The Spectacle Blog

Just How Low can it Go?

By on 4.20.06 | 4:48PM

The new Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll puts the president's popularity at 33%. A little -- admittedly incomplete -- internet research doesn't show a lower number for any president. LBJ, befor announcing he wouldn't run again was at about 38%. Is this the lowest ever measured for any president?

Moqtada al Sadr, Kingmaker

By on 4.20.06 | 2:19PM

What personage, what veilwork of reasons, could lurk behind Jaafari's decision to make himself removable as Prime Minister of Iraq? AP reports:

Key to al-Jaafari's change of heart was pressure from U.N. envoy Ashraf Qazi and his meetings Wednesday with the most powerful Shiite cleric in the country, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical cleric who has backed al-Jaafari, said Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman.

"There was a signal from Najaf," Othman said, referring to al-Sistani's office in the Shiite holy city. "Qazi's meetings with (al-Sistani) and al-Sadr were the chief reason that untied the knot."

May Issue

By on 4.20.06 | 12:26PM

The May issue of The American Spectator is now up for digital subscribers. Among many other fine pieces, Roger Scruton kicks off his monthly column with an article on modern Islam's abandonment of its own culture and Shawn Macomber considers his fortune to return to the United States while brave Iraqis and American troops sort out the mess there.

If you're a print subscriber, access the online edition here. Not yet a subscriber? You're missing out: the digital subscription is a mere $19.95 a year, and the print/digital subscription is $39.95. Subscribe today.

Reid’s Read on Iran

By on 4.20.06 | 10:29AM

Thanks to Harry Reid - speaking for the party of Cynthia McKinney - we now know that the United States lacks a military option on Iran because we're too tied up in Iraq. Funny. No one I know among the nation's senior military leaders would say that. Maybe Harry wouldn't listen to his senior military advisors. Oh, sorry. I forgot. That's not the province of Dems who brought us Blackhawk Down, US soldiers wearing UN berets and so forth. That, according to the Dems, is the province of Don Rumsfeld.

Why, oh why, does anybody take Reid seriously about anything, especially national defense? Thanks, Harry babe, for proving to the world that the Iranians are entirely free to pursue nuclear weapons if they can outwait GWB.

Re: Great Burke Quote

By on 4.20.06 | 10:22AM

Quin, your cite to Burke at once brought to mind a few lines from Philip Rieff, of whom I am a great and all-too-rare enthusiast:

A culture in control needs first of all to preserve that control by not reaching its legal arms too far into the labyrinths of public life. The guardians of any culture must constantly protect the difference between the public and private sectors -- and encourage forms of translation between the two sectors; that is the meaning of ritual in all traditional cultures.

For the reader who'd like to read deeper, I've put together a sort of concordance of my glosses and commentaries on Rieff and culture here.

Noonan on target

By on 4.20.06 | 10:14AM

Hat tip to Peggy Noonan for this excellent column on the Bush presidency, capturing some of the president's strengths (which are significant) but also really homing in on his weaknesses.

The Revolting Generals

By on 4.20.06 | 9:58AM

The latest attack on Big Dog Don Rumsfeld has run its course, with predictable results. The Big Dog stays, and his enemies remain frustrated by the fact that the president remains confident in the man who's doing precisely what he was hired to do: shake up the Pentagon.

Stephen Herbits has an interesting take on the revolting -- actually, quite so - generals in today's Wash Times. Very much worth a look.

Great Burke Quote

By on 4.20.06 | 9:53AM

Courtesy of reader Bob Keiser of Wilkes Barre, PA, in response to my column yesterday about coarseness in American culture and especially on the Left, comes this wonderful, wonderful quote from the great British statesman Edmund Burke: "Manners are of more importance than Laws. Upon them in great measure the Laws depend. The Law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, invisible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and colour to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them or they totally destroy them."

I just thought the quote bore repeating, and I thank Mr. Keiser for sharing it.

Gates at Hanoi

By on 4.20.06 | 9:48AM

Spoke to source in Hanoi last evening, and she reported the Communist 10th Party Congress tyros of Vietnam are most excited that Bill Gates arrives this weekend for a fete with the leadership. The sons of the NVA are looking to America and especially to IT to lead them out of backwardness and corruption. The theme of the 10th Congress is that every official in Vietnam is for sale at least once a day and that nothing is trustworthy.

At the same time, another commercial source tells me that Vietnam is most attractive compared to mainland China. The factories are clean, the workers are quick and eager, the management is well-spoken, English-skilled, and convincingly pro-American.

Too many ironies to count in all this, though I am compelled to mention that it will not take thirty years for Iraq to shake off the label of righteous victim of American aggression and beg for Gates to fly in to start IT plants and so forth. I mention that there is no presence at the 10th Party Congress in Hanoi of either Jane Fonda or the Sheehan fan club: they've moved on to fresh fairy tales.

PRC organ-harvesting protests at Seattle

By on 4.20.06 | 9:37AM

Spoke to Falun Dafa source at Seattle last evening, and she reported two days of most successful demonstrations at Seattle.

Falun Dafa (aka Falun Gang) protesters were at Hu's hotel at all hours, a twenty-four hour presence, at the four corners of the hoptel, speaking loudly in protests in Mandarin and English and other languages, against the criminal abuse of millions inside China today and around the world today, including in the United States.

Source reported that the protesters were present at the Boeing airport, at the hotel, at an intersection near the Gates Mansion; and that she saw Hu look at the demos as his limo passed in Gates's land on Tuesday evening.

Source also reported new efforts to inform the public about the news of Chinese government approved organ harvesting from concentration camps. She reported that they have information of doctors in China letting people know they should get their transplants before July 1, because the organs are going to be harder to get atafter that date. No special explanation as to what July 1 represents, except that the PRC tyros are feeling pressure from outside publicity of their crimes.

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