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Adler, never apologize for being disagreeable. The Corner counts on it!

Victory Questions


This seems like the perfect “best of the Corner” moment. One of our best weeks ever, I think, was when Ponnuru and Adler went at it on partial-birth abortion and the Constitution. The link is here. Search for “Why Adler’s Wrong” and read and read.


State Ags Sue Epa


Maine, Connecticut, and Massachusetts filed suit against the EPA yesterday, charging that the EPA has a legal obligation to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide. I previewed the litigation here, arguing that the suit is on weak legal ground, but the Bush EPA has taken steps that strengthen the states’ position. For more on this, and related, litigation, see the links I’ve compiled on my website here.

Web Briefing: January 26, 2015

Vdh On Boney


Excellent review by VDH of Paul Johnson’s Napoleon in the Claremont Review
of Books
Just two notes: (1) Among the catalog of Napoleon-worshipping
intellectuals, let not Puccini be forgotten. In the second act of Tosca,
when the news of Napoleon’s victory at Marengo comes through, Cavaradossi
cries out “Vittoria! Vittoria!” then launches into some allegro concitato
about: “Surge up, Liberty! crushing all tyranny…” (2) Napoleon was a
keen amateur mathematician, and there is a theory in geometry named after
him. On the sides of any triangle at all, construct three equilateral
triangles. The centers of these three equilateral triangles form another
equilateral triangle, sometimes called “the Napoleon triangle.”


More On “as God Made It”


I don’t want to pick on Rod, but this whole “as God made it” thing has been bugging me. Yesterday, Rod said that he preferred his meat “As God made it,” i.e. without hormones or other human tampering. Also, I’ve been reading The New Atlantis, a very interesting — though a bit dry — new journal on technology issues. So this stuff is just in my head.

Anyway, I don’t like naturalism of the sort Rod is invoking. I think it buys into some of the biggest propaganda of the left. I say propaganda because much of the naturalism (by which I mean the view that things “unadulterated by man” are always better) is based on a series of lies and deliberate misunderstandings. Take the cows Rod prefers “as God made them.” Well, in reality, the cows God made are very hard to find and probably taste terrible compared to what we find at Mortons. Cows have been genetically engineered for thousands of years, through selective breeding programs. The “organic” beef we buy at Whole Foods simply does not occur in nature. Ditto for chicken, pork and all the other tasty animals.

And that goes for even non-tastey animals — like humans. When people arrive simply “as God made them” they are a mess, physically, emotionally, psychologically, politically and — trust me on this — literally. Moreover, I believe theology is on my side on this. We are born in sin after all. It is only through the acts of man that God-made humans improve. How that improvement takes place depends on your individual faith. But the point remains that without teaching, understanding, training and insight or revelation, we remain a mess. Sure God is the conductor directing this whole symphony, but without the very human musicians no one would ever get the tune right. Give a baby a violin without human instruction and you’ve got an expensive chew toy.

I do believe there is something hardwired into our genetic codes which makes such appeals to nature “as God made it” sound more authoritative than they really are — and that alone should teach us something about the kind of world we want to live in. But if the choice is to live in any God-made world — save Eden — unimproved by man and technology or to live in a society with man’s handiwork all around, I’ll choose the latter every time.

For more on this you can see my whacky column about my hernia operation. You didn’t this post was ending there did you?

Let The Pryor Battle Begin


Next Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Alablama Attorney General BIll Pryor’s nomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Yes — Every Tuesday and Friday


Paul Krugman wants to know if he’s exaggerating when says the “selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history — worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra.” . . . Um, that’s an easy one: “Yes!” In fact, as Don Luskin points out in the latest edition of the Krugman Truth Squad, Krugman can be seen exaggerating, and outright lying, every Tuesday and Friday in the New York Times. But now, in an expected twist, the liar — in lockstep with the left-leaning media — is crying “liar!” But the Truth Squaders are all over it. Just as they can handle Krugman lie for lie, they can also defend the president false-accusation for false-accusation. Be sure to check in with the Squad today.

Victory - Clarification


Given some of the e-mails I’ve received, I thought I should make clear that although I suspect the Supreme Court will strike down the federal partial-birth abortion ban, that is not the basis for my claim below. Rather, it is that under almost any reasonable constitutional interpretation, the ban is unconstitutional. Moreover, while I suspect the Supremes will strike the law down, I have little confidence they will do so on the proper constitutional grounds.



There is perhaps no columnist or pundit whose views I have less respect for than Arianna Huffington. I can muster some respect even for the Scheers, Ivins and Conasons of the world whereas for Huffington I have nothing. Anyway, she’s been emailing me her column for a while now and each time I’ve responded with a request — very polite at first — to be removed from her mailing list. I’ve never heard back and the drek kept coming. So today, I finally did the right thing and simply blocked her email from ever coming to my account. It felt good.

Re: Victory?


Glenn Reynolds and I have made the same point as Prof. Adler, at greater length.
Outlawing a particular type of abortion procedure simply isn’t within a reasonable understanding of Congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. Partial-birth abortion is horrible, and if I were a state legislator, I would support a state-level ban. But abortion performed within a single state is not “interstate commerce.” Nor is divorce, gun possession, drug possession, most violent crimes, and many other human activities.



I’m sorry to be so disagreeable, but I don’t think it’s a “victory” when the House passes unconstitutional legislation. A federal ban on partial birth abortion is simply beyond the scope of Congress’ enumerated powers. A federal ban on a medical procedure, like a federal murder statute, is not a regulation of “commerce among the several states.” Banning only on those procedures “in or affecting interstate commerce” is a farce. While Ramesh has made a reasonable argument that federal abortion legislation could be justified under the 14th Amendment, Congress has not made the sorts of findings that would be necessary to support such claim, and the 14th Amendment argument is weak when Congress only elects to target one method of abortion. There should be no constitutional barrier to state bans on partial-birth abortion — such as Ohio’s ban, which the Bush Administration is defending in federal court — but such legislation is simply not within the scope of federal power.

Re: Victory


Not only did the House pass the bill to ban partial-birth abortion, Kathryn, but it did so by a larger margin than before. The bill passed 282-139 (with only 5 Republicans on the “no” side), compared to 274-151 the last time around. Also, the House rejected an attempt to gut the bill. Republican Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania and Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland said they wanted to ban all late-term abortions, subject to an exception for health—which meant that an abortionist would be in the clear so long as he claimed that the abortion was necessary for the mother’s mental health. This maneuver failed by 133-287, with the hard-core pro-abortion members siding with anti-abortionists. The bill is one step closer to a presidential signature–and, alas, a judicial veto.

Take Care of That Lapsed Subscription :-)


That’s right: We’ll send you 4 FREE issues of National Review at absolutely no risk to you. If you’re impressed by National Review’s superior writing style, analysis, and wit, we’ll send you the next 12 issues — for a total of 16 in all! — for only $19.95. Click here for details.



A reader who reads NRO closer than I do (including my own stuff?) , evidently, writes:

I’m a long-time reader of the Corner and NRO (I must admit I’ve let my NRODT
sub. lapse…). I just saw your post on the Corner entitled “MAYBE WE SAW
DIFFERENT MOVIES” (8:15pm, Jun 4th), in which you wrote “I always thought the
villain in The Exorcist was satan.”

Although AFI definitely dropped the ball either reporting the results of their
survey or conducting it to begin with, didn’t you yourself report Peter
Blatty’s claim that the villain in the Exorcist isn’t “Satan” either, but
rather, a “Demon” of sorts[here]?

So call me picky… :) In any event, thanks for keeping it real at NRO…



The House has passed a ban on partial-birth abortion.

Maybe We Saw Different Movies


I always thought the villain in The Exorcist was satan. The American Film Institute differs.



Sorry–I’m easily amused right now. In a story on the Hillary book, FNC just a) labelled HRC an “R” b) showed the Trover book shop’s (where I spent way too much money when I worked in the D.C. office) advertisement for her book and the adjacent door to our Washington office. And that’s what has me amused right now.

Sen. Gavora Would Have Been Better


“It’s important that we have the fresh face I’m offering,” says Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican. Oh, is that why she’s in the Senate? I thought it was because of her not-so-fresh last name. She was appointed by her father when he left the Senate to be governor. If Alaska’s voters really want something new, maybe they’ll elect a non-Murkowski next time.



The column isn’t really worth a detailed response. Wasn’t it just 2 weeks ago that people were taunting the Bush administration for coming out for universal health care in Iraq, but not here? Now the taunt is that it is zealously anti-government in both countries–although Hertzberg veers back and forth between these contradictory themes. What I liked most about the column was the conclusion: “Whatever one may think of the global democratic-imperial ambitions of the present Administration, they cannot long coexist with the combination of narrow greed and public neglect it thinks sufficient for what it is pleased to call the homeland. At some point—the sooner the better—a critical mass of Americans will notice.” Is that last sentence plaintive, or just pathetic? Whatever else one may think about Hertzberg’s prediction, it appears to be non-falsifiable. Do Hertzberg, Paul Krugman, and Tina Brown constitute a “critical mass”?

For The Record


[email protected] is a dead address. I check it only rarely. My active email addresses are [email protected] and [email protected] (For reax to my syndicated column) and [email protected] (for feedback on my film work).


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