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Filibuster or Bust



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Terry Eastland notes that Senate Democrats are likely to pay a political price for their filibusters of Bush judicial nominees. Unfortunately, some nominees are unlikely to wait around long enough to see that happen.

Attacking Allen



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President Bush nominated Deputy HHS Secretary Claude Allen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Now all the usual suspects are sharpening their swords, as detailed here.

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Averting a Trade War



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There is no doubt that a WTO complaint against the EU’s anti-GM food regulations will ratchet up trade hostilities with some European nations. This is no reason not to file the complaint, but it is a reason for the Bush Administration to take it’s WTO obligations more seriously. The EU is preparing to impose substantial sanctions on the United States after winning a WTO case against trade restrictive tax breaks. If imposed, the sanctions will hurt consumers and companies on both sides of the Atlantic. A better course would be for the Administration to recognize the legitimacy of the WTO judgment and change the tax rules to confrom to WTO rules.

Web Briefing: July 28, 2014

U.S. V. E.U.



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The AP is reporting that the United States will file a formal WTO complaint against the European Union’s regulations of genetically modified (GM) foods. The EU has maintained a moratorium on the new approval of GM foods without any scientific justification (and, incidentally, in violation of EU law). The WTO case against the EU rules is quite strong and has been in the works for some time. If successful, it will open important agricultural markets for farmers in the U.S., as well as the developing world, and strike a blow against environmental fear-mongering.

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10 Americans Dead



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“Dangerous” Oreos



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Andrew, maybe this could be Bloomberg’s next ban.

Arab News On Saudi Blasts



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Free Advice



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Joe Klein has written a cover story for Time on “How to Build a Better Democrat,” i.e., one who can win the next presidential election. (Time did something similar for the Republicans in 1996. Right?) One test I always apply to such articles is whether the author’s political advice lines up too neatly with his policy views. I try to avoid this myself. I’m perfectly willing to concede that President Bush had to back away from his party’s opposition to Department of Education to win in 2000, for example, even though I would love to see the department disappear. Klein seems to be arguing that the Democrats will succeed if they just adopt his views, which seems awfully convenient.

Klein’s specific advice isn’t all that compelling. Democrats are supposed to embrace “nuclear fusion, wind power, digital interstate highways (a computer chip in your car locks you in at 70 m.p.h. a safe distance from the cars in front of and behind you). Whatever. The key is to have at least one issue on which the candidate is free to dream, think big, tap the national spirit of adventure in a way that doesn’t involve Abrams tanks. My guess is that enthusiasm is contagious.” I’m guessing that it isn’t. I mean, really: wind power?

Klein also comes out for candidates’ standing up to the pollsters and consultants. Just once, I’d like to read an article where a journalist longs for a candidate who does nothing but slavishly follow the focus groups, if only for the sake of variety.

Never Mind



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Upon re-reading the cranky correspondent(after prompting from a reader), I think I may have mis-interpreted his comments. If so, never mind.

Best Comic Book Covers



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I’m not sure I agree with this list. — but then again I’m most a Marvel guy. I know I have the Silver Surfer — or at least I used to. But I’m not sure about the Captain America.

“Speech in a Suit, Anyone?”



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Rod Dreher’s cranky correspondent may well make some good points in his critique of the official explanation for the President’s landing on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, but he also makes a mistake. When Bush gave his speech, he wore a suit, not the navy flight suit he wore for the landing, as this picture makes plain.

More Strauss



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Outrageous idiocy from a leftwing Canuck. She calls Leo Strauss a “Jewish Nazi” in the Boston Globe. The author of the article is more fair, but not by much. The relevant paragraph:Boston Globe.

Strauss also claims a large, if rather clubbish, following in the academy, especially among scholars of political theory and American constitutional history. And yet even those academics who know Strauss’s work best often sharply disagree about its fundamental meaning. There are East Coast Straussians, West Coast Straussians, and even some Straussian Democrats. Clifford Orwin, a professor at the University of Toronto strongly influenced by Strauss, describes him as a wise teacher who counseled prudence and moderation. But Shadia Drury, a professor of political science at the University of Calgary and the author of ”Leo Strauss and the American Right,” completely disagrees. For her, Strauss was nothing less than ”a Jewish Nazi” whose pretense of American patriotism and piety hid a cynical and extremist antidemocratic ideology.

I’m not a huge fan of Leo Strauss, to the extent I understand him, but this sort of thing is so infuriatingly idiotic it makes me want to become a Strausian.

Re: Jayson Blair



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Couple of years ago on NRO I wrote a piece about
the “racial discrimination” racket on Wall Street–unscrupulous attorneys
trawling around among black employees of Wall Street firms, telling them how
much money they could get from a “discrimination” lawsuit, and egging them
on to file one. Talking with a friend on Saturday about the Jayson Blair
case, my friend told me that most racial-discrimination lawsuits by
employees against employers concern promotions and firings. Comparatively
few are about discrimination in hiring, which is more difficult to prove.
If this is true–I haven’t checked–and if businesspeople KNOW it’s true,
the logic of it, from a non-black businessman’s point of view, is clear:
don’t hire black people if you can help it. If you don’t hire black people,
there is a slight chance (very slight, if you are a small business) that the
EEOC will dump an investigation on you, possibly ending with a 4- or 5-digit
fine. If you do, and problems develop with the employee, or some trial
lawyer comes and whispers seductively in his ear, you will be looking at a
7-digit lawsuit, with most likely a 6-digit out of court settlement. It
seems, therefore, that laws against racial discrimination in the workplace
may have made it harder for black people to get jobs. I’d be very
interested to know if there has been any attempt to quantify this effect
(assuming my logic is correct). And if this is right, then the New York
Times’s kid-glove handling of Jayson Blair must have been more than just
racial condescension (though, given the ethos at the NYT, it is not hard to
believe that was the larger component), it must also have been driven in
part by fear of litigation.

And When Exactly Do You Plan to Act? How About Now?



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Otoh



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From a cranky Washington journalist friend who didn’t care for my Naval officer friend’s explanation of the President’s landing aboard the ship:

There is no dispute about the White House’s shifting story: First, the landing was required because the ship would be “hundreds of miles from shore” when the president arrived. Then, when reporters got aboard the Lincoln, they could see land and were told by Navy PAOs that the ship was about 30 miles from shore. These same reporters saw that the ship was turned to face away from land. They saw that the ship was changing course to delay arrival and keep land out of the TV shot. The White House’s final explanation – that Bush just decided he wanted to do that landing no matter what the circumstances – came a week later.

Look, it was a great photo-op, wonderfully staged, with the assistance of the Navy (no matter which scenario you believe). I don’t begrudge the guy his trip to the carrier, how he accomplished that trip, what he wore on that airplane or during his speech. It was truly a thing of beauty. But the idea that it was all a case of confusing carrier maneuvers, instead of genius political maneuvering, is just insulting.

I can’t speak for the Dems, but most of journalists’ annoyance stems from the fact that Ari chose not to reveal any of the facts on the day of the story, misleading TV, radio and wire correspondents by omission.

And your source’s explanation is laughable. It requires you to believe that the USS Abraham Lincoln’s skipper, leading a battle group home, unilaterally decided to ignore orders and established procedure and hasten to shore, surprising the Navy and the White House. It requires you to believe that, the very morning of the president’s flight, the White House did not know that their advance figures were wrong.

The flight suit explanation is even more embarrassing: Yes, he had to wear it. No, it had nothing to do with “Navy folk like it when you look like them.” (Speech in a suit, anyone?). Since when do American presidents get to wear uniforms just because they blend in with their audiences? I’m not talking about flight jackets. I’m talking about actual military attire. As for the “4th cable” issue, it arose because Navy folk on board the Lincoln joked that their colleague would take a heap of crap for almost having to circle around to try a second landing. I believe they call it a “touch and go.” They may have been wrong, they may have been kidding, but they – and, later, the Pentagon – were the source.

Conservatives & Libertarians



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Here’s an interesting take on the recent tensions between conservatives and libertarians, and a plea for continued alliance.

The Single-Mother Force



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In response to Saturday women in the military postings (here and here), a reader writes:


I spent 12 years in the Navy, and I can tell you, +nothing+ infuriates men
in the military more than discussions of “non-deployable” women. Women fill
many billets, and if they can’t deploy, that means some poor man must deploy
to take her place, thus +increasing+ the overall deployment time for men,
and +decreasing+ the overall deployment time for women. Men have to spend
more time away, and women get to spend more time a

Why is the family time of single female parents more valuable that the
family time of (responsible) married men?

Another consideration — women who want to avoid deployment can get pregnant
and thus get out of it. Men have no such option.

The issue boils under the surface of the whole military, and bills in
Congress to limit the deployability of women make the blood boil of military
men who really can’t do or say much about it, except get out, as I did.

French-Wine Slide



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Wine Spectator magazine (May 31 issue) conducted a poll of its readers, and discovered that 31% of readers were boycotting French wine, and 25% were boycotting German wine. Five percent were boycotting American wine. Wine Spectator readers are, by definition, serious oenophiles, so the fact that nearly a third of American’s most-committed wine drinkers have decided to “just say non” helps explains the significant drop in French wine imports in recent weeks. That’s good news for Coalition wine countries (such as Australia) and for winemakers in countries such as Chile, Argentina, and Hungary which were not active allies of the Saddam regime.

Welcome to The Hooverstadt



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The Euro is once more in focus in Britain – and not just because of its strength.
Tony Blair is again trying to force the pace at which the UK decides whether to
join the single currency (finance minister Brown is resisting this effort for reasons
more to do with his rivalry with Blair than his officially stated ‘economic’ objections).
A key part of the discussion is the EU’s ‘Growth and Stability’ Pact.
This pact was a precondition of setting up the Euro, but the more it comes under
scrutiny, the more asinine it looks to be, particularly within the context of a ‘one
size fits all’ currency. Amongst other matters the pact puts a limit on budget deficits.
Fair enough, you might say, but that would be wrong. The size of a government’s deficit
does matter, of course, but this is something that has to be looked at over the
economic cycle as a whole. As the EU’s rules are currently set, it seems as if Germany
will have to either cut spending or raise taxes at exactly the point that its
economy faces the prospect of deflation. What’s the German for Hooverville, I wonder?

British Roundup



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My new media analysis column examines the British newspapers. Conclusion: The Guardian and The Telegraph are the best of the bunch.

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