Monday, May 30, 2005

And now even the Italians have Euro-doubts!

Reuters:


Italians may never become "Euroskeptics" like many of their neighbors to the north, but their famous enthusiasm for the EU is being tested by a recession that some politicians
want to blame on Brussels.


Read the whole thing.

Beyond Brattle Street joy! Chris Lydon is back!

The Conversation continues! Chris Lydon is back with Open Source his latest riff and he sounds great.

A spectre of a Polish Plumber is haunting Europe -- or at least France!

There's much I can say about Sunday's monumental rejection by the French of the proposed European Constitution. It has all of Europe in a tailspin. Moreover, the overwhelming "non!" vote exposed the distance between the elites and the populace both reactionary in their misplaced anger at American influence (the former) and globalization (the latter) . I suspect the snickering will be hard to repress on Pennsylvania avenue.

There are many great links with post-referendum commentary. A good start is at Dan Drezner's blog

I suspect this lets Tony Blair off the hook and it gives a great lift to the Euroskeptics on both sides of the pond. I am among them. The EU is a fantasy notwithstanding the economic arguments for integration. I am awaiting how the American mainstream media plays up this debacle particularly since the "social market" model is a great meme.

One irony about the French sentiment: I was particularly struck by the idea that the French thought the monstrous 400 page EU constititution was too favorable to the British. Generally that's a poor excuse. Chirac didn't make the case to a nation that obviously has rejected the 21s century.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

More on Scalia and Thomas's intellectual curiousity

Eugene Volokh follows up on a reply from Professor Michael Kelly who according to Volokh brazenly stated that "Justice Thomas doesn't cite foreign law because he lacks intellectual curiosity, and that Justice Scalia refuses to do so because he is afraid that citing foreign law will make it hard for him to defend originalism."

Even more on Fallaci; the letter of the law in Italy

Dagger in Hand spells out the parts of the Italian penal code that Oriana Fallaci supposedly transgressed.

Military intelligence or scholarship for that matter is not an oxymoron!

Oxblog has a great commentary on recent MSM coverage of military academies. Despite the cliche that the armed forces are led by group think, we find that they actually encourage unorthodox thinking. Says Oxblog's David Adesnik, "I can only hope that students also get this kind of education on our nation's civlians campuses."

What the American academia offers at this point in the year is refried cant in the form of the hallowed commencement speech, a very tired medium.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Groping with the Euro-Constitution, the befuddled Europeans need a Carville; It's the economy stupid!

"Why are the people of Europe so angry, " asks Anatole Kaletsky of the London Times. It's the economy stupid. He makes a good case why the French are worried about the EU constitution. It has nothing to do with the colossal size of the constitution's text, weighty compared to the U.S. one but what do you expect for a federation of self-important declining welfare states.

Make way for international law which they say is superior to the U.S. Constititution

Eugene Volokh has a great post defending Scalia and Thomas on their "judicial isolationism." It appears to some liberals, though not all, that judicial interpretations borrowing liberally from international law, whatever that is, would greatly improve American jurisprudence. I say this is a fantasy. The liberals say Thomas is not intellectually curious enough to accept the infinite wisdom of b.s. coming out of the Hague. I'm with Thomas who is a bigger thinker than most SC justices.

So let me get this straight. Justice Scalia won't cite international law because he is afraid of defending his views of originalism? Given that Justice Scalia has been touring around the country giving lectures defending his philosophy and engaging in extensive Q-and-A sessions, often before before quite hostile audiences, that seems a rather strange suggestion. The claim that Justice Thomas "has no intellectual curiosity" is just lame, offered (of course) with no evidence or explanation. Any one who has ever had a conversation with Justice Thomas would recognize the suggestion as absurd. You can agree or disagree with Thomas's deeply-held views, of course, but to interpret profound disagreement as lack of curiosity seems a bit out-of-bounds.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pete DuPont takes on the sugar lobby;

Cafta is in trouble but Pete Dupont exposes the sugar lobby's deadly hand.

More on Fallaci

Protein Wisdom sees a velvet insurgency. When will the Left ever learn. The following comment from a visitor named TallDave to PW sees some humor in Italian political correctness.

I see the following conversation taking place in Italia:

1st Italian: Islam is sometimes evil and oppressive.
2nd Italian: You can’t say that! POLICE!! Arrest this man! He defamed Islam!
1st Italian: But in some Islamic countries, you cn be put to death for preaching Christianity, Hinduism or Judaism.
2nd Italian: Well, we don’t allow that kind of hate. That’s why we’re better than them.
3rd Italian: “Better� than “them�?! You can’t say that! POLICE!! Arrest this man! He defamed Islam!

An on it goes. What will the New York Times say on its editorial page?

But we already knew that about Krugman, the teller of tall tales

Greg Mankiw fires back at the increasingly hysterical Paul Krugman and his fantasies.
Q: How do you explain what you describe as this change in Krugman?

A: I guess if you're a columnist, you want to be widely talked about and be the most e-mailed. It's the same thing that drives talk show hosts to become Jerry Springer. You end up overstating the case because it makes good reading. The problem is that economists by their nature—with a lot of "on the one hand" and "on the other hand" in their prose—can make boring reading.

Beyond politically correct, Europe has very little regard for free speech

The travails of Orian Fallaci. Dragged to court for exercising her free speech thinking the European liberalism (or what's left of it) might protect her. The words may indeed be offensive but should she be fined? What is it about the Islamic mind that cannot brook criticism in a free society. Maybe the Eurocrats would feel better if she wound up like Theo Van Gogh.

ROME (Reuters) - A judge has ordered best-selling writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial in her native Italy on charges she defamed Islam in a recent book.

The decision angered Italy's justice minister but delighted Muslim activists, who accused Fallaci of inciting religious hatred in her 2004 work "La Forza della Ragione" (The Force of Reason).

Fallaci lives in New York and has regularly provoked the wrath of Muslims with her outspoken criticism of Islam following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. cities.

In "La Forza della Ragione," Fallaci wrote that terrorists had killed 6,000 people over the past 20 years in the name of the Koran and said the Islamic faith "sows hatred in the place of love and slavery in the place of freedom."

State prosecutors originally dismissed accusations of defamation from an Italian Muslim organization, and said Fallaci should not stand trial because she was merely exercising her right to freedom of speech.

But a preliminary judge in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, Armando Grasso, rejected the prosecutors advice at a hearing on Tuesday and said Fallaci should be indicted.

Grasso's ruling homed in on 18 sentences in the book, saying some of Fallaci's words were "without doubt offensive to Islam and to those who practice that religious faith."



Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dick Morris cites four fabrications from the liberal media

Dick Morris, very wise to the way of the liberal media elite in this country, enumerates on the sorry state of journalism:

It is high time that the American people got the point: The organs of establishment journalism are slanted and biased toward the left and disregard the standards of fair and accurate reporting, with impunity, when an election is on the line.The list of false stories is telling:

In the spring of 2004, the BBC reported that Blair had ordered his intelligence people to “sex up� reports of the Iraqi program to make weapons of mass destruction. For months, Blair was on the defensive because of the report, and the intelligence operative who was the alleged source of the
story committed suicide.It took a parliamentary commission to debunk the
story and to force a BBC retraction. The ongoing damage to Blair’s credibility
likely helped to account for his marginal showing in the most recent U.K.
election.


In September 2004, CBS News’ “60 Minutes� television program
used forged and phony documents to try to besmirch Bush’s record in the Texas National Guard. It was only the careless error of the forger in printing the suffix “th� above the line that led to the truth.

In the week before the election, The New York Times, the citadel of journalistic accuracy, ran a front-page story alleging that 370 tons of explosives had disappeared from an Iraqi storage site during the American occupation. The implication was that the carelessness of the
Bush administration had put into the hands of the insurgent terrorists the very weapons now being used to kill our troops. But the Pentagon soon established that the weapons either had been removed early in the U.S. occupation or had never been there when our troops arrived. The Times story led John Kerry to change his TV ads and focus his endgame campaign on the allegation.


And now Newsweek has published an inflammatory story that has led to massive anti-American demonstrations in Afghanistan — the first since
the war — protesting the seeming defilement of sacred texts. Sixteen people are dead because Newsweek got the story wrong, and the image of the United States is damaged in the Islamic world. And Newsweek refuses to hold anyone to account for this outrageous error, least of all its own senior management.


Each of those “mistakes� was biased in favor of the left and was committed in the haste of liberal journalists to get some ammunition to discredit Bush and the Iraq war. But when the same reporter who wrote the current story filed the first disclosure of the Monica Lewinsky affair with his editors at Newsweek, the magazine piously refused to run the
story.


Well-said. Read the whole column.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

McCain-Feingold Loophole Costly

According to Robert Novak:

Of more than $600 million in 2004 unregulated 527 contributions, a big majority of the money -- roughly two-to-one -- was spent supporting John Kerry and other Democratic candidates and trying to boost Democratic voter turnout.

So much for campaign finance reform.

Clicking in the classroom

I need to think long and hard about this new intrusion into the classroom.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Strange bedfellows: Newt & Hillary

Yes politics does make strange bedfellows. Any care for short memories?

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Friday, May 06, 2005

Craiglist community journalism is a worthy idea.

First classified ads; now community journalism. Whatever that means to Craig Newmark founder of Craiglist.

Tony Blair and the Muslim vote or lack of it.

An interesting observation by Daniel Johnson in New Critieron's Armavirumque blog:

Apart from worries about how long this right-of-centre, robustly pro-American Prime Minister will continue to occupy Downing Street, there are two disturbing consequnces of this election. First, it has tilted the House of Commons further to the Left, because most of the Labour MPs who lost their seats were younger, moderate Blairites; the rump who remain are the old-style socialists. Secondly, the Muslim factor played a bigger part than ever before -- and a damaging one for British democracy. Cities with large concentrations of Muslim voters all registered strong votes against Tony Blair and for anti-war candidates of any other party, however extreme. It looks as though many Muslims still obey their community leaders and imams and vote en bloc.

As the proportion of Muslims grows, due to a higher birthrate and immigration, we are seeing this behaviour affecting more and more seats, as politicians make greater
efforts to appease Muslim demands. Labour has already promised a new law to restrict “incitement to religious hatred� which nobody except the Muslims wanted. Now that the imams have flexed their electoral muscle, we can expect the Islamic shopping list to grow over the next few years.


Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A heady swipe at the secularists from a former award-winning reporter from gasp! The New York Times

Armed with a little history, John McCandlish Phillips cuts Maureen Dowd and the rest of the clan at the New York Times down to size. As for you Frank Rich, take this:

Frank Rich, an often acute, broadly knowledgeable and witty cultural observer, sweepingly informed us that, under the effects of "the God racket" as now pursued in Washington, "government, culture, science, medicine and the rule of law are all under threat from an emboldened religious minority out to remake America according to its dogma." He went on to tell Times readers that GOP zealots in Congress and the White House have edged our country over into "a full-scale jihad." If Rich were to have the misfortune to live for one week in a genuine jihad, and the unlikely fortune to survive it, he would temper his categorization of the perceived President Bush-driven jihad by a minimum of 77 percent.
Subtle but strong stuff.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Another chapter on Republican overreach: spending

Leave it to the Cato Institute rather than the Democrats to speak the truth about the Bush spending machine.

Total government spending grew by 33 percent during Bush’s first term. The federal budget as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton’s last day in office to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush’s first term.

The Republican Congress has enthusiastically assisted the budget bloat. Inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs they vowed to eliminate in 1995 has grown by 27 percent.

The GOP was once effective at controlling nondefense spending. The final nondefense budgets under Clinton were a combined $57 billion smaller than what he proposed from 1996 to 2001. Under Bush, Congress passed budgets that spent a total of $91 billion more than the president requested for domestic programs. Bush signed every one of those bills during his first term. Even if Congress passes Bush’s new budget exactly as proposed, not a single cabinet-level agency will be smaller than when Bush assumed office.


This is a brief for divided government