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So I’ve got insomnia, and I’m channel surfing in the middle of the night. And there’s a weird black and white movie on. And look, there’s William Shatner. And he’s speaking … Esperanto! What exquisite pop-culture madness is this? The 1960s art-horror film Incubus, that’s what.

World’s Smallest Violin


Arab, Islamic and civil rights groups are worried that the arrest of Sami al-Arian and others sends a negative message to Muslim Americans. Sure it does. That message is: “If you get mixed up with Islamic terrorist organizations, you could get in big trouble.”


Donna & Karl


Web Briefing: April 15, 2015

Statler and Waldorf


Rod, you mean that Corner post wasn’t a expansive essay? :-)


“Lessons and Carols”


I got lots of mail in response to a blog I posted during the Christmas season, about an outdoor concert my family and I attended downtown, near Ground Zero. If you liked that Corner item, you might be interested to know that Touchstone magazine asked me to expand it into an essay, which is in its current issue.

Well, Uh, I Love Jim Woolsey But...


…it sounds like multiculturalist apologetics to me. Sure, there have been terrific French and Germans, even during fascism. But in Germany the overwhelming majority of the people loved Nazism, and the sort of heroics that Jim writes about were minuscule (that’s one of the most horrible things about fascism, by the way; it was enormously popular). In France, yes, there was a bit of a resistance, but again minuscule. The French Army collapsed quickly, the French people adjusted nicely to Vichy, and would have continued ad infinitum if it hadn’t been for…the American Army, the greatest force for democracy in the 20th century.

But Jim is entirely right that just because a country or a culture hits a bad patch, is no reason to think that it’s genetic. Italy, too, loved fascism, but Berlusconi said in Washington a couple of weeks ago that the Italians know they have a democracy because of the sacrifice of American fighting men, and they will not forget that. When we needed French help during the Cuban Missile Crisis De Gaulle was at our side without hesitation, and he was hardly an aberration, he was “la France.”

The problem with France and Germany is not just that they’ve abandoned us; they’ve abandoned themselves. Their countries are headed for a crash, they continue to delude themselves about the workability of the welfare state, and they’re trying to pretend that they matter in the world even though–and this really drives them round the bend–they can no longer participate in modern warfare because they’ve stopped paying for military power in order to appease the demands of nannyism.

I’m really worried that anti-Americanism will be invoked for this generation’s failures, as anti-semitism was used to “explain” the European malaise at the turn of the 20th century.

But I blog excessively…

You Have No Idea...


…how relieved I was when I realized what Rod’s whore post was about….

Not All Bad


Former CIA director Jim Woolsey provides a useful chastening in today’s Wall Street Journal. He writes that we ought not be so quick to bash the French and the German people. He mentions two friends of his, the German Ewald von Kleist, who as a German army officer strapped explosives to himself in an aborted (by Hitler, who changed his plans) attempt to assassinate the Fuhrer; and Jeannie Clarens, a Frenchwoman who infiltrated the Nazi V-2 missile program, and provided the British with information that likely made D-Day possible, and won the war. Writes Woolsey:

It is appeasement of Saddam by Messrs. Chirac and Schroder that should draw our anger, and our satire — not the people of these two countires and their cultures. To take only one case, Internet messages mocking French courage and denying that the French have ever successfully defended Paris should not only be beneath us but are quiet false — the drafters of this nonsense should consult, among other things, the history of the Battle of the Marne in September, 1914. Gen. Gallieni’s mobilization of the taxis of Paris to rush reinforcements ot the front and save the city is as famous in France as Washington’s crossing the Delaware is to Americans. We diminish ourselves and our arguments by denying the noble side of these nations’ history and slandering their national honor. Yes, the Germans had the Nazis and the French the Reign of Terror and Vichy. And we had slavery. We have both had our villains and our heroes — we have had our Audie Murphys, they their Ewald von Kleists and Jeannie Clarenses.

Whore of Babylon?


A German beauty queen is vying for a date with Saddam to talk him into disarming.

Peace in Middle Earth


Program Note


I’m scheduled to be on MSNBC tonight, at 10 PM with Joe Scarborough. The
topic: The hypocrisy of the Dems regarding their own use of Confederate
imagery in GA to win elections.

The Nation On Nro


The Nation’s Katha Pollitt responds to an NRO piece:

Back in May, I received brickbats, whatever they are, for a column titled “Regressive Progressive?” in which I pointed out Dennis Kucinich’s little-noticed 100 percent antichoice voting record and modestly suggested that if he wanted to run for President he would have to rethink his willingness to force pregnant women to give birth. A surprising number of readers felt pro-choicers should shut up about their silly little issue and embrace Kucinich in the interests of progressive unity. Fortunately, Kucinich is more sensible and less sexist than these benighted admirers. In recent abortion-related votes he has taken the pro-choice side and now, just in time for his announcement of his presidential bid, affirms Roe v. Wade on his website. National Review Online attributed this change of heart to “a tiny article” in The Nation (thanks a lot). I’d rather credit Kucinich’s own instinct for what is right and fair in a pluralist society. Better late than never!

Milking It


Antiwar group Students 4 Social Justice is planning a rally and march in Chicago tomorrow, at 35 West Wacker Drive. The reasoning: That’s the home of advertising giant Leo Burnett, which is a “war profiteer” because… it does the advertising for the U.S. Army and Army Reserve.

For any Chicagoans who want to know: The rally begins at 3:30 at the corner of Clark and Randolph; at 4:00 they’ll be marching to Burnett (Dearborn and Wacker).

She’s On to Jesse’s Game


A black Chicago alderwoman is denouncing Jesse Jackson for hypocrisy, claiming he’s doing his best to suck up to the families of the nightclub stampede tragedy to cover up for the fact that he ran interference for the club owner with city officials. Said Alderwoman Madeline Haithcock: “He’s grandstanding. He does things right for the families, then he goes over on the other side … with his friends. He’s got to pick his sides–who he wants to be with. Be for the owners or the people. You’re one or the other.”

As we know, though, Jesse picked sides a long time ago.

Dude, That’s So French


A Long Lost Derb?


When I saw this story, I thought, it’s in the Telegraph, it’s by a guy named Derbyshire, it’s about Darwin and promiscuous lesbian Japanese monkeys–he’s gotta be related to our Derb:

“Lesbian Japanese monkeys challenge Darwin’s assumptions”

By David Derbyshire, Science Correspondent, in Denver

The promiscuous sex life of lesbian Japanese monkeys is challenging one of the central tenets of Charles Darwin. He argued that females are coy, mate rarely and choose mates to ensure the best genetic inheritance for their offspring, while males are promiscuous and fight among themselves for female partners But after studying Japanese macaques in the wild, Dr Paul Vasey, of the University of Lethbridge, Canada, begs to differ. He found that bisexuality is common in females and that they often compete with males for sexual partners….”

Dien Bien Phu & Ivins


Interesting email:

Every French soldier who was in Indo-China volunteered to be Indo-China. So every last Frenchman at Dien Bien Phu was a volunteer who knew that they were volunteering for combat. They were untypical examples of the French (or anyone else’s) military. The reason that all of Vietnam was not handed over to Ho Chi Minh in 1954 was that the French threatened to get serious and send non-volunteers there so that there would finally be sufficient troops to fight his forces. This information is available in Bernard Fall’s histories which were widely available in the 1960’s. “Hell In a Very Small Space” deals with Dien Bien Phu. She should be ashamed not to have read Mr. Fall’s books during the Vietnam era.

She said one thing accurately, but by it was by mistake. She said “The trouble we could have saved ourselves if we had only paid attention to Dien Bien Phu.” Had Eisenhower supported the French requests to use our bombers based in the Philippines to bomb around Dien Bien Phu, Ho Chi Minh may have not been able to form a government. To his shame, Eisenhower refused to do it unless he had support from all the Congressional leaders, and Lyndon Johnson (to his greater shame) did not support it.

Bombs Away!


NOVA has decided to broadcast its episode on dirty bombs next Tuesday night, rather than in late March. (Get listings for your area here.) The folks at WGBH have just sent me an advance tape, so I’ll watch it and write a preview for NRO before it airs.

Fox and The Hound: The Conclusion


The doggie stranded on the ice floe was rescued. Arf.

Hmmm. Push Comes to Shove Over Iraq…


…and Sen. Hagel is still defending France.

If I ever compared him to John McCain, I apologize. Totally unfair to the Arizona senator…


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