Friday, 29 February 2008


Here is Peggy Noonan’s latest column. Here is Peg Kaplan’s latest post.


This will make it all the more satisfying for fans of the Boston Red Sox when the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees again. In case Yankee fans have forgotten, the Red Sox have won two of the past four World Series. The Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2000, and that was tainted by the steroid use of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, Jose Canseco, and Jason Grimsley. What a bunch of cheaters.


Read this review of a new book about George W. Bush. The reviewer, an Ivy League historian, refers to “the disastrous war in Iraq.” What makes the war in Iraq disastrous? Fewer lives have been lost in Iraq than in other wars in this country’s history. Were they, too, disastrous? Was World War II disastrous? Is it possible for a war not to be disastrous? If some wars are disastrous and some are not, what is the criterion? What if Iraq becomes a democracy? What if the Middle East becomes stabilized? What if the invasion of Iraq deters other tyrants from abusing their people? Is the war still disastrous? How do we know whether the war has been a success until we know how things turn out? It’s been less than five years since the invasion. Many more years must pass before we are in a position to make an all-things-considered judgment. But maybe these questions don’t matter to progressives. It’s an article of faith to them that the war in Iraq is disastrous. There is no need to define the term “disastrous” or to state a criterion by which to distinguish those wars that are from those that are not disastrous. I have come to expect such sloppy thinking from progressives; it’s disheartening to get it from an Ivy League historian.

A Year Ago

I know this will disappoint you, but there was no 29 February in 2007.

Addendum: Perhaps a post from four years ago will keep you contented until tomorrow.

Addendum 2: The link to Mary Ann Glendon’s column has gone bad. Here it is.


What is your favorite season, and why? I grew up in Michigan, which has four distinct seasons. I hated winter because of the snow and cold. Summers were nice, but very humid. Spring was enjoyable because we were emerging from the dark days of winter, and autumns were gloriously cool and colorful. In Tucson, where I lived for five years while in graduate school, I loved all the seasons, including summer. The low humidity made even extreme heat tolerable. Winters (January through March) were especially pleasant. Here in Texas, the seasons aren’t as distinct as in Michigan. We have oppressively hot and humid weather from May to September (inclusive), but mild weather the rest of the year. October through April are quite nice. So I guess I like autumn and winter the best.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

David Brooks (“The Real McCain,” column, Feb. 26) champions John McCain for his record defying the narrow interests advanced by business lobbyists. But it’s also worth noting the obvious: John McCain is a Republican.

And while many Democrats in Congress have nothing to be proud of when it comes to taking money from lobbyists and doing their bidding, Republicans are generally much worse.

Indeed, when the Republicans controlled Congress, Tom DeLay created a tight, campaign contribution-fueled alliance between the G.O.P. and some of the lowest of the K Street low.

Let’s remember that a vote for John McCain will be a vote to empower those in his party with a dismal record of putting business interests ahead of the public interest.

Mark Rosenman
Montclair, N.J., Feb. 26, 2008

Kenneth Minogue on the Decline of Authority

That the recipients of tutorial discipline might find themselves resenting its pains, as the raw recruits to the army hated the sergeant, would be an understandable human response. The odd thing, however, is that in family life, the pressure to turn a tutorial association into an egalitarian one has come as much from the parents as from the children. Some of this is no doubt the familiar guilt of working parents who compensate for lacking time with their children by giving in to whatever they ask for. No less important is the appearance of a strange new moral doctrine that understands authority itself as a form of violence that ought to be replaced by negotiation and persuasion. In the past authority sustained its disciplines by an adroit use of sticks and carrots, and in the past the stick did not need to be used excessively; its background role sustained a whole structure of life. In this new atmosphere, sticks have been abandoned as being forms of aggression, and only carrots are left. Carrots without sticks are merely a form of bribery. In other words, the basic moral category is no long [sic] reward and punishment, but attitudinal manipulation. To punish, runs the doctrine, is to send the wrong message: that violence pays.

(Kenneth Minogue, “Conservatism & the Morality of Impulse,” The New Criterion 26 [January 2008]: 8-12, at 11)

Curro Ergo Sum

I had a good month, athletically. I ran 17 times (for a total of 62.3 miles) and rode my bike once (60.6 miles). That’s 18 aerobic activities in 29 days. It’s been a weird month, weatherwise. We had high temperatures in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. One day I suffer in the heat and humidity; the next I suffer in the cold. I hope you’re staying fit. You owe it to yourself.