Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

A lovely and heartbreaking interview with a friend of the murdered Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka. (h/t Newsbusters) And we should all remember the name of the Indian woman — Sandra Samuel — who risked her own life to save the Holtzberg’s two-year old son.

Sending Secretary of State Condi Rice to India is strong and appropriate move in the right direction. Better still would be some joint statements by the President and President-elect which recognize that there will be no loss of momentum or softening of U.S. policy with regard to combating jihadists.

Dorothy Rabinowitz goes after Deepak Chopra and his ilk who manage to blame America for Mumbai and other acts of terror. She observes that they never get to the real root of the problem: “the religious fanaticism that has sent fevered mobs rioting, burning and killing over alleged slights to the Quran or the prophet. Not to mention the countless others enlisted to blow themselves and others up in the name of God. Nor did we hear, in these media meditations, any particular expression of sorrow from the New Delhi-born Dr. Chopra for the anguish of Mumbai’s victims: a striking lack, no doubt unintentional, but not surprising, either.”

Is Sarah Palin showing “loyalty” or is she really a non-doctrinaire maverick too? Perhaps she’s not exactly what the conservative base thinks she is. She did after all seem quite positive about immigration reform.

The UAW says it’s management’s fault and their wages are just right. And we should be encouraging this behavior by giving the companies billions from taxpayers making far less than domestic auto company workers?

A “math problem” for Al Franken? Well, that’s how his liberal home-state newspaper (which is plainly down in the dumps about the difficulty in wresting the election from the winner Norm Coleman) describes it. Others would say: he got fewer votes than the winner. You don’t have the sense that helping him steal the election is going to be high on the priority list in the Senate. Why risk derailing the entire “honeymoon” with a bare-knuckle brawl over an obnoxious comedian’s effort to undo the ballot results?

A good idea: “let’s stop worrying about recessions and start growing again.”

Since the election Joe Biden has been seen but not heard in public these days — proof that the Obama team learned its lesson in the campaign ( i.e. Biden is incapable of staying on script and lacks both wisdom and tact). So let’s hope the answer to this query is “Yes!”: “Will Vice President Cheney, a man who has expanded the powers of the Office of the Vice President more than any VP in recent memory, be succeeded by a wall moth?”

We aren’t exactly seeing the lobbyists thrown out Washington, as candidate Obama led us to believe he would do. In a masterpiece of understatement Politico puts it this way: “Barack Obama’s expected pick of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to be secretary of health and human services bumps up against the president-elect’s pledge to rid the White House of special interests. ” Bumps up? That’s a delicate way of excusing the appointment to HHS of an “advisor” to a lobbying firm that made millions in healthcare.

In case you were worried about the “emoluments” problem posed by the appointment of Hillary Clinton to State — you can rest easy.

Bill Roggio provides helpful information on the connection between Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. The bottom line — there is no “org” chart, but they have similar goals and tactics and train in tandem.

Should President Obama mimic the New Deal, pressing ahead with his “bold” agenda on energy and healthcare? Robert J. Samuelson thinks not: “Any program to refashion the energy and health-care sectors — to take two obvious candidates — would be complicated and contentious. Some producers and consumers would win; others would lose. Proposals would create massive uncertainties for businesses and raise the probability of higher costs. To succeed in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, for example, any cap-and-trade program must involve higher energy prices.” Put differently, there’s no money for the stimulus package. And there really isn’t any to do much of anything else.

Joseph Epstein contends that there is more to being a good president than being a good Ivy League student. He reminds us: “Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan were two of the greatest presidents of the twentieth century. Truman didn’t go to college at all, and Reagan, one strains to remember, went to Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois. Each was his own man, each, in his different way, without the least trace of conformity or hostage to received opinion or conventional wisdom. Schooling, even what passes for the best schooling, would, one feels, have made either man less himself and thereby probably worse.” Perhaps if American universities weren’t bastions of anti-Americanism and multiculturalism we’d feel better about the graduates who excelled in that environment.

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition sues the rating services for helping the Coalition make subprime loans to high risk borrowers that it had advocated should be supported by the government. Nothing like a mix of victimology, trial lawyers, and bad housing policy.

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