Feb 292008

Some freeper made mention of the William F. Buckley writings being online at Hillsdale College’s web site. Here, as a public service, is a link:

Buckley Online

And here is a link to an archive of his Firing Line program at the Hoover Institution.

I used to read Buckley’s column occasionally, was a one-time subscriber to National Review (which I usually would read cover to cover) and am sure I saw a few snippets of him on television. His Firing Line program ran back in the days when I used to be more of a television watcher, so I’m not sure why I never saw it. Or maybe I did see a snippet of it once or twice.

Anyhow, after reading so many eulogies of William F. Buckley, I thought it would be intesting to go back and look at some of his articles from the 1960s. For example, I’m curious as to what he had to say about civil rights back in those days. I have my own memories of those days, but they are probably very much colored by the intervening years. This would be a way to go back in time. I haven’t gotten too far on that project yet, but I’ll make use of the above link.

The Hoover Institution archive has VHS tapes for sale, but also has some video clips online.

Unfortunately the video clips are in Real Media format, and the site says you have to install the latest version of RealOne to view them. Not even William F. Buckley is worth contaminating my computer with such an intrusive piece of software, but my son told me about Real Alternative. I installed that, and it plays the video clips just fine.

More misfortune, though. Only the first five minutes of selected shows are available. From what I’ve heard, I wouldn’t expect the first five minutes to be the most interesting. Still, it was interesting to see a young Bill Buckley from the 60s, and a young John F. Kerry and a young David Broder.

I’ve now seen more video of the young John Kerry than the guy who ran for president. Don’t like him. People like that will cure one of left-liberalism quite easily (though it was other left-liberals, not he, who cured me of a bout of McGovernism in the early 70s).

Feb 292008

Speak loudly and carry a big club to bash our neighbors with. That’s the foreign policy being proposed by Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama.

And I’m glad to see the Wall Street Journal explain it in terms like The Reticulator was using last September.

Why do they hate us? Because we act like a global, unilateral bully, when we do what Clinton and Obama are recommending.

Feb 292008

Ann Coulter explains how William F. Buckley was the original Ann Coulter. What she actually says is that he was the original “enfant terrible”, but it’s not hard to get her point.

She explains the reception Buckley got with his first book:

Buckley’s first book, “God and Man at Yale,” was met with the usual thoughtful critiques of anyone who challenges the liberal establishment. Frank Ashburn wrote in the Saturday Review: “The book is one which has the glow and appeal of a fiery cross on a hillside at night. There will undoubtedly be robed figures who gather to it, but the hoods will not be academic. They will cover the face.”

And she reminds us of Buckley’s style:

In a famous exchange with Gore Vidal in 1968, Vidal said to Buckley: “As far as I am concerned, the only crypto Nazi I can think of is yourself.”

Buckley replied: “Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto Nazi, or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.”

But will Ann Coulter someday get the same eulogies that Buckley is now getting?

Feb 282008

Comcast is accused of paying people to stand in line in order to pack the FCC hearings on its traffic management practices. (Network World URL here.)

I don’t wish Comcast well in the issue before the FCC, especially given that they do not tell the truth. They claim to be managing traffic, but what they’re really doing is interrupting certain types of traffic.

I’ve had my own experience with Comcast not telling the truth, claiming that they were blocking my outgoing mail because it had been determined that my computer was spending spam, possibly because of a virus infection, and that I needed to install a fix. But they were speaking with forked tongue. They simply decided to block port 25. There are legitimate grounds for doing that, but a company that takes my money for a service ought to tell the truth about what service it’s providing. (I figured out my own way to work around the problem, but it was especially nasty of Comcast to do this to me on a Saturday morning when I had other activities planned, and when none of their people were available to answer questions about what was going on.)

But back to the issue of packing the hearings with people paid to stand in line.

One commenter says it’s a common practice to pay people to stand in line at hearings. If so, that’s a sad commentary on our system of government regulation. If the way to get public input on a decision-making process is to turn people into unproductive drones who stand for long hours in a queue, the system needs reform. One reform would be a market system in which entrepreneurial competitors are not blocked by regulations from offering competing service. Then we could provide public input by voting with our checkbooks.

The sad thing is the cluelessness of some of the commenters who eloquently denounce the hearing-packing practice. Their solution to this sort of government inefficiency? They want more government, namely a takeover of the telecom system by the government. Yeah, that’ll give people a way to provide efficient input into decision-making processes.

Feb 282008

A Jehovah’s Witness patient needs an operation, but warns the surgeon that he absolutely does not want a blood transfusion. The operation is one that might come off without the need for blood, but not necessarily. What’s a surgeon to do?

I can see why the surgeon would have problems doing an operation in which he’s not allowed to use all the tools of the trade to keep the patient from dying. The surgeon did the operation, and just barely escaped the need for a transfusion. But what about next time?

This New York Times article tells the story. Some of us would say difficult issues like this are why we need a separation between Health Care and State. There are difficult ethical choices to be made on both sides, and there is nothing the government as health care provider can do that would not make the situation worse.

But it’s interesting to read the comments that follow the article. There are some thoughtful reactions, but also some that suggest a whole lot of people out there are not thinking in terms of how to maximimize individual choice and freedom.

Feb 272008

I like this. Our country is built on unresolvable contradictions, and the WSJ Best of the Web passes up an opportunity to be snarky about it to call attention to one of them.

You’re Fine, but Not That Fine
From Honolulu, the Associated Press reports on a little political kerfuffle that illustrates a paradox about America:

Sen. Daniel Inouye has apologized for suggesting that Sen. Barack Obama’s private high school in Hawaii was elitist.

Inouye said before his state’s Feb. 19 Democratic caucuses that voters know Obama was born in Hawaii and graduated from one of its high schools, “but he went to Punahou, and that was not a school for the impoverished.” . . .

The Democratic senator is backing Obama’s presidential rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Inouye apologized in a letter to the president of the Punahou School, according to Jennifer Sabas, his chief of staff. . . .

“It was just a misstatement,” Sabas said. “It was never the intent to disparage Punahou in any way. It is without a doubt one of the finest schools in our nation.”

If it is “one of the finest schools in our nation,” that’s pretty elite, isn’t it? But Inouye is apologizing for calling the school “elitist.” There is at least a tension here–and yet it is a tension that captures something great about America: We aspire to value the best, but not to devalue that which falls short, to recognize the elite without becoming elitist. It’s a logical contradiction, yet in a funny way it seems to work.

Feb 162008

So when Hillary is president and her people talk to the press, it won’t matter so much what reasons or arguments they give.  Rather, reporters should ask what hat they’re wearing.


Ickes explained that his different position essentially is due to the different hats he wears as both a DNC member and a Clinton adviser in charge of delegate counting. Clinton won the primary vote in Michigan and Florida, and now she wants those votes to count.  (–AP article)

Feb 142008

Republicans at The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard are putting a lot of energy into bashing conservatives who refuse to support John McCain. According to Newsweek, there’s a semi-organized effort to work over those conservatives.

Here’s an idea, though. What if for every hour these Republicans put into bashing and hectoring McCain’s conservative opponents, they match it with an hour spent convincing McCain to support the First Amendment, starting with a repeal of McCain-Feingold?

That would be a force to be reckoned with.

Feb 142008

When Anna Politkovskaya was murdered, there were Putin defenders who questioned what he would have to gain from being associated with such a thing.   Here’s the answer to that question, from Newsweek:

In the news conference, which lasted nearly five hours, Mr. Putin won applause from the hundreds of local journalists present when he touted Russia’s economic achievements.

Feb 132008

I’m glad Barak Obama opposed lawsuit immunity for telecoms who help the government with its spying.   Obama hasn’t made himself out to be a big civil liberties guy, AFAIK, but if his opposition is rooted in the same source that would oppose re-instituting the Fairness Doctrine, I think we may have found a genuine liberal in the Democratic Party.