David Rodeback's Blog

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Saturday, February 18, 2006
This Week's Readings

Suzanne Fields, Paul Greenberg, and George Will head the list. Jeff Jacoby has a great euphemism. Paul Greenberg (in another article) holds up an excellent example of civic activity with style and class. And you get to read the phrase "ahistorical thumbsucking." (Beat that!)

I found these pieces in some of the usual places, principally TownHall.com and the Jewish World Review, unless otherwise noted.


If I had to attach to myself the name of any major early theorist of American politics, it wouldn't be Jefferson, Madison, or Hamilton. It would be the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville, who studied American government and society, and their intwining, during a long visit in the mid-1830s. Here's Suzanne Fields on religion and government, and why we (should) separate the two. There's a lot of Tocqueville here, which partly explains its appeal to this Tocquevillean.

Here's Paul Greenberg on Abraham Lincoln and the law.

I'm really starting to like Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma). George Will explains why.

Local Interest

Is it just me, or has the American Fork Citizen moving its office to Pleasant Grove been accompanied by a substantial decline in coverage of American Fork? And if so, is it a coincidence? Or is there just nothing interesting going on at American Fork City (the government, I mean)? I know that last one's not true -- but the evidence is fodder for other days.

War on Terror and Related Troubles

George Will has some plain thoughts on the Bush Administration's behavior in the matter of telephone surveillance, but the most interesting part is his suggestion at the end of what Congress should do in response.

Cal Thomas reports on Al Gore's treasonous mouth, and Jack Kelly does some fact-checking on the former vice president's charges. Perhaps Mr. Gore was auditioning for a new talk show on al Jazeera?

Thomas Sowell foresees Democratic "temper tantrum politics" as eroding the efficacy of the threat of American military force, and therefore leading necessarily to the more frequent  use of military force.

Kathleen Parker discusses an ominous marriage of convenience, Iran and Cuba. The following good line doesn't reflect how substantive the article is as a whole . . . but it's a good line:

It is gratifying to see rogue states engaged in a group hug choreographed around the shared goal of bringing the U.S. to its knees, while sane nations busy themselves with debates about the ethics of publishing political cartoons.

Utah has no major (or minor) port cities, but it's not hard to comprehend the magnitude of the potential threat, when a company based in the United Arab Emirates (best known as a great place to plan terrorist attacks on the US) takes over management of six of the largest US seaports. Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., writes. 

Jeff Jacoby notes that it is apparently okay to hate Christians in the United States, and it won't be a hate crime if you hurt them (us).

Paul Greenberg writes of the decline of the West, and he's in fine form. The last two paragraphs:

Freedom will always be a kind of island in the world, expanding or shrinking depending on whether those who say they believe in it are willing to defend it.

What, defend the most basic of our values in clear, unambiguous words and deeds? Unthinkable. We must be, uh, nuanced lest we offend the forces of violence and oppression around the world. And so the West declines.

Hunting (with) the Vice President

Most of the talking heads are talking about Vice President Cheney accidentally shooting his lawyer friend while quail hunting, and the media's gleeful response. Here's Tony Blankley. (My response: yeah, what he said!)

Thomas Sowell muses -- or perhaps rants, in a restrained and intelligent way -- on the media's on-and-off commitment to the public's "right to know," in the context of quail hunting and other, real issues.

Mona Charen is worth reading, too.


Paul Jacob writes on the living wage, the minimum wage, and how almost nobody is really poor any more.

The distinction between static and dynamic revenue analysis may be technical enough to make your eyes glaze over, but it's important in a political climate where people tell us that tax increases increase revenues and tax cuts decrease it, and it's a simple as that. (It's not.) Jack Kemp offers a pretty good, brief explanation. Stay with it long enough to digest the next-to-last paragraph, which is the classic anecdote on the subject.

If you're watching the Federal Reserve Board, especially to see how Ben Bernanke fits into Alan Greenspan's shoes, here's a Larry Kudlow piece for you. It contains this paragraph, which is not Kudlow's central point but nonetheless interesting from the man with the ultimate economic bully pulpit:

Notably, Bernanke not only credited tax cuts for economic recovery, he also endorsed school choice and vouchers for better education performance. And he also contended that private market companies, not government, should underwrite terrorism risk insurance.

South of the Border (and just North of That)

Niall Ferguson writes on situations in Latin American which do not bode well for the US.

Phyllis Schlafly reports bad stuff at the border. It makes me think it's time to call in the Army, the Marines, the Air Force, the Navy, the Coast Guard . . .


Jonah Goldberg is funny and insightful in responding to comments on a recent column. He also gets this week's award for best diplomatic euphemism:

The wonderful thing about writing op-ed pieces is that I get ample feedback, often from people unencumbered by the niceties of interpersonal diplomacy.

Paul Greenberg writes charming piece about Jane, a charming lady who changed things, without becoming bitter and shrill like a lot of activists.

Ralph Kinney Bennett writes for TCS Daily about Pappy Boyington and the University of Washington Student Senate. It's not every day you get to see the delightful phrase "ahistorical thumbsucking" in print! (In the students' defense, I seriously doubt they've ever had to learn actual history.) Thanks to RealClearPolitics.com for the link.

Here's an interesting Web site about crime, corruption, unfair labor practices, and political money to, in, and from US labor unions. IMO, the big unions have been defeating their limited, honorable purposes and betraying their members for decades. TownHall.com provided the link.

Betsy Hart discusses the chemistry of love.

Walter Williams holds forth on the decay of language and its political and social implications, among other things.

For those watching the aftermath of Kelo v. New London, here's Jacob Sullum.

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