Saturday, September 24, 2005


Posted at 07:05 PM

George Galloway has finally made it onto my very short list of People I Would Spit On If I Had The Chance. (Ted Rall and Michael Moore are congratulating him as we speak.) Little Green Footballs links this to this excellent, detailed account of Galloway's appearance this week in San Francisco. Galloway achieves almost a perfect Anti-Warren score, hating everything I love and loving everything I hate.

Posted at 06:34 PM

This is from the testimony of Congressman Curt Weldon at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, under questioning by the chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter:
SEN. SPECTER: Congressman Weldon, had this information been called to the attention of the national security adviser?

REP. WELDON: Mr. Chairman, two weeks after 9/11, some of the folks at the Army's LIWA [Land Information Warfare Command] and involved in Able Danger came into my office and brought me a chart, a chart that had al Qaeda linkages and pan-Islamic terrorist threats -- I think was the way the chart was categorized. I took that chart immediately down to the White House and provided it to [then-Deputy National Security Adviser, now National Security Adviser] Stephen Hadley. And I took with me [Congressman] Dan Burton, chairman of the Government Operations Oversight Committee.

SEN. SPECTER: And when was that?

REP. WELDON: That was two weeks after 9/11, so it would have been September the 25th.

And I took it down immediately. As soon as I got it, I said I've got to get this down to the White House.

Stephen Hadley's response to me was where did you get this from, Congressman? I said I got it from the Army's Information Dominance Center. I said this is the process that's been used that I've been trying to convince the government for three years to put into place, but the CIA has refused to accept. Because up until the establishment of the TTIC -- the Terrorist Threat Integration Center -- the CIA was not using open source information, which to me was a disaster in itself for our national intelligence estimates.

And so I said to Mr. Hadley -- I said this is a process they used to obtain this information. And he said to me -- and I remember this quote; it sticks out in my head � that he said I've got to show this to the man. And I said the man? He said yes, the president of the United States. So I gave him the chart.

(Sept. 21 T�script. pp. 15-16.) Why after all these weeks, and after all the controversy over whether Weldon and the Able Danger witnesses were credible � about whether, in fact, they had fabricated a tall tale about having an al Qaeda chart, compiled before 9/11, that may have had hijacker Mohamed Atta on it � have we still not heard from National Security Adviser Hadley, or someone at the White House, about whether Hadley agrees with Weldon�s version of events?

It�s not like this is unimportant. And it�s not like Hadley�s memory has faded � at least according to Weldon, who told the committee he�s recently spoken with Hadley about it:

And I can tell you this -- I talked to Mr. Hadley three months ago when I briefed him on another issue, and I said, remember that chart that I gave you? And he said, yes, I remember it. Now, I don't know why [sic] the White House still has it. They probably don't. It's been four years. I can tell you, my recollection of that chart is it was very similar to this [demonstration chart used at the senate hearing], but not as comprehensive. This chart includes post-9/11 data, so obviously the chart that I gave him did not have post-9/11 data. But it was significant. It identified the cells -- the five key cells they were working on, and to the best of my recollection, identified Mohamed Atta on the chart.

(Id., at p. 18.) Mr. Hadley?

Posted at 06:29 PM

Eric P. talks to DeLay, Cornyn & more.

Posted at 06:25 PM

Just One Minute offers a very good read on lefty delusions about blogging, the media etc. Comments section is worth reading too.

Posted at 06:21 PM

I confess to intolerance--I had to walk away from cable news coverage when I saw multiple replays this morning of Shep Smith being blown off his feet."He loves this," someone added.

Posted at 03:55 PM

FRIST'S TROUBLES [Jonah Goldberg]
I am no huge fan of Frist's (as a politician. As a man I think he's a pretty admirable guy). My guess is that this stock sale stuff will ultimately fizzle out, mostly because I doubt Frist is so stupid as to do what some allege. But I see nothing wrong with the appropriate agencies investigating Frist's blind-trust stock sale. If anybody sees a good argument why it shouldn't be investigated, I'd be curious to take a look. But as far as I'm concerned, it sounds like the right thing to do in a fairly no-brainer way. If he did something wrong the investigation is obviously warranted. If he didn't, the investigation should clear him. Exoneration is as important a function as conviction.

Posted at 12:44 PM

MORE BBC BASHING [Jonah Goldberg]
From Ann Althouse.

Posted at 10:30 AM

PEGASUS CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
Blogger The Colossus of Rhodey has a spoiler-rich summary of the last night's BSG with some critical comments. I'm sympathetic to some of the points, but we can discuss that another time.

Posted at 10:27 AM

PEGASUS [Jonah Goldberg]
Last night's Battlestar Galactica was frackin' awesome. BTW

Posted at 08:20 AM

FURTHER EVIDENCE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
that dogs are superior to cats

Posted at 07:49 AM

THE BEEB [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A dear D.C. friend tells me: "Rich and Jonah are SOOOOO right about the BBC. I stopped talking to them a couple of years ago, and that�s probably why the Redskins are doing better�"

Posted at 07:47 AM

A CLUELESS RNC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This went out from the RNC late yesterday:

� President Bush Has Nominated Julie Myers To Be The Next Assistant Secretary Of Homeland Security In Charge Of The Bureau Of Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE).

� Myers Has Been Confirmed Before By The Senate Before And Is Extremely Well Qualified.

� Myers Is A Former United States District Attorney, A Former Deputy Assistant Secretary, A Former Assistant Secretary, And Was A Chief Of Staff At The Department Of Justice.

� Sadly, Senate Democrats Have Chosen To, Yet Again, Obstruct One Of The President�s Nominees

Julie Myers Is Well Qualified For The Job And Has Previously Received Senate Confirmation:

�Julie L. Myers Was Nominated By President Bush On June 26, 2003, And Confirmed By The Senate On October 17, 2003, To Serve As The Assistant Secretary For Export Enforcement At The Department Of Commerce.� (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau Of Industry And Security Website,, Accessed 9/22/05)

� �Myers [Worked] As Assistant Secretary For Export Enforcement At Commerce, Where She Said She Supervised 170 Employees And A $25 Million Budget.� (Dan Eggen and Spencer S. Hsu, �Immigration Nominee's Credentials Questioned,� The Washington Post, 9/20/05)

� �Myers [Was] Responsible For Developing And Coordinating The Department's Efforts To Prevent, And Where Necessary, Sanction Violations Of U.S. Dual-Use Export Control Laws And The Antiboycott Provisions Of The Export Administration Act.� (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau Of Industry And Security Website,, Accessed 9/22/05)

� �[Myers] Manage[d] Commerce Special Agents Who Work[ed] At Eight Field Offices In The United States, And Overs[aw] Export Enforcement's International Attach� Program.� (U.S. Department Of Commerce, Bureau Of Industry And Security Website,, Accessed 9/22/05)

� �Myers Also Provide[d] Policy Guidance On Issues Relating To Export Controls, National Security And Nonproliferation.� (U.S. Department Of Commerce, Bureau Of Industry And Security Website,, Accessed 9/22/05)

�Prior To Joining The Department Of Commerce, Ms. Myers Served As The Chief Of Staff Of The Criminal Division For Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff At The Department Of Justice.� (U.S. Department Of Commerce, Bureau Of Industry And Security Website,, Accessed 9/22/05)

�Before That, She Served As The Deputy Assistant Secretary For Money Laundering And Financial Crimes At The Department Of Treasury.� (U.S. Department Of Commerce, Bureau Of Industry And Security Website,, Accessed 9/22/05)

�She Also Worked As An Assistant United States Attorney In The Eastern District Of New York And As An Associate Independent Counsel In The Office Of Independent Counsel For Kenneth W. Starr.� (U.S. Department Of Commerce, Bureau Of Industry And Security Website,, Accessed 9/22/05)

�Ms. Myers Was As An Associate In The Litigation Section Of Mayer, Brown & Platt. Immediately After Law School, She Served As A Law Clerk To Judge C. Arlen Beam For The U.S. Court Of Appeals For The Eighth Circuit.� (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau Of Industry And Security Website,, Accessed 9/22/05)

�[Myers] Received Her B.A. From Baylor University In Texas And Her Law Degree From Cornell Law School.� (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau Of Industry And Security Website,, Accessed 9/22/05)

Despite Her Qualifications Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) Has Added Myers To His Long List Of Nominees To Obstruct:

�[D]emocratic Senator [Carl Levin] Threatened Tuesday To Block Approval Of A Homeland Security Department Nominee Until He Receives A Secret FBI Memo About Terror Suspect Interrogations That He's Been Seeking For Months.� (Lara Jakes Jordan, �Levin Threatens To Block Homeland Nominee,� The Associated Press, 9/20/05)

� �Asked If He Planned To Use Legislative Delaying Tactics Against Myers Nomination, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Said: �Oh Yeah. If We Don't Get The Documents, Sure.�� (Lara Jakes Jordan, �Levin Threatens To Block Homeland Nominee,� The Associated Press, 9/20/05)

�[Previously] Levin � Put [A] Hold -- An Arcane Parliamentary Procedure Through Which A Single Senator Can Stall Any Nomination � [On] Three Nominees: Ben Powell, Tapped To Be The General Counsel In The Office Of The New Director Of National Intelligence; Alice Fisher, Awaiting Confirmation As Head Of The Justice Department's Criminal Division; And Eric Edelman, A Career Diplomat Whose Nomination As Undersecretary Of Defense For Policy Has Been Pending Since May.� (Shaun Waterman, �Dem Blocks Bush Nominees For Documents � UPI, 8/9/05)

� �[Eric] Edelman Was Nominated To That Post Last March, But His Appointment Was Blocked By Senator Carl Levin Of Michigan, The Ranking Democrat On The Senate Armed Services Committee, As Part Of A Dispute Unrelated To Mr. Edelman Over The Release Of Iraq-Related Documents That Mr. Levin Had Sought.� (Leslie Wayne, �Waiting Out Logjam Of Nominees At Pentagon,� The New York Times, 8/12/05)

Praise For Myers:

Secretary Of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff: Harry, This Is A Superbly Qualified Former Prosecutor, Someone Who Has Been Involved With Law Enforcement From Virtually Every Side Of The Issue. � I Don't Think You Could Find Many People With The Range Of Experience And Qualifications That She Has To Address The Precise Kinds Of Questions That Come Up In The Customs And Enforcement--And Immigration Enforcement Area. (CBS� �The Early Show,� 9/21/05)

Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) �[C]alled [Myers] �A Very Able Person Who Is Extremely Well-Qualified. She Has Proven Herself More Than Capable In Previous Positions Within The Federal Government And Has Great Potential.�� (Matt Stearns, �Katrina's Fallout Imperils Kansan's Chance At Key Job,� The Kansas City Star, 9/22/05)

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS): �Who Can Forget The Legends Of Wyatt Earp And Bat Masterson? � Their Efforts Helped Clean Up My Hometown Of Dodge City. I Knew Wyatt Earp And Bat Masterson, And Julie Could Ride Shotgun With Them Anytime.� (Matt Stearns, �Katrina's Fallout Imperils Kansan's Chance At Key Job,� The Kansas City Star, 9/22/05)

�[J]im Pasco, Executive Director Of The Fraternal Order Of Police, Which Represents Several Thousand ICE Employees, Lauded Myers's Government Experience.� (Dan Eggen and Spencer S. Hsu, �Immigration Nominee's Credentials Questioned,� The Washington Post, 9/20/05)

� �That Organization . . . Is On Some Days Almost Dysfunctional � I Think Julie May Be Just The Person To Pull People And Functions Together To Get Them Working Right For A Change.� (Dan Eggen and Spencer S. Hsu, �Immigration Nominee's Credentials Questioned,� The Washington Post, 9/20/05)

Chuck Canterbury, Fraternal Order Of Police: �As An Administrator, Her Job Is To Locate The People Within The Agency That Have The Expertises [Sic] That She Needs, The Career Individuals That Have Worked In Those Areas. I Think Her Management Skills Is What Sets Julie Aside And Ahead Of A Lot Of Other Candidates For That Job.� (CNN�s �Lou Dobbs Tonight,� 9/20/05)

The Kansas City Star�s Matt Stearns: �Myers� Resume Glistens Of Washington Gold -- Ivy League Law School, Clerk For A Federal Appeals Court Judge, A Series Of High-Level Bush Administration Jobs.� (Matt Stearns, �Katrina's Fallout Imperils Kansan's Chance At Key Job,� The Kansas City Star, 9/22/05)
Here's our position.

Posted at 07:40 AM

RITA [Jonah Goldberg]

Sounds like a big storm. But I can't watch anymore. ABC News just showed some birds sitting in the grass and some bushes. The reporter explained "they're waiting out the storm until they can fly again."

Breaking news. This just in. You heard it here first (or second). Birds opt not to fly in massive hurricane. Further details as they come in.

Posted at 07:38 AM

WE'RE A LITTLE COZY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
mediabistro: FishBowlDC:
"Nearby, Nina Totenberg, the legal reporter for National Public Radio, cornered the chief of staff of Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee; Totenberg was lobbying to schedule the next round of Supreme Court hearings around her vacation plans, which she had scheduled to coincide with her wedding anniversary."
Too bad she wasn't on vacation during the Thomas hearings.

Posted at 07:35 AM

Ah, the Beeb. They're always have trouble with me because they can't reconcile my accent with what I'm saying (I can almost hear their computer systems rejecting any input - BZZT * BRITISH * CONSERVATIVE * SYNTAX ERROR). And ever since they misidentified my colleague Myron Ebell as a close adviser to the President on global warming, they can't seem to get enough of him, because the outrage that he provokes (because of the misidentification) means they need him on again. And it's not just the BBC. Independent Television News (ITN) is like MSNBC to the Beeb's CNN, except without Joe Scarborough. Last night, famous leftie anchorman Jon Snow had Myron on his show. As you can see from the clip, all Comrade Snow did was attack Myron's views personally. It's really quite bizarre. Does that segment have any journalistic merit whatsoever?

Posted at 07:30 AM

Friday, September 23, 2005

Your correspondent mentions that highway bills are almost veto-proof. I thought that Reagan had vetoed one in 1987. So he did, for a number of reasons, including that it was $10 billion over budget. ("I haven't seen this much lard since I handed out blue ribbons at the Iowa State Fair.") But what I didn't know is that this was the only veto of a highway bill ever, and that Reagan lost the battle: his veto was overridden, even though he "begged" 13 Republican senators to switch. He had already been weakened by Iran-contra.

Posted at 05:47 PM

RE: THE BBC [Jonah Goldberg]

Imagine my terror. When my phone rings it's no lady-or-the-tiger choice. It's either going to be National Review calling to harass me about a late -- or non-existent -- article or it's the BBC asking if my Zionist handlers will let me do an interview. It's a lose-lose for me.

Posted at 04:11 PM


From a reader:


Running anything is no fun. It is hard work, and demands all manner of efforts from those who have to make decisions. The Clinton administration treated governing the country like fun, and that�s how we got to 9/11, Iraq and Enron, all messes from Clinton that Bush had to clean up.

You are upset at the amount Bush is spending. To some degree, this can�t be avoided; after all, we have a war to fight, and the government is mandated statutorily to pay for the Katrina clean up. How about laying some blame at Congress? After all, they are the ones who control the purse strings. Highway bills, for example, have been almost veto proof. Given how evenly the pork is spread around, vetoes have rarely if ever been sustained. I would also add that during the 1990s we did have efforts made in Congress to cut useless programs such as the NEA, and a line item veto was passed. Republicans got their asses handed to them in elections over things like the first issue, and the line item veto law was struck down by the SCOTUS as unconstitutional.

Let�s face it, the American people talk a much better game than they play when it comes to spending

Posted at 04:06 PM

�OH NO, THE BBC� [Rich Lowry ]

Whenever I call a friend of mine who is a Middle East expert, he never answers the phone. I leave a message and invariably he calls me back within seconds. His explanation is always the same, �Sorry, I thought you might be the BBC.� It turns out when you call someone from an NR phone, it comes up �unknown� on caller ID, just as it does when someone's calling from the BBC.

I now realize that my friend isn't unusual--that an epidemic fear is gripping the conservative movement.

The other day I was standing in a colleague's office when his phone rang. He refused to answer it. In response to my puzzled look he said, �It might be the BBC.� A few moments later, my cell phone rang--caller ID: �unknown�--and I answered: it was the BBC, looking for my colleague, who began waving his arms in don't-tell-them-I'm-here gestures.

Why the fear? As far as I can tell, it's because the BBC is relentless, clueless, and anti-American. Conversations with its producers tend to be long and pointless, and no media appearance is as unsatisfying as one with the BBC, since no one you know will hear you and you will make no head-way against a tide of maddeningly conventional leftism.

This morning I was trying to get out of the house, when my phone rang. ID: unknown. As you know, that might be the NR office. But as soon as I heard the accent and the, �Oh, hallo,� I knew I had lost a desperate gamble: it was the BBC.

I had brought it on myself. They have been harassing me for days over �March of the Penguins.� Apparently the film is just now coming to Britain. They are doing a piece on the �controversy� over the film. I made the mistake of having one conversation with this--perfectly pleasant and polite, I should say--woman at the BBC about it, since I love the movie, but I have been showered with messages from her since then. Today she was calling about what, I'm not sure. I think to see if I would say on air that penguins are God's instruments to pull America back from the hell-fire, or something like that. As politely as I could I told her, �Lady, they're just birds.�

So I'm off the hook on the penguins, but I will never answer my phone with quite the same confidence again: It just might be the BBC.

Posted at 04:02 PM

The man cannot win.

Posted at 03:30 PM

SELLOUTS [Jonah Goldberg]

Oh the mood is ugly. This is from a reader working at a major Big Government cabinet agency (I don't want to out him, but think Department of Labor, but worse):

I can totally sympathize. DeLay's comment that there was nothing in the federal budget to cut was demoralizing. Bush accepting the "discrimination causes poverty" argument was pretty bad, too. And if I hear another "Syria isn't being helpful" whine from the administration, I'm going to explode. What the hell are stealth bombers for? It's hard enough being a black Republican in D.C. without having to defend these sellouts.

Posted at 03:16 PM

CORNYN [ Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
is the least Left senator?

Posted at 03:06 PM

BUSH [Rich Lowry ]
Right now is somewhere with a map of the hurricane behind him. As he continues to try to make up for the Katrina response, he�s going to have to move to the Gulf Coast and promise to take up a post-presidency career in meteorology�

Posted at 02:51 PM

NO [Rich Lowry ]

Does Hemmer understand there aren't any people left in New Orleans?

Do we doubt for a minute that no one in the media will point out that had Nagin (Teflon mayor) had his way, there would have been people in NO when the levees were overrun?

Posted at 02:41 PM

That�s what I asked a friend who knows this stuff: �No contact with my buddies down there yet. I will be down there Sunday and most of next week, so hopefully I will have more information. I did hear from a different person that it appears the breaches are only on the downriver side of the Industrial Canal, so that would only impact the lower Ninth Ward and Saint Bernard Parish�.�

Posted at 02:38 PM

This is not a feel-good time, in fact it's one of those times that reminds you of the uncertainty and tragedy of human affairs. For Katrina, not enough people evacuated. For Rita, it appears that too many people evacuated, which helped account for the mess on the roads yesterday and today. For Katrina, nursing homes weren't evacuated, leading to terrible suffering and loss. For Rita, nursing homes were evacuated and a bus from one of them burst into flames killing dozens....

Posted at 02:34 PM

HOUSTON [Rich Lowry ]

Houston lawyer here. Yes, we're the fourth largest city, but not the fourth largest TV market, which is the only true way to measure population. We're about 11th. By the way, San Antonio claims to be the 10th largest city, but it is actually about 44.

Posted at 02:28 PM

Martha Burk goes from targetting Augusta to now the NHL.

Posted at 02:28 PM

�Our worst fears have come true.�

Posted at 02:26 PM


Posted at 02:21 PM

Mr. Stuttaford

Posted at 02:21 PM

It's Bush's fault.

Posted at 02:21 PM

DURAN DURAN [Andrew Stuttaford]

From the First Post:

"Duran Duran - a bunch of laughable Brummie poseurs - are even more popular across the States than the Spandaus. You can't infer that their cadre of cool puts more value on style than substance - because these boys never had any style. "

Passed on with no comment, but with, perhaps. a snicker.

Posted at 02:20 PM

has a dog that pays homage to the Saudis?

Posted at 02:19 PM

HEMMER [Rich Lowry ]
�It's deja vu for the city of New Orleans.�

Posted at 02:19 PM

I KNEW JONAH... [Rich Lowry ]
...had OD'd on hurricane coverage when I asked him whether he would have a piece for the next issue and he responded, �the cone of possibility is narrowing.� He went on to explain he might write an article, but only if he could re-charge after going through his �eyewall replacement cycle.�

Posted at 02:15 PM

An e-mail: "I just got back from a business lunch where I met the guy who won the race that Simon Le Bon almost died during. Anyway, thanks to the Corner, I wasn't a complete idiot on Simon Le Bon's sailing career."

Posted at 02:09 PM

I didn't realize Houston is the fourth largest city in the country. Yes, I need to get off the East Coast more...

Posted at 02:09 PM

BUCK UP CAMPER [Jonah Goldberg]

So say several readers, like this one:

Geez, hanging out w/ Derb?? I agree that things could certainly be *better*, but let me take a leaflet from Newt's theory of the future - just as the Internet has made more information free, and put the heat to the Rathers & Krugmans of the world, I think that "preponderance of truth and logic" that is slowly making over the media & "conventional wisdom" will have tectonic affects on Republicans as well.

To borrow a Goldberg phrase, don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. Republicans are still politicians, but if the voting electorate is getting "better" (in our terms), ultimately we will still get the government we deserve (Mencken - "and we'll get it good & hard").

OK, so buck up! If we make a few tax cuts, and a little entitlement reform, and young conservatives weaned on Reagan come to power, we may yet improve the lot of Americans, if not as dramatically as we have improved the lot of the average Afghani or Iraqi.

Suggestion: finish your book and go on a junket with VDH & visit some of Jonah's Military Guys (and Gals). Alternately, visit San Diego for good Mexican food, ribs, and ice cold beer. And keep the heat on the Republicans from the NR side!

Posted at 02:09 PM

FYI, Eric Pfeiffer has volunteered to go on Rita duty for us, and was flying down there this morning. Watch the Buzz over the weekend for on-the-spot reports....

Posted at 02:06 PM

GOD AND MAN AT DARTMOUTH [Andrew Stuttaford]
Peter, I read that story from Dartmouth with astonishment, and then the comments from Dartblog with relief. Thank Whoever that someone there still has some commonsense. These three sentences, in particular, need repeating:

"More irksome are the calls of "offensive!". I think everyone needs to calm down. Getting outrageously offended at the utterance of another person's religion is Osama bin Laden's game, not ours."

Well said indeed.

I have to say, however, that I suspect that if young Mr. Riner had cited Allah, say, or a Hindu deity, rather than Jesus, I doubt there would have been such a fuss.

Posted at 02:02 PM

GAZA GOONS [ Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Thank you, Rick Santorum, for noting and protesting on the Senate floor the destruction of synagogues in Gaza (he did so on September 15--it was just brought to my attention. W condemned as well):
Mr. President, here in the United States we cherish and protect religious freedom. Citizens of this great Nation exercise this freedom in many places--in their homes, in their workplaces and many more. But no place is more commonly the location of reflection and prayer than the house of worship--be it the church or synagogue, mosque or temple. The houses of God are infused with sanctity--not because of their architecture or their art or even holy books housed in them--they are sacred because it is where we men and women go to connect to something larger than themselves. We go there to seek comfort and peace. This is, of course, not only true of houses of worship in this country, but throughout the world. It is thus with a heavy heart that I come to the floor today to describe and to deplore the desecration of synagogues that was perpetrated earlier this week in Gaza.

After painful deliberations in Israel's Cabinet, the government of Israel decided to leave standing nineteen synagogues in its twenty-one communities throughout the Gaza Strip rather than lending a hand to their destruction. Despite official Israeli requests to protect the sanctity and security of the holy sites after it courageously withdrew from Gaza, the Palestinian Authority rejected out of hand any responsibility and refused to protect the structures from arsonists and looters. In fact, a Palestinian police officer, tasked with keeping the peace, shirked his responsibility and allowed the mobs to torch the synagogues, claiming, ``The people have a right to do what they're doing.''

Those acts should offend all people of good conscience. We know too well that where houses of God are desecrated, threats to man's liberty and life are soon found. As a nation founded by those seeking freedom from religious persecution, we know that governments must actively protect their citizens' religious freedom. And they have a sacred obligation to protect buildings not because they are made of stone, glass and wood but out of respect for the worship of God that occurs inside them.

Houses of worship, central fixtures in any community, are places where people gather to serve and worship God, seek his counsel, and share common religious experiences. As an American who strongly values religious freedom, I am appalled by the actions of Palestinians who desecrated holy sites and I deplore the total abdication of leadership demonstrated by the Palestinian Authority.

[On this day in 1963,] a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. And it took until 2001, almost 40 years later, but, we prosecuted and convicted a man responsible. It pains me as I think of such horrific acts occurring and I am proud that in America we not only have the right to worship freely but where we fully prosecute perpetrators of such crimes to the fullest extent.

The lawlessness in the streets of Gaza, the lack of human rights, and the disrespect shown to holy sites by the Palestinian Authority is in marked, stark contrast to the way Israel has treated mosques and Christian holy sites. Following the torching of synagogues in Gaza, Israel increased security at Arab mosques. We need no further proof of the difference between lawful, civilized nations and those that have no place in the family of nations. A government that fails to honor religious sites and, worse, lacks the ability to restrain its citizens from committing such heinous acts demonstrates it is not yet a partner to peace and not yet interested in normal relations with our great friend, the State of Israel.

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America said, ``The destruction of a synagogue is akin to a knife being thrust into our very being. When synagogues are destroyed, with either the connivance or lack of action of a governing authority, we can only ask, what kind of government is this?''

All Americans of good will, of all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities feel such pain. I commend and join President Bush who yesterday condemned the desecration of the synagogues in Gaza and hope that all Members of this great body do the same.

Posted at 02:00 PM

BYRD V. YOUNG [Jonah Goldberg]

If Senator Byrd really cared about his party he'd resign from the Senate so that the pork posterboys would all be Republican -- and mostly from Alaska. That would be a great talking point for the Dems. But until Byrd is gone, Democrats cannot point the finger with nearly the same moral authority as they could without him.

Posted at 01:59 PM

RITA DOWN TO CAT 3 [Rich Lowry ]

Posted at 01:56 PM

Hemmer on Fox just said something about a warning that if anyone is in St. Bernard parish, they better get out now, or they'll need a boat to escape.

Posted at 01:50 PM

quits his day job. (Hat tip: Drudge)

Posted at 01:47 PM

Kathryn, that's a terrific editorial on Bush's spending crisis, but while it's right that cutting pork alone is not going to solve the problem, it should not be overlooked either. Pork is the poster child for government bloat, and it needs to highlighted, project by project, by project, and the politicians who push it should be made to defend each project again and again. It's also important (I think that Tom Coburn's efforts are running in this direction) to push through a more general legislative change that makes that sort of spending far more visible.

Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin is taking a hatchet to Don 'A Bridge Too Far' Young, noting these comments of his in response to criticism of the Highway Bill (signed, of course, by George W. Bush) : "This is grandstanding by individuals that don�t know what they�re talking about. I�ll go back to that. It�s ignorance and stupidity."

Why on earth would anyone vote for this man?

Posted at 01:37 PM

The other day, as especially intent readers will recall, I wrote a post about Noah Riner, a senior at Dartmouth and the president of the College's Student Assembly. This past Tuesday at Convocation, the formal event marking the beginning of the Dartmouth academic year, Riner gave a speech on the importance of character. In the course of this speech Riner mentioned--brace yourself--Jesus. An excerpt:
Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That's character.
The result of these remarks? Young Mr. Riner has spent the balance of this week finding himself roundly (and pompously) denounced. A vice president of the Student Assembly resigned, calling Riner's remarks "reprehensible." A petition protesting Riner's remarks was circulated. And The Dartmouth, one of the student newspapers, editorialized against him.

If you'd like a neat case study on campus double standards--last year, the president of the Student Assembly used Convocation to rail against drug laws, eliciting, as far as I can tell, not a peep of protest--you can read about the travails of Noah Riner by looking at the website of the Dartmouth Review (look for the item titled "Controversy Surrounds Riner Speech") and at Dartblog, the website of a sensible (and articulate) Dartmouth undergrad (look for the item titled "Frozen in Faith").

Posted at 01:36 PM

AHEM... [Andrew Stuttaford]

Richard North, one of the two people behind the excellent EU Referendum blog, has a new report on what changes agreed to by Tony Blair, that stalwart/dependable/courageous (pick the inapplicable adjective of your choice) ally of the US, could mean to the US/UK alliance.

The Center For Security Policy, at least, has picked up on it:

Citizens on both sides of the "pond," therefore must view with the greatest of concern what is, arguably, the most significant development in the history of the special relationship: a largely stealthy, or at least unpublicized, yet systematic move by the United Kingdom to integrate its armed forces with those of the European Union. The cumulative effect of this endeavor, if brought to fruition, cannot be overstated. In the future, it will become extraordinarily difficult - if not, as a practical matter impossible - for the UK to fight without permission from the EU. Even then, it will be problematic whether British forces will be able ever again to fight effectively alongside the US. Given the enormity of these stakes, it is astounding that this development has proceeded with virtually no public notice, let alone serious debate, on either side of the Atlantic. It would appear this may be due to an understandable expectation on the part of the EU and members of the British Government that they would be thwarted from taking such steps were word of this seismic geo-strategic shift to get out."

Doubtless we can expect the usual pro-Blair claque over here to pay no attention.

Posted at 01:20 PM

OUTFLANKED [Jonah Goldberg]

This guy makes me seem almost critical of Brian Lamb, from a reader:


You said, "I really do think Brian Lamb is the classiest television host of the cable age and C-Span is an amazing accomplishment."

I would beg to differ. Brian Lamb is the classiest host of any medium, at any time in the history of the world. I would up your description of C-Span as well, but words fail me.

Mr. Lamb should receive every award available that is meaningful to anyone. Personally, I would start with the Medal of Freedom a Pulitzer (preferably named for him), and the Nobel Prize for anything because he's had more impact on the world than about anyone in any field.

Thanks for taking note of one of THE classy people on earth.

Posted at 01:17 PM

ABOUT NRODT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here's the cover of the new one--you won't want to miss Kate's piece on Hillary:

Posted at 01:16 PM

Here from the September 26, 2005 issue of America�s premier magazine, a wonderful editorial paragraph from �The Week� section. It�s simply the kind of writing (solid, sharp, insightful � different) that you won�t find in any other journal:

To have a pen, said Voltaire, is to have war, and Orhan Pamuk is learning this truth. He is Turkey�s most famous writer, author of prize-winning novels. Published last year, his novel Snow attacks Islamism, and he has said that fundamentalists like Osama bin Laden are �a danger to the world.� But in an interview with a Swiss paper he pointed out that Turks have killed a million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds, �and nobody but me dares to talk about it.� The response has been to charge him with �insulting the country�s national character,� for which he faces a prison sentence of three years. And here�s a fine irony � in another interview he pauses to swipe at Oriana Fallaci, the renowned Italian journalist who argues with her usual verve that Islamism is turning Europe into Eurabia, a continent in its own image. According to Pamuk, this is a �fanciful construct,� but it has been enough for an Italian judge to indict her for vilipendio, or vilification, of a religion admitted by the state. This carries a two-year sentence. Different perspectives, same legal jackboot. It was that way when they put Voltaire inside for speaking out.
Spanning the globe, bringing the constant variety of � everything from culture and economics to foreign affairs and domestic policy � that�s what National Review does every fortnight for its 170,000 lucky subscribers. If you�re not one of them already, you�re missing out on the best writing, commentary, and analysis anywhere. Why not give NR a look-see on our dime? � we�ll give you four free issues as part of our special introductory subscription offer. What a deal. What a magazine. For more information, go here.

Posted at 12:55 PM

WHAT JONAH SAID [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Brian Lamb should have a wing at the Museum of Television and Radio.

Posted at 12:55 PM

Supersize this.

Posted at 12:50 PM

RE: LAMEST POST [Tim Graham]
If you want to go seriously off into old books of research on the "peace" movement and Vietnam, I would recommend Guenter's Lewy's "Peace and Revolution" and Harvey Klehr's "Far Left Of Center." Both books note how peace movements were not truly pacifist, but revolutionary leftist. They didn't mind violence for "people's liberation." That's still true.

PS: As for press coverage of the peaceniks, the Washington Post seems incapable of doing a 30-second Google search before claiming today some Kansas woman is a "novice protester."

Posted at 12:47 PM

OIL PRICES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Posted at 12:39 PM

NO BOY TROUBLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'm guessing that Kim Gandy and the Sisterhood of the Travelling Lefties would be disgusted by my latest rant on the Court and silly girl-crazy conventional wisdom.

Posted at 12:36 PM

The conservative mood--read our new, constructive editorial.

Posted at 12:22 PM


Reason's Jacob Sullum wades in:

DeLay is no more serious about fiscal responsibility than Shelley Moore Capito [a Republican representative from West Virginia]. Like her, he cites the jobs created by federal spending as reason enough to support it (especially in his district)-a rationale that would justify paying people to dig holes and fill them in again. At least such a project would be preferable to digging holes deeper and deeper, which is the work of Congress.


Read the whole thing.

As Ronald Reagan might have said, Tom DeLay is not a solution to our problem, Tom DeLay is the problem.

Posted at 12:10 PM

WORTH REPEATING [Jonah Goldberg]

I really do think Brian Lamb is the classiest television host of the cable age and C-Span is an amazing accomplishment.

Now, back to regular Cornering.

Posted at 12:10 PM

DAM(N) AGAIN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Makes the levee-board corruption all the more infuriating.

Posted at 12:03 PM

DAM(N) [Jonah Goldberg]

New Orleans is flooding again. The levee broke, again.

Posted at 11:57 AM

TEXAS-HATING AND RITA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I was actually assuming there was some of that in the Sheehan crowd. HBomb commenters gave me that impression.

Posted at 11:56 AM

ABLE DANGER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
In from Specter's committee office:
Washington, D.C.--Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, will hold a second hearing on Operation Able Danger on October 5, 2005.

In the initial hearing held on September 21, 2005, the Department of Defense refused to produce five key witnesses relating to the identification of 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. The Department of Defense has now changed their position and will make the witnesses available in a public hearing. The Committee will focus on obtaining corroborating evidence as to what occurred with the pre-9/11 charts and information which were allegedly destroyed by order of DoD personnel.

Posted at 11:51 AM

ALLAH'S HURRICANE [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm assuming it's already being said somewhere. But can anyone doubt that Islamic nutbags are finding profound theological significance in the fact that Rita is heading to Texas? I guarantee we'll hear plenty of that from the Jihadi Imans in the days to come.

Posted at 11:47 AM

CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE? [Jonah Goldberg]

I won't share much of the post-C-Span email, but this one captures pretty much the spirit of most of them and it's a lot smarter (yes, that's right: smarter. Though there are quite a few decidedly nastier ones I could post, but I would have to bowlderize so many curse words it's not worth the time. Don't read this if your are easily irritated:

Dear Jonah, I just heard you holding forth on CSPAN with Bryan and I'd never heard of you so I shared the woman's wonder as to why Bryan had you on. Now I wonder if you are a paid whore of the NeoCon elitist runnung this country into bankruptcy to off load the entitlement obligations and Union busting OR if you are truly unaware of the Con job being done on the American population by spokespersons like you and Lame-Rush? By your name I'm assuming you are a jew and if you are of the jewish faith, I'm ashamed for you to be in support of political forces that are against human freedom and love for our fellow man. The people you are serving are clearly interested only in benefiting the ultra rich at the expense of the poor. They are twisting the Constitiution to distort out all freedoms for the individual to create a 10 percent rich and 90 percent subserviant class system. Are you working for them to hopefully be included in the elite or are you just naive?

Read Perkin's book, "Confessions of an Economic Hittman" if you want to understand why America is hated or at least distrusted around the world. As W. Bush's grandfather manipulated the potentates of the banana republics for their bananas the World Bank and IMF have been used to manipulate the financial success of America on the backs of the politically naive and peasant populations of the under developed world. Many of these were and are Moslem populations who have "benefitted' from the dams and mining of resources in the area the potentates forced them to leave for a few rich American Corporation's benefit. The political pull of the elite corporations has bought many American politicians and foreign so their is hatred enough for all ugly Americans. As Ward Churchill of University of Colorado has said the Molsem "chickens are coming home to roost". What I think really pisses them off the most is flippant arrogance out of the mouths of A--Holes wet behind the ears like you and the cocky MOO FOO in the whitehouse telling the world that what Amreica thinks matters more than anything else.

Think about the 500 billion in Treasury bonds China owns plus the Katrina billions W plans to sell them and how W is going to send our fleet in the protect Taiwan next year or whenever China thinks it might like to reclaim the Island.

It is time to use our borrowing power to share the wealth we have enjoyed at the expense of peasants of the world, both hre and abroad, for nearly a century. Jesus said "As you do unto others so it shall be done unto you", or words to that effect. Our Goody two shoes president talks about God but his actions display the lie he is. NAFTA and CAFTA are a key strategy in Walmartizing America. The dollar is worth squat today compared to ten years ago and it will be worth much less by 2008, when the Neocons will set aside the Constitution for some unimaginable reason and Laura will be appointed president by the F__king Republican Supreme Court. CAFTA countries will be used to kill what remains of unions and all creative jobs in America will be exported to $40-80 dollar per week peasants in CAFTA countries while employes in America will be able to choose between Walmart or Home Depot or Mc Donalds for income. You, sir, are a pawn in the elitist game just like John Perkins was 35 years ago in Panama and Sukarno's Indoneasia.

Sorry to have to break the news to you but I'm ashamed for your ignorance or your prostituting you talents. Enjoy your checks for helping the con to succeed. God Bless you. Share love not greed.

Posted at 11:44 AM

MORE AYATOLLAHS [Andrew Stuttaford]

Daily Telegraph jounalist, Tom Utley, on the Moss mess:

I'm afraid I wouldn't last long as a reporter on the Daily Mirror. If I had spotted Kate Moss taking what looked like cocaine at a party, it simply wouldn't have occurred to me that I was witnessing front-page news in the making - still less that I should tell my editor to hold pages one to five every day until further notice. "Supermodel scoffs doughnuts" - now that really would be a story. But "Supermodel snorts cocaine" ranks somewhere between "Dog bites man" and "Gardener mows lawn" on the Utley Scale of Earth-Shattering Revelations. Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, takes a more serious view of the Daily Mirror's scoop. He announced on Wednesday that he, personally, had been instrumental in launching an investigation into the paper's allegations. "We have to look at the impact of this kind of behaviour on impressionable young people and, if there is evidence, something should be done about it," he said...I am not even sure if it is true that Moss is a role model for "impressionable young people". Certainly, a great many fashion designers are convinced that women look at what she is wearing and think: "If I bought that frock, then I, too, could look like Kate Moss." But does anybody actually believe, even on a subconscious level, "If only I took cocaine and hung out with junkies, then I, too, could be slim and beautiful and earn millions of pounds every year"? I reckon Moss is no more a role model for the impressionable young than Sir Ian is a role model for middle-aged men. After all, very few of us go around in expensive, showy-off half-moon spectacles, demanding the power to administer summary "justice" to our fellow citizens, just because the Met Commissioner is so often on the telly.

The full piece has plenty to say about the other failures of London's top cop, a man who shares more than a surname with the UK's prime minister, in the paper's opinion section).

And even the lovely Catherine Deneuve, it seems, is an Ayatollah. The Daily Mirror reports this:

>"But veteran actress and model Catherine Deneuve - a former face of Chanel No 5 - backed Kate and insisted she had done nothing wrong.The 61-year-old French star said: "She's a great model. If she's ruining her personal life, that belongs to her."What she does in her private life is very private. She does what she wants with her person and her body. It has nothing to do with her work."

Posted at 11:39 AM


From a reader:


You wrote:

'[A]re we supposed to believe that during the entire Triassic or Cretaceous period there weren't, you know, a few stronger storms? When dinosaurs roamed the earth, they knew nothing like the savage fury of Rita.

"Ever" is a really long time when you're talking about weather.'

The qualification "in the Atlantic" actually has meaning here. The Atlantic Ocean didn't even exist during the Triassic Period! The Atlantic didn't start to form until the Middle Jurassic, and given its size and placement, probably didn't generate any hurricanes until well into the Cretaceous. Some helpful maps can be found here:

"Ever" really is a long time!
Anyway, should you use this, don't mention my name, just in case the bosses are reading, too.

Posted at 11:34 AM

FUNKY TOWN [Jonah Goldberg]
Well, skimming through my email, it seems large numbers of readers (and a few conservative writers) are in the same funk I'm in (See Goldberg File). Perchance we should form a self-help group?

Posted at 11:32 AM

A prominent British scientist, Sir John Lawton, is blaming "neoconservatives" for the current hurricane season. German social scientist Benny Peiser, based in England, comments,
The hurricane-global warming link has been extremely contentious for many years among leading experts. That Sir John explicitly picks American "neoconservatives" in this context as the villains of his tirade is thus rather revealing. After all, some of the leading voices of neo-conservatism share green concerns about fossil fuels. As Robert Bryce pointed out earlier this year, "many of the leading neoconservatives who pushed hard for the Iraq war are going green. James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and staunch backer of the Iraq war, now drives a 58-miles- per-gallon Toyota Prius and has two more hybrid vehicles on order. Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy and another neocon who championed the war, has been speaking regularly in Washington about fuel efficiency and plant-based bio-fuels.

The alliance of hawks and environmentalists is new but not entirely surprising. The environmentalists are worried about global warming and air pollution. But Woolsey and Gaffney - both members of the Project for the New American Century, which began advocating military action against Saddam Hussein back in 1998-are going green for geopolitical reasons, not environmental ones. They seek to reduce the flow of American dollars to oil-rich Islamic theocracies, Saudi Arabia in particular" ("As green as a neocon"; see also "Neoconservatives and greens find common cause on energy conservation"). So why did Sir John select neo-conservatives for blame? Because the term "neocon" is widely used as a derogatory code word for 'Jews' - and open or disguised Jew-baiting has become very popular among Little Englanders in recent years.
Ken Clarke, darling of the Tory left, is also fond of hurling around "neoconservative" as an abusive epithet. He used it about tentative suggestions for a flat tax recently, for instance. It would be churlish at this point to mention that as a student politician, Clarke invited Oswald Moseley, leader of the British fascists, to speak to Cambridge students twice.

Posted at 11:32 AM

AN HONOR [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I was pretty sure I had that "lamest post" thing locked up. Good work, Mark!

Posted at 11:26 AM

SOMEONE GET A BROOM [Jonah Goldberg ]

The name-dropping is out of control. Arriana Huffington seems to think that this fatuous drek is...what? Interesting? Insightful? It'd be a good script for a Woody Allen movie, she thinks her every observation -- the waiters wore black! black I tell you! -- is worth expressing even as it demonstrates she has nothing to say, except that Nick Denton is, like, you know, sooo cool.

She closes with what she must think is a redeeming mote of substance: "Maybe who gets it [Meaning the "blogosphere" or the "internet"] and who doesn't will determine who survives and flourishes in the brave new world and who goes the way of the T-Rex, the Dodo bird, and the 8-track."

Oh my goodness, what evocative and original writing! The Dodo bird and the T-Rex? Why, yes, they are extinct. I get it! That's a metaphor. And the insight seems to be that there's a new media out there and the old media is in trouble. I don't think any blogger has ever made that point before. We get to find out a media executive threw a party where the waiters wore black and we learn that the New Media is a threat to the MSM. What an embarrassment of riches. Hie thee to thy bookmark macros, this woman's a keeper!

Posted at 11:23 AM

A number of readers took issue with my contention below that "The central role of America-hating kooks in the anti-war movement is why Vietnam went on for so long � what patriot was going to side with people like that?" One reader even awarded me the coveted "Lamest Corner Post Ever" prize for the comment.

I have to admit that I've always taken it as axiomatic that hurling bags of feces at the police was not the best way to build public support for getting out of Vietnam -- while the analogy is imperfect, a comparison with the Korean War, when there was no anti-American anti-war movement, is telling. My point was that legitimate opponents of the Iraq War would make more headway if there were fewer anti-semitic, Kim Jong-il-loving fruitcakes making their case. (Here is a story in today's paper on this very debate among opponents of the war, keyed to this weekend's planned demonstration in Washington.)

But I'm always open to persuasion: Am I wrong that the anti-war movement prolonged the Vietnam War? Has anyone written about this elsewhere or done research on it?

Posted at 11:22 AM

That's exactly what I would have said. Just when you thought the HBomb was unbearable, Arianna posts this....

Posted at 11:18 AM

GOOD NEWS AND BAD [Jonah Goldberg ]
I have a new G-File and a new column up on the homepage. Apologies if you saw the earlier ALL-CAPS, ALL-BOLD version of the G-File. Apparently my voice recognition software thought I was shouting. It's been fixed.

Posted at 10:52 AM


Wow, I felt like yelling at the end of today's C-Span appearance "You hate me! You really, really hate me!"

The Democratic Underground must be slow today because they all seemed to be calling C-Span.

Posted at 10:46 AM

In the wake of Katrina, the Bush administration waived the requirement that those contracting with the federal government to provide relief develop the elaborate (and, by the way, unconstitutional) affirmative-action programs typically mandated by the Labor Department. This was a perfectly reasonable decision, and did not waive the government�s actual nondiscrimination requirements, nor its requirements that signs saying �Equal Opportunity Is the Law� be posted, that various records be kept, and so forth. But, predictably, the Left is quite upset that the usual goals and timetables (i.e., quotas) won�t be required, even if doing so would retard relief efforts.

And speaking of affirmative action and Katrina: One hopes that, given the enormous expense of the relief efforts, the Bush administration will award contracts to the lowest bidders, rather than giving special breaks to companies because of their owners� skin color or gender. If the administration also decides that it makes sense to give a preference to the local victims of Katrina, one also hopes that such preferences will be awarded to ALL such victims, regardless of skin color (and not to, say, a company owned by a rich guy from Illinois who happens to be an African American).

Posted at 10:10 AM

NOPD [John J. Miller]
It's sad to hear about the New Orleans police spokesman. It's also weird, at least for me personally, because I just finished reading The Poet, a novel by Michael Connelly -- police suicide is a major thread in the book. This organization claims that police are two to three times more likely to kill themselves than they are to die in the line of duty.

Posted at 09:18 AM

ROLE MODELS [Andrew Stuttaford]

In the wake of the Moss wars, your ayatollah received this excellent e-mail from one reader:

"Thank you for prompting the interesting discussion of role models. Such discussion makes it sound as if the anwer to the question of role model is either she is or isn't. In raising our four children, we talk about the good and bad qualities of every person, including celebrity role models -- such as "So-and-so is sure a great actress and does a lot for charities but has certainly made a mess of her personal life, what with her four divorces." or "I really enjoy So-and-so's music, although he could probably do just as well if he'd turn down the profanity and get into rehab." (amalgamations and not real people).

That leads to discussions about consequences for actions and lets children weigh for themselves what is important in life. My children, at least, think an intact, functioning family is a far more significant marker of success than a professional sports fortune.

I must admit I've never understood role model worship. Maybe I am cynical, but I never believed any human being was so good that I should model my every action after him or her without any consideration of the morality of said action. I have often thought that people who relied on remote role models for their moral compass must not have the caring family and friends I had who served that purpose."

Of course, not everyone has the advantage of such a well-grounded family, but the point is very well made.

Posted at 08:52 AM

Actually, does anybody understand the headline writer at CWA when they say "CWA Expects Yellow-Jello Attacks"?

Posted at 08:50 AM

In the WashPost, Dana Milbank notes Leahy's announcement he would vote for Roberts drew ire from the left "but no thanks from the right wing ('cynical posturing,' said a press release distributed at the hearing by the Traditional Values Coalition)." That must be an oral statement from TVC, since there's nothing like that on their website.

But did all the "right wing" groups dismiss him? Most (like the FRC, and CWA) left Leahy out of their reactions to the vote. (Think of the donor base: Why would a conservative group use their resources on a "Thank You, Pat" press release? At least when Roberts looks like a shoo-in?) The Committee for Justice didn't wave pom-poms, but did issue a statement that "Senator Leahy's statement is in keeping with traditional Senate practice, which looks to assure the competence and propriety of the nominee, not agreement with his expected decisions. I hope that other Democrats also adhere to the Senate's advise and consent traditions."

Posted at 08:49 AM

Pixar is releasing a 10th Anniversary edition of Toy Story.

Friend of the Corner Craig Good appears in one of the special features, giving a general overview of the computer animation process.

Posted at 08:47 AM

ENEMY OF MY ENEMY? [Mark Krikorian ]
Now, I understand the Lew Rockwell folks hate the war, hate Bush, etc., but inviting Cindy Sheehan speak at an upcoming conference is a bit much. I�m more indulgent of the woman than some � she�s clearly lost her mind, but that could happen to any of us if one of our children were killed -- but whatever you think about the war, the appropriate response to her is to politely look the other way, not provide a forum. The central role of America-hating kooks in the anti-war movement is why Vietnam went on for so long � what patriot was going to side with people like that? The opponents of the current war seem to have fallen into the same trap. (Hat tip to Larry Auster.)

Posted at 08:45 AM

JACQUES JAM [John J. Miller]
Jacques Chirac, honored on a Palestinian "Friends of Peace" stamp.

Posted at 08:35 AM

OFF TO C-SPAN [Jonah Goldberg]
on at 9:00.

Posted at 07:47 AM

Last night, I offered a quip about how it can't be easy to be a New Orleans police spokesman. I have since learned that in the days after Katrina, the chief spokesman for the department, Paul Accardo, committed suicide. I knew nothing of this when I wrote what I wrote, and if anyone was offended or upset, I apologize for my inadvertent tastelessness.

Posted at 07:21 AM

DONTCHA THINK? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Senator DiFi should really like her governor's parental notification talk. He spoke as a father. Didn't you see his heart?

Posted at 07:08 AM

Gov. Schwarzeneggar:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday he supports the primary aim of a ballot initiative that would make most abortions for minors illegal without prior notification of the girls' parents or guardians, saying he'd "kill" someone who took one of his own daughters for an abortion without informing him.

"I have a daughter," Schwarzenegger said in an interview with The Bee. "I wouldn't want to have someone take my daughter to a hospital for an abortion or something and not tell me. I would kill him if they do that."

Posted at 06:44 AM

ABORTION IN AMERICA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
David Gelernter: "We could heal the abortion wound, end the battles and reaffirm the integrity of American democracy if we had the guts to use the Constitution's own mechanism for introducing big, permanent changes to American law. We should get Congress to propose and the nation to ratify a constitutional amendment."

Posted at 06:41 AM

HELP US BEAT PEOPLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
(Print Media's Hot New Star: Celebrity Mags) Subscribe to NR.

Posted at 06:34 AM

SCHUMER & HILLARY [Jonah Goldberg ]

They're both voting no.

[Update: apologies for the egregious typo earlier.]

Posted at 06:26 AM

MAYBE IT'S ME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
but I always assume "ever" translates as "since CNN went on the air" or something along those lines. "Since Stone Phillips has been a star."

Posted at 06:24 AM


I believe I've now heard newscasters say this on every network. They usually qualify this by saying "in the Atlantic basin."

But even so, this is nonsense. Putting aside the fact that good measurements only go back to the 1970s, are we supposed to believe that during the entire Triassic or Cretaceous period there weren't, you know, a few stronger storms? When dinosaurs roamed the earth, they knew nothing like the savage fury of Rita.

"Ever" is a really long time when you're talking about weather.

Posted at 06:20 AM

HOUSTON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Local news viewing

Posted at 06:20 AM

AND I WAS IN D.C. THEN, TOO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'm so hurt I wasn't invited to the Commander in Chief party.

Posted at 05:16 AM

DAD CRYING LIKE A GIRL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Sometimes old taboos--I'm thinking "Boys don't cry"--should just be brought back. Sorry, I was reading the H-Bomb again.

Posted at 03:38 AM

SWAG [Warren Bell]
Ellen DeGeneres (I did her first sitcom, and I love her) is auctioning off two official Emmy presenter's gift baskets on eBay to benefit Katrina victims. All kudos to Ellen for finding something good in one of the most loathesome practices in this decrepit town, the insane giveaways that surround every major awards show. The items included in the basket -- which is given to every single person who simply shows up to present an award on the telecast -- are valued at forty thousand dollars! There is a "DOVE Chocolate Oasis -- Party for 100," an "Exclusive Bi-Coastal Membership to The Sports Club LA," and an actual living human child! (Okay, I made that up.)

Posted at 12:46 AM

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hillary's voting anti-Roberts: " make their voices heard. After serious and careful consideration of the Committee proceedings and Judge Roberts's writings, I believe I must vote against his confirmation. I do not believe that the Judge has presented his views with enough clarity and specificity for me to in good conscience cast a vote on his behalf. "

Posted at 10:27 PM

On CNN's "Paula Zahn Now," a deeply troubling story about how gangs of New Orleans cops are going around looting apartments in the city -- and how a group of 8 cops harrassed and robbed people at an Amerihost Hotel during the storm. The spokesman for the police department told CNN there are two sides to every story. Which is true. Can't be fun being a spokesman for the New Orleans police department these days.

Posted at 08:41 PM


Classic, even traffic reports invite dissenters:

Mr. Goldberg,
I live 100 miles North of Houston on Hwy 6. At 3:15 this morning I had to take my dog out and traffic from Houston was streaming by my farm in unbelievable numbers. They WERE moving at around 55 mph. I drove into Bryan (10 mi. S.) and filled my car, went back to the farm, got my dog and suitcase, and headed for Dallas. Traffic on 6 was steady but busy. I detoured onto lesser roads and passed under I-45 at Buffalo where lines to buy fuel (at 4:45 am) were 15 cars deep. I-45 was very busy but moving. More backroads got me to Dallas in about an hour longer than usual. Your reader complaining of Houston's faults in evacuation must be a former Louisiana resident - instead of planning way ahead and getting out in a timely manner, your reader's parents chose a lazy hour to leave. NOT HOUSTON'S FAULT - IT SERVES NO PURPOSE FOR YOU TO PUBLISH LETTERS OF COMPLAINERS WHO EXPECT GOVERNMENT TO TAKE THE BLAME FOR ALL LIFE'S LITTLE SPEARS AND ARROWS!



I saw your post in which one of your readers in Houston blames the local and
state officials for the horrific traffic on the highways leading out of the
city. With all due respect to him, I think there isn't much public
officials (in Houston at least) could do about it.

One of the big problems in this current situation is that for days the local
media has been going into complete hysterics about the storm, and have been
making it sound like the entire Houston area is on the verge of turning into
New Orleans. A simple look at the map will show you that isn't the case (we
aren't a city located in a bowl surrounded by a lake, the Gulf and a rickety
levee system), and this has really created an atmosphere of panic for many

I'm riding out the storm here in Houston. This isn't the first hurricane
I've lived through, and I hope to God everything will turn out okay this
time. I will say this, however. The Mayor of Houston and the County Judge
of Harris County (a Democrat and a Republican, respectively), will be
remembered for doing a great job in all this, because they've made things
that are under their control work well and they have kept calm when others
have lost their heads. I don't think the news media and the Texas
Department of Transportation (they are the guys that run the highways) will
get good ratings for their performance, however.

Posted at 06:02 PM

It's Bush's fault.

Posted at 05:43 PM

BAD TRAFFIC [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:

The traffic situation in Houston is lapsing into incompetency on the part of local and state officials. First, they tell everyone to evacuate the city, especially in low lying areas, and then they ask them to sit on highways that do not move.

Case and point: My parents left at 6 a.m. this morning for Austin (regularly a 2 1/2 hour commute). I have not been able to reach them all day until just now 4:00 p.m. I learned from them that they are still in the city of Houston. This is ridiculous!!! Another friend of mine left with her elderly parents and grandmother at 5:30 a.m. this morning. They too are presently still on the outskirts of Houston. They've traveled about a total of twenty miles. Mind you the temperature is in the upper 90's and people are not using the A/C to conserve gas. My mother was very upset and noted that people are beginning to simmer. To add to the stupidity of it all local law enforcment officials have closed of local farm and country roads which would ease the traffic flow along the major evacuation routes. One friend of mine who lives in Angleton, 40 or 50 miles south of Houston and who is very familiar with the back roads was not allowed to use them; local law enforcement officials forced him back on to the major evacuation routes which lead to nowhere. They are virtual parking lots. There are numerous reports of people turning around and returning to their homes. My parents just informed me they were doing this. They're about to run out of gas. Authorities only decided a while ago to open both sides of I-10 for outbound traffic--nice timing Houston. Tempers are really starting to boil over down here. I may drive into Houston tomorrow just to ride out the storm with my parents all the while local officials will be telling us to evacuate.

Posted at 05:30 PM

FROM NOAA [Rich Lowry ]
report (via Drudge):

Posted at 05:28 PM

MORE PRAISE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
for John McCain.

Posted at 04:57 PM

That's an amusing description of the McCain-Kennedy bill. Who's that famous Massachusetts co-sponsor again? Immigration will be a big McCain vulnerability. Think-tank types, some inside-Washington conservatives, and business interests might like what he's proposing, but it's a huge loser among grass-roots conservatives. McCainiacs are fooling themselves if they think this is a wash for them. And as far as I'm concerned, the more they fool themselves the better, because McCain only wins the nomination if he wages a full-throttled, clear-eyed campaign to woo the right, including on immigration.

Posted at 04:54 PM

RE: PATRIOTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That's OF COURSE why I'm in D.C., Warren. Unless of course they let women be members of the course they're using.

Posted at 04:53 PM

"In the last year or so, Barbie dolls have all but disappeared from the shelves of many toy stores in the Middle East. In their place, there is Fulla, a dark-eyed doll with, as her creator puts it, "Muslim values."" Fulla is profiled in detail in this NYT article. No plans are in place for a Fulla Malibu Dream House, but don't fret: ""When you take Fulla out of the house, don't forget her new spring abaya!" says one commercial."

Posted at 04:52 PM

Why no discussion here of the momentous President's Cup golf matches, currently being played right in your backyard in Manassas, VA? This is the US versus the World! We need this! The President's Cup, for those who don't know, is the prettier little sister of the venerable Ryder Cup. Prettier because the President's Cup allows players from all over the world to compete against Our Boys, while the Ryder Cup only allows Euros, leading to things like this.

Last time the Cup was played in 2003, the matches ended in a very very very exciting tie. This time vengeance will be ours! Take that, World! (As of this minute, we are losing.)

Posted at 04:51 PM

MCCAIN CHATTER [Jonah Goldberg ]
Doc Bainbridge chimes in.

Posted at 04:50 PM

I found myself Moosing; he says:
However, lefties have become far too reliant on the judiciary to settle issues such as abortion, gay marriage and church-state matters. It is easy for Republicans to characterize Democrats as elitists who rely on the least democratic branch of government to pursue liberal social engineering.
More on Dems and the courts here.

Posted at 04:26 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal disaster grants to state and local governments should be conditioned on how they accommodate pets in their evacuation plans, say lawmakers disturbed that some Hurricane Katrina victims refused to leave home because they couldn't take their animals with them.

Posted at 04:23 PM


From a reader in the McCain orbit:

I�m curious as to how McCain is a big government type on entitlements. He supported cuts in Medicare, Medicaid. He was, I believe, the first member of Congress to travel with Bush in support of his SocSec reform, and steadfastly opposed adding a $740 billion mandate (prescription drugs) on to a bankrupt entitlement and has lately called not just for its delay, but its repeal in full. On immigration, despite where most of National Review contributors are, there are many conservatives who support McCain-Brownback-Graham-Flake-Kolbe approach. On regulatory matters, the worst criticism he deserves is that he might not be a zealous deregulator but is often reliably so. He voted against the Telecom Dereg bill in the 90s because it �didn�t deregulate enough.�

And, in a second email which came in while I was still trying to respond to the first:

At the risk of tasking your patience on the subject, McCain did not have an alternative plan on prescription drug benefit except for his general support for helping seniors below, at, or a little above the poverty line. His support for �price controls� was not an alternative. He simply argued that if, over his opposition, the drug benefit was adopted then the government should negotiate for the lowest bulk price as the VA does, and should make do whenever possible with generics. He also supports re-importation. While some conservatives might disagree with re-importation, I believe CATO and others share the position. I don�t think any of those positions is quite the conservative apostasy you interpret it as.

Me: First, I think I was incorrect by including entitlements in the list of evidence that he's a "big government guy." His position on Social Security is sound and correct from the conservative free-market point of view. On Medicare, I think it's probably more fair to say he's confused. Though I should note that a very close friend of mine who worked on the Hill in positions of influence has told me that McCain wanted native Americans to be exempt from Welfare reform and that he generally supports entitlements for American Indians, for what that's worth.

As for regulation I don't think citing McCain's actions in 1996 (the Telecom bill) works in his favor that much. McCain has been "growing" for quite a while and the McCain of 1996 really isn't the same guy 9 years later. He wants to re-regulate the airline industry, he co-sponsored an HMO regulation bill with Ted Kennedy, he wants to close the �gun show loophole.� His regulatory zeal when it comes to political speech is fairly well-established.

As for immigration, I don't pretend to have my ear to the ground on this these days, but something tells me that as one moves West from Washington and New York support for the McCain-Kennedy plan tends to evaporate.

As for the weeds on the prescription drug argument, I heard Robert Reich largely making the same case as McCain yesterday on the radio program "Marketplace." I haven't studied this closely since it was debated in Congress, but if memory serves the reason we call McCain's approach "de facto price controls" is that using government to "negotiate" prices is a backdoor to monopsonistic purchasing. This approach in Medicare did not win accolades from lovers of the free market. Also, whatever one thinks of Bush's "watered down" "Patient's Bill of Rights" it's important to remember that McCain sponsored the even less tolerable Democratic (AKA "bi-partisan") version co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy. This version was chock-a-block with mandates and gifts to trial lawyers (again if memory serves). As for reimportation, I think that's an issue where McCain is not an apostate so much as simply wrong.

Look: I get claustrophobic in the policy weeds, so I may not have all of this exactly right. But I think if you step back it's indisputable that McCain shares with his hero Teddy Roosevelt a view that the government is rightly empowered to do whatever the government thinks is best. I'm not saying he's a would-be tyrant or anything of the sort, but he's a throwback to the Republican Progressivism of yore: Assertive on our national interests, very regulatory in the domestic sphere. Throw in his man on a white horse persona and he's indisputably the candidate Herbert Croly would endorse in 2008 (much like the folks a TNR fell in love with him in 2004, which should tell us something, no?).

We may end up having to support McCain against Hillary Clinton, but that doesn't mean three years out we can't be frank about our concerns. And one of my chief concerns is that he thinks it's a measure of his courage and integrity that he's willing to annoy the conservative base of the Republican party. Sometimes it may be that, but it might also be a form of childish self-indulgence at times as well.

Posted at 04:22 PM

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg helpfully gives the diversity game away. Yesterday she told an audience at the New York City Bar Association that she doesn't like being the only woman on the court (maybe the guys are hitting on her too much?), but for the next nominee "any woman will not do." She explains that there are "some women who might be appointed who would not advance human rights or women's rights." There you have it. Justice Ginsberg recognizes that what a justice will do on the court is far more important than whether or not another set of robes will be adorned with a lacy cravat. Senate Republicans should agree. In filling the initial O'Connor vacancy, President Bush didn't knuckle under to the widespread calls for a female replacement and one lesson from the Roberts nomination is that a nominee with a dazzling record will dazzle. The President should be looking for someone of equal merit who can also take the heat and not concern himself with what restroom his nominee will be using at the Court.

Posted at 04:20 PM

Recent internal polls circulating among Republicans on the Hill tell them that Democrats' recent assaults have missed their mark. Judge John Roberts is viewed favorably by 54 percent of voters, and unfavorably by only 20 percent (that presumably includes Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy). Voters favor his nomination by 62 to 23. Who is more likely to make the judiciary a "partisan issue" in the opinion of voters? Senate GOP - 30 and Senate Democrats - 50. Who is more like to make the response to Hurricane Katrina a "partisan issue?" The GOP- 21 and Democrats - 63. Among Independents? GOP - 18 and Democrats - 58. And even Democrats see their party as more likely to politicize the recovery by a margin of 56 to 26.

Posted at 04:20 PM

MCCAIN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I wouldn't even go this far. But he was all that we said last night. But then others had their Allen night and were wowed. And Mitt Romney was pretty impressive when he hit NYC last week.

Posted at 04:16 PM

RE: UMM. . . [Ramesh Ponnuru]

Sorry, Andrew, but your latest post only makes the problem deeper. You are criticizing other people for not seeing that Moss's drug use is 'her own business' and 'not ours.' If the fact that it's her business doesn't preclude you from criticizing her, it can't preclude them from doing so either. Or is it that you're allowed to make criticisms that other people can't?

As for your criticism of the companies, the fact that it is based on the moral views of Milton Friedman does not make it compatible with the view that we should refrain from making other people's business ours. Now if Friedman had joined you in issuing (vague and self-contradictory) fatwas against the criticism of Moss, you might be able to say that your errors here were also those of the great man. But under the actual circumstances, I think Friedman should be left alone.

Posted at 04:11 PM

FINALLY! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Watching the cable channels you couldn't help but notice a mess of traffic on one side and empty lanes on the others. A Texas-connected government dude tells me that's changing:
You watching all this traffic on tv? Looks miserable. We�ve been on the phone all day. Looks like things are finally starting to open up. They have all lanes outbound in some parts now, and things are speeding up. Long way to go, though.

Posted at 04:01 PM


Posted at 03:58 PM

I may be hooked. They're Enya if Enya were rock.

Posted at 03:53 PM


Posted at 03:31 PM

UM... [Andrew Stuttaford]
Ramesh, not only did not I not say that you couldn't criticize Kate Moss for taking illegal drugs, but I actually criticized her for that myself. As to what is or is not a company's business, I'm merely repeating (and agreeing with) the views of Milton Friedman. If that makes me an 'ayatollah', so be it.

Posted at 03:31 PM

nobody calls them "Dog Five Hurricanes"?

Posted at 03:19 PM


I've gotten several emails like this:

For what it's worth, McCain opposed the Kyoto treaty and voted against it. His position now (along with Sen. Lieberman) on a cap and trade concept is NOT that much differenent from what the president has floated. Also, it's true he voted against the president's tax cut but if one reads his floor statement on why you'll find two reasons that put him quite a distance from the liberal tag Mr. Levin pins on him. He said in a nutshell that he'd support a $500 million tax cut and use the remaining surplus for large defense increases, funding the transition to private retirement accounts, and deficit reduction. No democrat opposed the cuts for these reasons. In addition, it is true that Sen. McCain voted against ANWR. However, he's a big supporter of more nuclear power plants, which by a huge margin, would due more for America's energy security than ANWR (though, I do support drilling there). He also opposed the biggest new entitliment since LBJ, the drug bill. He argued that the expense would be huge in the outyears and that any bill should be targeted. Look, there are things that McCain has deviated on but a fair look at his record shows a much more complicated picture. Thank you. ps: on Iraq, North Korea and a few other places, he's been right on target with his critique

Me: I really don't want to turn the corner over to a debating society about McCain, but Bush's position on Medicare is not a lodestar for anybody here. I think virtually everybody at NR/NRO opposed Bush's plan (apologies if I'm mischaracterizing anybody's position). I don't think McCain's all bad by any means, but if memory serves, McCain's alternative plan for prescription drugs was tantamount to price controls. He's a very big regulator. And, apologies to the Bull Moose, but it should disquiet conservatives that any would-be standard-bearer fashions himself an heir to Teddy Roosevelt, particularly the later T.R. and even more especially on domestic affairs. America needs the New Nationalism like it needs lot more cat five hurricanes.

Posted at 03:08 PM

I GOT A DOG [Rod Dreher]
Longtime Corner readers might remember my bleg from two or three years ago for advice on what kind of dog to get, if we got a dog. Lots of good feedback on that. I suppose I should inform you that we finally did succumb about three weeks ago, and acquired a personal hound. She's a German shepherd pup that my space-mad six-year-old has named, naturally, "Laika." Laika's a beautiful dog, just about the best you could ask for, I think. Except: she IS a 14-week-old puppy, and that means she has certain ... needs. This is a period of adjustment for the Drehers, and basically, my life would be a lot simpler and more restful now if I could control her puppy urges with a judicious application of duct tape. Arf. I prefer to think of this period as "calibrating my home security system."

Posted at 03:04 PM

DIFI'S POSITION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Has it already been noted that she voted for Roberts before she voted against him?

Posted at 03:03 PM

I HEAR [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
that WFB will be featured on the cover of the NY Times magazine this Sunday. I recommend reading it online.

Posted at 02:58 PM

MYERS [Jonah Goldberg ]
The editors want her out, too. Just an FYI for those of you who insist -- contrary to the evidence -- that NR is constantly in lockstep with Bush.

Posted at 02:30 PM


Who made Stuttaford ayatollah?

Two interns at the Cato Institute and the head of publicity for Marmite�.

Posted at 02:18 PM

I LOVE THE RAMESH LINE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Who made Stuttaford ayatollah?"

Posted at 02:06 PM

THREE PLUS ONE [Jonah Goldberg]
Lots of readers would have me add to my secular trinity (cut spending, kill bad guys, appoint good judges) the issue of immigration. I think that's probably right, but I don't think it changes the equation in McCain's favor.

Posted at 02:03 PM

RITA'S NOW A CAT 4 [Rich Lowry ]

Posted at 01:56 PM

Worth every penny you've paid for them: 1) Roberts will vote with Scalia and Thomas on the parental-notification case and a future partial-birth abortion case. 2) Roberts will decline to join Scalia and Thomas in calling for the overturn of Roe and Casey. 3) Pundits will infer that this move by Roberts means that he is a vote for Roe/Casey. 4) This assumption, by making Roe/Casey look safe, will make it easier to confirm another conservative justice (should a third vacancy arise on Bush's watch). 5) This assumption will be incorrect.

Posted at 01:49 PM

RE: OOOOKAY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm afraid I still don't get it, Andrew. If Kate Moss takes illegal drugs, that's "her business," "[n]ot ours." We shouldn't even criticize her. If a company cancels her contract with her for anything but a bottom-line reason, on the other hand, that company subjects itself to Andrew's moral criticism. Why isn't it the company's business who it does its business with, and what its reasons are for its decisions? Who made Stuttaford ayatollah?

Posted at 01:44 PM

BUSH AND CLINTON [Ramesh Ponnuru]
David Brooks ends his column today by suggesting that President Bush may end up changing the Democratic party more than the Republican party. This is not unprecedented: Clinton seems to have changed the Republican party more than the Democratic party. The difference is that the changes Republicans made in response to Clinton made them more electable.

Posted at 01:40 PM

FUND ON ALLEN [Rich Lowry ]
John Fund has more on Allen at the Club at (sub required):

Across town, Virginia Senator George Allen was shmoozing donors to the free-market Club for Growth. The Virginia Senator has often been a diffident speaker in the past but last night he was firing on all cylinders. He decried the failure to find offsetting cuts to pay for Katrina spending, saying the signal threatened the rest of the GOP agenda in Congress. He also proposed that the new Medicare drug benefit set to take effect next year be delayed in light of Katrina.

Mr. Allen also had a more comprehensive take on how to tackle budget problems. As governor of Virginia, to let the state legislature know that he meant business, he vetoed 99 bills. But lest this be interpreted as a criticism of President Bush, who has yet to veto a single bill, a staffer was quick to say Mr. Allen's point was that the presidency was burdened with weaker budget control powers than most governors have. In Virginia, he enjoyed line-item veto authority and a rule that required the legislature to restrict bills to a single subject. "Bush might find it a lot easier to tackle the budget if a president had those advantages," the staffer said.

Mr. Allen also praised former California Gov. Pete Wilson's use of incentives to encourage private contractors to finish highway repairs more quickly after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. "We should do that for Katrina reconstruction and also consider extending that principle to all federal construction projects," the senator said.

The audience left impressed with Mr. Allen's pitch. One club member told me that the message was "coherent, consistent and conservative," and that's a sound starting point for Senator Allen to win over the conservative base of the party as he prepares his White House run.

Posted at 01:37 PM

C-SPAN [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be on tomorrow morning, 9:00 AM.

Posted at 01:03 PM

I hear Sen. George Allen knocked people's socks off at the Club for Growth dinner in Washington last night.

Posted at 11:47 AM

MCCAIN [Jonah Goldberg]

It's funny I had almost the exact same conversation about McCain with Kate and Ramesh in LA. It seems to me that conservatives should really only care about three things these days: Killing the bad guys, Cutting government, appointing good judges. On the surface, it seems McCain is well-qualified on all three. Sure, the campaign finance stuff is infuriatingly stupid, cynical and -- in some respects -- unconstitutional. But George W. Bush made all of those points right up until the moment he signed a CFR bill. He shugged about the unconstitutional stuff, saying that the Supreme Court would solve those problems. Isn't that a violation of his constitutional oath? He signed a law he conceded was unconstitutional, right?

Anyway, Ramesh and Kate made a very strong case along the lines Mark makes below. While McCain is good on the war, he's a question mark on judges and he is not in fact a government-trimmer. He's against pork, for which he deserves a gold star, but on entitlements, immigration and especially regulation etc he's actually quite a big government guy.

So, my search for a candidate to love continues. I can't even support Cosmo the Wonderdog. While he'd be relentless on our enemies, he's about as pro-pork as you can get.

Posted at 11:38 AM

Sen. Russ Feingold will vote in favor of Roberts.

Posted at 11:38 AM

Hillary and McCain to meet with Sheehan?

Posted at 11:38 AM

PARIS IS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
for bloggers.

Posted at 11:31 AM

THE SEMINARY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mail:
I've been a devoted NRO follow (and NRODT subscriber) for many years. I was in the seminary from 1984-87 and can personally attest that the homosexual problem was huge. Conservatively, I would estimate that at least half the seminary was homosexual. The problem with this is that seminaries get a reputation as centers of homosexuality and the priesthood becomes known as a homosexual profession. Who wants to be associated with that?

Another problem comes with the simple temptation of homosexuals living exclusively with other men. This is comparable to a straight seminarian living with Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. You can imagine the scandal and temptation that would lead to. Once that gay undercurrent starts, it's virtually impossible to control it and gay and straight cliques form amongst the students and faculty. (Trust me, I've seen them.) Homosexuals need to be kept out of the seminaries for the same reasons they need to be kept out of the military.
ME: I do think it's different than the military. A man who enters the military and a man who enters the seminary are both entering vocations of discipline, but different kinds, obviously. The priest is called to a life of holiness--guys in the military are not embracing what those in the seminary are. If you're the type of person who will hit on a fellow priest, a male Church-goer, or abuse a child, that suggests there's something more that's a problem than that you are gay. Similarly if a priest is carrying on with a woman, the problem is not that he is heterosexual. But I do get that the current mess is so bad in some places that a moratorium might be a healthy solution, but with good teaching and a clear understanding why--and followed by a fundamental change in approach (going back to basics, etc.). You wouldn't want to permanently shut out good men because of man-made mess.

Posted at 11:28 AM

ON BIDEN [Byron York]
Like Feinstein, he also voted for Roberts for the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Posted at 11:20 AM

Wish I could say there was no bloviating accomodating his announcement. Kennedy's a no too, but did we doubt that?

Posted at 11:16 AM

That's right. Drum cheese. Deal with it.

Posted at 11:16 AM

THE IMPORTANT STUFF [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Jim Geraghty--bless him--just IMed me:
I can't believe I'm writing this, but... no Yankee gloating? Yanks slip into first place over Boston and there's nothing on the Corner about this? I mean, Roberts getting confirmed is nice, but let's keep our priorities straight...

Posted at 11:08 AM

Banning chaste gay men from the priesthood seems like a stop-gap emergency move that concedes that some seminaries are just out of control. So a broad brush line is drawn, for better or for worse. It seems like the kind of thing that if it were going to be done, should have been done when the scandals broke, scandals that made clear what some already had a feel for--that, in fact, some seminaries are out of control. But banning gay men from the priesthood seems like it should be only a shortterm thing. Like proposing a moritoriam on immigration while getting a handle on enforcement. Same with the seminaries, in my quick laywoman's view. Clean house, teach the right things. Shape up. Then go back to taking the best men, whomever they are. If you're a good man who truly vows to be chaste, you will be that straight or not. It's the no-tolerance for abuse that is key and a complete committment to teaching the basics (and enforcing them)--a road all dioceses don't quite seem to be on yet.

Posted at 11:01 AM

THE RIDE OVER [John J. Miller]
In case you think I've just written a mash note to McCain, let me emphasize that the highlight of my evening was driving to Georgetown with K-Lo. (Memo to Cliff: We traveled not by Rich's NR jet, but by my minivan.) I made her listen to Sigur Ros the whole way.

Posted at 10:49 AM

MCCAIN ABLE [John J. Miller]
I probably share every criticism NR has ever made of John McCain. Heck, I criticized him on NRO just a few days ago. Having said that, three quick thoughts on his dinner presentation last night:

1. If wasteful spending continues to grow as a major internecine issue among Republicans, McCain is exceptionally well positioned to make inroads with conservatives. Rich made this point briefly yesterday, and McCain demonstrated why it's true last night. Say what you will about the guy, but he's always been good on corporate welfare and "pork." Last night, he talked about delaying or even repealing the prescription drug bill. I hate to say Katrina has "benefitted" anybody, but there's no doubt that its aftermath has the potential to boost McCain's 2008 prospects more than any other figure in the GOP field.

2. McCain is solid on foreign policy. He's well versed on the problems and opportunities we face around the world, and he understands what's at stake in Iraq. He was especially chagrined last night about the fact that the American press has not reported on the successful elections in Afghanistan--a bit of good news that deserves a wider audience.

3. McCain is way, way more impressive than the guy who is often considered his senatorial understudy, Chuck Hagel. I've seen them both from afar and up close. What they have in common is an experience in Vietnam and a willingness to break ranks with the party leadership. But McCain speaks with a depth of knowledge and conviction on issues that I've never detected in Hagel.

Posted at 10:42 AM

BATON ROUGE, La. - Police found cases of food, clothing and tools intended for hurricane victims at the home of the chief administrative officer for a New Orleans suburb, authorities said Wednesday.

Officers searched Cedric Floyd's home because of complaints that city workers were helping themselves to donations for hurricane victims. Floyd, who runs the day-to-day operations in the suburb of Kenner, was in charge of distributing the goods.

Posted at 10:33 AM

"Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., will vote to confirm John Roberts for chief justice, his office said in a brief statement Thursday."

Posted at 10:19 AM

I cannot believe she's openly basing her no vote in significant part on the fact that she doesn't think Robert talked enough about what kind of husband and father he is. Listening to her you'd think we'd set up a system by which whoever makes the best volunteer for an inner-city big brother program should run the court.

Posted at 10:13 AM

NO QUICK VOTE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I gather the committee just broke for a floor vote. And there are three hours of blather scheduled yet before the committee actually votes. Can we skip the grandstanding and just have the vote already? You all know what you're doing. The groups have their press releases written. You're not fooling anyone--or changing minds.

Posted at 10:08 AM

As noted, Sen. Dianne Feinstein just announced in the Judiciary Committee meeting that she will vote no on Roberts. Feinstein, by the way, had voted in favor of Roberts for the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Posted at 10:00 AM

Yup, she's a no-go on Roberts. Expect her to get a Glamour Woman of the Year award or something for her "courage" and "independence" (did not cave with Leahy).

Posted at 10:00 AM


Interesting piece in today's NYT on the Dems' conundrum over Roberts. The base wants blood, the leaders want to hedge. Here's Norman Lear on Schumer's equivocation:

Mr. Lear said he respected Mr. Schumer's desire to seem reasonable, but added that this conciliatory approach had not worked for the Democrats for five years. "I really believe down to my toes that the American people are looking for authenticity," Mr. Lear said.

Two points: "...Schumer's desire to seem reasonable..." I love that. It may just be sloppy writing, but it does underscore the sense in which everyone understands that Schumer is not, in fact, reasonable. He merely wishes to "seem" as such.

Second: "looking for authenticity." Here again, the assumption from the base is that one cannot be "authentic" and at the same time be torn about Roberts. Authentic liberals must act on their hatred for Bush (this point is clear given the context of the larger article) or they aren't authentic liberals. It's just so axiomatic.

Posted at 09:55 AM

SENATOR DIFI [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
is sounding like she's voting no on Roberts (at the committee hearings now). She has to as the LONE WOMAN. (Ick. ) She wanted him to speak to her as a man, a husband, a father. Funny, I thought he was nominee for chief justice.

Posted at 09:51 AM

Those who doubt the Washington Post has a soft spot for the American-withdrawal ("peace") movement need to read reporter David Montgomery in the big Style section article today, constantly testing to see if we've arrived yet at the tipping point of surrender, guided by sages like "Tom Hayden, silver-goateed eminence of antiwars past."

Posted at 09:23 AM

NPR "Fresh Air" host Terry Gross is aggravated at charges of liberal bias in public broadcasting, fussing at a Berkeley event about conservative complaints, especially socially conservative complaints: "Art is about keeping an open mind to things that are dark, mysterious, taboo," she said. "Which is exactly the type of thing that certain people in the religious right don't want us to be thinking about."

That's funny. Even NPR's ombudsman has found Terry Gross has a liberal bias. She wasn't living up to the idea of keeping an open mind to the dark, mysterious, taboo views of Bill O'Reilly.

Posted at 09:22 AM

Stuttaford has always thought of me as a libertarian.

Posted at 09:01 AM

doing with Michael Steele's credit report?

Posted at 08:55 AM

MCCAIN [Mark R. Levin]
McCain may vote against these budgets, but he's a big-spender nonetheless. In fact,he's a big-government type through and through. His boneheaded embrace of Kyoto would expand the power of the federal bureaucracy over private activity like nothing we've seen in recent history. And it will kill jobs and wealth creation, creating even greater pressures for government welfare programs and federal spending. For all his talk about being tough on national security, he has joined the ranks of the environmentalist flat-earth society, opposing drilling even in ANWR, making our military and economy more vulnerable to decisions of foreign oil producing countries. And McCain rejects a primary aspect of Reaganomics, i.e., he has opposed every major tax cut offered by this president. And on immigration, talk is cheap. He's a Kennedyite who panders to the illegal immigration lobby. I will predict now, for what it's worth, that he will not be president. And that he's the only Republican who can lose to Hillary Clinton, should she be nominated by the Democrats. He has simply picked too many fights with the Republican base in his pursuit of liberal praise.

Posted at 08:45 AM

OOOOKAY [Andrew Stuttaford]
Slight overreaction there for what was meant to be a fairly light-hearted post yesterday. But let's take a couple of points:

'For the children'. I'm afraid that stays. And the phrase needs to be repeated, and repeated, and repeated, until politicians (of both right and left) stop abusing it in the way they now do. I see no sign that they are about to. Now there are, of course, some policies that are 'for the children' and should be 'for the children'. We all agree with that. What I don't agree with is the way that so many policies that have nothing to do (or ought to have nothing to do) with 'the children' are sold on that basis. If 'for the children' has become a cliche, Ramesh, the fault lies with those politicians who started using it as a justification for just about everything they want to do 'for' this country. It's dishonest, and, worse, it quite literally infantilizes our politics, our debate and our legislation.

Role models. I'm sorry. I don't buy this. If Kate Moss has become a 'role model' for anything (other than a very successful businesswoman) the problem lies with society, not Ms. Moss. As for those cricketers, they are a nice bunch who won (appropriately enough, anti-smokers will think) 'the ashes' (English readers will understand) after years of waiting. Trust me, that's a big deal. Begrudging them a booze-up and some smokes after a victory on that scale is prudery run amok, and nothing whatsoever to do with 'the children'.

Smoking. I couldn't care less whether people smoke or not (contrary to the numerous emailers who always assume that I do, other than the occasional cigar, I generally don't). Except under certain very narrow circumstances, it's harmless to anyone other than the smoker (spare me the 'science' of passive smoking), but, Jonah, I do have a problem with 'social condemnation' of smoking. It's bad manners. And, yes, it's also bad manners to go into someone's house and light up without asking first.

And let's take a look look at the, ahem, pharmaceutical aspects of the Moss controversy. She's (allegedly) taken some illegal drugs. Wise? No. Healthy? No. Can we expect (another) rehab drama in due course? Probably. Those are all her mistakes to make. Her business. Not ours.

Cancelled contracts. That's up to the companies, so long as their motive was the p&l;, not anything else. I'm with Milton Friedman on the 'moral' responsibilities of companies. It's to make money for their shareholders and stay within the law. That's it.

Coming libertarian/conservative brouhaha? Not being very keen on labels myself, I'm never quite sure who is a libertarian or not, but I do think that after recent events big government conservatives (amongst whom I most decidely do not include either Ramesh or Jonah) should be keeping a very, very low profile.

Posted at 08:43 AM

RE: MCCAIN DINNER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Dinner with McCain" became "Dinner with May" the second I saw Cliff.

Posted at 08:41 AM

on stem cells (Not good.)

Posted at 08:38 AM

Now you can test drive National Review at no risk. Feel how it smoothly handles the ideological curves, experience for yourself how its four-wheel intelligence navigates over media bias and academic potholes, revel in NR's rich Corinthian commentary and plush velour editorials. And those 400 horses in our famous Buckley-crafted engine go from Hillary to Gipper faster than Chuck Schumer racing for a microphone! Why not put yourself behind the wheel of NR today - we'll give you four free issues to enjoy as a starter! Drive right over here to turn on the ignition.

Posted at 08:35 AM

This is from the testimony submitted to the Judiciary Committee yesterday by Maj. Erik Kleinsmith (USArmy � Ret.), one of the analysts with expertise in data mining who was assigned in late 1999 to support the Able Danger program (emphasis is mine):
In December of 1999 we were approached by US Special Operations Command [SOCOM] to support Able Danger. I assigned the same core team of analysts that worked the JCAG project [a then-recent demonstration of �how data mining and intelligence analysis could be conducted in a counterintelligence and technology protection capacity�], and with Dr. Eileen Preisser as the analytical lead, four of us conducted data mining and analysis of the Al Qaeda terrorist network coordinating with SOCOM and other organizations throughout that time. In the months that followed, we were able collect an immense amount of data for analysis that allowed us to map Al Qaeda as a world-wide threat with a surprisingly significant presence within the United States.

In approximately April of 2000 our support to Able Danger became severely restricted and ultimately shut down due to intelligence oversight concerns. Supported vigorously by the LIWA [Land Information Warfare] and INSCOM [Army Intelligence and Security Command] chains of command, we actively worked to overcome this shut down for the next several months. In the midst of this shut down, I along with CW3 Terri Stephens were forced to destroy all the data, charts, and other analytical products that we had not already passed on to SOCOM related to Able Danger. This destruction was dictated by, and conducted in accordance with intelligence oversight procedures.

Posted at 08:33 AM

MCCAIN [Cliff May]
I attended the John McCain dinner, too � given by R. Emmett Tyrell of The American Spectator. First, what a nice surprise to see K-Lo and John Miller.

(I know how rarely they get use of the NR jet. That�s because Rich hogs it, commuting to his homes in East Hampton, Santa Barbara and Gstaad. I hear he sometimes uses it for sky-diving as well � not a good idea! But last night, evidently, Rich was home watching �Lost� with JPod so the worker bees were able to wing in to Our Nation�s Capital for din-din.)

Second, McCain really was impressive. I was most surprised by his energy. He wasn�t laid-back and FM DJ-mellow as he so often is with Imus and on the Sunday talk shows. He never sat down. He didn�t eat. He rarely paused. He listened to questions. He formulated thoughtful answers � not just talking points.

There are issues on which I don�t agree with him (e.g. McCain/Feingold) but I have to say he was looking and sounding very presidential last night.

Finally: Great food (at Citronelle) and a delightful assemblage of congenial right-wingers around the table. Compliments and thanks to Bob.

Posted at 08:32 AM


I mentioned the fact the other day that the Bush administration, having nothing better to do with its time, is prioritizing the fight against porn (that's porn involving consenting adults, by the way). Well, now, via The Agitator, we have this little nugget:

"Sources say Acosta was told by the FBI officials during last month's meeting that obscenity prosecution would have to be handled by the crimes against children unit. But that unit is already overworked and would have to take agents off cases of child endangerment to work on adult porn cases. Acosta replied that this was Attorney General Gonzales' mandate. "

Warped priorities and cackhanded incompetence. Yup, just another example of why big government Republicanism stands for. And the supposed role of Attorney General Gonzales in this miserable business is well worth noting. It's another reminder why he has no business on the Supreme Court.

Posted at 08:29 AM


This, um, reasoning (from the Guardian) seems sort of familiar:

" A prison population that took four decades to increase by 11,000 between 1951 and 1991, climbed by 25,000 in the following decade, despite the largest and the most sustained fall in crime for more than a century."

Posted at 08:26 AM

RICH IS RIGHT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
About John McCain. At a dinner I was at in D.C. Wednesday night he was his straighttalking best on small government/spending/pork stuff. And he's on the same page. With us on more than spending and pork: He threw out our New Orleans as 2008 convention locale idea as a possibility. And, of course, he talks well on the war... And while he dismisses "amnesty" criticism, he talks tough about the borders. ... He, of course, get freakily passionate about McCain-Feingold nonsense (527s!! source of all evil!!!). ...

Posted at 08:01 AM

FOR THE RECORD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I do have a President Barbie in my office.

I don't think an editor Barbie exists. Which is why there are no female editors.


Posted at 07:37 AM

BLECH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Will a woman be president? The president HAS TO nominate a woman to SCOTUS (NOT!) Let's endlessly talk about such silly things.

Posted at 07:33 AM

DOES THIS MEAN.... [Jonah Goldberg]
Bush is responsible for cancelling "Angel"? Or does it mean conservative defeatists are to blame? Can Karl Rove tell me what Joss Whedon's real plan was for the last season before he had to scrap it?

Posted at 07:24 AM

An e-mailer connects my surprised praise for the second-season premiere of "Lost" to, you guessed it, the ostriches-on-the-Right problem: "Your analysis of LOST is so typical of you. Expecting the show to be a cheat and a disappointment is similar to your mostly defeatist attitude toward Bush and Repubs. Rush Limbaugh talks about you and the others on the Corner quite a lot. Oh, he doesn't refer to you by name but he mentions those on the right who have a defeatist attitude and are so afraid of being seen as wrong by those in the Beltway that you jump on the CW constantly. I think you all would benefit a lot by listening to him. He is able to combine realism with optimism. However, the Corner crowd combines realism with defeatism. Its not a winning combination."

Sure, you say that now. But does Rush know why the numbers add up to 108? Or if Desmond is the devil? (These are "Lost" questions.)

Posted at 07:07 AM

This sounds like scary stuff. Or exciting stuff. Or ominous stuff. I'm intrigued and want to read more. In the mean time it helps if you say "singularity! singularity!" the way father Mulcahy said "jocularity" on M*A*S*H. Why? I don't know, but in about 2 decades my toaster will supposedly be able to tell me.

Posted at 06:13 AM

ONE MAN'S OBSCENITY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
is another's wedding kiss.
Posted at
12:32 AM

Over dinner in Los Angeles, I mentioned that I�d prepared for my first meeting of the Dartmouth College board of trustees, which took place earlier this month, by re-reading �God and Man at Yale,� WFB�s roundhouse attack on collectivism and secularism in New Haven. Hearing this, WFB skipped �Man� and went directly to �God.� �How,� he asked, �is Christianity doing at Dartmouth?� As it happens, the president of the Dartmouth Student Assembly, Noah Riner, Class of �06, provided an answer just yesterday.

Welcoming the Class of �09 to the College during Convocation, Riner said:

�Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus�.He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That�s character�.

�In the words of Bono:

��[I]f only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed�.�

�You want the best undergraduate education in the world, and you�ve come to the right place to get it. But there�s more to college than achievement. With Martin Luther King, we must dream of a nation�and a college�where people are not judged by the superficial, �but by the content of their character.��

Like Yale, Dartmouth was founded as an explicitly Christian institution. As far as I know, however, young Mr. Riner was the first to hold up the example of Christ at a College event�and note that Riner was addressing the matter of character, not seeking converts�in many and many a decade. Read his full remarks here.

Posted at 12:25 AM

I first heard the question posed by Jeffrey Hart, the great professor of English at Dartmouth (and a senior editor of National Review): If a work of art is mistaken in its social analysis, can it still be considered well-wrought, perhaps even beautiful? Jeff was discussing Oliver Goldsmith�s long poem of the mid-eighteenth century, �The Deserted Village,� but the question came to mind yesterday evening while the missus and I were watching the new movie, �The Constant Gardener.�

Goldsmith�s poem represents an extended attack on the first stirrings of the industrial revolution: �Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey/Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.� We now know, of course, that despite the ugliness it visited on much of the English countryside, the industrial revolution enriched and enlivened the country�and, ultimately, during the Pax Britannica, much of the world. Goldsmith got it wrong. On the other hand, what a poem! More than 400 lines of faultless rhythm and diction, perfect rhymes, and arresting imagery.

Likewise �The Constant Gardener.� The movie, which is based on a novel of the same name by John le Carre, rests on a premise that is, simply, ridiculous: Giant, rapacious drug companies, eager to rush to market a new treatment for tuberculosis, conduct clinical trials on unsuspecting Africans. The companies know, of course, that the treatment causes dangerous side effects, but they handle this problem by bribing senior officials in the British Foreign Office�and by murdering anyone who refuses to be bought. Only someone utterly ignorant of the regulatory and legal regimes that drug companies face could believe in such a premise long enough to write a screenplay.

But if you�re willing to grant the premise, the movie comes alive: Brilliant acting; editing that moves mesmerizingly back and forth in time, from flashbacks to the present; and, in the African scenes, a palpable, heart-breakingly beautiful sense of place. �The Constant Gardener� is both a marvelous artistic achievement and a ridiculous way to spend two hours.

Posted at 12:01 AM

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

LOST [John Podhoretz]
The ABC show had its second-season premiere tonight, and while I still think the show is a cheat and will inevitably prove a disappointment, I have to say it was one of the most brilliantly conceived and directed hours of television I've ever seen, with two unbelievable jolts and an absolutely genius deployment of the Mamas and the Papas song "Make Your Own Kind of Music." WOW!

Posted at 10:10 PM

ANDY... [JPod]

Posted at 09:33 PM

John, I watched the hearing this morning, and that is not gonna wash.

Both DOD and the 9/11 Commission put out numerous statements casting aspersions on the Able Danger people who came forward on the ground that no documentary information corroborated the claim � a claim no one seems too willing to go out on a limb to dispute any longer � that the program identified Mohamed Atta as a potential terrorist (and perhaps other hijackers, too) well in advance of 9/11.

Now it turns out that volumes upon volumes of documentation from the program were ordered destroyed in 2000. That also appears to have been a rather widely known fact (the guy who did the deleting voluntarily testified at the hearing). If that was the case, why were these witnesses assailed the way they were? And why did we continue hearing about how the Pentagon was looking under every rock but not finding anything when, in fact, it had to have known that the entire quarry had intentionally been destroyed five years ago?

What is unfolding here is an embarrassing story. Data mining efforts harvested some information on US persons (essentially, citizens and permanent resident aliens) in the course of investigating al Qaeda (and later, Chinese proliferation). But Atta was not a US person. There was no impropriety in collecting information on him, nor does it smack of any McCarthy-era list-making � these are the lists everyone knows we are allowed to make and should be making. There is no question that al Qaeda was being investigated by other arms of government at that time � and that such lists were being made.

Moreover, let�s assume � against the facts � that there had been some legal problem collecting this information. The regs under which DOD was operating gave it 90 days � if it happened to collect info on US persons in the course of its legitimate intelligence missions, like counterterrorism � to determine whether there was a lawful basis to keep the information. There are 13 bases for retaining such information, and they should easily have allowed al Qaeda information about non-Americans to be preserved.

But it appears that not enough attention was given during the 90-day period to whether there was a legal basis to keep the info, so the period lapsed. Thus, because the officials in possession of the materials did not want to be in violation of the reg (AR 3-81.10, the intelligence oversight reg), they were destroyed before a responsible determination could be made whether they were retainable.

That destruction is said to have been over the objection of Able Danger officials but at the insistence of the lawyers � notwithstanding that it was known to contain potentially valuable information about al Qaeda (which had only recently blown up two of our embassies and would soon bomb one of our navy destroyers).

It is, moreover, alleged that, even though the documentation had been destroyed, an Able Danger briefing was given to Gen. Shelton (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) in January 2001. And it came up in a briefing given to Stephen Cambone � then a top advisor to Sec�y Rumsfeld and now undersecretary for intelligence � in around March 2001.

Weldon testified this morning that two weeks ago, at an informal briefing to House members, a Pentagon lawyer said that there had been no need to get special clearance to destroy Able Danger materials because they were open-source, not classified. Now, the Pentagon is blocking the Senate from conducting its oversight function by claiming it is worried about disclosure of classified information � even to the point of declining to allow witnesses to testify in closed session.

Finally, Weldon repeated today that he told then-Deputy National Security Adviser (now NSA) Steve Hadley about Able Danger and gave him a chart with Atta on it right after the 9/11 attacks. He added today that Rep. Dan Burton came with him to see Hadley on that occasion. He also reported that Hadley conceded to him, in a conversation about 3 months ago, that he recalled Weldon providing the chart. Yet, we have still not heard a word from Hadley � who could have put a lot of these claims and counter-claims about the credibility of the witnesses to rest weeks ago by simply confirming or denying Weldon�s version of events.

This is all very strange, and the business about Rice and Perry coming up in the data mining for Chinese spying does not come close to explaining it away. Plus, to keep our eye on the ball for a second here, it�s very likely we had Atta identified long before 9/11 � a fact of enormous significance.

Posted at 05:40 PM


We here in Punta Gorda, Florida (where Cat 4 Charley hit in 04') are just stunned by the size of this storm. It's like an ugly flashback for us. All day the skies over us here in Gulf Coast Florida have been low fast moving clouds with scattered rain. The clouds are this impenetrable leaden gray mass that just go from horizon to horizon, no sunshine all day. And we are at least 500 miles to the east of the eye right now. This is going to be a very bad storm. God help Texas.

Posted at 05:17 PM

BY THE WAY... [Jonah Goldberg]
this reminds me that we're overdue for a nice big conservtaive-libertarian brouhaha. Usually, they arrive every couple months. Keep your eye on the horizon.

Posted at 05:11 PM


I agree entirely with Ramesh on this one -- though I shall not stop mocking the mainstream manifestation of "for the children" babble. One of my biggest objections to some drug legalizers' argumentation is that not only should drugs be legalized but that society should not look askance at drug use (please, no email from pro-legalizers who don't share this view, I know there are many of you).

The conservative argument on most of these sorts of questions should be that if you are going to legalize a bad activity it is all the more incumbent upon civil society to condemn that activity. I want to keep smoking cigarattes legal (and I'm for decriminalizing marijuana) but I see almost nothing ideologically wrong with social condemnation of smoking and almost nothing right about celebrating it (I say almost, because at some point such condemnations cross the line into abject joylessness). Similarly, it is not illegal to be a slut, and rightly so. But I do not see this as a reason to celebrate sluttiness. Many libertarians agree with this and accept it. Some do not. They are rightly called libertines.

Posted at 05:04 PM

FROM EDWARDS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"[Roberts should have repudiated] the positions that he had previously advocated in his professional career. He made a choice and refused to meet that obligation."

If I were one of the Kerry-Edwards ticket, I would be avoiding all future associations with "flip-flopping," including encouraging it in Supreme Court nominees.

Posted at 04:56 PM


An anonymous reader from a major weather-related federal agency writes:

wrong, wrong, wrong!! Hurricane do not follow warm currents - they are steered by the overall atmospheric wind patterns. They survive by being near the warm water currents but the currents don't steer them. Hurricanes need warm water to form & then intensify their strength; along with no atmospheric vertical wind shear to tear them apart.

Rita is moving west now because there is a ridge of high pressure along the Gulf
coast (clockwise circulation) so the steering winds are from the east. It's getting stronger because it's moving into the warmest waters of the gulf. The waters are cooler close to texas so it's like to weaken some approaching land,
but the cooler water won't change the path.

Posted at 04:54 PM

ROLE MODELS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I like the market approach here: H&M; thinks bad behavior associated with them means bad business. Would people stop shopping at H&M; because of Kate Moss? I have no idea. But I like that H&M; does worry it has responsibilities to the community, so to speak. Don't want that mandated, but I like the instinct.

I don't know that Kate Moss is necessarily any girl's role model, but the "role model" talk in relation to sports stars has never bothered me. Boys will always look up to their favorite sports guy. And, so, yeah, we want our sports guys to be all-American types. That doesn't mean grandstanding hearings are to be encouraged, but I'm with Ramesh that automatic sneering at the role-model talk is annoying.

Posted at 04:53 PM

RE: WHAT KATIE DID [Ramesh Ponnuru]

Andrew refers to "the usual tedious comments about 'role models', a poor example for 'the children' and blah and blah and blah." People have attempted to justify all kinds of disreputable or foolish things in the name of "the children," so I think I can understand Andrew's reaction. But surely there are some cases in which certain behaviors, policies, etc., should be followed or avoided for the sake of the children. The knee-jerk dismissal of any rhetorical invocation of "the children" has become something of a conservative cliche--one I find increasingly tedious. Nor do the ideas that celebrities' behavior is likely to get publicized, that this publicized behavior is likely to influence young (and not-so-young) people, and that they may deserve moral condemnation for the predictable effects their behavior will have on young people strike me as obviously silly.

I'm inclined to go pretty far toward Andrew's relatively laissez-faire view on the appropriate government policy on drugs. But it's going to be very hard to persuade most people, and especially most parents, that civil society should be laissez-faire too. Sneering won't do the job--and that's how Andrew comes across to me in his post (perhaps because there's an underlying argument with which he is so familiar that he has forgotten that some of us aren't).

Posted at 04:45 PM


The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the most important judge on the most important court in our country, responsible for protecting and upholding the rights and freedoms outlined in our Constitution. I have carefully reviewed Judge John Roberts' testimony and listened to him give unsubstantial, boilerplate answers and avoid answering even the most basic questions about his own views today.

Based on everything I have seen and read from Judge Roberts' work in the Reagan Administration, his past opinions, and his most recent testimony, I wanted you to be the first to know that I must oppose his nomination to be our country's Chief Justice.

I do so because we do know the views and positions he took prior to the recent hearings. Judge Roberts opposed efforts to remedy discrimination on the basis of sex and race. He opposed measures to protect voting rights. He denigrated the right to privacy and a woman's right to choose. He wanted to allow Congress to strip away courts' jurisdiction over controversial subjects.

Although he has presented himself as a supporter of judicial restraint, I do not see enough evidence that Judge Roberts would show restraint when his own political commitments are at stake. In light of his past positions, I believe he had an affirmative obligation to make the case to those who might confirm him that he repudiates the positions that he had previously advocated in his professional career. He made a choice and refused to meet that obligation. I cannot support someone who I am not convinced will preserve the liberties and freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution and our laws.

Please join me in fighting for the principles and values that each of us cherish. Contact your Senators and tell them to vote no on Judge Roberts' nomination.


Posted at 04:45 PM

He's clearly the big winner in Katrina political fall-out, and I say this as a persistent McCain critic. Sure, everyone is going to think of Giuliani in a crisis. But that's already his strength. So he doesn't gain anything. It's McCain who is picking up something he didn't have--the sympathy of conservatives who love what he is saying at the moment about the need to cut to make up for Katrina spending. McCain is perfectly positioned to make this case, given his long-running excoriation of pork-barrel spending and his votes against the prescription drug bill and the highway bill. This is the first time in a while that conservatives have listened to him talk about anything related to domestic policy and been very pleased. He is winning points that will help him down the road, even if it is only serving to soften conservative hostility to him.

Posted at 04:44 PM

More interesting hurricane stuff. E-mail:

Dear Mr. Lowry:
Your article on the levee system in New Orleans was on point.

Given your mention of floodgates, and the Corner's recent post regarding New England hurricanes, you may want to review the Hurricane of 1938, known as the "Florida Cyclone" to Yankees.

That storm cost 600 lives, 250 in Rhode Island. It flooded downtown Providence, Rhode Island as a storm surge drove up Narragansett Bay and the Providence River. This forgotten disaster, and hurricane Carol in 1954, led to the construction of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier.

The Hurricane of '38 was notable for its forward speed. It remains the fastest advancing storm in recorded history: 70 mile per hour. Hurricane winds rotate counter-clockwise, the winds to the east of the storm move south to north. As the storm was also moving in this direction, wind speeds reached 180 miles per hour.

The storm hit the East Coast at high tide, which was higher than normal, as it was autumn under a full moon. It's reported that the impact of the storm surge along Long Island was so powerful that it was actually recorded on the earthquake seismograph at Fordham University in New York City. Downtown Providence was submerged under a storm tide of nearly 20 feet that spread out a mile inland.

The strongest winds ever recorded in the region occurred with sustained winds of 121 mph and a peak gust of 186 mph. Although rainfall from the hurricane later saturated the Connecticut River Valley, only 3 inches were recorded in Providence.

Posted at 04:42 PM

WAL-MART [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A smart dude who has worked in both the biz world and gov't e-mails:
Interesting, but pathetically naive.

How many times have we seen calls from folks (who usually have no clue about how business, let along govt really works) for a business exec to come in and take charge of govt and then things would really work, etc, etc? Answer: lots (remembere the Packard Commission, the Grace Commission, the calls for Lee Iaccocca in the 80's, etc)

How many times has a great biz exec actually made a big difference in the govt by applying "best practices" to govt?: Answer: 0

The real story is businesses and governments need to be taken on their own terms. Businesses are not nearly as effective and efficient as people think (but the good ones do figure out how to make money or raise value) and govt's are not so ineffective as folks think.

Posted at 04:25 PM

DON'T CROSS STREAMS [Jonah Goldberg]

Several readers have sent me emails like this one:

In answer to your E-mailers query:

Actually the numbers are easy to understand.

Hurricanes tend to follow the warm water - i.e. the Gulf Stream.

Forming off the African coasts they follow the currents across the Atlantic
and then follow the currents north. They sometimes break off into the Gulf
of Mexico and Caribbean and can then go in any direction, but more often
then not they stay in the Atlantic and head north.

They will sometimes hit the mainland directly somewhere along the coast, but
more commonly stay in the stream. Thus, the states that stick out into the
Atlantic, North Carolina, New York (or more to the point - Long Island) and
the New England coastal states are more likely to be hit than those set back
like South Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey.

Me: I think the answer is more obvious -- and more deeply troubling for theologians: God likes New Jersey. Truly, His ways are mysterious.

Posted at 04:24 PM

HARVARD [is now allowing military recruiters on campus....]
is now allowing military recruiters on campus.

Posted at 04:24 PM

IS IT TIME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
for an emergency easing of regulations on meat post-Katrina? AP:
JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- British ready-to-eat meals donated for Hurricane Katrina victims are stuck on shelves at an air base in Arkansas because of strict U.S. regulations put in place after a mad cow disease scare.

Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, which has been the hub for all international Katrina aid, has received 1,842 tons of goods from dozens of countries since the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29.

The meals containing British meat cannot be used because U.S. regulations prohibit the importation of British beef and poultry.
(I don't know the answer--I'm asking.)

Posted at 04:11 PM

WHAT KATIE DID [Andrew Stuttaford]

Reports of Kate Moss' rather jolly social life (Google the details yourselves) have been delighting the great British public for the past few days but now appear to have got the poor girl in trouble with some of her employers (Hennes & Mauritz has cancelled her contract, for example) and, possibly, the police. As is normal on these occasions, there have been the usual tedious comments about 'role models', a poor example for 'the children' and blah and blah and blah.

The same thing happened after the English cricket team celebrated their recent victory over the Australians in some considerable style. That produced this comment from Sinclair McKay over at the First Post...

"When commentators and politicians give us that familiar bleat about sportsmen being great role models for children, you know that a) this is pious blackmailing pressure of the worst kind. And b) it is laughably unrealistic from the point of view of both athlete and young fans. Flintoff is there to demonstrate a more wholesome truth: you train and work hard, you throw yourself entirely into the contest, you win and then you get to drink and smoke until you're so full of alcohol and fumes you can barely remember your own name. That's the sort of inspiration that would have worked for me."


Posted at 04:08 PM

I'm here in D.C. and have heard around town that John Kerry was at Cafe Milano again last night (see the Page Six post below)--was eating with Teresa. One might assume he was working on his oppose-Roberts statement, which went out this afternoon:
Dear Friend,

Monday, I shared with you my Brown University speech setting out what needs to be said and done at this critical moment for our country. Today, in that same spirit of clarity and conviction, I want to tell you how I will vote on the nomination of John Roberts to serve as Chief Justice of the United States.

I will vote against this vitally important nomination.

Win or lose on this vote, it is essential that we act on our deepest convictions. And I refuse to vote for a Supreme Court nominee who came before the Senate intent on demonstrating his ability to deftly deflect legitimate questions about his views, opinions and philosophy.

John Roberts owed the American people far more than that.

If he is confirmed - and he may well be - the Roberts Court will shape the course of constitutional law for decades to come. It will decide dozens of cases that will define the depth and breadth of freedom in America - our commitment to civil rights, our dedication to civil liberties, our devotion to privacy and a woman's right to choose.

With that much at stake, Judge Roberts needed to show us where his heart is.

Instead he recited case law and said little about what he really thought. He needed to engage the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people in a genuine conversation. He failed that test. And, while I recognize that other members of the Senate will legitimately make a different choice, I will vote "NO" on the Roberts nomination.

Click here to read excerpts from the statement announcing my position on the Roberts nomination. I urge you to read them - and, whatever the outcome of the Roberts vote, I encourage you to join me in insisting on a far more complete and extensive process on the critical nomination President Bush must now make to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Please contact your Senators now. Tell them where you stand on the Roberts nomination and tell them that you insist on full, fair, and forthcoming hearings on the person George W. Bush puts forward for the pivotal seat now occupied by Justice O'Connor.


John Kerry

Posted at 04:03 PM

HURRICAN'T CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg ]
This seems to answer many of the remaining questions. This should help too.

Posted at 03:33 PM

RE: COURT PROGRESS [Shannen Coffin]
Ramesh and John, I just got off the phone with a reporter from the New York Sun about this very subject. What the announcements by Leahy, on the one hand, and Kennedy/Kerry/Reid on the other point out is that the Democrats are fighting an uphill battle in any confirmation battle. Starting with 45 votes, any disagreements about tactics are obviously fatal. Leahy may be voting on principle, or he may be seeking to position himself for opposing the next guy/gal on the grounds that "I knew John Roberts, and you are no John Roberts." But the reality is that Leahy just announced his vote for a pretty darned strong judicial conservative -- a guy who criticized the Supreme Court's takings decision in Kelo and its trend toward embracing the decisions of the Courts of Zimbabwe in interpreting the U.S. constitution, who refuses to import his own political philosophy into judging, and who lives up to President Bush's promise to appoint a justice in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. Whether Roberts ends up in lock step with those two justices or not, he's a damned sight more conservative than other recent Republican appointments who shall go unnamed. The consensus seems to be that he will be at least as conservative, and quite likely more so, than Chief Justice Rehnquist. So in voting to confirm him, Senators like Leahy will have a tough time making a case to oppose judges like Priscilla Owen or Mike Luttig, who, while clearly conservative, have similar records of restraint on controversial issues (Luttig, for instance, authored an opinion striking down a state partial birth abortion ban because of the Supreme Court's similar decision in Stenberg v. Carhart). The problem for the Democrats here rears its head no matter what they do. If they vote in lockstep opposition to Roberts, they fall victim to the trap you identify (emboldening the White House and looking just plain silly); if they vote in lockstep approval, then the next judicial conservative is all but assured too; and if they split, then they can't hold together the opposition necessary to filibuster. Obviously, the right strategy here is a difficult one, but it stems from the fact that they keep losing elections. And that's how it should be. The minority should not have a controlling vote to decide who should be appointed by the President of the majority party.

Posted at 02:56 PM


From a reader:


An even better argument against global warming and hurricanes can be found in the Aug 2005 edition of National Geographic (no global warming sceptics they). On pp. 78-79 there is a chart showing ocean temperatures from 1944 to present. Between 1944 and 1961 temperatures were elevated and this corresponded to an increase in the frequency of major hurricanes. Between 1961 and 1994, ocean temps dropped significantly with a corresponding decrease in hurricane intensity. Since 1995, temperatures have again increased to where they were in the 1944-61 time period with another increase in hurricane severity.

How this pattern argues for global warming being a factor is beyond me. As the article in National Geographic states: "...many scientists agree that the present hurricane surge is likely part of a 60- to 70-year cycle that changes the strength of ocean currents distributing heat around the globe."

Posted at 02:54 PM


From a reader:

Jonah �

As suggested I used your map of hurricanes from 1921-1940 on an unsuspecting liberal colleague. To my dismay, she was a bit more astute then maybe you and I were. She pointed out that while there were many hurricanes between those years, the majority were on the lower scale of the strength (1 and 2s), while presently we are experiencing more 3s, 4s, and 5s. She points out, accurately I may say, that hurricanes upgrade their strength based on water temps, which she claims to have risen due to global warning.

We need to come up with something better!

A Dismayed Cornerphile

Me: Well, this might help. We are almost done with 2005. The average number of major (cat 3, 4 or 5) hurricane strikes on the US per decade is 6. There were 10 during the 1940s.

Meanwhile, people should keep in mind that global water temperatures are rising, but the number of major hurricanes in other regions is not. If global warming explained the current spate of big hurricanes, there would be more in the South Pacific and elsewhere. It's my understanding there haven't been.

Posted at 02:45 PM

WOW [Jonah Goldberg]

The French foreign minister seems to think that since France was deporting Jews to the camps the British must have been doing it too. After all it was just the thing to do in those days:

Perhaps French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy might want to visit Britain for next year's Holocaust Memorial Day, which is held on January 27. Yesterday's Ha'aretz reports that Douste-Blazy revealed a shocking lack of knowledge of the Holocaust and European history during a recent visit to Israel's Holocaust memorial site, Yad Vashem.

The museum, which is an extraordinary achievement in public history, includes detailed maps showing the number of Jews killed in each nation occupied by the Nazis. Douste-Blazy asked why no British Jews were listed as murdered, prompting the museum curator to point out, "But Monsieur le minister, England was never conquered by the Nazis during World War II."

The Foreign Minister's response: "Yes, but were there no Jews who were deported from England?"

Nod to Relapsed Catholic.

Posted at 02:35 PM

DIRECT HITS [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:


Sorta-kinda related to that hurricane map you linked to is this site which gives the number of hurricane direct hits by state over the past 104 years:

Direct Hits, 1900-2004

Florida 64
Texas 38
North Carolina 29
Louisiana 27
South Carolina 16
Alabama 12
Mississippi 9
New York 9
Connecticut 8
Massachusetts 6
Georgia 5
Maine 5
Rhode Island 5
Virginia 5
New Hampshire 2
Maryland 1
New Jersey 1

The first weird thing is how many hurricanes have hit northern and New England states. Who would have guessed that New York has had as many hurricane strikes as Mississippi? Or that New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire have together had more hurricane strikes (35) than North Carolina or Louisiana? Maine and Rhode Island have been hit as often as Georgia and Virginia. And yet New Jersey, with a longer coastline than New York, has only had one direct hit.

The other strange thing is the way South Carolina and, especially, Georgia have been somewhat spared. Together, they have only had 21 hurricane strikes since 1900, despite having a fairly long combined coastline. North Carolina, with a shorter coastline, has had eight more hurricanes during that time, and Florida has, of course, been pounded.

I�m sure there must be a logical reason for all of this, but it just seems strange.

Posted at 02:22 PM


A great ball of fire:

Dozens of people from Jacksonville to Ft. Pierce flooded the U.S. Coast Guard late Tuesday with calls about a mysterious ball of fire seen flying in the sky, according to a Local 6 News report. Callers flooded the newsroom of Local 6 News partner Florida Today after they saw the object over the Space Coast Tuesday night. "Starting at about 7:30 last night, we started receiving calls here in the newsroom," Florida Today online news editor Dave Larimer said. "In fact, the Coast Guard station in Port Canaveral got more than two dozen reports of people seeing a bright light in the sky over the ocean."

Posted at 02:08 PM

Here's an interesting map of hurricane landfalls from 1921 to 1940, might be useful for some office arguments about global warming.

Posted at 02:05 PM

RE: MASSIAH JACKSON [Jonah Goldberg]

A reader notes:


Keep the following in mind regarding Frederica Massiah-Jackson.

She was sponsored by Pa. Senator Arlen Specter, hardly a stalwart conservative.

Her nomination was pulled only after a tremendous outcry by Pa. prosecutors because she had a very obvious pro-defendant bias in criminal cases which was very well documented.

Absent this outcry, I hardly think she would have otherwise been regarded as "too liberal."

Posted at 01:51 PM

A couple readers have objected that the number of Dems voting against leftwing "extremists" is just about the same as the number of Republicans voting against rightwing extremists. My guess is this isn't exactly right, given the large number of squishes in GOP ranks, but I'm sure it's very, very close to true. I was merely asking because we hear this talking point from Dems so much these days. But as I've written many times, the confirmation process creates inconsistency and hypocrisy like few other government functions.

Posted at 01:48 PM

NOT QUITE... [Jonah Goldberg ]
the email I expected in response to today's column, but okay:
As a gay man, Jonah, I want the world to know that I stand ready to take in a few gay refugees from Hurricane Rita. My only requirement is that they be between 21 and 35, and have been to the gym at least twice a week for the last two years. Courage.

Posted at 01:31 PM


But maybe someone around here knows the answer to this. Have Democrats ever voted in significant numbers against a judge who was too extreme on the left? Leahy claims that he's drawn the line in the past against activist and extremist judges. Were there any liberals judges who met that test or are extremist judges only conservative? Schumer regularly says he can vote for anybody in the "mainstream." Are liberal judges ever out of the mainstream? (I know Schumer hasn't been around long enough, but you get the larger point). Just curious.

Update: Ramesh reminds me that Frederica Massiah-Jackson had her name pulled because even Dems couldn't support her (under Clinton). Is that the whole list?

Posted at 01:28 PM

A fascinating e-mail: "When I was in the Air Force I was a member of the Air Intelligence Agency. Specifically, I was a Signals Intelligence Analyst. Our collection efforts were governed by directives - the United States Signals Intelligence Directives (USSID) published by the National Security Agency. One of our most important USSIDs was USSID 18, an old version of which can be found here.

"In a nutshell USSID 18 protects our Fourth Amendment rights and forbids collection efforts against US citizens except under extraordinary circumstances, circumstances I never came across in 10 years of service.
"In the event of inadvertent collection, transcripts are immediately destroyed, tapes are degaussed, and a report detailing the incident and what efforts are being implemented to ensure it doesn't happen again gets sent to NSA. It was a very sensitive issue.

"It's entirely possible that Able Danger violated similar rules and, once an oversight agency discovered that, the project was shut down. That theory could also help explain the zealotry with which Able Danger material was destroyed. No, it wouldn't matter that the information was garnered from open sources."

Posted at 01:21 PM

I ADMIT NOTHING! [Ramesh Ponnuru]
But I agree, John, that things are going pretty well on the judicial front, and that some Democrats are making a mistake for exactly the reason you mentioned. Again and again, the base of the Democratic party seems to be preventing its leaders from reacting with political intelligence to the circumstances in which they find themselves--and, in the case of Katrina, causing them to blow some big opportunities as a result.

Posted at 01:16 PM

Ramesh, you may be right that conservatives shouldn't be getting cocky about the Supreme Court, but you have to admit that the news regarding the vote tomorrow on John Roberts's nomination couldn't be better. John Kerry has now added his name to the list of prominent Democrats who will vote against Roberts, the most prominent being Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. As Hugh Hewitt and others have noted, Democrats are being really quite spectacularly dumb here. By opposing a candidate who is so clearly qualified, they will lose their credibility and their ability to rally the center if and when they choose to vote against or even try to filibuster the soon-to-be-announced next nominee. They could use a vote for Roberts as a weapon in the coming battle by, in effect, saying, "Hey, I'm capable of making distinctions here, I voted for Roberts but this nominee is too extreme." Instead, they are simply going to oppose any and every nominee proposed by the president who won 62 million votes in November 2004. Under such circumstances, Bush could nominate just about anybody he wanted to as long as there's no personal scandal in that nominee's back yard. Thanks, John Kerry! You're the gift that keeps on giving!

Posted at 12:31 PM

The New York Times also has an A1 floodwall article today. Up top it mentions �federal budget constraints� that kept the floodwalls from being tested. Here is my friend�s take:

Rich, I just read the article and is it interesting that the fourth paragraph (above the fold) cryptically mentions "budget constraints," but when you get to the jump page it has several worthy items that have nothing to do with funding from Washington. If one does not read the entire article you might think that lack of federal funds is a key reason for the breaches in New Orleans. First, on the bottom of the first column, the article refers to using inverted T walls in the corps flood manual "but that option was not considered because T walls are more expensive, REQUIRED A BROAD BASE OF DENSE SOIL FOR SUPPORT AND WERE NOT NECESSARILY STRONGER." (emphasis mine). This means you need more land for earthen structures to do a T wall that has been resisted by local property owners and elected officials in New Orleans near the lakefront, the Ninth Ward and Saint Bernard dating from Hurricane Betsy's aftermath in 1965 all the way until the present. The last phrase about strength is puzzling because it seems to contradict the Corps (and independent assessments) own assessment that earthen structures are superior to concrete walls. Additionally, the article correctly points out that post-Betsy efforts at the local level were delayed by environmental litigation in the 1970's (and refusal to move strucures to allow for larger earthen structures) resulting in the Corps and the Congressional delegation shifting to other approaches, including flood walls. Finally, I would be wary of any comments by officials from the Orleans Levee Board because they would appear to bear a growing amount of responsibility for the breaches in Orleans Parish.

Here is the key bit about enviros: "A surge from Lake Pontchartrain was the catastrophic situation that the corps had been guarding against since Hurricane Betsy 40 years ago. Initially, the corps wanted to build a giant barrier to keep water from the Gulf of Mexico from reaching Lake Pontchartrain and flooding the canals.

That project was delayed by lawsuits from environmental groups that contended the corps had failed to study ecological effects. By the late 1970's, the corps abandoned that approach and began raising levees along the lake and the Mississippi and adding flood walls on the canals...

Max Hearn, executive director of the Orleans Levee District, said that if the federal government was now ready to pay for Category 5 protection, it seemed unlikely that the flood wall system could be upgraded to that level.

But Mr. Hearn said the only answer might be the construction of flood gates designed to limit a hurricane surge in Lake Pontchartrain - the same idea that was considered and dropped in the 1970's."

Posted at 12:25 PM

Andy, I think we know why, from reading the tea leaves, the Defense Department has refused to allow the Able Danger analysts from testifying. We have reason to believe that the data-mining project ended up "collecting" names of high-ranking American officials in relation to other analytical efforts it was making -- in particular, Condi Rice and William Perry and the issue of Chinese spying in the United States. Such "collection" not only smacks of McCarthy-era list-making, it is also illegal. The legal problems encountered here may have been the reason it was shuttered so decisively by Gen. Schoomaker when he became head of special ops, and why all the materials Able Danger generated were ordered shredded. Maybe the DOD is being unnecessarily cautious about this matter, given that it's several years old. But when people find themselves before congressional committees in front of open mics, there's no telling what they might say -- and what names might emerge from their mouths that could cause no end of diplomatic and conspiratorial damage.

Posted at 12:10 PM

"THE COURT'S PROGRESS" [Ramesh Ponnuru]

I don't think it's as substantial as Fred Barnes thinks.

He writes: "In choosing [the next] nominee, the president has an opportunity to achieve a goal that has eluded conservatives for nearly four decades: a Supreme Court with a conservative majority on most issues."

After discussing various Republican presidents' attempts to create a conservative majority, he concludes: "Now it's George W. Bush's moment to finish the process."

No, it isn't. By the standards of Barnes's own piece--in which Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy are held to be disappointments for conservatives--conservatives are outnumbered 3 to 6. Holding the Rehnquist seat and replacing O'Connor with a conservative still leaves conservatives with four votes. If the next nominee is a conservative, conservatives still have a ways to go. If the next nominee isn't a conservative, liberals have an extra cushion. The stakes are higher, therefore, for conservatives than their opponents. And this is no time to get cocky.

Posted at 12:08 PM

FLOODWALLS [Rich Lowry ]
Here is an e-mail from my �floodwall guy� regarding that Post story Cliff mentioned earlier:

Rich, the article confirms some of the things we spoke about almost two weeks ago. Funding is not the issue in any fashion. I am waiting for the Daily K(ooks)os folks to issue a retraction. The scandal may well center on the contractor(s) who did the 17th Street Canal work and London Avenue work which was done from about 1999/2000 to the early in 2005. With all of the levee board cronies I fear that is the issue rather than Army Corps negligence or incompetence. If those breaches did not occur, Hurricane Katrina's damage would have been similar to Hurricane Betsy in 1965 -- severe damage and flooding in Saint Bernard and the Lower Ninth Ward and other low lying areas of the City of New Orleans, (The one exception to his was Plaquemine Parish which was destroyed on the east bank in Katrina due to the category 4 winds and storm surge) and Mississippi's destruction would be the main story.
ME: Here was my column last week on this topic. And here is a key quote from Bob Livingston from the Post story:
Former representative Bob Livingston (R-La.), who helped lead the charge for Corps projects in Louisiana when he chaired the House Appropriations Committee, noted that the earthen levees along Lake Pontchartrain had all held, while the concrete floodwalls had failed. He was especially concerned about the 17th Street barrier, saying it "shouldn't have broken."

"I don't know if it's bad construction or bad design, but whoever the contractor is has a problem," said Livingston, now a lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

Posted at 12:07 PM

TIERNEY [Iain Murray]
Jonah, luckily for those us who like Brooks and Tierney, their works are often reprinted elsewhere. Thus, I am now able to link to John's wonderful Wal-Mart piece that I mentioned yesterday, now available from the Tallahassee Democrat (which, incidentally, would be a great name for a blog). It'll be interesting to see if the Times realizes the hole in its strategy.

Posted at 11:41 AM

For another episode in the amusing adventures of creeping commercialism in public radio, see how one young satirist who printed up T-shirts joking about "A Prairie Ho Companion" quickly got squished by the legal team of Garrison Keillor, the pompous national treasure of precious liberals.

Keillor wouldn't want some guy selling ten T-shirts out of his house to get in the way of his merchandising machine. Listen to the precious liberal show on the taxpayer-funded NPR station, and then stuff the host's precious pockets by buying the T-shirts, the mugs, the paperweights, the CDs, the DVDs, the children's books, the jewelry, the Swedish soaps, and don't forget the Martin Luther Bobblehead.

PS: In case you're not sure Keillor's liberal, see this piece from In These Times from last year, including the line: "Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we�re deaf, dumb and dangerous."

Posted at 11:38 AM

Who says so? The President of Iraq, that�s who.

America has a new ally in the Middle East. Worth trying to keep it that way, don�t you think?

Posted at 11:29 AM

The NYTimes confirms this morning what we noted here late yesterday: the Defense Department is preventing its military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning about the Able Danger intelligence program � from which five participants have now come forward and indicated that top suicide hijacker Mohamed Atta � and perhaps other hijackers � was identified as a likely al Qaeda operative long before the 9/11 attacks.

This is very difficult to understand. Of course we do not want needlessly to expose intelligence methods and sources. But the historical fact of whether Atta was identified as a terrorist before the attacks is highly significant, and it is simply not necessary to get into the sensitive nuts and bolts of the program�s data-mining techniques in order to get a straight answer to that question. We deal with this kind of dilemma all the time in the criminal justice system, and Sen. Specter, the Judiciary Committee Chairman and a highly experienced prosecutor, is uniquely well qualified to conduct a hearing that can get to the facts the public is entitled to know without compromising our intelligence capabilities.

Moreover, the sensitive stuff can always be shared with senators who have appropriate clearances in closed session. The Pentagon is not even permitting that. Why?

Remember the vaunted 9/11 Commission hearings? We were told that it was so urgently important that the public understand accurately the history of government counter-terrorism activities prior to the attacks that all manner of classified information was declassified � including, famously, a presidential daily brief from the intelligence community (among the most sensitive documents generated by the government) outlining the al Qaeda threat circa August 2001. Indeed, under great political and media pressure, the president�s then-National Security Adviser Condi Rice was compelled to give hours of sworn public testimony about everything she and the administration did from January 2001 through 9/11.

Why is it that this was important enough for the National Security Adviser but somehow not important enough for a group of intelligence operatives in connection with a program that hasn�t existed anymore for years?

Posted at 11:29 AM

THE ONION... [Jim Robbins]
reports on Cindy Sheehan's other son, a victim of Hurricane Katrina.

Posted at 11:27 AM

From a press release:
Menlo Park, CA -- The Kaiser Family Foundation announced today that Sheila P. Burke has been appointed chair of the Foundation's Board of Trustees.
Alternative Subject Line: There's Always a Perch of Influence for a Liberal Republica

Posted at 11:05 AM

MORE LEAHY [Byron York]

For much of Leahy's speech, it was unclear whether he was going to announce that he would oppose or support Roberts. One clue was his statement that in the past he had voted for most of the nominees from presidents of both parties. "I have drawn the line only at those nominees who were among the most ideologically extreme and who came to us in the mold of activists," Leahy said. Portraying Roberts in that light would obviously be difficult.

Leahy said that for his constituency, a no vote would have been more popular. But he said that he would follow his conscience and vote for Roberts.

Leahy's decision obviously means that there will not be a party-line vote in the Judiciary Committee. And it also suggests that senators who are arguing that Democrats should support Roberts so they can more effectively oppose the next Bush Court nominee may be gaining the upper hand in the debate among Senate Democrats.

Posted at 10:56 AM

Just announced on the Senate floor.

Posted at 10:48 AM

CUTS FOR KATRINA [Jonah Goldberg ]
The WSJ Editors continue the Pork Wars, mentioning Pork Busters and reprising some of the points raised around here when Kate, Peter and I were quibbling with the White House Muckety Muck (which, I think, is nicer than beling called a flak -- the WSJ's words).

Posted at 10:35 AM

From Page 6:
September 21, 2005 -- SEN. John Kerry doesn't need to listen to President Bush to criticize him. Kerry sat down to dinner at Caf� Milano in Georgetown last Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with three other men, and never glanced at the TV set at the bar during Bush's address from New Orleans. "Mr. Bush's speech ended at approximately 9:25 p.m. local time," Washington Times columnist John McCaslin noted. "Lo and behold, when he was still seated at the table wiping squid from his chin, Mr. Kerry responded to the president's address with a statement of his own, issued at exactly 9:54 p.m." Buried in Kerry's statement was this nugget: "Americans want an end to politics as usual." Pass the calamari.

Posted at 10:09 AM

GOOD CENTS [Kathryn]
The House Republican Study Committee is holding a press conference later this morning:
WHAT: Press Conference to unveil 'Operation Offset': A list of specific savings options to help offset the cost of Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction efforts.

Posted at 09:57 AM


Posted at 09:44 AM

A how to guide.

Posted at 09:42 AM

From the New York Times obit on Simon Wiesenthal:
It was a matter of pride and satisfaction, he said in 1995, as he approached his 87th birthday, that old Nazis who get into quarrels threaten one another with a vow to go to Simon Wiesenthal.

Posted at 09:38 AM

Now get one copy of Stet, Damnit! -- the complete and unedited collection of Florence King's side-splitting, take-no-prisoners "Misanthrope's Corner" columns -- and we'll send you, or a friend or relative, a free second copy, with your compliments (that's right - if you desire, along with that gift copy you send to Cousin Annabelle or Old Coach Bob we'll include a handsome gift announcement card, with a message too if you wish). So there's no confusion, we'll repeat: you'll get two copies of STET, Damnit!: The Misanthrope's Corner, 1991 to 2002, for just $29.95, mailed wherever you wish within the USA, and the shipping and handling charges are zero. Got it? Now get it, right here.

Posted at 09:34 AM


But I could see them losing Brooks or Tierney. This is the implicit danger of their new web firewall, as many have noted. Conservatives will not be inclined to pay $50 a year to read Brooks and Tierney, as good as they are. But the people who love Krugman and Dowd are already inclined to believe the New York Times is indispensible. And they just love Krugman and Dowd. Love, love, love. This will in turn send precisely the wrong feedback for the Times, confirming their strongest biases and undermining their already weak efforts at balance (the Times book review exempted). Krugman will become comparatively more popular because his slice of the shrinking pie will have increased.

I think in years to come we will see this pattern repeated in television and print as the Dinosaurs of the MSM chase their base rather than try to be all-purpose news providers. Fox, obviously, is accelerating this process.

Posted at 09:24 AM

�The New York Times Co. announced a staggering staff reduction plan Tuesday that will likely mean some 500 job loses at the company's many properties, including an expected 45 newsroom positions at The New York Times newspaper and 35 at The Boston Globe.� According to Editor & Publisher, NYT chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. �promised this would not impact the quality of the paper's journalism.�

Posted at 08:43 AM

This morning�s Washington Post reports that �faulty design, inadequate construction or some combination of the two� are the �likely cause of the breaching of the floodwalls�.and the flooding of most of New Orleans.�

Katrina�s surges �did not come close to overtopping those barriers.�

Posted at 08:42 AM

A would-be suicide bombers says he was drugged and beaten. (Nod to ATC)

Posted at 08:10 AM

But does it have to be reality? Warren Beatty won't count himself out as a possible contender for California governor.

Posted at 07:12 AM

Bogus Booze Bandits Busted

Posted at 07:10 AM

HAVE YOU NOTICED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
that the billboards for the Geena Davis as President show never show Geena? They just inform you that a woman will be president soon. It's all part of the Hillary campaign, I tell you. Her Hollywood friends coming through for her. I'll have to come up with some grand scheme so my Hollywood friends similarly put the idea of National Review Online into every American's face. A flawless plan so they will be unable to resist. (I'm skeptical, by the way, that the Geena-Hill plan will work, rest assured.)

(Ever since I learned we both got a Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award at high-school graduation, I've been in a competition with Hillary.)

Posted at 06:59 AM

Sounds like a job for FEMA

Posted at 05:22 AM

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A friendly typo-correction e-mail (complete with typo):
I know it must be suck to be the most intellectually inferior person at NRO, but at least get your grammer right.
"Worse Then Michael Brown"
Tell me what's wrong there K-Lo. That is if you can take time away from dreaming of a federal super state that bankrupts the country and intrudes into everyone's personal lives as dictated by the beloved child molestor coddling church.
ME: Is that what I daydream about? Good to know.

Posted at 11:22 PM

KATRINA POLLING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Unscientific AOL poll as of 9:15 EST tonight:
How would you rate Nagin's handling of the Katrina disaster?

Poor 66%

Good 12%

Fair 12%

Excellent 10%

Who's done a better job during the crisis?

President Bush 68%

Mayor Nagin 32%

Total Votes: 334,164

Posted at 09:36 PM

RE: EW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a relative who was at the Giants vs. Saints game last night: Waiting on line, in the stands, etc., obnoxious Giants fans were singing "Rock Me Like a Hurricane," promising to "whip [Saints fans] like Katrina did."

Posted at 08:20 PM

EW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Katrina, the drink.

Posted at 08:17 PM

" YOU ARE STUCK ON STUPID. " [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Honore unplugged!

Posted at 08:16 PM

That's where Gen. Honore is telling people to go to be evacuated for Hurricane Rita.

Posted at 05:25 PM

MEDIA BLOG [Kathryn]
is on Sheehan media watch.

Posted at 05:17 PM

BRIGHT SIDE FOR JPOD [Rick Brookhiser]
The president's speech inspired Donna Brazile.

Posted at 05:09 PM

I'VE INSPIRED A WRITE-IN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here's a site not happy with me.

Posted at 05:07 PM

The Senate Judiciary Committee is supposed to convene a hearing tomorrow on Able Danger. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, however, just told Sean Hannity that he has been told to stand down, that the Defense Department will not be permitting witnesses to testify, and that Shaffer�s security clearance has been pulled. Developing.

Posted at 05:04 PM

They now have a 200-foot bunny knitted out of pink wool. (Thanks e-mailer Craig from Pixar.)

Posted at 04:55 PM

KATRINA IDIOCY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From Peta.

Posted at 03:56 PM

THE SUN, ON THE OTHER HAND [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
What readers have been hearing back re: Clarkson:
Dear Reader

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write to us. We like to respond to readers' comments whether they are positive suggestions or criticisms because the success of our paper is based on understanding your views.

Although we may get many more letters of appreciation and praise than complaints, important views such as yours are taken very seriously.

I'm sorry if you were offended by the content of Jeremy Clarkson's column, but I must point out that columnists in any newspaper are given editorial freedom and we take that particularly seriously at The Sun.

Not only do we not censor controversial points of view if they don't happen to fall in line with the paper's editorial stance, we believe it's important that columnists have an independent voice, ensuring that a variety of opinions are available to readers.

We constantly strive to give satisfaction, and I can assure you that your views will be heard and discussed at the highest level.

Best wishes

Yours sincerely

Graham Dudman
Managing Editor
The Sun

Posted at 03:51 PM

Rich, it would appear that you and others have successfully shown the flood issues in New Orleans are not a lack of funding in Washington. Therefore, the left is moving on to other broader themes about how market capitalism (echoed loudly by the left in Europe) is a failure and New Orleans is a perfect embodiment of this failure. This type of reasoning is the sort of thing that makes one spit up coffee in the morning. Steve Pearlstein's Friday WPost piece is a good illustration:"Some Republicans and their think-tank allies have the perfect formula for reviving the economy of the devastated Gulf region: low wages, low taxes, relaxed environmental laws, no-bid contracts, a tough criminal code, lavish spending on public works, limited spending on welfare and public education, no minority set-asides and preference for faith-based organizations.

Come to think of it, that sounds suspiciously like Louisiana and Mississippi before Katrina, when they boasted some of the highest poverty rates and lowest household incomes in the nation."

The framework of the city of New Orleans is about as far as one can get from conservative and GOP policies. In Louisiana, New Orleans has the highest property tax rates (by far), the highest per capita spending on public education (more than double almost every other parish in the state), the only car tax in the state, a one time real estate transaction tax, the highest sales taxes in the state (and the nation for that matter), the most lenient criminal justice system, corrupt minority set-asides in most contracting, and the list goes on and on. I cannot speak for Mississippi or Alabama, but within the state of Louisiana, New Orleans most closely resembles the core policies of the liberal left vision of government. The city is a perfect illustration of how a generous LBJ-style public sector consigns thousands of people to multi-generational poverty. This poverty is far more entrenched that the poverty of the Jim Crow era and we saw it play out in front of the cameras during coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Posted at 03:44 PM

JOHN O'SULLIVAN... [Rich Lowry ]
...has an excellent new piece on Britian in the New Criterion.

Posted at 03:33 PM

General Blum is right, and so were the other ten former heads of the National Guard Bureau.

Not only do Guard (and Reserve) units get hand me downs, in many cases there are no hand me downs to hand down. Very rarely are all the active duty units up to full complement in areas like communications, logistics support and motor transport. This was a problem even during the fat years of the Reagan Era. (The Clinton administration was able to improve overall on hand readiness in the Army by simply shutting down entire divisions. The reason so many guard units are equipped with modern systems like the M1 is that Clinton reduced the number of Army divisions from 18 to 10. It�s a good thing we didn�t need that big Army anymore!)

Why? Because there is no natural political constituency for awarding big fat procurement contracts for �luxuries� like field radios and armored vests. It goes without saying that while the President proposes Congress disposes. A nifty new destroyer keeps thousands of high paying skilled laborers employed at the Bath Iron Works, in Maine. A contract for 1,500 Sincgars radios might employ 150 people for five years in one congressional district. Then that�s probably enough field radios to equip ten battalions of the National Guard.

All that said, the idea that a field radio is obsolete is a bit of a stretch. If the primary requirement is capability to talk from point A to point B, then the old style PRC and VRC radio sets from the 1960s function well enough. I will acknowledge that those radios are less capable than modern sets and that due to age they may be more difficult to keep in service. Still, all you need for disaster relief is basic push to talk technology.

I�m all for giving the bestest most modern stuff to all the services. When it comes down to choosing between radios for the Guard and a bridge to nowhere in Alaska, that�s an easy one.

Posted at 03:27 PM

Here's the sci-fiy weather guy's blog.

Posted at 03:26 PM

MORE DELAY ON KATRINA & $$$ [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From today's briefing:
Raising taxes would kill jobs, choke off investment, and stifle economic growth. That's not exactly a recipe for the kind of economic renewal that region so desperately needs.

Instead, I hope some of the money can be the product of spending sacrifices elsewhere in the federal budget.

There are programs all over the federal budget that are bloated or wasteful or inefficiently using the funds we provide them, and I'm very interested in identifying them.

We can fund this relief effort without raising taxes or wasteful spending - and it's up to us to do just that."

Posted at 03:24 PM

KATRINA A WMD? [Jonah Goldberg]
How weird is this.

Posted at 03:23 PM

NOT ROD'S OSTRICH [John Podhoretz]
No question that conservatives shouldn't offer blind support to Republican politicians, but I have to dissent strongly from my dear friend Rod Dreher's post, which is hysterical and unjust, and does the president a profound disservice.

Posted at 03:16 PM


On the other hand, I recently asked Gallup to send me a chart of every presidential job approval it had ever taken -- they go back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. What it shows is that every president in the last 40 years has had a low point in which his job approval ratings went into the 40s or 30s, and sometimes lower.

Bill Clinton hit 39 percent job approval in August and September 1994. George H.W. Bush hit 29 percent in July 1992, and 33 percent in October of that year. Ronald Reagan hit 35 percent in January 1983. Jimmy Carter hit 28 percent in June 1979. Gerald Ford hit 37 percent in March 1975. Richard Nixon spent most of 1974 in the 20s, hitting 24 percent just before his resignation. And Lyndon Johnson hit 35 percent in August 1968.

Posted at 03:13 PM


In addition to the president's falling job approval rating -- 40 percent -- the new Gallup poll has several other measures of bad news for the president. First, Gallup asked whether respondents approved or disapproved of Bush's handling of particular policy areas -- Iraq, the economy, etc. Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina was his highest rating -- 41 percent. His handling of foreign affairs got a 38 percent approval rating, the economy 35 percent, and the situation in Iraq 32 percent.

Also, the number of people who say that Bush is honest and trustworthy has fallen to 47 percent -- the first time ever below 50 percent. The number who say he is a strong and decisive leader is 49 percent -- again, the first time below 50 percent. Both areas have been traditional strong points for the president.

And just to show what a foul mood the public appears to be in, Gallup asked respondents, "Just your best guess, do you think George W. Bush has taken steps to help victims of Hurricane Katrina -- mostly because he sincerely cares about the victims, or mostly for political reasons?" Fifty-six percent said Bush acted mostly for political reasons, while 42 percent said he sincerely cares about the victims. That's pretty grim.

Posted at 03:11 PM

But I did like what I've caught of what Bush has been saying post-Thursday speech about how we find money for Katrina rebuilding and Tom DeLay today. Rod's certainly right that we need "our guys" to be our guys when in office. I tend to think if the administration and Congress can do the follow-through right post-Katrina--on spending, on FEMA, etc., they'll come a day when "Brownie" is just remembered as a media snack.

Of course, there is an if there. I have a trust-but-verify instinct with W.--I think he's earned that on a variety of fronts--and, of course, we criticize when it's deserved. Sometimes it even helps on the follow-through thing. Deep breath, I say, on that second ostrich post. While saying, "What are you guys thinking?" here and there, where appropriate.

Posted at 03:05 PM

I don't at all get this attitude among many on the right that our sworn duty is to back anything President Bush and the GOP choose to do. We are conservatives before we are Republicans, are we not? Facts are better than dreams, and the fact is, the president is acting like the second coming of Lyndon B. Johnson with his spending proposals on Katrina thing, and it is past time for the grassroots to have hit the wall on the spendthrift Republican president and the spendthrift Republican Congress. What is the point of electing Republicans if they're going to spend worse than Democrats? Moreover, I'm absolutely with Michelle Malkin on this outrageous Bush cronyism regarding the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief over at the Department of Homeland Security. I find it impossible to believe that this administration or their GOP Congressional enablers care about enforcing the immigration laws of this country. And I find it impossible to believe that this doesn't matter. A lot.

At some point, we conservatives have got to ask ourselves if we stand for principles, or merely maintaining power. We have got to ask ourselves just which conservative goals are being served by the Republican governing status quo. We have got to ask ourselves if our conservatism stands for much more than The Democrats Must Lose. I was having a beer with a fellow religious and social conservative that first Friday after Katrina, and we were both just livid about the administration's response. We both agreed that we'd vote in a heartbeat in 2008 for a social liberal like Rudy Giuliani, who inspires confidence in his competence and judgment, over the present crowd that we both helped vote into power. I hope next year brings forth a raft of primary challengers to GOP Congressional incumbents. If we go on like this for much longer, it will be a long time before the American people trust the government to our side again. The Democrats aren't going to remain more hapless than the Republicans forever, and the denial in which too many Republicans wish to live in right now does the cause of conservatism no good.

Posted at 02:59 PM

Some notes from Tom DeLay's office from a "pen and pad" today with DeLay:
� Before I begin, I want to reiterate my support for President Bush's address to the nation last week from New Orleans.

� His commitment to helping the people of the Gulf Coast region recover and rebuild is shared by every member of the House Republican Conference.

� Every dime that as been appropriated - and every dime that will be appropriated - from the federal treasury to the people of the Gulf Coast comes from the votes of the House of Representatives, and we are honored to have that opportunity.

o And with that opportunity comes an equally important responsibility to make sure the money comes from and goes to the right places.

� Oversight of the relief funds will remain a high priority throughout the effort.

o The $51.8 billion package we passed two weeks ago set aside $15 million for inspectors general to follow the money.

o The president is also calling on vigorous IG accounting.

o Committees here on the Hill are already following suit, preparing for robust oversight over every dime.

o The Congress' moral obligation to the people of the Gulf Coast is not simply that we send money down there, but that that money does what it is supposed to do for them.

� Just as important as where the money goes is where it comes from.

o Even before the flood waters started to recede, many voices were calling for Katrina-related tax hikes. But those same voices were calling for tax hikes before Katrina was even a blip on the Doppler radar.

� Katrina tax hikes are not about Katrina; they're about tax hikes, and they are not an option.

o Raising taxes would kill jobs, choke off investment, and stifle economic growth. That's not exactly a recipe for the kind of economic renewal that region so desperately needs.

� Instead, I hope some of the money can be the product of spending sacrifices elsewhere in the federal budget.

o There are programs all over the federal budget that are bloated or wasteful or inefficiently using the funds we provide them, and I'm very interested in identifying them.

� We can fund this relief effort without raising taxes or wasteful spending - and it's up to us to do just that.

Posted at 02:35 PM

Nagin complains about the new FEMA guy.

Posted at 02:30 PM

Many NRO readers who wrote to the Discovery Channel to complain about Jeremy Clarkson's Katrina-related bile about America received this Monday:
We appreciate your correspondence and for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns with us. Jeremy Clarkson's comments on September 10 in the UK paper, "The Sun" do not represent the views of Discovery Channel, nor does he speak on behalf of Discovery Communications Inc. The comments that Mr. Clarkson made were both inaccurate and offensive. Mr. Clarkson has been informed of our company's extreme displeasure with his statements.

A reply to this message is not necessary. For more information about schedules and programming check our website, If you have any further inquiries or comments, please contact us via our webform at

Again, thank you for contacting Discovery Networks.

Viewer Relations Discovery Networks

Posted at 02:28 PM

For the crime of noting that the president's speech didn't help his poll numbers, I'm getting battered by e-mailers who suggest, among other things, that I am somehow unmanly because I'm not "supporting" the president enough. I never thought a day would come when I -- the author of a book entitled Bush Country: How Dubya Became the First Great Leader of the 21st Century While Driving Liberals Insane -- would be accused of being a fair-weather supporter of GWB. Let me just try to explain something to my e-mailers. The president gave his speech Thursday night in an effort to reverse the decline in his political fortunes. That's why presidents give speeches in prime time -- both to inform the nation and to try to seize the upper hand in the political struggle. It appears his effort was unsuccessful, in part (I think) because he sounded like a Big Spender and alienated more Republicans without winning over more Democrats.

It may be that the best thing for him to do is just ignore these poll numbers. But they're there, and they're going to have an impact -- and the danger is that the impact they're going to have will be on public support for the mission in Iraq, where we cannot afford to fail. Bush supporters don't help him or themselves any by pretending his troubles are all due to the MSM. He has, for the moment, lost the country's confidence.

Posted at 02:17 PM

REID ON ROBERTS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The Democratic party has more than jumped the shark when the Washington Post and LA Times--which have both said "confirm Roberts" in recent days--make more sense and are saner than party leaders can ever hope to be.

Posted at 02:17 PM

A SHEEHAN MEDIA POINT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a reader:
Apparently this is becoming the new standard title for Mrs. Sheehan (AP via Foxnews). I've seen it used countless times recently, on all wire services.

"Sheehan, the grieving mother whose vigil near President Bush's Texas ranch sparked anti-war protests around the country, said she wasn't roughed up by police, but was jostled when officers broke up the rally and arrested organizer Paul Zulkowitz."
How about, "Sheehan, the unbalanced mother..." or "Sheehan, the ultra leftwing mother..."

How can people claim Fox is so conservative, when they insist on using the AP for so much of their website's content? Earlier today, their website referenced Simon Wiesenthal as "Simon Wiesenthal, Holocaust Survivor, Dies" True, but the current listing of "Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi Hunter, Dies" is a lot more to the point, isn't it?

Posted at 02:14 PM

YOU KNOW... [K-Lo]
It is raining in L.A. today. I say we are missed.

Posted at 02:13 PM

REID V. ROBERTS [Jonah Goldberg]
The Senate Minority leader is voting no on Roberts.

Posted at 02:12 PM

Following up on JPod's post on Bush's polls, the danger to the White House is that there is now massive pressure to �move to the center� in various ways (say, the next Supreme Court appointment) and, in his reduced state, these pressures will be more difficult to resist. If he gives in to them on something important, he loses his base, and then it's Bush I all over again. You already see some of this erosion happening with regard to the Katrina spending. One last point: in the initial days after Katrina various folks in here--I think JPod in particular--wrote that we were watching some of the political lifeblood getting drained from the Bush presidency. Unfortunately, they were exactly right. It is going to take months and months of spadework to try make up for the missed opportunities of those first 24 or 48 hours.

Posted at 02:01 PM

AH, THE GENTLE GWICH'IN [Jonah Goldberg]

The environmentalist left's favorite poster tribe is back in Washington for their regular protest against drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. They don't live anywhere near where the drilling would take place, though they claim that drilling would harm the Porcupine Caribou herd which is a major staple of their way of life. Though it seems they have made opposition to drilling their modus vivendi for a long time now, flying down to Washington in terrific outfits to insist that drilling is unacceptable. Of course, it's not so unacceptable that they didn't invite oil companies to look for oil on their own lands in the late 1980s.

But here's a question for somebody to ponder. A day doesn't go by where I don't hear or read about how "theocons" are using their religion to interfere with sound science, sound education and sound healthcare. And yet, here we have a tribe of 8,000, wearing their pre-literate culture on their sleeves and boasting how their "spirituality" stands in the way of a policy option which would, among other things, help pay for schools and hospitals and lessen our reliance on foreign oil. Why isn't Diane Feinstein, for example, furious about this violation of the "absolute" barrier between religion and politics?

Posted at 01:52 PM

HE MAN HATE CRIME [Jonah Goldberg ]
Too much going on here to really describe. But if you don't care about He-Man (yes, the cartoon) at all, don't click on this. Otherwise, you have the power, so to speak.

Posted at 01:40 PM

LA K-9 [Peter Robinson]
Others have expatiated on the general glories of our weekend in Los Angeles. May I simply offer a canine observation? If anyone had told me that he'd bought a dog that was the product of an encounter between a yellow lab and a German shephard, I'd have recoiled in distaste. But that's just what Rob Long did, and his dog, Cojiba (named, of course, after a very fine Cuban cigar) is one of the calmest, most affectionate, and beautiful animals I've ever seen, a kindly lab's head atop a sleek shepherd's body.

Rob, if you're reading this, a word of advice: Buy another dog just like Cojiba and name it Macanudo.

Posted at 01:37 PM

A TIN EAR [Andrew Stuttaford ]

Rep. Don Young, is annoyed that the plebs are annoyed at the way that he plans on spending their money. The Anchorage Daily News has more:

"They can kiss my ear!" Young boomed when Sam Bishop, Washington correspondent for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, asked him about the many pleas to redirect the bridge money.

Time that he's out on that ear, I reckon.

Posted at 01:37 PM

"YOU WANT A PARTNER" [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
President Bush, from Mississippi, is right now putting the role of the federal government in Gulf post-Katrina reconstruction in good perspective. A pep talk he'll need to be giving Congress soon and often.

Posted at 01:35 PM

From the Washington Post on Julie Meyers: "She married Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood, on Saturday....Myers was on her honeymoon and was not available to comment yesterday."

Not to mess with true love or anything, but it seems like Chertoff's chief of staff shouldn't be on vacation right about now--post-Katrina, as Rita was warming up....

Posted at 01:31 PM

Ted Turner never ceases to display himself as an idiot. Brent Baker reports that in an interview with Wolf Blitzer yesterday, Turner rejected the "despotic" characterization of Kim Jong Il, insisting that "he didn't look too much different than most other people," or that he treats his people brutally since Turner saw the people "were thin," but "they were riding bicycles." When Turner declared North Korea is not a "threat" to the U.S., Blitzer suggested their missiles could reach the U.S., prompting environmentalist Turner to dismissively retort: "Well, what, the Aleutian Islands? There's nothing up there but a few sea lions."

Posted at 01:30 PM

SAD BUT TRUE [John Podhoretz]
The president's speech on Thursday evidently did him no political good or worse. Every poll now has him hovering around 40 percent, and two -- Gallup and Rasmussen -- show a significant drop in Republican support after the speech. Granted, these are not polls of voters or of likely voters, but still, he didn't turn things around.

Posted at 01:22 PM

Read Shawn Macomber's piece for lunch today.

Posted at 01:22 PM

INTERESTING SPIN... [Andrew Stuttaford]

...on the German elections from the Guardian. Could the results scupper the prospects for reform in France? Quite possibly, it seems...

Nicolas Sarkozy, the ambitious rightwing interior minister busy laying the ground for a reform or bust presidential bid based on the need for a "clean break" with two decades of soft conservatism under Jacques Chirac, welcomed Ms Merkel with open arms in Paris earlier this year... But for the rival Chirac camp, headed by the suave and increasingly popular prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, Ms Merkel's score - and her slump in the polls as soon as she started talking radical tax reform - showed that a large chunk of the German electorate was simply terrified by her version of a "clean break" with the past. "The Germans do not want their social model dismantled," said one moderate centre-right UMP senator, Josselin de Rohan. The defence minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, said the Germans had voted "in such a way as not to permit the introduction of a 100% liberal economic and social model". Catherine Colonna, the European affairs minister, who is very close to Mr Chirac, said the lesson was plainly "a need to think about the way in which a country should push reforms through ... the way in which certain reforms are accepted".

Sarkozy himself is more of a Chirac-style opportunist than many in this country seem to believe. Expect backtracking from him too.

Posted at 01:10 PM

Rich, my quick answer is I wonder what proportion of "trucks, night-vision goggles, engineering equipment and communications gear" are manufactured in Vermont and Missouri?

Posted at 01:08 PM

John Roberts is to blame. Neanderthal!

Posted at 01:07 PM

�Many women at elite colleges set career path to motherhood.�

Posted at 01:03 PM

IT'S DISAPPOINTING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
that Jonah didn't say anything on his Starbucks' coffee cup that would lead to controversy.

Posted at 12:58 PM

From the Washington Post:

"The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. And it's looking for a few good agents.Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III...The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults. "I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent..."

Posted at 12:45 PM

CLINTON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
is a condom

Posted at 12:43 PM

Michelle Malkin on Julie Myers

Posted at 12:40 PM

AW, TOO BAD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NYC police shut down a Cindy Sheehan speech

Posted at 12:33 PM

The English online edition of Al Jazeera has a very straightforward obituary on Simon Wiesenthal. They headline it in a big box with a nice photo on the Culture page. Might be called progress. But for some reason I haven't found the same story in the Arabic edition...

Posted at 12:28 PM

What should we make of this? From USA Today:

If it's going to protect the USA while also fighting overseas, the Guard needs better equipment, Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, head of the National Guard Bureau, said in an interview with USA TODAY.

"We were underequipped," Blum said. "We don't need tanks and attack helicopters and artillery, but we must have state-of-the-art radios and communications."

Much of the Guard's best communications equipment was being used by troops fighting in Iraq and wasn't available for units helping Gulf Coast states recover from the hurricane, Blum said.

Many Guard military police in New Orleans were patrolling with obsolete radios as they sought to restore order, he said. That, combined with a crippled civilian communications network, made it harder for them to communicate. Many also lacked night-vision goggles�.

Last week, Sens. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wrote President Bush asking for $1.3 billion to buy new equipment for the Guard.

Long-standing shortages and the stress of fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have left the Guard with "a perilously low level of equipment available for natural disasters," the senators wrote.

Only 34% of the Guard's equipment is available for use in the USA, the letter said, with the worst shortages in trucks, night-vision goggles, engineering equipment and communications gear. The Guard has historically used hand-me-down equipment from the active-duty military. For example, the Army Guard is using Vietnam-era radios while it needs 37,000 newer radios, according to a recent Guard budget briefing paper posted on its website�

Posted at 12:12 PM

Thank goodness for this. No, not because it's sacrilegious, but because I'm lactose intolerant.

Posted at 11:59 AM

WEMA [Iain Murray]
In today's New York Times, John Tierney suggests making Wal-Mart supremo Lee Scott the new head of FEMA, or Wal-Mart Emergency Management Agency as he'd prefer. Unfortunately, because the grey lady is charging for her services now, I can't link to it.

Posted at 11:53 AM

The persons responsible for the temporary crash of the site earlier have all had one toe removed. As this was an understandable mistake, they were allowed to pick the toe in question.

Posted at 11:27 AM

"According to Jim," season premiere tonight at 8, 7 central. By the way, recent visitors, it's raining here in L.A today, which is beyond astonishing. (Rain in September is practically unheard of.) And too bad Cathy Seipp left Rob's before my crew and I rolled up.

Posted at 10:34 AM

Daniel Pipes provides his thoughts on Musharraf's speech. This is the strangest compliment to pay a bona fide world leader, but Musharraf did not deny the Holocaust! (Among Muslim leaders this is, shall we say, unusual.)

Posted at 10:33 AM

Military blogger Uncle Jimbo allowed himself to get up close and personal with Baghdad George in Wisconsin. Details and delousing here.

Posted at 10:31 AM

A FISH STORY [Tim Graham]
Following the tradition of Washington blather -- everything reporters ask about is infinitely important, right after the hurricane, Iraq, and fending off the tax-hike lobby -- the president's environmental adviser insists : "Fixing our fisheries is one of the highest priorities for the president."

Posted at 10:06 AM

Geoff Dickens notes it got strange on the "Chris Matthews Show" on Sunday, when Matthews actually came at NPR talk show host Ed Gordon from the left and suggested that Katrina is a prime opportunity for making race relations a cash exchange, when he re-opened the reparations-for-blacks debate during the predictions segment of the show. Gordon predicted black leaders would keep pressing the White House, prompting this reply:

Matthews: "This is almost [a] reparations opportunity, isn�t it?"

Gordon: "I don�t know that I�d take it that far, but it�s..."

Matthews: "A chance for 40 acres and a mule after, after Reconstruction it never got, had never got done."

Gordon: "Well we were all supposed to get the 40 acres and a mule not just the folks in Louisiana, but it�s a good opportunity."

Posted at 10:05 AM

Would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley wants a girlfriend.

Posted at 08:51 AM

The Washington Post reports that an American diplomat and three private security contractors have been killed by a suicide bomber in Mosul. The victims have not yet been identified, but the diplomat is believed to have been a diplomatic security agent.

Posted at 08:31 AM

PFC LYNNDIE ENGLAND ABANDONS PLEA STRATEGY [Andy McCarthy] reports that she will now fight the charges stemming from her role in the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Her attempt in May to plead guilty in a court martial proceeding failed when a military judge threw out her plea at the sentencing hearing. She appeared then to be playing the not uncommon defendant game of admitting barely enough to get the court to accept the guilty plea (which usually results in a lighter sentence than is imposed if a defendant insists on going to trial) but then claiming at the sentencing phase that she wasn�t really guilty of anything. The judge, properly, would have none of it � and essentially said: if you claim you�re not really guilty, go to trial. Now she will. She will face up to eleven years if convicted on all charges.

Posted at 08:30 AM

I don't care how badly he played last season. Marc Brunell is a football god.

For the record, I've been a Redskins fan since 1984...

Posted at 08:29 AM

A CAIRite complains that Pakistan's Musharraf is talking to Jews.

Posted at
07:48 AM

IRAN CAUSES TROUBLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
in Basra

Posted at 07:07 AM

Topless women take on a nudity law.

Posted at 07:04 AM


Posted at 06:58 AM

WELCOME HOME! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mail from somebody who woke up on the wrong side of the bed:
Please, the Corner is thoroughly enjoyable; make it abundantly more so and stop writing anything. By the way, I think several hours have passed since the last Bench Memos link was added. And you don�t have any fundraising links up.

Hey, he's right about that last one...

Posted at 06:42 AM


Posted at 06:40 AM

The MSM is in fear of it, he says.

Posted at 06:33 AM

A Dallas Morning News editorial: Katrina doesn't have to sink us in debt

Posted at 06:25 AM

Last night at an Irish pub in Manhattan Beach, I swear I hit the red-state town hall in the heart of the golden blue state--the local volunteer firemen, older couples who looked so in sync they'd been together their whole lives--and Monday Night Football. No Renee and Kenny there.

I knew I was in California though when we stepped outside to a truck blanketed in anti-Bush/Kerry for Prez bumper stickers.

Posted at 06:03 AM

HEH [K-Lo, Back East]
It was under 30 seconds after I stepped out of JFK airport this morning when an angry limo driver threw the f-bomb at me--I had not jumped to answer his "Yo Lady, You Commin from L.A.?!" fast enough.

Home sweet home! There really is no more appropriate Big Apple welcome.

Posted at 05:31 AM

Monday, September 19, 2005

DANG [Jonah Goldberg]
Peter confirms what's been eating at me all day. I could have sworn the savings and loan stuff was on poppa Bush's watch, but I figured I must have mis-remembered and it started with Reagan. I just assumed Mr. Muck got it right. I think I know who Mr. Muck is and I like and respect him. But, considering -- as Peter notes -- Mr. Muck started out by insinuating those of us who disagreed with the White House don't know our facts, I will offer good-natured, metaphorical, Three Stooges nyuck-nyuck-whack in response.

Posted at 11:13 PM

A Corner reader writes:
Dear Mr. May -

I noticed your post today on the Corner regarding the much lower than expected number of deaths in Louisiana from Katrina than feared. The low number is even more remarkable when compared to what was predicted would happen in a category 3 storm (and Katrina was category 4).

The most interesting information in the much reported on "Hurricane Pam" simulation/study done in 2004 is this: 61,290 people die, including 24,250 in New Orleans. An additional 384,000 are injured or fall ill.

This tells me that in the area that matters most, saving lives, the response to the disaster was extraordinary. How can this be? How about the following:

1. Well before the storm hits, President Bush calls governor (and mayor?) to evacuate.

2. Mayor, even if belatedly, orders mandatory evacuation.

3. Coast Guard, military and other federal government employees rescue thousands from the flood. Last time I checked, all these people work for President Bush.

4. Heroic efforts of individuals themselves.


Mark Hulings

Posted at 07:50 PM

NR TAKES L.A. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
In the blogosphere, this is a little like being written up by the society pages.

Posted at 07:29 PM

I'm sure everyone knew this, but I hadn't realized that the Valley here in Cali was porn central. Gives new meaning to "Valley Girls" for me.

Posted at 07:28 PM

GREENS [Andrew Stuttaford]
Iain, while I'm with you in my dismay over the German election results, and I am certainly no fan of the Greens, there could be worse things than bringing the Greens in, if that's what necessary to keep the socialists out. As you know, the German Greens are divided between 'realists' (a flattering description, admittedly) and 'fundamentalists', and in the former camp you will find something of a constituency for the free market reforms that Germany needs, but is now very unlikely to get. Am I clutching at straws? Yup.

Posted at 06:44 PM

I second Jonah's reaction to the explanation offered up to dismiss concerns over Katrina's federal pricetag as ill-formed owing to the "statutory commitments" demanding that Washington foots the considerable bill. Later in the brief for ballooning the budget, it is noted that the Bush Administration has proposed $69 billion in "mandatory spending" cuts. "Mandatory spending" is also a "statutory commitment." It seems to me that the White House and congressional Republicans are missing a teachable moment. Given the broad consensus that the federal government has a legitimate obligation to shoulder the lion's share of repairing the devastated Gulf coast, why not pit this responsibility against the scores of things that aren't properly within the federal government's purview and propose that Washington stop doing things that are best left to the state and local governments?

Posted at 06:38 PM

The first of which is factual: It was George H. W. Bush, and not Ronald Reagan, who spent the bulk of the many billions involved in the federal bailout of the savings and loans. (Mr. Muck really ought to consult his own fact book before attacking the rest of us for, uh, failing to consult the facts.)

And the second of which involves a matter of judgment, and, for want of a better term, of governing style: Whenever the Gipper spent big, as he did, for example, on farm programs, or restrained trade, as on the supposedly "voluntary" car import quotas, he did so very visibly against his own better judgment, and found ways, often through speeches, of letting people know, without ambiguity, that although every so often he had no choice but to sign big-spending legislation, he firmly believed that the federal government ought to be smaller, not bigger, and bent most of his domestic efforts toward achieving that end. When our current chief executive engages in a spending spree--yes, a spending spree--it is only of a piece with all five years of his domestic leglislation. Miss that fundamental difference between Reagan and Bush, and it doesn't really matter how highly placed you may be.

Posted at 06:38 PM

Lou Dolinar, who wrote that excellent Real Clear Politics piece on NO rescues, writes in an e-mail:

I've received some feedback that suggests my estimates of rescues in RCP may actually be on the low side. The Washington Post, for example, surveyed victims in Houston: "Four in 10 were rescued by the Coast Guard, the National Guard, police officers or firefighters." We all know about the problems with random samples, and what they're sample of, but with 125-200K evacuees, that survey puts us in the ballpark of 50K rescues rather easily.

There have been other Coast Guard press releases besides the one I quoted. Here's one that AP picked up on Saturday that says there were 6,000 CG rescues. But a later release puts the number at more than 20K.

I also ignored volunteer efforts for the most part. You can get a pretty good idea about how these worked from a Wall St. Journal piece about an 11-man Exxon Mobile rescue team, in four boats, who have pulled in 1500 people. There were "dozens" of similar volunteer teams operating.

Oh, then there were those bad New Orleans cops who ran away. I think this guy may have been more typical.

Posted at 06:09 PM

A LIBERAL BLEG [Jonah Goldberg]
Attention you hearty liberal Corner readers. This is a good faith question. I want to know why you think big corporations are "rightwing." I have heard many arguments, and with very, very, few exceptions I find them unpersuasive or insufficient. I am eager to learn what I am missing. I'd like to hear you make the case. Please, no sophistry, circular arguments or rank assertion. Specificity, examples and defined terms would be very helpful. I'm not particularly interested in the argument that corporations are bad for the environment and therefore they are rightwing. I'm not necessarily dismissing that argument, it's just that I've heard it so many times before. Please send honest and thoughtful responses to Send dishonest and unthoughtful responses to Ramesh. I'm also interested in articles which have made this case.

Posted at 04:35 PM

Republican Rep. Curt Weldon has been pushing the "Able Danger" story -- alleging a Pentagon program identified Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers more than a year before 9/11. But he hasn't always been coherent or made sense, and some people have suggested he's more than a little flaky. Well, now he's proved he's a flake or worse. He will be appearing at a Congressional Black Caucus event this weekend whose purpose is to attack the 9/11 commission from the left, sponsored by Cynthia McKinney -- who of course said George Bush was behind 9/11:

"On September 23 and 24, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus will host two �brain trust� panels at their annual legislative conference to be held at the Washington Convention Center, 801 Mr. Vernon Avenue, NW, Washington, DC on the topic of what was omitted from the 9/11 Commission�s Final Report, unanswered questions that remain and their inadequate recommendations which have failed to make the country safer, to address the true sponsors and causes of the attacks and to properly balance civil liberties and secrecy, security and war. The event is free and open to the public. Members of Congress, academicians and authors will present information on the road that led to 9/11, the response that followed, and the unexamined evidence and assumptions that framed the official report. Speakers will include John Cooley (author of Unholy Wars). C. William Michaels (author of No Greater Threat), Richard Falk (author of The Great Terror War), David Ray Griffin (author of 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions), Barbara Rosenberg (molecular biologist), James Bamford (author of A Pretext for War), Rep. Curt Weldon (on Able Danger), Benjamin Barber (author of Fear's Empire), Natsu Saito (author of Confronting the Crime of Silence), Athan Theoharis (author of The FBI and American Security) and James Ridgeway (author of 5 Unanswered Questions About 9/11)."

Weldon discredits himself by keeping himself in such company (though I have to acknowledge that as a teenager, I babysat for Benjamin Barber, who then returned the favor by writing a book in which he attacked my mother and misspelled her name throughout).

Posted at 04:09 PM


I think those are all fine and legitimate points -- and are very similar to points I heard from another muckety-muck today.

But, it's worth noting that Congress is Republican too; And Bush is the head of the Party; And Congress can change the laws. I'm not saying that the federal government could or should be completely off-the-hook for reconstruction. And, I actually favor rebuilding New Orleans. But as I said in the first days of the disaster, it would be nice if this was at least considered a serious political question to be debated and discussed by our political leaders. We are going to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on all of this and there hasn't been an election or an actual debate. Dennis Hastert did something intellectually sensible but politically foolish when he said maybe we should rethink building New Orleans below sea level. He was immediately crushed for it and now the GOP at all levels is overcompensating for his gaffe and for the perception that Bush was slow to respond.

I will offer one quibble. The Muckety-Muck below says it's simply ill-informed to say that the government is involved in a spending spree because the law requires the government to be involved in a spending spree. I'm not aware that spending-sprees are never in fact spending sprees when they are required by law. The Great Society was, in fact, required by law. So was the New Deal. They were also spending sprees. The law also requires all sorts of environmental safeguards, which were sensibly waived in order to clean-up New Orleans as fast as possible. The law also requires that FEMA volunteers spend an outrageous amount of time getting "trained" on how not to make insensitive racial jokes while rescuing people. These laws were not waived.

Posted at 03:30 PM

KATRINA AND DUBYA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
High-level muckety-muck writes:
I want to try to untangle some of the confusion we are seeing on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. For example, the charge that we are engaged in a "new New Deal" and a "new Great Society" is rooted in a basic lack of knowledge about policy. That is sometimes the curse of the pundit class.

The reality is that whatever the federal cost of Hurricane Katrina, most of the cost is built in because of statutory commitments (especially the Stafford Act). To put it another way: regardless of who was President -- even the most libertarian, small-government conservative -- the federal government would be obligated to pay for a huge share of the costs.

Without (hopefully) going into mind-numbing detail, the 1988 Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act is triggered by a major disaster declaration like Hurricane Katrina. This means that the federal share is required to be at least three-quarters of the reconstruction costs for public infrastructure. In extraordinary circumstances -- like Hurricanes Hugo, Iniki, and Andrew, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the terrorist attacks on September 11 -- the law commits the federal government to cover between 90 and 100 percent of the cost. This elementary governing fact should cause the few fiscal conservatives who are firing off ill-informed comments to pause long enough to understand that we are meeting legal commitments, not engaged in a "spending spree."

Beyond that, the President has said he will not raise taxes to pay for the costs of Hurricane Katrina. The President believes a strong national economy will be key to reviving the Gulf Coast region -- and raising taxes would choke off rather than strengthen the economy. The President has said we will find savings and offsets in other parts of the budget to help pay for the cost of Hurricane Katrina. The Administration has already proposed $20 billion in discretionary savings that still awaits action by Congress; we believe those savings are a good place to start. And the Administration has also proposed reducing the rate of growth of mandatory spending by $69 billion over the next five years. The Congressional version of that, which still awaits final passage, was only $34.7 billion -- and some are saying these savings should now be put off. But now is precisely the wrong time to delay these savings.

It's worth pointing out, too, that the Bush Administration is not endorsing a new cabinet agency or a new federal entitlement. And the policy ideas the President is promoting -- the creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone, Worker Recovery Accounts, and the Urban Homesteading Act -- are effective and conservative means for alleviating persistent poverty and promoting the common good. It is based on the President's conviction that entrepreneurship will help break the cycle of poverty; that personal accounts will give people good options when it comes to job training and education; and that home ownership is one of the great strengths of any community.

There are, however, real and unavoidable costs directly related to coping with the worst natural disaster in American history. Are our critics suggesting that the federal government has no moral obligations to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina? Are we supposed to believe it is a conservative article of faith that the federal government should not help a decimated region of our nation get back on its feet? Is the operating assumption that we should not aid the region's innocent people as they rebuild their infrastructure, remove debris, send health professionals and medical supplies to those in need, provide shelter to hundreds of thousands of evacuee families, help displaced persons apply for temporary jobs and unemployment benefits, and so much more? To hold these positions would not be a conservative apotheosis; it would be morally troubling and politically foolish.

I would add, too, that speculation that the cost will be $200 billion or $300 billion is right now based on very little beyond uninformed estimates.

For historical context it may be worth highlighting a point recently made by Tony Blankley, who reminded us that President Reagan spent a huge amount on the S&L; bailout in the mid-1980s -- and the costs (around $125 billion) were initially believed to be much higher. The point is that there are times when conservatives, including Ronald Reagan, understand the federal government is obliged to spend money -- particularly when it is required by law.

Posted at 03:04 PM

Mumbletypeg with gore.

Posted at 02:50 PM

The German Parliament is now so badly hung that the free-marketeers are actually talking about an alliance with the Greens, God help us. Unsurprisingly, the market has reacted badly, with the power, auto and chemicals sectors all taking a hit.

Oh, and the next time someone talks about America being a hopelessly divided nation, show them this.

Posted at 02:47 PM

Some Columbia U students see Hugo Chavez for what he is.

Posted at 02:47 PM

"LITTLE WOMEN" IS A BIG HIT. . . [Kate O'Beirne]
While in L.A. I took a quick trip to Costa Mesa to join the delighted audience at a matinee performance of Little Women. My good friend John and I wanted to make sure NR was represented at the triumph of a member of NR's extended family. The remarkably talented Kate Fisher has the lead as Jo March. Liz Fisher is our editorial associate here in the D.C. office and Kate is one of her five older sisters. Kate Fisher is receiving rave notices in the opening weeks of the company's national 32-city tour. She "sings beautifully" and "achieves heights of theatrical excitement" and "has fire in her voice and electricity in her bearing." And, "she sings like an angel." Saturday's audience, with lots of little women accompanied by their mothers, was enthralled. The rest of the cast is strong, especially Maureen McGovern as Marmee and Andrew Varela as a strong,handsome Professor Bhaer. In the wonderful scene where Jo acts out one of her melodramatic potboilers, Kate Fisher proves herself a terrific singer, actress and dancer. Note that the touring company could be coming to a city near you.

Posted at 02:47 PM

The Lincoln Center event I mentioned earlier also had this political outburst from one of my musical favorites: "Elvis Costello, who performed with jazz giant Allen Toussaint, said he heard conservatives were worried about Katrina's rebuilding cost: 'I just hope we keep in our minds that an effort like this can never be too expensive.'"

Posted at 02:45 PM

A too typical exchange from Friday night's Nightline, appropriating Jesus as a socialist rebel:

A revolutionary has to be in revolt against something. What are you revolting against?

I've been in revolt for years against ignominy, against injustice, against inequality, against immorality. Against the exploitation of human beings. One of the greatest rebels who I really admire, Christ. He was a rebel. He ended up being crucified. He was a great rebel. He rebelled against the established power that subjugated. That is what rebellion is, it's rebellion out of love for human beings.

Posted at 02:44 PM

579 [Cliff May ]
That�s the current death toll in Louisiana from the hurricane and catastrophic flooding. Terrible for the victims, their family, their friends.

But also much less than the 10,000 widely predicted.

And, BTW, much less than the more than 35,000 killed by a heat wave in Europe two summers ago.

You recall the debate that set off about European heartlessness, racism and discrimination? No, neither do I.

Posted at 02:43 PM

KATRINA KERRY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This just arrived in my inbox:
Dear Kathryn,

In a few hours, I will deliver a major address at Brown University about what the rage and destruction of Katrina have revealed. I want you to be one of the first to read and reflect upon the text of this speech for a very simple reason.

It's time for each and every one of us to say what needs to be said -- with the full force of our convictions, with nothing held back. This speech is my attempt to do exactly that -- and your response to my call to action will define the work of the community far into the future.

Natural and human calamity have stripped away the spin machine, creating a rare accountability moment, not just for the Bush administration, but for all of us to take stock of the direction of our country and do what we can to reverse it. That's our job -- to turn this moment from a frenzied expression of guilt into a national reversal of direction.

We've seen America at its best and our government at its worst. Millions of Americans are beginning to realize where they fit in our democracy under Republican governance: nowhere.

It's time for a fundamental debate about the choices we are making as a nation. Here is some of the language I will use later today to help provoke that badly needed national conversation:

The Katrina Administration

Katrina is a symbol of all this administration does and doesn't do. Michael Brown -- or Brownie as the President so famously thanked him for doing a heck of a job -- Brownie is to Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq; what George Tenet is to slam dunk intelligence; what Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad; what Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy; what Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning; what Tom Delay is to ethics; and what George Bush is to "Mission Accomplished" and "Wanted Dead or Alive." The bottom line is simple: the "we'll do whatever it takes" administration doesn't have what it takes to get the job done.

This is the Katrina administration.

The Real Test of Katrina

This is the real test of Katrina. Will we be satisfied to only do the immediate: care for the victims and rebuild the city? Or will we be inspired to tackle the incompetence that left us so unprepared, and the societal injustice that left so many of the least fortunate waiting and praying on those rooftops?

Making the Gulf Coast a Right-Wing Laboratory

The rush now to camouflage their misjudgments and inaction with money does not mean they are suddenly listening. It's still politics as usual. The plan they're designing for the Gulf Coast turns the region into a vast laboratory for right wing ideological experiments. They're already talking about private school vouchers, abandonment of environmental regulations, abolition of wage standards, subsidies for big industries, and believe it or not yet another big round of tax cuts for the wealthiest among us!

Please take a moment right now to read the entire speech.

Let's be absolutely clear about the moment we are in. The weeks ahead will define our country's direction -- our understanding of ourselves, what we believe in, what we insist on creating, what we refuse to let happen.

The speech I will deliver in a matter of hours is about saying what needs to be said. In the weeks ahead, our entire community must engage in doing what needs to be done. I know I can count on you to stand with me as we take on that challenge -- and I will be in touch in the days ahead about our next steps together.


John Kerry

P.S. There is one thing you can do right now. Share this speech by forwarding it to as many people as possible. We're going to need all the help we can get in the days and weeks ahead.

Posted at 01:45 PM

PCU [Jonah Goldberg]
Several readers are cross with me for giving PCU a thumbs down. I confess to not having seen it for many years. But if memory serves, it was awful because it ended up being pretty politically correct for a movie dedicated to skewering political correctness. But rather than debate this in the Corner, I promise to watch it the next time I can and let you know if my opinion changes.

Posted at 01:34 PM

GUTFELD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
raises awareness.

Posted at 01:33 PM

TYCO [Jonah Goldberg]
Execs get 8 1/3 to 25. I seem to have misplaced my violin.

Posted at 01:28 PM

YES... [Jonah Goldberg]
I forgot to mention that Homer Simpson has a Starland Vocal Band tattoo.

Posted at 01:23 PM

HOLLYWOOD.NRO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Negotiations may be underway for official grand opening of the Left Coast office of National Review. It will be located at a booth atJerry's Deli in Studio City, which is one Yankee jersey away from being New York, California.

Posted at 01:06 PM

BUSHBOTS [ Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Are you "Like a religious leader with a predilection for hookers"? (Is someone--ahem--who continually links to the HBomb ridiculousness?)

Posted at 01:00 PM

Roger Simon starts a who-should-be-the-new-secretary-general? poll. If this were 2009, W would be my vote. (But--just to state the obvious here--the U.N. cannot wait that long.)

Posted at 12:46 PM

Bill Roggio continues his excellent work on this extremely important subject (do you have your gas mask yet?).

Posted at 12:45 PM

New Trigonometry eliminates sines, cosines and -- look! Cows! -- tangents.

Posted at 12:36 PM

So I missed Murphy Brown re: Dan Quayle! Isn't that a topic you'd avoid if you ran the Emmys--unless my right-wing Hollywood posse ran the show--other than to say "Dan Quayle Was Right" (which others caught onto a long time ago)?

Posted at 12:31 PM

BEHOLD! [Jonah Goldberg]

The Power of our fully-operational blogstar:

Jonah- I just want you to know that after you posted that thing about Pirate Day I received 15 emails in pirate-voice, they are still coming, from friends of mine who also read the Corner all day. Thanks alot. I rue the morning I wake to learn it is The Couch or Jacobian Squirrel day.

Note to giant companies: Now imagine if instead of me touting National Talk Like A Pirate Day, I'd fawned over the rich Corinthian leather of my new Mercedes.

Posted at 12:00 PM

RE: KRUGMAN & ME [Jonah Goldberg ]

From a reader:

Jonah, I don't want to start a fight --or maybe I do-- especially in any shape of a defense of Krugman (whom I do not care for), but didn't you have an article or a corner discussion a while back about how countries that do not have many other races as residents or citizens are much more open to big social programs, ie Sweden and Japan which don't have many non-swedes or japanese, respectively, can get behind welfare and other social programs since they help swedes and japanese, but when you have large immigrant populations or otherwise large minority populations, those programs are not so well looked upon- because the benefit is going to this other group not your own tribe. I recall emailing you that I thought this was a racism, a willingness to help your fellow man so long as your fellow man was a member of your own group (not merely a fellow citizen). Please tell me you and Krugman are not on the same page.

Me: I did write such a column. But I haven't read Krugman yet and I'm about to do Michael Graham's radio show (take that, CAIR). I'll get to it after lunch.

Posted at 11:55 AM

As Iain noted last week, on Thursday a federal judge in New York dismissed the lawsuit brought by New York AG Elliott Spitzer and other state AGs against several utilities alleging that their continued emission of greenhouse gases constituted an actionable "nuisance" under common law. This is the second major court loss for state AGs in global warming lawsuits thus far this year, and a third case is still pending. The case is certain to be appealed. The legal rationale for dismissal will likely need to be refined a bit, nonetheless there's a decent chance this ruling will be upheld -- and the state AGs will be frustrated in their efforts to encourage judicial usurpation of matters best left in the hands of the elected branches of government.

Posted at 11:35 AM

This Wednesday, the Cato Institute will host it's 4th annual Constitution Day conference. The event will feature three panels reviewing cases from the Supreme Court's prior term, a keynote speech by the ACLU's Nadine Strossen (last year it was Richard Epstein), and a panel looking ahead to the Court's next term featuring of your favorite Ohio-based law professors (that would be me). Other, more notable, speakers on the program include Randy Barnett, Harvery Silverglate, Marci Hamilton, and Daniel Troy.

Posted at 11:34 AM

Not your everyday buglaries.

Posted at 11:21 AM

RE: CPB REPORT [Tim Graham]
Jonah, the fun passage in the William Schulz report is this factoid: Potential advertisers are told instead of a 2003 Mediamark poll commissioned by NPR. Compared to the general public, NPR listeners are 152 percent more likely to own a home valued at $500,000 or more; 194 percent more likely to travel to France; and 326 percent more likely to read the "New Yorker."

Posted at 11:12 AM

Iraqi President Talabani says that�s what Americans are doing in Iraq.

My Scripps Howard column is here.

Posted at 11:10 AM

L.A. PARTIES [Warren Bell]
Jonah, your semi-conversation with Harry Shearer is a typical progression of events around here. Actors can be very strange animals -- even the ones with terrific senses of humor (like Shearer) can have a hard time knowing when you're joking with them. And making reference humor can be very tricky. You may think you're paying them a compliment by remembering their work, but what they are remembering is how much they hated that line you just referenced, or that the director was mean that day, or that they did that movie for half of what they are worth, etc.

Posted at 11:09 AM

Read about it here.

Posted at 11:08 AM

GERMANY [Andrew Stuttaford]
By any measure the results were a disaster. Best guesses this minute are a 'Grand Coalition' between left and right or, perhaps, a center-right/Green coalition. In a sense, though, the old image of deckchairs being rearranged on the Titanic comes to mind. Serious structural reform is dead for now. So far as voters were concerned, the fear of unemployment (already very high) counted for more than the prospect of actually doing something about it...

Posted at 11:04 AM

If you're having trouble getting your blood flowing this Monday morning, take a look at Paul Krugman's column in today's New York Times. His thesis is that the reason America is more conservative than most countries-specifically, the reason it favors smaller government-is that it is bigoted. I'm not kidding.

Now, where does one begin with a response to such vitriol? How does one respond to a line like, "George W. Bush-who, like Mr. Reagan, isn't personally a racist but relies on the support of racists," except with "Paul Krugman-who isn't a moron but whose column is enjoyed by morons"? Except that this response gives Krugman too much credit.

Arghh. Let me just point out that it is not true that America is more bigoted than, say, the enlightened French. One of my favorite tables in Stephan and Abigail Thernstroms' indispensable America in Black and White shows that the percentage of Americans who say they dislike African Americans is lower than the percentage of those in European countries who say they dislike their principal domestic minority group. In the U.S., that is, 13 percent say they dislike blacks; in France, 42 percent say they dislike North Africans.

There are plenty of other responses, too, I know, starting with the point that those of us who favor smaller government believe that it is better in the long run for everyone, not just well-to-do white people like Paul Krugman. But it's Monday morning and I have other fish to fry.

Posted at 11:03 AM

PORKBUSTERS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Instapundit outlines a plan for the blogosphere to help Congress cut the fat.

Posted at 10:50 AM

This is an exciting day in Afghanistan.

Posted at 10:50 AM

IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Saddam funded terrorists in IRaq

Posted at 10:46 AM

EW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a Center for American Progress e-mail hyping a John Edwards:
"For the next 20 years, John dedicated his career to representing families and children hurt by the negligence of others. Standing up against the powerful insurance industry and their armies of lawyers, John helped these families through the darkest moments of their lives to overcome tremendous challenges. His passionate advocacy for people like the folks who worked in the mill with his father earned him respect and recognition across the country."
I'm not a sane, objective observer, but I usually think more this when I think about Edwards's trial-lawyer years.

Posted at 10:43 AM

PREDICTION [Jonah Goldberg]
Many people will get dressed up as looters this year for Halloween. All you need to do is take off your shirt, roll-up your pants legs, wear some Mardi Gras beads and carry around a TV.

Posted at 10:41 AM

It was one of the few pop songs actually written about a couple in Washington, D.C. -- actually, in McLean, Va. His name was Bill. Her name was Taffy. Yes, Taffy. I gather from the song that they enjoyed each other's company in the daytime back in the 1970s. They've been divorced for two decades. I don't know if the two facts are related. And actually, if you read them closely, the lyrics are kind of gross. Oh, and on the summer replacement series they had on CBS, Starland Vocal Band introduced a young comic named David Letterman to the American people.

Posted at 10:35 AM


Have you noticed how this classic from the Starland Vocal Band is making a comeback? If you're unaware, the song's a classic ode to what Bill Clinton might call pre-nocturnal intern-mentoring. It's in Anchorman, of course. And Starsky & Hutch and, I believe one or two other outlets. I think the first place it reappared was in Goodwill Hunting. I don't know what this means, but I suspect the Zionists are involved.

Update: My friend Doug informs me the song was inspired by lunch at Clyde's here in Washington.

Update II: Several readers note that it made an earlier big screen debut in the awful PCU in 1994. It was also recently on Arrested Development as part of an inappropriate intra-family karaoke scene.

Posted at 10:16 AM

LA [Jonah Goldberg]
So at this party at Rob Long's house, I met Harry Shearer of Simpsons fame . We didn't chat much, but -- his politics notwithstanding -- he seemed like a good guy. I feel bad though because we'd been talking about Christopher Guest and I made a reference to A Mighty Wind which I think went right past him. I made some sort of joke about how I thought his skin would be better (recall in Mighty Wind Shearer is obsessive about his skin tone and whatnot). I think he thought I was being serious and he felt at his face. Before I could explain, we got interrupted.

Posted at 10:06 AM

I learned a lot from last week's hearings - not about John Roberts but about some of those serving in the U.S. Senate.

For example, I learned that many of them have little concern or even respect for the Constitution. What they have instead are strong policy preferences. And they want to be told that those policy preferences are rooted in constitutional principles, even when it is obvious they are not.

To take just one example, Roberts was asked if he found in the Constitution a "general right to privacy." Now surely the senators have read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and so they know that a "general right" to privacy is to not to be found in those documents.

Surely, they understand that if there were a "general right" to privacy it would apply not only to abortion; it would apply "generally," as well. It would mean, for example, that in the privacy of one's home one could ingest drugs; because if privacy means the government is prohibited from interfering -- in any way for any reason -- with your reproductive system, it must mean that the government is prohibited from interfering with your digestive system as well.

And commercial sexual transactions between consenting adults in the privacy of one's home? Surely that would be covered, too.

But these senators are not libertarians. They want a "general right" to privacy that protects only one activity.

We also learned that many of these lawmakers aren't eager to actually make laws. After all, if they would like the Constitution to include a "general right to privacy," or an "absolute right to die" (another non-existent constitutional right that Roberts was pressed to say he had spotted in the Constitution) they have the power to draft Constitutional amendments explicitly establishing such rights. Or, with less heavy lifting, they could pass federal laws establishing such rights, presuming only that such laws would pass constitutional muster.

But they don't want to do any of that. They want instead to appoint Supreme Court justices willing to take the Humpty Dumpty approach - to tell them and other Americans that the words of the Constitution mean exactly what the senators choose them "to mean - neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master--that's all."

Posted at 09:52 AM

LOUISIANA DHS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
there have been indictments.

Posted at 09:51 AM

WHAT CAN I SAY? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"Get Right" is on my IPOD for at least two obvious reasons.

Posted at 09:49 AM

Another PETA e-mail:
I am sure that you have received comments on your diatribe on PETA. I feel badly that you are so unfeeling for all of life and don't see that animals are the lowest of the low when it comes to care and concern when disasters happen. They suffer too. It is precisely why PETA feels that they must make their outragous statements. You are not, apparently, wired to what is so obvious. I don't know what your upbringing was, but I am suspect that you were not brought up in a home that valued all of life. If you were, then it just reflects back on your own mean spirit. How sad. One day this attitude will catch up with you.

Posted at 09:47 AM

It seems like only last week � because it was � that the usual Muslim interest groups were indignant over the outraged reaction of many Americans to the �Crescent of Embrace� � the memorial to the heroic victims of Flight 93 who were killed on 9/11 in the course of preventing their Islamo-fascist suicide hijackers from using the jet as a missile to attack a target in Washington. Critics had complained at the blatant and mind-bogglingly inappropriate Islamic symbolism of the design. But CAIR, for example, scoffed at the complaints, voiced by Rep. Tom Tancredo, among others, as "a cynical political ploy designed to gain national attention," and urged President Bush and other Republican leaders to repudiate them.

Evidently a �cynical political ploy� is in the eye of the beholder. Now comes word, from The Sun in Britain, that ice cream is being pulled from the menu at Burger King. It seems that the lid on the packaging, which rather obviously is suggestive of, well, the familiar swirl of ice cream atop a cone, has some Muslims upset � because they perceive a resemblance to the Arabic word for �Allah,� which resemblance they deem highly offensive.

An intimidated Burger King is pulling the ice cream until the packaging is redesigned. Meanwhile, Inayat Bunglawala � the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain and a prominent member of Prime Minister Tony Blair�s task force to �tackle extremism,� praised the �sensitive and prompt action to prevent any hurt being caused to the religious sensibilities of others." The religious sensibilities of others, if the others are not Muslims, have not historically been of much concern to Mr. Bunglawala.

Posted at 09:43 AM

WHO YA GONNA CALL? [Jonah Goldberg]
Pork busters! This seems like an entirely worthwhile project, no?

Posted at 09:41 AM


It's been released. It seems fairly sensible to me, but my extensive string of snitches, informants and latt�-swilling stool pigeons tells me its annoying many of the right people.

Posted at 09:36 AM

AVAST! [Jonah Goldberg]
Today is national Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Posted at 09:24 AM

IT BEGINS [Cosmo ]
Dog Shoots Man. I told you people opposable thumbs were overrated.

Posted at 09:23 AM

One reporter with Emmy egg on their face this morning is Washington Post TV writer Lisa DeMoraes, who was so sure that ABC's sleazy "Desperate Housewives" was going to win Best Comedy, there was almost no need to watch. (Oops. They gave the Emmy to "Everybody Loves Raymond.")
Tomorrow night, viewers will gather around their TV sets to watch ABC's campy drama series "Desperate Housewives" win the Primetime Emmy for best comedy series, and ABC's goofily muddled drama series "Lost" win the Emmy for best drama series. Has there ever been less suspense to the Primetime Emmy Awards competition?
Oh, there's suspense now. When will DeMoraes eat her crow sandwich?

Posted at 09:21 AM

The Washington Post Style section reports that the Lincoln Center hurricane benefit had some liberal speechifying it (making it fit the mold as a PBS broadcast). Danny Glover said the hurricane revealed America as a third world country. Harry Belafonte said the hurricane was a result of the corrupt structure of government. And Bill Cosby said the current government doesn't care about the people.

The next item after that: Michael Schiavo's got a book deal. He'll call the book "Terri: The Truth." (I doubt it will say "I finally shoved her into the afterlife and cashed in.") His co-author (or primary author), who feels Michael is misunderstood, was a PBS station executive in Chicago. More here.

Posted at 09:20 AM

$400,000 PER FAMILY [John J. Miller]
An excellent column by Steve Moore in the WSJ, on the GOP hurricane New Dealism:
When President Bush announced last Thursday that the feds would take a lead role in the reconstruction of New Orleans, he in effect established a new $200 billion federal line of credit. To put that $200 billion in perspective, we could give every one of the 500,000 families displaced by Katrina a check for $400,000, and they could each build a beach front home virtually anywhere in America. ... Both political parties are now willing and eager to spend tax dollars as if they were passing out goody-bags to grabby four-year-olds at a birthday party. The Democrats are already forging their 2006 and 2008 message: We will spend just as many trillions of dollars as Republicans, but we will spend them better than they do. After witnessing the first few Republican misappropriations for Hurricane Katrina, the Democrats may very well be right.

Posted at 06:17 AM

Sunday, September 18, 2005

PUNCH LINE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
It apparently wasn't a one-time deal for Mary Landrieu

Posted at 08:35 PM

An e-mail:
I really can't take anymore where-we-went/what-we-ate/who-was-silly/inside-cuteness about the trip. I like you K-Lo, but you're sounding like a 9th-grade girl on this one. Even people who are interested in the NRO crew as personalities aren't interested in this.

Haven't you ever been to a conference or graduation where everyone on the dais keeps telling you how connected they are to each other and how much fun this was to put together -- maddening because they are the only people who could possibly care about this info? Same thing.

Posted at 08:31 PM

works on the MoveOn crowd for Hill.

Posted at 05:07 PM

from TKS.

Posted at 04:31 PM


Kathryn -- Thank you for your enthusiasm about the effort to find common ground with the 42nd president after all that, you know, unpleasantness. Just for the record, Clinton had appeared earlier on "Meet the Press" and was asked about the war in Iraq. He said he believed the United States invaded prematurely and that it had hurt America's image in the world, but then added:

On on the other hand, Saddam is gone and 58 percent of those people voted. That's an even higher percentage of people than voted in America in 2004, when we were proud of our turnout and when nobody's life was at risk. So there's still a chance this will work. And if it does, there's still a chance it will be a net plus for the Middle East.

Posted at 04:02 PM

GOOD LUCK! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NRO Contributor Ned Rice will be at the Emmys tonight. He's part of a team nominated for best writing, comedy/variety for The Late, Late Show.CORRECTION: It was for Real Time with Bill Maher, which he used to work on.

Posted at 03:47 PM

MORE GERMANY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
"I'm in Berlin now at FDP HQ. Walking down the unter den linden and tiergarten all of Merkel's signs were defaced with black and white signs comparing Merkel to Bush and also saying in German "blood for oil""

Posted at 03:41 PM

KATRINA HITS BONN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I had missed this e-mail from a familiar source, who happens to be in Germany; he sent it on Thursday:
Just finished a heated debate with a California Democrat here in Germany re the hurricane.

She was angry that "we shipped out" their voters. I replied that "we" didn't ship out anyone and that she should go talk to the Democrat Mayor and Democrat Governor in charge.

Now here's the new wrinkle...

She disavowed Nagin and stated that he wasn't a real Democrat, was a former Republican and rich cable exec. So you see, Nagin was actually to blame because he's secretly a Republican!!! These people have gone crazy!

Posted at 03:33 PM

THANK YOU! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
To everyone who came to the fundraiser last night in Los Angeles. What wonderful people. None of whom helped our bizarre view of Hollywood as a town for hardworking conservatives. Thank you especially to the Pollons for use of their beautiful house!

Posted at 03:07 PM

OPERATION OFFSET [Andrew Stuttaford]
Some signs of commonsense from within the GOP? Good for Congressman Pence.

On the other hand we shouldn�t forget this from a week or so ago:

"I have to be a little pessimistic," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), among the conservatives who want to curb spending. "There is no real stomach for fiscal discipline right now." Flake said that at a recent closed-door meeting of House Republicans, he had tried to argue for paying for the relief with offsetting cuts in other federal programs, but was hooted down.�

Posted at 02:38 PM


While Angela Merkel was never going to be a Frau Thatcher, the prospects of a center-right win offered some hope of a turnaround in Germany.

These exit polls, therefore, do not look encouraging�


For excellent updates on the situation, go here.

Posted at 02:27 PM

TOLD YOU SO [Andrew Stuttaford]

From the Observer:

�The cost of the 2012 London Olympic is soaring amid growing fears that the final bill will be far higher than the original estimates. The Observer has obtained a letter from a senior civil servant to London mayor Ken Livingstone in which �1 billion of government money is pledged that ministers had not previously revealed would be forthcoming. The letter appears to contradict the government's insistence that 2012 would not involve any central funding and would be paid for entirely from lottery receipts and a levy on the capital's council taxpayers.�

Posted at 02:25 PM

ABORTION IN AMERICA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'm not sure I can finish reading this article:
Regina cried on the operating table.

Kori, 26, who was having her third abortion, asked to watch the procedure on the ultrasound monitor. "I wanted to see what it was like," she said. "It was O.K. to watch. Once you had your mind made up to do it, you just suck it up and go with it."

Posted at 02:21 PM

FRENCH FRY GUYS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The New York Times, on the other hand, isn't mature and sensible about Roberts--just like the loud Left men. (Was that redundant?)

Posted at 02:12 PM

I was wondering what you think of Tony Blair...

Posted at 02:07 PM

to the Emmys today. The captain is singing your song.

Posted at 02:07 PM

WHILE ROME BURNED [Andrew Stuttaford]

Former British foreign office minister Denis MacShane is not one of the good guys, but this (reported by the London Times ) is worth noting:

"Government policies failed to tackle Muslim extremism despite internal warnings that a �tougher political response� was required after the September 11 attacks, according to a former Foreign Office minister. Denis MacShane, who was in the post until May, has described how his attempts to push for a more hardline approach were rebuffed because of concerns that Muslims would be offended. Only after the recent London attacks have ministers, Muslim groups and officials �engaged in a higher gear�. �There wasn�t that sense of grip, of pulling together of departments,� said MacShane, who was directly involved in Britain�s policy response to the September 11 attacks. �Whitehall only moves if it is told in no uncertain terms, principally by the PM, �This is my priority, it is your priority�. You need very strong engagement by Downing Street.�

And, clearly, there wasn�t. Thanks Tony.
Posted at 02:03 PM

I WONDER IF IT'S TOO LATE [Kathryn "Don't Be Fooled by the Rocks That I Got" Lopez]
to score a seat at the Emmys tonight? I guess this isn't quite work like a Bronx Bombers game.

Hmmm...Warren used to work with Ellen....hmmm...Kathryn reaches for cell. You'll at least hear about any Emmy parties I crash.

Posted at 01:53 PM

The Washington Post endorses John Roberts for SCOTUS.

That's a much different message than Ralph Neas is sending to Senate Dems.

Posted at 01:45 PM

SPEAK FOR YOURSELF, MAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: Fifty-five percent of our respondents, Byron and Gene, said we should pull troops out of Iraq, start scaling down, if you will. Will there be pressure within the Republican Party, come the 2006 midterm elections, to proclaim victory and start withdrawing troops?

MR. YORK: You know, before Katrina happened, I was doing a story for National Review about where the Republicans, who had been in their districts over August, where they were on this. And they were-- they were pretty solid and they felt that the upcoming elections on October 15 were very important and that they should continue to support the president on this. So as far as any sort of peeling off of Republicans on that, I just haven't seen it. And I will align National Review with Bill Clinton on this. I think there is still the possibility of good things happening out of this.
Too strange bedfellows for Sunday morning!
Posted at 01:37 PM

I HAD NEVER BEEN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
to the TajMahoney in L.A. until this morning.The pictures I had seen never did it justice--it's just about the ugliest church I've ever been in. Bring on the Pizza Hut suburban churches! They're looking good it comparison. .

Posted at 01:30 PM

OH, TOTO [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here's some anti-smoking idiocy from Kansas:

�The city�s smoking ban never sleeps. Tiffany Hurter, a bartender at Conroy�s, found that out the hard way this week. Hurter became the city�s first nonbusiness owner or manager cited under the city�s workplace smoking ban early Wednesday. Police officers received a tip that the bar was serving drinks after the legal cut-off time of 2 a.m. on Wednesday. A police officer went to the bar, 3115 W. Sixth St., and found no drinking but discovered Hurter smoking a cigarette while talking with a fellow employee and a couple of other friends Hurter had agreed to give a ride. Hurter said she wasn�t aware she was breaking the law and said she didn�t think the ticket was justified. �From my understanding, this was put in to protect employees,� Hurter said. �I don�t understand if he was trying to protect me from myself or what.� Hurter said the one other employee in the establishment also was a smoker, who happened to not be smoking at the time.�

Tiffany, Tiffany, Tiffany, of course the law was designed to protect you from yourself. That�s the point. The politicians who pass these sort of laws believe that people are too dumb to decide these sort of matters for themselves, and given that people keep re-electing the arrogant so-and-so�s, perhaps they have a point�

Posted at 12:46 PM

A number of ways to interpret that...

Posted at 10:01 AM

Ramesh had chicken piccata for dinner.

Ramesh is going to find this annoying soon.

Posted at 04:27 AM

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