Monthly Archives: December 2009

An undiplomatic message to Israel?

The Jerusalem Post is featuring this extremely interesting report by Yaakov Katz: A dispute is rumbling between Israel and the US Consulate in Jerusalem after a US diplomatic car allegedly tried running over a Defense Ministry security guard recently at an IDF checkpoint in the West Bank. The car had been stopped after the occupants refused to present identification papers. Israel is also furious that one of the consulate cars »

Now, That’s an Ice Palace!

I always thought the ice palaces at the St. Paul Winter Carnival were impressive. This photo is from a few years ago: But that was before I heard about the Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival in Harbin, China. Now, this is an ice palace! One more, close up: »

A word from John Steele Gordon

The historian John Steele Gordon writes to comment on Paul Mirengoff’s “We’re not the grinch after all.” He writes: I too had the same reaction to Keillor’s bizarre column. Just two notes. First Christmas is not the most important Christian holy day. Easter is, by far. Christmas wasn’t even celebrated until the 4th century AD, and in the Reformation, many Protestant sects (Pilgrims, Puritans, and Presbyterians among them) banned Christmas. »

House push-back, a two edged sword

As Scott noted earlier today, some conservatives are holding out hope that the House will push back against the version of health care reform passed by the Senate and that, as a result, no legislation will be enacted. It could happen that way. However, it is also possible that House push-back will result in the passage of legislation more to the House’s liking, which is to say more radical. Washington »

More mush from the wimp

Speaking of Christians and Jews (see the post immediately below), former president Jimmy Carter has apologized to Jews for actions he acknowledged have stigmatized Israel. Carter said that he should not have named his book, “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,” and that Palestinians in the disputed West Bank are not experiencing apartheid. He added: We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to »

We’re not the grinch after all

I have long felt bad about the injury Jews have inflicted on Christmas by leading the charge to limit public celebration of this great religious holiday. Here we are, living in a country whose Christians have treated us with unprecedented kindness, tolerance, and fellowship, and we show our thanks by forcing them to remove the most meaningful aspects of their most important holiday from the public square. This year, however, »

Christmas Eve at the Mall of America

I had last-minute Christmas shopping to do, and so did my daughters. So we all went to the Mall of America this morning. Things were pretty quiet, as most people apparently didn’t wait until the last moment: Even the Apple Store (my usual destination when I visit the MOA) was quiet: Of course, with six inches of new snow on the ground and another foot in the forecast, many people »

Will Iran be stopped?

At NRO’s Media blog, Tom Gross points out that the New York Times for the first time runs a column explicitly advocating the American bombing of Iran’s nuclear program (and the “sooner the better” it says). The column is by Alan Kuperman, the director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Gross descrbes Kuperman’s column as “dry and academic.” Gross also finds that are »

Arrogance, corruption, stupidity

Republicans didn’t have the votes to stop the Senate’s Obamacare bill this morning. But they had the better argument. Oklahoma’s magnificent Senator (and Dr.) Tom Coburn spoke for a lot of us in explaining his vote against the Democrats’ bill: This vote is indeed historic. This Congress will be remembered for its arrogance, corruption and stupidity. In the year of 2009, a Congress ignored the coming economic storm and impending »


Last Saturday, Brian Ward and I interviewed Terry Teachout on our radio show. We talked about his new biography of Louis Armstrong, titled Pops. It’s a terrific book, not just for jazz fans but for anyone interested in American history or human nature. Armstrong’s rise from nothing to international superstar will be of interest to pretty much everyone. I thought the interview was as entertaining as any we’ve done over »

A Christmas Story

My son has his first job and, as of a few weeks ago, his first apartment. He’s living in a complex that is inhabited largely by Somali immigrants. He told me this story yesterday. On Monday he got up and got ready for work. He left his apartment building and, as he started walking toward his car, noticed that there was a vehicle parked next to it with its motor »

An “Obamacon” resurfaces

Earlier this month, while wondering whatever happened to the “Obamacons,” I wrote that one of them — Douglas Kmiec — has been rewarded for his support of Obama with the post of ambassador to Malta and that “this [has] brought to an end his public pronouncements on politics.” It turns out that I spoke too soon. Ed Whelan reports: Kmiec is among the “[m]ore than three dozen [self-described] pro-life Christian »

Lucky for us, an under-performing president

Fresh off of giving himself a B+ for his first year in office, Presdent Obama defended his first-year legislative record during an interview with the Washington Post. Obama apparently did not assign a grade to his legislative record, but considering his abysmal performance in the realm of foreign policy, his domestic mark would need to be a high one indeed to justify an overall rating of B+. Obama’s defense of »

Michael Steele’s paid speeches — wrong idea, wrong man

Michael Steele, head of the RNC, reportedly has given dozens of speeches to corporate boards and colleges in exchange for a fee of $20,000 per speech. This strikes me as very bad idea. To the extent that Steele earns a substantial income through his “outside” speaking activity, he has an incentive to be entertaining, candid, and/or controversial in these speeches. But in doing so, he increases the likelihood of making »

Lincoln in Peoria

The current issue of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here) features Harry Jaffa’s wonderful review/essay “Lincoln in Peoria.” Lincoln’s great Peoria speech is available online here. Our friends at the CRB have kindly made Jaffa’s review/essay available online for our readers in light of MIchael Barone’s column today on the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. If you have any interest in the subject, you will find Jaffa’s essay to be »

Top Ten Foreign Policy Blunders of 2009

2009 was the worst year for American foreign policy since the Carter administration. At the Telegraph, Nile Gardiner reminds us of Barack Obama’s top ten foreign policy follies of the year. It promises to be the most depressing of the many top-ten lists we’ll read between now and New Year’s. Gardiner provides links and cites chapter and verse, so his article should be read in its entirety. But here’s the »

Stop the KSM trial

Minnesota Sixth District Rep. Michele Bachmann and Andrew McCarthy team up to explain that Congress can stop the KSM trial. Congress can also stop Gitmo on the Mississippi, as this New York Times story suggests. But the Democrats are bent on giving us bread and circuses. »