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Friday, November 18, 2005

FRENCH LESSONS: A leading advocate of racial spoils looks at Paris burning and concludes the best way to extinguish the fires is to implement racial and ethnic preferences. Doing so will "cure racism." The idea is, of course, nuts. As highly overrated, pompous, pretentious, and exhausted as French culture has become, the nation still has one big idea going for it, namely that a French person's identity is, first and foremost, to be a citizen of the French Republic. For all the right reasons, racial identity is an affront to the French ideal of citizenship. Does French racism exist? Without doubt. But the solution to apartheid is not further separation; the solutions is a commitment to assimilation. Easy? No, hard — very hard. America's Civil War and the subsequent civil rights movement makes that clear enough. If France goes down the road of left-wing multiculturalism, the results will leave a once-great culture in shambles.
BLAME NATURE: Short list of left-wing phobias: Liberals fear individual responsibility, merit-based achievement, free enterprise, national defense, Christianity, private property, biologically-based gender differences. Could it all be ... genetic?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

SHRUM TO THE PODIUM: Bob Shrum, major strategist for eight failed Democratic campaigns, is writing a book
"about what I have seen the direction of progressive politics take, what happens to it and where I think it ought to go."
What else can be said? Sometimes the punch line actually is the set up. Still, I can't resist: Which Democratic hopeful would open the door to this guy in 2008? Here's my suggestion for Shrum's title: Campaign Coroner.
CHENEY SPEAKS: The vice president has answered the critics, and it's about time. We've all heard the jokes about Cheney and his undisclosed bunker location, but seriously: Where has Cheney been all these weeks, as American cheerleaders for American defeat in Iraq have been doing their utmost to demoralize the American people? Why did the White House allow so much time to pass, before confronting the Senate liars with:
The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history. We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we’re going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts.
And why did President Bush wait so long before stating these self-evident facts:
Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community’s judgments related to Iraq’s weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein.
Truly, I'm perplexed that the administration has remained silent as the Kennedys and Schumers and Boxers and Bidens pounded their defeatist drums for so many news cycles. Scurrilous allegations that remain unanswered have a way of being believed; the president's latest poll numbers surely indicate this, in part. The Clinton White House ensured that presidential surrogates got TV face time to make the administration's case; and the Bush White House was pretty good at that, back in the days when they understood the necessity of making their case for tax cuts and prosecuting the war on terror. What accounts for the change in recent weeks? Why has the White House allowed itself to be pummeled these past weeks? The president and vice president must stay on the offensive. It's not the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people I'm worried about losing, it's the hearts and minds of Americans. U.S. advocates of American defeat in Iraq (now including the Clinton dyad) need to be reminded at every turn that they too believed Saddam posed an unacceptable threat. Their Big Lie must be countered without fail. Welcome back to the game, Mr. Vice President. Keep hitting hard.
NOT MP3'S FAULT: Think the growing use of iPods in public spaces is increasing social fragmentation and reducing cultural connectivity? Think again. Writer Jordan Kraemer notes that private activity in public is nothing new: before we listened to MP3s on the bus, we read books and magazines.
Ultimately, I question whether mobile communications and media devices really interfere with the public sphere, or simply provide communications and media for increasingly mobile populations.... When I used to commute to work before iPods and cell phones became ubiquitous, I was always careful to bring a book with me, and even if I didn't, I rarely struck up conversations with strangers. Similarly, in college in the late 1990s, I might occasionally nod to a familiar face when walking to class, but generally, the "public sphere" of walkways and lawns rarely constituted a prime site of social engagement.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

AU REVOIR: Krauthammer summarizes the French crisis:
On the one side are the protester-arsonists, many if not most of them Muslim, whom the Interior Minister called racaille (rabble)--young, restless, violent, vibrant, angry, jobless, envious and fecund. And on the other side is an aged and exhausted civilization, the hollowed-out core of European Christendom, static, aging, contented, coddled, passive and literally without faith. Who would you think will win in the end?
France bet that it could use Muslims for cheap labor without assimilating them into French culture. A once estimable nation is now losing that bet. Appeasement is a strategy for cultural demise. What will it take to get the United States to pay attention to its porous southern border?
IDIOCY WATCH: Esquire names Bill Clinton "The Most Influential Man in the World." Precisely how seriously this accolade should be taken is made clear by Esquire editor David Granger's claim that Clinton is poised to become "something like a president of the world or at least a president of the world's non-governmental organizations." I love "something like" here. "Poised"? Simpler and more to the point: "Whoa! Dude! Bill! Rocks!" Actually I'm all for bringing Bill back to center stage. Now that he's a born-again anti-war protester, I want him to account for his ominous claims about Saddam's pre-war potential to create serious world danger. And I wouldn't mind hearing Amazing Bill's latest rendition of why he chose not to take out bin Laden when Clinton's White House had Osama clearly in its sights. More Bill Now!
EXIT SCHEER: On the heels of revelations that the L.A. Times' circulation has dropped 3.79 percent over the past six months, the Times has fired its most notorious Blame America First columnist, Robert Scheer. Anybody want to argue there's no causal relationship? Scheer is one of the most venomous, bitter, reflexively anti-U.S. writers in America today, a holdover from the worst of the 1960s protest movement that embraced every left-wing dictator the world had to offer. No surprise that Times readers have been turning off. The surprise is how long it has taken for a once-great newspaper to wake up to reality. One wonders when the San Francisco Chronicle will likewise emerge from its slumber. With daily circulation down 16.5% to 400,906 copies, a huge drop, the Chronicle has given Scheer a weekly home in its way-left op-ed section. Time will tell whether the circulation and editorial departments will agree on the wisdom of this decision.
ISLAMIC CELL GROUP REDEFINED: There is now a pretty clear consensus in the West that it's time for Islam to bid goodbye to the middle ages and fully embrace the modern world. Accordingly, perhaps it's a positive sign that a company called Ilkone is marketing "the world's first and only Islamic cell phone." Inquiring minds will want to know: Does it come with a detonator button? (Ba Da Boom.)