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What If Scott Ritter Were a Priest?



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The New York Times still hasn’t reported that former UN weapons inspector and present anti-war activist Scott Ritter was busted in a juvenile sex sting. Wonder why that is? Blogger Anne Wilson doesn’t buy CNN’s excuse for being late to report the story (the network said it had to do its own reporting first). She wonders how reticent these oh-so-responsible news organizations would have been to report the salacious but newsworthy arrest if Scott Ritter had been a well-known priest instead of a leading voice criticizing President Bush’s war policy. Good point.

Dr Pepper and Haggis



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Gee, thanks Andrew. Now you’ve got my wife all stirred up again. “He’s trashing Dr Pepper again!” she fumed. “No haggis for Andrew Stuttaford!” I reminded her that if not for you and Papa Goldberg, there are no others in our circles who would dare to eat the thing. “Well, okay,” Julie said, “but he has to drink Dr Pepper with it.” I wouldn’t wish that on anybody; the Macallan will do just fine.

Happy Bobbie Burns Day, y’all. Maybe the Goldbergs can be persuaded to hold a Mardi Gras dinner for Jonah’s NYC colleagues. Now that he’s no longer vegan, Jonah can come too. We’ll have haggis, gumbo, king cake, Abita, Dr Pepper and the Macallan. Luci can masquerade as Marie Laveau. Who says right-wingers aren’t multicultural? Oh man, I’ve got Professor Longhair on my disc player right now…

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Handed Back



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Here’s a disturbing story from Iraq. Without knowing more of the background it’s impossible to know whether either of these guys were crazy, potential assassins, refugees or defectors with something to say, but shouldn’t the UN inspectors have tried to find out?

Instapundit has more on this.


Web Briefing: December 20, 2014

Re: Great First Lines



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So far, I have no opinion on the subject. But I got this from Poppa Goldberg:

I insist that the greatest opening line is in the early 18th century play “Chrononhotonthologos” by Henry Carey (who was a “Grub Street” hack who also wrote “Namby Pamby” and “Sally in Our Alley”). The memorable opening line: “Aldiborontiphoscophornio! Where left you Chrononhotonthologos?” (Later in the play, Aldiborontiphoscophornio is at times addressed affectionately as “My dear Phoscophorny.” )

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Moxie



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Rumors that Hans Blix is headed south to the Lone Star state to investigate reports of a large cache of a sinister substance known as ‘Dr Pepper’ will come as no surprise to many, but should he stop there? Recent postings on the Corner discussing this questionable mess from Texas have produced a response that includes reports of other mysterious concoctions including ‘Mr. Pibb’ and ‘Dr Thunder’. Up in chilly Maine, meanwhile, any criticism of Moxie, a cold ‘drink’ beloved by the really frozen (Ted Williams was a spokesman), is (I have discovered) poorly received.

What’s Moxie? Well, claims made on some of its early labels included the following:

“Contains not a drop of Medicine, Poison, Stimulant or Alcohol. But is a simple sugarcane-like plant grown near the Equator and farther south, was lately accidentally discovered by Lieut. Moxie and has proved itself to be the only harmless nerve food known that can recover brain and nervous exhaustion, loss of manhood, imbecility and helplessness. It has recovered paralysis, softening of the brain, locomotor ataxia, and insanity when caused by nervous exhaustion. It gives a durable solid strength, makes you eat voraciously, takes away the tired, sleepy, listless feeling like magic, removes fatigue from mental and physical over work at once, will not interfere with action of vegetable medicines. ”

You may laugh, but Calvin Coolidge was (reportedly) a fan – and did he?


Snubbed?



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Hey Rod, what’s this about a haggis feast? I like the stuff too…

Right of First Refusal a Wrong?



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In posting something on the Corner on the new Scottish law that would give crofting ‘communities’ new rights to purchase the land on which they live, I commented that there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with part of it – giving the crofters the right of first refusal when the land comes up for sale.

One reader disagrees:

“Agreeing to a right of first refusal is a huge “give” in negotiations. The reason is that if …[the] asset [is] subject to a right of first refusal… the universe of potential buyers of the asset [is decreased] — many won’t want to spend the time and money required to negotiate a deal… only to have it taken away by the holder of the right of first refusal. By decreasing the universe of buyers, you decrease…liquidity and quite possibly the market price of [the] asset.”

I think he’s right.


Re: Poppa Goldberg Loves Haggis



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Glad to hear it! I shall repair to Casa Goldberg on the Upper West Side with this haggis, and we’ll steam the damn thing together. My kid has taken to thinking of it as a troll dwelling in the back of the freezer. He’s going to start having nightmares soon. I take it out twice a day to let him pet it, and see that the haggis is his friend. It’s not working.

Chandler



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Jay has already given NRO readers a splendid selection of great first lines, but here (quoted in the Economist) is an extract from the opening section of Raymond Chandler’s Red Wind that’s too good not to repeat. Chandler is describing the not always positive effect of the Santa Ana wind that blows into LA from time to time:

“Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks.”

Perfect.


Save The Environment, Stay Married



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You never know what kind of studies researchers are working on. The latest news: Divorce is bad for the environment.

Wingtip Travel Tip



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Going through security at a West Coast airport this week my harmless-seeming (if battered) shoes once again triggered off the system.

“Metal shanks,” explained a sympathetic screener as he studied these not so lethal pieces of fine English footwear. “Try wearing sneakers when you travel and just pack the regular shoes in your hand baggage”.

OK, maybe most people have already worked this out for themselves, but it seemed like good, if aesthetically distressing, advice to pass on to anybody (like me) not smart enough to do so. Just thought I’d mention it.


Mugabe’s Motorcade



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Want to shout at a President? Don’t do it in Zimbabwe. A new law (the Economist notes) “expressly forbids any denigrating noises or motions being made at the presidential motorcade”.

So that’s why Chirac has invited Mugabe to Paris for talks.

Or was it just more of that ‘Old Continent’ wisdom at work again?


Euro Wisdom Watch



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One of the better initiatives of the post-Cold War era has been the establishment of the so-called Nunn-Lugar funds to assist Russia in dismantling or otherwise securing “loose nukes” errant relics of the old Soviet arsenal. A report in this week’s Economist notes that the US spends more on “co-operative threat reduction” in a year than Europeans have over the past ten.

That’s just another reminder that, when it comes to really trying to secure the peace, most of today’s European leaders manage to blend the humility of Marie Antoinette with the statecraft of Neville Chamberlain. They are all about words, nothing about deeds.


Wisdom?



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One of the more revealing responses to Rumsfeld’s jibe about the old and the new Europe was the remark from a French politician that America had much to learn from the wisdom of the old continent.

Ah yes, that would be the continent of the EU – the organization that agreed to abstain when it came to voting on the appointment of Libya to act as the ‘chair’ of the UN’s Human Rights Commission.


Confiscation Watch



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The Scottish parliament, a hothouse of class hatred, ethnic resentment and economic illiteracy, has just passed a bill designed to give crofting ‘communities’ (a ‘crofter’ is (very roughly defined) a tenant – traditionally a smallholder or other agricultural worker – on a large Scottish estate) the right of first refusal to buy ‘their’ land when it comes up for sale. In itself there’s nothing wrong with that – so long as the price is a market price – but what is unacceptable is that, under the new law, the ‘community’ can compel a sale even when the landlord doesn’t want to sell.

Other provisions will increase the access of hikers, ramblers and other (uninvited) visitors to tens of thousands of acres of privately-owned land.

What is it about the notion of private property that the Scottish parliament doesn’t understand?


Poppa Goldberg On Haggis



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My Dad weighs in on the haggis controversy:

I read the items on Haggis in the Corner. It reminds me of “scare foods” when I was a kid – like Limburger cheese, which you weren’t supposed to get close to because the smell was overwhelming. Of course it wasn’t, it’s just that Limburger was one of the few U.S.-made cheeses that resembled authentic European ones. Haggis has been one of these “scare” foods, but it’s delicious – and it’s very much in the same category as Kishke (stuffed derma). Nearly all Jews love Kishke and so they would love Haggis if they were brave enough to overcome it’s dread name. Jewish Kishke is an intestine (the derma) stuffed with beef, lung, rice, and a bunch of herbs and spices. Haggis has much the same but instead of the intestine itself it uses the lung and stomach. There is a great similarity of taste. With Haggis, there can be great ceremony as it has been elevated to a Scottish symbol. With Jews, there is no ceremony with Kishke, beyond the eating of it. Of course, we did contribute the word to the language, and all boxers know what it’s like to be hit in the kishkes.

Re: Easterbrook



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FYI, I’ve long been a big fan of Greg Easterbrook’s so I was pretty disappointed when I heard he said that in the ESPN chatroom. So, while with Cosmo in the park, I wrote to him on my blackberry about his comments and pointed out a couple things. 1) More people read NRO than TNR by a sizable margin. 2) And if he meant “nobody influential” when he said “nobody reads” NRO, he’d have to explain why The New Republic sees fit to comment on it in its own pages so often.

He wrote me back and since it was a private conversation, I won’t repeat it here. But I think he didn’t mean to sound as bad as he did in the chatroom and was simply trying to fend off a request to say something bad about us. I think he failed, but I still think he’s a pretty decent guy. And, besides, the best revenge for NROniks is for us to say nice things about him.

I Like This Letter



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From a reader in the military on the subject of “France”:

Jonah,
I’d be willing to forego my tax cut (much as I support it and need it) to give George W. as much money as he needed to go to France, Belgium and Luxembourg, disinter all of our war dead and bring them home where they belong. Except for the remains, which should be treated like the holy relics they are, I would have no problem with him leaving the place looking like the Ypres salient when he was done. Then they could take their environmental claims to the ICC, or they could blow them out their shorts, (either of which would have the same effect.)

Time Correction



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You know I’ve been thinking about it, and while I agree with Andrew Sullivan — and even Maureen Dowd — that, if true, the wreath story would have represented a dumb decision by Bush, on the merits I’m not 100% sure it would have been so terrible. After all, wasn’t it Lincoln who said, “with malice toward none and charity for all?” He was addressing both the North and the South and he was trying to bring the country together, not to keep the embers of retribution burning. He thought Robert E. Lee was perhaps the finest gentleman of the war and wished he had sided with the North.

Shake-Up in N.C.



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This, from John Hood:

On Friday, a very conservative Republican legislator from the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina announced that he was switching parties, to the Democrats, and would vote for the current Democratic Speaker, Jim Black, to continue to lead the North Carolina House. In a Jeffords-like move, now-Democratic Rep. Michael Decker could reverse one of the Republican Party’s pivotal legislative gains in the November elections, as the GOP recaptured a slightly 61-59 majority in a legislative chamber they first won in the 1994 Republican Revolution. Rumors of a high-level legislative post, a job in the Democratic administration of North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, or at least a boost in Decker’s post-retirement pension as a legislator are among the possible causes of the switch.

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