Monday, 14 May 2007

“Voters Simply Do Not Find Her Likeable”

Here is a New York Times story about—you guessed it—Hillary Clinton, who wants to turn the Democrat Party into the Mommy Party and the United States into a Nanny State. Will Americans buy what she’s selling? Time will tell.


This column by former solicitor general Theodore Olson is fascinating. Olson is a solid conservative, and yet he supports Rudy Giuliani for president. I believe Olson is signaling to conservatives that they should have no fear of Giuliani’s judicial appointments. He is saying, “Look, I know this man; I have worked with him; he will not betray you.” It puts me at ease, but not enough to make me support Giuliani. If, however, it comes down to Giuliani versus Hillary Clinton for the presidency, I will be able to cast my vote for Rudy, knowing that his softness on abortion will not lead him astray on the all-important choice of judges.


Here is Ross Douthat’s blog post about Michael Kinsley’s review of Christopher Hitchens’s book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.


According to this New York Times story, Pope Benedict XVI condemns both Marxism and capitalism, the latter for, among other things, allowing great disparities in wealth. What he doesn’t appear to grasp is that capitalism makes prosperity possible. Whose fault is it if someone fails to take advantage of the opportunities that capitalism affords? Capitalism is not a rival of religion; nor is it a morality; it is an economic regime that emphasizes individual liberty, which is a great good. Does the Pope believe otherwise?


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, won by Italian Alessandro Petacchi.

R. M. Hare (1919-2002) on Nazism

The enormity of Nazism is that it extends an aesthetic style of evaluation into a field where the bulk of mankind think that such evaluations should be subordinated to the interests of other people. The Nazis were like the emperor Heliogabalus, who, I have been told, had people slaughtered because he thought that red blood on green grass looked beautiful.

(R. M. Hare, Freedom and Reason [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963], 161 [footnote omitted])

From the Mailbag

As a courtesy I attended my grand-niece’s baptism this morning. If you haven’t gone to church lately. . . go . . . and let me know if you can sit through the whole thing. Not an unglazed eye in attendance. I’m generalizing, but if brains were dynamite they wouldn’t have enough to blow their noses. One word: treacle. Pompous condescension. BUT THAT’S JUST CURMUDGEON ME. Go ahead. Try out a local joint and hear the Word. Jesus! And Mother’s Day to BOOT! A sermon on Ruth. Tingles.


Will Nehs sent a link to this story about Newt Gingrich. Run, Newt, run! Here is the latest about Fred Thompson. I think Jack Bauer would make a good president. Can fictional characters run for president?

Best of the Web Today


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Save the Darfur Puppy” (column, May 10):

Nicholas D. Kristof says the reason people will try to help a single person (or animal) rather than an entire population is that we lack a “troubled conscience.” I disagree.

People are more willing to help an individual person (or animal) because they’ll be able to “see” the outcome. We want to know that what we’re being asked to do is actually having an effect.

When people are asked to save another country or an entire population, they are rightly skeptical about where their money will go because it seems to go into a black hole. We don’t want to give our time or our money to a bureaucracy.

I agree with Mr. Kristof’s take on ABC News (and many mainstream news outlets). Americans might be more willing to organize to help people around the world if we could actually see and understand what is going on there. But as long as our news outlets keep giving more time to salacious items (JonBenet Ramsey, Anna Nicole Smith), we’ll probably never have the context to understand what goes on in other parts of the world where entire populations really do need our help.

Michelle O’Hagan
Chicago, May 10, 2007

A Year Ago