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Gutless Gop



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Today, in Michigan, Ward Connerly will announce his intention to back a ballot initiative banning racial preferences in the state. It should surprise nobody that Republicans are already dumping on Connerly. If the GOP were stronger on this issue, ballot initiatives wouldn’t be necessary because state legislatures would take up the matter. Alas, they don’t–and so we’re left to rely on heroes like Connerly to work outside the party system.

Re Savage



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I really never had an opinion one way or the other on the guy. I never heard his radio show and I never watched his TV show for more than 30 seconds at a time. He may be a brilliant radio show host and for all I know he’s got a supple and subtle mind, but he struck me as an awful television host. But that at least gave me hope that the bar was low enough for me to get a TV show of my own one day.

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Mea Culpa



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We’ve generally ignored Michael Savage. In the wake of his repulsive on-air rant, I wish we had savaged his book, just to have been on record.

Web Briefing: July 22, 2014

A Man Who Respects Fine Rhetoric and Leadership



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In his retirement speech, Tommy Franks just echoed the president’s “bring it on” line from last week.

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The “Mad Arab” Replaces Franks



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Jim Geraghty wrote about Gen. Abizaid, now replacing Tommy Franks, back in March on NRO.

Sf Slice of Life



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Here’s a fun email from a reader:

I thought you might find this interesting. I recently met a very nice Berkeley woman who started an organization for conservative singles here in the San Francisco Bay Area (long overdue!). We just had our second meeting at a brewpub in Berkeley, and after she printed an innocuous little promo piece on the Internet saying how well the event went, she got a couple of pieces of completely unprovoked, spontaneous hate mail, including this lovely evocation of the modern “liberal”’s heart and soul:

>From: [Name withheld]
>Reply-To:
>Subject: RE: (politics) Single Conservatives Club
>Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2003 10:53:54 -0700

Hey idiot, Republicans are not Conservative, they are rushing pell mell to kill all the life on the planet weather animal or vegetable or mineral. Conservatives conserve. When Republicans have nothing left to destroy, they invariably turn on each other and start humiliating and defiling weaker republicans. And get your stinkin’ asses out of Berkeley for christ’s sake!! Who the hell let you barbarians into town in the first place? We need a militia which will guard Berkeley and refuse creeps like you from entering town in the first place. Do not continue to meet in Berkeley!

As my friend says, “Isn’t it nice how tolerant liberals are?”

Bob Pryor / [email protected]

(If you find this interesting enough to mention, feel free to reference my name. And my e-mail address for that matter, since hatemail doesn’t bother me, and we can use all the publicity we can get in recruiting conservative singles out here in Mordor. Best to the Fair Jessica & Lucy & Cosmo.)

Re African Names



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From a reader:


So, wait, are you saying you don’t find “Abdoulaye Wade” just rolls off the tongue? “Yoweri Museveni”?

Of course, I eagerly await the day Bush pronounces Botswana’s president’s name “Festus Mogae.”

Since the pres. disappointed me by never saying “monkeypox,” I’m hoping for a really rich “Festus.” Mmmmmmmmmm. Festus.

Not Stretched



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Tommy Franks says we don’t need more troops in Iraq.

Reviews of Prime Obsession



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Two big reviews of Prime Obsession, though big in different ways.

First, a review in American Scientist. This one, for me personally, is worth ten of any
other.
It’s by Enrico Bombieri, a first-rank mathematician (he won a Fields
medal
in 1974–details here)
and
a very major name in Riemann Hypothesis studies. He is left out of my
book
only because his work is at too high a level for the elementary
presentation
I decided on. I apologize to him for this in the book’s Prologue. That
apology actually carries a double load of guilt because Prof. Bombieri’s
account of the Riemann Hypothesis on the Clay Mathematics Institute
website
was the starting point for my own
readings, whose eventual result was Prime Obsession. It is a
marvelous
short presentation of the RH and all its many ramifications. As well as
being a brilliant mathematician, Prof. Bombieri is a mathematical
character,
somewhat in the style of Edmund Landau (see Chapter 14 of P.O.) I
consider
it a great honor to have been reviewed by Prof. Bombieri. Even if it
had
been a bad review, I would have swallowed it without complaint. That it
is
decently good (not ecstatic, but decently good), has me glowing.

Then there is a review in Sunday’s
New York Times book section, by James Alexander, a math professor at
Case
Western Reserve University. I don’t know what to say about this one.
It
isn’t a bad review, but then it isn’t particularly good, either. I was
alerted to it by a phone call from a friend in Manhattan. (They get the
Sunday book section a day or two ahead of actual Sunday.) “What kind of
review is it?” I asked him. “Good? Bad? Or what?” He: “Neither one
thing nor the other.” Which pretty much sums it up. My publisher is
thrilled, anyway. To get a book of any kind reviewed in the NYT is a
coup, and the publisher’s attitude is: “Just so long as they spelled
your
name right…”

Darn



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I know Charles Taylor is an evil and brutal SOB, but can we at least take a moment to lament the fact that the one African leader with a name we can all pronounce is being forced out of office?

Last Point On Dean



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Yesterday the Washington Post did a big profile of Howard Dean in which he defended his (awful) performance on “Meet the Press” a couple weeks ago. Here’s the relevant graf:

So far, Dean, who agrees that he is blunt, is brushing off the critics. “I didn’t like how I did in the first debate, because I was nervous and cranky,” he said. “But I disagree about the ‘Meet the Press’ interview. I thought I did great. Tim Russert asked really hard questions. No other candidate would take that kind of questioning for a full hour.”

This raises, yet again, one of the most consistently asked questions of the Democratic presidential contest, “What the Hell is Howard Dean talking about?” Surely he doesn’t mean that Joe Lieberman or John Kerry would have walked off the set. Surely he doesn’t mean that Dick Gephardt would have simply refused to answer the questions or would have melted under Russert’s withering interrogation. And, since most of the questions which tripped Dean up were about his policies and his experience it’s a mystery as to why he thinks his more seasoned competitors would do worse explaining their policies and record. These were hardly trick questions.

Dean and The Dnc



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The REAL reason Dean wants McAuliffe out is fears about the Vatican’s influence in American politics.

More Dean



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But if Dean is serious about mounting a challenge to McAuliffe after New Hampshire then we really could have an all-out Civil War in the Democratic Party between self-described centrists (Clintonistas) and “progressives” (a rag tag army of all Dems who don’t consider themselves Clintonistas). And that would be fun to watch. I think it’s all very, very unlikely though.

Dean



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Drudge has a story about Dean’s desire to get rid of Terry McAuliffe as head of the DNC. A few thoughts. First, I’m sure Dean would like to see McAuliffe go, but the high-minded motives attributed to the Dean camp in the Drudge story don’t scan for a moment. McAuliffe is widely known among Democratic insiders as Bill and Hillary’s boy. The whole senior leadership of the DNC were put in by the Clintons in order to ensure their interests were protected. It may be true that the Dean camp thinks McAuliffe has done a terrible job, but that’s simply the truth. The real reason Dean would want McAuliffe gone is if he thinks he can really win the nomination and doesn’t trust that McAuliffe would then do what’s best for the nominee. As several Dem operatives have told me (the benefits of spending so much time in CNN green rooms), it’s still Bill Clinton’s party.

Deroy’s Latest Column



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complains that social-conservative critics of the Supreme Court’s sodomy decision “blithely skip[] right past” the fact that the law struck down jails people for consensual acts that harm no one. A fair point. But it’s just as striking to me that a lot of the commentary on the opposite side of the case skips right past the constitutional issues involved. I don’t think the c-word pops up once in the column.

Silence On Bush’S Africa Policy



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Worthwhile reading from the chair of the Princeton politics department in the Wall Street Journal (subscribers only):

Why do President Bush’s many domestic and foreign critics ignore his Africa initiative? They do so because it clashes with their mantra concerning the Bush administration’s supposed lack of interest in foreign affairs outside of the war on terror. It would, quite simply, produce too much cognitive dissonance….More cynically, critics of the Bush administration cannot afford to recognize current progress in Africa policy. For Democrats, an absolutely critical priority is to hold on to the African-American vote, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. Any effort by the Bush administration to adopt policies that might appeal to African Americans has to be strenuously denied by the Democrats because even mild Republican inroads into such a core constituency would swing some elections toward President Bush’s party. Analogously, the French and some other countries have defined much of their foreign policy as being opposed to American unilateralism and, sometimes, to whatever initiative Washington undertakes. Giving full credit to the Bush administration for its Africa policies would so undermine the appeal of opposing America that it is almost an imperative that the current Africa initiatives be ignored.

Not Making Things Easier



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The rumors floating around Baghdad about the U.S., according to a BBC reporter.

We Hit The Ground in Liberia



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A No-Brainer?



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Men and women have distinctive writing styles.

Kirk’s Ghosts



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Russell Kirk may not be beach reading, but his fiction is still perfect for summer–once the sun has set and you’re looking for a scary tale of the supernatural. I wrote about Kirk’s ghost stories earlier this year for NRO, on the occasion of Canada’s Ash-Tree Press issuing the first of two volumes collecting all of Kirk’s short fiction. Many NRO readers purchased copies. Well, the second book is now out. It’s called What Shadow We Pursue and, from what I can gather, it’s not available from any source except Ash-Tree. The print run is limited, so if you’re interested be sure to order quickly. And, in case you need a slight nudge, here’s what John Pelan says in his introduction to the new book: “Kirk can perhaps lay claim to being the greatest American author of ghost stories in the last century.”

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