Bellyaching, &c.

(Michael Ramirez)


Writing about the special prosecutor’s recently concluded investigation into CIA conduct, Bret Stephens quoted Ray Donovan, the Reagan-era labor secretary: “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”

In 2008, George W. Bush’s last attorney general, Michael Mukasey, appointed John Durham to look into something: allegations that the CIA had destroyed videotapes it had made of interrogations. When Eric Holder came in, he expanded Durham’s mandate. He told him to investigate allegations that the CIA had abused, tortured, or killed as many as 101 detainees.

Well, now the investigation is over. Nothing to prosecute. Have you heard about it? If not, I’m not too surprised.

I remember something Nixon said — not my hero, but this is worth quoting (and, forgive me, I’m going from memory): The allegation appears on the front page, above the fold. The exoneration appears on page D46, amid the boat ads.

Ahmadinejad talked with journalists in New York. Somebody asked him about Salman Rushdie. Ahmadinejad said, “If he is in the U.S., you should not broadcast it for his own safety.” (Story here.) That tells you a little something about the man, and the regime. In my view — sorry to be Joe Alarmist — the American people have no clue what we’re up against, with Iran, despite experience with this regime since 1979.

Wasn’t there something about a “hostage crisis”?

I saw a headline: “Army ‘stand down’ focuses day on suicide training.” For a split second, I was confused: Training people to commit suicide? (Story here.)

Another headline: “Army secretary injured in bike accident.” I don’t mean to make light of this. An injury’s an injury. But the Army secretary in a bike accident? Do you know what I mean? Am I being evil? (Story here — not about my being evil, but about the accident.)

Some people will want an analysis from me of the Ryder Cup (in which the Americans collapsed spectacularly). Here goes: Golf is weird — weird in its emotional delicacy. Sports is weird.

Okay, that’s my analysis. (And, yes, I use “sports” in the singular. It happens in our language — as it did to such words as “news” and “politics,” long ago.)

Cheering when the other side misses a putt — sickening.

One final golf note: Noticed there was a movie called Looper. Thought it might be about a caddy. No such luck.

Went to an event at the New York Yacht Club last week. Some people are replicating Shackleton’s journey — that amazing trans-Antarctic expedition of a hundred years ago. Do you know about Sir Ernest Shackleton? If you don’t, you’ll want to. My friend Margot Morrell was one of the speakers at the event. She is the author of Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer. Her latest book is about a fellow we know quite well: the Gipper. It’s called Reagan’s Journey: Lessons from a Remarkable Career.

Another speaker at the Yacht Club referred to “our increasingly fragile environment” — meaning, natural environment. Global warming and all that. I smiled inwardly, remembering Thomas Sowell.

I was interviewing him a year or two ago, and he talked about the misuse of terms. Intolerable clichés. One of those clichés was “fragile environment.” He said — and I paraphrase — “‘The fragile environment’? I should be so fragile! I’ll be out in some wilderness or other natural setting and think, ‘This has been here for thousands of years, surviving earthquakes, storms, and any number of other events. “Fragile environment”! It will go on and on, long after terms like “fragile environment” have been forgotten.’”

Like “increasingly complex world,” “increasingly fragile environment” is to be watched. These things grow in our mouths, and minds, like weeds. (I remember Bill Bennett once advising a student to watch the phrase “increasingly complex world.” Sometimes, the world simplifies.)

I offer a book review: my review of Mark Mazower’s Governing the World in Standpoint magazine. The book is a history of internationalism. Mazower is a Brit who teaches in America: at Columbia University, here in New York. The history department is stocked with people like Mazower: brilliant leftists. What a shame. (About the leftism, not about the brilliance.)

I offer an American story — a very, very American story. See if you agree: “Ga. jeweler: Buy a diamond, get free hunting rifle.”

Happy First Debate Week!

To order Jay Nordlinger’s new book, Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.