David Rodeback's Blog
Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Saturday, February 24, 2007
The Week's Excellent Readings
George Washington is the subject of some favorites. Steve Jobs tells it like it is -- the effect of unions on public education, that is. And that's just the beginning of the list.
Favorites: George Washington (and Successors)
Paul Greenburg is eloquent and insightful in commenting on George Washington and his country.
Michael and Jana Novak recount how George Washington spoke of God in his (Washington's) public life.
Jon Meacham's ongoing commentary on God in American politics includes some recent insights on "God, Presidents and Liberty." Here is one paragraph:
Jay Greene describes a speech in which Steve Jobs went way out on a limb about education (and got it right, IMO). (Can anyone send me a link to the speech itself?)
Favorites: Everything Else
Marvin Olasky tells stories of volunteer service in the aftermath of Florida's recent deadly tornado. (Note: When volunteers help, the recipients see help as a gift. When government helps, they see it as an entitlement.)
Christopher Hitchens speaks of the bitter divides within Islam and the West's response. Here are his concluding thoughts:
Walter Williams scratches the surface of some popular ideas and finds utter nonsense underneath.
Peggy Noonan says Hillary Clinton seems a little less inevitable now.
Thomas Sowell's three-part series on prices (economics generally) and politics is vintage Sowell. Part One looks at municipal golf courses, of all things. Part Two explains the self-rationing and efficient distribution of resources which uncontrolled prices encourage. Part Three looks at unions, minimum wage laws, and other popular assaults on prices. Sowell concludes the third part with this observation:
Austin Bay explains that more troops are not the crucial part of the new Iraq strategy.
George Will says the political market is working. He cites several presidential candidates as examples.
Rep. John Linder puts global warming alarmism in historical and scientific perspective. Along the way, he offers this sage morsel from H. L. Mencken:
Dinesh D'Souza describes the distinction in Islam between Jews and Christians on one hand, and polytheists and atheists on the other, and describes its implications for the present conflict.
Suzanne Fields writes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is waging a battle for women's rights that is far more dangerous and has far higher stakes than the struggles of American feminists in recent decades.
George Will profiles Rep. Ron Paul, a very, very dark-horse Republican presidential candidate who might be fun to watch, because he -- an anachronism, an eccentric, says Will -- reads the Constitution and believes in limited government.
Jimmy Regan, former Duke lacrosse player, is worth remembering. Mary Katherine Ham remembers him.
Jeff Jacoby explains that you cannot (rationally) support the troops and work for their failure.
Bill Murchison enlists Humpty-Dumpty in this essay on the depths to which our politics have sunk. Here's an excerpt without the big guy who looks like an egg:
Tony Blankley's discussion of Democrat "one-card monte" on the war ends with this wise observation, which is of broader application:
Gerard Baker explains what's really happening in the reduction of British forces in Iraq.
Mark Steyn also analyzes the British troop reduction, and in the process notes the contributions (a generous term in some cases) of American allies.
Michael Barone analyzes two recent cases of misusing intelligence. Here's one excerpt:
Victor Davis Hanson updates the case for distrusting Newsweek.
Robert Novak explains Rep. John Murtha's new power over House policy on Iraq and the next step Murtha is planning to force the US toward defeat.
Carol Platt Liebau says the Democrats have finally formalized their position on the war. Here's her first paragraph:
Paul Greenberg muses about the possible uses of the "meaningless" Capitol Hill debate on the surrender resolutions -- but the benefit lies in remembering who voted how down the road.
Brendan Miniter suspects the American public will not look kindly on defeat in Iraq or those who advocate it.
Charles Krauthammer describes current efforts on Capitol Hill to make the war unwinnable.
The New Republic's (as in the Left's) Peter Beinart once supported the war, and now he doesn't -- because, he says, the US can't be trusted. We are not and cannot be good enough. (He slips in a simplistic, convenient caricature of neoconservatives as a foil to make himself look rational and humane. Are conservatives not to be allowed to attempt good because they are not morally perfect, in liberals' or anyone else's judgment, including their own?)
Larry Miller mocks the notion of "non-binding" and the Congress which loves it.
National Politics: 2008 Presidential Race
Kevin Rennie says Rudy Giuliani's the guy. He likes his numbers, his rock-solid conservative credentials on some issues, and his straightforward explanations on others. Four excerpts:
Jonathan Darman and Evan Thomas profile Mitt Romney for Newsweek, in a relatively balanced piece.
Burt Prelutsky is not buying what Barack Obama is selling.
Rich Perlstein looks at Mitt Romney and his official announcement in terms of how to appeal to conservatives. (Be advised, he's looking from the Left.)
Jacob Weisberg obviously likes Michael Bloomberg as New York Mayor, not Rudy Giuliani. The latter he calls uninterested in management, vengeful, and "a bit of a dictator." (Get used to this. This angle of attack will probably catch on.)
Wynton Hall gives away the secrets of a Ronald Reagan speech, as he puts it, and wonders who among presidential candidates can give such powerful speeches.
Debra J. Saunders went to that Democratic presidential forum in Nevada. Here are her thoughts.
Michael Barone breaks down some early poll numbers, mostly looking at a Hillary Clinton-Rudy Giuliani matchup. Very interesting.
National Politics: Everything Else
If you think something called "the Fairness Doctrine" sounds like a good thing, you should read Ken Blackwell. 'Cuz it's coming back, if the Democrats have their way.
In a book review, Benjamin Wittes argues that the Bush era may not produce a lasting rightward movement on the US Supreme Court -- at least not enough to satisfy many conservatives. Among other reasons, he cites this one:
Rich Karlgaard writes that Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has a simple plan for US energy independence in 10 years.
Paul M. Weyrich describes what's wrong with making a new vaccine mandatory. (Note the power of lobbying.)
Suzanne Fields has some inconvenient truths of her own concerning the cost of past environmental crusades. Read this for the great Winston Churchill quotation, if nothing else.
Around the World
Ben Shapiro asks, What would the United Nations -- or the nations themselves -- do to stop an asteroid on collision course with Earth. Of course, his point is nearer than asteroids.
James Lileks has just as much fun with the asteroid and the UN, but with a slightly different approach.
In an insightful essay, Niall Ferguson looks at who hates the US most and why. Surprisingly, it's not our enemies.
George Will's article contains both a clear, concise analysis of the latest international spanking of North Korea -- just for fun, watch for the phrase "less than Americans spend on archery equipment in a month" -- and some discussion of possible presidential handling of possible congressional restrictions on the troop surge.
Paul Kengor describes secret economic warfare the US (under President Reagan) waged on the Soviet Union and wonders if similar strategies might be useful -- or already in play -- in our conflict with Iran.
If you think slavery is so two centuries ago, Rebecca Hagelin can tell you how much of it there still is.
Philip Nobel writes of the international lust for very tall buildings -- and taller ones than that.
The Culture, Broadly Defined
Burt Prelutsky doesn't know beans about his ancestors, and he likes it that way. He explains.
Robert Novak mourns the latest politically correct absurdity in the world of college mascots, nicknames, and other symbols.
Economics and Business
(See also "Favorites: Everything Else" above.)
David Strom covers some important (but to me familiar and almost tiresome) ground about capitalism. Then he finishes with this superb idea:
Thomas Lifson chronicles Airbus's current woes, and those woes' roots in an identity crisis: Is Airbus a commercial enterprise or a jobs program?
An Investor's Business Daily editorial is suspicious that the Trolley Square shootings in Salt Lake City were an episode of "Sudden Jihad Syndrome." It lists numerous similar cases where the FBI "saw no religious motive, and quickly ruled out terrorism."
This Salt Lake Tribune editorial argues than a John Dougall bill to alter Utah's public employee pension fund is a very bad idea.
Amy Choate-Nielsen reports the latest on the odor coming from that waste treatment plant and current efforts to mitigate it. Three years and $55 million . . .
Caleb Warnock reports on a recent UDOT visit to American Fork to allay fears and rumors. (At least they're noticing!)
The Daily Herald favors recycling in Utah County cities (but may be optimistic about costs).
Barbara Christiansen reports that now the American Fork Recreation Center is too popular for its parking capacity. (There are worse problems to have.)
Copyright 2007 by David Rodeback.