David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Saturday, March 3, 2007
The Week's Excellent Readings
There were almost too many favorites to list this week. Almost.
Steve Jobs' Speech Revisited
Last week I asked if anyone knows where on the Web to find Steve Jobs' recent speech on education. I still don't have a link, but alert reader Mark Steele sent a link to a 1996 Steve Jobs interview with some similar content. Look near the middle of the speech, at Jobs' answer to the question, "Could technology help by improving education?"
Charles Krauthammer eloquently explains why humans do and should explore space themselves, not just with robots. His final paragraph:
Walter Williams takes a brief, clear look at liberty and democracy. He finds that we value liberty over democracy, and that democracy can pose a fatal threat to liberty. (Yes, he knows the Founders got there first. He quotes them.)
Alan Reynolds analyzes the week's bearish blip in the stock markets.
I'm certain Gene Weingarten's column means something. I'm equally certain I'm not going to venture a guess on the record. He writes of the ball clock -- and also of men.
David Strom profiles the looming fascism of the 21st century -- and it's not Islamic.
I usually avoid listing commentary by Senators and Members of Congress here, but here's a superb essay by Senator Joseph Lieberman about the situation in Iraq and in Washington. He gets it, unlike many members of his own party and more than a few members of the other party. An excerpt:
W. Thomas Smith tells the story of one Marine's heroism on Iwo Jima. (In the process, he makes an important point: sometimes a mighty struggle not only proceeds, but also follows, the photo op.)
Dinesh D'Souza summarizes what happened at Abu Ghraib and draws some conclusions, including about Muslim perceptions of the affair. (This is not pleasant reading, but it's a good summary. It is more factual and less sensational than the BMAs' imagery . . . and the conclusions are hard to fault.) An excerpt:
Mark Steyn starts with an account of a brief, interesting period of American History. Then he wonders where all that Yankee ingenuity that tried to save President Garfield has gone when the challenge is a war on Islamic fascism.
(This is a favorite not because I enjoyed it, which I didn't, but because it very articulately explains what a lot of Democrats are thinking, which in turn explains some other things.) On one hand, David Remnick's book Lenin's Tomb and its sequel, Resurrection, are absolute -- and very readable -- classics on the character, fall, and aftermath of the Soviet Union. (I'd be the last to quibble about the former's Pulitzer Prize.) On the other hand, in this article about US politics Remnick isn't just drinking the Kool-Aid, he's taking it intravenously. Al Gore is the rightful president, and he would have done everything just right, whereas President Bush has done nearly everything wrong. You have to read it to believe it. It hurts to see any party's -- even the Democrats' -- minds so fixated on a version of the past that just ain't so, and mourning the supposed loss of a present paradise that simply could not have been. No wonder they hate and fear Bush more than bin Laden, if this is what they're thinking!
Tom Bevan interviews Mitt Romney.
Jack Kelly mercilessly exposes Al Gore's articles of faith to the facts, and notes in the process that, as far and Hollywood and the rest of the Left are concerned, sacrifices are for other people to make.
Paul Greenberg's is the most insightful commentary I've read on immigration in a long time.
Burt Prelutsky muses on Al Gore's electric bill, the Oscars, and other related themes.
See also "Favorites" above.
Victor Davis Hanson offers some historical perspective on public attitudes about the war. His first paragraph:
Robert Novak reports that the Democratic campaign to lose the war is not proceeding as easily or as successfully as they had hoped. The next step might be trying to rescind Congress's 2002 authorization for the President to go to war, but that looks likely to fail. (Note as you read the negative effect Democrats talking had on one prong of the campaign.)
William Rusher's opening paragraph to a detailed article tells you exactly what it's about:
Daniel Henninger mourns the loss of the warrior ethos.
Paul Kengor suggests the modern relevance of a great spy story from the Reagan days.
The way things are going now, writes Diana West, we might as well have John Kerry in the White House.
National Politics: The 2008 Presidential Race
See also "Favorites" above.
Tony Blankley analyzes the strategic implications of the current elongated presidential campaign.
Kevin McCullough says the new, even longer presidential election cycle is a good thing. He hopes it will allow for greater scrutiny and less buyer's remorse.
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann say the John McCain campaign is fading for two reasons: lack of a spine (he's a Senator, you know) and Rudy Giuliani.
Michael Barone surveys presidential candidates' web sites and concludes:
Donald Lambro says that Mitt Romney is sounding a lot more like Ronald Reagan on the subject of taxes than Rudy Giuliani and John McCain are.
Don't look now, but Barack Obama is closing on Hillary Clinton in the polls, write Dick Morris and Eileen McGann.
On one hand, David Remnick's book Lenin's Tomb and its sequel, Resurrection, are absolute -- and very readable -- classics on the character, fall, and aftermath of the Soviet Union. (I'd be the last to quibble about the former's Pulitzer Prize.) On the other hand, in this article Remnick isn't just drinking the Kool-Aid, he's taking it intravenously now. Al Gore is the rightful president, and he would have done everything just right, whereas President Bush has done nearly everything wrong. You have to read it to believe it. It hurts to see any party's -- even the Democrats' -- minds so fixated on a version of the past that just ain't so, and mourning the loss of a present paradise that simply could not have been.
Kathryn Jean Lopez articulates the attractions of "the Reagan template."
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann report that Barack Obama is having trouble pulling the black vote away from Hillary Clinton.
This long Stephen Rodrick article on Rudy Giuliani is condescending and simplistic in its view of Giuliani and especially of people who live outside the five boroughs, but if you're wondering how the snootier-than-thou left-wing New York intelligentsia evaluates Giuliani, you may find it interesting.
John Podhoretz -- who gets it -- describes what folk outside the five boroughs see in Rudy Giuliani: an energetic, effective anti-liberal.
John H. Fund paints Hillary Clinton as a has-been from an unwelcome (potential) dynasty.
Donald Lambro says the current Democratic infighting in Congress and among presidential candidates is self-destructive.
Without endorsing his politics, Kathleen Parker writes of Barack Obama:
Linda Chavez thinks the Clintons' long-enjoyed exemption from laws others live by may be coming to an end.
Bradford Plumer says that even a moderate Republican president would have to enact policies to please conservatives.
National Politics: Other Topics
Neal Pierce says this is one of those times when the states, not the federal government, lead in many areas.
George Will discusses the quintessentially Orwellian escapade of trampling freedom in legislation called "The Employee Free Choice Act."
Thomas Sowell considers the implications of a recent book on the inner workings of the US Supreme Court. In a sequel, he wishes Republican presidents would think through the judge thing and avoid appointing liberals and lightweights. In Part III he discussed the leftward slide of some Supreme Court judges after their nomination. Part IV, on "quota nominations," among other things, really is not too much of a good thing.
Mark M. Alexander explores the fact, fiction, and politics of global warming.
Terence Jeffrey has a story about a case where the US court system clearly did not work sensibly.
Duncan Currie explains why Democrats love Jim Webb so much.
Matt Towery illustrates the dangers of bad legislation by looking at the effects of some bad legislation he wrote.
William Perry Pendley looks at a court case which involves US government officials claiming immunity against charges that they violated a citizen's constitutional rights.
Around the World
Michael Crowley describes how former Senator Sam Nunn is busily trying to prevent nuclear terrorism through the activities of a private organization. Very interesting.
Paul Greenberg at first seems to be saying, "They're baaaaaaaaack." -- They being the Russians. -- But no, times have changed, the Russians are more predictable, the rhetoric is not ideological, and overall things have improved. Then Greenberg walks briefly through American foreign policy generally, ending with this paragraph:
Max Boot explains that US allies have seriously downsized their military forces in recent years.
Mona Charen takes up an unhappy subject: slavery in the twenty-first century. There's a lot of it.
Michael E. McBride explains why he's pulling his daughter out of school. (He can't spell "principal," but otherwise has some familiar points.)
The Culture, Broadly Defined
Joe Queenan says the Academy Awards are Hollywood's self-delusion.
George Will writes of an increasingly distant world war -- not in my lifetime -- and a movie, and attitudes toward an enemy.
Kathleen Parker looks at some research which affirms what common sense has been saying for a long time, about how our culture is messing up girls' lives -- but the research carefully avoids prescribing the obvious solutions.
Frank Pastore summarizes the Religious Left in 19 articles of faith, asking, How many do you agree with? (Note that he himself is not of the Religious left, and some of the wording might not be quite what the Religious Left itself would approve.)
Suzanne Fields contrasts the days of Sandra Dee with the much different days of Britney Spears.
Bill Murchison says the schism in the Anglican Church is about something deeper than whether homosexuality is okay or not.
Steve Chapman wrings his hands over the practical need to wear a hat and the fashion need not to.
Michael Medved offers a delightful romp through the Ten Commandments, describing the Left's distaste for each in its turn.
If you are an ill-mannered slob, Greg Crosby pleads with you to stay out of the theater. (No, not the movie theater.)
Paul Greenberg critiques a shallow, ideological reading of George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia.
Economics and Business
Star Parker applies a very basic economic principle to government-mandated vaccines and to health care generally.
Bill Gates discusses the keys to American economic competitiveness.
Thomas Lifson analyzes Airbus's woes and current attempts to address them. He uses the word brinksmanship.
Paul Weyrich says that if airlines don't guarantee customer rights themselves, government with do it, and that will be bad.
Copyright 2007 by David Rodeback.