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Showing posts from September, 2006

The Great Debate

For a moment it appeared that Gov. Jodi Rell, 32 points up in the polls over Democrat gubernatorial candidate Mayor of New Haven John DeStefano, was sidestepping demands made by the winner of the Democrat primary, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. DeStefano had been chatting up the topic. John Rowland “may have broken some laws,” a frustrated DeStefano said, “but he was right on debates. You don’t own the office.”

A response from Rell’s spokesman, Rich Harris, was not long in coming. "Listen,” Harris said, “there are a lot of things that John Rowland did that Jodi Rell is not going to do. Period. That may be one of the dumbest things that John DeStefano has ever said, and that's going some. We're not taking campaign guidance from John Rowland any more than we're taking ethical guidance from John Rowland."

To DeStefano’s way of thinking, Rell had been avoiding occasions in which the governor might engage in verbal fisticuffs because she “would like to have an election…

On Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

This from the Washington Post, not a bastion of conservative thought, as quoted in the Washington Times , a bastion of conservative thought:

“In an editorial last week, The Washington Post observed that 'It now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.'"

I Need My Blankee

The "blanket bit" in this interview with Christopher Hitchens is hilarious and helps to explain why there will always be an England. Bitterly critical of the CIA, it is also a manual in how get yourself a file in the CIA, the FBI and whatever comgressional committee is charged with overseeing international sleuthery.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 11/09/2006
Reporter: Tony Jones

Tony Jones speaks with the prolific writer and outspoken commentator Christopher Hitchens about the New York attacks and their implications.

TONY JONES: Well just a year after September 11, the prolific writer and outspoken commentator Christopher Hitchens joined me on the roof of a building overlooking Ground Zero to talk about the New York attacks and their implications. Now, five years after the event that changed the world, we invited him to join us again - this time from our Washington studio. Christopher Hitchens thanks for being there.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Thanks for having me back.

Lamont,Yale and the Alamo

The foreign policy views of Ned Lamont have “grown,” as the liberals sometimes say, since he became the Democrat nominee for the US Senate.

In the early days, when Lamont was pushed into a primary race against sitting Sen. Joe Lieberman, his views on Iraq were hardly distinguishable from those of Cindy Sheehan: Get out of Iraq now – or else! At that time, his position on the war might have been described as “open ended retreat.”

Having won the primary, Lamont then went to Yale, and his views have matured. Yale sometimes does this to people.

At the moment, Lamont’s position may best be described as qualified retreat. Lamont has proposed a withdrawal of troops from Iraq, where the United States is engaged in a hot war with Islamic terrorists, and a redeployment of troops to Afghanistan, where the war against terrorism has become more manageable, possibly because terrorists are engaged in Iraq. Presumably, the United States is to retreat from Iraq because it had backed into a war in the Mid…

The Palace Coup

In a stunning editorial, The Waterbury Republican American addresses itself to the palace coup at Connecticut’s Supreme Court:

"The legislature's campaign against former state Supreme Court Chief Justice William 'Tocco' Sullivan is looking more and more like a witch hunt. He has admitted -- to his colleagues, to reporters, to the state Judicial Review Council -- that he withheld the release of a ruling to help Justice Peter Zarella's chances of succeeding him. Justice Sullivan set no precedent; previous chief justices have held up decisions for political reasons. He didn't try to cover up what he did; he even told a colleague, 'I had no evil intent. I would have done it for any one of you.'

"Unresolved is whether he acted within the bounds of judicial discretion. If he did, the complaints against him would be outside the council's jurisdiction and certainly beyond the reach of lawmakers trying to compel him to make the perp walk into an investig…

Connecticut Is Not Rhode Island Yet

In the end, the difference between the senatorial races in Connecticut and Rhode Island proved to be more important than their similarities.

The Rhode Island primary race pitted Republican U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee against conservative opponent Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey; the Connecticut race pitted Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman against progressive candidate Ned Lamont.

The cheering sections for each insurgent were far different. Lamont’s campaign was pushed forward by progressives warming their hands around blog bonfires. Lieberman parted company with the progressive wing of his party – the Democrat Party no longer has a conservative wing – on the issue of the Iraq war when he publicly supported President Bush’s view of the conflict, a posture that aroused the antipathies of progressives at a time when the war was retrogressing.

National Republicans – not conservatives; they are not the same thing – formed an important part of Chaffe’s cheering section. Fearing a loss of support…

Courageous Women in America

The closest we can come to Tom Paine in the twentieth century is through two women who often appear to be channeling his spirit: Hersi Ali, about whom I’ve written before, and Oriana Fallaci, an Italian woman whose brilliant temperament – if you can believe it – is a little off-putting, even for the Italians. Very soon, Ali will grace Harvard with her presence. To tell the truth, placid Harvard, may not be ready for her. Fallaci’s candle is flickering out. Both have been orphaned by our mealy-mouthed century; both belong in spirit to the 18th century Enlightenment period; and both have arrived as outcasts on our shores. May we be worthy of them.

Fallaci recently sat down for an hour’s interview with Tunku Varadarajan, the Features editor of the Wall Street Journal. Her cancer permits her to take only liquids, so the two sipped champagne together out of fluted glasses during their talk.

An atheist, Fallaci has been indicted by an Italian judge under provisions of the Italian Penal Code t…

Clinton, 9/11 and The First Amendment

True to form, the controversy over a docudrama centering on the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center buildings preceded the showing of a mini-series on the subject. Many promoters of such art products have determined that lively controversy aids in selling the product. Examples abound: When Madonna, in one of her most recent evocations, descended to a stage mounted on a mirrored cross, her brow graced with a crown of thorns, the Vatican predictably objected – creating controversy, which spiked sales, sending the producers of the lavish production chortling all the way to the bank.

A docudrama, unlike a documentary, is a re-created record of events in which actors play the part of real people. Some of the targets of the docudrama – including former President Bill Clinton – insisted that the events re-enacted must be accurate. In a letter to ABC, head of the Clinton Foundation Bruce Lindsey and Clinton lawyer Douglas Bond urged ABC not to show the film, “The Path to 9/11”, unless …

An Interview with the Angels of Justice Sullivan’s Better Nature

Q: Justice Sullivan, how do you feel now that you’ve been thoroughly humiliated?

A: There’s a point at which you sense that the pack is after you. So you look around, consult your closest friends; and then you realize with a shutter that they are the pack. Of course, if you’ve screwed up, everything’s hopeless; now they have you in their jaws. Resentment runs deep in our characters, and lawyers are by nature and disposition disputatious folk.

Q: At the hearing, your lawyer seemed a little harsh with Justices Borden and Palmer.

A: That’s the packaging. You have to look past it to see the truth.

Q: Which is?

A: I screwed up. I did seek to withhold information from those in the legislature who were engaged in certifying the nomination of Justice Zarella as Chief Justice. In the end, that information, by itself, could not have torpedoed the nomination. It was a piece of stupidity I regret. But that is only part of the truth. On the other side, is there any doubt that Justices Borden and Palmer…

Overheard in the Purgatorium

“You want to send troops to Darfur? I sympathize. I’m not sure what they’d be able to do there. A few years ago, men and women of conscience were urging the United States to intervene on behalf of the Kurds, who had suffered, many of them, a fate worse than death at the hands of Saddam Hussein and his mass murdering sons. Being gassed to death, people tell me, is no picnic. And the United States did intervene, and the Kurds were saved. And now it is said by the same conscience stricken folk that this intervention has been a failure. Men and women of conscience on the left – except for Christopher Hitchens and some few others besotted by the courageous Kurds– are clamoring for the troops to come home. So it seems the French (and Cindy Sheehan; can't forget her) were right all along, doesn’t it?

"You know, let me hazard a prediction. The Americans are a bit behind Europe in their emotional responses to things of this kind. I predict that when the United States is fully convinced…

Where Do We Go In Iraq From Here?

A little bit like Moxie – which makes you foxy – Christopher Hitchens is an acquired taste. At his best, he is a smooth blend of H. L. Mencken and Bill Buckley at his most mirthful. Personally, I’m put off by his aggressive atheism; but he does claim to be a child of the Enlightenment, and one cannot complain too much if the child, grown to a man’s stature, seems to be a chip off his daddy’s block.

“Hitch,” as he is called, is an American transplant from England, as are so many writers, such as Tom Paine, who fit comfortably into an American skin. Hitchens has written intelligently about Paine and also Jefferson. Of all the writers pouring their hearts out -- usually onto their sleeve -- about the war on terror, it seems to me that he, along with Arnaud DeBorsgrave, is the sanest -- and the hottest.

Hitchens was invited recently to contribute to a discussion, “What to Do in Iraq: a Roundtable," sponsored by Foreign Affairs.

His brief contribution, eminently sane, follows:


"I am …

Rell’s coattails

The length of a politician’s coattails is proportional to the vigor of his – or, in the present case, her – campaign. The more vigorous the campaign, the longer the coattails. That is the lesson of the highly successful Republican campaign associated with the “Contract with America”, a document cobbled together by Dick Armey from Ronald Reagan’s 1985 State of the Union address.

The real danger in a lackluster campaign waged by Gov. Jodi Rell is that she may not perceive the connection between idea-based, vigorous campaigns and coattails.

The temptation popular governors and other politicians fall prey to, with predictable results, is to use their popularity as a skate board to coast into office. It is generally assumed, wrongly, that a strong top ticket will pull lesser politicians into a winning orbit. That assumption may have been true in the glory days of political parties, when voters regularly pulled party levers and were guided by strong party leaders; but those halcyon days in wh…