Politics & Policy

Justice Kennedy cinches it, &c.

Yesterday, I read a headline on Drudge: “Supremes to Rule on Gun Rights.” I thought, “Didn’t the Framers already rule on that?” But no: There must be Anthony Kennedy’s up or down.

I’m not sure I can order a ham sandwich without Kennedy’s up or down . . .

‐The Obama camp is unhappy with the Hillary Clinton camp, because the Hillaryites referred to the other candidate as “B.H.O.,” whereas Obama’s people refer to him as “B.O.” The Obamites regard “B.H.O.” as a sinister allusion to their candidate’s middle name, “Hussein.”

And Hussein is the name that dare not speak its name (or something) in 2008.

Me, I don’t know: whether “B.H.O.” is for sure worse than “B.O.” . . .

What would Barry Manilow say?

‐Friends, can I just say it ain’t easy — ain’t easy at all — debating Middle Easterners on television, or anywhere at all? My hat is off to David Pollock, a former State Department official, for going on Iranian TV. He is saying that U.S.-led forces liberated Iraq. And pretty soon, a “Syrian political analyst” is saying to him, “You are a terrorist. I can call you a terrorist. . . . You enjoy watching blood being bled. You enjoy drinking blood.” And so on.

Yup, yup — very familiar. I’ve seen it for years, starting in graduate school — undergrad, actually — and continuing on into Davos, etc. Never changes. Is it getting a little better? Dunno — maybe.

Anyway, if you’d like to see this particular performance — Pollock and his friends — consult the Middle East Media Research Institute, here.

‐We know that, in Russia, journalists have the habit of dying — I mean, of being murdered. Are Venezuelan journalists picking up the same, bad habit?

Chávez has not yet completely Castroized the country, and there are still some media outlets critical of him. RCTV is one of them. Couple of weeks ago, its anchorman Javier García was stabbed to death in his apartment. Could have been just a random crime. Chávez’s people have pledged to investigate. Be interesting to see what they turn up, won’t it?

And, if I were a Venezuelan journalist, I’d be wary of criticizing the government — could be bad for your health, you know?

Incidentally, Americans such as Kevin Spacey, Bill Clinton’s friend, think Chávez is just swell . . .

‐I wonder if you read a story about Frank Buckles. You can find an AP report here. He is the last American-born veteran of the Great War, as they once called it. He is 107 years old. During the Second War, he happened to be in the Philippines on business — when the Japanese invaded. They took him prisoner, holding him for more than three years. Later, he settled on a farm in West Virginia.

Congress honored him, because they’re doing something about the Armistice, whose 90th anniversary is this year.

It is now fashionable to say that World War I was wrong and unnecessary. I disagree: I believe it was a great and noble and necessary cause. Of course, these days, people are dumping on the Allied effort in the Second War, too — misguided or malicious souls on both left and right.

They’re all “wars of choice” — inflicted on the world by bloodthirsty, grandiose old men — ya know?


Anyway, I salute Cpl. Frank Buckles, as emphatically as I can.

‐Last week, NRO published my review of Lessons from the Poor: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, edited by Alvaro Vargas-Llosa (son of the writer) of the Independent Institute. The review is entitled “How to Kill Poverty.”

Many readers wrote in about it, and I’d like to quote one of them:

Hello, Mr. Nordlinger,

Fuller E. Callaway (1870-1928) was a remarkable textile entrepreneur in Georgia. His wife, Ida, wrote that he was “one of the most esteemed and useful men of his generation.” Useful, no kidding! He was a prosperity machine. We ordinary folks ride on the backs of such useful men.

I loved that. And if you’d like to learn more about Callaway, try this.

‐Have been scribbling lately about Tiger Woods — who hasn’t? — and have received many, many letters about him. Would like to publish just one:

Jay — just read your June 20 column ending with Tiger’s statement on race. My wife and I are the proud parents of two adopted multiracial little boys and we have many conversations about how to deal with the outwardly physical differences between us and our children. Tiger’s words gave me much hope (not in an Obama way!) concerning how we can raise our children despite never-ending racialism — and we experience it across the socio-economic spectrum.

Our boys are partially black, Hispanic, and white. We’re trying our best to instill in them that they can be great because they have potential and choices and opportunities in this country. Don’t even get me started on Obama’s being touted as “black,” and not “biracial.” What’s so bad about being biracial?

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for what you published. I’m not drawn to golf in the least, but I’m always amazed at how people of all backgrounds are drawn to Tiger Woods — and I understand why.

‐Feel like a little music? Olli Mustonen, the Finnish pianist-conductor-composer, has a new record out — Beethoven concertos. For a review of it, published in the New York Sun, go here.

‐The other week, I published an impromptu about Nina Ananiashvili, the Georgian ballerina. Since then, readers have been clamoring, “More ballet, more ballet!” Okay — I have another note for you. Which will double as a language note.

The American Ballet Theatre calls itself — well, the American Ballet Theatre. Note that British spelling in there. And if you want to write “Theatre,” instead of “Theater,” that’s fine with me (although, if you’re an American, it’s a little weird). But a British spelling in the name “American Ballet Theatre”? That’s just bizarre.

It’s as though Britain’s military people called themselves the “Ministry of Defense.” It’s as though the Gompers people had called themselves the “American Federation of Labour.’

Anyway . . .

I hope you have a great weekend, dearhearts.


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