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How Shiek


Just went to the White House website to read the full version of Bush’s speech yesterday. First thing I noticed: There’s a link to an Arabic translation.

The Bush I Interegnum


Ronald Reagan was a internationalist hawk who believed in the power of ideas. He was a pro-lifer. He was, well, Reagan. He was the first Republican President from the ranks of Goldwater conservatism. Back then, the Goldwaterites were still the insurgents and so he made a marriage of convenience with George H. W. Bush, the standard-bearer of classic blue blazer Republicanism, picking him as his VP. But it is now clear that Bush’s own son takes far more after his father’s old boss than he does his own father, at least politically speaking. From tax cuts (and deficits, alas), to his personal conviction on aborrtion, to aligning America with the historical tide of liberty in the world, Georrge W. Bush has proved that he’s a Reaganite, not a “Bushie.” He may not be a natural heir to Reagan, but that’s the point. The party is all Reaganite now. What better sign that this is now truly and totally the Gipper’s Party than the obvious conversion of George Bush’s own son?


Re: Kubrick


Mike – I’m with you on the “Shining.” I’m with you on the precocious wisdom of Eve Tushnet. But do you really like everything by Kubrick? Personally, I think 2001 is very overrated. “Barry Lyndon”? I found it unwatchable. The first half of “Full Metal Jacket” I liked but much like that other classic war film, “Stripes”, it sort of fell apart in the second half. But “Eyes Wide Shut” was a disaster. I did love “Paths of Glory” and “Dr. Strangelove” though.

Web Briefing: December 27, 2015



An actual Black Hawk down near Tikrit. Not clear if it crashed on its own or was brought down.


The Shining and Calvinism


Fascinating and provocative discussion by Eve Tushnet and her pal Sean. I have never quite understood why I find The Shining not just a terrific movie (easy answer: it’s by Kubrick) but also one of the scariest. Thanks to Eve and Sean, I think I finally get it: The dread in that movie is much deeper and more existential than what you get when Freddy and Jason jump out of the bushes and cut somebody’s head off. The latter involves a momentary shock, and a lot of special-effects ketchup blood. What Jack Nicholson’s character, Torrance, undergoes is much worse—the realization that he himself is fundamentally evil, predestined to do horrible things to his family: The story of the previous caretaker who killed his family is not a spooky historical anecdote but somehow the truth about Torrance’s own being. (“No, Mr. Torrance, you are not just now the caretaker. You have always been the caretaker.”) This is a terrifying representation of what it would be like to come to the realization that, in hard-Calvinist terms, you are one of the destined reprobate. But there’s also a softer-Calvinist explanation: Nicholson’s character confronts the horror of the fallen human condition (the Calvinist technical term for it is “total depravity”)–the utter helplessness of sinful man, his inability to do what is morally good. That’s a lot scarier than some guy in a hockey mask; fortunately, man does not have to rely purely on his own powers.

Suspicions--About Cosmo


An e-mail:

I am second to no one in my admiration of Jonah
Goldberg; I will even go so far as to borrow from
Mencken and say (without the irony) that “he compares
favorably with the rising of the sun and the aurora
borealis”. But isn’t all this Kosmo business a bit
much? It appears to me that NR is in danger of falling
prey to the Cult of Personality. Sure, Kosmo SEEMS
like a fine dog, but how do we know we can trust him?
For example, many of his sayings and attitudes strike
me as distinctly feline. And the notion that he writes
some of Jonah’s copy is just plain silly; everybody
knows that he’s ghost-writing Derbyshire.

More Pba


A reader:

Did you watch CNN’s coverage of Bush signing the PBA ban. If so, you probably saw their blurb on the left of the screen saying that “Critics say the partial birth abortion ban infringes on a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.” Last I checked, the Constitution didn’t contemplate such a right.

Confession: I had, um, FNC on.

Court Starts Leaning Toward Life For Terri Schiavo


The first “pro-life” ruling I’ve seen out of Florida in her case.

Alessandra Sleazy


New York Times writer Alessandra Stanley advanced the CBS-Reagan miniseries story today by noting that actor James Brolin said his performance was “partly inspired” by the Reagan puppet of the British puppet show “Spitting Image.” (Pop music fans may remember those puppets from the Genesis video for “Land of Confusion.”) But Stanley goes off the deep end with this:

“CBS had already cut the scene, invented for the film, in which Mr. Reagan says in response to his wife’s worry about the AIDS crisis, ‘They that live in sin shall die in sin.’ When the scope of the disease emerged, historians mostly agree, Mr. Reagan was disengaged and averse to alienating his political base, but that might have been true of any president in office at the time. (‘The Reagans’ script seems to make him out to be closer to Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust.)” On how many different levels is this offensive?

Bush’s Speech: History in The Making


How many millions of people had no idea that Churchill’s speeches to Parliament in the 1930s would be so historic? How many millions were oblivious to the Four Freedoms speech? Or the Gettysburg address? Whether you think his ideas are monstrous or monumental, one thing’s assured: your children will be reading about this speech in school. Mark my words. The rudder of the American ship of state has moved sharply, changing the direction of world history. I believe for the better.

Sorry For The Silence


Our entire life here at NR has been down for repairs and things. Went down earlier than I had hoped, so didn’t manage to fill this up first. apologies. And if you got a bizarre autoresponse for an email you sent anyone at NR, I apologize, too. Thanks for bearing with us.

Pryor Vote Fails


51-43, another Democratic filibuster holds.

Corn States Win, You Lose


The House and Senate have reached a deal to expand ethanol use.

Lee’s Way


When I was a student at the University of Michigan in the late 1980s, the administration imposed a speech code on the campus that outlawed “insensitive” speech, such as ethnic jokes and displaying Confederate flags. It was struck down in federal court as unconstitutional. During this period, the dean of the Michigan law school, one Lee Bollinger, didn’t say a peep. Now he’s president of Columbia, where he recently has bragged about how his school is “distinctly dedicated to the open intellect.” That’s wonderful, simply wonderful. I only wish he would acknowledge his failure to say something helpful back in Ann Arbor, when it might have mattered. I’m also delighted to read Checker Finn’s excellent critique of Bollinger’s other recent musings.




I would like to take the time to thank you for your article, “Partial Truths.” As a Family Nurse Practitioner and a mother of two toddlers, I am strongly opposed to “partial-birth” abortions. I wasn’t always aware of how abortions were actually performed until I became a nurse. I admit I even marched in a “pro-choice” parade in my college years. I guess I always thought having choices was important. I still do. But murder and infanticide is not a choice that ought to be granted to us. If it weren’t for the internet, I would never have seen the horror. And until I saw my daughter at 7 weeks on the ultrasound, with her little heart beating, I never realized she was already a person before I knew she existed.

I speak from experience. My first child was a “surprise,” but there was never a choice to make. My husband and I did decide to marry before her birth, but many are not as lucky as I have been to have such a wonderful, loving husband. However, I reiterate that there was never a choice to make regarding her life. She was very much wanted, just as her sister, who came a year later, was wanted. I cannot imagine my life without my daughters, and would give my own life freely for them.

A Man and His Dog


Cornerites are huge Derb and Jonah/Cosmo fans–I know, I know. Overwelmingly you guys want brilliant Jonah and Derb quotes–you all know them best: Which ones would YOU wear, drink coffee out of, etc?

And, in particular, what kind of Jonah/Cosmo item would you buy? What would it look like? What would it say?

Keep your NRO Store ideas a-coming!

Kyl Blasts Dems On Intel Memo


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a member of the Senate
leadership, today issued the following statement one day after Senate
Democrats’ refused to repudiate a staff memo outlining a strategy to use a
nonpartisan Intelligence Committee investigation for political attacks next
year against President Bush.

The Senator called on Democrat leaders to publicly denounce the strategy.
He also suggested that if staff members deserved the blame for drafting the
memo, they should be fired.

“First, Democrats sought to blame an unnamed staffer for this memo, saying
it had never been approved by any Senators. Next they tried to argue the
memo’s merits without accepting responsibility for it. Then, on CNN,
Senator Rockefeller attributed it to his three staffers but claimed it was
just one ‘option’ or ‘idea’ adding, ‘I disavow nothing.’

“Further failing to accept responsibility, Democrats had the audacity to
suggest the Senate investigate how these attack plans might have been
obtained – the equivalent of offenders blaming the cops because they got
caught. This effort at spin control is patently absurd in any event, since
by Senator Rockefeller’s own admission, this strategy memo was not an
official committee document and certainly contained no intelligence

“Another Democrat explanation is that they simply are frustrated that the
administration has not provided as much intelligence information to the
committee as they have demanded. But what makes them think they would get
more information by signaling in advance that they intend to use the
information politically or that they’ve already begun to do so? The White
House could be excused for taking a dim view of the Democrats’ demands.

“All of the Democrats’ artful dodges are attempts to obscure what must be
the central questions in examining this serious matter. Does the Democrat
leadership repudiate this strategy or does it embrace it? Does the Democrat
Party intend to use what is supposed to be a nonpartisan intelligence
investigation as a political weapon or doesn’t it? Will Senate Democrats
demand accountability for the inappropriate partisan use of the Intelligence
Committee or won’t they?

“The American people have a right to hear the answers to these questions. I,
for one, am not satisfied with what I’ve heard so far.”

Mankind’s Most Serious Problem


Derb says that mankind’s most serious problem is finding a reliable home improvement contractor. If there is no solution, is there a problem?

Really? How Come?


From the Tallahassee Democrat:

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean told a Tallahassee audience Wed. that southerners have to quit basing their votes on “race, guns, God and gays.”

Boy, is that exquisite slice of Park Avenue condescension going to go over well with the Confederate-flag-and-pickup crowd that Dr. Dean was courting a couple of days ago. The Dems are the party that’s obsessed with race, guns, God and gays — yet Republicans are the ones who have to get over it?

Effulgent Form


Just to get you jump-started for the day’s work.

Though I myself take issue with one of Dr. Nambiar’s propositions. He says:
“Many consider the problem of existence as the most serious concern of
humankind.” Possibly; but they are wrong. The most serious concern of
humankind is finding a reliable home-improvement contractor.


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