Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Andrew Sullivan's Christianism

I don't think I was fair to him in the post below. Here's how he defines Christianism:
I call "ordinary religious people" Christians and call those who are "trying to bully their way around the political world" Christianists."
More on media

The Washington Examiner via Instapundit:
The bigger issue is the extent to which the credibility of news reports from Iraq has been undermined by the insurgency’s many “Capt. Jemil Husseins” and the deceptive image they seek to create among Western readers of growing chaos, civil war and ultimate futility of the U.S. effort in Iraq.
They also note that NBC's decision to call the Iraq War a civil war their "Cronkite moment."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


If it weren't for those Christian conservatives, Michael J. Fox would live forever!

Lots of folks are upset about the relationship between Republicans and their voter base Christian conservatives conservative Christians. Some of those folks demanded an accounting from me over an annual post-turkey holiday dinner, complete with nachos and margaritas. Mostly they got, "I don't know ...I don't know ...I don't know ...I'm not advocating that ...I didn't say that ...OK!"

Here's what I really think: these are questions of great moral and legal weight that shouldn't be easily dismissed on either side of the debate, nor decided upon over drinks. Don't force me to do it--don't force me to--all right! You forced me to paraphrase Tom Wolfe once again, who said something to the effect that people like to be in fashion and don't ever want to say the wrong thing at a cocktail party and thus politics take a sort of agreeable turn without a lot of thought.

Oh, he said it so much better than I, but you get the gist.

Anyway, I've always been the odd woman out. I was wearing cut-off sweatshirts when you were still in button-front long-sleeve polos with a ribbon tied around the collar. A ribbon, for crying out loud!

So now, Andrew Sullivan has introduced the word Christianist into the political conversation. A Christianist is someone who is a Christian but whose politics differ from Sullivan's. Ann Althouse is probing the history of the term. Here's what Glenn Reynold's has to say and I agree: "I continue to think that the term draws an unfair equivalence between Islamist terror, and mere Christian social conservatism, which are hardly comparable. I disagree with the latter, but those people aren't the enemy, just people with whom I disagree."

Which prompts the question, can't we all just not get along? Do we have to be at war with each other?
Media observations

From INDC Bill,* who's soon going as an embed to Iraq:
Nearly every piece of decent financial news over the last 6 years has displayed a dampened good or great news headline further undermined by a bad news subhead, a good news headline relegated to the subhead position or a good news headline buried in the second paragraph. I can't think of an area of the newspaper that's baffled or annoyed me more than the financial section.
And here's the funny article that backs it up. In a way, I think it's sweet that reporters and headline writers are in a better mood now that Democrats control Congress, and thus they write about the world, including the economy, in much rosier terms. For them, the world changed this month. That's sweet.

*Please keep this from my husband, but I've had a blogger crush on INDC Bill since I started reading him. Smart guy, sound writer--even entertaining.

Media observation, the second: AP using one stringer for all it's Iraq stories? In a mega-post Patterico examines an LA Times story claiming thirty people dead (women and children!) by U.S. air strikes. A soldier emailed it didn't happen and that the LA Times is relying on enemy propaganda. Questions are raised, I tell you--raised!

Update: Whoops! Here it is (bold in original): "The Associated Press has been using a bogus source describing horrible Iraqi atrocities for months!"

Whoa--this post comes complete with a letter from Centcom: "
We can tell you definitively that the primary source of this story, police Capt. Jamil Hussein, is not a Baghdad police officer or an MOI employee."

Ah, well. What does it matter? It's a drop in the bucket. I don't feel like I have any idea of what is really going on over in Iraq.

I'm very cynical today, aren't I?
Intellectual update

I have decided to trade the slippery-slope argument in for the law-of-unintended-consequences argument. Please update your files.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Busy, busy, busy!

I have no idea when I'll post next, but if not today or tomorrow morning, then not until next week.

Friday, November 17, 2006


This article by William Stuntz has been floating about:
Why do insurgent gangs, who have vastly smaller resources and manpower than the American soldiers they fight, continue to try to kill those soldiers? The answer is, because they believe they only have to kill a few more, and the soldiers will leave. They need not inflict a military defeat (which would be impossible, given the strength of the American military)--all they need to do is survive until American voters decide to throw in the towel, which might happen at any moment.

The proper response to that calculation is to make emphatically clear that the fight will not end until one side or the other wins, decisively. That kind of battle can only have one ending, as Abraham Lincoln understood. In a speech delivered a month after his reelection, Lincoln carefully surveyed the North's resources and manpower and concluded that the nation's wealth was "unexhausted and, as we believe, inexhaustible." Southern soldiers be gan to desert in droves. Through the long, bloody summer and fall of 1864, the South had hung on only because of the belief that the North might tire of the conflict. But Lincoln did not tire. Instead, he doubled the bet--and won the war.

I'm surprised no on has compared it to Colin Powell's doctrine of overwhelming force. (Via Althouse.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"If I Did It, Here's How It Happened"

How will black America respond?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Majority Leader and Abscam-veteran John Murtha? Minority Leader Whip and Strom-Thurman-as-president nostalgiast Trent Lott? All or some of this prompts Dean Barnett to write: "Is it just me, or is it becoming increasingly apparent that the Republicans and Democrats are determined to engage in a two year dumb-off?" (Via the Professor.)

Update: The Republicans win! Although, I should note, some pundits are talking about Lott's ability to reach across the aisle:

EASTON: And keep in mind too, Trent Lott has this back channel. He has these bipartisan roots. He had this back channel to Bill Clinton in the 90's and he even talks in his book about Bill Clinton calling him up late at night with his sort of Zen recipient of these late night phone calls and worked with him on budget and tax issues and could do so again.

HUME: Do you think that will happen, Lott will be a bridge to the Democrats?

KRISTOL: Well he worked very closely with Mary Landrieu for example, of Louisiana on hurricane relief after Katrina. If you were, had the Supreme Court nominee, if I could return to my obsession here, who needs three or four Democratic votes, you could do worse than having Trent Lott work privately with Mary Landrieu or with the two Democratic senators from Arkansas. No, I think he could be quite effective as the number two. I wouldn't want him as number one, but I think as number two.

We could certainly file my previous remarks in the department of well, what do I know? Or save them here to look at later for the department of I told you so!

It's funny that I found this via Real Clear Politics, which is oft-quoted for their averaging of polls on Special Report, which the above quotes are linked from, making, I think, the perfect loop!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

And another thing!

Pursuant to my post below James Taranto points out that Wisconsin residents actually voted down gay marriage while putting Democrats in office. Guy named Pat Caddell said the same thing about Ohio on Special Report after the 2004 elections. (I never got that about that about Democrats -- how can they be so hypocritical as to include Christian Conservatives (like John Kerry) who are against gay rights in their party?!)

Anyway, Taranto also wondered after the 2004 election whether or not Kedwards, as he calls them, in their presidential debates, were also trying to stir up Christian Conservative Democrats by gay-baiting.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Are you next?

Via Althouse I see Bill Maher is planning to out a bunch of gay Republicans on his show Friday night. In fact, he outed Ken Mehlman on Larry King. The editor of one of the most conservatice magazines in the U.S. has this to say about Mehlman:
He did a fantastic job. Ken's a principled conservative who is a truly gifted political organizer and messenger. He ran one of the best presidential campaigns ever in 2004,and did his best to stem the tide this year. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about him, and he's apparently a pleasure to work for. He'll be an asset to the conservative cause for a long time to come.
Why can't Rich Lowry just judge Mehlman on his work and not his sexual orientation??????

So, the personal is political. Is it OK for us now to out each other if we decide the other is hypocritical? Next they'll be saying that Michael Steele is black, but that can't be true, can it? He's a Republican, after all. I know the truth!

Did John Kerry and John Edwards help to make this outing trend OK during their presidential debates when they brought up the fact that Vice President Cheney's daughter is gay? She, of course, was already out, as was Mehlman, claims Maher.

David Corn has a list! Are you on it?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I wish wish wish

that Hillary would stop using racism as one of her tools to get votes! It makes me like her less.

Well, from the little I know of the inner-workings of the military, I think he served our country bravely and well:

White House officials knew Rumsfeld would be swamped in oversight if Democrats were to win even one house of Congress. Now that they appear to have both, that was a certainty, making Rumsfeld's departure appear to be a decision to get out while there's still time.
Rep. Mike Pence
It is the duty of the losing party in a free election to humbly accept defeat and to acknowledge that the people are sovereign in the People's House.


As the 110th Congress convenes next year, Republicans must cordially accept defeat and dedicate ourselves to advancing our cause as the loyal opposition knowing that the only way to retake our natural, governing majority, is to renew our commitment to limited government, national defense, traditional values and reform.
Not terribly sure about that "traditional values" part, but the rest sounds very sportsmanlike.
Victory for the Mainstream Media
When the Center for Media and Public Affairs made a nonpartisan evaluation of network news broadcasts, it found that during the active war against Saddam Hussein, 51% of the reports about the conflict were negative. Six months after the land battle ended, 77% were negative; in the 2004 general election, 89% were negative; by the spring of 2006, 94% were negative. This decline in media support was much faster than during Korea or Vietnam.
This a lengthy article by James Q. Wilson but well worth the read. It's always hard for me to tell whether Opinion Journal articles require payment or not, but I suspect this will be up at Commentary or City Journal in the not-too-distant future.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"It's going to be different this time,"

The Sandinistas ($)look to regain power. I wrote about Nicaragua here.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Dr. Phil -- a terrorist? (Via Dr. Helen.)

Wait -- I guess that's all I have, what with Halloween bloat and whatnot. Have a good weekend Bystander readers!

Added: Oh, no, wait. Is the NYT's saying the Saddam Hussein was one year away from a nuclear weapon in this paragraph:
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
That doesn't sound like their usual narrative.

Added, the second: This Tuesday will mark my fourth blogiversary, which I could prove if I ever haul over those old archives off my husband's laptop. Eh - too much work. Also, who knows what kind of horrendous posts I'd find. However, for those who insist on making a big deal out of it, here's a hint at what would make a good gift. Egads, I was going to renew a joke from my old blog, but I can't find any styles I like. I already lived in the 80's. I'm not ready to go back!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Need to get in the shower, but ...

...real quickly, this interview of WaPo's Dana Milbank by Roger L. Simon's most interesting moment was when Milbank was talking about anonymous sources. He said he doesn't use them because he doesn't need to use them, but some of his colleagues, whose work is investigative, have won Pulitzers using them to reveal stories we wouldn't have known about otherwise. This remark came right after his remarks on bias. Well, I think the Pulitzer committee is biased in a weird way, but also in some usual ways. Winning a Pulitzer often means that people who generally share your view of the world approve of your work. And it's a small, small, small, small media world.
Halloween housewife

I was feeling very much like mid-twentieth century wife after three hours of standing in the kitchen yesterday getting ready for the evening's festivities. For the past few years, I have been baking my can't-get-the-crust-quite-right apple pie on Halloween -- only this year I may have to change the name to crust-is-perfect apple pie -- plus, I was making quesadillas for the kids and a few friends. All of this got me thinking about my grandmother and mother, who cooked for a lot of people -- with five and six kids respectively -- three times a day, a full-time job to be sure. Maybe it's my floor, or my shoes, or my lack of shoes, but my feet get sore when I'm on them moving about only in a small kitchen for an afternoon.

While I was doing that moving about, I was thinking that Gene could take the kids tick-or-treating with our friend Colleen and I could get things halfway neatened up. Yes, that sounded like a good idea. But wait, I then thought, shouldn't I want to run about the neighborhood with my excited adorables, my feet notwithstanding, and share in their thrill? I mean, isn't that what most moms want to do? So I accessed my database of childhood Halloweens, but could not recall either of my parents taking me trick-or-treating. With four older siblings and a mom who's been cooking for eight all day, it was probably a nice evening respite for the folks to wait for us at home.

And that's what I realized I was looking forward to -- looking at the excited faces of my kids upon their return home while they foraged for favorites in their Halloween loot, warming in their glow, and maybe lighting up a cigar and having a smoke. Wait. What? No, no, no! I don't smoke cigars -- that's what my dad does or used to do. So I picked up the phone and hit talk on the first name that came up Catmull, but reached my sister on business in swank San Francisco, chatted for a while and sighed over her glamorous life, hung up, and then after almost calling my brother, finally reached my folks.

I told Dad a bit about what was going and he told me a bit about what was going on, and Mom, recited her favorite poem to me, which brings her a lot of happiness. Dad and I talked some of Walmart's low Thanksgiving meal dinner prices and promised to see each other then.

Gene then came home to hand out candy so that I could walk with our black cat and cowboy. I tried to teach the cowboy how to say trick-or-treat, and he can say it, but whenever he got close to a house -- and he was always last behind the bigger kids -- he'd start shouting, "I want candy! I want candy!" And he'd shout that until, last in line, he was given some candy. I tried to get him to say thank you, but all he would shout was, "I got candy! I got candy!"

They had a good time, and so did I. This morning it is not yet 10:00, and I have already had a slice of apple pie.