Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19 | Page 20 | Page 21 | Page 22 | Page 23 | Page 24 | Page 25 | Page 26 | Page 27 | Page 28 | Page 29 | Page 30 | Page 31 | Page 32 | Page 33 | Page 34 | Page 35 | Page 36 | Page 37 | Page 38 | Page 39 | Page 40 | Page 41 | Page 42 | Page 43 | Page 44 | Page 45 | Page 46 | Page 47 | Page 48 | Page 49 | Page 50 | Page 51 | Page 52 | Page 53 | Page 54 | Page 55 | Page 56 | Page 57 | Page 58 | Page 59 | Page 60 | Page 61 | Page 62 | Page 63 | Page 64 | Page 65 | Page 66 | Page 67 | Page 68 | Page 69 | Page 70 | Page 71 | Page 72
Michael Ubaldi, November 22, 2006.
The youthful rightist is heterodox, to which my experiences testify. Helen Smith, forensic psychologist and wife of Glenn Reynolds, has, inspired by the weblog of a high-schooler, urged her readers to "support young people who lean right — the new generation of nonconformists."
They could use the help. Much of the sociological and epistemological deconstruction from the Sixties devolution is regnant today, from the encouragement of solipsism to the academy's adoption of collectivist bases for knowledge. Of course, the relativist would have it both ways, so while a rightist is subject to the ostracism warranted by deviation — my friend was threatened with romantic breakup and peer rejection when he declared for George W. Bush — he still operates under the staid title "conservative," and at a disadvantage in a culture valuing that which is "progressive."
What is it like? The simplest demonstration is to introduce, in conversation with a group of people under forty years of age, subjects like the Second Amendment, economics or "global warming." The majority, politically unaffiliated, will probably affirm leftist positions on each — though some will do so with uncertainty, even reservation, the caricature of a lapsed Catholic. That is at once frustrating and encouraging: thanks to inculcation modern American youth is left of center, but remains only tenuously so.
Michael Ubaldi, November 16, 2006.
The national consortium of rightists who are quite angry with the Republican Party was made quite angrier yesterday when Trent Lott emerged as minority whip in the United States Senate. Parochial extravagance and concessions to Democrats are believed to have figured in Republican losses nine days ago, and the return to Senatorial prominence of a man who is obeisant (in the words of others) and prodigal (pretty much in his own) was enough to incite threats of another punitive general election two years from now.
Those who criticized the decision demanded answers — why hadn't Republican senators listened to them and done what they wanted, or if senators didn't know, at least asked politely to determine what it was? Possibly because other voices, while not louder, were clearer. Senator Lott's reelection occurred last week, though it wasn't news because the state of Mississippi elected Lott over his opponent two-to-one. And Lott, invulnerable after a lifetime on Capitol Hill, was still one of the lucky Republicans not beaten by Democrats, whose caucus was approved, however slightly, by voters.
Disaffected rightists wanted the implication of the second expression to be an order to rehabilitate. OK, House Republicans are talking about Newt Gingrich again; Senate Republicans have apparently looked at the other party's reward, inferring a political mandate that isn't theirs. Unintended consequence? Yes. Unforeseen? No, disregarded, because there was chastening to be done.
Elsewhere in the upper chamber, Joe Lieberman has yet to sit down on one side of the aisle or the other, and there is a loose end that piques. GOP Joe? The man whom Connecticut sent to Washington is sincere, and before Election Day he said in so many words that his votes would be the same, just with a new designative capital letter. But Lieberman is a politician. As a Democrat at variance he will command value. As a corresponding Republican he would be ordinary, worth very little and, too, at risk from the vindictive right.
Michael Ubaldi, November 15, 2006.
A place halfway between travesty and nightmare is appropriately fantastic, so it serves irony well that, according to the British Daily Mail, the Labor government proposes a "national parenting academy," depicted by Children's Minister Beverley Hughes as wielding the authority to "ensure parents who fail to do their duty with nursery rhymes are found and 'supported.'" For Heaven's sake, why? All to realize, in the Mail's words, "efforts to reduce anti-social behavior and improve educational standards by imposing rigorous controls on the lives of the youngest children."
"I don't know whether to laugh or cry," says Briton Andrew Stuttaford at National Review. Andrew, why not fight totalism with apothegms, as has always been done? To "Cobbler, Cobbler, Mend My Shoe":
Parents, parents, train your young!
Michael Ubaldi, November 8, 2006.
When, in late October, Democrat Nancy Pelosi contended on television that "the war on terror is the war in Afghanistan," she may or may not have implied Islamist fascist invasions and abetments in some sixty countries, including Iraq; but either way Republican Dennis Hastert thought that "foolish, naive, and dangerous." Hastert's party lost last night to Pelosi's, even so.
Just tonight Fox News anchor Brit Hume, interviewing Pelosi, drew this out of her: Iraq is "not a war to be won but a situation to be solved." It's a what? asks Mona Charen.
Two things can come of this. Either the American electorate, daily broadcast House Speaker Pelosi's phoned-in casuistry, will recognize the Republican Party as imperfect but rational, and reject the left; or this is really what the country wants, and foreign policy will become a series of morbid velleities, as per Darfur. The second is an insidious consolation, especially after an electoral defeat — but the first, especially with the unchecked rise of alternative and rightist media, is more likely.
Michael Ubaldi, November 8, 2006.
Of the four possibilities I considered nineteen days ago, the second — maybe the third — has occurred. Commentary is coming, if not today. For now, three observations. First, in the several states popularly codifying marriage so as to be inviolable by judges, as well as incumbent Joe Lieberman's suppression of a Connecticut revolt, can be seen a country yet anxious of the relativist left. Second, congressional change after twelve years could be a return to normalcy — from the end of the Civil War to the Democratic Party's forty-year majority in the House of Representatives beginning in 1954, the parties traded the lower chamber repeatedly, neither holding it for more than sixteen consecutive years, the twentieth-century deviation likely allowed by sovereign power in media that the left no longer has. Third, the last Republican to make out well with a Congress opposed was Ronald Reagan, fraternity for which George Bush should consider himself lucky.
Michael Ubaldi, November 7, 2006.
If the rain falling earlier this morning wasn't invigorating it was at least slightly cool and relaxing, offering reprieve from heating, in cars and polling locations, more appropriate for last week's frigid weather. My location, an elementary school classroom, was fully staffed to accommodate relatively high turnout for two precincts. At each of a pair of tables, two workers with registries; a third with a record sitting beside them; one presenting cards for use with the room's eight or so Diebold voting machines; one accepting them after the electoral verdict and directing voters to yet another station, a commandeered teacher's desk with a girl behind and round stickers reading "I Voted Today" in a neat pile on top.
This was the second time I voted electronically. I activated the beige contraption, asseverated by touch-screen this or that candidate and measure, confirmed my selections from a ticker tape reproduction, and with a final tap of my index finger cast the ballot. Now I wait, until the first totals are made public tonight, content with my exercise of a right and privilege.
Michael Ubaldi, November 5, 2006.
Saddam Hussein is to be put to death for his crimes. His legacy stalks the alleys while the democracies have begun to grow idle, so in the Iraqis' humbling, before the rule of law, the man who once held them subdued, there is vindication; and hope.
"Though much is taken, much abides; and though
— excerpt from Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Michael Ubaldi, November 3, 2006.
We are advised to stay calm after reading today's news in the New York Times. A lot of what American and allied forces raided from Saddam Hussein's bureaus, files pertaining to atomic weaponry, are reportedly so conducive to their purpose that a recently opened public exhibition of documents was closed after the International Atomic Energy Agency warned of some documents' heuristic value to countries seeking a forbidden nuclear bomb.
All material in question is identified as dating prior to the 1991 expulsion of Hussein's army from Kuwait. That was when Iraq's nuclear advancements were found to have been understated — please note revelation's subsequence to Hussein's military defeat — and international scrutiny imposed upon Baghdad's further attempts at research. The New York Times is very forward on this point, implying that the question of Ba'athist Iraq's weapons has an inarguable answer. Where the article repeats a charge that "the nation's spy agencies had failed adequately to analyze the 48,000 boxes of documents seized," we will assume it is supposed to read "failed to adequately analyze" — though it was only eleven months ago that journalist Stephen Hayes reported 97 percent of those 48,000 boxes neither translated nor analyzed, i.e., an adequate failure.
The Times continues, explaining that Republican legislators wanted to "reinvigorate the search for clues that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs in the years before the invasion." As for resumption? "American search teams never found such evidence." But what American search teams found were signs of recidivism. Speakeasies disposed of contraband out of common sense, and only temporarily. Few declared Iraqi stockpiles could be confirmed as destroyed. Even Hussein might have learned to do better than effrontery.
Several commentators have asked the question, Was Saddam Hussein going to just leave all this knowledge locked away? There is a complex answer. Summarized, it is No. From Charles Duelfer's Iraqi Survey Group report, with which one can remind or elucidate himself about Hussein's "Oil for Food" graft, his scientific staff's retention and his long-term plans: "In particular, Saddam was focused on the eventual acquisition of a nuclear weapon, which [adjutant] Tariq Aziz said Saddam was fully committed to acquiring despite the absence of an effective program after 1991."
Michael Ubaldi, November 2, 2006.
Ireland these days is a better place for business than ever — after Dublin raised corporate taxes, however, the country's native rock phenomenon, U2, circumnavigated the law via Holland. All sound business, except lead singer Paul "Bono" Hewson is perhaps the entertainment celebrity best known for declaiming certain problems of some nations be solved with public treasuries of other nations. Said guitarist Dave "Edge" Evans, "Of course we're trying to be tax-efficient. Who doesn't want to be tax-efficient?" Edge's answer is not only frank and financially sober, it may afford a look at the truth of the matter.
Bono is a front man, but even if a loud one is only a quarter of his band. Judging from, in articles written and videos filmed over the years, intimations of the other three members' strained forbearance, Bono's opinions are not all shared. About Bono, his political work and occasional ostentation, drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. once insisted "I wouldn't trade my place with him for a billion dollars, not in a million years. I make music, that's why I joined a band." Being taciturn has its disadvantages, here, as Mullen, Edge and bassist Adam Clayton are presumed to concur with Bono's chiding the First World over its reluctance to subsidize misdeeds of, for example, African kleptocrats. In fact the three and their accountants might have located office space in Amsterdam, signed the necessary papers and encouraged Bono to moderate or go solo.
Michael Ubaldi, November 1, 2006.
"You know," we now all know Senator John Kerry deadpanned in Pasadena, "education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't" — punchline! — "you get stuck in Iraq." The political armwrestling is over whether Kerry was talking about a) the one-and-a-half million Americans who attend college through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and tour, or who decide to enlist when out of school, with or without diplomas; or b) just one American, President Bush. A literal reading lends itself to the first interpretation. According to Kerry's prepared remarks delivered publicly yesterday, the senator was guilty only of a "botched joke." Word was passed that the script was supposed to be read "you end up" instead of "you"; "getting us" instead of "get"; and "stuck in a war in Iraq" instead of just "stuck in Iraq."
Kerry is a careful man because he is maladroit, and the senator's animus for the president alone is enough to accept his explanation. Nearly all tucked in — but for a couple of corners sticking out. Kerry's conference came after a press release that was perfervid and rambling; there was nothing about a joke in it, though there was a little line about writer, commentator and current White House Press Secretary Tony Snow being a "stuffed shirt." Also, the senator and some of his colleagues stand by Kerry's prerogative to declare the president uneducated and owing strategic failure to ignorance. Take that assumption — soldiers have no investment in their mission, just shipped off to wherever — with John Kerry's disheveled friends from three decades ago parodying the sempiternal Joe Rosenthal photograph, immortalized on the cover of Kerry's own book, and one can spot disdain. But Kerry was talking about Bush!
Well, now, go and tell the man standing over you that he should not have bruised your jaw, since you said his sister, not he, is ugly. Where soldiers themselves seem justified to take personal offense is their deliberate and maintained association with the Iraqi campaign, and a prevailing military reverence for George Bush; all of which was, by Kerry, affronted.