David Rodeback's Blog

Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

Previous Post          Printer-Friendly Version          Next Post


Thursday, February 9, 2006
Last Week's Readings (Late)

It was an eventful week. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito was confirmed, not filibustered. The President gave his annual State of the Union address. We were mere days beyond the democratic election of an openly terroristic regime among Palestinians. A new House Majority Leader was elected. Even the Federal Reserve board is in transition. And have I mentioned Groundhog Day?

Last week's (not even this week's, yet) excellent readings were numerous and noteworthy, partly because it was an eventful week. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito was confirmed, not filibustered. The President gave his annual State of the Union address. We were mere days beyond the democratic election of an openly terroristic regime among Palestinians. A new House Majority Leader was elected. Even the Federal Reserve board is in transition. Unfortunately, this blogger was swamped, too, and the almost-weekly list of reading highlights is about six days late.

One other note: For a couple of years, most of my reading of commentary has been at the Jewish World Review or RealClearPolitics.com. Lately I've added TownHall.com, because they have a good daily e-mailing and usable archives, rather like JWR. The three sources overlap somewhat, but not completely. I've also added a link to TownHall.com's main commentary page in the sidebar.

Favorites (Any Topic):

W. Thomas Smith, Jr., interviews a US General Daniel P. Bolger about Iraq. Excellent.

On a less momentous theme, Tom Purcell suggests outlawing Groundhog Day. Did you know it was a religious holiday? I didn't. I thought I was joking in my pre-Groundhog Day post. Also, I didn't know that Punxsutawney Phil has a harem.

Mona Charen writes very intelligently about spreading democracy.

Did you know we sent troops to Liberia, too, to help convert a bloody tyranny to a democracy? Clinton W. Taylor reports.

Local Interest

State Representative John Dougall (blogs here) is working on graduation requirements in Utah schools. This Salt Lake Tribune article reports that he's having some effects even before matter comes to a vote. Good for him. Good for us.

American Forker Oak Norton's mailing list (sign up at his Web site) opposing The Emperor's New Math (my term) is the source of this link to a Deseret News piece on math education discussions at the state legislature.

Barbara Christiansen reports on American Fork City's investigation of land stability and other issues related to development.

Palestinians Vote for Terror

Charles Krauthammer may have written the best piece overall on Hamas' victory in the Palestinian election.

If Krauthammer didn't, Jeff Jacoby might have. His is a a very sensible stance.

Paul Greenberg hopes the quotidian realities of governing will tame Hamas. I suppose that's one of the possibilities, especially in the long run. (Ahem. "Quotidian" means day-to-day. I try not to indulge in sesquipedalian verbosity here, but sometimes a guy just has to use a big word, right?)

Jonah Goldberg suggests that at least the Hamas victory might help us shed some stubborn illusions. So does Mark Stein. So does Jack Kelly.

Dick Morris insists that the US and the UN stop funding the Palestinians. It seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it? It won't be.

Cal Thomas wonders why we are surprised (whoever "we" are) by the Hamas victory:

Wesley Pruden discusses the early responses of some Western democracies to the election. Here's the best paragraph:

So here's what the civilized countries should say: "Given who you are, you don't deserve a sou. You have killed thousands of innocents and not only have no shame, but boast of demonstrating your manly prowess by killing children. Since no one believes anything you say, renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist by eliminating, immediately, the promise in the Palestinian constitution to destroy Israel. Make a public renunciation of suicide bombing, imprison everyone who encourages a suicide bomber. Put down your guns, and get a life. Reform your schools, eliminate textbooks with hateful references to Christians and Jews. Tell your teachers and imams to shape up or ship out. Do these things, and we'll decide when we think you're sincere."

Pork, Its Future, and the Race for House Majority Leader

Once in a while, even when he's playing to the camera and trying to imagine himself as President, Senator John McCain does something good. Here he gets some help for fellow Senator Tom Coburn. The subject is pork; the writer is Robert Novak, who is a bit too enamored of Senator McCain for my taste. (Then again, so is Senator McCain.)

John H. Fund offers this useful look at the genealogy of the earmark flap and its roots in Republican long-term strategy, and he talks about the party getting its soul back.

In a piece written before the new House Majority Leader was elected, Craig Shirley profiles all three contenders. (I'll get you halfway there, in case you haven't heard: Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona didn't win, which I think it too bad. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio did -- which is probably better than the third alternative, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who finished second..

Tim Chapman reports on some things behind the scenes among Congressional Republicans.


Michelle Malkin explains the Danish cartoon thing. Kathleen Parker also comments usefully.

As for me, I plead with you: If you're ever shopping for a religion, (a) don't embrace one that says it's okay to kill anyone who disagrees with you on the slightest point of anything, and (b) pick one with a sense of humor.

The State of the Union (speech)

Here's George Will before the speech and after. The latter has some good discussion of big government, Health Savings Accounts, etc.

Linda Chavez  and Cal Thomas were mostly positive about the speech, but not entirely so.

Tony Snow noted that the speech is a lot like the President who gave it. It featured brilliant foreign policy and listless domestic policy.

Tony Blankley discussed the state of the Democratic Party in his response to the speech. Here's my favorite line:

Until George Bush became president, the Democrats, for better and for worse, were a liberal party. Deformed by hatred of the current president, the Democrats have become a nihilist party.

Robert Novak reported conservative dismay with speech, mostly out of concern for big government at home and Iran abroad. Alan Reynolds was very critical of the speech on economic, fiscal, and other grounds. Julie Kesselman didn't hear enough talk about the War on Pork.

All of these are conservative responses. Where are the liberal ones? All around, actually, but I didn't hear one that was as substantive as any of those cited here. I guess if you want a fair critique, you don't go to people who hate you.

Women and the Homefront

Jennifer Roback Morse writes about husbands, mothers, policy, reality, and the role of a Cardinal in a recent discussion. Here is an excerpt:

Women don't need a husband to support them if they have a child. Husbands are a nuisance, when the government provides money without the inevitable difficulties of dealing with a flawed human being as a partner.  Men dislike the feeling of  powerlessness inherent in having the state claim a large fraction of one's earning power, and then give it back in dribs and drabs. Men are resistant to playing the genuine paternal role, when they are neither providers nor protectors. In this environment, children become consumption goods, optional life-style appendages to acquire only if one happens to enjoy children. . . .

I thought to myself, it isn't every day that I have a Cardinal to take my part in a debate. And not only that, but the churchman was taking a much more realistic position than the politicians. While much of the secular world assumes religious people are pie-in-the-sky-dreamy-eyed, here it was the politicians who were whistling past the graveyard, dodging reality at all costs.  The Cardinal was taking the long-term view, facing the problem on its own terms, which includes both economics and attitudes.

Kathryn Lopez chronicles the fulfillment of an old conservative prophecy about the Equal Rights Amendment.

Abroad (Except the Palestinian and Cartoonist Things)

Mort Zuckerman discusses ties between Russia and Iran, and says, "We must urgently find a way to persuade Moscow to reinforce the civilized world rather than subvert it."

Niall Ferguson talks about Russian despotism, past and present.

Jack Kelly gives an account of where all the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction went.


John Leo chronicles a new campaign from the Left against the Big Media Acronyms. I wonder: Is this a calculated plan to sway the BMA a little further to the Left, or to help insulate the BMA from conservative accusations of bias? Or is it idealistic anger that the BMA are not pure enough in their leftward leanings?

Greg Crosby muses about the end of an era -- and it's not political. Western Union isn't receiving, transmitting, and delivering telegrams any more. I guess that telegram I got from the White House in 1983 is the only one I'll ever get -- and that's a story for another day.

Leonard Pitts, Jr., regrets the disappearance of the "mom and pop" store, with the onslaught of the big box stores. Wouldn't you think that the market could figure out some way for a few of the small shops to compete? They'd have to offer something the big chains can't undercut. They might have to figure out how to make a profit while offering competitive discounts. I don't think You've Got Mail exhausted the range of possible solutions. That said, I buy a lot more books from Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Noble than I do in small shops.

Thomas Sowell writes of blacks and the Republican Party, including Ken Blackwell, an African-American seeking the Republican nomination for governor of Ohio.

Larry Kudlow described the changes in the Federal Reserve board, which have passed more quietly than changes to the Supreme Court, but may have equal impact.

Walter Williams describes an interesting corporate response to the Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision last year. (You remember. They abolished private property, more or less.)

In a case study of how to manipulate with statistics, Debra J. Saunders describes how one research project with an agenda managed to dumb down the definition of sexual harassment to the point that the report could say that it is an almost universal experience.

Suzanne Fields writes of a Bushism, "truthiness," that has taken on a life of its own, and of what an MRI can tell us about political debate.

I usually try to avoid mentioning here the sad and repulsive spectacle named Cindy Sheehan, but Debra Saunders is worth reading on the subject.

I also try to avoid mentioning Ann Coulter here at the block. I frequently agree with her, but she often seems to add more heat than light to a discussion. But you might enjoy this piece on the Alito nomination.

Previous Post          Printer-Friendly Version          Next Post


Bookmark and Share