Member Post

 

Having just finished reading the transcript for Tim Pawlenty’s address to the Council on Foreign Relations, I am left feeling energized and hopeful. Most of all, my opinion of Pawlenty continues to rise. Delivering a scathing rebuke of the Obama Administration’s inept attempts at foreign relations, Pawlenty offers a clear, principled, and unapologetic vision of […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

The Overrated Thomas Jefferson

 

In today’s President-a-day installment (see yesterday’s on Washington, here), let’s talk about Thomas Jefferson, who is often ranked the 4th or 5th greatest President in American history.  I have to confess to being a dissenter from the academic consensus.  I think Jefferson often wins a high rank because of what he did when he wasn’t President — primarily writing the Declaration of Independence, founding the University of Virginia, and his writings and thinking on science and the humanities.  As President, his singular claim to greatness was the Louisiana Purchase, and perhaps for that alone he deserves his greatness — but even there, Jefferson could only seize the opportunity by violating his own understanding of the Constitution (to see why, my short paper on Jefferson’s Presidency is here).  On a number of other issues, I think Jefferson pursued policies that were terribly harmful to the United States and constitutional government: his effort to impeach federal judges, his use of political parties to meld the leadership of the executive and legislative branches, and his embargo policies.  

As a special bonus, the paper linked above also contains an explanation of why James Madison, the father of the Constitution, turned out to be a terrible President because of the consequences of Jefferson’s decisions.

Member Post

 

This morning, Reince Preibus was on MSNBC, and good ‘ole Joe Scarborough and one of his guests referenced this McClatchey poll (as they have over and over and over again) that says that 70% of tea party supporters don’t support cuts to Medicare. I am someone who would love to see Medicare phased out completely, and […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

What Could Go Wrong In Tijuana?

 

To the horror of much of our family, my wife and I drove to Tijuana Sunday for a wedding. We drove to a seaside restaurant north of Ensenada  for a ceremony, then  back to downtown Tijuana for the reception in an open air garden exposed to a street perfect for spraying bullets from.

We finally turned in around 2 am. The next day we drove our family Lincoln to a taco stand pictured at left, then a quick 30 minute border crossing, cheating death once again. I report all this because I avoided TJ for close to two years due to reports of too much violence. What I saw there was just millions of people getting on with their lives, and having weddings and such. For what it’s worth, I’m not avoiding it any more. 

A Small, Depressing Detail About the Kabul Inter-Continental Hotel Attack

 

By now you’ve heard, I’m sure, that the Taliban killed at least ten people, mostly Westerners (not that this matters, except politically, but politically that matters very much) at the Kabul Inter-Continental Hotel. That hotel, as an acquaintance of mine who sometimes works in Kabul put it, “was supposed to be the safe one.” 

In this piece, Mary Stoneaker for Al Arabiya asks, “Will US withdrawal open a door for the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan?”

Correction: Not Animal Rights. Human Duties

 

In a post the other day, I quoted my friend Matthew Scully’s recent book review in the Weekly Standard, noting that Matthew used the review “to argue for animal rights.”  An attentive reader notes that I got that wrong.

In the review as elsewhere—notably in his beautifully written book, Dominion:  The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy—Matthew intentionally and persuasively avoids any discussion of “animal rights,” writing not about the putative “rights” of animals but about the entirely real moral obligations of humans.

Member Post

 

Thomas Sowell has written a most sobering article to be found over at National Review online. In light of the deeply serious problems facing our country and the upcoming Presidential election, I commend it to you for reading and serious reflection: The media have recently been so preoccupied with a congressman’s photograph of himself in […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

Zugzwang (German for “compulsion to move”, pronounced [ˈtsuːktsvaŋ]) is a term usually used in chess which also applies to various other games. The term finds its formal definition in combinatorial game theory, and it describes a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move when he would prefer […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Is America’s Decline as Evident as the Hitch in Derek Jeter’s Swing?

 

June 26, 2011 marked the 37th birthday of Derek Jeter. On this occasion, sports writer Michael Sokolove relentlessly dissected Jeter’s recent rapid decline as a player from his glory days a decade ago. July 4, 2011 marks the 235th anniversary of American independence. In its own way, that day in this anxious year marks a decline in power and influence of a nation that to the rest of the world appears to be past its prime as well.

In one sense, this glum comparison looks to be far fetched. All individuals undergo a cycle of growth and decay that no one can alter or halt. In contrast, nations can be viewed as perpetually young with the youthful and vigorous replacing the old and cautious as the latter group retires or dies off. The decline of a great nation thus depends in large measure on its conscious collective choices, not on some internal, ticking clock. If individual declines are inevitable, national declines need not be.

Why the Left Fusses About “Extrajudicial Activity”

 

In an op-ed today in the New York Times, former Clinton speechwriter Jeff Sheshol holds up a magnifying glass to the political “extrajudicial activities” of the conservative justices of the Supreme Court.  As examples, Sheshol suggests that Justices Scalia and Thomas have demonstrated impropriety by attending meetings hosted by the Koch brothers, and that it was similarly inappropriate for Justice Alito to give the keynote speech at an American Spectator event.

There is nothing wrong with Justices attending talks or participating in conferences, no matter who hosts them, as long as the hosts are not litigants in cases directly before the Court or are partisan political outfits.  Justices from both the liberal and conservative wings have long attended such functions as the ones Shesol implies are improper.  I’ve been to conferences with both liberal and conservative Justices for many years, and I cannot see — nor did anyone there — that attendance or giving a speech raised some kind of impropriety.  Suppose a Justice attends a meeting held by a group that wants to expand the protections for private property, or wants to defend Roe v. Wade or affirmative action.  I do not think it affects the judge’s duty of impartiality by sitting and listening to the conference or even speaking at it.  If this were the standard, then I think judges should resign from, and attend no meetings held by, the American Bar Association, which takes positions on policy issues of all kinds.

Member Post

 

One of the things I like about Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge series over on NRO is that he often introduces me to people with ideas I have never encountered before.  Sometimes, one of the things I don’t like about the series is that it is just too short. Even though I haven’t seen the last […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

According to Obama, the money we earn isn’t ours, it’s the governments don’t you know! For every dollar I get to keep from working, that’s an expense for the US government! I didn’t know that…I was thinking something else entirely… Obama just admitted he is a Socialist. Good thing we don’t have to have that […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

California, a State that Has Gone Stark Raving Mad

 

In my inbox just now, an email from the California State Board of Equalization.  I present it as a reminder to the good people of Texas (where there’s no income tax, the state legislature meets only every second year, the budget is in good shape, a conservative Republican governor is now in his third term, and a general air of sanity predominates) to fall to their knees every so often to offer a word of thanks.

Special Notice

Member Post

 

This might be the happiest day of my life.  If this is true, I take back most everything I’ve said about John Lennon since my conversion from radical liberal to radical conservative.  For three years now I have fasted from pop-music and television and film.  I have lived in a ‘wilderness’ of Talk Radio, archived […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post

 

Anyone else watching this press conference right now? In a long opening statement before opening it up to questions, I’ve learned that we need to change entitlements without changing entitlements. We have to make tough choices. And Republicans are to blame for the country’s various problems. Obama attacked “corporate jet owners” only moments before complaining […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.