David Rodeback's Blog

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Saturday, March 11, 2006
A Week's Readings

Mark Steyn, Thomas Sowell, and Clifford May lead this week, but some of my readers will be most interested in Kathleen Parker's piece.

A handful of readers occasionally send me something they find on the Web that is really good, usually connected to politics. Some of that ends up in this list or, in unusual cases, elsewhere in the blog. Suggestions and feedback are welcome.


I enjoyed this excellent Mark Steyn piece, especially the part on bogus invocations of the Patriot Act. (Don't look now, but I see the same thing a lot at church and in government offices -- that is, people thinking things are policy or law which actually are neithert, and trying to impose those things on others.) Mark Steyn, in his context, has the good sense actually to read the law. I recommend that approach.

Thomas Sowell is a regular on these lists of mine; here's another reason why. In this piece, he muses, "We are . . . living in a free society without the faith that built that society." (Don't worry, it's not advocacy of a religion.)

Clifford May wonders if democracies can win wars where they obey the rules and the enemy does not.

The Supremes

The new Mr. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion in a free speech case brought by 36 law schools and their faculties. Guess who won. (Hint: It wasn't the 36 law schools and their faculties.) George Will elaborates.

Thomas Sowell on oil prices and the US Supreme Court.

Big (Government) Spenders, plus Recipes for Economic Malaise

Paul Jacob discusses referenda in several states to put reasonable limits on the growth of government spending.

James Lileks on the line-item veto and related topics.Cal Thomas notes a certain irony in President Bush's call for a line-item veto.

I'm not terribly interested in once and future presidential candidate John Edwards, who is ostensibly the subject of this George Will piece, but there's a good, clear discussion here of two paradigms of poverty. Edwards, as a good, up-and-coming Democrat, naturally buys into the wrong one.

Edwards has a 1930s paradigm of poverty: Poor people are like everyone else, they just lack certain goods and services (housing, transportation, training, etc.) that government knows how to deliver. Hence he calls for a higher minimum wage and job-creation programs. . . .

The 1930s paradigm has been refuted by four decades of experience. The new paradigm is of behavior-driven poverty that results from individuals' nonmaterial deficits. It results from a scarcity of certain habits and mores -- punctuality, hygiene, industriousness, deferral of gratification, etc. -- that are not developed in disorganized homes.

Jonah Goldberg on how to catch Europe's severe economic malaise -- not that we want to.

Presidential Politics

Kathleen Parker talks about Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate and as a Mormon presidential candidate. The new HBO series Big Love comes up, too. By the way, Senator Harry Reid is a Mormon, too. It doesn't seem to stop him from behaving badly or leaning leftly, to coin a word.

Walter Williams on Hillary Clinton and the black vote. (I don't think she has his.)

Last week I listed Mark Joseph's advice to Democrats on how to win the White House in 2008. In an effort to bebalanced, here is his advice to Republicans on the same question. I'm not sure it's brilliant advice, but it's interesting enough.

Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Jonathan Gurwitz reports an Olympic story I hadn't heard. Maybe you have. He mentions skier/rebel Bode Miller, but that's just to up the ante for his tale of American gold medalist Joey Cheek, a class act who apparently is the opposite of poor Mr. Miller in significant ways.

Give W. Thomas Smith, Jr., a few moments of your attention, and you'll understand why he says this: "Make no mistake: the male amateur athlete is the proverbial ace in the hole in any of America’s future conflicts."

Dads and the Dadless

Betsy Hart reviews a book on growing up without a dad, and she does it in a way that makes me want to read the book.

Mona Charen on the interesting arguments of men who don't want to be fathers and a predictable spinoff of Roe v. Wade.


Were you worried about the United Arab Emirates controlling our seaports? What about the Mafia? Here is Linda Chavez.

Tony Snow has some interesting (and probably unpopular) thoughts about popular exceptions in abortion laws.

Rich Lowry writes on the United Nations, including this observation:

Debates over the U.N. feature an odd dynamic. It is skeptics like Bolton who favor making it a more effective and worthy institution. It is the U.N. worshippers who have standards for the world body so low that it will always remain mired in disrepute.

Rich Lowry also notes the possible outbreak of common sense with respect to congressional oversight of the National Security Agency.

Jon Rodeback pointed me to this Jacob Weisberg  piece in Slate on Democratic congressional leadership, a.k.a the Three Stooges.

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