David Rodeback's Blog

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Saturday, June 17, 2006
This Week's Excellent Readings

Prelutsky, Greenberg, Parker, Hagelin, and Purcell lead the list, and there's more humor here than usual, too.


Burt Prelutsky had this bookworm hooked from his first paragraph, quoted below, but this piece is about more than books and the people who love them.

Perhaps it's this way with most writers, but in my life books have often played a larger role than have people. Filled with wisdom, joy, tears and laughter, they are everything parents, friends and siblings should be, but rarely are. And very early on, one book in particular taught me a lesson I have never forgotten.

Paul Greenberg writes of Congress' conviction that it is above the law. (Hmm. Using "Congress" and "conviction" in same sentence. Not a bad idea!) Read carefully the James Madison quotation at the end.

Kathleen Parker tests the plausibility of the Haditha charges, while still observing that we don't know what we don't know.

Rebecca Hagelin has some cold, hard statistics about how children fare with and without fathers in the home.

Somehow I knew before I read it that Tom Purcell's "The Apple Core and the Toilet" would involve his dad.

Fathers and Other Cultural Phenomena

Kathleen Parker's insightful article on fathers ends well:

To say that children want, need and deserve to have a father seems as unnecessary as insisting that they want, need and deserve oxygen. How did we arrive at not knowing this?

That some marriages aren't good enough to preserve is understood and regrettable. But why we would willingly fashion a society in which men are denigrated and fathers minimized like some useless icon is a mystery that escapes me.

The even greater mystery is that men continue to sign up for the job, to sublimate themselves to the higher charge of being a father even in the face of a culture that belittles them. That's what fathers do, of course: take the grief and keep on keeping on.

Which is why we love them.

Occasionally, as in this Maggie Gallagher piece on fathers, we're given numbers that reinforce common sense.

Rich Lowry puts some biology and some statistics to the need for a father.

Mark M. Alexander does much the same. (Really, America, how many tellings does it take?)

Greg Crosby wants boys to be boys and girls to be girls, not the reverse.

Julia Gorin has a suggestion for Fathers Day. It has some theological implications.

Read Terence P. Jeffrey's article and then -- please -- tell me again, with a straight face, that we don't need a federal Marriage Protection Amendment.

Politics and the Blogosphere

Wesley Pruden describes a Las Vegas meeting of the hard-left sector of the blogosphere.

Ryan Lizza also reports on Yearly Kos and evaluates major candidates' performances there.

Jeff Emanuel analyzes the influence and staying power of the political blogosphere.

Iraq, Iran, and the War on Islamic Fascism

Tom Bevan starts his discussion of the honor of the Marines with a great Ronald Reagan quotation.

Jack Kemp extols the spirit of Winston Churchill and describes its modern relevance.

George Will's take on post-Zarqawi Iraq is . . . guarded.

Michelle Malkin tells of US troops in shackles who have not been accused of a crime. Here is her concluding paragraph:

Innocent until proven guilty? Justice for all? Benefit of the doubt? These are apparently foreign concepts when it comes to Americans in uniform being held on American soil. Perhaps if our troops proclaimed themselves "conscientious objectors" and converted to Islam, they might start getting some sympathy.

Nothing more than war invites Monday-morning quarterbacking, and maybe the book Jack Kelly recommends about the Iraq War is partly that. It's very critical of some decisions in Washington. (It's not as if we know how things would have turned out if different decisions had been made, but we like to pretend we do.) But it's probably a good read, anyway.

Mona Charen speaks of Big Media Acronyms whose biases make them quite gullible.

Ross Mackenzie addresses the fruits of persistence in Iraq.

Mary Katherine Ham discusses the media's quiet backtracking from its Haditha hysteria -- not that we haven't seen this media behavior before.

Tony Blankley mades far too much sense about Iran for the general comfort, I think.

Joel Mowbray asks, "Why Canada?" Then he answers, "Because it is not an Islamic state."

Charles Krauthammer speaks of Palestinian hatred which gets in the way of Palestinian statehood.

It didn't work when the Clinton Administration tried it with North Korea, but maybe the Bush Administration can make it work with Iran. (Really?) Jay Solomon wonders.

Chicken Little

Debra J. Saunders discusses Al "Chicken Little" Gore's scientific orthodoxy and suggests (not in so many words) that where there is orthodoxy, you have religion, not science.

George Will speaks of Al Gore, his crusade, and his presidential aspirations -- but George Will is worth reading anyway.

Jonah Goldberg grants, for the sake of argument, that Al Gore's global warming hysteria is a proportional response to an actual crisis. Then he measures its moral soundness and finds Gore wanting. In the process, we get a good line:

Once you compare a problem to the Holocaust - even remotely - you've lost your moral wiggle room.

National Politics

Dustin Hawkins analyzes a rough fortnight for Democrats.

Mike Gallagher has the lowdown on the hubbub over a Philadelphia restaurant''s sticker that says, "This is America. Please order in English."

Paul Greenberg is delightful in offering predictions (of a sort) about the November elections. Here's an excerpt:

The American electorate is fickle, mercurial and yet somehow in the end it can show remarkably good judgment. How it does that has long been a mystery to rational minds.

My own highly scientific theory is that God looks after fools, drunkards and the United States of America. What other explanation can there be?

Jonah Goldberg discusses a new book on abortion by a major thinker, and the BMA response to that book.

Debra Saunders discusses more bad science trying to mix with law.

Nick Nichols evaluates an activist strategy and code of conduct. In the process, he has an interesting new meaning for the acronym CYA.

Victor Davis Hanson attributes a rule-of-law position on immigration to Socrates. (Maybe that's where I got it -- Plato's version of Socrates, that is.)

Paul Greenberg cites the Canadian experience and recent Senate action in asserting that we neither want nor need a language war.

Walter Williams says that restaurants will be the next battleground of fascists using tactics proven in the tobacco war

The extreme faction-over-facts tendency in contemporary American politics makes bedfellows, too, but in this case makes strange antagonists. Rich Lowry analyzes.

Larry Kudlow examines the possibility that President Bush is pulling Congressional Republicans', ahem, chestnuts out of the fire -- despite their collective vacation from Republican sanity (and his).

Jennifer Roback Morse discusses an important group of people that is not very happy with the Republican Party, but knows it is "completely invisible" to the Democratic Party.


Kathryn Lopez says, "Catholic schools have the right to be Catholic." Of course, the same principle would apply to other schools, too. Regrettably, she never says clearly why Catholic schools in New York City are closing, so I went googling. Apparently, it's a simple matter of dwindling enrollments -- but in the New York Post's view, among others, it implicates some political issues, too.

Let's take one more trip down memory lane, with outgoing Harvard University President Larry Summers as our subject. 2006 graduate Raphael C. Rosen writes.

American Fork and Environs

UDOT -- which I heard this week was cursed by the Hopi a couple of decades ago -- just allocated a grundle of money to a project involving American Fork. This is a KSL report.

Barbara Christiansen reports the latest on American Fork's municipal broadband system, AFCNet.

Here's a report on improving recreation and arts facilities in American Fork -- by the way, with money that could not be used for other purposes. Barbara Christiansen reports again.


Thomas Sowell's "Random Thoughts" are always a treat. Here are two favorites from this week's batch:

The beauty of doing nothing is that you can do it perfectly. Only when you do something is it almost impossible to do it without mistakes. Therefore people who are contributing nothing to society except their constant criticisms can feel both intellectually and morally superior.

If politics were like baseball, the Republicans would be smart to trade Senator John McCain to the Democrats for Senator Joseph Lieberman, even if they had to throw in a future draft choice.

Another excerpt from William Bennett's latest book is about Teddy Roosevelt, mostly on the international stage.

Dave Barry's appearance at Jewish World Review is nothing if not welcome. Here his subject is courtesy, I think.

Here's a thought: Would you like a phone call from Gene Weingarten?

If the Burt Prelutsky piece in the favorites section above wasn't enough, here's another. It about what makes humans different from muskrats and clams.

What difference does an interview make? Maybe half a world of difference, if it's Herbert L. Matthews interviewed Fidel Castro in 1957. Bruce Bartlett tells the tale.

Linda Chavez writes of a friend who died with dignity -- which had nothing to do with assisted suicide.

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