Monday, October 30, 2006

From the Ashes

"If a conservative order is indeed to return, we ought to know the tradition which is attached to it, so we may rebuild society; if it is not to be restored, still we ought to understand conservative ideas so that we may rake from the ashes what scorched fragments of civilization escape the conflagration of unchecked will and appetite." --Russell Kirk

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Virginia is for Dullards?

Are Southerners, and more specifically Virginians, stupid? That's what Mark Finkelstein believes that Chris Matthews is saying:

All that was missing was the theme music from Deliverance. Not content to condemn George Allen for raising the issue of Jim Webb's racy writing, Chris Matthews decided on this evening's Hardball to slur the entire Commonwealth of Virginia south of the DC suburbs.

Interviewing senior Webb campaign advisor Steve Jarding [Chris did indicate that he had unsuccessfully tried to get an Allen representative on the show], Matthews had this to say:

"Not to take sides but they've had this material since the day Jim Webb announced, and they've chosen to use it now with the risk that it implies, because everybody in Northern Virginia, in this area of the country, reads books, they think."

Although I wouldn' characterize it as a "slur," Matthews is clearly implying that the transplanted members of the overclass who live in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. read more than the average Virginian. For what its worth, I assume he is wrong. Doubtless, these kind of people read books in college and buy more books today -- doorstop biographies of FDR, Lincoln and Churchill -- but actually read them? Yeah, right.

But it is Allen supporters who are clearly hoping that Virginians are so dumb as to be unable to tell fantasy from reality or fiction from nonfiction or Southeast Asia from the United States. I don't know if this slimy little episode will make a difference, but George Allen is clearly the loser. He has repeatedly made an an ass of himself and has now stooped to digging up dirty passages from his opponents writing. He may win another term in the Senate that he doesn't really want; but he will never, ever be president -- which he really, really wants.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Man of Macaca

James Webb should be feeling pretty good right now. A hamhanded attempt by the Allen campaign to destroy him by publicizing weird and dirty passages from his "fiction novels" seems to have had a positive effect on sales of Lost Soldiers and Fields of Fire.

Webb will either be a U.S. senator next year, or he will be positioned to write a bestselling Roman a clef about a creepy senator who sends his staff to the library to find the dirty passages in novels so he doesn't have to read a whole book all by himself.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lurking . . .

I'm not sure who Mark Rose is referring to here. I don't hear many calls for "negotiate with terrorists." I do know of a president with lots of rightwing supporters who believes that we can plant democracy in the arid soil that produces this kind of rhetoric:

An 8-year-old girl said on Abu Dhabit television, "I hope Bush dies in flames, and I want to go to (then-Israeli Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon and kill him with a gun and stab him with a sword."
. . .
A lyric from an Iranian music video carries this line, "America is lurking for you, and will not give up until it destroys you completely. Rise up soon because the world is not safe from the hunter."


I see by Doug Bandow that Rick Santorum -- mild mannered senator by day, superhero by night -- is the only thing standing between America and a new race of Super Nazis:

Likening the times to the late 1930s as Nazi Germany was rising to power, Sen. Rick Santorum said last night that if he loses his re-election bid, it could set the stage for terrorism to become more of a threat than the Nazis ever were.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Art of Knowing

Rod Dreher has a post up about Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing by Mark T. Mitchell. I have read a little of it and noticed that Isaiah Berlin with Polanyi: "These Hungarians are strange . . . here is a great scientist giving up the Nobel to write mediocre works of philosophy."

Mark Mitchell also notes that Polanyi allowed his subscription to National Review lapse in 1964. Presumably he anticipated the Goldberg-Lopez-Lowry Axis of Cretins in charge there now.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I read about such types in recent articles from The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, and then I was deleted by a Wikishutin. This guy, a Canadian math nerd has removed me from the list of contributing editors for Liberty magazine, although I clearly am. He also removed me as a "selected contributor" from the page for The American Conservative, which I also clearly am. He seems to have a lot of time on his hands.

Got War?

The Bush administration has shown an admirable commitment to developing new slogans to replace "stay the course." A wise move since the current "course" appears to be directly to an iceberg. To help out the cause I came up with a few replacements for the president and his media/blogosphere/talk radio followers to use:
99 & 44/100 per cent pure liberation.

"Shut up!" I explain.

Cut and win!

Show me the victory!

No war left behind.

Vietnam was worse.

Hewitt is still on board.

UPDATE: To answer a question from the comments, 99 & 44/100 refers to the purity of Ivory Soap. It also can refer to a Ronnie Milsap song.

Monday, October 23, 2006


When we last heard from The American Spectator's Jed Babbin he was revealing the Putin, Hu, Pelosi conspiracy. This week his formula for victory in Iraq is to make war on Iraq and Syria and threaten the rest of the world with the same if they "sponsor Islamic fascist terrorism."

I guess for Babbin this qualifies as admirable restraint. I half expected him to advocate bombing Latvia with tubs of margarine and make war against Moon Men as a plan of victory in Iraq.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Day four of a week with Bill Kauffman at 2Blowhards:
Y'know what always got me? Those rankings of the presidents by historians. The Greats, Washington and Jefferson excepted, tend to be the warmakers: Lincoln. Wilson. FDR. Those responsible for the most unnatural deaths. The "near-greats" were those who gave warfare the old college try: Teddy Roosevelt. Even the wretched Truman. Those who sat in the White House while peace raged outside the door were average at best, though often below average or the dreaded "failure."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Stand By Your Man

Jay Nordlinger stands by his man in the face Jonathan Chait's(reg. required) ridicule. Nord still has more faith in Don Rumsfeld than in The New Republic and thinks that saying that war is a "dirty job" shows how direct and "uneuphemistic" the secdef is.

I prefer my take on Nordlinger's worshipful Rummy article in the Dec. 31, 2001 issue of National Review that The American Conservative published three years ago:
The cover was a low point for a once serious magazine, featuring a caricature of a smiling Rumsfeld mimicking a Betty Grable, come-hither pose. The article reported on Rumsfeld in a manner more appropriate to People magazine than to a respected intellectual journal. Nordlinger breathlessly revealed that Rumsfeld was a sex symbol (!) and a pop-culture icon (!!): "Reports have it that people gather round to watch Rumsfeld press conferences the way they do Oprah . . .Women confide that they have . . . well, un-defense-policy-like thoughts about the secretary of defense. . ."


Bryan Appleyard writes about the coming of print on demand technology and the demise of the "bookshop." I share his excitement at the prospect of POD but not his disdain for we in America call bookstores. Amazon, AbeBooks or a POD station in a Starbucks are great when you know what you are looking for; they aren't so good for finding what you aren't looking for, or for discovering what you didn't even know existed. In fact, AbeBooks is a network of stores like Knoxville's Book Eddy.

Along the way he beats a dead horse that should have been buried long ago -- the impending demise of the midlist:
Publishers have been forced to take fewer risks. Their cheap-to-run backlists can survive on small sales, and the mass market will look after itself. But the middle element in the equation -- consisting of the new, the risky, the strange, the difficult, the ambitious, the non-generic, everything, in fact, one values -- has been squeezed out. As publishers repeatedly say, the number of copies of a book that now have to be sold to justify the upfront costs is getting higher and higher. New books that aren't The Wag Diet by Jordan Beckham don't stand a chance.

I have heard this many times and while it may be true in England, I doubt it is in the U.S. Benjamin Schwarz took a swing at this myth a few years back in the Atlantic when Ann Godoff was fired from Random House. "It is simply untrue that the number of worthwhile titles published has diminished with the consolidation of publishing houses, the popularity of the Oprah and Today Show Book Clubs, and the proliferation of such chain bookstores as Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million." Along the way, Schwarz notes that a lot of prestige titles are crap and still get heaps of undeserved praise and publicity.

I can't judge how the industry compares to thirty or fifty years ago, but I see plenty of excellent non-blockbuster titles such as Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette from Bill Kauffman and The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie (admittedly helped by being an editor at FSG).


Alexander McClure at Whizbang Politics has advice for the president and the Republicans. "The President has to take the initiative on Iraq. Making it seem that we are not stuck in netural and bound to a stay-the-course strategy is necessary." Good idea. The only problem is that we are stuck in neutral and are bound to a stay-the-course strategy.

More deep thoughts in the comments from Nehemiah:

Also, the "teach the Republicans a lesson" crowd need to have their own history lesson.

Did getting a Stalin teach the Russians a lesson? They didn't afterward elect a conservative -- they kept getting more communists.

Stalin, . . . Nancy Pelosi, . . . whatever.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

You Said It, K-Lo!

Regular readers of NRO's the Corner know that Katheryn Lopez is right in saying that "the name of Rick Santorum brings out some of the most idiotic reactions in people." And how.

Tony the Disgusting Tiger

Tony Blankley completes a rapid descent from a competent Rightwing hack to a nauseating wierdo:
Apparently, these anticipated conservative non-voters are annoyed with Republican imperfection. They are disheartened, disappointed, disillusioned, distempered, and dismal -- and thus plan to dis the party that better advances conservative principles in government.

They appear to have fallen victim to the false syllogism: 1) Something must be done; 2) not voting is something; therefore, 3) I will not vote. Of course the fallacy of the syllogism is that the second category could be anything. For example, No. 2 could as well read "eating dog excrement is something."

Not only is Blankley unnecessasarily disgusting, his reasoning is faulty. His syllogism should begin with the proposition that undivided Republican rule has been a disaster. From there it is hard to come to any conclusions involving eating dog poop, another Republican congress or any other sickening prospects.

Daniel Larison read Blankley (hopefully not while eating) and responds to his whining at the thought of congressional oversight of the Bush administration:

Egads, the President might be investigated! He might even be held accountable for his violations of the Constitution! Not that! Not the Glorious Leader! Minions, protect your Leader! I command you! Of course, it is hard to “scandalise” an already scandalously bad and abusive administration. It is impossible to overestimate just how disgusted some people on the right are with Mr. Bush, which makes framing the appeal to vote in terms of protecting Mr. Bush all the more hilarious. This is supposed to persuade the disaffected and the angry? Call them stupid and remind them of one of the reasons why they are angry? If this is the best argument the GOP has (and it has been their main argument for the entire year), they not only deserve to lose but deserve to get their heads handed to them for the arrogance and self-importance the argument reveals.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Go Devils!

It's Kauffman week at 2Blowhards, with an interview here and here. Here's a brief sample:
My English forbears came to God's country on neither the Mayflower nor a Mayflower moving van. They were farmers who settled around Churchville in the dim mists of time. (Speaking of Churchville -- I digress the way other men blink -- my wife, the lovely and long-suffering Lucine, was roped into coaching the Batavia High basketball cheerleaders a few years ago. BHS is the Blue Devils, a colorless French-derived militaristic nickname that we and 1,200 other schools ought to drop tootsweet. When BHS played the Churchville-Chili Saints, Lucine's girls chanted "Go Devils! Beat the Saints!" A chill ran down my superstitious Catholic back.)

Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Jed Babbin looks to be about ready for the lollipop factory. Today's column is a series of random sentences leading up to the final paragraph:
It's a very good thing that Osama bin Laden isn't as smart as he thinks he is. If he were, he'd send one of those European-looking al-Q members to Havana to kill Castro. With Fidel dead and the assassin suitably shot to pieces, the world would be in an instant uproar, and we'd see a media feeding frenzy in Turtle Bay that would make the UN look like the courthouse in the Michael Jackson trial. America would be blamed and Chavez (Fidel's most ardent admirer and greatest supporter since Brezhnev) would go to Havana personally to supervise the restoration of the Castro regime. The Cuban-American community would be up in arms -- literally -- and President Bush would be caught in the middle. And what a fine mess that would be. Like I said, it's a good thing OBL isn't that smart. But both Bad Vlad Putin and his funny-named sidekick, Hu Jintao, are.

So there you have it -- the leaders of Russia and China are going to assassinate Castro in order to tip the House to the Democrats.

Babbin is ready for the nice men in white lab coats.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Barbaric Yawps

Michael, of 2Blowhards on the Sage of Batavia:

None of Kauffman's books are straightforward affairs. You'd be frustrated if you turned to them for clearly-laid-out arguments or encyclopedia-style information. Instead, they're fullblown reading experiences: part history, part personal essay. They're also big, heraldic, all-over-the-place prose poems -- patchwork, Whitmanesque, "barbaric yawps" set to driving rock, country, and blues beats. They're florid and funky, perverse yet open, bristling with deeply-felt exhortations and digressions, and full of comic but heart-busting praise-songs. To the extent that I'd want to categorize his work at all, I'd put it on the same rhapsodic / eccentric, full-of-contradictions-but-that's-the-point-dammit shelf as Edward Abbey, Henry David Thoreau, and H.L. Mencken.


Glenn Reynolds compiles a list of reasons for what appears to be a coming Republican debacle but he neglected to include the quagmire in Iraq until the updates from readers, thus revealing his belief that the Harriet Miers nomination did more damage to the Republicans than to the failed war that has dominated the headlines for more than three years now. He also doesn't mention the Bush administration's weak response to Hurricane Katrina.

Later, he also noted that Diana Irey is making an issue of Pork, one of Reynolds' pet issues, in her campaign against John Murtha. It does not appear to be working.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Investigations and Gridlock

Hugh Hewitt endorses a Democratic victory in the election, or that's what I assume when he says, that a Democratic majority means "endless investigations and gridlock." Doesn't that sound great?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Risky Scheme

The awful Bill Bennett dropped in at NRO's The Corner to exhort Republicans to the polls. He mentions judicial appointments and open borders (as if undivided Republican rule has done anything about that in the last six years) as reasons to keep the GOP in power and also states, "If you want Donald Rumsfeld hauled before Congress every week justifying the war rather than fighting it, stay home."

It occurrs to me that I would like to have Rumsfeld "hauled before Congress every week"(or so) to justify his management of the war. And what does Bennett think will happen -- that Iraq and Afghanistan will dissolved into chaos without Rumsfeld's constant attention? That's a risk I am willing to take.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Crunchy Cons . . .

Crunchy Cons will soon be out in paperback with its new subtitle. In a related matter, look for hysterical pregnancies followed by multiple cow births coming from this crowd.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bush=Higher Taxes

Doesn't Mark Rose know that somebody is going to have to pay for the wars we are fighting, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind and all the other ways that the Republicans have spent money they don't have for the last six years even Nancy Pelosi doesn't get everything on her wish list.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Government of Laws

More Sam: "No one man and no one executive department should have the absolute power to order government spying on how people use their right of free speech. This is what we mean by a government of laws and not of men."

Paleo Pickup Lines

Daniel Larison: "Larison: 'Did I mention that I opposed the bombing of Kosovo and predicted that it would lead to disaster?' Young woman: 'Oh, really? That is interesting! Tell me more!' What? You don’t think that happened?"

That's an excellent line but don't forget these:
"Would you like to come up and see my etchings of Chesterton?"

"You are as pretty as the cover of Chronicles."

"Here with a loaf of bread beneath the bough, a flask of wine, I'll Take My Stand -- and thou . . ."

The Wisdom of Sam Ervin

"Ours is not a country in which government can become a tyranny against the will of the people. But tyranny can come just as surely if the people are willing to deliver over their freedom in search for safety." -- Sen. Sam Ervin (D. NC).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fatal Attraction

Bubba, the blogger who has the unhealthy obsession with Crunchy Cons author Rod Dreher, is so determined to insult his archnemesis that he doesn't mind hitting a couple of innocent bystanders -- myself and Daniel Larison -- in the process. He accuses Larison of "idiocy" but doesn't explain why he is wrong. Bubba is upset at the way we all noticed how Rush Limbaugh imputed to Liberalism what is in fact the central tenet of Conservatism -- the fallen nature of man. I learned the Cliff's Notes version of this reading National Review and old William F. Buckley books as an undergraduate two decades ago.

Bubba would do well to seek counseling to help over his Dreher-fixation and then learn what conservatives are supposed to believe before attempting to correct anyone else.

UPDATE: Things get even uglier in the comments. We are bad writers and Dreher is a showoff because he warns readers that the contents of a Time article isn't available on line and I'm not really sure how Caleb Steagall got involved but there is this:
The impression I get of Steagall et al is of a bunch of auto-didacts with inferiority complexes about not having a position in the academy. Considering the awful state of their prose is scary enough but imagining that they might actually speak this way is downright terrifying. The closest I can imagine is the renn-faire types with their "thees and thous."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

People's Pottage

Here is something for all of you Old Right types -- the Americanist Library edition of Garet Garett's The People's Pottage.

Suspicious Minds

NRO's Mark Levin is on top of the real scandal involving Mark Foley -- the "suspicious timing" of the revelations of Foley's perverted emails and instant messages. This post for example:
Brian Ross and ABC News were too busy with Katrina and the anniversary of 9/11 to pursue the emails? Does this make sense to anybody? Maybe the Washington Times will call for Ross’s resignation. The timing of Ross’s story raises serious questions about the politicization of this matter.

Not being a conspiracy-addled rightwing nut, the notion that Brian Ross was working on Katrina and 9/11 anniversary stories during August and early September makes perfect sense. But maybe I am blind to the secret forces pulling the strings.

True Believers . . .

The most important question in American politics at the moment is this -- how many likely Republican voters are like the hard core Freepers and are willing to swallow any load crap from the Republican party and blame the Democrats for everything:

. . .
To: Taggart_D

It's possible Hastert is also a victim. Evidence indicates it is the Democrats who knew and sat on the info. All this hysteria is playing into the Democrats' hands.

6 posted on 10/03/2006 4:17:25 AM PDT by Conservativegreatgrandma
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ] . . .

To: Taggart_D
Why should he resign?

He's got an R in front of his title apparently. All republicans share a common guilt due to the 'vast right wing conspiracy' mentality. Other than that he doesn't seem to be in any way shape or form involved.
8 posted on 10/03/2006 4:17:50 AM PDT by kinoxi (.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies ] . . .

To: Taggart_D

There MUST be an investigation and it MUST be led by Barney Franks. If that would be inappropriate perhaps Gary Studds could be lured out of retirement.

11 posted on 10/03/2006 4:20:03 AM PDT by rhombus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]. . .

To: Homer1

From what I've heard so far.

Hastert had emails that were not suggestive. Democrat operatives had the instant messages that were disgusting. They've had them for a couple YEARS and sat on them.

Democrats should fall on their swords. All of them.

14 posted on 10/03/2006 4:21:29 AM PDT by listenhillary (Islam = Religion of peace. If you say otherwise, we'll kill you!)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Limbaugh . . .

What do you do if your job and self esteem are completely tied up with the notion that conservatives and Republicans are virtuous and liberals and Democrats are evil at a time when the country is reeling from incompetent Republican leadership? If you are Rush Limbaugh, you rant and rave like a loon and make an ass of yourself:

You know, Republicans are said to be racist and sexist and bigoted and homophobic. The liberal policy, liberal philosophy is to assume bad behavior, bad human behavior. They assume it, they have a condescending look toward people in general. It's what makes them liberals. People are incapable of doing the right thing without liberals' guidance, people are incapable of making the right decisions to get ahead in life without liberal guidance, they're incapable of earning a decent living. . . Liberalism assumes bad human behavior and then coddles it as imperfect. After they coddle imperfect, bad human behavior, they are able to say those who judge imperfections in people and come out strong for right and wrong, the simplistic black and white, good versus evil, people who come out for law and order and so forth, they're the sinners, because none of us are perfect. The liberals understand this, they coddle the imperfections, they create victims out of those who are imperfect, turning them into a cause celebre, and blaming the right, these Draconian, intolerant, inflexible people who judge others while ignoring their own foibles.

This explains why the liberals are able to accept genocide in places like Iraq if it furthers their agenda. Because everybody is flawed. Saddam Hussein is flawed and he's just a bad guy, we understand that, we need understand this about people. They expect the worst from people, and they want the worst from people tolerated, and that is a sign of compassion. . . Their view of conservatives and Republicans is that we are intolerant of anybody who is not like us, and so we must be made to pay the price for holding a standard that they do not. I'll give you a quick illustration. When Clinton was elected, during the week leading up to the inaugural -- I told you this story before. They had all these parties and ceremonies and little get-togethers on the mall in Washington, had people like Aretha Franklin in there to sing and other big-time entertainers. The list of songs they were singing were songs like We Shall Overcome, or We Got Out Of Jail Today all because a liberal Democrat had been elected after the 12 years of the judgmentalism of the Reagan and Bush years.

UPDATE: Daniel Larison fills in the blanks.

Everybody Dies

That's the simplified plot summary of this Louis Bromfield novel.

Sweet Fifteen

Back in 2001, David Brooks took a few trips to the wilds of rural Pennsylvania and discovered that "Red Americans" are laconic, hard workin' and modest. I remember it well, because I live in flyover country and Brooks' view of us seemed like a load of crap having more to do with how Madison Avenue views Middle America (Think Marlboro Man and Chevy "like a rock" trucks).

The Knoxville News Sentinel (registration required) provides another view of flyover country in the form of an MTV-inspired "sweet fifteen" party complete with a Hummer Limo, Shirtless hunks with body-glitter and Georgia rapper Bubba Sparxxx:

The fanfare is short and sweet, as Brittany and the court make their way back into the inn. Brittany re-emerges in a neutral empire-waist Bianca Nero gown with silver beading.

The birthday girl dances and chats with friends and well-wishers.

After the dance troupe performs, Brittany is pulled onto the black-and-white dance floor for a little treat, lap dances from the group's male members. Her mother receives one, too.

Big surprises After another costume change, this time a blue silk halter dress, Brittany is ready for the night's entertainment headliner, Georgia rapper Bubba Sparxxx.

"Bubba, Bubba, Bubba," the restless crowd chants.

When he walks onto the stage, the youngsters explode with applause and yells. Digital and phone cameras are raised high, like high-tech lighters.

"Happy birthday, Brittany. We love you," shouts the rapper. "We are thrilled to be here. There is no place we would rather be than here in Knoxville, celebrating Brittany's birthday. It's great to be a part of so much love."

Sparxxx opens his set with "Deliverance," his first single, and closes with his biggest hit to date, "Miss New Booty," which is Brittany's ring tone on her cell phone.

After performing the crowd-pleaser, Sparxxx calls an embarrassed Brittany onto the stage and gives the princess a new title.

"Make some noise for Knoxville's official Miss New Booty," he says.

Rightwing Porn

Ben Stein indulges in rightwing political porn:
On the one hand, we have a poor misguided Republican man who had a romantic thing for young boys. He sent them suggestive e-mail. I agree, that's not great. On the other hand, we have a Democratic party that worships ( not likes, WORSHIPS ) a man named Bill Clinton who did not send suggestive e-mails as far as we know, but who had a barely legal intern give him oral sex kneeling under his desk in the Oval Office while he talked on the phone to a Congressional Committee Chairman . . . and having her fellate him when in the sacred seat of power of the world's leading Republic. And the Democrats cheer themselves hoarse for him. His wife has a great shot at being our next President.

Stein seemed to have spent a lot visualizing while he was writing this creepy paragraph, I feel the need to take a shower after reading it. One thing that has bothered me for eight years now -- when and how did the Whitehouse become "sacred"?