Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise
-- Golden Gate Bridge at dawn. By Dennis Callahan.

RANDOM JOTTINGS a weblog by John Weidner

Main Page Archive

Natalie Solent
Dave Trowbridge
Betsy Newmark
Bill Quick
Suman Palit
Moira Breen
Andrea Harris
Richard Bennett
Iain Murray
Joanne Jacobs
Craig Schamp
Dean Esmay
Brothers Judd
Doctor Frank
Rand Simberg
Punning Pundit
Right Wing News
Brian Tiemann
Henry Hanks

Iraqi Democracy graphic

Powered by Blogger Pro™

Index to Krugman posts

Index to World War One posts


Saturday, May 31, 2003

Unstated definition...

Mike Rosen writes:
...So Democrats have to dig deeper. To fund their vision of the welfare state, they're forced to expand their working (but unstated) definition of "rich" to include millions of two-income families with combined incomes between $75,000-$100,000. Some of those families with three kids in college might not think of themselves as rich. And some who make less than that aspire to make more someday, and would like to keep it when they do. Now you understand why Democrats who play the politics of envy are careful to avoid defining "rich" in specific dollar terms...
We've got 3 kids in private schools, and I can tell you this guy's telling the truth. We worry about paying our bills, but Nancy Pelosi or Diane Feinstein consider us, though they never say it explicitly, the "rich" who should pay more to help the poor. And bitter irony #1 is that those two, and a lot of other Dems, really are rich——multi-millionaires. And irony #2 is that it is their policies that have wrecked the public schools, but in their own version of the Brezhnev Doctrine, they will fight to the death to prevent State Socialism from ever being rolled back from the public school sector. Where of course, (#3) they don't send their own children...

Ironies 4, 5 and 6 will have to wait until another time--right now children need to be driven to Saturday's lessons and activities...

Thursday, May 29, 2003

I find this utterly pleasing ...

Life floods back in the wetlands
By Charles Clover, Environment Editor
The Mesopotamian marshlands are returning to life as local people tear down earthworks and open flood gates allowing spring waters to surge on to land drained by Saddam Hussein.

Satellite pictures published yesterday by the United Nations Environment Programme on its website -[here] - show that considerably more water has reached the wetlands this May than last and places that have been dry for five years are under water...

..."Looking at the images, a whole network of feeder streams has come back to life and is surging with water as sluices are opened. Water is being distributed through the canals to feed the wetlands. Those communities that were starved of water as a political tool are reclaiming their water rights by breaching banks."
As you probably know, the Mesopotamian Marshes are home to a culture thousands of years old. The Marsh Arabs build houses and boats of reeds, much as was done in Sumerian times. Saddam drained the marshes, around 20,000 sq km, to destroy people who opposed him. (here's a good article)

The ironies here are worth chewing on. For one, the US military, which probably can boast that it has recently liberated more women than all the feminists and 'Women's Studies' professors ever have, may now also be able to boast of having saved more wetlands than all the world's environmental activists!

Also, remember when people were writhing in an ecstasy of indignation over the supposed looting of the National Museum? Among the holdings of the museum are surely many representations of reed houses and boats. Priceless treasures they would be called, of the 'cultural heritage' of the Iraqi People. SO, where were the protests when Saddam was destroying the very culture that was still making those very same boats and houses? Where was the indignation? Of course George Bush is a far worse leader than Saddam, but'd think there would've been some sort of objection? Hmmm...

And NOW, now that there's a chance (dare I say a probability?) that once again lovely reed boats will navigate the great marshes, do you think any of these people will say, Thank you President Bush? Thank you Donald Rumsfeld? Thank you General Franks? Thank you US and British and Polish soldiers?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

General Turgidson returns ...

Wasn't Turgidson the name of the general in Doctor Strangelove who starts WWIII because of flouridated water? As one who grew up in the 50's and 60's I found this very funny. Jay Nordlinger writes:
...I absolutely love what I'm about to tell you. You know how, for years, the Left (and others) have teased the Right about the fluoridation of water? Eons ago, apparently, some right-wingers were alarmed about fluoridation, as they believed that it was some socialist plot, or a scheme at brain-washing, or something.

Well: One of my best friends is a dentist — a professor of dentistry, in fact, in the Midwest. He was in town (New York) for a conference recently and this question of fluoridated water came up. He said, "You know, people are still up in arms about that. They go to court and besiege city councils and all that." I said, "Really, after all these years? The Right's still suspicious of that? Left-over John Birchers or something?" He said, "No, no — not at all. These are left-wing groups: know-nothing environmentalists, earthy-crunchy types — the usual crowd."...

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

defend the malaise...

Orrin Judd writes
...Meanwhile, Republicans, who in their heart of hearts might well oppose even the government mandates, have recognized that they have no choice but to accept that there is going to be a governmental safety net, but have had the sagacity after facing this to push for making it as market-driven as possible. Conservatives, who for many years simply opposed things like welfare and Social Security, are now big supporters of such things and of public education, precisely because they afford a battlefield upon which to test their ideas.

This leaves us with a politics where the Democrat argument--that Republicans oppose social programs in their entirety--is demonstrably wrong, while the Republican argument--that Democrats oppose any kind of reform to a system that is obviously inefficient, sclerotic, and destined for bankruptcy--is exactly right. In this sense at least, Governor Richardson is right: the GOP is optimistic even on issues that Democrats used to own, while the Democrats seem to have given up. George W. Bush believes that if you let parents choose their children's schools, the parents will become more involved, the schools will be forced to respond, and the kids will get better educations. Democrats counter this by saying that, even if education would improve (I've never heard anyone argue it wouldn't), rich families will get money they don't need, public school teachers will be hurt, and religious schools might benefit. Republicans are arguing ideas and saying they'll work. Democrats are doing nothing beyond pitting groups against each other in order to defend the malaise...

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuing revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows us to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions. It is the right to put forth an idea, scoffed at by the experts, and watch it catch fire among the people. It is the right to dream--to follow your dream or stick to your conscience, even if you're the only one in a sea of doubters. --Ronald Reagan

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Outreach to the primitive tribes of Texas ...

Joyce Milton has a good article in NRO, The Episcopal Church needs a resurrection .
...As Bishop Moore's theology professor pointed out long ago, the Episcopal Church has always been a big tent that shelters free thinkers. This is what makes it attractive to people like me. But it's one thing to tolerate dissent, and something else again to have a leadership incapable of using "evil" in a sentence without also including the word "simplistic." Episcopalians seem to do a good job of reaching out to the American Muslim community. Perhaps the denomination should consider creating an outreach program for conservatives. If nothing else, the effort would sensitize church leaders against using certain buzz words that conservatives find offensive. ("Texan" employed as a term of insult should head the list.)

In the meantime, it is easy to see why the predicted resurgence of church membership in the wake of 9/11 may not materialize — and that, even if it does, mainline Protestant denominations will be the last to realize any lasting gains. We can best honor Bishop Moore by recognizing his passing as the end of an era. The gospel of Social Action had its exhilarating moments — especially during the heyday of the civil-rights movement — but it soon degenerated into a mélange of warmed-over Marxism and Euro-complacency. We Christians who drifted away from the church in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s certainly don't want to be told that we must repudiate our strengths and learn to identify ourselves as victims. Been there, done that.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

If the twentieth century served any useful purpose ... (now there's a sweeping phrase)

Orrin Judd writing on efforts of the candidates to gain union endorsements:
...This is pretty devastating for the Democrats. The key to getting their nomination is union support. Getting the support of manufacturing unions requires opposition to free trade. Getting the support of service unions requires opposition to most reform of education, government, and health care, particularly any reforms that reduce the size of government itself or that require teachers and schools to meet set standards.

If the twentieth century served any useful purpose it demonstrated the efficacy of open competition and free markets as opposed to top-down government control. Labor effectively requires that Democrats disregard this lesson and fight to maintain the status quo. Thus are Democrats become the reactionary party.