Friday, 9 May 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Charles Krauthammer.


Here is your entertainment for this Friday evening. Y’all have a great weekend, y’hear?

Baseball Feats, Part 2

Here, from most to least difficult, are the feats I asked about yesterday:

1. Pitching a perfect game.
2. Hitting three triples in a game.
3. Batting .400 for a season.
4. Pitching a no-hitter.
5. Hitting for the cycle.
6. Hitting three home runs in a game.
7. Striking out 15 hitters.
8. Batting .350 for a season.
9. Hitting in 20 straight games.
10. Stealing home.

Now you know.


I’m always surprised by the conflation of libertarianism and conservatism. It sounds as though the British are becoming less libertarian and more conservative. I hope we emulate them.

Bush-Hatin’ Paul

Paul Krugman¹ is worried that Barack Obama will lose to John McCain. To win a presidential election, a Democrat must get the votes of working-class whites. Obama has shown no ability to do this. I predict a McCain landslide. Obama will be lucky to carry 10 states.


¹“Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults” (Daniel Okrent, “13 Things I Meant to Write About but Never Did,” The New York Times, 22 May 2005).


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

Addendum: I found Noonan’s column fascinating. By all indications, Hillary Clinton has lost the fight for the Democrat nomination. So why doesn’t she concede? I think it has to do with her sense of entitlement. She’s entitled to the nomination. When you have a right to something and don’t get it, you don’t retire or retreat. You stand on your right. You complain. You protest. You redouble your efforts to have your right vindicated. As for why Clinton feels entitled to the nomination, I have no idea. Is it because she’s a woman? Is it because her husband was president? Is it because the presidency was part of her plan? As I have said many times in this blog, I believe that Clinton prefers a John McCain presidency to a Barack Obama presidency. I don’t think she cares one whit about the Democrat Party. Sometimes I wonder whether she cares about this country. She seems to care about herself and little more.

Joshua Muravchik on Neoconservatism

This series of events suggests that some kind of common neoconservative mentality endured beyond the cold war. What were its elements?

First, following Orwell, neoconservatives were moralists. Just as they despised Communism, they felt similarly toward Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic and toward the acts of aggression committed by those dictators in, respectively, Kuwait and Bosnia. And just as they did not hesitate to enter negative moral judgments, neither did they hesitate to enter positive ones. In particular, they were strong admirers of the American experience—an admiration that arose not out of an unexamined patriotism (they had all started out as reformers or even as radical critics of American society) but out of the recognition that America had gone farther in the realization of liberal values than any other society in history. A corollary was the belief that America was a force for good in the world at large.

Second, in common with many liberals, neoconservatives were internationalists, and not only for moral reasons. Following Churchill, they believed that depredations tolerated in one place were likely to be repeated elsewhere—and, conversely, that beneficent political or economic policies exercised their own “domino effect” for the good. Since America’s security could be affected by events far from home, it was wiser to confront troubles early even if afar than to wait for them to ripen and grow nearer.

Third, neoconservatives, like (in this case) most conservatives, trusted in the efficacy of military force. They doubted that economic sanctions or UN intervention or diplomacy, per se, constituted meaningful alternatives for confronting evil or any determined adversary.

To this list, I would add a fourth tenet: namely, the belief in democracy both at home and abroad. This conviction could not be said to have emerged from the issues of the 1990’s, although the neoconservative support for enlarging NATO owed something to the thought that enlargement would cement the democratic transformations taking place in the former Soviet satellites. But as early as 1982, Ronald Reagan, the neoconservative hero, had stamped democratization on America’s foreign-policy agenda with a forceful speech to the British Parliament. In contrast to the Carter administration, which held (in the words of Patricia Derian, Carter’s Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights) that “human-rights violations do not really have very much to do with the form of government,” the Reagan administration saw the struggle for human rights as intimately bound up in the struggle to foster democratic governance.

(Joshua Muravchik, “The Past, Present, and Future of Neoconservatism,” Commentary 124 [October 2007]: 19-29, at 21-2)

Retronym Alert

First, there was conservatism; then there was neoconservatism; and now there is paleoconservatism.

A Year Ago


Fast Food

My 73-year-old mother, who lives in Michigan, e-mailed some pictures of kids playing baseball on the Pony League field where I used to play some 36 years ago. It’s nice to see that the field is still in use. It looks the same as it did in 1972. I noticed that many of the kids were fat. Why is this? I can think of two things. First, they’re playing video games or watching cable television instead of doing things outdoors. Second, they’re eating fast food. When I was growing up in Vassar, there were no fast-food restaurants. When we went shopping in Saginaw (about 20 miles away), we sometimes stopped at McDonald’s for a hamburger. My mother always bought hamburgers for us, even though we wanted cheeseburgers. She couldn’t afford the extra dime. To this day, she feels guilty about it. Isn’t that hilarious? If a parent did that today, he or she would be charged with child abuse. I’m glad I grew up when and where I did. Life was simpler and more wholesome. We had the run of 20 acres of land, five miles from our small town (2,500 people) and weren’t tempted by drugs, gangs, video games, cable television, or the Internet. If I had kids, I would raise them in a small town outside the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, even if it meant driving farther to campus.

Addendum: I take back what I said about Vassar having no fast-food restaurants. There was an A&W restaurant in town. But we seldom ate there. We did, however, buy half gallons of ice-cold root beer on hot summer days. I can still hear my mother saying, “Why don’t you boys run up town and buy some root beer?” She didn’t have to ask twice.


There was an old-time brawl in Seattle yesterday. Richie Sexson of the Seattle Mariners took offense at a high pitch (it was over the plate!) and charged the mound. When he got near Texas Rangers pitcher Kason Gabbard, he threw his helmet at Gabbard. What a man! Here is the video. You won’t find it on YouTube, because Major League Baseball doesn’t want it seen.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “As Gas Costs Soar, Buyers Are Flocking to Small Cars” (front page, May 2):

While some people may be changing their vehicles, it is apparent to me that many are not changing their driving habits.

Here in the Wild West (New Mexico), big personal trucks (many with double hubs and dual axles) are perhaps even more popular than S.U.V.’s[.]

Drivers of these vehicles routinely execute “jack rabbit” starts, charging to the next light (usually red) in a cloud of diesel exhaust. (There goes at least a gallon.) These guys seem not to have gotten the gas price message.

But perhaps there is something else at work here—machismo. If so, I doubt that higher prices will dampen the behavior. Higher prices might even have the effect of increasing the behavior as these individuals flaunt their ability to remain unreconstructed in the face of increasing pressure.

Richard Barendsen
Albuquerque, May 3, 2008

Note from KBJ: Two can play this game. Barendsen is a wimp.

From the Mailbag


Here is a photo of a little guy we found across the street. It was chewing on the remains of a little bird that had fallen out of its nest. It was right on the curb and I was concerned about it getting run over. My son and I put it in a box and took it to a ditch area behind our house. Usually possums this small are with their mothers. This little guy appeared weak and the wound on its head is very apparent. The heart in me wanted to take him in and get him up to strength. What to do? During this season, a lot of little birds will be falling from the trees. There is really nothing you can do for them. A young bird, yet to reach flight, is extremely vulnerable to pet cats and dogs. Feeding and caging them from your own pet, is impossible. Birds, possums, same problem.

I regret that I didn’t leave that little fellow with some dog food or a can of tuna. However, my son and I did remove him from the dangers of man (cars). We took positive action. We did leave him in nature in a more secure location than when we found him. Nature has already been cruel.

We did our part. There is a philosophical lesson here somewhere.



Here are the 25 most influential conservatives. I still have never listened to Rush Limbaugh, but I’m a frequent visitor to Michelle Malkin’s blog.