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Jonah, we’ll have a review up from Tom Hibbs in the morning.

Matrix, Reloaded


I saw it last night. It’s good, not great. Parts are great. Parts are poor (dialogue and plot-wise). The Wachowski brothers seemed to have asked each other several times “Wouldn’t it be cool if….?” And answered the question wrong. Nevertheless, it’s very enjoyable and it’s entirely possible the third Matrix will fix many of the problems with the second one. I’m not going to review it for NRO but, once again, Stephen Hunter does a
great job (though I think I liked it a bit more than him). Personally, though, it’s a not a review I would read until after I saw the movie.


Small Deficit


Look, I wish that President Bush—and, more important, Republican and Democratic congressmen—were tougher on spending too. I think he should have vetoed the farm bill to force Congress to send him a smaller one. But that’s because I want a smaller federal government, not because I care about the deficit. Many voters, it’s true, tell pollsters that they care about deficits. But how much do they care? When has it been an issue independent of the state of the economy? When has anyone ever lost an election for cutting taxes too much?

Web Briefing: December 25, 2014

Solipsism Alert


“When I see the president campaigning for another huge tax cut, while the deficit heads into the clouds, I have to ask whether this administration is serious about economic and fiscal responsibility. And, hey, I loathe taxes. If the Bushies are losing me on this issue, they’re screwed.”—Andrew Sullivan




Instapundit on Senator Charles Schumer’s traveling with an armed bodyguard: “Yes, but you see, Schumer’s life is important. He needs the protection. It’s not like he’s just some single mother working late at a convenience store or something” (emphasis in original).

Burning Glass


A review copy of the new Stephen Glass novel, The Fabulist, arrived in the office yesterday. Should I burn it? That’s the question I ask in my just-posted NRO article. What else might be done? If you have any ideas, please send them to the email mentioned at the end of the article.

Re: Mariachi Snipe


That would be the same Bush who was just embraced by a roaring National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast. And, yes, began his remarks en espanol, which, you know, he speaks fluently. Just for the record. (Jim Boulet, we can leave associated issues alone just now.)

Now That’s Getting Him On Substance!


Terry McAuliffe knocks GOP Hispanic outreach: “George Bush invites a mariachi band down to the White House, and he thinks that’s Hispanic outreach.”

Re: Fob


Add that to the list of questions I would ask Hill about if I were Oprah (assuming O gets the first Hillary book interview). Remember too, Oprah has that extra on-air gab time on oxygran–the possibilites are endless.

Friend of Bill


K Lo: People should keep reading that New York Times story you linked to last night. Below the bit about Clinton’s Secret Service detail, the former president tells the Times what he’s reading right now: How the Scots Invented the Modern World, by Arthur Herman. “You should read it,” says the only president to be impeached in the 20th century. Indeed you should–it’s a great book. And its latest reader should know that Arthur Herman is a National Review contributor, and therefore a card-carrying member of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

That Eckstein


Well, the flash-in-the-pan Angels (as I called them after one game this year) are now looking again like the giant killers of last year. My dislike of the Angels is entirely driven by envy. These guys can play–especially David Eckstein. Last night in the seventh, with the tying run on third with one out, you just knew somehow Eckstein would find a way to get him in. When he couldn’t quite do it with the suicide squeeze–pushing it foul–he did it on the next pitch with a sacrifice fly just deep enough to score the runner. Awesome to behold. The difference in team-character between the Angels and the Yanks is still the difference between their lead-off hitters, between Eckstein and Soriano, one a discipled and scrappy contact hitter, the other a prodigiously talented but unruly, all-or-nothing free-swinger.

Help--Bob Graham


If you have interesting thoughts about Sen. Graham’s assault on the Bush administration (a Ponnuru piece will be up soon on the site) on the war on terrorism, I’d love to hear them.

Raines Going Nowhere


Bill Clinton’s Secret Service Detail’s Details


Since when does the Secret Service concern itself with reporters’ notetaking? Apparently they do when they’re with the 42nd president. From today’s New York Times:

The revelation in the historian ROBERT DALLEK’S new book, “An Unfinished Life” that President JOHN F. KENNEDY apparently had an affair with a teenage intern got us wondering if former President BILL CLINTON, who has had his own problems in this department, had read the book.

We found him at the Asia Society Spring Gala at Cipriani at 42nd Street on Monday night. Mr. Clinton received a standing ovation when he arrived. When we introduced ourselves, he praised the work of our colleague, ELISABETH ROSENTHAL, who received an award from the group for her reportage from China. Then a well-wisher interrupted us. A Secret Service agent noticed that we were taking notes.

“Ms.,” the agent said. “You cannot report on Mr. Clinton’s conversation.”

“It’s O.K.,” Mr. Clinton said.

Saudi Reaction


There is this—”The Enemy Within“–from the Arab News:

We have to face up to the fact that we have a terrorist problem here. Last week’s Interior Ministry announcement that 19 Al-Qaeda members, 17 of them Saudis, had planned terrorist attacks in the country and were being hunted was a wake-up call — particularly to those who steadfastly refuse to accept that individual Saudis or Muslims could ever do anything evil, who still cling to the fantasy that Sept. 11 and all the other attacks laid at the doors of terrorists who happen to be Arab or Muslim were in fact the work of the Israelis or the CIA. For too long we have ignored the truth. We did not want to admit that Saudis were involved in Sept. 11. We can no longer ignore that we have a nest of vipers here, hoping that by doing so they will go away. They will not. They are our problem and we all their targets now.

Somewhat shocking.

That is in English, however. The English-language state-sponsored daily that they know we read.

So what’s being said in Arabic? Here’s a Saudi columnist MEMRI translates for us:

Hamad bin Hamed Al-Salame wrote: “Oh foreign cave-dwellers, depart our country and go to hell!… Leave us. We are a believing people, and our government is wise… Go with all your ugliness and baseness… Go to hell. All your terrorist acts and bomb blasts will not make us bow our heads… Go to the place from whence you came, to the caves of Tora Bora, and kiss the feet of your masters who taught you to spill blood and kill innocents… They were the ones who taught you how to lie, deceive, and mislead the simple folk. Go, cowards… go to hell, or go to the heaven of your leader, who taught you sorcery in the caves of Tora Bora. Sit by his side in the dark paradise of ugly ideas and deeds… which if distributed to all the inhabitants of the Earth would suffice them until the Day of Judgment…”

“Go, idiots, and awaken all the sleeper cells… Wake them, and go with them, far from us. You have no place among us… Go to hell.”(8)

Not the usual Saudi press. Wonder what the Wahhabi imans will be saying Friday…

Leave It to West Wing


A Republican is more of a threat to free government than terrorists…(I was just doing that without spoilers there).



My remarks about Katie Couric yesterday apparently tapped into a deep vein
of Katie-phobia across the nation. You should see some of my e-mails.
Really, people, that is no way to talk about America’s Sweetheart. And do
you really think that the adjective “perky” was put upon the earth by
Beelzebub to destroy our souls? Much discussion about why we find Katie so
jaw-clenchingly horrible. It’s not the gums–I personally ADORE Andie
MacDowall. It wasn’t even the colonoscopy on prime-time TV–that was in a
good cause after all, and followed a heartbreaking personal tragedy. So
what is it? Could it be… could it be the woman’s drearily predictable,
cookie-cutter, bought-the-whole-package, New-York-Times-seal-of-approval set
of left-liberal opinions? Which are so glaringly obvious even when she
makes one of her laughably unconvincing attempts at high-road journalistic
objectivity? Could it?…..

I Rest My Case


In today’s column I lament the media’s inability to even entertain the idea that race was an issue in the Jayson Blair story. Courtland Milloy tells us that to even raise the question reveals pathologies far greated than poor Jayson’s:

“That such obvious distress could so easily morph into a media feeding frenzy over questions such as “Did he receive preferential treatment because he is black?” and “Is diversity a good thing?” reflects shortcomings far more pathological than those displayed by Blair.

Guns & Naacp Ruling


The jury has reached a verdict in the NAACP suit against the firearms industry.
The plaintiffs have failed on every count. Thirty-eight of the industry defendants were unanimously found not liable by the 12-person jury. Seven other defendants were found not liable by 10 or 11 members of the jury. For 23 other defendants, the jury could not reach a verdict. The jury is an “advisory jury,” and Brooklyn federal judge Jack Weinstein is free to accept or reject any of the jury’s findings within the next 30 days. In the Seton Hall Legislative Journal,
I argued that the Second Amendment should be protected from abusive lawsuits just as the First Amendment is protected from libel lawsuits which might interfere with a free press.

Jayson Blair & Announcement


G-File is up. Check it out.


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