Carol Platt Liebau: January 2005

Monday, January 31, 2005

An important analysis on how California went from red to blue. It's all about L.A. County. Seems that finding good Republicans there might be the answer to winning statewide -- or at least the best shot.
Can it really be that the Dems will elect Howard Dean the Chairman of the DNC? Dick Morris thinks so. He theorizes that with moderates having flocked to the GOP, all the Dems have left are the far-lefties, who are exerting their influence. It's not entirely clear to me that that's true . . .

To me, the problem is that the Dems have misdiagnosed the reason for their defeat last November. They seem to have concluded that they lost not because of their ideas, but because John Kerry didn't explain their ideas well enough (George Soros, for example, subscribes to this theory).

How could they actually believe such a patently obvious falsehood? Again, it emphasizes the disadvantage Democrats face by virtue of their domination of the MSM and the culture: Because they live in enclaves and echo chambers, bolstered by what used to be considered "mainstream" (but have now been increasingly revealed as left-tilting) news outlets, it's much harder for them to obtain a "reality check" and get into the mind of the opposition. In their minds, Rather/Jennings and Dowd/Brownstein and The New York Times are just received wisdom. Anything to the right of that is "conservative" and therefore out of this supposed mainstream.

They can avoid Fox News and talk radio. Conservatives can't avoid The New York Times and the major networks and the universities. As a consequence, we have a much better read on them than they have on us . . . and as a result, (hopefully) we can be a little more realistic about what the values and priorities of the American people are.
Even The New York Times is forced to admit that yesterday was a glorious one for the cause of freedom, Iraqi democracy, and yes, even America. The purple fingers of the Iraqi people demonstrate the power of liberty so forcefully that even the Times dares not ignore it. Best part of this piece? When The New York Times repoter notes the irritation elicited by reporters' inquiries about voters' religious and racial identity. As one of the men said in essence, "Knock it off: We are Iraqis first."
Pat Sajak, writing in Human Events, thinks John Kerry is a jerk for attempting to minimize the significance and success of the Iraqi elections. My weekly column (here) makes essentially the same point, and asks -- about Kerry, the MSM, and their allies on the left -- do they not know how destructive they are, or do they just not care?

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Deborah Orin is right in this piece: (1) The surprise with which most Americans are viewing the successful elections in Iraq is testimony to the misleading coverage of Iraq in the MSM; and (2) Does the Democratic Party really want to remember that its hero, Michael Moore, lionized the thugs that would have killed these brave people?
Almost always, an unsuccessful presidential candidate retires quietly from the limelight -- perhaps to private life, perhaps back to a Senate seat. Here's an object lesson in why -- it's the transcript of Kerry's hour-long appearance on "Meet the Press" this morning.

Kerry came across as the same haughty, unapproachable fellow we saw on the campaign trail last year but now, he's "sour grapes," too -- an impression that's almost impossible to avoid when a losing candidate resurfaces to whine about the policies and practices of the winner. (He's also a flip-flopper; he voted for Justice Scalia to sit on the Supreme Court, before voting against him if he's nominated for Chief Justice.)

But the worst was this quote, right at the top of the program, on the topic of the legitimacy of the Iraqi election:

"I mean, it's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can't vote and doesn't vote."

How shameful. How totally Kerry. Better to run down an extraordinary day in the history of democracy than to give one's adversary or his policies any credit. It will be interesting to see if voter turnout exceeds that in Massachusetts the last year Kerry was elected a senator. If it does, will Kerry deem his own reelection illegitimate???

It was also interesting to see that, with the election safely over, Russert pressed Kerry a little on his "Christmas eve in Cambodia" fabrication, but not enough to require Kerry even to approach setting the record straight.

Kerry also waded into the Social Security debate: If the president would say to us, "Look, let's all get together and make sure Social Security is going to be saved the way President Clinton did, for the long term, and we're going to do it without privatizing it but we'll find one of these ways of doing it that's responsible," we will be at the table and we will join him to depoliticize it.

Perhaps he doesn't understand that he lost. The President doesn't have to listen to him, and, frankly, neither does anyone else.

The entire interview leaves one with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the good sense of the American people. God bless those red states. And thanks again, Ohio.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

A historic day has already dawned in Iraq. Please say a prayer for all the courageous men and women who are voting, and for the brave American soldiers who are helping secure God's gift to every man and woman -- freedom.
Once again, the Democrats seem to be more concerned about the comfort of terrorists than the safety of Americans, and thus are intent on bringing the discussion of torture that dominated the Gonzalez hearings into hearings on Michael Chertoff, as discussed here.

How broad the definition of torture should be is open to question -- certainly, it should be defined no more narrowly than in an early memo putting off limits only activity likely to result in death or organ failure. It may well be that torture should be defined much more broadly.

But by continuing to flog this horse, Democrats seem more concerned about US activities than the terrorists'. And perhaps Arlen Specter said it best when a couple of windbags were testifying against Judge Gonzalez: If we could have prevented 9/11 by the use of a little torture, would that have been wrong?

It would be interesting an interesting question to ask of the Dems trying to stir up a ruckus over the Chertoff nomination.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Some excellent advice for Democrats in The Wall Street Journal. But it's hard to see them taking it.

The problem is that too many of them played into the "Bush is Evil" theme in order to try to rally their base and win in 2004. Now, not only do they risk looking hypocritical by changing (something that often doesn't worry politicians), but they have the problem of cognitive dissonance. In a sense, many of them actually worked themselves into a belief that there were lies, in order to feel justified in whipping up their base as they did. Now that they've made themselves believe it, it's hard to "unring the bell" as it were. After all, how would you justify helping or working with a President that you've essentially called a liar, a warmonger and stupid?

I won't be blogging again until tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

See what I mean? There are plenty of ways to go after Boxer and her friends who ganged up against Dr. Rice -- not only on the merits, but on the politics, too. In the (slightly adapted) words of Forrest Gump, "Ugly is as ugly does."
Poor Barbara Boxer. Margaret Carlson thinks she's a victim, and is outraged that some of the criticisms of Boxer's simple-minded, over-the-top interrogation of Condoleezza Rice included comments about Boxer's appearance and comportment. Carlson's outraged by the unflattering portrayal of Boxer on "Saturday Night Live," and admires her for having a "backbone."

Surely Margaret Carlson stood in sisterly feminist solidarity with Katherine Harris -- who was pilloried mercilessly merely for having the integrity to enforce the election laws of Florida as they were written -- when even a Washington Post reporter made fun of her looks. And no doubt Carlson went to the mattresses in defense of Linda Tripp -- who was reporting information about possible felonies by the President -- when she was portrayed by John Goodman on "Saturday Night Live."

Or maybe not.

For my part, I don't think it achieves anything to make fun of the appearance of a female political figure (Are we really going to answer Boxer's ridiculous claims of "Rice is a liar" with "Well, you're ugly!"?). When it was done to Harris and Tripp, it only demonstrated how malleable the oft-touted left-wing principle of "sensitivity" really is. And above all, it marks the absence of any ability to actually score points against the person in question on the facts or the issues, where it actually matters.

We don't need to make fun of Boxer's looks. There's plenty of food for amusement -- and grounds for criticism -- just in the hyperemotional, whiny nonsense that emanates from Boxer's too-often-open mouth. Even so, I'll admit that I'm dying to catch the "Saturday Night Live" sketch that mocks her.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Republicans have verified 737 illegal votes in the Washington governor's race. But why are they calling for another election? They should simply be calling for the duly elected governor, the person who received the largest number of votes on Election Day in accordance with law -- whoever it is -- to be seated.
Could it really be that Hillary Clinton is seeking common ground on the thorny issue of abortion?!

Of course not. This display is just a cynical effort by a far-left politician to prove to the rest of her party that she can have "red state" appeal. And despite its opportunistic transparency, it's probably a necessary maneuver.

There's just one big problem. First, everyone -- left, right, center -- knows exactly where Hillary Clinton stands. Even, as the story points out, her friends in the pro-abortion movement -- who weren't threatened by the speech at all. As long as Hillary's still tight with all of them (and it seems to me that there's little she can say to alienate her long-time feminist allies), she doesn't really have a shot with the "values voters," who know what Smeal, NARAL and the other people/entities mentioned in the story are all about.

And this relates to Hillary's other big problem. One prominent political scientist (diligent searching wouldn't uncover his name -- please email me if you recall it!) posited during last year's election season that there is a "shelf life" for politicians on the national stage of around fourteen years. If they didn't make their run for President within that window, it wasn't going to happen (key example? Dick Gephardt).

The solid analysis running beneath the theory, as I recall, is that people grow "stale" in the national consciousness -- and the nation grows to know them all too well. Gephardt wouldn't have fooled anyone if, in December 2003, he had loudly started "rethinking" NAFTA. Everyone knows he's been a trade union guy . . .

Same way with Hillary. Although the theory exempted the years of Vice-presidency from the count to 14, Hillary's problem is that many did, in fact, see her as the Clintons first tried to market her: As a female co-President (or at least a wannabe). She has been on the national stage now since 1992, which makes this her thirteenth year. And people have already made up their minds about her -- and those perceptions are going to be almost impossible to change by words alone.

And even, perhaps, by actions. So long as Hillary's long-time liberal cohorts have no problem with her, many in the middle will. Doomsayers love to point out that she won a Senate seat despite being well known at the end of her husbands term. Yes, in the most liberal state in the union!!! No one would today assume that Ronald Reagan had viable national ambitions if he had only won a Senate seat in, say, Oklahoma . . . I'd be a little more impressed if she were the Senator from Ohio, Pennsylvania, or even Wisconsin.
How interesting. It appears that California's liberals want to enjoy the warm glow of upholding their pro-abortion convictions, but aren't willing to pay the price.

Bill Lockyer is challenging a measure passed by Congress that would deny family planning grants to agencies that discriminate against abortion opponents in the medical or insurance fields. (But I thought the left was against discrimination -- that's what they always tell us!). Under the measure, California could lose $49 billion for education, health care and other programs.

Why? Because this state has a law that requires health care providers to perform abortions if a woman's health is in immediate jeopardy. And even in non-emergency situations, California's medical workers must provide referrals to an abortionist, even if they themselves decline to perform abortions. (Doesn't this sound a little bit like the "compelled speech" prohibited by the First Amendment?).

Clearly, I disagree with the law -- as I do with so much of the garbage that emanates from Sacramento. But obviously, so long as it's not unconstitutional, it's the legislature's right to pass it. And then it's Congress' right to exercise its spending power in any way it sees fit (just as it did when it threatened to withhold highway money to states that refused to lower their speed limits to 55).

Sometimes, principles have a price. Too bad the liberals in Sacramento always seem all too eager to make a statement -- but then whimper and cry when it's time to pay the price.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

“On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics. The same is true of the left. The clashes over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight, literally, to be heard. When Michael Moore receives a hero’s welcome at the Democratic National Convention, we moderates grumble; but if the parties engage fierce activists while marginalizing tame centrists, that is probably better for the social peace than the other way around.”

It really goes without saying that this passage, by Jonathan Rauch writing in The Atlantic, reflects the predominant MSM view of people of faith: All are incipient fanatics, willing to kill and capable of bombing abortion clinics. Note that even the parallel between his examples of violence on the left and right is slanted to the left; the juxtaposition between perpetrators of "street warfare" (a term not without certain romantic connotations of a "struggle for justice") and outright murderers is hardly an impartial one.

But perhaps there's an even larger argument to be made against Racuh's proposition as a whole. As a minor strategic point, there may be some merit to his advocacy of integrating the most fringe and violent elements of American society into the political parties. As a moral matter, however, it is poor, poor advice.

As a Republican and someone who is pro-life (except in cases of rape, incest & life of the mother), I do not believe there is any room in my party for someone who is willing to bomb abortion clinics. It would, in fact, be wrong and injurious -- not only to the party but to American society in general -- for Republicans to lend credence to such extremism by accepting its proponents into their ranks. A similar case can be made for the Democrats -- would it really be morally right to lend mainstream respectability to, for example, environmental terrorists (a more suitable anology for Rauch to have employed)?

Rauch seems to believe that the parties will moderate the fringes. What if, instead, the fringes radicalize the parties and introduce wild-eyed ideas into the bloodstream of the body politic? Exhibit 1: The Dems' embrace of Michael Moore. That's a recipe for a poison that could choke civil society in very short order.

More, please, more. The Democrats attack Condoleezza Rice without regard for the truth; next up? Alberto Gonzalez.

Yep, this is apparently their grand new strategy to hold their coalition together. Guess they're not interested in including all the Latinos or African-Americans who will resent seeing historic advances being marred by rabid partisanship at the expense of the national good.

Here's hoping they keep it up. It's ugly but instructive to see what too many of the Democrats look like without their masks.

Has Boxer Lost "Respect for the Truth"?

Just a week after everything but calling Condoleezza Rice a liar outright, Barbara Boxer herself seems confused, to put it charitably.

This morning, 8:34 am Pacific on MSNBC: "I don't believe in mandates. I really think it's very dangerous for people to think they have a mandate."

Last week, in this piece in The New York Times: "The people of California knew exactly what I stood for and said to me, 'Barbara, go and be a truth teller.'" (Well, she's already blown it on that score.)

The Times explicitly noted that she interpreted her sweeping November 2004 victory as a "mandate." It seems so.

Barbara Boxer, living down to our expectations . . . .

Monday, January 24, 2005

"Blog" by Hugh Hewitt - A "Must-Read"

It has been more difficult to locate a copy of Hugh Hewitt's new book BLOG where I live than to find a liberal in Harvard's faculty lounge. (This [very] little joke came to me last week as I sat on hold with my third local bookstore).

But persistence and finally paid off -- and how! If you're seeking to understand the impact (past and future) of web logs, want to explain the phenomenon to someone else, or even hope to inspire a potential blogger to get to work, this book is for you.

Radio talk show host and author Hugh Hewitt is the Godfather of the Blogosphere, and its most articulate proponent (this site, in fact, owes its very existence to his repeated urging). But BLOG is more than simple cheerleading for the act of blogging; it is a well-reasoned and comprehensive brief on the blogosphere's behalf.

Part I sets the blogging phenomenon in both political and historical context, ranging from an explanation of its centrality in the 2004 election to its place as a direct descendent of the movable-type printing press. Part II explains the significance of the blogosphere's rise -- in particular its threat to the "information monopoly" long enjoyed (and abused) by the mainstream media. Part III sets forth the advantages of blogging and the potential for the blogosphere's expansion as a tool and a resource not just for politico-writers, but for governmental and business types, as well.

And BLOG is more than theoretical advocacy on behalf of the blogosphere; for those who have been persuaded to begin blogging, it also provides helpful hints on how to get started. The book has relevance even for extant bloggers; it answered my question (oft asked by my wonderful correspondents, as well) about why I find my blog so rarely cited throughout the rest of the blogosphere. Apparently, I haven't been adequately alerting other bloggers when I discuss their work (so get ready, everyone!).

BLOG is a fine book by a fine man. Order a few -- one to read, a couple to distribute, right here.
These Muslims, who are protesting about being fingerprinted at the border, even as they return home from Islamic religious conferences or pilgrimages, should be ashamed of themselves.

I don't mind being fingerprinted at the border if it's going to keep the country safer. How much less should they mind, if they're truly indignant about their religion being hijacked by a bunch of nihilist haters? Funny how their indignation is directed against the US -- which is only trying to protect itself -- rather than against the terrorists who have made such precautions a sad necessity.

Just Another "Feminist" and Victim (& my column)

It's hard to believe that Barbara Boxer could spend all last week calling Condoleezza Rice a liar and then play the victim, but according to a piece in the national section of Washington Times, that's just what she's doing.

Boxer sounds like the typical left-wing feminist -- deeply threatened by anyone who doesn't share her world view, but when called on the carpet herself, she wilts like a timid bunny. It made me think of N.O.W., which -- as I pointed out in my weekly column -- called for Lawrence Summers' resignation in a press release but then couldn't make anyone "available" to debate the issue on the air with me at KABC. Some feminist empowerment.
Wonder how all the Kyoto fanatics feel about this? Looks like human tampering with Mother Earth's environment may actually have saved the planet from another ice age.
This sounds like a neat plan for the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations. I worked there between my first and second years of law school.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I wish some of my pro-choice friends would share their reactions to this. I often suspect that many self-identified "pro-choicers" would rethink their position if they actually had more detailed information about abortion itself, rather than simply considering the matter in a sanitized, abstract matter. This piece is not for the faint of heart, but it is important.
Here's a little more information on Nancy Hopkins, the MIT biologist who has been such a vocal critic of Dr. Lawrence Summers. Apparently, she was the chief complainer about gender discrimination against female faculty at MIT -- as well as the chief investigator of the meritless study that (surprise!) allegedly found "unintentional" but real gender bias. Does MIT let interested parties conduct all its research? (HT: ICouldBeWrong).
Charles Murray tries to explain why it wasn't Harvard President Lawrence Summers -- but his critics -- whose theories about gender differences are without scientific foundation. And don't forget the piece by Harvard professor Ruth Wisse that I linked on Friday evening.
It is the end of an era. With the death of Johnny Carson, America has lost a man who was able to be funny without being vulgar, who could have a public life and yet still be a private person.

One of the difficult things about growing older is watching little pieces of your childhood disappear, bit by bit. As a little girl, I recall awakening sometimes and hearing "Heeeere's Johnny!" coming from my parents' room; as a law student about to graduate in May of 1992, I remember being taken by surprise by how sad I was to see him say farewell in May of 1992.

May Johnny Carson rest in peace. His understated, wry wit will be remembered by many for a long, long time to come.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

One more reason to love Americans. We're go-getters.
Democratic activists have started a backbone campaign to encourage spineless elected officials to stand up to the Republicans.

I love this. The Democrats have survived for years as nothing more than a collection of interest groups -- many of which have few core principles in common. The more "progressives" like these start complaining, the more difficult it becomes for the Dems to hold on to Reagan Democrats and even African-Americans with traditional values.
What silliness. This nitwit Brit seems to think that Americans like Laura Bush because she isn't "threatning." The author notes that "the recent First Ladies who have suffered the worst press and opinion poll ratings are those seen as having got above themselves, either by active involvement in policy or by displaying threatening qualities – such as intelligence."

No one here has a serious problem with intelligent women -- I'm delighted that Condoleezza Rice is going to be our secretary of state. Margaret Thatcher is my heroine. Americans didn't like Hillary Clinton making policy from the White House, not because they have anything against intelligent women -- in fact, many of us hope we're intelligent women, too -- but because she wasn't elected. And many Americans find it distasteful and borderline dishonorable about a woman reaching high places on her husband's coattails and then acting like she got there herself. Now that Hillary Clinton has won a Senate seat fair and square, well, I still think she's wrong on all the issues -- but at least now she's entitled to try to make policy.

Note to silly Brit: We love Laura Bush because she's a lady, because she realizes she wasn't elected, and because doesn't attempt to make policy like she was. Oh, and by the way, in America, we still hold wonderful wives and mothers in high esteem because they are wives and mothers

Friday, January 21, 2005

I am sitting in for Al Rantel tonight on KABC and we are going to be talking about the Lawrence Summers kerfuffle. Too bad the National Organization of Women couldn't find anyone who was willing to come on the air and debate it. Better for NOW just to call for Summers' resignation in a petulant press release and then run and hide. Luckily, Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse provides some common sense in this piece.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Overall Shameless Self-Promotion Moment

It was such a wonderfully busy day that I forgot to link to my piece in Human Events.

I'll be in for Al Rantel on KABC tomorrow during the 11 a.m. hour.
By the way, did anyone notice that Senators Kerry, Clinton and Kennedy were sporting very blue mufflers? Coincidence? You decide . . .

A Wonderful Speech, a Wonderful Day

Every Inauguration Day is a time of celebration. Of course, the day is a bittersweet one for Kerry supporters, who hoped to see a different man take the oath this morning.

But the fact is that what happened at noon eastern on the West front of the Capitol is worthy of celebration, whoever's the victor. As Americans, it's all too easy to forget that there are many societies where power is not transferred voluntarily -- it only happens with armed struggle, often at the point of a gun. Today, troops are marching in our Capitol, but not with menace -- with pride. And so whoever your candidate is, our great celebration of American democracy is both meaningful and moving.

The President's Inaugural Address was a masterpiece. A very bold and ringing affirmation of America's principles and its role in the world and human history, it openly and squarely set America on the side of freedom.

First, freedom abroad: "So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

And also freedom at home: "By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous, and just, and equal." And we're going to "reform[] great institutions" to do it.

There was no one ringing phrase in the speech. But in a deeper sense, the entire speech was one ringing phrase, and it was this: "America believes that freedom is the God-given right of every living soul, and we are committed to defending and extending that freedom at home and across the world."
Harvard's President Lawrence Summers has apologized. Wimp.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

We knew she was simple-minded -- but Barbara Boxer really thinks she's a "pretty good debater"?! Please.

Note to everyone who didn't shake their tailfeathers to get out and vote for Bill Jones last November: Barbara Boxer apparently thinks her margin of victory provided her with a "mandate" to be a "truth-teller." Well, at least the latter would be something new for her.

Radio Shameless Self Promotion Moment

I will be celebrating Inauguration Day tomorrow by sitting in for Al Rantel tomorrow on KABC. So between 11 and 11:45 tomorrow morning and 6-9 p.m., tune into 790 AM or go to the KABC web site to listen live!
Now here's a newsflash from CBS -- who could have guessed that the exit polls on Election Day, which projected a John Kerry win, were actually flawed?

Contain yourself. Apparently it's true. The reason? "Kerry voters were more likely to participate in the exit polls than Bush voters," the report says.

The report also lists a number of factors that could account for that phenomenon, but, as usual, the most important one goes largely unaddressed. Perhaps the euphemistic reference to "motivational factors that are impossible to quantify" accounts for voters like me, who would rather have had my head lit on fire and put out with a sledgehammer than spend a moment of time helping the news outlets who had been so egregiously unfair to my candidate, President Bush, throughout the election season. (Other "motivational factors" might be read to include the purported Democratic strategy to try to gain the appearance of momentum through the polls in order to hold down conservative turnout.)

Prayer request from Iraq

Chaplain (Captain) Lyle Shackleford has asked for our prayers for the troops who have the extremely dangerous task of distributing ballots and voting machines throughout Iraq, according to this post from Blackfive. Please pass this request on, and pray that divine order will surround all aspects of the Iraqi elections just 11 days away.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

It's outrageous that Condoleezza Rice should have to defend her integrity against the likes of the pathetic Barbara Boxer, who isn't really fit to tie Dr. Rice's intellectual shoelaces. Here is a transcript of the entire sorry affair. Dr. Rice was clearly being forced into a battle of wits with an unarmed adversary.

As I pointed out in yesterday's column, Barbara Boxer is an embarassment to California -- I cringe every time she invokes "her constituents" in any context. Is it possible to impeach a senator for having an embarassingly low IQ?
More on the comments from the hapless president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers.

Again, it seems to me that the entire controversy is being blown out of proportion by the usual coterie of feminists in search of a protest. As this follow up piece makes clear, Dr. Summers was exploring various theories that would explain the underrepresentation of women in the sciences. One of these theories is that because of brain structure, women have somewhat less aptitude for the sciences -- much as it's been posited that women have somewhat greater aptitude in the language and emotional expression areas.

Anybody who thinks that Dr. Summers is denigrating women as a gender is just wrong. What he postulated is that there might be a biological component -- it's like saying that men are stronger than women. Of course it's a generalization -- some womem are much better at the sciences than some men, just as some women are much stronger than some men. What he's talking about is a vast generalization. On the whole, men are, indeed, stronger than women. There's no shame in that. It's just a fact.

That he is broadly generalizing doesn't make what he's saying inaccurate as a whole, though it may be inaccurate in a great many cases. And given the overall intellectual aptitude of the typical Harvard undergraduate, it can hardly be construed as a slur against Harvard's female students . . . who would be in the population that's generally more likely to be better at the sciences than many men who are not at Harvard or a similar college.

What's so annoying is having to witness another example of PC feminists attempting to stifle free inquiry. I'd like to know if there are gender differences that explain why women are underrepresented in the sciences -- because if there aren't (and there isn't some other reason, like some uniquely demanding lifestyle demanded by a profession in the sciences, as Dr. Summer also postulates), well, maybe there is some type of invidious discrimination. And all fair minded people then have a stake in ensuring that such behavior be stopped (given the blood, sweat and tears put into recruiting women for the sciences, though, I tend to doubt discrimination is the problem).

But it's wrong to short-circuit the inquiry and jump right to the left wing's favorite theory -- discrimination. Nor is it fair not to explore every avenue because it might "discourage" some women. If you're tough enough to be a top flight scientist, you should be sufficiently committed to the spirit of free inquiry to permit any plausible theory to be dispassionately investigated.
John Kerry is a disgrace. In furtherance of his own political goals (yes, he actually thinks that he can run again as the Dems' nominee in '08), he is willing to undermine our collective faith in American democracy. (Plus sound like a sore loser. I'm still waiting for him to protest what sounds like massive vote fraud in Washington State).

In many ways, a democracy can function only if the people participating in it have faith that their hands are being squarely dealt. Once that elusive faith is eroded, there is chaos -- a governmental version of Thomas Hobbes' "war of all against all." It was that sense that prompted Richard Nixon not to challenge JFK's presidential victory, even where there was excellent evidence of vote tampering in the city of Chicago -- and why I believe that, absent clear, compelling and readily provable evidence of wrongdoing, Dino Rossi (up in Washington) should concede defeat and then get ready to take out Senator Maria Cantwell in '06.

In contrast, Al Gore -- for his own selfish political ends -- broke this tradition and chose to make wildly unsubstantiated claims of voter suppression on racial grounds. Since '00, Democrats have tried to rally their base with these claims, heedless of how their untruths pollute the political atmosphere in a very deadly way that's not easily reversed. It could be argued that they were so effective at stoking this resentment that it's led to some very intemperate behavior within their ranks -- behavior that turned off a lot of middle of hte road voters this year.

Now John Kerry is making the same Faustian bargain. For short term gain, he's slinging allegations that corrode American political and civic life. But he doesn't care, because for him, it's all about John Kerry. Forget what this piece argues -- that Kerry lost because he tried to "edit" who he was.

Not so. The people knew too well who Kerry was -- a fellow who believed in "global tests" and who had slandered his comrades in arms -- and understood that he'd say anything that was to his short term political advantage. Chalk one more up for the American people; they were right again.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Poor Lawrence Summers. Harvard's President has been caught committing political incorrectness, and it's going to be ugly.

What did he do? Well, at an economic conference, he suggested that there might be "innate differences" between men and women that explain why there are relatively fewer women in math and the sciences than in, say, the humanities.

As a result, the usual type of hysterical feminists are on a rampage. According to Harvard grad and Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist Nancy Hopkins, "It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women (at Harvard) are being led by a man who views them this way."

Well, if that's the quality of Hopkins' reasoning, it looks to me like she might have gotten her impressive job because she's a woman, not in spite of it. Give me a break.

From the story, it seems clear that Summers did not say that woman aren't as brilliant, capable, interesting, or worthy as men. He merely had the temerity to suggest that there may be some differences in brain structure that help men excel at some things, women at others. Hate to break it to the feminists, but that's become such common knowledge that even Psychology Today is writing about it. For his part, Summers only said that the issue merits study.

And so it does. It seems to me that Summers may be on to something. In so many areas, women are outpacing men -- law school admissions, med school admissions, high school graduation, the list goes on. Why not in math and the sciences? Are these feminists trying to assert that those disciplines, alone, are some bastion of gender discrimination?

Here's an even more provocative thought . . . math and the sciences are one of the few areas left where achievement is readily quantifiable, and the standards haven't changed. (Kind of like the Marines). If someone were really a misogynist, he could suggest that many of the "gains" we've seen in the "softer" areas of academe are attributable to the restructuring -- or even the lowering -- of many standards (kind of like the physical standards in the Army). In my view, that would be wrong, but perhaps it would merit further study.

One thing is certain: The hysteria with which some women greet innocuous remarks like Summers' suggest that they are far less secure about their own -- and their "sisters'" -- capabilities.

They need to get over it. For years, the rational world has known that there are some real, immutable differences between the sexes. That's not a political statement; it's a recognition of reality. For feminists to continue to ignore these differences -- and to equate any discussion of them with an accusation that women are somehow inferior -- is just crazy.

Larry Summers deserves a break on this one. Then again, perhaps he's learning just how oppressive the kind of PC-speak that dominates academia can be -- not just for conservatives, but for anyone with an opinion that defies radical chic received wisdom.
Here's AOL's list of ten young civil rights leaders to watch. Question: There isn't any conservative who belongs in that list? Not one? Just the usual, same-old assortment of 'activists', artists, etc.

On MLK's birthday, it's worth mentioning that what's known today as the "civil rights movement" is a far cry from the American heroes who initiated it several decades ago. Today, the overwhelming majority of the "civil rights lobby" has become little more than a sclerotic, bloated liberal adjunct of the Democratic party. Is there anyone who really thinks that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are genuine "civil rights leaders" -- rather than simply shake down artists and self promoters of the first order?

Isn't the right to a decent education a "civil right"? Might want to check out the concept of "school choice." Isn't the right to live in a decent culture a semi-civil right? Might want to get a handle on the violent, repugnant and misogynist lyrics being glorified as the "art" of rapping. And isn't it a civil right to be able to worship freely and have one's faith respectd in the public square? Well, those aren't concerns that anyone in today's 'civil rights movement' seems terribly worried about.

Apparently it's more fun to worry about how many minorities are on television than it is to do the hard work of teaching young people (of all races) about turning off the tube, working hard in school, exercising sexual restraint, and making good life choices. That's something that might be of value -- but it's so much less glamorous than hobnobbing with television executives or Wall Street bigshots (link won't work, but -- schadenfreude alert -- CNS news reported on 1/11 that NYSE had withdrawn its sponsorship of Jackson's "Wall Street Project".)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

This story underlines the desperate need for school reform.

In a country where every taxpayer's child is entitled to a safe, clean and well-performing school, the situation has become so bad that the American people are fleeing a school system that is dominated by teacher's unions that care more about what's good for their membership than what's good for the children (many teachers themselves, however, are models of devotion). It's an outrage that reform seems so hopeless that there's nothing to do but abandon the schools!

How sad, as the story points out, that parents are reduced to trying to "game" the system to find their children a place at a decent school, wending their way through a computer-selection system informed by byzantine racial quotas. How sad that they are reduced to calling the admissions people at the magnet schools to "beg" and "offer food", all so that their children can receive a shot at a decent education -- a shot that the education establishment and its allies in the Democratic Party seem determined to withhold.
According to this piece, CBS news head Andrew Heyward feels "a certain sorrow and guilt about being the guy who survived," a source reports.

Well, then, why doesn't he offer his resignation? Tom Johnson, former President and CEO of CNN and a person of honor (BTW also a personal friend), did just that in the wake of the flawed "Operation Tailwind" report on CNN, even though he was not personally involved in the reporting of the story. His resignation was not accepted -- in a wise move on CNN's part.

If Heyward's "sorrow and guilt" persists, perhaps he could purge himself by acting honorably . . . but then again, perhaps he's afraid that his offer to resign would be met with a ready assent.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

PRICELESS!. Priceless.

This "Alternative Inaugural Address" by PJ O'Rourke is a must read.
This piece, about how Hitler wanted to kidnap Pope Pius XII, may slow down some of the left-wingers who have long tried to paint that pope as a villain.

Just as interesting is the following fact, commonly "forgotten" when atheists charge "religion" with having been the cause of most of the world's bloodshed:

"[T] dictator wanted to eventually abolish Christianity and impose National Socialism as a sort of new global religion."

People like this, who believe that "Historians tell us that Hitler professed to be a Christian" might want to check it out.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Interesting piece by David Brooks on the terrible tug between pursuing a career and having a family experienced by many women. Brooks suggests more "sequencing" options for women; perhaps, he suggests, they could raise their children between ages 25 and 35, then attend a graduate school with flexible programs designed especially for parents.

The same idea was floated some years ago by Danielle Crittendon in her excellent book "What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman."

But I've never been sure that "better" sequencing is really the answer. I married at 31, and made a much different (and better!) choice than I would have, say, ten years earlier. In many ways, I'm a different person than I was all those years ago . . . and if blessed with children, I suspect I'll be a much more patient and better mother -- with significantly less to "prove" in terms of my own life, and more emotional energy to focus on a child, rather than myself.
Atheist Michael Newdow has more in common with Michael Ray (see post below) than either of them might be willing to admit. Both are trying to foist radical change on a community (whether America or the Episcopal Church) by unilateral political stunts, rather than through persuasion or consensus. Perhaps it's because they know, at their gut level, that the majority simply doesn't agree with them?
"The Rev. Michael F. Ray", as this ridiculous, lionizing New York Times story calls him, is -- truthfully -- an idiot. To protest the Episcopal Church's policy against same sex marriages, he is now refusing to marry anyone in his church -- he's calling it a "moratorium." Even though, mind you, no gay couples have even asked to be married there.

Note that the Episcopal prayer book and canon law defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. But because Ray doesn't agree with the existing canon law, he's willing to hold his own parishioners -- and his own church -- hostage. Some hero. Some priest.

Of course, his "protest" is mostly symbolic -- there were only five marriages at his church per year, anyway . . . but his cheap political stunt did get him a story in the secular version of the Bible. And congratulations are due him for yet another reason -- in "solidarity," his own daughter won't be married in the Church. Frankly, given her father's radical views about Church doctrine, that's probably appropriate.

What's a shame is, as the article notes in passing, that his church, St. Thomas', has "lost" some parishioners since the moratorium went into effect. Not that Mr. Ray likely cares. Like too many other Episcopal priests these days, he may not be at all troubled by driving traditionalists from his parish. Makes it easier if there's no one here but us liberals, after all.

Make no mistake: No one has (or should have) a problem with welcoming gays into the Episcopal Church for membership, fellowship and worship. Too bad people like Ray, through their obnoxious efforts to force change on a Church at any cost, can't allow traditionalists to feel similarly welcome in his Church -- and theirs.

Don't ask why the Episcopal Church is hemorraging members. There's no need. Just check out Michael Ray's church.
Many thanks to reader and commenter Tim Thompson for noting the trouble with the link in my 1/12 post about women in combat. It's been corrected now.
Here is just one more reason to bemoan the quality of Bill Jones' campaign. Barbara Boxer, the Barbra Streisand of the Senate, is planning to oppose California's own Condoleezza Rice -- while Senator Feinstein, who has not only more intelligence but a greater sense of decorum, intends to introduce her to the Foreign Relations Committee.

Just for grins, my dog, Winston, is signed up to receive Barbara Boxer's emails (with his keen intelligence and sense of humor, Winston is better able than I to cope with the misleading inanities these communications include). The most recent one was titled "Boxer Asks Californians to List Priorities." Let me tell you what's top on my list: Making sure that this is Boxer's last term in the Senate. What a complete and total buffoon -- and what an embarassment to California!
There's more this morning on the Dean campaign having paid two bloggers -- including Daily Kos -- during last year's presidential campaign.

According to this story in The Wall Street Journal, the author of DailyKos said he was paid a total of $12,000 and noted that he had posted a disclosure near the top of his blog that he worked for the Dean campaign doing "technical consulting."

For me, that defense doesn't cut it. "Technical consulting" sounds like one is advising the campaign on how to set up its internet communications system. Instead, if you read the rest of the story, the clear intent was to purchase favorable "buzz" from the Dean campaign in the substance of the Kos blog -- not just assistance with the technical aspect of the campaign. And it's not as though Kos was a true Dean believer from the beginning -- as this story makes clear, he was first an Edwards guy, then a draft-Clark guy, and then (and the story suggests only after he was hired by Trippi) was he a Dean guy.

In fairness, though, it appears that Kos did tell his readers at least once that he was on the Dean payroll, apparently on June 9, 2003. The Kos site is impossible (at least for me) to search on, but the entry was noted contemperaneously here and here.

Was that disclosure enough? I don't think so. It's clear that during the most heated parts of the primary campaign, no one recalled that Kos was actually on the Dean payroll. He presented himself as an independent commentator, as far as I can see. Maybe that's the lesson for all of us -- in '06 and '08, we should ask each and every pundit to have an extensive disclosure statement at the bottom of his or her blog.

In the meantime, however, as reluctant as I am to admit it (because his site is repugnant), there is a meaningful distinction between the Kos situation and that of Armstrong Williams -- most notably, that the relationship was admitted at the time, and (in contrast to Williams) didn't remain secret until after the termination of the contract.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

My, my, my. According to Little Green Footballs, left wing blogger Kos was paid by the Howard Dean campaign.

Any minute, I'm waiting for the torrents of abuse showered upon Armstrong Williams to begin falling on Kos.

What's so difficult about this for anyone to understand, left or right? If you're being paid by someone, just disclose it! It doesn't disqualify your opinions from being valid, necessarily -- it's just being honest with the people who read you, thereby honoring you with the gift of their time and their consideration.
Victor David Hansen, as usual, gets it right: "Islamicists Hate Us for Who We Are, Not What We Do". When a group feels victimized, no history of aid -- military and economic -- to Muslims means anything. "Crimes" will always be invented to rationalize an irrational hatred.

The vast bulk of the American electorate understands this. But a lot of Democrats -- Pat Leahy, among others -- don't. And they have lunatics among their staunchest partisans -- people who are more worried about the well-being of terrorists in US captivity than about innocent Americans and Brits having their heads hacked off with a butter knife.

Obviously, torture is wrong and runs contrary to American values. But if the Democrats think they are going to win back the American electorate with indignation that always runs hotter against this country than against its enemies, well, they have a long time in the wilderness ahead.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

This is appalling. The Houston Chronicle is arguing against a retrial of Andrea Yates -- the woman who killed her five children in June 2001. Those children were Paul, Luke, John, Noah and Mary. Most news accounts won't bother listing the childrens' names, but they deserve to be named, after all; they were people, little human beings, whose lives were snuffed out by their own mother -- the one person they should be able to trust most in all the world.

If you have a strong stomach, read this. It will break your heart. Little 7 year old Noah Yates, the last to die, tried to escape but was dragged back to the bathtub by his own mother, who later calmly noted that he thought he was being punished for something -- she even surmised that his last, frantically gasped words were of apology.

Andrea Yates knew right from wrong. Had she not, why call 911? Why summon the police? Why call her husband?

No, anything less than a criminal conviction (too bad the death penalty's not available) is not enough. And only those with no feeling at all for Mary, Noah, John, Luke and Paul Yates -- and by extension, those who place no value on those five young lives -- could call for nothing but psychiatic treatment for Andrea Yates.

Of course there are women with severe postpartum psychosis. But it isn't a license to kill your children. Interpreting it as such is an insult, a deep insult, to the millions of decent women who may find themselves depressed after the birth of a child -- but who would never, ever, EVER chase down their own children to hold them under water as they struggled desperately to escape death at their own mother's hand.

And sending any other message than that our society deems such an appalling, abhorrent act to be unequivocally evil would be, in fact, unequivocally evil itself.
Tony Blankley has done it. That is, cogently summarized the reservations I have had about the Rathergate report. What was news to me was that Richard Thornburgh works for the law firm that represents CBS. And what Blankley doesn't say (but plainly implies) is that Thornburgh had a conflict of interest.

That is, as an ombudsman-like investigator, he had an obligation to answer all the questions -- including whether (1) The Defense Department documents broadcast by CBS were known to be fraudulent; and (2) Whether political bias exists at the network (wow, that's a tough one).

But as an attorney at the firm representing CBS, he simultaneously had an fiduciary relationship with the entity he was supposed to be investigating, and a concomitant obligation to avoid putting CBS in legally jeopardy, certainly, but also -- perhaps more subtly -- to avoid holding it up to unnecessary ridicule or reputational damage.

As far as I'm concerned, that's the missing link that explains the obvious oversights in the report -- as I tried to express it Monday, the fact that it's factually thorough, but fails to draw the obvious interpretations or make the conclusions (or even ask the right questions) from the facts it so painstakingly lays out.
Good for President Bush. Women in combat? I don't think so. If my husband or brothers were fighting in Iraq, I'd want to make sure they were with people strong enough to have a fighting chance of carrying them to safety if they were wounded -- and whom they wouldn't have a (good and) natural inclination to try to shield and protect.
Fabulous Claudia Rosett documents another potential sinkhole of corruption within the UN cesspool (how does she have the stomach for this?). It's called the United Nations Compensation Commission. And the key sentence is this: "The question for investigators should be not simply whether money was wasted by or bilked from the UNCC, but where that money went."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Left-winger David Corn writes that Armstrong Williams told him that there are "other" conservative pundits who are on the take from The White House.

I don't believe him. But for once, I agree with Corn: If he knows anything, Williams should spill the names, and ASAP. Not only do Americans need to know who not to trust, they should know who they can trust.

Every pundit should be able to say, and I do: My views are my own, and mine only. I have not been paid, rewarded or approached by anyone with money or anything else of value intended to influence my commentary in any way, shape or form.
God bless Sgt. Rafael Peralta. Please pass this story of a true American hero along.
Gotta give credit where credit is due. Tim Rutten of the LA Times, generally a journalistic heavy-breather with an unbelievable anti-Fox agenda, has gotten it right this time in this piece about Rathergate.

Of course the bias issue was the "crux" of the entire investigation, and of course CBS has hardly been exonerated.

So let's call the Rathergate report what it was: A good start. But if CBS wouldn't accept, on a serious charge, a simple denial from President Bush, then why should the rest of us accept simple denials about political bias from Rather and Mapes, without further investigation?

Let's ask John Podhoretz. He nails the whole issue of bias, concisely -- as usual.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Here is as adequate a summary as any of the CBS news "Rathergate" report, finally released today.

Hugh Hewitt believes that the report is seriously deficient, whereas Jim Geraghty opines that it has some "good work," even though it chickens out on finding any partisan bias in CBS' reporting.

I come down with Hugh on this one.

(1) There is no way that the report can be credible without releasing ALL transcripts, documents, emails, etc. etc. -- and that hasn't been done.

(2) Thornburgh and Boccardi's decision to take a powder on the issue of political bias renders the rest of the report suspect, at least to me. No, not that any facts have been misrepresented or omitted -- but rather, that there may be subtle interpretations of facts that are designed to allow CBS to maintain its professional credibility by downplaying the issue of partisanship.

Clearly -- clearly -- there was political bias at CBS from the top down. Sources that gave stories contrary to the one that was aired were either ignored or dismissed; Rather has a long history of partisanship, as done Mapes; there is evidence that is never sufficiently dealt with suggesting real coordination between Mapes (at least) and the Kerry campaign.

And here is an interesting mind game: Had someone emerged with sketchy documents of dubious origin purporting to show that John Kerry had deliberately wounded himself to get out of Vietnam early, would those have been rushed to air prematurely, without a thorough vetting, with contrary sources unacknowledged? Not a chance -- remember, one journalist even went to the trouble to interview a former Viet Cong in an effort to disprove the Swift Boat vets' account (which I always found fishy -- how would he have known who John Kerry was at the time?).

So the report is disappointing, but not surprising. After all, what people often forget is that even the "independent" investigators have lives outside the investigation, may know some of the investigation's targets (or their superiors) socially, and thus -- while willing to lay out the facts honestly -- may not have the "fire in the belly" necessary to take the extra step to deal with the partisanship issue. After all, it would be nice to sit on the Viacom corporate board, even if it's in ten years. No, that's NOT to imply that there's any bribery afoot -- I believe in Thornburgh and Boccardi's integrity; it's just to suggest that often, powerful and important people have interests that are subtly and deeply intertwined, and they have to know this, even if the knowledge is on some unconscious level.

So ponder this: CBS could also have chosen someone outside the media elite/Beltway crowd to participate in the investigation, as well -- someone who knows he never has a chance of being accepted in New York/DC "polite society" anyway (say Pat Buchanan?) or someone with a position so secure that there was nothing to gain (say William F. Buckley?). Think about it -- CBS would scream that, with their known political affiliations, there's no chance the outcome would be fair. A little like putting Mary Mapes and Dan Rather on an anti-GWB story.
Here is a fascinating piece from "USA Today." Titled "Character Issue Puts Dems on the Defensive," it discusses how and why, in the author's view, the "character issue" has been used so effectively against Democratic presidential candidates.

Some theories that are discussed include: The Democratic candidates know the attacks are so ridiculous that they make the mistake of not taking them seriously and they underestimate the importance the American people place on character in the first place.

But what's most amazing is what the piece doesn't say, and it's the key point: Democrats cannot talk about character, because doing so implies some degree of what Democrats love pejoratively to term (gasp!) "judgmentalism." Because the Democrat party has become so completely the party of moral relativism, and because important chunks of its constituency will not tolerate any discussion of morality/virtue/good/evil, the Democrats have been effectively silenced on the character issue. That's what the story should have explained -- but didn't.
Here, amazingly enough, is a list of companies that have fired people for blogging (or forbade them to blog).

I wonder if Hugh Hewitt, the author of Blog : Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World (the next book on my must-read list), has heard of this travesty??! (Hat tip to Larry in Pasadena, fantastic husband of one of my best buddies).

Great to be back!

We had a wonderful time cruising the Caribbean on a small ship, thanks to the generosity of my husband's longtime friend and mentor and his wonderful wife.

But it's great to be back -- check out my weekly column posted at theOneRepublic. It's called "Feminism's Rotten Fruit" and it's about "Apprentice" runner-up Jennifer Massey's spurious charges of sexism.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Farewell Until Monday & 2 Vital Notes

Thanks to the generosity of my husband's (and now my!) dear friend and mentor, we will be cruising in the Virgin Islands for the next several days -- with some liberal luminaries, no less! Winston, our Westie, has seen the suitcases packed, and seems a bit bitter -- but he'll have plenty of company here at home.

In the meantime, there are two important things to keep in mind over the next few days:

(1) Please visit Captain's Quarters and join Captain Ed's effort to make January 12 World Relief Day. The idea? For all of us to donate our take-home pay -- or whatever we can spare -- for January 12th to the tsunami relief effort at World Vision. Truly a worthy cause.

(2) Order Hugh Hewitt's newest book: Blog : Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World. It's essential for all bloggers, wanna-be bloggers, and don't-know-what-a-blog-is'ers.
This morning, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mary Eberstadt, the author of a very important book: Home Alone America: The Hidden Toll of Day Care, Behavioral Drugs and Other Parental Substitutes. It's a must-read.

Shameless Self Promotion Moment (Radio)

I will again be filling in for Al Rantel on AM 790 KABC from 11:00 am to noon and then from 6-9 pm.

Shameless Self Promotion Moment (Print)

Good does sometimes come out of seeming evil -- that's the topic of my weekly column at theOneRepublic.
British universities have found that a high IQ is an advantage for men who want to get married, but a hindrance for women.

Why do you think this is? In the article, one quote postulates that intelligent women don't find men "interesting." It's not that -- it's that most men don't want to compete with a mate of higher intellect at home, or that women want to make sure that their husbands are as bright (or brighter) than they, and for women with high IQ's, that narrows the pool considerably.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

British journalist Tim Hames has the UN's number. It is, as he says, "philosophically redundant, structurally irrelevant and bureaucratically ossified." And that's being charitable.

Since Hames gets it, how is it that Richard Holbrooke, Tim Wirth, Leslie Gelb and others don't? Apparently, they called a secret meeting with Kofi Annan to tip him off that something is seriously amiss at the UN. News flash.

While Holbrooke, Gelb, Wirth and the rest are advising Kofi behind the scenes -- and to me, it seems a bit unsavory to see them so cozy with a man who obviously tried to interfere in the internal politics of the United States during the recent elections -- how about sharing a little bit of their wisdom with the rest of us? Here's what I'd like to know: Why any of us should take the UN seriously. Yes, of course we should belong (if for no other reason than to ensure that we know what the organization is up to) . . . but what claim to our money, attention and good will does the UN really have, and why? In the wake of its multiple scandals, ubridled arrogance and demonstrated greed, what moral authority does the UN have left?

I'm with The Wall Street Journal's invaluable Claudia Rosett -- the UN needs not reform, but regime change.
How sad that this piece -- "Journalists Shouldn't Be Cheerleaders" -- even needed to be written. One would have thought the proposition self-evident. But as the piece demonstrates, it isn't.
This is absolutely appalling. In discussing the terrible devastation wreaked by the tsunami, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams (the titular head of the Episcopal/Anglican Church worldwide) has informed all of us that "The question, 'How can you believe in a God who permits suffering on this scale?' is therefore very much around at the moment, and it would be surprising if it weren't - indeed it would be wrong if it weren't."

How, exactly, is it wrong for one's faith in God to remain constant, even in the face of tragedy? It's perhaps understandable for the tsunami to raise hard questions, and perhaps it's not necessarily sinful for terrible suffering to elicit some uncertainty about the existence or role of God in this world. But that doesn't mean the converse is true -- that because it's not wrong to doubt, it is wrong not to doubt.

Rowan Williams' theological pandering and lack of leadership is one of the reasons so many Episcopalians are becoming increasingly alienated from their Church. It's admirable if he is trying to reach out to the suffering and the doubtful -- but should it be at the expense of sound theology? It's human to doubt, of course -- but our religious leaders are supposed to help us understand why we shouldn't, not to tell us that we should.

After all, doesn't the Bible tell us that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our might? Surely there isn't an exception for the case of a devastating tsunami, is there, Archbishop Williams?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, dear readers. May happiness, health and peace be yours in 2005 and in years to come.