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  • Archive for September, 2006

    The Israeli Government’s Continuing Ineptitude

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th September 2006 (All posts by )

    From comments by the Israeli foreign minister:

    Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Sunday that the world may have as little as “A few months” to avoid a nuclear Iran and called for sanctions.

    I don’t understand this. Iran is a few months away from being able to produce enough fissionable material to build nuclear bombs, with which it has threatened to attack Israel, and the Israeli response is to call for multilateral sanctions that everybody knows will not work? This is Israel’s strongest diplomatic response to a straightforward threat of annihilation? It would have been much better if Livni had said nothing. Whatever military action Israel or the USA may (let us hope) be planning behind the scenes, this kind of public kabuki dance by western governments, and particularly by Israel, can only encourage the mullahs. Livni should say that Israel will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran and leave it at that.

    UPDATE: Here’s a finer-grained discussion of some of the diplomatic issues.

    (Cross posted at 26th Parallel.)

    Posted in Israel | 15 Comments »

    Faith Based Initiative 1 Civilization 0

    Posted by Sulaiman on 17th September 2006 (All posts by )

    The damage is done. Ratzinger makes a comment contrary to where the Church stood before and then apologizes. Vatican could perhaps get distressed and spin it in any way it can to save face but the cost will be measured in American lives.

    For my religious friends here are some inconvenient facts:
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Religion | 18 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Photos | 15 Comments »

    Faith based initiative strikes back

    Posted by Sulaiman on 16th September 2006 (All posts by )

    It has been a spectacle for nonbelievers like myself to watch the pope “quote” an emperor from the past that Islam is a religion that has been spread by the sword. What is most savoring about all this is that for the first time it is not George Bush’s “fault”, nor is it a Zionist-Jewish plot to take over the world.

    What is amazing about this new fireworks of ignorants going against each other is not that the Ratzinger is actually right. The irony is that the former Hitler youth pope presides over an institution that currently has trouble with its clergy misbehaving with minors and an institution that did not shy away from using the sword itself in exterminating its enemies, including a large number of Christians. As such, the credibility of the message is undermined despite the fact that what Ratzinger said was true and applies equally to his own institution. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Vatican only found out about religious tolerance and human dignity when it was no longer able to extend its interest by force, as it had for centuries, and had to start competing with other institutions of superstition in a secular free market.

    Which brings me back to George Bush (and I will leave Jews alone for they never invade my privacy). In the same post I noted that it was wrong for GWB, as my president, to go to JP2’s funeral as the head of the state. Despite all the efforts of GWB to paint Islam as the “religion of peace”, Muslims have proven otherwise on numerous occasions. Therefore, my other hope/wish is that GWB stop calling Islam what it is clearly NOT and instead concentrate on materialistic affairs of this world that both his believer and non-believer supporters care about. Things like tax cuts for the rich, undermining of social security, more military expenditure instead of “investment”, less money for and PR in New Orleans, plans for invasion of Iran, etc. Otherwise, his non-believer supporters will have no reason to show at the voting booth and the Republican party will be left with the “Save Terry Schiavo”-cum-anti-abortion-cum-intelligent design fanatics.

    Folks, I still continue to thank Allah for being a US citizen for I strongly believe that “of all tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.”

    Posted in Islam | 45 Comments »

    In honor of the late Oriana Fallaci

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 16th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Eric from Classical Values proposes Something along the lines of a Judeo-Christian-Atheist Alliance in defense of the West.

    Ms. Fallaci was an Atheist who valued the cultural heritage of the West, and correctly saw that it was in grave danger from Islamic violence and terrorism. She met with Pope Benedict XVI, to discuss these matters not long before her death. The Pope is willing to say things Muslims don�t like, without apologizing for it, either. Good.

    Everyone who values freedom and the cultural heritage of the West, even accepting the differences among our interpretation of those things, now has a common enemy. We should work together to defeat that enemy. We can work out our very important differences as civilized people, in a lawful manner, by argument, persuasion, electoral politics, litigation — but not suicide-murder bombings, or video-taped beheadings, or mob violence or fatwas.

    I am an orthodox Roman Catholic, and I am very open to the idea.

    So, query, how to give some practical effect to such a proposed alliance?

    UPDATE: The exact language used by the Pope, with a link to the full speech, is below the fold

    UPDATE II: Perry de Havilland says “sign me up”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Political Philosophy, Politics, Society, Terrorism, War and Peace | 19 Comments »

    Andrew Roberts on the Anglosphere

    Posted by James C. Bennett on 16th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Cross-posted at Albion’s Seedlings.

    This is cool. Andrew Roberts, one of the best English historians of this generation, is about to have his History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 published. I have not gotten my hands on it yet, but here are two quotes, one from the extract on his website, and the other extracted from a review.

    This from the extract: Just as we do not today differentiate between the Roman Republic and the imperial period of the Julio-Claudians when we think of the Roman Empire, so in the future no-one will bother to make a distinction between the British Crown-led and the American Republic-led periods of English-speaking dominance between the late-eighteenth and the twenty-first centuries. It will be recognised that in the majestic sweep of history they had so much in common – and enough that separated them from everyone else � that they ought to be regarded as a single historical entity, which only scholars and pedants will try to describe separately. A Martian landing on our planet might find linguistic or geographical more useful than ethnic factors when it came to analyzing the differences between different groups of earthlings; the countries whose history this book covers are those where the majority of people speak English as their first language.

    Yes — this lays out one of the most basic points very succinctly. Most of the people of the Anglosphere are so close to the matter that all we see is the visible differences, which are often just a matter of “ethnographic dazzle” — colorful but fundamentally trivial differences. The more perspective the observer gains, either through cultural distance, passage of time, or geographical distance, the more the similarities and continuities of the Anglosphere stand out. Once you have gained this perspective, proper study of the Anglosphere can begin.

    And here is a quote presented in Michael Burleigh’s review: A Maori spokesmen expressed this very well in 1918 as he outlined why his people had fought so courageously for the British Crown:

    �We know of the Samoans, our kin: we know of the Eastern and Western natives of German Africa, and we know of the extermination of the Hereros, and that is enough for us. For seventy-eight years we have been, not under the rule of the British, but taking part in the ruling of ourselves, and we know by experience that the foundations of British sovereignty are based upon the eternal principles of liberty, equity and justice�.

    An interesting footnote, and chilling foreshadowing that the Maori quoted could not have imagined when he spoke those words in 1918, is that the extermination of the Herero in South-West Africa in 1905 took place under the governorship of Paul Goering — father of Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering.

    I’m sure I will have much more to say when I have read the book. And I look forward to what Lex, James, Helen and our other illustrious co-bloggers have to say as well.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes | 12 Comments »

    The Victorians Offer Context

    Posted by Ginny on 16th September 2006 (All posts by )

    I’ve often put up glass half full links; today I’ll note half empty ones. Some news is not good. Instapundit links to two. Op-For’s conclusion begins with Michael Yon, who possesses a

    focused pessimissm. When he writes that the ground sit in Iraq or Afghanistan is taking a dive, it’s out of a true, apolitical desire to win the war. He understands that selling blood, toil, tears, and sweat didn’t go out of style in the mid-40s. People, Americans especially, respond to challenges. This war is a challenge, and it’s time we start responding to it.

    He concludes with what we all, finally, learn: “Half of any fight is how you pull yourself up after you’ve taken one on the chin. If we can’t stand back up, then we stay on the mat. And we lose the war.” (The conclusion fits a site with Tennyson’s “Ulysses” as motto – To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.)
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Iraq | 2 Comments »

    Another Question About the Press: Why Didn’t Novak Help Libby?

    Posted by Jonathan on 15th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Re: Recent revelations about the Plame affair (via Rachel).

    So if Armitage behaved so dishonorably, why did Novak feel bound to continue to honor Armitage’s anonymity? Armitage is by far the bigger villain here — though not as big a villain as Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, but that’s another issue — but doesn’t Novak deserve criticism for not revealing Armitage’s identity when Libby and Rove were twisting in the wind and he, Novak, might have been able to help get them off the hook?

    Novak seems to set great store by his commitment to maintain the confidentiality of his “sources,” but shouldn’t he have acted otherwise in this case? It looks as though Novak was more concerned with not scaring off the government leakers who are his bread and butter than he was with saving innocent men from disgrace, great expense and possible (actual in Libby’s case) prosecution. I don’t see how Novak’s position was different in principle from that of a psychiatrist who learns that one of his patients plans to commit a serious crime. In such a case the psychiatrist’s professional duty to maintain patient confidentiality is outweighed by the need to prevent great harm to others.

    Of course there was no reason why Fitzgerald couldn’t have subpoenaed Novak long ago and asked him to reveal his source, as more than one blogger long ago pointed out. But was there any reason, besides professional self-interest, for Novak not to reveal that information on his own?

    (cross posted at 26th Parallel)

    Posted in Politics | 7 Comments »

    Family Fun!

    Posted by Jonathan on 15th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Don’t try this if you’ve had a few.

    Posted in Humor | 6 Comments »

    It Shall Be Sustained

    Posted by David Foster on 14th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Annika posted two Edna St. Vincent Millay poems from the World War II era–which inspired me to look up a Stephen Vincent Benet poem from the same period. I think it’s something we could all benefit from reading right about now.

    This poem, Listen to the People, was read over nationwide radio on July 7, 1941–five months before Pearl Harbor. The full text was also printed in Life magazine. Here it is…
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History | 6 Comments »

    Everybody Has a 60’s

    Posted by Ginny on 13th September 2006 (All posts by )

    This blog is sometimes critical of boomer culture. But Lex puts up a video of Jackie DeShannon & we all watch, pleased by the aesthetic & energy, the charm of a singer quite representative – to some – of the sixties. Those years went through cultural changes that, looking back, were breathtaking. But those of us who were teens moved through them as fish in water; we were obsessed with ourselves, of course, but we had no perspective; we’d never been young before.

    In 1963 Jackie Kennedy balanced her little pill box atop masses of hair. A freshman in college, I’d encase myself in garter belts & nylons for class or stretch pants designed for ski slopes nowhere close to Nebraska. We ratted our hair. By 67 or 68, we were wearing see-through blouses and no bras, our dresses were so short my daughters finding one of my old dresses assume it’s a tunic, our hair hung below our shoulders, often below our waists. Sometimes changes come from the pragmatic – the pill & pantyhose. Now, dresses are about any length we want. For decades, they inched up and down, but in the sixties, they moved from the knees very high & then down quite low. The movement was so fast and extreme, styles merged & women in pants, in minis, with dresses trailing the ground appear at the same workplace, the same party.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Arts & Letters | 30 Comments »

    Perhaps the Mystery Isn’t All That Great

    Posted by Ginny on 13th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Some may wonder how a church can move from 4.2 million in 1967 to 2.3 in 2005, despite the fact that Christian churches in general have been growing more rapidly than the population. The answer might be found in the publisher of this Amazon entry and the publisher’s explanation. (It is extolled here and reviewed here.)

    Some might think humility would be one of the key characteristics of the Christian; if so, this approach would seem more appropriate. And so would sympathy for those who risk their lives daily choosing to become policemen in Iraq. They hope to further the rule of law – one Christians have long understood as necessary for an earthly life of peace. This church offers little succor.

    (And we aren’t even getting into what can be interpreted as anti-semitism in the bizarre policy of “punishing” Caterpillar.)

    The statistics are from the July Layman, which is a pdf; it is reached through the Layman Online.

    Posted in Religion | 9 Comments »

    Five Years On

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 11th September 2006 (All posts by )

    There was a car in the handicapped space in front of my bank a few weeks ago. It was a real beater, a huge gas-guzzling muscle car from the 1960’s which had seen better days. The color was primer grey, the tires were bald, and a sleeping bag was open in the back seat. It was a typical vision of a makeshift home for a homeless person. The one thing that made it stand out was the license plate, which proudly proclaimed “WWII VETERAN”.

    The only person inside the bank who was over 50 was a wizened black man who needed a cane to move. I asked him if that was his car I had passed on my way in. When he said that it was I introduced myself and, as is my custom, thanked him for his service.

    This surprised him. He said that people didn’t make mention of those old days much anymore, and he wanted to know why I had taken the trouble to seek him out. I blurted out the first thing that popped into my mind.

    “You were part of the team which saved the world!” I said.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History | 6 Comments »

    The Disunited States of America

    Posted by Steven Den Beste on 11th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Dean Barnett writes movingly
    about his personal experience on 9/11/2001. And
    he concludes with this:

    IT HAS BECOME A TRITE LAMENT that 9/11 brought us together, and it’s a
    shame that since then we’ve come apart. But 9/11 brought us together because
    of two transitory emotions – sadness and rage. Once those emotions calmed
    down, once our open wounds turned into scars, it was inevitable that our
    differences would resurface.

    When the flags came out in the aftermath of 9/11, they didn’t signify a
    consensus on where we would go from there. They symbolized a consensus that we
    were all in pain, all anguished. When the time came to move on, disagreements
    inevitably (and not improperly) came regarding exactly how we should move on.

    Even though a thorough review of 9/11, including both its lead-up and
    aftermath, won’t provide an obvious path forward that everyone will agree on,
    there are some valuable lessons we can draw from that awful day. Looking back,
    we can clearly see the remorseless murderers that our enemies are – that
    knowledge is instructive. And we can also see that they are numerous. That,
    too, is important to take into account.

    But the most important lesson we can take from 9/11 is this: We must take
    every possible step to ensure never again.
    Never again
    will we allow ourselves to feel the way we did that
    day. Never again will we be so blind to storm clouds
    as they gather. Never again will we choose to believe
    comforting lies rather than disquieting truths.

    9/11 didn’t bring us together. It’s true that in the immediate
    aftermath of the event that we all felt sadness and rage. But not about the same

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in USA | 86 Comments »

    Khatami at Harvard

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on 10th September 2006 (All posts by )

    The informal monthly meeting of knuckle-dragging Neanderthal New England bloggers was held in Cambridge MA today. The unusual venue was chosen to take advantage of former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami’s visit to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. We did not attempt to get tickets for the lecture, which was to feature the fruits of Ayatollah Khatami’s lucubrations on Tolerance. Perhaps when Madonna comes to lecture on personal modesty, or Donald Trump on humility, or Bernie Ebbers on business ethics, we will try harder.

    The protest against Khatami’s visit was remarkable. It was a revolt of the reasonable, and the participants seemed to be trying hard to avoid inconveniencing anyone. They did not block the entrance; instead, they assembled farther down the street where the sidewalk widened into a little brick-laid park, right next to the semi-organic farm stand. There was a cordon of Cambridge policemen (no women) in their special black uniforms, but they were quite unnecessary. The speaker used a bullhorn, but the volume was set so low that it was impossible to hear her 20 feet away.

    Pictures and a little commentary on the extended link. Flickr is having issues, so check back for more pictures later.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Iran | 20 Comments »

    Amis Describes “The Age of Horrorism”

    Posted by Ginny on 10th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Instapundit links to a lengthy essay by Martin Amis, “The Age of Horrorism” (in the Guardian). He pierces through to certain truths, but none of us, including him, can easily stand outside ourselves.

    Amis follows the experiences of Sayyid Qutb, whose “epiphany” was reached in the dry Greeley, Colorado of 1949; he describes a church “dance hop” which was

    ‘inflamed by the notes of the gramophone,’ he wrote; ‘the dance-hall becomes a whirl of heels and thighs, arms enfold hips, lips and breasts meet, and the air is full of lust.’

    . . . ‘Lust’ is Bernard Lewis’s translation, but several other writers prefer the word ‘love’. And while lust has greater immediate impact, love may in the end be more resonant. Why should Qutb mind if the air is full of love? We are forced to wonder whether love can be said to exist, as we understand it, in the ferocious patriarchy of Islamism. If death and hate are the twin opposites of love, then it may not be merely whimsical and mawkish to suggest that the terrorist, the bringer of death and hate, the death-hate cultist, is in essence the enemy of love.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Iraq | 11 Comments »

    Blogger facing deportation to Pakistan

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 9th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Via Captain’s Quarters:

    Issac Schr�dinger of the Liberty and Justice Blog currently is fighting deportation from Canada to his native country of Pakistan.

    His coblogger Michael van der Galien writes that

    As all of you who have read (some of) his articles will know, Isaac is very critical about radical Islam. He witnessed the results of a culture of radical Islam, he saw the effects of this ideology of hatred and ignorance, how people are forced to live, first-hand. As a result, he understands that Muslim extremists do not just pose a threat to the West, but also to every single person living in ‘Muslim countries’.

    As a result, it should be obvious to anyone with any basic knowledge about this subject, it is not exactly safe for him, an apostate, to live in a country in which Muslim extremists have quite some power. He came from Pakistan, was educated in Saudi Arabia, later in the United States and now lives in Canada.

    He is currently involved in the battle of his life: in January 2007 one judge will decide whether he should be granted refugee status in Canada or be deported to Pakistan.

    (Emphasis mine).

    Isaac’s hearing with the Canadian authorities has been scheduled for January 2007.

    Michael goes on to say that

    You can help. If you have links to relevant article about the treatment of apostates / not-good-Muslims / etc. in Pakistan or just want to show Isaac your support, please use the e-mail button at his blog, drop it off in one of the comment sections at his blog and or just leave a link or even simply a word of support in the comment section here.

    So if you have any knowledge to share with Isaac please do so or support him any other way you can.

    Posted in Announcements, Blogging, Middle East | 2 Comments »

    Lex and Jonathan Debate the Midterm Election

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 8th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Jonathan and I had an off-blog debate about this post, and his belief that the GOP may do better in the midterm election than people seem to think. Any of our dear readers who are interested may find it below the fold.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics, USA | 18 Comments »

    Just how valuable is public opinion?

    Posted by Helen on 7th September 2006 (All posts by )

    I have a great love of war-time propaganda films, particularly British ones. I have now seen a goodly number of them either at the National Film Theatre or, back in the days I still had one of them, on the goggle box. What I have always found slightly surprising is how many of them (as well as the number of thrillers published at the time) deal with fifth columnists. Some films give the impression that the country was absolutely honeycombed with groups and individuals at all social levels who sympathized with the Nazis and worked actively towards a German victory.

    Naturally, I have thought, during a war, people must be alert; there will always be traitors, particularly if the war is to a very great extent an ideological one, and all others must be careful and vigilant. But was it really sensible to propagate the idea that a large proportion of the British population was not really involved in the war effort. Quite the contrary. Surely, that was completely untrue.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in International Affairs | 5 Comments »

    Jackie DeShannon: When You Walk In The Room

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 6th September 2006 (All posts by )

    The magnificent Jackie DeShannon. The greatest era for pop songs was the mid-60s, and I am willing to argue that the greatest pop song of the era was “When You Walk in the Room”, and Jackie DeShannon wrote it. That makes her in some sense the greatest of the greatest. (Of course, she only had a minor hit with it, but the Searchers had a good version of it that was a huge hit.)

    Jackie is lip-syncing in this video. In fact, she almost starts lip-syncing too early, but just grins and then starts in the right place. Even lip-syncing, just look at how cool she is: very expressive, acting out the song. And even though she is surrounded by go-go dancers, she is her own go-go dancer at the same time, and seems to be having a grand time with the whole thing.

    Frank Allen from the Searchers discusses Jackie and her music in this excellent article: “‘When You walk In The Room’ is still my favourite of our hits, and that’s not simply because it was my first record with the group � . It’s just that it is a stunningly good song with a strong melody and one of the best guitar riffs ever.” Right on.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Music | 7 Comments »

    Stepping Carelessly Astern of the Cow

    Posted by John Jay on 5th September 2006 (All posts by )

    I ran across this and this today: yet another reason why everyone ought to be educated to competence in the basics of biology, physics and chemistry.

    From the cited press release in the first link:

    For the first time since Product Licences of Right were issued in 1971, companies will be allowed to include information about the treatment and relief of minor, self-limiting conditions based on the use of the product within the homeopathic tradition. For example, labels may indicate that a product may relieve the symptoms of common colds and coughs, hay fever or chilblains. All homeopathic medicines authorised under the new scheme will have clear and comprehensive patient information leaflets to help consumers use their medicines safely and effectively.

    Professor Kent Woods, Chief Executive of the MHRA, said, �This is a significant step forward in the way homeopathic medicines are regulated. Products authorised under the National Rules Scheme will have to comply with recognised standards of quality, safety and patient information.�

    The only patient information that ought to be included is: “This crap does not work. Do the math”. Sometimes I think that the entire UK is just slowly circling the drain.

    When I was a graduate student working on a project involving colloids, I ran across some seriously strange alternative medicines based on “colloids“. I ran across the infinite dilution concept in homeopathy at the same time, and it came up again when I was doing the piece on Emoto, people who are inclined to believe that water has emotions are also inclined to believe that a medicine becomes stronger when diluted to Avogadran proportions. This, Ladies and Gents, leads me to my personal quote of the day, from Skepchik:

    Would you sit in a bathtub someone just peed in? Would you swim in an ocean that someone just peed in? There�s a difference, and if you can�t tell that difference then you deserve to spend your life sitting in a tub of pee.

    Posted in Science | 14 Comments »

    Bureaucratic Peace, Pragmatic Peace

    Posted by Ginny on 5th September 2006 (All posts by )

    “Countdown to Genocide” by J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss describes a situation that strains our sympathies:

    Sudan seems intent on accelerating the massacre in Darfur: the government has actually proposed that the African Union troops depart when their mandate expires, to be replaced by 10,000 troops from the same Sudanese army that created the Janjaweed in the first place. Thus is set in place the most massive calculated campaign of slaughter, rape, and displacement since the Rwandan genocide (a slaughter that itself could have been mitigated had the then-head of UN peacekeeping, one Kofi Annan, not hamstrung General Roméo Dallaire, commander of the blue helmets in the benighted Central African country). By best estimates, at least 250,000 men, women, and children have already been killed in Darfur. At least another 2.5 million people whose homes have been destroyed have taken shelter in miserable camps partially under the watch of the African Union military that will be withdrawing.

    A new biography The Man Who Fed the World is reviewed by: Ronald Bailey in WSJ. The now-92-year-old

    remains a consultant to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico and president of a private Japanese foundation working to spread the Green Revolution to sub-Saharan Africa. He believes that biotechnology will be crucial to boosting world food supplies in the coming decades and decries the underfunding of the world’s network of nonprofit agricultural research centers.

    He also laments the unnecessary suspicion with which biotech is treated these days. “Activists have resisted research,” he notes, “and governments have overregulated it.” They both miss the point. “Responsible biotechnology is not the enemy: starvation is.”

    Okay – is it ever possible to beat Insta? I started this, taught a class & when I got back he had both up. Does anyone else sometimes suspect that he’s cloned himself?

    Posted in International Affairs | Comments Off on Bureaucratic Peace, Pragmatic Peace

    VD Hanson — A War Like No Other

    Posted by James McCormick on 4th September 2006 (All posts by )

    [cross-posted on Albion’s Seedlings]

    Hanson, Victor D., A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, Random House, 2005, 397pp.

    Thucydides’ “The Peloponnesian War,” written almost 2500 years ago, still sells roughly 50,000 copies a year in English translation. Why? From a literary perspective, as the first true example of historical narrative recorded in the Western world, the book clearly deserves pride of place in importance and general interest for classical or literary scholars. As an account of thirty years of catastrophic war between democratic urban Athens and oligarchic rural Sparta (431 – 404 BCE), it has more than its share of drama, intrigue, anachronism, and tragedy for any general reader. But why should the war itself have been become a metaphor for republican and democratic hubris for the last several centuries? Why is it still the subject of heated discussion even in our current era? And why should this tale of agrarian Greeks butchering each other so long ago have been required reading for generals and diplomats since the Renaissance?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes | 5 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 4th September 2006 (All posts by )


    Posted in Humor, Photos | Comments Off on

    Rethinking Election Pessimism

    Posted by Jonathan on 4th September 2006 (All posts by )

    Larry Kudlow suggests that there is reason for some optimism:

    As pessimistic as I have become about Republican chances to keep the House, there may yet be hope. Front-page stories yesterday in the Washington Post and today in the New York Times essentially predict significant GOP losses and a growing likelihood that the Dems will finally capture the lower chamber for the first time since 1994. The reason I’m starting to rethink my pessimism is simply that the mainstream media always gets it wrong. As soon as they start ganging up on the GOP on the front pages, the likelihood becomes greater that the tide may be turning the other way.

    I sure hope so. I don’t read Tradesports’ Republican House reelection odds as positively as Larry does. OTOH, I think that he is probably right about the MSM as a contrary indicator. My hunch is that the Tradesports number is too low, either because the market is being manipulated or because the only info the market has to go on comes from recent polls, which I suspect are not accurate. Only time will tell who’s right, of course, and I could be way off in my hunches.

    Despite the Tradesports ambiguity, Larry’s post is a great rejoinder to Republicans’ gloom about the coming election and is worth reading in full.

    UPDATE (Sept. 8): See Lex’s comments below, and also this post in which he and I continue to debate this issue.

    Posted in Politics | 9 Comments »