Will You Be My Valentine?

I'm sorry I did not get to this earlier, and there's way too much to riff on in just this single post, but please, please do yourself a favor and read National Review's Valentine's Day Symposium. Midge Decter swooning for Rudy! Andrew Breitbart sharing his "unrequited" love for lesbian Tammy Bruce! Mona Charen shows off by hearting some nineteenth-century Republican pol named Thomas Brackett Reed! But by far the best is Kathryn Jean-Lopez's tribute to B-1 Bob Dornan, who ranks next to Jim Traficant as the most amusing member in the history of the House of Representatives.


Selective Discrimination

Here is a little-noticed item (hat tip to reader J.R.): Earlier this month, a United Nations consultative committee on NGOs rejected the credentials of the Coalition of Gays and Lesbians of Quebec, as well as a similar group from Sweden. Over 2,000 groups have been bestowed such accreditation by the U.N, which allows them to attend conferences and offer their opinions on various matters. The rejection of the Canadian group was by a vote of 8-6. Voting against were, unsurprisingly, Russia, Burundi, Guinea, China, Egypt, Pakistan, Qatar and Sudan.


Topless Taxes, Really

A proposed bill in the Texas legislature known as the "Topless Tax" would tax patrons a $5 cover charge to enter strip clubs. The cover charge would then go directly into sexual-assault prevention and counseling services. This makes a certain amount of sense to me. Just as sin taxes on cigarettes end up funding everything from health care programs to education spending, taxing strip-club patrons to support worthy state mandates like assault prevention has a certain symmetry to it. Taxing the sex trade is as natural as taxing casinos and booze.


Unified Theories

In the Washington Post today, Glenn Kessler provides yet more evidence that Iran's leaders proposed talks with the United States back in May of 2003. (See here as well.) In recent weeks, Condoleezza Rice has denied that she ever even saw the Iran memo, which arrived at the State Department via Swiss channels. Is that true? A few days ago, Kessler reported that, indeed, Powell "did not forward the memo to the White House" after receiving it. But why would he have done that? It's all a bit mysterious.


The Politics Of Spite

A few days ago, Matt Yglesias wrote the following about global warming: One doubts that any of these various rightwingers were actually humming along and then got bribed by energy companies to come up with the outlandish conservative arguments you here on this score. Rather, the money's just sort of out there ready to flow to individuals who make outlandish arguments and to publications and institutions that associate themselves with such people and such arguments. Under the circumstances, the human mind proves remarkably supple and creative.


Nuclear Diplomacy

The Washington Post has a decent summary of the deal struck between the United States and North Korea: In a landmark international accord, North Korea promised Tuesday to close down and seal its lone nuclear reactor within 60 days in return for 50,000 tons of fuel oil as a first step in abandoning all nuclear weapons and research programs.North Korea also reaffirmed a commitment to disable the reactor in an undefined next phase of denuclearization and to discuss with the United States and other nations its plutonium fuel reserves and other nuclear programs that "would be abandoned" as part of


Lewis "Scooter" Libby's defense released his interview with Bob Woodward in June 2003 for Woodward's book, Plan of Attack.


The Temple Mount

The work that Israel has been doing on a pathway to the Temple Mount, which is also the pathway to the Nobel Sanctuary, is really just custodial work. Of course, this custodial work on the entrance to the Mugrabi Gate needs archaeological and architectural care. Not, by the way, because it abuts Muslim sacred space (which it doesn't) but because it sits right on top of Jewish sacred space and a Jewish city that was there until it was ravaged by the Romans in 70 CE. In any case, the Muslim world is aflame with rage.


Worse Than We Thought

Boldly taking a break from"girls gone wild" cover stories (sigh), Newsweek has a surprisingly good piece on America and Iran. Anyway, am I missing something or is the following paragraph very disturbing? In a pattern that would become familiar, however, a chill quickly followed the warming in relations. Barely a week after the Tokyo meeting, Iran was included with Iraq and North Korea in the "Axis of Evil." Michael Gerson, now a Newsweek contributor, headed the White House speechwriting shop at the time.


Slam Dunk?

So the United States is unveiling evidence that Iranian weapons are killing Americans in Iraq. Naturally, this evidence is so airtight that none of the officials presenting it were willing to speak on the record, and no cameras and recording devices were allowed into the Baghdad briefing. How curious. Also, the notion that Shia militias, armed by Iran, have killed a quarter of all U.S. troops in late 2006 does smell a bit fishy. (Speaking of which, whatever came of those reports that private citizens in Saudi Arabia were funding the Sunni insurgents who are likely killing most U.S.