Molly Ivins, fast approaching the “whatever happened to Molly Ivins?” stage of her career chastizes me in her latest column . In a sense this is progress since last time she wrote about me she pretended she hadn’t heard of me. She called me “some juvenile jerk attacking Canadians as a bunch of wimpy wimps.” I doubt she hadn’t heard of me, but her schtick is to sound more important than she is, so fair’s fair. Anyway, she mentions me by name today, and is less snarky about it, so I guess that’s even more progress. As for the gist of her article, she likes France and she thinks they are very brave. She cites the 100,000 French soldiers who died defending France and she is surely right to call them brave. But what about the 37 divisions which surrendered en masse? She mentions the Foreign Legion at Dien Bien Phu — and the Foreign Legion is most assuredly very, very brave. Alas, the Foreign Legion, historically speaking, was also mostly made up of foreigners. King Louis Philippe founded the Legion as a way to deal with poor immigrants and keep casualties among actual French soldiers to a minimum. I like the Foreign Legion and have long believed the US should have a version of it if we are going to use the military for humanitarian missions. But, citing Dien Bien Phu as a huge French sacrifice when many of the grunts were actually Germans and Brits isn’t exactly a great point.
Anyway, I’m hardly shocked that Molly’s sticking up for the French. That seems to be the enlightened liberal position these days. What’s so funny about it is that the French remain colonialists in many respects and they have policies on such things as race that folks like Ms Ivins consider outrageously right-wing when proposed here. I wonder if she reveres the French policy of zero affirmative action and a complete ban on collecting racial data — policies championed by Ward Connerly & Co. But that’s a subject for another time. I’m just so delighted to have been mentioned by name by Ms. Ivins before she slips completely into the “whatever happened to…” category.
Help--Military Affirmative Action
Al Hunt has made the argument that affirmative action works for the military at the academies, and now there’s this brief in the Michigan case. If you have an informed view on this, I’d love to hear from you….
President Bartlet Fits Right In
I’m told West Wing had some colorful words for the French last night.
A Sign! a Sign!
You’ve heard about the plane crash in Iran that took the lives of 300 of the Islamic republic’s soldiers. A reader writes to wonder what all the Muslims who saw the crash of the space shuttle Columbia as a sign from Allah that America was going to come to a bad end in the Middle East are thinking about this plane crash.
Cats and Dogs Together
It’s Bizarro world in the British media today. Martin Sheen is (fairly) sympathetically profiled in the Daily Telegraph and Instapundit is writing in the Guardian.
State funding of political parties comes with its own type of corruption. Here’s the EU with a prime example.
War of The Worlds?
Chirac needs to check who he’s messing with when he takes on the New Europe. Look where the Latvian prime minister really comes from.
Via Baltic Blog
Ramesh, I’ll leave it to John Derbyshire to explain how Al Bundy’s reactionary defeatism can, in its own way, be inspiring. As to that NYT piece, I thought it was pretty amusing. Yes, it was somewhat condescending and the refrigerator jibe was a cheap shot, but, Ramesh, we’re talking about the New York Times here. The New York Times without condescension and cheap shots would be like Al without Peg, better but somehow unimaginable.
In response to G-File:
Very interesting observtion–giving one’s successor the opportunity to achieve greatness. President Buchanan was considered the premier politico in America of the 1850s, just the kind of man who could find a political solution to prevent nation dissolution. He failed, of course. But Abraham Lincoln did not.
Could Groundskeeper Willie and Jonah Get Some Kind of Award? The Freedom Medal, Maybe?
“Surrender monkeys made the White House press briefing today:
Terry Moran, ABC News: “Ari, on the U.N. resolution, a second U.N. resolution, one of the forces that’s at work, it seems, is increasing rancor and nastiness within the Western alliance. You’ve got newspapers here showing France and Germany as weasels at the Security Council, people calling France ’surrender monkeys.’ Then you’ve got a lot of anti-Americanism on the streets over in France.”
Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary: “Are you asking me if I can be responsible for the American press?”
Ramesh: Never fear. As NR’s resident Bundyologist, I have just penned a
paean to Al, Peg, Kelly, Bud and Buck. Should be on NRO later this week.
Re: Paging Peter Singer
The U.S. is going to use chickens to help our troops in combat in Iraq? That’s great news! I knew the French would help us out one way or another.
St. Pat’s Day Brawl
The New York chapter of The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, an elite Irish fraternal organization, is holding its annual fundraising dinner on St. Patrick’s Day Eve. The event brings together all the male Catholic bigshots in New York, including, of course, the cardinal. This year, the organization, which is not affiliated with the Archdiocese, is honoring Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic NY state attorney general. This is causing a groundswell of opposition from rank-and-file Catholics. Some of them object to his past refusal to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade (which excludes gay and lesbian Irish organizations, hence his disinterest), and his caginess as to whether or not he’ll march this year. Others are angry at Spitzer, a big Planned Parenthood supporter, for his investigation of pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, which I wrote about here. It is assumed that Cardinal Egan will, as is the longstanding custom, share the dais with the honoree, who, aside from Gov. Pataki, is the most powerful and important pro-abortion politician in the state.
A Saudi Guide to Wife-Beating
The Saudi-based Arab News is always a font of useful information. Today we learn that wife-beating is “widespread” in the Kingdom, in part because men are under the mistaken belief that Islam permits it. Not so! says the Arab News, but only conditionally:
It is certainly against Islam to beat a good wife. An erring wife should be warned first and advised. If that does not work, then the husband could give her a light beating, the purpose of that being to embarrass rather than inflict pain.
For The Record
Opinion Journal linked to it first.
“I’m Still Living in Al Bundy’s America”
I was too lazy to blog about this New York Times article on Sunday, and figured other people would call attention to it. With the exception of a neutral-to-approving link from Andrew Stuttaford, nobody in blogdom has. Walter Mosley’s piece is incredibly condescending (“Al Bundy. . . is working-class America with all of its ignorance, misogyny and resentment”). It also weirdly, and falsely, assumes the public shares the author’s pessimism: “Al Bundy is my hero because he knows that there is no hope. . . . He’s my hero because he’s flat broke, like most of us are, and always will be.” It’s badly written: “No one is listening. No one cares about his day or his complaints. There’s no dinner on the table. The dog won’t even bring him his slippers. This is the show’s comment on the sad reality of American life.” But what tops it off is the political note injected at the end: “Al coming home to an empty refrigerator is me coming home to our president’s state of the union address.” Or me finding the Times on my doorstep.