. What the hell: why not have the Post Office run their oil industry.

Did She Really Have the Winning Ticket?

As this article at the Smoking Gun points out, the woman who claimed to have lost her winning lottery ticket has a few ill-concealed skeletons in her closet--namely a record of repeated arrests going back ten years.

When she went to cops with her tale of the lost lottery ticket, officers asked Dickson how she picked the six winning numbers. A couple of the numbers came from one son’s birth date, while another number was her son’s age flipped. As for why she picked the winning number 49, Dickson told cops that her "husband turns 49 this year." That came as a surprise to Keith Dickson, himself a dedicated gambler and lottery player. "I’m 44," he said. "I turn 45 in February."

More on the Brave New Jersey

Here is NRO’s Kathryn Jean Lopez on New Jersey’s pro-cloning legislation. A decent, quick read. Of particular interest is her quote from Princeton’s Robert P. George who points out that the bill allows for cloning human embryos so long as they are destroyed before birth, leading him to ask (quoting from the piece):

[W]hat if a gestating woman has second thoughts and decides not to abort the developing fetus? Would a court be asked to enforce a contract for abortion? We hope and trust that no court would do that. But then we would have what the sponsors of the legislation say they oppose: the birth of human clones.

Yes, New Jersey, what about that?

That’s the Spirit

Spirit, NASA’s Mars rover, has sent back some early and triumphantly clear pictures from the Red Planet, shown here with the Fox News story on the on-going NASA success. Bravo, Houston!

Texas redistricting

Here is the Dallas Morning News article on the Fed court upholding the GOP redistricting plan in Texas. This means that the Republicans are likely to gain seven seats, according to those who follow these matters. Huge. I guess it’s still possible that it will be appealed to the Supremes. I also wouldn’t be surprised if a few more Demos in Texas followed in Ralph Hall’s footsteps. Here is the decision. You can look at the current House districts and the one that will be used for 2004, by clicking here.

Afghan Constitution

Afghanistan has a new constitution. The Christian Science Monitor editorializes that this is a victory for the Bush Doctrine. Even Kofi Annan describes it as a historic achievement. Here is the Washington Post account of it from yesterday. I haven’t seen the final version, but from what I can tell from the reports, it should do. Karzai got most everything he wanted, including a strong executive. The good news is that men and women will be treated equally, albeit they may have to stay sober.

Defense Language Institute

This is a news article out of Moterrey about the Defense Language Institute. Rumor has it that it’s going to be closed down (not true). Rob Booth at Reductio ad Absurdum has a few clear thoughts on the matter. I only visited the place once about twenty years ago, and was impressed by the quality of the students and good and relatively quick fluency they got (Hungarian is what I could judge) in the languages they studied. We should probably have a half dozen such places for our military. Here is the DLI site.

Leon Kass on Biotech

Here is a Christian Science Monitor interview with Leon Kass, head of the President’s Council on Bioethics, discussing biotechnology and its moral and cultural implications. Worth a look.

Lost and Found

The missing Mega Millions ticket has been found -- and not by me. No word yet on who the holder is, but the lotto commission says it treats the tickets "like cash," so who ever holds the winning ticket is considered the winner, regardless of who may have actually bought the ticket. But this could get interesting.

Fox beating CNN, still

Fox News continues to do much better than CNN, with CNBC a distant third. Fox has been leading CNN for two years, and it continues to pull in more viewers. "Fox averaged 1.02 million viewers at any given moment, a 53 percent increase from the year before. CNN averaged 665,000, a 24 percent increase." Fox also grew more than CNN in prime time, and among the coveted 25-54 yearl-olds.

The Left and Cuba

Here is Arthur Miller writing an apologia of Castro in The Nation. Andrew Sullivan has a wonderful paragraph on it and its meaning, and I quote it in full:

"When you read a piece like this one by Arthur Miller, you realize that for a certain generation, there’s no chance that they will ever get their heads around the horrors of communism. Here’s Miller, dining with a murderer, thug and dictator, and finding some elegant way to remain committed to liberal principles. He can relay Castro’s obvious megalomania; he can see his monstrous narcissism; but he still hangs in there, blaming the embargo for almost everything, mainly concerned that he’s being kept up past his bedtime. He still longs for a world in which Castro might have succeeded, a world which cannot exist, and which never existed - except in the minds of aging Nation-readers. There is, I think, no chance of persuading this generation. They are lost. But eventually they will die off, and a new realism can take hold. Tick-tock."

Finders Keepers?

The woman who claims to have picked the winning Mega Millions lottery numbers worth $162 million has filed police reports claiming that she lost the ticket within two blocks of the Quik-Shop where she bought it. Seems her purse fell while she was pumping gas. If true (and the police believe her), this means there’s $162 million out there in the snow less than a mile from my house. Yet here I sit. Are the odds of finding it any better than the 134,000,000 to 1 odds of winning it?

Economic Points

The NYT’s Paul Krugman, whose knickers are permanently twisted, attempts to play ventriloquist today with Paul Rubin, worrying about the U.S. budget and trade deficit.

For a sober alternative, see the work of my AEI colleague John Makin, whose monthly Economic Outlook is must reading. (Makin calls the macro shots for some very successful hedge funds.)

Money quote: "The loudest cries of criticism have been reserved for the sharp transition from a U.S. budget surplus of over $200 billion in the 2000 fiscal year to a $380 billion deficit in 2003. Conservatives and liberals alike are already decrying an expected budget deficit of $500 billion in the current fiscal year. Criticism of rising budget deficits, an old habit among would-be policy wonks trying to sound profound and prudent, is just silly at this point. It would be like criticizing firefighters for pumping half the water out of a pond to put out a fire. Sure, there is less water in reserve for another fire, but why have the water there in the first place if you don’t intend to use it to put out fires? Going from a budget surplus of 2 percent of GDP to a deficit, still below 4 percent of GDP, is appropriate in an economy with excess capacity, especially when much of the swing comes from two rounds of demand-boosting tax cuts that simultaneously improve resource allocation."

Read the whole thing, and you’ll see why Makin thinks things right now are "As Good as It Gets."    

Lincoln and the hen

Abe and his son would visit this candy store on New York Ave, from time to time, according to the Washington Times. (Thanks to Ken Masugi). I am still working on Lincoln and came across this last night: As you know, Abe had nothing but trouble with his generals. The story is told that when Joseph Hooker became commander of the Army of the Potomac, Lincoln visited him. Hooker told Abe that he had built the "finest army on the planet" and he hoped that God would have mercy on Bobby Lee became he, Joe Hooker, would have none. Lincoln listened and then said that the "hen is the wisest of all the animal creation, because she never cackles until the egg is laid." Nice.

A Symptom of the Problem

Got my latest University of Chicago Press book catalogue for political science in the mail yesterday. One offering is Muhsin Mahdi’s good book, Alfarabi and the Foundation of Islamic Political Philosophy.

In the small print, however, the catalogue informs us: "Not for sale in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan."


Mac Owens reflects on Rumsfeld’s work at Defense, via Midge Decter’s biography. Certainly, Rummy’s one of the more interesting defense chiefs, ever. A good read. But also see this useful and critical Washington Post story on the disagreements between Rumsfeld and some military and intelligence officials about how to conduct the war against terrorists. This includes, but is not restrcited to, whether to use Special Mission Units or Green Berets. It seems that Rummy has moved to favoring more direct action strikes, rather than working with insurgents, a more indirect approach. Is counterinsurgency better than assasination and snatches? A useful article. The common sense answer is that both are needed, depending on circumstances. The trouble is that the development of a "hearts and minds" mode (counterinsurgency) takes time to develop. That time should be taken, of course. Yet, I think that if the right doors are kicked down at the right time in the right way, that could also be useful. Ponder it.

Paying Respects for the Fallen

I had seen the story some time ago of Vicki Pierce, who went to a small town in Texas for the funeral of her nephew, James Kiehl. James was killed in action after his convoy was ambushed in Iraq on March 23, 2003. The memorial service at the small Baptist Church was enormous for the small town, with 1,000 people filling the church and spilling into the parking lot. But it was the trip to the cemetary from the church that was truly amazing. You should see the photos for yourself.

Predictions for 2004

My predictions for 2004.

1. Brittany Spears will not be married again in 2004.
2. It will be (finally) discovered that Michael Jackson is not running on all cylinders.
3. Gephard will win in Iowa.
4. Bush will carry Pennsylvania, Florida, New Mexico, Iowa, and Oregon in November.
5. One way or the other Wesley Clark will be on the Democratic ticket.
6. Dick Cheney will not (I regret) be on the GOP ticket.
7. Bush will win the election by between 8 and 15 points, if Dean is the nominee.
8. The GOP will have a net gain of five Senate seats, and eight House seats, if Dean is the nominee.
9. The Cleveland Indians and the Browns will do very well, but not as well as the Cavaliers.
10. Something interesting and surprising having to do with either carbon and/or water will be found on Mars.
11. Steve Hayward will finish another book.
12. De-stabilization will pick up speed in Saudi Arabia and Iran.
13. India will continue to prosper and will become an even closer ally of the U.S.
14. Poland will continue to position itself as spokesman for the New Europe.
15. Benjamin Netanyahu will become PM of Israel.
16. Bin Laden will be captured.

It’s Hard Being Stupid

Here’s a nice piece by Suzanne Fields in the WaTimes on the left’s demonization of Western Civilization and their need to blame someone else for all of life’s down-turns. "The ’enlightened’ of our present day interpret almost everything that the United States does — even when such things are clearly in their interest — as nasty, selfish and malevolent." Reminds me a bit of Thomas Sowell’s Vision of the Anointed.

New Year, New Party

Congressman Ralph Hall joined the Republican ranks on Friday, becoming the first Democrat to switch sides in the new year. A member of the House since 1980, Mr. Hall was welcomed into the party with "open arms."

New Jersey’s Brave New World

New Jersey appears ready to become the second state to allow stem cell research which many fear will lead to experimental human cloning. The NJ legislature passed a bill in mid-December paving the way for human stem cell research, and the gov’nor has promised to sign it soon. The Family Research Council has called it a "clone-to-kill" measure, arguing that "[t]he new law would authorize New Jersey’s large biotech industry to actually clone a human embryo, implant that embryo into a woman’s womb, develop the embryo to the fetal stage and then kill it for ’research purposes.’" This is not good news.


John Fund says that the Demos plan to settle on an early nominee--thanks especially to Carville and McAuliffe--may have the unintended consequnce of turning Dean (if he should prove to be the nominee) into a pinata for Republicans during the long campaign. Bill Kristol argues that although it may be a good thing for the public to have a real choice in the campaign between Bush and Dean the GOP shouldn’t count their chickens just yet. A lot can happen in ten months. Howard Dean graces the cover of both Time and Newsweek. Marjorie Williams thinks she knows why she feels uneasy about Dean: He’s a Doctor. "But suddenly it all makes sense: Where else but in medicine do you find men and women who never admit a mistake? Who talk more than they listen, and feel entitled to withhold crucial information? Whose lack of tact in matters of life and death might disqualify them for any other field?" Here is the Washington Post’s report on yesterday’s debate. Here is the Des MoinesRegister report on the non-event. I forced myself a bit of the debate and conclude that Wesley Clark was the winner (he did not participate). Rassmussen reports that Dean’s lead nationally has slipped four points during the last month and Kerry went up by four.