The Spine

Lieberman Leads Lamont
and
October 12, 2006

The blogosphere of the left was a bit giddy when Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary. It is strangely silent now. So why? Well, one salient fact is that Lieberman is leading in the polls. According to a Hartford Courant/Center for Survey Research poll, reported in the Courant, "Lieberman leads Lamont among likely voters 48-40 percent." Monika McDermott, who supervised the poll, said Lieberman had met all of his challenges so far. Especially Iraq.

More Bad News For Lamont
and
October 12, 2006

When I wrote my Spine on the Lieberman-Lamont race just below, I hadn't yet read Jason Zengerle's Plank today pointing out even worse news for the Democratic candidate than the conclusions derived from the last public opinion poll done for The Hartford Courant by the Center for Survey Research at the University of Connecticut. Maybe Mark Foley's shenanigans will throw some House seats to the Democrats. But, if Lieberman actually wins his seat--more important, if Ned Lamont loses it and loses it decisively, meaningfully--there will be real reason for reasonable people to celebrate.

Talk Is Cheap
and
October 10, 2006

It is the handwriting on the wall. One hour on Sunday we find out that Ban Ki-moon, the South Korean foreign minister, will be approved on Monday as the United Nations secretary-general. A few hours later on Sunday we find out that North Korea has just become a member of the nuclear club, in defiance of everyone including its most powerful neighbors China and Japan. According to The New York Times, Ban had some criticism for his outgoing predecessor: "Secretary General Kofi Annan has never visited North Korea during his 10-year term." So he will go. But the U.N.

A Future Battlefield?
and
October 10, 2006

MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, is as honest and scrupulous as they get. What it presents is raw material from Arab and Muslim opinion makers in the printed press and on television. MEMRI doesn't even put it "in context" for you. They assume that you read and understand more than enough to allow you to put their discoveries "in context" by yourself. Take these two statements by the president of Turkey and the chief of the general staff about the perils of Islamism to the country. They are, of course, only one side of the political debate. Still. ...

Kofi Annan: Not Camera Shy
and
October 10, 2006

In a Spine of October 2, titled "Opera Buffa," I pointed out that Kofi Annan had been a featured photographed personage in last week's Sunday Times society section. Well, what do you know? He was a featured photographed personage in this Sunday's Times, too. God, it makes you yearn for Mrs. Astor. Kofi looked a bit grimmer in the latest Times, in fact, no grins at all, unlike a week before.

A Question Of Substance
and
October 10, 2006

With friends like this you don't need enemies. I don't really mean this about Bill Buckley. But he has a provocative column in this morning's New York Sun about what he calls "Democrats Without A Home." Among these apparently, he counts Peter Beinart, "shining young light of the New Republic." The Buckley column argues that Democrats need more of a platform than being anti-Bush. OK, the Democrats also hate Bush. So those are two platforms. But they don't give you much of a hint as to what Democrats would do about North Korea and Iran, do they?

Taxi, Anyone?
and
October 10, 2006

Maybe you read my posts (here and here) about the Twin Cities authorities at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport making rules that allow 300 Muslim taxi drivers to refuse to ferry passengers whom they suspect of carrying alcohol. Maybe you didn't read it. Please do. For my part, I think it's an intriguing matter because Muslims will soon be squeezing the civil compact for all kinds of exemptions.

Al Sharpton's Race-baiting
and
October 10, 2006

Does Ned Lamont really want Al Sharpton's support? The reverend has lost just about all his fans in the Afro-American population, as anyone could tell by how he fared in the 2004 Democratic primary. I think he got fewer votes and fewer delegates than Kucinich, which is a great achievement. In any case, black Americans--having produced solid and achieving and aspiring politicians like Harold Ford Jr., Barack Obama and Deval Patrick (for all my carping at him)--have no reason to stick with Sharpton on anything.

Depaul's Disgrace
and
October 09, 2006

Please, I don't mean to offend anyone. But the Catholic college and university is not one of the faith's big achievements in America. Look at any one of the ratings charts (there are many) and see how low these institutions fare on the competitive scales and how few of them rate at all. It's true that there are two or three Catholic law schools in the middle range. But that's it. Catholic institutions certainly haven't made a mark in the life or physical sciences, or, for that matter, the social sciences either.

The Foley Distraction
and
October 09, 2006

The Democrats are lucky to have had the Mark Foley affair thrown in their laps. Now, we will see how not different they are from the Republicans. This scandal has about as much to do with Dennis Hastert as it does with Tip O'Neil.

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