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December 30, 2004

A sour note from the inaugural committee

For the first time since I gave a dollar to Humphrey when I was a kid in 1968, I made a contribution to a presidential candidate this year, a substantial contribution actually. To me, the election was that important.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a breathless letter from the RNC informing me that I was eligible for inaugural ball tickets. I smiled, knowing that there was obviously some money involved. The letter came this week -- each ticket is $1,750. Wheeeeee!!! For that money, I could eat several times at Masa.

But that wasn't the sour note.

Tonight, I received an e-mail message from the Republican Jewish Coalition advising me that volunteers are needed for various inaugural events. Sounded a lot more appealing. I went to the inaugural committee's website and noticed that the application form required the obvious -- name, address, e-mail, phone, and also SSN (a security issue, undoubtedly). But it also required state of birth, country of birth, race (from a drop-down list; and a box "If Other, Please Specify"), and "gender" (male or female only; no funny stuff).

So I want to ask the President: Why do you want to know my race? Why do you care about it? Why is this relevant to your inaugural committee?

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What a relief!

"Doctors, Too, Ask: Is This Drug Right?"

Headline, New York Times, Dec. 30, 2004

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The new big thing in New York, according to the New York Times, is a four star sushi restaurant called Masa. But for me, the biggest thing is its price: A lunch or dinner for two can easily run $1000. (That's a thousand; I didn't forget the decimal point.)

The review raises and refuses to answer two important questions:

Justifiable? I leave that question to accountants and ethicists. Worth it? The answer depends on your budget and priorities. But in my experience, the silky, melting quality of Masa's toro and uni and sea bream, coupled with the serenity of its ambience, does not exist in New York at a lower price.
But I'll sleep well knowing that the rich liberals who eat there blame Republicans for what they call an increasing income gap between rich and poor.

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December 26, 2004

Cheap links

This is a slow period for many people, including me. For your entertainment in the meantime, here's Dave Barry's round-up of the events of 2004, and although it's technically a little late, here's his 2004 gift guide (site registration required). The gifts are linked at the bottom of the page. Check 'em out.

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December 23, 2004

Fiasco in the other Washington

I thought we had ballot problems in Maryland with the 1994 gubernatorial election, but we don't hold a candle to Washington state. For all you need to know about the shenanigans in the Northwest, go on over to Pull on Superman's Cape . . . and keep on scrolling.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my Christian friends and readers.

With all the discussion about how the word Christmas and even minor acknowledgments of the holiday are being removed from public life, I just want to say Merry Christmas.

Christmas is not my holiday. I'm Jewish. But I agree with Charles Krauthammer and Rabbi Wohlberg (hat tip: Bob H.) that we should avoid secularizing our religions.

Now, the movement to secularize Christmas is mainly an effort of secular Christians, but some Jews are helping out, too. So for my fellow Jews, I have a few suggestions:

1. We Jews are fully equal to Christians in this country and have been fully equal since the creation of the Republic. That's what makes this such a wonderful country. However, we are now about 2% of the population and shrinking. Christians are, by various accounts, 75 to 85 percent. We are a minority, and we should respect the beliefs of the majority as much as we respect the beliefs of other minorities. If you're uncomfortable with being in a small minority, here are some ideas: Have more children; marry a Jew or encourage your spouse to convert; learn about your religion and find out what makes it beautiful; teach it to your children; show them its beauty. Look, I didn't say it was easy.

2. When Christians celebrate Christmas, it doesn't mean they are trying to convert you. Trust me -- when a Christian wants to convert you, you will not be in doubt. And when that happens, the correct response is a polite but firm "No, thank you." I get a lot of practice being polite when the Mormons knock on my door. Most Christians won't try to convert you, but those who do so think they are doing something for your benefit. You don't agree it's for your benefit. Say "No, thank you."

3. Bill O'Reilly is a jerk. A Jewish caller says he's uncomfortable with the celebration of Christmas, and O'Reilly tells him he should go to Israel. There's certainly an objective truth to this -- Christmas is barely a blip in Israel -- but it's gratuitously insulting. A person who is unhappy about something in this country may be over-reacting, but it's possible to point that out without advising him to leave the country. He could have reminded the caller that recognitions of Jewish religious observances are common here and that President Bush, a devout Christian, attended a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony, without advising the caller to leave the country. So he's a jerk. That said, the people who are demanding an apology from him are being ridiculous, and they diminish themselves.

4. If your friends or associates or people you have contact with are Christian -- if you know they are -- then by all means wish them a Merry Christmas. Respect their religious holiday. If someone who doesn't know you're Jewish wishes you a Merry Christmas, don't correct him; that will embarrass him. Just say, "Thank you." The person who said it meant well, and it won't make you any less Jewish to be polite. (Of course, if someone who knows you're Jewish wishes you a Merry Christmas, there might be something a little strange about it.)

5. Does the celebration of Christmas make you feel unusually Jewish? Good! Run with it. Become more Jewish. And remember, as a general matter, it's a good thing for Jews when Christians in this country adhere to their religion. In the U.S., most anti-semitism has been social and now it's mostly political. This is different from Europe, where historically most anti-semitism was religious in nature. In the U.S., I have found a high level of philo-semitism among Christians, particularly those who are devout and politically conservative. I am touched by their support. These are people who look for the best in others, and I hope we Jews will continue to have their support.

6. The nicest thing a Jew can do on Christmas is to volunteer to take the place of a Christian who would otherwise be forced to work on the holiday. (See Krauthammer.) This year is a problem for observant Jews, because Christmas falls on Shabbat (the Sabbath). But if you're not Sabbath-observant, do it. If you can't do this, look for a blood drive to donate blood. Many synagogues hold them in the days immediately following Christmas.

7. Last, remember that we are all Americans, even if we do not share a religion. Be respectful of your fellow Americans.

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December 21, 2004

Killer trees

Reagan was right!

"Tree-lined roads deadly, study shows"

headline, The Clarion-Ledger, December 18, 2004

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December 20, 2004


Everyone knows about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac who stayed up all night unsure of the existence of Dog. Well, someone took the joke a little further.

I think if he had simply made a joke about having a "bark mitzvah" for his 13-year-old dog, it would have been (mildly) amusing. Somehow, actually doing it seems in really poor taste.

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December 19, 2004

The feminists have won

The Washington Post reports: "Male fish that are growing eggs have been found in the Potomac River in Maryland, a federal scientist said last week. . . ."

And I liked this comment: "It's not good news that there's something that feminizes male fish in your water," said Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council."

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Taking credit for Bush's victory

Q. Who claims credit for Bush's re-election? A. Moammar Qaddafi.

I guess the Hollywood crowd will just have to cross Libya off their list of places to move to.

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December 16, 2004

Happy Beethoven's Birthday

Celebrate Beethoven's birthday by listening to the Eroica Symphony, the Opus 111 piano sonata, and the Missa Solemnis . . . and by sending your friends an e-card????

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And take back your engagement ring, too

Well, it seems that Washington and Major League Baseball are splitsville. Little Tony Williams made some big promises to get MLB to agree to marry his city, but his older sister, Linda Cropp, stepped in to make some last-minute changes to the pre-nup. Brides just don't like last-minute surprises.

UPDATE (12/21): So the older sister decides that, having thrown her weight around to break up the engagement, she'll throw her weight around again to put it back together. The bride -- that's MLB, in case this metaphor has tanked -- obviously has known all along that she had a damn good deal in the first place and comes back to the engagement, all the while trying to stifle a grin.

A friend of mine in college broke up with a girlfriend more than 20 times in the course of a year, including 3 or 4 times in one weekend. He's now happily married -- to another woman. And the moral is?

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December 14, 2004

Hmm . . . slip knot . . . tighter . . . tighter . . .

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December 13, 2004

Separated at birth? -- II

Henry Waxman and Mohamed ElBaradei

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Nominee for boring-est front page story in a major newspaper: Today's 39 column inches of filler (ha, ha) about how people are eating sandwiches for lunch in Washington.

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Thank you

My 7th place finish in the Best of the Rest of the Blogs (6750+) category in the 2004 weblog awards was way better than I expected. Based on 4.4% of 2321 votes, I figure I received 102 votes. Between my own votes and those of my friends, I guess that's about 25 or maybe 30. Which leaves about 70 or 75 votes from real people. All I can say is "Thank you." I'm really touched that people actually voted for me.

A special thank you to Kin, whose comment "You so have my vote" made my whole week.

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December 12, 2004

A farewell to John Ashcroft

The outgoing Attorney General gave a valedictory speech on Friday.

Considering the unrelenting hostility he has endured at least since his nomination, I want to link to an article written when Ashcroft was nominated in 2001. The article, which originally appeared in The New Republic, was written by an Orthodox Jew who had worked for Ashcroft when he was a senator.

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December 11, 2004

Thai officials appear in remake of Woody Allen film

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Two requests

Two requests:

1. Please consider donating to the Spirit of America by clicking on the "Friends of Iraq" image to the right. It's a great cause. I've explained more about it here.

2. Tomorrow, December 12, is the final day to vote in the 2004 Weblog Awards. If you haven't voted in past 24 hours, please go to the category "Best of the Rest of the Blogs (6750+)" and consider voting for Pillage Idiot. I'm currently 7th out of 14th, approximately 20 votes behind 6th place. It would be nice to move up.

We thank you for your support.

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December 09, 2004

OK, they're kosher. So what?

The fact that something is kosher doesn't mean you have to eat it.

Eeewwwww! Gross!

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Diversity on campus

At George Washington University in D.C., a potential scandal was avoided when the university reprogrammed its cable TVs so that CNN, and not Fox News, was showing at the student center. The student newspaper reports. You decide.

Televisions in the Marvin Center were tuned back to CNN this week after airing Fox News in what GW officials called a "mix-up."

Michael Peller, managing director of the Marvin Center, said the temporary switch to Fox News switch was due to human error because the cable company that serves the Marvin Center changed the channel number assigned to CNN, and then assigned CNN's old number to Fox News.

Some students said they were angered the University would air a station they thought was overtly biased. The station, which primarily features conservative analysts, has been criticized by liberals for pandering to the Republican Party."

Personally I think it is disrespectful to air a news broadcast specifically supportive of one party," freshman Rory Kraus said. "We are a diverse group of students. A network broadcast should cater to all students. An appropriate station would have been CNN."

Stan Dai, senior editor at the GW Patriot, a conservative newsmagazine, said CNN reporters don't understand that some people oppose liberal issues like gay marriage and joked that some people call it the "Clinton News Network."

Dai said Fox News commentary shows such as "The O'Reilly Factor" are not unbiased, but Fox is a "legitimate news organization" with objective reporting.

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December 08, 2004

Latest frightening news

According to an article in the London Times, which you should read at your own risk, laptops can cause fertility problems in men. I'm already done in that department, but it's still very frightening. In fact, it's hard to pick which part of the article is the scariest, but I don't remember many other articles in which the phrase "caused scrotal temperatures to rise" has appeared.

Link via Drudge (would it surprise you?).

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The Baltimore Sun and Governor Ehrlich

It may be a personality flaw with me, but I find these things immensely enjoyable. The Baltimore Sun, which is the 800-pound gorilla of the Maryland press (meaning Maryland, not D.C.), filed a lawsuit last Friday against Governor Ehrlich challenging his order that state employees not speak to a Sun reporter, David Nitkin, and a Sun columnist, Michael Olesker, as a violation of freedom of the press. The complaint is found here. Ehrlich contends that these journalists have made many misstatements of fact about his administration. Also, he's still angry at the Sun for editorializing during the 2002 gubernatorial campaign that Michael Steele, who ran with Ehrlich as Lt. Governor, "brings little to the team but the color of his skin."

I'm not going to don my "Volokh" hat and start expounding on the First Amendment. Nor will I weigh in about what the "experts" are saying about the suit. But I do think there are some interesting things about this brouhaha.

First, leave aside the legalities. Governor Ehrlich obviously thinks this is a political winner for him, beating up on the big boys in the press. Ehrlich has previously said publicly that "his directive preventing state officials from speaking with two journalists at The Sun was 'meant to have a chilling effect' on 'two writers who have no credibility.'" My view that this is a political stunt by the governor (who obviously feels wronged) was confirmed today in a Washington Post article, which said:

Donald F. Norris, a political science professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, said that he personally believes that Ehrlich's edict is "foolish" but that it probably won't cause any long-term political damage.

"This plays to his base very well," Norris said. "His conservative base doesn't like the Baltimore Sun, period. It sees the Sun as biased against Ehrlich. They're saying, 'Hurrah, Bob.'"

Second, the Sun's in-house counsel needs some public relations training. Here's her pronouncement on the suit:

"This is just a back-door effort to get a reporter who has published stories that the governor didn't like kicked off the beat and a back-door effort to get a columnist to be forced to write with one hand behind his back," said Tribune Co. attorney Stephanie S. Abrutyn, who filed the suit on behalf of The Sun, a Tribune-owned newspaper.

She continued: "On a broader level, this is not about just these two reporters. If the governor is allowed to do this, any reporter ... would be foolish not to think twice about what they say or write."

She sure makes it sound as if the Sun reporters generally write whatever springs to mind without thinking much about it.

Third, the Sun comes out of this dispute looking like a schoolyard bully who starts whining when someone stands up to him. This is not an opinion on the legal merits of the case; it's an opinion about public perception. Governor Ehrlich is only the governor of the state. The Sun is, well, it's the Sun, the schoolyard bully.

Fourth, I think a more interesting lawsuit would be brought by a state employee who was disciplined for speaking to one of the journalists on a matter of public concern.

Oh, forget the legal stuff. Just sit back and enjoy the fight.

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Separated at birth?

Ted Olson and Bud Selig

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December 07, 2004

Requiem for Allah

Of course, I'm referring to the blogger -- former blogger -- Allah, not to the deity.

Fans of the blog Allah is in the House, which has been largely silent for two months, sadly will have to get on with their lives. Allah appeared today in a thread at protein wisdom and made it clear he's not returning, other to make an endorsement in the 2004 Weblog Awards vote (alas, not for me, and in a totally different category with real blogs). Allah linked to a comment he posted at American Digest in which he explained what led him to abandon his blog. Both the original post and Allah's comment are worth reading. (Incidentally, in case it wasn't obvious, I fall into the group of bloggers with no pretentions of journalism who are "content to spout off into the void while the medium leaves them behind.")

Although Allah played a large role in the unmasking of the fraudulent documents used by Dan Rather on 60 Minutes, I will remember him most for the many times he made me spit my drink out my nostrils. In loving memory of a master Photoshop artist and talented writer and humorist, I will provide a link to my all-time favorite Allah Photoshop, a series in which Kerry struggled with his decision picking a running mate.

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December 06, 2004

More charities

A bunch of other charities for all your giving needs, courtesy of Noemie Emery on National Review Online. And, of course, don't forget the blogger challenge. Click on the image on the right.

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A Rockefeller Republican

Last week, I was suggesting that Bush should proceed "full speed ahead" with judicial nominations and noting that deacon, at Powerline, had used the term "kick some ass."

In this week's Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes writes that Bush is an activist president that his opponents still haven't figured out. Barnes points out Bush's penchant for big plans: "One of his most stinging criticisms is to label a proposal 'smallball' -- in other words, not big or bold enough for serious presidential attention."

I am therefore naming Bush an honorary Rockefeller Republican. For the benefit of those too young to remember Rocky, he was a multi-term governor of New York, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, and, briefly, the Vice President of the United States under Gerald Ford. But wait! you say. Wasn't "Rockefeller Republican" a term denoting a liberal Republican? It sure was, but let me explain the irony.

In September 1976, when Rockefeller was VP and Ford was running with Bob Dole as his running mate, Rockefeller went to New York State to campaign for the ticket. While at SUNY/Binghampton, Rockefeller was heckled by students, some of whom greeted him with their middle fingers outstretched. Rockefeller, with a huge smile on his face, flipped the bird back at them. The photo below immortalized this gesture.

I'm a Rockefeller RepublicanA personal story goes along with this. In 1992, I came up with the idea of printing buttons with this photo on them and the legend "I'm a Rockefeller Republican." The idea was to flip (uh, sorry) the meaning of the term so that it signified a Republican who did conservative things without worrying about what the Washington Post thought. Two friends of mine helped on this project. But the problem was that this was 1992, before nearly everything could be found on the internet. We had to find a back issue of Time or Newsweek. This we did by going over to the Martin Luther King library in D.C. and searching bound volumes of back issues. When we found the volume, we discovered to our dismay that the volume was for reserve only and didn't circulate. So we made a photocopy of the photo and drove out to the shop where the buttons were going to be made. Unfortunately, the proprietor told us that the photocopy wasn't good enough and we needed the actual magazine. So we returned to the library and plotted strategy. The reference librarian was a dour white-haired lady and we expected her to turn down any request to borrow the bound volume, and we certainly had no intention of explaining why we wanted it. We found a young black clerk and told her our problem. She seemed skeptical at first, but when we showed her the photo and explained why we wanted to borrow the volume, she laughed and told us she'd help us. She went over to the dour librarian and told her that we needed the volume to make a good copy of a photo and would return it by noon the next day. The librarian agreed. We drove off and had the buttons made. I still have a few of them around.

And, as this animated gif file, a clip from the short video that circulated before the election, demonstrates, Bush is definitely a Rockefeller Republican. (Image via Arthur Chrenkoff and courtesy of political humor.)

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The wheels of justice

Today's front page of the New York Times identifies a federal district judge in Manhattan whose caseload seems to be hidden under some musty old law books -- "there is one unchallenged king of delayed decisions: Judge George B. Daniels of Federal District Court in Manhattan, who, the latest statistics show, had 289 motions in civil cases pending for more than six months, by far the highest total of any federal judge in the nation."

I'm not here to mock Judge Daniels, although lawyers love to mock judges (generally out of earshot). But I was reminded of a story told by a partner at the firm I used to work at in New York. The partner had a case before Judge Constance Baker Motley, formerly a judge in the same federal district court. There was a summary judgment motion that Motley had sat on for nearly a whole year. The partner was in her courtroom for a status conference on the case, and when Judge Motley looked at the docket, she said to the lawyers, "There's a summary judgment motion that's been pending for eleven months." The lawyers confirmed this. Then Motley bellowed, "Why hasn't it been decided?"

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Liberal war hawks

Peter Beinart is much smarter than I am. And so are all the people who have responded to Beinart's widely discussed article in The New Republic (site registration required) making the case for liberals to buy into the fight against Muslim extremism. I've read Beinart but not the people who responded to him, and my response here is not an intellectual one, which I am not qualified to make. It is a bitter, emotional one.

I'm a former Democrat. Formally, I switched parties in 1987, but the real switch for me was in 1980. I knew I was going to vote for Reagan a few months before the election, but I didn't realize until the morning after the election just how happy I was to have made that choice. And until I read Beinart's article, I had forgotten how angry I still am, as a former Democrat, at the party's foreign policy.

I have only two things to say about the article. First, Beinart's notion that Kerry and the party establishment's foreign policy advisors are liberal war hawks is absurd. Kerry is a dove through and through, from his disreputable efforts to undercut the American effort (and those still fighting) in Vietnam through his embrace of the nuclear freeze movement and his opposition to the Gulf War in 1991, all the way up to his crass, political decision to vote for the current war in Iraq because he knew he was going to run for President. The reason Kerry's pro-war position during the campaign was incoherent, in my view, is not so much that he was trying to cover his anti-war base at the same time (which is true) but that he did not actually believe in his own position.

Second, Beinart is deluded in believing that the military actions of the 1990s have anything to do with hawkishness. The unifying theme of Somalia, Kosovo, and Bosnia was altruism. While I fully believe there is an important place for altruism in American foreign policy, the peculiar form of altruism urged by Democrats in the 1990s made altruism the exclusive justification for American military action. If there could be found any possible American national interest in a military action, the moral justification for them was compromised. (This first dawned on me in 1993, when Anthony Lewis wrote in support of the action in Somalia.) What's different about the post-9/11 military actions we have taken, and what's different about the Bush Doctrine, is that we are taking action to protect American interests first and foremost. We make life better for the people living under Afghan and Iraqi tyranny by removing the national leadership that threatened the United States and by making institutions of freedom available to them. But we do this because establishing these institutions is likely to reduce the threat that these countries (and, optimistically, others) pose to us. If these near eastern nations were entirely peaceful, we would not invade to overthrow their governments, even if doing so increased the freedom enjoyed by their people (although I can imagine non-military means of trying to accomplish that goal).

Beinart's article simply reminded me of a big reason I left the Democrats behind. If his argument in favor of American power is the best that a Democrat can make, I have little hope for the party.

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December 05, 2004

"Before vote fraud, I have THEES many teeth!"

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"Thanks for the 'roids, Dude, and no talkin', OK?"

Thanks, Dude!

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December 03, 2004

Meanwhile, a candle-lit dinner will have to do

From the NY Times:

"A federal advisory panel voted unanimously yesterday that the first drug to enhance the sex drive of women should not be approved because of a lack of information about its long-term safety."

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Ledeen: the "death rattle" of the Left

Michael Ledeen writes in National Review Online (hat tip: Bob H.) that the "hysterical reaction" of the Left to Bush's re-election and the demonization of Bush and those who voted for him are the "death rattle" of the traditional Left as a dominant political force and an intellectual vision. Ledeen argues that leftists can no longer win elections absent unusual circumstances, because their ideology is "spent."

In fact, he claims, leftists were "doomed by their own success" in overthrowing the class-bound aristocracy in Europe.

In true dialectical fashion, they were doomed by their own success. As once-impoverished workers became wealthier, the concept of the proletariat became outdated, along with the very idea of class struggle. Then the manifest failure and odious tyranny of the 20th-century leftist revolutions carried out in the name of the working class — notably in Russia, China, and Cuba — undermined the appeal of the old revolutionary doctrines, no matter how desperately the Left argued that Communist tyrannies were an aberration, or a distortion of their vision.
Ledeen explains that the biggest change was "the emergence of the United States as the most powerful, productive, and creative country in the world." There was never a serious workers' movement here; there was little class hatred, either, since American workers believed they could get rich themselves. The success of America was "devastating" to the Left, which could not understand that the world had changed with the advance of America and the defeat of the Soviet Union. Ledeen also argues that because the Left couldn't understand or transform the world any longer, it "predictably lost its bearings."
It was entirely predictable that they would seek to explain their repeated defeats by claiming fraud, or dissing their own candidates, or blaming the stupidity of the electorate. Their cries of pain and rage echo those of past elites who looked forward and saw the abyss. There is no more dramatic proof of the death of the Left than the passage of its central vision — global democratic revolution — into the hands of those who call themselves conservatives.
Ledeen concludes with this line: "History has certainly not ended, but it has added a new layer to its rich compost heap."

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December 02, 2004

2004 Weblog Awards poll

Pillage Idiot is a finalist in the 2004 Weblog Awards in the category Best of the Rest of the Blogs (6750+). The "6750+" refers to the blog's status in the TTLB Ecosystem. It's a measure ranking blogs in order of linkage and traffic. So when the category says "Best of the Rest," it means we're the bottom-dwelling scum-suckers of the blogosphere.

That said, I'm flattered to have been nominated (self-nominated, I should say) and I absolutely will not make any pitch for you, my loyal readers, to vote for Pillage Idiot. Absolutely, no pitch. None. I'm amazed that some people have already voted for Pillage Idiot without even being prompted. I'm humbled.

The rules on voting are found here. Basically, you can vote once a day in each poll category, and no cheating is allowed. The Kerry campaign may or may not challenge the results, but I have full confidence in the process.

While you're at the polls, check out the other categories and vote to reward the many fine bloggers out there.

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Maryland-Israel high tech partnership

Israeli officials, including Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, were in Maryland this week to announce the start of the Maryland-Israel Development Fund. The Washington Jewish Week reports that "the $1 million fund will provide seed money of up to $150,000 for high-tech product development by pairs of Maryland and Israeli firms working together."

Maryland's Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich, of course, was there to sign an agreement with the Israelis. Whenever a Republican is involved with Israel or American Jews, suspicion is rampant. Can you imagine that a politician might be trying to gain support among potential voters? Ehrlich couldn't see what the fuss was about.

For his part, Ehrlich used the event to tout his pro-Jewish credentials and pro-business stance.

"I've loved my three trips to Israel," he said, citing his travels there as Maryland delegate, as House member, and last November, as governor.

"This is a pro-business administration," Ehrlich told the audience, adding, "We are about business and business development."

The WJW article quotes a local rabbi defending the governor.

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt of Potomac's Congregation B'nai Tzedek addressed concerns that the new program was simply a ploy to win Jewish votes in the already contentious jockeying for the 2006 governor's race.

"Anytime a governor does anything, it's possible there's a political motivation, but this governor has shown through his visit to Israel and his other actions his genuine interest in strengthening ties between Maryland and the state of Israel," Weinblatt said.

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Entrance exam

Via Jay Nordlinger:

The Spectator publishes the entrance exam (site registration required) for King Edward’s School in Birmingham, England, in 1898. Topics are English Grammar, Geography, Latin, English History, and "Arithmetic." I put quotation marks around "arithmetic," because we're not talking about dividing 450 by 15. Algebra might be a better term, especially when using funny money:

12. A and B rent a number of fields between them for a year, the rent and other expenses amounting to £108 17s. 6d. A puts in 2 horses, 5 oxen and 10 sheep; and B puts in 4 horses, 1 ox, and 27 sheep. If a horse eats as much as 3 sheep and an ox as much as 2 sheep, how much should A and B each pay?
I'll ask my teenagers.

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December 01, 2004

Join the Spirit of America Blogger Challenge

[UPDATE: Bump. Challenge is underway.]

The Spirit of America is a charity with an excellent mission.

Our mission is to extend the goodwill of the American people to assist those advancing freedom and peace abroad.

Our objectives are to:

• Increase the reach, scale and impact of the informal humanitarian activities that take place on the front lines in troubled regions.

• Contribute charitable goods that can have a positive, practical and timely impact in the local communities where American personnel are involved.

• Improve foreign perceptions of the American people and our presence abroad.

Spirit of America is a not-for-profit organization supported through private sector contributions and in-kind support.

It is operating under the auspices of the Cyber Century Forum, a 501c3 public foundation. Donations to Spirit of America and the requests we feature are tax deductible.

Spirit of America operates by fulfilling "requests from American personnel for goods that improve the lives of local people and thus help advance freedom and peace."

We have provided school and medical supplies, sewing machines, hand tools, water barrels, clothing, soccer gear and toys in response to needs identified by American personnel. We contributed equipment to Iraqi-owned television stations to establish a better alternative to Al Jazeera. We helped Iraqi men whose arms were amputated by Saddam Hussein get a new start on life.

Here is a list of SOA projects.

At the instigation of M.E. of Stand in the Trenches, I've joined a team of bloggers (more accurately, I've hitched my a** to others) for this fundraising challenge. The team is led by The Truth Laid Bear (a/k/a TTLB). Bloggers can click here to join the TTLB team. Readers can click here to donate.

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"I forget . . . is it pareve?"

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