Hunter, with regard to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, I’m in the position of the musician who has played “Sunrise, Sunset” one (or thirty) too many times at a wedding. How about the Italian version? Chestnut risotto, tortellini with spicy brandy-pumpkin sauce, trilled Caeser salad (to go along with the turkey, risotto inside). Or how about stuffing the turkey with new potatoes, skin and all, with butter, thyme, and bay leaf, seasoned with coarse salt? Gravy is simply low-rent bechamel sauce. Don’t really like it. Of course there’s the matter of our relative avoirdupois. Last I weighed, I came in at 130.
In The Objective Standard, C. Bradley
Thompson drops a bomb on compassionate conservatism. It is a
nuclear bomb — the most sustained and withering attack I’ve seen
yet. What’s below is just the tip of the iceberg;
read it all if you dare.
The delivery method adopted by today’s pushers of compassion is to harp day and night on those who fail and suffer; the goal is to induce in Americans en masse an arrested, perceptual-level mentality, a mentality that processes all moral and political matters emotionally and then acts accordingly. Americans are inundated on a daily basis-whether via the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, Fox News, or the New York Times-with maudlin scenes and stories of human misery. They are encouraged to put their failures on display and to exercise compassion at every turn.
Ours is the Age of Compassion.
Rousseau’s ghost now oversees a nation of social workers. The moral ideal to which our culture aspires is the moist eyes of the wet nurse. To lack compassion in this new world is to be morally deprived if not morally depraved. The Oprahization of American culture has made compassion the standard by which we judge whether men are good or bad, and so Americans today feel compelled to constantly display their sensitivity and to show that their “heart is in the right place.”
The so-called “love” advocated by the proponents of compassion is not directed toward human virtue but toward human vice. It is not for their achievements that the weak are admired but for their failures. On the one hand, this is an utter inversion of morality; on the other hand, it is the annihilation of morality.
To treat compassion as a virtue promotes a kind of moral relativism-a non-judgmental, no-fault morality that takes people just as they are. “Don’t judge people,” its proponents say, “just accept their plight and help them.” Fundamentally speaking, this is an attempt to negate the law of causality-to sever consequences from their causes. Forget about what caused a jobless person to be jobless; just give him a job. Forget about why a person has saved nothing for retirement; just give him some money. Forget about why a person failed to insure his Gulf-coast dwelling; just give him an apartment or a house. Personal responsibility or lack thereof (the cause) is irrelevant to the compassionate.
A moral code that upholds compassion as a virtue is the antipode of a morality of justice. It paralyzes one’s ability to evaluate and judge the ideas and actions of individuals; it demands that one suspend moral judgment-that one not discriminate between the suffering caused by elements beyond one’s control and that caused by irrationality, sloth, evasion.The moral relativism promoted by this weepy sentiment naturally leads to political egalitarianism. […]
* * *
For my money, this resusciates well the old question of whether
justice is best understood as a purely
political question. Certainly just because they’re not
political functions doesn’t mean love, hope, and charity should be
wiped from the human heart and soul. But can we draw lines between
these private- and public-sector sentiments in an age so soaked
through with the psychotherapeutic ethic?
Bush says Maliki is the “right guy” for Iraq. I wonder if Donald Rumsfeld might know a thing or two about how reassuring those words are.
Larry, after several years of loving everything you have written, you finally dented my affection. Your revisionist turkey dinner, no matter how refined or tasty, is a tragedy.
No stuffing? No whipped potatoes? No GRAVY?
You must always deliver the gravy. Never forget that Lar-meister.
Reading Ezra Klein’s blog the other day, I noticed he had this to say about government-run health care:
What’s fun about the universal health care argument is how many facets it has. A good plan would be more efficient, more just, more economical, and more effective.
I was reminded of that when reading this article about Canada’s health care system. To keep its health care budgets under control, Canada has to ration care and as a result has long-wait times for surgery and cancelled surgeries. These can result in death, as in the case of Diane Gorsuch.
Another result is that private clinics are now popping up like wild flowers in Canada. As the article notes:
In British Columbia, the health care budget is ballooning and the provincial government is under fire for bed shortages and long waits in emergency rooms.So, what’s the government’s response? Why, close down private clinics, of course:
In recent months, the B.C. New Democratic Party has attacked the provincial Liberal government for not cracking down on doctors it says have allowed patients to pay for access to private clinics.
In some cases, patients have been able to use their access to the private clinics to get to the front of the line for diagnostic tests, saving months or even years of waiting.
A showdown over the future of medicare is expected to unfold in Vancouver today as the B.C. government threatens to shut down a private clinic that may start charging patients for services that should be free under the health care system.Yep, government going to make sure everyone has universal access, even if that means universal access to a waiting list.
”We need to ensure universal access to health care is maintained in this province,” B.C. Health Minister George Abbott said Thursday.
In what Abbott called ”an extraordinary move,” the B.C. government pushed through a cabinet order Thursday that will empower government auditors to enter the premises of the Urgent Care Centre that has promised to open its doors today in Vancouver.
Sounds pretty efficient, just, economical, and effective to me.
This is a scream!
Hat tip: The Corner.
James. Touche. I meant to include a sentence about how, in terms of behavior, Persians, Pashtuns, and other Middle Easterners behaved much like Arabs. The U.S. operation in Afghanistan was a model of modern warfare — until we found out that our Northern Alliance “allies” were all to willing to cut deals with the Taliban once they had them cornered. At which point we should have done something about that, but didn’t.
It’s nice to see Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families by the Weekly Standard’s Noemie Emery get an appreciative review in today’s Washington Post. But what in the world was the reviewer, Carolyn See, thinking when she wrote:
“Emery draws parallels between George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy — which probably would give both of them hives. Both were younger brothers, semi-rebellious, not explicitly chosen by their families for presidential laurels, but they rose to occasions of great responsibility…”
Lest that were just a slip, See repeats her error by referring to George W. Bush as “[t]he formerly rebellious younger son.” Maybe she should stick to reviewing fiction.
If you haven’t heard, the president of the College of William and Mary, Gene Nichol, not only surrendered the fight to the multi-cultis over the College’s use of the Tribe mascot and feathers logo, but now he is fighting on their behalf. This semester, he ordered that the table cross in Wren Chapel be placed in the closet, rather than keep its default placement. Students and alumni have formed a group to protest the move, Save the Wren Cross, and are circulating a petition. Icarus Fallen has more, including a link to a Hannity and Colmes appearance by Save the Wren Cross’s founder.
In quite a piece of investigative reporting, the Boston Globe discovers that Mitt Romney had illegal immigrants working on his lawn—the newspaper even tracked down some of the former lawn workers in Gautemala:
For about eight years, Rosales said, he worked on and off landscaping the grounds at Romney's home, occasionally getting a "buenos dias" from Romney or a drink of water from his wife, Ann.
"She is very nice," said Rosales, 49.
About 6 miles away in Copado, a 37-year-old man who recently returned to
from the Guatemala told a similar story, describing long days tending Romney's 2 1/2-acre grounds. United States
"They wanted that house to look really nice," said the worker, who asked to remain anonymous. "It took a long time."
Somehow, I can't see this December '06 surprise hurting Romney 13 months from now.
Via the Corner.
Lawrence: Whether or not “Middle Easterners of the Arabic persuasion” are as you describe, we can’t have learned that in Afghanistan, which has vanishingly few Arabs.
Phil, James, as we discovered in Afghanistan, and ought to have known thoroughly by now, Middle Easterners of the Arabic persuasion are as dilatory as five-year-olds, and for many of the same reasons: king o’ the world egos, mainly, combined with immaturity. The only thing they respect — or respond to — is utter ruthlessness. Why do you think they’re so often ruled by dictators? Unless you play the game tough with them, better not to play it at all. Make nice does not work.
Okay, I can’t take it anymore. I’ve wanted Iraq to be a success from the beginning, I considered invasion justified by reasons of international law from the get-go, and in spite of these things I didn’t consider myself to have blood on my hands when the fighting didn’t stop after Mission Accomplished.
And yet. In the space of the past year in Iraq we have satisfied and chronologically surpassed all our benchmarks, arrived at the point at which winning would set in, and discovered that instead of winning virtually everything has gone backwards. Maliki, whose job was to kill off or demobilize all antinationalist militaries, has blown it, and he blames us for not giving him the tools. And the President phrases that blame as legitimate. And then we are to believe that foremost among these tools we should give the Iraqi government is time, when, as every military student since Machiavelli has known, time is the enemy of successful invasions and pacifications.
Time, more specifically, has already been best friend to Iran. What in God’s creation will make Maliki more likely to “forge a settlement that would be in American interests” when every passing day, in the act of ticking by, augments the power of the militias, strengthens the hand of Iran, and drives Iraq deeper into post-benchmark psychosis? The time’s come to recognize that Maliki, along with anyone and everyone else, including, clearly, the Kurds, can “seek out help” from America and Iran simultaneously, that is, hedge their bets in doing whatever seems expedient to patch together some semblance of basic order.
The language of that Person who Participated is flaccid with the same stupid nonsense about “sense of urgency” that we’ve now heard ten times over from all quarters. Creating a sense of urgency is so less important than creating actual physical urgency as to make one not sure whether to laugh or cry. Sense of urgency! Oh, if only Maliki seemed really worried! Then we’d be on our way! No, for good or ill the ultimatum of picking up stakes creates actual urgency, namely an urgent reclamation of initiative on the part of the USA and an urgent dumping of initiative upon the Iraqis left holding the bag. If this is a wretched idea it’s because — and only because — Iraq might become so hopelessly anarchic that the Middle East will implode, sucking every people but the Persians into a vast hellbroth. What’s likely to be the Study Group recommendation is not bad advice for any other reason; it cannot be.
The inability of Iraq to form a national army capable of even the pretense of monopolized force is their fault, not ours, and the position that this bedrock reality does not far overwhelm the ability of the government of Iraq to “forge a settlement” more in our interests than the recapture of our own initiative is one I cannot comprehend and will not support.
Thanks to Hunter, I have “Eye of the Tiger” stuck in my head. Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival.
New article out today in Health Affairs showing that the number of truly uninsured is a lot less than 47 million. According to the article, about 25% of the 47 million are eligible for Medicaid, while another 19% can afford health insurance but choose not to purchase it. That means 56% of 47 million—about 23.6 million—are actually uninsured.
However, as the authors note, even that may be too high:
The way in which the [Current Population Survey] asks people to report their insurance coverage would seem to lead to an estimate of the number of uninsured people for the entire previous year. But comparisons to the other surveys suggest that the number of people without coverage is much closer to the point-in-time estimates and well above full-year estimates. In its most recent release, the Census Bureau stated that its estimates were more closely in line with point-in-time estimates of the uninsured. We accept this assessment.
Permit me to translate: The Current Population Survey is not very good at distinguishing between those who are uninsured temporarily (point-in-time) because, say, they are between jobs, and those who are chronically uninsured (full-year).
Nevertheless, 23 million is a lot less than 47 million. That’s probably why it won’t get much media coverage.
Philip, you topped me with your title “The Passion of Balboa.” I tried to come up with a good one at Southern Appeal and ended up with “Eye of Christ the Tiger” which mixes the eighties theme song of Rocky III with a not very well known book by Thomas Howard, the evangelical turned Catholic.
Any questions you might have about this “James Antle” person are answered here in a conversation with Bernard Chapin.
There's plenty to find disturbing in this NY Times report that the Iraq Study Group will recommend a gradual pullback of U.S. troops in place of a timeline for withdrawal. Cliff May and Rich Lowry make some key points, but I want to focus on another aspect of the article I found alarming:
A person who participated in the commission’s debate said that unless the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki believed that Mr. Bush was under pressure to pull back troops in the near future, “there will be zero sense of urgency to reach the political settlement that needs to be reached.”
This has been the argument of many advocates of a pullback or withdrawal, but there's a severe flaw with it. Yes, you could argue that the prospect of an American withdrawal will force Maliki to reach a political settlement, however, it will make him far less likely to forge a settlement that would be in American interests and more likely to accept a settlement favorable to Iran, insurgent groups, and militias—all of whom will still be there after Americans leave. Evidence of this can already be seen by the contrast between Iraqi President Jalal Talabani crawling to Iran this week and Maliki's snubbing of President Bush at yesterday's summit. From a pure political standpoint, Maliki's moves make perfect sense. The stronger the signals that
As mentioned in my piece this morning, Mitt Romney’s legal team is asking the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to make the legislature act on a voter-initiated amendment to end same-sex marriage in the commonwealth. I’ll be very surprised if this works. Romney and company are in effect saying to justices, “Please force the state legislature to take a step toward reversing you.”
Of course, in Massachusetts constitutional jurisprudence, anything can happen.
I think there’s another element to the Democrats’ flip-flop on fully implementing the recomendations of the 9/11 Commission. Pretty soon, the recomendations of the Baker-Hamilton group will be made public, and the Democrats will be pressuring the White House to accept the group’s recommendations as if they were gospel. If the Democrats have decided that they can pick and chose among the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, it makes it more difficult for them to argue that President Bush has to embrace all of the Iraq Study Group’s suggestions.
The Washington Post reports today that congressional Democrats are reneging on their campaign pledge to implement all the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. Specifically, they are balking at revamping the congressional oversight process for national intelligence agencies, a reform the commission described as “among the most difficult and important.”
Now, I don’t buy the conventional wisdom that an idea becomes good policy just because the 9/11 Commission recommends it. But I’m willing to bet that in an election when the Democrats didn’t have much of a positive agenda, this was a campaign promise that sounded good to a lot of swing voters—and one key Democratic leaders knew they would have problems putting into place long before now.
Margaret Carlson writes about how Hillary Clinton could overcome her "likeability" deficit in 2008, as evidenced by the recent Quinnipiac Poll, in which she ranked poorly. In my estimation, this is the biggest impediment to her candidacy, and a prime reason why she could fall to Barack Obama in a primary, despite his lack of experience, and despite her current strong advantage in polls. While Hillary Clinton may cerebrally understand politics as well as Bill Clinton, people tended to like Bill, but they have the absolute opposite reaction to Hillary. I've even spoken to many Democrats who have told me "there's just something I don't like about her," or "she just rubs me the wrong way." Whereas Bill was able to smoothly shift his positions when politically necessity demanded it, everything Hillary does is so transparent and comes off as completely telegraphed.
In her piece, Carlson talks about how presidents are often elected based on being more "warm and fuzzy," for example, while Gore bored people:
"Bush put himself out as the candidate you would want to have over for a backyard barbecue….When each candidate had his moment before the biggest daytime TV audience of the 2000 campaign, Bush planted a kiss on Oprah Winfrey and spoke about finding religion and losing booze. Gore extended his hand and talked
Carlson contrasts Hillary's likeability with Rudy Giuliani's (who topped the Quinnipiac Poll):
"By 2008, if the world is in the same perilous condition as today, warm and fuzzy should matter less. Rudy 9/11 will give way to Rudy 9/10 in a New York minute.
Clinton's accomplishments in the Senate, not her demeanor or record as the most-challenged spouse in political history since Eleanor Roosevelt, will count."
But Carlson errs by differentiating between a pre-9/11 and post 9/11 Rudy and also by conflating the public's warm feelings toward Rudy with him being "warm and fuzzy" in an Oprah-like way. Rudy did not change on 9/11 as much as
A perfect example to demonstrate how the world, not Rudy, changed on 9/11 is one Carlson herself uses. In indicting the pre-9/11 Rudy, she criticizes "petty gestures like ejecting Yasser Arafat from
If Carlson really thinks that "By 2008, if the world is in the same perilous condition as today, warm and fuzzy should matter less," it's hard to see how that would favor Hillary over Rudy in a hypothetical matchup.
John, the mere act of going over to Sully’s site is to take him too seriously.
The problem Wal-Mart is facing isn’t a result of pressure from Wal-Mart opponents (although that may be a small factor), but as a result of competitors using effective strategies to counter Wal-Mart. Many consumers, for instance, would be more comfortable buying their electronics at Best Buy. K-Mart went bankrupt because it tried to compete with Wal-Mart on price. Target, realizing that it couldn’t compete with Wal-Mart on price, has done a good job marketing itself as a trendier, higher quality alternative to Wal-Mart. The gaffe that you point to, Paul, of Wal-Mart entering designer women’s clothing, could be attributed to Wal-Mart trying to close the “trendiness gap” with Target. Another issue for Wal-Mart is saturation—they now have nearly 4,000 stores in the U.S., so, urban areas are one of the few areas left to grow. To the extent that they try to appeal to urban consumers, they risk alienating their suburban and rural “base” by introducing things like designer jeans.
I’m beginning to think that Wal-Mart’s
opponents are throwing them off their game. The New York Times
reports today that the retailing mega-behemoth will announce
that its sales for November have fallen for the first time in a
decade. The problem (if you want to call it that) is attributable
in part to decisions like this:
The new clothing at Wal-Mart created problems, too. After early success with a designer women’s clothing line called Metro7 in 600 mostly urban area stores, the company rolled out the fashions across the chain.
It did not work. The average Wal-Mart shopper lives in the suburbs, is roughly 5-foot-2 and wears a size 14 - making them poor candidates for the skinny jeans that were a popular, tight-fitting fashion in urban markets.You used to never hear about gaffes like that in the past. Never underestimate the potential for unions to throw a monkey wrench into far more than just labor-related issues. As Chico Escuela used to say, “always keep your eye on de ball.”
In the middle of a perfectly reasonable post on why Hillary Clinton for President is a bad idea, Andrew Sullivan drops this odd throwaway line:
I think she’d make a great Supreme Court Justice…What can he mean by that? I can’t imagine how that can make sense, from Andrew Sullivan’s perspective or almost anyone else’s. Is he praising her temperment, intellect, legal expertise, ideology, or something else that would make a good SCOTUS candidate that I haven’t thought of?
Or am I taking Andrew too seriously again?
Some Liberals criticized the choice of inviting Dean to the convention, complaining that it would have been better to choose a Canadian.Hey, my closest friend from high school studied architecture at McGill! If the Liberals would like me to give a speech, I’m available.
But Dean does have one Canadian connection: his wife studied medicine at McGill University.
The NY Sun reports:
— An expert adviser to the Baker-Hamilton commission expects the 10-person panel to recommend that the Bush administration pressure WASHINGTON to make concessions in a gambit to entice Israel and Syria to a regional conference on Iran . Iraq
Via Mark Levin.
Time will tell whether this report is accurate, but to anybody who is familiar with the career of James Baker, who famously said, "F—- the Jews, they didn't vote for us anyway," it shouldn't come as a surprise that he would be willing to sell out our staunch ally
Even if I take off my pro-Israel hat for a moment and put on a "realist" hat, it's hard to see such an approach as having a reasonable chance of success. Does anyone think that
The one thing that should be said is that President Bush has proved himself an unabashed supporter of Israel, probably the most pro-Israel president in the nation's history. So, until we know more about what's in the Baker-Hamilton report and receive White House reaction, Bush has earned the benefit of the doubt.
I’m coming late to this, but let me put in my two or three cents worth.
First, there is an easy way to get back to surpluses. Just hold spending increases to growth in inflation for about three or four years, and we’ll get there.
Second, Ben Stein needs to be a lot more skeptical about whom he takes tax advice from. Warren Buffett pays less in taxes as a percentage of his income than his secretaries because he gets his income from capital gains and dividends. Why didn’t Ben ask Buffett why Buffett doesn’t start taking a salary and paying his secretaries with capital gains and dividends? It would be one way for Buffett to show how committed he is to his belief in “fairness”.
But I wouldn’t hold my breath. Buffett likes taxes, especially the estate tax. His life insurance company, Safeco, sells special policies that help heirs pay the estate tax. For more on how Buffett makes out like a bandit on the estate tax, read this article by my friend John Berlau.
Finally, let’s acknoledge that a fundamental unfairness lies at the root of all taxes. In essence, all taxes take money from someone who has earned it, and gives it to someone who has not. The only way to justify this transfer is with (1) a need that can’t be fulfilled by the market, such as defense, or (2) by the truly needy, such as the disabled or perhaps victims of Katrina.
But you can’t really justify tax increases when so much government spending goes to things that can be provided by the private sector and/or go to those who are anything but needy. Examples include corporate welfare, farm payments to big corporate farms, not to mention delectable little pork items like the Bridge to Nowhere. Those are not things that can justify a tax increase.
And until they are removed from the budget, any tax increase is fundamentally unfair.
I absolutely cannot BELIEVE that the following story hasn’t generated more outrage, but my take on it is that this is the last straw with me in my former respect for Condoleezza Rice. I was a HUGE Rice fan, but increasingly I have wondered where the actualy RESULTS have been from any of her work. As National Security Advisor, she utterly failed at managing the divide between State/Powell and Defense/Rumsfeld as Saddam Hussein’s regime fell, with tragic consequences. Her diplomacy at State has achieved nothing memorably good on any front I can think of. I have always defended her, but I think I have been wrong (and Mr. Codevilla correct, in one of our issues earlier this year in which he attacked her). Why has her popularity, then, not suffered along with Rummy’s and Bush’s? It’s a mystery.
Anyway, the outrage is from this Al Kamen story in today’s Wash Post. The upshot is this: The very same guy at State (Alberto Fernandez) who went on Al-Jazeera and said that Washington had been arrogant and stupid in Iraq has been named the winner of the Edgar R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy. Tufts University chooses the recipient FROM A LIST OF THREE FINALISTS SUBMITTED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT. Read that again: State actually nominated this guy for this prestigious award and its $10,000 check.
If Condi Rice’s State Department is truly so utterly stupid as to so highly value a guy who went on Al-Jazeera (Al-Jazeera, fergoshsakes!!!) to criticize his own country, on the dime of you and I the American taxpayers, then Condi not only has not cleaned up State’s Augean Stables, but has shoveled more horsesh** INTO the stable doors. This is so outrageous it leaves me spluttering. It goes in the same category as the House GOP re-electing as their leader the same guy who handed out tobacco PAC checks on the House floor (Boehner). And the same category as the idiocy of a GOP-sponsored spending spree for eight straight years, starting in 1998. And so on.
I always have hated the cliche I am about to use, but it is the only one that fits: Is it any wonder whatsoever that the Republicans are known as “the stupid party”?!?!?!?!?!?
Will Stallone’s sixth installment of the Rocky series be the Christian film of the year? Perhaps. Either way, I know I’ll be seeing it opening night. After all, it’s the franchise that brought us the greatest Cold War film ever made.
Dave, I’m afraid that government benevolence is in full bloom throughout Northern Virginia. I’m told that my church in Arlington County was already informed that its kitchen doesn’t pass muster.
I guess the homeless in the neighborhood will just have to keep eating out of nice, clean, safe dumpsters.
Only something so infuriating could break me away from the reverie of supplemental jurisdiction and trespass to chattels.
The wonderful, benevolent government of Fairfax County is requiring that kitchens that handout food to the poor be approved by the county.
Several problems here:
1- Such a regulation raises costs for those who operate out of the goodness of their hearts — and will probably crowd out all those except for the largest, well-financed operations.
2- It will probably discourage start-up operations, or just everyday benevolence. You want to share your leftovers with the guy on the corner? Nice try, but is that kitchen approved?
3- The county is monopolizing food charity. This is the very area of public life that is supposed to be free from government regulation — and thrives best without it. Private actors need to ask the county for permission to act charitably.
Suddenly yesterday it became news that President Bush and Senator Elect Webb had a run-in of sorts a few weeks ago at a White House reception for newly elected solons. It seems Webb took exception to the president’s request that he answer the question he’d asked him. According to the Hill’s report, based on what it learned from someone who overheard the exchange between the two men, “Webb confessed that he was so angered … that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief…” Shouldn’t he be receiving a visit from the Secret Service about now?
Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s account protects Webb from such incriminating detail, though it does draw attention to a different bit of gaucheness on Webb’s part: at the reception Webb sought to avoid Bush and “declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or have his picture taken with [the president]…”
“I’m not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall,” Webb told the Post.
Lucianne.com headlines PowerLine blogs take on the six imams ejected from an airline flight. I’ll add a bit. It appears to me that, like gang members in a polite neighborhood, the imams were engaging in a threat display. They did not intend to do anything (probably); the display alone serves their purpose.
You can see this behavior in Mexican or Filipino gangs in American cities, in Vietnamese gangs in Paris, and almost anywhere else thug culture has a foothold. You can see it in middle school lunchrooms and among high schoolers walking home from school. That we now see it in the practitioners of Islam is, I think, most telling: of who they are, of how they see us.
This is testing behavior. We can expect a lot more of it.
Good riddance to that. Avoiding what would have a been almost daily embarrassments coming out of the House Intelligence Committee with a Rep. Alcee Hastings as chairman, Speaker to be Nancy Pelosi told him that chairmanship would not be going to him. Hastings was upset and said so in a statement.
We’re told negotiations about who will fill that slot are ongoing, and have been for several days. And that Hastings knew this was coming.
Look for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas to get strong consideration. In fact, Pelosi may have already offered him the chairmanship before Hastings got the word that his rear would not be filling that seat.
Make no mistake, this news that the Iraqi government is crawling to Iran to help stabalize the country is disasterous—indicative that the government has virtually given up on the United States’ ability to control violence. Coupled with a U.S. policy of engaging Iran and Syria and phased withdrawal, Iran-Iraq “cooperation” would virtually ensure domination of Iraq by the Islamic Republic. This comment was especially disheartening:
Hunter: You’re right that there’s plenty to dislike about a VAT (and as I said, I don’t concede that we need more taxes); it’s just that other taxes are even worse. Economists like VATs because they’re efficient and trade-friendly. (No less than Art Laffer has proposed a system that pairs a flat income tax with a VAT.) More direct consumption taxes, like the “Fair Tax,” are also among the less-bad options.
E.J. Dionne is out today with a predictable column arguing that the GOP needs to find its center. He opens with this:
That was Richard M. Nixon, about a week after Barry Goldwater’s
landslide defeat at the hands of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
The flight from a solution-oriented politics designed to deal
with the pressures on working-class and middle-class families had
the final effect of driving many of the one-time Reagan Democrats,
the “security moms” and disaffected men over to the Democrats, who
enjoyed strong gains in the large swath of households in the
$30,000 to $100,000 annual income range.
Dionne ends the piece by arguing that the GOP should learn from Bill Clinton, but the party has been triangulating for six years, and it has nothing to show for it. If anything, Dionne’s own column demonstrates that it’s futile for the GOP to embrace big government solutions to the nation’s problems—because no matter what the party does to “moderate,” liberals will never like them.
John, I think you’re Rush-like in your high percentage of correctness, but proposing a Value-Added Tax as the best way to raise additional revenue???! Bleccchhhh.
What could be more intrusive than a tax that insidiously insinuates itself at every level of production?
Stephen Kaus (Mickey’s more liberal brother) lays out the devastating case against trusting Alcee Hastings with the Intelligence Committee Chairmanship— or any other responsibility, really.
As David Hogberg mentioned a couple weeks ago, Ben Stein has gone tax happy. Larry Kudlow’s response to the awful op-ed Ben had in the New York Times yesterday can hardly be improved upon. I’d add that even if we grant the premise (which I don’t grant) that government needs more revenue, there are much better ways of raising taxes (say, with a VAT) than the anti-growth soak-the-rich approach that Ben seems to be advocating.
In a recent piece, Congressional Quarterly’s Craig Crawford wrote:
At the very least this should contradict Crawford’s unsupported claim that Giuliani’s “star has faded,” but it is also useful to look at a further breakdown of the numbers. Among self-described “white evangelical/born again Christians,” Giuliani has a 66.3 rating, also the highest in the survey. That puts him ahead of Condoleezza Rice (64.4), President Bush (58.1), John McCain (57.1) and Newt Gingrich (47.8). Mitt Romney’s rating among evangelicals/born again Christians was 46.4, but that figure is not reliable because 67 percent of respondents in this category didn’t know how they felt about him.
Yes, the New Hampshire primary is a long way off, and yes, even
though evangelicals have positive feelings about Giuliani, that
doesn’t mean they’d vote for him despite his social views. However,
here we have yet another data point demonstrating Giuliani’s broad
appeal even among those who are supposed to be the most
antagonistic toward his candidacy. In spite of this, we are
supposed to believe that McCain is the clear frontrunner for the
nomination, and that his toughest rival is Romney, a one-term
governor who is unknown to most of the country. Perhaps I’m
mistaken in my belief that Giuliani will ultimately capture the
Republican nomination, but it stuns me that so many pundits are
still writing off his candidacy in the face of mounting empirical
evidence that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
Who knew that the British Broadcasting Company had adopted the history-altering tactics of Uncle Joe?
For more, visit the NHS Blog Doctor.
In the wake of a tragic NY police shooting over the weekend, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is going out of his way to condemn the cops, clearly seeking to avoid being attacked like Giuliani was when he stood behind police following the accidental shooting of Amadou Diallo in 1999. By way of background, early this past Saturday morning in Queens, a groom out with friends for his bachelor party was shot and killed by police after a series of events in which he ran into an undercover police officer with his car and hit an undercover police van, and then cops fired 50 shots. In 1999, when an unarmed immigrant, Diallo, was shot 41 times when police investigating a rape in his Bronx neighborhood confused his reaching for a wallet with reaching for a gun, Giuliani urged New Yorkers to avoid rushing to judgement and to wait until all the facts were in. Bloomberg, facing similar protests and pressure from the likes of Al Sharpton, has struck a different tone:
Saying he did not want to jump to a conclusion in a case that is still under investigation, the mayor nonetheless used words like “unacceptable,” “inexplicable” and “deeply disturbing” to describe the shooting outside a nightclub early Saturday. Asked if he was referring to the number of shots fired by police, the mayor said he was.For more background on the story, click here. The NY Post, meanwhile, citing anonymous sources, has more details of the police officers’ side of the story.
Paul Beston wrote about the Michael Richards case today. In so doing, he invoked the question of taboos. I think taboos do explain the powerful reaction to Richards’ outburst at the Laugh Factory. I wrote about the topic in connection to the Rush Limbaugh/Donovan McNabb controversy a couple of years ago:
I have a theory about why Rush’s brief remarks have unleashed so much antagonism. Many will believe it’s just about liberals trying to bring a big conservative down. That’s part of the story, but there’s something larger underneath. Every society must have taboos. We need to know the difference between sins and virtues so we can order our lives and live in community. In short, knowing what is right and wrong is the key to social order.
America has witnessed a radical re-ordering of our conception of what is good and bad. Socially useful taboos like unmarried cohabitation, having children out of wedlock, adultery, consumption of pornography, and divorce have all been transformed into acceptable activities through a powerful shove from the cultural elite and correspondingly widespread practice. G.K. Chesterton once famously complained about the rich preaching their vices to the poor and introducing them to ruin. He was right. The old sins aren’t sins any more and we’ve paid a certain price for that. Just ask any child of a single mother who hosts a series of transient males in the home.
But sins don’t disappear and leave a vacuum. We have a moral sense and we will exercise it on something. The ever-considerate cultural elite did not leave us empty-handed. Commandments they destroyed have been replaced by others more favorable to people of fashion. The sin that now stands center stage is the improperly crafted negative remark about anything having to do with race, gender, sexual orientation, or non-dominant religions.
I hasten to add that Rush’s remarks on McNabb were
nothing like Richards’ blast of racial slurs. But the general point
about taboos holds. We will exercise our sense of moral outrage
about something. We just aren’t sure what that will be at any
given point in time.
Today’s Washington Post editorial beautifully illustrates the shortcomings of the editorial-by-committee. Clearly, the WaPo editorial board agrees that we must have “sticks” in our negotiations with Syria and Iran, but couldn’t agree on what those sticks should actually be. Wouldn’t it be more edifying to learn what exactly some editorial board members think we should do, and why other members disagree?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?