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Saturday, September 9, 2006
The Week's Excellent Readings

If I had to choose someone to write the one essay I want to read for the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Peggy Noonan would be at the top of my list. So this week she's at the top of my list of readings, too. It's good, long list.


If I had to choose someone to write the one essay I want to read for the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Peggy Noonan would be at the top of my list. Here's why.

Doug Giles has some pithy, biblical thoughts for folks who think "love your enemies" and "turn the other cheeks" means we shouldn't annihilate fascists who want to annihilate us (or convert us, at the point of a gun). There's a good Albert Einstein quotation at the beginning, too.

Michael Barone explains why the 2008 presidential race is unusually intriguing, and the big reasons aren't the one he gives first, which is:

This is the first presidential race since 1928 -- 80 years! -- in which neither the incumbent president nor vice president is running.

Diana West ponders the larger significance of forced conversions to Islam.

Jonah Goldberg considers the limited merits of historical analogies. His last question is an excellent one.

I wasn't going to list Paul Greenberg's column on being Southern, because I seem to have recommended everything else he has written in the last couple of weeks . . . But the longer I read it, the more I realized that some of his turns of phrase are too apt and delightful not to share. So read it, y'all. Quoth he:

There was a misbegotten era when upwardly mobile Southerners who wanted to get anywhere in national politics - or in business or radio or almost any other field - were seriously advised to get rid of their accent. Now the Southern lilt is chic, as in Dixie Chicks and country music on urban radio. So some Northerners are working hard to acquire a Southern background even if they have to invent one.

Ed Feulner has some pungent thoughts on what works and what doesn't. To wit:

The lesson of Katrina isn't that we need more federal involvement in our lives. It's that faith and civil society works -- and big, centralized government programs don't.

Do any of my five readers think Kathleen Parker is wrong about cussing? (Okay, I know you number more than five, and I thank you.)

Julia Gorin asks, should we fight Islamic fascism or the weather? She makes her case and offers some curious psychological insights in the process.

Burt Prelutsky is funny, as usual, but his point is deadly serious.

The Civilized World vs. Islamic Fascists

See also "Favorites" above.

Three cheers for Mitt Romney. You'll have to read to the end of this good Diana West article to see why.

George Will recounts an "Eisenhower moment" with respect to the war in Korea, and suggests that a similar moment involving Iraq may come, but not soon.

Tony Blankley presents a brief history of appeasement. It's not always a bad thing, he says, but it is now.

Michelle Malkin offers a lexicon (glossary) of the war.

Lorie Byrd explains how the truth keeps catching up with the I-can-say-anything-because-I-hate-Bush crowd. (It's the jihad, stupid!)

George Will recommends a new novel, which I now want to read.

As Kevin McCullough explains, sometimes the truth hurts some more than others.

National Politics

Paul Jacob says the national trend is positive for advocates of term limits and offers examples from several states.

What Mark Mix has to say about union activities in this election year and about the unions' own agenda won't surprise you, but it's worth reviewing anyway. If people won't choose to join us, we'll force 'em. Here's an excerpt:

Big Labor enjoys the most corrupt aspect of America's political system: the special privilege to force millions of workers to pay union dues as a job condition. More than $8 billion annually in forced union dues alone flows to union officials from workers who would lose their jobs if they refused to pay, much of it funneled towards maintaining and expanding this special privilege.

Robert Novak notes that Republican leadership hasn't planned any action on immigration reform before the November election, but it might happen anyway. Here's a good phrase in its context.

Although no more than 25 House Republicans follow Tancredo's rigid line, that is enough to obstruct a coherent Republican posture. But many more conservative lawmakers write off any guest worker program as just amnesty. In trouble on Iraq and federal spending, Republicans are being lured into a nativist posture that is political fool's gold.

Debra J. Saunders analyzes California politics, saying some things in the process that get this article into my "National Politics" category. (In my career as a political science student, the word was that California state politics resemble US national politics in significant ways, but you decide.) Here are (non-contiguous) excerpts:

Sacramento has turned into Fantasy Island.

The Democrats, who hold the overwhelming majority of legislative seats, are a gaggle of far-left loonies who concoct politically correct legislation -- for example, requiring that textbooks laud gay contributions to California history -- while failing to enact reforms needed to balance the budget.

As for GOP lawmakers, they are a creepy collection of feckless throwbacks who are unable to check the Democrats' profligacy.

Imagine how many hot fudge sundaes you would eat if you knew that someone else would be stuck wearing your calories.

Katherine Harris is the the kind of Republican -- well, one of the kinds -- that gives Republican a bad name. (You could also substitute the word Christian(s) for Republican(s), there.) Carol Platt Liebau explains.

Linda Chavez says immigration reform will get nowhere in this Congress -- and she says that might be a good thing. And then she talks more sensibly on the subject than either of the two major factions on Capitol Hill.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., explains the politics of the State Department. Here's a thought:

It is one of the great ironies of this presidency that an administration which prides itself on loyalty has for so long tolerated its systematic practice in the breach by the Department of State. The costs of such disloyalty have already been high: a government seen by friends and foes alike as distracted, at best, and, at worst, paralyzed by divided counsel, communicating mixed signals and signaling an irresolution that invites contempt and aggression.

Jack Kelly offers an excellent lesson in analyzing a political debate.

The Culture (and the Political Culture)

Just when you thought the battle lines were clearly drawn, with the Lefties on one side and Wal-Mart and the newly-named "Wal-Mart voters" (as in people who shop there and also vote -- I am one) on the other, Wal-Mart moves to alienate its own customers. Kevin McCullough explains (and you'll have to forgive some little issues with punctuation and such). While we're at it, here's a direct link to a flyer.

See if you see what Suzanne Fields sees in a new Ford commercial.

I blogged about bullies once, but you might like Burt Prelutsky's column on bullies better than mine. (That's okay.) I like his final thought.

When someone says, "It's football season, and football season requires a column on the simple greatness of football," I nod in agreement. It's even cooler when that someone is female, as in Mary Katherine Ham.

Nathan Tabor finds it odd that the Democratic Party fears Wal-Mart more than al-Qaida.

Walter Williams offers some sound thoughts on discrimination -- as a word, that is, not a buzz-word.

Maggie Gallagher is more insightful than you might suspect in this essay on fresh starts, new school years, etc. Here's one morsel:

That's what you get for living in a society marked by freedom, political stability, economic growth, innovation, scientific progress. In America, where each generation is better off than the one before it, we all look a little spoiled compared to our parents.

What Bill of Rights?

California has religious freedom in its political gunsights. Jennifer Roback Morse writes.

Mike Adams describes the war against political free speech in Fredonia, NY.

Jacob Sullum mourns the demise of free political speech.

I think Veggie Tales are (is?) hilarious -- even some of the Biblical stuff. NBC, on the other hand, wants all that religious stuff removed. Brent Bozell, III, tells the story. "O Where Is My Hairbrush . . ."

Economics and the Politics that Distort It (Them?)

Lawrence Kudlow summarizes the current state of the US economy, which is: growing steadily. He offers explanations.

Remember the nomenklatura? I do. So does Thomas Sowell.

Rich Lowry explains that the Democratic message on the economy doesn't resonate with the middle class.

It's not politically correct to say such things, but Marvin Olasky isn't shy about calling federal flood insurance "welfare for the rich."

[Someone he quotes said,] "My eager-for-the-business architect said, 'Why not build? If the ocean destroys your house, the government will pay for a new one.'"

Jeff Jacoby provides further evidence that the State Department is off its rocker.


Clarence Page tells a surprising, almost exotic story in support of school choice.

Star Parker wonders (not for the first time):

Why -- given that the future of children is at stake, and hence the future of our country -- do we settle for tepid reform when we need bold and innovative change to make a difference?

Yes, again I am talking about the need for competition in education and for school choice.

Freedom, competition and choice are what have produced the world's most powerful economy. Yet the very factors that have made America great, and have distinguished us from the rest of the world, are prohibited from operating in the education marketplace, where we produce our future citizens and workforce.


Jonah Goldberg is younger than Thomas Sowell, and his random thoughts are longer and less random, but here are three worth noting. The subjects are converting to Islam, a silly but popular economic misconception, and traffic congestion.

Ben Shapiro muses on the question whether America is an empire; the name Niall Ferguson comes up. (He occasionally appears on this list.) Here's a favorite excerpt:

Conservative foreign policy philosophy can be summed up with the phrase, "What is good for America is good for the world." Liberal foreign policy philosophy can be summed up with the phrase, "Shut up, you ethnocentrist bigot!"

Demographics and life expectancies have Japan in a bind that ought to sound familiar. George Will provides the analysis.

American Fork and Environs

Barbara Christiansen reports on a teaching award recently give to Lynne Yocum of American Fork High, who until lately was also the City's IT director.

Here Barbara Christiansen writes again of the pressurized irrigation possibilities in American Fork. At least the hardworking officials quoted here don't look as clueless as one or two previous articles in the same paper made them look (and unfairly, to my mind).

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