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May 31, 2008

Tribe's Most Wanted

People have been asking me what's wrong with my Indians lately. I'm now referring them to Erik Cassano's ten examples.

May 29, 2008

At the Abyss

Can you feel that? It's the "chill wind" blowing again.

Susan Sarandon will have to consider a move to Italy if McCain is elected, she said. "We're at an abyss."

How she has survived the Bush pogroms for eight years is anyone's guess. I'm betting she has an underground bunker of some sort.

Be More Like Me

From the start of the Obama campaign, even before the leftist policy proposals and the glaring inexperience had become apparent, I had been personally put off by the consistent tone of condescension and the self-righteous posturing in the speeches of both Obamas. This attitude was perhaps best expressed in this quote from Michelle Obama on the campaign trail in Ohio:

“We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.”

Set aside the fact that her salary certainly "responded" just after her husband became the Democratic front-runner, going from $122,000 to $316,000 to help her get by in the "helping industry" of a large university hospital system. No excess profits there.

Set aside the fact that she didn't "leave corporate America" at all, as she sits, or has sat on several corporate boards in return for some of that unwholesome, money-making industry loot.

Set aside the campaign theme of 'hey, we've only been millionaires for the last few years...really'.

Set aside the misleading claim that Barack "left" corporate America at all. I'm no expert, having read neither of this 40-something's two autobiographies, but my impression is that he declined the offers to go into corporate America directly from law school, and has been in community organizing and running for President ever since...that is, when time off from writing autobiographies permits.

What gets under my skin is the prevailing attitude of "here's what we did...we think you should be more like us" that is implicit if not explicit (as above) in so many of their public statements.

Then yesterday Jim Manzi at The Corner expressed so eloquently what I have been feeling about this "be more like me" attitude, that I must share...and of course excerpt, while recommending you read it all.

I don’t have a visceral reaction to Barack Obama one way or the other, but I sure found his commencement address at Wesleyan to be pretty off-putting. He smugly put himself forward as an exemplar of the well-lived life, and proceeded from this to the more politically significant solipsism of imagining how much better America would be if it were filled with people who were a lot more like Barack Obama.

Manzi excerpts the Obama commencement address at some length, which you can read at the link, but it is similar to Michelle's exhortations above to pass on entering the private sector and enter the public sector, in order to do what our society really needs you to do ("we need you to lead the green revolution") to fulfill you as a person. If you don't, he suggests you are "thinking only about yourself." Manzi continues...

This incorporates, but is not limited to, the normal helpful advice that a completely materialistic life is usually not the most fulfilling — “With all thy getting, get understanding.” But it also incorporates the assertion that the well-lived, or at least the best-lived, life must be one centered on engagement with political affairs or a social movement. (Though notably lacking on this long, long list of potential forms of service is any mention of the military.) While Obama throws an occasional rhetorical bone to the idea of responsibilities to jobs and immediate families, and certainly calls out homey service at a small scale to those nearest us as admirable, I challenge anybody to read this speech in full and not conclude that Obama is presenting a hierarchical view of human flourishing that sees becoming absorbed in something big and political like transforming American society, addressing global warming, or bringing an end to the slaughter in Darfur as the highest form of self-actualization.

Ironically, Obama’s vision strikes me as quite narrow. While it is surely true that striving to overcome the innate tendency to self-love is an important part of what it means to become fully human for almost every person on earth, it does not follow that the highest form of this struggle for everyone is centered on political projects or organized social movements. It also doesn’t follow that society would be better if everybody devoted more of their energies to such crusades.

At the level of individual psychology, different people are different. Shocking as it is to professional politicians (and maybe readers of political blogs), most people don’t care a whole lot about big causes. If I devote my energies to starting and running my dry-cleaning business and helping to raise my kids, am I a lesser person than my neighbor who works full-time at Human Rights Watch? Surely, it is more realistic and humane to think of a healthy society as a mosaic in which different people play different roles based on temperament and circumstance.

More importantly for a presidential candidate, at the political level, would the United States really be better off if everybody spent less time at the office and devoted more of it to ameliorating global warming, stopping the killing in Darfur, and joining the Peace Corps? If the U.S. were not the largest and most productive economy in the world, it would not have the world’s most powerful military, it would not have the luxury of trying to solve problems from sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East, it would not have created awe-inspiring collective achievements like getting to the moon, and the vast majority of poor households in America would not have already have TVs, cars, and air conditioning.

Where do you think all of this wealth comes from? I’ll give you a hint: not from protest rallies, public-interest internships, and petition drives. One thing that reliably motivates people to work hard and produce economic output is the promise of getting more money so that they can buy things they want (a.k.a. “the big house and the nice suits”). This isn’t quite as romantic as losing yourself in service to others, but it seems to work pretty well.


The whole American political leadership class seems to be drunk with imagined power. America represents about 20 percent of the world economy. This has been roughly constant for almost 30 years, but the primary geostrategic fact of our current world is the economic rise of the Asian heartland. It will be very difficult to maintain American power in the face of those who may have deeply contrary interests over the upcoming decades. Simply assuming that we'll always have this giant ATM machine called the American economy to pay for our political dreams, instead of devoting a lot of energy to figuring out how to make the economy continue to prosper, strikes me as a focus on pretty blossoms while ignoring the roots of the plant.

Do read it all.

One other thing grabbed me from the Obama speech. In the context of encouraging graduates to "hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself", Obama said, "Because our individual salvation depends on our collective salvation."

This may amount to no more than semantic hair-splitting, but it seems to me that he has that exactly backwards. How can being "saved" collectively be a precondition of being saved individually? The implication is that he can tell us how to achieve this collective salvation.

The great flaw of the leftist utopian fantasy has been its insistence that man is perfectible by enlightened government, and society can be successfully re-engineered away from human self-interest if the right people are in charge. As someone once said..."nice theory, wrong species." And of course, tens of millions have perished in the various tries at the experiment.

It's been a while since I read Kirk's "The Conservative Mind", but I'd suggest that at the heart of conservative thought somewhere is the idea that self-reform, man's choice to strive for the victory of his higher nature over his lower one, in the individual heart, is the only true starting point for self-understanding and just society. Attempts by equally flawed humans who happen to be in positions of power to "reform" men collectively, in defiance of their nature, are doomed, and necessarily result in the loss of precious freedoms.

To be fair, maybe this is what Obama was trying to say to the graduates as individuals in his admirable call to public service, and he merely garbled the message. But he strikes me as more of a "top-down" guy, based on all the policy proposals and the "I know what's good for you" rhetoric. And the trademark liberal ignorance of, and antipathy toward the private sector is readily apparent as well in Obama's talk. As if millions of people engaged in the manufacturing and service sectors of the economy are not just as involved in "helping" people in society as is any social worker.

As Manzi says, the message is pretty narrow and simplistic.

Unfortunately, Obama’s guidance pretty much boils down to: Greenpeace good; Goldman, Sachs bad; U.S. Army not worth mentioning.

"Out of touch" just doesn't cover it.

May 28, 2008

Team Player

I think she means it. Here's Hillary Clinton, via Slublog at Ace, who comments, "I'm guessing this sort of rhetoric is going to end any hope of a unity ticket."

We have not gone through this exciting unprecedented historic election only to lose," Clinton said at an event in Billings, Montana.

"You have to ask yourself who is the stronger candidate?" she continued. "And based on every analysis of every bit of research and every poll that’s been taken and every state that a democrat has to win, I am the stronger candidate against John McCain in the fall."

And from her fund-raising letter...

We simply cannot afford another four - or eight - years in the wilderness. That is why, everywhere I go, people come up to me, grip my hand or arm, and urge me to keep on running. That is why I continue in this race: because I believe I am best prepared to lead this country as President - and best prepared to put together a broad coalition of voters to break the lock Republicans have had on the electoral map and beat Senator McCain in November.

Recent polls and election results show a clear trend: I am ahead in states that have been critical to victory in the past two elections. From Ohio, to Pennsylvania, to West Virginia and beyond, the results of recent primaries in battleground states show that I have strong support from the regions and demographics Democrats need to take back the White House. I am also currently ahead of Senator McCain in Gallup national tracking polls, while Senator Obama is behind him. And nearly all independent analyses show that I am in a stronger position to win the Electoral College, primarily because I lead Senator McCain in Florida and Ohio. I've enclosed a detailed analysis of recent electoral and polling information, and I hope you will take some time to review it carefully.

Don't bogart that popcorn.


Be sure to read Allahpundit.

Analysis by Richard Baehr

VDH - Upside Down

Victor Davis Hanson

The successful toppling of Saddam was followed in short order by the shutdown of Dr. Khan’s atomic shop, the surrender of WMDs by the Libyans, and the supposed sidetracking of the Iranian nuclear bomb program (at least according to the National Intelligence Estimate) — and yet no one thought the timing of all these events was odd (even when Ghaddafi himself reportedly connected his decision to abandon a weapons of mass destruction program to Saddam’s fate).

By the same token, the rise of governments that are sympathetic to the U.S. in France, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe is never associated with a shared and growing worry over Islamic radicalism — or a grudging, often private acknowledgment of the U.S. role abroad in beating back jihadism. How surreal to see a constitutional government in Iraq, with broad popular support, fighting and defeating terrorists and insurgents of both the Wahhabi and Iranian brand — at a time when the consensus is that Iraq only made terrorism much worse. As we’ve seen from recent events, there are many governments abroad that deserve criticism, whether in China, the Sudan, or Burma, but Iraq is not one of them.

So these are upside-down times when facts and events on the ground simply do not support the general pessimism of the Western media, the serial publication of gloomy he-did-it,-not-me memoirs about the post-9/11 supposed failures, and the shrill rhetoric of the Democratic primaries.

In general, the hard efforts of the last six years against radical Islam — that bore fruit by the radically changed atmosphere in Iraq, the decline in terrorism worldwide, the lack of a follow-up to 9/11, and polls that showed a marked fall in approval for al-Qaeda, Bin Laden, and the tactic of suicide bombing — are explained away in various ways. The common theme, however, is that one never mentions the efforts of the bogeyman George Bush.

I'm not sure which bugs me more...the fact that Bush gets no credit for the real anti-terror accomplishments of his administration, or that he doesn't get so much as the presumption of having acted in good faith in the attempt. Probably the latter, since good people can disagree on the means, if not the ends of the fight against Islamic terror. The hate for Bush personally and his portrayal as a malign force come from somewhere else.

May 26, 2008

Iranians' Open Letter to Obama

In case you missed this open letter to Barack Obama by two Iranian democracy activists...well, don't. A sample...

On September 24, 2004, while a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Illinois, you suggested that “surgical missile strikes” on Iran may become necessary. “Launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in” given the ongoing war in Iraq, you told the Chicago Tribune. You continued: “On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse”.

Your change in approach is now stunning for many Iranians. It is not that we want our country to be bombed, but the point is, why did you so suddenly and without explanation go from that extreme to the extreme of “unconditional dialogue”?

Senator, since 1979 the Mullahs of Iran have killed upwards of one million Iranians, not to mention the nearly one million sacrificed to the 8-year-long Iran/Iraq war. And what the Iranian people have withstood in terms of outrageous human rights violations is shocking; public hangings, stoning, flogging, cutting off limbs, tongues and plucking out eyeballs are an everyday occurrence across Iran. All are meant to strike fear of the ruling Mullahs into people’s hearts.

Since you began talking about unconditionally dialoguing with the Islamic regime of Iran, you too have struck absolute fear in the hearts of the Iranian people, both inside and outside Iran. The few Iranian-Americans who support you are well-intentioned individuals who have been swept up in the excitement and fervor of your campaign. But we can wholeheartedly assure you that your comments have landslide opposition within the much greater Iranian heart both inside and outside Iran.

Iranians believe that the only country who has the moral authority and is able to support them is the United States of America, a country whose foundation as a melting pot mirrors the true character of the once great Persian Empire. But the fact is, as John Bolton so aptly puts it: “Negotiation is a tactic, not policy.” Your policy of direct and unconditional negotiation will give the Mullahs of Iran the legitimacy that they need for more oppression. The real losers will be the already weary people of Iran, whose dreams of freedom and democracy will be dashed for a long time to come. If you empower that regime, the mullahs will continue to harm a country that is already totally economically devastated, as well as socially and politically oppressed.


More documentary evidence surfaces, this time from the Telegraph that Iran is directly involved in killing coalition soldiers in Iraq.

MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) reports that the mullahs have shut down a women's magazine for publishing an investigative report on the martyrdom movement in Iran. (via Jules Crittenden)

And Andy McCarthy says Obama shouldn't feel he has to backtrack and dissemble about his offer to negotiate, without preconditions, with Ahmadinejad, when that suggestion "is only marginally more vapid than what has passed for the Bush Iran policy."

Here's an exhaustive Iran News Roundup, as posted by Michael Rubin at The Corner.

UPDATE 5/28: Amir Taheri on the problem of talking to Iran. "Is it a country or a cause?"

May 25, 2008

Dutch Cartoonist Arrested

Cartooning as hate crime, from Paul Belien at Brussels Journal.

Multiculti Insults

Unapologetically linking cracked.com here with:

"The Nine Most Devastating Insults From Around the World.".

Like the man said...

"It's assuring to see other cultures helping us to push the envelope of what "fuck" is truly capable of."

This really made me laugh. Okay, I laughed till I cried. (via JVL at Galley Slaves)


Peggy Noonan on three great women and Hillary Clinton.

May 24, 2008

Iowahawk Rawks

It's Time to Call it Quits

Men Without Chests

Mark Steyn on the "NOPEC Bill."

I was watching the Big Oil execs testifying before Congress. That was my first mistake. If memory serves, there was lesbian mud wrestling over on Channel 137, and on the whole that's less rigged. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz knew the routine: "I can't say that there is evidence that you are manipulating the price, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not."

Had I been in the hapless oil man's expensive shoes, I'd have answered, "Hey, you first. I can't say that there is evidence that you're sleeping with barnyard animals, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence and prima facie evidence, lady? Do I have to file a U.N. complaint in Geneva that the House of Representatives is in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?"

But that's why I don't get asked to testify before Congress.


...before we start suing distant sheikhs in exotic lands for violating the NOPEC act, why don't we start by suing Congress? After all, who "limits the production or distribution of oil" right here in the United States by declaring that there'll be no drilling in the Gulf of Florida or the Arctic National Mosquito Refuge? As Rep. Wasserman Schultz herself told Neil Cavuto on Fox News, "We can't drill our way out of this problem."

Well, maybe not. But maybe we could drill our way back to $3.25 a gallon. More to the point, if the House of Representatives has now declared it "illegal" for the government of Saudi Arabia to restrict oil production, why is it still legal for the government of the United States to restrict oil production? In fact, the government of the United States restricts pretty much every form of energy production other than the bizarre fetish du jour of federally mandated ethanol production.

May 23, 2008


A couple of amusing things from the Standard in the last few days. First is Joseph Bottum's "Agenbites", the name he assigns to those special words that really sound like what they mean, which is "what all language wants to be when it grows up."

In the current issue, Joseph Epstein notes the passing of the day when some basic level of scholarly distinction or noble achievement was the standard to merit an honorary degree from a university.

O'Rourke in China

The inimitable P.J. O'Rourke writes of his 2006 trip to China. I would have posted it even if the title had been something other than...

The Cleveland of Asia: A Journey Through China's Rust Belt

Pack a lunch. (via aldaily.com)

Doubling Down

Krauthammer is must read stuff today. Here's a taste:

Most of the time you don't negotiate with enemy leaders because there is nothing to negotiate. Does Obama imagine that North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela are insufficiently informed about American requirements for improved relations?

There are always contacts through back channels or intermediaries. Iran, for example, has engaged in five years of talks with our closest European allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to say nothing of the hundreds of official U.S. statements outlining exactly what we would give them in return for suspending uranium enrichment.

Obama pretends that while he is for such "engagement," the cowboy Republicans oppose it. Another absurdity. No one is debating the need for contacts. The debate is over the stupidity of elevating rogue states and their tyrants, easing their isolation and increasing their leverage by granting them unconditional meetings with the president of the world's superpower.

Mark The Calendar

The Ohio State Buckeyes will travel to the L.A. Coliseum on September 13 to face the USC Trojans in a game that could go a long way toward deciding the national championship. I take a look at the matchup in a new piece just up at The Cleveland Fan.

May 22, 2008

Karsenty Wins Decision in Appeal

Augean Stables has all the links and details on the ruling in favor of Philippe Karsenty in his appeal of a libel conviction in a French court, in the al Durah matter. Noah Pollak summarizes in his contentions post:

Some welcome news this morning: a French court has overturned the libel judgment against Philippe Karsenty, the French media watchdog who publicly accused France2 television of airing staged footage of the (alleged) Mohammad Al Dura killing in 2000, an incident instrumental in helping ignite the second intifada and one that has come to symbolize, in the Arab and European world, Israel’s crimes. Richard Landes, who has been intensely covering this most famous instance of what he calls Pallywood, notes that

[i]n order for an appeals court to reverse a decision, they must have strong evidence to the contrary. The fact that they did indicates that their written decision will be very critical of France2. The implications of this decision are immense.

That written decision will be handed down tomorrow, and what remains to be seen is the extent to which it will implicate a renowned French journalist, Charles Enderlin, in promulgating what has been one of the most egregious and destructive libels against Israel in its history. Why did the lower court declare Karsenty guilty while the appeals court has exculpated him? The appeals court demanded to see France2’s raw footage of the incident.

This is a gratifying moment in what has been a long grind for Karsenty and all those who have been convinced that this lie should not be allowed to stand. Many have died because of the hoax, and this development offers hope that the truth will out.

An interview of Karsenty by Phyllis Chesler, hours before the decision.

UPDATE 5/24: Karsenty writes for PJM (via FPM)

Eating Their Own

Ron Radosh looks on in amazement as the two Democratic candidates engage in classic red-baiting to portray the other as the extreme leftist radical. As Hugh Hewitt always says... pass the popcorn.

"...a mighty lever"

George Will on the sobering precedent we have set by not only acknowledging a potential, rather than an actual threat to polar bears, but formally positing AGW as its cause. Excerpting liberally...

The Interior Department, bound by the Endangered Species Act, has declared polar bears a "threatened" species because they might be endangered "in the foreseeable future," meaning 45 years. (Note: 45 years ago, the now-long-forgotten global cooling menace of 35 years ago was not yet foreseen.) The bears will be threatened if the current episode of warming, if there really is one, is, unlike all the previous episodes, irreversible, and if it intensifies, and if it continues to melt sea ice vital to the bears, and if the bears, unlike in many previous warming episodes, cannot adapt.


Now that polar bears are wards of the government, and now that it is a legal doctrine that humans are responsible for global warming, the Endangered Species Act has acquired unlimited application. Anything that can be said to increase global warming can -- must -- be said to threaten bears already designated as threatened.

Want to build a power plant in Arizona? A building in Florida? Do you want to drive an SUV? Or leave your cell phone charger plugged in overnight? Some judge might construe federal policy as proscribing these activities. Kempthorne says such uses of the act, unintended by those who wrote it in 1973, would be "wholly inappropriate." But in 1973, climate Cassandras were saying that "the world's climatologists are agreed" that we must "prepare for the next ice age" (Science Digest, February 1973). And no authors of the Constitution or the Fourteenth Amendment intended to create a "fundamental" right to abortion, but there it is.

No one can anticipate or control the implications that judges might discover in the polar bear designation. Give litigious environmentalists a compliant judge and the Endangered Species Act might become what New Dealers wanted the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 to be -- authority to regulate almost everything.

What Friedrich Hayek called the "fatal conceit" -- the idea that government can know the future's possibilities and can and should control the future's unfolding -- is the left's agenda. The left exists to enlarge the state's supervision of life, narrowing individual choices in the name of collective goods. Hence the left's hostility to markets. And to automobiles -- people going wherever they want whenever they want.

Today's "green left" is the old "red left" revised. Marx, a short-term pessimist but a long-term optimist, prophesied deepening class conflict, but thought that history's violent dialectic would culminate in a revolution that would usher in material abundance and such spontaneous cooperation that the state would wither away.

The green left preaches pessimism: Ineluctable scarcities (of energy, food, animal habitats, humans' living space) will require a perpetual regime of comprehensive rationing. The green left understands that the direct route to government control of almost everything is to stigmatize, as a planetary menace, something involved in almost everything -- carbon.

Environmentalism is, as Lawson writes, an unlimited "license to intrude." "Eco-fundamentalism," which is "the quasi-religion of green alarmism," promises "global salvationism." Onward, green soldiers, into preventive war on behalf of some bears who are simultaneously flourishing and "threatened."

But you don't think the government would go so far as to tell us we couldn't eat what we wanted, or control the temperature in our own houses, or drive the vehicle of our choice, do you?

May 21, 2008

One-Liners on Appeasement

Ann Coulter...she's too damn funny and talented to ignore. Nobody else bites like this...

You always know you've struck gold when liberals react with hysteria and rage to something you've said. So I knew President Bush's speech at the Knesset last week was a barn burner before even I read it. Liberals haven't been this worked up since Rev. Jerry Falwell criticized a cartoon sponge.

Calling the fight against terrorism "the defining challenge of our time" -- which already confused liberals who think the defining struggle of our time is against Wal-Mart -- Bush said:

"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

The way liberals squealed, you'd think someone had mentioned Obama's ears.

It does get more serious from there.

May 19, 2008

"Not A Serious Threat"

Lots of back and forth today after reaction to Obama's statement about how Iran "is not a serious threat to us" started to register with the campaign. Yes he said it in the context of "...in the way the Soviets were a threat to us", but the distinction rather misses the whole point. It's a new era of warfare, via terrorists and proxies, and the absence of the doctrine of mutually assured destruction makes Iran the best and most dangerous example of the genre.

Ed Morrissey

...the danger in Iranian nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the capacity of its Shahab-3 ballistic missiles. Iran’s sponsorship of terrorist organizations will allow them to partner with any small group of lunatics who want to smuggle a nuclear weapon into any Western city — London, Rome, Washington DC, Los Angeles, take your pick. That’s the problem with nuclear proliferation; it doesn’t take a large army to threaten annihilation any longer, which is why we work so hard to keep those weapons out of the hands of non-rational actors like Iran. The Soviets may have been evil, but they were rational, and we could count on their desire to survive to rely on the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. The Iranians believe that a worldwide conflagration will have Allah deliver the world to Islam, so a nuclear exchange may fall within their policy, and that’s assuming we could establish their culpability for a sneak nuclear attack to the extent where a President Obama would order a nuclear reprisal.


The real problem is Obama's naivete in believing that talk is enough to resolve serious fundamental disagreements between countries.


Iran wishes to have atomic bombs capable of threatening the region, and possibly destroying Tel Aviv and other large Jewish cities which don't have Muslim holy places within them. We wish them not to have such bombs.

Iran wishes to attack Israel and Lebanon through its ghoulish terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezballah. We wish them not to.

Iran wishes to arm, train, and coordinate attacks on US troops in Iraq in order to destabilize that country, reduce it to a terrorist-spawning failed state, and claim it as a satrapy. We wish them to stop doing so.

Now, my question for Obama is, "What 'compromise' solution do you propose for any of those disagreements?" That Iran shall be permitted to have six nuclear warheads but no more than six? That Iran shall be permitted to arm Hamas but not Hezballah? That Iran will cap the number of US troops it murders per year at, say, 100? With, perhaps, a monetary penalty to be paid for each additional American it kills in excess of that number?


So what, precisely, does Obama believe he will talk about with Iran? Is he really so naive and arrogant to think that if he offers Iran the same deal Bush (and Clinton, and Bush, and Reagan) have been offering Iran for years, his natural charm and nonthreatening good looks will convince them to accept the deal they've rejected for nearly thirty years now?

(The same logic applies to the notion that there is some "compromise" position that well-intended interlocutors could work from in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, in view of the intransigent Arab insistence on Israel's annihilation. One imagines the starting negotiating position: How about if the Arabs drive half of the Jews into the sea?)

Jennifer Rubin at Contentions...

...taken literally, he [Obama] seems not much concerned about Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, its sponsorship of terrorist organizations, its commitment to eradicate Israel, its current actions in supplying weapons that have killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq, and its role in eroding Lebanon’s sovereignty through its client Hezbollah.

And then there is is unbridled faith in diplomacy, unaffected by the lessons of history. Was it presidential visits with the Soviet Union that brought down the Berlin Wall? Or was it the 40 year history of bipartisan military deterrence, the willingness of Ronald Reagan to walk away from Reykjavik summit, the resulting bankruptcy of the Soviet Empire, the support of dissidents and freedom fighters in the war against tyranny, and the willingness to identify Communism as a center of evil in the late 20th century?

You can understand why every attempt by John McCain to discuss global threats is labeled “fear-mongering” by Obama. In his world this is all a fantasy and we are not at risk. All perfectly logical . . . if you divorce yourself from reality.

Then McCain reacted:

Senator Obama claimed that the threat Iran poses to our security is “tiny” compared to the threat once posed by the former Soviet Union. Obviously, Iran isn’t a superpower and doesn’t possess the military power the Soviet Union had. But that does not mean that the threat posed by Iran is insignificant. On the contrary, right now Iran provides some of the deadliest explosive devices used in Iraq to kill our soldiers. They are the chief sponsor of Shia extremists in Iraq, and terrorist organizations in the Middle East. And their President, who has called Israel a “stinking corpse,” has repeatedly made clear his government’s commitment to Israel’s destruction. Most worrying, Iran is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons. The biggest national security challenge the United States currently faces is keeping nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists. Should Iran acquire nuclear weapons, that danger would become very dire, indeed. They might not be a superpower, but the threat the Government of Iran poses is anything but ‘tiny”.

Read the whole McCain statement.

Later in the day, Obama's response was rather childish... and also ahistorical. His statement was essentially: oops...yes Iran is dangerous, but only because George Bush's policies made them that way. Here's the quote:

"Iran is a grave threat. It has an illicit nuclear program. It supports terrorism across the region and militias in Iraq. It threatens Israel's existence. It denies the Holocaust," he said. "The reason Iran is so much more powerful than it was a few years ago is because of the Bush-McCain policy of fighting in Iraq and refusing to pursue direct diplomacy with Iran. They're the ones who have not dealt with Iran wisely."

Right. The Iranian theocracy has been murdering Americans by the hundreds since they seized power in 1979, and have been openly at war with the Great Satan and Israel since that time, directly and via their proxies all over the globe. Many if not most of their murderous attacks, their belligerent pronouncements, and their hateful and defiant rhetoric predate the Bush administration.

And we are supposed to sit here and listen to this greenhorn poseur tell us it was our liberation of Iraq from a genocidal dictator that has made Iran stronger? What utter sophistry! Imagine the position of power and dominance Iran would be in today in the Middle East but for our presence in Iraq, and the existence of the legitimate elected government there that we helped them to achieve.

Careful, Barack...you're beclowning yourself.

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann weigh in.

As Ed Morrissey relates in the post on McCain's reaction, Obama has some really great ideas on his website about how he will pressure Iran to change "their troubling behavior."

Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.

Ed counters..

Memo to Obama: We have already offered WTO membership, an end to economic sanctions that prevent investment, and full diplomatic relations to Iran in exchange for an end to and a full accounting of their nuclear program. Iran rejected it, and so we have continued with economic and diplomatic pressure. The only difference between Bush and Obama is the notion that Obama would meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions, which he and his allies now claim he won’t do even while his website says he will.

Perhaps he should take a few years to study the actual issues and the history of American policy on this subject before running for President. He seems inadequately prepared for serious consideration for stewardship of a foreign policy he clearly doesn’t understand.

The increasingly apparent problem with Obama's candidacy for President is captured in the first four words of Ed's last sentence.

He seems inadequately prepared.

UPDATE 5/22:

A New York Times op-ed on a young JFK, in over his head in a summit with Krushchev.

More on Kennedy and Krushchev and appeasement in a terrific piece by Caroline Glick.

UPDATE 5/24: More on this from Power LIne

Democratic Self-Awareness

Democrats imagined themselves in the role of appeasers as critiqued in Bush's Knesset speech...but not because he put them there. Here's Mark Steyn on the indignant Democratic response to the talk...

Last week, President Bush was in Israel and gave a speech to the Knesset. Its perspective was summed up by his closing anecdote — a departing British officer in May 1948 handing the iron bar to the Zion Gate to a trembling rabbi and telling him it was the first time in 18 centuries that a key to one of the gates to the Old City of Jerusalem was in the hands of a Jew. In other words, it was a big-picture speech, referencing the Holocaust, the pogroms, Masada — and the challenges that lie ahead. Senator Obama was not mentioned in the text. No Democrat was mentioned, save for President Truman, in the context of his recognition of the new State of Israel when it was a mere 11 minutes old.

Nonetheless, Barack Obama decided that the president’s speech was really about him, and he didn’t care for it. He didn’t put it quite as bluntly as he did with the Reverend Wright, but the message was the same: “That’s enough. That’s a show of disrespect to me.” And, taking their cue from the soon-to-be nominee’s weirdly petty narcissism, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Joe Biden, and co. piled on to deplore Bush’s outrageous, unacceptable, unpresidential, outrageously unacceptable, and unacceptably unpresidential behavior.

Honestly. What a bunch of self-absorbed ninnies. Here’s what the president said: “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

It says something for Democrat touchiness that the minute a guy makes a generalized observation about folks who appease terrorists and dictators the Dems assume: Hey, they’re talking about me. Actually, he wasn’t — or, to be more precise, he wasn’t talking only about you. Yes, there are plenty of Democrats who are in favor of negotiating with our enemies, and a few Republicans, too — President Bush’s pal James Baker, whose Iraq Study Group was full of proposals to barter with Iran and Syria and everybody else. But that general line is also taken by at least three of Tony Blair’s former cabinet ministers and his senior policy adviser, and by the leader of Canada’s New Democratic party, and by a whole bunch of bigshot Europeans. It’s not a Democrat-election policy, it’s an entire worldview. Even Barack Obama can’t be so vain as to think his fly-me-to-[insert name of enemy here] concept is an original idea.

Increasingly, the Western world has attitudes rather than policies. It’s one thing to talk as a means to an end. But these days, for most midlevel powers, talks are the end, talks without end. Because that’s what civilized nations like doing — chit-chatting, shooting the breeze, having tea and crumpets, talking talking talking. Uncivilized nations like torturing dissidents, killing civilians, bombing villages, doing doing doing. It’s easier to get the doers to pass themselves off as talkers then to get the talkers to rouse themselves to do anything. And, as the Iranians understand, talks provide a splendid cover for getting on with anything you want to do. If, say, you want to get on with your nuclear program relatively undisturbed, the easiest way to do it is to enter years of endless talks with the Europeans over said nuclear program. That’s why that Hamas honcho endorsed Obama: They know he’s their best shot at getting a European foreign minister installed as president of the United States.

May 18, 2008

Break For Nuptials

I have been away from the blog for a few days because we've been on the road. Our son was married Saturday in Franklin, KY, a wonderful little town in the southwestern part of the state, where the bride's family lives. Everything was just perfect, thanks to the tireless work and warm hospitality of the hosts, and also the friendly folks of Franklin.

The service was beautiful, with my sister officiating, and the reception was simultaneously elegant and raucous. We had friends and relations in town from places as far flung as Colorado, Houston, England and Italy, and the newlyweds jetted off to the Caribbean on a wave of love and good wishes as powerful as their airplane.

Absolutely perfect!

(I'll post a photo or two later in the week after we sift through them all)

May 14, 2008

Tribe After 40

The remarkable streak by the Indians' starting pitchers continued tonight with a complete game shutout by C.C. Sabathia.

Six days ago Paul Byrd got knocked around by the Yankees in a 6-3 loss. In the six games since then, Tribe starting pitchers have given up a total of one run, and tonight stretched their streak of consecutive scoreless innings by starters to 43. Somehow they even managed to lose a game during that stretch, when the bullpen failed after Cliff Lee had pitched nine shutout innings, but the strength of the rotation is beginning to compensate for the club's frustrating lack of offense in the early going.

It's a long season of course, but if there's a better starting rotation in the AL, they'll have to prove it to me. All this has been going on with the #3 guy, Jake Westbrook on the DL, as Aaron Laffey has been putting up zeros in his stead. The stellar defense of late has been a little bit surprising, but I guess pitching like this tends to inspire the guys playing behind the mound.

I'm not sure what the official stats say, but it seems like offensive in general is down this year so far. The disappointing Tigers, who were supposed to have a lineup to rival the '27 Yankees, have already been shut out six times, and no individual player in the league is close to the kind of offensive production that A-Rod put up last Spring. That's just two isolated factoids which don't prove my sense is correct, but I don't think I'm imagining a trend toward fewer runs being scored league-wide.

Scheduling may be playing a part in the Indians' recent climb. They have now played ten more home games than road games in 2008, and even though both the home and road records are one game over .500 at the moment, the road is always the tougher grind. But despite stumbling out of the gate, the Tribe arrived in a tie for first place in the Central after tonight's win, just as they reached the 40 game mark of the 2008 season. Peerless Triblogger Paul Cousineau has a more detailed look at the Indians at the quarter pole.

UPDATE 5/16: I heard Tom Hamilton on the Indians' radio broadcast yesterday say that, in the AL so far this year, runs scored are down 8% and home runs are down 20%. That, and Al's comment are enough evidence for me.

May 13, 2008

It's the Doctrine, Stupid

"...the administration enshrines as policy its most fervent hopes, as if hopes were facts."

Andy McCarthy reacts to the DHS guidelines seeking to cleanse the agency's lexicon of nasty words like jihad, which suggest that Islam might have something to do with Islamic terrorism.

....the ipse dixit about a friendly jihad, just as validly construed to be a virtue as a mortal threat, flows naturally from the ipse dixit at the heart of the DHS guidance: The premise that “many so-called [so-called?] ‘Islamic’ terrorist groups twist and exploit the tenets of Islam to justify violence[.]” (Emphasis added.)

Really? The Koran (which Muslims take to be the verbatim word of Allah) commands, in Sura 9:123 (to take just one of many examples), “O ye who believe, fight those of the disbelievers who are near you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty unto him.” Does DHS really expect us to believe a terrorist has to “twist” that in order to gull fellow Muslims into thinking Islam enjoins Muslims to “fight those of the disbelievers who are near you, and let them find harshness in you”?

As policy, DHS gives us rose-tinted category error. It confounds Islam with Muslims and non-violence with moderation. There are about 1.4 billion Muslims in the world and the majority of them would not come close to committing a terrorist act. But their rejection of jihadist methods is not an en masse rejection of jihadist goals. Similarly, the belief that America should become a sharia state, which is not all that uncommon among even American Muslims, is not a moderate one, even if a Muslim who holds it is not willing to blow up buildings to make it so. And even if most Muslims resolve the tension between their faith and modernity by choosing to take scriptures non-literally, or by marginalizing their violent directives as relics of a bygone time and place, that makes those Muslims peaceful people; it does not make Islam a peaceful religion. Where combating Muslim terror is concerned, Islam is a hurdle you need to get over, not a means by which you get over the hurdle.

May 12, 2008

"I Was Told There Would Be No Math"

ABC News crunches the numbers. (via Ed Driscoll)

Then there's the gaffe that would be all over the mainstream media had it been uttered by a Republican.

May 8, 2008

Recommended 5/8

Joseph Loconte says the U.N. is complicit in the humanitarian disaster in Burma.

Is the Earth running out of oil? A post at Fabius Maximus (via IP) and an article by Vasko Kohlmayer at FrontPage both advise holding off on the doomsday preparations.

Global warmists are scrambling to explain recent cooling and its projected continuation...at American Thinker.

At Contentions, thoughts on the presidential race by Peter Wehner, Daniel Casse, and Abe Greenwald.

Gateway Pundit has a graphic image of "The No Zone", a map of the U.S. territories and coastline ruled off limits to oil exploration and drilling by Democrats in Congress. McCain would be wise to make this a signature issue in the campaign.

The tens of thousands of dead in Burma are not even in the ground yet, and Al Gore is already exploiting the carnage for his own self-enriching crusade. (Via EU Referendum) UPDATE 5/9: More from Marc Sheppard at American Thinker

On Spinelessness

Sam Harris laments Western self-censorship and delusional denial of Islamic goals. They're not exactly original insights, but it is refreshing to see them published at a leftist site like HuffPo. A sample...

The controversy over Fitna, like all such controversies, renders one fact about our world especially salient: Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name. Our accommodation of this psychopathic skewing of priorities has, more and more, taken the form of craven and blinkered acquiescence.

There is an uncanny irony here that many have noticed. The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we will kill you. Of course, the truth is often more nuanced, but this is about as nuanced as it ever gets: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you primarily responsible and will spend the bulk of our energies criticizing you for "racism" and "Islamophobia."

Our capitulations in the face of these threats have had what is often called "a chilling effect" on our exercise of free speech.


The connection between the doctrine of Islam and Islamist violence is simply not open to dispute. It's not that critics of religion like myself speculate that such a connection might exist: the point is that Islamists themselves acknowledge and demonstrate this connection at every opportunity and to deny it is to retreat within a fantasy world of political correctness and religious apology. (via LGF)

It brings to mind recent work by Bruce Bawer and Andy McCarthy

May 7, 2008

Recession of '08

Gerard Baker in the TimesOnline:

Well, it’s early days, to be fair, but so far the Great Depression 2008 is shaping up to be a Great Disappointment. Not so much The Grapes of Wrath as Raisins of Mild Inconvenience.

The evidence is starting to accumulate that the economic downturn may have bottomed out sometime in the first quarter.

UPDATE 5/8: Larry Elder weighs in. And here's Tom Blumer's piece at PJM...plus a week-old article from Tom on the same theme.

May 5, 2008

Is Ozzie History?

I'm sensing one of those "I wanted to spend more time with my family" press conferences pretty soon.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen might have been able to survive saying this about the owner of the club he works for as part of a profanity-laced tirade on a radio show Sunday...

"We are the [bleep] of Chicago. We're the Chicago [bleep]. We have the worst owner [Jerry Reinsdorf]. The guy's got seven [bleeping] rings, and he's the [bleeping] horse[bleep] owner."

(hey, it was taken out of context...)

...but he probably can't also call a well-known reporter "a (bleeping) fag" and keep his job these days, even if, as Ozzie explained, "In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country."

For some time now it has seemed like Ozzie Guillen was trying to get fired. This should do it.

Now I wonder if some curious journalist will walk up to Victor Martinez or Miguel Cabrera and ask him what it means when someone calls him "a (bleeping) fag" in Venezuela.

UPDATE 5/6: Guillen soldiers on. Another day, another embarrassing episode. Reinsdorf does allow that he'd like Ozzie to clean up the language....in order to better communicate his message. But already way too much energy spent here on the White Sox.

Carrots' Rights

Wesley J. Smith (via Dr. Sanity)

You just knew it was coming: At the request of the Swiss government, an ethics panel has weighed in on the "dignity" of plants and opined that the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong. This is no hoax. The concept of what could be called "plant rights" is being seriously debated.

A few years ago the Swiss added to their national constitution a provision requiring "account to be taken of the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms." No one knew exactly what it meant, so they asked the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology to figure it out. The resulting report, "The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants," is enough to short circuit the brain.

A "clear majority" of the panel adopted what it called a "biocentric" moral view, meaning that "living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive." Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim "absolute ownership" over plants and, moreover, that "individual plants have an inherent worth." This means that "we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily."


...Switzerland's enshrining of "plant dignity" is a symptom of a cultural disease that has infected Western civilization, causing us to lose the ability to think critically and distinguish serious from frivolous ethical concerns. It also reflects the triumph of a radical anthropomorphism that views elements of the natural world as morally equivalent to people.

Why is this happening? Our accelerating rejection of the Judeo-Christian world view, which upholds the unique dignity and moral worth of human beings, is driving us crazy. Once we knocked our species off its pedestal, it was only logical that we would come to see fauna and flora as entitled to rights.

Smith says the immorality is in worrying about "plants rights" while people are malnourished or starving in great numbers. This biocentrism also threatens genetic engineering of crops, undertaken to help prevent that starving and malnutrition. Which doesn't trouble you in the slightest if you're of the "humans are the AIDS of the Earth" school.

I'm wondering what the ethics panel makes of the determined global effort to cut down on the plant kingdom's naturally occurring, life sustaining gas. Where's the plant dignity there?

Dismembering 1968

City Journal is featuring six of its editors' reflections on 1968. Christopher Hitchens, Kay Hymowitz, Guy Sorman, Stefan Kanfer, Sol Stern, and Harry Stein contribute. I've pulled a couple of excerpts to get you to click over.

Hitchens on his visit to Cuba:

Cuba was an unusually good vantage point for the 1968 phenomenon since it advertised itself as a new beginning for socialism that would avoid the drabness and conformity of the Eastern bloc. I was able to test this proposition in practice and in two ways. At a “cultural seminar,” I heard the distinguished Cuban film director Santiago Álvarez say that any form of criticism was allowed in Cuba, except direct criticism of Fidel Castro. This seemed a rather large exception, but when I tried to be funny about it (so often a mistake in revolutionary circles), I had my first experience of being denounced, in unsmiling tones, for “counterrevolutionary” tendencies. It was a slight surprise to find that people really talked like that.

Guy Sorman:

What did it mean to be 20 in May ’68? First and foremost, it meant rejecting all forms of authority—teachers, parents, bosses, those who governed, the older generation. Apart from a few personal targets—General Charles de Gaulle and the pope—we directed our recriminations against the abstract principle of authority and those who legitimized it. Political parties, the state (personified by the grandfatherly figure of de Gaulle), the army, the unions, the church, the university: all were put in the dock.

Some historical precedents haunted us. We remembered that the French Revolution was the work of 20-year-old boys. So, too, were the Romanticism of the 1820s and the surrealist revolution of the 1920s. History does repeat itself. After long periods of confinement under tight social, economic, and military strictures, a new generation gets up and says: “Enough! No more!” Just as in 1789 and 1830, the young in 1968 didn’t want the same life that their parents had. For one thing, we wanted to work less.

Stefan Kanfer on the protests at Columbia:

The time was right for rebellion: it was a benign spring, and there were “issues.” The students made the most of them, breaking windows, trampling any flowers within reach of their sneakers—jackboots would have been too warm for the weather—occupying offices, destroying papers, and, in general, making a major ruckus. So major, in fact, that Columbia authorities summoned the police. Hordes of outsiders began to arrive, among them leftist critic Dwight MacDonald, who announced that a friend had beseeched him, “You must come up right away. It’s a revolution. You may never get another chance to see one.” Like many another superannuated radical, MacDonald was unable to distinguish a revolt from a tantrum.

May 3, 2008

No Holds Barred

Saw this at Ace. Priceless.

WSJ's "Windfall Profits For Dummies"

A year ago when Exxon's quarterly profits were announced, Hillary Clinton was famously quoted as saying "I want take those profits and put them into an alternative energy fund...", presuming as statists do, not only that government could more wisely put that money to use, but that it is entitled to confiscate other people's money in the first place if it chooses to.

Now Barack Obama and a growing chorus of others are proposing to tax the "excess profits" of the oil companies. What is especially galling is that they suggest this will help to reduce gasoline prices. As usual, history offers these people no guide to formulating policy. And the WSJ reminds us that we've been here before...

You may also be wondering how a higher tax on energy will lower gas prices. Normally, when you tax something, you get less of it, but Mr. Obama seems to think he can repeal the laws of economics. We tried this windfall profits scheme in 1980. It backfired. The Congressional Research Service found in a 1990 analysis that the tax reduced domestic oil production by 3% to 6% and increased oil imports from OPEC by 8% to 16%. Mr. Obama nonetheless pledges to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, which he says "costs America $800 million a day." Someone should tell him that oil imports would soar if his tax plan becomes law. The biggest beneficiaries would be OPEC oil ministers.

There's another policy contradiction here. Exxon is now under attack for buying back $2 billion of its own stock rather than adding to the more than $21 billion it is likely to invest in energy research and exploration this year. But hold on. If oil companies believe their earnings from exploring for new oil will be expropriated by government – and an excise tax on profits is pure expropriation – they will surely invest less, not more. A profits tax is a sure formula to keep the future price of gas higher.

Exxon's profits are soaring with the recent oil price spike, but the energy industry's earnings aren't as outsized as the politicians seem to think. Thomson Financial calculates that profits from the oil and natural gas industry over the past year were 8.3% of investment, while the all-industry average is 7.8%. And this was a boom year for oil. An analysis by the Cato Institute's Jerry Taylor finds that between 1970 and 2003 (which includes peak and valley years for earnings) the oil and gas business was "less profitable than the rest of the U.S. economy." These are hardly robber barons.

This tiff over gas and oil taxes only highlights the intellectual policy confusion – or perhaps we should say cynicism – of our politicians. They want lower prices but don't want more production to increase supply. They want oil "independence" but they've declared off limits most of the big sources of domestic oil that could replace foreign imports. They want Americans to use less oil to reduce greenhouse gases but they protest higher oil prices that reduce demand. They want more oil company investment but they want to confiscate the profits from that investment. And these folks want to be President?

McCarthy With Rush

Andy McCarthy talks about Willful Blindness with Rush Limbaugh. In this excerpt, McCarthy is asked by Rush if we are still taking Islamic terror seriously...

MCCARTHY: We're taking it less seriously. I think there was a time right after 9/11, probably I put it at about 18 months -- probably into the Iraq operation, so longer than that -- that I think we really were taking it seriously. We certainly changed our enforcement methods. The Justice Department still had a role, but it was much more subordinate. The military was out front, which it needed to be in that phase, but there was a realization that it needed to be a wholesale government approach. But when I read things like what we've heard in the last few days about how we're getting guidance inside the government about purging our lexicon and saying things like jihadism and mujahideen and the like and --

RUSH: Wait. Wait, wait, wait! Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Who's getting what? Guidance? Who in the government is sending this out to who?

MCCARTHY: Well, the reporting that's come out since -- I guess it was about April 24th -- is that the internal syncing at least in parts of the administration -- and this is something the State Department's pushed for a long time -- is that we make a mistake call jihadism, jihadism; because there are all kinds of jihad, not just forceable jihad. This is how the thinking goes. And, by the way, while there may be all kinds of jihad, jihad is a military concept. That's how it grew up. That's the reason there is a Muslim world in the first place. But secondly the idea is that when you call them jihadists, you are somehow emboldening them as if what they were relying on is how we regard them rather than how they see themselves. And that you also --

RUSH: So what are we supposed to call 'em?

MCCARTHY: Well, I'm down to thinking -- as I wrote in a piece in National Review a couple years ago, I think maybe -- we should just call it "Mabel" or something. Because it seems like everything that you say that touches on this... We're so intimidated by the idea that there's a religious label on this and everybody is so afraid of their shadow to talk about it, that whenever you say what is obvious -- which is that you can't take the "Islam" out of Islamic terror and that the main cause of this is not democracy or lack of democracy; or, you know, ancient hatreds or the economy, poverty, or whatever our excuse is this week. This is driven by doctrine. You know, we have poor people all over the world. They're not all committing terrorism.

In a related piece, McCarthy takes issue with the New York Sun's choice of Laurie Mylroie to review Willful Blindness. Much of Mylroie's thinking about Islamic terror has been publicly discredited, and McCarthy calls her "studiously uninformed about the jihadist threat."

UPDATE 5/6: Laurie Mylroie replies to McCarthy

Truth About Tuskegee

Jonah Goldberg:

‘Based on this Tuskegee experiment ... I believe our government is capable of doing anything.” So said the Rev. Jeremiah Wright when asked if he stood by his claim that “the government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.”

The infamous Tuskegee experiment is the Medusa’s head of black left-wing paranoia. Whenever someone laments the fact that anywhere from 10 percent to 33 percent of African Americans believe the U.S. government invented AIDS to kill blacks, someone will say, “That’s not so crazy when you consider what happened at Tuskegee.”

But it is crazy. And it’s dishonest.

Wright says the U.S. government “purposely infected African-American men with syphilis.” This is a lie, and no knowledgeable historian says otherwise. And yet, this untruth pops up routinely.


...what the U.S. did at Tuskegee was indeed bad, very bad. But it didn’t do what these people say it did.

May 2, 2008

What Next...A Cover Shot?

Gene Menez at SI.com says Ohio State's Chris Wells is the man to beat in the 2008 Heisman campaign. That sounds about right. The Bucks will be ranked in the top three in the preseason, and September 13 at USC will give the whole nation an early look at him. It may come down to how he performs on the L.A. Coliseum stage.

The 2009 Buckeye recruiting class is about half full, and I have a piece up today at TheClevelandFan.com on how it's going.

"Everyone Understands It Now"

Charles Krauthammer revisits Obama's Philadelphia race speech. I think of Krauthammer as the closest thing we've got to a Michael Kelly these days. A plain dealer and a great writer.

Guess it's time to disown Granny...

Karcher Group is tkg.com

I want to congratulate my friends at The Karcher Group, the outstanding web development, web hosting and SEO company in North Canton, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary in business.

As part of the celebration, the company is launching their new domain at tkg.com as of 4/30, and they're also using their web migration as a teaching moment for other businesses facing similar challenges......(cause teaching businesses about the web is what these guys do, see?)

It was news to me, but apparently getting a three-letter domain is a pretty big deal, since all possible three-letter combination domains were spoken for a while ago. So Geoff K. and his team are pretty pumped about landing tkg.com, even though it didn't come cheap. So best of luck for the next ten years, Geoff. Maybe I'll have you guys upgrade me from the MT defaults one of these days.

May 1, 2008


New at Commentary: 1948, Israel, and the Palestinians - The True Story, by Efraim Karsh.

Karsh sets out to recount in detail the background and history of the exodus of Arab Palestinians from their homeland. It's a useful corrective for the common perception that they were "dispossessed" by the Jews in the years leading up to Israel's founding in 1948, and in the war that ensued. Do read it all.