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(London) Times Watch


Also in the London Times today, this provocative piece from Anatole Kaletsky. The criticism of
the position in which the US now finds itself is harsh, to say the least, but the greatest interest
lies in Kaletsky’s analysis of the Franco-German contribution to the current crisis.



Here’s an interesting article from the London Times on Rummy (which also includes a
nice reference to David Frum’s new book). The writer notes that Rumsfeld and his team
are seen by some critics as “difficult and cranky mountain men hiding
from diplomacy in a cave of reaction”. Apparently that’s not a complimentary description.
Who knew?


Derb Is a Warlock!


Derb, Kathryn and I were just in her spacious, oak-paneled office looking through the advance copy of your book, and we’ve decided that it’s flat-out witchcraft. I refer you to the equations on pp. 104-05. Come on, admit it, those are incantations in an ancient tongue, which, if uttered backwards by the light of a candle burning in Whitaker Chambers’ pumpkin, have the power to turn Noam Chomsky into a Dittohead.

Actually, your grimoire inspired K-Lo and me to hold a ranking contest to see which one of us is dumber in math. It was a disedifying spectacle. As a matter of fact, I was pretty good in math when I went to high school here. Then I went off to this smarty-pants academy, a great school where, tragically, I found myself sitting in trigonometry class with supergenius kids who are probably now working on time travel devices in secret underground CIA labs. The effect of this on my fragile math ego was, to borrow a phrase, “shock and awe.” I curled up in a ball and quit going to class.

I flunked, but managed to graduate anyway, thanks to summer tutorials. But I was never the same again, and to this day, can be reduced to a quivering pot of goo by the very word “cosine.” I am literally not kidding when I tell you that at age 36, I am still haunted by dreams that my Permanent Record has been discovered to have been falsified, and I am now required to go back and re-do my math classes.

Web Briefing: December 18, 2014

News From The State Department


True, it’s a big place with a lot of ground to cover. But I did do a doubletake when I saw the State Department’s most recent press release:
Sea Turtle Conservation and Shrimp Imports

On January 29, 2003, the Department of State determined that Honduras and
Venezuela no longer meet the requirements set by Section 609 of P.L. 101-162
related to the protection of sea turtles in the course of commercial shrimp
harvesting. As a result of this determination, importation of shrimp harvested
in Honduras and Venezuela with commercial fishing technology that may adversely
affect endangered sea turtles will be prohibited. However, imports of shrimp
harvested in Honduras and Venezuela by other means, including by aquaculture
and with artisanal methods, may continue….


Crunchy Con in Dc


Crunchy-cons in the DC area might be interested in coming out to a do put on by the America’s Future Foundation on Wednesday March 12. It’s a free discussion of crunchy conservatism. AEI’s Steven Hayward and I are going to bat around a few ideas on this curious species of right-winger for the pleasure and edification of all and sundry. The event is going to be at the Fund for American Studies (1706 New Hampshire Ave., NW). Drinks at 7 p.m., dinner and discussion at 7:30. If you plan to show, write to [email protected] and let them know. Sorry, but my wife is out of town, so I cannot offer sachets of her homemade granola as lovely parting gifts. You’ll take your Turtle Wax and be happy.

Bush V. Gore


NRO readers will know that Political Theorist and George Mason University Law Professor, Peter Berkowitz, along with Washington Post editorial-page staffer, Benjamin Wittes, have written, singly and together, and important series of articles arguing that the widespread criticism of Bush v. Gore is overblown and highly questionable. Berkowitz and Wittes are about to publish the definitive version of their analysis as an article in the Villanova Law Review. A preview of this article, “The Lawfulness of the Election Decision: A Reply to Professor Tribe,” in the form of a working paper, has now been posted on the Internet.

News Readers?


He wasn’t exactly eye candy, but a good candidate for the news reader hall of fame was Britain’s legendary (and much missed) Reginald Bosanquet. His eccentric, yet curiously distinguished, renderings of the day’s crises were a badly needed antidote to the miseries of 1970s Britain, particularly the rather slurred bulletins that were always a highlight of the Christmas holidays.

The Jewish Conspiracy


I wasn’t going to say anything about the tone and content of last night’s Nightline feeding into anti-Semitic conspiracy thought. Some of the leading lights of the Project for a New American Century happen to be Jewish. As I was watching the show, I thought, “Oh boy, the Jew-haters are going to go wild with this.” But I didn’t say anything about it, not wanting to overreact.

Well, a reader wrote a short time ago:

I just heard a caller to the Diane Rehm show this morning spin out the same theory, with an ugly edge. He noted most of the neo-cons were “Jewish Americans” and implied that their unwavering support for Israel was the prime source of their motivation.

The reader went on to say that last week he was having a beer at a his regular watering hole in Old Town, Alexandria, when he struck up a conversation with a woman who was born and raised in Marin County, California. When Iraq came up, the woman started in with the usual America-bashing. Then things turned ugly.

What eventually caused me to walk away within seconds of punching her lights out was when she said the U.S. got what it deserved on 9-11 because we are a terrorist state, and that you can’t believe anything in the news media “because everyone knows the Jews control this country.” What shocked me was this wasn’t some skinhead from northern Idaho but a cosmopolitan, educated woman from Marin County. Have I been leading a sheltered life?

Yes sir, you have. But then again, we all have. I have heard the same thing recently come out of the mouths of some intelligent, sophisticated, educated people — the kind of people who should know better. I’m not talking about merely disagreeing or criticizing the policies of the Israeli government. This goes beyond that.

One Heck of a Paddy’s Day?


Re: Fox Attire


A reader notes that my earlier posting that “I prefer my news and comment
without knickers” can be understood more than one way. I have no idea what
he means.

Largest Chee-to in The World


Sticky Wicket


Knowing my English origins, readers occasionally ask me to explain the game
of cricket for them. Glad to oblige. Here you go. (Thanks to Shiva
Pennathur for this link.)

Bush Holding Press Conference Tonight...


Heading Off The Stampede


Yes, yes, yes. I know about

Still Debating Estrada


Small War in The Congo


The late Claud Cockburn claimed that when he was a sub-editor at the London
Times, he won a competition among his colleagues for the most boring
headline ever to make it into the pages of that august Paper of Record. The
winning headline was: SMALL EARTHQUAKE IN CHILE–NOT MANY DEAD. I was
thinking about that this morning, reading the Africa news. Here
is a clip from the BBC
about a small war that’s been going on in the north-east Congo this last 5
years. More than two million people have died. There has just been a
massacre of “hundreds of civilians.” A major battle seems to be going on…
It’s OK, though: the U.N. is sending a team to “investigate.” Thank
goodness for the U.N.!

Re Hot News Anchors


I’ve always had strong opinions on this subject. If you ask news execs why news personalities have to be good-looking, you’ll get lots gobbedygook at first. But after that, they attempt to justify having underwear models read the news by noting — accurately — that people like to look at beautiful people (It’s a fact, look it up. We tend to trust good looking people more than ugly people). They then say that this is ultimately a public good because, at the margins, it attracts more people to the news, which is socially redeeming because we need an informed citizenry. Fine, fine, I say. But if that’s the case, why not have topless anchors? (Just to clarify, I mean anchorettes. Nobody wants to see Dan Rather’s pecs every night). Or, if that’s too much, why not have a naked woman in a little screen in the corner, like they used to have for sign language translators? That would certainly get teenage boys to watch the news more — a demographic we desperately need to educate. The naked women could do jumping jacks.

What Do Hazmat Knickers Look Like?


Sorry to flog dead horse, Kathryn, but I can’t stop myself trying to imagine
Laurie Dhue in a hazmat suit.

Hey, Over Here!


Now that the great FOXXX debate is over, onto other media business. Media outlets in NYC have supposedly been armed with protective gear in case of bio or other attacks. I’m looking around, and don’t see the delivery at NR world headquarters. Rod had already volunteered to run down to the scene of any attack (I’m totally kidding, Mrs. Dreher!), so where is his hazmat suit?

Common Ground


I can meet you on this one, Kathryn. I, too, draw the line at underwear.
I’d like my news & commentary without the knickers.


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