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Pro-War Jay Leno Producer Speaks Out


You Can’t Say “Moo” En Espanol


Several years ago, New York City sidewalks were graced by the “Cow Parade,” a herd of brightly painted fiberglass cattle scattered throughout the city. They were whimsical and altogether delightful, and everybody seemed to love them. The Cow Parade has come to San Antonio, where former mayor and Clinton administration official Henry Cisneros, still a local poobah, declared that two of the cows, a couple of dancing bovines wearing traditional Mexican costumes, were offensive to Hispanics. The cows were removed, though the city says it had nothing to do with Cisneros’ disapproval. The humorless Cisneros needs to be interviewed by Ali G., if you ask me.


Re: Derb On Metrocons


Derb, that is exactly what I thought you were saying. I enjoy the zoology of conservatism quite a bit — a bit more than you, I think — but i also reject prefix conservatism from the left and the right as usually silly. I think 98% of the commentary about “neocons” for example is unhelpful, nonsensisical, ahistorical or paranoid — or all four. The only adjectives I find more helpful than unhelpful are ones of degree. Very conservative, extremely conservative, not very conservative etc. And even these are usually misapplied by non-conservatives.

Web Briefing: November 20, 2014

An Army of Jessicas & Mother’s Day


The only coverage I find of her story is in that Texas paper (she’s from Fort Hood). I can’t help but think of Kate’s cover piece in the most recent issue of NR when I read about Sgt. Grant. She wasn’t in Iraq, but one wonders if her maintenance unit was headed there.

From “An Army of Jessicas”:

[T]here are considerations just as important–indeed, that strike closer to home–than military readiness. When an unprecedented number of women–including single mothers and dual military couples–were deployed to Desert Storm in 1991, a bill was introduced in Congress to prohibit the deployment of parents whose children risked being orphaned. An AP poll at the time found that 64 percent of the public agreed that it was “unacceptable for the United States to send women with young children to the war zone.” The war ended before Congress acted, but the public was clearly concerned about the unequal sacrifice faced by the 80,000 children with a single parent, or both parents, in the service. Single custodial parents in the military are disproportionately female, and the public clearly saw a distinction between the sacrifices of mothers and the sacrifices of fathers. Someone must fight our wars, so fathers will inevitably be at risk; but must young mothers be exposed to such danger?

Although single custodial parents are not eligible to enlist, once they are in uniform generous subsidies and accommodating assignment policies can encourage single parenthood. In Ground Zero: The Gender Wars in the Military (1997), feminist author Linda Bird Francke approvingly noted that the military’s family benefits make the services “a particular mecca for single parents.” In 1989, the Navy had twice as many single parents, proportionately, as the civilian population. Although one study found that the re-enlistment rate for women dropped by 69 percent once they became mothers, for many vulnerable single mothers the military provides a tempting safety net of benefits, including health care and housing.


Single Mother Army Sgt. Is a Double Amputee


Twenty-five-year-old single-mother Army Sgt. Casaundra Grant lost both her legs when pinned under a tank she was helping to move in Kuwait last month. God bless her—her and her family, including her two-year-old son have a marvelous attitude.

Re: Stuttaford & Adler


Andrew, I don’t disagree with your points at all. It’s entirely fair to ask Bennett why he thinks recreational gambling is alright but, say, Marijuana use is not. That is the sort of thing that a drug czar ought to be able to explain. And I agree that there are good arguments on both sides of that question. No doubt Bennett would point to drug use impairing, say, driving, in a way that gambling does not. I expect he would also argue that the slippery slope from casual drugs to hard drugs holds more potential danger than any slippery slope surrounding gambling. No doubt there are answers to those points. But I don’t think the fact that there is always a legitimate debate over where to draw the line between pleasure and social harm justifies the accusations of hypocrisy that the likes of Kinsley and Saletan have been making against Bennett. That is my point. And again, this argument would hold true even though Bennett himself, while not spending “the milk money,” may indeed have pushed toward excess.

And Jonathan, I think my points in response to Andrew speak to your points as well. I would add that, believing there is a legitimate debate is not incompatible with a zero tolerance view. Bennett believed that the proponents of legalization had a right to make their point. He just didn’t agree with them. I see the tough arguments on both sides, but I’m also sympathetic to the view that one legitimate resolution to a fuzzy problem is to draw a clear line. If the slippery slope arguments are more compelling in the case of drugs than they are for gambling, then despite the gray area between the two cases, society may have to treat them very differently.

Derb On Metrocons


Let’s just get one thing straight. Some people (no names, no pack drill) seem to think I have tried to describe yet another type of conservative, to add to the neocons, paleocons, crunchy cons, etc. Nothing could have been
further from my mind. As a matter of fact, that whole pond-life side of
conservatism is deeply unappealing to me. It reminds my of my student days
when I hung out with Trotskyists–or tried to, as I could never keep up with
their ideological quarrels. Hardly was a Trot group established than some
minority of members would decide that it was insufficeintly pure for them,
and secede to form a separate group… some minority of whose members would
soon decide… etc. etc. That’s what ideologues are like. My vision of
conservatism is that it is, or should be, an un-ideology, or an
anti-ideology–it should be the enemy of all ideologies. From time to time I
am at some conservative gathering and some grim-visaged keeper of this or
that flame demands to know what kind of conservative I am–Burkean, Kirkian,
Straussian, Randian… I personally think that people like that should be
rounded up and dumped on some island at the further extremity of the Aleutian
chain, to survive as best they can on walrus blubber and seagull eggs. (I
tried, a couple of times, replying jovially: “I’m a Rodney King
conservative–can’t we all just get along?” However, I found that this got a
frosty reception.) Here is a quote I like very much. It is from Theodore
Dalrymple’s piece in the May 2003 issue of The New Criterion, page 35.
“Anti-communism was not an ideology–it was merely an anti-ideology–but it
drew a great deal of strength from the self-evidently formidable nature of
the foe, and thus came to appear almost an ideology in itself. But the
anti-ideologist now has to fight on a hundred fronts at once; it is more like
a guerilla than a conventional war. And since, almost by definition, the
anti-ideologist is not as obsessed with any given subject as his many
opponents are, who each derive the meaning of their lives from their
ideologised grievances, he is at a permanent disadvantage. In the absence of
a strong communist enemy, ideology makes inroads in our society as easily as
a hot knife through butter.” I am absolutely with TD on this–an
anti-ideologist…. Although, if anyone wants to give me a $10m grant to
open a MetroCon think tank, I can be reached through National Review.

Barnett V. Kurtz


After reading Randy Barnett’s excellent piece on Bennett, I must agree with Andrew that Stanley Kurtz lets Bennett off too easy. Bennett’s defense of his gambling — a defense that I accepted — is that he did nothing wrong because he was never irresponsible. That is, he never wagered the “milk money” or endangered his ability to care for this loved ones and meet familial responsibilities. Barnett rightly points out that Bennett rejects this defense out of hand when the subject is drugs. On the drug issue, Bennett morphs from public moralizer to prohibitionist. To call Bennett an “enforcer” of the drug laws is to diminish his active and enthusiastic participation in the escalation of prohibition. Bennett has been an advocate for the most draconian drug policies, often on “moral” grounds. And whereas Kurtz believes there is a legitimate debate over drug legalization, Bennett never has. Instead he has always been dismissive of anything but a zero-tolerance policy. I don’t expect this experience to change Bennett’s policy views on prohibition, but perhaps he’ll rethink his kenn-jerk assumption that all drug use is irresponsible and immoral.

Cwru Shootings


Matt Rustler blogs on the mad gunman at Case Western. (Link via the VC.) One student was killed and several others wounded. I expect this incident will become the focal point of Ohio’s continuing debate over concealed carry permits.

Speaking of Al Bundy


I had MWC on a few minutes ago. I keep hearing Al with a British accent. It’s weird, let me tell you.

Prison Rape


Putting a stop to this national disgrace should, as Rich points out, be an issue on which left and right can agree, so here’s blogger TalkLeft with a good post on the topic.

Czar Wars


Stanley, you make the point in your most recent post that “someone has to enforce the prohibitions society decides upon.” Technically speaking, of course, that’s quite right, but your implication seems to be that Bennett should not be singled out for special criticism merely because he was the drug czar. The analogy, I suppose, is that he was just another cop doing his duty. That lets Bennett off the hook far too easily. As a ‘czar’ (a job he appears to have accepted with some relish), Bennett was not just enforcing the rules, but he was setting them too. The drugs laws in this country are cruel, capricious and counterproductive, and Bennett played a part in making them that way. It’s entirely fair to ask him to defend the stance he took (and takes) with regard to those laws, and it’s also perfectly legitimate to ask him why he thinks that gambling should be permitted, but cannabis should not. Despite my own view that both ‘vices’ should be legal, it would be foolish to deny that there are plenty of reasonable (or reasonable-seeming) answers to that question.

It would be interesting to hear which one Bennett chose to give.

Mission Accomplished


Got back from Sacramento to Berkeley in time for breakfast date with an NRO fan, who, after singing the praises of conservative Catholicism, rounded off with this memorable quote: “We have absolutely the best intellectuals!” (He reads Crisis magazine, by the way, Kathryn.) Then down to Stanford for my last Prime Obsession gig, at the bookstore there. A lovely crowd again, no rotten fruit–nobody has thrown ANYTHING at me this tour!–lunch afterwards with two more NRO fans, one the kind fellow who made the movie clips for my website, the other a colleague of his named Eleanor–my daughter’s name, and a name very special to me for reasons I’ll explain another time. Then to a v. nice hotel near San Jose airport, whence I shall fly home Saturday. Couldn’t resist the hotel pool. Normally I CAN resist pools very easily, but there’s something about California. The light, the sun, the breeze, the palm trees–how can you NOT jump into a pool? I had to buy bathing trunks & shades from the hotel store–a terribly bad idea, but I was in holiday mood. Then I sat by the pool all afternoon reading Fareed Zakaria’s The Future of Freedom. Aaaah. Mission accomplished. Did not miss any gigs. Did not mis-spell own name when signing (yes, it happens). Did not total rental car. Did not get asked any hard math questions. Did not get heckled by lefties. Sun shining off pool like a Hockney painting. Gentle classical music (Tchaikovsky) playing behind bushes somewhere. Tomorrow I shall be with Rosie and my little ones again. To quote the immortal Al Bundy: Life is good!

Losing a Child


A painfully honest column from Michael Kelly’s mother.

About Barnett


Randy Barnett’s interesting piece on NRO today only confirms my sense that William Bennett’s critics are trying to destroy him because they disagree with his policy views, not because of his alleged hypocrisy. Even Barnett admits that Bennett’s problem is “not so much his hypocrisy” as his opposition to drugs. I don’t see how Bennett’s having personally been the drug czar changes the fundamental issues here. And I don’t agree that Bennett’s swearing off of gambling is an admission of earlier hypocrisy. Obviously, the efforts of Bennett’s opponents to destroy him with a storm of publicity have forced him to take that step. Still today, but even more so back in the 1950’s when Bennett grew up, there would have been nothing surprising at all about someone who smoked and periodically traveled to Las Vegas to gamble, but who thought that legalized drugs were a bad idea. Society is entitled to choose which forms of pleasure are permitted and which are prohibited. It’s always going to be a mixture. And someone has to enforce the prohibitions society decides upon. It’s silly to pretend that prohibiting one pleasure has to mean that no other pleasures are legitimate–for the enforcers, or for anyone else. There are good arguments for and against legalized drugs. There’s a strong case for the medical use of Marijuana, but also an argument that this is just an opening to further legalization. And there are lots of reasons to think of drugs and gambling as different in their degree of danger. The debate on drug legalization is important and legitimate, but that doesn’t change the fact that the charges of hypocrisy against William Bennett are bogus. Indeed, even if Bennett’s personal gambling skirts the edge of what’s excessive, it doesn’t change the principles at stake. It is not hypocritical to believe that recreational gambling is OK but recreational drugs are not.

“G-File Outrage!”


From a reader:


I’m horrified by your latest G-File, specifically the question regarding the best episode of the Simpsons. The best episode (and I’ve made sure to carefully study all of them) is also, coincidentally, one of the most politically conservative:

The one where Homer becomes the head of the Union.

Not only does it have oodles of hilarious union-bashing (the body on the football field, the boy from 1905 that they wall up in the abandoned coke oven, etc.), but you have:
– the opening montage where McBain kills an entire dinner party with a
machine gun (including the orchestra, who continue playing during his rampage)
– the evil German dentist (“Why must you turn my office into a house of
lies!? Let’s look at a book, Ralph, the Big Book of British Smiles…”)
– Mr. Burns giving a tour of his house, including a thousand monkeys at a
thousand typewriters (“It was the best of times, it was the BLURST OF TIMES!
You stupid monkey!”)
– The townspeople commencing looting the instant the power goes out

Good times. :)

Ah well, carry on. By the way, Deep Space Homer would probably make my top
five (along with Sherry Bobbins, the X-Files crossover, and Homer becoming a
missionary — why is the word “Jebus” so damn funny?), so I guess I can’t be
too outraged.



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Can I Just Say...


…that the Viagra/Enlargement/Etc. spammers get cleverer by the hour.

Suddenly, I Feel Younger


Small World


This shooting was at Adler’s school. But he’s accounted for.


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