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A New Direction At Epa


Yesterday President Bush announced his pick to replace Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Todd Whitman: Mike Leavitt, the three-term governor of Utah. Like Whitman, Leavitt is a Republican governor with something of a moderate reputation. Unlike Whitman, however, Leavitt has actually gotten his hands dirty in environmental policy, calling for greater state involvement and authority. Some on the right, such as CEI President Fred Smith, fear Leavitt will be a “western Whitman.” Perhaps, but there is little doubt Leavitt is a better choice than some others considered for the job (e.g. Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne). Leavitt clearly recognizes some of the central failings in environmental policy, and he deserves conservative support if he makes a serious effort to clean up EPA.

Der Arnold and Wolf


Just learned that I’ll be on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN show in the 5 pm ET segment today. Talking about–what else?–Der Arnold.


Pundit Watch


Arianna on California politics:

“Everyone knows that the majority of Californians are upset with Davis because he’ s too conservative. ”

Web Briefing: July 30, 2014

Fire in The Hole


Driving through the Grand Tetons toward Jackson Hole yesterday, we stopped to gape at a forest fire. It is one of over two-dozen blazes sparked by thunderstorms in the region in just the last few days. Of course, some environmentalists still maintain there’s relatively little need to clear brush or thin trees to reduce the fire threat. That’s certainly an easy position to maintain from Washington, D.C.


Hubris Watch


From Arianna Huffington’s campaign website:

“Arianna Huffington…has been a brilliant public gadfly for decades.”

Nfl Junkies Protest


One last note on the fantasy football front: my fellow league “owners” would like me to point out that I took Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes with the first overall pick, a controversial choice some of them considered ludicrous, considering his late-season hip injury and desire to renegotiate his contract. Sorry, guys, if this is all guesswork in the end, why not count on a Priest?

Joachim of Flora


A reader brings the following quote to my attention, though warning that it
is an English translation of a French author citing a German letter:
“Joachim of Fiore is more ‘living’ or ‘alive’ to the modern mind than is St
Augustine.”—Letter of Jurgen Moltmann to Karl Barth, quoted in Henri de
Lubac, La Posterite spirituelle de Joachim de Flore, 2 vol. (Paris:
Editions Lethielleux, 1979-1981) 1:7.

Gephardt, Candyman


AP reported that at last night’s Sheet Metal Workers Union candidates’ forum, Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean and Al Sharpton said the first step to repairing the economy would be to repeal Bush’s tax cuts. Gephardt argued that Bush’s tax cuts are not helping the middle class or creating jobs. He said the cuts are like “handing out candy….This is a joke,” he said. “This is like buying votes.” AP didn’t find it amusing that Gephardt prefers “handing out the candy” of socialized health insurance…as if that wasn’t a better description of buying votes with someone else’s money.

Long Island Story


Five Long Island men have been indicted for firing a July 4th rocket through
the window of a house in Farmingville, a lower-middle-class town near here.
The house, which was burned out, was occupied by Sergio Perez (33), his
girlfriend Maria Garcia (23), and their two children (5, 1). Mr. Perez
comes from Hidalgo, Mexico. The perpetrators of the crime seem to have been
motivated by anger at the large Mexican presence in the town, most of it
made up of illegal immigrants. The local newspaper, Long Island Newsday, has a small database of current and past stories
on the incident.

I have been reading about this story since it came up, over the July 4th
weekend. It is a pretty awful story–I mean, nobody, least of all helpless
little tots, should be burned out of their home in the middle of the night.
However, there is a small point about the reporting of the story that vexes
me: So far I have not seen Mr. Perez’s immigration status noted. Is he an
illegal immigrant? None of the several Newsday stories gives any clue.
They seem not to be interested in the point at all–which is not very
surprising, as Newsday has a hard-left editorial line, and is strongly
sympathetic to illegal immigrants. It actually prints the phrase “illegal
immigrant” in quotes, on the very rare occasions it prints it at all. (By
far the more usual formula is “day laborer” or, when they feel they really
cannot avoid referring to a person’s immigration status, “undocumented

Newsday has a left-extremist columnist named Paul Vitello, much given to
weepy reminiscences of his own immigrant (Italian) grandfather… though
whether the grandfather entered this country legally or not, is a thing Mr.
Vitello has not yet vouchsafed to us. Referring to a previous anti-Mexican
incident in Farmingville, Vitello wrote (on August 3): “This was the second
time that so-called illegal Mexican immigrants living in Farmingville could
say that [i.e. 'they tried to kill us'] about their so-called legal American
neighbors.” We seem to have a mindset here where there is no such thing a
legality or illegality in the sphere of immigration control, only
“so-called” legality and “so-called” illegality.

I repeat, if the facts are as reported, this was a horrible crime that
deserves harsh punishment. I am only observing that some elements in the
local reporting of it are… rather peculiar.

“Beyond” Follow-Up


I haven’t seen much in the way of substantive criticism of my recent long piece, “Beyond Gay Marriage.” If anything, I understated my case by omitting a full account of libertarian support for the legal abolition of marriage. James Antle III remedies that omission. Meanwhile an attempt at a rebuttal by syndicated columnist Froma Harrop ignores and distorts both my data and my arguments. Justin Katz has details.



In yesterday’s post about the increasingly likely prospect that the Canadian government’s bill to nationalize gay marriage may be defeated in parliament, I noted that gay marriage is still favored by a majority of Canadians. I was wrong. According to the latest Ipsos Reid poll Canadians are now evenly split on the issue of same-sex marriage. Support for gay marriage has slipped by five percentage points. The situation is fluid. Clearly, however, there are no grounds for defeatism. If gay marriage is questionable even in Canada, it is far from inevitable in the United States, where opposition is far stronger. Those who believe that this reform will undermine, rather than strengthen, the institution of marriage ought to press their case with confidence that the battle can be won.

Mona Strikes a Similar Note...


…but I don’t get this either: “One of the reasons our society is so successful is our adherence to the rule of law. Following the rules provides stability and order. Yanking people out of governor’s mansions only 11 months after they’ve been elected to a four-year term begins to look like Italy or Bolivia. Yes, yes, it’s all perfectly legal. I’m aware of that. But it’s a bad law, and it ought to be changed.” So the only real way to follow the rule of law is not to follow laws on the books if doing so will look bad? I know there are good reasons to be wary of recalls generally-Steve explores this in the next NR-but it can’t be true that all populist upheavals are always bad. In fact, this one seems to be amply justified. I love Mona, and she recently wrote a terrific book, but this just seems to be anti-populism for its own sake…

Plebiscitary Cynicism?


I love the phrase, but I think George Will is letting Arianna unduly color his view of the California recall: “Truly conservative Californians — you few know who you are — will vote against the recall to protest its plebiscitary cynicism.” There should be little doubt by now that the populist passion behind the recall is real, and the sentiment for change in California genuine. What’s cynical about it?

Not So Easy


John Fund on the Terminator’s obstacles.

The California Unions




U.N. relocates its submachine gun stash.

Jfk Mythology


Slate media critic Jack Shafer provides a valuable rebuttal to old AP hand Walter Mears’ insistence that no one had a clue about JFK’s womanizing. Off the top of his head, he recalls bimbo sightings by Marvin Kalb and Johnny Apple, not to mention details from the latest Scotty Reston biography. In a nutshell: Kennedy cheated. Press looked other way. Don’t buy any revisionism.

The Tao of Ichiro


He is soooooooo good. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention over the weekend to Yankees-M’s series, but every time he got on base he seemed to score. His drag-bunt single to start Seattle’s winning rally in the seventh inning of the game Sunday was utterly typical. I don’t see him a lot, so I just wonder: Does he ever show emotion? I can see him winning the World Series, and just walking off the field, expressionless, focused on the perfection of his next at bat, next season.



…for all the California stuff. Politics there is just so terrible, so corrupt. If you read Jill Stewart’s excellent columns, it’s almost like something out of a James Ellroy novel. Disgusting…

Another Arnold Advantage


California officials today held a lottery to see what order the 150-plus names will appear on the second part of the recall ballot. “R” was the first letter chosen. I haven’t heard yet where “S” was drawn (Simon & Schwarzenegger), but common sense suggests that no matter where Arnold appears he will have a small advantage in that his will be the longest name on the ballot, and therefore the easiest to spot in a quick scan.

In recent years a portion of California voters have given up on their ballots and not finished them because they were too long (too many initiatives!). It will be interesting to see how the total number of recall votes on part one matches up with the total candidate vote in part 2.


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