Monthly Archives: August 2003

From the Department of Silliness

Michael McFaul thinks we need a new Department of Democratic Regime Change, headed by a Cabinet-level official. He also thinks we need a new international organization, and proposes the creation of an Organization for International Trusteeships. The purpose of the new domestic bureaucracy would be to generate alternatives to “staying the course” and “turning back,” as if there aren’t enough people thinking about these issues, and as if there is »

Lawyers, guns and money

If you’re a fan of pop music, you are familiar with the observation that comes after the plea to “Send lawyers, guns and money.” The song is one of Warren Zevon’s more inspired compositions. Zevon has had a long, up-and-down career alternating between bouts of genius and alcholism. Earlier this year he announced that he is dying of an incurable form of cancer (mesothelioma) and has conducted himself with great »

Defending the Patriot Act

In today’s Washington Post, Heather MacDonald defends the Patriot Act against some of the criticisms that have been leveled against it. She’s not quite as eloquent as the Trunk was on the radio yesterday, but is still well worth reading. To me, the weirdest attack on the Patriot Act is the decunciation by “civil libertarians” of Section 215 of the Act, which allows the FBI to seek permission from a »

Saddam fiddles as Tony burns

The monthly arts magazine New Critierion has posted a number of specially commissioned articles on its home page. One of the best is a piece by the British writer John Gross, “Saddam fiddles as Tony burns.” The New Criterion also sponsors a good blog that it has titled Arma Virumque (“Arms and the man”), the opening words of Virgil’s epic poem, the Aeneid. If you scroll down on the blog, »

Time out for a real poem

Once upon a time, Robert Bly was a respectable poet. In 1967, his second book won the National Book Award for Poetry. Then politics drove him nuts, at least insofar as his aesthetic judgment is concerned. Thus the drivel that Rocket Man has reproduced below from today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune. Here is a photograph of Bly at an antiwar poetry reading in 1970. Bly is a native Minnesotan and the »

Worst Poem Ever Written?

We’ve occasionally ventured into poetry criticism, but only in extreme cases since poetry isn’t really our field of expertise. Still, it is hard to resist jumping to the conclusion that a poem by Robert Bly which appears in tomorrow’s Minneapolis Star Tribune could be the worst one ever written. The poem is titled “Eight Lines on the Bush Administration,” which furnishes a clue, I guess, as to why the Strib »

Michelle Malkin 1, Al Franken 0

Al Franken is a former comedian, kind of like Paul Krugman is a former economist. He last said something funny during the Carter administration. Now Michelle Malkin takes him to task for his deceitful attack on John Ashcroft and the sexual abstinence movement. Michelle got the goods on Franken via The Smoking Gun, which caught Franken misusing a token position at Harvard’s School of Government to send fake correspondence to »

Krugman the Barbarian

Yesterday Paul Krugman took a break from fantasizing about President Bush and turned his venom toward Arnold Schwarzenegger. His column is titled “Conan the Deceiver”, consistent with Krugman’s current tactic of calling everyone he doesn’t like a liar. Krugman’s column makes a single point, that Schwarzenegger has not been very specific about how he proposes to deal with California’s budget problems. True enough, but not exactly original. Moreover, Arnold’s theory »

“There can be no negotiation with Hamas”

I’m just back from a week of vacation in the North Woods, where I’ve been pretty much out of touch with the news. So I don’t know how the Washington Post and the New York Times have responded to the resumption of mass murder by Palestinian terrorist groups. The only newspaper I’ve been seeing regularly is the Mesabi Daily News, which serves the small towns of Minnesota’s Iron Range. The »

Can we have security and liberty?

I’m home preparing for a short radio interview from the Minnesota State Fair this afternoon. I’ll be discussing civil liberties and the USA PATRIOT Act during the 4:00 p.m. hour on the station that goes by the monniker, appropriately enough, of the Patriot — AM 1280, the home of our radio hero Hugh Hewitt, who I believe will be broadcasting for local consumption from the fair this afternoon until 2:00 »

Jarndyce v. Jarndyce lives

In the summer of 1994 an Alaska jury awarded $5 billion in punitive damages against Exxon in favor of Alaska fishermen injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Glacier Bay. The case had been tried on behalf of the plaintiff fishermen by attorneys with the Minneapolis law firm of Faegre & Benson, most notably Faegre partners Brian O’Neill and (Power Line reader) Jerry Nolting. Fourteen years after the »

Harvard radical

The Sunday New York Times Magazine has an interesting profile of former Treasury Secretary and current Harvard president Lawrence Summers: “Harvard radical.” (Courtesy of RealClearPolitics.) »

Heroes true and false

The New York Times and Washington Post Sunday book sections each have reviews that are worthy of note. The Times Sunday Book Review carries Judge Richard Posner’s somewhat irritating review of an important, timely book by University of Minnesota Law School Professor Daniel Farber. Farber’s book is Lincoln’s Constitution and Posner’s review is “Desperate times, desperate measures.” The Washington Post Book World has a review that, like the smell of »

The French demoralization

A reader has kindly e-mailed us the link to Mark Steyn’s column contrasting the conditions in Iraq and France: “Iraq may be on the edge, but France has hit the rock bottom abyss.” Steyn is on his usual roll in this column: “In Paris this spring, a government official explained to me how Europeans had created a more civilised society than America – socialised healthcare, shorter work weeks, more holidays. »

The al Qaeda connection

The new issue of the Weekly Standard carries an important article by Stephen Hayes summarizing the evidence regarding “Saddam’s al Qaeda connection.” Hayes observes: “The Bush administration has thus far chosen to keep the results of its postwar findings to itself; much of the information presented here comes from public sources. The administration, spooked by the media feeding frenzy surrounding yellowcake from Niger, is exercising extreme caution in rolling out »

This not just in

Readers of Power Line are four days ahead of the news in this AP wire story: “Religion is frequent figure in America.” Click here for the photographs missing from the AP story. (Courtesy of SoCalLawBlog.) »

The vehicles went off the cliff

I never know what to make of the Debka reports on current events in the Mideast. I think the site is always interesting but that its track record for accuracy is mixed at best. One of our readers wrote in suggesting that we post today’s report on the most recent events. Debka reports that its “military sources reveal that Palestinian internal security minister Mohammed Dahlan, confronted with a demand for »