David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Saturday, August 26, 2006
The Week's Excellent Readings
This week's wide-ranging list has more favorites than usual and a broader range of topics than last week's. Topics in the Favorites category range from Wal-Mart and the Simpsons to war and presidential elections. Enjoy.
Michael Barone writes that we have overt and covert enemies in the present war, and what he says about the covert ones is right on the money. One small excerpt:
Beware a religion without irony, warns Roger Scruton (though those precise words may actually be his editor's). Along the way, you'll learn who coined the term "Islamofascism."
Chuck Colson defines fascism and says, yes, that's what we're fighting. Or at least that's what's fighting us.
This is a couple of months old, but Erica Klarreich's article on number theory and other math in The Simpsons tickled my math-geek brain, though I'm not an avid Simpsons watcher. Thanks to Oak Norton of American Fork for the link. Here's an excerpt quoting an episode which brings The Emperor's New Math to mind:
Lorie Byrd evaluates the likely Rudy Giuliani presidential campaign. It's an interesting article, but what elevates it to favorite status on this week's list is this quotation from Kate O'Bierne:
Jonah Goldberg is enjoying the Democrats' anti-Wal-Mart histrionics, and I'm thinking of adding two acronyms to my repertoire: BDS and WMDS. (Goldberg will explain.)
Charles Krauthammer opines insightfully on the current applications and limitations of multilateralism, including in the cases of Iran, Lebanon, and North Korea. Here's a snippet from his discussion of Lebanon:
Kathleen Parker writes of the wonders and horrors, in our technological world, of trying to do anything in public.
Have I mentioned lately that Paul Greenberg can flat-out write? Here he reflects on traveling in a time of terror, but I think I'd enjoy his writing if he were telling me about the latest, greatest telephone book or notebook paper or something else completely banal.
Betsy Hart has some refreshing insights into parenting and being parented. Here's a substantial excerpt:
Amir Taheri suggests that Hezbollah didn't win, after all, and then he makes his case rather persuasively.
Robert Novak muses on Iran's purported new willingness to talk.
Joel Mowbray reviews the case in support of this statement:
Mark Steyn recalls some of the swift progress in the weeks after 9/11 in obtaining international cooperation, and he notes that such things aren't happening any more.
Jeff Jacoby notes that Israel's airline, El Al, is the safest in the world, and discusses the difference between the US and Israel in the matter of airport security.
Jerry Bowyer tracks Wall Street's view of Arab companies through recent events. Here, in a nutshell, is his conclusion:
Rich Lowry says the US is the world's only responsible power.
Paul Greenberg analyzes the recent US District Court decision declaring certain National Security Agency surveillance programs unconstitutional.
I'm not entirely certain that Alfred E. Neuman is fit intellectual company for people whose decisions actually matter. That may be part of Wesley Pruden's point, too.
Robert Novak offers the latest news from inside the Beltway, including Senator Christopher Dodd's preparations to run for president.
Paul Jacob talks about "the great wage gap" -- between federal workers and the private sector, that is, and the federal workers are making a lot more.
Rich Lowry celebrates the success of welfare reform after ten years and suggests the next step. An excerpt:
John H. Fund provides a bit of antidote to the tiresome BMA catechism that says President Bush is intellectually deficient, but also explains the need for the President to communicate much more effectively on key issues. (Amen.)
John Podhoretz analyzes the polls and their ability to forecast 2006 election results.
Kathleen Parker suggests an alternative to the "President Bush is an idiot" mantra: Washington politico-speak is not his native tongue.
Want to get angry? Read Debra J. Saunders' account of a truly ridiculous episode. (I'm thinking a presidential pardon would be a nice gesture.)
Mona Charen catalogs the various theories conjured up over the years by experts to explain why the Democrats will win a given election, including the next one.
Robert Novak reports the latest morsels from Capitol Hill, including doubts that Senator Lieberman will lose his committee positions if he wins after running as an independent.
There's a secret hold in the Senate on an interesting bill to promote open government. How's that for irony? Ed Feulner reports. It's an interesting bill, too. Perhaps Utah and American Fork should look into it.
Peter Beinart says that it's actually good electoral strategy for the Democrats to have no ideas.
I Shop at Wal-Mart at Least Three Times in a Typical Week
I enjoyed Bill Murchison on Democratic Wal-Mart-bashing and political demagoguery in general.
Rich Lowry explains the anti-Wal-Mart silliness as cogently as anyone:
Lawrence Kudlow reviews the current economic good news.
Thomas Sowell's little economics primer for black leaders is useful for a general audience.
Read Tom Purcell to find out why he says -- and what is his point when he says -- this:
Mary Katherine Ham notes that social conservatives -- by which she means Mormons, as represented by a few folks on a reality show -- can dance. In the process, she has an insight into the popular appeal of at least some reality shows.
I first read the National Education Association (NEA) charter when I was 18. This means that I was horrified then, but am not surprised now at the latest NEA caper. In case you've been in a closet for the last 40 years and don't know how the NEA thinks, Alan Sears explains.
Suzanne Fields describes the recently revealed hypocrisy of a major cultural icon, Gunter Grass. Along the way, we get this gem from Hannah Arendt:
Star Parker discusses lopsided corporate giving (favoring the Left), common shakedown tactics, and related subjects.
If I'm ever tempted to think ill of my own daughter in her teenage years, I'll try to remember this Celia Rivenbark piece and thank whatever gods there be that she is nothing like the spoiled brat(s) described in it.
And then there's Jill, profiled here by Meghan Daum.
Paul Greenberg slips into meta-columnist mode again. I always enjoy it, but maybe that's because these days I write mostly about politics, but sometimes about . . . loftier things, if there are any.
What do preschool expulsion rates have to do with anything? Clarence Page answers.
Allison Kasic asks,
After that one, clear your palate with Gene Weingarten, who has been known to take an idea and run with it.
Greg Crosby stomps all over the WaMu wamu, and I, fancying myself a literate person and a lover of language, thank him.
Around the World
Kathryn Jean Lopez writes about some interesting developments in the fight against AIDS, which will please pretty much everyone except the any-answer-but-the-real-one crowd.
George Will probes the strained relations between Japan and China and the role of memory.
And here George Will profiles Japan's retiring prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi.
The New Republic's Jonathan Kurlantzick explains why it's not a surprise to find a pedophile (or worse) on the lam in Thailand. It's not a pleasant article, but . . .
Mike Gallagher wonders about symbolic policies which make communities feel they've accomplished something when they really haven't. The subject is sex offenders.
Burt Prelutsky tells why he should never be on a jury, despite the fact that he was on call for jury duty all week.
American Fork and Environs
Forbes has rated Utah the fourth-best state for doing business. Kurt Badenhausen reports.
Here's a fairly good Tyler Peterson article in the Salt Lake Tribune about the American Fork City Council's vote to put a pressurized water system bond on the November ballot. And here's a less satisfactory Daily Herald article by Megan C. Wallgren which uses one resident's complaint to make it sound as if the City has not done its homework and doesn't understand what it's doing -- which is not an accurate impression. (Later note: The Tyler Peterson article contains one significant error: The partial system's cost would reportedly be about twice the $18 million he cited.)
Amy Choate-Nielsen reports on ongoing consideration of a possible lakeside resort in American Fork.
This long Glen Warhol article from the Salt Lake Tribune is the most thorough I've seen so far on the recent flutter about American Fork's Developmental Center. (Personally, I'm all for government programs having to justify their existence and their costs, but I suspect that's actually possible in this case.)
Here's a Barbara Christiansen story about putting American Fork City's old bell back into its old place at City Hall. (The headline tries too hard, but we're used to that, right?)
American Fork City Councilman Shirl LeBaron's blog offers a summary of the deal American Fork and Lehi made to bring the new CostCo to its current location.
Copyright 2006 by David Rodeback.