Roamin’ Polanski


The creep is free. Ed Morrissey:

Switzerland just didn’t want to turn Polanski over to the US for fear of falling out of favor with the entertainment industry, and the EuroLeft that adores the child rapist Polanski. When they couldn’t come up with a good reason, they had to claim that the lack of a good reason was reason enough to reject the request.

Right-wing yoga


Suzanne Pacheco left a nice comment on the Pet Debate thread. “I applaud you for posting an animal welfare article on a conservative forum,” she wrote. There’s an implied premise there, obviously. Now, as I’ve argued, there’s no reason concern for the welfare of animals need devolve from a left-wing perspective; it can just as easily be made, say, by George Bush’s and Sarah Palin’s speechwriter. (And has in fact been made, and made more effectively than it has ever been made by anyone associated with the Left.)

There are quite a number of issues and tastes that seem arbitrarily, or by accidents of history, to be associated with Utopianism, Marxism, hostility to private property, anti-clericalism and the other authentic core beliefs of the Left. Why, for example, is it a near-certainty that I can scandalize every other participant in any yoga class I attend, anywhere in the world, by declaring myself an avid admirer of Margaret Thatcher? I challenge you to read the yoga sutras and conclude from them that devotees of yoga must favor inflexible labor markets and an over-regulated financial sector. I challenge you to conclude anything at all from them, in fact; they’re more or less inscrutable. About the only certain thing you can say is that the yogic sages took a dim view of ignorance and craving, as do we all, I’m sure. It’s hardly a view that puts Patanjali next to Bakhunin in the pantheon of revolutionaries.

Is It Right to Strike Down the Defense of Marriage Act?


The Massachusetts decisions striking down the Defense of Marriage Act seem wrong, regardless of whether you support gay marriage or not. Personally, I don’t think that the Constitution authorizes the federal courts to require all states to guarantee same sex marriage. The Constitution’s normal path for change on moral and social issues is that the people of the states, one-by-one, can decide for themselves whether to extend marriage to gay couples. The Constitution gives each state the right to make different policy choices on the most basic life and death decisions, such as the death penalty or the right to die. Gay marriage should be decided the same way (and will lead to a stronger national consensus, no matter what results).

Instead, Judge Touro decided that gay marriage should follow the path of Roe v. Wade, which attempted to impose an immediate national solution on to the question of abortion. He based his decision on two claims: a) that the federal government cannot define marriage at odds with state law; and b) that the law was purely irrational. The first is certainly wrong, the second likely wrong. The federal government surely has the right to define marriage and a great deal of other legal arrangements as it likes when it decides how to spend money, whether to give tax breaks, and so on. It has even refused to allow territories, like Utah, to enter the Union unless it defined marriage not to include polygamy, for example. The federal government can give tax breaks only to heterosexual married couples, and a state can choose to define marriage as including gay couples — neither intrudes on the other’s constitutional authorities.

Mattresses and the Dark Side: Update


The market, Ricochet member Scott Reusser told me, will solve the problem. To wit:

Here in the Cleveland area a local company, The Original Mattress Factory, is taking off by offering an alternative to the brand-name mattress racket. They offer a few basic choices, with cut-away comparisons with the brand-name equivalents. They eliminate the middle man, have set non-negotiable prices, and absolutely no “sales.” People love it. Void filled. The market works.

Running of the Bulls ends as you’d expect


I’ve never had a Hemingwayesque attraction to bullfighting. Usually one is forbidden from judging the barbarities of other cultures, lest that suggest a hierarchy of civilizations, but we’re in luck: it’s a tradition of Western Culture, so one can slam it as much as one likes.

Hard to feel a great deal of sympathy for these maroons:

Would Hayek Support Obamacare?


Maybe, writes Dylan Matthews. Not a chance, writes Will Wilkinson:

What Hayek had in mind was a competitive market in risk-rated insurance and a competitive market in medical services. No price controls. Let the markets rip. Mandate a certain minimum level of insurance coverage. If you’re uninsurable or can’t afford a policy, then the state pitches in. I’m fairly certain that his idea was nowhere in the neighborhood of making Aetna a quasi-governmental mechanism for redistribution.

The Dark Kristol


Over at his Ideas blog, Ricochet member Conor suggests tea partiers not get carried away with Bill Kristol’s brand of national-greatness populism. Kristol, Conor warns, is too implicated in the free-spending, big-government conservatism of George W. Bush to be trusted by the tea parties in his call for “bold” and “fundamental reforms.” It’s true that Kristol’s an odd bedfellow for anyone waving a Gadsden Flag, but stranger things have happened. I want to push back, Conor, at your basic claim, which is that the tea party should have nothing to do with Kristol and his ilk.


Amazing Grace in the French Quarter


After a week which saw the judicial arm of the federal government uphold the constitutionality of same-sex marriage on states’ rights grounds, while across town the executive arm held that states do not have a constitutional right to protect their own borders, the weekend brings a welcome opportunity for a diversion and a smile. And a smile was what I found in New Orleans back in 2001.

I was sitting at the Café du Monde on Decatur Street, enjoying some beignets (French doughnuts) and café au lait (chicory coffee with a generous portion of cream). The Café du Monde sits close to the Mississippi River levee, across from the Jackson Square where the old St. Louis Cathedral is framed on either side by the Cabildo (where the Louisiana Purchase was signed), the Presbytere, and the Pontalba Apartment buildings (the oldest apartment buildings in America). Having a lifelong love affair with the city, I was basking in the scene which was made even more complete by the appearance of a street musician. Hack Bartholemew opened up his case and retrieved a shiny silver trumpet. A gifted musician, he sang with more authentic soul than I hear from any number of singers who have “made it” in the business. And when he pointed that horn heavenward, I imagined Gabriel was taking notes.

Mustafa X has some Questions for Ricochet readers


Sunday afternoon in Istanbul, and I’m sitting here with a Turkish friend — we’ll call him Mustafa X — who has some questions about the American political system. They’re good questions and interesting ones. I thought it would be interesting for him to put his questions directly to a panel of Ricochet readers. Anyone want to help? This is absolutely serious, by the way — he really wants to know how Americans answer these questions.

He asks:

Your Always Write with Spell Check


I used to be a wonderful speller. I understood the rules and the exceptions to the rules. I knew about roots and etymology. I could spell proper names, foreign words and just about anything else. However, after more than a decade of using Spell Check, I have trouble spelling anything and everything. I mean that literally; I have trouble spelling the words “anything” and “everything.” Spell Check has affected my spelling skills in the same way speed dialing affected my ability to remember phone numbers and GPS systems affected my being able to find my way around. It’s nice to be able to cut down on the clutter in your brain by turning such tasks over to technology; however, you then become a prisoner of that technology, unable to remember things that would ordinarily pose no problem. Without a computer or a cell phone or a GPS device, I can’t spell, I can’t call anyone and I can’t find anything.

There are additional problems when you allow a machine to do your spelling work. For one thing, it doesn’t notice if you use a wrong word if that word actually exists. Did you type “me” instead of “my?” “There” instead of “their?” Spell Check doesn’t much care. You also have to be careful about the list of alternative words most Spell Check systems offer. When checking a document or an email, it’s easy to accidentally substitute an inappropriate word. I once emailed a friend in Honolulu and used the Hawaiian word for “thank you” (Mahalo). Spell Check didn’t recognize the word and offered “Maalox” as an alternative. That would have changed the message’s meaning in a number of strange ways.

Assassinating Men, One Script At a Time


As we all know, gay guys can be pretty masculine — hypermasculine, even; and so it has been for thousands of years. So there’s really no shortage of acceptable reasons to form a pansexual front against the latest attempt to assassinate men:

Bad news from Teen Vogue: The season’s hottest accessory […] needs special attention and maintenance and extra careful selection — more so even than a Pomeranian. If you thought the old “gay best friend” hat went out when “Sex and the City’s” Stanford got hitched, think again. This week, the magazine has proposed that he’s “the new must-have accessory for girls.”

Lame Duck Shenanigans


Remember the old saying that, “It ain’t over ‘till the fat lady sings.” Well, Congressional Democrats can hear that famous operatic screamer warming up backstage, but still they press on with the certitude of lemmings. The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund discusses the party of government’s agenda after November. You see, they know an electoral tsunami is coming their way. They also know they have a few months after the election, during the “lame duck” session that takes place before new members are sworn in, to pass the most extreme components of their agenda and essentially give the finger to the American people on their way out the door.

What sort of agenda items, you ask? Ratification of the New Start nuclear treaty, which advances the cause of American vulnerability. How about a budget resolution that “locks in” increases in government spending? Senator Tom Harkin says that, “To those who [card check] is dead, I say think again.” And let’s not forget the pigs at the trough. One Senate aide said, “Some of the biggest porkers on both sides of the aisle are leaving office this year, and a lame-duck session would be their last hurrah for spending.”

Mel Gibson Mystery Solved


I don’t know a lot about other religions but as Catholics we believe in the real existence of the devil in a big way. If I was the devil, I would make it a priority to attack Mel Gibson until he disintegrated in such a way that he could no longer do the extremely effective work that he’s been doing for the Church recently.

Why wouldn’t I just attack the Pope you ask? Well, as the devil, I only have so many resources and the Pope is a pain in the neck to tempt due to his formation. It takes decades to do what I can do to Mel in just a few months. The Pope doesn’t even have a wife that I can get him to beat, or appear to beat. Believe me, I’m working on him with my sexual scandal thing, but as I said, it’s a process. However, now that my work with Mel is almost complete, you may see some more results from my peeps in that arena….