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Traffic Agonistes



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John Hawkins of Right Wing News has compiled a list of the top 50
political websites. It was nice of him to do and worth looking at. But the problem is he uses the Alexa service as his source. He notes some of the problems with Alexa, but not all of them. The biggest problem, as I understand it, is that Alexa ranks sites using based upon visitors who use the Alexa tool bar or otherwise register with them. And, Netscape and Mac users can’t even download the toolbar if they want to. So, they are invisible to Alexa. As you can imagine, this wildly skews results. So much so some sites have come to believe that Alexa actually reflects their real comparative rankings rather than their ranking among a small and disproportionate subset of web users (some of whom might be disposed to playing games to artificially spike their traffic). So while it’s nice to be listed as the #7 political website, we have to take it with a grain of salt (though I suspect we might rank higher).

Careless Conceptions



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I mentioned the other day that it was a mistake to assume that there would be 42 million more Americans if not for abortion, because legalized abortion increased the conception rate. Steve Sailer reminds me that “social scientists have estimated that 60%-75% of the fetuses aborted in the 1970s would not have been conceived if not for legalized abortion.” He also points me toward the John Donohue-Steven Levitt paper on abortion and crime, which cites evidence that abortion reduced the birth rate by only 5 percent. That paper was widely criticized (by Sailer and me, among others), but not on this point.

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France



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Web Briefing: July 23, 2014

Against Gonzales, Pt. 2



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We’ll probably never know what precise impact the Bush brief will have on the fate of racial preferences, because Supreme Court justices and their clerks don’t discuss such things–at least not until memoir-writing time. Yet Sandra Day O’Connor is generally viewed as the swing justice in these 5-4 votes, as the big and meaningful ones tend to be, and may be enough of a Republican loyalist to look with sympathy upon what the administration and its lawyers tell her through these formal channels. That’s why the stakes are so high in the opinions expressed in a brief. And consider what a disaster it will be if the Supreme Court allows that “diversity” is an educational necessity allowing the unequal treatment of individuals: So much of the hard work of Ward Connerly, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Linda Chavez, Abigail Thernstrom, Roger Clegg, Tom Wood, Glynn Custred–I’d could go on, and on, and on–will have been overruled. But Alberto Gonzales’s little brief will have been accepted.

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Email From Poppa Goldberg



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On the Left defending Iraq’s “sovereignty”:

It’s peculiar to listen to lefties make “sovereignty” a sacrosanct issue, so that it is sinful to attack the “sovereign” state of Iraq. Without going into the merits of it, historically the Left has been against the concept of sovereignty. This is what broke up the Second International at the outset of WWI, in which the socialist parties had been expected to be “international” in the sense that Marx and Bakunin (a leader in the 2nd International) made the case that the working classes in France and Germany had more in common with each other than with their respective states. To the chagrin of the traditionalist Lefties, the socialist parties sided with their respective nation-states, rather than with the international workingclass movement. One of the very few socialist parties to uphold the anti-sovereign position was Lenin’s Bolsheviks.

Against Gonzales



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Everybody worries that if President Bush nominates White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court, his administrtaion will have created its very own David Souter. Conservatives have been worried about Gonzales, but they’ve shied away from declaring outright opposition. This reluctance should end right now, based upon what Robert Novak reports in this column: Gonzales played a decisive role in the severely disappointing brief filed in the University of Michigan racial preferences cases before the Supreme Court, over the the objections of Ted Olson and probably most of the other conservative lawyers at the Department of Justice and Department of Education. If it hadn’t been for Gonzales, in fact, the Bush administration would have taken a principled stand against racial preferences.

Ritter Crashes, Burns



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Anybody catch Scott Ritter on Aaron Brown’s show tonight? Man, what a pathetic boob. He was asked straight off about his arrest having to do with being caught in an Internet sex-with-minors police sting, and he refused to talk about it. He said he was obligated by “the rule of law” to respect the court’s seal in the matter, and not talk about it. Aaron Brown was ready for this, and told Ritter to cut the crap, there was no such law preventing him from discussing this. Ritter wouldn’t budge, and claimed that because the case (the details of which he refused to discuss) had been dismissed, we are all obliged to think of him as innocent. He looked like a fool. We’ll never hear from him again.

Bush Loves Affirmative Action?



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Christopher Caldwell thinks the U. of M. briefs put President Bush squarely on the side of affirmative action. He writes: “The Bush memos are the most important substantive defense of affirmative action ever issued by a sitting president. If the Court accepts the president’s reasoning, it will have rescued affirmative action from what appeared to be a terminal constitutional illogic. More than that–it will have secured for this rickety program an indefinite constitutional legitimacy.”

Nyc Needs Catalunyan Design



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Somebody else agrees with me that Antoni Gaudi ought to be the architect for the World Trade Center redux.

Suv Market Research



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As I noted in my anti-anti-SUV column, Gregg Easterbrook and Keith Bradsher make much of auto industry market research which purports to show that SUV owners are “insecure and vain,” and “frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood.” This prompted a response from an NRO reader and former product planner with a major automaker who worked on the development of several successful SUV models. He found Bradsher’s characterization of the industry research suspect and implausible, and offered his own take:

If I had to describe with one phrase the motivation of an SUV buyer from my experience, I would borrow “Be Prepared” from the Boy Scouts. Consistently, our market research told us that SUV owners know that they may never use many of the features and attributes of their vehicles, but that they want them anyway, just in case.
What many anti-SUVers fail to accept is that many SUV owners place substantial value on such versatility, making SUVs the right vehicles for their wants and needs.

Racism in Newsrooms



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Andrew Sullivan yesterday quoted a Boston Globe columnist who wrote, “The editor of a sizable newspaper told me recently that he decided the racial makeup of four new hires – two minorities, a white woman, and a white male – before reviewing a single applicant.” Andrew commented: “Isn’t that illegal? And if a leading editor is enforcing illegal racist hiring policies, shouldn’t a journalist tell us who he or she is? Or are liberal editors above the law?”

A similar thing happened to me. I can’t tell you the newspaper involved, because it could get innocent people there who were honest with me fired. I was interested in a position at the Bugle (we’ll call it), also a sizable newspaper. My clips and resume was greeted with sincere enthusiasm by the section editors, who told me arranging a job interview would be simply a formality. Suddenly I didn’t hear from the Bugle for a long, long time. I was told by a highly-placed source within the Bugle’s management that my status as a white male hurt me with the top editors, that the paper was looking to hire a minority.

Not sure if I believed this, I communicated with the (white male) managing editor, and told him I’d be willing to fly to his city at my own expense if he’d at least grant me an interview. He refused, and wouldn’t give a reason. I knew something was up. I later discovered from a sympathetic source inside the paper that the Bugle had done the same thing to another white male candidate for a job — they told him point-blank that he was the most qualified of all applicants, but that he would have to wait for them to do a national search for a female and/or racial minority candidate first.

Anyway, journalism jobs are so scarce that people in the biz don’t want to taint themselves by making trouble. But one of these days, these racist liberal bastards are going to face a discrimination lawsuit from a white guy who only wants a fair shake at a job, and is being denied it because of his sex and/or the color of his skin.

Help--Depleted Uranium



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I’d like to try to write a column about the controversy over depleted uraniam weapons. I assume the criticism of them is hysterical and wrong-headed, but would love to hear from anyone with expert knowledge about them at this e-mail.

Meaningless Polls:



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The Washington Post has a poll today saying most Americans support more time for inspections. Of course they do. The same dynamic was at work in the first Gulf War, when, if memory serves, people opposed sending 500,000 troops to the region, opposed started the air war, and opposed starting the ground war, but swung around and supported Bush I after he undertook each action. It’s up to Bush to lead.

No Corrupt Deal With The Saudis:



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I frankly don’t care about a war crimes trial for Saddam. This isn’t about achieving cosmic justice in Iraq. But I’d strenuously oppose any exile deal or coup that has us effectively working with the Saudis to:

1) preserve a Sunni baathist regime in Baghdad, thus ensuring the continuation of that model of governance in the Middle East;

2) maintain the oil status quo, in which Iraq under-produces and the Saudis slurp up the extra market-share; 3) repair our relationship with
the Saudis by working out such a deal with them rather than radically undercutting the relationship by creating something totally new in Iraq, over their objections.

For My Sins:



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Perhaps for the sin of assigning Jonah the vegan article, I’ve come down with the flu and eaten nothing except about a dozen Saltine crackers over the last two days. At this point I’m even craving legumes.

Go, Frederica, Go!



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I know we’ve had a lot of pro-Frederica stuff on The Corner, but I’ve just read her long NRO piece, and … wow! It’s terrific. I should also encourage you to write to National Public Radio ([email protected]) and thank them for running her pro-life commentary this morning, if you’ve heard it (follow K-Lo’s link below if you haven’t). Our side loves to complain about public broadcasting’s anti-conservative bias, but when PBS or NPR does something right, we should praise them.

Principle and Poverty



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Rod – I’m not saying you’re unprincipled in your position. Rather the principle you’re upholding isn’t one I disagree with. No supporter of the death penalty I know of actually favors an error rate of any kind. The question is whether or not we are willing to tolerate error — in the abstract — in order to maintain the death penalty. I find it more than a little objectionable when anti-death penalty proponents say proponents favor the execution of innocent people. But that’s an argument we’ve all heard by now.

But as for your comments about Columbia or impoverished nations needing the death penalty more, I find that a very morally problematic argument. It places the justification for the death penalty in pure utilitarianism. I think deterrence matters and that utilitarianism is a legitimate consideration. And I agree that in such a country the death penalty might be more useful than it is here, the question still boils down to justice. Is the death penalty just? Yes. Is it moral? Yes. So if a person deserves and we can prove he and he alone deserves it, concerns about the larger problems with the death penalty don’t matter. Here’s a

Sharpton H.Q. Burns Down



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One day after he declared his candidacy for the U.S. presidency, the Rev. Al Sharpton’s Harlem headquarters burned down. No word yet on the cause of the blaze, or as to whether or not Marinus van der Lubbe had anything to do with it.

By The Way



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Re: D.P. Debate



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Actually, Jonah, I think I am against the death penalty on principle: the principle that justice is better served by allowing murderers to remain alive in prison until their natural deaths, rather than risk putting an innocent man to death. What’s not principled about that? I admit I cannot make my mind up on whether the death penalty is essentially immoral. I’m inclined to think it’s not, though again, my judgment is contingent on societal conditions. A place like (say) Colombia, which suffers from poverty and corruption, is far less able than America to guarantee that a convicted killer will be locked away for life. The death penalty is therefore, in my view, more justifiable there than here. Anyway, the main reason I didn’t suggest ways to “mend it, don’t end it” is because K-Lo gave you and me a limit of 500 words in which to make our case. For the record, I’m all in favor of raising the evidentiary bar in capital cases, for the same reason that I favor laws restricting abortion, even as I wish to see abortion outlawed. Why make the perfect the enemy of the good? But your military analogy doesn’t work, I think, because there is no reasonable alternative to having a military, so we have to live with the possibility of friendly-fire deaths. There is a reasonable alternative to capital punishment.

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