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Saturday, October 7, 2006
This Week's Excellent Readings

Among other things, read the best line of the week, from Alan Reynolds: "Even in election years, up is not the same as down."


Alan Reynolds writes of economic doomsayers and, in an eminently reasonable and decidedly unsporting manner, remembers what they predicted last time that didn't come true, even as he questions their objectivity. Here are two excellent excerpts (not continguous). The first may be the best line of the week.

Even in election years, up is not the same as down.

All of these clumsy efforts to spin good news into bad could be more entertaining if econo-partisans such as Krugman, DeLong and Roubini would simply tell us what they really mean -- namely, that a tax-slashing, spendthrift warmonger like President Bush does not deserve an economy this good. That could be a far more enjoyable argument, and one that would not require stretching truth to the breaking point.

Ross Mackenzie presents an excellent list of quotations about the war against Islamic fascism, including statements by current and former leaders, among others.

In an excellent essay, Dennis Prager lists five non-religious reasons marriage is superior to . . . other arrangements.

Bill Bennett tells the story of John Brown's rebellion.

Thomas Sowell offers a more comprehensive look than we usually get at the costs of eminent domain.

This time Walter Williams dissects the concept of racial preferences.

Ed Feulner argues for a serious effort at missile defense. By the way, there's progress.

If North Korea fired a long-range missile at the United States today -- like the one it test-fired this summer -- could we defend ourselves?

Until recently, the answer would have been an unequivocal "no." But that answer is changing as America moves, very slowly, toward deploying a missile-defense system. As Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency, noted in the wake of a successful test last month, we now stand "a good chance" of shooting down a missile that threatens our country.

Diana West says there is a connection between the possible turning of an election on revelations about a resigned, sexually predatory congressman and the fact that we have a hard time calling our current wartime enemy what it actually is. Here are scattered excerpts:

Restraint, inhibition and social taboo have become dirty words in the decades since the 1960s, but the culture that lets it all hang out, it seems, doesn't have much inside.

Restraining the libido (which Foley did not amid a culture that does not) comes down to a matter of mind (or morality) over matter -- a display of forbearance which is by definition mature. Intellectual restraint -- self-censorship -- in matters of war and peace belies a lack of will or confidence that defines the unformed uncertainty of immature man.

Sexually untrammeled, we have become intellectually moribund. We continue, tiresomely, to highlight sexuality in the culture, even as we continue, perilously, to stifle debate that touches on non-Western topics such as Islam.

This symbiosis may in the end help explain why, in the midst of a global war to determine the fate of Western civilization (as in whether Western civilization will continue to have a fate), American voters and politicians alike appear poised to turn all-important midterm elections into a meaningless referendum on a sexual predator already ostracized, while still failing to debate, examine, or even recognize urgent facts before us.

"Mr. Foley, Move Away From the Underage Boys!"

(Did you catch that movie allusion?)

Tod Lindberg sets the context very well.

Mona Charen says, among other things:

In fact, if shame were able to silence anyone anymore, Washington would be a tomb.

Tony Blankley explains why Speaker of the House Denny Hastert should resign his leadership position.

Rich Galen says Speaker Hastert should not resign. Ignore the formatting problems and find out why.

Kathleen Parker isn't happy with any of the actors in this vulgar drama.

Among other things, Mark M. Alexander lists sexual follies (and crimes) by House and Senate Democrats which didn't elicit much disciplinary response from the amoral Party.

Robert Novak often seems to have the best sources on Capitol Hill. Here's his contribution to the Foley Folio of Follies.

This editorial at Investors.com asks, What did the Democrats know, and when did they know it? Then it notes how differently the Republicans and Democrats treat their own members' sex scandals -- not that that's news.

Debra Saunders partially answers that question, discuss what Speaker Hastert knew and when, and notes that, in light of Mr. Foley's alcoholism excuse, "Alcoholics should take offense."

Brendan Miniter says, among other things,

No, the blame if Republicans do lose the House in November will rightly fall on the shoulders of members who one way or another didn't see this coming. It's not that Speaker Denny Hastert or anyone else knew specifically that Mr. Foley sent sexually explicit text messages to congressional pages. Unlike in the sex scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church in recent years, there is no indication that any member of Congress papered over known abuses. Rather it's the implication of willful ignorance that will plague the GOP into the most competitive congressional elections the party has faced in the dozen years its controlled the House.

Debra J. Saunders' view of the Foley (and possibly Hastert) scandal seems more reasonable than most.

I don't usually list Ann Coulter here, because she's coarse and edgy and too vitriolic for my taste. She's all of those things here, too, but her light-to-heat ratio seems more favorable than usual. As always, read her at your own risk.. Here's an excerpt:

But now, the same Democrats who are incensed that Bush's National Security Agency was listening in on al-Qaida phone calls are incensed that Republicans were not reading a gay congressman's instant messages.

Let's run this past the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: The suspect sent an inappropriately friendly e-mail to a teenager -- oh also, we think he's gay. Can we spy on his instant messages? On a scale of 1 to 10, what are the odds that any court in the nation would have said: YOU BET! Put a tail on that guy -- and a credit check, too!


Charles Krauthammer addresses the question whether US activities in Iraq have made the US itself safer.

W. Thomas Smith, Jr., interviews Dr. J. Peter Pham about Africa's importance in the war on Islamic fascism.

William Rusher outlines, shall we say, the Pelosi Plan for US involvement in Iraq.

Bill Murchison offers "Notes on why Middle Easterners might be a little mixed up on the merits of 'democracy' as preached by the Bush administration."

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., has some thoughts which differ from Bob Woodward's on who is in a state of denial about the war.

Rich Lowry has his own idea -- different from the hype -- about the significant revelation in the new Bob Woodward book.

I have long wondered how the war on Islamic fascists might have gone differently had the US government presented a united, determined front for more than a few days. Lorie Byrd attempts an answer.

National Politics

Jed Babbin explains how it might be that the spherically challenged female musician has not yet begun her November aria. (Okay, okay, a translation: The Republicans can still win in November, and Jed Babbin thinks he knows how.)

As I read Jeff Jacoby's commentary, I marveled not at how dirty, but at how childish politics can be, especially lately.

Mike Gallagher traded some air time on his radio show for an agreement that a certain offensive religious group wouldn't protest at this week's Amish funerals. (Note to Mike: When Jesus came the first time, he had droves of critics, so what would be different?)

I'm not sure I agree with George Will's specific views of Iraq, for example, but the general view he offers of goverment makes this essay valuable.

Suzanne Fields has some salient thoughts about lying in politics.

In attempting to explain and resolve some of Washington's serious, long-term dysfunctions, Bruce Bartlett takes aim not only at the direct election of senators, but, interestingly, at the cap on the size of the House of Representatives.

Andrew Ferguson notes that Bob Woodward's old friends love him again, and his new ones . . . don't.

Amusing as they are, the oscillations in Woodward's reputation among Democrats and Republicans are just further evidence of the capital's decadence. For professional Democrats and Republicans alike, facts are just the raw material of partisan advancement, to be manipulated as necessary.

Doug Wilson touts Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate.

William Perry Pendley writes of a large oil discovery and the associated politics.

Robert Novak adds some context to the recent Bill Clinton explosion.

Burt Prelutsky's profile of one federal judge goes part way towards explaining why some have called that judge's court the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals.

With politics at stake, truth doesn't matter, or so I gather from this account by Ashley Herzog.


George Will offers an example of the uses of federalism, combined with an account of school district obstructionism and an excellent Warren Buffett quotation.

Jeff Jacoby says those recent on-campus "civic literacy" survey results are atrocious. He's right, but shouldn't most of the knowledge he mentions be solidly acquired before high school graduation, not in college?

James J. Kilpatrick describes a pending Supreme Court case in which a teacher's union is acting like a union again.

The Culture

Michael Medved wonders why a major publisher is going out of its way to insult Christians. His discussion includes this insight:

The most surprising aspect of the current vogue for Christian-bashing hysteria involves the timing: after many years of growth and progress, religious conservatives have suffered recent reverses. The once mighty "Moral Majority," "Christian Coalition" and other influential organizations are either disbanded or irrelevant. Conservative Christians failed spectacularly in their attempts to spare the life of the stricken Terri Schiavo, fell far short of achieving the needed Congressional majorities for a Marriage Protection Amendment, have lost a series of high profile court cases on Intelligent Design, and face daunting odds in efforts to block governmental funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research. None of the GOP frontrunners for 2008 has been embraced by the Evangelical community and most of them (McCain, Giuliani, and Romney because of his Mormon faith) are anathema to many Christian conservatives. When it comes to incidents of violence or intimidation by conservative Christians (who are regularly, shamefully compared to the Taliban or Al Qaeda), the perpetrators of such universally denounced, long-ago attacks against abortion providers are currently rotting in jail (where they belong). When secularists try to insist that all religions, not just Islam, display a dangerous violent streak, it's deeply revealing that they indict Christianity by reaching back five hundred years (to the Spanish Inquisition) or a thousand years (to the Crusades). It's no exaggeration to say that Muslim extremists around the world committed many, many more violent attacks in the last week than have Christian conservatives in the last ten years.

Lee S. Wishing, III, says insults can be like murder -- and that this is definitely not his own original idea.

Chris Stovall explains the distraction, distortion, and disinformation in the arguments of same-sex marriage proponents.


I'm not a big fan of symbolic (as opposed to genuinely effective) boycotts, but it's hard not to want to get behind 7-11's boycott of the oil-producing country led by the fellow Dick Morris and Eileen McGann call "El Loco."

So what did Neal Armstrong really say when he first set foot on the moon? Technology races (well, crawls) to the rescue. Jacqui Goddard reports. (I found the link at the Drudge Report.)

Andrew Tallman has a proposal for baseball.

Celia Rivenbark . . . Well, when I say this is a fun article, remember I'm 6'2".

American Fork and Environs

A Caleb Warnock story explains American Fork's water situation in some detail. (Note: The article says without action the city's culinary water supply will be short by 2011; actually, it is short now.)

Here Caleb Warnock explains recent legal settlements and legislation involving door-to-door solicitors. (Are we assuming that no one will ever come to Utah to sell things door-to-door, having committed a crime in another state? Other than the rapist from Chicago in 1988, that is?)

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