David Rodeback's Blog

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

Previous Post          Printer-Friendly Version          Next Post


Saturday, March 25, 2006
A Week's Excellent Readings

This week's list is bigger than usual, lots of good stuff. Favorites are by . . . well, you can see for yourself.


This week's first favorite takes its place not because the writing is great, but because the story is considerably bigger than the treatment it is getting in the local media. For example, despite a small front-page story, The American Fork Citizen was pretty ho-hum about American Fork High's Shannon Babb winning the Intel Science Talent Search. This is big news. Here's a Science Weekly piece.

Being verbose myself, I loved Paul Greenberg's essay on writing and words. Logophilia? Doesn't sound pleasant, but I've had it for years, too. You get used to it. So does your family, mostly.

Looking for more light and less heat on the question of whether there is civil war in Iraq? I like Charles Krauthammer on the subject.

Glen Lavy writes on a very interesting piece of legislation in Colorado, which could partially defuse the gay marriage movement while still granting them the part of what they demand that seems reasonable.

Julia Gorin turns our attention back to Kosovo. If you think old foreign policy blunders don't come back to haunt the nation and the next president, even almost halfway through his second term, think again.

Tim Chapman identifies a real conservative in the US Senate: Nevada Republican John Ensign.

On the Culture

Jennifer Roback Morse says she's writing about housing prices and sex. I'd say economics and culture, but you decide.

If you're intrigued by modern fictional and cinematic portrayals of Jesus Christ, you might like this Bill Murchison piece. I particularly like the last paragraph. I would understand if some don't appreciate Murchison referring to deity as "this guy.") By the way, I haven't read The Da Vinci Code.

Can a movie make Jesus other than as the creeds of the church say he was? That would seem the real question. Attempts to remold him after the mold maker's fancy easily preceded Dan Brown and Sony. And will continue. But the Jesus of the creeds, "God of God, Light of Light" -- it really should have struck us long ago that the likes of Dan Brown can't lay a glove on this guy.

Marianne M. Jennings writes on the culture -- the "dude culture," that is. The result is both witty and insightful.

Jeff Jacoby nails the "Roe v. Wade for men" movement, IMO.

April Fools Day is mere days away. Perhaps Marvin Olasky will help you get in the mood.

Here is Paul Greenberg on Tom Wolfe, e-mail, etc.(Before you read, if you don't already know it, look up the meaning of the word Luddite.)

Kathryn Lopez writes intelligently of the Massachusetts adoption flap and it broader implications. (Here's a thought: In my ecclesiastical capacity I occasionally perform weddings. I have done so in New York and in Utah. How long is it before one of those states requires religious leaders to perform same-sex marriages on the same terms as the traditional kind, if any marriages are to be performed at all? How long will it be before somewhere in the US or the world, an LDS temple has to stop performing marriages because it won't do the same-sex kind?)

Kathleen Parker writes on the necessity of dads. Here are her last two paragraphs:

There's something terribly wrong with this picture, and it is this: These are sad stories that reveal symptoms of a diseased culture in which human relationships have no moral content and children are treated as accessories to adult lives. Yet, these trends are portrayed as the latest gosh-gee fashions.

A society in which women are alone, men are lonely, and children don't have fathers is nothing to celebrate. And a future world filled with fatherless children - bereft of half their identity and robbed of a father's love, discipline and authority - won't likely be a pleasant place to live.

Tony Blankley muses on the sources of political and cultural hope, in Europe and America.

Iraq and the Larger War

Jonah Goldberg analyzes whether we were right to invade Iraq, and why, partly on the basis of recently declassified translations of seized Iraqi documents. So does Mona Charen. So does James Lileks, too, but he's less analytical and more feisty about it.

Robert Novak writes on corruption in the Iraqi oil industry and the resulting crisis.

Wade Zirkle notes that it's hardly surprising that a majority of Americans believe there is civil war in Iraq, given that the Big Media Acronyms (my term, not his) have been telling us all for weeks that there is. It's a pity that the news here is what the misinformed think, not what is actually happening in Iraq.

W. Thomas Smith analyzes the BMAs' evolving negative coverage of Operation Swarmer in Iraq and describes what the operation is accomplishing.

Michael Barone reviews a new version of the White House's National Security Strategy.

Peter Brookes analyzes legislation in the House to deal with Iran -- which the Bush Administration doesn't like much, but maybe should.

Mark Steyn muses about a future in which present trends continue and some countries keep . . . not reproducing, so to speak.

Diana West writes on the cartoon wars, some courageous folks, etc. The John Stuart Mill quote at the end is excellent.

Niall Ferguson has some interesting thoughts about Iraq and our superpower status.

Jack Kelly is in fine form on the reliability of reporting on the war. He offers interesting examples.

Michelle Malkin wonders where Abdul Rahman's American defenders are hiding. (He's the one on trial for his life in Afghanistan for the capital offense of becoming a Christian.) Stay tuned for the next-to-last paragraph. In fact, here it is:

If we sit on the sidelines and watch this man "cut into little pieces" for his love of Christ, we do not deserve the legacy of liberty our Founding Fathers left us. How about offering Rahman asylum in the United States? Perhaps Yale University, proud sponsor of former Taliban official Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, can offer Rahman a scholarship. Where's the Catholic Church, so quick to offer sanctuary to every last illegal alien streaming across the borders? And how about Hollywood, so quick to take up the cause of every last Death Row inmate?

Jeff Jacoby writes well on the humanitarian case for war in Iraq, and remembering Michael Kelly.

Cal Thomas says Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush "get it." The subject: the war on terror. The best line: "This is not a clash between civilizations. It is a clash about civilization." (The line is Blair's.)

Edwin Feulner on the positive uses of propaganda. I wonder, maybe we should revive the Voice of America? Does anyone remember the Voice of America?

Michael Graham offers some facts about the war in Iraq. Too bad the other side (the Left, not the terrorists) doesn't care about facts.

Suzanne Fields wonders if it's the world which is embroiled in a civil war.

Max Boot is trying to be a realist, I think. I'm not fully persuaded, but he's worth reading.

Higher Education, with a Side Order of Economics

George Will analyzes the Florida Supreme Court's reasoning, among other things, in their effort to destroy school choice in Florida.

Suzanne Fields writes in defense of the humanities -- liberal education, if you will, but not in the modern sense of education that produces liberals. Here are here opening lines:

This is not a great century for the humanities. The great works that once were essential to define the educated man are barely tolerated in our great universities.

Thomas Sowell on spoiled students and economic realities. (Sometimes people would rather commit crime than accept the truth.)

Professor Mike Adams might just be ranting about irresponsible students -- note to self, why don't we just make college students pay for their own education for a few years? -- or there may be a deeper meaning.

Gary Aldrich praises a student response to UNC's unwillingness to call terrorism terrorism.

Ross Mackenzie describes conditions at three bastions of American education. Sit down, take a deep breath, and try not to get angry -- again.

Political Miscellany, also with a Side of Economics

Cal Thomas talks about spending and multi-trillion dollar debts. File this under "disturbing thoughts that ring true":

Perhaps the real culprit is not Congress, but us. . . . As long as we are willing to take the money in exchange for our votes, politicians will give it to us. This must change, not only because we are in debt up to our eyeballs, but also because many of the note holders are, or might become, our enemies.

Then there's the last line:

Maybe it's time for a strong third party, or failing that, another revolution.

Jonah Goldberg writes on efforts (both recent and not) to identify the psychological reasons why people are politically conservative. The best line is at the end:

Perhaps the more revealing psychological insight can be found in the fact that so many liberals think disagreeing with them is a form of psychosis.

Patrick Hynes discusses evangelical Christians in both major parties.

Debra Saunders tells why she still supports President Bush.

Alan Reynolds discusses tax rates and their consequences. A good piece. My favorite phrase: "a policy of spiteful egalitarianism."

According to Dick Morris, "the new federalism" has states moving out in front of the federal government, not (as he posits has traditionally been the case) obstructing change pursued by the federal government.

The New Republic editors muse on being part of "the angry left."

The New Republic's Jonathan Chait accused the "red states" of snobbery. Do you suppose he resents the breaking of the blue state monopoly on that posture?

William F. Buckley resonates on the subject of money in politics.

John Dodd recounts the latest, admirable adventures of the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.

Local Interest

Amy Choate updates us on those historic cabins in American Fork.

American Fork is looking for old photos to replace some that were damaged.

The Law: Strange Bedfellows

Walter Williams writes on the food tyrants and their predecessors, the smoking tyrants.

Do you have a hard time believing that US Supreme Court justices would look abroad for authority and inspiration in ruling on American laws? Perhaps you find it unthinkable? You're behind the times. Here's Terrence Jeffrey reporting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's own words.

Burt Prelutsky thinks judges and legislators coddle sex offenders.

Immigration Reform

Maggie Gallagher adds some insight to the immigration discussion -- more light than heat, you might say, contrary to most who hold forth on the subject. So does William F. Buckley (august company for Gallagher, to be sure).

Linda Chavez: Another (welcome) side of immigration: the Hispanic entrepreneur.

Kathleen Parker on immigration and current legislation.


Usually, one link does not a category make, at least for me in these lists. But Paul Greenberg is a special case. Here he responds to readers on several issues, including supposed balance in journalism and the use of big words.

Previous Post          Printer-Friendly Version          Next Post


Bookmark and Share