March 3, 2008

Shortly before the Declaration of Independence was signed, Benedict Arnold led a colonial force to invade Canada, in the hopes of harrassing the English army and, more importantly, hoping the Canadian people might rise up in support of independence. Columnist Brian O’Malley quotes letters from General Washington on how the Canadians should be treated. O’Malley’s point is to criticize our current invasion of Iraq. Whatever you think of that, though, the portrait of Washington that comes through is fascinating, a… Read more

February 29, 2008

Christianity Today online has dusted off an interview with the recently-deceased William F. Buckley from 1995, featuring his advice to Christian activists. The interview shows his own Christian faith, as well as points like these: What frightens people most about the Religious Right is the rhetoric that is sometimes used. There ought to be some thought given, for example, as to how you formulate your antihomosexual position: it should be more pastoral than vitriolic…. If, at the end of a… Read more

February 29, 2008

You know how the mint is putting out quarters featuring all of the 50 states. Now the territories will also get a quarter, as will Washington, D.C. The District of Columbia turned in a proposed design that featured the slogan “No taxation without representation.” See, the District of Columbia has no representatives in Congress, and yet its population has to pay taxes, which violates that old revolutionary principle. Many D.C. activists go so far as to demand statehood, so that… Read more

February 29, 2008

England’s royal family may be returning to its chivalric roots. Prince Harry, the third in line to the throne, is a military officer who has been fighting in hot combat in Afghanistan. His unit has killed some 30 Taliban. [Who can identify the allusion in the title of this post? How else is that allusion appropriate, considering Prince Harry’s earlier frivolous past?] UPDATE: Because of the publicity, Prince Harry has been pulled from action and is back in England. Now… Read more

February 29, 2008

Iran ‘number one world power’: Ahmadinejad: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on Thursday that Iran was the world’s “number one” power, as he launched a bitter new assault on domestic critics he accused of siding with the enemy. “Everybody has understood that Iran is the number one power in the world,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech to families who lost loved ones in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. “Today the name of Iran means a firm punch in the teeth of the… Read more

February 29, 2008

So what are you going to do with the extra day that you have been given this year? I believe that February 29, which we only get once every four years, should be a holiday. And I’m not just talking about Little Orphan Annie’s birthday (which was how her creator explained how she was still a kid after decades in the funny papers). It should be a day on which we contemplate time as God’s gift, a truly extra, gratuitous… Read more

February 28, 2008

Mark Steyn, the Canadian conservative, brings together insightful punditry and devastating humor. That is to say, he is a true satirist. For a sample of what a good writer he is, consider his description in a piece on fall of the house of Clintonof Bill Clinton’s famous televised walk to the stage to receive his party’s nomination: Bill Clinton understood a crude rule of show business — that, if you behave like a star, there are plenty of people who’ll… Read more

February 28, 2008

Shopkeepers in England, annoyed by adolescents loitering around their stores, are installing a new device called the Mosquito. It emits an ultra-high pitched annoying noise—“eeeeeeeeek”–that people over 25 cannot hear. It drives away the kids while adults, with their deteriorating hearing, remain unphased. Read this: Merchants in Britain Give Young Loiterers an Earful. Yes, some people in England are claiming that the device constitutes age discrimination. Still, young people have had their own version of the Mosquito for some time… Read more

February 28, 2008

William F. Buckley, the influential conservative writer, intellectual, and raconteur, is dead at 82. Go to National Review Online, which he founded, for a wide array of tributes. Read more

February 27, 2008

Naming something is the first step to dealing with it. Thanks to Terry Mattingly for teaching me a new word: Flexidoxy. Every Saturday, journalist David Brooks and his family can choose between three services at their synagogue in Washington, D.C. Rabbis lead a mainstream, almost Protestant, rite in the sanctuary. Then there is an informal “Havurah (fellowship)” service led by lay people, including a 45-minute talk-back session. The erudite leaders often pause to explain why the Torah’s more judgmental and… Read more

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