The D.C. Council passed a smoking ban ordinance yesterday, to the apparent consternation of Mayor Anthony Williams, who's worried about the detrimental effects to business. Worse than that, it's a blow to civil society: a bloc of citizens can declare a minor vice (if that) unpleasant and banish the offenders to the sidewalk. Liberals aren't so tolerant after all.
The Spectacle Blog
Last week I defended the late Pat Morita against the PC condescending tribute paid him by Lawrence Downes in the New York Times. Now it turns out Downes fell into the very trap he set for himself. Yesterday the Times ran this dainty correction apropos his piece:
An Editorial Observer column last Tuesday about the death of the actor Pat Morita referred imprecisely to Rob Schneider's background. His mother is Filipino.
I'd say Downes had been precise to a fault in making his erroneous point:
John Burns may be the New York Times's finest, and certainly toughest, reporter. He's been in Iraq since well before the war. Today he profiles the forever fellow-traveling Ramsey Clark, currently a member of Saddam Hussein's defense team. In his subtle, measured way, Burns undresses Clark -- "a tall, gaunt figure, still with a Texas drawl after decades of living in New York..." Before Burns is done with him, Clark is displaying a propensity for moral equivalence apologetics that during the 1930s would have had him rushing to defend Stalin. Burns reports:
The House of Representatives returns from its Thanksgiving recess today with an agenda full of crucial items. Moderate Republicans have grown bolder in recent weeks, with their eyes on defeating the modest, $50 billion cuts in the budget increases as well as drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR will be resolved in conference.
Dave: All that speculation is coming from those, such as Chris Matthews, who can't imagine any Dem saying what Lieberman did without first having been bribed with a job offer. Couple that with their hatred of Rumsfeld, and voila, you have the imaginary SecDef Lieberman. Methinks it's very, very unlikely.
Instapundit notices an increasingly popular Democratic talking point: Lieberman as Secretary of Defense. Of course, there's a slight problem with that rumor. The job's taken, for now. Reynolds links to Kos on this, who acknowledges that such a move would mean Lieberman was switching sides and Gov. Jodi Rell could turn his Senate seat into a Republican incumbency. Still, Kos would be only too happy to "finally get rid of Lieberman."
John: Perplex away. As I said in my earlier posting, there is substantial popular support for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. No matter who knocks it off, there will be a substantial backlash that -- by covert action -- we can help redirect against the mullahs.
And there is nothing about the existence of any regime that threatens the USA. It is not existence or even policy but only intent and capabilities that turn a loud noise into a threat. Iran's intent is to restore, by violence, their idealized Muslim caliphate. Its capabilities -- by the oil it sells to fund terrorism -- is one kind of threat. It is another entirely if it achieves its nuclear weapons ambitions.
There would be no lessening of anti-American feeling in Iran or anywhere else in the Muslim world if Israel were to make an attack. In fact, it might actually be worse if the Israelis did it than if we did. They are regarded as our proxy in the Middle East. At least when they are not merely labeled the Zionist enemy by the arabs and others.
First off, Jed, I think you misunderstood my question. I know that a strike on nuclear facilities won't result in regime change; I'm worried that it would retard regime change, and I'm wondering if Israel doing the deed would limit anti-American backlash.
And second, I'm a little perplexed by this sentence: "It matters not who rules Iran if they are no threat to us." The current Iranian regime is by its nature a threat to us -- a terror master, to use Michael Ledeen's phrase. I take it you get this, since you call for covert action to destabilize the regime. What I'm concerned about is the tension between, on the one hand, keeping nukes out of the Mullahs' hands, and on the other hand toppling the Mullahs entirely.