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No Powell in ‘05


Washington Post reports he promised his wife he’d be a one-termer.

Nyt Op-Ed Pages


Good stuff on the NY Times op-ed page today.

My personal favorite is a letter to the editor about the Times’ recent
coverage of a protest against traditionalist priests:
“As I read about the group of parishioners who phoned the news media and then
picketed against a traditionalist Roman Catholic priest…I thought of the many conservative Catholics, inclined toward
obedience, who have silently endured pop-psychologizing, “Kumbaya”-singing

Thank you, Christopher Henzel!

In addition, Gary Giddins does a good job of summarizing the whole Bob Hope
episode. Yes, his
comedic talents waned in his later years, but his dedication, good works, early
career, and natural talents are surely worth remembering and cherishing.

The always-readworthy Max Boot has a solution for the
question of when America should seek UN assistance: when it helps America’s
foreign policy objectives. Boot argues that the UN is neither always the
solution, nor always the problem. But, he concludes, “the primary objective” of
our foreign policy in the short term “should be to help Iraq and help America,
not to hurt the United Nations.”

And Tom Friedman
argues that Blair’s best argument for war was one recounted in the book, “30
Days,” written by British journalist Peter Stothard. Stothard followed Blair
around during the lead-up to the Iraq war, and shortly before the British
parliament vote, Blair made this argument to him in private: `What amazes me,’
[Mr. Blair says,] `is how many people are happy for Saddam to stay. They ask why
we don’t get rid of [the Zimbabwean leader Robert] Mugabe, why not the Burmese
lot. Yes, let’s get rid of them all. I don’t because I can’t, but when you can
you should.’

Friedman believes this case would not have persuaded the British public because
they had not suffered through 9/11 and “because it didn’t like or trust George
Bush.” The only way to get Britain to go to war was to turn what he calls “a
war of choice” into “a war of necessity.” Hence Friedman’s allegation that B&B
“hyped the direct threat from Iraq and highlighted flimsy intelligence
suggesting that Saddam was . . . an immediate undeterrable threat.”

I happen to disagree with Friedman’s assessment of the intelligence, but as a
political matter, I think he is quite right: “Unless real W.M.D.’s are found in
Iraq, Gulf War II will for now and for years to come be known as ‘the
controversial Gulf War II’” That can hurt both Bush and Blair. The benefits
that may, or may not, come–the democratization of Iraq, the effect on the
Middle East–will not be known in time to affect their political careers. It
really does seem, at least to me, that the two are, in large part, going to rise
or fall based on what we learn about the pre-war arguments.


The Need For Misdirection


Rich writes in The Corner that he is “going to be rooting hard for
Chuck Schumer” who is pushing for disclosure of our intelligence on the role of
Saudi Arabia in 9/11. That company would give me pause. Some believe that the
Saudi’s are the ultimate source of our current terrorism problem and there
is much to recommend this hypothesis. But if it is the case that we are
not yet in a position to move against the Saudis
(and I do not mean
militarily), it may not be in our interest to publicize their culpability,
if any, for 9/11 etc. An important reason for moving militarily into Iraq is
to position us to take measures against the Saudis (and others in the region).
Getting Iraq’s oil production up and secure, for example, would be very

In short, if it is premature to move against them, then it is premature to
expose them. Who would know this better? George Bush et al or Chuck Shumer
et al? Although I am always wary of relying on government officials either for
information or correct decisions, here we face a choice between two parties,
both of which are government officials. I know on whom I would be
betting in this contest. While I don’t know who is right, the issue is who
I trust at the moment to know and act properly on this information. On the
basis of their track records since 9/11, this is not a hard call for me.

For an interesting discussion of when concealment may be necessary in the
interest of achieving misdirection to accomplish widely shared national
security objectives, you should read this by Steve
Den Beste
, or this by TM

Web Briefing: August 20, 2014

Props to Your Auntie, Derb


for her birthweight! Now was it your grandmother who gave birth to Auntie Polly as well as 12 other kiddies? No wonder Britannia ruled the waves…


Kobe Role Model


Was there ever a time when, if one was involved in a sexual scandal (criminal or otherwise), one might keep a low profile and people running a youth awards show might reconfigure things a bit so that we would not be publicly praising an admitted adulterer at best or an alleged rapist at worst?

Hope For Hope


If you read Hitch’s attack on Bob Hope, to which K-Lo has provided a link below, be sure you also read Wilfred Sheed’s encomium on the man, to which I provide a link right here. Sheed has standards, which means he’s perfectly content to toss out a lot of the Hope corpus. But he’s also acute and generous, which means that he recognizes what Hope was at his best: very, very funny.

Hope in Canada


National gay marriage legislated by parliament under the pressure of provincial court decisions seemed like a certainty in Canada just a short time ago. But the public is expressing intense dissatisfaction with this turn of events. Canada now looks like it’s about to be caught up in a full-fledged culture war, a battle that will intrude itself into the very heart of the next election for Prime Minister. Here’s an account of the uproar. And here’s an analysis of it’s impact on Canadian politics. And here’s more on how the battle now looks like it will be intense and drawn out over the next couple of years. Of course, as the New York Times reports today, in typically biased fashion, the United States is headed for the same battle. I still marvel at how the Times relies on folks like Robert Knight as the spokesmen against gay marriage. Knight actually opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment because it gives the states some say in the question of benefits packages. Yet the press only talks to him and other critics of FMA, whereas it ought to be interviewing Matt Daniels, head of the Alliance for Marriage and the actual sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Re: Giant Baby


Susan: My Auntie Polly was the heaviest baby born in Shropshire for several
years–13 lbs. It made all the newspapers. I hope you won’t take it amiss
if I say that all this philoprogenitive talk is a wonderfully refreshing
relief from the dismal stuff about abortion and sodomy that takes up so much
of our time. I would have a dozen kids if I could. (My Mum was one of 13.)
Whatever they lacked in material things, they’d have plenty of love. Rosie,
however, seem to think she has done her duty to the ancestors. The Modern

Nfl Junkies Unite!


It’s sad but true. When I woke up at 6:30 I remembered that the first NFL preseason game — the “Tokyo Bowl” was live on ESPN2. At least I didn’t get up at 5 to meet the season at its very beginning. After all, the game is repeated tonight at 8.

It was the Super Bowl-defending Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the NY Jets, who’ve had half their roster stolen by the Redskins, so it was lopsided. But who cares? Hello, football, my old friend…

Crisis of Foundations


From an actual Professor of Physchology: “I enjoyed your piece. I teach
history of psychology and spend a lot of time on the skeptical crisis of the
18th century as David Fate Norton calles it. I believe the problem started
with Descartes and his search for Truth that led to the argument of the
cogito, although one could make an argument for Socrates, for his assertion
that one did not really know somethng unless one can rationally explain and
justify it. Two books you might find interesting: Descartes’ error by
Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist who argues that emotion has been
underestimated as a source of practical wisdom; and John Farrell’s Freud’s
paranoid quest, which roots Freud’s deconstruction (if you will) of mind and
personality to Descartes’ method of doubt. A psychologist who praised
habit, by the way, was William James in his Principles of psychology (1890).
If I recall the quote correctly, he called it the great flywheel of society.
Then, in 1900, John Dewey argued that psychology as a science arose when
modern life made it necessary for people to think about things they have
taken for granted.”

Math Puzzle Solution


Well, here is Prof. Dijkstra’s.
I believe it can be
done more elegantly, though, & shall post accordingly on my web site… when
I finish upgrading MS FrontPage.

To China, With Love


Listening to the radio as I drove into the office just now, I heard NPR’s reporter in Seoul explain the diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea. (I didn’t catch the reporter’s name, but I was listening to Weekend Edition.) What happened, he said, was that the Bush administration created a standoff–and that the intervention of the Chinese finally persuaded both sides to relent.

George W. Bush and Colin Powell have produced a diplomatic triumph, persuading the North Koreans, the Chinese, and other Asian nations to engage in the very multilateral talks on which the administration has been insisting ever since the the beginning of the North Korean crisis–and NPR’s reporter is giving the credit to… Beijing?

An Episcopalian Wrotes


Pornographer Larry Flynt is said to be contemplating a run for Governor of
California. A reader e-mails in with this news, then adds: “Why not Bishop
of New Hampshire?”

What Did The Saudis Know and When Did They Know It?


Ever since 9/11 Stephen Schwartz has been calling for the Bush administration to demand that the Saudis undertake a full investigation of the Kingdom’s connections to the terror plot, and tell us everything. Who can read today’s New York Times story–Kathryn links to it below–and not agree? The Times and Mike Isikoff have been indispensable in their reporting on the Saudi portions of the 9/11 report, which may or may not exaggerate the connections of Saudi intelligence to the hijackers. We just don’t know–which is in itself a sort of scandal. It is simply unacceptable that we, two years later, are largely in the dark about what role a foreign intelligence service–of one of our “allies”–had in aiding the 9/11 plotters. And it is unacceptable that the White House, publicly at least, shows almost no curiosity about the question. In coming weeks I’m going to be rooting hard for Chuck Schumer, who is becoming a very important voice in the controversy.

[Warning: Hillary Post] Hate to Be Obsessed...


…but just look at her numbers, comparatively.

The Other Saudis Complicit in 9/11 Attacks?


NYTimes on some of the classified Saudi section of the congressional 9/11 report.



How crazy is some of today’s anti-Americanism? Read this and judge for yourself.

Self Defense


Britain has a massive problem with burglary, a problem compounded by the indifference of the police and the frequently hostile attitude taken by the authorities to the householder who tries to defend himself. There’s a good editorial on this topic in the latest London Spectator, but no mention, alas, of something that might help sort out this problem.

A law giving Britons rights roughly equivalent to the Second Amendment

Denis Thatcher


Giant Baby Born in Ny


Not that I’m complaining but I gave birth to a 12 pound 1 ounce child a while back and no one said “boo” about it. Coincidentally, his sister was 10 lb. 6 oz. like the sibling is this story. Yet I had the courage to go on to have one more baby who weighed 8 lb. 8 oz. He was so small we almost threw him back.


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