May 28, 2002
ONE EMAIL CORRESPONDENT, in light of all the teen sex discussion over the weekend, asked if it were “Blogger Sweeps Week.” Hmm. No. If it were, I’d be linking to this article on the importance of sex by Will Leitch, from The Simon.
ONE EMAIL CORRESPONDENT, in light of all the teen sex discussion over the weekend, asked if it were “Blogger Sweeps Week.” Hmm. No. If it were, I’d be linking to this article on the importance of sex by Will Leitch, from The Simon.
TWENTY YEARS AGO, Europeans were savaging Reagan for not being nice enough to the Russians, and for pursuing an arms buildup they were sure would lead to nuclear war. Now, with the Soviet Union gone and Russia joining NATO after a historic nuclear arms-reduction treaty, they’re bowled over by the brilliance of American diplomacy in achieving such a bloodless triumph, and embarrassed that they ever could have doubted us. Uh, aren’t they? Well, no. . . .
ROBERT SCHWARTZ has an item on Michael Moore’s new movie, which is built around a discredited bit of history (no, not Bellesiles’ — another bit of discredited history, namely that the Second Amendment was all about encouraging slavery, which originates with Carl Bogus).
ALEX RUBALCAVA has moved to this new URL. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly, and go there to read the story about all the proposed Internet regulations currently before Congress.
MICKEY KAUS ANALYZES Seymour Hersh’s intelligence-failure 9/11 story from the New Yorker and asks some questions that Hersh doesn’t.
Meanwhile Josh Marshall set out to debunk the hawks’ claims that we should be going to war against Iraq, only to decide that the hawks are right. But Bush fan Andrew Sullivan now says he’s worried that Bush isn’t merciless enough to do the job.
JOHN HILER has written the definitive article on the Blogosphere (again). It’s long, it’s thorough, and it’s thoughtful. I have a few quibbles, but that’s all they are. Bookmark this, and give the link to your journalist friends.
YOU DON’T HEAR MUCH about this sort of military action in Afghanistan. I wonder why? It’s important.
DADDY WARBLOGS celebrates Memorial Day with a righteous Fisking.
ANOTHER REASON TO LOVE AMERICA: Combination tanning salon / sushi bars!
ERIC OLSEN reports on his all-American memorial day.
Memorial Day weekend was no great shakes at the InstaPundit household, but it was pleasant enough considering everything that happened. My daughter got over her stomach bug, and spent last night at my sister’s. This was supposed to allow my wife and me to have a lovely romantic dinner to celebrate her birthday (last week) but she came down with the stomach bug just in time to put paid to those plans. She recovered enough to meet with some guys today from the production company shooting her documentary, but then it was back to bed for her. I picked up my daughter, took her to the mall for a haircut (very cute), a trip to Build-a-Bear (cute, but a bit expensive — they make the money selling you tiny bits of cloth shaped like bear clothes at exorbitant prices, and it’s carefully calibrated to ensure you spend more than you plan to), and a stop by Godiva Chocolate (I buy her a couple of pieces of that stuff when we go to the mall, with the result that regular cheap-o chocolate tastes like crap to her and goes uneaten). Then home where we finished a book (having completed the Narnia series, we’re back on a second run-through of Harry Potter; just finished the first one). Not a bad day at all, considering.
And any day like that is a good day, considering that there are people out there who’d like to see everyone involved go up in a nuclear fireball. To which I say: screw ‘em — and remember the guys who are doing their best to accomplish that very goal.
For a different kind of Memorial Day remembrance, go here.
A FEW PEOPLE HAVE EMAILED to wonder why comments aren’t visible on every post. A couple of Macintosh users have even hinted darkly at conspiracies.
I just don’t turn them on unless I think there’s likely to be a good discussion. Under my new (and much more expensive than Blogspot) setup, I’ve got more or less a dedicated server, but the site is still using a lot of bandwidth and I don’t want to add gratuitously to the server load. Also, I don’t think I could keep track of all the commentage if comments were enabled on everything.
ALEX BEAM, REVISITED: According to this report in the New York Times, another mainline news columnist has been taken in by a rather obvious satire.
Now, anyone can be taken in. But read the names involved in this story and see if it shouldn’t have set off some alarm bells somewhere.
Heck, I checked out this story about an outfit seeking adoptive parents for frozen embryos because it sounded like a parody. Apparently, though, it’s true — or at least they didn’t ‘fess up when I phoned ‘em, which to me is the difference between parody and, well, fraud. Here’s a link to their website, and here’s the Deroy Murdock column on “microscopic-Americans” that made me wonder.
(Thanks to Arthur’s Computer Adventure, which my daughter is playing on the other computer in my study, blogging resumes earlier than expected).
BLOGGER GODLESS CAPITALIST says Bush is a moron for saying that Europe isn’t anti-American. (He/she is referencing the story involving David Gregory that I link to below).
On the other hand, reader Tony Seward suggests that Bush is right:
Every Friday night in Paris there is a group of rollerbladers that get
together and do a lap through the city along with Police escort. The attendance cycles throught the year depending on holidays and weather, but there are usually several thousand and have been as many as 25,000.
Le Monde said that there were three to four thousand protesters. If there were more skaters last Friday, one might [ask] why David Gregory didn’t ask Bush how he felt about more Parisians being interested in ‘blading rather than protesting.
Unfortunately, the Pari-Roller website doesn’t have statistics past May 10, so I can’t tell how many people were skating Friday. But overall, it looks like there have been more skaters than protesters pretty much every time since the warm weather began. Advantage: Seward.
I’VE BEEN MOSTLY FOLLOWING LILEKS’ ADVICE today. I’m glad he didn’t. Follow the links.
But where’s 101 Park?
BEN DOMENECH has a thoughtful and polite response on teen sex now.
But Ben, I’m not an ex-hippie. My Dad is an ex-hippie, whose antiwar protests were sympathetically treated by Garry Wills (who hates me) in Esquire back in ’70 or ’71. I was in fourth grade at the time. And my youngest brother is 21, so I’m not as out of touch with the world of teens as you seem to think.
I got a fair amount of mail along the lines of Ben Domenech’s post, saying “listen to what the teens are saying about teen sex, and you’ll understand how bad it is.”
This seems self-contradictory to me. If teenagers think that teen sex is so bad, then how come we have a problem with so many of them, well, thinking it’s so good?
Really, of course, it can be either — as many other emailers wrote, teen sex was (or is) enjoyable for them, and did (or is doing) them no harm. Some said it was the only happy memory they had of their teen years.
My chief point in my initial post was that teen sex isn’t unnatural or aberrational, and that pretending that it’s some bizarre modern phenomenon born of Elvis or Abercrombie and Fitch misses the point. As I said in a later post, there’s a big difference between sex at 17 or 18 and sex at 13. (Newsmagazines tend to talk about 13-year-olds, while showing provocative photos of 18-year-olds, the better to boost newsstand sales). Personally, I think people are probably better off waiting until they’re post-high school for sex — but I know a lot of people who are damned happy they didn’t, and some who are sorry that they did.
Unlike some people, I don’t feel that I know best for everyone in this regard. If teenagers weren’t infantilized in so many other ways, they’d have a better base of judgment and self-respect, and could make better decisions about when they were ready to have sex. Unfortunately, many teenagers have so few outlets for feeling accomplished and respected that having a boyfriend or girlfriend assumes way too much importance in their lives, which probably causes them to start having sex sooner than they really want to.
I think that the extended infantilization of teens — and even twenty-somethings — in our culture is pernicious and breeds irresponsibility, and I think that sensational treatments of teen sex make that problem worse, not better.
Well, dang. I hadn’t planned to post any more until tonight, and now there’s not time to trim the hedges before I go pick up my daughter from my sister’s. Hmm. Well, as they say at Microsoft, “That’s not a bug — it’s a feature!”
UPDATE: Cal Ulmann thinks Ben’s way too worked up.
TAPPED is on the warpath about the Minnesota Green Party, which is running a candidate against embattled Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone. Being of Native American extraction myself, I’m particularly offended by the Greens’ comments on Native Americans’ mental abilities.
DANIEL WIENER says that the Drudge story about Administration unhappiness regarding the Clancy Sum of All Fears movie is the real story. The only reason to leak stuff like that, Wiener suggests, is to get the movie more publicity. He draws some interesting conclusions about why that might be the case — and he’s got comments enabled, so you can add your own observations.
MEDIAPUNDIT says he/she predicted that it would turn out Democrats had as much advance warning about bin Laden’s plans as Bush did, back on May 16th. Advantage: Mediapundit!
WOW. I can’t remember a President delivering a public dressing-down to a reporter like this one delivered to David Gregory of NBC. First Rumsfeld, now Bush: it must seem unfair. The rule is supposed to be that reporters ask dumb and slanted questions, and politicians don’t call them on it.
How are you going to be a media bigfoot if people actually start mocking you when you deserve it? But, you know, the press has been acting like the press in a Saturday Night Live skit for years. They shouldn’t be surprised that Bush is picking up on his role. And this indicates that the White House isn’t scared of the press, because it thinks Americans don’t respect the David Gregorys of the world — which should scare the press most of all
DAVE KOPEL says that “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh has chutzpah.
I KEEP CHECKING OVER AT SAMIZDATA to see if Dale Amon has posted a report from the International Space Development Conference in Denver, where enviro-wackos are supposed to have been pushing for a ban on lunar development. So far, nothing. What, they don’t have internet access in Denver?
SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK & ROLL: The next installment is up on Dodgeblog.
MICKEY KAUS says that political conventions will be after Labor Day, and suggests that they should take place in mid-October, since everyone knows who the nominee is anyway.
CLAY WATERS has taken up his pen against anti-Semitic graffiti in New York.
SUICIDE BOMBER IN PERTH, AUSTRALIA! James Morrow has the scoop on a guy who seems to be imitating Palestinians, though with a different agenda.
PORN IS BIG, AND IT MAKES A LOT OF MONEY. But, says Emmanuelle Richard, not as much money as people think. It’s primarily a story about the gullibility of journalists (no!) and about the tendency of people in industries they cover to lie (no!) to said journalists.
THE WEB IS DEAD TODAY, but Meryl Yourish’s page is very much alive. She’s uncovered some crocodile tears in the Arab News about Chandra Levy and the conviction of the 1963 Birmingham church bomber.
Hey, shouldn’t they be siding with the bomber?
HERE’S A RUSSIAN BLOG, mostly in Russian, by Yaroslav Grekov. The title is all too true.
NASA SAYS IT HAS FOUND huge amounts of water ice on Mars. This obviously makes the terraforming discussion in my TechCentral Station column a bit more relevant. Meanwhile, other reports say that NASA is planning a manned mission to Mars as a result. I’m sure that some people at NASA are working on plans, anyway. NASA has been refining the Mars Direct plan originally developed by Bob Zubrin and estimates that a manned mission to Mars could be done for about $40-50 billion in 1998 dollars — less than a tenth of what NASA had estimated in the early 1990s using a far more cumbersome approach.
Whether anything will come of this, I don’t know — but it’s certainly moved the issue off the back burner, where it’s been for quite a while.
JOYCE MALCOLM offers a cautionary history on English gun controls and the resulting explosion of crime. And it’s in the Boston Globe of all places.
DAVID BLANKENHORN has a pro-marriage website and blog. The tone is more civil and intellectual than some recent sites I’ve visited.
GLOBALIZATION AND FREE TRADE: While Western anti-globo crypto-Marxists bitch, the question from Africans is please, can we have some more?
My prediction: within a few decades, an explosion of African entrepreneurialism will cause Europe to worry about trade competition from Africa. You think I’m kidding? Hey — Uganda’s top band (and it’s not easy to sell half a million in Uganda) has a song about the beauty of privatization. That ain’t happening in France. But then, Africans have been all the way to the bottom with socialism and kleptocracy.
STRATEGYPAGE says that a Pakistani-Indian nuclear war will be hard to avoid.
Here’s a thought — I don’t know if it’s right or not. But it occurs to me that while the United States is busy doing its (probably inadequate) best to prevent a nuclear war there, it’s much of the rest of the world that has the most to lose.
The United States’ nuclear power is a huge military ace that it can’t really play, mostly for diplomatic reasons. But if there’s a nuclear war between two more-or-less Third World countries (Pakistan more, India less) will that lower the threshhold? If I were, say, an Iraqi, or a Saudi, or for that matter a French diplomat, this would worry me.
If I were Israel, on the other hand, I might see some value in the loosening of nuclear restraints. I wonder if anyone’s thinking about this sort of diplomatic repercussion?
STILL MORE TEEN SEX: I would let this drop, but I’ve decided it’s going to be the topic of my FoxNews column for next week, so I have every incentive to keep the idea-stream flowing. Reader Francis W. Porretto sends these observations:
With regard to the teen sex debate, I find myself substantially in agreement with your position — and I’m an observant Catholic. Even so, I think it wise to attach a couple of observations to the subject that have largely been overlooked.
In earlier societies in which teenage sex was less exposed to condemnation, because the typical newlywed couple was two teenagers, there were stronger protections for the young woman involved, in the form of social constraints.
Often those constraints, though entirely private, rose to the level of coercion, usually applied to the young man to “do the right thing” by a girl whose virginity he had taken. (Cf. “shotgun weddings.”) [True, though those constraints typically only applied within, and not across, class lines].
The Western world, and particularly the United States, is a far different legal, social, and economic environment from those earlier societies. I’m sure I needn’t tell you about the many legal changes! My point here is that the incentives and disincentives to irresponsible sex, and the penalties for unwise decisions, are quite different from those times of yore, so we must be careful about invoking them for comparative purposes.
THERE’S A NEW Smarter Harper’s Index up.
OUR ENEMIES THE SAUDIS: Michael Barone pulls no punches in his description of Saudi perfidy, duplicity, and outright enmity. He’s dead right. We should be planning for a successor regime in the Saudi-controlled parts of Arabia. It’s going to collapse anyway sooner or later; we should make it sooner so that people in the region learn that there’s a price to this sort of behavior.
The Saudis stymied the FBI investigation of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. The Saudis refused a U.S. request in 1996 that they take custody of bin Laden; he went to Afghanistan instead. They refused in 1995 to hand over Imad Mughniyah, believed responsible for the bombing of a Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983. Far from aiding our efforts against terrorism, the Saudis have worked against them–to protect the terrorists in their own ranks. . . .
It may not be prudent yet to speak the truth out loud, that the Saudis are our enemies. But they should know that it is increasingly apparent to the American people that they are effectively waging war against us. And they should know that we have the capacity to destroy their military, presumably in a matter of hours. The Saudis’ eastern provinces, with their oil, could be given to their Shiite Muslim majority, now oppressed by the Sunni Muslim Saudi rulers. The holy cities of Mecca and Medina could be returned to the custody of the Hashemites (Jordan’s King Abdullah’s family), who unlike the Saudis are direct descendants of the prophet Mohammed. Let the Saudis have the sands of central Arabia and their bank accounts in Switzerland, hotel suites in London, and villas on the Riviera.
He’s right. The Saudis have had opportunity after opportunity to show that they’re worth saving, and they’ve missed those opportunities because, well, they’re not worth saving. And notice how the Hashemite Restoration idea just keeps gathering steam. Now where did I hear that first?
FIRST MAUREEN DOWD. Now Ann Coulter. Er, except that the Coulter column is a parody. The similar Dowd column was merely self-parody.
NICK DENTON weighs in on the enviro-wacky idea of designating the Moon a wilderness preserve:
I just don’t get this, or the people who are worried that we’re going to contaminate Mars. The moon is an airless, lifeless, pockmarked ball of rock. I would far rather industrial development took place off-planet, or in Antarctica, for that matter. English meadows, or California redwood forests, are far more valuable to me than a wasteland that most human beings will never visit. And, if anyone is worried that development will spoil the view of the full moon, we can always put the industrial zone on the far side.
JOSH CHAFETZ has been blogging today! Of course, it’s not a holiday weekend over there anyway.
AD HOMINEM ALERT: Ben Domenech says that my post on teen sex means I can’t be a father. In the comments section on his page he responds to those who correct him by saying that “I’m aware the man has children in the paternal/biological sense. It’s his Fatherhood that I’m disputing.” There is, however, no actual response to the substance of any of my comments. (Compare this thoughtful post from Mark Byron).
This is more or less the same as those Sharpton types saying that Clarence Thomas’s views mean that he’s not really black, rather than responding to his views. Domenech should be embarrassed by this statement.
UPDATE: Now Richard Bennett seems to be saying that I’m only for teen sex because I’m sleeping with teenagers. Uh, no. And surely that’s not what he means, though I’m not the only one to read it that way. (See the comments on Ben’s page). I’ve gotten a variety of hate mail on this too from a number of people along these lines.
I’ve managed to talk about this without accusing any of those who disagree with me of being sexually repressed, neurotic, or priest-ridden, and without making any teen-sex-priest comments. I must say that I would have appreciated the same courtesy.
Sadly, it’s this kind of discussion that serves to remind me why it is that — despite my position on the war, say — I’m just not a conservative. At least, not the kind of conservative that likes to tell other people how to live their lives, and that enjoys the role of moral censor. That sort of thing is just another species of PC bossiness, sharing far more ground with the intrusive left than it wants to admit.
UPDATE: I notice that Bennett (also in Ben’s comment section) has rather profanely clarified that he didn’t mean to charge me with infidelity or — what’s the word? –ephebophilia. He doesn’t actually use that word, but I wanted to — it was a new one to me as of a few weeks ago, and I like new words. Strangely, it didn’t appear among the exotic terms I studied when preparing for the spelling bee in my youth.
Here are some wise comments on the subject by Gena Lewis.
UPDATE: And N.Z. Bear has some comments on fatherhood.
HERE’S A TRANSLATION GUIDE that will help you decode speeches by people like Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat.
BRENDAN O’NEILL has looked at the various anti-Israel petitions and has some interesting insight into what’s driving the anti-Israel movement today:
In the past, people tended to define themselves as anti-Israel as part of a broader anti-imperialism – in opposition to US and Western intervention abroad, whatever form intervention happened to take.
What could Western academics, anti-capitalists and Islamicists possibly have in common, to make them all so vocal about Israel? Could it possibly be a loathing – or a self-loathing on the part of some academics – for Western values? Could it be, not so much an anti-imperialist stance against foreign intervention, but a reaction against aggression that is just too unapologetic and unabashed in an era where intervention abroad has to be dressed in the language of humanitarianism and human rights?
Whatever it is, there is something about today’s ‘anti-Israel’ stance that makes even me – who always sympathised with the Palestinian cause in the past – feel distinctly uncomfortable.
Yes, and I think that this is what makes so many of us (particularly Americans)who aren’t Jewish or evangelical Christians feel more than “uncomfortable.” This is really a movement inspired by rejection of the Enlightenment, of reason, and of modernity. Which is why I view it with such deep contempt.
UPDATE: David Carr refers to it as the “great convergence of the world’s idiots,” and has some firsthand observations.
TEEN SEX UPDATE! TAPPED has ridden to my defense on the teen-sex debate: “Reynolds has it just right when he writes, ‘you won’t teach teens to wait until they’re ready by launching unaimed broadsides against the assumed evil of teen sex, and by acting as if teen sex is unnatural or aberrant. It’s not.’”
UPDATE: Orchid has more. So does Eugene Volokh, who may or may not help his credibility by also observing that his opinion of male sexual ethics causes him to look with favor on the idea of having a lesbian daughter.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Brian Sinclair has the whole debate summarized (with links) on his Daily Babble site. The real question is, have we inadvertently google-bombed the term “teen sex?”
STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Nope, not even close on the Google thing. Surprisingly, however, some actual non-porn sites do show up on the first page.
HEY, CHARLES OLIVER is posting today, too, with comments on Southern Hemisphere Christianity, Japanese fecundity, and midwestern teachers’ ethics.
WOBBLY WATCH UPDATE: Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan say Bush has gone wobbly.
Me, I still lean toward “rope-a-dope,” but reasonable minds may disagree. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt Bush, and a lot of other folks in the Administration, to read this regularly. Or perhaps they should just go here now and then.
UPDATE: Oliver Willis says the Administration isn’t serious, either. Hmm. We’re hearing a lot on this from a lot of different quarters this week: Steyn, Kristol, Willis, Sullivan, et al.
“THAT’S A BLOODY SHOCK!” Tim Blair reports on a bizarre twist to last week’s big euthanasia story.
ERIC RAYMOND INFORMS ME that he’s posting today, and on one of my favorite subjects. Hmm. He didn’t link to a specific post or say what he was referring to, so you’ll just have to read today’s items and try to figure out which he meant. I’m still not sure, but that’s okay. I’m a man of varied interests.
I’M POSTING LESS, but as far as I can tell, most people aren’t posting at all today. Though Andrew Stuttaford has some keen observations on Generic Marmite, cufflinks, and random gunfire over at The Corner. Start here and scroll up.
And Adriana Cronin has a long post on public/private law enforcement that also features her looking quite fetching astride her old (now stolen) motorcycle, and a non-astride photo of her new motorcycle, a Ducati Monster Dark 900. She likes the old one better, but I think the Ducati’s got the edge in the name department. I mean who wouldn’t want a Monster Dark 900? Even if that were the name of, say, a spatula? “Honey, I’m flipping the pancakes now [dropping voice into manly tones] with my new Monster Dark 900 — the teflon coated one!”
I’m hoping that Dale Amon, who’s attending the International Space Development Conference in Denver, will find time to post a report on the wacky enviro-types who are going to be there agitating to keep the Moon “pristine.”
HERE’S ANOTHER anti-Israel petition, this one from Canada. The signatures here aren’t as amusing as the ones on the Aussie petition.
AN ANTI-ISRAEL HARVARD PROFESSOR is unmasked by Jeff Goldstein. I’ll never listen to that album the same way. . . .
UNILATERALISM, INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND TERRORISM: Some lessons from the French, courtesy of Banana Counting Monkey.
SOME SEX ADVICE from Eve Kayden can be found here.
THE UNITED STATES is warning citizens against travel to India and Pakistan, and is suggesting that citizens who are there get out.
In more cheerful news, I’m uploading very cool songs from Michele Newton. When they’re available for listening, I’ll link to them.
TEEN SEX UPDATE: Rishawn Biddle weighs in.
TEEN SEX UPDATE UPDATE! Robert George, over at The Corner, observes:
“Teen” sex is a relatively recent phenomenon because the “teenager” is a recent phenomenon. For all intents and purposes, teenagers are a 20th century creation, maybe even second half of the 20th century at that. Consider Teddy Roosevelt and George H.W. Bush were men doing manly things (like going off to war and such) well before their 20th birthdays. “Teendom” is a conceit of the post-war suburban leisure class. Furthermore, there is an interesting tension in society’s where we insist that teenagers be treated as children when it comes to sex, but as adults when it comes to murder.
Yes, I had meant to point out that contradiction myself.
JUSTIN WEITZ reports that Norwegian grocery stores are labelling Israeli products so that pro-Palestinian shoppers can avoid them. Weitz responds with some labelling suggestions of his own.
JOSH CHAFETZ doesn’t like my title of “free speech on the left” below, referring to the student protest threats that led to the cancellation of an appearance by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He says it’s rudeness, but not censorship.
Well, he’s sort of right. But while the First Amendment, which protects free speech, bars government censorship but not rudeness, that does not mean that things that don’t involve the First Amendment don’t involve free speech. And you can bet that the rude students were high-fiving at their success in getting the appearance cancelled via a mere threat.
Shorewood High alumnus Ann Haker says that Shorewood is in fact a haven of censorship, too, which puts a somewhat different complexion on things:
Shorewood High is my alma mater too (class of ’85). I’m embarrassed by the Rehnquist disinvite. Thought you might like this link:
SHS has a speech code banning specific words, and any others that a teacher deems “disruptive”, and the penalty can be getting arrested by the police.
Nice liberal place, isn’t it?
Hmm. I wonder if that speech code would have been used had students threatened to disrupt a speech by Janet Reno, or Michael Moore?
By claiming the authority to censor student speech, and then not exercising it in instances where they may agree, the authorities — in my opinion — become complicit in the behavior, which turns rudeness into censorship.
UPDATE: This post by Justin Adams says it better than I did.
THE CALIFORNIA APARTMENT EXPLOSION looks to have been caused by a gas leak, according to this report.
PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH has a nice piece on the Second Amendment over at FoxNews.
ALL THIS ON TEEN SEX, and I get not one word of support from TAPPED. I mean, if the Democrats aren’t good for defending teen sex, what are they good for?
WOBBLY WATCH: Steven Den Beste has some thoughts.
READER TRENT TELENKO sends this somewhat more comforting take on Indian / Pakistani nuclear war from StrategyPage.Com. However, while I’m a big StrategyPage fan, this piece is rather sketchy. It says that most deaths would come from economic disruption rather than weapon effects, which is almost certainly true. It also says that economic collapse would bring an Indian/Pakistani war to a rapid halt, but doesn’t make clear just how that is to be. (Didn’t people say that before World War I, too?) Here’s the most interesting part, though:
So it is likely that the United States will put great pressure on India not to attack Pakistan until we’ve conquered Iraq. India is not dependent on the US for anything so our major influence comes from incentives, not punitive disincentives. There is one coin which can truly buy India’s short-term inaction – promised American support for India’s later conquest of Pakistan. Such conquest would permanently protect India from Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal, and from Pakistani state-supported terrorism.
I wonder what promises are being made.
STANLEY FISH DOESN’T LIKE REPORTERS: Apparently some come with an agenda, some are grad-school washouts who are just jealous, and all are idiots. So why has he spent so much time talking with them anyway? Because, he says, he wants to be “understood and admired and celebrated.”
A THREE-STORY APARTMENT BUILDING in Los Angeles has been leveled by an unexplained explosion. Probably nothing, but still. . . .
UPDATE: This FoxNews story has a picture. My take: If this is terrorist-related (a big if) this explosion was likely an accident in an apartment used for bomb-making rather than a planned one.
MORE WORRIES: Here’s a study on the death toll from a “limited” India / Pakistan nuclear war. “Only” three million casualties expected. (Via Joe Katzman). Meanwhile Lileks is buying iodine just in case, and Brits are pulling nonessentials out.
Worst of all, Chris Patten is trying his hand at shuttle diplomacy.
BUSH’S APPROVAL RATING is steady at 76, and his disapprovals have actually dropped by 2 percent, going from 19 to 17. Apparently the “Bush Knew” campaign isn’t doing very well. (Edward Boyd has a nice tabular display of the relevant figures).
On the other hand, Rod Dreher reports that he’s getting lots of angry emails from conservatives about Bush’s inaction. It better be rope-a-dope, with those stories about the Iraq invasion being off just disinformation. What worries me is that somebody at the White House is looking at these poll numbers and trying to avoid rocking the boat.
MORE HOT TEEN SEX! And at The National Review (Online), too. Does WFB know about this?
At the core of Jonah’s response to Charles seems to be the importance of marriage — or at least the importance of acknowledging the importance of marriage. Well, that’s fine, I guess. But if teen sex is particularly bad, it must be bad for one of two reasons: because it is inherently bad, or because it’s bad in its consequences.
If teen sex is inherently bad, then it’s hard to see how marriage makes it better. (One might object to it as premarital sex, but he explicitly disclaims that he’s getting on a soapbox about that). If it’s bad only in its consequences then things that ameliorate those consequences, like contraception, safe sex, etc. also ameliorate its badness.
And consequences have to be measured both ways: good and bad. Teens do all sorts of things that are dangerous to their bodies or emotions, like play sports (one girl in my neighborhood blew out a knee ligament, which will have lifelong painful consequences, playing soccer at the age of 15) and we weigh those risks against the pleasure the sports bring and the life lessons that they teach. Is it so absurd to argue that the same reasoning might apply? If it doesn’t, it must be because there’s something about sex, beyond the consequences, that makes us think about it differently.
I don’t regret any of the sex that I had as a teenager, though none of it happened when I was, say, 13. (Being around a campus during the early 1970s, I had some opportunities with older women at that age, but as exciting as that sounds in the abstract it struck me as a bit too creepy at the time, and I don’t regret not having sex then, either.)
So maybe it’s important to wait until you’re ready. But you won’t teach teens to wait until they’re ready by launching unaimed broadsides against the assumed evil of teen sex, and by acting as if teen sex is unnatural or aberrant. It’s not. Teenagers have been having sex since the beginning of time. Their bodies are ready for it, and it’s absurd to tell them to “just say no.” Instead they need to be taught the judgment and sense of self-worth that will enable them to do what is right for them.
I notice that Jonah didn’t respond to the Shakespeare point, though.
FAR OUT? When I wrote this column for TechCentralStation I was worried that the topic — colonization and terraforming of Mars, etc. — was too far out. But now comes this story, originally from the Wall Street Journal, on environmental activists who are organizing to fight lunar development plans.
As I said in the TCS column, this mostly reveals what the enviros’ priorities are.
And remember when I said a couple of weeks ago that the International Space Development Conference in Denver this weekend would be worth attending? The whole dispute is going to come to a head there. Too bad Kaus wouldn’t let me borrow the Boeing.
CHARLES OLIVER is all over the whole teen sex debate and he’s giving Jonah Goldberg what-for. Just start at that link and keep scrolling up, all the way to the point where he says Jonah has his Shakespeare completely wrong.
THE EUROPEAN UNION has some surprising supporters, according to H.D. Miller.
Well, I wasn’t all that surprised.
PAT TILLMAN IS LEAVING THE NFL to join the Army.
CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER, CONT’D: Now TAPPED is cheering on a lawsuit by Judicial Watch.
TED BARLOW has a post on defeatist terror warnings that made me say “I wish I’d written that.” And I wish that Bush, Mueller, Ridge, etc. would read it.
MEGAN MCARDLE has an article on proposed litigation against purveyors of “junk food” and “fast food” in Salon. It’s good, naturally.
KATIE ALLISON GRANJU, a certified parenting expert (she has a book with Simon & Schuster), joins in the teen sex debate.
KEVIN MCGEEHEE says that Jonah Goldberg’s column on blogging (below) actually argues for the success of blogs. McGeehee may be right, but my favorite part is the use of the term “legacy media” to refer to networks, print newspapers, etc.
CULTURE CHANGE ALERT: I’ve said before that guns are being de-demonized. Here’s an article from my local alt-weekly, which has the political and cultural stance of most alt-weeklies, taking a rather sympathetic look at guns, and people licensed to carry them. That there are lots of Knoxvillians who like guns, and carry them, is nothing new. That the local alt-weekly would look at them this sympathetically is.
NOT CONTENT WITH ASSAULTING ME, Jonah Goldberg is dissing the entire Blogosphere! Actually not. It’s a perfectly fine column, and may well turn out to be right.
Though I think Jonah expects revolutions to be noisy, loud and destructive. The Blogosphere Revolution, if there is one, will be far more subtle and will take things over so insidiously people won’t know the difference at first. Gradually establishment journalists like Eric Alterman or Chris Matthews will start blogging, staid publications like the National Review will get blogs, publications and big-media websites like Fox or Slate will start to incorporate bloggers into their regular content, well-known journalists will tout their latest columns to bloggers and respond angrily to attacks from the blogosphere. . . .
Nah, couldn’t happen.
UPDATE: Proving my point! Rand Simberg notes that Goldberg’s column contains an admission that The Corner is a blog! And ABC News’s Marc Ambinder emails to complain that I didn’t mention ABC’s blog “The Note.”
FRED BARNES says Bush has given up on Europe. That’s better than Mark Steyn’s suggestion, below, that he’s just given up, period.
JIHAD AT HARVARD: Yglesias has more, with links.
WOBBLY WATCH UPDATE: Mark Steyn says that we’re not acting serious about the war, and Bush will be a one-termer if things don’t change very soon.
STEVE CHAPMAN has a column about the Michigan Law School diversity case. Here’s an interesting passage:
If you take a look at the University of Michigan’s Web site, you can find all sorts of information, including some that would come as news to its administrators. A “Nondiscrimination Policy Notice” says the university “is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race.” But the school has been fighting a court battle for years for one simple reason: It discriminates on the basis of race and wants to keep doing so.
I wonder why people who give schools and other organizations money in reliance on these policies (the Association of American Law Schools tells applicants for law-teaching jobs who use its process the same thing, and then sets up the process to facilitate such discrimination, which it encourages, among its member schools) don’t just sue for fraud. No fancy-pants constitutional claims just: you took my money under false pretenses, and I was harmed thereby. It certainly looks to be as strong a case as a lot of class actions that get filed.
Glenn, if it makes you feel better, think of “Teen” as a catchall phrase for poorly-educated people with bad or no jobs, little life experience and few life skills, raging hormones who mostly live with their parents. People — of any age – who fit this description shouldn’t be having too [much] sex, if you ask me.
Jonah’s basically describing the guests on Jerry Springer, for whom sex looks like a less desirable option (from society’s standpoint, not just their, ugh, potential partners’) with every passing year. And as someone in the comments section on the post below notes, sometimes the idea of a Norplant dart gun sounds appealing. I’m all for responsibility, but I think that the term “teen sex” is one of those media creations that lets them scare parents about 13-year-olds while showing provocative photos of 18-year-olds to boost circulation. There are a lot of reasons why policy entrepreneurs then jump on the bandwagon, but that doesn’t make it sounder.
As a noted Europhile, let me note that European countries somehow seem to have similar levels of teen sexual activity with much, much lower levels of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Whether that’s replicable in the U.S., or whether we’d even want to replicate their approach in the U.S., is a separate question, but it indicates that the connection between teen sex and undesirable consequences isn’t set in stone.
MATTHEW HOY SAYS that this time Paul Krugman is half right in his criticism of the Bush Administration. Hey, that’s more credit than Krugman usually gets from the Blogosphere!
MERYL YOURISH says that the boycott of the New York Times over its slanted Israel coverage is working.