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Re: Lindberg’s Column


Ramesh, thanks. I feel better now.

“Film Monstrosity”



Lindberg’s Column


I thought it deficient on a number of points. Because pro-lifers were split on Bush’s stem-cell policy, it’s now possible to defy them costlessly on an issue where they’re not split, like the vice-presidential nomination? The pro-life influence on the veep pick seems to me to be higher, not lower, than it was in 1980. Also recall that Bush pointedly declined to pick a platform fight with pro-lifers in 2000, unlike Dole in 1996.

As for affirmative action, I don’t see how the Court’s decision takes the issue off the table. Opposition to preferences was not doing well in the GOP, sure, which has more to do with Bush and corporate America than it does with the courts. But opposition to preferences is still popular with the public. Saying that there’s no political ground to stand on now that the Court has settled the issue is like saying, in 1973, that Roe had settled the abortion issue and nobody would ever be able to run against it; like saying, in 1978, that Bakke had settled racial preferences for all time. The Court’s latest decision doesn’t even make that claim for itself.

Finally, on issues related to homosexuality there is indeed a large cultural and political shift going on. But to say that these issues are over is premature, as Bill Frist’s endorsement of a Federal Marriage Amendment indicates. I’ve heard that Frist is interested in having a future in the Republican party.

Web Briefing: August 26, 2014

Willie On War


A reader asks:

Will Willie be performing his (decidedly pro-war) “Whiskey for My Men, Beer for my Horses” at a Kucinich fundraiser? That might be something to see, just for the expression on the faces of the typical Kucinich voter.
That could be very amusing to see.


Farm Aid For Kucinich


Willie Nelson will be raising money for his man in the run for the White House, Ohio’s Dennis Kucinich. At least the RNC, hopefully, still has Lee Greenwood.

A Different Republican Party


Three Quarks For a Muster Mark


Finnegan’s Wake? James Joyce lost me around page 20 of Ulysses. His reputation baffles me. But yes, a Google search turns up several references
along the lines suggested…

Oh Lord How I Hate Computer


Spent ****THE ENTIRE *!$?**@!$%?!! MORNING**** trying to install Dazzle
DV-Editor on my PC. Windows Me could not find half the files the PCI card
wanted. Where are they? In C:WindowsSYSTEM32|DRIVERS? Nope. In
C:WindowsOptionsCABS? Nah. On my Me disk? Uh-uh. On the product
installation disk? Sorry. On the internet somewhere I can download them
from? Wrong again. Browsed the Dazzle support web site–no clue. Called
the free help line—on hold 40 minutes, then gave up and called the premium
help line. Paid $15.95, went through some obvious routines with a clueless
techie. Found (when I plugged in my camcorder & switched it on) that a
couple more files were missing. The guy had no idea. “I’ll have to
escalate this.” So when will they get back to me? “Could be Monday, with
the holiday and all.” For crying out loud: I have an off the shelf Dell
Dimension PC and am trying to install an off the shelf piece of software on
it… and it needs a team of engineering Ph.D.s to figure out how. The
Dazzle execs should all be in jail. Bill Gates should be in jail. I spent
40 bucks and all I got was an ulcer, a wasted morning, and a vague promise
that some $!*&!!?!* engineer will waste another morning. Grrrrr.

Re Quarks:


Two readers on quarks:
Reader #1

Dear Jonah,

It was Murray Gell-Mann, the guy behind most of the early advances in this field (known as Quantum Chromodynamics or QCD) that coined the ‘quark’ name. The line is actually at the start of Chap 12 (or II.4). The relevant passage is ‘Three quarks for Muster Mark!/Sure he hasn’t got much of a bark/And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark./But O, Wreneagle Almighty, wouldn’t un be a sky of a lark/To see that old buzzard whooping about for uns shirt in the dark/And he hunting round for uns speckled trousers around by Palmerstown Park?’

Quarks come in three different ‘colours’ – ‘red’, ‘green’ and ‘blue’, hence chromodynamics as opposed to electrodynamics which describes how things like electrons behave. Quarks also come in six different ‘flavours’ – up, down, charm, strange, bottom and top. In addition, there’s eight different kinds of gluons (tagged by Gell-Mann as the ‘Eightfold Way’), which are the particles that ‘glue’ quarks together to make things like protons, and yes, pentaquarks. It’s really rather beautiful the way it all hangs together – unfortunately a deep understanding of the subject requires rather more mathematics than I have (and I have advanced degrees in Physics and Engineering).

Note that quark is also a type of German soft cheese, and colour and flavour above are just tags for certain properties of the particles.

N.B. There’s contention over whether quark is pronounced to rhyme with ‘park’ or ‘pork’.

Reader #2

Dear Mr. Goldberg,

The word quark was indeed taken from Finnegans Wake [sic; there is
no apostrophe in the title]. The physicist Murray Gell-Mann was familiar with the book. He took the word to name what he considered at the time to most likely be calculational devices that had no real, physical existence. Only later, through the work of others mainly, was it found that they are indeed elementary particles. The actual line from Finnegans Wake is: “Three quarks for Muster Mark/ Sure he hasn’t got much of a bark/ And sure any he has is all beside the mark.” Apparently, Joyce meant the word quark to mean the sound of a bird, such as “to caw, to croak.” But, with Finnegans Wake, one can never be sure. Interestingly, Gell-Mann, and subsequently other physicists following his lead, pronounce the word as “kwork”, rather than “kwark” which would seem to have been Joyce’s intent
in the rhyme.

Iq Test


As some of you may have seen, we have an advertiser running an IQ test on NRO this month. Why not take a few moments to have some fun and support NRO at the same time? Go to the homepage, click on the ad, and take the test. I dare you to try to beat my 57.

The End of Marriage


Michael Kinsley is for its end as a governmental institution.

William Schneider


of the American Enterprise Institute and CNN is such an establishment figure that sometimes the things he says are less interesting than the fact that he’s saying them. He’s got a column on abortion and possible Supreme Court confirmation battles. His conclusion is that the declining importance women attach to keeping abortion legal “is likely to put liberals at a distinct disadvantage in any fight over a Supreme Court nominee.”



He may have been provoked, but Silvio Berlusconi wins no points for his undiplomatic response today to loutish heckling from a German member of the European ‘parliament.’ The row that follows will doubtless delight the editorial writers at the Independent. They ran a piece this morning saying that Berlusconi’s new role (he will be president of the EU council for the next six months) was an affront to the “liberal democratic values of the EU.”

This, in turn, raises a question of its own – and blogger Peter Briffa asks it.

Beach Reads


My choice of summer reading is any book that can be bought through the NR Book Service.

Lots of Reaction


to my piece on the Democrats, no doubt in large part because Rush was kind enough to discuss it. Here’s one thoughtful e-mail:

Regarding the policy implications of the Democrats lurching left and possibly handing the GOP a big win next year, I think a lot depends on how the GOP responds, and how much the party gains in congressional elections. Although the GOP got little or nothing out of its 1972 win, the liberals re-made the country in the wake of the 1964 election when the GOP lurched right. While the Goldwater movement ultimately led to Reagan and the modern conservative movement, on most domestic issues we have still been unable to reverse the damage that LBJ & co inflicted from 1965-69. Of course, even after they lost the Presidency four years later, their congressional majorities lingered on to drag Nixon’s policies to the left.

On the other hand, don’t get too excited about Dean being a left-winger. He generally portrayed himself as a centrist in Vermont, so much so that a “Progressive” candidate got around 10% of the vote against him in 2000–nearly handing the election to a conservative Republican. Don’t be surprised to see a nominated Dean emphasize relatively moderate positions like fiscal responsibility and gun rights. He’ll be able to do so because he’ll have his base nailed down and being a governor means not having much of a paper trail on federal issues–think of how much easier it was for Bush to campaign on moderate issues after he’d solidified his base through the primary battles with McCain. I’d much rather see the Democrats nominate a senator whose positions on federal issues are constrained by voting records.

Suspicious Package(S)


Pot Smoking....


Increases your chances of thinking Carrot Top is funny — as well as other forms of mental illness.

Derb Question?


From a reader:

I seem to recall reading somewhere that “quark” derived from a reference
within Finnegan’s Wake to “a quark for Muster Mark”.

Is that correct and, if so, what was the meaning of this phrase?

Small Gloat


Look, I know Salon gets better traffic than us (how much more I don’t know). I know, lots of people like it and they have some very talented people writing and working there etc etc. But even if you think Salon is like much, much better than NRO (that sounds funny even saying it), NRO hasn’t accumulated an $82 million deficit. If we had a teensy-weensy fraction of that kind of shmundo, who knows what NRO would do. As it is right now, Kathryn has to pay some writers in chickens. Not only am I proud of how much we’ve done, I’m doubly proud of how we’ve done it with so little.

Behold The Pentaquark


Five quarks make a pentaquark. I know there’s a pun in there somewhere but I can’t find it.


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