Monthly Archives: May 2012

What Romney learned in West Philadelphia

Featured image Mitt Romney visited West Philadelphia yesterday. His stated mission was “to learn, obviously, from people who are having experiences that are unique and instructive.” That’s a way of putting it. Romney was also looking for votes. This includes whatever few stray votes might be picked up in West Philadelphia, and also votes from whites who, reasonably enough, expect the president to care about poor people and minorities. George W. Bush »

Which Churchill is More Indian: Ward or Winston?

Featured image It turns out there is considerable doubt as to whether Winston Churchill actually had any Iroquois blood in his ancestry, as reported here the other day, though he liked to retail the idea himself.  The indispensible people at the Churchill Centre have the skinny: Long before the age of political correctness, some Churchills delighted in extolling the legend of their Native American blood, believed to have been introduced through Jennie »

U.S. and Iran buy each other time

Featured image Six world powers – the U.S., Britain, France, German, Russia, and China – have been talking with Iran this week about Iran’s nuclear program. The six powers presented Iran with a detailed proposal including a freeze on its enrichment of uranium that could be converted to bomb-grade fuel. Iran balked at the proposal due to what it characterized as an insufficient easing of sanctions in exchange. Iran has agreed in »

Barack Obama, Fiscal Conservative!

Featured image It might seem incredible that a president who has signed into law the largest federal spending in history, who has run up $5 trillion in new debt, who has submitted budgets that propose increasing the national debt to $22 trillion–budgets so extreme that not a single member of either the House or the Senate would vote for them, two years running–would somehow try to pass himself off as a fiscal »

Not dark yet

Featured image Today is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns 71. He is a remarkable artist, self-invented, deep in the American grain. Attention must be paid. A few years back I visited Dylan’s old home at 2425 7th Avenue East in Hibbing. The house is a small two-story residence with a one-car attached garage on the side. The house is exactly two blocks from Hibbing High School, Dylan’s »

But is it ugly enough to ruin a geezer?

Featured image Dan Rather believes that the 2012 presidential campaign is shaping up to be the ugliest of the 11 he has covered. How ugly is the campaign likely to become? “Ugly enough to choke a buzzard,” Rather frets. But at least, to my knowledge, no campaign or major network has attempted so far in this cycle to take down a candidate with forged documents. »

How Meritorious Are the Catholic Lawsuits?

Featured image We have written several posts about the lawsuits by dozens of Catholic institutions against the federal government that seek to invalidate the HHS mandate requiring them to violate their religious precepts by providing employees with contraceptive and certain abortion services. It strikes me as obvious that the HHS mandate violates the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, but this is not an area in which I am an expert. »

Alan Simpson, Unplugged

Featured image I haven’t always been a fan of former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, but do not miss his recent letter to a greedy geezers lobby group in California.  Politico has the whole story, but here’s the complete text of Simpson’s letter, which is, shall we say, “candid,” even for a westerner: To Whom It May Concern: Erskine Bowles and I thoroughly enjoyed our time on the West Coast and received an »

Some of what the Obama administration told Hollywood about Pakistan

Featured image According to a Washington Post report, the U.S. is working to improve relations with Pakistan. Among other things, it hopes that Pakistan will re-open a supply route to Afghanistan. In a post just below, I argue against trying to improve the relationship, particularly in light of Pakistan’s conviction of a Pakistani doctor for treason in connection with the assistance he provided us in the search for bin Laden. But if »

Pakistan deems it treason for Pakistani to help the U.S. find bin Laden

Featured image A Pakistani court has convicted a doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden of treason. According to this report in the Washington Post, the doctor, Shakil Afridi, apparently tried to obtain DNA samples from bin Laden’s compound through a vaccination program. He failed to get the samples, but U.S. officials have acknowledged that the doctor did contribute to our intelligence operation against bin Laden. Pakistan shouldn’t have prosecuted »

Why Scientists Have Squandered Public Trust

Featured image I have commented before about the political problems of the scientific community, which are typically being turned around against Republicans.  In a post last month I recalled the 2004 remark by Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin in the New York Review of Books that “Most scientists are, at a minimum, liberals,” and the caution of MIT’s Kerry Emanuel about the dangers of “group think” and the “shocking lack of political diversity »

E.J. Dionne against the Church

Featured image As Quin Hillyer observed a while back, E.J. Dionne has made the descent from a thoughtful liberal columnist into a left-wing hit-man and, finally, a flagrantly dishonest left-wing hit-man. From his Washington Post column on the 12 lawsuits filed around the country by 43 Catholic institutions against the Obamacare “preventive services” mandate, one will learn precisely nothing except what a shill he is. In my notes on University of Notre »

CRB: Dungeons and Dragons

Featured image This morning we conclude our preview of the new (Spring) issue of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here and get immediate online access). It is, as usual, an incredibly rich issue; I have sought to select pieces conveying the breadth and depth on display. The issue is chock full of essays and reviews on contemporary politics and constitutionalism, political philosophy, literature and culture. In the latter category, for example, »

Barack Obama, Skinflint?

Featured image I ran across this piece by Rex Nutting on Market Watch today. Nutting’s thesis is aptly summed up by the title: “Obama spending binge never happened.” He begins: Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree. … Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our »

Paul Fussell, RIP

Featured image Scott normally covers the literary as well as the music beat here on Power Line, but if I can horn in on Paul’s sports desk, I may as well beat Scott to the notice of the death of Paul Fussell at the age of 88.  Fussell is a little bit like Scott Fitzgerald—a great writer with many worthy titles, but one looms above all: The Great War and Modern Memory. Fussell »

The legacy of Vidal Sassoon

Featured image Robert S. Wistrich is one of the world’s foremost scholars of anti-Semitism. Witness his monumental history A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism From Antiquity to the Global Jihad. See also the squib below. In this column, Professor Wistrich remembers Vidal Sassoon, who died on May 9: I first became aware of Vidal Sassoon’s rise to prominence about 45 years ago as a young student at Cambridge University. It was the age of »

Media Alert [Updated With Video of Show]

Featured image I haven’t been doing much cable TV news for a while, but tonight I will be on the Larry Kudlow show on CNBC at 7:50 Eastern time, talking about the debt, the deficit and the implications of the debt for the 2012 election. It should be fun; please tune in if you can! UPDATE: Here it is, for better or worse. I actually thought it went OK, although we never »