Thursday, March 31, 2011
A great story at Letters of Note. I'm not sure what a "sering" (or "tsering") is—a syringe, maybe?
One of my favorite bloggers, The DiploMad, has returned. Who he is:
Long time US Foreign Service Officer; served all over the world and under all sorts of conditions. Convinced the State Department needs to be drastically slashed and reformed so that it will no longer pose a threat to the national interests of the United States.Worth bookmarking.
Thomas Sowell on the action against Libya:
You don’t just walk up to the local bully and slap him across the face. If you are determined to confront him, then you try to knock the living daylights out of him. Otherwise, you are better off leaving him alone.
Anyone who grew up in my old neighborhood in Harlem could have told you that. But Barack Obama didn’t grow up in my old neighborhood.
Throughout two and half millennia, Iran, in its various guises, has maintained one stable foreign policy: Whenever it possessed the strength to do so, it acted with all the means at its disposal to destroy or damage Western interests. Respites from these attacks came only during those periods when Iran was weak or when the West was strong and confident enough to make prodding it a dangerous undertaking. Those who are surprised that a resurgent Iran again confronts the West are demonstrating a remarkably shallow grasp of history. For one would be hard pressed to find a better example of a fixed continuity of purpose transcending the ages.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I recently made a new friend, an occurrence that is unfailingly gratifying for the middle-aged, since the constant friction of life has an unfortunate way of robbing us of the old ones. People are forever dying or moving away or getting married, having children, and withdrawing into the increasingly private sphere of family life, and if you don't continually replenish your reserve of friends, you're likely to look up one day and find that you haven't any.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
It never ceases to amaze me how those who publicly embrace human rights the most are also the most willing to stand aside as massacres occur. Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan stood down as Rwandan thugs massacred hundreds of thousands along tribal lines, and Jimmy Carter continues to kowtow to the worst dictatorships in Asia and Africa. That these leaders still demonize the younger Bush for liberating some 40 million people is simply the icing on the cake.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Dave Barry (from 1985, but the advice is evergreen) on planning a birthday party for a preschooler:
CHOOSING A PARTY THEME: This is an area where you may be as creative as you wish, letting your imagination run riot, limited only by the fact that the theme must consist of a copyrighted licensed character featured on a half-hour television cartoon show with at least 26 minutes of advertising for colorful breakfast substances manufactured by pouring liquid sugar into molds shaped like copyrighted licensed characters.
Appropriate themes for little girls include: The Smurfs; Strawberry Shortcake; The Snorks; Rainbow Brite; The Care Bears; The Concern Pigs; The Dweebs; Wee Whiny Winky; Bingo the Leech; The Pustule People; and The Smarm Worms. Appropriate themes for little boys include: He-Man; G.I. Joe; The A-Team; The Transformers; The Destroyers; The Eye Eaters; The Limb Whackers; The Fascist Youth Corps; and Testosterone Bob's Hurt Patrol.
John Steele Gordon makes a point with which few (I hope) would disagree:
[G]overnments, like every corporation in the country, should be required to keep their books according to the governmental equivalent of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and to have their books certified by an independent, politically insulated body that has a mandate to ensure honest accounting.The sooner the better.
Politicians will hate the idea and can, undoubtedly, depend on their water bearers in the press to run interference for them. Corporate management hated the idea when Wall Street forced it on them over a century ago. But they learned to live with it, to the infinite benefit of the American economy, and so will the politicians, also to the infinite benefit of the American economy.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Enjoyable interview of historian Paul Johnson:
"Of course I worry about America," he says. "The whole world depends on America ultimately, particularly Britain. And also, I love America—a marvelous country. But in a sense I don't worry about America because I think America has such huge strengths—particularly its freedom of thought and expression—that it's going to survive as a top nation for the foreseeable future. And therefore take care of the world."
Pessimists, he points out, have been predicting America's decline "since the 18th century." But whenever things are looking bad, America "suddenly produces these wonderful things—like the tea party movement. That's cheered me up no end. Because it's done more for women in politics than anything else—all the feminists? Nuts! It's brought a lot of very clever and quite young women into mainstream politics and got them elected. A very good little movement, that. I like it." Then he deepens his voice for effect and adds: "And I like that lady—Sarah Palin. She's great. I like the cut of her jib."
Friday, March 4, 2011
Carol Iannone, on the ostensible rejection of mulitulcuralism by some European leaders:
But the failure of multiculturalism also underscores the dangers in the idea of universality, that all men desire and deserve freedom as we understand it, and are immediately capable of realizing it right now.
. . . [T]he failures of multiculturalism and the persistence of large, unassimilated populations in Western democratic societies indicate that freedom and equality as we understand them require cultural anchorage and do not transmit themselves automatically. . . .
It doesn’t seem possible and yet it was so: Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Cheney believed that the individual’s desire to be personally free would translate instantly into a liberal self-government in Iraq once Saddam was overthrown. So much so that the looting of Baghdad was allowed to take place under the very nose of the American Army. . . .
[I]f one leg of the stool of conservatism (traditional values, free markets, strong foreign policy) is removed, the stool no longer functions and the others will eventually erode as well. We should take advantage of the denunciations of multiculturalism on the part of European leaders not to promote unadorned universality but to re-emphasize our own cultural embodiment of those universal ideals and to insist on their transmission in our educational institutions.
Donald Saleh, vice president for enrollment management at Syracuse:
There is this tension in higher education between the old ways in which colleges described the quality of their class -- test scores and G.P.A. and rank in class, and the new metric, which will be much more along the lines of what we are talking about -- the socioeconomic diversity, the percentage of students who are first-generation in college, and for students from the Northeast in particular, the geographic diversity of their class. . . . Some of our faculty members are locked into the old metrics. Our president, our provost and the deans and my area of enrollment management are focused on the new metrics. And students are split.That's an admirably fair statement of the two positions. I find the "new metric" loathsome: it's a conscious embrace of the belief that what matters is what one is—race, class, place of upbringing—rather than what one does. Count me among the traditionalists.