James Kirchick

The Socialist Malady
December 03, 2007

Imagine if Hugo Chavez didn't, as the New York Times put it this a.m., "control all the levers of power."  Imagine if people hadn't been terrified by the man who viewed himself and certainly aspired to be another Castro.  One of Chavez' slogans was "socialism or death."  This malady comes at least once in every generation.  And, more or less, the same people catch it and, for a time, are delirious with joy.

Mike Huckabee: Greatest American Hero
December 03, 2007

Yesterday on ABC's This Week, Mike Huckabee said, "That's why there's an excitement about my campaign. It's just not about Mike Huckabee. It's about all those Americans out there who were told what they couldn't do, what they couldn't become." If Huckabee hasn't chosen the The Greatest American Hero theme as his campaign song yet, now's about time (though the whole extraterrestrial theme could work for Dennis Kucinich, too):   --James Kirchick

“muslim Fags Don’t Exist”
December 02, 2007

Mark Steyn reports on a perplexing problem for Europeans: how to reconcile their social tolerance and legal recognition of homosexuality with their tendency to indulge the whims of Muslim immigrants -- who tend to be quite reactionary in their views on gays? Steyn is no friend of gay activists here in America, but I see no reason why that makes his commentary on this particular matter moot. He links to a recent story in Der Spiegel which reports on the disturbing rise of anti-gay attacks in The Netherlands.

Abbas's National Security Force Is Very Insecure
December 02, 2007

On November 19, Ido Zoldan, an Israeli who lived in the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron, was gunned down by men in a passing vehicle.  Actually, he was murdered.  This was a week before the Annapolis peace conference, so-called.Today, Sunday, according to Ha'aretz, the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet let it be known that they had arrested three suspects in the killing.  But this announcement lifted an undated gag order.

The Democrats Are No Longer Interested In Campaign Finance Reform; Neither Are The Republicans, Except, Maybe, For John Mccain
December 02, 2007

"I am the only Republican who is not a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street," Mike Huckabee rightly tells his audiences, "...I cannot afford to buy voters or even rent them."  Dennis Kucinich might also say the same.  But he's not going to win any primaries.  And Huckabee just might.  Republicans don't need their candidates to come off as glamorous.  Democrats do.Which is one reason they are so deeply into the money.  The Dems have raised more money this time that the Republicans, and that's before George Soros and Co.

Commenting On Commentary
December 02, 2007

I am sure that most of you don't like Commentary.  I am sure that the very same "most" haven't read it in years, maybe not since Norman Podhoretz ushered in the New Left version of world history according to Staughton Lynd.  Yes, it was Norman and Midge and Commentary on whose pages Lynd and William Appleton Williams pontificated.Anyway, the mag still challenges, not always; my colleague Leon says "not often;" but certainly it does so time and again.  Its web site is especially lively.

Who Cares That Barbra Streisand Endorsed Hillary, Or That Oprah Winfrey Endorsed Obama?
December 02, 2007

Well, not me.  And I doubt that you do either.The Times has spent a lot of space on these two endorsements and on those of lesser personages.  But no where as much as the New York Post, whose readers may actually care."Still," the Times tells us, "the big celebrity endorsements have not begun to roll in yet."  Just can't wait to hear who Lindsay Lohan will back.Back to Streisand.  While she endorsed and gave money to Mrs. Clinton, she also made equal contributions to Obama, John Edwards and Chris Dodd.  So what shall we conclude?  That she doesn't really put her money where her mouth is?

Are The Democrats Listening To What Iran Says?
December 02, 2007

There's no mistake about it: "Iran has hardened its position on its nuclear program," according to a New York Times article by Elaine Sciolino.  This was made clear by Saeed Jalili, Iran's new representative to his country's talks with the six powers, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.  Sciolino reports that, "The first hour and a half of the meeting on Friday was described as a monologue, with Mr.

King Abdullah University And Ha'aretz
December 01, 2007

There were two ads on the home page of the week-end Ha'aretz from King Abdullah University for Science and Technology, a graduate research university.  KAUST, as it is called, was established with a $10 billion gift from the present monarch of Saudi Arabia.  It is planned to open in Riyadh in the year 2009, inshallah.I should have posted this Spine yesterday so that I could link to the ad right then and there.  Alas, it is no longer on the site.

Black Education, Liberal Conventionality And The Thernstroms
November 30, 2007

Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom are old and good friends of mine.  Almost everything they say or write has an odd thought in it -- an odd thought that challenges and provokes and puzzles. They turn cliches upside down.  They are the betes noires of conventional liberal thinking in the academy and especially conventional liberal thinking about the academy. Today, they had a piece in the Wall Street Journal on the plight of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It is a widely-acknowledged tenet of conservative thinking on education on that HBCUS are a thing of the past.

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