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I liked this letter:


I know, I know, you only wanted folks whose hearts and minds were won over by Mr. Kemp’s statement, but I was just wondering if I was the only one shaking my head (making that funny ‘waugle-waugle’ sound) trying to figure out if there were some paragraphs missing along about grafs 4 and 5? What purpose does it serve for Mr. Kemp to jump from college admissions equity to the practice of red-lining (actually banned by 1975’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, and really, really banned in 1977 with the Community Reinvestment Act– when Congress was seriously in the business of banning things they already banned).

From red-lining, Mr. Kemp’s jumps to the 1992 FRB Boston study purporting to show a disparity of denials between blacks and whites (17% for blacks vs. 11% for whites). However, George Benston, writing for the CATO Institute in 1999, showed that the 1992 FRB Boston study was flawed. Benston writes:

“…FDIC economist David Horn in 1997 reviewed that [1992 Federal Reserve Bank Boston} study and, in addition to finding mistakes in the data, concluded that more relevant measures of a borrower's credit history, such as past delinquencies and whether the borrower met lenders' credit standards, explained the difference between lending levels to blacks and whites. In fact, 49 of the 70 banks studied did not reject any minority applicants. Two of the remaining 21 were responsible for half of the denials of black applicants. One of those banks was minority-owned, and the other had extensive minority outreach programs."

You can read Benston's article on-line at:

Dont' get me wrong. I'm not writing to bash Mr. Kemp. So then, what's the point of all this? First, I guess it's hard enough to debunk liberal misinformation and outdated study results without having conservative leaders like Mr. Kemp perpetuating bad data as facts. Second, the whole jump just seems like a reach, the sort of "feel-your-pain me-tooism" that a lot of liberal lip-biters engage in.

Well I feel better now. Thanks.

[Name withheld]
Dallas, Texas

To Err Isn’t Truman


A reader defends my whack at Harry:


In your G-file today you wrote:

Being a Democrat from Missouri, and being Dick Gephardt, it’s not that surprising Gephardt would cater his comments to whatever the politics demand of him. The last president from Missouri had a similar predilection for telling people what they wanted to hear. H. L. Mencken said of Gephardt’s hero: “If there had been any formidable body of cannibals in the country, Harry Truman would have promised to provide them with free missionaries fattened at the taxpayer’s expense.”
I have to disagree. If Harry Truman had focused on public opinion polls he would not have de-segregated the armed forces which opened the door for the Civil Rights Movement. In 1948 Democrats opposed desegregation. He also would not have recognized the State of Israel. He would not have sacked Douglas MacArthur, as he would have acquiesced to MacArthur’s judgment on the conduct of the Korean War. He would not have broken the rail road workers strike.

Harry Truman was a leader first. Like President Bush he relied heavily on his faith, he put great stock in the value of his word and he didn’t tolerate liars. Dick Gephardts only common trait with Harry S Truman is that of party affiliation, but remember that Ronald Reagan was a Democrat when Harry Truman was President. Harry Truman was born in the previous century, went to war at the age 33, married and experienced a significant financial setback by age 38, when he held his first elected office. Reagan also came to politics late in life, but Gephardt has been a politician all his life, aside from a 6 year stint as an Attorney in the Air National Guard, probably as a dodge against being drafted for Vietnam.

No, Jonah, I think you missed the mark on this reference. Harry Truman was not as conservative as we might like, but he does not deserve to be disgraced by being associated with Gephardt. And frankly, it is too late for Gephardt to use Truman as a role model, because Gephardt has chosen Clinton as his lodestone.


More From Ceo


David Gersten of the Center for Equal Opportunity adds that the University of Michigan resorted to its noxious point system because it receives tens of thousands of applications every year–it needed a cold formula because it couldn’t give individual attention to every aspiring student. The law school, by contrast, receives many fewer applications. Unless Michigan hires lots more undergrad admissions officers, it won’t be able to replicate the law school model. I’m no optimist about what’s going to happen in Ann Arbor–I suspect the undergrad admissions won’t change much at all, except now it will be kept invisible. Yet it does suggest that the school–and so many big public universities like it–will be vulnerable to lawsuits in the future. A dim silver lining, perhaps, but a silver lining nonetheless.

Web Briefing: August 27, 2014

Ceo Says...


Here’s what the Center for Equal Opportunity is saying about the Michigan rulings: “The Supreme Court decision is disappointing because it is a missed opportunity. The justices could have made clear that race and ethnic preferences can never be used. On the other hand, it remains clear that preferences can be illegal: If the use of race is like the Michigan undergrad admissions system, then it is illegal. Our experience is that the undergrad approach is more common than the law school approach. The Supreme Court has sent everyone back to the trenches. We are happy to continue the fight and hope the Bush administration will join us there in rooting out illegal admissions programs – especially in light of their lukewarm amicus brief filed for the cases. The left is claiming the decision is not just a stamp of approval but a directive to universities to use race. This is not true. The court has not said that preferences are moral or right. It has not said that using race is wise policy. It has certainly not made the use of race mandatory. Just the opposite, it says the use of race should end in 25 years. We will try to move up that date by talking with university administrators, legislators, and the administration.”


An Open Invitation


Any reader who thought that the Supreme Court ruled incorrectly but now thinks otherwise on the strength of Jack Kemp’s statement — I want to hear from you. Note: I’m not asking if you agree with Kemp, but that you disagreed with the Court until you heard Kemp was “pleased” with the decision. My guess is that such a person does not exist.

Justice Specter


A reader inquires: ” if Senator Specter were nominated and confirmed, would he still use ancient Scottish law to decide cases?”

See Dick Mangle The Constitution


Eugene Volokh is attempting to give Rep. Dick Gephardt a lesson in constitutional law — and Gephardt has a lot to learn. Judging from his office’s response, Gephardt seems not to understand that the Constitution created a republic, not a dictatorship. The president is very powerful, but he cannot — as Gephardt suggested — unilaterally overturn Supreme Court decisions. While Gephardt’s remark was shockingly stupid for a serious presidential candidate — far worse than mangling or forgetting a foreign leader’s name — I agree with Jack Balkin that it is not comparable to Trent Lott’s Thurmond gaffe.

Next Stop Iran?


Public support for military action in Iran is pretty high, according to this poll.

Sen. Chicken


Someone once said of Orrin Hatch: “Don’t count your Hatch before he’s chickened.”

Filibuster Busters


Howard Bashman reports on Senator John Cornyn’s latest efforts to end the filibuster of federal judicial nominees.

What Is It With These Guys?


First Senator Schumer recommends Senator Specter to fill the next vacancy on the Supreme Court; now Senator Specter is recommending Senator Hatch.

I’m Going to McDonalds


I’m going to be stuck waiting for my car for a while longer. This will be my first visit since last summer. I’m really looking forward to it — and the shame which will come afterwards. Back in a bit.

Throw a Dog a Bone


Okay maybe it’s not a big victory in the strict, rational, factually correct sense. But considering how pretty much anything called censorship these days is doomed, I’ll take my victories where I can.

Library Porn


Not to burst Jonah’s bubble, but even were I “pro-censorship” — which I certainly am not — I would not consider the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday upholding provisions of the Child Internet Protection Act a “victory,” big or otherwise. All that the decision holds is that if a library accepts government funding of internet access, it must also install filters so that children may not access “adult” material provided that libraries disable such filters at the request of any adult who wishes to view such material for a lawful purpose. To me, this is not a big deal (nor is it a serious infringement on public libraries).

Eugene Volokh has some additional observations on the case here and here.

Re: Lithwick V Dellinger


Jon – I think it’s an interesting exchange too. But as I note in my G-File, Lithwick makes a strange statement, especially for someone touting her intellectual honesty. She writes: “I was terrified that today might have seen a thick dark cloud blot out all the good that affirmative action programs have achieved over the decades.”

Can someone explain that to me? If the Federal Government became colorblind tomorrow, would the millions of blacks who’ve entered the middle and upper classes suddenly be reduced to poverty? Would all of the blacks with degrees from Ivy League colleges and law schools have to give back their diplomas? Would the Congressional Black Caucus vanish and be replaced with pro-Jim Crow congressmen?

Of course not. In fact, most schools (and corporations) would still do everything they could to pursue diversity, because the ideology has sunk in.

I think this view is very widespread among liberals today. They do not believe any social program can outlive its usefullness, especially on the issue of race. This is why I’m so skeptical and disappointed with O’Connor’s waffle that maybe in 25 years we won’t need affirmative action any more. The left will never, ever abandon their faith in preferences, especially if — like Lithwick — they believe that the repeal of state sanctioned benign discrimination will also result in the repeal of all the progress (real or perceived) such discrimination has achieved.

Indeed, the logic of the diversity argument should reject any suggestion that in 25 years or in 2,500 diversity will ever be less useful. Unlike affirmative action which was framed as a temporary remedy, diversity is forever.

A Big Victory


As one of the only pro-censorship conservatives out of the closet these days, let me say that I think that yesterday’s decision on libraries was a huge win. Yes, yes, there are some legitimate federalism issues that we can argue about, but the basic notion that the government is still capable of healthy censorship has been reaffirmed and that’s good news.

The American Library Association considers it an “unseemly burden” to have to disable the filters for specific patrons who want access to adult material in public libraries. Well, less than a decade ago most libraries didn’t even have internet access. Was it an unseemly burden to have to ask librarians to order medical books or, more likely, hardcore porn from other libraries? Convenience and liberty aren’t the same thing. If it’s a little harder for library patrons to log onto I will sleep just fine.

Jonah Goldberg

Enough Gay Marriage For Today


The G-File is about to go up and today is a day when there are more pressing issues in the news, so I’ll stop posting gay marriage letters with these two. But I should say I am still against gay marriage. I am in favor of some compromise position — civil unions or some other private contract which is not marriage — in part because I think it’s probably the right policy given the world we live in today, but also because I simply fear that conservatives will lose everything if they continue an all-or-nothing policy when it comes to homosexuality in America. If a compromise isn’t found, the courts will eventually snatch the issue out of the democratic process entirely. Anyway, this argument will continue. The two last letters for now:

Jonah –

I am a “Religious Right” Christian, (though I do have a number of libertarian tendencies). I am growing more concerned every day about what “gay marriage” will do to our society. I thought the comments by Scott Lively were way overdone, but I must say that, while I am a +very+ big fan of yours, and don’t want to have any part of “burning-the-apostate”, I was +very+ disappointed that you’ve apparently thrown in the towel on the issue of gay marriage. I think that even if we lose the battle, we must engage the enemy. I’d like to think that you haven’t raised the white flag on this, but what other conclusion could I draw?

Your devoted fan,

[Name withheld]
St. Paul



I’m an Eastern Orthodox Christian, and would be described by many as socially conservative in my opinions and attitudes.

Sadly, I have to admit that Mr. Lively’s screed against you, and against homosexuals in general, displays not the least bit of Christian charity we are commanded to exemplify in our lives. Homosexuals are NOT Nazis, and we should not be treating them like an enemy to be defeated in battle.

If Christians are going to demand followers of Islam to speak out against the radical Islamists among their ranks, then we must speak out against the radical elements in our own ranks. Scott Lively has no place among the followers of Jesus Christ.

[Name withheld]
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Dellinger V. Lithwick


Former Acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger and Supreme Court maven Dahlia Lithwick have an interesting exchange on the Michigan cases over at Slate. Both are fairly liberal — Dellinger served in the Clinton Administration — both are devout supporters of affirmative action, but they are split over Justice O’Connor’s majority opinion. Dellinger finds it a masterful sequel to Justice Powell’s (in)famous Bakke decision. Lithwick, on the other hand, finds the opinion “crazy” and writes “intellectual honesty doesn’t let me accept O’Connor’s basic ends-justifies-the-means approach to upholding” affirmative action (see last Monday posting). With luck, their exchange will continue today.

Another View


Dear Jonah,
I’m a convservative Catholic in the fullest sense of the term–both theologically and poitically. As such, I agree with the Magisterium that sodomy is a sin. However, I don’t see that position as necessitating opposition to gay marriage as it does implicate resistance to legalized abortion.
In an e-mail you posted on the Corner, one of your readers likened your acquiesence to gay marriage to National Review’s (hypothetical) throwing in the towel on abortion because Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. The two cases are hardly parallel, however, because abortion involves a right whereas homoexuality, even if you think it is a sin, only involves consensual decisions (remarkably poor decisions that lead the agent into sin, but not the violation of a right). You don’t see Catholics actively seeking the criminalization of divorce, and so should it be with gay marriage. If we had our way, everyone would be Catholic and the law of the land would be the Magisterium’s teaching, but that’s not going to happen. Better to just teach your kids it’s a sin and spend political capital on more important (and more feasible) goals such as the crimilization of abortion. Given a choice between a pro-life, pro-gay marriage and a pro-choice, anti-gay marriage candidate, I’d go with the former in a heartbeat.



I don’t get it. Andrew Sullivan is vexed by my reprinting a letter from a reader which contained the following observation:

“Many social conservatives in America believe there is a God and a Holy Spirit and a Bible that condemns homosexuality as an abomination, and they will not be defeated.”

And then Andrew asks, “Can you imagine Jonah quoting a fundamentalist Muslim who simply asserted that ‘many social conservatives in America believe there is one God who is Allah and a Koran that says that women have no right to vote.’”

Um, I can. In fact, I’ve quoted letters from all sorts of readers I disagree with on one level or another. But I don’t even disagree with either the real or even the hypothetical quotes above. I mean: Aren’t they both statements of fact? Many religious conservatives do believe there’s a God and a Holy Spirit and that homosexuality is an abomination and many Muslims do believe there is only one God who is Allah etc etc. Andrew may or may not be right that simply quoting scripture or the Koran isn’t an effective argument in this day and age, but simply because Andrew feels that way doesn’t mean that perspective should be permanently barred from the debate, does it? Just speaking personally, I think it makes the Corner a better and more interesting place when I quote letters from readers who disagree with me.


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