Can you stand more tragedy?

The Corner on National Review Online

I KNOW THAT EVEN A BROKEN CLOCK IS RIGHT TWICE A DAY, BUT… [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
that the NYTimes editorial today begins thus “George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday,” makes me want to run to confession for my jumping on the president unnecessarily and prematurely (all due respect to JPod).
Posted at 12:27 AM

PEGGY IS… [Rich Lowry]
mixed on Bush:

The political subtext: Does he understand that what has happened in our gulf is as important as what is happening in the other gulf? Does he know in his gut that the existence of looting, chaos and disease in a great American city, or cities, is a terrible blow that may have deep implications? It was bad luck that on the day it became clear a bad storm was a catastrophe he was giving a major Iraq speech, and bad planning that he arrived back at the White House cradling a yippy puppy. But his Rose Garden statement was solid. Yes, it was a laundry list, but the kind that that gives an impression of comprehensive government action. Having the cabinet there was good. His concern was obvious. But more was needed in terms of sending a U.S. military presence into New Orleans.

And Haley-esque on looters:

As for the tragic piggism that is taking place on the streets of New Orleans, it is not unbelievable but it is unforgivable, and I hope the looters are shot.


Posted at 12:26 AM

THE KATRINA HEARINGS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the Washington Post Thursday:

Congress, when it returns, should rise above the blame game and instead probe the state of the nation’s preparation for handling major natural catastrophes, particularly those that threaten crucual regions of the country.


Posted at 12:22 AM

AGAINST RECRIMINATION [Rich Lowry]
That’s the point of this WSJ edit. It also has this:

Yet the facts are these. Global warming cannot credibly account for Katrina’s power: The Gulf Coast has been hit by powerful hurricanes from time immemorial; in 1900, 8,000 people perished in a category 4 storm in Galveston, Texas. The energy bill just signed by President Bush contains half a billion dollars in coastal restoration funds for Louisiana alone. The Army Corps’ much-maligned levees keep New Orleans safe from spring flooding, and its planned $700 million, 72-mile Morganza-to-the-Gulf of Mexico levee might have held Katrina at bay, were it not still at least a decade from completion.


Posted at 12:17 AM

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

MORE FROM THAT AP LOOTING STORY [Rich Lowry]

The number of officers called off the search-and-rescue mission amounts to virtually the entire police force in New Orleans.

Amid the turmoil Wednesday, thieves commandeered a forklift and used it to push up the storm shutters and break the glass of a pharmacy. The crowd stormed the store, carrying out so much ice, water and food that it dropped from their arms as they ran. The street was littered with packages of ramen noodles and other items.

Looters also chased down a state police truck full of food. The New Orleans police chief ran off looters while city officials themselves were commandeering equipment from a looted Office Depot. During a state of emergency, authorities have broad powers to take private supplies and buildings for their use.

Managers at a nursing home were prepared to cope with the power outages and had enough food for days, but then the looting began. The home’s bus driver was forced to surrender the vehicle to carjackers.

Bands of people drove by the nursing home, shouting to residents, “Get out!” Eighty residents, most of them in wheelchairs, were being evacuated to other nursing homes in the state.

“We had enough food for 10 days,” said Peggy Hoffman, the home’s executive director. “Now we’ll have to equip our department heads with guns and teach them how to shoot.”


Posted at 11:31 PM

NEW ORLEANS COPS ORDERED TO STOP LOOTERS [Rich Lowry]
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Mayor Ray Nagin ordered 1,500 police officers to leave their search-and-rescue mission Wednesday night and return to the streets to stop looting that has turned increasingly hostile as the city plunges deeper into chaos.

Posted at 11:25 PM

A PRIMER ON NO… [Rich Lowry]
…and how it was built in Slate: “in its present condition, the city faces two truths: First, even today the levees are not impregnable. And second, the higher the defenses are built, the more difficult it becomes to remove water from New Orleans once it finds a way inside.”

Posted at 11:16 PM

ASKED BY AARON BROWN… [Rich Lowry]
…whether it was a mistake not to have National Guard troops providing for law and order in NO, FEMA head Michael Brown basically said maybe, but that it’s something that should be evaluated after all this is over. And that the first priority has been to save lives.

Posted at 10:41 PM

DR. BADEN… [Rich Lowry]
…just said on Fox there may be 3,000 dead–don’t know where he got that from…

Posted at 10:30 PM

IF YOU LIKED… [Rich Lowry]
…the 9/11 Commission hearings, just wait until the FEMA hearings we’re going to have over this…

Posted at 10:12 PM

JEFF GOLDBLATT… [Rich Lowry]
…just said, if I heard correctly, that police are leaving the city for their own safety…

Posted at 10:08 PM

DETAILS OF WHAT THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS IS DOING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
are here.

Posted at 10:08 PM

MAYBE I’M GOING TO ANOTHER EXTREME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
but I want to believe FEMA and NO and some others are more together than they’re looking on Fox News. I’m sure there be much necessary Monday Morning Quarterbacking to do. But right now might not be the time, especially if we don’t have the whole picture–if anyone does, it’s probably a small group, and they’re directing the efforts right now as best they can–maybe better than it looks. Or so I hope.

Posted at 10:06 PM

FROM ONE MURDOCHIAN TO ANOTHER [JPod]
Some people are going to go nuts when I say this because a) I’m a Fox News contributor and b) I work for the same company, but I really mean this: I think Shepherd Smith may go down in the annals of television history because of his astounding work this week as an anchor and descriptive reporter.

Posted at 09:59 PM

CHERTOFF ET. AL. [JPod]
I don’t get any of it, to tell you the truth, Kathryn. I don’t get why FEMA is evidently so unprepared and why, after 9/11, there appears to be no extant plan in the federal government for dealing with law and order in a city in a state of catastrophic meltodown. The problem is that when a crisis hits, people have to react immediately, but things seem to have moved in weird slow motion yesterday and today. It’s as though the feds expect every city and locality to act with the efficicency of New York and D.C. on 9/11, and that’s simply not the right way to be thinking.

Posted at 09:54 PM

SHEP A LITTLE EARLIER… [Rich Lowry]
…had a crushingly stark description of what might have happened to many people in New Orleans: they weather the storm and go outside and everything seems fine; but unless they have transitor radios they have no access to information so they don’t know the levees have been breached; suddenly there’s water in their house; if it’s a single story house they go into the attic as the water rises; if the water keeps rising, they run out of room.

Posted at 09:52 PM

L.A. TERROR PLOT [Mark Krikorian]
This what the Attorney General announced earlier today: A conspiracy including the leader of a Muslim prison gang to attack National Guard sites and synagogues in L.A.

Posted at 09:49 PM

RE: NO MEA CULPA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I’m shocked, JPod! Shocked! I thought you’d join my backtrack bandwagon! It might have been a bad speech in the history of American political speeches, but it might have been a fine one given the circumstances. Practical. I think for now there are other things to worry about. (I remain curious/skeptical about the Chertoff thing, but maybe that will make sense in a day or two, too. Though I really have no idea)

Posted at 09:48 PM

NO MEA CULPA FROM ME [JPod]
A bad speech is a bad speech.

Posted at 09:34 PM

PRESIDENTIAL PRESENCE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
On CNN.Com, from a CNN reporter:

We did see tree removal trucks, electric trucks. So help is beginning to come in. We even saw, and this was a very strong image, Air Force One, or what we believed was Air Force One.

That was a powerful image to us because we’ve been out of communication, unaware really of what’s happening in the outside world. This was a sign that you’ve heard, that you’ve heard and listened.


Posted at 09:28 PM

MEA CULPA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Another good friend reminds me of how smart NRO readers are. And I think the bulk of you–if my inbox is any indication–are right. I’m with Mr. “eminently sensible” after more conversations, a few deep breaths, a little time away from the coverage. Most people in the Katrina-ravaged parts of the country didn’t even see President Bush earlier and all they care about right now is if that they are alive and where they can go from here. Even articulate in-command assurances from a president might not beat a little laundry listing–this is what we’re doing. This is what others can do to help. I probably still wish he made some grand statement about looting with all the excuse-making going around, but you know what? A lot of people are hard at work doing their jobs getting people found and fed and all the important things–including not just the government but many private organizations. And, you know what else? They’ll be another speech. I bet we get what the pundits were hoping for in that. Meanwhile, how much does what the pundits were looking for in his little speech really matter to people who are living with relatives in another state, having no idea if they have anything to eventually return to? Or someone whose lost a loved one? Someone whose life is suddenly in turmoil? Someone who probably should have left town but thought they could ride out the storm, and well, obviously couldn’t?

So, anyway, I know some others here will disagree, but I’m pretty sure I was wrong. I jumped too quickly and did so needlessly.
Posted at 09:24 PM

NEW ORLEANS [Kathryn]
is now under martial law.

Posted at 08:59 PM

OKAY, STRIKE TWO [Jonah Goldberg]

In a real sense the poor do have it worse, as a general proposition. You can’t watch these images and really conclude otherwise. I do think that I am entirely right about the nature of suffering in that it cannot be measured by a simple economic metric. For example, contrary to the grief I give Rich, I make a comfortable living. I don’t think my grief would have been 1/1,000th less had I made ten times as much when my father died. And I don’t think it would have been 1/1,000th more if I made half as much. That was how I saw it. To me measuring such things by an economic calculus seems as grotesque as some people seem to think it is not to.

But, while watching this footage of these poor people with absolutely no place to go and with the prospects of the city being closed for months it’s pretty obvious — as I said — the hardships affecting the poor become more pronounced and disproportionate. Your heart really does have to go out to these poor souls. I still don’t think grief and misery can be measured economically, but as this disaster stretches out over time, it seems impossible to deny that the grief and misery will be extended longer the further down the economic ladder you go. I sympathize for more for a middle class family which has lost everything it worked for than I do for some thug having a grand time smashing a jewelry shop window. But looking at these poor women carrying their kids aimlessly through the muck with no place to go, you have to concede their lot would be much better with the means to find a dry bed at the end of the day.


Posted at 08:40 PM

BUT SERIOUSLY FOLKS [Rick Brookhiser]
This is one of those times that makes us believe, with essayist Jim Holt, in a god who is 100 percent malign but only 80 percent effective.

We will all suffer and die. Sometimes we suffer and die in slews. The best thing is to do our jobs, and keep quiet, unless someone knows a good song.
Posted at 08:34 PM

DISASTER [Rick Brookhiser]
Theodore Roosevelt was president during the hurricane that destroyed Galveston, TX. and killed many thousands. I cannot recall his reaction to it, though I have a vivid impression of him dealing with a coal strike, and a lynching in Wilmington, Del. What did he do or say?

Posted at 08:33 PM

OH THE HUMANITY [Rick Brookhiser]
All the relatives of a dear friend of mine–mother, brother, nieces, assorted families–lived in St. Bernard’s Parish, one of the hardest hit New Orleans suburbs. They’re in Baton Rouge, all ten of them (plus five friends) in an emergency evacuation apartment. The brother’s flooded house was totally destroyed by a post-hurricane tornado, adding insult and injury to injury. And so many are so much worse off.

Posted at 08:29 PM

CHRIS AND ANDREA’S LIBERAL SPEECHES [Tim Graham]
NewsBusters has the transcript of the MSNBC outbursts people have been buzzing about from 4:40 this afternoon, what with Chris Matthews pointing out that despite talk about shrinking government, hurricanes show the need for a big federal establishment, while Andrea Mitchell has her own partisan interpretation of FEMA performance: stunk under Bush I, reformed brilliantly under Clinton, stinks again under Bush II.

Posted at
08:28 PM

ON O’REILLY [Rich Lowry]
A fox radio reporter described driving out of NO. It sounded like something out of “War of the Worlds.” People were banging on the car and she feared people were going to try to commander it.

Posted at 08:25 PM

JINX! [JPod]
Rich has to buy me a coke!

Posted at 08:05 PM

ON FOX JUST NOW [Rich Lowry]
Jeff Goldblatt said he heard a story about a band having commandered a postal delivery truck and riding around with assault rifles, robbing people.

Posted at 08:01 PM

PEOPLE ON THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS… [JPod]
…are telling Jeff Goldblatt of Fox News that they don’t want to go to the Astrodome because the experience in the Superdome was so horrendous. He’s also reporting about the Wild West craziness, people driving around with AK-47s shooting at police officers, looting…

Posted at 07:58 PM

“REFUGEES” [Rich Lowry]
It’s so odd to hear that word applied to anyone in America.

Posted at 07:47 PM

ONE LAST BLAST [Rich Lowry]
I know people are sick of this, but one more e-mail:

A lot of Bush fans are frankly aghast at how tone-deaf the president is at this moment. They just showed clips of New Orleans prisoners sitting in a huge group, some of them handcuffed together with plastic cuffs with flood water lapping at their feet. They have been there for two days. Prisoners have their shirts pulled over their noses because the stench is too overwhelming.

Fox News is the only news crew along a particular stretch of highway downtown. Hundreds of people are standing around, wanting to know where they should go to get water and food. They have not had either for days. Shep Smith showed a 3-year-old boy who was sitting in his mother’s lap. He was sick and barely conscious. Dehydrated. Hungry. Not a single authority figure was anywhere around. Shep had to turn his interview with a state police spokeswoman into a plea to her to send help to his location for those poor people.

The scenes I’m seeing on Fox are things you’d think you’d only see in Somalia or Bangladesh. This is the United States of America. We can’t get a single truck full of water to these people? We can’t get a single helicopter to fly over and drop supplies? A cop car and a military truck roll up from the distance, giving the suffering people hope. Do they stop as the desperate wave? No. They drive through. They can’t even stop to tell them where they should go to get any life-saving water or food.

I am starting to feel a mixture of outrage and shame…


Posted at 07:32 PM

OKAY, ONE MORE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a friend who is an unabashed Bush fan and also eminently sensible:

I have to chime in on this. I think everyone is overreacting to the President’s speech. Remember the first debate. Everyone thought the President sucked but all anyone remembered later was ”global test.” I don’t think he sounded defeatist at all. My e-mails from my cousins who are stranded in Houston don’t even mention the President. All they care about is when can they go home and will they have a house. The President laid out the course ahead in his speech and only time will tell how this will turn out.

He adds by way of a P.S.: “In the meantime John Bolton is kicking some serious butt at the UN.”
Posted at 07:27 PM

CALL THE COAST GUARD [Rod Dreher]
A California Corner reader who works with emergency services asks that this be passed on:

>State OES has learned that trapped victims on the Gulf Coast are calling family, friends, loved-ones, or anyone they can get a call out to in California asking for someone to rescue them. These requests need to go immediately to the US Coast Guard’s Rescue Line at 800-323-7233 and immediate assistance will be sent.

Please distribute this information as widely as possible.

>
Posted at 07:23 PM

REPUBLICANS ARE TO BLAME FOR KATRINA DEVASTATION WATCH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Another HBomber blames Reagan.

Posted at 07:20 PM

KATRINA BLAME [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Sid Blumenthal blames Bush

Posted at 07:17 PM

HERE’S THE THING [Rod Dreher]
Here’s why Bush’s reaction (so far) has been inadequate. I watched the CBS Evening News just now. They broadcast a jaw-dropping report from refugee encampments atop the interstates in New Orleans. Folks, it was one of the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever seen. I can hardly believe this is our country. There were plenty of desperate people stuck there under the boiling sun, with no food, no water, no nothing — including mothers with babies. There was an elderly woman sitting on the curb next to the covered body of her husband, who died waiting to be rescued. She said that she’d flagged down a passing cop to ask for help, and all he could tell her was to move the body of her husband of 53 years out of the way, so the smell of his decomposition didn’t bother people. CBS showed the covered corpse of a man the refugees said jumped from the interstate to his death in despair. These people have NOTHING, and they’re growing desperate. The human drama playing out in Louisiana now beggars description. We don’t need mere emoting — the hapless Gov. Blanco shows how useless that is. But we do need our president to make an emotional connection of some sort with his suffering countrymen. You can be tough, competent AND emotional. It’s called Giuliani 101.

Posted at 07:15 PM

GAS LINES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I am getting plenty of these:

I am curious if the NRO staff/crowd are having gas problems in your respective areas – perhaps an inquiry post? I am preparing to leave for vacation to the Outer Banks (currently in Charlotte, NC) and went up to fill up before leaving. It is an hour plus wait to fill up and the price increased .25 since yesterday afternoon… traffic on our main road is blocked because of the lines forming at the service stations. A friend in Roanoke, VA-area says two gas stations are only serving local customers and will be shutting down once their current supply has been depleted. Is this happening elsewhere in the country?

ME: On his radio show tonight, Mark Levin said “Don’t panic” about gas and there won’t be a shortage. Listen to the wise man.
Posted at 07:06 PM

THE POINT IS NOT… [JPod]
…that Bush should have emoted. The point is that he sounded defeatist. And that’s what he cannot be now — what we, as a nation, cannot be now.

Posted at 06:44 PM

I’LL CUT IT WITH THE E-MAILS NOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
But two more, different takes:

I think all of the NRO Corner personnel who have panned Bush’s speech have two things in common: (1) None of you needs rescuing, food, water, shelter or anything else contained in a laundry list, and (2) you’ve all been sitting around watching television for 3 days and needed your president to make you feel better. Well let us comfort you, we have jobs, the kind that prevent week long television binges no matter the tragedy, and, as people with jobs, we appreciate a president doing his, not pretending to do a bereavement counselor’s.

Here’s the other e-mail:

Tell the second one, nothing is pleasant about this.

And tell the other one what they probably want is good “Results”, right now the “Results” are a city underwater. Good “Results” come from good politics. If Bush can handle the politics of this situation the results will be good, if he can’t rally the country correctly the “Results” will be poor.

I think you all have done a great job today at the corner. You’ve mixed a large scale view with personal views, first hand accounts with analysis and managed to throw in a couple of other stories that still matter.


Posted at 06:37 PM

NEW ORLEANS: PROBABLY NOT IRRELEVANT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From an August AP story on high crime rates there:

For police, recruitment is a continuing problem. The department has a poor image in the community, with allegations of brutality and corruption dating back decades. The city now has 3.14 officers per 1,000 residents — less than half the rate in Washington, D.C.


Posted at 06:33 PM

ONE MORE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Just thought I’d opine, and say that as a Louisianian watching this mess unfold from Baton Rouge, which is 80 miles away and swollen to double its size with refugees, you guys are way off base griping about Bush’s performance.

He came in with a laundry list of things he’s doing RIGHT NOW, all of which appear to be the right steps. Action is more important than words.

If we’re looking for emotion out of our leaders, we can look no further than Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, our Cub Scout Mom governor who has come across as nothing short of a blithering, blubbering idiot throughout the entire affair. From Bush, I want sane, competent leadership backed up by an enormous amount of cash and resources. Style points are not applicable.


Posted at 06:25 PM

MORE E-MAIL: [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

You know what we all dislike? People who worry about how things look when the most important thing is what is getting done. This is unprecedented natural disaster and we will do what we can and save everyone we can. We will make mistakes but we will also tackle this.

But listening to the posts at The Corner on how this a looks politically is as pleasant as reading Kos rant about how this looks politically. This we can totally do without.


Posted at 06:22 PM

PLEASE DONT MISUNDERSTAND [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mail:

“This is not the Right-apologizing-for-Bush Corner.”

Well you all should be very proud of yourselves. Results used to matter to Conservatives. Now all you want is a Weak kneaded guy with tears in his eyes. I will be happy with results.

Spare the tears, there’s enough water down south already! Don’t you think?

ME:I am not looking for a weepy president. I want him to be the reassuring leader. I want more Barbour than Blanco.
Posted at 06:19 PM

AND CANADA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
offers help.

Posted at 06:06 PM

THE SCENE FROM LSU [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a student there:

At the same time, families and people strolled in. Mothers were giving birth in the locker rooms. The auxiliary gym “Dungeon” was being used as a morgue. I couldn’t take myself down there to see it.

I worked from 8 p.m., until 2:45 a.m. Before I left, three more buses rolled in and they were almost out of room. People were standing outside. The smells, the sights were hard to take.

A man lying down on a cot asked me to come see him.

He said, “I just need someone to talk to, to tell my story because I have nobody and nothing left.”

He turned out to be a retired military veteran. His story was what everybody was saying. He thought he survived the worst, woke up this morning and the levees broke. Within minutes water rushed into his house.

He climbed to the attic, smashed his way through the roof and sat there for hours. He was completely sunburned and exhausted. Nearly 12 hours later a chopper rescued him and here he was.

We finished the night hauling boxes of body bags and more were on the way. As we left, a man was strolled in on a stretcher and scarily enough he suffered gunshots. The paramedic said he was shot several times because a looter or a convict needed his boat and he wouldn’t give it to him.


Posted at 06:05 PM

WELL, IT’S SAFE TO SAY, JPOD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is not the Right-apologizing-for-Bush Corner.

Posted at 06:03 PM

RE: THE BUSH SPEECH [Rod Dreher]
Well, let me join the dogpile. The more I think about that miserable laundry-list speech of his, the madder it makes me. I’ve been watching cable news and WWL’s online stream for the past few days, and Bush’s speech was as canned and unrealistic as if it had been phoned in from Mars. All day long, stories of incredible suffering, armed mobs of looters roaming the streets, babies and their mothers in desperate conditions … and the president rattles off a policy speech in which he stops to thank a Texas county executive? Pod’s right: the continued viability of his presidency depends on how he handles this thing. It will take nothing for the “Bush doesn’t care” meme to circulate through the culture, especially as desperate Louisiana people start to grumble about all the Louisiana National Guardsmen serving over in Iraq instead of helping their own families and neighbors who have nothing.

Posted at 06:00 PM

THE FEDS [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader (one of many):

Jonah,

I haven’t written in so long because I so often agree
or at least closely so, BUT could you clarify your
justification (and Rich & Rod’s) on sending in the
feds to New Orleans?

Isn’t this disaster the perfect example of why the
feds should be so limited rather than being a
“mother-of-all-exceptions”? How much of the $26
Billion should be subsidized by DC? Where would the
aid stop? Troops to maintain order while under marshal
law? Then what? Water, food, clothing, temp housing,
job locator’s, low rate personal loans?

And why federal troops? Isn’t this sort of event the
very reason (among others) for the existence of the LA
National Guard? The feds are already going to be all
over this event like white on rice in the short term
which most assuredly will turn into long term aid and
dollars. Why encourage the idea?

And long term, shouldn’t economic forces drive the
rebuild effort and investment? Why not rebuild if it’s
on the taxpayers dime? If insurance companies and
individuals have to assess the risk and rewards of
rebuilding using their own money won’t they make
better decisions about how it is done and to what
extent, if at all?

Me confused. If I missed a post in the Corner which
explains all this or I misunderstood please forgive me
and discard this rant.

All the Best,

[Name withheld]

Me: Hey, I agree that moral hazard’s a real problem and I’m totally game to have a serious debate about the tab the federal government should or should not pick up down the road. But it seems clear that Lousiana isn’t up to the task. This is quickly deteriorating into a humanitarian crisis of fairly enormous proportions. The looting cannot be contained. CNN reports indicate that the local police cannot communicate with each other. The governor is a hack out of her depth by all accounts. There are lots of things government isn’t supposed to do. But I don’t think letting a city revert to a state of nature, red in tooth and claw, while decent people die falls into the necessary costs of federalism. It’s entirely possible that things aren’t as bad as all that. But that’s how it appears, and that appearance alone is unacceptable. But, yeah, sure. Let’s have a healthy discussion about insuring people in flood zones and whatnot once order has been restored.


Posted at 05:58 PM

BUT ANDY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Doesn’t Chertoff already have a more than fulltime job? Don’t we have others who can step up to the plate? Of course we do.

Posted at 05:58 PM

SUBJECT: EMOTING [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

Your previous emailer is dead wrong about Bush. Recall all the stories of him comforting the victims of 9-11, and families of soldiers, etc. The trouble with Bush is, I think, he can’t fake his emotion, and he doesn’t truly get emotion until he’s dealt with things personally. Recall his poor performance soon after 9-11. Once he was there, on the ground, he had both the “real sense of being in charge” you want, and the great emotion your emailer wants. I expect Bush to come around this time, too.


Posted at 05:57 PM

ON CNN [Rich Lowry ]
Reporter: Police in NO are “in chaos.” Organization “completely broken down.” Siphoning gas from cars to have gas to run on. Spoke to an officer who is “very, very afraid.”

Posted at 05:55 PM

A DIFFERENT REAX [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mail:

…I have to say, as someone who has lived through several hurricanes here in Florida, where many have died, lives and homes ruined and destroyed, and misery, I don’t want to hear the President “emote” with us. We don’t care about how the President, the Governor, or the Mayor “feels” about the event. When you are wet, without a roof over your head, and without a paycheck, you want to hear a laundry list of things that are being done.

…you guys kvetching about how you hated this speech is meaningless to the people on the ground. They want the laundry list, they want to know that MRE’s are coming, tents and cots, water, where the emergency centers are. …”


Posted at 05:55 PM

RE: CHERTOFF [Andy McCarthy]
Rich, I’m sympathetic to your impulse, but I think right now the best thing the admin could do is get Chertoff out front. They look flat-footed. Mike looks like he’s going a mile a minute in the rare moments when he’s just sitting there. He’s smart, organized, tireless and he doesn’t need a script – in much the way Rudy never needed a script – to explain convincingly how everything that can be done is being done (assuming, one prays, that that is true). If they want not only to get a grip but look like they’re getting a grip, he’s what the doctor ordered.

Posted at 05:53 PM

GLENN REYNOLDS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
has a relief-giving list. Hugh Hewitt has some more religious-group links.

Posted at 05:52 PM

SUBJECT: GUARD TROOPS ARE ON THE WAY… [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

I don’t know why Bush didn’t mention this, but…

4:30 P.M. – WASHINGTON (AP): An additional 10,000 National Guard troops from across the country began pouring into the Gulf Coast region Wednesday, adding new soldiers and airmen to shore up security, rescue and relief operations in the region ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The new units brought the number of troops dedicated to the effort to more than 28,000, in what may be the largest military response to a national disaster.

About one-third of the 21,000 National Guard troops — who were descending on the Gulf Coast from across the country — will be used for security, to prevent looting, enforce curfews and enhance local law and order, said Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, commander of U.S. National Guard forces.


Posted at 05:51 PM

JOHN BREAX [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
on Hannity’s radio show just suggested the Clinton-Bush ex-prez team head to NO.

Posted at 05:50 PM

NOBODY’S A BIGGER BUSH CHEERLEADER THAN I… [JPod]
…but everybody on the Right better wise up and fast. Bush blew this first one big time, and needs to be prodded to improve, not apologized for. Don’t defend him just because you know liberals are going to attack, and don’t come up with bizarro theories about how he’s a man of action not reflection etc. etc. He emoted plenty around 9/11. Look, it’s not too much to say that the continued viability of his presidency resides in how he and the administration respond in the next week.

Posted at 05:49 PM

BUSH CONT’D [Jonah Goldberg]

I gotta agree. This is not the usual post-hurricane scrambling for FEMA patronage and post-hoc insurance coverage. Fair or not, accurate or not, the normal rules really don’t seem to apply here. That is a political reality and in all probability every other kind of reality. You’d think the tsunami experience would have taught him that playing catch-up is just as expensive financially, but vastly more expensive politically. Moreover, it’s the right thing to do: Send in the cavalry.


Posted at 05:48 PM

SUBJECT: REPUBLICANS ARE LOUSY AT EMOTING [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

Face it, the left is the party of the heart, and the right is the party of the intellect.
Reagan was the only conservative who could emote and pull it off. GWB cannot, unless of course he’s PO’d. If you want an emoter, look left.

ME: Emoting would be good. But a real sense of being in charge and getting it would have been even better.
Posted at 05:44 PM

THE SCENE OUTSIDE THE SUPERDOME… [Rich Lowry ]
…on CNN now–what misery…

Posted at 05:37 PM

BUSH [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail from a plugged-in observer:

Rich,
This is an EXTREMELY disappointing speech. Doesn’t he realize that more people may have died from this storm than died on September 11? I don’t expect him to say he’s gonna get Katrina “dead or alive” for what she’s done to America. But for crying out loud, can he put off the laundry list of all the things his wonderful bureaucracy has done so far until the end of the speech and begin by addressing the pain we all feel as this tragedy is unfolding in slow-motion on live TV? We’re talking death on a massive scale, and within 2 minutes he’s thanking Texas for housing refugees (way to perpetuate that “I’m all about Texas” stereotype).

And don’t get me started about how the first image of Bush coming back to Washington as thousands have died in a tragedy was him walking down the stairs of Air Force One with Barney tucked under his arm…

I love President Bush, but that was a pathetic performance and I agree with what Byron wrote about his vacation. And I’m with you: Bring in the troops. Lead! Don’t tell me that the federal government will be working “with” state and local governments. Has he watched how incompetent Blanco is?


Posted at 05:34 PM

MORE OFFERS OF ASSISTANCE [Iain Murray]
By Saudi Arabia (!) and Canada. Chavez in Venezuela claims to have offered help but the State Department denies it has received any such offer.

Posted at 05:32 PM

SUBJECT: NO, YOU’RE NOT….. [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

…simplistic. Right now, the entire country is watching a great American city collapsing into hopeless devastation, and if there IS a Federal response going on it is barely visible. Government has got to move here….


Posted at 05:32 PM

BOY… [JPod]
…what a lousy speech. He’d better return to the subject later in the week and take the full measure of this event.

Posted at 05:31 PM

SUBJECT: MSM SPECULATION IS DANGEROUS [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

The doomsday speculations being broadcast with breathless eagerness by the MSM, especially CNN, are irresponsible and dangerous.

Just now on CNN, Jack Cafferty took the New Orleans mayor’s speculation about `thousands killed’ as fact, using it to build into a long riff of nothing but doom and gloom….

ME: Yes, let’s hope and pray the mayor is wrong. Remember, the initial 9/11 death count was high.
Posted at 05:31 PM

W [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I found the Bush speech disappointing too, Rich. No doubt the bureacracy is at work but…I think we all already assumed as much. He could have highlighted some great stories of human endurance. Bucked folks up. People down there are not that interested that he flew over and saw some devastation from the comfort of Air Force One.

Posted at 05:30 PM

TOM RIDGE [ Kathryn ]
Maybe he can give us a color-code.

Sorry.
Posted at 05:30 PM

OVERALL IMPRESSION OF BUSH [Rich Lowry ]
Kind of a fizzle. I’m not sure exactly what else he could do with the speech, but somehow didn’t seem that engaged….

Posted at 05:27 PM

OR HOW ABOUT TOM RIDGE? [Rich Lowry ]
He knows this stuff…

Posted at 05:24 PM

MAYBE I’M SIMPLISTIC… [Rich Lowry ]
…but I think anything short of people seeing National Guard troops on the streets of NO on the evening news tonight, helping restore order, falls short….

Posted at 05:21 PM

RE: STAMPEDE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Of course, the mere fact IraqtheModel can criticize the government online is a positive change in Iraq, even in the midst of tragedy and chaos.

Posted at 05:20 PM

RE: CHERTOFF [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Sounds like a job for Giuliani.

Posted at 05:19 PM

CHERTOFF [Rich Lowry ]
Shouldn’t he stay on the terrorist threat, and someone else handle the NO disaster relief?

Posted at 05:17 PM

“THIS RECOVERY WILL TAKE YEARS.” [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The president, now.

Posted at 05:17 PM

RE: RE: SHEEHAN [Cliff May]
I’m still getting emails on my open letter to Cindy Sheehan.

One of the most sensible – and moving – came today from a woman who said she had “great sympathy” for Sheehan but thought she was receiving “bad advice. I can not believe her son would back any of what she is doing.”

She added:

We forget so quickly how horrible it was that morning to wake up and see the planes crash into the towers, see people jumping out of the towers, and watching them fall with fire fighters, workers and policemen inside. Yes we let them bomb the trade center before and did nothing, we let blow up a ship and did nothing, we let them blow up embassies and kill American’s in many different ways. We pretty much have been very passive. On 9-11 most of America was behind Pres. Bush when he said he was going after Terrorism, everyone was fired up. Does it have to happen again to pull us all together? God I hope not.

She then went on to tell me about a Sheehan supporter in Columbia, MO who put 1800 crosses on his lawn as a protest against the war. At the very front was a cross with “Pfc. Jesse Givens” on it. “It showed up very good on the front page of the paper,” she said.

It wasn’t easy to get that man to take down that cross down but she and other members of her family did it. They did it because Pfc. Jesse Givens was her son. He died in Iraq on May 1, 2003.

“It is horrible to see your child’s name being used for a cause such as Cindy Sheehan’s,” Connie Givens wrote me. “God bless all of our troops over there still fighting and let’s support them not Cindy.”
Posted at 05:15 PM

STAMPEDE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Heartbreaking. There is something so American-sounding in this IraqtheModel response though: “The government is to blame for a large deal of the incident as they should have arranged sufficient safe pathways for the passage of the crowds especially that such ceremony had been practiced by Iraqis for so many years.”

Posted at 05:08 PM

FROM THAT PRISON-RIOT STORY [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
“A woman interviewed by WBRZ said her son, a deputy at the prison whose family is among the hostages, told her that many of the prisoners have fashioned homemade weapons. Her son had brought his family there hoping they would be safe during the storm.”

Even in desperation, would you do that?
Posted at 05:06 PM

1,000 DEAD IN BAGHDAD [Rich Lowry ]
In a stampede. Awful news.

Posted at 05:00 PM

“THE NATION’S DEADLIEST NATURAL DISASTER… [Rich Lowry ]
…since at least the 1906 San Francisco earthquake,” according to the AP.

Posted at 04:57 PM

THE FEDS [Jonah Goldberg]

From a Navy guy:

Good Afternoon Jonah, The US Navy is sending several ships to help with hurricane victims. I imagine this will go largely unreported as were Navy’s efforts for tsunami relief. Go to http://www.navy.mil to see the list of ships.


Posted at 04:53 PM

SUBJECT: SPENDING ON IRAQ VS. NEW ORLEANS LEVEES [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

Please point out that the Army Corps of Engineers is one of the most historically self-serving, wasteful, and self-aggrandizing agencies in the entire federal government. This is the same agency that insisted the egregious $10 billion-plus Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway was an essential project, and the same agency that is responsible for building the Mississippi River levees that wash all the silt from the river into the Gulf of Mexico rather than depositing it in the Delta, where it would have absorbed much of the drainage from New Orleans. If we let the Corps complete all the projects it has said were essential over the years, the U.S. would be bankrupt. Thank God President Bush had the temerity to rein in this out of control agency.


Posted at 04:50 PM

SUBJECT: LEVEES, BUSH AND LOOTING [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

Dear Mr. Lowry,
I read last month John Barry’s “Rising Tide” about the 1927 flood of the Mississippi that devastated Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. That does not make me any sort of expert, but Barry makes it clear that there is only so much man can do and that all attempts to control nature has their costs. New Orleans will always at risk of flooding, no matter how much taxpayer money we spend on building levees higher and higher.

Barry claims that the 1927 flood ended New Orleans’ role as the leading city of the South (although the city itself was not flooded) and concludes with the observation that the Mississippi will over time change course to the west, ending New Orleans’ capabability as a seaport. For decades we’ve been fighting this change in river. Maybe before the US taxpayer begins paying for the rebuilding of New Orleans, we ought to re-consider our policies about levees and the Mississippi.

One final point. In 1906, the very first order Mayor Schmitz of San Francisco issued after the earthquake was that all policemen and soldiers were to kill immediately anyone spotted looting…


Posted at 04:49 PM

“THE MISERY IS SPREADING” [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mail:

I’m e-mailing you from a Mississippi newspaper, where I’m a reporter, that’s about five and a half hours from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You would think we’re far removed from the destruction, but we’re not.

Our classified ad rep has a 70-year-old great aunt in Biloxi, and the aunt is stranded and waiting for help. She said they walked outside their home to find help but turned around when they saw dead bodies.

One of our reporters interviewed evacuees at the Red Cross shelter, asking what they need, and they all answered “temporary work.”

A woman from Louisiana said her family feels like “gypsies” because they can only wander from place to place, not knowing what to do. “We don’t have anything,” she said.

Our town’s population is about 8,000 people, and evacuees from the coast number between 800 to 900 right now. That number will climb to 1,000 by the end of the week when the Red Cross shelter here reaches its maximum capacity of 200. A volunteer said the hotels are kicking out people because they’re running out of money, and those people don’t have anywhere else to go.

And now there are rumors of gas shortages.

Our hearts are broken here, and we’re hundreds of miles from the hellhole on the coast.

It’s getting worse here, not better, and the misery is spreading.


Posted at 04:48 PM

SUBJECT: WHEN THE LEVEE CANARD BREAKS [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

New Orleans has been susceptible to flooding since its founding. And, too, flood prevention has been underfunded — for decades. Trying to pin this on the ACOE and the Bush administration is some dedicated bowdlerizing.

From 2001.


Posted at 04:47 PM

SUBJECT: WHO’S RESPONSIBLE? [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

Rich,
On “Levees And Bush”:
See this

…at Colby Cosh’s place. Scroll down that item to his update on “Ms. Zerbisias”. Quoth Cosh: “There’s plenty in the column about the Bush administration’s contempt for the environment, but I’m damned if I can find anything else about the reforms to the Corps of Engineers that led to the budget cuts. Where did the pressure for the reforms come from? Where else? Environmental groups that have been crusading noisily for years against wasteful and ecologically harmful Corps projects.” He’s got links.


Posted at 04:46 PM

RE: GONZALES AND MUELLER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
6 pm, and during this Katrina disaster? Has got to be huge, you would think.

Posted at 04:45 PM

WHAT IS THIS ABOUT? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller to Hold Press Conference on a Terrorism Matter

US Newswire, 8/31/2005 4:08:00 PM

To: Assignment Desk and Daybook Editor

Contact: U.S. Department of Justice Public Affairs Office, 202-514-2008 or 202-514-1888 (TDD), Web: http://WWW.USDOJ.GOV

News Advisory:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller and Acting Assistant Attorney General John C. Richter of the Criminal Division will hold a press conference on TODAY, AUGUST 31, 2005 at 6 p.m. EDT on a terrorism matter.

WHO:

— Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales

— FBI Director Robert S. Mueller

— Acting Assistant Attorney General John C. Richter of the Criminal Division WHAT: Press Conference

WHEN: TODAY, AUGUST 31 at 6 p.m. EDT


Posted at 04:44 PM

REFUGEE CORNERITES IN DALLAS [Rod Dreher]
Dallas is home to lots of hurricane refugees. If this means you, and you’re a Corner reader (which obviously you must be), e-mail me at mailto:rdreher@dallasnews.com and tell me where you are. If you’re a Corner reader who has family holed up in a hotel here in Big D, let me know. There are lots of relief efforts now being organized, and while I can’t make any promises, I’d like to marshal NRO readers here to do what we can to take care of our own little platoon. It’s the Burkean thing to do, after all.

(The fire brigade has arrived at the burning Quarter shoe store. Hallelujah.)
Posted at 04:39 PM

TELETHONING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From Terry Teachout: NBC-TV will be broadcasting a hurricane-relief benefit Friday night at eight p.m. EDT (live on the East Coast, via tape delay on the West Coast).

Posted at 04:38 PM

EW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I actually like Howard Fineman. But, yuck: “Andy Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans. Will George Bush?

Posted at 04:36 PM

WHAT THE HECK IS TONY BLAIR THINKING? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
He’ll talk the talk like few others but then turn around and do this:

A Muslim scholar accused by critics of sympathising with violence has been appointed to a government taskforce attempting to root out Islamic extremism in Britain, the Guardian has learned.

Professor Tariq Ramadan has been banned from entering the United States and France because of his alleged views supporting violence, allegations he strongly denies.

He faced a campaign of vilification from rightwing British newspapers, and last night some saw his inclusion on the group as evidence of the government’s willingness to stand up to the tabloids.

The taskforce, known as the working group on tackling extremism, is part of the government’s response to the July attacks on London, which was announced by Tony Blair.


Posted at 04:28 PM

THE FEDS [Jonah Goldberg]
I think Rich and Rod are right. Unless someone could offer a logistical reason why federal troops would make matters worse — and I can’t imagine what that would be — he should throw the kitchen sink at this. I’m no fan of compassionate conservatism or federal interventions, but if this doesn’t qualify as the mother-of-all-exceptions I’m not sure what does. What was it Bush said a few years ago? “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move.” I don’t buy that. But when a city is sinking into the sea and rioting runs rampant, government probably should saddle-up.

Posted at 04:26 PM

GREAT MOMENTS IN AMERICAN EDUCATION [Andrew Stuttaford]

A new poll quoted in the New York Times has found that 42 percent of Americans hold “strict creationist views, agreeing that “living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

And if that’s not an indictment of the American education system I don’t know what is.

Mr. Bush prides himself on being an ‘education president’. Given his recent, um, interventiom in the evolution ‘controversy’ it would be interesting to know his response to this poll.


Posted at 04:24 PM

TELETHON [Jonah Goldberg]
BET will be holding one for the victims, according to the AP.

Posted at 04:20 PM

FRENCH QUARTER ON FIRE [Rod Dreher]
Live on CNN right now, report that a Foot Locker is on fire at the corner of Bourbon and Canal, in the Quarter. How can fire trucks get there? The French Quarter could burn down for lack of fire trucks. Did looters, who’ve been going through the store, start this fire? Good grief, Mr. President, send in the federal troops to restore order. For pity’s sake, this is America!

Posted at 04:20 PM

ANOTHER FOREIGN AID OFFER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From Russia

Posted at 04:16 PM

IF IT’S OUR TSUNAMI… [Jonah Goldberg]

How come Hollywood’s not stepping up? Or so ask zillions of readers. For example:

Jonah,- where is all the celebrity out-pouring of unity with the people of the region and expressions of sympathy. Why hasn’t George Clooney mentioned organizing a telethon like for 9//11 or the Tsunami victims? Shouldn’t some Hollywood wannabees and already-bes have said something publicly about the tragedy (i mean other than somehow this being our fault because of global warming and our evil lifestyle here in America or blaming President Bush for not preventing the devastation- I fully expect Bill Mahr to do both on his HBO show this Friday).

Also on Governor Blanco, to quote Tom Hanks, someone should tell her; “there’s no crying in baseball.” Similarly, there’s no crying in [governors’ responding to disasters]. insert your own phrase.


Posted at 04:11 PM

HELP [Jonah Goldberg]

From an email buddy:

Jonah, We have very kind client who has purposed donating 35,000 Hanes Beefy T Shirts to the relief effort. The Red Cross bulk donation department (800-7-IN-KIND) is trying to help, but it looks as though they are currently focussing on monetary donations. If anyone has any information on how we can best place these goods in the hands of those who need dry clothes, it would be greatly appreciated.

We need help figuring out who at the Astrodome will except and
distribute shirts for the 10,000 survivors who are being transfered
there.

We also need to find someone who is willing to except and distribute
the remaining 25,000 to the effected areas.

Please email recommendations to: info@outsidemarketing.com

Thank you,
Me


Posted at 04:09 PM

I’M NO EXPERT LOOTER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
But how much sense does it make to steal used cars when 80 percent of the place is underwater?

Posted at 04:09 PM

“GO CHENEY YOURSELF” [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Someone besides Greg Gutfeld over on the HBomb has got to publicly recognize the place is nuts. Here’s the latest work of genius. Truth to Power!

I am more afraid of my leadership than I am of the looming “terrorist” threat. What is terrorism if not the instilling of “fear” on a consistent basis and negligence that results in massive death tolls? I am more afraid of this psychotic designer cowboy (and Yale cheerleader) and his circle of friends than I am of the color coded boogeyman used by a corrupt corporate brood to frighten the very people they are tasked with nurturing.


Posted at 04:02 PM

N.O. PRISONERS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
riot

Posted at 03:57 PM

GERMAN BACKLASH [Iain Murray]
Der Spiegel correspondent Claus Christian Malzahn dubs Green Environment Minister Jurgen Trittin’s remarks about America bringing the hurricane on itself “pathetic” and “a slap in the face to all the victims.”

Posted at 03:55 PM

RE: SHEEHAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Where there come a point where the MSM finally cuts off her mic? MoveOn can waste their money running commercials instead of getting them for free during The Situation Room (or whatever). Maybe David Duke will pitch in.

Posted at 03:51 PM

OUT OF NEW ORLEANS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From a friend and ocassional NRO writer (and new book author), Raymond Arroyo: “Though one might be tempted to say that we have lost everything, we have not. Instead we have rediscovered the depth of our friends love and been reminded that family, children and life are all that is really important and necessary.” He and his family lost their home and earthly belongings. But they’re alive. And that’s what matters. Bless ’em and everyone in similar, or worse, straits.

Posted at 03:45 PM

FROM CINDY “ABSOLUTE MORAL AUTHORITY” SHEEHAN [Byron York]
“George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego, so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused.”

Posted at 03:44 PM

ME VS. SCHORR [Jonah Goldberg ]

Ah well. Look: I was flattered and perfectly happy to sit in for Dan Schorr at NPR and I’d be glad to do it again. But, as Tim suggests, the notion that Schorr is demonstrably more neutral or non-ideological than me is batty. I’m sure Schorr believes this to be the case. I’m sure many at NPR believe this to be the case. But the fact is that Schorr is a holdover from an age when crusading journalism and mainstream liberalism were considered kindred and complementary (and, usually, complimentary as well). Much like his contemporary, Helen Thomas, Schorr was a lifelong liberal which he thought was a great secret. But now that he’s in semi-retirement and can offer his opinions as he sees fit, his poorly-kept-secret is out in the open. Anybody who thinks Schorr’s opinions aren’t liberal simply hasn’t listened to Schorr. That doesn’t mean he isn’t trying to be fair and objective or that he’s acting in bad faith. He’s not so much dishonest as in denial. For those interested, here is my review of Schorr’s book, which makes largely the same point with more examples.

Now, as for Thomas she was more successful at keeping her secret. All of this time we thought she was doing a very bad job at hiding the fact she was an annoying liberal. It turned out she was doing a pretty good job at concealing the fact that she’s an insanely asinine leftist.


Posted at 03:41 PM

THE PENTAGON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Six ships have been dispatched, plus, so far. More here.

Posted at 03:40 PM

MONTHS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
In the early Tuesday hours I was amazed when I heard it would be months before schools were opened. This is not a groundbreaking point but a relevant one when you’ve got folks blaming global warming and Haley etc. It’s amazingly humbling to realize–and you made this point in your piece the other day–that even the U.S. can not always beat the forces of nature (putting aside questions Rod and others have asked about whether the area was fully prepared to the extent it could be). And be so sidelined and devastated by it.

Posted at 03:33 PM

WATER [Another take by e-mail: I don’t buy that it will take months. Someone is going to find a way to…]
Another take by e-mail:

I don’t buy that it will take months. Someone is going to find a way to get the water out, and quickly. These kind of dire predictions remind me of the predictions made by “experts” after the first Gulf War that it would take a decade to put out the well fires, a task that was measure in months instead of years. This would take even less time, if they opened the task to the free market. I can imagine if companies were paid by the cubic yard or water moved that New Orleans would be dry in a matter of weeks.


Posted at 03:31 PM

I THINK… [Rich Lowry ]
…Bush should send in federal troops…

Posted at 03:26 PM

HER BRITANNIC MAJESTY [Iain Murray]
It’s not her place to offer assistance, but at least Her Majesty the Queen has expressed her sympathy to President Bush.

Posted at 03:25 PM

FEMALE CHIEFS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Kate, I think Hillary is counting on Geena Davis to do damage control.

Posted at 03:23 PM

HOLLYWOOD SECRETS REVEALED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Dennis Hopper: “I’ve been a Republican since Reagan. I voted for Bush and his father. I don’t tell a lot of people, because I live in a city where somebody who voted for Bush is really an outcast.”

Dennis, we’ll be in town in a few weeks. Let’s do lunch.
Posted at 03:21 PM

AGAIN ON CNN [Rich Lowry ]
Time it will take to get all the water out of NO: months.

Posted at 03:12 PM

LEVEES [Rich Lowry ]
Expert on CNN: one canal equalized; assessing the other canal; two or three days to have both fixed.

Posted at 03:12 PM

KATRINA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Israel offers assistance.

Posted at 03:10 PM

THOMAS FLEMING PULLS A NEW ONE [JPod]
I assumed he would blame America’s lack of piety on neoconservatives, by which he would be sneakily alluding to Jews, in his piece in the Spectator that Derb recommends. But really, he saves his ire for “Catholic neoconservatives,” and, remarkably, leaves the Jews out of it: “To compare apples with apples, the most prominent conservative Catholics in the United States are the so-called neoconservatives. They are indifferent or hostile to the traditional liturgy, defend the discovery of democratic capitalism as an event of ‘incarnational significance’ (Michael Novak), and have routinely defended US foreign policy against explicit statements of John Paul II. Catholic neoconservatives represent the triumph of ‘Americanism’ in the Church. They are more Republican than Catholic, more loyal to George Bush than to any Pope. In secular, anti-Catholic France, a Catholic has to be resolute, even courageous; in America, he just goes with the flow.”

If this is the essay of the week, Derb, what’s the book of the month?
Posted at 03:09 PM

LEVEES AND BUSH [Rich Lowry ]
We’ll be hearing more about this line of argument I’m sure:

Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security — coming at the same time as federal tax cuts — was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune web site, reported: “No one can say they didn’t see it coming….Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation.”

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.


Posted at 03:06 PM

RE: ESSAY OF THE WEEK [John Derbyshire]
A kind reader got the link for the Spectator piece [though it’s sub-only].

Posted at 02:53 PM

SWIMMING [Iain Murray]
My correspondent responds. Knowing him, I can’t see how he could have meant the comment any other way (and cut him a break – his bride-to-be’s wedding dress has submerged beneath the waves):

Truth is, it’s not a “black” thing – it’s a “poor” thing. There aren’t any public swimming pools in New Orleans (OK so the entire city has just been turned into one) and kids don’t get taught to swin at school. Indeed, in most public schools in Orleans parish they are lucky if they get taught to read.


Posted at 02:53 PM

ON CNN RIGHT NOW… [Rich Lowry ]
…(my Fox is not coming through at the moment), a big apartment building with people on their balconies beckoning to the helicopter above and two teenagers on the roof with a sign, “Help us.” It’s unbelievable that this is happening in America–so, so heart-breaking…

Posted at 02:48 PM

KRUGMAN SPEAKS! [Iain Murray]
Paul Krugman sees a silver lining in the Katrina clouds:

“So the direct economic impact of Hurricane Katrina will probably not be that bad. And there will, potentially, be two favorable effects.

First, the driving force behind the economic slowdown has been a plunge in business investment. Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I’ve already indicated, the destruction isn’t big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.

Second, the hurricane opens the door to some sensible recession-fighting measures. For the last few weeks there has been a heated debate among liberals over whether to advocate the classic Keynesian response to economic slowdown, a temporary burst of public spending. There were plausible economic arguments in favor of such a move, but it was questionable whether Congress could agree on how to spend the money in time to be of any use — and there was also the certainty that conservatives would refuse to accept any such move unless it were tied to another round of irresponsible long-term tax cuts. Now it seems that we will indeed get a quick burst of public spending, however tragic the reasons.”

OOOOOOPS! Sorry! That was Krugman talking about 9/11 in The New York Times on 9/14/01. But why hasn’t he mouthed the same idiocy about Hurricane Katrina?
Posted at 02:48 PM

ON CNN… [Rich Lowry ]
…head of an ambulance service in NO is calling for federal troops in the city by nightfall…

Posted at 02:44 PM

POLLING PATRIOT [Ramesh Ponnuru]

I’m always suspicious of polls that claim that people’s views on a particular policy become more positive or negative the better informed they are. Very often, the poll isn’t “informing” respondents so much as spinning them–and sometimes misinforming them. (Widely reported claims about how people are more supportive of funding for embryo-destructive research the more informed they are were based on such polls.)

So I was suspicious when I read Will Lester’s AP write-up of a poll claiming that people grow less supportive of the Patriot Act the more they know about it.

The poll also claims that most (57 percent of) people want Patriot modified rather than allowed to expire or renewed in its current form. That may be so, but I’m not reassured of its truth by the question’s wording, which presents modification as the moderate alternative. If “strengthening Patriot”–let alone “strengthening Patriot’s anti-terrorist provisions”–were presented as an alternative, presumably renewal would look more moderate and attract more support. (For that matter, do all the people who want Patriot “modified” want it weakened?)

The poll finds 43 percent support for a Patriot provision that “enables federal law enforcement agents in terrorism investigations to require banks to turn over records to the government without a judge’s prior approval.” If people knew that the basic authority is longstanding (predating Patriot), it would probably increase that approval level.

The poll finds that only 23 percent of the public supports “sneak-and-peek” searches. But its question wording stacks the deck. The question reads: “A proposal being debated would enable courts to authorize federal law enforcement agents to conduct secret searches of Americans’ homes without informing the occupants for an unspecified period of time, if they argue that immediate notification might have adverse results on the criminal investigation. Do you support or oppose this proposal?”

First of all, the question shouldn’t include the word “secret”–the more precise “without informing the occupants for [a] period of time” is already in there. Second, the court generally would specify the period of time (although it could extend it). Third, law enforcement agents have to do more than merely “argue” against immediate notification; they have to persuade the court. Something like “demonstrate” would be better. Fourth, they have to demonstrate more than “adverse results.” What’s being debated in Congress is whether it should be possible for agents to get a delayed-notification search warrant when they have reason to believe that immediate notification would result in the intimidation of witnesses or “seriously jeopardize” the investigation.

I imagine that an appropriately reworded question would generate substantially higher support.

This isn’t the worst poll I’ve seen, but it’s not great.


Posted at 02:42 PM

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO “HMMM” [Iain Murray]
My wife has just raised a good point. Has any foreign nation offered us help?

Posted at 02:42 PM

NPR OMBUD AND JONAH [Tim Graham]
NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin discovered that a number of liberals were very upset (“I sensed a spewing of cornflakes across the breakfast tables of America”) that Jonah Goldberg would sit in the Daniel Schorr spot on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. Dvorkin responds with some nice words about Jonah’s appearance and some snippy words for the Daily Kos readers who e-protested en masse.

But in the end, the liberal media arrogance is still there in suggesting that Jonah’s slot was a bit odd since Schorr “sees himself as a non-political journalist who analyzes the news on NPR. Goldberg describes himself as anything BUT non-political….Schorr is seen as a representing an implicitly liberal journalism. That’s a view that neither Schorr nor I agree with.” To liberals, it’s only their self-perception that matters. I don’t think I’m political, so I’m not. Case closed. This, despite Schorr declaiming on NPR upon Clinton arriving, that SDI was thankfully dead: “President Reagan’s impossible dream of ten years ago, the impenetrable shield is dead, 30 billion dollars later.”

Dvorkin kept digging a hole: “Schorr’s perspectives are, in my opinion, not particularly ideological because his journalist’s musings have more perspectives from history than from party politics. A more appropriate replacement might have been someone closer to his stature. PBS’ Gwen Ifill or Doyle McManus from the Los Angeles Times come to mind.” Yes, that’s Gwen Ifill, the one who may I remind you likes describing conservatives and their works with words like “terrorist,” “truck bomb,” and “assassination.”
Posted at 02:41 PM

IF THE ESSAY IS BY TOM FLEMING… [JPod]
…I can only imagine who’s to blame….

Posted at 02:41 PM

RE: KREP [Cliff May]
Rich, if we have been doing oil-spot strategy in Iraq, I wonder why we haven’t used it along the road from the airport to Baghdad?

Is that not, obviously, a “key area” to take and hold?

From a communications point of view, it seems so obvious that if you can’t secure the airport road you are sending the message to everyone who arrives (and reminding them when they leave) that you don’t have the upper hand.
Posted at 02:40 PM

NEW ORLEANS MAYOR… [Rich Lowry ]
…says hundreds, maybe thousands dead, according to CNN…
…also, water levels have apparently stabilized…

Posted at 02:34 PM

ESSAY OF THE WEEK [John Derbyshire]
Probably of last week, actually — I am reading it from my subscription copy of The Spectator, issue dated Aug. 27. Anyway, the article is “Why America is not a Christian Country,” by Tom Fleming (editor of Chronicles).

Closing sentence: “If there really were a ‘Christian America,’ Hollywood would be broke, and the ashes of both political parties would be reposing quietly in the dustbin of history.” (I suspect Tom wrote “trashcan,” but the editors Britishized it.)

Sorry, can’t find the whole thing on the web. If you can, send me a link & I’ll post it.
Posted at 02:33 PM

BUSH’S VACATION [JPod]
One thing is for sure, Byron: No president, not this one and not any president who follows him, will ever again take a five-week vacation.

Posted at 02:28 PM

CRAWFORD [Kate O’Beirne]
From a reader: Now that the President’s Crawford ranch has been vacated, why don’t the Bushes invite a family from New Orleans to move in temporarily?

Posted at 02:23 PM

THE LEVEE WSJ PIECE… [Rich Lowry ]
…that Kathryn linked to has a little encouraging news at the end:

One bit of good news is that New Orleans doesn’t appear to face a threat of being surrounded by even more water than it has outside its levees right now. By yesterday, the water level in the Mississippi had dropped about 11 feet since Monday, as the storm surge that had pushed upriver from the Gulf of Mexico, temporarily reversing the river’s course, receded. Yesterday, the water level in the stretch of river that runs through the city was down to a level of about 4.28 feet, well below the flood level of 17 feet and low even under normal circumstances, hydrology experts said…

The rain that Katrina dumped on Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday won’t affect the river’s water levels because many of the rivers in the area flow directly into the Gulf. Rain that Katrina deposits in Tennessee and farther north isn’t likely to reach New Orleans for at least two weeks, Mr. Richards said.

Parts of Kentucky, Ohio, and other areas where Katrina was headed have been unusually dry, meaning less runoff from the storm, Mr. Richards said.

Likewise, the water in Lake Pontchartrain isn’t likely to rise, said Richard Keim, assistant professor at the School of Renewable Natural Resources at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The fresh water source that feeds it is only about as large as the lake itself, so while much rain has fallen in the area, not much will end up in the lake, says Mr. Keim. The larger question is when the storm surge will recede into the Gulf, the lake’s other water source. Lake Pontchartrain has only two narrow, winding outlets to the Gulf, so it is unclear how long it will take them to empty.


Posted at 02:11 PM

RE: GOVERNORS AND LOST IN LOUISIANA [Kate O’Beirne]
I haven’t been watching as much Katrina coverage as many of my colleagues and our readers because I am working on an article about Hillary Clinton, but the criticisms of Governor Blanco and unfavorable comparisons with Governor Barbour may be relevant to my subject. I have seen a clearly overwhelmed Gov. Blanco’s ineffectual handwringing and saw her dismissive quotes about looting while Rich spotted Haley vowing to deal with looters “ruthlessly.” If others share the Corner’s take on the comparative leadership qualities of these governors, shouldn’t Hillary Clinton’s boosters be dismayed at the latest example of why voters might be leery of women chief executives?

Posted at 02:09 PM

HBOMB WATCH [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Gutfeld declares martial law.

Posted at 02:09 PM

THESE POOR PEOPLE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the Times Picayune:

One New Orleans woman waded through the streets of the city, trying to get her husband to Charity Hospital. He had died earlier and she floated his body through the inundated streets on a door that dome off their home.


Posted at 01:43 PM

A MAUI CHILL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
One not-so-side sidebar to the awful Hawaii bill in Congress: Yesterday at a session at the Heritage Foundation I’m told that the following was asked: “Does this move towards independence open the door to Russia and China having naval bases in Hawaii?” The respondent, from Hawaii and against the bill, answered “yes.”

Posted at 01:18 PM

P.S. ON THE GUITAR [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Andrew Breitbart makes a timeline point in the comments section of the HBomb.

Posted at 01:16 PM

GOLF, GUITAR, AND FIVE WEEKS IN CRAWFORD [Byron York]

When they are not blaming him for warming the Gulf of Mexico to just the right hurricane-spawning temperature, or gutting emergency response budgets for the damage caused by Katrina, George W. Bush’s critics are accusing him of a general insensitivity to the suffering of the hurricane’s victims, demonstrated by his continuing his vacation as Katrina came ashore. First, some of them spread the (incorrect) story that Bush played golf on Monday as Katrina hit Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Now, as Kathryn mentioned, they are using this picture, from an event in California yesterday, to make the same point:

Cheap shots, aside, there is a legitimate question here. Even given the wonders of modern communications which allow him to stay in touch with virtually everyone virtually all the time, does the president really need to spend five weeks of the summer based at his home in Crawford? What would be wrong with a two-week vacation? After all, he goes to Crawford at other times of the year, and, of course, he can spend all the time he wants there when he is no longer president.

According to a White House pool report, press secretary Scott McClellan was asked today whether, given the events of August, the president needs a vacation after his vacation. McClellan said, “This is not what you would call a vacation. This is the president’s home. He always enjoys coming here. But when you’re president, you’re president 24/7.” That last part is certainly true, but while he is president, shouldn’t George W. Bush spend more time at the White House?

This month began with the deaths of 21 U.S. Marines in Iraq, continued through the Cindy Sheehan protest/media circus, and ended with Hurricane Katrina. There is no doubt that, if only from a political and communications perspective, the president would have been in a better position to deal with those issues if he had been based in Washington for much of the month. For one thing, he would have had the stage to himself, given the traditional absence of Congress. For another, he would have been better placed to make those more substantive comments about the war that David Frum and others have called on him to make. And lastly, his message would not have been subject to the distractions of all the vacation/nonvacation talk that inevitably comes up when he spends an extended period of time in Crawford.

There is a proper time for a president to leave Washington, but five weeks is just too much.


Posted at 01:04 PM

BLACKS & SWIMMING [Jonah Goldberg]

From a longtime reader:

I just wanted to refute the writer, its a myth that black people generally don’t know how to swim, we can swim just fine and everyone one I know who is black (other than elderly or handicapped) know how. Just because there are not a lot of us on the swim or hockey teams across the name doesn’t mean we don’t how to ice skate or swim. I don’t see a lot of us on the tour de france or at motorcross show but we know how to ride bikes and motocycles too. Silliness

[Name withheld]
PS- the looters regardless of color who are stealing for greed as opposed to food and water for necessity, should be shot.


Posted at 01:02 PM

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT TO NR SUBSCRIBERS [Jack Fowler]
We realize that this is the least of people’s concerns right now, but we have been informed that numerous post offices in the Gulf region are closed, either temporarily or indefinitely, because of Hurricane Katrina. It is therefore impossible to deliver National Review to subscribers in these affected areas. When these post offices reopen and are once again able to receive and deliver mail, which in some cases may be a matter of several months, we will be informed and we will commence sending NR to area subscribers.

To those who are thusly affected, who by whatever means are able to read this notice, which we will repost regularly, please be assured that your subscriptions will be automatically extended to compensate for the time when your area post office is closed. Of course, if you find a means to access the internet and NRO, you will be able to access the digital version of the magazine. That is a free service, and can be done here.

If you are displaced and eventually relocate, you can have your subscription redirected to your new address. That can be done here. If/when you return to your original address, you can change your delivery address again by the same method.

Finally: Unlike many other publications, National Review staff members have very direct relationships – even friendships – with many of our subscribers, including several who reside in the devastated areas. They are very much in our thoughts and prayers.
Posted at 12:59 PM

BROOKS V. RUMSFELD [Rich Lowry ]
One more thought about the Krepinevich business. I believe Brooks went out of his way to slam Rumsfeld in his piece–even though Krepinevich says his approach can be done with fewer troops–partly because there is already intellectual positioning going on about where to put the blame for a failure in Iraq. Some conservatives will be very eager to blame failed implementation so they can preserve their belief that everyone the world over is really a liberal democrat. If only we had more troops, etc., etc., everything would have been fine. This line of analysis will tend to ignore all the difficult conditions we have faced in Iraq that had nothing to do with us, but with the nature of Iraq and Iraqis. You can just feel it coming…

Posted at 12:51 PM

CLASS & DISASTER [Jonah Goldberg]

Indulge me, this is just a nice note from a fairly representative NRO reader, I’m proud to say:

Jonah, That is one of the more eloquent as well as poignant things you have written in the Corner. It was probably just tapped out without too much thought, but nevertheless it really spoke to me and I think it really reaches the heart of the this matter. Class division is pure poison, so it’s best to avoid at all costs. It’s funny. I support my family of six in rural Oklahoma on just over $40K a year. To the class strategists out there, I would seem a natural to register Democrat. But if I were king for a day, I would eliminate all business taxes, the tax on capital gains, the estate tax, etc. I’m a huge fan of Microsoft AND Wal-Mart (meaning I admire the level of their game — they are the best at what they do, therefore subject to scurrilous attack). Liberals just don’t get it. I want less government, not more. I don’t want the government choosing winners/losers or deciding who should officially be recognized for victim status. The way I live is by choice. My wife could make more than me if she were to return to the work force as a speech pathologist. But we have chosen the path of homeschooling our four children. I don’t deserve pity or acclaim. It’s just our decision. I have tried to inculcate into my children a sense of independence and hard work. Through their hard work if they ever get ahead and are successful by worldly standards, then I don’t want them to be seen as evil. Success is not evil. It’s what you choose to do with it. I’m not trying to convince you since I’m sure that we are on the same page. It just helps to put this in writing I guess. The ironic part is that I married a Cherokee, so my kids really are already official members of the victim community! :o) It’s a fine line. I want them to be proud of their heritage and to learn about it. But I don’t want them swallowing any of the Socialist propaganda that comes out of the Nation. I mean Cherokee Nation. I just realized how saying “Socialist propaganda that comes out of the Nation” to a NR writer would mean “The Nation” magazine. They’re both Socialist I guess!

Anyway, I’m not sure why I wrote other than I truly identified with what
you were trying to say. Especially the “What’s the metric for measuring
this sort of suffering? What about the small businessman who worked his
entire life to build something he’s proud of?”. I’m not a small
businessman, but with my family I have built something I’m very proud
of. I’m sure you are just as proud of Jessica and Lucy. And Cosmo. :o)

Don….


Posted at 12:50 PM

HISTORY LOST [Jim Robbins]
Katrina destroyed Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ final home Beavoir. It was also the site of the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library. This is a significant loss to history.

Posted at 12:41 PM

AN ENGLISHMAN IN NEW ORLEANS [Iain Murray]
A college contemporary of mine whose home is in New Orleans has a few observations, and in this case the language is, I feel, warranted:

The city is f***ed. Some of the looters are people stealing necessaries (which is fair enough and which I understand) but there are a lot nicking jewellery and electronics, including police officers. The latter should all be f***ing shot, in my view…

As you may have noticed from the coverage, the only people left in the city are emergency workers and very poor black people. Of particular concern, is that the latter group generally do not know how to swim.

It never ceases to amaze me though how excellent the US is at dealing with disasters like this. I commend particularly to you Steyn’s piece in the Telegraph yesterday on this point…

The real kicker for folks like me, is that our house (which is uptown) would probably have been OK until yesterday when the 17th Street Canal levy broke sending 9 feet of water into uptown and the Tulane area.

I don’t know how much coverage the mayor of New Orleans is getting but the guy is awesome. Cool, realistic and reassuring. So too are Bob Riley and Haley Barbour. But Governor Blanco… words fail me. It strikes me that if you are governor of a state that has just been hit by disaster you should not burst into tears during a press conference and have a little Princess Di moment. Kudos to the others though.

Precisely. There’s a lot to be said for resiliency at moments like this, and that’s a quality the US possesses in spades.
Posted at 12:39 PM

JIM ROBBINS SENDS THIS… [Rich Lowry ]
Rich, one problem with Krepinevich’s model is his identification of the centers of gravity, particularly “the Iraqi people.” There is no such thing — there are a variety of competing interests, tribal, ethnic, religious and others. The insurgents — who are also a multifaceted group — are also a minority group. They can only take power by promoting divisions in Iraq and then exploiting the gaps. Were we to withdraw today the insurgents would not take power, local militias would arm themselves (more than they have already) and begin securing their various interests. In other words it is not an either-or for Iraqis, the regime or the insurgents. There are a variety of other outcomes. Presuming this dichotomy causes the analysis to overlook many salient details that are important to our counter-insurgency effort. I am interested particularly in exploiting the seams within the insurgency and the various disaffected groups. Just today there was a good example of how the get the job done in Iraq. The pro-government Bumahl tribe fought it out with the pro-insurgent Karabilah tribe, with the US providing air support for the Bumahli. I noted this trend towards infighting last week in NRO. As we proved in Afghanistan, tribal groups on the ground plus US fire support is a useful model for success in unconventional warfare. Let’s hope we see more of it.

Posted at 12:35 PM

SHELLFISH [Jonah Goldberg]
This will shock a lot of you, but I’m no expert on shellfish farming. However, I was once told by a fellow in Texas who seemed to know what he was talking about, that you shouldn’t eat farmed shellfish after very big rains because the run-off fertilizer and other pollution from big farms can create diseases in farmed oysters, shrimp etc. Considering how much shrimp farming is done in the Gulf Coast, does anybody who knows about this stuff think it’d be wise to hold off eating domestically farmed shellfish for a while? Or is this all nonsense?

Posted at 12:34 PM

KREP: WHAT’S NEW? [Rich Lowry ]
A sampling of e-mails:

–I read Krepinevich’s article in Foreign Affairs. We are already doing every single thing he advocates, with the exception of stabilizing key leaders (and that will probably change). Read Michael Yon’s reports about 1-24 In, read any of the pronouncements by Gen Petraeus. It is very clear to anyone who understands counterinsurgency that all of the elements that are reported and discussed individually in the news are part of a coherent strategy that combines political, military and economic development at every level from Country to the village and neighborhood and it includes efforts to “win the hearts and minds” as well as an “oil spot” strategy regardless of what an individual officer might say.

–I read it too, and I’m not impressed. I think that’s what you get for using the Networks as a source as to what is really going on in Iraq. See Jack Kelly and this, and particularly Michael Fumento at Tech Central Station–“Despite Media Blackout, Fallujah Rebuilds”. The latter article, particularly, makes it clear that, um, that’s what we’re already doing, and have been for some time.

–The Krepinevich essay seems a good example of a football spectator screaming at the coach. It seems obvious to me that our military leadership understands the on-the-ground reality and politics of Iraq much much better than Krepinevich. And the reality rule number 1 is the Arabs (and Shiites) never do anything until they’ve exhausted every last excuse. Our military is trying to communicate to the Iraqi “leaders” that THEY have a country to defend, and the sooner they start defending it, the better.

–Krepinevich is almost right. The “seize and hold” strategy is basic counter-insurgency doctrine, but it needs to be done mostly by Iraqi troops, not US troops. Even poorly equipped and lightly trained Iraqi troops are better at patrolling and holding territory than the best US troops. Fortunately, Iraqi troops are now beginning to be deployed and to use the “seize and hold” strategy in at some areas. Krepinevich’s article will spur that effort.


Posted at 12:32 PM

MORE KREP [Rich Lowry ]
Two other good critiques, here by McQ at Questions and Observations, and here at Irish Pennants, which points out that Krepinevich favors holding territory rather than hunting insurgents when “[i]n effect, the U.S. has been doing both. Fourteen of the 18 Iraqi provinces have effectively been oil-spotted; there is no insurgent activity to speak of in them. In the remaining four, the locus of action is being pushed out of the populated areas into the mostly empty desert west of Ar Ramadi.

The key to a successful oil spot strategy is to have Iraqi security forces of sufficient size and competence to be able to hold and clear areas (like Fallujah) from which insurgents (largely) have been driven. This process got off to a woefully slow start, but has been going gangbusters since LtGen. David Petreaus took over responsibility for training the ISF a year ago last Spring. But it takes time. It will be late next Spring at the earliest before sufficient numbers of trained Iraqi soldiers and cops are on hand to make an oil spot to be truly effective.”
Posted at 12:21 PM

BROOKS FUMBLED IT [Rich Lowry ]
That’s what Tom Barnett says:

To his great credit, Krepinevich has been a real visionary of the lighter, more lethal, more agile force that won the war in Iraq. Now, he seeks to balance the overmatch by arguing—and arguing correctly—for boots on the ground to win the peace (however delayed by our poor choices since “Mission accomplished”).

But here is where Brooks shows his ignorance of military matters to a stunning degree: describing Krepinevich’s `new’ thinking as the opposite of Rumsfeld’s transformed force vision. First, Krepinevich was one of the great godfathers of this approach, and two, how we win wars is not the same as how we win the peace in the 21st century. Wars have become faster, easier, cheaper, and that means the peace becomes slower, harder, more costly.

Two realities requiring two forces. Brooks doesn’t get that yet, and thus he foolishly presents Krepinevich as Rumsfeld’s doctrinal opposite. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are identical twins when it comes to war, and frankly, they’re close to being cousins on the question of the peace. It’s just that Bush and Rumsfeld can’t admit how much they screwed up the coalition-building in the run-up to the war.


Posted at 12:08 PM

NEW ORLEANS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
NRO Contibutor and Bench Memos King Ed Whelan e-mails:

Kathryn:

I received the e-mail below yesterday from a friend of mine, a good and brave man from New Orleans. I think it deserves a broader audience, as it provides a wonderful example to those of us (me, certainly) who too often respond to trivial adversity with far less grace. We should keep all New Orleanians, and others afflicted by the hurricane, in our prayers and do our best to provide them the assistance they need.

I have not been able to reach my friend to request his permission to post his e-mail (and would not want to bother him with such a trivial request), so I have made minor changes to preserve his privacy.

Ed

“Dear Friends,

“I have often thought of my home, New Orleans, as the future Atlantis. Rome may well be the Eternal City. New Orleanians have the Ephemeral City.

“And now, the long deferred worst case scenario has come due. The outlook is grim indeed. And the suffering that will no doubt be my fellow citizens’ lot, be it from loss of property, health or life, is enough to touch the flintiest of hearts. Not to exaggerate the situation, but I am doubtful whether the city will ever be the same again. Without having seen the damage firsthand-and without knowing whether my home or office even exist-I can’t imagine that the city will soon recover from such a blow. Our city appears to be filled with polluted water, and assuming that it could be drained soon, it seems rather unlikely that we will be going home within the next month.

“Can you imagine a city of this size being vacated for a month? I can’t imagine it, but it seems likely that I will live it!

“Imagine losing the following:
* Your home
* Your job
* Your possessions
* Your children’s access to schooling
* Your economy
* Your culture
* Your city

“I bring all of this doom and gloom up to make one key point: I am, in some key ways, better off now than I was before Katrina came to town.
“You see, for years now I have tried to convince my children of one truth: The most important things in life are not things.
“I had, of course, intended to emphasize this point from the comfort of a chaise lounge under the beneficent breeze of a ceiling fan. To my irritation and dismay, I must now say this without the proverbial pot.

“We shall just have to wait and see whether my philosophy is able to withstand the rigors of a reality without. Although I shall miss air conditioning, I have reason to believe that I will pass this test.

“Just this morning my ten-year-old daughter came to me, and with her voice trembling, asked me “Papa, are we going to be all right?”

“My reply was “Yes, we are going to be just fine. I can lose everything I have with just a few exceptions, and they are your mother, you and your sisters.”

“I write these words from the home of a friend in Houston, Texas, with very little to my name. I have, nevertheless, wealth untold.
“To those of you who have attempted to call, it is probable that our telephones will be out for the foreseeable future-New Orleans doesn’t have an electrical grid right now, so until they can rebuild that we probably won’t have much in the way of telephone service.

“I’m grateful for the kindness of friends who have taken us in without reservation.

“Say a prayer for my city tonight; there are so many others who have lost the greatest wealth God gives-their own lives. Whether I like it or not, my treasure will, for a season, be stored in places where ‘moths and dust doth not corrupt.’
“Ys. truly,
[name]”


Posted at 12:07 PM

BELMONT CLUB ON KREP [Rich Lowry ]
Good analysis from the other day. Bottom line: Malaya not a good analogy, and this—“the central problem, of course, is that America has lost the battle for time in the Global War on Terror. It has implicitly conceded, both to its domestic and international constituencies, the unacceptability of prolonging the process for more a few more years. In short, it has taken Krepinevich’s scenario, if ever it were valid, off the table.”

Posted at 12:02 PM

KREPINEVICH INCOMING [Rich Lowry ]
Lots of feedback. Going though it now. Jason Van Steenwyk has a post here. He’s underwhelmed too. He also posts something from High Clearing (which, for some reason, I can’t link to at the moment) that puts a finger on something that bothered me about the article but that I couldn’t quite articulate:

Of Krepinevich summarily, reading it made me think of two things. Really, three. The first is the old role-playing game cliché of “quickly and quietly.” As in, “We move quickly and quietly down the corridor,” a classic example of play groups trying to have it both ways at once, bluffing the gamemaster into accepting that they can achieve both sides of what is really a tradeoff between values at the same time. The clearest example of “quickly and quietly” in Krepinevich is when he says that, oil-spot strategy notwithstanding, US and Iraqi armed forces should also continue with sweeps beyond secured territory to keep insurgents from enjoying the leisure to organize themselves. Since his thesis statement is that “Winning will require a new approach to counterinsurgency, one that focuses on providing security to Iraqis rather than hunting down insurgents,” and he argues that hunting down insurgents has been distracting the US from providing loyalty-winning development to secured areas, this seems like a cheat.

The other bit is something that I remember from an old Sandbaggers episode, but that surely predates it: “If we had ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs.” This pops up throughout the article, where Krepinevich argues that if we had this, and that, we could have this and that.


Posted at 12:00 PM

GLASSMAN VS. KATRINA EXPLOITATION [Jonah Goldberg ]

Very nicely done.


Posted at 11:58 AM

OHIO [Ramesh Ponnuru]
They’re debating whether Gov. Taft should stay or go over at RedState’s blog.

Posted at 11:56 AM

CLASS CARDS & DISASTER [Jonah Goldberg]

Several readers complain that it’s in fact true that the hurricane will disproportionately affect poor people. I don’t really dispute that in the sense most mean it. Yes, the poor will have special hardships. Obviously so. But what I objected to, and still object to, is the reflexive playing of the class card. Is it really true that some middle class retirees who heeded the advice of the government to leave town, only to watch their homes be looted after a lifetime of hardwork for a better life are suffering less than a poor person who lost his rented apartment? What’s the metric for measuring this sort of suffering? What about the small businessman who worked his entire life to build something he’s proud of? What about the families who lost loved ones, but had the poor taste to make more money than the poverty line?

Whatever happened to the idea that unity in the face of a calamity is an important value? We’re all in it together, I guess, except for the poor who are extra-special.


Posted at 11:56 AM

SANITY WHEN YOU NEED IT MOST [Jack Fowler]
The outrageous It’s-Bush’s/Barbour’s-Fault response to the hurricane from lefties who are, incredibly, taken seriously makes the case for why you should be subscribing to NR. In a roiling sea of wicked MSM bias, conspiracy-theorizing, and GOP-hate, National Review is a lifesaver. They give you venom and bile masquerading as compassionate reporting, we give you clear-thinking, sharp observations of major events and trends. They club you with psychotic episodes and call it biting commentary. We give you sane, reasoned, well-written, and witty analyses of culture, politics, the economy, and foreign affairs. Check out NR for yourself – we’re offering you four free issues to see why you should be receiving it every fortnight, for now and for years to come. Find out more here.

Posted at 11:54 AM

UNDERSTANDING LEVEES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
WSJ has an informative piece.

Posted at 11:50 AM

BIBI [John Podhoretz]
I’ve known a lot of politicians who are disliked by other politicians, but I’ve never met any politician who is more hated by the people he has worked with, worked for and who have worked for him than Bibi Netanyahu. He is considered an unprincipled snake by those who ought to consider him a close ally. The comedy of his effort to take Sharon down now is that the same Likudniks who might go with him to punish Arik were enraged by Bibi’s concessions to Clinton and Arafat at the Wye Plantation in 1998. In all likelihood, if he unseats Sharon, Israel will go through a period of unprecedented political chaos, with governments falling every three months since there is no figure on Left or Right at the moment who can unite anybody save for Sharon. Which is why, in the end, Bibi will probably fail.

Posted at 11:46 AM

LOST IN LOUISIANA [JPod]
A reader e-mails: “You are correct about the corruption. But equally bad right now is the fact that the city and state leader *cannot* handle this, and are totally lost. The mayor of NOLA is in complete denial (he spoke last night of the refugees in the Superdome “waiting it out”) except when he’s angry (publicly blaming others for the levee break not being fixed) ; the governor of LA is emotionally broken. She keeps speaking of “trying to figure out” how to evacuate people; “trying to figure out” how to put refugees somewhere else, etc. As you noted, she can’t even say that looting is wrong; the most outrage she can muster is “where are they taking the loot to, anyway?” She can’t even see that her brokenness demonstrates that no one is in charge, and the more that people see that, the more utter chaos and lawlessness are spread. Honestly, I think it is clear that the state and local authorities *cannot* do this. The federal govt needs to come in Right Now. FEMA waiting on the outside isn’t the issue. Getting command authority into the hands of people who can make decisions and take action is the point. It’s time for us to demand the feds to take control before this nightmare of anarchy swallows all of Louisiana.”

Posted at 11:38 AM

PERCHANCE [Jonah Goldberg ]

Those carping on my levity the other day might take a moment to notice Juan Cole’s gloating that only those nasty, rural Christian zealots were suffering from Katrina while the fun-loving urbanites of Bourbon street were spared.

Update Rereading his post, my initial reading might be a bit of a stretch. His real aim was to exploit the destruction from Katrina to attack Falwell and Robertson, not explicitly to relish the fact those who befell “death and destruction” outside of Bourbon Street were Christians. But, given Cole’s tone I really don’t think I’m that far off the mark either. The whole point is “Aha! See Robertson’s kind of people were hit while the cosmopolitans were spared. Nyah, nyah.”


Posted at 11:34 AM

BLAMING GLOBAL WARMING [Jonah Goldberg]

I’ve decided that every nice, cool, breezy day which happens to come along until the day I die, I’m going to credit global warming. Absent other data, it makes exactly as much sense to blame weather we don’t like on global warming as it does to credit global warming for the weather we do like.

“What a lovely day, thank goodness for fossil fuels!”


Posted at 11:30 AM

BIBI MAKES HIS MOVE [Warren Bell]
More predictable than a Swiss watch, but with more oil in the gears, Benjamin Netanyahu has selflessly chosen a period of extreme crisis in his nation to make the next move on his political agenda.

I had such high hopes for Netanyahu years ago. He’s so eloquent and forceful, and I thought he would do great things for promoting his country to the West. But he’s turned out to be a major disappointment, opportunistic and hollow. I wonder what’s the opinion of him around here?
Posted at 11:27 AM

JOKE NO LONGER [Jonah Goldberg ]

Everyone knows the 50 different versions of the joke about the Meteor (apocalypse, whatever) heading to earth and The New York Times (or Washington Post) running the headline: “World Ends: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit.”

Here’s ABC News:

Poorest Hit Hardest By Hurricane Katrina

Disaster Disproportionately Affects Those Who Can Least Afford It


Posted at 11:25 AM

GOOD SENSE FROM EUROPE [Iain Murray]
Benny Peiser, whose work on catastrophe deserves much more attention than, say, Jared Diamond’s, has this to say to readers of his Cambridge Conference email network:

On behalf of CCNet, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all our American friends and members who have been affected by the tragic events wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

Notwithstanding continuing rescue and support efforts, the calamity has triggered a rather opportunistic and cynical reaction by opponents of the current US Administration. In an eerie development that echoes the political exploitation of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster last December, environmental campaigners, Green journalists and European officials are blaming (once again) the U.S. and its people for the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Instead of supporting the rescue efforts, demagogues are using the human tragedy in a futile attempt to score points. At a time of utter desolation and misfortune, propagandists in high office and parts of the media are abandoning America and its victims for purely political goals.

Europeans in particular, who have been rescued and liberated from themselves by the U.S. no less than three times in the course of the 20th century, should feel ashamed for kicking a friend and ally when he is down. Let me re-assure our American friends and colleagues that this pitiless mind-set of environmental activists is not representative for the vast majority of Europeans who are following the heartbreaking events with great concern and empathy.

There is quite a lot CCNet readers can do to support the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina – which is why I have posted below relevant information by the American Red Cross. As each of us ponders our response, let us all keep in our prayers those who have lost so much.

I am sure Benny is right. Burke’s comment about the grasshoppers and the cows is appropriate here.
Posted at 11:25 AM

ANOTHER OPPORTUNIST ENVIRO POINT-SCORER [Iain Murray]
Sir David King, who thinks that global warming is a worse threat than terrorism, thinks it was to blame for Katrina. Note that in the article, Kerry Emanuel of MIT, whose research is being preyed in aid by the RFK Jrs of this world, says bluntly, “I don’t think you can put this down to global warming.” That should be the end of it, but as long as people like King are around, it won’t be.

Posted at 11:22 AM

LOUISIANA [JPod]
Not to be too impolitic, but the decades of rampant, crazed corruption in the Louisiana state political system has surely left the state especially ill-prepared to handle this calamity.

Posted at 11:22 AM

LOUISIANA [JPod]
Not to be too impolitic, but the decades of rampant, crazed corruption in the Louisiana state political system has surely left the state especially ill-prepared to handle this calamity.

Posted at 11:22 AM

SPR & THE DEMS [Jonah Goldberg]

A couple of readers have made this point. Thank goodness the Dems didn’t get there way when they wanted the Strategic Petroleum Reserve opened-up just to pander to voters’ angst over high prices.

(Actually, I’ve never understood why the Democrats ever want to release oil from the reserve to lower prices even as they demand a higher gas tax which would raise prices).

The SPR — which won’t have that much of an effect on gas prices anyway, it should be noted — is for emergencies, much like what we have now. The need to score cheap points in the press isn’t an emergency. And its a good thing Bush stood up to the demands at the time.


Posted at 10:54 AM

MORE GOOD PEOPLE DOING GOOD THINGS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A local news story

Posted at 10:53 AM

GOOD NEWS FROM NEW ORLEANS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A Small Victory is looking at people at their best in the worst.

Posted at 10:50 AM

ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Q&A [Jonah Goldberg ]
Interesting stuff. Upshot: the best case scenario is not so hot.

Posted at 10:49 AM

VIVE LA NOUVELLE ORLEANS [Rod Dreher]
Fred Gion writes from Paris:

Remember the French Quarter was built with good old techniques from the old world and if Bourbon street is flooded, even for a long time, I’m sure that the French Government will fly in a team of Architectes des Monuments Historiques who specialize in rescuing precious ancient buildings. If the French quarter needs old wooden French doors, we’ll open the storage rooms of a few museums and find plenty of doors. Same for wooden panneling, windows, balconies, paintings, you name it. France is a big reservoir of spare parts for old French buildings. If something French is lost, destroyed or broken, I’m sure France will be proud to provide the people of New Orleans with a new one – or more to the point – with and old one. La Nouvelle Orleans ne mourra jamais. (New Orleans will never die).


Posted at 10:47 AM

BRIBED OPINION OF ME [John Podhoretz]
Doesn’t the fact that the guides praised me and I still considered it corrupt trash assign me special points for honesty, Tim?

Posted at 10:46 AM

RECRIMINATIONS [Rod Dreher]
Just heard from a Louisiana source in the medical industry that New Orleans hospitals were advised after 9/11 to move their generators from the first floor to the third floor — presumably to protect them in case terrorists dynamited the levee. Obviously, they didn’t do this, which is why the hospitals are evacuating now.

It’s interesting to think about the massive recriminations that are going to take place in the aftermath of this storm. Not a single soul in Louisiana can say they didn’t see this coming. Like everybody else in south Louisiana, I grew up hearing about the Big One that was going to hit New Orleans one day. There has been intense interest in this in recent years, with scientists at LSU and elsewhere warning precisely what was going to happen if a storm like Katrina hit the city. All of this was predicted … but nobody made serious efforts to protect against it by strengthening the levees. That would have been difficult and expensive.

It is possible, of course, that nothing could have been done to have prevented this disaster. But the point is, we didn’t really try. And now we have to pay an unimaginable price. This has got me thinking about terrorism too. One of these days, we’re going to lose an American city to nuclear terrorism, and we will wail and gnash our teeth over what happened to us. NOW is the time to foresee this kind of thing, and to prepare for it as much as we can. I had in my office today an Israeli security consultant, who, talking about terrorism, said to me, “Americans are great in figuring out how to react to things after they happen. But you’re not very good at preventing them from happening.”
Posted at 10:41 AM

SCHOOL’S OUT [Jonah Goldberg ]
It’s just, like, closed at Tulane.

Posted at 10:38 AM

RE: WANNISKI’S MEDIA GUIDES [Tim Graham]
John, I cannot presume to be on the inside to hear whispers about “side deals,” but looking back at the Guides we still have in the office, my point stands: if you stumbled across one of these Guides now (and who other than media freaks and geeks still has one?), it reads like serious media criticism, not a “restaurant review.” Some of their critiques were odd (notice I said we debated them). If you want to take exception to their regular praise of you as a hot up-and-coming journalist (at U.S. News as well as at the Washington Times) as clearly a bribed opinion, feel free.

Posted at 10:35 AM

A QUICK FLASHBACK TO 9/11, 9/12 [JPod]
In New York City, looters ran amok during the 1977 blackout, causing $1 billion in damage. After 9/11, when almost every available police officer was on homeland-security detail, there was no crime to speak of in New York City anywhere. The situations are clearly not analogous — power and water were in abundant supply, and nobody beyond Lower Manhattan had their homes destroyed. People in New Orleans need all the food and water and diapers and aspirin etc. they can get, and as people from left to right have been saying, such actions out of necessity are understandable. But even so, the reestablishment of civil order in New York in the years before 9/11 was vital when it came to keeping the city calm after the attacks. Strong leadership made the difference — which is why you need it BEFORE a trauma.

Posted at 10:34 AM

BEHOLD THE POWER! [Jonah Goldberg]
Yesterday, when I reccomended that Christopher Lasch book, its Amazon sales rank was 144,000 and change. Today it’s 14,000 and change. I know that the Amazon ranking is goofy and weighted very oddly. But that shouldn’t stop publishers from thinking the Corner is all-powerful.

Posted at 10:26 AM

OVERSIGHT [Jonah Goldberg ]

A reader makes a good point, I should have mentioned The Manchurian Candidate in today’s column:

Jonah,

Great(ly depressing) points on Hollywood.

I’m surprised you didn’t mention the remake of the classic The Manchurian Candidate, though. Not only was it a perfectly awful butchering of a great movie, but the villain was (surprise!) Big Business trying to “put a sleeper in the White House”. Denzel tries to warn the world that, you fools, can’t you see, a private equity fund (somehow not named The Carlyle Group—Hollywood does have some restraint) is trying to do bad bad things and yet no one believes him. Fortunately for us, Denzel kills the newly-elected/sleeper president. Psheew!

I thought it noteworthy that the remake had to rely on nightmarishly gory scenes that looked ripped from the 3rd region of Hell for effect, whereas the original used the horror of a communist plot (and good acting) to keep the audience riveted.

Just wanted to join the chorus.

All laud and honor, etc.,


Posted at 10:22 AM

SELF-HELP V LOOTING [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:

Taking food (especially food that is going to spoil anyway), water, and diapers is not looting. That is not only forgivable but expected during a disaster. I would do the same without any guilty whatsoever. I would also go back to that store after the disaster and pay for what I took (but that’s me).

Breaking into stores and taking property such as TVs, jewlery, etc. is
unforgivable. That’s looting. I heard Brian Williams justify it by saying
“people who have very little are starting to take property.” Ok, I don’t
expect namby pamby Brian William to call it as it is (given his property is
not being looted) and say: “There’re some looting scum, let’s hope the
National Guard shoots them.” But it would be nice if he didn’t try to
justify what they were doing based on class.


Posted at 10:20 AM

BROKEN RECORD: CAN’T AN ELECTED OFFICIAL SAY “IT’S WRONG”? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

5:55 A.M. GOVERNOR BLANCO: Stopping the looting is important, but saving lives a higher priority right now. Not sure where looters think they are taking the stuff since city may soon be under water.


Posted at 10:12 AM

RE: GOVERNORS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Readers watching more of her are critical:

Sorry, but I ain’t buying it. This woman is lost and looks lost. She may have won the election but she has no business being in charge of anything. Watching her on TV the last two days has made this pretty clear. Now is not the time to be sobbing. She sure as hell should not be doing it on the tube in front of her fellow citizens – the ones looking to her for leadership.

Compare her performance to Barbour in MS. You just know his state will come at way ahead of her state when it is all said and done.


Posted at 10:10 AM

WANNISKI’S MEDIA GUIDES [JPod]
Not to say anything that isn’t totally flattering about the recently departed, Tim Graham, but let me assure you that the Wanniski Media Guides were anything but serious studies of the American press corps. I know, for example, that Wanniski had a side deal of some kind with the Washington Times (what sort of side deal I don’t know) that led him to write about the paper in extremely kindly terms. I worked there at the time in a fairly senior position, and I can assure you, we all knew the thing was a joke even though it said nice things about us.

Posted at 09:59 AM

MARRIAGE IS HARD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Married to a BoSoxer.

Posted at 09:58 AM

RE: SHOELESS [Tim Graham]
The grapevine tells me that some think Candace Bushnell should not be described as a “progressive female” since she is an active Republican (and I can see from the old rudimentary Google search that she gave a grand to the Al D’Amato campaign in 1998). Clearly, you can be quite liberal and still be Republican. (Ask Arlen Specter.) But I meant she is certainly surfing on top of the wave of the sexually progressive/sleazy. I also meant to mock the Manolo materialism of her milieu.

Posted at 09:58 AM

RE: LOOTING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A number of readers sent me some quotes last night from a segment with Mary Landrieu on one of the cable talking-heads shows on which she called some of the looters “obnoxious”–presumably ones looking for non-destroyed ipods–while excusing people looting for survival. It seems to me a public official should be saying “looting is criminal.” Period. Humane exceptions can be dealt with off cable TV.

Posted at 09:55 AM

I THINK I’VE GOT IT NOW. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
He’s been kind of oblique, but Derb doesn’t buy I.D. Like at all.

Posted at 09:55 AM

VERY BRIEF RESPONSE [John Derbyshire]
Having said what I wanted to say about Intelligent Design, I made a quiet promise to myself that I wouldn’t make any on-site responses to the bazillion emails I knew I would get. There was one thing, however, that so many people told me, I do think it deserves a collective response.

The thing they told me was, that in describing I.D. as “the theory that life on earth has developed by a series of supernatural miracles performed by the God of the Christian Bible, for which it is pointless to seek any naturalistic explanation,” I was grossly mis-characterizing the “theory.” I.D. is, these legions of readers told me, an entirely scientific approach — statistics! information theory! mathematics!! — which has nothing whatever to do with hauling in God to explain the unexplained, and which has no connection whatever with that silly old Creationism. People like the Discovery Institute, who promote I.D., are not religious fundamentalists (they tell me), and are not trying to put God in the science classroom. Nothing of the sort! No! Absolutely not!

All right, here’s my response: “Thanks for writing! Yours sincerely, Marie of Roumania.”
Posted at 09:50 AM

LOOTING [Jonah Goldberg]

Philosophically, I am very sympathetic to the argument that in a crisis, when no legal means are available, theft is morally permissible to save a life. Stealing a bottle of water for your thirsty kids, food for your starving brother, etc. These things are morally defensible and the state and/or juries should have the power to forgive them.

But looting for personal gain is repugnant and inexcusable. Last night on NBC news they ran a piece about the looting and interviewed a lady who was talking about how the imperative was to survive. Fair enough, but in the background you could see another woman walking by with a giant cart full of clothes. That’s not about survival. I could have sworn I saw a segment this morning showing police looting stores themselves. And the looting of peoples’ homes cannot even be draped in the quasi-Marxist asininity we hear from some quarters defending the looting of stores.

From the Times of London:

“One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store. “No,” the man shouted, ‘that’s everybody’s store!'”

From a wire service story (posted by Rich below):

Mike Franklin stood on the trolley tracks and watched the spectacle unfold.

“To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it’s an opportunity to get back at society,” he said.

Meanwhile, a policeman was shot in the head by a looter and one looter shot another looter.

The devastation along the Gulf Coast really is heartbreaking and I understand that there are competing priorities. The need to rescue people and stem the flooding should take precedence. But while the physical destruction is monumentally depressing, the moral destruction this reveals is equally sad. And the longer the authorities take in stemming this tide, the more depressing it will get.

And, it should be needless to say, the whole world is watching.

Posted at 09:49 AM

NEVERMIND THAT HALEY IS TO BLAME FOR KATRINA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The U.S. is.

Posted at 09:45 AM

GOVERNORS ARE HUMAN TOO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An off-camera moment caught on camera.

Posted at 09:38 AM

TODAY MAUREEN DOWD EXPLAINS HOW SHE CAN READ HER OWN COLUMN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Redheads, a recent study showed, have a higher tolerance for pain.

Posted at 09:36 AM

RE: PIE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mail: “Have you ever reread some of your commentary? Shrill at best. Get a life.”

Okay, nevermind then. I clearly have no authority to claim “Let’s throw a piece a Paul Wolfowitz” is bad.
Posted at 09:35 AM

K-LO’S MANOLOS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Why do you think we’re having a Hollywood fundraiser?

Just kidding. These fundraisers, as you know, are about bread and butter, keeping the machine oiled every morning so we can pop out more and better content daily. And they have the added bonus of being great fun. Join us if you can afford the break.
Posted at 09:24 AM

BAD NEWS FOR DEMS AND RELIGION [Jack Fowler]
A new Pew Research Center poll/study shows public perception of the Democrat Party’s friendliness to religion sinking (which is another way of saying hostility to religion is growing). In a similar survey conducted in 2004, 40 percent of Americans thought the party was “friendly to religion,” but a year – and a Dem outreach effort – later, that number has plummeted to 29 percent. The Washington Post article on the poll has basics. And here’s the Pew study.

Posted at 09:21 AM

“LET’S PIE PAUL WOLFOWITZ” [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Mature, responsible commentary from the Left.

Posted at 09:02 AM

RFK, KATRINA & HURRICANES [Jonathan H. Adler]
That man has no shame. I round-up some of the current thinking on climate and hurricanes at the Commons Blog here and here. Of course, our esteemed editor’s piece is also worth a read.

Posted at 08:40 AM

SEX AND THE SHOELESS [Tim Graham]
K-Lo, in reading Time’s interview with “Sex And The City” author Candace Bushnell, well, this may be a guy thing, but I’m confused as to why progressive females feel guilty over not having ENOUGH shoes (defining 60 pairs as a paltry collection.) Why don’t they feel guilty instead that they aren’t donating a few sneakers for the poor?

TIME: How many pairs of shoes do you have?

Bushnell: I probably don’t have that many pairs. Maybe 60? But I know that’s really not many.

TIME: You sound almost guilty.

Bushnell: I do feel really guilty about it, because I feel like I should have more. But how many pairs of shoes can you wear?


Posted at 08:36 AM

REPORTERS UNDER GLASS? [Tim Graham]
In recounting the colorful life of Jude Wanniski, Washington Post writer Adam Bernstein claims Wanniski “wrote a tongue-in-cheek guide to Washington reporters, rating them as if they were restaurant entrees.” First, that should be plural: his Media Guides came out for a number of years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and they were serious evaluations of a journalist’s body of work. We read them, and sometimes debated the evaluations. (In 1990, we helped them construct a rating system for TV reporters.) While the books had a star system of ratings, it was hardly restaurant-like: “The ambience of Irving R. Levine is warm and inviting.”

Posted at 08:34 AM

SEX ON THE BRAIN IN THE HURRICANE [Tim Graham]
While other political groups are just telling their followers how to help the Red Cross or other relief charities, Planned Parenthood interim leader Karen Pearl is exploiting the hurricane for a lobbying effort against the FDA for deferring approval for “emergency contraception”:

This deferment comes at a particularly poignant time. As Hurricane Katrina ripped through the southeastern United States, Planned Parenthood was there to offer one free month of birth control or one free emergency contraception kit to women from Louisiana and Mississippi. In past disasters, we know there has been an increased demand for EC. Since the FDA says it wants to hear from the public before making a ruling, let’s raise our voices to a volume that cannot be ignored and let them know that EC is an essential part of women’s health care.


Posted at 08:33 AM

AND HALEY IS TO BLAME FOR KATRINA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Thank you RFK Jr. Get off worrying about Jonah and Rush comic relief and listen to what serious people are saying with a straight face.

Posted at 08:24 AM

SO MAYBE HE DIDN’T PLAY GOLF [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
but Bush played guitar! Clearly the president doesn’t give a damn.

Posted at 08:11 AM

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

TRY, TRY AGAIN [Rich Lowry]
We are pushing for more revisions to the Iraq constitution (via Breitbart): “The nation’s Sunni Arabs had demanded revisions in the constitution, finalized last weekend by the Shiite-Kurdish majority over Sunni objections. A Shiite leader said only minor editing would be accepted, because the draft was now ready for voters in an Oct. 15 referendum.

But Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters he believed “a final, final draft has not yet been, or the edits have not been, presented yet” _ a strong hint to Shiites and Kurds that Washington wants another bid to accommodate the Sunnis.

“That is something that Iraqis will have to talk to each other (about) and decide for themselves,” Khalilzad said, speaking alongside a major Sunni Arab community leader who denounced the current draft and accused the Shiite-dominated government’s security forces of assassinating Sunnis.

The Bush administration wants a constitution acceptable to all Iraqi factions to help quell the Sunni-dominated insurgency so that U.S. and other foreign troops can begin to go home.

Shiite leaders had no comment on Khalilzad’s remarks. As constitution wrangling drew to a close last week, Shiite officials complained privately that the Sunnis were stonewalling and that further negotiations were pointless.”
Posted at 09:49 PM

DID BUSH PLAY GOLF WHILE KATRINA RAGED? ER, NO. [Byron York]
Word has been going around in some quarters of the Left that yesterday, as Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama suffered the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, George W. Bush played golf. “The president went golfing at the El Mirage Golf Course yesterday while the people were literally suffering,” Air America Radio host Randi Rhodes said today. “The president decided that the best use of his time would be to go golfing.” The message, of course, was that Bush is so callous and so removed from reality that he went out for a bit of fun on the course while disaster struck the nation. The only problem is, according to the White House, the president didn’t play golf yesterday. He took part in a Medicare event at the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort and Country Club in El Mirage, Arizona — during which he made some remarks about the hurricane — but there was no golf.

Posted at 06:56 PM

MORE NO [Rich Lowry ]
E-mail:

Rich,
It is a little macabre to bring it up now, but the History Channel used to run a show all about the levee and pump systems in New Orleans and how it had never taken a direct hit in its entire history. It is a very informative show and grimly predicts ALMOST EXACTLY what has happened, predicting the widespread disaster we are seeing unfold with frightening accuracy and even dramatizations and illustrations. I am sure someone somewhere has that program cued to air as soon as is tasteful.

ME: I saw a bit of something similar re-played on The Weather Channel Sunday night. Terrifying.
Posted at 06:17 PM

MOST DEPRESSING EMAIL OF THE DAY [John Derbyshire]
“Dear Sir—I’m with you, except for the Newtonian physics. The vast majority of Americans in high school do not take physics of any kind, nor are they prepared to, even if you assume they could. Something like 40 per cent of them are functionally illiterate.

“They should be taught a few things like photosynthesis, the solar system, the lever and fulcrum and the pulley, etc., anatomy and reproduction, under the aegis of ‘science.’ To get this much into them would be a huge triumph. We are currently failing badly at teaching even the most basic lessons.

“They should never be taught anything even slightly controversial. There’s too much they don’t know and will never know which is undisputed by the craziest of monks. The children (and their teachers) should not be allowed to waste time ‘rapping’ about anything. They accomplish little enough as it is.

“In the occasional corner of the occasional school where elevated material is appropriate–in fact indispensable–the good teacher will just naturally present Newtonian physics and Darwinism. No laws are needed to command this. But such corners are getting rarer and rarer in public schools.

“Generally speaking, the ‘public school science classes’ you picture in this country do not exist. Just look at the scores.”

[Derb] I wouldn’t be surprised if this is right. Even if it’s not, speaking as a person who actually has tried to get knowledge into a room full of 15-yr-old heads, I smile wearily at the idea that we should “expose kids to all sides,” “teach the controversy,” and so on. Let’s teach kids the basics, where we can, and let them tackle the controversy when they are old enough, mature enough, and interested enough to do so.
Posted at 06:17 PM

THE KREPINEVICH PIECE [Rich Lowry ]
Just read it. He’s a very well-respected guy and this is a serious, constructive piece. I was a little underwhelmed, however, given the play it received from David Brooks on Sunday as the new strategy that will win the Iraq war. A couple of things:

–He calls for more embedding of US troops in Iraqi units. This is something we are already doing. More of it may very well be a good idea, but it’s not a seachange in strategy.

–He calls for Iraqi units to hold territory and protect it from insurgents. This too seems like a fine idea, but where do we get the Iraqi units? My understanding is that one reason we have been sweeping, clearing, and not holding is that we want Iraqi units to do the holding, but we don’t have them yet.

–He advocates striking a “grand bargain” among a critical mass of all Iraq groups. This is obviously key, and something we’ve already been working very, very hard at. So this isn’t calling for something new at all. The big question, of course, is, What happens if said groups aren’t interested in said bargain?

–Finally, Brooks suggests that the Krepinevich approach hasn’t been tried because it violates the “Rumsfeldian” obsession with a “light, lean force” and instead demands “a heavy troop presence.” I was surprised, therefore, to see that Krepinevich says we could adopt his strategy with fewer troops than now, 120,000 rather than 140,000. As the Iraqi government and security forces stand up, he says we could go down to 60,000. Is it just me, or isn’t this the sort of progression that the Pentagon has been talking about for a long time? (Of course, the timetable is key.)

Anyway, it’s a great piece and well-worth reading. If anyone out there has takes on it, let me know and I’ll post them. One idea that definitely seems worth adopting is having longer tours for our successful generals in Iraq. A lot of what Krepinevich discuss in terms of the interaction between security, politics, and reconstruction reminded me of things Gen. Pete Chiarelli had told me about his approach in Baghdad. But he left after a year.
Posted at 06:16 PM

NEW ORLEANS’ BRAVEST AND FINEST [Rod Dreher]
Not. Times-Picayune reporters witnessed police and firefighters in New Orleans joining in the looting. Excerpt:

One man said police directed him to Wal-Mart from Robert’s Grocery, where a similar scene was taking place. A crowd in the electronics section said one officer broke the glass DVD case so people wouldn’t cut themselves.

“The police got all the best stuff. They’re crookeder than us,” one man said.

Thank God Orleans Parish is now under martial law. The good people need to be protected not only from thugs, but from their own public servants.
Posted at 06:16 PM

RE: JOHN LANDIS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
A reader in the movie biz e-mails echoing a point I’ve heard others who are involved in this scene make; said reader recently heard Landis make a “similar comment, but without the specific reference to Bush. It’s clear where his politics are but he also sort of has a point. I think the ratings system is a gawshaful joke which has simply made a muddle of things. And he’s right that the only thing in ‘The Blues Brothers’ that got it the R was the f-word.”

He adds: “Landis is, though, the guy you want to invite to a party and then tell everybody else to shut up and let him talk. He’s a hilariousraconteur and has lots of funny (and unpublishable) stories to tell.”
Posted at 06:05 PM

KATRINA HORRORS [Rich Lowry ]
Michelle has a round-up…

Posted at 05:36 PM

BODIES, LOOTERS [Rod Dreher]
I finally got through to my family down in south Louisiana today. They live just north of Baton Rouge, on high ground, and had no damage, other than fallen trees. But they have no power, and don’t know when they’ll get it back, so they’re boiling in the late August heat and humidity. Still, my sister said they would never complain, given what people are suffering not too far away. She had little idea of what’s happening, because their TVs don’t work. It’s probably just as well. I heard from a Louisiana National Guard source that there are bodies everywhere in the far south, but the authorities aren’t publicizing this.

My sister said she and the rest of the family are anticipating opening up their front yard to refugees in tents. They want to do something, anything. She said the sense of powerlessness to help the afflicted that those who emerged unscathed feel is agonizing. I know that we are going to see in the next days and weeks the strong backs and stout hearts of the people of Louisiana made manifest in the relief effort. My great aunt Hilda Moss, who died when I was a boy, was a Red Cross worker when the 1927 flood devastated so much of the state. When they told her that a woman had no business going into the back country to bring relief, she disguised herself as a man, commandeered a boat, and brought help to stranded country people. That’s the spirit of Louisiana that I know. It’s driving me slightly crazy to be sitting here in an office in downtown Dallas instead of down there helping.
Posted at 05:31 PM

PARTY AT CAMP CASEY [Byron York]

In marked contrast to her testy interview yesterday with NPR’s Neal Conan, Cindy Sheehan was warm and friendly during an appearance this afternoon on Randi Rhodes’ program on Air America Radio. The two reminisced about Rhodes’ visit to Camp Casey and their budding friendship. “Did you tell your listeners we’re best friends now and we’re going to terrorize New York City?” Sheehan said to Rhodes.

Rhodes responded by telling a story from her visit to Camp Casey. “I will never forget that night sitting outside under the stars with you,” Rhodes told Sheehan. “It was at one of those wrought-iron tables you see out in lawn-furniture land…Cindy Sheehan drinks Heineken…I was drinking Corona…It was just like five girls, and we were sitting around…All of a sudden, I got a beer, and I put it down, and it went right through the table…”

“My feet were covered with beer,” Sheehan said.

Later, Sheehan summed up her time in Crawford. “I’m so sad to leave,” she said. “I never even envisioned that. I really dread leaving, because it’s been the most amazing transformative experience in my life, and it has really helped me heal with Casey’s death…It really has been an amazing healing experience.”


Posted at 05:28 PM

ANIMAL HOUSE COULD NOT BE MADE TODAY WITH “DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION” ALL-POWERFUL ROVE IN CHARGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From movie director John Landis in an online chat today:

Pittsburgh, Pa.: Being a 30-something, I’ve grown up with a lot of your great movies so I was wondering, as a great crafter of comedies, what current or recently released films of the past few years have made you laugh?

John Landis: I enjoyed Shawn of the Dead and although I have not seen them, I’m very happy for the success of “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “The Wedding Crashers” because they are R-rated. The studios have been leery of R-rated films in these creepy Bush times, so the success of those films is a hopeful sign. Every film I ever made that grossed over $100 million (Animal House, Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Coming to America) were all R-rated. There’s nothing in The Blues Brothers I wouldn’t let a 10-year-old see, just some profane language.


Posted at 05:26 PM

KATRINA MAIL [Rich Lowry ]
Here’s a smattering in reaction to this column :

–Dear Rich,
That’s a nice article on Katrina in today’s NRO. There is a basic fact that people don’t understand. The world is full of random events.

Anything that is random will happen in “streaks.” That’s why we study most natural phenomena based on statistics, averages, and historical data. Last year when there were seven hurricanes, I saw a cable news guy interview a meteorologist. The reporter asked, “Why are we having so many hurricanes this year?” I could sense the reporter wanted the response “global warming.” However, the answer he got disappointed him.

The meteorologist said, “It’s the weather.” I got the sense the meteorologist wanted to add, “You dumba**.”

–Rich,
A couple of specific facts in support of your global warming/Katrina article: The deadliest natural disaster in US history was a category 4 hurricane that hit Galveston, TX in 1900, killing 8-12,000 people. The most powerful hurricane (in terms of low pressure, which is the primary way that the experts measure strength of storm) was the category 5 Labor Day hurricane of 1935 that hit the Florida Keys. That both of these storms occurred before the modern age of man defiling the environment (according to the enviros) serves as stark (even if anecdotal) evidence that there is nothing new about strong hurricanes hitting America. The thing that has changed, however–and for the worst–is that now our coastlines are much more populated than they were when some of these killer storms hit 50 or 100 years ago.

–Rich,
When experts differ it is hard for the lay person to sort out what is what. Patrick Michaels recent piece in Reason criticizes Kerry Emmanuel’s article in Nature or Science that argues for an intensification of hurricanes. The gist of his criticism is that Gray disagrees with it and that everyone one know through damage claims if hurricanes had grown more intense. I respect Michaels’ scientific work on global warming, and his popularization of it, but think his recent article is quite a stretch.

First, Gray gets a lot of press but, unless he’s picked up a lot of theory in the last twenty years, he is still basically a phenomenological statistician, not a hurricane dynamicist, like Vic Ooyama or Emmanuel, for instance. Also, the last I heard, parts of his methodology of seasonal forecasting of hurricanes were proprietary, so they can’t be checked by scientists other than his collaborators, so he his operating outside normal science.

As to Michaels second point about damage claims, this seems to me to rely a lot on the assumption of the uniformity of hurricane lifetimes and trajectories. The hurricanes have to reach high-value areas with high intensity for there to be many insurance losses. If they are strong out in the open ocean, or over Cuba or Mexico, there probably won’t be many losses.

Kerry is a full professor at MIT, and was at one time, I believe, the youngest American professor of meteorology. He has had a stellar career and doesn’t need to “get along by going along.” Also, one of his long-time collaborators is both a conservative-libertarian and a solid scientist; I got to know him when we worked at the same government lab.

–You write: “According to the work of Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado, of the top five most destructive storms this century, only one occurred after 1950 . . .”

Actually, they all happened after 1950. In fact, they all happened after 2000. Writing last year’s date on a check in February is embarrassing, but we’re several years into the 21st century now.

ME: Re Kerry Emanuel, I don’t doubt that he’s a serious guy. As a layman the arguments against his paper seem more persuasive, but I’m no meteorologist obviously. Re “this century,” I hope to get it right by the end of the decade.
Posted at 05:24 PM

RE: SLOW LEARNERS [Kate O’Beirne]
Clearly education reform remains a hot topic. One correspondent says that if his federal tax dollars are being spent, even if they represent only seven percent of the total, he wants acoountability for that spending. Surely the other 93 percent of spending – funded by his state and local taxes – give sufficient reason to demand accountability. So, who needs the feds?

And, the remedy isn’t to limit the loopholes and “toughen up” the reform, unless the Departent of Education is prepared to become a national school board, effectively running every school in the country.
Posted at 05:22 PM

SOME RECENT N.O. UPDATES… [Rich Lowry ]
from this site:

3:13 P.M. – Governor Blanco: A lot of people have lost their lives, but we have no numbers because the priority is saving those who are alive so we don’t have more casualties.

3:12 P.M. – Senator Vitter: Mayor Nagin’s calm and control and command of the facts showed me that we have one of the best leaders in the country right here.

3:12 P.M. – Senator Landrieu – Scenes are similar to what she saw after the Tsunami.

3:11 P.M. – Senator Landrieu: Those who evacuated should be patient and thank God that they are okay because so many still need to get out.

3:09 P.M. – Senator Landrieu: Plenty of people still on rooftops in N.O. East waiting to be rescued. Every boat available is being used to try to save people.

3:07 P.M. – Governor Blanco: We are looking for ways to get people out of the Superdome and out of New Orleans said Governor Blanco as she tried to keep from crying.


Posted at 05:10 PM

RE: NCLB [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Kate’s correspondent writes: “If state officials do not want pressure from Washington, then state officials should do without funding from Washington.” I think this is the correct policy, if you add the proviso that states that do without funding should not be required to pay the taxes either. If NCLB is so terrific, voters in the states will demand that states get the federal value-added.

Posted at 05:09 PM

SUPERDOME [Rich Lowry ]
Personally, I thought the Jonah Superdome riff was funny and clearly was poking fun at the media frenzy around Katrina at a time when it seemed especially over-blown.

Posted at 04:52 PM

“LOUISIANA GOVERNOR ORDERS COMPLETE EVACUATION OF NEW ORLEANS AS WATER CONTINUES TO RISE” [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Wow. From ABCNews.com

Posted at 04:51 PM

JOHN ROBERTS & DURAN DURAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is Juan Non-Volokh begging for a Corner link.

Posted at 04:48 PM

THE OTHER FAMILIES [Jim Robbins]
A site worth seeing is this one by the Long Island Parents of Deployed Military. There is no political agenda, just support for the troops, and honor for the fallen. It is much more representative of military families than the people the MSM have been hyping.

Posted at 04:42 PM

WINDSHIRTS [Jack Fowler]
They’re flying out the door. Just a few of NR’s great wind- and water-resistant pullovers are left. Order here.

Posted at 04:36 PM

HIS DICTATORSHIP ASIDE [Jim Boulet]
From “Hugo Chavez: A Walk in the Footsteps of Arbenz, Allende”: “Hugo Chavez … has created school music programs that have resulted in lower street crime and a resurgence of classical music.”

Wasn’t Castro credited with making an honored place in Cuba for poets?
Posted at 04:10 PM

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND [Kate O’Beirne]
An e-mail: Hi Kate

Wanted to deal with the following sentence regarding your SLOW LEARNERS post.

The fundamental problem with the administration’s top-down reform? If state officials have the resolve to insist on tough reforms, they don’t need pressure from Washington and if they lack the will to take on formidable bureaucracies federal demands will be subverted.

If state officials have the resolve to insist on tough reforms, they don’t need pressure from Washington

With all due respect, this is poppycock. If state officials do not want pressure from Washington, then state officials should do without funding from Washington. It’s like me funding a research project and the researcher saying don’t pressure me for results.

and if they lack the will to take on formidable bureaucracies federal demands will be subverted.

If they are begin subverted, then why did many of the public schools in the poor districts in my community just have to restaff all there teachers. I’ll tell you why, NCLB.

I am not saying that NCLB is perfect, e.g. vouchers would have been great, but IMO if my money is going to spent I want some accountability even if not perfect.

ME: Here’s my March 8, 2004 NRODT article on NCLB.

Washington provides about 7 percent of funding for elementary schools – so their financial clout is not the same as a federal research grant. Glad to hear that your schools enjoyed a teacher shake-up, but plenty of others haven’t and won’t. A quick example of the different responses that reflect the different levels of indispensable local commitment: States define what is a “persistently dangerous” school that students will be permitted to transfer out of. Based on self-defining and reporting, Philadelphia has more such schools than the rest of nation combined – 44 states (including the District of Columbia!?) have none. In N.Y. a school with 1,000 students must have 30 or more weapons incidents for two years in a row to get labeled.

Regarding overall scores for schools, comprehensive research concluded that the “staggering” differences in results among the states are the result of some states lowering “proficient” scores thereby making it much easier to show progress in later years. In other words – they are cheating.
Posted at 04:05 PM

KATRINA [Jonah Goldberg ]
Not to drag it out, but this really has turned out to be a far more awful disaster than I ever dreamed it would be. My thoughts and prayers to those affected and my apologies to those offended for my making light of it. It’d be nice if the Huffington Post types could understand that I did not make jokes after the death toll and damage were known, but before — when the media seemed to be making the usual spectacle of itself. But that’s really neither here nor there. Anyway, here’s hoping for the best. It’s really become no joking matter and, at least in hindsight, it never was. Donations to the Red Cross relief effort can be made here. And, yes, I’ll be making a donation.

Posted at 03:58 PM

HUMORLESS DRONES OF THE ROVE CONSPIRACY [Warren Bell]
I have been ordered by HQ to post that I am not one.

Posted at 03:58 PM

VELIKOVSKY LIVES! [John Derbyshire]
I knew it would happen, and it has: I have had a stiff e-mail from the Velikovskians.

Posted at 03:39 PM

THE END OF THE BRITISH TORY PARTY [Iain Murray]
Is a serious possibility if former Chancellor Ken Clarke becomes leader. Tim Montgomerie at the reliably sound Conservative Home blog suggests the Europhile paternalist has decided to stand on a platform opposed to the Iraq War. Meanwhile, Watlington at the equally excellent Social Affairs Unit blog suggests he will win if the Tory right does not unite behind a single candidate. For my money, that’s Dr. Liam Fox, for reasons I hope to explain later.

Posted at 03:27 PM

MAIL BAG [Jonah Goldberg]

Despite apologizing for the undue levity, mail has kept pouring in. There seem to be only two kinds.

This kind (all asterisks are mine):


YOU WOULD LOSE TEETH TALKING S**T ABOUT THE HURRICANE IN FRONT OF ME

Hundreds of people could die over night, f***nut, and you joke like a f***king little faggot. I would enjoy crushing your face. Walking piece of s**t.

and

Nice job with the Thunderdome crack. I guess you’re
trying to be funny, Mr. Goldberg. You’re attempt
failed.

Things are not very fun at the Louisiana Superdome,
and now a man kills himself. It must be pretty s****y
there, but what do you care? The better to decrease
the surplus population, n’est-ce pas?

You, sir, are an unsympathetic piece of s**t. God
knows how you got this far in your career.

And this kind:

Jonah, Don’t sweat your Superdome joke. I have a sister, aunt, and parents all on the Mississippi Gulf coast and I thought it was funny. Laughter is how we get through these things. Regards,

David

And…

Dear Jonah- Just wanted to drop you a line to tell you how much your sense of humor improves the overall “product” that is The Corner. The occasional injections of levity that you & others provide serve to remind the readers that they are being served by living, breathing, thinking people, not humorless drones of the Rove Conspiracy. Keep up the great work, and thanks for keeping The Corner a fun, interesting and stimulating place to be.


Posted at 03:16 PM

GOING FROM THE DARK SIDE TO THE RIGHT SIDE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Red Soxer Mark Bellhorn to wear pinstripes.

Posted at 03:14 PM

SLOW LEARNERS [Kate O’Beirne]
Today the LA Times and the WSJ both notice that there is no constituency for H.R. 1! – President Bush’s signature domestic achievement in his first term. Seems it’s Republicans who have been left behind when it comes to getting credit for the sweeping reform. The naive hope of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was to burnish GOP credentials on the education issue. Federal education spending increased by 50 percent, but Democratic NCLB supporters insist the reform is underfunded while Republicans remain uneasy about a heavy federal hand dictating school policies and are no match for recalcitrant local officials who persistently complain about it’s stringent/flexible mix of federal mandates. When the bill passed, there was support in the polls for some undefined “accountability,” but states that had enacted their own testing regimes were finding little support among teachers and parents beyond the abstract.

The fundamental problem with the administration’s top-down reform? If state officials have the resolve to insist on tough reforms, they don’t need pressure from Washington and if they lack the will to take on formidable bureaucracies federal demands will be subverted.

Although NCLB passed the House with more Democratic support than Republican, accountability for the unpopular accountability regime rests with Republicans.
Posted at 03:07 PM

WHERE’S HALEY WHEN YOU NEED HIM? [Rich Lowry ]
AP story from New Orleans from Breitbart.com:

One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store.

“No,” the man shouted, “that’s EVERYBODY’S store.”

Looters filled industrial-sized garbage cans with clothing and jewelry and floated them down the street on bits of plywood and insulation as National Guard lumbered by.

Mike Franklin stood on the trolley tracks and watched the spectacle unfold.

“To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it’s an opportunity to get back at society,” he said.


Posted at 02:32 PM

SWELL-ANOR [Jonah Goldberg]
By that logic, a draft Army (which also gets paid) is really a slave army. Perhaps Eleanor would prefer the old Crusader model where noblemen were expected to pay their own way (with deferred compensation in spoils, of course).

Posted at 02:27 PM

RE: NEW ORLEANS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Terry Teachout is still updating his storm-blog list.

Posted at 02:23 PM

ELEANOR, YOU SURE AREN’T SWELL-ANOR [John Podhoretz]
Eleanor Clift has hit a low point, which for her is pretty striking, considering she didn’t have far to fall. Thomas Kilgannon notes that on the “McLaughlin Group” this weekend, she defamed Americans serving in the military by dubbing them mercenaries: “But I think what we’re coming to grips with is the fact that we actually have a mercenary Army. And it doesn’t have a nice ring to it. We call it ‘volunteers,’ but we’re basically paying people to serve their country.”

Nice.
Posted at 02:23 PM

FOR THE RECORD [Rich Lowry ]
For those of you who pay very, very close attention to Fox News, I think I mis-stated earlier what were the active and quiet periods in terms of hurricane activity during the 20th century. What I meant to say is what’s in here.

Posted at 02:21 PM

NEW ORLEANS [Rich Lowry ]
Our prayers go out to everyone down there–it hasn’t been looking good today…

Posted at 02:12 PM

THE NON-CINDY PARENTS ON NPR [Byron York]

After Sheehan hung up on him, Conan talked to Gary Qualls, another parent who has lost a son in Iraq, who is now conducting a counter-demonstration in Crawford. Qualls described how, several weeks ago, he called Sheehan to talk about her protest. As Qualls told the story, Sheehan cut off their conversation and hung up on him, in a way similar to the way she had just hung up on Conan.

Conan moved on to Christine Dybevik, whose Marine son died in Iraq. Conan asked her if she questioned the war. No, said Dybevik, who has not taken part in any demonstrations. “My son joined the Marine Corps. He wasn’t drafted. It’s an all-volunteer military. I raised my son to be independent…To question his decision would be to question how I raised him.”

Conan asked about Cindy Sheehan. “She has a right to speak out,” Dybevik said. She does not have the right to stand on my son’s grave to make her point.”

Finally, Conan moved on to Sharon Westbrook, whose son was also a Marine in Iraq. She said her son had long wanted to join the military, especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11. In 2003, he did. “He called me the day that Bush said we were going to war and he said he was headed to the recruiting office,” Westbrook said. “He left for boot camp in November 2003. I have to say it was probably one of the greatest things to see, the transformation…In three short months he changed so much. He was absolutely the proudest I had ever seen him. Of himself — it wasn’t just us proud of him. He was completely content with his decision.”

Conan asked whether Westbrook questioned the war. “I do not question it,” she said. “I think other countries deserve the rights that we have, and I think if we’re able to go and help those countries get those rights, I think it’s a good thing.”

Cindy Sheehan did not return to the program.


Posted at 01:45 PM

CINDY SHEEHAN: “I HAVE TO GO NOW. THANK YOU.” [Byron York]

The appearance by Cindy Sheehan on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” that Jonah mentioned yesterday was quite extraordinary (you can listen to it here). It was extraordinary, first, for the way Sheehan dealt with host Neal Conan. And it was extraordinary, second, for the revealing interviews Conan later conducted with three other parents of U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq.

First, Sheehan. Conan irritated her early in the interview by asking why her son Casey had joined the army. “He got lied to by his recruiter,” Sheehan said.

“Did you try to talk him out of it?” Conan asked.

“We didn’t have a chance,” Sheehan said, explaining that Casey signed up before telling his parents.

“He made a choice of his own,” Conan said.

“Right,” Sheehan said. Then, after a long pause, she said, “What does that have to do with him being sent to a war that’s illegal and immoral…?”

“No, but he wasn’t drafted,” Conan said. “He made a choice of free will.”

Things went downhill from there, when Conan asked what President Bush had said to Sheehan during their meeting in June 2004. “I’ve talked about this a lot, do you have any new questions?” Sheehan said. When Conan persisted, Sheehan said, “I have two minutes.”

Clearly surprised, Conan asked about a few other topics. Then he said, “A lot of statements have been attributed to you as Camp Casey has grown, as this movement has grown — “

“I have to go now. Thank you,” Sheehan said, and hung up.

“Cindy Sheehan, leaving us, there in Crawford, Texas,” Conan told listeners. “We apologize for that. We had arranged with people there to speak with Cindy Sheehan for the remainder of this segment, take some calls as well. Evidently plans changed at the last minute.”


Posted at 01:41 PM

HELEN THOMAS [Jonah Goldberg ]

After essentially calling for an immediate bug-out, she writes:


The Iraqi resistance is being helped by outsiders — whether terrorists or sympathizers — who were not in Iraq before we attacked.

Did Bush think that at least some Iraqis some would not stand and defend their country? Is patriotism simply an American phenomenon?

No need for further comment, I think.

Posted at 01:28 PM

WANNISKI [Jonah Goldberg]
For those interested in the sociology of the right, we should be in for some fascinating footwork from various quarters trying to deal with Wanniski’s legacy as an economist and his later infatuation with Farakhan and the like. As someone who received more than a few tongue-lashing emails from the man about Iraq and Israel, I’m keen to see how the Wall Street Journal handles the whole thing.

Posted at 12:59 PM

CHAPLAINS [Jonah Goldberg ]

There’s a huge take-out on the conflicts and controversies in the military over chaplains in the Washington Post today. I’m ignorant about too much to offer much by way of analysis, except to say it sounds like the Pentagon is taking the issue(s) seriously and responding responsibly.

But there are two items I found particularly interesting. First, there’s a sidebar on a Rabbi who has been charged with desertion. He claims he went to Canada becaue of the rabidly anti-Semitic environment he was subjected to. Read it yourself, but it seems pretty clear to me that he’s lying. His story just doesn’t scan and the way the story is written, it seems the author doesn’t buy it either. The Rabbi claims that he was told by a superior chaplain, “Rabbi, if you want to survive down here, this is the South, and you’d better forget you are a [expletive] Yankee rabbi from up north.” Sorry, but that sounds just a bit too Hollywood for me. He also says another chaplain showed off Nazi uniforms for his benefit. Seems to me that’s a checkable assertion.

Second, there’s a chart (I couldn’t find it on the web) in which they show the breakdown of the various denominations among chaplains. At the bottom it lists the faiths which have no chaplains. It includes Buddhists, Wicca and atheists. Does anyone know what an atheist chaplain would, like, be? Do psychiatrists not count?


Posted at 12:43 PM

IF ONLY HALEY HAD BEEN IN CHARGE OF POST-WAR BAGHDAD [Rich Lowry ]
We had a big problem with looting in Baghdad after the war, and didn’t deal with it strenuously enough. Watching Hannity & Colmes last night, I got the impression that things would have been very different if Haley Barbour had been in charge. Talking about any possible looters in Mississippi, the governor said (I’m quoting from memory) that they would be dealt with “ruthlessly,” that they are “sub-human,” and that they would get “a lesson they wouldn’t soon forget.”

Posted at 12:33 PM

LOSING THE TURKS [John Derbyshire]
I wondered out loud in The Corner a day or two ago why we can’t get the Turks to do anything we want them to do. (This was in the context of the Guantanamo Uighurs.) Well, Gary Brecher offers a clue, and a warning.

Posted at 12:33 PM

DON’T BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU READ IN, ERM, SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS [Iain Murray]
A Tufts University School of Medicine reporter has realized that a pretty large amount of scientific findings are, well, wrong. This work follows on from a recent publication of his that found that a third of medical research articles published in major scientific journals and then cited over a thousand times in the literature are later contradicted or have major questions raised over them. The reasons are many:

One of these factors is that many research studies are small. “The smaller the studies conducted in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true,” says Ioannidis. Another problem is that in many scientific fields, the “effect sizes” (a measure of how much a risk factor such as smoking increases a person’s risk of disease, or how much a treatment is likely to improve a disease) are small… Financial and other interests and prejudices can also lead to untrue results. And “the hotter a scientific field (with more scientific teams involved), the less likely the research findings are to be true,” which may explain why we sometimes see “major excitement followed rapidly by severe disappointments in fields that draw wide attention.”

I’m glad he mentions “other interests and prejudices.” The reaction of some on the left to the news that the recent fetal pain study was conducted by abortion providers is especially interesting. Public choice theory suggests that there are a whole range of influences on researchers rather than just financial, yet current disclosure requirements focus exclusively on financial interests. I should not need to add that arguing that the results must be wrong because of conflicts of interest, whether financial or ideological, is a bad example of the ad hominem fallacy, but if we’re going to consider the possible effects of conflicts of interest the we need to consider the whole range (I argue in my recent science paper that conflicts of interest are actually useful to the development of science). One other point; this is a useful conclusion:

We acknowledge that most studies published should be viewed as hypothesis-generating, rather than conclusive.

A shame that so many in the environmental movement choose to read scientific studies that cannot even be proved by experimental evidence as conclusive. A tragedy that so many in the scientific establishment agree with them.
Posted at 12:10 PM

LA [Jonah Goldberg]

To the tune of the Hulk cartoon theme song.

NR scribblers,
Getting belted under west coast rays,
Needing money in bulk.
Hob-nobbing with the glamo-rays!
Downing libations
With super-gusto,
greeting readers with festive salutations,
Get to LA you must-o,
If you don’t go
You’ll do nothing but sulk! Sulk! SULK!!


Posted at 12:01 PM

JUDE WANNISKI HAS DIED. [Jonah Goldberg ]
Details here.

Posted at 11:52 AM

DON’T PANIC [Jonah Goldberg]

I’ve received a few emails on this front:

Greetings Jonah –

I apologize for filling your inbox when I haven’t read the book in question, but the Amazon description makes me worry about you a bit. A vanishing middle class? Environmental limits to prosperity? And you apparently agree with most of this…have you gone over to the other side? Could you expound upon your enthusiam for this book in the Corner? It sounds like a liberal screed to me.

I haven’t gotten to these arguments yet in the book (assuming they’re there), but this is a sweeping intellectual history. I don’t think you have to agree with every conclusion an author reaches to enjoy how he or she got there. Moreover, if you read the Preface alone or scan the index for environmentalism (mentioned on 2 pages in a 500+ page book) you can conclude pretty quickly that the Library Journal review was imposing an interpretation on the book. Anyway, I’ll comment more when I’m done with it.


Posted at 11:34 AM

UNGLAMORAYS [Jonah Goldberg ]

Warren — I loved those cartoons, even though there was really almost no animation whatsoever. Most of the scenes were just still shots of comic-panels. I can’t imagine what a kid watching those today would think. Anyway, other great lyrics from that series:

When Captain America throws his mighty shield,
All those who chose oppose his shield must yield.

If he’s lead to a fight and a duel is due,
Then the red and white and the blue’ll come through.

When Captain America throws his mighty shield.

And of course:

Tony Stark

Makes you feel

He’s a cool exec

With a heart of steel.

As Iron Man,

All jets ablaze,

He fights and smite’n

With repulsor rays!

A blaze of power!

Iron Man!

Amazing armor!

Iron Man!

More can be found here.


Posted at 11:20 AM

ROB LONG’S VICIOUS CODISM [Warren Bell]
Kathryn links to Rob Long’s L.A. Times Op-Ed on the potential of the new 424 area code overlay. While I know he’s trying to be “funny,” he is also cruelly slamming millions of hard-working people like myself whose phone numbers begin 818. We’re just as good out here in the Valley! We have views of mountains sometimes! And I have seven phone numbers, Rob, two more than you. Serves you right for splitting your money with a writing partner.

Posted at 11:13 AM

DOC BRUCE BANNER [Warren Bell]
As I always heard it, it was Bill Bixby himself who made the Bruce-to-David change, for two purposes — the gay thing, and the fact that Batman was already a Bruce. That my version of the story is more actor-centric is illuminating — that’s how things go around here.

Meanwhile, does anyone remember the old cartoon version of the Hulk? The opening theme began: “DOC BRUCE BANNER / BELTED BY GAMMA RAYS / TURNS INTO THE HULK / AIN’T HE UNGLAMOROUS?” Except that “unglamorous” was pronounced “un-glam-or-ays” in order to make the rhyme work. Someone clocked out early that day.
Posted at 11:11 AM

NO BREAK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
“The Times-Picayune is evacuating it’s New Orleans building.”

Posted at 11:08 AM

FAILURE OF THE MSM [Cliff May]
Among the angry responses to my letter to Cindy Sheehan was this one:

On Friday, August 26th, your letter to Cindy Sheehan was published in the MANCHESTER NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER newspaper. It contained a “comment” written by you as follows:

“THE IRAQIS WILL WANT TO TELL YOU WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE UNDER SADDAM HUSSEIN — THE MASS MURDERS OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS”

Please tell me where these bodies are buried. Is it possible that they are with the WMD’S?

This reader’s ignorance is understandable. There was precious little coverage in the MSM of Saddam Hussein’s crimes while the dictator was in power and there has not been much more since his downfall.

By contrast, of course, every suicide bombing is front-page news – and is characterized not as an atrocity but as a victory for the “militants” (dubbed in the European press as the “Resistance”) and a failure for the U.S.

On a related note: Film-maker Don North came to visit with me the other day and to show me a rough cut of a new documentary, the second in his series on a group of Iraqi merchants whose right hands were amputated at Abu Ghraib on Saddam’s orders (and who have been helped by American doctors and American hospitals).

PBS and other MSM broadcast media have declined to air his films.

If he were chronicling American abuses at Abu Ghraib, do you think he’d have so much trouble getting air time?
Posted at 10:43 AM

FAMILIES & SOCIAL POLICY [Jonah Goldberg ]

Reihan at the American Scene has a follow-up on my post yesterday on Amy Wax’s excellent op-ed about family structure and social policy. He provides some interesting observations, but I’ll concentrate on the negative. I can’t shake the feeling that to some extent he’s offering mere window dressing for the more typical and reflexive liberal response to failures of liberal social meddling: More meddling! I’m not dismissing entirely the role for social policy making, but it does bug me that we almost never hear a liberal say that a policy failure proves that we shouldn’t have a policy in that area. It’s always proof that we need a smarter and more effective policy. Sure, we’ve dug ourselves into a hole, but if we dig with better shovels and allocate labor more efficiently…


Posted at 10:32 AM

BRUCES [Jonah Goldberg ]
Monty Python weighs in.

Posted at 10:20 AM

BRUCEWATCH [Mark Steyn]
Re: Why the TV Hulk was David Banner: My understanding is that it was the Sixties TV Batman that made the name “Bruce” camp – or “swishy” – what with his ward, and the way his tights hung, etc. If memory serves, the Batman TV show was also responsible for making “ward” a joke euphemism. In the mid-Nineties, I was at a dinner party with a sweet old English actor who introduced me to his young male “ward,” and I was rather touched that he thought you could still pull that off.

In Australia, by contrast, Bruce used to be a very butch name. In British TV comedy, for example, the Aussies were always manly outback types called Bruce. But, in a minor example of globalisation, the Oz butchness somehow got infected by American swishiness and “Bruce” came to be associated with an oddly parodic butchness.

Apologies to all Bruces if any of the above is Bruceophobic.
Posted at 10:07 AM

BOOK RECKO [Jonah Goldberg ]

I’ve been reading Christopher Lasch’s The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics. Why didn’t any of you people tell me to read it two years ago? It would have saved me a lot of time. Anyway, I think it’s great. It’s not exactly light reading, but for intellectual history, it’s amazingly breezy and accessible and its sweep is astounding. I’ve read some of the reviews, which were all raves from what I can tell, but if anybody who has read it has any serious complaints about it I’d love to know what they are. I have some quibbles, but they’re penny ante in the big scheme of things. Two thumbs up.

Of course, the Amazon reviewers are all nasty pieces of work approaching parody.


Posted at 09:56 AM

OUTFLANKED [Jonah Goldberg]

my comic geekdom has been exceeded by this reader:

The last e-mailer got it partly wrongn (and that Hulk Encylopedia from Marvel comics is so riddled with errors it makes the mind boggle).

David Banner was the name given to Bruce Banner’s dad
in the recent Ang Lee movie. PAD (Peter David) gave
Bruce’s dad the name “Brian Banner” – this allowed for
a neat cover trick on the special issue Hulk minus
One, where a dead body with a hidden face lies on a
grave, and the tombstone reads “Who killed B_____
Banner?” – this was meant to make you think someone
had killed Bruce Banner, when really it was Brian
Banner who died.

Also, according to the audio commentary on the DVD for
the Hulk TV pilot, Kenneth Johnson said it was NOT
because Bruce was “too gay” of a name, but because the
alliteration was “too comic book-y” – though he did
put “David Bruce Banner” on the tombstone as a tip of
the hat to the comics.


Posted at 09:46 AM

TIMEWASTER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
1950s government-issue panic test. Warning: Your boss will think you’re a few steps from going postal.

Posted at 09:38 AM

WHITE-OUT [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:

Subject: By Juan Cole’s logic, the US could be called “a white country”

One of the contentious issues between the Sunnis and everyone else is
whether or not Iraq should be designated “an Arab country” in the new
constitution. No surprise, he thinks that would be dandy (from Cole’s blog
today):

The diction in the constitution is that Iraq is part of the “Muslim world” but then it says that “its Arabs form part of the Arab world.” The Kurds objected to Iraq being called part of the Arab world, since they deeply resent the Baath Party’s attempt to Arabize them. I figure Iraq is about 74 percent Arab. Given their performance in the Jan. 30 elections, the Kurds must be at least 20 percent of the population. Then Turkmen are about 3 percent, and Chaldean/Assyrian Christians are another 3 percent (many speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus, at home). The rest are Arabs, whether Sunnis or Shiites. You could have called Iraq an Arab country with that profile.

The US Bureau of the Census figures
(http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html ) that the US is 75.1%
white. Let’s run this logic by some non-white minorities and see how they’d feel about the US being defined as “a white country” in the US Constitution. Cole’s logic is so strong, I can’t imagine any complaints!


Posted at 09:38 AM

LATIMES ON BOLTON [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mail:

A quick note from the article,”… now everything may end up back on the table, and time is extremely short…”

If it weren’t for the stonewalling that Mr. Bolton received by the Democrats, leaving the post open for far too long, Mr. Bolton’s amendments would have been brought up in time…


Posted at 09:32 AM

TAX SHELTERS [Jonah Goldberg]

From one of my accountancy guys:


Mr. Goldberg:

I think you are correct in stating that the result of the KPMG case is the result of an unusually complex tax code. Developing some law that states tax shelters are only valid if they serve a legitimate economic purpose would be a disaster. This would result in political evaluation of tax shelters by each new administration resulting in large awards over and over again. Many tax shelters used every day by ordinary people result from unintended consequences of the tax law. The best example of this is the 401K. The 401K was the result of some shrewd tax accountant from the Philly area having interpreted the law to allow development of the 401K plan. He tested his idea by forming a plan for a few clients then successfully defended it in court. At some point down the road some equally shrewd IRS lawyer could decide that the 401K is detrimental to the public good because it allows employees to be at risk in the markets where formerly they were shielded by company defined benefit plans. At this point suits could be filed by the IRS to end the 401K and judgments awarded against all of the large mutual fund companies.

Posted at 09:28 AM

SPEAKING OF BUCKLEYS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
With fondness, Mona Charen in her syndicated column this week remembers the days of wine and roses and, oh, yeah, editing and writing at National Review under the wing of Priscilla Buckley. The occasion? The publication of Priscilla B.’s delightful book Living It Up With National Review: A Memoir.

Posted at 09:13 AM

DOESN’T ANYONE AT THE PUBLIC UTILITIES THINK OF THE EDITORS? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rob Long. I love him. Dearly. But FIVE NUMBERS (see his LATimes op-ed today)?!?! And now with more than one area code. Thanks so much, California. More numbers, just what we need here.

As the print mag goes to bed, an editor calls, getting Rob on the fifth try: “Rob: Are you sure you want Pope Benedict speaking Pig Latin on Larry King Live?”

Yeah, thanks, California. Why are we going there again?

Oh yeah, because lotsa cool people will be collected in one locale on September 17. The cool people are you–a bunch of us are just tagging along with the Buckleyman so we can hang with you.
Posted at 09:12 AM

THE HULK [Jonah Goldberg]

Yesterday, I briefly mentioned that the TV Hulk’s alter-ego went by the name David while the comic book Hulk went by Bruce. Several readers inquired with me why I thought that was. I gave two answers. One, comic books traditionally favor alliterative names — Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Dr. Doom, Reed Richards, Clark Kent, etc. And, two, in the 1970s and 1980s “Bruce” became widely seen as a gay name. Stand-up comics, shlocky movies etc would refer to leathered-up gay dudes as “Bruce.” I’m not sure why this was the case, but I am reminded of Homer Simpson’s conversation with John Waters:

Homer: They ruined all our best names like Bruce and Lance and Julian. Those were the toughest names we had! Now they’re just…

John: Queer?

Homer: Yeah, and that’s another thing! I resent you people using that
word. That’s our word for making fun of you! We need it!

Anyway, in the vast amount of time I wasted pondering the issue I always thought these were the reasons why they changed Doc Banner’s name. It turns out I was right, according to a reader:

Checked the Book of Armaments (Recent Marvel Encyclopedia Vol. 3 – The Incredible Hulk). Your guess as to why they axed Bruce was dead on. It wasn’t “manly” to be called Bruce back in the late 70s (Yet, Bruce Jenner still is a hero?) and the alliterative name. The producer who did this all was Kenneth Johnson (he also wanted to change the color of the Hulk’s skin to red – Stan Lee only let him go so far thankfully), who would later go on to do “V.” No one knows why they picked David, but Bill Bixby’s character was Dr. David Bruce Banner. Ironically, and this was Peter David’s doing, the father of Bruce Banner in the comics is David Banner. There he made the child abuse Banner suffered at the hands of his father, the source of the rage that fuels the Hulk.


Posted at 09:12 AM

KPMG [Jonah Goldberg ]

Andy — I agree that DOJ should be congratulated for not going nuclear against KPMG, but the best I can muster is one or two cheers.

The righteous stupidity which brought down Arthur Andersen does not exactly set a high bar for DOJ to match. Moreover, while I’ll hold my breath to see whether the individual indictments yield actual convictions, it cannot be seriously disputed that this whole mess is the product of an idiotically complex tax code. The real remedy isn’t going after companies which try to do their best for their clients within the law, but changing the law. What constitutes an “abusive” tax shelter is often a metaphysical question. And one must enjoy the irony that congressional liberals are embracing the doctrine of original intent to make the distinction.

As the Journal notes in an excellent editorial on the subject:


The IRS’s standard in evaluating tax shelters is whether the transaction serves a “legitimate economic purpose,” or is crafted entirely to avoid taxes. Senators Carl Levin (D., Mich.) and Norm Coleman (R., Minn.) have proposed legislation that would enshrine that doctrine in law.

Speaking on the Senate floor last month, Mr. Levin described the distinction: “Abusive tax shelters are very different from legitimate tax shelters, such as deducting the interest paid on home mortgage or Congressionally approved tax deductions for building affordable housing. Abusive tax shelters are complicated transactions promoted to provide large tax benefits unintended by the tax code” (our emphasis). In other words, it’s OK to avoid taxes in any of the myriad ways Congress approves of. It’s abusive if Congress didn’t intend it — assuming anyone can ever figure out what Congress really intends.

Posted at 09:02 AM

RE: GO CAL [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I totally expected that to be a plug for our California fundraiser later this month. Jack, have you not had your Starbucks this morning?

Posted at 09:02 AM

CONDOLENCES [Jonah Goldberg]
To those who lost lives, loved ones or property in the hurricane yesterday. After sleeping on it, I decided I probably could have waited longer for the levity.

Posted at 08:54 AM

GO CAL GO! [Jack Fowler]
Cal Thomas’s latest column, which takes Pat Robertson to task for his Chavez-assassination fatwa, is a must-read. Cal’s call for ministers (on the left and the right) to be less political and partisan, to be more involved in their fundamental duty as shepherds helping their flocks reach salvation through virtuous living, to not get sucked into the belief that government is the be-all and end-all and cure-all, is refreshing in its plainly stated wisdom. Here’s a snippet:

Too many Christians think if they shout loud enough and gain political strength the world will be improved. That is a false doctrine. I have never seen anyone “converted” to a Christian’s point of view (and those views are not uniform) through political power. I have frequently seen someone’s views changed after they have experienced true conversion and then live by different standards and live for goals beyond which political party controls the government.

And no, I’m not posting this because Cal is coming on NR’s 2006 Rhine River cruise. Look – no link!
Posted at 08:38 AM

EASY RIDE FOR ALLEN? [Tim Graham]
Gov. Mark Warner will not challenge Sen. George Allen apparently (although Allen aides are responding to the news like they think they might be on an episode of “Punk’d”). Warner, touted as a Southern moderate despite raising our taxes in Virginia, must be serious about running for president, since he’s already hired the obligatory Howard Dean-loving Internet specialist from MyDD to make him look less moderate.

Posted at 07:14 AM

LATTER DAY ISSUES [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Nina Easton gets the president of the Southern Baptist Convention on record today on a potential Romney run for president:

”It would be extraordinarily hard for mainline denomination people in the South to openly and strongly politick or be involved in a Mormon’s run for office,” said Bobby Welch, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination and a fixture of the Christian right.

The sum-up of the piece, though, is: It depends who is running. From Richard Land, another SBC official:

”[I]f Mitt Romney were running against Rudy Giuliani,” Land added, referring to the socially liberal former mayor of New York, ”he’d probably get a lot more votes than Rudy.”


Posted at 07:13 AM

“BOLTON’S MISCHIEF” [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That’s the LATimes today, and they’re not talking about Michael.

A.K.A. Just what the doctor ordered.
Posted at 06:41 AM

RAMESH PONNURU [NRO Staff]
will be a guest on Bill Bennett’s Morning In America this morning at 7:30 a.m. Eastern

Posted at 06:16 AM

REDFORD AND NEWMAN THREATEN TO REUNITE [Warren Bell]
But it won’t be for sequels to their excellent movies from 30 years ago. In fact, Redford doesn’t want to say what it would be. He does say that he is planning a sequel to one of his lousy movies, “The Candidate,” and that he is “frightened for my country.” Meanwhile, he ruled out a Schwarzeneggery foray into politics himself. “I would have to be just consumed with ego and self-absorption,” he said, presumably with a straight face.

Posted at 12:55 AM

SERIOUSLY, THE NICEST MAN ALIVE [Warren Bell]
One of my minions was profiled in the L.A. Times Sunday Calendar.

Mike is spectacularly, almost horrifyingly nice. I think he once thanked me for making fun of his spelling. He felt honored that I would take the time. And ladies… a-vail-a-ble.
Posted at 12:54 AM

I SEE IN THESE RUDE BEASTS THE FIRM HAND OF THE CREATOR [Warren Bell]
Hardline creationists are “taking the dinosaurs back,” according to one of them, as quoted in this L.A. Times article. It seems they contend dinosaurs were part of God’s original creation, present in the Garden of Eden, and then drowned in the flood that Noah’s Ark floated atop. One group at war with evolution — and let’s face it, sanity — purchased The Cabazon Dinosaurs, 45-foot-high concrete dino statues, known as landmarks on the drive to Palm Springs for as long as I can remember, and more widely seen as a set in “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.” The new owners plan to make the Cabazon Dinosaurs a place of worship and evolution debunking. On the other end of the country, Florida tourists who booked that extra day for their trip can stop at Dinosaur Adventure Land, “Where Dinosaurs and The Bible Meet!”

(Hat tip to Sylvia from According to Jim. And BTW, the subject line is an extraordinarily obscure TV reference. Anyone get it?)
Posted at 12:53 AM

Monday, August 29, 2005

WHY DID THE 9/11 COMMISSION BURY IRAQI TIES TO 9/11? [Andy McCarthy]
Steve Hayes is asking over at that other magazine. A must-read.

Posted at 06:20 PM

CINDY SHEEHAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
is too tired for an NRO interview.

Posted at 06:13 PM

INDICTMENT IN $11 BILLION KPMG TAX FRAUD [Andy McCarthy]
The Justice Department has just unsealed the indictment by a federal grand jury in Manhattan of nine KPMG accountants in a tax fraud scheme that is alleged to have generated 11 billion dollars of in phony losses, enabling some of the accounting firm’s clients to evade billions of dollars in taxes while the firm generated $115 million in fees. KPMG itself will not be prosecuted if it meets several conditions, including payment of fines, restitution, and penalties that add up to $456 million, full cooperation with the government’s continuing investigation and prosecution, and the establishment of a compliance and ethics program.

The indictments, and the decision to go after the real culprits without putting one of the remaining big accounting firms out of business, are a credit to my friend Dave Kelley, who is in his last week as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The indictment can be found here, and Attorney General Gonzales’s remarks announcing the charges are here.
Posted at 05:20 PM

SWAZI KAMIKAZE [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: Given the HIV-positive rate in Swaziland — 29 percent among 15-19 year olds — and the general standard of Swazi pulchritude as revealed in this BBC picture (no offense, I’m sure they are all very, very nice girls), these stories bring to mind what the coal miner told George Orwell in reference to a different king, His Britannic Majesty George V: “I’d rather tup my missus than his’n.”

[George V was married to Mary of Teck, image here To Wodehouse fans, the adjective “scaly” will come to mind.]

[And, no, “tup” is not a rude word. It’s in Shakespeare, so it can’t be.]
Posted at 05:04 PM

BUSH & POLLS [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:

Jonah, I was wondering you had noticed the President’s steady climb in job approval in the Rasmussen rolling poll (see below and chart attached). From a low point on August 18 of down 13 points, the President has been at one down (49/50) for the past two days. Given that these are polls of all adults and not just of likely voters, it is probable as Rasmussen suggests that the President’s job approval is about 52%, or the same as on election day. I have a feeling that the gains are not simply because of the President’s pro-active stance of the past week, but also as a factor of more and more Americans coming to know Cindy Sheehan and what see stands for and they don’t like it. It is becoming increasingly clear that Ms. Sheehan is either an extreme radical, or is a more than willing dupe of the extreme left. There is no question that she is being scripted and as on NRO today, when the script ends she now runs for cover. Fortunately, there is a Sheehan record on display for all to see. John Morrison Toronto, Canada

Bush Job Approval

Monday August 29, 2005–Forty-nine percent (49%) of American adults now approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President.

Approve Disapprove

Today 49 ………………. 50

Aug 28…………. 49 ………………. 50

Aug 27…………. 47 ………………. 51

Aug 26…………. 46 ………………. 52

Aug 25…………. 46 ………………. 53

Aug 24…………. 45 ………………. 54

Aug 23…………. 47 ………………. 52

Aug 22…………. 48 ………………. 51

Aug 21…………. 48 ………………. 52

Aug 20…………. 45 ………………. 54

Aug 19…………. 44 ………………. 55

Aug 18…………. 43 ………………. 56

Aug 17…………. 43 ………………. 55

Aug 16…………. 45 ………………. 54

Aug 15…………. 46 ………………. 53

Dates are release dates. Surveys conducted on preceding three nights.

During 2004, reports on the President Job Approval were based upon surveys of Likely Voters. Typically, a survey of Likely Voters would report a Job Approval rating 2-3 points higher than a survey of all adults.

On Election Day, the President’s Job Approval was at 52%. During all of 2004, the President’s Job Approval ranged from a high of 57% in early January to a low of 48% on May 17.

The President’s highest rating of 2005 was 54% on February 4.


Posted at 04:59 PM

A PROBLEM BRAD PITT IN A BRACELET WON’T SOLVE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
“Topless virgins vie for king in AIDS-hit Swaziland”

Posted at 04:41 PM

I AM NOT A FOOL [John Derbyshire]
Various readers:

“Derb—You are not a fool. It’s true that you could borrow against your house and invest the money somewhere and perhaps make a positive net return doing so. (Making a greater return on your investment than you are paying in interest.) But note, the people lending you the money in this scenario believe the best thing for them to do with their money is lend it to you.”

“The only way I can look at retirement is if I don’t have to pay for housing. As far as the investment angle goes I can see taking advantage of a boom in the short term. But, no boom is going to last 30 years.”

“Mr. Derbyshire—I dare say you are, most emphatically, NOT a fool. Here’s why: reverse mortgages.”

[Derb] Gotta look into that.

“Dear John—As an estate planning attorney, I can assure you that paying off your mortgage is a very smart move. Especially if you now send that monthly check to an investment account of some sort. The clients I have that enter retirement with a mortgage on their homes, are the ones that end up living hand to mouth.”

“[Quoting that dipwad economist] ‘All that money sitting there, doing nothing.’ In regards to paying off a house, this demonstrates no consideration for actual appreciation of the house. Rather a stupid statement by a financial guy, unless his job is to make you borrow money.”

[Derb] “…unless his job is to make you borrow money…” Could it possibly be?

“Derb—If you pay $10,000 this year in mortgage interest, you’ll get a tax break of around $3500, assuming you’re in the top tax bracket. That means you’re throwing $6500 away. Sounds pretty stupid to me.”

[Derb again] Look, I used to work in securities trading. I know that when you take out a mortgage, you are hooking on to the end of a long chain of intermediaries, all writing IOUs to each other, each one snatching a few golden crumbs from my slice of cake as it passes along the chain from hand to hand. I realise this helps keep the economy going, and provides lots of indoor relief for the middle classes, but I’d just rather spend my money on more tangible things.
Posted at 04:33 PM

HERIOT ON HAWAII [Jonathan H. Adler]
USD Law prof Gail Heriot on the divisive racial politics of Senator Akaka’s proposal to grant native Hawaiians tribal status.

Posted at 04:09 PM

POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Judy Miller is having an “awful time” in prison, according to her husband, writing to Women’s Wear Daily.

Posted at 04:04 PM

ST. MAXIMOS’ HUT [Jonathan H. Adler]
My colleague Andrew Morriss has teamed up with some other interesting folks to launch a new group blog, St. Maximos’ Hut, on “the intersection of faith and economics.” Is should prove to be an interesting blog. Check it out (if only to learn who St. Maximos was).

Posted at 04:03 PM

RE: IRAN BLOGGING NEWS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
An e-mailer: “I’m sure that Mr. Ledeen could corroborate the fact that one particularly vile part of Iran’s system of imprisonment and torture is that the captives are often allowed to go home for a brief time. It allows their families and peers to see what has been to them and further spreads the horror of their torture, making it more effective as a deterrent to unapproved behavior. It also plays psychological havoc with the captives as the must walk around in freedom with the prospect of future horror hanging over their heads.”

Posted at 03:47 PM

I’M AWAKE NOW [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I didn’t link to a hummer earlier, it was a “Buffalo.” It looks…like a winner. That was my only brilliant point. The earlier link was really to a humvee story though. Onward and upward.

Posted at 03:45 PM

THIRD RAIL (CONT.) [John Derbyshire]
Jerry Coyne, who did that anti-I.D. article in The New Republic a few weeks ago — I linked to it on The Corner — takes another swing here in the Boston Review.

Note Coyne’s side-swipe at The Bell Curve, nicely illustrating the point that the idea of evolution by natural selection, at least as applied to human beings since around 100,000 B.C., is just as unpopular on the political Left as it is among fundamentalist Christians.

I shall be on a panel in Washington DC Sept. 14, debating I.D. with some folk from the Discovery Institute. I’m told this will be on C-Span — shall post more details when I have them.
Posted at 03:01 PM

RE: LIBERAL MEDIA CRITICISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
“If you look at Dahlia Lithwick’s recent request of her readers to come up with better defenses of ‘the living constitution’ in Slate, you will note that she fears originalism is too strong rather than too weak, contra Alterman. Indeed, my belief is that the anti-Democratic nature of ‘living constitutionalism’ actually takes many items previously left to the polity and Constitutionalizes them. Even by Alterman’s standard the framers who left all of this to succeeding generations, not the judicial subset therein, would be aghast.” Jonah mentioned the Lithwick article in the Corner last week.

Posted at 02:55 PM

SHEEHAN ON TOTN [Jonah Goldberg]

Cindy Sheehan was on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. My wife was listening in the car. She says that when the questions got a bit pointed — not hostile, but not catering to her publicity script for upcoming events — she basically bailed on the interview.

Update From a reader:

I caught her on Talk of the Nation. She was on for only a few minutes- ducked a couple of questions and then said she had to go, despite the host saying she was going to stay on for a while. Episode was very pathetic.

Posted at 02:44 PM

I’LL TAKE DOOR NUMBER TWO [Mark Krikorian]
Apparently, big business is hesitant to pony up cash for the campaign led by Dick Armey and Ed Gillespie to support the White House on immigration. The big problem, of course, is that the White House itself doesn’t know what it wants — let the illegals stay forever (the McCain/Kennedy bill), let them stay briefly, then leave (the Kyl/Cornyn bill), or something else. The merits of various policies aside, why would any business fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars for a lobbying campaign when it’s not even clear what the campaign will be for?

Posted at 02:33 PM

WHOA! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here’s the look of the new Humvee.

Posted at 02:32 PM

NATURAL GAS [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:

Jonah To follow up on the natural gas industry; it is incredible how one hears almost nothing of the price of natural gas. It is oil all of the time. Why? 1.) because the people in the media drive and fly so it affects them immediately 2.) oil is dirty and polluting. 3.) Geopolitics and the Middle East 4.) The manufacturing sector doesn’t use oil. They mainly use natural gas, with some still on coal.

This last one is the real problem. As someone who markets and manages natural gas supply to industrial end users, I can tell you something has to give. It is not just that people will pay out the wazoo this winter for their personal gas bill, but it is going to force the manufacturing sector’s hand even more to countries where the cost of natural gas is much lower.

When Germany begins to look attractive because of energy cost, you know there is a problem. Sorry to be so long.


Posted at 02:28 PM

CATLOVERS?! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The terrible bill Akaka is even worse than I thought. Though if that would keep stray cats from strutting our way, there may now be an upside.

Posted at 02:24 PM

ALOHA, AMERICA [Mark Krikorian]
The Heritage Foundation is hosting a panel tomorrow on the bill to formally establish a race-based government for people with Hawaiian ancestry. I am told that the White House (via the Justice Department) has put down in writing that it would support the bill if some changes were made and would defend it against constitutional challenge. (If anyone has a copy of that letter, I’d love to see it). The bill has been covered by Rich and Kathryn in their syndicated columns and Ramesh in NRODT (which you would know if you subscribed). But something briefly mentioned in all three, and in the Wall Street Journal (see John Fund, too, btw), bears repeating: If this bill passes, it could serve as a powerful precedent for Hispanic separatists. I don’t usually take this kind of “reconquista” talk seriously, but the fact that the Hawaii bill actually has a chance of passage is sobering; if it does pass, the same principle can be applied to blacks and others — why not a separate government for Muslims, or evangelical Christians or, heck, cat lovers? This isn’t some flight of fancy, but rather a very real threat to the constitutional order.

Posted at 02:19 PM

@WALTER REED [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Code Pink was there Friday night. But there were counter protesters. Cam Edwards has video up.

Posted at 02:02 PM

VALUES AND CLASS [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:

She writes:

Men and women who stick together, stay out of trouble, and work steadily are rarely poor,

I wonder if the statement would be even stronger if she wrote “…and work
steadily rarely stay poor.” Not only would it make her point about morals
and behavior, it would also belie the “class warfare” pont that the rich
are always rich, the poor are always poor, and those people stay that way.
Poverty is mostly transitory and often a disease of the young. Those who
work hard and stay out of trouble are likely to spend less of their life in
poverty. Besides the obvious criminal avoidance, people who can make
discipline part of their lives are rather less likely, I’d imagine, to wind
up under a crushing debt burden.


Posted at 02:02 PM

THE SWARM [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Nice AP shot from Crawford:


Posted at 01:54 PM

KATRINA [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I don’t think the editor one will be inviting Jonah over for a “wicked martini.”

Posted at 01:51 PM

BUT SERIOUSLY [Jonah Goldberg ]

Amy L. Wax — a professor of social welfare law at U Penn Law School has a great piece in the Journal today (Reg req’d). She tackles the myth that low-income alone leads to family breakdown. An excerpt:

What can we learn from these tales of working-class city life and the demographic facts behind them? First, the decades-old demise of clear standards following the sexual revolution, at worst a mixed blessing for the well-off, has hit the less privileged hard. The disparities in family structure suggest that people are not equal in their ability to handle newfound sexual freedom. The well-heeled don’t often defend the 1950s, but they haven’t left them entirely behind. That behavior differs by social position should come as no surprise. Foresight and capacity for self-governance are qualities that make for economic success. They also make for orderly families.

Second, marital and sexual behavior depend more on mores than money. Restraint and social norms, rather than economic circumstances, best account for class differences. As Christopher Jencks and David Ellwood at Harvard have noted, economic factors fail to explain why privileged women, who are best equipped to go the single-motherhood route, insist upon marriage before children. Work by sociologists indicates that men may be the key. What we know about why marriages endure suggests that better-off men more often honor monogamy and strive for sexual fidelity. In family life, as in education, degrees matter: The rare or hidden lapse is worlds apart from infidelity as a way of life.

Left-leaning scholars adamantly resist this picture. They insist that family breakdown is all about economic opportunity. The problem is not that people are behaving badly or that — heaven forbid — one class is more prudent than another, but that our policies are inadequate. Material conditions, not moral commitments, are the source of domestic chaos. To change behavior, we must give the poor more resources.

Decades of experience belie this view. Poor relief and welfare policy, whether strict or lenient, can’t rescue disintegrating families. Rather, as Mr. Jencks and others have shown, the very opposite is true: Wise behavior can secure economic well-being. Men and women who stick together, stay out of trouble, and work steadily are rarely poor, and their children surmount poverty as well. Public money and policy gimmicks are no substitute for good conduct.


Posted at 01:51 PM

ANIMAL HOUSE PARLIAMENTARIAN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Anyone know if this down under pol is headed to a certain town in Austria?

Posted at 01:42 PM

NOT THAT I WANT TO OFFEND ANYBODY [Jonah Goldberg]
But it would be pretty cool if Fox played to caricature and repeatedly referred to the hurricane as Katrina vanden Heuvel.

“The destruction from Katrina vanden Heuvel is expected to be massive.”

“…the poor and disabled are particularly likely to suffer from the effects of Katrina vanden Heuvel ….”

“Coming up: how to explain Katrina vanden Heuvel to your children.”

Etc.
Posted at 01:24 PM

LIBERAL MEDIA CRITICISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]

Eric Alterman thinks the New York Times is whitewashing Ed Meese’s record. He succeeds in establishing that the Times did not, in an article seeking to demonstrate that Meese has been influential–which does not mean that the Times was celebrating his influence–include every negative thing that could be said about Meese.

Here’s Alterman’s most foolish comment: “A second gimme offered to the far right is the story’s assumption that the legal philosophy of ‘originalism’ deserves to be taken seriously, as anything other than yet one more fundamentalist gimmick–à la ‘intelligent design’–designed to undermine what the rest of us consider to be reality. Owing to its commitment to the ideal of ‘objectivity,’ the Times treats the question as mere partisan debate, quoting liberals Laurence Tribe and Justice Brennan in opposition to Meese et al. In doing so, it reifies nonsense and offers its imprimatur to politically motivated pseudo-scholarship. As the Constitutional Convention’s leading expert, Stanford’s Jack Rakove, explains in his Pulitzer Prize-winning history, Original Meanings, ‘Even the conservative framers themselves. . . having learned so much from a mere decade of self-government, and having celebrated their own ability to act from “reflection and choice,”‘ would find ‘incredible…the idea that later generations could not improve upon their discoveries.'”

Rakove is reputed to be a smart guy, so I will not assume that he believes that his comment is some kind of criticism of (or even a pertinent comment about) orginalism, which is how Alterman takes it. As an attempted criticism, it’s pathetic. The notion that the Constitution should be read in light of the understanding of the ratifying public says nothing about whether later generations can make improvements on the Founders. Where the original understanding of the Constitution leaves policy choices open, originalism does not bar modern governments from making changes. Where it does not leave those choices open, originalism merely closes off one possible path of change–judicial reinterpretation of the provisions at issue. Constitutional amendment is still left available as a way to improve on or adapt the Founders’ work.

But it’s even weaker as media criticism. It is simply true that many liberal legal theorists take originalism seriously–more seriously than scientists tend to take intelligent design. It is true, as well, that some liberals take it sufficiently seriously that they have developed liberal versions of originalism, trying to claim it as their own. It is true, finally, that jurists of many different political persuasions end up doing originalism when it leads them to the conclusions they want or find acceptable–in that sense, it’s almost a default method of constitutional interpretation. For the Times to write, on every mention of originalism, that “many scholars believe that it is a philosophy of judging that rests on pseudo-scholarship” would be for it to deepen its liberal bias–which is what I’ve always figured the Alterman project of media criticism is about.


Posted at 01:12 PM

MORE BLOGGING NEWS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Iran frees two Internet writers, but sentences still loom for both.

Posted at 01:02 PM

BLOGGING FROM THE HUMAN ZOO [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The job “sucks” says one girl on display, and it certainly sounds that way.

Hat tip: Wes Smith
Posted at 12:40 PM

SUPERDOME BLOGGING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Skinning the Dome.

Posted at 12:27 PM

MY FIRST ASSUMPTION WOULD BE HE’S AN NRO READER, TOO, OF COURSE. [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I have a lot of e-mails similar to this: “I noticed in last night’s Sunday night baseball game on ESPN, that Phillies centerfielder Kenny Lofton wears a custom cleat with ‘K-Lo’ embroidered on the heel for his games. I can only assume that it is worn in your honor.”

Posted at 12:25 PM

KNUCKLE SMACKING [Jonah Goldberg ]

Doc Bainbridge chastises me for my insensitivity and implores my more mature colleagues to take me to task. He even goes so far as to call me Taranto-esque, for what that’s worth.

Perhaps Professor Bainbridge — of whom I am a fan — thinks something really awful will befall the denizens of the Superdome and therefore making a joke at their expense is wrong. My guess is that it will simply be a really unpleasent time for the remainder of the day, but hardly so unpleasent as to sanctify them with refugee or some other victim status. I assumed the reference to gill-growing and whatnot made it clear where I was coming from. I’m sorry if we don’t always fulfill the good professor’s expectations around here. But it can’t be all brandy-snifters and Latin puns in the Corner.


Posted at 12:12 PM

“MAN OF STEEL, WOMAN OF KLEENEX” [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
More than I ever wanted to know about Superman. Please don’t send me anything related on Mr. Banner.

Posted at 11:53 AM

ANNOUNCING NR’S 2006 RHINE RIVER CHARTER CRUISE [Jack Fowler]
NR’s 2003 Danube River cruise was such a smashing success that we decided to plan a 2006 sojourn on a classic Euro-waterway. So we’re happy to announce what we believe will be a fantastic trip—the NR 2006 Rhine River Charter Cruise.

Here are the facts: our spectacular nine-day experience starts (May 4) with a two-day pre-cruise stay in Amsterdam, from where the Viking River Cruise’s luxurious Helvetia II will depart on May 6th, sailing down the beautiful Rhine, along the way visiting the historic towns of Düsseldorf, Cologne, Koblenz, Rüdesheim, Mainz, Gernsheim, Mannheim, and Strasbourg before reaching the terminal port of Basel, Switzerland on May 13. The will be tours galore (including one of Heidelberg and another of the Mosel Valley), and of course cocktail receptions, smokers (featuring H. Upmann cigars!), and panel sessions where we will discuss current events. Oh yes—the “we” will be another great NR-cruise line-up of top conservative speakers: Michael Novak, Cal Thomas, Mona Charen, John O’Neill (the “Swift Boat Vets” founder), Kate O’Beirne, Rich Lowry, and Jay Nordlinger (and we’ve got other speaker invites out there, awaiting RSVPs).

Now, this is a charter, so it will be an NR-only affair, which makes for an extra-special time. But … while the luxurious Helvetia II is roomy, it holds only hold 198 people in its 99 cabins, and already half of those are reserved! So if you want to come on this once-in-a-lifetime trip, you had better act now. To do that, simply go to http://www.nrcruise.com/, where you’ll discover complete information about the NR 2006 Rhine River Charter Cruise, and where you can reserve your cabin.
Posted at 11:50 AM

EYES ON THE RATHER PRIZE [Tim Graham]
CNN has lots of anchors out in the storm today, but Anderson Cooper seems the closest to the Rather-wrapped-around-a-pole look.


Posted at 11:28 AM

HEADING OFF THE EMAIL [Jonah Goldberg]
Yes, I thought about making a Hulk joke about Banner. But let us remember that it isBruce Banner in the comics and David Banner in the TV show. I figured I’d dodge the whole issue. But it seems emailers will not let me.

Posted at 11:25 AM

THE DAVID BANNER CORROLARY TO THE KAEL DOCTRINE [Jonah Goldberg ]

We’re all familiar with the famous line from Pauline Kael who exclaimed that Nixon couldn’t have won because she didn’t know anybody who voted for him. And Nixon himself reportedly said that it was obvious the world was getting overpopulated because wherever he went he saw huge crowds. Well, here’s the rapper David Banner on the shooting of Suge Knight at a party for the MTV awards:

“I don’t think that what happened was any different than at any other event where you have a lot of people,” said David Banner. “It’s tragic that it happened and that the media magnified this so much.”

Remind me not to be at any event where there are a lot of people when David Banner’s around, be it a Shriner’s convention, airport terminal etc.

BTW, I’m assuming this is this David Banner (note: his website has unavoidable audio).


Posted at 11:17 AM

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT KILLS THREE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
in Pennsylvania?

Hat tip
Posted at 11:06 AM

GOOD QUESTION [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Media Blog has a Gray Lady contest going.

Posted at 10:43 AM

BIG NR WINDSHIRT SALE! [Jack Fowler]
We’ve had a great response so far to NRO’s special sale on our good-looking National Review windshirts – so you’ll want to get your order in before our supply is kaput. Ideal for taking on the elements with conservative panache, the official NR windshirt is a creamy tan with navy blue highlights, and features a grand NR logo emblazoned on easy-to-care-for wind- and water-resistant microfiber material, deep pockets, and banded waist and cuffs. These top-quality beauts go for just $39.95 each. Buy one and we’ll also send you a FREE NR tee-shirt. And we’ll ship the entire package free of charge! Sizes are L, XL, and XXL. Order your official NR Windshirt here.

Posted at 10:41 AM

NOT TO GIVE EVIL WACKO MINISTERS TOO MUCH ATTENTION… [JPod]
…but an alert reader points out these earlier profiles of Fred Phelps, which include the revelations that he has called Jerry Falwell a “Baptist 666 Fag” and that he ran as a Democrat for governor and senator in the late 80s and early 90s. Because the IRS accepts his Westboro Baptist Church as an accredited institution — even though its only members appear to be members of his own family — Phelps is able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars tax-free to pay for his disgusting protests.

Posted at 10:37 AM

F***ING SIGNS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is an old problem for the Austrians. You’d think they’d just sell tourists signs and things. Make a killing off the silly English-speakers.

Posted at 10:36 AM

ONE MORE HBOMB LINK [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Because Gutfeld won’t let Deepak get away with that Hitler thing unnoticed. (Warning: It has its slightly racy asides: The guy is editor of Maxim U.K., afterall.)

Posted at 10:35 AM

IRAN & AL QAEDA [Michael Ledeen]
This is on WindsOfChange.NET today from the amazing Dan Darling.

Posted at 10:27 AM

ABLE DANGER [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Chart is found? (See at Heritage, May 23.)

Posted at 10:22 AM

POOR DAN RATHER [Jonah Goldberg]
This really is his kind of story.

Posted at 10:16 AM

CAFÉ HAYEK [Iain Murray]
The Washington Post’s sanctimonious editorial on CAFE standards today is just what you’d expect, but the last sentence is a doozy:

“Market forces–consumers demanding better gas mileage in vehicles of all sizes–may well succeed where the government has fallen short.”

This is apparently an astonishing idea for the Post.
Posted at 10:10 AM

THAT F***ING TOWN [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This is a little ridiculous. (Warning: Follow that MapQuest link and there will be no ****s.

Posted at 10:10 AM

DERB’S A FOOL [John Derbyshire]
According to the best financial advisers:

“‘If you paid your mortgage off, it means you probably did not manage your funds efficiently over the years,’ said David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors and author of ‘Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?’ ‘It’s as if you had 500,000 dollar bills stuffed in your mattress.’ He called it ‘very unsophisticated.’ Anthony Hsieh, chief executive of LendingTree Loans, an Internet-based mortgage company, used a more disparaging term. ‘If you own your own home free and clear, people will often refer to you as a fool. All that money sitting there, doing nothing.'”

Well, it’s not exactly doing nothing. It’s saving me from having to write a big fat check to some mortgage banker every month — a thing I got really, really tired of doing. But, hey, whaddo I know? I’m a fool.
Posted at 10:09 AM

ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS [Jonah Goldberg]
I think it’s time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you’re working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he’s not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It’s never too soon to be prepared.

Posted at 10:05 AM

“HUMVEE ON STEROIDS” [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
The battlefield is getting a lifesaver.

Posted at 09:54 AM

CAMILLE BEFORE AND AFTER… [Rich Lowry ]
photos.

Posted at 09:53 AM

NOT WIPED OFF THE MAP, BUT [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
This doesn’t sound good:

(CNN) — The National Weather Service issued an advisory Friday morning reporting “total structural failure” in parts of the New Orleans metro area, with gusts over 120 mph reported in the city.


Posted at 09:52 AM

OH GET SERIOUS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
On Eric Alterman’s MSNBC blog Friday: “No person in the world, save Osama bin Laden has done as much damage to New York City as George W. Bush. “

Posted at 09:51 AM

MAYBE IT’S MY CYNICISM TALKING [Jonah Goldberg]
But I can’t shake the impression that the news networks are just a wee bit disappointed by the fact that New Orleans probably won’t be wiped off the map. Shep Smith last night was almost giddy at the prospect of destruction.

Posted at 09:48 AM

REPULSIVE [John Podhoretz]
Fred Phelps, a wacko Kansas minister who will, I have no doubt, be going straight to Hell when he dies is disrupting GI funerals by saying God is punishing America for harboring homosexuals. Somehow, he and his Neanderthal supporters (who are all related to the straight-to-Hell minister) managed to drag their knuckles all the way to Smyrna, Tennessee — where held up signs saying “God Hates You” and “God Hates Fags.” There they were met by properly enraged protestors.

According to AP, “Hundreds of Smyrna and Ashland City residents and families of other soldiers turned out at both sites to counter the message the Westboro Baptist members brought. So many counterdemonstrators were gathered in Ashland City that police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers were brought in to control traffic and protect the protesters.”

It’s heartening that a single foul despicable person and his equally foul camp followers should be overwhelmed in this way by people of good will and good sense.
Posted at 09:47 AM

HAVE YOU BOOKED YOUR SLOT YET? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
For NR’s night in LA (WFB will be there! Rich will be there! Jonah will be there! Kate will be there! Jay will be there! Rob Long will be there! Roman Genn will be there! Need I go on? Sign on up. I hope to see you there!

Posted at 09:43 AM

CINDY SHEEHAN MEETS POTUS–SUNDAY IN CRAWFORD [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Posted at 09:42 AM

MY PREVIOUS SUBJECT LINE MADE ME IMMEDIATELY THINK OF THE HBOMB [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Where I was faced with this heavy question for the week: “How must Lois Lane deal with Superman? Does she ever get a touch shirty about him going off to save the world all the time, and leaving their nice warm bed?”

Too much.

Jonah…you forgot to fill the coffee pot again.
Posted at 09:38 AM

A LITTLE PRAISE FOR MSNBC [John Podhoretz]
Not usually something I do, but they’ve come up with a brilliant trope right now–they have a guy standing on an individual crane that indicates just how high off the ground 10 feet and 15 feet and 20 feet is — a vivid analogy of what a storm surge might actually mean.

Posted at 09:37 AM

F***ING NONSENSE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

LONDON, (AFP) – British tourists have left the residents of one charming Austrian village effing and blinding by constantly stealing the signs for their oddly-named village.

While British visitors are finding it hilarious, the residents of F—ing are failing to see the funny side, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported.

Only one kind of crimimal ever stalks the sleepy 32-house village near Salzburg on the German border — cheeky British tourists armed with a sense of humour and a screwdriver.

But the local authorities are hitting back and with the signs now set in concrete, police chief Kommandant Schmidtberger is on the lookout.

“We will not stand for the F—ing signs being removed,” the officer told the broadsheet.

“It may be very amusing for you British, but F—ing is simply F—ing to us. What is this big F—ing joke? It is puerile.”..


Posted at 09:32 AM

FRANCE ISSUES PLANE BLACKLIST [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
and we’re not on it.

Posted at 09:29 AM

THERE’S SUCH A THING AS BEING TOO INTO A CANDIDATE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Like if he’s on your thong–’08ery gets kinda crazy.

Posted at 09:18 AM

NO KATRINA BREAKS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
On CNN.com: “Report: Roof of Superdome in New Orleans, where thousands evacuated ahead of Hurricane Katrina, is leaking rain. Details soon.”

Posted at 09:15 AM

DID YOU KNOW… [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
That a key strategist working closely with Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, Texas was a leader in the violent shutdown of Seattle by anti-globalism protesters during the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting, was a key planner in demonstrations at the Republican and Democratic national conventions in 2000 and 2004, and organized angry demonstrations at world trade meetings in Washington, DC, Prague, and Genoa?

Byron has the story.
Posted at 09:13 AM

HERE’S THE REAL HOOK FOR C.C.’S PIECE [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Besides the help-Lady-DiFi-stop-Roberts: It’s damage control from last week’s sonograms all over the news shows:

Three states have passed bills requiring that women seeking an abortion be warned that the fetus will feel pain, despite inconclusive scientific data on the question. West Virginia and Florida approved legislation recognizing a pre-viable fetus, or embryo, as an independent victim of homicide.


Posted at 08:40 AM

RE: C.C.’S PIECE [Kathryn Jean Lopez ]
Tim, don’t sound so surprised!

Posted at 08:38 AM

IN OTHER BIASED NEWS… [Tim Graham]
The WashPost also shows its liberal stripes inside, with Michael Powell mourning the “brilliant excess” of avant-garde New York being lost to commercialism.

And in the mandatory daily Cindy Sheehan update, the WashPost’s tendency to use funny terminology extends to introducing crude racial agitator Al Sharpton as a “civil rights leader.”
Posted at 08:36 AM

“RESTRICTIONS” ON THE ABORTION INDUSTRY [Tim Graham]
On the front page of today’s WashPost is the headline “Access to Abortion Pared at State Level. Reporter Ceci Connolly’s story begins: “This year’s state legislative season draws to a close having produced a near-record number of laws imposing new restrictions on a woman’s access to abortion or contraception.” This language of danger to “women’s access” sounds like a NARAL press release is coming, and the terminology of the story delivers.

The question that emerges: is every pro-life measure a “restriction”? The third paragraph begins: “Three states have passed bills requiring that women seeking an abortion be warned that the fetus will feel pain, despite inconclusive scientific data on the question.” Does an informed-consent rule really qualify as a restriction? The Post isn’t going to call it what is really is: a restriction on an abortion clinic’s ability to persuade women to buy what it’s selling.

There’s a lot of talk of parental notification and consent requirements in the story, which are restrictions, but then the question: is a 12-year-old girl a “woman”? (Ceci also cites the Alan Guttmacher Institute as a main source for the story, without noting it’s an arm of Planned Parenthood.) She also includes in this “restrictions” story new bills recognizing the “fetus” as a human being under assault and murder laws, which again in no way “restrict” women’s “access” to abortion.

Near the end of Ceci’s story comes this passage: “Not all the restrictive measures came from Republican-controlled states. Democratic governors in Kansas and Pennsylvania signed budgets that steer millions of dollars to organizations that provide alternatives to abortion.” Now how on Earth does that qualify as a “restriction” to women’s “access”? It allows women to seek alternatives, if that’s where they want to go. Once again, it is only a “restriction” on abortion clinic business, in that it might attract women away from an abortion. Stories like this show when the liberal media really betray how much they are reporting like they’re simply taking dictation from Nancy Keenan and her NARAL pals.
Posted at 08:35 AM

SAME OLD CHICKENHAWKERY CRYS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
If he really wants to run for president, he should send a son or too off to war with the Bush twins–or so is the topic of a Boston Herald piece on Romney.

Posted at 08:27 AM

MITT’S CHOICE [John J. Miller]
I doubt seriously that if Romney runs for re-election as governor, he will then turn around and run for president. He will do one or the other or neither, but not both. If he announces for re-election, he will be virtually forced to pledge that he’ll serve out his term. Also, for what’s worth, I don’t think he’s a sure thing for re-election. See this. He’d probably be the favorite, but it wouldn’t be a cakewalk.

Posted at 08:21 AM

KATRINA BLOGS [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Here’s a list of links.

Posted at 08:18 AM

ROMNEY SOUNDING READY…FOR ANYTHING [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
On Hardball:

”Well, I win by a landslide in Massachusetts if I run for reelection. And that’s very possibly what I’m going to do.”


Posted at 08:15 AM

KATRINA [Jonah Goldberg]

Here’s a webcam from New Orleans. And here’s a description of the worst-case scenario for residents of the Superdome. Both via Instapundit.


Posted at 08:03 AM

7:28 POST [K-Lo (Playing It Safe This Time)]
Sign #43 you should go back to bed on a Monday morning: When you spell your own name wrong.

#42, by the way, was: You didn’t use the stunner on Jonah when he linked to the Nazis.
Posted at 07:56 AM

GAS, OIL & KATRINA [Jonah Goldberg]

Several readers in the oil and gas business or in the financial sector have written to say that, heck yeah, you should worry about oil & gas. From one reader:

Jonah, You should be worried about this hurricane and natural gas. If it does the kind of damage to Orleans parish that Ivan did where it struck, then we will RUN OUT of natural gas this winter. The current price is about 12 (up from an average of 9 last winter) and there are Call options trading now with a strike price of 30. That means investors expect a worst case scenario with Natural gas in the 35 to 40 range at it’s peak. If your home heating bill was 300 dollars last January, you can expect a bill as high as $1200 to $1400 this January. Screw gas prices, we can carpool….but how much will that last person pay to heat their house?


Posted at 07:52 AM

MY REAL MISTAKE [Jonah Goldberg ]

The Sheehan/Nazi thing has generated some amazingly bilious email — and I’m pretty immune to regular hate mail. I’m not going to spend the day discussing this whole thing any more. My intent was not to argue ad Hitlerum about Sheehan supporters, but it is interesting to me how they’ve got no problem doing exactly that. Anyway, I said pretty much everything I need to on the substance of this stuff here. It seems to me that it would be the right thing for the various blogs which misconstrued my original post to post my explanation as well rather than freelance a lot of nonsense.

However, I do owe Kathryn and NRO an apology. We do have a policy — which a couple emailers reminded me about — of not linking to neo-Nazi and hate groups (including, of course, Up With People), which I did in that original post. Sorry about that. Won’t happen again.

And, yes, I’m kidding about the Up With People thing.


Posted at 07:48 AM

EXCELLENT NEWS [Jonah Goldberg ]

Coffee is good for me:

WASHINGTON (AP) — When the Ink Spots sang “I love the java jive and it loves me” in 1940, they could not have known how right they were.

Coffee not only helps clear the mind and perk up the energy, it also provides more healthful antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the American diet, according to a study released Sunday.


Posted at 07:36 AM

BAINDRIDGE ON LEGAL ACADEMIA [Jonathan H. Adler]
Professor Bainbridge adds his thoughts to the thread on the liberal dominance of legal academia.

Posted at 07:31 AM

POLYGAMY FOR WHAT AILS YOU [Jonah Goldberg ]

The movement for more wives catches on in Egypt. From the AP:

CAIRO, Egypt – Hayam Dorbek wants her husband to get married. Again. In urging him – and the rest of Egypt – to be more open to polygamy as approved by Islam, the 42-year-old journalist has set off a lively debate in her country and the rest of the Arab world tuning in on satellite TV.

Dorbek says she felt her work was keeping her so busy that her husband needed a second wife. She says he refused, ”but my son is helping me promote the idea,” she said.

She feels the Islamic concept of polygamy is the answer to many of Egypt’s social ills. She has written articles with titles like ”One wife is not enough,” and has helped form an association called ”Al-Tayseer,” or facilitation, that promotes polygamy.


Posted at 07:30 AM

“WE COULD EVEN REQUEST HIS EXTRADITION” [Katryn Jean Lopez]
Venezuela wants Pat Robertson. Presumably Jesse Jackson is advising Chavez on how to make the most out of a media whore moment.

Posted at 07:28 AM

WAKE UP AND YOU’RE IN A WHOLE NEW WORLD [K-Lo]
Iraqi constitution has been accepted by their parliament. Suge Knight has been shot.

Posted at 07:25 AM

KOPEL SHEEHAN ROUND-UP [Cliff May]
Dave Kopel has an op-ed noting that the MSM is assisting Cindy Sheehan with her PR by not reporting some of her more inflammatory and extremist comments, e.g.:

[O]n Aug. 16, Sheehan held a media conference call during which she declared “The person who killed my son, I have no animosity for that person at all.” Yet her statement was reported only in the National Review Online weblog. In an interview with Mark Knoller of CBS News, she explained that the foreigners who have to come to Iraq to battle the U.S. military are “freedom fighters.” …. Conversely, she described last January’s vote in Iraq as a “sham election,” in her Tuesday entry on her weblog on Michael Moore’s Web site.

Also:

Speaking at San Francisco State University on April 27, she announced, “The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush.” Rebuking people (such as the Post editors who created the “Portraits of Valor” series) who claim that serving in the military is patriotic, she stated: “I’m going all over this country telling moms: ‘This country is not worth dying for.’ ”

And:

At the Veterans for Peace rally, Sheehan called George Bush a “lying bastard” and a “maniac.” She showed her path to peace: “You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism.” (The Crawford “Peace” House, which Sheehan has used to coordinate her protest, has a photo on its Web site depicting “Palestine” as including the entire state of Israel.)

Dave’s piece is here.
Posted at 12:22 AM

LETTER TO CINDY [Cliff May]
My letter to Cindy Sheehan — inviting her to meet with me and a group of Arab and Muslim dissidents/freedom fighters/democracy activists – ran as a full-page ad in the Waco newspaper on Sunday.

No word yet from Mrs. Sheehan but emails are now pouring in, mostly supportive but sprinkled with the usual angry missives, almost all of them of the “Bush lied!” and “You’re just a chicken hawk!” varieties.

Here are two that I found especially gratifying:

This Navy Mom would like to thank you for your ad. Maybe Cindy will finally see the light.

Jerri Pester
Chandler, AZ

———–

I just want to let you know how much I appreciate the letter you put in the Waco-Trib. It was time for someone to spell out how evil the Iraqi government was and how important it is for the people there to be rid of it.

My husband and I went to the rally yesterday and it was great finally seeing the Bush-supporters there.

Thanks again for standing up for the truth!

Asti Hoover
Waco, Texas


Posted at 12:20 AM

Sunday, August 28, 2005

RE: VICTORY STRATEGY [Stanley Kurtz]
Cliff, I haven’t yet read the Krepinevich piece, but David Brooks’ Op-Ed strikes me as very important. I much admire Secretary Rumsfeld, although I’ve felt since 9/11 that we’ve underplayed the need for troops. The best time to expand our armed forces would have been right after 9/11. Even on an all-volunteer basis, we could have gotten the numbers substantially up at that time. Then maybe an “oil patch” strategy of occupation could have been adopted from the start. But to be realistic–and fair to Secretary Rumsfeld–the left has long been salivating to use military expansion as a political tool, a few DLC-type Democrats notwithstanding. The administration tried to finesse our national divisions by making the most of a military that had been downsized after the Cold War. So the political division we might have saved from a different occupation strategy would likely have emerged anyway if we’d significantly expanded the military. Any way you look at it, post-sixties pacificsm will have its revenge.

Posted at 08:17 PM

UNTHINKING TANK [Jonathan H. Adler]
Judd Legum of Think Progress is upset about the Bush Administration’s new fuel economy standards. As if he’s uncovered something sinister in the rules, he writes “Buried on page 150 of the draft rule is a provision that would totally undermine state efforts to curb CO2 emissions.” What Legum does not mention is that preemption is written into the federal law authorizing federal fuel economy rules in the first place. Indeed, the very next paragraph after the one Legum quotes makes this clear:

Our statute contains a broad preemption provision making clear the need for a uniform, federal system: “When an average fuel economy standard prescribed under this chapter is in effect, a State or a political subdivision of a State may not adopt or enforce a law or regulation related to fuel economy standards or average fuel economy standards for automobiles covered by an average fuel economy standard under this chapter.” 49 U.S.C. 32919(a). Since the way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is to improve fuel economy, a state regulation seeking to reduce those emissions is a “regulation related to fuel economy standards or average fuel economy standards.”

This interpretation of federal law is not new, and hardly had to be “buried” in the rule. It’s been explicit administration policy for quite some time — and is based upon a fairly straight-forward interpretation of existing federal law.
Posted at 06:56 PM

PROFESSORS ARE DONKEYS [Jonathan H. Adler]
The NYT reports on another study documenting the ideological imbalance of law school faculties. Of note, the Times reports: “Whatever may be said about particular schools and students, professors and deans of all political persuasions agreed that the study’s general findings are undeniable.”
Jim Lindgren has some additional thoughts here.

Posted at 06:55 PM

MUST-MISS TV [Warren Bell]
The ACLU has apparently learned from Michael Moore that true crackpot cred can only be earned through documentary filmmaking. From the website:

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and award-winning producer/director Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films announce an unprecedented new series entitled The ACLU Freedom Files. In ten 30-minute episodes produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Kagan, the series will explore pressing issues that are threatening the civil liberties of all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.”

The films will apparently air on channel one zillion on your local satellite dish, but you can get a DVD for five bucks and “join grassroots groups and households around the country who, during the first two weeks of September, will be hosting premieres of Beyond the Patriot Act.” Again this is the Moore playbook — remember the viewing parties of Fahrenheit 911 just before the ’04 election. One assumes it will be as successful.

Producer Robert Greenwald, you will remember, brought us “Outfoxed,” as well as a flurry of other radical left propaganda films. His recent work makes you long for the days when he was a hugely prolific producer of TV movies such as “Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold.”
Posted at 06:55 PM

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I think I would have broken these up: “STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON HURRICANE KATRINA AND THE IRAQ CONSTITUTION”

Posted at 06:42 PM

SUNNI INTRANSIGENCE [Rick Brookhiser]
Intransigence is not a new phenomenon. The framers of the Constitution said it would go into effect if nine states ratified (not 13), as a way of undermining bitter enders. When George Washington was inaugurated for the first time in April 1789, Rhode Island and North Carolina were still outside the fold.

Posted at 06:33 PM

WAXING NEANDERTHAL [Jack Fowler]
What’s happened to men? I remember once upon a time when they didn’t dye their hair (is there anything more pathetic than a 60 year old face with a jet-black roof?) and get their nails manicured? When the only guys who ever got massages were Abbott and Costello and the Three Stooges (and then only for the sake of spine -snapping pratfalls at the local boxing gym)? When Aunt Fannie wore more jewelry than her son? In the face of all this, all the plastic surgery, all the makeup, all the liposuction, all the piercings and pony tails and spa weekends, the Neanderthal in me grunts over the new male passion of waxing. This USA Today article is depressing. Armageddon approaches — the end is hair!

Well, not just yet. Anyway, before that happens, you’ll want to take advantage of this special introductory offer of four free issues of National Review, more about which you can read here.
Posted at 06:28 PM

HIGHLARIOUS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Jackson heads to Venezuela to suck-up to Chavez. I guess he really is the leftwing Robertson.

Posted at 06:17 PM

KATRINA & OIL [Jonah Goldberg]
While the first concern has got to be for the safety of those in its path. I’ve got to wonder what a direct hit on Louisiana’ oil infrastructure would/could do to the price of gas in this country.

Posted at 06:15 PM

SHARP STUFF [Jonah Goldberg]

Lots of folks who let lefty blogs do their thinking for them have sent me this sort of thing. Don’t try to follow it, it’ll just make your head hurt:

Hello Fascist,

Funny, I swore that I actually saw pro-war/anti-Sheehan/anti-peace gangs in Crawford have been harboring these nazis/fascists… possibly perform some butt-sex with them. After all, fascists/Nazi are right-wingers, you need to study the history bit more. If you can use your brain, you can see the same attitude in these pro-war/anti-Sheehan/anti-peace gangs as in Nazi/Fascist back in 1930’s.

If you couldn’t use your brain then I guess, it is too bad. After all, conservatism is mentally illness (five studies proved that).

Here’s comment from Sheehan’s diary:

“A photographer friend of mine went down to Crawford to the Pro-War, Anti-Peace rally today. There were about 1500 people there he said. He also said that it was the most “third reich” spectacle that he had ever seen in America.”

Indeed. That’s how and what to my own eyes when I firstly saw them.

Have a nice day, fascist.


Posted at 06:09 PM

RE: VICTORY STRATEGY [John Derbyshire]
With no prejudice at all towards David Brooks or Andrew Krepievich, I do wish people would stop using the Malaya “Emergency” as an analogy for anything.

The enemy in that conflict were almost entirely Chinese communists, mainly under foreign (i.e. Chinese) command. They were deeply unpopular with practically all Malays: with the Bumiputra, who didn’t much care for Chinese of any political orientation, and also with the Chinese Malays, who (a) were mainly small capitalists, and (b) felt they had enough problems getting on with their Malay neighbors without the added irritant of a Chinese-sponsored insurgency.

I don’t want to minimize the sacrifice of those British soldiers killed in the “emergency” (which was filling the front pages of British newspapers about the time I started reading them), but Vietnam was, and Iraq is, very, very much harder than Malaya.
Posted at 05:13 PM

PIED PIPER OF CRAWFORD [Jonah Goldberg ]

From a reader:

Hi Jonah,

I wouldn’t be so defensive about your original reference to Cindy, the Pied
Piper of Crawford, and who she attracts. You were very clear. Of course, some
of her followers are upset when their “not-so-conscious” views are mirrored in
a cartoon version presented by not only David Duke, but by the whole repetoir
of right wing extremists. That’s what you get when you throw around the word
Israel and mean the Jews, as Cindy has done. See Ben Johnson’s article.

I predict that the poor woman will be soon dropped and forgotten by the
mainstream media…just too many issues, too complicated to comprehend or present.


Posted at 04:41 PM

GOLLY [Jonah Goldberg]

I guess people are determined to make more of my tweaking Sheehan post than I intended. So I suppose it would be responsible of me to be explicit in what I think, don’t think and what I intended.

Again: I don’t think Sheehan had any intent to rally Nazis, racists or the like.

No, I don’t think agreeing with Sheehan on the need to pull out of Iraq makes you akin to Nazis or racists in any meaningful or significant way.

Here’s what I do think. I think Sheehan has absolutely no sense of proportion or responsibility when she calls Bush a terrorist and a murderer or when she ascribes comic-book-villain motives to the administration. I think such rhetoric is appealing to a wide range of groups who practice similar rhetoric including, by the way, International Answer which no self-respecting liberal (as opposed to leftist) should have any association with. If I was being too glib by not spelling that out in my post, I apologize. But, I think Sheehan’s PR operation — including her water-carriers in the liberal press — should no be surprised that they’re attracting a broad Popular Front which includes a lot of disreputable and unpleasent elements. If you leave yourself no room, rhetorically speaking, between yourself and the crazies don’t be surprised if the crazies respond to your rhetoric.

Critics of the Minutemen, for example, have been eager to point out that such projects are popular among skinheads, Neo-Nazis and the like. Such guilt-by-association bothers the left not at all, even though the Minutemen have been working hard to weed out the nuts and goons rhetorically and practically.

Anyway, it was not my intent to argue ad Hitlerum about Sheehan. There’s enough to criticize her about without going there. If people took me to be saying otherwise, sorry for the miscommunication.


Posted at 04:33 PM

RE: GOOD FOR CINDY [Jonah Goldberg]
For those of you who are especially ticked-off about the post below, please re-read the word “unintentionally.” And, no, I don’t believe pulling out is the “Nazi” position. I do think blaming Zionists and Jews is the Nazi position, though obviously not exclusively so.

Posted at 02:58 PM

BUZZ.NATIONALREVIEW.COM [K-Lo]
Eric pfeiffer’s still talking to folks on both sides of the sanity fence (Nazis–you going to argue?) In Crawford…check it out.

Posted at 02:38 PM

GOOD FOR CINDY! [Jonah Goldberg ]
She’s rallied the Nazis to her cause (obviously unintentionally, but it’s interesting how her message resonates in such quarters nonetheless).

Posted at 12:32 PM

RE: BASERUNNING [Warren Bell]
John, the question isn’t with the rules of baseball, it’s with the rules of physics. There’s just no such thing as a tie.

Posted at 12:31 PM

THE DEUCE FOUR [Warren Bell]
E-mailer Sherry has turned me on to some incredible Iraq war reporting by Michael Yon. I hesitate to suggest that there is entertainment to be found in these struggles that too often involve the loss of real lives, but Yon’s chronicles of the heroes of the Deuce Four unit is jaw-dropping and heart-stopping. If I were a movie producer (or even really a movie writer) I would be all over this story. As it is, I am just going to contribute (via the link on Yon’s blog) to his efforts.

Posted at 12:29 PM

VICTORY STRATEGY? [Cliff May]
Does the U.S. have the best strategy for winning the war in Iraq? Andrew Krepinevich, West Point graduate, retired lieutenant colonel and the author of a well-regarded book on Vietnam, thinks not. David Brooks outlines his arguments here.

For what it’s worth, reading this has raised real doubts for me about whether Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld – whom I’ve always defended in the past – is on the right track.
Posted at 12:28 PM

RE: JONAH ON NPR [Tim Graham]
I meant to say congrats to Jonah for the NPR commentator gig, but first: MU-HA-HA-HA-HA! Kenneth Tomlinson’s vast right-wing conspiracy has surfaced again. Your children aren’t safe! Before long, they might become……(gasp) Dittoheads!

Posted at 12:28 PM

WHERE’S DR. SCIENCE WHEN YOU NEED HIM? [John J. Miller]
Is it possible to volcano-lance a hurricane?

Posted at 12:18 PM

HURRICANE ALERT 2005 [John J. Miller]
Two years ago, I posted an item here about the possibility of a category-5 hurricane hitting New Orleans. Go here and scroll down, or just read this:

Five years ago, I read a fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal by Sebastian Junger (author of the huge bestseller The Perfect Storm) on hurricanes. It was right after Hurricane Georges blew through Louisiana, and Junger described what a disaster it would be for New Orleans if a Category 5 hurricane blasted its way through the city. (Hurricane Isabel recently was Category 5; currently it’s Category 3, with 115 mph winds.) Levees retain all the water in the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. If they failed, the city would flood, trapping thousands and drowning many. He also made an interesting point: We’re better able to prepare for hurricanes today because of improved weather forecasting. But we’re also more vulnerable: “Unfortunately, the [infrequency of hurricanes] of the 1970s and ’80s occurred during a massive building boom along the East Coast. Since 1960 the population of southern Florida has roughly tripled, and the total number of people living along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts has gone up by over 50%. With the thermohaline circulation now reversing itself again, increased hurricane activity has resulted in a sudden escalation of property damage along the coast. Hurricane damage for the 1990s is already 30% higher than for the 1970s and ’80s combined. According to Roger Pielke of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the last major hurricane to hit Miami, in 1926, caused only $1.4 billion worth of damage (adjusted for inflation). Were that same storm to hit today, the price tag would be $70 billion.”


Posted at 12:07 PM

CONSERVATIVE COMICS [John J. Miller]
G. Gordon Liddy as a biomedically enhanced superhero? President Chelsea Clinton? Ambassador bin Laden of Afghanistan? This, and much, much more, in a new comic series.

Posted at 05:50 AM

BASERUNNING 101 [John J. Miller]
This may be the most important thing I’ll learn all day: In baseball, a tie apparently doesn’t go to the runner, at least not automatically.

Posted at 05:30 AM