Get Well, Prince Of Darkness
July 29, 2008

I'm sure many around Washington will be blogging about the news of Bob Novak's brain tumor, but indulge me for a second anyway.  I like and admire Novak, and even on occasion agree with him. (Hey, no one thought the Iraq war was a stupider idea than he.) The man has the courage of his convictions, something that didn't prove the case with many conservative thinkers under this particular administration. Novak knows what he believes. He sticks by it. And if you--or all those nutty neocons or congressional big spenders--don't like it, you can all go take a flying leap.

Hamas Wins A Victory For Social Justice In Gaza
July 18, 2008

MEMRI reports: "Hamas TV Bunny Assud, Tempted by Satan to Steal, Is Sentenced by Child Viewers to Have His Hand Chopped Off" 

April 28, 2008

I hate to go 'I told you so' about Jeremiah Wright, but a casual stop by Trinity United on the day after the South Carolina primary has turned into a fairly dead-on portrayal of the egoism that has swollen Obama's "Wrightmare" to an unprecedented degree of tumescence. I asked then and do again: "Why wouldn't Wright take the hint that Obama seemed to be offering and quietly slink into the background, at least until November 2008?" A refresher from "Far Wright": That Sunday, I was struck by how much of the sermon was about--well, him.

What's Wrong With The Yellow River? Everything.
April 24, 2008

This month's National Geographic has a great piece on the Yellow River in China, that erstwhile cradle of civilization that now sustains more than 150 million people and is in danger of both drying out and being poisoned to death (that photo's no joke; toxic chemical leaks have a habit of painting the river red or white or maroon from time to time). This passage on the uneasy adolescence of China's environmental movement was especially interesting: In the mid-1990s a mere handful of environmental groups existed in China. Today there are several thousand, including Green Camel Bell.

The New Colonialism, Education Division
April 23, 2008

Many American universities are building campuses on foreign soil.  This is not a new phenomenon.  Florence has been a long-time favorite for American educational institutions, and Bologna, too.  Other cities, as well.  In these instances American students ordinarily spend their junior year abroad.  More and more of them do.So this is not the phenomenon I mean.  But what I do mean to call attention to are financially troubled American institutions--and American institutions not so financially troubled--that are colonizing the Arab orbit and other parts of the outer rim with institutions intende

The Vrwc Speaks
April 21, 2008

Richard Mellon Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has come out with its anticipated endorsement of Hillary Clinton, a woman its owner once insinuated was guilty of murder. Unsurprisingly, the editorial is lukewarm in its praise for Clinton ("Agree with her or not, you at least know where she stands instead of being forced to wonder. Many of her views on domestic issues are too liberal for us, but on others she seems to have moderated"), but more vigorous when it comes to attacking Barack Obama: Start with the "God damn America" diatribes of his one-time pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Joe Lieberman, Round Iii
April 18, 2008

For those non-Plank obsessives: I wrote an item in defense of Joe Lieberman yesterday. Jon Chait wrote in an item in response. He has somefair points and others that I take issue with. To respond to his specifics:    1. I apologize to Research2000 for calling them "obscure." After all, just because I haven't heard of something doesn't make it obscure. 2. Still, I find the problems with their survey sample meaningful. Lieberman won re-election in 2006 with a 10% margin. The Daily Kos-commissioned poll cuts that margin in half.

The Price Of Conversion
March 31, 2008

I know from Jewish history what a convert to Christianity evokes from his former kinfolk. There's a word for convert in Hebrew, and it is meshumed. In Yiddish, at least, it is pronounced as a guttural although there are no Rs to facilitate it. A nasty guttural.  A book can be written about the conversion phenomenon among the Jews; many books have probably been written already. From what I know of this subject, conversions were rarely honest, honest in the simplest sense.

Remember Madonna G. Constantine?
February 21, 2008

Do you remember Madonna G. Constantine? She was the professor at Columbia University's Teachers' College who one dark morning -- or was it a bright morning? -- found a noose draped around the handle of her office door. Maybe the Ku Klux Klan had arrived in Morningside Heights. After all, there are weirder things happening at this elite campus. Actually quite scummy things.

Spielberg And China
February 13, 2008

Yesterday, Steven Spielberg announced that he is withdrawing from his role as artistic advisor to the Beijing Olympics in order to protest China's link to the Darfur genocide. Spielberg is certainly correct that Beijing has supplied Khartoum with weapons, money, and diplomatic cover. And anything that embarrasses Beijing over this morally indefensible support for Sudan is a positive development. In that respect, good for Spielberg. Yet Spielberg's statement announcing his decision bothered me--for reasons having nothing to do with Darfur.